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.

Hard Doesn’t Mean Impossible

I have a headache this morning. It’s partially caused by the concrete trucks and related noise from nextdoor’s new pool construction. I can’t really escape it, so it’s driving me more than a little bonkers. The rest of it is school-related. It seems I really shouldn’t go back to a classroom until there’s a vaccine or this virus disappears into the ether (hello COVID conspiracists…I am talking to you. Now leave. You won’t like it here.) I’m hoping not to disappear my job in the middle of all this, but since they were gonna co-opt one of the two bathrooms on the floor for my private use, and honestly, as healthy as I usually feel, any time you show me the list of high risks for COVID and I see mine on there, I get wibbly in my tummy and run to check that all the beneficiaries on all my accounts are still my children…well, I guess it totally sucks to be that person, but I am that person. Online teaching is not my favorite, but for now, I’m doing it with my team, so I will survive, as will we all. The going-back-in-person thing is the bad juju for my body. I also can’t afford to not work. I am glad that hopefully I will be able to do my job without the exposure. We’ll see. I’m thankful that it’s a possibility. I just don’t like it.

Monday night, my brain was just not working, for whatever reason, so I just cut and pasted the other drawing I had enlarged…

There will be too many COVID quilts from me? Maybe. It’s not done…but it’s the right size at least.

Last night, I got my act together and traced all the Patreon reward pieces on Wonder Under…

So that’s what 111 pieces look like. This is for a Patreon patron who gives me a significant amount of money a month, and I appreciate her support.

Then I started tracing Wonder Under for the COVID Daughter quilt…

I finished the first figure, which was about 100 pieces. It takes about an hour for 100 pieces. So I have about 7 1/2 hours to go. I stayed up way too late, mentally debating next steps for work and consequences and fears and all that good stuff, and now I am tired and headachy (my own fault) for lack of sleep. Bless those concrete trucks for their lovely noise. I have issues with noise, if you haven’t noticed. I can ignore children screaming (mostly) and lots of other noises, but construction noise drives me bonkers. Also the humming of fluorescent lights. And you tapping your fingernails together. Ick. Anyway, art progress has been made. I do feel remarkably (or not) unfocused about everything. My school team met yesterday for 2 hours and banged some shit out, and now I feel overwhelmed. That is normal for this time of year, though, so I’m rolling with it.

I bought a bunch of devices for hanging some of my finished small pieces (quilt and embroidery) that are not going to Patreons. My goal today and tomorrow is to get them finished on the devices, photographed, and uploaded to Etsy. The fence wood should be coming in Friday or Saturday, so we can finish the fence next week, right before school starts and I’m online for 7 hours a day (ugh). Progress with tasks.

I worked a little on this one…

The yellow is hard to see. Should have used the blue. Ah well. Blindness caused by embroidery.

I took a long walk yesterday to deal with some of the crap in my head. This was an unexpected addition to this spiky plant I’ve been walking past for months…

And there’s the view of the giant-ass hill I can either go up or down (there are two other hills I can also go up or down…I end up going up one, down this one, and then zigzag up the last one).

Walking tries to clear my head. It’s not always effective.

I try to stay off of Facebook to avoid the crazy shit, but there it is…

First of all, spelling. But I have friends who are good people who can’t spell, so OK. Second of all. Um. Antifa. I really don’t get why people think this is a thing. I consider myself anti-fascist. Now straight up, I studied all these -isms in school, but I had to go read up and make sure I was remembering correctly. Like who isn’t anti-fascist? Besides dictators and their best friends? And Marxism/Socialism, I know those scare people, but it’s just talking about capitalism not being the best for all the people, and maybe we should take care of all the people. I don’t understand why those things are scary. Because you earned your money by pulling up your bootstraps and everyone should have to do that? Well, I’m not telling you which friend this comes from, but I know she doesn’t work for a living. Hasn’t for a really long time. Her husband does though. Must be nice. No really, it must! But capitalism means that some people can’t get a leg up in society, especially with all the racist crap that’s embedded in our society about who gets jobs and who gets to live where and be paid how much. I didn’t respond to this woman because I knew she wouldn’t listen. I do unfriend a lot of these people, and I hovered over this one, but it’s useful to have one or two that I think are nuts so I can read their crazy. Also, protest doesn’t have to be peaceful. It can be angry, especially when us dumbass white folks aren’t listening. For years. But also, Portland isn’t burning down. So much drama.

OK. So there’s cats. They’re easier to deal with…this one is pretending to be flat.

She’s not very good at it.

This one has decided she will climb into the upper shelves of the closet and sleep on my quilt roll.

She dumps a bunch of stuff on the floor every time she clambers up there.

Here’s flat Nova again…

Dayum. Cats sleep a lot. Probably they are lazy and won’t hold down a job, which is why capitalism doesn’t work for them.

Stretchy Kitten. Goddamned socialist. Look at her suck at the tit of my hard work.

Update on the bird poop caterpillars. They are larger. And they have migrated to the stem/trunk of the tree.

I’m keeping track so I know when they go into chrysalis mode.

I’ve been reading here, on the deck…but it is where the concrete trucks are today.

Right over there. Causing headaches.

Yup. That. OK. So I need to do art things today. And school things (videos of mandated reporter and injury stuff and pest management because we will not even be in our classrooms). I might even give up and go take pain meds for the headache. Then try to be chill with my self. Honestly, I cried a lot yesterday and in the middle of the night about work, and I will probably cry again. OK. I have a job (for now). I’m not dying. I’m not sick. I’m not happy, but that’s a normal thing. It will all work out somehow. I should be glad I have some level of choice, even if it’s a hard one. Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It just means not easy.

At Least I Have One A…

Well hey there. It’s Monday. Apparently that’s how new weeks start these days. It’s the first day of my last full week off of school for a long time. I didn’t sleep much last night (thank you, brain. I really appreciate these hours we have together when I am tired and want to stop thinking and you do not agree). I was up earlyish because dogs. And cats. The boychild is up in the mountains helping the old folks (my parents would be offended. They are not old. They are well-seasoned.), so I am the only entertainment for 5 furry beasts. It must suck to be them. So sleep is something they do in the middle of the day…which is why they’re up at 7 AM looking for attention. Ah well. What is sleep? The thing I’m supposed to do more of…that’s what it is. Sigh. Classes I’m enrolled in right now: Sleep, Healthy Diet, Exercise, Sourdough Breadmaking, Artmaking, and Housework. I do pretty well with Healthy Diet and Exercise (although really hot days don’t help with either), so maybe a B there…proficient, but not above and beyond. I rock at Artmaking, straight As on that, definitely going above and beyond. Housework? Eh. A solid C. Same with Sourdough Breadmaking. Proficient? Not great though…maybe almost proficient? Approaching proficiency. Sleep? Fuck me. That’s a D on a good week, and there hasn’t been more than one good week this summer. Let’s not even think about that clusterfuck they called Distance Learning in the Spring. Needs Improvement! It’s not even Emerging or Basic. I guess I know how to do it; I just don’t do it well. At All. That’s me. Better get a work improvement plan going and meet with my parents to motivate my ass to get better at it.

At least I have one A.

So I started the last of the embroidery pieces, the small ones.

I’m going to figure out how to finish the embroideries…I think in hoops. And then the two leftover quilt tops I’ll make into small quilts. They’ll go on Etsy when I’m done. I need to get my act together.

I also drew and numbered the larger Patreon reward piece yesterday. The patron herself is a gardener and makes beautiful things in fabric…so I played off of that when I drew her piece.

It’ll be 10″ finished or so. There’s 111 pieces in it, which isn’t bad. The image itself is about 8 1/4″ square. I did start numbering these tiny flowers, but then decided to embroider them…

And then I was working on the next big quilt…finishing up the drawing…I added COVID in the air…

Flying around, like we now know they do. This drawing was originally done in April, about 30 days after the start of the Shelter-in-Place orders. Before we knew some of the stuff we know now about the disease. So I added some stuff to the bottom, because the original drawing cut off the arm and didn’t go into the ground, and I like to ground my pieces.

I worked on that last night and got it all done…

It’s about 44″ wide and 48″ high right now. Image only. It’ll be bigger than that finished.

Then numbered…

A mere 820 pieces. No worries.

So Wonder Under is the next step for both the big one and the little one.

Just had a discussion with the girlchild about the sourdough not rising enough…

Not enough big spaces…but getting there…

It tastes good though…

And on the gardening front, I planted all these offcuts from a succulent.

One has decided to grow. Hopefully the rest will too. We’ll see.

When the dogs leave on Saturday, there is often a cat convention.

They gather and sometimes play and romp. Sometimes they just want loves.

The dogs when it is hot…

The weekend was ugh warm. It’s cooler today.

Saturday evening’s sky was starting to be pretty…

Below is where my neighbors’ pool will be. We need to move some plants around to block views and noise, I think. It is taking them a long time to get to the next step. I’ll be trying to teach from home (hopefully) while their pool noise is happening? We’ll see.

And then the moon came out…

A lovely summer night. It’s been warm, but it cools off at night. My house doesn’t cool off very quickly unfortunately.

OK, so the day is half gone, but I’ve done some work and Pilates and it doesn’t feel like much, because I was interrupted a few times. I need to go to Costco this week, and I was going to do it today, but now I don’t know. Maybe I should just get it over with, because I find the days fill up and new tasks appear. I have a webinar at 3:30. I need to eat lunch, but I’m already late for that. I can’t remember what else I need to do (hence the bullet journal in the other room). I will be tracing Wonder Under tonight no matter what.

I feel this. I’m waiting for them to request emergency sub plans.

And this…

Cursive is no longer a thing. It’s a coded language we old people can use to confuzzle the youngers. OK. Whatever today is, I need to do some things…sooner rather than later. Gonna do some of that.

Help the Neurons…

Well. I’m so off schedule on everything, it’s like I don’t even have a schedule. I really don’t. I mean, I do, because the bread needs to be cooked and the sourdough starter fed, and I have two whole online Pilates classes a week that I paid for so I can’t miss those, and the occasional social thing where I have to remember what actual fucking day it is, but my phone mostly does all that for me and then I fill in the rest of the time with heating up my already cold tea (I never get to drink a whole cup without some shenanigans) and reading about my fragile white ass. Then I have conversations in my head about what to do about my fragile whiteness and I role play a lot of stuff in my head because there’s like no one to talk to some days except the cats and dogs, and I get in trouble for those conversations because it makes me sound crazy. So there we are. I’ve done a good job this summer of not just descending into totally escapist fiction reading…interspersing mind-opening nonfiction (and some of it is really mind-opening…my favorite part of whatever I read is stories of things that happen in real life and how to deal with them or view them differently or respond to them) every other book, although I think I’m going to have to do two nonfiction in a row, tossing in an online teaching book in between antiracist reading and fiction reading. The start date of school fucking LOOMS like an abominable snowman at the moment (remember that guy? He was sweet. I really liked him) and I have to be ready. For something. I don’t know what yet, but something. And dammit, I’ll be ready for it!

This was on the Teacher Misery Instagram (@teachermisery) today…

So let’s start with the random apostrophes in ‘teacher’s’. Or the hyphenation issues (yeah, you should have some). Yeah. You need a teacher. Second…all the bars are closed where I am, but I can tell you, that when normal school was in session, there was a bar within walking distance of school, and I certainly THOUGHT about, but never visited it, because you can’t teach drunk. I mean, I’m sure some people do, but I had a hard enough time keeping track of everything when ALL my brain cells were firing. Not enough caffeine would throw me off. THIRD, and this might be most important…um, fuck you. Really? WTF do you think we are doing? I know so many people think we get such short days and so many vacations and the WHOLE summer off (seriously, people, I haven’t been paid in over a month and I will start working as soon as someone tells me What The Fuck I’m supposed to be teaching and where and when and how, and that will be WELL before my next paycheck)…these are all the same people who are welcome to spend a day (but better if it’s a week or two) in my shoes (or my not-so-comfortable chair with my computer at an inappropriate height to apparently to start the year). I honestly think this has to be a joke, and if it’s not, if there are some people nodding their heads to this sentiment (they’re the same ones who want part of my paycheck), then I’m just assuming they are thinking what THEY would do if in our situation…again, ignorant of what most teachers are like and what most teachers do. I’m sure there’s some who do stupid shit, just like in every profession, and hopefully they’ll get caught out and fired, but really, I’m looking at how stressed and tied to a computer I was for the last two months of school, and wondering how I’m going to do the next four months. Or six. Or ten. Without killing someone. Or a close and personal relationship with a masseuse.

OK. It has to be a joke. I’m also wondering if parents will be available to discuss their student and their work during all hours of the day and night and over the weekend, because that’s when I answered their communications, as well as those of their children. No? It’s not OK to call at 1 AM? Ah. I see. OK then. (No one called me at 1 AM…kids did email me then, and sometimes I answered them, much to their surprise.)

There will be many opportunities for meditation this year. Just made sure my app was going to autorenew correctly.

So what am I doing with my time these days if I’m not (a) teaching and/or (b) drinking in a bar? Well, I delivered two quilts to the photographer, socially distanced and masked. A little weird, but OK. I also passed the CPR test…good thing. Most of it was online, but there was a 30-minute hands-on assessment that was pretty easy. So I don’t have to worry about that for two more years. Hopefully I won’t need it. I have some Patreon rewards I’m trying to finish…I only needed one, so I planned to make six? Don’t even ask. I ironed the three quilt ones down on Thursday…first onto a teflon sheet…

Then to a background fabric…

This part doesn’t take long…

On these small pieces, I’m keeping track of the time it takes to make them…

Just to know…whatever doesn’t go to Patreon will go to Etsy…

Everything I do is time-based…so I know how much to charge without getting sentimental.

Then I stitched them all down…and then here, I did the line I usually quilt with, although these aren’t three layers.

My sewing machine was being really cranky, so I had to rip out a bunch of stitches on the stitch down. It was a pain. I did the linework today during my quilt guild meeting.

My machine goes in for service in September. That’s a ways away.

Honestly, I don’t know why it behaves the way it does. It’s inconsistent.

I had absolutely no issues with it in that last monster of a quilt. None. It was amazing. These tiny things? It’s being a dumbass. It is hot, though, and sometimes that’s the issue. Whatever.

I also washed and ironed these…

So I’m going to give the one Patreon a choice and then decide how to finish the others and put them on Etsy.

They’re not big or fancy. I do have one embroidery left to do, but I also need to do a larger 10″ square quilt for one of my higher-tiered Patreon patrons, so that’s next. Well, that and the next quilt. I went and enlarged two drawings on Friday, and yesterday, spent some time putting one of them together…

I enlarged them from a 14×17″ drawing 250%. It’s a good size…

None of these cats are helping. I added some to the bottom because I had cut off part of the arm in the drawing and it just looked weird.

So I’m working on the bottom piece right now. Then I’ll number it and we’ll see where we’re at. It’s a COVID Daughter, so one of the Daughter-series quilts I’ve done, but a little bigger than the other two. OK, possibly a lot bigger, because I think I started the other two in my smaller sketchbook and enlarged them 200-300%? Yeah. Must be because one is only 28″ wide and the other is 40″ wide…we’ll see what this one ends up being.

It’s nice to go straight into another quilt. This last one took so long, four months long, and I need to get some more work done. I say this and work is about to blow up my schedule for the foreseeable future. Because I’ll be in BARS ALL THE TIME. Oh wait. No I won’t. I’ll be redesigning curriculum for online learning with a system I haven’t learned yet. No worries. Using a scope and sequence I will see ‘soon’. On a curricular system I have barely used. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Yeah. With about 150 students, I’m thinking. We’ll see how many go to charters or pull out of school completely…and then how many trickle back over the year. Our turnover is high in a normal year. I think this year will be a clusterfuck.

I still don’t even know if we will be allowed to choose where we teach, whether at home or in the classroom. Most days, I would choose to be here, unless the temperatures are too high or my internet is too sucky. Less exposure to humans is good right now. Right, Simba?

The dogs enjoy deck time with me after I let Calli in the pool…

Oh yeah, I did a drawing the other night too…

For my Patreon…I added more lines the next morning…

Scanned it, cleaned it up, and sent it out to them. I have enough for a coloring book, but no time or money to make that. Someday.

I finally gave up on passing the sourdough starter float test…it was doubling in size and bubbling like crazy. So I cooked this today…

We’ll see what the inside looks like later. Hopefully tasty.

These guys, bird poop caterpillars (precursor to the Swallowtail butterfly), showed up on my lemon tree…

The man thinks these are the small version of them…

Hard to say. For now, I let them live. Though they are ugly.

Have I mentioned that it’s hot here?

There are many animals just lying around, trying to get as flat as possible. We humans might be some of them.

Well, it’s almost dinner time on Saturday…I told you I was off my schedule. To my credit, I did Pilates on Zoom this morning, plus a guild meeting and all that other stuff. I’m doing OK. I don’t know what dinner looks like, but I know I’m not cooking it. I also need to finish a book before the library sucks it back, and maybe finish that drawing. We’ll see. Sunday might be more productive. It might not. It will be cooler though, and that will help the neurons fire a little faster. One hopes.