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.

I Don’t Need Shoes…

We are a week out from starting school with kids. First we have to contact all of them and make sure they know how to sign in to a class and get their schedules and class codes and Zoom links and internet (holy hell, my internet has been awful today)…but I need to know WHO I’m contacting before all that happens. Ought to be interesting. Meanwhile, temperatures (actual temperatures of the air) are rising and everyone is hot and why do I have to start wearing a bra again? Sigh. Ugh. So here’s something about being an online teacher. I don’t need pants. I don’t need shoes. OK, I might stand up and do something for class, but odds are, I don’t need shoes. I might need slippers when it gets cold, but not shoes. It will be a shoeless school year. I will have to wear a bra most days though. Time to get used to those things again.

Today, I made a bunch of videos about how to use certain apps and websites, and posted those, and started trying to do some other school stuff. I sat through a total waste-of-time training. Hopefully the next one is NOT a waste of time, but you know, when you have to turn your camera off so others can’t see your extreme eyeroll and because you know you have one of those faces that everyone can read…well…that does not bode well for professional learning.

Deep breaths, new school year. I see you and I will get through you, hopefully still standing…on my bare feet.

Yeah. Think some of the crazy through a little bit.

I did finish tracing the Wonder Under last night…820 pieces (or so…had some with a’s and b’s because I missed numbering them) in exactly 11 hours. Weird to be exact like that. So this is about 5 1/2 yards of Wonder Under…

Covered in little drawn pieces…so that’s probably 6 hours of cutting stuff out…

I also am still embellishing these squares and rectangles…only getting through about three a night…

It’ll get done eventually.

Here’s the fence…actually done…

And here’s the Bird Poop Caterpillar chrysalis finally…

Its horns finally showed up. Apparently they show these red horns when they feel threatened, but I never saw them. There’s about 5 more caterpillars on the tree…yes, I sacrificed lemon tree leaves for these future butterflies.

I walked yesterday. Apparently I’ve done 150 miles in my hiking boots since March 2nd…

Yes, my hiking app keeps track. Impressive, eh? Well, it could have been more.

This bird was definitely perturbed about the tree disappearing.

More rocks getting painted and left outside…

I love those.

And last night, trying to go to bed earlier (and failing)…the moon was beautiful and orange and my phone camera just couldn’t handle it.

Kitten slept right through it.

I don’t know that cats care about the color of the moon. OK, another training starts in 18 minutes. I’m not feeling good about this school year, I have to admit. Those people dissing us teachers for “not wanting to go back to work” (yes we do…we want more than anything for it all to be normal again, whatever that is)…you don’t know what our job is like…at all. I’m just watching all the experts with their advice about going back, and all the not-experts and what’s happening in schools that are already open. Masks, no masks, cohorts, no cohorts, hybrid, no hybrid, testing, no testing. It’s all very scary. I’ve actually considered in my head what might happen if I can’t go back to teaching, or if the district screws me over in some way and I lose my job. Dear Ivanka…I have done many jobs in my lifetime…I’d like to continue to use my years of teaching experience to impart my love of science to 7th graders…not start over yet again. I already have two other jobs I do that aren’t enough to support me. Deep breaths…I said that earlier. I think it’s the bra that’s causing the breathing issues…I should do something about that.

A Situation Made for Pie…

This is my 3,660th post on my blog. That’s crazy. I guess I can add ‘writer’ to the list of shit I do. Although that might have already been on there, notionally. I’m writing less often than I used to. I’m not sure what changed (a pandemic…but I don’t know why it affected my writing time). As of 11 days from now, I’ll be tied to a computer from 8-3 every day, and I can see that having an effect on my ability and willingness to write a blog every day. I may shift to afternoons? Or I may go back to quick and pithy (I’m not great at pithy) every day but Sunday. I don’t know. We’ll have to see how everything rolls. School is starting earlier for me…but I don’t have to drive there most days, so it shouldn’t matter…it’s a little earlier than I would leave to drive to school. It’s a lot earlier than when we started online in the Spring. I’m thinking kids are gonna be braindead in the first few periods every day. Me too, probably. Too many school thoughts right now. That’s actually not abnormal for this time of year.

p.s. If you have kids in school and their district is saying “Teachers are much more prepared this time around. Everything is ready and they’ve been trained.”, um, yeah. No. No, we’re not. We’re not trained, we don’t have access, we don’t have everything ready, and we’re not prepared. We’ll roll, we’ll be there, we’ll have stuff, it will look good, it may even look awesome and work well, but we’ll be panicking every morning and night trying to get there. A lot of it is trying to figure out HOW to do what we used to do or something better. We don’t know what will work yet. We barely had things working before, and now it’s all changed. So be kind to us. You hate us, you love us, we save your kids, we are the worst ever. This job is so hard, y’all. Be kind. Stand up for your kid if necessary and get them what they need, but be sure you are being supportive on your end. I’ll probably have 150 students. Online. I’m scared. I’ll handle it. I have the most awesome team and co-teacher ever, so I’ll handle it. But it scares the crap out of me.

OK. So in other news, I’m still tracing Wonder Under on the newest quilt. I made it to the halfway point and beyond last night…

Of course, the kittens tried to eat one of the lungs on the drawing…

In the center of the drawing. Of course. I fixed it and now I cover the whole damn thing again with boxes in between tracing. I keep thinking they have matured and don’t do stupid kitten things any more. I would be wrong. They are not quite a year old. They still do stupid kitten things.

I also cut out all the Wonder Under for Grow

This is the small Patreon reward for one of my patrons. I’m hoping to pick fabrics today or tomorrow for it.

I’ve mostly been working on trying to get a bunch of stuff ready for Etsy. It takes longer than you would think. I got this on a hanger…

I have a few more to do that way, both quilt tops and embroideries. And this one has its backing on…

I’m still working on the others…these are all the hooped pieces in process.

I’ll get them up on Etsy as soon as I can. I can’t decide if it’s more efficient to put them all up at once or to do a few at a time. My office companions are really no help at all…

You can see the stack with backings ready to go.

I did a little of this one…

And I also sewed most of these squares and rectangles on…

I think there are four left to go, and then they all need embellishment.

I’m in a mood today. I can feel it. I hate that feeling. But it is what it is. For now. It will hopefully change.

Every time I go get the mail or go out to water the front yard or dump stuff in the composter, the dogs chase after me and guard the door until I return…

The caterpillars are still growing.

I’m still waiting on chrysalises. Chrysali? Hmmm.

Sleepy time…

I am never alone…

And my chair is often co-opted.

This is Katie…

Katie is my parents’ dog. She’s visiting as they finish up with selling their mountain cabin. She came and then had vomitous and diarrheal events all over the place. It was fun. She’s on meds and has had fluids but still has diarrhea. I feel sorry for her, but that’s what you get for eating dead things. Dead things that aren’t cooked anyway.

And if you haven’t checked out the girlchild’s podcast…there’s armadillos and Obamas in this one.

Somehow dead things that aren’t cooked reminded me of that. It’s on the i-family of podcastery now too.

So yesterday, I had a hike planned with two co-teachers…socially distant and all that. I’ve done two pieces of this preserve…but not the West Vista loop.

So we started out…it was warm and there was a climb…

But it was outside and there were vistas and birds and plants. We did a lot of this kind of distancing…this was a shade stop going up.

I think this was the view from the bottom person, my science co-teacher…

Actually, that’s a different batch of shade. We liked shade. And interesting trees.

With brand new acorns…

These are not the oaks I have in my yard. But those oaks were there too…plus poison oak, which isn’t an oak at all…and lots of dry and dead stuff… I have Black oaks. These are live oaks? I would have to go grab my book to make sure.

Because well it is August. Black sage…

We hiked slowly but talked a lot and looked at lots of things, so that was good. Including vistas!

I’m pretty sure up there is the Clevenger Canyon hike I did with the man a few years back.

Another interesting tree.

It’s a nice hike. We had asked a random hiker man in the parking lot which direction he would go, and I think he was right. Do the big hill at the beginning, and then it’s downhill a lot and then flat a lot.

So we started at the N (Nature Center) went out to the right and up, then the loop around the top (0.9 and 0.5), then down toward Highway 79, and back to the Nature Center. The Nature Center is not open because of COVID, but is a cool spot from 12-something, so you can use the bathrooms after 12.

Next time, we’d bring sandwiches and have lunch at one of those picnic spots.

We saw turkey tracks and cows and birds…like this Harris hawk…

We think it’s a Harris hawk. Vistas and distance.

It was just under 5 miles in about 3 hours.

I enjoyed it.

We’re trying to figure out how to fit some sort of trail talk into our science curriculum…a video of us talking about rocks in the county and showing them to the kids.

Ecosystems and elements and photosynthesis. All around us. How rocks change…

And why…

And what they’re made of…

This is the hardest part…we have great ideas, but sometimes making them happen gets lost due to time constraints. If I have to be on a computer teaching a class, how do I have time to go record these videos? We’ll have to figure that out. Maybe every Wednesday, we kamikaze out of the house and school buildings as soon as school is out and meet somewhere for that week’s video.

We’re both really busy. We’ll have to find a way to make time.

We can always drag the history teacher with us. She didn’t seem to mind.

This is me trying to figure out what this used to be…

I am a curious sort.

This was another thing…electrical lines. We had ideas…

For earthquakes? Fires? Nah. Just too hard to dig a full footing in this soil…lots of little ones are easier.

I came home and we did food and I did work and some stitching and tracing. The cats are wary of Katie still…so this happened.

Three layers of calicoes. They’re all staring at Katie.

And this morning, doing school stuff…

I wish I could nap like a cat.

Well today is mostly gone. I’m hoping to get some artwork done and some more schoolwork maybe. I’ve done a bunch. There’s always more. And hopefully some decent food. I did get a pie yesterday, but I have to cook it. There’s dinner! Um. OK. Not the healthiest. I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m cranky though. Sounds like a situation made for pie.

Hard Doesn’t Mean Impossible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I worked a little on this one…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She’s not very good at it.

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

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

Here’s flat Nova again…

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

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

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

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

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

Right over there. Causing headaches.

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