The Properties of Glass…

Hey America. How are you this morning? I am (sort of…not really…let’s not lie, unlike our governmental officials) patiently waiting for everyone’s vote to count. I wish they counted without the electoral college, but that hasn’t happened yet. So we wait. And as we wait, we wonder how so many people are OK with racism…are OK with destroying the environment…are OK with the number of people dying of COVID (we’re winning on that one, thank you, Mr. President and those of your ilk)…are OK with the rich getting more and the poor getting less…are OK with kids in cages and doctors performing illegal hysterectomies…are OK with the LIES. If you can’t tell the truth, what does that say about what you are doing?

Deep breaths. I teach today. I function today. I went to pilates yesterday to force my body to release some of its tension…but also to the class where someone tested positive three weeks ago. It was a small class and the guy who can’t keep his mask on and was hugging everyone out front three weeks ago was not in class. A relief for me. I’ve only once said something to someone about their mask issues. But yesterday was going to be the second time if he came in with it covering only his chin. The shield wearers? Yeah. Well. While exercising mostly lying on your back, that shield is useless. But OK. I do wonder which of the 5 other people in class was the one who tested positive.

It’s so exhausting being on all the time. I miss teacher days when I didn’t have to directly instruct everyone at once, when I could assign something and then walk around and sit with kids for a while and try to suss out where they were. It’s hard on Zoom, hard to get a sense of why this kid copied the whole assignment from the internet, or why that kid isn’t listening at all. I’m mostly managing chat and kids who are on the wrong document or asking questions I’ve already answered. Well that part is normal. Yesterday I spent about 4 hours grading some larger assignments, some art and some science, and I got to this point of standing to grade, dancing around a little bit because it was all driving me nuts, staring at things, trying to decide yes or no? Did they do it? Did they get close? Are they totally off? I have another chunk today, plus I need to make a few more videos. I made one last night, but the glare from the overhead lights were an issue, so I’ll redo it today. Ugh. I think about what I enjoyed about my job before and it was the interactions with kids, the moment when they sort of got it, and it’s so hard to see those right now. Occasionally when something is turned in and I grade it, I’ll see it. Otherwise, it’s just not there. The in-person teachers are getting that spark and I’m not…they’re getting daily connections and I’m not. Not enough of them.

My country, my job. Sigh. I really do need to decide on the next art project and start it for real, because my brain is in a bad place right now. I did number the two pieces I copied…

This one has about 130 pieces, I think? Not much. The bigger one has 919.

One of the issues is that to use my light table right now, I have to take all of the school stuff off of it, and then put half of it back the next morning, so that’s a pain in the ass. It’s worth it, yes…

When I was numbering, I just shoved it over…you can see some of it on the right…but to trace, I need to take the top board off. That’s harder. Usually I just leave it off until I’m done tracing. I’m not sure I can do that now.

We’ll see. I’ll adapt again. I keep doing that. My district has a woman who sends a motivational email once a week to all of us. Last week’s was some assholular drivel about how I can manage my time better (fuck you, district…stop adding to my load and maybe I could make some time for myself) and this week is about change being a good thing because it leads to progress. Well, sometimes by revolution and fire, yes…but too many changes overwhelm and burn out your staff. I’ve never been this burnt out in November.

There’s some bitchy tiny pieces in this one. It’s OK. They are easier to trace, right? Use less fabric. Take less time to cut out. Positive fucking attitude y’all.

Last night, I tried to make a video of drawing this grid…it’s sitting on top of the graphite zendoodle warmup that I did as a sample for the kids…

I will have to do it again today. And make a video showing them how to insert numbers in their PDF selfie files. And then teach them how to draw faces, which sounds exhausting and really hard to do on Zoom. The art teacher is being wonderful and making videos for her kids that I can use too, which is good, because I’ve never taught face drawing, self portraits like this. So on top of a new science curriculum that SUCKS…reading the essays yesterday, I’m like, I want a CER that makes fucking sense. This is awful. Remind me of that when I get to the end of this unit. Fuck the curriculum and write something better. If I have the energy. Do I have the energy? Do I have the brain power?

I don’t know.

OK, so today is grading the rest of the CERs (claim, evidence, reasoning, for those who care), fending off 30 emails about kids wanting to redo work over and over again or pissed because they didn’t do well, reining in my brain from thinking it’s all my fault they can’t do it (because two kids got perfect scores…so something I’m saying and giving them is connecting), trying to plan for next week, wondering if I’m driving to 29 Palms by myself this weekend, telling myself to just keep drawing every night, even if you’re tired, get the fuck up off the damn couch and draw something. Find patience in your head. Push the other shit into the corner and just do your job the best you can and find a way to be at peace for now. I don’t have to accept it…if that asshole continues to be President, I will not accept it. I can’t imagine where we will be in 4 years if that happens. My poor country. My poor environment. People’s rights, for fuck’s sake. The harassment that I see here in East County. Sigh.

In other news, there was a gecko. It was a very exciting experience that involved my three pitiful plants having a cat land in them.

Y’all, the gecko got away. I tried to explain the properties of glass to the cats, but they were as oblivious as a 7th grader listening to their science teacher give instructions.

The changes I need to make are here in my head. I can make them. And wait. Wait for a better time.

Shooing Snakes

It’s interesting that my brain is sure I should be up earlier on a Monday and tries to make me wake up and succeeds because as soon as any coherent part of it wakes up, it starts to worry about work and how to get it all done…that said, I was dreaming about snakes of all sizes everywhere and the dogs and cats were on them and chasing them and I was afraid one of the snakes was a rattler (they were all rattlers) and would strike, so I was running around, moving cats and dogs and shooing snakes.

If that isn’t a metaphor for life right now, I don’t know what is.

I spent a few hours last night trying to organize and finalize these gridded selfies for my Advanced Art kids, emailed all of the ones I had (28/38), planned the week for both art classes (as much as that ever seems to work), spent hours on science, made two videos, I have another 4-6 videos I need to make today and tomorrow for art, I think. I wrote it down. Graded nothing since Friday night…although I graded during gaming, the easy stuff, not the thinking stuff. Nobody should be grading thinking stuff on a Friday night. Gaming, being watched by the dog (she needed to pee), bouncing back and forth on the Mac between game info and what I was grading.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m gone this weekend, although I do have wifi, and grades are due in a week. So I need to not only plan for next week, which is usually multiple hours of stuff, but grade everything that counts for this trimester and input it all. Fun stuff. You wish you were me.

Halloween for the students.

I would have worn the lemur costume but (a) they only see my head anyway and (b) it was warm on Friday.

On actual Halloween, I exercised, twice actually, did some art stuff, got interviewed for an art video thing…the Schweinfurth Art Center is currently showing Quilts=Art=Quilts, and here is my piece, Swallow Me Whole hung in that space.

They have a cool tour of the show you can see on their website here. Check it out. They’re editing all my words down to a reasonable amount (you know how that goes). I’ll let you know when it posts.

Strangely, Friday night, after gaming, I had energy. I had enlarged a couple of things, still debating what to do next. This drawing from a staff meeting got an extended body…

And I did enlarge the third possible COVID quilt.

It’s smaller than the last one, but it’s complicated. That’s not a bad thing in general. I’m debating.

Size comparisons…

I found out about another show I should enter, but the theme is not something my head is processing right now. So I don’t know.

Saturday also involved getting a nail out of my tire and a 3-mile hike in nature.

Luckily it was late enough that most people had left nature for their Halloween parties.

I’m not kidding. My neighbors threw one. Fifteen kids. We left candy in a bowl in the driveway.

This guy kept eyeballing us, but was much more interested in finding food.

The sky was beautiful.

The neighbors were mostly quiet…impressive, considering the candy consumption that must have happened. We ate out (outside…still not going into a restaurant) and then I sat and drew for my Patreon…

Nova kept trying to crawl into my lap…but eventually I got something done.

Scanned it, cleaned it up, posted it.

Hi Nova. Then Sunday was all school, all the time, in between phone calls and groceries. I finished sending those 28 emails to art students at 9:45 PM or so…which was really an hour later in Kathy brain time. I rode the stationary bike for exercise…gotta incorporate that back in. I got lazy or overwhelmed or whatever.

Then I tried to draw, got the sketchbook out, put it on the couch, found my pen, and Kitten was lying on it.

Straight up, I didn’t have the energy to draw anyway. School really kicked my ass yesterday, on a Sunday. It was just hard. It feels never-ending, like there’s never a break, and when I take a break, then I’m on again for just hours to catch up, and I never catch up. I don’t ever see the kids in person, just online, which is hard for me. I do have relationships with kids, but it’s not the same. I worry about some, I worry too hard about some I should probably just stop worrying about, I try too hard sometimes. Need to let some of those balls drop so I can survive this workload. The plusses of having a team support with all the little stuff, with the kids, with someone to talk to about school or kids; the co-teacher helping with planning stuff and making posts and assignments. That’s all gone. New curriculum, no curriculum, no materials, no support. Exhausted. I’ll be 1/3 of the way through the year on Friday. The vast expanse of time that unfolds before me in this school year…sigh. I do think about quitting. I do. I always expected to teach until I retired. I think I will…but as a high-risk person, I wonder how long it will be before I can go back…if ever.

I need to start the next art quilt. Even if it’s just that little Boom so I have something to work on. I need to start. I need a place for my brain to rest at the end of the day besides this crap.

X Is Me…

We’ve almost made it a third of the way through the school year. I thought I was losing my mind yesterday. OK, I often think that, but not nearly as intensely as I have this year. But the combination of staff meeting plus stuff I still haven’t caught up on from the last staff meeting plus trying to plan for next week and finish this week, and the grading pile that is electronic but symbolically reaches toward the sky plus all the other stuff I do that is in my head, the art stuff, the to-do list for that, the thing that keeps me somewhere near sane and from crying more often than I do…HOLY FUCK. I cannot keep up. And yet I do. I drop things, I flail at things, there’s a faucet at home that needs replacing and they’ll send it to me free but I have to find the manual and it’s in a pile and the boychild has tried to find it and can’t and I just don’t have the time. I need to clean the bathroom counter. No time. I haven’t watered much this week. No time. I did manage to exercise three times, which is exactly three more times than last week, so that is good…but tomorrow, the tire needs its nail removed and that is just one of the 7,000 things that needs doing on the weekend and it sounds exhausting because it is.

Please no one tell my admin that I have not filled out the emergency sub plans because I don’t have the time or energy to even look at them. Maybe they will not notice. Except honestly the only people that will suffer are my emergency subs and my coteachers and that’s not fair to them, but holy fuck when am I supposed to fit that into the 37 emails about one assignment that everyone and their mother wants me to grade?

Deep fucking breaths. It’s Friday. I will manage it…some of it anyway. Can’t manage all of it. There isn’t time. Yesterday’s mind fuck was this formula…

Which the boychild calculated for me to figure out a kid’s grade who had one teacher for the first 6 weeks, worth 25% of her grade, another teacher for the next 4 weeks, and then me for the last 2 weeks, which haven’t happened yet. I asked my principal and my math coteacher (well, she WAS my math coteacher, but not now, because COVID sucks), and they sorta helped, but now I have a formula and that’s all I needed. X is me, by the way. In case you were wondering. Or my percentage for her. When I have one. Still not sure how I’m going to make the program work for this, but I’ll just make shit up if I have to.

Wednesday night, I couldn’t focus on anything, but I knew I wanted to do something artistic, so I pulled the most recent batch of fabrics from Anna Maria Horner for Applique Stories…and I stared at them for a while until I saw boobs. Seriously. I did. And I cut them out.

Possibly a strange way to start, but it worked for me. I was going to stop there and go to bed. That would have been the smart and responsible thing to do. But it bugged me that she didn’t have a face. So I made her one.

I think she still needs hair and maybe some dark in her eyes for pupils and the right ribcage needs decoration to match the left one. And then stitch her all down. But it was a relief to make her.

Then last night, I forced myself to sit and pull out my sketchbook, because I had forgotten about this unfinished drawing from mid-July and I liked it, so I finished it.

I’m still debating if she’s the next quilt or not. She might be. She’s talking like she is.

This was a relief. I mailed it because I didn’t have time to drop it off anywhere, but it got there and was accepted.

I have never stressed so much about how I colored in the ovals and the ballot arriving.

I upped my tea stash…a friend sent me some fancy teas, plus I ordered a chai tea sampler because I can’t drink milk within two hours of my pill to ward off Lyme disease, and I still need (NEED) the tea, so I got some more and then found all my loose tea holders (there were many)…

One is robot-shaped, one is teapot-shaped, the others are more standard. I have a yellow submarine one too, but I left it in the drawer. What keeps me functional right now? Tea. Lots of it.

And these guys…

That is my copy paper box. Obviously a cat bed.

I will give you the loves and you will like it.

It’s been chilly in the mornings…this is one of the few sunny spots in winter…

When things are super bad and stressful, I walk around the house and pet something furry.

And heat my tea up. Again. For the thousandth time.

OK. Well, it’s Friday, for what that’s worth. I’m wearing my eyeball hat for Halloween…for my students today. It might help. It might not. I’m letting all the things go that irritated me yesterday. If they hand nothing in, they have an F. That’s just a statement of fact. I feel for parents, but I can’t do everything for them. They need to check in with their kid. I am only one person with 173? Is it 173 now? I don’t even know how many students I have y’all. I don’t even know. I am only one person with possibly 173, possibly 174 students, and there is only so much I can do. But I do have to grade and plan this weekend, and hopefully walk, and hopefully get my tire fixed. And maybe start the next quilt, if I can make a decision about that.

The Sun Is Up…

One of my motivators for getting work done is that I always need to have something to write about. The writing itself serves a purpose in my brain, lets me spit out some of the stuff that clutters it up in there, but the art kind of does that too. They work together to keep me sane. Work has always had incredibly busy spurts where it is hard to get anything else done (art, yardwork, housework, sleep), but this is worse, more encompassing, and having a project end without one to take its place is proving difficult.

I found this drawing the other day, probably from my rocketbook sketchbook…you draw in it and it sends it to your computer.

I would love to be sold on this technology, but it’s a relatively small sketchbook and I never got in the habit of using it. You have to use certain kinds of pens on it too, which is fine, but they aren’t what I prefer to draw with. I do love the idea of having it transfer to the computer though. I wish I could do that with my larger drawings, but tech and I haven’t met in the middle on this one yet.

I did think, with a little redrawing and additional stuff, I could make this into a quilt, but then my art brain was a little disdainful, make something with meaning, how can you not, with what we are living through right now. I’m in a sort of frozen status of working too hard, too many hours, too exhausted at the end of the day to focus on something new like that. Plus I have other things I’ve had to get done…I packed up a quilt for the photographer one night. I have another one that needs to ship out to Quilt National. I made a video for my Patreon last night. I presented at a Textile Slam last night too. Talking on Zoom after talking on Zoom all day. I have an exhibit I need to enter, probably sooner rather than later. These tasks need to be done at some point.

All excuses for not getting something started. Grab a drawing, enlarge it, move all the crap off the light table (well that will be an issue while I am teaching art…on the table, off the table, on the daily). Get something done. Let’s hope my evening brain agrees. My morning brain is suitably exhausted and feels overwhelmed. More tea! These almost dark morning starts…

I love the sunrises. I don’t love being awake early enough to see them.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these. We get them in Spring and early Summer, and then they disappear…

Although I saw one last October as well. Grow big, Monarch caterpillar. Go forth and conquer the world! Or at least this milkweed.

Sigh. This was the subject line. The email was longer and full of guilt trips and whining.

Ah, middle schoolers…the world does revolve around you, doesn’t it? There’s a whole lot of laziness right now. I feel for parents who work and/or have multiple children. Trying to keep up with all this crap is difficult for me, and I don’t have children who might blow everything off, make excuses, and lie about it. I had an assignment for the kids yesterday, pretty structured, an hour to complete something that should take maybe 30 minutes, if you’re focused. At the end of class, I bounced through the kids’ assignments and found 7 or 8 kids in the first class who didn’t do diddly squat. Nothing. Nada. OK. Well, I’ll email all your parents. The majority won’t answer, but this one is having a traumatic moment, because her parents DID answer (asked for a Spanish translation, which I provided). I feel for her…except I’ve had her since August, and this behavior is consistent at least. Sure, honey, we’d all like to delete all the bad stuff and focus on the new. I will help you with that by moving the old unit all the way down to the bottom of the classwork stream, once we’re done with it. But you need to show up to class and actually DO something for once please. Man, I work hard every day. I do have kids who also work hard. I appreciate them. I did wait about 8 hours before I answered her, because the first response in my head wasn’t very nice. She won’t like my final response either, because it’s basically No. Show up. Do the work. But I’m watching other kids who are called out on their chronic absences and admin says they will start working, and they pick warmups from a month ago that I’m not going to grade. I don’t have time to go back to September and regrade all the basic stuff you missed. Pick something recent. Come to class. You can’t pass if you don’t show up and listen to the discussions.

This job…it just hurts right now. My co-teachers at least see each other at school and can talk. I get a once-in-a-while phone call or Zoom, both of which are really nice, and honestly, I don’t have time for more than that, but it makes it hard. I get a quick run into the office every two weeks or so…I’ve seen our office secretary more than anyone this year. I fucking hate this year.

OK, well obviously I need to start a new art piece tonight, even if it’s that little drawing tweaked a bit. It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to get started and get me through to the next place, the next piece, to some sense of peace, whatever that means right now. Plus the sun is up, so I have to go work.

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.