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.

Turning Worry Off Is Hard…

All my bad dreams feature me sitting in a place with a bunch of people I don’t know and suddenly coming to the realization that I forgot my mask and I am way too close to other people with no masks on, and then I wonder how long it will take us to get back to normal after all this…I mean those of us who are actually trying to follow the guidelines and not get other people sick. The alarm woke me up this morning out of a bad dream where I was sitting in a restaurant, shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers, no masks, and then I realized…

Thank you, alarm, for getting me out of that situation.

Back to school today…speaking of, I keep reading about back-to-school nights that schools are doing online and I hope my principal doesn’t ever see those posts. I’m hoping he’s so buried in trying to plan schedules for our school that he never thinks about it. In 2 1/2 weeks, we go hybrid and online. I keep online kids, no worries. I might just have multiple grades or multiple schools and no prep with my co-teacher. I don’t even have access to other grade levels in the program we’re in…or do I? I don’t know. I don’t have teacher manuals. I wonder if they’ll even give us those. Probably not. OK, well there’s 2 1/2 weeks before I have to worry about that. Actually, he said Friday. So then I can worry about it. Turning worry off is hard for me.

Yesterday, I ended up working almost all day, minus the hour and a half dealing with an incredibly inefficient UPS customer service center. If you’re only open 4 hours a day, maybe don’t send half your staff to lunch during those hours? Or make sure they’re covered? Yeah. No.

I tried to clean up grades, and then sent messages to all the kids (and their parents…I love our new communication system) about the big missing assignment. I think 4 responded by actually turning stuff in and one responded with OK and turned nothing in. It’s like this in real life too. No worries. I confirmed what we’re teaching this week…one week at a time! A short week even.

I went to Pilates and my body was so happy to stretch and work out properly, instead of the half-assed matt version I’ve been doing. It’s better than nothing, but not the best. I’m hoping the gyms can manage to stay open. Keep classes small and masked and clean. Please.

And best of all, I managed to get to the next step in the quiltmaking…I cut stuff out for about 2 1/2 hours…

I didn’t think I was that close to the bottom of the bin, but apparently I was…because then I was done.

And it was only 10:30 at night. Well, hell…let’s sort!

I got that all done in less than an hour, so now I’m ready to iron this together.

Fun stuff. But also, I got assigned a person for the SJSA Remembrance project (I sent in my info back in June, so of course I didn’t get it during the summer, when I had plenty of free time)…it’s OK. It won’t take long and it’s for a good cause. Plus the clay thing…so that’s two things that need to be done by the end of the month. Stop taking on new stuff! Yeah. I told me.

I wish the phone camera could deal with reds and magentas better…the morning’s sky.

Fire is still out there, but more under control and didn’t grow yesterday. All good. And the winds haven’t shown up here yet. We have all day to wait those out. Hopefully they’ll be absent. And my students will show up instead. Meanwhile, they’re doing construction with saws next door. I swear. My brain. Fuckers.

Yeah. That. A friend posted this last night…

She had me at “Help a raccoon…”.

OK, I’ve got work to do before school. Which means standing up from this computer and going to the other one. Turning the fan on because it’s muggy. Trying to figure out the stuff I can’t remember that I didn’t do from last night. Hoping I know what I’m doing for today. And who knows what tonight, because after school, I have a union meeting. More Zoom. All the time.

The Bottom of the Bin

Well the fire is still out there, although currently heading away from us and toward some of our favorite hiking spots and all the people who live out there. Scary. It’s over 17,000 acres right now, and the biggest worry is the winds that are supposed to pick up today. Wish the firefighters good weather conditions and a fire that wants to go out.

This was Sunday’s picture…

I think that was the last time we saw blue skies…

Weird orange/yellow light since then. Can’t smell the fire any more, but that might just be my nose getting used to it.

I’ve been working all weekend, very little down time. A big assignment was due Friday, so I’m grading those ASAP. Online is actually maybe a little easier for that. Then yesterday, on Labor Day, I went into school to secure all the new curriculum stuff that showed up. I had to shift some stuff around, brought home some books that are actually mine, and managed to shove 9 bins of stuff I can’t use until there’s a vaccine into the existing space. I moved a lot of textbooks around. I found the teacher’s editions for the new curriculum and brought them home. It was 3 exhausting hours that I usually do at the end of the year…and I was pretty sad about it. The thought of not being able to come back into my own room (and yeah, I know it’s not really mine) until there’s a vaccine is really depressing.

The rest of the teachers are required to be there today for the same thing, but I can’t be there today…because people won’t wear masks. Thanks to all the social media posts I saw over the weekend of people partying it up with people they don’t live with…means I can’t go back to school. I hate when people are so selfish that their attitude is that we high-risk peeps should just stay home so they can do whatever they want. Sigh. I really hope none of them get sick, but it won’t surprise me when they do.

Anyway, so I’m home, but I have 3 school-related meetings today, plus I did a good 5 hours yesterday between being at school and grading shit.

Bet the opposition isn’t running for teachers. Or labor unions. I don’t understand how fellow educators support that crazy orange man.

Damn, I have 11 minutes to finish this.

So cutting on Sunday night…

And Monday night…

The bottom of the bin is getting closer, but we’re still a ways out from finishing. Every night, at least an hour.

Calli’s foot is healed, so we’re back to our daily 4 throws of the pine cone.

So she can fetch it from the second step. She’s getting so old. I’m sad.

Ah, cats. Luna in a box.

Apparently they are right now waiting at the school computer for me to start the day. I have a routine? So do the cats?

OK, it’s a day where I don’t have to work as much, technically, because there are no kids. I work differently, I guess. I have grading to do. I need to take a quilt to UPS. I have Pilates today, in person, small group, all masked. My back and knees and shoulders need it. Hopefully the air quality will get better soon so I can hike again. And they can open the trails back up…between the heat and the fire, they’ve closed some chunks out there. And hopefully I’ll be cutting stuff out again tonight. Maybe I’ll even see the bottom of the bin.

Not a Fan…

Well it hasn’t hit a high temperature yet for today, although yesterday broke records at 114 degrees F. Not a fan. I’m not a fan, I mean…I had fans running everywhere. Right now, my office is only 94 degrees…it was hotter than that yesterday. After my quilt guild Zoom meeting, I put my legs in the pool to cool off and read my book. The pool is in the sun for a goodly portion of the day, though, so I can’t even be out there until later in the afternoon. Plus I had a bunch of stuff to do yesterday…still do today. These 3-day weekends at the beginning and end of the school year are amusing…they just give us time to get caught up on work, I guess.

That was yesterday before the guild meeting.

I did grade stuff during the quilt guild meeting. It was mostly listening to bylaws and all that anyway, so I multi-tasked. Got me some of this…

I am taking a guess…what? And this is what happens when we Google shit, children.

Pretty sure I didn’t teach that. Maybe should use your notes y’all. Plus some of the kids put “Ireland” as their answer, and that’s related to that panel. So weird. I guess Wednesday will be a short discussion of “I don’t grade Google. I grade YOU.”

I still have a ton of grading to do…it’ll get done.

Yesterday afternoon, a fire started up east of us, about 20 miles east. It’s fire season…

It was scarier at night…

The smoke smell this morning was strong…

And as the day went on, the wind moved that smoke around and a few more distinct areas popped up. We’ve been watching this fire map…

The fire switched direction after I screenshot this…now it’s heading southeast, which is good for us, because we’re the black dot on the left. The fire would have to burn through a lot of residential area to get to us, though…in fact, I think all 5 of our senior parents would have to evacuate first. So we’re good. Just hot and smoky. It was over 4000 acres the last I saw…and that was this morning.

Hoping no one gets hurt and they save as many animals and buildings as they can.

What else? Because my brain is fuzz in this heat. My quilt I Can’t Be Your Superwoman won honorable mention at Form Not Function. Did I mention that? Can’t remember.

There are three of us in this show who live about 5 miles apart, and all three of us won awards…Marty’s piece got Best of Show and Linda’s got an Award of Excellence. So we met at Marty’s house and had a socially distanced toast of champagne, thanks to Marty.

It was nice to be in the same space as other hoo-manz. Besides the grocery store. Now back to making art.

I had no energy Friday night for artmaking, but I had two blocks for my quilt guild’s quilt for their annual show…so I did those. One was easy curves and one was not as easy…

I had to rip the curve on the right twice, but the one on the left was easy peasy. Kind of annoying.

So those are done and I delivered them yesterday. When the whole quilt exists, I’ll post a picture. It’s the Modern Quilt Guild, which I mostly don’t do. But they are accepting of me, and I knew I could sew these, so I did them.

Then Saturday morning, I cleaned this beauty up and labeled her and made hangers for her and packed her up and shipped her to my Patreon patron.

She turned out well, although she’s bigger than I had originally planned. Learning for next time, I guess.

And then last night, I finally had some energy for cutting things out. It’s too hot to think.

Still plenty left to do on that one. Maybe tonight? Hopefully. I’d like to be ironing her together at some point this week.

When I was out shipping the Patreon quilt and dropping off the quilt guild blocks, I got an email to come pick up some clay. WHAT? You said clay? I said clay.

My art group is building a labyrinth thing in 29 Palms in November. I need to build a thing for that. I explained how I was going to build it and how big it would be, and she handed me this. I’m excited…although I’m going to wait until it cools down a bit to start. I don’t want it to dry out too fast. Maybe next weekend. I have until October 1, so plenty of time. I’m really looking forward to doing this. I used to do clay in college and for a little while after…it’s been a long time. It’s a very soothing process.

And remember the bread that I completely fucked up on following directions?

It’s the best loaf I’ve made…

Just further proof that my mantra about reading the directions and then finding your own way (unless you’re a student in my class and your version of ‘finding your own way’ is to not do anything) is the way to go. With bread? The girlchild says I can’t totally ignore the science. I didn’t! I just fucked with it. And it worked. I can’t repeat it. That’s the funny part.

More cats in class…

Apparently trying to knock computers off a desk is a thing.

Nova was below the light table, but behind me…

And Kitten settled on the back of the couch.

When I’m the only one home, they all want to be with me.

They’re mostly sweet.

Yeah. Glad to have a job. Glad to have accommodations for my job. Glad to have a roof over my head. Glad to have the animals and people around me. Wish it were cooler and I slept more and felt more like I could make art right now. Instead, I will take the dog in the pool, breathe in more of the smoky air, and grade something. My office just hit 97 degrees with two fans on me. It’s only 108 outside. Oh good…could be worse. Stay safe, stay well…

What Has Been and What Can Be…

Writing on a Friday morning gives you closure to the week, a focus for the weekend, some reflection on what might work better next week, and a tiny prayer (not really, because I don’t do those…mantra maybe? Affirmation? I don’t like that word either…) to what has been and what can be. BEEE. I love bees.

SEE! That’s how my brain works. I’m thinking about work, what I’m teaching today, the bread that’s going in the oven this morning (that was a cluster, more below), and how to close out the week and survive the hellacious temperatures of the next 4 days, and my brain goes off on BEEES because I misspelled BE the first time. Creative brains are fun. I realize it makes me hard to talk to sometimes, but y’all do it too, more than you know.

Back to the bread, because the timer is going off soon to put it in. I fucked the bread up monstrously. School is part of the problem. I remembered to feed the starter at lunch (should’ve done it at prep), and then right after school, I did the float test and it failed, but two hours later, it passed, so STUPIDLY, I started the process. At like 6:30 PM. “Sure, it’ll be OK. There’s enough time for the sits and folds and stretches and more sits.” Yeah, there would have been if I’d stayed up until 2:30 AM. Not a thing while teaching. So I debated with the boychild and I put it in the fridge overnight after 4 stretch and folds. To its credit, it was doing really well. I took it out the next morning and tried to warm it up. Barely warm oven, etc. And then I forgot to set a timer, totally forgot about it for about 4 hours. Whoops. During prep, while discussing science with my coteacher, I pulled it out of the oven, shaped it, and tossed it in a banneton and back in the fridge. Totally forgot to let it rest 10 minutes in the banneton before putting it back in. Then realized that 16 hours later was 2:30 AM again (fuuucckkk), so this morning, after 20 hours in the fridge, it’s going in the oven as soon as its warm enough. Surprisingly, it doesn’t appear to be over- or underproofed. It also currently looks better than any loaf I’ve made. Which is great, because if it’s awesome, I will not be able to repeat whatever the fuck I did.

Just call me the lackadaisical cook. I am.

It’s supposed to be hot as hell the next few days…107-111 degrees F tomorrow and Sunday. No A/C. Gonna die. Today is only supposed to be 97 degrees, which is good, because I don’t think I could teach with 111-degree temperatures. I can’t think straight. There are people in my physical classroom during the day, so I don’t know what I would do. Can’t go to school and just sit there. Quietly sweat to death…although I rarely do anything quietly.

OK, bread is in the oven now. All we can do is wait. Mine have all been too dense, except for the first one, really. It was the best. When I knew the least. Interesting, that.

I’ve been chipping away every night at the pile of things to be cut out. It’s nice, because I just get to watch shows and chill out. This week, I seem to (so far, knock on wood) have solved the problem of my feet swelling by the end of the week…it might help that it’s cooler…it might help that I’m standing more during class, even though then they can see my ceiling and the underneath of my chin. Ah well. I am not vain, y’all. Ah, so funny…here I am cutting out a vein. Or an artery. OK, it’s probably an artery.

I’ve been doing a little each night…

It never looks like much.

Until it’s done.

But the pile is getting smaller.

Five hours and 20 minutes smaller. Lots more to go. It’s OK. I didn’t want to start ironing this quilt together this weekend. I need it to cool the fuck down before I do that.

Strangely, we have a 4-day weekend instead of a 3-day weekend. Some schools are going back on the 14th, but middle school is going back on the 28th. We got an extra day to put our classrooms back together. My online schedules will change to match in-person school, which is just weird, but whatever. Block schedules online? We’ll see. My lunches will be an hour later, so there will be some juggling of the foods for the blood sugar. I love changing my schedule again. Yesterday morning’s staff meeting was all about how we teachers have to meet the state requirements for accountability for engaging kids. Or something. We have to record attendance differently. It’s more complicated. We’ll get used to it, but honestly, it’s hard for me to see it on the computer screen, so it won’t get done during class any more.

Cats coming to class.

They sneak around.

I did fix the screen. All good. It’s their one-year birthday today.

They’re still hyper as shit sometimes.

OK, today isn’t too challenging for teaching, luckily. Walking kids through the shit they didn’t get done yesterday and introducing them to the new science program, which we hate. OK. We like bits and pieces of it. Mostly we hate it. The teachers’ editions were apparently on campus the whole time, just not in my room. Nice. My coteacher will track them down today. That will help. I will keep cutting stuff out this weekend, finish something for my quilt guild, ship some stuff to shows and peoples. And maybe read a little. Sweat a lot. It would be nice to have a long weekend with better weather, but whatever. Enjoy the sleep? The short week next week? Hope my principal doesn’t do a back-to-school night online? Yeah. That. Don’t do it. OK. Off to school. In the other room.

A Little of This…

My brain is like a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower, doing a little of this, a little of that, and probably getting nothing of substance done. Well. Eventually substance gets done; it just feels like I’m walking in circles and getting nowhere.

At least it’s cooler out right now, until the weekend, when Satan rains hellfire upon us (weather app says 108 degrees. Just shoot me now.). I actually wore short sleeves instead of a tank top yesterday to teach, because it wasn’t 12 trillion degrees out. I still needed a fan in 5th period and on, but I wore socks in 1st period, because my feet were…no really, they were…chilly. CHILLY. I’m betting winter is gonna be socks and a blanket for teaching. This house has no insulation, I think…I could fix that? But I wouldn’t know where to start. And it probably costs money. I have tree trimming coming up and girlchild needs her college paid off (well, my portion of it)…that’s where my money will be going.

Sunday I finally finished ironed the Wonder Under to fabric…

113 fabrics in 14 hours and 10 minutes. Not super fast.

Last night, I started cutting them out, but I didn’t get very far…

I think that’s 22 minutes of cutting.

It’s a pretty full box. It’ll be a while. I’m OK with that.

I also trimmed and cut binding and sleeves for Grow

I was too tired last night after all the school stuff and cooking dinner to put them on. Hopefully tonight? It wouldn’t take very long. Note to self…next year, plan to start this a month earlier. Things take longer than you think they will in August, because school sucks up so much time and energy. I do like this little quilt though. I’m keeping track of the time. Maybe I’ll do some more. We’ll see.

I needed to do my Patreon drawing for the month yesterday, because it was the last day of the month…

I drew it, scanned it, cleaned it up, and posted it. That took some time.

This cat is weird sometimes…

I guess it was still hot when this was going on…the old lady sleeps…

Luna is fascinated with the new computer setup in the living room…

Perhaps a little TOO fascinated…gotta hide cables from her…

She bites them. Which is silly. And this guy has been licking a spot on his leg…

He’s offended by the wrap, but whatever.

I’m tired. What’s new? I did stay up until midnight. I try to go to bed earlier and then I’m working on things and want to get just one more thing done and then it’s midnight and I have to try to fall asleep. Last night, I remembered exercise at 10:30. So I did it. Or maybe it was later? I don’t remember. It was late; that’s all I know. Tonight I’m going to try to walk earlier.

I have 11 phone calls to make this morning…the shift from all online to some sort of hybrid plus online is a major one. Here’s hoping we don’t have to do it over and over again all school year. I don’t even know what that looks like. When they met with me about my medical note to teach from home, they asked if I knew how to make phone calls, or something like that. I’m like, WHICH APP DO YOU WANT ME TO USE I HAVE ALL OF THEM. Last night, I sent a message to all the parents who hadn’t filled out the school choice survey (15 of them) through our new parent app, and 4 of them did it. Seven had already done it. That leaves 11. So on to the next app, Google Voice? Probably. I have email for some…I’ll try that too.

Oh yeah. Forgot. My eggs for dinner on Sunday night looked like boobs.

I’m not wrong.

OK, work, teach, manage, get up and move around as needed, or more! Then walk self and do some art and maybe sleep a little earlier. Binding on tonight and then some hand sewing and cutting stuff out. That part sounds relaxing…makes up for the 100 mph of the rest of the day.

A Perfectly Normal Sunday

So many days of hot. OK. It’s been two days of hot. But more are coming. It’s not going away. So I’m just becoming one with the sweat. And drinking lots of water. Here was Friday’s alternate desk report. I do have two desks and this one is in full sun in the morning.

It hit 104 degrees later. Fun stuff.

I’m doing lots of schoolwork at the moment, tweaking things, checking links. Everything has to be made new because online schooling is a thing. Our county has been under 100 cases per 100,000 people for the last three, maybe four days, so schools may open in two weeks. Scarily. PIVOT! The confusion between going from all online to some kids back in school full time and some part time is going to be very very real. So don’t REALLY get to know these kids, because they might not be yours in a few weeks. Sort of mind-boggling really.

You probably won’t get this if you’re not a teacher right now, but these two words, Synchronous and Asynchronous, are not only hard to type and say, but my English-learner kids don’t have a fucking clue what they mean.

I have to remind myself that A means NOT, so NOT at the same time. Except sometimes it is. The word HOMEWORK no longer has any meeting, right? If I can’t remember it,

I spent a lot of time on Friday yelling at my cable company and probably my neighbor kids learned some new bad words. But they are lying pieces of shit (the cable tech people, not the neighbor kids). I finally drove to the cable store (damn, if I’d known that was an option, I totally would have just done that), but still had to spend another hour with the online chat person to get it set up. So much for self-activation of the cable box…or for anything else, honestly. That was 8 people on chat, 3 on the phone, and one in person at the store. Hopefully this will solve some of the internet issues, although I might have to up the data plan at some point. And maybe speed, but we hope not. It all costs money…money my district is not reimbursing. Fun stuff that.

Friday was hard in many ways…I knew most of my teacher friends were at school, isolating in their classrooms, except they saw each other and talked with masks on in that socially distant way. I was home with the cats and dogs and the boy, who is an efficient PDF manager. With so much online stuff we’re doing, sometimes it’s easier to send something his way and have him manage it. I miss my friends, though. I miss planning in person and conversations where more than one person can talk at a time and the sound doesn’t kick out halfway through. I’m lonely here without all of them, and that will probably get worse when they go back in person. That said, I know it’s safer here, and since my principal already had to remind people to wear masks after 5 months of a pandemic, I know being at school would be an issue. I’m hoping there’s no issues with letting me teach from home…I won’t know for sure until I meet with Human Resources and all that, so that sits in my belly until it’s a done deal…and probably after that, I’ll still be paranoid that I’m going to be replaced or lose my job somehow. Deep breaths. It has to be done. Also, San Diego is threatening more rolling blackouts, so I might be in the classroom this week anyway. So there’s that.

I decided to try and get the 5 finished embroidery/wallhanging pieces up on Etsy yesterday so I could check that off my list, although I think there are 5 more that need finishing and to be posted. I’ll get there.

But these 5 are up. That’s progress.

Friday we gamed, but I also cut stuff out…

I think I had about 1 1/2 yards left at this point? Maybe? What’s funny is that I had a picture above and realized it was the wrong one. BECAUSE THEY ALL START TO LOOK THE SAME. Sad but true.

Saturday was warm, but I did Pilates in the morning with all three dogs…Simba came in later.

It’s hard to exercise alone in this house. Yes, Katie is back. She’s leaving today, coming back Friday, and staying for a week. It’s a little stressful for everyone, but she’s chilled out from 5 years ago, so that’s a plus.

Then I got my computer setup mostly done…

School laptop on a stand, wireless mouse, spare monitor hooked up to laptop, home computer on the side. Considering a board between the table (you can just see my sewing machine to the far left) and the printer shelf, just to move the mouse over. Might be useful. Now I can watch students AND run Zoom on the computer, and run something else on the other computer if I need to. Maybe Kitten will run that…

Still getting the paperwork all sorted and cleaned up. I also ordered new business cards, because I was almost out of the most current ones. They offered stickers as well (yes, they cost money, but the pictures were already uploaded and it wasn’t a lot more money…plus stickers!). They’ll all be here in September sometime, which is fine. It’s not a rush…just a checkbox I needed to fill in.

I did a lot of schoolwork yesterday as well, bits and pieces again. My focus is off, as always at this time of year. Fix this, fix that. Students are already contacting me on Google Classroom, parents are already signed up. I need to do about 50 things before Wednesday.

I did take a break after all the school and art business stuff and cut more things out after a no-cook dinner (cheese, crackers, and random meat)…

And I finished it all…so that means sorting tonight and hopefully starting to iron to fabric sometime soon. Which means putting a bunch of stuff away in the office/studio. Aargh. More cleaning. It took about 6 1/2 hours to cut out all the Wonder Under. The next step will probably take closer to 10 hours.

Kitten would like me to clear the light table off too…I will…mostly. But it’s a good place to stand and teach when it’s not unbearably hot out there. Although I’d have to move the monitor too. It’s doable. How mobile can I be? Hopefully pretty mobile.

There’s the girlchild, on her way to her second job? Or something.

She’s on a bike. Hopefully she bought a helmet today. She is in fact sticking her tongue out at me, probably because I haven’t listened to her new podcast episode yet. I started, but realized I wasn’t concentrating because what I was doing was taking too much brain power. So I’ll save it for when I’m doing something mostly brainless, like sorting Wonder Under or cleaning the office today. I’m also making bread today…the starter is happy with all this dry heat, unlike the rest of us. And I’m going to put all the felt I was using to back embroideries back in the garage, so it’s out of my way. Grocery shopping and laundry are on the list…so is panicking about school, in case you were wondering. Otherwise, it’s a perfectly normal Sunday. In a pandemic.

Bits and Pieces Together

Well that’s it. Summer Break is over for 2020. I don’t really know what to say about that. Many of you are as confuzzled by this year as I am. Do I feel ready for school to start? Fuck no. Do I feel relaxed and rested after the summer? Of course not. Who does? I’m currently running around (more mentally than physically), trying to get my internet to be happier with its existence (no thanks to Cox Cable for that…sigh…but they will be here this morning, replacing THEIR stupid modem that they claimed was mine. What a clusterfuck.), hoping to plan for the school year, hoping to HAVE a plan. I thank my co-teachers for their presence of mind, because mine is distinctly absent. Although I have bits and pieces together in my head. Just not the plan that ties them all together. I think honestly, after 17+ years of teaching, that I finally realize those prep days on campus, where we put our rooms together and set the stuff out that needs to be out and check in with our co-teachers and meet in person, those days are important to how our minds get ready for the year. I could go to my classroom, but I am anxious about being around people (in a way where I feel trapped? Anxiety is a fun thing…), plus at some point, they will probably use my classroom for childcare (amusing, considering the crazy shit that’s stored in there. Seriously, stay out of the locked cabinets and prep room.), and I will have nothing but the crazy setup(s?) that are in my house. I’ve been spending time trying to get those cleaned up and usable. We’ll see how that goes. Seven hours a day of Zooming with short breaks, one longer break, two might not have to be on Zoom, but at least one probably does because we have no science plans this year. Minor issue. We’ll get there…a little bit every day, I think.

It’ll be fine. FINE. I’m powerful AND jumpy. Makes me laugh anyway.

Here’s one of the work setups. Nope. Not moving the sewing machine. Somehow gonna fit a second (third? There’s a computer to the right on the desk there too) monitor in there. Ought to be interesting.

Yes, I was cutting stuff out during a training. It was a rancidly useless training. All three of them were. Too bad really. Actually, the third one, my internet was so bad, I couldn’t hear more than a third of it. My co-teacher tells me that was OK. It was beyond useless.

I finished cutting out all the pieces for my larger Patreon piece. I’m hoping to iron it together this weekend.

It shouldn’t take long, with only 111 pieces. Plus it’s tiny.

I also started cutting out the pieces for the COVID Daughter quilt. The first night, I got through 1 1/2 yards of Wonder Under, with Kitten’s help.

The second night, I was less efficient…

I got the other half of the second yard done, and and then about 3/4 of the third yard. So much math! So I think I have 2 full yards, a 1/4 yard, and a 1/2 yard left. Or something. Another night, maybe two. Hopefully. I want to be ironing fabric…in the heat. Laughing…it’s every August and September. Ironing in the heat, embroidering on wool in the heat. All crazy things. I think it’s only supposed to be 99 degrees today.

Explains it all.

We did get a bunch of things put away and moved appropriately yesterday during the three hours it took Cox to figure their shit out. Hopefully today will be quick, because I have 4 Zoom calls for school, and I can run them off my phone/iPad, I think…hope…

I love this. I would stitch this.

And proudly display the only Jesus thing in my house.

Can you see the chrysalis? It looks like dead wood. It’s leaning back from the tree trunk, held by two gooey sticky strings…

Man, this shit is fascinating. Here’s the next two generations…

I would’ve thought that big one was the same generation as the one in the chrysalis, but apparently not. Yes, I am watching Lemon Tree TV in my front yard on a daily basis.

Cats. Lounging around on everything.

It’s been hot. I get it.

Calli and her hedgehog.

She begs to go in the pool every day at the moment. I try to let her, when I can.

One of the things we cleared off was the hearth…my camping/hiking stuff had been there since the last trip in February, to Joshua Tree…because I thought we were going camping in April (yes, I know some people would consider two months enough time to put shit away, but their priorities are very different than mine)…

Well, we are camping in October (knock on wood), but this is also the location of the baby lizard and its tail incident, so I finally put everything away. It made me sad, but it will come back out. It will. Camping is something I think we can handle. We aren’t ready for AirBnB or hotels, but camping seems fine.

I’m currently watching my school welcome breakfast announcements, but the sound is awful (it got better…it was them, not me…for once). I’m not on the wifi, because who knows when the Cox guy will show up and I have to be on this welcome thing. It’s so weird to see people sitting so close together. It’s OK…I’m not required to be on it for another 28 minutes, so I have time to finish this. I have to admit to always hating the real first-day, whole-district gathering. It’s always in a church and is just too perky for me. I know it works for some people, though, so I guess that makes it OK. I think most middle-school teachers are more cynical than other teachers. Maybe not.

If you do have kids or grandkids in school, please keep this in mind. Actually, keep it in mind at any time you are having shitty thoughts about teachers…

This is so true. We’ve put hours in so far, mostly not reimbursed. Not paid. That’s the way it always is, and this year won’t change that. So many things need to be translated into online work, or when we go back, into socially distanced or hybrid work. No one is doing that for us, and as we saw in the training yesterday, the online applications aren’t doing it for us either. We listen to all the news stories too, we listen to what our district says (and roll our eyes sometimes), and we see what you all say about us. I don’t need to be a hero. I just want my kids to feel like they’re learning something and that we care about them. I’ll work my ass off to make sure that happens.

OK, today is All Zoom All Day. Hopefully with new and improved internet. We have gaming tonight, but I think I can cut stuff out as well. Art this weekend, as well as school stuff…that’s unavoidable, unfortunately. Be well, all…be safe. And if you’re anxious like me, meditate, exercise, deep breaths, lots of nature (find the chrysalises!), and good thoughts…

Tired Monday…

Hi y’all. It’s a tired Monday. Thanks to all who marched/protested in the last week. Usually I’m right out there with you, but I’m admitting to being terrified of this virus. I’ll have to ease myself into not-terrified before August. I have a hair appointment in mid-July. Probably my gym will be opening next week. Have to think about that one. School stuff over the summer might be in person. Not quite ready for that yet. Not ready for large groups of people or even small ones. People who don’t social distance. Apparently some anti-protest groups showed up armed locally. Gotta Not Love East County. So I will support with money and reading and speech. Plus most of a protest/change drawing popped into my head last night while I was trying to fall asleep. I will be working on that, hopefully this week. There are four meetings today, though, so maybe not today. We’ll see. There are at least three major parts to it, so maybe I can work on each part and then figure out how to fit them together. Might involve going to the copy place…damn, more people. I will figure it out. I will mask and step back from humans and wash my hands and perhaps my entire body after interacting with the human race. I have 67 days before I have to be back at school with other humans, perhaps fewer. Hopefully I can get my head (and my anxiety) around that by then.

I did hike Saturday, and while hiking, which clears my brain and soothes my soul, which makes up for sitting on my ass in numerous Zoom meetings, which helps me process what this world and the people in it are doing…I felt guilty for not marching in a protest. Ah well, that is my brain and I will have a discussion with it about that. We do what we can. I hiked at the same place as the previous week, but I felt strong and healthy this Saturday.

Plus it was a lot cooler than last week. I’ve been having some major blood sugar issues though.

I’m hesitant to talk to my doctor because her first response is always a blood draw. And that’s not something I really want to do right now. But maybe I will have to.

This is the same time last year when the hot flashes got really bad and my blood sugar control went with them. They stopped the end of July, and that’s when the blood sugar got really good. All you annoying doctors who don’t want to figure this shit out for us peri- and menopausal women who want to know how all this stuff is connected…sigh.

It was a great walk. I really enjoyed it.

This week is supposed to be hot, so there won’t be any delightful walks like this.

I did just over 4 miles.

There were still crows, but not a crazy number like last week. There were two bikes, a runner, and some hikers.

Definitely worth the drive. It’s a pretty short drive though.

Sometimes I protest by myself. In my head doesn’t solve a lot of problems though, so I’m working on that. How to be a presence without being present.

Here’s a link to a post I made for my art group California Fibers of Masked Response, an online art show we did.

This bench is cool. I wish I knew how to make one of these.

I know how to do mosaic…it’s just the form of the lizard bench in the beginning.

I finished trimming all the tiny little pieces for the big quilt…just under 22 hours worth. I did some of it at my quilt guild meeting…

And then I stayed up late Saturday night to do more.

I keep the trash until the quilt is done, in case I need a tiny piece of something. I usually do.

The next step, last night, was to sort them all into boxes by the 100s.

1541 pieces or so took about an hour and a half to sort…

Now I’m ready to iron the damn thing together. I’m looking forward to this part.

Saturday’s dot was the fish…

It’s a pufferfish.

There’s a lot of stitching on that little bastard.

Last night? Last night, I barely started…

I’ve been pretty good about finishing them every night, but this is one of two that I just didn’t get to. It’s because it was late and I was tired. I did the sorting first, so the dot didn’t get done. I’ll try tonight. The one for today is pretty simple. We’ll see.

In other fabric news, here’s the next shipment of Anna Maria Horner fabrics for Applique Stories, which I’ve turned into “Use crazy fabrics to make a nude” stories. Looking forward to that later this week…but if that bottom middle fabric doesn’t look like nipples to you, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Yeah. I know. I see things weird. I also want to do the same with her color shipments…

But I haven’t started those at all. Maybe this summer? Who knows. Summer will be weird no matter what. Right, Luna?

Just shut up and pet me, woman.

I forgot last night’s dinner…yummy pizzas.

Sourdough crust. Gotta use up that starter. The last time, these were unsuccessful. I think the girlchild has officially figured it out.

OK, well, I got sidetracked multiple times on this, and it’s now time for meeting 3 of 4 today. Ugh. But I think I have some plans for after the meetings. All art, all the time? And some exercise. For sure.

So There’s That…

Well. I think I just made more work for myself. As always. What’s new? The end of this school year is so weird, so surreal, but it is ending…in fire and disease, right? Well, not really. But I’m intrigued by how my students don’t want to talk about the protests and police, but they do want to talk about the beach and food and seeing their friends and being done with homework. And cheese. One kid only wants to talk about cheese. I think it would be different in person, in a different world, one where things weren’t so scary, but this is what we have right now…scary and different. It’s safe to talk to me about cheese.

Normally, I’d be one of the protesters, out marching, but I’m worried about the transmission of this virus. Really worried. For myself and others. I see too many unmasked people at the protests. Normally, standing with a large crowd of chanting marchers, holding signs, that’s a thing I can do…some friends don’t or can’t, and it’s OK, because I can. But when I get sick with this thing, and a lot of us will, I want it to be as far along in the process as possible. That is my privilege talking…I’m not getting shot at for my skin color or knelt upon or unfairly jailed. So I have to put my protest energy somewhere. I’m still reading, I’m still watching…finished When They See Us on Netflix last night…the episode with Korey Wise in jail is difficult to watch. But necessary. It’s been on my list for a year, since it came out. One of my few white, non-immigrant students told me to watch it. There’s nothing easy about watching our white dumbassery hurting anyone, especially kids, and there’s the reality of the families who went through this and those boys becoming men. It’s not enough for it to sicken our hearts and stomachs though…like the Breonna Taylor story does. Something has to change. We have to change. It was her birthday yesterday…

Go to @battmamzelle for links to how to Say Her Name and get Breonna and her family some justice. Check out @arielsinhaha for more amazing graphic art.

I’m still working on BIPOC embroiderers and fiber artists and other artists. Some I was already following because of their work popping up in my feed when a friend liked it, but that’s not good enough. I need to go search more out and find a way to support it.

Locally, we might still be on curfew. It’s hard to tell. Our neighboring city is, still with the National Guard. Fear is a hard one, y’all. We want everything to be nice and pretty and cleaned up, but the reality for most is that that police are not doing that for them. We must continue to protest until they really do protect and serve all of us.

I want to draw today; it helps my brain process, but I know how much other work I have going on. Grades are due. I had completed everything I thought I was going to do, and then I thought about how much more I could do…and so I emailed every kid that was missing enough to not get credit, and we’ll see what comes of that. Maybe nothing. Maybe they will do it. As a teacher, what I’m doing now is so far away from how I usually teach and want kids to process and learn, and yet I am lucky to have a job and a paycheck and a calling (however annoying it may be), so there’s that. Next year will be different. It will not necessarily be better. It will probably be hard. But hopefully I will do a better job of reaching kids…I say that every year. How many kids did you reach? Hard to say. That one. And maybe this one. And in 5 years, one will come back and tell me they were one I didn’t even know about. So there’s that too.

I’m almost done with cutting this thing out, this giant-ass quilt that has dominated my COVID not-time-off. Thursday’s meeting time…

You can see how much is left in the box…

There’s a whole bunch of flesh cut out…this is probably Figure 2…

And the pile grows…or shrinks…depending on which one you’re looking at.

That was Thursday night…here’s Friday night…I can see the bottom of the box!

I’m cutting out pieces of the background hillside. That’s cool. That’s close to the end.

That’s almost 19 hours of cutting. I said 20? It will probably be 21 or 22 hours, but I was close. Then sort, then iron. In the middle of all the grades and a million meetings next week. I love how my school district decides to just ADD meetings to the mix, two weeks before we’re done. Like y’all have no idea what we’re actually doing with our time. I finished the “7-hour” training (it wasn’t 7 hours), so that’s a thing. My classroom still needs some work, but I’m waiting for the floors to be done. I signed up for curriculum stuff. Because I can’t stand certain people deciding on the curriculum for my kids. My fault for caring.

But this quilt will eventually get done. I’m hoping by the end of the month, but it might just be July. Too many other things going on. Like yesterday, my niece graduated from high school!

Online, of course, but I hadn’t made plans to GO to the graduation (it’s a rough time of year for teachers), so it was cool to see what they did online.

Probably a better view than we normally see.

She should be going to college in the Fall…it remains to be seen what that will look like. That’s true for everything right now though.

Simba carefully watched the whole thing.

And the dots! We’re in the last few weeks of this crazy thing. I had another online meeting Thursday night and did my bee dot, just under the white ball. Which isn’t really white.

Some commentary there. I’m not actually sure why that ball is there. I didn’t use it. Whoops. Those bees are also fucking tiny.

So there’s that.

Two years ago, our 7th-grade science teacher motto was “Whatever.” This last year, it was (ironically now), “It’s Fine.” (It’s not. But you get it.). For next year? It probably involves cussing. But “So there’s that” might be a close second.

Last night’s dot was easy peasy…kitty corner to the left of the bottom spool.

Bullion knots no longer frighten me.

Although that was true before I started this project.

Twenty one to go.

Today is a day free from school work. Well, except for what I already did. I have a quilt guild meeting and I want to finish cutting out pieces and maybe sort them, and I need a long walk outside in nature. It’s a cool, cloudy, and slightly rainy day. Should make walking nice, unlike next week, when Satan arrives on his 95-degree-Fahrenheit horse. I might read or draw some too. But first, a shower and some more tea, because I didn’t sleep, yet again. Gotta love this old lady body and her stupid hormones. I mean, it’s all I got, so I gotta love it. Peace to all; protesters today, stay safe, but make change the obvious choice. And cops, knock it the fuck off. Quit your job. Go do something more humane. Sigh.