Some Definition of Done

Oh lordy. ‘Tis early. I know not for some, but I am truly not a morning person, and it is still dark. I lost my temporary crown earlier this week, and although I’d love to ignore it until my appointment for the permanent crown, that area is sensitive to cold liquids…or even regular tap-water temperature…enough to give me a rancid ache from jaw to eyeball every time I drink something cooler than hot tea. So I made the only appointment I could, at freakin’ 7 AM. So I can guarantee getting to school on time, and also guarantee a difficult mood for me all day. Not sure I can drink enough tea to make up for that.

My brain was already fuzzy on how to do the things. I unplugged my computer at work last night, ready to put it in the bag so I could grade more roller coasters. Brought all the roller coaster drawings home. Left the computer at school. Damn. OK. Guess I’ll be grading those this weekend instead. Ah well.

I’m now sitting in the parking lot at the dentist because they aren’t open yet. It’s a delightful 37 degrees out there. Someday I’ll remember to put a real jacket on for school. This winter has been much colder than usual.

Anyway, I’ve been cutting stuff out every night, in between three Zooms on Wednesday and three on Thursday. Everything hit this week apparently.

Never looks like much. At least you can see the piles getting bigger.

Or can you…

After last night, I had passed the halfway mark. This is just short of three yards. Mostly I got that far because I forgot the school computer or I would’ve done some grading. If I don’t grade constantly, I get really far behind. This week has sucked for feeling caught up.

I did finish the first tattoo block, so that was cool.

Found the next drawing…need to trace it onto freezer paper and pick some fabrics.

Got 18 roller coasters in progress in class…mostly chaos.

Another week and they’ll be done. For some definition of done. Well the dentist was fast and hopefully, I’ll wake up in time to teach. And remember my computer this weekend. Can’t say I’m feeling up to teaching at the moment. Drink the tea. Make more.

Delightfully Wrong…

I don’t remember weeks feeling so long in the first two days before. I don’t remember feeling so tired after Tuesday. Tuesdays are the big planning days for science, so maybe that’s it? I don’t know. Or it was the feeling as I drove away from school yesterday that the slog that is 7th grade at the moment will just continue until I die. Which it won’t. Really. I’m sure of that. Even 8th grade had a moment yesterday…actually, just one table of 8th graders had a moment, where they realized they had no idea what to do and I wasn’t going to help them (we were building a roller coaster element and they talked during the instructions, so I pointed them to the relevant videos). They kept begging people around them to help them and I told them no (multiple people)…they need to listen. Hopefully today is better, or I will separate their group and stick each of them into another group for being idiots. Everyone else was pretty much awesome (although there were some tables I had to direct to involve themselves). 7th grade though. Ugh. Cried when driving away from school again. Just frustrating as fuck. Behaviors and lack of work completion. We’re on the third day of trying to finish something that should have taken a day and a half. Not listening. Not getting it because not listening. And a few behaviors that honestly just drive me bonkers. So yeah. I guess I’m at a point where about 2 days a week, those 2 classes aren’t half bad. And 3 days a week, they fucking suck. Which makes ME feel like I suck. Which maybe I do. Or maybe it’s just a bad combination of kids, time of day, and COVID crap. UGH.

I come home and grade roller coaster drawings, though, and although it’s kind of a pain in the ass, it’s also mostly enjoyable seeing what kids created. That’s the art part of my brain. Although I don’t like teaching art…well, to people who don’t like to do art. Teaching art to the already artsy isn’t that bad.

I’ve made it to the cutting-out stage. I started Monday night and got (I thought) more than halfway through a yard. In fact, I thought I was pretty close to done with it…

Stupidly, I covered up what I had actually cut with what was left to be cut. Which doesn’t look like much. Except I think it was all the tiny pieces and the bigger pieces got cut first? I don’t know. Because it took me another hour last night to finish it up…

So that is 2 hours of cutting? Yup. 2 hours and 2 minutes. Doesn’t look like much. 4 1/2 yards to go. Fussy little shit pieces. Realistically…let’s see…I have another Zoom meeting tonight (2 book clubs in one week seems a mistake)…I actually have 3 Zoom meetings today AND school and physical therapy. Long. So I might get another hour done on this. Thursday is delightfully open (Zoom meeting but I could cut things out if I wanted to), so is Friday…so maybe I’ll be done cutting by Monday? That’s my guess. I was wrong by two days on the tracing, so I’ll be delightfully wrong again if that’s how it rolls. It’s not a very exciting process to watch. Then sort Monday night? Start ironing to fabric Tuesday. Wait. Do I have a background big enough? Probably not. Must think that through, because the damn quilt store is not open late enough during the week for me to go. Still. OK. So that needs to happen Saturday. Put it on the calendar. Saturday is already chunky. Good to know. I do sometimes plan ahead.

I’ve been working on this (not my design!) after dinner, while we watch our daily whatever-the-fuck-we’re-watching (Kindred…which ended quite precipitously).

I reduced it in size 50% because I didn’t want a huge quilt, and the letters are fucking tiny.

But not undoable. I appreciate the wonkiness of hand applique. I know the foundation-paper-piecing people are having heart attacks with the lack of straight lines, but I’m good. I like to hand applique and I found two things I was working on (there are 17 million things I’m working on, just to be clear) and decided I wanted to really work on them and not just put them in a box and pretend I was working on them.

There, that’s the closest to a resolution you’ll get out of me in 2023, until August, when teachers do their resolutions.

The boychild has been crafting wood…these are spoons 3 and 4. Or spoon 3 and scoop 1.

They’re quite pretty. He has no desire to make a business out of it. CalFire has downtime, and this is how he uses it. Seems appropriate to me. He’s got about three or four more weeks, and then he’s off for three months. That will be weird. Or very spoony.

OK. Today. Yeah. Building more roller coaster stuff…straight track and loops today. Then notes in 7th grade. Woo hoo. That will go down well. Who am I kidding? Very little goes down well. Kid meeting in the morning, sex-ed meeting in the afternoon (chaos of a district that would probably prefer NOT to teach it), then PT and book club. Oh yeah, and I popped my temporary crown off, so drinking cold things hurts like a bitch and IDK when I can get into the dentist before it’s time to put the permanent crown on anyway, so that’s a possible week and a half of some disturbing occasional pain. And the rash on the knee from the adhesive crap is not getting better. I’ve tried cortisone and benadryl and neither is helping. Emailing the doc on that one.

In positive news, I’ve been reading a lot. It’s a nice place to be, in a fantasy world somewhere (even one filled with murders) where there isn’t a pile of grading papers and lesson planning threatening to take you under. I’ll stay there for a while.

Warm Compress on My Life…

Hey. Hey there. Hey there you…who does not know what day it is anymore. Like me. I thought yesterday was Thursday. I think part of it is doing Pilates on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, due to a massively long union meeting last night. I came home and thought it was Tuesday though, because I was confused by the trashcans being out. But then I definitely was checking my email for Imperfect Produce, which comes on Thursday. I think my tired brain wanted it to be Thursday, but my realistic brain was like, you’ve only worked two days m’dear, must be Tuesday. Fuck both those brains.

I’m running on 5 hours of sleep, maybe less, due to the dog barking, possible skunk or zombie incursions (hence dog barking) plus stupid brain that is trying to (a) consider school drama and/or future student/parent drama plus other crap related to students, (b) plan a magnet exploration lab in my head, (c) remember to open the file for the art meeting on Sunday so it doesn’t delete itself because we only have 24 hours to open it and I don’t remember when it came, and (d) fuck, I don’t remember what d was for. Thank you, brain. Really. Plus I think I have a stye in my eye and I can’t tape my knee because I’m having some random allergic reaction to the tape even though it’s not latex.

Fucking sigh. Seriously.

Pros: I finished the union notes and sent them (no help there). I watched three videos (or most of them) and picked the best one. I started the magnet lab on an actual doc so it’s not actually just in my head. One of my co-teachers bought me lunch yesterday, which was really nice. And this kid made me another cat! A cat loaf. A cat head on a bread loaf.

Here’s the three she’s made me…

I’m kinda loving this.

In art news, well, guess what, I’m still tracing shit.

I did hit halfway on Tuesday night though. And if I continue in this way with about an hour and 100 pieces a night, I will hopefully finish Tuesday. NEXT Tuesday.

Seriously, it pretty much looks the same every night. I might cut a new blank piece of Wonder Under and start filling it in (I’m on my 4th yard right now), but that’s it. Fill fill fill. I know it’s totally boring on your end, but on MY end, it’s very meditative and relaxing. Become one with the Wonder Under. Trying to fit as many pieces as possible on one yard. Not wasting a single inch of this stuff that costs maybe $2 a yard. Yeah. Whatever. It’s a game, a puzzle.

Is it still January? Yes. And grades are due Tuesday. Deep breaths. I can’t get any grading done because I’m setting up labs and putting labs away and planning for the next unit and I haven’t even finished planning for THIS unit because my preps are gone, but I need to use my prep today for planning 7th-grade stuff that didn’t get finished (or maybe it IS finished and I just don’t know it, but I don’t THINK it is, and this stye is driving me bonkers need to go put a WARM COMPRESS ON MY LIFE).

In other news, here’s one of my kids.

In an Airbnb I stayed in last year…I have a picture on Instagram that looks very similar except it’s me on 3 hours of sleep. Can’t find it right now, but it exists.

Balloon labs this week.

Cleanup is particularly fun for our teacher aides. Pop pop pop.

Here’s something I cut out over a year ago and then lost in the pile. It’s brainless.

There was a foundation paper piecing quilt designed by ugh someone…Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky. And I don’t FPP. So I traced a block to make it regular applique, then realized I didn’t need a full-size quilt of this, so reduced them all 50%. Somehow. I don’t remember how I did that. But I did. And then drew patterns for all the rest. Hey, this is still Berene’s quilt. And then I finally started actually appliqueing them last night. Don’t expect much out of me. Actually, they’re pretty simple really as regular applique. That FPP stuff though? Uh uh. Not doing that.

OK. SCHOOL. It’s Thursday. Finally. Or my god, still? Depends on which part of my brain you talk to. I’m making 8th graders draw roller coasters. I’m making 7th graders write and learn shit (that’s already an issue). I have a meeting after school, and then need to pick up the parental dog for the weekend. Fun stuff. Tonight’s Zoom meeting was moved to tomorrow night, so I might actually finish grading the late work before I get another snotty email from a sweet 13-year-old who doesn’t have to cook dinner and plan magnet labs instead of obsessing over one assignment. Yeah. I (do not) remember those years.

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.

Following Me Around Like a Fly on a Scab…

Hey, Portland…I like your style. Now the veterans have shown up. Keep being you. We need to be able to protest wrongdoing, especially by the government. Hey, y’all, I’m deep in the summer teacher head of panic and lack of focus. We go back to school in THREE WEEKS. By back to school, I mean on a computer with a bunch of kids I’ve never met. With internet that is rampantly bitchy and flighty as hell. With who-knows-what curriculi. Yeah, I know that’s not a word. I just like it. It’s all good! We will survive. Hopefully. I mean, I say that, but there’s a pandemic on, so some of us (the larger Teacher Us) will not. Hopefully those I know and love will survive…and I’m already pissed off about those who have died and those who will die. I noticed that one of the teachers my kids had is retiring (probably early, probably because of all this)…I didn’t think she was much older than I am, if that…but if she’s been teaching since she got out of college, that would make sense. I’d walk away from it if I could afford it. I can’t though. So there we are. I love many things about teaching (and hate a few too, but mostly those are administrative)…and would totally miss it, but I don’t want to die because of it. No one does. And hospitals are much cleaner environments than middle schools, so don’t use that excuse. I think we should have pandemic-trained staff from a local hospital come train us on cleaning. I know I will be cleaning more because I won’t trust anyone else to have done it well enough. I want to do it well and right. In my spare time. In between planning and prepping and grading. Oh my.

OK, so enough of the worry and anxiety that is following me around like a fly on a scab. I didn’t get much done in the last 24 hours, except delivering a quilt and gaming for a few hours. We survived that…iffy wormhole and all. I stitched during gaming…it helps me concentrate when I’m not rolling dice and throwing out random suggestions for tractor beams and transporting to a fluctuating vehicle.

Green row done, started lighter blue. Hopefully I’ll finish tonight. I’ve got two more to do.

If you look back through my posts, you’ll see that I liked a foundation paper-pieced quilt called the Tattoo quilt, by Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky. I briefly considered paper piecing the damn thing and quickly realized that my sanity is worth more to me than that. Don’t get me wrong, according to those making the quilt (there’s a group going on FB), Berene’s patterns, explanations, and videos are totally what I would need to do an awesome job on this, and the group is very helpful. I actually read a lot of the helping posts, because I like to know how to do things, but I just don’t have the patience for this right now. Plus it’s huge, and the last thing I need is another huge quilt in the house. So I got crazy and decided to do hand applique instead (I’m good at that) and to also shrink it to 50%. Yeah. I told you it was crazy. I redrew all the blocks at 50% for applique…last night, I finished up the last few…

And did the center block, which is larger…

And then inked and numbered all of them…

This one has 100 pieces, but most of them have a lot less than that. Plus yeah, they’re smaller…

Now I just need to see what I have that will work for a background for all of them and start picking fabrics. I do other people’s patterns all the time. It’s the vacation/hobby for the art brain. So when I’m flailing all over the place and can’t focus, this is what I can do. This is easy. So many people don’t understand why I don’t just make art all the time. I can’t. I need a break…sometimes I just need something that someone else designed. Despite my redraw for applique, this is Berene’s design, totally.

My bullet journal font for next week was totally stolen from someone else, and then I messed around with it, because I only had three letters to go from, and then they had a lot more space, so I had to adjust. I had some time this morning and just needed to doodle.

Today is all fabric. And a walk. Plus dinner and a movie. Here. In the home. Where there are no virions rolling around. Hopefully.

So no real quilt work yesterday. Too tired. Dealing with other things. Katie (my parents’ dog) is still here, and although she’s been pretty chill (except when the fire alarm went off to tell me it had a low battery), the kittens have been extremely wary.

Mostly Nova is hiding…

But see that wide-eyed stare? That’s because Katie just came in the room.

Luna’s stare is a little less psychotic-looking, but not by much…

Up high is safe. Today Katie is visiting the ex’s house for a 24-hour respite for the cats. Even my cat hides from Katie, but now they are all out and hopefully relaxing. It’s OK…Katie goes home tomorrow, but she’ll be back in August! Oh boy! Hopefully the cats will get used to her…eventually.

OK, I have a ton of watering to do today. I also need to pick fabrics for a bunch of small quilts and put the binding and sleeves on the big quilt. I should have plenty to work on while watching the movie that has not yet been chosen. I also think I’m supposed to make bread today. Or tomorrow. I think today or I will be hiking and that will be an issue…OK. Plans made. Do float test on starter. Pick some fabrics. No. Sew binding on first. Do the yucky things first. I hate the machine-sewing part on a big quilt. It just takes forever. The hand-sewing part is relaxing. I’m OK with that taking forever. I’ve got some couch time coming up…that’s a good thing.

That’s What Summer Is for…

Ah yes. It’s late on Friday night. Well, not super late, but late enough that many of you have said goodbye to Friday (if you even know it’s Friday at all) and some are well into Saturday. Or Sunday. I can’t tell. Australia, you are crazy with the days and hours thing and it could be August by now for you all as far as I know. Plus it’s winter and that just blows my mind. In fact, I think I want to live there just for a year or so, just so I can come back and NOT think that August equals hot and February equals rain, but only a little bit, because we are Southern California in a drought for all eternity.

Why am I writing so late? Well, there was a chance on Wednesday of going to the zoo, and that didn’t happen, so today ended up being the only day available forever more that wouldn’t be a weekend, and when you’re trying to avoid people, weekends are not the way to go, so we got our butts out of bed at a reasonable hour and went to the zoo. More on that later, but it was a better social-distancing experiment than I think school will be, although there were times when I thought, oh yeah, this is JUST LIKE what school will be like, and it was mostly when I was around either people or primates. Wait. We’re primates. So it’s the damn primates. We don’t do this well. Although really, I’d rather hang with the orangutans. Not the baboons. Them’s vicious bastards. MORE LATER.

So I wrote on Wednesday last, and Wednesday night, I did some stitch down…

And I kind of got to this point where I said I would use the two meetings (both social, online) I had on Thursday to finish the stitchdown, because I had other stuff (sewing stuff) I had to finish and I needed the machine for that, and I hate switching needles and thread, so I just went for it…

It’s been hot. I have two fans I’m using in here.

And besides having to be the expert on whether or not we should open schools next month [um. If you won’t open a restaurant, why the fuck would you open a school? Because you hate teachers and want them to die? Don’t even ask me about the kids who will get sick and potentially die (none here in the age group I teach, which is great, but won’t continue if we open schools), and worse, take the disease home to family members.]. Wait, I was in the middle of a sentence. Besides having to be the expert on opening schools (no. don’t.), I just stitched.

And at 10 hours and 7 minutes…

I was done. The batting will be here tomorrow, but I had other things I had to get done, so my backing isn’t pieced yet…hopefully Sunday.

My quilt guild had a stitch along for the last 4 or 5 weeks (I can’t count. Please don’t make me.), and I needed to be done by midnight tonight. Yesterday, after finishing the stitchdown, I trimmed all the blocks…except one was too small.

Yup. That red one. I added a strip to make it work. And then I laid them all out again, and because I’d seen some other people spread them out more, I got a stupid bug up my butt and pulled 5 of the blocks out of the center bit, added more white/black, and pushed them into the border…

Because why make it easy? In fact, I have no need for an abstract quilt on the wall, so this needs to be even bigger. IDK what I will do about that, but I did piece the whole center together last night.

And then put the borders on today, after the zoo.

Looks good. All I need to do is decide how I will make it bigger, sandwich, quilt it, bind it, and then toss it on the couch for cats and dogs to sleep on it. Right? Sure. The point is that I finished it on time. The pattern is Abstract Arcs by Cotton and Bourbon. Look! I pieced something.

I’m still trying to finish all the grass on this, Folk Tails, by Sue Spargo. I found another spool of green thread and jokingly said I knew I was done with the grass when I’d run out of green thread. Um. No. So this was after Thursday’s second meeting of the day…

At this point, I think I’m done with the bottom three rows, but when I look at it like this, I see stuff that bugs me…so when I sewed these two blocks, they had the grass already on them, unlike the bits I’ve been adding. But it’s so obvious that it stops at the edge of the block that it bugs me…

So I had to go in and add more grass over the seams to make it look less like straight lines. Taking photos of this stuff helps see crazy things like that, which will drive me nuts if I don’t fix them. Then tonight during gaming, I kept going on the grass…yeah, I know there’s a cat on there, but I might be close to done with grass stitching.

I’m seeing maybe one or two places that need more. “MORE”, because if you look at her photo of it on the website, she added a gazillion more bits of grass from the pattern, and I don’t have that kind of patience. So the next step is to put the borders on. Wow. Another almost finished Sue Spargo Block of the Month. Well done.

So I also drew two more of the tattoo quilt blocks…

Again, these aren’t mine. I’m taking a paper-piecing pattern by Happy Sew Lucky and shrinking it and turning it into applique. I like the images, but I don’t like paper piecing. I also need to draw some stuff for the next Patreon rewards. Maybe that will also be tomorrow. We’ll see.

If you’ve met me more than once or twice, you know this about me.

Strangely, it does not translate to my on-video self.

OK, so the zoo. We were there for about 2 1/2 hours, and at the end, we were mostly done with people. There were more and more who were either lame as fuck about social distancing, or wouldn’t move out of the way so everyone could see the animals, or would get in our personal space, or flat out weren’t wearing a mask. That last category was pretty small, actually, which is a good thing. I feel like all school year, I will be saying, “Mask ON. Six FEET.” T-shirts to come. That said, it was outside and a walk and the baby animals are cute as hell…

The baby orangutan playing with the baby siamang.

They were adorable.

There were lots of sleeping cats…

It was a warm day.

Honestly, even mine sleep in this heat…

Except this guy…

A new dad who kept coming over to this fence to check out mom and babies…

She was, in the way of all new moms, fully into Fuck Off, You Did This to Me, and hanging with the babes.

So the baboons were yelling at each other and chasing each other around the enclosure.

Let me be clear, the ones with penises were chasing each other and everyone else was just running around either trying to figure out what was going on, or trying to avoid it. Just like in real life. So many things to feel about that. We never figured out what was really wrong…also like real life.

This baboon had the best hair.

I mean, I know they groom each other, but my hair NEVER looks that good. I was jealous.

Yes, this is a photo of a tapir peeing in the water. Not because it was peeing but because the pee was making this crystalline pattern in the water…

Which you can sort of see here, but it was much more impressive in person. Me wondering about the chemical properties of tapir pee. Really.

Secretary birds are just weird.

Some guy walked by and said they were ugly. Nah. Just fascinating.

I don’t find many animals ugly. Humans? Well, that’s another story, but it’s really the insides and not the outsides.

Lots of funny little birds to be seen.

This is hanging down bird…

And its twin…wait…it’s still a hanging bird, but this one is doing it wrong…

Or maybe it was called an upside-down bird. Can’t remember. That was its name though…the assumption that it was always upside down.

The flamingos are probably the most photographed bird at the zoo…

Because they’re bright and flashy and right up front.

Otis the hippo was born in 1976, I think.

He’s very still.

This tiger was finding food in hidden locations…

Kudos to the zoo keepers for keeping them hunting…

It was a nice morning out…well worth it. And I felt less violated by people than I do when going shopping, so that was a plus. I’d do it again.

Calli’s not sure.

I took her in the pool for a cooling-off swim…

Yes, Luna is even squishier than she was last time.

I don’t understand this.

We still have monarchs on the milkweed…

Always nice. Oh yeah, and I made blueberry cobbler to use up the berries before they went bad.

I think I like a crisp more than a cobbler, in case anyone is keeping track. There are more berries coming. I’ll make the crisp next week.

OK, it’s late and I’m tired. I’m going to do the dishes I got dirty and then go to bed. Tomorrow, I’ll finish the copyediting and go to the quilt guild zoom, and then see what else I have the energy for…maybe nothing. And that’s OK. I have been working pretty steadily all week. It’ll be nice not to be copyediting or doing school for once. But then we need to do the other fence…so that’s a different kind of work. And more art! I need to make more art. That’s what summer is for.

Usually My Fault…

Well I am mostly braindead today. My fault for going to bed late. It’s usually my fault, eh? Plus yesterday was mostly copyediting and not a lot else. I want to be done with it so I can just do art all the time. I’m getting close. The references were yesterday…today is up in the air. It’s the man’s birthday and we were going to go to the zoo, which is still open, yay, but he’s also braindead, so we’re debating doing it later or doing it another day. Sometimes sitting around and doing nothing all day is a thing. I personally feel like I do too much of that already, but then I remember that if I’m doing that (or doing silly things that don’t further my art or my work in some way), there’s a reason for it. My brain is pretty good at trying to give me space. Like stop reading Facebook or watching the news because all that shit about schools needing to open and withholding federal and state funding if you don’t…sigh, this country is fucked up at the moment. OK, it’s always fucked up, but this is beyond the usual fucked-up mess. Frustrating as hell.

Anyway, so on Monday, I was also not very functional, but it’s because I did the 17 million errands including the dentist and the TB test (which I have to get checked before 1:20 PM tomorrow…no, I don’t have it…how could I? I’m literally around almost no one on a regular basis), and I think that was the first time I had an almost-normal errand run in four months and it killed me. Not really, but I was tired and covered in hand sanitizer by the end of it. By the way, those automatic hand sanitizers? I’m lame when it comes to using those. They scare me. It keeps shooting the sanitizer out while I’m trying to get away from it. Oh yeah, and the dog had his teeth cleaned, so I spent about 2 hours dealing with the vet on either end of that. So it’s no wonder that I got very little else done. I did do a bunch of stitch down, because it was easy to do…

I am 6 hours into the stitch down…I guessed 9-10 hours total and I might be in that range. I am more than halfway now…I’m on the top half of the central figure and then have the two angels. Hopefully I’ll get some done tonight. I’m wavering on when to finish this one. I have to make a new smaller one and have it photographed by August 1. I think. Or I can choose to keep doing this one. I just don’t know. Today is not the day for decision making, that’s for sure. This whole week might be a goner for that.

Sometimes the back is really interesting too. I need to remember to cut pieces for that one corona virion where 4 of the parts disappeared. Maybe after writing this I will remember to do that.

So yesterday, after copyediting, I had no brain left. I just wanted to sit and stitch, but nothing hard. No decisions. So I pulled out the Sue Spargo Homegrown and finished stitching down the rest of February’s houses.

They are comforting in the process and bright colors. Although they are all wonky. I like wonky, luckily. I pulled out March this morning, so I could prep it for the next mental-fail day. Have I done any embellishment on these? No. No I have not. Don’t judge.

So the other crazy thing my brain decided on back in May was to do this Tattoo quilt by Happy Sew Lucky aka Berene Campbell. I sent you to read her reasons for making the blocks in the first place. I think that’s where I originally found her quilt, was in reading about quilt artists who make work in response to shit that’s going on. The graphic quality of her quilt spoke to me as well, and I bought the patterns. I knew they were foundation paper piecing (FPP), which I’ve done exactly one block of…ever. I think in the beginning I thought I might try it again, but no. I’m not. I’m really not. I also don’t want a huge quilt. I don’t have a lot of wall space and wouldn’t put this on a bed with the psychotic animals who live here, so I let it simmer in my brain for a LOOONG time. She’s doing a stitch along of sorts, one block a month; she sends out great info, these are awesome patterns, and the FB page where people are sharing their color versions is great inspiration. It doesn’t hurt that Tula Pink also made one using her fabrics, so people are swooning over it. If that gets Berene more income, I am totally for that. But here I am, not willing to FPP (my sanity is important), but wanting to make it, but not wanting it to be that big. Hmm. Respecting the artist’s work is also important to me, but I did buy all the patterns, so I am less worried about that at the moment. I’m not UNworried about my plans…just less worried.

So yeah. First I cut out a piece of paper the size of the image as she designed them. And I stared at that for a full 2 hours. Maybe. OK. I cut it out, looked at it, and walked away from it. Then came back. Then walked away again. Filed it in the part of my brain that processes art shit and let it do it’s thang.

And then came back and sized it in half. So a 10×16″ block image is now 5×8″. Uh huh. That’s tiny. But doable. Next step…redraw for applique. Yeah. Seriously. It’s my preferred way to make quilts, usually fused applique, but I think for this, it’s simple enough and I get enough satisfaction from the hand applique, that I should do that. I may hate myself after doing all those letters like A and R and P with the fucking tiny holes in them, but I’ve been hand appliqueing since I was in my early 20s and I’m pretty good at it, so whatever. And this is my quilt. I get to do what I want. I started with the block for July, Truth. A good one.

Ah, wonkiness, you are my bestest friend. I’ll go over this with pen and straighten some shit up. And then I did the next three months…

Some are easier to redraw logically than others. But I like it. I’m going to keep going. If you think these are cool, go buy all Berene’s patterns and make her happy too. I realize she might not be thrilled with what I’m doing…it’s hard to know how artists will go with redoing their stuff, like adding to it or using different colors, cool, but redrawing it into a different technique…I just don’t know. ALWAYS buy their stuff before you do anything like this. It’s definitely not cool if you don’t buy their stuff.

Damn, I miss this kid. She’s far away.

Thinking about selling her car.

This cat, thinking about nothing but being right where her mommy is.

Every time. She follows me all over the house. She’s in here now, occupying the green fabric drawer again…as Luna continues to occupy plastic.

She mostly fits in there. It doesn’t look comfortable, but I’m not a cat, so WTF do I know.

OK. I still have no idea what’s happening today, so I’ll start copyediting and see where we go from there. I’m also going to plan on doing some stitch down tonight (or even during the day, you just don’t know!) and maybe some prep on that Homegrown quilt, or maybe I’ll look at my drawn daughters and see if one could be a quilt. Honestly, it’s the 8th of July…could I finish another quilt before the end of the month anyway? I don’t know. I could if I could get my brain in gear and work more hours a day. Uh huh. Anyway. This post was interrupted by the girlchild and car things and lunch. Still nothing has been decided for today. It’s OK. I should go get my TB test looked at. Like now. OK. Plan for short term. Long term will follow.

Merry Quarantine!

Have you noticed some of the weird stuff you’re buying? Or thinking about buying and then not buying because money is kind of an unknown for the future? These are things I would never think about or never buy online, because it’s so much easier to go to the store…some of these things I would never see in my normal day, or it would float past me and be gone before I could act on it, because life, work, etc, the way they were before. This is why a 7-pound box of fabric is showing up on my doorstep today. And why I bought a paper-piecing quilt pattern…hell, noez, I’m not paper piecing. I’m going to redraw it as a fusible or hand applique. I’m not crazy. I just like the imagery. And I’m NOT buying all the weird shit my Pilates teacher keeps recommending. I will just make do with the pillow and plastic bag I’ve been using so far.

Here’s the quilt, the Tattoo Quilt by Berene Campbell. You can see all her stuff on her website and Etsy.

The quilt rightfully won awards. I love the imagery and the ideas behind this quilt (although you know me…I will never do an all-white background on anything). So I got it. And if you buy 10 border blocks, she’s currently offering the center block for free, which is freakin’ awesome. We’ll see what I do with it…and if I don’t do it, then at least I’m supporting an artist who actually does some cool things for her community as well as making quilt stuff for us to do. No. I won’t be paper-piecing it. I just can’t get my head around that shit (and I don’t want to…I know I could).

The big-ass box of fabric was a late-night purchase…but a good one. I do worry about money at the moment…because nothing is guaranteed and there’s some expenses coming up that I wasn’t expecting. But it’s coming today and I’m looking forward to it. Merry Quarantine! Happy COVID-19 Celebration! Blessed Sheltering in Place!

So how’s the rest of it going? Five Zoom meetings yesterday, only one social, another four today, but two are social. I’m not sure I need this much connection at the moment, but at least I will be able to work on art or stitching stuff during the two social ones today. I’m tired…I’m not falling asleep particularly easily (shut the fuck up, Brain), and I have to be up earlier at the moment than my body really wants…plus we’re in that three-day stretch when the man gets up at 4:45 AM and then I have to try to go back to sleep after that. My brain doesn’t like it at all. Oh well. We have jobs. And paychecks.

Teaching this way sucks. Maybe some people like it but I hate it. I just want to do science with my science co-teacher and not do all this other stuff where I’m checking four different programs with 70 million clicks to get the info I need, just to see if kids are working on subjects I don’t like teaching. I hate it. But it’s better than nothing. Please don’t tell me we might be doing this for months. I can handle the 9 weeks we’re doing now. After that, I don’t want to think about that right now. I’ll think about that later.

This was yesterday’s meeting number 3…

I did meetings 3 and 4 outside…it was warm, but not too warm. I drew during the staff meeting because it was pretty repetitive. I stopped during the village meeting, because it was not repetitive and I had to do the things. On the screen. With the stuff. I wasn’t really trying for a message in this drawing…just drawing. I need to do a Patreon drawing by the weekend, but it should be smaller than this. Maybe later today. Girlchild is studying and listening to the official crap from my computer, dogs on the deck beside us. Not bad. Could be worse.

So Tuesday, I was tired of the same old walks. They’ve ‘opened’ the parks and hiking areas (sort of), but you’re not allowed to drive to them, so that still doesn’t help. I live in a hilly area, but there are lots of dead ends, so I checked the map and mapped a new hike, streets I don’t usually go on.

I had no idea how long it would be, but I’m fairly physically healthy and figured if it was really bad, I’d call a kid to come get me…but I wasn’t expecting it to be too bad. There was a new hill or two to climb (not that one)…but the best part was just new stuff to look at…

New houses, new dogs, new plants…this one was fascinating.

And the ever-present weeds…

aka wildflowers. It’s definitely Spring. I did 3.9 miles, so longer than the usual hike, but doable. Next time, I should do a Dead-End Hike and just go in and out of all the dead-end streets. It’s in the 80s today, 90s tomorrow. Makes it hard to just sit inside. Hence the outdoor meetings yesterday. I got no exercise yesterday, nowhere near enough steps in. Lame. Today I did a 27-minute Pilates class just to stretch out my neck and back, because they’ve been bugging me. I don’t really have time to walk today, unfortunately. I guess I could go on the stationary bike. That’s a good idea. Because I can read my book at the same time. I’m not getting enough reading in.

So Tuesday, the kids and dogs left early and the cats rampaged for hours. At some point, Kitten gave up, but the kittens continued.

This was her face while she was watching them race around the house, attacking shit. I kept waiting for a time I could trace stuff, but it took their dad coming home and going to bed for them to leave my shit alone enough for me to be able to work. They slept ALL FREAKIN’ MORNING of course, while I was teaching. Yes, this is just like having small children.

Last night was a late start for tracing as well, but mostly because I had book club and then did the dishes and then stitched the Sue Spargo dot for the day (I don’t want to get behind), and didn’t start tracing until 11: 15 PM.

I’ve done about 2 hours in the last two days, which is funny considering the amount of time I SHOULD have to work on quilts. Sigh. I’m in the 400s somewhere…slow slow slow. Hopefully the kittens will chillax this afternoon while I am in my quilting Zoom so I can do some more tracing. We’ll see.

Tuesday’s dot…is the top one on the far left…fourth from the bottom.

It used lots of colors…

The flower-like one on that top row under the thread. It’s pretty, but it was time consuming. They all are. I’m actually OK with that.

Last night’s was the cactus…which is really cute.

Here’s the closeup…yes, all the photos are taken at night and they aren’t great, but I can’t be bothered to leave the thread out (and forget where it came from, because I’m still borrowing from kits, plus the cats like to play with the balls and spools) and photograph in the morning.

There. The cactus one. I’ve seen today’s. It looks simple, but that probably means it’s not. It’s OK. I chose to do this. It’s fun. It’s a challenge. It’s cool.

Kitten has started bringing me my slippers…and then sitting on them.

Well. OK then. My feet ARE cold. But you should keep it. Obviously.

OK, rest of the day? Eat on time. Do Office Hours with kids. Hopefully someone besides that one lonely kid will show up. Hang out on Zoom with quilting friends and trace Wonder Under. Hang out on Zoom with stitching friends and stitch things. Maybe do more exercise. Maybe read my book. Tomorrow is Friday, hallelujah, because I need a couple of days without Zoom and school…although I have a fiber group meeting on Sunday. On Zoom. Sigh. It’s fine. IT’S FINE. I love seeing you all. I’m just tired of sitting so much and staring at tiny pictures on screens. I need like Google Glasses with Zoom so I can go on a hike while I’m talking to y’all. Not gonna go shopping for that. Nope.