Wonky It Is…

The rain is here…Hurricane Kay is throwing us clouds and rain and eventually wind (not a fan of that…haven’t been able to afford trimming the trees on the slope…been on the list for a year, but the septic redo took all the available cash). The pro is that we need the rain (although not flood level) and it’s cooler today than it has been…still humid though. I have duty after school at the corner light…trying to find an umbrella (it might be in the car). The Man is hoping traffic isn’t bad this morning, and the Boychild is doing his (hopefully) final training tests for CalFire today. In the rain. But it’s rain! We need it. I’m still dripping sweat this morning though. Ugh.

I’ve gotten about an hour each night to iron…that’s it. Working on one of the two big heads…

That’s the first hour…

And this is the second hour…

The next step is the main figure’s torso, I think. I’m around piece 570 or so. Not even halfway. The Man has a show tonight, so I was going to go see that. Tomorrow is a bunch of quilt stuff. The next day is an art opening. Busy weekend. But hopefully I’ll get some more done. Slow but sure.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a meeting this morning (another one!), a ton of work to do for school, overwhelmed by all of it. The level of kid crazy I had to deal with yesterday was not appreciated. After school was all contacting parents and admin and writing stuff up. Very little “get work done”. I’m realizing this morning that I don’t really know what I’m doing for 8th grade…I was supposed to review it sometime this week, and I literally haven’t had time. So I’m searching for the videos that explain it as I drive to school? Possibly.

Last night, I enjoyed hanging with my stitching friends and doing a tiny bit of stitching…

Slow as molasses on this. And god forbid I actually measure and mark like she suggests. I’m pro-wonky in hand-stitched stuff. Good thing, because wonky it is.

OK, may the wind be kind, the rain spread out, the kids chill (oh that’s unlikely). May I find my umbrella and be super efficient today so I can feel better about next week before it happens. Also, it’s my half birthday, so where is my cake.

It’s All About Energy…

Today is a holiday for some, not all, as the boychild went off to training today, earlier than I wanted to be up, so then all the animals were ready for me to be up, in fact, I think Luna purposely got herself stuck under the dresser just so I’d get up (and then got herself remarkably unstuck) and the boys next door have new toy machine guns (seriously. I’m not kidding you) that they run around shooting at each other, rat-a-tat-tat, which is not conducive to sleep or thinking or anything but rage, honestly, or maybe less rage and more WTF toward their parents. Religious as fuck but machine guns. Anti-Satan (gasp!) but OK with killing. They seem like nice people. I just don’t get it.

ANYWAY. So I’m up earlier than I want to be, which has been the case since before the kids were born, so you’d think I’d be used to it. It’s still hot here, which make everyone cranky, although I think yesterday was cooler. We had clouds a lot of the day, and sure, they were monsoon clouds, so it’s humid, but not as bad as Saturday. Today dawned clear and hot, though…so all the fans are on and I’m in here typing before it hits 95 degrees inside. Even the internet is cranky in the heat. I was trying to do school work yesterday afternoon, and that was a no-go. Slow as hell and kept freezing. Could be the new loaner computer though. Either way, it gave me an excuse to quit working and iron instead. For whatever reason, my studio was cooler than the living room. There was actually a breeze yesterday. Not so much today…a little air movement, but not much.

So I finished the one figure…her right hand and face were all that I needed to do…

Then I started on the figure next to her…

That’s when I took a break to try to do schoolwork. Waste of time really. We went over to the parentals for dinner, brought side dishes and dessert (what requires the least amount of time in the kitchen)…then came back, it was dark and night and a little cooler, so I got the third figure done…

And started the large figure on the right, after the broken Statue of Liberty…

Some of my drawings are more stream of consciousness than others…I think of them as brain dumps or an anxiety drawing, how do I just get it all out of my head and onto paper. This is one of those. Whatever my concerns and anxieties are, for some groups of people (BIPOC/LGBTQ), this shit is way worse and doesn’t seem like it will ever go away. My old-white-lady concerns are ten million times worse for them. Anyway. I love that I made progress…hopefully there will be more today, but first, I really need to do schoolwork. Way fucking behind.

Friday night, we went to see the Threads of Inspiration show at Inspirations Gallery in Liberty Station. Here is my quilt Bill! Bill! Bill! about Bill Nye…who not only made all those awesome videos we know and love, but continues to advocate for the planet.

This quilt was part of the A Better World exhibit pre-COVID about people who make this a better world. So he’s traveled a bit. A friend of mine sent me this…

So I believe I am 4 or 5 degrees separated from Bill…which feels good. I hope he laughed.

The show is up through the end of September, so check it out, because there are some cool pieces…

It is a SAQA local show, so Southern California and Nevada…

If you’re coming the the first day of the SAQA Summit, the official artists’ opening will be that night.

I will be there for that. I will also probably be exhausted, but what’s new?

Lots of color in the show…

Some fun work…

If you want to see each of these pieces with all the artist info, I’ll be posting them on the SAQA SoCA/NV instagram page @saqa_soca-nv once I get done posting about Desert Diversity, the local show in Phoenix, Arizona, right now. Or stop by on Thursday, September 22, from 6:30-8:30. I think otherwise it’s open only by appointment.

The next opening is next Sunday, from 2-4 PM…

I delivered that piece Saturday. First time out in the world with that one. I will probably be at the opening earlier rather than later, depending on when the grocery shopping gets done. Sundays are a little crazy usually. This coming weekend is a little more packed than I like them. I like some down time, some art time, some reading time, some hiking time. Which means it needs to cool the fuck down enough to hike. Not happening today. Maybe Saturday.

I drew before we ate out on Friday night…it was definitely cooler at Liberty Station. Hungry man…

Didn’t feel like a serious drawing. So whimsical it was.

The view of clouds on Saturday reflected in the pool where I kept putting my feet to cool off.

I couldn’t find the energy to put on a bathing suit and go all the way in…so up to the knees it was. With my book.

Other bits and pieces from the week…I thought this drawing was a pretty effective explanation of yo-yos and energy.

Made me laugh anyway. And here’s the apples I brought home to compost from the apple batteries…they were getting buggy after four days…

Seems like a waste of food, but the kids learn a lot from this. Mostly they’re a little mind-boggled that apples have energy.

I keep finding caterpillars on the milkweed and on the citrus trees, but no cocoons so far…on either.

I think I have too many birds for the caterpillars to survive. Something has been stealing the tomatoes again too…I had one almost ripe one and it’s gone. Probably rats.

This…true…

What can I say? Black is versatile. Hides the spills.

This one was at my parents’ house, just hanging out on the grass.

Probably close to dying, but it was pretty.

I worked a tiny bit on Sue Spargo’s Homegrown. I think I’m still doing April’s blocks.

I had to read the instructions four times and then turn the book with the embroidery stitch instructions upside down to help me get this far.

This. Sigh.

And finally this…

Kitten is doing OK. She’s not great. We’ve been switching her meds around, trying to make her more comfortable, but also increase her appetite with giving her horrendous diarrhea. I think we’re closer to a solution, but I will be happy when I can stop giving her the medicine that makes her foam at the mouth.

OK, so all the things that need to happen today, on my holiday: cook lunches for the week (meat is in the crockpot already), laundry (I did not get to the washing machine first, so I will have to wait…also to shower), grade a bunch of stuff, post things for this coming week, pay some bills, get some posts ready for SAQA’s instagram, fix my website current shows and recent work sections, read my book (maybe), iron some art (definitely), and get ready in general for a short but packed week at school. I’m finally getting my lost filling replaced, got two parent-teacher meetings and one “how-the-fuck-do-we-manage-this-parent” meeting, got one stitching meeting, chiropractor with mini-massage before (that’s a necessity), plus a Pilates class. I think that’s it. I’m not counting next weekend. I wanted to hike but it’s too damn hot. So I’ll aim for next weekend for that. Plus there’s some stuff on my to-do list for the day that I’ve already forgotten, even though I only wrote it down like an hour ago. Hence why I write it down! At least this is a day off…I appreciate that, even if I haven’t been very efficient with my time. Hopefully the heat won’t be too bad today and I can get things done. I will feel better going into the week if I can.

I feel like this whole post is about energy, which is what I’m teaching the 8th graders. Less what I am teaching and more what they are learning. I just throw a bunch of materials at them and then they figure out the things with a little bit of help from me. Which is the way it should be.

Appreciate Those…

Isn’t this beautiful?

One of two pros to early morning wakeup in August: beauty in my eyeballs courtesy of the sky, and cooler temperatures, although I already have a fan on me (this room does not cool down until October). Today is the official first day back for teachers. I have a mask (2500 people in one room), two books on my iPad (might be ambitious), my small sketchbook, a Keen bar…no wait, Keen are shoes…a Kind bar. (I am neither this morning, keen or kind…I am kranky.)

I need to leave in about 25 minutes. I need to finish eating breakfast, drinking one cup of tea, prepping another one, take meds, WAKE THE FUCK UP. Yeah. That last one.

I am still proofreading around all this school stuff. I want to be done with it. It’s not hard…I’m just trying to be careful, because the copyeditor was inconsistent as hell. Next time, I will know to say something before now. Ah well. Learning experience.

I have been ironing a bit at night, but this room is still in the high 80s and stuffy as hell. I have one fan that runs below ironing-board height, which is better than nothing, but in reality, it’s just hot in here. On Wednesday night, I managed some water and things in the water…

Only in the 200s, though. Things need to go faster for me to meet my deadline.

Last night, I started into the flesh of the large figure and also one of the big heads in the quilt.

So now I’m in the 300s but also the 500s. Better, but not great.

There are six figures in this quilt…more than usual. So lots of flesh tones so far and not much else. Now that I’ve actually chosen what flesh tones I’m using, it should go a little faster…I’m hoping.

I met my stitching friends last night…finished one of April’s Homegrown (Sue Spargo) blocks, the bottom left. Then started the top one.

Carefully measured quarter inches there (not). I enjoy working on these. I’d take them with me today if I thought I could get away with it, but it’s going to be crowded and I won’t have room to spread out threads and scissors.

Yes, I am constantly thinking about how to be creative in whatever venue I am stuck.

The Man has a show tonight, but it’s at the Music Box, and I have a choice tonight about being stuck in a room with a ton of people…unlike today. I guess my choice could have been calling in sick. But I do always feel, as a union rep, that I need to hear the stuff from the mouths of the people in charge. So I put on my school shirt (sweating through it right now), pack my bag, and drive to where my carpool will pick me up, go to this thing, debate eating in a room with all those people. I will have to eat. And rejoice in coming home to proofreading and ironing tonight in a house with very few people. It’s all I can do.

Hey, it’s the girlchild! Loving a tree.

Cool. Peace out, Summer Break. You were OK. I appreciated the 11 books, 6 seasons of bingewatching Shameless, 1 big quilt done and the start of another, more sleep than usual (but never enough), the owls! (OK, that started before summer), quilting a bed quilt (that still isn’t done), some time for yardwork (also never done), and naps. Did I mention naps?

Yesterday’s quick nap (I set a timer) with Luna after training and before I started proofreading again. Appreciate those.

Adding to the Totals…

Today is officially the first day I usually think actively about going back to school. This year has been a clusterfuck for that. August 1 is also usually the day when I realize I’m going back to school soon and I blow off everything on the to-do list except art, because I realize how limited my time will be for that once school starts. It’s an odd place to be, mentally. Plus this year, I’m proofreading a book right now in the middle of that, and it’s something I want done before we go back. It takes time, though. So a little of that every day and a little of the to-do list every day and a little art every day.

I finished drawing the newest one…

Nice arm shadow there…taking pictures late at night on the floor. While I was trying to draw the last bit, Kitten gave it butt approval…

Then I numbered it…

I really tried to keep this simple. There’s so many things and details I didn’t add.

But then I covered two giant heads with words. I considered screenprinting them, but setting up a screen and getting that done in summer heat seemed like it would take longer than this. I’ve made quilts/fabric art in many different ways. For whatever reason, this method works the best for me. But simple? Not so much at 1359 pieces…

Could be worse, I guess. I do need to buy more Wonder Under today. Running low. Probably don’t have enough to finish this. I started tracing on Saturday, in between proofreading…

I’ve got over 3 hours in and hit the 300s last night. Not bad. Could be better.

Today, I’m finishing the quilting on the bed quilt…

We got to the bottom, but there are some areas near the top that need fill in, so that’s today. Then pull it off and put a binding on it! A miracle.

We had dinner at the parentals last night…girlchild cooked, which is always good…

I stitched a tiny bit on a Homegrown block that seems to never get done…

This week is the last full week of Summer Break. Sad but true. Next week is training and a super-spreader event. Should be painful. My desk here in the office still isn’t clean. I didn’t paint the hallway. My classroom is still having floors done so I can’t do anything in there. I have a preliminary calendar for the first few days of school for 8th grade; 7th grade is pretty stellar though. I did not clean out my closet. I didn’t plant the slope toward the neighbor’s house. I got some of the palm tree stuff off the backyard slope, but there’s a ton more. The trees are not trimmed. I did not clean out the garage. I did not get enough sleep. I didn’t exercise enough.

I did read 9 books. I did spend 116 hours doing most art (but some proofreading and copyediting in there). I finished one quilt. Not bad. I have a few more days to add to those totals. I seem to appreciate those last days as much as the first few…

My New Podcast

Not really. Don’t get excited. I don’t have time for a podcast…I’m too busy making art. Well…ha! Trying to make art. I did make a video Monday about 7 hours into an eventually 10.5-hour drive (luckily I didn’t drive the last two hours…I was done) and mentally titled it “What the Fuck Am I Doing. Where the Fuck Am I. And Why the Fuck Am I Here.” It’s a really long title for a podcast, but it seemed appropriate at the time. I’ll post the video here once it’s done processing. I actually made TWO videos (they are so lame and unprofessional, but thought process! Yes that.) and then put them together (mad skillz) and now that’s uploading. So yeah.

I think I made the video to entertain myself more than anything, which is why I write this blog…well, to document my brain in time. I do go back and reread months sometimes when I’m having a really hard time, and it reminds me that certain things cycle through life. The beginning of school is always hard. So is the end. So are the two weeks right after school get out. It’s a reset. And this one has been a kind of crazy one.

If you’ve watched the video, you don’t know what happened! The Man has had 3 weeks of elevation sickness while hiking the Sierras. It’s been beautiful but incredibly hard. So he had to make a decision, and I drove up to see him after 3+ weeks of not seeing him and to support him in his decision, either by sticking him on a bus north or driving him north or bringing him home. In the end, adulting and money issues brought him home, which sucks and is sad, but also a relief I think for both of us. It doesn’t mean he’s done. It just means he’s done for a while. It’s job time. I love him for trying over and over again to do this hard thing and for deciding it’s time to stop for now.

It has meant that I haven’t gotten much art done. Packed Sunday and tried to set up everything I needed to. Drove Monday all day. Tuesday, drove back home. I’m exhausted. Still. Plus add a friend’s daughter’s wedding on Saturday, Fathers’ Day stuff on Sunday…I haven’t had much time to focus on recovery yet.

Friday night, after checking out of school, trying to reset my neck again at the chiropractor (slightly more movement), and taking the dog to the vet, I ironed for a bit.

Watched How to Train Your Dragon…no, never had time to watch it before.

So that was after Friday night, almost 2 hours of ironing. I was tired, but ready to iron on Saturday and Sunday! So motivated. Ha!

Saturday was a lot of running around and then a wedding. And then when I got home, I started getting texts from the Man about quitting and coming to get him, and mine back saying are you sure, what about just starting further north, and it was kind of a mess. I didn’t iron at all. Sunday morning, he had processed his feelings and just wanted to see me, which had been in the plan for the next week, but this would work…I just wasn’t mentally prepared for it. So most of Sunday was trying to get stuff watered and packed and purchased and all that. I did iron for just under an hour Sunday night…not my original plan for the weekend, but whatever…

Doesn’t look a lot different…but I had ironed the cat (the fabric cat, not the real cat) and more of the legs I think. Not sure.

Monday was nothing. I wasn’t here. I thought about taking the already ironed pieces with me so I could cut them out, but it was a lot of prep for the time I thought I’d have available…and in the long run, I wouldn’t have had the energy. Monday night, I laid on the bed and read my book. That’s it. We did get home last night around 5 PM after driving a good chunk of the day…ah LA…your traffic sucks. And at some point, I’d had enough caffeine to come back in here and iron some more…

I’ve finished most of the 400s and done some of the 500s, so still not halfway. It’s slow right now. My brain is slow. I’m tired. I did about 2 hours last night and only got 100 pieces ironed. I’ve got almost 10 hours in. SO SLOW. It’s OK. It’s what I need…more time. Hard to choose things. Lots of staring. I’m hoping I can speed it up this week…get it going!

I’m supposed to be doing an artist talk kind of thing (really just hanging out by my work and working and talking to anyone who comes in) on Saturday at the Visions Museum of Textile Art

And it would be good to have stuff to cut out while waiting/standing/whatever. I’ll be there from 11-2 if you want to see the show and talk to some of the artists. This is in San Diego, California, if you don’t know…and will be Saturday June 25.

So my goal is to be all ironed down before then. Well before then. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to find my brain. Wish me luck. There have been some beautiful skies lately though…lenticular cloud at sunset.

Storm clouds last night…

I did a tiny bit of stitching on the trip down from Fresno yesterday…

Again, this is Sue Spargo’s design Homegrown…I really like stitching her stuff for relaxation, especially while traveling. That’s the Grapevine heading toward Los Angeles. I could do without driving that for a while.

This is Nova watching me water everything before I left…

I’d like to think the boychild would do all that, and he might, if he weren’t on a fire crew right now. At the border…

I can’t say having your kid fight fires is the least stressful thing in the world, but he has a brain that remembers all the things, so I think he’ll be OK. But he didn’t make it home last night…so this poor little guy is feeling all lost…

He looks super sad.

Well, one of the things on my to-do list for Sunday was to write this post. I obviously failed. And then that moved to Monday (nah, exhaustion) and Tuesday (nah, let’s just go home instead). So here we are, the first day I’ve had any semblance of brain power for writing. Now I need to take a shower, go buy some boxes, pack up a quilt, ship it, plant some things, wash the hallway for future painting, IRON FABRICS, and IDK what else. Finish my book. Check on the Man. Pet the pup. All those things. Figure out what day it is. That would help.

Hard Landing…

You know how sometimes a plane lands really hard? Like BANG. When I came back from Boston, we landed hard, and then we fishtailed. Kind of nerve wracking, honestly. But we were fine. That’s what coming back after Spring Break has been like. I’m still exhausted. The booster shot is still kicking my ass. I feel completely off, both mentally and physically. Trying to give myself some grace, just get through a day at a time. Trying not to get angry at the teacher who randomly transferred a kid into my class without talking to me. This is a kid who already had that class last trimester, so it makes no sense to give him back to me? Whatever. He failed mine before…he can do all the things he didn’t do last trimester. But maybe talk to me next time? However tired and irritable I am, I wouldn’t do that to another teacher. 36 days.

I Zoomed with my co-teacher to plan since she is still stuck in Germany. It was OK, although I still need to figure out what I’m actually posting and how to make the printer work with my computer, because it stopped. That’s today’s plan. Hopefully. And grade things. Because I’m still massively behind.

In other news, I finished the stitchdown (finally!) on the desert piece.

Only 7 hours and 44 minutes. Not bad, considering the killing of a free-motion foot. I bought a variety of feet that I didn’t have for the new machine, just to see if something else would work better, because the one I used after I broke the one I like was not my favorite.

Somehow I ordered 5 of the littlest one. IDK how. Late-night Amazoning. Always an issue. Bought two of the one that broke. That was on purpose. I’ll try the others too. There’s one other one I could try if I can find it online. Meanwhile, hey Husqvarna…fix your badly designed foot! It’s funny…I’d only broken one of those in years on the last machine. Anyway. Problem solved. Hopefully.

I was hoping to pinbaste last night, but I made the decision to go to the gym last night, and it ended up being late, and then I cooked dinner, and ate it, and then it was 9:30 PM. And moving my ass off the couch became difficult. I did though…ironed the whole top and found an entire arm that wasn’t stitched down. It’s not uncommon for me to miss a small section while I’m stitching, but a footlong piece? A little more rare. So I need to do that. And then I realized I didn’t have a big enough piece of batting that was already washed.

And then it was 10:30 PM. Not staying up another hour for that. So it will get done tonight, I guess. Although I have to cook again tonight. It’s never-ending! That’s not totally true…I mean, yes, it’s never-ending, but I have leftovers set up for tomorrow and Friday night, and honestly, probably Saturday too. Maybe. We’ll see if there’s any left by then. Slow quilt. This one is slow. I blame the day job.

Yeah, there’s been a lot of that lately. Yesterday was kind of one of those. Certainly it was a “No, you’re not crying on the way to work. Oh wait, yes you are.” day. It’s fine. I’m just tired and feeling overwhelmed. It’ll get better.

Saw a hawk on the neighbor’s swingset that is just on the other side of my fence…

Pretty bird.

I think the only way I’m going to get through the vacation photos is a little bit at a time. We had shitty wifi in Paso Robles, so that was the last bit I posted and it took forever. The first night, we went to something called the Light Fields at Sensorio, which is an artist installation of all these LED lights over the fields near Paso Robles. It was cool…

Also cool that the moon was out…

There were an awful lot of people, though, so realize that. And it’s not cheap.

I did really enjoy the light show though…some of them change colors as you’re watching. But the non-lit landscape was also cool.

The next day, we were going to hike but it rained all morning and we couldn’t get our acts together, so we read and tried to watch TV (see bad wifi) and I stitched some…

Those little bees were pretty fun to make…

Even though my cast-on stitches are not perfect. I’m OK with not perfect.

When it cleared up, we headed out to an area called Tin City that is all winery tasting rooms and a few breweries, packed full of people and dogs, and we hung out at one brewery for a few hours, people- and dog-watching, plus I drew, and we ate dinner.

It was entertaining enough. When it got cold, we left…next day? Pinnacles.

OK, going to work now. Today I teach all the things. Should be interesting. I’m not ready. I’m rarely ready, but these days, really I’m not feeling it. Let’s hope prep period is productive and I get a ton done and feel successful and on top of things. That would be nice.

Booster Brain

My plan was to catch up on blogwriting on Saturday/Sunday, but I got my second COVID booster and ended up with booster brain. Fell asleep for a while. Also went to a meeting, which was 5+ hours, so that was some of it. I’ll get there. Just not probably today, since I go back to school and I’ve probably forgotten all the things. Certainly the dog has forgotten our morning routine. I’ve had to chase him down a few times to get him to come back, stop wandering off, get in the house.

I’m incredibly unready to go back. I’m still exhausted…camping does not lend to easy sleep for me. I did appreciate the time when all I could do was draw, hike, read, or stitch. But, and I knew this would happen, I have come back to all the things I haven’t done, plus a car issue on top of all that. Deep breaths. Count the days of school that are left. Don’t panic.

One of the things I did on the trip was finish the last two of Sue Spargo’s March Homegrown blocks…one of them has a rewrite on the part of my life…

Funny that almost exactly a year ago, I posted the four blocks from April that had all been appliqued down, ready for the embroidery. I don’t do these fast, y’all. I did finish the first block from April as well…it’ll show up in one of the blogposts, once I finish resizing all the photos.

I finally managed to sit down at the sewing machine for stitchdown. I had this idea that Friday before I flew to Boston I would be stitching, and probably Thursday as well, and then when I got home on Monday after, I’d spend time then stitching, maybe finishing on Tuesday as we packed and shopped for camping. None of that happened. The deadline for the show I was making this for will pass without it being finished, which is fine. It’s still a worthy quilt and will find a home somewhere in some show. So Saturday night, I finally got my brain where it needed to be and sat down at the machine…

About 2 hours in, the free motion foot broke. This is the second one I’ve broken. Understand that in the previous 10 years of quilting with this foot on my old machine, I think I broke one. I’ve now broken two in 5 months. Two quilts. So I googled it, and yes, this foot is an issue. So I tried one of the other free motion feet…

It works, but even though it’s see-through, I’m having a hard time seeing where I’m going if I’m going backwards. So it’s been a pain, but I’m doing it. I also ordered about 4 different feet that should work in my machine, plus 2 of the foot that breaks, because it’s a design fault…and it’s still easier than trying to use this other one. Frustrating though. Something the new machine does causes breakage? Yes, it’s installed correctly. It’s just a weak point in the foot. Anyway, I’ve done all of the body and below the head…just need to finish the sky tonight, then piece a backing and pinbaste it. Not sure I’ll get all that done tonight, but we’ll see.

I need to grade about a million things too. Trying not to think too hard about that. I took a pile with me to the meeting yesterday, but was so spaced out from the booster that I couldn’t even look at them. Not sure I can today either. The spaciness is gone…the mindset of ‘can’t deal’ is not.

I did a lot of reading over the last two weeks…this is from Kingdoms, which I haven’t finished yet, but had a lovely description of women in history.

“Expensive cows.” Yup. Interesting book. I read a lot more when the Man is gone…read through dinner and every other meal (OK, I always read through every other meal, except at work).

The cats miss him. Apparently they missed me too. I interrupted this clandestine meeting of sisters last night.

I believe it was about geckos on the windows. Can’t be sure though. They might be planning a coup.

OK, going to work. Going to be efficient and not cloudy brained. When I can leave (after being forced to watch a staff v student basketball game outside, wait, where’s the sunscreen?), I will come home and see what I am capable of…blogging? Stitchdown? Nap on the couch? Grading? In that order. Thirty-eight days of school left.

What If I Run Out?

I came home Monday night, still on Boston time. Sort of. Yesterday, we shopped and packed, and today we’re leaving on California time. Sort of. I’m still up too early and tired and hungry at the wrong times. If at all (hunger…always tired). I’ve got 9 maybe 10 days of mostly nature in front of me. There’s some art and one house stay, but mostly nature. Mostly have showers and toilets, but maybe not on one night. I might come home on my own; I might bring the Man back with me. So many possibilities (no, I’m not leaving him by the side of the road…he might have a job). I have a couple, maybe three books loaded up to read, some stitching, a sketchbook, and probably more shirts than I need. I have more pants than the Man. IDK how he does it, but I can’t wear one pair of pants for ten days. Not happening.

Here’s hoping for some sleep, some hiking, and some relaxation. Keep the weather nice and the neighboring campsites nicer. Or empty. I’m good with empty. The campsite we’re supposed to be in tonight had 21/35 campsites empty yesterday. I’m good with that. Suspect they won’t all be that empty, but that’s OK. I bought a new camp chair to lounge in. I made rice krispies treats (that’s my camping treat). I get to see some art quilts on the way up. It sounds good, yeah? I hope it is.

Monday, I blogged from here…

The couch in the girlchild’s bedroom. I left for the airport from there and flew home, graded most of one assignment because the video screens in our row on the plane were broken. Sucked. I wanted to see the second half of the movie I started watching on the way out. Oh well.

On Monday, we got to announce (finally) that we got into Quilt Visions…

I’m excited. And so glad the jurors Sheila Frampton Cooper, Lisa Walton, and Petra Fallaux chose the abortion rights quilt, My Body. My Choice.

It’s one of those quilts that might never get into a show. Politics y’all. Difficult topics.

So I thank them for being brave. I appreciate the opportunity to show the hard quilts. I know some people aren’t going to like it. I’m hoping we can have a conversation.

Also, this.

I waver between this level of confrontation and wanting to converse to hopefully give people a different view. I think I know what they will say about their side of it, but maybe I’m wrong. I’m wrong a lot.

I read a bunch the last few days…this is from Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. The cat amused me.

I really liked that book. Also about a pandemic. Maybe should stop reading dystopian futures.

Because the pandemic. Yeah. I tested negative when I got home on Monday. I have no symptoms, either from my daughter’s cold or exposure before I went on break. Knock on wood that it stays that way. Guess I’m not ready to give up masks at school yet.

I was hoping to get some stitchdown done the Friday I left and/or yesterday around packing, but I just didn’t have the energy. I have to concede defeat. I will not meet the deadline. It’s OK. It’s still a beautiful quilt and will find a home, an exhibition, somewhere to be seen. Most of them do. Yes, some of them don’t. Those always perturb me. Sometimes it’s obvious why…they’re a little TOO quirky and strange. Sometimes I have no idea why.

Last night, we watched the first episode of a series. I wondered why the Man chose that, since the probability of his being gone until sometime in late July/early August is pretty high. Ah well. It wasn’t that compelling. I stitched stuff down because it was brainless. Kitten hung out with me because she missed me.

I missed her too.

I need to keep track of how much embroidery I do while camping. I am currently panicking that 5 blocks of embroidery is not enough. Is that crazy? It might be. I feel like I finished one on the last trip. OK, so to keep track, I have two blocks of the four March blocks embroidered, so I’m taking two with me, plus three or four from April. Should I pack May? Is that crazy? I don’t know. I just don’t know. WHAT IF I RUN OUT?!

Crafty people understand. OK, we leave in 35 minutes. I need to go pack the food and get the hell out of here. See you on the web. I have internet in three days? Maybe?

Refreshing Brain and Body…

Currently I’m lounging on the girlchild’s couch, listening to her work on some Zoom-like app. I only hear her side, so it’s a partial story. I’m not really fully awake. Although I’ve slept a decent number of hours in the last few days, I’m in Boston, so it’s the wrong time zone, and I think my body knows that.

I made it to the last day of the Gaia exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum; it was awesome to see the show in person after hearing many of the artists talk about their work on Zoom in the early days of the show. I think this started traveling right before COVID hit. Like many shows, it’s been in some places and canceled in others, but it was an honor to be included. I love this picture of me with Luana Rubin, who curated the show.

I flew on a redeye flight because we had a field trip at school on Friday, so I couldn’t take the day off. I dozed on the plane, arriving at 5 AM in Boston. I slept for about 4 hours in the morning and then we drove out to Lowell for Luana’s talk. She asked me to speak about my piece, which is just proof that I can do anything…talk about a piece with no prep and no sleep! Ah well.

I loved seeing this Cas Holmes piece in person…it’s so beautiful.

I was amazingly bad at taking photos there…probably due to massive lack of sleep. There was a bird exhibit too…this piece was by Linda Heatherley…

I really like the separation of spaces and graphic quality of this piece.

After the show, I got more caffeine (necessary) and briefly checked out this cool artsy space in Lowell…

Then back to the room for a nap before dinner. Rally! It’s nice to be here just with the girlchild. When she is in San Diego, there are many pulls on both our time, so I appreciate being the only one with her, even if it’s just a short time.

Sunday, she coached a soccer game and I watched. I spent 13 or so years sitting on soccer fields watching her play, either grading or stitching while I sat.

It’s a little different watching her coach, but not a lot. It was cold out there, but I did stitch…

Last night, we got takeout in my room and watched a movie, and I stitched some more…

These two blocks from March Homegrown (Sue Spargo) are done. I only finished the bottom one here. Not sure why I dragged a finished one across the country.

I also drew on Saturday.

Lots of zendoodly filling-in of space. Brainless.

I leave for the airport in about 90 minutes…gonna read and stitch until then. I get home tonight and tomorrow is shopping and packing for 8 or 9 days of mostly camping and hiking. Expect more nature photos, drawing, and stitching. Looking forward to it, but also, I’m tired. Hope I catch up on sleep at some point. It is Spring Break…not thinking about school is mostly happening. I did briefly grade warmups and I am set up to watch student videos if I feel like it. I might now ever feel like it. And that’s ok. I have 38 days of school left when break is over and there’s a bunch of stressful things coming up too. I need to refresh brain and body for all of that. So. Back to stitching for a while! See you back on the West Coast…

I Am Always Behind

I got an email last night from a student wanting to know why I hadn’t graded all his work yet. Sigh. I am behind. I am always behind. There are very few times when I am caught up. Right now I’m behind because I’m trying to set up a field trip and do school and do art and get ready to leave on two separate trips, and there aren’t enough hours in the day. Wait until he hears I’m not grading anything over break. OK, I’ll probably grade SOMETHING, but not a lot. I won’t be home enough to grade a lot. Which sucks and yet is necessary to reset my brain. I will explain to the kid that if he wants his grade to go up, though, he should redo the assignments he rushed through, since he’s already done with the project that we are finishing up today. He has plenty of time to fix them.

Trying to find time (and more importantly, the energy) to grade stuff is difficult right now. I can do a few easy things in class, but not as much as I used to be able to do. It doesn’t help when I’m trying to do chaperone groups for the science center at the same time, plus field all the calls from the office, plus get them to actually get on task and stop turning around and distracting their friends. We have three days left, with most of Friday on a field trip. I’m exhausted and done; so are they. I was trying to grade the two art assignments during prep yesterday; made it through one, then got interrupted. So that will be today, plus whatever else I can get through.

After school, I have a union meeting on Zoom; I’m going to get my car looked at again (their request) at the same time. There was an oil filter issue that I really don’t want to have while I’m camping next week. Then home to record the lightning talk I rewrote again last night. Finally got the slides to work, copied them into a new presentation, added timing, practiced a few times, edited the script, then realized it was bedtime. Fuck. Hopefully I will get to do some sewing tonight. I didn’t last night. My goal for the week of having this thing pinbasted before I go to Boston? That’s not happening. I did start the stitchdown on Monday night…barely.

I got all the way around the edge, plus the little piece with the rabbit. I’m trying out the other MonoPoly color, smoke. I like it for most things. Not sure about lighter things. Not patient enough to switch between the two though. I’d like an hour or so tonight with it. We’ll see if I get that. I didn’t get much done Monday because I had to iron the whole thing down with steam, so that was 40 minutes or so.

Anyway. I’m dealing one day at a time right now. Trying to find the cat her special food. Ugh. Had to go to the dentist, which is no longer open late. Ugh. I’m juggling too many things.

I’m going to be SO productive today. I am going to cross things off the list like a boss! Or not.

I did go to the gym yesterday and finished my book. Exercise is key. I don’t see any exercise in the next 5 days, unfortunately.

After dinner, last night, I worked on these guys…

This is my braindead work. I had about an hour to eat and hang with the man while watching part of a movie. We don’t watch ALL of a movie at once any more. It’s my fault. I always have too much to do. But I pulled these out because I panicked that I would have no stitching for these two trips, OMG, nothing to work on! I like to have all the applique done and just do embroidery in the car or on a plane. These are the July blocks of Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block-of-the-month quilt. I’ve been working on them for a week now, convinced I would need them. Then last night, I went through the stash to see what needed embroidering. My loves, I am still embroidering the March blocks. Seriously. I have April, May, and June ready for stitching. There is no way I’m finishing all of those. Last year, I finished January and started February during Spring Break (yes, it’s been a while). I’ll be fine. I was trying to finish the Chirp borders over the last year…it’s a much less portable piece right now, so that’s why I haven’t been working on these. But I will be.

Here’s my piece Heart-Shaped Box (far right) in the Artist as Quiltmaker exhibit in Oberlin, Ohio, right now.

Patty Kennedy-Zafred’s piece in the front. Deb Berkebile’s piece on the far left. Sherry Kleinman’s piece to the left of the window next to mine. Not sure about the other one. This show was supposed to take place in Spring 2020. I’m impressed by their persistence to eventually show this exhibit. It’s much appreciated.

OK. School. Grading. Because I don’t want to think about it for two weeks. Try not to lose my mind in class. Do all the things. Make the kids do all the things. I teach 4 things today. Exhausting. Anti-tobacco curriculum (last day, yay! Thank you state politicians for putting that on us!), end of the reptile rescue project, start of photosynthesis escape room, plus monster zendoodle ink and erase. Plus harass the kids who haven’t finished anything. Fun stuff.

Meditative stitching at the end of the day…looking forward to it.