Whole Days Turn into Holes in My Mind*

I keep staying up late to get art done, and then in the morning, my brain is mad about me for that, like it didn’t know about it last night? I think I just need some mornings that are 8 or 9 AM and not 6 AM. I’m really not a morning person. At all. I mean, I can handle the animals because they’re not too demanding really. They just want their breakfast and pets, and I can do that without too much effort. Plus the petting makes you feel nice and loved. Which is much better than how middle-school kids (and some of their teachers) make you feel during the last week of the school year. The plus is that we’re done with the sex ed. Today is a field trip (which is tiring and exhausting and sometimes stressful) and then movies in the classroom after. Thank god that psychotic principal who wouldn’t allow any videos isn’t here any more. “EVERY MOMENT IS EDUCATIONAL!” OMG dude, then put your ass in my place today after these kids get sugared up for 4 hours and sit in a classroom with them. Seriously.

The hardest part about today is that we have an award ceremony after school, so I’ll be there until at least 5:30. I might need a nap. Thinking about bean bag chairs for my room so I can sleep in there. Like I have time for that most days. Murphy bed in the prep room!

Yesterday after school, I did all the things. It took 30 minutes to find one file from two years ago on my computer. I’m not sure why. I must have been staring at it for ages and not seeing it. I need to run an updated budget to see what I can afford for a newer car. This one is about to start being really expensive. Which is unfortunate. But whatever. It got me through the college years. I also patched one teacher-friend’s jeans and cut and sewed alternative necklines on two sweatshirts for another teacher friend. And I cooked dinner.

After eating, I was working on that cow-like thing. I think it’s an African buffalo.

I finished him, whatever he is. Next on to the house.

And then I started cutting stuff out…

It was late. I didn’t finish. At some point, I did remember that I had a really long day today that is largely caffeine free (might be a mistake). Damn bowling alley doesn’t sell tea. There’s not much left to cut out, so that’ll be tonight…and hopefully sorting it out too. Then I can iron tomorrow, if I have any brain power left.

Speaking of brain power, it’s taking like 4 brains at a time to get stuff done. Here’s science and history…

Yeah, we buy matching shirts. Although only two of us know the rules about how to stand to make your waist look better. I like that my NOPE is the bigger one. We did get approved for both proposals for paid work this summer, though, so that’s cool. I do think my team is mostly awesome. It makes it easier. This is not an easy job. It’s not even always rewarding, which is why people say we do it for not enough money…but there are good people with good intentions, and this time of year, you see pictures of former students graduating with honors and that makes it all good. We know how shitty 7th grade can be for a lot of kids.

Anyway. I should go to work. I need a lot more caffeine and a chiropractor visit, but otherwise I’ll be good. I got my peeps.

*K.Flay, Giver

As We Drift into the Zone*

It’s the weirdest thing. You turn in your last grades of the school year, and all of a sudden, you come home and you don’t have any schoolwork to do. My brain panics a little. Wait. What do I do after work? I don’t have more work? (I mean, I do, but not like grading stuff, which is a never-ending thing along with planning for the whole school year and part of the summer.) I joined this teacher group for the year to try to cut some of my work hours, to streamline the shit so I can enjoy the not-shit more, and so many teachers are already on break and wondering why they can’t get going, why they’re still sleeping in the morning, still in pajamas at 2 in the afternoon. It’s called recovery. And I’m not there yet. My classroom is still a disaster. I’m still teaching sex ed today, plus there’s a school teacher breakfast, so I need to be in early. And then I also have a field trip tomorrow and another award ceremony, and then the sweet horrible wonder of the last day of school. I’m almost done getting everything put away in the classroom. Today I’m typing up the list of hazardous stuff we need to get rid of, so hopefully it can get picked up before they put summer school in my room.

Yesterday was exhausting. This whole last month has been exhausting. Frustrating. Stupid people stuff. Dumb adult drama. Too much work. Soon. Soon it will be done.

So I went home and walked dogs…

We went to the more open space…

The plants are changing color…

It’s been dry and hot in the last week. I had to put the sprinklers back on at home.

They scraped the road…it’s a fire break, so that makes sense. Less chance of getting ticks too, unless you’re the little boy and need to pee by standing on a bush.

No sign of coyotes…although you know they were there.

I know there’s cleaning to do. I need to sew some stuff (quick) for a friend. I need to do my second Patreon video. I found the videos I already recorded and downloaded them. Then I got distracted by something else. Easy to do when the brain is still so overloaded. The men around us teachers keep asking why we’re so irritated, emotional, distant, whatever. Um. So it’s really hard to explain how much emotion and care we put into our jobs. We think about kids nonstop. Not always with irritation! With worry. With sadness. With joy. With hope. So this week, we’re kind of a mess. Come back to me in July and I might have recovered. Mostly.

But I didn’t grade after eating dinner. I worked on this!

I haven’t been working on this at all, because I’ve been doing the embroideries. Which needs to start up again, but I have to do drawings first. Maybe later this week. I have one I want to simplify already. He’s not done, by the way. He needs nostrils and eyes and something on his horns.

I also started cutting stuff out…

I actually did one whole yard and the smaller piece, so I’m more than halfway done. I might be ironing to fabric by Friday. That would be cool. This could be a really fast piece. Of course, that means I’m forgetting all the other stuff that is going to suck up my days in the next week or so. But it’s OK to forget all that right now.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun

Everything Will Work Out

I did a lot yesterday. I marched. I stitched. I read. I ironed. A good day. I didn’t write, because I had to be out of here early, and I was not a responsible adult who went to bed early the night before, because…well…I can’t really explain that. I have stuff to do and it’s taking more time than I thought it would. As it always does.

I ended Friday with a kamikaze trip home after school to grab the dogs and run to the hills before we lost daylight…

With a little rain in the last few weeks, California gets green…so pretty. see the dog head down there.

It was still damp from a week’s worth of rain, but the skies were mostly clear.

We saw a million rabbits and hares, but only one coyote. Oh yeah, and this guy. Just sitting there as we walked past.

Yo. You’re supposed to be scared of people and dogs.

We were pushing it with the daylight thing, but it was a good walk for all involved.

The days are getting longer. This will get easier.

Saturday morning, I got up early and met a marching friend for brunch. I liked this cactus.

We went down and listened to music and speeches…sort of…while I stitched. I needed the mental down time. I didn’t want to stand. I’ve been standing all week. Two hours of standing is too much right now.

It felt good. Relaxing. Positive. And then we marched…because it’s important that we still represent…that the politicians can see that we’re still here and we’re still not happy with what’s happening, whether it’s immigration or women’s rights or issues of racism in our country.

I didn’t bring a sign this year. But I liked this one.

So true.

These were beautiful and heartbreaking. The immigrants who died in custody as they were trying to come here for safety. Children…

That’s not OK.

We need to be better than that. I hope we can be.

So I did some stitching Friday night during the movie watch…finishing up the August blocks…

So that whole section is done until I sew it to the next section, so I can finish the road and flowers on the other side of it.

I think I have to do the September blocks before that happens. Which I started at the march.

Didn’t get much done, but it’s a start. After dinner and some couple time, I came in here to iron…got another cat done…

And a snake…

And then the arm of Figure 4…

Along with a hurricane. I’m in the 900s. I’m getting closer to done. I’m hoping to work on it today as well, but I have school stuff, the slides for the talk tomorrow, and groceries. So I need to be efficient as hell to get to ironing as well. OK. Plan made. I also suspect I will need to iron Figure 4 by itself, instead of trying to fit it into what I’ve already ironed. It’s getting too large, too heavy, too unwieldy. But that’s OK. I’ll do Figure 4 and then see if I can add it to this. Or I might have to wait until I iron it to the background. It’ll be fine. Everything will work out. In time.

Truth Is Only Hearsay*

Feeling chaotic about this quilt. I really like what’s happening and I know I’ll be happy with it once it’s all ironed to the background, but at the moment, trying to iron all these crazy heads that are attached to each other, moving the teflon sheets around so I can iron the bit that’s attached to this particular head, it’s a little insane. It’s not SMALL either. So maneuvering it is also difficult. I don’t have one piece of teflon big enough, so I’m using two big pieces and one smaller piece at the moment, and detaching parts from the sheets so I can move those around to the current head. Also just a bit crazy.

But I like it. I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like.

I’ve got the margarine containers full of pins and thread holding everything on the ironing board…

Quilts get really heavy at some point. Unwieldy and heavy. I was working on Figure 3’s head…I kept trying to iron the eye in place, but it wasn’t working because I couldn’t see the overlaps…I finally gave up and ironed it outside the face, so I could see it all.

I guess there’s a reason I usually do that. It was much easier.

I only had about an hour last night…but I got the head done…and Figure 2’s head in there, overlapping…

I need to add the cat on her head and the snake that’s hanging out around her neck…then Figure 3 is done and I’m on to Figure 4. Tonight is all about finishing the slides for the presentation I’m giving Monday night though. And work. Plus I’m marching tomorrow in the Women’s March. I guess we do that until that guy is out of office AND the other guys realize the Gillette ad is not a threat to their masculinity. Sigh. Thanks, Gillette, for trying.

What else last night? I had quilt class…

I worked on the antelope. I’m almost done with the horns, and then he has a symbol stitched on him. I also finished the flowers…there was one stitch I had to look up in the notebook of instructions (from January!) and so I remembered to bring that with me. But this month is almost done…August? September? I can’t remember. Slow progress on this lately, despite it being my go-to stitching.

Also, there was this…

Satchemo is the only cat I’ve ever (well, he’s not mine, so I don’t HAVE him) interacted with regularly who had a snotty nose. It’s like he has allergies. He sneezes. He needs his nose wiped. So I feel like he’s old enough (10 or so) to carry his own Kleenex. Apparently he agreed.

OK, parent meeting this morning, then teaching more elements stuff, then walking the dogs hopefully (the rain is supposed to be gone by this afternoon, if not earlier), then cooking dinner, slideshow, and MAYBE ironing. I’m already tired. Reading that made me tired. It’ll be fine. Really.

*The 1975, Love It If We Made It

Scissor Love

Happy Boxing Day! Seriously, if you’ve survived the holidays so far, you’re doing great…just a few more things to get out of the way, right? The year is almost ready to end, there’s still some family stuff to do, there’s post-holiday cleanup, there’s trying to use up all the gift cards and certificates before you forget about them. You have a bunch of books to read, if you’re from my family. I have a lot more fuzzy socks than I did before, which is good, because a bunch of mine had holes in them. It’s all good. Well, just don’t think about deadlines or going back to work or finishing grades, and everything will be fine. I think I’m officially halfway through my Winter Break, and my phone map thinks I need to go back to school. Because it’s Wednesday and I’m not at work yet. Eleven days until back to school? That’s less than half left. Or exactly half. Something like that. So many things to get done before then! I tried to grade yesterday and mostly failed at it. Granted, it was Christmas Day, but in between this and that, I thought I could be efficient. Not so much.

First of all, back to Christmas Eve…I ironed in between the morning event and the evening event, trying to finish up all the bits that belonged to Figure number 2, like this bird.

Meanwhile, Kitten is watching real birds outside.

And in the evening, I drew my requisite, geez, aren’t they getting weirder and weirder, drawing…

There is a second figure bending over on the right. It has to do with how I drew the arm. She didn’t fit with the arm any more.

And then I laid out all the pieces for Figure 3…

I’ve been using a different run of flesh fabrics for each person, but honestly have not paid much attention to what might happen when they overlap, which is really just where the arms are. There’s always ink and thread for that issue.

So Christmas Eve, when I gave up and went to bed, this is all I had used. I have tried to keep the fleshy bits for each figure in a separate box, just so I can see them.

There’s lots of fabric in this one. And here’s all the Wonder Under bits that are not flesh but still part of Figure 3.

I didn’t get to those until Christmas Day…because in the years past, I have managed to stay out of the cooking/food prep part of Christmas evening (mostly) and so I can do art stuff in the hours in between. I would have walked dogs too, but it rained most of the day, so I opted out of outside.

Rushing ahead though. Here’s the pile of stuff to be cut out from Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day is opening presents and cuddling animals…

Animals with chew toys.

Animals who resemble presents…

That tile is from Spain. Or Portugal. Now I can’t remember.

All the animals…

Well, until he’s ready to guard us from the rain. It really did pour for a while.

We got over half an inch. Which reminds me…I need to go turn the sprinklers off again.

Kitten did a damn good job of guarding the bed…

I brought her a catnip toy to entertain her. She’s kind of antisocial.

Rainy driveway.

Today of course is beautiful and sunny. But we have an afternoon thing that will keep me from enjoying it. Oh well.

I did fabric stuff for about an hour in the afternoon, and then we headed off for Christmas dinner, which is a mix of stuff to keep everyone sort of happy.

Girlchild is a good cook. Which is nice.

I worked on the zebra for a bit.

No, he’s still not done. They’re never done.

And then I mostly drew this in the dark. Which might explain my spelling issue.

It might explain a lot of things. This would be a hellish quilt to make. But it was relaxing to draw.

Back to the ironing. While I’m actually picking fabrics, this is what the fabric pile looks like.

It’s a little chaotic. When it gets really bad, I clean up…here’s everything used so far…

I got through Figure 3 and all the attached bits…like this snake…

I’m ready for Figure 4, which has snakes for hair. Complicated overlapping snakes for hair. Yup. What am I, nuts? Don’t answer that.

I’m 12 1/2 hours into the ironing, and barely over the halfway point for pieces…about halfway through the 800s, I think.

The box gets more and more full.

My hours per week are up in the last 7 days, but still not where they need to be. I need to be fully ironed to fabric before I leave for the cabin, and honestly, I’d like to be done well before that and cutting the pieces out already. Done with that by the time I get back, and then ironing down, because then I go back to school. Yikes. No time for that. The next figure is also on fire. I really am trying to use totally different fabrics in each figure, even the reds for the hearts, although the last one had a gray heart. I want to cut into fabrics that have never felt scissor love. I want to use up things that I have large pieces of and that don’t need to be quite so large in the stash. Kitten just tried to turn on toggle sound on the computer. She’s using the keyboard as a pillow. Nice one, cat.

OK, but for now, I need to get ready for the last official family event, which means breakfast and a shower. And then maybe iron a bit before we leave. Figure 4 for tonight then. Some more grading at some point. Ugh. Some exercise some time. Tomorrow probably. Scissor love though. Gotta love me some fabric.

Crooked Spin Can’t Come to Rest*

Merry Christmas Eve. May yours NOT involve the grocery store, the liquor store, the pet store, anywhere with a parking lot, or anyone under the age of…um…well…I’m honestly kind of at a point of no people right now. Furry beasts only. Cocktails definitely. And pajamas would be my preference. A roaring fire. Except we’re in Southern California and it’s currently too warm for that. Sigh. A good book! I’ve got one of those. But unfortunately, most of the rest was on my list for today, and there’s more coming. So there we are. We all decide on how to do our holidays and it often involves those of the human persuasion.

Furry beast number 1…happily terrorizing the other cat in the house and trying to eat all the people’s foods.

Furry beast number 2…who mostly has been hiding from all of us and kneading the batting.

She’s come out to say hi to me. That’s it. Gone again.

Furry beast number 3…happily chewing Katie’s bone at the grandparents’ house last night for dinner.

Girlchild cooked. I stitched. Puppy didn’t make it into the photos yesterday. Oh wait. He did. There he is…with the girlchild.

She enjoys the furries.

Last night’s drawing, after I shut myself in my office for like 3 hours.

If the head doesn’t fit, bend it. OK, I actually drew the head first I think. Repeating imagery. Only so many things to draw in the world.

I ironed for about 2 hours last night. I finished all the parts of Figure 2 that weren’t flesh…so lungs, hair, heart, etc.

I’m ready to start Figure 3, but first I have a bird, a nest, and a vine that are all attached to Figure 2. And I have a Christmas Eve thing to which I must go, so who knows if I’ll get any of that done. It’s my plan to do some now.

Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far. Much more colorful than some others…

I’m trying to make sure I use different fabric ranges in each person. They are all different people.

I did some of the flower bits. I didn’t do two of them because the instructions for them are at home. Here. Not at my parents’ house.

I started the zebra. I obviously haven’t started the official plan for 2019, wherein I work on something different each night. This is easy for traveling to people’s houses. Easier than many things. Stitching is relaxing. I need to do more of it. Right now. Like RIGHT NOW.

Or I could iron. Also on the list. Hope your Christmas Eve includes some calm and mellow times, if that’s what you crave. Or not.

*Elliott Smith, Say Yes

Generalized Panic

I am trying to type this as a cat repeatedly walks in front of the computer monitor, sniffs at my breakfast, and finally lies down on the mouse…foot on the keyboard, tail flicking at me. ‘Tis the cleaning hour and I am in her way. She’s whacked me once already for trying to handle the mouse. Let’s see how far I can get before I need to mouse something. Sweet thing. Not. 

Plans for the weekend? Grading shit. Prepping for school. Tracing Wonder Under. Baking cookies. Trying to finish the holiday shopping. Laundry. Groceries. Generalized panic. If I alphabetize them and go in order, I get to bake first. Then panic. Seems reasonable.

No really, I’ll start with grading because it hurts and I should get it over with, like pulling the bandaid off. Then I’ll give myself a break and do some tracing. Then there’s a holiday dinner tonight, so I should figure out what the hell I’m going to wear, because I  might need to wash something black for that.

Yesterday, the kid at school who’s been driving me bonkers and says everyone hates me and I’m a horrible teacher…well, I helped him get his sticky ball off the ceiling and didn’t kill him in the process, and he hugged me. And then came by later and fist bumped me. Because just when you think you can dislike them and write them off in your head, they remind you that they act like assholes because there’s shit going on in their lives that they can’t control and you can help them with that…maybe…so yeah. Dammit. 

So I came home last night with the goal of game night at the house…something different than sitting on the couch and watching television or whatever…so Settlers of Catan with the three of us (and all the animals)…

Two of us had played before, but it was a long time ago. Boychild won (of course). We’ll play again though. 

This was the sky when I got home…

Probably the sunset western view was even better, but I can’t see that from my house.

I saw this on the drive home and was all excited about a snow leopard table until I realized they probably weren’t attached. 

Sad really.

Dogs while gaming…this is Calli when there are no big booms from the sky. 

Poor dog…Thursday night was hard for her.

Simba is kind of a dork. Please scratch my belly.

My belly is waiting for YOU.

Had to save him from that…I think Calli stayed on that couch the whole time we played the game…

I finished sewing all the bits on this…the last of the September blocks? I think? 

There’s a loose monkey that goes somewhere after some of it is sewn together. Same with another hut, I think. 

Then I traced, but only for about an hour. I did some grading last night too. 

I’m barely in the 600s…not even halfway through. I’ve got about 7 1/2 hours into the tracing so far. In the last 7 days, I’ve worked on this quilt for 10 1/2 hours. Good to know. 

I have a couple other projects coming up, one of which will fit into this one’s time space, which is fine, because it will be Winter Break by then. I’m working with a prison inmate on a piece…I picked a word (relationships) and he is making a collage/painting that is related to that and is writing me about that, and then I will get that and add to it. I can use fabric or whatever I want (I’m probably using fabric). And then I will send it back to him and he can continue it or whatever. It’s a prison art program called Project Paint. Anyway, I have no idea what I’ll be getting…but it should be interesting, and you will see it here. The original artist can donate the work to Project Paint and they can sell it to fund more materials for the program. So there’s that. 

But before I can do any of that, I need to grade some stuff…so that first.