42 Hours…

It was good to have a few days, wait, was it even days? It was not…it was good to have…um…42 hours off of work. Seriously. It was. I came home with a nail in my tire, a bunch of wet tent parts, and a tick embedded in my torso (it’s OK…that one is gone and now I’m on antibiotics, purely precautionary. No way was it on me long enough to do anything but an allergic reaction. But the doc thought it was worth treating). I’m tired…we didn’t sleep well either night, from idiotic camp neighbors one night (solved by Ranger Eric, who reminded them of their indoor voices and the camp quiet hours) and the wind the next night as a storm wandered, no blew in. Hence the wet tent parts. But we got the hell out of here, and yes, I’ll pay all week with grading and planning, but I was doing that already. There is no catching up this year. There’s no feeling like you’re on top of things, like you’ve got it all under control. There’s just getting through it.

Let’s see if I can keep that in my mind as I wing it today in one of my classes…the other 5 are planned, but one is a little um not nope planned. Ah well. I have a short prep period before it happens.

We made it out of the house Friday at 4, but had to deliver stuff and pick up dinner and then the tire pressure light went on, but that’s not when we found the nail. We finally made it to Cuyamaca and Paso Picacho Campground at around 5:30, I think. Not dark yet, but wondering about it. Tent was up in the light still, although it was a bit dodgy. It’s been a while since we put it up.

It was a great campsite, no one on either side, down slope a bit. It would have been more awesome if the people inhabiting three campsites across from us hadn’t been throwing a rave that night, or if the camp host had taken that down. They were pumping music and yelling at sports-attendance levels until after 12:30 in the morning. I was too tired and cold to get out of the sleeping bag to go yell at them, but the man talked to the rangers the next day, and it was handled. They were great the next night, proving that even Trump lovers (ah the T-shirts) understand a man in a uniform telling them to shut the fuck up.

We got up Saturday and headed up to Cuyamaca Peak, at elevation 6512′, the 2nd highest peak in San Diego County. I’ve been up there at least twice before, maybe three times. It’s not an easy hike, but it’s not impossible…

This area was burned some years back. The trees are definitely coming back, in full force, which is nice to see.

We started from the campground and took the Azalea Glen trail up to Conejos, and then across to the peak. Sounds easy, but it’s a good 5+ miles of climbing to get there.

Trees are still dying and falling from the fires, and there are huge sections where the tree parts are just piled by the side of the trail.

Also, morteros…signs of Native inhabitation in the past…

Lots of new trees coming up, of all different types. Not sure what the conifer with the long needles is…

It’s heartening to see the new trees popping up all over…imagining what it will look like in 10, 20, 30 years. A forest again.

Even the dead trees grow stuff…burnt wood feeding fungus…

It took us a long time to hike it…

The weather was reasonably cool, a plus, because there wasn’t much shade on the first part.

It’s a pretty steady climb. There’s Middle Peak…another way up.

I’ve done that too.

Eventually we got out of the fire-devastated area into some with more trees…

Great views though.

One part of the trail is pretty rocky…slowed us down.

OK, to be honest, we didn’t hike fast. It’s at elevation, we were both tired, and it was long. But we did it. We always do.

And there are great sights along the way.

Earlier in the week, the man had said we would get up, do this hike, take a break, a nap, whatever, and then do the other peak, Stonewall, across the way.

At some point, I said, nah. I’m gonna do this one and that’s it.

I do love it. I just need a break. At the top…

It’s a pretty spectacular view, even when you can’t see to the ocean. The fire road you use to get to the top is steep and evil, but that is often the case.

We get there eventually.

I think our slowest mile was 53 minutes…ouch. Funny, that wasn’t even the last bit up the fire road…it was mile 4. Our fastest was 20 minutes, more our style.

I think I had to put blister bandaids on in mile 4…definitely slowed us down having me redo both shoes. Anyway…we’re not in it for the speed.

We came back and relaxed. I drew.

We ate, we stared at a campfire on a much quieter night than the one before, went to bed, and the storm started up. I’m not sure if the wind was louder than the neighbors the night before? Certainly it brought rain and then next morning, we packed up pretty quickly and came home. Tent still needs a bath, but we’re waiting for better weather…it’s all laid out in the garage for now.

All good things. Cats were glad to see us.

Luna love.

Today I am back to work, school all day, barely planned some of it, made some progress in some places, I need to go do some stuff now. Oh yeah, the tick got pulled, probably attached less than 24 hours, but the doc wanted to be safe…plus I obviously had an allergic reaction to it…nice red ring (no bullseye until day 3, so we’ll be good). So I’m on antibiotics for 10 days just to be sure. Fun stuff. The quilt goes to the photographer today and then I’ll start on the next one. Once I figure out what that is.

It’s in the Agenda…

I think it’s finally Thursday. It’s not finally Friday and it’s not still Wednesday. Thursday means I’m done teaching half my kids, but now I have to remember what I taught Tuesday to science and hopefully figure out what I’m teaching today to two levels of art. I write a lot of shit down and this is why. Like those weekly/daily agendas I put on Google Classroom for the kids? Sure, they might help a kid or two who actually looks at them, but really, they’re for me, so I can remember WTF I thought I would be teaching today. Tomorrow? Who the fuck knows. I think it’s in the agenda. I’ll check later. My not-morning self hopefully was coherent yesterday afternoon in the heat and managed shit. We just don’t know.

Today is also the first day I don’t have a prep at all. And my lunch is at 11:05 AM. On the other three days, I can eat at a normal time, but not today or tomorrow. This is not a big deal to most people. My blood sugar likes a regular schedule though, so we’ll see how it goes. It’ll still be hot. I know that part.

I walked Tuesday night in anticipation of yesterday’s OMG heat. It was still hot, though, and I had to persuade myself multiple times not to jump ahead and do it faster, shorten the walk. Skip that section.

Is it Halloween? I even left later and was walking in dusk, which isn’t a bad thing right now. The view of the valley with a bit of haze…school is down there somewhere.

I need to go to school tomorrow and drop off the materials I needed for this unit and pick up the materials for the next unit. But that wasn’t in my head that night.

Oh I lie. School is always in my head. Even when I’m asleep.

Will I ever get to go back? Will I feel comfortable when I go back? Will I remember how to teach the way we should be teaching kids this age? Too much talking right now.

Speaking of too much talking…

I didn’t want to watch it, but it was on in the room. I worked through it. So much need to shut up, y’all. So much.

Yesterday was just hot. This is the stream table setup I’m using for class (what you can use a light table for)…yesterday I upped it to two fans on me, plus the doc cam was up there as well.

Too many cords snaking across, too much sand and water. But it works. Kids can see what’s happening. There’s still a chunk of kids who don’t do anything, but I will eventually have to give up on them. They will come and go and I will continue to teach and offer help, but if I can’t get a parent/guardian to respond, it makes it really difficult. Those conversations about school need to start really early, y’all…not when the kid is 12. I do love their video views of the ceiling and the tops of their heads (lots of curly tops at the moment), and the occasional chat message that makes me laugh.

Yesterday had some of that, but it also started with this…

So that’s our science curriculum. Somehow in re-rostering kids, we lost access from about 3 PM Tuesday until noonish yesterday. I had a class I taught before that, though, so I panicked in the morning and made the docs they needed from stuff I had stashed in the drive, instead of using the program, but it was a pain in the butt. And then by my afternoon class, access was back and I actually had the right kids in my classes, unlike Monday, and it was almost like a real teaching thing. Except now I have 7,000 things to grade or check off and I think a new printer cartridge is coming today or maybe it’s not until tomorrow, which I guess is permission to not grade shit until then? Ugh. UGH.

Yesterday. Today will be 4 degrees cooler. I relish those 4 degrees.

I only get 2 tomorrow.

I spent about 2 1/2 hours last night after Pilates planning more shit (after planning right after school briefly with my partner, who’s doing similar but not the same stuff in a similar but not the same at all way because she’s in person), so IDK how many hours I worked yesterday, but like 14 hours minus an hour for exercise and 20 minutes for lunch and 30 minutes to do all the watering. I ate dinner while working. Not bad. Really. I was trying to plan AND watch the man’s band livestream, their newest version of being a band not in a bar…

Yes, he’s wearing a cow costume. It was a pajama party. I’m not sure how that translates into animal costumes. All this while the neighbor’s kids ran screamingly amok for a good four hours of did I mention screaming? with about 5 other kids, which means no, they are not social distancing and IDK how they don’t get people sick, or maybe they do and they just don’t know it, but it better be fucking quiet tonight or I am buying paint guns. Multiples. One for each hand and anyone who wants to help. Fucking noisy as hell, and yes, I raised children, but it’s a fucking school night and some of us are trying to work and I can’t shut the windows because it’s too damn hot and those kids, especially the little whiny screaming-at-the-top-of-their-lungs ones, drive me bonkers at that noise level for that long. Short term? OK. FOUR hours. Nope.

I’m old. It’s true. I’m relishing the quiet right now. It’s delightful. It won’t last, but it’s good for now.

I needed to do a drawing for my Patreon last night, so eventually I gave up on working (it’s such a slog prepping shit because the curriculum is only half ready and I need slides, so right now I’m making them because theirs won’t be available until ‘mid-October’, whenever that is…too late, assholes). Simba helped for a while (fan blowing on both of us)…

Those many arms have shown up before when I feel overwhelmed. Kitten was decidedly not helpful.

Although I think I was almost done at that point…

Certainly she thought I was.

OK, well school, then exhaustion, oh wait, OMA opening tonight (virtual) plus I need to make dinner and plan more and grade some and hopefully finish ironing fabric for the SJSA block that needs to be done SATURDAY (oh my. please stop laughing. I might be able to do it.). I’m exhausted. Didn’t I start out saying that? Heat needs to go. I need that printer cartridge. I need the science curriculum to catch up with me. I need art supplies and a way to get them to kids. I need time and sleep and cookies again (there aren’t any). Short term, I definitely need more tea.

Send Cookie Thoughts

Hey y’all. I missed writing yesterday. My brain was on GRADE GRADE GRADE mode. It’s been there for 4 or 5 days and I’ve missed some things I should have been paying closer attention to. This school year just sucks. Usually, about now, the school year is calming down, we’re finding a routine, and stuff is getting under control. I’m sure you know the end of that story in 2020. Fuck all that, we’re back in, starting over, fuck the routine, and fuck calm.

Saturday, I ignored school. Mostly. I did a bunch of other stuff, including some art projects I just needed the impetus to get started, so I could then do a little each night. One was the clay piece for our FIG labyrinth…

I used to do ceramics in school and then for a bit after, but I think before the divorce? Or maybe just after? It was hard to find a studio and the time, so it just didn’t happen. Anyway, on Saturday, a super dry and hot day, I started finally. Sliced into the clay, started trying to roll coils and stick them together.

It was much easier Sunday night. I had something started, my hands were remembering how, and it wasn’t as dry out.

I have this clay tool I love, I remember loving it, but I can’t find it. It’s here somewhere, in this house.

She can’t be very tall, so it hopefully won’t take me long. That said, I didn’t work on her at all last night. Last night was kind of a clusterfuck.

The other thing I started was my SJSA Remembrance block, for Nicholas Bils.

I traced his face, and then went and got it enlarged about 150%. Then added it to a larger background.

And then added stuff in the background: his name, his dog, a river (for his dog, whose name was either River or Rio, and because he lived on the water).

And then last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under…

And get that done.

I have fabric for the shirt, but it needs to be dyed. Not sure if I can pull that off this week, so I might change my mind about it. We’ll see. Time is at a premium. Not my choice.

We walked around Lake Murray Saturday night…

It’s too peoply too, but manageable.

It was dusky.

Saturday night stitching was brainless.

Sue Spargo’s Homegrown March blocks. All I can handle is stitching it down.

I only have one done of the four. Don’t get excited.

Sunday, I had an appointment to go to Visions Art Museum to see Judith Content’s amazing work…always better in person.

It’s totally worth it and hopefully won’t close down today.

I was also introduced to Melody Money, whose work I haven’t see before.

She’s got some handwork on there.

Fascinating stuff.

Lots of details…

You should totally go see both these shows.

They’ll be there until January, so even if we shut down museums today, they’ll open back up eventually.

Fun stuff.

Very joyful.

Here’s where I’ve been grading…

Notice the cat? Yeah. It’s a crowded space when I’m doing everything.

Work sucks. I’m freaked out by everything. Everything is overwhelming. Staff meetings make my brains melt. Kid demands made me cry last night. I can’t do more than I am. Yesterday, I walked for 3+ miles to get it out of my head.

I only took the little dog. The big dog is too old for that far. So she was sad, and he was tired. But I needed it.

With that, Happy Tuesday. Love you all. Well, except for the non-mask-wearers. I don’t love you right now. And send cookies. But I’m fussy about them. So don’t really send them. Send cookie thoughts.

You Can’t Skip to the End of the Story…

I had time to write this morning. That was even the plan. Eat breakfast, write, then work. But the internet was not on my side. The first download failed and the second one took 35 minutes, so by the time all that happened, school was imminent. So I gave up. I think I had most of the pictures resized by the time school actually started, but I need a good 30 minutes to write most days, and I didn’t have that at all.

So here we are, Friday evening, going into the weekend. There’s a pile of schoolwork hanging over me. What’s new? I found out today that when my school goes back to some hybrid, some online, I will be teaching 3 sections of 7th-grade science online and 2 sections of online art. ART. Online. Hmmm. So the last time I taught art was in 2007. And not online. Minor issue. I’m sure it will be fine. I’ll figure it out. It’s better than some of the things I was worried about, like multiple grade levels of science I’d never taught before or teaching with different schools with admin I’d never dealt with, so this is probably the best option. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I have 2 weeks to figure out at least the start of it. Lots of work. You should always have credentials in stuff you like, by the way…which is why I don’t have a math or history credential.

Anyway. So that’s new. From now until December 15th or so at least. I won’t have a prep with my science co-teacher; we’ll have to meet after school, but I think my prep will be figuring out what the hell online art looks like. I’m sure there are standards.

OK, so I was totally exhausted Wednesday…worked 11 hours with Zooms and online meetings and all, and then kept working because shit was in my head and I needed to get part of it on a doc or something. So I kept going. And at the end of it, I had no energy for anything else. I think I read a bit of my book.

Thursday was a bit better…I had a shorter day and managed some stitching that I can’t show you online because I’m not allowed to, but then I started ironing…

It’s working pretty well…I got 100 pieces done…

I was tired, but this felt pretty good compared to more sitting…

This is the figure behind the main figure…

Hopefully there will be more of that tonight, but who knows. I’m tired and I have a book and a half to read before Wednesday and a ton of work to do and really I should be able to do Date Night, because it’s not going to be 114 degrees this weekend hallelujah and the fire down here is almost out. Woohoo!

Also in the art realm…and the teaching realm…I miss drawing cover pages for science.

I hope I can figure out how to do drawing online without too much trouble. We’ll see.

Those morning smoky skies…

You can see the neighbor’s pool is progressing…with more jackhammering today…which I am just done with.

Our air quality is finally in the almost normal stage.

So weird. Pretty but weird.

So the cats just follow me around when no one else is home. Nova was directly behind me while I was teaching…

And Kitten was actually in class at some point…

And then was reviewing the teachers’ edition of the new curriculum…

And then Luna was way too close and personal to the computer setup…

Uh huh…

This seems problematic…

But she didn’t chew on anything and only batted at my hands a little bit…

I spent all of today moved back into the internet-iffy office, because I had tree trimming going on…probably a good thing because they were jackhammering next door again. Ugh. Please stop.

This was in the book I’m reading…perfect to think about right now.

Finishing with this crazy shit.

Every time I read another attack on women’s rights, I am thrown back to a particularly contentious argument I had multiple times in the past where I believed there was a conspiracy against women in this country, and at this point, you could add immigrants and BIPOC and racial rights and gender rights and geez a whole bunch of other things and you would still be right, that a huge chunk of things I care strongly about were and are under attack. And that’s not OK. And someone I cared a lot about at the time was telling me I was wrong. It was all in my head. Fuck that. I wasn’t wrong. I’m still not wrong. There are people who want to limit women and BIPOC and immigrants and anyone who doesn’t fit their idea of “THIS IS WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT”. And I wish those people would stop trying to make everyone like them. Because they aren’t all that.

Vote dammit. That mail-in ballot is coming in about 3 weeks and I’m ready. Gonna sit down right away and fill that out.

OK, weekend. I’m thinking about dinner and waking up a little bit more because it’s after 6 PM and getting shit done. Yup. Hopefully thread and fabric and pens and paper.

A Little of This…

My brain is like a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower, doing a little of this, a little of that, and probably getting nothing of substance done. Well. Eventually substance gets done; it just feels like I’m walking in circles and getting nowhere.

At least it’s cooler out right now, until the weekend, when Satan rains hellfire upon us (weather app says 108 degrees. Just shoot me now.). I actually wore short sleeves instead of a tank top yesterday to teach, because it wasn’t 12 trillion degrees out. I still needed a fan in 5th period and on, but I wore socks in 1st period, because my feet were…no really, they were…chilly. CHILLY. I’m betting winter is gonna be socks and a blanket for teaching. This house has no insulation, I think…I could fix that? But I wouldn’t know where to start. And it probably costs money. I have tree trimming coming up and girlchild needs her college paid off (well, my portion of it)…that’s where my money will be going.

Sunday I finally finished ironed the Wonder Under to fabric…

113 fabrics in 14 hours and 10 minutes. Not super fast.

Last night, I started cutting them out, but I didn’t get very far…

I think that’s 22 minutes of cutting.

It’s a pretty full box. It’ll be a while. I’m OK with that.

I also trimmed and cut binding and sleeves for Grow

I was too tired last night after all the school stuff and cooking dinner to put them on. Hopefully tonight? It wouldn’t take very long. Note to self…next year, plan to start this a month earlier. Things take longer than you think they will in August, because school sucks up so much time and energy. I do like this little quilt though. I’m keeping track of the time. Maybe I’ll do some more. We’ll see.

I needed to do my Patreon drawing for the month yesterday, because it was the last day of the month…

I drew it, scanned it, cleaned it up, and posted it. That took some time.

This cat is weird sometimes…

I guess it was still hot when this was going on…the old lady sleeps…

Luna is fascinated with the new computer setup in the living room…

Perhaps a little TOO fascinated…gotta hide cables from her…

She bites them. Which is silly. And this guy has been licking a spot on his leg…

He’s offended by the wrap, but whatever.

I’m tired. What’s new? I did stay up until midnight. I try to go to bed earlier and then I’m working on things and want to get just one more thing done and then it’s midnight and I have to try to fall asleep. Last night, I remembered exercise at 10:30. So I did it. Or maybe it was later? I don’t remember. It was late; that’s all I know. Tonight I’m going to try to walk earlier.

I have 11 phone calls to make this morning…the shift from all online to some sort of hybrid plus online is a major one. Here’s hoping we don’t have to do it over and over again all school year. I don’t even know what that looks like. When they met with me about my medical note to teach from home, they asked if I knew how to make phone calls, or something like that. I’m like, WHICH APP DO YOU WANT ME TO USE I HAVE ALL OF THEM. Last night, I sent a message to all the parents who hadn’t filled out the school choice survey (15 of them) through our new parent app, and 4 of them did it. Seven had already done it. That leaves 11. So on to the next app, Google Voice? Probably. I have email for some…I’ll try that too.

Oh yeah. Forgot. My eggs for dinner on Sunday night looked like boobs.

I’m not wrong.

OK, work, teach, manage, get up and move around as needed, or more! Then walk self and do some art and maybe sleep a little earlier. Binding on tonight and then some hand sewing and cutting stuff out. That part sounds relaxing…makes up for the 100 mph of the rest of the day.

The Mondayness of It All…

So it’s Monday morning on the first 5-day week back to school…and Zoom is out nationwide. You know, the program we use to actually DO online teaching with the kids? The video thing? Yeah that. I’m amused. It may be back up by the time we start school, but this certainly complicates shit. Last week it was the program we use to log all the kids in…this week, Zoom. I’m ready to go when they are, though. Attendance might be an issue today. I’m laughing.

In other news, it’s still warm here, although it’s cloudy and not so bad at the moment…it’ll get warmer later. I look forward to the months where it’s freezing here (not really, because we don’t get snow) and I have to wear socks. But right now, I’ve got those two fans on me at 8 in the morning and I’m supposed to be working. So I’m going to do that and finish this later. You won’t know the difference, because it will all get posted later. Just know that I thought about starting this in the morning. I even resized all the photos, but the girlchild called and it’s Monday and that’s just a thing. A thing that slows us down. The Mondayness of it all.

It’s still Monday, but now it’s after 6 PM. I just finished working…well, maybe. I really should do more, but I’m not sure I have it in me. I started at 7:30 AM, took a break at lunch and to water stuff after school, then drove to school to drop stuff off, and then back here to finish what’s on my to-do list. There’s still one thing on there, but I’m not sure I have enough brainpower to do it right now. So there’s that.

OK, so Friday, we did cover pages for our first unit, and although most of them did it online using Google searches for images and super-quick font and color choices, I couldn’t help but go old school.

I showed them how to do this, but I think I only had one kid try it. I’m going to color it in and then upload it onto mine…just because. Sigh. I miss this.

Friday night, I walked…first time all week. It was a long and tiring and hot week. Friday was no less long, hot, and tiring…I just couldn’t take the lack of exercise any more.

It was late and kinda cool and sorta nice.

I was a slow-moving sloth in the heat and tiredness of it all though. My feet were hot at the end, so I used the pool…

I’m not much of a swimmer, you may have noticed. Mostly I think the pool is for the dog.

I continued the walk at Lake Murray on Saturday evening, part of my plan to reinstate Date Night out of the house and out and about, minus the crowds at art openings and restaurants…

It was cooler outside…

Plus the whole sitting at home thing just sucks. Ask him…or her…I don’t know how to sex an alien.

I also got some stitching in Saturday night, but mostly I was tired…

Sunday, I used up most of the sourdough starter discard to make the next two weeks’ worth of frozen pancakes for a quick breakfast…

And then Sunday night, after working on school stuff for about 4 or 5 hours, I finished stitching this…

It needs a bath, some ironing, a hoop, and then a place on Etsy.

Then I did the stitch down on this Patreon reward…small is easy!

She got some ironing as well…

And then I pinbasted it…

So she’s ready to be quilted tonight.

The last hour of the evening was dedicated to ironing the newest quilt pieces onto fabric…

I didn’t get far…

Only a few colors so far…

But I did lay out the next 100 pieces of Wonder Under so I’d be ready to go tonight. I hope. Movement in the right direction.

The boychild is cooking dinner. I need to go dip my feet in the pool again. I watered everything, finished a packet for a kid in a shelter, talked on the phone to a bunch of people, made a vet appointment, and I think I’m ready to teach tomorrow. Although I think I have one other thing I need to work on tonight. I just can’t remember what it is. Oh well. So be it.

Hard Doesn’t Mean Impossible

I have a headache this morning. It’s partially caused by the concrete trucks and related noise from nextdoor’s new pool construction. I can’t really escape it, so it’s driving me more than a little bonkers. The rest of it is school-related. It seems I really shouldn’t go back to a classroom until there’s a vaccine or this virus disappears into the ether (hello COVID conspiracists…I am talking to you. Now leave. You won’t like it here.) I’m hoping not to disappear my job in the middle of all this, but since they were gonna co-opt one of the two bathrooms on the floor for my private use, and honestly, as healthy as I usually feel, any time you show me the list of high risks for COVID and I see mine on there, I get wibbly in my tummy and run to check that all the beneficiaries on all my accounts are still my children…well, I guess it totally sucks to be that person, but I am that person. Online teaching is not my favorite, but for now, I’m doing it with my team, so I will survive, as will we all. The going-back-in-person thing is the bad juju for my body. I also can’t afford to not work. I am glad that hopefully I will be able to do my job without the exposure. We’ll see. I’m thankful that it’s a possibility. I just don’t like it.

Monday night, my brain was just not working, for whatever reason, so I just cut and pasted the other drawing I had enlarged…

There will be too many COVID quilts from me? Maybe. It’s not done…but it’s the right size at least.

Last night, I got my act together and traced all the Patreon reward pieces on Wonder Under…

So that’s what 111 pieces look like. This is for a Patreon patron who gives me a significant amount of money a month, and I appreciate her support.

Then I started tracing Wonder Under for the COVID Daughter quilt…

I finished the first figure, which was about 100 pieces. It takes about an hour for 100 pieces. So I have about 7 1/2 hours to go. I stayed up way too late, mentally debating next steps for work and consequences and fears and all that good stuff, and now I am tired and headachy (my own fault) for lack of sleep. Bless those concrete trucks for their lovely noise. I have issues with noise, if you haven’t noticed. I can ignore children screaming (mostly) and lots of other noises, but construction noise drives me bonkers. Also the humming of fluorescent lights. And you tapping your fingernails together. Ick. Anyway, art progress has been made. I do feel remarkably (or not) unfocused about everything. My school team met yesterday for 2 hours and banged some shit out, and now I feel overwhelmed. That is normal for this time of year, though, so I’m rolling with it.

I bought a bunch of devices for hanging some of my finished small pieces (quilt and embroidery) that are not going to Patreons. My goal today and tomorrow is to get them finished on the devices, photographed, and uploaded to Etsy. The fence wood should be coming in Friday or Saturday, so we can finish the fence next week, right before school starts and I’m online for 7 hours a day (ugh). Progress with tasks.

I worked a little on this one…

The yellow is hard to see. Should have used the blue. Ah well. Blindness caused by embroidery.

I took a long walk yesterday to deal with some of the crap in my head. This was an unexpected addition to this spiky plant I’ve been walking past for months…

And there’s the view of the giant-ass hill I can either go up or down (there are two other hills I can also go up or down…I end up going up one, down this one, and then zigzag up the last one).

Walking tries to clear my head. It’s not always effective.

I try to stay off of Facebook to avoid the crazy shit, but there it is…

First of all, spelling. But I have friends who are good people who can’t spell, so OK. Second of all. Um. Antifa. I really don’t get why people think this is a thing. I consider myself anti-fascist. Now straight up, I studied all these -isms in school, but I had to go read up and make sure I was remembering correctly. Like who isn’t anti-fascist? Besides dictators and their best friends? And Marxism/Socialism, I know those scare people, but it’s just talking about capitalism not being the best for all the people, and maybe we should take care of all the people. I don’t understand why those things are scary. Because you earned your money by pulling up your bootstraps and everyone should have to do that? Well, I’m not telling you which friend this comes from, but I know she doesn’t work for a living. Hasn’t for a really long time. Her husband does though. Must be nice. No really, it must! But capitalism means that some people can’t get a leg up in society, especially with all the racist crap that’s embedded in our society about who gets jobs and who gets to live where and be paid how much. I didn’t respond to this woman because I knew she wouldn’t listen. I do unfriend a lot of these people, and I hovered over this one, but it’s useful to have one or two that I think are nuts so I can read their crazy. Also, protest doesn’t have to be peaceful. It can be angry, especially when us dumbass white folks aren’t listening. For years. But also, Portland isn’t burning down. So much drama.

OK. So there’s cats. They’re easier to deal with…this one is pretending to be flat.

She’s not very good at it.

This one has decided she will climb into the upper shelves of the closet and sleep on my quilt roll.

She dumps a bunch of stuff on the floor every time she clambers up there.

Here’s flat Nova again…

Dayum. Cats sleep a lot. Probably they are lazy and won’t hold down a job, which is why capitalism doesn’t work for them.

Stretchy Kitten. Goddamned socialist. Look at her suck at the tit of my hard work.

Update on the bird poop caterpillars. They are larger. And they have migrated to the stem/trunk of the tree.

I’m keeping track so I know when they go into chrysalis mode.

I’ve been reading here, on the deck…but it is where the concrete trucks are today.

Right over there. Causing headaches.

Yup. That. OK. So I need to do art things today. And school things (videos of mandated reporter and injury stuff and pest management because we will not even be in our classrooms). I might even give up and go take pain meds for the headache. Then try to be chill with my self. Honestly, I cried a lot yesterday and in the middle of the night about work, and I will probably cry again. OK. I have a job (for now). I’m not dying. I’m not sick. I’m not happy, but that’s a normal thing. It will all work out somehow. I should be glad I have some level of choice, even if it’s a hard one. Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It just means not easy.

At Least I Have One A…

Well hey there. It’s Monday. Apparently that’s how new weeks start these days. It’s the first day of my last full week off of school for a long time. I didn’t sleep much last night (thank you, brain. I really appreciate these hours we have together when I am tired and want to stop thinking and you do not agree). I was up earlyish because dogs. And cats. The boychild is up in the mountains helping the old folks (my parents would be offended. They are not old. They are well-seasoned.), so I am the only entertainment for 5 furry beasts. It must suck to be them. So sleep is something they do in the middle of the day…which is why they’re up at 7 AM looking for attention. Ah well. What is sleep? The thing I’m supposed to do more of…that’s what it is. Sigh. Classes I’m enrolled in right now: Sleep, Healthy Diet, Exercise, Sourdough Breadmaking, Artmaking, and Housework. I do pretty well with Healthy Diet and Exercise (although really hot days don’t help with either), so maybe a B there…proficient, but not above and beyond. I rock at Artmaking, straight As on that, definitely going above and beyond. Housework? Eh. A solid C. Same with Sourdough Breadmaking. Proficient? Not great though…maybe almost proficient? Approaching proficiency. Sleep? Fuck me. That’s a D on a good week, and there hasn’t been more than one good week this summer. Let’s not even think about that clusterfuck they called Distance Learning in the Spring. Needs Improvement! It’s not even Emerging or Basic. I guess I know how to do it; I just don’t do it well. At All. That’s me. Better get a work improvement plan going and meet with my parents to motivate my ass to get better at it.

At least I have one A.

So I started the last of the embroidery pieces, the small ones.

I’m going to figure out how to finish the embroideries…I think in hoops. And then the two leftover quilt tops I’ll make into small quilts. They’ll go on Etsy when I’m done. I need to get my act together.

I also drew and numbered the larger Patreon reward piece yesterday. The patron herself is a gardener and makes beautiful things in fabric…so I played off of that when I drew her piece.

It’ll be 10″ finished or so. There’s 111 pieces in it, which isn’t bad. The image itself is about 8 1/4″ square. I did start numbering these tiny flowers, but then decided to embroider them…

And then I was working on the next big quilt…finishing up the drawing…I added COVID in the air…

Flying around, like we now know they do. This drawing was originally done in April, about 30 days after the start of the Shelter-in-Place orders. Before we knew some of the stuff we know now about the disease. So I added some stuff to the bottom, because the original drawing cut off the arm and didn’t go into the ground, and I like to ground my pieces.

I worked on that last night and got it all done…

It’s about 44″ wide and 48″ high right now. Image only. It’ll be bigger than that finished.

Then numbered…

A mere 820 pieces. No worries.

So Wonder Under is the next step for both the big one and the little one.

Just had a discussion with the girlchild about the sourdough not rising enough…

Not enough big spaces…but getting there…

It tastes good though…

And on the gardening front, I planted all these offcuts from a succulent.

One has decided to grow. Hopefully the rest will too. We’ll see.

When the dogs leave on Saturday, there is often a cat convention.

They gather and sometimes play and romp. Sometimes they just want loves.

The dogs when it is hot…

The weekend was ugh warm. It’s cooler today.

Saturday evening’s sky was starting to be pretty…

Below is where my neighbors’ pool will be. We need to move some plants around to block views and noise, I think. It is taking them a long time to get to the next step. I’ll be trying to teach from home (hopefully) while their pool noise is happening? We’ll see.

And then the moon came out…

A lovely summer night. It’s been warm, but it cools off at night. My house doesn’t cool off very quickly unfortunately.

OK, so the day is half gone, but I’ve done some work and Pilates and it doesn’t feel like much, because I was interrupted a few times. I need to go to Costco this week, and I was going to do it today, but now I don’t know. Maybe I should just get it over with, because I find the days fill up and new tasks appear. I have a webinar at 3:30. I need to eat lunch, but I’m already late for that. I can’t remember what else I need to do (hence the bullet journal in the other room). I will be tracing Wonder Under tonight no matter what.

I feel this. I’m waiting for them to request emergency sub plans.

And this…

Cursive is no longer a thing. It’s a coded language we old people can use to confuzzle the youngers. OK. Whatever today is, I need to do some things…sooner rather than later. Gonna do some of that.

Help the Neurons…

Well. I’m so off schedule on everything, it’s like I don’t even have a schedule. I really don’t. I mean, I do, because the bread needs to be cooked and the sourdough starter fed, and I have two whole online Pilates classes a week that I paid for so I can’t miss those, and the occasional social thing where I have to remember what actual fucking day it is, but my phone mostly does all that for me and then I fill in the rest of the time with heating up my already cold tea (I never get to drink a whole cup without some shenanigans) and reading about my fragile white ass. Then I have conversations in my head about what to do about my fragile whiteness and I role play a lot of stuff in my head because there’s like no one to talk to some days except the cats and dogs, and I get in trouble for those conversations because it makes me sound crazy. So there we are. I’ve done a good job this summer of not just descending into totally escapist fiction reading…interspersing mind-opening nonfiction (and some of it is really mind-opening…my favorite part of whatever I read is stories of things that happen in real life and how to deal with them or view them differently or respond to them) every other book, although I think I’m going to have to do two nonfiction in a row, tossing in an online teaching book in between antiracist reading and fiction reading. The start date of school fucking LOOMS like an abominable snowman at the moment (remember that guy? He was sweet. I really liked him) and I have to be ready. For something. I don’t know what yet, but something. And dammit, I’ll be ready for it!

This was on the Teacher Misery Instagram (@teachermisery) today…

So let’s start with the random apostrophes in ‘teacher’s’. Or the hyphenation issues (yeah, you should have some). Yeah. You need a teacher. Second…all the bars are closed where I am, but I can tell you, that when normal school was in session, there was a bar within walking distance of school, and I certainly THOUGHT about, but never visited it, because you can’t teach drunk. I mean, I’m sure some people do, but I had a hard enough time keeping track of everything when ALL my brain cells were firing. Not enough caffeine would throw me off. THIRD, and this might be most important…um, fuck you. Really? WTF do you think we are doing? I know so many people think we get such short days and so many vacations and the WHOLE summer off (seriously, people, I haven’t been paid in over a month and I will start working as soon as someone tells me What The Fuck I’m supposed to be teaching and where and when and how, and that will be WELL before my next paycheck)…these are all the same people who are welcome to spend a day (but better if it’s a week or two) in my shoes (or my not-so-comfortable chair with my computer at an inappropriate height to apparently to start the year). I honestly think this has to be a joke, and if it’s not, if there are some people nodding their heads to this sentiment (they’re the same ones who want part of my paycheck), then I’m just assuming they are thinking what THEY would do if in our situation…again, ignorant of what most teachers are like and what most teachers do. I’m sure there’s some who do stupid shit, just like in every profession, and hopefully they’ll get caught out and fired, but really, I’m looking at how stressed and tied to a computer I was for the last two months of school, and wondering how I’m going to do the next four months. Or six. Or ten. Without killing someone. Or a close and personal relationship with a masseuse.

OK. It has to be a joke. I’m also wondering if parents will be available to discuss their student and their work during all hours of the day and night and over the weekend, because that’s when I answered their communications, as well as those of their children. No? It’s not OK to call at 1 AM? Ah. I see. OK then. (No one called me at 1 AM…kids did email me then, and sometimes I answered them, much to their surprise.)

There will be many opportunities for meditation this year. Just made sure my app was going to autorenew correctly.

So what am I doing with my time these days if I’m not (a) teaching and/or (b) drinking in a bar? Well, I delivered two quilts to the photographer, socially distanced and masked. A little weird, but OK. I also passed the CPR test…good thing. Most of it was online, but there was a 30-minute hands-on assessment that was pretty easy. So I don’t have to worry about that for two more years. Hopefully I won’t need it. I have some Patreon rewards I’m trying to finish…I only needed one, so I planned to make six? Don’t even ask. I ironed the three quilt ones down on Thursday…first onto a teflon sheet…

Then to a background fabric…

This part doesn’t take long…

On these small pieces, I’m keeping track of the time it takes to make them…

Just to know…whatever doesn’t go to Patreon will go to Etsy…

Everything I do is time-based…so I know how much to charge without getting sentimental.

Then I stitched them all down…and then here, I did the line I usually quilt with, although these aren’t three layers.

My sewing machine was being really cranky, so I had to rip out a bunch of stitches on the stitch down. It was a pain. I did the linework today during my quilt guild meeting.

My machine goes in for service in September. That’s a ways away.

Honestly, I don’t know why it behaves the way it does. It’s inconsistent.

I had absolutely no issues with it in that last monster of a quilt. None. It was amazing. These tiny things? It’s being a dumbass. It is hot, though, and sometimes that’s the issue. Whatever.

I also washed and ironed these…

So I’m going to give the one Patreon a choice and then decide how to finish the others and put them on Etsy.

They’re not big or fancy. I do have one embroidery left to do, but I also need to do a larger 10″ square quilt for one of my higher-tiered Patreon patrons, so that’s next. Well, that and the next quilt. I went and enlarged two drawings on Friday, and yesterday, spent some time putting one of them together…

I enlarged them from a 14×17″ drawing 250%. It’s a good size…

None of these cats are helping. I added some to the bottom because I had cut off part of the arm in the drawing and it just looked weird.

So I’m working on the bottom piece right now. Then I’ll number it and we’ll see where we’re at. It’s a COVID Daughter, so one of the Daughter-series quilts I’ve done, but a little bigger than the other two. OK, possibly a lot bigger, because I think I started the other two in my smaller sketchbook and enlarged them 200-300%? Yeah. Must be because one is only 28″ wide and the other is 40″ wide…we’ll see what this one ends up being.

It’s nice to go straight into another quilt. This last one took so long, four months long, and I need to get some more work done. I say this and work is about to blow up my schedule for the foreseeable future. Because I’ll be in BARS ALL THE TIME. Oh wait. No I won’t. I’ll be redesigning curriculum for online learning with a system I haven’t learned yet. No worries. Using a scope and sequence I will see ‘soon’. On a curricular system I have barely used. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Yeah. With about 150 students, I’m thinking. We’ll see how many go to charters or pull out of school completely…and then how many trickle back over the year. Our turnover is high in a normal year. I think this year will be a clusterfuck.

I still don’t even know if we will be allowed to choose where we teach, whether at home or in the classroom. Most days, I would choose to be here, unless the temperatures are too high or my internet is too sucky. Less exposure to humans is good right now. Right, Simba?

The dogs enjoy deck time with me after I let Calli in the pool…

Oh yeah, I did a drawing the other night too…

For my Patreon…I added more lines the next morning…

Scanned it, cleaned it up, and sent it out to them. I have enough for a coloring book, but no time or money to make that. Someday.

I finally gave up on passing the sourdough starter float test…it was doubling in size and bubbling like crazy. So I cooked this today…

We’ll see what the inside looks like later. Hopefully tasty.

These guys, bird poop caterpillars (precursor to the Swallowtail butterfly), showed up on my lemon tree…

The man thinks these are the small version of them…

Hard to say. For now, I let them live. Though they are ugly.

Have I mentioned that it’s hot here?

There are many animals just lying around, trying to get as flat as possible. We humans might be some of them.

Well, it’s almost dinner time on Saturday…I told you I was off my schedule. To my credit, I did Pilates on Zoom this morning, plus a guild meeting and all that other stuff. I’m doing OK. I don’t know what dinner looks like, but I know I’m not cooking it. I also need to finish a book before the library sucks it back, and maybe finish that drawing. We’ll see. Sunday might be more productive. It might not. It will be cooler though, and that will help the neurons fire a little faster. One hopes.

Following Me Around Like a Fly on a Scab…

Hey, Portland…I like your style. Now the veterans have shown up. Keep being you. We need to be able to protest wrongdoing, especially by the government. Hey, y’all, I’m deep in the summer teacher head of panic and lack of focus. We go back to school in THREE WEEKS. By back to school, I mean on a computer with a bunch of kids I’ve never met. With internet that is rampantly bitchy and flighty as hell. With who-knows-what curriculi. Yeah, I know that’s not a word. I just like it. It’s all good! We will survive. Hopefully. I mean, I say that, but there’s a pandemic on, so some of us (the larger Teacher Us) will not. Hopefully those I know and love will survive…and I’m already pissed off about those who have died and those who will die. I noticed that one of the teachers my kids had is retiring (probably early, probably because of all this)…I didn’t think she was much older than I am, if that…but if she’s been teaching since she got out of college, that would make sense. I’d walk away from it if I could afford it. I can’t though. So there we are. I love many things about teaching (and hate a few too, but mostly those are administrative)…and would totally miss it, but I don’t want to die because of it. No one does. And hospitals are much cleaner environments than middle schools, so don’t use that excuse. I think we should have pandemic-trained staff from a local hospital come train us on cleaning. I know I will be cleaning more because I won’t trust anyone else to have done it well enough. I want to do it well and right. In my spare time. In between planning and prepping and grading. Oh my.

OK, so enough of the worry and anxiety that is following me around like a fly on a scab. I didn’t get much done in the last 24 hours, except delivering a quilt and gaming for a few hours. We survived that…iffy wormhole and all. I stitched during gaming…it helps me concentrate when I’m not rolling dice and throwing out random suggestions for tractor beams and transporting to a fluctuating vehicle.

Green row done, started lighter blue. Hopefully I’ll finish tonight. I’ve got two more to do.

If you look back through my posts, you’ll see that I liked a foundation paper-pieced quilt called the Tattoo quilt, by Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky. I briefly considered paper piecing the damn thing and quickly realized that my sanity is worth more to me than that. Don’t get me wrong, according to those making the quilt (there’s a group going on FB), Berene’s patterns, explanations, and videos are totally what I would need to do an awesome job on this, and the group is very helpful. I actually read a lot of the helping posts, because I like to know how to do things, but I just don’t have the patience for this right now. Plus it’s huge, and the last thing I need is another huge quilt in the house. So I got crazy and decided to do hand applique instead (I’m good at that) and to also shrink it to 50%. Yeah. I told you it was crazy. I redrew all the blocks at 50% for applique…last night, I finished up the last few…

And did the center block, which is larger…

And then inked and numbered all of them…

This one has 100 pieces, but most of them have a lot less than that. Plus yeah, they’re smaller…

Now I just need to see what I have that will work for a background for all of them and start picking fabrics. I do other people’s patterns all the time. It’s the vacation/hobby for the art brain. So when I’m flailing all over the place and can’t focus, this is what I can do. This is easy. So many people don’t understand why I don’t just make art all the time. I can’t. I need a break…sometimes I just need something that someone else designed. Despite my redraw for applique, this is Berene’s design, totally.

My bullet journal font for next week was totally stolen from someone else, and then I messed around with it, because I only had three letters to go from, and then they had a lot more space, so I had to adjust. I had some time this morning and just needed to doodle.

Today is all fabric. And a walk. Plus dinner and a movie. Here. In the home. Where there are no virions rolling around. Hopefully.

So no real quilt work yesterday. Too tired. Dealing with other things. Katie (my parents’ dog) is still here, and although she’s been pretty chill (except when the fire alarm went off to tell me it had a low battery), the kittens have been extremely wary.

Mostly Nova is hiding…

But see that wide-eyed stare? That’s because Katie just came in the room.

Luna’s stare is a little less psychotic-looking, but not by much…

Up high is safe. Today Katie is visiting the ex’s house for a 24-hour respite for the cats. Even my cat hides from Katie, but now they are all out and hopefully relaxing. It’s OK…Katie goes home tomorrow, but she’ll be back in August! Oh boy! Hopefully the cats will get used to her…eventually.

OK, I have a ton of watering to do today. I also need to pick fabrics for a bunch of small quilts and put the binding and sleeves on the big quilt. I should have plenty to work on while watching the movie that has not yet been chosen. I also think I’m supposed to make bread today. Or tomorrow. I think today or I will be hiking and that will be an issue…OK. Plans made. Do float test on starter. Pick some fabrics. No. Sew binding on first. Do the yucky things first. I hate the machine-sewing part on a big quilt. It just takes forever. The hand-sewing part is relaxing. I’m OK with that taking forever. I’ve got some couch time coming up…that’s a good thing.