Renewed Sense…

The Friday before a week off is a difficult day. I’m looking forward to no Zooming. I have a ton of work to do, but that will happen when I want it to…still rolling my eyes at my boss who told me not to work for 9 days. Oh yeah, because if I do that, I’ll be totally prepared to teach coming back, right? And all the work will be graded, right? It won’t feel totally and completely overwhelming to come back on November 30 to the whole pile of shit I’m looking at right now? Sigh. So completely out of touch with reality. I would love to walk away from it for 9 days. Maybe some will, but I’m not willing to risk my December sanity for that level of crazy. Even in a normal year, I’d have to grade over Thanksgiving Break. So there’s that. My level of exhaustion is a little crazy at the moment too. I’m hoping some more sleep and reading of books and hiking will help with that? We’ll see. One week off, then three weeks on, then three weeks off. Please don’t make me think about 2021 yet. I think grades are due in December too, so blowing off grading makes even less sense.

I had a kid turn in 8 assignments last night (all late) within 5 minutes. So you know they’re blank. I had emailed parents earlier this week (bulk email for all the kids who hadn’t done anything), so I guess they’re paying attention. I emailed the kid this morning and gave her until the end of the day to unsubmit and do them for realz. Or I would email parents and let them know what she did. Unfortunately, most of these kids don’t read their email, so she won’t see it, and I don’t have her in class today…I might have her in Advisory, so I’ll say it then, in general, to everyone. In case someone else thinks that’s a solution. Certainly if I stopped contacting parents about their kids’ lack of work, I’d have more time to grade. I’m not sure at what point it’s OK to be a really shitty teacher because there isn’t time to be a really good one. That shit makes me cry. It’s not how I roll; this year, it just fucking sucks.

With that, I have a parent meeting in 26 minutes and I need to get more tea in me before then. iCloud is not syncing my photos to the computer after I upgraded my space, so I’m going to need to figure that out…so I have a few photos, but who the fuck knows where the rest of them are. I’ve been tracing Wonder Under every night, though, for sanity’s sake…

I’m currently on the fourth yard of Wonder Under, and on piece 711 of 1100-and-something. Not bad. I should finish in the next few days. And then start trimming the Wonder Under. Every night, I have to pull apart all the school stuff that lives on top of the light table (doc cam etc. for art) so I can do this, and then put it back after so I can teach the next day. It’s time consuming but always worth it.

The last two days have been vast expanses of working time, sitting or standing here. Nova surveys my view from behind the monitor…

We’re not allowed to update to Big Sur, so I don’t know if the picture changes. I’m assuming it does. Although I like Catalina.

After work yesterday, I had my monthly quilt group meeting on Zoom. I wanted to stand, because I’d been sitting all day, so I started stitching this thing down…

It’s not fancy, it’s not hard, it’s pretty mindless.

And it’s not done. No worries. It will get done eventually.

OK. Parent meeting, Zoom all day, completely exhausted and very little patience for kids who will do nothing. Hoping both teachers’ aides show up for science, because last Friday was a clusterfuck when they couldn’t. I don’t blame them, but certainly there are no subs, and today’s assignment will go better with some support. Gaming tonight…I might need a nap beforehand. I was going to try to walk before sitting some more, but I don’t know if I’ll have the energy. I certainly don’t right this minute. Looking forward to time off. To sleep. To lying down and walking around instead of sit sit sit. To a renewed brain…hoping for that a lot. A renewed sense of I can do it.

Clear My Brain

I do write to clear my brain. Otherwise the words pile up in there and cause havoc. It’s currently 10:20 PM on a Saturday night. I have words in my head and I’d like them out.

We hiked almost 7 miles this morning, and then I did some schoolwork, stitched down the rest of the quilt top, and sandwiched and pinbasted it. It’s been a busy day. There are piles of fabric in the girlchild’s room, and I happened to find something the right size and shape (a rectangle, by the way) for the backing.

I’d already checked for batting. Check!

I did a significant part of the stitch down on Friday night, but I knew we were getting up early to hike, so I quit.

In retrospect, I would have been up for another hour and a half if I’d kept going last night. It was easy enough to finish this afternoon.

Pinbasted in no time.

It’s what we do on a Saturday night. It’s good…it means I can quilt a bit every night this week. I do need to do some thread shopping tomorrow though.

Friday night, we gamed, and I graded some and stitched some.

The cat is no help while grading. Actually, this was my setup for science and art on Friday. Cleanup still happening for demo the day before, art ready to go, rocks in place.

This morning, we hiked Los Penasquitos Canyon, starting at the Mercy/Black Mountain end.

There were quite a few people…

It was much cooler than it has been, much cooler than it will be this week.

It’s mostly flat.

The man is training for the PCT, which will be mostly not flat.

I, however, am training for nothing.

Except regular exercise.

I had to put my phone in my bra for a bit because people don’t understand how to share the trail and there was some chance I’d fall into the water and I wanted my phone as high up on my body as possible.

I didn’t. Fall in, that is.

Anyway, stupid people on trails. What can you do?

Avoid them. The man getting his zen on.

We actually passed a half naked guy (young) meditating with a pointy zen hat on.

So there’s that. Rocks, sand, poison oak, and a baby rattlesnake.

No real rattles yet. The man moved him off the trail.

Good thing because the next group coming along had two small children.

Strange pods…

Pro: We were done by noon. Con: I’m exhausted right now.

This is a pretty suburban trail, right between two rows of houses. In two weeks, we go camping…and two weeks after, we’ll be near Joshua Tree, although I have an art thing to do, so mostly the man will hike and I will not.

I do enjoy hiking. There are limited numbers of hours in the day, though…so tomorrow holds a few hours of work in it. So I’m ready for the week.

This week is already full of meetings.

And hopefully quilting…

I so want to be a cat. I’d be less tired, I think. Hard to say. Interesting to clear one’s brain right before bed. Hopefully it will help with my current tendency to have weird-ass, scary dreams. Because that’s been the last two nights, and I’m kind of done.

Oh yeah, Fire and Water got into Quilt National. That’s cool.

It was the throwaway quilt. You pay the same for 2 or 3 entries. I needed a third. I figured the big one would get in, if anything. It didn’t. This one did. It’s a quilt that was made for another show and didn’t get in. So was the last Quilt National Entry. It’s weird…I get in every OTHER year. 2013. 2017. 2021. Freaky. OK, consider sleep. And whatever is sneakily walking out on the slope. And making more art.

Go Forth and Conquer

Hoo boy. Nasty nightmare in the middle of the night, NOT school related, shockingly. Also a cat who thinks that banging on the window and blinds is a way to communicate her dislike of the presence of some animal I never saw out there is acceptable 2 AM behavior. Trying to calm the breathing and heartbeat after that. At some point in time, I’m exhausted, so I sleep.

I keep looking at this one page on the science curriculum, hoping they update the thing I need that will find me an extra four hours a week or so. Or not. It helps me plan, and without it and without my partner, who is planning as well, but for a very different type of instruction, I have to try everything about 14 times, moving things, moving them again, moving them yet again. Is THIS logical? Or is THIS logical? None of it is fucking logical; that is the problem. The curriculum itself doesn’t always flow logically for me, so I tweak it and then tweak it again. Sigh. Next week, I find myself with too many quizzes and tests and not enough content. I will have to pillage from the following week to make it less about Take This Test and This One and This Other One that I will never have time to grade. Because that’s the other issue. What do I actually have time to SCORE? In between Zooming for hours a day and prepping for more hours a day, I never have time for phone calls or emails or catching up on late work that kids have turned in or grading new work that they’ve turned in. It’s all about planning for the next week, and never catching up with this one. It is definitely worse and harder than it was before everything switched. And I feel like the higher ups are more interested in pleasing parents and giving them what they need (they are our clients, I know) than realizing that they are burning out huge swathes of their staff. There has to be some give and take, and I’m not seeing that. I guess the crash and burn will happen at some point, or they’ll never see or hear the distance-learning staff, and the in-person staff (who has to be just as buried as we are) isn’t saying anything because they don’t have time to in between 10 classes of teaching the same shit over and over.

Speaking of teaching and voting, because my ballot is here and will get done this weekend…this guy is in my district and man oh man does he drive me crazy with his arrogant bullshit.

I almost took a Sharpie with me to the grocery store last week so I could have the man stop the car while I defaced one of these signs with “Not All”. I didn’t. But I thought about it. It’s good to see that someone found a legal way to do it. He’s certainly pissed off a goodly chunk of us. You vote how you want. And I hope he sees this and isn’t just defensive and dismissive. I think he will be, but I hope he’s not. I’m ever hopeful about politicians.

Well, most of them. This was the best part of the debate, besides Kamala Harris asserting her right to speak and seeing Pence’s face when that happened. Respect. To the fly. And Kamala.

On the art front, I’ve managed an hour or so of stitch down…

One night out of the two…not bad. Hopefully there will be more tonight and tomorrow, although there is a ton of planning I haven’t done and we have gaming and a hike in there as well. Plus apparently I need to grade shit. It won’t take long to do this part. I checked this morning and I have enough batting, and surely there’s enough fabric in this room for a backing.

Part of the reason I didn’t get any done last night is that I needed a moment. A long moment. It was about a 3-1/2-hour moment. I got out of the house and walked (oh hallelujah, some cooler weather)…

The neighbors are all doing Halloween, and maybe they always do and I just don’t notice because I would be walking elsewhere or at the gym.

My students have already asked if Halloween is safe, the candy part, because that’s the only part they care about. Personally, if the little screaming midgets in my neighborhood come around, I can throw candy at them from my deck. It’ll make up for all the screaming they do in general. Plus I won’t have to go near their not-socially-distanced havens for disease.

Yup, I’ve got that old lady thing DOWN. The second part of my break was Zooming with my stitching friends. I had zero brain power, so I just stitched things down.

No embroidery, no embellishment, just sticking it to the background with thread. After the pandemic, I will hopefully be able to embellish. Right now, I just don’t have the energy.

Speaking of energy, I’m trying to muster enough to get out of here and go to the other computer and figure out what I’m teaching today. I teach two science classes Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Thursday and Friday, I repeat what I did Tuesday and Wednesday, which means writing it all down, because my brain has already forgotten what it did two days ago. And I have to finish writing a rubric for Gestalt and Zeitgeist, which I’ve never taught, but I guess is in my head. Somewhere. Some would say not Gestalt, because there is never a Less is More aspect to my work. I definitely come from the Richard Scarry world of art…fill that rectangle with all the shit you’ve got and see what it looks like.

This bunny or one like it might have been what pissed off Kitten last night. She seriously whacks at the blinds until whatever it is leaves.

I’m surprised I’ve never found a bunny skull on my property. Those coyotes are slackers.

She looks all sweet here.

Because she’s gonna sleep all day while I work. So she doesn’t care if she kept me up for an hour or so last night, banging on the window.

Good things: It’s Friday, so there’s a break from Zooming for two days. We’re hiking tomorrow. The weather is cooler (don’t even look at next weeks’ temperatures; they will make you cry). I can finally vote and turn my ballot in and know that my state will protect my vote. I’m not sick. I have a job. I can do my job, even though it feels like I’m carrying a ton of bricks and people keep piling more on top. I might get to sleep in tomorrow morning. So there we are. Go forth and conquer Friday.

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.

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.

Paltry Progress…

Hey, so let’s see if I can post before school today. I don’t have much time, but I don’t have much to talk about. I’m tired. Sitting for this long is hard. I want to do jumping jacks in between classes and maybe run a mile to get my butt and back to be friends with me again. But whatever. Kids are learning something, although it might be that they’re learning how NOT to be a jerk on a collaborative assignment. Sigh. We’ll get there.

It is Friday though, and that’s a plus. A short week with the kids, although it hasn’t been a short week by any means. Next week will be the challenge…5 days on every day. I really need it to cool off some more so I can walk in the afternoons. Maybe tonight. Also I said I’d post photos of the two newest quilts, and that isn’t happening today either.

I did iron last night…I did NOT iron Wednesday night. I was too tired. Here’s last night’s paltry progress…well, I did some flying COVID virions…like they do…

And the arm of death. Or something. I’m not really sure. A bird. Little bits and pieces on the other side of the quilt. I ironed about 100 pieces, which isn’t bad for the second day of school. Hopefully I will get more done tonight…

It’s coming along, slowly but surely, which is how I get everything done during the school year. Except housecleaning…it usually gets short shrift…although I need to vacuum so I can do Pilates without being covered in dog hair. Bleck. So I’m about 200 pieces in with about 630 to go. Small progress, like I said.

I had a stitching meeting last night and finally finished the top of Folk Tails by Sue Spargo. It was the 2015 block of the month, but I didn’t start it until 2016. Four years then. Well I don’t work on it regularly…that’s probably part of it. But it was a very enjoyable quilt to make, with all the animals and details in it. I enjoy doing some embroidery after eating dinner, just a half hour or so, although for a good long while, I only worked on this at my monthly stitching meeting, which used to be in person in a Barnes & Noble bookstore coffee shop, back in the old days, when we could meet in person. Now it’s every two weeks on Zoom.

Now I just need to sandwich, pinbaste, quilt, and bind. Quilting this one is a little scary. I’m sure it will be fine. Laughing over here. Tears coming out of eyes. Well, that might be because of school, but whatever.

It’s Friday. I’m gonna teach all day and then hopefully walk my tired body around somewhere and then iron for a bit before I collapse. Tomorrow includes Pilates (my body says thanks) and a mammogram (my body won’t say thanks, but it’s for the best), and then whatever art I can fill in around that.

A Perfectly Normal Sunday

So many days of hot. OK. It’s been two days of hot. But more are coming. It’s not going away. So I’m just becoming one with the sweat. And drinking lots of water. Here was Friday’s alternate desk report. I do have two desks and this one is in full sun in the morning.

It hit 104 degrees later. Fun stuff.

I’m doing lots of schoolwork at the moment, tweaking things, checking links. Everything has to be made new because online schooling is a thing. Our county has been under 100 cases per 100,000 people for the last three, maybe four days, so schools may open in two weeks. Scarily. PIVOT! The confusion between going from all online to some kids back in school full time and some part time is going to be very very real. So don’t REALLY get to know these kids, because they might not be yours in a few weeks. Sort of mind-boggling really.

You probably won’t get this if you’re not a teacher right now, but these two words, Synchronous and Asynchronous, are not only hard to type and say, but my English-learner kids don’t have a fucking clue what they mean.

I have to remind myself that A means NOT, so NOT at the same time. Except sometimes it is. The word HOMEWORK no longer has any meeting, right? If I can’t remember it,

I spent a lot of time on Friday yelling at my cable company and probably my neighbor kids learned some new bad words. But they are lying pieces of shit (the cable tech people, not the neighbor kids). I finally drove to the cable store (damn, if I’d known that was an option, I totally would have just done that), but still had to spend another hour with the online chat person to get it set up. So much for self-activation of the cable box…or for anything else, honestly. That was 8 people on chat, 3 on the phone, and one in person at the store. Hopefully this will solve some of the internet issues, although I might have to up the data plan at some point. And maybe speed, but we hope not. It all costs money…money my district is not reimbursing. Fun stuff that.

Friday was hard in many ways…I knew most of my teacher friends were at school, isolating in their classrooms, except they saw each other and talked with masks on in that socially distant way. I was home with the cats and dogs and the boy, who is an efficient PDF manager. With so much online stuff we’re doing, sometimes it’s easier to send something his way and have him manage it. I miss my friends, though. I miss planning in person and conversations where more than one person can talk at a time and the sound doesn’t kick out halfway through. I’m lonely here without all of them, and that will probably get worse when they go back in person. That said, I know it’s safer here, and since my principal already had to remind people to wear masks after 5 months of a pandemic, I know being at school would be an issue. I’m hoping there’s no issues with letting me teach from home…I won’t know for sure until I meet with Human Resources and all that, so that sits in my belly until it’s a done deal…and probably after that, I’ll still be paranoid that I’m going to be replaced or lose my job somehow. Deep breaths. It has to be done. Also, San Diego is threatening more rolling blackouts, so I might be in the classroom this week anyway. So there’s that.

I decided to try and get the 5 finished embroidery/wallhanging pieces up on Etsy yesterday so I could check that off my list, although I think there are 5 more that need finishing and to be posted. I’ll get there.

But these 5 are up. That’s progress.

Friday we gamed, but I also cut stuff out…

I think I had about 1 1/2 yards left at this point? Maybe? What’s funny is that I had a picture above and realized it was the wrong one. BECAUSE THEY ALL START TO LOOK THE SAME. Sad but true.

Saturday was warm, but I did Pilates in the morning with all three dogs…Simba came in later.

It’s hard to exercise alone in this house. Yes, Katie is back. She’s leaving today, coming back Friday, and staying for a week. It’s a little stressful for everyone, but she’s chilled out from 5 years ago, so that’s a plus.

Then I got my computer setup mostly done…

School laptop on a stand, wireless mouse, spare monitor hooked up to laptop, home computer on the side. Considering a board between the table (you can just see my sewing machine to the far left) and the printer shelf, just to move the mouse over. Might be useful. Now I can watch students AND run Zoom on the computer, and run something else on the other computer if I need to. Maybe Kitten will run that…

Still getting the paperwork all sorted and cleaned up. I also ordered new business cards, because I was almost out of the most current ones. They offered stickers as well (yes, they cost money, but the pictures were already uploaded and it wasn’t a lot more money…plus stickers!). They’ll all be here in September sometime, which is fine. It’s not a rush…just a checkbox I needed to fill in.

I did a lot of schoolwork yesterday as well, bits and pieces again. My focus is off, as always at this time of year. Fix this, fix that. Students are already contacting me on Google Classroom, parents are already signed up. I need to do about 50 things before Wednesday.

I did take a break after all the school and art business stuff and cut more things out after a no-cook dinner (cheese, crackers, and random meat)…

And I finished it all…so that means sorting tonight and hopefully starting to iron to fabric sometime soon. Which means putting a bunch of stuff away in the office/studio. Aargh. More cleaning. It took about 6 1/2 hours to cut out all the Wonder Under. The next step will probably take closer to 10 hours.

Kitten would like me to clear the light table off too…I will…mostly. But it’s a good place to stand and teach when it’s not unbearably hot out there. Although I’d have to move the monitor too. It’s doable. How mobile can I be? Hopefully pretty mobile.

There’s the girlchild, on her way to her second job? Or something.

She’s on a bike. Hopefully she bought a helmet today. She is in fact sticking her tongue out at me, probably because I haven’t listened to her new podcast episode yet. I started, but realized I wasn’t concentrating because what I was doing was taking too much brain power. So I’ll save it for when I’m doing something mostly brainless, like sorting Wonder Under or cleaning the office today. I’m also making bread today…the starter is happy with all this dry heat, unlike the rest of us. And I’m going to put all the felt I was using to back embroideries back in the garage, so it’s out of my way. Grocery shopping and laundry are on the list…so is panicking about school, in case you were wondering. Otherwise, it’s a perfectly normal Sunday. In a pandemic.

I Don’t Need Shoes…

We are a week out from starting school with kids. First we have to contact all of them and make sure they know how to sign in to a class and get their schedules and class codes and Zoom links and internet (holy hell, my internet has been awful today)…but I need to know WHO I’m contacting before all that happens. Ought to be interesting. Meanwhile, temperatures (actual temperatures of the air) are rising and everyone is hot and why do I have to start wearing a bra again? Sigh. Ugh. So here’s something about being an online teacher. I don’t need pants. I don’t need shoes. OK, I might stand up and do something for class, but odds are, I don’t need shoes. I might need slippers when it gets cold, but not shoes. It will be a shoeless school year. I will have to wear a bra most days though. Time to get used to those things again.

Today, I made a bunch of videos about how to use certain apps and websites, and posted those, and started trying to do some other school stuff. I sat through a total waste-of-time training. Hopefully the next one is NOT a waste of time, but you know, when you have to turn your camera off so others can’t see your extreme eyeroll and because you know you have one of those faces that everyone can read…well…that does not bode well for professional learning.

Deep breaths, new school year. I see you and I will get through you, hopefully still standing…on my bare feet.

Yeah. Think some of the crazy through a little bit.

I did finish tracing the Wonder Under last night…820 pieces (or so…had some with a’s and b’s because I missed numbering them) in exactly 11 hours. Weird to be exact like that. So this is about 5 1/2 yards of Wonder Under…

Covered in little drawn pieces…so that’s probably 6 hours of cutting stuff out…

I also am still embellishing these squares and rectangles…only getting through about three a night…

It’ll get done eventually.

Here’s the fence…actually done…

And here’s the Bird Poop Caterpillar chrysalis finally…

Its horns finally showed up. Apparently they show these red horns when they feel threatened, but I never saw them. There’s about 5 more caterpillars on the tree…yes, I sacrificed lemon tree leaves for these future butterflies.

I walked yesterday. Apparently I’ve done 150 miles in my hiking boots since March 2nd…

Yes, my hiking app keeps track. Impressive, eh? Well, it could have been more.

This bird was definitely perturbed about the tree disappearing.

More rocks getting painted and left outside…

I love those.

And last night, trying to go to bed earlier (and failing)…the moon was beautiful and orange and my phone camera just couldn’t handle it.

Kitten slept right through it.

I don’t know that cats care about the color of the moon. OK, another training starts in 18 minutes. I’m not feeling good about this school year, I have to admit. Those people dissing us teachers for “not wanting to go back to work” (yes we do…we want more than anything for it all to be normal again, whatever that is)…you don’t know what our job is like…at all. I’m just watching all the experts with their advice about going back, and all the not-experts and what’s happening in schools that are already open. Masks, no masks, cohorts, no cohorts, hybrid, no hybrid, testing, no testing. It’s all very scary. I’ve actually considered in my head what might happen if I can’t go back to teaching, or if the district screws me over in some way and I lose my job. Dear Ivanka…I have done many jobs in my lifetime…I’d like to continue to use my years of teaching experience to impart my love of science to 7th graders…not start over yet again. I already have two other jobs I do that aren’t enough to support me. Deep breaths…I said that earlier. I think it’s the bra that’s causing the breathing issues…I should do something about that.

Late Start…

Hey. Late start. Why? We finished the fence. The front one. The second fence of the summer. You know, I thought this summer I might remodel my office/studio, but that didn’t happen. It probably would’ve cost the same as the two fence sections, but they were more of a priority this year. Maybe next year, the office will get done. I’m just glad to be done with the two fences before school starts. We can plant some stuff and get some wood chips and maybe do some irrigation lines. I hate unfinished projects. There are too many of those already here.

But it meant I’m starting the writing of this right before dinner, and I’m the cook tonight, so who knows if I’ll even finish before I need to start cooking. But I’m gonna try.

I’m still tracing Wonder Under, but I could notionally finish tonight…I think there’s only 250 pieces left to trace.

I’m still working on the central figure…

I finished tracing her whole torso and one arm, and now need to do the other arm and her head.

I have about 4 yards of Wonder Under traced. There are some big pieces coming up, though, so they’ll take big chunks of that. Anyway. Tonight? Maybe? Done?

I also ironed all of the Grow pieces to fabric…

They need to be cut out sometime soon too.

I got all the squares and rectangles sewn down to the Folk Tails borders, and am now embellishing them…

All progress. I’ve gotten less done on the Etsy pieces…I can only do so much, right? And I’ve started working on school plans. So there’s that. Kitten approves only because I’m in here and she’s in here and she likes that I’m in the same place she is.

I also cleaned up a bunch of art stuff that needed filing so I could have more room for school stuff. I’m not done with that, but it’s a start. I need a better school setup in here. Working on a second (well, really, third) monitor and some good storage plans.

See? The cat moves out here when I’m tracing on the light table…

The light table that might be my standing desk for school. I might need another light to do that. Otherwise I’m backlit. Sigh.

This is nice.

So many memes out there. So little time. This one is for real.

Those bastards. Sometimes I have to negotiate for deck time…with dogs. Wet dogs. Wet dogs who want to go in the pool.

But then can only fetch 4 or 5 times because they’re tired and old, and then they’re wet and need to dry out.

I actually made them (dogs and man) all stay outside so I could mop floors. I wanted a clean floor to start school in here. I need to clean up too in here, besides the desk cleanup. I can’t use the green screen feature on Zoom because my computer part that handles that is too old. Which sucks. Because it means whatever is behind me, they can see. And so can their parents. So there are certain places in the house that I can’t be sometimes. Whether it’s noisy or art that might be inappropriate-for-12-year-olds or the disaster that is my fabric storage…I have to be careful sometimes.

Yesterday, the girlchild turned 23.

Apparently in a bathroom. I wasn’t there.

This is true. I need this.

OK, the fence! We needed it to look nice from both sides…

So we did slats on both sides…

I think it turned out really well.

I had to go buy 9 more boards and another box of screws in the middle of the day, after eating lunch and making pancakes to freeze for the next three weeks of school breakfasts.

Do I have a picture of the finished fence? Um no. I do not. Oh well. It’s finished. You’ll have to trust me. And now I can plant things on both sides of it. This is exciting. Notice I have more pictures of the fence than I do of the art quilt in progress. Ah yes, and here is the first Bird Poop Caterpillar turning into a chrysalis…

I’ll go check on it again tomorrow. I wonder what it feels like to like solidify all over the outside and liquefy all over the inside. What happens to the brain? Any memories left after that? Do caterpillars have brains? Or memories? I’m pretty sure I read a book about this in college. Kafka, right? Ugh.

Anyway, it’s dinner time now, for the dogs and the kittens, and then for us peoples. And then artmaking time. Tomorrow is set aside for work work work. Double ugh, but it needs doing. Then two days of train train train. Then work work work for days on end, right? Art will always be there at the end of the day. And maybe my lunch practice will include some as well. We’ll see. I’m wondering how my days will go, how they will feel, without kids in my personal space, without adults around all the time. Will there be more time-wasting? Less? Will I have to do more before or after school hours or on the weekends? Will I have tons of prep to do? I think so but I don’t know so. In two weeks, I’ll have a better idea of what this looks like. In four weeks, hopefully I’ll have it down.

A Situation Made for Pie…

This is my 3,660th post on my blog. That’s crazy. I guess I can add ‘writer’ to the list of shit I do. Although that might have already been on there, notionally. I’m writing less often than I used to. I’m not sure what changed (a pandemic…but I don’t know why it affected my writing time). As of 11 days from now, I’ll be tied to a computer from 8-3 every day, and I can see that having an effect on my ability and willingness to write a blog every day. I may shift to afternoons? Or I may go back to quick and pithy (I’m not great at pithy) every day but Sunday. I don’t know. We’ll have to see how everything rolls. School is starting earlier for me…but I don’t have to drive there most days, so it shouldn’t matter…it’s a little earlier than I would leave to drive to school. It’s a lot earlier than when we started online in the Spring. I’m thinking kids are gonna be braindead in the first few periods every day. Me too, probably. Too many school thoughts right now. That’s actually not abnormal for this time of year.

p.s. If you have kids in school and their district is saying “Teachers are much more prepared this time around. Everything is ready and they’ve been trained.”, um, yeah. No. No, we’re not. We’re not trained, we don’t have access, we don’t have everything ready, and we’re not prepared. We’ll roll, we’ll be there, we’ll have stuff, it will look good, it may even look awesome and work well, but we’ll be panicking every morning and night trying to get there. A lot of it is trying to figure out HOW to do what we used to do or something better. We don’t know what will work yet. We barely had things working before, and now it’s all changed. So be kind to us. You hate us, you love us, we save your kids, we are the worst ever. This job is so hard, y’all. Be kind. Stand up for your kid if necessary and get them what they need, but be sure you are being supportive on your end. I’ll probably have 150 students. Online. I’m scared. I’ll handle it. I have the most awesome team and co-teacher ever, so I’ll handle it. But it scares the crap out of me.

OK. So in other news, I’m still tracing Wonder Under on the newest quilt. I made it to the halfway point and beyond last night…

Of course, the kittens tried to eat one of the lungs on the drawing…

In the center of the drawing. Of course. I fixed it and now I cover the whole damn thing again with boxes in between tracing. I keep thinking they have matured and don’t do stupid kitten things any more. I would be wrong. They are not quite a year old. They still do stupid kitten things.

I also cut out all the Wonder Under for Grow

This is the small Patreon reward for one of my patrons. I’m hoping to pick fabrics today or tomorrow for it.

I’ve mostly been working on trying to get a bunch of stuff ready for Etsy. It takes longer than you would think. I got this on a hanger…

I have a few more to do that way, both quilt tops and embroideries. And this one has its backing on…

I’m still working on the others…these are all the hooped pieces in process.

I’ll get them up on Etsy as soon as I can. I can’t decide if it’s more efficient to put them all up at once or to do a few at a time. My office companions are really no help at all…

You can see the stack with backings ready to go.

I did a little of this one…

And I also sewed most of these squares and rectangles on…

I think there are four left to go, and then they all need embellishment.

I’m in a mood today. I can feel it. I hate that feeling. But it is what it is. For now. It will hopefully change.

Every time I go get the mail or go out to water the front yard or dump stuff in the composter, the dogs chase after me and guard the door until I return…

The caterpillars are still growing.

I’m still waiting on chrysalises. Chrysali? Hmmm.

Sleepy time…

I am never alone…

And my chair is often co-opted.

This is Katie…

Katie is my parents’ dog. She’s visiting as they finish up with selling their mountain cabin. She came and then had vomitous and diarrheal events all over the place. It was fun. She’s on meds and has had fluids but still has diarrhea. I feel sorry for her, but that’s what you get for eating dead things. Dead things that aren’t cooked anyway.

And if you haven’t checked out the girlchild’s podcast…there’s armadillos and Obamas in this one.

Somehow dead things that aren’t cooked reminded me of that. It’s on the i-family of podcastery now too.

So yesterday, I had a hike planned with two co-teachers…socially distant and all that. I’ve done two pieces of this preserve…but not the West Vista loop.

So we started out…it was warm and there was a climb…

But it was outside and there were vistas and birds and plants. We did a lot of this kind of distancing…this was a shade stop going up.

I think this was the view from the bottom person, my science co-teacher…

Actually, that’s a different batch of shade. We liked shade. And interesting trees.

With brand new acorns…

These are not the oaks I have in my yard. But those oaks were there too…plus poison oak, which isn’t an oak at all…and lots of dry and dead stuff… I have Black oaks. These are live oaks? I would have to go grab my book to make sure.

Because well it is August. Black sage…

We hiked slowly but talked a lot and looked at lots of things, so that was good. Including vistas!

I’m pretty sure up there is the Clevenger Canyon hike I did with the man a few years back.

Another interesting tree.

It’s a nice hike. We had asked a random hiker man in the parking lot which direction he would go, and I think he was right. Do the big hill at the beginning, and then it’s downhill a lot and then flat a lot.

So we started at the N (Nature Center) went out to the right and up, then the loop around the top (0.9 and 0.5), then down toward Highway 79, and back to the Nature Center. The Nature Center is not open because of COVID, but is a cool spot from 12-something, so you can use the bathrooms after 12.

Next time, we’d bring sandwiches and have lunch at one of those picnic spots.

We saw turkey tracks and cows and birds…like this Harris hawk…

We think it’s a Harris hawk. Vistas and distance.

It was just under 5 miles in about 3 hours.

I enjoyed it.

We’re trying to figure out how to fit some sort of trail talk into our science curriculum…a video of us talking about rocks in the county and showing them to the kids.

Ecosystems and elements and photosynthesis. All around us. How rocks change…

And why…

And what they’re made of…

This is the hardest part…we have great ideas, but sometimes making them happen gets lost due to time constraints. If I have to be on a computer teaching a class, how do I have time to go record these videos? We’ll have to figure that out. Maybe every Wednesday, we kamikaze out of the house and school buildings as soon as school is out and meet somewhere for that week’s video.

We’re both really busy. We’ll have to find a way to make time.

We can always drag the history teacher with us. She didn’t seem to mind.

This is me trying to figure out what this used to be…

I am a curious sort.

This was another thing…electrical lines. We had ideas…

For earthquakes? Fires? Nah. Just too hard to dig a full footing in this soil…lots of little ones are easier.

I came home and we did food and I did work and some stitching and tracing. The cats are wary of Katie still…so this happened.

Three layers of calicoes. They’re all staring at Katie.

And this morning, doing school stuff…

I wish I could nap like a cat.

Well today is mostly gone. I’m hoping to get some artwork done and some more schoolwork maybe. I’ve done a bunch. There’s always more. And hopefully some decent food. I did get a pie yesterday, but I have to cook it. There’s dinner! Um. OK. Not the healthiest. I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m cranky though. Sounds like a situation made for pie.