So Much Quilting…

Well I sort of slept in today. After two mornings of regular work-time wakeups. When I put the pillow over my head, I can apparently drown out a lot of things that would normally wake me up. I don’t feel more awake though…I feel sort of braindead. Which maybe I am. Monday, I spent a lot of time working on science for the upcoming school year, and I have a hard time turning that off. But we have a healthy start to what will be an interesting clusterfuck of a year. I’m working with some good people though, so hopefully that helps. Makes my stomach tighten in uncomfortable ways, though. I still remember last year, two preps, no common prep with my science co-teacher. It’s hard. She’s really good about not bringing work home with her. I don’t know how she does it…I certainly haven’t been able to. I think a lot of the hard part with two different preps is that you have to switch your brain between the two and it’s almost twice the work. I have fewer things to grade for each class type, but the switch between doing this class type to that class type is hard. At least this year they will both be science? I don’t know if that helps. Art and science was hard, for sure. But we will not have a block schedule this year and every day will be the same schedule, unlike last year’s insane rotation where I had no idea what I was doing each day. Advisory, Science block 1, Art, Science block 2. It was hell. So none of that shit this year. PRO! Cons may bury me, but for now, I’m hoping for a planning prep with both science grade levels (unlikely) and my 7th-grade science classes fully separated from 8th grade so I don’t have to bounce back and forth between the two. Knock on wood. I don’t think that’s likely either, but I’m hoping. Also either early lunch or a morning prep. For the diabetes. I don’t ask for much, do I? Sigh.

So what am I doing today? Another science meeting. I know. Sigh. But this is with friends from other schools in the district, one who has taught 8th grade with the new curriculum and will hopefully give me some serious insight.

What else am I doing today? Well I have a quilt that needs to be done by Saturday for my photographer. Yeah. I know. But I’m doing OK on it. I’ve been putting in a few hours a day…

In fact, I’m almost done with the outline quilting…just have the two guys on the right there, the cloud, and a bunch of bombs on the other side. Then I can do the background quilting hopefully tonight and tomorrow morning, buy some binding (I might have some that works, but probably not enough), put it on, and then get it done. It’s totally doable. Even though it will be in the high 90s today and I have to put two fans on me to sit in this room when it’s hot. It’s fine. I just sweat.

I do prefer quilting at night for all those reasons, and this quilt is not as dark a blue as I normally use, so I can actually see to quilt at night. What a concept.

I also spent about 5 hours plus at my mom’s yesterday trying to figure out the short-arm and get it working right so I can quilt this bed quilt. We practiced a lot…

Then after lunch, finally got the actual quilt on the machine…

Not a quiet and calm quilt at all. I know. The Man says it looks like a kid’s quilt. I’m OK with that. I’m not trying to impress anyone with the quilt on my bed.

I think we figured it’s taken about 8 hours to get to this point, where there are two rows done and they’re not quite nested appropriately.

I’m also OK with that. I did some math, and based on this rate (not the 8 hours, but the 12 minutes to do each row, which doesn’t count trying to figure out where to put the next one), it will take about 8 hours of quilting for this to get done. So here’s my plan. Get the current art quilt to the binding stage, then do the handsewing portion of the binding during the 12 minutes that each bed quilt row is stitching out. While watching for breaks. It’ll be interesting, but I think I can do it. So that’s Thursday/Friday? Maybe? I don’t know. At least it will be done. I’m not sure I would use a short-arm again. I’ve tried a long-arm and they don’t really work for my art quilts. I guess if I ever did another large bed quilt, I’d do this? Or hire someone, because they’d be more efficient and they deserve every penny.

Katie wanted pets while I was at Mom’s…

She will be with us in September/October when my parents are traveling. She’s a good girl, but sheds a lot, talks a lot, and bugs the cats. Plus she’s awfully fat right now. But we love her.

Yesterday, the boychild noticed Kitten hunting in the Crocs (we have a pile of them in the hallway for outdoor and standing work). After he left, she moved into hunting in the hallway, where I figured out the prey…and saved it, minus the tail…

It is always lizard-saving season in this house.

Simba had to have his teeth cleaned yesterday. He was a little out of it when I picked him up…

Very droolio. He has horrible teeth despite everything we do to help him, so it’s easier and probably cheaper in the long run to just have them cleaned every year. Big expense for the month I don’t get a paycheck though.

I compost my kitchen waste. I use that compost in my yard. This is a compost tomato growing among the milkweed seedlings that I planted over a year ago.

Don’t know what kind of tomato it is…doesn’t look like a Roma, too big for a cherry? Might be whatever the standard grocery store tomato is. Looking forward to seeing them all grow. Probably they will be stolen by raccoons…which is what usually happens.

Last but not least, this is horrifying…but I had to fact check it.

I found this as an interesting summary of how it could be calculated over 20 years…and I also found this

No matter how you look at it, the US has a problem with guns. And there is a solution to that. Certainly, I didn’t sign up to be a target to protect my students. And I will protect my students. Because we care about them even when they drive us bonkers. They’re children. They shouldn’t even have to think about this at school. School should be the safe place for those who don’t have that elsewhere, yeah? Anyway. There’s that.

So I need to go make and freeze a big batch of pancakes (it’s been a while), then shower, then hopefully quilt a bit before going to the science meeting, come back, do Pilates, cook dinner, then quilt some more. Busy day. Damn. Needed to put some yardwork in there; don’t think that’s happening. Oh well. It’ll get done eventually. I’ll leave you with the three juvenile (and loud…the neighbors finally commented) owls…I think only one is really hanging out here still. The others seem to be branching further out. Which is good and what they’re supposed to do.

Just like all teenagers.

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 the Way…

So all that jury duty anxiety and I never had to go in. Hallelujah. I could do without the anxiety though. Tell my brain that.

I managed to get the quilt stitched down in the last two days…

It’s true that I didn’t do much else.

I don’t feel like I’m getting much done this summer unfortunately. It’s not over yet, but I still feel burnt out and flaily. Sure that’s a word. Flail-like? Flailable? Hmmm. I also pieced a backing last night after my stitching meeting…

Plus I washed and cut the batting to size. Then this morning, I cleaned the floor and as soon as it dries, I’m pinbasting this quilt. Then we’re packing up, going to the store, and leaving for a weekend in the mountains. It will still be hot there, true, but the Airbnb has A/C, unlike here. We’re going to attempt hiking (the Man’s toe is still an issue). I think every weekend after this one has either a meeting/event for me or a show/event for him…until September some time.

I did spend some time at my mom’s yesterday picking a pattern for using on the short arm to quilt the bed quilt and then practicing it, stitching it out, nesting the one below into the one above, trying to read a manual that was written in Greek. It took a while to get the thread to stop breaking…and to figure out how to make it go. Next Tuesday, we’ll try again with the real thing. No jury duty call-ins, so that will help actually plan shit. Which would be nice. I think the courts need to lose my address.

Here’s Kitten, in the way, her favorite thing to be…

Which reminds me, I have one more book of science homework to scan/find online before Monday. I might need to do that today also. On top of everything else? Eh. Maybe.

But for now, the floor is dry, so I’m going to pinbaste the quilt. Although I think there is now a dog in the way. My theme for the day apparently. I need it quilted and bound by next Saturday! (oh my). Then shower and packing and go get gas and food and escape to somewhere where there are not so many chores to do. I’m taking my sketchbook too, since we have not had a lot of interaction in the last month or more. I need to fix that. Nice to have a weekend to hopefully do that.

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.

So Much…

OK, let’s pretend I have a schedule and I follow it. Let’s also pretend I know what day it is without looking at a calendar and counting things. Saturday might have been a reset…I did ALL the things on Saturday and I know what day that was because the calendar kept telling me, and so today is two days past that, so it must be Monday. Plus the inept pool guy came this morning…wait, no, he hasn’t consistently been coming on Mondays. Geez. Can’t count on anything. Must be summer. Good thing because I’m trying to get some quilts done.

I’m 12 hours into ironing the newest one together…

I think I missed some pictures. Just know I’ve been ironing since last week sometime. This is Thursday I think…I’m pretty sure I was on Zoom with my friend Susan while I was ironing the cannon. And the handmaid. So I’ve seen the stuff about not using the handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s book, and I understand it, because she did borrow a lot of ideas from real-life happenings with women of color and slavery and native women. And certainly white women have had advantages due to their race and maybe even because white men value white women (annoying shit really, but reality). I was thinking of this part of the quilt as being like the Salem witch trials, burning us at the stake for our viewpoints. There are other handmaids in this quilt, and I guess I will just have to own them. That book had a significant effect on me when it first came out. I have been a serious Atwood fan since early college if not before. So I will own my white privilege on that. As I age, I realize and try to educate myself more on the inequality of our supposedly free (#notfree) country. The handmaids are a symbol…maybe not the best one, but the one I had for the moment.

This was at the end of Thursday night’s ironing…

On Friday, I did the center bit, the portal, skipping numbers from the 300s to the 800 and 900s because it made sense to do that bit now.

I lost one of the crow’s legs. I’m sure I’ll find it at some point. I just made a new one. It was easier.

From here, I started ironing all the things that line up the arms…

Including these two guys.

And then started on the hands. So I have both arms, the upper torso, and the head left, plus some stuff in the sky. I’m in the middle of the 600s, but I’ve already done 100 pieces in the 800 and 900s…so more than halfway…maybe 400 pieces left? Hard to know. I could do that in a couple of days. I’m hoping to.

I’ve been lucky with jury duty so far…just keep calling in and they say no. My biggest worry at the moment is getting put on a trial now that lasts longer than this week. I moved everything to next week…three meetings, a vet appointment, and a copyediting job. I’m gonna freak out if I have to go in now. I think my biggest anxiety with all this is the not knowing. I don’t deal with the unknown well. Anyway, knock on wood that they’ll keep releasing me, one freakin’ day at a time.

Saturday was a crazy day. Every meeting in July apparently happened on the 9th. I had planned a hike and potluck with my hiking group, because originally The Man was going to be on the PCT, so I figured socializing would be a good thing. The hike was awesome…

Saw some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while…

We were up in the Lagunas, which was still pretty warm, but not too bad…upper 80s. The meadows felt the warmest…

But there was a bit of a breeze. We started on Sunset Trail, which I’ve done a million times, but then went off on a different batch of trails to get back. Chico Ravine? Plus Old County. Here’s the familiar Water of the Woods…

I was really worried about this hike because my knee had been really cranky all week to the point of limping on Friday. So I drove up on my own so I’d have an exit vehicle if I had to bail out, and I had a knee brace and my poles. Totally needed none of that. Knee was fine. Not sure what was up with all that. Maybe I did something to it at the gym that lasted for 3 days but on the 4th was fine? Weird. Old bodies are annoying.

This is Wooly Pod Milkweed.

Never seen it in bloom. Very cool looking.

Anyway, then I went to the potluck, the first of THREE. You know how potlucks always have a weird grouping of food? Lots of funky salads, some bits and pieces of a real meal? And of course, you pick weird combos…tend to be heavy on carbs, although the hiking potluck was very heavy on interesting salads, which was nice. There were LOTS of people there…they sent 4 or 5 hikes out and then everyone from all those hikes met up for the potluck. It was cool to see some people I hadn’t seen for a while, but overwhelming in the long run. But that’s me. Lots of people I didn’t know. I should hike more with them though.

I made it home, showered (very important), then left like 45 minutes later for one of my art group meetings…which was, you guessed it, a potluck! I didn’t bring anything to that one because they are very heavily foodies and I cannot compete. So after having all those healthy salads, I settled on a slice of homemade bread and a tiny cupcake (what meal is between lunch and dinner? Tea? I didn’t drink tea…just sparkling water). I listened and watched presentations and stitched on this slow-stitch scarf for a while.

It’s going to take three million years to finish it, so don’t worry…you’ll see lots of it. I started it at QuiltCon 2021 (online). But then I didn’t have all the materials I needed, so it languished…as things do. But it’s all basted and all I have to do is pick it up and keep stitching at this point. Easy peasy.

Then I went home again for about 20 minutes, grabbed the rest of the cookies that hadn’t been eaten at the first potluck, and took them to the third one, which was the annual Burn the Sex Ed Cards Bonfire…little did we know that it was the second Eid (I didn’t know there was more than one) and everyone who celebrated it would be at the park where the bonfire was. Parking was a challenge; so was avoiding being seen by anyone I might have taught in the last few years. My co-teacher and I brought all the cards the kids write for our anonymous question box and let the rest of the people at the bonfire read them and then burn them. It’s cleansing. And funny.

This was the pizza and s’mores potluck. I don’t do s’mores because of chocolate, but there was yet another interesting salad! I don’t eat a wide variety of salads unless the girlchild is home. I don’t have the energy for it, so it’s nice when others do. I also did not have the energy to stay for fireworks…headed home and was in bed by 10:30, completely zonked out. Didn’t even hear The Man come home from his show at the Belly Up.

Sunday was all about recovery. I ironed most of the day. Also read a lot. I like to hermit over the summer. Saturday was not very hermit-like, so I will have to make up for it the rest of this week and possibly longer. Seriously, so much socializing and potlucking.

I’ve been doing a little bit of school stuff, just searching for and/or scanning homework assignments from this series. The cat loves my co-teacher’s bag. She will be sad when I return it.

I only have one book left to scan/search. Then I need to sort all the assignments into where they belong. Waiting for some lame professional development to do that.

This other cat spent Saturday night trying to punch a gecko through the window…

A lot of staring at windows goes on at night around here. They are fascinated by the geckos, who are just there for the moths who are attracted by the light coming through the windows.

In other news, the New Legacies exhibit opened this weekend at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. I stole these photos from someone I don’t know on Facebook, because I will not be going to this exhibit…too far.

But there’s my piece So Cal Mama!

Always nice to see them out in the wild. Speaking of the wild, the baby owls are fledging! Noisy as hell, but also practicing flying at night. We’re not sure which are babies and which are parents, because at this stage, the babies are as big as the adults, but here’s three…

Last night, I moved the camera…not sure if there will be a better view or not. We’ll see. Certainly they are very active (and loud) at the moment. Apparently the parents will help get them food for a while longer, but they should be finding a new home by the end of the summer. After Halloween, we should be able to safely drop the box and clean it out for next year. We’ve heard and seen them in all the trees around the box, which is really cool, and found a few feathers in the yard. So there’s at least one baby…possibly two or three.

OK, so apparently I will be picking up some plants later today, plus ironing. And drinking more tea. And probably a shower and food would be helpful to my brain processing information. And then maybe I’ll do this again on Wednesday, like I normally do. And maybe the quilt will be ironed down and ready for stitching. I’m hopeful.

Finally Felt…

I’ve been copyediting all week; I finished yesterday. I also finally felt like I was on break last night. Finally felt like I might have had a decent amount of sleep (until I stayed up too late last night and was still awakened by the world this morning…although hallelujah, I think the neighbors are done giving swimming lessons to everyone and their mother…BUBBLES! YAY!). Finally felt like everything wasn’t hanging over me. Well, that was temporary. I looked at my to-do list briefly this morning and there are still a million things on it. As always. Finally felt like I could do something besides work.

I finished ironing everything on the current quilt to fabric Wednesday night…just short of 22 hours to pick fabrics for 1100 or so pieces. Not fast at all. Fucking slow as hell.

But here’s part of the why…

171 different fabrics. I’m not sure why, but I needed a ton of different fabrics to make this quilt. Lots of fussy little vignettes in it, I think. Not sure. But that’s a lot of fabrics for only 1100 pieces. I know. I said ‘only’, but I’ve made quilts with lots more. It seems like there are certain things that up the time: lots of little tiny pieces, lots of fabrics, lots of differently colored things going on. Yeah. Well.

I started cutting pieces out a week ago…and then last night, I did about 3 hours of it…

And got really close to done. You can see the bottom of the box there, but there are still a lot of pieces left. At least an hour’s worth…I’ve been trimming for 11 1/2 hours, so that’s not bad. I leave some of the tiny pieces for later. But I’m hoping to be done today with this part, then sorting, and start ironing together this weekend.

I’ve also been trying to finish some stuff from the last three years…just get them done and on Etsy, where they will languish forever because it took too much time to make them so they are too expensive for anyone to buy. Ah well. I cleaned up, ironed, trimmed, and found backings for two of them, found canvases that should be the right size (knock on wood) for two of them to be mounted on, and cut strips for another one, so hopefully I can put it in a hoop.

So I’m hoping to do the sewing for those today and get them closer to done and photographed, so I can put them all in a bag somewhere out of my studio. One of my summer goals is to clean up around the computer in here (it’s my annual summer goal, and I do it every year, and then school happens and things get out of control again)…and these were just lying around, so they’re getting done. I haven’t even started the getting done of things that I’m supposed to be doing for my quilt guild challenge. Borders on the alien bed quilt next, so I can quilt it at my mom’s. Plus two wool quilts that need quilting.

Also need to get this current quilt done and on to the next one, although I can’t keep up with the evil shit the Supreme Court keeps doing, so I need to do a Roe v Wade quilt, a teacher prays but only if they’re Christian quilt, and a climate change quilt. Again. Not to mention LGBTQ rights and anti-female sentiment and and and…sigh.

Kitten has decided that this bag of science books from my co-teacher is her favorite in the whole world…

I’m not sure I will ever get that bag back from her.

Simba says hi…

He’s glad it’s a little cooler today.

And this cat…Nova…really needed my love and attention last night despite my trying to cut things out…

This is why I’m always covered in fur. I stopped and petted her for a while and then she let me cut things again.

Meanwhile, my neighbors are having a tree removed today. Is that better than swim lessons on the other side? Or jackhammering in the back corner? I don’t know. I think I’ll be OK if I turn some sound on…music or Netflix or anything but power tools and small children. Also I think I need to make a cloth cover for the part of the desk in front of my keyboard because my arms don’t like the wood when it’s hot out. IDK why. I’m currently putting two napkins on the desk instead of sticking to the wood all day. Also maybe should walk away from the computer. Copyediting for 7 days straight does this to my brain.

Happy July y’all. It’s officially the only full month I have off from school. So I have jury duty. Yeah. Thanks. I am going to enjoy all the fabric stuff I do today though…in between gardening stuff and maybe a trip to the gym. But lots of fabric.

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.

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.

Post-School Brain Fog…

Ah yes. I survived another year of teaching. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and want to cry most of the time, and I was awake at 4:38 AM this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep until I typed some things in a to-do list, but I’m not sure that shit’s not just normal Nida behavior. My co-teacher and I banged out a rough plan for 8th grade science while waiting for her to get her room checked out (I had mine signed off during the meeting where the parent didn’t show up). I have two huge piles of books I need to either read, learn, memorize, or use for next year. I still need a good college textbook for space science. A little light summer read. Apparently everything I’ve learned in Star Trek and The Expanse will not be transferable. Dammit. The weather is gorgeous here, I have science meetings already planned for the next two weeks, the Man is hiking again, and I might be able to see him in two weeks. Maybe. SIGH.

Look! It’s my team! Which will change and be bigger next year…

No stress. Just more changes. Lots of them. A fuckload of them.

Giant Ass Sigh. Hello summer. I needed you. Don’t get too hot.

OK, so I have been ironing Wonder Under to fabric, mostly in an exhausted fashion. This was Wednesday night.

I ironed a cannon. And some other stuff.

Then last night, after 3 hours with the same group of kids, then a bunch of cleaning, then a school party (only one drink), and then a Zoom meeting, I ironed more. I looked completely exhausted by then. The wonder of Zoom is that you SEE YOUR FACE.

Laid out some flesh colors…they look really peachy here.

I guess they are peachy.

Usually I try to lay out the whole body at once, since it’s all the same fabrics, but it was going to be the 200s and the 300s and then the 700 and 800s and maybe beyond. I couldn’t deal with it last night. I just did the legs and the torso. And then put those fabrics in a pile for when I get up to the torso. It’ll be OK…although I only have small amounts of a couple of them…might need to substitute. That’s why I usually lay them all out at once…in case I run out of one, so I can juggle things before I start ironing down. Ah well. Juggling fabric is something I can do pretty easily. I think I’ll be fine.

Or I will be swearing at myself in a couple of days time. Well, at least some of the flesh tones are in. I’m somewhere in the 200s…or 300s…hard to say because I haven’t finished either.

Meanwhile, the Man’s local temperatures are dropping to 22 degrees tonight (it’s delightful here…I did say that). He has a pass to go over today or tomorrow that hopefully isn’t too bad. I have a friend’s daughter’s wedding to go to tomorrow…need to clean the bird shit off the car and figure out which boots I’m wearing (it’s outside in the dirt). Also need to get a short massage so the chiropractor can budge my neck, take the dog to the vet, and cook dinner. I really need a nap…that 4:38-AM thing really threw my brain.

It’ll be two weeks before my brain is really working well again anyway. Post-school fog…commence!

All the Things…

Today we take the whole grade bowling. I’m realizing next year, I will be on two grade levels and I don’t even know how that will work. I don’t know how anything will work. It will be my first year dealing with graduation too. Ugh. Not a fan. Today we just go bowling though. All our concerns about taking some of these kids out and about are noted. We have lists and plans and backup plans and in the end, it’s just more survival. I’ve come home from school the last two days so exhausted that I just read my book for about an hour before doing anything.

I’ve finished two books in the last 5 days and am on a third. All the same author. More importantly, mostly the same WORLD. Not this one. Fantasy. Not always pretty fantasy, but certainly easier to deal with than reality. Reality is my classroom and trying to get everything put away. Not pretty at all.

I did finish grades on Monday; stayed at school until they were done. Had some issues with a couple of kids in the end, but whatever. We’re done now and one issue is documented to hell and back because I know that mom. (Thanks, mom, for making my job harder and enabling your kid to half-ass it.) But they’re done! Woohoo! That’s a moment right there.

I have been dragging myself off the couch to work on the art quilt…started picking dirt fabrics on Monday night…

Here’s the setup…quilt drawing hanging precariously from clothespins so I can see all the pieces with numbers.

Iron them down and rough cut the section out…

I didn’t get them all ironed down before bedtime.

Then I stare at it for a while and pick the next batch of colors…last night, I finished the dirt, picked some rocks, and a volcano. Damn, though…I just realized I missed some of the volcano pieces. It’s OK. I’ll fix that tonight.

That’s why I hold onto all the fabrics used in the quilt until it’s all put together…in case I need to find one orange fabric in my stash…this narrows it down to just the oranges used in this quilt.

It’s a slow start. I’m really tired and not ironing particularly fast. The next three days won’t be a lot different. But it’s a great stage of the quilt to be working on…the fabric choosing is one of my favorite parts.

These baby birds (they are big babies now) have been screeching their little heads off, but as soon as I come out, they shut up quick and freeze…

They must be close to fledging.

So Cal Mama is going to the 38th Annual New Legacies: Contemporary Art Quilts at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, opening July 9 through September 10.

Check her out.

OK, 4 hours of bowling stuff, then 2 hours of kids in the classroom with movies and me cleaning up. Then exercise class, which might kill me at that point, based on my energy levels after school the last 2 days. Nap? No, gotta cook dinner, read my book, iron more stuff. Then graduation tomorrow, which means being locked in our rooms for 3 hours with the same group of kids (please don’t come please don’t come). Clean up, party, exhaustion. All the things. That’s where we’re at. Meanwhile, the Man is having health issues and is heading to a clinic. Hopefully an easy fix and back on trail, but we don’t know. Hoping though.