Allow Grace for All

I’ve never been quite so obsessed with whether I colored in the circle carefully enough and dark enough.

Yup. She’s done. Just need to deliver her. And wait. And maybe the phone calls and crap shoved in my mailbox will stop soon. I’m wearing my I Voted sticker today on Zoom. We got this email about political shirts at school (or online)…and sometimes I wonder where they draw the line. With the school shootings, I remember my whole team wearing shirts with orange ribbons on them, which apparently is political. I certainly didn’t think of it as being political at the time. I still don’t think it’s OK to have guns as available as they are. I still have my shirt. I wonder if my Recycle shirts are political? Or Climate Change? I have all these science shirts I used to wear to school on Mondays. I don’t know where the line is. I know that there are some parents complaining about BLM shirts…but really, where is the line? What is political and what is just LIFE? Sigh. It’s not political to vote. It’s not political to care about an issue. Does my I Voted sticker send a political message? We’ll see. I’m still wearing it.

I finished the quilt yesterday. I have a hole in my finger to prove it. I was going to go find the sticky pad things I put on my fingers last night when I was finishing, but I was in a group Zoom in my office and someone was out there yelling at the debate, so I stayed here and poked a bigger hole in my finger. It’ll heal. I haven’t calculated hours yet. I haven’t ironed it. I need to take it to the photographer Monday, so I’ll iron and dehair and maybe put a label on it and then contact the new owner. Which is cool. And then I’ll start drawing the next one, hopefully this weekend. I say that, but we leave for camping after school…so we’ll see how that goes. I packed my clothes (mostly) last night…it’s supposed to get cold and possibly wet. Should be interesting. Also, I originally thought one hike? Apparently now it’s possibly three. We’ll see. I am going into it completely exhausted, but also, I’m not getting enough exercise…so I don’t feel like I’m in shape for anything.

The quilt…

Had about 338″ of binding and sleeve to sew down. I made it 3/4 of the way around the outside edge on Thursday night, and the rest of the way around plus the two sleeves last night (one meeting was book club, one was my stitching group).

Pretty damn efficient. I did some in front of the TV too. Then last night, I packed clothes and backpack and hiking stuff and made rice krispie treats (my post-hike blood sugar assist) and voted. And then went to bed. I still have prep to do for class today and Monday…but I’m mostly OK, as long as I don’t think too much about having to grade stuff next week and the fact that I’m doing some Textile Slam on Tuesday and a studio interview on the following Saturday and I’m not ready for either of them? It’s fine. I’m going to get it done. If that cat gets out of my way.

I try to plan/grade standing up to make up for all the sitting. Sometimes the internet does not comply, though, so I end up back in that chair. I gained a sweater and slippers this week…it’s cooled down a bit, certainly in the morning. I’m actually wearing pants instead of shorts today. Finally. In the last week of October. Don’t get excited; they’re not long pants. Just pants. I didn’t need a fan yesterday, first day in a long time. I still had my hair up by 4th period, though…it just starts to drive me nuts at some point.

I have to figure out a way to put a grid on the kids’ selfies for the next art project. The art teacher is trying to help…but I think she has Photoshop and I don’t. Paint.net might do it. I need to find the time to try that too. It’s all very overwhelming. I’m hoping two days away from it will help, although I know next week will be hard because of my taking two days. Sigh. There’s no winning in any of this. There’s no way to make it better for teachers and students until this damn pandemic is more under control.

What cats do when people go outside…they wanna check out what you’re doing…

Mostly when I’m teaching, they leave. I think it’s loud and they don’t like it.

OK, I need to wake up and get my brain going (you’d think writing this would do that, but I am that tired right now), teach all day, and then go camping. Wish me luck. Relaxation? Or at least escape? Good (better?) moods? No talk of work? Not a rule, but a goal. Venting is necessary at times. Patience as well, mine as well as others. Allow grace for all.

Rabbits Everywhere

Today begins the fourth week of this new version of school, the third new version this year. Hopefully the last, although I get two new students today. They told me it would always be a one-for-one switch, but this is two for one. I’ve been told one of them never shows up. But he’s on my roster now, so I have to record things for him and mark him absent and all that, so it’s not like there’s no work when you go from 174 to 175 kids. Kind of pitiful too, when that’s the case. Where is this kid? What’s he doing? How is his family doing? I don’t know. More importantly (or tragically), I don’t have TIME to know. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In the physical classroom, back in the day when school was ‘normal’, the school people, including me, would have time to track down that one kid who never shows up. Here and now? I know there’s someone who is supposed to be paying attention to that, but they’re also paying attention to daily spray downs and kids who won’t wear masks and kids who won’t social distance and teachers who might have COVID and students who have symptoms. The daily stuff overwhelms.

My whole team was texting their hours put in to school this weekend, and it was bad across the board. It’s not like we usually could walk away from it on the weekend completely…sometimes, if you planned really well during the week for the following week and there were no big assignments needing to be graded, well you could leave your computer at work and walk away from it. Now? Fuck no. In fact, this upcoming weekend, where I am venturing into no-internet land, I’m having to get at least Monday planned for next week. Getting this week planned and set up took 8 hours on Saturday and another 7 on Sunday. Some of that was art prep…I needed to put together packages for them to pick up for the next project…which included cutting out 70+ viewfinders…

Sorting through paper and pencils and getting a big order of blending stumps, stuffing everything in envelopes, and delivering it to school so kids can pick it up. No small feat. No small amount of time either…probably 3 of those 15 hours was just dealing with that.

I had two videos I needed to record for school, but the neighbors were either sawing, drilling, or screaming. I’m pretty sure one of the videos has kids yelling in the background and the other one has his blower/vacuum thing going.

The sky was beautiful while they threw their 3000th pandemic party.

I get some questions about teaching art…isn’t it fun? You like art. Isn’t it pretty easy? Well no, it’s not fun and it’s not easy. It’s managing 70 kids who range from I Hate Art to I LOVE Art with abilities that go along with that, on a computer, hardly being able to see their work or give them daily guidance, and coming up with ideas that support/bounce off of your co-teacher, who is just as buried and overwhelmed as you are. And I can’t just draw, because they copy what you do, and that’s not what this is about.

Friday’s lesson on how to shade things in many different media, because if I say you need a pencil, fourteen kids ask if pen is OK. So I did colored pencil, crayon, ink pen, ballpoint pen, and regular pencil. I thought later that I could have done pointillism, but I didn’t go there. I got some very good results, some OK results, some eh results, some “how is that 15 minutes of work” results, and some who don’t know how to turn anything in and I don’t know why. I spent about 3 more hours last night trying to figure out how to run this week, in between two projects but they don’t have the materials yet for the next project. So that was fun. It’s a whole ‘nother Google search regime. And time-consuming as hell. Did I mention that it’s two different levels of art? I’m not teaching them the exact same thing. So my brain is all over the place, can’t remember assignment numbers for each class. I need to type up a list (in my spare fucking time, y’all) so I can refer to it. And the last 2 hours last night was giving feedback on book cover prototypes, which is brain sucking stuff. What are the criteria? Are they hitting them? Did they just copy this off the internet? Certainly possible. What can I say to them that will help? And not hurt? I made it through 17 in 2 hours. I have 38 kids in that class. Luckily, so far, only 25 have turned them in. I have 8 to do today before class starts. And then I try to do them DURING class, which is a challenge.

So no, teaching art isn’t fun. I don’t like it. Certainly not this version of it. It at least doubles my planning time and grading time, maybe triples it. There are some things I can double up on, but not many. And sarcasm. I have to remember that the one class is all 6th graders and some of them don’t understand sarcasm yet. Neither do their parents. Sigh.

So school. Is hard. Is time-consuming, more than it ever has been. I think we will all be completely burnt out by the time the end of the trimester comes. And there are still two more after that.

I managed to get the outline quilting done on Friday night…

I don’t know where I find the energy sometimes. To get up off the couch, walk away from the TV and the brainless I don’t need to do any more. Saturday, I went and bought binding…and then started quilting the background.

I was tired. It wasn’t fast. There isn’t much of it, but it’s not a small quilt. I had to use a different thread and it was coming off the spool weird. The thread kept catching and breaking.

Fucking annoying. Time-consuming. I fixed it last night though…

Or it fixed itself because I used enough of it that it stopped catching. Hard to know. It did stop breaking though. I made it about 3/4 of the way around. At 11:35 pm, I stopped. I need to sleep. Another hour of quilting, maybe, and I’ll be done. Trim it, bind it. I can see it being done. That’s good.

Still fighting for time to exercise…Saturday night’s walk…

It cooled off. Rabbits everywhere.

Next weekend will be longer hikes.

And further away. Away from my computer and my work setup. The thing that’s always there, in my space, telling me I haven’t done enough.

Kitten likes it when we hike. She especially likes the smell of hiking boots.

She’s a little strange.

These two are sweethearts. When they’re not scratching shit and attacking my pens.

In general, good cats.

OK. I still have 8 prototypes that need feedback. I graded almost nothing this weekend in that 15 hours…which didn’t even count the three hours or more I did after school on Friday. I still need to make one more video thing, grade a million things, grade all the late work that panicked children have turned in, teach all day, and answer 6 thousand emails. Otherwise, teachers are fine y’all. Don’t worry about us. Keep having your non-socially-distanced parties and being a maskhole. Hey! Go vote! Everyone in my household has done that but me. I will. I promise. Not this week, probably, but maybe. I could. I will. It will be a relief to color that circle in.

Find Some Zen…

Grrr Wednesday. Grrrr. I’m growling at you like Simba growls under his breath at something that is now gone but is still irritating him. I guess I’m growling at Tuesday then, aren’t I. Huh. Well Tuesday was complicated in my brain. Some sense of the vast expanse of time I will be doing this online teaching thing, stuck in my house, fighting technology, not able to see students, not able to do anything hands on, everything a million times more complicated than it used to be. Barely talking to anyone but the 174 kids who I see every day or every few days or three days a week for a really long time (90 minutes is a long time when you’re trying to get a kid on the correct screen…you just want to reach through and push him/her where they need to be), and I don’t even really SEE them, just the top three inches of their heads. Massive sigh. Don’t count months. Just try not to think about how long this is.

My school admin is getting a taco truck for the at-school teachers on Friday. Sure, I could send the boychild (who says I should stop calling him that, because everything thinks he’s like 12…he’s a man. He’s been a man for a while. Manchild sounds weird. He doesn’t want me to use his name. Honestly he’d be overjoyed if I never ever mentioned him again. So boychild it is.) to pick up a plate shoved through the fence by my coworkers, but it’s not the tacos…it’s the hanging out and socializing and getting some appreciation from admin for your hard work (I’m pretty sure my admin is just tired of me bitching about things that should have been done/fixed/handled…I know I’m tired of it. But when parents complain…sigh.). Whatever. Get up. Do the thing. Teach the stuffs. Grade the crap. Read the thousand emails. Delete most of them. Go to bed. Repeat.

It’s not really my roll.

So I’m still off, sad, overwhelmed, not feeling it today. We’ll see how it plays out. I usually do better when I’m dealing with actual children in front of me, even when they are tiny black rectangles with their names on them. Or not.

I did start quilting the other night. Not a lot. I’m so tired at the end of the day.

Mondays are long because we see all the kids…more transitions. Tuesdays and Wednesdays I have a long prep period, and I desperately try to concentrate and get everything done, but then I end up doing hours of work before and after school as well.

So I’m getting a little over an hour of quilting done each night at the moment.

It’s not much. But it’s something. It’s slow sometimes. It’s better than nothing. It’s meditative. I just sit and move the quilt and it’s good except it’s more sitting so then I get antsy and have to get up and walk around. Ugh.

Teaching art…how to line. This photo is so blurry…it should be how to photograph.

Nova likes to lie on the sketchbook. Desperately ordering materials for my art students, hoping they will come pick them up if I pack them all up. That’ll be Sunday. With all the school shit I do on the weekends, it feels like I shouldn’t leave and do anything else, but I have two weekends planned. I know I need them, but I’m also stressing like crazy about making sure everything is done before I go because there won’t be internet at one of them at all. It’s easier to last-minute wing science class in person than it is online.

Kitten is staring at a gecko. Can you see it?

It’s fascinating.

I have this walk I do and they are developing this huge tract of land that used to be a chicken farm. It’s been a permitting fight for years, but they finally put this lovely thing up.

I guess if you live near there and don’t want the construction noise and dust, this is a plus, but there’s no parking all the way along it, so getting to the local park is a long walk at the moment. Sad to look at as well. Cookie cutter houses going in, I’m sure. Oh well. They start at $900K too, so very affordable. Yup. Getting right in there.

I am just a ball of cheer this morning. This makes me happy…here’s the girlchild (also an adult)…

In Maine. Beautiful.

OK. I’m just going to do today and know that hopefully the science stuff is cool (I think it is, but I’m the teacher) and sit through a union meeting after school and hopefully (yes, definitely) quilt tonight. Some more. And find some zen with this existence. Somehow.

Clear My Brain

I do write to clear my brain. Otherwise the words pile up in there and cause havoc. It’s currently 10:20 PM on a Saturday night. I have words in my head and I’d like them out.

We hiked almost 7 miles this morning, and then I did some schoolwork, stitched down the rest of the quilt top, and sandwiched and pinbasted it. It’s been a busy day. There are piles of fabric in the girlchild’s room, and I happened to find something the right size and shape (a rectangle, by the way) for the backing.

I’d already checked for batting. Check!

I did a significant part of the stitch down on Friday night, but I knew we were getting up early to hike, so I quit.

In retrospect, I would have been up for another hour and a half if I’d kept going last night. It was easy enough to finish this afternoon.

Pinbasted in no time.

It’s what we do on a Saturday night. It’s good…it means I can quilt a bit every night this week. I do need to do some thread shopping tomorrow though.

Friday night, we gamed, and I graded some and stitched some.

The cat is no help while grading. Actually, this was my setup for science and art on Friday. Cleanup still happening for demo the day before, art ready to go, rocks in place.

This morning, we hiked Los Penasquitos Canyon, starting at the Mercy/Black Mountain end.

There were quite a few people…

It was much cooler than it has been, much cooler than it will be this week.

It’s mostly flat.

The man is training for the PCT, which will be mostly not flat.

I, however, am training for nothing.

Except regular exercise.

I had to put my phone in my bra for a bit because people don’t understand how to share the trail and there was some chance I’d fall into the water and I wanted my phone as high up on my body as possible.

I didn’t. Fall in, that is.

Anyway, stupid people on trails. What can you do?

Avoid them. The man getting his zen on.

We actually passed a half naked guy (young) meditating with a pointy zen hat on.

So there’s that. Rocks, sand, poison oak, and a baby rattlesnake.

No real rattles yet. The man moved him off the trail.

Good thing because the next group coming along had two small children.

Strange pods…

Pro: We were done by noon. Con: I’m exhausted right now.

This is a pretty suburban trail, right between two rows of houses. In two weeks, we go camping…and two weeks after, we’ll be near Joshua Tree, although I have an art thing to do, so mostly the man will hike and I will not.

I do enjoy hiking. There are limited numbers of hours in the day, though…so tomorrow holds a few hours of work in it. So I’m ready for the week.

This week is already full of meetings.

And hopefully quilting…

I so want to be a cat. I’d be less tired, I think. Hard to say. Interesting to clear one’s brain right before bed. Hopefully it will help with my current tendency to have weird-ass, scary dreams. Because that’s been the last two nights, and I’m kind of done.

Oh yeah, Fire and Water got into Quilt National. That’s cool.

It was the throwaway quilt. You pay the same for 2 or 3 entries. I needed a third. I figured the big one would get in, if anything. It didn’t. This one did. It’s a quilt that was made for another show and didn’t get in. So was the last Quilt National Entry. It’s weird…I get in every OTHER year. 2013. 2017. 2021. Freaky. OK, consider sleep. And whatever is sneakily walking out on the slope. And making more art.

Rushed

Woke up with a plan to get all this shit done. HA! Because the world is what it is, internet down, nothing responding, Fuuuck. Because I’m an ONLINE teacher and to be an ONLINE teacher, you have to be (wait for it) ONLINE. Fuck me. It’s OK. I’m obviously back online, but it was 30 minutes texting a Cox Cable person to get it back. Yes, there IS an outage (no fucking shit ma’am). What is your name? I Already Gave It To You, with my phone number, my 4-digit pin, and my firstborn. Not really. He’s still around. Somewhere. So while she was trying to PING my modem back into responsiveness, my brain was panickedly (that is a word, dammit) trying to think about what I would have to take to school with me to teach today, which included two computers, all their cords, an extra monitor, my doc cam and all its cords and connectors, plus a pile of papers and a clipboard, and FOUR ROCKS. My world. Right there. Plus food, enough PPE to scare off a Trump, and probably a Taser to keep people away from me. Because school is the LAST place I wanna be right now. But it’s close and it has internet. They could run an extension cord for me and I could just hang outside, far away from anywhere anybody ever goes. There’s that little amphitheater outside the library, right? Sigh.

So panic over. For now. Sunscreen. I would need sunscreen.

ANYWAY. Fuck me. I had a plan for this morning too. So I have been working too much. Yesterday I quit at like 11 hours…better than the previous day. NOT FUCKING SUSTAINABLE, Universe. It’s a job. I get paid. It’ll be OK if some kids don’t have grades.

Sigh. Like I said, I quit work “early” yesterday. I think it was around 9:45 that I started looking at background fabrics for the new quilt, because I thought what I had picked was too dark. It was. I picked a new one.

Much better, although I suspect I have no thread for quilting that color. Easily managed. I pieced the background and ironed the whole thing down…

And hopefully tonight I will give myself the time to start the stitch down. I lost this morning’s planning time, though, so I will need to be uber-efficient during my prep today (which is quite long, but in the middle of the day and without a team member to focus my not-ADD brain, which is still kinda ADD, I do not function well). I flit like a psychotic butterfly, honestly. Bits and pieces get done, but it’s easier for me to focus on tasks in the morning and evening.

Next stage of the quilt, though. This is good.

You know, I miss this this year.

Although my 8th graders do kinda piss on everything.

Monday night, I chose to exercise over art. I didn’t have the energy for art anyway. But notice the dog and the two cats (and the 5 pieces of wood…I used them for the lab demo last week) all accompanying me on my stationary bike ride.

Easy for them.

Also yesterday morning’s sunrise was nice.

This morning, we had fog. And internet issues. OK, off to work I go. In the other room. Where hopefully the internet is stable and strong.

I Need You to Back Off…

Currently appreciating the quiet morning and a gentle cool breeze that will be replaced by slightly scorching heat later. Only slightly scorching, because I think we’ll be under 100 degrees today. Maybe. I would like to still be asleep for another 20 minutes, but a cat woke me up and then my brain took over, panicking about the to-do list, as it is wont to do (and I wish it wouldn’t). I can’t catch up with anything. This is often the case, but it’s worse this year. I will get a handle on it. Brain, please remember that was the FIRST week of the new schedule and you will eventually figure out some balance and maybe manage the one unknown curriculum and the other two nonexistent curricula. Or not. I have two of the three days planned for science next week, and the other one is roughed in. I just need enough headspace to see the big picture and figure out timing, make the posts, finish the slides, make an agenda, sacrifice a baby lamb (wait, all lambs are babies) to the Goddess of Get It Done, and then it will all be fine. Art? Art is OK? Maybe? None of the posts are made, the agendas barely exist, and there are a few notes, but it will be OK? I just don’t know. I’ve never really been an art teacher…making it is not the same as teaching it. I would be fine in person, but online is just fucking hard. It’s hard with science; it’s even harder with art. If I DO anything, they copy me. I don’t want that.

And then the grading. There’s too many things. I’m picking and choosing, but it’s an avalanche of stuff that hit yesterday, and then my printer cartridge died and I thought I had ordered another one, but I never hit the submit order button, fuck me, so yesterday, I’m trying to find one and they’re sold out everywhere, the Staples guy who can’t keep his mask over his nose, big geeky guy, he’s just trying to help, telling me to try CVS, and I’m like, I’m not driving all over looking for this thing. A knockoff arrives today, the real deal on Tuesday. Fuck me, Hewlett Packard, you need to keep us in supply. When did printer ink become the new toilet paper? Or flour?

I keep telling myself it will be OK, it will get better. I can only keep telling myself that, because otherwise I will lose my already-stretched-thin mind.

You see, art is what always gave me balance. And at the end of a 12-hour-teacher day, I don’t have the energy for art right now. Or barely. So when I say it’s not sustainable, SURE, I can lesson plan and teach (and who the fuck has the time to contact parents right now?) for 12-14 hours a day…I’ve been doing it for 7 weeks now, but I am not OK because I can’t fit the art in. I need that. Maybe you need time with your family or a good book (I read for 10 minutes during lunch on a good day) or a massage (oh wait, I do need one of those). I need time making art. When I’m teaching art? I’m managing a bunch of kids on chat, trying to answer their questions, crazily trying to grade some thing that the state of California needs to prove my students are engaged in the curriculum, and trying to plan the next day, plus check their work as they’re doing it. I’d love to sit there and draw with them, but I can’t.

It’s fine. It makes me want to cry just typing that, because it’s not, but I’m an adult with a lot of persistence and talents and I will survive this fucking year. Speaking of this fucking year, my SIL sent me a dumpster fire sticker.

I love it. I need to decide where it should go. I love stickers, but I never know what to do with them. If I stick them on something and then it isn’t out where I can see it forever, then I can’t see the sticker any more. I guess I could start papering the bathroom. It needs it.

I love this kid already.

I am this kid. Except I’m the teacher, so I don’t get to do that. I also want to go in the breakout room where all the videos and mics are off. Also I don’t get to do that. Because I’m the teacher. Introverts in education! Don’t unite! Unless it’s in your own personal blanket fort.

Thursday night, late, I finished ironing pieces down for the SJSA Remembrance block.

It’s supposed to be done today (shh…don’t tell them I’m running late). It might be. I mean, I have until midnight, right? And it doesn’t need to be quilted. I thought about cutting pieces out Thursday night, but that thought exhausted me and I just sat there on the couch and stared at the pieces and the cat and social media.

Last night, I was better. I put on Enola Holmes, the movie (great movie, by the way), and got them all cut out…

Although it was still hot and the fan was still on and the dog was over there.

Done. Iron them together, stitch them down, and put a stitching outline in. And done. I can do that. I think. Today is not a quiet, do-nothing day, though…

Kitten’s response to my to-do list.

I went to school yesterday, rummaged around the front office (everyone was gone) and found the kid supply bags for delivery and mailing to some who don’t have them, visited my prep room, which was sad, put the old unit box away, stole the new stuff out of the box…

This time, I only brought home bags of rocks, some evidence cards, a pie tin, a couple of coffee filters, an evidence gradient, and the list my co-teacher made me of all her kids, a pithy note for each, which I’ve only barely looked at, because I haven’t had time. Instead of reading my book with breakfast today, I will read the list. Or maybe I will wait until Monday. I know co-teachers are walking away from school and computers on Friday night, and I try to do that, but when you’re home, it’s hard, and when I know I have too much to do and I don’t want to feel buried or unprepared on Monday, I can’t do it. I will try to keep Saturday clear and then kill myself with work on Sunday. Not healthy.

When my school office manager emailed earlier Friday that there was leftover pizza and they would deliver it to our rooms, I offered that I was only 2 1/2 miles away…it took her a while to figure out where I was. No pizza was delivered. I miss being at school. I miss people. I miss moving around during the day. I miss my classroom.

This was me last night, lying on the floor, trying to get my back and hips to stop hurting. Simba and I played with the ball for a bit while I stretched.

Then Calli stole the ball and that was it.

Here’s my quilt You Pollute Me at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE, through November 29. She is part of the For the Love of Gaia exhibit there. A Facebook friend sent me a photo of her on this great yellow wall.

I appreciate that. It’s a reminder of why the art is important. Of why I have to find the time for it. I have to simplify something else to get that time. School, you are a total mindfuck right now and I need you to back off.

Today I have exercise (yay) plus a socially distanced art meeting out in Ramona to jury new members…masks and cold water and bring your own snacks and chair and we’ll be outside. It’ll be good. I hope. I can’t do schoolwork there, so that’s a thing. Oh yeah, and it’s October and we are that much closer to the election and cooler weather and a camping trip and another trip to 29 Palms, and maybe all that will help my brain be where it needs to be. Ugh. This year. I have a job. I am lucky. It’s fine.

It’s in the Agenda…

I think it’s finally Thursday. It’s not finally Friday and it’s not still Wednesday. Thursday means I’m done teaching half my kids, but now I have to remember what I taught Tuesday to science and hopefully figure out what I’m teaching today to two levels of art. I write a lot of shit down and this is why. Like those weekly/daily agendas I put on Google Classroom for the kids? Sure, they might help a kid or two who actually looks at them, but really, they’re for me, so I can remember WTF I thought I would be teaching today. Tomorrow? Who the fuck knows. I think it’s in the agenda. I’ll check later. My not-morning self hopefully was coherent yesterday afternoon in the heat and managed shit. We just don’t know.

Today is also the first day I don’t have a prep at all. And my lunch is at 11:05 AM. On the other three days, I can eat at a normal time, but not today or tomorrow. This is not a big deal to most people. My blood sugar likes a regular schedule though, so we’ll see how it goes. It’ll still be hot. I know that part.

I walked Tuesday night in anticipation of yesterday’s OMG heat. It was still hot, though, and I had to persuade myself multiple times not to jump ahead and do it faster, shorten the walk. Skip that section.

Is it Halloween? I even left later and was walking in dusk, which isn’t a bad thing right now. The view of the valley with a bit of haze…school is down there somewhere.

I need to go to school tomorrow and drop off the materials I needed for this unit and pick up the materials for the next unit. But that wasn’t in my head that night.

Oh I lie. School is always in my head. Even when I’m asleep.

Will I ever get to go back? Will I feel comfortable when I go back? Will I remember how to teach the way we should be teaching kids this age? Too much talking right now.

Speaking of too much talking…

I didn’t want to watch it, but it was on in the room. I worked through it. So much need to shut up, y’all. So much.

Yesterday was just hot. This is the stream table setup I’m using for class (what you can use a light table for)…yesterday I upped it to two fans on me, plus the doc cam was up there as well.

Too many cords snaking across, too much sand and water. But it works. Kids can see what’s happening. There’s still a chunk of kids who don’t do anything, but I will eventually have to give up on them. They will come and go and I will continue to teach and offer help, but if I can’t get a parent/guardian to respond, it makes it really difficult. Those conversations about school need to start really early, y’all…not when the kid is 12. I do love their video views of the ceiling and the tops of their heads (lots of curly tops at the moment), and the occasional chat message that makes me laugh.

Yesterday had some of that, but it also started with this…

So that’s our science curriculum. Somehow in re-rostering kids, we lost access from about 3 PM Tuesday until noonish yesterday. I had a class I taught before that, though, so I panicked in the morning and made the docs they needed from stuff I had stashed in the drive, instead of using the program, but it was a pain in the butt. And then by my afternoon class, access was back and I actually had the right kids in my classes, unlike Monday, and it was almost like a real teaching thing. Except now I have 7,000 things to grade or check off and I think a new printer cartridge is coming today or maybe it’s not until tomorrow, which I guess is permission to not grade shit until then? Ugh. UGH.

Yesterday. Today will be 4 degrees cooler. I relish those 4 degrees.

I only get 2 tomorrow.

I spent about 2 1/2 hours last night after Pilates planning more shit (after planning right after school briefly with my partner, who’s doing similar but not the same stuff in a similar but not the same at all way because she’s in person), so IDK how many hours I worked yesterday, but like 14 hours minus an hour for exercise and 20 minutes for lunch and 30 minutes to do all the watering. I ate dinner while working. Not bad. Really. I was trying to plan AND watch the man’s band livestream, their newest version of being a band not in a bar…

Yes, he’s wearing a cow costume. It was a pajama party. I’m not sure how that translates into animal costumes. All this while the neighbor’s kids ran screamingly amok for a good four hours of did I mention screaming? with about 5 other kids, which means no, they are not social distancing and IDK how they don’t get people sick, or maybe they do and they just don’t know it, but it better be fucking quiet tonight or I am buying paint guns. Multiples. One for each hand and anyone who wants to help. Fucking noisy as hell, and yes, I raised children, but it’s a fucking school night and some of us are trying to work and I can’t shut the windows because it’s too damn hot and those kids, especially the little whiny screaming-at-the-top-of-their-lungs ones, drive me bonkers at that noise level for that long. Short term? OK. FOUR hours. Nope.

I’m old. It’s true. I’m relishing the quiet right now. It’s delightful. It won’t last, but it’s good for now.

I needed to do a drawing for my Patreon last night, so eventually I gave up on working (it’s such a slog prepping shit because the curriculum is only half ready and I need slides, so right now I’m making them because theirs won’t be available until ‘mid-October’, whenever that is…too late, assholes). Simba helped for a while (fan blowing on both of us)…

Those many arms have shown up before when I feel overwhelmed. Kitten was decidedly not helpful.

Although I think I was almost done at that point…

Certainly she thought I was.

OK, well school, then exhaustion, oh wait, OMA opening tonight (virtual) plus I need to make dinner and plan more and grade some and hopefully finish ironing fabric for the SJSA block that needs to be done SATURDAY (oh my. please stop laughing. I might be able to do it.). I’m exhausted. Didn’t I start out saying that? Heat needs to go. I need that printer cartridge. I need the science curriculum to catch up with me. I need art supplies and a way to get them to kids. I need time and sleep and cookies again (there aren’t any). Short term, I definitely need more tea.

Does Not Currently Exist Anywhere…

Well this is a weird time for me to write, but it’s the time I have. My brain is in some sort of stasis mode in between work and sleep, or maybe somewhere else. I’m trying to bully through the to-do list for today but also to get ready for school tomorrow. I need a certain mindset to get there, and a brain dump here will help with that. I have science sussed out for tomorrow and mostly the rest of the week, although I have to set up and test the demo for Tuesday and finish posts for the rest of the week, but I have done NOTHING (let me emphasize how big those capital letters are…they are as big as a redwood tree looming over me) for the art classes. And maybe Advisory, which I worry less about. I finished grades Friday night around 11 PM and went to bed fairly early. Exhaustion is here and in my face all the fucking time. I graded all through online gaming and managed to pay attention somehow, although not to the level to which my co-player expects. It’s easy when you don’t bring your job home with you. My job is always here and currently making me grind my teeth in a very vexing manner.

Yeah. That.

So I posted last on Friday morning. I’m really trying to get back on an every-other-day schedule, best I can, not for you, my dear readers, but for me, the crazy brain that needs a focus, a goal, a written document of what has gone and what is to come, so I can actually DO some of it and maybe celebrate some as well.

Saturday, I packed up three quilts for delivery to the Front Porch Gallery.

California Fibers’ show Figuratively is opening there October 4 and continues through the middle of November. Enjoy! I have three pieces in the show.

After I did that, I worked for about 2 hours, trying to make sense of the new science curriculum and my stupid schedule that starts next week.

Yes, I stand there. I sit too much right now.

Then we dropped off the three quilts for the next show. From there, we wandered over to the Oceanside Museum of Art for the Southern California Contemporary Quilts exhibit. That link also has a slide show of the whole show, if you’re interested. I would suggest going online and reserving a ticket and time for an in-person view, but I realize not everyone can do that, so the slide show is what will suffice.

This is Libby Williamson’s piece Burn Cycles at the entry point.

I am a haphazard photographer of shows when I don’t have to document them, so I can’t even say these were my favorites, but maybe they were at the time.

This is Lisa Kijak’s Neon Pacific.

Lisa was there with her family while I was there, but I was apparently not in a sociable mood and didn’t say hi, but I do love her work.

I also liked Nancy Lemke’s work Seaside 1.

I was intrigued that the hand fabric is one I own. My gallery co-visitor mentioned that I never make hands out of one piece. Well sometimes I do, but not this big.

Charlotte Bird’s Southland Odyssey is amazing…

Lots of details here.

Intriguing construction too…

Lots of So Cal details.

And one of my favorite artists, Dinah Sargeant, with her piece Spines Return.

Plus a fun wall shape by Gillian Moss, We Came, We Liked, We Stayed.

There are other exhibits in the museum, including a large plein-air collection from Gardena High School, but also some photo and ceramic pieces by Pamela Earnshaw Kelly

I get overwhelmed in museums at times and stop taking pictures of signage…so no names on these two…

But those two were my favorites, and I liked the graphic quality of the little room of pieces by Allan Morrow.

Oh yeah, and my piece, So Cal Mama

She was pretty nice too. I recorded video for my Patreon of this and a little of the rest of the show. Hopefully that will get processed in the next 24 hours.

Our current Saturday goal includes a walk and food. Because we were already in Oceanside, we went to Guajome County Park and walked around there…

They claimed it was 4.3 miles, but I think we did something wrong, because it was 3 miles.

Different plants…

Still too suburban, so too many people.

It’s hard to get around all that at the moment.

And then we had our first restaurant dinner since everything closed down in March. I remember being in a restaurant the Saturday after the schools closed, but not after that. We did eat outside, near the edge, far enough away from people, but I didn’t have my hand sanitizer with me, and I wanted it. So I’m still not comfortable with it, but maybe that will come. Or maybe it shouldn’t.

Also apparently some parts of the PCT are in my future, assuming it opens. We’ll see.

Today has just been crazy trying to do all the things. I needed a new sun shade for the window where I work, because the old one broke on Friday and it’s supposed to be in the 100s all freakin’ week holy shit i’mma gonna die. I needed some bins to pack up fabric. I apparently may have sold the quilt that isn’t finished yet…I’ll wait on the contract and deposit for that maybe. For now, it’s a nice feeling…and I need those. Hey Nova…that’s my clean laundry.

She knows. She doesn’t care. And Kitten has taken over my paper box.

So much for getting paper out. Cat in way.

Ah. So it’s after 6 PM, and I still need to post school stuff, or in some cases, create school stuff that does not currently exist anywhere, not even in my head, and I need to finish the ceramic and fabric pieces that are supposed to be done this week, and then finish the quilt that is almost finished so I can make money off of it, because I need some money coming in soon, and then maybe even sleep tonight (ha! Such a joke) and not worry so much about everything under the sun, even though that’s how my brain works and I’m not very good at making it stop. Yeah. All those things.

Everything Under the Sun

I try not to be the person who counts days from this to that, although I have a Countdown app that always has the holidays in it, the week off for Thanksgiving, three weeks for Winter Break (I know, lucky!), two weeks for Spring Break, eight weeks (unpaid those) for Summer. And then the trips…last year was the Arizona/Utah National Parks in Spring, a couple of winery trips (one right before everything shut down in March), a trip to Portland and another to Joshua Tree National Park. All good. But right now, the numbers in my head are how many days to the election? How many days I’ve been mostly stuck at home (it’s a lot, over 6 months, just like the rest of you)? And the big one, how many days until I can go back to school? It’ll be at least 365 more, I think. That’s the hard thing to contemplate. Up to now, I’ve had a teacher team to plan with, dealing with the same kids, the same schedules, the same curriculum. As of Monday, I have none of that. Or very little. I’ve felt incredibly isolated as it is, but this is throwing me. It’s OK…I’ll get through it. I’ll survive it. I have a job. I’m mostly competent at it. There’s too much right now and I’m so fucking sick of 15-hour days focused on school school school, but I will eventually either get a handle on that time suck or I will quit and copyedit full time while selling one loaf of sourdough bread a week, because that’s all I can manage to make. It’s hard to say how close I am to that moment. I’ll let you know.

So the artmaking is sporadic and I have to fight for that time and yesterday I was told I should be watching education-related videos WHILE I am making art, because that’s time I could spend on school stuff that I’m not. Eye-opening. And don’t think I haven’t considered it. But I’m already in a half state of crying on a daily basis, and I think that might push me over the edge.

This shit sucks, y’all.

And then I wake up this morning, not really sure what I’m teaching today. I’m sure it’s on a calendar or a post somewhere; I just didn’t review it yesterday like I usually do because I couldn’t. And I checked my email, and Bigger in the Outside was accepted into Excellence in Fibers VI

She’ll also be at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad after this weekend with two other pieces of mine. The Excellence in Fibers show was supposed to have a corresponding museum exhibit, but that’s postponed until we don’t know when…if ever. Like many things this year. I guess the acceptances motivate me to make more? They don’t actually at the moment. It’s more a matter of where to put my brain that ISN’T school. Making bread is just as useful a place. Maybe. I don’t know. I know I’m not getting any peace out of artmaking right now, but then, maybe I never did. It’s meditative, and maybe without it, I’d be jumping out the window and running as far and fast as I could. We just don’t know. Because I haven’t stopped making it.

The SJSA Remembrance block is still in progress…I traced it on Wonder Under a few nights ago…it only has 116 pieces, so it’s not horrendous. And then I started cutting them apart one night, Tuesday? And didn’t finish.

Last night was my now-biweekly stitching Zoom, so I quick cut the rest apart, and then after the Zoom call, started ironing them to fabric. It’s not ideal, because I still have the last 80 or so pieces from the COVID Daughter piece on my table, and it’s precariously on my ironing board, waiting for me to come back to it (I want to!), but I got about half the pieces ironed down to fabric.

I quit when I got to the flesh, because I knew I was tired and couldn’t handle it. And I also knew I needed to do schoolwork. Yes, I took a break from about 6-10 PM…and then went back to work. I did also make a trip to Home Depot for new roller blinds to block the AM sun from my work spot and to pick up and drop off stuff at school after hours. I saw two people and waved. That was all.

Anyway, I’ll finish ironing the pieces down sometime in the next 24 hours and then cut them out…I might actually do some of that during gaming tonight. It needs to be done by 10/3.

I’m still working on the clay vessel for the labyrinth…

If I do a little each night, it hardens enough by the next night to support the next few inches.

So after the Wonder Under was done last night, I pulled this out and got a few inches higher.

I’m not going to be able to go high enough to put a full torso in, but that’s OK. I was trying to fall asleep last night (ha! What a fucking joke) and my brain told me how to finish the top, wherever it is.

Here’s my fat cat odalisque.

I want to be more like her.

And the girlchild has been gone for almost three months now, but we are still finding remnants of her cooking experiments…

I obviously don’t clean anywhere near enough.

OK. It’s the Friday before everything switches again and I gain 40 students and two more preps and two more grade levels and minimal support from anywhere, whatever, and grades are due Sunday and I was grading last night at midnight, fuck this job and COVID and the stupid government for not doing its job and stupid people for not wearing masks and staying away from each other and I need to get some exercise this weekend, maybe even this afternoon, plus get everything under the sun done that needs to be done and maybe a little less of the crying stuff because I can’t see to type or grade shit when I’m doing that. Peace out y’all. It’ll be different in a few days.

Send Cookie Thoughts

Hey y’all. I missed writing yesterday. My brain was on GRADE GRADE GRADE mode. It’s been there for 4 or 5 days and I’ve missed some things I should have been paying closer attention to. This school year just sucks. Usually, about now, the school year is calming down, we’re finding a routine, and stuff is getting under control. I’m sure you know the end of that story in 2020. Fuck all that, we’re back in, starting over, fuck the routine, and fuck calm.

Saturday, I ignored school. Mostly. I did a bunch of other stuff, including some art projects I just needed the impetus to get started, so I could then do a little each night. One was the clay piece for our FIG labyrinth…

I used to do ceramics in school and then for a bit after, but I think before the divorce? Or maybe just after? It was hard to find a studio and the time, so it just didn’t happen. Anyway, on Saturday, a super dry and hot day, I started finally. Sliced into the clay, started trying to roll coils and stick them together.

It was much easier Sunday night. I had something started, my hands were remembering how, and it wasn’t as dry out.

I have this clay tool I love, I remember loving it, but I can’t find it. It’s here somewhere, in this house.

She can’t be very tall, so it hopefully won’t take me long. That said, I didn’t work on her at all last night. Last night was kind of a clusterfuck.

The other thing I started was my SJSA Remembrance block, for Nicholas Bils.

I traced his face, and then went and got it enlarged about 150%. Then added it to a larger background.

And then added stuff in the background: his name, his dog, a river (for his dog, whose name was either River or Rio, and because he lived on the water).

And then last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under…

And get that done.

I have fabric for the shirt, but it needs to be dyed. Not sure if I can pull that off this week, so I might change my mind about it. We’ll see. Time is at a premium. Not my choice.

We walked around Lake Murray Saturday night…

It’s too peoply too, but manageable.

It was dusky.

Saturday night stitching was brainless.

Sue Spargo’s Homegrown March blocks. All I can handle is stitching it down.

I only have one done of the four. Don’t get excited.

Sunday, I had an appointment to go to Visions Art Museum to see Judith Content’s amazing work…always better in person.

It’s totally worth it and hopefully won’t close down today.

I was also introduced to Melody Money, whose work I haven’t see before.

She’s got some handwork on there.

Fascinating stuff.

Lots of details…

You should totally go see both these shows.

They’ll be there until January, so even if we shut down museums today, they’ll open back up eventually.

Fun stuff.

Very joyful.

Here’s where I’ve been grading…

Notice the cat? Yeah. It’s a crowded space when I’m doing everything.

Work sucks. I’m freaked out by everything. Everything is overwhelming. Staff meetings make my brains melt. Kid demands made me cry last night. I can’t do more than I am. Yesterday, I walked for 3+ miles to get it out of my head.

I only took the little dog. The big dog is too old for that far. So she was sad, and he was tired. But I needed it.

With that, Happy Tuesday. Love you all. Well, except for the non-mask-wearers. I don’t love you right now. And send cookies. But I’m fussy about them. So don’t really send them. Send cookie thoughts.