Hello Summer 2020…

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

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

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

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

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

This is improv piecing, and then after that…

We move onto the piecing an actual block…

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

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

I also finished this during a meeting…

And started this one of my own design…

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

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

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

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

The old lady is having some issues…

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

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

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

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

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

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

While I was ironing the other night…

What’s she staring at? This guy…

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

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

I left for two minutes. Seriously.

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

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

However-Many-Weeks It’s Been…

It’s interesting what has made me change my blogging habits in the past. I’ve been blogging since 2003 or 2004, something like that, really it’s just my mental journal and some of you read it and hang out in the places my head has been. Or you just come for the pictures, which is A-OK, because I like me some pix as well. In the beginning, it was really random; some months had 10 posts and some had one. Then about 2 or 3 years in, I realized I should make a PRACTICE of it to get better at it, so I set a schedule of I think it was three days a week? I picked days when I tended to have more time, and I pretty much stuck to it…obviously, vacations made it more difficult, being back in the day when phones couldn’t do everything. YES, that was REAL. Then I had a minor (or not-so-minor) mental breakdown in 2013 and wrote every day except Sunday for about…um…let me think…almost 7 years?? Until Covid sent me home. And then I couldn’t do every day. Ironically, because I was home more, I couldn’t get up and write every day? So weird. I can’t explain what happens to time on Covid time, but it just disappears. Seriously, I get up, and then it’s midnight again, and I’m still tired. Summer is a little like that, but this has been much worse. I can’t keep my brain going in a straight line for more than about 15 minutes.

So with that, school is over as of tomorrow, whatever that looks like. It does mean no required wakeup times (well, except for stuff I’ve committed to, like rebuilding a fence with my dad, who regularly wakes up at 4 AM). It also means no required Zoom meetings, wait, that’s not true. There will still be work meetings over the summer, if just to iron out what next school year looks like. But there’s more freedom. I’m waiting for my copyediting job to show up, and I’m totally OK with it taking a while, although I’d like to be done with it before we go back to school (last year, it came really late in the summer and fucked me up in August and September). Will I go back to writing every day? Maybe? I tend to remember less of what I wanted to write about with a two-day schedule, which is kinda what I settled on over the last however-many-weeks it’s been (three months or so, anyway). It’s longer to write on a two-day schedule. I think I’d like to try to go back to every day except Sunday. It helps me clear my brain of the previous day and sleepy-time crap (I keep having nightmares that I’m out places and I’ve forgotten my mask…I’m probably not the only person). Plus it helps me plan the current day, keeps me accountable to my own goals and plans. So we’ll see how that goes. It is more computer time, but it’s pretty focused and quick usually. With no interruptions from Zoom calls and work texts and emails. Will those stop? Just don’t know. Probably not.

As far as work goes, my district looks like it will offer three options: full-time online, full-time in the classroom but socially distanced in some unknown ways, and a hybrid of the two…show up for class on campus a few days a week and do stuff at home a few days a week. Parents will get to choose, apparently, which will also be interesting. We’re expecting about 25% to stay home…not sure what all this will look like. I do have the option of getting a doctor’s note and opting for teaching online only, because I have diabetes and I’m not young, and I did check in with my doctor about it, but she said as long as it’s controlled (which it is) and I’m careful, it’s my decision. I may regret it later, but I think that would be true if I stayed home as well. Yes, I will be the teacher who walks around with a pool noodle and bops anyone who is inside the 6-foot radius of Nida.

Meanwhile, the ironing has been slow but steady. My woman has a face and a cat…as always, iron the eyes separately and then put them on…otherwise, they’ll end up crooked.

Totally feeling the rainbow these days. It is Pride Month. There we go.

She’s the Earth Mother in the piece, although even she can’t solve Covid. I didn’t get much done last night…tired and started late, but she has a cat playing with a Covid virion, although it’s missing some pieces…

They’re probably accidentally in another box, so I’ll figure that out as I keep ironing. I’m in the last half of the 700s, so just under halfway. Almost 11 hours of ironing so far. So it’s slow. Some of that is my being tired. So tired! Although I mostly got to sleep in to the alarm today, minus the man banging around to go to work and my dad banging around to drop off wood for the fence. Unlike yesterday, when the pool builders were out and about BEEP BEEP BEEPing at 7 AM. Ugh. Mornings hurt. I might get more done tonight. We’ll see. I have book club too.

I also have been piecing fabric to use for the stitch-along quilt I’m doing with my guild. More rainbows…

These are going to be cut using the templates you saw last week. I have a plan…

Mostly. We’ll see how it all works. I’m not that worried. It’s just for fun and mental exercise.

I’m planning on doing a few more of these pieced things today, so I can start cutting pieces with the templates and putting blocks together. I’m supposed to put 5 blocks together this week. Uh huh. OK. Doesn’t sound hard, right? Except the part where you have to “make” fabric first. Plus I am hemming napkins, the ones I cut out weeks ago, because we finally ran out of paper ones and I need fabric ones.

And of course, dots…the lion is above the yellow spool…

It took me 2 1/2 hours to stitch this…

And his face is a little hidden.

Then I wasn’t sure I would finish last night’s…because beads…below the yellow skein…

To get to the beads, I have to pull out a bunch of stuff…

But I did, and that’s probably why I started ironing so late.

I also exercised and spent 2 hours at the vet waiting for the two dogs. It was a long day.

What else besides school? The neighbors are still making a pool, but it’s been quiet for a day…

Unlike what it will be once they start swimming in it. Girlchild is done with kid sounds. I have issues with construction noise. Right now, it’s leaves in the wind and the occasional dog barking. A hawk in the tree outside my window (can you even see it?

Top right…

Monday was dress up for a holiday, so I did…

For this online lunch with students…

Getting closer to done with that embroidery.

Luna managed to get herself stuck on the closet shelf twice…

She’s so silly.

Girlchild is hanging with the dogs again. She’s going home in a week and a half. The dogs will be devastated.

Kitten has been inhabiting kitten spaces…this morning, she hung out and played with their shit…

Their toys…not their shit. Pretty funny.

OK. Tired. More tea. I need to finish watering things. I need to piece more pieces into fabric. We’re walking the dogs later. I have book club tonight for a book I didn’t really like. Not sure if my dislike was cultural or not? Interesting thing to talk about though. And then hopefully ironing. I also have a dot to work on and I’ll probably stitch during book club. Then tomorrow is graduation…so we’ll have a Zoom, then go into school to do final clean up, and then gather in front of school to give kids drive-through certificates and swag, socially distanced. Then a last drink with the team, who will be minus 2 next year, gaining a newbie from 6th grade. Then the 2019-2020 school year, which was a giant fucked-up mess before Covid even hit, will be over. Into the 2020-2021 year, which will be a different kind of mess, mostly unknown at this point. Unknown makes me grind my teeth. Gotta work on that.

Whatever DONE Means…

Hey Monday. I know there was a weekend, but I didn’t really feel it. I think it’s because I don’t leave the house any more. So work days feel like weekend days feel like work days. But it’s almost done, the school stuff. Well, whatever DONE means. I won’t have to do any more Advisory classes (until August). I do have more meetings this week, so there’s that. But grading things and chasing down scores on 11 different programs will be DONE.

I’ve been trying to listen to podcasts…I do really well for like the first 7-10 minutes and then my brain ignores everything that’s being sad. It’s possible that I do this during staff meetings as well. (Sorry. It’s true. My attention span is not great.). Just so you know, I do better at listening if I’m stitching or drawing. So I do try to do those two things during staff or other meetings. Even social stuff, I zone out unless it’s in person. I think it’s just how my brain works…it wanders off into art brain mode, which is trying to draw, design, color, and ignores everything else around it. I’m not sure that’s getting better with old age. Oh well.

Right now, I’m hot-flashing, but my feet are cold…so I want to take the slippers off, but the feet still feel cold, even though I’m on fire. Sigh. My mom tells me these will never stop. I feel like they should. They did go away for many months, but now they are back. It could be stress. Last year, they were horrendous from early May to the end of July. So I have another two months? Ugh.

Meanwhile…

Um. I’m totally the one on the left, except it’s all in boxes that might be labeled. Sort of. Not like on the right though. Nothing matches. Nothing is cute. It just is. I have to go back in to school on Thursday and deal with the last of the stuff. I got an email today from our AP who is leaving to be a principal that my room isn’t done. Sigh. The sarcasm he brings is needed, as is the male role modelness. Oh well.

One of my readers emailed me Saturday or yesterday about workers comp and COVID and how my district might deal with sick teachers. I’m hoping the union has some control over how the district handles it, but as my reader said, the optics of NOT taking care of your sick teachers when they got COVID coming back to work? Well, let’s hope people still care by the time that happens.

Speaking of teaching, IDK who thought Architect could be a verb, as in Architect Your Life, but that is fucked up, because it does not even make sense. Y’all: architect is a noun, but it “is increasingly common to hear it used as a verb, though usually in business or technical situations where jargon is very common.” I hate jargon. I especially hate teacher jargon. I keep having to look shit up and I’ve been teaching for a long time, and they keep changing it all. I cannot keep it all straight in my head. So this coming year? I will be an architect architecting. Even WordPress doesn’t think that’s a word. I architect, you architect, we all architect. Sigh.

OK, so I have a team lunch (with kids on Zoom) in 7 minutes, I have my Santa hat ready for holiday dress (don’t even ask, it’s a teacher thing, but it has nothing to do with architecting), and then IDK what’s happening after that.

And I’m back. Lunch is over. I should finish writing this. I’ve been ironing a little each day…hopefully more today? Maybe? Got into the torso, but needed to iron the heart separately…

None of this is fast, but it is engrossing…

And then put the heart where it belongs…

So I think this is where I got to on Saturday night…

She’s the largest figure in the quilt.

Then Sunday, I worked on arms…this one has a bat hanging from it, a reference to the first animal they blamed for COVID. I ironed it separately…too many small parts…

And then attached it…

If you’re one of my patrons on Patreon, I show some of this arm and hand in the video that will be posted later today. And then I did the other arm…

I’ve been ironing for about 9 1/2 hours and I’m halfway through the pieces…I think…wait, no I’m not. I’m in the high 600s. Close though. She just needs a cat and her head. Then on to Figure 3.

Also still doing dots…Saturday’s is just above the top spool.

It was pretty easy…

I don’t have much of the sparkly Dazzle thread, so it always has to be pink or red.

And last night’s…to the right of the yellow thread…

Is very similar to one we’ve already done, but with more space.

Getting closer and closer to done.

It will then take me two years to remove all the cat and dog hair from it.

I also picked the fabrics for the pieced thing I’m doing…

Because there isn’t enough crazy shit going on in my life right now. I needed something brainless. Although I have some stitching I’m doing that’s relatively brainless.

OK. What else? I hiked yesterday…well, walked around the neighborhood, which includes some good hills.

Sometimes I go up that one. Sometimes I go down. Always looking for new flowers…

These were all in the trees…

Messy but beautiful…

The neighbors are still building a pool. Did I mention that already? Dig Day 2: BEEP BEEP BEEP. Sigh.

Damn cat sleeps through everything.

Must be nice…

Old lady dog does too…

OK, note to self…this is gonna be hard for this old lady to see at night…

CAN ONLY STITCH ON THIS IN FULL SUNLIGHT.

I amuse myself. OK. I’ve got exercise, ironing, and a book to finish. It sounds like Summer vacation is getting really close. Tomorrow is meeting hell, but today is done. All good. Enjoy.

It’s Not the Same

I think I need a nap. I could probably even take a nap, but then I probably wouldn’t get anything else done. That never feels good. School is almost out! I’m not as excited about that as I usually am. It’s not the same. We all know it’s not the same (OK, some people haven’t figured that out, but I’m talking about most of the teachers I work with…OK some of them don’t know it either), but I’m not sure when it will be something I recognize. My book club wants to meet in person next week…6 feet away from each other and outside, but in person. I think that’s OK. My team wants to do the same thing, but with alcohol involved. That’s a little harder, because it’s a restaurant and technically, none of us should be sitting together. Straw and mask? Stick straw under mask? Maybe. I took a pilates class today, the first one in three months. Oh man, my back felt so much better. I tried doing it with a mask on and couldn’t get enough air. Damn. So how do I feel about that? I don’t know yet. Balancing our personal needs with the need to stay healthy. Fuuuck. But that’s one of the things I wrote to the district in the survey they sent out: I want to stay healthy. But if I get sick with COVID because of school, and it takes longer than 2 weeks for me to test negative again, what happens with my job? We don’t have disability. I can’t get disability insurance because of my diabetes. So I’m fucked? I have a bunch of sick days I can use up, I guess. I should stop reading all those scary articles…but then I would be ignorant, and that’s not a good place to be. Note to white women who just want to quilt/sew and not think about politics: It’s not a good place to be, IgnoranceLand. Get out of it.

Um. Ma’am. This is why we need more science education. It’s not the only reason, but it’s a good one.

So. This week coming up is busy, but not like teaching for real, and definitely not like a real end-of-school-year week. Then it will hopefully be less busy for a while, to let me read and exercise and fix things and make art. Yeah. That’s what I need. Leave me alone for a while.

I ironed for a little bit last night, about an hour. I’m hoping to do more this afternoon, get Figure 2 done.

It’s not fast, because there’s a lot of pieces and it’s a big quilt. But I really enjoy this part.

We gamed earlier online…I stitch during it, even in person. It keeps my brain engaged.

This is not hard.

I also sewed a dot…above the green spool.

It wasn’t difficult…

Maybe I’ll just teach art in between all the other crap I have to teach. I actually added another bullion loop flower, the yellow one, because it looked unbalanced.

I finished my book club book, Jade City. It was OK. It seemed to focus a lot more on warring and explaining culture, which sometimes I like, but it was kind of dry. We’ll see what the rest of the group says on Wednesday.

Kitten has been invading the kittens’ space, lying in front of their food and water…

No worries…they still have access to her food and water, and they take advantage of that.

OK, I’ve exercised and eaten. I need more caffeine. I’m supposed to pull fabrics for that quilt project with templates, but I find it hard to do that. I have too much fabric to choose from. Can’t decide. Not sad about that. I’m going to iron for a while, and then water plants. I’ve done well with planting new things this year…I guess that’s a pro of being stuck at home all the time. I need to go watch some fence-building videos too, although my dad will be helping, so that should solve that problem. It’s Saturday. There are four days of school left. We are three months into a pandemic in the US, and things may shut down again sometime in the next month. Just documenting that shit, so when they re-read my blog in 2120, they’ll know that some of us were thinking about the consequences of the germ-breathers.

More Wine and Goldfish…

Late-night ironing assists: wine and goldfish. The cheddar cheese kind, not the swimming kind. Hey, Mr. Domestic is doing a fundraiser right now on Instagram, ends today though (hey, it’s been a busy week for me…I’m slow. IDK what even happened to this week.). But this thing…

this shirt, you can buy this at any time and he donates all proceeds to one of the anti-racist charities listed here. I hadn’t heard of Mr. Domestic until some brouhaha (oh my, so many of those online right now) over a quilt store I’d never heard of not saying they were anti-racist…or delaying saying that. In case that’s an issue, I am anti-racist. I am a semi-old white lady (ask my neighbor how old he thinks I am as I scramble up his slope on a rope) who has white privilege (but can’t spell that word to save my life without help from a dictionary) and grew up in a nice mostly white town with all the privileges of good schools and safe streets and all that. I teach mostly immigrants and BIPOC, always have, so my understanding of my own racist background has grown over the years. But we are always learning, always finding better ways of dealing with our own understanding. So I continue to read and consider my own artwork in the realm of the larger world of racism and sexism and all that stuff. We are not doing it right if we aren’t continuing to listen and learn.

A shirt doesn’t solve many problems…but it could start a useful conversation and puts money somewhere it might help. I just sent my address info in again to Social Justice Sewing Academy to embroider some blocks. I did that a while ago…but with summer break coming up and no major embroidery that I HAVE to do this summer, I can handle this again.

I am in this weird head space with school. The last academic assignments were today, but grades were due Wednesday. I have things I have to do next week for school, some even in person (masked and 6 feet apart), but the work part is done…until summer, when they start throwing shit at us again. I spent hours in Zoom meetings yesterday for school stuff, most of it frustrating and not ideal, but that will be at least the next year. I’m worried about all of it, but don’t know the solution. I can’t afford to quit or retire, so work I shall, in as safe a manner as I can. The end of the school year is always hard on my brain…the stress of finishing and then having a summer to-do list but not being able to mentally handle any of it. It’s hard to explain to non-teachers. Especially when facing the next school year, which is destined to be different than anything we’ve ever done. It will be hard and different and probably sad, and hopefully not heart-breaking. I am not good with uncertain futures. I like to know what’s coming. Here was our team at the beginning of the school year…

We’re losing two of these teachers and our next photo next week will be social distanced…but I’ll post that. Because a good team is a lifesaver, and this group has made this bearable. Hopefully this summer will allow us to get some rest for next year…because it will be hard.

So I’ve been ironing this quilt together, because that’s something I can control.

I got her face ironed down…

This is the bottom right corner with a gravestone to Covid…I did that while on a stitching Zoom…

This thing is huge. Have I mentioned how huge it is? I had all these background pieces lying around, so I just ironed them together for now, and I’ll combine them with Figure 3 when I get to her…

With the gravestone…she’s in the 700s, I think, and I’m only in the 200s at the moment. So I put those sections aside, and started ironing Figure 2…

She’s the largest figure and uses the mid-200s through the mid-700s, I think. Then I laid out the 300s, ready for tonight or this afternoon or whatever.

See? Wine. Goldfish were already eaten. So the trash is still lying around just in case, the top right box is the pieces I’ve ironed together already on the left and right of the large figure, ready to get ironed to her when she’s done. I have to cover all the laid-out pieces so cats won’t lie on them.

More to come on that this weekend. Hopefully.

Stressful meetings call for distractions…this is the science curriculum adoption meeting, where we realized we had no choices…

Ah well…so be it. I kept doing this during the school board meeting with all their pomposity and stupidity.

Yeah, it’s a pattern. I couldn’t handle decisions. Here’s the final resolution for next year from the school board…

Yup. There we are.

Dots! Almost done? Well…two weeks left at least. The flower to the right of the green spool.

Pretty easy to do…

Mostly covered the dot…

That was Wednesday night…here’s Thursday…the sand dollar above the blue spool.

This was actually super fast…

I’ve been stealing those gray threads from another Spargo BOM…I might run out? Maybe? Hard to say.

What else? The old lady likes to fetch (but not very far) pine cones out of the pool. This one is too far. she wants me to move it closer.

The little boy does not like the pool or water at all.

The old lady always wants more than she should actually have…she gets tired.

Cats…don’t like heat…

Neither do dogs…

This fly died after getting stuck in the pool fence…the coloring is fascinating.

I drew the other night as well…

A protest reaction. Hard to know how to process things right now, so I’ll just draw until I can make sense of it all.

View of smoke from a local fire. I think it’s under control today, but it wasn’t yesterday.

Winds don’t help with that. They’ve mostly died down today. Plus it’s much cooler.

My neighbors are digging a pool hole. It’s loud and annoying. Sigh. I understand though. It’s hot here. Of course you want a pool.

I just wish I could be at school so I wouldn’t have to listen to it.

And here’s the pens I’ve been using to keep track of kids’ grades since we went out. Green is science, red is computers/PE, blue is math, purple is Advisory, orange is history, pink is English and pencil is you did it, but you’re not proficient (less than 70%).

Have I mentioned that I’m a visual learner? Yeah. You know what’s easier? Only teaching the subject you’re credentialed and trained in. Although I suspect this multi-tasking shit will continue into next year as well. Sigh.

I’m doing a stitch-along. I think. Maybe. It involves templates. It’s not how I usually roll. We’ll see how that goes.

I’ve done this before…just not recently.

OK, it’s the middle of the day and I have one more class and something else I said I’d do and the pool digging is driving me nuts (it’ll be at least another day, if not more, then all the construction crap). And I burned my thumb while toasting frozen naan. Of course. That’s probably something I’ve never written before. Artmaking this weekend. A minor amount of school stuff. Getting ready to replace part of my fence. Thinking about art entries. Reading my book because book club is next week. More wine and goldfish. Definitely.

crazy wacky holy crappy

Sign petitions. Put money in the hands of groups and people making change. Put money in the hands of BIPOC makers. Start here on Etsy (although I think they have added non-Etsy shops in there). Commission some art from a BIPOC maker…many artists are hurting right now if that was their primary money-maker. Let’s support them. Get food at BIPOC-owned restaurants in your area. These lists are easy to find. And once you buy something, especially something handmade or homemade, post about it with links. You know how many of those links YOU click on. Click and like and spend. If you can. If you can’t spend, you can click, like, share, show up, speak up, write about it. I saw someone post about not using your introvertness as an excuse. Introversity? Introvertedness? Hmm. One of those. Many of us can still spend and create and write and post. In fact, many of us do that online because it’s easier for us than in person…certainly that fits the instructions right now.

Interestingly, I saw an embroiderer whose work I liked, and she admits to not having a website because she doesn’t have the bandwidth for dealing with that, but it was hard to know what was available and prices and all that, and I know we as artists often don’t do the business side of things. So the solution is to just ask, of course. And when they have a VenMo or Patreon or some other way to support them, then do it.

OK, I’ve spent hours in meetings today and am finally done for today. My brain is swimming. For some reason, meetings in person are easier to process. I don’t know why. So much job chaos right now. It’s a hot day, which isn’t helping. Plus I want cookies.

I already wrote the rest of this post, but the internet here gets ultra-sketchy when it’s hot, and hot it is, and the damn thing disappeared into the ether. So here we go. Again. This is 2020 all over the place.

I drew a little on Sunday night. I’ve got something in my head and this is the first iteration (of many, I’m sure) of one part of the whole…

It’s not right. There are many more iterations before it will be right.

I started ironing the big quilt together on Sunday night, my favorite part of the quilt process. Maybe. It’s all color and things coming together and the first time I see it whole. The damn thing is huge…

I put the drawing on the ironing board and then a Teflon sheet over it and start ironing down. I had to fold it back up over the ironing board during the day so it wasn’t in the way.

I started on the left side with the background pieces, and decided to keep working on the figure there, even though her pieces are in the 100s and 200s and I wasn’t done with the under-100s yet.

I decided to iron this whole section together and then the righthand section together. There’s a bottom piece and then maybe I’ll iron the center together and see if I can get them all to fit.

That’s the current plan anyway. I was imagining what a cytokine storm might look like, since they happen in COVID-19 cases, so I read about them and kind of drew what a bunch of cells spilling out chemicals that killed people would look like.

Tonight, hopefully, I’ll finish her fingers and her face, and then move on to the other side. Or the bottom. Or something.

I bought more fabric online when I was looking for something else.

No, I don’t need more fabric. Shut up.

Dots! I’m doing dots. If you’ll remember, I barely started Saturday before it was tired time, so on Sunday, I finished Saturday’s dot…to the left of the orange ball.

Tiny bugs…

With a million colors in them…

And then I continued on with Sunday’s dot…

This time to the right of the orange ball…that ball gets around…

This was a much more abstract dot…

And pretty simple, although sometimes they seem simple and take forever…

This is last-night’s dot, which was more on the forever continuum…above the red dot that hasn’t been stitched yet…

It was way too complicated and the cast-on bullions are an issue, but whatever…

It probably doesn’t matter in the long run…

That’s either 72 or 73. Can’t remember. Getting near the end.

I had a stressful work day yesterday. Hell, I had a stressful day today too, and tomorrow is looking to continue the roll, but yesterday, I needed a walk out in nature, away from people. It’s been hot though…around 95 degrees, and humidity at 6%…or “Lo”, as this said. It was hotter than that…this thing is inside.

I pushed the walk off as long as I could, to about 5 PM, and then set out with a full Camelbak. The local Santa Ana winds are hot, dry, destructive, and flammable…but you can see for miles.

There was a breeze, at least, and I drank almost all of my water. This tree was labeled…a new label.

No idea what it means.

Sun beating down on me. But sometimes, I get so antsy I can’t sit still any more and I need to get out of the house and away from humanity.

Funny, since there aren’t very many humans around me, not like when I’m teaching.

It was worth it. I’m in a better frame of mind today, although there are many stupid things going on for work.

People leave cuttings of plants out in boxes in their front yards. I keep picking them up.

Probably should have worn gloves with this one. Sharp bits in my fingers.

Dogs can’t read.

There wasn’t just one of these…there’s a whole line of them.

A lost hawk feather in my front yard…

So the hot makes the animals very slow-moving. I hear green fabrics are very chilling.

This one pulled down 7 shirts to find this space…

And this one just sits in front of the fan…

Oh yeah, I framed these finally…

I love that Quilt National prints these for you with details of your quilt. I bought a pack of three frames, so I’m ready to add 2021. Right?

OK, my plans include eating dinner, some sort of exercise, another dot, and some ironing. Grades went in today, so I officially don’t have to care about school…I just have to show up online when I’m supposed to and do the things I’m supposed to before it ends. School is going to be difficult in the Fall, but some things will hopefully be new and interesting, and if I’m on campus, at least I will see my friends and students (some of them, because the models they’ve been telling us about are crazy wacky holy crappy), and hopefully we won’t get sick. And the sun will shine and all that. Maybe I’ll even start sleeping again. You’d think with these schedules that I’d get more sleep. That didn’t happen. OK. Summer break (whatever that is in 2020) is almost here. And I got to wear a lot of pajamas and very few bras in the last three months, so there’s that. That probably won’t happen again until I retire, and that’s a long way off.

So There’s That…

Well. I think I just made more work for myself. As always. What’s new? The end of this school year is so weird, so surreal, but it is ending…in fire and disease, right? Well, not really. But I’m intrigued by how my students don’t want to talk about the protests and police, but they do want to talk about the beach and food and seeing their friends and being done with homework. And cheese. One kid only wants to talk about cheese. I think it would be different in person, in a different world, one where things weren’t so scary, but this is what we have right now…scary and different. It’s safe to talk to me about cheese.

Normally, I’d be one of the protesters, out marching, but I’m worried about the transmission of this virus. Really worried. For myself and others. I see too many unmasked people at the protests. Normally, standing with a large crowd of chanting marchers, holding signs, that’s a thing I can do…some friends don’t or can’t, and it’s OK, because I can. But when I get sick with this thing, and a lot of us will, I want it to be as far along in the process as possible. That is my privilege talking…I’m not getting shot at for my skin color or knelt upon or unfairly jailed. So I have to put my protest energy somewhere. I’m still reading, I’m still watching…finished When They See Us on Netflix last night…the episode with Korey Wise in jail is difficult to watch. But necessary. It’s been on my list for a year, since it came out. One of my few white, non-immigrant students told me to watch it. There’s nothing easy about watching our white dumbassery hurting anyone, especially kids, and there’s the reality of the families who went through this and those boys becoming men. It’s not enough for it to sicken our hearts and stomachs though…like the Breonna Taylor story does. Something has to change. We have to change. It was her birthday yesterday…

Go to @battmamzelle for links to how to Say Her Name and get Breonna and her family some justice. Check out @arielsinhaha for more amazing graphic art.

I’m still working on BIPOC embroiderers and fiber artists and other artists. Some I was already following because of their work popping up in my feed when a friend liked it, but that’s not good enough. I need to go search more out and find a way to support it.

Locally, we might still be on curfew. It’s hard to tell. Our neighboring city is, still with the National Guard. Fear is a hard one, y’all. We want everything to be nice and pretty and cleaned up, but the reality for most is that that police are not doing that for them. We must continue to protest until they really do protect and serve all of us.

I want to draw today; it helps my brain process, but I know how much other work I have going on. Grades are due. I had completed everything I thought I was going to do, and then I thought about how much more I could do…and so I emailed every kid that was missing enough to not get credit, and we’ll see what comes of that. Maybe nothing. Maybe they will do it. As a teacher, what I’m doing now is so far away from how I usually teach and want kids to process and learn, and yet I am lucky to have a job and a paycheck and a calling (however annoying it may be), so there’s that. Next year will be different. It will not necessarily be better. It will probably be hard. But hopefully I will do a better job of reaching kids…I say that every year. How many kids did you reach? Hard to say. That one. And maybe this one. And in 5 years, one will come back and tell me they were one I didn’t even know about. So there’s that too.

I’m almost done with cutting this thing out, this giant-ass quilt that has dominated my COVID not-time-off. Thursday’s meeting time…

You can see how much is left in the box…

There’s a whole bunch of flesh cut out…this is probably Figure 2…

And the pile grows…or shrinks…depending on which one you’re looking at.

That was Thursday night…here’s Friday night…I can see the bottom of the box!

I’m cutting out pieces of the background hillside. That’s cool. That’s close to the end.

That’s almost 19 hours of cutting. I said 20? It will probably be 21 or 22 hours, but I was close. Then sort, then iron. In the middle of all the grades and a million meetings next week. I love how my school district decides to just ADD meetings to the mix, two weeks before we’re done. Like y’all have no idea what we’re actually doing with our time. I finished the “7-hour” training (it wasn’t 7 hours), so that’s a thing. My classroom still needs some work, but I’m waiting for the floors to be done. I signed up for curriculum stuff. Because I can’t stand certain people deciding on the curriculum for my kids. My fault for caring.

But this quilt will eventually get done. I’m hoping by the end of the month, but it might just be July. Too many other things going on. Like yesterday, my niece graduated from high school!

Online, of course, but I hadn’t made plans to GO to the graduation (it’s a rough time of year for teachers), so it was cool to see what they did online.

Probably a better view than we normally see.

She should be going to college in the Fall…it remains to be seen what that will look like. That’s true for everything right now though.

Simba carefully watched the whole thing.

And the dots! We’re in the last few weeks of this crazy thing. I had another online meeting Thursday night and did my bee dot, just under the white ball. Which isn’t really white.

Some commentary there. I’m not actually sure why that ball is there. I didn’t use it. Whoops. Those bees are also fucking tiny.

So there’s that.

Two years ago, our 7th-grade science teacher motto was “Whatever.” This last year, it was (ironically now), “It’s Fine.” (It’s not. But you get it.). For next year? It probably involves cussing. But “So there’s that” might be a close second.

Last night’s dot was easy peasy…kitty corner to the left of the bottom spool.

Bullion knots no longer frighten me.

Although that was true before I started this project.

Twenty one to go.

Today is a day free from school work. Well, except for what I already did. I have a quilt guild meeting and I want to finish cutting out pieces and maybe sort them, and I need a long walk outside in nature. It’s a cool, cloudy, and slightly rainy day. Should make walking nice, unlike next week, when Satan arrives on his 95-degree-Fahrenheit horse. I might read or draw some too. But first, a shower and some more tea, because I didn’t sleep, yet again. Gotta love this old lady body and her stupid hormones. I mean, it’s all I got, so I gotta love it. Peace to all; protesters today, stay safe, but make change the obvious choice. And cops, knock it the fuck off. Quit your job. Go do something more humane. Sigh.

Constant Process

Hey. Hello world. Still tryna educate myself here. Constant process. Reading, watching things, saving lists and links for when school is not sucking up so much of my brain time. I’ve donated some, but want to buy from some BIPOC artists…so that will be in the future, when I have time to think and process some more. I’ll put links on here as I find them. I found more the other day while out walking, clearing my head. Campaign Zero, who got some of my money, has this 8 Can’t Wait link…where you can check out your own police department’s practices. I’m not in El Cajon proper, but I didn’t see the unincorporated county on there, and the City of San Diego is not the same thing either.

Sigh. Interesting though, since we had issues back in 2016? I think? When an unarmed black man with some issues got killed for pulling a vape pen. Yeah. Not sure if the three green checks were in place before that. Certainly we have some issues still. We had a curfew last night, after one night with no curfew. National Guard has been called out to our neighboring city, La Mesa, because of issues with an over-zealous cop and a black man. It’s time for change. It’s been time for change for a really really long time. Let’s actually do it this time. I vote. Do you vote? Vote for people who want and will make change.

Sigh. Seriously still buried in school. Spent all of yesterday afternoon on really frustrating Zooms with sound issues. Or just more depressing news. Or training that I won’t remember in August.

It was hot yesterday, but I chose to sit outside. I stitched when I could.

Two staff meetings and a union meeting. Today is a lot of social time on Zoom. I may get up and move around some. Although all I have to work on is cutting things out. After doing none of it for days, I finally started up again on Tuesday night…

It’s slow. But it’s going. After last night, I have almost 12 hours in…

Still a significant number of pieces to go. I’ll be doing some this afternoon…maybe will have a better idea of when I might be done. Or not. It’s taking longer than I had hoped, but so is my daily job. So there’s that.

Sometimes the job is painful.

So Tuesday night deserved a nice long walk…

Needed it…

Those poppies again…and this marking on the trail that’s been “under construction” for weeks now.

Obviously I’ve been ignoring the Trail Closed sign.

Weird flowers, super small…

And I found more of the painted rocks…

It was tiny…almost missed it…

But then I was looking…

A good long walk. Clears the brain.

Too many blood sugar issues lately…lows more than highs, illogical lows. But I keep exercising. It might help.

Dot finishes! From Monday, the thistle to the right of the blue spool.

It was some fun turkey work…

I think I do turkey work mostly wrong, but the finished product looks OK.

I also had this from the night before, but it needed a beaded edge and I didn’t feel like pulling them back out that night…

But I did it last night…

And was smart enough to photograph it in daylight today.

Then Tuesday night was this…to the left of the orange ball…

All bullion knots…

Pretty easy…

Then Wednesday night, they wanted more beads, so that’s when I pulled out the stash…just below the almost-white (it isn’t really) ball…

The edge is all beads…

And fly stitches…

So I’m all caught up. I think.

Getting near the end.

We have cats…

In a bag…and on the couch…

And on the light table…

And I didn’t post this the other day…I thought I was posting in for my art group’s exhibit, but I delayed it a week due to the protests…just thought it made sense to give them some space.

My newest mask…

Going back to school with the Petri dishes that are my students makes me nervous…I don’t feel like the mask really protects me.

So there’s that. I’ll post a link to the online exhibit next week, when I get it up on the website.

Today? Read. Reflect. Grade shit. Send a bunch of progress emails. Cut stuff out. Exercise? Maybe? Right now…eat lunch. Ignore the crazy.

May There Be Change and May It Be Drastic…

I want to write today, if just for me. My head is full. As are many of yours. We are all processing, many of us angry, frustrated, many of us looking for solutions, ways to support. I donated to Campaign Zero

You should do what you’re comfortable doing. But do something. I have some reading to do, when I’m done with this and some other school stuff I need to do tonight. A little reading a day is good for you anyway. It should be about race and racism right now, I think. I tried to have a conversation with my students this morning…they ended up writing some things, but not saying much. Anything. I know if we were meeting in person, they would. But we’re not. So there’s that.

Saturday was a lot of TV noise, which eventually gets heavy and hard to watch. I hiked.

I went somewhere with big wide trails and not a lot of people.

This clears my head. Although it doesn’t really make it better.

I always tell my students that white people have messed up a lot of things in the world.

Things we had no right to do. I guess my place in all that is to keep talking to the kids.

I went to Crestridge Ecological Reserve, by the way.

It was warm. My legs felt like spaghetti. I felt off.

I did not hike fast. I just walked and looked and breathed.

Something that we don’t allow everyone to do.

I’m looking for other ways to spread my care. Someone suggested going to buy from our local shops that were broken into…I’m giving them a day or two to clean up, and then will head over there. I think my dentist is one of them. Not quite ready for that, unfortunately.

I’d like to buy some fabric, thread, or embroidery stuff from BIPOC, if someone wants to point me in the right direction. Googling for that is not effective. Although I found this and will make my way through it.

Did I mention that I totally freaked myself out on this walk because I was alone? And the crows were everywhere and circling and cawing and just being kinda nerve-wracking? I don’t like hiking alone sometimes. I get anxious.

Eventually I decided they were just enjoying the thermals and soaring all over for fun.

Intent is important.

All of our intent.

It was an OK hike. I didn’t feel well. I was freaked out. I didn’t go as far as I wanted because I was worried about my blood sugar and being alone.

So there’s that.

I did a dot on Saturday night…the crab to the left of the purple spool.

Small…

But cute. I did start Sunday’s dot, mostly finished it, but now it wants beads, so I have to deal with pulling those back out and trying to find a thread and needle that will work with beads. I was too tired last night to deal with that. I also made a mask for an art show I’m in, but I delayed the posting of the show for a week to allow space for all the protests and comments. It feels wrong to be putting up a COVID-related show today. Next Monday, I’ll feel better about it. Maybe.

Sigh. I cut some stuff out Saturday night, but work and packing up art (oh wait, I packed up art for my Patreon patrons…but forgot pictures of two of them. Oh well.). Here’s two of them.

I finished the edges and packed them up. I also repotted a bunch of succulents that were having issues. And watered things. It was a busy day.

Today too. But I did cut things out. I said that. Here they are.

I didn’t cut anything out last night. Maybe tonight? I hope so.

I still haven’t exercised today. My brain. Is fuzz.

I spend too many hours on a computer these days.

OK. Well. Decisions about tonight? It’s almost dinner time. Book? Maybe. Stitching? Definitely. At least finish a dot or something. Exercise? Hopefully. Sleep? Well I didn’t do that very well last night. I’m losing my hair and the horrific hot flashes are back, after being gone for about 9 months or so. Ugh. Plus my brain is not apparently into falling asleep. Oh yeah, got 7 hours of training to do as well before the end of the month. I went to school today to try to pack stuff up. Eh. Chaos in there. I’ll have to go back after they do the floors.

Until then, forward me places to send my thread and fabric money. I have relevant books to read. I put more on hold…they are 22 weeks out! Ah, the library. I might buy a few of them instead. Peace to all. May there be change and may it be drastic.

A Matter of Voice…

Hello America. Protests abound, and rightfully so. Those taking advantage of that to be assholes, sigh. Stop it. Here in San Diego, I see many posts for protests that are then denounced as being organized by police sympathizers and white supremacists. We are tired of being inside, of being trapped by a viral enemy that we barely know how to fight. It’s true that America didn’t like the peaceful protest of taking a knee…or not saying the pledge of allegiance (I never liked that thing)…so this seems over the top, but it’s not. A black man was killed by four police officers. We need a protest that sticks and forces change. Of course, we don’t want more to die. But we need change.

As one person in all of this, I decide what next, where do I put a small amount of money, because that’s what I have…what do I bring up in my Zoom class…it’s so hard to have a discussion online that I would totally have in a classroom, giving all my students emotional support in person. We did have a discussion of protests a few weeks ago, where we talked about author’s intent…calling protesters THUGS when they are not white Republicans with guns. Calling out how what we say colors what people think. Making them think about that. Again, hard to do without the back and forth of class discussions. My Zoom kids are quiet and sometimes respond, but mostly I wonder if they are even listening. Sometimes they type and I read it out and answer. It’s not what I’m used to, but I will decide by Monday what to say and how to say it, how to talk when they won’t talk, and some will only see it online and won’t be with me when they do. The majority of my students are in a group that is subjected to prejudice of one kind or another, whether because of race or color, or culture or religion. I’m the old white chick who stands in the middle of them and tells them how fucked up the actions and words of white people are. Sometimes in their eyes, I see I am the first white person who has called out my own race in front of them. OK. It’s about time. There should be more of that.

I also hope the protesters are staying safe from the virus. I worry that in two weeks, there will be worse consequences…and I blame those four cops for that as well. Although, these things were happening already…still…and getting them out and effecting change in the police departments, the unions and legal systems that protect them, the attitudes of some who think this is acceptable…so that is the positive play on all this. HERE IT IS. Now let’s fix it. Please. By the way, shut up, Mr. NotPresident. You’re not helping. You’re making it worse. I can’t understand how that angry little man’s heart does not just stop with all this chaos it is trying to make.

Deep breath. I had plans for today. They’re not gone…they’re just sort of messed up at the moment and I’m having a hard time focusing on them. Finishing this is first. Making an art mask is next. Wait, packing up and shipping my Patreon rewards is next. Getting my drawing cleaned up to post on Patreon. Also getting some posts prepped and maybe even done for one of my art groups. That’s all today. Also the current quilt.

I’m still cutting stuff…

A little at a time. Sometimes way too late. It’s quiet. It’s meditative. It’s not school.

This is after Thursday night (up way too late)…

This is after Friday night (too tired to stay up TOO late)…

I can see progress. It’s probably harder for you to see it. I’m cutting out backwards from how I ironed down. I know I’m working on the third figure right now…the angels are cut out and everything in the air…so not halfway. But progress. More tonight.

Dots…ever-present dots…the orange flower on blue next to the sheep.

This thing is getting full.

Less than a third left…

It’s a quiet moment (of 30 minutes to two hours) each night while I do these.

Last night is the blue dot between the sheep and the strawberry.

I had to pull out all my beads for that…

While we were gaming online too.

A little 3D pop on that. And since we were still gaming, and my friend Julie sent me a couple of light-colored dots because I wanted to do a COVID dot, I started that. Someone had objected to the cat, so they did a COVID-19 viral particle instead. So did Julie, adding sequins under the drizzle stitches. We both looked at the CDC photo of the virus and interpreted what we saw. First I had to add a dot to the 90…

And then embellished it…

Commemorating the shit we’re sitting in while stitching this.

The world is weird. I keep saying that. Except some things are the same…things that need to change.

Girlchild made donuts this week. I was craving donuts…

I’m glad she’s been able to try all these new things. Before the glaze…

The dough was very tasty…the glaze was decadent. Holy moley.

Yeah. I know she’s going home soon and we’ll be back to eating the lame-o crap we usually make. It’ll be fine! I’ll be able to make the frozen waffles and pancakes she makes. Yummy. I saved some of the recipes on Pinterest. We will survive.

I exercised almost not at all in the last three days. That has to change today. I might go to Crest…it’s wide trails and pretty safe. My succulent is flowering again!

I need more of these.

I moved this little guy because he was in the weeds, not on the milkweed.

That’s not food dude.

Kitten follows me…

She wishes I would stay in one place. She loves days like the last three when I was on a computer for just HOURS. My hands hurt, my wrists hurt. Bad seating arrangement.

Nova knows a good thing when she kneads it…

Pokey cat.

More late-night Kitten…

Look! It’s a normal pieced quilt that I made. What a concept.

Sigh. OK. A hike later, when it cools off a bit, although it’s pretty nice today. I don’t think I can get the man to go with me. Oh well. It’ll be me and my music. Before then, some art work tasks for a variety of things. Some lunch. I want to draw, but all this protest is in my head, and as a white person, I have a hard time commenting artistically on racism. It occasionally shows up, but it’s not something I feel like I have a voice for. I feel like people of color should have that voice, and then my job is to promote it, support it, and buy it when I can. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe there is a way to show how I feel, which is all my quilts are ever about, without taking over the conversation. But probably not. Anyway. Watching for change. Being a part of it when I know how. Dropping my voice into it when it makes sense to do so. When it’s not drowning out those who really should have and need their voices to be heard.