On the Thrifty Side…

It’s raining again. Sort of. Pushed off to tonight mostly…oh yeah, and my drive time (which is remarkably short and only notable because one must get TO the car and OUT of the car). Rain is good for California…I’m just kinda done with it. I’ve got some yard stuff to do. That said, the sprinklers have been off for a good long time now, and that’s a plus. A slightly smaller water bill will not cover the heating bill, but it will help. A little.

Here’s a teacher thing…two of us on my team were checking our account balances yesterday to see if we would bounce with the groceries. I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be like that. It’s been an expensive few months. I have some extra in this paycheck though (backpay on our new raise), so I’m putting that aside for travel. I’ve got some stuff lined up and some other stuff I’d like to do, if I can afford it. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I spent a good chunk of the weekend grading (and not planning, unfortunately). I’m not done. I’m never done. I was hoping to be done with the roller coaster drawings, but I needed another hour and a half I lost to an art meeting or buying dog food or trying to find leeks. Fun stuff. I did work on cutting out the Wonder Under though…

Simba was not helpful. I finished cutting Saturday night.

And then sorted it last night, which took over an hour…

Some of the Wonder Under I was using was from the end of a bolt, and I am incapable of just throwing it out, even when it’s releasing the fusible from the paper, which gives me a bunch of weird pieces like this…

Which I will lay out on a colored lid (so I can see them all) and every time I find a piece with no fusible, I’ll try to match it up to one of these, which is a little (perhaps more than a little) insane. If I can’t match it up, I’ll retrace it. Sigh. I hate it when this happens. I could have prevented it by tossing out the last few yards, but I’m a little on the thrifty side, I guess. Perhaps a little too much.

The good news is that I get to start ironing to fabric tonight. I love that part. I bought the background fabric yesterday (the dark blue) and some others…

Hanging out mostly in the batik ranges these days.

No hike this weekend, not much of anything but grading and a 2-hour art meeting at the Mingei, which required parking a mile away. Not a bad walk for a Saturday though. Good news, though…we have an upcoming show at the downtown library gallery. More shows that need new work! At first, they said a year old, but we petitioned for longer (like how long do they think work takes to make? Plus I’m already buried in this one. Sigh. I don’t work fast enough). We’ll see what they come back with. I have so much out right now that I think I’d have to make something, perhaps something smaller. This one is not particularly small. I think finished it will be about 46″ wide by 72″ high. OK. That’s not small at all.

Saturday night’s drawing…

Actually took two Saturday nights. The Man can’t eat certain things right now as his jaw is healing, so our places to eat dinner are fairly limited. Ah well. They serve fast. Not enough time to do a whole drawing, unfortunately.

Well let’s hope I am efficient today and get lots done, and the rain holds off until I get home, and the demonstration in 7th grade goes OK, and someone else is cooking dinner. Oh wait. That’s me. Ugh. OK. Well. The rest can still happen, right? And I need to grade a lot and plan a lot. As always. We are officially past halfway and I can start considering that I might survive this school year. Like the last three.

Some Definition of Done

Oh lordy. ‘Tis early. I know not for some, but I am truly not a morning person, and it is still dark. I lost my temporary crown earlier this week, and although I’d love to ignore it until my appointment for the permanent crown, that area is sensitive to cold liquids…or even regular tap-water temperature…enough to give me a rancid ache from jaw to eyeball every time I drink something cooler than hot tea. So I made the only appointment I could, at freakin’ 7 AM. So I can guarantee getting to school on time, and also guarantee a difficult mood for me all day. Not sure I can drink enough tea to make up for that.

My brain was already fuzzy on how to do the things. I unplugged my computer at work last night, ready to put it in the bag so I could grade more roller coasters. Brought all the roller coaster drawings home. Left the computer at school. Damn. OK. Guess I’ll be grading those this weekend instead. Ah well.

I’m now sitting in the parking lot at the dentist because they aren’t open yet. It’s a delightful 37 degrees out there. Someday I’ll remember to put a real jacket on for school. This winter has been much colder than usual.

Anyway, I’ve been cutting stuff out every night, in between three Zooms on Wednesday and three on Thursday. Everything hit this week apparently.

Never looks like much. At least you can see the piles getting bigger.

Or can you…

After last night, I had passed the halfway mark. This is just short of three yards. Mostly I got that far because I forgot the school computer or I would’ve done some grading. If I don’t grade constantly, I get really far behind. This week has sucked for feeling caught up.

I did finish the first tattoo block, so that was cool.

Found the next drawing…need to trace it onto freezer paper and pick some fabrics.

Got 18 roller coasters in progress in class…mostly chaos.

Another week and they’ll be done. For some definition of done. Well the dentist was fast and hopefully, I’ll wake up in time to teach. And remember my computer this weekend. Can’t say I’m feeling up to teaching at the moment. Drink the tea. Make more.

Delightfully Wrong…

I don’t remember weeks feeling so long in the first two days before. I don’t remember feeling so tired after Tuesday. Tuesdays are the big planning days for science, so maybe that’s it? I don’t know. Or it was the feeling as I drove away from school yesterday that the slog that is 7th grade at the moment will just continue until I die. Which it won’t. Really. I’m sure of that. Even 8th grade had a moment yesterday…actually, just one table of 8th graders had a moment, where they realized they had no idea what to do and I wasn’t going to help them (we were building a roller coaster element and they talked during the instructions, so I pointed them to the relevant videos). They kept begging people around them to help them and I told them no (multiple people)…they need to listen. Hopefully today is better, or I will separate their group and stick each of them into another group for being idiots. Everyone else was pretty much awesome (although there were some tables I had to direct to involve themselves). 7th grade though. Ugh. Cried when driving away from school again. Just frustrating as fuck. Behaviors and lack of work completion. We’re on the third day of trying to finish something that should have taken a day and a half. Not listening. Not getting it because not listening. And a few behaviors that honestly just drive me bonkers. So yeah. I guess I’m at a point where about 2 days a week, those 2 classes aren’t half bad. And 3 days a week, they fucking suck. Which makes ME feel like I suck. Which maybe I do. Or maybe it’s just a bad combination of kids, time of day, and COVID crap. UGH.

I come home and grade roller coaster drawings, though, and although it’s kind of a pain in the ass, it’s also mostly enjoyable seeing what kids created. That’s the art part of my brain. Although I don’t like teaching art…well, to people who don’t like to do art. Teaching art to the already artsy isn’t that bad.

I’ve made it to the cutting-out stage. I started Monday night and got (I thought) more than halfway through a yard. In fact, I thought I was pretty close to done with it…

Stupidly, I covered up what I had actually cut with what was left to be cut. Which doesn’t look like much. Except I think it was all the tiny pieces and the bigger pieces got cut first? I don’t know. Because it took me another hour last night to finish it up…

So that is 2 hours of cutting? Yup. 2 hours and 2 minutes. Doesn’t look like much. 4 1/2 yards to go. Fussy little shit pieces. Realistically…let’s see…I have another Zoom meeting tonight (2 book clubs in one week seems a mistake)…I actually have 3 Zoom meetings today AND school and physical therapy. Long. So I might get another hour done on this. Thursday is delightfully open (Zoom meeting but I could cut things out if I wanted to), so is Friday…so maybe I’ll be done cutting by Monday? That’s my guess. I was wrong by two days on the tracing, so I’ll be delightfully wrong again if that’s how it rolls. It’s not a very exciting process to watch. Then sort Monday night? Start ironing to fabric Tuesday. Wait. Do I have a background big enough? Probably not. Must think that through, because the damn quilt store is not open late enough during the week for me to go. Still. OK. So that needs to happen Saturday. Put it on the calendar. Saturday is already chunky. Good to know. I do sometimes plan ahead.

I’ve been working on this (not my design!) after dinner, while we watch our daily whatever-the-fuck-we’re-watching (Kindred…which ended quite precipitously).

I reduced it in size 50% because I didn’t want a huge quilt, and the letters are fucking tiny.

But not undoable. I appreciate the wonkiness of hand applique. I know the foundation-paper-piecing people are having heart attacks with the lack of straight lines, but I’m good. I like to hand applique and I found two things I was working on (there are 17 million things I’m working on, just to be clear) and decided I wanted to really work on them and not just put them in a box and pretend I was working on them.

There, that’s the closest to a resolution you’ll get out of me in 2023, until August, when teachers do their resolutions.

The boychild has been crafting wood…these are spoons 3 and 4. Or spoon 3 and scoop 1.

They’re quite pretty. He has no desire to make a business out of it. CalFire has downtime, and this is how he uses it. Seems appropriate to me. He’s got about three or four more weeks, and then he’s off for three months. That will be weird. Or very spoony.

OK. Today. Yeah. Building more roller coaster stuff…straight track and loops today. Then notes in 7th grade. Woo hoo. That will go down well. Who am I kidding? Very little goes down well. Kid meeting in the morning, sex-ed meeting in the afternoon (chaos of a district that would probably prefer NOT to teach it), then PT and book club. Oh yeah, and I popped my temporary crown off, so drinking cold things hurts like a bitch and IDK when I can get into the dentist before it’s time to put the permanent crown on anyway, so that’s a possible week and a half of some disturbing occasional pain. And the rash on the knee from the adhesive crap is not getting better. I’ve tried cortisone and benadryl and neither is helping. Emailing the doc on that one.

In positive news, I’ve been reading a lot. It’s a nice place to be, in a fantasy world somewhere (even one filled with murders) where there isn’t a pile of grading papers and lesson planning threatening to take you under. I’ll stay there for a while.

This Is How It Goes…

OK, normal work week, normal number of days with kids, let’s see if I can do the rest of it on schedule. Blog on the right days, remember to do the things after school, or even the things before school. Act like a normal human being, as much as that is possible when you are an artist and an introvert. Yup. All the things.

First of all, I finished tracing after some mammoth tracing sessions this weekend. Well, not really mammoth; just more than the normal 54-62 minutes I do during the school week. Friday night with my quilting group…

There was probably some Thursday night as well…since I didn’t blog on Friday…because I’m totally off schedule.

More on Friday night after dinner…

Most of the yardage was full up at that point, except for the most recent one. It had some tree parts, which take up a lot of space and leave a lot of open bits to fill in later.

Saturday night, I got the head done. There were about 100 pieces left, but it was already late and I knew I had to be up the next morning.

I pretty much always have to be up the next morning. So last night, I pushed, went a little late, and finished it all…

It’s 5 and a bit yards. Some really big pieces and a lot of not-big pieces. I’ll start cutting out today. That’s 20 hours and 41 minutes of tracing. So far, this quilt has 32 1/2 hours in.

I did a lot of grading stuff this weekend too, but then the grading program was having issues, ignoring all the grades from January (minor issue; only 1/3 of the grading period), so I had to stop. They’re due Tuesday and we have a 2-hour staff meeting today, so hopefully the boss will do something about that. He does know the system is fucked. We got that email yesterday afternoon.

We had some free/reduced tickets to the zoo that expire next weekend, so we had planned that for Saturday afternoon. If you’ve never been to the San Diego Zoo, it’s pretty cool. Here’s a photo dump from that…

That last one, the cheetah was lying down in her cave and then this little boy was squealing and running super fast like he was pretending to be a cheetah, and she totally perked up, like “that’s prey” perk up, and came out, and all I could think was, yeah, that boy is dinner. There’s always this thought that they’ll come out of the cage or through the glass. For me anyway. It was a good 3-hour walk. There were lots of people, but it wasn’t too horrible. Definitely worth it.

A little more after-dinner hand applique…

Hand appliqueing a hand. Ha ha.

Kitten venturing out even though…

Katie is here visiting…

Could not get these two to sit together. They’re not really friends. Mostly because Katie is much bigger and doesn’t realize it and basically runs Simba over.

Katie is a famous singer…

She’s kinda pitiful sometimes. Then we have the master barker…

Apparently I cannot have video going the appropriate direction. Sigh. Thirty minutes of coyote singing later, he finally stopped.

OK. Well. Grades aren’t done because they can’t be. A lot of frustrated teachers today; wonder if it is just our school. I don’t feel ready to teach at all. Nothing new there. I think Friday self set up the classroom pretty well, though (at least I hope she did), so I should be OK. Starting the roller-coaster building today…two weeks of it. Not sure how that will go, but I’m sorta ready. No I’m not. I don’t even have a sample. Shit. I just thought of something I need to prep before school starts. This is how it goes. Also we are officially halfway through now. Only.

Warm Compress on My Life…

Hey. Hey there. Hey there you…who does not know what day it is anymore. Like me. I thought yesterday was Thursday. I think part of it is doing Pilates on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, due to a massively long union meeting last night. I came home and thought it was Tuesday though, because I was confused by the trashcans being out. But then I definitely was checking my email for Imperfect Produce, which comes on Thursday. I think my tired brain wanted it to be Thursday, but my realistic brain was like, you’ve only worked two days m’dear, must be Tuesday. Fuck both those brains.

I’m running on 5 hours of sleep, maybe less, due to the dog barking, possible skunk or zombie incursions (hence dog barking) plus stupid brain that is trying to (a) consider school drama and/or future student/parent drama plus other crap related to students, (b) plan a magnet exploration lab in my head, (c) remember to open the file for the art meeting on Sunday so it doesn’t delete itself because we only have 24 hours to open it and I don’t remember when it came, and (d) fuck, I don’t remember what d was for. Thank you, brain. Really. Plus I think I have a stye in my eye and I can’t tape my knee because I’m having some random allergic reaction to the tape even though it’s not latex.

Fucking sigh. Seriously.

Pros: I finished the union notes and sent them (no help there). I watched three videos (or most of them) and picked the best one. I started the magnet lab on an actual doc so it’s not actually just in my head. One of my co-teachers bought me lunch yesterday, which was really nice. And this kid made me another cat! A cat loaf. A cat head on a bread loaf.

Here’s the three she’s made me…

I’m kinda loving this.

In art news, well, guess what, I’m still tracing shit.

I did hit halfway on Tuesday night though. And if I continue in this way with about an hour and 100 pieces a night, I will hopefully finish Tuesday. NEXT Tuesday.

Seriously, it pretty much looks the same every night. I might cut a new blank piece of Wonder Under and start filling it in (I’m on my 4th yard right now), but that’s it. Fill fill fill. I know it’s totally boring on your end, but on MY end, it’s very meditative and relaxing. Become one with the Wonder Under. Trying to fit as many pieces as possible on one yard. Not wasting a single inch of this stuff that costs maybe $2 a yard. Yeah. Whatever. It’s a game, a puzzle.

Is it still January? Yes. And grades are due Tuesday. Deep breaths. I can’t get any grading done because I’m setting up labs and putting labs away and planning for the next unit and I haven’t even finished planning for THIS unit because my preps are gone, but I need to use my prep today for planning 7th-grade stuff that didn’t get finished (or maybe it IS finished and I just don’t know it, but I don’t THINK it is, and this stye is driving me bonkers need to go put a WARM COMPRESS ON MY LIFE).

In other news, here’s one of my kids.

In an Airbnb I stayed in last year…I have a picture on Instagram that looks very similar except it’s me on 3 hours of sleep. Can’t find it right now, but it exists.

Balloon labs this week.

Cleanup is particularly fun for our teacher aides. Pop pop pop.

Here’s something I cut out over a year ago and then lost in the pile. It’s brainless.

There was a foundation paper piecing quilt designed by ugh someone…Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky. And I don’t FPP. So I traced a block to make it regular applique, then realized I didn’t need a full-size quilt of this, so reduced them all 50%. Somehow. I don’t remember how I did that. But I did. And then drew patterns for all the rest. Hey, this is still Berene’s quilt. And then I finally started actually appliqueing them last night. Don’t expect much out of me. Actually, they’re pretty simple really as regular applique. That FPP stuff though? Uh uh. Not doing that.

OK. SCHOOL. It’s Thursday. Finally. Or my god, still? Depends on which part of my brain you talk to. I’m making 8th graders draw roller coasters. I’m making 7th graders write and learn shit (that’s already an issue). I have a meeting after school, and then need to pick up the parental dog for the weekend. Fun stuff. Tonight’s Zoom meeting was moved to tomorrow night, so I might actually finish grading the late work before I get another snotty email from a sweet 13-year-old who doesn’t have to cook dinner and plan magnet labs instead of obsessing over one assignment. Yeah. I (do not) remember those years.

More Than a Cloud

I totally forgot yesterday was Monday. Well done! Good start. I mean, I appreciate the extra day to get stuff done. I even made myself a special post-it to-do list for the weekend with things to cross off (I did not finish all of them, but I did a lot). These two months, January and February, there’s this delightful smattering of 3-day weekends that make me think I can be caught up, and then the disaster of March happens, with 5 long weeks of no days off. No breaks. Just a slog until Spring Break. Teachers know what I’m talking about. May is very similar, but at least ends with a 3-day weekend. Two-day weekends…I lose a whole day to trying to get ready for the week, so just Saturday is free…and it often isn’t. I have progress reports due next week, so this coming weekend is looking a little stressy. Trying to get ahead of that now, but we’ll see how it goes.

It rained all weekend. Like a downpour. Not as bad as further north of us, but at over 3 1/2 inches of rain here (I bought a rain gauge just for this); that’s sometimes our annual rainfall. Everything is exceedingly damp. No trees went down here, not even a fallen branch (knock on wood), so that’s good. A few water issues, but nothing major. The garage will be damp for days. I need to actually sweep water out of it when I get a chance (not sure when that will be). So we didn’t go a lot of places…but I did work a lot. As always. Don’t seem to be able to escape it.

I finished basting and delivered the cross-stitched blocks back to my friend, so she can spend a few months hand-quilting them before I have to figure out how to put them together. I also picked up one of my quilts from a show that closed.

This show was extended into February…

I’m hoping to be at the closing reception, only because it’s First Friday in Liberty Station, and that’s always cool.

OK, on to the weekend tracing, of which there was a lot, although not as much as I would’ve liked. Like maybe 2 hours a night instead of 1.

This is filling in the little spaces in between bigger pieces…

I had a strange leftover piece of Wonder Under I used at the end of a bolt. Some of it was releasing from the paper, so I cut those bits off. Don’t want to deal with it.

Friday night might have been one of those 2-hour nights…

Saturday night definitely was. We had a neighborhood party to introduce ourselves to our new neighbors, and then I came back and did more as the Man crashed…he had emergency dental surgery Friday and was kind of a mess all weekend. Hopefully it’ll be better this week for him.

Lots of complication here…still filling in the spaces.

I think this was Sunday night…another 2 hours…

But Monday night, I was working later on school stuff, so only an hour and a bit. I’m in the 700s, I think. Close to halfway, but not quite.

I thought I’d be further up the drawing by now, but no. It seems there are more pieces in the top half than the bottom half. Even though the bottom half is solid pieces and the top has a lot of open bits. More smaller pieces up top; bigger pieces down below. I have the upper torso and arms, plus head, plus everything she’s holding. And when I say arms, one is done, three to go. Yup. She’s got four. Like you do.

So based on how many pieces are left and how fast I’m tracing, I suspect I’ve got another 8 days of this. Not so exciting to watch on your end, but pretty meditative on mine. I’m OK with that.

This is from the book I’m really enjoying, The House in the Cerulean Sea

Books are nice, especially on rainy days. And sunny days. And windy days and cloudy days. Yup. All the days.

My possibly permanent existence…at least while I’m still teaching.

Friday afternoon’s sky, before the rains started.

The caterpillars are still here, still eating. I bought them more food. Planting seeds for more after that.

Simba does not like the rain. At all. His raincoat seems to help a little.

Mom’s flowers on Sunday night. Did I take pictures of my parents? Nope. Forgot.

Sigh. OK. It’s only a 4-day week. It’s a busy 4-day week, though, so bracing for that. But I have tracing every night and a good book to read and this week is actually planned out. I didn’t quite get all my planning and grading done, but that’s always the case. It’s not supposed to rain much more (although the clouds have rolled in again and my co-teacher sent me a photo of a double rainbow, so maybe we’re not out of it yet…it’s dark as hell to the west and sunny on my left shoulder).

Fully appreciated yesterday’s social-media roll through MLK quotes I hadn’t seen before, the ones challenging the white capitalist take on him and his views. One was from 1967 and could still be used today, sadly. Things have changed but nowhere near enough. As long as people are using ‘woke’ as a bad thing and ‘patriot’ as a good thing (after Jan 6? Really?), there are still some major problems in this country. And the world. Brazil. Talking to you. So we work in small ways to improve those things, best we can, through our relationships with people and through the web and all the other crap. Making art. Reading more books. Listening to more people, different people. Dark clouds rolling in here, y’all…gotta get to work before it turns into more than a cloud.

Become One with the Slow…

Friday the 13th. In a middle school. Wait, what’s the damn moon doing right now…OK…we’re just waning gibbous. That should help. Yeah. Usually I enjoy a good Friday the 13th, but this week has been rough for everyone. I’m tired, the kids are tired. I thought yesterday went OK, but then I got an email. Sigh. Well I’ll hopefully deal with that today, with admin support, plus I don’t think I have a lot of grading for this week, because we just started a bunch of things (although I’m still playing catchup with stuff from December). I spent an hour yesterday dealing with late work for all but one class. I still need to do redoes. Where I let kids fix their work. So they learn from it. Even though it’s torture for me to try to regrade these, looking at what they wrote originally, what comments I left, what does the rubric from December or November say, and how did they change it. Ugh. Hate it, but it’s necessary.

Glad it’s Friday.

I’ve done a little tracing the last two nights…honestly, not even getting an hour in each night. Starting too late, trying to get back in the habit of going to bed earlier. I started training myself back on the 10:30 bedtime last week, but mostly failed at it. Ah well. Soon the exhaustion will help. Hopefully.

The first 150 pieces are mostly big dirt pieces with some smaller stuff interspersed. Big rock pieces take longer to trace because they’re big. And sometimes complicated. So it seems really slow.

I have to become one with the slow. I had to cut a second piece of Wonder Under because the weird shapes wouldn’t fit between all the other weird shapes and they’re all big. It’s OK…when I get to the little pieces, they will all fit between all the big pieces. It’s a puzzle.

I’m only 2 hours in…more this weekend, I hope. It’s supposed to rain most of the weekend. I’m hoping for big chunks of tracing time while listening to weird TV. Although I need to have a crown replaced, my neighbors are having some sort of dessert and drinks gathering, two animals need to go to the vet, we’re having dinner with the parentals…see, the days just get filled up.

Ah, complicated. This is the complicated I like.

Last night was my monthly in-person stitching meeting. Fun stuff.

Fun little house. Fun stitching. We spent time oohing and aahing at each other’s projects, complaining about work, looking up the pronunciation and etymology of syncytial, and talking about books. All worthwhile. This is still Sue Spargo’s Homegrown. I’ll be working on it all year probably. Easily.

Um. I am both of these. Except I don’t delete emails after reading them. I might need them again. I delete a LOT of them, but not all of them. And 12 tabs is nowhere near enough. On this computer, which I don’t use for work as much as I used to, there are 23 tabs open. You can imagine that the work computer is much worse. It is. I organize my Flair pens by what I use them for: writing on docs in class (dark so it’s easy to see on the doc cam), light and bright for grading (make it cheery!), ugly colors I will never use but will never throw out (because that’s anathema). But I also have an entire drawer, another box, and random other locations where pens go to die. Or live free lives, depending on how you look at it.

I think my right eye stopped twitching for maybe 2 days over break. It’s back.

Here’s Luna being sweet.

She didn’t even whack me after I petted her…she just reached out like she was GOING to whack me.

OK. School. Get classroom ready for today. Teach centripetal force and momentum (a little bit), give a quiz, get kids learning about the history of roller coasters, then pivot to atoms and matter, finish up the elements exploration lab that should have been done yesterday, make kids read an article even though they don’t know how to read (pretty sure we have a recording of one of us reading it) and watch a video where they have to pay enough attention to answer the questions. On a Friday. The first Friday back after break. That’s two grade levels there…I’m not teaching the same classes both roller coaster physics AND atoms and matter. Just to be clear.

Stand at a traffic light for 15 minutes, ready to call 911 if a kid crosses at breakneck speed while staring at their phone because some parent was in a hurry to turn the corner without looking for kids…around a school. Go home and spread some wildflower seeds for the upcoming rain deluge, PUT MY PAJAMAS ON, take my bra off, read a book? Drink some tea? Maybe grade some stuff that’s easy. Maybe plan something that’s easy. Maybe not. Maybe stare at cat videos for 45 minutes. Then make dinner (who thought THAT was a good idea). Then trace a bunch of dirt. More dirt. Lots more dirt. Things in the dirt. Dirt. Love me some dirt.

Prepare for Your Doom…

Is it midweek? Or just time for a nap? Hard to say. Back into school, actually sort of finishing grading all the stuff I was supposed to do over break (except for the late work and redoes). Yesterday should have been a chill start to a new project and a new unit, but chill is not the word I would use. Annoying would be a good one. I reviewed behavior expectations, got them started, had to deal with a huge number of behavior issues in two out of the five classes, and then the adult stuff, the district stuff, that’s what threw me over the edge. I think I give up. I mean, I don’t. I go off instead. Not at the kids yesterday. Education shouldn’t be a business. My classroom shouldn’t be a place where district advertising happens. But it is. I feel like my district is a significant part of my discontent. Hmmm. And yet, because of the way our salaries and benefits work, I can’t afford to go to another one. Yeah. Plus I love my team and most of the kids (yeah, really) and the school. So. I’d love more respect from the district too, but that would mean they were different than all the other districts out there (and there are some that are much worse). They actually sent us an email today about the difference between alcoholics and workaholics. Like they aren’t the cause of it all. It’s physically impossible to get it all done. It’s like what we spent part of Monday on…how do we solve problems that don’t start in school, that we have no control over, that we can’t possibly affect? Sigh. This is the job of my discontent at the moment. Live with that thought for a bit. Then figure out how to move on.

Meanwhile, I’m making art. I’m always making art. It’s my sanity. I finished numbering on Monday night…

I was guessing 1800 pieces, but I was delightfully wrong…

It was only 1574. Sounds good. Looking forward to all of it.

I started tracing last night, but I didn’t have my full hour…

Only 36 minutes…because I stayed at school to grade one class period of an assignment, then came home and went to the gym, then came back and graded the other class period of that assignment, all before I started tracing at 9:54 PM. So I only got some rocks and dirt done. I’m hoping tonight is better, but I won’t even get home until after 7 PM, so IDK how that will go. Maybe I will not be grading anything tonight. And here’s how it goes!

Work smarter, not harder. Or not longer. I’ve got some tweaks to do on the roller coaster stuff for the week after next, and I got a delightful planning period with my 8th-grade co-teacher for the first time this school year. I think this is going to help. I’m hoping this is going to help. Or I might lose my mind.

You know those delivery photos you get to prove your package was delivered? Simba is in this one, barking his little mind out…

What a good boy.

I was grading my advisory assignments on Monday (yes, during professional development…what ELSE do you do during something that doesn’t actually help you teach or prepare or self care or whatever?)…and this kid, whom I love…

I agree. Totally. Hands down the best answer.

The girlchild and I were talking about thriving (another thing my district thinks I am doing)…

Yup. Well. Not gaming, but certainly pillow forting with a book or art and a dog or cat or both.

OK, so I still have to grade a pile of late work and redoes, plus do that fussy shit for the roller coaster project, and maybe look at the stuff for next week, write some warmups, WAKE THE FUCK UP (omg when will I get enough sleep), get through today (notes in one grade level, plus one activity, then simulation in the other grade), then pilates followed by physical therapy (the knee is improving very slowly in terms of mobility, but the pain is still there, still an issue going upstairs, worse on some days than others). Dinner. Art. Sleep. Is that it? I think it’s all I’ve got right now. That and an intriguingly complicated quilt to make.

I Can’t Say That I’m Ready…

Well. Here we are. The first day back to work. No kids today (which is good, because I’m not even ready for a room full of educational staff, let alone a school full of tired and cranky middle-schoolers). Introverts love this sort of all-school meeting. Really. We do (want to just crawl into a corner under a desk with our books).

I can’t say that I’m ready. There’s a bunch of stuff I should have done over the weekend, and honestly, let’s be straight up, I didn’t do any of it. Which means it all has to be done today. Ha! That’s not happening either. I do need to copy one thing (there was no more paper last week) and do my seating charts on paper (they exist in the machine). I didn’t grade two things so far…I’m thinking I can do the easy one while I am supposed to be reviewing my strengths and how they will help me do my job. I didn’t grade all the late work and redoes…just about half of them. 20/48 left to go. Plus 6. Ugh.

Stop thinking about work for a moment and think about art! The California Fibers’ opening at the Cannon Gallery was Saturday afternoon. Here’s my two pieces in the show (for some reason, I was relegated to the corner).

And here’s the Man with the quilt he inspired…

So there was that. There were a lot of people at the opening and it felt overwhelming, but there seemed to be a positive response. Honestly I was surprised they took any of my work because they are one of the ‘family-friendly’ galleries (it’s city-owned), but of the three I entered, they took the two that were less nude than the other one, so I’m happy with that. It’s something.

Meanwhile, my goal was to finish the current drawing…so on Friday night, I had inked this far, but had penciled in the bottom right as well…

I love a really complicated drawing. Although I forgot that the handle needed to go OVER the fingers. Ah well. Liquid paper is my friend.

Saturday night, I inked the bottom right…but in typical Nida fashion, did not take a picture of it. I still had some details to add to the bird and last night, I added the tree to fill that space. Plus a few more bug things and another bone.

That’s 9 hours and 17 minutes of drawing there.

Then last night, I started numbering…

And then (after more than an hour) went OH SHIT because it was late and I had to go to work this morning. Fuck. So I stopped at piece 938, which might be halfway? And might not. Tune in tonight to see the total. I’m guessing 1800 pieces. Which is fine. It is. Really. It is.

I did the second figure on this dinner drawing Saturday night…

I’m still not sure it’s done. And I think the one on the left was supposed to be male, but now has a uterus, which seems fair to me.

One of the reasons I didn’t get any schoolwork done yesterday is that I was prepping some quilt sandwiches for a friend of mine who stitches but does not quilt. She did the cross stitch, and I’m making 9 of these and basting them for her.

She’ll do the handquilting, and then I’ll stitch them all into a quilt. Somewhat time-consuming, but not horrible. I’m a little less than halfway with the basting. I’m hoping to finish it tonight or tomorrow night, so I can deliver them to her, and then she’ll take 6-9 months to quilt them before I have to worry about the next part. Which is harder, but still doable. I’ve never done a quilt-as-you-go quilt. There’s always a first time.

I noticed we had more caterpillars on the dying milkweed…

But not all of them are monarchs…

Or are they? That said, the internet isn’t helping much with this one. Too many variations. Anyway, I’ve got about 4 or 5 of them at the moment, all sizes, and the Man says he saw a monarch lay an egg the other day, so I need to get more milkweed. I planted what few seeds I had left, but it’ll be a while before they’re big enough to feed anything.

Meanwhile, when your owl pellets are all gross and covered in stuff, just leave them out in the weather to clean themselves up. They look great after a few months.

Gopher on the left? The right is something else, I think, but it’s still got too much fluff on it. I’ll have to go check the owlet skelly I left out and see how it’s cleaning up.

I forgot the WTF list from the curriculum we had to reconstruct on Thursday and Friday…these were all (well, most) of the things that made us think (or yell) WTF.

This curriculum comes out of Stanford University, by the way. Really shouldn’t have to deal with this. You can see the frustration increasing as we get down the list.

I went to my quilt guild meeting on Saturday and worked some more on my body scarf.

It’s slow but enjoyable. It may never be done.

Can’t go wrong with this stuff…

I almost bought that book to take to work today. But I do give a fuck. That’s the problem.

Kitten enjoying a hint of Spring before the next Winter storm kicks us in the butt…

She likes to sit there.

And last but not least, if I’m going to have to get up at ugh in the morning, you might as well give me a sunset worth getting up for…

My camera missed all the pinks in there, but it was glorious. Unlike the rest of the day. Sitting in a big room with a ton of people. I don’t hate my job. I’m just finding it incredibly overwhelming the last three years…worse each year? No, the 2020/2021 year was bad, last year was slightly better (block schedule, 2 preps, and still COVID made it hard), and this year is bad for the workload…similar to the 2020 year. I just need a year that is less about creating All New Stuff and more about refining stuff, making it better, focusing on behaviors and academics, not so buried in trying to learn new things AND do the old things AND all the other stuff the district continues to throw at us. Yeah. We’re not even at the halfway point…that’s in two weeks? Three? Something like that.

Anyway. I do have to go. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Back to It…

Well it’s official. It’s almost time to dive into the sucking mud of my day job. Luckily, this new drawing is almost at the point where I can start the brainless tracing and cutting stages. I’m really enjoying drawing this…just letting my brain wander around in all the weird shit I’ve read over the years about bio modifications.

Here’s a video of the drawing as of Wednesday night…

And then some of the drawing I did last night…she has pockets! Also that kid with the webbed feet? I think that’s the kid in Game of Thrones…maybe.

I didn’t take a picture of the stuff at the top, but suffice it to say, that I used this photo to create a glove…

I think most of the stuff is done except for what’s under her legs. And no, I don’t exactly know what all that is yet. I know some of it. It keeps waking me up at 2 in the morning and making me take notes on it. Thank you, Art Brain. I both appreciate you and am annoyed by you.

I spent 5 hours working on school shit yesterday. Back again today. Ugh. Getting paid for it at least. Could do without it though. Still need to finish grading stuff! Almost done, actually. Torture though. It’s this…

There has been very little relaxing about this break. That said, I read a lot. I just finished another book this morning. Made me exclaim aloud with the last sentence. So exciting.

This is the second cat who has used the tent…just one to go…

And this is Simba, who is a millisecond away from exploding toward the hand with the dental treat that signals he is to be left alone for hours. And yet he’s excited for that treat. Weirdo.

OK, I need to get out of here for work. And when I get home, I will need to finish ALL the things that have been sitting on my Winter Break to-do list since the first weekend, right before I got sick. Uh huh. Yeah. Bullshit, right? I know. Whatever. I did manage to book two nights in Spring Break at a campground we always wanted to go back to…glad I did that, because there were only 6 left. I got the one right NEXT to the one we were in before. I really liked the one we were in before. That was another ‘wake-up-at-2-AM’ thing…needing to book that before they were sold out. Of course, we still have two nights before and one night after to do something ELSE in Arizona…no clue what. Minor issue. We’ll figure that out.

OK, Break, it was nice (not really) knowing you. Hopefully you have done your job, allowing me to wallow in reading material and a weird drawing, letting me (sort of) sleep in, and I will return, refreshed (semi) to my job, where the kids are the capital, which is the only reason I don’t just jump and run toward the closest job that I don’t have to lug home with me and doesn’t wake me up in the middle of the night. Not sure what that is. But it’s tempting sometimes, that’s for sure. I hate being bored, though, and I love the kids, even when I don’t. So there’s that. Back to it!