The Pieces Don’t Fit Together So Good*

I missed writing yesterday. It was a busy day. I did a lot of things. I forgot about normal routines. Food included. Eh. Not the best plan. I’m going to do better today, I hope.

On Thursday, I drew this during the talking time…

It wasn’t that I wasn’t listening or contributing…this shit helps me think. This is small, by the way, and could never be a quilt. Seriously. That would be crazy.

The boychild picked me up from school and we saw this on the way home.

I’m disturbed that this exists.

This guy was waiting for us as we walked down the driveway. Lots of hawks around here…

We got out a little early, and the dogs wanted a walk.

So did I. It was hot. We need a better way to water the dogs on a walk. Although they might not drink anyway. Lots of ticks collected on this walk. Sigh.

I can’t explain this. But it was on the walk.

Name of my next quilt…

So that was Thursday…and I didn’t get a lot done that night (tired)…Satchemo got some sleep in…

Look at that face. So cute when he’s not snorting snot everywhere. I did get some stuff cut out on Thursday…

I’m not really doing any of this during the day. Not by choice…just other stuff seems to suck up my time.

On Friday, there was some shopping, some planting, lots of computer crap, some job-hunting (not mine), some dinner prep…

My plan was to cut out all the pieces of the quilt after dinner until I was done, but then we watched the 6th episode of The Handmaid’s Tale and I couldn’t get the covered mouth thing out of my head. I tried. I started cutting. And then I got up and got the sketchbook.

The left side is nature OK; the right side is nature not OK, which is what was causing the issues in why people couldn’t have babies. So I kind of worked with that. I can’t explain the hand cut off…like the bodies weren’t allowed to be whole. I was really disturbed by the silent handmaids…and we don’t know yet if that was a choice. And how the hell do they eat? Who knows.

There was a sleepy dog…

So this was about 45 minutes. And then I started cutting again…but not done.

I still need to cut out all the stuff on the right. So that’s today, I guess. It’s funny…I made this long list of stuff to do yesterday and got hardly any of it done. Frustrating. Hopefully today will be better. I’ve got stuff to do tonight, but the whole day is free…although there’s cleaning that needs doing too. Sigh. OK. Food, shower, organizing my brain, then art. I have a whole ‘nother drawing I need to do as well. One week of summer break is gone. It feels scary to have lost a week. OK, not lost…just gone. It’s OK. I’m still tired, my cold came back to bug me, I need more rest, that’s for sure. Maybe that should be my goal for the weekend? Huh. Maybe. I think I’ll feel better if I can cross off a chunk of things off that list. I’m sure there’s something wrong with that idea, but it makes me feel better. I’ll meditate later!

*Amanda Palmer, Astronaut: A Short History of Nearly Nothing

As We Drift into the Zone*

It’s the weirdest thing. You turn in your last grades of the school year, and all of a sudden, you come home and you don’t have any schoolwork to do. My brain panics a little. Wait. What do I do after work? I don’t have more work? (I mean, I do, but not like grading stuff, which is a never-ending thing along with planning for the whole school year and part of the summer.) I joined this teacher group for the year to try to cut some of my work hours, to streamline the shit so I can enjoy the not-shit more, and so many teachers are already on break and wondering why they can’t get going, why they’re still sleeping in the morning, still in pajamas at 2 in the afternoon. It’s called recovery. And I’m not there yet. My classroom is still a disaster. I’m still teaching sex ed today, plus there’s a school teacher breakfast, so I need to be in early. And then I also have a field trip tomorrow and another award ceremony, and then the sweet horrible wonder of the last day of school. I’m almost done getting everything put away in the classroom. Today I’m typing up the list of hazardous stuff we need to get rid of, so hopefully it can get picked up before they put summer school in my room.

Yesterday was exhausting. This whole last month has been exhausting. Frustrating. Stupid people stuff. Dumb adult drama. Too much work. Soon. Soon it will be done.

So I went home and walked dogs…

We went to the more open space…

The plants are changing color…

It’s been dry and hot in the last week. I had to put the sprinklers back on at home.

They scraped the road…it’s a fire break, so that makes sense. Less chance of getting ticks too, unless you’re the little boy and need to pee by standing on a bush.

No sign of coyotes…although you know they were there.

I know there’s cleaning to do. I need to sew some stuff (quick) for a friend. I need to do my second Patreon video. I found the videos I already recorded and downloaded them. Then I got distracted by something else. Easy to do when the brain is still so overloaded. The men around us teachers keep asking why we’re so irritated, emotional, distant, whatever. Um. So it’s really hard to explain how much emotion and care we put into our jobs. We think about kids nonstop. Not always with irritation! With worry. With sadness. With joy. With hope. So this week, we’re kind of a mess. Come back to me in July and I might have recovered. Mostly.

But I didn’t grade after eating dinner. I worked on this!

I haven’t been working on this at all, because I’ve been doing the embroideries. Which needs to start up again, but I have to do drawings first. Maybe later this week. I have one I want to simplify already. He’s not done, by the way. He needs nostrils and eyes and something on his horns.

I also started cutting stuff out…

I actually did one whole yard and the smaller piece, so I’m more than halfway done. I might be ironing to fabric by Friday. That would be cool. This could be a really fast piece. Of course, that means I’m forgetting all the other stuff that is going to suck up my days in the next week or so. But it’s OK to forget all that right now.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun

Restless As the Wildest Way*

I think at this point that my brain is so addled that I need to be exhausted to sleep. Or I’m so into making the new quilt that I can’t sleep because I’d rather be doing that? Certainly it’s more relaxing than grading. I finished three assignments yesterday…one had been in process for a few days…it was just taking me a while. I so want to be done.

It was really warm here yesterday, with some clocking in at 99 degrees and some at 104. Either way, too warm. I left school and didn’t think we’d be walking dogs, but it was cooler at the house…which is only 2 1/2 miles from school. There was a breeze and clouds were kicking in, so we dragged them out (with water).

It wasn’t too bad out there…although this plant seems like it’s reacting to the heat…

Look at those weird seed pods…and it’s a spiky son of a bitch.

There was some other little yellow-flowered thing that was stinging through our pants. Not this one…a weedier-looking plant with vicious spikes.

Nature is beautiful but painful. Good lesson.

We’re seeing ticks all over the place. Well…on the dogs and on the man.

The boychild and I have avoided them somehow.

After grading, I set up for the next quilt. Oh yeah! Desert Daughter won the vote on my Patreon…that’s this one…

She’s got 542 pieces…she’s not tiny, but she’s not huge. I actually drew this two years ago, not after the last trip, although there’s definitely some reminders of that trip here. I’m not making her for anything in particular…I just wanted to do a small filler piece before I do a big piece for the summer. It seemed like a fair reward to let my Patreon folks pick it for me.

So I started tracing last night just before 10 PM…

I recorded a bit of it for a future Patreon video. Satchemo did not help…

He was distinctly in the way. Here at least he stopped trying to lie ON the Wonder Under…

I’ve been entering a bunch of shows lately…hoping to get in to some of them. There are never any guarantees, that’s for sure. This one will fit somewhere. It actually has no nudity in it…

Wait, neither does the last one. A trend? Ah fuck no. It just worked out that way.

I’ve started mentally making my summer to-do list. So far, it is all about cleaning spaces that are out of control, planting things, and making art. Seems like a worthy plan. It’s funny, because I’ve signed up for this school committee that will keep me in conferences all summer. Sigh. It’s OK. It’s two days here and there…it won’t kill me. It’s better than jury duty for the whole month of July…so far, they’ve left me alone on that one. Give them time, though. I’m sure they’ll find me again.

OK, early meeting. Finally made it almost through birth control options in class…moving on to STDs…fun stuff. Eight more days…hopefully I’ll find sleep more easily as the week goes on…

*Crooked Still, Undone in Sorrow

And Then It Got Better…

Well. When your stress levels are high? Organize your photo files. Seriously. Your brain will start to shut down and refuse to stay awake. It’ll be like, this is the most boringest thing EVER. Which explains why my photo files are NOT organized. Like from 2014 on. It’s patchy. The J months are a mess. I mean, I organize every day I download stuff, which is pretty often because of this blog. But then they stay in those daily folders. I prefer to have all the photos of a quilt together, all the animal pix together, etc. But then when I’m looking at a photo of a box of trimmed quilt pieces from 2014, I have no freakin’ idea which quilt it is sometimes. So then I’m staring at the quilts I finished that year and trying to figure out which one I was working on in June 2014. Pain In The Ass. Then again 2014 was kind of a fucked up year. And then it got better.

That’s my mantra for the last 13 days of the school day: And Then It Got Better.

Staff meeting. Shorter than usual. Slightly stressful to think about some of the stuff for next year. Back to no food or peeing for 3-plus hours in the morning. Not ideal. Sigh. Although my co-teacher has to run across campus twice in that time, so I guess at least I don’t have that. It will all be fine. It’s a long way away. (Not really) The plus is that the meeting got done early, so I could kamikaze to the quilt store and buy binding. It’s in the dryer, so I don’t have a picture. I remembered to turn the dryer on at 12:30 AM. Electricity is cheaper then anyway. I hate our new electricity usage plan. The times I’m home and awake are the most expensive. It totally fucks over anyone with a standard day job. It’s not even cheaper on the weekends. So I’m constantly doing laundry at 9 PM at night. And I can’t cook dinner except during those hours.

So I got binding fabric…because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go until Friday, and even that might be questionable. I did quilt last night…although I had 17 thousand things to do first. As always. I hooped this one…

She’s going to travel with the store for a while. You can get her pattern (and others) at Global Artisans…rumor has it that kits are also available. I’m designing 6 more over the summer.

Oh yeah, before I ever did that, I walked dogs…and myself…and the boychild.

The weather was a lot cooler than I had expected…

This dove…just sitting there.

The plants are still crazy tall…

But not tall enough to hide the two guys getting naked in the brush. Um. Guys. There’s poison oak down there. Hmmm.

Well. We tired her out.

That was while I was quilting. I only have one section left to quilt and then the background…not much. I should be able to finish tonight. Then trim and bind. This week! The next three days are full of school work though…four different meetings before and after school. Ugh. (And then it got better)

Here’s the quilt waiting for me…

Morning light on the backing. First I’m going to go teach the remainder of the pregnancy stuff, plus do tutoring. Then I’ll get the rest done. Last night, both eyes were twitching. Too much. Too much. Breathe in and out. Deeply. Slowly. Shit. I don’t have a plan for homeroom. Fuck. OK. Off this and onto the job stuff.

Up All Night…

Much as I appreciated the long weekend…this morning hurts. Probably that is mostly my fault because I stayed up too late last night to finish ironing all the pieces together on the secret quilt. But I did get that done…and tonight, I’ll iron it to the backing and start stitchdown. So that’s a good thing.

I definitely think I will be doing a smaller quilt next, just because I have some smaller ones that want to be quilts and I have some braindead time coming up with the end of school. I could start drawing the next one, but I have so many things on my mind (and to-do list) right now that I think I would do a better job thinking through a drawing if I can get past the month of June. I still have another couple of weeks on this one, I’m guessing.

I got a lot done yesterday…a bunch of grading and yardwork for one, and a nice dog walk for another…

It was a beautiful day…

Still lots of flowers out there…

Lots of overgrown paths…

Lots of tick checks afterwards…

I think we tired them out…

That’s always the goal. See all the sticks in Simba’s chest fur? He tries to bite them out. Then he bites you as you’re getting them out. Fun stuff.

My basil flowered while I wasn’t looking. Whoops.

So many things you have to pay attention to in this world. May everyone be healthy today. And safe. Girlchild is flying back to Boston today from Portugal. I’m up early for a parent meeting…because with 18 days of school left, THAT’S when you start paying attention to your kid’s grades. Still teaching puberty…although also teaching sexual harassment today, because apparently that’s confusing.

Sigh. I drew a little last night…trying to get my brain to shut down after finishing ironing…

Still working on it. It will be sent to my Patreon subscribers later this week as a jpg. They can print it out, color it, embroider it, or just stare at it. I should finish it first…decide whether that’s an Earth or something else (a giant eyeball?). Off to school now…

Nature Calls…and Then Hits Me in the Ass…

I fell last night while hiking…going downhill, I slipped on some loose rocks. I do fall or almost fall pretty regularly, and that’s why we have padded asses. To land on. Which I did. Unfortunately, there was a large rock where I landed, so I am right now sitting on a softball-sized bruise just to the left of my coccyx. Which I think is intact, because although I feel a bit stiff (and ancient, dammit), there’s no excruciating pain. Good thing really. There’s no ass cast. And trying to keep an ice pack on that part of my body while teaching (or ironing) is not a thing.

So yeah, we hiked with the furry beasts…

We saw a snake right at the beginning, in the parking lot…

It was a little one. But yeah, a Diamondback…

The grasses are going brown…which makes everything look different…

The poppies are gone…but there are still new flowers every time we go out there…

I really should live somewhere that rains more.

Except that would probably drive me nuts…

I really do appreciate all the hikes and being out in nature. Even with the giant ass bruise. Ouch. Poor dead butterfly…

Beautiful though…

Here’s the full Patreon Amanda Palmer picture…we are in the top far right.

Thanks for an awesome weekend y’all.

Speaking of Patreon, I recorded three more short videos last night, so I’m editing tonight. Hopefully those will go up tonight. My second video for the month might well be at Walden Pond…you just never know.

When I got home, I did some things. After dinner, I worked on this sweet thing…who is close to done…

She’s got a rug and some knee and arm designs…and that’s it. I’m hoping I have enough of the green to finish the rug. We’ll see. I should prep the next one or two for the trip to Boston. The last three are smaller…they should take less time. This one has actually been pretty fast, compared to the last two. We’ll see what the final time is though. I’m currently at about 6 1/2 hours. Not bad.

Then I ironed…

That is a run of blue, for sure. I didn’t even finish that section…just the stuff under water. Wait, no. I didn’t finish ALL the stuff under water. The windows aren’t done. I know. It doesn’t make sense right now. It will. More of that tonight. I’m about halfway through the 500s. It’s taking forever, but I am past the halfway mark for sure now. It feels like I might finish. Someday. Hopefully before we leave, but no guarantees. Probably not.

Speaking of leaving, the job calls. Today I start teaching sex ed. I’m not ready. It will be fine. Too much talking though. This week is easy…all relationships and liking vs loving and all that gooby stuff…well, and statutory rape. Fun stuff.

Work Now, Art Later…

I see a lot of prospecti (prospectuses?) for art exhibits. I know what my work looks like. But then they put in phrases like “suitable for children and adults” and I don’t know what that means. I mean, I assume it means, don’t enter, Nida, because you’ve got the boobs and the uterus on there. Like why can’t they just say no nudity? If that’s what they mean. I’m assuming that’s one of the things they mean. I don’t think you should hide nudity from kids. Sexual violence, sure…violence in general, if you can, so ironic considering the video games. Sure, my kid can play this violent shoot ’em up video game where the goal is to kill everyone and get all the things, but those fabric boobs are gonna fuck him up. Sigh. Anyway. I guess I’m not entering that show.

I do have a bunch of shows to enter coming up, and I need to calendar them so I don’t forget. One of them says essentially “no boobs”, but I knew that going in and I think the overall goal is good, so I went with it. Plus this topic has no boobs in it. This time. That’s the one I can’t show online yet. It’s hard to work on a piece and not show parts of it. I’m very much a show-the-process person. Which is the video I’m working on for my Patreon…trying to show more of the process. I’m hoping to have it done by the weekend and posted. For only a dollar a month! You can watch me explain my shit. And decide I’m crazy. It’s OK…you won’t be the first one. I want to talk about how I do it and why I do it and what makes me do it.

So yesterday, we only took one dog for a walk. The old lady is limping and needs to rest for a week, we think. She gets arthritic at times, and probably overdid it on Sunday, running around. So we left her a treat ball (and she ate a magazine), and took the little one out…

So many flowers still! We had a little rain yesterday…

The mustard is growing like crazy here too…

And this little guy ended up covered in those twirly sticks that are a pain to get out of his fur…

These guys were talking to us…

Still new flowers everywhere…

I love spring. This guy was sparkly.

And large…

The weather was gorgeous…there’s something about those big rain clouds filling the sky…

We listened for coyotes a few times. Couldn’t decide if we really heard them.

We see them all the time, so we know they’re here.

We went up to see the vernal pool…it’s doing well…

Bigger than usual for May, for sure. We were trying to figure out if the little plants that are all over are the precursor to this flower. Couldn’t tell.

We’ll have to go back in a week and see what’s there. The progression of plant life as we get closer to summer is very different from normal. The difference between 4″ and 14″ of rain. Speaking of, around here is where it started raining on us.

It was short-lived but not light. Puppy didn’t like it. Here’s the vernal pool from above.

Ducks landing in it…I’m sure the frogs are fully developed from the tadpoles we saw a month ago.

We got home, I worked for a while…a time-consuming (and brain-consuming) grading assignment. I only did one period. It was all I could handle. And then in for the ironing! I watched all of Dead to Me, which I liked, and then went on to Our Planet, which I really liked. I am a nature show-a-holic.

As you can see, I’m ironing things. For the quilt you can’t see.

I’m using fabrics for that quilt…oooh…flesh tones.

Probably means there’s a person in it. I’m wondering when I last made a quilt without a person in it. Probably when I did the little bird and cat quilts…but not since then. I really am a figurative artist.

I have tutoring tonight, so we’ll see if I get any grading done. I need to do some embroidery, and I need to do a lot more ironing. Remember my plan to be done with the ironing by the weekend? Yeah. Well. I’m working on it. It’s just slow. Of the 924 pieces, I only have about 160 or so ironed. I got stymied by a design element that needs to be colored in a certain way…and I don’t know what that is. Plus I went to bed really late Sunday night, so I made an effort to go to bed earlier last night. Not that it helped…I just laid there and tried to fall asleep. Silly really. OK. Work now, art later.