Sexy Metal…

The alarm went off. In my dream, I was measuring out spaces for desks, but someone had moved my classroom outside, on cobblestones outside some very old (read, not found in California) building. There were sea lions nearby and a million places for kids to disappear into and a billion things for them to be distracted by, plus they were all coming from different places and we had to find room for all their luggage. Teacher dreams, man. Oh yeah, the desks had to be 6 feet apart, but ALL the school was outside, so I could only have this square of cobblestones and all the desks had to fit in that space. Ironically, I never had to do this last year, because I was in the hell they call Zoom classes, where all the desks are far apart or nonexistent and all the children are distracted.

So many levels of weirdass trauma with this pandemic.

Anyway, my weekend was busy, but I did finish all my progress report grades, although sometimes I wonder what I’m teaching and whether I’m effective or not…

Sixth metal? I’m hoping. Although I still don’t know what he’s talking about. Welcome to my world. The assignment I thought was so easy last week was apparently more confusing than I thought. Ah well. So be it. One of the wonders of teaching a school that is 90% or more English language learners.

So what else went on? Well, I traced a lot…over three hours on Saturday night…

We went to a friend’s birthday party early in the evening, and then the man watched his show and I listened to mine. When I’m tracing, I really need something that is mostly listening, not much watching.

No closed captioning, no foreign language, no action without words. Last night, I only got a little over an hour in…more like normal.

I am a quarter of the way through, but as I was tracing last night, I found a whole section I hadn’t numbered, so now, instead of 1329 pieces, I think there are 1372. Stay tuned for more brain farts.

This weekend was also the start of the Surface Design Association online conference, which I signed up for, and happily listened (and watched) to many artists talk about their work, one while driving to pilates, another while finishing grades, and one while prepping lunches. I miss most of it this week, because it’s all during school hours, but they will be recorded. And Saturday morning will be another batch of webinars I can listen to in real time. Not ideal, but doable. When I wasn’t grading or cooking, I was doing the brainless stuff I can handle at the moment…tracing stuff for blocks of the month, which keep me occupied when I don’t have the strength or energy to stand and trace.

That’s all freezer paper for a block of the month on mushrooms. I’m fully a year behind and totally OK with that. It’s a time filler. I don’t make art every hour of the day. My brain needs a break from ALL the things. Hence working on this in the evenings…

Still not done with the 3rd version of the flowers. Time-fucking-consuming. But relaxing as well. Do this stitch over and over again on 4 flowers. Then do the next stitch.

I also worked on this a little bit…a different part of my brain.

Look at the pile of fabrics provided. What do you see? How do they all go together? She needs an eye and IDK what else. More flowers. Perhaps that is a hat and not hair, and she still needs hair. A bird on her head maybe. I think they’re all facing one direction though. We’ll see. This one is different than the other ones…an entire scene instead of just a woman. Interesting.

I didn’t go to Road to California, but one of my quilts did…the left one in that block of five.

I also had a meeting of one of my art groups (on Zoom). I miss that group in person, but it was a really long meeting too. We juried new members in, so I had spent time earlier in the weekend reviewing their work and their statements and taking notes. Usually we jury just from work, but it was nice to hear them talk about their practice. Definitely a plus.

I have another art meeting (on Zoom) on Wednesday. Busy week. Long week. We’re back to 5 days of school finally. I’m just so tired all the time. I go to bed earlier than I used to, per doctor’s orders, but I don’t seem to sleep well…probably because I’m rearranging desks on cobblestones. YES, I know it sounds like rearranging chairs on the Titanic. Fully Fucking Aware of that. It’s fine. This week in science is demos and labs and rock stars. It all makes sense. Art is oil pastels. Hearing that I might have to continue to teach an elective next year…I wish I had one that was less labor- and brain-intensive. Art is hard. Teaching art is harder. I’m not sure I’m cut out for it. It’s not like teaching anything is particularly easy, but there’s this sense of talent/skill that plays in art and I just don’t have the energy for dealing with fixed mindset and art for only one period. If I didn’t have to do science as well? Maybe. We have an art teacher though and I don’t want to be her. Anyway. I get no choices on these things.

Yeah. That. You can’t tell that’s what I’m thinking because my mask is on. OK. Gotta go to school with pennies and magnets (lab!) and hopefully grade a bunch of things about balloons that don’t talk about sexy metals, and then meet with my team about field trips (what??? Finally!), and then come home and do more of that tracing thing. Plus bingewatch that show I’m listening to, because it disappears on January 31 and that isn’t that far away. Plus get enough sleep and exercise. Got it.

New Bird…

There’s a new bird in my yard. I haven’t seen it; just heard it. Sounds like a violin being played by a half-competent child. I’ve never heard it before…every morning, I sit in here or at the table and it screeches happily for a while. Is it Spring? Is that why we have a new bird? I don’t know. I wish I knew more about the birds who live here. We focus on the big beautiful owls and hawks, and I truly despise the mockingbird, but all the little gray brown birds…I don’t know what they all are. My neighbor above has added a bird feeder I can see from this window, and there are tons of birds hanging out around there. It makes me wonder why we never did that. Oh wait. We did. It was hard to remember to refill it and eventually it got gross and the metal corroded and we may have thrown it out. Yeah. I have too many things to do already. When the man leaves on his hike again, I have to remember the hummingbird feeders…at least they tell you. They buzz around your head angrily to remind you to fill them.

So that’s in my head this morning. The birds.

Monday night, I decided to leave the belly area and work on the sky. I did a few versions of “where do I put the sun” or “is there a sun?” or whatever, and then filled in the rest.

So the belly area is still undone…I still can’t remember what I was supposed to do in there. Last night, I went to the gym (to finish a book that really pissed me off about halfway through, but also to exercise), so I was late back, late for dinner, and then we watched a bizarre movie and I was stitching through it, nothing complicated, just the Sue Spargo Chirp quilt from a couple years ago, and I couldn’t get inspired to draw the belly.

Every flower is so freakin’ complicated. And there are four of each type. And I may never finish. Very positive thoughts about this quilt right now. So I got to here, looked at the clock, and it was bedtime. Aargh. OK. Well. Tonight is book club, so maybe I’ll finish the drawing? I don’t know. I still don’t know what’s going in that space.

I finished the flying geese…

Although I say that, and I just randomly laid these out, and obviously, I need one more? Except who knows what else will be added to this and I don’t need to decide anything right now.

I also went through the next drawer of black fabrics and made donation piles and then cut pieces for the boro-type scarf I’m making.

Sorted them a little. I’ll go through the white fabrics for the other half of the spectrum too.

Meditating last night with the little beast.

Have to focus on my breathing and not her butt cleaning. Difficult task.

OK, I have two meetings this morning. Sent notes to one. Can’t do both. Plus I teach 4 things today…advisory, science block 1, art, science block 2. I graded all the art projects yesterday. There are a lot of Fs because this group just doesn’t turn work in. Unfortunate. But I’m not waiting for them any more. We’re starting the next project. Onward! Hopefully my brain will figure out the drawing by the time I get to 9 PM, yeah? It would be nice. The new bird has gone quiet…must be naptime.

Very Specific Dreams…

Damn. It’s a good thing it’s Friday. I’m exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well…last night was a dream about a cleaning lady (man, that would be nice…) who looked a lot like our new science teacher, and she tracked me down because the vacuum died and charged me by the minute ($18.63) but I didn’t have any money, and in fact, I’d forgotten she was coming, so I sent the man to find some cash and I had to go to work, which somehow involved buying a roll of film from this weird store and then the line was too long, so I gave up, but after the cleaner tracked me down with her two ragged friends for the $18.63 that I didn’t have, I went back to the store (which really sold coffee and pastries) for the film, but I’d thrown it back at the cashier, yelling, I can’t wait in this line!, and she made me crawl around the back area where they were making fancy coffees, trying to find this roll of Kodak film…not the normal types, one of those really old cartridge types, and when I got home, I noticed the cleaner just gave up and only cleaned until the vacuum died, and there were so many things she could have cleaned without the vacuum and she didn’t do any of them.

I have very specific dreams.

Anyway. It’s Friday. I’ve survived three whole days of school, fire alarms going off after school (they were testing the system), which caused the 14th headache of the day, and IDK how many pandemic contracts for kids because I lost count and possibly my mind.

Meanwhile, a drawing is regurgitating out of my brain, the part that doesn’t have a headache, and it’s fast and easy enough that I have to remind myself to check the clock to go to bed. Late two nights running.

I am sketching things out in pencil and then using ink to completely change them as I draw them. Which is normal. So Wednesday night, I inked the hawk and then started looking up and figuring out plants.

The arms are holding a lot of the plants…

Although I changed some of this while inking, and I do need to add some animals to this layer.

So last night, I had the joy of mostly inking…

I’m getting in about an hour a night. I changed the hands three times now, which is why they aren’t inked, because I’m still not sure about them. Plus I want to add some animals and they might end up there? Most of them will be in the bottom layer, I think. Yes, this is longer than what you can see. Yes, there are lots of details. Yay! Yes, it will take me forever. What you see is about 4 hours.

Luna has not been particularly helpful with this stage.

Few cats are. Luna and Kitten like to stand on it. Nova likes to eat the paper. Not helpful.

Last night, we pivoted (ugh, hate that word) back to Zoom for our stitching meeting…I’m still trying to finish the 24 highly embellished flowers…

All I had to do was chain stitch last night, which was good, because I almost laid down on the couch for a nap during the meeting. I have all these plans for tonight; we’ll see if I have the energy for them. Thank goodness for a 3-day weekend. I have 78 million things to do this weekend. Pack up two quilts, ship one, deliver another to the photographer, finish moving gravel to the side of the house, hike, meet up with one friend about a commission and just to say hi, grade a ton of stuff, decide what quilts I’m going to put on sale this month, finish the drawing.

Unit 4 cover page for school…very disjointed and random.

I almost restarted it, but I figured future self deserved to know my brain situation in January 2022.

OK, so today’s science assignments are pretty easy. Today’s art assignments appear to just be a challenge for these sweet little widgets across the board. We start something different on Tuesday, thank goodness. I need to get tested at school…too many positive cases. I need to copy a bunch of stuff (hopefully there’s paper) and grade another bunch of stuff (hopefully there’s brainpower). Next week is also a short one. A blessing, for sure. Grades due soon. That’s all the shit in my head, now on the blog, so hopefully I can get things done today.

Miss Snyder Says Happy New Year…

Well. It’s a Monday. I love those. My current calendar still has Christmas on it (should fix that…I’m a visual person…need to see the days blocked out). I thought I’d be done copyediting last Saturday, but I got more material and then it didn’t get done. TODAY. TODAY IT IS DONE. Seriously, I made the mistake of emailing my author last night and giving him a list of the missing references so I could edit them for consistency…so now I need to do that as well as finish the bit I haven’t finished reading for the 4th or 5th time. It’s fine. I knew taking on work over break would suck, and for a job, it wasn’t a bad one…but it’s been a bit of a slog mentally, and it makes this week fun because now I have to grade all the things I didn’t grade in the last two weeks. It’s not hard, most of it…I just don’t have the right state of mind for it. I just want to watch cat videos and read my book, dammit. New Year’s resolutions for the best moments, yeah?

No, I really want to make art and conquer the job stuff and hike a lot and none of this is new…I say this every year. I do make art, I never conquer the job stuff because they keep making it harder, and I do hike…so there’s that.

Happy New Year! I still haven’t made my little thing of all the pieces I made last year…just the lame Insta one. I’ll put it on my list. You should see my list. It’s long.

So I did finally start quilting…I just didn’t have time until this weekend. And it started with a lot of thread breakage…

At first, I thought it was just because this thread is probably old…I’ve used this color before, but probably not for a while.

But when I started doing the outlining inside the image, it was breaking like crazy, so I started investigating all the things that make it break. It was tension. Thread is as tense as I am? Yeah. Anyway, this is the first time I’ve actually quilted on the new machine, and I was using a different thread, so it took a little fussing to get it right. I’m glad I got there though…because now I can just do a few hours at a time and get this thing done, yeah?

I’m gonna be here for a while, I think. Especially with all the other crap I still need to do this week. Yes, I am one of those lucky teachers who didn’t start back to school today. We have three weeks at Winter Break, which I’ve always appreciated…it means you can deal with all the family and holiday stuff and then still have a week to get back into school brain, which usually means massive denial until Friday before school starts, and then intense panic. It’s good. It works.

I also completed my quilt guild challenge to make a notebook cover…

It wasn’t hard. I enjoyed the stitching.

Did I NEED to spend a few hours on this? Of course not. But we often do things we don’t need to do.

It’s a lot more chill than what I usually do. Most of the fabrics were gifts this Christmas.

I’ve drawn 2 out of the last 3 nights…

We were supposed to go to a small gathering (us and 3 other vaxxed people) on NYE, but turns out the Man had an exposure before Christmas and we were being uber-cautious. We have no symptoms here, but there is a massive shortage of tests, so we can’t even check. I could go to school today and check…but we couldn’t schedule him a test at all. Sigh. I think everyone’s going to end up getting sick this time around. Get vaxxed! And boosted! The friend who got it was vaccinated but not boosted yet (hadn’t been 6 months yet)…so his case was mild…but we do know unvaxxed folks…and hope they will figure it out soon.

So we sat at home and I stitched and drew. New Year’s Day, we went and sat outside (cold night)…and I drew there.

I’ve done 14 drawings so far over Winter Break…I think I’ve missed 2 nights: Christmas Day and last night.

We hiked on New Years Day, but away from all the people. We left it late so we just went to one of our regular haunts…

Made a friend. We’re hoping to do something more interesting this week. The trails have dried out a little, hopefully, from last week’s rain.

In other news, based on 2020, I figured I wouldn’t have much time to read in 2021 (school takes that time away), but then the man was gone for 2 months on the PCT and I had no one to talk to, so I read a lot instead…totally beat my estimate.

Now I need to make an estimate for this year. School still sucks, but the Man is going to finish the PCT and the boychild will probably be on fire camp duty from July through October sometime, so I will be super alone and maybe should aim for 100 books? Or will the July jury duty suck reading time up? Sigh. IDK. It doesn’t really matter, but I like to be realistic. Last year, I made a goal of 45 and kicked it out of the park. I made the same goal in 2020 and only read 39 books (that year sucked). In 2019, I read 40 and my goal was 36. Hmm. In general, over the last 7 years, I tended to read between 35 and 45 books, except for this year and 2014 (which was a clusterfuck of a year), when I read 104. So probably 45 is still a good goal…maybe I’ll pick 50, just for fun. The girlchild set 125. Now I feel like a slacker. Ah well. Yes, I think too hard about these things.

The boychild turned 26 yesterday, making me feel old. I found this in a box somewhere and photographed it for posterity (plus the boychild doesn’t like his photo taken, so this is a stand-in for his 26-year-old self)…

I let him request a cake…my mistake…so many steps. This is Bon Appetit’s Blackout Cake, which apparently tastes really good…

It has all the chocolates in it. All of them. I’m allergic, so I have no idea how it tastes. I just know I touched all the chocolates over the 24 hours it took to make this thing. It actually wasn’t incredibly difficult…just time-consuming. Hopefully it was worth it.

We had the parentals and his dad over…

Simba was the youngest and cutest thing around, so he got all the attention.

I also am still working on Sue Spargo’s BOM from 2020, the mini/lite one, Chirp

I’m on the third type of six different flowers. There are four of each type. Not halfway yet, but getting there. The birds were fun to do. It’s just time-consuming. I find the stitching relaxing, believe it or not. It should be done in 2022. Not gonna commit further than that, honestly.

And this is what happens when you say my name in a Speech to Text program…

Gotta love my students. Whoever that Miss Snyder person is, well whatever. Maybe she’ll grade all the crap that’s here so I don’t have to.

OK. Well. So many things to do today. First, get the damn copyediting done. Get it out of here. Seriously. Then I can settle down to the other two jobs…finding a calendar for the current year is also important…I have the zoo calendar somewhere. That would be a good one. Happy 2022 all…I don’t have high expectations of the year…just hopes that the things I like are more important than the things I don’t.

Naps and Books…

Hello Christmas Eve! Full of rain and groceries that haven’t been bought yet. I am frightened of the task before me. First, we need a meat. Any meat I think will do at this point. I admit to having lost all momentum last night on the food front…I’m not really in charge of food. I just pretend I am sometimes. Definitely not when the girlchild is here. I’m leaving in 24 minutes to deal with all the foodstuffs though. WITH her. No way am I doing that alone. Uh uh. Nope. I do have a list…it was a series of post-it notes, but I can’t deal with that in the store. I’d be wandering around for days. So I spent time last night transporting info on post-its to info on my regular printed list, which is organized to match the aisles in the store. Because I haz the left brains AND the right brains y’all. I do both. And I’m not really happy unless I’m doing both. So there’s that. Organize it and then chaos it. AT THE SAME TIME.

I did finish all the stitchdown the other night…

Kitten was useless.

Total stitchdown was 6 1/2 hours…

I find the back fascinating…

I do actually stare at it for a while to find where I didn’t stitch…I had about three things I’d missed. And then, fascinating as it is, it gets tucked away inside the quilt, never to be seen again.

Then last night, after friend Zoom, I cleaned the floors (they were bad), washed the batting, pieced a backing (it was complicated, but I used most of a fabric I had left over…I think there’s like 3″ left of it), and pinbasted the thing.

While listening to the rain. It’s ready for quilting now. Not sure when I’ll get to that. The next few days are kind of busy. Apparently people want to do shit. I’d be OK in a pillow fort with my book, but whatever. I actually took a 2-hour break in the middle of that paragraph to do the shopping. It wasn’t bad, but the girlchild needs to make puff pastry from scratch (no worries there) and I have to make eggnog from scratch (doesn’t look hard, at least). And there’s no basil. Apparently basil is an important holiday spice. I did not know. Oh yeah, closeup of safety pins…

Just to prove I was down on my knees, poking myself in my fingers at 10 PM last night.

What else? Still drawing each night…here’s Wednesday…

And Thursday…

I Zoomed with my stitching group last night…we were supposed to meet in person two weeks ago and it got rained out, but this was a nice thing. Very chill.

Missing Ann in the picture…she’s 2 or 3 hours ahead of us and had to get up early. I’ve been working on the Chirp quilt from Sue Spargo, which she recently published, so I can show it.

There are 24 flowers in the border, 4 of each type. I’ve done 2 types, 8 flowers. This is taking a long time. I wonder if that’s why this year’s “easy” block-of-the-month didn’t have a fancy border? I like it, but it’s time-consuming. Then again, for me it’s more about the process than the product.

Girlchild is enjoying Simba…

I think they like each other.

OK, I have two cards to do, technically my Xmas cards too (but whatever), plus make the eggnog to make the breakfast casserole, then make the breakfast casserole, plus more copyediting, and I really need caffeine, because I’m still not awake. (Just want to read my book…have I said that?). And a family event tonight, two tomorrow, another Sunday probably, and one Monday. Am I grading things? Not at the moment. That will catch up with me though. Got to sew some things up for the girlchild as well. Need a nap. Christmas Eve should involve naps and books and little else. That’s what I think. For my future self maybe.

I Appreciate Breaks…

Hi Monday. You can’t make me go to school today. Ha ha! OK, I’ll probably grade some stuff, and I’m definitely working (copyediting), but the million kid-related, district-related decisions are gone and I don’t have to wear a mask for 8 hours. That’s all good. Yes, I will be at school next week for two days. I own that. And I’m doing school-related things tomorrow too, but it’s a break. I appreciate breaks. I would appreciate them more if all the animals would let me sleep in, but that’s on me, right? I choose to have these furry beasts, and one of them now is on the boychild’s hellaciously early sleep schedule, and it’s OK, because I will get to sleep in on Wednesday morning. I hope. I think. Who knows. I don’t sleep well most nights anyway. Saturday I did. Or maybe Friday. All the way through. No bathroom, no tossing and turning, just blissful sleep. For hours. Gotta love it.

So quilt-wise, I have been doing the stitchdown…

I actually broke the foot on Friday night…it’s old. That’s a break that I don’t appreciate. It’s from the old machine. So I ordered a new one, and it arrived Sunday.

So I wasn’t going to do this on Saturday anyway, and it worked out. I’m probably halfway, maybe more than halfway done…with a little less than 4 hours in.

The back…

It takes a little practice with a new machine, getting settings right, figuring out the tricks. I’m getting there. I still don’t think I’m finishing this in 2021 though. I can get it pinbasted and start the quilting, and maybe even finish the quilting, depending on the other shit that I don’t know about yet that hasn’t yet appeared on my calendar but inevitably will…but no way am I getting the binding on as well. So that’s OK. I’m OK with it being the first 2022 finish. It’s not like the abortion issue is going away.

The next quilt is already designed in my head. It needs to get down on paper.

Speaking of paper, I like to try doing a Drawing a Day over Winter Break. I had some weird-shaped sketchbooks I bought years ago…and you know how those things become precious, so it’s hard to even open them and draw in them. Well I started drawing in them. They’re not THAT weird…just different sizes/proportions to my usual ones. So hopefully some differently sized quilts in the future?

I just randomly draw…this one is a good example of random.

It’s different than drawing for a quilt theme or idea that I have. I just let the brain spill onto the paper. How do I fill all the spaces? What goes here? It’s good practice. I wish I could find a way (time!) to do it more often.

So there’s three. I think there are 24 days of Winter Break…we’ll see if I get all 24. It’s OK if I don’t. The second sketchbook is really long and narrow. I’ll try one of those tonight. Speaking of tonight, the girlchild is arriving. She’s working while she’s here…hey, so am I! But it will be nice to have her around for a week. Although I’m realizing that not only do I have to finish cleaning her room (I started yesterday with the quilts and the crazy quilt fabric), but I need to clean off her workspace…which is currently MY workspace. Well, one of them. So there we are. No worries. I was thinking the other night though as the Man was blasting metal on YouTube and I just wanted to sit and read my book (in peace, no metal) that I should get a nice chair and put it in the girlchild’s room for just such occasions. But I’m not sure they happen enough. I could put it in MY bedroom too. I guess. There’s so much cleaning and getting rid of stuff that needs to happen first though. Ugh.

OK. Well, let’s not make more work for right now. Today is a busy one. I have three quilts going to Escondido for the California Fibers exhibit that opens at the California Center for the Arts on January 20. I spent an hour yesterday dehairing and ironing quilts and getting them packed up while on the phone with a friend. Then I realized I had to make a tactile page for that show…I knew I had a block I’d made a million years ago (seriously, in 2001, before I really kept track of shows even), so I searched and found it, and then used it and some other lost bits to make a tactile page…

Done! I was worried about getting that finished. So I’m driving those up in a few hours. Then copyedit for a while, clean up the desk and the bedroom for the girlchild, probably wash her bedding too, and IDK what else. Then more stitchdown before driving to the airport. All good. Check the to-do list in the calendar to confirm there aren’t 17 other things to do (there are).

The Man and I finished the Coast to Crest challenge for 2021/2022 on Saturday. There was one longer hike up up up a mountain…

Miners Loop to go up to Black Mountain.

It wasn’t bad. I wouldn’t want to do it in the summer, but that’s true of most local peaks, unless it’s nighttime.

It has a nice loop in the middle. Not ALL loop though.

Then we did the one hike we hadn’t done, which was less than 2 miles…

Because driving all the way up to Del Mar for a tiny hike seemed stupid. And then we went to a local brewing company for a celebratory drink and view of the moon rising.

Could’ve done without all the screaming kids, but whatever. The Man is pointing at Black Mountain, where we hiked.

I guess we have reached that age where we’d like all the young families to go somewhere else to entertain their kids. Ah well. Anyway, we’ll get our patch and sticker for finishing the challenge. And then have to decide what our hikes are from here on out. We bagged a peak anyway…one I’d already bagged. It’s all good.

Shockingly, Saturday night I didn’t have much energy for anything else, so I worked on sewing bits down.

Just a few pieces left on these. This part is totally brainless. The embroidery? Not so much.

OK, I need my shower and more tea. Kitten agrees…

Mostly because she wants my chair. She always wants my chair. She prefers to push me off it. She’s eyeballing it right now. OK. Shower. Tea. Cleaning. Driving. Copyediting. Monday. Not at school though. We need the break.

Not Enough Wassailing…

I made it to the end of the week. I paid my property taxes (ouch). I am almost caught up on grades…well, until the end of today. Then I have more. Weird how that works. I haven’t gotten enough exercise this week, but I rarely do. I’m currently sitting on a chair with a cat sitting behind me, purring away, but not strongly enough to give me a massage. Huh. Something wrong with that.

Next week, the one before Winter Break and the Christmas crazy, is always nuts. I’m not done with shopping, haven’t even started any level of decorating, unless you count carrying the decoration boxes up from the garage. But I managed to order cat litter from Costco and it should be here before we run out (knock on wood, because I don’t have time to go there and buy it). Yeah. I’m not a fan of December. It’s nutsy cuckoo and there isn’t enough wassailing to make up for all that shit.

Apologies if this is your favorite time of year. I do appreciate more time to make art, although the copyediting job may kick that in the ass. Ah well. I need the money. Still haven’t paid off the girlchild’s college and the Man will be hiking for some months in the summer, so I’ll be short then. Sigh. I never feel like I catch up.

This piece is still available for viewing through next Wednesday…

Then I need to kamikaze over to the college on a Thursday night after school to pick it up. It’s good that it got seen again.

I’ve been ironing, of course. I’ve been ironing for days. Why stop now? I only have about 600 pieces to go. 600? Maybe 500. Yeah. 500. More fussy little shit, but what’s new. I got the big pieces of sky in finally.

I picked the main piece up off the teflon sheets and moved it up so I could do the sky.

Then last night, I finished her body and arm…

The hand was so complicated that I did it separately and then put it on. Then I finished the rest of the sky…

To get this photo, I had to stand on one leg and support the right side with my other leg. But you can see that I’m done with the main portion and all that’s left is the bubble. I’m totally doing that separately. This thing is getting unwieldy. But closer to done, which is nice. Sometime next week I should be able to start the stitchdown. Next week is also a bit unwieldy. Just gonna bully through it. Make some apple crisp and hunker down with a book and try to get enough exercise and sleep and not stress out too much about kids who can’t control their own bladders half the time, let alone their brains and mouths. It’ll be FINE. I even get to have a holiday party…um…I’m not really a fan of work parties. The only plus is my work people (the ones I like) will be there too.

I’ve been working on these after eating dinner, while watching an episode a night of Lost in Space. Just stitching things down.

It’s seriously brainless. Which is what I need right now.

OK. Today we get through all the things, then hope the chiropractor can do something about my neck. I’ll be ironing again tonight, of course. And I might have Christmas lights. That would be nice. I like me some Christmas lights.

Still About Choice…

Well my oh my. Two more weeks of tsunami waves and studentness. Some good, some not-so-good. It is Monday and I am again starting out with a lack of sleep. I did get a ton of shit done this weekend, but it felt like I was running around doing it all, because I took time to enjoy myself on Saturday. What’s new? It’s also the holiday season, so there is more of the running around than usual. Saturday I actually went to a social thing (I know, CRAZY!), one of my quilt guild’s holiday parties. It was fun and I won a ton of fabric! Because that’s what I need, right? More fabric? YES. It IS what I need. I need the vastest, widest, massivest (not a word) Most Massive stash around to make the quilts I make. I did realize though that maybe I don’t need AS MUCH of each fabric. I usually buy half yards because for a lot of stuff, fat quarters or quarter yards aren’t the right size for what I need. Think of backgrounds…blues and browns and greens, plus some of my figures have some pretty large parts to them. So that’s the flesh realm. But for most fabrics, I use little tiny pieces of them, sometimes for YEARS and they will probably never get used up. So I realized I value variety over the amount of each fabric I have…for most of them. The guild kept saying “if you don’t want any of what you won, we do charity quilts…” and I heard that, but also wanted to come home and fondle all the fabrics.

So I did that. And I washed them, because I always do that (allergic to the chemicals), and then I pulled some out that were (a) duplicates of what I already had, (b) things I would never ever use, (c) they were larger than fat quarters (so I kept half and put half back in the pile) and put them in a trash bag…not to throw out though. And then I looked at my stash and started going through it.

For each half yard I had of a fabric I hadn’t cut into or barely cut into, and that I knew wouldn’t work for the uses above of larger pieces, I cut it in half. I kept one fat quarter and gave one to the donate pile in the trash bag.

I’ve had that green fabric for a really long time and you can see how much of it I’ve used. I think this is a good thing. The man thinks I have too much fabric and don’t need any more, and there’s an argument for that. I’ve been trying to use more of my stash, not buying backings or bindings, although that is harder because I don’t have pieces big enough most of the time. I like the variety and this will give me more room for it, plus my charity group at the guild will benefit as well.

All I’ve gotten through is 4 boxes of greens so far though.

It’s OK. I am just doing two boxes every time I come in here to iron. It doesn’t take long.

After the party, we hiked, about 4 miles.

I needed it.

I’m really stressed and overwhelmed and feel like I can’t get everything done. So exercise helps with that. So does making art. I’ve had so little time to draw.

Only at the dinner table on Saturday nights…strange place, food was good, too many screaming children.

I’m not a fan of the restaurant playground. As a parent, I get the attraction. As an old person, I don’t want to sit near it.

Kitten agrees.

I’ve been doing some other stuff to help with sanity. I stitched a bunch of stuff down.

Those are the June Homegrown blocks, Sue Spargo. Brainless applique. All I can handle.

I also fixed my purse and the man’s pants and shirt, plus stitched this little patch into an ornament…

Although originally I accidentally put the ribbon inside. And it needs stitching and/or beads and stuffing. but it’s been sitting around for a year waiting to be something.

And I ironed…Figure three on Friday night…? I think? Or Saturday. This must have been Saturday.

Not sure what the hell I did Friday night. Because this is last night…

Finished her head and complicated hand.

More tonight. Maybe I’m halfway now? I don’t think so. Close though. Fucking complicated thing. Like the topic, abortion and reproductive rights.

I agree.

Yeah that. Fuck it.

And this was good, although unrelated. I had a troubled relationship with this book because of the war theme, but this was good.

Still about choice, though. OK. School. Now. I can do it. I can. All of it. Ugh.

A Day Off…

I don’t usually write on Tuesdays. I have a routine…set it up when I realized after blogging for a year or two (started in 2004) that I wasn’t very consistent, so I made it like a journal for me, documenting the art but also everything else, exactly what they tell you not to do, but I didn’t care…I was doing it for me more than for others. I had a crazy couple of years when I was blogging every day, more to keep my sanity than anything else, and then I went back to usually three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Last week on Friday, I was driving toward Joshua Tree National Park, so that didn’t happen, so I blogged Saturday because that’s when I had time. Then yesterday, I just lost time somehow, well, bad lunch planning for the week. Time consuming in the morning is not a good thing for me. So here I am. It’s Tuesday of a three-day work week (oh hallelujah). I finished grades Sunday night and spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon planning science, since we lose that time this week. I really miss the daily plan time with my co-teacher. It’s making things harder to get done. But that’s what the last two years have been like across the board: Harder to get done. A 4-day weekend will have some work in it…but hopefully it will mostly be art and hiking and yeah, cleaning house and catching up with all the shit I can’t do while I’m teaching.

More pictures from Joshua Tree…

It’s hot and dry, even in November. I’m pretty sure I’ve hiked this exact hike three different times in the last 20 years.

It’s different and yet not every single time.

Dinner had some art…

And then I had a blissful hour to draw Saturday morning.

I’m finding it so hard to find time to do that. It was all the things I was thinking and feeling in the desert, in that space. I need more of that time. But when I do have time, I try to finish whatever project I’m working on. It’s hard to find the extra time to just breathe and draw.

Cindy Zimmerman’s Rain Grotto at the Desert Dairy. A beautiful space in a dry climate…

It was also fun to hang out with other artists for a while. That cow ended up in my drawing.

We made pizzas one night and hung out and talked.

Fire is always fascinating.

We also toured Mojaveland, the wonderfully funky, homemade, artist-filled mini-golf experience Anna Stump is creating. Linda Litteral has an installation there as well…

It was a good way to spend a weekend, even if I’m exhausted now.

We saw an art show too, but I’m going to have to wait to post that…I’m running out of time here before I have to leave for work. I always feel like I’m running out of time. I worked on these in the car on the way back for a little bit.

And last night, after a 5-day hiatus, I finally tried to get my head back into choosing fabrics for the next quilt…

I kind of lost it in my head for a while, the colored-in image. But it’s back now. Hopefully I’ll get it all ironed to fabric over the long weekend. That’s my goal anyway.

OK, off to school to teach the hard stuff. Got a new batch of 6th graders. Ugh. Not sure how I feel about that, but we’ll survive. And no more complicated morning lunchmaking. That’s a mistake. More tomorrow, if I get back on schedule. Who knows if I will…

Fast and Furious

Well I have about 8 minutes here to write. Fast and furious. It’s been long days at work, interspersed with some tracing and a little stitching with friends. On Wednesday, the union meeting went for almost 3 hours…I managed to get these graded before and during, as I was listening.

This is the only way I can grade art. Lay it out in the spectrum. So different than grading science.

I get an hour or a little more of this done every night…

I’m in the 400s…only 1100 to go or so.

I just have the head to do on the second figure. IDK how many more to go. There’s a lot of people in this quilt.

I managed stitching last night with friends…well I stitched and they crocheted.

It’s nice to hang out with humans who aren’t pre-teens. And cats…

Luna on her pillar. Yes, I had to cover the top because she kept scratching it. She doesn’t scratch the bottom of it. Ah well.

Unit 2 at school is ending Monday.

So there’s lots of panic on the kids’ part to get work done.

Or not. Some kids don’t get the urgency. It’s been a rough week. I’m looking forward to a couple of days off. Parent meeting this morning with someone who will probably be a major issue. Love those. Enable your kids’ behavior. Please. And then trying to get kids through the assignment. I’m tired.

Ah well. It is Friday. Fridays are often tired. Saturdays will be art and more art with some grading probably. Maybe not. That’s something to look forward to. And more tracing. Meditative. It’s good to do that right before bedtime.