We Have Found the Sunz…

and we are lying in them.

I wish I had a kitten mindset…

Or an old lady dog mindset. But no. I am a worrisome adult human type. Although, this was Calli after the first thunder clap the other night…and me after getting an email from the teachers’ union.

It’s fine. I laid on the floor with her later that night for about an hour and a half, and she calmed down. The teacher stuff…it’ll be fine. I don’t agree with all of it, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run. It’s some routine, some normalcy. It might help the kids; might even help some of us.

I drew Thursday night…still trying to make different shapes and deal with spaces slightly differently.

When you have a recognizable style and you’re trying to fuck with it, your brain often goes back to what it’s comfortable doing. Which is good and bad. Stretch. A little. A lot? Always trying to stretch.

This is last night’s drawing…I think it went really well with the figure and maybe I should have stopped there and come back to it? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.

I’m just drawing. I was trying to get that feeling in my head that things are so weird and surreal and I can’t get a handle on any of it. So the body is good. Maybe that’s something I’ll save for the next one. With the Coronawood sign. But bigger and higher and something. I don’t know. Just messing around. Late night with a brain that wouldn’t shut up.

I found that damn missing windmill. I was sweeping my office and it just appeared. Fucker.

Maybe it will get its own quilt. Who knows.

Speaking of quilts, I did a little quilting yesterday.

I’m going to do more today. The machine is behaving now and it’s a pretty smooth process.

Still mourning Australia’s devastating fires…

Suspect this will just be a year of mourning.

Girlchild set a video of pup post-bath to this…

He runs around and rubs his body all over the carpet, like he’s a furry vacuum. It’s amusing. He got a bath because he smelled like the salmon oil we put on the old lady’s food for her arthritis. Or her skin. Not sure which.

Last night, we also had gaming…on devices. Multiple devices. Kind of difficult in some ways…

I do always stitch through these…it helps me pay attention.

Got the random hut and monkey stitched on. Now they need embellishment.

Hi Kitten…

It’s Saturday. Our plan is to grocery shop early tomorrow, so list today. We’ll find out today if the kids are here for the next few weeks without trips to their dad’s…waiting on a test result. It’s a beautifully sunny day, so I’m thinking some minor yardwork. Some quilting. I’m going to try some yoga…it’s close enough to pilates. I’m doing something exercise-like every day. It doesn’t feel like enough, but I also know I’m not eating particularly well…unlike most people, I seem to be eating less…not enough food is not the best plan as a diabetic. Next week, I’ll get trained on the new teaching normal and do some planning apparently (no idea what that looks like). My original panic stemmed from an email that we would need to work our regular school day (but at home) every day next week. I cleared a desk, tried to think what staring at a computer for 7 hours straight would feel like. They’ve backed that down a lot in subsequent emails, which helps with the anxiety. It’s more of a go-with-the-flow thing that I can handle. Of course, they train us, and then we have ‘two weeks off’ for Spring Break. It’s just weird. All so weird.

Art today. Definitely. Art and exercise and less of the news.

The Missing Hand…

Yeah. I skipped a day of writing. I don’t know what day it was though, so that’s OK. Been watching NYC weather this pandemic shit and it’s scary. Sending good thoughts to the whole city and everywhere else it looks like that. Certainly, many of us are questioning any sore throat or dry cough or now, digestive issue (dammit, stop eating beans then!), wondering Was that it? Is this the start of it? I think here in San Diego, we haven’t really gotten the full brunt of the virus yet. Give it two weeks. With that, I’m leaving in a few minutes to go distribute lunches to my kids. We’re down to only two people at a time, so we can socially distance.

Tuesday, we walked the dogs…we’re gonna do it again today. My parents are up to twice a day with theirs, which would be fine by me, but the old lady dog can’t do it. She wants to, but it’s too much for her.

We have places we can walk locally…this is just out the front door and sort of through a neighbor’s yard, although they’ve never complained…but now the house has sold, so who knows. We just go quickly and quietly.

There are no actual grapevines here any more.

But I still like the signs.

Mostly empty. We didn’t see any people.

And a lot of plant material. It’s pretty green this year…we’re over 13 inches of rain, which is a lot for us. There’s more coming tonight apparently. But then I think we might be done for a while. It’s cold and windy today…next week, we’re supposed to hit the high 80s. It will be harder to keep people inside.

I got an email today from an exhibit I usually enter, warning us that there are just a few more days to the deadline. It’s weird thinking about future art shows when it seems like the world is about to burn down in a plague. But I guess that’s hope for the future…hope that the venue will still be viable, hope that we will still be able to have art shows. Hope that we’ll all still be here to send work and hang work and see work.

Here was Tuesday’s drawing. I didn’t draw yesterday. I did other stuff.

Maybe I will draw today. So Tuesday night, the man went to bed early, because he’s working these awful long shifts that basically leave time to sleep and eat and little else, so I finished the lettuces on the last of the October Folk Tails blocks.

Although this was the 2015 block of the month, I didn’t start working on it until March of 2016…so I’ve officially been working on it (on and off) for four years. Yeah. You read that right. A lot of times, I just worked on it once a month at my stitching meeting, and then last year, because I was doing the embroidery patterns, I barely worked on it at all.

Anyway, as I finished that grasshopper block (well, it’s missing a road and flowers), I realized it was time to stitch all of it together. Holy moley. I had some larger bits sewn together, but pinned some more parts…

Sewed them until I had two long strips…

There’s still plenty to do…that hen has no feet, for example.

I feel like I’m going to have to go back through all the instructions to fill in everything I’m missing. Plus it needs ten tons of grass sewn everywhere…

And the road needs to be continued down through the bottom three rows…

I stopped there, because I realized I needed to sew over onto the other blocks and they weren’t sewn together yet. Plus apparently a hut is supposed to go there. Uh huh. Barely fits.

And there’s a spare monkey too.

So there’s still plenty to work on. It’ll be another year. Plus borders! But it was exciting to get it to this stage.

Girlchild is still cooking up a storm…and posting artistic photos.

The result of that photo was cheddar scallion English muffin bread. Very good.

So yesterday, I did quilt for a while…although the machine was being cranky…

As always…

Luna was being a pain…kept trying to hide in the quilt and climb everything in the studio while I was on a video call with stitchy friends…

Trying to get the light right, so the computer has to be in a specific place. Interesting commentary for how I’m going to do this when we start for school. There are a limited number of places that are lit right, have seating, and stay quiet even when people are here. And there are a few people here. Four adults take up room. I’m lucky to have a variety of spaces for people to hang out in.

And cats. Cats can hang out too.

While I was on that call, I cleaned up the huge pile of papers and crap on my desk. Well. I cleaned up most of it. I’m not sure what to do with the other part of it.

Wait for another day. Although the word from on high is that I need to start grading things. All right. I’ll do that.

Then last night, I wanted to start the second one of the Applique Stories blocks…Anna Maria Horner sends 8 fabrics and no instructions basically, and then you make a block out of them. Of course, most people make this flowery bouquet-type things, and I make naked women. But I like this…the one on the right is from January’s fabrics and then on the left, you can see what she sent for March.

I picked the backgrounds…which was hard in itself, let me tell you. Trying to find a color that won’t overwhelm the given fabrics, or clash with them either…it’s difficult. The blocks are about 19×20″, a totally random size that I can’t explain. They could be finished together, but it probably makes more sense to finish them separately. I’m not fusing anything…just cutting pieces and then stitching them in place…and then doing some embroidery. Slow work.

That one fabric just damn well set itself up to be breasts…seriously. How could I NOT?

These are a challenge. I would never put these together. I like a challenge.

I wouldn’t even BUY half these fabrics. That’s what I love about this. Really. It’s fun.

I probably did this for 2 or 3 hours last night…walked away, walked back…added a bird. No starting drawing.

No nothing. No more fabrics than those 8. Honestly, those 8 are the challenge.

She was off balance, so I added the hand…here they both are…oh wait, the hand is still missing.

Must have added that later. Oh well. I can keep adding if I want. Tonight I have a Zoom stitching meeting, and my plan is to stitch stuff down during the meeting. The actual stitch down is easier to do while it’s flat, rather than trying to hoop it. The pieces are really only held in place by a few pins.

Anyway. So that was the last two days. I’m coping. I’m not sick (yet?), but question every cough and sore throat tickle. I know people who are sick. I hope everyone is OK. I know the world will be a different place when this is done. I’m sad about that…like all of you. And sitting and waiting is not my superpower…I’m glad I have the art to keep my brain occupied. Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you the missing hand…but I’m thinking she needs fingernails first…

Normally, Right Now…

Normally, right now, I’d be staring at a pile of grading…actually, no, I’d be at the chiropractor, and she’d be adjusting me, and I would have just finished tutoring, because Tuesdays (it is Tuesday, right?) are LOOONNNGGG, and then I might decide not to do any work tonight because I’d done so much of it before. This week, we’d be starting our ecosystem part of the unit, which we were in the middle of trying to rewrite, because standards-based grading has changed how we assess kids. When we got told we weren’t coming back until April 20, we proactively picked up and moved everything on the calendar for that three-week time period, realizing we were going to lose most of the second-to-last unit. At this point, I suspect we may not come back this year in person, which brings up the question of what CAN we do remotely, and how in the hell are we going to teach sex ed this year? Or are we? It’s just unclear. And overwhelming at the moment. Worry about getting sick, about family members getting sick, already seeing friends getting sick, pile that on top of worry for students, worry about our jobs (if they figure out we can do this on a computer, will they just get rid of some of us? Will our kids even log in? OK. So let’s not dwell on that.). Let’s focus on the present. My head likes to dwell on the future What Ifs, which doesn’t really help.

What did I do today? I recorded three chapters of City of Ember for my students. I attempted 50 minutes of pilates with no equipment and a crazy woman who bends better than I ever did. I swore at the computer. I walked the kids and dogs for 2.35 miles. I avoided the cops. Apparently that’s a thing in the town right next to where I live, where they might pull you over and ask you why you’re out and about. I avoided humans, except for the three I live with. One has been at work for hours. I barely saw him last night. He has one more day of a hellish shift and then four days off. I potentially have four Zoom or Discord meetings in the next week. Wait. Five. I think. I refuse to wear a bra to any of them.

The series continues.

Managing anxiety is not easy without a pandemic. What helps in a pandemic? Blue skies and beautiful fluffy white clouds. Puppies. Kittens. Stitching. Reading. Drawing.

See? Much better. Making art, of course.

Yesterday, I pieced a backing for the quilt out of some light-damaged fabric I got from my SIL ages ago. I think that’s where it came from. I’m not sure if it came damaged or if that happened here, but it doesn’t matter if it’s on the back.

Yup. Those are some hippos on lime green. Great backing. I managed to pinbaste the whole thing last night…

I realize as I get older that this kneeling on the ground thing will get harder to do, but it still works for now. Keeping kittens off it took some assistance from the man.

This is funny. Luna’s like, “Hey Dad, WTF is she doing and WHY CAN’T WE PLAY WITH IT?”

Well yeah. You can’t. Every cat I’ve ever lived with at some point has skidded across the room into a quilt laid out on the floor and destroyed what I was trying to do.

In the middle of pinning it…every time I do this, I end up throwing one or two pins out because they’re too dull or they won’t close right any more. I never seem to run out.

I don’t know how that works. They must be breeding.

At this point, they can smell the edges. It’s all pinned. Can’t hurt it now.

So it’s ready for quilting. It’s a good thing I ordered batting before all this shut down…I didn’t have anything big enough in the house.

I’ve been lax with the two social-media things I’m doing this month, but #igquiltfest yesterday was Favorite Fabric. I’m like, yes, all of them. This is such a small subset of what I have…

It’s my palette. I have lots. I love all of it. Seriously, I tried to get rid of some once because I was like, there’s stuff I never use, so I was going through the drawers and only found like one fabric I thought I could get rid of. Now I just figure those will end up on the back of something some day. I haven’t bought fabric for backings in other two years. I just use what I have. Sometimes I piece it. Sometimes it’s something someone sent me. I don’t care. It’s on the wall. Who’s gonna see it?

Girlchild has been cooking up a storm…it’s been tasty.

I have to cook for myself tonight. I will survive. Somehow I persuaded her to prep the scones I like too…I think so she would have photos for Insta.

Because when I do it, they’re never lined up that nicely. Remember that for when I post MY photo. It’ll be like a jumbled mess.

She likes to cook. I don’t mind it, but I’d rather be doing other things. I stitched a little today, just wooly bits, because my head was being mean. Shut up, head.

OK. Well I haven’t done all the things on my list for today, but I did do about two hours of exercise. Still haven’t hit 10,000 steps for the day. During a normal school day, that’s easy. It’s a beautiful day. Spring is here. Weeds need pulling. I have sunflower seeds I could plant. I have a quilt to work on. There’s a bunch of food in the fridge, although we’re running low on eggs. I have nowhere to be tonight or all day tomorrow. Everyone I know and love is still healthy or managing their illness, as far as I know. I’m still OK. Not normal, just OK.

What’s Up…

Well. Here we are. Hello America, in all your stages of pandemic closures or not. Here in San Diego, schools and libraries are closed. Restaurants are supposed to seat people far apart, 50% capacity. Bars, nightclubs, etc are supposed to stay closed. They haven’t closed gyms and fitness centers…yet. Businesses are still open, but emptyish. I did some errands yesterday…tried to stay away from people, but some haven’t figured out that social distancing also means not standing right behind me in a line. Sigh. The man is at work. I called the parents and offered my delivery services, and they laughed it off. It’s a weird world.

I’ve been doing a lot of prep work on brainless block-of-the-month applique stuff that I can just sit and stitch without thinking. That’s sometimes all I can do. I’m reading a book. I’m petting a lot of furry beasts. I haven’t been able to get my head around grading anything or school stuff yet. I did post one video Friday night for the kids who missed a lab station last week, and then sent a parent email from all the team for things they could do over the break…

I’ll get to grading eventually. Maybe today. Start with something easy.

When we heard the libraries were closing today, I persuaded the man to come out to the downtown library Saturday for an exhibit I’m in that just opened. I took pictures and will post a link once I’ve written/resized all that.

I’d never been to the downtown library until last week. It’s an interesting space.

I posted about help and studio friends for #igquiltfest and #marchmeetthemaker. I have a core group of about 4 or 5 stitching friends. Some I’ve known for 30 years and even when they move away, we try to ‘meet’.

Sometimes in person…sometimes not. Even as an introvert, we need the connections. For most recent finish (can’t remember if that’s #igquiltfest or #marchmeetthemaker)…is this one…Connected at the Hips

And my current project as it was on Saturday…

I straight up didn’t get much done on Saturday. My brain was in a nose dive. I ironed maybe 100 pieces…

Sunday, I got almost three hours in…much better…

I also got some video done for my Patreon…should get processed and posted today…

This is the space I need to be in…

So many shows and openings are being canceled or are up in the air…

But I can still make. I’ve got about another 125 pieces to go on this. So yes, I ran out yesterday and did this…

I use a lot of blue for outlining.

And I did lots of cat/dog watching…Luna watching birds as I watch her…

I guess my paper roll has multiple uses now.

Nova in sleepy mode…

Plans for today? Thrift shop, assuming it’s open, to get rid of some clothes that have been lying around…

Luna when you close the bathroom door…

No privacy here…

Nova destroying another piece of furniture…

They are destructive beasts…when they’re not adorably sleeping together…

Yin/yang cats. I think we’re going to a plant nursery to get a plant for the big hole in the back yard. Then walk the dogs.

Out in the middle of nowhere. My dentist called this morning and we rescheduled to July. I have a jury duty notice coming (oh that’s funny). Book Club rescheduled to April. So now I have time to finish the book. Not sure what’s happening to gaming…that’s Friday. As of tomorrow, I’m distributing food at school three days a week. Let’s see how this goes.

Stay well. Stay sane. Love you all.

I Guess I’m on Vacation…

Wow. So it’s a surreal world today, isn’t it? My principal announced in the last five minutes of 2nd period yesterday that school would be out for the next 5 weeks (the last 2 weeks are our Spring Break anyway) and the crowd went wild. Literally. Like wild animals. Fun stuff. By the end of the day, each class was down 7-10 kids, which made it much easier to teach. Some kids cried, some whined, some were planning trips to venues that will most definitely close down in the next few days. The teachers were torn…on the one hand, this last week was really difficult and the 3-week stretch to Spring Break seemed endless. On the other hand, holy crap, had to get my classroom ready for deep cleaning before I left, post a video of the lab 1/3 of my students missed, make sure I had everything I needed out of the classroom, fill a big bag with stuff to grade, and then start processing it all last night. My kids who need the free breakfasts and lunches every day. The kids on suicide watch. The kids who prefer to be with their friends. How to come back after 5 weeks and get them back into the middle of a unit. How to behave for the next 5 weeks. I’m pretty good at self-isolation in general, but I do run errands and go to the gym and all that. How crazy do we get? Hard to know. Weird shit.

OK. Well. First of all, I have two shows that are essentially closed down, one for three weeks. That’s the Southwestern show. I think they reopen April 5. The library show is open today and tomorrow, and then the libraries close Monday until April 6. So I’m going to try to see it today. At some point, I have to ship two pieces out of here…but I think I have a week or two to deal with that. My head is whirling between what I SHOULD do, and what I CAN do, and what I NEED to do. My Spring Break is usually pretty straightforward: spend a day or two getting the errands done and then drive away from San Diego with a bunch of camping equipment. I have three weeks until we hit that, and who knows what will be happening then. So I can spend three weeks grading stuff, exercising, and making art. Sleeping in. Peeing when I want to. Trying not to worry.

This is the show at Southwestern College, which should be open after their Spring Break…you can see my two pieces on each side of the sculptures…

Looks good. Wish I could see it in person…but I will hopefully be traveling. To campgrounds. With a lot of cleaning supplies.

Ah, who knows what is happening in three weeks.

I’ll try to take pictures at the library today.

I was so bamboozled last night that I just sat on the couch, petted animals, and downloaded books from the library.

Eventually I came in the office and processed the video I needed to put together for my students. I stayed late at school yesterday and recorded all the pieces.

At one point, I was sandwiched between a warm and purring Luna…

And a warm and not-purring Simba…

Which helped enough to get my brain where it needed to be to come into the safe place…

Where the iron (and Kitten) was. I ironed and talked to my SIL (who is in Seattle, a week of self-isolation ahead of us, but with 3 kids cooped up with her). My niece, a senior in high school, has dropped her first official song on the world, on Spotify and iTunes…check her out.

My favorite part is when she sings about how she’s not dramatic. But dramatically. There’s also a great video of her and her mom dancing to the song while my brother reads. Which is about how it always is.

We all find ways to entertain ourselves. Boychild and I have a hike planned for Monday. Or walking the dogs. Same deal. It’s the only day with no rain.

I got all the 300s ironed together…I think it’s time to start ironing the flesh together.

I also woke up at like 2 AM with an entire drawing in my head. So there’s that. Tonight maybe?

Calli. You are a goofball. OK, well, again, wash your hands, stay safe, whatever that looks like for you. Stop buying all the toilet paper and rice. There are other healthier grains out there, people. I’m going to go shower now and venture to the post office and then hopefully to the library show. I don’t know what’s happening beyond that. Can’t process it. I guess I’m on vacation.