Scheduling Some Zoom Meet-and-Greets

I’m trying to schedule some Zoom meet-and-greets for my candidacy in the upcoming D200 election — if you’re a local voter and would like to participate in one, please feel free to drop your time preferences (weekdays during the day, weekday evenings, weekends, more specific if needed) in the comments. Thanks!

I hope to have a schedule of events posted by tomorrow (Tues 2/23).

Wait for Spring

This is apparently the week when 9/10ths of my students suddenly fall apart and stop handing things in. I am chasing after them in e-mails and Slack messages, begging them to give me something that I can grade, please, because even a C- is better than a 0 for your GPA, I promise you. (And please don’t plagiarize even if you’re exhausted — I’d rather see a short paper in your own words than a full-length one that’s half-copied off the internet.)

Everyone around me is hitting walls, getting cranky with each other, failing to hand things in, no longer able to motivate to anything that requires the slightest bit of discipline. (Professors don’t want to do their grading either, I promise you.) Many of us have been working so hard to be good for so long on the pandemic front, and that is exhausting. We have used up most of our discipline, and haven’t had a chance to refill the well. Combine that with being trapped inside, cold weather, economic difficulties, grief and loss, illness, etc. and so on, it’s a perfect storm.

My pediatrician friend tells me that all the therapists are booked out for months. Maybe one thing we’ll take out of this pandemic is a new appreciation for their work (apparently there’s been a huge surge in people moving into the public health field; I hope the same happens for mental health), and for the value of attending to our mental health.

We are not machines for work — these bodies and brains can only take so much before they start to break down.

Me, I’m trying to go easy on myself and my staff and my students. Let us spend the rest of February, and maybe most of March, just doing what has to be done, all right? Identify what’s absolutely essential, use what shreds of discipline you have left to do that, ask for help if you need it (co-working with my husband or a friend sometimes helps me force myself to work when I’m feeing super-avoidant, like having a gym buddy). Extend grace to those around you who are missing deadlines, forgetting appointments, etc.

And then for all non-essential work — let it go, as Elsa says. It’s winter, and those of us in cold climates should be hibernating now. Be like a bear, curl up in that nest of blankets with your phone and TV and a hot beverage of your choice. Bake something sweet for yourself and your housemates, if you feel like it. Wait for spring.

I Bit the Bullet

I bit the bullet and signed up for Spoonflower Pro membership ($249 / year). I just signed up for one year, because I really don’t know how seriously I’ll be doing fabric design a year from now. But the free shipping + one week turnaround + other benefits seduced me; I think I’ll make my money back within a year, possibly within six months. Eep.

Jasmine +

Hm. Spoonflower has a way to make it easy for people to design a repeating image, where you draw a single image, and then choose a half-drop or half-brick repeat. I was sort of hoping this jasmine I drew would work for that, but I don’t love the way the repeat lays out (easier to see in the smaller-scale version than the tablecloth, this is a half-drop).

I think I probably want to actually do this as a real seamless design. Which takes more time, but on the plus side, I can scatter them around and rotate and make the final pattern omnidirectional. So it’ll be good, if slower.

Of course, this also raises the question of whether. I want anything else in the image. Just jasmine? Jasmine + unicorns? Jasmine + elephants? Jasmine + monkeys? Jasmine + other flowers I haven’t drawn yet? So many possibilities…

Dreaming of Tropical Beaches

Playing with color. One tricky aspect for me is that I basically love all blues, so I have a very hard time picking one or two for a design, and I also don’t love yellow, so it’s almost as hard finding a yellow I’m okay with.

I’m sort of glad I’m not a real designer, because if I were, I’d have to work with colors that were difficult for me all the time, because they were trending that season. Instead, I can just have fun. 🙂

I was dreaming of tropical beaches for this set.

I Like the Blue Best

I still like the blue best, but I added a few more spring / Easter colors. Cute for baby clothes, I think, as well as bedding, tea towels, etc.

(Only okay for table linens generally, because they’re not omnidirectional, which really is better for table linens, I think. I need to figure out more about how to make good omnidirectional designs — easier with flowers than trees!)

Hey, do I know anyone with a baby / toddler who is willing to have their child model my fabric sewn up into clothes? You would tell me the child’s size, I would sew (amateurishly) some clothes and send them to you, you’d take adorable photos and send them to me? This is not actually a good deal for child modelling in any serious way, to be clear, but I also am not expecting to sell much, if any, in the way of fabric for kids’ clothing. So mostly, this is just if you’d like to help me out. I would try to sew clothes that wouldn’t immediately fall apart on you, but the stitching would probably leave much to be desired.

I suppose I could try to sew clothes for the cat or dog, but I’m pretty sure they would not cooperate with the dressing or the photo shoot.

Badly Needed

So far today — slept in ’til 10 (badly needed), stayed in bed playing phone games for another hour, eventually came down for breakfast + coffee + two episodes of Outlander and more phone games.

By 1, I felt rejuvenated enough that I could coax the kids through a serious clean-up of the first floor — moving furniture to sweep and vacuum, that kind of thing. By 3, everyone was getting a little tired and cranky, so I sent them off to relax for a while (well, Kavi has homework, but at least it’s not hard labor).

Realized I hadn’t had lunch, also, I wanted scones. So made a batch of experimental vegan coconut-lime scones, recipe forthcoming if they come out well — about to come out of the oven now.

Next: tea and scones with good Irish butter, then I’m going to try to put together my political calendar for the next six weeks, figuring out when I have time to do some Zoom meet-and-greets. I’m going to limit those to 25 people each, so people have a chance to actually talk to me and get a little more in-depth with questions.

I’m also planning on hosting at least one Facebook AMA (Ask Me Anything), where I set up shop here on Facebook and just keep answering people’s questions in a thread for as long as I hold out. 🙂

And then after that, a little grading + sewing for the evening, I think. If I get a real energy bump, I may try to work on cleaning the second floor with Kevin and the kids, but if it doesn’t happen today, c’est la vie. Surely one floor being clean is sufficient for pandemic time?

(Photo of little Valentine heart garland I made a few years back — cut out lots of little felt hearts, stitch them together with pink thread. Very simple, rather sweet. Hung with a few pink glass hearts in the duranta tree.)

Hopefully as Good in Person

I spent 9-5 on political work today — iGov meeting, candidate responses to questionnaires, candidate forum. I was pretty tired after that, so I goofed off for about four hours after that; Polytopia has a new tribe you can play, so I did that while watching a season of The Chef Show, which is pretty entertaining, though I think you get more out of it if you watch the charming food movie Chef first (on Netflix).

Eventually, though, I started wanting to ‘make’ something again, so I spent a few hours tonight watching Outlander and creating a new design. Unicorn Woods. I like it in all these mock-ups, but I do wish Spoonflower did clothing mock-ups too, because I think these would be great as silk pyjamas. 🙂

Will spend some time tomorrow on more colorways, and then order proofs — hopefully they look as good in person as they do on screen!

Activist Toolkit Guide

The Activist Toolkit Guide is up for River Forest. which includes me, since the high school covers both Oak Park & River Forest. In addition to the candidate questionnaire I sent them answers to, they include several relevant links. So much work they’ve put into this. We’re very lucky.