Grind It Out…

I’m staring out the window at lovely fog. And it’s quiet out there. I always forget how LOUD middle school is. It’s not that I don’t like loud. When it’s music (I picked) or probably even me, I’m loud. But a thousand kids is really loud. A class full of 37 kids is loud. You’d think it wouldn’t be on the first day of school, but it is.

It was a long and tiring day. This week usually kicks our butts…and then next week does it again…and then we get a 3-day weekend to recover. At some point, the body remembers how to do all the things without collapsing, and the feet get used to a million steps and wearing shoes and standing all the time, and it gets easier. And you remember not to drink a lot of water because you won’t be able to pee for another two hours. That part sucks.

My team had it together. For now. Because the amount of noise we had yesterday does not bode well for a quiet year. We knew it was coming. It will be fine. We will survive. But my first school-related text this morning was already about someone needing to switch classes because of behavior. OK. Usually we get two weeks of grace period. Not this year.

We did an after picture, but we still looked pretty good. We should do a last day of school photo, or the day before Winter Break, which isn’t in my calendar yet, but should be. Today is the first lab of the year, so that should be fun.

I came home exhausted, too tired to go ship the actual quilt box (I’ll do it this morning on the way to work…it’s easier for parking anyway). I needed to copyedit, so I started with checking all the Bibliography references and all the things I’d tagged as issues (double spaces, use of the word ‘kids’ instead of something more formal, weird quotation issues), because they were pretty brainless and easy…just time-consuming to check. By the time I was done, I had enough caffeine in me and recovery time in to be able to reread the whole section. I sent it to the author last night. So we’re up to 8+ hours of school, another 3 1/2 hours of copyediting, and then I ate dinner and finished my book. I liked it. It’s called Burnout and it’s by Emily Nagoski.

It won’t solve my problems for me, but it helps me remember to say no, even if I’m flattered that someone would want me to do something. I’m throwing two things around in my head right now that I should say no to, and hopefully I will, because there are already way too many things in the air. I also get into this stress survival mode and really shut down sometimes (Um. Like now), fully realizing it’s not healthy, but I’m often not sure what else to do but put my head down and get it done. So I do self care like draw and art and hikes and the gym, but really that doesn’t get rid of the stressor or deal with why it’s even there…and that’s a problem. Anyway. This is a start for the new year.

After copyediting, I quilted. There’s just way too much I need to get done in the next 10 days. The quilt has to be done first. Kitten was monopolizing the other chair in the office. Yes, I need two. Because cats.

My goal was to outline one half, just like when I did the stitch down.

There were some bits I forgot to stitch down, so I had to go back at one point and do that in the middle of the outlining.

It took me about 2 hours, but I got one side done of the outlining.

Tonight, hopefully, I’ll do the other side, and then Friday night is the background, then trim and bind on Saturday. Ready for the photographer Sunday or Monday…early even! WTF. That’s crazy. I was so sure I wouldn’t be able to finish it.

Well, I’m not done yet, so knock on wood. I need to finish copyediting the final bits on Part 3 in the next two days…then I’ll focus on the quilt and get Part 4 and the Bibliography done next week. I do also have a bunch of school stuff I need to do, like record us/me/my partner reading a whole chapter of a book without mispronouncing anything or (and this is harder) swearing. Oh yeah. That should be interesting. And do I have any idea what I’m working on next? Fuck no. That conversation can happen in my head later, like on the weekend. When there’s space for it.

Ah yes. Kitten shapes. They’re so weird and abstract.

OK. Back to it. Another grind it out day.

I Roll on Chaos

Ah busy times here in the Nida household. It seems I will never have a quiet and simple and organized start to the school year, because well, that’s just the way it is. First of all, I gave birth to the girlchild right before school started, so if she’s home for that, it causes crazy chaos of feeding people and weird schedules and lots of grocery shopping plus trips to the mountains. And then because they put summer school in my room and THEN needed to clean the floors, I can’t get into my classroom (maybe today? hopefully definitely tomorrow or I’m significantly fucked). Plus a copyediting job, a quilt deadline, and an embroidery deadline. I’m fucked. OK. Not fucked. Just busy. And not quiet, simple, or organized. My head is full of to-do fluff. You know when you can’t pick one thing to do because there are too many? I just turn around in circles.

I’ve been copyediting a little a day. It’s hard to concentrate, staring at a computer screen, for that long. But I do it. That’s how I’m going to get the trees trimmed. I’ve also been ironing a little a day. That’s how I’m going to get this quilt done in 15 days. Oh my. 15 days with school starting. Ha. Ha. Crying a little here.

We picked girlchild up from the airport on Saturday night. The dogs were very excited to see her…

She has a friend from school staying here too, so she was gone most of yesterday. I copyedited for a good chunk of the day, but that meant I needed to get out and do stuff…physical stuff. We are down to one dog who can go on long walks, and it’s the little fluffy one.

He’s not the best walker in the world. He gets tired. Then he’s faster on the way back. At one point, the boychild had to carry him because he refused to go on.

Lame. Then again, we were really walking ME, not the dog.

Rattlesnake shed skin caught in a plant.

We saw snake markings across the road at one point too.

This egg…

Those curlicue seeds too…you can see them in this picture. They’re such a pain to get out of Simba’s fur.

We wandered across here to a different viewpoint to see if last week’s fire location was visible.

We’ve had a bunch of small fires locally lately. Fire danger is pretty huge this year after last year’s rain. October is usually the worst month for it though.

There’s the bushwhacking pup.

He does pretty well for a pretty, fluffy boy.

It’s nice to get out. It’s not too hot right now. Knock on wood, because it will be. Like tomorrow.

California horned toad/lizard…a little one…

They’re really hard to see. We only caught sight of him because he ran in front of us.

I did this after dinner. Slow. I’m planning to get a bunch done at the mountains, I hope.

I might need to take her to the professional development stuff on Friday.

My ironing partner…she’s not very good at it. She was running in her sleep.

I feel well guarded.

Then ironing. This is kind of a pain in the ass. I mean, it makes sense to do the whole background before I do the figure on top. Hopefully it all fits…

It seems to be working…although I’m already missing one of the misnumbered pieces.

This is where I stopped at 12:15 last night.

I have a little of the background left to do above this…I have to decide whether to move the stuff that’s already ironed down so I can fit the sheet under the top part, or whether to add another piece up there. That’s probably easier. This is still in the fussy stage.

And I’m not even halfway done. It’s OK. Really. Except I want to be done with the ironing before I leave for Arrowhead. So I’m fucked. NO I’M NOT. I CAN DO THIS.

This is the crazy that is the totally fucked-up badly numbered 300s. There’s some serious crazy in here. I laid them all out. It’s the figure in that space and then the beginning of the other side.

Although I’m pretty sure the arms for this figure are all 400s because I forgot to number them. Duh. OK. Well. Later today. I’m debating the gym. I need to go find creme fraiche. (WordPress, dude, I did spell that right. I just left off the symbols.) I need to copyedit. And tonight is birthday dinner…so that’ll be a little extra chaos in the day. I roll on chaos though.

Oh yeah, I picked up the cards for the show I’m in that opens in September. My piece is on the card, which is always cool.

It’s at Sophie’s Kensington Gallery…I’ll be at the opening. This is the one on Adams Avenue.

Oh yeah, the house above me is for sale again. Three years we dealt with Mr. Cigar Smoke, who was the arrogant son of the previous owner, and their letting Tilly, the dog, down to shit on our property. Long story. They didn’t do much to the inside, but are putting it on the market for an additional $300K. Wow. But this drone photo cracks me up…

Wanna know where my house is? See all those trees on the right with a hint of a pool? Yeah. That’s me. Shade. It’s a wonderful thing in the summer. I guess he gave up on trimming my trees. I hope the new neighbors don’t have three small children (we already have that on the other side…it’s a little loud sometimes), don’t smoke (ugh. That’s been annoying), don’t throw loud parties, or what did the Man say, don’t have country band practices twice a week. Yeah. I’m pretty quiet, I think. We’ll see. It’s not really a family-friendly house as it is. Oh yeah, construction. Can we avoid that for a while too? Seriously, they built one house down below, and then did major remodels on two other houses on this private road that only has 10 houses. Like tile saws and hammering and jackhammering. I could do without all of that. I’m a really ornery neighbor apparently. Not really. I don’t go out and yell at them. So there’s that.

Anyway. The young women have left for the beach, so I need to make a decision. Gym now? Gym later? Copyedit first? I haven’t eaten. I should finish Part 2’s first readthrough. Then go. It’ll be good.

Scone Bits…

Note: officially almond flour does not work in this scone recipe, unless I fuss with proportions and add some regular flour in or something that is chemically more similar so I don’t get whatever it is that is currently on my plate that I am eating anyway because there are nutrients in there and I need those and can’t be bothered to cook something else plus my grandma lived through the Depression so it’s hard to throw away Perfectly Good Food. I am eating a rather nutty but overly moist flat biscuitcake. Some culture probably eats these all the time. It’s not bad. But it’s not good.

There are seven more of these in my freezer. I can mail you one.

So yesterday was a mess. I’m not sure why. I did a lot of things, but none very competently, I feel. Well. We walked. That was good. I liked that. And I took care of some business things. Also good. This was Kitten yesterday while I was writing the blog for the second time.

That’s right, I slept in yesterday. It was delightful. I did not sleep in today. Today I have to be at school in about 40 minutes. It’s OK. My bag and lunch are packed. I just need to finish this and my tea, make more tea, debate how to make tea there (I can’t get into my own classroom where we have a tea kettle), pack things with which to make tea there, oh yeah and brush my teeth. It’ll be fine.

After the chiropractor, we took the nephew to Crestridge and walked…

It was warm but breezy.

He talked the ENTIRE time. I thought this was the quiet one. Ha!

He’s amusing. We took my parents’ dog. Calli still can’t walk that far.

We saw one good-sized coyote and a few people. But mostly not.

I wrote a blogpost for one of my art groups when we got home, while I was waiting for the boychild to make dinner. Looks good, eh?

He is useful. And he’s currently cooking one of the other scones, so now there are only SIX left for me to mail to you. Maybe he’ll like their nutty failure.

Then I cut stuff out for another 2 1/2-plus hours.

The box on the bottom is what’s left. It doesn’t look like much, but there are a lot of little pieces in those flesh colors. Some of them I’ll leave until I’m ready to iron everything together.

So thinking about this quilt, I think I can finish cutting everything out tonight. Then sort tomorrow morning. I also have a ton of copyediting and cleaning to do tomorrow…but I’m hoping by Friday night to be ironing the quilt together. I can only copyedit for so long before my brain fries, so some of that and some of this. Continue on Saturday, although I need to go to the gym Friday or Saturday as well. Friday morning, I’m thinking. Girlchild comes home Saturday afternoon, so the odds of my getting anything done Saturday night are low, but I have Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Ironing this quilt together will probably take close to 15 hours, I’m thinking. Can I do that in four days with copyediting and everything else? EHHH? I don’t know. Wednesday I leave for Arrowhead, back Thursday, at school for real on Friday. Maybe get to stitch down on Friday night? Miraculously? It’s going to be tight with school starting. I don’t know if I can finish it. Quilting next week…binding on, then see if my photographer can take it when? Because he works full time now. Sigh. I should ask him about his timing now. Maybe after the weekend, when I have a better idea of where I’m at. OK. A plan. Sort of. Kind of a sucky one. With that, I need to go brush my teeth. Scone bits. Bleck.

Don’t Worry About the Extra Piece of Chicken

OK, I wrote an entire blogpost that WordPress deleted. Asshole. I don’t have time for this.

I think the cat is annoyed when I’m copyediting. She’s not half as annoyed as I am that she won’t keep her head off the keyboard.

That isn’t a bad position…it’s the current one, where she’s batting at my hand on the mouse and using the number keys as a pillow that I object to. Yesterday she eventually gave up, probably because I was playing loud music and the speaker was vibrating her butt, and went and laid in the blue fabric drawer that she prefers.

Heat rises, cats go low.

I’m panicking. Too much going on. Too many details to remember. I can’t even remember to write them all down. I even just messaged my prescription service to tell them NOT to call me to tell me I need a refill. They already emailed me, and the phone message just says I need to call, not why. So then I call and yell at the computer message because I KNOW YOU FUCKER. I don’t need the system to second guess me. I should be able to turn those off online, but no. I can’t. I can stop email spam from a company, but not phone spam from my own health insurance. Like spend less money on those phone calls and more on discounting my meds, you assholes.

OK. It’s gonna be fine. But I’m copyediting this manuscript, and I’m not even halfway, which is fine, but it makes me second guess everything I did last year. At the beginning of the year, teachers are all like making new resolutions to be amazing and build awesome relationships and conquer the pile of grading and be oh so efficient, and then we get to about January and we’re crying in the prep room because there’s this one kid who sucks and we’ve tried everything and grading sucks and everything sucks and by the end of the year, we’ve written off that kid. And sometimes that kid will grow up and still fail, but sometimes they figure their shit out and come back and tell me about straight As and a full ride to UCLA or even just that they’re a journeyman electrician and married to this awesome woman who appreciates that I taught him about birth control and I remember that I don’t really suck as a teacher. It’s a lovely ride.

I gave Calli a stick yesterday during the copyediting. She likes sticks. She also likes walks, the swimming pool, and pine cones. I think long walks are out of the picture for her future, unfortunately.

Later today, we’ll take the little dog and my parents’ dog, along with the nephew, for a nice long walk. I need that.

I picked colors for this.

And I decided where they should go…

I didn’t decide on some because I was worried I’d run out of certain colors of thread. I’ll decide later. Plus that cloud. Sigh. I need 6 colors. I also traced it on the fabric, so it’s ready for me to work on. When I have time.

And I cut more stuff out. I’m at about 5 1/2 hours…

I’m not sure that pile on top looks like 4 1/2 hours. I don’t know. Tonight anyway. I won’t finish, obviously.

I’m experimenting with some new food things. This is a sconecake. It wasn’t meant to be a scone cake. It should not be so flat. I used almond flour, which is lower carb than regular flour. However, it’s higher in fat…which isn’t a plus.

We’ll see if the frozen ones behave better. So many food things I’m trying to work through. They’re not all logical. It actually doesn’t always make sense to do the low-carb thing, and gluten-free or paleo doesn’t always work for diabetics either. It’s not just wheat that’s the problem. Plus I hate sweet potatoes…so it’s fine that they’re low carb, because I’m still not gonna eat them. Blech. Same with peanut butter. I’m still on the fence about almond flour.

OK, so tomorrow I’m working on school stuff all day at school with my team. Today, I’m copyediting like a speedy beast, then walking with the peeps. Then cutting stuff out. Trying not to stress too much. Right now though? Right now I need more deep breaths. The title? One more thing I need to deal with. Later. It’ll be fine.

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

Permission…

‘Twas a busy day yesterday. This notion of giving permission for creative exploration and play…it should be much more prevalent than it is. I realize I rarely do this…give myself time to learn something new creatively. I have to do it all the time for school, even when I’m not interested at all, but I don’t put time in my schedule for my own creativity. Now some of you are going, Nida, you draw/quilt/art all the time. WTF are you talking about? I do make art all the time, but so often I am drawing to a purpose or I’m in the process of making the quilt and there’s no PLAY. The process I use to make quilts is pretty controlled…fabric choice and the drawing are the most free, but even those are not stepping out of the boundaries of what I already know. And that stuff is hard to pop into the schedule.

Hence the paper/embroidery class I’m taking…it’s a way to play in a method I don’t usually use. It’s also in Liberty Station, which is a long and bitchy drive from my house. I’m pretty sure this woman and I have selfied before…

But that’s OK. She hasn’t changed. But it reminds me…I needed to send a headshot for something this week, and I hate those…but I like this one.

You should see the one I have in my prep room at school. Scares the crap out of any kid who sees it.

So I’m taking Paper, Thread, Story with Bhavna Mehta, who is an amazing paper and embroidery artist who I’ve known for a while…she’s in an art group with me. We started by embroidering on some postcards…recognize Georgia O’Keeffe?

Embroidering on paper takes more thought than embroidering on thread. You need holes. I messed around all day, basically…what could be better?

I just wanted to try a bunch of things. Here’s some of the samples…

Although there were a lot more later…ah yes, now we have a hand.

It’s funny…when I first started drawing stuff in ink, like my own stuff, in high school, I used a technique that looked like this, but the cut parts were black ink.

A day of play. In something I don’t usually do. OK, papercutting has never been my thing. It was fun, though. Today I go back and we’ll do a collaborative project. We are each picking a body part. Before you even ask, someone has already chosen the uterus. Sigh. OK. Well. I can do lots of things.

In the evening, I had my 2nd to last meeting with my friend who is moving. After some chaos, we found the Starbucks where SHE was, and I stitched.

I’m only doing one more of these for a pattern. So far. Trying to decide what to do. This one is getting closer to done.

The meeting was fine most of the time. Some weirdness from religious folks about people who don’t believe in God and how religious people could never harm anyone (um. OK. I really had to force myself NOT to say anything…but I knew I would never see that woman again so I was fine. Well, not fine because it’s still bugging me this morning.).

And I finished the drawing…this took about 5 1/2 hours.

It’s big. IDK how big. But big.

So I numbered it…

My goal was large and detailed, but not horribly so, because it needs to be finished soon enough and the copyediting job I knew was coming in August is actually coming early. Like this weekend.

So I have 100,000 words to copyedit, a quilt to finish, school to prep for, and all the to-do list to finish before the world ends. Hey. 727 pieces isn’t too bad.

I really like this quilt. I’m glad to be making it. If I don’t get it done in time, it will still be a great quilt.

And this…

Was in my wallet. I used it to buy tea. I did not go on YouTube.

OK, traffic is piling up as I type. Must leave. More later…although this weekend will be a challenge for that. We’ll see.

Needing the Art…

Well I worked a lot this weekend. I got a lot done. It never feels like enough, because there is always more, but it was a good two days. Until your SIL asks what you did all weekend, and all you can say is “graded shit.” Well. It needed to be done. The next few weeks are busy…more for my date-night companion than for me, but mine will translate into more grades (progress reports are due next week) and hopefully artmaking. I carved out time yesterday for a significant chunk of that. At some point, I’ve done enough grading and I need to do something else.

One thing we did (well, the boychild did) was replace the wireless card in my computer, trying to solve the internet problem in here.

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Spiders had been in there. Weird. The plus is that when I have internet, it is now much faster. The minus is that I am still losing the internet…but only on the computer. The laptop and other devices work fine in here. Sigh. So that’s still a problem that needs solving.

I did do some work in the morning, schoolwork, but after 8 or so hours on Saturday of that, I wasn’t giving up the rest of the day. I started ironing around 4:30 PM…

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This one shouldn’t take long…

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I took a break to make this week’s lunches and start dinner prep. It was group cook night…make your own damn pizza. Although I did the dough prep.

So during dinner’s TV watching hour, I did more of these. I didn’t get much done last week on this.

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I think I still have 7 of them left. SLOOOWWW. I remember predicting the end of July. Maybe the end of September? That’s a little less than a week away. I only work on it when we’re both home and eat together, so last week, I think that was one night? Maybe 2?

Anyway, after that, it was back to the ironing. These are all the 100s, in stacks by 10s.

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I started by ironing the fruit and the fruit bowl separate and then putting them where they belong…

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Then working on the legs…back hip and roots first, then back foot…

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Simba was with me for a while…

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Here’s the whole front leg done…

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And then the heart and starting on the front arm.

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The bird and nest are done, but I quit before ironing all the leaves on. It was just about midnight at that point.

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And I would have had to lay out all the 300s and cut out a lot of the leaves (they’re small) before being able to iron them down. I do try to head to bed around midnight. So I ironed for 3 1/2 hours and I’m more than halfway done. I won’t get that much time tonight, but I will get some. We’ll see how well I do, but I would hope to be stitching down by Wednesday or so. I don’t have any night meetings this week until Friday, so that’s a plus. I do need to grade a lot still though…hopefully mostly at school. We’ll see.

I did not get the copyediting job, so that’s actually kind of a plus. He wasn’t the most accurate guy when it came to communication. Turns out he wasn’t just ignoring me for days…he was getting other quotes, which I don’t mind…but TELL me you received my bid and then TELL me why you aren’t answering. Geez. Professionalism. Meanwhile, I have students begging me to grade their late work (I do that once a week and I did it Sunday morning) and demanding that I change their grade because I didn’t tell them about the back page (I did) and kids losing their science folders in their backpacks (yikes!). Sigh. This job carries a significant amount of frustration, true. That’s why I love (and need) the art so much. Hell, I’d need the art no matter what I did for a living.