Almost Relief

Well. That’s done. And a relief. Too many people in my classroom, my poor kids stressed out (OK, well, some absolutely blossomed with that many adults in there, good to know for next time). Super long day, a million steps, very tired, they canceled tutoring (oh hallelujah), but I had a meeting later…which was fine, except I’ve never ever seen that Starbucks that full, so we had to sit outside and it was raining (it was covered but cold and dampish). And I was able to come home and finish grading Unit 2, although that was more difficult than you would think due to kittens.

But I can go into the last three days of school before a week off with almost relief. I guess there’s still a shitload of stuff to do. It’s just less high stress. We even got the field trip lunches ordered, so that was a miracle. I’m feeling pretty chill. Knock on wood. Because that never lasts.

I’m back to insomnia though…at least the falling-asleep kind. Brain won’t shut up. Hopefully a week off will help with that.

Until then, there will be lots of kitten photos. Because they’re cute. This is Diva. She’s super cautious and not Diva-like at all.

I suggested calling her Frida. She seems the thoughtful painterly type.

This is Sue-Bob. She is aggressive and boisterous and adventurous. We both have accidentally called her a he, which says more about our social/cultural shit than it says about her. She’s a strong, opinionated female.

She should maybe be called Gloria, but since these are not mine to name, and people names on cats is a little weird, we’re probably not going to do that. I suggested Pussy. That did not go down well.

Oh yeah, here was my outdoor, slightly damp seat at Starbucks, waiting for my meeting, while fixing the holes in my sweatshirt.

We’ll see how it holds up.

By the time I got back, the man was cooking and the kittens were locked up, because they needed a nap.

Oh yeah. Cute.

The man goes to bed lots earlier than I do, so he asked me to supervise the little beasts until I was done. I had grading to do, so I sat in there and tried to grade with the little twerps.

They chewed on units, my fingers, and my toes. Sue-Bob tried to escape about 15 times. Diva almost went down the back of the desk into the never-never land behind. They tried to grab my pen and my phone, and definitely went headfirst into my tea. I forgot what babies are like. Holy Shit.

Uh huh. Thems my toes.

When I was done, I put them back in their giant-ass crate (seriously could fit 50 more kittens in there) and they mewed at me and I felt bad, but Kitten was waiting for me in the studio…

She’s being standoffish. I take her to watch them play or sleep. She’s not keen on this. I’m hoping she warms up to it. Because I think we all might have already bonded. Oops.

I didn’t get a lot done…there are four figures in this quilt and each one will be slightly different. I did all the flesh tones…

I still need to do the heart, hair, uterus, and all that floofy stuff.

I have book club tonight…hopefully I’ll get some ironing in after that. We usually meet outside, so I’m not sure what will happen with that. Not my problem.

OK, need to get to work. It’s raining. Just lightly for now. The downpour comes later. Makes the old lady dog nervous, makes the roads dangerous. Also waters the plants. I’m good with that. I think today is a Plant My Butt on a Rolling Chair Day. We’ll see if that really works. Hopefully.

Nida As Is…Plus Kittens!

Today is a crazy day. But once it’s done, I think things will just slide into a week off (a week off that includes lots of driving and grading and all that stuff, but still a week off, dammit).

My classroom will be full of people today…I had to pick kids to teach during my prep, just to show politicians what science looks like these days. I love that two of the science classes they’ll be going to are focusing on environmental science…because that’s a thing. I’m hoping it goes well…I’m just going to teach like I always do. They keep saying dog-and-pony show, but I don’t dog OR pony well, so they’ll just get Nida as is, maybe minus my commentary on “It sucks to be you.” Or not. I did cherry-pick my class…so it’s way smaller than any real class I have and no one is an asshole. It’ll be interesting. I’m not a fan of this crap, but these are the people trying to figure out how ESSA and NCLB will work, and they need to see real kids in action. So maybe I should have cherry-picked some of the more challenging kids, true, but…my sanity is part of this picture.

Meanwhile, back home, we are fostering two kittens with the plan of adopting them…

They are dilute calicos, which means they have more recessive genes than they know what to do with…both girls, sisters in fact. For now, they are residing in this kitty condo so we don’t lose their tiny bodies in this house, plus dogs and other cat have a chance to get acquainted.

One tiny kitten already voiced her objection to Simba, thus crushing his dreams of being their bestie. That might change.

Kitten has visited them multiple times without incident…

She was the real worry…we want her to have good years as the oldest cat in the house, but we also hope she will love them and play with them. She used to play with our oldest cat back in the day…so we know she has it in her. And with Satchemo dying, she’s been out and roaming the house and playing and running around, and we want that to continue…that’s kinda why we picked kittens, plus we want them to have someone to play with no matter what, so sisters is also good.

They have lame names. We haven’t figured that out yet. This is Diva…

She’s more shy and retiring and cautious.

This is her more aggressive sis, Sue-Bob. No really.

She’s into the love. Likes pets and playing like a maniac, plus pushing her sister out of the way. So I guess there will be a lot more kitten pictures. We haven’t let them out into the house yet. These are the man’s cats really, so he is taking the day off work to bond. Really just to play with kittens.

I did grade last night…just one more night of the big project is left, and then I have about 9 hours of reading CER essays (claim, evidence, reasoning). Then I ironed for an hour. An hour a night is better than nothing, and this was an easy hour…continuing around the background, I did the hills and the mountains.

The hardest part was finding all the pieces, because they were in three different boxes.

Next I start with the first female figure…each one will be a different flesh run, so that’s complicated. But not yet. I think I have to do the clouds and sun first. Can’t remember.

Anyway. Gotta go to work. Yesterday, I got to school and as part of the prep for these important folks coming to our school, they “cleaned” our rooms over the weekend without telling us. All the tables, chairs, technology, anything that was on my teacher desk, and all the lab materials we’d left out on Friday were all shoved in random places. It took me 40 minutes to put everything back. My co-teacher had a morning meeting, so she didn’t have that time. Let’s just say things got managed, but it was a clusterfuck. I didn’t get the stuff done in the morning that I needed to get done, unfortunately, so I’m still behind and I have field trip stuff that has to happen today. And I don’t have a prep today. It’ll be fine, but it’ll be better when the day is done. After tutoring. Plus I have an evening meeting. So a little nutso today.

Ironing tonight though…I hope.

Four more days.

A Weird Wind

A weird wind came through yesterday afternoon, and now I can see too much of my neighbor’s house (leaves fell off the two trees that normally block most of my view). I guess it’s good because I get more light in here, but I’m not a fan of seeing the neighbor’s house, so there’s that.

I haven’t been sleeping well. Can’t fall asleep, brain is in overdrive, could be school stress, could be life in general, could be hormones, could be caffeine, although I haven’t changed my intake, so why now would it keep me awake? I dare you to send me another article about more sleep and health. I’d do it if I could…I just don’t do it well. Maybe the hot flashes and weird blood sugar numbers are on their way back in with the insomnia. Who knows.

I did an artists’ talk on Saturday afternoon, after a different art group’s meeting…

One of the bathtub quilts…gotta do another one of those. I have no idea what I said. But I said it.

Saturday night was mostly grading stuff, but also visiting these two babies…

We’re fostering them as of tonight, I think. One of them is more extroverted than the other…

Hey. Play with me. Now.

Hopefully it will all go well with this old lady…

who was caught with her head in the handle of this plastic bag. We’re hoping she wants to play with kittens more than plastic bags. Let’s see how it goes.

We got another campsite booked for our Spring Break trip. I call this the Easy Bear Access campsite.

Right down that hillside. No, seriously…it’ll be a good time. No showers for 5 days, but that’s all good. Dad’s like recommending more campsites after this, and I’m like, 5 days? I’m gonna need a bed. An actual bed. Never mind the shower.

I graded a lot this weekend. We went to dinner at the parentals and I made lunches for the week (that’s one thing less to worry about) and finally, around 11 PM, I made it to the studio to iron stuff. This is where I realized that all the water, hills, and mountains behind the figures should be all the same fabrics, so I numbered stuff illogically. This pile is all the water, and includes pieces from the 100, 200, and 400 boxes.

That’s not annoying to do at all. So I’ll be continuing to do that tonight. Searching through boxes looking for 7 specific pieces. Hopefully. Got two more classes to slog through on the big grading unit.

All the 100s laid out…will move on to hills and mountains next…then the body starts in the 40s, I think.

Something like that.

I’m watching Mars…which goes back and forth between reality in 2016 and fiction in 2033. I’ve been trying to take notes for my students, blurbs they could watch…but it’s hard to do that AND iron.

I should recruit Kitten as my secretary.

My goal is to get everything ironed down by the end of the next weekend, then cut it out and start ironing. I don’t know if I can do that. I already have way too much to do next week.

I’m not really a fan of Thanksgiving week. It’s always full of work and driving. But at least there’s no kids or labs or politicians traipsing through my classroom (that’s tomorrow). And I can pee when I want. That’s a thing. Seriously. Maybe I can even sleep in a morning or two. That’s a thing too.

OK. Five more days. Head held high. Food healthy. Deep breaths. Maybe try to remember to meditate in between the panicked moments.

One Thing and Another Thing

My head this morning needs a lot more caffeine and a secretary. I’ve had a shower and I ate apple crisp for breakfast. Not the most responsible choice, but I’m in that place right now. I have a shitload of work to do. I’m trying not to have a headache about it. I stayed at school late to get the field trip list done…we have to do them 10 school days ahead of time now, which is annoying. So on top of collecting money and permission slips, I was running a lab, which went pretty well, and trying to organize for next week’s labs and a crazy visit by a bunch of politicians (why did I say yes to that? Because…because someone needs to explain what our kids need to people who don’t teach but make decisions about what we do.).

I didn’t get much done when I got home…graded one assignment (well, 4 days and 5 periods’ worth of one assignment)…someone fetched food. I paid some bills, filled out some forms, and then cleaned the office. That was tiring, but all the fabric is put away, the floor is swiffered, and the bits and pieces of crap are organized. It took an hour or so to do that.

Part of that was trying to corral all the fabric in a logical way. I gave in this morning and ordered more plastic containers, because I can’t deal with the mess in here. I also decided to piece the background of the current quilt. It actually makes sense on multiple levels…I often use similar dark colors for backgrounds and then have these weird pieces left over. I do use them, but they’re close enough that I can piece them into one larger background. Also, the current piece has four figures, one in each corner, so it visually will make sense as well.

So I need to leave in two minutes. Today is crazy. The whole next 7 days are crazy. I’ll check back in with the crazy. Playful Kitten…

That piece of paper is very offensive.

Bitey old lady dog…

Her bone is fascinating.

And the not-so-great-but-at-least-we-got-one campsite for Yosemite for three nights in April. We’ll be fine!

Look how many other people will get attacked by bears before we do!

OK, off to one thing and another thing and then who knows what.

We’ll Survive, but There Might Be Tears…

My heart is still racing, my stomach is in knots, I’m running on an adrenaline rush…why? Because today was the day to try to reserve campsites in Yosemite for Spring Break. Oh yeah. Well. That was a clusterfuck, but we got three nights. In a row. In the same site. We’re old. We don’t wanna move. We could. Well, actually, we probably couldn’t. In 12 minutes, almost everything was gone except for a night here and a night there. TWELVE FUCKING MINUTES. OK. So it’ll be crowded and annoying because people, but YOSEMITE. So we’ll be fine. And we’ll book lonely far-out places for the rest of our trip. Or whatever. The man will tell you I was yelling, “What number! Give me a number!” as he kept asking “Why isn’t it giving a reason?” I’m like, seriously? Because it’s booked. Apparently he wanted like a message saying which nights were gone, and the computer took a while to refresh the availability and other people have bots or alien technology or better internet than I do. Whatever. WE HAVE A SITE. I’m good. Let the other people get eaten by bears because they got a better site. We’re going to hike all the time anyway.

Plus it might snow that early in the year, so there’s that. WE’LL BE FINE.

So that was my start to a Friday morning. It’s stress stress stress for the next week. We’ll survive, but there might be tears. Pilates last night helped. So did art stuff. But I spent a good long time doing work stuff yesterday. Emergency meetings. Managing groups for today. We set up for the lab but still need to do materials. And we have duty.

At least we have a campsite for April.

So when I load photos for this blog, I usually do a quick run through the photos from previous years (I really need to organize photos at some point…some months are totally organized. Apparently November is a chaotic month in every year.)…and it’s interesting that I was in exactly this same stage on a quilt on November 15 in 2016 AND 2017. I don’t know which quilts…I’d have to search more than I have time for right now to figure that out.

So I sorted…

It was late…but it was also fast…

A whopping 35 minutes. Did I clean the office? Fuck no. That will be tonight. Hopefully.

Slightly blurry due to psychotic movement.

Anyway. Crazy day. I need to go. But this first! I’m excited…my piece is here in San Diego! OK, it’s been in San Diego all this time, but now it’s officially finally part of the Tiny Pricks Project AND hanging in San Diego…

Even better, the infamous Diana Weymar staring at it and smiling…

Tres awesome.

OK. Off to the slaughterhouse. Oh wait. No. School. Yeah. School (no commentary on school shootings here. Today anyway.).

Tired Is a Thing

Another foggy morning. I like fog, especially when hiking. I like the house encased in fog. It’s somehow quieter and more peaceful (except for the fridge, which is humming away like a happy…machine). I can see the tree branches moving slightly. I can hear the tiny dog barking like a maniac. Hmm. That wasn’t part of my peaceful foggy morning.

I’ve been going to bed earlier, a little bit, most nights, but it’s not really helping. Tired is a thing. It’s possible I am just always tired. It’s hard to get enough good sleep these days. There’s noise from people and cars and dogs and my brain. That last one is all on me. I listen to my brain. Yesterday I talked to my students about listening skills. About job skills. About how when your boss talks, you have to actually remember what they said. In one ear, out the other? Possibly. And the host of emails I got last night…”I don’t get it.” Um. What don’t you get? What are you asking me? It took me until this morning to realize the girl who said she’d “written the climate but didn’t know how to do the rest,” and I’m like, “climate?”, WTF, we barely talk about climate in here at all, and we haven’t yet, WTF is she asking me, and then my brain this morning said “claim. She means claim.” Head on desk. FUUUCCKK. OK. Claim. You wrote a claim. Still. WTF are you supposed to do next? I gave you a paragraph with all the sentence starters. Write the next sentence starter and fill in the blanks. Listening skills. This is the 3rd time we’ve done this. This is the first time she’s tried? The first time she’s listened? Maybe.

One more painful thing for me to grade. If they would read my comments, it would help. Them and me.

OK, well. It is what it is. The kids who have been trying are improving. We move on. Last night, I photographed what I think is a student forgery of a parent signature, and I emailed it to the parent. Waiting on that one. I wish I cared less, but we just met with that parent about this kid. Another meeting this morning, different kid. Should be interesting.

Speaking of interesting kids, I should hire this one to do doodle notes for us…

So school goes on. I try to balance. Same as always. I was at a meeting until 5:30 last night. I started at 8 AM yesterday. Today I’m going in a little early. Today is the last easy day on this assignment…then we go into labs and it’s work. We were smart and broke it up over the weekend (it was a coincidence…it just happened that way). I don’t have any long meetings after school today; that’s nice. I have pilates. That’s also nice. And art is happening in little bits and pieces.

So I got home late last night and did more work…I sent the union email I send every month, and then I tried to start putting groups together for tomorrow’s labs. Kids who won’t pick a group. Kids who pick groups who don’t want them. Kids who pick groups that won’t work. Kids who pick groups with too many people in them. Three is the max. It includes you. There will be no groups of 8 kids y’all. This afternoon, I will finish all the group picking. I’m sensitive to the loners and lonelies. I will do my best to place them in a safe group. Sometimes we give them choices; sometimes we don’t. They need practice with both.

After dinner and all that work stuff, I finally did art stuff. That pile of pieces in the box doesn’t look very big.

Every animal stopped by for a bit…

Simba doesn’t like the big pieces of Wonder Under. The sound makes him nervous. He eventually left. I did finish cutting everything out though. In 5 1/2 hours. I could have sorted them last night…it would have taken another hour. I’m glad I didn’t though. When I’m tired, I don’t deal with kids as well as when I have more sleep in me. So I’ll sort tonight.

And then come in here and clean up, so I can start ironing to fabric tomorrow. I should pick a background fabric too. That sounds nice. Don’t think about the pile of assignments that needs grading. They will be there no matter what. You can bring some home. Maybe finish a chunk today and tomorrow. I got some done yesterday. It was kind of magical. Today I could get more done. Knock on wood.

I make plans every day. That’s how the art gets made. It’s good.

Not a Waste…

I’m always a little discombobulated at the beginning of a new trimester. I had my head down and was grading like crazy, and now I can relax a little. Only a little. The stuff I have to grade right now isn’t very portable. I do want it done before next week, but I don’t think it will be. Not based on yesterday…needy kids who can’t work independently. “Miss, there’s no websites on turtles in San Diego County.” “There are 14 million websites…see that number right there? Have you considered scrolling down?” They would totally scroll down if they were looking for game hacks or videos of their fave person. Two kids yesterday: “This is boring.” Ah youth. I told both of them, “You’re boring. Go find out something new.” The need for entertainment is constant.

So. Trimester 2 has started. I’m up early because I agreed to something crazy. As usual. Hopefully it won’t be too bad. I wasn’t expecting multiple meetings over it. Ugh. Oh well. Stop volunteering! I didn’t actually volunteer. I was sideswiped. Plus there will be politicians involved. I’m intrigued by that.

Yesterday, after school, I kamikazed to an educational professional development meeting on special education and the law. It’s funny…I’ve been a union rep for 15 or 16 years, and I never feel like I know anything, but as I’m sitting through this info session, I’m thinking, I already know that. I do know stuff. I just don’t know ALL the stuff. I will probably never know ALL the stuff. I’m OK with that. I’m OK with knowing a goodly chunk of the stuff. The meeting ran late though and I was tired of listening to the Question and Answer section, which turned into a Complain and There’s No Answer to That section. There are laws and there are people and there is no funding for the laws (yo, politicians…give us the money to DO what you say we should do), which makes it all very frustrating. Also, the instructor paints a picture of a Special Ed department that is very different from the one I’ve experienced recently. Which is also frustrating.

I came home. I did some school stuff, just because I needed to. I actually made a worksheet and started a table of contents for the next unit while I was at the meeting. I can’t just sit and listen at that hour. I’m too tired. I’ll fall asleep. I need to engage other parts of my brain to keep me awake. I remember that when I’m planning instruction, but I’m not sure how to get around it when I can’t even get a kid to pick up a pencil some days. Let alone to read and think about what they’re reading. Independent learning? Yeah right. And maybe someone could let me know when I’m getting new kids in my class? Like especially when they’re transferring from an existing class on campus. Did I miss an email? I might have. Some woman at pilates on Monday was complaining that she had been gone from work for two weeks and had 290 emails to go through. I’m like, that’s it? Sheesh. That’s a week’s worth, maybe. At certain times of the year, that’s a few days.

Yesterday, while writing the blog…well, resizing photos anyway.

Weird. Reminds me…I have some blogposts I need to write for the art group I’m in. Time! I need time. Always.

I spent about an hour cutting another yard of pieces out…with furry butt involvement.

Apparently she heard my car come up when I got home and ran for the front door to see me, but then ran away when I opened it. The reality of me was too scary. She’s a scaredy cat. We were talking about fostering kittens last night. We’ve asked her. Who knows what she thinks. We do know she’s a lot more playful and visible right now than she has been for years. That’s something. She might like kittens. Who knows?

OK, another long meeting today. I’ll be planning shit for December and maybe January while taking notes. Otherwise I’ll fall asleep. I do have my sketchbook as well. I used to draw during union meetings, but then I had too much work to do to waste that time. WASTE. Not a waste. Sigh. I WANT TO DRAW. Maybe you should just draw then.

When I get home, I’ll be able to cut out the next and last yard of Wonder Under, maybe even sort the pieces, if I can stand up for that long. Wait. That means I’ll be ironing pieces to fabric this weekend. Ooohh. I like that. Nice.