God Forbid You Ever Had to Wake Up to Hear the News*

January 13, 2018

January 2018. Thinking about politics and shithole nations (oh man. Racist much? Does he not know that in general, Norwegians don’t wanna move here? Are people that clueless about race and socioeconomics and why people immigrate?) and upcoming taxes (is there any point in saving receipts for deductions any more?) and the upcoming 1 year anniversary of the women’s march. How to change my pussy hat up to make it more intersectional. It did have a vulva on it last year. Yeah, I’m marching again. Same group of three that did the science march too. We’re still here. We’re still pissed off. We’re still being marginalized, less so as a white woman than as a woman of color or a nonbinary or a trans woman or all the other permutations. But still listening to white male politicians tell us our place is not at the table. I actually had a conversation with my 7th graders this last week about white privilege and male privilege. There’s a piece of my art brain that’s bulging with ideas about this, but needing to know exactly what I’m saying and am I saying it out of privilege? Or what? I can’t tell other people’s stories. Although I often tell a general story; not all my art is personal narrative. So there’s that. Brain is stirring all these ideas around.

Shithole nations…seriously. I’m so offended by my own race at the moment. Honestly, the vast majority of my white friends are just as offended, but there’s a few acquaintances who are missing some connections. I’m sure there’s a few who never voice their opinions, but think it. Sigh.

I’m exhausted this morning. I have a spike embedded in my forehead above my left eye (I just had to close my eye to try to figure out if it was my left or right eye…I’ve never been good at left and right). The day is warm and I have 7 thousand things that need doing. Now there’s a vise squeezing my temples…and my neck is frozen in place. When is the next chiropractor visit? I’m thinking it’s a long way out.

And yet, here’s Kitten. She really is better at life than I am.

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My gradebook calls. I have shit to do in there. I did some last night when I got home from work, before I went to gaming. I think there are 39 emails left.

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Late work. I’ll get there. Really, Calli, I’ll get there. I was awakened this morning by the squealing of the girlchild, who is now asleep again. Ugh. Then Calli crying. I know girlchild let the dogs out to pee, but they want food at some point. So I did that. And once I’m up, I’m up. I don’t go back to sleep. I know the boychild is up, because he came in with Simba, but the other two dead bodies are still snoring away, wrapped up in blanket cocoons. Must be nice.

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No, I’m not bitter at all. Laughing. I get to sleep in tomorrow, when the dogs are all gone. And so are the kids (not that the boychild is noisy…he’s not).

A herd of balloons. Don’t even ask. It’s my prep room at work.

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Gaming. That’s a lot of stress and fatigue I’m collecting over there. I worked on the tree the whole time. If I don’t stitch, I fall asleep. I gave up the comfy chair so the two guys with fucked up ribs and backs could be comfortable. Sigh. I guess I’m never comfortable sitting at a table anyway. True. I’m not.

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It’s still not done…needs brown things around and in it. But that’s a nice trellis stitch hole in the tree, isn’t it? I think so.

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I have a huge list of stuff I wanna do this weekend. I love that I have these three days after the first week of school. I might almost feel human by the end of it.

I’m going to finish the drawing I’ve been working on, I’m going to sew bindings on those two little quilts I had lying around, I’m going to do the stitch down on the other quilt top and hopefully get it sandwiched for quilting. I’m going to set up my composters. It’s possible I’m going to fire my pool guy for never showing up and find a new one (that’s a pain in the ass). I’m going to some art openings. I’m going to read and exercise and eat decent food and get some sleep (maybe…that one I can’t guarantee).

But right now, I’m going to get more tea in me and take some meds for the headache. It’s probably weather related, but I certainly don’t need to carry it around with me.

*Everlast, What’s It Like


That’s the Hard Part

January 7, 2018

In 2003, I started writing an art journal to myself, just documenting where I was with certain pieces and shows. I sucked at it for the first two years. I think there’s two entries in 2003 and maybe three in 2004. Then about halfway through 2005, I calendared it. And then started writing weekly because my computer told me to. Occasionally outside stuff slips in, personal life stuff, stuff that doesn’t even make it on the blog. The journal is where I document all the time on any given quilt, plus all the shows I enter and whether I get in or not. I write almost every week…with a few lost weeks due to computer glitches and a few lost weeks due to brain glitches. I started teaching full time in 2003 as well, so there’s documentation of the effect that work has had on my other work. I can search through the main document for mention of the old quilts I just pulled out of the pile to finish…I can find BirdFoot, but not the other one…mostly because (a) if it has a name, I don’t know what it is, and (b) I think it’s older than 2003. Then on top of all that, I’ve been writing the blog since 2004…although again, I didn’t start a regular schedule until 2006 I think.

I’m reminded of all this because this week is the first week of the new year. I used to just keep one huge document, but every time I opened it, it took forever to load, so now I write one year in a document and then add that to the main journal at the end of the year and start a new one. An 11-page document is easier to handle than a 150-page document. I also download a copy of it onto the computer about once a year, just in case the Google Doc (which is where I write now, because I can access it from multiple devices, even if I’m traveling) has some issue and disappears. There’s something important to me about the documentation. I use it a lot to remind myself of how things went, what I was thinking, where I was going.

So where am I at right now, the day before school starts up again? Well my right hand is still speckled orange and red, which will freak my students out (I’m OK with that). The left hand is barely green. I ironed a bit yesterday. I drew a bit yesterday, but more for fun than for an artistic goal. I had a meeting. I’m not ready (I’m never ready…this shouldn’t surprise anyone who hangs out with teachers. We never feel ready. We don’t sleep the night before school starts…sometimes every Sunday night is troubled.). We’ll get some planning time tomorrow, because we’re starting the week with more professional development, so that means we can figure out what the hell we were thinking before break (probably not very coherent thoughts, honestly). I looked at the calendar and my head hurt, so I stopped reading. I need to run some errands today, write warmups for the week, send the parent email, grocery shop, prep lunches for the week, and get my teacher brain out of storage. I can do all of that.

I ironed for a little bit yesterday. The tree leg is horrendously complicated. It’s not hard to do…just time-consuming.

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I went to an art group meeting…so far, being in this group has gotten me into two shows, so I feel good about it. I stitched during the meeting, because I don’t know how to sit still.

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Strangely, now I’m wondering if the face was supposed to be back stitch or running stitch. I finished the Palestrina knots around the body and then started the running stitches.

The meeting was at the Mingei Museum, which is one of my favorite museums in Balboa Park. They’ll be remodeling in 2018 though…so fewer shows. Too bad. They have a great kantha exhibit in there right now, plus a Navaho rug exhibit.

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I had seen this show already, but Arline Fisch is in our group and talked about her work in the museum, which was cool.

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Her wirework is fascinating.

Then I had to hang around for a while in Balboa Park, so I drew in the Sculpture Garden bar area…

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No sunset…too many clouds.

I started working with that skelly back and a front-facing figure, seriously trying to work stuff out, but it quickly devolved into whatever I felt like drawing. Hence the antenna I guess…

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I didn’t really finish, because I had to go wait for my ride. We were going to an opening downtown, so we didn’t want two cars down there (parking is awful) and there was no point in my coming all the way home.

The exhibit was Seeing Is Believing at Sparks Gallery (you can see most of the show at the link) and had some cool work in it…Larry Caveney’s Wonder Woman

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Polly Jacobs Giacchina’s Spiral Progression

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Cheryl Tall’s Couple from Madrid

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and her Horseman.

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Christopher Polentz’s William.

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David Cuzick’s Stop Yelling at Me #2

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Marissa Quinn’s Connection In-Between…

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And Alexander Arshansky’s Life of Pi

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Perry Vasquez’s Florbeza dominates the front window of the gallery…

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It was an interesting show. I went because of the surrealism aspect, although honestly, I’m not sure how surrealist it really was. Lenore Simon’s show is still there, so that was nice. We had a good dinner at the same place we keep ending up at when we’re in that area and then hightailed it back here for an early night. Sleep has been the mantra this break…which should tell me something. But trying to fill weekends with art seeing and making seems like a good goal for the next few months. The stress of work is always there…being able to mentally escape it for a few weeks is a relief. Now to continue that mindset throughout the rest of the school year. That’s the hard part.

Maybe We Could Find New Ways to Fall Apart*

January 5, 2018

No post yesterday due to hiking activity. This is not a bad thing. In typical Kathy fashion, though (and it wasn’t my fault…the book had the wrong mileage), we went further than I had planned. The plus is that my heel, which has bugging me on and off the last few weeks, did not hurt too much on the hike, and it’s fine this morning…meaning it’s probably due to one of the pairs of shoes I wear on a regular basis. Not the hiking boots though I think, or it would hurt today. Anyway. More shit to worry about, right? Foot pain sucks. I was in a boot cast for 6 months once and had multiple really long needles inserted in my heel. Don’t wanna do that EVER again.

So yeah, dragged the kids out to Santa Ysabel to hike the loop on the east end. The Coast to Cactus book claimed the larger loop was 4.8 miles. Which it is…as long as you don’t hike BACK to the car. Minor issue guys. So that was 7.6 miles or so instead. Which was fine…we’d been considering going further along the trail anyway…so we just didn’t do that.

There were a lot of cows out there; it was a gorgeous day, warmish but not hot.

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There are apparently wildflowers in spring, so hopefully my other hiking companion will agree to the lower part of the hike in April or May. We’ll see.

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We did see deer from afar…they saw us as well…

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And a coyote up on a hillside (not this one)…

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Beautiful oak and pine trees, some climbing up up and up (and then back down seemed much steeper than up, strangely)…

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Lots of long vistas…

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And cows. Apparently the trail headed north through these guys and we missed it. So we went off road for a bit, following something that we thought was a trail. Hallelujah for hiking apps that show you where YOU are and where the TRAIL is. Yeah.

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Wait. There’s the coyote. Bonus points if you can see it.

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So it made sense to traipse across this hill toward the trail…easy to do on these cow-trimmed meadows. Not so easy through forest.

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And back past majestic trees that survived the fires.

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Hikes are awesome, but they kick your butt for the rest of the night…although I did go to my stitching meeting.

Girlchild and I went to get our hairs cut (and hers dyed) for the new year on Wednesday. I always stitch while I’m waiting for hers…I finished this block…I just had a little to do on the sheep.

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So this whole 4-square is now done…

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In fact, all of this is done…although I don’t think this is how they fit together…

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And there’s another batch of blocks I have stitched together that has some finished stuff on it too. I’m not even halfway though. So there’s that. I have one more block for April, I’ve already done May, and June is all stitched down…just needs embroidery. I think I’m stitching the wool down on July too. This is what I do at meetings (that aren’t at school…because apparently that’s not appropriate) and places where I know I have a long wait. So yeah, if I needed to take you to the emergency room, I’d be grabbing my stitching bag. I hate being bored. I need stuff in my hands.

So Wednesday night, I worked on drawing things for this new piece, which is a commission for a woman whose daughter had surgery to correct scoliosis.

I’m not ready for a real drawing yet, but it’s weird…I like drawing things that I know how to draw…so if I’ve never drawn it, I draw it a few times to get it under my hat, or something like that. So I need to put the metal in a scoliosis surgery into the piece, but the metal is on the back of the skeleton, on the back of the person. So I’ve never drawn the BACK of a skeleton. I do aim to be sort of accurate (I’m not totally nuts, so completely accurate is not happening)…so I started with that. Then I was looking at all these surgical pictures (oh yeah, that was interesting, but kinda terrifying), so I was drawing the metal bits, what I could see from X-rays and other pictures. Then I was trying to figure out how I was going to put a human figure into this…and I’m still debating this, because I like the organs and innards, but if it’s from the back, the face is difficult and you can’t really see organs very well, and if it’s from the front, you can’t see the metal. So I’m still struggling with ways to portray what I want.

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So there will be more of these. I was gonna draw last night, but life got in the way. It does that. It’s OK. Tonight…totally. Really. Some attempt. Or maybe this afternoon on the deck…because today is my last official day of vacation (ugh!) and I refuse to do schoolwork.

Crazy dogs…

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I’m still working on these…I’m not particularly fast. And now I’m going backwards…doing all the dark purple letters with a hot pink buttonhole stitch.

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I still have two more blocks…gotta get going on that. Make myself do that every night instead of the stitch-a-day thing.

I had my stitching meeting last night and worked on this guy…Palestrina knots all the way around him. I’m supposed to fill in his whole body with running stitches too. He’s cute though.

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However much I want to stay in my pjs all day today, I have a couple of places I need to go, plus I’m doing a dye day…I have underwear and socks that need dying. All my old dyed socks have holes in them. I dye the underwear because the stuff I like comes in these packages with some heinous underwear colors. So I just overdye them to colors I can stand. The blanks have been sitting around the house for at least a year, probably two, so this is crazy. Just DO it! Plus I have some plain white fabric I can dye for quilts…so I’m gonna do that too. It’s a great day for it. And it’s harder to do once I go back to school.

I’m gonna miss being on vacation. Even though I’ve spent most of it flailing around like an idiot. I am way more artistically efficient when I’m teaching. Sad but true.

*Fun., We Are Young

Things Will Happen Today

December 30, 2017

My feet are cold. It’s going to be in the 80s again today, but my feet get cold and I have to wear shorts and big fluffy socks all at the same time. This weirdo winter weather in Southern California…40s at night and 80s during the day. I know, I could be back East and freezing all my parts and not just my feet. I got that. Some rain would be nice here.

I didn’t get a whole lot of useful stuff done yesterday, except for some minor purging on the kitchen counters, which is a good thing (boychild is useful for that stuff). We threw out a bunch of old pens that were dead and bagged up the rest of the pens and pencils for school. Found the address I’d been looking for and had finally emailed someone to get. Of course. Organized the boxes of sundry kitchen items that pile up because I forget I’ve already bought them. Put all my Christmas gifts away. Today I will put away Christmas stuff, I think. Maybe. In between a raptor thing (cool!) and watching that band play (another episode of Draws in Bars! By the beach! But it will be cold, because it will be dark. So I will wear socks.). I wrote a commission contract and asked my dad to look at it, because I am not a lawyer and he is.

Artwise, I didn’t do much either. I did get my slowly flattening tire fixed, but not the tire sensor. It’s annoying that they are so expensive. Obviously the tire place has not seen the last two Visa bills. They are heart-stoppening. Not a word, I know.

Walked the dogs…a good solid three miles in the full heat of the afternoon. It felt hot but good.

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The dogs were tired.

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I needed to get out and walk off some of the irritation building up. I’m kind of irritated by all these studies going on in the wildlife preserve, but if I hike far enough out, they’re gone.

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So I do that.

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Tired dogs…I said that. But they were.

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We had gaming at night. My character didn’t do much. Moved from one side of the temple to another. Dodged a flaming thing. Or a horror. Not sure which.

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Block 20 is almost done…just need to finish the sheep.

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Exciting stuff. Came home and cut out pieces. When boychild wants to go to bed, he brings me the puppy, who is fast asleep. Snuggles him up against me, where he continues to sleep.

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I cut out a bunch, but there’s a shitload of tiny little pieces in there…overlapping tree parts. This crazy thing I drew. So I’m not done. But there’s not much left to do…

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Next week starts to be full of school stuff. No, I still haven’t finished grading that thing. Ugh. I piled it up on the couch and I look at it and feel guilty. Too many little details of shit to get done in the next week. I guess it’s good I took some brainless days in there.

I finished another book, A Closed and Common Orbit, the second in a series by Becky Chambers. The first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, was good, but I thought this one was even better…all about AI trying to exist in our world when they aren’t allowed to do certain things. Very cool story. You don’t have to read the first one to get the second one…they are the same world. It would help with understanding, but it’s not crucial to the story. There’s a third book coming out in April.

Calli is better at brainless than I am. I was trying to get her off the couch to come to bed.

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It took some persuading. OK. Gotta get ready to go falconing. Or something. I’m gonna need sunscreen…in December. I got sunburned yesterday. Duh. I never remember in the winter. Anyway, things will happen today. Not much will get done, I predict, but things will happen. Typical Saturday.

We’ve No Time for Later*

December 27, 2017

It’s interesting…when I don’t have a specific project to work on (yet), my brain just fails to work properly. Maybe that’s being on vacation too. I did work (on grading) for a good huge chunk yesterday and will probably do that again today, if just to finish this stupid grading assignment. That will take me down to just a couple, plus checking all the desperate emails that came in after kids realized I had posted their progress report grades but there was nothing they could do about them. I don’t really understand that logic, but I’m not 12.

Don’t get me wrong, I have 17 thousand things I could be working on. I have three (count them!) THREE pinbasted quilts, one art one and two not-art ones, that I could work on. I have one art quilt that is at the fabric-trimming stage, and if I got my act together, I could probably finish it this week. I really should do that. It would be a good use of my time. I’m kinda rebelling against “good use of my time” at the moment. I have about 4 blocks-of-the-month in various stages of completion (and I did work on one of those for a while, both on Christmas Day and yesterday). I could be drawing every day, all day. I haven’t drawn at all. I did finish a book, The Power, by Naomi Alderman.


Interesting take on the possible reversal of power if women were in charge instead of men. Apparently testosterone is not the problem…it’s just power in general. She may be right. It’s an interesting story nonetheless.

The girlchild gave me all the ingredients for a Moscow mule (or 17). I love the owl cups and will use them for milk and cookies as well.

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My main only squeeze gave me a drawing by one of my favorite mural artists, Gloria Muriel…this is Lilith

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Christmas dinner was tasty, although I only managed to photograph the cheese plate. I loved that bean dip…gonna make more…

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Simba was spoiled for attention…

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Calli was patiently waiting for ball-throwing activities…of which there were few.

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See Simba? Asleep now. My parents petted him to sleep.

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I cannot explain this picture…

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Girlchild cooked it all…

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See the damn puppy again?

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I came home and did some sewing to fill in spaces on the left again…trying to sort of flatten out some of the edges, so I can use it as a centerpiece for a crazy quilt maybe.

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Still debating that. Meanwhile, I pinned 96 spots on this Sue Spargo quilt from 2013…which has been pieced for over a year. It took me that long to put the green border stem on and deal with the spots.

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There are 5 colors…I started sewing on the darkest ones. I think there’s about 19 of each color, so I’m going to be doing this for a while. It’s very meditative. And then they need to be embellished.

Boychild gave me fabric for Christmas. Well. I dragged him to the quilt store and made him pick some fabrics out, because he drew my name for the Sunday night party. I picked the red and white one…he did the rest.

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I like adding fabrics to my quilts that other people have picked. It widens my range. I’m sure I pick the same types of fabrics over and over.

Then I ironed and dehaired the big quilt for the photographer yesterday morning. It had a lot of hair on it. Damn cats. Really need to clean the floor in here before I start the next one.

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Then I graded and went to the gym and graded some more and made my own dinner because everyone was gone and read my new book, which is also good, and then did more on the left side…

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Satchemo not helping with photography.

And sewed on more dots. Yeah. Forever sewing on dots. Spots. Whatever.

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I wish I could say I have a plan for today, but I do not. I’ve been trying to plan our Spring Break trip, which is a pain in the butt. I need to grade more of those projects, just to get them out of my hair. I need to finish the Christmas holiday cards and send them out. I need to find some focus, but honestly, I’m OK if that doesn’t happen until next week some time. I’m obviously in need of some down time.

*Frou Frou, Let Go

The More I See the Less I Know*

December 21, 2017

Over 6 hours of quilting yesterday…apparently staying in one’s pajamas all day is good for getting work done. I even graded yet another assignment. Piece o’ cake!

Well, it wasn’t a piece o’ cake when I started yesterday. I had a thread breakage, thought I cleaned it all up, rethreaded, and then got these nests over and over again. There was a lot of yelling and usage of inappropriate words. Loudly. Unfortunately, that never really solves a thread nest issue…

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The newer machines are harder to get at the innards, but my machine guy showed me one access point. Ah HA! There’s the bitch that’s fucking me over.

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No real problems after that? Well. Of course. I have to say, I suck at just sitting and quilting. My brain goes kablooey. So I had to get up and do other stuff. Unlike this cat, who slept right there ALL DAY LONG.

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Although he did wake up long enough to clean his head.

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This is about a third of the way through all the outline quilting…

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Ah Midnight. Miss you baby.

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Finally up into the face. I had this goal yesterday to finish all the outline quilting.

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I didn’t quite get there. Almost…the little heads are freakin’ awesome with the outlining done…

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NOW you know why I do teeth.

After dinner, I did more fill-in on this…I think it was on the left side…

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I also stitched down some rhinos…I had the last episode of The Crown to watch and I can’t do that while quilting. I also graded another assignment in there.

These are the July blocks…trying to get all the wool bits sewn down over break so I don’t have to worry about those any more.

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Then back to quilting the miasma of birth control options…the screwdriver is not one of those, by the way…to be clear.

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There’s all the heads!

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They look awesome. I have one arm left to do, plus the moon and stars and an asteroid. Then background quilting. That’s today. I’m at 9 1/2 hours in the quilting. Then tomorrow, off to the quilt store for binding. No way do I have yardage for that at the moment. The back was a glorious mishmash and I’m OK with that…not so much on the binding.

So yeah, I gotta leave the house today. More blood tests, who knows what else? Calli isn’t leaving…

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Silly old lady.

Seriously, I think I am more focused when I have pajamas on. You should try it.

*Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snow (Hey Oh)

I Just Keep Losing My Beat*

December 20, 2017

I think I’m voting today “the day I stay home and don’t go anywhere, not even to take the dogs out.” I wanna lounge around in pajamas and do nothing but read all day. Ha! Because that’s what some vacations should look like, but I’m not in that mode…quilt needs to get done and so do about 12 thousand other things. No reading for you! I tried reading during lunch yesterday, but the girlchild called…so no reading. Have to schedule that stuff apparently.

I graded another assignment last night. Two down, four to go. One of them is big, though. It will take a significant chunk of time. I’m not ready for that yet. (I may never be ready for that. Who am I kidding?)

Yesterday I went back to look at my developing Patreon site. I honestly don’t know if anyone would back me, but I came up with 4 levels of rewards and did some writing on it. It would be more work for me…but potentially could be a good thing? Or not. Waffling like crazy on the time/work commitment. Guess it’s back to the thinking board before I decide.

What I really did yesterday, besides get blood sucked out of me (get to go back, thanks to some weird results…woo hoo!), was work on the quilt…batting and backing on the floor…can’t go much bigger than this.

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Calli gets upset that she’s not allowed to be in the entryway with me…

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In fact, all the animals make an attempt to be in there ON things. The quilt top folded in half on top of the batting…

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And nice and flat…boychild had to maneuver around this to get out the front door. It’s why we have more than one door! Not really. It just happened that way…

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And yes, I have moved the bench and the table to get me more room to lay out quilts before…luckily, I didn’t have to do that yesterday. It only took about 45 minutes to lay it all out and pinbaste it.

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Not the hour and a half I thought it would take the night before. But I was tired. And worried about getting enough sleep. I don’t know why…I’m tired again this morning and definitely didn’t get enough sleep.

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Kitten in the sun…

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Lots of weird animal things going on in the house this week. Boychild just put Simba on the chair, and then Simba thinks he’s not allowed to get down. Or he’s scared to get down. It’s hard to say.

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Someone should clean the counter off. Yeah. Me. OK. Everything is me sometimes. Although boychild has demolished the rotting treehouse quite efficiently. Should send him out back with a chainsaw.

So I started quilting in the afternoon…

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The machine is mostly behaving…some thread issues as I got to the end of a spool.

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And somewhere in here we walked the dogs and I made dinner. Then I filled in more spaces on this…

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And finished stitching down all the wool bits (FINALLY) on the June blocks. That took a long time. Not sure why. I did all the tree spots while watching Westworld…which I’ve decided is all about sex and killing…those are the only human purposes I’m getting out of it. Not sure if I like it or not. Guess that might be the point.

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Then back to quilting. I’ve done both sides of the landscape, both arms up to the shoulders, and the baby.

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That was almost 4 hours yesterday. I’m aiming for 5 hours today. Or more. We’ll see. I don’t really wanna deal with anything else on the to-do list. I took three quilts down from a show yesterday. I need to clean up the girlchild’s room before she gets home Saturday night (although she won’t sleep here until Sunday)…and all the quilts are in there, but I’m waiting on one notification tomorrow, so I made the decision not to clean the quilts up until I heard, so I wouldn’t have to put them away and then pull them back out (wishful thinking?). I’m ignoring the three or four boxes in there that also need to be dealt with.

I’m feeling annoyed by people, so that’s why I wanna hermit. Plus the redo on the blood tests is freaking me out. And the holidays are stressful. I probably need to go on more walks or draw some or just finish this damn quilt so it can get photographed on time. Right? Yeah. Well get on with it then.

*Queen, Somebody to Love