As Long As It Was Easier…

Yesterday, teaching was a challenge. At some point in the middle of it, while trying to draw some level of understanding out of a class full of kids who had forgotten everything from the week before and the previous unit, I didn’t want to be teaching any more. I didn’t care what I was doing, as long as it was easier, less exhausting, less traumatizing, less IDK what. I did rally, got a new monitor from school, adjusted when my doc cam refused to work during a lab, and graded a shitload of assignments. So I guess that’s a good thing. I won’t go into Spring Break with nothing to grade…that’s impossible, but I won’t go in with MORE to grade than normal.

My school is going back to 5 days a week in person after Spring Break (not me; I’m distance through the end of the year), so I’m really hoping some parents call the school (I have a list of the ones I’d like to have call please) and tell them they want in-person instead of distance. As I was thinking that yesterday, I got two new kids in my biggest science class. Yeah. That. Hmmmm. Well there’s three more days until break, so I can dream. I’ve had way too many students all year. They could shove 40 of them back into in-person and I’d be OK.

It’s OK. I’m fine. In a normal year, I’d feel overwhelmed and exhausted right now too…maybe not this much, but at some level.

Because I graded last night, I didn’t do much artwise. I have this exhibit I’d like to enter, but I’m not sure I can get my head around what to make or what to draw. I’m aware that the process of making the fabric I use is mostly damaging to the environment. I do use a lot of fabrics that other people are getting rid of, but I don’t go out of my way to search out ecologically friendly fabrics. And I often feel bad about that. I’m making work that talks about climate change, but just making fabric into what I like to use damages the environment. Sigh. So there’s that.

So I worked on the anxiety drawing on Monday night…

It’s similar to my Swallowing Heads quilt of a few years ago…that is what anxiety feels like to me.

I did more on it last night, with Nova’s help…

It’s a slow process. I spent some time last night researching textile pollution as well. Not sure if I’m going to do something with that or not. I’m back at that place of Do I make work for a specific show? Or do I just make work? I have some group shows coming up where I probably have to do some of the former…so how do I make what’s in my head fit those themes? And how do I justify to myself making a quilt about what’s in my brain instead of some life-changing statement about racism? See that’s a hard one right there. I’ve been mulling that one over since last year and George Floyd’s murder. How do you make art about racism when you’re part of the problem? I don’t need to reveal racism to the world…I need to get the racist people to see the world differently than they currently do. I wish I knew how to do that.

And honestly, my overworked brain right now is not the best place for that conversation. It’s having it all the time, but it can’t find a way out of that knot yet.

We walked Monday with the little dog…

Although he pretended to be tired at one point…

He likes to smell the things and fake pee on the things. But not always walk the whole way.

It’s spring and the flowers are out.

Then last night, I did my neighborhood walk and ran into the boychild and my ex walking the dogs.

The dogs were pretty excited to see me. Calli takes a rest whenever she can…

She’s getting so old. Her sarcoma is getting really large. She’s already lasted longer than they said she would. We are grateful for every moment of her smelly old self. Even when there is thunder and she tries to dig through the couch while I’m teaching and can’t stop her.

I see this plant every few days when I walk past this house. The flowers are pretty, so delicate though.

New cactus is so sweet looking.

These are just weeds, but they’re pretty. I love Spring; can you tell?

New growth. A break from school. A look toward summer, a longer needed break.

Although there might be plastic in the way…I didn’t want to walk on this because I didn’t want to damage it.

Still trying to control water flow when we build in the middle of its natural path. Duh. Humans are stupid.

So I am exercising and Zooming book club today after school. I’m teaching and grading all day. Today should be easier. We got the doc cam to work again, plus I’m not doing a demo…mostly kids will be completing things on their own today. Hopefully their brains are more functional than yesterday (what are the odds?). Hopefully I can get through most of the stuff that needs grading from last week and then just have this week’s stuff to tackle over Break. We are going to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks…a short break before the man leaves for however long it takes him to do the PCT. I’ve been watching some current hikers on YouTube…will probably stalk a few who leave at the same time, just to see conditions as he’s hiking. And keep hiking in my neighborhood…same views all the time. Ugh.

OK. Tired start to the day. More caffeine.

Holy Panic Attack, Batman…

I think today needs to be wadded up in a tiny ball and thrown in the garbage disposal. I had a list of things to do, and even finished some of them, but then the day conspired to pick me up and throw me into a blender. As Robin would say, Holy Teeth Grinding…in case you are Batman-deficient, here’s a great compilation of some of Robin’s exclamations of holiness…

My favorites? Holy Sudden Incapacitation and Holy Knit 1 Purl 2. I wonder if Robin knits?

I think stress started in last night, and I’m not sure why, except that there are a lot of deadlines pressing on me at the moment and not enough time. So I couldn’t fall asleep until after 2 AM sometime last night, and then I was awake again at 4. I think I slept a little between then and 7, but not a lot. The kids went back to school today, so maybe that was it…who knows. I vowed to stay in my pajamas (something I really haven’t been able to do all Winter Break) at least until the health coach called. I started stitching down the Celebrating Silver quilt…

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I really thought I was going to be able to get this done today. Ha! The universe looks down on me, puny and small, and steps on me. Seriously. I got about an hour in. I was hoping the health coach could help with the sleep stuff, but she says I’m already doing everything, although she pointed me towards aromatherapy, which I did once upon a time. I just went and checked the medicine cabinet (which is not actually a cabinet any more, just a hole in the wall between studs because the old cabinet’s glass was slipping out, so I just took the whole mess out before it killed someone, and I’ve never been able to find a replacement that wouldn’t require changing the hole size in one direction or eleven), but there’s nothing. It’s OK. I got a glass of wine instead…because it’s 12:20 AM and I am WIRED. Like I’m going to vibrate out of the room. Not good. Grape aromatherapy.

So at 10:30 or so, everything was still according to plan. I showered (I got to stay in my pjs for a little while…the simple pleasures) and got my list together, and went to the auto-part store (windshield wipers), the hardware store (lightbulbs and replacement keys and extension cords), and the grocery store (boychild has expressed a shampoo preference that is DIFFERENT than his sister’s for the first time in 18.013 years). I came back, changed the wiper blades in 14 seconds flat (it has taken me 46 years of practice to be able to do that), filled up the car with all the oil I had (it’s going in on Wednesday), installed the lightbulb, threw out the stomped-on extension cord, put the keys together for the girlchild (who has been complaining about not having her OWN car keys), and declared the kids’ bathroom a national, no, INTERNATIONAL disaster area (I feel sorry for anyone who has to live with them in the future…and I think I know what they will be doing this weekend, if I have to scream and throw cat turds at them until they do it).

All good. It still wasn’t even lunch time. I was doing well.

Yeah. Then I got an email about the journal for the Earth Stories project. Shit. Dammit. Fuck. I bought the journal two weeks ago. I started trying to find photos for it, but I had stopped filing photos properly last March (normal for me…I usually only clean them out about twice a year, when I have to), and honestly had put off dealing with it because going through photos was just too damn painful. Fuck. Cannot put this off any more. She wants it now. What she wants doesn’t exist. She’s perfectly within her rights to want it now…I said I would do it by early January. It is early January. I did not state which year, but I suspect that doesn’t matter. Unless I can manufacture a deadly illness or necessary surgery right now (not a joking matter), I’m stuck. So I started going through photos…I thought I was going to be able to do this whole Google Docs thing (trying to get used to it for school purposes) and maybe work on it at the soccer game on the iPad, but I’ll write more about all that when I write a good long horrible post about how NOT to make a journal after the fact.

Boychild arrived home, criticized my lunch fare, and I went off to get the girlchild from school and fill the gas tank. While I’m pulling up to the gas station, my cell phone rings from Upland, California. I don’t know anyone in Upland, California (OK, maybe I do, but I don’t KNOW that I know they’re in Upland). I’m going to ignore it (I am driving), but girlchild asks to answer it, and promptly uses goofy voice and tells them, Yes, She IS Kathy Nida. Oops. Then quickly hands the phone to me when she realizes that pretending to be me is a big mistake, because the universe is after me today and I just don’t know it yet.

Thus begins a strange conversation. It’s Road to California, an annual quilt show. They want to know if I’ve shipped my quilt. Um. No? I didn’t get in. Yes you did. I didn’t get an email. It’s in your spam folder. It wasn’t, by the way…I do check all my spam and it never came…now I could have apparently checked online to see if I got in, but it meant logging in to my Road account, not just looking at an online list, and that was early December and apparently it never crossed my mind…I just assumed because they said they would only send emails to accepted artists that I hadn’t been accepted. Luckily, they did call me and were still willing to have me ship the quilt, because it was due back on December 27 (oops). So I’m in Road. Which I guess means I’m going to Road. And they took the naked one! I was shocked. So one of my uteri will be in Ontario (not Upland), California…January 23-26. I’m not going to show you a picture of it, because if you’re at Road, it will be the ONLY quilt with a uterus that is at Road. Seriously. Wanna bet?

So I walked in the door with the girlchild and realized I had no boxes, drove to UPS while girlchild went to her soccer game, then back home, packed up the quilt, had to ship through Fed Ex, drove to Fed Ex and dropped it off, then drove back home because I had forgotten my tea (crucial for surviving January soccer games), then to the soccer game (I was only 11 minutes late). Watched the girlchild play, stitched some feet, no fucking way is my plan of finishing three blocks in two games going to work at all, because I am too slow. Whatever.

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Yes, we are playing midgets here (not really…and we’re not supposed to call them that…this young dear thing actually pulled my daughter down later in the game…at least I think it was her…it might have been one of the other midgets).

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It was late afternoon…hence the pretty light…but most of my pictures were fuzzy crap due to the declining light. I don’t know why I try.

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I especially like how everything is tinged with orange, their team color…probably there was a very pretty sunset going on behind me, but I was too busy freaking out and stitching bird feet. Stitching does actually calm me down. Imagine how messed up I’d be right now if I hadn’t done that. At one point tonight, I sat down with the last of the heart disease comics to grade, opened them up, brain vomited panic and anxiety all over the page, and I put them away again.

Ironic that, because if I don’t get through all the grading soon, there will be a whole ‘nother level of anxiety going on.

I need time, dammit Spock…TIME. Spock seems better for that request than Robin…Robin doesn’t seem capable of helping at all, except to make me laugh. Holy Inappropriate Comment, Batman. Holy Pointy Ears, Batman. I hate being anxious like this. On the other hand, I often am uber-efficient when I’m this stressed. Holy Adrenaline Rush, Batman.

Luckily dinner was in the crockpot (I did that in the morning too) when we got home, and then I spent two or three hours manhandling photos and Google Docs and finally giving up and importing into Word, which was bitchy in a different way. Am I done? Fuck no. Don’t talk to me.

Oh! And I cut up a Christmas tree in the middle of all that, with the boychild’s help. In the dark. With a saw. And tried to fix the oven using the weird MacGyver device the oven guy left me (I failed at this attempt). And exercised, and meditated (in the 20-30 seconds when we are allowed to let our minds wander wherever they like, my brain performed dangerous karate fight moves and beat the crap out of someone. It’s OK…he deserved it…and it made me giggle.). And then I made the mistake of looking at college financial aid stuff, which just makes my head spin, and they want everything done by February 15, and that includes tax forms and statements and all this crap that has to be up-, down-, and side-loaded in 14 different locations. I guess the only people that get financial aid are those who have stamina. I have stamina, dammit. I do.

No more quilt action happened today. I did copy the missing pieces from the drawing I was taping yesterday (Fed Ex is where I copy, so I had the presence of mind to bring the sketchbook with me when I shipped the quilt).

I do wonder if I missed some crucial email from Road? I searched all my folders, including spam and deleted items…I have the confirmation that I entered and the email they sent today, but nothing else. I could have sworn I saw a rejection email, but maybe not. I just don’t know. I sometimes feel like I’m going crazy with all this stuff…I can barely keep track of what I need to get done on a minute-by-minute basis, and then this stuff happens…makes me wonder if I’m all there. Where? There. Over THERE.

Anyway. I’m hoping tomorrow is better. I’ve made a to-do list already. It makes me feel better, more organized and calm, to have the list. I have timing issues tomorrow, but if I’m wide awake in the morning, then I will take advantage and do the gym early…I work better on the art stuff at night, and that will free up time for that. Presumably the exercise will get rid of some of this crazy anxiety too. Hell, some of this is probably hormonal (I just realized this…you’d think I would learn that any crazy seesawing from one mood to another is of course that stupid-ass estrogen fucking with my system again). Holy Uterine Involvement, Batman! Anyway, just be glad you don’t live with me at the moment, although it would be nice to have some calm influence who rubbed my feet and back and made me a bubble bath and a cocktail (I don’t actually drink those or sit in those, in either order) and told me everything would be all right…not that I’d believe them…I don’t think I’ll ever trust anyone who says that to me again. Sad but true. But someday. Maybe. Maybe I will be allowed to have that. Fucking universe. Go fuck with someone else. You’ve messed with me enough.

The universe says, Yeah, but you got into a show that you didn’t even know you got into. Isn’t that a good thing? Well, universe, wouldn’t it have been OK to tell me on the normal date and have me be able to plan ahead to ship and all that? Yes, yes it would. And then I wouldn’t be sitting here wondering how crazy I really am.

All right…it’s 1 AM and I’m still wired. Holy Melatonin, Batman (doesn’t work on me), what next? Read a boring book…breathe deep…maybe the quilt fairy will come in the night and finish my stitching, or even better! Maybe the financial aid/tax fairy will come and do all THAT for me. Now that would be a useful fairy. Don’t even ask where the depression was today…front and center…when I write about creating the journal.