Over on the Corner There’s a Happy Noise*

August 24, 2018

Well this is what Friday of the first week of school feels like. That moment when you realize the kid who mouthed off to you yesterday is related to that other kid whose name is legend on campus, and not for good things. When you remember that you haven’t even started to deal with grades yet. That’s next week. Or the parent email. Also next week. Or morning and afternoon duty. NEXT WEEK. And you’re still tired. BUT! There was success last night.

I quilted for four hours last night. Granted, I didn’t walk around as much yesterday as I did the rest of this week, so my recovery time post-school was not as bad. Don’t get me wrong…I lolled around on the couch and read my book while drinking a cup of tea and contemplating how much my feet hurt. Sure. But I managed to get up and make dinner at a reasonable hour and then to go straight in to quilt. At one point, I told myself that when I ran out of thread next, I would go to bed (just before midnight), but at that point, I only had a section that was about 6″ high by 10″ wide to finish. So I did it. Which means yes, I went to bed too late. What’s new?

The quilting took a total of 16 hours…I finished the outlining on the last woman…

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And then quilted the background…

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I need to do some interior quilting in a couple places, but that won’t take more than 10 minutes, and most of that will be finding the thread. Then I’m done and on to trimming this beast and putting bindings on. I’m shopping after school today for binding, so I can toss the fabric in the wash when I get home. I’ll trim tonight and maybe start sewing the bindings on. Ahead of schedule! Which is a good thing.

All under Kitten’s watchful eye.

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So I’ve been watching the bougainvillea we cut down to almost nothing…the last bush wasn’t showing any new growth until NOW…Oh yeah. It’s coming back. Woo!

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That’s in comparison to this overachiever.

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Good plants. Doing their jobs. Probably I should go in and trim off some more of the dead stuff before this one gets too boisterous.

I’m sensing a lot of sleep coming on this weekend (I hope) and getting some stuff done and maybe finishing another book (it’s about all my brain can handle sometimes). And I’m looking forward to sitting on the couch and doing some handsewing while mindlessly bingewatching television, hallelujah for Netflix etc. And I’m hiking. In the dark. Like you do. But now? I have to go to work. More tea please.

*Creedence Clearwater Revival, Down on the Corner


Something Pithy

August 23, 2018

On my tombstone (there won’t be a tombstone because I want to be tree mulch when I die, not in a box), it will say, “She was tired.” Seriously. So much of my life is about tired. And sleep. And the lack thereof. Too much to do.

We survived the first day of school. I think. If I look back at last year, I should be totally exhausted every day this week. So that’s nice. Nothing new. I did manage more quilting, although only 2 1/2 hours last night. I was hoping to get all the outlining done, but I have a head, a tree arm, a giant cloud, a sun, and a lightning bolt to finish. Then I can do the background, which is bigger than I thought it was. I forgot about all the stuff around the tree branches. Definitely not solid in there. I’m 12 hours in…

I finished this woman first…well, after the cat…

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Then walked out of my office and saw this…

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Boychild added the little dog…who was perturbed. Calli didn’t even move. She didn’t even open her eyes. Old lady…

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This is the woman I didn’t quite finish. That’s where I stopped. One arm done, one not.

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It was just about midnight. I’m trying to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m going to have to quilt all that background tonight.

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It’s not huge, but it’s not small. Either way, I think I’ll be buying binding tomorrow. Then I can get it washed and ready to put on Saturday. Before I hike. In my sleep. Because that’s what it feels like right now. Sleepwalking and hot flashes.

More yarn bombing from Sweden…

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I wish I had something pithy to say right here, but I need to finish this cup of tea and another before that’s happening. Good morning, world.


Instead I Pour the Milk*

August 22, 2018

You know how to solve the problem of being able to fall asleep at night? Work your butt off moving everything around your classroom into five different places and running around like a chicken with your head cut off, run about a million errands after school, where you realize they must have closed the other office supply place so you end up in a Walmart of all places, which means going in the wrong door and walking past ALL the things to find post-its for today but NOT the printer cartridge, but that’s OK because after your chiropractor puts everything, including your ears, back where it belongs, you kamikaze through your other favorite place, Costco, where you find the printer cartridge, and then come home and attempt to get off the couch for a while before making dinner and then quilting for 3 hours. Oh yeah! Damn! Gotta go to bed because the alarm goes off too early. And yet, I was awake when it went off, going over today’s lesson in my head, step by step, even though I’ve done it before.

Fell asleep just fine. Exhaustion has its pros.

Today is the first official day with kids in the room…the new sweethearts who will be in my dreams (and nightmares) for the next 10 months, the names I need to learn, personalities to negotiate, grades I hate the grading stuff. All the paperwork and the meetings and the crazy schedule stuff that started yesterday with my co-teacher, trying to balance our classes. We did it. Someone will fuck it up for us soon, but we started balanced for once.

Anyway. It’s the first day of my 16th year of teaching. Must be old.

Did I quilt yesterday? Damn straight I did. I’m gonna knock this thing outta the park. Here’s face number one…I think I did them all upside down.

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Kitten communing with my chair. She just wants to be wherever I am.

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Face (and body) number 2…still upside down. It’s because the majority of the quilt is quilted and in my way, won’t fit under the machine, so I’m trying to get enough space to actually quilt. Yes, I quilt with a regular home sewing machine…so everything has to fit in there, under the arm.

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Kitten side eye. She chirped at me, so I photographed her. Not sure that’s what she wanted.

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Face number 3. Still upside down. Body too.

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I guess I did these two upright. But they’re small.

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So everything on the hill and in the water is done…all I have left is the two large tree women at the top and then filling in the empty space. I quilted for almost three hours yesterday…I’m up over 9 hours so far, so I don’t think it will be 20 hours after all. I think binding purchase on Friday is totally in the cards. Get the binding sewn on by machine on Saturday, start the hand work. Ready to hand off to the photographer by next Friday. No problem. Ugh. So tired right now. But motivated!

The man is in Sweden in some tiny village, and he sent me the local yarn bomb, although they apparently call it guerilla knitting. I’ve heard that before too. Theirs is pretty fancy though…

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Possibly his absence is why I’m getting a lot done? Or not. It would be nice to have someone else cook…wait…I think that’s happening tonight. So that’s cool.

OK, so progress made, it continues, off to the day job, wish me luck, I’m about to mutilate 145 or so names. Because even if you look at the list and think, oh that’s easy, it’s Jonathan, I’ll be OK with that one, then there are either two of them with unpronounceable last names or he doesn’t go by Jonathan any more, now he’s something you’re never going to remember. Some kids just don’t look like their names. It’s weird. A product of way too many years of teaching, I think.

More caffeine.

*Suzanne Vega, Tom’s Diner


Who I Am, Who I’m Not, Who I Wanna Be…*

August 21, 2018

As I get my room ready for the new school year, I wonder where all my fake class money went from last year. Have I been robbed? I had to stash a bunch of stuff in weird places. Have I not found a stash yet? I also wonder where my stash of floor pencils went. Floor pencils are those I find on the floor and then hand out to the kids who never have one. I don’t need to do that this year (although I still will…thrifty genes handed down through generations), because I ordered pencils this year and I found a stash from last year that I forgot I had, so I have about 1000 pencils to hand out. They’ll be gone in about a week. Plus I have all these spiral notebooks from when I used to use them for science notebooks (I now use packets that we grow as we do more stuff…easier to haul home when needed). I should totally sell those with the fake paper money that I can’t find. And where are my seating charts? No one knows. Seriously. I did something with the master at the end of the school year, but my brain refuses to tell me what. And please please remind me next year that YES I do need the square bigger post-its for the first day. The tiny ones won’t work. In fact, we should devise a lab JUST for the use of the tiny ones, because we misordered them and we have a lot. Plus I have 36 times 8 rulers now, so I will never ever ever need to buy any again. I don’t even know how I did that.

My white board eraser was moldy. I need a new one. I need a new nail file. Broke the first nail yesterday before I cut them all down from summer length. And if you want to regularly hit over 10,000 steps a day before you even leave work? You should become a teacher. So easy.

My library book is digital and it’s about to expire and I’m not quite done and I don’t have a lot of time to read today. It’s OK. I turned off the wifi. They’ll never catch me. No fines.

I got home and about a third of the bougainvillea was gone. Stolen!

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Nah. Boychild at work.

We took the dogs out for a walk…about 2 miles. I hadn’t been on this bit of trail before…

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There’s a great view from one end of it…north…

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West…rocks…puppy wanted to climb, but probably snakes.

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And south, Mt. Miguel in the distance. You can’t go to the top any more. I guess I’m glad (ha!) I did it before it closed.

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It was cloudy and muggy all day, but a little cooler than it has been. A relief really.

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Pretty clouds.

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I forget how much time gets eaten up by the job. I didn’t start quilting until late, almost 10 PM, and then I was tired and probably not very efficient.

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So no, I didn’t get four hours done last night (laughs hysterically). I probably won’t tonight either. I’m about 6 1/2 hours in though, so I must have done about 2 hours last night…mostly the volcano bits with the two grayed-out figures in front and the skelly. I also did one of the graffiti walls. Tonight, I’ll do the other one and then move up the slope. I need to get more than 2 hours done tonight. Right this minute, that doesn’t seem possible.

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I’m hoping to maybe hit the quilt store for binding fabric after school on Friday, but that means I need to be done or almost done. We’ll see. I have a hike Saturday night, so I will lose the whole stitching night to that (which is a good and healthy, although probably exhausting thing). That said, I have nothing else planned this week but surviving the first week of school. Always a challenge.

*The Fray, You Found Me


Always Good to Have a Plan

August 20, 2018

Monday morning. You are cool and foggy and mostly quiet, except for that bird with a death wish that just divebombed my office window. Obviously it couldn’t see the cat that just about launched herself through the window screen at it. I have about an hour to get my brain to wake up and hopefully my stomach to stop wanting to regurgitate nothing into the atmosphere. I love these new diabetes meds…I’m nauseated for at least two days after taking them. I thought I was in the clear yesterday because I didn’t feel sick right away, but no…it’s here. Bleck. It’s funny that they advertise weight loss as a side effect. It’s because you’re too sick to eat. It is better this week, though, so far, knock on wood, so that’s a plus. Awake. An hour. Because then I have to meet with the principal (yup, already in trouble…NOOO. It’s a union thing) and I have to have my brains about me for that. And then I have to find everything I shoved into cupboards at the last minute to hide it from the summer school teacher who was in there and only broke one cupboard. Sigh. It’s all good. There are no kids today. Maybe by Wednesday, I will be used to sleep deprivation again. I was even DREAMING when the alarm clock went off. YES. Restorative REM sleep. What a thing. How dare the real world interrupt such bliss. Actually, it was a bad dream, so that’s OK.

So how am I doing on the quilt? I am doing fucking awesome…thank you for asking. I met my goals for the weekend and I am On Track to Finishing. On Time. I even emailed the photographer and reserved time, making sure he wasn’t going on a trip for Labor Day weekend (he’s not). I am On It.

So Saturday afternoon, I finished all the stitch down.

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It was a total of 7 1/2 hours, less than the 10 I was predicting. Once I got the tension problem solved, it went fast. Here’s the back…

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I always check the back for obvious stuff that I missed stitching down. Honestly, it doesn’t usually help. I find them when I’m quilting…the missed bits. People ask why I stitch down…the fusible doesn’t hold particularly well, even when I steam it, so this is my solution.

I take lots of breaks while I’m sewing…my brain (and body) needs them. I was wandering around the yard, cleaning up, watering, and checking on the bougainvillea plants we took down to almost nothing. There’s new growth! On 3 out of 4 of them, at least.

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That was quick. There’s always the chance the 4th one won’t come back…if not, we’ll pull it out and plant a new one. This time I’m not letting them grow up into the trees. I swear.

Then I came back in, realized I had a backing fabric that hadn’t been washed (it smelled like someone else’s laundry), which made me paranoid about shrinkage but also allergic reactions to any chemicals, so I washed it, cleaned the floor in the entryway (that’s why I was outside…recycling stuff from the entryway and putting stuff in the garage). Then made dinner while the laundry was going. Thought about drawing, but didn’t. Then around 9:30 PM or so, I started piecing the backing, ironing it, trimming the batting, laying it all out, ironing the top. I got it all laid out, covering most of the floor, when the man texted that his band was done with their show and he was packing up.

Crap. So I had limited time to pinbaste before he’d be back and wanting to come through that door. Well. I did it. Got it done about 10 minutes before he came home.

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It was a pretty easy process…

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They didn’t need to be pinned close together…the quilt is pretty flat, unlike some of them.

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That’s because it’s mostly applique and very little background showing…

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I have the biggest problems with the ones that have a big piece of background showing in the middle, with big appliques on either side. It’s hard to keep the center flat in that situation.

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I quit there. It was late. I was tired. I hit my mark. All good.

Sunday mornings I do my weekly journal layout…I like color. Buying color pens. Satchemo likes to help as all cats do, by batting at pens and my hand and sticking his claws into things.

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I’ve been calendaring my week like this since the beginning of the year. I think it helps. I spend about 15-20 minutes on Sunday dealing with the whole week and transferring stuff over from last week, and then it’s maybe 1-2 minutes each day, crossing off stuff that got done, adding new stuff, and transferring to the next day. I think I’m better at organizing that way. I still use a variety of online systems as well, but they support each other.

Yesterday afternoon, I started quilting…which is an awful lot like stitching down except with dark thread…

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I found this outside while peeing a dog…I can’t tell if it hatched appropriately or was eaten.

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Dinner included Johnny Depp. Always a good thing. I won a gift certificate to MishMash in Barrio Logan. Good food.

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Although it is in a different location than where it used to be. Use the map, not Yelp.

Then back to the quilting…

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Lots of quilting…

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I finished the whole mermaid and all the watery bits…

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There she is. At this point, I went back and used the monofilament to catch the bits I’d missed…you see that pin in the photo above? It’s marking a bit I forgot to stitch down. Plus there were some other smaller parts that needed stitching.

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I got the flag quilted as well.

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I am moving slowly. Everyone keeps coming in and asking when I’m leaving. I should be leaving now. If it were a real school day, I’d need to leave right now. But it’s not. I just have to be there before the principal’s meeting. So I have time to make the second cup of tea, finish the first one, and make my lunch. Brush my teeth. Pack the car. Pet the cat. Slow start to the second day back. Ugh. I don’t like mornings. I do like this quilt though.

I quilted 4 1/2 hours yesterday. I’m aiming for 4 hours a day. I realize I won’t make that every day, but I also have the weekend. I’m hoping to get binding fabric Friday or Saturday. We’ll see. But there’s a plan there. Always good to have a plan.


Gonna Read for a While

July 17, 2018

In case you’re wondering why I’m writing so early (because this is early for Kathy on break), it’s because I’m sitting in a dead silent jury room, half (or more) asleep, after fighting my way through motorcycle accident traffic. Honestly I have zero brain power right now, and I tried going to bed early (for me), but I was still the first one up. Hoping for no jury, but you can’t predict that shit. I have had so much anxiety about this process…I hate being forced to sit like this.

Anyway. Onward and upward. Trying not to read too many political things. Our country…what a disaster. Even the quilt world is full of it. I start so many responses in my head…such a difficult world we are in.

Kitten held hands with me yesterday. She feels me.

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So yesterday, I did manage to get my butt in gear eventually and quilted the two little quilts.

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They’re so tiny, it doesn’t take long.

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Fully quilted, ready to trim…

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I didn’t put a real binding on these…just trimmed them to size and zigzagged the edges with a heavier thread underneath. There’s probably a technical term for that.

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Now I just need to decide how to label them, hang them (after this exhibit), and attach them to the boxes. No problem. I have until Sunday.

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Then I hung out on the boychild’s bed with the dogs…long enough to decide to walk those beasts. Might be my last chance this week.

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Lucky dogs. We went hunting for the vernal pool. Very little evidence of it in summer.

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But sharp eyes (not mine) spotted two baby California horned lizards…we must have disturbed their hanging out together…

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Hard to see…

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But very cool. I’ve only seen 3 or 4 of them while hiking, and never so small…not even an inch long.

Then dinner and more weaving (whoops, no picture)…and then I really wanted to finish drawing last night. The last woman went in. And I think that’s it. Ten hours to trace the stuff that was on the other drawing and then do the rest.

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It doesn’t sound like much.

I did start numbering, but I knew it was a big job, so I quit at 488 pieces. I’ll finish the rest tonight and then start tracing.

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That 488 got all the waves and everything in them, including the Earth Mermaid, numbered. So maybe a third? Hard to say.

Gonna read for a while.


Beat Me Up with Your Letters*

July 12, 2018

Late post today…wish it was from sleeping in and relaxing, but I’ve been up for hours. Took one car into the shop…I’m tired of the driver window not working. Then drove to pick up another quilt…well, quilts, because some little ones were in their shop for the last year, and they just gave back the three that hadn’t sold…so those are back on Etsy. I’m never sure Etsy is working very hard for me, but since I sell about one small quilt a year on there and the expenses are much less than that, it can’t hurt. I don’t work very hard at my Etsy account though. None of the larger quilts are on there. They’re too expensive for that market, I think…and I suspect even some of the smaller ones might be too. Probably most of my stuff is too weird for Etsy too.

Anyway, I also bought the binding fabrics for the two quilts that are now ready, because Yes! I finished quilting the long skinny one yesterday. I finally managed to sit still for like 3 1/2 hours (it’s been hard folks) to finish. Here’s the heart and boobs…

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The whole thing stretched out over my chair…

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Did the face…the pin is another place I forgot to stitch down. Done now.

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And then I went right into quilting the background…there wasn’t much of it.

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So there’s two ready to be trimmed and bound. Maybe later today? I have a lot going on today.

Then I realized I had quilt class today and nothing really to work on. I have a bag I could finish, but I’m missing some materials and haven’t had (made) the time to get those. So that’s out. I could take the binding with me, but I’d have to take all my stuff with me to do that, and it’s too much to deal with. So I remembered those two little quilts…last week at class I trimmed the Wonder Under. So I spent about an hour and a half last night ironing it to fabrics…I think this more complicated one has about 23 fabrics in it (but 90 pieces).

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I am keeping track of time on these, so they’ll be for sale after they’ve been in the exhibit they’re getting made for…so December maybe? I can’t remember when the exhibit closes. It’s a California Fibers’ exhibit at Soka University in Orange County. I have four larger pieces in the exhibit, and then these two small ones will be part of a wall display our whole group is making. It should be cool.

I just used the same flesh fabrics from the quilt I just finished. It was easier. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on these.

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The second piece only has 30 pieces, so it will be quicker to get done.

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I may have underestimated my time with thinking I could finish them in a couple of hours. It’s going to be a bit longer than that. But now I can take them to class with me and get them cut out. That’s a step in the right direction.

So I didn’t get time to draw last night, because I was doing those. Plus I had book club last night. It was an interesting conversation about The Power by Naomi Alderman, especially in light of watching the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale and dealing with politics over the last few months. We spent a lot of time talking about social implications and nature v. nurture…always interesting. My book club is sci fi and fantasy based, so we do spend a lot of time on the science of things, which I really enjoy. I used to review the books I was reading on here pretty regularly. Honestly, I’ve spent most of the last 5 months reading the Expanse series…I have one novella left, and then I’m totally caught up until the new one comes out in December. I’ve really enjoyed the stories but also the portrayal of women in this series, which seems to be a bigger issue for me now that I’m old and mostly invisible. I read one of Philip K. Dick’s books, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and spent the first three chapters just chafing at his women. Sigh. It makes it harder to read…and watch, honestly, when they turn them into movies. Maybe I’ll try to write more about what I’m reading here. Again.

Anyway, so getting some more stuff done today, although probably more hobby stuff than art stuff. That’s OK. There’s progress…that’s all I need.

*Squeeze, Is That Love?