Brain Back…

OK, Wednesday evening I finally got my brain back. Serious fog up until then. I’m not saying things have been easier, but certainly thinking has been easier. School is a dumpster fire at the moment, although I hammered stuff yesterday and managed to slog through part of the assignments. More slogging today. Because holy crap, how can I possibly expect the kids to work? It’s so close to summer! (rolls eyes). Also, to the mom who called because her kid texted her that I wouldn’t let her go to the bathroom, please tell me…would you rather that I make sure your kid hears the instructions, is on task, and is completing her work without wasting time? Or would you rather she gets to go to the bathroom whenever she wants? Because I can’t do both. Seems like the latter. Good luck with her grade then…that’s on you. Don’t email me about what she’s missing. You can figure that out on the grade program.

I’m so glad it’s Friday. I don’t have enough saved-up energy to deal with some of the things that are being thrown at me. Most of us don’t. I’m just trying to get prepped for next week, get caught up on grades (ha!), and get the stuff done that needs to be done. That’s it. Then come home and maybe walk the dog. Seems like a good day for it.

Wednesday night, I finally got the quilt pinbasted. I had to piece the backing and wash the batting…

She’s not even that big.

But there are lots of details that need line quilting to bring them out.

It won’t be fast…

But I will enjoy doing it.

Last night, I got all the way around the outside…

And then quilted a hare…

And a few flowers. That’s 45 minutes of work right there. So I’m gonna be here a while. I’m OK with that. I need to start drawing the next quilt though…deadlines. So many of them now that things are opening back up…which is good, but stressful with my workload.

Last night, I got 2 hours of stitching with friends.

In 2 hours, I stitched a whipped backstitch around two of these flowers. Two. That’s it. I’m slow. It’s also the second night this week I’ve eaten dinner at 9 PM. No one around to help cook on Tuesday and Thursday. Ah well.

I’m virtually attending this year’s SAQA conference and they offered a fish instead of a swag bag. I totally went for the fish.

Love this happy fluffy thing…from Goatfeathers Studio. They look like fun.

I’m back to meditating every night with an app and a cat instead of my sketchbook…

Can’t say the cat is particularly helpful, but at least last night, she wasn’t trying to sit on my face. The other cat is currently trying to headbutt my shoulder while I’m typing. Not a fan. Apparently I haven’t petted her enough today. WTF.

OK. I have to go to work. I need to get everything done that I can so I don’t have to bring it ALL home (grade file for progress reports opens next week). At least I get two days off to decompress a little, walk some, hike some, sleep some, quilt some. Maybe write more about our trip, because I don’t have time to do it now. Going to appreciate that…plus SAQA conference stuff tomorrow…wish more of the stuff during the week was late enough for me to see in real time, but that’s not a thing apparently. Ah well…

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.

Drawing on Vacation

I’m back! I haven’t had WiFi for a week, obviously. I had enough cell coverage to post Instagram photos, but then my phone died and refused to charge for a bit. There’s so many photos and stories from the last week that I can’t even deal. Maybe a little at a time. Let’s start with the drawings…because I basically did one a day. That’s the best part of being away from the house on vacation…I can’t distract myself with the to-do list that’s here. I can read, I can stitch, I can hike, or I can draw. So I draw mostly at night with a headlamp while the Man builds (and stares deeply into) a fire. It’s my form of staring deeply into a fire, I guess.

The first drawing is actually from the trip to Boston to see the girlchild. She needed a nap and I needed some down time, so I went back to my AirBnb and drew and watched some Marvel movie I thought I hadn’t seen (I think I only hadn’t seen the beginning…like I was grading during the beginning of the movie?)…

When I’m really tired, just drawing concentric or parallel lines is one thing I can do.

Then I was home for about 36 hours (max) and we left to go camping. The first two nights, we were in Ojai, California.

Everyone asks why Ojai? I don’t know. It was on the map and had hikes and campsites. We are short on money right now, so no fancy restaurants and wine tastings. Well, we did one, but not in Ojai. I used the ridgeline to start her back and then filled in from there.

This was the second night in Ojai, after a particularly difficult (it shouldn’t have been, but it was) hike…

I drew a bunch of the stuff I’d seen on the hike, plus the campfire and the mountains and the oaks.

The next night, we made it to Paso Robles and our one stay inside. The first night, we went to see Sensorio (more on that later). I didn’t actually draw that night…this was the next day, when it was a bit drizzly in the morning and we decided against the hike we’d planned.

Then later that day, we headed out to a winery with a bunch of sculpture and had a (very expensive) wine tasting.

Still focusing on the landscape; lots of trees and grapevines in this one. I didn’t finish this one, actually, until later in the day. We headed over to Tin City, which has lots of winery tasting rooms. We picked a brewery instead, because it had a food truck, and we hung out there for a while, watching the people (some) and dogs (mostly). I finished that drawing and started another…

Although I did most of the embellishment on this one the next night in the campground at Pinnacles National Park, after a 6-mile afternoon hike (mostly flat).

The next night, I drew this one…

After seeing condors just sitting on a rock and in a tree. Amazing stuff.

From there, we drove through Morro Bay and down to Pismo Beach, where we stayed in the Oceano Campground. Another fire, another drawing…

The sea otter showed up from hanging out by the bay. It’s a relief to be able to just draw and draw. My school days have been so full and heavy that drawing for no purpose but to draw is just not happening. I’m too tired and have no mental energy, unless I’m working on a specific project. Then I make written lists of things and figure out how to fit them in a drawing. It’s not like these, where I just doodle my brain out on the paper.

The last night in Pismo Beach, we had talked about my leaving the Man in Kennedy Meadows the next day to avoid the snow that was supposed to be coming in. Plus honestly, I was tired. I don’t sleep well with weird noises, and we had two nights of frogs, really loud, inconsistent frogs, and then one night of some big squawky birds (heron, egret, or cormorant…not sure which), and my foot had been hurting and I was tired of not eating enough vegetables. Seriously. I just had a salad. It was delightful. I think I just wanted to be home and sleep in a bed. I wasn’t ready to camp in snow and wind.

So I drew this…

Which was literally us sitting around the campfire. I knew he wanted me to stay another night in Kennedy Meadows, but bad weather and driving alone stress me out, and I need to be back at school on Monday, and there are a bunch of things that need to happen before then. So I made the decision to drive home yesterday. I’m still exhausted today, and probably will be tomorrow. And there wasn’t as much snow up there as predicted, but I know I wouldn’t have slept for yet another night. So I made the best decision I could.

I’ll be back up there at the end of May to pick up all the equipment he doesn’t need on the PCT, so I’ll get to camp there then. I am hoping to find some drawing time between now and then, but going into the end of the school year is not usually an easy time no matter what. We’ll see how it goes. Why did I leave him there? He’s working up there until he hikes, trying to put away some money so he can hike further. Potentially he’ll be gone through the end of July, knock on wood and barring any injuries.

More tomorrow, assuming I can get my head around it.

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…

School Dreams…

It doesn’t feel like the last day of school before Spring Break…well, except for the school-related dreams. Hate those. Like I don’t already spend enough time at school…I shouldn’t have to go there when I sleep. Yesterday I worked a million hours, trying to get through a good chunk of the planning and grading I have so I don’t have to think about it until the weekend before I go back. I leave tonight for Boston; I’m mostly packed. I will leave 100-degree temperatures here and go to a morning low of 46 degrees, feels like 34. Hard to dress for that. We have a field trip today and I had nightmares about that. Some kid requires coping strategies that are over a page long? Maybe a parent should come? Instead of putting that on me? I don’t just have one kid to watch out for. Whatever. Hopefully once we get on buses, it won’t be too bad. Knock on wood. Then teach two classes after the trip (that’s always exhausting…here! Keep teaching!), then make sure the classroom is ready to be cleaned, then get outta here. I’m lucky to have 2 weeks off.

All the grading and packing really ate into my artmaking time last night. I spent the 45 minutes I had available entering an opportunity that came up, so I’m OK with that, but it’s hard to take pictures of me resizing photos and submitting them. Not very interesting to look at.

I did a bunch of stitchdown on Wednesday night, though, a couple of hours, I think.

It’s not hard. It’s just time-consuming. I might get some done tonight before I leave. Maybe.

Kitten needed her belly shaved for an ultrasound. She’s OK. We’re hoping the new food helps so I don’t have to try to get another pill down her throat every day. I finished stitching down the whole bottom section and am up in the arms. Maybe more than a fifth. But the deadline I have is probably a no go. We’ll see. I always have hope. Might be very misguided hope, but it is hope nonetheless.

This is very true.

I had one last night who aced the assignment, but only because I accepted the word “pacific” instead of “specific”. She wrote it about 5 times, but everything else was spot on. She’s an amazing kid and English is obviously not her first language. I remember handing homework assignments to my sister-in-law (also a teacher, although not full-time any more) once and her slogging through them…someone who actually had experience with teaching, but she was thrown by the levels we deal with. It’s exhausting. All of it. The adults and the district are even more so, honestly. So I’m glad to leave it behind for some time and take a break.

Sigh. Looking forward to reading books and stitching and drawing and hiking and sleeping.

The owls are still here…

I’m hoping I don’t miss anything over the next two weeks. No babies until I get back!

OK, wish me luck. It’s a busy day. Hopefully I sleep on the plane. Hopefully the plane gets there. It’s already delayed, but I should show up at the original time because they don’t want it to be delayed? Whatever. Kitten is hanging out here by the computer…the Man might have a job, but in Kennedy Meadows. That’s a big sigh. On so many levels. Going to school to get everything done.

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.

Revising…

There is currently a cat head under my elbow. I’m not sure why. Kitten needs lots of attention these days. Usually she jumps up on the table, puts her butt in front of me for a second, and then moves on to the nice sleeping place behind the fabric. Today I get cat headbutts…she has now moved to the table and is headbutting my chin as I type. OK. Now she just bit me. Because I was petting her wrong. Sigh. Calicoes. They are cantankerous.

This weekend. Pro: finished a bunch of shit. Con: didn’t finish all of it. My quilt guild had their first in-person birthday…our first meeting was supposed to be in April of 2020. So it was our 2-year birthday when we finally had a party…

We did a little printing project, which was cool…

Also, on Saturday, I delivered two quilts that will be in the California Fibers’ show Inside Out that is opening at Visions Art Museum on April 16. I went to my guild meeting. I came home and mopped floors and did some other stuff, then went to another art meeting, came back, and hiked 3 miles.

The hike was good. The meetings were good. It was weird to see so many people in such a small space for the second meeting. So many unmasked people in a small space. And a few of the people who didn’t come emailed about testing positive. I’m getting on a plane this Friday…I don’t want to get sick before then…so I’m still one of the few teachers at school who is wearing a mask. Plus I saw my parents last night…sigh.

In quilt news, I got a little ironing in on Friday night…

More sky, a rocket ship, the stuff around the face.

Then Saturday night, I did the rest…

Got the face done…the hawk…

And the rest of the sky. Then last night, I pieced a background and ironed it all down…

I need to do a little more steaming before I do stitchdown, but that’s 22 hours of ironing there. As my dad said, it’s pretty colorful. I wasn’t expecting that, but the sky really had an effect on the piece. Yes it’s weird that I don’t really know what it looks like until I get to the end…and even now, all the outlining that will happen when I quilt it will change it again.

So revising my goals on this thing once again…get the stitchdown done this week and get it sandwiched and pinbasted before I leave for Boston (that’s 4 nights I have…ha! Oh my). Then I am home for exactly two days, if I’m lucky, before the end of Spring Break. Can I finish it before the deadline? I don’t know. Probably not? But I’ll try. I’ll finish it anyway, and it will go somewhere…but this school year is still kicking my butt. I’ll be glad to have a break next week. Some reading, some hiking, some stitching, some change of scenery. All good.

All That Hope…

Three years ago on April 1, we were lighthearted enough to switch classes at school. I taught history for one period, someone taught my science class. It was April 1 and we would only answer to the name of the teacher we were supposed to be. Two years ago, we were scrambling to deal with COVID and school. We were supposed to be going on Spring Break, but we had sent everyone home, and our district wasn’t ready for us to come back, so there was 5 weeks of a break that didn’t feel like a break. Last year, I was all virtual, never left the house, teaching art and science on Zoom, so April Fools didn’t even rank on my priority list. Today, we talked about things to do at school, but this group of post-COVID kids (are we post-COVID when I’ve had at least one positive case in my class in the last week?) is currently a bit out of control and we’re not gonna rock that boat. We’re gonna hope none of the kids do either.

Today is a mess. My car needs work before we take off camping in less than two weeks. I need to run errands after work, but I won’t have my car until 5:30. Tomorrow is chock full of stuff, and there are some things I need to do tonight to get ready for that. How late is Home Depot open? I’m hoping to have the energy to do all the things. As always. Really, I just want to read my book. As always.

I haven’t actually gotten much ironing done in the last two nights. I was fairly efficient on Wednesday night, despite dealing with exercise class and vet after school. I got everything in the torso done…

And then pulled it all off the teflon sheets and readjusted it so I could work on the upper half.

I did a little bit of the mountains above her shoulders and the neck. Ready for the sky up there…I think I have less than 200 pieces left? I have about half the 400s (all big sky pieces mostly), then about half the 1200s and maybe 30 in the 1300s. Very doable for tonight, once I get everything else done that I need done for tomorrow. I have two quilts to prep for drop off at a show, but I’m realizing I don’t know when pick up is for the other show in the same venue. I was expecting to hear from them, but I haven’t. Ugh. Can’t pick up on the same day I think? I’ll email.

Yup. Just emailed. Feel like the next week is going to be a level of chaos that I will not appreciate. The right eye isn’t QUITE twitching, but it’s close.

Kitten telling me that she did not appreciate not getting her breakfast on Wednesday before going to the vet.

She’s an old lady and we now get to deal with some special foods for her, but she’s still rambunctious (almost killed The Man who was trying to take her to the vet).

With any luck, I’ll get this quilt ironed to a background this weekend and start the stitchdown. Hopefully. I don’t see how I’m going to get her quilted and bound and photographed in time for the deadline, not if I’m gone for days. I need Spring Break away from home, though. I need to get out in nature and freeze to death in a tent and cook over a tiny stove and hike into some open spaces before I can finish out the school year. When we get back from Spring Break, there are 38 days of school left. Eight weeks. It’ll be the longest 8 weeks of the year, but it won’t be endless. There’s always an end. For this quilt. For this school year. Hopefully for COVID. Hopefully for the Russian attack on the Ukraine. Can I get some bigger hopes in here? For racism and sexism and all discrimination, and climate change and dictators and nuclear threats and all of it. Yeah. Better to start Friday with all that hope than to look at that to-do list and panic.