And Eight, Eight, I Forget What Eight Was For*

May 17, 2018

Maybe a nap a day, a tiny nap, a throw-your-head-back-on-the-couch kinda thing, a moment or less than 20 minutes of closed eyes and not reading stuff on the phone…maybe that’s a good thing. It doesn’t feel normal, but apparently it’s what I need at the moment. Today, though, today I’m going to have to come home and get right to work…if I want to be effective at all. Good to know ahead of time. Yesterday, I left school and went straight to Joanns (hell) for thread and batting. It was almost empty, so it was a good thing. Sometimes I’m incredibly efficient. So maybe that nap on the couch between 6 and 6:15 PM was because I’d been ON and GOING for hours. I see my brain poking ahead in the lesson plans, looking for the movie days, which are the only days we teach this unit where we get a break at all. It’s exhausting.

I know there are cultures where napping is normalized for adults. I know old people are allowed to nap. Little kids nap (well…mine stopped at age 2). I do worry that I seem to be more tired right now than usual. What’s causing that? (a lack of sleep, you dingdong.)

So the pluses are that (1) I finished all the stitch down last night…

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I had done some estimating of time based on previous quilts, but this one was quick and easy, shorter than I thought. That’s a good thing on my inexorable stomp toward getting it done.

I was done well before midnight, too, so I took the batting that I had just bought and washed…

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And I trimmed a piece the size of the quilt. What I really should have done next is piece the backing.

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I was apparently too tired for that. I found two pieces that were big enough to piece, and I laid them out on top of the quilt, but that was it.

So I have quilt class tonight. What I’m going to try to do is leave school in a timely fashion (shouldn’t be hard, although I’m blowing off the World Cultures’ Fair, oh well), come home, piece the backing, clean the entryway floor, and pinbaste the quilt, so I can take it to class and start the quilting. Sometimes pinbasting takes a long time. Usually it doesn’t. I have about 2 hours. That’s a medium amount of time. Not a lot. So no naps today, eh?

But if I start quilting today, that’s going to take me about 10-15 hours. So I’m still in the range here. I could do it. I should probably email the photographer. Maybe Saturday? When I have more done? I haven’t even looked at next week yet…I just know it’s painful.

Well and then there’s this thing.

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I think she’s happily napping here. Dogs do it so much better than humans.

Ok, gonna have to drag my tired self to school. Today we start with reproductive anatomy. Can you hear the screams from here?

*Violent Femmes, Kiss Off


Gonna Give My Heart Away*

March 6, 2018

Sometimes I sit here in the morning, staring at the computer, wondering what it is I want to say. What is important. Or more like, what do I need to get out of my head so I can get through the day and get stuff done. It helps me to parse it out, do this, do that, get this, get that. Each day is a discrete space where these 10 things will happen. It’s OK if some of those 10 things move to another day (that happens all the time) or if other things pop in, but I have a better chance of finishing some of those things if I clear my head and populate it with bullet lists.

Today is teaching renewable vs nonrenewable energy (need to publish the post for that and look up what I thought were reasonable claims from last year). Today I can start grading tests from last week, because grades are done. Today I will be at the tutoring center and I need to go to the grocery store (twice in one week? Bad planning) on the way home. I need to clean the entryway floor so I can pinbaste my quilt (I finished stitch down last night!). I need to cook dinner and pinbaste and hopefully start quilting.

That’s not so bad, right? It all sounds very doable. Other stuff will pop up, but let’s start with that.

Yesterday, I came home and prepped a quilt for delivery to a show today. My mom is delivering it, because all the hours for delivery are during my work day. Sigh. She’s also delivering my co-artist’s piece, because he’s out of state. So that’s not a small thing. I appreciate her doing that. It’s a pain being an artist sometimes.

After dinner, I started working on stitch down. I wanted to finish…at this point, it did not seem like I would…

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There’s always a point where it feels like you will never be done. Last night, I did 12 minutes, then took a 45-minute break (not sure what happened there…probably the dinner was in the oven). Then I sewed for 11 minutes and obviously ate dinner, because there’s a 2-hour break. Then I stitched for 14 minutes and there was a 17-minute break. I think I peed a dog or two and then posted something on Facebook for one of my art groups. Then 35 minutes with a 20-minute dog-playing event? Or maybe the 17-minute break was playing with dogs. A final 32 minutes to finish.

They tell you to take lots of breaks. Luckily (?) I have the dogs to remind me of that.

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All stitched down and draped over the ironing board. Tonight I’ll get her to the next stage…and hopefully beyond.

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I’ve been doing a half-assed job on Instagram with the hashtags #igquiltfest, which is skewed way far toward the traditional or modern quilter, and not the art quilter (which is partially why I did it) and #marchmeetthemaker, which is skewed toward the crafter/artist more…hard to say on that one, because Insta is fucking with my feed and I don’t see everything. Yesterday, I never posted, because one was about photography, and I use a professional photographer now (who is not online, so I can’t point you to him). I was trying to find one of my photos of my old setup with lights and tripod in the entryway, but they’re all hiding from me. Then #igquiltfest is about notions, and I’m not really overtly a notions person. I have the shit I use, but it’s not fancy. I use Machingers while quilting until the rubber wears off, and then I buy a new pair, about one a year. I covet scissors that are easy to use and sharp, because I do a lot of cutting. I need multiple seam rippers, apparently, I need lots of needles because I break them, they get dull, and I’m always quilting in the middle of the night, so I can’t run out and get more. I need safety pins, because yes, I still pinbaste. I’ve tried the sprays and hate them. I use Sharpies when I draw and Pigmas when I draw on my quilts. And the ever-present teflon sheet…I have about 4 or 5 of them. The cats like to chew on them, so sometimes I have to replace them when they get too many bite marks in them.

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That’s it really. But it’s too many words for Instagram, so I put it here. I can’t remember what today is…oh! Scrappy quilts! Well, hell…mine are scrappy to the moon and back. Probably not what the organizers were thinking of, but whatever.

This quilt, We Won’t Go Back, is going to be in Dia de la Mujer, opening Thursday, 6-9 PM, at The Front, Casa Familiar, in San Ysidro. I’ll be there eventually (long drive at the end of a long day).

This quilt, Earth Day, is going to be in Mind the Gap, opening next Thursday, March 15, at Southwestern College, 11 AM-1 PM. I will not be at that one, because well…work. Yeah. Feel free to take pictures and send them to me.

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More later about more shows…

*Portishead, Glory Box (I really like this song, but it’s problematic on the feminism scale. Like why do you need him to help you be a woman?)


Take That Look of Worry*

March 5, 2018

Well. That was the weekend. A lot of working. I think I graded on Saturday for close to 9 hours. Fun stuff. I obviously didn’t write here at all.

Friday, I finally finished the cover page for the new science unit. I didn’t have time Thursday, because I was grading units. I colored while kids were writing warmups and watching the short video we showed.

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Then driving through my town, following this guy. Sigh. Big fucking sigh. I wonder how the other person’s family feels about that. I wonder how you’d feel about that if the teacher didn’t throw themself in front of the shooter on campus…the one you allowed to be armed…because they put their family first.

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Yeah whatever.

Apparently the Tivo is warm. I wanted to persuade him to lie on the DVD player too…duster cat.

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It looks like he tried to…

For one of the online March things, they wanted us to take a picture of our machine…this is one of 4? I think 4? A Singer and 3 Vikings. I usually get my mom’s hand-me-downs, but I had one become overly temperamental when I was in the middle of a major quilt, and mom’s wasn’t working for me. So this was my early Christmas present in 2016.

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Honestly I don’t know how people afford machines that can do what I need them to do (which is sew fast and strong without fucking up). This is a Viking Husqvarna Sapphire 855. It was used when I got it, but my repair guy sold it to me with a warranty, as long as I bring it in every year. I can do that. It’s going in the end of this month actually.

So Saturday, I did spend most of the day with these guys on the couch with me.

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I also binge-watched the rest of The Expanse while grading. And some other stuff.

Then for Sunday, they wanted to see the space where we work. I mostly have all my sewing stuff in the same room I have my computer crap…so it’s school and art…and copyediting, when I’m doing that. It needs a serious remodel, but that’s not in the cards at the moment.

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It’s a tight fit with three tables, three bookshelves (well, technically four), and a ton of fabric. I move the ironing board around based on what I’m doing…but on Saturday, the ironing was set up…and there’s the other view. It’s a little chaotic.

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But it works.

More puppy sitting with me. I lost him for a bit…because he was on the couch behind my head.

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There’s the pile of science units I brought home with me. I did two periods Friday night after I got home from delivering a quilt…that was about 3 1/2 hours, I think.

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So probably 13 or 14 unpaid work hours this weekend. One night, I didn’t have the energy to do anything else, so I sewed balls on.

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I think we were watching a movie. I did start tracing Wonder Under on the next piece too. Barely. That might be crazy.

Then Sunday, after all the errands, I finally found the time to iron the bodies down. You can see one of the gaps, though, above her shoulder. That’s the fun part…trying to make everything fit…especially hard when the ironed background is solid like this one. So I had to do some fussy stuff…in there, I just inserted another piece of the darker blue.

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Down by her left hip, I added more land. Somehow, I got the other side to fit.

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I’m not entirely sure how. Then I put down all the other little bits, the screws, the shoe, the music maker, the words.

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And ironed it all to the background. I like it. The movement is nice. Same with the colors…

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Oh, yeah, and so you can see the studio mess is genetic…here’s my mom’s. BIGGER! Yes. That would be nice. You can’t even see the longarm. I don’t know if I will ever have this much space…probably not. Oh well.

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We went out to dinner with my parents, because it’s my birthday this week.

Then I came home and started the stitch down…

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I got about an hour and a half into it…including all the metallics, which stitched down really well.

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I got a lot of the earth stitched down and most of this figure. So not halfway, but maybe close.

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So I could finish tonight? Sandwich and pinbaste? Start quilting tomorrow? That would be cool. Quilting will give the outlines I want…details.

I did finish grades on Saturday. That’s a plus. They’re due Tuesday. But I have to be in early this morning for some stupid meeting. Three early mornings this week. Ugh. But positive stuff on the quilt. Positive stuff on grades being done (although now I have to grade the tests). I just need to get a lot done this week (unlike other weeks…laughing. Whatever.).

*Phil Collins, Take Me Home


All That

December 31, 2017

Ah, December 31, the last day of the year, the day you evaluate everything that happened in the last 365 days (hint: you only remember the super ups and downs mostly) and try to make resolutions for the next 365 days. Is it a leap year? Nope. Then I don’t have to come up with a plan for one more day. Oh good.

As a teacher, I usually make my resolutions in June (I am NEVER doing that again, stuff like that) or August (That would be a GREAT idea, but if it’s not, then it just quietly slides back into the mud or I angst about it for a while before it slides). I resolve to keep trying to make art every day, to keep trying to balance my job and my personal life, to keep the house less chaotic. I will fail horrifically at the last two and soldier on with the first. So there we are. I’d like to try to meditate every day again, but I made that resolution back in August and have sucked mightily at it every day since then. I would also like to exercise more…more dog walks, more hikes, and more gym visits. Maybe that’s the only thing I need to keep in my head…it is probably the most important at the moment.

I’m going to make a list of stuff that needs doing around the house…then maybe some of them will happen. My house is seriously in need of repair, after 15 years post-divorce with no spare cash to fix stuff, let alone remodel. I made it through the living room area, but there are other spaces that need help, and maybe this is the year we start that. I guess last year’s great accomplishment was cleaning out the garage…that was 20 years of accumulation. Thanks to the boychild for that assist. Maybe I should aim for this summer being the great studio/office redo…pull the wallpaper and the peeling flooring, which means pulling My Fabric Stash outta here, and then redoing all of it. New window would be nice. Certainly a cleaner space. Not sure it’s doable, but it’s certainly something I can put on the list, maybe price out what flooring would cost for one of the smallest rooms in the house. Next on the list? A bathroom. Or three. A kitchen. See, those are all big expenditures. Not happening with college still on the to-pay list.

But the brain, it thinks about things to change. Actually making change is hardest. As always.

Some things never change. Dog hugs.

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Yesterday, we went to a basic falconry class that was a Christmas present…it was very cool, not just to see the birds up close, but to learn about how they’re trained…and that they can fly away at any time when hunting.

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Beautiful birds…the one above is a falcon; below is a Harris hawk.

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It was a beautiful day, nice location. I’ll hopefully have photos of my experience sometime soon.

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Afterward, there was food and drink…this ice pattern was the closest we got to winter here in sunny Southern California. Where climate change continues to affect us, right?

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I came home and had some time before the next event…realized I was 4 days behind on this and did some filling in at the top to make it less bumpy.

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Tonight will be the last stitch on it.

Then out to see the band, at a campground on the bay. Strange venue, with the band inside this building with the ice cream store, but all the chairs outside. So I sat out there and listened and drew…not surprising to see this after watching them up close.

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I’ve always drawn birds, but rarely look at photos of them. They’re all fantasy birds. These guys had such long feathered legs and a square stance. I put him in this drawing…

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And then drew this after a long, drawn-out and semi-torturous text thread with the kids about dinner tonight, which the parental units rejected in the end. Whatever…

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I’m kind of annoyed with the whole world at the moment. Probably need to get out and about and get some shit done for that to change.

I came home to a cat who wanted to be up close and personal. Not a lap cat. A chest cat. My chin resting on you cat.

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Too close. Can’t stitch. Pushed him off and worked on the blocks from the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Sewing through glue sucks. But I got more done. So that’s a plus.

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I’m not ready to look 2018 in the eye yet. I’m having a hard time getting too excited about it. Maybe that’s why people make resolutions? I don’t know. Like close out the year and write it off, have gratitude for the good things, resolve to change the bad things. Then it’s a tool for change. OK. Well. I’m still gonna have an idiot as President. I’m still gonna be making art about it. I’m working on some other stuff, positive stuff. I made some changes in 2017…I’ll make some changes in 2018. You’ll see them here. Have a good New Year’s Eve tonight…stay safe and warm as needed. Think I’m gonna read my book and go for a walk and stitch some. Cross some shit off a list. Pet some animals. Maybe play a game. Drink some tea. Eat a decent meal or two. Maybe draw. That. All that.


Wondering if I’m Blind*

December 19, 2017

OK. I’m working on daily to-do lists at the moment. Yesterday’s started with 6 things on it; I ended up crossing off 8 (yes, that’s more than 6, why do you ask?) and transferring 3 to today’s list. Today’s list is starting with 7 things. Hopefully those won’t grow.

Stitchdown took a total of 7 1/2 hours, but I finished…with a lot of furry Not-helpers…

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Jockeying for the ultimate cat sleeping spot. He stirred occasionally when I would move the quilt around, but mostly didn’t care that his bed was disturbed AND vibrating.

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All stitched down. I think. Because I missed the spaceship AND the moon at one point.

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Then I had to go buy batting, wash it, and dry it…before I could pinbaste. So I did some other stuff while I was waiting…like two nights’ worth on this…bottom right, filling in space.

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Then because I was waiting for the boychild to finish making dinner (that was awesome cool, by the way)…I pulled this out. This is Sue Spargo’s 2014 Block of the Month, and yes, it takes me forever to do these, but it’s good to have something to stitch on at meetings and soccer games and all that. Seriously, I think this whole quilt came together on the soccer fields…

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I just need to stitch on 96 balls and then embellish them and I’m done. With the top.

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When I put it that way, it sounds like a bit much. Yes, it’s taken me a year to get to this point. You’re right. I’m OK with that. I have the one from the year before that is pinbasted and sitting in the pile with two others to be quilted. I should do that sometime. I think it’s less about finishing these and more about having something in my hands to work on…which is fine.

And then I pieced the back…yes, with the most non-matchy fabrics I could find. I needed 4 yards. I wasn’t buying 4 yards. I had two yards of the leaves, another yard and a half of the green and red stripe, plus some purple to fill in. It’s OK.

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It’s the back. I don’t care. If you do, then insert some rant about how women don’t really fit in, we have to be a little bit of everything, even when it doesn’t make sense.

This morning? Blood tests I didn’t even know I needed (doctor’s office still hasn’t answered me about that), take down of a show I was actually in, and then back here to pinbaste. Why didn’t I do it last night? It was on my Monday to-do list. Because once I got the backing pieced and ironed, it was 11:15. So I didn’t want to stay up another hour and a half when I knew I had to get up relatively early today to get stabbed. I think I’m OK on time…I’m figuring 20 hours for the quilting and another 6 or 7 for the binding. I need to remember to buy binding fabric on Friday. Because Saturday will be crazy. Well. Friday might be too…certainly JoAnns was hellish yesterday. Whatever. I got 50% off my batting. My depression-era grandma would be proud.

OK, making the tea I can’t drink until after the prod and poke. Then off to do stuff so I can come back and do more stuff.

Oh yeah, and I graded one of the six assignments. Five to go.

*Sister Hazel, All for You


Do the Boogie All Night Long*

December 18, 2017

So many rants this year. Thanks Mr. President. Guess there’s no shortage of material in my head for the artmaking. Although this one is getting closer to done. It’s hard to be focused right now, but it will get done. I would have liked to finish the stitch down last night, but my eyes wouldn’t stop watering (allergies?), so I gave up around 11 PM. I know! So early for me. But I’m trying to make up for a lot of not-sleep over the last months.

I have about 5 1/2 hours into the stitch down…at least 2 more, I think…except I’m in the smaller part, so maybe not. I finished the head, but not the little heads or all the stuff floating around them. I might just try to kamikaze that out this morning. My to-do list is daily now. I did about 2 1/2 hours last night. I did a lot of other things too. Not a slacker.

Kitten is still brave enough to hang out with me in here. Today there’s sun, so she’s happily lying in it. Yesterday, the chair was good.

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I barreled through the torso…

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All the arteries and heart bits…

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Into the upper head area…

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I don’t have much to say today (said a lot yesterday). Just a lot to do. A lot to contemplate. And the next drawing is populating itself in my head…should probably send an email off to the hopefully future owner of that one. I’m gonna need some info.

Boychild has part of dinner in the crockpot (put him in charge of one night this week). I’m already marinating tomorrow night’s dinner. Dogs and cats are fed. It’s a beautiful sunny day in Southern California. And I’m not at school. Oh hallelujah. (No, I haven’t graded a single damn thing…shush.)

More later…

*Milky Chance, Stolen Dance


Time Won’t Heal This Damage Anymore*

December 17, 2017

My brain woke me up early this morning…once at 3:31 AM and again at a reasonable hour. It’s in overdrive. What woke me up? Whether or not I need to buy batting. And then remembering a comment someone made on my blog about a podcast done by ex-gang members (Without Your Permission…most interesting thing I’ve heard so far, “kids with hope don’t join gangs.”). I started listening to that. It makes me sad. Text from my daughter this morning asking about the kid in the hospital…who hopefully will survive. Into what, though? And then bogged down by this thought of white women voting for Trump and Moore and a whole host of other things that hurt them, and they don’t seem to care or know or I just don’t know what it is? Fear of change? Being given the power they deserve? Or they just don’t believe accusations of pedophilia or the plain old crazy that comes out of Trump’s mouth. They keep invoking Hillary, but Hillary is not our president. She’s not in Congress or the Senate. She’s not passing tax laws. She’s not outlawing actual vocabulary, she’s not denying climate change or science or getting rid of National Parks. She’s not doing everything in her power to destroy our world, our freedoms, all for the sake of corporate money. Trump and his henchmen are.

So why invoke her? I guess it’s easier than arguing FOR what this current administration stands for.

So then I think, deeply, about my white woman friends…because yeah, I’m a white woman and I have some white woman friends. I’m not brunching or tea-timing with them though. I do stitch with them, but none of them voted for this crazy. They all marched with me last year in the Women’s March AND the science march, and we’re marching again this year…at least that’s the plan. I make art, I yell a lot, then I think, which white women I know would be OK with all this? Well. I know a couple. I know at least one didn’t vote for Trump, but she does agree with some of the stuff that’s happening. I don’t know why. I don’t know that I can change that. I think they’re pretty clear on my stance. I honestly don’t know how to approach the conversation in a way that might promote change in their minds. I really don’t. Their defenses are up. Mine probably are too.

So that’s something to consider. Find more hope for my students so they don’t join gangs and have conversations with my more conservative white woman friends so they change their votes, their ideas, I don’t know what. Teach them critical thinking (ironically, one of them thinks I don’t think critically…). Fucking sigh. That’s a list and a half weighing me down.

It’s true. I don’t vacation well. My brain gets weighed down by this stuff. The NRA hosted at the White House on the anniversary of Sandy Hook. WTF.

And this…you’re going to OUTLAW WORD USE. Well. If that isn’t fascism and a dictatorship, I don’t know what is. Because honestly, there’s a scientific definition for fetus (it’s one of the things I teach during sex ed), so let’s just get rid of it. Because the baby inside is the same as the baby outside. If you believe that, fine. Let’s take that baby out and see how it does without mom’s support. Right now. At 12 weeks. Let’s go. Oh wait…you don’t want that? Because YOU KNOW BETTER.

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The thing I love about America and the people who live here is their diversity. For our vulnerable members, these are not entitlements; they are rights: the right to live and go to school and have food and shelter and be safe, no matter what color, gender, belief system, background, or country of origin, whether they are the mother of a fetus (an actual scientific term) or transgender, or any other label we use to divide people instead of bring them together in their humanity. Our decisions should be science– and evidence-based, not based on archaic ideas of what society should look like, not based on guesses or the Bible or any other book of faith that doesn’t question, test, analyze, observe, and change with the times…because science does all of those things. And although science can solve many problems (if you’re really against it, put your damn phone down and stop the Tweeting), at the core of this is the heart…in our hearts, we should know that telling the CDC to stop using valid vocabulary in its communications with the people they serve is a step in absolutely the wrong direction, a step toward all those dystopian novels we read where the government is out of control, forcing people to exist in a limited space that disallows our natural human creativity and care for others. We don’t make amazing discoveries in that world. Nothing is cured, no one is saved. I don’t want to live in that world.

I saw an opening in my schedule to request blocks from the Social Justice Sewing Academy. Kids made these blocks and they need stitching. So once I finish my stitch-a-night thing, I’m going to do these for a month. Or however long it takes. I’m a little concerned about that E on the right, but whatever.

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I really like this one.

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And it’s not like I have a shortage of thread. So each night, I’ll pick a strand or two and stitch these down.

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Little steps. I can’t overthrow anything at the moment.

We hiked with the dogs yesterday…dragged them through plant matter.

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The pool of water up top is gone…

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They needed it. I needed it. More of this.

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Then back to here and moving some shit around and finally sitting down for an hour and a bit and stitching stuff down.

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I’m going fast. I need to be done. Like maybe today. Seriously. I’m not kidding.

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I was days and days behind on this. I last worked on it on Monday. We went out and listened to a band for a while, but then came back and watched some Walking Dead, so I did 5 nights’ worth, all in the bottom…to fill in those empty spaces.

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Fifteen more nights on this.

I did a little of the stitch-down on this too…the houses are done, the warthog is half done, the tree needs to be done…same with the sun. Not sure if there’s other bits I’m missing. Need to look through the bag and see what’s left. Then it will be ready for embellishment.

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I think the hippo has stuff on it. I should figure that out. I also want to pin down all the circles (buds) on the Bird Crazy quilt, so I can start stitching those down. I need some long binge-watching episodes, but not until I finish this quilt.

This morning, though, I’m trying to clean up the house enough to finish what little holiday decoration I’m gonna do. Then grocery store and stitch for a while. While thinking about gangs and white women. And batting, because that’s what woke me up first.

*Linkin Park, Faint