We’ll Survive, but There Might Be Tears…

My heart is still racing, my stomach is in knots, I’m running on an adrenaline rush…why? Because today was the day to try to reserve campsites in Yosemite for Spring Break. Oh yeah. Well. That was a clusterfuck, but we got three nights. In a row. In the same site. We’re old. We don’t wanna move. We could. Well, actually, we probably couldn’t. In 12 minutes, almost everything was gone except for a night here and a night there. TWELVE FUCKING MINUTES. OK. So it’ll be crowded and annoying because people, but YOSEMITE. So we’ll be fine. And we’ll book lonely far-out places for the rest of our trip. Or whatever. The man will tell you I was yelling, “What number! Give me a number!” as he kept asking “Why isn’t it giving a reason?” I’m like, seriously? Because it’s booked. Apparently he wanted like a message saying which nights were gone, and the computer took a while to refresh the availability and other people have bots or alien technology or better internet than I do. Whatever. WE HAVE A SITE. I’m good. Let the other people get eaten by bears because they got a better site. We’re going to hike all the time anyway.

Plus it might snow that early in the year, so there’s that. WE’LL BE FINE.

So that was my start to a Friday morning. It’s stress stress stress for the next week. We’ll survive, but there might be tears. Pilates last night helped. So did art stuff. But I spent a good long time doing work stuff yesterday. Emergency meetings. Managing groups for today. We set up for the lab but still need to do materials. And we have duty.

At least we have a campsite for April.

So when I load photos for this blog, I usually do a quick run through the photos from previous years (I really need to organize photos at some point…some months are totally organized. Apparently November is a chaotic month in every year.)…and it’s interesting that I was in exactly this same stage on a quilt on November 15 in 2016 AND 2017. I don’t know which quilts…I’d have to search more than I have time for right now to figure that out.

So I sorted…

It was late…but it was also fast…

A whopping 35 minutes. Did I clean the office? Fuck no. That will be tonight. Hopefully.

Slightly blurry due to psychotic movement.

Anyway. Crazy day. I need to go. But this first! I’m excited…my piece is here in San Diego! OK, it’s been in San Diego all this time, but now it’s officially finally part of the Tiny Pricks Project AND hanging in San Diego…

Even better, the infamous Diana Weymar staring at it and smiling…

Tres awesome.

OK. Off to the slaughterhouse. Oh wait. No. School. Yeah. School (no commentary on school shootings here. Today anyway.).

Trust Yourself…

So this is my day off. I did sleep in. With a pillow over my head. Because some people not getting the day off, plus dogs and cat and trash trucks. Not really sleeping, but trying to make up for two relatively early mornings. When you wake up early and your brain goes into overdrive, panicking about all the shit you gotta get done. Yeah. That.

The crockpot is going in 7 minutes. I prepped it already. I showered. I need to…hang on…do laundry. OK. That was 4 minutes. I got the laundry, started it in the washer, filled the dog water bowl, and started the crockpot 3 minutes early. Because it’s stupid to get up again. I’m watching the leaves fall outside. Because it’s Fall. Except it’s supposed to be like 85 degrees tomorrow, so Fall. Yeah. In Southern California.

I’m waiting for my hair to dry, and then I need to go to the grocery store and the pet store, and I really really really need to finish grading. I graded yesterday for a few hours and finished a bunch of stuff, but there’s one really heinous thing I have to do today. And another one I might just toss. Hmm. Don’t tell. It’s just a homework assignment. Nobody’s grade will change because of it. Not just one assignment.

Anyway. Those things are all going through my head, plus the fact that no one in the house wants to deal with Friday’s dinner, least of all me, so I guess we just won’t eat. That’s what I did last night. Long story.

OK, the weekend. I taught a fiber class for the Mingei Museum. Not a lot of people, but it went well…here was the original setup with some background fabrics and some samples I had done already.

I had instructions, just in case. The plus with not many people is being able to work a little bit with everyone. This girl did an awesome solar system.

This guy was amazing.

He did that guy and then built him a mountain.

There were adults in the class (and honestly, I wasn’t expecting kids…)

But everyone brought some creativity.

I gave her a link to a stitch website…I hope she adds some.

I love that someone took this background fabric and ran with it.

Good eye for color.

Here was Julie’s…

It was nice of her to show up…she knows what she’s doing and has a stash, so she took it home and finished it…

Awesome!

I spent the rest of Saturday mostly braindead. I graded a little. We went out to dinner. And I traced until I was done.

Gradebooks. So red.

Oh yeah, I did some embroidery on this one at the class…

And I made this one as a sample…

It needs more stitching.

I love that I used all that Wonder Under for just one long skinny piece.

It took 10 hours to trace everything…

Here’s all 4 full yards and about another 1/3 of a yard…not huge.

Now I need to cut all those apart.

This week is probably a good one for that. I’ll be tired. I’m already tired.

There’s the pile. Kitten was very high energy in between naps.

I’m listening to a podcast about differentiation for students, but it’s super vague. Science is always hard for this. I can’t really differentiate labs easily, not and have them get the same learning.

Yeah. Sleeping hard. I’m jealous.

So Sunday, we had signed up for a food tour of North Park, one of my Christmas presents from last year to the man. It started in a beer and cheese shop…this beer name amused me.

Not enough to drink it. We had great cheese…

and then pretzels and cheese (with kombucha for me…)

Off to an Italian pizza place and a burger place…apparently I stopped taking photographs in between…oh wait, here’s the pizza place…

Good stuff.

There was a little talk of history.

We’ve been on a couple of these. They’re fun. Interesting.

It was just a coincidence that I had been to more than half of the places we went to (it wasn’t my Christmas gift…). There’s so many things wrong with this…

We came back and I didn’t eat dinner, because the timing of the 3 hours of eating constantly didn’t work with my body. Oh well. I think I ate cereal at midnight because my blood sugar was having issues…and it was low this morning. I suck at weekends and managing food.

OK, so I graded a lot last night and then cut one yard out, plus those other two small pieces.

I stayed up too late. All weekend. It’s quiet late at night.

I’m tired today. Really tired. I’ve been really tired for a couple of weeks. Maybe decades. Hmm. I’m looking forward to a week off from school. Ironically, I’ll have a major project to grade over that week, so I’ll be working. Oh well.

Today, I need to finish grading and run all those errands. I need to prep for the week, mentally at least. Too many meetings. I’m trying to fit in exercise regularly. I’d like to spend some time drawing and reading and maybe even sleeping. Not sure those are options. This is the rundown teacher going into the holidays. The podcast is ending well…”you are one teacher…trust yourself to know when enough is enough.”

Not the Easiest Way…

Hi. I’m over-committed this weekend. It’s OK. I mean, it’s not. I’m freaking out, I’m anxious, I’m growing those nasty canker sores in my mouth that I get when I’m really stressed, the only thing I’m missing is the eye twitch (knock on wood; I’m sure it’s coming). I’ll survive it. I will. It’s 9:27 AM and I’ve already had a shower and graded an assignment this morning. I’m waiting for my hair to dry a little bit (no hairdryers) and then I’m going to copy the instructions for today’s drop-in workshop. Everything I can think of is packed up (no kitchen sink yet) and I might be ready to do this…crazy shit. I don’t know when I’m going to buy pet food or do the grocery shopping, but it will get done…somehow. Grades are looming like an angry Rottweiller.

These are the three samples I finished…a basic landscape…

A basic house…

A basic flower…

I think I’ll be glad for the experience, but also glad for it to be over. I’ll be glad for getting my grades done too, but that’s not happening today.

While Katie was here, we had to hide all the toys from her. She destroys them. The boychild dumped them all back in the hallway yesterday…

There was some excitement. I tossed two really trashed ones. Grandma and Grandpa brought more to make up for their dog.

I didn’t do any art last night…well, not my own art. I wrote instructions and ironed a bunch of Wonder Under to fancy fabrics in preparation for today. At the end of that, it was well after 11 PM and I sat with the cat and a dog and tried to still my brain.

I’m not very good at that. Anyway. I’m gonna go copy some instructions and maybe buy another iron, just in case. Then I’m going to pack up shit and go teach this thing. I think the hardest part is having no clue how many people will show up. Not the easiest way to start teaching fabric stuff. Wish me luck.

My Long-Lost Used to Be’s*

I don’t know why I agreed to teach a quilt class on Saturday. It’s drop in. How do you know how much stuff to bring? All of it? Assume 20 people are showing up? What if you run out of materials? How many copies do I make? Do I need another iron? Do I HAVE another iron? Seriously, I kill those things. What if I forget the scissors? I’m not even really sure what I’m teaching. WTF was I thinking? It’s funny, because I can manage 165 12-year-olds through 12 stations of chemistry labs and not freak out (well, there’s some stress there), but this sounds like the end of the world at the moment.

IT’LL BE FINE. It will. It has to be. I should get my shit together though. It’s all in my head. Some of it needs to be on paper, a good chunk needs to be organized and put into some sort of containers. I need to figure out how to get it to the classroom.

I think I need more time. Because I found out yesterday that I have to get access to my attic for a site review for installing solar. And my attic access is awful.

It’s above all that. Up there.

So all that has to come out, and then I have to take out the top shelf as well. It’s a bitch. All this when I need to do some prep for a fabric thing, which should be taking place in here as well. Tonight is when I’ll have to pull everything down. Tonight after an art opening and pilates. Uh huh. OK. Oh yeah. Wait. That’s a song.

You can see how my brain is working right now.

I need a list of things to bring to class. I need something to hand people with instructions or something. I need to organize everything.

I also need to finish grades. They’re due Tuesday. Ha. Ha. I did some of that yesterday…

This is not a picture of what I graded. It’s a picture of Kitten judging me for not petting her more while I was grading. And the essay regrades just give me a headache. So I’m listening to The Style Council and Paul Weller this morning. Tryna channel some 80s Brit pop in my soul. School today? I’m not teaching. I’m meeting and filling out some form, but mostly planning with my homie, and then I have to sit through two periods of a counselor teaching social-emotional learning with two of my better classes. That will be after my first two classes have burned down the building.

Yeah. Uh huh. OK. My ever-changing moods are mostly panic and anxiety and stress. Hence pilates. And the gym! I went there yesterday and finished one book and started another. I’m not reading enough at the moment. Or exercising enough. Or relaxing at all. Whoops!

The boychild and his dad (my ex) were recently in Boston to visit the girlchild…not sure when I can pull that off AND not freeze my feet off…but I got this photo out of the trip…

Art museum trip. Nothing’s changed. He always took them to the museums when they were little. This is one I didn’t go to when I was there. Anyway, so last night at 11:30 PM, I was leaving the airport’s cell phone lot to pick them up…so it was a late night and I didn’t get much done. To be specific, I traced this bird…

Yup. That’s it. Not quite as far as I wanted to be. Tonight might be more of the same. And I think dinner will be chips and hummus. Maybe a pear. In between school and art opening. Oh wait, this opening always has good food…but I can’t eat too much, because pilates. Let’s get that core taken care of…

This morning’s view of the table.

Slow progress. But it’s progress.

*Paul Weller, Uh Huh Oh Yeah

Cool Things…

Cool things about the weekend: had an art opening, shipped a quilt that will get me a check in the mail, finished all my grading for last week, finished the drawing for the new quilt, and numbered it. All good. Today is Monday…the first day of three where I have 2-hour meetings/stuff after school. I will survive.

The quilt I shipped had to be washed to remove traces of cat dander. My parents have no cats, so I wash it there, and then iron it and pack it up there as well. I managed NOT to destroy their house while I was there, although I might have used their air conditioning. Briefly. (This is my mom’s studio…much bigger than mine, but similarly messy.)

Got that done Saturday, which is good. I need the money to pay off part of my portion of the boychild’s college loans.

Came back to this sweetheart asleep in the green fabrics. Again. Perhaps still.

I did go to the gym in the morning too…graded stuff…wrote Saturday’s blog there too.

Saturday night was off to the opening of The Big Story…my piece, You Pollute Me, is on the right, with work by Anna Zappoli on the left and Dan Adams between us.

This was at the end of the night, when they were closing up. It was hard to get a picture before that…although my friend Hannah Johansen was at the show (she had work in it too) and snapped this one…

of me explaining something to Julie. It’s a nice little show. Sophie’s Gallery in Kensington…come for the art, stay for dinner or a glass of wine. It has many options very close by.

This is Sunday morning. I swear she moved in between…

But that’s a look, isn’t it?

One of the things I did Sunday was prep two more small block samples…a house…

And a face…

I like variety…I finished working on this one…

Totally normal and acceptable. And started embroidering this one…

I should send them something tonight. Yup.

After that, I finished the drawing with all the things I’d thought of on Saturday while I was doing something else: monarch, bee, poppy.

She’s wide. But not high.

Then I spent an hour numbering her parts. Hopefully better than the last time I numbered something.

I mean, it would be hard to do a worse job than I did last time.

I’m sure it’s possible, but I’m hoping not.

890 pieces…if I numbered correctly. OK then…tracing tonight, one hopes. I have some other stuff I’m supposed to be doing and haven’t done yet. That’s always the case though. Right now, I need to go to school and fill 10 cups with water and 10 balloons with air. And then try to persuade kids that all solids are NOT hard. Like you do.

Take Advantage

I came to this realization last night…from early May until the end of July, I was fighting massive horrible hot flashes. I’ve had them pretty consistently since I was 35. They’re genetic. They’re not going away. But these were significantly worse: hotter, more frequent, hell on my head. During that time, my blood sugar was also crazy. It was too high for no understandable reason. I tried everything. I was just constantly frustrated by trying to control the apparently uncontrollable.

Then the hot flashes mostly stopped. I could sleep again. My head wasn’t constantly on fire. And guess what else now seems to be under control? Yup. Blood sugar. And so many articles and medical people are like, if YOU do more, you can control it. My ass I can. I can’t control the hormonal fluctuations that caused that endocrinological natural disaster. I’m becoming more and more irritated with how the medical profession doesn’t support women my age.

So the positive is control and less fire. Here’s Calli demolishing a stick after a cooling dip in the pool yesterday…a much better choice than trying to walk her when the temps are in the high 90s…

I actually took a nap last night when I got home. I stayed late at work to make sure I was mostly prepped for Monday. We have a lab. I still need to blow up 10 balloons and fill 10 cups of water, but everything else is ready. This is a habit I should cultivate.

So a short nap, then stitching after dinner…another easy sample.

My couch companion turned 4 yesterday. He still has a baby face.

I finally found the mental and physical energy to draw…a great blue heron surveying the ocean…then a mule deer further out, by a stream.

I just need to fill the legs…I’m thinking desert. Then number it and start tracing. Bones? Yeah we need some leg bones…appropriate for the desert bits. School will need some attention this weekend also. Plus some down time with art stuff. And it’ll be cooler than it has been. That’s a good thing…because next week is gonna be hard enough. I’m writing this at the gym, by the way. Another good thing. If the animals are going to wake you up early, might as well take advantage of it.

Update TOC

It’s so quiet this morning. I can hear some bug or bird outside, and the pool motor is relatively quiet today, for whatever random reason. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet. I used to always need noise. I think I’ve spent enough years listening to kid noise that quiet is sometimes a blessing of sorts. It’s still hot here. It’s not unbearable, but it’s not pleasant. Have you seen the Bahamas? I guess nobody hasn’t seen the destruction there. I have to admit to not knowing much about the Bahamas besides the trip destination part. I had no idea there were so many islands. I hope we help. Can I force my government to help countries in need? Well, no, no I can’t. It makes me sad, how stupid we are right now. Ignorant. That was part of the conversation at my stitching meeting last night: ignorant vs stupid. Willfully ignorant in some cases. Ask me how many of my students still think the Earth is flat due to some dumbass Youtuber. The world. Is disturbing. I’m sure it always has been, but it seems worse right now.

So yeah, I had my monthly stitching meeting last night…I’ve been meeting with these women (and more; over the years, we’ve shrunk) for over 20 years.

We were taking a group picture for a member who now lives many miles away and whose birthday it was yesterday. We drink caffeine and stitch or crochet or knit or sit and talk because getting anything out of the bag is too much hard work. We bring stuff to share, like patterns and magazines and books we’ve made (OK, that’s just one of us…the rest of us marvel at the bookmaking but don’t do it ourselves.). It’s a good thing, these meetings of the minds.

I worked on hand-stitching this…

I’ve got to send some info to the Mingei this weekend, I think. So I should get some stuff ready for that.

I came home and finished up the last of the copyediting, marrying the Bibliography, and making sure all the stupid formatting worked. One of the last tasks was to make the table of contents fix itself (the page numbering), and after 20 minutes or so of searching the internet, the answer appeared. Just hit the damn Update TOC button. Sure. It took a while to figure out how to get that button, but once I did, it was like magic.

She’s done. I read all those words. About 5 or 6 times each one. And now I’ll get paid and I’ll be able to get the big trees trimmed before one of them drops a big branch on my roof.

I came home and actually exercised while reading my next book. I was exhausted. I’m still exhausted. It took a lot of energy and willpower to not just go to bed. I thought about it. But once I was up, off the couch, I wanted to do something on the drawing. At our stitching meeting of the minds, while I was answering the question of what the hell is coming out the nipples of the woman I’m drawing (she’s an earth mother…that’s a stream going out to the ocean…it’ll make more sense in color), they were suggesting other things I could draw, so there’s a grey whale…

Or a penis, since that was also a suggestion, and honestly, whales are hard to depict like this. Hopefully it will read better in color. Less penisy.

I also did a sun on the opposite side from the moon…

I’ve got some desert plants that need to go in somewhere…legs? land? And a decision about how to finish it up. Getting closer. I might finish tonight. It’s possible. Then number it and start tracing. And SLEEP. Oh yeah, I have an opening tomorrow night…for The Big Story at Sophie’s Art Gallery in Kensington. It’s 5-8 PM…stop by. I’ll be there closer to 5:30…and probably gone before the end, just because I’ll need to eat. But it’s still a cool little show.