Always Good to Have a Plan

August 20, 2018

Monday morning. You are cool and foggy and mostly quiet, except for that bird with a death wish that just divebombed my office window. Obviously it couldn’t see the cat that just about launched herself through the window screen at it. I have about an hour to get my brain to wake up and hopefully my stomach to stop wanting to regurgitate nothing into the atmosphere. I love these new diabetes meds…I’m nauseated for at least two days after taking them. I thought I was in the clear yesterday because I didn’t feel sick right away, but no…it’s here. Bleck. It’s funny that they advertise weight loss as a side effect. It’s because you’re too sick to eat. It is better this week, though, so far, knock on wood, so that’s a plus. Awake. An hour. Because then I have to meet with the principal (yup, already in trouble…NOOO. It’s a union thing) and I have to have my brains about me for that. And then I have to find everything I shoved into cupboards at the last minute to hide it from the summer school teacher who was in there and only broke one cupboard. Sigh. It’s all good. There are no kids today. Maybe by Wednesday, I will be used to sleep deprivation again. I was even DREAMING when the alarm clock went off. YES. Restorative REM sleep. What a thing. How dare the real world interrupt such bliss. Actually, it was a bad dream, so that’s OK.

So how am I doing on the quilt? I am doing fucking awesome…thank you for asking. I met my goals for the weekend and I am On Track to Finishing. On Time. I even emailed the photographer and reserved time, making sure he wasn’t going on a trip for Labor Day weekend (he’s not). I am On It.

So Saturday afternoon, I finished all the stitch down.

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It was a total of 7 1/2 hours, less than the 10 I was predicting. Once I got the tension problem solved, it went fast. Here’s the back…

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I always check the back for obvious stuff that I missed stitching down. Honestly, it doesn’t usually help. I find them when I’m quilting…the missed bits. People ask why I stitch down…the fusible doesn’t hold particularly well, even when I steam it, so this is my solution.

I take lots of breaks while I’m sewing…my brain (and body) needs them. I was wandering around the yard, cleaning up, watering, and checking on the bougainvillea plants we took down to almost nothing. There’s new growth! On 3 out of 4 of them, at least.

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That was quick. There’s always the chance the 4th one won’t come back…if not, we’ll pull it out and plant a new one. This time I’m not letting them grow up into the trees. I swear.

Then I came back in, realized I had a backing fabric that hadn’t been washed (it smelled like someone else’s laundry), which made me paranoid about shrinkage but also allergic reactions to any chemicals, so I washed it, cleaned the floor in the entryway (that’s why I was outside…recycling stuff from the entryway and putting stuff in the garage). Then made dinner while the laundry was going. Thought about drawing, but didn’t. Then around 9:30 PM or so, I started piecing the backing, ironing it, trimming the batting, laying it all out, ironing the top. I got it all laid out, covering most of the floor, when the man texted that his band was done with their show and he was packing up.

Crap. So I had limited time to pinbaste before he’d be back and wanting to come through that door. Well. I did it. Got it done about 10 minutes before he came home.

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It was a pretty easy process…

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They didn’t need to be pinned close together…the quilt is pretty flat, unlike some of them.

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That’s because it’s mostly applique and very little background showing…

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I have the biggest problems with the ones that have a big piece of background showing in the middle, with big appliques on either side. It’s hard to keep the center flat in that situation.

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I quit there. It was late. I was tired. I hit my mark. All good.

Sunday mornings I do my weekly journal layout…I like color. Buying color pens. Satchemo likes to help as all cats do, by batting at pens and my hand and sticking his claws into things.

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I’ve been calendaring my week like this since the beginning of the year. I think it helps. I spend about 15-20 minutes on Sunday dealing with the whole week and transferring stuff over from last week, and then it’s maybe 1-2 minutes each day, crossing off stuff that got done, adding new stuff, and transferring to the next day. I think I’m better at organizing that way. I still use a variety of online systems as well, but they support each other.

Yesterday afternoon, I started quilting…which is an awful lot like stitching down except with dark thread…

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I found this outside while peeing a dog…I can’t tell if it hatched appropriately or was eaten.

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Dinner included Johnny Depp. Always a good thing. I won a gift certificate to MishMash in Barrio Logan. Good food.

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Although it is in a different location than where it used to be. Use the map, not Yelp.

Then back to the quilting…

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Lots of quilting…

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I finished the whole mermaid and all the watery bits…

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There she is. At this point, I went back and used the monofilament to catch the bits I’d missed…you see that pin in the photo above? It’s marking a bit I forgot to stitch down. Plus there were some other smaller parts that needed stitching.

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I got the flag quilted as well.

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I am moving slowly. Everyone keeps coming in and asking when I’m leaving. I should be leaving now. If it were a real school day, I’d need to leave right now. But it’s not. I just have to be there before the principal’s meeting. So I have time to make the second cup of tea, finish the first one, and make my lunch. Brush my teeth. Pack the car. Pet the cat. Slow start to the second day back. Ugh. I don’t like mornings. I do like this quilt though.

I quilted 4 1/2 hours yesterday. I’m aiming for 4 hours a day. I realize I won’t make that every day, but I also have the weekend. I’m hoping to get binding fabric Friday or Saturday. We’ll see. But there’s a plan there. Always good to have a plan.


You Got Your Manipulations*

August 18, 2018

Checking things off the list. The copyediting is done and sent back to the author. I should’ve finished it a week ago. Oh well. He gave me plenty of time…and I still turned it in two weeks early, so that’s a plus. It’s also off my shoulders. A big plus. We managed pine-needle piles this morning…made some more compost-y heaps on the front not-lawn and prepped the trash can I use for the compost bin with more nicely damaged pine needles. I am not ready (at all) for the start of school, although I have most of my supplies…the ones I know I need, anyway. I’ll figure it all out next week. As always. I’m tryna be chill.

I did stitch some bits down yesterday…and emailed the photographer today, trying to reserve him, forcing myself to pick an end date that is all too soon for finishing this thing. I have enough batting and backing here to pinbaste tonight, which is the plan, after finishing the stitch down and getting the girlchild to the airport. Then quilting…quilting will take a while…here’s Kitten not helping with punctuating dialogue. I hate punctuating dialogue, in case you were wondering.

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Yesterday’s stitch down attempt…a mere hour after the all-day school conference and before girlchild’s birthday dinner.

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I couldn’t handle any more after that. Quilting…will take probably about 20 hours or so…and binding another 8 or 9. And I have two weeks. OK. That’s doable. Ignore the day job and the hike I’m going on. Really. OK. I can do this. I need to finish the stitch down this afternoon though.

Hear that, Kitten? This afternoon. Kitten is lying on my Quilts=Art=Quilts acceptance…

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You Pollute Me will be at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center from Oct 27-Jan 8…check it out.

There’s actually no nudity in this quilt. It was originally made for a really nice gallery in a private middle school. It’s still a cool quilt though.

Anyway, I need to do some stitch down. I have 4 hours until my airport pickup…girlchild going back to Massachusetts. I’m going to stop looking at my class rosters and stressing out. I AM. Seriously. There’s no point.

*Tonic, If You Could Only See


Sigh No More, Ladies, Sigh No More*

August 17, 2018

Up with the sun. OK, maybe not quite. I honestly don’t know when the sun comes up until I’m waking up significantly BEFORE that. I’m not a morning person. I’m not even an 8 AM person. Never have been. I do it all the time, get up early…I’m just not happy about it. I went to bed early last night knowing I’d have to be up even earlier than I am on a regular school day, just so I can get to the church on time (OK, that sounds totally wrong if you know me…just know, the first event of the day is at a local church, which yes, I object to…so much for separation of church and state.). Some kid is dropping me off. A teacher friend will ferry me to school. Another kid will pick me up. I don’t wanna try and park with the throngs. I hate throngs…unless I’m dancing at a concert. Then throngs are good…until they spill their beer on you.

WHOA. So philosophical this morning.

I have my computer, my sketchbook, my weekly journal thingie (bujo), my iPad with a hefty book on it that I’m really into and would rather be reading than doing just about anything else, and some snacks, all packed in my bag. I’m ready. Have I told you how much I hate forced professional development? Yeah.

With the new school year starting, teachers set resolutions…we do them now instead of in January. Well, some people do them both times and I often do neither…but my resolution for this year is patience. It’s hard for me to be patient. But the book I’m copyediting right now (and hopefully finishing this weekend) is all about traumatized kids in the classroom. I’m pretty good at patience with most of them…certainly in the beginning of the year. Adults? Not so much. So patience. With the process, with the demands on my time, with kids, with dogs, with cats, with my own children, with my parents, with the bagger at the grocery store (I’m really always patient with them). Patience. Remind me of that some time in October. I’m going to need it.

I had some tasks for yesterday…first, ship these quilts off to Missouri, where they will be in eXtreme Fiber Art at the IdeaXFactory in Springfield. The show opens September 7 and continues through October 26. I’m looking forward to seeing photos.

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It’s nice to be invited into shows. This is my second this year. I’m waiting for my Quilts=Art=Quilts rejection…they’re old school and still send by mail. I know those on the East Coast got theirs two days ago. I’m expecting mine today. Oh yeah, it might be an acceptance, but I just assume rejection so I’m totally thrilled if it’s not. OK, so that’s kind of cynical…but I’ve entered a shitload of shows over the years and been rejected plenty of times.

Kitten will be happy for me. Once she gets her belly clean.

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Or she will be totally sympathetic for about 4 seconds before she whacks me for petting her wrong.

Then I copyedited for a while, finished the first run through finally. And then did more on the stitch down. I’m just short of 4 hours in…

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I finished the entire water area, the volcano, and the brick wall on the left side. So maybe I’m halfway through? Hard to say. I did mean to get more done yesterday, but we went to our annual Shakespeare play last night…in Balboa Park…

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I swear I post this picture or some version of it every year. We ate in the park beforehand and then saw Much Ado About Nothing

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Which I liked. Better than a history anyway. We got home late and I was tired. Plus I knew I’d have to be up at the butt crack of dawn (probably not really…now I’m going to have to look up sunrise…oh damn. I was up before dawn. Fuck me.), so I went to bed (gasp) before midnight. Welcome to my tiredness. Tonight is the girlchild’s last night here, so we are going out for her birthday dinner. Tomorrow I have all day (and night…the man has another reunion gig and I can’t crash those…well, easily anyway) to stitch, so my plan is to get it done and then pinbaste this fucker and start quilting by the end of the weekend. Because then all my days are gone. FOREVAHHHHH. OK. Overdramatic much? I am actually. Sigh.

*Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing


Master the Weekend

August 11, 2018

Successful day yesterday. I can’t say I did everything, but I did lots of things. Although I did not wrap the girlchild’s present…because it wasn’t on my list. Everything needs to be on the list. I didn’t find the quilt I need to ship (it’s OK, I didn’t even try). I didn’t copyedit. I did go to school, dump a bunch of stuff off there, set up my technology so the interlopers can teach their class next Friday, move all the stuff off the counters that’s supposed to be on the floor, find the table I like that they don’t like and switch it out with the other crappy table they tried to force on me, and GEEZ this was the worst part, after having to sit through an hour’s worth of videos and quizzes about integrated pest management (is it more important than bloodborne pathogens, angry parents, and court-mandated reporter rules?), I found this in my classroom…

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Someone (custodial) left food containers in that trash can. Hence line of ants. Did they not watch the video? I like never ever leave food leftovers IN my classroom…I always put them outside. Sigh. Yes, I aced the IPM quiz. Oh wait, I missed one because there was a timing component or something and I didn’t watch carefully enough to memorize that. But I know how to keep ants out of my damn classroom. So ironic.

I came home and watered the dog.

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This summer has been rough on all of us.

Then I ironed for a while. I WANT TO BE DONE. I don’t know why. There’s just another stage after this one that requires me to sit in this hot little room. Except when I’m sewing, I get TWO fans on me. I can’t use the other fan while ironing because it will blow everything away. I’ve already lost an eyeball (a fabric eyeball, chill out) and found some finger wrinkles attached to my shirt due to the breeze (ah, the breeze, when it happens, it’s delightful).

So I ironed this hand. Ten years from now, people will ask me why that hand is orange. I think most of you know why.

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Then the parents, coming for their baby.

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This…

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On the next thing I was ironing were a lot of these little pieces. Turns out I didn’t need all of them. That happens sometimes.

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Birth control pills…guess she will be short three of them.They won’t fit.

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Let’s hope she’s not really depending on them to keep her unpregnant.

Then off to gaming. No, we’re not done with the game yet. We think every time we meet that it will be the last time, and it’s not. It’s OK. We can handle it. I sewed more embellishment on the blue flowers and worked on the hippo some more.

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The hippo has nostrils and eyeballs, but I’m still working on his ears. Plus you can see the additional flower embellishment. I still need to stitch around them with that hellish thread that ravels like a bitch. Rayons are not my friends.

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And then I managed to continue ironing after gaming, mostly because I drank more water than wine. That has been true all summer. So I ironed that hand and birth control pack on the left and you can see the ICE steal on the right.

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Tiny things like this take a long time to put together. And it needs outlining.

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Then my last goal for yesterday was to get this momma ironed down…

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She’s got some tiny little eyeballs. The iris on the right is the one that has disappeared…I just cut another one.

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Not ironing the baby down yet.

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You can see where she goes on the left.

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So all I have left is about 500 pieces (I’m in the mid 1300s) and two large figures, each of which has about 25 loose leaves with stems that will have to be ironed down to the background one at a time. I could iron the base down to the bottom of this piece, but I suspect it will be easier if I iron the two women together, attach them at the top, where they belong, and THEN try to get the base on, iron the whole thing down to the background, and then do all the leaves. It sounds like a lot because it is.

I’m leaving to pick up the girlchild in about 30 minutes. I have about 18 1/2 hours into the ironing. I probably have at least 7 hours to go. I will probably get some of it done today and tomorrow…hopefully ALL of it, but I can’t guarantee that because plans need to be flexible. I am, as always, panicking about time. 15 hours to stitch down? Maybe only 10? The other big quilt I finished last year was only 7 hours of stitch down. So maybe 10. Then a couple hours to sandwich and pinbaste it. Probably 20 hours to quilt it and another 8 or so to bind it. 45 hours left. Plus the 7 of ironing. That’s gonna be tight. Deep breaths. I can do it. This quilt is going to be epic once it’s done. Until then, my stress about it will be epic. Laughing at that. OK, gotta make more tea. I woke up early with a massive headache. Probably weather related. Oh well. I’ve taken meds and drunk the first cup of tea. I’m ready to see my kid and then master the weekend and whatever comes after.


She’s over by the Corner*

August 10, 2018

I’ve started trying to train myself to get up earlier, as the beginning of the new school year veers dangerously close to my summer brain. I have a ton of stuff to get done today, and lying around half asleep is not helpful…although standing around half asleep is pretty painful. Normally I would try to avoid school until the day I was actually required to go back, but because the district-wide conference is going to be AT my school and IN my classroom, I have to go back today to figure out how fucked up my room is after summer school was in there. I have stuff here at home that has to get into my classroom. I have stuff there that has to be hidden or moved. I’m going to try to organize stuff a little bit, but that’s hard to do when you know total strangers will be in your room all day and they might not respect your space as much as you’d like them to.

I still need to finish copyediting and cleaning the girlchild’s room out, and I’m really really trying to get the ironing done. My friend has gone back to her life in Northern California, although we did get out and about yesterday before she left…plus now I have a fridge full of Indian food…yum.

First, a gratuitous picture of Kitten with her favorite petting instrument.

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My friend stayed at the Sycuan Golf Resort and what I loved about their free water was that it didn’t just say WATER…it’s MY WATER. Interesting thought living here in California, where water is sacred and Nestle owns a shitload of it. OWNS water. Sigh.

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ENYA HA Nestle.

We headed out to Balboa Park…we didn’t have a ton of time, but we wandered around…like you do.

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It was bloody hot there too.

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We went to the Timken Museum to see my friend Bhavna Mehta’s newest work, Leela, who is made completely out of paper.

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This piece is in response to that painting you can see across the room…

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There’s a lot of amazing construction and vivid color going on in this piece. I love that it’s not a direct representation of the painting. Bhavna talks more about her interpretations in the catalog, also available at the museum. I really enjoyed taking all of it in and thinking about how we portrayed women in the past and how we can portray them now. Leela has power in her stance.

Of course, I lost my friend to the docent at one point…

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Take an artist to an art museum day. I tolerate docents. They are nice people. I just like to figure stuff out more than be told their version of it. This was the second docent that tried to track us down. My friend likes docents more than I do.

So the rest of the day was sort of kamikazing around to meet with people and sew…I finished the Palestrina knots around the hippo, but then once again forgot to photograph or bring the rest of the hippo instructions from March (they’re in the notebook!), so I couldn’t finish the June blocks. Tonight!

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So I started working on July’s blocks, which are the three in the middle. I did the stems and leaves, and then started on the blue flowers.

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It’ll be a while before I get July done. Then August is the one with the tree and the two down at the bottom right. I have September sewn down and October cut out, but I think it will be easier to embellish September first before I sew October into the mess, because then I think I’m sewing most of the quilt together. Because working on wool things when it is 100 degrees out makes sense. And once it gets big, it’s hard to cart around to gaming or anywhere else with limited table space. The piece I’m working on here is already a bit too big.

Remember how I was going to be done with embellishing the circles on the bird quilt by the end of July? Didn’t happen. I have been working on the art quilt nonstop. Plus did I quilt the other wool quilt that was on my list at the beginning of the summer? Fuck no, I didn’t. I got one unfinished non-art quilt done this summer. Better than nothing.

So I started ironing around 10 PM, after my evening meeting and eating dinner. I had a couple of graffiti walls to put together.

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Not too complicated. Lots of pieces, but pretty easy to put together. The hardest part was cutting out all the holes in the little letters.

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The other wall, plus a talk bubble for the figure below the wall.

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I’ve been putting sections together and then ironing the big sections together when it makes sense. So I did the hill behind this woman…

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Ironed her into her space…then the walls to the sides. Obviously, I have two things that need to go into the hill where the big white spots are. The big piece I showed before will get ironed to the bottom of this.

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This is not the first time I’ve put a woman holding the Earth into one of my quilts.

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This is Watch Me Go from 2010…

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So this new woman is about immigration though…I really feel like we need to look at the world as one place for all the people. Trying to build walls or claim that there is One Right Way to get into this country is kind of idiotic. Read the history of immigration here in the US and then realize that your ancestors mostly likely immigrated here for similar reasons to those trying to get here now. Why is their plight not as important as your ancestors’? Anyway…so she holds the world in her hands.

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I have about 15 and a half hours of ironing done and I am finally past the halfway mark. I’m in the mid-1100s. So there’s another 700+ pieces to go…probably 9 hours of ironing, easily.

I’m hoping to get the school stuff and bedroom stuff done early enough that I can iron for a few hours this afternoon before gaming. Sometimes gaming is long and I don’t get much done afterwards…but maybe I will get some done tonight. Then the girlchild arrives tomorrow morning, so I can’t predict what will happen. Well, except for squealing and very excited dogs. That will definitely happen.

*The Velvet Underground, Foggy Notion


I Needed to Be Further Along…

August 6, 2018

Not only did I manage to put everything back into place in the studio/office, but I also managed to start ironing the quilt together. Hey now, there’s the fun part. I did almost 5 hours yesterday, all after 5 PM.

First of all, can you find the cat? No, I’m not sure why that post-it is there. There’s another one on the other side. Presumably to remind me how to do things.

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Notice that the O is missing…about half my keys are rubbed off. It makes it hard for other people to type on my computer. I guess that’s a good thing. I should probably get a new keyboard. Eh.

So late afternoon sun is kind of a pain in the butt in here. Plus yesterday there was like no air flow in here in the evening. I even manhandled the sliding glass door open. I need a new screen door and honestly? A slider on a remote control. That would be freaking awesome. OK, so I went and Googled that and apparently you can get an automatic sliding door thing that works on a motion sensor at your dog’s height. But the raccoons can open it too. Hmmmm. Rethinking. Anyway, when I have ALL the MONEYZ, I will retrofit this room. Meanwhile, it’s hot in here. But honestly? I’m ironing. In the heat of summer. Just like every year. Damn stupid.

So this drawing is huge…falls over all the sides of the ironing board. (Notice the cat is still there.)

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Ironing went fast. Not easy, because it’s big. Plus there were some weird things going on.

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But not here. Here was pretty easy. I especially like my tiny plastic gyre.

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Then it got a little more complicated. I have three different ironing sheets on the drawing here…two big ones and one smaller one for the one wave that had to be tall. There was one piece that was numbered wrong and another piece that got cut and ironed twice. Good brain.

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At this point, all the ocean stuff is done, except for the mermaid. Yes, I’m binge-watching Scandal. It’s appropriately interesting and unbelievable. Yes, I am keeping a glass of water on the ironing board. Did I mention that it’s hot? At this point, it’s dark and I have to turn the lights on. Unfortunately. (There’s still a cat.)

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OK, started the mermaid…I actually got farther than that. There should be another picture. Hang on.

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Found it. I quit at the fingers and the heart/lungs combo, because I knew they’d be complicated and it was already well after midnight. So finishing the rest of her today, and then I’ll probably pull this off the teflon sheets and start ironing the bits above the water.

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I’m getting a new water heater today (yay!) plus having a weird foot procedure done, so I don’t have the whole day to iron, but I probably have more time than I will for the next three days. I have a friend visiting, so ironing time will be limited, unfortunately, because it would be nice to have this done before leaving for Arrowhead. Oh yeah, and I need to clean the girlchild’s room. Aack. And get ready for school. Double Aack. I needed to be further along. As always. What’s new?


With One Foot in the Past*

August 3, 2018

No jury duty today. The last day of worrying about it. Glad it’s done. Maybe I’ll be more chill about it the next time the feds tie up most of my summer with not being able to schedule anything. Which is why my foot is going under the knife on Monday! First day I could schedule it. It’s OK…some weirdo cyst that’s been causing issues for two years now will hopefully finally die a horrible death. And truly hopefully, a quick recovery with no restrictions on standing or walking.

School is officially looming. Three emails yesterday from the principal, one about our rooster mascot, which something apparently finally caught and killed. Sad…I think every teacher on campus has a picture of him lurking in the lunch area or in the parking lot. I do, but I can’t be bothered to go find it. I have video of him serenading me as well. Like he did.

So the days to get shit done are counting down. With that in mind, I fully met the goal from yesterday and did 6 1/2 hours of cutting shit out. I’m proud of myself.

First, though, in true GISHness, I painted a portrait that I can’t show you of Jensen Ackles using Skittles as paint.

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Note to self: Skittles suck as paint. The other year, I painted Jean-Luc Picard with condiments…still some lack in color choices. Sure, this year, I could have gone out and bought the other colors of Skittles, but no. I went old school. I’m not allowed to show pictures until the thing is over. Today I will be creating a portrait of my favorite actor, politician, or public figure in flower petals. This is problematic because I don’t have anything blooming at the moment. I did steal some from my friend’s house yesterday and will head over to my parents’ sometime today (shhh…don’t tell them…). I haven’t decided who to do, though. And then tomorrow, I’m making a special hat. A very special hat. Yup. And then it’s over…it’s only a week long! Sad but true.

So I had my sewing-during-the-summer meeting yesterday, where I’m mostly the only person who shows up, but that’s OK. I cut there for almost three hours…here’s where I was at when I left…

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Then I went to Target to buy a birthday card. Yeah. So you know how that goes if you’re a teacher.

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That is not just a birthday card. Pro: I’m almost done with school shopping.

And then I had to drive to Encinitas for an art meeting. I cut stuff out there too, for about an hour and a half, and then came back home and cut stuff out on the couch for another hour or so. The stuff that still needs cutting is in the top box…you can see it’s much emptier. All the cut stuff is on the bottom left and trimmings on the bottom right.

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Significant progress…I’m in the 600s, so if I spend another 6 hours today, which is the plan, then I will be done. On time. On plan. What a concept.

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Knock on wood, because it’s never that easy, right? It’s a goal. I’m aiming myself at it. The to-do list is long and complicated, but it’s still good to have a goal. OK, on to the copyediting and errands and all that crap.

*Tears for Fears, Head Over Heels