I’ve Gotta Get Out of Here*

June 18, 2018

Seems like we can’t go two months without our current government giving us yet another reason to march so they actually see and hear our disapproval. I’m signed up for next Saturday’s Families Belong Together March here in San Diego. I don’t get it. I’ve been watching a discussion between high school friends on Facebook, with both Democrats and Republicans speaking out against separating kids from their families, with a few (straight up must be paranoid crazy) holdouts claiming this is what will keep them safe. Oh dear. Safe from? Shootings by white American men? Because trust me, I’m way more paranoid about white American men who own guns and can’t process their feelings than I am about refugee and immigrant families. The crazy that comes out of our government…these are human rights issues now, and we usually prefer to be on the side of protecting those.

At least we used to be. I don’t think we know what we are any more.

I need to go find Sessions’ phone number and make a call.

So it’s vacation. I see my teacher friends posting about turning alarm clocks off. I have built-in alarm clocks. They are small and furry and fucking intolerant of sleeping in. I think I got 6 hours…just like normal! Part of that was not feeling well last night and then not being able to fall asleep. Yes, I’m still grinding my teeth. I have too much on the to-do list already. July might actually be easier with no ability to plan anything. Maybe. Who knows. Right now, I’m still sleep-deprived, feel like I’m coming down with a cold, still have the leftover shingles vaccine rash, and don’t feel like thinking too hard today.

You know, there’s maybe 11 or 12 Sundays a year that I don’t have to worry about planning for the week, that I don’t have to write the parent email, that I don’t have to write warmups for the week and post them on Google Classroom. I regularly work 50-60 hours a week during the school year, sometimes more than that. I might get home at 4 (it’s actually pretty rare that it happens), but then I work at home…just an hour or two a night, that’s all…grading stuff or prepping for a future lesson. I don’t take sick days…it’s too hard to prep for them. I don’t schedule doctors’ appointments for a school day…I can’t just leave early without prepping for it. It’s more work than it’s worth. If I start to feel sick during the day, I work through it and come home and collapse. I don’t get to go out for lunch during the school year. If I forget food, I have a stash of popcorn and peanuts to get me through. Summer is our break from all that.

I worked Saturday and Sunday on stuff for next year, cleaning up calendars and folders for the school year that starts in August. Wednesday, I’ll be meeting to start putting the beginning of the school year together…or maybe the end, since we wanted to backwards plan the whole year.

My brain is not on vacation yet. It’s looking out at the pool, realizing not only do I need to trim and sweep around it, but I need to empty the filter and move all the composting piles. And I need to ship a box to Massachusetts and another to Seattle. Plus two appointments today. Plus figure out what to do about the car window that stopped working, go to school and rescue the food and milk in the fridge, come back and do more yardwork or housework or any of the other 17 things on the list. Find the deed to the house. Pack up a quilt. See that’s why the teeth are still grinding.

Saturday night movie watching…sleepy puppy, Where’s Waldo socks, and the last of those 96 damn Palestrina knot stems…

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Yeah. I finished them. Finally.

Calli sleeps so cute.

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I started trimming finally…

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I didn’t get much done on Saturday night…maybe an hour or so…

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I found this applique again. It’s ancient. It deserves to be finished. I pinned some stuff to it. Haven’t sewn anything on this in a million years. I used to think I could hand applique art quilts.

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Takes way too long.

Interesting formation…

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We owed the dogs a hike. It didn’t happen on Saturday because I was still too exhausted. I love these little tiny flowers…

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Didn’t see any coyotes. No people either, which was fine. It was nice and cool and windy…

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Very anti-summer.

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I also love this bush, even though it’s invasive and nonnative.

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Sunday night…I started the berry embellishment. There are six colors of berries and each one gets its own embellishment. I started with the red ones. 96 divided by 6 is 16. So I will do 16 like this. Approximately.

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I started with the most complicated one. I’m also trying to do a little bit on the wool sewing for Folk Tails each night. Last night, I finished a tree and pinned a bunch more stuff on the September blocks…not that I photographed that. I figure if I just do one or two things a night, it will get done faster. I also borrowed some heavier sewing threads from my mom to test out…I have one Spargo quilt that is finished and has been sandwiched for quilting for like two years. I could probably quilt it fairly quickly, if I had the right thread. So I’m going to try these out and see if they give me the look I want. Then order the correct colors (or find them locally…they might carry them at those shops with all the machines that I never visit) and finish the damn thing. What a concept! I have another couple of quilts that are sandwiched that deserve finishing.

Then I cut more stuff out, for over two hours this time. Could not get the brain to shut up and chill out.

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So it’s a bigger pile that’s done…but still a bunch left to do. Realistically probably won’t get back to trimming until after dinner tonight. I will try to do some, but there’s so much else to do. It’s cooler today than it’s supposed to be later this week, so I’d be smart to do a chunk of yardwork today.

OK. Well. So I need breakfast and a shower. And to get the stuff packed up to ship. Boychild is still in Seattle…he was going to leave today, but a request from his cousin to hang out until she gets back from the East Coast persuaded him to stay put for another week. So I have another week before I need to clear his bed. No problem. Part of that project includes finding 6 parts of a quilt that need to ship to Washington state. So I don’t have to do that until later this week. Some part of me just wants to go sit on a beach somewhere so I don’t have to look around here and see the to-do list in my face. Sigh. Vacation.

Probably I’ve used this post title before…

*Big Data, Dangerous

Throw Down Your Umbilical Noose*

June 16, 2018

School’s officially out and I’m a little dazed and confused. The vaccine is also giving me really bad headaches, and the one this morning is not small or kind. It’s the Hulk with Thor’s hammer. It’s not helping.

It always takes me a while to sort of realize that it’s vacation and start relaxing. Looking at next week, there’s not a lot of relaxation that will be going on, but I will try. It will be easier when the vaccine stops fucking with me. The rash was bigger yesterday, so I took the prescribed Benadryl and basically passed out about 45 minutes later. Lost a couple hours there. I took another one at bedtime. This morning, the rash is still there, but splotchy and not as warm and tingly as before. I guess that’s a good thing, but I can’t really stay asleep all day. I feel drugged. Ugh. Maybe sleeping all day would be a good thing.

I was at school longer than I thought I’d be yesterday, and then I left food and milk in the fridge (ah, dumbassery), so I’ll need to go back on Monday and persuade someone to let me into the prep room that we just locked down for the summer so no innocent child can go in there and swig hydrochloric acid. Because I don’t want to come back to gross in the fridge.

When I came back home, even though I left her a treat ball (see in the top right?), Calli stress-ate the Tivo manual. Oh well…

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She wasn’t in trouble for long…she’s a big dummy sometimes.

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Then I blinked and looked over there and this one was snoring away. He’s the loudest of the bunch sometimes.

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These hummingbird feathers were stuck to one of the feeders we have outside. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hummingbird feather.

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You can’t tell here, but that green is iridescent, just like the birds.

Last night, I finally finished ironing all of the fabrics for the newest quilt…here’s all 120 of them…finally in color order, the way I like them.

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It’s a full box. Lots of cutting in my future.

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And at some point, my brain will catch up and respond to school being out.

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*Nirvana, Heart-Shaped Box

Start Me Off and Watch Me Go*

June 15, 2018

Hey. So it’s not REALLY summer vacation for a teacher until you check out of your classroom, which means you turned in or checked out all your technology, your keys, and your bloodborne-pathogen and first-aid kits, you’ve put your classroom in the order they want it to be in (depends on which administrator checks you out as to how much they micromanage the situation…that alone is a test of how many issues you might have with admin), you’ve counted all the books you don’t use any more because the standards changed and they’re totally useless but you still have to have one for every kid when the state comes calling to check you aren’t gypping parents out of a curriculum that is now at least 10 years old and completely out of date but your district has not approved moving forward with a current and useful adoption because they want us all to write our own curriculum, which some of us already have but we haven’t been paid for it assholes so there. Sigh. I don’t even know if that’s a sentence. Oh wait. It’s not. Oh well. I can’t remember…something about the official paper they have to sign that allows you to leave.

First we have a team meeting. I’m going to go buy a brain at the grocery store on the way to school so I have one for the meeting. Then I’m going to let it talk, because it’s just better that way.

Yesterday, we managed to get a lot done, despite the kids in our rooms. Then we had a lunch/drink thing at a local restaurant. Then I came home and read for a while and started messing with drawings. Because there’s a bunch of things that need to be done over the summer. And with my to-do list growing daily (add fix leaky shower valves and driver car window to the list of things I either need to do myself or find a professional to do), I need to get started on the art stuff. I’m known for being kinda spacey and unfocused the first week (sometimes two) after school ends for the summer…so don’t expect much. But I pulled the list of deadlines for the next 6 months, shows I want to enter, and started to prioritize. I also pulled the pile of already enlarged drawings off the piano (of course) and went through them. There were a bunch of smaller ones I really want to do, but do they meet any of those show deadlines? Of course not. Well…two of them might. This is a huge drawing that was supposed to be bigger…I thought about doing it as a triptych…but now I’m thinking I need to go the other direction. I like to do a really large quilt each summer. I use the big shows to give me an excuse to do it usually. I didn’t last summer, I don’t think…just did some other stuff. So this would be kind of an epic quilt. Because big…and…well…I’m thinking about what it says and why.

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So I’m letting it percolate…it’s currently 67″ wide and about 28″ high. I would add to the height.

I just saw that my weird succulent is blooming again. It’s such a funky way to grow…but beautiful.

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So my fever and fatigue from the shingles vaccine finally disappeared. I should tell you this is the new one, Shingrix. So you’re supposed to have a second shot 2-6 months later, and we were going to do it before school started again, but I emailed her last night because I got a rash from it Wednesday night…it’s warm and uncomfortable and my arm is painful like it’s badly bruised. Fun stuff.

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So now we’re pushing the second shot out to 6 months and if it gets worse, I’m going to urgent care. So let’s hope it doesn’t. She suggested Benadryl, but that will make me fall asleep, so if I’m going to do that, it’s going to have to be later.

So after all that and actually eating dinner with vegetables! Because if there’s veggies, I need to cook them…I went in and ironed for 2 hours. Evidence that the fever and fatigue are gone: I can stand for 2 hours. Here’s the two hearts that are in the quilt…

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I really try to place the pieces to use the smallest amount of fabric.

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So in the middle of ironing, I hear Kitten scuffling in the towels down by the window (they cover the backs of my fabric boxes so there’s no light damage)…I don’t know if you can see what she’s excited about…

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Look closely…I’ve seen one of these before. I don’t know if they come this color, because most of the ones I see are much darker…but I’ve seen a light-colored one like this before.

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Albino gecko? Or just pale? Here’s no flash…he really was mostly white and pale beige though…

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I rescued one from the pool a few years back.

Anyway. I ironed for two hours…here’s the pile to be cut out…

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It’s a big pile.

Here’s what’s left…not much, but that was at midnight, and I still had to get up this morning. There’s a bird in there and a bunch of gingko leaves and some lungs. I think that’s it though…although I don’t know what that pile on the top left is…oh there’s a teacup too.

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There’s gotta be a teacup. What am I drinking right now? Yeah. Here’s hoping I don’t have to get up really early during the summer (Jury Duty, I’m talking to you…because having to be downtown, parked, and in the courtroom dressed appropriately [there’s rules] by some early morning time is just cruel)…deep breaths.

And here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…lots! And totally out of color order at the moment.

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I’m hoping to come home midday and finish the ironing…then deal with some of the stuff on the to-do list and start cutting pieces out. Ironing the whole thing together soon…next week? In between doctors and vet and everything else that ended up shoved into next week. Sigh. Still got at least three more things to shove somewhere.

Off to school though for the last time for hopefully 7 weeks or more…I need to come back in to put everything back the way we need it before school starts, but I don’t know when we’ll be allowed back in. Sigh. Not thinking about that right now.

*Caesars, Jerk It Out

Pleasantly Caving In*

June 14, 2018

I woke up without a fever. That’s good. Knock on wood. I thought I was better yesterday afternoon, after walking over 5 miles in a bowling alley with my co-teachers, trying to keep kids from getting into trouble. I even went and bought dog food, but by the time I got home, that was it…I collapsed on the couch and slept for an hour. Didn’t even bring the dog food up from the car until later. This thing is kicking my butt. Sure they want an “increased immune response”. OK you got that. But I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be THIS increased.

Today is the last day of school. Well, for the kids. We have to show up tomorrow…we have a meeting with our team and then we have to clean up our classrooms for checkout. For science, we have to clean up enough that the summer school teachers can’t destroy our stuff, which means finding cabinet space for everything and locking it all up, and in one case, using bike locks because the school locks don’t work. Plus changing the locks on the prep room so they can’t go in there. Sigh. This stuff is so annoying.

Then I had to shove every possible appointment into next week…every day is full of waiting rooms and paying money out. No paycheck in July, so I have to be careful. Normally I would spread it out more, but that’s not an option. The following week is 3 days of school stuff…it is stuff I chose to do, but a huge part of why I’m choosing it is that fact that I can’t get a raise for the next four years otherwise, due to how our district deals with years from out of district. My salary gets frozen essentially. So cost of living goes up every year no matter what, yeah? Sigh. So my choices are looking into National Board Certification and getting them to pay for it (easier than you might think, considering their thoughts on the frozen salary) or getting a PhD (not happening).

I’m hoping to get some rest and relaxation at some point. But my co-teacher and I will need some time to plan the beginning of the school year. We’ve done none of it. Just a lack of time and pure exhaustion, I think, have gotten in the way. I can’t even think straight about school right now. The team meeting tomorrow? I really wanted it to be closer to the beginning of school, when I might have brain power. But no. This job just sucks it out of you. We usually work 6 days a week, too many 10- and 12-hour days. We’re constantly mentally engaged with what next, reflection on the last thing, worry about this kid or that, figuring out how to do something, or just the nuts and bolts of grading things and presenting things. It’s one thing to come home every night and not have to work at all, versus having to work at home most days. It’s been so long since I just sat and drew.

So after an hour of complete physical collapse last night, I read a lot. I laid on the couch. I read and then I ate a bit and then I read some more. Pretty much all on the couch. I did some stitching for a little while…on the couch…

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I have those three sets of stems to do and then one whole side left.

While I was reading, Simba decided I needed him lying on me to feel better. It worries the animals when I sleep during the day. They aren’t sure why, but they want to be involved.

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I had these two earlier, but mostly because they both wanted pets…and the little one isn’t sure why the big one is getting petted when he’s not.

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I can’t keep all of you happy. Only one hand is free for pets.

Anyway. I would love to come home tonight, still fever-free, feeling like I can get shit done. That would be lovely. This crap where I collapse and sleep for hours and feel like heated-up and boiling crap when I’m not sleeping? Yeah that can be done please. This is day 3 of vaccine reaction…I’m done now. Just move on. Go bug some other innocent bystander. I guess I have to hope that the second shot doesn’t do as much damage. Let’s hope I can finish putting everything away today and not kill my homeroom kids (the worst of them will not be here…but there are a couple more who are potentially an issue). Let’s hope the fever is gone for real. I’d be OK if the arm pain stopped too…

Because I have art to do.

*Queens of the Stone Age, No One Knows

Wish Me Luck

June 13, 2018

Hey. So there are two days of school left. One of them is a half day. Today is the field trip to the bowling alley. Yesterday, I managed to teach all day, although I napped on my (very hard) desk during 7th period. Then I came directly home (canceled everything) and went to bed. For three hours. Got up, groggy as shit. I’d eaten three crackers for lunch, because the smell of the chicken made me want to vomit. That guy who lives here fed me some chicken and rice. I ate it. I laid around for a bit and then ironed for less than an hour, and went back to bed. I’ve been running between a fever and chills for the last 24 hours plus. I honestly don’t know if this is the same thing I was fighting off last week or a reaction to the shingles vaccine. I just know I feel like crap. Warmed-over crap. I’m a little better this morning, although the thought of walking the bowling alley for three hours sounds awful. Hopefully once I get some food in me, it won’t sound as bad. I know my fever was breaking at 2 AM, and after that, I was freezing. I have a lunch packed away for today, just in case, although I left the other one at school. Damn. Temperature is currently 101.5. Huh. I don’t feel feverish at the moment. Amusing.

I’m seriously starting to hate vaccines. I can’t take the tetanus one at all, I’m so sensitive to it. I haven’t taken it since 2009? They’re going to run a titer on me next year to see if my sensitivity has dropped at all…I’m totally protected…my body would kill a Clostridium tetani bacterium if it came within a 50-yard radius. And this shingles one requires a second shot in August. Like first we’re gonna get you really sick. And then we’re gonna do it again. So you won’t get shingles. OK, shingles is particularly bad, it’s true, but maybe they should work on their side effects. “Moderate” pain in the arm? Um. OK. I have a really high tolerance for pain guys. Not moderate.

Anyway. This is day 2. By day 3, I should be feeling better. Says the website.

Next week is all the appointments I normally spread out over the whole summer. Seriously. All of them. Not appreciating that, but maybe July will be easy peasy. Who knows?

I am enjoying coming home each day and not having to work (not so much the have-to-sleep-because-I’m-dying part). And the ironing will eventually get done. Slowly. It’s OK. No rush (except I just got another summer deadline…oh my oh dear). Deep breaths. Gonna make sense of it all sometime soon. Not today. I don’t have the brain power for it today. The guy who lives with me (and my counselor) says I take on too much stuff, but when you’re offered a show in a nice place, why wouldn’t you go for it? I did blow one entry off last week…just couldn’t deal…but usually I try to see what I can get into, rather than just saying no. I guess that’s my fault, sure.

So. Ironing. See? I’m getting through the piles. I did an anarchy tattoo; a stomach, liver, and intestines; a wave thing on her arm, and that might be it. I’m not fast at the moment. Or efficient. I was standing. That was an achievement.

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A pile that needs cutting…hopefully I’ll get to that starting this weekend.

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More piles of fabric I haven’t organized. It seemed really hard to do last night. Basically I needed to sit down and then lie down.

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So I did that instead of organizing.

OK. So today will be a day. And I’ll survive it. And I may just come home and sleep again. It’s book club night, but I don’t feel up to it at the moment. Probably not happening. I seriously just want to go back to bed right now. But that’s not happening either. Wish me luck.

Ironing Bones

June 12, 2018

Note to self: don’t get vaccines the last week of school. Especially vaccines that cause pain and fatigue and fever. Because no one needs that. I’m sitting here wondering if I will be able to stand all day (probably not). Revising my lesson because I can’t talk that much…feel like I’m going to pass out. Hoping the intake of caffeine and some food will help…can’t lift my left arm either. Ah…bad judgement. I always remember afterwards, as I’m tossing and turning and can’t sleep.

Grades are done. One parent sent a last email yesterday afternoon with a photo of a paper she found in the kid’s backpack. It wouldn’t make a difference. I’m totally sitting here, dreaming of the nap I might have after school…after chiropractor and getting dog food because we’re almost out. I just want to go back to bed. Knock myself out so I can’t hear or feel anything.

I obviously felt better yesterday. I had to move a bunch of stuff…good thing I already started, because we found out summer school will be in the science classrooms. Again.

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Because of the locks being the same on the room and the prep room, we can’t isolate the dangerous stuff enough…I persuaded them to block the locks (and/or replace them) on the prep room so we can hide that stuff in there. Last time, they had the door propped open between the two rooms, even though we told them not to. I realize the classroom doesn’t belong to me, but telling me I have to take out anything that will be an issue is unrealistic.

So I was really impressed when I got to the doctor and my blood pressure was still delightfully low. As always. Except on some occasions.

Baby bunny in the front yard…Kitten was highly offended.

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I wasn’t. I went all baby talk on it and told it how adorbs it was.

I did eventually iron, but only for about an hour. I wasn’t feeling well by then. I mean even less well than I’d already been.

Damn you, WordPress…I’m still using two devices to access stuff. What the fuck is the problem?

Anyway, I did some bones…this is one of the three colors of bones. I had only used a tiny bit of this fabric (I think it’s new), as you can see in the top left corner.

I still have quite a few to iron…hopefully at some point I’ll feel up to it. Ugh.

I’m looking forward to just sitting and cutting these out, and then feeling well enough and rested enough to iron the whole thing together. Here’s the fabrics so far…a bit of a mess still…

OK, off to school. I found a video I can use for part of the period if I feel like passing out. It’s not like today would be a sick day…I would still need to set up for a sub and then actually GET a sub. I’m going to get some food in me and do what I need to do…which might mean putting my head down in the back of the room. Seriously, I like never do that though.

Adult Some Shit

June 11, 2018

It’s the last week of school. I mostly finished grades on Saturday, after about 6 1/2 hours of plodding through the last bits of crazy leftover blah while on cold meds. My homeroom has one last assignment to get through in the first 30 minutes of class, before they have to hand over their Chromebooks. As part of today, I have to get their assignments in the gradebook by 2 (my prep is before that, hallelujah), entertain two periods without actually teaching them anything, be trained on how to take care of our health-challenged students (again), sit through a staff meeting (although it should be short), and go to the doctor to hear that stress and lack of sleep (oh sweet dear I wish I could sleep normally) are something I should stress and lose sleep over. Plus how she wants to change my meds to something that either dehydrates me or makes me pee all the time, neither of which work real well with my existence. The other thing she wanted last year was for me to get a shot once a month, another difficult task with my schedule the way it has been. I’m not sure why I thought life without kids would be slower or easier.

I’m doing it wrong. This week is not the week to analyze one’s life, though. This week is the one you survive and you come home and there’s nothing to grade so you can finish a book (hey that trick with putting the iPad in airplane mode worked! I finished the book yesterday even though it expired on Saturday night.) or finally feel like ironing stuff, except you’re sick and you’re tired and keep getting chills or hot flashes or some variety of both. So there’s that. I’ve scheduled about a million appointments for next week, avoiding Wednesday, in case curriculum committee meets then (which seems really unlikely at the moment), but none of them are early in the morning, because I really really need sleep. I went to bed early last night, but my brain wasn’t having it…between it and the dog barking at invisible invaders, there was no hope of a decent night’s snooze.

I did finish up a lot of things yesterday that needed to be done, though…that is always a positive feeling. Moved some stuff, tossed some out, packed some up…the stuff I have a hard time doing during the school year. There’s never enough time.

We watched a long movie over two evenings, and I stitched Palestrina-knot stems…

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There are going to be 96 of them. I am more than halfway done with them. They’re not hard…I just have to think every time of what direction I’m stitching, so I can flip the quilt the right way. Simba is very helpful during this process.

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I have two full sides done, one long, one short. I don’t think this thing is a square…

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Then each ball needs stitching. We’re gonna be staring at this for a while. It would be nice to have it done…and in the to-be-quilted pile along with the last one. Maybe I should do some of that too. I remember what stopped me before was needing a thread that was thicker for the wool, so it wouldn’t sink down into it. I wanted the thread to show. I guess I could ask someone who machine-quilts wool.

I did finally make it into the studio for a short bout of ironing things. I’ve been avoiding it because I haven’t felt well enough to stand for long periods of time.

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Stupid cold and chills and ugh. I ironed some thread, a pair of scissors, and a camera. Not a lot really. There’s still a huge pile of Wonder Under lying around. Maybe I’ll feel better tonight. If not, then I will just get a little done each night. It’s no rush at the moment.

In January, I did some embroidery on two blocks for this group…finally saw one of them show up in a quilt…bottom row, second from the left. I thought about outlining a gun on the right, but didn’t want to mess with the young artist’s idea.

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I’m considering embroidering for them again. Not until my head is straight post-school. Usually takes about two weeks…about the amount of time I have until jury duty starts. Ugh. Can’t stitch at jury duty, unfortunately. No scissors, no needles.

Girlchild is working hard with no camera (water issues). Boychild sends pictures when he feels like it…which is when he sees cool things…like bison…

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And these guys! I’ve never (that I remember) seen these in the wild…

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But there they are, just by the side of the road.

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So cool. I remember spending an entire 2-mile hike staring up into the hills as I walked, hoping I would see one. Makes me want to ditch the last 4 days of school and get in the car and just drive. OK, there’s a lot of things that make me want to ditch the last 4 days of school, honestly. But no, I am an adult and I adult things. I’m gonna go adult some shit right now.