Clear My Brain

I do write to clear my brain. Otherwise the words pile up in there and cause havoc. It’s currently 10:20 PM on a Saturday night. I have words in my head and I’d like them out.

We hiked almost 7 miles this morning, and then I did some schoolwork, stitched down the rest of the quilt top, and sandwiched and pinbasted it. It’s been a busy day. There are piles of fabric in the girlchild’s room, and I happened to find something the right size and shape (a rectangle, by the way) for the backing.

I’d already checked for batting. Check!

I did a significant part of the stitch down on Friday night, but I knew we were getting up early to hike, so I quit.

In retrospect, I would have been up for another hour and a half if I’d kept going last night. It was easy enough to finish this afternoon.

Pinbasted in no time.

It’s what we do on a Saturday night. It’s good…it means I can quilt a bit every night this week. I do need to do some thread shopping tomorrow though.

Friday night, we gamed, and I graded some and stitched some.

The cat is no help while grading. Actually, this was my setup for science and art on Friday. Cleanup still happening for demo the day before, art ready to go, rocks in place.

This morning, we hiked Los Penasquitos Canyon, starting at the Mercy/Black Mountain end.

There were quite a few people…

It was much cooler than it has been, much cooler than it will be this week.

It’s mostly flat.

The man is training for the PCT, which will be mostly not flat.

I, however, am training for nothing.

Except regular exercise.

I had to put my phone in my bra for a bit because people don’t understand how to share the trail and there was some chance I’d fall into the water and I wanted my phone as high up on my body as possible.

I didn’t. Fall in, that is.

Anyway, stupid people on trails. What can you do?

Avoid them. The man getting his zen on.

We actually passed a half naked guy (young) meditating with a pointy zen hat on.

So there’s that. Rocks, sand, poison oak, and a baby rattlesnake.

No real rattles yet. The man moved him off the trail.

Good thing because the next group coming along had two small children.

Strange pods…

Pro: We were done by noon. Con: I’m exhausted right now.

This is a pretty suburban trail, right between two rows of houses. In two weeks, we go camping…and two weeks after, we’ll be near Joshua Tree, although I have an art thing to do, so mostly the man will hike and I will not.

I do enjoy hiking. There are limited numbers of hours in the day, though…so tomorrow holds a few hours of work in it. So I’m ready for the week.

This week is already full of meetings.

And hopefully quilting…

I so want to be a cat. I’d be less tired, I think. Hard to say. Interesting to clear one’s brain right before bed. Hopefully it will help with my current tendency to have weird-ass, scary dreams. Because that’s been the last two nights, and I’m kind of done.

Oh yeah, Fire and Water got into Quilt National. That’s cool.

It was the throwaway quilt. You pay the same for 2 or 3 entries. I needed a third. I figured the big one would get in, if anything. It didn’t. This one did. It’s a quilt that was made for another show and didn’t get in. So was the last Quilt National Entry. It’s weird…I get in every OTHER year. 2013. 2017. 2021. Freaky. OK, consider sleep. And whatever is sneakily walking out on the slope. And making more art.

Send Cookie Thoughts

Hey y’all. I missed writing yesterday. My brain was on GRADE GRADE GRADE mode. It’s been there for 4 or 5 days and I’ve missed some things I should have been paying closer attention to. This school year just sucks. Usually, about now, the school year is calming down, we’re finding a routine, and stuff is getting under control. I’m sure you know the end of that story in 2020. Fuck all that, we’re back in, starting over, fuck the routine, and fuck calm.

Saturday, I ignored school. Mostly. I did a bunch of other stuff, including some art projects I just needed the impetus to get started, so I could then do a little each night. One was the clay piece for our FIG labyrinth…

I used to do ceramics in school and then for a bit after, but I think before the divorce? Or maybe just after? It was hard to find a studio and the time, so it just didn’t happen. Anyway, on Saturday, a super dry and hot day, I started finally. Sliced into the clay, started trying to roll coils and stick them together.

It was much easier Sunday night. I had something started, my hands were remembering how, and it wasn’t as dry out.

I have this clay tool I love, I remember loving it, but I can’t find it. It’s here somewhere, in this house.

She can’t be very tall, so it hopefully won’t take me long. That said, I didn’t work on her at all last night. Last night was kind of a clusterfuck.

The other thing I started was my SJSA Remembrance block, for Nicholas Bils.

I traced his face, and then went and got it enlarged about 150%. Then added it to a larger background.

And then added stuff in the background: his name, his dog, a river (for his dog, whose name was either River or Rio, and because he lived on the water).

And then last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under…

And get that done.

I have fabric for the shirt, but it needs to be dyed. Not sure if I can pull that off this week, so I might change my mind about it. We’ll see. Time is at a premium. Not my choice.

We walked around Lake Murray Saturday night…

It’s too peoply too, but manageable.

It was dusky.

Saturday night stitching was brainless.

Sue Spargo’s Homegrown March blocks. All I can handle is stitching it down.

I only have one done of the four. Don’t get excited.

Sunday, I had an appointment to go to Visions Art Museum to see Judith Content’s amazing work…always better in person.

It’s totally worth it and hopefully won’t close down today.

I was also introduced to Melody Money, whose work I haven’t see before.

She’s got some handwork on there.

Fascinating stuff.

Lots of details…

You should totally go see both these shows.

They’ll be there until January, so even if we shut down museums today, they’ll open back up eventually.

Fun stuff.

Very joyful.

Here’s where I’ve been grading…

Notice the cat? Yeah. It’s a crowded space when I’m doing everything.

Work sucks. I’m freaked out by everything. Everything is overwhelming. Staff meetings make my brains melt. Kid demands made me cry last night. I can’t do more than I am. Yesterday, I walked for 3+ miles to get it out of my head.

I only took the little dog. The big dog is too old for that far. So she was sad, and he was tired. But I needed it.

With that, Happy Tuesday. Love you all. Well, except for the non-mask-wearers. I don’t love you right now. And send cookies. But I’m fussy about them. So don’t really send them. Send cookie thoughts.

Paltry Progress…

Hey, so let’s see if I can post before school today. I don’t have much time, but I don’t have much to talk about. I’m tired. Sitting for this long is hard. I want to do jumping jacks in between classes and maybe run a mile to get my butt and back to be friends with me again. But whatever. Kids are learning something, although it might be that they’re learning how NOT to be a jerk on a collaborative assignment. Sigh. We’ll get there.

It is Friday though, and that’s a plus. A short week with the kids, although it hasn’t been a short week by any means. Next week will be the challenge…5 days on every day. I really need it to cool off some more so I can walk in the afternoons. Maybe tonight. Also I said I’d post photos of the two newest quilts, and that isn’t happening today either.

I did iron last night…I did NOT iron Wednesday night. I was too tired. Here’s last night’s paltry progress…well, I did some flying COVID virions…like they do…

And the arm of death. Or something. I’m not really sure. A bird. Little bits and pieces on the other side of the quilt. I ironed about 100 pieces, which isn’t bad for the second day of school. Hopefully I will get more done tonight…

It’s coming along, slowly but surely, which is how I get everything done during the school year. Except housecleaning…it usually gets short shrift…although I need to vacuum so I can do Pilates without being covered in dog hair. Bleck. So I’m about 200 pieces in with about 630 to go. Small progress, like I said.

I had a stitching meeting last night and finally finished the top of Folk Tails by Sue Spargo. It was the 2015 block of the month, but I didn’t start it until 2016. Four years then. Well I don’t work on it regularly…that’s probably part of it. But it was a very enjoyable quilt to make, with all the animals and details in it. I enjoy doing some embroidery after eating dinner, just a half hour or so, although for a good long while, I only worked on this at my monthly stitching meeting, which used to be in person in a Barnes & Noble bookstore coffee shop, back in the old days, when we could meet in person. Now it’s every two weeks on Zoom.

Now I just need to sandwich, pinbaste, quilt, and bind. Quilting this one is a little scary. I’m sure it will be fine. Laughing over here. Tears coming out of eyes. Well, that might be because of school, but whatever.

It’s Friday. I’m gonna teach all day and then hopefully walk my tired body around somewhere and then iron for a bit before I collapse. Tomorrow includes Pilates (my body says thanks) and a mammogram (my body won’t say thanks, but it’s for the best), and then whatever art I can fill in around that.

I Don’t Need Shoes…

We are a week out from starting school with kids. First we have to contact all of them and make sure they know how to sign in to a class and get their schedules and class codes and Zoom links and internet (holy hell, my internet has been awful today)…but I need to know WHO I’m contacting before all that happens. Ought to be interesting. Meanwhile, temperatures (actual temperatures of the air) are rising and everyone is hot and why do I have to start wearing a bra again? Sigh. Ugh. So here’s something about being an online teacher. I don’t need pants. I don’t need shoes. OK, I might stand up and do something for class, but odds are, I don’t need shoes. I might need slippers when it gets cold, but not shoes. It will be a shoeless school year. I will have to wear a bra most days though. Time to get used to those things again.

Today, I made a bunch of videos about how to use certain apps and websites, and posted those, and started trying to do some other school stuff. I sat through a total waste-of-time training. Hopefully the next one is NOT a waste of time, but you know, when you have to turn your camera off so others can’t see your extreme eyeroll and because you know you have one of those faces that everyone can read…well…that does not bode well for professional learning.

Deep breaths, new school year. I see you and I will get through you, hopefully still standing…on my bare feet.

Yeah. Think some of the crazy through a little bit.

I did finish tracing the Wonder Under last night…820 pieces (or so…had some with a’s and b’s because I missed numbering them) in exactly 11 hours. Weird to be exact like that. So this is about 5 1/2 yards of Wonder Under…

Covered in little drawn pieces…so that’s probably 6 hours of cutting stuff out…

I also am still embellishing these squares and rectangles…only getting through about three a night…

It’ll get done eventually.

Here’s the fence…actually done…

And here’s the Bird Poop Caterpillar chrysalis finally…

Its horns finally showed up. Apparently they show these red horns when they feel threatened, but I never saw them. There’s about 5 more caterpillars on the tree…yes, I sacrificed lemon tree leaves for these future butterflies.

I walked yesterday. Apparently I’ve done 150 miles in my hiking boots since March 2nd…

Yes, my hiking app keeps track. Impressive, eh? Well, it could have been more.

This bird was definitely perturbed about the tree disappearing.

More rocks getting painted and left outside…

I love those.

And last night, trying to go to bed earlier (and failing)…the moon was beautiful and orange and my phone camera just couldn’t handle it.

Kitten slept right through it.

I don’t know that cats care about the color of the moon. OK, another training starts in 18 minutes. I’m not feeling good about this school year, I have to admit. Those people dissing us teachers for “not wanting to go back to work” (yes we do…we want more than anything for it all to be normal again, whatever that is)…you don’t know what our job is like…at all. I’m just watching all the experts with their advice about going back, and all the not-experts and what’s happening in schools that are already open. Masks, no masks, cohorts, no cohorts, hybrid, no hybrid, testing, no testing. It’s all very scary. I’ve actually considered in my head what might happen if I can’t go back to teaching, or if the district screws me over in some way and I lose my job. Dear Ivanka…I have done many jobs in my lifetime…I’d like to continue to use my years of teaching experience to impart my love of science to 7th graders…not start over yet again. I already have two other jobs I do that aren’t enough to support me. Deep breaths…I said that earlier. I think it’s the bra that’s causing the breathing issues…I should do something about that.

Late Start…

Hey. Late start. Why? We finished the fence. The front one. The second fence of the summer. You know, I thought this summer I might remodel my office/studio, but that didn’t happen. It probably would’ve cost the same as the two fence sections, but they were more of a priority this year. Maybe next year, the office will get done. I’m just glad to be done with the two fences before school starts. We can plant some stuff and get some wood chips and maybe do some irrigation lines. I hate unfinished projects. There are too many of those already here.

But it meant I’m starting the writing of this right before dinner, and I’m the cook tonight, so who knows if I’ll even finish before I need to start cooking. But I’m gonna try.

I’m still tracing Wonder Under, but I could notionally finish tonight…I think there’s only 250 pieces left to trace.

I’m still working on the central figure…

I finished tracing her whole torso and one arm, and now need to do the other arm and her head.

I have about 4 yards of Wonder Under traced. There are some big pieces coming up, though, so they’ll take big chunks of that. Anyway. Tonight? Maybe? Done?

I also ironed all of the Grow pieces to fabric…

They need to be cut out sometime soon too.

I got all the squares and rectangles sewn down to the Folk Tails borders, and am now embellishing them…

All progress. I’ve gotten less done on the Etsy pieces…I can only do so much, right? And I’ve started working on school plans. So there’s that. Kitten approves only because I’m in here and she’s in here and she likes that I’m in the same place she is.

I also cleaned up a bunch of art stuff that needed filing so I could have more room for school stuff. I’m not done with that, but it’s a start. I need a better school setup in here. Working on a second (well, really, third) monitor and some good storage plans.

See? The cat moves out here when I’m tracing on the light table…

The light table that might be my standing desk for school. I might need another light to do that. Otherwise I’m backlit. Sigh.

This is nice.

So many memes out there. So little time. This one is for real.

Those bastards. Sometimes I have to negotiate for deck time…with dogs. Wet dogs. Wet dogs who want to go in the pool.

But then can only fetch 4 or 5 times because they’re tired and old, and then they’re wet and need to dry out.

I actually made them (dogs and man) all stay outside so I could mop floors. I wanted a clean floor to start school in here. I need to clean up too in here, besides the desk cleanup. I can’t use the green screen feature on Zoom because my computer part that handles that is too old. Which sucks. Because it means whatever is behind me, they can see. And so can their parents. So there are certain places in the house that I can’t be sometimes. Whether it’s noisy or art that might be inappropriate-for-12-year-olds or the disaster that is my fabric storage…I have to be careful sometimes.

Yesterday, the girlchild turned 23.

Apparently in a bathroom. I wasn’t there.

This is true. I need this.

OK, the fence! We needed it to look nice from both sides…

So we did slats on both sides…

I think it turned out really well.

I had to go buy 9 more boards and another box of screws in the middle of the day, after eating lunch and making pancakes to freeze for the next three weeks of school breakfasts.

Do I have a picture of the finished fence? Um no. I do not. Oh well. It’s finished. You’ll have to trust me. And now I can plant things on both sides of it. This is exciting. Notice I have more pictures of the fence than I do of the art quilt in progress. Ah yes, and here is the first Bird Poop Caterpillar turning into a chrysalis…

I’ll go check on it again tomorrow. I wonder what it feels like to like solidify all over the outside and liquefy all over the inside. What happens to the brain? Any memories left after that? Do caterpillars have brains? Or memories? I’m pretty sure I read a book about this in college. Kafka, right? Ugh.

Anyway, it’s dinner time now, for the dogs and the kittens, and then for us peoples. And then artmaking time. Tomorrow is set aside for work work work. Double ugh, but it needs doing. Then two days of train train train. Then work work work for days on end, right? Art will always be there at the end of the day. And maybe my lunch practice will include some as well. We’ll see. I’m wondering how my days will go, how they will feel, without kids in my personal space, without adults around all the time. Will there be more time-wasting? Less? Will I have to do more before or after school hours or on the weekends? Will I have tons of prep to do? I think so but I don’t know so. In two weeks, I’ll have a better idea of what this looks like. In four weeks, hopefully I’ll have it down.

A Situation Made for Pie…

This is my 3,660th post on my blog. That’s crazy. I guess I can add ‘writer’ to the list of shit I do. Although that might have already been on there, notionally. I’m writing less often than I used to. I’m not sure what changed (a pandemic…but I don’t know why it affected my writing time). As of 11 days from now, I’ll be tied to a computer from 8-3 every day, and I can see that having an effect on my ability and willingness to write a blog every day. I may shift to afternoons? Or I may go back to quick and pithy (I’m not great at pithy) every day but Sunday. I don’t know. We’ll have to see how everything rolls. School is starting earlier for me…but I don’t have to drive there most days, so it shouldn’t matter…it’s a little earlier than I would leave to drive to school. It’s a lot earlier than when we started online in the Spring. I’m thinking kids are gonna be braindead in the first few periods every day. Me too, probably. Too many school thoughts right now. That’s actually not abnormal for this time of year.

p.s. If you have kids in school and their district is saying “Teachers are much more prepared this time around. Everything is ready and they’ve been trained.”, um, yeah. No. No, we’re not. We’re not trained, we don’t have access, we don’t have everything ready, and we’re not prepared. We’ll roll, we’ll be there, we’ll have stuff, it will look good, it may even look awesome and work well, but we’ll be panicking every morning and night trying to get there. A lot of it is trying to figure out HOW to do what we used to do or something better. We don’t know what will work yet. We barely had things working before, and now it’s all changed. So be kind to us. You hate us, you love us, we save your kids, we are the worst ever. This job is so hard, y’all. Be kind. Stand up for your kid if necessary and get them what they need, but be sure you are being supportive on your end. I’ll probably have 150 students. Online. I’m scared. I’ll handle it. I have the most awesome team and co-teacher ever, so I’ll handle it. But it scares the crap out of me.

OK. So in other news, I’m still tracing Wonder Under on the newest quilt. I made it to the halfway point and beyond last night…

Of course, the kittens tried to eat one of the lungs on the drawing…

In the center of the drawing. Of course. I fixed it and now I cover the whole damn thing again with boxes in between tracing. I keep thinking they have matured and don’t do stupid kitten things any more. I would be wrong. They are not quite a year old. They still do stupid kitten things.

I also cut out all the Wonder Under for Grow

This is the small Patreon reward for one of my patrons. I’m hoping to pick fabrics today or tomorrow for it.

I’ve mostly been working on trying to get a bunch of stuff ready for Etsy. It takes longer than you would think. I got this on a hanger…

I have a few more to do that way, both quilt tops and embroideries. And this one has its backing on…

I’m still working on the others…these are all the hooped pieces in process.

I’ll get them up on Etsy as soon as I can. I can’t decide if it’s more efficient to put them all up at once or to do a few at a time. My office companions are really no help at all…

You can see the stack with backings ready to go.

I did a little of this one…

And I also sewed most of these squares and rectangles on…

I think there are four left to go, and then they all need embellishment.

I’m in a mood today. I can feel it. I hate that feeling. But it is what it is. For now. It will hopefully change.

Every time I go get the mail or go out to water the front yard or dump stuff in the composter, the dogs chase after me and guard the door until I return…

The caterpillars are still growing.

I’m still waiting on chrysalises. Chrysali? Hmmm.

Sleepy time…

I am never alone…

And my chair is often co-opted.

This is Katie…

Katie is my parents’ dog. She’s visiting as they finish up with selling their mountain cabin. She came and then had vomitous and diarrheal events all over the place. It was fun. She’s on meds and has had fluids but still has diarrhea. I feel sorry for her, but that’s what you get for eating dead things. Dead things that aren’t cooked anyway.

And if you haven’t checked out the girlchild’s podcast…there’s armadillos and Obamas in this one.

Somehow dead things that aren’t cooked reminded me of that. It’s on the i-family of podcastery now too.

So yesterday, I had a hike planned with two co-teachers…socially distant and all that. I’ve done two pieces of this preserve…but not the West Vista loop.

So we started out…it was warm and there was a climb…

But it was outside and there were vistas and birds and plants. We did a lot of this kind of distancing…this was a shade stop going up.

I think this was the view from the bottom person, my science co-teacher…

Actually, that’s a different batch of shade. We liked shade. And interesting trees.

With brand new acorns…

These are not the oaks I have in my yard. But those oaks were there too…plus poison oak, which isn’t an oak at all…and lots of dry and dead stuff… I have Black oaks. These are live oaks? I would have to go grab my book to make sure.

Because well it is August. Black sage…

We hiked slowly but talked a lot and looked at lots of things, so that was good. Including vistas!

I’m pretty sure up there is the Clevenger Canyon hike I did with the man a few years back.

Another interesting tree.

It’s a nice hike. We had asked a random hiker man in the parking lot which direction he would go, and I think he was right. Do the big hill at the beginning, and then it’s downhill a lot and then flat a lot.

So we started at the N (Nature Center) went out to the right and up, then the loop around the top (0.9 and 0.5), then down toward Highway 79, and back to the Nature Center. The Nature Center is not open because of COVID, but is a cool spot from 12-something, so you can use the bathrooms after 12.

Next time, we’d bring sandwiches and have lunch at one of those picnic spots.

We saw turkey tracks and cows and birds…like this Harris hawk…

We think it’s a Harris hawk. Vistas and distance.

It was just under 5 miles in about 3 hours.

I enjoyed it.

We’re trying to figure out how to fit some sort of trail talk into our science curriculum…a video of us talking about rocks in the county and showing them to the kids.

Ecosystems and elements and photosynthesis. All around us. How rocks change…

And why…

And what they’re made of…

This is the hardest part…we have great ideas, but sometimes making them happen gets lost due to time constraints. If I have to be on a computer teaching a class, how do I have time to go record these videos? We’ll have to figure that out. Maybe every Wednesday, we kamikaze out of the house and school buildings as soon as school is out and meet somewhere for that week’s video.

We’re both really busy. We’ll have to find a way to make time.

We can always drag the history teacher with us. She didn’t seem to mind.

This is me trying to figure out what this used to be…

I am a curious sort.

This was another thing…electrical lines. We had ideas…

For earthquakes? Fires? Nah. Just too hard to dig a full footing in this soil…lots of little ones are easier.

I came home and we did food and I did work and some stitching and tracing. The cats are wary of Katie still…so this happened.

Three layers of calicoes. They’re all staring at Katie.

And this morning, doing school stuff…

I wish I could nap like a cat.

Well today is mostly gone. I’m hoping to get some artwork done and some more schoolwork maybe. I’ve done a bunch. There’s always more. And hopefully some decent food. I did get a pie yesterday, but I have to cook it. There’s dinner! Um. OK. Not the healthiest. I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m cranky though. Sounds like a situation made for pie.

Cat Butt Incursion…

There’s a cat butt keeping my keyboard from being in the right place. She squeaks every time I try to shove it further toward where it’s supposed to be. Man, I’m tired. Yes, I stayed up too late. Why? Well, ostensibly I was working on art things, but also was watching the end of the second season of Hidden and wanted to see the end. Way too fucking late. Bad summer behavior.

First of all, I FINISHED THE DAMN QUILT. There was a lot of binding.

And I did all of it. And then dropped the whole quilt on the couch.

I haven’t figured out the time it took yet. But I did email my photographer for the last two quilts. Hopefully he’ll be OK with that.

So there was about a 24-hour time period in the last few days when I was going to be teaching an unknown elective for this school year, but then that went away (oh good). I suggested social-justice quilting and pole-dancing, but since my principal was too scared to actually even contact me and tell me about the elective, I also thought he wouldn’t go for either of those. No worries, all, I would have just taught art. I’ve done it before. It would be hard with the online aspect, but not undoable. Just busy as shit. But it’s OK now…that’s gone.

But because of that, I needed a hike in nature…even though it was by myself.

Sweetwater Wildlife Reserve…with its vernal pool that is quite boisterous this summer.

It was hot…

Always happy to see the flowers…

I did 3 miles…

There’s a bunny out there…

Dear School: Knock it off. Seriously, so many of my hikes are because of outside stress. Yesterday included 3 hours of an online union meeting about what is coming. So stressful. Other people can work from home, but we teachers are lazy? Ah sigh.

What else? I’ve got Patreon things I’m working on…the last embroidery…needed a different transfer color…

And also worked on the quilt pieces…Calli was helping…

The Wonder Under was traced and cut out, and I needed to iron it down…and then I cut them out.

I was doing this well after midnight.

So all three are ready to be ironed together and onto something. That’ll be this afternoon.

I also cut all the backgrounds for the Tattoo quilt and ironed down the pieces for the first block.

I’m doing hand applique. I don’t know why. But I am. And then I added the borders to Folk Tails…

There are a bunch of squares and rectangles that need to be appliqued on and then embellished. And then I’m done with this one. Done seems like a good thing.

Hey, do you do Pilates with animals? I do.

Simba loves his dinosaur…

And here he is, getting involved in Pilates…

So I realized last year that I posted a bunch of meme things about stupid shit the President said last July. So I’m hoping if I post all these now, then I will hopefully see them a year from now and life will be easier. Or different. Or less Trumpy.

Maybe I won’t even remember any of this because of the crazy stuff that will have happened since then.

That one too. And then in a year, we’ll have more data about this…

Maybe DeVos (hopefully) will be gone by then.

And this. Will we still be wearing masks in a year? I suspect so. I hope not.

Well there’s that. So I think that’s all I have for today. Oh wait! The girlchild now has a blog, Reformed Veg, where she writes about food and gives recipes. And she has a podcast with her friend Alessia about…um…well, I’m not sure what it’s about, but it’s currently on Spotify and some other platforms and will eventually make it to Podcasts on the i-devices. It’s called Rideshare. I’ll try to figure out how to share a link to a podcast here before the next blogpost. If you follow her on Insta, it’s in her profile. That might be easier. There’s the Insta…

OK. The day disappears as I get all this stuff done. And now I should do more. So there. I will also need to study more CPR before tomorrow morning’s actual test. Usually we don’t have to do a test like this, so I’m nervous I’m going to forget something. Plus it’s early in the morning because I didn’t get to pick the time. Which sucks. So I will NOT stay up until 1 AM tonight. Or later. I won’t. First I’ll eat lunch.

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.

Usually My Fault…

Well I am mostly braindead today. My fault for going to bed late. It’s usually my fault, eh? Plus yesterday was mostly copyediting and not a lot else. I want to be done with it so I can just do art all the time. I’m getting close. The references were yesterday…today is up in the air. It’s the man’s birthday and we were going to go to the zoo, which is still open, yay, but he’s also braindead, so we’re debating doing it later or doing it another day. Sometimes sitting around and doing nothing all day is a thing. I personally feel like I do too much of that already, but then I remember that if I’m doing that (or doing silly things that don’t further my art or my work in some way), there’s a reason for it. My brain is pretty good at trying to give me space. Like stop reading Facebook or watching the news because all that shit about schools needing to open and withholding federal and state funding if you don’t…sigh, this country is fucked up at the moment. OK, it’s always fucked up, but this is beyond the usual fucked-up mess. Frustrating as hell.

Anyway, so on Monday, I was also not very functional, but it’s because I did the 17 million errands including the dentist and the TB test (which I have to get checked before 1:20 PM tomorrow…no, I don’t have it…how could I? I’m literally around almost no one on a regular basis), and I think that was the first time I had an almost-normal errand run in four months and it killed me. Not really, but I was tired and covered in hand sanitizer by the end of it. By the way, those automatic hand sanitizers? I’m lame when it comes to using those. They scare me. It keeps shooting the sanitizer out while I’m trying to get away from it. Oh yeah, and the dog had his teeth cleaned, so I spent about 2 hours dealing with the vet on either end of that. So it’s no wonder that I got very little else done. I did do a bunch of stitch down, because it was easy to do…

I am 6 hours into the stitch down…I guessed 9-10 hours total and I might be in that range. I am more than halfway now…I’m on the top half of the central figure and then have the two angels. Hopefully I’ll get some done tonight. I’m wavering on when to finish this one. I have to make a new smaller one and have it photographed by August 1. I think. Or I can choose to keep doing this one. I just don’t know. Today is not the day for decision making, that’s for sure. This whole week might be a goner for that.

Sometimes the back is really interesting too. I need to remember to cut pieces for that one corona virion where 4 of the parts disappeared. Maybe after writing this I will remember to do that.

So yesterday, after copyediting, I had no brain left. I just wanted to sit and stitch, but nothing hard. No decisions. So I pulled out the Sue Spargo Homegrown and finished stitching down the rest of February’s houses.

They are comforting in the process and bright colors. Although they are all wonky. I like wonky, luckily. I pulled out March this morning, so I could prep it for the next mental-fail day. Have I done any embellishment on these? No. No I have not. Don’t judge.

So the other crazy thing my brain decided on back in May was to do this Tattoo quilt by Happy Sew Lucky aka Berene Campbell. I sent you to read her reasons for making the blocks in the first place. I think that’s where I originally found her quilt, was in reading about quilt artists who make work in response to shit that’s going on. The graphic quality of her quilt spoke to me as well, and I bought the patterns. I knew they were foundation paper piecing (FPP), which I’ve done exactly one block of…ever. I think in the beginning I thought I might try it again, but no. I’m not. I’m really not. I also don’t want a huge quilt. I don’t have a lot of wall space and wouldn’t put this on a bed with the psychotic animals who live here, so I let it simmer in my brain for a LOOONG time. She’s doing a stitch along of sorts, one block a month; she sends out great info, these are awesome patterns, and the FB page where people are sharing their color versions is great inspiration. It doesn’t hurt that Tula Pink also made one using her fabrics, so people are swooning over it. If that gets Berene more income, I am totally for that. But here I am, not willing to FPP (my sanity is important), but wanting to make it, but not wanting it to be that big. Hmm. Respecting the artist’s work is also important to me, but I did buy all the patterns, so I am less worried about that at the moment. I’m not UNworried about my plans…just less worried.

So yeah. First I cut out a piece of paper the size of the image as she designed them. And I stared at that for a full 2 hours. Maybe. OK. I cut it out, looked at it, and walked away from it. Then came back. Then walked away again. Filed it in the part of my brain that processes art shit and let it do it’s thang.

And then came back and sized it in half. So a 10×16″ block image is now 5×8″. Uh huh. That’s tiny. But doable. Next step…redraw for applique. Yeah. Seriously. It’s my preferred way to make quilts, usually fused applique, but I think for this, it’s simple enough and I get enough satisfaction from the hand applique, that I should do that. I may hate myself after doing all those letters like A and R and P with the fucking tiny holes in them, but I’ve been hand appliqueing since I was in my early 20s and I’m pretty good at it, so whatever. And this is my quilt. I get to do what I want. I started with the block for July, Truth. A good one.

Ah, wonkiness, you are my bestest friend. I’ll go over this with pen and straighten some shit up. And then I did the next three months…

Some are easier to redraw logically than others. But I like it. I’m going to keep going. If you think these are cool, go buy all Berene’s patterns and make her happy too. I realize she might not be thrilled with what I’m doing…it’s hard to know how artists will go with redoing their stuff, like adding to it or using different colors, cool, but redrawing it into a different technique…I just don’t know. ALWAYS buy their stuff before you do anything like this. It’s definitely not cool if you don’t buy their stuff.

Damn, I miss this kid. She’s far away.

Thinking about selling her car.

This cat, thinking about nothing but being right where her mommy is.

Every time. She follows me all over the house. She’s in here now, occupying the green fabric drawer again…as Luna continues to occupy plastic.

She mostly fits in there. It doesn’t look comfortable, but I’m not a cat, so WTF do I know.

OK. I still have no idea what’s happening today, so I’ll start copyediting and see where we go from there. I’m also going to plan on doing some stitch down tonight (or even during the day, you just don’t know!) and maybe some prep on that Homegrown quilt, or maybe I’ll look at my drawn daughters and see if one could be a quilt. Honestly, it’s the 8th of July…could I finish another quilt before the end of the month anyway? I don’t know. I could if I could get my brain in gear and work more hours a day. Uh huh. Anyway. This post was interrupted by the girlchild and car things and lunch. Still nothing has been decided for today. It’s OK. I should go get my TB test looked at. Like now. OK. Plan for short term. Long term will follow.

Damn Society and Its Norms

Yo. I started this a while ago, but boychild ended up on the roof and tools were involved and somehow I was also involved. That’s all you really need to know, except that the cable is now attached again and the palms are mostly trimmed. I also probably have a lot of dirt in my hair, which is awesome, because I had already showered and I have a dental appointment today and no, I’m not showering again. I also have about 17 million errands I need to run, which is nerve-wracking, because you know, virus from hell abounds. San Diego is a mess and I’m kinda glad I sent the girlchild away, because at least she’s in a sane place where people are not dumbasses about masks and sheltering in place, like WTF the beaches on the weekend? Anyway. Sigh. So there’s that.

I did drag the pup to the vet this morning too…he has to get his teeth cleaned so we don’t have to pull more like we did before. Brushing teeth isn’t really successful with him for so many reasons. He was sure we were going for a special mommy-doggy walk this morning…

Poor baby. So sorry. He cried when we pulled up to the vet and then climbed into my lap. I felt horrible. First I ship his favorite person to Boston, then I put him in the crate to sleep last night because the bed isn’t big enough for all the furry beasts who want to be on it, then I don’t feed him breakfast this morning, and then I take him to the vet. I am pure evil. I will give him love and treats when he returns.

So the 4th was pretty quiet here. I copyedited a bunch, and I made my first loaf of sourdough…

Just when most people have given up on it or have truly gotten into their bread groove, I’m just starting.

It needed about 5 more minutes, but it tastes wonderful toasted. Plus our parchment paper sucks, so I’ll have to work on that. Better parchment paper or more flour. Parchment paper is mostly edible.

I also went for a long walk on the 4th…locally, not in the wildlife reserve…although that might have been smart. It was super hot though…

I haven’t tried going back to the gym yet. They opened with limited times and slots last week.

For now, this works. I could go use the machines and then go across the street to the reserve and hike, instead of doing the cardio there. I still need a better face mask for exercising. Working on it.

It was a bright and beautiful day.

Really, I just needed to get out and walk off the week’s stress. After that, we ate dinner and drove over near my parents’ house for a better view of one of the few sanctioned fireworks displays…not that the neighbors didn’t set off a bunch of illegal crap. It’s a good thing nothing burned down. Everything is so dry.

Yesterday, I watered the dog…

I only let her swim a little bit. She gets too tired. But it also cools her off. And then we sit on the deck together (and even the little boy comes out to be a guard dog for all the bunnies on the property)…

It’s all good. Last night, I took some time and stitched while watching the last episode of Unforgotten, Season 3. I got the stuff stitched down for these two blocks, from Sue Spargo’s Homegrown Block of the Month…Kitten did not help. Yes, my windows are crooked.

I’m OK with that. This is mindless stuff, but also achievable. I’m into that right now…stuff that doesn’t take a lot of brain power.

Even this is like that…I stitched down for a couple of hours, with the fan pointed directly at me. Which reminds me, there are two fans in this room. I should plug the other one in too…

This room just gets warm. I should replace the sliding glass door for something more efficient. It’s old and hard to move. I have to go outside and fuck with it and then come inside, and worry about the cats getting out. Sigh. Anyway.

I got all of Figure 3 stitched down, and just need to do the landscape where the gravestone is and up behind her. Plus then finish Figure 2 and the two angels and the skelly and and and. There’s plenty left. I don’t think I’m halfway through yet.

Well, my dental appointment just got moved up two hours because people are canceling…interesting that it’s all last minute. And my laundry needs folding and the palms need trimming and I still have those 17 million errands and I haven’t copyedited anything today. Plus lunch…WTF am I going to do about that now? Sigh. OK. Well, it’s better getting the dentist over earlier and going to get my TB test right after, and then we’ll see what I can handle today. I’m tired as hell from not sleeping well last night (it was hot and I was anxious…welcome to my summer experience). I’m going to go make more tea, put a bra back on (damn society and its norms), and then figure out how to get shit done. Hopefully there will be some copyediting and artmaking at some point. We’ll see.