Just So Braindead…

Ah brain. You have had a day or so off. How do you feel? What do you mean you feel overwhelmed still (probably because I haven’t done anything school-related in two days)? What do you mean the eye twitch is still there (probably because the things that cause the eye twitch have not gone away or been managed)? And other personal stuff just popped up, so I’m sitting here and worrying instead of doing something. Although I did finally (after 6 months or so?) finish hemming all the fabric napkins I cut out in April or May to replace paper napkins in the house. I figured 8 sets of 2 would be OK for most of the time, with just 2 of us using them, but then the dog chewed up 1 pair (they smelled like tacos), so I was down 1, and so I had 3 sets left to sew and I did that in the last 24 hours. I might need another set, but I doubt it, because we’ve been surviving on 4 sets for a long time. But it’s not like there’s a shortage of fabric with which to make more if I need to.

Talk about brainless activity…hemming napkins is high on that list.

Friday, after work, I managed to drag the man out for a walk/hike before gaming.

It’s not a new hike. It’s one we do all the time…close to home but mostly people free.

It gets dark early these days, so we have to get out earlier.

Clouds were coming in and it got a little chilly.

And we definitely had dusk, plus a coyote crying out for a while. Three miles. Not bad.

We’re planning a longer one for Tuesday and maybe another on Friday. That may help with the eye twitch. And the grinding teeth. Did I mention those? Also grading and planning a bunch of shit will help, that’s for sure.

I traced some on Friday night and a bunch Saturday night. I’ve got about 200 pieces to go…

I’m hoping to get those done tonight, if I can get my head into it.

Almost done.

Had an art opening last night…on Zoom. With Luna assist. I was on the panel talking about my work…

Always interesting. The two pieces are at Sparks Gallery in downtown San Diego for a while (February) as part of a show with Allied Craftsmen. You can also see the whole show online at that link. I embroidered stuff I’m not allowed to show you during the opening. It’s Sue Spargo stuff that’s not released yet. By the time it’s released, I might be done with it.

You can see Calli and her ball here…

And Kitten is hogging the phone charger cord (I think it’s warm)…

I’m trying to get my head around things that are more complicated than hemming napkins. We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully everything else will chill out a bit this week (not so far, but a woman can dream)…

Here’s the three projects I have in progress for my two levels of art.

I think we’re almost done with stuffed animals. We’ve barely started the faces (the kids are allowed to do up to 2/3ds creatively, but 1/3 has to be realistic using the grid). The top one is the warmup…starting in pencil, then moving to pen and colored pencils. I might have to find my colored pencils at some point. By next Monday, I need a plan for the early finishers of stuffed animals and portraits, plus a digital project for the 6th graders for the last two weeks of December. I also need to finish posting all the stuff for science the week we come back. I got a chunk of it done Friday night, but not all of it. And then the grading begins.

OK, well tracing Wonder Under tonight. I’d like to finish those 200 or so pieces. Then I can maybe sit on the couch and binge watch something while cutting them all out. We’ll see. I’ll grade shit tomorrow. Plus yardwork. I haven’t even started that either. Just so braindead. Ugh. I want to draw too. There’s a few in my head. OK. There are threads of things to do…I just need to follow some of them. Pick the easiest one and just do it.

Shooing Snakes

It’s interesting that my brain is sure I should be up earlier on a Monday and tries to make me wake up and succeeds because as soon as any coherent part of it wakes up, it starts to worry about work and how to get it all done…that said, I was dreaming about snakes of all sizes everywhere and the dogs and cats were on them and chasing them and I was afraid one of the snakes was a rattler (they were all rattlers) and would strike, so I was running around, moving cats and dogs and shooing snakes.

If that isn’t a metaphor for life right now, I don’t know what is.

I spent a few hours last night trying to organize and finalize these gridded selfies for my Advanced Art kids, emailed all of the ones I had (28/38), planned the week for both art classes (as much as that ever seems to work), spent hours on science, made two videos, I have another 4-6 videos I need to make today and tomorrow for art, I think. I wrote it down. Graded nothing since Friday night…although I graded during gaming, the easy stuff, not the thinking stuff. Nobody should be grading thinking stuff on a Friday night. Gaming, being watched by the dog (she needed to pee), bouncing back and forth on the Mac between game info and what I was grading.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m gone this weekend, although I do have wifi, and grades are due in a week. So I need to not only plan for next week, which is usually multiple hours of stuff, but grade everything that counts for this trimester and input it all. Fun stuff. You wish you were me.

Halloween for the students.

I would have worn the lemur costume but (a) they only see my head anyway and (b) it was warm on Friday.

On actual Halloween, I exercised, twice actually, did some art stuff, got interviewed for an art video thing…the Schweinfurth Art Center is currently showing Quilts=Art=Quilts, and here is my piece, Swallow Me Whole hung in that space.

They have a cool tour of the show you can see on their website here. Check it out. They’re editing all my words down to a reasonable amount (you know how that goes). I’ll let you know when it posts.

Strangely, Friday night, after gaming, I had energy. I had enlarged a couple of things, still debating what to do next. This drawing from a staff meeting got an extended body…

And I did enlarge the third possible COVID quilt.

It’s smaller than the last one, but it’s complicated. That’s not a bad thing in general. I’m debating.

Size comparisons…

I found out about another show I should enter, but the theme is not something my head is processing right now. So I don’t know.

Saturday also involved getting a nail out of my tire and a 3-mile hike in nature.

Luckily it was late enough that most people had left nature for their Halloween parties.

I’m not kidding. My neighbors threw one. Fifteen kids. We left candy in a bowl in the driveway.

This guy kept eyeballing us, but was much more interested in finding food.

The sky was beautiful.

The neighbors were mostly quiet…impressive, considering the candy consumption that must have happened. We ate out (outside…still not going into a restaurant) and then I sat and drew for my Patreon…

Nova kept trying to crawl into my lap…but eventually I got something done.

Scanned it, cleaned it up, posted it.

Hi Nova. Then Sunday was all school, all the time, in between phone calls and groceries. I finished sending those 28 emails to art students at 9:45 PM or so…which was really an hour later in Kathy brain time. I rode the stationary bike for exercise…gotta incorporate that back in. I got lazy or overwhelmed or whatever.

Then I tried to draw, got the sketchbook out, put it on the couch, found my pen, and Kitten was lying on it.

Straight up, I didn’t have the energy to draw anyway. School really kicked my ass yesterday, on a Sunday. It was just hard. It feels never-ending, like there’s never a break, and when I take a break, then I’m on again for just hours to catch up, and I never catch up. I don’t ever see the kids in person, just online, which is hard for me. I do have relationships with kids, but it’s not the same. I worry about some, I worry too hard about some I should probably just stop worrying about, I try too hard sometimes. Need to let some of those balls drop so I can survive this workload. The plusses of having a team support with all the little stuff, with the kids, with someone to talk to about school or kids; the co-teacher helping with planning stuff and making posts and assignments. That’s all gone. New curriculum, no curriculum, no materials, no support. Exhausted. I’ll be 1/3 of the way through the year on Friday. The vast expanse of time that unfolds before me in this school year…sigh. I do think about quitting. I do. I always expected to teach until I retired. I think I will…but as a high-risk person, I wonder how long it will be before I can go back…if ever.

I need to start the next art quilt. Even if it’s just that little Boom so I have something to work on. I need to start. I need a place for my brain to rest at the end of the day besides this crap.

Rabbits Everywhere

Today begins the fourth week of this new version of school, the third new version this year. Hopefully the last, although I get two new students today. They told me it would always be a one-for-one switch, but this is two for one. I’ve been told one of them never shows up. But he’s on my roster now, so I have to record things for him and mark him absent and all that, so it’s not like there’s no work when you go from 174 to 175 kids. Kind of pitiful too, when that’s the case. Where is this kid? What’s he doing? How is his family doing? I don’t know. More importantly (or tragically), I don’t have TIME to know. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In the physical classroom, back in the day when school was ‘normal’, the school people, including me, would have time to track down that one kid who never shows up. Here and now? I know there’s someone who is supposed to be paying attention to that, but they’re also paying attention to daily spray downs and kids who won’t wear masks and kids who won’t social distance and teachers who might have COVID and students who have symptoms. The daily stuff overwhelms.

My whole team was texting their hours put in to school this weekend, and it was bad across the board. It’s not like we usually could walk away from it on the weekend completely…sometimes, if you planned really well during the week for the following week and there were no big assignments needing to be graded, well you could leave your computer at work and walk away from it. Now? Fuck no. In fact, this upcoming weekend, where I am venturing into no-internet land, I’m having to get at least Monday planned for next week. Getting this week planned and set up took 8 hours on Saturday and another 7 on Sunday. Some of that was art prep…I needed to put together packages for them to pick up for the next project…which included cutting out 70+ viewfinders…

Sorting through paper and pencils and getting a big order of blending stumps, stuffing everything in envelopes, and delivering it to school so kids can pick it up. No small feat. No small amount of time either…probably 3 of those 15 hours was just dealing with that.

I had two videos I needed to record for school, but the neighbors were either sawing, drilling, or screaming. I’m pretty sure one of the videos has kids yelling in the background and the other one has his blower/vacuum thing going.

The sky was beautiful while they threw their 3000th pandemic party.

I get some questions about teaching art…isn’t it fun? You like art. Isn’t it pretty easy? Well no, it’s not fun and it’s not easy. It’s managing 70 kids who range from I Hate Art to I LOVE Art with abilities that go along with that, on a computer, hardly being able to see their work or give them daily guidance, and coming up with ideas that support/bounce off of your co-teacher, who is just as buried and overwhelmed as you are. And I can’t just draw, because they copy what you do, and that’s not what this is about.

Friday’s lesson on how to shade things in many different media, because if I say you need a pencil, fourteen kids ask if pen is OK. So I did colored pencil, crayon, ink pen, ballpoint pen, and regular pencil. I thought later that I could have done pointillism, but I didn’t go there. I got some very good results, some OK results, some eh results, some “how is that 15 minutes of work” results, and some who don’t know how to turn anything in and I don’t know why. I spent about 3 more hours last night trying to figure out how to run this week, in between two projects but they don’t have the materials yet for the next project. So that was fun. It’s a whole ‘nother Google search regime. And time-consuming as hell. Did I mention that it’s two different levels of art? I’m not teaching them the exact same thing. So my brain is all over the place, can’t remember assignment numbers for each class. I need to type up a list (in my spare fucking time, y’all) so I can refer to it. And the last 2 hours last night was giving feedback on book cover prototypes, which is brain sucking stuff. What are the criteria? Are they hitting them? Did they just copy this off the internet? Certainly possible. What can I say to them that will help? And not hurt? I made it through 17 in 2 hours. I have 38 kids in that class. Luckily, so far, only 25 have turned them in. I have 8 to do today before class starts. And then I try to do them DURING class, which is a challenge.

So no, teaching art isn’t fun. I don’t like it. Certainly not this version of it. It at least doubles my planning time and grading time, maybe triples it. There are some things I can double up on, but not many. And sarcasm. I have to remember that the one class is all 6th graders and some of them don’t understand sarcasm yet. Neither do their parents. Sigh.

So school. Is hard. Is time-consuming, more than it ever has been. I think we will all be completely burnt out by the time the end of the trimester comes. And there are still two more after that.

I managed to get the outline quilting done on Friday night…

I don’t know where I find the energy sometimes. To get up off the couch, walk away from the TV and the brainless I don’t need to do any more. Saturday, I went and bought binding…and then started quilting the background.

I was tired. It wasn’t fast. There isn’t much of it, but it’s not a small quilt. I had to use a different thread and it was coming off the spool weird. The thread kept catching and breaking.

Fucking annoying. Time-consuming. I fixed it last night though…

Or it fixed itself because I used enough of it that it stopped catching. Hard to know. It did stop breaking though. I made it about 3/4 of the way around. At 11:35 pm, I stopped. I need to sleep. Another hour of quilting, maybe, and I’ll be done. Trim it, bind it. I can see it being done. That’s good.

Still fighting for time to exercise…Saturday night’s walk…

It cooled off. Rabbits everywhere.

Next weekend will be longer hikes.

And further away. Away from my computer and my work setup. The thing that’s always there, in my space, telling me I haven’t done enough.

Kitten likes it when we hike. She especially likes the smell of hiking boots.

She’s a little strange.

These two are sweethearts. When they’re not scratching shit and attacking my pens.

In general, good cats.

OK. I still have 8 prototypes that need feedback. I graded almost nothing this weekend in that 15 hours…which didn’t even count the three hours or more I did after school on Friday. I still need to make one more video thing, grade a million things, grade all the late work that panicked children have turned in, teach all day, and answer 6 thousand emails. Otherwise, teachers are fine y’all. Don’t worry about us. Keep having your non-socially-distanced parties and being a maskhole. Hey! Go vote! Everyone in my household has done that but me. I will. I promise. Not this week, probably, but maybe. I could. I will. It will be a relief to color that circle in.

Cat Butt Incursion…

There’s a cat butt keeping my keyboard from being in the right place. She squeaks every time I try to shove it further toward where it’s supposed to be. Man, I’m tired. Yes, I stayed up too late. Why? Well, ostensibly I was working on art things, but also was watching the end of the second season of Hidden and wanted to see the end. Way too fucking late. Bad summer behavior.

First of all, I FINISHED THE DAMN QUILT. There was a lot of binding.

And I did all of it. And then dropped the whole quilt on the couch.

I haven’t figured out the time it took yet. But I did email my photographer for the last two quilts. Hopefully he’ll be OK with that.

So there was about a 24-hour time period in the last few days when I was going to be teaching an unknown elective for this school year, but then that went away (oh good). I suggested social-justice quilting and pole-dancing, but since my principal was too scared to actually even contact me and tell me about the elective, I also thought he wouldn’t go for either of those. No worries, all, I would have just taught art. I’ve done it before. It would be hard with the online aspect, but not undoable. Just busy as shit. But it’s OK now…that’s gone.

But because of that, I needed a hike in nature…even though it was by myself.

Sweetwater Wildlife Reserve…with its vernal pool that is quite boisterous this summer.

It was hot…

Always happy to see the flowers…

I did 3 miles…

There’s a bunny out there…

Dear School: Knock it off. Seriously, so many of my hikes are because of outside stress. Yesterday included 3 hours of an online union meeting about what is coming. So stressful. Other people can work from home, but we teachers are lazy? Ah sigh.

What else? I’ve got Patreon things I’m working on…the last embroidery…needed a different transfer color…

And also worked on the quilt pieces…Calli was helping…

The Wonder Under was traced and cut out, and I needed to iron it down…and then I cut them out.

I was doing this well after midnight.

So all three are ready to be ironed together and onto something. That’ll be this afternoon.

I also cut all the backgrounds for the Tattoo quilt and ironed down the pieces for the first block.

I’m doing hand applique. I don’t know why. But I am. And then I added the borders to Folk Tails…

There are a bunch of squares and rectangles that need to be appliqued on and then embellished. And then I’m done with this one. Done seems like a good thing.

Hey, do you do Pilates with animals? I do.

Simba loves his dinosaur…

And here he is, getting involved in Pilates…

So I realized last year that I posted a bunch of meme things about stupid shit the President said last July. So I’m hoping if I post all these now, then I will hopefully see them a year from now and life will be easier. Or different. Or less Trumpy.

Maybe I won’t even remember any of this because of the crazy stuff that will have happened since then.

That one too. And then in a year, we’ll have more data about this…

Maybe DeVos (hopefully) will be gone by then.

And this. Will we still be wearing masks in a year? I suspect so. I hope not.

Well there’s that. So I think that’s all I have for today. Oh wait! The girlchild now has a blog, Reformed Veg, where she writes about food and gives recipes. And she has a podcast with her friend Alessia about…um…well, I’m not sure what it’s about, but it’s currently on Spotify and some other platforms and will eventually make it to Podcasts on the i-devices. It’s called Rideshare. I’ll try to figure out how to share a link to a podcast here before the next blogpost. If you follow her on Insta, it’s in her profile. That might be easier. There’s the Insta…

OK. The day disappears as I get all this stuff done. And now I should do more. So there. I will also need to study more CPR before tomorrow morning’s actual test. Usually we don’t have to do a test like this, so I’m nervous I’m going to forget something. Plus it’s early in the morning because I didn’t get to pick the time. Which sucks. So I will NOT stay up until 1 AM tonight. Or later. I won’t. First I’ll eat lunch.

Hello Summer 2020…

I’m moving slowly today. Mentally and physically. School is officially out. I might have actually slept normally last night (after a 10-minute meditation app in bed, trying to persuade my brain to shut up), although I definitely remember parts of that repeating dream I have about being in a huge airport and trying to keep track of all my stuff, going back and forth to find things I’ve lost, tons of people, no masks, just weird-feeling. I’m three days behind on the Sue Spargo dots for the first time ever (I’ll catch up this weekend, no worries), I feel like a train hit me, and I’m trying to negotiate with my copyediting job and failing miserably. It’s OK…he wants to give me more work and I guess I can do it, and it means more money for tree-trimming, but I’m feeling like I need a break between school and more work, and I don’t think I’m going to get that. Oh well. I’ll do what I can.

Hello Summer 2020! Aren’t you a fucked-up mess! My summer plans include reading, hiking, quilting, building two fences, planting shit, drawing, embroidery, and sleep. Also there will be multiple school-related meetings and stressful emails, and a copyediting job or two. It will feel much shorter than normal summers. There will be no travel or weekend shenanigans, except within the confines of this house. My god! More of this house. Hopefully there will be a lot of quiet, but when you’re surrounded by little kids, it’s unlikely.

I do plan to finish this quilt in the next few weeks, although there are many hours still to go. I ironed this Wednesday night, putting me over the 50% mark. I’m hoping to get more of it done today and tomorrow.

Sunday is the start of fence-building, so that will take up a chunk of my time and energy.

I’ve also been working on a stitch along with my guild. I know I don’t usually piece, but I do know how…

This is improv piecing, and then after that…

We move onto the piecing an actual block…

The pattern is Abstract Arcs by Cotton and Bourbon. As of yesterday, I’ve made two whole blocks.

It’s OK…I’ve made the improv fabric for about 6 more, if I get around to piecing those today. I’m doing two blocks (so far) in each color run. There’s some plan to what I’m doing. I think. I won’t have enough blocks if that’s all I do, but I’ll go back and do something to get the remaining however-many-I-need, because I can’t count and so I just do until I have enough.

I also finished this during a meeting…

And started this one of my own design…

during online graduation yesterday. We also did a drive-thru graduation at school…

Masks on, supposed to be 6 feet apart…so many feels about this…

(sign says, “The year shit got real”)…so as 7th-grade teachers, we usually don’t get to be involved with graduation at all, so this was a nice change to see all the kids, even though they were in cars. But also, some people not wearing masks and not distancing appropriately…that stuff makes me feel really weird and anxious. I suspect we will see some illnesses coming out of this or out of all the drive-thru graduations. San Diego is on the border of having to shut down (at least partway) again. We’ve had too many community outbreaks in the last week, but still they open nail salons and massage parlors today (oh man, a massage sounds ideal for my completely trashed neck and shoulders). So I guess we will spend the next two weeks wondering if we’re sick or not. I hope not, but every time I do something that seems borderline risky, I come away thinking, oh hellz no, not doing that again. Except I work with these people and teach with them, so there’s only my own stuff I can control.

Things I can control over summer? Hike time…although we only took the little boy dog…

The old lady is having some issues…

Great weather for a hike though…not too hot, but nice and bright, although smoke/haze in the distance…not in this picture, though.

Afterwards, he needed his body checked for spiky things and ticks…

The old lady has something growing on her face that might be cancer, so we are worried…

She is old and lumpy as it is…hoping it’s just an infection and easily treatable, and she has no noticeable symptoms, so we are enjoying her dorky self still.

The old lady cat got herself stuck in the strings from the balloons I brought home yesterday.

She ran with the balloons after this. Pretty funny. I didn’t mean to bring balloons home. It just happened. It was safer than letting them go.

While I was ironing the other night…

What’s she staring at? This guy…

Gecko house. It’s very exciting for the cats.

She’s currently waiting for me to get out of this chair so she can sit in it again…

I left for two minutes. Seriously.

OK, also a woodpecker! Can you see it? Crappy through-screen pictures…

OK, I have pilates today, although I am still conflicted about that. It’s helping my back and neck though, so I’m dealing with it. Hopefully we can all stay healthy. Also plan to read my book and piece some more and maybe iron some stuff. And sleep. More sleep. Ugh. No school though. That’s a plus for right now. Nice to have a break, reflect on things that worked and things that didn’t, consider the things we won’t have control of over the next year or so, and figure out how to accept all of that.

I Want Cookies

I am an introvert. It doesn’t mean I don’t like people. It means too many peoplish interactions drain me. I’m OK being alone a bit or being in a house and barely interacting with people for a long time. Or being in the same room with people and not talking to them because I’m drawing or tracing or reading my book. I’m also OK with talking to people or hanging out with them, although on a video call, that’s exhausting. I feel like I’m talking to myself…sometimes I’m just tired and don’t feel like talking (and then, hello, you can find the extroverts out there giving me shit for not talking. Ask me a question? I’ll answer. I’m just too tired to randomly say shit). It’s not like in person where you can have a conversation with just one person…you have to talk to ALL the people at once. I suck at that. I also need a break from all the Zoomy school stuff, which is compounded by Zoomy social stuff, which is better than no social stuff? Most of the time? So tomorrow is a “holiday” (well, I don’t have to Zoom for work! That’s all it really means.) and I’m looking forward to no Zoomy. I also have an extra day to get the trillion things I need to get done for school actually done. My team is texting away and I haven’t started any of it. I took time yesterday to deal with my composter and the deck around the pool and a quick pickup (totally social distanced in an appropriate way, thank you, new quilt guild) and a nice long hike, where only 3 of the 30 people I saw were wearing masks. Fuck all of you folks. Seriously. I don’t wear it unless I’m within 6 feet of someone. And all of you are dumbass assholes.

Sigh. See, that’s not the introvert in me…that’s the paranoid scientist in me. Plus my own co-workers who don’t socially distance and/or mask appropriately, because you will be with my kids in the Fall or around other teachers, and you can pass it on to me or my students. An even bigger sigh. I can’t like the photos you post because you are not following the rules.

Less anger, less irritation, less annoyance.

On Friday, I went to school to help with PE locker cleanout.

The kids were so nervous, so hesitant…and very few showed up. I’m probably going to be the bitch on campus re: adults wearing masks. Or socially distancing. I also need a better mask design…waiting for some jersey tie material to come and then I’ll do a different version…since it looks like I’ll be wearing them for a while.

OK, I haven’t worked on the big quilt since Friday…but I did iron some then…

Them’s some bones.

My regular quilt group met Friday instead of Thursday, so I got a little ironing done…

Definitely in the 1200s…on to the angels next, I think. Almost done!

I also cut some stuff out…hung out with some new people Friday night.

Well, that’s Calli. She’s not new. But the cut-out stuff is on the right, to-be cut in the middle, and trash on the left. There’s a lot left to do.

I also ironed together the little quilts…

They’re rewards for my patrons on Patreon…

They need stitch down this weekend. LATER.

Then I got a weird bug up my butt. I’ve wanted to do a larger embroidery for a while of one of my more complicated drawings, with all the colors in the world. So I picked one.

And traced it.

I like the look of stitching on black, but black is apparently hard to find at the moment due to the mask-making phenomenon. And also you have to use a carbon-type paper to transfer and it rubs off…which on something this detailed would be a pain in the ass. So then I could have used white fabric, because I have a chunk of it, but I don’t really like it, so I picked this weird blue-gray color. We’ll see how it goes. Expect to see this in a hoop soon. I did all those embroidery patterns last year, but was limited to 5 colors for each one, which was a pain. I can do a MILLION colors on this one.

OK, then there’s dots…there’s always dots. There will be dots until sometime in July, I think. The one below the green spool…

I suck at the ladder herringbone going around a circle. Maybe if I thought about beforehand that the backstitches needed to be in a particular position so the herringbone would work right. I did not think that beforehand.

It’s fine. Then last night was a million colonial knots. I didn’t think they would take as long as they did. Top left under the orange ball.

I was supposed to put the twisty fly stitch tops closer together.

Looks kinda viral.

What else went on in the last two days? I did a longish hike by myself…the local trail had a full parking lot (it’s tiny), so I went up the road and came down a different trail to hook into the loop.

It was a little warm out, but there was a nice breeze. This is where almost no one had a mask. The trail is single width for part of it. There’s a ton of poison oak at the moment too, and the last time we went there, the dogs got a million ticks.

But it was outside and there was no pavement and most of the time, there were few people.

My left hip socket or muscle has been bugging me. I need to do more pilates during the week. I’m mostly only hiking.

We missed most of the wildflower season, but there are still some out there.

I had my eyes peeled for new flowers.

Things that poke me.

Big outdoorsy sigh.

It was a good choice. I think I slept better than I had all week.

California quail…from a distance. They flew away when I tried to get closer.

Nice to see them.

This is the part of the trail where I might be able to get 6 feet away from your heavy-breathing ass. I work Monday-Friday, so I can’t do trails except on the weekends really…maybe if it weren’t hot, but it’s supposed to be in the 90s most of this week. So it would have to be late. We’ll see. I don’t like hiking by myself when it’s late.

I told Kitten I might need this chair today. She did this.

First I will have to get all that cat hair off of it.

Girlchild finally successfully made sourdough bread. It’s good.

I’ve eaten a bunch of it.

My ex had a hawk decide to hang out on the ground…young? Hard to say how young.

It’s gone today…hopefully with its wings and not dragged off by something.

This pup is so spoiled.

Poor thing.

OK. Well, I need to eat some real food. Haven’t done that yet today. Grocery shopping is done. A fuckton of school work is on my plate. I need to organize my week in my journal…usually that’s the first thing I do on a Sunday, but I cleaned the fridge instead. I also have a celebratory Zoom later (I’m not really a fan of these things, but honestly, if it were an in-person party, I wouldn’t be thrilled either, so whatever). I want to iron some fabrics today and stitch my dot and IDK what else, but something that makes me feel accomplished and artistic instead of like a tortured online teacher. Because that’s no fun. I want to also feel prepared and organized for school, so it’s a good thing I have tomorrow to catch up on that shit. And I want cookies. So there. Also, I might need polka-dotted fabric. I don’t really. I will find something that works. But it popped into my head while I was hiking yesterday…I often draw or color drawings in my head as I walk. It’s a useful skill. Until you realize you don’t have any polka dots in your stash. OK. It’s a plan. One I will probably flail on, but a plan nonetheless.

We All Like to Exist…

Well. I’m finally behind on the dots. Why? Because the ironing of fabrics on the new quilt sucked me in last night and held onto me for over 4 hours. Not a bad thing, because I think there’s a movie for tonight, and I can’t iron when movie-watching with others is occurring, so I’ll be stitching TWO dots instead…and one looks like a really complicated one. So there’s that. I went 39 days without a miss though. Wow. We’ve been dealing with this crazy situation for a long time, haven’t we? Almost two months here in San Diego, longer for my bro and his fam in Seattle. Certainly much longer in other countries. We’re not OK yet…I don’t understand opening things up when the graph of sick and dead is still ticking upwards.

I do go out occasionally…the grocery store is the most common, but only once a week, takeout food once a week, sometimes something else, the vet last week, today a fabric store for stuff I really couldn’t see on a computer screen. Honestly, I probably won’t do that one again. Too many people, not enough social distancing. There’s been a few restaurants where I’ve felt the same way, and then some whose procedures are really awesome and I will be back…hopefully enough of us feel that way to keep them open.

But people are still getting sick and dying, and other people are still propagating bad science and crazy theories that are going to get more people killed in the long run. Sometimes we can only figure stuff out the hard way. Get sick and then you see how important universal healthcare is. Lose your job and then you see how important unemployment and welfare are. I don’t know why some of us can see those things without having to live through them. I view the world differently? I guess.

So the four hours of ironing got me well stuck into the fleshy bits of the second and largest figure.

I finished Figure 1 and then laid out a run of 6 fabrics for Figure 2…I was a little worried about fabric #3 because there wasn’t much of it. Actually, there isn’t much of fabric #1 either, but I haven’t gotten there yet. Plus I know how to improvise…

This crazy pile of Wonder Under is…at the top, everything from the 200s-600s that was NOT flesh but is around or on the body (there’s a snake and a bat, plus eyeballs and a uterus and bones and all that good stuff)…and at the bottom, the rest of the 700s once I finished the flesh.

Call me Queen of Chaos. Fit them all together…

And then get to fabric #3…yikes, not even a fat quarter here. Well. Let’s see.

Nope…not enough…

See the pile to the right? Wouldn’t fit on there. So I ransacked the pink drawers for something similar that fit between fabrics #2 and 4, and ironed the other pieces out of that.

Then I realized it was after 1 AM and even if I didn’t have to be up too early in the morning, the man had to work today, so between his morning activities and the cats, there was no way I’d get all the sleep I needed, so I covered fabrics #1 and 2 and went to bed. You can see the fabrics I’ve used so far…

A little more color is popping in…plus the box of stuff to trim when I’m done.

I might need a second version of fabric #1 as well…it’s not a big piece either. We’ll see. This is the plus of having a significant stash. There’s usually something else that will work.

So I did get the background fabric today…plus two possible binding fabrics, and a few others I liked.

The super dark one is the background. The one on top is for the next Daughter quilt, which I had to document from my 6 AM brain…it’s in my Notes app. Maybe I’ll draw it later.

So I’m in the 700s, but I still need to do all the filler pieces, which is a significant amount of ironing…hopefully this afternoon. We’ll see. I’ve already been sidelined by tick removal and dog bathing, so who knows what else is coming down the pike.

We finally blissfully got out into nature yesterday with the dogs for a nice walk…

This is, of course, where we got all the ticks. Fun stuff. There weren’t a ton of people there, but very few of them had masks on. It was weird. I mean, you don’t have to put it over your face unless you’re passing people on the trail…in which case, put the damn thing on. Especially if you’re running.

We missed the early wildflowers, but there are always flowers there.

We were trying to tire these guys out. It was still warm, but not as warm as it had been.

We have water for them, but they don’t like drinking a lot on walks. So we rested in the shade a few times with the old lady.

It was a real delight to be back out there. I really needed it. Walking on pavement is not the same.

Calli got two trips into the pool yesterday, which she appreciated.

Although the pool didn’t get rid of the ticks…hence the bath and close picking-over today.

But hey. He’s tired.

Last night, the girlchild made wontons. I got to put some together. I’m not sure I got better with time…

Don’t judge me. First time. Girlchild always makes a nice social media post…

They were yummy.

OK, here’s the full pic of that plant from over a week ago.

It’s coming from a pot above, where it’s a volunteer, and has now rooted in the pot below. It might be a spiderwort or relative, it might be a Commelina cyanea. It does well when it has water and OK when it doesn’t. It’s hot here, but this is rarely in full sun, mostly shady sun if sun at all. I maybe will train it to hang out and not cover everything, if possible. It certainly likes to exist. Don’t we all?

OK, so the day is more than half over, but the fabric is washed, I’m doing the girlchild’s bedding (tick fears) next, I’ve eaten lunch, I’m still tired, I really should do some yard work, but I don’t feel like it. I’ll go look at the to-do list, which includes putting together those videos I made over the last few days for my Patreon. And maybe iron for a bit. No school stuff today. Not allowed. Not sure when the man is coming home…he’s worked 6 days straight at this point due to things beyond his control, and he’s not doing well with it. Hopefully having 2 1/2 days off will help. But probably a takeout dinner and a movie are in my future. Stay safe, and stay well, and maybe do something that will help you stay sane.

Something Useful…

I’m writing late. I went to school today to distribute food. We ran out early, but hopefully will have more tomorrow. It was good to be out and doing something useful.

Yesterday, the boychild and I got a few more plants for the backyard. This one, a mallow, the leaves can be used for toilet paper…just in case, you know.

Plus the flowers are really nice. It got planted today in the misty rain. We also dropped a bag of stuff at Goodwill. Then did the social distance thing and walked the dogs in the middle of nowhere…almost. There was a picturesque mushroom.

And the skies were beautiful.

And I think the dogs appreciated it. I know I did. This sitting stuff is annoying.

What else did I do yesterday? Paperwork, started my taxes (and got frustrated about an hour into it trying to find documentation on a car that sold…aargh). I need that money though…to either get through the summer or pay off part of the girlchild’s college still.

After all that, and some food and reading, I worked on the braindead stuff…just stitch things down…except I already fucked one thing up. Oh well. The stripes on the bottom were supposed to go vertical. Not the end of the world. This is Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block-of-the-month. I was trying to decide what to take on our Spring Break trip, and Folk Tails (or is it Tales) is too big right now for that, so I was going through my stash and started a bunch at a time.

No worries. I’ll figure it out. It’s relaxing to stitch. I should do more of it. Although I suspect our trip is canceled. One of the parks is closed (although it doesn’t mention the campgrounds) and one of our Airbnb reservations canceled. We still have some hope, I guess. Or not.

Yesterday’s #marchmeetthemaker prompt was self care…it’s definitely this outside hiking stuff. It clears my brain…

And since my gym is now closed and the pilates studio is sure to be next, I’ll need more of this. Despite the rain.

Eventually I made it in to iron…

Got the head and torso done and started on the upper arm.

I’m watching Dead Like Me, which is appropriately amusing and dark, all at the same time. I might have to rewatch all the seasons of X-Files or Star Trek if worst come to worst.

That’s how far I got last night…almost done. So today, I need to ship my quilt to Fantastic Fibers before San Diego goes into secure lockdown, or whatever they’re going to call it. They say they will put up the show if the quilts get there, and I’m afraid if I wait any longer, the UPS place will be closed…or I won’t be able to ship. So I’m sending that today. And then I’ll work on ironing tonight again. Plus some reading. Some exercise…find the free weights and a good video or two. I think my gym provided some. And more thinking healthy thoughts.

An Every Night Thing

We’ve doing a lot of moving and covering of things around here. Kittens are playful but also in everything…from knocking stuff off bookshelves to crawling under paper drawings (UNDER, because that’s fun) to trying to sit in boxes of Wonder Under (I had a cat who would do that, and then I didn’t), to trying to eat fabric and pins and thread. I’ve been zipping things, piling things, heavy things so they can’t move them, picking up and saying no…gotta get them trained to NOT walk on the Wonder Under/fabric stuff. One cat used to knock the ironing board down by leaping off of it (it’s not a great ironing board in terms of balance…I haven’t been able to find a good one, so I’m using my grandmother’s…vintage and ancient, but not the most stable thing in the world.).

Here’s Luna after I moved my drawing (folded up), but I’m still trying to keep the pinned piece from Sunday night so she can’t get at the pins…this is right before she tried to whack the phone.

IN the box that is ON the paper that is covering the pinned piece. I don’t really have a studio where I can close the door, since it’s Kitten’s hiding spot and she needs access. They will get trained. Certainly it takes patience.

I kamikazed home yesterday after the staff meeting so we’d have most of an hour before sunset.

We were the only ones out there for a while, until three bikers showed up.

It was chilly out…weird cold front here in San Diego.

It was 85 degrees two days ago…today is 20 degrees colder.

The pro of hiking so close to coyote hour is the sky…

And the light. Anyway. Good to have exercise. They’re putting in a new parking lot in the next few months…should hopefully solve some of the issues we have parking here, although honestly, when the lot is full, it means there are a lot of stupid people out there doing stupid shit, so avoidance seems appropriate. We’ll see.

Last night, I spent some time working with art entries…I have some work that’s being considered for a show here in San Diego, although it will be open during times I can’t go, I think. Then two entries coming up that I need to figure out. I did get photos back from the most recent quilt. I’ll post them later, maybe tomorrow. They need resizing. The name of it just popped into my head after months of calling it something lame. Love that.

As always, I graded for a while…insert cute picture of kittens…

NOT rampaging through my shit. And a tired Simba after a walk.

His short little legs did 3.26 miles. Pretty exhausting. We like to tire him out because he’s a barky asshole otherwise.

Kitten’s catnip toy has seen better days…

They use a loose weave fabric so the catnip smell comes out, but then they don’t last. This one has done better than some. She loves this toy. She throws it up in the air and bats it around and rubs her head all over it.

Around 10, I made it into the now clean (ish) office, ready to start ironing the new quilt. We’re going to Joshua Tree this weekend, and I want stuff to cut out.

Plus now that I have all these looming deadlines, I need to get some work done.

I didn’t get very far…in the 70s?

But it’s a start. This part is fun. It’s the creative bit where I get to touch all the fabric. I can’t ignore the appeal of the tactile quality of fabric. Plus all the colors and patterns. Anyway. This is a good thing. An every night thing.

2020…May It Be Full of Art…

It was a good New Year’s Day…I never got out of my pajamas…the only thing better would have been a hike, and we have that planned for tomorrow.

Today is the boychild’s birthday…

Wow. That hair. He’s much taller now, hair is longer. Pretty sure he started those bangs the girlchild has…after some revisions by mom. He makes better decisions now. Or at least asks first. He’ll spend some time with dogs and maybe kittens, relaxing. May 2020 be awesome for him, whatever that means.

We hiked with the dogs on Tuesday (yes, I am losing track of days). Simba needed a carry assist at some point…we thought he might have something in his paw, but it might have just been a pulled muscle.

We took them out 4 miles to try to tire the boy out…the boy dog, that is. He’s been in bark mode. Plus we think he misses the girlchild. It was a gorgeous day for a hike…

I love the outside. Plus there was lots of water to look at and stomp through…

Check out that tongue. We definitely tired her out…almost enough to ignore the fireworks on NYE.

I quilted a little bit every day…like one person’s worth…

It was a goal I could handle. Finish one person. Then you get a break.

It stayed that way, one a day, until yesterday…

Yesterday, I finished the requisite person and then had the background staring at me…

I stopped for dinner and then finished quilting the whole thing…

It only took 3 1/2 hours…

So Kitten/kitten play has been happening…a little…

Mostly around corners and under quilts…

There was no hissing here…just play bopping. And this was after Nova went after Kitten’s tail, which was swishing around quite temptingly.

I did my daily drawings…this one from NYE was a little strange…

Here’s the first drawing of 2020…

I always feel like this is such a good practice, drawing every day, but the reality of my days during school are less conducive to this. Unfortunately. I’ve tried instituting a drawing a week, like Friday night, but time is so limited when I’m teaching that I sacrifice the drawing time to actual artmaking instead.

Nova on my sketchbooks…

Not the best footing.

OK, I have two quilts to deliver, a binding fabric to buy (no, I don’t have enough of anything to use for binding), and pilates class…plus grading. I did one period of the UGH assignments (it’s really two assignments put together) yesterday. It took about 2 1/2 hours, but I wasn’t really paying attention well and I will get faster. Or not. I don’t know. Four more periods of those to go…really need to do one a day. Plus decide what art I’m making next. Oh yeah, recap of 2019…only 6 quilts, but 1 was huge…

All of them have been or are going to be in shows, which is cool. Two are traveling for at least a year. One won an award. All good. I feel like making work from my head is a good place right now. Although 4 of these were made for specific themes. My favorite, Swallow Me Whole, was not though. It was a thing in my head that needed to get out. So start 2020 with one of those, one I choose, no theme, just Nida.

Plus I did these last year…

These were a new thing…not sure how successful it was, but it was an interesting experience. I would stitch more of my drawings, but they take so much time, it’s hard to make it a profitable thing. Not that I make art for that…but maybe I’ll design a few for traveling/camping. They were good for that. You can find patterns and kits for these at Global Artisans

2020…may it be full of art and time for that shit.