More Than a Cloud

I totally forgot yesterday was Monday. Well done! Good start. I mean, I appreciate the extra day to get stuff done. I even made myself a special post-it to-do list for the weekend with things to cross off (I did not finish all of them, but I did a lot). These two months, January and February, there’s this delightful smattering of 3-day weekends that make me think I can be caught up, and then the disaster of March happens, with 5 long weeks of no days off. No breaks. Just a slog until Spring Break. Teachers know what I’m talking about. May is very similar, but at least ends with a 3-day weekend. Two-day weekends…I lose a whole day to trying to get ready for the week, so just Saturday is free…and it often isn’t. I have progress reports due next week, so this coming weekend is looking a little stressy. Trying to get ahead of that now, but we’ll see how it goes.

It rained all weekend. Like a downpour. Not as bad as further north of us, but at over 3 1/2 inches of rain here (I bought a rain gauge just for this); that’s sometimes our annual rainfall. Everything is exceedingly damp. No trees went down here, not even a fallen branch (knock on wood), so that’s good. A few water issues, but nothing major. The garage will be damp for days. I need to actually sweep water out of it when I get a chance (not sure when that will be). So we didn’t go a lot of places…but I did work a lot. As always. Don’t seem to be able to escape it.

I finished basting and delivered the cross-stitched blocks back to my friend, so she can spend a few months hand-quilting them before I have to figure out how to put them together. I also picked up one of my quilts from a show that closed.

This show was extended into February…

I’m hoping to be at the closing reception, only because it’s First Friday in Liberty Station, and that’s always cool.

OK, on to the weekend tracing, of which there was a lot, although not as much as I would’ve liked. Like maybe 2 hours a night instead of 1.

This is filling in the little spaces in between bigger pieces…

I had a strange leftover piece of Wonder Under I used at the end of a bolt. Some of it was releasing from the paper, so I cut those bits off. Don’t want to deal with it.

Friday night might have been one of those 2-hour nights…

Saturday night definitely was. We had a neighborhood party to introduce ourselves to our new neighbors, and then I came back and did more as the Man crashed…he had emergency dental surgery Friday and was kind of a mess all weekend. Hopefully it’ll be better this week for him.

Lots of complication here…still filling in the spaces.

I think this was Sunday night…another 2 hours…

But Monday night, I was working later on school stuff, so only an hour and a bit. I’m in the 700s, I think. Close to halfway, but not quite.

I thought I’d be further up the drawing by now, but no. It seems there are more pieces in the top half than the bottom half. Even though the bottom half is solid pieces and the top has a lot of open bits. More smaller pieces up top; bigger pieces down below. I have the upper torso and arms, plus head, plus everything she’s holding. And when I say arms, one is done, three to go. Yup. She’s got four. Like you do.

So based on how many pieces are left and how fast I’m tracing, I suspect I’ve got another 8 days of this. Not so exciting to watch on your end, but pretty meditative on mine. I’m OK with that.

This is from the book I’m really enjoying, The House in the Cerulean Sea

Books are nice, especially on rainy days. And sunny days. And windy days and cloudy days. Yup. All the days.

My possibly permanent existence…at least while I’m still teaching.

Friday afternoon’s sky, before the rains started.

The caterpillars are still here, still eating. I bought them more food. Planting seeds for more after that.

Simba does not like the rain. At all. His raincoat seems to help a little.

Mom’s flowers on Sunday night. Did I take pictures of my parents? Nope. Forgot.

Sigh. OK. It’s only a 4-day week. It’s a busy 4-day week, though, so bracing for that. But I have tracing every night and a good book to read and this week is actually planned out. I didn’t quite get all my planning and grading done, but that’s always the case. It’s not supposed to rain much more (although the clouds have rolled in again and my co-teacher sent me a photo of a double rainbow, so maybe we’re not out of it yet…it’s dark as hell to the west and sunny on my left shoulder).

Fully appreciated yesterday’s social-media roll through MLK quotes I hadn’t seen before, the ones challenging the white capitalist take on him and his views. One was from 1967 and could still be used today, sadly. Things have changed but nowhere near enough. As long as people are using ‘woke’ as a bad thing and ‘patriot’ as a good thing (after Jan 6? Really?), there are still some major problems in this country. And the world. Brazil. Talking to you. So we work in small ways to improve those things, best we can, through our relationships with people and through the web and all the other crap. Making art. Reading more books. Listening to more people, different people. Dark clouds rolling in here, y’all…gotta get to work before it turns into more than a cloud.

Become One with the Slow…

Friday the 13th. In a middle school. Wait, what’s the damn moon doing right now…OK…we’re just waning gibbous. That should help. Yeah. Usually I enjoy a good Friday the 13th, but this week has been rough for everyone. I’m tired, the kids are tired. I thought yesterday went OK, but then I got an email. Sigh. Well I’ll hopefully deal with that today, with admin support, plus I don’t think I have a lot of grading for this week, because we just started a bunch of things (although I’m still playing catchup with stuff from December). I spent an hour yesterday dealing with late work for all but one class. I still need to do redoes. Where I let kids fix their work. So they learn from it. Even though it’s torture for me to try to regrade these, looking at what they wrote originally, what comments I left, what does the rubric from December or November say, and how did they change it. Ugh. Hate it, but it’s necessary.

Glad it’s Friday.

I’ve done a little tracing the last two nights…honestly, not even getting an hour in each night. Starting too late, trying to get back in the habit of going to bed earlier. I started training myself back on the 10:30 bedtime last week, but mostly failed at it. Ah well. Soon the exhaustion will help. Hopefully.

The first 150 pieces are mostly big dirt pieces with some smaller stuff interspersed. Big rock pieces take longer to trace because they’re big. And sometimes complicated. So it seems really slow.

I have to become one with the slow. I had to cut a second piece of Wonder Under because the weird shapes wouldn’t fit between all the other weird shapes and they’re all big. It’s OK…when I get to the little pieces, they will all fit between all the big pieces. It’s a puzzle.

I’m only 2 hours in…more this weekend, I hope. It’s supposed to rain most of the weekend. I’m hoping for big chunks of tracing time while listening to weird TV. Although I need to have a crown replaced, my neighbors are having some sort of dessert and drinks gathering, two animals need to go to the vet, we’re having dinner with the parentals…see, the days just get filled up.

Ah, complicated. This is the complicated I like.

Last night was my monthly in-person stitching meeting. Fun stuff.

Fun little house. Fun stitching. We spent time oohing and aahing at each other’s projects, complaining about work, looking up the pronunciation and etymology of syncytial, and talking about books. All worthwhile. This is still Sue Spargo’s Homegrown. I’ll be working on it all year probably. Easily.

Um. I am both of these. Except I don’t delete emails after reading them. I might need them again. I delete a LOT of them, but not all of them. And 12 tabs is nowhere near enough. On this computer, which I don’t use for work as much as I used to, there are 23 tabs open. You can imagine that the work computer is much worse. It is. I organize my Flair pens by what I use them for: writing on docs in class (dark so it’s easy to see on the doc cam), light and bright for grading (make it cheery!), ugly colors I will never use but will never throw out (because that’s anathema). But I also have an entire drawer, another box, and random other locations where pens go to die. Or live free lives, depending on how you look at it.

I think my right eye stopped twitching for maybe 2 days over break. It’s back.

Here’s Luna being sweet.

She didn’t even whack me after I petted her…she just reached out like she was GOING to whack me.

OK. School. Get classroom ready for today. Teach centripetal force and momentum (a little bit), give a quiz, get kids learning about the history of roller coasters, then pivot to atoms and matter, finish up the elements exploration lab that should have been done yesterday, make kids read an article even though they don’t know how to read (pretty sure we have a recording of one of us reading it) and watch a video where they have to pay enough attention to answer the questions. On a Friday. The first Friday back after break. That’s two grade levels there…I’m not teaching the same classes both roller coaster physics AND atoms and matter. Just to be clear.

Stand at a traffic light for 15 minutes, ready to call 911 if a kid crosses at breakneck speed while staring at their phone because some parent was in a hurry to turn the corner without looking for kids…around a school. Go home and spread some wildflower seeds for the upcoming rain deluge, PUT MY PAJAMAS ON, take my bra off, read a book? Drink some tea? Maybe grade some stuff that’s easy. Maybe plan something that’s easy. Maybe not. Maybe stare at cat videos for 45 minutes. Then make dinner (who thought THAT was a good idea). Then trace a bunch of dirt. More dirt. Lots more dirt. Things in the dirt. Dirt. Love me some dirt.

I Can’t Say That I’m Ready…

Well. Here we are. The first day back to work. No kids today (which is good, because I’m not even ready for a room full of educational staff, let alone a school full of tired and cranky middle-schoolers). Introverts love this sort of all-school meeting. Really. We do (want to just crawl into a corner under a desk with our books).

I can’t say that I’m ready. There’s a bunch of stuff I should have done over the weekend, and honestly, let’s be straight up, I didn’t do any of it. Which means it all has to be done today. Ha! That’s not happening either. I do need to copy one thing (there was no more paper last week) and do my seating charts on paper (they exist in the machine). I didn’t grade two things so far…I’m thinking I can do the easy one while I am supposed to be reviewing my strengths and how they will help me do my job. I didn’t grade all the late work and redoes…just about half of them. 20/48 left to go. Plus 6. Ugh.

Stop thinking about work for a moment and think about art! The California Fibers’ opening at the Cannon Gallery was Saturday afternoon. Here’s my two pieces in the show (for some reason, I was relegated to the corner).

And here’s the Man with the quilt he inspired…

So there was that. There were a lot of people at the opening and it felt overwhelming, but there seemed to be a positive response. Honestly I was surprised they took any of my work because they are one of the ‘family-friendly’ galleries (it’s city-owned), but of the three I entered, they took the two that were less nude than the other one, so I’m happy with that. It’s something.

Meanwhile, my goal was to finish the current drawing…so on Friday night, I had inked this far, but had penciled in the bottom right as well…

I love a really complicated drawing. Although I forgot that the handle needed to go OVER the fingers. Ah well. Liquid paper is my friend.

Saturday night, I inked the bottom right…but in typical Nida fashion, did not take a picture of it. I still had some details to add to the bird and last night, I added the tree to fill that space. Plus a few more bug things and another bone.

That’s 9 hours and 17 minutes of drawing there.

Then last night, I started numbering…

And then (after more than an hour) went OH SHIT because it was late and I had to go to work this morning. Fuck. So I stopped at piece 938, which might be halfway? And might not. Tune in tonight to see the total. I’m guessing 1800 pieces. Which is fine. It is. Really. It is.

I did the second figure on this dinner drawing Saturday night…

I’m still not sure it’s done. And I think the one on the left was supposed to be male, but now has a uterus, which seems fair to me.

One of the reasons I didn’t get any schoolwork done yesterday is that I was prepping some quilt sandwiches for a friend of mine who stitches but does not quilt. She did the cross stitch, and I’m making 9 of these and basting them for her.

She’ll do the handquilting, and then I’ll stitch them all into a quilt. Somewhat time-consuming, but not horrible. I’m a little less than halfway with the basting. I’m hoping to finish it tonight or tomorrow night, so I can deliver them to her, and then she’ll take 6-9 months to quilt them before I have to worry about the next part. Which is harder, but still doable. I’ve never done a quilt-as-you-go quilt. There’s always a first time.

I noticed we had more caterpillars on the dying milkweed…

But not all of them are monarchs…

Or are they? That said, the internet isn’t helping much with this one. Too many variations. Anyway, I’ve got about 4 or 5 of them at the moment, all sizes, and the Man says he saw a monarch lay an egg the other day, so I need to get more milkweed. I planted what few seeds I had left, but it’ll be a while before they’re big enough to feed anything.

Meanwhile, when your owl pellets are all gross and covered in stuff, just leave them out in the weather to clean themselves up. They look great after a few months.

Gopher on the left? The right is something else, I think, but it’s still got too much fluff on it. I’ll have to go check the owlet skelly I left out and see how it’s cleaning up.

I forgot the WTF list from the curriculum we had to reconstruct on Thursday and Friday…these were all (well, most) of the things that made us think (or yell) WTF.

This curriculum comes out of Stanford University, by the way. Really shouldn’t have to deal with this. You can see the frustration increasing as we get down the list.

I went to my quilt guild meeting on Saturday and worked some more on my body scarf.

It’s slow but enjoyable. It may never be done.

Can’t go wrong with this stuff…

I almost bought that book to take to work today. But I do give a fuck. That’s the problem.

Kitten enjoying a hint of Spring before the next Winter storm kicks us in the butt…

She likes to sit there.

And last but not least, if I’m going to have to get up at ugh in the morning, you might as well give me a sunset worth getting up for…

My camera missed all the pinks in there, but it was glorious. Unlike the rest of the day. Sitting in a big room with a ton of people. I don’t hate my job. I’m just finding it incredibly overwhelming the last three years…worse each year? No, the 2020/2021 year was bad, last year was slightly better (block schedule, 2 preps, and still COVID made it hard), and this year is bad for the workload…similar to the 2020 year. I just need a year that is less about creating All New Stuff and more about refining stuff, making it better, focusing on behaviors and academics, not so buried in trying to learn new things AND do the old things AND all the other stuff the district continues to throw at us. Yeah. We’re not even at the halfway point…that’s in two weeks? Three? Something like that.

Anyway. I do have to go. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Back to It…

Well it’s official. It’s almost time to dive into the sucking mud of my day job. Luckily, this new drawing is almost at the point where I can start the brainless tracing and cutting stages. I’m really enjoying drawing this…just letting my brain wander around in all the weird shit I’ve read over the years about bio modifications.

Here’s a video of the drawing as of Wednesday night…

And then some of the drawing I did last night…she has pockets! Also that kid with the webbed feet? I think that’s the kid in Game of Thrones…maybe.

I didn’t take a picture of the stuff at the top, but suffice it to say, that I used this photo to create a glove…

I think most of the stuff is done except for what’s under her legs. And no, I don’t exactly know what all that is yet. I know some of it. It keeps waking me up at 2 in the morning and making me take notes on it. Thank you, Art Brain. I both appreciate you and am annoyed by you.

I spent 5 hours working on school shit yesterday. Back again today. Ugh. Getting paid for it at least. Could do without it though. Still need to finish grading stuff! Almost done, actually. Torture though. It’s this…

There has been very little relaxing about this break. That said, I read a lot. I just finished another book this morning. Made me exclaim aloud with the last sentence. So exciting.

This is the second cat who has used the tent…just one to go…

And this is Simba, who is a millisecond away from exploding toward the hand with the dental treat that signals he is to be left alone for hours. And yet he’s excited for that treat. Weirdo.

OK, I need to get out of here for work. And when I get home, I will need to finish ALL the things that have been sitting on my Winter Break to-do list since the first weekend, right before I got sick. Uh huh. Yeah. Bullshit, right? I know. Whatever. I did manage to book two nights in Spring Break at a campground we always wanted to go back to…glad I did that, because there were only 6 left. I got the one right NEXT to the one we were in before. I really liked the one we were in before. That was another ‘wake-up-at-2-AM’ thing…needing to book that before they were sold out. Of course, we still have two nights before and one night after to do something ELSE in Arizona…no clue what. Minor issue. We’ll figure that out.

OK, Break, it was nice (not really) knowing you. Hopefully you have done your job, allowing me to wallow in reading material and a weird drawing, letting me (sort of) sleep in, and I will return, refreshed (semi) to my job, where the kids are the capital, which is the only reason I don’t just jump and run toward the closest job that I don’t have to lug home with me and doesn’t wake me up in the middle of the night. Not sure what that is. But it’s tempting sometimes, that’s for sure. I hate being bored, though, and I love the kids, even when I don’t. So there’s that. Back to it!

Sidetracked…

Quick! Write the blog before you get sidetracked by that email that came in about a show, plus the name of that hedgehog your therapist recommended you look up, and the fact that your tea is already cold…again. Plus try not to think about grading, because even though you bribed yourself all day yesterday, you didn’t FINISH (of course not) and you need to FINISH. Plus yeah. So many things. Is this headache your neck and you need to schedule the chiropractor (probably)? Did you answer that email about the DNA extraction kits (maybe)? Did you finish planning the roller coaster unit (fuck no)? OK. Well. Nope. Got distracted about a folder on Google Drive.

My daughter was diagnosed as ADD years ago. Sometimes I wonder about me. But also on the spectrum? Or just antisocial? (Me, not the daughter) Or is it just that I’m old (not really, if you look at the spectrum, the OTHER spectrum, of age) and people annoy the shit out of me? Maybe that.

OK. I checked the folder on Google Drive. I can move on with my life.

It’s quiet here, except for the dog barking. And the kids next door shooting off their nerf guns. Popopopopopopopop. I’m not on that side of the house, or I’d turn music on to drown that shit out. Boychild and the Man have gone back to work. I just work here. I’ll be at school Thursday and Friday to rewrite a stupid curriculum that I have no choice about, but at least I’m getting paid for those 10 hours. Ugh. Today, I need to finish grading that thing from yesterday and one more thing, finish the roller coaster planning (both unpaid), get my retinas scanned (like you do), go to Pilates, cook dinner (new recipe, might kill me), get the dog to go out and pee even though it’s wet out, finish another book (I finished the one that was due, but this one, I’m at 94% and honestly, the ONLY thing I want to do today is finish that book dammit), work on the quilt that’s on the machine, work on a donation quilt, work on a quilt that I’m helping a friend do, and draw the next piece. Short list, eh? There’s some other stuff I need to do, but I don’t feel like driving to REI or finding the leaf blower (probably not here) or moving gravel. So there.

Sleep and read, man. That’s where I’m at. Unfortunate.

So the current quilt…is still in the drawing stage and probably will be for the rest of this week. Because I’m having a lot of fun letting my brain just wander around with this biopunk/steampunk/cyberpunk, channeling Margaret Atwood and other weird shit that’s in my head because science teacher brain.

I started inking Monday night…

I really got into it. I sat on the couch for about an hour, spacing out, watching cat videos, and then got up and did this.

I had penciled stuff in, but I always change it a little when I use ink. I moved the entire butterfly up a bit.

The post-its have notes about stuff I want to think about or put into the drawing, and then in the middle of the night, I have ideas and I type them into my phone for the next time I’m drawing…

There’s more penciled in above and below…not slacking on the details in this one. So I’m going to keep going. It’s not political (yet. Or is it?).

I’m also still quilting this, although to be honest, not working consistently on it.

Two columns done, three to go, plus borders. It doesn’t take long; I just have a lot of other shit going on right now. You might have noticed.

Grading…

This was my view for 4 hours yesterday…probably another 4 today, if I can pull that off. Ugh.

Boychild made his own birthday cake…raspberry frosting was quite tasty…

It was chocolate on the inside, so I didn’t get a taste of it, but the rest of the fam did when they came by for presents.

We have a very similar picture from last year (watching the boychild open stuff). Mom petting the dog.

Where’s MY cake?

From the book I finished, which was better than I was expecting:

My milkweed is not only still blooming, but has caterpillars!

I would have thought it was too cold for them, but there are three of them…

I need to plant more seeds because these plants are at their leggy ends…

As you can see.

Plus now my deck has fungus…

I really need to replace these top boards. In my spare time. Ugh. Maybe summer.

OK. More tea (or heat this cup up for the fourth time). Read my book. (C’mon, it’s still break). Eat lunch. Grade some stuff. Then let them scan the eye (means I have to put pants and a bra back on. Ugh). Then more grading and some exercise. More tea. Break is coming to an end. Need to enjoy it as much as possible.

Not So Single-Minded…

Hello 2023. And Happy New Year to those who make a mental shift about now for that reason. We made a nice warm dinner, played a wordy game for a while (until someone got tired of losing), and then I mentally flailed while watching Serpent Queen until 11:57 PM, when we searched for a fake ball drop that happened 3 hours earlier, kissed, and went to bed. It rained all night.

The mental flail was more about what to work on…this is why I don’t like a lot of down time between art projects. It makes me uncomfortable to just SIT and not do anything. That said, I have a book I need to finish by Wednesday at 7:09 PM. I think I’m going to make it, but I had to stop reading the one I was almost done with and focus on this one, which I wasn’t expecting much of, but it is proving more interesting than I thought. I joined a new book club with my friends in the old one, this one focused on mysteries. Hoping for some more recommendations. Hoping to read more, actually. It’s been hard to fit that in once school is in. Too much visual stimulation, reading-like, for school. Not very interesting stuff most of the time. But I managed 55 (almost 56) books last year…not bad…could be better.

So I made a goal to do better in 2023. Things I care about right now: reading, art, travel, my family, my friends. My job is pushing it this year. I obviously care about it because I don’t blow it off. I just think it is taking more than it should from me. Yeah.

Anyway, what else has been going on? Well you know that drawing I started the other day? I rolled it up and put it away. I have two deadlines I’m looking at that are pretty far out, but I find both of them interesting, so I had picked one, the one I’ve been thinking about for months, but then when I got to the paper, I felt like I didn’t know enough to draw it yet. I do have a rough sketch on that paper and I’m not giving up on it; it’s just that the other one started talking to me. Mostly during this hike we did on New Year’s Eve (trying to avoid the rain and the people who like to hike on the first day of the year, by hiking on the last day of the year instead).

Hollenbeck Canyon out past Jamul…

It was nice and cool…well, actually cold and rainy at times…

Totally great for letting your brain wander around…

My knee behaved fine…I’ve been doing physical therapy and trying to exercise enough. I find it’s hard to get out of the pajamas right now. Easier when it’s cold and wet to just stay on the couch and not do anything.

But I feel worse after that. So this is better. I think today is officially the last day of break when I have nothing that I have to do on my calendar. Which sucks. Lots of work and medical stuff over the rest of the week, with a little art stuff sprinkled in. I guess I have to think about work. Don’t want to. As usual.

ANYWAY, back to the drawing, I had done some research (I like to research stuff) and came up with some things tickling my brain, mostly Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy (my goodness, how DO you spell that…ah, one more capital letter). And some other stuff. Anyway, I cut out a piece of paper, walked away from it, and then started drawing.

So far, I’m all in pencil.

Yeah, I need to put the Xmas stuff away. Didn’t want to pull the boxes out yesterday with all the rain and wet. Maybe today.

So I will probably start some ink tonight, then some more pencil. Today is the boychild’s birthday. He is getting old enough that it makes ME feel old. Until it doesn’t. Because I’m not that old. Anyway, I don’t think any of that will stop me from drawing tonight, but I do want to get to a stage of this piece that is easier to do with less energy before school starts, because I know I will HAVE less energy when school starts, both mentally and physically. I’m having to full-on STEEL myself for going back (you can do it, one day at a time, you will get through it). Maybe that is always the case, but it seems worse right now. Certainly I feel in giant flail mode.

I have been slowly trying to stitch my way around this giant-ass quilt…

And I finished the April Homegrown blocks (Sue Spargo) finally…moving on to May now.

That sun in the lower right block took a goodly chunk of time on New Year’s Eve. And thread!

Oh yeah, more of the piñata show at the Mingei…

Not what you would expect from a piñata show…

Definitely worth going though…

Just think of it more as papier-mache sculpture. Plus the Mingei has other funky craft work all over the place…

Gotta love a giant Earth covered in beads.

Nova would. If she were allowed to.

Instead, she loved me.

Right up there in your face.

OK. I dreamed (nightmared?) about not having a shower last night. I’m not sure why, but it made me really want one this morning. I have a quilt to quilt, a drawing to draw, and a lot of work to work. I’m hoping to do some of all of it. Also need to pack up a fabric donation box or two, plus cut up more blocks for a donation quilt. I’m liking deadlines that are a long ways out so I don’t have to be so single-minded about making, although it freaks me out when I don’t have something to be single-minded about. I also need to read another third of my book so I finish it before it’s due (I figured a third a day would work). And enjoy the last day of break before the have-tos really kick in. Seems doable.

Will Get Done Eventually…

Hey so if you want to talk to me this week, probably you should text me. My voice is not doing great. I am feeling better, but the phlegm is real, y’all. Mornings are rough until I get some tea into me. The pro is that it is Winter Break, so I am not trying to write sub plans or come in and teach sick because I don’t have COVID or the flu (probably), and there are no subs. I just have to finish the Xmas shopping and decorating (there are four whole ornaments on the tree) and maybe a book or three. Plus grading. How I know I’m getting better? I graded an academic assignment yesterday…it required brainpower and I found it. I had 14 assignments to grade at the beginning of break. I now have 9. Probably more importantly, I need to plan out the next unit plus or I will be hating life in January and February, and I don’t want that. I need to get ahead. At least a little.

I did finish the newest quilt, which doesn’t have a name yet. It goes to the photographer tomorrow with the last one (I never got around to photographing it).

Lame photo hanging over the couch. This one is not huge. Now going into the holidays, I have an idea for the next big one, but I need the headspace to check deadlines and do some planning, plus I’d really like the fam to stage this one so I can see how all the body parts will go, but so far, I’ve gotten some dissension on that happening. Either way, I can’t get a big drawing going until after we do Xmas Day, which will be Boxing Day for us this year, so is it possible for me to NOT be working on a quilt for 7 whole days?

I tried to distract myself with Xmas ornament stitching that I bought last year and never started…

Fun enough, but not the same as an actual quilt. Then at 2 AM, while lying there, trying to sleep, I remembered that funny drawing with the Xmas lights on it that is floating around my office that I keep meaning to make into a little quilt and never do. Some drawings just call to me and want to be a quilt. This one has called for a while. A LONG while.

The date on it is February 8, 1993. In 1993, I was still married. I didn’t have kids. At first, I was like, ah, this drawing, it’s about 10 years old (because I was on cold medication and could not do any form of math). Nah. This fucker is almost 30 years old. I even numbered it already. Like probably 20 years ago. Who knows? At some point in the past when I thought I’d make it. Well yeah. It does deserve to be made if it’s still around after all this time (it’s not the only one that made it to numbering stage and then got left somewhere, in case you’re wondering).

Poor thing. So I graded yesterday (because I felt better), and then I stayed up late and watched a semi-bad movie while tracing this…

It’s only got 97 pieces.

And then cut out the Wonder Under…

No need to do the sort by 100s step. There aren’t even 100 pieces. So hopefully today, after running Xmas errands (and showering…need to do that next), I’ll be picking fabrics for this sweet little thing. There is a lot going on over the next 7 days, and I can’t say I’m feeling totally with it, so a nap or some lying on the couch with my book will probably still be happening, but for now, I have a little project. Which is good. Never throw old shit away, y’all. It might be exactly what you need. Yes, that is part of my hoarder issue, but it’s also truth.

I did spend about 2 hours yesterday ironing and dehairing the two quilts that need to go to the photographer…that did make me need to nap. Ugh. And I’ll still work on the Xmas ornaments. They’ll probably be done in 2025. Certainly starting them on December 20 was probably not the best plan. Ah well.

Simba thinks we are all silly.

And maybe we are…

Certainly he is getting plenty of attention…

OK. Well I’m off to shower and drive all over heck and back for the 4 or 5 things I still need. I canceled almost everything I was supposed to do this week due to being sick. Probably the best thing for me anyway. At least the family is still healthy (and sucking up Vitamin C and Zinc). Some of the things on my to-do list will not be happening this week, due to my not feeling up to the physical crap, but it will get done eventually. Peace out all…may your holidays be what you need them to be. Sending love to all.

Draw Some of That Off…

I fell asleep late last night. As I was trying to fall asleep (which is never a successful endeavor, by the way…either you fall asleep or you don’t, but the harder I try, the more I fail at it), I was excessively stressing about all the work stuff I still have to do over the next three weeks, even though I will be on break, and then I remembered one of my favorite things to do this time of year: a Drawing a Day. Almost every day (and I have 23 of them before I have to go back to school) is to pull out a sketchbook and do a drawing a day. It really stretches me because I don’t have a theme and I just drew the day before, so trying to keep the creativity going and think of something new to draw is really exhilarating. Then I couldn’t fall asleep because I was trying to decide whether I would use the same weird-shaped sketchbooks from last year, or just bounce around, or what. And then I started thinking about the next quilt, because I emailed the photographer about having this one done by Thursday (WHAT??? But also yes), so I will be starting something new next week. And what will THAT be? I don’t know yet. So much art excitement about having the next three weeks off. No, the work stress is not gone (I cried a little about it this morning, no joke, this shit is sucky), but maybe I can draw some of that off. Ha ha…draw it off…get it?

Have I discussed how tired I am right now? Yeah. That. Today we survive and think of our brothers and sisters who are still teaching next week. Bless them.

I started stitchdown on Wednesday night…

This piece is small. Ish. It won’t take long. I did more last night…

I’m probably a little less than halfway? I think. I’m hoping to do some this evening. The Man has a show tonight, which I am going to, but it starts later, and I have to clean up my classroom a little and then go to Home Depot for slats, then pack up two quilts to deliver tomorrow morning, and THEN I could stitch for a while before going to see the band. OR I might nap. If I can. Which I often can’t. So there’s that. But assume stitchdown is done tomorrow and then sandwich and pinbaste, so I’m quilting by Sunday. Sounds good. You can see how I assumed I could be done by Thursday. Let’s ignore the fact that I need to wrap all the presents, buy a few more, clean the girlchild’s bedroom because she’s coming home Sunday night at 10:30 or so at night, and probably do some schoolwork as well. Yeah. Ignore that shit. Just do the art.

Whew. Going into this Friday on this little sleep and very few filters and just plain feeling overwhelmed…my 8th-graders should mostly be done with proposals and packets; they get a video about an egg drop in space. They can sleep through it for all I care. It’s a cool video, but they can live without it. There’s no point in starting something new though. The 7th graders are going to be pushing through the last day of their assignment. It was shitty yesterday. I’m not expecting much better today unfortunately. I can just hope that the worst of them are absent. Also we have short periods because there’s an hour + long assembly at the end of the day today. Pros and cons to that I guess. Then I have duty at the light, then back to my room to clean it so my floors will hopefully at least get mopped with a clean mop instead of a dirty one. Cockroaches on a regular basis. Fun stuff. Almost halfway through the year. Whenever I think I can’t do any more of it, I get a break and it gives me the rest I need to get through the next bit.

But there’s drawing at the end of this bit. So that’s awesome.

So I needed a refill on my insulin and my doc’s office screwed up and ordered an old one my insurance doesn’t cover anymore. Luckily the system caught it and said, hey, do you really want to pay this?

Um. Honestly? No. Start over.

And this is my kid-decorated door…

They did pretty well. I glued the title on for them. I also traced the title for them, but they did the rest. I brought stuffing and the garland and a glue gun too. I didn’t even know about the ornaments…they surprised me. They’re good kids. You know what one of the things I have to do before I leave is? Take all that off the door. Uh huh. I know. Well it was up for less than 48 hours. What can I do?

OK. Off to the place where the good kids show up and do their work. And I don’t lose my mind. Hopefully. Drawing. 23 days.

Way Less Than Optimal…

WordPress is now adding a question to the previously blank blogpost, in case I logged in to write a post and had no idea what to write about. I guess that might happen. Maybe? The question is “what would I want to change about myself?” Um. So many things. That I’m not gonna write about here. But thanks.

This last weekend was the weekend of no sleep. There’s a skunk who has decided that late nights outside the bedroom window are exciting, and the little dog is also excited about this; in fact, everyone except the humans who have to function during the day and can’t nap for endless hours is excited. So I’m running on way less than optimal sleep. On a Monday. Ten school days before Winter Break. Also there’s an on-campus field trip thing tomorrow that only HALF of my 7th graders can go to and I haven’t dealt with that AT ALL and I’m not sure exactly HOW to deal with it because my teacher’s aide has been out and I occasionally am getting a sub, and I can’t send my kids if I don’t have a SECA that day. So how do I present that to a bunch of already problematic kids? Um you MIGHT get to do something cool and fun but only HALF of you get to go tomorrow, the rest have to wait until APRIL and OMG you might NOT get to go if we continue to have too many people out. Yeah. Sounds great.

I worked a lot on school stuff this weekend. The pro is that I am caught up (almost) on grading…I have about 6 redoes that need grading and that’s it. For today anyway. The con is that I didn’t plan all the way through the end of next week…this shit just takes too long. Everything needs editing because it’s too complicated, not helpful, and it’s PDF files, so the editing takes even longer. I beg steal and borrow from other stuff we’ve done to try to help with the planning, and it’s still so fucking time-consuming. I think I spent about 9 hours on the day job this weekend. Ugh.

I did also go to my guild’s holiday party. I took 3 fat quarters for that game they play (didn’t win…but I did last year, so I’m OK with that), but my prize for going to the party was 2 half yards. For you non-quilt-math people, I came out with an extra fat quarter. So that’s fun. We made fabric ornaments…

Which was fun. I did not pick holiday fabrics. And Kitten has already absconded with this. I need to get a hanger on it and get the tree in from outside so she will be less likely to steal it.

I spent a goodly few hours cutting stuff out this weekend…

Friday night with Kitten…

Saturday night after dinner…

And last night after all the things. I’m in the sky. So I cut out basically in opposite order from ironing, although I dumped everything into a bigger bin at some point, so I can see sky and flesh in there, and I think flesh was ironed after sky. So there’s still a big chunk of stuff, but I can see the bottom of the bin, so I’m getting close. Probably not tonight, but maybe tomorrow night. This thing has a hard deadline, so I’m really trying to stay on top of it. I’m behind my original schedule already. Sigh. When am I ever NOT behind? In everything really.

Kitten has been following me around…

This was Friday night’s sleep.

The other two are still cuddling against the cold…

Until Nova wants to sleep in the bedroom, and then Luna loses her fucking mind.

This guy won’t let anyone sleep because of that skunk…

Luckily, boychild is home tonight and can take over…the skunk doesn’t like the dirt outside HIS room as much as the dirt outside MY room. And then maybe I can sleep through the night. That would be nice. Seriously feels like there’s sand in my eyes. So tired.

Saturday night…finishing a drawing from the previous weekend, I think.

I don’t know that it’s actually finished. But I’m finished with it.

Too true below…

I am going in to the doc to have them tell me my knee is royally fucked and they will ask me about my period. The one I haven’t had for like 5+ years. I don’t have a clue when the last one was. Fun stuff.

Last night’s sky was (as always) much prettier in person than my camera will show…

Need a new phone. Sigh to that as well. Just paid the property taxes. At least I could afford that.

OK. Staff meetings today. One grade is doing an assessment (they will be fine). The other grade will have to read by themselves to fill out a chart. So that’s gonna go well. Independent anything has been difficult for them this year. It’s exhausting. But it’s short and I’m not cooking tonight, so maybe I can get more planning done and then cut stuff out for longer. That would be nice. That’s my goal then.

More to Be Thankful for…

Good morning. Less sleep than usual. My fault. My desire to sleep in is not matched by the dog’s desire to be awake, fed, and peed. I forget this. Unfortunately.

Also unfortunate. Or at least things to consider: Red Shawl Day on Saturday, which I noticed because I follow a ton of National Parks, and they were all posting about it…per their website, “American Indian and Alaska Native women are missing and murdered at a rate of more than 10 times the national average. Red Shawl Day is an annual national effort to bring attention to the horrible acts of violence committed against Indigenous people, particularly women and children. Throughout the week surrounding November 19, people are encouraged to wear red as a symbol of the loss of sacred lifeblood through violence.” Just proof that justice is not the same for everyone.

Then Sunday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance…”an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.” More people who do not receive equal justice. That followed by the LGBTQ-hate shooting in Colorado Springs by the grandson of my former Assemblyman, Randy Voepel, MAGA all the way down.

They redrew the district lines about 10 years ago, but this is one of the guys I used to email regularly because he didn’t represent ALL of his district, just the white conservative faction (and honestly, the far right). There’s a lot of that dumbassery out here, unfortunately. But sure, let’s make sure all the haters have guns.

I’m currently working on an environmental issue quilt, but guns are ruling for the next one. Or something. Hate? I don’t want to do another hate quilt. We’ll see. I’ve got a while before I’m done with this one.

That said, I finished tracing the Wonder Under last night…

By staying up way too late…

I guess the dog let me sleep in an hour after the Man left for work…that’s a plus. It’s only three yards…much smaller than the last one.

Oh yeah, and this bit…

The vomit. Hence its nickname in my data collection app. So that was 8 hours and 40 minutes of tracing. My hand and shoulder hurt last night…this morning, they are somewhat recovered. The next step is to cut stuff out. I really want to be ironing to fabric by Thursday. I have a lot to do in the next three days, including grades, a dentist’s appointment to finally get the crown I needed back in August, and a Wednesday Thanksgiving dinner…so clean the house and cook. Lots of cleaning and cooking. Plus walking the frantic dog? Yeah, probably. He’s losing his mind right now because the boychild just arrived after being gone since Thursday AM.

I spent most of Saturday grading science units…but we did manage a short hike…

Mostly to try to tire out the barky dog so he’d do less of that…

Plus drawing at dinner, finishing one from last weekend…

The two younger cats have decided to be friends again…less fighting. More cuddling…

The old lady is sleeping a lot…

She had gained weight by the last checkup, but she’s lost weight again this time. One of her meds is for her thyroid, and we’ve had problems getting the right dosage. Plus whatever is going on in her gut causes issues. The truth of it all is that she’s old. But she’s relatively happy and playful despite all that, so that’s a plus.

Oh yeah, Friday’s field trip was OK. Could have been an hour shorter and I would have been OK with it. Expensive place to go, Old Town. The Scavenger Hunt part was good. The kids participated and all. Apparently the 7th-grade group was not as good. I guess that’s the plus of having 8th grade this year.

The graveyard in Old Town…and some diorama thing where the little plastic dog had fallen down.

Anyway, not a bad end to the week. I am enjoying hanging out in my pajamas and not panicking about posting assignments and lesson plans…yet. That’ll be later this week. It’s not a stress-free week, though…never is. Need to catch up on grading and planning so the next three weeks aren’t insane. Need to do Xmas shopping and shipping. Need to catch up on cleaning and yardwork that’s fallen by the wayside while teaching. Plus read 10 books. Is that a thing? I also need to catch up on sleep, which isn’t going to happen if I keep staying up late. But my brain works better then. Sigh. OK. For now, I have one more class of science units to grade so I can take them back to school today. Easier than dealing with them next Monday, plus I have counseling today and need a space that is not inhabited by multiple humans for that. And I need to check the stash for the lab I’m doing next Tuesday. So I need to read the teacher manual for that. Busy week. Always is. But still thinking about all the hinky shit people are doing to other people instead of getting along. Sigh. May there be more to be thankful for as the week progresses.