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.

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.

Until Tomorrow…

Good morning. Or as I am feeling it, Morning. So incredibly never ever ready to go back after time off from school. Plus the dog barking at a skunk last night while we were trying to sleep did not help. Luckily no spray…the skunk was outside and the dog inside, but the obvious intrusion into our personal area seemed to drive the little guy nuts. Eventually we got him settled and then tried to sleep again. Ugh.

In good school news, I finished grading the last of the stuff (except for homework, which will be quick), but lots of one grade level didn’t actually do the assignment in the first place, so there’s some issue with that. I don’t have time in the schedule to make them do it in class, so I made a video for those who want to improve. We’ll see if that helps. This year is certainly causing me to jiggle my expectations and revisit how I teach, just because they have COVID brain and can’t function in a classroom. Or maybe it’s just too many devices. Hard to say. Certainly it’s one of the hardest years I’ve taught…and I thought the Zoom year was gonna be that. Ha! The universe chuckles.

I was reading my old blogposts yesterday…sometimes I do that to remind myself that this is all cyclical. And sure enough, Thanksgiving week was a lot of food crazy, not enough exercise, plus a lot of grading, but didn’t finish it all, made some art, but it’s never enough…and it was Santa Ana windy hot! Just like last week. Some things never change. I don’t know if that’s a relief or annoying. Hopefully next year, I will look back at this year and think, oh hallelujah, it’s not that bad. That’s my hope anyway.

So besides grading, we did hike on Saturday…we went out to Barnett Ranch in Ramona…

This is not a hard hike or a long one, but we had the pup with us, so I was aiming for new and different but not too hard.

It’s a nice enough hike. Could have been longer…

Looking at our schedules, I think that’s it until Winter Break for me anyway. We’ll see. Got too much shit going on.

I also ironed both days, but not much…like an hour each day. Back to that sucky schedule…

Although I was more efficient last night…got all the way through the 300s (almost), so I’m about 2/3 done…

Just have the head and all its stuff and then the vomit. Like you do. I was hoping to be done with this part before school started, but no. Maybe I can get the rest done tonight, but it’ll probably take two nights. We’ll see.

I did get these out for the teachers’ manual for our curriculum.

I hate how I have to comb through tiny little print and multiple sources to get what I need to actually TEACH this thing. So frustrating. Plus have to have the headspace and time to figure it out. Hence when it takes an hour to plan one 51-minute class…that’s too much. There’s something wrong with that.

So yeah. Did not plan all three weeks out. Got 6 1/2 days done. Maybe. Not a good sign. Well I don’t have to grade anything but homework for a few days, so maybe I can plan a bit more. Ugh. Really just want to be able to come home and NOT do any of it.

Because that.

OK. It’ll be fine today…starting two new engineering projects on the same day…one I’ve taught before and one I’ve never taught before. Plus 2 meetings. Or 1. Depends. Ironing tonight. After cooking. Hmmm. Might be a tad on the exhausted side by then. So yeah, probably not done until tomorrow.

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.

Out and About…

Well we’re back from nature. Into cold feet and a house that perennially needs cleaning. So much easier to control a campground’s worth of stuff. Although even that can be a pain. The meat didn’t defrost…it was too cold! Well there we are. Years of mom experience to the rescue.

We left for camping around 2:30 PM…drove a little over 90 minutes to a campground in chaparral, mostly, dry, but with oak trees for shade. No showers, OK for a couple of days. It was already cold when we got there and started setting up. It seemed like I kept going into the tent and putting more layers on, or trading out my current layers for better ones.

We had a simple dinner planned the first night…probably a good thing. Mostly we tried to get the fire going…and wondered why people in campgrounds feel a need to play their music loudly.

I managed to finish a drawing I started in May in Ridgecrest, the night before I dropped the Man at Kennedy Meadows to continue his hike.

In bed early, because sleeping bags are warm. Parties around us continued until 3 AM, although we were pro the coyote parties, not the human ones.

We went hiking the next day, although 4 miles was our max.

It was all up. Well the first two miles were anyway. We’re both out of shape. The Man broke his toe in July and wasn’t hiking for a while because of that, and the weekends have been busy with either openings, shows, or my day job sucking up the weekend. We vowed to change that, although my left knee is being cranky and probably needs something.

This was the night of the non-defrosting meat. Warm water baths to the rescue, but my hands are still paying the price today with the repeated dunking in water in dry, cold air. My drawing started in the afternoon, which was a lot of reading and drawing…

This was a big one. I’ve had an idea in my head for the next quilt for about a month now, and this is the first iteration.

After dinner, I did another drawing, not related…

In the smaller sketchbook this time…

Watching the firewood make faces…

The cold chased us to bed around 9 PM again…where the Man had bought lights for the tent…

Fairy lights it is.

Morning dawned cold.

That was after we’d been up for 40 minutes. The cell service was more than we expected, in that it existed, mostly, although not always. The weather app was quite willing to tell me I was actually freezing. We ended up packing out early and eating breakfast at home. There were dark clouds and I didn’t want to deal with rain. Plus I had an artist Zoom at 11, so it made sense. Here was our last view of the area…

Those were not the dark clouds…they were behind me.

We got home in time for the Zoom, managed to shop, do laundry, clean out the tent (the Man did most of that, thanks), and get everything packed away. Every time we do this, we plan to make a list of things we should take, and then the day jobs take over and we never do it, which is how we forget stuff. Ah well. And I’ve misplaced my flashlight too. It’s here somewhere; I just don’t know where I put it down.

I did a bunch of school work yesterday, none of it grading unfortunately. Got a ton of that to do this week and next. More unfortunately. I did pin the bindings on the big alien quilt for the bed…

I’ll be stitching for a while. A bunch of people recommend using those clips to do this. I know I have some…just not sure where.

Earlier, I had enlarged that drawing from the fire…200 and 250%. I started taping it together to see if this is it, or if I’m going to (a) redraw a clean one over the top of it or (b) cut some bits out and redraw them. Don’t know. Will look again tonight. I had to go to bed. A warm bed. Squished between two cats and a dog…a little TOO squished. But warm at least. And not an air mattress. Old bodies.

Work today. Can’t say I’m in the mood. Only five days though. I’d like to get as much work as possible done this week, so I don’t have to do it all next week, but I don’t know how that will play out. Just wish for the best, be as efficient as possible, stay on task, get it done. Art at night…got 8 weeks to finish this next quilt. Don’t make it huge and insanely detailed (might have already blown that edict). Work on it every night…that I can probably do.

Up and At ‘Em

Good morning. Splendid extra hour of sleep? Well, maybe. I mostly wasted it on checking my clock because it was light and I thought I hadn’t set the alarm. My brain went right into staying up an hour later though. I was working Saturday night well past bedtime (school stuff, unfortunately). I’m not done with grades. I have to do about 15 redo grades and then input everything, which is more than it has been in the past. There’s some new thing we have to check for certain students. The government doesn’t trust us to do certain things, so we have to check a box saying we did it. I’m not sure which teachers aren’t doing it, but if they aren’t, they’re still gonna check the box. So yeah. Didn’t fix that problem with more work, did we. I have not fully planned the rest of this week for 8th grade. Again. I’m not sure when I will get ahead. Ever. Like more than 5 days max ahead. I have through Wednesday planned, but only if I get the lab set up today. Lucky for me it is only a 4-day week, but we are camping this weekend, so I won’t have access to internet to plan, so next week’s gotta be planned before I go. I had Friday for that, but I added an exercise class because I can’t go earlier in the week, and then the cat needed to go to the vet, and then the Man decided he wanted to be out of here by 2 PM, and all of a sudden, the day is no longer mine to lesson plan, eh? ‘Tis how it works.

I also need to start the next quilt, at least on the drawing page. I managed to put all the bindings on Saturday…

That’s some old-school fabric there for the sleeve. Then the bed quilt…

Only got the art quilt pinned last night…

Other art stuff happened this weekend though. I went to the opening of Portraits of the Anthropocene at Dance Place in Liberty Station…and a bunch of my co-teachers showed up…

So did the Man…

I have two quilts there…

Through early January, so check it out…also some other very cool art there.

And after that, we ate…

It was really nice of them all to show up, and we had a good time.

The next day, I had a quilt guild meeting. Met an old acquaintance and made a new one. Also did some slow stitching…

Came home, graded for a while, and then went for a much-needed hike with Simba and the Man…

The weather was beautiful…just the right temperature…

Although all three of us are out of shape…

Saw a coyote…

It’s a little blurry. Every time we come to Crest, these days, we see a coyote.

Quilts=Art=Quilts is up at the Schweinfurth Art Center. You can see the whole exhibit here. I screenshot a couple of shots of my quilt.

Gotta love those orange dots.

I love seeing my work in a space I can’t visit, so this is awesome for me. It’s up until January as well.

I also voted. You should vote too.

And visited the parentals, who have had a week to recover from their trip and seem to need another week at least. Katie was happy to see us though.

Happy her parents are home too.

OK. School. Two-hour staff meeting. Dropping the sewing machine off to be cleaned/tuned up. Finishing grades. Setting up a lab. Cooking dinner. Hopefully starting to sew the binding on to that quilt and/or drawing the next one. I have high hopes for the next one. More time during the week to make art? Working on it. For now, gotta get up and at ’em. Whatever that means.

All the Pieces

All the pieces are done, ironed together. I just need to make them fit. Ha! That’s always the issue. I love it when the quilt top is just one giant ironed-together piece with no holes in it, because it’s easier to get onto the background. Pieces like this with a little bit here and a little bit there, and they all have to fit together, which implies I ironed them together really well (ha!)…those are the hardest. I’ve got two big heads (here’s one of them from Friday night)…

Then there’s the head and upper torso of the main figure with the arms, then the lower torso with the rest of the three figures and the body of one of the big heads. They’re all attached in some way. It’ll be a challenge. It’s not a small piece, so doing it on the ironing board won’t work. I finished the Earth last night…

That was the last bit…and I found the missing ‘s’ finally. It was in the box of 1300s, even though it’s a 300. It has aspirations…

In other art news, Coronawood got into Quilts=Art=Quilts, which is cool. And I’ll be part of an artist talk on October 2 at the PHES Gallery in Carlsbad.

Should be interesting…a wide variety of work.

I spent a huge chunk of the weekend working on school, which is funny, because I only just got my nose above water and my mouth sometimes. Meaning 8th grade is planned through next Monday and is a disaster after that. I spent 5 hours on Sunday just dealing with that, and then the other 3-4 hours was grading stuff and posting stuff and trying to make sense of stuff. I brought home 5 things on paper that I didn’t touch, needed grading. I’m taking some of it to my other quilt guild meeting tonight. Valerie Goodwin is talking. I took a class from her last year on Zoom and wanted to hear/see her in person. Also I won’t be at school for two days this week, so hence my panic about school stuff. But I’ll be at SAQA Summit listening to artists talk and then taking a 2-day workshop. I still need to write sub plans.

That whole 5 hours yesterday was on this chair with this cat behind me…

It wasn’t particularly comfortable.

Later we walked the little dog. Not sure why I call him that, since he’s the only dog we have at the moment. I guess I have a wishful big dog.

We only did 2 miles because all of us were tired. The boychild has been gone a lot lately for work, so Simba has been needy. And a shitty sleeper. I’d like to thank the local coyotes for my lack of sleep today. Boychild may be back Wednesday…depends on local fires. He was on one over the weekend, but seems to be off it now. I told Simba; he understood nothing.

We managed dinner out…

So I drew something very basic that I’ve probably drawn some version of about a million times. Which was fine, because at least I was drawing.

This school year, man. I’m hoping I get a better handle on it soon. It’s been shit. I should say the 8th graders are mostly fine. They are a decent group of kids. I just don’t have the curriculum down until like 5 minutes before class. The 7th grade, I’ve taught this curriculum enough times that I’ve got it, but the kids are a challenge…and not all of them. Just a significant enough number of them that it is hard and exhausting and sometimes they behave and sometimes they are shitheads. Because they are kids, yes, but also because of COVID and not being in school and still figuring out how not to be immature and some of them don’t HAVE to behave at home, so why behave at school? Some days are good, most are ok or tolerable, and then some are just shit. And because I end the day with them, it just throws me. And then the curriculum is stupid, the stuff I’m using for 8th grade. Hate Amplify. It’s lame. So repetitive, only one right answer, hardly any hands-on stuff. There are simulations, but it’s not the same thing. The kids need something to put their hands on, to mess with. Hopefully the next unit is better. I guess it’s only as good as I am, and I don’t feel up to it by myself. I don’t have any other curriculum that I can do with them. And I don’t have time to go searching for stuff, or the brain power, because I would have to be able to get the big picture to do that, and I’d need like a 40-hour week of planning to get there.

On top of all this, some messy shit with adults happened last week at school that still is pissing me off. I need to drop it, let it go, but it’s shitty and I can’t get it out of my head. Thank you brain for that.

I did finish one book, read a whole ‘nother book (the Man hates it when I use ‘nother)…

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy…second book in a series, but basically I love anything by Becky Chambers. Reminds me of why I don’t hike the PCT as a thru-hiker.

Anyway. I’m on yet another book now. It feels good to read. I do love to read. And draw. And sleep. I love sleep so much and I suck so bad at it.

Today is chaos. I’m giving assessments to both classes, although 8th probably won’t finish today. 7th will if it kills me (and it might). Staff meeting after school, plus counseling, pick up the parental dog and bring her back, then off to the quilt guild meeting. I’m not sure I can do all that, but I’m going to try. I should eat something in there sometime. I’d like to say I’ll iron when I get home, but odds are that I will just collapse. We’ll see. A girl can hope.

The Dream

Am I ready for a full week of school? I’m never ready. I never get enough done on Sunday afternoon. I never feel like I’m ready. I have done many things to get myself and my stuff ready, but it never feels like enough. My biggest issue today is that I need a computer…mine was refusing to connect to the digital projector on Friday. I was able to limp along for the day, push stuff out and try to get kids in the right place without being able to show them, but today, I actually need them to see what’s on my screen and there’s no other way to easily push it out. There are no loaners that we know of. I might be using one of admin’s computers instead. Which is awkward and a pain. Not looking forward to it, no lie. Last year around this time, IT had to send my computer out to get a new battery. I told them then about the charging issues (because I think all this has to do with issues with my USB-C ports), and they chalked it up to the battery thing and then I spent all year trying to persuade my charger to seat correctly so the computer would actually charge. My computer is not due to be replaced until the next school year. The last loaner they gave me was so old that things wouldn’t load. I’m not looking forward to that either. I already tried compressed air in the ports, on the off chance that a big blob of dust was causing all this. No luck. Ah well…to be a fully funded teacher! What a dream!

I did follow my new plan of no work on Saturdays (actually did this most of last year too)…so I dealt with some art stuff, bought the compressed air (that’s all the work-related stuff I did), bought some slats for a piece that needs to be delivered next weekend…it needs a label too, so that’s on the list for this week. I entered a show, did some other art paperwork. I read my book a lot. And then I hiked for the first time in a long time…

My legs were not quite ready, post-COVID and no exercise for a bit, but I powered through. Felt pretty good after the first mile.

Saw a coyote…

No really, there’s a coyote in that picture. It was not happy about my presence.

I started late…but it was still warm. Also saw this tree face…

Probably hiked past that tree a few million times and never saw that. So the hiking was good.

I also finished cutting stuff out…

It took over 24 hours of cutting to do this thing…

And then last night, I started sorting, but I should have started earlier…why didn’t I? Because I was still doing school work. Probably did about 5 hours yesterday. Just trying to get organized and semi-caught up. You are never really caught up until the year is over.

I didn’t have much left to sort, but it was already late and I needed to go to bed…

It doesn’t look like much, but it would have been at least another 30-45 minutes. And I’m already the last one up here, so all the noise from the previous two wakes me up anyway. Don’t need to start the week more tired than necessary. Finish sorting tonight, and then start ironing this thing together.

The Man had a show at Stone Brewing Company on Saturday…

I did not go. It was a long way and a long time and I was tired. I needed some quiet me time.

They seemed to have fun though.

Meanwhile, I chilled with the cats…

OK, mostly they slept. It was fine.

I recently wrote an article about my work for Art Quilting Studio…it’s the Autumn issue…

I’ve been able to find it at Barnes & Noble, but it’s also available online.

I get paid a small amount for the article…but also it looks really good…

It’s nice to not be censored. Or remembered just for the dick that wasn’t there. And the internet just deleted the rest. And I need to go to school…so this is where we end. More tomorrow!

Headspace for Drawing…

I went to the eye doctor yesterday and he recommended a book for me, after having a long discussion about Comicon and our shared nerdiness. Gotta appreciate that. Especially as school LOOMS. I write every year about how it looms; usually it waits until August 1st, but not this year. LOOMING. And not in the good way with weaving warp and weft. In the dark and doomy way where it’s leaning over you and breathing hot and heavy onto your shoulder. Maybe even a little moist going on there. Yuck. All this followed by some truly disturbing dreams (not about school, for once, but like an alternative lifetime that was obviously wrong wrong wrong but was weirdly right in the dream, so fucking awful). Totally creeped out by last night’s attempt at sleep. Plus the boychild left for the Oak Fire yesterday, so Simba was in the bed all night, perturbed as fuck and hot and furry and then would randomly lick my leg and wake me up. I’m just not cut out for sleep. I need to be knocked out instantly and then zapped awake at the right time.

So Monday was delightful. I went to lunch and for a walk on the Silver Strand beach (away from all the people) with two friends from school and just really enjoyed walking, cool temperatures, and BIRDS!

Some of these birds have made it into my quilts. Wish I could tell you which ones…

Tiny snowy plovers…

We stalked the birds really…

And then the shells…these still had the snails in them, so we put them all back in the water.

Probably they would have been fine, but in a year when the climate is getting more and more fucked (thank you Republicans and the Supreme Court for continuing that shit), it felt good to do something that might be good for the environment.

Fascinating walk. This gull had a flatfish and was trying to alternately wash it and peck it.

Plus it kept running with the fish to get away from us.

Good times. We had some discussions of bizarre animals that humans made up and how it happened (found weird bit on beach, assumed animal was massive, hence our drawing it in the sand).

Like you do. Anyway. More of that this year. Less of the stressful shit.

I finally got the headspace to start drawing for real. Did a lot of sketching in pencil first as my brain got in the mood for this drawing…

Trying to keep it relatively simple. I keep wanting to add shading to the figure on the right, but my simpler brain is like NO IT DOES NOT NEED IT. Art brain is not convinced. Then last night, I inked everything that was in pencil…

And started adding more…

First time the Statue of Liberty has shown up in a quilt of mine…

Got more to do up here. That big head has some words going on it. Her arms need stuff. Stuff in her hands too. Getting there. Also, my proofreading project showed up last night…and I’m going to mom’s today and tomorrow to work on the bed quilt, plus the girlchild is coming in tonight for a visit, so I had to clean her room (not done) and the bathroom, because the boychild left for the fire yesterday. He works for the California Conservation Corps but is currently on a CalFire hand crew. Apparently you sleep in coffins (not really, just looks like one)…

He’s in Merced…heading in to the fire west of Yosemite.

He sends sunrise photos with fire trucks. Seems fine. Unfortunately, he got called out right before the girlchild comes to visit and probably won’t be back before she leaves. Bad timing, fire. WTF. I’m glad she’s coming though…not only because I haven’t seen her in a while, but also because Simba can sleep with her and she’s on Boston time, so he’ll be happy with wakeup time. I tried to explain to him that I was on summer break and got to sleep in. Did not care. Not a bit.

Last night, he just barked for hours at every sound, convinced it meant the boychild was home. His car was home (we went and got it), so the confusion was large. Massive really. Tiny brain in that dog.

We’re up to three caterpillars on the milkweed.

Exciting stuff…

I hope we get a chrysalis out of it.

This is part of the current drawing…at least the idea behind this.

And this is for my district…

I’d take Reduce Workload too. They’re gonna feed me lunch for three days. I would rather bring my own lunch and go home earlier, but that’s not how they roll. Luckily my district/principal don’t give a shit about jeans whenever…and we don’t get free coffee (wouldn’t care about that anyway). We do get the other shit though and it’s usually right before they tell us the 17 new things we have to do and why we have the wrong attitude if we’re not excited about them. Eh.

OK, so I’m going to aim to get Etsy stuff done tomorrow and Friday. Today is packed full of stuff, including getting the girlchild from the airport. I’m supposed to be at mom’s at 10 and I haven’t eaten or taken a shower. So I gotta go. Like now.

Disappearing Fast…

So Summer Break is disappearing fast. Lost two days to a training that could be done in two hours…welcome to the inefficiencies of my day job. Seriously though…wish we could figure that crap out. I’m willing to be professionally developed when it’s actually useful. Not sure this 12 hours will be. That said, this week is still Not School and so is next week. Breathing in and appreciating that. This week, I need to get going on the next art quilt on the off chance I can finish before another deadline (probably not, but I’m going to try). I also need to get some home-related stuff done and I need to get that bed quilt done.

I think we’re at 16.5 hours (which includes about 5.5 hours of practice on muslin). We finally got it to behave appropriately for I think two whole rows, no, two and a half, and then the bobbin thread ran out and then the NEW tablet (mom bought a new one) crashed and then we had to try to restart from there (the app needs a solution for starting mid-row when it crashes) and then the thread broke, so the last row took 45 minutes instead of 11 and a half. Yeah.

But before that, we had weird divots in the stitch and then it would randomly decide to move up instead of staying in a straight line.

I wasn’t kidding when I said the machine was possessed. Inconsistent? Yeah that too. Could very well be user error.

I know with any machine I’m sewing with, I have to get used to it and then I know how to make it work, even if the manual says otherwise. So we’re not there. But we are halfway through the quilting! Mom wanted to rip the straight line, and I’m like NO, we aren’t ripping anything if we don’t have to.

And when I say halfway, I mean I will have to go back and do some filler quilting in between some of the rows (or parts of rows due to demon possession) that are too far apart. But I figure that will be quick. Unlike the rest of it. So probably three more sessions at mom’s? Hopefully? Done this week? I just don’t know. I’ve got a proofreading job coming in this week too, so I need to be home to work on that.

The newest quilt is at the photographer…I did get photos back of Desert Mother though…gotta get her on the website.

I’ve had such a hard time finishing work in the last two years. The day job is a hog.

Every year I say I will work on that, and then I get overwhelmed.

There are lots of super tiny animals in this piece…

Which take forever…

But I love that they’re in there. I also love that I made this totally nonpolitical quilt this year in between what will be more political things because the world is so fucked up at the moment. I know I needed a break after the abortion rights quilt. So this was it…

I feel bad for making nonpolitical quilts sometimes. Plus then people are all OMG that quilt is amazing why don’t you just make those instead of those other ones. Eyeroll. Because the artist brain does not work like that.

Anyway, so there she is.

I did start the drawing on the next one about two weeks ago, pulling from a drawing I did back in November 2021 and then starting to modify it. I had written notes somewhere on what else needed to go on it, but I have no clue where those are. Of course. But I stared at it for a while on Friday night, then went to sleep, and woke up Saturday morning with a goodly chunk of it back in my head, which I wrote down in TWO places…

So as soon as I can get my head out of the exhaustion rut it’s in (too many early morning wakeups for me lately), I will get going on that. Hopefully in about 20 minutes.

Also, I finally finished mounting the last of the pieces that need to go on Etsy…

Trying to get some of these smaller pieces sold and out of here. So now I need to find all the photos I’ve taken as I’ve finished them over the last month, gather all the sizing and pricing info, and post those. I’ll let y’all know when that’s done, but hopefully this week. I also had a plan to put some of my older art quilts on sale…will need to get my act together on that too. You can see how summer/free time gets eaten up, yeah?

We hiked Saturday, but just flat because the Man has a broken toe…slammed it into a chair…

Probably he shouldn’t have hiked because now it hurts more, so also probably I will be hiking alone for the next 5 weeks.

Nova asleep in the heat…

The bunny who keeps eating the flowers of my native plant…

A very confused caterpillar…I’m not sure where it went from the cactus (the milkweed was right next to it)…but I can’t find it anymore.

Ah well.

Want some owl videos?

Three babies…

Haven’t seen the parents for a while (would I know? I don’t know if I would know…but they sound different). One seems to hang out here all the time; the other two seem to range around a bit more. Hoping they find a nest and/or learn to stop yelling all the time (much like the neighbor children?) relatively soon. But I’m glad to add them and their mouse/rat-catching to my ecosystem here.

So today: draw more, Etsy some stuff, go have lunch and hang out with teacher friends without thinking about school, read my book? (it’s nonfiction, but there’s a mystery and I suspect old white men are the perpetrators). Shit. I need to start the crockpot for dinner. Ugh. OK. Better now than having to cook later, right? Yes ma’am. It’s still summer. I am still sort of free from stuff (ha!). Working on Zen.