Both Sides of One Coin…

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

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

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

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

Can’t help it.

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

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

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

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

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

Calli agrees.

Resting up. Literally.

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

Lots of aphids.

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

And then I ironed a bunch…

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

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

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

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

I Roll on Chaos

Ah busy times here in the Nida household. It seems I will never have a quiet and simple and organized start to the school year, because well, that’s just the way it is. First of all, I gave birth to the girlchild right before school started, so if she’s home for that, it causes crazy chaos of feeding people and weird schedules and lots of grocery shopping plus trips to the mountains. And then because they put summer school in my room and THEN needed to clean the floors, I can’t get into my classroom (maybe today? hopefully definitely tomorrow or I’m significantly fucked). Plus a copyediting job, a quilt deadline, and an embroidery deadline. I’m fucked. OK. Not fucked. Just busy. And not quiet, simple, or organized. My head is full of to-do fluff. You know when you can’t pick one thing to do because there are too many? I just turn around in circles.

I’ve been copyediting a little a day. It’s hard to concentrate, staring at a computer screen, for that long. But I do it. That’s how I’m going to get the trees trimmed. I’ve also been ironing a little a day. That’s how I’m going to get this quilt done in 15 days. Oh my. 15 days with school starting. Ha. Ha. Crying a little here.

We picked girlchild up from the airport on Saturday night. The dogs were very excited to see her…

She has a friend from school staying here too, so she was gone most of yesterday. I copyedited for a good chunk of the day, but that meant I needed to get out and do stuff…physical stuff. We are down to one dog who can go on long walks, and it’s the little fluffy one.

He’s not the best walker in the world. He gets tired. Then he’s faster on the way back. At one point, the boychild had to carry him because he refused to go on.

Lame. Then again, we were really walking ME, not the dog.

Rattlesnake shed skin caught in a plant.

We saw snake markings across the road at one point too.

This egg…

Those curlicue seeds too…you can see them in this picture. They’re such a pain to get out of Simba’s fur.

We wandered across here to a different viewpoint to see if last week’s fire location was visible.

We’ve had a bunch of small fires locally lately. Fire danger is pretty huge this year after last year’s rain. October is usually the worst month for it though.

There’s the bushwhacking pup.

He does pretty well for a pretty, fluffy boy.

It’s nice to get out. It’s not too hot right now. Knock on wood, because it will be. Like tomorrow.

California horned toad/lizard…a little one…

They’re really hard to see. We only caught sight of him because he ran in front of us.

I did this after dinner. Slow. I’m planning to get a bunch done at the mountains, I hope.

I might need to take her to the professional development stuff on Friday.

My ironing partner…she’s not very good at it. She was running in her sleep.

I feel well guarded.

Then ironing. This is kind of a pain in the ass. I mean, it makes sense to do the whole background before I do the figure on top. Hopefully it all fits…

It seems to be working…although I’m already missing one of the misnumbered pieces.

This is where I stopped at 12:15 last night.

I have a little of the background left to do above this…I have to decide whether to move the stuff that’s already ironed down so I can fit the sheet under the top part, or whether to add another piece up there. That’s probably easier. This is still in the fussy stage.

And I’m not even halfway done. It’s OK. Really. Except I want to be done with the ironing before I leave for Arrowhead. So I’m fucked. NO I’M NOT. I CAN DO THIS.

This is the crazy that is the totally fucked-up badly numbered 300s. There’s some serious crazy in here. I laid them all out. It’s the figure in that space and then the beginning of the other side.

Although I’m pretty sure the arms for this figure are all 400s because I forgot to number them. Duh. OK. Well. Later today. I’m debating the gym. I need to go find creme fraiche. (WordPress, dude, I did spell that right. I just left off the symbols.) I need to copyedit. And tonight is birthday dinner…so that’ll be a little extra chaos in the day. I roll on chaos though.

Oh yeah, I picked up the cards for the show I’m in that opens in September. My piece is on the card, which is always cool.

It’s at Sophie’s Kensington Gallery…I’ll be at the opening. This is the one on Adams Avenue.

Oh yeah, the house above me is for sale again. Three years we dealt with Mr. Cigar Smoke, who was the arrogant son of the previous owner, and their letting Tilly, the dog, down to shit on our property. Long story. They didn’t do much to the inside, but are putting it on the market for an additional $300K. Wow. But this drone photo cracks me up…

Wanna know where my house is? See all those trees on the right with a hint of a pool? Yeah. That’s me. Shade. It’s a wonderful thing in the summer. I guess he gave up on trimming my trees. I hope the new neighbors don’t have three small children (we already have that on the other side…it’s a little loud sometimes), don’t smoke (ugh. That’s been annoying), don’t throw loud parties, or what did the Man say, don’t have country band practices twice a week. Yeah. I’m pretty quiet, I think. We’ll see. It’s not really a family-friendly house as it is. Oh yeah, construction. Can we avoid that for a while too? Seriously, they built one house down below, and then did major remodels on two other houses on this private road that only has 10 houses. Like tile saws and hammering and jackhammering. I could do without all of that. I’m a really ornery neighbor apparently. Not really. I don’t go out and yell at them. So there’s that.

Anyway. The young women have left for the beach, so I need to make a decision. Gym now? Gym later? Copyedit first? I haven’t eaten. I should finish Part 2’s first readthrough. Then go. It’ll be good.

Are You Listening?

I was gonna write about how to help me practice for school starting, like go ahead read what I wrote, then ignore it all, and then write me stupid questions that are easily answered by what I just said. Because I’m realizing I don’t have any patience for that right now, and I need it. And that’s with the people I deal with all the time. What am I going to do with 140 12-year-olds who don’t listen? Must build patience. Now.

But really, all of that is irrelevant when you think about all the kids starting school with one or both parents deported. I’ve had students with deported parents before and students whose sleep was fucked up by the cops raiding their apartment the night before and students whose parents got arrested, and they shockingly have a hard time learning. They often have a hard time giving a shit about school. They sometimes have behavior issues as well. None of this is surprising. I don’t understand why the business owners are not being held accountable in these raids. I mean, I guess I do understand, but it’s not right. As I’m copyediting a book on how to help traumatized students, as I work in a district full of traumatized students, it really makes me angry that as a country, we are traumatizing kids. This is not a short-term trauma for some of these children. We are damaging them. It’s wrong. Many of us know it’s wrong. Most of us are here because our ancestors thought they could have a better life here. Why are we so angry that people still see the US as a better place to be? That should be positive.

OK, well I still need to think about school. I’m trying. First I need to copyedit. Today at least…

First, here’s the girlchild at age 6. With a dog. She’s always with a dog. This was Missy, my parents’ previous dog.

She did karate until she decided she didn’t like making boys cry. That might have changed.

Boychild and I cleaned yesterday…floors mostly, but I also had stuff stored in the girlchild’s room that I needed to go through. I made it through part of it, but some needs sorting and I don’t know what to do with some of it still. I just moved it into my room. For now. I also made it to the gym. That’s a good thing.

I finally got a chance to watch Amanda Palmer’s video for Drowning in the Sound

The song itself makes me cry. So does the video. I was making dinner while watching it, so after dinner, I needed to draw.

It feels good to just spill that out. Seriously, that’s about 45 minutes. Sometimes it’s quick.

Then I finished cutting out the last few pieces of the newest quilt. I only needed another 30 minutes, sadly.

It took a total of 11 hours and 15 minutes to cut all of them out. I can’t remember what I thought it would take…somewhere between 10 and 15 hours.

Then I sorted them…

This is not the hard part. It’s time-consuming, but helpful later. There are a lot of pieces in the 300 and 400 boxes, because that’s where the majority of the misnumbering happened.

The next job is to iron them together, hopefully starting today. I just emailed my photographer to see when my real deadline is, which could be an issue. I’m thinking about 15 hours to iron it together. I want it done before we go to Arrowhead. Copyediting, ironing, and going in to school. Plus girlchild. OK. It’s fine. I don’t need to sleep.

My cat. In the green bin.

I finished my first Patreon video for August as well, which is good. I’m trying to stay on task with the to-do list.

Guess whose butt I’m scratching?

Oh yeah.

So girlchild comes in tonight, as does one of her friends. I have a bunch of errands to run, a ton of copyediting to do, some laundry, and hopefully ironing. I should wrap the girlchild’s present. That would be smart. OK. Plans. Get on it.

Scone Bits…

Note: officially almond flour does not work in this scone recipe, unless I fuss with proportions and add some regular flour in or something that is chemically more similar so I don’t get whatever it is that is currently on my plate that I am eating anyway because there are nutrients in there and I need those and can’t be bothered to cook something else plus my grandma lived through the Depression so it’s hard to throw away Perfectly Good Food. I am eating a rather nutty but overly moist flat biscuitcake. Some culture probably eats these all the time. It’s not bad. But it’s not good.

There are seven more of these in my freezer. I can mail you one.

So yesterday was a mess. I’m not sure why. I did a lot of things, but none very competently, I feel. Well. We walked. That was good. I liked that. And I took care of some business things. Also good. This was Kitten yesterday while I was writing the blog for the second time.

That’s right, I slept in yesterday. It was delightful. I did not sleep in today. Today I have to be at school in about 40 minutes. It’s OK. My bag and lunch are packed. I just need to finish this and my tea, make more tea, debate how to make tea there (I can’t get into my own classroom where we have a tea kettle), pack things with which to make tea there, oh yeah and brush my teeth. It’ll be fine.

After the chiropractor, we took the nephew to Crestridge and walked…

It was warm but breezy.

He talked the ENTIRE time. I thought this was the quiet one. Ha!

He’s amusing. We took my parents’ dog. Calli still can’t walk that far.

We saw one good-sized coyote and a few people. But mostly not.

I wrote a blogpost for one of my art groups when we got home, while I was waiting for the boychild to make dinner. Looks good, eh?

He is useful. And he’s currently cooking one of the other scones, so now there are only SIX left for me to mail to you. Maybe he’ll like their nutty failure.

Then I cut stuff out for another 2 1/2-plus hours.

The box on the bottom is what’s left. It doesn’t look like much, but there are a lot of little pieces in those flesh colors. Some of them I’ll leave until I’m ready to iron everything together.

So thinking about this quilt, I think I can finish cutting everything out tonight. Then sort tomorrow morning. I also have a ton of copyediting and cleaning to do tomorrow…but I’m hoping by Friday night to be ironing the quilt together. I can only copyedit for so long before my brain fries, so some of that and some of this. Continue on Saturday, although I need to go to the gym Friday or Saturday as well. Friday morning, I’m thinking. Girlchild comes home Saturday afternoon, so the odds of my getting anything done Saturday night are low, but I have Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Ironing this quilt together will probably take close to 15 hours, I’m thinking. Can I do that in four days with copyediting and everything else? EHHH? I don’t know. Wednesday I leave for Arrowhead, back Thursday, at school for real on Friday. Maybe get to stitch down on Friday night? Miraculously? It’s going to be tight with school starting. I don’t know if I can finish it. Quilting next week…binding on, then see if my photographer can take it when? Because he works full time now. Sigh. I should ask him about his timing now. Maybe after the weekend, when I have a better idea of where I’m at. OK. A plan. Sort of. Kind of a sucky one. With that, I need to go brush my teeth. Scone bits. Bleck.

Don’t Worry About the Extra Piece of Chicken

OK, I wrote an entire blogpost that WordPress deleted. Asshole. I don’t have time for this.

I think the cat is annoyed when I’m copyediting. She’s not half as annoyed as I am that she won’t keep her head off the keyboard.

That isn’t a bad position…it’s the current one, where she’s batting at my hand on the mouse and using the number keys as a pillow that I object to. Yesterday she eventually gave up, probably because I was playing loud music and the speaker was vibrating her butt, and went and laid in the blue fabric drawer that she prefers.

Heat rises, cats go low.

I’m panicking. Too much going on. Too many details to remember. I can’t even remember to write them all down. I even just messaged my prescription service to tell them NOT to call me to tell me I need a refill. They already emailed me, and the phone message just says I need to call, not why. So then I call and yell at the computer message because I KNOW YOU FUCKER. I don’t need the system to second guess me. I should be able to turn those off online, but no. I can’t. I can stop email spam from a company, but not phone spam from my own health insurance. Like spend less money on those phone calls and more on discounting my meds, you assholes.

OK. It’s gonna be fine. But I’m copyediting this manuscript, and I’m not even halfway, which is fine, but it makes me second guess everything I did last year. At the beginning of the year, teachers are all like making new resolutions to be amazing and build awesome relationships and conquer the pile of grading and be oh so efficient, and then we get to about January and we’re crying in the prep room because there’s this one kid who sucks and we’ve tried everything and grading sucks and everything sucks and by the end of the year, we’ve written off that kid. And sometimes that kid will grow up and still fail, but sometimes they figure their shit out and come back and tell me about straight As and a full ride to UCLA or even just that they’re a journeyman electrician and married to this awesome woman who appreciates that I taught him about birth control and I remember that I don’t really suck as a teacher. It’s a lovely ride.

I gave Calli a stick yesterday during the copyediting. She likes sticks. She also likes walks, the swimming pool, and pine cones. I think long walks are out of the picture for her future, unfortunately.

Later today, we’ll take the little dog and my parents’ dog, along with the nephew, for a nice long walk. I need that.

I picked colors for this.

And I decided where they should go…

I didn’t decide on some because I was worried I’d run out of certain colors of thread. I’ll decide later. Plus that cloud. Sigh. I need 6 colors. I also traced it on the fabric, so it’s ready for me to work on. When I have time.

And I cut more stuff out. I’m at about 5 1/2 hours…

I’m not sure that pile on top looks like 4 1/2 hours. I don’t know. Tonight anyway. I won’t finish, obviously.

I’m experimenting with some new food things. This is a sconecake. It wasn’t meant to be a scone cake. It should not be so flat. I used almond flour, which is lower carb than regular flour. However, it’s higher in fat…which isn’t a plus.

We’ll see if the frozen ones behave better. So many food things I’m trying to work through. They’re not all logical. It actually doesn’t always make sense to do the low-carb thing, and gluten-free or paleo doesn’t always work for diabetics either. It’s not just wheat that’s the problem. Plus I hate sweet potatoes…so it’s fine that they’re low carb, because I’m still not gonna eat them. Blech. Same with peanut butter. I’m still on the fence about almond flour.

OK, so tomorrow I’m working on school stuff all day at school with my team. Today, I’m copyediting like a speedy beast, then walking with the peeps. Then cutting stuff out. Trying not to stress too much. Right now though? Right now I need more deep breaths. The title? One more thing I need to deal with. Later. It’ll be fine.

You Got Your Manipulations*

Checking things off the list. The copyediting is done and sent back to the author. I should’ve finished it a week ago. Oh well. He gave me plenty of time…and I still turned it in two weeks early, so that’s a plus. It’s also off my shoulders. A big plus. We managed pine-needle piles this morning…made some more compost-y heaps on the front not-lawn and prepped the trash can I use for the compost bin with more nicely damaged pine needles. I am not ready (at all) for the start of school, although I have most of my supplies…the ones I know I need, anyway. I’ll figure it all out next week. As always. I’m tryna be chill.

I did stitch some bits down yesterday…and emailed the photographer today, trying to reserve him, forcing myself to pick an end date that is all too soon for finishing this thing. I have enough batting and backing here to pinbaste tonight, which is the plan, after finishing the stitch down and getting the girlchild to the airport. Then quilting…quilting will take a while…here’s Kitten not helping with punctuating dialogue. I hate punctuating dialogue, in case you were wondering.

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Yesterday’s stitch down attempt…a mere hour after the all-day school conference and before girlchild’s birthday dinner.

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I couldn’t handle any more after that. Quilting…will take probably about 20 hours or so…and binding another 8 or 9. And I have two weeks. OK. That’s doable. Ignore the day job and the hike I’m going on. Really. OK. I can do this. I need to finish the stitch down this afternoon though.

Hear that, Kitten? This afternoon. Kitten is lying on my Quilts=Art=Quilts acceptance…

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You Pollute Me will be at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center from Oct 27-Jan 8…check it out.

There’s actually no nudity in this quilt. It was originally made for a really nice gallery in a private middle school. It’s still a cool quilt though.

Anyway, I need to do some stitch down. I have 4 hours until my airport pickup…girlchild going back to Massachusetts. I’m going to stop looking at my class rosters and stressing out. I AM. Seriously. There’s no point.

*Tonic, If You Could Only See

Sigh No More, Ladies, Sigh No More*

Up with the sun. OK, maybe not quite. I honestly don’t know when the sun comes up until I’m waking up significantly BEFORE that. I’m not a morning person. I’m not even an 8 AM person. Never have been. I do it all the time, get up early…I’m just not happy about it. I went to bed early last night knowing I’d have to be up even earlier than I am on a regular school day, just so I can get to the church on time (OK, that sounds totally wrong if you know me…just know, the first event of the day is at a local church, which yes, I object to…so much for separation of church and state.). Some kid is dropping me off. A teacher friend will ferry me to school. Another kid will pick me up. I don’t wanna try and park with the throngs. I hate throngs…unless I’m dancing at a concert. Then throngs are good…until they spill their beer on you.

WHOA. So philosophical this morning.

I have my computer, my sketchbook, my weekly journal thingie (bujo), my iPad with a hefty book on it that I’m really into and would rather be reading than doing just about anything else, and some snacks, all packed in my bag. I’m ready. Have I told you how much I hate forced professional development? Yeah.

With the new school year starting, teachers set resolutions…we do them now instead of in January. Well, some people do them both times and I often do neither…but my resolution for this year is patience. It’s hard for me to be patient. But the book I’m copyediting right now (and hopefully finishing this weekend) is all about traumatized kids in the classroom. I’m pretty good at patience with most of them…certainly in the beginning of the year. Adults? Not so much. So patience. With the process, with the demands on my time, with kids, with dogs, with cats, with my own children, with my parents, with the bagger at the grocery store (I’m really always patient with them). Patience. Remind me of that some time in October. I’m going to need it.

I had some tasks for yesterday…first, ship these quilts off to Missouri, where they will be in eXtreme Fiber Art at the IdeaXFactory in Springfield. The show opens September 7 and continues through October 26. I’m looking forward to seeing photos.

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It’s nice to be invited into shows. This is my second this year. I’m waiting for my Quilts=Art=Quilts rejection…they’re old school and still send by mail. I know those on the East Coast got theirs two days ago. I’m expecting mine today. Oh yeah, it might be an acceptance, but I just assume rejection so I’m totally thrilled if it’s not. OK, so that’s kind of cynical…but I’ve entered a shitload of shows over the years and been rejected plenty of times.

Kitten will be happy for me. Once she gets her belly clean.

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Or she will be totally sympathetic for about 4 seconds before she whacks me for petting her wrong.

Then I copyedited for a while, finished the first run through finally. And then did more on the stitch down. I’m just short of 4 hours in…

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I finished the entire water area, the volcano, and the brick wall on the left side. So maybe I’m halfway through? Hard to say. I did mean to get more done yesterday, but we went to our annual Shakespeare play last night…in Balboa Park…

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I swear I post this picture or some version of it every year. We ate in the park beforehand and then saw Much Ado About Nothing

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Which I liked. Better than a history anyway. We got home late and I was tired. Plus I knew I’d have to be up at the butt crack of dawn (probably not really…now I’m going to have to look up sunrise…oh damn. I was up before dawn. Fuck me.), so I went to bed (gasp) before midnight. Welcome to my tiredness. Tonight is the girlchild’s last night here, so we are going out for her birthday dinner. Tomorrow I have all day (and night…the man has another reunion gig and I can’t crash those…well, easily anyway) to stitch, so my plan is to get it done and then pinbaste this fucker and start quilting by the end of the weekend. Because then all my days are gone. FOREVAHHHHH. OK. Overdramatic much? I am actually. Sigh.

*Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing