This Had a Title, but WP Ate It

It’s the last day of September. I’m OK with that. I like the sound of September, with the hint of Fall, but I hate the Southern California teacher-time reality. It’s usually hot and dry and exhausting and overwhelming. October brings a little chill in the air (well, not any time in the next two weeks, can you say 80s across the board) and those beautiful blue skies with fluffy white clouds scuttling across them. Plus the kids settling down and the admin stopping the crazy to-do list that they put on top of everything else and getting back into a routine. Hopefully on all that. First we will have the panic of the first progress report with standards-based grades, in which everyone fails until they figure out how to prove they are proficient. PROGRESS people. No one should be perfect to start. Then you’re doing it wrong.

Well. OK. I had one kid who rocked the first assignment. Well played, sir, well played. The rest of the panic is palpable, except for those who haven’t yet figured out that they never turned in the assignment…which might be better than those who mucked it up so badly that I had to put my head down and/or walk away from the computer.

I still have one class of 26 essays left to grade. That makes me nervous, because everything is due tomorrow and I’m not done. But I finished the other class at 10:30 last night, mostly because I was texting another teacher at the same time, trying to help her with the grade program, which upgraded and fucked its own self up, but also because we’re shifting from everything being an academic grade into effort being something totally different than proving you know the stuff you’re supposed to know. It’s really more you can prove you understand how things work when it comes to science. It’s not facts…it’s concepts. And those are hard. Hard is good, though. Hard is learning. Hard is thinking. Hard is working. They will get better at this. Someone should tell their parents that (oh wait, we did).

With that, know I spent a good 6 hours grading on Saturday, with a quick trip in between two of the classes before I tore my hair out. I needed to go to the post office, and I stopped (as a reward, yes, you’re right) at a fabric store I don’t usually go to. Not because there’s anything wrong with it…the one I like has 7000 more bolts of fabric or so, which gives me a lot more choices. But I stopped here because it was on the way home and I needed a fabric fix. And they were having some sort of event where I got to spin the wheel (woooo!) and I won something! OK, everyone won something…that’s how the wheel was set up, but I won something pretty good…

Oh yeah. $25 off next time. Wait. That means I have to go back. OK. Well. There we are. Next time I have to grade one of these essay assignments, eh?

We had no real plans for the night except getting the fuck out of the house and hopefully moving bodies to get my brain out of the shithole it was living in…there’s a reason I never became an English teacher even though that’s what one of my degrees is in. So we parked on one side of Balboa Park and walked all the way across it to a restaurant on the other side…

It was good. I needed the exercise. I needed the fresh air. I needed to get away from weird explanations for the states of matter.

We came back and finally watched Capt. Marvel, after sitting on the same DVD from Netflix for the entire summer. Plus SOMEONE watched it without me, despite our agreement. I had plenty of stuff to cut out. Even though I’m not done ironing, I can still start cutting.

The cat snored through the whole thing. He kept trying to get onto my lap, but eventually gave it up. So that’s two hours’ worth of cutting tiny flesh pieces out.

All the stuff that’s done is on the left, stuff to BE done on the right, and the trashy bits on top. Just in case.

I’ll throw them out eventually. When the quilt is done.

Sunday dawned with a giant crazy to-do list in my face, which I dealt with after going to the gym. A necessary thing. I finally got to the grading in late afternoon…yeah. I know. It was a day. I did prep all lunches, grocery shop for the week, go to my parents for dinner…all the things.

I could have kept reading essays at 10:30. Wait. No I couldn’t. I was holding my head together by then. I finished that period, got up, and came in here to iron. At least for a while. I needed to.

Here’s the dogs at my parents. I was trying to draw the September drawing for my Patreon. I did draw something, but I don’t like it.

So I’m going to try again tonight after grades are done. Assuming grades are ever done. It might be tomorrow. Technically that’s late, but I sent a message explaining. Hopefully that’s OK. This is my reality. I didn’t procrastinate…stuff just got moved and this is when the assignment that needed grading got turned in. I’m trying. Ugh. It hurts. Grading, not drawing. I just couldn’t get my head out of grading enough to draw well.

It’s OK. There’s always more paper for this. I guess even if there wasn’t paper, I’d still be making marks on something.

So I ironed for about an hour and a half…adding to the pile of fabrics used and pieces to cut out.

I ironed the heart and the eyeballs and the hair and the veins and arteries. And a thorny pubic area. Nice. Oh yeah, and some redwood trees. Technically not found down here, but oh well. I like them. They fit. I still have quite a few pieces to go, but I have no idea how many, which is kind of a metaphor for my life right now. And that’s fine. Now I have to go to school and try to explain to a bunch of kids why their grades aren’t what they want right now, and then tell them I’m not fixing it before progress reports, but that it’s totally fixable, and then writing myself and my co-teacher a note about having the first standards-based assignment WELL before the progress report due date so we don’t ever have this happen again thank you piloting curriculum and general bad timing. Yeah.

Take Advantage

I came to this realization last night…from early May until the end of July, I was fighting massive horrible hot flashes. I’ve had them pretty consistently since I was 35. They’re genetic. They’re not going away. But these were significantly worse: hotter, more frequent, hell on my head. During that time, my blood sugar was also crazy. It was too high for no understandable reason. I tried everything. I was just constantly frustrated by trying to control the apparently uncontrollable.

Then the hot flashes mostly stopped. I could sleep again. My head wasn’t constantly on fire. And guess what else now seems to be under control? Yup. Blood sugar. And so many articles and medical people are like, if YOU do more, you can control it. My ass I can. I can’t control the hormonal fluctuations that caused that endocrinological natural disaster. I’m becoming more and more irritated with how the medical profession doesn’t support women my age.

So the positive is control and less fire. Here’s Calli demolishing a stick after a cooling dip in the pool yesterday…a much better choice than trying to walk her when the temps are in the high 90s…

I actually took a nap last night when I got home. I stayed late at work to make sure I was mostly prepped for Monday. We have a lab. I still need to blow up 10 balloons and fill 10 cups of water, but everything else is ready. This is a habit I should cultivate.

So a short nap, then stitching after dinner…another easy sample.

My couch companion turned 4 yesterday. He still has a baby face.

I finally found the mental and physical energy to draw…a great blue heron surveying the ocean…then a mule deer further out, by a stream.

I just need to fill the legs…I’m thinking desert. Then number it and start tracing. Bones? Yeah we need some leg bones…appropriate for the desert bits. School will need some attention this weekend also. Plus some down time with art stuff. And it’ll be cooler than it has been. That’s a good thing…because next week is gonna be hard enough. I’m writing this at the gym, by the way. Another good thing. If the animals are going to wake you up early, might as well take advantage of it.

The 7,000 Things…

I created a post this morning and filled it with pictures, because I think I thought I would sit there at lunch or in a quiet moment at school, taking a break from the prep crazy, and I would write some short pithy (doesn’t pithy mean short? well, sort of) amazing blurbs to go along with the pictures. Oh yeah. Ha ha. Laugh all you like. It’s 5 PM and I’m writing it now. Welcome to my world.

I was up early, taking the girlchild to the airport, sending her back to Boston, which is her home, as is San Diego. We will miss her…especially this guy…

I had to be at school early anyway. My brain wasn’t working well though.

I forgot about this. One of the professional learning things last Friday was a few sessions on self-care. One of them was adult coloring. Well I didn’t think much of the coloring pages they gave us, so I drew on top of the one I grabbed.

Hey, one thing I KNOW is self care, dammit.

I finally finished the edges on this. Now it can go.

Ah yes. Coming home to sleep. I’m surprised there’s no puppy there.

This is how far I got on this on Friday…

Pretty good for one day. Of course, I was paying attention to all the talking. In fact, I pay BETTER attention when I’m drawing or stitching. So there.

Yesterday’s hawk in the tree outside my office window.

He was eating something. Ripping it to shreds. Hopefully it wasn’t the bunny who hangs out by the pool. That thing is large.

So my goal yesterday was to finish the stitch down on the quilt. I had started on Saturday. Or Friday. I don’t remember. I really only did the border parts.

My Patreon people will get to see me stitching on this week’s video. I’m not sure how exciting that is, because I didn’t sew through my finger. I have before, but not yesterday. So no blood.

This is what Kitten does while I sew.

It’s noisy. I stopped at the halfway mark and did some dinner prep for the parentals. Looks good, eh?

I always forget to take family photos. So there’s three generations of women and a male puppy. Who is turning 4 and is not a puppy at all.

I should remember to take more of those. That’s me, my daughter, and my mom, by the way. In case you don’t know.

Blurriness means movement. Boychild is trying to dehair the parental dog. Katie’s not having it.

She sheds these giant fluff balls. It’s disturbing. For all of us.

There’s dad in the background with an incredibly spoiled dog.

Oh yeah. He’ll miss her.

When we got back, I started on the second half. I was hoping to finish, and in fact, I sped through it…

Stitch down never takes very long, but in this case, it was only 3 1/2 hours. Nice.

The back is always interesting. (Oh yeah…I have some of the embroideries that I didn’t send to the guy who’s selling the patterns, and I think I’m going to try to either hoop them or finish them in some other way, if hooping doesn’t make sense. This is one of them. Although this one would hoop easily. I’ll put them on Etsy when I’m done. Although they were not fast, so they also aren’t cheap.)

See, you can see the other side in simplified format.

Crazy really. And then I cover it up.

This is officially the last big quilt that will have this fabric on the back of it. I had yardage that I found in a box in the girlchild’s room, and I think this is the third quilt that has it on the back.

It’s some batik from ages ago. Yeah, I had time to piece a backing and pinbaste it. Impressive.

AND I went to bed early. Because early wakeup call.

Well then school. I need another three days to be ready for kids. But they arrive on Wednesday. So that’s not happening. Could I have kids in my room tomorrow? No. Wednesday? It’ll be fine. I’m panicking slightly. I have 120 yards of blue tape. My co-teacher might have just bought 78,000 marshmallows. Neither of us should be allowed out into the world. It’ll be FINE. I’ve been saying it all summer. Tonight I’ll start quilting, but first I need to do like 7,000 things and then cook dinner. Plus breakfasts. And lunches. But I’ll start with the 7,000 things. Apparently someone thinks I should PAY for the car I bought. And then people keep emailing me. I don’t know why.

In a Car

I’m not driving and blogging…yet. I’m buried! I spent an hour talking to Southern California SAQA members, which was cool. Need to grow the group, get more like-minded folks.

Then I copyedited (and cried, because there’s a trauma story running through the science, and it gets to me).

Yesterday, I was doing school stuff all day. It’s feeling really overwhelming. I stitched through the Welcome Meeting…

And through our meeting…

Because it kept part of my brain on task at least…

And then I stitched through the season finale of The Handmaid’s Tale, again while crying. A plane full of kids is an awesome sight.

Then I got the new quilt ironed down to the background, which had to be pieced.

And started stitching down.

Which needs to be done tomorrow for me to stay on schedule. No worries! Ok gotta get out of the car.

Today 22 years Ago I Was Not at the Gym

Back to the gym. Trying to remember this habit before school fucks it all up. That’s true of eating right, getting enough sleep, and having personal time.

I was not here 22 years ago. I was at the hospital. The girlchild is 22 today! Wowza. She will be here tomorrow, but is enjoying a music and arts festival in San Francisco today.

I have so many awkward pix I could post of her…mostly screenshots from her Insta stories. Um yeah. I think I’ll wait until tomorrow and post something she won’t hate. Or maybe a birth picture! Oh yeah. Not even digital. So old school. Looking forward to having her home. Bought a bunch of kale and avocados.

Yesterday was school all day, even after I made it home. So much to do. But there’s a rough idea of what needs to happen.

We have a white board. This is good.

Going back is hard though. Never ready. I can get into my room next week, which is good because nothing is done.

I stitched a little at my stitching meeting…this number 9 and the last one I’m designing.

She doesn’t have a name yet.

And then I wanted to be done cutting stuff out.

That was the goal anyway, and I could have stayed up and finished, but I’m trying to train myself for back to school, plus I had a ton of stuff to get done today, so I needed to be up relatively early (not early really…but I’m not a fan of mornings).

So I only cut for a little over 2 hours…up to almost 11 hours total.

There’s so little left, but I really wanted to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I have a video call today where I can finish and then sort them hopefully. I still need to copyedit, edit a video, and clean a lot of things. No biggie.

I Manage

I skipped the last two days of writing. I usually skip Sunday. Monday I skipped because the day got away from me. I spent most of the weekend, like many, watching and not watching the news, repeat on Sunday. This is not ok. Fear and anger should not be weaponized like this. I suspect most of those stopping here are fully aware of that. Solutions! No more wimpy words. I actually had a guy call himself a good guy with a gun to my face Saturday night. Nah.

So many people hurt by these men’s actions.

I’m writing this on the elliptical. I was smart and preloaded the pictures at home while eating breakfast. I can’t go to the gym without eating anymore.

I finished ironing Sunday. I guess that’s the good news. It’s 149 fabrics and 15 hours of ironing.

That’s more time than this many pieces would normally take. I’m not sure why. There’s everything that needs to be cut out.

I have one more embroidery design to do, and I knew I had some sitting time coming up, so I sat down Sunday night and drew it. I still need to pick fabric and colors…maybe today.

And then I started cutting pieces out.

Baby lizard in my office. I had already saved one in the living room. This one got away.

Hopefully it will stay hidden…because both cats like it in here. Kitten was somersaulting for boychild. She likes pets.

So a good chunk of yesterday was trading my aging Subie for a newer one. My mechanic was growing more and more anxious for my well-being I think, between oil issues and a creaky suspension. She’s old and did her duty.

Bye. Yeah I got another one, but went for a basic model, low mileage though. She’ll help us camp and carry dogs just fine.

I finished embroidering this last night. Thanks to Linda for the linen itself.

It’s hard to spend time with his words when they are so hypocritical and antithetical to what I believe America stands for. I’ll finish the edges and send it off to the Tiny Pricks Project with the rest of them from my art group.

There’s a few things missing from the new car: the license plate needs two more screws and I just happened to find some on my kitchen counter.

Like you do. It may be a chaotic mess, but it often yields good things. I still need a cargo cover and a rubber mat for the back.

I cut some more stuff out last night. I’m guessing it’ll be 10 hours total. I’m 3 1/2 hours in so far.

That’s a lot of hours to go. That whole huge pile on the bottom. Plus the rest of the copyediting project showed up. And I spent two or three hours yesterday trying to get copies done for the start of school. My days are full. What’s new? I manage.

Oh yeah, everyone should read some Toni Morrison today. Her writing is wondrous. Her death is a great loss. “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” Beloved

I Write Everywhere

I wonder how hard this is, trying to write on the weight machines at the gym? The answer? I can do it, but I kinda have to separate my brain so that one part can count while the rest is trying to write. Odds of my getting dementia due to not using my brain? Very low. Odds of my going insane due to over-multitasking? Very high. Odds of my counting to 10 wrong? Inevitable. Oh well.

I’m juggling things. Badly. Or well. Depends on what angle you’re at.

An amazing thing happened yesterday though: I finally cleared the kitchen table of the multiple landslides of accumulated crap from 7 months of receipts, books, paper, and oh-so-many pens and paper clips. As we go more online, I might have to make art out of my multitudes of paper clips.

I spent three hours in the afternoon creating things in a coffee shop. Two knitters showed up later…

Here’s how far I got yesterday…almost done!

I also copyedited a bit…more of that today. More cleaning today too.

And then I ironed. I did get almost three hours in, like I wanted, but I stayed up way too late. Damn dogs and cats won’t sleep in.

Picking lots of browns for trees and dirt and sand…

Then figuring out what goes where…4 levels of hills, 4 levels of trees on hills, followed by 4 levels of gray concrete and yellow road markings. And then Fire!

That’s about 250 pieces ironed. Since I misnumbered so heinously, I think I have 700 to go. Ok. A goal.

My days are reading about trauma-informed schools, making art about good and evil, house dust and detritus, and the orange baby’s stupid words.

I’m on the elliptical now. Way easier to write here…