Sleepy Slow Fire

I wish I felt like I was prepared to teach today. I actually have no clue what I’m teaching…usually I spend some time on Sunday getting my teacher brain straight, but I lost electricity for 12 hours on Saturday and somehow that befuddled my Saturday brain into Sunday, and Sunday brain is still asleep, so Monday brain, which is mostly useless and panics frustratingly, is in charge, and that’s just a mistake for everyone involved. I miss walking into the prep room and having my co-teacher say, “So…” and we would recap what we had planned for the day and Monday brain would have a chance of getting through. Pandemic teacher brain writes down a plan for each day by class, because gone are the days when you only taught one thing…at least art is on the same page, but I have no actual clue what we’re doing next week and I’m out of town this weekend. That could be problematic. Ah well. Wing it. Again. I have an extra day this weekend, well, technically two because I’m taking Friday off to drive north to the man, even though he will be stuck waiting for me. I can’t plan well enough with fire closures and parts he was gonna walk and then he didn’t and having to book in advance and get a sub in advance and all that crap, so it is what it is. Hopefully it will work better in the summer. This week, it will suck for him and I apologize, but I’m also bringing new shoes and pants that will fit, so there’s that.

I am exhausted this morning. The mockingbird is back and although it was in the periphery of my hearing, it was there. Plus cats wanting to clean all their parts in the middle of the night. On me. Unfortunate.

The pro? I only have to teach 4 days this week and 4 days next week. The con? I need to have everything prepped for a guest teacher who doesn’t currently exist. Minor issue. I’m sure someone besides me will figure that out. Meanwhile, I’m teaching ecosystem services and national parks and illuminated letters and paper engineering. And grading like crazy (still haven’t caught up from last week). And my district wants me to get my head around reflecting on what I’ve learned in the last year, and I don’t do that until I’ve been in a library-book pillow fort for at least two weeks after school ends. So good luck getting anything coherent out of me this week besides fuck you. I mean, that IS coherent, yeah?

OK, so some person fell asleep in their SUV and ran into a power pole with a transformer and knocked it over on Saturday morning (they’re OK), and that meant my power was out all day. I did have non-power-related things to do, like move rocks…

There’s still work to do, but I’m glad to have gotten most of the big stuff in. Some planting needs to happen too, but not during the summer, I think. We’ll see.

Then I went to the quilt store for binding fabric…they still require appointments (although they were fairly empty) and they aren’t open past 3 PM on a weekday, so Saturday is the only time I can go. So I have the binding fabric for my quilt. Then I came back and did some stuff around the house and went on my hike earlier than I would have. They actually closed my road, so the cone guy had to keep letting me out and in (sorry!). At some point, the electricity was planned to be back on at 1:30 PM, but by then, they had revised it to 5:30. Ugh. So I hiked…

It wasn’t actually super warm out there…low 70s and breezy…so perfect.

I found a path across the river that I didn’t know about before…

It’s kind of half-assed and definitely not official, so I’m sure it washes out every winter when there’s actual water, but it was a new path, so I took it.

My plan was to do 5-6 miles, but the new path shortened that to 4 1/2. Not bad for a Saturday though. I’m averaging about 11-13 miles a week at the moment. Not as much as the man does in a day, but I’m not trying to get to Canada and I do work full time, so I’ll take it as a win.

When I got home, I cleaned the entryway floor to get it ready for pinbasting. Oh wait. Why was I ready to pinbaste? Because I finished the stitchdown on Friday night…

So sandwiching was next…and I thought it through, but not all the way, because I was going to have to piece a backing, and there was no electricity, so I was about 5 minutes away from calling my parents to borrow their electricity and iron, and it came back on…which was good. It was 5:48 PM and they had been estimating 8 PM at that point. My camping lanterns were in the garage, accessed by electricity, so it was gonna get dark. It turned out OK in the end…I pieced a backing, laid it all out, shooed all the cats away…

And pinbasted her.

I also trimmed the small Patreon reward pieces…

And ironed them together…

Super small…

And then ironed them to fabric…

Which didn’t take long…

I’m a little behind on these…

But they go quickly…

So hopefully I’ll get them done this week, on top of everything else. I even started the embroidery version of one of them last night…

While standing. Like you do.

And then started quilting…with furry assistants.

That one on the chair is not helpful at all.

The details on this thing are tiny and complicated.

And time-consuming.

There was some cat entertainment in the breaks…

They appear to enjoy it.

So there’s that.

OK. Worky worky work. All day on fire. Sleepy slow fire, but fire nonetheless. Then a walk hopefully and dinnermaking. Plus more quilting. I have shit I need to get done. I can still hear the mockingbird. When the fuck does that bastard sleep? Sigh. Happy Monday y’all. It’ll be over soon enough.

The Machine Is Always Crankballs…

Art Brain is like a little kid who doesn’t like bedtime. I wanted to be done with the stitchdown last night, and if I’d stayed up another hour, I could have done it. In retrospect, since my body refused to fall asleep anyway, I could have just stayed up and stitched and gotten the same amount of sleep, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work. Someone should explain that to my currently very tired brain.

Wednesday night I managed to get the whole thing ironed together, finishing up the face…

And then added the birds…

Then pieced a background, ironed the top of the torso to the bottom of the torso, and pulled it all off the teflon sheet…

And in a total of 13 hours and a few minutes, had the whole thing ironed down to a background…

That’s faster than I have been working. Good sign. Fuck school. Right? I don’t know. Ask me about that next week. I’m always playing catch up with this job.

Then last night, I started the stitchdown during my monthly quilt meeting…

IDK why the machine is always crankballs in the beginning with tension and then it eventually warms up? gets used to it? gives in? and stitches just fine. Annoying.

I took a break at one point to feed the other cats and do some stuff.

Came back and my chair had been occupied. She did eventually shift her butt over to let me sit, and then left because I obviously was hogging the chair. Oh yeah, the other things I was doing included hot-gluing the scratching post back together…

Like you do.

I really wanted to be done with this last night. Like I said, I could have done it. But no.

Just the upper torso, arms, head, and birds left. Then sandwich and pinbaste. Quilt. Bind. Might actually make the damn deadline. Who knows. Made an appointment at the quilt store to get binding fabric tomorrow. It’s the only day they’re open late enough. Frustrating. I miss being able to go over there after work whenever I wanted. I miss lots of things.

I’m working on my annual Patreon rewards.

Got them ironed to fabric. Hoping to get them mostly done this weekend. I have one set up for embroidery, but I haven’t started it. No time!

In other news, the girlchild…

and her dog…or my dog…who the fuck knows who in the family owns this dog…

Putting masks to good use.

The cats?

Would kill me if I tried that.

The man made it to Vasquez Rocks…

aka Star Trek episode location…

My meditation app made me laugh out loud.

Whoops. I really did try to think of a time. Blank.

And this.

Although that’s a blood clot. Or a bus clot. Whatever.

OK. School. Do it. It’s gonna be a long day for that. Then I think more rock hauling for me and the boychild, although he’s working for my dad today too. So we’ll see. Maybe a dog walk. Maybe not. Then finish the stitchdown tonight, maybe wash the floor, maybe pinbaste? That’s a lot for tonight. Maybe wash the floor and pinbaste tomorrow. Might be more realistic after working all week. I need to design (from scratch) a thing for my art students to do next Friday while I am driving to see the man. I need to finish sub plans for that, assuming they can find me a sub on the Friday before a 3-day weekend (ah well, admin can earn their big bucks teaching my hellacious schedule if they can’t find a sub). I need to wash the beeswax out of one composter and hope the bees don’t come back. I need to figure out the summer budget and see if I can actually afford to do more than eat and sleep. Which could be good goals. Add reading…books are free from the library. Make art and try not to need any more supplies (uh oh…do I have batting for this quilt? Yikes. There’s something to figure out like ASAP). OK. Yeah. All that.

Three Birds and an Eyeball…

Hello Wednesday. Pro? You have exercise options at the end of the day and it’s not my turn to cook dinner. Also, you are the third day of science, so mostly I explain the task and then help kids…I don’t have to do the hard stuff today. I say that, but because it’s the day we do the academic part of the assignment, it’s likely that there will be some panicking about not being able to find “the answer”. Because there isn’t one answer. I tried to set up the expectations yesterday, but I will probably have to repeat it about 3200 times. Sometimes that’s OK; sometimes I just find it onerous. Again, I think this is much easier to do in person than it is online. So many things are easier in person than online. Paying bills? Definitely easier online. Absolutely no reason to do it in person. There’s one that’s not easier in person.

So I’m close to being done with the ironing. I think there’s a damn good chance I’ll finish ironing pieces together tonight, and I might even get it all ironed down to the background. I’m sure somewhere in my amazing notebook of everything I’m doing that there is a small mockup of whether or not I have to piece the backing (I’m fairly sure I do), which will minorly slow the process down, but we’ll see.

On Monday night, I got the heart and lungs done and one whole arm.

It doesn’t look like much. I think I only had an hour before bedtime, and I went late, because I wanted to finish the fingers. Fingers are way more complicated than you would think…because I put in all the finger wrinkles.

Then last night, I did the other arm and the start of the head…

I only have about 50 pieces left, but they are tiny and fussy and will take a while.

Three birds and an eyeball, basically. So that’s tonight. And then hopefully get it on a background. So far, I’ve put about 11 hours into the ironing. Mostly I get about an hour to 90 minutes on a work night, especially this year, with trying to go to bed earlier. That second hour I used to iron is being used to meditate and sleep, on the off chance that it will help me balance my brain a bit. Not sure it is helping? But I’m trying. Last night’s meditation…I don’t even think I heard any of it. It’s trying to help me with stress and my brain was all tied up in sad. I’m sure there’s stress in there too, but sad was overwhelming.

Ah well. Moving on. The man is back on the trail today, back to a few terse texts a day, sometimes overtaking each other in satellite space, with lots missed and/or misunderstood. It’s been nice being able to converse more than usual because he had cell service, but I will see him in 9 days. It will be a long drive, but not as long as they will be, and I have a little more warning to plan lessons for next week for the day I will miss from school. Since COVID started, this will only be the second work day I have missed. I probably should have taken more mental health days, but there was nowhere to go to escape the work stuff. So I didn’t.

I’ve hiked over 12 miles in the last 4 days…not much for a PCTer, but for someone who is working full time, not bad.

We went up some hills.

This is how we tire out the little dog. The big dog gets much shorter walks than these.

There was a big up that we didn’t do…mostly because I said no.

I still had to cook dinner.

Long day…

But good hike.

Last night was the regular neighborhood hike…

Walked while the girlchild sent trivia questions via text for her weekly trivia night. We are part of the trivia team.

Luna came out to birdwatch while I was teaching yesterday. This is in fact her normal facial expression…sort of paranoid surprised?

Like, “what the fuck is happening next?!” She’s a strange one.

Nova is more chill…

Yes, all my clothes have cat hair on them. It’s inevitable.

On Monday, we finally got the bigger river rock delivered. I love the big rocks. I loved watching the dumptruck drop them on the ground.

I’m not so much loving lugging them over to the actual streambed, but that’s OK. We’ll do a bit at a time.

Still working on this for my art students. I use it for the demo, so little bits of it get done…

Honestly, I probably won’t finish it. Although I think I need it more finished than this for the next step. I do have a video from the art teacher. I could just use that? We’ll see.

OK, well it’s all science today and grading stuff, hopefully a healthy chunk of it so I don’t have to think about it all week like last week. We were smart and did group assignments last week, so only 7 sets of slides per class instead of 4 times that (although so many kids aren’t turning in work at the moment, so there’s that). I think even parents are checked out, because progress reports didn’t get hardly any emails or flurries of work being turned in. Ah well. It’s been a year. I can’t blame them. Although next year will be a shock for their kids I think, since most will be in person. For me too, I think. Anyway, after school is Pilates (my back will appreciate that) and then ironing after dinner. Hopefully finishing. Then start the stitch down tomorrow…my goal is to get this thing pinbasted over the weekend and start quilting it. I will need a binding fabric. I should think about that, since the local quilt store is still appointment only. I think. Ugh. Such a pain. I never have a big enough chunk for the binding. OK, well it’s in my head now and I will think about it today and decide what to do about it. Until then, thinking about biodiversity hotspots…science lesson.

That Feeling…

Sigh. Mornings. Monday mornings. Monday mornings with 5 weeks of school left. Yeah. You know what I’m talking about. That feeling. Mondays are hard days…school is rapid fire, shorter classes, all of them, boom boom boom no break, plus seesawing from art to science and back to art. My head spins at the end of it. And I never feel ready…even when I plan it all out. I managed to post all of the science stuff on Friday, because the district finally found me another computer I can use while teaching…well, minus some videos I had to do yesterday, explaining all the stuff I’d posted for the kids who (a) don’t come to class and probably won’t watch them anyway and (b) come to class but have shitty internet and/or weren’t listening because it’s Monday and school is hard and why do you want us to get out of bed anyway. Yeah. I’m with you at the moment. Seriously. Although I was awake this morning, because, again, sleeping is not my super power.

I had decided that Saturday was going to be a school-free zone…it’s not something I can pull off regularly, but I thought with the posts done, I could do it. I’m still behind on grading (when am I not?), but it’s not worth the pain and suffering to do it on a Saturday. So I got up and went and ordered the damn river rock for my streambed (I was paranoid about going there; not sure why). Then I came back and cleaned floors and the bathroom (it’s been on the list for a disturbingly long time now). I have one floor left to clean, but I will need to pinbaste a quilt on it, so I’ll clean it right before I do that…hopefully this week? Nah, probably next week. And then I settled down to iron for a good chunk of the day. Actually, first, I ironed on Monday night…I worked until dinner arrived and then ironed after that.

I had to iron all the fussy stuff off to the side and then put it on top of the background fabrics.

Way too fussy to do any other way…with dog underfoot…

She’s old. I just step over her a million times. So then I pulled that off the teflon sheet and put it on top of the dirt…

When everything fits, it’s nice. And then added the water…not clean water, unfortunately.

This quilt is about the damage we do to the Earth with making textiles…the thing I love. It’s a hard thing to think about. Yes, I could use all recycled fabrics, and I do use a lot of fabric that has been donated to me by people who don’t want/need it any more. But it’s hard to kick the fabric habit when it’s (a) your medium of choice and (b) your palette. Yes, I could dye my own, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. It’s agriculture, it’s water, it’s toxins. Sigh. The industries need to change.

On Saturday, I started up again with the right side of the Earth…

And then I went for a hike. But I came back and ironed some more after dinner…more weaving going on to the right…

And then making it fit…

Earth finished. Last night, Sunday, I worked on the figure…

I didn’t get as far as I would have liked, but it was a rough day…lots of work happened. School work. Not the fun artwork. I stopped here because it was getting late and I would have had to sort all the 600s to iron the lungs and heart down.

So that will be tonight. Almost 300 pieces left, so I’m 2/3s of the way through.

I’m hoping to finish ironing this week, then do stitch down by the weekend? Can I do that? Maybe? And then get it pinbasted and start quilting. I’d really like it quilted by the 3-day weekend, so I can do the binding while hanging out with the Man in two weeks, but I don’t think that will happen. Ah well. I will continue, no matter what.

Also, I’ve been working on my annual Patreon rewards. I traced the four small quilt options onto Wonder Under…

And then yesterday, I cut them out…

I’m trying to do a step a day…so today, I’ll iron them to fabrics. Slow and steady. I also marked the first one that will be embroidered…

I was going to start embroidering last night, but my brain shut down at some point. I was also going to draw the next quilt, even though it doesn’t fit any of the stupid themes I’m supposed to be doing for upcoming shows. Oh well. I’ll make it fit.

Saturday’s hike was interesting…I decided about midway to go further than I usually do. Why? Because I can and because I’d like to hike with my hiking group this summer, and their hikes are usually longer.

I started out fine, but got weirded out in an isolated area with just one guy ahead of me who decidedly didn’t look like he was hiking…

The wonder of being a woman hiking alone.

I played it safe and turned around, and then went up another trail.

More reason to hike with my group, I guess.

The timing doesn’t work right now…not until school gets out.

Honestly, I like hiking alone. I get some peace in my head. I don’t want it to be a social event. I’m an introvert. I need some time without interactions with humans. Maybe not as much time as I have right now, but time with people who don’t require anything from me socially is hard to find.

Hi, Simba.

Tummy rubs are nice.

Entertaining the cats is also nice.

OK, I have to start working. Again. After 4+ hours yesterday and who knows how many last week. Never-ending. Hours. Ugh.

Everything’s Wonky

I don’t have a lot of words this morning. But here’s the current quilt getting ironed down.

Actually that’s the drawing hanging up so I can see it while I pick fabrics, with the old lady lying underneath. Here’s actual dirt being ironed down.

Night 1 was not very productive. Mostly I cleaned so I could get to this part.

Night 2 was slightly better, made it into the 100s, with some 200s tossed in for variety.

Ironic. Those colors are not my mood at the moment. Fake it until you make a rainbow! Yeah!

My brain.

Kind of irritated that the artist’s name is not on this. I will try to remedy that. OK. This is a meme. Who knows whose it is.

The boychild and I took the little dog for a walk yesterday…lots of flowers popping up. Haven’t seen this one before. I think.

Really, these are all for Julie, so she will go out and start seeing all the flowers.

Speaking of seeing, this dog likes bread.

And I finished this block. I should paint my house like this. Except the windows aren’t a good color.

I like that they’re crooked. Everything’s a little wonky. Well, more than a little. Well that’s a little too real right now for me. Moving on. More ironing tonight. Hopefully clarity. Or calm. Or something.

I Want Up and Out…

I managed to see the man this weekend on one of his zero days. He was about an hour away from me, so I drove out and hung out with him for…well…less than 24 hours. It is what it is. I’ll probably get one more visit with him before the end of school, if the trail coincides with my weekends, and then he’ll be too far out. I’ll manage a visit or two over the summer, depending, and then that’s it. It’s a lot of days and it’s hard, but he’s having a great time (most days, most minutes) on the trail and all that is a good thing.

He is still trying to lighten the load, so I brought some things back with me…

We went out to dinner, and there was live music.

It felt really strange to be sitting outside, having a drink and some food, while listening to music. I really missed that. Almost cried at the table. Silly, yeah? But yeah.

I stitched while he was organizing his stuff…both times? All three times?

There was a lot of organizing going on. The next day, his group found out that the next resupply store they were aiming for had burned down overnight, so there was some scrambling, both physically and mentally. In the end, I offered the boychild to drive up the resupply boxes when they got to the next section. Complicated stuff, but we can still help right now. As they get further north, they might be camped out next to a post office for a few days instead.

The next day, we shuttled out to where they had left the trail, and I sent him off on the next section.

I won’t see him for at least 2-3 weeks.

It was warm, windy, and dry.

This was his view a few hours later.

Desert flowers are blooming…some are so tiny.

I was glad to see him, sad to see him go. I’m a little isolated at the moment by my job situation and the continuation of COVID stuff here. Sure, I’m vaccinated, but my kids aren’t. And he’s not either, which worries me. But with Johnson and Johnson getting pulled, he doesn’t have any great opportunities to get vaccinated, unfortunately. And he doesn’t seem worried about it, so I will do that for him, in true Kathy fashion.

Friday night, the family and I went down to the beach. It’s not somewhere I usually go, and there were a lot of unmasked people walking around in Pacific Beach. Scary really. For me, I guess. This is my brother and his youngest.

They left Saturday. Girlchild leaves Thursday. It will be quieter here then. Not necessarily a good thing. Just a thing.

I came home to bees in the composter.

I took the lid off, hoping they would leave. They haven’t yet, but it’s been less than 24 hours. I’ll call the bee guy eventually.

This guy is currently barking his head off.

The kids left to go on a hike and so it is just me and 5 animals. He is offended by any living creature on the property. I haven’t gone to look at what’s setting him off, but it’s probably a bunny or the neighbor.

There have been window geckos exciting the cats…

So that’s how far I got on these over the weekend…

This is Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block of the month from a few years back. I started stitching things down when the pandemic started, but only just started the embroidery. They are fun. Distracting.

I started up on the tracing again, after coming home last night. I’m in the 500s…

So officially halfway. I need more Wonder Under, though, so will have to venture to JoAnns hell today. Oh well.

I’m not ready for school. I didn’t get much done over the weekend due to family and hanging with the man. So I’m behind. Oh well. I am looking forward to more tracing tonight, though…I finished the world and am now in the human figure. So I’m getting there. 43 days of school left. I finally lost some students, instead of just adding them on. So that’s a plus. I’m really mentally done with my job. I’m still doing it. I’m still creating stuff and recording videos (4 yesterday, I’ll need to do 2 more by Thursday or Friday) and grading stuff and answering emails, but I’m finding it difficult to be present in the chair, on Zoom, without being really antsy. I want up and out…and over. I want school to be over. I want everyone vaccinated. Although the man is loving his trip and he’s barely started, I want that to be over too. It’s hard being the one left at home. So I count days and keep myself working on art and reading and being distracted by those things. The ends will come. Eventually they will come.

UberOverwhelmed

I’m not the only one who feels like this week has gone on forever. It was somewhat of a surprise to wake up this morning and realize it was finally fucking Friday. A joy! Well, I still have to get through the day, but I think it will be easier than yesterday? I hope? I finally started getting my head around the new art assignment that starts next week. I have a plan, at least, for the first full week of it, mostly. MOSTLY. So that should help. I realized Monday that I just assumed I could teach whatever was there without reviewing it, and I was oh so wrong. Again. Art reaches up and slaps me in the face again. “I drink and I know things” doesn’t work for teaching middle school. Anyway, I have a goal for today during school: to get everything posted for next week today, so I don’t have to spend hours on Sunday doing it. We’ll see how successful I am.

I’m up 5 students this week, after being told that I would get no new kids without other kids leaving. Such a load of bullshit. Whatever. I have dropped a few of the May Do’s that I had assigned myself for school, because I am a good teacher and I do all the things, but this year, no one can do all the things without insanity, and hopefully that will help. I’ve got people who are doing things to help me, which I greatly appreciate. I am beyond overwhelmed. Is there a beyond overwhelmed? OVER is already beyond whelmed…how can you get beyond that? UberOverwhelmed? That’s it. That’s what I am. 44 days, y’all. 44 days.

Meanwhile, the man hikes on. He’s at about 63 miles last night? I think? And I will see him tomorrow at mile 77 and hang out with him for probably less than 24 hours. I’ll drop him back at the trail, and then it will be a couple of weeks at the minimum before I can meet him again, and that’s only if the trail and my schedule work out. Hopefully. And also hopefully, my brain will start getting used to being the only one here for part of the time. The boychild is here half the week with the dogs. Otherwise, it’s just me entertaining cats.

They are finally coming out a bit. They do like to hide in the bedroom, but it was sunny on Wednesday morning, so they were happy about it.

Nova likes pets…

So does Luna, but she still whacks.

That’s her pre-whack face, so I’m standing back a bit.

We’ve been doing a little cat entertainment in the evenings, once the dogs have gone to bed.

Luna enjoyed that. The girlchild is working here, still on Boston time, and she takes the dogs to bed with her at a very early hour, but that gives the cats some time to run around without them. Not that the big dog cares about them, and half the time, the little dog doesn’t care either, but try to tell the cats that.

Speaking of the little one, he’s not good with being quiet during meetings…

Or for that matter, during class. My students know about him. He’s sometimes a giant pain in the ass. Like most little dogs.

One of my quilts is in the current issue of Fiber Art Now, part of the Excellence in Fibers exhibit…

Which didn’t get to be an actual exhibit unfortunately. Ah COVID. So many things.

And I am still tracing away on this…

I didn’t get any of it done on Wednesday night…was working on copyediting, and then was too tired to pull everything off the light table to do any tracing. Last night, though, despite being on Zoom from 8 AM to 5 PM, I pulled stuff off for my quilting Zoom and traced for 3 hours straight, so that makes up for it. I’m in the low 400s now, not quite halfway though. Getting there. I’m not expecting to get any of it done in the next two nights, though. Family plans plus the Man plans. All good. I’ll get there. It’s not fast, though, not so far. Lots of little pieces to trace down in the planet. It’s been confusing figuring out what is overlapping what. But meditative to trace. That’s the plus.

OK, well I have some late work to grade, some planning for next week to do, and a day of teaching cellular respiration and texture. Those do not go together. Then I am part of the SAQA conference that’s going on right now. I did the meetup last night and met some people from New Zealand and Boston and Wisconsin and Sacramento and San Francisco and that was cool. There’s some stuff tonight too, but I might miss most of it for family stuff. I planned to attend the conference before everyone else’s plans coincided with that. It’s OK…there’s stuff during the week next week and I’ll be around for next weekend’s stuff as well. I’ll get my money’s worth in the end. For now, I’m going to focus on one block of time at a time. 8-3 right now. That’s school.

Back to Monday…

Yes, it’s Monday. Mondays are not my friend. This Monday is the first Monday after Spring Break, also difficult. Plus the man has been gone for a whole three days, and apparently that will be harder than I had hoped. I forgot what it was like to be solo on a Saturday night, and during pandemic times, when things I used to do are still shut down or not exactly feeling safe to me, it sucks. I’m really proud of him for taking on this hike and keeping moving…I am…but I was unprepared for how I would feel. Luckily, there are three cats who cuddle at night (well, mostly…sometimes they just whack, since they are calicoes, but they try). Also, my family is around right now to see my dad, and so this week, I have a lot going on, which is nice, and hopefully I’ll be more used to the alone time once they leave? Who knows. It could be a very long 6 months. I need to shift what I do a little to maybe hang with more people. I have a hiking group; I just haven’t hiked with them since before COVID. They hike at different times than I usually do, so hence the shift. Things to think about. Keeping the brain occupied.

Speaking of the man, he is still hiking.

He’s got a few miles to go. Yes, he is planning on thru-hiking the whole thing. He’s moving slower than a bunch of people (but faster than some), but he is moving. I actually get to watch him move at the moment…

My kids will tell you I was a little obsessive with watching the app the first day. I was. It’s OK. I admit it.

But the second day, I did better, although once it got dark and I knew he was still hiking because of water issues, I did worry and watch it more.

Still gotta go down in the dark to get to that lake. He took a day off…that day 2 was difficult…and today he’s on to the next milestone. I hope it stays nice and cool for him, he manages to keep his glasses on his head (that was an issue on Day 2), and he just keeps moving for as long as he needs to.

Meanwhile, I’m back at online school today, trying to deal with all the last-minute changes and kid moves. I’m really done with this school year. It makes me cry on a pretty regular basis at the moment, and that’s not healthy, but it’s what I’ve got. I made some agreements with myself about what I was dropping for the last 10 weeks, things that help others but that I just can’t do any more. It sucks, because as a teacher, I really try to do what’s best for kids and families, often to my own detriment, and I just can’t keep on keeping on with that this year. It makes me feel like a shitty teacher, but it also gives me another hour a week for my own sanity. And I need that right now.

The girlchild is here to see her grandpa. She’s working during the day, but she’s on East Coast time…

so getting some sun after work is a thing. With the dogs…

Yes, Simba gets spoiled by her. He doesn’t seem to mind. What a weirdo.

I hiked Saturday on my own…I had worked (school) almost all day and needed to get outside.

I was the only person out there; I saw no one but one lone coyote and a bunch of crows.

They were probably ravens, actually. I was really tired, physically, and it was a slog for the first mile…

Eventually, my body kicked in, I ate a snack, peed in the wild (off that trail, y’all…I’m not a heathen), and then it was better.

It sucks to do it alone; I did tell someone where I was going, in case I disappeared.

The flowers are starting to pop, which is my favorite time to hike. I’ll need to vary my locations in the next few weeks to get the full flower drama.

I think this was Friday night’s drawing…getting the head in and the birds I had dreamed about.

Then Saturday night, I gave her hair and numbered her.

Lots of weaving in this one. She has 890 pieces. I will start tracing her some time this week. I’m sort of buried in stuff at the moment, but I do want to start. I’m still as exhausted as I was before Spring Break started, so I did the sleeping part wrong, I guess. I did go to bed early last night, but couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about school; not healthy, but normal. Hopefully pure exhaustion will kick in and let me sleep the rest of the week.

So teach all day, family dinner tonight, then trace some stuff, then sleep like a cat. Cats sleep better than babies, y’all, way better.

As Long As It Was Easier…

Yesterday, teaching was a challenge. At some point in the middle of it, while trying to draw some level of understanding out of a class full of kids who had forgotten everything from the week before and the previous unit, I didn’t want to be teaching any more. I didn’t care what I was doing, as long as it was easier, less exhausting, less traumatizing, less IDK what. I did rally, got a new monitor from school, adjusted when my doc cam refused to work during a lab, and graded a shitload of assignments. So I guess that’s a good thing. I won’t go into Spring Break with nothing to grade…that’s impossible, but I won’t go in with MORE to grade than normal.

My school is going back to 5 days a week in person after Spring Break (not me; I’m distance through the end of the year), so I’m really hoping some parents call the school (I have a list of the ones I’d like to have call please) and tell them they want in-person instead of distance. As I was thinking that yesterday, I got two new kids in my biggest science class. Yeah. That. Hmmmm. Well there’s three more days until break, so I can dream. I’ve had way too many students all year. They could shove 40 of them back into in-person and I’d be OK.

It’s OK. I’m fine. In a normal year, I’d feel overwhelmed and exhausted right now too…maybe not this much, but at some level.

Because I graded last night, I didn’t do much artwise. I have this exhibit I’d like to enter, but I’m not sure I can get my head around what to make or what to draw. I’m aware that the process of making the fabric I use is mostly damaging to the environment. I do use a lot of fabrics that other people are getting rid of, but I don’t go out of my way to search out ecologically friendly fabrics. And I often feel bad about that. I’m making work that talks about climate change, but just making fabric into what I like to use damages the environment. Sigh. So there’s that.

So I worked on the anxiety drawing on Monday night…

It’s similar to my Swallowing Heads quilt of a few years ago…that is what anxiety feels like to me.

I did more on it last night, with Nova’s help…

It’s a slow process. I spent some time last night researching textile pollution as well. Not sure if I’m going to do something with that or not. I’m back at that place of Do I make work for a specific show? Or do I just make work? I have some group shows coming up where I probably have to do some of the former…so how do I make what’s in my head fit those themes? And how do I justify to myself making a quilt about what’s in my brain instead of some life-changing statement about racism? See that’s a hard one right there. I’ve been mulling that one over since last year and George Floyd’s murder. How do you make art about racism when you’re part of the problem? I don’t need to reveal racism to the world…I need to get the racist people to see the world differently than they currently do. I wish I knew how to do that.

And honestly, my overworked brain right now is not the best place for that conversation. It’s having it all the time, but it can’t find a way out of that knot yet.

We walked Monday with the little dog…

Although he pretended to be tired at one point…

He likes to smell the things and fake pee on the things. But not always walk the whole way.

It’s spring and the flowers are out.

Then last night, I did my neighborhood walk and ran into the boychild and my ex walking the dogs.

The dogs were pretty excited to see me. Calli takes a rest whenever she can…

She’s getting so old. Her sarcoma is getting really large. She’s already lasted longer than they said she would. We are grateful for every moment of her smelly old self. Even when there is thunder and she tries to dig through the couch while I’m teaching and can’t stop her.

I see this plant every few days when I walk past this house. The flowers are pretty, so delicate though.

New cactus is so sweet looking.

These are just weeds, but they’re pretty. I love Spring; can you tell?

New growth. A break from school. A look toward summer, a longer needed break.

Although there might be plastic in the way…I didn’t want to walk on this because I didn’t want to damage it.

Still trying to control water flow when we build in the middle of its natural path. Duh. Humans are stupid.

So I am exercising and Zooming book club today after school. I’m teaching and grading all day. Today should be easier. We got the doc cam to work again, plus I’m not doing a demo…mostly kids will be completing things on their own today. Hopefully their brains are more functional than yesterday (what are the odds?). Hopefully I can get through most of the stuff that needs grading from last week and then just have this week’s stuff to tackle over Break. We are going to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks…a short break before the man leaves for however long it takes him to do the PCT. I’ve been watching some current hikers on YouTube…will probably stalk a few who leave at the same time, just to see conditions as he’s hiking. And keep hiking in my neighborhood…same views all the time. Ugh.

OK. Tired start to the day. More caffeine.

Starting with Not Enough

Yesterday, I had a plan for if I felt OK after my second vaccine (I was mostly OK; finally ran a fever Sunday night, but then had a major blood sugar issue, probably related to that, and so I’m a little exhausted and fucked up this morning, thank you very much). I was going to do some work, grade a major art assignment, get it out of the way. I need a clear brain for it, and I wasn’t counting on it, due to the possibility of side effects, but when those didn’t show up (well, until later), I wanted to be ahead of the game with grades this week. The week before Spring Break can be really stressful, although it might be easier online than in person. Plus I’m exhausted and done with school and ready for a break.

That was my plan, anyway, and then a nastygram from a parent popped up and that threw me. You know you’re overwhelmed and overstressed when just one email can take your brain and smash it up like that. Anyway, I answered the email (like the mostly consummate professional I am) and then shut down the work computer and walked the fuck away from it. Now, it means I’m not actually ready to teach this morning (thanks brain for that, thanks parent for that). But I will figure it out. On four hours of sleep (thanks blood sugar and immune response for that). It’s fine. It really is. Some part of me just lets all of it roll over me and occasionally I lose my mind and go weed the yard or just sit and cry (seriously, y’all, if your kids are in school, know that a huge portion of their teachers have cried this year…multiple times). I still have a job to do and I’m going to try to do it. I sent the appropriate emails to the appropriate staff, and if the mom follows through, her child will never have to be in my class again. I am that heinous.

It’s OK. I know I’m not. I know this is the kid. I hope the family figures it out. I understand Mama Bear tendencies; I have some myself. I also know that it doesn’t help the kid. Get all the information, make sure you understand what’s going on, and if your kid has lied to you before, y’all know what you need to do.

So with all that, I am starting this week with not enough sleep and not enough prep and not enough graded. Oh well. So be it.

Friday and Saturday night, I worked on this…so close to done.

I poked holes in my finger doing the applique. It’s OK. It happens. But I finished, and did some hand embroidery on the fish, her face, and her belly (my 2000 self made notes to do that, so I followed her instructions). And then I pinbasted her last night.

She’s different than what I’ve been doing, but not that far off. As soon as I have a machine, I’ll quilt her.

The school thing that happened, sometimes what I need after that is something that occupies my brain pretty completely…my quilt guild is doing these tiny modern blocks, so I did the next variation, the hourglass…

I have a healthy chunk of blocks at the moment, all 2″ square (well, they will be when I trim them, and probably, some of them won’t be. Oh well).

It occupied my brain appropriately for a while…

Although I wonder sometimes which is the crazier thing to do. Next up? Arrows. No, I don’t know what I’m doing with them. Piecing is not my friend. I do have a plan for art quilting this week. I just need the mental and physical energy and last night was not that time.

So yeah, got the second one.

Doing OK. Pfizer, before you ask. Could have done without the blood sugar issues. I went for a hike afterward…

It was a good day for it…

I went alone because my hiking partners were either gone or not feeling well. One of my hiking partners is leaving on the PCT soon. His band singer made him a poster…

I wish him lots of good traveling. Certainly I’ll be stalking him on the Garmin website and maybe in person for a few days at some point. We’ll see.

He rallied Saturday night for dinner…here was my pre-dinner drawing.

I don’t think too hard about these. Just do them.

Speaking of not thinking too hard, here’s Simba…

Happily dream chasing. Hope to be there tonight, Simba. OK, y’all. Let’s do this.