I Need You to Back Off…

Currently appreciating the quiet morning and a gentle cool breeze that will be replaced by slightly scorching heat later. Only slightly scorching, because I think we’ll be under 100 degrees today. Maybe. I would like to still be asleep for another 20 minutes, but a cat woke me up and then my brain took over, panicking about the to-do list, as it is wont to do (and I wish it wouldn’t). I can’t catch up with anything. This is often the case, but it’s worse this year. I will get a handle on it. Brain, please remember that was the FIRST week of the new schedule and you will eventually figure out some balance and maybe manage the one unknown curriculum and the other two nonexistent curricula. Or not. I have two of the three days planned for science next week, and the other one is roughed in. I just need enough headspace to see the big picture and figure out timing, make the posts, finish the slides, make an agenda, sacrifice a baby lamb (wait, all lambs are babies) to the Goddess of Get It Done, and then it will all be fine. Art? Art is OK? Maybe? None of the posts are made, the agendas barely exist, and there are a few notes, but it will be OK? I just don’t know. I’ve never really been an art teacher…making it is not the same as teaching it. I would be fine in person, but online is just fucking hard. It’s hard with science; it’s even harder with art. If I DO anything, they copy me. I don’t want that.

And then the grading. There’s too many things. I’m picking and choosing, but it’s an avalanche of stuff that hit yesterday, and then my printer cartridge died and I thought I had ordered another one, but I never hit the submit order button, fuck me, so yesterday, I’m trying to find one and they’re sold out everywhere, the Staples guy who can’t keep his mask over his nose, big geeky guy, he’s just trying to help, telling me to try CVS, and I’m like, I’m not driving all over looking for this thing. A knockoff arrives today, the real deal on Tuesday. Fuck me, Hewlett Packard, you need to keep us in supply. When did printer ink become the new toilet paper? Or flour?

I keep telling myself it will be OK, it will get better. I can only keep telling myself that, because otherwise I will lose my already-stretched-thin mind.

You see, art is what always gave me balance. And at the end of a 12-hour-teacher day, I don’t have the energy for art right now. Or barely. So when I say it’s not sustainable, SURE, I can lesson plan and teach (and who the fuck has the time to contact parents right now?) for 12-14 hours a day…I’ve been doing it for 7 weeks now, but I am not OK because I can’t fit the art in. I need that. Maybe you need time with your family or a good book (I read for 10 minutes during lunch on a good day) or a massage (oh wait, I do need one of those). I need time making art. When I’m teaching art? I’m managing a bunch of kids on chat, trying to answer their questions, crazily trying to grade some thing that the state of California needs to prove my students are engaged in the curriculum, and trying to plan the next day, plus check their work as they’re doing it. I’d love to sit there and draw with them, but I can’t.

It’s fine. It makes me want to cry just typing that, because it’s not, but I’m an adult with a lot of persistence and talents and I will survive this fucking year. Speaking of this fucking year, my SIL sent me a dumpster fire sticker.

I love it. I need to decide where it should go. I love stickers, but I never know what to do with them. If I stick them on something and then it isn’t out where I can see it forever, then I can’t see the sticker any more. I guess I could start papering the bathroom. It needs it.

I love this kid already.

I am this kid. Except I’m the teacher, so I don’t get to do that. I also want to go in the breakout room where all the videos and mics are off. Also I don’t get to do that. Because I’m the teacher. Introverts in education! Don’t unite! Unless it’s in your own personal blanket fort.

Thursday night, late, I finished ironing pieces down for the SJSA Remembrance block.

It’s supposed to be done today (shh…don’t tell them I’m running late). It might be. I mean, I have until midnight, right? And it doesn’t need to be quilted. I thought about cutting pieces out Thursday night, but that thought exhausted me and I just sat there on the couch and stared at the pieces and the cat and social media.

Last night, I was better. I put on Enola Holmes, the movie (great movie, by the way), and got them all cut out…

Although it was still hot and the fan was still on and the dog was over there.

Done. Iron them together, stitch them down, and put a stitching outline in. And done. I can do that. I think. Today is not a quiet, do-nothing day, though…

Kitten’s response to my to-do list.

I went to school yesterday, rummaged around the front office (everyone was gone) and found the kid supply bags for delivery and mailing to some who don’t have them, visited my prep room, which was sad, put the old unit box away, stole the new stuff out of the box…

This time, I only brought home bags of rocks, some evidence cards, a pie tin, a couple of coffee filters, an evidence gradient, and the list my co-teacher made me of all her kids, a pithy note for each, which I’ve only barely looked at, because I haven’t had time. Instead of reading my book with breakfast today, I will read the list. Or maybe I will wait until Monday. I know co-teachers are walking away from school and computers on Friday night, and I try to do that, but when you’re home, it’s hard, and when I know I have too much to do and I don’t want to feel buried or unprepared on Monday, I can’t do it. I will try to keep Saturday clear and then kill myself with work on Sunday. Not healthy.

When my school office manager emailed earlier Friday that there was leftover pizza and they would deliver it to our rooms, I offered that I was only 2 1/2 miles away…it took her a while to figure out where I was. No pizza was delivered. I miss being at school. I miss people. I miss moving around during the day. I miss my classroom.

This was me last night, lying on the floor, trying to get my back and hips to stop hurting. Simba and I played with the ball for a bit while I stretched.

Then Calli stole the ball and that was it.

Here’s my quilt You Pollute Me at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE, through November 29. She is part of the For the Love of Gaia exhibit there. A Facebook friend sent me a photo of her on this great yellow wall.

I appreciate that. It’s a reminder of why the art is important. Of why I have to find the time for it. I have to simplify something else to get that time. School, you are a total mindfuck right now and I need you to back off.

Today I have exercise (yay) plus a socially distanced art meeting out in Ramona to jury new members…masks and cold water and bring your own snacks and chair and we’ll be outside. It’ll be good. I hope. I can’t do schoolwork there, so that’s a thing. Oh yeah, and it’s October and we are that much closer to the election and cooler weather and a camping trip and another trip to 29 Palms, and maybe all that will help my brain be where it needs to be. Ugh. This year. I have a job. I am lucky. It’s fine.

Not a Fast Process…

I’ll finish this post Saturday, but right now, Friday night (actually Saturday morning, because it’s after midnight), there are four people in four different rooms watching four different things: one music, one anime, one racial justice, and one door-is-closed-and-I’m-not-bugging-him (and if I text and ask him, he won’t answer, or he’ll just say WHY. Legit question). You can guess which person is watching which show if you want. I’ll never tell.

OK, it’s Saturday for realz now. Yesterday was weird. I did another retirement meeting…mostly making sure I’m on track (I mostly am…some changes need to happen…one of those changes is NOT somehow finding an additional $26K a year to save somewhere, despite their always recommending it). I had an online art opening webinar, which was cool and weird at the same time (next time, I will remember to have embroidery available so I’m not just staring at the screen for over an hour. I like to listen…but not stare at people’s faces for so long.). You can watch the virtual opening here for For the Love of Gaia, a show about climate change that’s being installed at the International Quilt Museum in Nebraska, available for viewing in August in person. It’s not a short video, but most of the artists talk about their work (I’m at 34:45). And then I walked. I needed to be outside for a while. That’s a pretty common issue for me. Boychild and I had transferred a chunk of the wood debris to my parents’, but the dumpster was full, so my tasks were done (well, are they ever done?), and I just wanted to walk. So I did. And about 5 minutes into the walk, I saw this on the ground…

Hmmm. There is a lot of trash on the side of the road. Some of it is masks and gloves, but other stuff that’s just dropped or falls out of the trash truck is all there too. Hard to say where this came from. Normally I pick up some of the trash, but I’m scared to touch most of it these days. I think this one qualifies.

There was someone on my side of the road at one point, so I crossed over to a side where I don’t normally walk. I always thought this was a bush like the ones we have all over our property, but it’s not…not with that thing.

The name of ours is escaping me at the moment. It’s a word I constantly lose from my brain; I’m not sure why. Probably I will remember it before I finish writing this.

In the art world, I’ve been working on this embroidery…

And I had an in-person, socially distanced social meeting today in a park, and I kept stitching on it.

There is nothing fast about this process, but it is relaxing. I need some of that. Exercise helps too, and being outside, but at the moment, I seem to feel really stressed out. So more of the not-stressful things please and thank you.

I finished ironing all the bits together last night, with the two angels complete…

They will be hanging out in the sky…

With their mask, O2 supply, and nasal probe (no, that’s not a paintbrush…). Plus a few Covid-19 virions as Enemy #1…

I need to piece the background and then iron everything down to it. I have 21 hours into the ironing so far. This is ALSO not a fast process.

On top of that, I’m working on these still…

I have the first 14 blocks done…

I need one more by tomorrow. The next batch will be the same pattern, but with the colored portions on the opposite pieces. That probably only makes sense to me. I need to piece more improv bits to do that. I thought about doing that last night, but was braindead. Ironing was easier. Improv while tired is not a good plan.

And dots…I should be done today, but I didn’t do last night’s and I want to add two more. But here is Thursday night’s dot…

I had to find more beads for it.

It looks like a Christmas wreath.

So I’m a little behind. I had a stitching meeting on Thursday, so I got more grass embroidered on this…

I started at the bottom and am only adding fly stitches. All the other greenery was already there. I’m about three rows up? I think? Although looking at this, I think the lion needs some too. Plus I found a mistake. I had sewn the tree in the bottom left on its individual block, but when it got sewn to other blocks, I added the top fluffy bit. I did not remember to stitch the sparkly shit around it, though, so that got remedied.

It’s probably a good thing I’m re-reading this quilt (aka stitching stuff all over it). It does mean it will probably never be finished.

So California has a resurgence of the virus. I feel weird leaving the house. The social distance meeting I went to today was the farthest I’d driven away from my house in over three months. And I think it was OK. Exercise still feels scary, so I’m researching a good mask for exercising. I think that would make me feel better about being in the pilates studio. There’s a fine line here though. Am I doing more than I was in the beginning? Highly possible. This week, I have two different vet appointments. The following week, another vet plus dentist. The week after? Haircut and eye appointment. I need to keep the vet appointments, but they are very good about limited contact. I can cancel hair and eye if necessary…hell, I can cancel dental as well, but it’s been a while since my last cleaning. These things are harder to do when school is in session, so I often push them into summer and breaks. We still limit our grocery runs and other errands have largely fallen by the wayside. I have some gardening to do, so I might need to run out for plants, but it’s easy to stay away from people in that situation. I saw at least three teachers from my school were hanging out at the beach together, nowhere near social distanced. Sigh. All young.

I just took another hour break in writing this, trying to get a new version of Microsoft Office to install so I can copyedit. I figure my 2013 version is a little old, so I’m hoping this will help me with some of the issues I had last time with conversions between my version and my author’s version. We’ll see. At some point, I’m probably going to need a new computer as well. I’m not there yet.

Here’s Kitten, guarding the drawing. I hung it back up to help me place everything.

The bottom is in three parts right now, with a few other bits and pieces floating around, plus those angels and virions. You can see how big it is here. Well. It’s bigger than that. A little crazy.

Speaking of crazy, this kills me. It’s just so wrong. I know it’s not the first time…

Change needs to happen. I’m doing things on my end. Vote, y’all. Don’t let this sink back down like we have school shootings. Until the next one. Don’t.

Yeah well. And masks. Wear them too. I still don’t have the patience or mindset for making masks. I probably could…I just don’t want to. This is one I ordered from Melly Testa

A fellow artquilter. I actually ordered two styles from her, because I lost two of the ones I had here. Hopefully I will be better with these. Plus, when you purchase an individual #MellyMask through her Etsy, you are purchasing two masks, one for yourself, and one that she will give away to local essential workers. That makes me feel even better, because I can’t even manage my own masks, let alone masks for other people. They are really well made too and comfortable.

OK, it’s Saturday evening now and I will be spending some time with the man, plus doing some stitching. Tomorrow is the last day the girlchild will be here; she’s been incredibly helpful with cooking and shopping…probably saved my butt during the last three months of school. We will miss that and miss movie night with her as well. I always wish we had more time. Tomorrow, I will try to remember to take pictures of her socially distanced with her grandparents and with me before she goes. I also started copyediting today, and I want to just bang that sucker out in the next two weeks, so that’s a goal. And, as always, I have those art goals intermingled with exercise and taking care of the house. Strangely, being stuck at home has made it easier to do some of the garden and yard things I wanted to do, but there’s still a lot of cleaning and organizing in the house that I usually try to do over the summer. Plus quilt plans, yeah? Shows are coming up and I need to think about my artmaking priorities. The topics that are speaking to me now? Pandemic, still, of course; antiracism and how that would look in a quilt from a white woman; and the ever-present climate change that is just as desperate an issue as it was before. OK then. That’s not a demanding list of ideas at all.