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…

Rude.

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.

Sitting in an Empty Mall

So I need new glasses…lenses actually. I went to the disinfected eye doctor successfully and got a new prescription, and the lenses are ready, so now they need an hour to pop them in my glasses. Fun. It’s an indoor mall, so it’s closed, but a few people are here and I’m sitting on a chair, blind as a bat, with the iPad about two inches from my face, typing this. My mask is on and I’m pretty sure I’m cross-eyed. This is the level of paranoia I will have at school. No. I will be more paranoid at school. I will be sitting in my classroom by myself for 7 hours a day in less than two weeks, yelling at anyone who tries to come in my room. Depressing and lonely. It is staying alive though. Hopefully.

So I’ve been getting a little art done. The days slip away so quickly. This binding will take a while.

I actually really like this part of the process…it’s relaxing, although the pins (and cats) are pokey.

There’s 470” to do of the binding and the sleeves. That is 13 yards. Really? Shit. That’s a lot. So Sunday I did two sides…four to go. I didn’t do any last night. I was working on Patreon embroideries. I finished one on Saturday or Sunday night (can’t remember which)…

Damn either she’s blurry or my eyes are getting worse. I’ll wash and iron and rephotograph when I can see. And when the blurry-eyes-tryna-focus headache goes away. I also started this one…

And finished it. Note to self: design more simply. That woman with the rainbow hair was complicated.

This was after dinner, when I was contemplating what to do with the rest of my evening.

Definitely needs a bath and attention from an iron.

Saturday, I managed to get the man to go with me on a walk at the beach…

We just hung out at Dog Beach…not a ton of people and a nice breeze.

We actually ignored the real beach and walked where there were fewer people. I enjoyed it. IDK about the man. His foot has been bugging him and his work is stressful. But he did it and that’s something. I know outdoors is more important to my moods and sanity than his. Although I think it would help him too, I know everyone has to be making their own choices willingly for that good outdoor feeling to work though.

With that in mind, my science co-teacher and I headed to Sunset Trail in the Lagunas yesterday for some much-needed planning and venting.

It was a little warm, but we did a fairly short hike…with her dog, Watson…

We both had masks and Watson’s leash is the requisite 6-feet long to help with visualizing appropriate distancing.

This is one of my favorite hikes. Not hard, great views.

We stopped for a while and took some notes about how to do school this year. Science will be a challenge. And then her shoe died.

The entire bottom sole came off. Folks, here’s my shoe PSA from someone who has had plantar fasciitis multiple times…new boots every 500 miles. New other shoes when the wear is obviously changing your stance. It’s OK…she’s going to REI today.

Water of the Woods…aka the cow pond…no cows today.

Watson got too hot or just plain tired after a while (note: his limit is about 2 miles, maybe more if it’s cooler), so he got a ride.

He didn’t seem to mind not walking…

Lucky dog…

Weird tree growths. We have ideas for videos from the trail and the kitchen or garden for school. It will be hard to implement those while sitting in my empty classroom. I’m going to apply for field trips. For me and my co-teacher. Even walking in the neighborhood of the school and looking for relevant stuff would be better than sitting in an empty room.

We have another hike planned for next week, adding another teacher to the mix.

All good things. Part of my sanity.

Right now, Calli wants to go in the pool, I have a bunch of quilty things I need to work on, but first, I’m eating a late lunch. I made pancakes with leftover sourdough starter earlier and froze them. The hardest part of going back to the physical classroom is not being able to get stuff done at home. It all gets shoved to the weekend. Grading comes back with a vengeance and all gets pushed online, so more computer time. Like I wasn’t already staring at a screen enough before. But it keeps us safer, so we will do it. I have to laugh at the people who thought we were only working 3 hours a day before…well, they’re welcome to try to do my job before they say how it should be. Hoping I get it all figured out in the next few weeks. This is the most unprepared I’ve felt since the first year I taught. Nice feeling.

The Red Is Too Bright…

Ah summer 2020. You are a pokey sharp thing and not in a good way. So much stupid and stressful and not right. So many people who either don’t understand viral transmission or willfully ignore it. I so need a mountain cabin vacation on another fucking planet right now. A lot of us do. Honestly, the doctors and nurses get to go first. I know what I want for me, but then I think that’s selfish and there are so many other people who need it more.

So I try to do the things here that make me feel better. I had let the daily exercise routine slip a little. It was hot. I don’t like to exercise when it’s really hot. But I’m back to walking and the stationary bike, and my Pilates studio is doing online classes, so I’ve signed up for some of those. My real workout the last two days has been building the privacy fence though…

Although I think that’s just because I’m old. And doing a lot of bending over mixing concrete in the heat is uncomfortable…

That said, all four posts are still standing and seem to be level. And last night, I finished up all the tops so the water will hopefully swoosh away from the posts themselves.

“All the water.” Ha. It’s full summer here right now. It won’t rain for real for at least 6 months. Maybe more. But when it DOES rain, the water will swoosh away. We got the wood for the stringers yesterday. Buying wood lately has been a pain. The big fence companies swoop in and buy it all before I can even get there. I’m hoping to get slats in the next few days, although it might be two weeks. A lot of the lumber companies have shut down because of the pandemic, plus I think a lot of people are doing work on their houses who weren’t before. So there’s a shortage. It’ll get done eventually though. The slats are the easy part. This was the hard part. Although the stringers being parallel might be hard too. We’ll see.

So that’s been my days, mostly. That and taking this sweet old dumbass into the pool…

She’s waiting for me to get the broom so I can push the pinecone back toward her so she can get it. She used to swim way out, but she’s too old now. She still likes to be in the water and fetching the pinecone, though. I do it about 4-5 times and then she has to come out. She gets too tired. Usually we dry off on the deck for a bit while I read, but her skin is bad, so she needed a bath with the special shampoo.

She does not like that. Yes the wall is peeling. My remodeling fund is coming along, but we’re a good year plus out from being able to remodel the bathrooms or the kitchen. I just keep pulling more of it off.

My parents’ dog is here…Katie also needs a bath.

She’s making everyone a little nervous…

New dog. New cats. So stressful. It’s only a few days. We will all survive. I think.

Speaking of survival, I planted these cuttings from my parents’ house a month or so back. They seem to be doing OK…

The slope used to be covered with a groundcover that started dying all around here. I have very little of it left. Not sure why. So we’ve been replacing it in sections with other stuff.

So quilting…when I get to the background, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Dark blue at night. Good choice!

I have not had good luck with buying lighting to go on the machine…they don’t last or they just suck. I’m not sure what to do at the moment. Maybe just buy a standing table lamp and put it behind the machine.

But for now, I just suffer through it. I spent the last two nights listening to the Scene on Radio Season 2 podcasts on Seeing White. They’re good. Oh yeah, and quilting. I finished last night…18 hours and 17 minutes…

Not bad. I was thinking 20 hours again. Now I need to trim it, which means cleaning the floor again, and then pick a binding. When I bought the background, I picked two possible binding fabrics. Honestly, the red is too bright. The green might work, or I might need to raid my stash. I don’t think I have enough of any red that would be dark enough, but I might be able to piece it from multiple fabrics. We’ll see. If it needs to be red, I’ll figure it out. So close to done! Although it’s a month later than I thought it would be. I’ve had other shit I’ve been dealing with, though, so it’s OK. It has to be OK, because it is what it is.

I also worked a little bit on this last night. I really do need to do the other small quilts too…

I’m behind on the Patreon rewards. Need to get caught up this week. But I needed that quilt off the sewing machine to do that. So maybe today is trim big quilt and figure out binding, get it on, and then I can start the smaller quilts in the next couple of days. I need to put a label on a quilt that should be delivered Thursday or Friday, so there’s that too. Aack. Plus the fence. And worrying about school…

Yeah. Exactly. OK. I have purpose. I have tasks. I have not showered.

Head-Clearing Events…

The big old lady dog is currently harassing me because she wants to go in the pool, but the pool guy was just here today and dumped chlorine in there, so it’s a no-pool day, lady.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will throw the pine cone in and you can fetch it. Four times, because more than that tires you out too much. This is the joy I give you in your last months, old lady. Water. Pine cones. The occasional piece of bread. Enjoy.

So Saturday was a tense day. I couldn’t get my head out of school. I finally went out on the deck and drew for a while…

This is the place where I should spend more time sitting. I forget. I was honestly feeling too tense to even draw. It was slow. I was pulling it out like extricating a tick from really juicy dog flesh.

I gave up at one point and went for a 3-mile walk. Hike. Not sure what to call these.

Head-clearing events. Came back, we dealt with dinner, which is more and more annoying. No, I don’t want more takeout. Sigh. Takeout it is. So I worked on this for a little bit.

Not hard. Just time-consuming. And then went back to the drawing, because I didn’t have the energy to quilt.

It’s pretty good, actually. I’m not sure what I’m doing on the other side, but it will be bad. I think. We’ll see. It took the walk for me to decide what needed to go on the top.

I also managed on Saturday to adjust sound to a portion of a video clip, the part where the dogs started rampantly barking.

Oh yeah. Them’s some barks. Success! This program is not always easy to use. Thanks to Google and YouTube for always having the answer. Or at least directions.

Last night, I did more of this…with the little boy.

He is sad that the girlchild is gone and mopes in a variety of places.

I also finally started quilting the background last night. I did one whole long side, plus a goodly chunk of the background at the top, on one side, but not above the angels. If that makes any sense at all.

I can’t say that I have 2 sides done, or even 1 1/2, because mostly I did stuff in the middle, but not all of it. If you get what I mean. There’s more. Lots more. Possibly no end in sight. No, not really. This is a good place, because the end is just right THERE. After three more sides and some more crap in the middle.

We keep finding dead things on the property. There was a dead baby bird. I don’t know where it went. Then this dead baby rodent, probably mouse or rat…

And this poor dragonfly…

It’s funny, because most bugs are yucky, so why aren’t dragonflies? Why are they so not yucky? Are they really that much prettier than a beetle? I just don’t know. Neither does Simba, but he was happily rubbing his head on the dead rodent before the boychild removed it.

So much for dog tastes.

The milkweed has gone to seed.

I didn’t see any self-seeded plants pop up from last year’s batch. Too bad. I wonder if I should collect and plant some? Or just let it all be natural. I’m inclined toward the latter. It’s easier.

I posted this on the SAQA So Ca/NV Instagram.

I was looking around at my own purchases. I’ve bought mostly online. I’ve been in two stores, one for the background and hopefully the binding on this beast. We’ll see. I haven’t tried them yet against the actual quilt. Then the siren song of fabric near my Pilates studio…masked and hand sanitized. I don’t usually buy very much fabric online, so that’s been different. That’s probably true for a lot of us though.

OK, so it’s late in the day. Boychild and I put two posts up for the privacy fence we’re building. I then ran errands, returns mostly, couldn’t get the wood and concrete I needed, so I came home. I’m doing a Zoom Pilates class, which is a little nerve-wracking. I did them from recorded classes before, but never live. We’ll see how it goes. Then off to buy more concrete so I can finish the two posts tonight and we can do two more tomorrow. I’m tired now. I also did a full klutz trip and fall in a parking lot today. Scraped up one knee. Got up, realized an entire car of older ladies was watching, so I did that arm thing they do at the end of a gymnastics routine. I’m sure there’s a name for that. No scores were posted. Yes, I am that weirdo. Hopefully quilting tonight. I want to be done. I want to do something new. Something smaller too.

Ready, Brain.

Hey y’all. It’s Saturday, the day when I feel most like escaping the house and doing something semi-normal, like walking or seeing art or whatever. It’s also the day when the most people are out doing the same thing, and in my county, not doing a great job of wearing masks, although probably better than in some counties. Yesterday, the Governor of California mandated that schools couldn’t open in person until county infection numbers were on a downward trend for 14 days, something I believe is safe. I know some people think kids need to be in schools, and so do I, but I would like the county to be taking it seriously, and they’re not. That said, many of our new positive tests are in the 20-29 age range, which isn’t necessarily the group that is most invested in kids going to school, so that’s a tough one. There’s limited science out there on transmission in children, maybe partially because we pulled them out of school, so they’ve been less exposed than normal. Maybe not? This science is hopeful for schools reopening…I’d like be able to go back in person and feel somewhat safe. My biggest issue all along has been with the adults, though. I’ve seen adults at my school not social distancing, not wearing masks, and that is where we will get sick…through them. It’s not just our young teachers who don’t take it seriously; I don’t want to get sick and/or die because the adults on my campus are lackadaisical and let their guard down. I don’t trust them. I guess when we do go back (because we will be going back online in August no matter what), I want to be prepared to be an awesome online teacher (as awesome as is possible) and to be healthy and safe when we go back in person. I won’t be able to hide in my classroom and only socialize distantly with those I feel are following rules…I’ll have to move from classroom to classroom all day. More science please! I want all the sciencez.

Meanwhile, I’m quilting. It’s meditative. I always say that. Art is how I save myself from myself. Plus I’ve been revisiting iTunes. I spent a lot of time listening to Pandora, which is nice, because I don’t need to own the music, but my iTunes felt lonely. So I’m playing songs in order from most-listened to least. Some songs haven’t been ‘heard’ (on iTunes at least) since 2012. I feel bad for those songs. Like I’ve let them down.

I quilted a lot in the last few days, and I’m not done.

I quilted during my stitching meeting…Zoom…

I finished the third figure and went back to completing the taller figure in the middle.

I got one arm done and everything up to her head, and then decided it was bedtime.

Yesterday evening, I started on the other arm…

And got her hair done and the cat…with the help of Calli on the floor and Kitten in the other chair. Help might be a strong word.

Yes, I use a normal sewing machine to do this. I have neither the money nor the space for anything bigger or more useful.

Then I finished the angels. So all the outlining is done, with 12 1/2 hours in. I just need to fill in the background now. Maybe some of it will get done today. Considering my walk options. It’s hot. I still want to get out and move. I can’t stand all this sitting around inside. It drives me bonkers.

I also started one of the small Patreon embroideries…this is faster.

I need to get some done this week…embroidery and quilt.

What else? I tried making bread again…

It behaved better this time, and…

It looks good, but I lost all the airiness of the first one. Still a work in progress. No gumminess this time, though, so that’s a plus.

I walked a couple of days, because the gyms are closed down again…another painted rock…

And then when I come back, the cats fight over who gets to rub their head all over my boots.

It’s very strange. Almost as strange as Kitten fetching me slippers again. She meows really loud (with the slipper in her mouth) and brings it from the bedroom and then usually drops it about 6 feet from me.

Such bizarre behavior. Sometimes I put them all back in the bedroom for her, and sometimes she takes them back.

These two are waiting for their daddy to get out of the bathroom. They do that a lot.

They are really intrigued by our litter tray behavior.

Yesterday, I felt just wiped out, exhausted, so I attempted a short afternoon nap. But people kept interrupting…

Well, and cats (not this one) did too. So much for the nap culture here. The cats have it down.

Yesterday morning, the ex showed up with a chainsaw (like you do). I have this palm tree that is too large for the entryway and has been rubbing against the roof. We’ve talked before about trying to get rid of it, but it’s a really tight space, so digging it out would be an issue.

Well. There’s always this route…

It’s just too big for the space. And you can see what it was doing to the eaves and the roofline. He took it down a little farther than this (all his chainsaw could do)…

I’ll ask my tree guys to take it down to about a foot or so above ground and then put a pot on it. Or I will learn to carve palm trunks with a chainsaw. One of those two things. Whichever seems easiest.

Here’s the girlchild in Boston, about to get a new(er) car. Hers has been problematic…

It’s been a lot of phone calls and FaceTime, but I think she did it.

Oh yeah, to Trump and DeVos…

There is an argument to be had here. But since we know it’s really about money and votes, I guess that’s why. I want kids in school. I want them safe. I don’t know what classrooms will look like when we can’t work in groups and do labs and collaborate in the ways we did (yes, I know we can do it online…it’s not the same, y’all, you know it’s not)…I know it will be a difficult and often troubling and depressing year, so I’m trying to set myself up for success. I have a book about online teaching on its way to me, I’m trying to get my head in a space to plan for digital with kids I’ve never had…and more importantly, I’m trying to relax now to get my brain ready.

Art to Fill My Head

I spent 45 minutes this morning trying to find a file that my son found in 5. I think that says something about my fitness to do anything at the moment. I have now saved it to the correct folder. I have no idea why it was hiding where it was, but it probably had something to do with the fact that sometimes my computer shuts down and saves things in stupid places without telling me, and because I installed a new version of Microsoft All the Things, it lost the link to A File You Recently Used. Thank you, technology. Well, thank you boychild as well.

We followed up with him digging two holes while I fetched equipment and moved dirt around. Two more holes to go, and then we can set some posts in. I probably should go buy the stringers tomorrow, so I don’t have to deal with a hardware store on a weekend. I found this while cutting things up…

The boy also found a dead baby bird, probably a dove, probably related to the two who were making a nest in one of our trees, and who seem to be piles of feathers in the yard now (ah, hawks)…and also found a dead baby rodent. Hard to say whether it’s rat, mouse, or gopher…I don’t see a lot of gopher holes in the backyard, so I’m assuming one of the others. Simba had a good time rubbing his head on it. Dogs are weird.

Apparently, I can only quilt at night. There are a bunch of other things I do during the day, like ship boxes and try to find quilts that are actually going to be exhibited somewhere and cut up greenery. Fun stuff like that. But I have about 5 hours of quilting in, all outlining, and I don’t think I’m halfway done yet…

I’ve made it up to the hip area of the central figure…

I’ve done everything in the foreground to the left of the main figure…

And a good portion of the foreground area to the right of the figure…

I need to do her face and one of her arms, about half of it anyway, and some of the stuff on the hillside. Then I’ll finish the main figure and do the stuff in the sky. I might be close to halfway done on the outlining? It’s hard to say. I have my quilt Zoom meeting today, so I think I’ll work on it for that.

I have other things I also need to work on…I traced the first embroidery for Patreon rewards, Part 2.

These are good for time in front of the TV. There isn’t any of that planned for tonight, though, so it probably won’t get started yet. She’s going to have rainbow hairs. I also finished all the grass embroidery in Folk Tails, finally. I kept looking at it until I thought the parts were full. When I’m done quilting this thing, I’ll sew the borders on so I can put the last bits on it.

I also framed some art I bought…as well as some posters for the man’s birthday. I need to hang all of them, but need to find room as well for mine. The perils of being an artist! Not enough wall space. The one on the left is a print by Fernando Marti, who I first met in elementary school, when we painted the nurse’s office together. Even then, he was way better at realism than I was. He belongs to a group of printmakers (Just Seeds) who do a subscription service, and I signed up for the subscription just for this print of his rabbit Bunnicula and the nolite bastardes carborundorum from The Handmaid’s Tale.

Just Seeds is an artists’ cooperative of 29 artists committed to social, environmental, and political engagement. The subscription is for a print a month, shipped quarterly. You can see some of the prints here.

The one on the right is from the SAQA auction at their online conference in March, the first one I’ve been able to attend. It’s by Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, whose work is fun and hard and amazing. Now to figure out where they will hang so I can stare at them. A lot.

I’m close to making bread again…yesterday, I got it all ready and folded and stretched and all that. It’s wetter than it should be, but it worked last time. We’ll see in an hour what it looks like.

I’ve got stuff I’m trying to ship out. It’s complicated by missing shipments, a need for boxes, lots of packaging. I’ll get it all figured out here in the next few days. So much for making one trip out…it’s gonna be three, I think. The world goes on.

My school is doing a summer enrichment thing. We made the news. My classroom (without me in it, hallelujah) made the news. Still don’t feel good about going back, but my superintendent thinks we are in 28 days. That said, union negotiations are still in play, and it’s possible the governor will just shut it down until (rumor has it) after Labor Day. So that’ll be the first three weeks online? Seriously just keeping my head down, trying not to follow too much on social media, trying not to think too hard about it (difficult when you’re a union rep and have to do trainings on how to help people who want medical leave). I love this…

More artmaking! Really, I do think I need that. Fence up though. That too. I want a good long hike next week too. There’s some cooler days coming up. I’m glad to have the art to fill my head. It’s a better place to be.

Just Trying…

So hi y’all. I’m trying to listen to a webinar about teachers and ADA accommodations while typing this. Boychild and I bought wood and concrete and metal bits for the next bit of fence, which is more of a privacy fence. It’ll be shorter than the other one, and we don’t have to speed through it. This time, we have no dad or girlchild help, but we should be OK. I’m excited about all the progress we’ve made this year on the yard…probably being on quarantine has helped. When you are stuck at home for hours and days and weeks and months, you try to make where you live better, right? So that’s a positive effect of all this crazy shit. Tomorrow, we’ll start setting posts. The wood barely fits in my car, so we’ll have to go back for the next batch. I’m hoping we’ll be done next week sometime.

What else has been going on? Waiting for my sourdough starter to pass the float test. I was going to start bread again, but I’ll have to wait. It’s OK. Tomorrow will still be fine.

So Sunday night, I cleaned a floor. It wasn’t my turn, but I needed it clean. Then I pieced two giant pieces of fabric and laid them out.

Yeah. It’s big. I had to move the bench and all the crap that was on it to get wide enough on the floor.

The batting was next, and then the quilt top.

There was a lot of kneeling to do this, also two fans blowing on me the whole time. It was hot.

From there, I already had the thread and I put that whole huge beast on my lap and started quilting last night.

This thing is a behemoth and requires a lot of pushing and shoving. But it’s meditative. I was listening to “This Podcast Will Kill You” about radiation…

Interesting stuff. All while this old girl sitting behind me…

And this one to my right…

And this cat is very flat.

What else am I doing? I’m putting together the second video for my Patreon, about how I do the smaller Patreon rewards. I’ll be doing some as embroidery and some as tiny quilt tops.

The one on the left will be embroidery and the one on the right will be a quilt. I drew this one today and recorded it.

And then there is this…

The webinar ends with “Just trying to keep you safe and alive.” Ah yes. That. Dissonance with my coworkers. And other people. “Kids need to be in school” does not match up with “I need to take care of myself.” We’ll see what the school year looks like. Messy, I’m sure. Scary, absolutely. Sad and difficult and stressful.

So I need a walk tonight. And hopefully I’ll keep quilting tonight. It will take me 20 hours or so to do this whole thing, so it’ll be a while. I will hopefully even get to a point where I can quilt during the day, but I haven’t gotten there yet. Too many other tasks need doing. But it’s something I’m aiming for in the next few days.

The Day Ran Away…

Totally writing this at the wrong time of day for me. I meant to start it much much earlier and then the day ran away from me. Don’t you hate that? It just gets up off the couch and books it down the driveway, and then all of a sudden it’s 8 PM and I don’t know what happened.

Neither does he, if that makes anyone feel better.

So yesterday, I started this video of how I make a quilt from start to finish, using this small spacecat design that was in the last finished quilt. It’s been on my list for a while. I’m going to make a long version for my Patreon followers and a timelapse version for the rest of the world. I get asked a lot how I make stuff, and it’s all over the blog, but I’m going to attempt it in one go. I say that and I’m like 40 videos in and still not done, so WTF am I on about? ONE spliced disaster of a video. Because.

So there’s the drawing I did from the original drawing from some months ago, and there’s the pile of trimmed Wonder Under as well…

This is small, about 10″ square, with only 24 pieces in it. Here are the 13 fabrics I used in it…

And here’s the pile of trimmed pieces…

Oh wait. Those are not trimmed. Whoops. Missed a photo. Oh well. It’s in the video.

And here it is, ironed down to a background.

I stitched it down this morning and then sandwiched it and pinbasted it and all I need to do now is quilt it, trim it, and bind it. And then splice 3,000 videos together. Twice. Unless I can figure out how to timelapse it using the program I use to splice. We’ll see.

I finally started feeling well enough on Monday to exercise again…I started with cat yoga.

It’s not really cat yoga. It’s yoga where my cats stare at me and try to figure out WTF I’m doing. Same, cats…same. I also rode the stationary bike yesterday, and then graduated to a hike today. Exciting stuff.

I got two more days done on these…this is the star-shaped one.

And last night’s total pain in the bullion knot ass…

The lower one, not the upper one.

I haven’t done tonight’s yet. That’s next.

I also finished stitching everything down on this…

My official photographer will get this eventually.

For now, notice Simba in the left corner, and my daughter’s expert fingers, plus Calli in the lower right. It doesn’t have a name yet. I’m working on it.

My SIL sent me a bunch of fabric and I washed all of it and then had to re-iron a ton of it because the dryer folded it all up.

Ironing can be very meditative.

More fabric for the stash…

And then on a stitchy Zoom this afternoon, I was sewing all these pieces down…

And I actually finished…

So now I can embroider on it if I so wish. This is Applique Stories fabrics by Anna Maria Horner and her bimonthly challenge of sorts. Wherein I take some wacky fabrics and use them to make a nude. Like you do. (Most people make flower bouquets. I am somewhat strange in my fabric application.)

I also panicked all over the place about school and being an online teacher and just life in general. So there’s that. I have showered and changed my clothes though, so I feel like I’m doing OK for now.

What’s up next? I’m starting the next quilt. I’ve spent two days now procrastinating about Just Picking a Size of Paper to start drawing on, so there’s that. I can’t do a smaller drawing and enlarge it without going out into the world like I normally do. I did go into the world today. I delivered a mask to my dad so he won’t get arrested driving up to the mountains without one, and then I put gas in the car. That’s all I did. Well, we walked. There were a lot of people (and dogs) out there. I don’t blame them…it wasn’t raining and it was OK out and we all needed to get out. OUT. Yeah. Out.