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.

Friday Tired

Hey. It’s Friday. I’m Friday tired. Maybe more so. I find sitting for so long makes my feet swell up or something by the end of the week. I think it’s the chair or the height of the chair or just sitting for so damn long, but by 7th period, I just can’t stand to sit any more. I don’t get the kids who try to work while lying in bed, because I’d just fall asleep. Oh wait. Some of them do. Their camera is off and I’m talking to them and typing to them and there’s nothing…except probably some drool and snoring on the other end. I get it. This is hard.

My district officially made the announcement yesterday that kids would be going back September 9th. At my school, they will phase in in groups, so our kids probably have another 4-6 weeks until we switch. I wonder which kids I will end up with…and whether I will be teaching for multiple schools. Sounds hard. It’s all hard. Just give me a plan period with my co-teacher so I don’t go insane trying to plan it all myself. She scales me back. Then I scale her back. Then she makes things and I edit them. Or sometimes I make them and she makes me edit them. We always make it too long, too much to start. Right now, especially, too long is not working for any of us.

I’m trying out a different teaching location in the house today. I tried it back in April, but it was too hot. It might still be too hot…we’ll see. It’s more an internet test, because I got kicked out of Zoom 5 times in one class period yesterday, and that gets old. Tuesday was hellacious. All day getting dropped, sometimes just on the laptop; sometimes on all the devices. Fun stuff. Also I broke the toilet on Wednesday.

OK, the parts were just old and they were making noise, leaky noises, so I fussed with it and broke things that were plastic and probably 20 years old. So I don’t feel really bad. Plus I’m the one who had to go buy the kit at Home Depot after work so I could make the boychild install it.

He wanted to wait a day, and I’m like no, I need a working toilet so I don’t have to go down the long hallway in the dark at 4 AM and by the time I get to the other bathroom, my body is like (a) nah, I’m good. Don’t need to pee any more, and (b) now I am also wide awake PERK. Fuck that. I need sleep.

So it’s fixed. Now if I could get him to go fix the mailbox. Because IDK how to do that either and I don’t have the time or patience.

This was me trying to grade Wednesday afternoon at the vet with the old lady. Google Classroom has not been doing a good job with the iPad version of the app…

Which is unfortunate.

Wednesday night, I ironed a little. I have no idea how many pieces are left to iron because all I’m doing is all the little pieces in the body that AREN’T fleshy bits. So from the 200s to the 700s, but not all of them because a bunch were already ironed because they were skin.

Thursday night, another quick run at the ironing. About 45 minutes after 11 PM…

Yes, those piles look different. To me. Not a lot. I ironed a glove, a thermometer, some eyeballs, some virions, IDK what else. I’m getting close to done…

This is all that’s left…dirt, fire, blood, hair, lungs, heart. OK. That’s a lot. But I could bang it out in a night if I weren’t so tired.

I’m always tired at the beginning of the year. This is different, true, but the tired part is normal.

I stitched for a while as I listened to Beth Smith talk about the contemporary quilt exhibit she curated for the Oceanside Museum of Art…my piece is on the right, So Cal Mama. The slide show of the exhibit is on their website, so you can see it.

They’ve installed the show and it will be up until February 21…their hope is that businesses will open by then…

I don’t have a list of the other artists. This video will be up on the OMA site soon.

At least we could see the show.

Swallow Me Whole got into Quilts=Art=Quilts…so I’ll be shipping her off in a few weeks…

And here’s the morning, hopeful but predicting warm…

I’m hoping for the chance to stand up and walk around between classes. I’m hoping for everything to work techwise. I’m hoping that the tea kicks in soon. I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier and it doesn’t help most nights…I can’t fall asleep earlier. I’m hoping to get some ironing in. The man and I have a date night planned for tomorrow, but we’re a little nervous about the dinner part. We’ve agreed that if we get there and the table setup worries us with proximity to others (tables 6 feet apart does not mean people 6 feet apart), then we will apologize and get takeout. I’m hoping the girlchild’s interview goes well. I’m hoping the weather starts to cool off. I’m hoping the new schoolroom setup works better. We’ll see.

Permission to Take a Break

I’m not sure when I thought I would write this blogpost. Back in the old days, I would get up around 6:30, take my shower, get dressed, feed the animals I’m responsible for, grab a cup of tea and something that approximated breakfast, and I’d sit down at the computer and bang out a blogpost. I did that almost every day, Monday-Saturday. I took Sunday mornings off most week and the occasional other day, but pretty much this was how I cleared my brain for the day and dealt with any lingering anxieties from weirdass dreams and the previous day’s existence. Then I’d brush my teeth, take my meds, pack my lunch, and drive to work to teach all day. Come home, repeat the next morning. Work was a separate place you went to and although as a teacher, it’s really hard NOT to bring it home, at least it was at a different location and sometimes you’d treat yourself and leave the pile of papers and the work computer AT WORK, where they belonged. Permission to take a break.

Ah, no longer. I basically live in this one room of the house, venturing out only to pee and heat up my tea, with the occasional walk down the hallway just to move my legs. And here I am, at 10:30 at night, writing the blogpost I was supposed to write this morning. In the same place I sat all day. School starts earlier now, so I get up 15 minutes earlier, and granted, this was the first day of online school, so maybe I’ll get into a routine and there will be less morning panic about whether or not I have everything set up right (we didn’t. I was retyping a Google Question at 8:09 AM for a 9:25 AM class, which isn’t actually THAT abnormal, but I don’t like it). Two computers, three monitors, this is before the boychild brought in two pieces of wood that go across from the left desk to the printer shelf, notionally for the mouse…

Or also for a tripod that holds my phone, which is dialed into the Zoom class so I can show the chemistry demo.

That’s calcium chloride, cornstarch, and baking soda on the red plate. Don’t get excited. I didn’t blow anything up, although we had color change, gas, temperature change, and odor, all created in one fell swoop. Fun stuff. Totes would do this lab in person. Maybe in 2021.

School…exhausting teachers everywhere, every August and September, but especially in 2020. Rumor has it my school will be back in person on September 9. And my guess is that it will take about 3-4 weeks before at least one cohort is quarantined. Ah well. It is what it is. Kids will learn something this year. They will survive. I don’t subscribe to the theory that this is going to put them all behind. It might even drill some resilience into them. Some of them. It’s worse for the kids in schools that already struggle to bring kids up…losing a year when they’re already a few behind…but I believe some kids will still get it, they’ll still find a way to learn in the chaos of all this. And it’s not like we did this on purpose, invited a pandemic into our midst. Oh wait. Maybe some people are making it worse. Sigh. Vote dammit. Vote vote vote. Like our lives depend on it.

What else? I did iron the small Patreon piece together on Monday night…

Making small things is sometimes fun…

It didn’t have a lot of pieces and went together fairly quickly, in maybe an hour…

I got it ironed onto a background…

I’m hoping to get it finished this weekend.

I sold two pieces on Etsy, so that was also nice. I figure it’s about 30 decent bottles of wine.

I’m joking. I don’t need that much wine. Not yet. Give me a month and I might change my mind.

Then last night, I cleaned up and set up to iron the new Daughter quilt together. This drawing hangs in the background of my school Zooms, so I have to remember to pin it back up every day before school starts.

There’s boobs on that thing! Oh my. My office isn’t huge…I had two fans going last night, but it was still a million degrees in here.

The ironing board gets moved around and out of the way on a regular basis, then pulled back to the middle of the room for this stage. For reference, the desk setup I showed you earlier is to the right of the top corner of the ironing board. Like RIGHT THERE.

I got just about the first 100 pieces ironed, most of the first human figure.

I’m totally exhausted tonight and not sure I have the energy for any of it. I’d LIKE to iron. I just don’t know if I have the energy. It took about an hour after school started of just sitting there before I could think straight again. And then I did Pilates and book club, which is part of the tired, but they were both things I needed.

It’s still hot here…

Which explains the prostrate animals everywhere.

I think it was actually a tiny bit cooler today.

Definitely cooler out on the deck in the late afternoon…

But also buggy as shit and I was so tired, I needed a cup of tea to do Pilates.

The first week is always exhausting, wherever you are. My team ate lunch in a socially distanced matter, with my being dialed in on FaceTime. We talk about kid issues during lunch, so it was useful. I’m still glad I’m not on campus. I miss everyone, I miss my room, I miss my materials and my setup, but I don’t want to be there right now.

Getting used to early mornings again.

At least the sunrises are occasionally pretty.

I made this Monday. Still not airy enough.

But it tastes good, better than what I get at the store.

This is not the lizard that belonged to the tail from the other night…well, first of all, it’s a gecko, not a lizard…

Second of all, the lizard was tiny and this is not.

I have a fan who lives near where Form Not Function recently opened at the Carnegie Center for Arts & History in New Albany, Indiana. My piece I Can’t Be Your Superwoman is flanked here by Helen Geglio’s Wisdom Cloak: Invisible Visionary on the left and Tracy Taylor’s The Distance Between Us on the right…

Definitely prime real estate on that wall…

Wish I could’ve seen it, but these pictures help…

She won an Honorable Mention, which is nice. Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll get my act together and post pictures of the two newest quilts, one of which has been done since March or April, but it’s taken me and the photographer a while to get our acts together.

OK, let’s be real…it’s after 11 PM, I’m exhausted after my first day back to work, and I get to do it all again tomorrow. It’s OK if I don’t iron tonight. Tomorrow is another day. I really want to iron. I enjoy this part of the process…but this is also one of the hottest rooms in the house with the lights on…it’s possible I might be able to replace the bulbs in here for cooler ones, which will help, but also it needs to be cooler tomorrow (it won’t be, I don’t think). Ah well. It will be cooler eventually. And I will get used to the schedule and rally sooner. And more often.

So Thursday is for artmaking and Wednesday is for survival and then sleep, which is where I’m headed now…completely backwards to when I usually write. And Friday is just Friday, part of which is Not Here Yet. Man I’m tired. Peace out. See you later.

Messy Around the Edges…

Ah yes. You should know that fully half the things I thought I could get done yesterday did not happen, but I did send 20 emails with mostly (hopefully) correct information about schedules. I remember now what I hate about sending the same (mostly) email to every student…finding all their parent emails, making sure I change the things that need to be different. It’s just time-consuming. The extra communication we do because it’s all online is a lot. My co-teacher is planning to leave her computer at work (she is going in to her classroom) every weekend. IDK how I will possibly do that and get everything done. I will try? Aack. We’ll see. It’s hard to find work/life balance as a teacher no matter what, but when it’s happening at home anyway, it just gets ugly.

I did get a few things done yesterday that weren’t work-related. I persuaded my sourdough starter to be happy and on my fourth loaf of bread, I might be doing it right. Of course, I haven’t cooked it yet, so WTF do I know?

This is what the weather app was saying yesterday.

Today it puts the high temp at 98 with a real feel of 108 (I can vouch for those real feels), and then Thursday will be the highest, with rolling blackouts from our electricity company. Now to clarify, I don’t have air conditioning. We sweat and run fans. And sometimes just stand in the open doorway of the fridge. I could put the computer in there and see how that works. I might have to go to school for a few days…I’d rather not, but we’ll see how it goes today and tomorrow, which are prep days.

Every day, Calli begs to go in the pool to fetch pine cones. She can only manage 4 or 5 short fetches (only one tiny swim, mostly just reaching out)…and then she’s tired.

Then we sit out on the deck until she dries off a little. I was doing bread prep during this time, so I kept getting up and going inside to mix something or so stretch and folds, but often I try to make it a break in the day, so I will read. Sometimes I don’t have the brainpower for reading, though. We all get that way. It has to be later in the afternoon, or the deck is too damn hot, so it will hopefully correspond to ‘after school’ times.

We watch a lot of hummingbirds out there.

Sometimes they hover right in front of me, trying to figure out what I am? I am never smart enough to get my camera going for those…too fascinated by their closeness.

Am I the only one who is going back to work full time and trying to figure out how to still make sourdough bread on a regular basis?

It was 10:30 PM when I finished the school emails and dinner and all the other things. That’s when I made art. I needed to sort the Wonder Under to make it easier to iron them all together.

Nova wanted pets, so I did that first. Then sorted…it only took 43 minutes, and that was with a dog-peeing break in the middle.

So much for getting ironing and cleaning done in here yesterday. I sorted.

And then it was late and I was hot and tired and eventually (too late) went to bed. I heard it sprinkling briefly around 5:30 AM, but it was dry by the time I got up. It’s cloudy right now, which is delightful and I hope it stays, but it probably won’t. Ugh. My hair is hot, my bra is hot, everything on my body is hot. I was looking at this slide show of teach-at-home spaces and was relieved that mine is not the only one that was messy around the edges, but I didn’t see any set up by a pool…which makes sense with the whole water/electricity thing, but I don’t know why I can’t teach poolside. Like computer on the side, me in the pool. It could work.

Here’s Kitten dealing with the heat in the paper box…

And my morning view. Ugh. Too early.

At least it was pretty. OK, working all day at things…weird because usually one of the major things would be putting my room back together, and who the fuck knows when I will do that again. But there is plenty else to work on…all on a computer, unfortunately. Then a break to wet the dog. I don’t know what MY exercise looks like this week, unless I walk in the dark (it’s a thing). And then I will clean up in here for real this time…I did start yesterday. I organized the remaining pieces for Etsy and cut the felt backings and put the felt back in the garage to get it out of the way. So it’s not that I did nothing. It just wasn’t enough. Hopefully today I can start ironing to fabric.

School starts in 2 minutes. I should pee.

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.

Late Start…

Hey. Late start. Why? We finished the fence. The front one. The second fence of the summer. You know, I thought this summer I might remodel my office/studio, but that didn’t happen. It probably would’ve cost the same as the two fence sections, but they were more of a priority this year. Maybe next year, the office will get done. I’m just glad to be done with the two fences before school starts. We can plant some stuff and get some wood chips and maybe do some irrigation lines. I hate unfinished projects. There are too many of those already here.

But it meant I’m starting the writing of this right before dinner, and I’m the cook tonight, so who knows if I’ll even finish before I need to start cooking. But I’m gonna try.

I’m still tracing Wonder Under, but I could notionally finish tonight…I think there’s only 250 pieces left to trace.

I’m still working on the central figure…

I finished tracing her whole torso and one arm, and now need to do the other arm and her head.

I have about 4 yards of Wonder Under traced. There are some big pieces coming up, though, so they’ll take big chunks of that. Anyway. Tonight? Maybe? Done?

I also ironed all of the Grow pieces to fabric…

They need to be cut out sometime soon too.

I got all the squares and rectangles sewn down to the Folk Tails borders, and am now embellishing them…

All progress. I’ve gotten less done on the Etsy pieces…I can only do so much, right? And I’ve started working on school plans. So there’s that. Kitten approves only because I’m in here and she’s in here and she likes that I’m in the same place she is.

I also cleaned up a bunch of art stuff that needed filing so I could have more room for school stuff. I’m not done with that, but it’s a start. I need a better school setup in here. Working on a second (well, really, third) monitor and some good storage plans.

See? The cat moves out here when I’m tracing on the light table…

The light table that might be my standing desk for school. I might need another light to do that. Otherwise I’m backlit. Sigh.

This is nice.

So many memes out there. So little time. This one is for real.

Those bastards. Sometimes I have to negotiate for deck time…with dogs. Wet dogs. Wet dogs who want to go in the pool.

But then can only fetch 4 or 5 times because they’re tired and old, and then they’re wet and need to dry out.

I actually made them (dogs and man) all stay outside so I could mop floors. I wanted a clean floor to start school in here. I need to clean up too in here, besides the desk cleanup. I can’t use the green screen feature on Zoom because my computer part that handles that is too old. Which sucks. Because it means whatever is behind me, they can see. And so can their parents. So there are certain places in the house that I can’t be sometimes. Whether it’s noisy or art that might be inappropriate-for-12-year-olds or the disaster that is my fabric storage…I have to be careful sometimes.

Yesterday, the girlchild turned 23.

Apparently in a bathroom. I wasn’t there.

This is true. I need this.

OK, the fence! We needed it to look nice from both sides…

So we did slats on both sides…

I think it turned out really well.

I had to go buy 9 more boards and another box of screws in the middle of the day, after eating lunch and making pancakes to freeze for the next three weeks of school breakfasts.

Do I have a picture of the finished fence? Um no. I do not. Oh well. It’s finished. You’ll have to trust me. And now I can plant things on both sides of it. This is exciting. Notice I have more pictures of the fence than I do of the art quilt in progress. Ah yes, and here is the first Bird Poop Caterpillar turning into a chrysalis…

I’ll go check on it again tomorrow. I wonder what it feels like to like solidify all over the outside and liquefy all over the inside. What happens to the brain? Any memories left after that? Do caterpillars have brains? Or memories? I’m pretty sure I read a book about this in college. Kafka, right? Ugh.

Anyway, it’s dinner time now, for the dogs and the kittens, and then for us peoples. And then artmaking time. Tomorrow is set aside for work work work. Double ugh, but it needs doing. Then two days of train train train. Then work work work for days on end, right? Art will always be there at the end of the day. And maybe my lunch practice will include some as well. We’ll see. I’m wondering how my days will go, how they will feel, without kids in my personal space, without adults around all the time. Will there be more time-wasting? Less? Will I have to do more before or after school hours or on the weekends? Will I have tons of prep to do? I think so but I don’t know so. In two weeks, I’ll have a better idea of what this looks like. In four weeks, hopefully I’ll have it down.

A Situation Made for Pie…

This is my 3,660th post on my blog. That’s crazy. I guess I can add ‘writer’ to the list of shit I do. Although that might have already been on there, notionally. I’m writing less often than I used to. I’m not sure what changed (a pandemic…but I don’t know why it affected my writing time). As of 11 days from now, I’ll be tied to a computer from 8-3 every day, and I can see that having an effect on my ability and willingness to write a blog every day. I may shift to afternoons? Or I may go back to quick and pithy (I’m not great at pithy) every day but Sunday. I don’t know. We’ll have to see how everything rolls. School is starting earlier for me…but I don’t have to drive there most days, so it shouldn’t matter…it’s a little earlier than I would leave to drive to school. It’s a lot earlier than when we started online in the Spring. I’m thinking kids are gonna be braindead in the first few periods every day. Me too, probably. Too many school thoughts right now. That’s actually not abnormal for this time of year.

p.s. If you have kids in school and their district is saying “Teachers are much more prepared this time around. Everything is ready and they’ve been trained.”, um, yeah. No. No, we’re not. We’re not trained, we don’t have access, we don’t have everything ready, and we’re not prepared. We’ll roll, we’ll be there, we’ll have stuff, it will look good, it may even look awesome and work well, but we’ll be panicking every morning and night trying to get there. A lot of it is trying to figure out HOW to do what we used to do or something better. We don’t know what will work yet. We barely had things working before, and now it’s all changed. So be kind to us. You hate us, you love us, we save your kids, we are the worst ever. This job is so hard, y’all. Be kind. Stand up for your kid if necessary and get them what they need, but be sure you are being supportive on your end. I’ll probably have 150 students. Online. I’m scared. I’ll handle it. I have the most awesome team and co-teacher ever, so I’ll handle it. But it scares the crap out of me.

OK. So in other news, I’m still tracing Wonder Under on the newest quilt. I made it to the halfway point and beyond last night…

Of course, the kittens tried to eat one of the lungs on the drawing…

In the center of the drawing. Of course. I fixed it and now I cover the whole damn thing again with boxes in between tracing. I keep thinking they have matured and don’t do stupid kitten things any more. I would be wrong. They are not quite a year old. They still do stupid kitten things.

I also cut out all the Wonder Under for Grow

This is the small Patreon reward for one of my patrons. I’m hoping to pick fabrics today or tomorrow for it.

I’ve mostly been working on trying to get a bunch of stuff ready for Etsy. It takes longer than you would think. I got this on a hanger…

I have a few more to do that way, both quilt tops and embroideries. And this one has its backing on…

I’m still working on the others…these are all the hooped pieces in process.

I’ll get them up on Etsy as soon as I can. I can’t decide if it’s more efficient to put them all up at once or to do a few at a time. My office companions are really no help at all…

You can see the stack with backings ready to go.

I did a little of this one…

And I also sewed most of these squares and rectangles on…

I think there are four left to go, and then they all need embellishment.

I’m in a mood today. I can feel it. I hate that feeling. But it is what it is. For now. It will hopefully change.

Every time I go get the mail or go out to water the front yard or dump stuff in the composter, the dogs chase after me and guard the door until I return…

The caterpillars are still growing.

I’m still waiting on chrysalises. Chrysali? Hmmm.

Sleepy time…

I am never alone…

And my chair is often co-opted.

This is Katie…

Katie is my parents’ dog. She’s visiting as they finish up with selling their mountain cabin. She came and then had vomitous and diarrheal events all over the place. It was fun. She’s on meds and has had fluids but still has diarrhea. I feel sorry for her, but that’s what you get for eating dead things. Dead things that aren’t cooked anyway.

And if you haven’t checked out the girlchild’s podcast…there’s armadillos and Obamas in this one.

Somehow dead things that aren’t cooked reminded me of that. It’s on the i-family of podcastery now too.

So yesterday, I had a hike planned with two co-teachers…socially distant and all that. I’ve done two pieces of this preserve…but not the West Vista loop.

So we started out…it was warm and there was a climb…

But it was outside and there were vistas and birds and plants. We did a lot of this kind of distancing…this was a shade stop going up.

I think this was the view from the bottom person, my science co-teacher…

Actually, that’s a different batch of shade. We liked shade. And interesting trees.

With brand new acorns…

These are not the oaks I have in my yard. But those oaks were there too…plus poison oak, which isn’t an oak at all…and lots of dry and dead stuff… I have Black oaks. These are live oaks? I would have to go grab my book to make sure.

Because well it is August. Black sage…

We hiked slowly but talked a lot and looked at lots of things, so that was good. Including vistas!

I’m pretty sure up there is the Clevenger Canyon hike I did with the man a few years back.

Another interesting tree.

It’s a nice hike. We had asked a random hiker man in the parking lot which direction he would go, and I think he was right. Do the big hill at the beginning, and then it’s downhill a lot and then flat a lot.

So we started at the N (Nature Center) went out to the right and up, then the loop around the top (0.9 and 0.5), then down toward Highway 79, and back to the Nature Center. The Nature Center is not open because of COVID, but is a cool spot from 12-something, so you can use the bathrooms after 12.

Next time, we’d bring sandwiches and have lunch at one of those picnic spots.

We saw turkey tracks and cows and birds…like this Harris hawk…

We think it’s a Harris hawk. Vistas and distance.

It was just under 5 miles in about 3 hours.

I enjoyed it.

We’re trying to figure out how to fit some sort of trail talk into our science curriculum…a video of us talking about rocks in the county and showing them to the kids.

Ecosystems and elements and photosynthesis. All around us. How rocks change…

And why…

And what they’re made of…

This is the hardest part…we have great ideas, but sometimes making them happen gets lost due to time constraints. If I have to be on a computer teaching a class, how do I have time to go record these videos? We’ll have to figure that out. Maybe every Wednesday, we kamikaze out of the house and school buildings as soon as school is out and meet somewhere for that week’s video.

We’re both really busy. We’ll have to find a way to make time.

We can always drag the history teacher with us. She didn’t seem to mind.

This is me trying to figure out what this used to be…

I am a curious sort.

This was another thing…electrical lines. We had ideas…

For earthquakes? Fires? Nah. Just too hard to dig a full footing in this soil…lots of little ones are easier.

I came home and we did food and I did work and some stitching and tracing. The cats are wary of Katie still…so this happened.

Three layers of calicoes. They’re all staring at Katie.

And this morning, doing school stuff…

I wish I could nap like a cat.

Well today is mostly gone. I’m hoping to get some artwork done and some more schoolwork maybe. I’ve done a bunch. There’s always more. And hopefully some decent food. I did get a pie yesterday, but I have to cook it. There’s dinner! Um. OK. Not the healthiest. I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m cranky though. Sounds like a situation made for pie.

At Least I Have One A…

Well hey there. It’s Monday. Apparently that’s how new weeks start these days. It’s the first day of my last full week off of school for a long time. I didn’t sleep much last night (thank you, brain. I really appreciate these hours we have together when I am tired and want to stop thinking and you do not agree). I was up earlyish because dogs. And cats. The boychild is up in the mountains helping the old folks (my parents would be offended. They are not old. They are well-seasoned.), so I am the only entertainment for 5 furry beasts. It must suck to be them. So sleep is something they do in the middle of the day…which is why they’re up at 7 AM looking for attention. Ah well. What is sleep? The thing I’m supposed to do more of…that’s what it is. Sigh. Classes I’m enrolled in right now: Sleep, Healthy Diet, Exercise, Sourdough Breadmaking, Artmaking, and Housework. I do pretty well with Healthy Diet and Exercise (although really hot days don’t help with either), so maybe a B there…proficient, but not above and beyond. I rock at Artmaking, straight As on that, definitely going above and beyond. Housework? Eh. A solid C. Same with Sourdough Breadmaking. Proficient? Not great though…maybe almost proficient? Approaching proficiency. Sleep? Fuck me. That’s a D on a good week, and there hasn’t been more than one good week this summer. Let’s not even think about that clusterfuck they called Distance Learning in the Spring. Needs Improvement! It’s not even Emerging or Basic. I guess I know how to do it; I just don’t do it well. At All. That’s me. Better get a work improvement plan going and meet with my parents to motivate my ass to get better at it.

At least I have one A.

So I started the last of the embroidery pieces, the small ones.

I’m going to figure out how to finish the embroideries…I think in hoops. And then the two leftover quilt tops I’ll make into small quilts. They’ll go on Etsy when I’m done. I need to get my act together.

I also drew and numbered the larger Patreon reward piece yesterday. The patron herself is a gardener and makes beautiful things in fabric…so I played off of that when I drew her piece.

It’ll be 10″ finished or so. There’s 111 pieces in it, which isn’t bad. The image itself is about 8 1/4″ square. I did start numbering these tiny flowers, but then decided to embroider them…

And then I was working on the next big quilt…finishing up the drawing…I added COVID in the air…

Flying around, like we now know they do. This drawing was originally done in April, about 30 days after the start of the Shelter-in-Place orders. Before we knew some of the stuff we know now about the disease. So I added some stuff to the bottom, because the original drawing cut off the arm and didn’t go into the ground, and I like to ground my pieces.

I worked on that last night and got it all done…

It’s about 44″ wide and 48″ high right now. Image only. It’ll be bigger than that finished.

Then numbered…

A mere 820 pieces. No worries.

So Wonder Under is the next step for both the big one and the little one.

Just had a discussion with the girlchild about the sourdough not rising enough…

Not enough big spaces…but getting there…

It tastes good though…

And on the gardening front, I planted all these offcuts from a succulent.

One has decided to grow. Hopefully the rest will too. We’ll see.

When the dogs leave on Saturday, there is often a cat convention.

They gather and sometimes play and romp. Sometimes they just want loves.

The dogs when it is hot…

The weekend was ugh warm. It’s cooler today.

Saturday evening’s sky was starting to be pretty…

Below is where my neighbors’ pool will be. We need to move some plants around to block views and noise, I think. It is taking them a long time to get to the next step. I’ll be trying to teach from home (hopefully) while their pool noise is happening? We’ll see.

And then the moon came out…

A lovely summer night. It’s been warm, but it cools off at night. My house doesn’t cool off very quickly unfortunately.

OK, so the day is half gone, but I’ve done some work and Pilates and it doesn’t feel like much, because I was interrupted a few times. I need to go to Costco this week, and I was going to do it today, but now I don’t know. Maybe I should just get it over with, because I find the days fill up and new tasks appear. I have a webinar at 3:30. I need to eat lunch, but I’m already late for that. I can’t remember what else I need to do (hence the bullet journal in the other room). I will be tracing Wonder Under tonight no matter what.

I feel this. I’m waiting for them to request emergency sub plans.

And this…

Cursive is no longer a thing. It’s a coded language we old people can use to confuzzle the youngers. OK. Whatever today is, I need to do some things…sooner rather than later. Gonna do some of that.