I Couldn’t Hide from the Thunder in a Sky Full of Song*

I didn’t really disappear over the weekend. I just worked a lot. On everything. There’s significant progress, but I don’t feel relaxed. I’ll get there. I have most of my taxes done, except for one large task that I’m about halfway through doing. Teacher expenses. Pain in the ass to collect. But I need every penny. I got through grading all the makeup work, although as soon as I input everything, the kid emails started. Because they don’t believe it will be graded until it’s graded. So then they email me and tell me how they’re gonna fix things tonight, and I’m like, well, that sucks to be you for progress reports, because I’m done grading makeup work until next weekend, sweet thang.

Then we started trying to figure out our trip, beyond the panicked moving of one place to stay…mucho debate about the next place, because it’s cold. And snow. Or sleet. But definitely cold. And ice. And we are from sunny Southern California and do not do either of these things well. We knew we both wanted hiking pants anyway, and we had our REI dividends plus a coupon, so we headed out. And bought some warm stuff too. Plus went to my parents and found the sleeping bags and the tent we used two years ago (rain flap!)…and of course, we set up the tent in the living room, to see if the air mattress would even fit, because it never went in this tent…

And it does fit…so does the cat…

But it’s pretty tight…mostly because when it’s inflated, it’s pretty tall, and the sides of the tent go in, and it would be an issue with rain. Or sleet. Or maybe even snow…I don’t know, because I don’t think I’ve ever camped in snow. That’s probably not true. But I’ve blocked it out if I did, and now I’m old and the snow thing is really throwing me.

I was OK with the tent, but the man was not and went online and got something we could put two coolers, a fan, a chair, and a television into (not really, something about a guy in Louisiana and a storm, but the tent was fine). So that’s managed. Mostly. We need clothing that ranges from 72 degrees down to 20 degrees. Fun stuff. At the moment, the man is looking forward to this trip and I’m a little apprehensive. I’ll be fine. Just not right now. Right now, I have too much on my plate. I was trying to get shit done yesterday and he kept coming in to show me maps and pictures and other stuff, and I’m like, this is more than a week away I’m panicking about stuff for tonight please ok fine just say it and then I’ll make a noise that sounds like I get it and then I can work on what I’m working on which is due before we leave. Deep breaths.

I tried quilting Saturday before my art meeting (where I got more things to do), but the machine was being a cranky nasty bitch. There were a few of these…

And a whole ton of broken thread. I switched the needles, the position of the spool, rethreaded about a million times, put the sewing goo on the thread. Sigh. I came back and quilted some more at night, and it still refused to behave. It wasn’t until Sunday that I figured out that it wasn’t on the right setting for the foot I was using. I don’t know why it wasn’t…it was the last thing I did. I think? Whatever.

After that, she worked like a dream. Mostly.

Sunday, I pulled it off the machine, even though it wasn’t done, and went and bought the binding fabric, because I knew I wouldn’t have time later this week. Like today.

And then I came home and did more grading and cook prep and taxes and organizing and grocery shopping and I don’t even remember what else.

After dinner, I quilted. And quilted…

And somewhere around midnight, I finished quilting…

Almost 6 hours. Did you know that not last week, but the week before, I did 20 hours of artmaking? While working? I think that was the week I was sick too. My weeks have been nuts. But she’s quilted. Tonight I can get the binding on. I might even finish early. I have to deliver two to the photographer. I should email him. I said I would. OK, done. Emailed.

And then the next one needs to get drawn, but you won’t see that one. You might see these getting done…

Although not until this binding is done. I have six to do. That’s a lot. I might let friends do some of them, once I’ve done one. We’ll see.

I miss this kid. She hasn’t sent me a photo for her graduation announcements. I’m thinking of using this one.

She’s a Leo, in case you were wondering. She really is a Leo too. I’m a Pisces, but sort of atypical. I live with a Capricorn and a Cancer. I’m not counting the dogs and cats. OK, well, I’m going to continue to pray to the no-snow gods and to try to finish shit and exercise and read my book and not panic too much and keep my cool with the kids who are gonna tell me It’s Not Fair for whatever reason. Did I mention grading All the Things? Gonna do that too. Oooohhhhmmmm.

*Florence + the Machine, Sky Full of Song

Pseudo-Zen

By lunch yesterday, my morning pseudo-zen was gone. There was a kid involved in part of it, but I just removed him from the equation. Mostly it was a stairstepping of tasks that kept coming at me through email. Do this, approve that, don’t forget this thing over here, that reminder just went off but you’ll have to reschedule it so you can EAT. or PEE. All the things eventually got done. Or rescheduled. Because sometimes that’s all I can do (you should see tomorrow’s to-do list). I did finally finish grading the giant project from hell (there were 8 different pieces to grade for each of my kids, although with only 66 videos to watch, a lot of them had multiple kids in them, so a few less on that one piece). I do need to go in early today and do all the grade calculations. Math. Ugh. But there’s progress. There’s always progress. It just feels like at the moment that I will never ever be done. NEVER. Welcome to the last trimester of the school year.

I should have my car back today. Finally. Oh hallelujah. And he thinks he’s solved the problem. Also yay. I went to bed early last night so that I would hopefully have some extra sleep behind me for the day, but that didn’t really happen. I aim for 6 1/2 hours a night, and recently, with the stress and who knows what else yelling at me, I’m lucky to get 5 1/2 interrupted. I’m not the only one though, so I know it’s not in my head. Spring Break is super late and the kids are amped and freaking out, and it makes our lives more difficult. Today I will have a parent shadow in class for a kid I asked to be removed for today (some legal issues there that I’m letting slip for today, hopefully for the greater good). It’s fine. Things are going.

I came home yesterday and was home for about 3 minutes (long enough to pee, trap a cat, and do my Imperfect Produce order with the boychild)…because this one has a persistent eye infection that hasn’t been solved yet.

We think we’re on the right track though, so that’s good. But I was so exhausted waiting for all this…didn’t get home until almost 6 PM. Ugh. Should have taken food with me. Blood sugar. Sigh.

Then I did a bunch of stuff. Answered all those emails that were pestering me during the day, tried to manage some money for the girlchild…finally the last college payment! Well, except for paying off loans, but we did it! We got two kids through college! Now to get them gainfully employed (their shit, not mine) and happily ensconsed in life. Or something. Less stressed than I am, maybe. Good luck with that. I don’t even remember most of what I did. I do know that at one point, I had three devices I was using at once: watching the last of the kid videos on computer, texting co-teacher on phone, and half-watching Jurassic World on the TV to keep me awake. I finally gave up on the last one.

I am trying to set up a way for people to buy posters of my work…turns out there’s some wild and crazy things I could also print quilts on…

I’ll let you know how this goes. I ordered one of them to see how it looks before I go live.

Oh yeah, I cleaned the floor while dinner was cooking. And then I pinbasted…

That was on my list.

And now it’s done. And then I meditated. Which maybe helped? And maybe didn’t. Hard to say. OK, lies, it always helps. And I have 14 minutes before my ride to school leaves, so I’m going to go do all the things so I can go there and finish shit and hopefully have some relaxing time at some point in the future that I can’t really see at the moment. Plus start quilting.

Oh My Kiss Breath Turpentine*

I just read someone else’s blogpost this morning and now my brain is like sludge. Probably it has something to do with being up too early for my brain, but school is like, Hey, you should do lots of early meetings. Other people like early meetings and they need you to be at them too, even though you are a cranky-ass bitch in the morning and you don’t even like talking to people until maybe 10 AM but you have to be at work at 8 today and you have a headache and aren’t particularly recovered from your hellish cold, and sometimes you just get tired of being responsible and caring about shit regarding your job and you consider what it must be like to have a job where you come home and you don’t worry and plan and continue to work, even though you’re not getting paid. Really, all those words are in my head way too often, but as it gets later in the school week and the sleep deficit gets larger, your brain starts punctuating those thoughts with groans and sighs and requests for long lie-ins in bed.

Oh brain. You’d think you’d have figured me out by now. I’ve got plans. Some things I have to do (today’s morning meeting, tomorrow’s morning meeting)…some things are optional, but don’t necessarily feel that way because you do have obligations to people…you don’t really hate people…it’s just that being with people sometimes means having to do things you don’t really feel like doing, right? And I know people feel the same with me, so I try to minimize that shit and remember my duty to the human race and be a contributing part of the things in which I’m involved. That’s a lot of words explaining why I have to go to the grocery store again tonight. Somehow. In between a cat to the vet and potentially (hopefully?) finally getting my car back. My mechanic offered to come on our trip to Utah in two weeks if he couldn’t fix the car. Nice one. Awkward though.

Speaking of our trip, we start out in Zion National Park. I follow Zion on Instagram, which is where I found out that they’re closing part of the road through the park for three weeks, starting next week, to do a major repair after all their rain this winter…the same rain we got. Fuck. We have a reservation on the east side of the park. So that means a 3-hour, one-way trip to get to the west side of the park from there. And they have a shitty cancellation policy, although I’m calling this morning to try the manager, even though I’m sure they will say the same damn thing, and then I will come back on here and tell you their name so you can never stay there. I did already reserve some weird place on the west side, just to cover our butts. It was a frantic search for about 30 minutes or so, and that was after 20 minutes for me to realize holy fuck, this isn’t going to work. Don’t even ask me about Bryce right now. I think we’re going to freeze. We’ll be fine. FINE DAMMIT. Laughs hysterically. Next year, we go somewhere that has no bugs, caterpillars, or snow. Really. Maybe. I don’t know. There’s the excitement of a trip and then the holy crap what was I thinking this sounds awful and then the real life this is awesome part of it. I’m in the holy crap stage. I’ll get over it. No worries.

So I got home yesterday after school…and I dragged my mostly well ass out with the dogs…

OK. I’m not mostly well. I’m sort of well. We had a little rain yesterday night, but not a lot. It’s crazy how much the grasses are growing; it seems like a foot or two in just a week and a half.

The coyotes must be loving the hiding possibilities.

The flowers are still going crazy.

I spend most of my day trapped in a building with 140 12-year-olds. I need this. I need outside and air and plants and moving fast and dogs and water and green stuff or brown stuff, but moving and my knee complaining and all this crap.

I do want to know if there’s ever a time that this little puffball of a flower thing is covered with those little purple flowers, or if it just does a few at a time.

It’s important shit. Must know. I also meant to look up the caterpillars that are everywhere. Oops.

We went and looked below the bridge…lots of trash unfortunately. And the requisite graffiti…you dickheads.

But still pretty. And calmer than it has been. Calli likes water…

Simba does not. We traded dogs today. Simba was perturbed the entire time. Whatever, dog. So that felt good. I cooked veggies for dinner, because the main man is not a veggie person. I got him to cut some up once. I don’t count potatoes. He will cut them up because he eats them. But other veggies? Nah. We ate dinner, I graded something (!). I know you’re shocked. I was actually trying to grade videos all day…I got another 19 or so graded throughout the day while trying to manage kids making posters…some classes were totally on task and some were needy as hell. As always. I was going to come home and get through another 20 videos (because I still have a ton to do), but then Zion happened and I lost all that time.

I finally got in there and finished the stitch down. Two and a half hours total…

It was late, though, so my original plan of getting it pinbasted last night did not happen, unfortunately. Tonight…and start quilting. But also grade and car and cat to vet. Ha! Not sure how all that works. Not worrying about it now. But I am so happy with this quilt. It’s beautiful and I’m happy with it and I’m glad it exists. That’s the best part about the making is the finishing part when I see it all and I’m just staring at it and thinking, that’s so beautiful or powerful or just what was in my head and that right there might be my purpose on the planet outside of all this other stuff.

Ah, so philosophical. Then I sat down on the couch and tried to meditate (oh so many interruptions, including this sweet one)…

And then sleep. Actually slept last night, so that’s good. It was exercise or later-in-the-week exhaustion or meditation or a combination of all three. I don’t really care, because it felt good for the 5 1/2 hours that it happened. More of that tonight, please. May today repeat the good and helpful things from yesterday and minimize the assholes (ha!) and the adding to my stress levels. I can move the cat appointment if my car is fixed (please let my car be fixed). And let’s get quilting dammit. I’ve got a deadline to meet.

*R.E.M., Crush with Eyeliner

Like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite*

It’s April 3rd and I finally remembered to change over the two calendars I stare at every morning. Really I stare at them for the pictures. OK, so I also need to know what day it is. Sometimes my brain is not on board for those details. Ironically, the calendar I have with actual dates I can read on it starts with Monday, which really confuzzles my brain. I guess that level of brain stretch is good for me, though…it will keep me from getting dementia.

Last night, I made it through 19 of the 66 videos I need to watch and grade before Friday. It was after tutoring, though, so it’s not like I had a full stretch of time after work to watch them. I even cooked while watching them, which is a multitasking challenge. I’m getting closer to done with grading these projects (way too many hours). I’m a little worried about how much work I’ll have to do over break, when I’ll be gone for most of it, plus I have to finish this quilt and then start the next one. Plus embroider 6 samples. And now I think I committed to trying to print photos of my quilts as posters. Whoa. No wonder I put meditation back in the mix. Although last night, I’m meditating, I’m trying to imagine sunlight pooling in my toes and filling me up, and my teacher brain is yelling about how I haven’t printed the rubric and I need to do that. I did it after meditating, but it was a real push to get it to just shut up for a bit.

If you’re interested in my embroidery designs, by the way, they are available online now…just the designs though. The kits will be available later this month. Meanwhile, I need to start stitching out the prototypes. Trying to decide how best to transfer onto the darker fabrics. Maybe I will start with the light one. Tonight…

Last night, I couldn’t grade after eating dinner, because I needed to listen to videos and we were trying to watch the end of a show…so I grabbed one of those projects I said I’d finish this year (ha! so little progress…I can’t even tell you)…

And I appliqued two and a half leaves. Bonus! That’s it. Moving on.

I wanted to start the stitch down on the quilt last night. I did a bunch of things first, but made it into the studio by 10 or so…then meditated…loudly (in my head). Then stitched.

And then stitched some more…I was listening to an education broadcast about something my co-teachers keep harping on that the principal wants us to do, and I’m thinking, is this different than what I think it is, because if it’s not, why the fuck aren’t people doing this already? It’s not like it’s new. You know what? It was what I thought it was. I feel better already. I do that shit all the time. I just don’t label it and say, HEY, did you know I was using this? Sigh. School drives me crazy sometimes.

I was totally on a roll with stitching and didn’t want to stop, but had to be up early today for a parent meeting.

So then I went to bed and barely slept all night. Seems pointless sometimes. I’d feel better if I’d stayed up and finished. I’m done with the entire ground and body, plus half the hair and the whole face. So all that’s left is half the hair and what’s in the sky, and then I’m done. Another hour? Maybe. This was about an hour and a half. Then I’ll pinbaste and start quilting…ahead of the game for once. Of course, I’m hoping to be healthy enough to walk the dogs after school today, plus get through at least 20 of the videos. Maybe more…I need to hand stuff back on Friday, ideally. Too many things in my head. (Hence meditation)

Also I need a way to print some of my quilt photos as posters. I have high resolution files…I’m just not sure what’s the best way to do this. I’d rather have people order them and then have some service print and ship them, but that may not be the best choice cost-wise. Then again, I don’t have the cash to print a bunch and then I will have to ship, which is a pain. Sigh. I need a business manager.

Anyway, first I need to go to school and get through all the stuff and things. And keep my cool, despite the lack of sleep. Hoping to get my car back. Hoping our trip is still cool…the main road through Zion National Park is closing next week for three weeks, right when we’ll be there. There’s still access…it’s just not through the park. I think it will be fine…and hopefully the temperatures in Bryce will warm up too (laughing hysterically!). Gotta find my long underwear. And start a packing list. Vacation! I need me some o’ that. Drawing and stitching and hiking and beautiful views and not thinking about grades and school and how to pay for shit.

*Tal Bachman, She’s So High (that’s not what I thought this song was about…never really listened to the lyrics)

From My Head Down to My Snakeskin Boots*

(I would never wear snakeskin boots. I think snakes should keep their skins. It just happens to be what I was listening to as I finished writing.) Debating how to get to school today. I could walk, but I should have already started. Plus I’m still sick and physical exertion is not a great plan. I could take the car that’s here, but that causes logistical issues later. Well. Or I just leave tutoring early if necessary. Not responsible teacher behavior, but maybe the easiest choice. I call Lyft. It’s not a long way and is reasonably priced, but my house is hard to find. Not sure I want to deal with that. Make the boychild wake up and take me. I could. But I probably should have told him last night then. And my brain was in fuzz mode. So I didn’t. Too many decisions. I have 20 minutes to figure it out. Easiest is to just take the car and deal with the consequences later. The car guy has had it since Thursday, trying to diagnose what’s causing the random stalls. I just want it working before we go to Utah in two weeks. I also want Utah to warm up slightly, especially at night, but that might not happen. Someday I’ll have enough money to vacation in a real bed. With walls. But still in cool places. Maybe just a trailer or something.

I didn’t get anything done last night for grades. Instead I applied for something that I think is important, but suspect I won’t be picked for…which is fine. I applied. I can let it go if it doesn’t happen. I’ll figure grading out during class this week. Hopefully. There’s only like 56 videos to watch. I should take my headphones to school with me maybe. Not today, because today is virtual reality day, and that requires me to manage, but tomorrow, when they start their posters…I don’t have to be as present for those. One ear in, one ear out, listening for whatever crazy. Not sure I can concentrate enough in class to do that.

We got a beehive removed from one of the composters yesterday. They built it in like 4 days. Resourceful beasts. Someday I’ll consider a beehive on the property, once I figure out how to take care of it. And away from the back door. I use a guy who takes the bees to his hives and installs them there. He’s a nice guy. Plus he sends me pictures of what he does when I’m not home, so my students can see the bees and the hive.

Normally I walk the dogs every Monday after school. Don’t let anyone tell you dogs don’t know the days of the week, because this was me when I got home.

Why aren’t you taking us out? Why aren’t you putting your boots on? Why? Needy at all guys? Wednesday. I’m aiming to be better by Wednesday. At least enough to hike 3 miles. Calli was physically pushing me with her nose, lifting up my arm, get up get up! Sorry guys. Don’t feel well.

I started the ironing late, probably 10:30…but all I had left were these four tiny bugs…

Awww, they’re cute. And then I ironed the whole thing to a background…

Yup. She’s about 30″ w x 50″ h. Tonight I should start the stitch down. I don’t expect it to take long. There’s detail, but it’s not a huge piece. I’m hoping to get it done in a couple of nights. Maybe 3-4 hours? Thursday night, pinbaste. Start quilting…not Friday, because I have a meeting. This weekend, it needs to get quilted. With everything else. Aack. No, I can do this. I can. I emailed the photographer. I’m committed now.

*The Hiss, Brass Tacks

It’s Not in the Paper, It’s on the Wall*

So I’m still sick and I had some very dizzy exhausting moments on Saturday and Sunday, but some of that may have been exertion or food-related (have to remember to eat even when I’m sick), so there’s that. I was apparently functional enough to iron almost an entire quilt together, but not to remember to actually buy the pasta for dinner tonight. Even though I had a list for everything we needed for the week, it wasn’t written on there, because why? Because foggy sick brain, that’s why. Like don’t put me in charge of anything today…besides the 140 kids I’m normally in charge of, plus teaching another teacher’s class, because it’s April Fool’s Day, so I’m gonna teach history (but just for a period, it’s OK).

Seriously, though, I put in 8 hours and 40 minutes into the ironing and I’m almost done. I’ll be done tonight, assuming I don’t collapse from exhaustion after school.

Here’s both sides of the hair complete.

I thought I was totally off on placement, but somehow made it all fit right…

Once I got the neck in, it made more sense to do the torso next…

Although that’s minus a butterfly. And then I attached the dirt, just to make sure it worked.

This piece is about being connected to nature. So yeah, that’s a volcano there. Attached to her nipple. Like you do.

Then I started on the face. I did the butterfly in there somewhere too…it’s peeking out on the bottom left.

Her face is covered in stuff. Um. I just coughed up my lung. Bad plan. Can’t remember when I got up in the middle of the night and took medicine. Let’s assume it was at least 4-6 hours ago and take some more.

Always iron the eyes separately. That way they won’t be too kittywampus.

Although she’s got a droopy eyelid. So at midnight, this is all I had left to do…4 tiny bugs.

It was tempting to just do them, but I was tired and I knew I would still have to iron it to a background, so it’s OK to leave it until tonight.

Here she is so far…

Looking good! I love this. And getting her all ironed this weekend was a good thing. I was seriously worried about being able to finish, but now I think I’m fine. Maybe. This weekend might be an issue.

Her face minus 4 bugs…

Anyway. I’ve already started drawing the next one, but I won’t be able to show any of it. That ought to be interesting. I will need to draw and embroider more to entertain you maybe. Or sing songs. For the next two months. Except I keep coughing, so singing might be an issue. So iron down tonight and hopefully start stitch down. I think I can be pinbasted by Thursday? Hoping? Then quilted by the end of the weekend, then binding. Photographer next week. I should email him, because the deadline is tight.

But first, off to school to pretend to know about the Reformation. Or the Illumination. Or some Tion. (Notes to self that art history is really the ONLY history she’s had since high school.)

*Sublime, April 26, 1992 (Miami)

Blame the Virus

Hi. I’m sick again. Twice in a month! Sheesh. The cesspool I work in…or live in. This one feels and sounds like it came from my bedmate. Not the cat. So there’s that. So I’m coughing up a lung. Or a planet. Hard to say. Plus no energy. So I didn’t feel well enough Friday night to do anything artistic. I graded and then I went to bed. First I fell asleep on the couch. I thought if I rested, I’d be able to finish the cutting out of pieces, and that didn’t happen.

But this is awesome. Spring has sprung!

I’m not sure I feel better today than yesterday, which is a little disturbing. Oh well. Life.

Another one released…

I finally got around to buying fabrics to stitch these up. I don’t know when I’m going to have TIME to do that, but that’s a whole ‘nother problem.

Yesterday I did no work. Sorry, job. Not sorry. I did finish cutting everything out…it took another hour and a half or so. So that’s 9 1/2 hours total cutting…and then I sorted yesterday. I had to take a short nap after sorting…

Standing was an issue. But then I mostly rallied. I started ironing…

I drank a lot of tea, I think. I took some breaks. I ate a little. I read a little. I watched a movie with the man who got me sick. Yeah. I forgive him. Not his fault. Blame the virus.

Ironing the dirt…

It’s a lot of rocks…

That’s the whole base done…ready to link into the body.

Then I did the sky…

This quilt isn’t huge. It’s not small either. But not huge.

Added all the things in the sky…

I think this was after the movie. Not sure.

This definitely was. I lost a leaf ball. I was trying to find it at about 11:45 PM. I remember that.

And I ironed a piece of the stem to the wrong fabric, so I redid it. This was somewhere close to midnight. I said I rallied. This was when I got tired. I had done part of an arm before and realized the head needed to go behind it, so it would make sense to skip ahead in the numbers, pull from the 500s and then the 400s, leaving the 300s behind for now.

Do I feel guilty for not doing any grading yesterday? Well, yes…yes, I do. But I need this to be done too. Progress report grades are due next Tuesday…so the project needs to be graded, but really…anything else can fall by the wayside. Again. Sigh. I really do try to do my best at ALL the jobs and then my body says no, you can’t. So no, I didn’t hike yesterday, even though I really wanted to. We’re aiming for next week…Saturday or Sunday. Hopefully my lungs will be back by then.

I do have about 50 emails to get through with kids’ late work. I should do those today. Plus laundry and grocery shopping and getting ready for the week. But ugh. I just want to laze around and iron a lot. Sigh.

This guy…best use of the stationary bike ever…

I mean, really…all the things are cat beds, right?