That’s What Summer Is for…

Ah yes. It’s late on Friday night. Well, not super late, but late enough that many of you have said goodbye to Friday (if you even know it’s Friday at all) and some are well into Saturday. Or Sunday. I can’t tell. Australia, you are crazy with the days and hours thing and it could be August by now for you all as far as I know. Plus it’s winter and that just blows my mind. In fact, I think I want to live there just for a year or so, just so I can come back and NOT think that August equals hot and February equals rain, but only a little bit, because we are Southern California in a drought for all eternity.

Why am I writing so late? Well, there was a chance on Wednesday of going to the zoo, and that didn’t happen, so today ended up being the only day available forever more that wouldn’t be a weekend, and when you’re trying to avoid people, weekends are not the way to go, so we got our butts out of bed at a reasonable hour and went to the zoo. More on that later, but it was a better social-distancing experiment than I think school will be, although there were times when I thought, oh yeah, this is JUST LIKE what school will be like, and it was mostly when I was around either people or primates. Wait. We’re primates. So it’s the damn primates. We don’t do this well. Although really, I’d rather hang with the orangutans. Not the baboons. Them’s vicious bastards. MORE LATER.

So I wrote on Wednesday last, and Wednesday night, I did some stitch down…

And I kind of got to this point where I said I would use the two meetings (both social, online) I had on Thursday to finish the stitchdown, because I had other stuff (sewing stuff) I had to finish and I needed the machine for that, and I hate switching needles and thread, so I just went for it…

It’s been hot. I have two fans I’m using in here.

And besides having to be the expert on whether or not we should open schools next month [um. If you won’t open a restaurant, why the fuck would you open a school? Because you hate teachers and want them to die? Don’t even ask me about the kids who will get sick and potentially die (none here in the age group I teach, which is great, but won’t continue if we open schools), and worse, take the disease home to family members.]. Wait, I was in the middle of a sentence. Besides having to be the expert on opening schools (no. don’t.), I just stitched.

And at 10 hours and 7 minutes…

I was done. The batting will be here tomorrow, but I had other things I had to get done, so my backing isn’t pieced yet…hopefully Sunday.

My quilt guild had a stitch along for the last 4 or 5 weeks (I can’t count. Please don’t make me.), and I needed to be done by midnight tonight. Yesterday, after finishing the stitchdown, I trimmed all the blocks…except one was too small.

Yup. That red one. I added a strip to make it work. And then I laid them all out again, and because I’d seen some other people spread them out more, I got a stupid bug up my butt and pulled 5 of the blocks out of the center bit, added more white/black, and pushed them into the border…

Because why make it easy? In fact, I have no need for an abstract quilt on the wall, so this needs to be even bigger. IDK what I will do about that, but I did piece the whole center together last night.

And then put the borders on today, after the zoo.

Looks good. All I need to do is decide how I will make it bigger, sandwich, quilt it, bind it, and then toss it on the couch for cats and dogs to sleep on it. Right? Sure. The point is that I finished it on time. The pattern is Abstract Arcs by Cotton and Bourbon. Look! I pieced something.

I’m still trying to finish all the grass on this, Folk Tails, by Sue Spargo. I found another spool of green thread and jokingly said I knew I was done with the grass when I’d run out of green thread. Um. No. So this was after Thursday’s second meeting of the day…

At this point, I think I’m done with the bottom three rows, but when I look at it like this, I see stuff that bugs me…so when I sewed these two blocks, they had the grass already on them, unlike the bits I’ve been adding. But it’s so obvious that it stops at the edge of the block that it bugs me…

So I had to go in and add more grass over the seams to make it look less like straight lines. Taking photos of this stuff helps see crazy things like that, which will drive me nuts if I don’t fix them. Then tonight during gaming, I kept going on the grass…yeah, I know there’s a cat on there, but I might be close to done with grass stitching.

I’m seeing maybe one or two places that need more. “MORE”, because if you look at her photo of it on the website, she added a gazillion more bits of grass from the pattern, and I don’t have that kind of patience. So the next step is to put the borders on. Wow. Another almost finished Sue Spargo Block of the Month. Well done.

So I also drew two more of the tattoo quilt blocks…

Again, these aren’t mine. I’m taking a paper-piecing pattern by Happy Sew Lucky and shrinking it and turning it into applique. I like the images, but I don’t like paper piecing. I also need to draw some stuff for the next Patreon rewards. Maybe that will also be tomorrow. We’ll see.

If you’ve met me more than once or twice, you know this about me.

Strangely, it does not translate to my on-video self.

OK, so the zoo. We were there for about 2 1/2 hours, and at the end, we were mostly done with people. There were more and more who were either lame as fuck about social distancing, or wouldn’t move out of the way so everyone could see the animals, or would get in our personal space, or flat out weren’t wearing a mask. That last category was pretty small, actually, which is a good thing. I feel like all school year, I will be saying, “Mask ON. Six FEET.” T-shirts to come. That said, it was outside and a walk and the baby animals are cute as hell…

The baby orangutan playing with the baby siamang.

They were adorable.

There were lots of sleeping cats…

It was a warm day.

Honestly, even mine sleep in this heat…

Except this guy…

A new dad who kept coming over to this fence to check out mom and babies…

She was, in the way of all new moms, fully into Fuck Off, You Did This to Me, and hanging with the babes.

So the baboons were yelling at each other and chasing each other around the enclosure.

Let me be clear, the ones with penises were chasing each other and everyone else was just running around either trying to figure out what was going on, or trying to avoid it. Just like in real life. So many things to feel about that. We never figured out what was really wrong…also like real life.

This baboon had the best hair.

I mean, I know they groom each other, but my hair NEVER looks that good. I was jealous.

Yes, this is a photo of a tapir peeing in the water. Not because it was peeing but because the pee was making this crystalline pattern in the water…

Which you can sort of see here, but it was much more impressive in person. Me wondering about the chemical properties of tapir pee. Really.

Secretary birds are just weird.

Some guy walked by and said they were ugly. Nah. Just fascinating.

I don’t find many animals ugly. Humans? Well, that’s another story, but it’s really the insides and not the outsides.

Lots of funny little birds to be seen.

This is hanging down bird…

And its twin…wait…it’s still a hanging bird, but this one is doing it wrong…

Or maybe it was called an upside-down bird. Can’t remember. That was its name though…the assumption that it was always upside down.

The flamingos are probably the most photographed bird at the zoo…

Because they’re bright and flashy and right up front.

Otis the hippo was born in 1976, I think.

He’s very still.

This tiger was finding food in hidden locations…

Kudos to the zoo keepers for keeping them hunting…

It was a nice morning out…well worth it. And I felt less violated by people than I do when going shopping, so that was a plus. I’d do it again.

Calli’s not sure.

I took her in the pool for a cooling-off swim…

Yes, Luna is even squishier than she was last time.

I don’t understand this.

We still have monarchs on the milkweed…

Always nice. Oh yeah, and I made blueberry cobbler to use up the berries before they went bad.

I think I like a crisp more than a cobbler, in case anyone is keeping track. There are more berries coming. I’ll make the crisp next week.

OK, it’s late and I’m tired. I’m going to do the dishes I got dirty and then go to bed. Tomorrow, I’ll finish the copyediting and go to the quilt guild zoom, and then see what else I have the energy for…maybe nothing. And that’s OK. I have been working pretty steadily all week. It’ll be nice not to be copyediting or doing school for once. But then we need to do the other fence…so that’s a different kind of work. And more art! I need to make more art. That’s what summer is for.

Earned It…

I guess today’s post should be been titled ‘We Survived’, since we managed to get through the zoo field trip yet another year. I do actually like this field trip…I have just a small group of kids and it’s mostly not stressful…once you’re actually on the bus. We aren’t actually there a long time, so we always miss some of the animals…

Somehow we always catch the flamingos. Oh yeah, because they’re by the entrance. Then I take a survey of the group as to what they want to see… and then we head that direction…

I had mostly girls this year with a couple of boys I had to add on at the end. They were pretty good, even the two guys…

The one who whines all day in my class did not do so on the field trip.

I don’t know if that’s because he was in a smaller group or because all those girls intimidated him.

Either way, I don’t care. He behaved. It went well.

When we got back, there was the requisite amount of running around and returning nurse stuff, cafeteria stuff, dress-coding a kid (duh on the short shorts sweetheart), finally eating lunch, then ‘teaching’ my 8th period (here’s a video. eat the foods. be quiet. don’t bug me.) as I cleaned the classroom, and then did duty.

I got home and ingested caffeine. It started to rain. Then I headed out to an artist talk. I was pretty tired.

Which is why it looks like I’m praying to my phone in the photo…came home and ate the ordered pizza, graded an assignment with this guy…

And straight up? Went to bed. Three hours early. So tired.

This morning was a not-relaxing (but good) pilates class, some food, some reading (book club meets Wednesday and I haven’t finished the book…luckily, it’s short). I showered, petted this little (not so little) beast…

And these two…

Who have now flipped their growth spurts…Nova (on the left) gained more than Luna this week. She’s still smaller, but not as much.

I have about 4 hours now of an afternoon, rain falling, gloomy skies. I think I’m going to iron for a while. I should grade some essays too, but I don’t feel like it. I’ve earned some art time.

Sitting All Alone Inside Your Head*

I think right now, at 2:15 PM on Saturday, I finally have some sense of being on Spring Break. Mostly. I have a pile of stuff to grade, both online and physically on my light table (so the Golden Retriever can’t eat it). I have a quilt to finish. I took 290 or so people to the zoo yesterday with my teacher cohorts. Today, I marched in the March for Our Lives. I was exhausted all week. The last thing I wanted to do was get up this morning and march, but I did it. Because I had to. Because people aren’t listening. If I can be part of the mass of humanity that has to show the fuck up, stand out there, and keep yelling before the politicians hear us, then so be it. I will keep marching. I got up, made a sign, picked up my teacher friend, found parking, and marched. I am still exhausted. Let’s hope I get some rest in the next two weeks.

So here’s the last few days…well, actually, this is a photo of my significant housemate cat owner other. That guy who lives here. One of the band wives took this picture at House of Blues last weekend…one of his non-keyboarding songs. Nice lighting…

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OK, back to this week…zoo yesterday. I had a good group, which helped, because I made them go fast…

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I really love the new baboon exhibit. It’s fascinating to watch them.

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Especially the young ones…

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I wish they were all in open spaces…

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Because these fences suck for photography…

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And the penguin/shark exhibit is cool too.

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Hua Mei was out and awake…

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These guys! I had to laugh…

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So after the zoo, we came back, managed some crazy, watched a school play, and then cleaned classrooms for break, so they can redo our floors. I forgot to water the plants. Oh well. And then I came home for about 10 minutes and drove to an opening in La Jolla, where I forgot to take pictures, then more driving to gaming…where, yes…I did in fact cut out pieces for the new quilt.

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For #igquiltfest, the theme for the 23rd was stash. This is maybe a third of my stash. There’s more. It’s messy…I haven’t put everything back from the last quilt. I don’t usually do that until the quilt is done, in case I need to cut a piece, like if I lost one…

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Then I got up this morning, and made this sign…

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The gloves are to show I’m watching my politicians…except I forgot and left them in the car. Whoops!

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And we marched…

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Me and my quilt teacher, who also teaches in my district (and made the eyeball gloves)…

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It was a beautiful day. But it’s almost like I don’t want to smile or acknowledge the gorgeous weather, because I’m marching for something pretty damn serious.

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There was a lot of anti-NRA stuff…which I’m totally OK with. We have let political lobbies control too much of government.

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The only way to improve this situation is to start passing a LOT of gun control legislation. I’m lucky to live in a fairly liberal state, but my city isn’t liberal. And certainly where I live is not.

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The kids were out. The teachers were out. So yeah, as a teacher on the first day of Spring Break, thoroughly mentally and physically exhausted, it was very difficult to get up this morning and put on my boots and face all this. YES. I wanted to stay in bed and sleep in and lounge around in pajamas all day.

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But I didn’t. Because this. You need to hear us.

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So. Now I’m on break. Marching was something I had to do. I would love to go back to not needing to do that. But it doesn’t seem like that’s happening soon. And that makes me sad.

Today? I have grading and quiltmaking. For the rest of the day. Hopefully getting my head in a better place.

*Stone Sour, Through Glass

Well You Done Done Me In*

I’m sitting here staring at the television in my office, wondering why it’s still here when I never watch it. I used to all the time, before Netflix and Amazon Prime and everyone else putting shows on websites, like PBS. The only reason that the TV is still there is because it shows the time, and I’m pretty sure I could use that space better than I am. But that’s part of my larger plan for remodeling this room, a plan that is growing in my head, but will still cost more than I can deal with, I suspect. I can plan for years, though…so I’m good. Interestingly, the TV is not even currently showing the time (well, it’s the VCR below it), because dad turned the power off last week and I haven’t cycled everything on to put the time back on there. Ugh. It’s not even useful for that right now.

Yes, easily fixed. But every easy fix takes time. My to-do list for today is huge and deadly because I took time yesterday to go to the zoo for the first time in a long time WITHOUT 170-300 7th graders. It was much more relaxing. Although our field trip is coming up and I need to warn my team about baboon penises. The new Africa exhibit is awesome, especially the baboons and lemurs (the fossa was asleep), but those penises are gonna freak out my students no end. Lion balls too, although those are honestly less in your face.

There were lots of baby animals around…mom had her hand wrapped around this baby’s tail…

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This guy is actually a dwarf…his teeth amused me.

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Lots of penguin swimming capers…fun to watch them up close.

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Bai Yun came out to say hi.

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And this baby did the dance from Footloose right up against the glass until he settled down and waited for mom to catch up.

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Polar bears have really big feet…

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And they are definitely carnivores…that’s a meaty bone chained to the wall so we can see how freakin’ big they are.

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Dromedary with a stick…saw an elephant with a stick too. Apparently that’s not just for dogs (OK, this guy is probably eating the stick or cleaning his teeth)…

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We spent about 3 1/2 hours there and did 5 miles…not bad for a Saturday afternoon. Being members now means we can do this more often. I’m looking forward to going back with fewer people there, that’s for sure. Most annoying part about the zoo is the humans.

We went to a new place for dinner and were greeted with a Gloria Muriel mural (with some other guy, probably Alex Banach, since he’s done other murals with her). That dragon has hops in his scales. I was amused that the logo for the place was a dragon but there’s duck all over the menu. Maybe they should have chosen a different mascot.

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Then came home and cut out two yards (ish) of Wonder Under. It went fast…more tonight, I think.

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This week is busy at night, but I’m hoping to get the Wonder Under cut out and start picking fabrics, although that means I need a background. Crap! I totally forgot about that. Will have to see what I have in my stash, or add a trip to the fabric store to today’s to-do list. We’ll see. Teachers never get the whole weekend for fun without paying for it some other way…too much to get done in one day, that’s for sure.

*Jason Mraz, I’m Yours