42 Hours…

It was good to have a few days, wait, was it even days? It was not…it was good to have…um…42 hours off of work. Seriously. It was. I came home with a nail in my tire, a bunch of wet tent parts, and a tick embedded in my torso (it’s OK…that one is gone and now I’m on antibiotics, purely precautionary. No way was it on me long enough to do anything but an allergic reaction. But the doc thought it was worth treating). I’m tired…we didn’t sleep well either night, from idiotic camp neighbors one night (solved by Ranger Eric, who reminded them of their indoor voices and the camp quiet hours) and the wind the next night as a storm wandered, no blew in. Hence the wet tent parts. But we got the hell out of here, and yes, I’ll pay all week with grading and planning, but I was doing that already. There is no catching up this year. There’s no feeling like you’re on top of things, like you’ve got it all under control. There’s just getting through it.

Let’s see if I can keep that in my mind as I wing it today in one of my classes…the other 5 are planned, but one is a little um not nope planned. Ah well. I have a short prep period before it happens.

We made it out of the house Friday at 4, but had to deliver stuff and pick up dinner and then the tire pressure light went on, but that’s not when we found the nail. We finally made it to Cuyamaca and Paso Picacho Campground at around 5:30, I think. Not dark yet, but wondering about it. Tent was up in the light still, although it was a bit dodgy. It’s been a while since we put it up.

It was a great campsite, no one on either side, down slope a bit. It would have been more awesome if the people inhabiting three campsites across from us hadn’t been throwing a rave that night, or if the camp host had taken that down. They were pumping music and yelling at sports-attendance levels until after 12:30 in the morning. I was too tired and cold to get out of the sleeping bag to go yell at them, but the man talked to the rangers the next day, and it was handled. They were great the next night, proving that even Trump lovers (ah the T-shirts) understand a man in a uniform telling them to shut the fuck up.

We got up Saturday and headed up to Cuyamaca Peak, at elevation 6512′, the 2nd highest peak in San Diego County. I’ve been up there at least twice before, maybe three times. It’s not an easy hike, but it’s not impossible…

This area was burned some years back. The trees are definitely coming back, in full force, which is nice to see.

We started from the campground and took the Azalea Glen trail up to Conejos, and then across to the peak. Sounds easy, but it’s a good 5+ miles of climbing to get there.

Trees are still dying and falling from the fires, and there are huge sections where the tree parts are just piled by the side of the trail.

Also, morteros…signs of Native inhabitation in the past…

Lots of new trees coming up, of all different types. Not sure what the conifer with the long needles is…

It’s heartening to see the new trees popping up all over…imagining what it will look like in 10, 20, 30 years. A forest again.

Even the dead trees grow stuff…burnt wood feeding fungus…

It took us a long time to hike it…

The weather was reasonably cool, a plus, because there wasn’t much shade on the first part.

It’s a pretty steady climb. There’s Middle Peak…another way up.

I’ve done that too.

Eventually we got out of the fire-devastated area into some with more trees…

Great views though.

One part of the trail is pretty rocky…slowed us down.

OK, to be honest, we didn’t hike fast. It’s at elevation, we were both tired, and it was long. But we did it. We always do.

And there are great sights along the way.

Earlier in the week, the man had said we would get up, do this hike, take a break, a nap, whatever, and then do the other peak, Stonewall, across the way.

At some point, I said, nah. I’m gonna do this one and that’s it.

I do love it. I just need a break. At the top…

It’s a pretty spectacular view, even when you can’t see to the ocean. The fire road you use to get to the top is steep and evil, but that is often the case.

We get there eventually.

I think our slowest mile was 53 minutes…ouch. Funny, that wasn’t even the last bit up the fire road…it was mile 4. Our fastest was 20 minutes, more our style.

I think I had to put blister bandaids on in mile 4…definitely slowed us down having me redo both shoes. Anyway…we’re not in it for the speed.

We came back and relaxed. I drew.

We ate, we stared at a campfire on a much quieter night than the one before, went to bed, and the storm started up. I’m not sure if the wind was louder than the neighbors the night before? Certainly it brought rain and then next morning, we packed up pretty quickly and came home. Tent still needs a bath, but we’re waiting for better weather…it’s all laid out in the garage for now.

All good things. Cats were glad to see us.

Luna love.

Today I am back to work, school all day, barely planned some of it, made some progress in some places, I need to go do some stuff now. Oh yeah, the tick got pulled, probably attached less than 24 hours, but the doc wanted to be safe…plus I obviously had an allergic reaction to it…nice red ring (no bullseye until day 3, so we’ll be good). So I’m on antibiotics for 10 days just to be sure. Fun stuff. The quilt goes to the photographer today and then I’ll start on the next one. Once I figure out what that is.

Rabbits Everywhere

Today begins the fourth week of this new version of school, the third new version this year. Hopefully the last, although I get two new students today. They told me it would always be a one-for-one switch, but this is two for one. I’ve been told one of them never shows up. But he’s on my roster now, so I have to record things for him and mark him absent and all that, so it’s not like there’s no work when you go from 174 to 175 kids. Kind of pitiful too, when that’s the case. Where is this kid? What’s he doing? How is his family doing? I don’t know. More importantly (or tragically), I don’t have TIME to know. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In the physical classroom, back in the day when school was ‘normal’, the school people, including me, would have time to track down that one kid who never shows up. Here and now? I know there’s someone who is supposed to be paying attention to that, but they’re also paying attention to daily spray downs and kids who won’t wear masks and kids who won’t social distance and teachers who might have COVID and students who have symptoms. The daily stuff overwhelms.

My whole team was texting their hours put in to school this weekend, and it was bad across the board. It’s not like we usually could walk away from it on the weekend completely…sometimes, if you planned really well during the week for the following week and there were no big assignments needing to be graded, well you could leave your computer at work and walk away from it. Now? Fuck no. In fact, this upcoming weekend, where I am venturing into no-internet land, I’m having to get at least Monday planned for next week. Getting this week planned and set up took 8 hours on Saturday and another 7 on Sunday. Some of that was art prep…I needed to put together packages for them to pick up for the next project…which included cutting out 70+ viewfinders…

Sorting through paper and pencils and getting a big order of blending stumps, stuffing everything in envelopes, and delivering it to school so kids can pick it up. No small feat. No small amount of time either…probably 3 of those 15 hours was just dealing with that.

I had two videos I needed to record for school, but the neighbors were either sawing, drilling, or screaming. I’m pretty sure one of the videos has kids yelling in the background and the other one has his blower/vacuum thing going.

The sky was beautiful while they threw their 3000th pandemic party.

I get some questions about teaching art…isn’t it fun? You like art. Isn’t it pretty easy? Well no, it’s not fun and it’s not easy. It’s managing 70 kids who range from I Hate Art to I LOVE Art with abilities that go along with that, on a computer, hardly being able to see their work or give them daily guidance, and coming up with ideas that support/bounce off of your co-teacher, who is just as buried and overwhelmed as you are. And I can’t just draw, because they copy what you do, and that’s not what this is about.

Friday’s lesson on how to shade things in many different media, because if I say you need a pencil, fourteen kids ask if pen is OK. So I did colored pencil, crayon, ink pen, ballpoint pen, and regular pencil. I thought later that I could have done pointillism, but I didn’t go there. I got some very good results, some OK results, some eh results, some “how is that 15 minutes of work” results, and some who don’t know how to turn anything in and I don’t know why. I spent about 3 more hours last night trying to figure out how to run this week, in between two projects but they don’t have the materials yet for the next project. So that was fun. It’s a whole ‘nother Google search regime. And time-consuming as hell. Did I mention that it’s two different levels of art? I’m not teaching them the exact same thing. So my brain is all over the place, can’t remember assignment numbers for each class. I need to type up a list (in my spare fucking time, y’all) so I can refer to it. And the last 2 hours last night was giving feedback on book cover prototypes, which is brain sucking stuff. What are the criteria? Are they hitting them? Did they just copy this off the internet? Certainly possible. What can I say to them that will help? And not hurt? I made it through 17 in 2 hours. I have 38 kids in that class. Luckily, so far, only 25 have turned them in. I have 8 to do today before class starts. And then I try to do them DURING class, which is a challenge.

So no, teaching art isn’t fun. I don’t like it. Certainly not this version of it. It at least doubles my planning time and grading time, maybe triples it. There are some things I can double up on, but not many. And sarcasm. I have to remember that the one class is all 6th graders and some of them don’t understand sarcasm yet. Neither do their parents. Sigh.

So school. Is hard. Is time-consuming, more than it ever has been. I think we will all be completely burnt out by the time the end of the trimester comes. And there are still two more after that.

I managed to get the outline quilting done on Friday night…

I don’t know where I find the energy sometimes. To get up off the couch, walk away from the TV and the brainless I don’t need to do any more. Saturday, I went and bought binding…and then started quilting the background.

I was tired. It wasn’t fast. There isn’t much of it, but it’s not a small quilt. I had to use a different thread and it was coming off the spool weird. The thread kept catching and breaking.

Fucking annoying. Time-consuming. I fixed it last night though…

Or it fixed itself because I used enough of it that it stopped catching. Hard to know. It did stop breaking though. I made it about 3/4 of the way around. At 11:35 pm, I stopped. I need to sleep. Another hour of quilting, maybe, and I’ll be done. Trim it, bind it. I can see it being done. That’s good.

Still fighting for time to exercise…Saturday night’s walk…

It cooled off. Rabbits everywhere.

Next weekend will be longer hikes.

And further away. Away from my computer and my work setup. The thing that’s always there, in my space, telling me I haven’t done enough.

Kitten likes it when we hike. She especially likes the smell of hiking boots.

She’s a little strange.

These two are sweethearts. When they’re not scratching shit and attacking my pens.

In general, good cats.

OK. I still have 8 prototypes that need feedback. I graded almost nothing this weekend in that 15 hours…which didn’t even count the three hours or more I did after school on Friday. I still need to make one more video thing, grade a million things, grade all the late work that panicked children have turned in, teach all day, and answer 6 thousand emails. Otherwise, teachers are fine y’all. Don’t worry about us. Keep having your non-socially-distanced parties and being a maskhole. Hey! Go vote! Everyone in my household has done that but me. I will. I promise. Not this week, probably, but maybe. I could. I will. It will be a relief to color that circle in.

Find Some Zen…

Grrr Wednesday. Grrrr. I’m growling at you like Simba growls under his breath at something that is now gone but is still irritating him. I guess I’m growling at Tuesday then, aren’t I. Huh. Well Tuesday was complicated in my brain. Some sense of the vast expanse of time I will be doing this online teaching thing, stuck in my house, fighting technology, not able to see students, not able to do anything hands on, everything a million times more complicated than it used to be. Barely talking to anyone but the 174 kids who I see every day or every few days or three days a week for a really long time (90 minutes is a long time when you’re trying to get a kid on the correct screen…you just want to reach through and push him/her where they need to be), and I don’t even really SEE them, just the top three inches of their heads. Massive sigh. Don’t count months. Just try not to think about how long this is.

My school admin is getting a taco truck for the at-school teachers on Friday. Sure, I could send the boychild (who says I should stop calling him that, because everything thinks he’s like 12…he’s a man. He’s been a man for a while. Manchild sounds weird. He doesn’t want me to use his name. Honestly he’d be overjoyed if I never ever mentioned him again. So boychild it is.) to pick up a plate shoved through the fence by my coworkers, but it’s not the tacos…it’s the hanging out and socializing and getting some appreciation from admin for your hard work (I’m pretty sure my admin is just tired of me bitching about things that should have been done/fixed/handled…I know I’m tired of it. But when parents complain…sigh.). Whatever. Get up. Do the thing. Teach the stuffs. Grade the crap. Read the thousand emails. Delete most of them. Go to bed. Repeat.

It’s not really my roll.

So I’m still off, sad, overwhelmed, not feeling it today. We’ll see how it plays out. I usually do better when I’m dealing with actual children in front of me, even when they are tiny black rectangles with their names on them. Or not.

I did start quilting the other night. Not a lot. I’m so tired at the end of the day.

Mondays are long because we see all the kids…more transitions. Tuesdays and Wednesdays I have a long prep period, and I desperately try to concentrate and get everything done, but then I end up doing hours of work before and after school as well.

So I’m getting a little over an hour of quilting done each night at the moment.

It’s not much. But it’s something. It’s slow sometimes. It’s better than nothing. It’s meditative. I just sit and move the quilt and it’s good except it’s more sitting so then I get antsy and have to get up and walk around. Ugh.

Teaching art…how to line. This photo is so blurry…it should be how to photograph.

Nova likes to lie on the sketchbook. Desperately ordering materials for my art students, hoping they will come pick them up if I pack them all up. That’ll be Sunday. With all the school shit I do on the weekends, it feels like I shouldn’t leave and do anything else, but I have two weekends planned. I know I need them, but I’m also stressing like crazy about making sure everything is done before I go because there won’t be internet at one of them at all. It’s easier to last-minute wing science class in person than it is online.

Kitten is staring at a gecko. Can you see it?

It’s fascinating.

I have this walk I do and they are developing this huge tract of land that used to be a chicken farm. It’s been a permitting fight for years, but they finally put this lovely thing up.

I guess if you live near there and don’t want the construction noise and dust, this is a plus, but there’s no parking all the way along it, so getting to the local park is a long walk at the moment. Sad to look at as well. Cookie cutter houses going in, I’m sure. Oh well. They start at $900K too, so very affordable. Yup. Getting right in there.

I am just a ball of cheer this morning. This makes me happy…here’s the girlchild (also an adult)…

In Maine. Beautiful.

OK. I’m just going to do today and know that hopefully the science stuff is cool (I think it is, but I’m the teacher) and sit through a union meeting after school and hopefully (yes, definitely) quilt tonight. Some more. And find some zen with this existence. Somehow.

Clear My Brain

I do write to clear my brain. Otherwise the words pile up in there and cause havoc. It’s currently 10:20 PM on a Saturday night. I have words in my head and I’d like them out.

We hiked almost 7 miles this morning, and then I did some schoolwork, stitched down the rest of the quilt top, and sandwiched and pinbasted it. It’s been a busy day. There are piles of fabric in the girlchild’s room, and I happened to find something the right size and shape (a rectangle, by the way) for the backing.

I’d already checked for batting. Check!

I did a significant part of the stitch down on Friday night, but I knew we were getting up early to hike, so I quit.

In retrospect, I would have been up for another hour and a half if I’d kept going last night. It was easy enough to finish this afternoon.

Pinbasted in no time.

It’s what we do on a Saturday night. It’s good…it means I can quilt a bit every night this week. I do need to do some thread shopping tomorrow though.

Friday night, we gamed, and I graded some and stitched some.

The cat is no help while grading. Actually, this was my setup for science and art on Friday. Cleanup still happening for demo the day before, art ready to go, rocks in place.

This morning, we hiked Los Penasquitos Canyon, starting at the Mercy/Black Mountain end.

There were quite a few people…

It was much cooler than it has been, much cooler than it will be this week.

It’s mostly flat.

The man is training for the PCT, which will be mostly not flat.

I, however, am training for nothing.

Except regular exercise.

I had to put my phone in my bra for a bit because people don’t understand how to share the trail and there was some chance I’d fall into the water and I wanted my phone as high up on my body as possible.

I didn’t. Fall in, that is.

Anyway, stupid people on trails. What can you do?

Avoid them. The man getting his zen on.

We actually passed a half naked guy (young) meditating with a pointy zen hat on.

So there’s that. Rocks, sand, poison oak, and a baby rattlesnake.

No real rattles yet. The man moved him off the trail.

Good thing because the next group coming along had two small children.

Strange pods…

Pro: We were done by noon. Con: I’m exhausted right now.

This is a pretty suburban trail, right between two rows of houses. In two weeks, we go camping…and two weeks after, we’ll be near Joshua Tree, although I have an art thing to do, so mostly the man will hike and I will not.

I do enjoy hiking. There are limited numbers of hours in the day, though…so tomorrow holds a few hours of work in it. So I’m ready for the week.

This week is already full of meetings.

And hopefully quilting…

I so want to be a cat. I’d be less tired, I think. Hard to say. Interesting to clear one’s brain right before bed. Hopefully it will help with my current tendency to have weird-ass, scary dreams. Because that’s been the last two nights, and I’m kind of done.

Oh yeah, Fire and Water got into Quilt National. That’s cool.

It was the throwaway quilt. You pay the same for 2 or 3 entries. I needed a third. I figured the big one would get in, if anything. It didn’t. This one did. It’s a quilt that was made for another show and didn’t get in. So was the last Quilt National Entry. It’s weird…I get in every OTHER year. 2013. 2017. 2021. Freaky. OK, consider sleep. And whatever is sneakily walking out on the slope. And making more art.

Does Not Currently Exist Anywhere…

Well this is a weird time for me to write, but it’s the time I have. My brain is in some sort of stasis mode in between work and sleep, or maybe somewhere else. I’m trying to bully through the to-do list for today but also to get ready for school tomorrow. I need a certain mindset to get there, and a brain dump here will help with that. I have science sussed out for tomorrow and mostly the rest of the week, although I have to set up and test the demo for Tuesday and finish posts for the rest of the week, but I have done NOTHING (let me emphasize how big those capital letters are…they are as big as a redwood tree looming over me) for the art classes. And maybe Advisory, which I worry less about. I finished grades Friday night around 11 PM and went to bed fairly early. Exhaustion is here and in my face all the fucking time. I graded all through online gaming and managed to pay attention somehow, although not to the level to which my co-player expects. It’s easy when you don’t bring your job home with you. My job is always here and currently making me grind my teeth in a very vexing manner.

Yeah. That.

So I posted last on Friday morning. I’m really trying to get back on an every-other-day schedule, best I can, not for you, my dear readers, but for me, the crazy brain that needs a focus, a goal, a written document of what has gone and what is to come, so I can actually DO some of it and maybe celebrate some as well.

Saturday, I packed up three quilts for delivery to the Front Porch Gallery.

California Fibers’ show Figuratively is opening there October 4 and continues through the middle of November. Enjoy! I have three pieces in the show.

After I did that, I worked for about 2 hours, trying to make sense of the new science curriculum and my stupid schedule that starts next week.

Yes, I stand there. I sit too much right now.

Then we dropped off the three quilts for the next show. From there, we wandered over to the Oceanside Museum of Art for the Southern California Contemporary Quilts exhibit. That link also has a slide show of the whole show, if you’re interested. I would suggest going online and reserving a ticket and time for an in-person view, but I realize not everyone can do that, so the slide show is what will suffice.

This is Libby Williamson’s piece Burn Cycles at the entry point.

I am a haphazard photographer of shows when I don’t have to document them, so I can’t even say these were my favorites, but maybe they were at the time.

This is Lisa Kijak’s Neon Pacific.

Lisa was there with her family while I was there, but I was apparently not in a sociable mood and didn’t say hi, but I do love her work.

I also liked Nancy Lemke’s work Seaside 1.

I was intrigued that the hand fabric is one I own. My gallery co-visitor mentioned that I never make hands out of one piece. Well sometimes I do, but not this big.

Charlotte Bird’s Southland Odyssey is amazing…

Lots of details here.

Intriguing construction too…

Lots of So Cal details.

And one of my favorite artists, Dinah Sargeant, with her piece Spines Return.

Plus a fun wall shape by Gillian Moss, We Came, We Liked, We Stayed.

There are other exhibits in the museum, including a large plein-air collection from Gardena High School, but also some photo and ceramic pieces by Pamela Earnshaw Kelly

I get overwhelmed in museums at times and stop taking pictures of signage…so no names on these two…

But those two were my favorites, and I liked the graphic quality of the little room of pieces by Allan Morrow.

Oh yeah, and my piece, So Cal Mama

She was pretty nice too. I recorded video for my Patreon of this and a little of the rest of the show. Hopefully that will get processed in the next 24 hours.

Our current Saturday goal includes a walk and food. Because we were already in Oceanside, we went to Guajome County Park and walked around there…

They claimed it was 4.3 miles, but I think we did something wrong, because it was 3 miles.

Different plants…

Still too suburban, so too many people.

It’s hard to get around all that at the moment.

And then we had our first restaurant dinner since everything closed down in March. I remember being in a restaurant the Saturday after the schools closed, but not after that. We did eat outside, near the edge, far enough away from people, but I didn’t have my hand sanitizer with me, and I wanted it. So I’m still not comfortable with it, but maybe that will come. Or maybe it shouldn’t.

Also apparently some parts of the PCT are in my future, assuming it opens. We’ll see.

Today has just been crazy trying to do all the things. I needed a new sun shade for the window where I work, because the old one broke on Friday and it’s supposed to be in the 100s all freakin’ week holy shit i’mma gonna die. I needed some bins to pack up fabric. I apparently may have sold the quilt that isn’t finished yet…I’ll wait on the contract and deposit for that maybe. For now, it’s a nice feeling…and I need those. Hey Nova…that’s my clean laundry.

She knows. She doesn’t care. And Kitten has taken over my paper box.

So much for getting paper out. Cat in way.

Ah. So it’s after 6 PM, and I still need to post school stuff, or in some cases, create school stuff that does not currently exist anywhere, not even in my head, and I need to finish the ceramic and fabric pieces that are supposed to be done this week, and then finish the quilt that is almost finished so I can make money off of it, because I need some money coming in soon, and then maybe even sleep tonight (ha! Such a joke) and not worry so much about everything under the sun, even though that’s how my brain works and I’m not very good at making it stop. Yeah. All those things.

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 Lone Crow

I’m more than a little frustrated by technology this morning. Nothing is working right…it’s either slow or nonexistent or doesn’t remember who I am (same same). My brain is mush from trying to (a) remember all the shit I’m supposed to do, (b) grade all the shit I’m supposed to grade, and (c) shit, I don’t even remember the last thing. I’m trying to type this on the iPad because my desktop and I are no longer friends and I’d really like to get this done before I start the long hellacious day ahead.

Must stop working on day job before 10 pm.

Tuesday I was smart and I walked. 3.65 miles. It’s a good walk. Our air is still unhealthy, but I have to admit that I didn’t track it before, so maybe it always was. The haze is not normal though. Those aren’t our fires…those are from somewhere else.

Walks are nice. They help. I should do more of them.

Working on that.

I managed some ironing at 11 pm or so…

The central figure with her cytokine storm.

Then last night, I got the other side done minus the forearm…

It was well after midnight. I forget that school starts earlier now and I have to get up earlier.

The heart, the lungs. Y’all, the news is so awful. Is the next quilt about wildfires, the stupidity of our leadership, or forced hysterectomies? I just don’t know where to start. Maybe I will make a nice landscape. Sigh.

I feel like this is one of the few things I can manage appropriately right now…laying pieces out in numerical order.

Got it! I can focus on that. The rest is too many pieces. Ironic…so many people think my quilts have so many pieces! Crazy! But those pieces have numbers on them, consecutive numbers, and there’s a master drawing with matching numbers and pieces. It all makes everything so easy. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but look at what I get at the end. My day job? None of that right now. Random numbers, no master drawing, nothing matches up, can’t even get my head around it some days.

And then I walk in on a late-night cat convention.

WTF y’all. WTF.

That’s me right now. The lone crow, squawking at the top of a denuded tree.

It’s OK. The leaves will come back. My murder is around, just not right there in my space…which is hard.

There’s blue up there.

In four minutes, I will walk to my classroom and try to focus on flowing water and flowing lava, and grading something, and maybe the future science I’ll be teaching. Then later I can iron stuff. Because it’s like meditation and I need that.

Leave It.

Day of brain chaos. Trying not to think too hard about school and what I need to do, but that’s what kept me awake when something woke me up before 8 AM this morning. My brain…ruminating about school. Even though yesterday I spent time planning a good chunk of the week with posts and warmups and then grading some stuff, my brain can’t leave it. Even with a walk on Friday and a walk on Saturday, my brain can’t just drop it. On the one hand, that’s useful…it’s always trying to solve a problem on the side, over there, in that corner, while I’m driving or dropping off my sewing machine to be serviced or cooking something, but sometimes…just once in a while…I’d like it to just stop for a bit. Leave it. It’s the same brain that helps me make art…I do so much of the work in my head and work it out while I’m doing other things, it means when I’m actually MAKING, a lot of the thinking is done.

I did find myself some down time yesterday. I stopped for a while. I needed to.

In two weeks, everything I’m doing for school will change again. I’ll think about that in a week and a half. There’s no point in doing it now. Well, except for some planning for the art stuff. I maybe should go find the state standards. Maybe.

Friday was a weird day, because I had tree trimmers here…they trimmed 5 eucalyptus…

cut my palm down to the ground, cut two other branches that were issues, and took out a sucker eucalyptus on the neighbor’s side of my fence, which may or may not be my property. But I had permission. So it’s all good.

They are sad trees now, and so are the hummingbirds who had nests in there, but there were some branches that were an issue for winter storms and even summer winds.

I have lots of trees. I love them all and would prefer they just happily grow, but the house and neighbors and probably my house insurer prefer I trim them occasionally. So I do.

It was a pretty noisy day, so noisy that I moved the classroom setup back into my office with the shitty internet, and I explained why to the students, but still got, “Miss, are you running a blender?” “Yup. All day. Margaritas!” No, not really. I don’t say stuff about margaritas to kids. That’s the chainsaws and the chipper/shredder. It’s a good thing we moved the quiz from Friday to Monday. It will hopefully be quieter. Oh ha! The neighbors had jackhammers and saws going Friday until 6 PM and then Saturday and Sunday as well. No jackhammer today, just saws. I’m done! Turn off the shit. I want my quiet neighborhood back dammit. Well, quiet except for me teaching about rocks. On Mars. The rocks…not me teaching.

We took the dogs on a short walk on Friday…it was finally cool enough and the Air Quality Index had come down…it went back up on Saturday though.

There’s a local mostly flat loop that Calli can do easily enough…

Everything is very dry and prickly…

The boychild won’t let me plant artichokes because they are invasive…

They’re also fascinating.

Ah well. Maybe the next Daughter quilt will be an Artichoke Daughter. Away from all the serious topics (can I do that? Am I allowed? Will I allow myself, is more like it.).

Friday night, I managed some ironing…the weird death arm and a bird and three virions.

One of my quilt guilds actually acknowledges that some people work and have a social Zoom meeting at night. It’s one of the reasons I joined…before COVID…because they had meetings I could actually go to.

Still ironing the background bits together…although the snake overlaps onto the ground in the front.

So here, I finally got the stuff behind on the left and the stuff behind on the right all in the correct spot so I could start ironing the stuff in the front in the middle. Yeah. It’s confusing to me too. No worries. It will all make sense eventually.

I just iron quietly on the Zoom and listen to other people talk, just like it would be in real life. Maybe I would talk a little more in real life but honestly, I talk all day. I get tired of it.

Luna in a box. Nova by the window, waiting for a bug or a lizard to come close.

On Saturday, we went down to Balboa Park and walked around a little bit.

It was too peoply. I’m looking forward to cooler weather so we can go somewhere inland and less peoply…somewhere more hike-like and less walk-like. But it was good to get out. Yes, we still have smoky haze…air quality was 150 yesterday, which is still much better than Northern California, Oregon, and Washington…but not good. Right now, it’s down to 100. Better. But not good.

We were tired after, grabbed dinner, and came home and watched random stuff on TV…some Banksy, some political stuff (video below related to it), and a through-hiker in Utah, who was traveling through some of the stuff we visited last year. I just stitched stuff down, Sue Spargo stuff I can’t even show you, because she hasn’t published it yet. Brainless stuff, but that’s what I needed. Sometimes that’s what I need.

The political stuff included Emma Gonzalez’ speech from the March for Our Lives, which might have been the last political march I was in? I can’t remember. I know I’ve seen this speech before, but it still makes me cry.

Fuck the dumbass who called her ‘just a lesbian skinhead.’ I hope she becomes President. Or cures cancer. Whatever she’s got passion for. Those kids…I love when I hear passion in my own kids, my students (but my own children too) for something. Change something. Fix something. It can be small. Just care about something. Kudos to Emma and the rest of those kids who tried to make change, tried to make the fat old white guys see some sense.

No art last night. No energy, no art.

Sleepy Nova instead.

This morning, the man found a snake outside the front door…

Pretty sure it’s a gopher snake…

I don’t have a lot of gophers, so hopefully that’s his fault. Or hers.

Most of today was getting shit done. Hung a towel rail, did the grocery shopping, dropped my sewing machine off for service, and baked this beauty.

She looks really good. Which is nice, because she’s a good part of my lunches this week.

I also made naan from scratch…

Which isn’t as easy as my daughter makes it look, but I eventually got the hang of it. Mostly. Rugs are for catching the shit I dribble from the counter to the stove, right? Yes. They are. The minor issue is that I just mopped those floors and washed those rugs. Whatever. As soon as I clean, it’s dirty again.

I also did some research for the one project I need to work on this week…read up, watched some videos, printed some pictures and words. I’ll hopefully get a good start on that tomorrow night. And the other project too. We even had a socially distanced dinner with the parental units. First time in a long time. The plus is that I crossed a bunch of things off my list today. The minus is that it’s almost 10 PM and I’m exhausted (didn’t sleep well last night) and I’m not sure what to work on next. I have one thing I need to grade, but I don’t feel like it. Maybe I should just iron things together and accept that I am allowed to have some non-work time at night, even when everything is not done. Everything is not done so often! And work will always be there. Speaking of work always being there, the rumor is that work is checking Facebook pages and schooling staff about what they say. Huh. Well, I’ve been blogging about my job(s) and everything else…since 2004. Maybe even 2003? Can’t remember. If they’re just gonna decide to school me now, I’m gonna ask where they’ve been for the last 17 years. Is my job perfect? Of course not. Is my district perfect? Oh heck no…no one is. Am I perfect? Well we know the answer to that. I wouldn’t stress about everything under the sun on a daily basis if I were perfect. So Hi! See me waving at my work. Howzit goin’! I suggest you start reading way way back. Let me know when you’re done. Then we can talk.

OK, iron for a bit, sleep early (ha!), then get up and conquer the world. Or whatever you can handle.

One Chunk for Me…

It’s interesting to read a bunch of pedagogy articles and listening to teacher podcasts on how to deal with remote and hybrid teaching and realizing that your own teaching assignment currently conflicts with everything that seems to be good eduscience. We planned Monday to be a catch-up/check-in day…already. Eight days in. It’s OK…this is new for all of us, different than what we did in the Spring. Meanwhile, the district is planning to change everything again within the next month. We’ll see if that approaches what kids need more than what we’re doing right now. Friday, I had to call a parent because the kid was full on snoring away in Zoom class. I don’t blame him…if I were lying on my bed, I might fall asleep too. That’s why I sit up. It’s hard to find a happy place between making sure they’re on task and focused, but respecting their space and their laggy internet and their dislike of the screen. I’m only barely getting their names in my brain, because I can’t really see most of them…it’s hard to tell them apart by the foreheads and hair and that’s it. I’m working on it…but also know that a goodly portion of them won’t be in my class in a month. Or will they? We just don’t know.

I did move my entire teaching space into the living room on Friday and then bought another adapter and cable to hook in directly to the internet. We’ll see how that goes. Luna is fascinated by what has appeared on what she thinks of as Her Desk.

Two laptops and a monitor and she already pulled my schedule off the wall, where I taped it, knowing it would be a kitten toy, but I couldn’t think of where else to put it in the moment.

This works for now. I’m still in flux. The light table is behind me so I can stand there if I need to, but I need lighting for that…I’m backlit, so it’s weird. I’m hesitant to buy yet another thing that might not solve a problem right now.

The other hard part is that at the end of the school day, at 3 PM, when I sign off with the last group, I’m exhausted, mentally and physically. My brain can’t see straight and feels like it’s tied in a knot. So I take a break, walk around, water something, feed the sourdough starter, pee the dogs, anything that’s not school-related. And then try to do the things I wrote in my notebook for school. Finish typing this, call that person, print that form, email this other person, post that, create this. Sometimes I just give up until much later. Too much sitting; too much staring at a screen.

Friday night was gaming (online…staring at a screen). I stitched while playing…

We’ve got dice on the table, character sheets lying around. We’ll finish it up this coming Friday. I can’t even remember what we were doing. Damn Romulans. They were being all secretive and lying and all.

Saturday, I got up for Pilates…I missed Wednesday’s class because the dog had to go to the vet, and my body was very stiff and sore. Note to self. Not sustainable. MOVE. Yes, it was freakin’ hot all week. MOVE.

Kitten does move. Sometimes. Then I did more school stuff until about 1 PM, followed it up with art group stuff, and then we walked near where we were hoping to have dinner. This is part of the Coast to Crest trail…we were trying to figure out if these were actually put out for birds to build nests on (one had a large nest)…

We went about 2 miles out and then 2 miles back. Weird how that works, eh?

Lots of birds. As always, I have to check heron vs egret vs crane. This is a heron.

That tiny white dot out there is an egret. It was warm going inland, but definitely cooled off on the way back with the ocean breeze and impending sunset.

Different plants to look at…

Different wildlife…

I’m not a fan of the car/freeway noise, but when it’s hot and summer, that’s one of the things you have to deal with…cooler beach walks often mean more people and/or car noise. There weren’t a lot of people on this hike…

It’s mostly flat…

We wanted to have dinner at a nearby brewery that has a big open outdoor space afterwards, but we reserved the mental right to back out and get takeout if we weren’t comfortable with the setup.

Which is what we ended up doing. Too many people in too small a space with not enough barriers. They were nice about it. We tailgated in the parking lot with free beer from the general manager and giant-ass mosquitoes landing on us. The food was good. I’d go back…maybe not on a Saturday night, but we’re limited by our work schedules unfortunately. We’re trying to figure out how to have Date Night without all the things we used to be able to do. Unfortunately, it might be tailgating and picnics for a while. At least the food was still hot when we ate it, for once in the last 5 months.

Here’s part of the trail map…

We started at the P near the Boardwalk and followed the Coast to Crest trail under the freeway and out. If you go to the Polo Fields and turn around, it’s supposed to be about 5.3 miles. We didn’t get that far.

I’m still trying to finish ironing all the Wonder Under to fabrics for this new piece…I did some on Friday night. Less than an hour, I think…with Calli’s assistance.

Nah. She’s just in the way. Speaking of in the way…

Everyone wants pets. Katie left Saturday afternoon with my parents. She was happy to finally get back to rabbit chasing and regular walks in her own space.

Here’s everything I got ironed down on Friday night…mostly just the lungs, I think.

They were pretty damn complicated though. Like COVID itself.

Then last night, I worked on ironing anything to do with the cardiovascular system…

Arteries, blood cells, the heart…

I originally did this drawing in April, 30 days after we got sent home from school on Shelter in Place…then when I enlarged it, I added some broken blood cells, since it seems like COVID attacks the blood in some ways or the blood vessels themselves. Crazy shit. So all I have left to iron is the hair of the main figure (I cannot make a decision) and the dirt down below. Easy, right? Oh I think there is a ventilator down there too. So not much left. I’d like to get it done tonight. I’d also like to get a binding on the small Patreon piece here…it’s late and I feel bad, but I can’t get my head straight until like 11 PM and then it feels too late to work on it. This afternoon would be good, but I have somewhere I need to be at 6 and I’m not sure I’m ready for school yet. Damn.

So this week…teach all week, exercise more (it’s supposed to be cooler until Saturday, hallelujah), finish ironing the Wonder Under to fabric, finish the Patreon piece, and I need to draw…one for Patreon and one for myself. Maybe that’s the way everything should go this week. One for (work, art groups, Patreon, family) and one for myself. Whatever unit I use for one…hour? One chunk for me, one chunk for you. Certainly that might be healthier than whatever shit I did last week. Also, it’s September this week. Already. WTF. Someone said that unless we change our mindsets, 2021 will still be bad. Kenosha police, we’re talking to you. With that, I’m going to do one chunk for me.

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.