The Life I Left Behind Me Is a Cold Room*

Yesterday was a really long day, but it’s interesting…I felt much more relaxed about it than usual, because we had a nice leisurely lunch…one of the pluses of the testing days is that we can go get lunch and then eat it together and hang out, instead of rushing to pee and eat and get ready for the next class in about 25 minutes. So going from an 8 AM meeting to the end of a 6 PM meeting was doable. Although that later meeting had some weird shenanigans. You know there are some people where I spend way too much time trying to figure out their motives and probably I should just hope they get fired, because that would make more sense. But besides that, it was a fairly productive day. I mean, I could have graded more things during testing, but I was focused on clean up, so I sorted a pile of the paper cash we use for kid awards. I did some other things too, but mostly clean up instead of grading. I will always be behind on grading, until I’m not, because the school year is over. So that’s a thing.

When I was leaving the district office after the last meeting, I wanted to walk. I have my parents’ dog here right now, and she is a needy beast. The boychild had already left with the other two dogs, so it was just going to be me and Katie, which is fine. I leashed her up, and we went out, and there were two incidents with dogs off leash. I don’t care how awesome your dog is…unless you have control over it, please don’t let it off leash. Mine is leashed for a reason…she’s an asshole on walks. Better than she used to be, but she’s aggressive. So she’s leashed. Sigh.

Because we both needed a walk. There were tiny baby bunnies frozen everywhere.

Blurry because it was a ways away, but frozen!

It was late…I didn’t leave until 6:20 or so. But the sun goes down later than it used to. This is a walk I do from the house, so it’s really just wild areas in between housing. It seems safer when it’s closer to dusk…less likely to run into a coyote.

Right after this picture was when I realized a pit bull was stalking us. I yelled. He/she left. Good one.

So I made it home and the pug who attacked earlier was inside this time (sigh). I made dinner and the girlchild called and then I was reading email and saw this picture…

This was pulled from video…that’s a bobcat. On the street behind us. Where I was just walking Katie. Nice. Well, we don’t hear about bobcat attacks much around here. Mountain lion and coyote, sure…and I’ve seen two bobcats since I’ve lived here, but not near the house. Well. Nature finds a way to survive. Always.

Anyway. Then I trimmed the quilt…

I hate quilting more than I need to…this was a fussy size. I hate it when things have to be an exact size. I’m always sure I’m going to fuck it up.

So I measured about a million times. I sewed on the binding and sleeves…just need to sew it all down by hand. Tonight probably. And finish the Patreon video, so I’ll know what to work on next. Because I’m going right into the next one. This stuff is stress release at the moment as well as artmaking. First, though, there’s dropping off the car for some brake work and teaching unplanned pregnancies and not having a relaxing long lunch and probably grading some stuff. I’m looking forward to the weekend…I will get a lot done and sleep in and have an opening with one of my pieces. All good.

This song has been stuck in my head since last night…I’m not sure why, but just gonna let it roll.

*Sarah McLachlan, Sweet Surrender

And Then It Got Better…

Well. When your stress levels are high? Organize your photo files. Seriously. Your brain will start to shut down and refuse to stay awake. It’ll be like, this is the most boringest thing EVER. Which explains why my photo files are NOT organized. Like from 2014 on. It’s patchy. The J months are a mess. I mean, I organize every day I download stuff, which is pretty often because of this blog. But then they stay in those daily folders. I prefer to have all the photos of a quilt together, all the animal pix together, etc. But then when I’m looking at a photo of a box of trimmed quilt pieces from 2014, I have no freakin’ idea which quilt it is sometimes. So then I’m staring at the quilts I finished that year and trying to figure out which one I was working on in June 2014. Pain In The Ass. Then again 2014 was kind of a fucked up year. And then it got better.

That’s my mantra for the last 13 days of the school day: And Then It Got Better.

Staff meeting. Shorter than usual. Slightly stressful to think about some of the stuff for next year. Back to no food or peeing for 3-plus hours in the morning. Not ideal. Sigh. Although my co-teacher has to run across campus twice in that time, so I guess at least I don’t have that. It will all be fine. It’s a long way away. (Not really) The plus is that the meeting got done early, so I could kamikaze to the quilt store and buy binding. It’s in the dryer, so I don’t have a picture. I remembered to turn the dryer on at 12:30 AM. Electricity is cheaper then anyway. I hate our new electricity usage plan. The times I’m home and awake are the most expensive. It totally fucks over anyone with a standard day job. It’s not even cheaper on the weekends. So I’m constantly doing laundry at 9 PM at night. And I can’t cook dinner except during those hours.

So I got binding fabric…because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go until Friday, and even that might be questionable. I did quilt last night…although I had 17 thousand things to do first. As always. I hooped this one…

She’s going to travel with the store for a while. You can get her pattern (and others) at Global Artisans…rumor has it that kits are also available. I’m designing 6 more over the summer.

Oh yeah, before I ever did that, I walked dogs…and myself…and the boychild.

The weather was a lot cooler than I had expected…

This dove…just sitting there.

The plants are still crazy tall…

But not tall enough to hide the two guys getting naked in the brush. Um. Guys. There’s poison oak down there. Hmmm.

Well. We tired her out.

That was while I was quilting. I only have one section left to quilt and then the background…not much. I should be able to finish tonight. Then trim and bind. This week! The next three days are full of school work though…four different meetings before and after school. Ugh. (And then it got better)

Here’s the quilt waiting for me…

Morning light on the backing. First I’m going to go teach the remainder of the pregnancy stuff, plus do tutoring. Then I’ll get the rest done. Last night, both eyes were twitching. Too much. Too much. Breathe in and out. Deeply. Slowly. Shit. I don’t have a plan for homeroom. Fuck. OK. Off this and onto the job stuff.

Up All Night…

Much as I appreciated the long weekend…this morning hurts. Probably that is mostly my fault because I stayed up too late last night to finish ironing all the pieces together on the secret quilt. But I did get that done…and tonight, I’ll iron it to the backing and start stitchdown. So that’s a good thing.

I definitely think I will be doing a smaller quilt next, just because I have some smaller ones that want to be quilts and I have some braindead time coming up with the end of school. I could start drawing the next one, but I have so many things on my mind (and to-do list) right now that I think I would do a better job thinking through a drawing if I can get past the month of June. I still have another couple of weeks on this one, I’m guessing.

I got a lot done yesterday…a bunch of grading and yardwork for one, and a nice dog walk for another…

It was a beautiful day…

Still lots of flowers out there…

Lots of overgrown paths…

Lots of tick checks afterwards…

I think we tired them out…

That’s always the goal. See all the sticks in Simba’s chest fur? He tries to bite them out. Then he bites you as you’re getting them out. Fun stuff.

My basil flowered while I wasn’t looking. Whoops.

So many things you have to pay attention to in this world. May everyone be healthy today. And safe. Girlchild is flying back to Boston today from Portugal. I’m up early for a parent meeting…because with 18 days of school left, THAT’S when you start paying attention to your kid’s grades. Still teaching puberty…although also teaching sexual harassment today, because apparently that’s confusing.

Sigh. I drew a little last night…trying to get my brain to shut down after finishing ironing…

Still working on it. It will be sent to my Patreon subscribers later this week as a jpg. They can print it out, color it, embroider it, or just stare at it. I should finish it first…decide whether that’s an Earth or something else (a giant eyeball?). Off to school now…

Nature Calls…and Then Hits Me in the Ass…

I fell last night while hiking…going downhill, I slipped on some loose rocks. I do fall or almost fall pretty regularly, and that’s why we have padded asses. To land on. Which I did. Unfortunately, there was a large rock where I landed, so I am right now sitting on a softball-sized bruise just to the left of my coccyx. Which I think is intact, because although I feel a bit stiff (and ancient, dammit), there’s no excruciating pain. Good thing really. There’s no ass cast. And trying to keep an ice pack on that part of my body while teaching (or ironing) is not a thing.

So yeah, we hiked with the furry beasts…

We saw a snake right at the beginning, in the parking lot…

It was a little one. But yeah, a Diamondback…

The grasses are going brown…which makes everything look different…

The poppies are gone…but there are still new flowers every time we go out there…

I really should live somewhere that rains more.

Except that would probably drive me nuts…

I really do appreciate all the hikes and being out in nature. Even with the giant ass bruise. Ouch. Poor dead butterfly…

Beautiful though…

Here’s the full Patreon Amanda Palmer picture…we are in the top far right.

Thanks for an awesome weekend y’all.

Speaking of Patreon, I recorded three more short videos last night, so I’m editing tonight. Hopefully those will go up tonight. My second video for the month might well be at Walden Pond…you just never know.

When I got home, I did some things. After dinner, I worked on this sweet thing…who is close to done…

She’s got a rug and some knee and arm designs…and that’s it. I’m hoping I have enough of the green to finish the rug. We’ll see. I should prep the next one or two for the trip to Boston. The last three are smaller…they should take less time. This one has actually been pretty fast, compared to the last two. We’ll see what the final time is though. I’m currently at about 6 1/2 hours. Not bad.

Then I ironed…

That is a run of blue, for sure. I didn’t even finish that section…just the stuff under water. Wait, no. I didn’t finish ALL the stuff under water. The windows aren’t done. I know. It doesn’t make sense right now. It will. More of that tonight. I’m about halfway through the 500s. It’s taking forever, but I am past the halfway mark for sure now. It feels like I might finish. Someday. Hopefully before we leave, but no guarantees. Probably not.

Speaking of leaving, the job calls. Today I start teaching sex ed. I’m not ready. It will be fine. Too much talking though. This week is easy…all relationships and liking vs loving and all that gooby stuff…well, and statutory rape. Fun stuff.

Work Now, Art Later…

I see a lot of prospecti (prospectuses?) for art exhibits. I know what my work looks like. But then they put in phrases like “suitable for children and adults” and I don’t know what that means. I mean, I assume it means, don’t enter, Nida, because you’ve got the boobs and the uterus on there. Like why can’t they just say no nudity? If that’s what they mean. I’m assuming that’s one of the things they mean. I don’t think you should hide nudity from kids. Sexual violence, sure…violence in general, if you can, so ironic considering the video games. Sure, my kid can play this violent shoot ’em up video game where the goal is to kill everyone and get all the things, but those fabric boobs are gonna fuck him up. Sigh. Anyway. I guess I’m not entering that show.

I do have a bunch of shows to enter coming up, and I need to calendar them so I don’t forget. One of them says essentially “no boobs”, but I knew that going in and I think the overall goal is good, so I went with it. Plus this topic has no boobs in it. This time. That’s the one I can’t show online yet. It’s hard to work on a piece and not show parts of it. I’m very much a show-the-process person. Which is the video I’m working on for my Patreon…trying to show more of the process. I’m hoping to have it done by the weekend and posted. For only a dollar a month! You can watch me explain my shit. And decide I’m crazy. It’s OK…you won’t be the first one. I want to talk about how I do it and why I do it and what makes me do it.

So yesterday, we only took one dog for a walk. The old lady is limping and needs to rest for a week, we think. She gets arthritic at times, and probably overdid it on Sunday, running around. So we left her a treat ball (and she ate a magazine), and took the little one out…

So many flowers still! We had a little rain yesterday…

The mustard is growing like crazy here too…

And this little guy ended up covered in those twirly sticks that are a pain to get out of his fur…

These guys were talking to us…

Still new flowers everywhere…

I love spring. This guy was sparkly.

And large…

The weather was gorgeous…there’s something about those big rain clouds filling the sky…

We listened for coyotes a few times. Couldn’t decide if we really heard them.

We see them all the time, so we know they’re here.

We went up to see the vernal pool…it’s doing well…

Bigger than usual for May, for sure. We were trying to figure out if the little plants that are all over are the precursor to this flower. Couldn’t tell.

We’ll have to go back in a week and see what’s there. The progression of plant life as we get closer to summer is very different from normal. The difference between 4″ and 14″ of rain. Speaking of, around here is where it started raining on us.

It was short-lived but not light. Puppy didn’t like it. Here’s the vernal pool from above.

Ducks landing in it…I’m sure the frogs are fully developed from the tadpoles we saw a month ago.

We got home, I worked for a while…a time-consuming (and brain-consuming) grading assignment. I only did one period. It was all I could handle. And then in for the ironing! I watched all of Dead to Me, which I liked, and then went on to Our Planet, which I really liked. I am a nature show-a-holic.

As you can see, I’m ironing things. For the quilt you can’t see.

I’m using fabrics for that quilt…oooh…flesh tones.

Probably means there’s a person in it. I’m wondering when I last made a quilt without a person in it. Probably when I did the little bird and cat quilts…but not since then. I really am a figurative artist.

I have tutoring tonight, so we’ll see if I get any grading done. I need to do some embroidery, and I need to do a lot more ironing. Remember my plan to be done with the ironing by the weekend? Yeah. Well. I’m working on it. It’s just slow. Of the 924 pieces, I only have about 160 or so ironed. I got stymied by a design element that needs to be colored in a certain way…and I don’t know what that is. Plus I went to bed really late Sunday night, so I made an effort to go to bed earlier last night. Not that it helped…I just laid there and tried to fall asleep. Silly really. OK. Work now, art later.

Going to the Canyon

We left Arches and drove through more beautiful rocks to get near the Grand Canyon in the next day…lovely Tuba City, to be specific. We knew we wanted to come in the East entrance, and do it early, so this made the most sense. The other thing we knew we wanted was a damn shower. So there was that.

We ended up driving through Monument Valley…we didn’t have time to go in and do the drive (always leave stuff for the next trip). But you can see some of them from the road that goes through…

It’s beautiful country…

That storm kind of chased us across the state, but without any real rain until we got to our hotel.

So making a plan to go back…

As it was, I think we stopped at almost every scenic overlook…

But didn’t buy anything.

Driving through reservations is always interesting. I taught near a reservation for a few years. It’s a different way of life, not always by choice. It’s interesting that we both thought Monument Valley was a national park, but it’s reservation-owned. So that’s a good thing. We white folks have taken so much away from the Native Americans.

The majority of what we drove through was Navajo Nation.

We illegally transported alcohol through…whoops. I’m impressed that they’ve taken this step toward managing alcohol abuse on the reservation. It’s drastic, but hopefully it works.

We finally made it to the hotel…and the most amazing thing in the world…a shower.

Too many hot hikes with no washing…this was a good thing.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to finish up. Another early meeting, though, so who knows.

Yesterday, we managed to get all the quilts shipped to where they were supposed to be going. Now they just need to GET there. That’s always the stressful part.

Meanwhile, after work, we walked the dogs…back to the routine! In the two weeks since we’d been there, the mustard had grown like…well…a weed. A lot of it was taller than me.

Certainly the path was harder to find.

Still new flowers popping up. We had a little rain this week.

The grasses are higher than I’ve ever seen them.

These grasses have purple heads of grain on them…

Tons of fire danger. Lots of foxtails to go in doggie feets.

Poison oak (not above) encroaching on the trail.

Flowers in abundance.

Ah, the boychild making the puppy run…

Calli and I are like nope. Not doing it.

This guy. Dude. Get off the path. Are you coming or going? Is the spike on your head end or butt end?

So many caterpillars this year…plus I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this hawk before…or one just like it who hung out on the same piece of wire.

It was a nice walk. Although then I came back and pulled things out of the fur between Calli’s toes (mostly not from the walk). Those curly things are a bitch to get out.

She was a very good girl and didn’t bite me.

OK, so I scratched her belly too.

I graded some stuff, and then settled down to try to get through more of the Wonder Under. Puppy helped.

Not so much.

I have that one piece on the top right of the second yard to do, and then a third yard. I have quilt class tonight, so I’ll try to get done there…if I can. Then sort them etc. I have a plan. I always have a plan.

I got into another show that will be local here in San Diego…it’s called Indoor/Outdoor (way too similar to Inside/Outside, whose opening is this Saturday). It will be at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan, The opening is June 8, probably 6-8 (I don’t have an exact time yet). There will be a coinciding exhibition with our Swedish compatriots at the San Diego Art Institute…we did a show with this group in San Diego and Sweden previously. So more about that later.

For now, off to school to an early meeting, then labs all day long…cool ones, though. Hopefully it will all work.

Sweatin’ It in Arches

After two nights in Bryce, we drove to Arches National Park, which basically took all day. We went through a bunch of wild landscape, up over a snowy pass…

We were on this scenic highway 12, which was really beautiful, but long. Totally worth it. At some point, we came to Capitol Reef National Park, or maybe Escalante/Grand Staircase was first…I don’t remember.

That looks like Capitol Reef. We ate lunch in a shady spot and then it rained.

Not bad…just enough…

I basically spent the whole day staring out the window at all the weird rocks…especially those green ones.

We didn’t hike…there wasn’t time.

We did get out and look at stuff though…like petroglyphs…

Cool stuff. By the time we made it to Arches, it was after 5 PM, there was no one on staff anywhere, and we had to try to get a tent to stay in rocky ground. That’s our tent in front of their camper (it was the only place the stakes would go in).

And here’s what happened to the mallet.

Oh well. The stakes went in well enough to survive the wind and rain storm the next night.

We got up relatively early the next morning and walked out to the Devil’s Garden area near our campground…this time, we actually camped in the park. With no showers. I remembered that later.

The thing about Arches is that there are arches everywhere…the one below lost a major piece back in the 70s, so you can’t go up to it anymore. I’m OK with that.

It’s pretty huge though.

This is what stopped us going to one of the arches…climbing up this rock fin. Too slippery.

We got about halfway up and stopped. Other people kept going. I’m OK with that too.

Flowers and plants everywhere…a bonus of a rainy spring.

I think you totally miss that in summer. This is Delicate Arch. We did the in-between hike, not the rock-scrambling hike. There are people up there. Not us.

It was also pretty warm in Arches. I don’t do well with warm.

The flowers do though. This is Pothole Arch…fascinating thinking about the science behind all these.

We did all the short hikes during the day…

There were lots of people on these. Pulling a dance move? Nah. Pointing at an arch.

There were lots of them.

So a weird selfie, but mostly was trying to get my feminist shirt, which I hiked in, and a bunch of women told me they liked my shirt. That was cool.

Nevertheless She Persisted applies to many things. Turret Arch…

So I have all these appliqued quilt blocks from 2005-2007 that I did (a friend made the patterns), and some of the places we went are in those blocks…like this one.

This is one of the Windows, North or South…

I think it’s South.

Then we went into town for alcohol, wood, and gas. All important. We came back and tried to hike Park Avenue in the middle of the day heat. Ugh. No. We got about halfway…but I really feel like these rocks should just fall over.

They are illogical. The valley was very warm.

I can’t imagine it in July. Interesting rocks above and below though.

Petrified stream beds. Balanced Rock!

We did over 11 miles of hikes that I counted on this day, but this was like 300 yards off the road…so we walked much farther than 11 miles…just in little bits.

This is Skyline Arch…we hiked out to it.

Because we wanted to see the rock fall…some huge piece fell out back in the 1940s and is lying in the path. Not as exciting as the view up.

Then we headed back to camp…had a snack, refueled packs, and did a longer hike to see Tapestry Arch…

And then Broken Arch…well, flowers first…

And trying to find the path with stone cairns…some big, some tiny…

And wandering around the sandy landscape…until we found Broken Arch…

And a view of where we were hiking next, to Sand Dune Arch…this is the back view of Broken Arch…

At Sand Dune Arch, stupid tourist photos got in the way…this lovely Asian woman is in all my photos because her husband kept saying, “put your arms up.” “Now move forward three feet.” And my patience was wearing thin. His as well…

Although he smiled for me. Heading back toward camp…it was further than we thought…

But there were very few people out there. This funky flower…only the top one can be purple! All the rest are yellow!

Weird. We had a long discussion about open carry in a National Park, because of the guy who was hiking in front of us at Sand Dune Arch, with his gun. To protect himself from??? I just don’t know. Scared old man.

Back to the campsite, where we attempted to clean up enough to go out into public for dinner. Yes! Food cooked by other people in a restaurant! What a concept. We earned it.

Still no shower.

On the way back, we rode through a storm that then chased us into our tent for the night, tensely listening for thunder, planning to run to the car, finally collapsing exhausted by probably 9:30 PM.

The next morning dawned perfectly clear and beautiful…

So we packed up and got ready to leave. We originally had no plan for after this…we’d thrown around ideas, but knew we needed to start heading back home. So in the restaurant in Moab, we made a plan (because we had no cell service in the campsite)…and made a reservation for Tuba City, near the Grand Canyon. A quick day trip through there, then heading home. More on that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I survived my first day back at school yesterday. I’m exhausted. No shock there. This is puppy love while I’m grading assignments on the stationary bike.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I packed up one quilt, six to go. I traced this piece, ready to embroider…

I’m a little short on two of the colors, so they hopefully will show up in the next week or so. I’ll go as far as I can. I started some of the embroidery on it…just because I need to get them done.

She’s pink and purple for now. And then I cut stuff out for a while.

I went to bed early again…

It’s going to be a rough week. But I’ll get stuff done. I have to.