Right Eyelid Is Twitching…

This is the last Friday of the school year. Well, the last Friday I have kids. I have to check out of school (ha ha ha, wow, might have already mentally done that, not really, because I’m still making stuff for next week and grades aren’t done) next Friday. I’m supposed to clean up my room, but I did that last year, so I guess I just have to make sure whoever’s been in there didn’t leave anything behind, plus drop off all my electronics and make people sign my paper about keys and shit. But TODAY is the last Friday I have students on Zoom. Hopefully EVER. Seriously. Zoom. Ugh. I need a long long long break from teaching, from creating curriculum from scratch with zero help from my district, from sitting in that chair that won’t even stay in the right position any more, because I’ve been sitting in it 5 days a week for a solid healthy chunk of the last 16 months. UGH.

I’m exhausted, but I always am. It feels more exhausted than usual, but that probably doesn’t matter. It feels more emotional than usual, but so has the entire year. I have grades almost done for 2/5 classes. The other 3 will be done by Tuesday. I have a lot going on before that, but I’m going to do my best to get them done quickly.

As you can see, I’m writing end-of-year quiz things and only have half my brain working.

I finished the science one on Wednesday; art is taking me longer. Harder to write those questions, because we didn’t so much study content as technique, and that’s harder to ask a question about with one right answer. So I’m getting there. I need them by Monday. It will be fine.

At the end of the day, I reward myself with artmaking…the drawing got done on Wednesday night…

And then I numbered it.

627 pieces for a quilt this small is a little crazy. Oh well.

At least the pieces are small, right?

And yes, that’s blood on the drawing. I have an owie on my elbow that won’t heal because I keep leaning on it. Maybe when I’m done teaching it will have time to heal up.

Last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under.

Yeah, I’m exhausted, but I feel better if I’ve done something non-school-related every day. Besides watering the plants and feeding the animals. So I do this. This stage is pretty brainless, which is good, because I don’t have much of a functional brain right now.

I had my Zoom stitching meeting last night and worked on (and fucked up on) this…

It’s OK…I didn’t read the instructions right so I’m stitching bullion knots over something I already stitched. No biggie. I did consider not stitching over what I’d done, but the bullions are a stronger line and it needs it.

It’s not the first time I’ve misread the instructions because I was tired and/or doing something else at the same time.

I also did the stitchdown and quilting on the Patreon rewards…

There’s 4 quilted ones and at the moment, one embroidered one.

I decided to quilt them with a layer of batting, but then had a brain fart moment about the batting in a hoop.

But my stitching group had a pretty obvious answer…obvious now that they say it…not so obvious before, because I had set my brain in Search Mode and it still hadn’t come up with an answer.

Anyway, I didn’t have the guts to attempt it last night (too tired, had to make dinner still), so tracing Wonder Under was the much easier option. They will get done next week though.

Wednesday night sky…

And Simba being cute…

His job is to let me pet him when I’m stressed. Which is often at the moment.

OK. Exhausted is still here, despite a full cup of tea in me. Not sure when it will be gone. Today is the last frog dissection too. At least I get to DO something in class instead of just waiting for questions. Teaching online has not been fun. Do not recommend. But please don’t tell me I didn’t do anything this year. I spent more time on my school job this year than I ever have in a million years of teaching, and I’m done. Totally done.

Well. Except I have to get through today and four days next week. Right eyelid is twitching. Uh huh. Friday. It’s Friday.

Mornings Are Loud…

Oh man, apparently a 5-day week is at least 3 days too long at the moment. I will be dissecting frogs today. I did a demo yesterday for a video and completely fucked it up, forgot what the heart looks like, missed a bunch of stuff, said some random stuff. So I deleted it. I’ll try again today for realz with the kids, hope I don’t mess this one up too badly. I’m going to go watch a video of some people who are way more awake and with it than I am. Not that it’s hard to be that. I’m going to bed at a reasonable hour…just can’t fall asleep or apparently stay asleep. Mornings are loud, y’all…really loud. The birds, the sun, just damn loud.

The plus in all this is that the next quilt drawing is coming along, mostly because I’m using the drawing I did in Tehachapi, all stream of consciousness while hanging with the man and watching weird stuff on the telly. Apocalyptic Love, Death, and Rockets, yeah? No, not Rockets…ROBOTS. Oh my. Hello brain. You want a scalpel today? Seems like a mistake, but sure…we’ll give you a scalpel. WTF. ANYWAY. I cut some paper to the right size and added the elements I needed for this theme, and then traced a goodly portion of the existing drawing…

I got the existing drawing transferred onto the new page, which is longer and skinnier, and now just need to do some filler and the sky tonight hopefully. Yes. Too many small pieces. It’s OK. I’ll be OK. I’ll complain about it later, but I’ll be OK.

This is why size of quilt isn’t as relevant to me for price as number of pieces is. I have one smaller piece with over 800 pieces in it that is really expensive…but if you think that each small piece needs to be drawn, traced, ironed, trimmed, and ironed down to the backing, you can see how number of pieces adds up. It’s OK for this one. Just when I get to commissions, it becomes an issue. Keep it simple! The quilt I just finished had 800 or so pieces in it…and it’s much bigger, but the cost will probably be similar to the small one I did a few years back. We’ll see. I haven’t calculated time yet on the new one. I’ve had no time to calculate time!

Anyway, it’s progress. It’s good.

I’ve hiked the last two days, Monday with the boychild and the dog…

The man will hike with me on Saturday.

He’s in recovery mode, which means going to hang out with a bunch of people and eating a lot of sugar. Funny stuff.

He’ll be back on trail next week, and then I’ll see him on the other side of Kearsarge Pass. Somehow. I’m debating hiking part of that, but acclimation could be an issue (starts at 9200 feet above sea level. I live at 400 feet above sea level). We’ll see. It’s supposed to be gorgeous though. I’d like a gorgeous hike or two this summer.

Here he is giving Luna some love.

He was afraid the cats wouldn’t remember him. They did. Right away. Even with all the smelly hiker clothes.

Because I’ve been hanging out with him at night, I’ve been embroidering on the Sue Spargo Homegrown blocks…finished another one of the March blocks…

Crazy little houses. One row of the roof shingles is the wrong thread. Not changing it. Nope.

OK, frogs today. Yup. Gonna go watch that video and make another cup of tea and keep creating random instruction for next week’s weirdness. Then do some exercise and draw some more. Try not to panic at any given time. Good plan.

The Art Option…

Monday! Surprise! Yeah, maybe not. You probably knew it was coming. So did I, but I hoped it would slope off in another direction and leave me alone for once. Sundays and Mondays feel SO different during the summer…Sundays especially. I’m always working on Sundays during the school year…trying to finish plans, make posts, make sure everything is ready and I’ve got my head around it (I rarely have my head around it, just to be clear). Today is the last week of academic work, because grades are due next Tuesday. I’m a little panicked about that, because I had a plan to grade a bunch of stuff on Saturday, and then I ended up driving. Yeah. That.

First of all, though, I did finish the binding and sleeves on the newest quilt by staying up too late on Friday, because I knew I might have to drive on Saturday…

I know I always say the cats are helping, but they’re really not. I know you people with cats know that. This one, Nova, spent a lot of time trying to crawl INTO the quilt, between the layers, with pins everywhere poking at her, before settling down to claw my belly rhythmically. I love cats, but they do not help.

I don’t have total hours on this quilt yet. They’re in the app on my phone and I haven’t gotten that organized yet. I will. Maybe later. I’m still playing catch-up.

I had a plan to deliver the quilt Saturday afternoon, because I needed time to clean it up and pack it up, plus I had a quilt guild meeting on Zoom. Yeah. So that didn’t happen. Well, it did, but differently. I got the quilt cleaned and packed up Saturday morning while waiting to hear if I was driving, and when I found out I was, I texted my photographer, who luckily was available, so I dropped it off early. It’s done! On time! A miracle! Not really. I’m pretty good about deadlines.

So the driving. The hiking man had a rough week…long and hot and not enough water…and he wanted to come home for a week off. NO, he’s not quitting (everyone keeps asking). He was just homesick and missed his cats and maybe even me (although he’d just seen me), and needed a chiropractor. So all that. He tried a variety of ways to get home and they all fell through, so I left the house at around 10:30 AM on Saturday, dropped off my quilt with the photographer, and drove 4+ hours to Ridgecrest…

A lot of the drive looked like that. Ugh. Boring. I did stay on my quilt guild Zoom until my first pee stop in Temecula, and then I lost service for Zoom. So yeah. I went from 80-degree temperatures to 106 degrees. That was warm. It was long. Then we got in the car and came back, but he drove, so I could finish stitching one of my Patreon rewards…

Yes, my windows are dirty. I just drove a million miles. Second time in a week. Ugh. But he’s home for a week, so that’s nice. Probably I will have to reset my missing-him-sadness next week when he leaves again. Double ugh. I’m not thinking about next week. I’m literally thinking about 20 minutes ahead at the moment. Welcome to the last two weeks of school.

Once I finished that thing, I just stitched on the Sue Spargo Homegrown block I’ve been slowly working on for months…because I didn’t have the time (or presence of mind) to prep another embroidered block before I had to get in the car and drive.

Super slow. But slow will get it done eventually. For a week, I have a dinner companion, so I’m sitting and stitching after we eat and until we finish an episode of whatever we’re watching. It’s nice. If it’s just me, I read, which is how I have read a million books in the last two months. It’s while eating by myself.

Anyway, so there’s that. It means I didn’t get all that grading done on Saturday, though, so I’m pretty far behind. I will get there. I will be exhausted for the next two weeks, though, while that happens and school ends, and if anyone knows what I should do on the last four days of school, please, for all that you love me and care about me, please let me know. I’m blank. At a loss. Don’t have any creativity left in me. Everything I’ve seen will require me on high-attention mode, which I just don’t have in me at the moment, or I need to do a bunch of editing.

Well, that’s not true. I’m drawing the next quilt. That’s creative. I think. I had done a drawing in Tehachapi that was sort of an idea in progress, and now I’m revising it for this entry.

We’ll see how that goes. Went to bed too late again. Silly. Probably part of the tired, but I hate going to bed when I haven’t made any art. It’s frustrating. I have all these things I want to make and then I have to work for 6 hours and I don’t get to do what I want. Silly job. I’m gonna work today on getting stuff done during the school day. That’s what’s (one of the things that’s) lame about this job…we are constantly trying to find time during the school day to get the work done so we don’t have to work 5 and 6 hours on a Sunday or after school. This job is a time suck.

Anyway. At the grocery store yesterday, Mother’s cookies has branched out from Circus Animal Cookies (which are awesome, although IDK if they still are? I know they changed the taste a while ago and got Way Too Sweet…not sure if they reverted back or not, because I’m scared to buy them and shouldn’t buy them anyway).

I find this amusing. Sparkly too. I would get these for students if I were in person. We could do a taste test on Monday, short periods, mythical vs circus animal. Yeah. But no. We’re on Zoom. So tired of Zoom.

OK, the plus is that I don’t have anything going on tonight, so hopefully I’ll be working on some Patreon rewards and the commissioned little quilt I’ve had going for ages, and then maybe some drawing. That’s the plan anyway. I might just fall asleep at 8 pm instead. Hoping for the art option.

Insert Pink Fluffy Flower…

Yesterday I talked my voice partially out of existence. What about? Um a tobacco curriculum that mostly (no, all of it) sucks, where I literally just read off slides and try to find the info that the company (STANFORD UNIVERSITY, WTF) put in the silly quiz. Wait. ANTI-tobacco curriculum. Sigh. My poor kids are putting up with it. And then teaching how to make pop-ups. Which I’ve never done before. Apparently for damn good reason. In the middle of all this, I get a call that I might be teaching a class of art next year too. To 6th graders. It always seems like a mistake to give me 6th graders. They’re even more sensitive than 7th graders and their parents are so protective. I’m like a bull in a china shop and then feel bad because I’m so used to the half-jaded 7th graders, as opposed to the fully jaded 8th graders. I’m not thinking about next year yet, because I can’t. I literally just can’t. Yesterday’s staff meeting got canceled and put in an email (a fucking miracle that) and this morning’s student meeting got moved later to while I’m teaching, so I don’t have to do it. Free time! Not really. I’m buried in classwork and grading and planning. I think I’m scrapping next week’s video final project for art for something that will grade faster…I like the idea and may use it next year, but not now. Not with everything else.

There are 10 days of school left. I can do this. I will need to sleep for a week, maybe two, after it’s all done, but I can do this.

I think.

OK, I did finish quilting the current quilt, good news. It was 10 1/2 hours of quilting in the end…not a small amount, plus an extra 30 minutes to quilt the quilt-block clouds on top. Wednesday night, I finished quilting and then trimmed the quilt before bed…

And cut the binding and sleeves, so I could be on top of it for Thursday…

Then Thursday, after picking up dead frogs and dissection kits from school, coming home and walking 3.69 miles, tasting mulberries for the first time ever (weird things those), and eating dinner…no wait! WHILE cooking and after dinner, I sewed on the bindings and the sleeves while the man was texting me from a hellacious day of climbing sand mountains and trying to decide whether he wanted to take a week off and come home (ah. That.), and then started the hand-sewing part.

Which I did not finish. But I have to finish tonight, because depending on whether I am driving 8 hours round trip to get the man, I will be dropping this quilt tomorrow at the photographer. (I’m hoping I’m not driving.)

IT’S GONNA BE FINE. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

I am so exhausted. Really. Yes, I would love for him to come home for a week. This coming week is ugly, but OK, we don’t always get to choose, right? And he is going back on trail after that. So it’s all good.

Insert pink fluffy flower to prove everything is good.

The other day, I asked the man WTF he was doing around 2 PM because I saw this…

Apparently that’s what it looks like when you are mid-afternoon napping and you keep having to move to get out of the sun. Now you know.

I told you I demo’d pop-ups yesterday…24 of them. I demonstrated 2 different techniques in 3 different ways in 2 different classes, 2 times for those in the back.

No voice. Exhausted. Still gotta talk a big chunk of today, reading stupid ANTI-tobacco powerpoint slides with speaker notes. Did you hear my forehead hit the desk? And then teach more pop-up stuff. I’m not demonstrating today. I’m explaining and then hopefully just answering questions as they work and I try to grade things in the background.

This year. Sheesh. Fuck me. If two weeks on a tropical beach with fruity cocktails brought by cabana girls and boys EVER appealed to me, this would be the year. (I don’t get paid in the summer…it’s not happening.)

Peace out all…at least it’s Friday, right?

Getting It Done…

The first week after I drop the man back on trail seems to always be hard. Maybe it will be less so when school is not part of the mix, hopefully…right now, I’m trying to catch up on planning and grading, which is time-consuming as hell…yesterday I started at 7:15 AM, continued through until after school, went for a lab test real fast, came back, worked some more, took about 90 minutes for Pilates and dinner, and then worked until about 9:45 PM. I’m calling it 12+ hours. And nowhere near done. I’ll get there. I mean, the last day of school is the 17th. Grades are due some time before that. It will all get done, for some definition of ALL. But no art happened yesterday. Some happened on Monday, luckily, so I’m not feeling totally inept. Just mostly.

Plus honestly, I just really miss him and it’s a damn long time before I’ll get to see him again. It’s trail-dependent…there are many days when he’s in the middle of nowhere and there aren’t even dirt roads to get there. The next section is particularly complicated for that. There’s some chance of one connection at Kearsarge Pass, but if that’s before school gets out, then it won’t be until Tuolomne Meadows. And that’s a long time from now. He’s been having water issues, plus a heat wave, but today was gifted deer footprints and a Gatorade and amazing views. So that’s how his days roll. They seem simpler (not easier…just simpler) than mine. I see the appeal. Especially with 12 days of school left and meetings every day this week. And just plain too much work.

I did manage a hike with the boychild and one dog on Monday…

I’m trying to type this with Kitten rubbing her head on my face and the computer monitor. Apparently I need to pet cats more. Seems unlikely. But I am not a cat, so what do I know?

The old lady is still hanging on. She sleeps a lot. Simba needs long walks, so we do that at least once a week.

I also need long walks, so it works out. Although he brings these home in his fur…

Those are some fun seed pods.

I got a lot of the background quilting done on Monday…

I started behind the clouds and got more than halfway done…

I think another hour tonight would do it…if I can find an hour tonight. Union meeting after school. Who knows how long that will go. I’m already exhausted though and I haven’t even officially started working today. I need to get the quilting done and the binding on. Sooner rather than later. I’d really like to deliver this to the photographer this weekend. I can’t email him though until I have the binding at least machine-stitched on…then I have some chance of making sure it can be done. It’s OK…I have no social life, so beyond school and exercise and watering the plants and occasionally talking to the boychild and petting ALL the animals, I should be able to get more art done. Ha! This is been such a shitshow for making art. Between the stress and anxiety of the last 16 months of school and COVID and other stuff, and the sheer number of HOURS my day job has sucked up in that time, I have made very little art. I have ideas, I have the need, I have the want…I just don’t have the TIME. This summer? We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully from June 17 on, this gets better. I can’t conceive of putting this amount of time and effort in endlessly. I will lose my mind.

I’d like to thank this evening sky, AND my neighbors for having all their screamers inside and not ruining it, for keeping some of my sanity last night. Yes. I just stared at it for a while.

Also I was trying to keep this innocent-looking beast from eating my succulents.

I was grading things. Luna was not helping. That plant in the middle looks like that because of cats.

And Monday night, while trying to meditate. Sometimes they are just not helpful.

It does appear that they missed me.

Ah. Missing people. I’m feeling totally overwhelmed and in a bad place right now. It’s OK. It will pass. I will start working and realize all the shit that needs doing and that will take over the emotional stuff until later today, when I will quilt that thing until it’s done. Hopefully. And maybe this weekend, I can start drawing the next one or two or however many it will take before I feel like I’m artistically back on track and my day job is under control or on hiatus for 8 weeks (along with my paychecks, ah well). Yeah. It’s a day. Happy June! Happy Pride actually…that is a positive thing for so many people. May society get their collective act together and stop making the world a shitty place for those who often make the world a more wonderful thing.

Tehachapi Weekend

I always appreciate a day off from teaching during the school year. I appreciate that I got to drive to see the hiking man and I still have a day to plan for school, because honestly, I have no clue what’s going on with 2 out of my 5 classes this week. Minor issue…I will figure it out. As soon as my brain wanders back from I’m Exhausted City. I appreciate that some people gave service in wars that changed our world, hopefully for the better, and I hope we have less need for said service and sacrifice in the future.

I did find out over the weekend that my piece at Quilt National sold. I do not know who bought it. I only saw the red dot (thanks to a friend for that). This is Fire and Water

On the far left. I finally found someone who posted a picture of it. Thank you! I am planning on going to the closing exhibition…just couldn’t swing the opening. Hopefully school will be less crazy in September. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, we stayed in a “beach house” (nowhere near any beach) in Tehachapi…full of interesting bits and pieces…

The man claims I pick quirky places, but really, I just pick what I can find most of the time…

And I don’t mind quirky. We were almost at the end of a road out of Tehachapi…

Nice views…including deer…

But yeah, some quirk…

I feel like the aliens are everywhere we go…

It was nice to have a home base out of town a bit…

We don’t actually do much…just hang out…

With our friends. Yeah, it’s a mannikin. I did some drawing in fits and starts…

He’s on the phone…not something he can do on the trail usually.

We saw this weird refraction happening in a cloud at dinner one night…

And we tried out a brewery…

I’m not actually drinking beer. The guy called it a seltzer? IDK what it really was…

I did some drawing…

And this one might have been at dinner…

I don’t understand the giant-flags-in-truck-beds phenomenon. I also didn’t understand this sign in the bathroom until the man explained it to me…

So yeah. I’m not really a gun/flag-in-your-truck person. Obviously.

The hardest part for me (well, for both of us) is dropping him back on the trail…

This is at mile 566. And that’s where he turned back to wave.

He had a rough day yesterday. Water is short in this section and it was bright and dry and warm. Plus he took some days off and it’s hard to get back into hiking. He just got more water, but there’s an upcoming stretch of heat wave plus areas where there are no streams or springs, just water cached by trail angels. Scary bit of miles. Plus his pack is heavy with food for about 8 days of hiking. Hoping it will all be OK. It’ll be at least 3 weeks, probably more, before I can see him. There’s one place he has a plan to be pulled out, but if it hits before I get out of school, I can’t do it. We have a friend who will, but then the access for me to be able to get to him is a bit iffy for a hundred miles or so. Sigh. At least I will be out of school. I plan to drive up a little early and do some hiking myself, relax a bit. We’ll see how that goes.

So I drove home yesterday and was mostly braindead. It’s hard to leave him and come back to what feels like hard work at the moment. I did pull out the quilt in progress, which needs to be done SOON, and placed the dyed blocks on top. These are old blocks I bought off eBay a million years ago, and I never did anything with them. I dyed a few of them about a month ago, and I was going to piece them into the background, but then I didn’t do that. Then I was just going to place them on top, but that looked weird, so yesterday I had the idea to cut them into cloud shapes and use them that way.

I put a few little squares of Wonder Under underneath some of the edges, pinned them down…

Then stitched near the edges, not zigzagging, like I normally do, and quilted them down. Hopefully I’ll get this quilted and bound before the weekend. That’s my plan anyway. Along with everything else.

Last night, we had dinner at my parents and I was working on this Sue Spargo block…

I did one how row in the wrong thread. I’m not pulling it out. I will probably be the only person who notices.

The cats were glad to have me back, apparently…Kitten giving me the eyeball….

I’ve had both Luna and Nova on my chest, poking holes in my flesh…

And some play time as well.

Ugh. I am still tired. More caffeine. Check the to-do list. There’s some art stuff to do first, then some art stuff for school. I might get a walk in later, and then quilting tonight. At least this week is a short one…and school is getting closer to done. I’m more than a little panicked about getting all the grading done in time, but that is what it is. I also need to get my Patreon rewards finished…they are in progress, but all this travel plus deadline on the big quilt is screwing up my schedule. Ah well. Eventually everything will get done, one way or another.

Into the Ether…

Well it’s not even 8 AM and I have already yelled FUCK YOU into the ether. Customer service is such a joy. Plus I think every password I’ve ever used has been compromised at this point, even the 25-character word soup ones. The next step is using my fingerprint, but then someone will figure out a way around those, then the iris thing, the eye, and then DNA…how are we not there yet? I’m not sure. Probably there is some tech company somewhere that is using a hair follicle for a password. Could be problematic for some.

I made pancakes last night so I could freeze them for breakfasts. I usually do that on the weekend, but not having electricity for a day threw me off. Then I didn’t want to eat my dinner, so I had a pancake and some cherries for dinner. It’s anarchy here y’all.

I have two more days of school to get through this week…it’s like pulling teeth with a string tied to a door these days…don’t wanna don’t wanna don’t wanna. Have to force myself to sit down in the chair and turn the computer on. Is it 15 days? Nah. 16 days. But I’m not at school for one of those. Bless me. Yesterday, we sat through a video of how to turn my workplace into a business. Um. Yeah. First of all, you don’t have buy-in from me on ANYTHING with 3 weeks left in the school year, unless it’s ending school early. Second of all, why do I want to be a business? I’m a public school teacher. I don’t care about the competition. I don’t care about attracting new “customers”. I am in public schools because I don’t want to be in the corporate world. I did that. Ugh. Hate this. Will just breathe deeply through it and pretend it’s not happening. No, that’s not mature. I’m fully aware. And yes, I’ve had my tea (someone asked me that yesterday and it irritated me. That said…everything except puppies and bunnies irritates me at the moment.).

IT’S FINE. No really, it is. I’m just reading a lot more than I usually do and trying to exercise enough and not always eating my dinner when I should. The little kid in me is loud and obnoxious and wants to sleep for a week, and I’m with her on that.

I am still quilting…got the Earth section done on Monday night…

Lots of tiny bits and pieces in that section…

And then last night, I got the torso and arms done up to the neck…

I was really hoping to finish all the outlining last night, but there wasn’t enough time…so tonight I will finish the head and start the background quilting. I still need to find some cotton balls and figure out what to do with these dyed blocks I have. Maybe tonight? Or tomorrow night. We’ll see.

It was warm yesterday…cats get flat when it’s warm.

This cat was on a mission…

Like what does she think about bunnies? Eat them? Make friends with them? They’re almost as big as her.

I just don’t know. Is it a cat with long ears? Who knows what she thinks. She has the same reaction to other cats, possums, and raccoons. Her bird reaction is distinctly different.

Met Calli while I was out walking yesterday…

The boychild and his dad often walk part of the same route I do on Tuesdays, so I see the dogs again…the dogs who have been at my house all day long and are still excited to see me in the wild an hour after they left my house. I love that.

You know, Amazon, it’s not the first place I would have looked for my package…

Yup, that’s compost. Well it was close to the stairs that go up to the door. Not the door. Not the stairs. Whatever.

OK. Teach. Because it’s your job. For now. And then exercise, which will help your back and shoulders (was considering massages last night). And then book club and some artmaking. Sleep. Repeat with different inserts outside of the teaching stuff. Then take some time off, long weekend, long drive, see the hiking man, refresh the brain hopefully. Come back and bang out the end of the school year. That’s a motivating speech (for my own brain) if I’ve ever heard one.

Sleepy Slow Fire

I wish I felt like I was prepared to teach today. I actually have no clue what I’m teaching…usually I spend some time on Sunday getting my teacher brain straight, but I lost electricity for 12 hours on Saturday and somehow that befuddled my Saturday brain into Sunday, and Sunday brain is still asleep, so Monday brain, which is mostly useless and panics frustratingly, is in charge, and that’s just a mistake for everyone involved. I miss walking into the prep room and having my co-teacher say, “So…” and we would recap what we had planned for the day and Monday brain would have a chance of getting through. Pandemic teacher brain writes down a plan for each day by class, because gone are the days when you only taught one thing…at least art is on the same page, but I have no actual clue what we’re doing next week and I’m out of town this weekend. That could be problematic. Ah well. Wing it. Again. I have an extra day this weekend, well, technically two because I’m taking Friday off to drive north to the man, even though he will be stuck waiting for me. I can’t plan well enough with fire closures and parts he was gonna walk and then he didn’t and having to book in advance and get a sub in advance and all that crap, so it is what it is. Hopefully it will work better in the summer. This week, it will suck for him and I apologize, but I’m also bringing new shoes and pants that will fit, so there’s that.

I am exhausted this morning. The mockingbird is back and although it was in the periphery of my hearing, it was there. Plus cats wanting to clean all their parts in the middle of the night. On me. Unfortunate.

The pro? I only have to teach 4 days this week and 4 days next week. The con? I need to have everything prepped for a guest teacher who doesn’t currently exist. Minor issue. I’m sure someone besides me will figure that out. Meanwhile, I’m teaching ecosystem services and national parks and illuminated letters and paper engineering. And grading like crazy (still haven’t caught up from last week). And my district wants me to get my head around reflecting on what I’ve learned in the last year, and I don’t do that until I’ve been in a library-book pillow fort for at least two weeks after school ends. So good luck getting anything coherent out of me this week besides fuck you. I mean, that IS coherent, yeah?

OK, so some person fell asleep in their SUV and ran into a power pole with a transformer and knocked it over on Saturday morning (they’re OK), and that meant my power was out all day. I did have non-power-related things to do, like move rocks…

There’s still work to do, but I’m glad to have gotten most of the big stuff in. Some planting needs to happen too, but not during the summer, I think. We’ll see.

Then I went to the quilt store for binding fabric…they still require appointments (although they were fairly empty) and they aren’t open past 3 PM on a weekday, so Saturday is the only time I can go. So I have the binding fabric for my quilt. Then I came back and did some stuff around the house and went on my hike earlier than I would have. They actually closed my road, so the cone guy had to keep letting me out and in (sorry!). At some point, the electricity was planned to be back on at 1:30 PM, but by then, they had revised it to 5:30. Ugh. So I hiked…

It wasn’t actually super warm out there…low 70s and breezy…so perfect.

I found a path across the river that I didn’t know about before…

It’s kind of half-assed and definitely not official, so I’m sure it washes out every winter when there’s actual water, but it was a new path, so I took it.

My plan was to do 5-6 miles, but the new path shortened that to 4 1/2. Not bad for a Saturday though. I’m averaging about 11-13 miles a week at the moment. Not as much as the man does in a day, but I’m not trying to get to Canada and I do work full time, so I’ll take it as a win.

When I got home, I cleaned the entryway floor to get it ready for pinbasting. Oh wait. Why was I ready to pinbaste? Because I finished the stitchdown on Friday night…

So sandwiching was next…and I thought it through, but not all the way, because I was going to have to piece a backing, and there was no electricity, so I was about 5 minutes away from calling my parents to borrow their electricity and iron, and it came back on…which was good. It was 5:48 PM and they had been estimating 8 PM at that point. My camping lanterns were in the garage, accessed by electricity, so it was gonna get dark. It turned out OK in the end…I pieced a backing, laid it all out, shooed all the cats away…

And pinbasted her.

I also trimmed the small Patreon reward pieces…

And ironed them together…

Super small…

And then ironed them to fabric…

Which didn’t take long…

I’m a little behind on these…

But they go quickly…

So hopefully I’ll get them done this week, on top of everything else. I even started the embroidery version of one of them last night…

While standing. Like you do.

And then started quilting…with furry assistants.

That one on the chair is not helpful at all.

The details on this thing are tiny and complicated.

And time-consuming.

There was some cat entertainment in the breaks…

They appear to enjoy it.

So there’s that.

OK. Worky worky work. All day on fire. Sleepy slow fire, but fire nonetheless. Then a walk hopefully and dinnermaking. Plus more quilting. I have shit I need to get done. I can still hear the mockingbird. When the fuck does that bastard sleep? Sigh. Happy Monday y’all. It’ll be over soon enough.

The Machine Is Always Crankballs…

Art Brain is like a little kid who doesn’t like bedtime. I wanted to be done with the stitchdown last night, and if I’d stayed up another hour, I could have done it. In retrospect, since my body refused to fall asleep anyway, I could have just stayed up and stitched and gotten the same amount of sleep, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work. Someone should explain that to my currently very tired brain.

Wednesday night I managed to get the whole thing ironed together, finishing up the face…

And then added the birds…

Then pieced a background, ironed the top of the torso to the bottom of the torso, and pulled it all off the teflon sheet…

And in a total of 13 hours and a few minutes, had the whole thing ironed down to a background…

That’s faster than I have been working. Good sign. Fuck school. Right? I don’t know. Ask me about that next week. I’m always playing catch up with this job.

Then last night, I started the stitchdown during my monthly quilt meeting…

IDK why the machine is always crankballs in the beginning with tension and then it eventually warms up? gets used to it? gives in? and stitches just fine. Annoying.

I took a break at one point to feed the other cats and do some stuff.

Came back and my chair had been occupied. She did eventually shift her butt over to let me sit, and then left because I obviously was hogging the chair. Oh yeah, the other things I was doing included hot-gluing the scratching post back together…

Like you do.

I really wanted to be done with this last night. Like I said, I could have done it. But no.

Just the upper torso, arms, head, and birds left. Then sandwich and pinbaste. Quilt. Bind. Might actually make the damn deadline. Who knows. Made an appointment at the quilt store to get binding fabric tomorrow. It’s the only day they’re open late enough. Frustrating. I miss being able to go over there after work whenever I wanted. I miss lots of things.

I’m working on my annual Patreon rewards.

Got them ironed to fabric. Hoping to get them mostly done this weekend. I have one set up for embroidery, but I haven’t started it. No time!

In other news, the girlchild…

and her dog…or my dog…who the fuck knows who in the family owns this dog…

Putting masks to good use.

The cats?

Would kill me if I tried that.

The man made it to Vasquez Rocks…

aka Star Trek episode location…

My meditation app made me laugh out loud.

Whoops. I really did try to think of a time. Blank.

And this.

Although that’s a blood clot. Or a bus clot. Whatever.

OK. School. Do it. It’s gonna be a long day for that. Then I think more rock hauling for me and the boychild, although he’s working for my dad today too. So we’ll see. Maybe a dog walk. Maybe not. Then finish the stitchdown tonight, maybe wash the floor, maybe pinbaste? That’s a lot for tonight. Maybe wash the floor and pinbaste tomorrow. Might be more realistic after working all week. I need to design (from scratch) a thing for my art students to do next Friday while I am driving to see the man. I need to finish sub plans for that, assuming they can find me a sub on the Friday before a 3-day weekend (ah well, admin can earn their big bucks teaching my hellacious schedule if they can’t find a sub). I need to wash the beeswax out of one composter and hope the bees don’t come back. I need to figure out the summer budget and see if I can actually afford to do more than eat and sleep. Which could be good goals. Add reading…books are free from the library. Make art and try not to need any more supplies (uh oh…do I have batting for this quilt? Yikes. There’s something to figure out like ASAP). OK. Yeah. All that.

Three Birds and an Eyeball…

Hello Wednesday. Pro? You have exercise options at the end of the day and it’s not my turn to cook dinner. Also, you are the third day of science, so mostly I explain the task and then help kids…I don’t have to do the hard stuff today. I say that, but because it’s the day we do the academic part of the assignment, it’s likely that there will be some panicking about not being able to find “the answer”. Because there isn’t one answer. I tried to set up the expectations yesterday, but I will probably have to repeat it about 3200 times. Sometimes that’s OK; sometimes I just find it onerous. Again, I think this is much easier to do in person than it is online. So many things are easier in person than online. Paying bills? Definitely easier online. Absolutely no reason to do it in person. There’s one that’s not easier in person.

So I’m close to being done with the ironing. I think there’s a damn good chance I’ll finish ironing pieces together tonight, and I might even get it all ironed down to the background. I’m sure somewhere in my amazing notebook of everything I’m doing that there is a small mockup of whether or not I have to piece the backing (I’m fairly sure I do), which will minorly slow the process down, but we’ll see.

On Monday night, I got the heart and lungs done and one whole arm.

It doesn’t look like much. I think I only had an hour before bedtime, and I went late, because I wanted to finish the fingers. Fingers are way more complicated than you would think…because I put in all the finger wrinkles.

Then last night, I did the other arm and the start of the head…

I only have about 50 pieces left, but they are tiny and fussy and will take a while.

Three birds and an eyeball, basically. So that’s tonight. And then hopefully get it on a background. So far, I’ve put about 11 hours into the ironing. Mostly I get about an hour to 90 minutes on a work night, especially this year, with trying to go to bed earlier. That second hour I used to iron is being used to meditate and sleep, on the off chance that it will help me balance my brain a bit. Not sure it is helping? But I’m trying. Last night’s meditation…I don’t even think I heard any of it. It’s trying to help me with stress and my brain was all tied up in sad. I’m sure there’s stress in there too, but sad was overwhelming.

Ah well. Moving on. The man is back on the trail today, back to a few terse texts a day, sometimes overtaking each other in satellite space, with lots missed and/or misunderstood. It’s been nice being able to converse more than usual because he had cell service, but I will see him in 9 days. It will be a long drive, but not as long as they will be, and I have a little more warning to plan lessons for next week for the day I will miss from school. Since COVID started, this will only be the second work day I have missed. I probably should have taken more mental health days, but there was nowhere to go to escape the work stuff. So I didn’t.

I’ve hiked over 12 miles in the last 4 days…not much for a PCTer, but for someone who is working full time, not bad.

We went up some hills.

This is how we tire out the little dog. The big dog gets much shorter walks than these.

There was a big up that we didn’t do…mostly because I said no.

I still had to cook dinner.

Long day…

But good hike.

Last night was the regular neighborhood hike…

Walked while the girlchild sent trivia questions via text for her weekly trivia night. We are part of the trivia team.

Luna came out to birdwatch while I was teaching yesterday. This is in fact her normal facial expression…sort of paranoid surprised?

Like, “what the fuck is happening next?!” She’s a strange one.

Nova is more chill…

Yes, all my clothes have cat hair on them. It’s inevitable.

On Monday, we finally got the bigger river rock delivered. I love the big rocks. I loved watching the dumptruck drop them on the ground.

I’m not so much loving lugging them over to the actual streambed, but that’s OK. We’ll do a bit at a time.

Still working on this for my art students. I use it for the demo, so little bits of it get done…

Honestly, I probably won’t finish it. Although I think I need it more finished than this for the next step. I do have a video from the art teacher. I could just use that? We’ll see.

OK, well it’s all science today and grading stuff, hopefully a healthy chunk of it so I don’t have to think about it all week like last week. We were smart and did group assignments last week, so only 7 sets of slides per class instead of 4 times that (although so many kids aren’t turning in work at the moment, so there’s that). I think even parents are checked out, because progress reports didn’t get hardly any emails or flurries of work being turned in. Ah well. It’s been a year. I can’t blame them. Although next year will be a shock for their kids I think, since most will be in person. For me too, I think. Anyway, after school is Pilates (my back will appreciate that) and then ironing after dinner. Hopefully finishing. Then start the stitch down tomorrow…my goal is to get this thing pinbasted over the weekend and start quilting it. I will need a binding fabric. I should think about that, since the local quilt store is still appointment only. I think. Ugh. Such a pain. I never have a big enough chunk for the binding. OK, well it’s in my head now and I will think about it today and decide what to do about it. Until then, thinking about biodiversity hotspots…science lesson.