Yeah it’s been a while, although I think I blogged Monday. In retrospect, I should’ve found the energy after school to go to urgent care then. Ah well. It was strep…even better than strep! Scarlet fever! Hey the only adults who get that are those who have or work with kids. Lucky me. Also this shit knocked me out. No food for days, everything still tastes bad or weird, even tea, and I love tea. Still have a sore throat but I can swallow now…nice change. Could do without the rash…kept me up all night. Also the meds make me see weird things when my eyes are closed but not asleep? Like strange upside down 3D black and white landscapes but with these flashes of really bright colors at random intervals. I bathed yesterday but haven’t had the energy to shower. Gonna do that today. Although I might do an oatmeal bath too…before bed. Damn prickly annoying rash. So I’ve spent about 6 days fighting this, not eating, writing sub plans with what little brain power I’ve had, mostly prone. Even now, I’m writing this lying on the couch, resting up for the shower. First one since Monday. Should be exciting.

Me in bed. Cats. Luna left, Kitten right. Getting out to pee was hard.

Luckily the sore throat was so bad, I wasn’t drinking anything hardly at all, so who needs to pee? Honestly not the best choice.

I managed cutting pieces out on Monday night for about an hour.

Then nothing until last night, a little over an hour…

So the top left box is everything that needs to be cut out, the top right is what little I’ve done, and the bottom is the trash. Lots to do. And grades are due Tuesday. I’ve done none of that. I don’t have a lesson plan for 8th grade past Monday. MONDAY. Yeah. I’m fucked. But I will figure it out. Those thoughts were what forced me to eat and drink yesterday. You know what the only things that taste normal are? Gatorade and Froot Loops. Thanks by the way to the men in my life who take me to Urgent Care, take me to the pharmacy, and do not question the texted grocery list. Although the fridge needs cleaning out, the compost needs to go out, and I’m doing laundry.

This guy, Simba, has also been a champ, although I’m sure he thinks I’m really boring. But also nice for cuddles.

Ok. So with improved health on the way and hopefully less prickly skin soon, I’m going to continue the rest of March. I was out of it when it started and I don’t know what actual day it is now. It’s a long month but the end of it brings Spring Break and I think I’m gonna need it. Probably sooner than it comes. Gonna go take that shower now. And then rest again.

120 Pounds of Baking Soda…

Erg. Huh. Really. No. I really can’t. I’m in a week that should have been easier than last week but is proving not to be. Maybe it’s all the chemistry labs we’re doing (I have 120 pounds of baking soda in my car right now). Maybe it’s the roller coaster stuff on top of the chemistry, or trying to plan a light unit when I literally have no time in the day to find the brainpower to do so. It’s hard to say. I do know, and can say, that I am back in that overwhelmed place. I get out of it for a day or two, feel like I have a handle on things, and then it all blows up.

Solution? Exercise regularly. Remember to eat and take meds. Sleep. I slept all the way through last night, which is how I know I’m exhausted already even though it’s only Wednesday. And last, but certainly not least, make the art. That’s how I close the day. Hopefully for an hour…last night, it was 48 minutes. I started late. I was making seating charts for today’s 8th-grade seat switches, plus trying to figure out the revise of the wave unit. The other teacher is a week ahead of me, so he’s telling me what to change on the fly and I’m doing it. Best I can. I think I still need to punch holes in the table of contents for the new unit when I get to school, and put papers out. Didn’t have time yesterday. They moved my physical therapy appointment so that fucked all the timing up. Plus I had to go buy materials for 7th-grade demos because Amazon fucked that delivery up. At some point, I made it home, and the Man was cooking dinner, singing, and dancing (because he’d had time to relax, have a beer, watch some videos) and I was so exhausted.

Anyway. I started ironing flesh on Monday night…

I wanted bright. And bright it is. Overly pink. Usually I try to pull all the flesh pieces in one go and iron them all at once, but I have flesh in boxes 300-500 and 700-1300. So I pulled a goodly chunk (up to the neck) and ironed those, and then last night, did the arms and head. Lots of her body has metal instead of flesh, so it didn’t take as long as it normally would with a figure that large.

That was Monday’s pile…and then this is Tuesday’s pile…

Definitely bigger, even though I only added those 7 flesh fabrics. I still need to do all the stuff that’s on and around the flesh…some of which is here…

Those are hair, teeth, arteries, metal bits, embedded phones, the little creatures she’s holding, pubic hair, etc. I didn’t pull them all out of the bins because there wasn’t room. Besides, in the 1300 box, there were only 2 pieces that were flesh. The rest is all electronic or whatever. There’s also two extra arms that I need to deal with…I’m not sure how. I think they should be different colors. At first, I thought they would be flesh-colored, just a different shade of it to stand out, and I may still do that. Like where would you get spare arms in the future? Dead bodies? Or would we synthesize them (probably 3D print them, yeah?), and if so, wouldn’t we make them different colors? That would be much more fun. So that’s rolling around in my brain for tonight or the next night.

This is a fun quilt to design and make. It’s hard, because I have some dark angry stuff I want to deal with too…cop killings and beatings and political bullshit and trans rights because I just finished a book and I’m just irritable about all of that. But I know it’s also OK to make a quilt that isn’t about all that. I also know that some people never get to stop thinking and worrying about that shit and that sucks. It’s Black History Month, if you haven’t been paying attention. The Man and I finished watching Kindred (in small chunks…it’s hard to watch), and now I’m reading it, and wondering how this amazing author (Octavia Butler) grew up in my childhood neighborhood and I never knew about her until I was an adult. That all the books they gave us to read were all male white authors, our mostly female white teachers handing those to us. I had more variety in college, because I took classes about more diverse literature, feminist and queer and people of color were writing too, no duh, why didn’t we see any of it when we were younger? When it would have made a bigger difference? So many of those kids I went to school with didn’t read a thing after they left high school. The 1619 Project is next. Take advantage of the offerings this month–book lists and movies and documentaries–and open up your mind. Add to the to-read and to-watch lists. Make time for that.

OK. Now I need to go to a meeting I forgot about (didn’t click the YES button on the calendar invite…I think whatever device I was on was having issues), get my classroom ready for the day, clear one lab and prep another, plus 17 thousand other things I haven’t remembered yet (hopefully they’re all written down somewhere), plus deal with an email that just popped up confirming my eye appointment (what? I don’t have an eye appointment), then union meeting after school where I have to sit too close to people (I have issues with that; like being on the edges), and then cook dinner. Guess my state of mind after all that!. Yeah. I suspect I’ll be curled up mentally into a tiny ball. And then making art.

Some Definition of Done

Oh lordy. ‘Tis early. I know not for some, but I am truly not a morning person, and it is still dark. I lost my temporary crown earlier this week, and although I’d love to ignore it until my appointment for the permanent crown, that area is sensitive to cold liquids…or even regular tap-water temperature…enough to give me a rancid ache from jaw to eyeball every time I drink something cooler than hot tea. So I made the only appointment I could, at freakin’ 7 AM. So I can guarantee getting to school on time, and also guarantee a difficult mood for me all day. Not sure I can drink enough tea to make up for that.

My brain was already fuzzy on how to do the things. I unplugged my computer at work last night, ready to put it in the bag so I could grade more roller coasters. Brought all the roller coaster drawings home. Left the computer at school. Damn. OK. Guess I’ll be grading those this weekend instead. Ah well.

I’m now sitting in the parking lot at the dentist because they aren’t open yet. It’s a delightful 37 degrees out there. Someday I’ll remember to put a real jacket on for school. This winter has been much colder than usual.

Anyway, I’ve been cutting stuff out every night, in between three Zooms on Wednesday and three on Thursday. Everything hit this week apparently.

Never looks like much. At least you can see the piles getting bigger.

Or can you…

After last night, I had passed the halfway mark. This is just short of three yards. Mostly I got that far because I forgot the school computer or I would’ve done some grading. If I don’t grade constantly, I get really far behind. This week has sucked for feeling caught up.

I did finish the first tattoo block, so that was cool.

Found the next drawing…need to trace it onto freezer paper and pick some fabrics.

Got 18 roller coasters in progress in class…mostly chaos.

Another week and they’ll be done. For some definition of done. Well the dentist was fast and hopefully, I’ll wake up in time to teach. And remember my computer this weekend. Can’t say I’m feeling up to teaching at the moment. Drink the tea. Make more.

Fake Words…

My lord how is it only Wednesday. Also, brain, let me sleep. If I wake up to pee, it is not because I want to do a deep dive on how to plan the next unit. I really just wanted to pee and be asleep, honestly, as soon as I get back into bed, maybe sooner. Sleepwalking to pee seems OK to me, as long as I’m in the right place during and after.

Today is egg drop for three classes, something tsunami-related for two classes (and trying to get my last period of the day on track is hell on wheels…11 were absent Monday, 5 on Friday, and if you didn’t do Friday’s stuff, you can’t do Monday’s stuff, and if you didn’t do Monday’s stuff, you couldn’t do yesterday’s stuff, blah blah blah that class makes me want to quit 3 out of 5 days a week). Yeah. That. Friday was actually delightful because without those kids, the class was normal. NORMAL. Yesterday it was like wild animals had infiltrated the school.

Sigh. Three more days. I will still have to work a ton over break to try to get ahead in January (and February? Maybe?), but I won’t have to deal with the kids or the daily bullshit. Speaking of shit, I almost said it in class yesterday (it happens; even teachers slip), but corrected to ‘shinole’…pronounced ‘shi-know-lay’. IDK where this comes from, but it worked. The two I was working with (just edited myself out of a wide variety of nouns there) started yelling “She SWORE!” and I’m like, “I said ‘shinole’. What swear word is that?” Apparently I should be using the word ‘shinola’, which does mean shit. Imma stick with the fake word.

I came home early and went to the gym. I needed to. It’s kind of crazy how many Tuesdays I come home and need to go to the gym. I’m glad to have that. Then I cooked dinner and did some more applique for this secret project I’m doing, and then ironed the rest of the pieces down on the current quilt.

Here’s what I did Monday night…

Almost done…closeup of the Earth head…

Lots of details that need a stitching line. There’s some chaos here.

Then last night, the vomit…

Glad I picked black instead of green…

I ironed each of the little things together, then put the vomit down and put them all on top. At that point, it was almost 10:30, my arbitrary stop point, but I was fairly sure it would iron down quickly, so I just did it.

It needs a steam ironing, but otherwise, I’m ready for stitchdown. Also I’m tired. It only took a few more minutes to get it done though. And now I’m braindead. Maybe if I get more tea in me. Probably not though. We’ll see.

I forgot I did this Sunday night…although I messed up the fence.

It’ll be fine. I’m just needleweaving wider posts than were called for. It’s not the end of the world.

One of my students made this cat sculpture for me…

With tiny mousies…

She’s very creative. Sells them to other students. Also gave me two stickers yesterday…science-y ones. I appreciate her.

OK. Some crazy crap…shinole…going on today. I have a union meeting after school and then a book club zoom after that. Not sure when I will have time to do anything. But hopefully more ironing tonight. I need to put a label on another quilt, so I’m going to do that first, because it has to be delivered to a show this week. Thank goodness for friends who pick up art for me, because I couldn’t figure out when I was picking up from one show, and someone agreed to do it for me. Good stuff.

Until Tomorrow…

Good morning. Or as I am feeling it, Morning. So incredibly never ever ready to go back after time off from school. Plus the dog barking at a skunk last night while we were trying to sleep did not help. Luckily no spray…the skunk was outside and the dog inside, but the obvious intrusion into our personal area seemed to drive the little guy nuts. Eventually we got him settled and then tried to sleep again. Ugh.

In good school news, I finished grading the last of the stuff (except for homework, which will be quick), but lots of one grade level didn’t actually do the assignment in the first place, so there’s some issue with that. I don’t have time in the schedule to make them do it in class, so I made a video for those who want to improve. We’ll see if that helps. This year is certainly causing me to jiggle my expectations and revisit how I teach, just because they have COVID brain and can’t function in a classroom. Or maybe it’s just too many devices. Hard to say. Certainly it’s one of the hardest years I’ve taught…and I thought the Zoom year was gonna be that. Ha! The universe chuckles.

I was reading my old blogposts yesterday…sometimes I do that to remind myself that this is all cyclical. And sure enough, Thanksgiving week was a lot of food crazy, not enough exercise, plus a lot of grading, but didn’t finish it all, made some art, but it’s never enough…and it was Santa Ana windy hot! Just like last week. Some things never change. I don’t know if that’s a relief or annoying. Hopefully next year, I will look back at this year and think, oh hallelujah, it’s not that bad. That’s my hope anyway.

So besides grading, we did hike on Saturday…we went out to Barnett Ranch in Ramona…

This is not a hard hike or a long one, but we had the pup with us, so I was aiming for new and different but not too hard.

It’s a nice enough hike. Could have been longer…

Looking at our schedules, I think that’s it until Winter Break for me anyway. We’ll see. Got too much shit going on.

I also ironed both days, but not much…like an hour each day. Back to that sucky schedule…

Although I was more efficient last night…got all the way through the 300s (almost), so I’m about 2/3 done…

Just have the head and all its stuff and then the vomit. Like you do. I was hoping to be done with this part before school started, but no. Maybe I can get the rest done tonight, but it’ll probably take two nights. We’ll see.

I did get these out for the teachers’ manual for our curriculum.

I hate how I have to comb through tiny little print and multiple sources to get what I need to actually TEACH this thing. So frustrating. Plus have to have the headspace and time to figure it out. Hence when it takes an hour to plan one 51-minute class…that’s too much. There’s something wrong with that.

So yeah. Did not plan all three weeks out. Got 6 1/2 days done. Maybe. Not a good sign. Well I don’t have to grade anything but homework for a few days, so maybe I can plan a bit more. Ugh. Really just want to be able to come home and NOT do any of it.

Because that.

OK. It’ll be fine today…starting two new engineering projects on the same day…one I’ve taught before and one I’ve never taught before. Plus 2 meetings. Or 1. Depends. Ironing tonight. After cooking. Hmmm. Might be a tad on the exhausted side by then. So yeah, probably not done until tomorrow.


Oh hey. I think I need to lie down while I’m writing this. Let me pop the pictures in and then head for the couch with the iPad.

Yeah I am definitely better…and then I’m not. Yesterday afternoon, I felt almost normal, same when I woke up this morning. Now I’m fighting (or succumbing to) a rancid headache. So back to the couch. Back to lying down. Back to not reading because the words get all tumbly. Hmmm.

Friday was ok. Not great. But I could cut stuff out and binge watch the telly by the evening.

I did quite well for an invalid.

Saturday was all cutting. Watched Shining Vale and The Bear. Much better than the Man’s binge-watching choices.

And holey moley, although Sunday morning required a nap while thinking oh so hard about the grocery list, I almost felt normal in the afternoon…completed tasks AND stood to iron for an hour or so. Such joy.

No such joy today. Head is wobbly, feel blah, need to eat, want to read or work or something, but head. Is. Ache. Also I may have over-ordered tests from the government. I started testing for school yesterday. Still positive. Also probably still incapable of actually functioning well enough to go back.

Meanwhile I did manage watering the plants yesterday…swallowtail caterpillars are back.

Last night, this baby gecko was on the ceiling in the studio. I lost sight of it. So it’s still in there somewhere.

I read some before the headache started up again. This amused me.

Ok that’s all I got. Maybe should eat something besides applesauce. Hoping for a few hours of functional tonight? I’m supposed to cook, so that would be helpful. The Man is back at work, so that’s good. I will be too…eventually. Until then…naps and forgetfulness.

Zero Stars…

I’m alive, mostly. Short post, just checking in. I tested positive for COVID Wednesday after school. Because I had a positive exposure, I was masked at school. I made it through one day with kids! Then sub plans. Many thanks to my co-teacher for covering.

That’s the team after school, missing some people.

I wrote sub plans Wednesday night and basically crashed all day, with a not-so-quick trip to get paxlovid. Managed to rise from the dead for an hour to Zoom with friends and cut some stuff out…

Then back to bed. Someone said I would be getting so much art done, but no…I’m out of it. I have to test negative or hit 10 days to go back to school. But I’m improving. Got up this morning to deal with school stuff and the dog, then needed a 3-hour nap to recover. Up now to eat, write sub plans, then will go back to bed.

Zero stars. Do not recommend. Probably a good time to skip school though…nothing is crucial.

Loading and Filling…

I spent a chunk of time on Etsy yesterday trying to get 8 new pieces on there. They are all pre-COVID pieces; they just needed to be mounted in a way that made them able to hang. You can find these on Etsy.

My friend Susan talked to me and crafted (she was supposed to be cleaning…but I think we’re always supposed to be cleaning when we craft unfortunately). Plus Kitten was trying to help me do the computer stuff…not.

I’ve been drawing every night…after doing other stuff during the day. Drawing brain seems to prefer nighttime.

I knew there would be swallowing heads in here…kind of a symbol for anxiety or being swallowed by society or government or a political party that doesn’t like women except when they do like them (pussies and pregnancy yes, autonomy and rights no)

I didn’t realize until the middle of the night while trying to sleep that the heads would be filled with words. And then I tried drawing that bottom left bit about 4 times and finally cut that section out and taped a new piece in. I’ll try the redraw tonight…and then it might be done.

Then I can start numbering.

We’re still quilting this beast. And the machine is still possessed. Plus we need to replace some O rings.

More signs of demonic possession.

Kitten is wherever I am.

Simba misses the boychild but appreciates his elephant.

I started this at home and have been trying to write while being at mom’s with the quilting machine. We got to the bottom and have to go back to the top to fill in some wide apart areas we had in the beginning. Not today. Gotta go proofread some stuff, ship one quilt, and deliver another. All good.

Ode to a Shower…

Showers are wonderful y’all. I appreciate them even when they aren’t great. The water is warm, even hot? Check. It’s above me and there’s enough water to do the things? Check. BOOM. I’m in. Yes, I have been showerless for a few days. Bathroomless even, although there was one down the hill. I had a porta-potty nearby. The flies buzzing in close proximity to the gentler parts were a worry, but survivable.

We left Wednesday and went to see Alice Beasley’s 30-year retrospective show at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica. No, LA traffic has not changed. It was worth it though to see more of her work in person.

This is Isle of Dreams Revisited.

And the incredibly relevant From Russia with Love…

Definitely worth a drive up. No matter how much the Man complained about LA traffic. If you just accept that there will be traffic, it’s a lot easier to take.

From there, we headed to Ojai and the showerless campground. It was OK…nothing to write home about, but serviceable for our needs. A nice tree, some great views, and these weird tanks.

The view…in one direction…

And the other direction…

The Man has a thing for campfires, but occasionally we’ve had starting issues. Solution? Buy firestarters…

Totally worth it for my sanity. Oh yes, I draw while he fights the wood and the fire.

I started with the mountain ridge line and added the figure.

On Thursday, we picked what we thought would be a reasonable hike. You know how some 5-mile hikes feel longer than others?

Yeah, this was one of those. It was fine. I think we were both tired and hadn’t been exercising much (for me, in the last week…too much school crap and then going to Boston).

Depending on which app you were talking to, it was 5.5 or 5.6 miles with 1400+ feet of gain.

There’s some gain right there. It wasn’t horrible. It just took us a lot longer than we thought it would.

Lots of spring flowers and butterflies…

I came around the corner into a flock of these little blue butterflies.

You’ve heard of slowing down, slow stitching, slow cooking?

We slow hiked.

It’s not a race. Came back, hung out, had a drink to celebrate the end of the hike, stitched a bit, read a lot, took a nap…

Another fire…

Another drawing…shit, that’s what I could be doing while I wait for all these pictures to load…draw!

This morning, we slept in, then fed ourselves and packed up in just 90 minutes. Drove out of Ojai to Paso Robles, where we have an actual shower and stove and bed. OK we had all those things in the campsite except for the shower.

Tonight is art, tomorrow is hiking and some entertainment. Then book it out of here on Easter for Pinnacles National Park (has showers!). I know lots of people wanna know why I don’t hike the PCT with the Man. There are quite a few reasons (my job is one), but also…showers. My goodness, it has taken two hours with the slow internet here to get this written. Time for dinner and then art! Not sure when I’ll be able to write again. We’ll see. Rest assured that I will be reading, stitching, hiking, napping, and photographing…and trying to avoid thinking about school.

Refreshing Brain and Body…

Currently I’m lounging on the girlchild’s couch, listening to her work on some Zoom-like app. I only hear her side, so it’s a partial story. I’m not really fully awake. Although I’ve slept a decent number of hours in the last few days, I’m in Boston, so it’s the wrong time zone, and I think my body knows that.

I made it to the last day of the Gaia exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum; it was awesome to see the show in person after hearing many of the artists talk about their work on Zoom in the early days of the show. I think this started traveling right before COVID hit. Like many shows, it’s been in some places and canceled in others, but it was an honor to be included. I love this picture of me with Luana Rubin, who curated the show.

I flew on a redeye flight because we had a field trip at school on Friday, so I couldn’t take the day off. I dozed on the plane, arriving at 5 AM in Boston. I slept for about 4 hours in the morning and then we drove out to Lowell for Luana’s talk. She asked me to speak about my piece, which is just proof that I can do anything…talk about a piece with no prep and no sleep! Ah well.

I loved seeing this Cas Holmes piece in person…it’s so beautiful.

I was amazingly bad at taking photos there…probably due to massive lack of sleep. There was a bird exhibit too…this piece was by Linda Heatherley…

I really like the separation of spaces and graphic quality of this piece.

After the show, I got more caffeine (necessary) and briefly checked out this cool artsy space in Lowell…

Then back to the room for a nap before dinner. Rally! It’s nice to be here just with the girlchild. When she is in San Diego, there are many pulls on both our time, so I appreciate being the only one with her, even if it’s just a short time.

Sunday, she coached a soccer game and I watched. I spent 13 or so years sitting on soccer fields watching her play, either grading or stitching while I sat.

It’s a little different watching her coach, but not a lot. It was cold out there, but I did stitch…

Last night, we got takeout in my room and watched a movie, and I stitched some more…

These two blocks from March Homegrown (Sue Spargo) are done. I only finished the bottom one here. Not sure why I dragged a finished one across the country.

I also drew on Saturday.

Lots of zendoodly filling-in of space. Brainless.

I leave for the airport in about 90 minutes…gonna read and stitch until then. I get home tonight and tomorrow is shopping and packing for 8 or 9 days of mostly camping and hiking. Expect more nature photos, drawing, and stitching. Looking forward to it, but also, I’m tired. Hope I catch up on sleep at some point. It is Spring Break…not thinking about school is mostly happening. I did briefly grade warmups and I am set up to watch student videos if I feel like it. I might now ever feel like it. And that’s ok. I have 38 days of school left when break is over and there’s a bunch of stressful things coming up too. I need to refresh brain and body for all of that. So. Back to stitching for a while! See you back on the West Coast…