I’m Back in the Saddle Again…

Aerosmith song running through my head this morning. Actually, yesterday, from about 1 pm on, this song was in my head, as I was trying to finish all the things (I didn’t finish, in case you were wondering. I can just about teach what I need to today, although I need to make one assignment and one video, maybe two, before school starts. At 9 AM.). I did manage to do almost no school on Saturday…Friday was a bit hit or miss. I had plans to get some posts done before school and then leave by 9 AM, but there was a Zoomergency (an emergency involving Zoom, not a zoo) and I spent that time trying to get my guest teacher access to my online classes. So has the right eye stopped twitching? It has not. It probably will not until June 18. I’m trying.

I drove over 3 hours, through traffic, construction, up a mountain road, and then up a dirt road…

2.3 miles, where the PCT crosses, I found the man. He was kinda dirty and a little smelly (actually not too bad, considering), and has lost a lot of weight.

We ate some food and checked into our AirBnb, which overlooked an airstrip (it was kinda cool watching the little planes land and take off). The place we ate had Marilyn Monroe in the bathroom…

Like you do.

He showered and started laundry and we just sort of hung out together, because it’s hard to have full conversations via text and even worse via Garmin, because there’s a time lag, and you’re never really sure what conversation you’re on when you get an answer sometimes. So we needed to catch up and clarify.

Our AirBnb had a nosy neighbor…

Yup. That’s a goat.

The man did some planning and spacing out and talking and I did some cutting out of the new art quilt…

Dinner on the first night included these…

OK, we didn’t actually eat those. But laughed at them. Saturday, we drove to all the places to try to find him food (four places for that) and pants that were smaller that might stay up (no success there). We didn’t go to the lake or do any touristy things. We pretty much hung out. Like back in the day when you first started dating. Just hang out on the couch and talk and watch videos.

And for me, cut more stuff out. The flesh is all done. I’m down in the Earth stuff, which is a lot of little pieces and will take a while.

We went to dinner early, so we could hang out (some more) in the jacuzzi, which had a tad too much chlorine in it…

OK, a shit-ton too much chlorine. But it was warm and nice.

And then the next morning, we got up really early and had breakfast and saw three bald eagles fly over us as we walked back to the house, and then drove up this damn dirt road again and saw three deer. He hasn’t seen larger wildlife…just heard it. Ironic that we saw those in the car. I’m sure he’ll see them in the future.

It’s pretty up here…

Some part of me would love to just drop my job and get the hell out of this house and follow, but I can’t. I’m glad he’s doing it, because although he has bad days, low moments, shitty stuff that happens, in general, he’s finding peace in his head and trying to figure out his future. All good things. All big things.

He was smiling just before this. I swear. I think he was feeling the weight of 5 dinners and 4 liters of water in his pack and thinking about that.

And then he took off up the path. Both of us were sad about that part, but that is a good chunk of this trip, missing each other. Not much we can do about that part but keep trying to meet up (not an easy task as he gets further away, for sure). We have tentative plans for 3 weeks from now, and then it will be after school gets out. I’ll have some more leeway then, but the drives get significantly longer.

See, that’s the PCT face…he’s looking good, looking happy, enjoying (for the most part) the trail…and the trip. After I dropped him off, he did 14.8 miles and ended up here.

It’s a good thing…a hard thing for both of us, but good.

Meanwhile, I have to catch up on work this week (ugh) and keep cutting out pieces (not so ugh). I’m still tired…went to bed early last night and still don’t feel rested. Not great.

The animals were glad to see me back, though, so that’s a thing. I laid on the floor with the cats and watched birds for a bit with them.

Yeah. I know. Weird. I like seeing things from their viewpoint sometimes though.

OK, buried in work today. My guest teacher did fine, except he marked everyone absent who was actuallyin class, so I’m trying to go through that mess. Hopefully making it to the art stuff tonight though. We’ll see. And missing the man. Sigh. There’s a lot of that going on.

Plain Old Hanging Out

I am taking today off work. It’s the first day I’ve taken off all school year, mostly because the thought of doing it was daunting; the prep alone made me want to build a pillow fort around my school computer and torch it. But I want to see the man, and today is the day he comes off trail, so I’m trying to get some school stuff done quickly this morning, and then I’m driving to Big Bear. Long drive. It’s OK. It’s funny; I was looking at where he might be in three weeks, and if it’s Agua Dulce, it’s a shorter drive than Big Bear. Huh. Weird shit that. Anyway. We’ll see if that works. For now, I know he’s about 6 1/2 miles away from where I can pick him up, and he’s already left, but is planning on napping at the pickup point until I get there. No pressure! I still need to make 7 more posts (of 21) for what my science kids are doing tomorrow, plus warmups, plus all the art posts, and I’m fairly sure I need at least one video for art, but that’s gonna have to wait until Sunday when I get back. Everything else will have to wait until next week. Try telling that to a bunch of middle schoolers and their parents: WAIT! Yeah. It goes down well. So probably all of that is the right eye twitching…it’s been coming and going all week. It hasn’t quite settled in to stay, so that’s a good thing.

In awesome news, a piece of mine has been traveling with the For the Love of Gaia exhibit organized by Luana Rubin. She’s been finding new venues, and it will now be at the Birmingham UK Festival of Quilts at the end of July and at the New England Quilt Museum from January through April of 2022 (another good reason to visit the girlchild). My piece You Pollute Me is traveling with the exhibit.

That’s good news…exciting.

In the meantime, I’m still progressing, albeit slowly, on the current quilt. I finished picking all the fabrics and ironing all the Wonder Under down on Wednesday night.

I will admit to staying up too late, which might have contributed to the eye twitch. Oh well.

It took just over 15 hours to choose fabrics for 890 pieces, and there are 133 fabrics in this quilt. Impressive. Could be worse.

And last night, I started cutting out the pieces.

I’m totally on track…this was my plan, to be able to take this with me to Big Bear and sit on a deck and cut shit out while watching the sky change and talking to the man. Hopefully I’ll finish this weekend, and I can start ironing this thing together. I say that as the Work Brain is politely (is it polite?) knocking at the door of my Day Off Brain and saying, “Um. I know you said you were taking the day off, but have you SEEN your to-do list? I mean…”.

Yeah. I’ve seen it. I’ve also read three books in the last week, because my brain is freaking out. One of them was the first Friendship to the Max volume of Lumberjanes. I’d heard of them. I think I even got this a long time ago as a gift, and never got around to reading it. It was awesome, so awesome that I ordered the other 5 and they’re on their way to me.

Yeah. Me too. Although my three are extremely needy at the moment. Every time I sit or lie anywhere, there’s all of a sudden a cat on my leg or chest, poking tiny claws into me, or headbutting my black shirt, so it’s covered in cat hair. They do reduce my stress with all their need of petting though, so that’s a good thing.

OK, I need to post things, finish packing things, and get in the car and drive. Hopefully there will be calm photos of trees and mountains and things in my future. Strangely, the man does not want to hike with me while we are up there (unfortunate…I need exercise), but we will manage some food and jacuzzi and just plain old hanging out.

Getting By…

I woke up at dark thirty this morning with a purring cat sticking its claws into the side of my boob (it’s a common occurrence these days) and with the distinct thought that half of what I had typed in my sub plans for Friday wasn’t going to work, and in fact, although I thought I had finished the plans yesterday AND all the videos (5 videos…5…for one day off school), I was going to have to redo one because after teaching what I taught yesterday, it needed revising. Ugh. OK. Because I used all of yesterday’s prep to get that done and today’s prep was supposed to be for grading last week’s work so it didn’t all pile up on me. OK. Well. So…again…I’m going to get this post done and go work before the starting time and then continue to work after the ending time, and I really don’t know how anyone is setting any boundaries with their school jobs right now. I mean, it’s also hard to do that when you work from home, because it’s always there, screaming at you that it needs to get done. I can’t leave everything at school and walk away from it because school is in my living room.

31 days. It’s 31 days. It seems a vast expanse of time at the moment. I am 5/6s of the way through the school year and the last sixth is the hardest so far.

So I walk…although my legs currently feel like wooden stumps that I’m dragging along by pure willpower, but drag them I do.

Maybe I need more legs…and furry bits.

Longer and/or younger legs would also help.

We did a 3+-mile hike at Crestridge on Monday with the little dog. The old lady has strained herself and needs rests from long walks.

She hasn’t done 3 miles for a while, though. Which is sad, but the way of aging…eventually…

Then I did another 3 1/2 miles yesterday in my neighborhood. Usually I can do an 18- to 19-minute mile up this hellacious hill behind us, but I was at 22 minutes yesterday. Legs like logs. Ugh. Not sure why. Whole walk was slow. My legs are sore today, like I haven’t been hiking every other day…which I have. Not sure what’s up with that, but I could do without it.

Monday night, I managed a whopping 38 minutes of ironing.

But that’s 38 minutes I wouldn’t have done otherwise, so I am thankful. Irritably thankful. Dumb day job. I did get all the flesh ironed down and then started on the other bits.

Other bits included a uterus, some bony bits, all the cardiovascular stuff, her eye, some weaving on her face, and one of her tattoos. I haven’t figured out hair color yet, and the lungs are still on the list. Plus the birds pulling on the strings coming out of her mouth. I keep thinking I might be close to done, and I probably am. Last night, I ironed for about an hour and a half (better!), so I have 12 1/2 hours in so far. In 8 days? 9? Slow as fuck. But progress. Keep telling myself it’s progress.

Progress toward finishing the quilt. Progress toward the end of this hellacious school year and a mental break where I can read all the books. And make more art. Progress toward seeing the man again…even though it will be a longer drive each time to get to him, and at some point, driving won’t make sense. Fly? Rent a car? School will start again before he’s back and time will get tighter. Ah well. Whatever. My principal sent out a form yesterday to ask what we wanted to teach next year. How about WHERE I want to teach. Not in my living room. Not on Zoom, although that’s a very real possibility. It’s probably easier if you can see and talk to real humans during the day who are doing the job you are doing. I don’t know if that’s easier? I haven’t done it all year. Yesterday was Teacher Appreciation Day, by the way. One sweet kid wrote me a really nice email. Which is OK. This age group is notoriously bad for acknowledging shit, but that one email was really appreciated. Yes, I told her that.

Meditating cat. Or me meditating. Hard to say.

And this one decided that meditation time was sit on your chest and poke sharp claws in you time.

OK, so that thing that woke me up at dark thirty (the thought about redoing the videos, not the cat claws) still needs to be done, and then school and school and school. And hopefully exercise and ironing at the end of it. I do not have to cook tonight (oh hallelujah), so that’s a plus. More cooking with the man gone has not been fun. Food is fuel. I just make lots of it and eat the same thing each night and get more and more sick of it. In the summer, I will do a better job of preparing a variety of meals and freezing them in batches so I can just pull from that each night I need to, but for now, it’s just getting by.

Work Stampede

It’s kinda crazy how far behind I am on everything right now. Work is stampeding all over the place, partially my fault for trying to take a day off this week, but I barely got through any of the late work this weekend, and progress report grades are due tomorrow. I think I can get through them OK. Maybe. But the planning this weekend is kind of what kicked my ass. I had to stuff and deliver all the art envelopes, plus make some assignments from scratch, plus edit some videos and other crap. It’s a lot of work…I’m hoping it calms down some this week? Maybe?

I brought all the colored paper back to school that I’d lugged home for the sculpture assignment…needed a cart to get everything out of the car without it taking 5 trips. Luckily, my co-worker has labeled it for easier use.

I only make it to school every three weeks or so. This was Saturday, so I saw one of the custodians, no one I knew.

My room makes me sad.

I just hope I’m allowed to come back to it in August. Certainly with the desks set up like this, I’m not walking the room without giant-ass bruises on my thighs. I run into those desks all the time as it is.

I did iron on Saturday during my guild meeting…this is the small space I stand in to iron…

Between the table where the Wonder Under is and the ironing board…there’s not much room to move it because the desk and chair are on the other side.

I came back to it at night; finally got to the point where I was ironing flesh.

I got all but two of those ironed down before I was too tired. And then last night, I didn’t have time to iron. I worked on school stuff for about 6 hours yesterday, and another 4 or so on Saturday. Ugh.

These are all the non-flesh pieces that still need ironing:

Piles of birds and bones and hearts and hair.

The box is filling up.

I’m hoping to have grades done early enough tonight to iron. I say that but I also need to deliver art supply envelopes to kids who can’t get to school to pick them up. And walk. And cook dinner. So IDK if I’ll get there, but if I do, the plus is that there’s something I don’t have to think very hard about…I can just iron all those down and feel like I accomplished something.

I’m not sure how much I have left, because the flesh pieces came out of all of the boxes from 400 on. So bits and pieces, but probably a few hours at least. I’m hoping to have them all ironed down by this weekend, so I can start trimming. I did decide to take Friday off…it’ll be the first day I’ve taken off all year, mostly because it’s such a pain in the ass to plan for, but fuck it. Especially fuck it if no subs pick the job up and my principal has to teach it. I’m OK with that (I like my principal mostly, but it’s been a shitty year and maybe he should experience it from my end for a day).

We have lots of baby birds. These are on a light in my outside entry area. Not the best choice, but it’s a light I don’t use much anyway.

I hiked late on Saturday. Really trying to keep the exercise regular, for my brain and my body.

It was nice out. I almost got run over by a horse, but otherwise, there was no one out there.

Still lots of flowers…

Interesting fern…

It was a good three miles…I did 11 last week total.

Not bad for someone who works all day and isn’t on the PCT, right? The man got back on the trail, and only today is really feeling symptoms from the vaccination. Nothing major, so he’s just taking it easy. We were trying to figure out where I’d be picking him up, and I found this…see, it says ‘mostly flat’. It’s not just me using those words.

Awesome stuff. I’m really looking forward to seeing him.

My meditation does not go as well with this cat around…

Luna is fascinated with the lights and the voice. She ended up lying on my chest with her whiskers in my face. Meditation fail. Again. I’m trying.

OK, work work work work work. Then hopefully walk the dog and myself and the boychild, plus REALLY hopefully, no work after dinner. Ha. I don’t think that’s happening, but I can dream. Lots. I can dream lots. So fucking tired. So fucking tired of this school year too.

A Little Breathless…

OK. I did a bunch of stuff yesterday and it wasn’t nearly enough. The to-do list for today woke me up this morning (well, the cat woke me up and it was light, so I put a pillow over my head and then the kids next door were up early and the dog started barking at them and then the Man texted from his hotel on the trail and that was the end of it, because the to-do list started screaming. Full on. Screaming.). Progress reports are due Tuesday, I have 25 kids transferring out of distance into in-person (oh halle-fucking-lujah, go you sweet bastards, go), so all their shit had to be input yesterday, including the two who were added last minute (one of them a good hour after school, thank you very much, stupid district and their shit), so I got all that done and graded all the late work that wasn’t high-level academic shit (and then got more kids emailing shit). It was a shit day, for sure.

So I still have 17 late assignments to get through, but they require brain power and I don’t have enough tea in me yet for that. Then finish creating the science assignment for MONDAY (shit shit shit) and the art warmup that is only in my head and nowhere fucking else (really y’all techy people need to figure out how to download shit from my brain ASAP; It’s just fucking boggling that you haven’t figure that out yet). Then finish planning for next week, make some videos for art. I’M STRESSED Y’ALL. If that isn’t obvious. I’m trying to gather all the tasks into my arms and hold them, and it’s why I made this quilt, I Gave Already…because I did and this is what it feels like.

That quilt is not new, so the problem is also not new.

So yeah. I’m OK. But a little breathless when I think too hard about what’s on that list. Art envelopes need to get to school, get more stuff in them, emails go to people who will handle the giving out of the envelopes. Cat food and meds for dog and cat. Groceries. Hang with a friend (that’s probably a good thing). Got the Man a vaccine appointment for today (yes, a major portion of my anxiety in the last three weeks has been his hiking unvaccinated), booked a cabin for next weekend so I can hang with him (needed laundry facilities…I got that AND a jacuzzi. Latter might be for me.). Might even take a day off work. Dunno. That might be more stress to prep for. Fuck my job, though. It’s beyond overwhelming at the moment and I can’t get away from it.

That’s why I walk so much…to get away from the job. It takes about a mile uphill for it to get the fuck out of my head and to be able to breathe deeply again.

It was hot on Thursday, Friday too, so I waited as long as I could before hiking. Still hot.

Flowers are still the best part of it.

I walk by this tree once a week and I don’t think I’ve ever seen flowers on it…and they’re awesome.

Keep looking, new stuff all the time.

Meanwhile, we had a juvenile coyote trying to move into our upper yard. Boychild went out and chopped up some plants and spread some wolf urine pellets, hopefully to persuade it to move along. I was checking the space the other day and saw this donation from our feathered predator friends.

The Man made it past mile 200…

And to Interstate 10…

Sometimes the Garmin gives some pretty amazing pictures. He did go UNDER the freeway. He’s in a town now, waiting for his appointment. Hopefully he’ll feel OK tomorrow and will be able to get back on the trail. I know yesterday was rough…over 19 miles down 5200 feet or so through a burn zone with limited water. In the heat. Certainly a challenge. I’m proud of him for doing this, even if I miss him tons.

His cats are in constant bird-watching mode. We have a bird house that was just sitting out on a bench on the deck. Nothing has ever lived in it until this year, when two tiny birds moved in and became BirdTV.

We also have baby birds in a nest in the entryway. I’m sure we have more than that, but those are the ones I’ve seen.

Makes for good entertainment.

I think this is gecko watching…or maybe moth.

Gotta watch the open windows this time of year…could lose the screens to the cats.

Someone I know was making tea towels for her mom…apparently the cicadas are coming back East? But this is kinda how I feel about the summer this year.

I was seriously considering just packing up the car and booking AirBnbs all up the Sierras to follow the Man. That’s not really doable or mature in any way. Just how I’m feeling. Mopey and lonely. Summer looks like shit. Except there will be no school, so that’s a plus.

This is still coming along…

I’m not totally invested in this quilt yet. I think it’s all the other stuff in my head. That said, it is a peaceful hour each night when I work on it. My brain can kind of push the other shit out for a while. So I appreciate that.

I think this is making silk…that part of the quilt. So I did the silkworms and moths, but these are cocoons being turned into thread for weaving.

Uh huh. I know. It doesn’t look like much here. Trust me.

After last night…I think I’m at about piece 340. Not fast, this. I have a quilt guild Zoom this morning, so I will do more during that. Hopefully I’ll do some tonight. We’ll see.

Because grades rule. And assignments rule. And then I get to have a life after that.

Ah, Kitten. You always get the chair.

OK, grade some shit, iron during meeting, kamikaze to school, the vet, and the pet store (wait, I could do that tomorrow on the way to the grocery store…never mind…I’m chaining those errands as much as possible). Then hang out for a while, come back, work some more. Hopefully art after that. Watching benign British drama at the moment. Shadow and Bone was a little YA for me. Maybe the book is better? Who knows. Ah yes, you’ll be glad to know that the neighbors behind having lights on all night was an aberration. Maybe they just forgot to turn them off, because the last two nights, they have been off. Light pollution solved on that side. Now for the side below me (still need BB gun for that one)…or my ex suggested taking cookies over and politely explaining the issue, but I’d probably also have to explain that when their parties get too loud and cackly or their kids get too high-pitched and screamy, I do in fact turn on music with swear words, loud, on purpose. Could be an awkward conversation. Oh well.

Less Cottony

Dear all my youngish neighbors with your little children who have now all installed really bright motion-sensor lights: Do you know that things that MOVE make your lights go on ALL NIGHT LONG…on the other side of the house, where you don’t even know about it, and the things that MOVE are animals, birds, and trees, sometimes bats. Seriously, the wind makes your stupid lights go on and you don’t really NEED them because you’re not out there in your side yard checking out what’s setting them off, BUT THEY ALL SHINE IN MY HOUSE. EVERY DAMN ONE OF THEM. Plus the damn fairy light strings everywhere. Yes, they are nice and pretty, but they don’t need to be on all night. I think they’re still on now and it’s broad daylight. Have you never heard of light pollution?

I hear my parents have a BB gun.

Yes, I am the crazy old lady neighbor. But seriously. So much lighting of spaces where there are no peoples.

Hey, well, it’s Thursday. Somehow I got off my every-other-day schedule and am trying to write on the days when I don’t normally write. Today is a staff meeting day AND a lab day, so this will be hopefully quick. What have I been doing? Well, working on a quilt, of course. And I needed to dye some old quilt blocks for the background of this one.

So I don’t know about you, but I have all the dye supplies ready to go in the cupboard, and can start a small dye job at 9:38 PM on a school night. I don’t usually do this, but it worked. I picked some of the old (really old, because I got them on Etsy a million years ago, but they aren’t in that great condition) blocks and tossed them in a mix of dyes that I thought would approximate the background fabric I already had picked. Left them for 24 hours and got this…

What’s funny about this is when I did the first rinse out of the dye bath, they all were that purply blue color…and by the time they got out of the washing machine, you can see that three were less cottony than I thought. OK. And I’m not sure the one on the bottom left will work…I don’t really want anything that has a lot of contrast. The 5 that worked are probably not enough (although they could be?) so I will probably try again. I did get the subtle changes that I wanted in about half of them, so that’s a success. Sort of.

Then I’ve been picking fabrics for an hour or so each night…

I find it really difficult to stop, actually. I just want to keep ironing. But I need to stick to my earlier bedtime, even though I don’t seem to be falling asleep much earlier. I’m sure I’m getting a little more? Maybe.

I’m averaging about 10-11 hours of artmaking a week at the moment…

That’s much better than the month of March, when I did a lot of nothing on art quilts. No sewing machine? I guess it was an issue. Plus overwork and exhaustion. Now I’m using the art to distract myself from isolation. But it’s also the artwork…and I love that normally. It’s not that I don’t love it now…it just isn’t giving me the same hit as usual.

I’ve been ironing for over 4 hours and I only have 200 pieces ironed down. Not super fast, y’all. There are a lot of fussy little decisions in the stuff on the Earth in this piece. Lots of overlapping colors and bits that require thought.

I finished appliqueing all the bits down to the April Homegrown blocks during one book club this week…

On to May. During the second book club (yes, I did that this week. Nights are deadly empty time.), I drew my Patreon drawing for the month…

And posted it. Talk about multitasking. I do it all the time. It works for me. I know it doesn’t work for some people. Certainly things like sewing and drawing occupy a different part of my mind than the meeting part. So it works. It’s not as effective during staff meetings, when I actually work on schoolwork through them. Those are overlapping parts of the brain and it means I sometimes miss stuff, but since 3/4s of what they talk about right now in staff meetings doesn’t apply to distance learning, I don’t really fucking care. I ask my team when I miss stuff.

I created that slide deck during the last staff meeting for the lab we did this week. And that calendar thing is so true at the moment.

I don’t even deal with one day. It’s sections of days. Morning. Afternoon. Evening. Night. Rinse. Repeat.

Here’s the lab we actually did…cellular respiration…

I have to do it one more time, today. It’s a pain in the butt, but it helps them think about the different types of food. Although then they think that sugar and food are the same thing. Not quite. I’m having a hard time getting a good chunk of them to listen at the moment. Normally, this is almost where we start sex ed and I have their full attention. I think this year will be harder at the end. I guess I will just roll with it. I don’t have control over so much of what goes on with their home lives, their attention spans, and their Wifi.

These two are sweet.

When Luna is not rampaging.

OK, hours of Zooming today followed hopefully by a good long walk and an already made dinner. Then more ironing. I think. Maybe I’ll get through more than 100 pieces in one night.

Everything’s Wonky

I don’t have a lot of words this morning. But here’s the current quilt getting ironed down.

Actually that’s the drawing hanging up so I can see it while I pick fabrics, with the old lady lying underneath. Here’s actual dirt being ironed down.

Night 1 was not very productive. Mostly I cleaned so I could get to this part.

Night 2 was slightly better, made it into the 100s, with some 200s tossed in for variety.

Ironic. Those colors are not my mood at the moment. Fake it until you make a rainbow! Yeah!

My brain.

Kind of irritated that the artist’s name is not on this. I will try to remedy that. OK. This is a meme. Who knows whose it is.

The boychild and I took the little dog for a walk yesterday…lots of flowers popping up. Haven’t seen this one before. I think.

Really, these are all for Julie, so she will go out and start seeing all the flowers.

Speaking of seeing, this dog likes bread.

And I finished this block. I should paint my house like this. Except the windows aren’t a good color.

I like that they’re crooked. Everything’s a little wonky. Well, more than a little. Well that’s a little too real right now for me. Moving on. More ironing tonight. Hopefully clarity. Or calm. Or something.

Clearing the Brain…

Clearing my brain before the work week starts? Before I start the next stage of the newest quilt in progress? It seems a useful thing, like meditating before I go to bed. I know the meditation app wants me to meditate in the morning, but I’m not a morning person and can’t get my head around it. It’s better to clear everything out and calm it down before I try to sleep. Even that leaves too much floating around in there some nights.

I spent most of the weekend trying to get bits and pieces of things done. I finally planted the milkweed seeds the boychild gave me for my birthday.

There’s 5 different varieties. If they all sprout, we’ll have milkweed for miles…which will make these guys happy…

My current three milkweed plants are not particularly healthy…

But they have caterpillars anyway.

I went to some of the SAQA conference this weekend, well, maybe most of it…

I cut out all the Wonder Under for the newest quilt in the last three days, mostly while listening to the conference webinars.

I think that was what I got done on Friday night…

And the rest on Saturday. After the conference, I sorted all the pieces…

So they’re ready for ironing to fabrics.

This guy is still hiking…

Yeah. Well. I got a few words and images of him. One phone call so far, one FaceTime. At some point, when he gets up to the Big Bear area, I might be able to meet up with him. It will take him a while to get all the way across those mountains, so I have a better chance of meeting him. He just made it to Idyllwild this afternoon, so with my having to work tomorrow, that doesn’t work at all.

The loss of the daily personal connection is really hard. He’s been gone for trips before for work, even going to Europe, but never for this long. And the vast expanse of time ahead with his continuing to be gone? I can’t say I’m dealing well with it. There’s a lot of connection already missing from my life due to COVID and teaching from home.

Anyway, my solution yesterday to an increasingly low mood was to shop for fabric.

Just to be clear, I don’t need any more fabric. I have plenty. And this piece I’m working on now will use some recycled fabric and donated fabric, but I was in a bad mood and fabric makes me happier. So there we are.

This was my weekly cat photo on Instagram for the Man.

I don’t know if he misses his cats. They miss him. They like me, and certainly, they are all over the bed at night (if only they would curl up like this and not hog the bed).

Ah sisters.

OK, well this is just really my procrastination over cleaning the studio. I don’t feel like cleaning. I did vacuum yesterday. Look! It’s like I’m a housewife or something (something. I’m definitely something.). I did a bunch of schoolwork this weekend, just because I need to stay on top of it. Grades are due next weekend, and although I’m losing 16 kids to in-person instruction, that means their grades have to be done early. Stress me out much? Yeah. So clean up, be ready to iron tonight. I’ll meditate, and hopefully sleep a little better? I don’t know. This coming week is a little crazy. Hopefully not in a bad way. There’s only so much fabric in the world. I can’t (and shouldn’t) buy all of it.

To the Other Side…

I guess the weekly exhaustion is now outweighing the nightly inability to sleep. Or the cats are standing on me in the middle of the night less? Hard to say. I evaluate nightly sleep on the number of times I get up and/or look at the clock. It was a one-clock, no-get-up night. Not bad.

I just walked away from the computer to heat up my tea (crucial to thought processes, the movement AND the tea), and had a bright idea about the jeans remnants that my daughter left on the ironing board for me. Sometimes I really love my creative brain. It is an incredible beast, working with almost nothing to create amazing things, or sometimes even just workable things (school). It’s the same brain that mires itself in anxiety and insecurity. That creativity can go both ways. That’s this morning in a nutshell. It’s a damn good thing it’s Friday. I’ve been so antsy in my work chair, so tired of sitting in front of Zoom and answering tiny little questions over and over and worrying about getting stuff graded and preparing the best stuff for my kids. I so appreciated last night’s Zoom with stitching friends, because it did let me get out of that shitty headspace for a couple of hours. SAQA conference is this afternoon and tomorrow, so hopefully that will also help.

I finished tracing the Wonder Under for the newest quilt last night…

I thought I was only on piece 600 Tuesday night; turns out, I had made it to 700, so Wednesday night, I did another 100 or so pieces, and then finished the final 100 last night. That’s almost 11 hours of tracing 890 pieces…not incredibly efficient, but OK.

Three full yards and one baby yard, not even full…in fact, I cut out all those pieces in the baby yard last night in 14 minutes.

Three full yards to go. And then it was time to meditate, clean up cat stuff, and go to bed. More tonight. Looks like I’ll be ironing to fabric next week, hopefully. That’s the plan anyway.

I worked on these during the Zoom call with stitching friends. It’s brainless stuff, just sewing wool and cotton down for the Sue Spargo Block-of-the-Month Homegrown.

It’s easy, I enjoy the stitching, and the bright colors are fun.

The man is heading for Idyllwild at the moment. He did his longest hike yesterday, 17.3 miles…

He has been hiking with a group, but half of them are not thru-hiking, and are almost done. He has to have a totally different mindset…he’s got a good 2500 miles to go. Yesterday was hard, but he did it, and I’m proud of him for persevering. I’m going nuts at home, but that’s me. Thirty nine days of school yet. Don’t even ask me how many days before I see him again…not sure when his trail will meet up with my weekends. And coming home? It’s a LOOONG time. Many too many many days.

Girlchild left yesterday. Here she is with my parents.

More family photos, y’all. I suck at taking them and should work harder at it.

OK. It’s Friday. My lessons for today are hard hard hard. Not really, but they will be hard to mentally get my own self through…well, maybe art will be OK. It’s always difficult when we start a new project. It’s hard to show things. I make videos to help, but not everyone will watch them. I have a bunch of new kids in art and I’m having a hard time getting them to produce trackable work, like my other kids have learned to do. I have some parents who don’t understand how I hold kids accountable for their in-class time. It’s just a lot of frustration. Plus the district gave us a new “required” curriculum that is not set up for distance learning at all, which I figured out last night and just about lost my mind over. It’s OK. I sent yet another bitchy email. It’s all I do these days: remind the powers-that-be that me and my students exist and that they all mostly suck at remembering that.

It will be better in August. It has to be. Or I might just decide another job is better for my sanity. I can see why people jump out of life and hike the PCT. I can’t afford to do it, so that’s a thing. But I get it.

Friday. Conquer it. Or at least get through it to the other side.

These Pieces Are Kinda Small…

So yesterday was 4/20, which if you’re a middle school teacher, you know why I’m bringing this up. Every year, it’s a Big Deal for middle schoolers that it’s 4/20 because pot and ha ha ha and do you get it wink wink. Teachers roll their eyes and explain this is not new, they are not amazeballs, and we move on. Yesterday was 4/20 and I didn’t even realize it (like most of you) until I was creating an invoice at the end of the day, and then I was like, HOLY CRAP. The last two years, I don’t think a single kid has said a freakin’ word about 4/20…or about pot in general. Like at all. So many of the annoying behaviors we see in the classroom just disappear online. Also, unfortunately, some of the kids just disappear online, but that’s another issue. So weird. No 4/20 this year.

The good school news is that they are hiring two more teachers and I will be losing around 20 students in 2 or 3 weeks. This will get me close to 150, the lowest all year. I’ve had 170+ students in previous years, but in a physical classroom with only one prep, science. This year, with the multiple preps and having to create so much curriculum from scratch that will actually work with online students has buried me like no other year. I’m walking exhaustion at the moment. Even hiking yesterday, my legs complained for the first mile (although my speed was good). I felt like I was dragging wood blocks through molasses. Ugh. Today I need to grade like the wind and be efficient, more than I was yesterday. I say that, but I worked all day, then worked through the SAQA conference after school, so I’m doing the things. They just feel really hard at the moment. MOMENT=all year.

The plus is that I did walk yesterday. It’s been warm and it looks it here, but it was starting to cool off.

It’s flower and also weird pod season. I see these every year and they are always fascinating.

I managed to trace another hour’s worth of Wonder Under both on Monday and Tuesday night…

I’m supposed to be trying to go to bed early, and I do look at the clock and make that attempt, but then I just lie there in bed, unable to fall asleep. Singularly frustrating. And that’s after meditating. Sigh. Bad sleeper, that’s me.

These pieces are kinda small.

I did through piece 600, so I have 290 pieces left to trace. Damn. I thought I was further along. Ugh. OK. It’s fine. If I’m efficient with grading today, since I finished the copyediting finally, I will have some extra time for tracing. It’s all good.

Couple things: the bees left the composter, so that’s good. Now I need to wash the wax off. They tried to start a hive and I don’t want them coming back. They will come back though. The bitchy neighbor in me wants to put a bee hive up on the slope where the neighbors want to build a fence. Sigh. They haven’t done it yet, but whatever. I don’t want a fence. Chain link. Ugly. And then she wants to plant bamboo, the ‘non-clumping kind’. Stupid. And blocks my light. Whatever. So annoyed by neighbors these days. And the movie Mary Shelley. Double ugh. Is that really her story? She did write Frankenstein at a really early age; impressive. But the story of Percy Shelley and their relationship just sucked. So it turns out that some of it was inaccurate. You can read about it here. Interesting that this Shelley researcher says the book Frankenstein focused on her anxieties while pregnant, and that they didn’t even use her words in the movie; they used her husband’s. Sigh. So I just finished reading nonfiction about teaching. I try to read some nonfiction. It’s not my favorite. Reading is escape, right? But I am trying a new Zoom book club, and I now need to read another nonfiction book by next Tuesday, and the book is good, but it will just boggle me and make me feminist angry (like I’m not already). It’s called Invisible Women and is about the data biases that disappear the entire gender in the world. It’s not that I don’t know about some of these things; they just irritate me. As well they should.

The man is still hiking…the boychild delivered a supply box yesterday, and now he has 70 miles to the next store. It’ll be a few days. I can’t see him this weekend; I’m buried in meetings and stuff, but hopefully the weekend after that. Although grades are due for progress reports; that complicates things. Sigh. Dumb job. He did text me about Derek Chauvin though…because he saw the news before I did. Tears to my eyes. America, let’s do this. Make it better. We’re not done.

Here’s a cat.

Here’s a bunny. We have lots of them.

And here are two more cats…

I think it must be nice to be a cat. They certainly get more sleep than I do. It’s probably not as nice to be a bunny. They always seem so scared, and we have tons of predators outside.

OK, efficient grading day. More tea to counteract the tiredness. It’s somewhat chilly today. I have pilates (yay) and then I can trace for a chunk of time. Maybe I will finish? Probably not, but maybe. I did get more Wonder Under, a whole bolt of it. That should last me a while. These are the plans. And the positives. Wonder Under. Tea. Pilates. Tracing.