Anchored Down in Anchorage*

November 15, 2017

I’m feeling awesome because I’m three days ahead on the quilt! For now. Shhh. Don’t break the spell.

I had tutoring after school yesterday and taught a lot of one- and two-step equation-solving. Math…I used to be good at it, but now my brain freezes sometimes when trying to do it. I wonder if what I’m doing makes sense. I wonder if that’s because I don’t use it as much as when I was younger. I have to talk myself through solving a problem: I paid blah and he paid blah and we each owe half so without using an Excel spreadsheet, how do I figure that shit out? Ugh. I feel like quilting makes me Math all the time. Yesterday, I had to measure the drawing and figure out how much yardage I needed for the background. That’s math. I do have to draw it out, though, because I’m a visual learner. I don’t have a problem admitting that.

But first I graded more stuff, because that is the way of the teacher.

Some weird twisted chain stitch and some star stitches on the far right…

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And then I cut for another hour, making it a total of 9 1/2 hours to cut out all those pieces. I started last Friday and now I’m done. Not bad.

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I was tired and I knew I had to be up early for a meeting, so of course, I went ahead, grabbed all the boxes I needed, and started sorting Wonder Under…

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There’s the requisite glass of wine, a boxful of pieces, and 14 boxes ready to go, all labeled with part numbers etc.

This is a new one for me. I don’t usually forget to write numbers on the pieces (then I can’t figure out where they go)…but I did it not once, but three times.

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Sheesh. Brain dead much? It’s OK. It’ll be obvious what they are once I start ironing. It’s like the one kid who didn’t put her name on the test…if she’s the only one in that period, then it’s easy. It’s only if there’s more than one and they don’t have distinctive handwriting…then I’m fucked.

There they all are sorted. That took almost an hour. I wanted to quit about 300 times, but I persisted. As always.

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So I can start ironing to fabric tonight? Well, first I have to clean up in here and put all the fabric away from the last one, plus I need a background fabric (hence the measuring and mathing from the night before). It’s on my calendar for after school. Looking forward to that. But first, I’m going to see what kind of chaos I can create in the classroom today (yikes…three days until vacation for the kids…this is where they turn into scary beasts, worse than a full moon). I can do this…

*Michelle Shocked, Anchorage (song note: I was born in Anchorage…some day I’ll go back)



So Take That Look out of Here*

November 14, 2017

My new oatmeal tastes funny. I couldn’t find the old stuff. Instant, but low carbs. I don’t need a million carbs for breakfast, but on a cold morning, a quick and easy oatmeal is nice. So the new one, ironically, being low carb, is way too sweet. I’m sure they’ve been uber-healthy and used some fruit juice or something, but blech. Yeah I’m a diabetic who doesn’t like sweet things. More irony. So I’m forcing myself to eat it because I need food and I hate wasting food (Hello Grandma…that’s you talking)…but yikes yuck blech.

Yesterday, my students started a new unit, so I got to draw…I know how meditative that is for me, but I was noticing how it worked for them on a Monday as well…just time to sit and color. To interact with the new content merely as pictures first. They were relatively calm for a Monday after a 3-day weekend…a Monday before getting a whole week off…

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It didn’t take me all day to color it…I was done in 4th period…so I could grade stuff.

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But then we had a 2-hour staff meeting afterwards, watching a video. The guy we were listening to was fine, although I don’t focus well at 3 PM on a Monday after teaching all day, so I had to draw to stay awake.

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It was a long video…

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I’m not disagreeing with the guy…I just think I’m already trying to do what he says. Not quite at the level he does, but I’m not sure I needed a video that long to get it. I fully understand the difference between equity and equality…there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes to do all the things teachers are supposed to do. Teach content. Take care of their basic needs. Give them the self esteem they’re lacking. Teach them the difference between their, there, and they’re. That one alone is a bastard.

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I have no great insights after all that. But it makes me feel better about how I was trying to deal with the one kid a few weeks ago.

Home to the dogs and grading a couple of assignments (I’d really love to go into the week off with no grading…which is just about impossible)…Simba got his toy to stand up.

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I did two nights’ worth on this…that weird chain-stitch R shape and some pistil stitches below it.

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I don’t know why the dogs were so tired…they did nothing all day…

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This one is really tired apparently.

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I cut out another yard, the second to last one. I should have been more focused and finished, but I wasn’t. Tonight hopefully. Although I still have to grade.

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Then I can sort and start ironing to fabrics…early! That’s a plus, for once. I’m looking forward to that part.

*Big Country, In a Big Country

You Put the Load Right on Me*

November 13, 2017

‘Twas a productive weekend…I finished grading 2 or 3 assignments, didn’t finish a bunch of other stuff, hiked a mountain, cut out a ton of Wonder Under, and replaced the headlight in my car (with help). That was an achievement.

We started late…the goal? Clevenger Canyon South, apparently 4.3 miles (a fact we questioned multiple times), on a day that was supposed to be cooler than it felt. The wonder of San Diego is the temperature can be quite warm in the mountains, even in November.

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We climbed a lot in the first mile…and if you’d told me I was hiking to that rock (and beyond) that you can see on the ridge, I might have given up. But no. We kept going…

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Looking back here on the trail we’d been on before going down into the canyon, where it was obvious one of the fires had gone through here (2007)…

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So this little guy…I just about stepped on him. He never rattled…he never even moved. I noticed him, yelled snake, moved my foot further along than I had been planning, all in a matter of seconds. Yes, I realize we’re lucky he didn’t strike…because that’s a baby rattler and he wouldn’t have known to only dump some of his venom in my calf. It would have been an interesting hike, I guess…

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From further up, the canyon is down where the green is, although there was still no water.

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Evidence of burn even on the rocks…

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Looking to the north…

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And to the south…actually, my car is way way down there…

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This was our goal: two metal chairs bolted to a boulder.

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And a view to die for. Well. Not die. But we were glad to get there…

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It ended up being 4.65 miles, mostly up for the first 1.7 miles.

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And the way down was super fast. Yes…we were to the left of that rock most of the way to the far left peak. We didn’t do the last 0.2 miles to that peak. We had the view already.

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Poles were helpful on the way down. The snake was gone on the way down.

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More evidence of burn…

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And then this was delightful…just remember that what looks like a scary dive bar on the outside houses a lovely bar with cool refreshing drinks and snacks on the inside…

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Then last night, I did some feather stitching on this, above the righthand eye.

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And I cut out a bunch of this…while watching a show in Icelandic. I think I’m semi-fluent now…

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I think this was actually the night before…

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There’s more of that in a bit, but these photos are from the Threads of Resistance exhibit, which made it to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Minneapolis, Minnesota over the weekend. As always, I’m behind the sign…

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And the curtain…

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I kinda wish they wouldn’t hang the signs on the quilts…

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But I’m in good company back there…

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So I’m a woman of a certain age…who knows if and when I will ever have another period (NOT complaining), but the app updated and now it ignores perimenopause completely. I find this highly amusing.

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And kind of a metaphor for women of my age (ignored). Whatever.

I graded more videos yesterday…at 3 minutes per kid, it takes a while, so I poured a hot cup of tea and grabbed my stitching, so I could listen better. It worked.

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I got the hippo done and part of the sun…

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For some reason, this month’s stuff is taking forever to stitch down.

Puppy was tired…but he wanted to be near me and my Wonder Under…

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Sometimes more near than others.

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I did about 5 hours of cutting out yesterday and 2 the night before, so I have a hefty chunk done…ahead of schedule.

Speaking of schedules, I need to get my butt outta here and to work. More progress tonight, I’m sure.

*The Band, The Weight

Happiness Hit Her Like a Bullet in Her Back*

November 11, 2017

I never get as much done on a day off as I think I can. Somewhere in there I lose about 4 hours and then it’s dark and dinner time. I can’t really explain it. Time travel or something.

Anyway, most importantly, I walked the dogs yesterday. It had been a while, just because of the weather and the time change and life in general, so I tried to walk them into the ground.

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The puppy was tired about halfway in, but he always gets a second wind when we start back.

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It was a nice cool day with pretty clouds interspersed with sun…

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And very few people on the trail…

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Mostly they were all at the beginning of the trail having their holiday card photos taken. Apparently a popular spot.

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I wanted to tell the one girl she was probably standing in poison oak, but whatever.

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Certainly if she stood on one of those gourd things with her spiked heels, she would never get the smell out.

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I have no idea why these are flagged…

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Maybe there’s seeds in there? I just don’t know…

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Anyway, the dogs were tired out for a bit. They were very excited to be walking, so that’s a good thing.

I did something on the left. I used to be so good about telling you what stitch and where and what color. Not so much by day 314 apparently.

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Then back to the tracing. This photo is for Sion…because yeah, they are smaller than my fingernail. I could stitch them or paint them or whatever, but I don’t. I cut them out of fabric.

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I am aware of my insanity, yes.

So I finished…8 yards total…here’s 5 of them…

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And the other 3…

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I got one cut out last night, the easiest one, the one with a big empty space on it. Calli was supremely helpful.

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It took 15 1/2 hours to trace everything. Usually it takes less time to cut out the Wonder Under.

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I want it all done and sorted by next Saturday. It seems doable, although I do have a bunch of stuff to deal with this week.

Supposedly I am hiking today as well, but it might mean bouncing someone out of bed. Which seems mean, because I got to sleep in yesterday, but…with the day ending so early, it’s gotta happen sometime.

I’m really excited about this quilt. I think it will be very cool looking. I can’t wait to see it.

*Florence and the Machine, Dog Days Are Over

Try to Steal Your Mind’s Elation*

November 10, 2017

I’m so off task at the moment. I love having an extra day…it gives me the ability to BE off task. I worked last night on school and art. I will do more art today, but so far, I’ve put dinner in the slow cooker, cleaned the kitchen, partially cleaned the floors (more later?), talked to both kids (text) and my SIL (phone), and petted all the animals multiple times. I slept in too, although that was an animal management issue. Dozed might be a better word for it.

I spent 3 1/2 hours tracing last night. I got past halfway. Far past…good times. But first, I graded by watching 56 videos of 7th-graders explaining their ideas. With a blood-orange cider to assist in the process.

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And I did two nights’ worth on the right side..some French knots and another stitch whose name I can’t remember.

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At some point, I’ll put together a photo slide show of all of these over the year. Because that’s a good use of my time.

Then tracing…

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I got all the way through Mindhunter’s first season, and then tried to finish Genius, which makes Einstein out to be an asshole, but a genius. Hence the name.

Yes, I did trace individual teeth. I can’t explain that. I just do it. The finger wrinkles (creases? are they wrinkles or creases? hard to say) are smaller, but I do them. There’s a lot of big pieces in this thing, so I don’t feel bad about it.

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I just draw what needs to be drawn.

Puppy was cold…

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Her sister, not so much. She’s such a sleeping freak.

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I have a lot of these piled up to cut out in the next week.

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I keep track of where I am on the tracing…just the number isn’t good enough…I need WHERE the number was. So you can see I got a ton done last night…

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Only 300 or so pieces left to go. Another three hours probably. I can find that today…I think. I need to take these fluff balls out for a walk at some point…

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And do some schoolwork. And more housework…and maybe eat some ice cream. Although that’s probably not necessary. Enter a couple of art exhibits…that too. But also just relax and enjoy a day home with nothing that is mind-bendingly crucial to do. That’s a joy in itself.

*Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication

And You Got to Take a Little Dirt to Keep What You Love*

November 8, 2017

The morning starts with Apple disabling my ID. That’s always nice. Perhaps later you can crash my computer again and then maybe delete all the grades I input on Monday. I’m not out of the woods yet…it’s still verifying my existence. I could be no one all day.

That might be nice for a while.

I traced for a good solid chunk of time last night, but I wasn’t particularly fast about it. First I finished my book for book club tonight. I read it in 3 days flat. It wasn’t that good unfortunately. Calli wanted to play instead of watch me read.

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Simba was perfectly happy to sit on me while I read.

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Yes! An actual book from the library.

Then I did some red-orange blanket stitch around the eye on the right.

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I also sewed the hippo down on that other piece, and then I decided I could trace while we watched another difficult movie, but I had to fold the drawing so it didn’t cover the couch, since someone was sitting on it.

Sometimes it’s hard to pay attention to something on TV and trace, but I really don’t like just watching TV and not doing anything else. It’s very hard for me to do that.

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I think I’m in yard 6 or something. There’s a lot of big pieces on here, so they take up more space. I traced a baby and then most of her torso, except for the heart. I’m in the mid 300s…no wait…400s. I think. Must be for me to take 3 hours to do it.

You can see how I try to fit the smaller pieces in the spaces between the bigger ones. I don’t like to waste Wonder Under…

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Well I’ve spent all this time trying to clear my Apple ID and it’s still disabled. So I guess I get to call those assholes later…you know, between school, my union meeting, and book club. Laughing hysterically. Ain’t got no time for that.

Speaking of time, gotta book outta here early. Tonight? If I have the energy to stand for another hour or so, I’ll be tracing.

*Tonic, If You Could Only See

Can’t You Hear You Talk Too Loud?*

November 7, 2017

Sometimes I wonder why I try to get enough sleep, go to bed earlier to prep myself for the week or for early meetings. Because then I’ll be working and I’ll totally lose track of the time (like you’re supposed to) and then it’s almost 1 AM and I still need to go to work the next day. Whoops. Oh yeah. Two jobs, sometimes three…sigh. I did about 2 1/2 hours of tracing Wonder Under last night. AND made dinner from scratch. AND finished grades. Plus I had to go buy more Wonder Under after school. I should have gone over the weekend…if I’d thought about it…because it would have been on sale. Oh well. Life goes on. And it’s getting dark so early. Ugh.

I did two nights’ worth on this first…on the left side, fly stitches in purple and lazy daisies in pink…

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Then after dinner, I started tracing. I got all the way up the landscape on the other side, and then started tracing body parts…

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In this photo, you can see the dog sprawled on the other couch…because the paper from this is covering the couch in front of the light table. I finished tracing both arms up to the shoulders, all the hands, and the torso below them…

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I’m up to the high 200s in numbers, with about 3 1/2 hours in total. Usually it’s about an hour per 100 pieces, but the stuff down below was pretty complicated to trace. So I’m figuring about 16 hours total. So with Friday as a holiday, maybe I’ll be done then. We’ll see. That’s my goal. I really want to get all the ironing done the week of Thanksgiving. But in my head, I keep deleting next week (seems a relatively good attitude). I wanna go straight into a week off.

Not happening. I have to deal with school next week.

So I keep forgetting I actually have more time than I thought. Finish tracing this week, then cut it all out next week, ready to iron going into the holiday week. Sounds good. Plus the copyediting that’s coming in that week. Gotta balance it all.

These guys. Man, Kitten looks pissed. Look at that face. To her credit, Satchemo is kinda socially inept. Sigh. The two of them will hopefully get along at some point.

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I was still tracing when that happened. I said I would just be half an hour…it was more like over an hour, because I got into it and forgot to look up at a clock. I’m on the third yard of Wonder Under…big pieces do that.

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Should be tracing time tonight, but I will have been on my feet all day, nonstop walk and talk, so we’ll see what level of energy I have after that.

This guy…barkarama…

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This was after I closed the windows and doors that gave him access to whatever part of the house had an animal outside it…or maybe it was the helicopter that was circling out there after midnight. Probably he was just looking for a lap on which to sleep. I don’t have those when I’m standing and tracing all night. Poor baby.

*Caesars, Jerk It Out