Citrusy Sauce

One of the ways I keep track of the days of the week during school is by the day I blog. And I’m off this week. Missed it on Monday, so did it Tuesday. Yesterday morning had two morning meetings, missed it again, so here I am on a Thursday. It’s not the end of the world, but it does make it harder for me to figure out what day it is. I usually announce to my Advisory students what day it is, and it’s more for me than them, and sometimes I’m wrong, and they think that’s weird, but then a bunch of them have no idea that today is JUNE. It’s June. Finally.

You know there’s two kinds of people in education: the kind that count the days left of the year and count the day they haven’t survived yet (me) and the kind who erases that day from their count because it IS that day. I don’t understand the latter. At all. I have 11 days of school left. One of my principals yesterday told me it was 10 days, and I’m like, the FUCK it is. I feel like those in the classroom know WAY BETTER than admin how many days are left. Grades are due in 9 days, I need to do award certificates, someone else is dealing with breakfast food (I do certificates so I don’t have to do food), I need to figure out what I’m wearing to graduation. Although the way the weather is going, it may be less of a worry than originally. Normally it’s hot and sunny, but it’s been May Gray all last month, maybe 5 days of sun all month, and this morning is just as gray. I’m still wearing socks to school. I know that sounds weird, but usually I’m in sandals by now. My heater is still coming on in the morning. It’s set for 65. Weird.

In awesome news, My Body. My Choice. got into another show, No Boundaries at the Virginia Quilt Museum. It will be on exhibit July 11-October 7.

I love it when work gets to be all over the place. West Coast, then East Coast. Good stuff.

I recently decided not to enter a show because (a) I didn’t really have a lot to enter and (b) the museum show that went with it is a museum that has previously pulled my work due to nudity. I decided it wasn’t worth the stretch to find pieces that might be OK to enter. I would have, I think, if I’d had more work. That’s what I need: more work. The newest quilt (still unnamed) goes to the photographer today. I spent an hour last night ironing it, cleaning it up, and packing it up for delivery. It took 146 hours to make. I started January 1 and finished May 28, but also did another smaller quilt in the middle…which better get into that show. Well. Honestly. It may well not. Oh well. I tried.

But the next newest quilt has been percolating in my head since last October, and although it has existed in many different versions, I know I have limited time to get it done, so I tried to keep it simple. Unlike the last one, where I went all out into Complicated Detail City.

I finished the drawing on Tuesday night…

I don’t actually even know if this is the right way up. It could go many ways. I turned the paper as I was drawing.

And then last night, I numbered it…

I’m usually pretty clueless about how many pieces there will be until I do this. I knew I held back on detail (except for the satellite and the Mars rover…just couldn’t be simple) so I’d have a chance at meeting the deadline. That whole thing where I’m gone for 10 days in the middle is going to complicate stuff. But it only has 545 pieces; I think the one I did in the middle of the last one was about that many pieces, and I was able to finish it in a month. Granted, part of that month was Spring Break, but part of this month will be Summer Break, so I should be able to pull it off. Also, I’m pretty much (almost) done with lesson planning, although I spent an hour last night editing some sex-ed video shorter, and I still need a graphic organizer for that, and an academic question for 8th grade. Unless I blow that off. So I think this quilt is doable. Tonight I’ll start tracing on Wonder Under, finish that by Sunday? Get it all cut out by the following Friday, start ironing to fabric next weekend, be done with that by the following weekend, then trim it all and start ironing it together before I go to Seattle. I can do this.

Already thinking about what will be on the next quilt: womens’ rights, banned books, and owls. What? Owls? Hey the owls fledged! This is 5 weeks earlier than last year. I thought that third owl was an interloper…turns out, there are three babies and they are partying it up in the evenings…I caught all three (blurry, you should try to take photos with a phone in the dark) in the tree across the yard the other night (the third one is further up, around the corner).

And then the following morning, they were up early and messing around…

This is around 5 AM.

I think I was also up at the time, but just to pee and go back to bed.

They are adorable. And loud. Honestly. They are. This group has been practice screeching. Freaks the dog out no end. Probably my neighbors too. Sorry. Not sorry. Taking care of the rat population y’all. I say that, and I had made some juice out of my tangerines and there was a lot of pulp. The rats have been eating out of my tangerines hanging on the tree, and I’m like, I’m not wasting this, so I put it out in a bowl and they ate it all, so now the owls can have rats with a citrusy sauce. Dark, I know. Cycle of life and all.

Someone took pictures of my quilts for me…one of Desert Mother at Quilt National (I don’t have the book yet, but I know the one is the background is Sky Trippers by Dinah Sargeant, and the other one is called Fig, by Maren Johnston).

It’s the first picture I’ve seen of my piece at QN.

They also took a picture at Art Quilt Elements, where Coronawood is hanging.

I don’t have info on the other pieces. I also need to update my Gallery page on this website. So I will. When I have time. Dunno when that will be.

OK. Meeting this morning. Not sure why. Some mom request. Then teaching reproduction vocab (not really teaching…just making them do the things) and finally building bridges. Hopefully. Then deliver quilt for photography, cook dinner, read my book, grade some things? Maybe not. And trace Wonder Under. Hopefully get more sleep than I did last night. I don’t know what was going on, but I don’t think I got more than 3 or 4 hours. Too much awake, uncomfortable, noise, couldn’t switch off. Which sucks. But it’s Thursday, so close to the weekend. Always good.


‘Tis a miracle, my loves. We have almost reached the weekend…although at the moment, weekends are fraught with chores and paying bills and catching up on the shit I couldn’t get done during the week. Plus I thought taking a Zoom workshop for 6 hours on Sunday sounded good, so now everything has to get done before then. Hmmm. Maybe not the best choice. Certainly that was behind my thinking as I stayed at school until 6 PM last night copying stuff for the next two weeks because (a) there was actually paper in the copier, (b) there was no one else there, and (c) now I have a “free” prep (full of grading and/or until someone plops something on their to-do list into my time, which happens on the daily). So yeah. Tonight will be working and finding things for the workshop and filling out an exhibit entry form to make up for the reject earlier this week and then writing a script for 6+ minutes of talking. Don’t get me wrong, I can do the talking, no problem, but not when it’s timed and related to photos, which also, I have to find. By tomorrow. Tomorrow goes until midnight, my time, I’m sure.

But it is a Friday and that means we have survived (knock on wood, we have today to get through) another week before Spring Break comes along and gives us a much-needed break.

I persevere with the cutting…this is Wednesday night during book club…

I graded two weeks’ worth of homework before I started cutting. And I did a little after book club too.

Then last night, I had major internet issues and a quilt Zoom call, but I managed to get some time in…

I know there are hours left to cut out in that top box, but I see progress here. Maybe a light at the end of the cutting tunnel? Hard to say. There will be more tonight and tomorrow night.

Someone posted a picture of my quilt Swallow Me Whole at the Excellence in Quilts exhibit, currently at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg.

It’s there through April 9…cool to see it. I wasn’t expecting to get into this show because they had size restrictions and mine was completely and totally outside of them. But there she is.

OK, I might actually FINALLY be getting my septic fixed. First guy flaked, second guy thinks he can do it today, but IDK how much this will cost. Ugh. Stomach roiling over that. I know what it should cost for the first part, but the second part might be an issue. OK though, it needs to be done.

Off to school. Microscopes today. Could be exhausting. What’s new? Not much. I’m going to try to fit in a walk this afternoon after work. I need some physical exertion to deal with the stress. Maybe LOTS of physical exertion. Hmm.

Lots of Practice…

It’s weird that after having a longer weekend than usual, with more opportunities for rest and relaxation, that I felt so incredibly tired and worn out yesterday. Welcome to burned-out teachers, a good 6 weeks earlier than we usually burn out. Shit. Make that 8 weeks. The stretch from here to Spring Break is long, y’all. We will all find a way through it, to be sure, but yesterday’s multiple hits on kids moving from here to there with no discussion and no warning…I could do without those surprises. I feel for the kids as well. It’s rough switching teams midyear. And I still don’t have a sub for Friday…suspect that will still be the case on Friday. I had a sub. I planned ahead. This is only the second day I’ve taken off all school year. I keep saying that…honestly, teaching shouldn’t be a competition like that. We should be able to take days when we need to without worrying about what we’re leaving behind. Certainly with what politicians and some parents keep spouting to scare off future teachers, the shortage isn’t going away. I’m really looking forward to this weekend…being able to see quilts and people who like quilts and doing stuff away from home that aren’t school-related. Yes, I will come back to an insane pile to grade, but whatever. That’s always the case.

The insane pile to grade is why I’m not getting much ironing done on the new quilt…just 45 minutes each night, and it’s been mostly staring at fabrics, trying to figure out how they’ll all fit together in a pile of rocks against a pile of sand with an owl in front of them. That’s a lot of earth tones that need to work together. The next quilt needs to be all wild and crazy colors, whatever I want, to make up for all this realism. I have a pile of themed shows coming up that need stuff. I’ll look at it eventually, decide what to do.

Swallow Me Whole is at the Virginia Quilt Museum…Excellence in Quilts opened yesterday…

Talk about anxiety in a big-ass quilt.

Monday night, I managed a little ironing and then pulling these rock fabrics together.

I ironed those last night…along with some owl stuff. Nothing is going quickly…

But there is always more fabric to use. I think there’s 7 in there for a tiny owl, plus the 7 for the rocks in an area that is maybe 5″ square. I’ll reuse them in other parts of the quilt…or at least I’ll try. There’s a lot of thinking going on, thinking about colors and shades and how they contrast (or not). Tonight is a bunch of rocks (more!), a coyote, and a lizard. I think the lizard has some color in it (blue!). Anyway. It’ll all get done eventually and it will look really good and I’ll be really pleased with it (I hope), but right now, I can’t see that yet.

I came home to a rainbow…

In my neighbor’s yard, it looked like, although someone from work posted a picture of it from there (bigger and better). A reminder that beautiful things are out there even when the daily stuff is hard. Meanwhile, I’m getting texts about the stupid mask shit that’s coming down from our district. Don’t get me wrong, I hate masks…and eventually we’ll probably stop wearing them everywhere, but I’d really like to see more of my students vaccinated before that happens. See sub shortage commentary above. When teachers stop testing because they can’t afford to be out for 10 days? What is the issue here?

OK, school calls. Presentations today…yesterday required a lot of cajoling and assistance, and in one case, I had to hug her and repeat everything she said to the class because she was losing her mind, and I remember losing my mind in exactly that way in middle school. Now I don’t have that issue, but I’ve had lots of practice in between.

Checks Good. Bills Bad.

Y’all, never apologize for mailing me a check. Seriously. Someone just did. Actually, she apologized for not TELLING me she mailed a check. I’m still good. There’s a check coming. Thank you…you may have made my day. Continue on! Mail me more! Checks good. Bills bad. That’s how it works.

Meanwhile, ugh, I am tired. Yes. I know I keep saying that. I woke up this morning groaning. I have a neck/shoulder thing that started the first week back after break and keeps coming and going. I was supposed to have massage/chiropractor today after school, but the masseuse has COVID. Fuck me. Well good luck to the chiropractor on moving things. Laughs hysterically. I know, first-world problem. Also PAIN. Also I think I slept so hard last night that I didn’t move for hours and I was on that shoulder…not the best choice, tired sleeping body.

It took me a while to fall asleep, though. Not because of school (common) or life in general (also common), but because I’d taken about 10 minutes last night to cut out pieces for the next Molli Sparkles Cut It Up challenge block, so I could sew it together (actually sew THEM together, because I’m making two because I couldn’t just pick one), and I’m lying there post-meditation with a cat on one knee (awkward) and another cat under my armpit (see shoulder pain above) and all I can think about is that I didn’t cut the corner squares and I wonder if they’re the same size as the other squares, like I don’t have the fucking instructions pulled up on my computer. Actually considered getting out of bed (no no no) to just cut them out at midnight instead of falling asleep like a normal person.

It’s the things you can control, right now. And I can carefully cut out squares and sew them together and it distracts my brain from the other crap that I can’t control. Like how I’m going to fit 3 hours of work into a 51-minute prep period today AND get tested for COVID.

Last night was nice otherwise…spent time with stitching friends and stitched a really annoying stitch (Pekinese) which is taking for-freakin’ ever. Then cut out these blocks (not enough of them though) and then traced. Most importantly, figured out how to add PBS Passport to the TV so I can watch All Creatures Great and Small (when the TV is not bogarted by people watching political angst) while tracing.

I haven’t been taking enough pictures of tracing, because it all looks the same. I did finish the FUCKING SKY last night though. I’m on piece 495 and it’s body parts. Finally.

I have to admit that this photo is from Wednesday night, when I had not actually finished, because I was so tired last night that I didn’t photograph the pile of Wonder Under. I think I have 5 yards of Wonder Under in process at the moment…with big swoopy pieces on them and lots of spaces in between that will hopefully get filled with plant and body parts. I’m 9 hours and 40 minutes in. LOOOOng baby.

So this is our science prep room fridge. We’ve been making too many or too few copies…no happy medium. So this is our new number. Plus an inspirational message.

Because we’re only halfway through the school year and I want to pull all my hair out and crawl into a pillow fort.

I’m reading Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence. I love Erdrich. I don’t love that this book is set in Minneapolis during 2020, with COVID and poor George Floyd and all that, but I do love this.

Because I have that too. It’s weird. I’m never sure where it comes from. Like there’s another person inside me and this is them. If you haven’t seen my quilt Swallow Me Whole, it’s in Virginia right now for the Excellence in Quilts exhibit that opens February 15…some of that is in there. I guess I could put it here too.

Yeah. That.

These were sort of fascinating.

The repeating of shapes but not. Plus the pops of brown.

Wednesday’s sunset was glorious…

Stand in the parking lot gorgeous.

The girlchild is in Paris…

I’m a little jealous.

Oh yeah. The QAL from the beginning of this post. I need more squares of the stuff on the left.

Not hard. I can do that. Of course, I picked directional fabrics because I’m crazy.

OK. Going to school. Gonna do everything I can. So is my chiropractor. Then I can come home and collapse? Or keep tracing. Yeah that one.

Do I Need to Make Gravy?

Today I will be celebrating Black Friday by cooking a turkey, mashing potatoes, and eating a lot of carbs. Wait. I know this was supposed to happen yesterday, but a goodly number of us out there end up doing this more than once with different people. Yesterday, I was lucky and didn’t have to cook, but got food, thanks to the man’s fam. Today, I am in charge of some things and the boychild has stepped up to be an awesome stand-in for his sister, who is in Finland.

No explanation on that photo. At least he is wearing a mask.

I have barely exercised in the last week, due to illness and then just being busy and/or mentally incapable, plus it got hot all of a sudden, Santa Ana winds bringing the 80-degree temperatures to November again. I’m hoping for a hike tomorrow.

Today, though, I have to go buy more cheese because it was moldy and I need it for the green beans, and then I need to pick up my brining turkey from the ex’s house (my fridge was full),

so yeah, that bucket is coming back in the car, and then make potatoes and clear off the table and shit, we need two more chairs, and every time I walk in the door, I miss Calli lying totally in the way and lifting her head to say hi, or until the last week or so, getting up and whining her helloes with a toy in her mouth. Ugh. I miss her. Lots.

I graded yesterday, finishing off three assignments and ignoring the idiotic email from a kid asking why I was returning one of them (because I graded it, sweet dingbat). I also read my book and cleaned up a little and wrote down the details of a drawing that popped into my head at Pilates on Wednesday, and finally booked the AirBnb for QuiltCon in Arizona (I’m taking two decidedly NOT modern quilt classes), thus committing to the largest event with people that I’ve been at since…well…since school. I CAN DO IT. I figure the AirBnb over a hotel is not only cheaper, but will give me a small space just for me where I can decompress from all the people. I’m weirded out by going alone, but maybe the man will come and hike instead of quilting. He’s not really a quilter.

In awesome news, Swallow Me Whole got into Excellence in Quilts, and I figured I was out of the museum show, because it was way too big (I have very few pieces that will fit a 30×30″ requirement), but they emailed me and asked if I would send it, all 76″ x 66″ not-really-a-square of it, and I’m like YEAH I will, so it will be at the Virginia Quilt Museum from February 15-April 9, 2022. Enjoy it!

Last time I had a quilt in Virginia, Fox News was all over it. Let’s see how this one rolls.

Yes, I also have been cutting things out. I was so close to done last night, but I was tired (early morning skunk wake-up call) and didn’t have another 45 minutes in me…here’s Wednesday night’s progress…

Actually, here’s 5 nights of progress…

Start at the bottom right…first night…and you can see the piles changing size. It’s the only way I can see that I’m getting anywhere…and here’s last night’s…

Toldja I was almost done. Tonight for sure. But first, roasting a turkey and mashing 4 pounds of potatoes or maybe 5 or is it 6? I just don’t remember how many pounds of potatoes I can eat. And family…hanging out with my own people for the evening. They won’t care if I wear pajamas, although I will shower first. Then I can sort the pieces and maybe start ironing the whole thing together. The next quilt is already drawn in my head, which is cool. Just have to get it out on paper. I have more to grade, as well, but it’s not all getting done before we get back no matter what, so I’m going to try not to stress about it too much. Although now I’m wondering if we have gravy for tonight. Do I need to make gravy? Shit.