Move On and Make Something…

Reflection is both the savior and bane of being a teacher. Constantly reviewing what we taught, how they learned, how it went. Oh god, that was horrible. Hey, they really got it! And all the places in between. We don’t always know the WHY of the good or bad…sometimes it seems like our success is dependent on the moon phases (seriously, every teacher knows when it’s a full moon), but it means we reflect on ourselves often too much and too harshly as well. The days after a weeklong break are semi-doomed. We’re tired, they’re tired, they think it’s already Winter Break, we wish it was already Winter Break. There’s a definite feeling that I need to Gird My Loins and hoist my scabbard skyward to survive the next three weeks. The plus is that it is only three weeks. I feel like I can grab onto those 15 days physically and just hold them…unlike the vast expanse of time that is March or May…where days drag on for…well…days. Longer days? I just don’t know how to explain it. They’re longer. They are!

So reflecting on my week off. Well. Yeah. The pros: I played a lot with kittens, I exercised mostly well, and I finished grading the large assignment from hell. The cons: I did nothing else. Really. So little art created. I’m frustrated by that, but that means I’m frustrated by myself, because it really was about mindset more than anything else. I didn’t make time for it. I was a lot of braindead. I suspect I needed to be a lot of braindead, but I also know I needed to make the art, because I can feel it today. It’s an ache of not doing. I should have tried harder.

Ah, those should haves. All I can do is try harder now. When I have so much on my plate. It’ll be fine. It always is somehow.

We walked the dogs on Saturday. You can’t really see it, but there’s snow out there, way out in the distance.

And brand new green stuff on the ground. Saturday was a lot of grading…

Sunday was chaotic. It always is. Started with pilates. Then groceries and schoolwork to prep for today and prepping breakfasts for the next three weeks and organizing my brain for the same three weeks. I think most people have no idea how much prep teaching takes…especially on Sundays. I send the parent email from my whole team, I try to prep warmups for the week (I made it through Tuesday…whoops), set up any online posts that aren’t set up already, answer emails etc. I did do art stuff though. I entered a show yesterday. I was hoping I would hear from another entry before I entered this one (rejected pieces are good for new shows, right?), but ironically, I had just hit SUBMIT and then the other show results came in. Oh well. Frustrating. But I did get in to the first show with one piece, so I can’t really complain.

It was busy. But I did get the last bit of the grading done on that project, so that was good. Oh yeah, I drew Saturday night. I made myself. I was exhausted. But there’s a piece in my head that happens to be next on the list. This is a very rough start to it…

But it is a start. More hopefully later this week.

The kittens are getting more comfortable with hanging out on the couch with us.

Of course, this was after an hour or so of tearing around like maniacs.

Last night during dinner…the blue-eyed beast kept trying to sample off my dinner plate. Her sister was more interested in a nap.

About 10 minutes later, they were racing all over the room again.

This guy wanted to play too…

He’s a little nervous about the kittens still, but he’s a good boy.

OK, so it’s school. Followed by two meetings. Ugh. Then get my hair cut before the holidays start for reals. Honestly this was when she was available. I don’t really care what my hair looks like. I care that I can get a brush through it. Then come home and do some artmaking. Maybe I just make more when I’m too busy not to. Or something. Down time is not my friend? Who knows. I can reflect on it or I can just move on and make something. Going for that.

Damn Eyelid

Hmmm. Well. I sorta forgot to write for a couple of days. I mean, I usually blow off Sunday anyway, but I’m pretty sure yesterday was Monday and today is Tuesday. In my defense, I’ve been busy and out of a normal daily routine, which is probably why the writing didn’t happen. I haven’t hit relaxation mode yet, and honestly, probably won’t over this break. I just have too much work this week.

In good news, there’s lots of kitten interaction, if only to try to figure out where they’re hiding or to introduce them to the other furry beasts in the house. And I should sleep more on a week off. I really should. Oops.

OK, so Saturday, I ironed for a while…this is Figure 3…all done.

Saturday night, I went to watch the man’s band…and two more bands…

Lots of 80s punk…and the man playing as Exene from X.

Like you do. I was tired after all that and went to bed early. Can’t get the sleep or the eating under control this week so far.

On Sunday, I had tons to get done. Unlike some…

Sundays are always too much stuff. But then I got most of Figure 4 done…

At some point, I realized it was well after midnight…that’s a lot of fabrics…

I was almost done, but it would have taken a lot of time to really get done…that’s it. That’s all.

So that would be Monday.

Monday started at the DMV. I needed to get my RealID and I figured now was better than waiting until the last minute…although I made the appointment two months ago, and this was the earliest I could get in. When I got there, they told me one of the pieces of documentation I had wouldn’t work, even though it was on the list they sent me. Luckily, I had another piece in the car (that expired the day before, but apparently they didn’t care about that), so after 45 minutes or so, I was done. I read my book. Good use of time.

A really good use of time was the 4.3-mile walk we did with the dogs…

We missed one trail but eventually found another one heading the same way…well, not that one…

That was the most relaxing thing I’ve done so far.

Outside. With dogs. And boychild. Plus no grading.

The grading is stressing me out. I keep thinking I’ll just do one part of the larger assignment a day, but that’s not necessarily working. And I won’t have enough days…because I’m assuming Thanksgiving through Sunday are lost days due to family gatherings and travel. I really don’t want a lot of these assignments transferring over into December. It’ll be hard enough to get through those three weeks. Plus grades will be due again. SIGH.

Better to be outside.

And it was a good day for it…supposed to be rain starting tomorrow. Lots of it.

Back to kittens…

They have totally different personalities. And they still need appropriate names. Apparently Sharp and Pointy are not options.

This bag was very exciting…

I just watched for a while and drank my tea.

Back to grading, I persuaded Kitten to come out and be sociable, and then she saw the kittens.

She’s still not a fan.

We lost kittens a few times yesterday. They climbed into the drawers from under the table.

That’s now a thread AND kitten drawer.

I finally made it into the studio around 10:30 PM…with the last bit of the ironing to do.

But I got them all ironed down…

Almost 14 hours…the chaos of fabric piled up…

I stayed up way too late.

There we go. 134 fabrics total. The box on the bottom right is the four different flesh runs.

Going for some variety. Every figure got their own red heart fabrics too. Anyway. The next step is to cut them all out. I also have over 3 hours of videos to watch today…not kitten videos, but students. It might kill me, but I’m aiming to finish it…in between buying snow chains and a turkey and making it to my pilates class. The right eye has finally stopped twitching, but I’m still grinding my teeth. Deep breaths. And more exercise. Wait. Dammit. That eyelid just started twitching again. Aargh.

Today I Am a Lemur.

Happy Halloween y’all. Today I am a lemur. Tomorrow I will be a cranky old lady yelling at kids about their candy wrappers, but today I am a lemur.

I did blow off all school things yesterday after 3:40 PM and hiked…

Iron Mountain on Halloween was windy and chilly.

But beautiful. I almost fell twice, but a bush saved me. I don’t move well when I’m tired, and doing labs all day made me tired.

Also my classroom is a total disaster, but that’s what homeroom slaves er students are for.

I came home, cooked food and ate it, and sat around for a bit. Then I stood up, because I am crazy, and I kept tracing the new piece off the crappy photocopy.

I needed the old photocopy to help with some areas. You can see how much bigger (and BETTER) this one will be. I’m adding and changing a few things. Not a lot. My instinct is always to add more details, but this thing is already complicated enough.

There’s most of it…there’s the earth stuff in the background to finish…it was after midnight at that point. Ugh. I’m tired today. It will be fine. I’m giving a quiz and setting fire to things. It’ll be good. Tomorrow I’ll post pictures of the newest quilt.

The Dog Ate My To-Do List

I got to sleep in. It was glorious. Well, the old-lady dog needed to pee at 8, so I did that, and then went back to sleep for an hour. Lovely. More please. But I have work to do as well…so up and at ’em! I had a brainstorm about a thing we need to do for science last night as I was brushing my teeth, so I ran in here and wrote it on a post-it note and then fell asleep thinking about it, so of course, woke up and made it more of a thing than it was on a post-it, while texting another teacher friend about a kid and all the kids and how we get to a (tired, honestly) point of just reacting and we have to step back and reflect, which is what teachers do all the time, but this year, it’s just exhausting and nonstop. So without weekends and breaks and promising yourself to go home and NOT work and trips to the gym or a hike or whatever it is that floats your boat, we’d all go nuts. Although I promised my students I’d finish grading all the makeup work AND the essay thing this weekend. Which might have been a mistake, because I have a quilt to do.

I got up, I made my lists…which is funny, because Calli got left alone for a while yesterday while the boychild went to get approved to hike (broken toe fixed! mostly!), and she decided to take it out on my listmaking strategies…

The dog ate my to-do list. It’s OK. It was the old notebook. Most of the useful stuff had been transferred over into a new one. I do like HAVING them, though. I don’t know why. Just because. Documentation of the crazy. She was anxious.

I’m supposed to be keeping track of my actual work hours this week for school…I’m dividing it up into planning, prep, teaching, grading, duty, and meetings. We’ll see how it goes. The plan is to reduce some of it and get that time back for me and what I want to do. It’s impossible to track the thinking time unfortunately. There’s a lot of that going on.

When I got home, what I really needed was a walk. And the boychild can do that now, so we grabbed the dogs and went…

We’re getting close to Daylight Savings, when doing this will be much harder. I hate that. So I’m trying to use time now…

The dogs are a little out of shape. I might be too…a week of being sick and not working out at all seems to have had an effect. I’m still stuffed up a little and not fully healthy. But I’m mostly better.

I did grade a little last night. I also read a little. But mostly I stitched shit down. When I felt tired, I got up and heated up my tea. Then I came back and stitched some more.

I can’t say this part is particularly exciting…but it’s a little meditative. You’re just moving the fabric under the needle and trying to decide where to go next in a logical manner.

I actually planned to try to finish all the bottom section…and I did do that and more before midnight hit.

Including the butterflies…

So today, I’ve already paid all the bills, scanned the contract I needed to email, transferred some of my retirement funds to different funds, did a little bit of planning for school, dumped the batting into a pile of hot soapy water in the bathtub, and am listening to the weekly podcast for how to get more fucking efficient in my work day, while I type this blog. I’m also eating my breakfast while I type. Because I need to finish stitch down, take a shower, clean the tile floors, sandwich the quilt, and start actually quilting. Because the photographer wants it by next Saturday (oh dear. OK. Yikes.) It’s a good thing I have no need to sleep, right? OK. I’m going to get on that now. Move the batting. Start stitching. Shower. I’m gonna get this done.

Handed to a Resident…

So last night, I’m sitting there watching part of a movie and part of something I’m grading (very exciting, both of them) and my phone tells me a package has been delivered. In some ways I love this, and in some, ugh. Too much. But the link says the package “was handed to a resident.” Really. Hmm. I look around the room. Not me. Not the guy on the couch next to me. Not the boychild in his room. Not a single dog has barked (this in itself is strange). I check the front door…nothing. OK, we have this weird other door that people sometimes try to use as a front door, mostly because I need to build a fence…there used to be trees blocking access and they had to be taken out for the septic system redo. Anyway, out my bedroom door, there’s the package. Delivered to a bunny maybe? Because no one else was out there. Interesting. Good thing the sprinklers had finished. I guess the plus is that we actually found it. I do appreciate the drivers who photograph the package where they left it…sometimes it helps me find it. Otherwise, I might be wandering around in the dark, wondering where they thought was an appropriate place rather than just walking up the steps to the actual front door.

The weekend in review. Sigh. Yeah. Well. I walked the dogs on Friday…I’ll be glad when the boychild’s toe is healed enough for him to come along. There were no coyotes…

but there were two people with loose dogs. I hate those people. I don’t care if your dog is friendly. Mine aren’t. Put your damn uber-friendly (one of them was a pitbull dammit) on a leash. For the coyotes’ sake and mine.

I did seem to tire them out, which was the plan. Me too…

I graded a bunch and went to bed early. The week kicked my butt. Then got up early and drove up to LA to see a sick relative…

Going up wasn’t bad. Coming back was sort of hellacious. I made it back eventually. Smelled the fire up there. Ah, memories of growing up in LA.

Saturday night was some art, some food, and then collapse. Super tired. And then up most of the night with what turns out to be a cold. Hoping I didn’t get my relative sick too…I thought I was just tired Friday and Saturday. Apparently I was coming down with the Ick that everyone else has. I got up early on Sunday and graded. I wasn’t sleeping anyway.

Kitten hung out with me on the couch. No dogs. She likes it.

Sunday, I napped, I worked, I grocery shopped, I laundered, I prepped lunches and breakfasts and then cooked dinner. Did I say I napped? Yeah. I did. And then I ironed for 2 1/2 hours.

Added a bird to the seashore…ironed the Torrey Pines’ cliffs…

Another bird…

A deer…

Well, it will be a deer, once its face gets where it should be. So this is where I’m at…well, a little past this. My ocean is definitely wider than the ironing board…kind of a pain, actually.

I did manage to iron the hills/mountains to the right and then a sun and cloud.

Deer in place…

So I got most of the way through the surrounding landscape…just a hill in Anza Borrego to go. Then the flesh. All the 200s are ironed down…almost. I’m running out of time. As always. I will figure it out. I always do.

Today I feel like crap. Mostly crap. I have meds. I have tea. I will want a nap during one of the two staff meetings. Maybe I will just do that.

The Trees Will Bend*

I got up this morning and both Kitten and I were looking around for Satch. Hard for the non-awake brain to remember shit…like where I put my phone and the fact that a cat died. Sigh. Kitten…it’s hard to explain it to her. She’s been coming out more, but she’s still super cautious, looking for him around the corners.

I’m up early for a parent meeting…plus I need to get my class in order for today. We’ll have two teachers out on our team, plus my science co-worker is out, so there’s some chaos on campus. Yesterday had a bit of that as well, the day after the mood-checking lesson, some people (mostly 12-year-olds) had forgotten how to behave. This is a hard year for behavior, certainly. It’s just nonstop. And parents don’t seem to be helping.

Tonight is the full opening for Metamorphosis, the Mingei/Allied Craftsmen exhibit at City College downtown. I’ll be going down with one of the other artists, hopefully to see a bit more of the exhibit. Maybe I’ll get a picture of me with my art! Hopefully to see all the students in there too. It does make for a long day, though. Yesterday was a union meeting, plus the gym. I really enjoyed having time for exercise and reading my book, plus I posted a few things students had done on my teacher Insta account in between weight machines. I’ve been lax with that. And I haven’t been able to figure out how to link it to the correct Twitter account. There should be an easier way. There doesn’t seem to be, though. Technology…making an intrusive mess since 1990. Or so.

I was hoping to get the cutting done last night, but I had guessed that pile had more pieces in it than it looked like it had, and I was right…

He did sit by me for a little while. He’s fussy about couch sitting. But you can see why it took longer…them’s some fussy little pieces.

This is after two hours. The pile on the right is all that’s left…

But it’s probably another hour. Maybe less. So tonight. And then I’ll sort them. Does that mean I could be ironing Friday night? It does. That’s nice. Because I’m running out of time. Sound familiar? Yeah. I know. Every time. Iron it together, stitch it down, quilt it, bind it. Deep breaths. This is how I roll.

Another view of Swallow Me Whole in Beyond the Surface

I love that piece.

Boychild has been chopping away at the backyard bushes, trying to make sense of them, plus retain the not-view of our neighbors as much as possible. Need to work on that part, I think.

He’s still walking around with a boot on his foot…hopefully the toe is healing. There’s a hike at the end of the month. Plus I miss our weekly dog walks. I’m freaked out about trying to take the dogs out alone with the coyotes who have been around.

Anyway, need to leave. Go to work. Keep my cool. Get them through it. Hopefully.

*R.E.M., So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)

My Tired but Happy Feet

OK. So I hiked over 6 miles last night and it was good. Yes, it was after a full day of walking all over the freakin’ place, fetching ice and water and index cards, cleaning up stuff, trying to get kids on task. Today is the last day of these stations. Hopefully we will all survive it. I did manage to get videos for all of the labs, either on the interwebz or by recording my own, so there’s no kid who can claim they didn’t get to a station so they didn’t get the info. The grade file opens today…so we have until Tuesday at 2 PM to get through whatever gets turned in. Although it doesn’t matter how many times I tell them. There’s a listening issue right now. And a doing issue. Some learned helplessness going on. It will be apparent on progress reports…and some kid will tell me I never SAID it was going to be their grade. Ha! Well then.

My feet hurt this morning. My blood sugar is also really low. I need new boots. I may also need to adjust my insulin again. I already reduced it once after the hot flashes stopped and the blood sugar numbers seemed to calm down with that. I don’t trust all that not to come back though. I love that my doctor/insurance give almost no assistance in this process. But the insurance company sent me an email yesterday telling me how to stop smoking. Um. ??? Really? Because I never have. They want to reduce costs? They should better support their diabetes patients who want the support and maybe stop sending useless emails.

Anyway. I guess the day health insurance does what I want is probably the day I die. I don’t have much faith in them. I just remember the conversation I had with them about when they offered flu shots (only during work hours)…although they’ve changed that. Duh.

So we hiked Iron Mountain.

There was a storm rolling in from Mexico, the tail end of one of the tropical storms or even Hurricane Lorena. I’m not sure what we’re getting at this point. It was beautiful out…not too hot, clouds everywhere. As always, some people are super speedy.

I’m not. I used to be. The sun came out and disappeared and then wandered out again.

This is a night hike eventually, so we all had some sort of headlamp or flashlight. The sun actually went down while we were on the back side of the mountain.

I’ve done this hike a million times. Maybe.

Looking east was beautiful too.

Although west was definitely more dramatic…

Oh yeah.

I hike with a Meetup group. I’ve hiked with them for about 6 years, I think, on and off. Now it’s more off. But five years ago almost exactly, I did this hike with them. It popped up in my photos.

That’s kind of a cool thing.

I was nervous because I thought I’d have a hard time going up. The last hill climb I went on was a while ago and I had to stop a lot…but there was elevation involved in that one. This one isn’t that high. And I did OK on the climb.

From the top…

Or at least it doesn’t start as high up as the other one did. When we came back down, we spread out and did a silent (sort of) hike. There were many scorpions…

And a few people had black lights, because these suckers are fluorescent…

Saw a tiny snake and a few tarantulas, and then this spider, who I’m pretty sure is carrying all its babies on its back…

Someone else had a better picture of it. They haven’t uploaded it yet.

Here’s a better scorpion picture though…

And my hiking group…

It was a good thing. I came home and ate dinner at 9:30 PM though. And then processed some videos for school and created a post for those.

Only then did I iron. And only for an hour.

Mostly I did the sun and the clouds. I was too tired to even do the rain, the lightning, the stars, or the moon. They should have been easy. But it was almost midnight and I was not-so-shockingly tired.

More ironing tonight. Although I have to grade stuff too. Maybe not tonight? I don’t know. Right now, I don’t feel much like doing more work than I already do.

OK, off to work again I go. Me and my tired but happy feet.