Drawing on Vacation

I’m back! I haven’t had WiFi for a week, obviously. I had enough cell coverage to post Instagram photos, but then my phone died and refused to charge for a bit. There’s so many photos and stories from the last week that I can’t even deal. Maybe a little at a time. Let’s start with the drawings…because I basically did one a day. That’s the best part of being away from the house on vacation…I can’t distract myself with the to-do list that’s here. I can read, I can stitch, I can hike, or I can draw. So I draw mostly at night with a headlamp while the Man builds (and stares deeply into) a fire. It’s my form of staring deeply into a fire, I guess.

The first drawing is actually from the trip to Boston to see the girlchild. She needed a nap and I needed some down time, so I went back to my AirBnb and drew and watched some Marvel movie I thought I hadn’t seen (I think I only hadn’t seen the beginning…like I was grading during the beginning of the movie?)…

When I’m really tired, just drawing concentric or parallel lines is one thing I can do.

Then I was home for about 36 hours (max) and we left to go camping. The first two nights, we were in Ojai, California.

Everyone asks why Ojai? I don’t know. It was on the map and had hikes and campsites. We are short on money right now, so no fancy restaurants and wine tastings. Well, we did one, but not in Ojai. I used the ridgeline to start her back and then filled in from there.

This was the second night in Ojai, after a particularly difficult (it shouldn’t have been, but it was) hike…

I drew a bunch of the stuff I’d seen on the hike, plus the campfire and the mountains and the oaks.

The next night, we made it to Paso Robles and our one stay inside. The first night, we went to see Sensorio (more on that later). I didn’t actually draw that night…this was the next day, when it was a bit drizzly in the morning and we decided against the hike we’d planned.

Then later that day, we headed out to a winery with a bunch of sculpture and had a (very expensive) wine tasting.

Still focusing on the landscape; lots of trees and grapevines in this one. I didn’t finish this one, actually, until later in the day. We headed over to Tin City, which has lots of winery tasting rooms. We picked a brewery instead, because it had a food truck, and we hung out there for a while, watching the people (some) and dogs (mostly). I finished that drawing and started another…

Although I did most of the embellishment on this one the next night in the campground at Pinnacles National Park, after a 6-mile afternoon hike (mostly flat).

The next night, I drew this one…

After seeing condors just sitting on a rock and in a tree. Amazing stuff.

From there, we drove through Morro Bay and down to Pismo Beach, where we stayed in the Oceano Campground. Another fire, another drawing…

The sea otter showed up from hanging out by the bay. It’s a relief to be able to just draw and draw. My school days have been so full and heavy that drawing for no purpose but to draw is just not happening. I’m too tired and have no mental energy, unless I’m working on a specific project. Then I make written lists of things and figure out how to fit them in a drawing. It’s not like these, where I just doodle my brain out on the paper.

The last night in Pismo Beach, we had talked about my leaving the Man in Kennedy Meadows the next day to avoid the snow that was supposed to be coming in. Plus honestly, I was tired. I don’t sleep well with weird noises, and we had two nights of frogs, really loud, inconsistent frogs, and then one night of some big squawky birds (heron, egret, or cormorant…not sure which), and my foot had been hurting and I was tired of not eating enough vegetables. Seriously. I just had a salad. It was delightful. I think I just wanted to be home and sleep in a bed. I wasn’t ready to camp in snow and wind.

So I drew this…

Which was literally us sitting around the campfire. I knew he wanted me to stay another night in Kennedy Meadows, but bad weather and driving alone stress me out, and I need to be back at school on Monday, and there are a bunch of things that need to happen before then. So I made the decision to drive home yesterday. I’m still exhausted today, and probably will be tomorrow. And there wasn’t as much snow up there as predicted, but I know I wouldn’t have slept for yet another night. So I made the best decision I could.

I’ll be back up there at the end of May to pick up all the equipment he doesn’t need on the PCT, so I’ll get to camp there then. I am hoping to find some drawing time between now and then, but going into the end of the school year is not usually an easy time no matter what. We’ll see how it goes. Why did I leave him there? He’s working up there until he hikes, trying to put away some money so he can hike further. Potentially he’ll be gone through the end of July, knock on wood and barring any injuries.

More tomorrow, assuming I can get my head around it.

What If I Run Out?

I came home Monday night, still on Boston time. Sort of. Yesterday, we shopped and packed, and today we’re leaving on California time. Sort of. I’m still up too early and tired and hungry at the wrong times. If at all (hunger…always tired). I’ve got 9 maybe 10 days of mostly nature in front of me. There’s some art and one house stay, but mostly nature. Mostly have showers and toilets, but maybe not on one night. I might come home on my own; I might bring the Man back with me. So many possibilities (no, I’m not leaving him by the side of the road…he might have a job). I have a couple, maybe three books loaded up to read, some stitching, a sketchbook, and probably more shirts than I need. I have more pants than the Man. IDK how he does it, but I can’t wear one pair of pants for ten days. Not happening.

Here’s hoping for some sleep, some hiking, and some relaxation. Keep the weather nice and the neighboring campsites nicer. Or empty. I’m good with empty. The campsite we’re supposed to be in tonight had 21/35 campsites empty yesterday. I’m good with that. Suspect they won’t all be that empty, but that’s OK. I bought a new camp chair to lounge in. I made rice krispies treats (that’s my camping treat). I get to see some art quilts on the way up. It sounds good, yeah? I hope it is.

Monday, I blogged from here…

The couch in the girlchild’s bedroom. I left for the airport from there and flew home, graded most of one assignment because the video screens in our row on the plane were broken. Sucked. I wanted to see the second half of the movie I started watching on the way out. Oh well.

On Monday, we got to announce (finally) that we got into Quilt Visions…

I’m excited. And so glad the jurors Sheila Frampton Cooper, Lisa Walton, and Petra Fallaux chose the abortion rights quilt, My Body. My Choice.

It’s one of those quilts that might never get into a show. Politics y’all. Difficult topics.

So I thank them for being brave. I appreciate the opportunity to show the hard quilts. I know some people aren’t going to like it. I’m hoping we can have a conversation.

Also, this.

I waver between this level of confrontation and wanting to converse to hopefully give people a different view. I think I know what they will say about their side of it, but maybe I’m wrong. I’m wrong a lot.

I read a bunch the last few days…this is from Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. The cat amused me.

I really liked that book. Also about a pandemic. Maybe should stop reading dystopian futures.

Because the pandemic. Yeah. I tested negative when I got home on Monday. I have no symptoms, either from my daughter’s cold or exposure before I went on break. Knock on wood that it stays that way. Guess I’m not ready to give up masks at school yet.

I was hoping to get some stitchdown done the Friday I left and/or yesterday around packing, but I just didn’t have the energy. I have to concede defeat. I will not meet the deadline. It’s OK. It’s still a beautiful quilt and will find a home, an exhibition, somewhere to be seen. Most of them do. Yes, some of them don’t. Those always perturb me. Sometimes it’s obvious why…they’re a little TOO quirky and strange. Sometimes I have no idea why.

Last night, we watched the first episode of a series. I wondered why the Man chose that, since the probability of his being gone until sometime in late July/early August is pretty high. Ah well. It wasn’t that compelling. I stitched stuff down because it was brainless. Kitten hung out with me because she missed me.

I missed her too.

I need to keep track of how much embroidery I do while camping. I am currently panicking that 5 blocks of embroidery is not enough. Is that crazy? It might be. I feel like I finished one on the last trip. OK, so to keep track, I have two blocks of the four March blocks embroidered, so I’m taking two with me, plus three or four from April. Should I pack May? Is that crazy? I don’t know. I just don’t know. WHAT IF I RUN OUT?!

Crafty people understand. OK, we leave in 35 minutes. I need to go pack the food and get the hell out of here. See you on the web. I have internet in three days? Maybe?

School Dreams…

It doesn’t feel like the last day of school before Spring Break…well, except for the school-related dreams. Hate those. Like I don’t already spend enough time at school…I shouldn’t have to go there when I sleep. Yesterday I worked a million hours, trying to get through a good chunk of the planning and grading I have so I don’t have to think about it until the weekend before I go back. I leave tonight for Boston; I’m mostly packed. I will leave 100-degree temperatures here and go to a morning low of 46 degrees, feels like 34. Hard to dress for that. We have a field trip today and I had nightmares about that. Some kid requires coping strategies that are over a page long? Maybe a parent should come? Instead of putting that on me? I don’t just have one kid to watch out for. Whatever. Hopefully once we get on buses, it won’t be too bad. Knock on wood. Then teach two classes after the trip (that’s always exhausting…here! Keep teaching!), then make sure the classroom is ready to be cleaned, then get outta here. I’m lucky to have 2 weeks off.

All the grading and packing really ate into my artmaking time last night. I spent the 45 minutes I had available entering an opportunity that came up, so I’m OK with that, but it’s hard to take pictures of me resizing photos and submitting them. Not very interesting to look at.

I did a bunch of stitchdown on Wednesday night, though, a couple of hours, I think.

It’s not hard. It’s just time-consuming. I might get some done tonight before I leave. Maybe.

Kitten needed her belly shaved for an ultrasound. She’s OK. We’re hoping the new food helps so I don’t have to try to get another pill down her throat every day. I finished stitching down the whole bottom section and am up in the arms. Maybe more than a fifth. But the deadline I have is probably a no go. We’ll see. I always have hope. Might be very misguided hope, but it is hope nonetheless.

This is very true.

I had one last night who aced the assignment, but only because I accepted the word “pacific” instead of “specific”. She wrote it about 5 times, but everything else was spot on. She’s an amazing kid and English is obviously not her first language. I remember handing homework assignments to my sister-in-law (also a teacher, although not full-time any more) once and her slogging through them…someone who actually had experience with teaching, but she was thrown by the levels we deal with. It’s exhausting. All of it. The adults and the district are even more so, honestly. So I’m glad to leave it behind for some time and take a break.

Sigh. Looking forward to reading books and stitching and drawing and hiking and sleeping.

The owls are still here…

I’m hoping I don’t miss anything over the next two weeks. No babies until I get back!

OK, wish me luck. It’s a busy day. Hopefully I sleep on the plane. Hopefully the plane gets there. It’s already delayed, but I should show up at the original time because they don’t want it to be delayed? Whatever. Kitten is hanging out here by the computer…the Man might have a job, but in Kennedy Meadows. That’s a big sigh. On so many levels. Going to school to get everything done.

I Am Always Behind

I got an email last night from a student wanting to know why I hadn’t graded all his work yet. Sigh. I am behind. I am always behind. There are very few times when I am caught up. Right now I’m behind because I’m trying to set up a field trip and do school and do art and get ready to leave on two separate trips, and there aren’t enough hours in the day. Wait until he hears I’m not grading anything over break. OK, I’ll probably grade SOMETHING, but not a lot. I won’t be home enough to grade a lot. Which sucks and yet is necessary to reset my brain. I will explain to the kid that if he wants his grade to go up, though, he should redo the assignments he rushed through, since he’s already done with the project that we are finishing up today. He has plenty of time to fix them.

Trying to find time (and more importantly, the energy) to grade stuff is difficult right now. I can do a few easy things in class, but not as much as I used to be able to do. It doesn’t help when I’m trying to do chaperone groups for the science center at the same time, plus field all the calls from the office, plus get them to actually get on task and stop turning around and distracting their friends. We have three days left, with most of Friday on a field trip. I’m exhausted and done; so are they. I was trying to grade the two art assignments during prep yesterday; made it through one, then got interrupted. So that will be today, plus whatever else I can get through.

After school, I have a union meeting on Zoom; I’m going to get my car looked at again (their request) at the same time. There was an oil filter issue that I really don’t want to have while I’m camping next week. Then home to record the lightning talk I rewrote again last night. Finally got the slides to work, copied them into a new presentation, added timing, practiced a few times, edited the script, then realized it was bedtime. Fuck. Hopefully I will get to do some sewing tonight. I didn’t last night. My goal for the week of having this thing pinbasted before I go to Boston? That’s not happening. I did start the stitchdown on Monday night…barely.

I got all the way around the edge, plus the little piece with the rabbit. I’m trying out the other MonoPoly color, smoke. I like it for most things. Not sure about lighter things. Not patient enough to switch between the two though. I’d like an hour or so tonight with it. We’ll see if I get that. I didn’t get much done Monday because I had to iron the whole thing down with steam, so that was 40 minutes or so.

Anyway. I’m dealing one day at a time right now. Trying to find the cat her special food. Ugh. Had to go to the dentist, which is no longer open late. Ugh. I’m juggling too many things.

I’m going to be SO productive today. I am going to cross things off the list like a boss! Or not.

I did go to the gym yesterday and finished my book. Exercise is key. I don’t see any exercise in the next 5 days, unfortunately.

After dinner, last night, I worked on these guys…

This is my braindead work. I had about an hour to eat and hang with the man while watching part of a movie. We don’t watch ALL of a movie at once any more. It’s my fault. I always have too much to do. But I pulled these out because I panicked that I would have no stitching for these two trips, OMG, nothing to work on! I like to have all the applique done and just do embroidery in the car or on a plane. These are the July blocks of Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block-of-the-month quilt. I’ve been working on them for a week now, convinced I would need them. Then last night, I went through the stash to see what needed embroidering. My loves, I am still embroidering the March blocks. Seriously. I have April, May, and June ready for stitching. There is no way I’m finishing all of those. Last year, I finished January and started February during Spring Break (yes, it’s been a while). I’ll be fine. I was trying to finish the Chirp borders over the last year…it’s a much less portable piece right now, so that’s why I haven’t been working on these. But I will be.

Here’s my piece Heart-Shaped Box (far right) in the Artist as Quiltmaker exhibit in Oberlin, Ohio, right now.

Patty Kennedy-Zafred’s piece in the front. Deb Berkebile’s piece on the far left. Sherry Kleinman’s piece to the left of the window next to mine. Not sure about the other one. This show was supposed to take place in Spring 2020. I’m impressed by their persistence to eventually show this exhibit. It’s much appreciated.

OK. School. Grading. Because I don’t want to think about it for two weeks. Try not to lose my mind in class. Do all the things. Make the kids do all the things. I teach 4 things today. Exhausting. Anti-tobacco curriculum (last day, yay! Thank you state politicians for putting that on us!), end of the reptile rescue project, start of photosynthesis escape room, plus monster zendoodle ink and erase. Plus harass the kids who haven’t finished anything. Fun stuff.

Meditative stitching at the end of the day…looking forward to it.


There is currently a cat head under my elbow. I’m not sure why. Kitten needs lots of attention these days. Usually she jumps up on the table, puts her butt in front of me for a second, and then moves on to the nice sleeping place behind the fabric. Today I get cat headbutts…she has now moved to the table and is headbutting my chin as I type. OK. Now she just bit me. Because I was petting her wrong. Sigh. Calicoes. They are cantankerous.

This weekend. Pro: finished a bunch of shit. Con: didn’t finish all of it. My quilt guild had their first in-person birthday…our first meeting was supposed to be in April of 2020. So it was our 2-year birthday when we finally had a party…

We did a little printing project, which was cool…

Also, on Saturday, I delivered two quilts that will be in the California Fibers’ show Inside Out that is opening at Visions Art Museum on April 16. I went to my guild meeting. I came home and mopped floors and did some other stuff, then went to another art meeting, came back, and hiked 3 miles.

The hike was good. The meetings were good. It was weird to see so many people in such a small space for the second meeting. So many unmasked people in a small space. And a few of the people who didn’t come emailed about testing positive. I’m getting on a plane this Friday…I don’t want to get sick before then…so I’m still one of the few teachers at school who is wearing a mask. Plus I saw my parents last night…sigh.

In quilt news, I got a little ironing in on Friday night…

More sky, a rocket ship, the stuff around the face.

Then Saturday night, I did the rest…

Got the face done…the hawk…

And the rest of the sky. Then last night, I pieced a background and ironed it all down…

I need to do a little more steaming before I do stitchdown, but that’s 22 hours of ironing there. As my dad said, it’s pretty colorful. I wasn’t expecting that, but the sky really had an effect on the piece. Yes it’s weird that I don’t really know what it looks like until I get to the end…and even now, all the outlining that will happen when I quilt it will change it again.

So revising my goals on this thing once again…get the stitchdown done this week and get it sandwiched and pinbasted before I leave for Boston (that’s 4 nights I have…ha! Oh my). Then I am home for exactly two days, if I’m lucky, before the end of Spring Break. Can I finish it before the deadline? I don’t know. Probably not? But I’ll try. I’ll finish it anyway, and it will go somewhere…but this school year is still kicking my butt. I’ll be glad to have a break next week. Some reading, some hiking, some stitching, some change of scenery. All good.

All That Hope…

Three years ago on April 1, we were lighthearted enough to switch classes at school. I taught history for one period, someone taught my science class. It was April 1 and we would only answer to the name of the teacher we were supposed to be. Two years ago, we were scrambling to deal with COVID and school. We were supposed to be going on Spring Break, but we had sent everyone home, and our district wasn’t ready for us to come back, so there was 5 weeks of a break that didn’t feel like a break. Last year, I was all virtual, never left the house, teaching art and science on Zoom, so April Fools didn’t even rank on my priority list. Today, we talked about things to do at school, but this group of post-COVID kids (are we post-COVID when I’ve had at least one positive case in my class in the last week?) is currently a bit out of control and we’re not gonna rock that boat. We’re gonna hope none of the kids do either.

Today is a mess. My car needs work before we take off camping in less than two weeks. I need to run errands after work, but I won’t have my car until 5:30. Tomorrow is chock full of stuff, and there are some things I need to do tonight to get ready for that. How late is Home Depot open? I’m hoping to have the energy to do all the things. As always. Really, I just want to read my book. As always.

I haven’t actually gotten much ironing done in the last two nights. I was fairly efficient on Wednesday night, despite dealing with exercise class and vet after school. I got everything in the torso done…

And then pulled it all off the teflon sheets and readjusted it so I could work on the upper half.

I did a little bit of the mountains above her shoulders and the neck. Ready for the sky up there…I think I have less than 200 pieces left? I have about half the 400s (all big sky pieces mostly), then about half the 1200s and maybe 30 in the 1300s. Very doable for tonight, once I get everything else done that I need done for tomorrow. I have two quilts to prep for drop off at a show, but I’m realizing I don’t know when pick up is for the other show in the same venue. I was expecting to hear from them, but I haven’t. Ugh. Can’t pick up on the same day I think? I’ll email.

Yup. Just emailed. Feel like the next week is going to be a level of chaos that I will not appreciate. The right eye isn’t QUITE twitching, but it’s close.

Kitten telling me that she did not appreciate not getting her breakfast on Wednesday before going to the vet.

She’s an old lady and we now get to deal with some special foods for her, but she’s still rambunctious (almost killed The Man who was trying to take her to the vet).

With any luck, I’ll get this quilt ironed to a background this weekend and start the stitchdown. Hopefully. I don’t see how I’m going to get her quilted and bound and photographed in time for the deadline, not if I’m gone for days. I need Spring Break away from home, though. I need to get out in nature and freeze to death in a tent and cook over a tiny stove and hike into some open spaces before I can finish out the school year. When we get back from Spring Break, there are 38 days of school left. Eight weeks. It’ll be the longest 8 weeks of the year, but it won’t be endless. There’s always an end. For this quilt. For this school year. Hopefully for COVID. Hopefully for the Russian attack on the Ukraine. Can I get some bigger hopes in here? For racism and sexism and all discrimination, and climate change and dictators and nuclear threats and all of it. Yeah. Better to start Friday with all that hope than to look at that to-do list and panic.

What an Hour Looks Like…

I’m constantly thinking in blocks of time. An hour for this, an hour for that. An hour looks like this…no wait, that was half an hour…

For one Joshua tree. An hour is the two of them…

Actually, I think it was only 45 minutes on Monday night…and I can’t remember if I’d already done the little bushes (creosote? no…something else) on her arm…

I think that was also Monday night. If it wasn’t clear by now, I decided to fill in the entire torso before moving up into the sky. So my numbering was not ideal. It’s OK. I’m working with it.

Last night, I got well into the 1100s…this is a little over an hour of cactus…

Lots of greens, lots of bits and pieces. Looks like tonight is more agave, lots more agave, and a lizard. Then I’ll need to pull all of this off the teflon sheets and reattach it so I can iron the top together. I’m getting there…much slower than I wanted to, but it will all be OK in the end. Eight more days of school until Spring Break, although I will have very little time to work on this over break. I rarely miss deadlines I choose (I sometimes miss them because I forget about them), but this might well be one of them.

When I go to the gym, this guy is there, sleeping in the parking lot.

I’m not sure why. He has a chair, nice hat and jacket ensemble. Cooler for his feet? I think? I wonder if his kid is practicing baseball on the field behind my car. Why not park closer? Why not sleep in your car? Not sure I understand. Maybe that’s not his car? I have questions.

I also think of this as The Panicking…but The Fuckening sounds better.

And this guy…he is apparently 7 years old.

I think of him as permanently The Puppy. Like Kitten…she is 13 and is going to the vet today for an ultrasound. I am worried about it; plus it costs a lot of money. I’m short money right now, but it will be on the next credit card bill, so I will just hope there is magical money by then. She is currently headbutting me because I didn’t feed her breakfast, per doc instructions. I’ve explained it to her, as you do, and she just does not understand. But she gets lots of pets instead.

So labs today…and a lost prep period (so many meetings). Plus shipping something, picking up the cat, exercise class. Then back to ironing. Another hour? I have other computer/art things I need to do tonight, so I can’t commit to more than an hour, unfortunately. We’ll see. If I’m not exhausted when I get home (I will be), maybe I will be more efficient (unlikely, but let’s not give up on that notion yet). Certainly I can finish the agave and that lizard tonight at least. Maybe more. One more hour’s worth.

Couldn’t Find the Fingernails…

After a million years of teaching (and being me), I’ve tracked down the tells that I am stressed, besides yelling out “I am stressed” in the car or the house, which I do often, unfortunately. My body clues me in by refusing to fall asleep even when exhausted, but making my eyelids twitch (haven’t hit that one yet, knock on wood), the inevitable teeth grinding (started in college; froze my jaw in Freshman year), and the random canker sores. I only get them when I’m stressed out. And they last a week and are quite uncomfortable, despite medications. I guess other people get stomach issues; is this better? I don’t know. I tend toward frustrated mutterings to myself that YES, I KNOW I’m stressed. I up the exercise and the artmaking and reading, trying to make it better, but really, I just need a break from school usually. The symptoms of stress do tend to show up before breaks, so that’s a thing. In this case, though (lack-of-sleep exhausted and canker-sored), I need to get through two whole weeks before I get a break.

The plus is that I finally finished my taxes. I had to add the art sales in as a separate thing, so that complicated shit this year. Normally I don’t, but I’m no longer head of household for the boychild (he’s too old! and employed), so I need to find tax breaks for the extra income. It’s not a lot, but I can’t afford to pay any taxes this year with the septic and all. I managed to mostly balance the state and federal taxes…hopefully the state will pay me in time to pay the feds. Perhaps the feds could take less of my money too…so many deductions they are no longer allowing. I guess the middle class and those with super tiny businesses on the side are not the blessed ones…haven’t been for a while. I hope the financially challenged are getting the breaks instead of me. But now that I know I need to keep track of that side business (as well as the copyediting one), I’ll be better about keeping track of deductions. It’s not a bad thing to have extra money coming in…I’d just like to not have to spend it all on emergency repairs and taxes.

I still have a couple semi-urgent things to get through this week, and next weekend is a cluster…how to be in ALL the places at once. And then I fly to Boston to see the girlchild. And then camping and hiking with the man. Need the break. Need time to think and sleep and read and draw. Need a day where I’m not focused on how much work I can get done before the next batch shows up. The power went out Saturday morning for a couple of hours, but the outage map was claiming all day, and I freaked out…so much to do and almost all of it required electricity and access to my desktop computer. It turned out OK, and I got some ironing and hiking in, so that was good.

Friday night’s ironing of an arm and some plants…

I couldn’t find the fingernails until I went through the trash pile (reasons why I don’t throw it out until the quilt is done…I often drop things in it that need to be cut out because I am not paying attention)…

Whoops. I also found the bush parts missing from the first 100 pieces (too late; already recut them) and another part I needed. Who knows what else is hiding in there?

Saturday afternoon, after grading a bunch and panicking a lot, I did a few more plants…

And then went on a 4-mile hike…a hike I needed.

Lots of tiny wildflowers about…

No poppies yet…usually they cover the hillsides…not enough water yet or still too cold.

Yes, some of the stones are under water…

I managed it without getting my socks wet…all good.

And then came back, made dinner, and ironed some more plants…

Oh yeah, and a bat. That got me into the 800s, or almost done with them. I still have half the 400s to do once I get back to the sky.

Last night, I only had a little time, just under 45 minutes, so I did some pupfish…

Barely into the 900s now. I keep revising my completion date. Definitely gonna be tight. If at all…ah well, deadlines are just a place at which to aim. If I miss it, I’ll enter it elsewhere.

But my plan this week is to finish ironing (that was last week’s plan) and stitchdown. Ha! That should be interesting. Saturday is already gone. Sunday is half gone. It’s fine. Everything is fine.

This week is three days of labs in a row plus starting a new art project while harassing kids to finish the two they already have. Plus grading all the things and trying not to stress more about school and money. Property taxes are also coming up. Pretty sure I can pay those once I get paid. Need to write a script for a lightning talk (plus record that…dunno when that’s happening). Need to find quilts to deliver for a show. Need to enter two things. Need to do some cleaning. Some grading. Yeah. All the things. Need to do some meditation in between all that. Wish me luck.

Trying to Stabilize…

Struggled to sleep last night. School…the district…the dumbassery of nuclear weapons. Hey, let’s destroy the Earth so we WIN! I am disheartened this morning. I’ve had some good news lately; hopefully more on that in a little bit. I’ve also had a pile of disappointing news about school and some downright stressful news about Kitten. The latter is going to cost money…of course…the one thing I’m really stressing about at the moment. I am going to try to come home and walk tonight…and hike tomorrow, although the man has a show and I have a shit-ton of work on all sides to get through. I’m trying not to panic about that…one thing at a time. Go to school and do the things there first. Come home and walk somewhere.

I have been ironing more at night. Perhaps I should have done some of my taxes last night instead of ironing for 3+ hours, but I had a stitching meeting, so I can’t do taxes during that, and trying to do them after 9 PM seems dangerously close to making lots of mistakes. So I chose art.

The mule deer after the lizard…

Oh yeah, and that hare…

And a bobcat. Stitching will make them stand out.

Got the whole bottom put together on Wednesday night.

Then last night, I tried to do the sky. The plan was to just iron the whole thing, but ironing up both sides and trying to keep the bottom aligned when it’s wider than the ironing board was becoming a major (frustrating) issue). So I skipped half of the 400s and went into the 500s, figuring if I got the torso between the sides ironed, it would stabilize the two sides and let me continue up.

It’s still a bit wibbly wobbly though. I did all the 500s, which were mostly snake and spider details, plus rocky ribs…and now I’m thinking I should do the arms first and just get this section done, and then continue up. So that means putting the rest of the 400s back in a box so I have room to pull the 600s.

Meanwhile, I need to do my taxes…but here’s the whole chaotic thing right now.

Yup. That’s chaos. More tonight. More tomorrow. I don’t know if I can finish this before Spring Break, and I’m gone for most of that. Hopefully. If we can afford to even do the trip. Ugh. Sigh. I need to get out of here, but I also need to be able to pay the bills. And be sane. Whatever that is right now. Tenuous place. It is Friday, though.

And we have owl videos…

We moved the camera so we could see the entrance better. There must be eggs in there, possibly even babies, although it might be too soon for that. Mostly we see one owl, but occasionally both.

There’s lots of swooping we hear in the yard. Sorry bunnies. Not sorry rats.

I hope we get good baby pictures.

So I need to go to school. I know some of the news is gonna hit today. I will get an answer (probably not one I like) about one of the others probably today. I will get through the curriculum and try not to feel completely disheartened by all of it. I’ll try not to think about war and nukes for at least a few hours. I know I will get exercise and ironing tonight. And I will have some socializing tomorrow in between all the taxes and other stuff. I have a home. The bathrooms are mostly clean (thanks to the Man). I don’t have to cook tonight (also thanks to the Man). I can make art because no one is currently bombing my country. There are owls in my yard taking care of babies. These are good things.

Ironing Weeds…

I’m always sort of boggled to see that two days have passed and I have only taken three pictures of my progress and/or daily life. That’s why I borrowed the girlchild’s photos for the Inspired by Architecture class…I literally didn’t have time to go take photos of architecture, unless it was my house, school, or the grocery store. Maybe the gas station. It’s not that I couldn’t have made those work…I just wanted to feel inspired honestly, and that’s hard in my daily life at the moment.

I am ironing at night though. Last night was hard…everything ran much later than I thought it would (my fault), so I didn’t get home earlier and I was tired and so I only got 45 minutes in. The night before, though, was well over an hour, wait, almost 2 hours, so that’s a balance right there. I was hoping for more every night, though. That’s on me.

This is where we’re at in the year though. We had an assignment with post-its and I found this one on a table. My first instinct is to copyedit it, of course…probably in class.

All of us teachers are bitches at some point. At least they spelled that right. I also got one penis drawing, anatomically incorrect of course. Middle-schoolers are nothing if not incredibly predictable.

So besides the daily commentary from kids on how school sucks and how each of us is the hardest teacher ever and gives us the most work…so far, we aren’t seeing any crazy outbreaks of COVID, despite the unmasking. Lots of kids still wear masks. A few teachers do. One went home sick yesterday, so I’m curious how this will all continue to play out. Personally, this bitch as hoe (sic) is just trying to survive the 13 days of teaching that are left before Spring Break.

The almost two hours of ironing ended up being the fussy rocks, the tortoise, and the owl…

Which will all look better when they are outlined appropriately with thread.

Then last night, I managed a coyote, a lizard, and some cactus…

There’s nothing fast about this process…although sometime tonight or tomorrow night, I’m gonna slap the sky together in about 100 really big pieces and it’s going to look much different. But for now, I’m still in the tiny little weeds (sometimes literally, I’m ironing weeds on there). I think there’s a hare and a bobcat in the future here.

I was gonna say something about not having to cook tonight, but I think I’m cooking tonight. Shit. OK. Well aim for the 45 minutes of ironing again, yeah? Actually, aim for an hour. It’s a good thing I thought about that. Meat was still in the freezer. Plus I’m sort of almost not really caught up with grading. I’m at least at a point where I’m not panicking about it any more. I’m sure that will change soon, but for right now, I’m breathing. OK, I also have a meeting this morning, but then my prep is for all the late work the panicked kids are turning in (oh wait, you GRADE the shit we do?). Hopefully I’ll get it all done and start grading unit packets. Then exercise, cook, and iron. Repeat.