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.

Doing Is Better Than Not…

Man. Nope. Woman. What a day. May the honorable RBG rest in peace. May my ever-patriotic-my-ass government behave appropriately and stop trying to write off 70% of the fucking population. You want riots? Nominate another knee-jerk white guy who thinks rape is all in a woman’s head to the Supreme Court of my land. Or a guy (because you know it’s a guy) who thinks that LGBTQIA is something we can teach out of someone. Or who thinks that BIPOC aren’t human. No, that’s not a threat…it’s reality. Y’all don’t fucking listen unless people are burning your Whole Foods down and then it’s like, oh STAHP. Why are you so violent? You get nothing! So many people ALREADY GET NOTHING. Sigh. I know RBG wanted so badly to survive long enough to see a new president. We all wanted that for her (and us).

This is where I sit every day to teach immigrants, kids, survivors, and she had their back. Don’t tell me the law is the law…if the person looking at the law doesn’t think women have rights to their bodies, in fact, doesn’t think anyone but White Men have rights to their bodies, then the law will not work for anyone but them.

Y’all, I’m sad. I’m overwhelmed. I’m scared of what dumbassery McConnell and his cronies are going to do next, because instead of being responsible for their constituencies, they’re gonna do what the rich white guys want. So I’ve got some emails to write to Republican senators. How about you? I’m hoping this link works. If not, go to my Insta @knida and find the RBG post with all their email/contact info. This is wrong. Don’t let them fuck us over again.

I’m lucky to have a job right now, I am. It’s hellacious at the moment. It’s going to get even harder for a while, and then maybe I’ll find a routine that works. Yesterday, I started working at 7:15 AM. I ate lunch standing at the light table while sending emails to parents and kids. I sent 138 emails yesterday, at least. And that doesn’t count the back-and-forths that happened when parents or kids had additional questions. I had a meeting after school and then went back to work. I finished the emails and grading one assignment at about 8 minutes to midnight. And then I looked at my class lists for the week after this upcoming week, and I counted the kids, 40 more than I have now, huge classes, less time to teach them, way less time to help them, I looked at my emails with all the stuff I needed to manage before grades are due sometime next week (I think they caved and gave us next weekend, but not all of it), and I went to bed and cried. And that is where we’re at right now. And I have a job. I can pay my bills. I’m lucky.

I taught yesterday morning with the noise from about 15 guys and loud rancheria music while they finally fucking plastered this pool.

Please may they be done. My students are like, what’s all that yelling? And I’m like if those assholes down there let out a puta or pendejo that my kids can hear, Imma gonna go down there and light them up. If they did, I didn’t hear it. But my patience with the neighbor’s construction is down to negatory right now.

Here’s a typical moment in my teaching life right now.

Guess which kid is paying attention? I’m laughing. The “hold on im eating” kid? He won’t be mine after this week. I’m good with that. I know he’ll be replaced with an equivalent kid who’s trying to get out of the work and being a jerk about it, and I might start meditating during class, but…well…this is what it is.

Sigh. I’m having a hard time with the new curriculum. It all needs to be rewritten. I feel like every year, we start over, and then shit happens, and we can’t make it better, because next year will be different, and then the following year will be different again, and I can’t listen to you people who just call this a bad flu. I think about my teacher friends going back and the kids going back to their families with whatever they got at school and I know we are just waiting until someone gets sick, and hopefully nobody gets really sick. Hopefully no one dies. That said, this kid is gonna survive on cucumbers and tomatoes he found on Mars. So I can laugh.

I ironed on Thursday, because I had stitching Zoom.

Everyone wants me to talk and socialize at the end of the day, but I’m too damn tired to do that and I don’t really want to talk about school over and over again.

I did for a little bit, because I wanted to make really really sure that my 80-year-old-plus friend wasn’t going to go sub at a school.

She says she’s not.

This is almost done being ironed together…there’s the fire above and the dirt below. Then iron it onto the background. Straight up, I don’t think I’ll get to work on it this weekend. I have ten tons of schoolwork and two other things I need to get started. As soon as I’m done with this, that’s what I’m doing.

This is for realz right now. This one and another one who was running across the carpet with two cats after it…

The man caught that one in his hands. But I didn’t find the one who kamikazed off the fireplace hearth. I hope this isn’t one who’s coming back, for god’s sake, save yourself!

All my screens and windows need washing too.

OK, gotta work myself out of overwhelmed and depressed into something better. Some outdoor time today, plus some artmaking I committed to. Tomorrow, I’m going to Visions Art Museum to see the current exhibits, before everything closes back down next week. Hopefully the museums will stay open, because I have a ticket for the Contemporary Quilt Show at the Oceanside Museum of Art NEXT weekend. Sigh.

At some point, this poor lime tree is gonna grow limes beyond this stage. It’s still recovering from being replanted. Poor thing. It keeps trying. There’s an inspiration for you. This lime tree that keeps making baby limes and one day one of them will grow up to be my margarita.

OK. Doing something. Doing is better than not.

Over the Top…

Ugh. Monday, you were over the top. Remind me not to answer work emails at 3 PM…or honestly, ever. Without a 12-hour break maybe. “Dear teacher, how is my kid doing?” “I don’t know. They don’t come to class or turn anything in.” It was a day. We thought we could grade an assignment while monitoring the chat during a quiz, but the monitoring became overwhelming as the day went on, and I couldn’t concentrate enough on what I was grading…which required thought and long feedback, lots of it. Pro: I think this batch of kids is better than the last batch for writing claim-evidence-reasoning (probably because we told 6th grade they had to do some of the prep work). Con: They still need lots of work, work that is harder to do online. I have more to grade today, and an assignment that hopefully will allow that. We’ll see how that goes. Teachers can’t be ON all the time. We burn out. Yesterday was long and required a lot of energy and I don’t even think I got all the way through it. And I didn’t barely even TALK. Just typed in the chat while they took the quiz. Today is a staff meeting explaining our new schedules for the week of the 28th…which should be interesting, because I need to understand it myself so I show up for the right class at the right time. Which could be an issue. No worries! I will draw a picture to get me there. Block schedule, but online, with two subjects. OK. I got this. Three grade levels. OK. I still got this. Ask me in late October how I feel about it for realz.

Meanwhile, not much visible art has been happening. I’ve been doing research and posting on my Patreon and gathering show information, but my brain was too tired the last two nights to do anything more than that. I really really hope that changes tonight.

Our air quality is still off. Makes for beautiful sunsets and sunrises though.

Maybe they’d be just as beautiful without the smoke particles.

My most recent sourdough was also beautiful.

Lunches from this. I have become a character in Little House on the Prairie. Or something. I make my own bread. I never leave the house. Pa! Pa! OK, I left the house yesterday to pick up my sewing machine. Crucial stuff. Laura Ingalls never did that. I’ll leave the house today to walk. I need to walk. It’s been a while for a good long solo hike.

Simba thinks he’s a cat.

He barks too much to be a cat. Our hot weather popped back up for the rest of the week. Sigh. No thanks. I can do without. Just like the construction. I had to shut all the windows yesterday so I could teach over a concrete saw. Like just fucking be DONE with it! It’ll be done soon. It has to be.

Yes. My clothes are always covered with cat hair. But I’m at home, so you can’t tell.

Apparently they are very comfy.

I finished my book last night, Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. Apparently I have been saying her name wrong in my head for years. Very good. I didn’t much like the other book of hers I read, but this was good. What’s funny is that book club meets tomorrow night, and I was going to read the book for book club first, but this was so good, I didn’t. So I think it’ll be the first time I go to book club and I haven’t read the book. I might get some of it read today and tomorrow at lunch. We’ll see. It’s also supposed to be good, but I just haven’t seen anything but the cover yet.

That’s the closest I got to artmaking last night.

I made it in the office and ironed some brainless stuff and looked at this thing (the drawing, not the cat…she’s fine…it’s not her fault I can’t focus) and was too tired, looked at the clock and it was almost midnight, and I gave up. Part of my time issue was deciding to exercise at 10 PM. It needed to be done and there wasn’t time or mental space before that.

OK, wishes for today: efficient grading, some understanding of my future schedule, a successful teaching day, time for a walk, mental space for art, a calm and restorative dinner hour. Might be wishful thinking, but it’s my goal and I’m sticking to it. Better air too. That would be good.

Leave It.

Day of brain chaos. Trying not to think too hard about school and what I need to do, but that’s what kept me awake when something woke me up before 8 AM this morning. My brain…ruminating about school. Even though yesterday I spent time planning a good chunk of the week with posts and warmups and then grading some stuff, my brain can’t leave it. Even with a walk on Friday and a walk on Saturday, my brain can’t just drop it. On the one hand, that’s useful…it’s always trying to solve a problem on the side, over there, in that corner, while I’m driving or dropping off my sewing machine to be serviced or cooking something, but sometimes…just once in a while…I’d like it to just stop for a bit. Leave it. It’s the same brain that helps me make art…I do so much of the work in my head and work it out while I’m doing other things, it means when I’m actually MAKING, a lot of the thinking is done.

I did find myself some down time yesterday. I stopped for a while. I needed to.

In two weeks, everything I’m doing for school will change again. I’ll think about that in a week and a half. There’s no point in doing it now. Well, except for some planning for the art stuff. I maybe should go find the state standards. Maybe.

Friday was a weird day, because I had tree trimmers here…they trimmed 5 eucalyptus…

cut my palm down to the ground, cut two other branches that were issues, and took out a sucker eucalyptus on the neighbor’s side of my fence, which may or may not be my property. But I had permission. So it’s all good.

They are sad trees now, and so are the hummingbirds who had nests in there, but there were some branches that were an issue for winter storms and even summer winds.

I have lots of trees. I love them all and would prefer they just happily grow, but the house and neighbors and probably my house insurer prefer I trim them occasionally. So I do.

It was a pretty noisy day, so noisy that I moved the classroom setup back into my office with the shitty internet, and I explained why to the students, but still got, “Miss, are you running a blender?” “Yup. All day. Margaritas!” No, not really. I don’t say stuff about margaritas to kids. That’s the chainsaws and the chipper/shredder. It’s a good thing we moved the quiz from Friday to Monday. It will hopefully be quieter. Oh ha! The neighbors had jackhammers and saws going Friday until 6 PM and then Saturday and Sunday as well. No jackhammer today, just saws. I’m done! Turn off the shit. I want my quiet neighborhood back dammit. Well, quiet except for me teaching about rocks. On Mars. The rocks…not me teaching.

We took the dogs on a short walk on Friday…it was finally cool enough and the Air Quality Index had come down…it went back up on Saturday though.

There’s a local mostly flat loop that Calli can do easily enough…

Everything is very dry and prickly…

The boychild won’t let me plant artichokes because they are invasive…

They’re also fascinating.

Ah well. Maybe the next Daughter quilt will be an Artichoke Daughter. Away from all the serious topics (can I do that? Am I allowed? Will I allow myself, is more like it.).

Friday night, I managed some ironing…the weird death arm and a bird and three virions.

One of my quilt guilds actually acknowledges that some people work and have a social Zoom meeting at night. It’s one of the reasons I joined…before COVID…because they had meetings I could actually go to.

Still ironing the background bits together…although the snake overlaps onto the ground in the front.

So here, I finally got the stuff behind on the left and the stuff behind on the right all in the correct spot so I could start ironing the stuff in the front in the middle. Yeah. It’s confusing to me too. No worries. It will all make sense eventually.

I just iron quietly on the Zoom and listen to other people talk, just like it would be in real life. Maybe I would talk a little more in real life but honestly, I talk all day. I get tired of it.

Luna in a box. Nova by the window, waiting for a bug or a lizard to come close.

On Saturday, we went down to Balboa Park and walked around a little bit.

It was too peoply. I’m looking forward to cooler weather so we can go somewhere inland and less peoply…somewhere more hike-like and less walk-like. But it was good to get out. Yes, we still have smoky haze…air quality was 150 yesterday, which is still much better than Northern California, Oregon, and Washington…but not good. Right now, it’s down to 100. Better. But not good.

We were tired after, grabbed dinner, and came home and watched random stuff on TV…some Banksy, some political stuff (video below related to it), and a through-hiker in Utah, who was traveling through some of the stuff we visited last year. I just stitched stuff down, Sue Spargo stuff I can’t even show you, because she hasn’t published it yet. Brainless stuff, but that’s what I needed. Sometimes that’s what I need.

The political stuff included Emma Gonzalez’ speech from the March for Our Lives, which might have been the last political march I was in? I can’t remember. I know I’ve seen this speech before, but it still makes me cry.

Fuck the dumbass who called her ‘just a lesbian skinhead.’ I hope she becomes President. Or cures cancer. Whatever she’s got passion for. Those kids…I love when I hear passion in my own kids, my students (but my own children too) for something. Change something. Fix something. It can be small. Just care about something. Kudos to Emma and the rest of those kids who tried to make change, tried to make the fat old white guys see some sense.

No art last night. No energy, no art.

Sleepy Nova instead.

This morning, the man found a snake outside the front door…

Pretty sure it’s a gopher snake…

I don’t have a lot of gophers, so hopefully that’s his fault. Or hers.

Most of today was getting shit done. Hung a towel rail, did the grocery shopping, dropped my sewing machine off for service, and baked this beauty.

She looks really good. Which is nice, because she’s a good part of my lunches this week.

I also made naan from scratch…

Which isn’t as easy as my daughter makes it look, but I eventually got the hang of it. Mostly. Rugs are for catching the shit I dribble from the counter to the stove, right? Yes. They are. The minor issue is that I just mopped those floors and washed those rugs. Whatever. As soon as I clean, it’s dirty again.

I also did some research for the one project I need to work on this week…read up, watched some videos, printed some pictures and words. I’ll hopefully get a good start on that tomorrow night. And the other project too. We even had a socially distanced dinner with the parental units. First time in a long time. The plus is that I crossed a bunch of things off my list today. The minus is that it’s almost 10 PM and I’m exhausted (didn’t sleep well last night) and I’m not sure what to work on next. I have one thing I need to grade, but I don’t feel like it. Maybe I should just iron things together and accept that I am allowed to have some non-work time at night, even when everything is not done. Everything is not done so often! And work will always be there. Speaking of work always being there, the rumor is that work is checking Facebook pages and schooling staff about what they say. Huh. Well, I’ve been blogging about my job(s) and everything else…since 2004. Maybe even 2003? Can’t remember. If they’re just gonna decide to school me now, I’m gonna ask where they’ve been for the last 17 years. Is my job perfect? Of course not. Is my district perfect? Oh heck no…no one is. Am I perfect? Well we know the answer to that. I wouldn’t stress about everything under the sun on a daily basis if I were perfect. So Hi! See me waving at my work. Howzit goin’! I suggest you start reading way way back. Let me know when you’re done. Then we can talk.

OK, iron for a bit, sleep early (ha!), then get up and conquer the world. Or whatever you can handle.

You Can’t Skip to the End of the Story…

I had time to write this morning. That was even the plan. Eat breakfast, write, then work. But the internet was not on my side. The first download failed and the second one took 35 minutes, so by the time all that happened, school was imminent. So I gave up. I think I had most of the pictures resized by the time school actually started, but I need a good 30 minutes to write most days, and I didn’t have that at all.

So here we are, Friday evening, going into the weekend. There’s a pile of schoolwork hanging over me. What’s new? I found out today that when my school goes back to some hybrid, some online, I will be teaching 3 sections of 7th-grade science online and 2 sections of online art. ART. Online. Hmmm. So the last time I taught art was in 2007. And not online. Minor issue. I’m sure it will be fine. I’ll figure it out. It’s better than some of the things I was worried about, like multiple grade levels of science I’d never taught before or teaching with different schools with admin I’d never dealt with, so this is probably the best option. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I have 2 weeks to figure out at least the start of it. Lots of work. You should always have credentials in stuff you like, by the way…which is why I don’t have a math or history credential.

Anyway. So that’s new. From now until December 15th or so at least. I won’t have a prep with my science co-teacher; we’ll have to meet after school, but I think my prep will be figuring out what the hell online art looks like. I’m sure there are standards.

OK, so I was totally exhausted Wednesday…worked 11 hours with Zooms and online meetings and all, and then kept working because shit was in my head and I needed to get part of it on a doc or something. So I kept going. And at the end of it, I had no energy for anything else. I think I read a bit of my book.

Thursday was a bit better…I had a shorter day and managed some stitching that I can’t show you online because I’m not allowed to, but then I started ironing…

It’s working pretty well…I got 100 pieces done…

I was tired, but this felt pretty good compared to more sitting…

This is the figure behind the main figure…

Hopefully there will be more of that tonight, but who knows. I’m tired and I have a book and a half to read before Wednesday and a ton of work to do and really I should be able to do Date Night, because it’s not going to be 114 degrees this weekend hallelujah and the fire down here is almost out. Woohoo!

Also in the art realm…and the teaching realm…I miss drawing cover pages for science.

I hope I can figure out how to do drawing online without too much trouble. We’ll see.

Those morning smoky skies…

You can see the neighbor’s pool is progressing…with more jackhammering today…which I am just done with.

Our air quality is finally in the almost normal stage.

So weird. Pretty but weird.

So the cats just follow me around when no one else is home. Nova was directly behind me while I was teaching…

And Kitten was actually in class at some point…

And then was reviewing the teachers’ edition of the new curriculum…

And then Luna was way too close and personal to the computer setup…

Uh huh…

This seems problematic…

But she didn’t chew on anything and only batted at my hands a little bit…

I spent all of today moved back into the internet-iffy office, because I had tree trimming going on…probably a good thing because they were jackhammering next door again. Ugh. Please stop.

This was in the book I’m reading…perfect to think about right now.

Finishing with this crazy shit.

Every time I read another attack on women’s rights, I am thrown back to a particularly contentious argument I had multiple times in the past where I believed there was a conspiracy against women in this country, and at this point, you could add immigrants and BIPOC and racial rights and gender rights and geez a whole bunch of other things and you would still be right, that a huge chunk of things I care strongly about were and are under attack. And that’s not OK. And someone I cared a lot about at the time was telling me I was wrong. It was all in my head. Fuck that. I wasn’t wrong. I’m still not wrong. There are people who want to limit women and BIPOC and immigrants and anyone who doesn’t fit their idea of “THIS IS WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT”. And I wish those people would stop trying to make everyone like them. Because they aren’t all that.

Vote dammit. That mail-in ballot is coming in about 3 weeks and I’m ready. Gonna sit down right away and fill that out.

OK, weekend. I’m thinking about dinner and waking up a little bit more because it’s after 6 PM and getting shit done. Yup. Hopefully thread and fabric and pens and paper.

Turning Worry Off Is Hard…

All my bad dreams feature me sitting in a place with a bunch of people I don’t know and suddenly coming to the realization that I forgot my mask and I am way too close to other people with no masks on, and then I wonder how long it will take us to get back to normal after all this…I mean those of us who are actually trying to follow the guidelines and not get other people sick. The alarm woke me up this morning out of a bad dream where I was sitting in a restaurant, shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers, no masks, and then I realized…

Thank you, alarm, for getting me out of that situation.

Back to school today…speaking of, I keep reading about back-to-school nights that schools are doing online and I hope my principal doesn’t ever see those posts. I’m hoping he’s so buried in trying to plan schedules for our school that he never thinks about it. In 2 1/2 weeks, we go hybrid and online. I keep online kids, no worries. I might just have multiple grades or multiple schools and no prep with my co-teacher. I don’t even have access to other grade levels in the program we’re in…or do I? I don’t know. I don’t have teacher manuals. I wonder if they’ll even give us those. Probably not. OK, well there’s 2 1/2 weeks before I have to worry about that. Actually, he said Friday. So then I can worry about it. Turning worry off is hard for me.

Yesterday, I ended up working almost all day, minus the hour and a half dealing with an incredibly inefficient UPS customer service center. If you’re only open 4 hours a day, maybe don’t send half your staff to lunch during those hours? Or make sure they’re covered? Yeah. No.

I tried to clean up grades, and then sent messages to all the kids (and their parents…I love our new communication system) about the big missing assignment. I think 4 responded by actually turning stuff in and one responded with OK and turned nothing in. It’s like this in real life too. No worries. I confirmed what we’re teaching this week…one week at a time! A short week even.

I went to Pilates and my body was so happy to stretch and work out properly, instead of the half-assed matt version I’ve been doing. It’s better than nothing, but not the best. I’m hoping the gyms can manage to stay open. Keep classes small and masked and clean. Please.

And best of all, I managed to get to the next step in the quiltmaking…I cut stuff out for about 2 1/2 hours…

I didn’t think I was that close to the bottom of the bin, but apparently I was…because then I was done.

And it was only 10:30 at night. Well, hell…let’s sort!

I got that all done in less than an hour, so now I’m ready to iron this together.

Fun stuff. But also, I got assigned a person for the SJSA Remembrance project (I sent in my info back in June, so of course I didn’t get it during the summer, when I had plenty of free time)…it’s OK. It won’t take long and it’s for a good cause. Plus the clay thing…so that’s two things that need to be done by the end of the month. Stop taking on new stuff! Yeah. I told me.

I wish the phone camera could deal with reds and magentas better…the morning’s sky.

Fire is still out there, but more under control and didn’t grow yesterday. All good. And the winds haven’t shown up here yet. We have all day to wait those out. Hopefully they’ll be absent. And my students will show up instead. Meanwhile, they’re doing construction with saws next door. I swear. My brain. Fuckers.

Yeah. That. A friend posted this last night…

She had me at “Help a raccoon…”.

OK, I’ve got work to do before school. Which means standing up from this computer and going to the other one. Turning the fan on because it’s muggy. Trying to figure out the stuff I can’t remember that I didn’t do from last night. Hoping I know what I’m doing for today. And who knows what tonight, because after school, I have a union meeting. More Zoom. All the time.

The Bottom of the Bin

Well the fire is still out there, although currently heading away from us and toward some of our favorite hiking spots and all the people who live out there. Scary. It’s over 17,000 acres right now, and the biggest worry is the winds that are supposed to pick up today. Wish the firefighters good weather conditions and a fire that wants to go out.

This was Sunday’s picture…

I think that was the last time we saw blue skies…

Weird orange/yellow light since then. Can’t smell the fire any more, but that might just be my nose getting used to it.

I’ve been working all weekend, very little down time. A big assignment was due Friday, so I’m grading those ASAP. Online is actually maybe a little easier for that. Then yesterday, on Labor Day, I went into school to secure all the new curriculum stuff that showed up. I had to shift some stuff around, brought home some books that are actually mine, and managed to shove 9 bins of stuff I can’t use until there’s a vaccine into the existing space. I moved a lot of textbooks around. I found the teacher’s editions for the new curriculum and brought them home. It was 3 exhausting hours that I usually do at the end of the year…and I was pretty sad about it. The thought of not being able to come back into my own room (and yeah, I know it’s not really mine) until there’s a vaccine is really depressing.

The rest of the teachers are required to be there today for the same thing, but I can’t be there today…because people won’t wear masks. Thanks to all the social media posts I saw over the weekend of people partying it up with people they don’t live with…means I can’t go back to school. I hate when people are so selfish that their attitude is that we high-risk peeps should just stay home so they can do whatever they want. Sigh. I really hope none of them get sick, but it won’t surprise me when they do.

Anyway, so I’m home, but I have 3 school-related meetings today, plus I did a good 5 hours yesterday between being at school and grading shit.

Bet the opposition isn’t running for teachers. Or labor unions. I don’t understand how fellow educators support that crazy orange man.

Damn, I have 11 minutes to finish this.

So cutting on Sunday night…

And Monday night…

The bottom of the bin is getting closer, but we’re still a ways out from finishing. Every night, at least an hour.

Calli’s foot is healed, so we’re back to our daily 4 throws of the pine cone.

So she can fetch it from the second step. She’s getting so old. I’m sad.

Ah, cats. Luna in a box.

Apparently they are right now waiting at the school computer for me to start the day. I have a routine? So do the cats?

OK, it’s a day where I don’t have to work as much, technically, because there are no kids. I work differently, I guess. I have grading to do. I need to take a quilt to UPS. I have Pilates today, in person, small group, all masked. My back and knees and shoulders need it. Hopefully the air quality will get better soon so I can hike again. And they can open the trails back up…between the heat and the fire, they’ve closed some chunks out there. And hopefully I’ll be cutting stuff out again tonight. Maybe I’ll even see the bottom of the bin.

Not a Fan…

Well it hasn’t hit a high temperature yet for today, although yesterday broke records at 114 degrees F. Not a fan. I’m not a fan, I mean…I had fans running everywhere. Right now, my office is only 94 degrees…it was hotter than that yesterday. After my quilt guild Zoom meeting, I put my legs in the pool to cool off and read my book. The pool is in the sun for a goodly portion of the day, though, so I can’t even be out there until later in the afternoon. Plus I had a bunch of stuff to do yesterday…still do today. These 3-day weekends at the beginning and end of the school year are amusing…they just give us time to get caught up on work, I guess.

That was yesterday before the guild meeting.

I did grade stuff during the quilt guild meeting. It was mostly listening to bylaws and all that anyway, so I multi-tasked. Got me some of this…

I am taking a guess…what? And this is what happens when we Google shit, children.

Pretty sure I didn’t teach that. Maybe should use your notes y’all. Plus some of the kids put “Ireland” as their answer, and that’s related to that panel. So weird. I guess Wednesday will be a short discussion of “I don’t grade Google. I grade YOU.”

I still have a ton of grading to do…it’ll get done.

Yesterday afternoon, a fire started up east of us, about 20 miles east. It’s fire season…

It was scarier at night…

The smoke smell this morning was strong…

And as the day went on, the wind moved that smoke around and a few more distinct areas popped up. We’ve been watching this fire map…

The fire switched direction after I screenshot this…now it’s heading southeast, which is good for us, because we’re the black dot on the left. The fire would have to burn through a lot of residential area to get to us, though…in fact, I think all 5 of our senior parents would have to evacuate first. So we’re good. Just hot and smoky. It was over 4000 acres the last I saw…and that was this morning.

Hoping no one gets hurt and they save as many animals and buildings as they can.

What else? Because my brain is fuzz in this heat. My quilt I Can’t Be Your Superwoman won honorable mention at Form Not Function. Did I mention that? Can’t remember.

There are three of us in this show who live about 5 miles apart, and all three of us won awards…Marty’s piece got Best of Show and Linda’s got an Award of Excellence. So we met at Marty’s house and had a socially distanced toast of champagne, thanks to Marty.

It was nice to be in the same space as other hoo-manz. Besides the grocery store. Now back to making art.

I had no energy Friday night for artmaking, but I had two blocks for my quilt guild’s quilt for their annual show…so I did those. One was easy curves and one was not as easy…

I had to rip the curve on the right twice, but the one on the left was easy peasy. Kind of annoying.

So those are done and I delivered them yesterday. When the whole quilt exists, I’ll post a picture. It’s the Modern Quilt Guild, which I mostly don’t do. But they are accepting of me, and I knew I could sew these, so I did them.

Then Saturday morning, I cleaned this beauty up and labeled her and made hangers for her and packed her up and shipped her to my Patreon patron.

She turned out well, although she’s bigger than I had originally planned. Learning for next time, I guess.

And then last night, I finally had some energy for cutting things out. It’s too hot to think.

Still plenty left to do on that one. Maybe tonight? Hopefully. I’d like to be ironing her together at some point this week.

When I was out shipping the Patreon quilt and dropping off the quilt guild blocks, I got an email to come pick up some clay. WHAT? You said clay? I said clay.

My art group is building a labyrinth thing in 29 Palms in November. I need to build a thing for that. I explained how I was going to build it and how big it would be, and she handed me this. I’m excited…although I’m going to wait until it cools down a bit to start. I don’t want it to dry out too fast. Maybe next weekend. I have until October 1, so plenty of time. I’m really looking forward to doing this. I used to do clay in college and for a little while after…it’s been a long time. It’s a very soothing process.

And remember the bread that I completely fucked up on following directions?

It’s the best loaf I’ve made…

Just further proof that my mantra about reading the directions and then finding your own way (unless you’re a student in my class and your version of ‘finding your own way’ is to not do anything) is the way to go. With bread? The girlchild says I can’t totally ignore the science. I didn’t! I just fucked with it. And it worked. I can’t repeat it. That’s the funny part.

More cats in class…

Apparently trying to knock computers off a desk is a thing.

Nova was below the light table, but behind me…

And Kitten settled on the back of the couch.

When I’m the only one home, they all want to be with me.

They’re mostly sweet.

Yeah. Glad to have a job. Glad to have accommodations for my job. Glad to have a roof over my head. Glad to have the animals and people around me. Wish it were cooler and I slept more and felt more like I could make art right now. Instead, I will take the dog in the pool, breathe in more of the smoky air, and grade something. My office just hit 97 degrees with two fans on me. It’s only 108 outside. Oh good…could be worse. Stay safe, stay well…

What Has Been and What Can Be…

Writing on a Friday morning gives you closure to the week, a focus for the weekend, some reflection on what might work better next week, and a tiny prayer (not really, because I don’t do those…mantra maybe? Affirmation? I don’t like that word either…) to what has been and what can be. BEEE. I love bees.

SEE! That’s how my brain works. I’m thinking about work, what I’m teaching today, the bread that’s going in the oven this morning (that was a cluster, more below), and how to close out the week and survive the hellacious temperatures of the next 4 days, and my brain goes off on BEEES because I misspelled BE the first time. Creative brains are fun. I realize it makes me hard to talk to sometimes, but y’all do it too, more than you know.

Back to the bread, because the timer is going off soon to put it in. I fucked the bread up monstrously. School is part of the problem. I remembered to feed the starter at lunch (should’ve done it at prep), and then right after school, I did the float test and it failed, but two hours later, it passed, so STUPIDLY, I started the process. At like 6:30 PM. “Sure, it’ll be OK. There’s enough time for the sits and folds and stretches and more sits.” Yeah, there would have been if I’d stayed up until 2:30 AM. Not a thing while teaching. So I debated with the boychild and I put it in the fridge overnight after 4 stretch and folds. To its credit, it was doing really well. I took it out the next morning and tried to warm it up. Barely warm oven, etc. And then I forgot to set a timer, totally forgot about it for about 4 hours. Whoops. During prep, while discussing science with my coteacher, I pulled it out of the oven, shaped it, and tossed it in a banneton and back in the fridge. Totally forgot to let it rest 10 minutes in the banneton before putting it back in. Then realized that 16 hours later was 2:30 AM again (fuuucckkk), so this morning, after 20 hours in the fridge, it’s going in the oven as soon as its warm enough. Surprisingly, it doesn’t appear to be over- or underproofed. It also currently looks better than any loaf I’ve made. Which is great, because if it’s awesome, I will not be able to repeat whatever the fuck I did.

Just call me the lackadaisical cook. I am.

It’s supposed to be hot as hell the next few days…107-111 degrees F tomorrow and Sunday. No A/C. Gonna die. Today is only supposed to be 97 degrees, which is good, because I don’t think I could teach with 111-degree temperatures. I can’t think straight. There are people in my physical classroom during the day, so I don’t know what I would do. Can’t go to school and just sit there. Quietly sweat to death…although I rarely do anything quietly.

OK, bread is in the oven now. All we can do is wait. Mine have all been too dense, except for the first one, really. It was the best. When I knew the least. Interesting, that.

I’ve been chipping away every night at the pile of things to be cut out. It’s nice, because I just get to watch shows and chill out. This week, I seem to (so far, knock on wood) have solved the problem of my feet swelling by the end of the week…it might help that it’s cooler…it might help that I’m standing more during class, even though then they can see my ceiling and the underneath of my chin. Ah well. I am not vain, y’all. Ah, so funny…here I am cutting out a vein. Or an artery. OK, it’s probably an artery.

I’ve been doing a little each night…

It never looks like much.

Until it’s done.

But the pile is getting smaller.

Five hours and 20 minutes smaller. Lots more to go. It’s OK. I didn’t want to start ironing this quilt together this weekend. I need it to cool the fuck down before I do that.

Strangely, we have a 4-day weekend instead of a 3-day weekend. Some schools are going back on the 14th, but middle school is going back on the 28th. We got an extra day to put our classrooms back together. My online schedules will change to match in-person school, which is just weird, but whatever. Block schedules online? We’ll see. My lunches will be an hour later, so there will be some juggling of the foods for the blood sugar. I love changing my schedule again. Yesterday morning’s staff meeting was all about how we teachers have to meet the state requirements for accountability for engaging kids. Or something. We have to record attendance differently. It’s more complicated. We’ll get used to it, but honestly, it’s hard for me to see it on the computer screen, so it won’t get done during class any more.

Cats coming to class.

They sneak around.

I did fix the screen. All good. It’s their one-year birthday today.

They’re still hyper as shit sometimes.

OK, today isn’t too challenging for teaching, luckily. Walking kids through the shit they didn’t get done yesterday and introducing them to the new science program, which we hate. OK. We like bits and pieces of it. Mostly we hate it. The teachers’ editions were apparently on campus the whole time, just not in my room. Nice. My coteacher will track them down today. That will help. I will keep cutting stuff out this weekend, finish something for my quilt guild, ship some stuff to shows and peoples. And maybe read a little. Sweat a lot. It would be nice to have a long weekend with better weather, but whatever. Enjoy the sleep? The short week next week? Hope my principal doesn’t do a back-to-school night online? Yeah. That. Don’t do it. OK. Off to school. In the other room.

A Little of This…

My brain is like a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower, doing a little of this, a little of that, and probably getting nothing of substance done. Well. Eventually substance gets done; it just feels like I’m walking in circles and getting nowhere.

At least it’s cooler out right now, until the weekend, when Satan rains hellfire upon us (weather app says 108 degrees. Just shoot me now.). I actually wore short sleeves instead of a tank top yesterday to teach, because it wasn’t 12 trillion degrees out. I still needed a fan in 5th period and on, but I wore socks in 1st period, because my feet were…no really, they were…chilly. CHILLY. I’m betting winter is gonna be socks and a blanket for teaching. This house has no insulation, I think…I could fix that? But I wouldn’t know where to start. And it probably costs money. I have tree trimming coming up and girlchild needs her college paid off (well, my portion of it)…that’s where my money will be going.

Sunday I finally finished ironed the Wonder Under to fabric…

113 fabrics in 14 hours and 10 minutes. Not super fast.

Last night, I started cutting them out, but I didn’t get very far…

I think that’s 22 minutes of cutting.

It’s a pretty full box. It’ll be a while. I’m OK with that.

I also trimmed and cut binding and sleeves for Grow

I was too tired last night after all the school stuff and cooking dinner to put them on. Hopefully tonight? It wouldn’t take very long. Note to self…next year, plan to start this a month earlier. Things take longer than you think they will in August, because school sucks up so much time and energy. I do like this little quilt though. I’m keeping track of the time. Maybe I’ll do some more. We’ll see.

I needed to do my Patreon drawing for the month yesterday, because it was the last day of the month…

I drew it, scanned it, cleaned it up, and posted it. That took some time.

This cat is weird sometimes…

I guess it was still hot when this was going on…the old lady sleeps…

Luna is fascinated with the new computer setup in the living room…

Perhaps a little TOO fascinated…gotta hide cables from her…

She bites them. Which is silly. And this guy has been licking a spot on his leg…

He’s offended by the wrap, but whatever.

I’m tired. What’s new? I did stay up until midnight. I try to go to bed earlier and then I’m working on things and want to get just one more thing done and then it’s midnight and I have to try to fall asleep. Last night, I remembered exercise at 10:30. So I did it. Or maybe it was later? I don’t remember. It was late; that’s all I know. Tonight I’m going to try to walk earlier.

I have 11 phone calls to make this morning…the shift from all online to some sort of hybrid plus online is a major one. Here’s hoping we don’t have to do it over and over again all school year. I don’t even know what that looks like. When they met with me about my medical note to teach from home, they asked if I knew how to make phone calls, or something like that. I’m like, WHICH APP DO YOU WANT ME TO USE I HAVE ALL OF THEM. Last night, I sent a message to all the parents who hadn’t filled out the school choice survey (15 of them) through our new parent app, and 4 of them did it. Seven had already done it. That leaves 11. So on to the next app, Google Voice? Probably. I have email for some…I’ll try that too.

Oh yeah. Forgot. My eggs for dinner on Sunday night looked like boobs.

I’m not wrong.

OK, work, teach, manage, get up and move around as needed, or more! Then walk self and do some art and maybe sleep a little earlier. Binding on tonight and then some hand sewing and cutting stuff out. That part sounds relaxing…makes up for the 100 mph of the rest of the day.