Just So Braindead…

Ah brain. You have had a day or so off. How do you feel? What do you mean you feel overwhelmed still (probably because I haven’t done anything school-related in two days)? What do you mean the eye twitch is still there (probably because the things that cause the eye twitch have not gone away or been managed)? And other personal stuff just popped up, so I’m sitting here and worrying instead of doing something. Although I did finally (after 6 months or so?) finish hemming all the fabric napkins I cut out in April or May to replace paper napkins in the house. I figured 8 sets of 2 would be OK for most of the time, with just 2 of us using them, but then the dog chewed up 1 pair (they smelled like tacos), so I was down 1, and so I had 3 sets left to sew and I did that in the last 24 hours. I might need another set, but I doubt it, because we’ve been surviving on 4 sets for a long time. But it’s not like there’s a shortage of fabric with which to make more if I need to.

Talk about brainless activity…hemming napkins is high on that list.

Friday, after work, I managed to drag the man out for a walk/hike before gaming.

It’s not a new hike. It’s one we do all the time…close to home but mostly people free.

It gets dark early these days, so we have to get out earlier.

Clouds were coming in and it got a little chilly.

And we definitely had dusk, plus a coyote crying out for a while. Three miles. Not bad.

We’re planning a longer one for Tuesday and maybe another on Friday. That may help with the eye twitch. And the grinding teeth. Did I mention those? Also grading and planning a bunch of shit will help, that’s for sure.

I traced some on Friday night and a bunch Saturday night. I’ve got about 200 pieces to go…

I’m hoping to get those done tonight, if I can get my head into it.

Almost done.

Had an art opening last night…on Zoom. With Luna assist. I was on the panel talking about my work…

Always interesting. The two pieces are at Sparks Gallery in downtown San Diego for a while (February) as part of a show with Allied Craftsmen. You can also see the whole show online at that link. I embroidered stuff I’m not allowed to show you during the opening. It’s Sue Spargo stuff that’s not released yet. By the time it’s released, I might be done with it.

You can see Calli and her ball here…

And Kitten is hogging the phone charger cord (I think it’s warm)…

I’m trying to get my head around things that are more complicated than hemming napkins. We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully everything else will chill out a bit this week (not so far, but a woman can dream)…

Here’s the three projects I have in progress for my two levels of art.

I think we’re almost done with stuffed animals. We’ve barely started the faces (the kids are allowed to do up to 2/3ds creatively, but 1/3 has to be realistic using the grid). The top one is the warmup…starting in pencil, then moving to pen and colored pencils. I might have to find my colored pencils at some point. By next Monday, I need a plan for the early finishers of stuffed animals and portraits, plus a digital project for the 6th graders for the last two weeks of December. I also need to finish posting all the stuff for science the week we come back. I got a chunk of it done Friday night, but not all of it. And then the grading begins.

OK, well tracing Wonder Under tonight. I’d like to finish those 200 or so pieces. Then I can maybe sit on the couch and binge watch something while cutting them all out. We’ll see. I’ll grade shit tomorrow. Plus yardwork. I haven’t even started that either. Just so braindead. Ugh. I want to draw too. There’s a few in my head. OK. There are threads of things to do…I just need to follow some of them. Pick the easiest one and just do it.

Totally Appreciated…

My day off, thanks to the veterans of all wars and skirmishes and just general military actions. I’m not a big fan of military actions, but know that some were necessary. No matter what, those involved and their families deserve acknowledgment today. I always wish for peace and the diminished need for military presence, but having been born in a military hospital, I know that isn’t always how it rolls. May veterans feel love and care; may their families feel the same.

Also, thank you for letting me have a break today. I fully and greatly appreciate it. I have not been sleeping enough. I have been working too much, too hard. I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m hoping this day will give me a little distance from all that. Yes, I will still be working today, but interspersed will be art and exercise and reading my book because it’s the book club book for next week and I think my library due date is coming up so I need to finish it. Plus it’s pretty good. AND it feeds into the drawing that finally coalesced in my head. I swear, this job…

So I have a possible exhibition opportunity coming up next year about birth, and I don’t do a lot that is JUST birth. Birth shows up, for sure, but some of those are gone or sold…well, if they’re gone, they’re sold. I think this will be a virtual exhibition, so that won’t matter, but I felt like doing a non-COVID quilt, and this new era (hopefully) that is going to be Trump-free (not stupid-free, not entitlement-free…nah, those things are still rampant) makes me feel like I should be making something different for a while…not necessarily something joyful, but certainly hopeful? Maybe. I don’t know. So when I was in 29 Palms, I drew a birth thing…

But it wasn’t right. This originally came about in my head when hearing about women giving birth without family due to COVID, and I had this picture in my head of a woman on a hospital bed giving birth, and then a glass window behind her with everyone masked, gloved, etc, watching her…like all the doctors and nurses, here, do it yourself, we’ll be in later (no knocks on doctors and nurses on the front lines; they have it super hard and you know they don’t leave in these situations…I just was hard hit to think of family not being able to be there for women giving birth). But that wasn’t where my head wanted to go. The other night, I tried redrawing it, different baby, different aspect, trying to make it longer than wider, and I just ended up drawing it again, almost exactly the same, frustrated by my inability to connect my brain to something I liked, to something I wanted to MAKE. The easy way out would have been to just do the other COVID quilt. It’s already numbered and ready to go, but I didn’t want easy. I wanted different. So I let it all percolate in my head, and Monday, on the way driving around to my flu shot (drive-through)…

And UPS for boxes to ship a quilt and Home Depot for slats, talking to my SIL on the phone about all the crazy shit in our lives, it started to pop into my head, started to form, the same drawing, but elongated and connected to nature and the sky and space and dirt and all that good stuff that makes me feel better about everything.

So yesterday, after Pilates (possibly the last in the studio for a while, as San Diego shuts down a bit again due to rising infection counts), I copied the original drawing from the desert…

Cut it up and taped it together, enlarged 200%, not a lot, just a bit…

And then cut a longer piece of butcher paper from the giant-ass 50-yard roll I keep in my living room (doesn’t everybody do that?), and started tracing the bits I liked, changing the bits I didn’t, and adding some vines around her legs to pull her into the ground…

People are always asking me how I decide what to draw, how my brain works, and there, I just described it. There’s a part in there, I call her the Art Brain, and if I just let her go, she does some of her best deciding and ideaing (that is a word, fuck you) while I am doing other things, driving, walking, talking, erranding. And I appreciate her so much. I don’t know how to teach you to listen to your art brain, but she’s usually talking when you aren’t necessarily thinking so hard about art that you can’t hear her.

And it’s true that I’m old and I’ve been doing this a really long time and the most important bit of advice I can give you is practice practice practice, plus draw a lot and expect more than half of it to be crap. And that’s how you get better. I stopped at midnight thirty, because although I don’t have to Zoom work today, I still have to work. But hopefully I will get the next bit traced and go on to the landscape/sky part, where all the nice and cool stuff will be happening, yes, this is the next quilt, hallelujah, I knew if I were patient (not my thing), she would come out and make it happen. There’s never any down time with her…she’s always muttering into my ear, but I’m not always good at hearing it.

Here’s Calli…good old girl. The lump on her nose is inoperable bone cancer. She is not bothered by it yet, which is good, but probably there’s not a ton of time left with her…so we appreciate her good girlness every day.

And Kitten, who follows me to school (literally down the hallway and into the living room) and sometimes comes to class, usually in the most unhelpful way (on one computer, butt in my face)…

My two faithful old lady companions (they are both old ladies too). It makes me sad to see them grow old, but the best part (perhaps the only best part) of teaching from home is the constant furry animal pets I get to do all day long as I run to the bathroom and heat my tea up between Zoom classes.

OK, gotta sew some more napkins, deliver to quilts to a gallery, go see an exhibition where three of my quilts are hanging, and then grade a bunch of stuff, plan some more, probably record a video or five, and go for a long walk. Then draw some more. Not a bad day off. Totally appreciated.

I Might Even Be OK with It…

Did you see a dog was elected major of some town in Kentucky? Seems a better choice than some. Still waiting, America…still waiting.

For the first time ever in my teaching existence, I finished grades the day the gradebook opened. Why? Because I am leaving this afternoon to drive to 29 Palms for an art installation I have work in, and I still have to plan for next week (which often takes anywhere from 6-15 hours). Can’t do it while I drive or while I install/help. Honestly not sure how it will get done. I can teach one of the three subjects on Monday as is…the other two will take a little work. Then if I have to catch up during prep, I can. I feel like I’m always playing catchup though. It’s affecting my ability to do everything: make art, fix things around the house, answer freakin’ email. And then a counselor asks how many times I’ve contacted parents about a kid who rarely shows up to class, and I’m like, if you can tell me how to find one email on the app we use to contact parents? I’ll tell you that answer. But I have over 200 to dig through, most with multiple blind-copied recipients, and I can’t figure out how to search easily. So I don’t have time for that. This morning is a potentially contentious meeting and I’m not ready for it, but I have 22 minutes before that. Write fast!

Here’s the piece that’s being installed at the Labyrinth our fearless leader is building…

Should be an interesting weekend. I’ll be taking my sketchbook and my school computer and the man who lives with me.

No cats though. This was the night after election night. Turn off the TV, can’t watch the numbers, just put lines on paper. I still haven’t decided what to work on next. I’m flailing.

Next week. I will figure it out.

There’s this…

It’ll be in the Winter issue. The real live show that was going to be out where my daughter is? That’s gone virtual, unfortunately. I also got into another local show, so more will be coming on that. AND…finally got the photos back of COVID Daughters from the photographer…

She’ll be off to her new owner next week.

This bread had to come out 5 minutes early because I had to start teaching. I suck at bread scheduling.

Interesting spaceship on top.

Wednesday night, I walked in the dark. I worked until just about 5 with my coworker and the time change is a fucker, isn’t it?

Took my headlamp. Made it most of the way without it. Honestly it’s for the cars so they will see me.

Luna love while I’m trying to work…

So helpful. She and her sister played a game of Under as well.

IDK who won.

I really expected Simba to fight this more…

Girlchild wanted him to dress up as a panda apparently.

We’ve been getting these spectacular sunsets lately…

There’s probably something bad we’re doing to the environment to cause them.

I’ll leave you with this…

Motivational sayings on product boxes? OK.

Today? Teach. All day. Hopefully I know what I’m doing. Pack and drive a lot. Sleep. Tomorrow art in a socially distanced manner. Desperately try to plan for teaching next week in between all that. It’ll be fine. I might even be OK with it.

Rushed

Woke up with a plan to get all this shit done. HA! Because the world is what it is, internet down, nothing responding, Fuuuck. Because I’m an ONLINE teacher and to be an ONLINE teacher, you have to be (wait for it) ONLINE. Fuck me. It’s OK. I’m obviously back online, but it was 30 minutes texting a Cox Cable person to get it back. Yes, there IS an outage (no fucking shit ma’am). What is your name? I Already Gave It To You, with my phone number, my 4-digit pin, and my firstborn. Not really. He’s still around. Somewhere. So while she was trying to PING my modem back into responsiveness, my brain was panickedly (that is a word, dammit) trying to think about what I would have to take to school with me to teach today, which included two computers, all their cords, an extra monitor, my doc cam and all its cords and connectors, plus a pile of papers and a clipboard, and FOUR ROCKS. My world. Right there. Plus food, enough PPE to scare off a Trump, and probably a Taser to keep people away from me. Because school is the LAST place I wanna be right now. But it’s close and it has internet. They could run an extension cord for me and I could just hang outside, far away from anywhere anybody ever goes. There’s that little amphitheater outside the library, right? Sigh.

So panic over. For now. Sunscreen. I would need sunscreen.

ANYWAY. Fuck me. I had a plan for this morning too. So I have been working too much. Yesterday I quit at like 11 hours…better than the previous day. NOT FUCKING SUSTAINABLE, Universe. It’s a job. I get paid. It’ll be OK if some kids don’t have grades.

Sigh. Like I said, I quit work “early” yesterday. I think it was around 9:45 that I started looking at background fabrics for the new quilt, because I thought what I had picked was too dark. It was. I picked a new one.

Much better, although I suspect I have no thread for quilting that color. Easily managed. I pieced the background and ironed the whole thing down…

And hopefully tonight I will give myself the time to start the stitch down. I lost this morning’s planning time, though, so I will need to be uber-efficient during my prep today (which is quite long, but in the middle of the day and without a team member to focus my not-ADD brain, which is still kinda ADD, I do not function well). I flit like a psychotic butterfly, honestly. Bits and pieces get done, but it’s easier for me to focus on tasks in the morning and evening.

Next stage of the quilt, though. This is good.

You know, I miss this this year.

Although my 8th graders do kinda piss on everything.

Monday night, I chose to exercise over art. I didn’t have the energy for art anyway. But notice the dog and the two cats (and the 5 pieces of wood…I used them for the lab demo last week) all accompanying me on my stationary bike ride.

Easy for them.

Also yesterday morning’s sunrise was nice.

This morning, we had fog. And internet issues. OK, off to work I go. In the other room. Where hopefully the internet is stable and strong.

I Need You to Back Off…

Currently appreciating the quiet morning and a gentle cool breeze that will be replaced by slightly scorching heat later. Only slightly scorching, because I think we’ll be under 100 degrees today. Maybe. I would like to still be asleep for another 20 minutes, but a cat woke me up and then my brain took over, panicking about the to-do list, as it is wont to do (and I wish it wouldn’t). I can’t catch up with anything. This is often the case, but it’s worse this year. I will get a handle on it. Brain, please remember that was the FIRST week of the new schedule and you will eventually figure out some balance and maybe manage the one unknown curriculum and the other two nonexistent curricula. Or not. I have two of the three days planned for science next week, and the other one is roughed in. I just need enough headspace to see the big picture and figure out timing, make the posts, finish the slides, make an agenda, sacrifice a baby lamb (wait, all lambs are babies) to the Goddess of Get It Done, and then it will all be fine. Art? Art is OK? Maybe? None of the posts are made, the agendas barely exist, and there are a few notes, but it will be OK? I just don’t know. I’ve never really been an art teacher…making it is not the same as teaching it. I would be fine in person, but online is just fucking hard. It’s hard with science; it’s even harder with art. If I DO anything, they copy me. I don’t want that.

And then the grading. There’s too many things. I’m picking and choosing, but it’s an avalanche of stuff that hit yesterday, and then my printer cartridge died and I thought I had ordered another one, but I never hit the submit order button, fuck me, so yesterday, I’m trying to find one and they’re sold out everywhere, the Staples guy who can’t keep his mask over his nose, big geeky guy, he’s just trying to help, telling me to try CVS, and I’m like, I’m not driving all over looking for this thing. A knockoff arrives today, the real deal on Tuesday. Fuck me, Hewlett Packard, you need to keep us in supply. When did printer ink become the new toilet paper? Or flour?

I keep telling myself it will be OK, it will get better. I can only keep telling myself that, because otherwise I will lose my already-stretched-thin mind.

You see, art is what always gave me balance. And at the end of a 12-hour-teacher day, I don’t have the energy for art right now. Or barely. So when I say it’s not sustainable, SURE, I can lesson plan and teach (and who the fuck has the time to contact parents right now?) for 12-14 hours a day…I’ve been doing it for 7 weeks now, but I am not OK because I can’t fit the art in. I need that. Maybe you need time with your family or a good book (I read for 10 minutes during lunch on a good day) or a massage (oh wait, I do need one of those). I need time making art. When I’m teaching art? I’m managing a bunch of kids on chat, trying to answer their questions, crazily trying to grade some thing that the state of California needs to prove my students are engaged in the curriculum, and trying to plan the next day, plus check their work as they’re doing it. I’d love to sit there and draw with them, but I can’t.

It’s fine. It makes me want to cry just typing that, because it’s not, but I’m an adult with a lot of persistence and talents and I will survive this fucking year. Speaking of this fucking year, my SIL sent me a dumpster fire sticker.

I love it. I need to decide where it should go. I love stickers, but I never know what to do with them. If I stick them on something and then it isn’t out where I can see it forever, then I can’t see the sticker any more. I guess I could start papering the bathroom. It needs it.

I love this kid already.

I am this kid. Except I’m the teacher, so I don’t get to do that. I also want to go in the breakout room where all the videos and mics are off. Also I don’t get to do that. Because I’m the teacher. Introverts in education! Don’t unite! Unless it’s in your own personal blanket fort.

Thursday night, late, I finished ironing pieces down for the SJSA Remembrance block.

It’s supposed to be done today (shh…don’t tell them I’m running late). It might be. I mean, I have until midnight, right? And it doesn’t need to be quilted. I thought about cutting pieces out Thursday night, but that thought exhausted me and I just sat there on the couch and stared at the pieces and the cat and social media.

Last night, I was better. I put on Enola Holmes, the movie (great movie, by the way), and got them all cut out…

Although it was still hot and the fan was still on and the dog was over there.

Done. Iron them together, stitch them down, and put a stitching outline in. And done. I can do that. I think. Today is not a quiet, do-nothing day, though…

Kitten’s response to my to-do list.

I went to school yesterday, rummaged around the front office (everyone was gone) and found the kid supply bags for delivery and mailing to some who don’t have them, visited my prep room, which was sad, put the old unit box away, stole the new stuff out of the box…

This time, I only brought home bags of rocks, some evidence cards, a pie tin, a couple of coffee filters, an evidence gradient, and the list my co-teacher made me of all her kids, a pithy note for each, which I’ve only barely looked at, because I haven’t had time. Instead of reading my book with breakfast today, I will read the list. Or maybe I will wait until Monday. I know co-teachers are walking away from school and computers on Friday night, and I try to do that, but when you’re home, it’s hard, and when I know I have too much to do and I don’t want to feel buried or unprepared on Monday, I can’t do it. I will try to keep Saturday clear and then kill myself with work on Sunday. Not healthy.

When my school office manager emailed earlier Friday that there was leftover pizza and they would deliver it to our rooms, I offered that I was only 2 1/2 miles away…it took her a while to figure out where I was. No pizza was delivered. I miss being at school. I miss people. I miss moving around during the day. I miss my classroom.

This was me last night, lying on the floor, trying to get my back and hips to stop hurting. Simba and I played with the ball for a bit while I stretched.

Then Calli stole the ball and that was it.

Here’s my quilt You Pollute Me at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE, through November 29. She is part of the For the Love of Gaia exhibit there. A Facebook friend sent me a photo of her on this great yellow wall.

I appreciate that. It’s a reminder of why the art is important. Of why I have to find the time for it. I have to simplify something else to get that time. School, you are a total mindfuck right now and I need you to back off.

Today I have exercise (yay) plus a socially distanced art meeting out in Ramona to jury new members…masks and cold water and bring your own snacks and chair and we’ll be outside. It’ll be good. I hope. I can’t do schoolwork there, so that’s a thing. Oh yeah, and it’s October and we are that much closer to the election and cooler weather and a camping trip and another trip to 29 Palms, and maybe all that will help my brain be where it needs to be. Ugh. This year. I have a job. I am lucky. It’s fine.

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.

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.

One Chunk for Me…

It’s interesting to read a bunch of pedagogy articles and listening to teacher podcasts on how to deal with remote and hybrid teaching and realizing that your own teaching assignment currently conflicts with everything that seems to be good eduscience. We planned Monday to be a catch-up/check-in day…already. Eight days in. It’s OK…this is new for all of us, different than what we did in the Spring. Meanwhile, the district is planning to change everything again within the next month. We’ll see if that approaches what kids need more than what we’re doing right now. Friday, I had to call a parent because the kid was full on snoring away in Zoom class. I don’t blame him…if I were lying on my bed, I might fall asleep too. That’s why I sit up. It’s hard to find a happy place between making sure they’re on task and focused, but respecting their space and their laggy internet and their dislike of the screen. I’m only barely getting their names in my brain, because I can’t really see most of them…it’s hard to tell them apart by the foreheads and hair and that’s it. I’m working on it…but also know that a goodly portion of them won’t be in my class in a month. Or will they? We just don’t know.

I did move my entire teaching space into the living room on Friday and then bought another adapter and cable to hook in directly to the internet. We’ll see how that goes. Luna is fascinated by what has appeared on what she thinks of as Her Desk.

Two laptops and a monitor and she already pulled my schedule off the wall, where I taped it, knowing it would be a kitten toy, but I couldn’t think of where else to put it in the moment.

This works for now. I’m still in flux. The light table is behind me so I can stand there if I need to, but I need lighting for that…I’m backlit, so it’s weird. I’m hesitant to buy yet another thing that might not solve a problem right now.

The other hard part is that at the end of the school day, at 3 PM, when I sign off with the last group, I’m exhausted, mentally and physically. My brain can’t see straight and feels like it’s tied in a knot. So I take a break, walk around, water something, feed the sourdough starter, pee the dogs, anything that’s not school-related. And then try to do the things I wrote in my notebook for school. Finish typing this, call that person, print that form, email this other person, post that, create this. Sometimes I just give up until much later. Too much sitting; too much staring at a screen.

Friday night was gaming (online…staring at a screen). I stitched while playing…

We’ve got dice on the table, character sheets lying around. We’ll finish it up this coming Friday. I can’t even remember what we were doing. Damn Romulans. They were being all secretive and lying and all.

Saturday, I got up for Pilates…I missed Wednesday’s class because the dog had to go to the vet, and my body was very stiff and sore. Note to self. Not sustainable. MOVE. Yes, it was freakin’ hot all week. MOVE.

Kitten does move. Sometimes. Then I did more school stuff until about 1 PM, followed it up with art group stuff, and then we walked near where we were hoping to have dinner. This is part of the Coast to Crest trail…we were trying to figure out if these were actually put out for birds to build nests on (one had a large nest)…

We went about 2 miles out and then 2 miles back. Weird how that works, eh?

Lots of birds. As always, I have to check heron vs egret vs crane. This is a heron.

That tiny white dot out there is an egret. It was warm going inland, but definitely cooled off on the way back with the ocean breeze and impending sunset.

Different plants to look at…

Different wildlife…

I’m not a fan of the car/freeway noise, but when it’s hot and summer, that’s one of the things you have to deal with…cooler beach walks often mean more people and/or car noise. There weren’t a lot of people on this hike…

It’s mostly flat…

We wanted to have dinner at a nearby brewery that has a big open outdoor space afterwards, but we reserved the mental right to back out and get takeout if we weren’t comfortable with the setup.

Which is what we ended up doing. Too many people in too small a space with not enough barriers. They were nice about it. We tailgated in the parking lot with free beer from the general manager and giant-ass mosquitoes landing on us. The food was good. I’d go back…maybe not on a Saturday night, but we’re limited by our work schedules unfortunately. We’re trying to figure out how to have Date Night without all the things we used to be able to do. Unfortunately, it might be tailgating and picnics for a while. At least the food was still hot when we ate it, for once in the last 5 months.

Here’s part of the trail map…

We started at the P near the Boardwalk and followed the Coast to Crest trail under the freeway and out. If you go to the Polo Fields and turn around, it’s supposed to be about 5.3 miles. We didn’t get that far.

I’m still trying to finish ironing all the Wonder Under to fabrics for this new piece…I did some on Friday night. Less than an hour, I think…with Calli’s assistance.

Nah. She’s just in the way. Speaking of in the way…

Everyone wants pets. Katie left Saturday afternoon with my parents. She was happy to finally get back to rabbit chasing and regular walks in her own space.

Here’s everything I got ironed down on Friday night…mostly just the lungs, I think.

They were pretty damn complicated though. Like COVID itself.

Then last night, I worked on ironing anything to do with the cardiovascular system…

Arteries, blood cells, the heart…

I originally did this drawing in April, 30 days after we got sent home from school on Shelter in Place…then when I enlarged it, I added some broken blood cells, since it seems like COVID attacks the blood in some ways or the blood vessels themselves. Crazy shit. So all I have left to iron is the hair of the main figure (I cannot make a decision) and the dirt down below. Easy, right? Oh I think there is a ventilator down there too. So not much left. I’d like to get it done tonight. I’d also like to get a binding on the small Patreon piece here…it’s late and I feel bad, but I can’t get my head straight until like 11 PM and then it feels too late to work on it. This afternoon would be good, but I have somewhere I need to be at 6 and I’m not sure I’m ready for school yet. Damn.

So this week…teach all week, exercise more (it’s supposed to be cooler until Saturday, hallelujah), finish ironing the Wonder Under to fabric, finish the Patreon piece, and I need to draw…one for Patreon and one for myself. Maybe that’s the way everything should go this week. One for (work, art groups, Patreon, family) and one for myself. Whatever unit I use for one…hour? One chunk for me, one chunk for you. Certainly that might be healthier than whatever shit I did last week. Also, it’s September this week. Already. WTF. Someone said that unless we change our mindsets, 2021 will still be bad. Kenosha police, we’re talking to you. With that, I’m going to do one chunk for me.