See All the People and Do All the Things…

Good morning on the day after fireworks. For those of you with dogs who don’t like fireworks, you are maybe a little exhausted like me, as I listened to the old lady dog pant and breathe way too fast most of the night. Her breathing is back to normal this morning, but it was a long night. She was doing OK until more fireworks at about 1 AM. I also was doing OK until then. I am way too light of a sleeper for this stuff.

Hope your 4th was enjoyable at least, although I spent a good portion of the day thinking about Native American issues (I’m reading The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich) and those who don’t feel like the flag and the pledge of allegiance are for them (I am one of those people and I’m pretty damn entitled). But I did step outside to see a few sets of fireworks…I think only half were legal, which is scary in these dry firelike conditions. You’ll appreciate my photo from the bedroom window.

Yeah. Toldja you’d appreciate it. Best fireworks photo ever. Not sure why I try to take these every year, but I do. EVERY YEAR. I’m rolling my eyes at myself.

Also, this quote…

For those who doubt my patriotism. Exactly.

So much art progress has been made. Well. Has it? I don’t know. Things are getting done. That’s a good thing.

So first of all, official photos of the Quilt National exhibit are here. I will hopefully be there in person in September for the closing ceremony. In all the videos I saw posted, I couldn’t see my quilt, which made me sad, but that’s OK. Because here it is in all its glory, thanks to the QN photographer.

I don’t have the catalog yet, so I can’t tell you who else’s pieces are in this picture…

Looking forward to seeing her in person…for the last time, probably, because she sold. But this show does travel, so maybe she will pop up near me somewhere. Hard to say. Again, you can hear me talk about her here.

So meanwhile, I have one piece on a deadline here, so it makes sense that I worked on anything BUT that piece. I finished the quilting on this 20-year-old piece last week, and Saturday, I put a binding on her.

It’s the first time in a year and a half that I could go to that quilt store without an appointment. They still have really short hours, so during the school year, Saturday would be the only day I could go, but hopefully that will change by the time it’s an issue. Yes, I often am buying backgrounds and bindings at the totally last minute.

I spent time Saturday night (with Kitten) sewing bindings on…

And finished those and the sleeves on Sunday night.

She’s about 30″ wide by 43″ high, and I started her in 2000 or 2001. It’s all hand applique. She’ll get her official photographs when I have the one with a deadline completed.

Then (because still…procrastinating the deadline project) I stitched down Desert Bunny, which has been sitting around waiting since March.

(I’m still working on a name for the other one…there are some in the running, but no decisions yet).

She’s small, so she didn’t take long.

And then I sandwiched and pinbasted her, so now she’s ready for quilting…

Which ALSO wouldn’t take long, but I’m trying to be good and work on the one with a deadline. I was supposed to be in Los Angeles for 2 1/2 days this week, but my niece is coming down this week instead of next week, so we juggled our flexible plans into LA next week….thus juggling my art plans as well…I can’t do certain parts of my art process on the road. Odds are, I won’t be working on the next quilt on the road no matter what, but I’m using that trip to motivate me to iron. Why is ironing an issue? This quilt has a lot of small pieces and it’s sometimes tedious to iron tiny pieces (you’d think I’d learn), but also ironing is hot and the light in here is hot and it’s not THAT hot here (no heat dome…yet), but my hot flashes plus fairly reasonable summer temperatures just add up to ugh. That said, here’s an hour or so of ironing done…

Tiny pieces, relatively small quilt. Crazy amount of work in this one. Ah well…the brain knows what it wants. So I’ll be working on this all week, and hopefully be done for the weekend. We’ll see.

I’ve gone back to drawing before dinner…here is Saturday night, in between starter (we hardly ever get a starter) and dinner.

Keep it simple! These are small. It’s the sketchbook that fits in my purse. I got a new purse, a smaller one, but the sketchbook doesn’t fit. Dammit.

Also, I can’t remember if I posted this…it’s Margaret Fabrizio’s Hello Kitty Meats the Dragon.

I spelled it like she did…it’s not hung up yet because I wanted to put a sleeve on it, and last night, I finally did that. I met Margaret some years back (when she was still 80-something) and we liked each other’s work. She contacted me earlier this year about trading a piece of art, and I agreed, so I sent one off to her of her choice, and I got these wonderful eyeballs (I did pick it for Hello Kitty too) back…so now she can hang on my wall.

I also was cleaning up my blogroll this weekend (like you do…once every 5 years, whether it needs it or not), and noticed that an artist I really enjoyed, Olga Norris, had passed away in 2019. I obviously have not been doing a great job of reading blogs. Every year, at the SAQA auction, I would note the Olga Norris piece and get outbid at a much higher rate than I could afford, sadly. Well, her husband is still supporting his wife’s work and posted photos of her last pieces, and offers them up for postage and donations to a charity of Olga’s choice, which is just amazing, so I will finally be proudly displaying one of her pieces here as well. It does make you think about what will happen to all your work when you die, though. I’m sure my children would love for me to have a plan.

In other news, Kitten is still missing some teeth and makes some funny faces while squawking at me.

And I finally got milkweed seeds to sprout! I started in April and apparently killed off a hundred or so of them, but now! Now I haz babies.

IDK how I will keep the bunnies out of the plants though…gonna have to think that bit through. They’ve even been eating the succulents.

And this…

Makes me want to go through all the birding books we have here…just for stupid things like that.

OK, I’m up to go to the gym, like a good person. I have an appointment at the Apple Store to try to figure out if my phone refusing to connect consistently to Wifi is a hardware issue. And then I’d like to do some more ironing together of tiny little pieces today. Tomorrow will probably involve some art stuff with the niece, which means I might actually see my work in a show IN PERSON. I know. Crazy. And hopefully I will also be able to reschedule all the stuff I already scheduled over in an attempt to see all the people and do all the things because yeah. That.

Plain Old Hanging Out

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

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

That’s good news…exciting.

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

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

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

And last night, I started cutting out the pieces.

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

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

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

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

The Bones of This Nation

Ah Friday. But also rain, lots of it. I see a bit of blue sky out my window, but I don’t know if it will last. My moods are sort of mirroring the weather this week: fucking all over the map. I’m not sure why, but I bet there’s a reason. My job? Yeah some of it. Finishing a quilt? Not usually an emotional thing, but these are fucking unprecedented times. I think being immersed in a difficult and time-consuming project in a medium I love is a good thing, like a big chunky and all-encompassing book you’re reading, and it helps distract me from the other stuff that sucks or makes me anxious, and when it’s done, there’s this letdown, like WTF am I going to do now? I can’t have a single down day; I need a new project. It’s OK. In the back of my brain for days, I’ve been planning new projects. A few lighter ones and then perhaps a heavier one. It’s like my reading…I just finished reading the Indigenous People’s History of the United States, and it’s dense and heavy and often difficult to read…

Certainly some of this history better explains our fascination with our right to guns. I did love the ending though…

The bones of this nation will mend after the revolution. I can get behind that. I can get on that train. But this next book needs to be a bit lighter to help my mood.

Also, in the mood, my dad is finally coming home next week. His brain will take a year to heal. We don’t really know how he is at the moment. I just know my mom is really excited and we’re glad to have more time with him. So many things affect mood. I’ve been kind of trapped at home this week; didn’t get my mid-week walk due to emergency union meetings, so I’m antsy and irritable, more than usual. Hiking tomorrow though. Hopefully.

So I managed to do all the hand sewing on the binding in one four-hour marathon run on Wednesday…

I started in book club and finished on the couch with a variety of animals.

This is an amazingly bad, late-night picture of it…

Of course, I stayed up past midnight on a school night to finish it. It’s going to the photographer this week.

A friend liked the owl up in the tree and asked for a small quilt of it…so I traced it…

Inked it…

Traced it on Wonder Under…

And cut it out last night…

It’s ready for ironing to fabric tonight. It’s a palate cleanser…super small, super easy. And I have a smallish drawing picked out for the next one…one that caught my eye as I was reading back through my blog…I do that as a sanity check, although this last year is a doozy.

I had book club Wednesday, yesterday was full of meetings…this is my work desk view…and the Zoom window on the left is my prep room at school…

I’ll be there today, picking up materials for next week’s demo. My co-teacher is awesome and gathers everything as I panic at home. It’s not ideal. But it’s functional…

I also had a stitching meeting last night. I can’t show what I’ve been embroidering for the last few months, because it hasn’t published yet; just know you’ll see it soon enough. But I did this start of a mend…

I really love this shirt and it developed some holes on the belly area…that’s where I get all my shirt holes. I’m going to embroider/slow stitch over it and wear it anyway. Saving clothes, one shirt at a time.

It’s been chilly here and kittens have been doing lots of cute curling upness.

They are sweethearts.

I have work in this upcoming show in LA. I probably won’t get to see the show, but it’s nice to have this piece shown…show notice…

And the huge piece that will be there…One of My Kind

Those are my kids, my mom, and my grandmother…she’s the skeleton. We bury them, but they still live on in our hearts and minds and often our behaviors.

OK, today will be long and full of work, but hopefully ending in some artistic endeavors and a good night’s sleep. I hope. And hopefully a mood shift. I don’t always have control over those, but I try.

Over the Top…

Ugh. Monday, you were over the top. Remind me not to answer work emails at 3 PM…or honestly, ever. Without a 12-hour break maybe. “Dear teacher, how is my kid doing?” “I don’t know. They don’t come to class or turn anything in.” It was a day. We thought we could grade an assignment while monitoring the chat during a quiz, but the monitoring became overwhelming as the day went on, and I couldn’t concentrate enough on what I was grading…which required thought and long feedback, lots of it. Pro: I think this batch of kids is better than the last batch for writing claim-evidence-reasoning (probably because we told 6th grade they had to do some of the prep work). Con: They still need lots of work, work that is harder to do online. I have more to grade today, and an assignment that hopefully will allow that. We’ll see how that goes. Teachers can’t be ON all the time. We burn out. Yesterday was long and required a lot of energy and I don’t even think I got all the way through it. And I didn’t barely even TALK. Just typed in the chat while they took the quiz. Today is a staff meeting explaining our new schedules for the week of the 28th…which should be interesting, because I need to understand it myself so I show up for the right class at the right time. Which could be an issue. No worries! I will draw a picture to get me there. Block schedule, but online, with two subjects. OK. I got this. Three grade levels. OK. I still got this. Ask me in late October how I feel about it for realz.

Meanwhile, not much visible art has been happening. I’ve been doing research and posting on my Patreon and gathering show information, but my brain was too tired the last two nights to do anything more than that. I really really hope that changes tonight.

Our air quality is still off. Makes for beautiful sunsets and sunrises though.

Maybe they’d be just as beautiful without the smoke particles.

My most recent sourdough was also beautiful.

Lunches from this. I have become a character in Little House on the Prairie. Or something. I make my own bread. I never leave the house. Pa! Pa! OK, I left the house yesterday to pick up my sewing machine. Crucial stuff. Laura Ingalls never did that. I’ll leave the house today to walk. I need to walk. It’s been a while for a good long solo hike.

Simba thinks he’s a cat.

He barks too much to be a cat. Our hot weather popped back up for the rest of the week. Sigh. No thanks. I can do without. Just like the construction. I had to shut all the windows yesterday so I could teach over a concrete saw. Like just fucking be DONE with it! It’ll be done soon. It has to be.

Yes. My clothes are always covered with cat hair. But I’m at home, so you can’t tell.

Apparently they are very comfy.

I finished my book last night, Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. Apparently I have been saying her name wrong in my head for years. Very good. I didn’t much like the other book of hers I read, but this was good. What’s funny is that book club meets tomorrow night, and I was going to read the book for book club first, but this was so good, I didn’t. So I think it’ll be the first time I go to book club and I haven’t read the book. I might get some of it read today and tomorrow at lunch. We’ll see. It’s also supposed to be good, but I just haven’t seen anything but the cover yet.

That’s the closest I got to artmaking last night.

I made it in the office and ironed some brainless stuff and looked at this thing (the drawing, not the cat…she’s fine…it’s not her fault I can’t focus) and was too tired, looked at the clock and it was almost midnight, and I gave up. Part of my time issue was deciding to exercise at 10 PM. It needed to be done and there wasn’t time or mental space before that.

OK, wishes for today: efficient grading, some understanding of my future schedule, a successful teaching day, time for a walk, mental space for art, a calm and restorative dinner hour. Might be wishful thinking, but it’s my goal and I’m sticking to it. Better air too. That would be good.

It’s Not the Same

I think I need a nap. I could probably even take a nap, but then I probably wouldn’t get anything else done. That never feels good. School is almost out! I’m not as excited about that as I usually am. It’s not the same. We all know it’s not the same (OK, some people haven’t figured that out, but I’m talking about most of the teachers I work with…OK some of them don’t know it either), but I’m not sure when it will be something I recognize. My book club wants to meet in person next week…6 feet away from each other and outside, but in person. I think that’s OK. My team wants to do the same thing, but with alcohol involved. That’s a little harder, because it’s a restaurant and technically, none of us should be sitting together. Straw and mask? Stick straw under mask? Maybe. I took a pilates class today, the first one in three months. Oh man, my back felt so much better. I tried doing it with a mask on and couldn’t get enough air. Damn. So how do I feel about that? I don’t know yet. Balancing our personal needs with the need to stay healthy. Fuuuck. But that’s one of the things I wrote to the district in the survey they sent out: I want to stay healthy. But if I get sick with COVID because of school, and it takes longer than 2 weeks for me to test negative again, what happens with my job? We don’t have disability. I can’t get disability insurance because of my diabetes. So I’m fucked? I have a bunch of sick days I can use up, I guess. I should stop reading all those scary articles…but then I would be ignorant, and that’s not a good place to be. Note to white women who just want to quilt/sew and not think about politics: It’s not a good place to be, IgnoranceLand. Get out of it.

Um. Ma’am. This is why we need more science education. It’s not the only reason, but it’s a good one.

So. This week coming up is busy, but not like teaching for real, and definitely not like a real end-of-school-year week. Then it will hopefully be less busy for a while, to let me read and exercise and fix things and make art. Yeah. That’s what I need. Leave me alone for a while.

I ironed for a little bit last night, about an hour. I’m hoping to do more this afternoon, get Figure 2 done.

It’s not fast, because there’s a lot of pieces and it’s a big quilt. But I really enjoy this part.

We gamed earlier online…I stitch during it, even in person. It keeps my brain engaged.

This is not hard.

I also sewed a dot…above the green spool.

It wasn’t difficult…

Maybe I’ll just teach art in between all the other crap I have to teach. I actually added another bullion loop flower, the yellow one, because it looked unbalanced.

I finished my book club book, Jade City. It was OK. It seemed to focus a lot more on warring and explaining culture, which sometimes I like, but it was kind of dry. We’ll see what the rest of the group says on Wednesday.

Kitten has been invading the kittens’ space, lying in front of their food and water…

No worries…they still have access to her food and water, and they take advantage of that.

OK, I’ve exercised and eaten. I need more caffeine. I’m supposed to pull fabrics for that quilt project with templates, but I find it hard to do that. I have too much fabric to choose from. Can’t decide. Not sad about that. I’m going to iron for a while, and then water plants. I’ve done well with planting new things this year…I guess that’s a pro of being stuck at home all the time. I need to go watch some fence-building videos too, although my dad will be helping, so that should solve that problem. It’s Saturday. There are four days of school left. We are three months into a pandemic in the US, and things may shut down again sometime in the next month. Just documenting that shit, so when they re-read my blog in 2120, they’ll know that some of us were thinking about the consequences of the germ-breathers.

Easy and Brainless…

So. It’s good that we have a house with enough space for everyone to shelter in place without being on top of each other. We’re lucky to have two paychecks coming in to feed four people. And hallelujah for internet, or we might go bonkers. I mean, we might BE bonkers in a way, but we’re healthy for now and have what we need, which includes The Great Pottery Throw Down (why is that not one word instead of two?), although more exercise and less anxiety would be lovely.

Thanks also to all of you who are making masks for medical personnel. I wish I could do that. My brain is not in the mood. I feel my anxiety ramping up with the news and sometimes reading stuff and hearing stuff and when I think about making masks, just trying to figure out which pattern and what materials makes me breathe heavily, so I stop. Thinking about it. I might get there eventually. I’m sure I’m capable.

“Let’s take a minute to think about our current reality.” Huh. I’m on a work Zoom meeting. I’m stressed, but will survive. Well, we say that and then wonder if we will be one of the 2 million who doesn’t. Because we have to think about what this world will look like 6 months from now or even a year from now. My current reality…I’m doing what I need to do, which is NOT cleaning closets and organizing the kitchen. I applaud all of you who are doing that. Really. I do. I wish I could be more efficient and get more shit done, but I can’t. Seeing as how I think we’ll be doing this for the next (oh shit, count them…) 10 weeks (?), I think I might get some closets clean eventually. Last night, the boychild and I made a kamikaze and clearly essential ride to my parents’ house to dump some crap from my driveway into their dumpster. So we left the girlchild on the phone with the olds, so we could sneak in and dump. It’s all good.

I wrote all that before the school meeting, which was over an hour long, and then spent the next two hours setting up a new class online, prepping a form, and sending an email to all the kids in my new advisory class, plus their parents, if I could. Next step is to start calling them; I’ll do that tomorrow…see how many I can get with the email instead. My head is reeling a bit from the work meeting…too much to process in one go. I’ve got a headache, my neck is a mess from no chiropractor, and I’m in freakout mode. So there’s that. Hello new world!

So the last two days…time is weird, isn’t it? We had everyone home; still waiting on test results to see if the kids can go to their dad’s house or not. It’s all a crapshoot, isn’t it? Yes it is.

This is the truth…although the Stephen King book is really good (The Institute), horror and dystopian novels seem a little nuts right now.

We watched Contagion that night as a family too.

On Saturday, we walked the dogs. Hopefully that will happen today as well, because I’m going bonkers. We stopped at my ex’s house and stole lemons.

Calli loves the little bit of this walk that’s off leash…

She gets downright perky. She’ll be 11 some time in April.

These ferns are delicate and the flowers are oh so tiny.

It’s a nice walk, not quite long enough, but with a punishing hill in it. Although most of it is pretty chill.

We’ve seen these weird pods hanging from a tree and I always wanted to know what was inside them. Now I know.

Fluff. Fluff is what’s inside them.

No, I’m not willing to pick this up. But this is like life right now.

So this was about 2 1/2 miles. We can’t really do the hikes we like to do right now. The county has closed everything down. Which sucks, but we get why.

I was quilting earlier…I missed the stitch down on that one section of the building, so I stuck a pin in it until the end of that bobbin thread.

And then switched threads to stitch it down with the polyester stuff. Every time I do this, I miss something. More quilting!

I’m honestly not getting much done each day. Time is kind of a mess. Although I quilted yesterday too…

I have all the of the body done except for the top arm…and then the Earth and the stuff above that, and then I can quilt the background. It’s slow, but it’s happening. An hour a day is about what I’d be doing if I were at school every day, so I don’t feel bad.

This was during Contagion…working on the houses from Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block of the month…they’re easy and brainless to stitch down. I’m doing a lot of easy and brainless.

I thought I was done with it…turns out there’s a bird. So I’m not. Here’s the other two, still in progress.

I’m all over the map in what I’m working on. And then, Sue Spargo set out an invite for a daily stitch thing, for 90 days, called the Toned Down Sampler…she’s done these circle samplers before and I’m always fascinated by them. Each circle has a different stitch combo. I didn’t like the colors on the kit, but I have tons of leftover wool from everything I’ve done with her, so I bought a background and started cutting out circles on Saturday night.

Her kit is very logical…9 circles each of 10 colors…or maybe it’s vice versa. I don’t have more than 3 circles of any color, and some I only have one circle of that color. And I wanted brighter colors.

I have access to a punch for these, but it’s at mom’s, so that wasn’t happening. Still staying away from them. It didn’t actually take that long to cut them out. So yesterday, I pinned them all down.

Hers are in this perfect 9×10 grid. Each circle is 1/2″ away from every other. Yeah. Um. So no. I was thinking differently. I know you’re shocked by that. I had a river (of blues) in the middle, then greens on either side, then the flowers on the outside.

I actually adjusted again after this. Then pinned them all down. Stabby beast.

And last night, started stitching them down. This is the hard part, eh?

You can see how many I had stitched down as of bedtime. I did a few more today during the meeting. It calms me to stab through wool with a sharp needle. They’re whipstitched down with a similar-colored wool thread. Then the embellishment will happen…she’s posted the first one today. I’ll have to use different colors, but it should be fine.

This was last night’s dinner. I think we’ve just handed all the cooking over to the girlchild at this point.

Chili and cornbread muffin. Tasty stuff. She does a lot of puppy cuddling at night.

He doesn’t seem to mind.

Kitten eventually came out to hang with us.

This was right before bed…

We were all tired. Today has been chaotic…I want cookies (not a good choice). I should do yoga (good choice) and walk the dogs (also good) and who knows what else. We still have a lot of stuff up in the air for school, but working for my paycheck is a good idea. Whatever that looks like. Plus more easy and brainless stitching in between reading and exercising, and the occasional bit of art.

Hope Is a Wonderful Thing

Ah September. You have held off on horrible days of heat…just a few here and there. I actually needed a blanket last night. Have I mentioned that the hot flashes have wandered off? Knock on wood. Don’t let them come back (I know they will). But as always, school is kicking my butt and making me feel like I have to pack in NON-school stuff to keep me sane. Oh yeah, that’s why I make as much art as I do…otherwise, I’d go bonkers in this job. Yesterday was a slog…getting most of the kids to understand what I was talking about (this pilot curriculum sucks balls, to quote my co-teacher)…but also realizing that about 30% of them were totally and completely tuned out. Sigh. SIGH. Direct instruction. And the teacher who sent a kid down in the middle of that and wanted me to find papers? WTF? Like call first. Seriously. No. NO. I have a student who yells no all the time and I can totally bond with her over that. It might get her to stop too, because I think having something in common with me is her biggest fear. I don’t blame her.

Today they write me 7 whole sentences showing me they understand the standard. On the one hand, I’m kind of looking forward to finally seeing how they write. On the other hand. FUCK. It’s gonna hurt my brain. And depress me.

It’s OK. Sunny smile! I can’t grade them until after next Thursday. That’s the due date. I have a week!

But seriously, I’m so behind and confuzzled and overwhelmed and please don’t ask me to do anything else, but I have two meetings at the same time this morning and I don’t know how that is gonna work. At all. And a 2-hour meeting after school about this pilot curriculum. Really, I’d rather be throwing the Navy UFnotO videos up and having the kids write about that. Totally. Fuck the curriculum. Let’s talk about aliens!

I did go to book club, which was totally fun and interesting. We all loved the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, 4 novellas, and she’s coming out with a full novel in May next year (yay!). It was a good mental release to go hang out with a bunch of smart women and talk about the world and how to escape and books and movies. I really appreciate that group, even though the trek out to Point Loma is so freakin’ far.

I managed to cut stuff out for about 30 minutes before I went to bed.

I have about a yard and a half yet. I’m hoping I have the energy to finish tonight. Hope is a wonderful thing. It’s not hard. I was just really really tired.

Calli was making a really funny face, but stopped as soon as I took her picture.

Of course.

OK, off to the two overlapping meetings. We’ll see how that goes. Yesterday someone sent me a donut and I ate it. It was not a good day for food, that’s for sure, but my blood sugar has stayed OK. Mostly because no more hot flashes, eh? I wish my medical coverage thought sending a diabetic to an endocrinologist who actually knew what they were talking about was a good thing. Or even had a diabetes education program that was useful. They won’t answer email. I have to go SEE them. What kind of old-school world are they living in? Not mine. I need to be able to Skype them in the car on the way to the chiropractor. Anyway. Art tonight! I must!

Good Times…

Hmmmm. Friday the 13th. Full moon tomorrow. All teachers know what I mean. Today could be interesting. It’s been a long week. The weekend won’t be long enough to recover fully. Then again, it only is when it’s got three days, because we usually work for one of the two days. I’ve got 68 videos to watch…all less than 90 seconds (that feels longer than you would think). I’ve got some art to drop off. I’ve got some art to look at. Monday, I’ll have a new non-leaking kitchen faucet. These are all good things. Well, except for the videos. That’s somewhat painful, to be honest. I know, I bring it on myself.

We are 3 1/2 weeks into school. It feels like longer. I still don’t know everybody’s name. I have these three girls who all look similar (they don’t really) and I’m still trying to tell them apart in my head. They are very different. I’m not sure why my brain can’t get a hold on this name stuff. Today, I walk around doing name stuff. In my head. It’ll be good. Watching the videos will help too.

I got home after the first school day this week where I didn’t have a 2-hour meeting, talked to the plumber, and then went to the gym. Finished my book. Remember reading The Lottery in middle school or high school? That awful story? My book club read another book (We Have Always Lived in the Castle) by Shirley Jackson, the author. Guess what? She’s always disturbing. I guess I have to read The Haunting of Hill House next.

Anyway, I came back after working out, ate some dinner, and then started tracing again. I’m about 7 hours in…

It’s boring as hell for you to look at, I know. But it’s so incredibly mellow and meditative for me. I like this stage for that peace. Then again, a lot of the quiltmaking is like that. The ironing, the cutting, the tracing. The quilting even, although it’s louder. The repetitive motion of the shoulders and arms…it’s really nice. Anyway. I’m in the high 300s…so not even halfway. I don’t think I’ll get much done tonight…I’m exhausted and we’re going out to an art thing tonight. My goal is tomorrow, around art delivery and hopefully another trip to the gym. We’ll see.

These guys…

They were waiting on the boychild to take them to the other house. The little one went batshit when the plumber showed up.

OK, plan for the day: survive it. Stay calm and focused. Get the shit done that needs doing. Enjoy some art. Then trace a little and collapse into bed. Literally collapse I think. Good times.

Grind It Out…

I’m staring out the window at lovely fog. And it’s quiet out there. I always forget how LOUD middle school is. It’s not that I don’t like loud. When it’s music (I picked) or probably even me, I’m loud. But a thousand kids is really loud. A class full of 37 kids is loud. You’d think it wouldn’t be on the first day of school, but it is.

It was a long and tiring day. This week usually kicks our butts…and then next week does it again…and then we get a 3-day weekend to recover. At some point, the body remembers how to do all the things without collapsing, and the feet get used to a million steps and wearing shoes and standing all the time, and it gets easier. And you remember not to drink a lot of water because you won’t be able to pee for another two hours. That part sucks.

My team had it together. For now. Because the amount of noise we had yesterday does not bode well for a quiet year. We knew it was coming. It will be fine. We will survive. But my first school-related text this morning was already about someone needing to switch classes because of behavior. OK. Usually we get two weeks of grace period. Not this year.

We did an after picture, but we still looked pretty good. We should do a last day of school photo, or the day before Winter Break, which isn’t in my calendar yet, but should be. Today is the first lab of the year, so that should be fun.

I came home exhausted, too tired to go ship the actual quilt box (I’ll do it this morning on the way to work…it’s easier for parking anyway). I needed to copyedit, so I started with checking all the Bibliography references and all the things I’d tagged as issues (double spaces, use of the word ‘kids’ instead of something more formal, weird quotation issues), because they were pretty brainless and easy…just time-consuming to check. By the time I was done, I had enough caffeine in me and recovery time in to be able to reread the whole section. I sent it to the author last night. So we’re up to 8+ hours of school, another 3 1/2 hours of copyediting, and then I ate dinner and finished my book. I liked it. It’s called Burnout and it’s by Emily Nagoski.

It won’t solve my problems for me, but it helps me remember to say no, even if I’m flattered that someone would want me to do something. I’m throwing two things around in my head right now that I should say no to, and hopefully I will, because there are already way too many things in the air. I also get into this stress survival mode and really shut down sometimes (Um. Like now), fully realizing it’s not healthy, but I’m often not sure what else to do but put my head down and get it done. So I do self care like draw and art and hikes and the gym, but really that doesn’t get rid of the stressor or deal with why it’s even there…and that’s a problem. Anyway. This is a start for the new year.

After copyediting, I quilted. There’s just way too much I need to get done in the next 10 days. The quilt has to be done first. Kitten was monopolizing the other chair in the office. Yes, I need two. Because cats.

My goal was to outline one half, just like when I did the stitch down.

There were some bits I forgot to stitch down, so I had to go back at one point and do that in the middle of the outlining.

It took me about 2 hours, but I got one side done of the outlining.

Tonight, hopefully, I’ll do the other side, and then Friday night is the background, then trim and bind on Saturday. Ready for the photographer Sunday or Monday…early even! WTF. That’s crazy. I was so sure I wouldn’t be able to finish it.

Well, I’m not done yet, so knock on wood. I need to finish copyediting the final bits on Part 3 in the next two days…then I’ll focus on the quilt and get Part 4 and the Bibliography done next week. I do also have a bunch of school stuff I need to do, like record us/me/my partner reading a whole chapter of a book without mispronouncing anything or (and this is harder) swearing. Oh yeah. That should be interesting. And do I have any idea what I’m working on next? Fuck no. That conversation can happen in my head later, like on the weekend. When there’s space for it.

Ah yes. Kitten shapes. They’re so weird and abstract.

OK. Back to it. Another grind it out day.

Both Sides of One Coin…

What a morning. I’m up! Not packed, not ready, showered, but the laundry wasn’t dry (long story, my fault for not changing the thingie and it took 10 minutes for me to figure out how to change it because I hadn’t had my tea yet). Simba got bit by a coyote this morning…not here, but at my ex’s. He’s OK, but I need puppy cuddles. We’ll pick him up from the vet later and hopefully he will run next time. Calli apparently went after the coyote (oh great, 10-year-old gimpy Golden Retriever). We do live with the wildlife here and need to respect it and then yell at it and spray it repeatedly with a hose so it won’t come back. I actually occasionally buy wolf urine pellets and sprinkle them about the edges of the property. I don’t know if it works…but I haven’t seen them on my property (just down at the end of the driveway) in a while. He’s OK! That’s the takeaway.

Not a current picture. I haven’t seen him yet. Today, we’re supposed to be driving to Lake Arrowhead. I’m only up for a day, because I have to be at school on Friday. Sigh. I was at school yesterday…got in there and had no desks, so I moved a few things out of the hallway and then started pulling stuff out of cupboards. At some point, one of the custodians started bringing desks in.

Ironic because I had already gotten an email from one of the Assistant Principals about using my tables to sort Chromebooks. I’m like SURE! What tables? Anyway. I’m not there today or tomorrow, so just don’t leave a mess.

We’re doing a portfolio thing this year, so I needed new things. New system. Originally they were not in rainbow order, but my brain rebelled and rainbowed them.

Can’t help it.

My boards aren’t done. I haven’t found everything. My tech isn’t set up. Did I mention I haven’t found everything?

I spent a couple of hours trying though…there’s two prep days next week, so hopefully I will be more prepared after that. Right now, it just feels like chaos. All this stuff and the stuff on the other side had to be locked up because of summer school.

The plus is that I toss stuff at the end of the year, and then I toss more stuff at the beginning of the year, because I’m like, why the fuck did I keep this? But then I keep stuff for 16 years and I don’t know what to do with it. Anyway. More to do. Honestly, it’s less about what I do to decorate and organize and more about what I do with the kids. I always remember that part.

As part of the new-year resolutions, I’m reading this book about burnout. It’s called Burnout and it’s by Emily Nagoski, but this caught my eye.

It’s the science part I like. A good way to start the new year anyway.

Calli agrees.

Resting up. Literally.

Two caterpillars yesterday on the milkweed. I haven’t seen a lot of caterpillars…lots of butterflies though, so that’s good.

Lots of aphids.

So I copyedited a good chunk of the afternoon. Lots more left to do. I’m copyediting a book about trauma-sensitive schools and one of the stories set me off yesterday. I work with a lot of traumatized kids. It’s hard sometimes. Hence the burnout book.

And then I ironed a bunch…

I was trying to finish last night…worked on the other side…

She was fussy…and I had to iron both sides together on the floor…it was too big for the ironing board.

Then I went back and did the hands. They’re holding hands. You can’t have light without dark. Not good and evil. Not good and bad. A spectrum. Working together. Both sides of one coin. Coyotes and domesticated dogs. Teaching and art. Or something like that. Anyway…I wanted to get it on a background, but I needed to piece that and it was already after midnight. And right now, I need to leave in about 15 minutes to deal with the girlchild’s hair and then hopefully get the puppy and go to the mountains. I might get to this Thursday night, depending on how late I get back. I NEED to get it done.

I honestly have no idea what I’m working on next. That’s weird. Huh. OK. Well then. I’ll have to think about that while I’m traveling. Lots of driving, that’s for sure.