Adding to the Totals…

Today is officially the first day I usually think actively about going back to school. This year has been a clusterfuck for that. August 1 is also usually the day when I realize I’m going back to school soon and I blow off everything on the to-do list except art, because I realize how limited my time will be for that once school starts. It’s an odd place to be, mentally. Plus this year, I’m proofreading a book right now in the middle of that, and it’s something I want done before we go back. It takes time, though. So a little of that every day and a little of the to-do list every day and a little art every day.

I finished drawing the newest one…

Nice arm shadow there…taking pictures late at night on the floor. While I was trying to draw the last bit, Kitten gave it butt approval…

Then I numbered it…

I really tried to keep this simple. There’s so many things and details I didn’t add.

But then I covered two giant heads with words. I considered screenprinting them, but setting up a screen and getting that done in summer heat seemed like it would take longer than this. I’ve made quilts/fabric art in many different ways. For whatever reason, this method works the best for me. But simple? Not so much at 1359 pieces…

Could be worse, I guess. I do need to buy more Wonder Under today. Running low. Probably don’t have enough to finish this. I started tracing on Saturday, in between proofreading…

I’ve got over 3 hours in and hit the 300s last night. Not bad. Could be better.

Today, I’m finishing the quilting on the bed quilt…

We got to the bottom, but there are some areas near the top that need fill in, so that’s today. Then pull it off and put a binding on it! A miracle.

We had dinner at the parentals last night…girlchild cooked, which is always good…

I stitched a tiny bit on a Homegrown block that seems to never get done…

This week is the last full week of Summer Break. Sad but true. Next week is training and a super-spreader event. Should be painful. My desk here in the office still isn’t clean. I didn’t paint the hallway. My classroom is still having floors done so I can’t do anything in there. I have a preliminary calendar for the first few days of school for 8th grade; 7th grade is pretty stellar though. I did not clean out my closet. I didn’t plant the slope toward the neighbor’s house. I got some of the palm tree stuff off the backyard slope, but there’s a ton more. The trees are not trimmed. I did not clean out the garage. I did not get enough sleep. I didn’t exercise enough.

I did read 9 books. I did spend 116 hours doing most art (but some proofreading and copyediting in there). I finished one quilt. Not bad. I have a few more days to add to those totals. I seem to appreciate those last days as much as the first few…

So Much…

OK, let’s pretend I have a schedule and I follow it. Let’s also pretend I know what day it is without looking at a calendar and counting things. Saturday might have been a reset…I did ALL the things on Saturday and I know what day that was because the calendar kept telling me, and so today is two days past that, so it must be Monday. Plus the inept pool guy came this morning…wait, no, he hasn’t consistently been coming on Mondays. Geez. Can’t count on anything. Must be summer. Good thing because I’m trying to get some quilts done.

I’m 12 hours into ironing the newest one together…

I think I missed some pictures. Just know I’ve been ironing since last week sometime. This is Thursday I think…I’m pretty sure I was on Zoom with my friend Susan while I was ironing the cannon. And the handmaid. So I’ve seen the stuff about not using the handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s book, and I understand it, because she did borrow a lot of ideas from real-life happenings with women of color and slavery and native women. And certainly white women have had advantages due to their race and maybe even because white men value white women (annoying shit really, but reality). I was thinking of this part of the quilt as being like the Salem witch trials, burning us at the stake for our viewpoints. There are other handmaids in this quilt, and I guess I will just have to own them. That book had a significant effect on me when it first came out. I have been a serious Atwood fan since early college if not before. So I will own my white privilege on that. As I age, I realize and try to educate myself more on the inequality of our supposedly free (#notfree) country. The handmaids are a symbol…maybe not the best one, but the one I had for the moment.

This was at the end of Thursday night’s ironing…

On Friday, I did the center bit, the portal, skipping numbers from the 300s to the 800 and 900s because it made sense to do that bit now.

I lost one of the crow’s legs. I’m sure I’ll find it at some point. I just made a new one. It was easier.

From here, I started ironing all the things that line up the arms…

Including these two guys.

And then started on the hands. So I have both arms, the upper torso, and the head left, plus some stuff in the sky. I’m in the middle of the 600s, but I’ve already done 100 pieces in the 800 and 900s…so more than halfway…maybe 400 pieces left? Hard to know. I could do that in a couple of days. I’m hoping to.

I’ve been lucky with jury duty so far…just keep calling in and they say no. My biggest worry at the moment is getting put on a trial now that lasts longer than this week. I moved everything to next week…three meetings, a vet appointment, and a copyediting job. I’m gonna freak out if I have to go in now. I think my biggest anxiety with all this is the not knowing. I don’t deal with the unknown well. Anyway, knock on wood that they’ll keep releasing me, one freakin’ day at a time.

Saturday was a crazy day. Every meeting in July apparently happened on the 9th. I had planned a hike and potluck with my hiking group, because originally The Man was going to be on the PCT, so I figured socializing would be a good thing. The hike was awesome…

Saw some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while…

We were up in the Lagunas, which was still pretty warm, but not too bad…upper 80s. The meadows felt the warmest…

But there was a bit of a breeze. We started on Sunset Trail, which I’ve done a million times, but then went off on a different batch of trails to get back. Chico Ravine? Plus Old County. Here’s the familiar Water of the Woods…

I was really worried about this hike because my knee had been really cranky all week to the point of limping on Friday. So I drove up on my own so I’d have an exit vehicle if I had to bail out, and I had a knee brace and my poles. Totally needed none of that. Knee was fine. Not sure what was up with all that. Maybe I did something to it at the gym that lasted for 3 days but on the 4th was fine? Weird. Old bodies are annoying.

This is Wooly Pod Milkweed.

Never seen it in bloom. Very cool looking.

Anyway, then I went to the potluck, the first of THREE. You know how potlucks always have a weird grouping of food? Lots of funky salads, some bits and pieces of a real meal? And of course, you pick weird combos…tend to be heavy on carbs, although the hiking potluck was very heavy on interesting salads, which was nice. There were LOTS of people there…they sent 4 or 5 hikes out and then everyone from all those hikes met up for the potluck. It was cool to see some people I hadn’t seen for a while, but overwhelming in the long run. But that’s me. Lots of people I didn’t know. I should hike more with them though.

I made it home, showered (very important), then left like 45 minutes later for one of my art group meetings…which was, you guessed it, a potluck! I didn’t bring anything to that one because they are very heavily foodies and I cannot compete. So after having all those healthy salads, I settled on a slice of homemade bread and a tiny cupcake (what meal is between lunch and dinner? Tea? I didn’t drink tea…just sparkling water). I listened and watched presentations and stitched on this slow-stitch scarf for a while.

It’s going to take three million years to finish it, so don’t worry…you’ll see lots of it. I started it at QuiltCon 2021 (online). But then I didn’t have all the materials I needed, so it languished…as things do. But it’s all basted and all I have to do is pick it up and keep stitching at this point. Easy peasy.

Then I went home again for about 20 minutes, grabbed the rest of the cookies that hadn’t been eaten at the first potluck, and took them to the third one, which was the annual Burn the Sex Ed Cards Bonfire…little did we know that it was the second Eid (I didn’t know there was more than one) and everyone who celebrated it would be at the park where the bonfire was. Parking was a challenge; so was avoiding being seen by anyone I might have taught in the last few years. My co-teacher and I brought all the cards the kids write for our anonymous question box and let the rest of the people at the bonfire read them and then burn them. It’s cleansing. And funny.

This was the pizza and s’mores potluck. I don’t do s’mores because of chocolate, but there was yet another interesting salad! I don’t eat a wide variety of salads unless the girlchild is home. I don’t have the energy for it, so it’s nice when others do. I also did not have the energy to stay for fireworks…headed home and was in bed by 10:30, completely zonked out. Didn’t even hear The Man come home from his show at the Belly Up.

Sunday was all about recovery. I ironed most of the day. Also read a lot. I like to hermit over the summer. Saturday was not very hermit-like, so I will have to make up for it the rest of this week and possibly longer. Seriously, so much socializing and potlucking.

I’ve been doing a little bit of school stuff, just searching for and/or scanning homework assignments from this series. The cat loves my co-teacher’s bag. She will be sad when I return it.

I only have one book left to scan/search. Then I need to sort all the assignments into where they belong. Waiting for some lame professional development to do that.

This other cat spent Saturday night trying to punch a gecko through the window…

A lot of staring at windows goes on at night around here. They are fascinated by the geckos, who are just there for the moths who are attracted by the light coming through the windows.

In other news, the New Legacies exhibit opened this weekend at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. I stole these photos from someone I don’t know on Facebook, because I will not be going to this exhibit…too far.

But there’s my piece So Cal Mama!

Always nice to see them out in the wild. Speaking of the wild, the baby owls are fledging! Noisy as hell, but also practicing flying at night. We’re not sure which are babies and which are parents, because at this stage, the babies are as big as the adults, but here’s three…

Last night, I moved the camera…not sure if there will be a better view or not. We’ll see. Certainly they are very active (and loud) at the moment. Apparently the parents will help get them food for a while longer, but they should be finding a new home by the end of the summer. After Halloween, we should be able to safely drop the box and clean it out for next year. We’ve heard and seen them in all the trees around the box, which is really cool, and found a few feathers in the yard. So there’s at least one baby…possibly two or three.

OK, so apparently I will be picking up some plants later today, plus ironing. And drinking more tea. And probably a shower and food would be helpful to my brain processing information. And then maybe I’ll do this again on Wednesday, like I normally do. And maybe the quilt will be ironed down and ready for stitching. I’m hopeful.

My New Podcast

Not really. Don’t get excited. I don’t have time for a podcast…I’m too busy making art. Well…ha! Trying to make art. I did make a video Monday about 7 hours into an eventually 10.5-hour drive (luckily I didn’t drive the last two hours…I was done) and mentally titled it “What the Fuck Am I Doing. Where the Fuck Am I. And Why the Fuck Am I Here.” It’s a really long title for a podcast, but it seemed appropriate at the time. I’ll post the video here once it’s done processing. I actually made TWO videos (they are so lame and unprofessional, but thought process! Yes that.) and then put them together (mad skillz) and now that’s uploading. So yeah.

I think I made the video to entertain myself more than anything, which is why I write this blog…well, to document my brain in time. I do go back and reread months sometimes when I’m having a really hard time, and it reminds me that certain things cycle through life. The beginning of school is always hard. So is the end. So are the two weeks right after school get out. It’s a reset. And this one has been a kind of crazy one.

If you’ve watched the video, you don’t know what happened! The Man has had 3 weeks of elevation sickness while hiking the Sierras. It’s been beautiful but incredibly hard. So he had to make a decision, and I drove up to see him after 3+ weeks of not seeing him and to support him in his decision, either by sticking him on a bus north or driving him north or bringing him home. In the end, adulting and money issues brought him home, which sucks and is sad, but also a relief I think for both of us. It doesn’t mean he’s done. It just means he’s done for a while. It’s job time. I love him for trying over and over again to do this hard thing and for deciding it’s time to stop for now.

It has meant that I haven’t gotten much art done. Packed Sunday and tried to set up everything I needed to. Drove Monday all day. Tuesday, drove back home. I’m exhausted. Still. Plus add a friend’s daughter’s wedding on Saturday, Fathers’ Day stuff on Sunday…I haven’t had much time to focus on recovery yet.

Friday night, after checking out of school, trying to reset my neck again at the chiropractor (slightly more movement), and taking the dog to the vet, I ironed for a bit.

Watched How to Train Your Dragon…no, never had time to watch it before.

So that was after Friday night, almost 2 hours of ironing. I was tired, but ready to iron on Saturday and Sunday! So motivated. Ha!

Saturday was a lot of running around and then a wedding. And then when I got home, I started getting texts from the Man about quitting and coming to get him, and mine back saying are you sure, what about just starting further north, and it was kind of a mess. I didn’t iron at all. Sunday morning, he had processed his feelings and just wanted to see me, which had been in the plan for the next week, but this would work…I just wasn’t mentally prepared for it. So most of Sunday was trying to get stuff watered and packed and purchased and all that. I did iron for just under an hour Sunday night…not my original plan for the weekend, but whatever…

Doesn’t look a lot different…but I had ironed the cat (the fabric cat, not the real cat) and more of the legs I think. Not sure.

Monday was nothing. I wasn’t here. I thought about taking the already ironed pieces with me so I could cut them out, but it was a lot of prep for the time I thought I’d have available…and in the long run, I wouldn’t have had the energy. Monday night, I laid on the bed and read my book. That’s it. We did get home last night around 5 PM after driving a good chunk of the day…ah LA…your traffic sucks. And at some point, I’d had enough caffeine to come back in here and iron some more…

I’ve finished most of the 400s and done some of the 500s, so still not halfway. It’s slow right now. My brain is slow. I’m tired. I did about 2 hours last night and only got 100 pieces ironed. I’ve got almost 10 hours in. SO SLOW. It’s OK. It’s what I need…more time. Hard to choose things. Lots of staring. I’m hoping I can speed it up this week…get it going!

I’m supposed to be doing an artist talk kind of thing (really just hanging out by my work and working and talking to anyone who comes in) on Saturday at the Visions Museum of Textile Art

And it would be good to have stuff to cut out while waiting/standing/whatever. I’ll be there from 11-2 if you want to see the show and talk to some of the artists. This is in San Diego, California, if you don’t know…and will be Saturday June 25.

So my goal is to be all ironed down before then. Well before then. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to find my brain. Wish me luck. There have been some beautiful skies lately though…lenticular cloud at sunset.

Storm clouds last night…

I did a tiny bit of stitching on the trip down from Fresno yesterday…

Again, this is Sue Spargo’s design Homegrown…I really like stitching her stuff for relaxation, especially while traveling. That’s the Grapevine heading toward Los Angeles. I could do without driving that for a while.

This is Nova watching me water everything before I left…

I’d like to think the boychild would do all that, and he might, if he weren’t on a fire crew right now. At the border…

I can’t say having your kid fight fires is the least stressful thing in the world, but he has a brain that remembers all the things, so I think he’ll be OK. But he didn’t make it home last night…so this poor little guy is feeling all lost…

He looks super sad.

Well, one of the things on my to-do list for Sunday was to write this post. I obviously failed. And then that moved to Monday (nah, exhaustion) and Tuesday (nah, let’s just go home instead). So here we are, the first day I’ve had any semblance of brain power for writing. Now I need to take a shower, go buy some boxes, pack up a quilt, ship it, plant some things, wash the hallway for future painting, IRON FABRICS, and IDK what else. Finish my book. Check on the Man. Pet the pup. All those things. Figure out what day it is. That would help.

Just a Little Longer

Hey. It’s the last Monday of the school year. I feel like with just 4 and a bit days left that I might actually survive (actually briefly felt very ill this morning, so hopefully that was some sort of dream remnant). But I’m not positive about that survival shit yet. I’ll get there. But my grades aren’t done yet, so that’s fueling some level of panic. Plus I think I have three meetings today and then IDK how many more because people keep wanting meetings and I just want to crawl into bed, put my pillow over my head, and stay there until July.

Ah well. So in the artmaking realm, I finished cutting out all the Wonder Under on Friday night (a total of 9 hours and 15 minutes) and then sorted it…

Which doesn’t take very long…

Well, just under an hour for this quilt…

And then I realized to start ironing, I would need to clean up all the stuff from the last quilt, so Saturday night, after working most of the day, I made an attempt and got everything piled up by color…

And last night, after working most of the day again, could not muster the energy to go in there and start putting them away. Which is fine. I’m tired. I’m stressed. Cleaning is not one of my go-tos during those times. It will happen. Everything is ready for the next step of the quilt…except for me.

I spent most of the weekend grading. On Friday, I stayed late and graded all the late work and one last assignment for art…

Then Saturday, I started on the last of the science assignments…this was my seat most of the weekend…

Could be worse. Nova sat on the computer at some point and added to one kid’s assignment…

Undo! Undo! I probably graded for about 5 hours on Saturday. Took a break around 5 PM and walked the dog with the boychild, who is here until his dad tests negative or is 10 days out…

It was warm out…

We only did 2 miles. Then back to grading.

My Advisory class is all graded and done.

Luckily they occasionally make me laugh.

Sunday, I spent another 7 hours grading, with breaks in between to fold laundry and go to the grocery store. Ugh. I finished the science stuff and then had to grade the alternative assignments for the kids whose parents opt them out of sex ed. That was some level of torture. First, there are 17 of them (but two didn’t hand anything in, so that’s fun); second, about half didn’t read instructions and/or thought the instructions were “Copy everything from Google.” So I’m frustrated and irritated and need to change that assignment. In my spare time. We spend more time planning the beginning of the year. By the time we get to the end, we are brain dead and can’t deal. Hopefully we can do some backwards planning this year for next year.

Am I done? No, I’m not fucking done. I still need to input final grades and behavior and effort and all that crazy shit. Hopefully I will have a prep period today, because there are three meetings and I want to come home and collapse (after buying cat food).

My quilt guild is doing a UFO finishing challenge, luckily starting in the summer this time instead of in January. Teachers need a chunk of time to finish brainless stuff like this…I put this on my list last year and didn’t finish it. It only needs quilting and a binding. Wouldn’t take long. This is Sue Spargo’s Bird Dance, which I stitched on for years at soccer games.

This one is a new finish on the embroidery…needs to be sandwiched, quilted, and bound, but it’s smaller than the other one…this is Sue Spargo’s Chirp.

I guess you can see what my hobby stitching of choice is. Totally different from what I normally make.

Then in 2008, I started making a quilt for my bed. I know! WTH. I got the top done, minus the borders…

It’s all alien fabrics, super bright. It would make me happy to finish it and put it on my bed. But I need to learn how to use mom’s longarm for this. I could do it on the regular machine, but it would be a pain. I even have the border and backing fabrics, so I just need time. I already called mom, and she’s in. So those three. No worries. Lots of brainless for a while.

Well hopefully I will be done with grades before I get home tonight, and I can just read my book. Because it’s due Thursday and I don’t want to wait until it’s ready for me again to finish it. So I need to read a little faster. Or more. Something. One day at a time. I’ve been one-daying it for about 2 months now. Just a little longer.

Five Days…

There’s a march tomorrow, one I’ve done before. March for Our Lives…about gun violence here in the US. I’m going to be there in spirit, while my body and brain grade stuff for the end of the school year. I watched a tiny bit of the testimony from the Uvalde families…it was the tiniest bit because I was at school and then had to spend all day teaching kids just two years older, and very much alive, and that’s all I could handle.

I have five more days of school, but grades are due Tuesday. I am behind in the teaching sex ed schedule because the behaviors are pretty immature and it takes a lot to deal with block scheduling…it’s too much. So we will get as far as we can. I have 17 kids opted out of sex ed, so their giant projects are due to me today. That’s gonna take a while to grade. All the art projects are due today. So many kids absent for COVID or field trips or camp and somehow they’re all still supposed to finish. AND I have to have stuff for the kids who are done. I’m done, honestly. Very done.

I appreciated meeting with friends last night…when I was dropping the Man off on the PCT, I had almost finished a Sue Spargo quilt I’ve been working on since 2020. I think I’ve been doing the borders for a year (they are complicated and I don’t work on them regularly). I had about 2 3/4 of the last stitch on the last 4 flowers to do, and I could have done it in the car on the way up to Kennedy Meadows, but then mentally I couldn’t. So it’s been sitting around. I was fairly sure last night would be the big finish, which is kinda cool, since they’ve been around (mostly on Zoom for the whole damn thing). And here we are!

All the embroidery is done; I just need to sandwich, quilt, and bind. Minor work…compared to the rest of it. It’s nice to have a finish. My quilt guild is doing the UFO thing again…so I made a list of the unfinished and it was long. I will need to pick a couple to do though. This will probably be one of them.

Speaking of the Man, he made it over Forester Pass yesterday. He’s coming off trail today to pick up his resupply package. I wish him luck. I think he’s feeling better (besides being sore and tired), so that is a plus. I still don’t know when or where I will be able to meet him. His mileage has been pretty low…I’m hoping for the two weeks after school gets out, but it’s looking complicated. As usual.

I am so close to done on cutting out Wonder Under. I did a goodly chunk on Wednesday night…

Had about 3/4 of a yard left to go. But last night, I was home late and only got 30 minutes in (had to finish a book. Crucial. Absolutely. If you’re at 95% and you DON’T finish, what is wrong with you?). So I’m still not done…

There’s probably 30-45 minutes left of cutting, but I picked sleep last night out of pure exhaustion. So tonight I will finish cutting and then sort. Ironing tomorrow? Hopefully.

Meanwhile, there are cat antics. Nova wants to hug geckos…

And Luna has been a psycho in bed.

No sleep for the weary.

OK, my voice is shot even with a microphone. Today is STDs. Always fun. Plus a ton of grading. Hopefully during prep and not just after school. We’ll see. Looking forward to a weekend, even if it is full of grading and inputting crap. There will be some down time.

Dropped Off…

Hey. It’s the third to last week of school. There are 12 days left. I persuade myself I can do 12 days until the alarm goes off in the morning, and then I wonder DEEPLY about my choice of profession and the pandemic and how few social skills these kids have. Teaching sex ed is usually a pretty easy end of the year, but this year…man…so many inappropriate behaviors. It’s exhausting. I’ve been wearing a mic for weeks, trying to save my voice and it’s still crap by the time I get through the day. Sore throat, rough. Ugh. Most days, I’m not even really sure what day it actually is. I forgot (again) about my before-school duty yesterday because Tuesday? After a weekend? Yeah, no brain power. I remembered after school because I looked at my calendar and actually READ it. I have four places, maybe five that remind me of things, and I still forget.

The pro is that I graded two full assignments in the car on the way up to Ridgecrest. I have three real assignments left to grade. I just need to power through, and then I can decide which of these silly worksheets we do that I actually care about. Oh yeah, and then 16 projects for the kids whose parents opted them out. That’ll take me a bit. Just a bit. They’re trying to hand them in now, and I skim through, thinking (stupidly), “did you read the instructions?”. My high-level kids are still working on them. The lower kids are “WE’RE DONE!” My ass you are. Go back. Anyway. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s a pro.

So Sunday, we drove through the endless, windy, dusty desert to get to Ridgecrest.

It’s seriously a drive I have done way too many times, with at least a few in my near future. Tired of it. But the Man drove up because he knew I had to drive back. So that was nice.

Hotel room was OK, not huge, weird bathroom configuration, but was remodeled relatively recently. Can’t really recommend Ridgecrest for anything. It’s hot and dry and dusty and food choices are mostly fast and furious. We watched two movies, both not very memorable. I stitched and drew.

And read a little. Finished a book…it was short…

That is the last of the flower types. I finished one and a half of them…only three and a half to go. I could have stitched on the road from Ridgecrest to Kennedy Meadows, but mentally couldn’t. Plus at some point it was mountain road, so that’s not a thing for me. Look Straight Out the Window. That’s me. But I’m close to done on this.

At Kennedy Meadows, the Man tried to buy this year’s bandana, but she wouldn’t sell him one (strange excuse about not having very many…weird sales concept there), he saw a friend (and got a bandana from him instead) who worked where he worked for a couple weeks, and then we drove to the campground, where a PCTA person lectured about snow and bears. For a really long time. My plan was to hike out with him for a little way, and then head back all the way home. It was a good plan.

Expect skinnier the next time you see him…well at least with me.

It was warmish and elevation (6500′) was definitely a factor in breathing. Going from sea level up in one day is problematic.

Officially in the Sierras…

We hiked about 2 miles to the bridge over the river and he refilled his water. The plus to not being in the desert section is that there is plenty of water.

And that’s where we said goodbye…for at least 3, probably 4 weeks. Hopefully will meet him somewhere.

It’s never easy sending him off…

I worry about him. I stress about having to do all the things at home. It’s not fun dealing with kid behaviors all day and coming home to no one to talk to. The boychild is here half the time. The cats are demanding. And I hate having to cook all the time. It’s hard to communicate with the Man…sometimes his messages overlap with mine (there’s no cell service; he’s using his Garmin) or he’s messaging all day while I’m teaching, and then when I have time to message back, he’s going to sleep (it’s still daylight, y’all). So it’s hard. But he wants to finish it and I hope he can. I know his knee was painful the first day, better the second day, but elevation is pretty crazy and it’s all up for the next four weeks. With an occasional down. Plus snow and passes and all that stuff.

It is beautiful though. Blue skies, trees, new wildflowers…

Well, some are new. We have these in San Diego too.

From the campground, I drove all the way home…about 5 1/2 hours total with two pee stops. I hate that drive. Really do. Ugh.

I didn’t do much of anything Monday night except eat dinner (thanks to the boychild), make lunches for the week, and make sure I was ready to go. Last night, I finally found the energy to trace some Wonder Under, but I’d realized that I had all this bad shit in the outer part of the quilt, and COVID wasn’t lurking in there. So I had to draw that damn thing in…again…

Almost 1100 pieces now. Then I traced for a while (after exercise, making dinner, deciding not to enter a show, eating dinner, grading one class worth of one assignment, and doing all the cat things, oh yeah, and watering everything)…

So only a whopping 40 minutes in the end. Hopefully more tonight. Getting close to the end. Ready to just sit on the couch and cut shit out. Also Nova would like me to do that so she can shed all over me and knead my belly. Luna massages my shoulders for me (with her claws and all her weight pushing in)…trying to figure out how to get her to do that one spot on my back that hurts. She does not take direction well though.

OK. Gotta go. Shit. It’s late. Ugh. Puberty today and something else. Can’t remember. Ah yes. Menstruation and sperm production. Sounds like a day.

Time Is Wibbly Wobbly…

OMG how is it still May. Wait. How did May go so fast? I’m not sure which makes more sense. Fast month, didn’t get anything done, but it needs to go faster because I need school to be over. State testing is over (yay!) What a supreme waste of time…really, the State needs to write questions that actually match the standards for these tests to make sense. And then make sure we feed the kids and that they could sleep the night before because they weren’t babysitting little siblings. And then the State needs to realize that not everyone knows what a putting green is. Like maybe some nonwhite non-old people could write the tests? Maybe? Just saying. But it’s done!

Meanwhile, my principal is running fast and furious with plans for next year, mixing up teams, moving people around. My team is good…because we work together and do our jobs. Which makes my job much easier. It will be an interesting year. Meanwhile, this summer, I need to study space shit and force and motion. Space shit the most, because if I had it in school, it was in middle school, and that was approximately 72 light years ago. How long is a light year anyway? It’s OK…I know the reference doesn’t make sense. Time. Distance. Ugh.

Meanwhile, I have three books loaded on my iPad and I want to read all of them. Now.

Yesterday was the day we made kids draw their reproductive parts. It’s a fun day for me. Today we teach the real parts (not the made-up shit they think is important…literally NOBODY…ok ONE KID drew parts on the inside for boys). Then puberty. It’s a relief to be teaching this. It’s like second nature, I’ve taught it so many times. It’s still killing my voice…I had a sore throat yesterday, and I’m like, is it wearing the mask (has given me a sore throat before), is it the cold half my team has that will kick my voice’s ass, or is the COVID that another part of the team has? Or is it just talking a lot? It’s gone today, so that’s a good sign.

Meanwhile. Back at the ranch. I’m tracing Wonder Under for days now. This is just some random picture of Wonder Under because I kind of forgot to take pictures yesterday.

On Wednesday night, I added these guys…

Because people are still shooting up kids at school.

I hit the halfway mark last night. I probably won’t get a lot traced today…going to watch the Man in a show before he leaves for who-knows-how-long. Ugh. Not thinking about that. Just keep making.

I also had a stitching Zoom and am still doing a thousand backstitches on the pink flowers.

After that, I will do about 160 French knots and another 52 or so cast-on bullion stitches. And then it will be done. A million years after I started.

Time is doing some weird shit in my head right now. I’m feeling very wibbly wobbly.

Speaking of wibbly wobbly, Simba had a foxtail removed from his ear yesterday…

Note drool and half-closed eyes. Poor drugged-out puppy. He is fine this morning apparently. Expensive, but fine. Note: there are no foxtails at my house…

Kitten asleep during my stitching meeting.

I didn’t do any schoolwork after school yesterday. I came home and ignored all of it. I may wish later that I did not do that (I am extremely behind in grading), but whatever.

The boychild is in there somewhere. Training for CalFire this summer.

I’d give you a hint but he doesn’t like his picture on here, so just know he’s one of those. He will also be gone a lot in the next 5 months. It’s just gonna be me, the cats, that dopey dog, and…um…well that’s it.

OK, running late (don’t know why), gotta go to school and function normally. Whatever that means.

They Just Keep Coming…

Sheesh. Another Monday. It’s like they just keep coming, one after the other. I couldn’t find the shirt I wanted to wear. I have some tweaked muscle in my right hip. My right hand is sore…from tracing things, I guess. Muscles I use and then don’t use and then they complain about it. Not sure what the hip is about…probably some exercise I don’t even remember that got it just there.

So Monday…this Monday is all weird. My schedule is all whacked for today. Things I normally don’t do on a Monday are happening today. State testing again this week, but math. That’s always a challenge. Math is harder for a lot of kids. I personally think math is pretty easy, because you know there’s an answer. You just have to figure it out. It’s not like you have to engage the reading comprehension part if you’re not quite awake. The creative part.

Speaking of that creative part, I wrote an article on Saturday morning. Hopefully it’s decent enough. Who knows. I don’t remember what I wrote. I’ll let you know when it publishes.

Is my brain wandering all over the place? Yes, yes it is. I was awakened last night around 12:49 AM (pretty specific actually) by a screech sounding somewhat like a child’s cry of pain. Probably an owl…but not a sound I’d heard from them before. It wasn’t coming from the owl box, but it was a terrifying noise. Woke me and the cat right up. I don’t think anyone else did more than stir in their sleep. Weird. Really incredibly weird.

OK, so in the I’m Making Stuff world, I finished the drawing on Thursday night…

No wait, I did everything but the last bit of the sky. I knew I wanted something, but not a lot, and I wasn’t sure of what, so I went to bed Thursday night and posted on Instagram that the sky needed something. I already had some ideas in mind, and I wasn’t asking for help, but you know how the internet is…a lot of people wanted to help. So I got a bunch of suggestions, mostly to leave it empty (nah…) for the eye to rest (double nah) and I drew what I had been bouncing around in my head already. Amusing though. I don’t do critique groups either. I trust what’s in my head, and although I realize that people are not wrong about eyes resting and/or whatever might come up in a group critique, I just don’t work that way. In fact, it irritates me. Enough that I have to talk myself out of never posting pictures again (don’t worry…it keeps me accountable to do so…so I will continue.). If you put your work out there, people will comment and that’s OK. Not sure where that interior response comes from (probably a couple of art teachers in the past).

And then I numbered the pieces, although I missed the sun.

So I guess it’s 1065 pieces…

Not too bad. I tried to keep it simpler. I know it doesn’t look that way to the viewer, but I know what I meant.

Saturday night, I started tracing, although I didn’t get very far…

But last night, I made it to piece 232. So not bad. Probably got another 8 hours of tracing to do. It’s very meditative. Calming. A good place to be right now.

Saturday afternoon, we did an almost normal pre-COVID thing and went to two exhibits, one the California Fibers’ show at Visions Art Museum, where two of my pieces are hanging.

That’s Hold On in its first exhibit. I started this before COVID and finished it in quarantine.

And this is All Stacked Up with Linda Anderson’s piece Perceptions of Life

The show is up through July 3.

Then we headed to the Oceanside Museum of Art to see James Watts’ exhibit there. I love his stuff. It’s fun, it’s deep, it’s so touchable…

You should go see it. Totally.

I spent a little time stitching on this…so close to done.

Finished all of the type 5 flowers and moved on to type 6…

The backstitching is easy but will take forever because of all the petals. Nothing quick about this border…I’ve been working on it for over a year.

Nova likes to lie on whatever is on top of my drawing…

I cover it so she won’t nibble on it, as she has done in the past…

That cat is a weirdo.

OK. So tracing all week. Math testing for two long days. A bunch of meetings, although today’s was canceled. Sex ed this week includes Yes Means Yes, anatomy, and puberty. All good. Easy peasy. Stuff I know. What a relief. Although there was an issue with one class that is heavy on boys…entitled boys…boys who really don’t get it…sigh. We’ll see how today goes when I introduce the law that doesn’t let them be entitled…well, you know, even that law doesn’t work right. But at least it tries. Tired. I’m still tired. We’re getting close to the end though. Close to the end of a very long, very tiring year. May next year be better.

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!