But I Was Late for This, Late for That*

Adult brain won last night and got me in bed earlier. Not much earlier. Really not even a win, if you talk to anyone about how much sleep I SHOULD get, but better than the night before. So there’s that. Plus I finished grades before we even went to the airport to drop off the girlchild…here’s what the end of doing grades looks like…

Pretty dang happy. Girlchild will hate this photo, but Simba is kissing her. Last time he’ll be able to do that for a while. Next up? Graduation, a trip to Portugal (for her, not me…I won’t make it out of the country this year), and then work like an adult. Who knows when we’ll see her again on that couch. I try not to think too hard about that shit.

So finally, on January 14, I managed to implement my Finishing All the Shit plan for the new year. I assigned one project per day, and I’m supposed to put in about 30 minutes on it a night, after I eat dinner, while I’m still watching whatever show we’re watching, assuming I don’t have an art quilt that’s in a couch stage (cutting things out or sewing bindings) or grading I can do. Or want to do, because I had more grading last night…I just chose not to do it. It will get done. Eventually. But I haven’t been doing a good job of following any of it, mostly because the projects themselves are very disorganized at the moment. So I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to find all the bits that would allow me to just pick one up and work on it.

So I worked on this, Monday’s project…

Which included a puppy face…a puppy who is confused about where his benefactor went.

I don’t know how many years ago I started this, but it was a lot. It’s from a book called Home Sweet Home except I blew off their calm quiet colors. I have I think 6 blocks done? Or this is the 6th one? And there are only 9. Most of the pieces are pretty damn big, so it won’t take long. Here it is so far…

The windows are all done…they just need to go on. This is about 1/2 way done. So there we are. Moving on.

After all that and the dishes and trying to figure shit out and get my brain on task (a difficult thing sometimes), I moved into the room with the iron…

And I did things with it. So this is the bottom section of Figure 2…and I put the hand in that overlapped it. I’m pretty sure that pink hand is from Figure 5, because I pulled it from the box with the 1300s…but it’s missing the finger creases. I don’t know where they are…hopefully in the box with the other fingers (not the 1300s box. Trust me. I looked there more than once.). I just didn’t go looking for them.

Then I pulled that off the teflon sheet and started on the section of Figure 2 above the arm that crosses over it…

Skinny piece…with another arm above it. For now, I just kept going above that arm…

I don’t think I’ll try to iron that arm over the body now. Too complicated. No logical break like with the other hand.

I didn’t finish the face, because however much I WANTED to, that’s when adult brain looked at the clock and said no, go to bed.

Which is good, because it takes me a while to get everything cleaned up and settled and brush my teeth, find the dogs, settle them, take insulin, etc. But there’s Figure 1 getting swallowed by Figure 2, which is almost finished. Although she has a tree, a nest, a bird, and an ivy vine that go with her, so not quite THAT close to done. I’m in the 400s, so I only got about 150 pieces in last night. Not bad. I started around 10 PM. Only 1100 pieces to go! Yeah. Uh huh.

I got rejected from another show last night. OK. Well. There we are. Now I need to figure out what’s available to enter in the next one. Which reminds me that I still have one out there that should be returned this week…haven’t seen it yet. Sigh. Six made it home…no, seven made it home. Sheesh. That’s a lot. Need to deal with putting those away. I emailed about the eighth one. Usually they send tracking info. Well. Sometimes they send tracking info. No guarantees.

OK, more ironing tonight, but also tutoring and the gym…which bites into that time. All good and useful things…but time is a limited resource.

*The Lumineers, Cleopatra

Come Back Sunday Morning*

So once I start ironing a quilt together, I’m finally seeing the images in color that were in my head, seeing them for real…and it’s very hard to stop ironing. Like to eat or sleep. This weekend was such a clusterfuck of work work work and running around getting stuff done that I was going a little bonkers with no art. So I SHOULD have finished grades last night, but I didn’t…and I may regret that later, but I will deal. And the girlchild goes back to school today, so that’s sad. But I needed some art before my brain exploded, so that’s what I did last night. Put the school computer away, cleaned all the dishes, and walked into the studio. Where the fabric is.

And I started ironing this monster together…five overlapping heads (only one has a whole body…most just have arms and maybe part of a torso).

Tiny little hands that will show up when I do the outlining. I picked a different run of flesh for each figure.

She’s one of my favorites…

Her body is in two parts, bisected by the arm of one of the other figures.

Putting the face together…

I did try to keep them simple…well. You know. I’m not good at that.

There she is!

One figure done…except I forgot she had stuff on her shoulder…

Like you do…so that’s Figure 1 done.

Here’s the whole setup…you can see how big the drawing is…

It’s draped over the ironing board and I put the teflon sheet (or sheets, depending on how big what I’m ironing is) on top.

It was late, but the thing is, when I’m on a roll, it’s hard to stop. If I didn’t listen to the adult brain in my head arguing with art brain, I’d iron ’til the cows come home. And I don’t have cows, so that would be a really long time. As it was, I went to bed way too late and I will pay for it today. Ugh. But I was feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, and art helps with that. So here is the start of Figure 2…also bisected, perhaps trisected…so this is the bottom part of the torso.

I ironed the first 300 pieces and a bit. Not bad for the first night. I’ll see what I can get done with grades today during prep…maybe I won’t have to work on school all night. I will have to go to the airport. The thing about the girlchild leaving is that she probably won’t ever get to come home for that long again (it was only 3 weeks, despite her claim it was 4, and she was gone for 6 days of it on a road trip)…and right now, it’s unlikely that she’ll move back here. So there’s that. Trust me, I understand needing to live away from your parents…but I still miss her when she’s gone. Normal mom stuff.

Other random things. This bee rode the windshield of my car almost all the way to the grocery store…

I don’t know if that was its plan, but it’s what happened.

This is perhaps the only documentation I have EVER of my dad attempting an artistic endeavor.

My parents were in Portugal on a tour and painted tiles. My mom did one too, but she does art stuff all the time. Dad does not. So there it is…a Bob original.

I was on this couch by myself. And then this happened…

So I went back to ironing.

This morning’s sunset…the rain starts this afternoon and doesn’t stop until Thursday night sometime.

So I was thankful for this. Sheesh. I lied. My weather app says the rain is starting in 15 minutes. Sigh. I guess I should be glad I saw that this morning at all. Got up early! For this. That’s OK then. Now I need to go find my rain gear.

*Portugal, the Man, Live in the Moment

I’m Still in My Bathrobe*

Hey. Weekend. Weekend of work. Sigh. I did some fun stuff though. You should always do the fun stuff when you can. Well. There’s a balance, isn’t there? I never achieve it.

Friday night, I sorted the pieces for the new quilt…

That was a little over an hour…not a hard thing to do, unless you’d already been standing all day…

But I got it done. Now I’m ready to iron everything together. I was hoping to get to that yesterday, Saturday, and that was a no go. I graded almost all day, with a brief interlude of Kitten at the vet for her annual physical, but she refused to give blood, so she has to go back in a better mood. I wish her luck with that. She does not like the vet. Neither do I, but they never ask me to pee in a cup. I guess they didn’t ask her either.

During grading, there are always other living creatures in my space…

Anyway, I came home and graded some more (they’re due Tuesday!). I’m really almost done, but there’s one assignment that I just find painful to grade. So yeah.

That cat really wanted to lie ON the keyboard.

Oh yeah, I forgot…the man was playing a private party Friday night way out in Bay Park or near there, so I dragged the girlchild out…from outside, there’s the man…

Not sure why he’s so blue. It was a good show, but we were tired and came home early (“early”…around 11:30 PM).

Then last night, I’d given him tickets to Mesmerica by James Hood, at the Fleet center. It was pretty cool. But we wanted dinner ahead of time, and parking downtown is such a pain, so we parked at Balboa Park and walked a mile to dinner…

It was good food, although I think my leftover fries are still in the car. It’s cold out there, so it’s like being in the fridge. In trying to get the blood sugar to behave, I’m not eating all the potatoes in the world. I had a great vegetarian dinner on Friday night that the girlchild made, but my blood sugar was sky high after. Sigh. What is “healthy”? It’s gotten significantly harder to deal with the diabetes in the last two years. I’m trying, but I don’t have it yet. I definitely won’t be going vegetarian any time soon. Too damn hard to deal with the carbs.

Then we walked a mile back to Balboa Park (impressive 2-mile dinner walk, eh?)…lots of weird and wonderful bits of the park at night…

From the Cannibal exhibit at the Museum of Man. It was a little chilly out, but it doesn’t snow here, so we were OK. Mesmerica was like an hour of trippy meditation, so we were both tired after…

And this guy again. So no art yesterday. Can I do better today? Sigh. Well I have a bunch of school stuff to do still. And groceries. Plus laundry for the week, and dinner at the parents, and sheesh. So I don’t know. I hope so. I would like to clean up a little in here, just so I can actually iron. And set up the drawing and the bins…and maybe start the first 100 pieces. I think that’s my goal for the day.

I’ve looked at how much time is left on this quilt versus the deadline I was hoping to make, and I don’t think I’ll be able to pull it off…which is OK. I have other things for the other deadline that will work, and I’ll still finish this…I’ll just do it with a realization that this month is hard, going back to school is hard, the next two weeks are hard. Yeah. That. That’s why I say you should do the fun stuff.

*Weezer, Feels Like Summer

I’m the Master of My Sea*

Still adjusting. I think I manage school fairly well, until I get to four days before grades are due and now the cat has to go to the vet even though she’s fine because they won’t give her the meds unless she goes once a year and the doc office is calling three times in 30 minutes while I’m teaching and one assignment has to be ingested and slurped (seriously) by three different apps before I can grade it and I’m so incredibly not ready for next week, but this week isn’t even over yet and somehow I just ordered 5 limes in my produce box and I don’t use limes for anything and I have to remember to pay for the girlchild’s college which changed due dates and Whythehell did I end up being the point person on all the college/kid stuff in the world heaven only knows and I think there’s something else I’m forgetting because there aren’t enough post-it notes in the world.

I can deal with all of that. What I really want is more time to work on this quilt, because there was plenty of time when I started it and there is not now.

That said, I’m closer. I finished cutting everything out last night…

It only took me 22 1/2 hours. It doesn’t usually take that long. I’m not even halfway through, I think. Probably not. I might not get this done in time. Oh well. It will get done. And the next one is a giant blank space in my head, so there’s that. Aack.

Although now that I think about it, last night’s drawing is a step in the right direction. Seriously. I just figured that out.

Yeah, last night, after doing some of this…

(can you see the girlchild?) at a gym I never go to, because mine is being remodeled…

I came home, cooked my own dinner, graded a bit, and then sat down to cut stuff out, but reached for the sketchbook instead. Because. I should. And I like it. And why not (here’s why that quilt is not getting done, eh?). And I drew this…

And I just now realized this is the start of the next piece…I just need it bigger. And more of it. OK. This is good. I love it when I have these incredible insights in the morning, when I don’t even have tea in my brain yet, but it’s wandering off and figuring all the shit out without my conscious help. Yes!

OK, and then I cut stuff out, but it was 11:30 PM when I got to this…

And that’s one to two hours right there. So I didn’t start. Because (a) I had to be up early today for a parent meeting and (b) I knew if I started, I’d come home to a cat butt in one of those boxes with a bunch of tiny pieces all over that furry butt, and I didn’t want that. So tonight. This is on the bill. There might be other things too. But this for sure.

I finally finished my cover page for the new unit…took me long enough.

I think I did a pretty good job on Iron Man.

All the rest of the stuff in my head is some existential crisis of people and interactions and who’s here and who’s leaving and how long the ones are here will be here and whether there will be others to take their place and some of them will be far away for a long time and some need to at least get out of the house and some said they’d be around and then argue about what that means and and and. I’m in a mood. I’m tired. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and that’s my own fault plus a job that just does that to you no matter what, so you have to get control of it and make the world your own. Working on it. It’s like when I’m trying to get 24 7th graders to meditation breathe, and they’re wiggly as hell and you’re like, just CLOSE YOUR EYES for the 17th time and then they all do (except one, because there’s always one) and you’re even sitting right in front of one, knee to knee, because he can’t do this without that, and you breathe in the nose for one two three four and out through the mouth one two three four and you only get three breaths in, but that’s enough, because all of a sudden it’s quiet except for that one girl who wouldn’t close her eyes and now she’s flipping her hair all over the place in that way that only a teenaged girl can and the rush of her hair through the cloistered air in the room makes a sound that disturbs the peace.

That’s my brain for today.

*Imagine Dragons, Believer

Time Is Squished

The electricity is supposed to go off in 46 minutes. Or so. The local electric company warned us, so we could save our delicate electronics, which apparently includes this computer. It’s OK. Really, I’m supposed to be leaving for work around then anyway. Someone asked why I write every day before work anyway. I didn’t used to write every day…I wrote every three days, mostly on a schedule. Before that, I wrote whenever I remembered, which wasn’t often. That’s before I kept a weekly art journal too, so things change. I wrote every night before I went to bed for about a year, getting very little sleep, because it actually helped me fall asleep to get it all out of my head and typed out onto a screen. Now I find it helps me set the scene for the day. Clears the crazy from whatever was in my head overnight (last night? sleep. That was what was in my head). It also lets me make a plan for the day for how to get art done. What to do, when and how to do it, what else I need to get out of the way to do it. There’s purpose then. I don’t always get done what I say I will get done, but the intent helps me to do.

I still need to get my cover page colored for work, by the way. I got through this part of it yesterday…

The rest won’t take long, but today and tomorrow are still high-energy teacher days. I came home last night and graded some more, because grades. Always grades. Looking back, although I finished an assignment, I guess I thought the girlchild would still be up when I was done, but she had gone to bed. Sigh. Really I should hang with her instead of grading.

So I cut things out for a few hours…with the dog…

Everybody else had gone to bed or disappeared into their rooms, doors closed.

I was so close. I don’t have very much left. I really wanted to just stay up and finish it, but it was already almost 12:30 and I teach middle school. And they require mental energy. I need to be awake to handle their crazy and even their not crazy. So I went to bed. I was sort of a responsible adult (a real responsible adult gets 8 hours of sleep a night, and I almost never get that…certainly not on a school night.). And I will finish tonight and hopefully get it all sorted. Then start ironing it together sometime this weekend. In between grading stuff. And hanging out with people. And planning for next week’s lessons. Yeah. Time is squished.

But first, I’m going to go around and unplug all my sensitive electronics, so the power surge when everything goes back on (hopefully before I get back home) does not kill everything I own.

I miss drawing every night by the way. But grading took its place. Sad but true…will try to get it back…at least partway.


Well. OK. Over break, the amount of room in my head that I allow for school issues, not grading stuff or prepping lessons, but the role we teachers play as counselors, motivators, substitute parents, besties (not really), motivators, disciplinarians, doctors, psychiatrists (without any training, of course), and all the other jobs we do…I reduce that amount in my head over break. It’s nice to walk away from it and not go to bed worrying about what this kid said or how they behaved or what they did or what you know is going on at home or how their behavior means probably this is what break was like for them. It’s nice to not wake up in the morning to emails that are huge red flags for mental illness or a mental break or something significant that you will have to persuade someone else to take action on, because you are just the teacher, one of the many teachers, for this kid who is obviously (to you) on the brink of something possibly really bad, or another kid who you think has reasons for what they’re doing, but sometimes other people don’t agree and you watch the kid continue with who and what they are and hope that by adulthood they have figured it out. Because I can’t fix all of it. And that’s one of the hardest things about being a teacher. Wanting to fix it and not being able to…and sometimes not even having enough extra space in your head to help that one over there, because they mostly seem OK and no one else thinks there’s a problem.

All that. After one day with the kids. Oh yeah. Why I don’t sleep well.

But what did I do yesterday? I drew this…

I still need to color it. I’m behind. I was grading all the late stuff that showed up yesterday. Getting things into the gradebook. Like a responsible teacher. I tutored after school. It uses up all of my mental energy usually, but I needed to deal with some grading stuff at home, so I did. For an hour. But I popped out the backyard to get this.

It’s usually hard to get the sunset on my side of the hill. I did notice the dead branch the tree trimmers behind my house dumped on my hedge. Great.

I made a huge pile of vegetables for dinner. Good stuff. Note: roasted persimmons are tasty. And I cut this stuff out. More of it.

Two or three hours more of it…

What’s left to be cut out? Those fleshy bits in the top box.

Getting there. Maybe tonight? Hard to say. I really need to grade another assignment tonight…but it’s hard to come home after all the energy gets used up and find more energy to stare at assignments. I know I should. I just don’t know if I can.

This week is always an adjustment…with sleep, talking, standing, energy, emotional energy, food, peeing! (teachers understand this). I should remember that and give myself a break for not solving everyone’s problems today. (ha! or anyone’s…really…)

Art Tonight. Long Day First.

Back to work is a whole different world. Luckily, we started yesterday with no kids…professional development (I use that phrase lightly) in the morning and time to “plan” in the afternoon (aka get my room under control). That part was nice, because usually we have to either come in really early on Monday or come in the weekend before to set up and make sure we have everything. For instance, I forgot that I needed more folders because I misordered back in summer and got some with no metal prongs, and that ain’t gonna fly. I think I thought it MIGHT fly back in the summer? But no. So I have one class that will feel all left out because their new folders won’t arrive until Thursday. Well, Friday for them. They will survive.

Our district has this focus on healthy and happy kids, and although I don’t think that’s a bad idea in general, I know that for some people, happy isn’t really a thing. Being told to be healthy and happy can be really frustrating, like if we just tried a little harder, we could be those things, but when you know people who don’t have happy in their vocabulary, but they are content or passionate about something specific, then you balk at that word. And healthy is another issue…I have multiple students with health issues that are out of their control, and to force this concept of healthy without qualifying it…it’s not something I agree with. I’m more into being the best person you can be, wherever that is in the spectrum. Contribute positively to the world, whether it’s person by person or worldwide. Take care of yourself and your people, whether friends or family. Because some people’s families suck too. Anyway. I drew yesterday, but it wasn’t fun or interesting…I kind of think of this as teacher busywork, because I think the district already has decided what our best practices etc are, and they just want us to feel like we’re part of the process.

But I’m pretty cynical about school districts too. Maybe it really is meant to be collaborative. At some point, though, when the groups are made up of 30 people…I don’t think we’re doing anything productive with that. Others disagree with me. That’s OK.

So focus on the afternoon, when I got shit done. That was good. And it means I am more prepared (well, my room is) for today. My brain is still not on fleek. (wrong use. Totally.)

I booked out of school as fast as possible and headed out with the dogs and the boy to try to get an hour in. We failed to do all three miles (light fading and coyote incursion imminent), but we did close. We could have gone further probably. Plus we almost got the car stuck…even better.

Insert interesting pods…

And ferns I’ve never noticed before…

We were standing up slope with the dogs as people went by…I’m sure they’re there all the time.

When I got home, I graded for a while…trying to get caught up. Always trying, never succeeding, until June, when the final grades are due.

Then I cut out stuff for four hours straight. Because I couldn’t deal with anything else.

Definitely progress showing here. The box in the middle is all that’s left. It doesn’t look like much, but there’s a lot of little pieces in there. It will take a while. I’m honestly having a hard time getting my head into this. So that will change when I start ironing, I’m sure. And maybe once I get back into the routine of school. Maybe. Right now I’m not feeling it. But feel it or not, the work day starts in 42 minutes, so I’ve got to get going. Art tonight. Long day first.