Normally, Right Now…

Normally, right now, I’d be staring at a pile of grading…actually, no, I’d be at the chiropractor, and she’d be adjusting me, and I would have just finished tutoring, because Tuesdays (it is Tuesday, right?) are LOOONNNGGG, and then I might decide not to do any work tonight because I’d done so much of it before. This week, we’d be starting our ecosystem part of the unit, which we were in the middle of trying to rewrite, because standards-based grading has changed how we assess kids. When we got told we weren’t coming back until April 20, we proactively picked up and moved everything on the calendar for that three-week time period, realizing we were going to lose most of the second-to-last unit. At this point, I suspect we may not come back this year in person, which brings up the question of what CAN we do remotely, and how in the hell are we going to teach sex ed this year? Or are we? It’s just unclear. And overwhelming at the moment. Worry about getting sick, about family members getting sick, already seeing friends getting sick, pile that on top of worry for students, worry about our jobs (if they figure out we can do this on a computer, will they just get rid of some of us? Will our kids even log in? OK. So let’s not dwell on that.). Let’s focus on the present. My head likes to dwell on the future What Ifs, which doesn’t really help.

What did I do today? I recorded three chapters of City of Ember for my students. I attempted 50 minutes of pilates with no equipment and a crazy woman who bends better than I ever did. I swore at the computer. I walked the kids and dogs for 2.35 miles. I avoided the cops. Apparently that’s a thing in the town right next to where I live, where they might pull you over and ask you why you’re out and about. I avoided humans, except for the three I live with. One has been at work for hours. I barely saw him last night. He has one more day of a hellish shift and then four days off. I potentially have four Zoom or Discord meetings in the next week. Wait. Five. I think. I refuse to wear a bra to any of them.

The series continues.

Managing anxiety is not easy without a pandemic. What helps in a pandemic? Blue skies and beautiful fluffy white clouds. Puppies. Kittens. Stitching. Reading. Drawing.

See? Much better. Making art, of course.

Yesterday, I pieced a backing for the quilt out of some light-damaged fabric I got from my SIL ages ago. I think that’s where it came from. I’m not sure if it came damaged or if that happened here, but it doesn’t matter if it’s on the back.

Yup. Those are some hippos on lime green. Great backing. I managed to pinbaste the whole thing last night…

I realize as I get older that this kneeling on the ground thing will get harder to do, but it still works for now. Keeping kittens off it took some assistance from the man.

This is funny. Luna’s like, “Hey Dad, WTF is she doing and WHY CAN’T WE PLAY WITH IT?”

Well yeah. You can’t. Every cat I’ve ever lived with at some point has skidded across the room into a quilt laid out on the floor and destroyed what I was trying to do.

In the middle of pinning it…every time I do this, I end up throwing one or two pins out because they’re too dull or they won’t close right any more. I never seem to run out.

I don’t know how that works. They must be breeding.

At this point, they can smell the edges. It’s all pinned. Can’t hurt it now.

So it’s ready for quilting. It’s a good thing I ordered batting before all this shut down…I didn’t have anything big enough in the house.

I’ve been lax with the two social-media things I’m doing this month, but #igquiltfest yesterday was Favorite Fabric. I’m like, yes, all of them. This is such a small subset of what I have…

It’s my palette. I have lots. I love all of it. Seriously, I tried to get rid of some once because I was like, there’s stuff I never use, so I was going through the drawers and only found like one fabric I thought I could get rid of. Now I just figure those will end up on the back of something some day. I haven’t bought fabric for backings in other two years. I just use what I have. Sometimes I piece it. Sometimes it’s something someone sent me. I don’t care. It’s on the wall. Who’s gonna see it?

Girlchild has been cooking up a storm…it’s been tasty.

I have to cook for myself tonight. I will survive. Somehow I persuaded her to prep the scones I like too…I think so she would have photos for Insta.

Because when I do it, they’re never lined up that nicely. Remember that for when I post MY photo. It’ll be like a jumbled mess.

She likes to cook. I don’t mind it, but I’d rather be doing other things. I stitched a little today, just wooly bits, because my head was being mean. Shut up, head.

OK. Well I haven’t done all the things on my list for today, but I did do about two hours of exercise. Still haven’t hit 10,000 steps for the day. During a normal school day, that’s easy. It’s a beautiful day. Spring is here. Weeds need pulling. I have sunflower seeds I could plant. I have a quilt to work on. There’s a bunch of food in the fridge, although we’re running low on eggs. I have nowhere to be tonight or all day tomorrow. Everyone I know and love is still healthy or managing their illness, as far as I know. I’m still OK. Not normal, just OK.


I’m watching a tiny hummingbird (yes, tiny even for them) hovering around the tree outside my window, landing every few moments, but not able to stay still. It peers around, flies off a little further, and then comes back and settles, resting briefly. There’s no flowers out there, nowhere for it to find food (go to the other side of the house!), and I don’t know why it can’t just SIT there for a moment.

Huh. I’m a tiny little hummingbird.

I wrote yesterday’s post while sitting in my car, waiting for the other hikers to show up. I’ll post the hike later…it was OK. Not too strenuous, although I was tired from sitting too much in the middle (it takes too long to feed that many people). And I was home early enough to deal with the cable guy (apparently the positioning of the planets is causing my cable/internet issues), grocery shopping (hate the store always, but especially on Saturday nights), 14 errands (not all successful, unfortunately), trimming (not done…couldn’t reach the worst of it, but rescued two birds nests), packing up shit for the boychild (by myself), and finally eating out, because I wanted this one thing to eat that I didn’t feel like cooking myself.

Here’s the thing about me and cooking. I don’t like prepackaged food. It tastes funny. I cook mostly from scratch. It’s healthier too. I do that most nights, with help from the girlchild sometimes. I don’t really LIKE cooking. This was an issue in both relationships, that women are supposed to be those who cook, but I don’t LIKE it. It was supposed to be some proof of my feelings towards them, but really, I cook all the time. It feels like work. It IS work. Why do you want me to show my love for you with WORK? With something that makes me feel BAD, IRRITATED, ANGRY? I could lesson plan for you too. It would still be WORK. Girlchild? She loves cooking. She gets in the kitchen and she’s the happiest little bunny in the world. Me? UGH. Now I do the same with sewing, which girlchild hates. So I get it…I understand. But I get TIRED of cooking all the time. So I try to give myself one meal every two weeks or so that I don’t have to cook (and it helps if girlchild is cooking, because then I just count that one and I don’t have to try to find the money and calories to go out). When I was first divorced (a million years ago), I would occasionally go out to dinner by myself, because I didn’t have anyone else to go out to dinner with, and I would bring my sketchbook and/or a book and it would be OK…not great, just OK. The waiters are usually pretty nice to you and it’s easy to find a seat for just one person, so you don’t usually have to wait, and yes, it can be a bit depressing to eat out by yourself while everyone around you is chatting away, but hell, it would be just as depressing to be eating at home alone, AND I would have had to cook.

So after running the 17th errand last night, I walked into a restaurant, sat down in the bar, started drawing, and ordered dinner…

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And ignored all the people around me, because honestly, who the fuck cares. I just needed to be somewhere besides home. I had already fought through a ton of depressoid thoughts and crying that afternoon and I was done. The waitress was a little freaked out by the drawing, wanted to know if it was just something in my head (do you see me copying from something?), and really, it was Tanya’s fault for reminding me of the perimenopausal random hair growth, because girlchild’s stolen my tweezers again and I think those random hairs COULD IN FACT take over the world if they wanted to. And my younger readers are thinking, “But why are there snakes around her nipple?” and my perimenopausal readers ALREADY KNOW, and yes it’s annoying (it’s not really gross, although some people will say that, because we do in fact have hair all over our bodies, and our reactions to said hair are kinda lame, you know? Really? So there’s HAIR. And it’s going to hurt you how?).

And when the food arrived, I read my book while eating. I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten since the early lunch I ate on the hike. Well, snacks, but they weren’t really satisfying. It was a satisfying meal and it wasn’t cheap (sigh), but I have to be able to do that once in a while, or it really does feel like life sucks shit because I can’t go out and I have to do all the cooking (holy shit, when the girlchild goes to college…). SIGH. Fucking sigh.

When I got home, I glanced at the list I made yesterday for this weekend…

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I went old school. I had stuff on the phone, in email, on post-its, and I needed to see the WHOLE FUCKING LIST in all its torture-me glory, so there it is. On paper. In RED pen (really only because I couldn’t find a black one…not for some other reason). And I keep writing more shit on it, which is just crazy. And crossing things off is a little harder. Sigh.

And then I tried to at least set the stage for good drawing last night.

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Obviously this picture was taken this morning, not last night, but you know what? I cleared the table and carefully put everything away and found the start of the damn fucking stupidass drawing and laid it out there. And then I went and sat on the couch and read my book and realized how fucking tired I was and gave up and went to bed, where I slept fitfully all night, worried about all the shit I have to do and unhappy with the silence and the absence of people and talking and friendliness and FUCK.

Long weekends. Not my friend. It’s OK. The girlchild comes back today, so it will not be as bad, but I certainly need to find a way for it to be OK for no one to ever be around by the time girlchild leaves for school in a year, so I don’t just crawl under my light table and dessicate there. Fucking free time. Should be able to enjoy it. Should be able to look forward to having it. Should. FUCK.

No One Else Can…

The new meditation visualization is easier than the last. It starts as a pinprick of light in the center of the body that spreads to take up the whole body shape. That’s much easier than a football-shaped oval of light running up and down the center of my body. It kept getting snagged on my liver or my solar plexus, whatever that is…seriously, he keeps using that term, and I finally had to Google it. I knew it was in the middle, but that’s all I knew. Deficient education.

I spent a lot of time cooking tonight. I’m not sure why. I made barbecue sauce from scratch. It was pretty good stuff. I froze the extras for later. I made BBQ burgers with the sauce. They were really good. I made some potato things that were mostly eh. And I made a blueberry cheesecake galette that might kill people with joy. Seriously. It was fucking good. You’re jealous now because there isn’t any for you. Well, honestly, if you came over tomorrow and asked nicely, I’d give you some…I might have to wrest a serving out of the kids’ sweaty palms (I had to delineate ownership of each piece for tomorrow, so boychild wouldn’t eat all of it), but I’d give you some.

I’m not sure why I had a sudden urge to cook good stuff, but I did it. Maybe it was to make up for the largely useless day at school, where very few people listened or changed their behavior based on my directions. I love days like that. Those are the days when teachers wonder what it must be like to work with adults. Having spent the first 13 years of my work life working with adults, I can tell them it’s not a whole lot different…except that you have more control over your own stuff and politicians don’t expect you to work miracles with rocks. Or teenagers. Because sometimes they’re hard to tell apart.

There was definitely some frustration involved. So the cooking helped. And the girlchild cleaned up the kitchen. It almost looks normal. We had a discussion the other day about available hours in the day and why I don’t care as much about cleaning as I do about fabric. I explained to her my theory that in a household, whether you are married, dating, or roommating, that if there is something that really truly bugs you about how things look or are being done, then you should do them yourself…it’s not OK to force your ideas of cleanliness or household importance on other people. It’s about the only good thing I got out of marriage counseling a million years ago…and since I’m the only adult here, that’s how we roll. She’s welcome to mop or sweep any time she likes…and when her friend came over on Sunday, because we were the only household in East County that wasn’t watching the Super Bowl, well then she cleaned what she thought she needed to clean. It was different than what I would have done in some ways, but I was grateful for any help…because honestly, I don’t usually get any help.

Things I’ve learned from the girlchild: how to use fresh garlic and ginger, how to embrace weird-ass ingredient combinations, how to use every dish you own for only one meal. She’s an amazing cook. I don’t know where she gets it from. I am a much better cook now because of her. It’s her fault that blueberry thing got made…and all the calories that were in it? Probably also her fault.

There are only so many hours in the day. I choose to do the things that make me more at peace. If I watch a Hoarders episode, my priorities might change…but only briefly.

I’m not sure where the rest of the evening went. I did have detention and tutorial after school, so I was home late…and I did meditate and exercise and talk to my health coach for the last time and work on more of these crazy financial aid forms and help dry dishes and help pick out boys soccer photos for the school newspaper and butt heads with the boychild about the next college interview (sigh. if you want to go there, and this is your first choice, then stop bitching and set up the interview. or don’t. just don’t give ME shit about it. I did not design this world. I am no happier living in it than you are.). It’s his third college interview…good sign. I hope. But I didn’t do art stuff, and that is starting to wear on me…nothing in two days. Need a fix. Tomorrow is staff meeting, soccer game, and gym. It will be a miracle if anything else happens. No photos even today. Barely even got to read my book. Feel disconnected from my own head at the moment. I can stitch during the game at least. Have to remember to take it all with me. Car full of supplies so I can survive a game. Boots, sweatshirt(s), gloves, stitching, blanket, chair. Tea.

The awesome hike I was going to do on Sunday got canceled…the trail is closed. I picked another hike. I’m not as excited about it, but it will be semi-challenging…although I’ve done it before. I was looking forward to the other one. Sigh. I rarely look forward to anything any more. Sad but true.

OK. I need to do that sleep thing…even though it doesn’t work right. Too much of that stupid sad brain talking back to me. Actually, it doesn’t even do that. It mutters in a corner and when I say, “What? What did you say? Repeat that?”, it replies in a surly fashion, “nothing. I said nothing. Shut up. Go away,” like I’m just going to stop paying attention to it. I mad dog it a little, giving it the eye, getting up close and personal with it, and it gets nervous, fidgets, uncomfortable, tosses some now-painful memory out at me, a picture, a scene from the past and I seize up with it, with the view of what the artist-formerly-known-as-happy looked like (this one was from Oregon), and it takes the opportunity to duck out under my arm, slipping past me, and I feel it slide gently past into another space, out of reach. Damn brain. You talk too damn much. Heal thyself. No one else can.