A Nap…

Dog kept me up a goodly chunk of the night. The boychild is gone at fire camp (work, really), and the dog has forgotten about this overnight stuff, so he lost his mind. Lots of fussing, growling, and barking at like 2 AM, which is when you really don’t need barking unless there really is a zombie apocalypse. Spoiler alert: there wasn’t. I’m sure being completely exhausted on an assembly day will be fine. Totally fine. We started sex ed yesterday and it wasn’t bad. I think I might survive until the end of the year. Maybe. I certainly didn’t think I would back in January, but somehow, I seem to have done it. 15 days left. That’s survivable.

I also finally finished quilting. It felt really long, but it was only 13 hours and 41 minutes. ONLY. Here’s Wednesday night…

I made it around the bottom and about halfway up the side. And then last night, I stayed up too late to finish…

At the end, I ran out of bobbin thread…

But that didn’t stop me. I just sacrificed sleep. As always. Tonight I can finally trim the thing and hopefully have the energy to get bindings on. Tomorrow, we’re hiking, which might be nuts, but whatever.

There’s this, after watching someone freak out over Target’s Pride merch.

You don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Simple. Same with books…

Frustrating world we live in. Some dumb person commented on my post about a particular banned book that any parent can buy anything. Wow. Tone deaf much? Some parents can’t afford books, or don’t care about books, or are illiterate themselves. Some people are elitist and don’t realize that many kids only see books at school, in school libraries, in school classrooms. So get the hell out of our classrooms and schools. If you don’t want your kid to read something, tell them not to read it. And when they do? Well, there we are. Guess your parenting didn’t work.

Ugh. So ending with some owl videos…we definitely have two babies and I think parents were working on number 3 the other night…although I think there was an earlier baby that died, so maybe this is number 4?

They’ve been very active lately.

Which is cool. Maybe they’ll deal with the rat that has been nibbling on the tangerines…

Enjoy the owls.

And Quilt National opens today. Wish I could be there but couldn’t swing the time or the money. My Desert Mother is there.

OK. School. Tired. Short classes. Assembly. Super Mario Assembly. Intriguing. Loud and fast is what I’m thinking. And then I’m thinking a nap. Will have to decide after that.

Survival-Level Info

Well we are back to everyone in the house trying to leave in the morning. I’m not sure Simba realizes he’ll be alone all day today. The boychild is back to work this week, so schedules will be weird. Mine won’t. Mine is reliable through the middle of June, and then I’ll be home for a bit and then gone for a bit. Hopefully there won’t be any fires while I’m in Seattle or it will get complicated. It’s always complicated. I remember driving Calli to my ex’s every day so she wouldn’t try to run away, and forgetting she was in the back of the car until I got to work. She’d sigh and I’d go, DAMMIT Calli, why didn’t you tell me you were back there. Silly old dog. I miss her.

This week is the last week of state testing…math and science. Stressful. I’ve never proctored the science test…and I’m going to feel bad if they don’t feel like we taught them what they need. That said, I also know the state tests put stuff on there that is not in the standards, which is just irritating as hell. Ah well, hopefully the next principal does not obsess over data. The test covers 6-8th grade science, and 6th grade for my kids was the COVID hybrid year…or the Zoom year, for me. So they don’t remember much, unfortunately. That said, they didn’t remember much from last year either. I gave them some review questions on states of matter and chemistry…sigh. Ah well. What can you do? I would rather have them be able to think and figure stuff out than to know the differences between the molecules of a solid and those of a liquid. Although it’s cool info, I’m not sure it’s survival-level info.

There was a bunch of art stuff I was supposed to do this weekend, but for one, I never saw the invite info, and for the other, I ran out of time. I’ll make it to the other show next weekend hopefully (have an extra day!). Not sure what happened with the other one.

Instead, we did our usual late-afternoon hike, showers, and then dinner. But Friday, the Man had a show. I quilted a little bit before I left, but was out most of the night. It was hard to get a decent picture of him: he was in the dark corner.

Their lead singer was easier to get…

This was after dissecting frogs at the end of the school day…

I only saw one obvious female in my two classes…

The table that got her was very excited. Maybe a little TOO excited (they cut all the organs up in a really destructive way to get at all the eggs). Glad to be done with that lab. It’s cool, but exhausting. Luckily, I now know that my 7th graders will respond to CLASS CLASS (if you don’t know what that means, consider yourself lucky).

So I dissected with those kids, did my afterschool duty at the corner light, got my classroom ready for this week, came home, and napped. Seriously zonked out for 30 minutes. Then ate dinner, changed out of frog/teacher clothes, and drove out to Ocean Beach to watch the Man play. I was in bed around midnight, exhausted. He came home around 1, and then I felt the larger of these two earthquakes…

Late night partying in the tectonic-plate world.

Saturday I managed to get organized enough to run errands, including buying binding for this quilt, so I can finish it this week, hopefully. We hiked…

After I sent 42 emails to parents/kids about failing grades and the trimester cut-off date in less than 2 weeks. Down from 60 emails in April. Getting there. It’s been a rough year for my 7th graders. Or me. Not sure which was worse.

Tiny pink flowers that are a pain to photograph. We’ve been trying to do at least 3 miles a weekend; next weekend, we’re going to do a longer hike. My physical therapy is probably coming to an end, so we’re testing the knee out. I suspect my knees will always hurt, but at least I can get up the stairs at the moment. The Man is supposed to be hiking the trans-Catalina trail in October with a pack; he’ll need to start training for that soon.

He’s still recovering from a pinched nerve in his shoulder/back area…and talking about lightening the pack. Probably a good plan.

I did manage a good chunk of quilting on Saturday night…

I got the pigoon done and the rest of the wing/arm, then up into the fourth arm (three is NOT enough)…

And got the bird done as well. Went to bed a little late, and then last night, I did the head with corresponding eyeball tree (not the first, won’t be the last)…

And then started quilting the background.

I’m over 9 hours into the quilting, and there’s at least a couple more to go. There’s a lot of background filler in the upper half of the quilt, plus the borders around the bottom. So ideally, I finish tomorrow night, then trim it Wednesday, get the binding on, maybe ready for the photographer this weekend? Then on to the next one, which will be a difficult finish. I have a complicated idea in my head, but don’t have the time for the whole shebang before the deadline. Might have to tone down the complication.

Luna thinks that’s crazy.

But it might be what has to happen.

I asked my students a question about why National Parks were important…this kid…

Which is better than the girl who just wrote that she didn’t really care. Yeah. We know. Neither does half the planet. We’re aware. It’s obvious.

Anyway, we try. Yeah, I’m trying to brainwash your kids into caring about the planet more than I’m grooming them to be homosexual or trans. I still think the best answer to the teachers brainwashing kids thing is the fact that we can’t get them to turn any work in. I mean, that’s where I’d start. It would make my life easier, for sure, if they would just turn shit in. Stupid politicians.

OK. Today. Review for three classes, finishing up all the things with the other two. We had to juggle the schedule slightly. It’s fine; this is easier. It’s OK to make things easier sometimes. Then staff meeting, run to Home Depot afterward to get a sprinkler and some stakes for the lemon tree. Some more dirt too. Can never have enough dirt apparently. Then book club tonight…just finished the book on Friday, I think. It was good: When Women Were Dragons. Then quilting after that. Hopefully a chill day. That would be nice.

Contaminated Way of Thinking.

I have to admit to not seeing much of the news lately; there’s a few sources I see daily, mostly friends and a few things I follow. Yesterday, though, I saw that Texas and Louisiana are passing laws getting rid of no-fault divorce. So you have to prove there’s a ‘good’ reason for divorce again. Because we’re actually time-traveling, folks, going back in time. I just finished one book set in the 1950s and started another, and I’m serious, I think the 2020s are the new 1950s. At least for some people. Suicides and homicides went DOWN with no-fault divorce, y’all. Are those things Texas needs more of? They already have a significant gun problem. And even more fun, this is only for couples with children…it’s for the CHILDREN. From what I’ve seen at school, I can tell you that kids don’t need more drama and suffering at home than some of them already have. It doesn’t help them. But let’s keep limiting women. I wonder who is voting in these states. I read that the more extreme abortion law being passed in North Carolina is not supported by the majority, so they made it SOUND nice so people wouldn’t understand they were making it harder for abortion clinics to stay open. With the new law, Planned Parenthood has zero clinics that meet the criteria. No war against women? LGBTQIA? BIPOC? My ass. Full-on war. I’m not sure how a man is negatively affected if the woman he dallied with is forced to give birth. Seems like society really thinks the solution to everything is sending us back home into the kitchens with no choices. SIGH.

Here’s from the end of the first book I was reading, The Half Life of Valery K, which I really enjoyed.

A contaminated way of thinking. Yeah. That.

Science meeting yesterday…sorta planned the rest of the school year. That was easy. Ha! Still a lot of details to iron out, but I think I might survive. I still have a ton of grading to do (when do I not?), but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe. Our district does a Gallup poll every year, sends us those same 12 questions:

Q1: I know what is expected of me at work.
Q2: I Have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
Q3: At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
Q4: In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
Q5: My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
Q6: There is someone at work who encourages my development.
Q7: At work, my opinions seem to count.
Q8: The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
Q10. I have a best friend at work.
Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.

Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow.

Wow. OK. Well I answer this every year and this year is the first time I’ve had some truly low scores. Q10 was the only 5 out of 5.

At least I can come home to making art. Although I should have graded some. I went to the gym instead and read my book. I needed to. I’m frustrated with my own ability to handle school stuff. I’m too overwhelmed and frustrated to be the teacher I want to be at the moment. I’m truly hoping next year is better. It just has to be.

Monday night, I did about an hour’s worth of quilting…

I started at the bottom and just did the bottom edge and then the left side, then started up at the top of the ground and headed back down. Slow moving. Lots of details.

Then last night, I didn’t grade. I started quilting early instead. Can’t do that every night, but I couldn’t deal with school last night.

Made it through most of the ground stuff, ready to start the incubator and/or the body tonight. I did almost two hours. That’s more like it. Tonight I have pilates, so I won’t be home early, but I’m hoping to do some grading AND quilting. Although I’m also tired. Note to brain…don’t dream about school. It makes me feel like I’m not even getting a break when I’m at school when I sleep. Not fair.

My co-teacher and I were talking about retirement and making sure you had socializing stuff after you quit…and then my phone, which is listening to me of course, posted this…

Pretty sure I won’t be able to afford those. But there are Meetup groups locally that are pretty cheap, so sure, I’d still be doing that. It is an interesting conundrum though…during the summer, I am much less social. My introvert self draws up into a ball for a couple of months. But I always know I’ll see my friend group at work in August, so it’s OK. Not sure what I’d add in if I were retired. We’re not there yet, but getting there. Certainly having shit years at school is helping me lean that direction. Rumors are flying about the next principal: “you won’t be happy”. Don’t say shit like that. Change is always hard, it’s true. But let’s hope the district is not truly full of idiots.

OK. Today I am doing a practice state science test with my 8th graders. I don’t have high hopes but I’m doing it anyway. I have an escape room version set up for Friday and Monday. It’ll be more fun. 7th grade has an assessment today, so they’ll be whiny bastards about it. So many were absent for parts of the background info; it’ll be interesting to see what we get (mostly nothing, if I know my 7th graders). Frustrating. Not sure how to motivate them. I have ideas, and maybe I’ll have more by the time I get to them. Hopefully. Ugh. If you only knew how much time I (and my coworkers) spend going over lessons in our heads, trying out all the ways we could teach it, changing things to try to get them to understand better, be more motivated, get into the instruction. I fall asleep to my brain doing it…and today I woke up to it doing the same thing. So much decisionmaking. I’m tired and I need a break from it. Quilting tonight. My daily necessary break.

Lost Week

Somehow I lost a week. It happens. Right? I think it happens when we’re really busy. It also happens when we’re sick. I’m still recovering. The skin stuff turns out to be some scarlet fever and THEN a massive allergic reaction … to … something. The strep? The original doc thought it was the meds I’d been taking. The second doc guessed a reaction to the strep in my system. I don’t really care…well, that’s not true. The next time I get a cold, I’d like to be able to take cold meds without being paranoid they’re gonna knock me out in a bad way. Whatever. On the road to recovery. Still got another 5 days of meds I need to be on, and then we’ll see. Definitely the basic shit tires me out, so my team and the Man were sort of hammering me to take another day off work, but my stress levels about work are already through the roof. I need to see what I have in the classroom. I need to see the papers that are copied. I need to get the chaos reigned in. I will also need to sit a lot. And come home and maybe nap. Or read my book. Which sounds delightful right now.

I didn’t sleep at all Thursday and Friday nights. At all. Not kidding. No microsleeps. No dozing off. Wired to the fucking hilt. Turns out some details about my meds earlier in the week would have been helpful. When and how to take things together. So Saturday morning at 7:40 AM found me here again…

Urgent Care. So many days in Urgent Care this year so far. Because if I didn’t sleep for a third night, I was sure I’d kill things. Anyway, talked about meds, gave me a new one, explained the allergic reaction best they could. Came home, worked, because you know what? Grades are due. I worked on grades all day Friday (prone, on the couch) and all day Saturday, but by then, I was almost done. There are a couple of things I have to do today, but then they’re done. Miraculously. Can’t say kids will be pleased, but hey, Trimester 2 is always rough.

I also did some staring at flowers…

Which I find very relaxing.

I also read a lot. I attempted one nap for 30 minutes. Probably took me 27 minutes to get close to a nap state. But I felt better. Less vibrating of the mind.

There was some cutting stuff out each day…Friday night…

Simba is very supportive.

I like comparing the piles each night. Left pile is cut out, middle is trash, right pile is to-be cut.

Saturday night you see a ton of pink pieces at the top of the to-be cut bin on the left…

And then last night, I gifted myself another hour of cutting instead of another hour of planning.

Harder to see here, but a lot of the pinks are cut out and in the top bin, and I’m down in another layer or so in the to-be cut bin underneath.

So there’s progress. I saw some 900s in the cut-out pile, but I’m mostly going backwards at the moment, so maybe more than a 1/3 done? Really hard to tell at this stage. I’m about 8 1/2 hours in, though. I would’ve been further if I hadn’t gotten sick, but that is what it is. There’s always something. In fact, you should just put that in the to-do list:

  • buy dirt
  • set up vet appts
  • something

Might as well be realistic.

Sleepy puppy. He’s been a pain at night lately, in bed. Very barky. Last night very Lie All Over Me. His boy is in Boston with his girl, until tonight, when I pick the boychild up from the airport and hand Mr. Barky over to him for sleeping duties.

He sleeps just fine everywhere else.

My sleep? Still problematic. Skin is not my friend. Largest organ of the body! Currently the most annoying.

Gotta keep the nose warm.

OK. TAKE IT EASY. That’s my mantra this week. I will probably suck at it, but I will keep saying it until something sticks. Come home, read, rest, make art. On the couch. Definitely feeling every second of my age this last week. Thankful to be better, looking forward to Really Better. Also wearing a bra when you have prickly skin is THE WORST. Stupid day job. Can’t really NOT wear one to middle school. Ah well. I haz the prickly boobs right now.

Forgot! Great quote from the book I’m enjoying at the moment…

So ironic. Written by a woman. That’s a man doing the search. I laughed a lot.

Totally Deserved

Hmmm…sliding into Friday like…oh no, not sliding. I’ve been sprinting for it since Tuesday morning! Yesterday I was at work at 8 AM, by the skin of my toes, and left at 5:30 PM, but came home and after reading for 30 minutes (yes, I set a timer and then finished the chapter I was on when it went off), I started working again (it’s that bad) and finished around 9:15 PM. DO NOT RECOMMEND. ZERO STARS. Ignored the three snotty emails from a parent about something that didn’t happen. I’ll deal with that today. I think I answered ALMOST all of the other emails. Maybe. My science co-teacher and I flipflopped a project yesterday, starting today. Like we’re bonkers, but it makes sense, and we might have figured it out sooner if we were allowed to meet with all our brain cells present (not this week). So I fixed all that, copied a bunch of stuff for that and 8th grade, then came home and created Tuesday’s assignment for 8th grade (still need to copy that), plus graded an academic assignment for three classes. Ate leftovers, sat on the couch for almost 4 hours doing all this crap. I have a desk setup, but it was freezing last night, and we can’t even put the heat on until 6:30 because it’s been costing so much. So a thick sweatshirt, hood up, cats around, get it done.

Some of this stress is because we’re going to be gone for most of two days for art stuff, so I’m trying to get caught up (ha! never happen) before we go. Plus I’ve got some art pickups and deliveries coming up, have to get ready for those, and the trimester ends soon, so I’m just full-on, straight-up panicking, where’s the cookies, losing my mind. Still deep in the depths of planning activities about light waves, haven’t even considered the space unit, never taught that shit before, not sure how it’s gonna roll. At least with light, there’s labs and simulations. Space? We’re just gonna watch Star Trek and give them a test. Klingon or Vulcan? And why? Good answer.

Looking forward to the art-stuff trip though. Deep breaths. Almost there.

I have been ironing every night, despite the chaos. I will not give up on making art because my day job is untenable, unsustainable, unbearable. In the last two nights, I’ve gotten through about 200 pieces, ironing a pigoon (Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake) and all its requisite stuff, including goggles (if you were a pigoon, you’d want goggles too. Don’t lie). And an ‘easy’ button. One hundred years in the future, they won’t know what an ‘easy’ button is. I’m OK with that. I’m in the 1100s. And almost 22 hours of ironing. If you’re wondering. I started on January 30th. Not a fast process. Even with 3-day weekends that are sucked up by the day job.

So here’s last night’s progress…

That box keeps getting more and more full. I’ll be trimming over the weekend, at least a little. I think. I’m debating. It’s a pain to travel with stuff to cut. So maybe I’ll just take embroidery (easier in the car) and…well…I know I’ll be doing most of the driving, because the Man gets stressed out in LA, and I don’t. He can drive through Riverside. I’m also taking my book and my school computer. Maybe. On the school stuff. It’s either do some while I’m gone or spend all day Monday doing it. Forty-two days until Spring Break. One hundred and eighteen until summer. I need to get one smaller quilt and another larger one done in that timeframe. Ha! At the rate I’m going? This year sucks.

I’m blessed to have the team I have at work. I can’t imagine how hellacious this would be without them. One of my former teammates (still on the 7th-grade team) called last night because she hadn’t seen me at work for days. Love that. I do miss having lunch with her. She brings stuff for taste tests. Anything to distract us from the stupid. You can’t imagine how happy donuts make us. Sad but true.

This year. Yup.

Apparently I am a meme.

I have a rule that I don’t answer school emails at night for exactly this reason. Sometimes I don’t answer them until my science co-teacher is in the room and can talk me down off the message I was going to send.

It’s fine. Really. I vent because it makes me better able to be calm and productive in the classroom. I’m getting through it. Sometimes I even enjoy it. Sometimes a kid gives me an amazing answer or I see progress with a kid who hasn’t been doing it or I make a connection that wasn’t there before. Sometimes I don’t.

I went to make toast this morning…

The part of my brain that is overwhelmed and wanted toast for breakfast was very sad about this…until it saw that most of the loaf was not so holey. The part of my brain that is creative tells me that I can cook an egg in this for breakfast tomorrow and it will be very nice. So that’s how I get through it all.

To school. Teach magnetic fields, start talking about MRIs. Like you do. Prep stuff for next week. Send stuff to Print Shop for copying. Then teach reptiles and incubators…ironic since I just ironed one the other night. Not ironic. Just normal. Then duty at the crosswalk at the light. Exciting. Set up classroom for next Tuesday, clean up some of the chaos, come home, read my damn book for a while. Work. Pack. Iron some more. Then enjoy some art this weekend. Totally deserved.

But Still I Iron…

Hola. This morning, I added four things to my calendar notifications that need to be done today, all of which kept me up at some point last night. I am thankful for technology, which hopefully I will pay more attention to than I do post-it notes. Actually, I do pretty well with post-its as long as I don’t move them or lose them, or there aren’t too many of them. Which is always the case. Let’s hope I remember my pilates gear this week, because last week, I forgot it and had to kamikaze home to change before class. Which was fine last week, because I had more time than I do tonight. Let’s hope the walking trip to the nearest high school is nothing like the last walking trip I was on with kids, which was before I ever started teaching and was with 5th graders, who I was sure were going to push someone into the street and get them killed. I’m sort of convinced that 8th graders are more chill than 5th graders, but not all of them. I’m supposed to wear a hat, but the only one I have says “Bite Me” and has a picture of a mosquito on it. I’m not really a hat person. I realize someone who just got treated for precancerous skin cells and had a biopsy taken (not the first one) should be more hat-conscious, and I do have a hiking hat. I guess I could take that one. Ugh. This whole ‘being an 8th-grade teacher’ existence is weird and I don’t know if I like it. They are a different animal…some in good ways, but yesterday, wow, some in bad ways. I guess those who don’t graduate…it’s on them at this point. Probably about the time I write them off is when they will be begging me for extra credit, which I don’t do. Ah well. I can’t do anything about that right now. Right now I’m panicking about finishing this unit and starting the next one and then the next one. I’m so behind on planning it’s freaking me out.

But still I iron.

This was Monday night, when I ironed an incubator full of weird creatures.

And a flask for other weird creatures.

Then last night, I did her metal heart and most of the metal arm…

I had to dig through the already ironed pieces to find the right fabric for the fingernails and one piece of the chest that didn’t get ironed before, because I couldn’t find the piece at the time, so everything is mixed up, but the stuff on top is mostly the stuff I did. I almost finished the 900s and I’ve ironed some of the 1000s and 1200s already, so I’m over a thousand done! Well over halfway. Still, with only 100 pieces getting done a night, I won’t be done before we go to Los Angeles. That’s OK. I’ll be close.

A shit ton of fabrics are being used in this piece. So many colors. I can’t quite visualize it at the moment, because you see the fabrics, but some are going to be big pieces and some little, so you don’t quite get the mix. I know the figure is very pink and the land she’s sitting on is very green. So that will be vibrant. There’s a lot of color to come, for sure. Looking forward to it.

It’s my mom’s 82nd birthday today. One of my calendar notes is to call her later…it’s a super busy day, so that’s why I need a calendar reminder. Otherwise, I will get to 10 PM and have no idea how I got there. That’s how most days go. We had dinner and celebrated on Sunday, but I hope she has a nice relaxing day doing whatever she wants, which is hopefully how most people’s days are at 82. Did I take a picture with her on Sunday? Nope. Totally forgot. Like always.

The Man bought me a Vday gift. We keep saying we don’t do Vday and then he does. This is cute though.

I feel like Ruth BG approves. And certainly there’s a sugar skull next to it from one of my co-teachers, so it’s in the theme of things I like to stare at while working at home. Another co-teacher gave me a gnome yesterday, and I’m very happy about it too. I think about when I die, how many of these little things I will have and I hear my kids complaining about having to DO something with all of it, but they should know that those things made me happy while I was working and that was worthwhile. Remind me of that when I have to clean out my parents’ house, yeah?

OK, parent meeting, then walk to high school with the whole 8th grade, then force 7th graders to think academically. Fun stuff. Oh, and I need to find that stupid fireworks video we used to show. Seriously. More videos, less me talking. Then pilates after school and book club for a book I didn’t really like except for two moments. Ah well, I need to chalk that up to this author. She’s not a bad author; she’s just not an author I like. So there’s that. And I’ve read at least three or four of her books, so I know. Then ironing! At last.


I have once again, for the millionth or so time, made it to Friday. I would like to congratulate you, as well, for making it, although I know for some of you, Friday is just another day and not the last day in a school week that has already kicked the shit out of you and there’s probably more to come today that you don’t know about. Yet. Then I get a blessed 3-day weekend. There are things planned on the weekend, unfortunately, because I have two books to finish and a brain to mend (and possibly a body as well), plus three thousand things to grade and another four to lesson plan.

There are 49 days until Spring Break. In case you were wondering.

I made it to stitching meeting last night…I was only home, between helping to break up a fight and cleaning up a ton of lab stuff with my co-teacher, for about 20 minutes: peed and fed the dog and then got back in the car and drove north to hang out with my stitching friends. Which is always good. Our Google-search term of the month was ‘spray cheese’, something I don’t think I’ve ever had. Because apparently the Super Bowl is this weekend (did not realize). Also we solved the problem of the cats pulling down all my shirts in the closet; I just need to implement it. And everyone is making beautiful things, and I can’t show you what I was doing, because Sue Spargo hasn’t published it yet, but basically I’m doing the applique on the wool blocks and then giving them to my mom to embroider (she gets to keep the quilt once it’s done). Her birthday is next week and I’m supposed to have three more done, and that isn’t happening, but maybe one? We’ll see.

Wednesday night was sort of chaotic: got home late from the union meeting, then read for (probably too long) a while to settle my brain, then cooked late, ate late, then worked for a bit on school stuff, trying to fix the things (always fixing the things), and then went in to iron and realized I needed to enter a show or I wouldn’t have time to enter it at all, so I did that and THEN started ironing.

Which is why I only got about 41 minutes in.

I did the metal work on the leg and breasts. I did not get to the arm/hand, because it was in a different box and was a million pieces and I needed to go to bed. So I ironed something else small. An electrical plug and socket? Is that what you call the thing it plugs into? I think I call both of those plugs. That’s problematic. And probably wrong. Ah well. Don’t have the brainpower this morning to correct that shit.

Then last night, I had stitching until 8 PM, then picked up dinner for me and the Man, who worked late and was exhausted as well, then we hung out and ate for a bit, then I (guess what) did more work (answering an email from petulance) and THEN got up and ironed for another 41 minutes. I lied. Last night was 44 minutes.

Doesn’t look much different, does it? I ironed a uterus, quite a pretty one, blue and pink and red. And I don’t remember what else…oh yeah, a tattoo of a yin/yang symbol. Not much. Damn this is slow. Day job. Fucking day job. I’m still doing bits and pieces of what’s on the flesh in the torso and legs areas, but I’m close to done. And then I’ll be in the 600s box, although I’ve done some of the 700-900s already. I think the face was in the 1200s. And I still haven’t made a decision about the coloring of the extra arms, so that’s problematic. I think one wants to be teal, but I started looking for a run of light to dark teal last night, and that might be harder than I would like. We’ll see. I wanted bright and I might need to go dull. There might be an argument for dull as well, since that’s someone else’s arm and/or a 3D-printed arm and maybe teal is not as good as a gray blue that reminds one of dead things.

Still thinking that through. In case you were thinking I just randomly pick colors without thinking deeply about them.

These are the last two cover pages for science…

I’ve actually had a hard time getting these done this year; not enough time to draw and color them in class, so they just never get finished. This got further along than the last 7th-grade unit though. That’s a plus. Mostly because a bunch of the squawkers were absent and the rest were chill and working.

Fun stuff. Needs color.

Today I need to finish grading the roller coasters so we can pull them apart for next year (need to reuse the bases). Some are already falling down, but I did get video. I’ll have to process that this weekend maybe. I need to rethink forcing them to label things for next year. Not sure how I’ll roll that. But I should put the notes about it in the lesson-plan calendar, because otherwise I will fully forget about it.

Today’s a pretty chill day in both science classes…well, elephant’s toothpaste in 7th grade, but just notes and a weird video in 8th grade. Need some chill after the last four days of chaos (mostly outside the classroom, but it reverberates inside). Also taught my 4th period the word ‘hellacious’. I’ve found it very useful over my lifetime. Want to pass that wisdom on to the young ones.

With any luck, I’ll get a ton of stuff done at school today, then come home and read for a while and iron for a while, and then figure out how to do the work this weekend AND do some relaxing and sleeping so I can get through the next week. One week at a time? We might be there. One day at a time sometimes. It’s wearing…on all of us.

120 Pounds of Baking Soda…

Erg. Huh. Really. No. I really can’t. I’m in a week that should have been easier than last week but is proving not to be. Maybe it’s all the chemistry labs we’re doing (I have 120 pounds of baking soda in my car right now). Maybe it’s the roller coaster stuff on top of the chemistry, or trying to plan a light unit when I literally have no time in the day to find the brainpower to do so. It’s hard to say. I do know, and can say, that I am back in that overwhelmed place. I get out of it for a day or two, feel like I have a handle on things, and then it all blows up.

Solution? Exercise regularly. Remember to eat and take meds. Sleep. I slept all the way through last night, which is how I know I’m exhausted already even though it’s only Wednesday. And last, but certainly not least, make the art. That’s how I close the day. Hopefully for an hour…last night, it was 48 minutes. I started late. I was making seating charts for today’s 8th-grade seat switches, plus trying to figure out the revise of the wave unit. The other teacher is a week ahead of me, so he’s telling me what to change on the fly and I’m doing it. Best I can. I think I still need to punch holes in the table of contents for the new unit when I get to school, and put papers out. Didn’t have time yesterday. They moved my physical therapy appointment so that fucked all the timing up. Plus I had to go buy materials for 7th-grade demos because Amazon fucked that delivery up. At some point, I made it home, and the Man was cooking dinner, singing, and dancing (because he’d had time to relax, have a beer, watch some videos) and I was so exhausted.

Anyway. I started ironing flesh on Monday night…

I wanted bright. And bright it is. Overly pink. Usually I try to pull all the flesh pieces in one go and iron them all at once, but I have flesh in boxes 300-500 and 700-1300. So I pulled a goodly chunk (up to the neck) and ironed those, and then last night, did the arms and head. Lots of her body has metal instead of flesh, so it didn’t take as long as it normally would with a figure that large.

That was Monday’s pile…and then this is Tuesday’s pile…

Definitely bigger, even though I only added those 7 flesh fabrics. I still need to do all the stuff that’s on and around the flesh…some of which is here…

Those are hair, teeth, arteries, metal bits, embedded phones, the little creatures she’s holding, pubic hair, etc. I didn’t pull them all out of the bins because there wasn’t room. Besides, in the 1300 box, there were only 2 pieces that were flesh. The rest is all electronic or whatever. There’s also two extra arms that I need to deal with…I’m not sure how. I think they should be different colors. At first, I thought they would be flesh-colored, just a different shade of it to stand out, and I may still do that. Like where would you get spare arms in the future? Dead bodies? Or would we synthesize them (probably 3D print them, yeah?), and if so, wouldn’t we make them different colors? That would be much more fun. So that’s rolling around in my brain for tonight or the next night.

This is a fun quilt to design and make. It’s hard, because I have some dark angry stuff I want to deal with too…cop killings and beatings and political bullshit and trans rights because I just finished a book and I’m just irritable about all of that. But I know it’s also OK to make a quilt that isn’t about all that. I also know that some people never get to stop thinking and worrying about that shit and that sucks. It’s Black History Month, if you haven’t been paying attention. The Man and I finished watching Kindred (in small chunks…it’s hard to watch), and now I’m reading it, and wondering how this amazing author (Octavia Butler) grew up in my childhood neighborhood and I never knew about her until I was an adult. That all the books they gave us to read were all male white authors, our mostly female white teachers handing those to us. I had more variety in college, because I took classes about more diverse literature, feminist and queer and people of color were writing too, no duh, why didn’t we see any of it when we were younger? When it would have made a bigger difference? So many of those kids I went to school with didn’t read a thing after they left high school. The 1619 Project is next. Take advantage of the offerings this month–book lists and movies and documentaries–and open up your mind. Add to the to-read and to-watch lists. Make time for that.

OK. Now I need to go to a meeting I forgot about (didn’t click the YES button on the calendar invite…I think whatever device I was on was having issues), get my classroom ready for the day, clear one lab and prep another, plus 17 thousand other things I haven’t remembered yet (hopefully they’re all written down somewhere), plus deal with an email that just popped up confirming my eye appointment (what? I don’t have an eye appointment), then union meeting after school where I have to sit too close to people (I have issues with that; like being on the edges), and then cook dinner. Guess my state of mind after all that!. Yeah. I suspect I’ll be curled up mentally into a tiny ball. And then making art.

Leaning into Bright and Crazy…

Ugh-a-rama. I did not go to the gym last night. Instead, I sat and read my book for 45 minutes. It’s quite good. Light from Uncommon Stars. You think it’s just a violin story until the aliens show up. I figured I earned it. This week has been exhausting. They all are. Barky dog at night though made it harder yesterday. He was better (slightly) last night. Then I graded for 2 1/2 hours (I did not earn that. I just have to do it.). I graded all the late and redone work from the last two weeks. It was a good thing, even though it was irritating to have to do that many more hours after I left school. It was only a 10.5+-hour day. I was standing in my room at 4-ish and couldn’t focus on anything, and one of my teacher friends was there, saying, hey, are you going home? I’m thinking, no, I should grade something, and I was so tired, so I didn’t. Came home, made cup of tea, read for a long while. THEN graded things.

It is Friday though. That’s good. I need a break from the stupid behaviors. In positive news, I had sent an email to the resource teacher for a bunch of my kids, and it resulted in those kids completing some work and their grades coming up. Yes! That’s what’s SUPPOSED to happen. For the first time in forever. So I feel good about that and will spread praise among those who need it (apparently including the teacher) so that it continues. And then add a regular email to my to-do list so it keeps happening. The work never ends.

So ironing is also happening, which I love doing. This is not something I have a hard time getting off the couch to do usually…and the best part is that I’m visualizing this quilt as bright and crazy, so I’m leaning into that.

Finished the 100s and laid out the 200s…

Followed by what I ironed on Wednesday night when I left my computer at school, which I should do more often, but I can’t afford to at the moment.

I actually didn’t iron much. I was exhausted.

Last night, I did much better, because I didn’t go to the gym and I was efficient with my time, just eating leftovers and the Man was at band practice so it was just me and the animals and quiet. So I got more than an hour in for once…

I ironed a small bizarre creature I made up in my head and then a lot of hills. Bright greens of Spring and genetically altered plant life. It’s going well. Albeit slowly.

Today at school, I’m hoping to be more efficient than yesterday (I really was braindead, although I did do the warmups for next week…well, for one of the two grades I teach anyway). I have a to-do list I wrote last night, so hopefully that will help. I have a closing reception for the show at Liberty Station tonight, and I’m hoping to stop by and see the Visions exhibit too, and then get dinner, and hopefully have enough brainpower to come home and iron. We’ll see how that goes. Certainly I’m not grading tonight or tomorrow if I can help it. We’ll see how that goes too. But I’m excited about ironing all these crazy things I drew in as many wacky colors as I can. The future world should be more colorful. Says the person who lives in black and gray. Ah well. My socks are tie-dyed. That’s how I roll.

And here’s how NASA rolls…

Specific and to the point. Happy Friday y’all.

More Than a Cloud

I totally forgot yesterday was Monday. Well done! Good start. I mean, I appreciate the extra day to get stuff done. I even made myself a special post-it to-do list for the weekend with things to cross off (I did not finish all of them, but I did a lot). These two months, January and February, there’s this delightful smattering of 3-day weekends that make me think I can be caught up, and then the disaster of March happens, with 5 long weeks of no days off. No breaks. Just a slog until Spring Break. Teachers know what I’m talking about. May is very similar, but at least ends with a 3-day weekend. Two-day weekends…I lose a whole day to trying to get ready for the week, so just Saturday is free…and it often isn’t. I have progress reports due next week, so this coming weekend is looking a little stressy. Trying to get ahead of that now, but we’ll see how it goes.

It rained all weekend. Like a downpour. Not as bad as further north of us, but at over 3 1/2 inches of rain here (I bought a rain gauge just for this); that’s sometimes our annual rainfall. Everything is exceedingly damp. No trees went down here, not even a fallen branch (knock on wood), so that’s good. A few water issues, but nothing major. The garage will be damp for days. I need to actually sweep water out of it when I get a chance (not sure when that will be). So we didn’t go a lot of places…but I did work a lot. As always. Don’t seem to be able to escape it.

I finished basting and delivered the cross-stitched blocks back to my friend, so she can spend a few months hand-quilting them before I have to figure out how to put them together. I also picked up one of my quilts from a show that closed.

This show was extended into February…

I’m hoping to be at the closing reception, only because it’s First Friday in Liberty Station, and that’s always cool.

OK, on to the weekend tracing, of which there was a lot, although not as much as I would’ve liked. Like maybe 2 hours a night instead of 1.

This is filling in the little spaces in between bigger pieces…

I had a strange leftover piece of Wonder Under I used at the end of a bolt. Some of it was releasing from the paper, so I cut those bits off. Don’t want to deal with it.

Friday night might have been one of those 2-hour nights…

Saturday night definitely was. We had a neighborhood party to introduce ourselves to our new neighbors, and then I came back and did more as the Man crashed…he had emergency dental surgery Friday and was kind of a mess all weekend. Hopefully it’ll be better this week for him.

Lots of complication here…still filling in the spaces.

I think this was Sunday night…another 2 hours…

But Monday night, I was working later on school stuff, so only an hour and a bit. I’m in the 700s, I think. Close to halfway, but not quite.

I thought I’d be further up the drawing by now, but no. It seems there are more pieces in the top half than the bottom half. Even though the bottom half is solid pieces and the top has a lot of open bits. More smaller pieces up top; bigger pieces down below. I have the upper torso and arms, plus head, plus everything she’s holding. And when I say arms, one is done, three to go. Yup. She’s got four. Like you do.

So based on how many pieces are left and how fast I’m tracing, I suspect I’ve got another 8 days of this. Not so exciting to watch on your end, but pretty meditative on mine. I’m OK with that.

This is from the book I’m really enjoying, The House in the Cerulean Sea

Books are nice, especially on rainy days. And sunny days. And windy days and cloudy days. Yup. All the days.

My possibly permanent existence…at least while I’m still teaching.

Friday afternoon’s sky, before the rains started.

The caterpillars are still here, still eating. I bought them more food. Planting seeds for more after that.

Simba does not like the rain. At all. His raincoat seems to help a little.

Mom’s flowers on Sunday night. Did I take pictures of my parents? Nope. Forgot.

Sigh. OK. It’s only a 4-day week. It’s a busy 4-day week, though, so bracing for that. But I have tracing every night and a good book to read and this week is actually planned out. I didn’t quite get all my planning and grading done, but that’s always the case. It’s not supposed to rain much more (although the clouds have rolled in again and my co-teacher sent me a photo of a double rainbow, so maybe we’re not out of it yet…it’s dark as hell to the west and sunny on my left shoulder).

Fully appreciated yesterday’s social-media roll through MLK quotes I hadn’t seen before, the ones challenging the white capitalist take on him and his views. One was from 1967 and could still be used today, sadly. Things have changed but nowhere near enough. As long as people are using ‘woke’ as a bad thing and ‘patriot’ as a good thing (after Jan 6? Really?), there are still some major problems in this country. And the world. Brazil. Talking to you. So we work in small ways to improve those things, best we can, through our relationships with people and through the web and all the other crap. Making art. Reading more books. Listening to more people, different people. Dark clouds rolling in here, y’all…gotta get to work before it turns into more than a cloud.