One Chunk for Me…

It’s interesting to read a bunch of pedagogy articles and listening to teacher podcasts on how to deal with remote and hybrid teaching and realizing that your own teaching assignment currently conflicts with everything that seems to be good eduscience. We planned Monday to be a catch-up/check-in day…already. Eight days in. It’s OK…this is new for all of us, different than what we did in the Spring. Meanwhile, the district is planning to change everything again within the next month. We’ll see if that approaches what kids need more than what we’re doing right now. Friday, I had to call a parent because the kid was full on snoring away in Zoom class. I don’t blame him…if I were lying on my bed, I might fall asleep too. That’s why I sit up. It’s hard to find a happy place between making sure they’re on task and focused, but respecting their space and their laggy internet and their dislike of the screen. I’m only barely getting their names in my brain, because I can’t really see most of them…it’s hard to tell them apart by the foreheads and hair and that’s it. I’m working on it…but also know that a goodly portion of them won’t be in my class in a month. Or will they? We just don’t know.

I did move my entire teaching space into the living room on Friday and then bought another adapter and cable to hook in directly to the internet. We’ll see how that goes. Luna is fascinated by what has appeared on what she thinks of as Her Desk.

Two laptops and a monitor and she already pulled my schedule off the wall, where I taped it, knowing it would be a kitten toy, but I couldn’t think of where else to put it in the moment.

This works for now. I’m still in flux. The light table is behind me so I can stand there if I need to, but I need lighting for that…I’m backlit, so it’s weird. I’m hesitant to buy yet another thing that might not solve a problem right now.

The other hard part is that at the end of the school day, at 3 PM, when I sign off with the last group, I’m exhausted, mentally and physically. My brain can’t see straight and feels like it’s tied in a knot. So I take a break, walk around, water something, feed the sourdough starter, pee the dogs, anything that’s not school-related. And then try to do the things I wrote in my notebook for school. Finish typing this, call that person, print that form, email this other person, post that, create this. Sometimes I just give up until much later. Too much sitting; too much staring at a screen.

Friday night was gaming (online…staring at a screen). I stitched while playing…

We’ve got dice on the table, character sheets lying around. We’ll finish it up this coming Friday. I can’t even remember what we were doing. Damn Romulans. They were being all secretive and lying and all.

Saturday, I got up for Pilates…I missed Wednesday’s class because the dog had to go to the vet, and my body was very stiff and sore. Note to self. Not sustainable. MOVE. Yes, it was freakin’ hot all week. MOVE.

Kitten does move. Sometimes. Then I did more school stuff until about 1 PM, followed it up with art group stuff, and then we walked near where we were hoping to have dinner. This is part of the Coast to Crest trail…we were trying to figure out if these were actually put out for birds to build nests on (one had a large nest)…

We went about 2 miles out and then 2 miles back. Weird how that works, eh?

Lots of birds. As always, I have to check heron vs egret vs crane. This is a heron.

That tiny white dot out there is an egret. It was warm going inland, but definitely cooled off on the way back with the ocean breeze and impending sunset.

Different plants to look at…

Different wildlife…

I’m not a fan of the car/freeway noise, but when it’s hot and summer, that’s one of the things you have to deal with…cooler beach walks often mean more people and/or car noise. There weren’t a lot of people on this hike…

It’s mostly flat…

We wanted to have dinner at a nearby brewery that has a big open outdoor space afterwards, but we reserved the mental right to back out and get takeout if we weren’t comfortable with the setup.

Which is what we ended up doing. Too many people in too small a space with not enough barriers. They were nice about it. We tailgated in the parking lot with free beer from the general manager and giant-ass mosquitoes landing on us. The food was good. I’d go back…maybe not on a Saturday night, but we’re limited by our work schedules unfortunately. We’re trying to figure out how to have Date Night without all the things we used to be able to do. Unfortunately, it might be tailgating and picnics for a while. At least the food was still hot when we ate it, for once in the last 5 months.

Here’s part of the trail map…

We started at the P near the Boardwalk and followed the Coast to Crest trail under the freeway and out. If you go to the Polo Fields and turn around, it’s supposed to be about 5.3 miles. We didn’t get that far.

I’m still trying to finish ironing all the Wonder Under to fabrics for this new piece…I did some on Friday night. Less than an hour, I think…with Calli’s assistance.

Nah. She’s just in the way. Speaking of in the way…

Everyone wants pets. Katie left Saturday afternoon with my parents. She was happy to finally get back to rabbit chasing and regular walks in her own space.

Here’s everything I got ironed down on Friday night…mostly just the lungs, I think.

They were pretty damn complicated though. Like COVID itself.

Then last night, I worked on ironing anything to do with the cardiovascular system…

Arteries, blood cells, the heart…

I originally did this drawing in April, 30 days after we got sent home from school on Shelter in Place…then when I enlarged it, I added some broken blood cells, since it seems like COVID attacks the blood in some ways or the blood vessels themselves. Crazy shit. So all I have left to iron is the hair of the main figure (I cannot make a decision) and the dirt down below. Easy, right? Oh I think there is a ventilator down there too. So not much left. I’d like to get it done tonight. I’d also like to get a binding on the small Patreon piece here…it’s late and I feel bad, but I can’t get my head straight until like 11 PM and then it feels too late to work on it. This afternoon would be good, but I have somewhere I need to be at 6 and I’m not sure I’m ready for school yet. Damn.

So this week…teach all week, exercise more (it’s supposed to be cooler until Saturday, hallelujah), finish ironing the Wonder Under to fabric, finish the Patreon piece, and I need to draw…one for Patreon and one for myself. Maybe that’s the way everything should go this week. One for (work, art groups, Patreon, family) and one for myself. Whatever unit I use for one…hour? One chunk for me, one chunk for you. Certainly that might be healthier than whatever shit I did last week. Also, it’s September this week. Already. WTF. Someone said that unless we change our mindsets, 2021 will still be bad. Kenosha police, we’re talking to you. With that, I’m going to do one chunk for me.

It’s Not the Same

I think I need a nap. I could probably even take a nap, but then I probably wouldn’t get anything else done. That never feels good. School is almost out! I’m not as excited about that as I usually am. It’s not the same. We all know it’s not the same (OK, some people haven’t figured that out, but I’m talking about most of the teachers I work with…OK some of them don’t know it either), but I’m not sure when it will be something I recognize. My book club wants to meet in person next week…6 feet away from each other and outside, but in person. I think that’s OK. My team wants to do the same thing, but with alcohol involved. That’s a little harder, because it’s a restaurant and technically, none of us should be sitting together. Straw and mask? Stick straw under mask? Maybe. I took a pilates class today, the first one in three months. Oh man, my back felt so much better. I tried doing it with a mask on and couldn’t get enough air. Damn. So how do I feel about that? I don’t know yet. Balancing our personal needs with the need to stay healthy. Fuuuck. But that’s one of the things I wrote to the district in the survey they sent out: I want to stay healthy. But if I get sick with COVID because of school, and it takes longer than 2 weeks for me to test negative again, what happens with my job? We don’t have disability. I can’t get disability insurance because of my diabetes. So I’m fucked? I have a bunch of sick days I can use up, I guess. I should stop reading all those scary articles…but then I would be ignorant, and that’s not a good place to be. Note to white women who just want to quilt/sew and not think about politics: It’s not a good place to be, IgnoranceLand. Get out of it.

Um. Ma’am. This is why we need more science education. It’s not the only reason, but it’s a good one.

So. This week coming up is busy, but not like teaching for real, and definitely not like a real end-of-school-year week. Then it will hopefully be less busy for a while, to let me read and exercise and fix things and make art. Yeah. That’s what I need. Leave me alone for a while.

I ironed for a little bit last night, about an hour. I’m hoping to do more this afternoon, get Figure 2 done.

It’s not fast, because there’s a lot of pieces and it’s a big quilt. But I really enjoy this part.

We gamed earlier online…I stitch during it, even in person. It keeps my brain engaged.

This is not hard.

I also sewed a dot…above the green spool.

It wasn’t difficult…

Maybe I’ll just teach art in between all the other crap I have to teach. I actually added another bullion loop flower, the yellow one, because it looked unbalanced.

I finished my book club book, Jade City. It was OK. It seemed to focus a lot more on warring and explaining culture, which sometimes I like, but it was kind of dry. We’ll see what the rest of the group says on Wednesday.

Kitten has been invading the kittens’ space, lying in front of their food and water…

No worries…they still have access to her food and water, and they take advantage of that.

OK, I’ve exercised and eaten. I need more caffeine. I’m supposed to pull fabrics for that quilt project with templates, but I find it hard to do that. I have too much fabric to choose from. Can’t decide. Not sad about that. I’m going to iron for a while, and then water plants. I’ve done well with planting new things this year…I guess that’s a pro of being stuck at home all the time. I need to go watch some fence-building videos too, although my dad will be helping, so that should solve that problem. It’s Saturday. There are four days of school left. We are three months into a pandemic in the US, and things may shut down again sometime in the next month. Just documenting that shit, so when they re-read my blog in 2120, they’ll know that some of us were thinking about the consequences of the germ-breathers.

We Have Found the Sunz…

and we are lying in them.

I wish I had a kitten mindset…

Or an old lady dog mindset. But no. I am a worrisome adult human type. Although, this was Calli after the first thunder clap the other night…and me after getting an email from the teachers’ union.

It’s fine. I laid on the floor with her later that night for about an hour and a half, and she calmed down. The teacher stuff…it’ll be fine. I don’t agree with all of it, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run. It’s some routine, some normalcy. It might help the kids; might even help some of us.

I drew Thursday night…still trying to make different shapes and deal with spaces slightly differently.

When you have a recognizable style and you’re trying to fuck with it, your brain often goes back to what it’s comfortable doing. Which is good and bad. Stretch. A little. A lot? Always trying to stretch.

This is last night’s drawing…I think it went really well with the figure and maybe I should have stopped there and come back to it? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.

I’m just drawing. I was trying to get that feeling in my head that things are so weird and surreal and I can’t get a handle on any of it. So the body is good. Maybe that’s something I’ll save for the next one. With the Coronawood sign. But bigger and higher and something. I don’t know. Just messing around. Late night with a brain that wouldn’t shut up.

I found that damn missing windmill. I was sweeping my office and it just appeared. Fucker.

Maybe it will get its own quilt. Who knows.

Speaking of quilts, I did a little quilting yesterday.

I’m going to do more today. The machine is behaving now and it’s a pretty smooth process.

Still mourning Australia’s devastating fires…

Suspect this will just be a year of mourning.

Girlchild set a video of pup post-bath to this…

He runs around and rubs his body all over the carpet, like he’s a furry vacuum. It’s amusing. He got a bath because he smelled like the salmon oil we put on the old lady’s food for her arthritis. Or her skin. Not sure which.

Last night, we also had gaming…on devices. Multiple devices. Kind of difficult in some ways…

I do always stitch through these…it helps me pay attention.

Got the random hut and monkey stitched on. Now they need embellishment.

Hi Kitten…

It’s Saturday. Our plan is to grocery shop early tomorrow, so list today. We’ll find out today if the kids are here for the next few weeks without trips to their dad’s…waiting on a test result. It’s a beautifully sunny day, so I’m thinking some minor yardwork. Some quilting. I’m going to try some yoga…it’s close enough to pilates. I’m doing something exercise-like every day. It doesn’t feel like enough, but I also know I’m not eating particularly well…unlike most people, I seem to be eating less…not enough food is not the best plan as a diabetic. Next week, I’ll get trained on the new teaching normal and do some planning apparently (no idea what that looks like). My original panic stemmed from an email that we would need to work our regular school day (but at home) every day next week. I cleared a desk, tried to think what staring at a computer for 7 hours straight would feel like. They’ve backed that down a lot in subsequent emails, which helps with the anxiety. It’s more of a go-with-the-flow thing that I can handle. Of course, they train us, and then we have ‘two weeks off’ for Spring Break. It’s just weird. All so weird.

Art today. Definitely. Art and exercise and less of the news.

Things You Shouldn’t Do When You’re Tired…

  1. Email anyone of importance
  2. Use a knife
  3. Shave your head
  4. Drive

I only did one of those this morning with any issues. I did one with no issues, but it was just butter. You’ll have to guess which one was the problem.

We finally gamed on a Friday, after about an 18-month hiatus. This is how I get my embroidery done, stitching to stay awake on a Friday after a long week. We are playing some Star Trek game…I don’t know if it’s a fancier name than that, but somehow I ended up with two characters.

This is easier, because we can play a story in a night and then if someone can’t come next time, it doesn’t really matter. Last time, our schedules were so complicated that we couldn’t meet sometimes for a few months, and some people had issues with that. So this will work, hopefully.

I’ve been working on this Sue Spargo quilt for about 4 years now, I think. There’s a lot of embroidery. I enjoy it, but I only do it when I’m waiting or a passenger in a car or on a plane or gaming, so it takes a long time to finish.

The cheetah is part of the October blocks (it was a block-of-the-month thing), so I think after I embroider this and the other two blocks for this month, I put the whole thing together and start doing borders. Finally. There’s a bunch of filler embroidery that needs to go one before I can do that though…a road and a ton of grass. It’ll be a while.

There are so many mistakes in those cast-on stitches, it’s not even funny. I should add that to the list above…don’t do complicated embroidery stitches when tired. But it looks fun! I could add more embroidery to this easily…

Then it would take even longer.

OK, I have a busy weekend, an art meeting, a pilates class (a new one, trying new things), grading, artmaking, groceries, all sort of compressed for some reason. Last night’s sleep was hindered by barking puppy (coyotes!)…he’s gonna need a long walk this afternoon or we might kill him tonight.

Also, I joined the Modern Quilt Guild. My quilts aren’t modern at all, and I really have no desire to MAKE modern quilts (all that piecing and straight lines! WTF!), but they meet regularly and do stitch-ins, so maybe I’ll find a group that works for me. I’m planning on going to one of their stitch-ins in February, just to check it out. It could suck; it could be cool. It’s hard to find places where I fit sometimes, but I keep looking.

No worries about my SAQA group…I think maybe having us meet quarterly or every other month is going to work out better…I’ll bring it up at the next meeting and figure it out. I fell into my other two monthly groups when I was young and pregnant with the sweet monsters, so this is just the evolution of that need, to get out with like minds and make stuff regularly. It’s all a work in progress.

I Reach Out from the Inside*

Some worry this morning for the big dog…she won’t put weight on her back left leg all of a sudden…

Same side as the lump removal, so that’s a concern. She’s off to the vet in about an hour…hopefully it’s an easy thing, like muscles…she’s had muscle and arthritis issues before. Good thoughts, baby girl.

She was fine yesterday afternoon when I was pinbasting…her biggest worry was that I kicked her off her favorite floor to lie on…so I could clean it and baste the quilt…

Cone head.

Oh yeah, I finished stitch down yesterday…maybe 3 1/2 hours total.

Pinned…ready for quilting.

I was going to start that today, but I got sidetracked by many things, including the dog.

Yesterday, I was totally sidetracked by all these…

I’m just putting them here…

So hopefully a year from now and a bit…

I can rejoice in his loss…

And we thought Palin and Quayle were idiots.

Sometimes I truly love the internet’s ability to take on stupidity in a humorous way.

We gamed last night…two different games. I did OK on the first one, but killed three characters in the last one. Impressive.

I did not win. It’s all good. I’m OK with dying. And losing. Well, here. In a board game.

Today? I might die. We’re trying axe-throwing. Plus I have a meeting. Plus I’m tired. Plus I’m worried about the dog. I’m not sure I should be allowed to throw an axe honestly. I suspect not a lot of art is happening today. Hopefully that will be different tomorrow.

*Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes

Sitting Untouched and Growing Cold*

You know how I like to make art every day? Well it isn’t always possible, but I do try to at least do something with fabric and/or thread every day, although I guess technically Wonder Under isn’t fabric, but it’s fabric-related, and same with drawing, damn, I just talked myself out of my own plan. Fuck. Anyway. I try. Something. But some days, especially Fridays and Saturdays, there isn’t time or energy or whatever to let me do that, and most days during the school year, I don’t touch anything art-related until after 9 PM. So yesterday was one of those days, and that’s fine, because it was gaming night, and while I am gaming (no we aren’t freaking done yet even though we killed the Prince of Ziinch holy crap it’s Tzeentch they never showed me his name and now I know why they were pronouncing it so weird or something I don’t even know who he was, but he had feathers and was way smarter than any of us and wouldn’t freaking die, I shot him 3 times and so did everyone else, and now I have all these crazy wounds and flea buboes and I think I have chaos gases surrounding me), like I said WHILE I am gaming, I stitch. Because my Friday brain would otherwise be snoring away, exhausted by the day…damn, the week.

In the aftermath of the game, where I stopped stitching, just before we started putting away 7800 chips, another 450 dice, and all our other crap, each of us sporting a pile of wounds. But no. We’re not done with this campaign. It’s OK…it’s just kind of amazing.

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Slow progress on this. I finally finished the July blocks…at least, I think they’re the July blocks, by finishing the hippo’s ears. The August blocks are the three across with the rhinos, bird, and butterfly. So that’s what I’m working on now…

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Then I think the other three that are randomly not done are the September blocks. Maybe. So there’s the rhinos. They still need more work. But I got most of the flowers done. The blue flowers are complicated as hell…

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They have french knots in slippery rayon, drizzle stitches, outlining with more of that crazy rayon shit. I’m still outlining…

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Petting small furry things…

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The boychild is followed around by animals all day and sometimes he gets annoyed and brings me one or two. This morning, they followed me around, well, the cats don’t really follow unless the little one thinks there’s food and the big one wants pets.

So last night, after gaming, I graded stuff. Because that’s what you do at 11 PM on a Friday. I think I’ve actually made my life easier (eventually) with the new warmups. They take longer to make/plan, but less time to grade. And they’re still writing.

Then I got up this morning and finished packing up quilts, wrote 4 statement pages, found some nails…delivering in about an hour.

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I did NOT cut any of this out. I don’t know when I WILL cut any of this out. Sometime soon, for sure.

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I did get into another show yesterday, Futurecraft at the Boehm Gallery, Palomar College, with Allied Craftsmen, one of the local groups to which I belong. The openings are Thursday, October 11, from 1-3 PM, and Saturday, October 13, from 2-4 PM (that’s the one I’ll be at). The show runs through November 7. There’s also an artists’ talk on Thursday, October 11 from 2-3 PM. I won’t be at that either. I have two pieces in the show…Part-Time Oasis

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And Mammogram

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So that’s one acceptance out of eight entries so far…not bad. Then again, this was the one where I was guaranteed to get one piece in, so not so impressive.

OK, on with quilt delivery, then an art exhibit, then some drinks, then IDK what. Food probably. That would be a good plan. Art will come in eventually (besides the management and delivery of said art).

*Cowboy Junkies, Cold Tea Blues

In the Key That Our Souls Were Singing*

OK. Well that was an exhausting week. I got to sleep last night, despite 46 texts from my kids while I was asleep, plus a text and phone call from the pool guy, and a very insistent, apparently starving cat. I have lots of plans for the weekend, but as always, everything small and tiny takes up all the time. I’m still in pajamas (hey, I was in pajamas all day yesterday) and the first cup of tea hasn’t quite kicked in. Probably need to make cup number 2.

In good news, we made concrete and learned about superplasticizer and nobody died or got concrete up their noses, so we’re good.

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What’s funny is that they all had the same recipe…but look at the results.

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That’s a sign of what we deal with every freakin’ day. I’m laughing, actually, because otherwise I would be crying. Two more weeks. Two more weeks with a field trip and an official observation. I didn’t leave work yesterday until after 5:15, because we had to clean up all the concrete stuff, help the company who came out pack up all the stuffs, and then try to revise our field trip and notify everyone in the world that we were doing that.

I made it to gaming…but brought shit to cut out, because I’m trying to be DONE DAMMIT. I’m a little over 17 hours in…

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Home to puppy. Fell asleep soundly for a good long time…

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So I’m almost done. The bottom has maybe 10-15 pieces left. And then I’m done.

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Did I mention that I was almost done?

So. I can’t work on that until I get through the second readthrough on the copyediting. Doing that now. Then finish cutting and sort the pieces. Then IRONING! Woo hoo! Finally get to see it go together.

I got into a cool show this week that will be at the Oceanside Museum of Art February through July, opening March 17 from 6-8 PM (I can put 4 people on the free list to get in). It’s called Artifacts, and will be opening with two other exhibits at the museum, all based on the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, about a future civilization where we have lost electricity and many other things that make our society go. I did read the book before entering. I’ve seen the work that will be in our exhibit, which is with Allied Craftsmen, and it is pretty amazing…wood, ceramics, fiber, basketry…a wide variety of good stuff. So that was good news.

And I’m looking forward to some music and drawing tonight…need some down time after all this.

*Earth Wind and Fire, September