Survival Mode

It happens to all of us. We get to a point with our jobs that we just hunker down and do the things, come home, feed the things, do the things, sleep, get up, do it all again. I’m there. So there. I finally slept last night after three nights of anxiety brain being an asshole. That doesn’t help. I question my reactions to things…am I overreacting or are people being assholes? This is especially hard when you teach middle school…I worry so much about the kids being OK, especially when we teach sex ed. The questions written anonymously on cards. I do my best with the sexist misogyny that shows up in 12-year-old boys, I worry about the kids who write questions about not telling their parents stuff about them like forever. I worry about the quiet ones, the bullies, the overly loud and obnoxious ones, the ones who have changed a lot over the year, the angry ones. The ones who never get it. The ones who don’t care. I worry about asking for what we teachers need, worry that other adults will see that as bitchy. But then it’s what we need. Sigh. It’s just that time of year. TEN DAYS. Ten days of getting grades done, teaching pregnancy and STDs and HIV, giving reward ceremonies, field trips, hoping the kids turn in late work (but also hoping they don’t, because then I’ll have to grade it), hoping there aren’t any more teachers out with no subs (I need my prep period!), hoping next year isn’t this bad, but suspecting some parts of it will be rough.

That stuff is true. Under-supported as well. Managed by people who haven’t been in a classroom, haven’t taught, don’t know what we do. And dammit, the phone rings nonstop some days. That shit.

It’s Friday. Bless me, it’s Friday. Today I teach pregnancy, the first part of it. Hopefully I get some stuff graded (ha!). Hopefully I get my prep period. This afternoon, I have a short massage (just neck and shoulders; can’t afford the full one) and chiropractor. Hopefully that will help with this week’s headaches. Then a busy weekend with lots of quilt/art meetings. And hopefully I will finally finish tracing this beast. MY LORD…it’s taking for-freakin-ever.

Because I’m only getting an hour and a bit a night…

14 hours in. I’m in the 800s. Probably 250 to go? I don’t even know anymore. Oh! I lied. I made it to piece 913 last night. There were 1064 pieces before I started adding stuff, and I already traced the stuff I added. Holy shit. So about 150 to go. I can do that tonight. I can. I’m not cooking (I’ve cooked so many nights this week…it’s exhausting. I need a casserole or something for next week.). Then cut them out. I can do that. Sigh. Giant Ass Sigh. I love making art too…just wish I had more time for it.

The Man is still out there; I think this is from the day before yesterday.

Not sure why I screenshot these…they all look the same. But it helps me in my head somehow. He’s having some health and soreness issues, so is looking at a day off trail. He can’t afford staying anywhere nice, but anything is nicer than the trail sometimes. Plus resupply…it’s taking him a while to get acclimated to elevation and hiking nonstop again. It’s good to do hard things…but it’s also hard. We miss him…the cats are very needy at the moment. But we are surviving.

OK. I do have to leave the house. Can’t just stay here and trace Wonder Under and not think about grades. Need another cup of tea and then to get a bunch of stuff done today so it won’t follow me home. It always follows me home. Peace.

Dropped Off…

Hey. It’s the third to last week of school. There are 12 days left. I persuade myself I can do 12 days until the alarm goes off in the morning, and then I wonder DEEPLY about my choice of profession and the pandemic and how few social skills these kids have. Teaching sex ed is usually a pretty easy end of the year, but this year…man…so many inappropriate behaviors. It’s exhausting. I’ve been wearing a mic for weeks, trying to save my voice and it’s still crap by the time I get through the day. Sore throat, rough. Ugh. Most days, I’m not even really sure what day it actually is. I forgot (again) about my before-school duty yesterday because Tuesday? After a weekend? Yeah, no brain power. I remembered after school because I looked at my calendar and actually READ it. I have four places, maybe five that remind me of things, and I still forget.

The pro is that I graded two full assignments in the car on the way up to Ridgecrest. I have three real assignments left to grade. I just need to power through, and then I can decide which of these silly worksheets we do that I actually care about. Oh yeah, and then 16 projects for the kids whose parents opted them out. That’ll take me a bit. Just a bit. They’re trying to hand them in now, and I skim through, thinking (stupidly), “did you read the instructions?”. My high-level kids are still working on them. The lower kids are “WE’RE DONE!” My ass you are. Go back. Anyway. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s a pro.

So Sunday, we drove through the endless, windy, dusty desert to get to Ridgecrest.

It’s seriously a drive I have done way too many times, with at least a few in my near future. Tired of it. But the Man drove up because he knew I had to drive back. So that was nice.

Hotel room was OK, not huge, weird bathroom configuration, but was remodeled relatively recently. Can’t really recommend Ridgecrest for anything. It’s hot and dry and dusty and food choices are mostly fast and furious. We watched two movies, both not very memorable. I stitched and drew.

And read a little. Finished a book…it was short…

That is the last of the flower types. I finished one and a half of them…only three and a half to go. I could have stitched on the road from Ridgecrest to Kennedy Meadows, but mentally couldn’t. Plus at some point it was mountain road, so that’s not a thing for me. Look Straight Out the Window. That’s me. But I’m close to done on this.

At Kennedy Meadows, the Man tried to buy this year’s bandana, but she wouldn’t sell him one (strange excuse about not having very many…weird sales concept there), he saw a friend (and got a bandana from him instead) who worked where he worked for a couple weeks, and then we drove to the campground, where a PCTA person lectured about snow and bears. For a really long time. My plan was to hike out with him for a little way, and then head back all the way home. It was a good plan.

Expect skinnier the next time you see him…well at least with me.

It was warmish and elevation (6500′) was definitely a factor in breathing. Going from sea level up in one day is problematic.

Officially in the Sierras…

We hiked about 2 miles to the bridge over the river and he refilled his water. The plus to not being in the desert section is that there is plenty of water.

And that’s where we said goodbye…for at least 3, probably 4 weeks. Hopefully will meet him somewhere.

It’s never easy sending him off…

I worry about him. I stress about having to do all the things at home. It’s not fun dealing with kid behaviors all day and coming home to no one to talk to. The boychild is here half the time. The cats are demanding. And I hate having to cook all the time. It’s hard to communicate with the Man…sometimes his messages overlap with mine (there’s no cell service; he’s using his Garmin) or he’s messaging all day while I’m teaching, and then when I have time to message back, he’s going to sleep (it’s still daylight, y’all). So it’s hard. But he wants to finish it and I hope he can. I know his knee was painful the first day, better the second day, but elevation is pretty crazy and it’s all up for the next four weeks. With an occasional down. Plus snow and passes and all that stuff.

It is beautiful though. Blue skies, trees, new wildflowers…

Well, some are new. We have these in San Diego too.

From the campground, I drove all the way home…about 5 1/2 hours total with two pee stops. I hate that drive. Really do. Ugh.

I didn’t do much of anything Monday night except eat dinner (thanks to the boychild), make lunches for the week, and make sure I was ready to go. Last night, I finally found the energy to trace some Wonder Under, but I’d realized that I had all this bad shit in the outer part of the quilt, and COVID wasn’t lurking in there. So I had to draw that damn thing in…again…

Almost 1100 pieces now. Then I traced for a while (after exercise, making dinner, deciding not to enter a show, eating dinner, grading one class worth of one assignment, and doing all the cat things, oh yeah, and watering everything)…

So only a whopping 40 minutes in the end. Hopefully more tonight. Getting close to the end. Ready to just sit on the couch and cut shit out. Also Nova would like me to do that so she can shed all over me and knead my belly. Luna massages my shoulders for me (with her claws and all her weight pushing in)…trying to figure out how to get her to do that one spot on my back that hurts. She does not take direction well though.

OK. Gotta go. Shit. It’s late. Ugh. Puberty today and something else. Can’t remember. Ah yes. Menstruation and sperm production. Sounds like a day.

Sunday?

Hey. I’m writing on a Sunday. WTH. It’s OK…I have a 3-day weekend and I will not be home tomorrow morning…I’ll be dropping the Man off on the PCT, hiking a little way with him, and then driving home so I can teach puberty on Tuesday. Like you do. Because I’m trying to be responsible and not take days off when there are zero substitute teachers. That and the Man’s permit is for tomorrow and once I drop him off, it’s not like I want to hang out in Kennedy Meadows or Ridgecrest (apologies if you are from either place). So kamikaze back home it will be.

Yesterday, I did all the things…graded three assignments (two more to do in the car on the way up), shopped for next week’s groceries, got gas in the car, did my laundry, watered all the plants, prepped the school assignments for next week, and made the bullet journal pages for next week. Finished a book that made me cry. OK, maybe life made me cry, but the book was there with me. It’s OK…the second book in the series is sitting on my iPad waiting for me to cry to it as well. HELLO EMOTIONS.

In totally awesome news, Hold On sold this week…going to Seattle, where maybe I can see it in situ someday.

I started this piece in January 2020, and then finished it after my school sent me home for the quarantine. It was strange to finish something about nuclear missiles and the wildfires in Australia and climate change while the world was falling apart. I think every quilt since then (almost) has had a COVID virion in it. Because that’s still a thing.

Anyway, now I can pay my mortgage over the summer. Always a plus.

I also traced more Wonder Under on the new piece on Saturday night…

I’m in the 700s, so about 300 pieces to go…maybe two nights? Depending on the nights. I’ve been tracing for 10 1/2 hours so far. Not super fast. Fast is 100 pieces an hour. When I’m tired, I don’t trace fast. Reality check there. So maybe by Wednesday night, I’ll be cutting up Wonder Under. I could take it with me to Ridgecrest, but it’s a pain to pack up…so I think I’ll wait. It’s not really worth it for one night of cutting things up.

On Friday night, I went to see the Man’s band play…haven’t done that for a really long time.

It was nice to be back for the music and dancing (the Man is on the far left…I did not excel at photography after working all week). Well, except for the sky.

It was nice.

I also took lots of pictures of Kitten this weekend.

Because she was cute.

Well, mostly.

Right now, she’s in my face, stepping on the keyboard, headbutting me while I type. Less cute.

OK. Gotta pack up the last stuff, make a cup of tea, and get in the car to drive a long boring way. Then hang out in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, get up early, then find the trail, hike for a while, hike back, letting the Man continue for as long as his body will let him (hopefully the whole rest of the trail), drive home, and make lunches for the week. Yeah. It’s not going to necessarily be fun or easy, but it might help me with the goodbye part. I wasn’t really prepared for him to be gone until October, but some money appeared for him, so he’s going for it. May his body oblige.

I’ll be back here, holding down the fort, making art, reading books, and petting furry beasts.

Time Is Wibbly Wobbly…

OMG how is it still May. Wait. How did May go so fast? I’m not sure which makes more sense. Fast month, didn’t get anything done, but it needs to go faster because I need school to be over. State testing is over (yay!) What a supreme waste of time…really, the State needs to write questions that actually match the standards for these tests to make sense. And then make sure we feed the kids and that they could sleep the night before because they weren’t babysitting little siblings. And then the State needs to realize that not everyone knows what a putting green is. Like maybe some nonwhite non-old people could write the tests? Maybe? Just saying. But it’s done!

Meanwhile, my principal is running fast and furious with plans for next year, mixing up teams, moving people around. My team is good…because we work together and do our jobs. Which makes my job much easier. It will be an interesting year. Meanwhile, this summer, I need to study space shit and force and motion. Space shit the most, because if I had it in school, it was in middle school, and that was approximately 72 light years ago. How long is a light year anyway? It’s OK…I know the reference doesn’t make sense. Time. Distance. Ugh.

Meanwhile, I have three books loaded on my iPad and I want to read all of them. Now.

Yesterday was the day we made kids draw their reproductive parts. It’s a fun day for me. Today we teach the real parts (not the made-up shit they think is important…literally NOBODY…ok ONE KID drew parts on the inside for boys). Then puberty. It’s a relief to be teaching this. It’s like second nature, I’ve taught it so many times. It’s still killing my voice…I had a sore throat yesterday, and I’m like, is it wearing the mask (has given me a sore throat before), is it the cold half my team has that will kick my voice’s ass, or is the COVID that another part of the team has? Or is it just talking a lot? It’s gone today, so that’s a good sign.

Meanwhile. Back at the ranch. I’m tracing Wonder Under for days now. This is just some random picture of Wonder Under because I kind of forgot to take pictures yesterday.

On Wednesday night, I added these guys…

Because people are still shooting up kids at school.

I hit the halfway mark last night. I probably won’t get a lot traced today…going to watch the Man in a show before he leaves for who-knows-how-long. Ugh. Not thinking about that. Just keep making.

I also had a stitching Zoom and am still doing a thousand backstitches on the pink flowers.

After that, I will do about 160 French knots and another 52 or so cast-on bullion stitches. And then it will be done. A million years after I started.

Time is doing some weird shit in my head right now. I’m feeling very wibbly wobbly.

Speaking of wibbly wobbly, Simba had a foxtail removed from his ear yesterday…

Note drool and half-closed eyes. Poor drugged-out puppy. He is fine this morning apparently. Expensive, but fine. Note: there are no foxtails at my house…

Kitten asleep during my stitching meeting.

I didn’t do any schoolwork after school yesterday. I came home and ignored all of it. I may wish later that I did not do that (I am extremely behind in grading), but whatever.

The boychild is in there somewhere. Training for CalFire this summer.

I’d give you a hint but he doesn’t like his picture on here, so just know he’s one of those. He will also be gone a lot in the next 5 months. It’s just gonna be me, the cats, that dopey dog, and…um…well that’s it.

OK, running late (don’t know why), gotta go to school and function normally. Whatever that means.

Peace All. Peace and Love.

The society is sick and the leadership has not been courageous enough to do something more radical about stopping this train. –Gustavo Garcia-Siller, archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

It’s not often that I quote an archbishop here. There’s a lot more quotes, even though I stopped looking at social media and the news fairly quickly last night. With only 16 days left in my school year, I don’t have the mental strength to read about little kids dying because guns are legal. I came home and went straight to the gym, where I exercised and read my book set in a fantastical world (where unfortunately guns also exist, but so do demons and the fae, so it seems less real). I came home and requested no news. Ate dinner, graded some stuff, tried to think light, end-of-school-year thoughts, traced for a bit, and went to bed.

This morning, I face the last state test for my kids, the math performance task (never easy), but also probably some conversation about the shooting in Texas. Straight up, I’m on the verge of tears about half the time already from just pure exhaustion and other stuff. I need to get through the test, get through the meetings (only 2 today), go exercise (again), cook dinner, repeat. I don’t have much faith in my government to do anything about this. I straight up don’t have much faith in my government at all…women’s rights, human rights, immigration law, gun control, climate change…yeah. I can’t make another gun control quilt, y’all. The last one was so hard. This after I and another teacher had a conversation with a kid who was making a gun with her fingers and shooting herself in the head. Granted, that might have been a response to math testing yesterday. I can understand that feeling.

Ugh.

Well I’m still tracing, even though I didn’t get much done last night. The night before, I did a bunch…

I started earlier. I refused to grade that night. Because I stayed late at school? Graded then.

Tracing is never very exciting in photos. But I’m sitting there constantly trying to fit in as many pieces as possible in the empty spaces. It’s a weird puzzle thing…kind of crazy, because Wonder Under is relatively cheap (although I buy it by the bolt), but my grandma saved everything (Depression-era baggage) and my mom and I have similar tendencies. “We might need that”…and certainly, I never buy rubber bands. I haven’t bought paper clips in years, not since I was a full-time book editor and kept mailing them away from me, never to return. Twist ties? Save those. Plastic bags? Totally try to never take one from a store, but if I end up with one, I save it. Yeah. Grandma used to save the tinfoil. I don’t do that. Maybe I should though.

Had to bust two kids yesterday for stealing glue from my classroom. Sigh. Materials costs come out of our pockets, you dingbats. WTF. That was depressing and that was before I heard about the shooting. I really do need a break. Not coming soon enough. And this weekend, I send the man off on the PCT again. So that’s stressful. I dream of reading my book and not worrying about anything.

Last night, I didn’t get much time in. I’m on piece 373. Tracing the cat. The legs and torso (minus the portal) are done. It’s going fairly fast, mostly because I’m ignoring a lot of school at the moment. At some point, I will need to not do that. I’m not sure when that is.

I have a parent meeting this morning about a kid who we worry about academically. I have a science meeting later to figure out WTF we’re doing next year. I wish I had better answers to that. In between, I need to get 27 kids through a math task and then hopefully keep them quiet for the remainder of the time we have to stay locked up in the room. Good luck with that. And meanwhile hope that more kids don’t die, more boys who shouldn’t have guns can’t buy them, more boys don’t try to kill their grandmothers before shooting littles. I might have to add to this drawing tonight. Yeah. Might need to do that. Peace all. Peace and love. Especially to the families in Texas.

They Just Keep Coming…

Sheesh. Another Monday. It’s like they just keep coming, one after the other. I couldn’t find the shirt I wanted to wear. I have some tweaked muscle in my right hip. My right hand is sore…from tracing things, I guess. Muscles I use and then don’t use and then they complain about it. Not sure what the hip is about…probably some exercise I don’t even remember that got it just there.

So Monday…this Monday is all weird. My schedule is all whacked for today. Things I normally don’t do on a Monday are happening today. State testing again this week, but math. That’s always a challenge. Math is harder for a lot of kids. I personally think math is pretty easy, because you know there’s an answer. You just have to figure it out. It’s not like you have to engage the reading comprehension part if you’re not quite awake. The creative part.

Speaking of that creative part, I wrote an article on Saturday morning. Hopefully it’s decent enough. Who knows. I don’t remember what I wrote. I’ll let you know when it publishes.

Is my brain wandering all over the place? Yes, yes it is. I was awakened last night around 12:49 AM (pretty specific actually) by a screech sounding somewhat like a child’s cry of pain. Probably an owl…but not a sound I’d heard from them before. It wasn’t coming from the owl box, but it was a terrifying noise. Woke me and the cat right up. I don’t think anyone else did more than stir in their sleep. Weird. Really incredibly weird.

OK, so in the I’m Making Stuff world, I finished the drawing on Thursday night…

No wait, I did everything but the last bit of the sky. I knew I wanted something, but not a lot, and I wasn’t sure of what, so I went to bed Thursday night and posted on Instagram that the sky needed something. I already had some ideas in mind, and I wasn’t asking for help, but you know how the internet is…a lot of people wanted to help. So I got a bunch of suggestions, mostly to leave it empty (nah…) for the eye to rest (double nah) and I drew what I had been bouncing around in my head already. Amusing though. I don’t do critique groups either. I trust what’s in my head, and although I realize that people are not wrong about eyes resting and/or whatever might come up in a group critique, I just don’t work that way. In fact, it irritates me. Enough that I have to talk myself out of never posting pictures again (don’t worry…it keeps me accountable to do so…so I will continue.). If you put your work out there, people will comment and that’s OK. Not sure where that interior response comes from (probably a couple of art teachers in the past).

And then I numbered the pieces, although I missed the sun.

So I guess it’s 1065 pieces…

Not too bad. I tried to keep it simpler. I know it doesn’t look that way to the viewer, but I know what I meant.

Saturday night, I started tracing, although I didn’t get very far…

But last night, I made it to piece 232. So not bad. Probably got another 8 hours of tracing to do. It’s very meditative. Calming. A good place to be right now.

Saturday afternoon, we did an almost normal pre-COVID thing and went to two exhibits, one the California Fibers’ show at Visions Art Museum, where two of my pieces are hanging.

That’s Hold On in its first exhibit. I started this before COVID and finished it in quarantine.

And this is All Stacked Up with Linda Anderson’s piece Perceptions of Life

The show is up through July 3.

Then we headed to the Oceanside Museum of Art to see James Watts’ exhibit there. I love his stuff. It’s fun, it’s deep, it’s so touchable…

You should go see it. Totally.

I spent a little time stitching on this…so close to done.

Finished all of the type 5 flowers and moved on to type 6…

The backstitching is easy but will take forever because of all the petals. Nothing quick about this border…I’ve been working on it for over a year.

Nova likes to lie on whatever is on top of my drawing…

I cover it so she won’t nibble on it, as she has done in the past…

That cat is a weirdo.

OK. So tracing all week. Math testing for two long days. A bunch of meetings, although today’s was canceled. Sex ed this week includes Yes Means Yes, anatomy, and puberty. All good. Easy peasy. Stuff I know. What a relief. Although there was an issue with one class that is heavy on boys…entitled boys…boys who really don’t get it…sigh. We’ll see how today goes when I introduce the law that doesn’t let them be entitled…well, you know, even that law doesn’t work right. But at least it tries. Tired. I’m still tired. We’re getting close to the end though. Close to the end of a very long, very tiring year. May next year be better.

Rollin’ Along…

May seems to just be rollin’ along, gathering steam, about to slam head on into June. I’m good with that. I mean, trying to keep up with the rollin’ is difficult, I stumble a bit, and the grading is still not done (it rarely is), but I need this year to be done done done. Nineteen days left. Frogs are done, cat just headbutted me in my glasses, we started teaching sex ed (ahem, Human Relationships and Sexual something or other), and it all feels semi-familiar. There’s some crazy shit happening in the rest of the school, but mostly the classroom stuff is stuff I sort of remember from 2019. I mention the crazy shit only because it’s like a shitstorm raging around the classroom that I really try to ignore, but one of my co-teachers just tested positive and yeah, here we go again. I’m not even sure how many teachers are supposed to be out today but it’s a ton. So if you’re thinking we’re done? We’re not. Half the team has symptoms, but has been testing negative. I think they should just close school. Seriously, I’m half crying right now. Imagine how she’s feeling.

So. In other news, I’ve been drawing every night…sometimes only 36 minutes (damn, that’s specific), but last night, over 2 hours…because I had a stitching meeting on Zoom and needed to do something artsy. So no, I didn’t grade after school yesterday (but I planned until 4:30 so that’s enough work for the day). Only 9 hours yesterday…might be a record.

Hi Nova…

I did a little bit on Wednesday night after I got back from book club…

And then last night, I finished all the bottom parts…the portal…

I cut about 6″ off the bottom to shorten it up…

It was a little on the long side anyway.

Once I did all that, I laid it on the ground…because I think I need a few things in the sky and it’s easier to tell from further away. It looks naked up there. In the sky. Empty. Of course, she is naked.

Anyway. So that’ll be tonight, and then I can number it. See how bad it will be. I did add some tiny stuff at the end. Like you do.

Ugh. Not because of the drawing. Because of school.

Cat conference.

Oh! Speaking of conferences, I signed up for the SAQA Summit that will be here in San Diego in September. The signup time was 9 AM, the exact moment I start teaching…and the link didn’t pop up right away, so I was trying to take attendance, start the broadcast, get a bandaid for a kid, all while refreshing the page on my phone. And then it wanted a password, and I’m like, oh fuck, I hope my phone knows this, because I don’t. It did. And I got the class I wanted, which is super awesome. Yes, it means missing two days of school, but whatever. I hardly ever take time off and this is worth it. The kids will survive. Hopefully the sub will too.

Simba was making a face yesterday…

Sometimes he just looks really dorky.

Oh my. Whoops. I haven’t done all those things yet. Better get on it.

I forgot about this shell I found in the driveway…

Pretty color. OK, also better get on with going to school. Face the music. Think I will lose my prep again? Seems like it. Maybe not. I’m so tired. All I can think about right now is coming home and going to bed. I took a nap last Friday. Might do it again this Friday. We’ll see. Meanwhile, the cat is still headbutting me. And I really would just rather read my book. Yeah. Later.

Happy Stuff…

Well. Wednesday. Hi. I survived Tuesday, with 30 frogs dissected in my room. Nobody vomited. Nobody died (the frogs were already dead; invasive species frogs, so you know, helping an ecosystem somewhere). Kids were excited and interested and probably a little grossed out. Much like they will be for the rest of the year probably (we teach sex ed next). It was good, until we got the texts that one of the students had walked off with frog parts and was throwing them at other kids. Uh huh. That pretty much sums up the year. No worries; there are consequences. And cameras. The dumbassery continues! I think there are supposed to be six? teachers out from school today. No way will there be enough subs. I subbed my prep last Thursday. I seriously haven’t had a prep to myself, to actually PREP things and grade things, since before Spring Break. I need to prep something for art today and I don’t know when I will be able to do that. I won’t. Not before I actually teach art. Let’s be real. It’ll have to be tomorrow. And that’s assuming I don’t have to cover one of those six teachers today. I’m so frustrated with this school year.

I just finished the second quilt of the year. I started it in January and it took me almost 5 months to finish it. I should be able to do more things on my own time than grade and lesson plan. I am still drawing quilt number 3…although I wonder if I am doing too much? Nah. Not thinking that way. I’m doing exactly the right amount.

I keep erasing and then drawing it bigger. Not sure more detail is necessary with this one. Although then last night, even AFTER erasing and drawing it bigger…

Yeah. Got some details there. I went to sleep drawing more of it in my head. I have book club tonight, so I don’t know how much more I’ll get done today. Some hopefully.

Nova helping to hold the drawing in place.

Not really. Same with Luna trying to run under the part that’s rolled down on the floor. Not helpful cats.

The Man watches the news and programs that comment on the news, and it inflames my brain, making the drawing populate with even more angry things than what was originally in my brain. Not sure that’s a good thing, and I do put headphones in my ears sometimes to drown some of it out, but obviously not enough.

I’m not even sure about the one foot in reality. Today I have a doctor’s appointment where my doctor will once again suggest that I pick a new profession. Yeah that’s not a stressful thing. She will say my stress affects my blood sugar, which it absolutely does. But I feel like being unemployed might do that too. I’m lucky to have a good team backing me up at school, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. I see that I am getting that damn jury duty notification in my mail today. Dear US District Court: You are making it worse. Stop.

I just need a summer where I don’t have to do all the things. Well, besides learn 8th-grade science. Ha! Yeah. I want to make art all day, but that never happens. I wish it did. I remember spending 5-6 hours a day in the summer working on art. Not in the last three years though.

We all should have that freedom. Church too. And school. Honestly everywhere. We’re not at war here, like the Ukraine…we’re not fighting for our country (oh yeah, I know some crazy white people think we are, but they forget we weren’t here first either). My Google Search history includes “bullets for an AR-15”. I wish it never had to.

It’s possible I really need a vacation…one without jury duty. And honestly, without the to-do list I’ve accumulated while working nasty hours for my day job. That would be nice. All the doctor’s appointments and errands and fixing things and yardwork. Those things all need to happen someday. With some money. Ha! Don’t have that part either.

Deep breaths. It is Wednesday. I have one more class of frogs, then art, then I start sex ed. Then hopefully I get my prep period. I’m looking forward to seeing my book club friends in person. I miss them. The Man is going on another practice hike and will be gone tonight. Hopefully he will do fine and be ready for the Sierras in a week and a half. My car got fixed without major costs. That’s a plus. I have an article I need to write, but that’s a good thing…being asked to write for a magazine? Yeah. Coolio. Focus on those things and not on the annoying shit. Come home from book club and draw the happy stuff in the portal instead of the angry stuff on the outside. That’s my goal for the day. Zen and survive and chill and then meditate with my pen.

She Must Be Exactly the Right Size…

Hmmm. Lunar eclipse happened. Russia is still attacking the Ukraine. Rich white guys are still attacking women of all colors, soon to move on to white boys (and others) who don’t share their cis hetero tendencies. And those who don’t fit neatly into their idea of gender. So many books I read have a mystical, mythological element to them, and a blood moon with a lunar eclipse should have been read as some sort of major message…I’m reading it as STOP, go back, y’all are doing it wrong! Russia needs to go back to their own country. Those rich white guys need to go fishing or play golf or something…maybe work on racist extremist supremacy here (oh wait, they are, just not how I want them to) so we don’t have people killed in grocery stores while stocking up on food for the next week. Maybe we could just work on feeding those who live here and dealing with the gun issue? Instead of trying to make sure there are more kids who are starving? I don’t know. Just a thought. A big thought, sure, but a good one.

In the midst of all this, I just keep making. This drawing was originally pretty chill. I did one over Spring Break in some campground and there’s a lovely world hiding in her vagina that I was seeing as a portal to this other world. In reality, the vagina is kind of a portal, but mostly things are coming out. But I kinda think of these as earth goddesses, I draw them a lot, and certainly some people have seen the sheela na gig in this drawing. This is not the first time I’ve drawn this type of figure…it’s been in my vernacular for a good long while. So I did one Thursday night and rejected it because of the ankles. Or the angle of the arms. Or something.

And so Friday, I went back and looked at the smaller drawing from Spring Break and started a third version…

It filled the page. Without a head. I have been drawing things too big for the page since I was in 5th grade. Maybe earlier. So I decided to enlarge it before I drew any more…

Got her taped together on Saturday night, and then Sunday night, taped more around the edges so she could have elbows and eventually a head. She got a lot bigger.

But there’s the start. I’ve got some drawing to do now. Thinking of my deadlines, she might be too big, but then I am focused more on deadlines than on what I want to make. Which shouldn’t be how I make. So there we are. She must be exactly the right size.

Saturday morning, I took a Zoom class from Carolina Oneto, who was in Peru, on curves and color transparencies.

The curves are pretty easy from years of clothesmaking…although making them flat instead of curving around a shoulder is different. I didn’t realize I had enough solids to make all the color overlaps, but I did.

It went together pretty well.

So not like what I usually make, yeah? Agreed. But interesting enough in its own right.

Saturday afternoon, I walked the dog.

No one else wanted to come with me. It was hot.

But there were lots of wildflowers and it was outside…

And I needed the exercise.

A friend came to visit on Sunday and we hung out in a park for a while. That was nice. And then the weekend was mostly over. Which is how it works. I never get enough done. I graded 1 1/2 assignments, posted some stuff for school, laid awake last night at 11 PM worrying through some stuff for this week, and today I’ll try to get everything done that I didn’t do last week or over the weekend. Ha! Never happens. Never efficient enough.

Yeah this…

Which is why I can’t do jury duty for the entire month of July. I’ve already worked a full year. I need a break. Plus I have to plan for next year, which is two grades of science instead of one. Some stuff I’ve never ever taught before. Again. For the third year running. Ugh. Maybe more years than that. Also 300 hours for grading off the clock is really low.

Found a cat in a box.

This is why we can’t recycle things in a timely manner.

Ah yes, blurry night photo of blood moon eclipse.

It was cool to see in person…cooler than this photo.

OK. It’s still Monday. There’s still a multitude of wars on humanity that shouldn’t be happening. This week at school is frog dissections and the beginning of human reproduction for the first time since May 2019. With a block schedule, which might kill me. 79 minutes of direct instruction is not my idea of fun. Luckily we voted that out for next year. But this year, I have to figure out how to survive it. Microphone for the voice. Lots of drawing or coloring for the breaks? We’ll see. Human reproduction coloring books? Could be.

Get My Hand Back…

I think the quilt is done. No wait, I want to ink some of it and one of the snakes needs tiny handstitched eyeballs. Almost done. Then to the photographer.

Where he will do a better job than my throw it over the couch photo. Not hard to do better than that.

In awesome-sauce news, my car is fixed and I only had to pay a little bit. The dealers have to get money somewhere apparently. Ugh. Gotta love warranty fixes, but also wish they never had to exist.

I’m currently trying to type this with a cat sitting on one hand and headbutting my opposite shoulder. Because she is a calico, if you are too forceful with her, she will whack the crap out of you.

Got her to settle by the monitor. Kitty love. Sometimes annoying, occasionally painful. So this other drawing for one of the multitude of shows I am supposed to be entering in the next three months or so, has been in my head for almost a month…I did a predraw of it while we were camping, so last night, I tried to go for it for real.

Not totally sold on this. Might start over tonight. If it’s been a long time since I’ve drawn, sometimes I need a few tries to get my hand back under control of my brain. Plus I’ve been exhausted at night. Yesterday I had to sub during my prep period, and I’m incapable of just letting the boys at the back talk and be on their phones, so I stood back there to make sure they did their silly assignment, then forgot to eat, then it was an issue, so I’m dealing with dropping blood sugar in my next class, which is right before lunch. Ugh. Felt like crap for the rest of the day. I need a normal schedule. Ironically, yesterday we had all our classes instead of a block schedule, so that WOULD be a normal schedule…but the loss of prep really threw me off. Stress really affects my blood sugar, but routine is the savior. And I haven’t had that. So three incidences of low blood sugar in a week? Need to work on that.

Last night was my monthly stitching meeting…we didn’t meet in April in person because of many things (I was out of town), so it was nice to see everyone. I’m still working on the Sue Spargo Chirp flower border.

I’m on the 5th type of flower. It took almost two hours just to backstitch and whipstitch around two of the flowers. I did the other two when we met on Zoom a few weeks ago. Super fast. Not. Getting closer to done though.

And I drew a bird on one friend’s book of cool papers that she’s collaging and decorating.

Curious what it will say.

Anyway. It’s Friday. Friday the 13th. The kids have a pretty basic assignment to do, but that’s no guarantee of easy for me. My last science class yesterday was trying, the one before it was missing 18 kids for part of class due to test makeups (I was down to 5 actual bodies in the classroom), I have a bunch of sex ed stuff to copy, but my co-teacher already did the penises (wait, there’s a second set of penises…maybe she did those too), and a ton of grading to do. As always. I have a busy weekend, but hopefully some parts of it will be relaxing. We’ll see. Right now, though, I really do need to stand up, finish this cup of tea and make another, take my morning meds, put shoes on, and become a functional adult with a job where I’m responsible for a bunch of teenagers and pre-teens. I don’t WANT to do any of these things (except the tea parts), but I need to.