Hmmm. Am I walking too much? 20 miles in 9 days? Not so bad. If I were through-hiking the PCT, I’d have to do that every day. This is just in bits and bobs; 3.6 miles is the short bit, my regular weekly stomp up and down local hills. Added a couple of 4+ milers, one with dog and boychild, one with the man. I’m feeling it this morning. Plus? It helps me sleep. When I am doing more, though, I know that’s a sign that the stuff in my head is being cranky…apparently more so in the last week or so.

I’ve been quilting the Sue Spargo block-of-the-month from a million years ago…wool is not so hard, apparently. Nah, it’s really soft and mostly forgiving.

This is the first wool quilt I’ve ever quilted. I outlined everything so it would stand up, and then started quilting in the background.

Mostly spirals, but some other random stuff. There’s stars and stripes in there.

Some echo quilting around the leaves…

An occasional cloud or swirly bit. And then I ordered more thread, because I will need it.

OK, so I guess that means I can quilt all my wool pieces (there are three of them ready to go). It’s brainless and that’s what I need right now.

I started around the edges, so I’ll still need enough for the middle, and then maybe some parts inside flowers and birds in a different color. We’ll see.

We started hiking the San Diego River Valley’s 2019/2020 Coast to Crest challenge hikes because…well, why not?

Apparently there are still patches left and we can get another one. This is the northern Lake Hodges part of the trail, which starts on the east side of the 15…

And goes under it…so there’s lots of road noise in the first mile…

And then it’s a relatively easy and open trail.

With a view of the lake eventually.

A stream to cross.

I was hoping for a nice relaxing hike with the man, but it turned out to be stressful. No fault of the hike. These unprecedented times mean sometimes everyone is stressed out.

I’m kind of done with unprecedented times personally.

There are many birds that are too far away to see clearly. If you’re into that. I like birds.

We hiked to the selfie spot; didn’t do the whole 7.4 miles. Not my choice. But you know how that goes. Having a hiking partner is nice. Even when it’s not.

There was a coyote, a very skinny one, under the freeway bridge on the way back.

Last night’s hike, I heard them but didn’t see them…

Set out late (and alone) after a science planning meeting that I don’t get paid for and do every week anyway. Thanks to my school board for voting on a reduction in salary plan last night. Work more, pay less. Really appreciate it y’all. It’s been a great year. This makes it so much better.

Gonna appreciate the puppy love…

And sweet kittens…

And get to work. Sigh. Ugh. It was rough yesterday. It will be rough today. Perhaps every day. And maybe after the really long union meeting I am foreseeing in my future tonight, I will make art. If I have the energy. I hope I do.

Let Me Check My Bag of Feet…

One thing that’s sucked about this year (one thing…ha haha ha hysterical laughter ensues) is that school starts a half hour earlier. I mean, it doesn’t really. We had to be at school by 8:30, school started at 9. Now actual school still starts at 9, but we’re supposed to start working at 8, and I do. Usually I start earlier, actually, since my commute is really short. And I never stop. Because it’s always in my face. I did make the smart decision to move school out of my office/studio and into the living room when I started up again in August, so my studio is still my escape from work. I used to do quite a bit of schoolwork in here, and now I don’t. It’s safe here, there’s art materials, occasionally I do a Zoom meeting in here, but mostly, no. Also, the internet in here is wiggy as shit. Another reason to move out to where I can hook up directly to the internet.

Anyway, so having to start 30 minutes earlier doesn’t seem like much, but I refused to get up 30 minutes earlier, settling for 15 minutes earlier alarm time, figuring I don’t have to drive to work, so there’s the other 15 minutes. Many mornings though I still feel drugged by a lack of sleep when I start working…usually before 8. Ugh. Today is no exception. And I didn’t get enough work done this week…I’m behind on one assignment that will not be fun to score, plus all the stuff piling up from this week, oh and that other art assignment I didn’t get to yet, fuuuuuck. Yes, it’s a 3-day weekend, but I’d like to spend it all hiking and arting, and that’s not happening. I need to catch up. If you don’t stay on top of it, you get buried. Since we came back from Winter Break, and we’re teaching how we normally teach (well, best we can), it’s been much MUCH easier to get done with everything and get it graded, at least for science. Art is its own clusterfuck and will be a bigger one today when I delay some stuff because I couldn’t get done what I needed to get done for today and I’m pretty sure the real art teacher didn’t either. Sigh. Anyway, I am always trying to grab time back from my job and let there be a purpose besides a paycheck. It’s a shit year for good vibes from school, so I focus on what gives me some sense of satisfaction.

Like finishing a quilt. I didn’t post these earlier, because I am still searching my mind for a title (no, politely, I don’t want your help, many thanks, it will speak to me when I have time to listen)…

Obviously a quilt about childbirth, but the COVID virion is there as well…

Lurking in the soil with some other things.

I have an online show coming up with USC about childbirth…this Spring.

So I thought I’d do a quilt that just focused on that. I have many that refer to a variety of women’s issues related to the uterus.

Rockets are related.

Anyway, this piece is not huge…like 38″ wide by 65″ high (I’ll measure it for reals when I put it on the Gallery page)…

But it took a healthy 100 hours and 27 minutes to complete. Lots of pieces, lots of details. People ask. I started it in November 2020…and normally I would have finished it faster, but in November, my dad fell and ended up hospitalized, and interestingly, he came home Wednesday finally and I finished this quilt not that much before that. So it’s not surprising I wasn’t working fast.

Hey dad.

I went to see him, of course. I only saw him twice the whole time he was gone, due to COVID restrictions. It’s going to take a long time for him to get his memory and physical strength back, but we’re glad to have him. Even when he’s cranky.

I’ve been doing bits and pieces of artmaking in the evenings. I’m really tired these days. Exhausted I guess. Not enough sleeping is happening. I cut out the rest of the Wonder Under for the newest quilt.

This one only has 283 pieces, so it’s going super fast. It’s kind of nice.

I sorted the Wonder Under into bins last night in 9 minutes flat. It’s good I’m not doing a big one right now. I would’ve had to move all the demo stuff for chemistry and art to have the room. Maybe should stay away from a big one until we get through the chemistry units. Spring Break. That sounds good.

I’ve been doing some embroidery I’m not allowed to show you yet, but also started…no, continued quilting this Sue Spargo quilt from a million years ago. This is Earth & Twig, finished embroidering it before the girlchild went to college, but was scared to quilt it.

It’s the embroidery, man…it catches on everything and is annoying to quilt around. Plus I had never quilted wool before (that part is not hard). But mom and I talked extensively last night about FEET and the FOOT CATALOG (did you even know there was such a thing?) because my mom has ALL THE FEET IN THE WORLD and I really do not. I use TWO FEET (don’t most of us?), and when I got this machine, I couldn’t get a foot I liked, and for some reason, just put up with what it came with, but mom’s gonna call Jimmy (the sewing machine guy) and see if I can get a better FOOT. I was obviously semi-hysterical during most of the conversation, because whenever mom said she had a BAG OF FEET, I lost it.

It’s cool. It’ll be fine.

Lots of animals helping me with work these days…Simba barking at the asshole neighbor…

Good dog. There’s my super slow shitty school computer that I borrowed so I can see what the kids see on a Chromebook, but also use while my other computer is doing other things…and there’s the actual teacher-y school computer, which has its own issues, plus the monitor I pulled out of our stash of extras. And Kitten. Not helping by standing in front of the monitor that has the rubric for what I’m trying to grade.

Here’s where you get an idea of how fucking hard it is to grade online art…and it’s not just because of the cat in the way. Apparently the district is going to get us an extra monitor. For distance learning teachers. I think that’s when I first started the semi-hysterical laughter last night. Like keep shoving kids in my classes, because I don’t have to social distance, but almost a year into this fiasco, you’re gonna get me another monitor. Sigh. Fuck you. Whatever. Roll my eyes. I said they should come teach my classes today and see how it goes. People who aren’t in the classroom should NEVER EVER be allowed to make decisions about this shit. Or they should listen to us more.

Calli tolerating Nova, who is bunny-watching.

Kittens sleeping on the bed, until I came in…

They’re not kittens any more. But their faces there are very typical. Luna is pissed because I petted Nova first. Nova is a sweetheart.

My cat, Kitten, is demanding, but loving.

Follows me all over the house, demanding attention. Eating pine needles. Then throwing them up. Like a boss.

Speaking of bosses, I am sort of one…to 177…no wait, I’m down two who dropped…175 students (don’t tell the school; they’ll give me three to replace the two). And work starts in the other room in 6 minutes, enough time to take my meds and walk over there. And teach all day, trying to get everything under control and organized, trying to deal with parents who think I have time for phone calls and explanations that I’ve already said 7 or 8 times, for kids who need help (that I am willing to give) and assignments that aren’t graded or done, and planning that’s not complete, and posts that need to be made, and videos that need to be made. But a 3-day weekend will give me a little leeway, a little extra time for me and not school. And that’s a good thing to get to at the end of the day.

Stash to the Rescue!

The sun is out again. I love that about mornings. I mean, I don’t, but I do. I love the bright blue sky and the ash tree that dropped a branch but has new growth peeking out. I love that there’s no wind today (yet?)…I love the wacky weather we get sometimes, but I don’t love what it does. I have a big old eucalyptus on my property. It was there before the houses were, easily. It’s got to be over 100 years old. I can’t put my arms around it. Three people could…maybe? I get it trimmed in the rotation. The trees I’ve trimmed so far this year were the ones who dropped the big-ass branches last winter. Then I ran out of money for that…the big old euc was on the next round, along with the three or four ash tress that are up on the slope. They definitely need it. So of course, in this last round of wind, hail, and rain, the big old euc dropped a large branch (could’ve been much larger!) on the roof, bringing down an ash branch with it.

It did lightly puncture the roof, and did a little damage. Could’ve been much worse. Hopefully I’ll be able to get the money together this spring to trim this batch of trees. The roofer has already been here; we’ve already pulled the tree off, everything is covered in tarp, and the boychild got a good chunk of it into the compost bins to go tomorrow, so we’re good. No one was hurt. It’s the girlchild’s room and she’s not here, plus it didn’t go through to the room. Just stressful and costly (although that could probably be worse too).

The wonders of owning a home. So I’m good with the sunny, nonwindy skies today. Although we need the rain…and more is coming. And it’s cold right now…

OK, it’s cold for San Diego, sunny Southern California. We were down to 37 or so last night. I’m thankful for down blankets, socks, and cats. I don’t do cold well. I just get cold and stay cold. I don’t have the right clothes; I know.

I’m sort of quietly finishing a quilt over here. I’ve been working on it for almost three months. It’s not even big enough to warrant that much time, but it’s pandemic teaching time and stressful other stuff and my mind has a hard time focusing. So it’ll be done this week and then I’ll do another one. And another one. And another one. My future is secure! Funny that. Because I still want to do new things and try new media.

So I finished the quilting on Monday night…although who knows why this happened.

The machine was fighting me at the end.

Like it missed me and didn’t want me to finish…

But I have a UFO I’ve committed to finishing next for my quilt guild, so I’ll keep quilting for a few more days, once the binding is on. I promise, machine, I’ll be back.

I trimmed her last night…

After two union meetings, dinner, and a bunch of grading. Gotta love those last-minute, turned-in-blank assignments. Waste of my time. And then I found binding in my stash and got it on…I was trying to figure out when I would even be able to go to the local quilt store, because the one I like is still doing appointments, I think, so you have to call ahead and get a time, and sure, that works if you don’t work horrible hours, but I work horrible hours. I remember back in the old pre-COVID days when I’d put the quilt in my car and kamikaze out of school at the end of the day to get to the quilt store before it closed…sigh. Now she closes at 2 PM and isn’t open Sundays, so it’s Saturday morning or never. But luckily, I had some big pieces of a couple of the fabrics in the quilt, so I picked one. Stash to the rescue!

Tonight, I’ll pin it and start the hand-sewing, and email the photographer, and then think about the next one. I think I’m doing a smaller one next. This one was 37×64″, which isn’t huge. It’s actually a format I kind of like, long and skinny. I might do that again. We’ll see. I like progress, though. First finish of 2021.

OK, lots of fussy little things to get through today, just like every day. I’m tired, just like every day. Potentially contentious meeting this morning…oh yay. Gotta love those. And someone has to go buy a new handle for the bathroom door, because it broke yesterday and briefly trapped me inside. That would have been interesting. I had my phone. I could have done Zoom class in there. It just would have been weird.

Here’s to good weather, a working door handle, and artmaking time.

Macro and Micro

I’m listening to a podcast right now that’s talking about your macro goals and micro goals…there’s the big picture and there’s my picture. I am aiming for a better world, one that focuses on being more inclusive and awesome and empathetic, embracing success for all and environmental health for our future, best we can, and there’s a lot of people who don’t agree with me, but I need to keep aiming for that. Maybe I can’t change the minds of the people around me, but if I keep aiming for that big goal with my smaller goals, with my art, with teaching, with whatever I have, then hopefully people will come with me, will see whatever I put out there, and like-minded people will join me. And over time, those messages will still be out there, doing their thing. I’ve been so buried in my head with how to change minds that probably won’t change, might not change because of me…so just make the work and speak the message, and hopefully it will make a difference. Somewhere. At some point.

I don’t know how this plays out with my micro goal of what the fuck is the next quilt? But I’ll figure it out.

I’m tired today. The rain was loud last night. It kept me awake. I don’t do well with noisy nights. Also, I did a lot of non-school stuff this weekend, which I needed to do, need to keep doing, but it meant I was doing some crazy stressful catch-up stuff yesterday afternoon and evening, that stuff where I feel like I can’t take a deep breath because there’s so much of it, and then I have to stop so I can rethink how to breathe. This year is so full of that crap (by this year, I mean everything since March 13th, y’all, when they sent us home and told us not to come back). I know I’m not the only person dealing with anxiety out there. I keep thinking it looks like there’s a light, an end to this crazy, but vaccine shortages don’t help and then there’s no vaccine for kids, so what does that look like for my being back in a classroom? I just don’t know.

Anyway, so today I teach…in 20 minutes or so, I’ll sit down at the OTHER desk (separate work and personal life, well sort of, because they both happen in both places, but best you can) and try to remember what I’m supposed to be doing for school today. Saturday night, I spent some time after my class doing a training on Violent Critical Incidents (aka shooter-in-school training). I find the trainings really stressful and anxiety-causing, especially videos of kids jumping attackers; that stuff fucking terrifies me. So after that, I did some of the free-motion machine stitching on my Acropolis piece…

There’s still a bunch of hand stitching that needs to happen.

And then the man and I decided to continue this mystery box thing where we’re trying to solve a fake murder (Fake seemed OK…more that I could DO something instead of just watching). This is the second of six boxes. We were able to successfully eliminate the first suspect a few weeks back, and then the second one on Saturday night, after decoding this…

Apparently decoding shit is something we’re good at. Although we figured the code out eventually, once we’d already done all this, pretty much.

I didn’t get to quilting until last night, due to art meetings and school prep and all that crazy stuff, but I was sure I wouldn’t get much done…

But there’s a lot less stuff in the sky, so I managed to finish all the outlining…

I briefly thought, oh yeah! I’m done! But forgot about the stuff around it, the borders. So I’ll do those tonight, trim it up, and see if I have anything that will work as a binding. And then figure out what I’m working on next.

Yeah. That. Back to micro vs macro goals. Can I change the world? Probably not. But I’m gonna try. In the way I know how.

I did have to laugh as I left the studio last night. There are 5…FIVE…in-progress projects that I have worked on in the last week in here.

1 is my Craft Napa plastics project with Natalya Khorover…just needs more hand stitching and an edge finish.

2 is my applique stories woman, who needs to be hand-stitched down.

3 is the current quilt.

4 is the Acropolis piece, which needs more hand stitching and some sort of finish technique.

5 is the cross stitch I finished, which is hooped and just needs a backing, so it can be mailed off.

No wonder I feel psychotic and flailing sometimes. Too many things to focus on, and this doesn’t even touch on house stuff (24 bags of gravel in the river bed so far…need at least 12 more) or school stuff (panic attack, breathe breathe breathe). So you can see that my own art, my personal stuff, I just need to focus on it. It calms me, focuses me, helps with all the other shit. And part of this year has been not having as much mental space and time for it, and that is not helping. So find me that time. Micro goal. Find me the time.

Also, maybe be more chill. Like Kitten.

Except with a book. Or a sketchbook. Yeah.

A Wonderful Place to Be

It’s pouring rain. It’s OK. For one, Southern California needs it. For another, it’s not like I could go anywhere…well, except for a hike, and that’s not happening. I took my second Craft Napa class today, and it was fun. Valerie Goodwin makes these cool map quilts and I’ve always been fascinated with them, so it was interesting to see how she makes them and hear how she thinks.

So yeah, this was kind of a pattern class. We all started with the same basic materials and pattern, but I enjoyed thinking about transparent layers more than I think I ever have…

The map lines use a fabric-cutting machine. My mom only has 2 or 3 of those. Not that I need to do maps. I was thinking scribbles and letters and cursive writing. But I do like maps.

There’s the Acropolis. So I’m still working on this. I had to stop stitching because the paint needed to dry…

Tons more hand stitching, plus machine stitching, plus IDK what else. A fun way to spend the day, anyway. I appreciate the online opportunities to hang out and do fabric stuff I’ve never done before. I don’t need more projects to finish, but there’s something really important in looking at your art in a different way, and looking at other people’s art. I miss that with no exhibits I can go to right now…or maybe just a few? Visions isn’t open…but I guess the show up at Front Porch Gallery has limited hours. Maybe next weekend.

I did get up early (for a Saturday) for that class. Now I am tired. It’s OK. I enjoyed it.

Thursday night, I quilted with my monthly quilting group on Zoom…got a good 2 hours in…

It’s a very detailed quilt, so nothing about this is quick.

But the thread has stopped its psychotic breaking, so that makes it much nicer.

Friday night, after gaming, I went back to the torso area, which has an insane amount of detail…

Got the ribcage and the heart done…

And moved on to the face. I thought we might use the machine for class today, so I stopped there and pulled her off the machine. I have all the sky section and the tree to do, which is a lot, but it also is more than halfway done. Hopefully I’ll get some more done tonight; we’ll see.

I have a bunch of schoolwork to do, as always. I did some of it while on the stationary bike on Thursday night…

It was just posting assignments in each of the classes. I knew this weekend would be kind of full; I usually do this on Sunday, but I have a meeting then. The plus is that it’s done. I still need to make a couple of videos and post all of the art stuff, but since I don’t know what half of that is yet, it’s hard to get it done ahead of time.

Speaking of art, we’re doing cardboard sculpture next, so I’ve been teaching them joining techniques…

I guess the plus is that I don’t have to build my own version of sculpture…just show them how to do the bits and pieces. Twice. Because I have two levels of art. Ugh.

Friday, we took the dogs on a short walk. Calli can’t do the longer ones any more.

But she loves them so much. Simba is a freak…this is his response to bikes.

He basically wants to kill them. Not recommended.

Calli post hike…

Kitten didn’t even go on a hike…

But she is one of the three old ladies in the house.

This cracks me up.

It’s a new world, y’all. Except it’s not. Too many angry upset people out there still. I talk about some of that (and who the hell knows what else!) in a podcast, the Unbroken Chain podcast. I was interviewed by Maura James last weekend and she asked lots of good questions…

If you know me personally, you know I can ramble for a good long time.

Actually, if you read my blog, you already know that.

It’s how my brain works. I have lots of words and lots of pictures and they all need to get out. Here’s a link. Hopefully. If I did it right.

I appreciate her searching me out and caring enough to come up with good things to talk about. Certainly a lot of what I talked about is on my mind for the next quilt. So there’s that.

OK. I’m tired. I’m going to get more tea and decide what’s next. Still waiting for the paint to dry on Athens for me to do the machine stitching, plus I still have a quilt to finish, plus two videos to make for school, and probably there’s a bunch of other shit that needs doing that I’m just not remembering because my brain has been in artmaking mode all day, which is such a wonderful place to be. Yeah. Happy Saturday, all.

Go Well…

Ah yes. A country with someone in charge whose speeches I don’t have to diagram so that I can attempt to make any sense of them. A white guy, though. An old white guy. But our VP! Finally a woman, and a woman of color on top of it. So proud. So happy. So worried about those who still feel disenfranchised and ignored. That being-ignored feeling really sucks. I agree. Having people ignore your needs and desperate calls for acknowledgement…I mean, I’m a cis female, but white and educated, so inordinately privileged, but I get that for sure. And I worry about y’all. I don’t know what to do about it though; I don’t know how to talk to you, to help you see the world in a different way. I really try to see how you all are seeing, and I just can’t. It looks like fear and hate to me. So yeah. So many things in my head yesterday. I was lucky to see the swearing ins happen right before virtual school started…trying to watch video with kids on my computer/Zoom setup is not always a positive experience, so we talked a little about the inauguration, but then it was a normal day. Well, this crazy-ass pandemic version of normal.

I’ve been fighting my sewing machine for a few days. The thread kept breaking. I changed needles (twice), rethreaded everything (many times), cleaned out the bobbin area, used thread conditioner, sanded the throat plate, and then prayed to the goddess of the machine. Nothing helped. It improved slightly, but I was still breaking thread about every 6-10 inches of quilting. An incredibly frustrating experience.

I got to the point last night where I was like, shit, I’m going to have to take the machine in, but I’m trying to finish this quilt and I have another machine, but I’m not sure where exactly it is, and there’s a re-learning curve I don’t have the mental fortitude for right now…but sigh, how else?

And magically, really, IDK what changed, much like my blood sugar at the moment, magically, it all started to work. I could sew without the thread breaking.

For an hour. Holy moly. SO MUCH EASIER. It’s like I became a rich white man. Oh wait. No. Not quite. He wouldn’t be sewing. But you know what I mean! Things were easier, I felt like I could achieve something, the world felt like a new presidential team was in place. Yeah. That. Fuck. Yesterday was interesting. I posted this picture before…spot the Bernie.

I love the mitten story. And Bernie. And the dogs and old man in the photo, but that’s something else. This doofus…

OK. Well. I hiked on Tuesday in the wind and cold…

Apparently there’s more coming this weekend. These flowers are fascinatingly huge.

I still try to exercise every day. This is just from AllTrails, an app I use for hiking…

It doesn’t count everything I do, just the hikes I do with the app.

Yeah, my boots got over 150 miles since February, so there’s that. More to come.

Goofy cats.

I finished this…

Ready to clean it and hoop it up and send it off to its new owner.

My quilt guild is starting a UFO challenge. I needed to post at least one I could finish in the first quarter. This one, I started quilting, but gave up.

Wool is different than cotton, that’s all I can say. I can do it…but something else jumped the queue. There’s also this one…

And another one that needs pinbasting…all 3 are Sue Spargo quilts. I love the embroidery part, but IDK what I will do with them when they are done. Pick a Sue Spargo wall and switch out the three every few months? Maybe.

Ah mornings. You are not my friend.

Today is sunny at least. The crazy wind the last few days has been stressful to watch from my virtual school workspace. Today is much calmer. OK, but today, I am teaching stuff in art that I’ve never really done before (again), so that’ll be fun. FUN. And Zooming for meetings as well (one in 5 minutes). Hopefully quilting later tonight, with the new calm sewing machine behavior…maybe it will continue to go well.

Quilt with Wild Abandon…

It’s been a few days. I lost track of them, actually. The wonder of a 3-day weekend when I did things that weren’t schoolwork, right? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I worked a big chunk of Monday, grading shit, but mostly I ignored school. Mostly. Not in my head; just in my practice. It’s hard to do that, because the work has to get done sometime. In fact, a chunk of it needs to be done before school starts in 43 minutes, but it’ll happen. Somehow.

So Friday night was the last time I wrote. Since then, I participated in two Craft Napa events, and I have one coming up this weekend. I was waitlisted on one and offered today to take it, but um, yeah, so like, that’s a school day. So I picked another one instead. It’s OK. It’s really just a chance to hang out and do artsy stuff with other artsy people. The actual project doesn’t probably matter.

So Saturday night was a virtual wine tasting…

It was interesting and a good distraction for a Saturday night. We enjoyed it.

Then Sunday morning, I was up early for a recycled plastics sewing class with Natalya Khorover.

Let’s hope the girlchild doesn’t recognize the bag of hers I cut into. I don’t actually have a ton of plastic bags in the house. We have reusable bags, so not many plastic bags make it in here.

I was going to do this long quote, but decided against it…this was more doable.

I got all the letters stitched down. Need more embellishment. I’ll do that…

It was fun to take a class after months and months of not doing it. I’ve always wanted to go to Craft Napa in person, just as a break, but the timing with school is difficult, plus expense. This was very doable.

I did start quilting as well, but I’ve been plagued with thread breakages…

I’ve tried switching out the needles, conditioning the thread, cleaning everything…probably it’s a burr in the thread plate, so I’ll try to deal with that today.

So I got the bottom three layers done, the fire and rocks, basically…

Pretty damn frustrating, if you ask me.

I don’t really need more frustrating things right now.

What else? Dogs.

Lots of animals require attention here. I’m OK with that most of the time.

The man is getting his Pacific Coast Trail permit day today. We think. Hoping for the end of my Spring Break, so we can do a little camping/hiking together before he leaves for potentially 5 months.

I’m almost done with this thing…

A few more TV episodes after dinner and it will be done. Stick it in a frame and mail it to its new owner.

OK, now I can go do the school stuff I need to do and teach all day and then maybe hopefully go for a walk. Then sand down the potential burr on my needle plate and hopefully quilt with wild abandon tonight until I need to go to bed to repeat tomorrow…tomorrow, inauguration day, when hopefully the crazy insurrectionists won’t do something really stupid and irreversible. Sigh. We can all hope for some semblance of order and peace, ’til we return to trying to figure out how to mend a bunch of stuff in our country and help people accept more variety in their worlds than they’re used to. Whatever that looks like…because honestly, some days, I don’t know. Until then, I need to answer an email from a kid that came in at midnight (I ignored it) and do all the shit I forgot to do yesterday. Sigh.

A Typhoon, a Tsunami, and a Sharknado…

Earlier this week, I almost felt like I had a handle on things. I was still working shitty hours and stressed about it, but I felt like I had control of it (oh stop your hysterical laughter), or at least as much control as we ever have as teachers of the muddled middles, and then Thursday hit. And whatever I needed to do for next week (and technically the following week, because I made the crazy-ass decision to try to do something non-school-related for MORE THAN A FEW HOURS and we are camping with no internet for two nights, two whole fucking nights, that’s it) suddenly exploded into a typhoon, a tsunami, and a sharknado all in one. It didn’t help that all the 6th graders thought I was kidding about handing in prototypes for art so I could give them feedback, so I did the 11 I had turned in, and then yesterday, during class, I answered shit in the chat, crap kids asked me out loud (brave souls), and typed feedback for those who were close enough to making two prototypes that they could hand something in, although I explained what a monogram was, and then told them not to do it, and then they did it anyway, because listening to instructions is HARRRRRRD Ms. Nida.

FUCK ME. I got the news that one of the burrs in my saddle from before the switch is coming back to me on distance learning (because he was so successful last time?) into my biggest, most challenging class. Oh joy. It’s fine. IT’S FUCKING FINE.

It’s really not. I’m having a really hard time. I’ve been teaching…this is my 17th or 18th? year. 18th year. This is hell. It’s not sustainable. I’m losing my mind. It’s OK…I’ll find it again once I get a handle on the shit that is the next few weeks, and hopefully camping where there is no internet will help. Or I will grind my teeth the whole time, worried about what I’m not getting done. I’ll try not to do that. But being on the verge of tears from feeling overwhelmed? It’s getting old.

I took a break (worked from 6:45 AM to 6 PM yesterday, right through lunch…wait, no, I took a 15-minute break) on a Zoom with friends, and I quilted while they/we talked politics (I’ve got some feelings about that right now, y’all). That was two hours. No, less than two hours, because I worked past the start time and then looked at the clock and went SHIT. Then I ate dinner and tried to find the energy to do anything else. Nope. Didn’t happen. Went to bed an hour earlier than I have been and managed to sleep, although I dreamed about going to the doctor’s for a routine something or other that turned bad, and then the alarm went off, so at least I don’t know what I have and don’t have to worry about that as well. I’m up now and ready to work until after school, when I’ll have a short break to check in with friends (goal? no crying) and then back to work. Not sure I’ll be able to keep Saturday free from work. I suspect not. Oh well. This fucking sucks. I already said that.

I’ve been quilting an hour or more a night. This cytokine storm looks like it’s smiling…


Both heads are quilted…oh wait, there are three heads…they’re all quilted…somehow I went around and quilted everything on the edges and I still need to do the center torso. Not how I usually roll, but it made sense at the time.

Probably another hour or so of outline quilting left (I already did everything you can see there…that was last night), and then quilt the background.

The back side is looking pretty damn good for once. I usually like a really busy backing so you can’t see my mistakes, but this is fine. I think. I’m not obsessed with the back sides…they’re not the point.

So finish quilting, go buy binding tomorrow, get binding on early next week, sew it up, deliver it to photographer next week? Hopefully? Ship it off to the wonderful person who is buying it. That was easy. OMG, it hasn’t been easy, and WTF am I doing next? I don’t know, but I need to decide soon because I don’t want any down time between quilts. I don’t want to let this job roll into any more of my personal life than it already has. I need the artmaking to (it doesn’t even fucking balance it right now so don’t even say it) keep me from jumping off the deck and breaking my ankles so I can move even less than I already do? Getting in the car and driving east (well, I can’t drive west), wait, no north, but fires, dammit, I can’t even DRIVE anywhere to get away from all this shit. Sigh.

Here’s the website I’m making. Finding that picture for the background made me laugh hysterically (no, really, tears from eyes because shit’s so stupid right now).

I hope you get it. If not, sigh. Whatever. My kids won’t get it. Well, two of them will. ANYWAY. Fuck today (at least it’s Friday, so I’ll be working tomorrow, but I won’t have students slowing my roll). Fuck this weekend. Fuck this job. Fuck COVID. Fuck a government that handled this So Fucking Badly. Fuck all of you who won’t social distance and wear masks.

Deep breath. I might feel better if I yelled all that off my deck, but probably my neighbors wouldn’t appreciate it. Wait, the neighbors with the screaming children and the multiple parties? Not sure I care. Happy Friday all. Gotta go get ready for school with all the stuff I forgot to do last night that needs to be done before school actually starts. Uh huh.

I Like Goals…

I’m trying to write in the morning again, and I suspect I won’t finish. I’m in a meeting for a kid that started before I’m officially “at school”…and it’s complicated, so I’m pretty sure this won’t get done until later. And with a vet appointment later, I’m going to have an issue getting it written.

It’s going to be a long day.

Monday night, I did the crazy thing of picking all the flesh fabrics for the largest figure…and these are all the pieces that WEREN’T flesh colored…

So right now, they’re all covered up so cats won’t make a mess in there. Here’s all the flesh bits laid out with Kitten supervising…

So I did about 4 hours of ironing Monday night because the girlchild called me from her drive back from Maine to see her cousin, who’s starting college this week there. So then I just kept ironing stuff down. I probably should have done some schoolwork. Oh well. Here’s everything I’ve used so far…

This thing. So not helpful.

She mostly sleeps, but sometimes is in my personal space a little more than I need her to be.

I’m still listening to the meeting…but the mom is late, so I’m trying to get this done. Like that. That cat.

It’s still hot, but not as bad as it’s been. I think today is supposed to be a bit warmer. And tomorrow. I’m done with it personally. These guys are still hiding from the parents’ dog.

Last night, I wasn’t able to deal with ironing…so I quilted the small Patreon quilt.

For the next Patreon video, I’ll probably show some finishing techniques…I will be binding this small piece, but I have some others that will be finished in other ways.

OK, well I finished…so today I will teach. I will go to the vet. I will try to get some work done at the vet. Ha! In the car. And then hopefully I will exercise and make some art. That’s the goal. I like goals. They help.

The Mondayness of It All…

So it’s Monday morning on the first 5-day week back to school…and Zoom is out nationwide. You know, the program we use to actually DO online teaching with the kids? The video thing? Yeah that. I’m amused. It may be back up by the time we start school, but this certainly complicates shit. Last week it was the program we use to log all the kids in…this week, Zoom. I’m ready to go when they are, though. Attendance might be an issue today. I’m laughing.

In other news, it’s still warm here, although it’s cloudy and not so bad at the moment…it’ll get warmer later. I look forward to the months where it’s freezing here (not really, because we don’t get snow) and I have to wear socks. But right now, I’ve got those two fans on me at 8 in the morning and I’m supposed to be working. So I’m going to do that and finish this later. You won’t know the difference, because it will all get posted later. Just know that I thought about starting this in the morning. I even resized all the photos, but the girlchild called and it’s Monday and that’s just a thing. A thing that slows us down. The Mondayness of it all.

It’s still Monday, but now it’s after 6 PM. I just finished working…well, maybe. I really should do more, but I’m not sure I have it in me. I started at 7:30 AM, took a break at lunch and to water stuff after school, then drove to school to drop stuff off, and then back here to finish what’s on my to-do list. There’s still one thing on there, but I’m not sure I have enough brainpower to do it right now. So there’s that.

OK, so Friday, we did cover pages for our first unit, and although most of them did it online using Google searches for images and super-quick font and color choices, I couldn’t help but go old school.

I showed them how to do this, but I think I only had one kid try it. I’m going to color it in and then upload it onto mine…just because. Sigh. I miss this.

Friday night, I walked…first time all week. It was a long and tiring and hot week. Friday was no less long, hot, and tiring…I just couldn’t take the lack of exercise any more.

It was late and kinda cool and sorta nice.

I was a slow-moving sloth in the heat and tiredness of it all though. My feet were hot at the end, so I used the pool…

I’m not much of a swimmer, you may have noticed. Mostly I think the pool is for the dog.

I continued the walk at Lake Murray on Saturday evening, part of my plan to reinstate Date Night out of the house and out and about, minus the crowds at art openings and restaurants…

It was cooler outside…

Plus the whole sitting at home thing just sucks. Ask him…or her…I don’t know how to sex an alien.

I also got some stitching in Saturday night, but mostly I was tired…

Sunday, I used up most of the sourdough starter discard to make the next two weeks’ worth of frozen pancakes for a quick breakfast…

And then Sunday night, after working on school stuff for about 4 or 5 hours, I finished stitching this…

It needs a bath, some ironing, a hoop, and then a place on Etsy.

Then I did the stitch down on this Patreon reward…small is easy!

She got some ironing as well…

And then I pinbasted it…

So she’s ready to be quilted tonight.

The last hour of the evening was dedicated to ironing the newest quilt pieces onto fabric…

I didn’t get far…

Only a few colors so far…

But I did lay out the next 100 pieces of Wonder Under so I’d be ready to go tonight. I hope. Movement in the right direction.

The boychild is cooking dinner. I need to go dip my feet in the pool again. I watered everything, finished a packet for a kid in a shelter, talked on the phone to a bunch of people, made a vet appointment, and I think I’m ready to teach tomorrow. Although I think I have one other thing I need to work on tonight. I just can’t remember what it is. Oh well. So be it.