Do I Need to Make Gravy?

Today I will be celebrating Black Friday by cooking a turkey, mashing potatoes, and eating a lot of carbs. Wait. I know this was supposed to happen yesterday, but a goodly number of us out there end up doing this more than once with different people. Yesterday, I was lucky and didn’t have to cook, but got food, thanks to the man’s fam. Today, I am in charge of some things and the boychild has stepped up to be an awesome stand-in for his sister, who is in Finland.

No explanation on that photo. At least he is wearing a mask.

I have barely exercised in the last week, due to illness and then just being busy and/or mentally incapable, plus it got hot all of a sudden, Santa Ana winds bringing the 80-degree temperatures to November again. I’m hoping for a hike tomorrow.

Today, though, I have to go buy more cheese because it was moldy and I need it for the green beans, and then I need to pick up my brining turkey from the ex’s house (my fridge was full),

so yeah, that bucket is coming back in the car, and then make potatoes and clear off the table and shit, we need two more chairs, and every time I walk in the door, I miss Calli lying totally in the way and lifting her head to say hi, or until the last week or so, getting up and whining her helloes with a toy in her mouth. Ugh. I miss her. Lots.

I graded yesterday, finishing off three assignments and ignoring the idiotic email from a kid asking why I was returning one of them (because I graded it, sweet dingbat). I also read my book and cleaned up a little and wrote down the details of a drawing that popped into my head at Pilates on Wednesday, and finally booked the AirBnb for QuiltCon in Arizona (I’m taking two decidedly NOT modern quilt classes), thus committing to the largest event with people that I’ve been at since…well…since school. I CAN DO IT. I figure the AirBnb over a hotel is not only cheaper, but will give me a small space just for me where I can decompress from all the people. I’m weirded out by going alone, but maybe the man will come and hike instead of quilting. He’s not really a quilter.

In awesome news, Swallow Me Whole got into Excellence in Quilts, and I figured I was out of the museum show, because it was way too big (I have very few pieces that will fit a 30×30″ requirement), but they emailed me and asked if I would send it, all 76″ x 66″ not-really-a-square of it, and I’m like YEAH I will, so it will be at the Virginia Quilt Museum from February 15-April 9, 2022. Enjoy it!

Last time I had a quilt in Virginia, Fox News was all over it. Let’s see how this one rolls.

Yes, I also have been cutting things out. I was so close to done last night, but I was tired (early morning skunk wake-up call) and didn’t have another 45 minutes in me…here’s Wednesday night’s progress…

Actually, here’s 5 nights of progress…

Start at the bottom right…first night…and you can see the piles changing size. It’s the only way I can see that I’m getting anywhere…and here’s last night’s…

Toldja I was almost done. Tonight for sure. But first, roasting a turkey and mashing 4 pounds of potatoes or maybe 5 or is it 6? I just don’t remember how many pounds of potatoes I can eat. And family…hanging out with my own people for the evening. They won’t care if I wear pajamas, although I will shower first. Then I can sort the pieces and maybe start ironing the whole thing together. The next quilt is already drawn in my head, which is cool. Just have to get it out on paper. I have more to grade, as well, but it’s not all getting done before we get back no matter what, so I’m going to try not to stress about it too much. Although now I’m wondering if we have gravy for tonight. Do I need to make gravy? Shit.

I Should Listen…

Weird days, y’all. I’m in a funk. My sewing machine is being cranky. I want to draw. Really badly…but there are 17,000 emails about late work from kids. I banged through 50 of them last night, some legit, some lame-ass how can I turn it in without actually doing any work. Deep breaths. This is what the next week looks like. Lots of grading. Get through it.

I walked last night in response. And then finished ironing the quilt I’ve been working on. I didn’t want to fight the machine and I needed a win, an art brain success.

There wasn’t much left…one arm and hand, a bunny, the base dirt, and the head. I ironed the face and eyeball separately. It’s easier to see them that way and then just place them on top.

It didn’t take long.

Total ironing time on this was 3 hours and 21 minutes. A chunk of that was trying to find a background fabric for it.

I didn’t want to use yardage when I knew I’d have something big enough in the regular stash. Sure enough, there it was. It was probably the background on another piece somewhere.

So now I will have to suss out the machine issue and see if I can make it work without taking it in. Hopefully.

I also stitched these the other night, part of my QuiltCon learning experience.

I took a class from Maria Shell. I’ve always been fascinated with the improv quilts that are mostly traditional patterns but not so traditional placement and colors. I can make a small one, I think. Maybe. Honestly, I’m having a hard time getting enough info from the videos in the time allotted. I have until tonight at midnight. I’m taking notes and there are handouts, but you know how that goes. If you’re in the class, physically (on Zoom or a classroom), you do the things right then and there. Watch a video? You’ll probably never finish. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m just making units right now. Freehand cut. Apparently I freehand cut pretty evenly. I had to work to get them uneven. Amusing.

OK, work today. It’ll be OK. The pile of late work will get dug through before it buries me. I have my first vaccination appointment on Friday (finally teachers). I’m not in the classroom yet, but I want to be. I can’t be without it. I talk to my doctor next week about whether it will be safe enough in August. We know nothing, right? Well, we know some things. It might never really be safe, but I’m hoping we get closer than we have been. And art! I should do some of that tonight, in and around pilates and book club, both good things, but not art. I could draw during book club. Maybe? I could try anyway. I have two drawings yelling at me to get out. I should listen.

All That…

It’s a Monday morning. We all have feelings about that. My current feeling is that I’m not ready. I did get almost caught up with grading…well, until this week, when everything at the end of everything is due. Friday will feel overwhelming, for sure, but for now, I’m trying to get to a place of managing that. The trimester ends next Friday, the science unit ends this week, all the art projects end this week. And the month ends! It’s probably not related. Plus in the last week and a half, there are 4 pickups for art. I’m handling 2 of them and the men are handling the other 2, because they’re all during my work day…during a normal person’s work day, honestly. So yeah. Not sure what I’d be doing if I didn’t have people home to do pickups. Negotiating alternate pickup methods, I guess.

Did anyone do QuiltCon? I am realizing I prefer an actual class with a teacher talking to me to a pre-recorded video class. So be it. I’m in it for the human interaction. I watched both my classes, but haven’t started due to materials issues and time issues and just plain issues. I might get there. We’ll see. I missed the lecture I signed up for because I forgot about time zones, which I’m sad about, but it was recorded, so I watched it anyway: Chawne Kimber, who looks like fun to watch quilt. Like she’d be fun to take a class from. Future thoughts. I’m also signed up for the SAQA conference in April; looking forward to that, although some of the events start right when school ends, which could be complicated. We’ll see. My current QuiltCon project, by the way, looks like this.

That’s not much there. It might become more. We’ll see.

I did some other stuff, embroidery finishing, then piecing, and putting borders on, but it’s a recent Sue Spargo piece that hasn’t been published yet, so I can show anything but the cat guarding one of the spools of thread.

Just know I’ve been working on it and it will eventually show up here, probably in the next month or so. Mostly brainless easy stuff that I can do when nothing else is working.

Saturday, we did a longer hike (it was actually 1.4 miles shorter than it was supposed to be, not sure why)…this is another Coast to Crest challenge hike, from 2019-2020 though. It starts in Del Dios Highland Preserve, on the Lake Hodges side.

And basically it goes up 1100′ in less than a mile, no switchbacks. It’s not impossible…just hard.

And then at some point, you cross over into Elfin Forest Recreational Forest. This is not all the way up.

But we didn’t start that high up, for sure.

Spring has started to show up.

The point is to get to the Lake Hodges overlook, but you walk by Olivenhain Reservoir to get there.

It was the longest 6 miles I’ve ever done. It just felt hard.

Although the weather was perfect…cool with a breeze.

So yeah, we started at the level of Lake Hodges…down there.

Yeah. So my legs are still feeling it two days later.

Mostly flat. Literally 1365′ feet up and then back down. Averages out.

Anyway. Not a bad hike…might be easier to go up the Elfin Forest side? Hard to say.

Hey! There’s my piece in the California Fibers: Historical References show that is currently open in Los Angeles.

Yeah, mine is the big one, One of My Kind. There are appointments available to go see it, or you can see it online.

I did do the stitch down on the little owl last night…then sandwiched it.

And then fought the sewing machine and the sewing machine foot for a while and gave up and read my book. Because life is too short for fighting machines. I’ll try again tonight.

For now, I need to get some work done. A pissy parent demanding things, plus getting ready for school and teaching and all that.

Doing Something

Fast week. Too fast. I haven’t graded anything from last week. Was sort of caught up. Totally am not now. Ah well. Such is the life of a teacher. It’s definitely been life of a teacher this week. We voted (against) a memorandum of understanding that would have put many teachers back in the classroom 5 days a week, which honestly I think was the least of the MOU’s issues. More so? The district’s need to bang on massive professional learning requirements in the middle of a pandemic. I don’t trust them. This year was supposed to be “no new programs” unless they were curriculum (ours sucks by the way and we’ve dumped it), but here I am trying to navigate a reading program that is sort of driving me bonkers. Luckily I have a team of people who try to help, because I’d be lost otherwise.

The other day, I got Zoom bombed by who knows who. I’ve got 6 or 7 email addresses, only one that’s not generic. I let two of them in at the beginning of class when everyone gets in, but when they didn’t answer in the chat (I have a couple kids who come in with the wrong names), I removed them…and then sat there trying to teach while they kept dinging the entry bell (I can turn it off, but I’d have to remember to keep checking the waiting room).

They actually started with all this stupid Rolex stuff, which I guess is how I know they’re kids. I mean, who gives a shit about Rolex? I was intrigued by Vladimir Putin…I think that’s where I thought they must not be MY kids.

It’s spelled correctly. I love my kids, but spelling is hard. This is when I texted the principal, who sent the AP in.

I was hoping for a blocking solution, which we eventually found (after class was over). Most effective technique? Ignore. Leave them in the waiting room, don’t talk about it, eventually they get bored and leave. If you remove, they come back with a different name. If you report to Zoom, you have to fill out a long, complicated form for each one. I don’t have time for that shit. It’s fixed now, so that’s good. If you’re envious of my teacher life, of being home and sitting on my ass all day, apparently doing nothing, you too can enjoy shit like this. Sigh. I made them mad though. That makes me laugh I guess. Fuck you Putin.

Really the week has been about managing some end-of-trimester and end-of-unit projects…and thinking I could get some work done during that. Yeah, not happening. I’m trying. I’m also not feeling well. Had another low blood sugar incident in the middle of the night, plus possibly sick? Not sure. I have so few immune exposures these days…like how could I get sick? I haven’t been hardly anywhere this week. Anyway, I went to bed early last night and feel OK this morning…not great. I have a doctor’s appointment in a few weeks to see if we can figure this stuff out that’s making me feel off…not every day, but often enough that it’s an issue.

In good news, Quilt Con opened Wednesday night. I have two classes (not live), a lecture, and a show to go check out (haven’t had time yet). My quilt guild made a community quilt…find my two blocks! I can’t.

I know I did one simple stripy one on the left that had white and blue in it, and one of the kelp flags on the right…that I think only had one blue? Or a blue and a white? Not sure. Could scroll through and find the pictures if I cared enough. Looks cool put together anyway.

Wednesday night, I had enough energy to sort the ironed pieces…

In the middle of my chaotic work table. One of the reasons I’m working small right now is a matter of organizational space for larger quilts that is just not available. Between art and science, I need the space through the end of March. Well, less so for art after next week. I think. But science will make up for it…chemical reaction unit. A million demos.

I had a stitching meeting last night, so I started ironing the smaller quilt together.

Small is fast. This isn’t super small, just smaller than I normally do.

I got 200 pieces ironed down, so just another 80 or so to do and it’s done. Super fast. Maybe tonight?

Reading a new book…

Ah womanhood. I guess it could go either way.

OK, it’s Friday and I have a ton of schoolwork to do. Gonna go do some of it. Not sure what this weekend holds. Work. Maybe a hike? Maybe art? Maybe trying out some of this QuiltCon stuff? I have an assignment to do before I can come back and watch the rest of the first class video. The second one, I could keep watching (and will eventually), but I’d like to try it too before I get too far in the instructions and forget all of them. So that means doing something. Maybe that’s what this weekend is…doing something. We’ll see.

Started as a Quiet Friday Night*

I think I’m finally getting past last week’s exhaustion. It took going to bed way earlier than I usually do. I took my book with me and read some pages. Then woke up later and hadn’t turned a page (well, electronically), so obviously I’d slept through some bit. Finally gave up on the book and performed sleep maneuvers as well as I could (which if you’re exhausted is pretty damn good) for a full 7 or 8 hours. A miracle for me. I feel better than I did last night. That part where you’re so tired you feel dizzy? Nah. Don’t like that.

And I’m almost done with my book. I hate that feeling of not knowing what you’re going to read next. It’s not like I have a shortage of books to read…just what do I feel like reading next? I just don’t know. Do I want to stay in this universe that I’m reading that has like 9 600-page books? Or do I want to read something else? I just don’t know yet.

Today I have to deliver a quilt. I found it last night, deep in a giant roll of quilts that I deposited on the boychild’s bed, because there’s already shit in the girlchild’s room. I’ll put it back when I have help to do so. Hopefully there’ll be more quilts to pull in the next month or so. I have a couple of entries out. I need to ship one to LA at some point too. Ugh.

What I really want to do today is iron a bunch of Wonder Under to fabric. I think I finally have enough sleep in me to do that. Although grading will happen at some point. And more blissful sleep, I hope.

I got this bag as part of my Kickstarter reward for the Social Justice Sewing Academy donation. They’re still doing cool stuff. You should still donate. I also got a patch…need to decide where it should go.

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So that’s obviously a house, a sun, and a windmill. The green thing is an alien spaceship. That’s how my brain works anyway.

So I’m debating going to QuiltCon in Pasadena. If I went, it would only be for about 3 hours or so, though. I have to be in LA for an opening at 3 PM, so this would be on the way. And I’d have to get up and outta here early. And I’d be gone all day.

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It’s hard to lose a weekend day…for school and art and all the errands and crap I get done when I’m not working 10- to 12-hour days. Aargh. Sigh. I guess the question is what am I going for? I think modern quilts are interesting…I don’t need vendors. I guess the quilts? Well, I’m still thinking about it. I have to go up there anyway.

So at gaming last night, I finally finished this guy, the last block of April…while I killed a…a…damn, what was that giant dog thing called? Don’t remember. It was a good dice roll though. I did not mention the chaos star that the DM forgot about. Or maybe he was just being nice. Who knows?

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So May’s blocks are already finished, and now I’m working on the three blocks of June…doing some couched road that is gonna be wonky as hell. I’m OK with that.

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It seems like I have an awful lot of this quilt done, until I realize I have to do June, July, August, September, and October, with three blocks each. So 15 more blocks. There’s a few more done that are attached to other things that are having the wool sewn down. Different box. Not pulling that out right now.

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It’s fun to work on these though. Even if I’m only sewing on them every two weeks, it seems. I certainly got more done when I was going to soccer games every weekend. Oh well. They’re not as high a priority as the art quilts, that’s for sure.

Girlchild is still posting from Madagascar…she’s still about a week behind in her posts, but seems to be doing one a day now. She leaves for a lemur trip on Monday. We’re all jealous.

OK, art tasks and then artmaking and whatever else fits in the holes around that. It’s a plan.

*Marian Hill, Down