Get My Hand Back…

I think the quilt is done. No wait, I want to ink some of it and one of the snakes needs tiny handstitched eyeballs. Almost done. Then to the photographer.

Where he will do a better job than my throw it over the couch photo. Not hard to do better than that.

In awesome-sauce news, my car is fixed and I only had to pay a little bit. The dealers have to get money somewhere apparently. Ugh. Gotta love warranty fixes, but also wish they never had to exist.

I’m currently trying to type this with a cat sitting on one hand and headbutting my opposite shoulder. Because she is a calico, if you are too forceful with her, she will whack the crap out of you.

Got her to settle by the monitor. Kitty love. Sometimes annoying, occasionally painful. So this other drawing for one of the multitude of shows I am supposed to be entering in the next three months or so, has been in my head for almost a month…I did a predraw of it while we were camping, so last night, I tried to go for it for real.

Not totally sold on this. Might start over tonight. If it’s been a long time since I’ve drawn, sometimes I need a few tries to get my hand back under control of my brain. Plus I’ve been exhausted at night. Yesterday I had to sub during my prep period, and I’m incapable of just letting the boys at the back talk and be on their phones, so I stood back there to make sure they did their silly assignment, then forgot to eat, then it was an issue, so I’m dealing with dropping blood sugar in my next class, which is right before lunch. Ugh. Felt like crap for the rest of the day. I need a normal schedule. Ironically, yesterday we had all our classes instead of a block schedule, so that WOULD be a normal schedule…but the loss of prep really threw me off. Stress really affects my blood sugar, but routine is the savior. And I haven’t had that. So three incidences of low blood sugar in a week? Need to work on that.

Last night was my monthly stitching meeting…we didn’t meet in April in person because of many things (I was out of town), so it was nice to see everyone. I’m still working on the Sue Spargo Chirp flower border.

I’m on the 5th type of flower. It took almost two hours just to backstitch and whipstitch around two of the flowers. I did the other two when we met on Zoom a few weeks ago. Super fast. Not. Getting closer to done though.

And I drew a bird on one friend’s book of cool papers that she’s collaging and decorating.

Curious what it will say.

Anyway. It’s Friday. Friday the 13th. The kids have a pretty basic assignment to do, but that’s no guarantee of easy for me. My last science class yesterday was trying, the one before it was missing 18 kids for part of class due to test makeups (I was down to 5 actual bodies in the classroom), I have a bunch of sex ed stuff to copy, but my co-teacher already did the penises (wait, there’s a second set of penises…maybe she did those too), and a ton of grading to do. As always. I have a busy weekend, but hopefully some parts of it will be relaxing. We’ll see. Right now, though, I really do need to stand up, finish this cup of tea and make another, take my morning meds, put shoes on, and become a functional adult with a job where I’m responsible for a bunch of teenagers and pre-teens. I don’t WANT to do any of these things (except the tea parts), but I need to.

I Just Want to Be in a Richard Scarry Book

My plan this weekend was to be super efficient and get the quilt binding on (I managed that sort of) and finish all the grading (oh fuck no, didn’t even come close) and just get my life in control in general (ha ha ha ha aha aha hsdfdsf;ah;g). I did come close to finishing my book. I went grocery shopping and did the laundry. I bought dog food so we won’t run out. I had dinner with my parents, especially my mom, because well I would have anyway, it’s been a while, but it was Mother’s Day, so it seemed more important, you know? There’s a lot I didn’t do. And it’s fine, things will get done eventually, but there’s a lot of crazy going on with my car (because I need more massive expenses this year) and the Man (oh my) and school (nothing new there, it’s just a shitty couple of years).

I did finish quilting…

On Friday night, I finished all the outlining and barely started the border stitching.

Then I finished the borders on Saturday afternoon and trimmed it Saturday night…

Then last night, I put the borders and sleeves on; they still need handstitching. I can handle that. And I’ll probably do some inking, plus I think the snake needs handstitched eyeballs. Because they were gonna be too small to do in fabric. So no rush on that. I missed the deadline for this show by a good two weeks. No worries. She’ll go somewhere. The next one is mostly drawn in my head, so that’ll be good.

I did go to my quilt guild meeting and worked on this sashiko scarf for a bit…

It’s gonna take me a million years to finish this. Also, I don’t know how to stitch in even semi-straight lines. It’s just not in my vocabulary. I started with them and then devolved into whatever direction I felt like.

Kind of a metaphor for life.

What else is going on? Besides my car transmission? Damn car has less than 49,000 miles on it. I’m pissed. Sigh.

I planted freesias this year. I really like freesias.

You know who else likes freesias? Bunnies. Why am I feeding the bunnies? Probably so the barn owls in my owl box have food. Cycle of life that starts with my freesias. I think this is the one bloom that they allowed. Everything else chomped. Fuckers. Stupid cute dumb little fluffballs.

Found this in my classroom on Friday.

Usually it’s cockroaches. I kill those. The occasional spider. Depends on the size and location as to whether I kill them. This? I set her free outside on a lovely plant. Hopefully she survived the student incursions.

This was on my driveway. Not moving.

Suspect death. Cheery. Also beautiful. Hope the eggs got laid before this.

Walked the dog on Friday after school.

Boychild set a deadly pace. Both of us spent all day in a classroom, but he has considerably more energy than I do after that.

My Mother’s Day gift from the girlchild.

Apparently it’s named after me, but they spelled it wrong. It’s an air plant, so it will be really hard for me to kill it. Good plan, girlchild.

These two ducks somehow managed to cross four lanes, very slowly, as cars pulled up and avoided them. The male seemed to fall and/or lie down at one point.

They are not long for this world.

This was the man Friday or Saturday morning. Can’t remember which.

He’s been having a really hard time at his job. I’m going to say it’s a people thing. There might be a resolution to it today. Probably. But he needed a break, so he hiked out a few miles and slept away from ‘home’. I’m wishing him luck today. I’ve been wishing him luck every day for a week though.

Fuck me on this. Seriously. Leave the uteri alone.

I have no faith in the Supreme Court right now. No faith in my country. No faith in my government. It’s been such a clusterfuck. It’s continuing to be a clusterfuck.

I would love to do this.

I mean, I don’t need to have a pillow fight. I just want to be in a Richard Scarry book. But a non-sexist one, because he had some issues with that. Sign of the times? Yeah but you don’t have to be that.

OK, survive school (they have to work in groups, so that should be interesting). Do all the things after school. Finish grades. Ugh. That’s the hard part. Finish my book? Probably not tonight. But soon. Sleep again. Because I failed that task last night. Second chance!

Brain Back…

OK, Wednesday evening I finally got my brain back. Serious fog up until then. I’m not saying things have been easier, but certainly thinking has been easier. School is a dumpster fire at the moment, although I hammered stuff yesterday and managed to slog through part of the assignments. More slogging today. Because holy crap, how can I possibly expect the kids to work? It’s so close to summer! (rolls eyes). Also, to the mom who called because her kid texted her that I wouldn’t let her go to the bathroom, please tell me…would you rather that I make sure your kid hears the instructions, is on task, and is completing her work without wasting time? Or would you rather she gets to go to the bathroom whenever she wants? Because I can’t do both. Seems like the latter. Good luck with her grade then…that’s on you. Don’t email me about what she’s missing. You can figure that out on the grade program.

I’m so glad it’s Friday. I don’t have enough saved-up energy to deal with some of the things that are being thrown at me. Most of us don’t. I’m just trying to get prepped for next week, get caught up on grades (ha!), and get the stuff done that needs to be done. That’s it. Then come home and maybe walk the dog. Seems like a good day for it.

Wednesday night, I finally got the quilt pinbasted. I had to piece the backing and wash the batting…

She’s not even that big.

But there are lots of details that need line quilting to bring them out.

It won’t be fast…

But I will enjoy doing it.

Last night, I got all the way around the outside…

And then quilted a hare…

And a few flowers. That’s 45 minutes of work right there. So I’m gonna be here a while. I’m OK with that. I need to start drawing the next quilt though…deadlines. So many of them now that things are opening back up…which is good, but stressful with my workload.

Last night, I got 2 hours of stitching with friends.

In 2 hours, I stitched a whipped backstitch around two of these flowers. Two. That’s it. I’m slow. It’s also the second night this week I’ve eaten dinner at 9 PM. No one around to help cook on Tuesday and Thursday. Ah well.

I’m virtually attending this year’s SAQA conference and they offered a fish instead of a swag bag. I totally went for the fish.

Love this happy fluffy thing…from Goatfeathers Studio. They look like fun.

I’m back to meditating every night with an app and a cat instead of my sketchbook…

Can’t say the cat is particularly helpful, but at least last night, she wasn’t trying to sit on my face. The other cat is currently trying to headbutt my shoulder while I’m typing. Not a fan. Apparently I haven’t petted her enough today. WTF.

OK. I have to go to work. I need to get everything done that I can so I don’t have to bring it ALL home (grade file for progress reports opens next week). At least I get two days off to decompress a little, walk some, hike some, sleep some, quilt some. Maybe write more about our trip, because I don’t have time to do it now. Going to appreciate that…plus SAQA conference stuff tomorrow…wish more of the stuff during the week was late enough for me to see in real time, but that’s not a thing apparently. Ah well…

Hard Landing…

You know how sometimes a plane lands really hard? Like BANG. When I came back from Boston, we landed hard, and then we fishtailed. Kind of nerve wracking, honestly. But we were fine. That’s what coming back after Spring Break has been like. I’m still exhausted. The booster shot is still kicking my ass. I feel completely off, both mentally and physically. Trying to give myself some grace, just get through a day at a time. Trying not to get angry at the teacher who randomly transferred a kid into my class without talking to me. This is a kid who already had that class last trimester, so it makes no sense to give him back to me? Whatever. He failed mine before…he can do all the things he didn’t do last trimester. But maybe talk to me next time? However tired and irritable I am, I wouldn’t do that to another teacher. 36 days.

I Zoomed with my co-teacher to plan since she is still stuck in Germany. It was OK, although I still need to figure out what I’m actually posting and how to make the printer work with my computer, because it stopped. That’s today’s plan. Hopefully. And grade things. Because I’m still massively behind.

In other news, I finished the stitchdown (finally!) on the desert piece.

Only 7 hours and 44 minutes. Not bad, considering the killing of a free-motion foot. I bought a variety of feet that I didn’t have for the new machine, just to see if something else would work better, because the one I used after I broke the one I like was not my favorite.

Somehow I ordered 5 of the littlest one. IDK how. Late-night Amazoning. Always an issue. Bought two of the one that broke. That was on purpose. I’ll try the others too. There’s one other one I could try if I can find it online. Meanwhile, hey Husqvarna…fix your badly designed foot! It’s funny…I’d only broken one of those in years on the last machine. Anyway. Problem solved. Hopefully.

I was hoping to pinbaste last night, but I made the decision to go to the gym last night, and it ended up being late, and then I cooked dinner, and ate it, and then it was 9:30 PM. And moving my ass off the couch became difficult. I did though…ironed the whole top and found an entire arm that wasn’t stitched down. It’s not uncommon for me to miss a small section while I’m stitching, but a footlong piece? A little more rare. So I need to do that. And then I realized I didn’t have a big enough piece of batting that was already washed.

And then it was 10:30 PM. Not staying up another hour for that. So it will get done tonight, I guess. Although I have to cook again tonight. It’s never-ending! That’s not totally true…I mean, yes, it’s never-ending, but I have leftovers set up for tomorrow and Friday night, and honestly, probably Saturday too. Maybe. We’ll see if there’s any left by then. Slow quilt. This one is slow. I blame the day job.

Yeah, there’s been a lot of that lately. Yesterday was kind of one of those. Certainly it was a “No, you’re not crying on the way to work. Oh wait, yes you are.” day. It’s fine. I’m just tired and feeling overwhelmed. It’ll get better.

Saw a hawk on the neighbor’s swingset that is just on the other side of my fence…

Pretty bird.

I think the only way I’m going to get through the vacation photos is a little bit at a time. We had shitty wifi in Paso Robles, so that was the last bit I posted and it took forever. The first night, we went to something called the Light Fields at Sensorio, which is an artist installation of all these LED lights over the fields near Paso Robles. It was cool…

Also cool that the moon was out…

There were an awful lot of people, though, so realize that. And it’s not cheap.

I did really enjoy the light show though…some of them change colors as you’re watching. But the non-lit landscape was also cool.

The next day, we were going to hike but it rained all morning and we couldn’t get our acts together, so we read and tried to watch TV (see bad wifi) and I stitched some…

Those little bees were pretty fun to make…

Even though my cast-on stitches are not perfect. I’m OK with not perfect.

When it cleared up, we headed out to an area called Tin City that is all winery tasting rooms and a few breweries, packed full of people and dogs, and we hung out at one brewery for a few hours, people- and dog-watching, plus I drew, and we ate dinner.

It was entertaining enough. When it got cold, we left…next day? Pinnacles.

OK, going to work now. Today I teach all the things. Should be interesting. I’m not ready. I’m rarely ready, but these days, really I’m not feeling it. Let’s hope prep period is productive and I get a ton done and feel successful and on top of things. That would be nice.

Booster Brain

My plan was to catch up on blogwriting on Saturday/Sunday, but I got my second COVID booster and ended up with booster brain. Fell asleep for a while. Also went to a meeting, which was 5+ hours, so that was some of it. I’ll get there. Just not probably today, since I go back to school and I’ve probably forgotten all the things. Certainly the dog has forgotten our morning routine. I’ve had to chase him down a few times to get him to come back, stop wandering off, get in the house.

I’m incredibly unready to go back. I’m still exhausted…camping does not lend to easy sleep for me. I did appreciate the time when all I could do was draw, hike, read, or stitch. But, and I knew this would happen, I have come back to all the things I haven’t done, plus a car issue on top of all that. Deep breaths. Count the days of school that are left. Don’t panic.

One of the things I did on the trip was finish the last two of Sue Spargo’s March Homegrown blocks…one of them has a rewrite on the part of my life…

Funny that almost exactly a year ago, I posted the four blocks from April that had all been appliqued down, ready for the embroidery. I don’t do these fast, y’all. I did finish the first block from April as well…it’ll show up in one of the blogposts, once I finish resizing all the photos.

I finally managed to sit down at the sewing machine for stitchdown. I had this idea that Friday before I flew to Boston I would be stitching, and probably Thursday as well, and then when I got home on Monday after, I’d spend time then stitching, maybe finishing on Tuesday as we packed and shopped for camping. None of that happened. The deadline for the show I was making this for will pass without it being finished, which is fine. It’s still a worthy quilt and will find a home somewhere in some show. So Saturday night, I finally got my brain where it needed to be and sat down at the machine…

About 2 hours in, the free motion foot broke. This is the second one I’ve broken. Understand that in the previous 10 years of quilting with this foot on my old machine, I think I broke one. I’ve now broken two in 5 months. Two quilts. So I googled it, and yes, this foot is an issue. So I tried one of the other free motion feet…

It works, but even though it’s see-through, I’m having a hard time seeing where I’m going if I’m going backwards. So it’s been a pain, but I’m doing it. I also ordered about 4 different feet that should work in my machine, plus 2 of the foot that breaks, because it’s a design fault…and it’s still easier than trying to use this other one. Frustrating though. Something the new machine does causes breakage? Yes, it’s installed correctly. It’s just a weak point in the foot. Anyway, I’ve done all of the body and below the head…just need to finish the sky tonight, then piece a backing and pinbaste it. Not sure I’ll get all that done tonight, but we’ll see.

I need to grade about a million things too. Trying not to think too hard about that. I took a pile with me to the meeting yesterday, but was so spaced out from the booster that I couldn’t even look at them. Not sure I can today either. The spaciness is gone…the mindset of ‘can’t deal’ is not.

I did a lot of reading over the last two weeks…this is from Kingdoms, which I haven’t finished yet, but had a lovely description of women in history.

“Expensive cows.” Yup. Interesting book. I read a lot more when the Man is gone…read through dinner and every other meal (OK, I always read through every other meal, except at work).

The cats miss him. Apparently they missed me too. I interrupted this clandestine meeting of sisters last night.

I believe it was about geckos on the windows. Can’t be sure though. They might be planning a coup.

OK, going to work. Going to be efficient and not cloudy brained. When I can leave (after being forced to watch a staff v student basketball game outside, wait, where’s the sunscreen?), I will come home and see what I am capable of…blogging? Stitchdown? Nap on the couch? Grading? In that order. Thirty-eight days of school left.

Ode to a Shower…

Showers are wonderful y’all. I appreciate them even when they aren’t great. The water is warm, even hot? Check. It’s above me and there’s enough water to do the things? Check. BOOM. I’m in. Yes, I have been showerless for a few days. Bathroomless even, although there was one down the hill. I had a porta-potty nearby. The flies buzzing in close proximity to the gentler parts were a worry, but survivable.

We left Wednesday and went to see Alice Beasley’s 30-year retrospective show at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica. No, LA traffic has not changed. It was worth it though to see more of her work in person.

This is Isle of Dreams Revisited.

And the incredibly relevant From Russia with Love…

Definitely worth a drive up. No matter how much the Man complained about LA traffic. If you just accept that there will be traffic, it’s a lot easier to take.

From there, we headed to Ojai and the showerless campground. It was OK…nothing to write home about, but serviceable for our needs. A nice tree, some great views, and these weird tanks.

The view…in one direction…

And the other direction…

The Man has a thing for campfires, but occasionally we’ve had starting issues. Solution? Buy firestarters…

Totally worth it for my sanity. Oh yes, I draw while he fights the wood and the fire.

I started with the mountain ridge line and added the figure.

On Thursday, we picked what we thought would be a reasonable hike. You know how some 5-mile hikes feel longer than others?

Yeah, this was one of those. It was fine. I think we were both tired and hadn’t been exercising much (for me, in the last week…too much school crap and then going to Boston).

Depending on which app you were talking to, it was 5.5 or 5.6 miles with 1400+ feet of gain.

There’s some gain right there. It wasn’t horrible. It just took us a lot longer than we thought it would.

Lots of spring flowers and butterflies…

I came around the corner into a flock of these little blue butterflies.

You’ve heard of slowing down, slow stitching, slow cooking?

We slow hiked.

It’s not a race. Came back, hung out, had a drink to celebrate the end of the hike, stitched a bit, read a lot, took a nap…

Another fire…

Another drawing…shit, that’s what I could be doing while I wait for all these pictures to load…draw!

This morning, we slept in, then fed ourselves and packed up in just 90 minutes. Drove out of Ojai to Paso Robles, where we have an actual shower and stove and bed. OK we had all those things in the campsite except for the shower.

Tonight is art, tomorrow is hiking and some entertainment. Then book it out of here on Easter for Pinnacles National Park (has showers!). I know lots of people wanna know why I don’t hike the PCT with the Man. There are quite a few reasons (my job is one), but also…showers. My goodness, it has taken two hours with the slow internet here to get this written. Time for dinner and then art! Not sure when I’ll be able to write again. We’ll see. Rest assured that I will be reading, stitching, hiking, napping, and photographing…and trying to avoid thinking about school.

What If I Run Out?

I came home Monday night, still on Boston time. Sort of. Yesterday, we shopped and packed, and today we’re leaving on California time. Sort of. I’m still up too early and tired and hungry at the wrong times. If at all (hunger…always tired). I’ve got 9 maybe 10 days of mostly nature in front of me. There’s some art and one house stay, but mostly nature. Mostly have showers and toilets, but maybe not on one night. I might come home on my own; I might bring the Man back with me. So many possibilities (no, I’m not leaving him by the side of the road…he might have a job). I have a couple, maybe three books loaded up to read, some stitching, a sketchbook, and probably more shirts than I need. I have more pants than the Man. IDK how he does it, but I can’t wear one pair of pants for ten days. Not happening.

Here’s hoping for some sleep, some hiking, and some relaxation. Keep the weather nice and the neighboring campsites nicer. Or empty. I’m good with empty. The campsite we’re supposed to be in tonight had 21/35 campsites empty yesterday. I’m good with that. Suspect they won’t all be that empty, but that’s OK. I bought a new camp chair to lounge in. I made rice krispies treats (that’s my camping treat). I get to see some art quilts on the way up. It sounds good, yeah? I hope it is.

Monday, I blogged from here…

The couch in the girlchild’s bedroom. I left for the airport from there and flew home, graded most of one assignment because the video screens in our row on the plane were broken. Sucked. I wanted to see the second half of the movie I started watching on the way out. Oh well.

On Monday, we got to announce (finally) that we got into Quilt Visions…

I’m excited. And so glad the jurors Sheila Frampton Cooper, Lisa Walton, and Petra Fallaux chose the abortion rights quilt, My Body. My Choice.

It’s one of those quilts that might never get into a show. Politics y’all. Difficult topics.

So I thank them for being brave. I appreciate the opportunity to show the hard quilts. I know some people aren’t going to like it. I’m hoping we can have a conversation.

Also, this.

I waver between this level of confrontation and wanting to converse to hopefully give people a different view. I think I know what they will say about their side of it, but maybe I’m wrong. I’m wrong a lot.

I read a bunch the last few days…this is from Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. The cat amused me.

I really liked that book. Also about a pandemic. Maybe should stop reading dystopian futures.

Because the pandemic. Yeah. I tested negative when I got home on Monday. I have no symptoms, either from my daughter’s cold or exposure before I went on break. Knock on wood that it stays that way. Guess I’m not ready to give up masks at school yet.

I was hoping to get some stitchdown done the Friday I left and/or yesterday around packing, but I just didn’t have the energy. I have to concede defeat. I will not meet the deadline. It’s OK. It’s still a beautiful quilt and will find a home, an exhibition, somewhere to be seen. Most of them do. Yes, some of them don’t. Those always perturb me. Sometimes it’s obvious why…they’re a little TOO quirky and strange. Sometimes I have no idea why.

Last night, we watched the first episode of a series. I wondered why the Man chose that, since the probability of his being gone until sometime in late July/early August is pretty high. Ah well. It wasn’t that compelling. I stitched stuff down because it was brainless. Kitten hung out with me because she missed me.

I missed her too.

I need to keep track of how much embroidery I do while camping. I am currently panicking that 5 blocks of embroidery is not enough. Is that crazy? It might be. I feel like I finished one on the last trip. OK, so to keep track, I have two blocks of the four March blocks embroidered, so I’m taking two with me, plus three or four from April. Should I pack May? Is that crazy? I don’t know. I just don’t know. WHAT IF I RUN OUT?!

Crafty people understand. OK, we leave in 35 minutes. I need to go pack the food and get the hell out of here. See you on the web. I have internet in three days? Maybe?

Refreshing Brain and Body…

Currently I’m lounging on the girlchild’s couch, listening to her work on some Zoom-like app. I only hear her side, so it’s a partial story. I’m not really fully awake. Although I’ve slept a decent number of hours in the last few days, I’m in Boston, so it’s the wrong time zone, and I think my body knows that.

I made it to the last day of the Gaia exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum; it was awesome to see the show in person after hearing many of the artists talk about their work on Zoom in the early days of the show. I think this started traveling right before COVID hit. Like many shows, it’s been in some places and canceled in others, but it was an honor to be included. I love this picture of me with Luana Rubin, who curated the show.

I flew on a redeye flight because we had a field trip at school on Friday, so I couldn’t take the day off. I dozed on the plane, arriving at 5 AM in Boston. I slept for about 4 hours in the morning and then we drove out to Lowell for Luana’s talk. She asked me to speak about my piece, which is just proof that I can do anything…talk about a piece with no prep and no sleep! Ah well.

I loved seeing this Cas Holmes piece in person…it’s so beautiful.

I was amazingly bad at taking photos there…probably due to massive lack of sleep. There was a bird exhibit too…this piece was by Linda Heatherley…

I really like the separation of spaces and graphic quality of this piece.

After the show, I got more caffeine (necessary) and briefly checked out this cool artsy space in Lowell…

Then back to the room for a nap before dinner. Rally! It’s nice to be here just with the girlchild. When she is in San Diego, there are many pulls on both our time, so I appreciate being the only one with her, even if it’s just a short time.

Sunday, she coached a soccer game and I watched. I spent 13 or so years sitting on soccer fields watching her play, either grading or stitching while I sat.

It’s a little different watching her coach, but not a lot. It was cold out there, but I did stitch…

Last night, we got takeout in my room and watched a movie, and I stitched some more…

These two blocks from March Homegrown (Sue Spargo) are done. I only finished the bottom one here. Not sure why I dragged a finished one across the country.

I also drew on Saturday.

Lots of zendoodly filling-in of space. Brainless.

I leave for the airport in about 90 minutes…gonna read and stitch until then. I get home tonight and tomorrow is shopping and packing for 8 or 9 days of mostly camping and hiking. Expect more nature photos, drawing, and stitching. Looking forward to it, but also, I’m tired. Hope I catch up on sleep at some point. It is Spring Break…not thinking about school is mostly happening. I did briefly grade warmups and I am set up to watch student videos if I feel like it. I might now ever feel like it. And that’s ok. I have 38 days of school left when break is over and there’s a bunch of stressful things coming up too. I need to refresh brain and body for all of that. So. Back to stitching for a while! See you back on the West Coast…

I Am Always Behind

I got an email last night from a student wanting to know why I hadn’t graded all his work yet. Sigh. I am behind. I am always behind. There are very few times when I am caught up. Right now I’m behind because I’m trying to set up a field trip and do school and do art and get ready to leave on two separate trips, and there aren’t enough hours in the day. Wait until he hears I’m not grading anything over break. OK, I’ll probably grade SOMETHING, but not a lot. I won’t be home enough to grade a lot. Which sucks and yet is necessary to reset my brain. I will explain to the kid that if he wants his grade to go up, though, he should redo the assignments he rushed through, since he’s already done with the project that we are finishing up today. He has plenty of time to fix them.

Trying to find time (and more importantly, the energy) to grade stuff is difficult right now. I can do a few easy things in class, but not as much as I used to be able to do. It doesn’t help when I’m trying to do chaperone groups for the science center at the same time, plus field all the calls from the office, plus get them to actually get on task and stop turning around and distracting their friends. We have three days left, with most of Friday on a field trip. I’m exhausted and done; so are they. I was trying to grade the two art assignments during prep yesterday; made it through one, then got interrupted. So that will be today, plus whatever else I can get through.

After school, I have a union meeting on Zoom; I’m going to get my car looked at again (their request) at the same time. There was an oil filter issue that I really don’t want to have while I’m camping next week. Then home to record the lightning talk I rewrote again last night. Finally got the slides to work, copied them into a new presentation, added timing, practiced a few times, edited the script, then realized it was bedtime. Fuck. Hopefully I will get to do some sewing tonight. I didn’t last night. My goal for the week of having this thing pinbasted before I go to Boston? That’s not happening. I did start the stitchdown on Monday night…barely.

I got all the way around the edge, plus the little piece with the rabbit. I’m trying out the other MonoPoly color, smoke. I like it for most things. Not sure about lighter things. Not patient enough to switch between the two though. I’d like an hour or so tonight with it. We’ll see if I get that. I didn’t get much done Monday because I had to iron the whole thing down with steam, so that was 40 minutes or so.

Anyway. I’m dealing one day at a time right now. Trying to find the cat her special food. Ugh. Had to go to the dentist, which is no longer open late. Ugh. I’m juggling too many things.

I’m going to be SO productive today. I am going to cross things off the list like a boss! Or not.

I did go to the gym yesterday and finished my book. Exercise is key. I don’t see any exercise in the next 5 days, unfortunately.

After dinner, last night, I worked on these guys…

This is my braindead work. I had about an hour to eat and hang with the man while watching part of a movie. We don’t watch ALL of a movie at once any more. It’s my fault. I always have too much to do. But I pulled these out because I panicked that I would have no stitching for these two trips, OMG, nothing to work on! I like to have all the applique done and just do embroidery in the car or on a plane. These are the July blocks of Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block-of-the-month quilt. I’ve been working on them for a week now, convinced I would need them. Then last night, I went through the stash to see what needed embroidering. My loves, I am still embroidering the March blocks. Seriously. I have April, May, and June ready for stitching. There is no way I’m finishing all of those. Last year, I finished January and started February during Spring Break (yes, it’s been a while). I’ll be fine. I was trying to finish the Chirp borders over the last year…it’s a much less portable piece right now, so that’s why I haven’t been working on these. But I will be.

Here’s my piece Heart-Shaped Box (far right) in the Artist as Quiltmaker exhibit in Oberlin, Ohio, right now.

Patty Kennedy-Zafred’s piece in the front. Deb Berkebile’s piece on the far left. Sherry Kleinman’s piece to the left of the window next to mine. Not sure about the other one. This show was supposed to take place in Spring 2020. I’m impressed by their persistence to eventually show this exhibit. It’s much appreciated.

OK. School. Grading. Because I don’t want to think about it for two weeks. Try not to lose my mind in class. Do all the things. Make the kids do all the things. I teach 4 things today. Exhausting. Anti-tobacco curriculum (last day, yay! Thank you state politicians for putting that on us!), end of the reptile rescue project, start of photosynthesis escape room, plus monster zendoodle ink and erase. Plus harass the kids who haven’t finished anything. Fun stuff.

Meditative stitching at the end of the day…looking forward to it.

The Overwhelmedness…

Y’all, I’m feeling the overwhelmedness this morning. I was also feeling it last night at 1 AM when I was trying to sleep but the to-do list was screaming at me. I know the solution: bang some shit out, get it done, cross it the fuck off the list, run a marathon, come back, and finish the rest of it. Yeah. I know. I have limits. I’m not always sure what they ARE, but I have them. For instance, maybe agreeing to re-copyedit this book (quick readthrough!) in March was a mistake. Maybe signing up for a lightning talk…now see, that one’s deadline moved up a good 12 days. I could have done it without freaking out about it, and now I’m gonna have to freak out about it. I just need to be the most efficient bitch in the world for about two weeks…same thing I told myself two weeks ago.

School is always a big stressor. This year, of course it’s more than normal. Hoping this is not the new normal. Add Job#3, the copyediting, that’s a bad plan while I’m teaching. Ah well. It’s done. I have to do all the things. Today is school, vet with two animals, copyediting, hopefully some artmaking, certainly some grading, possibly some sort of mental breakdown in the middle of it? We’ll see. Checking on that one. Tomorrow is a lot of work, plus house stuff, plus ship a small sold quilt (good news!), and a social event or two in the evening (can’t be simple; has to be complicated). Then Sunday, we lose an hour, I still have all my school work to do, plus going to see the parents for the first time in a while. Then back to school. Chaos. It’s all good. I do just want to hole up and read my book, but we’ll have to see where that fits. Also, there’s no hike in that list. There needs to be a hike in that list. Fuck. Not sure when and where. But hike.

I was lucky to stitch last night with friends. Enjoyed it. Forgot to take a picture of what I did. Now waiting for app to update. I’ll insert photo here. Let’s just say it’s supposed to say Town Hall, but this is what I really felt like.

Also, I slammed my hand into a door jamb yesterday like an idiot, and it swelled up hugely almost immediately. Swelling is down, I can move all my fingers, but the bruise is going to be stupendous. It’s all good.

In other news, Wednesday night, I got the face ironed to fabric…

I think those blues are the river running through it. It was my birthday on Wednesday, so I now have some reading to do…always appreciate books.

And postcards from the girlchild…plus a truly impressive trilobite from the boychild. I suspect they have my number, as it were.

Then last night, after stitching from friends and lying around on the couch like a beached walrus for a bit, staring at owl videos, I finally surfaced and finished ironing the hawk down to fabrics…this is all that was left.

And yes, I stayed up late to do it. Dammit. Fuck Job#2…art is Job #1.

Here’s all the fabrics I used. A TON of browns, greens, grays, and other earth tones.

I’ve already started cutting pieces out, or that box would be more full. I ironed for a whopping 27 hours and 44 minutes. All that realism kicked my butt. Next one will be fantastical as hell. Nothing real. All in my head. Whenever I get to do that one.

OK. School. Two or three docs to make, all the things to copy, grading if I can persuade kids to work without standing on them (ha!), then race home and grab two furry beasts, take to vet, come back, probably more walrusing on the couch, then copyedit. SLEEP. Damn those nextdoor kids if they are up early on Saturday morning. I will be dropping rocks by drone near enough to their sweet little raucousing heads that they run inside to play violent video games instead of wholesome outdoor fun.

Yeah. You know I wouldn’t do that.