As We Drift into the Zone*

It’s the weirdest thing. You turn in your last grades of the school year, and all of a sudden, you come home and you don’t have any schoolwork to do. My brain panics a little. Wait. What do I do after work? I don’t have more work? (I mean, I do, but not like grading stuff, which is a never-ending thing along with planning for the whole school year and part of the summer.) I joined this teacher group for the year to try to cut some of my work hours, to streamline the shit so I can enjoy the not-shit more, and so many teachers are already on break and wondering why they can’t get going, why they’re still sleeping in the morning, still in pajamas at 2 in the afternoon. It’s called recovery. And I’m not there yet. My classroom is still a disaster. I’m still teaching sex ed today, plus there’s a school teacher breakfast, so I need to be in early. And then I also have a field trip tomorrow and another award ceremony, and then the sweet horrible wonder of the last day of school. I’m almost done getting everything put away in the classroom. Today I’m typing up the list of hazardous stuff we need to get rid of, so hopefully it can get picked up before they put summer school in my room.

Yesterday was exhausting. This whole last month has been exhausting. Frustrating. Stupid people stuff. Dumb adult drama. Too much work. Soon. Soon it will be done.

So I went home and walked dogs…

We went to the more open space…

The plants are changing color…

It’s been dry and hot in the last week. I had to put the sprinklers back on at home.

They scraped the road…it’s a fire break, so that makes sense. Less chance of getting ticks too, unless you’re the little boy and need to pee by standing on a bush.

No sign of coyotes…although you know they were there.

I know there’s cleaning to do. I need to sew some stuff (quick) for a friend. I need to do my second Patreon video. I found the videos I already recorded and downloaded them. Then I got distracted by something else. Easy to do when the brain is still so overloaded. The men around us teachers keep asking why we’re so irritated, emotional, distant, whatever. Um. So it’s really hard to explain how much emotion and care we put into our jobs. We think about kids nonstop. Not always with irritation! With worry. With sadness. With joy. With hope. So this week, we’re kind of a mess. Come back to me in July and I might have recovered. Mostly.

But I didn’t grade after eating dinner. I worked on this!

I haven’t been working on this at all, because I’ve been doing the embroideries. Which needs to start up again, but I have to do drawings first. Maybe later this week. I have one I want to simplify already. He’s not done, by the way. He needs nostrils and eyes and something on his horns.

I also started cutting stuff out…

I actually did one whole yard and the smaller piece, so I’m more than halfway done. I might be ironing to fabric by Friday. That would be cool. This could be a really fast piece. Of course, that means I’m forgetting all the other stuff that is going to suck up my days in the next week or so. But it’s OK to forget all that right now.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun

Shed Our Skin, Let the Sun Shine In…*

Hello Monday. You woke me up several times during the night, trying to fake me out. Tellin’ me it’s morning when it’s really still the middle of the night. You wouldn’t let me sleep that last half hour at all. And now you’re all gloomy and pissing down spit (which I am totally OK with, so you didn’t get me then…). I don’t feel like I got a weekend at all. But OK. It’s that time of year. I’m about to get some time off…much-needed time. I just need to bully through.

We did go to my parents for Fathers’ Day. I told him all the things at my house that were broken, because that’s what fathers want for Fathers’ Day, right? I also made him chocolate cake. That might have been nicer.

Here’s my guy (not my dad) looking for UFOs after throwing the ball a thousand times for Calli while I was grading…

Seriously. Hours of grading this weekend. And the kids trying to turn stuff in late.

Katie was being weird.

There was a coyote out there…we saw it go by the house on the road, into the driveway and then the lower yard, and across another property. You can just about see it below. Maybe. Middle right…

Scary. We came home and I graded some more and eventually stopped and made art. It’s not that I was done with grades…they are due today, but I can’t do any more until after 2nd period…

I had about 200 pieces left to trace, so I did them. Yes, that means I stayed up too late. Why do you ask? My brain was wired by then. I was wide awake and totally stressed out. I finished tracing…only two yards and a small bit…

It took me about 5 1/2 hours to trace them all. Almost exactly 100 pieces an hour, which is my usual estimate. Tonight I’ll start cutting…because you know why? Tonight I won’t have any grading to do. Because it will be done. For the year.

Then I can start to wade through my gigantic to-do list, but also on that list is the art stuff. So that’s a good thing. Today? Today getting there will be a bit hellacious…but it’ll be good once it’s done.

*Ivy, Edge of the Ocean

As It Should Be…

I am still exhausted after 9 hours in bed. Of course, too much of it is moving cats, pulling sheets on and off during hot flashes, and a brain that won’t shut the fuck up. It’s OK. I’m almost done with school. I will get there. To the sleep place. I honestly feel like I need to just start running (I’m not a runner any more, thank you knees) and keep going until the computer and school can’t find me.

I graded a ton of stuff yesterday, made it through all the makeup work, went to a graduation party in the middle, still exhausted, then came home and graded the opt-out assignment for the kids who aren’t in sex ed. That thing almost killed me. I guess “don’t copy off the internet” really means “copy your ass off.” I would like to thank the kids who really took the assignment seriously, and maybe thank the kids who didn’t turn it in, because I didn’t have to grade yours at all.

Weird-ass spreadsheet and hash marks keep me organized on this thing, I guess. I made notes on our planning calendar for next year…hopefully I’ll have the brain power to make those changes for next year. They’re not hard. And no one will be graduating in the middle of my last month of school, so that should help. I hate that my job makes it so difficult to travel outside of our prescribed breaks. But it is such a hassle. So stressful.

I also hate seeing kids who blew off turning in that last assignment, when that’s all they needed to pull their grade up. This group was pretty good, especially compared to last year’s crew. We know it’s a fluke, so as a teacher, you’re always trying to decide how to better motivate kids, what to do about that one kid who you totally flailed on (not your fault, but you still blame yourself). That’s the part that keeps me awake at night.

Anyway. That’s done. I still need to do the final grade input and finish up with homeroom, and then I’m done. Plus laundry, grocery shopping, the last parent email of the school year, and Father’s Day stuff.

This was Buddy yesterday at the graduation party.

Everyone wanted to pet him, but it just makes him anxious. He did allow me to scratch his back and behind his ears right before we left.

I came home and graded for another few hours. It’s a lost weekend. No art. No art. Maybe tonight?

Friday night, my stress kept me up way too late watching a stupid movie, but I also did a summer to-do list. I don’t want it to be super long. No matter what, I won’t finish most of it.

That’s the way it always goes. But I’ll try. It’s a place to start. Plus there’s art stuff on there too. As there should be.

So Happy Fathers’ Day to those to whom it matters…

My dad is kind of a dork, but he knows how to fix all the things. I’ll be asking him about an electrical thing tonight. Isn’t that how all Fathers’ Day events should go?

Of That You Can Be Sure…

So I’m running with exhaustion right now…mental and physical. But it’s weird, because last night, I easily could have gone to sleep at 11 PM. I was completely done. But I didn’t want to go another night without making any art. So I said, I’ll just trace for 30 minutes…and within about 5 minutes of starting, I began to wake up. The tiredness just sloughed off and I’m thinking I can go for another hour (not a good plan). I ended up tracing for 45 minutes and then made myself go to bed before midnight, because I know today will be tiring and my blood sugar will be off (we have a production in the afternoon, so my lunch is way too early). But I could have gone for another hour…easily.

I did about 90 pieces…I’m at about 316. No. I AM at 316. So another 200 and a bit to go. I could do that tonight, if I didn’t have grading to do. That’s all I’m doing this weekend I think. I have a social thing and I think a family thing, but then grading. Until I die. Or my computer dies. Something. It’ll be fine. I figure I’ll be ready to iron stuff down in perfect timing with the end of the school year, which is nice, because that’s what I’ll need. I also need to make a summer to-do list, because there’s some major stuff that needs fixing. Sigh. I love tasks like that when I don’t have a paycheck coming in.

I’m glad I got up and traced. It makes me feel better. I’m still tired and cranky and feel like I’ve failed at dealing with that one kid who’s driven me nuts all year, but I have to be OK with that. There’s always one. I didn’t kill him. That’s a plus.

In really good news (I don’t know why, because I’m about to design 6 more and then stitch them), I finished the last of the models for the embroidery patterns! A miracle…

Look at all that dog/cat fur! It needs washing, dehairing, and a proper photo. But otherwise, it’s good. I need to put an embroidery page on my website too. SUMMER. So many things for the summer. I’m afraid of the to-do list. I do already have an idea for the first of the next 6 patterns. If you want to purchase any of the patterns (and I think kits should be available soon), they are at the Global Artisans shop. If you do stitch one of them up, I’d love to see it. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to HIDE a penis in one of the next 6. I don’t usually hide them. They’re usually right out there, easy to find. Kind of like in real life.

Deep breaths. I can see the end of the school year right over there. As I’m finishing up teaching STDs today and turning to HIV…we’re almost done! We finished two proposals for working on school stuff over the summer, though, plus I’ll be at three different conferences about how to change up schools. The work never stops…and I should get paid for most of that for once. But there will be plenty of artmaking…of that you can be sure.

Shine Until Tomorrow*

One of my long-time stitchy friends is moving to Portland this month. It’s OK. That’s where her grandkid is and she’s retiring from teaching (well, at least technically…who knows what the future brings), so it all makes sense. I’ve been quilting with her on and off since I was 23. She is in fact the woman you can blame for my knowing how to quilt at all, although my mom is who you blame for knowing how to sew and having some sort of fabric addiction. That started when I was much younger.

In losing her to Portland, I also lose one of my monthly social meetings…so I’ve been working on options. It looks like SAQA in San Diego may start to rev up a bit, and I even found a meeting space here in El Cajon that we could use if people are interested in meeting. I might even go check out La Mesa, because people get freaked out by my town. It’s safe, people. It’s safe. So I’m kind of looking forward to that, although I don’t know how long it will take to get everything moving. And I hope no one annoying comes to the local meetings. Maybe I’m the annoying one, who knows. Change is never easy, but I guess all the crazy that’s happened to me over the years has helped me deal with some of it. Although I’m gonna miss my friend like crazy, I’m still going to try to find a quilt community that I sort of fit into somewhere besides online.

Last night was the last official meeting of the group, but she’ll be back for a bit in July to pack more boxes and move more stuff. I don’t envy her that. At the meeting, I worked on the last of the printed embroidery patterns that I need to do for now…

It’s almost done…just a little bit at the bottom. Then I need to design 6 more.

I didn’t grade yesterday, but I was at tutoring. That was tiring. After I had dinner last night (super late), I started tracing…

I only got an hour in…I’m tired…

But I’m almost halfway at this point. That’s the wonder of doing a quilt that doesn’t have a lot of pieces.

So sometime this week it should get traced. Although I really need to grade stuff too. Crazy meeting schedule this week. It’s messing with my ability to get that done. Tonight is book club and it’s a million miles away…but I’m going. So there. I read the book. I need a break. Ugh. Long drive. I’m getting old?

OK, I need to get to work and get going on the day. More STDs today…always fun. The school year is winding down. I’m winding up to get some art done. That part is exciting…as always.

*The Beatles, Let It Be

Restless As the Wildest Way*

I think at this point that my brain is so addled that I need to be exhausted to sleep. Or I’m so into making the new quilt that I can’t sleep because I’d rather be doing that? Certainly it’s more relaxing than grading. I finished three assignments yesterday…one had been in process for a few days…it was just taking me a while. I so want to be done.

It was really warm here yesterday, with some clocking in at 99 degrees and some at 104. Either way, too warm. I left school and didn’t think we’d be walking dogs, but it was cooler at the house…which is only 2 1/2 miles from school. There was a breeze and clouds were kicking in, so we dragged them out (with water).

It wasn’t too bad out there…although this plant seems like it’s reacting to the heat…

Look at those weird seed pods…and it’s a spiky son of a bitch.

There was some other little yellow-flowered thing that was stinging through our pants. Not this one…a weedier-looking plant with vicious spikes.

Nature is beautiful but painful. Good lesson.

We’re seeing ticks all over the place. Well…on the dogs and on the man.

The boychild and I have avoided them somehow.

After grading, I set up for the next quilt. Oh yeah! Desert Daughter won the vote on my Patreon…that’s this one…

She’s got 542 pieces…she’s not tiny, but she’s not huge. I actually drew this two years ago, not after the last trip, although there’s definitely some reminders of that trip here. I’m not making her for anything in particular…I just wanted to do a small filler piece before I do a big piece for the summer. It seemed like a fair reward to let my Patreon folks pick it for me.

So I started tracing last night just before 10 PM…

I recorded a bit of it for a future Patreon video. Satchemo did not help…

He was distinctly in the way. Here at least he stopped trying to lie ON the Wonder Under…

I’ve been entering a bunch of shows lately…hoping to get in to some of them. There are never any guarantees, that’s for sure. This one will fit somewhere. It actually has no nudity in it…

Wait, neither does the last one. A trend? Ah fuck no. It just worked out that way.

I’ve started mentally making my summer to-do list. So far, it is all about cleaning spaces that are out of control, planting things, and making art. Seems like a worthy plan. It’s funny, because I’ve signed up for this school committee that will keep me in conferences all summer. Sigh. It’s OK. It’s two days here and there…it won’t kill me. It’s better than jury duty for the whole month of July…so far, they’ve left me alone on that one. Give them time, though. I’m sure they’ll find me again.

OK, early meeting. Finally made it almost through birth control options in class…moving on to STDs…fun stuff. Eight more days…hopefully I’ll find sleep more easily as the week goes on…

*Crooked Still, Undone in Sorrow

Ducking and Weaving…

I’ve reached that time of the school year when I can’t sleep at night. Especially Sunday nights. Or it’s the damn hot flashes, because they’re back with a vengeance. Could just be that it’s been warm lately. Hard to say. Seems to be stress on some level though. I do all the things you’re supposed to do to alleviate that, but it’s not even enough right now. The quilt got done in time; that was good. I’m not done with grading, but I got a chunk of stuff done this weekend…not a big chunk, but a chunk. I do have a ton of meetings this week, so that will make getting more done a challenge, but it’s a challenge I’ll have to meet. No choice for that.

Even the puppy is cranky right now.

We’ll get over it. In about 9 school days.

So the opening of Indoor/Outdoor was Saturday night. Here’s my favorite wall…with Asa Kvissberg’s Girl in a Suit I, II, and III, my Bigger in the Outside, Helen Redman’s Monster Mama, Moya Devine’s Summer and Rootbeer and Snake Charmer, and Cindy Zimmerman’s Oklahoma Girl in California World…all the colors and shapes seemed to rock together.

I’ll post the rest of the show later this week. It runs through July 2 at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan. My shirt matched my quilt…not on purpose.

This is Phil, waxing poetic about a stick.

Selfie with my art and a stick. At least we amuse each other.

That cleaning thing. This table. It’s driving me nuts. But I don’t have time to deal with it. This is me trying to calendar the week.

I think I got it sort of under control. Ha! Never say that. The universe hears you and comes after you.

This succulent has never bloomed. This year, it did. And wildly.

There will be more!

Too many dogs. We had a morning respite and then they were all back and in my personal space.

I like dogs. It’s OK. Except when it’s hot. It’s not super hot here, but I seem to be running up the temperatures with my own body. Ugh.

I drew this thing that stuck in my head the other day.

I’m going to draw a simpler version of it for an embroidery pattern, I think. MUCH simpler.

Sleepy cat.

I didn’t sleep well. Ugh. It’ll be fine. I’m just going to be tired until late June. Then maybe I won’t be. We’ll see.

Someone I know visited my show in Pittsburgh and took this picture to show me the subway station…so all these people walk past them every day.

I hope some of them stop and look.

I got the first email from a student this morning begging for extra credit. Ye who did not do your missing work? Oh hellz no.

OK week. You can’t get me. I’m ducking and weaving.