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.

Coming Back Up the Down…

I fully realize that I just had a three-day weekend, an extra day off, thank you to those who died in wars for that (I’m actually really sorry it had to go that way). But I feel exhausted still. I know I didn’t do a good job of the sleep thing; I tried, but ’twas not in the cards. At some point yesterday, I had the distinct and very strong feeling that I didn’t want to teach this week. Which is funny, because this week is pretty easy…short week, plus teaching puberty and menstruation (not hard), and starting to build bridges (shouldn’t be hard to start; might be hard to finish…these 8th graders have decided to stop working on many things). I’m not super behind on grading, for once. I have three morning meetings, which kind of sucks, but none of them are crucial. I mean, waiting until the end of the year to figure out why your kid is failing? Eh. Well nothing has changed since the last meeting, so…I’m not even sure why this meeting is happening. The other one, we’re pretty sure mom is nuts, and if your kid is home all the time, I’m not sure how you expect them to pass, so that should be an interesting one, but not crucial to the kid passing. She’s a sweet kid, by the way. Perfectly capable. Freaked out as all get out though. Not that I blame her; middle school is legit something to freak out about.

So that’s not a good reason to not feel like teaching. I suspect I’m just done. I’ve been done for a while. Maybe since Spring Break. More done than usual? Feels like it. But what do I know? I do this every year and then read my blog from a year ago and that’s how I felt then too. Sad but true. I love parts of teaching, I really do. I’m hoping to see some cool bridges next week, hoping there’s some fun with breaking them. But I’m also really deeply reflecting into what went wrong this year and why, and how much of it I have any impact on for next year. Mindset flip. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s not all me. But some of it is.

So I didn’t do any school work at all until Monday. Friday night, I put the binding on the quilt…

Then Saturday morning, we made an attempt at hiking Corte Madera.

We didn’t get all the way to the top. It was a test of my knee, which was definitely having issues, but we kind of forgot the man’s shoulder/back issue. There was one portion that was basically like climbing down a rock fall. I was almost all the way down when he said he wasn’t going to be able to do it. Too much pulling on the bad part of his back. He’s in physical therapy for it and it had already been bugging him, so we turned around with 3/4 of a mile to go.

Not here. We went up that.

There’s Corte Madera in the background…

And we went up to the hill on the far right…so up wasn’t the issue; it was down that was the problem.

Because there’s a goodly way up the up. Or maybe coming back up the down that was the issue. I’ve done this hike multiple times…and it’s not easy, per se. It’s not impossible. It’s just a challenge at times, especially with injuries.

So this was on the way back down again. It was a good test of my knee, at least. We’ll try again when everyone is out of PT, maybe.

I spent most of the afternoon and evening sewing binding and sleeves on…and then finished those on Sunday…

I’m standing on the fireplace hearth to get that photo. It goes to the real photographer this week.

Yes, I already started on the next one. It’s been in my head in a variety of configurations for about 6 months, so it is proving relatively easy to draw. This was Sunday night…

Followed by Monday night, after grading for hours…

Yes, I’m drawing in a circle. I’m trying to keep it relatively simple, because I have a deadline and I’ll be out of town for a chunk of the making time. Not sure how that will work, so there’s that. But getting a solid start on it now will help. I figure at least one more night of drawing, maybe two, and then I can start tracing.

I did a little yardwork as well, this weekend, trying to clean up, still dealing with weeds. Found some turkey tail fungus though…

Never seen that in my yard before; it isn’t usually wet enough. Cool though.

And there was an owl interloper this weekend.

I’m pretty sure the one hanging onto the hole does not belong. There’s been lots of screeching going on from the parents in general. And there are definitely two babies I can hear now. So much drama.

This amused me. Because Kloob can’t do all the things for me either.

My teachers’ aide, though…she can do some toothpick counting for me today, for the bridges. She has the other science teacher, so she’ll be building them too. She filled all my glue bottles last week. Exciting life. She gets to draw a lot. Jelly.

So physical therapy, probably the last one, after school. Then home to a quiet evening as the Man is at band practice. I’m hoping to finish the drawing, maybe number it. Also maybe finish my book (at 82% and it’s good). I can do the things. I can start thinking about next year. Although that’s weird. Unless things change drastically, I won’t be teaching 7th-grade science for two years, as I’m in the 8th-grade-only part of the rotation. First time ever in 20 years of teaching. Weird shit. Change…it’s all over the place. Hopefully for the best.

A Nap…

Dog kept me up a goodly chunk of the night. The boychild is gone at fire camp (work, really), and the dog has forgotten about this overnight stuff, so he lost his mind. Lots of fussing, growling, and barking at like 2 AM, which is when you really don’t need barking unless there really is a zombie apocalypse. Spoiler alert: there wasn’t. I’m sure being completely exhausted on an assembly day will be fine. Totally fine. We started sex ed yesterday and it wasn’t bad. I think I might survive until the end of the year. Maybe. I certainly didn’t think I would back in January, but somehow, I seem to have done it. 15 days left. That’s survivable.

I also finally finished quilting. It felt really long, but it was only 13 hours and 41 minutes. ONLY. Here’s Wednesday night…

I made it around the bottom and about halfway up the side. And then last night, I stayed up too late to finish…

At the end, I ran out of bobbin thread…

But that didn’t stop me. I just sacrificed sleep. As always. Tonight I can finally trim the thing and hopefully have the energy to get bindings on. Tomorrow, we’re hiking, which might be nuts, but whatever.

There’s this, after watching someone freak out over Target’s Pride merch.

You don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Simple. Same with books…

Frustrating world we live in. Some dumb person commented on my post about a particular banned book that any parent can buy anything. Wow. Tone deaf much? Some parents can’t afford books, or don’t care about books, or are illiterate themselves. Some people are elitist and don’t realize that many kids only see books at school, in school libraries, in school classrooms. So get the hell out of our classrooms and schools. If you don’t want your kid to read something, tell them not to read it. And when they do? Well, there we are. Guess your parenting didn’t work.

Ugh. So ending with some owl videos…we definitely have two babies and I think parents were working on number 3 the other night…although I think there was an earlier baby that died, so maybe this is number 4?

They’ve been very active lately.

Which is cool. Maybe they’ll deal with the rat that has been nibbling on the tangerines…

Enjoy the owls.

And Quilt National opens today. Wish I could be there but couldn’t swing the time or the money. My Desert Mother is there.

OK. School. Tired. Short classes. Assembly. Super Mario Assembly. Intriguing. Loud and fast is what I’m thinking. And then I’m thinking a nap. Will have to decide after that.


OK, only one state test left to go. I can do one more. Amusing…my kids are the ones taking them, not me, but the management is stressful too. Although at least my kids are actually testing today. Two-thirds of the school is done and they are keeping the kids for 3 hours…to do what exactly? Hopefully finish their science packets, because they sure weren’t done on Monday. This group has needed so much extra time…they are extra, actually. This year is extra. Let’s end on a good note! We did get the principal we wanted, so that’s a plus. The rest is wibbly wobbly as usual. Or maybe it’s not. We’ll see.

I do know I always plan to get so much work done during testing (I’m literally walking around, watching kids take a test; delivering snacks, water, and sharpened pencils; partially escorting them to the bathroom, and trying to keep them from rushing through and/or disturbing others. Not fun. But there should be plenty of time to do other stuff, and that other stuff is not getting done. And it needs to. I got a little done in the afternoon; kids leave at 12:30 and we have to stay until 3:30. Sounds like a lot, but we take a leisurely lunch, because we never get to do that, and then sometimes your brain is just done. Which it is a lot. So I worked last night after the gym, because my brain popped back up and could handle it. Of the 42 emails I sent over the weekend, 4 kids did work. Well. OK. That is about the same percentage as people that will respond to spam emails. Feeling good about that. Although now I need to send another email that says, hey, if you’re missing 5/7 assignments, doing 1 isn’t enough. You need to do 5. Or maybe even 4. More than 1.

Quilting is feeling a bit like that too, like sending spam emails into the world. Not really. But it’s endless blue vastness at the moment. Monday night, I quilted around the bird and down the right side of the body…lots of ins and outs in there.

Last night, I quilted for just as long, but it felt like nothing. I made it all the way down one side and a little bit along the bottom.

That’s it. I’ve got the rest of the bottom, the whole left side, around the butterfly, then finish across the top and down the right side about halfway. That’s a lot. I’m not finishing tonight. I’ve got another 2-3 hours. UGH. It’s fine. I just thought I was closer to done. The background stuff is kind of monotonous and I’ve run out of interesting podcasts. Don’t feel like listening to true crime or politics. I’m pissed off enough as it is. And the quilting ones are only interesting if I care about the person…like the Jane Sassaman one was interesting, but if it’s some quilt shop owner in wherever, I’m not sure I care. Unless they’re demolishing the patriarchy, and then I’d be interested.

Anyway. Maybe I’ll be more efficient today. Even though I’m stressed about them taking the science test today. They’d forgotten stuff we’d done in February, though, so…sigh. The kids who do well will do well. I can’t worry about the rest. I can just use it to decide what I change for next year. I get my last lunch out for this school year…and tomorrow I start teaching sex ed to the 7th graders. I was doing seating charts for that yesterday and just OMG OMG in my head. Both classes are 2/3s boys (well that explains a lot) and the kids who are friends all want to sit together. In one class, there is one boy that basically all the other boys want to sit with. Not happening. So yeah. Not a lot of hope for calm in those two. The 8th graders will be building bridges starting Friday. Or maybe I’ll just start them tomorrow. Might be easier. I wanted to give them a break of a day, but IDK if they can handle it. We’ll see.

Too many decisions to make. That’s what makes me so tired by the end of the day.

After school, pilates, then cooking dinner, then quilting! With any luck, I’ll make more significant progress today than yesterday felt like…finish tomorrow, trim Friday night? Maybe? Definitely Saturday, get the binding on this weekend, start drawing the next one, because there is limited time to finish that one. Three-day weekend…a blessing.

Here’s Anwen, the ex’s puppy…

She graduated her first obedience classes. She’s going to do more, because hey, apparently she’s still a puppy. She’ll be here next weekend, so prepare for destruction and outbursts of crazy puppiness. She may spend the whole weekend on a leash tied to me, but we’ll see. Someone should tell the cats to prepare…just hiss and bop at her a few times so she’ll leave you alone, y’all.

OK. School. Science test. Do the things. Get them done.

Survival-Level Info

Well we are back to everyone in the house trying to leave in the morning. I’m not sure Simba realizes he’ll be alone all day today. The boychild is back to work this week, so schedules will be weird. Mine won’t. Mine is reliable through the middle of June, and then I’ll be home for a bit and then gone for a bit. Hopefully there won’t be any fires while I’m in Seattle or it will get complicated. It’s always complicated. I remember driving Calli to my ex’s every day so she wouldn’t try to run away, and forgetting she was in the back of the car until I got to work. She’d sigh and I’d go, DAMMIT Calli, why didn’t you tell me you were back there. Silly old dog. I miss her.

This week is the last week of state testing…math and science. Stressful. I’ve never proctored the science test…and I’m going to feel bad if they don’t feel like we taught them what they need. That said, I also know the state tests put stuff on there that is not in the standards, which is just irritating as hell. Ah well, hopefully the next principal does not obsess over data. The test covers 6-8th grade science, and 6th grade for my kids was the COVID hybrid year…or the Zoom year, for me. So they don’t remember much, unfortunately. That said, they didn’t remember much from last year either. I gave them some review questions on states of matter and chemistry…sigh. Ah well. What can you do? I would rather have them be able to think and figure stuff out than to know the differences between the molecules of a solid and those of a liquid. Although it’s cool info, I’m not sure it’s survival-level info.

There was a bunch of art stuff I was supposed to do this weekend, but for one, I never saw the invite info, and for the other, I ran out of time. I’ll make it to the other show next weekend hopefully (have an extra day!). Not sure what happened with the other one.

Instead, we did our usual late-afternoon hike, showers, and then dinner. But Friday, the Man had a show. I quilted a little bit before I left, but was out most of the night. It was hard to get a decent picture of him: he was in the dark corner.

Their lead singer was easier to get…

This was after dissecting frogs at the end of the school day…

I only saw one obvious female in my two classes…

The table that got her was very excited. Maybe a little TOO excited (they cut all the organs up in a really destructive way to get at all the eggs). Glad to be done with that lab. It’s cool, but exhausting. Luckily, I now know that my 7th graders will respond to CLASS CLASS (if you don’t know what that means, consider yourself lucky).

So I dissected with those kids, did my afterschool duty at the corner light, got my classroom ready for this week, came home, and napped. Seriously zonked out for 30 minutes. Then ate dinner, changed out of frog/teacher clothes, and drove out to Ocean Beach to watch the Man play. I was in bed around midnight, exhausted. He came home around 1, and then I felt the larger of these two earthquakes…

Late night partying in the tectonic-plate world.

Saturday I managed to get organized enough to run errands, including buying binding for this quilt, so I can finish it this week, hopefully. We hiked…

After I sent 42 emails to parents/kids about failing grades and the trimester cut-off date in less than 2 weeks. Down from 60 emails in April. Getting there. It’s been a rough year for my 7th graders. Or me. Not sure which was worse.

Tiny pink flowers that are a pain to photograph. We’ve been trying to do at least 3 miles a weekend; next weekend, we’re going to do a longer hike. My physical therapy is probably coming to an end, so we’re testing the knee out. I suspect my knees will always hurt, but at least I can get up the stairs at the moment. The Man is supposed to be hiking the trans-Catalina trail in October with a pack; he’ll need to start training for that soon.

He’s still recovering from a pinched nerve in his shoulder/back area…and talking about lightening the pack. Probably a good plan.

I did manage a good chunk of quilting on Saturday night…

I got the pigoon done and the rest of the wing/arm, then up into the fourth arm (three is NOT enough)…

And got the bird done as well. Went to bed a little late, and then last night, I did the head with corresponding eyeball tree (not the first, won’t be the last)…

And then started quilting the background.

I’m over 9 hours into the quilting, and there’s at least a couple more to go. There’s a lot of background filler in the upper half of the quilt, plus the borders around the bottom. So ideally, I finish tomorrow night, then trim it Wednesday, get the binding on, maybe ready for the photographer this weekend? Then on to the next one, which will be a difficult finish. I have a complicated idea in my head, but don’t have the time for the whole shebang before the deadline. Might have to tone down the complication.

Luna thinks that’s crazy.

But it might be what has to happen.

I asked my students a question about why National Parks were important…this kid…

Which is better than the girl who just wrote that she didn’t really care. Yeah. We know. Neither does half the planet. We’re aware. It’s obvious.

Anyway, we try. Yeah, I’m trying to brainwash your kids into caring about the planet more than I’m grooming them to be homosexual or trans. I still think the best answer to the teachers brainwashing kids thing is the fact that we can’t get them to turn any work in. I mean, that’s where I’d start. It would make my life easier, for sure, if they would just turn shit in. Stupid politicians.

OK. Today. Review for three classes, finishing up all the things with the other two. We had to juggle the schedule slightly. It’s fine; this is easier. It’s OK to make things easier sometimes. Then staff meeting, run to Home Depot afterward to get a sprinkler and some stakes for the lemon tree. Some more dirt too. Can never have enough dirt apparently. Then book club tonight…just finished the book on Friday, I think. It was good: When Women Were Dragons. Then quilting after that. Hopefully a chill day. That would be nice.

Crazy Dichotomy

Yay Friday. Imagine that in a tiny little tired voice and you’d have it. Not enough sleep this week. A noisy bird (mockingbird, not owl). Lots of things waking me in the night. Could do without that. We’re getting close to the end with school, but not close enough, honestly. That said, there’s a bunch of stuff I need time to do, so it’s this crazy dichotomy about the strong desire for it to be over and the realization of the amount of shit you have to do to get there.

Yeah. Well. It’s kind of the same with this quilt at the moment. I quilted for over 2 1/2 hours yesterday…I did schoolwork until 6:45 and then had a Zoom meeting I quilted through, then ate dinner, and quilted some more. I earned that time. And I got a lot done.

The night before, I think I did over an hour, but only barely…and I only have video of it…

It seemed easier than trying to get a photo of all of the weird bits I’d worked on. Currently, the video is having issues; we’ll have to hope it works when I post.

Last night, I quilted all the things. Well. Not all of them, or I’d be done, and I’m not…even with almost 7 hours in.

I did the incubator (not in this picture), finished the legs, did the lower arm, all the torso, one wing, and the butterfly.

The butterfly was fussy. But it looks cool, so I’m OK with it. And I love this little character…

I’m past the halfway mark on the outlining. Then the background. Sometime this weekend? Maybe? I have a ton of grading to do, and the Man has a show tonight that I’m going to (although I have to say I’m not feeling it at the moment). His band will be taking a break so that members can heal up from injuries and surgery (they’re all getting old), so I think there’s only two shows left for a long while.

Also, I have to do a weeklong training this summer…and I will get paid for that, but I’d rather have the time, honestly. Hoping to get the approval for that soon so I can schedule it for right after school gets out, before I start relaxing. Also, the science teacher we wanted for the open position said no because our district wouldn’t OK 5 units of additional education to bump her to the next column on the pay scale. Apparently my district is unaware of the teacher shortage. So we’re hoping for number 2…and I’m hoping that whoever it is, I don’t have to babysit next year. Or plan all of it myself for the first 6 months. Or or or…yeah. There’s gonna be something. We’re waiting to hear on next year’s principal. We have a hope, but the district is notorious for doing dumbassery with admin.

Pros: there is another taco truck today. This week has been our school’s appreciation of teachers week, so we’ve had snacks, drinks, a coffee truck (that was nice), breakfast burritos, and now tacos. It helps. It doesn’t fix things, but it gives us a reason to get in the car and show up on time. Which for today, is in about 38 minutes. I hate early meetings. I’m so not awake.

The boychild found a hawk in the pool for the first time ever. SAD! I’m sad about it.

I want to put a fountain back in for the wildlife. But maybe it was attacked or hurt in some way. Never seen one drown before. Super sad.

Well hopefully I’ll have some quilting time tonight before I show up for the Man’s show. Hopefully frog dissections will go well and so will 8th-grade escape rooms. I graded one of the heinous assignments last night…took me about 2 hours and I probably should have been drinking heavily to counteract some of what I was reading, but I survived. There are still huge piles of work to do…but I’m getting there. I think I should buy quilt binding tomorrow, because this thing is big and I won’t be able to buy it during the week because the damn store doesn’t stay open late enough, so yeah…put that on the calendar for tomorrow. So this one is close to done, well before the deadline, giving me a chance to meet the second deadline that was one of my goals for the first half of the year. On track there. Nowhere else, but let’s focus on that track!

Contaminated Way of Thinking.

I have to admit to not seeing much of the news lately; there’s a few sources I see daily, mostly friends and a few things I follow. Yesterday, though, I saw that Texas and Louisiana are passing laws getting rid of no-fault divorce. So you have to prove there’s a ‘good’ reason for divorce again. Because we’re actually time-traveling, folks, going back in time. I just finished one book set in the 1950s and started another, and I’m serious, I think the 2020s are the new 1950s. At least for some people. Suicides and homicides went DOWN with no-fault divorce, y’all. Are those things Texas needs more of? They already have a significant gun problem. And even more fun, this is only for couples with children…it’s for the CHILDREN. From what I’ve seen at school, I can tell you that kids don’t need more drama and suffering at home than some of them already have. It doesn’t help them. But let’s keep limiting women. I wonder who is voting in these states. I read that the more extreme abortion law being passed in North Carolina is not supported by the majority, so they made it SOUND nice so people wouldn’t understand they were making it harder for abortion clinics to stay open. With the new law, Planned Parenthood has zero clinics that meet the criteria. No war against women? LGBTQIA? BIPOC? My ass. Full-on war. I’m not sure how a man is negatively affected if the woman he dallied with is forced to give birth. Seems like society really thinks the solution to everything is sending us back home into the kitchens with no choices. SIGH.

Here’s from the end of the first book I was reading, The Half Life of Valery K, which I really enjoyed.

A contaminated way of thinking. Yeah. That.

Science meeting yesterday…sorta planned the rest of the school year. That was easy. Ha! Still a lot of details to iron out, but I think I might survive. I still have a ton of grading to do (when do I not?), but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe. Our district does a Gallup poll every year, sends us those same 12 questions:

Q1: I know what is expected of me at work.
Q2: I Have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
Q3: At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
Q4: In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
Q5: My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
Q6: There is someone at work who encourages my development.
Q7: At work, my opinions seem to count.
Q8: The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
Q10. I have a best friend at work.
Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.

Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow.

Wow. OK. Well I answer this every year and this year is the first time I’ve had some truly low scores. Q10 was the only 5 out of 5.

At least I can come home to making art. Although I should have graded some. I went to the gym instead and read my book. I needed to. I’m frustrated with my own ability to handle school stuff. I’m too overwhelmed and frustrated to be the teacher I want to be at the moment. I’m truly hoping next year is better. It just has to be.

Monday night, I did about an hour’s worth of quilting…

I started at the bottom and just did the bottom edge and then the left side, then started up at the top of the ground and headed back down. Slow moving. Lots of details.

Then last night, I didn’t grade. I started quilting early instead. Can’t do that every night, but I couldn’t deal with school last night.

Made it through most of the ground stuff, ready to start the incubator and/or the body tonight. I did almost two hours. That’s more like it. Tonight I have pilates, so I won’t be home early, but I’m hoping to do some grading AND quilting. Although I’m also tired. Note to brain…don’t dream about school. It makes me feel like I’m not even getting a break when I’m at school when I sleep. Not fair.

My co-teacher and I were talking about retirement and making sure you had socializing stuff after you quit…and then my phone, which is listening to me of course, posted this…

Pretty sure I won’t be able to afford those. But there are Meetup groups locally that are pretty cheap, so sure, I’d still be doing that. It is an interesting conundrum though…during the summer, I am much less social. My introvert self draws up into a ball for a couple of months. But I always know I’ll see my friend group at work in August, so it’s OK. Not sure what I’d add in if I were retired. We’re not there yet, but getting there. Certainly having shit years at school is helping me lean that direction. Rumors are flying about the next principal: “you won’t be happy”. Don’t say shit like that. Change is always hard, it’s true. But let’s hope the district is not truly full of idiots.

OK. Today I am doing a practice state science test with my 8th graders. I don’t have high hopes but I’m doing it anyway. I have an escape room version set up for Friday and Monday. It’ll be more fun. 7th grade has an assessment today, so they’ll be whiny bastards about it. So many were absent for parts of the background info; it’ll be interesting to see what we get (mostly nothing, if I know my 7th graders). Frustrating. Not sure how to motivate them. I have ideas, and maybe I’ll have more by the time I get to them. Hopefully. Ugh. If you only knew how much time I (and my coworkers) spend going over lessons in our heads, trying out all the ways we could teach it, changing things to try to get them to understand better, be more motivated, get into the instruction. I fall asleep to my brain doing it…and today I woke up to it doing the same thing. So much decisionmaking. I’m tired and I need a break from it. Quilting tonight. My daily necessary break.

Or Not…

Monday mornings. I didn’t do enough schoolwork this weekend because I just couldn’t. I had other priorities and I will pay for that today, I’m sure. I have curriculum done for 8th grade through Wednesday, probably. Not ready for next week at all, not even close. 7th grade is fine except for the fact that we just barely got approval for the sex-ed program last week, sent letters Friday, and start next Monday. It’s good but it’s less time than we usually have to prep for it, so that’s stressful. Plus frog dissections this week and collecting a bunch of stuff…so yeah. I’m not prepared. I hate that; usually this is the time of the year where we can step back a little from the crazy. We’ve taught sex ed enough that it is a known entity. There are some stressful bits, but mostly the kids are engaged, unlike in math or whatever, so that makes it easier. I’ve spent most of the year, though, with 7th grade curriculum being the known, the easier (the actual kids in the classes are not)…so that’s been the only saving grace to teaching two grade levels. Otherwise it’s been a stressful shit show. I’m not sure how the other members of my team are so chill about it. It’s been nuts. 23 days left.

My goal this weekend was to get the quilt pinbasted. Which meant finishing the stitchdown. Which meant blowing off most of my schoolwork.

Friday night, I didn’t get far…

Pigoon, legs, stopped at the arm, hadn’t finished the torso.

Saturday morning I did some before going to a baby shower…

Maybe 20 minutes. At that point, I was fairly sure I wasn’t going to finish…

Came back from the shower and hiked…I promised my physical therapist I’d hike every weekend until I saw him again to test out the knee. Lots of ravens on the hike…

Came back and went to dinner, date night, drawing with no plan…

Not sure why it ended up being a dog…but last week’s was even weirder…

Then I did stitchdown for about 2 1/2 hours. At some point, I was just thinking it needed to be done. That if I went to bed and did the rest the next day, I wouldn’t be pinbasted until Tuesday and that would suck.

This is the back, by the way, never to be seen again.

I scan the back, looking for mistakes, stuff I’ve missed, didn’t stitch down. I’m seeing one right now. It’s OK. I can catch them in the quilting.

I guessed 6-7 hours on the stitchdown and I was right…6 hours and 45 minutes.

Then Sunday happened. Chaos. I was ready to clean the floor, and then remembered I hadn’t checked for batting. So I did that. Went through the whole pile…nothing’s big enough. Dammit. Drove to Joanns, which was mostly empty (Mother’s Day?), came back, washed the batting, dried the batting, but in between, found another pile of batting I’d set aside after the last time I bought batting. Pretty sure it would’ve been big enough. Giant ass sigh. That’s where my brain is right now…in not-very-efficient panic mode. Also I cleaned the floor and taped the backing down that I had pieced, then remembered the batting wasn’t dry yet and we were running out of time to leave for the parentals, so I pulled it back up, didn’t finish before we left. See, that was the plan…finish pinbasting before we left so I could do school stuff when we got back. Or not. So I went to dinner at the parents, forgot to take any photos because my brain. Fuzz. Then came back and laid it all back out, this time with dry batting.

Then pinbasted while watching the first episode or two of Queen Charlotte.

Kneepads and all. I think I’m in love. With the show, the quilt, and the kneepads. And now I can quilt. Well, after I go to school and try to plan the rest of the week during a staff meeting. It’ll be fine.

This is very true of the classroom, except we skip the spraying it black part. Today we are doing embryos in 8th grade (embryology as part of the theory of evolution) and human impact on national parks in 7th grade. On Friday, I heard that The Way Out won Honorable Mention at Form, Not Function.

It’s still a very relevant piece. Unfortunately. Nice to get an award for it.

When you live with an artist, there are always things all over the house that remind you of that. I found this in the hallway. Not sure how it got there…on an animal butt? or my shirt? Oh yeah, and I’m the artist.

I do know what it’s from, at least. Seriously miles away from where I was working.

No yardwork this week either…

I don’t actually have a pile of dirty dishes OR laundry, but there are definitely things piling up that are driving me nuts but that I don’t have time to deal with. Ah well. I will get to it all eventually. Or not.

Quilting tonight though. I’m figuring the quilting will take 16-20 hours. There’s a shitload of details in this thing. Plus a healthy chunk of just plain background. It won’t be quick. So an hour a night this week? Maybe a little more. I don’t have a ton of meetings this week like last week. And my weekend is more free for once. I’m still not expecting to be done this week. Next week. Yeah. I have some deadlines I’m dealing with. I’ll be fine with this one; it’s the next one that’s questionable.

Anyway. Mother’s Day was stressful (school and my fault with the batting) but ended well. Saw my mom (she looks good), talked to the girlchild (she also looks good). Got some nice gifts from the kidlets…always nice when they get me stuff, because it’s not stuff I would have gotten myself. Appreciate that. Hoping to hear at school about a new science hire plus our principal for next year…hoping the district is not populated by total idiots. You know how that goes. And I get to quilt tonight. I love that. I can’t watch Queen Charlotte while I’m doing that, but I’ll figure that out. Worst case it’ll be listening to music or podcasts. Meditative. All good.

Ever Hopeful…

Hey. This week was weird. State testing is discombobulating. Plus I did two labs yesterday (always a mistake). And we had science teacher interviews (hopefully will turn out well), a literacy meeting (ugh, made me cry about training over the summer), a union meeting (long), and a whole host of other stuff that regularly makes me feel like I’m flailing AND failing. But there was a taco truck yesterday! That was nice. And it was nice to have lunch that we drove and bought and ate all together like normal people. So lots of pros sprinkled in there. Plus the stitchdown is coming along…slowly, but surely.

Wednesday night was more effective than last night though…I got about half the dirt done Wednesday…

The right side. I think I did more on Wednesday than I did on Tuesday. Then Thursday happened. I was at school until 4:30, went home, then drove up north for my stitching meeting, where I worked on something I can’t show. Then I came home and ate dinner really late and got about 30 minutes of stitchdown done…so I finished the upper part of the dirt where the eyeball flowers are, did the incubator (well, most of it), and started down the legs.

I wanted to be further along. But I’m not. Why do I want to be further along? Because it’s easier to find the energy and time to do pinbasting on the floor over the weekend than after teaching all day. Plus I need to clean the floor right before I do it. That’s a lot on a school night. But maybe tomorrow? I don’t know. I’ve got a baby shower in the middle of it. I need to make breakfasts for the next couple of weeks too. We’ll see. So far, I’ve done about 3 hours. So maybe I can do another 3 hours tomorrow? Some in the morning? Some at night? Plus hike? I don’t know. There’s other stuff that needs to happen too. Oh wait, I have tonight too…so if I do an hour plus tonight, I think I can pull it off. Clean the floor Sunday afternoon…um…Mother’s Day. OK. Um. Well. We’ll see. Hopeful. Ever hopeful.

This baby bunny…

Is sitting in the one part of the weeds that I weeded in this area so that the poor plant that is trying to grow there would have some space to do that. To its credit (the bunny, not the plant), it is eating the weeds around the plant and not the plant. I think. I need to do some weeding or whacking…or both. I don’t know when that is happening. I still don’t have next week planned for 8th grade and 7th grade has some wibbly wobbly going on perhaps maybe. Everything is so high maintenance at the moment. Probably including me.

Anyway. It is Friday, so that is a plus. Fossil layers and ecosystem services getting taught today. Make-up tests today, so I have to lose my lunch to that. I still eat; no worries. I just don’t get a break from kids. Then the only day all week I could do pilates was today after school, and it’s the higher level class. Might have been a mistake based on how tired I’ve been on Fridays lately. Ah well. It’s exercise. I’ll sleep well tonight. And stitching! I get to do that too. After I make dinner. That also may have been a mistake. Ah well. Stitching!

Zebras Rule the World

Middle day of a weird overfull week. It doesn’t chill out this week. I think ever. It’s just full. I get my head around one day at a time. Then last night, I didn’t sleep because my brain was wandering into next year and that’s just a mistake right now. Pros! Yesterday, I got to buy lunch away from school and sit outside with a bunch of co-teachers I don’t get to eat with because we have different lunches. I might get to do the same today! And today does not have a meeting on top of interviews on top of other things that had to be done.

I came home after a meeting and 5 interviews, 2 on Zoom (weird but understandable, although am I old? It’s hard to hear and my principal sneezed during a very important answer.). I had to edit a letter to be sent by multiple staff about next year’s principal choice, then find some other stuff for the current principal. Then I made chai tea and finished my book. I refused to work after that. I feel like I did all the hours. Plus testing is exhausting. It’s walking around the room 700 times and trying to focus on anything (cleaning? organizing? grading? planning? The last two are harder in this situation.). For 3 1/2 hours. Trying to keep the kids from flipping out for 3 1/2 hours. Most of them are fine. Lots of sleeping. I’m good with that. Puzzles! That was a blessing from my math teacher. They were engrossed. I had to make a puzzle board (well, I pulled one of the bases for roller coasters so we could slide it under the puzzle). It was fine. Today it will be less of a novelty and the test is harder and shorter, so it will probably be more difficult to keep them chill.

Today I also have a union meeting after school and then book club (that I just finished the book for), so full, but ending on a good note. Although it’s a murder mystery. So is it good? I just don’t know.

The other good thing (I’m really trying to get out of the mud brain here) is that I am on the stitchdown phase of the quilt. It won’t go fast, but it’s faster than the ironing was. I got the background pieced and the whole thing ironed down on Monday night…

She’s big, beautiful, and complicated. Love it.

Last night, I set everything up so I could start the stitchdown. I listen to podcasts or music and just stitch. I should probably remember to stand up more, but I don’t.

I got a healthy chunk of the bottom left corner done. The machine is behaving; that’s a plus. There’s just a lot that needs to be stitched down. I’m guessing 6-7 hours. Based on my evening plans for the rest of the week, um, yeah. Hopefully by the weekend. That would be good so I can sandwich it over the weekend and start quilting. Can’t guarantee it though. That’s a lot of stitching after meetings. We’ll see. I can only do what I can do. And I can only blow off the day job so much before I’m not prepared to do the things I need to do to teach. My brain wants to be on vacation, but I’m not yet.

There was a comment during the interview process yesterday about teachers who are referral factories. I feel that way with a couple of my classes. It’s been a rough year. I meditated last night, reflected on what to change for next year, felt some bad stressful shit, tried to sleep after that. Hmmm. That’s a no. OK. Well. It’s funny, I’ve got the science down; there’s still revising and planning changes for next year, but it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as it was for this year. This year was just bad. I’m so burnt out that the thought of doing a weeklong training during the summer made me completely shut down. I want a long expanse of time where I don’t have to work this many hours, fall asleep worried about planning or behaviors. And that’s the other part. This year has made me feel like I’m a shitty teacher in so many ways, and I know I’m not. I check in with co-teachers and we are all struggling. Phone behaviors, computer behaviors, lack-of-work behaviors, post-COVID behaviors, parent behaviors and attitudes. It’s exhausting. One of the things I have to do right now for one of my students is take a photo every time he falls asleep in class and send it to mom. Because she doesn’t believe me? I don’t know. I’m just tired. Very very tired. And today? Sad. Overwhelmed sad. I do love most of teaching. I have not loved it this year. Well, even that’s not true. Some of the teaching/learning has been awesome. So focus on that today. I suspect crying during testing is not preferred. I’m not testing…the kids are. I really shouldn’t be crying.

We did Natural Selection Comics to show understanding. I do have some absolutely awesome ones that I’ll share later, but these two…honestly, they both made me laugh, and the zebra one did OK on his grade. The other one? Totally off topic. But still made me laugh. And then hold my head.

Zebras rule the world. Even better, inside is white. I know he means the outside between the stripes, but I really really wanted to write, nah, inside is red, full of blood, dude. Still giggling.

This one though…

Does he have a pet snake named Fluffy? I just don’t know. Certainly there’s some interesting things going on here. None of them on the topic of natural selection. None at all. Nope. Gonna have to ask him some questions tomorrow.

So that’s it for today. Finish the first round of state testing. Get lunch with friends. Try to be productive for the second half of the school day (ha!), then union meeting, home, eat leftovers, book club, stitching with podcasts, sleep. Actually sleeping would be nice, because I mostly skipped that step last night and now the other eye is twitching in off time to the first one. Very distracting. There’s stitching though! Getting this quilt done so I can get to the next one…since the world is sucking my free time away from me. Yup. Gonna grab that back somehow for next year. Gotta figure that out.