Ruh Roh

So today is my first day back at school with kids…my room isn’t totally ready, I don’t have all the materials for a lab I’m apparently doing tomorrow (I feel like I should be more on top of this shit), and the Man tested positive for COVID on Monday. I’m still testing negative, but woke up with what feels like a stuffy nose? I’m writing sub plans in my head for the next 5 days (well, 3, because I don’t have to teach on the weekend, thank god), and it’s a cluster because it’s those first few days when everything is more hands on, supposed to teach them how to exist in my class, and who knows who might BE in my class if (when?) I test positive. I masked all day yesterday, will continue that. But I feel like I’m a giant-ass redwood about to fall, but not yet, maybe today? Maybe tomorrow? I just don’t know. Do I plan the labs and hope I don’t come back to my room being burnt down? I just don’t know. I’m not even done setting up our online classrooms because I just haven’t had time. The district sucking away that Friday planning time really…well…sucked. Yeah! I’m feeling better right now with a shower and a cup of tea in me, my sinuses have cleared, but my voice is off. Hell, I feel off, but that could all be in my head…I’ve done that before. Or my body is fighting it and let’s hope my immune system, two vaccine shots, and two boosters are all stronger than one variant. Ha!

Just stay away from me right now. For so many reasons. I have had a stuffy nose multiple days this summer…allergies related to weather and/or dust. So who knows.

I finished proofreading last night. That’s a good thing. It was kind of a mess. But it’s done. The mess was not because of me…I blame the copyeditor. But hey, IDK what she started with.

I’m still ironing, but pretty damn slowly. I might need to admit that I’m not going to beat that deadline. It’s OK. I have other pieces to enter, and this one will still get done. There’s just something about an insane deadline.

Piles of pieces in the 600s, 700s, and 900s…last night, all I ironed down was the cat. Hardly anything.

I think I did 16 minutes on Monday night and 26 minutes last night. Big time! Better than nothing. It is what it is. Even if what it is is frustrating.

Not a lot of color in this one. Well maybe there is, but it’s all chaotic-looking here. Lots of fleshy bits. I’m still ironing that pile of lungs/heart/whatever. So far behind.

Kitten is still depositing fur on the black fabrics in that box…

I have a piece in this upcoming show.

And another show in September in Liberty Station. I’ll post that one when I get a thingie for it.

OK. Well, I’m going to go do this first-day thing and hope for the best. It’s humid, I’m sweaty, I have meds for a stuffy nose, I have COVID tests (sorry kids, Imma test right now while you’re writing on that paper), I’m going to write sub plans during prep? I think? I honestly don’t know what to do. Right now, I’m going to print my class rosters and get to school and hopefully everything else will make sense from here on out. Wish me luck. Send the anti-COVID thoughts.

Stapled

Well here we are. Back in. The saddle. School. Meetings and prep today and tomorrow, kids on Wednesday. So incredibly not ready. I would be much more ready if I only had one grade level this year, but that’s not happening. I spent 5 hours over the weekend just finding and trying to make sense of my bulletin boards (gotta get two grade levels up on the wall). It’s all about the staples…

I’ve had to move everything so far to get room for an additional 6-7 units (IDK even how many units I’ll be teaching because I can’t get that far ahead right now). Which means I unstapled everything and then stapled it back up in a different place. It’s all about the staples getting picked up by something other than my feet. Today I have meetings all morning and then this afternoon and most of tomorrow to prep for realz. We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s what 2500 people at a school district conference looks like…

Actually, that picture was probably less than 2500…I didn’t take a photo of the actual conference room (ballroom) we were in (this was breakfast), but it was a lot. Wore a mask. I don’t want to be sick for the first week of school. Was it worthwhile? Eh. Some camaraderie, sure, but we could have done that in a smaller group. One speaker was interesting (because he was funny). The rest? I’d rather be setting my room up. The reason I had to go in over the weekend was because normally they do about 90 minutes on Friday and then we get the rest of the day to prep. We didn’t get that. So that sucks. That’s tone deaf, honestly. But it’s done.

I’m still proofreading. SO CLOSE TO DONE. Hopefully today, although today is kind of a mess. Maybe tomorrow.

I’m also still ironing. I did NOT meet my goal of finishing the ironing this weekend…maybe if I hadn’t had to go in to school over the weekend. And yes, sure, I could have NOT done that and tried to get boards up once school starts, but using last year as an example? I never did it. Never had the time. This year will be similar with two different classes. I will never have time. So I did that. For my sanity. This is Friday night’s progress on the piles of fabric and pieces…

On Saturday, I focused on the main figure, so here’s what she looks like when I’m picking fabrics…

Although I forgot to do the head. Whoops. This is what one fabric of that run looks like…

Not much left of that one after this gets cut out. Which is fine. There is always more fabric.

Saturday night’s final count on the piles…

When I pick the fabrics for the flesh, I lay out all the other pieces too (bones, heart, lungs, hair, etc), but they don’t get ironed down right away. Fleshy bits first, then the rest, which can take a while…

Each pile is some discrete object on the quilt…there’s a pile of arm hair, a needle and some thread, some fingernails. I know those because I ironed them last night…

Still ironing those, honestly. Will be tonight as well. I have no idea how far along I am. I’ve pulled flesh through the 900s, but haven’t ironed all the missing bits in there, back to the 200s, I think. Maybe the 300s. Quite a bit to go. Revised goal? Work as fast as fucking possible this week.

Kitten loves it when I leave these drawers open for her…

She’s still not eating much, but seems perky enough. Comes out for her meds anyway. Wants pets. Still eating pine needles, because that’s a thing. If I could make her food smell like that, maybe she’d eat more of it? Or is it the long stringy stick-like-ness of it? Who knows.

Oh yeah, I drew (and read my book) at the district conference. It made it more bearable…

Too many people. Even if there wasn’t COVID, I wouldn’t have enjoyed being in a space like that with that many people. Lots of bugs in the drawing though.

OK, need to get going, wake up, ready for a meeting with a lot more people, then a smaller meeting, then lunch out (because we don’t get to do that during the school year), then work my ass off in the classroom. I went up and down off the counters about a million times in the last two days, mostly thinking that the next time I’d have to do this…well, I could do it every year, but I’d rather not. So maybe this is it? I spent a lot of time telling myself to be careful and not fall off anything. Oh yeah, and the boards aren’t anywhere near done…I’m missing all the vocab and posters and big ideas and essential questions. For 8th grade, those will get filled in all year, because they flat-out don’t exist yet. So there’s that. Knowing that.

One of the baby owls keeps coming back and hanging out in that tree outside my office window at night. Screeches occasionally. I talk to it. Say hi, how are you, thanks for coming back. Probably it’s coming back for our mouse/rat population (which it is welcome to eat), not for my dulcet tones. I haven’t named it yet. Betty? Betty the Barn Owl? Eh.

Most important part of today…send a thought out to Simba…he’s being left alone all day for the first time in a long time.

Poor pup. OK. Wish me luck for the 2022-2023 school year. I think this is my 20th year teaching? Something like that. Or my 20th starts in February, because I was a mid-year start. Yup. Either way, it’s a lot.

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…

Loading and Filling…

I spent a chunk of time on Etsy yesterday trying to get 8 new pieces on there. They are all pre-COVID pieces; they just needed to be mounted in a way that made them able to hang. You can find these on Etsy.

My friend Susan talked to me and crafted (she was supposed to be cleaning…but I think we’re always supposed to be cleaning when we craft unfortunately). Plus Kitten was trying to help me do the computer stuff…not.

I’ve been drawing every night…after doing other stuff during the day. Drawing brain seems to prefer nighttime.

I knew there would be swallowing heads in here…kind of a symbol for anxiety or being swallowed by society or government or a political party that doesn’t like women except when they do like them (pussies and pregnancy yes, autonomy and rights no)

I didn’t realize until the middle of the night while trying to sleep that the heads would be filled with words. And then I tried drawing that bottom left bit about 4 times and finally cut that section out and taped a new piece in. I’ll try the redraw tonight…and then it might be done.

Then I can start numbering.

We’re still quilting this beast. And the machine is still possessed. Plus we need to replace some O rings.

More signs of demonic possession.

Kitten is wherever I am.

Simba misses the boychild but appreciates his elephant.

I started this at home and have been trying to write while being at mom’s with the quilting machine. We got to the bottom and have to go back to the top to fill in some wide apart areas we had in the beginning. Not today. Gotta go proofread some stuff, ship one quilt, and deliver another. All good.

Headspace for Drawing…

I went to the eye doctor yesterday and he recommended a book for me, after having a long discussion about Comicon and our shared nerdiness. Gotta appreciate that. Especially as school LOOMS. I write every year about how it looms; usually it waits until August 1st, but not this year. LOOMING. And not in the good way with weaving warp and weft. In the dark and doomy way where it’s leaning over you and breathing hot and heavy onto your shoulder. Maybe even a little moist going on there. Yuck. All this followed by some truly disturbing dreams (not about school, for once, but like an alternative lifetime that was obviously wrong wrong wrong but was weirdly right in the dream, so fucking awful). Totally creeped out by last night’s attempt at sleep. Plus the boychild left for the Oak Fire yesterday, so Simba was in the bed all night, perturbed as fuck and hot and furry and then would randomly lick my leg and wake me up. I’m just not cut out for sleep. I need to be knocked out instantly and then zapped awake at the right time.

So Monday was delightful. I went to lunch and for a walk on the Silver Strand beach (away from all the people) with two friends from school and just really enjoyed walking, cool temperatures, and BIRDS!

Some of these birds have made it into my quilts. Wish I could tell you which ones…

Tiny snowy plovers…

We stalked the birds really…

And then the shells…these still had the snails in them, so we put them all back in the water.

Probably they would have been fine, but in a year when the climate is getting more and more fucked (thank you Republicans and the Supreme Court for continuing that shit), it felt good to do something that might be good for the environment.

Fascinating walk. This gull had a flatfish and was trying to alternately wash it and peck it.

Plus it kept running with the fish to get away from us.

Good times. We had some discussions of bizarre animals that humans made up and how it happened (found weird bit on beach, assumed animal was massive, hence our drawing it in the sand).

Like you do. Anyway. More of that this year. Less of the stressful shit.

I finally got the headspace to start drawing for real. Did a lot of sketching in pencil first as my brain got in the mood for this drawing…

Trying to keep it relatively simple. I keep wanting to add shading to the figure on the right, but my simpler brain is like NO IT DOES NOT NEED IT. Art brain is not convinced. Then last night, I inked everything that was in pencil…

And started adding more…

First time the Statue of Liberty has shown up in a quilt of mine…

Got more to do up here. That big head has some words going on it. Her arms need stuff. Stuff in her hands too. Getting there. Also, my proofreading project showed up last night…and I’m going to mom’s today and tomorrow to work on the bed quilt, plus the girlchild is coming in tonight for a visit, so I had to clean her room (not done) and the bathroom, because the boychild left for the fire yesterday. He works for the California Conservation Corps but is currently on a CalFire hand crew. Apparently you sleep in coffins (not really, just looks like one)…

He’s in Merced…heading in to the fire west of Yosemite.

He sends sunrise photos with fire trucks. Seems fine. Unfortunately, he got called out right before the girlchild comes to visit and probably won’t be back before she leaves. Bad timing, fire. WTF. I’m glad she’s coming though…not only because I haven’t seen her in a while, but also because Simba can sleep with her and she’s on Boston time, so he’ll be happy with wakeup time. I tried to explain to him that I was on summer break and got to sleep in. Did not care. Not a bit.

Last night, he just barked for hours at every sound, convinced it meant the boychild was home. His car was home (we went and got it), so the confusion was large. Massive really. Tiny brain in that dog.

We’re up to three caterpillars on the milkweed.

Exciting stuff…

I hope we get a chrysalis out of it.

This is part of the current drawing…at least the idea behind this.

And this is for my district…

I’d take Reduce Workload too. They’re gonna feed me lunch for three days. I would rather bring my own lunch and go home earlier, but that’s not how they roll. Luckily my district/principal don’t give a shit about jeans whenever…and we don’t get free coffee (wouldn’t care about that anyway). We do get the other shit though and it’s usually right before they tell us the 17 new things we have to do and why we have the wrong attitude if we’re not excited about them. Eh.

OK, so I’m going to aim to get Etsy stuff done tomorrow and Friday. Today is packed full of stuff, including getting the girlchild from the airport. I’m supposed to be at mom’s at 10 and I haven’t eaten or taken a shower. So I gotta go. Like now.

Adding Up to Chaos…

Holy shit…is it Friday already? What the hell happened to this week? Why is that weeks during the school year never disappear like this? I mean, I went to three science meetings and two exercise classes, and then the rest has been trying to get this quilt done. Which it will be! I guess that’s the pro. The bed quilt? Not done yet…although mom called yesterday and asked if she could do one row. Um, yes? Sure? I’m going back there today to hopefully get most of it done. Well, probably not, because it will be a lot of hours and I don’t have a lot of hours.

Anyway, so give a teacher a hug, because they are still suffering from PTSD from the last two years of school and the emails never stopped over the summer, unless you have not checked your work email, in which case, kudos to you. I can’t do that. I wish I could. My goal for the school year, my New Year’s Resolution (this is when teachers do those) is not to bring grading home. I know this will not work, unfortunately, due to two preps this year, but I did say GRADING and not PLANNING. Ugh. I’m freaking out. But everyone I know is freaking out, including those who don’t have two grade levels. And I’ve already fielded 20 or so work-related texts this morning…they are stressing me out even more.

So the quilting got done, both outlining and background, on Wednesday and Thursday…

I don’t know about you, but although I appreciate my machine telling me this, it just prompts me to yell “Fuck You” at it…

I went and bought binding fabric. I actually bought three because there were many old ladies with walkers wandering the quilt store, so I didn’t feel comfortable laying down my GIANT VULVA OPENING on the ground and testing the binding fabrics like I normally do. So I brought them home, trimmed the quilt…

And then picked the one that worked the best. It was hot yesterday, but I just sweat through the tasks. Put the binding on…

Half listening to the January 6 testimony. There’s a reason I don’t watch the news. I’m already anxious. It makes it worse. Binding got on, pinned down, sure I could machine stitch it, but I don’t like the way it looks. Too flat. And then started handstitching while on a Zoom with two stitching friends…

I got halfway around. The rest will get done today; it’s going to the photographer tomorrow. Picking up the desert quilt, then continuing on what I’m calling the Roe quilt right now. Not because it’s another abortion rights quilt, but because it’s a quilt about my response to Roe falling. I feel like this quilt I’m just finishing is a response quilt too…it started out about one thing and then all the other things intruded: Ukraine trying to fight Russia, guns, human rights of all sorts, Uvalde. Korean missiles. WTF else, y’all? I’m guessing the desert quilt is the only nonpolitical thing I’ll do this year. I have a couple shows coming up where I’m not sure what I’m entering because they have requirements about nudity etc and I just don’t care about their stupid rules. Ah well. Following rejections as well.

The milkweed I planted from seeds the boychild gave me over a year ago is finally doing its job!

Yay! I noticed lots of holes in the leaves but couldn’t find the perpetrator until I was watering yesterday. Happy happy.

OK, gotta pack up, go to mom’s , email the photographer, text another science teacher a question, review a bunch of science shit, quilt a bed quilt, finish binding the art quilt, email another science teacher after steps 4 and 5, maybe eat lunch (IDK about that), take my meds, make more tea, holy shit today is a tad on the frantic side. Let’s hope that doesn’t continue (it might…girlchild is home next week, I have two lunches to go to now, gotta clean her room, it’s all adding up to chaos). But Progress! On all the things.

I need a hike tomorrow. Seriously.

Get Away

It’s what I need to do sometimes so I can actually relax. The house is too full of things I need to do. The Man’s birthday was a week ago, so I booked us an Airbnb in Julian…not a long drive, but mountain reset. It was unfortunately hot hot hot (it will be hotter in August and September, but we are not acclimated), so the deck was not used as much as I would have liked, but we did appreciate the air conditioning, which we don’t have at home.

We played games…

I lost all of them. It’s OK. I usually lose. I’m at one with the losing.

We only went upstairs in the cabin once, to take this photo.

Why? Even with the A/C on, it was Hades up there.

We hiked…in the AM…not very far (3.7 miles)…it was too hot.

We often plan a bunch of hiking that doesn’t happen. Wild turkeys!

Why? Because we need the mental space more than we need the exercise. Lake!

I’m OK with all that. I know I will hike more. It was hotter in Julian than it was here at home in East County…

So more hiking wasn’t really something we were willing to do unless it was at midnight.

That is either a deer or a coyote.

In this picture, it seems more deerlike, but in real life, it was a toss up.

I’m betting coyote, because no shelter, broad daylight, no other deer around. More milkweed!

Being in the heart of some fairly conservative sentiments, we had conversations about intelligent design (that’s what we get for reading social media while traveling). The design of this flower for example. I think science and nature are mostly incredibly ordered…except when they’re not, and when they’re not, there’s a natural reason for it. Some people call that evidence that there is a god. I call it evidence that this is the way natural things work. Plant needs insects to reproduce. Flowers evolve that increase this particular plant’s ability to reproduce. The ones that failed are no longer around because they did not have that advantage. Maybe they were really chaotic milkweed plants that fought the bees off. So they aren’t here anymore.

No one who thinks a lot about how human pregnancy and/or the uterus works would consider that intelligent design. Certainly there’s a bunch of politicians who have never ever understood how that works.

Red-tailed hawk?

Anyway. We appreciated nature.

As you should.

We also appreciated some breweries and wineries and cideries…

And I especially appreciated the time and space to just draw for drawing’s sake…

We even listened to some music…

This one had those misting sprinklers. Pro: it was raining on us constantly. Con: can’t draw when it’s that wet.

Some of the music was really good (Berkley Hart).

Lots of drawings…

Some of it back at the cabin over a couple of days…

That one’s not done. Which is good.

My one time on the deck, before it got too hot.

Small but nice.

We contemplated the universe.

And all the things in it.

It’s OK if you don’t get that. It made us giggle. And then we came home to hot and to-do lists. It’s fine. Really. It was good while it lasted.

I had some huge batting issues on Friday…all my own fault really. So I had to buy new batting and wash it and ran out of time to pinbaste, so I did it yesterday with a fan blowing on me the whole time.

This is not a small quilt. I keep saying that. It was supposed to be smaller.

But I got her pinbasted and then managed almost two hours of quilting…

I have a deadline on this one and it’s tight. But I’m going to do it.

But first, today I have two science meetings, so I need to go make my lunch and pack up and take my meds and brush my teeth and make more tea and get the fuck out of here. Plus deal with all the things on the to-do list, which threaten to bury me even during the summer, when I’m not working the other job. Well. Except today I sort of am working the other job. So there’s that. It’s a good thing I took a weekend off from almost everything.

In My Heart

So. Progress on the quilt. She’s all ironed down. More about that below. Also, I don’t know what it feels like to watch the Uvalde video that was released yesterday if you’re NOT a teacher, but as a teacher, one who has done way too many lockdown drills with classrooms of 30+ kids and tried to keep them quiet while admin bangs on the door, simulating a shooter trying to get in, that was beyond horrible. I can unfortunately totally imagine being down on the floor with the kids (because we are, even in a drill), WAITING FOR THE COPS…for 77 minutes and hearing nothing but screams and kids asking for help. Makes me sick to my stomach. And yes, there’s a fine line between knowing when to shoot and and when to not shoot, and I would hope cops would be trained in that (they’re not…well, unless you count ‘we don’t shoot at white people even when they have guns’ and ‘we shoot at people of color even when we shouldn’t’…all training that I think should be trained out of them or they should be fired), but this is boggling. Three guys run down there with weapons, the ‘good guys with guns’ and then they run back? And nothing happens for an hour? Every teacher is curled up with her kids in their room, trying to keep them calm? In some classrooms, kids are dying and maybe could have been saved? I just don’t get it. I totally get being scared of being shot. I do. But I didn’t sign up for it…and cops did.

Y’all, I don’t pray. It’s not what moves me. If it does you, splendid. Do it. But I do hold all those kids and teachers in my heart, even though it makes me cry to do so. I’m not sure what’s worse: cops killing people who don’t deserve it in traffic stops or cops standing there in a school hallway, checking their phones, getting hand sanitizer, while little kids and their teachers lay there dying. They are both despicable. Both unacceptable. Plus the whole issue of guns being available to everyone. There’s a new gun for kids, a JR-15…the little kid version of an AR-15, so you can have one just like your parents. This country, this culture we have grown here, it makes me sick. And it makes an awful lot of people dead. Kids.

And in all that, I find some peace in the quiltmaking process. I’ve been lucky to still not have to go in for jury duty (two more days, knock on wood). Ironing this quilt together while bingewatching Netflix is somehow meditative. The bad things are still in my head, but they just end up in the quilt and I can walk away? I can’t really, but it’s a place to funnel the emotions. There are always moments when I wonder how safe my job is; I hope no one ever thinks to come on our campus to use a weapon…but every teacher thinks about it. I’ve seen the upcoming trainings for the new year, and active shooter training is part of it. Because my country hasn’t figured out how to keep schools safe. Get rid of guns, y’all. Start there. Easy.

So I ironed for quite a few hours on Monday…

Like four hours. Got all the arm and body stuff done and lined up. Just a head left.

Here’s the view from the top…

Plus some of the arm stuff…

Money money everywhere. Then yesterday, I managed to iron the head together…

And a bunch of things in the sky. Bombs actually. I had finished drawing this piece and was starting to trace it on Wonder Under when the Uvalde shooting happened, so I added that. It was before Roe v Wade fell, but there were rumors. And I had left COVID out, because it felt like I could, but it doesn’t any more. So many people still getting it, and now the news that getting it multiple times increases your risk for a bad outcome. So I added the Supreme Court with the clotheshanger and the COVID virion. Plus monkeypox! That looks like a fun virus, right? Not. It’s not in this drawing. It came later.

Anyway, then I pieced the background and ironed the whole thing down. It’s bigger than I thought it was…which is silly, because I drew it and I know exactly how big it is. I had the man hold it up so I could take a photo.

I made a comment on Instagram about cropping this…I meant the photo…to get all the extraneous life out of the picture…the dog toys on the ground, the other quilt in the background, my daughter’s high-school graduation photo. The milk crate I use for firewood (I’m so fancy). The Congratulations sign that my aunt found in my cousin’s house when she was cleaning it out (my cousin died in 2020, before the pandemic hit). But that is my life, my existence. I’m not making these quilts in a huge, beautiful, well-lit studio. I’m in a cramped room that has too much furniture in it, the linoleum is all torn up because I used to iron on the floor for the big pieces, it’s hot in summer and cold in winter (although cold in my part of Southern California does not include snow, so not REALLY cold, but hot is well over 100 degrees with no air conditioning). Still on my summer to-do list is cleaning up the computer space in here…by the end of the school year, it’s absolute chaos.

But it is my space. And I am lucky to be able to spread the artmaking out into the living room with my light table. I have people who will hold up my quilts for me, who will help me deliver and pick pieces up, who will buy my work and send me messages and tell me I’m making good work. So those are all good things.

Today I do the stitchdown. Notice I didn’t say START the stitchdown. I need to do it all today. I’m running out of time on this one. There’s a deadline. Yeah, I missed the last deadline. Ah well, but it would be good to make this one.

Also, I feel like we need to either plant this or compost it.

I don’t actually like sweet potatoes most of the time, although I had one in a salad on Saturday that was OK. But I think this one is done. I could be wrong. If the boychild were home more than the 7 hours he was home last night (one fire, then another one that got canceled, plus some sort of drill today), I could ask him if it’s OK to get rid of it.

The owls are still really active. I need to go out there and try to trim the branches in the way of the new camera location. It’s hard because I’m short and it’s on a slope.

So today. Sigh. Don’t watch the news. Stitchdown. Trim some branches. Probably plant some things and clean up some other things. Exercise. HERMIT. Still doing that as much as possible. It’s less than a month until school starts. I need every day of that month (I won’t get every day; I already know that, but I’m going to try) to be ready. Decide what to do with the sweet potato. You’d think that would be the easiest thing to do today, but I hate to waste food. Even food I don’t like. Deep breaths. Especially for Uvalde. Honestly, I feel for the cops too. I feel like there are certain jobs where you get in trouble if you don’t follow orders, and maybe this was that kind of situation. I’ve had principals that would micromanage the shit out of you and threaten your job, and not everyone can afford to just jump ship. I couldn’t. In that case, whoever was that ordering person, man, you’ve got some explaining to do.

If You’re Into It…

Hmm. Independence Day. I think that word does not mean what you think it means. Lots of people have always had issues with today…since it meant independence for some and not others. It seems worse this year, although for some, it is the same as before…not independent. 60 bullet wounds on a young black man in Ohio…seems unnecessary. And another shooting today in the Chicago area…so far, 6 are dead and many injured. Another one of those high-powered rifles no human really needs to own. It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. It’s disheartening. So yeah, not in the mood to celebrate anything today with a barbecue and a bunch of people. Not that I usually do that stuff…but even fireworks are irritating me at the moment…too many illegal fireworks locally, including on our street, setting off the Man’s car alarm. No fires so far, so that’s good, but sheesh. We have official fireworks…can’t you watch those? Oh no? You have to have your OWN fireworks. We are such a special country…I mean that oh so sarcastically.

I’m tired because I didn’t sleep well last night, and then got up early, so we could go hike in the mountains before it got too warm. It’s been days and days of too warm, so a few cooler days have been appreciated. No worries, it’ll be back to warm by the weekend.

So where are we at? It’s July. I’ve finished a bunch of embroidered and quilted pieces into objects that can be sold. I have two more to do and then I’ll put them all on Etsy and let you know. I finished cutting out all the pieces for the current quilt on Friday night…

putting in some solid hours Thursday and Friday…15 1/2 hours total of cutting things out. Then sorted on Saturday night in between a bunch of other stuff that included finally getting the last quilt photographed after embroidering two tiny snake eyeballs.

Sorting took just under an hour to do…

And now I’m ready to iron it down, but I decided to do some things that had to be sewn first…like all those embroidery finishes, and then I needed to put borders on a bed quilt I made for my own bed in 2008…well, it’s not a quilt yet. It was just a top that needed borders. Now it’s a top…

That needs a backing to be pieced (today probably) and then the batting gets here Wednesday and then sometime after that, we go to mom’s house and figure out how to short-arm quilt it. By ‘we’ I mean me and the quilt. And mom will help. Because she’s done it before and I haven’t. Because it’s a bed quilt and it doesn’t need to be fancy. Yes. It’s bright. And it has aliens all over it. I’m OK with that. Then I can put a binding on it and finish it 14 years after I started it.

Once the backing is pieced, I can start ironing the other one together, the actual art quilt. I tried drawing the next one last night but my brain is a fucked-up mess. I found a drawing I did back in November and I’m going to enlarge it, redraw some of it, and then add to it. For the next one. Yeah. I was going to look at some of the other deadlines, but hell…I’m just making what makes me feel better right now. Full of anger and sadness and political shit.

Sigh.

Yesterday, the boychild helped clean the roof off…too many leaves, plus rinsed the solar panels. I’m not sure if we have to do more than that.

Our solar production is up a bit today over yesterday, so that’s good. The next step would be to use soap and warm water and then rinse them off, and I don’t know that I can get him to go back up there and do that.

So back to the hike. We did Red-Tailed Roost and Agua Dulce, about 4.8 miles. It was pretty. There was some up, but not a lot. It was hot, but not that hot. We were there early, so that helped.

Neither of us had done this hike before…

In a couple of weeks, we’ll be back in the area to celebrate the Man’s birthday, which is this week.

There were lots of trees, although definitely a fairly recent burn up there. Looks like it was a controlled burn a few months ago, when I search it up online.

We saw a few bikes and a few hikers…pretty quiet for a holiday, but we got up there fairly early. The parking lot was filling up as we left…

It was nice to be out in nature.

Even with killer trees…

Didn’t spend a lot of time under that one…

So now I need a snack, a nap, and some time with my book…

Which is my idea of a holiday. Also, I’m wearing this…

My brother and SIL called and are dressed appropriately for the holiday as well in black and politically appropriate shirts. I was the only one in the family with a uterus shirt, shockingly. I debated between it and my ‘Up with the Matriarchy’ shirt…saving that one for jury duty, I guess. My SIL found an appropriately themed protest for the 4th…

She’s in Montana…which has good people. Much like we do here, although some days I wonder.

OK. So happy 4th if you’re into it. If you’re not, have a snack, a nap, and read your book. Dress appropriately. Make some art if you want. Or don’t. That’s my version of an independent day for this year.

Overreaching Authority…

My country is fucked. My country has gone backwards 50 years (or more). My country is in a morality war that doesn’t really track as morality (give birth, but we won’t make the man responsible for shit, and we won’t help you…especially if you are a child who was pressured, raped, or subjected to incest…then we are gonna screw you up forever). I’m not sure the quilt I’m currently working on (which was drawn before all this happened with Roe v Wade) is angry enough. Does angry art do anything? I don’t know. It funnels some of the anger out of me. Briefly. I currently have a bunch of addresses for the Supreme Court Justices who violated our rights. What was it that AOC said? That the Supreme Court overreached their authority in reversing Roe v Wade, and we should do as Lincoln did with the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves…”he ignored the gross overreach and abuse of power,” Time to pass some laws that the Supreme Court, which is NOT making choices for the people right now, can’t fuck with. Yeah. That. Or statewide, refuse to follow laws that will cause death, some of it in children. You’ve probably already seen cases where gynecological cancers can’t be treated because of abortion concerns, or when actual medical treatments that will save a woman’s life come up against this law, as in an ectopic pregnancy. It seems like it’s so simple…just don’t let abortion occur, but there are treatments that will save a woman’s life that might end the life of an embryo or fetus. Sometimes those hard choices need to be made. Not even talking about choice, bodily autonomy, even IUDs qualify as abortion in some states. I’m disheartened. But not giving up. Frustrated. Angry still. Probably won’t get over that. And I keep going through my artwork and finding more about human rights.

So it’s always hard to be working on a quilt that was really speaking to me in the beginning while something else grows in my head. I wasn’t thinking I’d have to do another one about abortion rights in the same year I finished My Body. My Choice. Silly me. Although as I was ironing Wonder Under to fabric the other night, those handmaids came back. Because they’re in this quilt. So I guess I never stop thinking about it. Anyway. I’m really close to the end. I’ve been doing about an hour or so of ironing Wonder Under to fabric each night…

And they all start to look the same…

I know I added some more greens and another blue fabric in there, plus some purples. I got to the head too, although I didn’t finish it. I’ve been cutting pieces out each night too, so the box never gets full, because I’m always working on emptying it. I cut stuff out while the Man and I watch our nightly show, so about 40 minutes or so a night.

Often the stuff I had ironed down the night before. So there’s progress. I have about 100 or so more pieces to iron down…the rest of her head (teeth, eyeballs, hair) and a few things I added at the last minute: the Uvalde kids and a COVID virion. Couldn’t leave them out. Almost done at 20 1/2 hours of ironing. I have 6 1/2 hours into the cutting-out portion, so probably another 5-10…can’t tell. Then I can start ironing it together.

While another drawing populates itself in my head. Not sure I can finish another one in time for my multiple deadlines on 8/1. Hmmm. Kinda depends on how many other things I’m doing. I’m still copyediting this book, hopefully done by Friday. I have another book I’m proofreading (somewhat easier and faster than a copyedit) in late July/early August. If I don’t get called for jury duty, I can get a lot done, but I’ve also been working on the yard, trying to do a little every day. It’s a lot. But it needs doing. I am reading and trying to deal with the heat and hopefully upping the exercise quotient and the eating-healthy quotient after the last few months of school fucking with that on a regular basis. We’ll see. Oh yeah, and since the courts are continuing to make really bad decisions, I’ve gotta pick an appropriate alternative religion to pray to at school…

Being an atheist makes this more difficult, but I guess I can be totally open about that at school now, since the ruling, right? OH! You mean it’s just Christianity that’s OK? WTF. Huh. That makes no sense. As usual.

OK. Work. Lots of it. Whether it’s on the computer, copyediting or school, in the yard, or with fabric, it’s what I do. Lots of it. With some reading and cups of tea to counteract the 90-degree temperatures here. Plus gotta get the crockpot going for dinner. Yeah. Getting on with it.