I Like to Color…

Another early morning. The parent didn’t show yesterday. I got an angry parent email this morning. Yesterday I called a parent and now I will be meeting with them after school with their kid so I can explain all the stuff that’s in the email we send out and that she gets, but she needs to see it (I’m actually totally OK with that one…it’s just the timing that’s rough). The meeting today is with the principal, so as long as he shows up mostly on time (he’s got littles), I’m good. At some point, we need to finalize the field trip stuff today…yesterday at 9:00 PM or so the texts started, trying to get groups fixed and wondering how we aren’t gonna end up burning the whole zoo down and letting all the animals go. I think I know which chaperoned group will do that too. They’ll have my phone number. Minor issue. I can almost guarantee one of the teachers will be making their group race across the zoo to grab that one kid who can’t deal. It’s possible all of us will.

But it’s the zoo! And outside. And not in school. So tomorrow should be cool. Once the buses leave school, a sense of relief hits and you know you can get through the rest.

Until then, things are tense. I have a good team. They help. I need another brain, but that’s not a team thing.

Here’s the current unit cover page in process…

I need to color it today. Plus the other thing we did yesterday. Lots of coloring at the moment. I like to color.

Yesterday after school, I went to a neighborhood gathering…the house above me finally sold (again). They’re retiring to Mexico and a young family with a baby is moving in. So we’re surrounded by screaming. The boychild and I will respond with music and whatever else keeps us sane. We’ve said all along that house is not kid friendly…and I wonder how a young family affords it, but I guess I was a young family here 21 years ago when we moved in. That makes three families with kids…as they get older, maybe they’ll be able to dog-sit. You never know. My neighbors call me an enigma because they never see me. I imagine they are all talking amongst themselves at tea parties and cocktail parties while I work into the late hours. Plus I don’t garden much.

Anyway, it’s change. No more cigars! I hope. That smell. Ugh.

OK, so after all that, I graded the rest of an assignment (grades are due again in less than two weeks) and then cut out the last of this…

FINALLY. I’m so frustrated with the lack of progress on this. But it’s OK. It’ll be fine. It probably won’t be done until Christmas. It’s not the end of the world. It took almost 12 hours to cut out all the pieces. I started on November 26 and finished last night. I really wanted to be done the week of Thanksgiving, plus have the whole thing ironed together that week. HA! Oh so funny. I will sort pieces tonight and hopefully start ironing it together. Friday night is questionable for that…got an artist talk plus it’s our anniversary of meeting each other, me and the man, so we’re going to celebrate that. Then his holiday work party is Saturday. I’m hoping to get some ironing in on Saturday anyway, but there is still a major assignment looming over me. Sunday has us moving a tree (don’t ask). Next weekend, we’re in Portland. Strange timing…but it’ll be fine.

There was lots of kitten activity last night…Nova is totally about to attack Luna’s tail…

They play really well together…

And then we had Luna sleeping on Simba…lots of belly rubs for Simba so he didn’t freak out.

We had a cat, Midnight, who he just loved, so we’re hoping he can love these cats too.

Calli is bigger and clumsier…but she also sleeps a lot, so she’s been walked on a bit…and sniffed.

She’s still pretty scary though…which is funny, because she doesn’t really care about cats. She is a little bit frightened of their sharp bits, I think.

You have to watch where you sit, walk, stand, step, and lie down right now. There are kittens everywhere.

Anyway. They’re nice. Although we all have stab wounds at the moment, mostly from Luna. Kitten still hasn’t really warmed up to them…although they mostly stay in one half of the house and she mostly stays in the other half.

OK. Meeting. Need to make lunch. Need to figure out all the pieces for tomorrow. I know I’ve forgotten something. Need to take deep breaths. Need to make art at the end of it.

Wet Morning…

The rain is back. It woke me up at 3:42 AM. I don’t do noise well. Eventually I incorporated it into my dreams, though, and I slept again. I’m up early for a totally pointless meeting. Ah, the frustration. I did draw a bunch yesterday. Do I have any of it here to show you? Um. No. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll post it. It’s all school-related anyway. You can kind of track my moods based on the Unit drawings I do. Simple? Complicated? The latter is when I need the brain dump. I was explaining it to one class as Brain Vomit, and there’s this one girl in the back, nodding her head vehemently in the back, OH YEAH MS NIDA. TOTALLY. Those are my people.

My school is doing this Elf on a Shelf contest. I am not really a holiday festivities person. I wanted to set fire to him, but my co-teacher stopped me.

We had chemicals on fire next to him. OK, she couldn’t really stop my setting him on fire. I just had had enough of the toxic chemical smell by then. That face. Sigh. Seriously though…please don’t make me sit through another holiday ‘party’ where I’m assigned a group. Sigh.

More things dropped on my plate last night. It’s that time of year…last-minute emails about this event, last-minute texts about can you stop by? You offer to bring food because it’s the right thing to do, and then you’re going into a store 10 minutes before it closes and trying to find something that fits what they asked for (dude, don’t volunteer.). Sigh. There’s a lot of sighing going on right now.

After I finished drawing the worksheet for tomorrow (yes, there is seriously something wrong with me…), I cut some more stuff out. I am so close to done, but I knew I had an early meeting today and it was almost midnight…

It was after midnight once I found the second kitten to put them to bed. They are excited about the tree coming inside…

This is my live tree. It graduated to the hearth from living on the desk for the month of December…two years on the desk and it was too tall. Next year, it’ll have to be on the floor…then the entryway? Maybe? Higher ceiling. Then we’ll plant it. Then start over.

My Kitten also likes the tree, although she’s not sure about its vicinity to small kittens. Luna viciously attacked this Kleenex (and everybody’s hands). You can see Nova in the background…

She’s not quite as attacky.

Finish cutting out tonight. Sort. Start ironing? Maybe Thursday. We’ll see. It’s a busy weekend too. Maybe I won’t get two done by the end of January. Hmmm.

Oh yeah, I got into the Southern California Contemporary Quilts exhibit that will be at the Oceanside Museum of Art, opening May 9…

This is So Cal Mama. She’ll be there through the summer.

OK, off to school in the rain. To the pointless meeting. Then to make children think about what the Earth is made of. All good. More drawing.

You Do You, Boo…

Happy Turkey Day to anyone who needs it or wants it. If you’re good being thankful for something (like the fact that the turkey made it in the oven without hitting the floor, or that it’s not raining YET), then do that. If it feels like a burden, for fuck’s sake, don’t take on other people’s guilt about gratitude. It doesn’t have to be today. It can be tomorrow, when everyone is gone. I personally am in extreme introvert mode and really not in the mood for people, but y’all know that doesn’t matter today. Stitching helps me deal with that too, but that’s not a thing today either. My parents are snowed in (probably temporarily) in the mountains, my son is going to his dad’s with some pie he made and a jalapeno, my daughter is in Boston doing a Friendsgiving with her bestie, and I will be off to the man’s family gathering after pilates and pulling MY turkey out of the oven.

Yes. This is MY turkey.

Every year, I go to everybody’s else’s party and then I can’t have turkey sandwiches. So I buy a little turkey and I cook it, and I freeze the meat in batches so I can have turkey sandwiches basically until Christmas. It’s a little crazy, but it makes me happy. No, I don’t get sick of them. Honestly, as a diabetic, it’s easier for me to eat something similar every day for my blood sugar. I don’t do it for dinner, but I do for breakfast and lunch. Less thinking is better, as I’m realizing over break, when I just plain old forget to eat and then my blood sugar crashes every damn day. Sigh. Notes for retirement.

Anyway, so that’s in the oven and I need to leave for pilates in about 30 minutes. I’ll have time to shower, pull the turkey out, and then probably will have to leave before I can pull it apart. Oh well. I should have done it yesterday, but I got waylaid. Sort of. In a good way.

I did go to the gym, where I did NOT finish the book that was due to the library in 5 hours, so they sucked it back up and sent it to the next person, who is probably also in my book club, waiting to read the second book in the series.

Then I realized I had 4 other books out from the library. I knew about one, maybe two? So there’s plenty of reading to do in the next two weeks…none of them the actual book club book. Minor issue.

My quilting friend who moved to Portland was supposed to call on Monday (call? Well, we Facebook Messenger video each other) and spaced out, so we decided yesterday was the day…with kitten assist…

She was trying to sew a Burda pattern (my friend, not the kitten), which if you know anything about sewing, you know it’s a pain in the ass, so she sent me photos of the instructions and I talked her past all the mistakes she was gonna make. Seriously, I made a Burda dress once…ONCE…so that makes me an expert.

It started raining and it was cold, so all the furry beasts eventually came and hung out with us.

I spent 3 hours cutting out the newest quilt…

Hmmm…not so helpful…

This one was pretty sleepy…

Until like 11 PM, when he wanted to play.

Yes, we talked for 3 hours. Our normal meeting was 2 hours, so it wasn’t so weird.

I took a break after cutting a bunch of stuff out and we (the actual humans in the house) all made pizzas for dinner. Then back to cutting. Should I have graded shit then? Of course I should have. Oh well.

This was better for my brain certainly. Being pissed off at my job is a constant occurrence, and the best thing to do is ignore its existence occasionally.

That kitten will not fit in a thread drawer forever.

Just to be clear, she climbed in from the back. Open drawer. There is cat.

They might have real names now. We went through the Greek gods, the Norse gods and all their flunkies, the female superhero collection, and names of space things. The hardest part was coming up with TWO that were OK and kinda went together.

I’ll wait for confirmation before I announce.

This is Simba. He came with his name.

And he ignores it all the time.

I just kept cutting stuff out. This is 6 hours in…

There’s still an awful lot left to go. There goes my dream of being ironed together before we go to the mountains. Although we may not be able to go…there was a lot more snow yesterday than they thought. Some of yesterday’s crew did not make it up the mountain. Today there is supposed to be more. So we will see.

Trying to get kittens and puppy to get along. Seems to be working. Nobody is hissing in this photo…

Yet.

OK, enjoy your day. Eat healthy. Or not. It’s one day. It won’t kill anyone. Well, except for some diabetics, I guess. I’m hoping for regulated blood sugar, but also some quiet time to finish stuff and maybe a movie with the man. Here. At home. No shopping. None of that crazy shit. You do you, boo. I know what I can handle. And it’s not much. Love to my fam far and wide.

That One Is for Me…

Ugh. OK. Pros! No 12-year-olds to be seen for miles around. I’m still in my pajamas! The sun is shining on me (but the storm is coming, so enjoy the fuck out of that, because you won’t see it again until maybe Saturday). There are kittens in the house and they are fun to hang out with. There’s a turkey brining in the fridge JUST FOR ME. Yes, I make myself a turkey every year so I can eat turkey sandwiches for three weeks straight in December. It’s weird, I know, but I like it. I earned $50 yesterday doing some research thing for WordPress. Also weird, I know, but they caught me at a weak moment and I’m pretty good at that stuff.

Not-so-pros or -cons: I should go to the gym. I have time and I have a book to read that is probably going to be sucked back to the library tonight, so I really should just go to the gym and read the whole book. I could. I don’t feel like going to the gym though. I need to figure out when to actually COOK this turkey…because I’m supposed to cook dinner too, and I can’t do that in the middle of turkey cooking. But that means looking up times and I think I already threw out the weight thing on the turkey, that was stupid, and I’m feeling tired and not motivated to do anything. My phone is ringing and I don’t recognize the number. I’m tired. Wait, that’s a con I think.

Cons: I only got halfway through grading the kid videos last night. There are 66 of them. I did 34 of them. And you know what? They’re kinda boring and sometimes just plain irritating because we even did a video telling them what to do and they still ignored half of what we said and just did what they wanted. And I suspect they’ve been doing that for a long time, because every assignment is like that. I had two videos where one kid is whispering what to say to the other kid(s) and I’m like, um, so that won’t work in your day job. I love that you want to help, but that kid is flaking and maybe you need to kick them out of the group or have a talk with them outside of the video about what they need to say. Because that kid doesn’t deserve the points. And I remember last year when the kids are like, why did my partner get a higher score than I did and it’s because of that. In the video, you got some extra points because one kid was awesome, but on paper, not so much.

So I have 32 videos to watch today. Ugh. This is how I did it yesterday. Headphones on (until I had to move to the desktop because the internet was being cranky), stitching going…

It’s easy to do this and watch because it keeps my brain occupied. I guess I could have been cutting pieces out for the quilt as well. I forgot about that until later. This was about an hour and a half…but I finished the lion…

Just the bird left and then I’m done with September. It really has not been a good year for working on this quilt…I was reading my blog from a year ago and I was on the August blocks. Plus sewing down the wool for October, which I still haven’t started. I wish at family gatherings that I could sit and stitch, but it seems rude. My co-attender tells me it’s rude. He’s more sociable than I am. I can still talk. It relaxes me. Family gatherings don’t.

Anyway. I need to watch those videos and start grading the packets themselves. They need to be done before we go back to school. I need to grade the CER essay too, but that just hurts my brain. We’re supposed to go to Arrowhead on Friday, but the weather might keep us home. We’ll see. Driving in snow makes me nervous. Reading through past years of November blogposts…I am always doing this: making lasagne (I did that Monday and froze three meals for December), making a turkey, going to family stuff, grading a ton of crap, and somewhere in the process of making a quilt. There’s usually a hike in there (we did that Monday because we knew weather was coming). There’s often a last-minute trip to the grocery store (I went yesterday, but I’m out of one thing I need, dammit, no desire to go there today ffs). My eyelids are often twitching (last year, it was the left one…this year, it is the right one). It’s not my favorite week. Shocking.

So pet more kittens…

Go to the gym because it will make you feel better.

Ouch. Those claws are sharp.

Figure out the turkey stuff…timing and all. I found the tag in the trash, so I know how much it weighs now.

Awww. Sleepy kittens.

They slept a lot yesterday. Like 5 hours straight. Like they’re babies. They were pretty active the day before.

And then cut this thing out. Because you can. Although IDK what I’m going to binge watch now…I finished The Crown

Whatever. It probably doesn’t matter. OK. I have a plan. Turkey. Gym. Videos (from hell). Cutting stuff out while watching and after. Stern talking to with eyelid. Knock it off! This is what it is, this week. It could be better, but I probably should have started earlier on a relaxation plan. Two pilates classes, a hike, and a trip to the gym will help…so will being done with grading. And ironing the quilt together. Still on my to-do list.

Hope all your holiday making plans are going well. I want apple pie this year. I might make my own. May there be lots of artmaking as well. That one is for me.

Not a Waste…

I’m always a little discombobulated at the beginning of a new trimester. I had my head down and was grading like crazy, and now I can relax a little. Only a little. The stuff I have to grade right now isn’t very portable. I do want it done before next week, but I don’t think it will be. Not based on yesterday…needy kids who can’t work independently. “Miss, there’s no websites on turtles in San Diego County.” “There are 14 million websites…see that number right there? Have you considered scrolling down?” They would totally scroll down if they were looking for game hacks or videos of their fave person. Two kids yesterday: “This is boring.” Ah youth. I told both of them, “You’re boring. Go find out something new.” The need for entertainment is constant.

So. Trimester 2 has started. I’m up early because I agreed to something crazy. As usual. Hopefully it won’t be too bad. I wasn’t expecting multiple meetings over it. Ugh. Oh well. Stop volunteering! I didn’t actually volunteer. I was sideswiped. Plus there will be politicians involved. I’m intrigued by that.

Yesterday, after school, I kamikazed to an educational professional development meeting on special education and the law. It’s funny…I’ve been a union rep for 15 or 16 years, and I never feel like I know anything, but as I’m sitting through this info session, I’m thinking, I already know that. I do know stuff. I just don’t know ALL the stuff. I will probably never know ALL the stuff. I’m OK with that. I’m OK with knowing a goodly chunk of the stuff. The meeting ran late though and I was tired of listening to the Question and Answer section, which turned into a Complain and There’s No Answer to That section. There are laws and there are people and there is no funding for the laws (yo, politicians…give us the money to DO what you say we should do), which makes it all very frustrating. Also, the instructor paints a picture of a Special Ed department that is very different from the one I’ve experienced recently. Which is also frustrating.

I came home. I did some school stuff, just because I needed to. I actually made a worksheet and started a table of contents for the next unit while I was at the meeting. I can’t just sit and listen at that hour. I’m too tired. I’ll fall asleep. I need to engage other parts of my brain to keep me awake. I remember that when I’m planning instruction, but I’m not sure how to get around it when I can’t even get a kid to pick up a pencil some days. Let alone to read and think about what they’re reading. Independent learning? Yeah right. And maybe someone could let me know when I’m getting new kids in my class? Like especially when they’re transferring from an existing class on campus. Did I miss an email? I might have. Some woman at pilates on Monday was complaining that she had been gone from work for two weeks and had 290 emails to go through. I’m like, that’s it? Sheesh. That’s a week’s worth, maybe. At certain times of the year, that’s a few days.

Yesterday, while writing the blog…well, resizing photos anyway.

Weird. Reminds me…I have some blogposts I need to write for the art group I’m in. Time! I need time. Always.

I spent about an hour cutting another yard of pieces out…with furry butt involvement.

Apparently she heard my car come up when I got home and ran for the front door to see me, but then ran away when I opened it. The reality of me was too scary. She’s a scaredy cat. We were talking about fostering kittens last night. We’ve asked her. Who knows what she thinks. We do know she’s a lot more playful and visible right now than she has been for years. That’s something. She might like kittens. Who knows?

OK, another long meeting today. I’ll be planning shit for December and maybe January while taking notes. Otherwise I’ll fall asleep. I do have my sketchbook as well. I used to draw during union meetings, but then I had too much work to do to waste that time. WASTE. Not a waste. Sigh. I WANT TO DRAW. Maybe you should just draw then.

When I get home, I’ll be able to cut out the next and last yard of Wonder Under, maybe even sort the pieces, if I can stand up for that long. Wait. That means I’ll be ironing pieces to fabric this weekend. Ooohh. I like that. Nice.

Can’t Dig Out

Well, brain, thank you. I appreciate your dreaming about grading. Because it’s not enough that I have to DO the grading when I’m awake and WORRY about it when I’m doing other things that don’t seem as important…you need to make me stress over it in my dreams. Nightmares? Perhaps. I’m currently listening to a podcast about daily, weekly, and monthly lists to get shit done too…something I actually do. It doesn’t tell me how to get done the stuff I don’t have time for and don’t want to do. It’s OK. Well, actually, she says that if it stays on the list long enough, you probably don’t need to do it. That’s an interesting thought. I can roll with that. It probably explains a lot of things around here.

I’m really tired this week. I’ve even been going to bed about 30 minutes earlier every night. Getting up early yesterday was annoying because then the parent didn’t show up. So now we’re rescheduled for next week. Great. Fun. Thanks.

I’m a little worried about today and Monday’s assignment. Our kids are not the best at getting stuff done. I’m thinking of a card on Monday that they have to complete as a table…with maybe three questions on it. I didn’t even finish the video yesterday. Sigh. Haven’t finished grading the units…almost! Haven’t graded last week’s homework and today they’re turning in more. I’m gonna panic soon. (see why the brain is dreaming like that?)

OK, it’ll be fine. The podcast just used the phrase “can’t dig out” to describe October. Oh yeah, baby. That’s it. Totally.

I made it to the second opening of the Metamorphosis show last night, but only part of me because I was so tired. There were fewer people there, so I got to see the work better. It was nice. My friend took this picture…

Where I look as tired as I feel. Seriously.

At some point, I’ll post the whole show. I’m not sure when.

I came home, ate late, finished some art stuff, answered an email, and then took the extra 57 minutes to finish cutting pieces out.

It took a total of 14 hours and 41 minutes to cut all the pieces out…and another 47 minutes to sort them all into 100s…

Yes, I did that after 11 PM at night. Hence the tea. But it’s done, so when I’m finished working tonight, I can iron. Well, the room is a mess, but I think it won’t take long to get it all cleaned up. I’m looking forward to this stage. Plus I need to make a video for this weekend. Maybe I should have done some stuff at all the openings I’ve been at…oh well. Brain is not good right now. Hence the need for to-do lists that keep track of my brain.

Tomorrow I drive to LA…kamikaze trip to see my cousin. Then back for grading and ironing. Maybe a date night in the middle of all that.

Kitten was out and friendly last night…no dogs. It’s nice to see her out. OK, school. Apparently I need to grade. My brain says so.

The Trees Will Bend*

I got up this morning and both Kitten and I were looking around for Satch. Hard for the non-awake brain to remember shit…like where I put my phone and the fact that a cat died. Sigh. Kitten…it’s hard to explain it to her. She’s been coming out more, but she’s still super cautious, looking for him around the corners.

I’m up early for a parent meeting…plus I need to get my class in order for today. We’ll have two teachers out on our team, plus my science co-worker is out, so there’s some chaos on campus. Yesterday had a bit of that as well, the day after the mood-checking lesson, some people (mostly 12-year-olds) had forgotten how to behave. This is a hard year for behavior, certainly. It’s just nonstop. And parents don’t seem to be helping.

Tonight is the full opening for Metamorphosis, the Mingei/Allied Craftsmen exhibit at City College downtown. I’ll be going down with one of the other artists, hopefully to see a bit more of the exhibit. Maybe I’ll get a picture of me with my art! Hopefully to see all the students in there too. It does make for a long day, though. Yesterday was a union meeting, plus the gym. I really enjoyed having time for exercise and reading my book, plus I posted a few things students had done on my teacher Insta account in between weight machines. I’ve been lax with that. And I haven’t been able to figure out how to link it to the correct Twitter account. There should be an easier way. There doesn’t seem to be, though. Technology…making an intrusive mess since 1990. Or so.

I was hoping to get the cutting done last night, but I had guessed that pile had more pieces in it than it looked like it had, and I was right…

He did sit by me for a little while. He’s fussy about couch sitting. But you can see why it took longer…them’s some fussy little pieces.

This is after two hours. The pile on the right is all that’s left…

But it’s probably another hour. Maybe less. So tonight. And then I’ll sort them. Does that mean I could be ironing Friday night? It does. That’s nice. Because I’m running out of time. Sound familiar? Yeah. I know. Every time. Iron it together, stitch it down, quilt it, bind it. Deep breaths. This is how I roll.

Another view of Swallow Me Whole in Beyond the Surface

I love that piece.

Boychild has been chopping away at the backyard bushes, trying to make sense of them, plus retain the not-view of our neighbors as much as possible. Need to work on that part, I think.

He’s still walking around with a boot on his foot…hopefully the toe is healing. There’s a hike at the end of the month. Plus I miss our weekly dog walks. I’m freaked out about trying to take the dogs out alone with the coyotes who have been around.

Anyway, need to leave. Go to work. Keep my cool. Get them through it. Hopefully.

*R.E.M., So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)