That’ll Do…

Hi. How are you all doing? I’m on day 6 of not feeling right. No fever, no cough, just a fun conglomerate of other symptoms that might be something and might not. So I’m just drinking a lot of fluids and hoping whatever it is goes away soon. I suspect a bunch of you feel the same way at the moment. Or not…

I spent yesterday’s school Zoom meeting lying in bed with a cat and the computer…there’s a quilt meeting today, but I don’t know these people, so I don’t feel like I can do the same thing, although my head’s a little slippy/slidey at the moment. Spacy. Headachey. All good.

I have moments of feeling fine, like Thursday night, when I walked almost three miles without any dogs for once…

It’s not because I didn’t want to walk with the dogs…they had gone over to the other house and I still wanted a walk…which is good, because yesterday, I so incredibly did NOT have the energy for walking, and today isn’t looking much better…hello Hawk.

I even finished my book.

Sitting in the sun…with Christmas socks on. Good choice.

My school team got our twinsies shirts on for the school social media…

And I did a bunch of stitching to get caught up on the dot embellishment…Dot 1…

Dot 2…

I’m just using whatever thread I can find at the moment…not always the right stuff.

Dot 3…

And Dot 4…

Then Friday brought spacey head and lots of digestive issues, continued over for Day 3 of Digestion Bingo at that point…now on the All White Food diet, trying to stay hydrated…plus during gaming last night, I did Dot 5, horribly over flashed, but there nonetheless…

She says each one will take 30 minutes. That last one took more than 30 minutes.

I’m caught up. For now.

I finished the outline quilting on this quilt…

I’d like to finish the background quilting today as well, but I’m not sure of energy and I’m supposed to do a Zoom in about 15 minutes. Ugh.

With rumors of San Diego going into mask requirement, I started trying to find materials in my office. Fabric is not the issue, but the ties…but I have a weird stash of truly old stuff…

I made the first mask from some pattern (please don’t ask me which one…they’re all over the internet and I only have half my brain functioning at the moment)…

I used batiks because they are a nice tight weave, but straight up…

I can’t wear this. I get claustrophobic in it and can’t breathe. Everyone else says it’s fine. So I guess this one is for the girlchild.

I then tried a basic surgical mask…much easier to breathe, but this is only one layer. Not very protective…

So I did a second one yesterday with two layers…not perfect…it only stays on if I have my hair in a bun or ponytail.

But I can breathe through it. Boychild doesn’t like the ties. I haven’t offered one to the man yet, because now that I think I might be sick, I’ve breathed into these and need to wash them before anyone else uses them. Sigh.

No, I can’t make masks for you. I can barely handle making these at the moment. Straight up, sitting up for long periods of time in an actual chair makes me dizzy. So I love all of you…go make your own please or go on Etsy, and if you’re making them for hospitals and medical workers, I love you more; please respect that I cannot. Sometimes we can only do what we can do. As I chug more Gatorade and wonder why it has such an awful aftertaste.

Have a cute cat picture…

And another one….

Plus this wide-awake one…

And lastly, this dog, NOT helping me review curriculum that decidedly does NOT cover photosynthesis.

Ah. School. You still drive me nuts.

I drew for a while last night. It was hard because I was pretty spaced out.

Yes, I am drinking chicken broth. All I really want right now is some really good chicken soup. I will probably settle for mashed potatoes and canned chicken again.

Usually I put my goals for the day(s) in this last paragraph. I’m tired. I don’t like food right now. I want to feel better. I want to finish quilting. That’ll do.

I Can’t Remember Where to Be When…

Ahhh. Yes. So. This new world order of school online and trying to figure all the bits and pieces out (there are a lot of bits and pieces). I’m supposed to call three families back and try to get them to get free internet. It’s like sales calls except the families are so embarrassed that they don’t have it already. I remember saying something in class about it, and one kid was like “WHO? WHO doesn’t have internet?!” and I’m like, whoa kid, lots of people, you privileged doofus. Which is funny, because I’m at a Title I school and there’s not a lot of privilege there.

So I’ve had too much stuff to try to get done in the last few days. And more today. Plus eyeballs on what’s happening in the country, on more horrors and do I need to make masks and why can’t we get the military folks off the carrier and WTF is going on with Florida or why do I care about that? In all that, I’m trying (like many) to do my job in a whole new way. Online meetings and trainings are fine, but they tie you down to where the computer can go, so there’s a lot of sitting. There were five of them yesterday, three for work and two social, but they were too long and too much, so I need to figure that out. Sooner rather than later.

I need a routine. For food, for work, for art. For life. Don’t we all? Here’s one of the social meetings…I’ve only been kicked off a few times, which should make it interesting when I’m doing school stuff with kids in a few weeks. I got kicked off this one a couple of times…or at least paused.

I’m currently listening to another training while writing this. Then I’ll shower (I hope) and try to get a hold of the rest of the kids I’m missing.

There’s been some stitching…I mindlessly sewed all 90 dots down…

For like 3 nights straight. Maybe 4. I don’t actually know what day it is.

Really, the hardest part was finding a color of wool thread for each dot. I have tons of it, but I kept missing one green here or there. They’re just whip-stitched down.

Why am I doing this? Because Sue Spargo is posting an embellished dot a day, so I thought I would add that to my crazy shit.

I finished yesterday during Zoom number 4. I find sitting through Zooms without something to work on just sucks.

My last Zoom was book club, and it would have been nice to have something to work on. So I need to be prepared for that shit.

Now I am four days behind the embellishment, so that’s today. Maybe. Plus I want to walk the dogs and sit on the deck and draw.

I finally FINALLY got my head around quilting last night. I’m getting close…

Got the arm done and the sky around it…

Easy stuff…just needed the mental space for it.

Realizing I’m not going to be able to go out and buy binding…huh…

Well. I guess we’ll have to wing that. WING. Ha. Ha.

Sigh. I still don’t feel particularly well. I’ve been dealing with something for about four days now. Headaches in the beginning, hot flashes and chills, minor, very minor fever (really, it’s hard to tell with me), plus digestive stuff showing up now. I think we’re all turning into hypochondriacs.

OK. Well. Then there were lots of animals involved with everything, because that’s how it is now.

They are on us and in front of us and next to us…

Which is mostly fine. This one can be a pain in the behind…

But cute, nonetheless…note that they are sleepy once you are up and out of bed. Before that, they are rambunctious and climbing the blinds.

Fuckers.

All three cats are in this photo…because my office is the best play space ever.

Disaster waiting to happen.

Guarding my thread…

Or playing constantly…

And lastly, the comfort foods. Yesterday, three of us each made one…boychild top left, girlchild fancy ones on the right, and mine on the bottom left (I don’t eat chocolate)…

There must be a need for comfort.

OK, I have no official duties today, besides finishing all the things I didn’t get done yesterday. I’m hoping to finish the outline quilting and move on to the background…maybe even finish it. Plus do the four embellishments (or at least two of them). And draw. And walk. First shower…and hopefully get my digestive system to behave. Sigh. There’s a sense of twisted normalcy here…but no routine. I gotta figure that out in the next two weeks. It will be easier then, in two weeks, I think because there will be required meetings every day. It’s just harder to keep track of these things. There’s no bell between homeroom and 2nd period. I don’t know when to eat lunch. I can’t remember where to be when. New world.

Easy and Brainless…

So. It’s good that we have a house with enough space for everyone to shelter in place without being on top of each other. We’re lucky to have two paychecks coming in to feed four people. And hallelujah for internet, or we might go bonkers. I mean, we might BE bonkers in a way, but we’re healthy for now and have what we need, which includes The Great Pottery Throw Down (why is that not one word instead of two?), although more exercise and less anxiety would be lovely.

Thanks also to all of you who are making masks for medical personnel. I wish I could do that. My brain is not in the mood. I feel my anxiety ramping up with the news and sometimes reading stuff and hearing stuff and when I think about making masks, just trying to figure out which pattern and what materials makes me breathe heavily, so I stop. Thinking about it. I might get there eventually. I’m sure I’m capable.

“Let’s take a minute to think about our current reality.” Huh. I’m on a work Zoom meeting. I’m stressed, but will survive. Well, we say that and then wonder if we will be one of the 2 million who doesn’t. Because we have to think about what this world will look like 6 months from now or even a year from now. My current reality…I’m doing what I need to do, which is NOT cleaning closets and organizing the kitchen. I applaud all of you who are doing that. Really. I do. I wish I could be more efficient and get more shit done, but I can’t. Seeing as how I think we’ll be doing this for the next (oh shit, count them…) 10 weeks (?), I think I might get some closets clean eventually. Last night, the boychild and I made a kamikaze and clearly essential ride to my parents’ house to dump some crap from my driveway into their dumpster. So we left the girlchild on the phone with the olds, so we could sneak in and dump. It’s all good.

I wrote all that before the school meeting, which was over an hour long, and then spent the next two hours setting up a new class online, prepping a form, and sending an email to all the kids in my new advisory class, plus their parents, if I could. Next step is to start calling them; I’ll do that tomorrow…see how many I can get with the email instead. My head is reeling a bit from the work meeting…too much to process in one go. I’ve got a headache, my neck is a mess from no chiropractor, and I’m in freakout mode. So there’s that. Hello new world!

So the last two days…time is weird, isn’t it? We had everyone home; still waiting on test results to see if the kids can go to their dad’s house or not. It’s all a crapshoot, isn’t it? Yes it is.

This is the truth…although the Stephen King book is really good (The Institute), horror and dystopian novels seem a little nuts right now.

We watched Contagion that night as a family too.

On Saturday, we walked the dogs. Hopefully that will happen today as well, because I’m going bonkers. We stopped at my ex’s house and stole lemons.

Calli loves the little bit of this walk that’s off leash…

She gets downright perky. She’ll be 11 some time in April.

These ferns are delicate and the flowers are oh so tiny.

It’s a nice walk, not quite long enough, but with a punishing hill in it. Although most of it is pretty chill.

We’ve seen these weird pods hanging from a tree and I always wanted to know what was inside them. Now I know.

Fluff. Fluff is what’s inside them.

No, I’m not willing to pick this up. But this is like life right now.

So this was about 2 1/2 miles. We can’t really do the hikes we like to do right now. The county has closed everything down. Which sucks, but we get why.

I was quilting earlier…I missed the stitch down on that one section of the building, so I stuck a pin in it until the end of that bobbin thread.

And then switched threads to stitch it down with the polyester stuff. Every time I do this, I miss something. More quilting!

I’m honestly not getting much done each day. Time is kind of a mess. Although I quilted yesterday too…

I have all the of the body done except for the top arm…and then the Earth and the stuff above that, and then I can quilt the background. It’s slow, but it’s happening. An hour a day is about what I’d be doing if I were at school every day, so I don’t feel bad.

This was during Contagion…working on the houses from Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block of the month…they’re easy and brainless to stitch down. I’m doing a lot of easy and brainless.

I thought I was done with it…turns out there’s a bird. So I’m not. Here’s the other two, still in progress.

I’m all over the map in what I’m working on. And then, Sue Spargo set out an invite for a daily stitch thing, for 90 days, called the Toned Down Sampler…she’s done these circle samplers before and I’m always fascinated by them. Each circle has a different stitch combo. I didn’t like the colors on the kit, but I have tons of leftover wool from everything I’ve done with her, so I bought a background and started cutting out circles on Saturday night.

Her kit is very logical…9 circles each of 10 colors…or maybe it’s vice versa. I don’t have more than 3 circles of any color, and some I only have one circle of that color. And I wanted brighter colors.

I have access to a punch for these, but it’s at mom’s, so that wasn’t happening. Still staying away from them. It didn’t actually take that long to cut them out. So yesterday, I pinned them all down.

Hers are in this perfect 9×10 grid. Each circle is 1/2″ away from every other. Yeah. Um. So no. I was thinking differently. I know you’re shocked by that. I had a river (of blues) in the middle, then greens on either side, then the flowers on the outside.

I actually adjusted again after this. Then pinned them all down. Stabby beast.

And last night, started stitching them down. This is the hard part, eh?

You can see how many I had stitched down as of bedtime. I did a few more today during the meeting. It calms me to stab through wool with a sharp needle. They’re whipstitched down with a similar-colored wool thread. Then the embellishment will happen…she’s posted the first one today. I’ll have to use different colors, but it should be fine.

This was last night’s dinner. I think we’ve just handed all the cooking over to the girlchild at this point.

Chili and cornbread muffin. Tasty stuff. She does a lot of puppy cuddling at night.

He doesn’t seem to mind.

Kitten eventually came out to hang with us.

This was right before bed…

We were all tired. Today has been chaotic…I want cookies (not a good choice). I should do yoga (good choice) and walk the dogs (also good) and who knows what else. We still have a lot of stuff up in the air for school, but working for my paycheck is a good idea. Whatever that looks like. Plus more easy and brainless stitching in between reading and exercising, and the occasional bit of art.

We Have Found the Sunz…

and we are lying in them.

I wish I had a kitten mindset…

Or an old lady dog mindset. But no. I am a worrisome adult human type. Although, this was Calli after the first thunder clap the other night…and me after getting an email from the teachers’ union.

It’s fine. I laid on the floor with her later that night for about an hour and a half, and she calmed down. The teacher stuff…it’ll be fine. I don’t agree with all of it, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run. It’s some routine, some normalcy. It might help the kids; might even help some of us.

I drew Thursday night…still trying to make different shapes and deal with spaces slightly differently.

When you have a recognizable style and you’re trying to fuck with it, your brain often goes back to what it’s comfortable doing. Which is good and bad. Stretch. A little. A lot? Always trying to stretch.

This is last night’s drawing…I think it went really well with the figure and maybe I should have stopped there and come back to it? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.

I’m just drawing. I was trying to get that feeling in my head that things are so weird and surreal and I can’t get a handle on any of it. So the body is good. Maybe that’s something I’ll save for the next one. With the Coronawood sign. But bigger and higher and something. I don’t know. Just messing around. Late night with a brain that wouldn’t shut up.

I found that damn missing windmill. I was sweeping my office and it just appeared. Fucker.

Maybe it will get its own quilt. Who knows.

Speaking of quilts, I did a little quilting yesterday.

I’m going to do more today. The machine is behaving now and it’s a pretty smooth process.

Still mourning Australia’s devastating fires…

Suspect this will just be a year of mourning.

Girlchild set a video of pup post-bath to this…

He runs around and rubs his body all over the carpet, like he’s a furry vacuum. It’s amusing. He got a bath because he smelled like the salmon oil we put on the old lady’s food for her arthritis. Or her skin. Not sure which.

Last night, we also had gaming…on devices. Multiple devices. Kind of difficult in some ways…

I do always stitch through these…it helps me pay attention.

Got the random hut and monkey stitched on. Now they need embellishment.

Hi Kitten…

It’s Saturday. Our plan is to grocery shop early tomorrow, so list today. We’ll find out today if the kids are here for the next few weeks without trips to their dad’s…waiting on a test result. It’s a beautifully sunny day, so I’m thinking some minor yardwork. Some quilting. I’m going to try some yoga…it’s close enough to pilates. I’m doing something exercise-like every day. It doesn’t feel like enough, but I also know I’m not eating particularly well…unlike most people, I seem to be eating less…not enough food is not the best plan as a diabetic. Next week, I’ll get trained on the new teaching normal and do some planning apparently (no idea what that looks like). My original panic stemmed from an email that we would need to work our regular school day (but at home) every day next week. I cleared a desk, tried to think what staring at a computer for 7 hours straight would feel like. They’ve backed that down a lot in subsequent emails, which helps with the anxiety. It’s more of a go-with-the-flow thing that I can handle. Of course, they train us, and then we have ‘two weeks off’ for Spring Break. It’s just weird. All so weird.

Art today. Definitely. Art and exercise and less of the news.

The Missing Hand…

Yeah. I skipped a day of writing. I don’t know what day it was though, so that’s OK. Been watching NYC weather this pandemic shit and it’s scary. Sending good thoughts to the whole city and everywhere else it looks like that. Certainly, many of us are questioning any sore throat or dry cough or now, digestive issue (dammit, stop eating beans then!), wondering Was that it? Is this the start of it? I think here in San Diego, we haven’t really gotten the full brunt of the virus yet. Give it two weeks. With that, I’m leaving in a few minutes to go distribute lunches to my kids. We’re down to only two people at a time, so we can socially distance.

Tuesday, we walked the dogs…we’re gonna do it again today. My parents are up to twice a day with theirs, which would be fine by me, but the old lady dog can’t do it. She wants to, but it’s too much for her.

We have places we can walk locally…this is just out the front door and sort of through a neighbor’s yard, although they’ve never complained…but now the house has sold, so who knows. We just go quickly and quietly.

There are no actual grapevines here any more.

But I still like the signs.

Mostly empty. We didn’t see any people.

And a lot of plant material. It’s pretty green this year…we’re over 13 inches of rain, which is a lot for us. There’s more coming tonight apparently. But then I think we might be done for a while. It’s cold and windy today…next week, we’re supposed to hit the high 80s. It will be harder to keep people inside.

I got an email today from an exhibit I usually enter, warning us that there are just a few more days to the deadline. It’s weird thinking about future art shows when it seems like the world is about to burn down in a plague. But I guess that’s hope for the future…hope that the venue will still be viable, hope that we will still be able to have art shows. Hope that we’ll all still be here to send work and hang work and see work.

Here was Tuesday’s drawing. I didn’t draw yesterday. I did other stuff.

Maybe I will draw today. So Tuesday night, the man went to bed early, because he’s working these awful long shifts that basically leave time to sleep and eat and little else, so I finished the lettuces on the last of the October Folk Tails blocks.

Although this was the 2015 block of the month, I didn’t start working on it until March of 2016…so I’ve officially been working on it (on and off) for four years. Yeah. You read that right. A lot of times, I just worked on it once a month at my stitching meeting, and then last year, because I was doing the embroidery patterns, I barely worked on it at all.

Anyway, as I finished that grasshopper block (well, it’s missing a road and flowers), I realized it was time to stitch all of it together. Holy moley. I had some larger bits sewn together, but pinned some more parts…

Sewed them until I had two long strips…

There’s still plenty to do…that hen has no feet, for example.

I feel like I’m going to have to go back through all the instructions to fill in everything I’m missing. Plus it needs ten tons of grass sewn everywhere…

And the road needs to be continued down through the bottom three rows…

I stopped there, because I realized I needed to sew over onto the other blocks and they weren’t sewn together yet. Plus apparently a hut is supposed to go there. Uh huh. Barely fits.

And there’s a spare monkey too.

So there’s still plenty to work on. It’ll be another year. Plus borders! But it was exciting to get it to this stage.

Girlchild is still cooking up a storm…and posting artistic photos.

The result of that photo was cheddar scallion English muffin bread. Very good.

So yesterday, I did quilt for a while…although the machine was being cranky…

As always…

Luna was being a pain…kept trying to hide in the quilt and climb everything in the studio while I was on a video call with stitchy friends…

Trying to get the light right, so the computer has to be in a specific place. Interesting commentary for how I’m going to do this when we start for school. There are a limited number of places that are lit right, have seating, and stay quiet even when people are here. And there are a few people here. Four adults take up room. I’m lucky to have a variety of spaces for people to hang out in.

And cats. Cats can hang out too.

While I was on that call, I cleaned up the huge pile of papers and crap on my desk. Well. I cleaned up most of it. I’m not sure what to do with the other part of it.

Wait for another day. Although the word from on high is that I need to start grading things. All right. I’ll do that.

Then last night, I wanted to start the second one of the Applique Stories blocks…Anna Maria Horner sends 8 fabrics and no instructions basically, and then you make a block out of them. Of course, most people make this flowery bouquet-type things, and I make naked women. But I like this…the one on the right is from January’s fabrics and then on the left, you can see what she sent for March.

I picked the backgrounds…which was hard in itself, let me tell you. Trying to find a color that won’t overwhelm the given fabrics, or clash with them either…it’s difficult. The blocks are about 19×20″, a totally random size that I can’t explain. They could be finished together, but it probably makes more sense to finish them separately. I’m not fusing anything…just cutting pieces and then stitching them in place…and then doing some embroidery. Slow work.

That one fabric just damn well set itself up to be breasts…seriously. How could I NOT?

These are a challenge. I would never put these together. I like a challenge.

I wouldn’t even BUY half these fabrics. That’s what I love about this. Really. It’s fun.

I probably did this for 2 or 3 hours last night…walked away, walked back…added a bird. No starting drawing.

No nothing. No more fabrics than those 8. Honestly, those 8 are the challenge.

She was off balance, so I added the hand…here they both are…oh wait, the hand is still missing.

Must have added that later. Oh well. I can keep adding if I want. Tonight I have a Zoom stitching meeting, and my plan is to stitch stuff down during the meeting. The actual stitch down is easier to do while it’s flat, rather than trying to hoop it. The pieces are really only held in place by a few pins.

Anyway. So that was the last two days. I’m coping. I’m not sick (yet?), but question every cough and sore throat tickle. I know people who are sick. I hope everyone is OK. I know the world will be a different place when this is done. I’m sad about that…like all of you. And sitting and waiting is not my superpower…I’m glad I have the art to keep my brain occupied. Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you the missing hand…but I’m thinking she needs fingernails first…

2020…May It Be Full of Art…

It was a good New Year’s Day…I never got out of my pajamas…the only thing better would have been a hike, and we have that planned for tomorrow.

Today is the boychild’s birthday…

Wow. That hair. He’s much taller now, hair is longer. Pretty sure he started those bangs the girlchild has…after some revisions by mom. He makes better decisions now. Or at least asks first. He’ll spend some time with dogs and maybe kittens, relaxing. May 2020 be awesome for him, whatever that means.

We hiked with the dogs on Tuesday (yes, I am losing track of days). Simba needed a carry assist at some point…we thought he might have something in his paw, but it might have just been a pulled muscle.

We took them out 4 miles to try to tire the boy out…the boy dog, that is. He’s been in bark mode. Plus we think he misses the girlchild. It was a gorgeous day for a hike…

I love the outside. Plus there was lots of water to look at and stomp through…

Check out that tongue. We definitely tired her out…almost enough to ignore the fireworks on NYE.

I quilted a little bit every day…like one person’s worth…

It was a goal I could handle. Finish one person. Then you get a break.

It stayed that way, one a day, until yesterday…

Yesterday, I finished the requisite person and then had the background staring at me…

I stopped for dinner and then finished quilting the whole thing…

It only took 3 1/2 hours…

So Kitten/kitten play has been happening…a little…

Mostly around corners and under quilts…

There was no hissing here…just play bopping. And this was after Nova went after Kitten’s tail, which was swishing around quite temptingly.

I did my daily drawings…this one from NYE was a little strange…

Here’s the first drawing of 2020…

I always feel like this is such a good practice, drawing every day, but the reality of my days during school are less conducive to this. Unfortunately. I’ve tried instituting a drawing a week, like Friday night, but time is so limited when I’m teaching that I sacrifice the drawing time to actual artmaking instead.

Nova on my sketchbooks…

Not the best footing.

OK, I have two quilts to deliver, a binding fabric to buy (no, I don’t have enough of anything to use for binding), and pilates class…plus grading. I did one period of the UGH assignments (it’s really two assignments put together) yesterday. It took about 2 1/2 hours, but I wasn’t really paying attention well and I will get faster. Or not. I don’t know. Four more periods of those to go…really need to do one a day. Plus decide what art I’m making next. Oh yeah, recap of 2019…only 6 quilts, but 1 was huge…

All of them have been or are going to be in shows, which is cool. Two are traveling for at least a year. One won an award. All good. I feel like making work from my head is a good place right now. Although 4 of these were made for specific themes. My favorite, Swallow Me Whole, was not though. It was a thing in my head that needed to get out. So start 2020 with one of those, one I choose, no theme, just Nida.

Plus I did these last year…

These were a new thing…not sure how successful it was, but it was an interesting experience. I would stitch more of my drawings, but they take so much time, it’s hard to make it a profitable thing. Not that I make art for that…but maybe I’ll design a few for traveling/camping. They were good for that. You can find patterns and kits for these at Global Artisans

2020…may it be full of art and time for that shit.

How to Make It Better…

So many people already saying Happy New Year…I guess that’s legit for Australia, but all you Americans just need to wait a bit. Europe too. Chillax. We’ve got the rest of 2019 to survive.

Speaking of Australia…all the fires and the animals and the people and the crazy fire weather, which doesn’t make the news here hardly at all…my heart goes out to you. Hoping there’s a resolution soon and people can rest easy…although the future weather/drought issues there will still be a problem. I didn’t realize there was such a huge coal industry there. It’s so hard to balance the needs of the world in general in terms of slowing climate change while also making sure people still have jobs and food and homes. It’s a huge mind shift…one that America doesn’t seem to understand either. Our core job needs to be taking care of people…not making money. So many politicians are ignorant (willfully or ?) of the science behind what’s happening and how we humans are making it worse.

Also on my mind…attacks on Jewish people…I hate my current government (because it’s not just the President any more) for encouraging this environment where people are emboldened to attack anyone who is different than they are. Have we learned nothing over the years? I read a friend’s comment about how we are raised to respect others’ opinions, but she was clear in that we don’t have to respect racist or hate-based opinions. I don’t hate you because you are racist…I don’t understand you. I hate your actions toward others. I hate your speech toward others. You are human and so obviously frightened of what is different or what you perceive as taking away from your rights (such an ignorant and limited view of the world). You don’t have the right to hurt someone else because of that…even if the President says you do. This last year has been hard to watch. So much anger and wrongness.

So that’s where I’m ending 2019. Sometimes when I’m drawing or making quilts, I think “this piece of art isn’t going to fix the government or racism or climate change or hate or anything else…” and I get disheartened about what I’m making. It’s not enough. I’m using materials that are causing more pollution, I’m using electricity, my privilege allows me to create art because I’m not trying to find food for my children or clean water…I don’t have tons of money to donate to worthy causes or tons of time to volunteer in worthy places. I try to educate my students about things when I can…there are times when I can’t be political because I teach in a public school…but I can be scientific. I make art because it helps me stay sane. It’s a drive I can’t turn off. I have been trying to be more thoughtful about fabric use in the last year or so…using up weird pieces that have been around for a while. I don’t have a solution for the world right now…I just know large parts of it are messed up and need fixing.

Tomorrow will be all about Happy New Year and looking forward. Today I’m in reflection mode. Ironically, I’m doing this program to help me reduce my school work hours, and they had suggested making monthly goals for school and other stuff, and I don’t know why that sounded like a good idea, but I set up the spread in my journal (which I do use daily…the journal anyway)…

And then. Well. Realized I’m not good at setting monthly goals. I set weekly ones, even daily ones, and ones that stretch out the length of a unit of teaching science (the next one is volcanoes and earthquakes, I think). Also ones that stretch out for the length of a quilt. Sometimes for summer or winter break. Not this break so much…but this isn’t working for me. I can’t get my head around it. OK then. I think I do OK on goals in general, so I’m just going to write this up as Tried, but Didn’t Work.

I did quilt for a while yesterday, the 2nd figure. I’ll do more today, I hope…though my original goal to be quilted by now so I could trim and bind today?

Not happening. So this will be the first quilt of 2020.

I’m still grading almost every day. I prefer doing a little at a time to spending entire days working on it.

This kitten is not at all helpful. Neither is the pup.

I did finish this assignment completely, and stayed up way too late doing another one, but now all that’s left is the three hellacious assignments. I’m just going to bully through one period a day, maybe more if it makes sense. Take a day off when it makes sense. Get through as much as I can. I have 12 days before I go back, and ideally I’ll be done. Which means more than one a day, I think. Sigh. OK. Good to know.

It’s also OK to do some of it when I get back from break. No matter what I was grading, there was always a companion…

These two eventually got off my lap…with some assistance from me.

Although Nova apparently thinks she is cuter than her sister, and should be in all the photos…

Eventually she sat on Luna. It’s nice having siblings…they are amusing.

I did my daily drawing…

This type of imagery shows up often. I was tired. Couldn’t think of what to draw.

This is one of the shows my work is going to be in, coming up in January…

That’s one of my two pieces…the art center is in Ojai, California. I don’t know if I’m going to the opening…it’s a long way for one day. Thinking about it.

OK, time to stop thinking and start doing. I need to put away the Christmas stuff, pack up some boxes to ship, walk the dogs, grade some shit, quilt another person, and IDK what else. Draw. But it’s New Year’s Eve, so I’ll get time for that while having to watch crazy TV. Ugh. I’m not a fan of all the NYE television, and I don’t need to go out and party. I do need to think about how to make 2020 better. Not for me…for others.

Can’t Be Bothered…

I hiked yesterday. I didn’t write because I hiked, so I was up early and then I came back and was exhausted. Plus I don’t know what day it is anymore. Neither does anyone else, so it’s all good.

Girlchild spent a lot of time spoiling dogs…

They love when she’s home…

Which is good for her too…

Although she put this one in timeout for barking too much…

Legit.

We had one family gaming night…

With kitten involvement…they were fascinated…

With laps and dice and little pieces everywhere…

I didn’t win. I really never win. It’s a good thing I don’t care about winning.

Girlchild left this morning. I’m trying to figure out when to go visit her in Boston. Maybe Spring?

Lots of kitten cuteness. I have no family pictures…just kitten pictures.

Lame. I know.

This morning, my cat (Kitten) ventured out and maybe attempted play with kittens…

Maybe. Hard to say. Yes, there’s a kitten up her butt.

It’s progress. We hope.

Yesterday’s hike was at Santa Ysabel Preserve West, out off the 78…there was ice in a puddle and a tiny bit of snow by the path…

It was beautiful…there were lots of cows…and the Coast to Crest Trail book is as always completely wrong about every hike I’ve done in there…

The mileage was right…just under 6 miles…

I’m just not sure how they calculate loss/gain of elevation, because they said 300 feet and I should have checked AllTrails instead, because I would have brought my poles for the mud alone and this beast of a hill…

Down was worse than up for me. The man will never hike this trail again. Only 1174 feet of gain. Or loss. Doesn’t really matter to your knees.

Snow on the nearish mountains…

Beautiful panoramas…and more cows…

Mama is staring at us quite intently. We did persuade her to go stand by her babies…the original trail went between mom and the calves. Not a great plan.

We visited our favorite dive bar on the way back for sustenance…and then collapsed for the rest of the day.

I quilted a little bit on Friday. Super slow progress…

I just have too much to do. I finished grading 4/5 of the larger assignments.

I’m hoping to quilt more today. I’m also hoping someone besides me will take the initiative on the grocery list/cooking plan today, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening. Basically, I don’t think we would go to the store if I didn’t plan it.

Sigh.

I have videos to compile for my Patreon today, plus a drawing to scan and clean up. But hopefully more quilting too.

This was Friday’s drawing…tech on my mind? Much?

And then last night’s…I started with kittens asleep over there…at some point, one headed for me.

It’s hard to draw with a kitten in your face.

But there it is. Join my Patreon for $5/month and you’ll get a high-res copy of the drawing for coloring or staring at or whatever. Just don’t sell it. One a month. Such a deal. At some point, I’ll make a coloring book, but not yet. Need funding.

The Patreon video this month is about my motivation to get stuff done at the moment. It’s lacking. So I’ll do some pondering and then figure my shit out. As always. Until then, maybe it’s sandwiches every night. Can’t be bothered. Welcome to the new year!

Like I Have Control Over That Shit.

I would like to thank my principal’s kid for his fever that canceled my morning meeting. No really. I mean, I hope the sweet boy is OK and all, but I needed sleep more than I needed another early meeting. Note to self. Fewer meetings. Like I have control over that shit. Seriously need to figure people out and their need to make useless meetings or add people to my meetings who aren’t going to add to the conversation or set meetings up and then not show the fuck up. Wasted time is like the worst thing in the world to me. Don’t make me do it! That said, I’ll show up to almost any kid meeting, hoping against hope that THIS will be the one that gets them to see the light (them being the kid, the parent, or someone who might be able to move the helping process along, hello counselors and psychs and all those other people who get in the way of our helping the kids who need it due to stupid governmental crap). I’m an eternal optimist, despite the cynicism you see and hear daily from me. I believe in people choosing good over evil…in doing the best things…despite seeing stupid shit day after day. Sigh. I’m preparing my mind for two lab days in a row. Wait until next week. Ha! Yeah. It’ll be fine.

I came home early last night and went to the gym. It was my night to cook, but I thought this shit through…the crockpot was going all day. Easy and awesome foods and plans. I tried using the iPad at the gym to grade these essays, but it doesn’t work like it does on the computer, so in 25 minutes on the bike, I managed two essays. Not great. And you know what? When I came home and was sitting there watching some weird Russian robot show (I don’t know why we keep watching this…the dialogue is awful and the lips are moving and nothing else is and the bots themselves…my lord.), I did NOT go get my computer and continue to grade essays. Yes, it means I’m behind. I’m always behind. Whatever. 20 minutes of grading after dinner wasn’t going to solve THAT shit.

Then I came in here and it took an hour to cut bindings and sleeves and sew them onto the quilt…

Same stuff as the background. I bought just enough to do the sleeves. Note to self…when your quilt is WIDER than it is TALL, your sleeves will be really long. Ugh. I have to sew all those down. Damn. Well. You learn something new every time you do this. Yeah, this cat is blurry. I kept trying to take pictures of her rubbing her head and body all over this quilt (sheesh), and she was moving too much. The Instagram one is the only non-blurry one.

Then I spent another 2 hours pinning everything and starting to stitch all the rest by hand. I got all the way down one long side and one short side, so that’s half of the outside part, but I still need to do the sleeves. Hang on…this is math. There are 380″ total inches of hand sewing and I did about 113 of them last night. That means I have a shitload left to do. No really. I don’t need to do that math. I’ll be fine. No gym tonight. No having to cut things out or sew them by machine or pin them, so another 3 hours and I should be done? Hopefully? I do need to do some inking on it, plus iron and dehair it…probably can’t deliver tomorrow, but definitely Saturday. Whew. Woo! OK. What am I doing next? For my sanity, I cannot have down time on the art stuff. It keeps me going. Seriously.

Meanwhile, school. No meetings today. A blessing. Don’t ask about tomorrow.

Do It Better…

My brain is significantly nonfunctional. Unfortunately. Because job and all. Plus morning meetings just suck. I’m sure it will be fine. I currently feel like I might still be asleep. I even went to bed early to try to make up for the early rise, but no. Not less tired or more awake. I’m just not a morning person. My brain is literally crying out for a sleep-in right now. No, brain. We don’t get that until maybe Saturday…not Sunday though. Sigh. OK. Some time in November! There we are. Is it November yet? Close.

The weather’s wacky again here in Southern California…it must be that weird burst of October summer we get most years…Santa Ana’s? Maybe. The old dog is increasingly more reactive to weather as she ages…now wind upsets her because it often comes before rain and her ultimate fear, thunder. There will be none of that this week, except for the wind, and she will freak out and be needy and we’ll pet her and it won’t help. Poor thing.

I’m in a daily routine…I come home from school and grade stuff…it was a 10-hour day yesterday. I’m not sure this thing where I keep track of it is making me feel better…but I’m doing it anyway…collecting data. Today maybe won’t be as bad…well, except for this early-morning meeting. Ugh. Grading is just such a time suck. There’s no solution I’ve found for it yet. Nonstop time suck. I was doing OK at the beginning of the year, but it’s the stuff we use for assessment that takes forever. Anyway…and makeup work. That’s killing me at the moment. I can’t even get to it. I only graded until we were done watching our dinner TV show though…then did a few things that needed doing.

Then off to the quilting. Which I took no pictures of…mostly because the thread broke approximately 28 times. I don’t know why. But it was all on the righthand side of the quilt. I booked it through the top section and then all of a sudden, every 6 inches or so, SHRED. WTF. I used the thread conditioner I have. I slowed the fuck down (OK, it’s true I was driving Nascar with the machine when I could). I thought about changing the needle, but I had just done that right before quilting. Anyway. Eventually it behaved and I made it all the way around…almost 9 hours of quilting. Not bad. When did I start? Saturday night? Yeah. Quick.

Then the trimming…

Sometimes this is a real pain in the ass, but last night, it was easy peasy. One side had to be recut, retrimmed to make the measurements work. And then I was done. It’s about 70″ w and 43″ h. I don’t usually do long and wide, but the image called for it. And she looks good! She needs a little ink (don’t we all) and a binding for sure. I have three nights for that! Maybe. We’ll see. I think the photographer would like it earlier rather than later, but I also know that all that binding will take a while. Plus holes in my finger unless I remember to use those sticky thimble things that I always forget I have until the hole is well established. Ouch.

Kitten agrees.

She was quite happily ensconced on the couch while I graded. Well, she tried to lie on the computer (why do they do that? It can’t be comfortable) and then she followed me to the office for the stitching time. All good.

OK, binding on tonight, start stitching it down. Hopefully I’m going to the gym as well…really need it. My back is tweaked. Plus blood sugar always needs it. Maybe I’ll figure out how to grade this current assignment there. We’ll see if the iPad can handle the weird add-ons I’m using. Early meeting tomorrow too, so I’ll be in bed early again. My brain is like YAASSSS. Bed. Sleep. Sheesh. If you like sleep so much, why don’t you DO IT BETTER?