I Like to Color…

Another early morning. The parent didn’t show yesterday. I got an angry parent email this morning. Yesterday I called a parent and now I will be meeting with them after school with their kid so I can explain all the stuff that’s in the email we send out and that she gets, but she needs to see it (I’m actually totally OK with that one…it’s just the timing that’s rough). The meeting today is with the principal, so as long as he shows up mostly on time (he’s got littles), I’m good. At some point, we need to finalize the field trip stuff today…yesterday at 9:00 PM or so the texts started, trying to get groups fixed and wondering how we aren’t gonna end up burning the whole zoo down and letting all the animals go. I think I know which chaperoned group will do that too. They’ll have my phone number. Minor issue. I can almost guarantee one of the teachers will be making their group race across the zoo to grab that one kid who can’t deal. It’s possible all of us will.

But it’s the zoo! And outside. And not in school. So tomorrow should be cool. Once the buses leave school, a sense of relief hits and you know you can get through the rest.

Until then, things are tense. I have a good team. They help. I need another brain, but that’s not a team thing.

Here’s the current unit cover page in process…

I need to color it today. Plus the other thing we did yesterday. Lots of coloring at the moment. I like to color.

Yesterday after school, I went to a neighborhood gathering…the house above me finally sold (again). They’re retiring to Mexico and a young family with a baby is moving in. So we’re surrounded by screaming. The boychild and I will respond with music and whatever else keeps us sane. We’ve said all along that house is not kid friendly…and I wonder how a young family affords it, but I guess I was a young family here 21 years ago when we moved in. That makes three families with kids…as they get older, maybe they’ll be able to dog-sit. You never know. My neighbors call me an enigma because they never see me. I imagine they are all talking amongst themselves at tea parties and cocktail parties while I work into the late hours. Plus I don’t garden much.

Anyway, it’s change. No more cigars! I hope. That smell. Ugh.

OK, so after all that, I graded the rest of an assignment (grades are due again in less than two weeks) and then cut out the last of this…

FINALLY. I’m so frustrated with the lack of progress on this. But it’s OK. It’ll be fine. It probably won’t be done until Christmas. It’s not the end of the world. It took almost 12 hours to cut out all the pieces. I started on November 26 and finished last night. I really wanted to be done the week of Thanksgiving, plus have the whole thing ironed together that week. HA! Oh so funny. I will sort pieces tonight and hopefully start ironing it together. Friday night is questionable for that…got an artist talk plus it’s our anniversary of meeting each other, me and the man, so we’re going to celebrate that. Then his holiday work party is Saturday. I’m hoping to get some ironing in on Saturday anyway, but there is still a major assignment looming over me. Sunday has us moving a tree (don’t ask). Next weekend, we’re in Portland. Strange timing…but it’ll be fine.

There was lots of kitten activity last night…Nova is totally about to attack Luna’s tail…

They play really well together…

And then we had Luna sleeping on Simba…lots of belly rubs for Simba so he didn’t freak out.

We had a cat, Midnight, who he just loved, so we’re hoping he can love these cats too.

Calli is bigger and clumsier…but she also sleeps a lot, so she’s been walked on a bit…and sniffed.

She’s still pretty scary though…which is funny, because she doesn’t really care about cats. She is a little bit frightened of their sharp bits, I think.

You have to watch where you sit, walk, stand, step, and lie down right now. There are kittens everywhere.

Anyway. They’re nice. Although we all have stab wounds at the moment, mostly from Luna. Kitten still hasn’t really warmed up to them…although they mostly stay in one half of the house and she mostly stays in the other half.

OK. Meeting. Need to make lunch. Need to figure out all the pieces for tomorrow. I know I’ve forgotten something. Need to take deep breaths. Need to make art at the end of it.

Wet Morning…

The rain is back. It woke me up at 3:42 AM. I don’t do noise well. Eventually I incorporated it into my dreams, though, and I slept again. I’m up early for a totally pointless meeting. Ah, the frustration. I did draw a bunch yesterday. Do I have any of it here to show you? Um. No. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll post it. It’s all school-related anyway. You can kind of track my moods based on the Unit drawings I do. Simple? Complicated? The latter is when I need the brain dump. I was explaining it to one class as Brain Vomit, and there’s this one girl in the back, nodding her head vehemently in the back, OH YEAH MS NIDA. TOTALLY. Those are my people.

My school is doing this Elf on a Shelf contest. I am not really a holiday festivities person. I wanted to set fire to him, but my co-teacher stopped me.

We had chemicals on fire next to him. OK, she couldn’t really stop my setting him on fire. I just had had enough of the toxic chemical smell by then. That face. Sigh. Seriously though…please don’t make me sit through another holiday ‘party’ where I’m assigned a group. Sigh.

More things dropped on my plate last night. It’s that time of year…last-minute emails about this event, last-minute texts about can you stop by? You offer to bring food because it’s the right thing to do, and then you’re going into a store 10 minutes before it closes and trying to find something that fits what they asked for (dude, don’t volunteer.). Sigh. There’s a lot of sighing going on right now.

After I finished drawing the worksheet for tomorrow (yes, there is seriously something wrong with me…), I cut some more stuff out. I am so close to done, but I knew I had an early meeting today and it was almost midnight…

It was after midnight once I found the second kitten to put them to bed. They are excited about the tree coming inside…

This is my live tree. It graduated to the hearth from living on the desk for the month of December…two years on the desk and it was too tall. Next year, it’ll have to be on the floor…then the entryway? Maybe? Higher ceiling. Then we’ll plant it. Then start over.

My Kitten also likes the tree, although she’s not sure about its vicinity to small kittens. Luna viciously attacked this Kleenex (and everybody’s hands). You can see Nova in the background…

She’s not quite as attacky.

Finish cutting out tonight. Sort. Start ironing? Maybe Thursday. We’ll see. It’s a busy weekend too. Maybe I won’t get two done by the end of January. Hmmm.

Oh yeah, I got into the Southern California Contemporary Quilts exhibit that will be at the Oceanside Museum of Art, opening May 9…

This is So Cal Mama. She’ll be there through the summer.

OK, off to school in the rain. To the pointless meeting. Then to make children think about what the Earth is made of. All good. More drawing.


Ah school. Where I lose my voice by 4th period. I really don’t talk a lot when I’m not in school. Not at full volume. Not like yesterday. “EVERYONE FIND ALL THE HOMEWORK IN THEIR FOLDER. NOW PICK TWO.” omg. Seriously. Following instructions is hard, y’all. Now what’s funny about that is that I personally have a hard time following instructions in pilates sometimes (or any class sometimes) because my brain is like WTF did they just tell me to do? IDK how to do that. I spend a lot of time looking at whomever is next to me to try to parse the words heard into action. I can’t follow fast enough some times. Sometimes they use terminology I don’t understand. So I get why students would have issues if there are language barriers. I try to be patient with it. But sometimes it’s not that. It’s a lack of attention or tiredness or just plain assholularity for some. It’s frustrating. Today will be easier. Or will it. You just don’t know.

It’ll be easier for my voice at least. If they don’t finish their shit, that’s gonna be on them. As always.

Kittens put themselves to bed last night. It’s nice that they have a safe space.

I don’t get to see them as much when I’m working obviously. Luna (on the right) gained 11 ounces in the last week. Nova (on the left) only gained 4 ounces. She’s obviously going to be smaller than her sister…although not less attitudinal…just different.

This is cool.

This is why I refi’d the house and did a bunch of crazy stuff. This is the precursor to solar on my roof before the end of the year. Very exciting. Scary on the financial side, but it’ll be OK. IT’LL BE OK.

I did finally cut some stuff out. After a week.

Almost done. Yay! Shit. Gotta go to work. More tonight. Art that is. And grading. And cats. All good.

Move On and Make Something…

Reflection is both the savior and bane of being a teacher. Constantly reviewing what we taught, how they learned, how it went. Oh god, that was horrible. Hey, they really got it! And all the places in between. We don’t always know the WHY of the good or bad…sometimes it seems like our success is dependent on the moon phases (seriously, every teacher knows when it’s a full moon), but it means we reflect on ourselves often too much and too harshly as well. The days after a weeklong break are semi-doomed. We’re tired, they’re tired, they think it’s already Winter Break, we wish it was already Winter Break. There’s a definite feeling that I need to Gird My Loins and hoist my scabbard skyward to survive the next three weeks. The plus is that it is only three weeks. I feel like I can grab onto those 15 days physically and just hold them…unlike the vast expanse of time that is March or May…where days drag on for…well…days. Longer days? I just don’t know how to explain it. They’re longer. They are!

So reflecting on my week off. Well. Yeah. The pros: I played a lot with kittens, I exercised mostly well, and I finished grading the large assignment from hell. The cons: I did nothing else. Really. So little art created. I’m frustrated by that, but that means I’m frustrated by myself, because it really was about mindset more than anything else. I didn’t make time for it. I was a lot of braindead. I suspect I needed to be a lot of braindead, but I also know I needed to make the art, because I can feel it today. It’s an ache of not doing. I should have tried harder.

Ah, those should haves. All I can do is try harder now. When I have so much on my plate. It’ll be fine. It always is somehow.

We walked the dogs on Saturday. You can’t really see it, but there’s snow out there, way out in the distance.

And brand new green stuff on the ground. Saturday was a lot of grading…

Sunday was chaotic. It always is. Started with pilates. Then groceries and schoolwork to prep for today and prepping breakfasts for the next three weeks and organizing my brain for the same three weeks. I think most people have no idea how much prep teaching takes…especially on Sundays. I send the parent email from my whole team, I try to prep warmups for the week (I made it through Tuesday…whoops), set up any online posts that aren’t set up already, answer emails etc. I did do art stuff though. I entered a show yesterday. I was hoping I would hear from another entry before I entered this one (rejected pieces are good for new shows, right?), but ironically, I had just hit SUBMIT and then the other show results came in. Oh well. Frustrating. But I did get in to the first show with one piece, so I can’t really complain.

It was busy. But I did get the last bit of the grading done on that project, so that was good. Oh yeah, I drew Saturday night. I made myself. I was exhausted. But there’s a piece in my head that happens to be next on the list. This is a very rough start to it…

But it is a start. More hopefully later this week.

The kittens are getting more comfortable with hanging out on the couch with us.

Of course, this was after an hour or so of tearing around like maniacs.

Last night during dinner…the blue-eyed beast kept trying to sample off my dinner plate. Her sister was more interested in a nap.

About 10 minutes later, they were racing all over the room again.

This guy wanted to play too…

He’s a little nervous about the kittens still, but he’s a good boy.

OK, so it’s school. Followed by two meetings. Ugh. Then get my hair cut before the holidays start for reals. Honestly this was when she was available. I don’t really care what my hair looks like. I care that I can get a brush through it. Then come home and do some artmaking. Maybe I just make more when I’m too busy not to. Or something. Down time is not my friend? Who knows. I can reflect on it or I can just move on and make something. Going for that.

A Better Person…

I want to be done. With schoolwork. With grading. With worrying about Christmas presents. With worrying about school. I want to take a year off work (ha! So funny. So financially not happening) and make art for a year. Every day for a year. Doesn’t that sound lovely? It does. OK, I wouldn’t talk to anyone probably for that year, but hey…that might also be a good thing.

This attitude will not help me get through the next three weeks of school. I need a better one. I need a long walk today. Outside. I need to finish the grading today…well, the major assignment anyway. I need some artmaking today. Those are all good goals.

I wrote a public post on Patreon today…mostly because I thought I owed my patrons a post and then I realized I didn’t. So I made it public…I keep trying to encourage people to support my Patreon. Because otherwise I’m copyediting during my breaks to try to make up the extra cash I need. Or worrying about how I have nothing really on my Etsy and I could finish some things and get them on there, why am I not doing a Shop Small Saturday thing? I’m small. Sigh. Because it takes too much time and energy for where I’m at right now. I had this great idea last week about what to do with some of the smaller unfinished stuff I had, but it requires time and energy I don’t have right now to do. Yes, they might sell. Yes, they might clear out some of the little pieces I have lying around. But is it worth it right now? Or should I spend more time drawing and working on the current quilt? Those are probably a better use of my time.

I’m constantly second-guessing what I’m doing. Maybe less of that.

So Thanksgiving…I did go to pilates, which was good. I’m appreciating the slow exercise and meditative aspect of it, but focus on the core. At some point, I’ll have to find a better balance with the gym, hiking, and pilates, but I committed to three months of twice a week, so that’s through January…which is easier, because there are a lot of holiday days in there, so it’s easier for me to fit in exercise. We had dinner with the man’s family, short and early…I forgot to take the annual photo of food, but this was pretty…

We came back, did some more family stuff, ate leftover homemade pizza for dinner, felt sleepy, all those things.

Awww. So that’s Luna…used to be Sue-Bob. She’s the bigger kitten.

I also took apart that turkey I cooked, bagged it up for turkey sandwiches in December. Then I finished grading all the kid videos for the project I’m grading. It’s boring, so I have to do something else while I’m doing it…so I drew my November Patreon drawing…

Lots of holiday stuff in that…kittens and holly and snow.

Friday was all about grading. And kittens.

I can’t say I was efficient. I wasn’t. I’m on the last phase of grading this project though so I’m motivated to get it done.

It’s such a pain in the ass. I don’t know how to make it better though.

Oh look! It’s a puppy!

He’s been my companion as well.

Somewhere in the middle of this, I got sick. It wasn’t too bad. Everything came up. I felt off for a few hours. I seem to be OK today. OK then. Food rejection.

This is Nova. She’s the smaller kitten. In this photo, she’s staring at MY Kitten, who is so NOT a kitten, just named that.

It’s a little tense. We’re hoping it gets better. If not, Kitten has me and the kittens have each other.

So no progress on the quilt in two days, which sucks. But it happens. Today will be better. But first, my electricity is going off so they can install the thing that makes the solar panels work with my electrical company. I didn’t know this was happening, so I guess it’s a good thing that I’m home to turn all the electrical things off first. Woo hoo! Art today. Later. I swear. It makes me a better person.

You Do You, Boo…

Happy Turkey Day to anyone who needs it or wants it. If you’re good being thankful for something (like the fact that the turkey made it in the oven without hitting the floor, or that it’s not raining YET), then do that. If it feels like a burden, for fuck’s sake, don’t take on other people’s guilt about gratitude. It doesn’t have to be today. It can be tomorrow, when everyone is gone. I personally am in extreme introvert mode and really not in the mood for people, but y’all know that doesn’t matter today. Stitching helps me deal with that too, but that’s not a thing today either. My parents are snowed in (probably temporarily) in the mountains, my son is going to his dad’s with some pie he made and a jalapeno, my daughter is in Boston doing a Friendsgiving with her bestie, and I will be off to the man’s family gathering after pilates and pulling MY turkey out of the oven.

Yes. This is MY turkey.

Every year, I go to everybody’s else’s party and then I can’t have turkey sandwiches. So I buy a little turkey and I cook it, and I freeze the meat in batches so I can have turkey sandwiches basically until Christmas. It’s a little crazy, but it makes me happy. No, I don’t get sick of them. Honestly, as a diabetic, it’s easier for me to eat something similar every day for my blood sugar. I don’t do it for dinner, but I do for breakfast and lunch. Less thinking is better, as I’m realizing over break, when I just plain old forget to eat and then my blood sugar crashes every damn day. Sigh. Notes for retirement.

Anyway, so that’s in the oven and I need to leave for pilates in about 30 minutes. I’ll have time to shower, pull the turkey out, and then probably will have to leave before I can pull it apart. Oh well. I should have done it yesterday, but I got waylaid. Sort of. In a good way.

I did go to the gym, where I did NOT finish the book that was due to the library in 5 hours, so they sucked it back up and sent it to the next person, who is probably also in my book club, waiting to read the second book in the series.

Then I realized I had 4 other books out from the library. I knew about one, maybe two? So there’s plenty of reading to do in the next two weeks…none of them the actual book club book. Minor issue.

My quilting friend who moved to Portland was supposed to call on Monday (call? Well, we Facebook Messenger video each other) and spaced out, so we decided yesterday was the day…with kitten assist…

She was trying to sew a Burda pattern (my friend, not the kitten), which if you know anything about sewing, you know it’s a pain in the ass, so she sent me photos of the instructions and I talked her past all the mistakes she was gonna make. Seriously, I made a Burda dress once…ONCE…so that makes me an expert.

It started raining and it was cold, so all the furry beasts eventually came and hung out with us.

I spent 3 hours cutting out the newest quilt…

Hmmm…not so helpful…

This one was pretty sleepy…

Until like 11 PM, when he wanted to play.

Yes, we talked for 3 hours. Our normal meeting was 2 hours, so it wasn’t so weird.

I took a break after cutting a bunch of stuff out and we (the actual humans in the house) all made pizzas for dinner. Then back to cutting. Should I have graded shit then? Of course I should have. Oh well.

This was better for my brain certainly. Being pissed off at my job is a constant occurrence, and the best thing to do is ignore its existence occasionally.

That kitten will not fit in a thread drawer forever.

Just to be clear, she climbed in from the back. Open drawer. There is cat.

They might have real names now. We went through the Greek gods, the Norse gods and all their flunkies, the female superhero collection, and names of space things. The hardest part was coming up with TWO that were OK and kinda went together.

I’ll wait for confirmation before I announce.

This is Simba. He came with his name.

And he ignores it all the time.

I just kept cutting stuff out. This is 6 hours in…

There’s still an awful lot left to go. There goes my dream of being ironed together before we go to the mountains. Although we may not be able to go…there was a lot more snow yesterday than they thought. Some of yesterday’s crew did not make it up the mountain. Today there is supposed to be more. So we will see.

Trying to get kittens and puppy to get along. Seems to be working. Nobody is hissing in this photo…


OK, enjoy your day. Eat healthy. Or not. It’s one day. It won’t kill anyone. Well, except for some diabetics, I guess. I’m hoping for regulated blood sugar, but also some quiet time to finish stuff and maybe a movie with the man. Here. At home. No shopping. None of that crazy shit. You do you, boo. I know what I can handle. And it’s not much. Love to my fam far and wide.

That One Is for Me…

Ugh. OK. Pros! No 12-year-olds to be seen for miles around. I’m still in my pajamas! The sun is shining on me (but the storm is coming, so enjoy the fuck out of that, because you won’t see it again until maybe Saturday). There are kittens in the house and they are fun to hang out with. There’s a turkey brining in the fridge JUST FOR ME. Yes, I make myself a turkey every year so I can eat turkey sandwiches for three weeks straight in December. It’s weird, I know, but I like it. I earned $50 yesterday doing some research thing for WordPress. Also weird, I know, but they caught me at a weak moment and I’m pretty good at that stuff.

Not-so-pros or -cons: I should go to the gym. I have time and I have a book to read that is probably going to be sucked back to the library tonight, so I really should just go to the gym and read the whole book. I could. I don’t feel like going to the gym though. I need to figure out when to actually COOK this turkey…because I’m supposed to cook dinner too, and I can’t do that in the middle of turkey cooking. But that means looking up times and I think I already threw out the weight thing on the turkey, that was stupid, and I’m feeling tired and not motivated to do anything. My phone is ringing and I don’t recognize the number. I’m tired. Wait, that’s a con I think.

Cons: I only got halfway through grading the kid videos last night. There are 66 of them. I did 34 of them. And you know what? They’re kinda boring and sometimes just plain irritating because we even did a video telling them what to do and they still ignored half of what we said and just did what they wanted. And I suspect they’ve been doing that for a long time, because every assignment is like that. I had two videos where one kid is whispering what to say to the other kid(s) and I’m like, um, so that won’t work in your day job. I love that you want to help, but that kid is flaking and maybe you need to kick them out of the group or have a talk with them outside of the video about what they need to say. Because that kid doesn’t deserve the points. And I remember last year when the kids are like, why did my partner get a higher score than I did and it’s because of that. In the video, you got some extra points because one kid was awesome, but on paper, not so much.

So I have 32 videos to watch today. Ugh. This is how I did it yesterday. Headphones on (until I had to move to the desktop because the internet was being cranky), stitching going…

It’s easy to do this and watch because it keeps my brain occupied. I guess I could have been cutting pieces out for the quilt as well. I forgot about that until later. This was about an hour and a half…but I finished the lion…

Just the bird left and then I’m done with September. It really has not been a good year for working on this quilt…I was reading my blog from a year ago and I was on the August blocks. Plus sewing down the wool for October, which I still haven’t started. I wish at family gatherings that I could sit and stitch, but it seems rude. My co-attender tells me it’s rude. He’s more sociable than I am. I can still talk. It relaxes me. Family gatherings don’t.

Anyway. I need to watch those videos and start grading the packets themselves. They need to be done before we go back to school. I need to grade the CER essay too, but that just hurts my brain. We’re supposed to go to Arrowhead on Friday, but the weather might keep us home. We’ll see. Driving in snow makes me nervous. Reading through past years of November blogposts…I am always doing this: making lasagne (I did that Monday and froze three meals for December), making a turkey, going to family stuff, grading a ton of crap, and somewhere in the process of making a quilt. There’s usually a hike in there (we did that Monday because we knew weather was coming). There’s often a last-minute trip to the grocery store (I went yesterday, but I’m out of one thing I need, dammit, no desire to go there today ffs). My eyelids are often twitching (last year, it was the left one…this year, it is the right one). It’s not my favorite week. Shocking.

So pet more kittens…

Go to the gym because it will make you feel better.

Ouch. Those claws are sharp.

Figure out the turkey stuff…timing and all. I found the tag in the trash, so I know how much it weighs now.

Awww. Sleepy kittens.

They slept a lot yesterday. Like 5 hours straight. Like they’re babies. They were pretty active the day before.

And then cut this thing out. Because you can. Although IDK what I’m going to binge watch now…I finished The Crown

Whatever. It probably doesn’t matter. OK. I have a plan. Turkey. Gym. Videos (from hell). Cutting stuff out while watching and after. Stern talking to with eyelid. Knock it off! This is what it is, this week. It could be better, but I probably should have started earlier on a relaxation plan. Two pilates classes, a hike, and a trip to the gym will help…so will being done with grading. And ironing the quilt together. Still on my to-do list.

Hope all your holiday making plans are going well. I want apple pie this year. I might make my own. May there be lots of artmaking as well. That one is for me.