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.

Going to the Canyon

We left Arches and drove through more beautiful rocks to get near the Grand Canyon in the next day…lovely Tuba City, to be specific. We knew we wanted to come in the East entrance, and do it early, so this made the most sense. The other thing we knew we wanted was a damn shower. So there was that.

We ended up driving through Monument Valley…we didn’t have time to go in and do the drive (always leave stuff for the next trip). But you can see some of them from the road that goes through…

It’s beautiful country…

That storm kind of chased us across the state, but without any real rain until we got to our hotel.

So making a plan to go back…

As it was, I think we stopped at almost every scenic overlook…

But didn’t buy anything.

Driving through reservations is always interesting. I taught near a reservation for a few years. It’s a different way of life, not always by choice. It’s interesting that we both thought Monument Valley was a national park, but it’s reservation-owned. So that’s a good thing. We white folks have taken so much away from the Native Americans.

The majority of what we drove through was Navajo Nation.

We illegally transported alcohol through…whoops. I’m impressed that they’ve taken this step toward managing alcohol abuse on the reservation. It’s drastic, but hopefully it works.

We finally made it to the hotel…and the most amazing thing in the world…a shower.

Too many hot hikes with no washing…this was a good thing.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to finish up. Another early meeting, though, so who knows.

Yesterday, we managed to get all the quilts shipped to where they were supposed to be going. Now they just need to GET there. That’s always the stressful part.

Meanwhile, after work, we walked the dogs…back to the routine! In the two weeks since we’d been there, the mustard had grown like…well…a weed. A lot of it was taller than me.

Certainly the path was harder to find.

Still new flowers popping up. We had a little rain this week.

The grasses are higher than I’ve ever seen them.

These grasses have purple heads of grain on them…

Tons of fire danger. Lots of foxtails to go in doggie feets.

Poison oak (not above) encroaching on the trail.

Flowers in abundance.

Ah, the boychild making the puppy run…

Calli and I are like nope. Not doing it.

This guy. Dude. Get off the path. Are you coming or going? Is the spike on your head end or butt end?

So many caterpillars this year…plus I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this hawk before…or one just like it who hung out on the same piece of wire.

It was a nice walk. Although then I came back and pulled things out of the fur between Calli’s toes (mostly not from the walk). Those curly things are a bitch to get out.

She was a very good girl and didn’t bite me.

OK, so I scratched her belly too.

I graded some stuff, and then settled down to try to get through more of the Wonder Under. Puppy helped.

Not so much.

I have that one piece on the top right of the second yard to do, and then a third yard. I have quilt class tonight, so I’ll try to get done there…if I can. Then sort them etc. I have a plan. I always have a plan.

I got into another show that will be local here in San Diego…it’s called Indoor/Outdoor (way too similar to Inside/Outside, whose opening is this Saturday). It will be at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan, The opening is June 8, probably 6-8 (I don’t have an exact time yet). There will be a coinciding exhibition with our Swedish compatriots at the San Diego Art Institute…we did a show with this group in San Diego and Sweden previously. So more about that later.

For now, off to school to an early meeting, then labs all day long…cool ones, though. Hopefully it will all work.

Feeling Fresh Like a Ziploc*

Somebody’s phone was buzzing with notifications last night and it wasn’t mine. It’s a weird world we now live in, where technology is so ingrained in our existence, when a mere 30 years ago they weren’t…maybe even 20 years ago? It means I’m a little tired this morning. Buzzing wakes me up. It doesn’t wake everyone up. My brain’s not fully up though. It’s wondering about sleep. Still. Forever maybe.

My progress report grades are done. Good thing because they’re due today. Before I finished them, we walked the beasts. I need a good walk on a Monday afternoon…

It cleans out the crazy shit in my head after meetings and kids.

It was hot though, almost 90 degrees. Ugh.

This time of year, teacher empathy is really at a low. I don’t understand parents or how they deal with kids. You look at really bad behavior and you know it doesn’t come from nowhere. This one kid is driving us all bonkers and parents made this. He’s a fucked-up mess and a bully and is being a general shit, when he’s capable of much more. But there’s zero parental support for that. We have 4 days until Spring Break, and then he’s not my problem for two weeks. He’ll still be my problem when we come back, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel for that.

Trying to get the dogs to drink water while walking…they don’t like it.

The thing is, whatever jerk I have this year? I’ll have another one next year. And I’ll start out with a shitload of empathy and try to work with them, and at some point, I won’t have it any more. Or I’ll use it on another kid, a kid where it seems to have an effect.

It sounds really awful, but we are human and some kids are in need of more help than I can ever give them. At this point, I’m just managing behavior. His bullying is increasing because he’s feeling pressure somewhere. I’ll report everything I see and hear toward other kids…his need to bully adults though? That’s amusing. As a middle-school teacher, I always find it funny when they use the stuff they use on other kids on us. Talk about my clothes? Talk about my being chubby? So what dude. You’re not hurting a grown adult who works with kids all day with that shit.

It really was a beautiful walk. I managed to kick that kid out of my head until I did his grades. And then for the rest of the night.

I think it was too hot for the old lady though…

She was moving pretty slowly. The dog. And me, I guess. We let her lie in the water to cool off a bit.

See the tongue?

Pretty sure this was dead.

And LOOONG.

So after dinner was made (by me, to be clear) and grades were done (also by me), I trimmed the quilt and remembered to put the binding in the dryer and then put it on the quilt.

So a bunch of handsewing tonight and I’m done. Tomorrow I can iron and dehair both quilts and deliver them to the photographer, and then I need to draw the next one. I did one preliminary drawing. I need to do something slightly different. But I can worry about that tomorrow. Tonight I need to finish this. Before that, I need to go teach hotspots. And some of the kids are kinda like hotspots. They need our attention. Rolls eyes at encroaching empathy attack. Damn. It’s in me. I can’t stop it.

*Max Frost, Good Morning

Oh My Kiss Breath Turpentine*

I just read someone else’s blogpost this morning and now my brain is like sludge. Probably it has something to do with being up too early for my brain, but school is like, Hey, you should do lots of early meetings. Other people like early meetings and they need you to be at them too, even though you are a cranky-ass bitch in the morning and you don’t even like talking to people until maybe 10 AM but you have to be at work at 8 today and you have a headache and aren’t particularly recovered from your hellish cold, and sometimes you just get tired of being responsible and caring about shit regarding your job and you consider what it must be like to have a job where you come home and you don’t worry and plan and continue to work, even though you’re not getting paid. Really, all those words are in my head way too often, but as it gets later in the school week and the sleep deficit gets larger, your brain starts punctuating those thoughts with groans and sighs and requests for long lie-ins in bed.

Oh brain. You’d think you’d have figured me out by now. I’ve got plans. Some things I have to do (today’s morning meeting, tomorrow’s morning meeting)…some things are optional, but don’t necessarily feel that way because you do have obligations to people…you don’t really hate people…it’s just that being with people sometimes means having to do things you don’t really feel like doing, right? And I know people feel the same with me, so I try to minimize that shit and remember my duty to the human race and be a contributing part of the things in which I’m involved. That’s a lot of words explaining why I have to go to the grocery store again tonight. Somehow. In between a cat to the vet and potentially (hopefully?) finally getting my car back. My mechanic offered to come on our trip to Utah in two weeks if he couldn’t fix the car. Nice one. Awkward though.

Speaking of our trip, we start out in Zion National Park. I follow Zion on Instagram, which is where I found out that they’re closing part of the road through the park for three weeks, starting next week, to do a major repair after all their rain this winter…the same rain we got. Fuck. We have a reservation on the east side of the park. So that means a 3-hour, one-way trip to get to the west side of the park from there. And they have a shitty cancellation policy, although I’m calling this morning to try the manager, even though I’m sure they will say the same damn thing, and then I will come back on here and tell you their name so you can never stay there. I did already reserve some weird place on the west side, just to cover our butts. It was a frantic search for about 30 minutes or so, and that was after 20 minutes for me to realize holy fuck, this isn’t going to work. Don’t even ask me about Bryce right now. I think we’re going to freeze. We’ll be fine. FINE DAMMIT. Laughs hysterically. Next year, we go somewhere that has no bugs, caterpillars, or snow. Really. Maybe. I don’t know. There’s the excitement of a trip and then the holy crap what was I thinking this sounds awful and then the real life this is awesome part of it. I’m in the holy crap stage. I’ll get over it. No worries.

So I got home yesterday after school…and I dragged my mostly well ass out with the dogs…

OK. I’m not mostly well. I’m sort of well. We had a little rain yesterday night, but not a lot. It’s crazy how much the grasses are growing; it seems like a foot or two in just a week and a half.

The coyotes must be loving the hiding possibilities.

The flowers are still going crazy.

I spend most of my day trapped in a building with 140 12-year-olds. I need this. I need outside and air and plants and moving fast and dogs and water and green stuff or brown stuff, but moving and my knee complaining and all this crap.

I do want to know if there’s ever a time that this little puffball of a flower thing is covered with those little purple flowers, or if it just does a few at a time.

It’s important shit. Must know. I also meant to look up the caterpillars that are everywhere. Oops.

We went and looked below the bridge…lots of trash unfortunately. And the requisite graffiti…you dickheads.

But still pretty. And calmer than it has been. Calli likes water…

Simba does not. We traded dogs today. Simba was perturbed the entire time. Whatever, dog. So that felt good. I cooked veggies for dinner, because the main man is not a veggie person. I got him to cut some up once. I don’t count potatoes. He will cut them up because he eats them. But other veggies? Nah. We ate dinner, I graded something (!). I know you’re shocked. I was actually trying to grade videos all day…I got another 19 or so graded throughout the day while trying to manage kids making posters…some classes were totally on task and some were needy as hell. As always. I was going to come home and get through another 20 videos (because I still have a ton to do), but then Zion happened and I lost all that time.

I finally got in there and finished the stitch down. Two and a half hours total…

It was late, though, so my original plan of getting it pinbasted last night did not happen, unfortunately. Tonight…and start quilting. But also grade and car and cat to vet. Ha! Not sure how all that works. Not worrying about it now. But I am so happy with this quilt. It’s beautiful and I’m happy with it and I’m glad it exists. That’s the best part about the making is the finishing part when I see it all and I’m just staring at it and thinking, that’s so beautiful or powerful or just what was in my head and that right there might be my purpose on the planet outside of all this other stuff.

Ah, so philosophical. Then I sat down on the couch and tried to meditate (oh so many interruptions, including this sweet one)…

And then sleep. Actually slept last night, so that’s good. It was exercise or later-in-the-week exhaustion or meditation or a combination of all three. I don’t really care, because it felt good for the 5 1/2 hours that it happened. More of that tonight, please. May today repeat the good and helpful things from yesterday and minimize the assholes (ha!) and the adding to my stress levels. I can move the cat appointment if my car is fixed (please let my car be fixed). And let’s get quilting dammit. I’ve got a deadline to meet.

*R.E.M., Crush with Eyeliner

The Pile Is Still There…

That moment when your daughter, who is less than 2 months away from graduating college, tells you she’s dropping out to become a boudoir photographer.

It’s OK. She’s joking. I’m good. I’m laughing even.

Long staff meeting yesterday. It was supposed to be fun, a photo scavenger hunt, but I wasn’t in the mood for it. I have too much work to do. I wanted to get home and walk the dogs. Which I did anyway…

There’s still water in the streambed…

This guy wasn’t scared of the dogs…

Everything is so pretty now…

Lots of flowers and greenery…

Enjoy it now…it’ll be dead in a couple of months…

Walks are good for dogs and humans…pretty interesting flowers on this bush.

I know this bush is always there, but I don’t remember the flowers…

I’m just so happy when I make it out there, even though we got back at like 6:30 and then I had to cook dinner and it was late and I was tired. It’s OK.

Lots of these little guys…

Anyway, after dinner, I did not grade anything. I figured an almost-2-hour staff meeting that was mostly a waste of time (sorry…I wasn’t in the mood for interacting with people. Introvert problems) meant I shouldn’t have to grade at night as well. Plus I wanted to finish ironing…which I did! So 8 hours total of ironing to fabric, with 142 fabrics…

That’s a lot for a quilt this size. But there’s all the pieces…

Now I need to cut them all out. Ha! OK. Easy peasy. I only worked for about 30 minutes, because it was late by then, but I did a little.

You’ll be seeing this pile for a few days. Hopefully not a lot…but who knows. Meanwhile, work calls. Loudly. Sigh. I always feel bad when I don’t grade at night. Silly really. I should be able to take a break. But then I get to school and the pile is still there.

Gonna drag my introverted self out of here now. To school. With a million people. Yeah.

“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