I Don’t Need Shoes…

We are a week out from starting school with kids. First we have to contact all of them and make sure they know how to sign in to a class and get their schedules and class codes and Zoom links and internet (holy hell, my internet has been awful today)…but I need to know WHO I’m contacting before all that happens. Ought to be interesting. Meanwhile, temperatures (actual temperatures of the air) are rising and everyone is hot and why do I have to start wearing a bra again? Sigh. Ugh. So here’s something about being an online teacher. I don’t need pants. I don’t need shoes. OK, I might stand up and do something for class, but odds are, I don’t need shoes. I might need slippers when it gets cold, but not shoes. It will be a shoeless school year. I will have to wear a bra most days though. Time to get used to those things again.

Today, I made a bunch of videos about how to use certain apps and websites, and posted those, and started trying to do some other school stuff. I sat through a total waste-of-time training. Hopefully the next one is NOT a waste of time, but you know, when you have to turn your camera off so others can’t see your extreme eyeroll and because you know you have one of those faces that everyone can read…well…that does not bode well for professional learning.

Deep breaths, new school year. I see you and I will get through you, hopefully still standing…on my bare feet.

Yeah. Think some of the crazy through a little bit.

I did finish tracing the Wonder Under last night…820 pieces (or so…had some with a’s and b’s because I missed numbering them) in exactly 11 hours. Weird to be exact like that. So this is about 5 1/2 yards of Wonder Under…

Covered in little drawn pieces…so that’s probably 6 hours of cutting stuff out…

I also am still embellishing these squares and rectangles…only getting through about three a night…

It’ll get done eventually.

Here’s the fence…actually done…

And here’s the Bird Poop Caterpillar chrysalis finally…

Its horns finally showed up. Apparently they show these red horns when they feel threatened, but I never saw them. There’s about 5 more caterpillars on the tree…yes, I sacrificed lemon tree leaves for these future butterflies.

I walked yesterday. Apparently I’ve done 150 miles in my hiking boots since March 2nd…

Yes, my hiking app keeps track. Impressive, eh? Well, it could have been more.

This bird was definitely perturbed about the tree disappearing.

More rocks getting painted and left outside…

I love those.

And last night, trying to go to bed earlier (and failing)…the moon was beautiful and orange and my phone camera just couldn’t handle it.

Kitten slept right through it.

I don’t know that cats care about the color of the moon. OK, another training starts in 18 minutes. I’m not feeling good about this school year, I have to admit. Those people dissing us teachers for “not wanting to go back to work” (yes we do…we want more than anything for it all to be normal again, whatever that is)…you don’t know what our job is like…at all. I’m just watching all the experts with their advice about going back, and all the not-experts and what’s happening in schools that are already open. Masks, no masks, cohorts, no cohorts, hybrid, no hybrid, testing, no testing. It’s all very scary. I’ve actually considered in my head what might happen if I can’t go back to teaching, or if the district screws me over in some way and I lose my job. Dear Ivanka…I have done many jobs in my lifetime…I’d like to continue to use my years of teaching experience to impart my love of science to 7th graders…not start over yet again. I already have two other jobs I do that aren’t enough to support me. Deep breaths…I said that earlier. I think it’s the bra that’s causing the breathing issues…I should do something about that.

Late Start…

Hey. Late start. Why? We finished the fence. The front one. The second fence of the summer. You know, I thought this summer I might remodel my office/studio, but that didn’t happen. It probably would’ve cost the same as the two fence sections, but they were more of a priority this year. Maybe next year, the office will get done. I’m just glad to be done with the two fences before school starts. We can plant some stuff and get some wood chips and maybe do some irrigation lines. I hate unfinished projects. There are too many of those already here.

But it meant I’m starting the writing of this right before dinner, and I’m the cook tonight, so who knows if I’ll even finish before I need to start cooking. But I’m gonna try.

I’m still tracing Wonder Under, but I could notionally finish tonight…I think there’s only 250 pieces left to trace.

I’m still working on the central figure…

I finished tracing her whole torso and one arm, and now need to do the other arm and her head.

I have about 4 yards of Wonder Under traced. There are some big pieces coming up, though, so they’ll take big chunks of that. Anyway. Tonight? Maybe? Done?

I also ironed all of the Grow pieces to fabric…

They need to be cut out sometime soon too.

I got all the squares and rectangles sewn down to the Folk Tails borders, and am now embellishing them…

All progress. I’ve gotten less done on the Etsy pieces…I can only do so much, right? And I’ve started working on school plans. So there’s that. Kitten approves only because I’m in here and she’s in here and she likes that I’m in the same place she is.

I also cleaned up a bunch of art stuff that needed filing so I could have more room for school stuff. I’m not done with that, but it’s a start. I need a better school setup in here. Working on a second (well, really, third) monitor and some good storage plans.

See? The cat moves out here when I’m tracing on the light table…

The light table that might be my standing desk for school. I might need another light to do that. Otherwise I’m backlit. Sigh.

This is nice.

So many memes out there. So little time. This one is for real.

Those bastards. Sometimes I have to negotiate for deck time…with dogs. Wet dogs. Wet dogs who want to go in the pool.

But then can only fetch 4 or 5 times because they’re tired and old, and then they’re wet and need to dry out.

I actually made them (dogs and man) all stay outside so I could mop floors. I wanted a clean floor to start school in here. I need to clean up too in here, besides the desk cleanup. I can’t use the green screen feature on Zoom because my computer part that handles that is too old. Which sucks. Because it means whatever is behind me, they can see. And so can their parents. So there are certain places in the house that I can’t be sometimes. Whether it’s noisy or art that might be inappropriate-for-12-year-olds or the disaster that is my fabric storage…I have to be careful sometimes.

Yesterday, the girlchild turned 23.

Apparently in a bathroom. I wasn’t there.

This is true. I need this.

OK, the fence! We needed it to look nice from both sides…

So we did slats on both sides…

I think it turned out really well.

I had to go buy 9 more boards and another box of screws in the middle of the day, after eating lunch and making pancakes to freeze for the next three weeks of school breakfasts.

Do I have a picture of the finished fence? Um no. I do not. Oh well. It’s finished. You’ll have to trust me. And now I can plant things on both sides of it. This is exciting. Notice I have more pictures of the fence than I do of the art quilt in progress. Ah yes, and here is the first Bird Poop Caterpillar turning into a chrysalis…

I’ll go check on it again tomorrow. I wonder what it feels like to like solidify all over the outside and liquefy all over the inside. What happens to the brain? Any memories left after that? Do caterpillars have brains? Or memories? I’m pretty sure I read a book about this in college. Kafka, right? Ugh.

Anyway, it’s dinner time now, for the dogs and the kittens, and then for us peoples. And then artmaking time. Tomorrow is set aside for work work work. Double ugh, but it needs doing. Then two days of train train train. Then work work work for days on end, right? Art will always be there at the end of the day. And maybe my lunch practice will include some as well. We’ll see. I’m wondering how my days will go, how they will feel, without kids in my personal space, without adults around all the time. Will there be more time-wasting? Less? Will I have to do more before or after school hours or on the weekends? Will I have tons of prep to do? I think so but I don’t know so. In two weeks, I’ll have a better idea of what this looks like. In four weeks, hopefully I’ll have it down.

A Situation Made for Pie…

This is my 3,660th post on my blog. That’s crazy. I guess I can add ‘writer’ to the list of shit I do. Although that might have already been on there, notionally. I’m writing less often than I used to. I’m not sure what changed (a pandemic…but I don’t know why it affected my writing time). As of 11 days from now, I’ll be tied to a computer from 8-3 every day, and I can see that having an effect on my ability and willingness to write a blog every day. I may shift to afternoons? Or I may go back to quick and pithy (I’m not great at pithy) every day but Sunday. I don’t know. We’ll have to see how everything rolls. School is starting earlier for me…but I don’t have to drive there most days, so it shouldn’t matter…it’s a little earlier than I would leave to drive to school. It’s a lot earlier than when we started online in the Spring. I’m thinking kids are gonna be braindead in the first few periods every day. Me too, probably. Too many school thoughts right now. That’s actually not abnormal for this time of year.

p.s. If you have kids in school and their district is saying “Teachers are much more prepared this time around. Everything is ready and they’ve been trained.”, um, yeah. No. No, we’re not. We’re not trained, we don’t have access, we don’t have everything ready, and we’re not prepared. We’ll roll, we’ll be there, we’ll have stuff, it will look good, it may even look awesome and work well, but we’ll be panicking every morning and night trying to get there. A lot of it is trying to figure out HOW to do what we used to do or something better. We don’t know what will work yet. We barely had things working before, and now it’s all changed. So be kind to us. You hate us, you love us, we save your kids, we are the worst ever. This job is so hard, y’all. Be kind. Stand up for your kid if necessary and get them what they need, but be sure you are being supportive on your end. I’ll probably have 150 students. Online. I’m scared. I’ll handle it. I have the most awesome team and co-teacher ever, so I’ll handle it. But it scares the crap out of me.

OK. So in other news, I’m still tracing Wonder Under on the newest quilt. I made it to the halfway point and beyond last night…

Of course, the kittens tried to eat one of the lungs on the drawing…

In the center of the drawing. Of course. I fixed it and now I cover the whole damn thing again with boxes in between tracing. I keep thinking they have matured and don’t do stupid kitten things any more. I would be wrong. They are not quite a year old. They still do stupid kitten things.

I also cut out all the Wonder Under for Grow

This is the small Patreon reward for one of my patrons. I’m hoping to pick fabrics today or tomorrow for it.

I’ve mostly been working on trying to get a bunch of stuff ready for Etsy. It takes longer than you would think. I got this on a hanger…

I have a few more to do that way, both quilt tops and embroideries. And this one has its backing on…

I’m still working on the others…these are all the hooped pieces in process.

I’ll get them up on Etsy as soon as I can. I can’t decide if it’s more efficient to put them all up at once or to do a few at a time. My office companions are really no help at all…

You can see the stack with backings ready to go.

I did a little of this one…

And I also sewed most of these squares and rectangles on…

I think there are four left to go, and then they all need embellishment.

I’m in a mood today. I can feel it. I hate that feeling. But it is what it is. For now. It will hopefully change.

Every time I go get the mail or go out to water the front yard or dump stuff in the composter, the dogs chase after me and guard the door until I return…

The caterpillars are still growing.

I’m still waiting on chrysalises. Chrysali? Hmmm.

Sleepy time…

I am never alone…

And my chair is often co-opted.

This is Katie…

Katie is my parents’ dog. She’s visiting as they finish up with selling their mountain cabin. She came and then had vomitous and diarrheal events all over the place. It was fun. She’s on meds and has had fluids but still has diarrhea. I feel sorry for her, but that’s what you get for eating dead things. Dead things that aren’t cooked anyway.

And if you haven’t checked out the girlchild’s podcast…there’s armadillos and Obamas in this one.

Somehow dead things that aren’t cooked reminded me of that. It’s on the i-family of podcastery now too.

So yesterday, I had a hike planned with two co-teachers…socially distant and all that. I’ve done two pieces of this preserve…but not the West Vista loop.

So we started out…it was warm and there was a climb…

But it was outside and there were vistas and birds and plants. We did a lot of this kind of distancing…this was a shade stop going up.

I think this was the view from the bottom person, my science co-teacher…

Actually, that’s a different batch of shade. We liked shade. And interesting trees.

With brand new acorns…

These are not the oaks I have in my yard. But those oaks were there too…plus poison oak, which isn’t an oak at all…and lots of dry and dead stuff… I have Black oaks. These are live oaks? I would have to go grab my book to make sure.

Because well it is August. Black sage…

We hiked slowly but talked a lot and looked at lots of things, so that was good. Including vistas!

I’m pretty sure up there is the Clevenger Canyon hike I did with the man a few years back.

Another interesting tree.

It’s a nice hike. We had asked a random hiker man in the parking lot which direction he would go, and I think he was right. Do the big hill at the beginning, and then it’s downhill a lot and then flat a lot.

So we started at the N (Nature Center) went out to the right and up, then the loop around the top (0.9 and 0.5), then down toward Highway 79, and back to the Nature Center. The Nature Center is not open because of COVID, but is a cool spot from 12-something, so you can use the bathrooms after 12.

Next time, we’d bring sandwiches and have lunch at one of those picnic spots.

We saw turkey tracks and cows and birds…like this Harris hawk…

We think it’s a Harris hawk. Vistas and distance.

It was just under 5 miles in about 3 hours.

I enjoyed it.

We’re trying to figure out how to fit some sort of trail talk into our science curriculum…a video of us talking about rocks in the county and showing them to the kids.

Ecosystems and elements and photosynthesis. All around us. How rocks change…

And why…

And what they’re made of…

This is the hardest part…we have great ideas, but sometimes making them happen gets lost due to time constraints. If I have to be on a computer teaching a class, how do I have time to go record these videos? We’ll have to figure that out. Maybe every Wednesday, we kamikaze out of the house and school buildings as soon as school is out and meet somewhere for that week’s video.

We’re both really busy. We’ll have to find a way to make time.

We can always drag the history teacher with us. She didn’t seem to mind.

This is me trying to figure out what this used to be…

I am a curious sort.

This was another thing…electrical lines. We had ideas…

For earthquakes? Fires? Nah. Just too hard to dig a full footing in this soil…lots of little ones are easier.

I came home and we did food and I did work and some stitching and tracing. The cats are wary of Katie still…so this happened.

Three layers of calicoes. They’re all staring at Katie.

And this morning, doing school stuff…

I wish I could nap like a cat.

Well today is mostly gone. I’m hoping to get some artwork done and some more schoolwork maybe. I’ve done a bunch. There’s always more. And hopefully some decent food. I did get a pie yesterday, but I have to cook it. There’s dinner! Um. OK. Not the healthiest. I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m cranky though. Sounds like a situation made for pie.

Hard Doesn’t Mean Impossible

I have a headache this morning. It’s partially caused by the concrete trucks and related noise from nextdoor’s new pool construction. I can’t really escape it, so it’s driving me more than a little bonkers. The rest of it is school-related. It seems I really shouldn’t go back to a classroom until there’s a vaccine or this virus disappears into the ether (hello COVID conspiracists…I am talking to you. Now leave. You won’t like it here.) I’m hoping not to disappear my job in the middle of all this, but since they were gonna co-opt one of the two bathrooms on the floor for my private use, and honestly, as healthy as I usually feel, any time you show me the list of high risks for COVID and I see mine on there, I get wibbly in my tummy and run to check that all the beneficiaries on all my accounts are still my children…well, I guess it totally sucks to be that person, but I am that person. Online teaching is not my favorite, but for now, I’m doing it with my team, so I will survive, as will we all. The going-back-in-person thing is the bad juju for my body. I also can’t afford to not work. I am glad that hopefully I will be able to do my job without the exposure. We’ll see. I’m thankful that it’s a possibility. I just don’t like it.

Monday night, my brain was just not working, for whatever reason, so I just cut and pasted the other drawing I had enlarged…

There will be too many COVID quilts from me? Maybe. It’s not done…but it’s the right size at least.

Last night, I got my act together and traced all the Patreon reward pieces on Wonder Under…

So that’s what 111 pieces look like. This is for a Patreon patron who gives me a significant amount of money a month, and I appreciate her support.

Then I started tracing Wonder Under for the COVID Daughter quilt…

I finished the first figure, which was about 100 pieces. It takes about an hour for 100 pieces. So I have about 7 1/2 hours to go. I stayed up way too late, mentally debating next steps for work and consequences and fears and all that good stuff, and now I am tired and headachy (my own fault) for lack of sleep. Bless those concrete trucks for their lovely noise. I have issues with noise, if you haven’t noticed. I can ignore children screaming (mostly) and lots of other noises, but construction noise drives me bonkers. Also the humming of fluorescent lights. And you tapping your fingernails together. Ick. Anyway, art progress has been made. I do feel remarkably (or not) unfocused about everything. My school team met yesterday for 2 hours and banged some shit out, and now I feel overwhelmed. That is normal for this time of year, though, so I’m rolling with it.

I bought a bunch of devices for hanging some of my finished small pieces (quilt and embroidery) that are not going to Patreons. My goal today and tomorrow is to get them finished on the devices, photographed, and uploaded to Etsy. The fence wood should be coming in Friday or Saturday, so we can finish the fence next week, right before school starts and I’m online for 7 hours a day (ugh). Progress with tasks.

I worked a little on this one…

The yellow is hard to see. Should have used the blue. Ah well. Blindness caused by embroidery.

I took a long walk yesterday to deal with some of the crap in my head. This was an unexpected addition to this spiky plant I’ve been walking past for months…

And there’s the view of the giant-ass hill I can either go up or down (there are two other hills I can also go up or down…I end up going up one, down this one, and then zigzag up the last one).

Walking tries to clear my head. It’s not always effective.

I try to stay off of Facebook to avoid the crazy shit, but there it is…

First of all, spelling. But I have friends who are good people who can’t spell, so OK. Second of all. Um. Antifa. I really don’t get why people think this is a thing. I consider myself anti-fascist. Now straight up, I studied all these -isms in school, but I had to go read up and make sure I was remembering correctly. Like who isn’t anti-fascist? Besides dictators and their best friends? And Marxism/Socialism, I know those scare people, but it’s just talking about capitalism not being the best for all the people, and maybe we should take care of all the people. I don’t understand why those things are scary. Because you earned your money by pulling up your bootstraps and everyone should have to do that? Well, I’m not telling you which friend this comes from, but I know she doesn’t work for a living. Hasn’t for a really long time. Her husband does though. Must be nice. No really, it must! But capitalism means that some people can’t get a leg up in society, especially with all the racist crap that’s embedded in our society about who gets jobs and who gets to live where and be paid how much. I didn’t respond to this woman because I knew she wouldn’t listen. I do unfriend a lot of these people, and I hovered over this one, but it’s useful to have one or two that I think are nuts so I can read their crazy. Also, protest doesn’t have to be peaceful. It can be angry, especially when us dumbass white folks aren’t listening. For years. But also, Portland isn’t burning down. So much drama.

OK. So there’s cats. They’re easier to deal with…this one is pretending to be flat.

She’s not very good at it.

This one has decided she will climb into the upper shelves of the closet and sleep on my quilt roll.

She dumps a bunch of stuff on the floor every time she clambers up there.

Here’s flat Nova again…

Dayum. Cats sleep a lot. Probably they are lazy and won’t hold down a job, which is why capitalism doesn’t work for them.

Stretchy Kitten. Goddamned socialist. Look at her suck at the tit of my hard work.

Update on the bird poop caterpillars. They are larger. And they have migrated to the stem/trunk of the tree.

I’m keeping track so I know when they go into chrysalis mode.

I’ve been reading here, on the deck…but it is where the concrete trucks are today.

Right over there. Causing headaches.

Yup. That. OK. So I need to do art things today. And school things (videos of mandated reporter and injury stuff and pest management because we will not even be in our classrooms). I might even give up and go take pain meds for the headache. Then try to be chill with my self. Honestly, I cried a lot yesterday and in the middle of the night about work, and I will probably cry again. OK. I have a job (for now). I’m not dying. I’m not sick. I’m not happy, but that’s a normal thing. It will all work out somehow. I should be glad I have some level of choice, even if it’s a hard one. Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It just means not easy.

Taking Scallions for a Walk…

Good news! First of all, I finally finished all that tracing. I haven’t counted the yards of Wonder Under yet, but I will today…I suspect there’s at least 10 yards, maybe more. It was late when I finished last night, and I did have to spray a cat with water twice to finish the last 200 pieces, but I was motivated and she still liked me afterwards (because pets and belly scratches are nice), so we’re good.

I started tracing 11 days ago…

It took 23 hours and 25 minutes to trace 1541+ pieces…

I had to negotiate with kittens, working around my job and their naptimes.

Some days, I only traced for 40 minutes; some I traced for 4 hours.

The next step is to cut them all apart. That’s time-consuming, yes, but I’m hoping it will be less dependent on kitten behavior. We’ll see about that.

I also managed two Sue Spargo dots…still keeping up with one a day. Bottom left…

There’s supposed to be a tiny button in the middle, but…

I forgot about that and kinda like it the way it is. I might find an interesting bead that fits. I had to make it into a flower, because I miscounted the outer fly stitches. I was sure I had an even number. I was wrong. This is why you count twice.

Last night was number 30, the owl, so I am now one third of the way through this…

Here’s the owl again…

I didn’t think it was all going to fit…the key is to just make really small stitches.

My next step is to put all these away. I organized by color…they are (1) the fabrics from the last quilt, (2) stuff I bought just before we shut down, (3) stuff my SIL sent when she was cleaning out her cupboards, and (4) stuff I bought online in the last few weeks. Now to use it all!

Clean first. Use later.

I made it on two walks…it’s definitely cooler than last week, although still warm.

I’m tired of the road. I like walking out in nature. That kid bike was not there in the first picture, but was left there by the time we headed back.

The heat and distance were a bit much for the old lady…

So I let her swim a little afterward. This dog LOVES the pool.

I’m glad someone uses it.

Wildflowers are everywhere. Tuesday, I walked a bunch of scallions over to my daughter at her dad’s house. She’d forgotten them.

Take dogs for a walk? Or take scallions for a walk? Hard choice.

Weird seed pod…

It looks violent.

These cacti are starting to bloom.

But none of the flowers were close enough for pictures. These were…

It was the old lady’s 11th birthday yesterday…

She’s a good girl.

Although a little persistent about the pool thing.

So I’ve done two Zoom meetings so far today…three to go. Ugh. The next three are Boom Boom Boom.

I wish I could be a cat.

I think I’d be a better sleeper if I were a cat. Although apparently I’m not allowed to pee alone.

They really are like little kids. Although…my old lady is in here with me.

Because she follows me everywhere. She brought me three slippers last night.

I don’t know where the fourth one is.

OK, the girlchild is still cooking up a storm…she made English muffins from scratch and they are wonderful…

Especially this one she burned accidentally but that looks like a skull…

She also made cookies, and then photographed them…

Like you do.

And she made pancakes and froze them so I can have them for breakfast…which is awesome.

Plus she scored toilet paper at Costco this morning, so we are set for a couple of months, hallelujah, it’s all good.

OK, three meetings in a row, out by 5 PM? I freakin’ hope so. Then cut some stuff apart. Actually, I may start doing that in the last meeting, although I need to take notes. Ugh. Two computers? Stuck in my office? I’m hoping to do two of the meetings outside. Need some Vitamin D. Do Not Like These Meeting Wednesdays.

I Remember Ye Well…

Mondays are different now. They still feel like Mondays. Sundays are still crazy prep for school, can’t fall asleep because I keep running through how it will all go in my head, literally talking through the script to make sure I’ve got it. I write down the basics, a to-do list, in the morning before my first class, but it still feels crazy, like I’ve never done this before, like I’m gonna fuck it up. Seventeen years in. It’s fine. Really. I’m doing better this week than last week. We have learned from our travails. It will get easier. But normally, by this time of year, we’d have it down, we’d be teaching stuff we know backwards and forwards, and life would be chill. Well, as chill as it ever gets during the school year. Not so this year. This year, not so chill.

Saturday, I spent a good chunk of the day tracing Wonder Under for the new quilt…but first, I had to persuade this sweet asshole (the cat, not the man. He’s sweet. Not an asshole.) to get off the light table. I did record some of the tracing for my Patreon and posted that to my patrons yesterday, just to get an idea of how this works.

It was hot Saturday, so the cats did a lot of sleeping and let me do a lot of tracing…

Well. Eventually.

I’ve got about 8 yards of Wonder Under being filled up at the moment…I started in the 700s on Saturday…

Yes, sleep. Good kitty. And your little sister too…

Although Sunday, they were back to How Can We Be in the Way…

Sunday was a busy day, though, so I didn’t have a chance to trace anything until after 11 PM. Before that, I had an art group Zoom…

Where somehow I got corraled into posting a bunch of stuff…we’ll be doing an art exhibit of masks. So I’ll have to make another one. Apparently.

I also need to start making my Patreon rewards for sticking with me a year. Those are coming up soon. Back to the tracing…I have about 17 hours in and I made it to the low 1000s last night. Getting closer to done! But today is busy and needs to include exercise, plus three meetings/classes, so that’s a lot.

This is Saturday’s dot…it’s upside down in this picture. I really like this one.

Here it is again…right side up…the bottom one.

So much cat hair on black. Haven’t thought about how I will finish this…almost want to stretch it on a frame maybe. We’ll see. Quilting it would be a pain.

Then Sunday’s…wow. What a time-consuming bitch of a beautiful sunflower (you can’t see what I had to do to fix some of those picots).

Luna assisting…

My fingers smelled like the compost. Exciting stuff.

Nice sunflower. Took about 3 hours, I think. Maybe 2 1/2. Couching plus french knots plus picots. Wowza.

Here’s the month of May in my bullet journal, for those who like to see reality plus imperfection.

(The wine was not a factor…I did this earlier). Thursdays don’t really need bigger boxes. Plus document the shit we’re going through. This is how I keep track of life…monthly, weekly, daily. It keeps me on track.

Anyway, it’s all good. I also did some yard work. My goal was to fill two greenery trashcans a week, and I only got one filled, because of the heat. This week will be cooler. I can try again. My grading is done for now…one more thing to do after tonight. I want to be done with tracing by Friday…that’s about 100 pieces a night. That seems doable, although with the heat, the kittens are rampaging around when it cools down, which is when I have time to trace. After this, I cut things out, which will be much easier to do whenever and wherever. I need to decide if I have a suitable background fabric here soon, but ordering that stuff is so hard for me online. Colors are off. I bought a few before all this shut down…in person…ah, fabric stores. I remember ye well. Plus exercise today. I said that already, but I really need it. The heat really threw me. Hope ya’ll are well. I’m tired. We all are, for a variety of reasons. I’m lucky to have people around me who do things. Sometimes.

Stop Saying It…

It’s Saturday. I have declared it a Zoom-free day. Seriously Zoomed out. I do have school stuff to do, but I shifted it until tomorrow. Tomorrow has a Zoom meeting and grocery shopping, so it’s already messy. Today should just be clean and quiet and peaceful. I wish it were cooler so I could walk…maybe I will pull that off later, but it might interfere with dinner. Sigh. I haven’t walked since Tuesday, I think, because of the heat and circumstances of over-Zooming.

I’ve decided that no one can say “I think I had COVID-19 already”. No more. Stop saying it like it’s a good reason to go out and infect people or not. Unless you’ve been tested and you know. Two of the teachers at my school did a small parade for students, which is cool, but they did it IN THE SAME CAR. With no masks. Idiotas. Seriously. What are you thinking? Masks will be mandatory in public starting next Friday here…they’ve been mandatory for essential workers so far and suggested for the public. I’m glad…maybe my grocery store will enforce the sign about masks being required that is in the window now. I’m scared of this thing…scared for me and my friends and family. I hope we all get the super-easy version or even the not-so-super-easy version, where we just feel like shit for a month and then recover. That’s easier than the hospitalized version or the ventilator version or the dead version. But just because you’re healthy and only 30-something doesn’t mean you can’t get it. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

So yes, I remain paranoid. No news there.

I’m currently waiting for the kittens to nap. Yesterday they napped most of the day, and I managed tracing between Advisory and Office Hours for about an hour or so, and then a little bit in the afternoon before they woke up again. Bastards. Nah. They’re cute. Just annoying around big pieces of paper. This was Thursday afternoon’s Zoom, where I didn’t talk much but traced for about two hours. Luna was awake but that was at the end, so I put it all away again.

Calli hangs out with me when she’s here.

It’s gotten really warm in the last few days…this corner of the house gets hit by morning sun, so it can be really warm there.

I’m glad I put LED lights in, because they give off no heat.

I’m in the low 700s, so still not even halfway. It’s not a quick process. I am done with tracing Figure number 2 now, so it’s on to Figure 3.

Last night, I didn’t trace because nobody would chillax and nap. Kitten isn’t the issue. She won’t attack the paper and she moves when I tell her to. Luna? Not so much.

So there’s progress, but it’s slow.

I’ve moved school all over the house this week. Mostly I’m at the desk near the light table, but it was too hot on Friday for that…so I moved into the office. Two computers, only one with a webcam. Plus cat.

It’s crowded in here, not ideal.

I spent a good two hours dealing with video classrooms, then another couple hours putting together the parent email and organizing stuff for next week, making posts and fixing the playlist. So it’s notionally less time than with normal school, but it feels hard right now. I need a better routine. Trying to find everyone’s scores in four different programs, soon to be six? It’s a pain in the butt. Chasing kids down via text and email and phone calls? Also a pain. Explaining the same thing 42 times? No different than in the classroom. I just can’t point to it or show them how as easily. Plus sitting and not moving around is hard for me.

So there’s all the whining out. Again, glad to have a paycheck. Glad to see kids showing up and trying. Love hearing parents say stuff about us in Spanish. I feel for the kids who are dealing with baby brothers and sisters while trying to concentrate on probability and context clues. It’s hard.

Still doing dots…here’s Thursday night’s…

It was a lot of thread colors…just to the right of the cat head.

It took me about an hour and a half while on a stitching Zoom.

Then Friday’s, while on a teacher Zoom…social…apparently…sort of…

It was a simple one, hallelujah…the one right above the blue thread.

It’s a little blurry. Nighttime photography. Ugh. When I finished that, I worked on this some more. It’s not hard…

I’ve got to put some leaves in and I’m done.

On Thursday night, because the kittens weren’t chilling out, I started drawing my April Patreon drawing.

And finished it last night. Today I’ll scan it and clean it up, and post it soon.

I still need to figure out the video for this month and that Space Cat video. Haven’t had the time or mental energy for that.

We need to use the pool more…Simba doesn’t like it, but he does a good doggie paddle.

Calli loves it and would go in every day if she were allowed…

She doesn’t like hot.

I don’t either. I need a better bathing suit though. I don’t like mine.

Kitten enjoys mommy time every evening when I’m stitching or tracing.

These are growing in my yard…fascinating flowers. The leaves poke your eyes out though.

Last photo is the pile of Jane Sassaman fabrics I got in a box from her, mostly discontinued I think. She was cleaning out her studio/stash and offered these up (for money…she’s not crazy)…and I went, hells yeah. I tend not to buy a lot of this type of stuff, because it’s harder to use in the quilts I make, but I’m going to make an attempt.

Why not? Change it up.

So today…some exercise, some tracing, sew a dot, get a dinner from somewhere, and probably watch a movie. Don’t Zoom. Don’t think about school. Don’t think about stupid people who aren’t considering getting sick. Go look at some flowers. Maybe do some yardwork…at least pick up the stuff I cut last night while trying to get the sprinklers to work better. In the dark. Very effective. Stay well, y’all, and stay the fuck home.

Merry Quarantine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was yesterday’s meeting number 3…

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

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

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

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

And the ever-present weeds…

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

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

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

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

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

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

It used lots of colors…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Good Easy Place

I’m finally in a good easy place with this quilt. The torture (not really…I like it, but it’s hard to do if you’re not in the right mindset) of drawing it from my head is done. The man gets irritated that I am always doing something else while watching stuff on TV. He wants me to put all my attention there, probably so he doesn’t have to answer my stupid question that would have been answered if all my attention were on the show. I get it. But I don’t do well just staring at a TV. I do much better when the distractable part of my brain is half-staring at the TV (sort of) so the rest of my brain can do the art stuff. I usually have the TV (or computer) on while I’m making art…but not usually podcasts, because I’m constantly having to go back because I didn’t hear what they said, because my brain was only partially paying attention. I do that with TV too…I just try to pick stuff to watch that’s not that crucial. We want to watch Parasite, but that’s subtitles and those are hard for me. I will do it, because it’s supposed to be good, but it will have to be when I’m NOT tracing Wonder Under. Tracing is easier, less focus on trying to make a drawing fill itself in, but you still have to be watching what you’re doing. My brain likes multiple inputs.

So I have been tracing for 3 or 4 days now, and I have about 350 pieces done. Girlchild in the background…can’t remember what we were watching…

Cooking videos? That guy? Bas-something. He’s funny. I can only trace when the kittens are asleep, which seems to currently be when I am also on the computer for school meetings/class. Which sucks.

Also no one can sit on this couch. Well. One person can, but that’s where I sit and everyone else but Kitten (the grown-up one) seems scared to sit there.

Oh well. This is an art house. I’ve got about 6 yards of Wonder Under going at the moment, most of them with big empty spaces that aren’t QUITE big enough for some of the pieces I’m tracing. I keep them all out so I can fill in all the spaces with smaller pieces.

I’m very frugal with my Wonder Under. Which is funny, because it’s pretty cheap. You can see I’m drawing on one piece and I have at least three others lying around in case I need to try to fit a piece somewhere larger.

This is not a fast process, but it’s relatively easy. I find it very meditative.

So does Calli, apparently. She often is lying there while I trace. This was at night…kittens often sleep at night, although not always.

I’ve been tracing for about 7 hours so far…the bigger pieces take longer to draw, so that makes sense. I’m in the middle of the second and largest figure on the quilt. I’ve done her legs and uterus, and just started the ribs when I realized I need to get up at a reasonable hour to teach these days…so I went to bed. I’m watching Big Little Lies at the moment, in between the girlchild’s Criminal Minds, Bon Appetit, and Virgin River. I’m looking forward to more tracing today, after Office Hours and the panic that comes after that when I realize I don’t know what I’m doing, plus a walk, and making dinner. School is different. It’s not just the three hours on a computer…it’s checking what the kids did and didn’t do, previewing everything for the day, making sure I have everything pulled up and/or assigned, making sure I have a to-do list and have finished stuff for that. I don’t like it, but it’s better than nothing.

I’m still stitching on dots…this is a Sue Spargo thing on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a nice distraction during all this crap. Sunday night’s is the sunflower, bottom left.

I had issues with the bullion knots in the slinky thread…

But it turned out fine. I’m really not fussy.

This is Monday night’s cat…top right…

I didn’t have any cat-colored dots, so I went for green because the brown showed up on it.

But it’s a little chaotic. Oh well.

I also finally bit the bullet and started quilting my first ever wool quilt, a Sue Spargo block-of-the-month named Earth & Twig from I think 2012. It’s been pinbasted for a long time. I can’t say I’m the best quilter of wool…it’s the embroidery getting in the way that’s a pain in the ass, but it will get quilted.

This one actually has a lot of open space on it, so that will be interesting. I kind of want to add some quilting to the larger birds and animals as well, but thread color will be an issue. I don’t have the stash my mom has. We’ll see.

I did more yardwork on Sunday…the goal is to fill the two greenery trashcans every week with whatever seems to need pruning, sweeping, or weeding. There’s always a lot of it. This week, we cut up most of an acacia bush we liked but that had been knocked over…to see if it will come back. We also (wait, what’s this WE shit…I did most of it)…I also trimmed the bougainvillea and one large honeysuckle bush on the road, and then weeded sort of randomly. No one in their right mind could get all the weeds and grass that’s out of place, so I just go for what makes sense. I found more caterpillars…

This morning, the milkweed had three. I want more milkweed, but am not shopping at garden centers right now. I can; I just haven’t. And the avocado tree we planted has new growth…

It’ll be a few years before we see avocados on it.

I had one helper yesterday in my Office Hours…

They are not actually very helpful.

He gets a lot of cuddles…and sometimes he gets tired of it.

Like maybe there…

He is a cuddly sweetheart except when you’re combing twigs out of his tail. Then he bites.

This one kneads any sweater or sweatshirt I leave lying on the couch.

And this one needs attention whenever she’s awake. Luckily, she’s old, so it’s not often. She does follow me wherever I am sitting/standing.

This is from the book I finished yesterday…in general, I enjoyed this book, but this was heinous.

Does this mean the author doesn’t understand knitting? Because they aren’t sharp enough for that.

OK. Lots of tracing today. Some exercise. I’m not sure what else. I know I bought a bunch of stuff for painting that will be arriving by the weekend…well, and I just ordered something else that won’t be here for another week, but I can start with what I’m getting. I got a bug. An itch. Something. It’s a paint itch. Don’t question it. It’s related to a bunch of markers I got for Christmas. So I’m looking forward to all the supplies showing up. But first, I need some lunch before Office Hours. Hopefully they will be better today than they were yesterday, but it’s doubtful. Too much staring at a computer screen.

An Attempt at Control…

Trying to buy stuff online that I normally buy in a store. On the one hand, I’m grateful I can even do that; on the other hand, it’s not always the right thing or easy to find or possible to get it relatively quickly, whereas if I went to the store, I’d have it, but I’d also have COVID-19 if I did that all the time, and then we’d overrun the hospitals and it would suck for everyone. So I try to think about “do I really need it?” and “can this be put off for a while?” and sometimes that helps, and sometimes it’s just annoying. Much like all of this. We’re grateful we’re not sick and/or dying and that we can be at home and still have money coming in (not looking at the future with that right now, because my salary is paid by taxes and those will be an issue in the future with so many losing their jobs), so we can buy things and decide not to buy things. Each time we venture out for buying (usually food…groceries obviously, and then the occasional take-out to keep restaurants going), we are amazed by what people are not doing…not wearing masks, not keeping their distance…and it makes us wonder what people think about all this. And when people are protesting “their rights” about the virus, when it isn’t just their rights…it’s our rights as well. I guess that hasn’t changed at all…just the focus has…their right to go out vs my right to determine the state of my female body.

It is the state of the world right now…crazy. With an attempt at control. I’m managing small bits of control. I think I have a plan for teaching…for Monday. I’m not sure it will last after Monday, but maybe I have a plan for the week? Who knows.

Friday was just a bit of chaos. I did manage to finish drawing the big one…

The key really was waiting until the baby kittens (who are 7 months old now) are both asleep. Well. They aren’t always asleep at the same times or for the same amount of time, just like real live human children, so to finish the last bit of this…

I had to lock Luna in the bedroom for a bit. Because she wanted to play. With the paper. In a destructive manner.

In doing so, I was able to finish fairly quickly. Well. It took over 13 hours to draw this. I do know a lot of that time was staring off into space, but that’s the thinking part of the drawing and it has to happen. An awful lot of it happens while I’m doing other things (like sleeping), but also when the paper is there in front of me.

For some reason, I thought this was in the 50″-square range. Oh no. It’s way bigger than that.

71″ square. All right then. So then comes the numbering. Also needs to be done when kittens are napping. I did some Friday night…then it was too late and I was tired, so I finished Saturday morning…1541 pieces.

Well. That’s equivalent to last year’s big piece. I’m good with that.

I need something with a large focus right now. So the next step is to trace all the Wonder Under, another task that kittens are highly interested in. Luckily they napped for a good long time yesterday, long enough for me to trace most of the background land…

So that’s a lot of big pieces. I’m expecting to be tracing this all week, hopefully with kittens asleep at useful intervals. Since I’m starting school tomorrow, I don’t have as much flexibility with my time as I used to. So it will be a bit more difficult.

Here are the sweet babies awake and alert.

They have been in high-destruction mode lately. I had to cover this so Nova would stop tearing bits off the top of it…

Here it is before the destruction, with all three cats hanging out in my maker space.

OK, it’s true that large portions of the house are my maker space, and there are many things the cats would like to play with in all of those spaces. I do my best to keep them out of stuff. And then they want to be all cute and cuddly and lovey.

Sigh. Evil beasts. “Oh. You’re on the computer? I’M on the computer too.”

They are sweet, adorable, and monstrous.

In a year’s time, we will miss all the kitten shenanigans. Well, Luna I think has shenanigan as a middle name, so maybe not, and Nova eats paper and plastic now and will probably never stop.

The stitching continues with the snowflake dot.

Easy. Nice to have an easy one. Some are really time consuming.

Like Saturday night’s dot…

The one to the right of the blue thread ball. It looks simple, but it took a lot of time.

I also finished all the official bits on this, and now am just adding lots and lots of grass.

Everywhere. I’ll be here for days. Or until I run out of thread. Whichever comes first.

I’ve been trying to fill the greenery trash cans every week. It’s Spring, so there’s lot that needs cleaning up and trimming and weeding. My partner in yard work has been missing though. I did see some of these…

Which is nice…

I still think someone eats them before they become chrysalises. Sadly.

And the lime from a friend that we planted is growing and flowering…

The boychild did make it out to help me make a decision about a bush we had that the tree guys pushed down by accident. It wasn’t growing in the right direction, so we trimmed it way way way back and we’ll see if it will come back. It has the weirdest seed pods…

So bright! We don’t know what it is though…here’s the leaves and the pods before they dry out.

I have a trashcan and a half full right now…another half to go before tomorrow.

Yesterday brought a long walk…

Same walk as always…

This is where the construction on the path was…they spread a bunch of dirt out and there were just a few footprints…

I think maybe they didn’t want us on there, but whatever.

That’s Cowles Mountain in the distance. Not allowed to go there.

But I can go here…mustard…

And there’s the fam.

We passed each other going opposite ways…

See, it IS Spring…and there are hawks…

OK, there are always hawks…

They left Calli behind because she was limping again. Old lady.

She was very upset at being left behind.

OK. The plan: groceries and tracing Wonder Under and not panicking about school tomorrow. All good. It’s Sunday. I say that to remind myself. I don’t care if you don’t want to know what day it is. I need to.