Disappearing Fast…

So Summer Break is disappearing fast. Lost two days to a training that could be done in two hours…welcome to the inefficiencies of my day job. Seriously though…wish we could figure that crap out. I’m willing to be professionally developed when it’s actually useful. Not sure this 12 hours will be. That said, this week is still Not School and so is next week. Breathing in and appreciating that. This week, I need to get going on the next art quilt on the off chance I can finish before another deadline (probably not, but I’m going to try). I also need to get some home-related stuff done and I need to get that bed quilt done.

I think we’re at 16.5 hours (which includes about 5.5 hours of practice on muslin). We finally got it to behave appropriately for I think two whole rows, no, two and a half, and then the bobbin thread ran out and then the NEW tablet (mom bought a new one) crashed and then we had to try to restart from there (the app needs a solution for starting mid-row when it crashes) and then the thread broke, so the last row took 45 minutes instead of 11 and a half. Yeah.

But before that, we had weird divots in the stitch and then it would randomly decide to move up instead of staying in a straight line.

I wasn’t kidding when I said the machine was possessed. Inconsistent? Yeah that too. Could very well be user error.

I know with any machine I’m sewing with, I have to get used to it and then I know how to make it work, even if the manual says otherwise. So we’re not there. But we are halfway through the quilting! Mom wanted to rip the straight line, and I’m like NO, we aren’t ripping anything if we don’t have to.

And when I say halfway, I mean I will have to go back and do some filler quilting in between some of the rows (or parts of rows due to demon possession) that are too far apart. But I figure that will be quick. Unlike the rest of it. So probably three more sessions at mom’s? Hopefully? Done this week? I just don’t know. I’ve got a proofreading job coming in this week too, so I need to be home to work on that.

The newest quilt is at the photographer…I did get photos back of Desert Mother though…gotta get her on the website.

I’ve had such a hard time finishing work in the last two years. The day job is a hog.

Every year I say I will work on that, and then I get overwhelmed.

There are lots of super tiny animals in this piece…

Which take forever…

But I love that they’re in there. I also love that I made this totally nonpolitical quilt this year in between what will be more political things because the world is so fucked up at the moment. I know I needed a break after the abortion rights quilt. So this was it…

I feel bad for making nonpolitical quilts sometimes. Plus then people are all OMG that quilt is amazing why don’t you just make those instead of those other ones. Eyeroll. Because the artist brain does not work like that.

Anyway, so there she is.

I did start the drawing on the next one about two weeks ago, pulling from a drawing I did back in November 2021 and then starting to modify it. I had written notes somewhere on what else needed to go on it, but I have no clue where those are. Of course. But I stared at it for a while on Friday night, then went to sleep, and woke up Saturday morning with a goodly chunk of it back in my head, which I wrote down in TWO places…

So as soon as I can get my head out of the exhaustion rut it’s in (too many early morning wakeups for me lately), I will get going on that. Hopefully in about 20 minutes.

Also, I finally finished mounting the last of the pieces that need to go on Etsy…

Trying to get some of these smaller pieces sold and out of here. So now I need to find all the photos I’ve taken as I’ve finished them over the last month, gather all the sizing and pricing info, and post those. I’ll let y’all know when that’s done, but hopefully this week. I also had a plan to put some of my older art quilts on sale…will need to get my act together on that too. You can see how summer/free time gets eaten up, yeah?

We hiked Saturday, but just flat because the Man has a broken toe…slammed it into a chair…

Probably he shouldn’t have hiked because now it hurts more, so also probably I will be hiking alone for the next 5 weeks.

Nova asleep in the heat…

The bunny who keeps eating the flowers of my native plant…

A very confused caterpillar…I’m not sure where it went from the cactus (the milkweed was right next to it)…but I can’t find it anymore.

Ah well.

Want some owl videos?

Three babies…

Haven’t seen the parents for a while (would I know? I don’t know if I would know…but they sound different). One seems to hang out here all the time; the other two seem to range around a bit more. Hoping they find a nest and/or learn to stop yelling all the time (much like the neighbor children?) relatively soon. But I’m glad to add them and their mouse/rat-catching to my ecosystem here.

So today: draw more, Etsy some stuff, go have lunch and hang out with teacher friends without thinking about school, read my book? (it’s nonfiction, but there’s a mystery and I suspect old white men are the perpetrators). Shit. I need to start the crockpot for dinner. Ugh. OK. Better now than having to cook later, right? Yes ma’am. It’s still summer. I am still sort of free from stuff (ha!). Working on Zen.

Adding Up to Chaos…

Holy shit…is it Friday already? What the hell happened to this week? Why is that weeks during the school year never disappear like this? I mean, I went to three science meetings and two exercise classes, and then the rest has been trying to get this quilt done. Which it will be! I guess that’s the pro. The bed quilt? Not done yet…although mom called yesterday and asked if she could do one row. Um, yes? Sure? I’m going back there today to hopefully get most of it done. Well, probably not, because it will be a lot of hours and I don’t have a lot of hours.

Anyway, so give a teacher a hug, because they are still suffering from PTSD from the last two years of school and the emails never stopped over the summer, unless you have not checked your work email, in which case, kudos to you. I can’t do that. I wish I could. My goal for the school year, my New Year’s Resolution (this is when teachers do those) is not to bring grading home. I know this will not work, unfortunately, due to two preps this year, but I did say GRADING and not PLANNING. Ugh. I’m freaking out. But everyone I know is freaking out, including those who don’t have two grade levels. And I’ve already fielded 20 or so work-related texts this morning…they are stressing me out even more.

So the quilting got done, both outlining and background, on Wednesday and Thursday…

I don’t know about you, but although I appreciate my machine telling me this, it just prompts me to yell “Fuck You” at it…

I went and bought binding fabric. I actually bought three because there were many old ladies with walkers wandering the quilt store, so I didn’t feel comfortable laying down my GIANT VULVA OPENING on the ground and testing the binding fabrics like I normally do. So I brought them home, trimmed the quilt…

And then picked the one that worked the best. It was hot yesterday, but I just sweat through the tasks. Put the binding on…

Half listening to the January 6 testimony. There’s a reason I don’t watch the news. I’m already anxious. It makes it worse. Binding got on, pinned down, sure I could machine stitch it, but I don’t like the way it looks. Too flat. And then started handstitching while on a Zoom with two stitching friends…

I got halfway around. The rest will get done today; it’s going to the photographer tomorrow. Picking up the desert quilt, then continuing on what I’m calling the Roe quilt right now. Not because it’s another abortion rights quilt, but because it’s a quilt about my response to Roe falling. I feel like this quilt I’m just finishing is a response quilt too…it started out about one thing and then all the other things intruded: Ukraine trying to fight Russia, guns, human rights of all sorts, Uvalde. Korean missiles. WTF else, y’all? I’m guessing the desert quilt is the only nonpolitical thing I’ll do this year. I have a couple shows coming up where I’m not sure what I’m entering because they have requirements about nudity etc and I just don’t care about their stupid rules. Ah well. Following rejections as well.

The milkweed I planted from seeds the boychild gave me over a year ago is finally doing its job!

Yay! I noticed lots of holes in the leaves but couldn’t find the perpetrator until I was watering yesterday. Happy happy.

OK, gotta pack up, go to mom’s , email the photographer, text another science teacher a question, review a bunch of science shit, quilt a bed quilt, finish binding the art quilt, email another science teacher after steps 4 and 5, maybe eat lunch (IDK about that), take my meds, make more tea, holy shit today is a tad on the frantic side. Let’s hope that doesn’t continue (it might…girlchild is home next week, I have two lunches to go to now, gotta clean her room, it’s all adding up to chaos). But Progress! On all the things.

I need a hike tomorrow. Seriously.

So Much Quilting…

Well I sort of slept in today. After two mornings of regular work-time wakeups. When I put the pillow over my head, I can apparently drown out a lot of things that would normally wake me up. I don’t feel more awake though…I feel sort of braindead. Which maybe I am. Monday, I spent a lot of time working on science for the upcoming school year, and I have a hard time turning that off. But we have a healthy start to what will be an interesting clusterfuck of a year. I’m working with some good people though, so hopefully that helps. Makes my stomach tighten in uncomfortable ways, though. I still remember last year, two preps, no common prep with my science co-teacher. It’s hard. She’s really good about not bringing work home with her. I don’t know how she does it…I certainly haven’t been able to. I think a lot of the hard part with two different preps is that you have to switch your brain between the two and it’s almost twice the work. I have fewer things to grade for each class type, but the switch between doing this class type to that class type is hard. At least this year they will both be science? I don’t know if that helps. Art and science was hard, for sure. But we will not have a block schedule this year and every day will be the same schedule, unlike last year’s insane rotation where I had no idea what I was doing each day. Advisory, Science block 1, Art, Science block 2. It was hell. So none of that shit this year. PRO! Cons may bury me, but for now, I’m hoping for a planning prep with both science grade levels (unlikely) and my 7th-grade science classes fully separated from 8th grade so I don’t have to bounce back and forth between the two. Knock on wood. I don’t think that’s likely either, but I’m hoping. Also either early lunch or a morning prep. For the diabetes. I don’t ask for much, do I? Sigh.

So what am I doing today? Another science meeting. I know. Sigh. But this is with friends from other schools in the district, one who has taught 8th grade with the new curriculum and will hopefully give me some serious insight.

What else am I doing today? Well I have a quilt that needs to be done by Saturday for my photographer. Yeah. I know. But I’m doing OK on it. I’ve been putting in a few hours a day…

In fact, I’m almost done with the outline quilting…just have the two guys on the right there, the cloud, and a bunch of bombs on the other side. Then I can do the background quilting hopefully tonight and tomorrow morning, buy some binding (I might have some that works, but probably not enough), put it on, and then get it done. It’s totally doable. Even though it will be in the high 90s today and I have to put two fans on me to sit in this room when it’s hot. It’s fine. I just sweat.

I do prefer quilting at night for all those reasons, and this quilt is not as dark a blue as I normally use, so I can actually see to quilt at night. What a concept.

I also spent about 5 hours plus at my mom’s yesterday trying to figure out the short-arm and get it working right so I can quilt this bed quilt. We practiced a lot…

Then after lunch, finally got the actual quilt on the machine…

Not a quiet and calm quilt at all. I know. The Man says it looks like a kid’s quilt. I’m OK with that. I’m not trying to impress anyone with the quilt on my bed.

I think we figured it’s taken about 8 hours to get to this point, where there are two rows done and they’re not quite nested appropriately.

I’m also OK with that. I did some math, and based on this rate (not the 8 hours, but the 12 minutes to do each row, which doesn’t count trying to figure out where to put the next one), it will take about 8 hours of quilting for this to get done. So here’s my plan. Get the current art quilt to the binding stage, then do the handsewing portion of the binding during the 12 minutes that each bed quilt row is stitching out. While watching for breaks. It’ll be interesting, but I think I can do it. So that’s Thursday/Friday? Maybe? I don’t know. At least it will be done. I’m not sure I would use a short-arm again. I’ve tried a long-arm and they don’t really work for my art quilts. I guess if I ever did another large bed quilt, I’d do this? Or hire someone, because they’d be more efficient and they deserve every penny.

Katie wanted pets while I was at Mom’s…

She will be with us in September/October when my parents are traveling. She’s a good girl, but sheds a lot, talks a lot, and bugs the cats. Plus she’s awfully fat right now. But we love her.

Yesterday, the boychild noticed Kitten hunting in the Crocs (we have a pile of them in the hallway for outdoor and standing work). After he left, she moved into hunting in the hallway, where I figured out the prey…and saved it, minus the tail…

It is always lizard-saving season in this house.

Simba had to have his teeth cleaned yesterday. He was a little out of it when I picked him up…

Very droolio. He has horrible teeth despite everything we do to help him, so it’s easier and probably cheaper in the long run to just have them cleaned every year. Big expense for the month I don’t get a paycheck though.

I compost my kitchen waste. I use that compost in my yard. This is a compost tomato growing among the milkweed seedlings that I planted over a year ago.

Don’t know what kind of tomato it is…doesn’t look like a Roma, too big for a cherry? Might be whatever the standard grocery store tomato is. Looking forward to seeing them all grow. Probably they will be stolen by raccoons…which is what usually happens.

Last but not least, this is horrifying…but I had to fact check it.

I found this as an interesting summary of how it could be calculated over 20 years…and I also found this

No matter how you look at it, the US has a problem with guns. And there is a solution to that. Certainly, I didn’t sign up to be a target to protect my students. And I will protect my students. Because we care about them even when they drive us bonkers. They’re children. They shouldn’t even have to think about this at school. School should be the safe place for those who don’t have that elsewhere, yeah? Anyway. There’s that.

So I need to go make and freeze a big batch of pancakes (it’s been a while), then shower, then hopefully quilt a bit before going to the science meeting, come back, do Pilates, cook dinner, then quilt some more. Busy day. Damn. Needed to put some yardwork in there; don’t think that’s happening. Oh well. It’ll get done eventually. I’ll leave you with the three juvenile (and loud…the neighbors finally commented) owls…I think only one is really hanging out here still. The others seem to be branching further out. Which is good and what they’re supposed to do.

Just like all teenagers.

Get Away

It’s what I need to do sometimes so I can actually relax. The house is too full of things I need to do. The Man’s birthday was a week ago, so I booked us an Airbnb in Julian…not a long drive, but mountain reset. It was unfortunately hot hot hot (it will be hotter in August and September, but we are not acclimated), so the deck was not used as much as I would have liked, but we did appreciate the air conditioning, which we don’t have at home.

We played games…

I lost all of them. It’s OK. I usually lose. I’m at one with the losing.

We only went upstairs in the cabin once, to take this photo.

Why? Even with the A/C on, it was Hades up there.

We hiked…in the AM…not very far (3.7 miles)…it was too hot.

We often plan a bunch of hiking that doesn’t happen. Wild turkeys!

Why? Because we need the mental space more than we need the exercise. Lake!

I’m OK with all that. I know I will hike more. It was hotter in Julian than it was here at home in East County…

So more hiking wasn’t really something we were willing to do unless it was at midnight.

That is either a deer or a coyote.

In this picture, it seems more deerlike, but in real life, it was a toss up.

I’m betting coyote, because no shelter, broad daylight, no other deer around. More milkweed!

Being in the heart of some fairly conservative sentiments, we had conversations about intelligent design (that’s what we get for reading social media while traveling). The design of this flower for example. I think science and nature are mostly incredibly ordered…except when they’re not, and when they’re not, there’s a natural reason for it. Some people call that evidence that there is a god. I call it evidence that this is the way natural things work. Plant needs insects to reproduce. Flowers evolve that increase this particular plant’s ability to reproduce. The ones that failed are no longer around because they did not have that advantage. Maybe they were really chaotic milkweed plants that fought the bees off. So they aren’t here anymore.

No one who thinks a lot about how human pregnancy and/or the uterus works would consider that intelligent design. Certainly there’s a bunch of politicians who have never ever understood how that works.

Red-tailed hawk?

Anyway. We appreciated nature.

As you should.

We also appreciated some breweries and wineries and cideries…

And I especially appreciated the time and space to just draw for drawing’s sake…

We even listened to some music…

This one had those misting sprinklers. Pro: it was raining on us constantly. Con: can’t draw when it’s that wet.

Some of the music was really good (Berkley Hart).

Lots of drawings…

Some of it back at the cabin over a couple of days…

That one’s not done. Which is good.

My one time on the deck, before it got too hot.

Small but nice.

We contemplated the universe.

And all the things in it.

It’s OK if you don’t get that. It made us giggle. And then we came home to hot and to-do lists. It’s fine. Really. It was good while it lasted.

I had some huge batting issues on Friday…all my own fault really. So I had to buy new batting and wash it and ran out of time to pinbaste, so I did it yesterday with a fan blowing on me the whole time.

This is not a small quilt. I keep saying that. It was supposed to be smaller.

But I got her pinbasted and then managed almost two hours of quilting…

I have a deadline on this one and it’s tight. But I’m going to do it.

But first, today I have two science meetings, so I need to go make my lunch and pack up and take my meds and brush my teeth and make more tea and get the fuck out of here. Plus deal with all the things on the to-do list, which threaten to bury me even during the summer, when I’m not working the other job. Well. Except today I sort of am working the other job. So there’s that. It’s a good thing I took a weekend off from almost everything.

In the Way…

So all that jury duty anxiety and I never had to go in. Hallelujah. I could do without the anxiety though. Tell my brain that.

I managed to get the quilt stitched down in the last two days…

It’s true that I didn’t do much else.

I don’t feel like I’m getting much done this summer unfortunately. It’s not over yet, but I still feel burnt out and flaily. Sure that’s a word. Flail-like? Flailable? Hmmm. I also pieced a backing last night after my stitching meeting…

Plus I washed and cut the batting to size. Then this morning, I cleaned the floor and as soon as it dries, I’m pinbasting this quilt. Then we’re packing up, going to the store, and leaving for a weekend in the mountains. It will still be hot there, true, but the Airbnb has A/C, unlike here. We’re going to attempt hiking (the Man’s toe is still an issue). I think every weekend after this one has either a meeting/event for me or a show/event for him…until September some time.

I did spend some time at my mom’s yesterday picking a pattern for using on the short arm to quilt the bed quilt and then practicing it, stitching it out, nesting the one below into the one above, trying to read a manual that was written in Greek. It took a while to get the thread to stop breaking…and to figure out how to make it go. Next Tuesday, we’ll try again with the real thing. No jury duty call-ins, so that will help actually plan shit. Which would be nice. I think the courts need to lose my address.

Here’s Kitten, in the way, her favorite thing to be…

Which reminds me, I have one more book of science homework to scan/find online before Monday. I might need to do that today also. On top of everything else? Eh. Maybe.

But for now, the floor is dry, so I’m going to pinbaste the quilt. Although I think there is now a dog in the way. My theme for the day apparently. I need it quilted and bound by next Saturday! (oh my). Then shower and packing and go get gas and food and escape to somewhere where there are not so many chores to do. I’m taking my sketchbook too, since we have not had a lot of interaction in the last month or more. I need to fix that. Nice to have a weekend to hopefully do that.

In My Heart

So. Progress on the quilt. She’s all ironed down. More about that below. Also, I don’t know what it feels like to watch the Uvalde video that was released yesterday if you’re NOT a teacher, but as a teacher, one who has done way too many lockdown drills with classrooms of 30+ kids and tried to keep them quiet while admin bangs on the door, simulating a shooter trying to get in, that was beyond horrible. I can unfortunately totally imagine being down on the floor with the kids (because we are, even in a drill), WAITING FOR THE COPS…for 77 minutes and hearing nothing but screams and kids asking for help. Makes me sick to my stomach. And yes, there’s a fine line between knowing when to shoot and and when to not shoot, and I would hope cops would be trained in that (they’re not…well, unless you count ‘we don’t shoot at white people even when they have guns’ and ‘we shoot at people of color even when we shouldn’t’…all training that I think should be trained out of them or they should be fired), but this is boggling. Three guys run down there with weapons, the ‘good guys with guns’ and then they run back? And nothing happens for an hour? Every teacher is curled up with her kids in their room, trying to keep them calm? In some classrooms, kids are dying and maybe could have been saved? I just don’t get it. I totally get being scared of being shot. I do. But I didn’t sign up for it…and cops did.

Y’all, I don’t pray. It’s not what moves me. If it does you, splendid. Do it. But I do hold all those kids and teachers in my heart, even though it makes me cry to do so. I’m not sure what’s worse: cops killing people who don’t deserve it in traffic stops or cops standing there in a school hallway, checking their phones, getting hand sanitizer, while little kids and their teachers lay there dying. They are both despicable. Both unacceptable. Plus the whole issue of guns being available to everyone. There’s a new gun for kids, a JR-15…the little kid version of an AR-15, so you can have one just like your parents. This country, this culture we have grown here, it makes me sick. And it makes an awful lot of people dead. Kids.

And in all that, I find some peace in the quiltmaking process. I’ve been lucky to still not have to go in for jury duty (two more days, knock on wood). Ironing this quilt together while bingewatching Netflix is somehow meditative. The bad things are still in my head, but they just end up in the quilt and I can walk away? I can’t really, but it’s a place to funnel the emotions. There are always moments when I wonder how safe my job is; I hope no one ever thinks to come on our campus to use a weapon…but every teacher thinks about it. I’ve seen the upcoming trainings for the new year, and active shooter training is part of it. Because my country hasn’t figured out how to keep schools safe. Get rid of guns, y’all. Start there. Easy.

So I ironed for quite a few hours on Monday…

Like four hours. Got all the arm and body stuff done and lined up. Just a head left.

Here’s the view from the top…

Plus some of the arm stuff…

Money money everywhere. Then yesterday, I managed to iron the head together…

And a bunch of things in the sky. Bombs actually. I had finished drawing this piece and was starting to trace it on Wonder Under when the Uvalde shooting happened, so I added that. It was before Roe v Wade fell, but there were rumors. And I had left COVID out, because it felt like I could, but it doesn’t any more. So many people still getting it, and now the news that getting it multiple times increases your risk for a bad outcome. So I added the Supreme Court with the clotheshanger and the COVID virion. Plus monkeypox! That looks like a fun virus, right? Not. It’s not in this drawing. It came later.

Anyway, then I pieced the background and ironed the whole thing down. It’s bigger than I thought it was…which is silly, because I drew it and I know exactly how big it is. I had the man hold it up so I could take a photo.

I made a comment on Instagram about cropping this…I meant the photo…to get all the extraneous life out of the picture…the dog toys on the ground, the other quilt in the background, my daughter’s high-school graduation photo. The milk crate I use for firewood (I’m so fancy). The Congratulations sign that my aunt found in my cousin’s house when she was cleaning it out (my cousin died in 2020, before the pandemic hit). But that is my life, my existence. I’m not making these quilts in a huge, beautiful, well-lit studio. I’m in a cramped room that has too much furniture in it, the linoleum is all torn up because I used to iron on the floor for the big pieces, it’s hot in summer and cold in winter (although cold in my part of Southern California does not include snow, so not REALLY cold, but hot is well over 100 degrees with no air conditioning). Still on my summer to-do list is cleaning up the computer space in here…by the end of the school year, it’s absolute chaos.

But it is my space. And I am lucky to be able to spread the artmaking out into the living room with my light table. I have people who will hold up my quilts for me, who will help me deliver and pick pieces up, who will buy my work and send me messages and tell me I’m making good work. So those are all good things.

Today I do the stitchdown. Notice I didn’t say START the stitchdown. I need to do it all today. I’m running out of time on this one. There’s a deadline. Yeah, I missed the last deadline. Ah well, but it would be good to make this one.

Also, I feel like we need to either plant this or compost it.

I don’t actually like sweet potatoes most of the time, although I had one in a salad on Saturday that was OK. But I think this one is done. I could be wrong. If the boychild were home more than the 7 hours he was home last night (one fire, then another one that got canceled, plus some sort of drill today), I could ask him if it’s OK to get rid of it.

The owls are still really active. I need to go out there and try to trim the branches in the way of the new camera location. It’s hard because I’m short and it’s on a slope.

So today. Sigh. Don’t watch the news. Stitchdown. Trim some branches. Probably plant some things and clean up some other things. Exercise. HERMIT. Still doing that as much as possible. It’s less than a month until school starts. I need every day of that month (I won’t get every day; I already know that, but I’m going to try) to be ready. Decide what to do with the sweet potato. You’d think that would be the easiest thing to do today, but I hate to waste food. Even food I don’t like. Deep breaths. Especially for Uvalde. Honestly, I feel for the cops too. I feel like there are certain jobs where you get in trouble if you don’t follow orders, and maybe this was that kind of situation. I’ve had principals that would micromanage the shit out of you and threaten your job, and not everyone can afford to just jump ship. I couldn’t. In that case, whoever was that ordering person, man, you’ve got some explaining to do.

So Much…

OK, let’s pretend I have a schedule and I follow it. Let’s also pretend I know what day it is without looking at a calendar and counting things. Saturday might have been a reset…I did ALL the things on Saturday and I know what day that was because the calendar kept telling me, and so today is two days past that, so it must be Monday. Plus the inept pool guy came this morning…wait, no, he hasn’t consistently been coming on Mondays. Geez. Can’t count on anything. Must be summer. Good thing because I’m trying to get some quilts done.

I’m 12 hours into ironing the newest one together…

I think I missed some pictures. Just know I’ve been ironing since last week sometime. This is Thursday I think…I’m pretty sure I was on Zoom with my friend Susan while I was ironing the cannon. And the handmaid. So I’ve seen the stuff about not using the handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s book, and I understand it, because she did borrow a lot of ideas from real-life happenings with women of color and slavery and native women. And certainly white women have had advantages due to their race and maybe even because white men value white women (annoying shit really, but reality). I was thinking of this part of the quilt as being like the Salem witch trials, burning us at the stake for our viewpoints. There are other handmaids in this quilt, and I guess I will just have to own them. That book had a significant effect on me when it first came out. I have been a serious Atwood fan since early college if not before. So I will own my white privilege on that. As I age, I realize and try to educate myself more on the inequality of our supposedly free (#notfree) country. The handmaids are a symbol…maybe not the best one, but the one I had for the moment.

This was at the end of Thursday night’s ironing…

On Friday, I did the center bit, the portal, skipping numbers from the 300s to the 800 and 900s because it made sense to do that bit now.

I lost one of the crow’s legs. I’m sure I’ll find it at some point. I just made a new one. It was easier.

From here, I started ironing all the things that line up the arms…

Including these two guys.

And then started on the hands. So I have both arms, the upper torso, and the head left, plus some stuff in the sky. I’m in the middle of the 600s, but I’ve already done 100 pieces in the 800 and 900s…so more than halfway…maybe 400 pieces left? Hard to know. I could do that in a couple of days. I’m hoping to.

I’ve been lucky with jury duty so far…just keep calling in and they say no. My biggest worry at the moment is getting put on a trial now that lasts longer than this week. I moved everything to next week…three meetings, a vet appointment, and a copyediting job. I’m gonna freak out if I have to go in now. I think my biggest anxiety with all this is the not knowing. I don’t deal with the unknown well. Anyway, knock on wood that they’ll keep releasing me, one freakin’ day at a time.

Saturday was a crazy day. Every meeting in July apparently happened on the 9th. I had planned a hike and potluck with my hiking group, because originally The Man was going to be on the PCT, so I figured socializing would be a good thing. The hike was awesome…

Saw some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while…

We were up in the Lagunas, which was still pretty warm, but not too bad…upper 80s. The meadows felt the warmest…

But there was a bit of a breeze. We started on Sunset Trail, which I’ve done a million times, but then went off on a different batch of trails to get back. Chico Ravine? Plus Old County. Here’s the familiar Water of the Woods…

I was really worried about this hike because my knee had been really cranky all week to the point of limping on Friday. So I drove up on my own so I’d have an exit vehicle if I had to bail out, and I had a knee brace and my poles. Totally needed none of that. Knee was fine. Not sure what was up with all that. Maybe I did something to it at the gym that lasted for 3 days but on the 4th was fine? Weird. Old bodies are annoying.

This is Wooly Pod Milkweed.

Never seen it in bloom. Very cool looking.

Anyway, then I went to the potluck, the first of THREE. You know how potlucks always have a weird grouping of food? Lots of funky salads, some bits and pieces of a real meal? And of course, you pick weird combos…tend to be heavy on carbs, although the hiking potluck was very heavy on interesting salads, which was nice. There were LOTS of people there…they sent 4 or 5 hikes out and then everyone from all those hikes met up for the potluck. It was cool to see some people I hadn’t seen for a while, but overwhelming in the long run. But that’s me. Lots of people I didn’t know. I should hike more with them though.

I made it home, showered (very important), then left like 45 minutes later for one of my art group meetings…which was, you guessed it, a potluck! I didn’t bring anything to that one because they are very heavily foodies and I cannot compete. So after having all those healthy salads, I settled on a slice of homemade bread and a tiny cupcake (what meal is between lunch and dinner? Tea? I didn’t drink tea…just sparkling water). I listened and watched presentations and stitched on this slow-stitch scarf for a while.

It’s going to take three million years to finish it, so don’t worry…you’ll see lots of it. I started it at QuiltCon 2021 (online). But then I didn’t have all the materials I needed, so it languished…as things do. But it’s all basted and all I have to do is pick it up and keep stitching at this point. Easy peasy.

Then I went home again for about 20 minutes, grabbed the rest of the cookies that hadn’t been eaten at the first potluck, and took them to the third one, which was the annual Burn the Sex Ed Cards Bonfire…little did we know that it was the second Eid (I didn’t know there was more than one) and everyone who celebrated it would be at the park where the bonfire was. Parking was a challenge; so was avoiding being seen by anyone I might have taught in the last few years. My co-teacher and I brought all the cards the kids write for our anonymous question box and let the rest of the people at the bonfire read them and then burn them. It’s cleansing. And funny.

This was the pizza and s’mores potluck. I don’t do s’mores because of chocolate, but there was yet another interesting salad! I don’t eat a wide variety of salads unless the girlchild is home. I don’t have the energy for it, so it’s nice when others do. I also did not have the energy to stay for fireworks…headed home and was in bed by 10:30, completely zonked out. Didn’t even hear The Man come home from his show at the Belly Up.

Sunday was all about recovery. I ironed most of the day. Also read a lot. I like to hermit over the summer. Saturday was not very hermit-like, so I will have to make up for it the rest of this week and possibly longer. Seriously, so much socializing and potlucking.

I’ve been doing a little bit of school stuff, just searching for and/or scanning homework assignments from this series. The cat loves my co-teacher’s bag. She will be sad when I return it.

I only have one book left to scan/search. Then I need to sort all the assignments into where they belong. Waiting for some lame professional development to do that.

This other cat spent Saturday night trying to punch a gecko through the window…

A lot of staring at windows goes on at night around here. They are fascinated by the geckos, who are just there for the moths who are attracted by the light coming through the windows.

In other news, the New Legacies exhibit opened this weekend at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. I stole these photos from someone I don’t know on Facebook, because I will not be going to this exhibit…too far.

But there’s my piece So Cal Mama!

Always nice to see them out in the wild. Speaking of the wild, the baby owls are fledging! Noisy as hell, but also practicing flying at night. We’re not sure which are babies and which are parents, because at this stage, the babies are as big as the adults, but here’s three…

Last night, I moved the camera…not sure if there will be a better view or not. We’ll see. Certainly they are very active (and loud) at the moment. Apparently the parents will help get them food for a while longer, but they should be finding a new home by the end of the summer. After Halloween, we should be able to safely drop the box and clean it out for next year. We’ve heard and seen them in all the trees around the box, which is really cool, and found a few feathers in the yard. So there’s at least one baby…possibly two or three.

OK, so apparently I will be picking up some plants later today, plus ironing. And drinking more tea. And probably a shower and food would be helpful to my brain processing information. And then maybe I’ll do this again on Wednesday, like I normally do. And maybe the quilt will be ironed down and ready for stitching. I’m hopeful.

So Off…

I’m so off. On days. On writing. On sleep. I guess that’s a good thing. Losing track of time is a positive part of summer. Mostly. Until you realize there was something you were supposed to do. Whoops! I’m doing my best, y’all. It doesn’t help that I’m having to check in every night about jury duty and then replan my day based on being free. Or not. So far…free is good. Trying to take advantage of it and not get so irritated by all the school stuff that intrudes. I realize I could ignore all that work email, but I think that ramps my anxiety even more…wondering what might be there or not. I know the other night, I lay there, hot, meditated, ready to sleep but brain definitely not, wrote an entire agenda in my head, considered texting my co-teacher (totally not doing that…she’s way better at the boundary between work and home than I am and I’m not fucking up HER summer for MY brain), then worried about other shit. Then made a goal to do art things the next day, which I followed through on, which is why there’s no Wednesday blogpost this week. Ah well. The earth continues to turn on its axis. I wish I understood how and why that happens, though, because I’m gonna have to teach that shit or something related to it this coming year. Occasionally I read a page or two about energy because I started the force and motion book and realized I needed to do energy before that. Still don’t have a good space science book. I think I need a comic book for it. That might be the only way it gets into my head in time. VISUAL LEARNER HERE.

Anyway. So I’m trying. That’s all I ever do.

The bed quilt is in progress. The borders are on and now the backing is pieced.

Oh my, that’s bright. But I didn’t have to buy anything because I bought it in 2008. Yay me! Thinking ahead. I’m waiting for the batting (which I did have to buy) and then I’ll learn the short-arm stuff at mom’s house.

Meanwhile, because sometimes I loan my computer out to people (well, just one person), I needed to have a project for the living room as well as one for my office. NO DOWN TIME ON ARTMAKING. Or something. When I’m in the mood. Which I am. So I had this drawing from November 2021 that I did on a semi-retreat with one of my art groups in 29 Palms. And I started trying to draw where my head is at with the Supreme Court and Roe and all the other stuff, realizing that many people already deal more head on with discrimination than I ever have to, plus climate change and that damn shooting in Highland Park. The 8-year-old who is now paralyzed. The 2-year-old who lost both parents. The dad of the shooter saying he’s not responsible. OMFG. I started to tear up, so away from the news and back in here. ANYWAY. The drawing isn’t right for all this, but it’s a start. Really this is an anxiety/world situation quilt because that’s what I need right now. I made the Roe v Wade quilt earlier this year. I didn’t want to make another. I couldn’t make another. So I started with that November drawing and blew it up 250% and started cutting and taping it together last night. Well, first I let Luna play with it a bit…

She’s not helpful at all. Then I cut and taped…

It’s a really busy drawing, though, and not all of it is relevant to what I want this quilt to do/be, so I decided to trace what worked onto a new paper…

And then change as I go. Or add, because I made it taller. A little wider, but mostly taller.

So you can see where I’m changing some stuff and not other stuff. Leaving some out. I’ll add more stuff too. Expect it to take a while. But that’s OK, because in the other room, I’m finally ironing the other quilt together!

I don’t usually work on more than one at a time, but desperate times call for desperate measures? OK, it’s not like I’m desperate to make quilts. I just want things to work on in two different rooms and this solves that problem. I feel like I might finally be on an art roll for summer. Except for jury duty. I’ve been lucky the last three days…may it continue for six more. The whole process of not knowing just makes me anxious. I’m a mess. I hate the not knowing. I’ve probably said that before, but it’s supremely true. About all of it.

Anyway, I’m also doing bits and pieces of work stuff, mostly just finding all the homework possibilities and getting them in our shared drives so they are easy to find. It’s all I can handle really. Occasionally reading a bit about science-related stuff that I might need to know. Having random panic attacks about things I can’t control like 2 days of professional development about stuff I already know. Ah yes. Stupid that.

OK, so it’s late Thursday and I finally wrote something. It’s a miracle! Now I can iron or draw for a while. I should check the to-do list first, just in case. Or read a chapter of my book…now there’s something that sounds reasonable. Reading is something I do a LOT of over breaks…and I’m glad to keep doing more of that.

Overreaching Authority…

My country is fucked. My country has gone backwards 50 years (or more). My country is in a morality war that doesn’t really track as morality (give birth, but we won’t make the man responsible for shit, and we won’t help you…especially if you are a child who was pressured, raped, or subjected to incest…then we are gonna screw you up forever). I’m not sure the quilt I’m currently working on (which was drawn before all this happened with Roe v Wade) is angry enough. Does angry art do anything? I don’t know. It funnels some of the anger out of me. Briefly. I currently have a bunch of addresses for the Supreme Court Justices who violated our rights. What was it that AOC said? That the Supreme Court overreached their authority in reversing Roe v Wade, and we should do as Lincoln did with the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves…”he ignored the gross overreach and abuse of power,” Time to pass some laws that the Supreme Court, which is NOT making choices for the people right now, can’t fuck with. Yeah. That. Or statewide, refuse to follow laws that will cause death, some of it in children. You’ve probably already seen cases where gynecological cancers can’t be treated because of abortion concerns, or when actual medical treatments that will save a woman’s life come up against this law, as in an ectopic pregnancy. It seems like it’s so simple…just don’t let abortion occur, but there are treatments that will save a woman’s life that might end the life of an embryo or fetus. Sometimes those hard choices need to be made. Not even talking about choice, bodily autonomy, even IUDs qualify as abortion in some states. I’m disheartened. But not giving up. Frustrated. Angry still. Probably won’t get over that. And I keep going through my artwork and finding more about human rights.

So it’s always hard to be working on a quilt that was really speaking to me in the beginning while something else grows in my head. I wasn’t thinking I’d have to do another one about abortion rights in the same year I finished My Body. My Choice. Silly me. Although as I was ironing Wonder Under to fabric the other night, those handmaids came back. Because they’re in this quilt. So I guess I never stop thinking about it. Anyway. I’m really close to the end. I’ve been doing about an hour or so of ironing Wonder Under to fabric each night…

And they all start to look the same…

I know I added some more greens and another blue fabric in there, plus some purples. I got to the head too, although I didn’t finish it. I’ve been cutting pieces out each night too, so the box never gets full, because I’m always working on emptying it. I cut stuff out while the Man and I watch our nightly show, so about 40 minutes or so a night.

Often the stuff I had ironed down the night before. So there’s progress. I have about 100 or so more pieces to iron down…the rest of her head (teeth, eyeballs, hair) and a few things I added at the last minute: the Uvalde kids and a COVID virion. Couldn’t leave them out. Almost done at 20 1/2 hours of ironing. I have 6 1/2 hours into the cutting-out portion, so probably another 5-10…can’t tell. Then I can start ironing it together.

While another drawing populates itself in my head. Not sure I can finish another one in time for my multiple deadlines on 8/1. Hmmm. Kinda depends on how many other things I’m doing. I’m still copyediting this book, hopefully done by Friday. I have another book I’m proofreading (somewhat easier and faster than a copyedit) in late July/early August. If I don’t get called for jury duty, I can get a lot done, but I’ve also been working on the yard, trying to do a little every day. It’s a lot. But it needs doing. I am reading and trying to deal with the heat and hopefully upping the exercise quotient and the eating-healthy quotient after the last few months of school fucking with that on a regular basis. We’ll see. Oh yeah, and since the courts are continuing to make really bad decisions, I’ve gotta pick an appropriate alternative religion to pray to at school…

Being an atheist makes this more difficult, but I guess I can be totally open about that at school now, since the ruling, right? OH! You mean it’s just Christianity that’s OK? WTF. Huh. That makes no sense. As usual.

OK. Work. Lots of it. Whether it’s on the computer, copyediting or school, in the yard, or with fabric, it’s what I do. Lots of it. With some reading and cups of tea to counteract the 90-degree temperatures here. Plus gotta get the crockpot going for dinner. Yeah. Getting on with it.

Our Revised Existence…

Congratulations America…you’ve just hopped viciously backward fifty years or more. You’ve just confirmed that it’s OK to buy guns to kill a bunch of kids in an elementary school, but women can’t have bodily autonomy. It makes me sick to my stomach. Don’t tell me to go live somewhere else. I was born here. In a military hospital no less. This is my country as much as it is yours.

If you voted for these people who believe this is their right, to take away the rights of half the population, then I cannot talk to you right now. I can’t talk about this without angry crying. In fact, I just walked away from the computer for a while there to let it settle a bit.

I have typed about 17 things here and deleted them. They don’t help except to push some of the anger out of me onto you. I did not ever think that at 55 years old, I would be hoping that sometime in the future, women might get rights back over their own bodies. And to those who told me it would never happen (rich white males, as it happens)? Fuck you. Even if you voted for our rights, you gaslit me and others who saw this coming. This has been 10 years coming, maybe more.

Fuck fuck fuck. My daughter. My friends’ daughters. My students. My students’ daughters. Abortions will still happen…they will just be unsafe. Trans rights. Gay rights. Damn them for interfering where they know nothing. Women who need abortions for health reasons or due to rape or incest? Fuck the Republican Party for this.

Moment of silence. Trying to reorder my thoughts. Trying to figure out what I can do. Besides make art about it. It seems like that’s all I can ever do. It doesn’t seem like enough.

Moment of silence.


I have a science prep meeting today. I’m so not in the mood.

Reorder thoughts.

I’ve been ironing. I literally just ironed this down the other night…

And started cutting it out last night. I cut the robe fabrics out…I remember those shapes. I cut his head out…you can see the robe pieces there, all black, on the top left.

SIGH. Reorder thoughts. I spent a lot of time artmaking yesterday, possibly too much when I look at the to-do list. I did ship a quilt. I finished three pieces that will go on Etsy in the next few days. I set up a sale page for my blog to put a few older pieces on sale. It’s not up yet. I’ll tell you when it is. I ironed more flesh yesterday just to clear the ironing board so I could iron the quilt that needed to be shipped.

I only had long strips of this fabric…not sure where it came from…maybe Kris? It’s not the normal half yards I buy.

This is where I had gotten the night before.

I finally hit the halfway mark…I’m in the 600s. It feels hard to be making art right now. Like it won’t matter. Today I start copyediting, so I can pay the summer bills. Because I’m a white teacher who has access to good healthcare and was given a good education so I could have a decent job (don’t get me wrong…teachers are not paid enough for the hours we put in) and not everyone has that privilege. So I have the ability to spend time drawing and cutting up fabric so I can sew it back together.


Kitten surveying the outdoors. Hanging out with me.

I hear petting animals is good for the brain…

The Man is doing a good job of that. Boychild is back from the fire. Pretty dirty. I need to go to school and work right now. Then come back and copyedit, then more art. Get my head around our revised existence.