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.

The Overwhelmedness…

Y’all, I’m feeling the overwhelmedness this morning. I was also feeling it last night at 1 AM when I was trying to sleep but the to-do list was screaming at me. I know the solution: bang some shit out, get it done, cross it the fuck off the list, run a marathon, come back, and finish the rest of it. Yeah. I know. I have limits. I’m not always sure what they ARE, but I have them. For instance, maybe agreeing to re-copyedit this book (quick readthrough!) in March was a mistake. Maybe signing up for a lightning talk…now see, that one’s deadline moved up a good 12 days. I could have done it without freaking out about it, and now I’m gonna have to freak out about it. I just need to be the most efficient bitch in the world for about two weeks…same thing I told myself two weeks ago.

School is always a big stressor. This year, of course it’s more than normal. Hoping this is not the new normal. Add Job#3, the copyediting, that’s a bad plan while I’m teaching. Ah well. It’s done. I have to do all the things. Today is school, vet with two animals, copyediting, hopefully some artmaking, certainly some grading, possibly some sort of mental breakdown in the middle of it? We’ll see. Checking on that one. Tomorrow is a lot of work, plus house stuff, plus ship a small sold quilt (good news!), and a social event or two in the evening (can’t be simple; has to be complicated). Then Sunday, we lose an hour, I still have all my school work to do, plus going to see the parents for the first time in a while. Then back to school. Chaos. It’s all good. I do just want to hole up and read my book, but we’ll have to see where that fits. Also, there’s no hike in that list. There needs to be a hike in that list. Fuck. Not sure when and where. But hike.

I was lucky to stitch last night with friends. Enjoyed it. Forgot to take a picture of what I did. Now waiting for app to update. I’ll insert photo here. Let’s just say it’s supposed to say Town Hall, but this is what I really felt like.

Also, I slammed my hand into a door jamb yesterday like an idiot, and it swelled up hugely almost immediately. Swelling is down, I can move all my fingers, but the bruise is going to be stupendous. It’s all good.

In other news, Wednesday night, I got the face ironed to fabric…

I think those blues are the river running through it. It was my birthday on Wednesday, so I now have some reading to do…always appreciate books.

And postcards from the girlchild…plus a truly impressive trilobite from the boychild. I suspect they have my number, as it were.

Then last night, after stitching from friends and lying around on the couch like a beached walrus for a bit, staring at owl videos, I finally surfaced and finished ironing the hawk down to fabrics…this is all that was left.

And yes, I stayed up late to do it. Dammit. Fuck Job#2…art is Job #1.

Here’s all the fabrics I used. A TON of browns, greens, grays, and other earth tones.

I’ve already started cutting pieces out, or that box would be more full. I ironed for a whopping 27 hours and 44 minutes. All that realism kicked my butt. Next one will be fantastical as hell. Nothing real. All in my head. Whenever I get to do that one.

OK. School. Two or three docs to make, all the things to copy, grading if I can persuade kids to work without standing on them (ha!), then race home and grab two furry beasts, take to vet, come back, probably more walrusing on the couch, then copyedit. SLEEP. Damn those nextdoor kids if they are up early on Saturday morning. I will be dropping rocks by drone near enough to their sweet little raucousing heads that they run inside to play violent video games instead of wholesome outdoor fun.

Yeah. You know I wouldn’t do that.

I Appreciate Breaks…

Hi Monday. You can’t make me go to school today. Ha ha! OK, I’ll probably grade some stuff, and I’m definitely working (copyediting), but the million kid-related, district-related decisions are gone and I don’t have to wear a mask for 8 hours. That’s all good. Yes, I will be at school next week for two days. I own that. And I’m doing school-related things tomorrow too, but it’s a break. I appreciate breaks. I would appreciate them more if all the animals would let me sleep in, but that’s on me, right? I choose to have these furry beasts, and one of them now is on the boychild’s hellaciously early sleep schedule, and it’s OK, because I will get to sleep in on Wednesday morning. I hope. I think. Who knows. I don’t sleep well most nights anyway. Saturday I did. Or maybe Friday. All the way through. No bathroom, no tossing and turning, just blissful sleep. For hours. Gotta love it.

So quilt-wise, I have been doing the stitchdown…

I actually broke the foot on Friday night…it’s old. That’s a break that I don’t appreciate. It’s from the old machine. So I ordered a new one, and it arrived Sunday.

So I wasn’t going to do this on Saturday anyway, and it worked out. I’m probably halfway, maybe more than halfway done…with a little less than 4 hours in.

The back…

It takes a little practice with a new machine, getting settings right, figuring out the tricks. I’m getting there. I still don’t think I’m finishing this in 2021 though. I can get it pinbasted and start the quilting, and maybe even finish the quilting, depending on the other shit that I don’t know about yet that hasn’t yet appeared on my calendar but inevitably will…but no way am I getting the binding on as well. So that’s OK. I’m OK with it being the first 2022 finish. It’s not like the abortion issue is going away.

The next quilt is already designed in my head. It needs to get down on paper.

Speaking of paper, I like to try doing a Drawing a Day over Winter Break. I had some weird-shaped sketchbooks I bought years ago…and you know how those things become precious, so it’s hard to even open them and draw in them. Well I started drawing in them. They’re not THAT weird…just different sizes/proportions to my usual ones. So hopefully some differently sized quilts in the future?

I just randomly draw…this one is a good example of random.

It’s different than drawing for a quilt theme or idea that I have. I just let the brain spill onto the paper. How do I fill all the spaces? What goes here? It’s good practice. I wish I could find a way (time!) to do it more often.

So there’s three. I think there are 24 days of Winter Break…we’ll see if I get all 24. It’s OK if I don’t. The second sketchbook is really long and narrow. I’ll try one of those tonight. Speaking of tonight, the girlchild is arriving. She’s working while she’s here…hey, so am I! But it will be nice to have her around for a week. Although I’m realizing that not only do I have to finish cleaning her room (I started yesterday with the quilts and the crazy quilt fabric), but I need to clean off her workspace…which is currently MY workspace. Well, one of them. So there we are. No worries. I was thinking the other night though as the Man was blasting metal on YouTube and I just wanted to sit and read my book (in peace, no metal) that I should get a nice chair and put it in the girlchild’s room for just such occasions. But I’m not sure they happen enough. I could put it in MY bedroom too. I guess. There’s so much cleaning and getting rid of stuff that needs to happen first though. Ugh.

OK. Well, let’s not make more work for right now. Today is a busy one. I have three quilts going to Escondido for the California Fibers exhibit that opens at the California Center for the Arts on January 20. I spent an hour yesterday dehairing and ironing quilts and getting them packed up while on the phone with a friend. Then I realized I had to make a tactile page for that show…I knew I had a block I’d made a million years ago (seriously, in 2001, before I really kept track of shows even), so I searched and found it, and then used it and some other lost bits to make a tactile page…

Done! I was worried about getting that finished. So I’m driving those up in a few hours. Then copyedit for a while, clean up the desk and the bedroom for the girlchild, probably wash her bedding too, and IDK what else. Then more stitchdown before driving to the airport. All good. Check the to-do list in the calendar to confirm there aren’t 17 other things to do (there are).

The Man and I finished the Coast to Crest challenge for 2021/2022 on Saturday. There was one longer hike up up up a mountain…

Miners Loop to go up to Black Mountain.

It wasn’t bad. I wouldn’t want to do it in the summer, but that’s true of most local peaks, unless it’s nighttime.

It has a nice loop in the middle. Not ALL loop though.

Then we did the one hike we hadn’t done, which was less than 2 miles…

Because driving all the way up to Del Mar for a tiny hike seemed stupid. And then we went to a local brewing company for a celebratory drink and view of the moon rising.

Could’ve done without all the screaming kids, but whatever. The Man is pointing at Black Mountain, where we hiked.

I guess we have reached that age where we’d like all the young families to go somewhere else to entertain their kids. Ah well. Anyway, we’ll get our patch and sticker for finishing the challenge. And then have to decide what our hikes are from here on out. We bagged a peak anyway…one I’d already bagged. It’s all good.

Shockingly, Saturday night I didn’t have much energy for anything else, so I worked on sewing bits down.

Just a few pieces left on these. This part is totally brainless. The embroidery? Not so much.

OK, I need my shower and more tea. Kitten agrees…

Mostly because she wants my chair. She always wants my chair. She prefers to push me off it. She’s eyeballing it right now. OK. Shower. Tea. Cleaning. Driving. Copyediting. Monday. Not at school though. We need the break.

Not Enough Wassailing…

I made it to the end of the week. I paid my property taxes (ouch). I am almost caught up on grades…well, until the end of today. Then I have more. Weird how that works. I haven’t gotten enough exercise this week, but I rarely do. I’m currently sitting on a chair with a cat sitting behind me, purring away, but not strongly enough to give me a massage. Huh. Something wrong with that.

Next week, the one before Winter Break and the Christmas crazy, is always nuts. I’m not done with shopping, haven’t even started any level of decorating, unless you count carrying the decoration boxes up from the garage. But I managed to order cat litter from Costco and it should be here before we run out (knock on wood, because I don’t have time to go there and buy it). Yeah. I’m not a fan of December. It’s nutsy cuckoo and there isn’t enough wassailing to make up for all that shit.

Apologies if this is your favorite time of year. I do appreciate more time to make art, although the copyediting job may kick that in the ass. Ah well. I need the money. Still haven’t paid off the girlchild’s college and the Man will be hiking for some months in the summer, so I’ll be short then. Sigh. I never feel like I catch up.

This piece is still available for viewing through next Wednesday…

Then I need to kamikaze over to the college on a Thursday night after school to pick it up. It’s good that it got seen again.

I’ve been ironing, of course. I’ve been ironing for days. Why stop now? I only have about 600 pieces to go. 600? Maybe 500. Yeah. 500. More fussy little shit, but what’s new. I got the big pieces of sky in finally.

I picked the main piece up off the teflon sheets and moved it up so I could do the sky.

Then last night, I finished her body and arm…

The hand was so complicated that I did it separately and then put it on. Then I finished the rest of the sky…

To get this photo, I had to stand on one leg and support the right side with my other leg. But you can see that I’m done with the main portion and all that’s left is the bubble. I’m totally doing that separately. This thing is getting unwieldy. But closer to done, which is nice. Sometime next week I should be able to start the stitchdown. Next week is also a bit unwieldy. Just gonna bully through it. Make some apple crisp and hunker down with a book and try to get enough exercise and sleep and not stress out too much about kids who can’t control their own bladders half the time, let alone their brains and mouths. It’ll be FINE. I even get to have a holiday party…um…I’m not really a fan of work parties. The only plus is my work people (the ones I like) will be there too.

I’ve been working on these after eating dinner, while watching an episode a night of Lost in Space. Just stitching things down.

It’s seriously brainless. Which is what I need right now.

OK. Today we get through all the things, then hope the chiropractor can do something about my neck. I’ll be ironing again tonight, of course. And I might have Christmas lights. That would be nice. I like me some Christmas lights.

A Day Off…

I don’t usually write on Tuesdays. I have a routine…set it up when I realized after blogging for a year or two (started in 2004) that I wasn’t very consistent, so I made it like a journal for me, documenting the art but also everything else, exactly what they tell you not to do, but I didn’t care…I was doing it for me more than for others. I had a crazy couple of years when I was blogging every day, more to keep my sanity than anything else, and then I went back to usually three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Last week on Friday, I was driving toward Joshua Tree National Park, so that didn’t happen, so I blogged Saturday because that’s when I had time. Then yesterday, I just lost time somehow, well, bad lunch planning for the week. Time consuming in the morning is not a good thing for me. So here I am. It’s Tuesday of a three-day work week (oh hallelujah). I finished grades Sunday night and spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon planning science, since we lose that time this week. I really miss the daily plan time with my co-teacher. It’s making things harder to get done. But that’s what the last two years have been like across the board: Harder to get done. A 4-day weekend will have some work in it…but hopefully it will mostly be art and hiking and yeah, cleaning house and catching up with all the shit I can’t do while I’m teaching.

More pictures from Joshua Tree…

It’s hot and dry, even in November. I’m pretty sure I’ve hiked this exact hike three different times in the last 20 years.

It’s different and yet not every single time.

Dinner had some art…

And then I had a blissful hour to draw Saturday morning.

I’m finding it so hard to find time to do that. It was all the things I was thinking and feeling in the desert, in that space. I need more of that time. But when I do have time, I try to finish whatever project I’m working on. It’s hard to find the extra time to just breathe and draw.

Cindy Zimmerman’s Rain Grotto at the Desert Dairy. A beautiful space in a dry climate…

It was also fun to hang out with other artists for a while. That cow ended up in my drawing.

We made pizzas one night and hung out and talked.

Fire is always fascinating.

We also toured Mojaveland, the wonderfully funky, homemade, artist-filled mini-golf experience Anna Stump is creating. Linda Litteral has an installation there as well…

It was a good way to spend a weekend, even if I’m exhausted now.

We saw an art show too, but I’m going to have to wait to post that…I’m running out of time here before I have to leave for work. I always feel like I’m running out of time. I worked on these in the car on the way back for a little bit.

And last night, after a 5-day hiatus, I finally tried to get my head back into choosing fabrics for the next quilt…

I kind of lost it in my head for a while, the colored-in image. But it’s back now. Hopefully I’ll get it all ironed to fabric over the long weekend. That’s my goal anyway.

OK, off to school to teach the hard stuff. Got a new batch of 6th graders. Ugh. Not sure how I feel about that, but we’ll survive. And no more complicated morning lunchmaking. That’s a mistake. More tomorrow, if I get back on schedule. Who knows if I will…

Fast and Furious

Well I have about 8 minutes here to write. Fast and furious. It’s been long days at work, interspersed with some tracing and a little stitching with friends. On Wednesday, the union meeting went for almost 3 hours…I managed to get these graded before and during, as I was listening.

This is the only way I can grade art. Lay it out in the spectrum. So different than grading science.

I get an hour or a little more of this done every night…

I’m in the 400s…only 1100 to go or so.

I just have the head to do on the second figure. IDK how many more to go. There’s a lot of people in this quilt.

I managed stitching last night with friends…well I stitched and they crocheted.

It’s nice to hang out with humans who aren’t pre-teens. And cats…

Luna on her pillar. Yes, I had to cover the top because she kept scratching it. She doesn’t scratch the bottom of it. Ah well.

Unit 2 at school is ending Monday.

So there’s lots of panic on the kids’ part to get work done.

Or not. Some kids don’t get the urgency. It’s been a rough week. I’m looking forward to a couple of days off. Parent meeting this morning with someone who will probably be a major issue. Love those. Enable your kids’ behavior. Please. And then trying to get kids through the assignment. I’m tired.

Ah well. It is Friday. Fridays are often tired. Saturdays will be art and more art with some grading probably. Maybe not. That’s something to look forward to. And more tracing. Meditative. It’s good to do that right before bedtime.