Nature Has No Idea…

Hey. It’s Saturday, right? I’m currently watching a webinar on the SAQA virtual conference that was supposed to be in Toronto…the opportunity to hear and see the speakers is nice, although I missed a lot of yesterday. They were recorded though, so I can watch later. I’ve never been able to actually attend a real conference, so this is nice, plus maybe it helps SAQA cover some of their conference costs from canceling. It’s really important that we try to give back to some of these groups and companies that are hard hit by the community and state shutdowns. As much as we can, anyway. I’m lucky to still be paid under contract, but the future is making me a bit nervous for all of us, in terms of health and money.

Yesterday was a strange day, highs and lows…trying to ignore the lows because they don’t deserve my energy right now.

The boychild and I went for a 6 1/2-mile hike locally, at Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch. It’s not as busy as some of the other locations in the area (just down the road from Iron Mountain), which is better for social distancing.

There were about 4 or 5 other groups we saw over the whole hike, but otherwise it was pretty isolated.

This is obviously a yucca pre-bloom, but it looks different than what I’m used to seeing…

The weather was perfect…not too warm, not too cold, no rain, although it was cloudy for much of it.

Trying to get enough exercise to sleep well and push some of the anxiety away has been difficult. My next step is to try and bookmark some of the videos from the gym and pilates studio and get my butt in gear.

We were really looking forward to our Spring Break trip of California National Parks, but with a cancellation of one of our Airbnbs and yesterday, the parks themselves are closing campgrounds, it seems that we are not going anywhere.

And we’re not sure when that will change, unfortunately. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later, but certainly watching the numbers on COVID-19 is not promising. Although California is supposed to be shut down, there are still lots of people going out and doing things…100 kids out in our mountains hanging out together yesterday…because kids think they are immortal, yeah? That’s what they think. Sigh.

For this hike, we go along a ridge and then down into that valley…then through that valley and back up and out. Like twice. It was a bunch of up and down, but nothing undoable.

My legs feel better today. Although this sign makes me laugh every time (it’s for bikes, not humans).

Pretty sure I never hit the 5 MPH mark. And I jogged a little bit (it’s easier to jog going downhill sometimes than walking, although my brain kept saying ‘Now is not the time to break your damn leg, woman!’).

A bunch of fungus among us…

These are fascinating…

This area burned in a wildfire 17 or so years ago…this is a burned log keeping a whole host of fungus alive.

There are signs all over, but this warns me that the next up is that piece…Cardiac Hill.

It’s actually not horrible. I stopped a few times. It’s up. Boychild often ditches me in these situations…

He waits for me at junctions. Lots of flowers around…

Spring is coming…and signs of deer!

Although we didn’t see one in person. Wrong time of day.

We got to the top and found we were victims of assholes…

Apparently this parking lot has an issue with break-ins. It’s pretty isolated. In all my years of hiking, this is the first time we’ve had this happen. There was nothing of value in the car…they just rifled through the glove box and the console. Unhappy with my about-to-expire National Park Pass, my sunscreen, and my umbrella. They got nothing. Stupid. Pain in my butt.

Oh well. I believe in karma.

Seriously. Even when we are locked down in a pandemic, people will be assholes. Hence the lack of toilet paper in our stores. Still. So today, a guy is coming to my driveway and installing a new window (apparently that is an essential business) and I will hand him a check and then disinfect the glass? This is so difficult. Could I live without a window? Sure…

Whatever.

We came home, we tested a Discord server for gaming next week, and the girlchild came home…

It looks like she’s reading to the dog, but she’s not. She was laid off by her company and we suspect trying to get a job is somewhat impossible right now. She’s trying. She’ll try applying for unemployment. And yeah, we flew her on a plane with like 8 other people (JetBlue is starting to ground flights soon, so that might have been one of the last flights that didn’t get canceled). We’re keeping her away from the older people in the family, but we still have two going to work between the two households (mine and my ex’s, and the kids go back and forth until someone gets sick), because they are also apparently essential. I’m lucky to not have any requirements right now beyond checking email, although that may change in the future. She’s not here forever. Just until we figure shit out. By WE I mean HER. Meanwhile, she gets doggy love.

My lemon tree has new leaves…

Nature has no idea. And that’s OK. This bird was bathing in the water in the tray under our Christmas tree, which lives outside on the deck for most of the year.

Now I need a birdbath.

These arrived yesterday, the newest shipment in the Anna Maria Horner Applique Stories. I’m going to make another woman block…and then embroider it.

The fabrics are a challenge. The solid peach is the easy skin color, so I won’t be using it for her flesh. I stared at the fabrics for at least a week last time before deciding what to do. I can use one as a background, although last time, I decided to use something very bland and calm from my stash (maybe that’s what the peach is for?), because the rest of it was so out there. Anyway…expect something to happen with these in the next few days. Because I can. I really like most of them…solids are not my favorites and the lavender roses are Eh, but that’s the best part of this…the olive fabric is such a stretch…I love it.

Maybe this virus lets me just make what I want. OK, I’m still having a hard time with that.

Although I stitched wool for a bit last night (sorry, forgot about a photo…try tomorrow)…I eventually got up off the couch with my post-hike tired self and came in here and started the stitch down…

So meditative. So relaxing. So hard to stop.

Hopefully I can finish today and then sandwich today or tomorrow. The floors need cleaning first. I vacuumed everything even though it’s not my month. I’m sure someone will cover me at some point when I am busy (cough cough).

So yeah, I stitch down all the pieces, because no fusible lasts forever. I’m not halfway done, but I got a good chunk done. I spent the first 20 minutes fighting with the machine to get it to stitch correctly.

Kitten action…

They play any way they can…

There was some play before this.

I was up early this morning because I thought I’d have to take my car in to get the window replaced, but then he called and said he’d be here later…probably safer for both of us than having me sit in a lobby of some repair place (I was going to bring a chair and sit outside).

Nature doesn’t see this morning as any different than any other morning.

Tonight there is a Netflix DVD here, plus we will be supporting some small food business, and hopefully there is stitching and maybe a hike/walk as well. Plus more webinars. And trying to finish my book before it gets returned electronically to the library. Hope you are all healthy and well, and if you are on the front lines in some way, we appreciate you and send you lots of love.

At Peace…

A really sad day yesterday. Poor kitty. Satchemo is finally at peace. Hard day for the rest of us. I prefer to remember him well…

In my stuff, sneezing in my face, claws in my leg, begging for food, silent meow. That’s 4 cats we’ve lost in less than 5 years, I think. All older cats. It’s been rough. It’s a weird house now with only one cat in it. Don’t know how long that will last.

Ironically, we are doing a Check Your Mood presentation in science today all day, so I’ll be sitting through that, checking my own mood, which is sad and slightly weepy. Yesterday, I had a few kids offer me free kittens. Strangely, it’s always the kids who are the loudest, most needy bastards who are ready to go find you a kitten or beat someone up for you. I guess that’s how you know you have a connection with them. At my old school, they wouldn’t have asked first…they would just have shown up with one and handed it to me at the door as they walked in. That’s how I got the pet tarantula (no, I didn’t put my hands out for that one…be aware that a 7th grader with closed hands outstretched toward you is never a good thing). I’ll sit and grade all day while the counselors present. I have a lot to get through.

In good news, my dearth of SAQA exhibits has ended finally. Each Piece Belongs got into Opposites Attract and will be traveling to Australia in the spring.

Hopefully they’ll hang it right side up. Better make sure it has a label on it. I shipped the two sold quilts to Texas yesterday. Hope their owner enjoys them. I’ll miss them, but it’s good to be able to pay off the big ugly bills.

One of my art friends sent a picture of Swallow Me Whole at Beyond the Surface in St. Louis, MO…

It looks good. It was a good quilt to make…no theme, no show in mind…just make what’s in my head. I really just want to stay home today, take a mental hell day…wait, a mental HEALTH day, draw all day. That would be nice. Not an option. OK. Noted. Like yesterday, boychild texted me a picture of a jury summons, because the universe sucks. It’s for November, when we’re in the middle of a huge project that’s full of labs that I really really can’t leave for a sub unless we want explosions. So you know what I’m doing on my first day of Winter Break? Two days before Christmas? Getting my ass up early and going to the damn courthouse. What I will need by then is a break. Hopefully it’ll be one day because no one will want a trial right before Christmas and then I can go on my break. I can’t push it out to summer…it’s too far. Fuckers. I want to go see my kid too, so hopefully going to be able to do that at the end of Winter Break, if she doesn’t come home. We’ll see.

I did grade last night. One kid’s doodles led sad us to K-pop and weird Korean animations. It was something to watch to keep our brains from being sad. Then I cut stuff out…

It doesn’t look a whole lot different than it did before, but I’m out of the body pieces and into the background…so there’s a lot of bigger pieces that cut out much faster than the small ones. I’m still not close to done, I think, but maybe after tonight. OK…off to the workplace…

Like Following Them…

Day 2 today of thermal energy/pressure labs. Yesterday was…um…OK? My co-teacher may not agree. It’s not easy. I hit 10,000 steps right after lunch just fetching water and ice. I had about 10 kids who live on the edge…the edge of my having to stinkeye them. One may not survive today. We should have done some more group labs before we got to today; they still have a hard time with instructions. Like following them. Not entirely atypical for this age, but frustrating in the moment. Hopefully today will be smoother. Ha! I’m not sure why it will, but it will need to be. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be hiking tonight, so that will be interesting. I’m pretty sure my legs will complain about being tired. OK. Well. Nothing new there.

I did tutoring yesterday too, spending some quality time (ha!) with some very interesting kids. As always. We have an assignment due tomorrow that is HARD. It’s really not as hard as some kids make it out to be, because they want the answer key and there isn’t one. So they want me to tell them exactly how to write it (What’s the ANSWER??? whine) and I won’t, because it’s an assessment. I gave them a format and about a million ideas and three labs and a couple other assignments as evidence, and I’m not doing that last step for them. It’s painful, but a learning experience, for sure. All this is exhausting. I’m not sure if it’s more or less exhausting this year than any other. I just know I’m exhausted right now.

Yesterday, this spider hitched a ride to school. I always wonder what they’re thinking as they’re bouncing along in the wind. And then whether they get off when at school. There’s a nice bunch of plants there that they can live in…

It might be better than my driveway…who knows?

I was actually too tired after dinner to work on anything. It was my brain, though…I couldn’t decide between stitching and working on the Unit 2 calendar. I knew I should do the latter, but I didn’t want to. So I did nothing.

Eventually, though, after dishes were done, I went in to iron. I keep forgetting to take in-process pictures. I did finish the second September Patreon video as well, where I try to explain how I pick fabrics.

At the end of another two hours, this is what I had used…

A few more browns, greens, and grays. A mule deer is in there. I didn’t actually get much done, depressingly enough. Just the righthand side of the landscape…some bushes, dirt, a river, the deer, some hills, and a mountain. I’m not sure why it took so long, but it did. I’m in the 250s. Only. ONLY. Sigh. The pile is growing. That’s what matters. I don’t think I’ll get any of it done tonight because of the hike, but who knows.

Here’s the rest of the 200s…all clouds and a sun and IDK what else.

I see a star. There’s probably a mountain in there too. Then the body! I wish I could say I’d be done ironing soon, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe by the end of the weekend? After I grade that assignment. The one that might kill them.

I haven’t posted my SAQA auction piece that I bought yet. I need the light to be better than it has been, but it’s already hanging on my wall. I like to buy pieces by people I know…this one was by Natalya Aikens and features recycled materials.

I buy one piece a year to support the group. I can’t handle making one…they’re too small.

This guy this morning…I’m hoping the boychild comes back and deals with him…he’s on the living room ceiling.

He’s bigger than I like to try and catch over my head. On a bumpy ceiling. On a ladder. By myself. I feel like that’s a recipe for disaster.

OK, back to school and Day 2 of labs. Meditation at times. Getting my act together. Then hiking a mountain. Which by the way, I hiked on the same day (or day before?) 5 years ago. That’s interesting. I need to remember a headlamp and my poles. And food. That would be smart. Water. Water is also good.

I Woke Up with Rubrics in My Head

My brain. Alarm goes off, not mine. But I know I have to be up in half an hour, have to be up early for a meeting, so instead of slipping gently down the sleep cave and letting my body have that half hour, it goes into overdrive. Loudly. HERE’S ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TODAY. NOW. Shut up brain. It’s OK. I need sleep more than I need reminders. NO YOU DON’T WAKE UP NOW WAKE UP. Fuck. So I was awake. I have three mornings in a row where I have to be up early. I don’t like early. It hurts. I seriously woke up with rubrics in my head. That’s just wrong. I even went to bed early, because I couldn’t get focused anyway last night, and I knew I had to be up early. I’m trying to take care of myself. My brain won’t let me.

We had our first local SAQA meeting yesterday…we are a small but creative group. I’m hoping it keeps going. We’ll see how it goes. You don’t have to be a SAQA member to come. You don’t even have to be an art quilter. I’m OK with fiber of any sort. It was a little painful to come home, have a snack, make more tea, and leave again, but it turned out OK in the end. Today I’ll do the same with book club, except have to drive all the way across town. It’s OK. I missed last month because of school exhaustion and I really liked the books this month, plus this is a different-brained group, which is nice.

The library where we met has this crazy mural…I didn’t get the artist’s name, but apparently she’s painted murals in all the East County libraries.

It’s very brightly colored.

I saw another picture of my quilt hanging in France.

This one is coming home next month, I think.

I did cut a bunch of stuff out at the meeting…made it through almost two yards of Wonder Under (although one only had big pieces on it).

I have two more yards to go. Tonight? After book club? I suspect it’ll be an hour of cutting if I’m lucky. Then I have another science meeting tomorrow after school, plus two meetings on top of each other before school, so that will be painful. I think I might be in the fabric choosing phase by Friday? Hopefully? Who knows.

So I have this wallet. It’s nice, has an applique of an owl on it. It’s very well made. I bought it really soon after my divorce, because I needed a new wallet, and I was out running errands, actually in a department store (this so rarely happens, I can’t even tell you), and I saw this wallet and fell in love with it, but it had no price on it. Post-divorce, for a good long time, I really had almost no money at all, but I figured, how expensive could it be? It’s just a wallet. So I go up to the checkout and hand it over. Really, I should have asked for the price, but I think then I wouldn’t have bought it. So she told me the total and my heart sort of stopped a bit, but then I handed over a credit card. It was $40. That was immense at that point in my life. I didn’t have a spare $40 for something I technically could live without. Surely there were much cheaper wallets out there. I bought it and felt crappy for doing it, because money was so tight. But honestly, I’ve enjoyed it all these years and it only started to really fall apart this year. So 16 years? Not bad for $40. But now I need a new one and I want another nice, artsy wallet that holds all my shit, but don’t know where to find one…that will last 16 years again. So that’s a thing.

Meanwhile, I’ve got some school stuff to do this morning. Last night, after the meeting, I had to make a worksheet and organize school stuff, so that didn’t help my brain, I’m sure. Better tonight? Maybe. I can try.

Darlin’, Now There’s Mutiny…*

So it’s Saturday finally. Some weeks, man…some weeks. I have too much to do, of course, but a lot of the to-do list, I did the first step and I’m waiting on someone else. I love waiting. No really. Ha! I’m listening to a podcast about small-group instruction (aka stations or centers). We use these all the time in science, just because it’s the only way to run labs sometimes without spending a million dollars on materials, but we’ve realized with the sizes of our classes that 6 stations isn’t going to do it this year…we’ll need at least 7. Eight would be better. That means coming up with new shit. I love huge classes. Sigh. Also, they are mostly incapable of actually completing work on their own in groups right now, which is going to make the next unit interesting. We are totally not ready for me to be able to focus on one group while the rest work independently. Not unless I’m allowed to use duct tape. Honestly, that’s only about 5-6 kids per nonfunctional class. I’m getting there. Working on them…constantly.

First I need to pack up and deliver two quilts for a show that will be at Liberty Station through January. The openings are every first Friday, so the first one will be October 4…I think it’s 5-8 PM. Then I need to enter another show. Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, I need to go to the gym. I also need to grade two assignments and prep a couple things for next week. I’d really like to get all the tracing done too, but that’s a harder task. I did trace last night…but before that, we went to our local artwalk…these cat heads were cool…

Garden Dream by Carlos Castrejon.

A prize winner! Nora Clemens, Fish on My Mind.

I also liked these pieces by Laura Lehman…

Interesting how the arms are all pushing out…

Definitely cool work…

I also liked the work by Kenda Francis, although there were a lot of people in that space, so I couldn’t get in there to photograph easily…

I also liked these lifesize sculptures by Sara Duvall

Hard to get photos through the glass…and this one included my legs…

Which actually looks cool the way it worked out. Totally unplanned.

I was pretty tired after all that, but I knew I wanted to work. First, saving yet another baby lizard from the house. We are Lizard Central.

He was so little.

Tracing can be difficult with cat butts involved.

Did I tell you it got warm again? Back into the 90s. I think it’s supposed to be 99 degrees today. Ugh.

I eventually traced around her until she left.

Asking for attention…

Really, she just needed to pee. She doesn’t really ask. She just stares at you.

This is my usual view…television on and sorta watching but mostly listening. Cat in the way.

Giant-ass light table in my living room. I traced for a couple of hours and made it to the late 500s. Progress! I’m in the body at this point, so all the background and foreground are traced. I really do just have the lower torso and legs left. I finished the ribs and redwoods.

Right there is where I stopped. It wasn’t midnight yet, but I was tired. And I knew I had shit to do today. So I think I have about 300 pieces left or so. I have found about 10 pieces that weren’t numbered, and a few where I split pieces because it didn’t make sense to stretch a piece out underneath everything as I had originally numbered them. So a bunch of a’s, b’s, and c’s. Nothing like last time though…no missed numbers and no double numbers.

I saw this when I got up…that’s my piece, Beyond the Concrete, currently in France with the traveling Quilt National 2017 exhibit. I love seeing them all staring at it.

She’ll be coming home after this, I think…although she’s so old, I’m not sure I can put her into any other shows. This QN group didn’t travel as much as the previous one, unfortunately. Oh well.

Oh yeah…this…

I’m the chick in charge of this. Scary! Wait, no, it’ll be fine. It’s really just a hang out. Come by if you are around.

OK, shower, pack quilts, deliver. Then moving on through the tasks. I have no idea what I’m doing tonight, but it’s probably more art. And air conditioning hopefully.

*The Family, Mutiny

We’re baaaack.

Not a lot of art content today. It’s the first day of school. I’m dressed in my matchy matchy team outfit, which involves multiple layers I don’t usually wear. I refused to do dress-up day tomorrow. Nope. Ninja yes. Dress no. We do have sort of a uniform on Fridays and a plan on Mondays, but this is ramping it up.

Am I ready? Hellz no. I just edited my intro slides for the 17th time. None of my boards are done, because we are piloting new curriculum and we don’t like their big idea/overarching question, and we didn’t have the brain power yesterday to write a new one. I have about 17 documents I need to make from scratch because I don’t have access to the files for the pilot. Well, they don’t give us access, because they don’t understand that teachers need to be able to edit stuff for their populations. Annoying. I have lunch prepped for today, but not any other day this week. I have book club tonight, and I’m pretty sure I’m not going. I read the book, but I haven’t copyedited since Saturday, and it’s due in a week and a half. I didn’t quilt last night either.

I did self care! And work. I went to the gym, which was lovely, and made it so I slept last night, which is good, because usually I don’t sleep the night before the first day back. I slept deeply even. Super lovely. And then I came home and packed up a quilt to ship it to the Surface Design Association show Beyond the Surface, which will be in St. Louis, MO, in October and November. It’s a HUUUGE quilt, so I had to iron it, dehair it (another use for the giant-ass light table), cut the slats, send the boychild off for another box so I could Frankenstein them together, roll it, tie it, wrap it, box it, and do all the shipping labels, including a return. It was about 2 hours. Yeah. Not light work. I put a label on it Monday night. But it’s done! Rolled, ready to tie.

Seriously, that’s a big box.

I’ll have to come home and ship it. I can’t do it this morning…I have to be out and handing out schedules way earlier than I thought I would have to. And it won’t fit in the boychild’s car.

When I left for work yesterday, my phone suggested I go to the gym.

Sounded good to me, but too early, phone. You are on the summer schedule. You need to get on the school schedule.

The other thing I did yesterday was set up a local connection meeting for SAQA (and others!) members here in East County, although anyone can come. These are art quilters though, so keep that in mind.

If you’re local and interested in art quilts, we’ll be doing this once a month at the library in a community room. No programs at this point…I can’t handle that level of planning. Just bring something to talk about and share, and then something to work on. I’m hoping Tuesdays work out, because there weren’t enough Thursdays available…I have tutoring Tuesday…I may need to rethink that schedule. We’ll see. No decisions yet.

OK. I need to get out of here. I haven’t eaten yet though. Minor issue. I’m hoping to copyedit and quilt tonight. I’ll probably be in bed early though. I was last night. All good. Let’s go, 2019/2020 school year. We got this. (My enthusiasm isn’t really awake yet. Plus caffeine. Plus I’m really not one of those rah-rah people as it is? So yeah.)

Too Many Threads; Not Enough Knots

Sheesh. What a morning. I’m efficient, but not efficient enough. Too many threads; not enough knots. What am I getting done? Some things. I filled a bunch of cracks in my driveway yesterday so they can seal it in a few weeks. I need to fill more, but need more sealant to do that (note: trip to Home Depot). The right eyelid is twitching again. It comes and goes. I’m trying to get enough sleep. I did better last night. I think that’s because the cold is getting better. Hard to sleep when you can’t breathe. I don’t know how many nights of 8 hours of sleep I will need to feel human again though…probably more than I can get in the next week. I will have to be up early tomorrow and Thursday, unfortunately.

Hey local SAQA members! We’re getting the group going again. I will be hopefully putting together a monthly meeting in the La Mesa/El Cajon area too…I want to meet once a month to just hang out and stitch stuff, and show what you’ve been working on. Nothing stressful or worklike. Just fun and hanging out. That’s my goal anyway.

What else did I do yesterday? I got a new chiropractor…my neck is still sore, but I think that’s my fault. Phone and computer and all. I spent a lot of time setting up stuff for a new blogpost for one of my art groups. It takes forever to find all the photos, resize them, find all the names of the artists and the artwork, and in this case, write names of poems etc. Some misunderstanding about Fair Use Laws…but I’m still working on that post. I have two more to do for that group and then I’m going to try to do the other group’s blog as well. Sometimes I hate all the stuff I take on for other groups, but I also know it benefits me in the long run. So I do it.

Sometimes it takes me a long time to get it done though. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for everything. This was my post-dinner, still-watching-American-Gods stitching…

Working on the tree. Nothing fancy here. I’m just doing this until I get my act together to start the next embroidery pattern sample. I picked threads and mocked this up…now I just need to transfer it to the fabric.

I’m doing this on a white fabric. I do love the black, but it’s a pain to transfer the pattern onto, and this one is complicated. I’ll transfer it later today and start embroidering hopefully tonight. I just realized I have no mock colors on the nipples, so I’ll have to figure that out. The pen colors aren’t particularly accurate either, but they’ll do to remind me of what I was thinking. I would do it differently if I could use more than 5 colors. I would use about 20 or so!

Kitten was blocking my access to the pink fabrics last night…

Speaking of colors! I was going to keep this quilt all in the muted range, and then my brain said, heck noes, you needz all the colors. So I went a little bright in her chest area.

It’ll be fine. There’s a lot of green and brown in this. Not sure what I’m going to do with her hair yet. That’s another large portion of the quilt.

OK, well I have plenty to do now…mostly filling in poems and sending emails and hoping people respond and then renting a tile saw and trying to figure out how to use it. Minor detail. I might even finish ironing sometime soon. Well. It’s taking me a long time. So maybe not today, but still soon. Ish.