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.

Like Following Them…

Day 2 today of thermal energy/pressure labs. Yesterday was…um…OK? My co-teacher may not agree. It’s not easy. I hit 10,000 steps right after lunch just fetching water and ice. I had about 10 kids who live on the edge…the edge of my having to stinkeye them. One may not survive today. We should have done some more group labs before we got to today; they still have a hard time with instructions. Like following them. Not entirely atypical for this age, but frustrating in the moment. Hopefully today will be smoother. Ha! I’m not sure why it will, but it will need to be. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be hiking tonight, so that will be interesting. I’m pretty sure my legs will complain about being tired. OK. Well. Nothing new there.

I did tutoring yesterday too, spending some quality time (ha!) with some very interesting kids. As always. We have an assignment due tomorrow that is HARD. It’s really not as hard as some kids make it out to be, because they want the answer key and there isn’t one. So they want me to tell them exactly how to write it (What’s the ANSWER??? whine) and I won’t, because it’s an assessment. I gave them a format and about a million ideas and three labs and a couple other assignments as evidence, and I’m not doing that last step for them. It’s painful, but a learning experience, for sure. All this is exhausting. I’m not sure if it’s more or less exhausting this year than any other. I just know I’m exhausted right now.

Yesterday, this spider hitched a ride to school. I always wonder what they’re thinking as they’re bouncing along in the wind. And then whether they get off when at school. There’s a nice bunch of plants there that they can live in…

It might be better than my driveway…who knows?

I was actually too tired after dinner to work on anything. It was my brain, though…I couldn’t decide between stitching and working on the Unit 2 calendar. I knew I should do the latter, but I didn’t want to. So I did nothing.

Eventually, though, after dishes were done, I went in to iron. I keep forgetting to take in-process pictures. I did finish the second September Patreon video as well, where I try to explain how I pick fabrics.

At the end of another two hours, this is what I had used…

A few more browns, greens, and grays. A mule deer is in there. I didn’t actually get much done, depressingly enough. Just the righthand side of the landscape…some bushes, dirt, a river, the deer, some hills, and a mountain. I’m not sure why it took so long, but it did. I’m in the 250s. Only. ONLY. Sigh. The pile is growing. That’s what matters. I don’t think I’ll get any of it done tonight because of the hike, but who knows.

Here’s the rest of the 200s…all clouds and a sun and IDK what else.

I see a star. There’s probably a mountain in there too. Then the body! I wish I could say I’d be done ironing soon, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe by the end of the weekend? After I grade that assignment. The one that might kill them.

I haven’t posted my SAQA auction piece that I bought yet. I need the light to be better than it has been, but it’s already hanging on my wall. I like to buy pieces by people I know…this one was by Natalya Aikens and features recycled materials.

I buy one piece a year to support the group. I can’t handle making one…they’re too small.

This guy this morning…I’m hoping the boychild comes back and deals with him…he’s on the living room ceiling.

He’s bigger than I like to try and catch over my head. On a bumpy ceiling. On a ladder. By myself. I feel like that’s a recipe for disaster.

OK, back to school and Day 2 of labs. Meditation at times. Getting my act together. Then hiking a mountain. Which by the way, I hiked on the same day (or day before?) 5 years ago. That’s interesting. I need to remember a headlamp and my poles. And food. That would be smart. Water. Water is also good.

It’ll Be Pretty Chill…

Everyone slept better last night. Everyone peed when they were supposed to. Everyone laid down and stayed asleep, or at least were quiet about their issues and didn’t wake up mom. Well, there was definitely a cat playing with a catnip toy that I heard at one point (bat bat bat tiny bell ringing). Mom ears hear everything eventually.

We started school yesterday with no internet, no phones, random bells, which was fine, because we didn’t need the internet yesterday and keeping the front office from calling me is a plus. Like every period. Stahp. Please. So they couldn’t call us. Amusing. It was all fixed by 3rd period, though, so then it was like normal, which really just means there are a bunch of kids with tech issues that they didn’t solve and they think excuses them from work. And the front office keeps calling. I need to start making those tech phone calls. In my spare time. I don’t seem to have any of that. I did finish grading all those videos last night, which is a plus.

I made it home after a meeting and recording a couple of videos for class, and we walked the dogs. I look forward to these trips out into the semi wild. Plus exercise feels good. I’m sorry for you if that’s not the case. Even when it hurts, it feels good.

We watched a turkey vulture swooping around, looking for something dead.

It was really close at one point and quite large and beautiful. I’ve always been fascinated with birds. They end up in a lot of quilts. A turkey vulture is actually in the newest quilt.

There’s a coyote in this picture. See if you can find it.

It was closer when I first saw it. Interestingly, last year, on the same day, we also saw a coyote…but I think it was the other place we hike. I don’t think these guys noticed…

Although sometimes the little one refuses to go any further. I think that’s laziness more than coyote super-sense though.

The big girl is much recovered after a summer of iffy hips. She’s still iffy, but she’s moving pretty well for an 80-year-old.

So I have a piece in this exhibit…it’s a traveling exhibit, so it will be all over the place.

It’s cool that my piece is second from the left. Here’s the actual link so you can read about the quilts and exhibit. My quilt is about Bill Nye, because I teach middle school science and he’s done some good work about climate change.

I finished grading videos at 10:20 PM. Then I cut stuff out. I cut out one yard on Sunday night and two yards last night…

That’s four yards to go. Not bad. I have a SAQA stitch-in meeting tonight at the El Cajon Library from 6-8 PM (you don’t have to be a SAQA member to be there). I’m taking some of this with me. Maybe I can get done by Thursday. I did buy background fabric on Saturday…well, I bought 4 different options, because I couldn’t decide.

Gotta go to work now. Was gonna post Full Moon art pictures, but I don’t have time! I never have time. Oh yeah! I am teaching that workshop in November for sure. I’ll have to post that info too. It’ll be pretty chill. Shockingly. I spend all day teaching 12-year-olds how to sit up, get their heads off the desks, actually DO something, and even THINK, ah the torture. Handing out some fabric and explaining how to iron and stitch it should be easy. Ha. Well. Maybe.

I Did Not Sew Through My Finger.

First partial week of school in the books. Certainly there are some challenges we can see, and I sort of already feel incredibly buried in all the minutiae and the demands of life around it, although some of those are things I take on, of course. My brain right now is trying to hold on to 17 different to-do threads, mostly involving finding one thing and emailing someone about it. It’s disconcerting.

I posted a picture yesterday afternoon on Instagram of a new thing we’re doing this year called a Wonder Wall. I didn’t make it up…it came from here…but I really wanted to tap into the natural wonder that kids have about science that sometimes the standards kick in the ass. Like here’s what we HAVE to teach, and here’s what you really WANT to learn about.

Like skin walkers. And why humans can’t lay eggs. So we started yesterday with a brain dump (although my co-teacher called it a brain drop) on paper, which almost killed some of the kids, OMG, 8 minutes of writing questions, do you hate us? Hey no. You can do this.

WHEN CAN I GO TO BED. I ask that all the time. I actually model it and sometimes kids copy the questions I’m writing because writing and thinking are hard and I’m really much better at it than some of them. And then they had to cull it down to 1-3 questions to write on the post-its. At the end of the day, I stood and stared at it…

Why ARE there too many questions in your head, child? I’ve always had too many questions. I started in every class with talking about easy questions like what’s for lunch (I should know; I made it) or when is class over (that’s on the wall), and then talked about questions that I might know the answer to, like why am I so short, followed by the more difficult stuff, and for this, I always pick one of the more mouthy boys (and if they’re mouthy and I know their names on the third day of school, you know I need to connect with them), and I say I’ve always wondered what would happen if we took MY brain and put it in THEIR head, who would they be? Would they be me? Would they be a combination? And they kinda freak out. I’m OK with freak out in here.

This thread though…

All the ones about death. I teach in a Title I school. I teach many immigrants and refugees. I teach traumatized kids. I know all these things. And yeah, the “Why am I still alive” kid is on my radar. I actually know which kid that is. Most of them I don’t. But he made a point of telling me it was his. And then running away. OK then. We’ve got some work to do.

The next step? They pick a question and research it and produce something for me. We’ll work on that. First I’m going to have my homeroom try to organize them in threads/piles (a lot of kids copied my Why am I short? question)…because right now, it’s a little overwhelming. And we’ll have to train them to think about this shit. But it’ll be good. The core of teaching science is helping them think critically. How do we answer all these crazy questions in our heads? How do we find stuff we care about? The one kid who wants to know about what it’s like in jail. Huh. Well. You can find that out. I’d rather you know that in your head before experiencing it for real. It might persuade you not to do certain things. Probably they’re asking for a reason…parent in jail is pretty common around here. Big project.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get everything done at home too…on my list for next weekend (this weekend is buried) is to get these plants organized and transplanted as needed. The one that escaped and is heading across the steps…

It needs to be planted out. A lot of the succulents have escaped pots or outgrown them. Need to work on that.

We walked both dogs when I got home…

We did a shorter walk, but even with that, Calli was limping by the end. She seems OK today though, so she may just be out of shape after almost two months of very few walks. I don’t think the back leg will ever be fully back. But she wanted to walk and she liked it and she didn’t whine so I think we’re good. Maybe not 3-mile good, but good.

Boychild saw that. My head was down, watching for lizards. We came back and I read for a bit, researching the Amazon rainforest and wondering (I need my own Wonder Wall) why so many dumbass politicians are in charge right now, and what will be left of the planet in 30 years’ time and holy crap the boychild was cooking dinner, so the dogs sat with me.

Doggy time is the bestest time.

The Man’s band played at Petco Park during Beerfest last night…they were very excited.

I did not go for once, mostly because it was sold out, but also the first Friday of school is exhausting and they started so freakin’ early, I don’t think I could have made it there anyway. Today I am also blowing them off, because I have to finish this quilt and this book. I quilted for three hours last night…finished the outlining…

Face before outlining…face after outlining…

Much better. And I did most of the background, but around 11:30 PM, I realized my eyes were drooping and I didn’t want to sew through my finger (I’ve done that) because I was too tired, so I quit, even though there’s only about 30 minutes left on there. It’s 30 minutes I’ll be doing this morning, then going to get binding, washing it, and putting it on. Done early! Woo! A miracle. Now I just have to get everything else done. No worries.