Remember That One…

Hmmm. Yesterday was effective, but it didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I finished a lot of things and got a lot done (it’s never enough), but I didn’t stop the schoolwork early enough. If I don’t stop early enough (which is a different time every day), then I don’t have the mental energy to go do whatever it is that I need/want to do for art. For whatever reason, when I got done with enough of the school tasks that I could have switched over, there was nothing left, so I kept doing school stuff. Until midnight. I guess the plus is that I finished more than I had planned, so maybe tonight I can quit earlier and quilt instead? Who knows. Those of us in education know that the work just expands to fill the time. I started looking at the next two weeks of curriculum, which are awkward and the timing doesn’t look like it works, but I will be gone camping in the middle, so I’ll have to get the next week planned before I leave, which I haven’t been able to do so far. So that should be interesting. Plus getting project supplies to 70 kids who are NOT on campus. Also interesting. It would be OK if life were a little less interesting in that aspect for a while…the How Do We Get School Shit Done aspect. I would like life to be more interesting in the Relaxation and Artmaking aspects. Making requests here.

I did manage to buy thread, although it was a crapshoot on color…

I think the greener one is way too green. I usually use Sulky, not Gutermann, but it’ll do, I think. JoAnns (hell store) was chock FULL of people. Halloween? There were men in there, lots of them. This is not usually a thing. So that’s the one art thing I got done yesterday, except for some online stuff that needed to happen. Tonight! Tonight I quilt. Seriously. I need to quilt. I have a bit of a deadline here.

First though, first work. All day Zoom with all my classes. I changed a bunch of stuff last night, so it’ll be traumatic for some kids. It’s OK…they’ll adapt. I need to find some art pencils in the house, though. I’m so used to ink that pencil feels weird. The art teacher I’m working with prefers it, and I understand why. I’m such a crotchety artist…I guess the real key is that I don’t really want to be teaching art…I just want to make it. There’s a long haul though, a long stretch of doing this. I keep looking to December, because that’s when they’re letting parents decide again, putting out another survey (in the middle of flu season), but really, I’m teaching these two classes of art until next school year, at least. Nothing changes in December except maybe the kids I have.

Switching gears…we hear coyotes all the time. We find evidence they’re around. We occasionally see one at night on the property. This was at 5 PM, broad daylight…

Between our house and the neighbors. Screaming children at the house below me (this is above me). I went out to spray it with water (harass it so it will stay away). We saw a larger one on the slope at 7 AM a few weeks ago, so they’re definitely close by. It’s baby season, so I don’t want them deciding my property is a safe baby space. We do go out with the little dog all the time.

OK, Monday, let’s do this. I need to write a rubric for today’s assignment (yes, today’s…I tried to do it last night and flailed). I need to figure out WTF I’m teaching all day. I need to do my laundry. These are all things I can do. And tonight, I need to quilt. Remember that one.

Go Forth and Conquer

Hoo boy. Nasty nightmare in the middle of the night, NOT school related, shockingly. Also a cat who thinks that banging on the window and blinds is a way to communicate her dislike of the presence of some animal I never saw out there is acceptable 2 AM behavior. Trying to calm the breathing and heartbeat after that. At some point in time, I’m exhausted, so I sleep.

I keep looking at this one page on the science curriculum, hoping they update the thing I need that will find me an extra four hours a week or so. Or not. It helps me plan, and without it and without my partner, who is planning as well, but for a very different type of instruction, I have to try everything about 14 times, moving things, moving them again, moving them yet again. Is THIS logical? Or is THIS logical? None of it is fucking logical; that is the problem. The curriculum itself doesn’t always flow logically for me, so I tweak it and then tweak it again. Sigh. Next week, I find myself with too many quizzes and tests and not enough content. I will have to pillage from the following week to make it less about Take This Test and This One and This Other One that I will never have time to grade. Because that’s the other issue. What do I actually have time to SCORE? In between Zooming for hours a day and prepping for more hours a day, I never have time for phone calls or emails or catching up on late work that kids have turned in or grading new work that they’ve turned in. It’s all about planning for the next week, and never catching up with this one. It is definitely worse and harder than it was before everything switched. And I feel like the higher ups are more interested in pleasing parents and giving them what they need (they are our clients, I know) than realizing that they are burning out huge swathes of their staff. There has to be some give and take, and I’m not seeing that. I guess the crash and burn will happen at some point, or they’ll never see or hear the distance-learning staff, and the in-person staff (who has to be just as buried as we are) isn’t saying anything because they don’t have time to in between 10 classes of teaching the same shit over and over.

Speaking of teaching and voting, because my ballot is here and will get done this weekend…this guy is in my district and man oh man does he drive me crazy with his arrogant bullshit.

I almost took a Sharpie with me to the grocery store last week so I could have the man stop the car while I defaced one of these signs with “Not All”. I didn’t. But I thought about it. It’s good to see that someone found a legal way to do it. He’s certainly pissed off a goodly chunk of us. You vote how you want. And I hope he sees this and isn’t just defensive and dismissive. I think he will be, but I hope he’s not. I’m ever hopeful about politicians.

Well, most of them. This was the best part of the debate, besides Kamala Harris asserting her right to speak and seeing Pence’s face when that happened. Respect. To the fly. And Kamala.

On the art front, I’ve managed an hour or so of stitch down…

One night out of the two…not bad. Hopefully there will be more tonight and tomorrow, although there is a ton of planning I haven’t done and we have gaming and a hike in there as well. Plus apparently I need to grade shit. It won’t take long to do this part. I checked this morning and I have enough batting, and surely there’s enough fabric in this room for a backing.

Part of the reason I didn’t get any done last night is that I needed a moment. A long moment. It was about a 3-1/2-hour moment. I got out of the house and walked (oh hallelujah, some cooler weather)…

The neighbors are all doing Halloween, and maybe they always do and I just don’t notice because I would be walking elsewhere or at the gym.

My students have already asked if Halloween is safe, the candy part, because that’s the only part they care about. Personally, if the little screaming midgets in my neighborhood come around, I can throw candy at them from my deck. It’ll make up for all the screaming they do in general. Plus I won’t have to go near their not-socially-distanced havens for disease.

Yup, I’ve got that old lady thing DOWN. The second part of my break was Zooming with my stitching friends. I had zero brain power, so I just stitched things down.

No embroidery, no embellishment, just sticking it to the background with thread. After the pandemic, I will hopefully be able to embellish. Right now, I just don’t have the energy.

Speaking of energy, I’m trying to muster enough to get out of here and go to the other computer and figure out what I’m teaching today. I teach two science classes Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Thursday and Friday, I repeat what I did Tuesday and Wednesday, which means writing it all down, because my brain has already forgotten what it did two days ago. And I have to finish writing a rubric for Gestalt and Zeitgeist, which I’ve never taught, but I guess is in my head. Somewhere. Some would say not Gestalt, because there is never a Less is More aspect to my work. I definitely come from the Richard Scarry world of art…fill that rectangle with all the shit you’ve got and see what it looks like.

This bunny or one like it might have been what pissed off Kitten last night. She seriously whacks at the blinds until whatever it is leaves.

I’m surprised I’ve never found a bunny skull on my property. Those coyotes are slackers.

She looks all sweet here.

Because she’s gonna sleep all day while I work. So she doesn’t care if she kept me up for an hour or so last night, banging on the window.

Good things: It’s Friday, so there’s a break from Zooming for two days. We’re hiking tomorrow. The weather is cooler (don’t even look at next weeks’ temperatures; they will make you cry). I can finally vote and turn my ballot in and know that my state will protect my vote. I’m not sick. I have a job. I can do my job, even though it feels like I’m carrying a ton of bricks and people keep piling more on top. I might get to sleep in tomorrow morning. So there we are. Go forth and conquer Friday.

Rushed

Woke up with a plan to get all this shit done. HA! Because the world is what it is, internet down, nothing responding, Fuuuck. Because I’m an ONLINE teacher and to be an ONLINE teacher, you have to be (wait for it) ONLINE. Fuck me. It’s OK. I’m obviously back online, but it was 30 minutes texting a Cox Cable person to get it back. Yes, there IS an outage (no fucking shit ma’am). What is your name? I Already Gave It To You, with my phone number, my 4-digit pin, and my firstborn. Not really. He’s still around. Somewhere. So while she was trying to PING my modem back into responsiveness, my brain was panickedly (that is a word, dammit) trying to think about what I would have to take to school with me to teach today, which included two computers, all their cords, an extra monitor, my doc cam and all its cords and connectors, plus a pile of papers and a clipboard, and FOUR ROCKS. My world. Right there. Plus food, enough PPE to scare off a Trump, and probably a Taser to keep people away from me. Because school is the LAST place I wanna be right now. But it’s close and it has internet. They could run an extension cord for me and I could just hang outside, far away from anywhere anybody ever goes. There’s that little amphitheater outside the library, right? Sigh.

So panic over. For now. Sunscreen. I would need sunscreen.

ANYWAY. Fuck me. I had a plan for this morning too. So I have been working too much. Yesterday I quit at like 11 hours…better than the previous day. NOT FUCKING SUSTAINABLE, Universe. It’s a job. I get paid. It’ll be OK if some kids don’t have grades.

Sigh. Like I said, I quit work “early” yesterday. I think it was around 9:45 that I started looking at background fabrics for the new quilt, because I thought what I had picked was too dark. It was. I picked a new one.

Much better, although I suspect I have no thread for quilting that color. Easily managed. I pieced the background and ironed the whole thing down…

And hopefully tonight I will give myself the time to start the stitch down. I lost this morning’s planning time, though, so I will need to be uber-efficient during my prep today (which is quite long, but in the middle of the day and without a team member to focus my not-ADD brain, which is still kinda ADD, I do not function well). I flit like a psychotic butterfly, honestly. Bits and pieces get done, but it’s easier for me to focus on tasks in the morning and evening.

Next stage of the quilt, though. This is good.

You know, I miss this this year.

Although my 8th graders do kinda piss on everything.

Monday night, I chose to exercise over art. I didn’t have the energy for art anyway. But notice the dog and the two cats (and the 5 pieces of wood…I used them for the lab demo last week) all accompanying me on my stationary bike ride.

Easy for them.

Also yesterday morning’s sunrise was nice.

This morning, we had fog. And internet issues. OK, off to work I go. In the other room. Where hopefully the internet is stable and strong.

It’s About Time…

The title of this podcast episode, For the Teachers Who Are Not OK Right Now, made me tear up. Angela Watson doesn’t have any great solutions, because there aren’t any, but after working for 5+ hours this afternoon and evening to get science ready to teach and art mostly ready (well at least for tomorrow…I’ll get to the Thursday/Friday classes when I can, and no, I haven’t graded much of anything, so fuck off), the thought of doing this every Sunday for a year makes me want to pull my hair out. Notionally, eventually I’ll have access to the curriculum slides for the unit I’m actually on (our fault for jumping ahead a unit because their order made no sense). I could also (and may next week) blow off making my slides, but it helps me not have to read the tiny tiny script they put in the 500-page book (that’s one unit, y’all…one). Plus I’m a visual person and the slides help me make sense of what I’m teaching. It’s fine. Really. I was having a shitty work weekend until I heard another teacher’s story and thought, well, I’m not that bad off, really. Which is a sad tale.

I quit working around 9 PM last night, after 5 1/2 hours of just lesson planning mostly science. I’ll have to finish a video for the demo I’m doing tomorrow, plus all the art assignments for later in the week, during my prep today and tomorrow, plus plan NEXT week, because I haven’t even looked at that. At least I have curriculum for science, mostly. Art is a whole ‘nother basket of crazy. Times two, because I’m teaching two levels. I’m glad I have contact with the art teacher, because she’s saving my ass. I feel bad, though. I don’t feel like I’m helping her enough. I’ve been teaching long enough that I know how that feels and looks, and I don’t want to be that person.

At 9 PM last night, I came in and finally FINALLY after two weeks of other stuff that needed to be done and nowhere near enough time or energy to do anything, I got the rest of this sweetheart ironed together…

She just needed the fire on her head and the ground beneath her…

Now I just need to iron her to the background, stitch down, then sandwich and quilt and bind. All of which I am free to do now. (Note to self: don’t take on any other shit right now.)

I also entered an art show, so that’s a thing.

On Saturday, I finally (on the last day) finished the SJSA Remembrance block for Nicholas Bils.

It’s a sad story.

Nicholas was putting golf balls with his dog at a closed public golf course and his dog was off leash, both no-no’s in COVID times. The park rangers chased him and caught him, putting him in their vehicle. He had no weapon, but as a schizophrenic, had issues with running from police before. They did handcuff him, but not very well, because he managed to get out of the vehicle as they approached the downtown jail.

He ran. An off-duty police officer leaving the jail, who hadn’t been involved at all, drew his weapon and shot him in the back. Nicholas died from his injuries.

I watched videos of his mom and brother talking about Nicholas. His dog, whose name was Rio or River (hence the river in the background), is hopefully OK and with the family…the hearts are for his family’s love, which was incredibly apparent in the videos. His mom kept saying, “Why is my son dead?” Damn good question, San Diego Police. Damn good question. I live here in San Diego County, but hadn’t heard about this case at all until I was assigned Nicholas as part of the SJSA Remembrance Project. We know the cops aren’t trained to deal with mental-health issues. They also clearly need training on how to handle situations without a gun. Although I feel for the young man who has been charged with second-degree murder in Nicholas’ death, I hope that he and others come out of this situation with a reticence to shoot first, ask questions later.

Saturday also included a socially distanced art meeting to jury in new members…

It was warm. But nice to see other humans. Maybe we can do this…meet with other humans safely about art and other stuff? It would be nice.

Nova guarding my school notebook. She’s apparently there now too…

Sweet kitty…I need to write in that notebook in 15 minutes.

This is the day we see all the kids with shorter classes. I think I’m planned and ready. I never feel ready. It’s supposed to be hot again today, but then get 20 degrees cooler by Thursday. I’ll take that. Tonight, I’m hoping to get some much-needed exercise in, although I’m cooking tonight, which might make it difficult if it stays hot late…and then iron the quilt onto a background. It’s about time I got this thing done.

I Need You to Back Off…

Currently appreciating the quiet morning and a gentle cool breeze that will be replaced by slightly scorching heat later. Only slightly scorching, because I think we’ll be under 100 degrees today. Maybe. I would like to still be asleep for another 20 minutes, but a cat woke me up and then my brain took over, panicking about the to-do list, as it is wont to do (and I wish it wouldn’t). I can’t catch up with anything. This is often the case, but it’s worse this year. I will get a handle on it. Brain, please remember that was the FIRST week of the new schedule and you will eventually figure out some balance and maybe manage the one unknown curriculum and the other two nonexistent curricula. Or not. I have two of the three days planned for science next week, and the other one is roughed in. I just need enough headspace to see the big picture and figure out timing, make the posts, finish the slides, make an agenda, sacrifice a baby lamb (wait, all lambs are babies) to the Goddess of Get It Done, and then it will all be fine. Art? Art is OK? Maybe? None of the posts are made, the agendas barely exist, and there are a few notes, but it will be OK? I just don’t know. I’ve never really been an art teacher…making it is not the same as teaching it. I would be fine in person, but online is just fucking hard. It’s hard with science; it’s even harder with art. If I DO anything, they copy me. I don’t want that.

And then the grading. There’s too many things. I’m picking and choosing, but it’s an avalanche of stuff that hit yesterday, and then my printer cartridge died and I thought I had ordered another one, but I never hit the submit order button, fuck me, so yesterday, I’m trying to find one and they’re sold out everywhere, the Staples guy who can’t keep his mask over his nose, big geeky guy, he’s just trying to help, telling me to try CVS, and I’m like, I’m not driving all over looking for this thing. A knockoff arrives today, the real deal on Tuesday. Fuck me, Hewlett Packard, you need to keep us in supply. When did printer ink become the new toilet paper? Or flour?

I keep telling myself it will be OK, it will get better. I can only keep telling myself that, because otherwise I will lose my already-stretched-thin mind.

You see, art is what always gave me balance. And at the end of a 12-hour-teacher day, I don’t have the energy for art right now. Or barely. So when I say it’s not sustainable, SURE, I can lesson plan and teach (and who the fuck has the time to contact parents right now?) for 12-14 hours a day…I’ve been doing it for 7 weeks now, but I am not OK because I can’t fit the art in. I need that. Maybe you need time with your family or a good book (I read for 10 minutes during lunch on a good day) or a massage (oh wait, I do need one of those). I need time making art. When I’m teaching art? I’m managing a bunch of kids on chat, trying to answer their questions, crazily trying to grade some thing that the state of California needs to prove my students are engaged in the curriculum, and trying to plan the next day, plus check their work as they’re doing it. I’d love to sit there and draw with them, but I can’t.

It’s fine. It makes me want to cry just typing that, because it’s not, but I’m an adult with a lot of persistence and talents and I will survive this fucking year. Speaking of this fucking year, my SIL sent me a dumpster fire sticker.

I love it. I need to decide where it should go. I love stickers, but I never know what to do with them. If I stick them on something and then it isn’t out where I can see it forever, then I can’t see the sticker any more. I guess I could start papering the bathroom. It needs it.

I love this kid already.

I am this kid. Except I’m the teacher, so I don’t get to do that. I also want to go in the breakout room where all the videos and mics are off. Also I don’t get to do that. Because I’m the teacher. Introverts in education! Don’t unite! Unless it’s in your own personal blanket fort.

Thursday night, late, I finished ironing pieces down for the SJSA Remembrance block.

It’s supposed to be done today (shh…don’t tell them I’m running late). It might be. I mean, I have until midnight, right? And it doesn’t need to be quilted. I thought about cutting pieces out Thursday night, but that thought exhausted me and I just sat there on the couch and stared at the pieces and the cat and social media.

Last night, I was better. I put on Enola Holmes, the movie (great movie, by the way), and got them all cut out…

Although it was still hot and the fan was still on and the dog was over there.

Done. Iron them together, stitch them down, and put a stitching outline in. And done. I can do that. I think. Today is not a quiet, do-nothing day, though…

Kitten’s response to my to-do list.

I went to school yesterday, rummaged around the front office (everyone was gone) and found the kid supply bags for delivery and mailing to some who don’t have them, visited my prep room, which was sad, put the old unit box away, stole the new stuff out of the box…

This time, I only brought home bags of rocks, some evidence cards, a pie tin, a couple of coffee filters, an evidence gradient, and the list my co-teacher made me of all her kids, a pithy note for each, which I’ve only barely looked at, because I haven’t had time. Instead of reading my book with breakfast today, I will read the list. Or maybe I will wait until Monday. I know co-teachers are walking away from school and computers on Friday night, and I try to do that, but when you’re home, it’s hard, and when I know I have too much to do and I don’t want to feel buried or unprepared on Monday, I can’t do it. I will try to keep Saturday clear and then kill myself with work on Sunday. Not healthy.

When my school office manager emailed earlier Friday that there was leftover pizza and they would deliver it to our rooms, I offered that I was only 2 1/2 miles away…it took her a while to figure out where I was. No pizza was delivered. I miss being at school. I miss people. I miss moving around during the day. I miss my classroom.

This was me last night, lying on the floor, trying to get my back and hips to stop hurting. Simba and I played with the ball for a bit while I stretched.

Then Calli stole the ball and that was it.

Here’s my quilt You Pollute Me at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE, through November 29. She is part of the For the Love of Gaia exhibit there. A Facebook friend sent me a photo of her on this great yellow wall.

I appreciate that. It’s a reminder of why the art is important. Of why I have to find the time for it. I have to simplify something else to get that time. School, you are a total mindfuck right now and I need you to back off.

Today I have exercise (yay) plus a socially distanced art meeting out in Ramona to jury new members…masks and cold water and bring your own snacks and chair and we’ll be outside. It’ll be good. I hope. I can’t do schoolwork there, so that’s a thing. Oh yeah, and it’s October and we are that much closer to the election and cooler weather and a camping trip and another trip to 29 Palms, and maybe all that will help my brain be where it needs to be. Ugh. This year. I have a job. I am lucky. It’s fine.

It’s in the Agenda…

I think it’s finally Thursday. It’s not finally Friday and it’s not still Wednesday. Thursday means I’m done teaching half my kids, but now I have to remember what I taught Tuesday to science and hopefully figure out what I’m teaching today to two levels of art. I write a lot of shit down and this is why. Like those weekly/daily agendas I put on Google Classroom for the kids? Sure, they might help a kid or two who actually looks at them, but really, they’re for me, so I can remember WTF I thought I would be teaching today. Tomorrow? Who the fuck knows. I think it’s in the agenda. I’ll check later. My not-morning self hopefully was coherent yesterday afternoon in the heat and managed shit. We just don’t know.

Today is also the first day I don’t have a prep at all. And my lunch is at 11:05 AM. On the other three days, I can eat at a normal time, but not today or tomorrow. This is not a big deal to most people. My blood sugar likes a regular schedule though, so we’ll see how it goes. It’ll still be hot. I know that part.

I walked Tuesday night in anticipation of yesterday’s OMG heat. It was still hot, though, and I had to persuade myself multiple times not to jump ahead and do it faster, shorten the walk. Skip that section.

Is it Halloween? I even left later and was walking in dusk, which isn’t a bad thing right now. The view of the valley with a bit of haze…school is down there somewhere.

I need to go to school tomorrow and drop off the materials I needed for this unit and pick up the materials for the next unit. But that wasn’t in my head that night.

Oh I lie. School is always in my head. Even when I’m asleep.

Will I ever get to go back? Will I feel comfortable when I go back? Will I remember how to teach the way we should be teaching kids this age? Too much talking right now.

Speaking of too much talking…

I didn’t want to watch it, but it was on in the room. I worked through it. So much need to shut up, y’all. So much.

Yesterday was just hot. This is the stream table setup I’m using for class (what you can use a light table for)…yesterday I upped it to two fans on me, plus the doc cam was up there as well.

Too many cords snaking across, too much sand and water. But it works. Kids can see what’s happening. There’s still a chunk of kids who don’t do anything, but I will eventually have to give up on them. They will come and go and I will continue to teach and offer help, but if I can’t get a parent/guardian to respond, it makes it really difficult. Those conversations about school need to start really early, y’all…not when the kid is 12. I do love their video views of the ceiling and the tops of their heads (lots of curly tops at the moment), and the occasional chat message that makes me laugh.

Yesterday had some of that, but it also started with this…

So that’s our science curriculum. Somehow in re-rostering kids, we lost access from about 3 PM Tuesday until noonish yesterday. I had a class I taught before that, though, so I panicked in the morning and made the docs they needed from stuff I had stashed in the drive, instead of using the program, but it was a pain in the butt. And then by my afternoon class, access was back and I actually had the right kids in my classes, unlike Monday, and it was almost like a real teaching thing. Except now I have 7,000 things to grade or check off and I think a new printer cartridge is coming today or maybe it’s not until tomorrow, which I guess is permission to not grade shit until then? Ugh. UGH.

Yesterday. Today will be 4 degrees cooler. I relish those 4 degrees.

I only get 2 tomorrow.

I spent about 2 1/2 hours last night after Pilates planning more shit (after planning right after school briefly with my partner, who’s doing similar but not the same stuff in a similar but not the same at all way because she’s in person), so IDK how many hours I worked yesterday, but like 14 hours minus an hour for exercise and 20 minutes for lunch and 30 minutes to do all the watering. I ate dinner while working. Not bad. Really. I was trying to plan AND watch the man’s band livestream, their newest version of being a band not in a bar…

Yes, he’s wearing a cow costume. It was a pajama party. I’m not sure how that translates into animal costumes. All this while the neighbor’s kids ran screamingly amok for a good four hours of did I mention screaming? with about 5 other kids, which means no, they are not social distancing and IDK how they don’t get people sick, or maybe they do and they just don’t know it, but it better be fucking quiet tonight or I am buying paint guns. Multiples. One for each hand and anyone who wants to help. Fucking noisy as hell, and yes, I raised children, but it’s a fucking school night and some of us are trying to work and I can’t shut the windows because it’s too damn hot and those kids, especially the little whiny screaming-at-the-top-of-their-lungs ones, drive me bonkers at that noise level for that long. Short term? OK. FOUR hours. Nope.

I’m old. It’s true. I’m relishing the quiet right now. It’s delightful. It won’t last, but it’s good for now.

I needed to do a drawing for my Patreon last night, so eventually I gave up on working (it’s such a slog prepping shit because the curriculum is only half ready and I need slides, so right now I’m making them because theirs won’t be available until ‘mid-October’, whenever that is…too late, assholes). Simba helped for a while (fan blowing on both of us)…

Those many arms have shown up before when I feel overwhelmed. Kitten was decidedly not helpful.

Although I think I was almost done at that point…

Certainly she thought I was.

OK, well school, then exhaustion, oh wait, OMA opening tonight (virtual) plus I need to make dinner and plan more and grade some and hopefully finish ironing fabric for the SJSA block that needs to be done SATURDAY (oh my. please stop laughing. I might be able to do it.). I’m exhausted. Didn’t I start out saying that? Heat needs to go. I need that printer cartridge. I need the science curriculum to catch up with me. I need art supplies and a way to get them to kids. I need time and sleep and cookies again (there aren’t any). Short term, I definitely need more tea.

Everything Changes

My computer is trying to download a video from iCloud that I need for my Patreon. I tried to do it last night, and nothing was showing up. At first, the computer said it would take two hours (for a 90-second video) and now it’s down to 2 minutes. Wildly inaccurate, if you ask me. But it’s where I’m at…not believing the technology. Seriously, I’m still looking at the weather app for this week, going into October, with temperatures of 104-105 degrees for the next few days. Ugh. I’m gonna die here in the no-A/C. I’d like the app to be wrong, but I’m sure it’s not. And I know the download speeds vary for the internet, mostly because my internet is a cranky bastard (I was gonna write bitch, but no…let’s not land all the bad shit on women…we get enough of it as it is)…yesterday, it kicked me out, or Zoom kicked me out of class 4 times in one 45-minute period. I suspect today will be the same. When it’s warm, it’s worse. Hopefully not, since I’m doing a demo today. Boychild and I set up stream tables in the living room (you know, like you do) and tested them.

The animals were fascinated. What’s really fun is the sand needs to be wet to do this, and it’s supposed to be hot as hell today, and I’m not just doing it today because all the schedules changed, so it needs to stay set up until after I teach on Thursday. Ah. Well. Life is interesting. The cats want to be in it. After today, I’ll move the trays outside until Thursday, although we’ll have to cover them out there as well…don’t need to make a bug nest or some intriguing place for a skunk to poop. Who knows what will happen with them.

I do have a prep period in between the two classes today, and I start with my smallest class…I’m more worried about the huge class on Thursday with a bunch of special-needs kids. It’ll be fine. I’m sure.

Here’s the temperatures…should keep the sand drying out (not what I want, unfortunately)…

So yesterday was like the first day of school again, except now I have three grade levels and three class preps and 40 more kids than I had last week. But I’m not in the classroom. Pros and cons. Today all my peeps go back with actual kids and we’re taking bets (not really) on how long it takes to shut school down with the first case of COVID. They’re in cohorts, so one will go home at a time, but you still know it’s going to happen.

At the end of the day yesterday, after managing a bunch of stuff I wasn’t ready for and also wasn’t completely comfortable with (ah, what’s new, 2020?), I rested briefly.

This space is over-crowded at the moment…and I need to figure that out, but right after that picture, we were setting up the stream tables and then I was running around watering, folding my laundry, making dinner, setting up the slides for today’s teaching, trying to figure out how the fuck far I can get in the lesson in an HOUR. Ugh. An HOUR. Too long. I’m hoping to get them to a certain point and then push them off to finish on their own, but yesterday, they were leaving when I said, hey, this thing needs to be done, and then it wasn’t. Sigh. So conversations need to happen today.

In good news, I think I said this before, but the quilt I haven’t been able to touch in a week (or more?) is tentatively sold. A deposit is on its way with a signed agreement, and as soon as I can get the two things off my shoulders that I need to finish this week, I’ll be finishing that one up.

She’s still in this stage. Not much ironing left…and then stitch down and quilt. Close to the end. Then I need to make some smaller ones.

First, though, I needed to finish this…

There were some very tense moments when she tried to collapse, but I have a strut inside right now that hopefully will help. Also, hopefully, she doesn’t explode in the kiln. I’ve tried to be really good about air spaces and all that. But you never know. Worst case, her parts will be by the side of the labyrinth we’re building.

It’ll be better if she’s whole though.

OK, well now I just need to figure out how to get her to our amazing ceramics person and her kiln before her deadline. I think I’ll need an assist on that. Then onto the fabric piece for SJSA, and then I can get back to the one on the ironing board. Which is sold! Good thing…money is tight right now. Not getting paid all summer is hard.

OK, survive today…only three classes instead of all six. Time to prep for next week, hopefully, or even beyond. Teaching art is still difficult for me (after the first day!). It’s not the same as in person…it’s really hard. Plus I don’t know the program we’re using very well, or any other programs, and there’s the matter of getting kids supplies when they can’t come in or won’t come in, for whatever reason, and what supplies actually exist and how to grade this shit anyway (I really don’t remember what I did a million years ago). It’s a lot of mental energy that I don’t have at the moment. No exercise in the last two days either, and it’s going to be hot as hell today, so that will make it hard. Hoping for a walk, if merely to clear the brain. Everything changes. We adapt, we adjust, and then it changes again. It’s a rough year for everyone…but teaching has been incredibly difficult. I’m not having fun right now, and I hope that changes…it has in the past few weeks been fun again sometimes, but right now…ugh. Nope. Not.

Does Not Currently Exist Anywhere…

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

Yeah. That.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is Lisa Kijak’s Neon Pacific.

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

I also liked Nancy Lemke’s work Seaside 1.

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

Charlotte Bird’s Southland Odyssey is amazing…

Lots of details here.

Intriguing construction too…

Lots of So Cal details.

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

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

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

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

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

Oh yeah, and my piece, So Cal Mama

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

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

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

Different plants…

Still too suburban, so too many people.

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

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

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

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

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

So much for getting paper out. Cat in way.

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

Everything Under the Sun

I try not to be the person who counts days from this to that, although I have a Countdown app that always has the holidays in it, the week off for Thanksgiving, three weeks for Winter Break (I know, lucky!), two weeks for Spring Break, eight weeks (unpaid those) for Summer. And then the trips…last year was the Arizona/Utah National Parks in Spring, a couple of winery trips (one right before everything shut down in March), a trip to Portland and another to Joshua Tree National Park. All good. But right now, the numbers in my head are how many days to the election? How many days I’ve been mostly stuck at home (it’s a lot, over 6 months, just like the rest of you)? And the big one, how many days until I can go back to school? It’ll be at least 365 more, I think. That’s the hard thing to contemplate. Up to now, I’ve had a teacher team to plan with, dealing with the same kids, the same schedules, the same curriculum. As of Monday, I have none of that. Or very little. I’ve felt incredibly isolated as it is, but this is throwing me. It’s OK…I’ll get through it. I’ll survive it. I have a job. I’m mostly competent at it. There’s too much right now and I’m so fucking sick of 15-hour days focused on school school school, but I will eventually either get a handle on that time suck or I will quit and copyedit full time while selling one loaf of sourdough bread a week, because that’s all I can manage to make. It’s hard to say how close I am to that moment. I’ll let you know.

So the artmaking is sporadic and I have to fight for that time and yesterday I was told I should be watching education-related videos WHILE I am making art, because that’s time I could spend on school stuff that I’m not. Eye-opening. And don’t think I haven’t considered it. But I’m already in a half state of crying on a daily basis, and I think that might push me over the edge.

This shit sucks, y’all.

And then I wake up this morning, not really sure what I’m teaching today. I’m sure it’s on a calendar or a post somewhere; I just didn’t review it yesterday like I usually do because I couldn’t. And I checked my email, and Bigger in the Outside was accepted into Excellence in Fibers VI

She’ll also be at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad after this weekend with two other pieces of mine. The Excellence in Fibers show was supposed to have a corresponding museum exhibit, but that’s postponed until we don’t know when…if ever. Like many things this year. I guess the acceptances motivate me to make more? They don’t actually at the moment. It’s more a matter of where to put my brain that ISN’T school. Making bread is just as useful a place. Maybe. I don’t know. I know I’m not getting any peace out of artmaking right now, but then, maybe I never did. It’s meditative, and maybe without it, I’d be jumping out the window and running as far and fast as I could. We just don’t know. Because I haven’t stopped making it.

The SJSA Remembrance block is still in progress…I traced it on Wonder Under a few nights ago…it only has 116 pieces, so it’s not horrendous. And then I started cutting them apart one night, Tuesday? And didn’t finish.

Last night was my now-biweekly stitching Zoom, so I quick cut the rest apart, and then after the Zoom call, started ironing them to fabric. It’s not ideal, because I still have the last 80 or so pieces from the COVID Daughter piece on my table, and it’s precariously on my ironing board, waiting for me to come back to it (I want to!), but I got about half the pieces ironed down to fabric.

I quit when I got to the flesh, because I knew I was tired and couldn’t handle it. And I also knew I needed to do schoolwork. Yes, I took a break from about 6-10 PM…and then went back to work. I did also make a trip to Home Depot for new roller blinds to block the AM sun from my work spot and to pick up and drop off stuff at school after hours. I saw two people and waved. That was all.

Anyway, I’ll finish ironing the pieces down sometime in the next 24 hours and then cut them out…I might actually do some of that during gaming tonight. It needs to be done by 10/3.

I’m still working on the clay vessel for the labyrinth…

If I do a little each night, it hardens enough by the next night to support the next few inches.

So after the Wonder Under was done last night, I pulled this out and got a few inches higher.

I’m not going to be able to go high enough to put a full torso in, but that’s OK. I was trying to fall asleep last night (ha! What a fucking joke) and my brain told me how to finish the top, wherever it is.

Here’s my fat cat odalisque.

I want to be more like her.

And the girlchild has been gone for almost three months now, but we are still finding remnants of her cooking experiments…

I obviously don’t clean anywhere near enough.

OK. It’s the Friday before everything switches again and I gain 40 students and two more preps and two more grade levels and minimal support from anywhere, whatever, and grades are due Sunday and I was grading last night at midnight, fuck this job and COVID and the stupid government for not doing its job and stupid people for not wearing masks and staying away from each other and I need to get some exercise this weekend, maybe even this afternoon, plus get everything under the sun done that needs to be done and maybe a little less of the crying stuff because I can’t see to type or grade shit when I’m doing that. Peace out y’all. It’ll be different in a few days.

Send Cookie Thoughts

Hey y’all. I missed writing yesterday. My brain was on GRADE GRADE GRADE mode. It’s been there for 4 or 5 days and I’ve missed some things I should have been paying closer attention to. This school year just sucks. Usually, about now, the school year is calming down, we’re finding a routine, and stuff is getting under control. I’m sure you know the end of that story in 2020. Fuck all that, we’re back in, starting over, fuck the routine, and fuck calm.

Saturday, I ignored school. Mostly. I did a bunch of other stuff, including some art projects I just needed the impetus to get started, so I could then do a little each night. One was the clay piece for our FIG labyrinth…

I used to do ceramics in school and then for a bit after, but I think before the divorce? Or maybe just after? It was hard to find a studio and the time, so it just didn’t happen. Anyway, on Saturday, a super dry and hot day, I started finally. Sliced into the clay, started trying to roll coils and stick them together.

It was much easier Sunday night. I had something started, my hands were remembering how, and it wasn’t as dry out.

I have this clay tool I love, I remember loving it, but I can’t find it. It’s here somewhere, in this house.

She can’t be very tall, so it hopefully won’t take me long. That said, I didn’t work on her at all last night. Last night was kind of a clusterfuck.

The other thing I started was my SJSA Remembrance block, for Nicholas Bils.

I traced his face, and then went and got it enlarged about 150%. Then added it to a larger background.

And then added stuff in the background: his name, his dog, a river (for his dog, whose name was either River or Rio, and because he lived on the water).

And then last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under…

And get that done.

I have fabric for the shirt, but it needs to be dyed. Not sure if I can pull that off this week, so I might change my mind about it. We’ll see. Time is at a premium. Not my choice.

We walked around Lake Murray Saturday night…

It’s too peoply too, but manageable.

It was dusky.

Saturday night stitching was brainless.

Sue Spargo’s Homegrown March blocks. All I can handle is stitching it down.

I only have one done of the four. Don’t get excited.

Sunday, I had an appointment to go to Visions Art Museum to see Judith Content’s amazing work…always better in person.

It’s totally worth it and hopefully won’t close down today.

I was also introduced to Melody Money, whose work I haven’t see before.

She’s got some handwork on there.

Fascinating stuff.

Lots of details…

You should totally go see both these shows.

They’ll be there until January, so even if we shut down museums today, they’ll open back up eventually.

Fun stuff.

Very joyful.

Here’s where I’ve been grading…

Notice the cat? Yeah. It’s a crowded space when I’m doing everything.

Work sucks. I’m freaked out by everything. Everything is overwhelming. Staff meetings make my brains melt. Kid demands made me cry last night. I can’t do more than I am. Yesterday, I walked for 3+ miles to get it out of my head.

I only took the little dog. The big dog is too old for that far. So she was sad, and he was tired. But I needed it.

With that, Happy Tuesday. Love you all. Well, except for the non-mask-wearers. I don’t love you right now. And send cookies. But I’m fussy about them. So don’t really send them. Send cookie thoughts.