Especially the Breathing…

It’s such a quiet house without Satch. Kitten is still running around like he’s here, looking around corners, refusing to walk down the hallway with me for her breakfast (I’ve carried her to breakfast since we had Babygirl, so that’s a long time…hard habit to break, I guess.). I encouraged her, but she squawked at me and wouldn’t move, so I went back for her. She and Satchemo didn’t get along very well. There were some moments when he wasn’t chasing her and she wasn’t trying to whack him. It’s hard when you introduce adult cats. We haven’t been particularly successful with it. Unfortunately. I did manage to persuade her to come out last night, because the dogs were gone.

Like this is a safe place…she’s hung out here before…

Glowy eyes and all. Mommy’s light table is safe ground.

Eventually, she came down on the couch…a rare occurrence…

And she’s blurry because she wouldn’t stop moving. Of course, there’s already talk of fostering cats. I’m not sure that’ll work with her. She’s not the most tolerant of cats. We’ll see. We have a friend who rescues cats, so that’s why the conversation is happening. I think she might be OK with kittens…other adult cats, probably not so much.

Anyway. We’re going to be OK. We know we gave him good views of hummingbirds and geckos, and lots of pets and love. It sucks that his last week was so yucky, but it’s hard to know when to say goodbye to them sometimes. Probably true of people too, but we have fewer choices about when to stop trying to fix them.

I got another piece into a show, local this time. This is Finding Peace and it’ll be at The Studio Door in Hillcrest, opening November 2, from 5-7 PM.

It’s the Best of FIG exhibit…I had to laugh, because there were size restrictions, and I think my best work is larger than the size restrictions. And I told him that. I do love the bathtub series, though. So that’s OK.

I got home late last night, after tutoring and chiropractor. I watched Bat TV (the bats off the deck), I cooked dinner, and I graded science units for a while. After yesterday’s mood check thing, where I totally reamed the counselor on campus (this woman needs a middle-school reminder), but managed to get the principal to pay for a bunch of triple beam balances as a pay-off for my irritation (um, OK. I’ll take that). Seriously, how does an ex-teacher not understand how I do not need to be in charge of all the counseling shit? Because she only had 25 students and I have 164? That’s not a good excuse. I know kindergarten teachers work their asses off teaching all those subjects AND potty training etc. I do not know what this woman’s problem is. But it’s done now.

Last night, finally after all the grading (still not done), I started cutting stuff out again.

I’ve been cutting for 11 1/2 hours…not nothing. But I’m almost done…I can see the bottom of the box…that’s a good thing. Could I be done tonight? Maybe. Looks are deceiving. There are a lot of small pieces in there, landscape stuff. It might take a while. But maybe. I can do maybe.

Lab today. My co-teacher did it yesterday. Apparently there will be lots of confusion. Great. I love confusion. I’m gonna deep breathe all day and then sit at a meeting and then hopefully go to the gym. That’s the plan. Especially the breathing.

At Peace…

A really sad day yesterday. Poor kitty. Satchemo is finally at peace. Hard day for the rest of us. I prefer to remember him well…

In my stuff, sneezing in my face, claws in my leg, begging for food, silent meow. That’s 4 cats we’ve lost in less than 5 years, I think. All older cats. It’s been rough. It’s a weird house now with only one cat in it. Don’t know how long that will last.

Ironically, we are doing a Check Your Mood presentation in science today all day, so I’ll be sitting through that, checking my own mood, which is sad and slightly weepy. Yesterday, I had a few kids offer me free kittens. Strangely, it’s always the kids who are the loudest, most needy bastards who are ready to go find you a kitten or beat someone up for you. I guess that’s how you know you have a connection with them. At my old school, they wouldn’t have asked first…they would just have shown up with one and handed it to me at the door as they walked in. That’s how I got the pet tarantula (no, I didn’t put my hands out for that one…be aware that a 7th grader with closed hands outstretched toward you is never a good thing). I’ll sit and grade all day while the counselors present. I have a lot to get through.

In good news, my dearth of SAQA exhibits has ended finally. Each Piece Belongs got into Opposites Attract and will be traveling to Australia in the spring.

Hopefully they’ll hang it right side up. Better make sure it has a label on it. I shipped the two sold quilts to Texas yesterday. Hope their owner enjoys them. I’ll miss them, but it’s good to be able to pay off the big ugly bills.

One of my art friends sent a picture of Swallow Me Whole at Beyond the Surface in St. Louis, MO…

It looks good. It was a good quilt to make…no theme, no show in mind…just make what’s in my head. I really just want to stay home today, take a mental hell day…wait, a mental HEALTH day, draw all day. That would be nice. Not an option. OK. Noted. Like yesterday, boychild texted me a picture of a jury summons, because the universe sucks. It’s for November, when we’re in the middle of a huge project that’s full of labs that I really really can’t leave for a sub unless we want explosions. So you know what I’m doing on my first day of Winter Break? Two days before Christmas? Getting my ass up early and going to the damn courthouse. What I will need by then is a break. Hopefully it’ll be one day because no one will want a trial right before Christmas and then I can go on my break. I can’t push it out to summer…it’s too far. Fuckers. I want to go see my kid too, so hopefully going to be able to do that at the end of Winter Break, if she doesn’t come home. We’ll see.

I did grade last night. One kid’s doodles led sad us to K-pop and weird Korean animations. It was something to watch to keep our brains from being sad. Then I cut stuff out…

It doesn’t look a whole lot different than it did before, but I’m out of the body pieces and into the background…so there’s a lot of bigger pieces that cut out much faster than the small ones. I’m still not close to done, I think, but maybe after tonight. OK…off to the workplace…

Dichotomy of Existence…

Hi. Long weekend. Not long enough. The dichotomy of my existence. I spent about 3 1/2 hours at school, trying to get caught up on grading. Well, and I set up the classroom for today. I need to remember to do that every Friday, although I had a good excuse last week. I got through one full class, one of my big ones (OK, three of them are big and the other two aren’t really small) and then about 2/3rds of the way through another one. Tomorrow, there’s a presentation in my classes that means I’m not teaching, but I have to be present, so I’ll be grading through that…think I can get through two more periods, if I’m lucky. That leaves one more…not sure when that will happen. I also graded warmups, finished the previous week’s homework, and did all the makeup work from last week. Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

I do feel really tired this morning. Not a good start. Oh well.

I posted last at the morning opening of Metamorphosis. From there, we had a meeting for that art group, then I came home, headed for school, came back, and then went off to the dive bar where the man’s band was playing Saturday night.

There’s usually nowhere to sit, which was fine. I had to wait 30 minutes in line for the bar, because one of the bar staff hadn’t shown up, so I got two. It was easier…

I drew for a while before they started playing and at the very beginning of their set…

Then I danced. I needed exercise. Too much sitting. I can’t explain the drawing. I just did it.

We were home reasonably early, in bed reasonably early, slept in a bit, still tired though.

Satch is still with us, but it’s not looking good. There was some hope if we could get him to eat, but that hasn’t happened. Although he came out to see me this morning…

And he still purrs when you pet him. Unless he’s mad that you made him take meds. I think it’s time, sweet boy. Funny to call him that. He’s kinda been an asshole. But sweet in his own way.

Calli sat with me on the couch for a while. I had given up on grading and was finally doing art stuff…

I did that for a couple of hours after packing up the box with the two sold quilts.

There’s still a lot left to do…so another couple of nights, I’m thinking. It’s relaxing, meditative, I guess. First I have to go to work and grade a lot more shit.

It Either Will, or It Won’t…

It’s been a rough week. Yesterday…had ups and downs…ups that remind you of how it can be. We did the cover page for Unit 2. We kinda know each other now, more than before. The kids drew, and I rolled my chair around to work with every table, stealing a colored pencil everywhere I went. I started up front, with the kids who don’t do anything or are off task or just plain don’t understand, but I made sure to make it to the back tables too. They’re all seated by their homework grades at the minute. It means some days I want to kill the front tables, but then I look back, and there they are, all the kids who work their butts off, working their butts off, staring up at me. Yeah. I’m good. And honestly, checking in with some of the knuckleheads was good too. I still have this one boy’s look in my head. For the warmup, I stole something from my co-teacher…”I wish my teacher knew…” and he had written about how nervous he is all the time. And he’s this big adult-looking kid who’s always either half asleep or something, and he’s got this sad look on his face, and now I worry even more, because how do I fix that? I don’t. I work with it. Aargh.

One way I know this year has been a rough start is that I never finished coloring my Unit 1 cover page. I’ve never NOT finished. Ever. So I was gonna finish Unit 2…and I did.

OK. There were a million other things I could have been doing in the classroom, but honestly, sitting with the kids and coloring with them was the best thing…both for me and for the group and for the individual kids. It was good. Plus in 8th period, this kid is showing me his drawing from across the room, and I’m trying to figure out WTF it is and I think it’s toes, and I’m trying to figure out what toes has to do with chemical reactions, and he’s a super needy kid and has this look on his face and I just lost it. Laughing so hard I’m crying. It’s OK, he didn’t mind, and I gave him a side hug and said thanks for the laugh, you might pick up some extra credit off that. My god it was awful. Still chortling on that one.

Satchemo is still with us, but he won’t eat. The hardest part of owning pets is knowing when they’re done…when there’s nothing else we can do.

Especially when there’s no warning.

I spent some time with my stitching friends last night…I took something easy and brainless to work on. It’s what I needed.

This is Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails block-of-the-month from 2015. It’s the third quilt of hers I’ve done. They are a nice filler for me. I don’t have to create anything or think about it. I just follow someone else’s instructions and do it and it’s relaxing and not stressful. I haven’t gotten much done on this all year because of all the embroidery patterns, so it’s nice to get back to it. It’s slow. But that’s OK.

I came back from stitching, entered a show, made food for the opening tonight…oh yeah, there’s an opening tonight in Liberty Station. I’ll be exhausted, but I’ll be there. And I have an opening tomorrow too. It’s going to be an interesting few days. So many things to do…so little time. Tonight is What She Said…Artists Speak Out, in Liberty Station, located behind the Solare restaurant, the Martha Pace Swift Gallery, from 5-8 PM. I have two quilts in that. And then tomorrow is the Mingei/Allied Craftsmen show Metamorphosis at City College Art Gallery. I have one big quilt in that. The Mingei is under construction at the moment, so they’re doing stuff in other places.

Then I sat and cut for an hour and a half. It doesn’t look like much…the pile on the left is done.

The stuff on the right still needs to be cut out. I honestly don’t know when I’ll be doing that. The man has a show Saturday night. I have a hundred things to grade. Well. Technically, way more than that due to the shitload of students I have. Woo! Love it. Ugh. Seriously, this weekend hurts to think about. Openings are cool, but when I’m stressed like this and just want to get work done, it’s hard to do what feels like wasting time. I’m considering taking a chair and stuff to cut out tonight. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. I’ll be sleeping in on Sunday. Trying not to think about the cat or the workload or how it will all get done. It either will or it won’t.

You Gotta Wear Those Shoes*

It’s Friday. I’m not sure where the week went. My weekend is looking a little crazy. Mostly because I didn’t do all the things during the week that I should have done. Typical. It’s OK. I’ll get caught up on the things that need doing. Delivering things here and there. Cutting stuff out. I think I can get it all done. Maybe. I really want to be ironing things together on this quilt, but I was tired last night (seriously, three meetings in one day, just 11 hours on campus or at the district office. It’s FINE.). I cut stuff out, but gave up early. I could have stayed up later, but I don’t think it would have been good for me today. I only have a little left to cut out though…

About half a yard. Maybe less. I have about 7 hours in so far…it MIGHT take an hour to finish…probably less. So that’s tonight…and then sort them. And then the fun part…cleaning my office so I have room to iron to fabrics. My second Patreon video might run a little late this month. If I start ironing tomorrow, I can probably put a video together early in the week. More importantly, can I hit my deadline? I think so.

Seriously though, I’m overwhelmed and buried by all the things. It’s going to get better. Soon. At the science curriculum pilot meeting last night, we decided to cut the pilot short…before we killed something. I think this is a good decision. It won’t solve all the issues we’re having this year…a lot of that is the kids…but it will help our sanity to teach the things that we know work and that make sense…because if I can’t understand what the question is asking in a 7th-grade curriculum, there’s a problem.

Weird things I do for science teaching. We need two buckets for next week. I have two, but they’re stickered. I did pull off the mostly inappropriate Jane’s Addiction sticker. Part of Greenpeace is still on there.

I figure they can survive Greenpeace. They’ve probably never even heard of it. Does Greenpeace show up on Fortnight? Because that’s the only way they’d know.

My two pieces have been hung in the That’s What She Said show that will open October 4th in Liberty Station (the one on the left)…

And the one on the back wall…

Interesting trio. This is the Martha Pace Swift Gallery in Liberty Station, just behind Solare (a restaurant). The openings will be from 5-8 PM every First Friday through January. So that’s 4 possible openings to come to. One of the things on my to-do list is to make the 4 Facebook events for those. It won’t take long…I just need to do it.

I really want to spend some time drawing this weekend. I’m hoping that happens. But first, off to school (no meetings today!). I think today involves 90 ice cubes and Dixie cups. Don’t even ask. It could be ugly. Or it could be interesting. Hoping for the latter. Really, it’s just water. It can’t be that bad. (Laughs hysterically because has been teaching middle school for 17 years and knows exactly how bad it might get.) I actually think the kids are starting to realize that their teachers aren’t kidding. I see improvement. I may feel differently tonight, but lately, it seems like they’re getting it. We’ll see (knock on wood).

*Patrick Sweany, Them Shoes

Hope Is a Wonderful Thing

Ah September. You have held off on horrible days of heat…just a few here and there. I actually needed a blanket last night. Have I mentioned that the hot flashes have wandered off? Knock on wood. Don’t let them come back (I know they will). But as always, school is kicking my butt and making me feel like I have to pack in NON-school stuff to keep me sane. Oh yeah, that’s why I make as much art as I do…otherwise, I’d go bonkers in this job. Yesterday was a slog…getting most of the kids to understand what I was talking about (this pilot curriculum sucks balls, to quote my co-teacher)…but also realizing that about 30% of them were totally and completely tuned out. Sigh. SIGH. Direct instruction. And the teacher who sent a kid down in the middle of that and wanted me to find papers? WTF? Like call first. Seriously. No. NO. I have a student who yells no all the time and I can totally bond with her over that. It might get her to stop too, because I think having something in common with me is her biggest fear. I don’t blame her.

Today they write me 7 whole sentences showing me they understand the standard. On the one hand, I’m kind of looking forward to finally seeing how they write. On the other hand. FUCK. It’s gonna hurt my brain. And depress me.

It’s OK. Sunny smile! I can’t grade them until after next Thursday. That’s the due date. I have a week!

But seriously, I’m so behind and confuzzled and overwhelmed and please don’t ask me to do anything else, but I have two meetings at the same time this morning and I don’t know how that is gonna work. At all. And a 2-hour meeting after school about this pilot curriculum. Really, I’d rather be throwing the Navy UFnotO videos up and having the kids write about that. Totally. Fuck the curriculum. Let’s talk about aliens!

I did go to book club, which was totally fun and interesting. We all loved the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, 4 novellas, and she’s coming out with a full novel in May next year (yay!). It was a good mental release to go hang out with a bunch of smart women and talk about the world and how to escape and books and movies. I really appreciate that group, even though the trek out to Point Loma is so freakin’ far.

I managed to cut stuff out for about 30 minutes before I went to bed.

I have about a yard and a half yet. I’m hoping I have the energy to finish tonight. Hope is a wonderful thing. It’s not hard. I was just really really tired.

Calli was making a really funny face, but stopped as soon as I took her picture.

Of course.

OK, off to the two overlapping meetings. We’ll see how that goes. Yesterday someone sent me a donut and I ate it. It was not a good day for food, that’s for sure, but my blood sugar has stayed OK. Mostly because no more hot flashes, eh? I wish my medical coverage thought sending a diabetic to an endocrinologist who actually knew what they were talking about was a good thing. Or even had a diabetes education program that was useful. They won’t answer email. I have to go SEE them. What kind of old-school world are they living in? Not mine. I need to be able to Skype them in the car on the way to the chiropractor. Anyway. Art tonight! I must!

I Woke Up with Rubrics in My Head

My brain. Alarm goes off, not mine. But I know I have to be up in half an hour, have to be up early for a meeting, so instead of slipping gently down the sleep cave and letting my body have that half hour, it goes into overdrive. Loudly. HERE’S ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TODAY. NOW. Shut up brain. It’s OK. I need sleep more than I need reminders. NO YOU DON’T WAKE UP NOW WAKE UP. Fuck. So I was awake. I have three mornings in a row where I have to be up early. I don’t like early. It hurts. I seriously woke up with rubrics in my head. That’s just wrong. I even went to bed early, because I couldn’t get focused anyway last night, and I knew I had to be up early. I’m trying to take care of myself. My brain won’t let me.

We had our first local SAQA meeting yesterday…we are a small but creative group. I’m hoping it keeps going. We’ll see how it goes. You don’t have to be a SAQA member to come. You don’t even have to be an art quilter. I’m OK with fiber of any sort. It was a little painful to come home, have a snack, make more tea, and leave again, but it turned out OK in the end. Today I’ll do the same with book club, except have to drive all the way across town. It’s OK. I missed last month because of school exhaustion and I really liked the books this month, plus this is a different-brained group, which is nice.

The library where we met has this crazy mural…I didn’t get the artist’s name, but apparently she’s painted murals in all the East County libraries.

It’s very brightly colored.

I saw another picture of my quilt hanging in France.

This one is coming home next month, I think.

I did cut a bunch of stuff out at the meeting…made it through almost two yards of Wonder Under (although one only had big pieces on it).

I have two more yards to go. Tonight? After book club? I suspect it’ll be an hour of cutting if I’m lucky. Then I have another science meeting tomorrow after school, plus two meetings on top of each other before school, so that will be painful. I think I might be in the fabric choosing phase by Friday? Hopefully? Who knows.

So I have this wallet. It’s nice, has an applique of an owl on it. It’s very well made. I bought it really soon after my divorce, because I needed a new wallet, and I was out running errands, actually in a department store (this so rarely happens, I can’t even tell you), and I saw this wallet and fell in love with it, but it had no price on it. Post-divorce, for a good long time, I really had almost no money at all, but I figured, how expensive could it be? It’s just a wallet. So I go up to the checkout and hand it over. Really, I should have asked for the price, but I think then I wouldn’t have bought it. So she told me the total and my heart sort of stopped a bit, but then I handed over a credit card. It was $40. That was immense at that point in my life. I didn’t have a spare $40 for something I technically could live without. Surely there were much cheaper wallets out there. I bought it and felt crappy for doing it, because money was so tight. But honestly, I’ve enjoyed it all these years and it only started to really fall apart this year. So 16 years? Not bad for $40. But now I need a new one and I want another nice, artsy wallet that holds all my shit, but don’t know where to find one…that will last 16 years again. So that’s a thing.

Meanwhile, I’ve got some school stuff to do this morning. Last night, after the meeting, I had to make a worksheet and organize school stuff, so that didn’t help my brain, I’m sure. Better tonight? Maybe. I can try.