“You’ve Been in the House Too Long” She Said*

You know how exercise is supposed to help you sleep? Hmm. Me too. I know that. I don’t always have that experience, but I know it’s supposed to. Last night. Sheesh. No rest. I don’t know if my brain was the issue or my body (my neck really needs the chiropractor, which is tonight, unless I forget again, which is what got me in trouble in the first place)…the dog needed to pee at around 4:30 AM; that was fun. I just don’t know anything but that I was awake a lot for such a short period of time of sleep. I went to bed too late because I was ironing the flesh colors down and I like doing that in one fell swoop, but then I had to be up early for a meeting (ugh). You might have noticed that I don’t like early. I don’t. And I was really tired yesterday after the dog walk…it took me a long while to rally.

The plus is that the kids were much better at labs yesterday, thus saving me from sacrificing one (or ten) of them to the science teacher goddess. Let’s hope that continues. The staff meeting was short and sweet. Also a blessing. Well, not sweet, but certainly not as onerous as some of them are.

Mondays are for dog walks…when I don’t have 2-hour meetings and no daylight. We haven’t been here for a while, maybe a month…the first part of the trail is still underwater…

No biggie…we go around. Although there were ducks swimming in it…and tadpoles growing in it (OK, they’re really hard to see in here, but they’re gray-ish and pretty large).

Is this a quilt blog? Well, sort of. Quilters should go on walks and get inspired.

Still green and bloomy…although not superbloomy here…the dogs still like it…

I just like to get out and exercise…

The wildflowers make it good too though…

It’s like this annual fascination with Spring…

Every year I’m like OMG, look! There’s flowers!

Some sort of renewal in the brain brought on by the weather. Honestly, these flowers are easier to think about than job stress, weight loss, the shooting in Christchurch, the flooding in Mozambique, the idiocy of my elected officials.

Yup. Flowers. And a good long walk after work.

For some reason, the puppy doesn’t like this hike as much as the others. He fights it until we turn back toward the car, and then he’s fine…

Although we took another side trip up to see the vernal pool…which was huge!

And had those other big fat tadpoles, but also these tiny ones…

Makes me wonder where all the frogs are most of the time…

There’s glass up there…that’s why he’s carrying the pup. So he doesn’t get glass in his toes from the dumbasses who break their beer bottles up there. It’s nature, but the town is right there. And people are stupid.

They kept following me around when we got home…although I think this was following someone else around.

After the walk, I did some photo editing for work, some scanning for embroidery designs, some business paperwork, some email…picked colors for this one…

I have a really hard time seeing what they will look like without stitching them out. That’s soon, I guess.

After some flailing time, some braindead time, I finally persuaded my old tired body into the studio for this…picking flesh.

It’s really much easier to do all the fleshy bits in one go, so I did. It was pieces from the 100s through the 800s, so I have no idea how much I actually did…at least 100 pieces, I suspect. I have one piece of the cheek that I couldn’t find, so I’ll need to retrace that tonight.

Fitting pieces together. I don’t like to waste fabric.

Somewhat obsessive about that. Here’s where I’m at so far…

Not a whole lot of color yet. Wait until I do all the other stuff…bugs and sky and heart and hair…it’ll have lots of color then. I fell asleep to imagining the hair all the colors of nature. Which is good, because that’s what this quilt is about…my need to be outside for a little bit every day, for longer when I can. This week will be a mishmash of finding that space, for sure…too many meetings. So I’m glad I got yesterday’s walk in.

OK…meeting, school (last day of labs hallelujah), tutoring, chiropractor (oh holy moley my back and neck will be so happy), and then whatever else I can handle before I iron again. It’s a good plan.

*The Smiths, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

And Oh My Days We’re Rolling*

Somehow I have to persuade my body that midnight is an hour earlier. I find it difficult to go to bed earlier than my body wants me to…although by the end of the week, I’m sure exhaustion from not enough sleep will help. Right now, today, this very early morning that isn’t early but is…ugh. Ouch. Erg. Holding it together but feeling the pain, and it’s only Tuesday. My longest day. Maybe. Tomorrow might be longer.

My students handed in a shit-ton of work yesterday. Good for them, painful for me. I’m getting through stuff. Slowly. As always. It feels more than a little bit overwhelming at the moment. I graded two more classes of tests last night and an entire assignment during a staff meeting (yes, I was mostly listening). Today the kids are starting a project…on some days, I will be buried under the labs, but today is pretty low-key. One more class of tests to grade and then I can work on the massive pile of Unit 5. Ugh.

I took a break there to send out a work email I needed to do. I forget about stuff if I don’t calendar it or do it right when I remember. Happens often.

So after work yesterday, the one plus of the time change is the increased PM daylight for walking dogs…

I don’t have to race home. It’s so beautiful out there right now.

Although some of that beauty is poison oak growing like crazy. Should keep that in mind.

I use an app to track the distance, but the clouds must have been messing with it yesterday (it was raining the whole time we walked)…because that mess at the bottom is not what we did…

We did a little out and back, reconnaissance, trying to figure out what the orange flowers were (poppies…but all folded up)…but not that crazy stuff. So the mileage was off too. We heard a group of coyotes singing to us…maybe the same young ones as a few weeks ago…but didn’t see any.

After dinner, I graded, and then did a few more small drawings. This one is a bit weird for an embroidery design.

But this one might work…

Who knows. I don’t.

On to the next stage on the most current quilt (no, I haven’t finished the binding on the other one yet…why?).

I should be able to get all the Wonder Under cut out this week. Easily. Then on to ironing to fabric. Simba wanted belly rubs…

I combed him a bit too after the mud run we did this afternoon. After everyone else goes to bed or shuts their door, I get the dogs…

Well. And one of the cats…eventually he reached up and started kneading Calli’s leg, at which point, I shoved him off. I never know how Calli will react.

It was cold…so pushing your face into a dog leg makes sense I guess.

I got about 1 1/2 yards cut out…

Not bad. Using new scissors. They have a name on them, but all I can think of right now (so very wrongly) is Tim Horton. That’s wrong. They were a birthday present. We’ll see how my hand feels.

Crap. It’s late. Gotta go to work. Art tonight for sure. And grading. Sigh.

*alt-J, Left Hand Free

Never Want to Put My Feet Back Down*

I have this big old lady dog who’s been following me everywhere, which honestly is better than her sneakily trying to find paper she can eat. She brought her toys with her into my office and is laid out on the floor with them.

And if you talk to her, she grabs her toy and tries to shove it at you, but you’re not allowed to touch the toy.

Meanwhile, the little boy dog is waiting oh so patiently outside the boychild’s room…

Please get up. Please get up. Let me in. He will, Simba. He will.

My breakfast this morning and until they’re all eaten. I had apples and cream, so I made apple cheddar scones a few days ago, froze them all, cook one a day.

Tasty. And one of the few breakfasts that doesn’t make me nauseous on a regular basis. I totally couldn’t face a hard-boiled egg this morning. It’s weird how my morning food brain works. Annoying as well. I need food or I won’t get through the morning.

Speaking of not getting through the morning, my voice is a disaster again. Although I was in professional development yesterday for most of the day, I did also talk most of that time, because we were planning. That was actually pretty good until my brain shut down around 1 PM. Then back to my classroom to “assist” (there was nothing but paper collection that needed doing, and the kids can do that) with the lesson that didn’t make sense. They were teaching them about neuroplasticity, but the game had nothing to do with it and neither did the drawing. I’m confused by what we’re teaching them.

I’m up early today for a meeting. It’s not one I’m looking forward to. Early morning conflict. Ah well…such is the life of a union rep in a public school. And I’m going to try to be nice to my voice today, although I will have to talk a little bit. We’ll see how it goes.

We walked yesterday in the misty rain…

Nobody is on the bridge when it’s raining.

There’s a lot of plant blooms that I normally don’t see…

That’s what plenty of rain gets us…

My SIL called in the middle of it from Seattle, complaining about snow…

I think she’s tired of it…but not tired enough of it to move.

Right now, everything is beautifully green with specks of color…

Although I lost my Fitbit out there somewhere. SIGH. OK, so we went back in the dark without the dogs to try to find it, using an app that might have been able to locate it if it were on…but mine only goes on if you bump it.

There were other people on the trail, so maybe someone picked it up. Or it popped off into the crazy greenery on either side of the trail. We know when it last synced, we know where I noticed its absence. It’s actually a small part of the trail.

There’s one other app that might find it. Hoping I can persuade the boychild to go back out today and check it out…because I have a doctor’s appointment (seriously can we figure out the abdominal crap please?) and an opening in San Ysidro that I’m trying to get to…

Anyway. Stupid shit at the end of the day. Lots of that. I was going to grade last night, but I ended up doing an extra mile in the dark, trying to find a device that needs to learn how to ping if I want it to. I came back and prepped and sent a complicated email I needed to get done, and then looked at colors for these. Oh man, only five colors is HAARRRDDD.

Either I do black and white or three thousand colors. Never in between. This one was even harder…

Plus it’s hard to see what it will actually look like without stitching it. Scary.

Finally in to trace. (I did some binding before that.) See the big dog in the background? I’m surprised she’s that far away.

Usually she’s right by my feet. So I’m about 5 hours into the tracing, made it to piece 367. Not super fast or super far. But progress. I’m not sure what tonight will look like. I’m expecting some level of exhaustion. What’s new. Still haven’t found the lost quilt…sigh.

*Depeche Mode, Never Let Me Down

Bring Your Etch-a-Sketch to Work*

I’m gonna start writing this at 12:02 AM on Tuesday. Why? Because this song…

I listened to Amanda Palmer tonight on Live From Here, the new version of Prairie Home Companion…here’s the link. Love this song. Makes me laugh. And cry. I’m so excited that I will be seeing Amanda sing in LA in May. I finally persuaded a male attachment to come with me.

So that was last night. I stayed up too late, but I finished quilting. That’s a big yahoo on that.

First we walked the dogs though…it’s been a while since we’ve been to this spot..

It was wet and muddy and stream-filled. Well. Not filled, but we went across at least two of them, one of them three times. Apparently the rain finally caught up with the creek and filled it to the edges…

Sometimes over the edges…the flowers are all starting to bloom…

Thinking about a trip to the desert for the bloom this year…

It was a really beautiful evening for a hike. It’s finally daylight a bit later, so we could go further…here’s one stream, which is actually where the trail normally is…

Calli has no problems or qualms about wading through streams. Simba is not as good. Definitely more water than usual…

Which is good.

Especially for the plants…we stopped here…I was kinda done with wandering through mud at that point.

Plus it was heading toward dusk…

So we headed back to see what the bridge looked like…

They’d fixed the smaller bridge…the rain had pushed it off its bank and into a smaller creek.

I don’t think the big bridge is going anywhere, but that’s a lot of water for here.

The dogs are good sports…

Tons of flowers everywhere.

I love ending a work day like this. Wish I could do it more often. Yes, I graded too…got one assignment done. And then my principal emailed about this professional development thing we have to do, and they totally screwed up next week. Sigh. I set test and due dates. Wonderful. I’ll figure that out later today. Last night I couldn’t handle it. I can’t be mad at him…his wife just had their second kid. I can be annoyed though that we have to do the PD at all.

While I was waiting for boychild to make dinner, I drew a bit…still working on possible embroidery designs.

Might be too much.

Post-dinner TV time with the man, Simba curled up behind him.

The two of them had a coyote scare last night, very close to the prime peeing spot. Scary. Dumbass puppy thought he would go kill the coyote. He does not realize he would be a tasty treat.

I finally went in to quilt at about 10:30 PM…with the goal of finishing.

Which after about an hour and 15 minutes, I did.

With 19 hours and 21 minutes total into the quilting. Crazy shit. Hopefully tonight I will clean the floor, trim the quilt, and put a binding on it. At least, that’s the plan. I’m also going to the gym, so we’ll see how that goes. Right now, I’m tired, but I also want this thing done. It’s taking too long. My brain is done with it.

So. Off to school. Difficult teaching day ahead I think…concept-wise at least. I thought yesterday would be low-maintenance and it totally wasn’t. So there’s that. I also need to prep for a messy lab. Good stuff.

*Amanda Palmer, Ukulele Anthem

Thanks for Showing Me Your Swiss Army Knife*

My cat freaks me out. I’m sitting here, typing at (staring at?) the computer, and she’s sitting there watching me, and then all of a sudden, she snaps her head up toward the ceiling and is STARING, like there’s a demon punching through the ceiling, so I stop (immediately) what I’m doing and stare at whatever space of bumpy ceiling SHE is staring at…and I see nothing. All the hairs on the back of my neck are up, but…ghost? Bug? She’s just fucking with me? I just don’t know.

Yeah, like WTF is that, cat?

Right now, there’s a dog under my feet, trying to catch the cereal I drop. I do drop cereal. He’s not stupid. It’s a smart place to be. Not a very fulfilling life, if you ask me, but he does ask for (and get) lots of pets.

I’ve made this pattern of getting the hell off school campus at least once a week to take the dogs out. It’s so much easier when we get more daylight (I think we’re past 5:15 PM for sunset at this point, so that helps)…I’m glad we chose (well, I chose) this hike yesterday, because there was lots of water still. Straight in front of us is the path…underwater.

It’s OK…it doesn’t take much to go around it.

There was water everywhere…

Friday we had like 3/4s of an inch…plus more on Saturday and Monday. That’s a lot for us.

It was chilly here yesterday…in fact, I think it was warmer where the girlchild is in Boston than it was here.

Nice clear skies though…we were pushing sunset, as always.

We saw one baby coyote, giant ears, rushing toward a hiding spot. And the vernal pool was full.

Just a few weeks ago, it was totally empty. Or at least only a damp spot. Ah nature.

Then back to the house and a million tasks, including a dinner made by moi. I was surprisingly efficient (although I didn’t spell either of those two words correctly the first time…I’m tired.). I spent some time dealing with emails and a list of possible pieces for my upcoming solo show in Pittsburgh. Looking forward to that…and this guy, still needing pets.

Never-ending mopey furball. He’s sweet. When he’s not barking his mad little head off.

Oh yeah, I also set fire to a lot of things in science today…

There was a lot of squealing for that.

Well it’s finally time for quilting this beast. It won’t be fast or easy, but it’s fun.

I didn’t get very far…I only had about an hour and a bit. First I had to fight the thread a little bit. As always. Every time, the machine has to be set up slightly differently to work right. It’s a guessing game. Plus this thing is huge, so it has to be manhandled to quilt it. Anyway, I guess you know what I’ll be doing with the next 20 hours of my free time. I do need to get it done though. The next one doesn’t exist on paper yet and it’ll be due sooner than I like…and the one after it is soonish too, and I’ll be on Spring Break for part of it, freezing my ass off in some campsite.

I’m looking forward to that actually.

So I got Figure 1’s bottom half done, and part of the hand that crosses her from Figure 5…

And then I wandered over into Figure 2…

There was some logic to how I did the stitchdown, and I seem to be following that order for the quilting. I should think about quilting all the in-between spaces as I do the outlining…maybe admit now that I will be using the same color? Or not. Decisions.

Right now, the decision is to get my act together and go to work. And be a productive member of society. Or at least get some grading done. That would be good.

*Laurie Anderson, Let X=X

Your Brain Just Caught on Fire*

What pithy thoughts do I have for a Thursday? Why do the powers-that-be at certain social-media sites have to make life so difficult? I’ve spent more time in the last 5 days trying to make them all Get Along than I have sleeping I think. Ironic, since that’s what I do with kids all day long. Get Along Dammit. I made a kid cry yesterday. Well, that’s not true. The situation made him cry, and it was because of something he didn’t do, but I essentially called him on it, so he cried. It’s not the first time…one of the things I love about middle schoolers is that they straddle little kid and teenager in such an intriguing and (let’s be honest here) fully annoying way. But this one made me feel bad for a variety of reasons…and I asked the class to help me try to make him feel better, and they freakin’ rocked it. I love that. Their empathy is sometimes lacking…but sometimes it overflows and reminds you that they will all grow up to be adults and hopefully kind and loving. Ideally, they will also be able to step back a bit and not sob over scores on assignments…although sometimes I sob over their answers. So there’s that.

I got out of there fast, because sunset still comes early and I wanted to walk those dogs. I couldn’t do it on our normal day, Monday, due to the hellishly long staff meeting.

They like it. I like it. The boychild might even like it. Hard to say.

We had a few friends…

Still pushing the sunset window.

Those coyotes mostly ignored us, luckily.

Came home and gained a dog. The parentals are heading north to my bro and fam.

Making this household a little crazy for a while. We hid all the dog toys, and Katie promptly found two more. Then Calli had stashed one and brought it out too. Katie destroys toys. Plus the dogs fight over them. Three is a pack. Two is manageable. Still jealous, but manageable.

I brought home stuff to grade. I just refused to do it once I got home. Two brains at war. Here’s who won…

I finished Figure 5 and the head for Figure 4…

I’m always fascinated by the back, which gets sewn into the quilt, never to be seen again.

Six hours in. Am I halfway? I close my eyes and visualize the whole thing. Yeah, I think I am. Maybe more. Hugely behind on my grading though. What’s new? I just need progress. And that I have.

*SWMRS, April in Houston

‘Cause There’s Beauty in the Breakdown*

You’d think after a day off, I’d be all rested and stuff, but apparently not eating for the first 6 hours plus of the day throws my body off. It’s still complaining. It will get over it. I did manage 4 hours of ironing and a dog walk in between all the work stuff I did…I wrote sub plans for the two days I’ll be in Boston, I graded half of the videos I needed to watch, I set up at least one post for today, and I finished next week’s warmups (which I have to remember to post while I’m gone). A lot of remembering will need to happen while I’m gone. If I’m smart, I’m going to calendar that shit so I don’t forget. I can schedule things on Google Classroom, but only one class at a time, which is a pain. I might do that anyway, though, because I don’t trust the remembering part of my brain to do it on time. That would be disastrous. The sub would hate me.

So the ultrasound seemed to be a lot of Hold Your Breath and the nice radiology lady wishing my ribs were not where they actually were. I’m only a little bruised this morning. It’ll be fine. I figure they’ll try calling me at work tomorrow and we’ll play phone tag all day, and I won’t get a hold of the doctor until I’m boarding a plane. So there we are. The blood tests have ruled out some of the scarier diagnoses so far, so I’m still betting on an alien. It hurts in exactly the same place it did when I was really pregnant with the girlchild and she was using my organs as soccer balls. (No, I’m not pregnant. That’s not happening. But aliens might.). Anyway. Waiting sucks. As you all know.

So ironing…fitting the flesh pieces together. There isn’t much of this fabric left.

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Then after the ultrasound and FOOD and water, we took the dogs out. It gets dark so early…

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Where the sun is…that’s where Calli and the boychild are…beating me up the hill.

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Calli’s tongue hanging out all over the place…

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So we’re on the way back and there’s this hawk facing away from us, but I start talking to us and it turns its head all the way around to look at us. Piercingly. Thinking WTF is that woman doing.

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Talking to you. That’s what I’m doing. Pretty bird. I don’t think I knew they could do that with their heads, although it makes sense.

I came back, did some work stuff, alphabetized purple and white pieces of paper so I could grade that section of the National Park Project more easily. Then made it back in here for another 2 hours of ironing. I finished all the innards (mostly) before the ultrasound…so then I started on the water plumes that are all over. Mostly I just did the water bits though. There were lots of them…

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This is all the stuff that’s IN the water or ON the water (oil slick etc.) that I haven’t done. That’s tonight, I’m hoping, although it’s a lot to do in one night. Lots of fussy little details.

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Plastic bottles and bags and fish nets and fishing boats and I think there’s a Humboldt squid in there as well. So that’s not a small amount of things that are left. I know I laid out all the pieces through number 991. I know I ironed down all the way through the 700s, and then a goodly chunk of the 800s and 900s were water, so they’re done. That leaves maybe 100 pieces? So maybe I can do it tonight.

Here’s the chaotic pile of stuff I worked on yesterday, plus everything that’s ready to be cut out.

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Then I organized. Much better. Deep breath. I can find stuff again. More color now. You can almost see my left brain fighting with my right brain over this stuff. My left brain wants to go back and organize better by color. My right brain says there’s no point, because we’re going to pull a lot of them back out tonight and mess it up again.

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Hi Kitten. You’re in my chair.

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Like she cares.

Simba is with the boychild, at the ex’s house, so Satchemo was free to sleep in Simba’s bed. The crate is open…I try to remember to check for Satch before I put Simba in there at night…

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Apparently it’s the best bed ever.

OK, high-maintenance school stuff today, waiting on results, tired already. Need to pack, need to finish prep for being gone, need to finish ironing.

*Frou Frou, Let Go