At Least I Have One A…

Well hey there. It’s Monday. Apparently that’s how new weeks start these days. It’s the first day of my last full week off of school for a long time. I didn’t sleep much last night (thank you, brain. I really appreciate these hours we have together when I am tired and want to stop thinking and you do not agree). I was up earlyish because dogs. And cats. The boychild is up in the mountains helping the old folks (my parents would be offended. They are not old. They are well-seasoned.), so I am the only entertainment for 5 furry beasts. It must suck to be them. So sleep is something they do in the middle of the day…which is why they’re up at 7 AM looking for attention. Ah well. What is sleep? The thing I’m supposed to do more of…that’s what it is. Sigh. Classes I’m enrolled in right now: Sleep, Healthy Diet, Exercise, Sourdough Breadmaking, Artmaking, and Housework. I do pretty well with Healthy Diet and Exercise (although really hot days don’t help with either), so maybe a B there…proficient, but not above and beyond. I rock at Artmaking, straight As on that, definitely going above and beyond. Housework? Eh. A solid C. Same with Sourdough Breadmaking. Proficient? Not great though…maybe almost proficient? Approaching proficiency. Sleep? Fuck me. That’s a D on a good week, and there hasn’t been more than one good week this summer. Let’s not even think about that clusterfuck they called Distance Learning in the Spring. Needs Improvement! It’s not even Emerging or Basic. I guess I know how to do it; I just don’t do it well. At All. That’s me. Better get a work improvement plan going and meet with my parents to motivate my ass to get better at it.

At least I have one A.

So I started the last of the embroidery pieces, the small ones.

I’m going to figure out how to finish the embroideries…I think in hoops. And then the two leftover quilt tops I’ll make into small quilts. They’ll go on Etsy when I’m done. I need to get my act together.

I also drew and numbered the larger Patreon reward piece yesterday. The patron herself is a gardener and makes beautiful things in fabric…so I played off of that when I drew her piece.

It’ll be 10″ finished or so. There’s 111 pieces in it, which isn’t bad. The image itself is about 8 1/4″ square. I did start numbering these tiny flowers, but then decided to embroider them…

And then I was working on the next big quilt…finishing up the drawing…I added COVID in the air…

Flying around, like we now know they do. This drawing was originally done in April, about 30 days after the start of the Shelter-in-Place orders. Before we knew some of the stuff we know now about the disease. So I added some stuff to the bottom, because the original drawing cut off the arm and didn’t go into the ground, and I like to ground my pieces.

I worked on that last night and got it all done…

It’s about 44″ wide and 48″ high right now. Image only. It’ll be bigger than that finished.

Then numbered…

A mere 820 pieces. No worries.

So Wonder Under is the next step for both the big one and the little one.

Just had a discussion with the girlchild about the sourdough not rising enough…

Not enough big spaces…but getting there…

It tastes good though…

And on the gardening front, I planted all these offcuts from a succulent.

One has decided to grow. Hopefully the rest will too. We’ll see.

When the dogs leave on Saturday, there is often a cat convention.

They gather and sometimes play and romp. Sometimes they just want loves.

The dogs when it is hot…

The weekend was ugh warm. It’s cooler today.

Saturday evening’s sky was starting to be pretty…

Below is where my neighbors’ pool will be. We need to move some plants around to block views and noise, I think. It is taking them a long time to get to the next step. I’ll be trying to teach from home (hopefully) while their pool noise is happening? We’ll see.

And then the moon came out…

A lovely summer night. It’s been warm, but it cools off at night. My house doesn’t cool off very quickly unfortunately.

OK, so the day is half gone, but I’ve done some work and Pilates and it doesn’t feel like much, because I was interrupted a few times. I need to go to Costco this week, and I was going to do it today, but now I don’t know. Maybe I should just get it over with, because I find the days fill up and new tasks appear. I have a webinar at 3:30. I need to eat lunch, but I’m already late for that. I can’t remember what else I need to do (hence the bullet journal in the other room). I will be tracing Wonder Under tonight no matter what.

I feel this. I’m waiting for them to request emergency sub plans.

And this…

Cursive is no longer a thing. It’s a coded language we old people can use to confuzzle the youngers. OK. Whatever today is, I need to do some things…sooner rather than later. Gonna do some of that.

Ready, Brain.

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

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

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

I quilted during my stitching meeting…Zoom…

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

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

Yesterday evening, I started on the other arm…

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

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

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

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

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

What else? I tried making bread again…

It behaved better this time, and…

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are really intrigued by our litter tray behavior.

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

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

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

Well. There’s always this route…

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

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

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

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

Oh yeah, to Trump and DeVos…

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

Something on That Magnitude…

Well, it’s been a rough week. Hopefully next week will feel better. The girlchild is finally in Boston, the sourdough starter and I have been close and complicated, and I have 9 new boxes of fabric. The boxes are new to me, the fabric is new to me, none of it is actually new.

Before you do anything else, watch this video. It’s the 4th of July, a weird one, to be sure, but this is video of Frederick Douglass’ speech about what the 4th means to him, read by his descendants. And it’s hard to hear, because so much hasn’t changed…but they all still have hope. I have hope. Didn’t mean I didn’t cry to hear the words, because honestly, it’s hard to know how to fix it all (burn it all down! and start over…). But watch them. It’s only 6 minutes of your lives. You can give them that.

Yeah. Told you they were awesome. In youth, I see hope.

So. It’s Independence Day. It’s warm, there will be fireworks, but we can’t see them from here, and we can’t gather…so we’re gonna take a drive to my parents’ house and see if we can see them from there. I spent yesterday mostly copyediting…I’m going to do more of that today. I set a goal to be done next Saturday, so I’m sticking to my 4-5 hours a day. Nothing else really needs to get done, although exercise would be nice.

I did finish all the blocks for the Abstract Arcs quilt on Thursday…

They all need to be trimmed and sized…

That’s next week.

I’m not great at piecing accurately. I don’t do it a lot. I did lay them all out and stare at them and move them around until I got this…

I’ll have to stare at it for a while and decide if that’s it. Right now, it looks mostly OK. My real goal was to get the piecing done so I could start the stitch down on the big honking thing that was on my ironing board…

You wanna talk meditative? It’s pushing and pulling this thing under the machine, stitching down every piece. And I did a good job attaching everything in that four hours I took, so it’s been really easy and trouble-free so far (knock on wood, because that’s not always the case).

I am running out of thread, though, and I haven’t considered the background. I don’t really WANT to go to JoAnns for thread (or anything), but it seems we’ve moved past the “only buy stuff online” stage that I was at with the last quilt, and now we are in the “you can go to stores, but be smart about it” stage. There’s probably another 7 hours of stitch down to go…

I am going out more now than I was 3.5 months ago. I don’t necessarily like it, but I try to be careful. I have something right now that needs to go to the post office, another thing where I can go to the post office with it or go to the actual store to return it. They warn that mailing it will take 4-6 weeks to refund. Hmmm. Then I need a TB test for school, which is two trips…one to get poked, one to get the poke seen. Maybe the second part can be a video call? Who knows. They were jerks when I called, so I will find out when I go in. Plus I have dentist next week. And today, I drove to a friend’s house…she’s moving and downsizing her fabric stash. So I benefited…

Oh yeah, that’s exciting. I really do like adopting other peoples’ stashes. I tend to buy the same types of fabrics, and this is a way of infusing my stash with another person’s eyeball. Stuff I never would have bought gets incorporated into my quilts. Now finding room for all this will be a challenge, but the boychild and I were talking about some of the stuff in my office that I never touch that could be boxed up. So now I need some big plastic boxes for the garage, I guess. Summer is all about organization.

It’s also about breadmaking. I started with sourdough starter back in March; then the girlchild came home and took over (I’m pretty sure she tossed my starter and started over). She’s kind of awesome and obsessive about cooking, whereas I am mostly lackadaisical. That’s probably not a great trait for baking bread. Many people have sent me links to easy recipes, but I’m following the one my daughter liked, which is A Beautiful Plate, her artisan sourdough. No, it’s not easy. But I have an expert I can text at any time.

This is useful to me. Plus there’s videos. Here’s my starter after being fed yesterday. Then I incorporated it into the autolyse…

And then I stopped taking pictures. I did a bunch of things to the dough yesterday afternoon and evening, and then it went into the fridge overnight, where it still is…doing its thing. Hopefully later today, that thing will be baking bread that is tasty and has the appropriate number and size of holes in it. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, it’s a thing I’m doing. Better than this…

Although that might be a stress reliever of sorts.

Calli needed pool time, so that’s up to me or the boychild now…

She’s old and now gets all the treats. She’s eating a pine cone and just happens to be lying on a plant runner that really should get trimmed the next time I sit out there with her.

She’s a good girl. I keep telling her that. She’s another thing that makes me cry this summer. Ah well. Lots of pets and dips in the pool and maybe even bits of bread, because she really likes bread. A lot.

Luna has picked a box and will be in it. Her feet are the best part.

All the cats have their spots. Kitten has claimed this green fabric drawer.

No one may have fabric from this drawer. Only her.

Here’s the bunny who lives under my front deck and thoroughly irritates the little dog and the cats with its presence.

It’s cute. Watch out for coyotes! We’ve got those, for sure.

OK, so the internet was an asshole while I was trying to write this, so I did some other things, like eat lunch and find the ricecakes the girlchild left here and no one else will eat. I might feel that way about the raisins too, but I’m willing to listen to the boychild on that. I really want to do some creative fabric things right now, but I’m being a responsible adult and will (a) process the video for my Patreon July post, and then (b) do some copyediting. And then we will figure out the whole dinner-on-a-holiday thing and drive to my parents’ house to see if we can observe fireworks. Then back here for sleep and all that. It’s not exciting, but it’s relatively safe, so there’s that. Next week, I will figure out how to buy thread and organize fabric and do all the things I’m supposed to do. Happy 4th for those who celebrate, and if you don’t because you are an American and it doesn’t feel very American, I’m sorry. I love fireworks and staring up into the dark blue sky to see them explode, and I hope you get to enjoy something on that magnitude.