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.

Headbanger…

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…

Can’t Fix That…

Got up, made lunch, went for blood draw, peed in a cup (when does science catch up with sci fi? They never had to pee in a cup on Star Trek), got food and caffeine, am at school…co-teacher hopefully on the way. Today we plan. Tomorrow we also plan.

I drew the last two nights…

Honestly, besides copyediting, that’s about all I’m doing.

Got up at 3:50 AM yesterday to drop the girlchild at the airport, then tried to sleep after that…

Mostly failed. Ordered gravel to be delivered today, then dodged raindrops for 4 miles of asphalt with Simba and the man.

Ducks!

Cats keep warm…the rest of us wear sweaters. I’ve seen the predicted gas bill for this month, so no, the heat is not going on during the day.

Lots of reading of scientific terms and the like…should be done later this week. Then maybe I can Quilt? Certainly I haven’t figured it out yet. And I know a jury duty thing is coming in the mail today…I saw it in the daily email. Not thrilled. Whatever. Can’t fix that shit.

Ditching School

I took a whopping two days off school since COVID started. Getting a sub for what I teach was difficult…sub plans for what I teach felt like writing a novel, then rewriting it because it was too long. It’s a tough call: how much do I need a break vs how much work is it to TAKE the break? A common teacher issue made worse by the sub shortage and kids who didn’t do normal school last year so sometimes learning is a challenge. But I had an art retreat coming up that I went to last year (without taking any time off) and I was determined to take a day. ONE day.

Whatever happened at school is fine. I got one kid email about kids deleting stuff…and they did. They were being dumbasses about it on Thursday with me. I’ll just torture them with it on Monday. It’ll be fine. Next week is short anyway for Veterans Day, and I can get them through what I need to. Zen and chill.

So where am I? Twentynine Palms, right outside of Joshua Tree National Park. We drove a back way to get up here, and it was delightful…no traffic, nice views. Then we came in the southern entrance of Joshua Tree and enjoyed the drive through, going on a couple of short hikes (mid to high 80s here still…)

There were too many people in some places, but the longer hike lost them all…

And it was outside, not teaching, didn’t have to be anywhere. Although I checked email when I had service.

Sometimes people are very hardass about disconnecting and not looking at their phones on vacation, and I just do what makes me feel comfortable. Sometimes my anxiety means I need to check email. Or school stuff. So I do it. One of my students had emailed me about the chaos in her class. No worries, kid, I got this.

We checked into our AirBnb, the same one we stayed in last year, ate dinner outside at a local place, met Kyle and tried his special sauce, shook hands with him (weird feeling that), then I headed over to my friend’s place for a fireside conversation about the future of our art group, which has grown in size, but not volunteers…unfortunately.

Dinner drawing. This morning, we’re up early so the man can hike and I can draw in a space with other artists for a while. Not sure what the rest of the day will bring, but I’m ok with that. I have two books on my iPad, three different sketchbooks, caffeine, and goldfish snacks. What more do I really need? Plus got news that one of my pieces will be at some art show in Torrance next October, which is a new venue for me…always cool.

All in all, sometimes ditching school is what teachers need to do. My district spouts self care constantly and then hands us more work to do and won’t give us a cost-of-living raise. So more hours for less pay? Eh. You don’t get buy-in that way. Anyway…drawing soon, if my brain lets me.

Can’t Find It

That is my motto for yesterday. Can’t find anything. I shoved it in cupboards last summer and it was a mess. Usually I toss stuff as I’m cleaning up for the year; it takes a few weeks. It’s sort of careful. Not last summer. I had one day; I didn’t know when I’d be back. So now I pay the price.

My coteacher helped with desks and doc cam setup, although I still need a dongle dammit. The rest is just overwhelming. Yesterday was mostly meetings, lots of wondering about why people weren’t masked, questioning some people’s understanding of herd immunity (it doesn’t matter if the teachers have it… there are a ton of kids and they aren’t vaccinated.). It scares me to be back, even though I am vaccinated.

So I stitched during the speechifying and finished the February blocks of Homegrown.

I made some mistakes and I’m ok with that.

I dyed fabric on Wednesday.

It looks good out of the washer, but I think I messed up my dryer. Which is problematic. I’m hoping the others who live here can fix it while I’m gone or the start of school will be even more complicated by repairs.

I also have no lights in the studio right now, which is what I’m typing this one-fingered on the iPad. Hopefully that will get handled this afternoon. I am tired of the daily trips to Home Depot.

Despite a lack of light, I rigged a few lights to finish ironing the yellows on Wednesday night. I still need to sort the fabrics and take my normal stash for the quilt photo.

I don’t know how many fabrics yet, but I do know it took a whopping 23 hours plus to pick them. Last night, after my stitching meeting, I started cutting them out…

It should take less than 23 hours. But I don’t have any daytime left for this. We are back on the work-sucks-all-the-hours schedule. I will get done though. I still have a deadline. Then the next quilt will use one of the crazy backgrounds I just dyed 😜. Ok. Gotta go to work now. More later.

Too Many Hours

Couple things about driving a million miles (not really) north to see the man:

1. Dear California: get the fuck over. If you’re not passing someone, get over. Seriously.

2. Google Maps needs a setting for mapping routes that takes into account the fact that I am a woman driving by myself in the middle of the night and I don’t want to be on an isolated two-lane road in the middle of nowhere unless there’s a damn good reason for it. Saving 5 minutes of drive time is not a good enough reason.

I’m in Tehachapi, California, hanging out with the hiking man for a few days. Yesterday’s drive was exhausting but totally worth it. I delivered new shoes and inserts (700 miles on the current pair), a smaller pair of pants, and a smaller hip belt for the backpack. Plus we get to hang out for a couple of days.

I did finish the outline quilting Wednesday night, so hopefully this quilt will get done in time for its deadline.

I have to figure out how to use at least one of those dyed blocks I did a few weeks back. They are part of the story. Maybe Monday? Hopefully.

I also stitched most of one of my Patreon rewards…

Hair is not a natural color. She looks angry. Not sure what’s up with that. Probably all the cat hair on the fabric. I’d be pissed. (No worries. I dehair and wash everything before it leaves the house.

Luna is talking to the birds.

Ok, well I’m hoping to do some drawing this weekend. Maybe draw the next quilt or two. Spend time making art this summer. Make up for the last year of too many hours spent on my day job. That would be good.