The Lone Crow

I’m more than a little frustrated by technology this morning. Nothing is working right…it’s either slow or nonexistent or doesn’t remember who I am (same same). My brain is mush from trying to (a) remember all the shit I’m supposed to do, (b) grade all the shit I’m supposed to grade, and (c) shit, I don’t even remember the last thing. I’m trying to type this on the iPad because my desktop and I are no longer friends and I’d really like to get this done before I start the long hellacious day ahead.

Must stop working on day job before 10 pm.

Tuesday I was smart and I walked. 3.65 miles. It’s a good walk. Our air is still unhealthy, but I have to admit that I didn’t track it before, so maybe it always was. The haze is not normal though. Those aren’t our fires…those are from somewhere else.

Walks are nice. They help. I should do more of them.

Working on that.

I managed some ironing at 11 pm or so…

The central figure with her cytokine storm.

Then last night, I got the other side done minus the forearm…

It was well after midnight. I forget that school starts earlier now and I have to get up earlier.

The heart, the lungs. Y’all, the news is so awful. Is the next quilt about wildfires, the stupidity of our leadership, or forced hysterectomies? I just don’t know where to start. Maybe I will make a nice landscape. Sigh.

I feel like this is one of the few things I can manage appropriately right now…laying pieces out in numerical order.

Got it! I can focus on that. The rest is too many pieces. Ironic…so many people think my quilts have so many pieces! Crazy! But those pieces have numbers on them, consecutive numbers, and there’s a master drawing with matching numbers and pieces. It all makes everything so easy. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but look at what I get at the end. My day job? None of that right now. Random numbers, no master drawing, nothing matches up, can’t even get my head around it some days.

And then I walk in on a late-night cat convention.

WTF y’all. WTF.

That’s me right now. The lone crow, squawking at the top of a denuded tree.

It’s OK. The leaves will come back. My murder is around, just not right there in my space…which is hard.

There’s blue up there.

In four minutes, I will walk to my classroom and try to focus on flowing water and flowing lava, and grading something, and maybe the future science I’ll be teaching. Then later I can iron stuff. Because it’s like meditation and I need that.

I Don’t Need Shoes…

We are a week out from starting school with kids. First we have to contact all of them and make sure they know how to sign in to a class and get their schedules and class codes and Zoom links and internet (holy hell, my internet has been awful today)…but I need to know WHO I’m contacting before all that happens. Ought to be interesting. Meanwhile, temperatures (actual temperatures of the air) are rising and everyone is hot and why do I have to start wearing a bra again? Sigh. Ugh. So here’s something about being an online teacher. I don’t need pants. I don’t need shoes. OK, I might stand up and do something for class, but odds are, I don’t need shoes. I might need slippers when it gets cold, but not shoes. It will be a shoeless school year. I will have to wear a bra most days though. Time to get used to those things again.

Today, I made a bunch of videos about how to use certain apps and websites, and posted those, and started trying to do some other school stuff. I sat through a total waste-of-time training. Hopefully the next one is NOT a waste of time, but you know, when you have to turn your camera off so others can’t see your extreme eyeroll and because you know you have one of those faces that everyone can read…well…that does not bode well for professional learning.

Deep breaths, new school year. I see you and I will get through you, hopefully still standing…on my bare feet.

Yeah. Think some of the crazy through a little bit.

I did finish tracing the Wonder Under last night…820 pieces (or so…had some with a’s and b’s because I missed numbering them) in exactly 11 hours. Weird to be exact like that. So this is about 5 1/2 yards of Wonder Under…

Covered in little drawn pieces…so that’s probably 6 hours of cutting stuff out…

I also am still embellishing these squares and rectangles…only getting through about three a night…

It’ll get done eventually.

Here’s the fence…actually done…

And here’s the Bird Poop Caterpillar chrysalis finally…

Its horns finally showed up. Apparently they show these red horns when they feel threatened, but I never saw them. There’s about 5 more caterpillars on the tree…yes, I sacrificed lemon tree leaves for these future butterflies.

I walked yesterday. Apparently I’ve done 150 miles in my hiking boots since March 2nd…

Yes, my hiking app keeps track. Impressive, eh? Well, it could have been more.

This bird was definitely perturbed about the tree disappearing.

More rocks getting painted and left outside…

I love those.

And last night, trying to go to bed earlier (and failing)…the moon was beautiful and orange and my phone camera just couldn’t handle it.

Kitten slept right through it.

I don’t know that cats care about the color of the moon. OK, another training starts in 18 minutes. I’m not feeling good about this school year, I have to admit. Those people dissing us teachers for “not wanting to go back to work” (yes we do…we want more than anything for it all to be normal again, whatever that is)…you don’t know what our job is like…at all. I’m just watching all the experts with their advice about going back, and all the not-experts and what’s happening in schools that are already open. Masks, no masks, cohorts, no cohorts, hybrid, no hybrid, testing, no testing. It’s all very scary. I’ve actually considered in my head what might happen if I can’t go back to teaching, or if the district screws me over in some way and I lose my job. Dear Ivanka…I have done many jobs in my lifetime…I’d like to continue to use my years of teaching experience to impart my love of science to 7th graders…not start over yet again. I already have two other jobs I do that aren’t enough to support me. Deep breaths…I said that earlier. I think it’s the bra that’s causing the breathing issues…I should do something about that.

A Situation Made for Pie…

This is my 3,660th post on my blog. That’s crazy. I guess I can add ‘writer’ to the list of shit I do. Although that might have already been on there, notionally. I’m writing less often than I used to. I’m not sure what changed (a pandemic…but I don’t know why it affected my writing time). As of 11 days from now, I’ll be tied to a computer from 8-3 every day, and I can see that having an effect on my ability and willingness to write a blog every day. I may shift to afternoons? Or I may go back to quick and pithy (I’m not great at pithy) every day but Sunday. I don’t know. We’ll have to see how everything rolls. School is starting earlier for me…but I don’t have to drive there most days, so it shouldn’t matter…it’s a little earlier than I would leave to drive to school. It’s a lot earlier than when we started online in the Spring. I’m thinking kids are gonna be braindead in the first few periods every day. Me too, probably. Too many school thoughts right now. That’s actually not abnormal for this time of year.

p.s. If you have kids in school and their district is saying “Teachers are much more prepared this time around. Everything is ready and they’ve been trained.”, um, yeah. No. No, we’re not. We’re not trained, we don’t have access, we don’t have everything ready, and we’re not prepared. We’ll roll, we’ll be there, we’ll have stuff, it will look good, it may even look awesome and work well, but we’ll be panicking every morning and night trying to get there. A lot of it is trying to figure out HOW to do what we used to do or something better. We don’t know what will work yet. We barely had things working before, and now it’s all changed. So be kind to us. You hate us, you love us, we save your kids, we are the worst ever. This job is so hard, y’all. Be kind. Stand up for your kid if necessary and get them what they need, but be sure you are being supportive on your end. I’ll probably have 150 students. Online. I’m scared. I’ll handle it. I have the most awesome team and co-teacher ever, so I’ll handle it. But it scares the crap out of me.

OK. So in other news, I’m still tracing Wonder Under on the newest quilt. I made it to the halfway point and beyond last night…

Of course, the kittens tried to eat one of the lungs on the drawing…

In the center of the drawing. Of course. I fixed it and now I cover the whole damn thing again with boxes in between tracing. I keep thinking they have matured and don’t do stupid kitten things any more. I would be wrong. They are not quite a year old. They still do stupid kitten things.

I also cut out all the Wonder Under for Grow

This is the small Patreon reward for one of my patrons. I’m hoping to pick fabrics today or tomorrow for it.

I’ve mostly been working on trying to get a bunch of stuff ready for Etsy. It takes longer than you would think. I got this on a hanger…

I have a few more to do that way, both quilt tops and embroideries. And this one has its backing on…

I’m still working on the others…these are all the hooped pieces in process.

I’ll get them up on Etsy as soon as I can. I can’t decide if it’s more efficient to put them all up at once or to do a few at a time. My office companions are really no help at all…

You can see the stack with backings ready to go.

I did a little of this one…

And I also sewed most of these squares and rectangles on…

I think there are four left to go, and then they all need embellishment.

I’m in a mood today. I can feel it. I hate that feeling. But it is what it is. For now. It will hopefully change.

Every time I go get the mail or go out to water the front yard or dump stuff in the composter, the dogs chase after me and guard the door until I return…

The caterpillars are still growing.

I’m still waiting on chrysalises. Chrysali? Hmmm.

Sleepy time…

I am never alone…

And my chair is often co-opted.

This is Katie…

Katie is my parents’ dog. She’s visiting as they finish up with selling their mountain cabin. She came and then had vomitous and diarrheal events all over the place. It was fun. She’s on meds and has had fluids but still has diarrhea. I feel sorry for her, but that’s what you get for eating dead things. Dead things that aren’t cooked anyway.

And if you haven’t checked out the girlchild’s podcast…there’s armadillos and Obamas in this one.

Somehow dead things that aren’t cooked reminded me of that. It’s on the i-family of podcastery now too.

So yesterday, I had a hike planned with two co-teachers…socially distant and all that. I’ve done two pieces of this preserve…but not the West Vista loop.

So we started out…it was warm and there was a climb…

But it was outside and there were vistas and birds and plants. We did a lot of this kind of distancing…this was a shade stop going up.

I think this was the view from the bottom person, my science co-teacher…

Actually, that’s a different batch of shade. We liked shade. And interesting trees.

With brand new acorns…

These are not the oaks I have in my yard. But those oaks were there too…plus poison oak, which isn’t an oak at all…and lots of dry and dead stuff… I have Black oaks. These are live oaks? I would have to go grab my book to make sure.

Because well it is August. Black sage…

We hiked slowly but talked a lot and looked at lots of things, so that was good. Including vistas!

I’m pretty sure up there is the Clevenger Canyon hike I did with the man a few years back.

Another interesting tree.

It’s a nice hike. We had asked a random hiker man in the parking lot which direction he would go, and I think he was right. Do the big hill at the beginning, and then it’s downhill a lot and then flat a lot.

So we started at the N (Nature Center) went out to the right and up, then the loop around the top (0.9 and 0.5), then down toward Highway 79, and back to the Nature Center. The Nature Center is not open because of COVID, but is a cool spot from 12-something, so you can use the bathrooms after 12.

Next time, we’d bring sandwiches and have lunch at one of those picnic spots.

We saw turkey tracks and cows and birds…like this Harris hawk…

We think it’s a Harris hawk. Vistas and distance.

It was just under 5 miles in about 3 hours.

I enjoyed it.

We’re trying to figure out how to fit some sort of trail talk into our science curriculum…a video of us talking about rocks in the county and showing them to the kids.

Ecosystems and elements and photosynthesis. All around us. How rocks change…

And why…

And what they’re made of…

This is the hardest part…we have great ideas, but sometimes making them happen gets lost due to time constraints. If I have to be on a computer teaching a class, how do I have time to go record these videos? We’ll have to figure that out. Maybe every Wednesday, we kamikaze out of the house and school buildings as soon as school is out and meet somewhere for that week’s video.

We’re both really busy. We’ll have to find a way to make time.

We can always drag the history teacher with us. She didn’t seem to mind.

This is me trying to figure out what this used to be…

I am a curious sort.

This was another thing…electrical lines. We had ideas…

For earthquakes? Fires? Nah. Just too hard to dig a full footing in this soil…lots of little ones are easier.

I came home and we did food and I did work and some stitching and tracing. The cats are wary of Katie still…so this happened.

Three layers of calicoes. They’re all staring at Katie.

And this morning, doing school stuff…

I wish I could nap like a cat.

Well today is mostly gone. I’m hoping to get some artwork done and some more schoolwork maybe. I’ve done a bunch. There’s always more. And hopefully some decent food. I did get a pie yesterday, but I have to cook it. There’s dinner! Um. OK. Not the healthiest. I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m cranky though. Sounds like a situation made for pie.

Hard Doesn’t Mean Impossible

I have a headache this morning. It’s partially caused by the concrete trucks and related noise from nextdoor’s new pool construction. I can’t really escape it, so it’s driving me more than a little bonkers. The rest of it is school-related. It seems I really shouldn’t go back to a classroom until there’s a vaccine or this virus disappears into the ether (hello COVID conspiracists…I am talking to you. Now leave. You won’t like it here.) I’m hoping not to disappear my job in the middle of all this, but since they were gonna co-opt one of the two bathrooms on the floor for my private use, and honestly, as healthy as I usually feel, any time you show me the list of high risks for COVID and I see mine on there, I get wibbly in my tummy and run to check that all the beneficiaries on all my accounts are still my children…well, I guess it totally sucks to be that person, but I am that person. Online teaching is not my favorite, but for now, I’m doing it with my team, so I will survive, as will we all. The going-back-in-person thing is the bad juju for my body. I also can’t afford to not work. I am glad that hopefully I will be able to do my job without the exposure. We’ll see. I’m thankful that it’s a possibility. I just don’t like it.

Monday night, my brain was just not working, for whatever reason, so I just cut and pasted the other drawing I had enlarged…

There will be too many COVID quilts from me? Maybe. It’s not done…but it’s the right size at least.

Last night, I got my act together and traced all the Patreon reward pieces on Wonder Under…

So that’s what 111 pieces look like. This is for a Patreon patron who gives me a significant amount of money a month, and I appreciate her support.

Then I started tracing Wonder Under for the COVID Daughter quilt…

I finished the first figure, which was about 100 pieces. It takes about an hour for 100 pieces. So I have about 7 1/2 hours to go. I stayed up way too late, mentally debating next steps for work and consequences and fears and all that good stuff, and now I am tired and headachy (my own fault) for lack of sleep. Bless those concrete trucks for their lovely noise. I have issues with noise, if you haven’t noticed. I can ignore children screaming (mostly) and lots of other noises, but construction noise drives me bonkers. Also the humming of fluorescent lights. And you tapping your fingernails together. Ick. Anyway, art progress has been made. I do feel remarkably (or not) unfocused about everything. My school team met yesterday for 2 hours and banged some shit out, and now I feel overwhelmed. That is normal for this time of year, though, so I’m rolling with it.

I bought a bunch of devices for hanging some of my finished small pieces (quilt and embroidery) that are not going to Patreons. My goal today and tomorrow is to get them finished on the devices, photographed, and uploaded to Etsy. The fence wood should be coming in Friday or Saturday, so we can finish the fence next week, right before school starts and I’m online for 7 hours a day (ugh). Progress with tasks.

I worked a little on this one…

The yellow is hard to see. Should have used the blue. Ah well. Blindness caused by embroidery.

I took a long walk yesterday to deal with some of the crap in my head. This was an unexpected addition to this spiky plant I’ve been walking past for months…

And there’s the view of the giant-ass hill I can either go up or down (there are two other hills I can also go up or down…I end up going up one, down this one, and then zigzag up the last one).

Walking tries to clear my head. It’s not always effective.

I try to stay off of Facebook to avoid the crazy shit, but there it is…

First of all, spelling. But I have friends who are good people who can’t spell, so OK. Second of all. Um. Antifa. I really don’t get why people think this is a thing. I consider myself anti-fascist. Now straight up, I studied all these -isms in school, but I had to go read up and make sure I was remembering correctly. Like who isn’t anti-fascist? Besides dictators and their best friends? And Marxism/Socialism, I know those scare people, but it’s just talking about capitalism not being the best for all the people, and maybe we should take care of all the people. I don’t understand why those things are scary. Because you earned your money by pulling up your bootstraps and everyone should have to do that? Well, I’m not telling you which friend this comes from, but I know she doesn’t work for a living. Hasn’t for a really long time. Her husband does though. Must be nice. No really, it must! But capitalism means that some people can’t get a leg up in society, especially with all the racist crap that’s embedded in our society about who gets jobs and who gets to live where and be paid how much. I didn’t respond to this woman because I knew she wouldn’t listen. I do unfriend a lot of these people, and I hovered over this one, but it’s useful to have one or two that I think are nuts so I can read their crazy. Also, protest doesn’t have to be peaceful. It can be angry, especially when us dumbass white folks aren’t listening. For years. But also, Portland isn’t burning down. So much drama.

OK. So there’s cats. They’re easier to deal with…this one is pretending to be flat.

She’s not very good at it.

This one has decided she will climb into the upper shelves of the closet and sleep on my quilt roll.

She dumps a bunch of stuff on the floor every time she clambers up there.

Here’s flat Nova again…

Dayum. Cats sleep a lot. Probably they are lazy and won’t hold down a job, which is why capitalism doesn’t work for them.

Stretchy Kitten. Goddamned socialist. Look at her suck at the tit of my hard work.

Update on the bird poop caterpillars. They are larger. And they have migrated to the stem/trunk of the tree.

I’m keeping track so I know when they go into chrysalis mode.

I’ve been reading here, on the deck…but it is where the concrete trucks are today.

Right over there. Causing headaches.

Yup. That. OK. So I need to do art things today. And school things (videos of mandated reporter and injury stuff and pest management because we will not even be in our classrooms). I might even give up and go take pain meds for the headache. Then try to be chill with my self. Honestly, I cried a lot yesterday and in the middle of the night about work, and I will probably cry again. OK. I have a job (for now). I’m not dying. I’m not sick. I’m not happy, but that’s a normal thing. It will all work out somehow. I should be glad I have some level of choice, even if it’s a hard one. Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It just means not easy.

Cat Butt Incursion…

There’s a cat butt keeping my keyboard from being in the right place. She squeaks every time I try to shove it further toward where it’s supposed to be. Man, I’m tired. Yes, I stayed up too late. Why? Well, ostensibly I was working on art things, but also was watching the end of the second season of Hidden and wanted to see the end. Way too fucking late. Bad summer behavior.

First of all, I FINISHED THE DAMN QUILT. There was a lot of binding.

And I did all of it. And then dropped the whole quilt on the couch.

I haven’t figured out the time it took yet. But I did email my photographer for the last two quilts. Hopefully he’ll be OK with that.

So there was about a 24-hour time period in the last few days when I was going to be teaching an unknown elective for this school year, but then that went away (oh good). I suggested social-justice quilting and pole-dancing, but since my principal was too scared to actually even contact me and tell me about the elective, I also thought he wouldn’t go for either of those. No worries, all, I would have just taught art. I’ve done it before. It would be hard with the online aspect, but not undoable. Just busy as shit. But it’s OK now…that’s gone.

But because of that, I needed a hike in nature…even though it was by myself.

Sweetwater Wildlife Reserve…with its vernal pool that is quite boisterous this summer.

It was hot…

Always happy to see the flowers…

I did 3 miles…

There’s a bunny out there…

Dear School: Knock it off. Seriously, so many of my hikes are because of outside stress. Yesterday included 3 hours of an online union meeting about what is coming. So stressful. Other people can work from home, but we teachers are lazy? Ah sigh.

What else? I’ve got Patreon things I’m working on…the last embroidery…needed a different transfer color…

And also worked on the quilt pieces…Calli was helping…

The Wonder Under was traced and cut out, and I needed to iron it down…and then I cut them out.

I was doing this well after midnight.

So all three are ready to be ironed together and onto something. That’ll be this afternoon.

I also cut all the backgrounds for the Tattoo quilt and ironed down the pieces for the first block.

I’m doing hand applique. I don’t know why. But I am. And then I added the borders to Folk Tails…

There are a bunch of squares and rectangles that need to be appliqued on and then embellished. And then I’m done with this one. Done seems like a good thing.

Hey, do you do Pilates with animals? I do.

Simba loves his dinosaur…

And here he is, getting involved in Pilates…

So I realized last year that I posted a bunch of meme things about stupid shit the President said last July. So I’m hoping if I post all these now, then I will hopefully see them a year from now and life will be easier. Or different. Or less Trumpy.

Maybe I won’t even remember any of this because of the crazy stuff that will have happened since then.

That one too. And then in a year, we’ll have more data about this…

Maybe DeVos (hopefully) will be gone by then.

And this. Will we still be wearing masks in a year? I suspect so. I hope not.

Well there’s that. So I think that’s all I have for today. Oh wait! The girlchild now has a blog, Reformed Veg, where she writes about food and gives recipes. And she has a podcast with her friend Alessia about…um…well, I’m not sure what it’s about, but it’s currently on Spotify and some other platforms and will eventually make it to Podcasts on the i-devices. It’s called Rideshare. I’ll try to figure out how to share a link to a podcast here before the next blogpost. If you follow her on Insta, it’s in her profile. That might be easier. There’s the Insta…

OK. The day disappears as I get all this stuff done. And now I should do more. So there. I will also need to study more CPR before tomorrow morning’s actual test. Usually we don’t have to do a test like this, so I’m nervous I’m going to forget something. Plus it’s early in the morning because I didn’t get to pick the time. Which sucks. So I will NOT stay up until 1 AM tonight. Or later. I won’t. First I’ll eat lunch.

Sitting in an Empty Mall

So I need new glasses…lenses actually. I went to the disinfected eye doctor successfully and got a new prescription, and the lenses are ready, so now they need an hour to pop them in my glasses. Fun. It’s an indoor mall, so it’s closed, but a few people are here and I’m sitting on a chair, blind as a bat, with the iPad about two inches from my face, typing this. My mask is on and I’m pretty sure I’m cross-eyed. This is the level of paranoia I will have at school. No. I will be more paranoid at school. I will be sitting in my classroom by myself for 7 hours a day in less than two weeks, yelling at anyone who tries to come in my room. Depressing and lonely. It is staying alive though. Hopefully.

So I’ve been getting a little art done. The days slip away so quickly. This binding will take a while.

I actually really like this part of the process…it’s relaxing, although the pins (and cats) are pokey.

There’s 470” to do of the binding and the sleeves. That is 13 yards. Really? Shit. That’s a lot. So Sunday I did two sides…four to go. I didn’t do any last night. I was working on Patreon embroideries. I finished one on Saturday or Sunday night (can’t remember which)…

Damn either she’s blurry or my eyes are getting worse. I’ll wash and iron and rephotograph when I can see. And when the blurry-eyes-tryna-focus headache goes away. I also started this one…

And finished it. Note to self: design more simply. That woman with the rainbow hair was complicated.

This was after dinner, when I was contemplating what to do with the rest of my evening.

Definitely needs a bath and attention from an iron.

Saturday, I managed to get the man to go with me on a walk at the beach…

We just hung out at Dog Beach…not a ton of people and a nice breeze.

We actually ignored the real beach and walked where there were fewer people. I enjoyed it. IDK about the man. His foot has been bugging him and his work is stressful. But he did it and that’s something. I know outdoors is more important to my moods and sanity than his. Although I think it would help him too, I know everyone has to be making their own choices willingly for that good outdoor feeling to work though.

With that in mind, my science co-teacher and I headed to Sunset Trail in the Lagunas yesterday for some much-needed planning and venting.

It was a little warm, but we did a fairly short hike…with her dog, Watson…

We both had masks and Watson’s leash is the requisite 6-feet long to help with visualizing appropriate distancing.

This is one of my favorite hikes. Not hard, great views.

We stopped for a while and took some notes about how to do school this year. Science will be a challenge. And then her shoe died.

The entire bottom sole came off. Folks, here’s my shoe PSA from someone who has had plantar fasciitis multiple times…new boots every 500 miles. New other shoes when the wear is obviously changing your stance. It’s OK…she’s going to REI today.

Water of the Woods…aka the cow pond…no cows today.

Watson got too hot or just plain tired after a while (note: his limit is about 2 miles, maybe more if it’s cooler), so he got a ride.

He didn’t seem to mind not walking…

Lucky dog…

Weird tree growths. We have ideas for videos from the trail and the kitchen or garden for school. It will be hard to implement those while sitting in my empty classroom. I’m going to apply for field trips. For me and my co-teacher. Even walking in the neighborhood of the school and looking for relevant stuff would be better than sitting in an empty room.

We have another hike planned for next week, adding another teacher to the mix.

All good things. Part of my sanity.

Right now, Calli wants to go in the pool, I have a bunch of quilty things I need to work on, but first, I’m eating a late lunch. I made pancakes with leftover sourdough starter earlier and froze them. The hardest part of going back to the physical classroom is not being able to get stuff done at home. It all gets shoved to the weekend. Grading comes back with a vengeance and all gets pushed online, so more computer time. Like I wasn’t already staring at a screen enough before. But it keeps us safer, so we will do it. I have to laugh at the people who thought we were only working 3 hours a day before…well, they’re welcome to try to do my job before they say how it should be. Hoping I get it all figured out in the next few weeks. This is the most unprepared I’ve felt since the first year I taught. Nice feeling.

Head-Clearing Events…

The big old lady dog is currently harassing me because she wants to go in the pool, but the pool guy was just here today and dumped chlorine in there, so it’s a no-pool day, lady.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will throw the pine cone in and you can fetch it. Four times, because more than that tires you out too much. This is the joy I give you in your last months, old lady. Water. Pine cones. The occasional piece of bread. Enjoy.

So Saturday was a tense day. I couldn’t get my head out of school. I finally went out on the deck and drew for a while…

This is the place where I should spend more time sitting. I forget. I was honestly feeling too tense to even draw. It was slow. I was pulling it out like extricating a tick from really juicy dog flesh.

I gave up at one point and went for a 3-mile walk. Hike. Not sure what to call these.

Head-clearing events. Came back, we dealt with dinner, which is more and more annoying. No, I don’t want more takeout. Sigh. Takeout it is. So I worked on this for a little bit.

Not hard. Just time-consuming. And then went back to the drawing, because I didn’t have the energy to quilt.

It’s pretty good, actually. I’m not sure what I’m doing on the other side, but it will be bad. I think. We’ll see. It took the walk for me to decide what needed to go on the top.

I also managed on Saturday to adjust sound to a portion of a video clip, the part where the dogs started rampantly barking.

Oh yeah. Them’s some barks. Success! This program is not always easy to use. Thanks to Google and YouTube for always having the answer. Or at least directions.

Last night, I did more of this…with the little boy.

He is sad that the girlchild is gone and mopes in a variety of places.

I also finally started quilting the background last night. I did one whole long side, plus a goodly chunk of the background at the top, on one side, but not above the angels. If that makes any sense at all.

I can’t say that I have 2 sides done, or even 1 1/2, because mostly I did stuff in the middle, but not all of it. If you get what I mean. There’s more. Lots more. Possibly no end in sight. No, not really. This is a good place, because the end is just right THERE. After three more sides and some more crap in the middle.

We keep finding dead things on the property. There was a dead baby bird. I don’t know where it went. Then this dead baby rodent, probably mouse or rat…

And this poor dragonfly…

It’s funny, because most bugs are yucky, so why aren’t dragonflies? Why are they so not yucky? Are they really that much prettier than a beetle? I just don’t know. Neither does Simba, but he was happily rubbing his head on the dead rodent before the boychild removed it.

So much for dog tastes.

The milkweed has gone to seed.

I didn’t see any self-seeded plants pop up from last year’s batch. Too bad. I wonder if I should collect and plant some? Or just let it all be natural. I’m inclined toward the latter. It’s easier.

I posted this on the SAQA So Ca/NV Instagram.

I was looking around at my own purchases. I’ve bought mostly online. I’ve been in two stores, one for the background and hopefully the binding on this beast. We’ll see. I haven’t tried them yet against the actual quilt. Then the siren song of fabric near my Pilates studio…masked and hand sanitized. I don’t usually buy very much fabric online, so that’s been different. That’s probably true for a lot of us though.

OK, so it’s late in the day. Boychild and I put two posts up for the privacy fence we’re building. I then ran errands, returns mostly, couldn’t get the wood and concrete I needed, so I came home. I’m doing a Zoom Pilates class, which is a little nerve-wracking. I did them from recorded classes before, but never live. We’ll see how it goes. Then off to buy more concrete so I can finish the two posts tonight and we can do two more tomorrow. I’m tired now. I also did a full klutz trip and fall in a parking lot today. Scraped up one knee. Got up, realized an entire car of older ladies was watching, so I did that arm thing they do at the end of a gymnastics routine. I’m sure there’s a name for that. No scores were posted. Yes, I am that weirdo. Hopefully quilting tonight. I want to be done. I want to do something new. Something smaller too.

Damn Society and Its Norms

Yo. I started this a while ago, but boychild ended up on the roof and tools were involved and somehow I was also involved. That’s all you really need to know, except that the cable is now attached again and the palms are mostly trimmed. I also probably have a lot of dirt in my hair, which is awesome, because I had already showered and I have a dental appointment today and no, I’m not showering again. I also have about 17 million errands I need to run, which is nerve-wracking, because you know, virus from hell abounds. San Diego is a mess and I’m kinda glad I sent the girlchild away, because at least she’s in a sane place where people are not dumbasses about masks and sheltering in place, like WTF the beaches on the weekend? Anyway. Sigh. So there’s that.

I did drag the pup to the vet this morning too…he has to get his teeth cleaned so we don’t have to pull more like we did before. Brushing teeth isn’t really successful with him for so many reasons. He was sure we were going for a special mommy-doggy walk this morning…

Poor baby. So sorry. He cried when we pulled up to the vet and then climbed into my lap. I felt horrible. First I ship his favorite person to Boston, then I put him in the crate to sleep last night because the bed isn’t big enough for all the furry beasts who want to be on it, then I don’t feed him breakfast this morning, and then I take him to the vet. I am pure evil. I will give him love and treats when he returns.

So the 4th was pretty quiet here. I copyedited a bunch, and I made my first loaf of sourdough…

Just when most people have given up on it or have truly gotten into their bread groove, I’m just starting.

It needed about 5 more minutes, but it tastes wonderful toasted. Plus our parchment paper sucks, so I’ll have to work on that. Better parchment paper or more flour. Parchment paper is mostly edible.

I also went for a long walk on the 4th…locally, not in the wildlife reserve…although that might have been smart. It was super hot though…

I haven’t tried going back to the gym yet. They opened with limited times and slots last week.

For now, this works. I could go use the machines and then go across the street to the reserve and hike, instead of doing the cardio there. I still need a better face mask for exercising. Working on it.

It was a bright and beautiful day.

Really, I just needed to get out and walk off the week’s stress. After that, we ate dinner and drove over near my parents’ house for a better view of one of the few sanctioned fireworks displays…not that the neighbors didn’t set off a bunch of illegal crap. It’s a good thing nothing burned down. Everything is so dry.

Yesterday, I watered the dog…

I only let her swim a little bit. She gets too tired. But it also cools her off. And then we sit on the deck together (and even the little boy comes out to be a guard dog for all the bunnies on the property)…

It’s all good. Last night, I took some time and stitched while watching the last episode of Unforgotten, Season 3. I got the stuff stitched down for these two blocks, from Sue Spargo’s Homegrown Block of the Month…Kitten did not help. Yes, my windows are crooked.

I’m OK with that. This is mindless stuff, but also achievable. I’m into that right now…stuff that doesn’t take a lot of brain power.

Even this is like that…I stitched down for a couple of hours, with the fan pointed directly at me. Which reminds me, there are two fans in this room. I should plug the other one in too…

This room just gets warm. I should replace the sliding glass door for something more efficient. It’s old and hard to move. I have to go outside and fuck with it and then come inside, and worry about the cats getting out. Sigh. Anyway.

I got all of Figure 3 stitched down, and just need to do the landscape where the gravestone is and up behind her. Plus then finish Figure 2 and the two angels and the skelly and and and. There’s plenty left. I don’t think I’m halfway through yet.

Well, my dental appointment just got moved up two hours because people are canceling…interesting that it’s all last minute. And my laundry needs folding and the palms need trimming and I still have those 17 million errands and I haven’t copyedited anything today. Plus lunch…WTF am I going to do about that now? Sigh. OK. Well, it’s better getting the dentist over earlier and going to get my TB test right after, and then we’ll see what I can handle today. I’m tired as hell from not sleeping well last night (it was hot and I was anxious…welcome to my summer experience). I’m going to go make more tea, put a bra back on (damn society and its norms), and then figure out how to get shit done. Hopefully there will be some copyediting and artmaking at some point. We’ll see.

Not a Fast Process…

I’ll finish this post Saturday, but right now, Friday night (actually Saturday morning, because it’s after midnight), there are four people in four different rooms watching four different things: one music, one anime, one racial justice, and one door-is-closed-and-I’m-not-bugging-him (and if I text and ask him, he won’t answer, or he’ll just say WHY. Legit question). You can guess which person is watching which show if you want. I’ll never tell.

OK, it’s Saturday for realz now. Yesterday was weird. I did another retirement meeting…mostly making sure I’m on track (I mostly am…some changes need to happen…one of those changes is NOT somehow finding an additional $26K a year to save somewhere, despite their always recommending it). I had an online art opening webinar, which was cool and weird at the same time (next time, I will remember to have embroidery available so I’m not just staring at the screen for over an hour. I like to listen…but not stare at people’s faces for so long.). You can watch the virtual opening here for For the Love of Gaia, a show about climate change that’s being installed at the International Quilt Museum in Nebraska, available for viewing in August in person. It’s not a short video, but most of the artists talk about their work (I’m at 34:45). And then I walked. I needed to be outside for a while. That’s a pretty common issue for me. Boychild and I had transferred a chunk of the wood debris to my parents’, but the dumpster was full, so my tasks were done (well, are they ever done?), and I just wanted to walk. So I did. And about 5 minutes into the walk, I saw this on the ground…

Hmmm. There is a lot of trash on the side of the road. Some of it is masks and gloves, but other stuff that’s just dropped or falls out of the trash truck is all there too. Hard to say where this came from. Normally I pick up some of the trash, but I’m scared to touch most of it these days. I think this one qualifies.

There was someone on my side of the road at one point, so I crossed over to a side where I don’t normally walk. I always thought this was a bush like the ones we have all over our property, but it’s not…not with that thing.

The name of ours is escaping me at the moment. It’s a word I constantly lose from my brain; I’m not sure why. Probably I will remember it before I finish writing this.

In the art world, I’ve been working on this embroidery…

And I had an in-person, socially distanced social meeting today in a park, and I kept stitching on it.

There is nothing fast about this process, but it is relaxing. I need some of that. Exercise helps too, and being outside, but at the moment, I seem to feel really stressed out. So more of the not-stressful things please and thank you.

I finished ironing all the bits together last night, with the two angels complete…

They will be hanging out in the sky…

With their mask, O2 supply, and nasal probe (no, that’s not a paintbrush…). Plus a few Covid-19 virions as Enemy #1…

I need to piece the background and then iron everything down to it. I have 21 hours into the ironing so far. This is ALSO not a fast process.

On top of that, I’m working on these still…

I have the first 14 blocks done…

I need one more by tomorrow. The next batch will be the same pattern, but with the colored portions on the opposite pieces. That probably only makes sense to me. I need to piece more improv bits to do that. I thought about doing that last night, but was braindead. Ironing was easier. Improv while tired is not a good plan.

And dots…I should be done today, but I didn’t do last night’s and I want to add two more. But here is Thursday night’s dot…

I had to find more beads for it.

It looks like a Christmas wreath.

So I’m a little behind. I had a stitching meeting on Thursday, so I got more grass embroidered on this…

I started at the bottom and am only adding fly stitches. All the other greenery was already there. I’m about three rows up? I think? Although looking at this, I think the lion needs some too. Plus I found a mistake. I had sewn the tree in the bottom left on its individual block, but when it got sewn to other blocks, I added the top fluffy bit. I did not remember to stitch the sparkly shit around it, though, so that got remedied.

It’s probably a good thing I’m re-reading this quilt (aka stitching stuff all over it). It does mean it will probably never be finished.

So California has a resurgence of the virus. I feel weird leaving the house. The social distance meeting I went to today was the farthest I’d driven away from my house in over three months. And I think it was OK. Exercise still feels scary, so I’m researching a good mask for exercising. I think that would make me feel better about being in the pilates studio. There’s a fine line here though. Am I doing more than I was in the beginning? Highly possible. This week, I have two different vet appointments. The following week, another vet plus dentist. The week after? Haircut and eye appointment. I need to keep the vet appointments, but they are very good about limited contact. I can cancel hair and eye if necessary…hell, I can cancel dental as well, but it’s been a while since my last cleaning. These things are harder to do when school is in session, so I often push them into summer and breaks. We still limit our grocery runs and other errands have largely fallen by the wayside. I have some gardening to do, so I might need to run out for plants, but it’s easy to stay away from people in that situation. I saw at least three teachers from my school were hanging out at the beach together, nowhere near social distanced. Sigh. All young.

I just took another hour break in writing this, trying to get a new version of Microsoft Office to install so I can copyedit. I figure my 2013 version is a little old, so I’m hoping this will help me with some of the issues I had last time with conversions between my version and my author’s version. We’ll see. At some point, I’m probably going to need a new computer as well. I’m not there yet.

Here’s Kitten, guarding the drawing. I hung it back up to help me place everything.

The bottom is in three parts right now, with a few other bits and pieces floating around, plus those angels and virions. You can see how big it is here. Well. It’s bigger than that. A little crazy.

Speaking of crazy, this kills me. It’s just so wrong. I know it’s not the first time…

Change needs to happen. I’m doing things on my end. Vote, y’all. Don’t let this sink back down like we have school shootings. Until the next one. Don’t.

Yeah well. And masks. Wear them too. I still don’t have the patience or mindset for making masks. I probably could…I just don’t want to. This is one I ordered from Melly Testa

A fellow artquilter. I actually ordered two styles from her, because I lost two of the ones I had here. Hopefully I will be better with these. Plus, when you purchase an individual #MellyMask through her Etsy, you are purchasing two masks, one for yourself, and one that she will give away to local essential workers. That makes me feel even better, because I can’t even manage my own masks, let alone masks for other people. They are really well made too and comfortable.

OK, it’s Saturday evening now and I will be spending some time with the man, plus doing some stitching. Tomorrow is the last day the girlchild will be here; she’s been incredibly helpful with cooking and shopping…probably saved my butt during the last three months of school. We will miss that and miss movie night with her as well. I always wish we had more time. Tomorrow, I will try to remember to take pictures of her socially distanced with her grandparents and with me before she goes. I also started copyediting today, and I want to just bang that sucker out in the next two weeks, so that’s a goal. And, as always, I have those art goals intermingled with exercise and taking care of the house. Strangely, being stuck at home has made it easier to do some of the garden and yard things I wanted to do, but there’s still a lot of cleaning and organizing in the house that I usually try to do over the summer. Plus quilt plans, yeah? Shows are coming up and I need to think about my artmaking priorities. The topics that are speaking to me now? Pandemic, still, of course; antiracism and how that would look in a quilt from a white woman; and the ever-present climate change that is just as desperate an issue as it was before. OK then. That’s not a demanding list of ideas at all.

I Will Wash Dishes…

Is anyone besides me getting a certain satisfaction out of the simple task of washing dishes? There’s hot water, there’s the order in which to wash so that the greasiest dish doesn’t destroy the water. There’s stacking them in the dish rack (mine is ancient and disgusting, but apparently nothing else will fit my sink) in some sort of logical manner, there’s the soap bubbles, there’s the satisfaction of things being dirty and then being clean. It’s so simple. Distracting. A thing I can do successfully that doesn’t just become something more all of a sudden. OK, it’s true that sometimes I’m annoyed by the dishwashing, but it seems in these pandemic days that dishwashing is one thing I can do and do relatively well, and if I fuck it up, I can just wash that dish again.

I am still so tired these days. I’ve been off school a week and usually it takes me two weeks to get into summer…plus we built a fence, which is why I’m late writing this. We were hoping for like 2 1/2 days and it took 3 1/2…although we still need to clean up. This was at the end of the third day…

We ended up being 4 boards short, so I had to make a run to two different stores yesterday. Of course.

My concrete footings are stupendous. Really.

And then a day later, when I’m sneezing randomly, I wonder if I now have COVID thanks to Home Depot.

OK 24 hours is probably not realistic. We did actually finish up the last bit after this photo. Fifty feet or so of new fence. We still need to get rid of all the old wood. And then build a privacy fence in the front yard. Later. In July. Seriously. I’m fenced out.

I’ve ironed a little bit…Tuesday night? I think?

Yeah, I think that’s the night I stayed up way too late. Angel number 1 in progress.

I have a quilting meeting in 13 minutes. I’m thinking I’ll work on this. Is the skin color good? Dead angels? I was trying for a dead look. We’ll see when I get the heads done how it really looks. I’m liking the dots though.

I’m still doing these, albeit very slowly.

I’ve got 10 done, and 2 more cut out and ready to sew…

And the fabric ready for two more. Then I need to prep more stuff to do the next 11. It’s OK. I’m on time. I think.

And dots! Monday night was the one to the left of the pink ball.

It had lots of colors in it.

And was pretty fun to do.

It’s more colorful than that in real life. All these nighttime photos.

Then Tuesday night’s…I didn’t have the energy to make the tool for it (out of card stock), so I just winged it…just under last night’s…

It wasn’t hard, just a little fussy because I was too lazy to find cardstock and cut it.

It turned out OK anyway.

And then last night’s…to the right of the pink spool…

I had to go bead hunting again.

And a cat lay upon it for a while…

Note cat hair. I think there are 3 left. Then I can work on other things as I try to figure out how to hang this. And where to hang it.

What else? It’s interesting…I don’t really leave the house much, but I do feel weird about leaving and being out. California’s viral numbers are going up. Damnit. Well. We’ll see where we’re at after 4th of July. People are stupid.

Ah yes, I walked on Tuesday…it was nice…

Weird seed pods…and cudweed on its way out…

Someone is still painting rocks.

I have one at school that says Be Brave…that one on the right was there before…now it has a friend.

I’m not sure what the friend is supposed to be.

There were crows on my walk…all on the path and then started hopping up to the fence…

Then the tree (I missed when there were 10 up there)…

I couldn’t see anything on the path that looked crow-worthy, but what do I know?

Last thing, I often order little stitched things I like (and then hoard them, because IDK what to do with them), and saw this one from Mixed Color, a talisman (we all need more of those)…

The Guardian. Now I need a plan for all these embroidered bits I have from all over. Really. I have some very nice ones, a good variety. Crazy quilt blocks? With more embroidery? I like that idea. Will work on that this summer. First I will need to find all the bits, but I can start with this one. Calli approves.

We made wontons again last night. Girlchild leaves Monday, but I have this recipe. I could make these on my own.

Calli did not get wontons. Poor Calli. Looks like we are dealing with cancer on this sweet girl.

She’s not in pain. We see an oncologist next week to see what’s best for her. She’s a good girl though.

OK, I need to do some ironing and sewing and ffs sleeping at some point. Be good! Be safe. Wear your mask (I’ve lost two in the last week…no idea where they are in the house…but they are somewhere in the house). Stay healthy.