Getting By…

I woke up at dark thirty this morning with a purring cat sticking its claws into the side of my boob (it’s a common occurrence these days) and with the distinct thought that half of what I had typed in my sub plans for Friday wasn’t going to work, and in fact, although I thought I had finished the plans yesterday AND all the videos (5 videos…5…for one day off school), I was going to have to redo one because after teaching what I taught yesterday, it needed revising. Ugh. OK. Because I used all of yesterday’s prep to get that done and today’s prep was supposed to be for grading last week’s work so it didn’t all pile up on me. OK. Well. So…again…I’m going to get this post done and go work before the starting time and then continue to work after the ending time, and I really don’t know how anyone is setting any boundaries with their school jobs right now. I mean, it’s also hard to do that when you work from home, because it’s always there, screaming at you that it needs to get done. I can’t leave everything at school and walk away from it because school is in my living room.

31 days. It’s 31 days. It seems a vast expanse of time at the moment. I am 5/6s of the way through the school year and the last sixth is the hardest so far.

So I walk…although my legs currently feel like wooden stumps that I’m dragging along by pure willpower, but drag them I do.

Maybe I need more legs…and furry bits.

Longer and/or younger legs would also help.

We did a 3+-mile hike at Crestridge on Monday with the little dog. The old lady has strained herself and needs rests from long walks.

She hasn’t done 3 miles for a while, though. Which is sad, but the way of aging…eventually…

Then I did another 3 1/2 miles yesterday in my neighborhood. Usually I can do an 18- to 19-minute mile up this hellacious hill behind us, but I was at 22 minutes yesterday. Legs like logs. Ugh. Not sure why. Whole walk was slow. My legs are sore today, like I haven’t been hiking every other day…which I have. Not sure what’s up with that, but I could do without it.

Monday night, I managed a whopping 38 minutes of ironing.

But that’s 38 minutes I wouldn’t have done otherwise, so I am thankful. Irritably thankful. Dumb day job. I did get all the flesh ironed down and then started on the other bits.

Other bits included a uterus, some bony bits, all the cardiovascular stuff, her eye, some weaving on her face, and one of her tattoos. I haven’t figured out hair color yet, and the lungs are still on the list. Plus the birds pulling on the strings coming out of her mouth. I keep thinking I might be close to done, and I probably am. Last night, I ironed for about an hour and a half (better!), so I have 12 1/2 hours in so far. In 8 days? 9? Slow as fuck. But progress. Keep telling myself it’s progress.

Progress toward finishing the quilt. Progress toward the end of this hellacious school year and a mental break where I can read all the books. And make more art. Progress toward seeing the man again…even though it will be a longer drive each time to get to him, and at some point, driving won’t make sense. Fly? Rent a car? School will start again before he’s back and time will get tighter. Ah well. Whatever. My principal sent out a form yesterday to ask what we wanted to teach next year. How about WHERE I want to teach. Not in my living room. Not on Zoom, although that’s a very real possibility. It’s probably easier if you can see and talk to real humans during the day who are doing the job you are doing. I don’t know if that’s easier? I haven’t done it all year. Yesterday was Teacher Appreciation Day, by the way. One sweet kid wrote me a really nice email. Which is OK. This age group is notoriously bad for acknowledging shit, but that one email was really appreciated. Yes, I told her that.

Meditating cat. Or me meditating. Hard to say.

And this one decided that meditation time was sit on your chest and poke sharp claws in you time.

OK, so that thing that woke me up at dark thirty (the thought about redoing the videos, not the cat claws) still needs to be done, and then school and school and school. And hopefully exercise and ironing at the end of it. I do not have to cook tonight (oh hallelujah), so that’s a plus. More cooking with the man gone has not been fun. Food is fuel. I just make lots of it and eat the same thing each night and get more and more sick of it. In the summer, I will do a better job of preparing a variety of meals and freezing them in batches so I can just pull from that each night I need to, but for now, it’s just getting by.

Work Stampede

It’s kinda crazy how far behind I am on everything right now. Work is stampeding all over the place, partially my fault for trying to take a day off this week, but I barely got through any of the late work this weekend, and progress report grades are due tomorrow. I think I can get through them OK. Maybe. But the planning this weekend is kind of what kicked my ass. I had to stuff and deliver all the art envelopes, plus make some assignments from scratch, plus edit some videos and other crap. It’s a lot of work…I’m hoping it calms down some this week? Maybe?

I brought all the colored paper back to school that I’d lugged home for the sculpture assignment…needed a cart to get everything out of the car without it taking 5 trips. Luckily, my co-worker has labeled it for easier use.

I only make it to school every three weeks or so. This was Saturday, so I saw one of the custodians, no one I knew.

My room makes me sad.

I just hope I’m allowed to come back to it in August. Certainly with the desks set up like this, I’m not walking the room without giant-ass bruises on my thighs. I run into those desks all the time as it is.

I did iron on Saturday during my guild meeting…this is the small space I stand in to iron…

Between the table where the Wonder Under is and the ironing board…there’s not much room to move it because the desk and chair are on the other side.

I came back to it at night; finally got to the point where I was ironing flesh.

I got all but two of those ironed down before I was too tired. And then last night, I didn’t have time to iron. I worked on school stuff for about 6 hours yesterday, and another 4 or so on Saturday. Ugh.

These are all the non-flesh pieces that still need ironing:

Piles of birds and bones and hearts and hair.

The box is filling up.

I’m hoping to have grades done early enough tonight to iron. I say that but I also need to deliver art supply envelopes to kids who can’t get to school to pick them up. And walk. And cook dinner. So IDK if I’ll get there, but if I do, the plus is that there’s something I don’t have to think very hard about…I can just iron all those down and feel like I accomplished something.

I’m not sure how much I have left, because the flesh pieces came out of all of the boxes from 400 on. So bits and pieces, but probably a few hours at least. I’m hoping to have them all ironed down by this weekend, so I can start trimming. I did decide to take Friday off…it’ll be the first day I’ve taken off all year, mostly because it’s such a pain in the ass to plan for, but fuck it. Especially fuck it if no subs pick the job up and my principal has to teach it. I’m OK with that (I like my principal mostly, but it’s been a shitty year and maybe he should experience it from my end for a day).

We have lots of baby birds. These are on a light in my outside entry area. Not the best choice, but it’s a light I don’t use much anyway.

I hiked late on Saturday. Really trying to keep the exercise regular, for my brain and my body.

It was nice out. I almost got run over by a horse, but otherwise, there was no one out there.

Still lots of flowers…

Interesting fern…

It was a good three miles…I did 11 last week total.

Not bad for someone who works all day and isn’t on the PCT, right? The man got back on the trail, and only today is really feeling symptoms from the vaccination. Nothing major, so he’s just taking it easy. We were trying to figure out where I’d be picking him up, and I found this…see, it says ‘mostly flat’. It’s not just me using those words.

Awesome stuff. I’m really looking forward to seeing him.

My meditation does not go as well with this cat around…

Luna is fascinated with the lights and the voice. She ended up lying on my chest with her whiskers in my face. Meditation fail. Again. I’m trying.

OK, work work work work work. Then hopefully walk the dog and myself and the boychild, plus REALLY hopefully, no work after dinner. Ha. I don’t think that’s happening, but I can dream. Lots. I can dream lots. So fucking tired. So fucking tired of this school year too.

A Little Breathless…

OK. I did a bunch of stuff yesterday and it wasn’t nearly enough. The to-do list for today woke me up this morning (well, the cat woke me up and it was light, so I put a pillow over my head and then the kids next door were up early and the dog started barking at them and then the Man texted from his hotel on the trail and that was the end of it, because the to-do list started screaming. Full on. Screaming.). Progress reports are due Tuesday, I have 25 kids transferring out of distance into in-person (oh halle-fucking-lujah, go you sweet bastards, go), so all their shit had to be input yesterday, including the two who were added last minute (one of them a good hour after school, thank you very much, stupid district and their shit), so I got all that done and graded all the late work that wasn’t high-level academic shit (and then got more kids emailing shit). It was a shit day, for sure.

So I still have 17 late assignments to get through, but they require brain power and I don’t have enough tea in me yet for that. Then finish creating the science assignment for MONDAY (shit shit shit) and the art warmup that is only in my head and nowhere fucking else (really y’all techy people need to figure out how to download shit from my brain ASAP; It’s just fucking boggling that you haven’t figure that out yet). Then finish planning for next week, make some videos for art. I’M STRESSED Y’ALL. If that isn’t obvious. I’m trying to gather all the tasks into my arms and hold them, and it’s why I made this quilt, I Gave Already…because I did and this is what it feels like.

That quilt is not new, so the problem is also not new.

So yeah. I’m OK. But a little breathless when I think too hard about what’s on that list. Art envelopes need to get to school, get more stuff in them, emails go to people who will handle the giving out of the envelopes. Cat food and meds for dog and cat. Groceries. Hang with a friend (that’s probably a good thing). Got the Man a vaccine appointment for today (yes, a major portion of my anxiety in the last three weeks has been his hiking unvaccinated), booked a cabin for next weekend so I can hang with him (needed laundry facilities…I got that AND a jacuzzi. Latter might be for me.). Might even take a day off work. Dunno. That might be more stress to prep for. Fuck my job, though. It’s beyond overwhelming at the moment and I can’t get away from it.

That’s why I walk so much…to get away from the job. It takes about a mile uphill for it to get the fuck out of my head and to be able to breathe deeply again.

It was hot on Thursday, Friday too, so I waited as long as I could before hiking. Still hot.

Flowers are still the best part of it.

I walk by this tree once a week and I don’t think I’ve ever seen flowers on it…and they’re awesome.

Keep looking, new stuff all the time.

Meanwhile, we had a juvenile coyote trying to move into our upper yard. Boychild went out and chopped up some plants and spread some wolf urine pellets, hopefully to persuade it to move along. I was checking the space the other day and saw this donation from our feathered predator friends.

The Man made it past mile 200…

And to Interstate 10…

Sometimes the Garmin gives some pretty amazing pictures. He did go UNDER the freeway. He’s in a town now, waiting for his appointment. Hopefully he’ll feel OK tomorrow and will be able to get back on the trail. I know yesterday was rough…over 19 miles down 5200 feet or so through a burn zone with limited water. In the heat. Certainly a challenge. I’m proud of him for doing this, even if I miss him tons.

His cats are in constant bird-watching mode. We have a bird house that was just sitting out on a bench on the deck. Nothing has ever lived in it until this year, when two tiny birds moved in and became BirdTV.

We also have baby birds in a nest in the entryway. I’m sure we have more than that, but those are the ones I’ve seen.

Makes for good entertainment.

I think this is gecko watching…or maybe moth.

Gotta watch the open windows this time of year…could lose the screens to the cats.

Someone I know was making tea towels for her mom…apparently the cicadas are coming back East? But this is kinda how I feel about the summer this year.

I was seriously considering just packing up the car and booking AirBnbs all up the Sierras to follow the Man. That’s not really doable or mature in any way. Just how I’m feeling. Mopey and lonely. Summer looks like shit. Except there will be no school, so that’s a plus.

This is still coming along…

I’m not totally invested in this quilt yet. I think it’s all the other stuff in my head. That said, it is a peaceful hour each night when I work on it. My brain can kind of push the other shit out for a while. So I appreciate that.

I think this is making silk…that part of the quilt. So I did the silkworms and moths, but these are cocoons being turned into thread for weaving.

Uh huh. I know. It doesn’t look like much here. Trust me.

After last night…I think I’m at about piece 340. Not fast, this. I have a quilt guild Zoom this morning, so I will do more during that. Hopefully I’ll do some tonight. We’ll see.

Because grades rule. And assignments rule. And then I get to have a life after that.

Ah, Kitten. You always get the chair.

OK, grade some shit, iron during meeting, kamikaze to school, the vet, and the pet store (wait, I could do that tomorrow on the way to the grocery store…never mind…I’m chaining those errands as much as possible). Then hang out for a while, come back, work some more. Hopefully art after that. Watching benign British drama at the moment. Shadow and Bone was a little YA for me. Maybe the book is better? Who knows. Ah yes, you’ll be glad to know that the neighbors behind having lights on all night was an aberration. Maybe they just forgot to turn them off, because the last two nights, they have been off. Light pollution solved on that side. Now for the side below me (still need BB gun for that one)…or my ex suggested taking cookies over and politely explaining the issue, but I’d probably also have to explain that when their parties get too loud and cackly or their kids get too high-pitched and screamy, I do in fact turn on music with swear words, loud, on purpose. Could be an awkward conversation. Oh well.

Everything’s Wonky

I don’t have a lot of words this morning. But here’s the current quilt getting ironed down.

Actually that’s the drawing hanging up so I can see it while I pick fabrics, with the old lady lying underneath. Here’s actual dirt being ironed down.

Night 1 was not very productive. Mostly I cleaned so I could get to this part.

Night 2 was slightly better, made it into the 100s, with some 200s tossed in for variety.

Ironic. Those colors are not my mood at the moment. Fake it until you make a rainbow! Yeah!

My brain.

Kind of irritated that the artist’s name is not on this. I will try to remedy that. OK. This is a meme. Who knows whose it is.

The boychild and I took the little dog for a walk yesterday…lots of flowers popping up. Haven’t seen this one before. I think.

Really, these are all for Julie, so she will go out and start seeing all the flowers.

Speaking of seeing, this dog likes bread.

And I finished this block. I should paint my house like this. Except the windows aren’t a good color.

I like that they’re crooked. Everything’s a little wonky. Well, more than a little. Well that’s a little too real right now for me. Moving on. More ironing tonight. Hopefully clarity. Or calm. Or something.

These Pieces Are Kinda Small…

So yesterday was 4/20, which if you’re a middle school teacher, you know why I’m bringing this up. Every year, it’s a Big Deal for middle schoolers that it’s 4/20 because pot and ha ha ha and do you get it wink wink. Teachers roll their eyes and explain this is not new, they are not amazeballs, and we move on. Yesterday was 4/20 and I didn’t even realize it (like most of you) until I was creating an invoice at the end of the day, and then I was like, HOLY CRAP. The last two years, I don’t think a single kid has said a freakin’ word about 4/20…or about pot in general. Like at all. So many of the annoying behaviors we see in the classroom just disappear online. Also, unfortunately, some of the kids just disappear online, but that’s another issue. So weird. No 4/20 this year.

The good school news is that they are hiring two more teachers and I will be losing around 20 students in 2 or 3 weeks. This will get me close to 150, the lowest all year. I’ve had 170+ students in previous years, but in a physical classroom with only one prep, science. This year, with the multiple preps and having to create so much curriculum from scratch that will actually work with online students has buried me like no other year. I’m walking exhaustion at the moment. Even hiking yesterday, my legs complained for the first mile (although my speed was good). I felt like I was dragging wood blocks through molasses. Ugh. Today I need to grade like the wind and be efficient, more than I was yesterday. I say that, but I worked all day, then worked through the SAQA conference after school, so I’m doing the things. They just feel really hard at the moment. MOMENT=all year.

The plus is that I did walk yesterday. It’s been warm and it looks it here, but it was starting to cool off.

It’s flower and also weird pod season. I see these every year and they are always fascinating.

I managed to trace another hour’s worth of Wonder Under both on Monday and Tuesday night…

I’m supposed to be trying to go to bed early, and I do look at the clock and make that attempt, but then I just lie there in bed, unable to fall asleep. Singularly frustrating. And that’s after meditating. Sigh. Bad sleeper, that’s me.

These pieces are kinda small.

I did through piece 600, so I have 290 pieces left to trace. Damn. I thought I was further along. Ugh. OK. It’s fine. If I’m efficient with grading today, since I finished the copyediting finally, I will have some extra time for tracing. It’s all good.

Couple things: the bees left the composter, so that’s good. Now I need to wash the wax off. They tried to start a hive and I don’t want them coming back. They will come back though. The bitchy neighbor in me wants to put a bee hive up on the slope where the neighbors want to build a fence. Sigh. They haven’t done it yet, but whatever. I don’t want a fence. Chain link. Ugly. And then she wants to plant bamboo, the ‘non-clumping kind’. Stupid. And blocks my light. Whatever. So annoyed by neighbors these days. And the movie Mary Shelley. Double ugh. Is that really her story? She did write Frankenstein at a really early age; impressive. But the story of Percy Shelley and their relationship just sucked. So it turns out that some of it was inaccurate. You can read about it here. Interesting that this Shelley researcher says the book Frankenstein focused on her anxieties while pregnant, and that they didn’t even use her words in the movie; they used her husband’s. Sigh. So I just finished reading nonfiction about teaching. I try to read some nonfiction. It’s not my favorite. Reading is escape, right? But I am trying a new Zoom book club, and I now need to read another nonfiction book by next Tuesday, and the book is good, but it will just boggle me and make me feminist angry (like I’m not already). It’s called Invisible Women and is about the data biases that disappear the entire gender in the world. It’s not that I don’t know about some of these things; they just irritate me. As well they should.

The man is still hiking…the boychild delivered a supply box yesterday, and now he has 70 miles to the next store. It’ll be a few days. I can’t see him this weekend; I’m buried in meetings and stuff, but hopefully the weekend after that. Although grades are due for progress reports; that complicates things. Sigh. Dumb job. He did text me about Derek Chauvin though…because he saw the news before I did. Tears to my eyes. America, let’s do this. Make it better. We’re not done.

Here’s a cat.

Here’s a bunny. We have lots of them.

And here are two more cats…

I think it must be nice to be a cat. They certainly get more sleep than I do. It’s probably not as nice to be a bunny. They always seem so scared, and we have tons of predators outside.

OK, efficient grading day. More tea to counteract the tiredness. It’s somewhat chilly today. I have pilates (yay) and then I can trace for a chunk of time. Maybe I will finish? Probably not, but maybe. I did get more Wonder Under, a whole bolt of it. That should last me a while. These are the plans. And the positives. Wonder Under. Tea. Pilates. Tracing.

I Want Up and Out…

I managed to see the man this weekend on one of his zero days. He was about an hour away from me, so I drove out and hung out with him for…well…less than 24 hours. It is what it is. I’ll probably get one more visit with him before the end of school, if the trail coincides with my weekends, and then he’ll be too far out. I’ll manage a visit or two over the summer, depending, and then that’s it. It’s a lot of days and it’s hard, but he’s having a great time (most days, most minutes) on the trail and all that is a good thing.

He is still trying to lighten the load, so I brought some things back with me…

We went out to dinner, and there was live music.

It felt really strange to be sitting outside, having a drink and some food, while listening to music. I really missed that. Almost cried at the table. Silly, yeah? But yeah.

I stitched while he was organizing his stuff…both times? All three times?

There was a lot of organizing going on. The next day, his group found out that the next resupply store they were aiming for had burned down overnight, so there was some scrambling, both physically and mentally. In the end, I offered the boychild to drive up the resupply boxes when they got to the next section. Complicated stuff, but we can still help right now. As they get further north, they might be camped out next to a post office for a few days instead.

The next day, we shuttled out to where they had left the trail, and I sent him off on the next section.

I won’t see him for at least 2-3 weeks.

It was warm, windy, and dry.

This was his view a few hours later.

Desert flowers are blooming…some are so tiny.

I was glad to see him, sad to see him go. I’m a little isolated at the moment by my job situation and the continuation of COVID stuff here. Sure, I’m vaccinated, but my kids aren’t. And he’s not either, which worries me. But with Johnson and Johnson getting pulled, he doesn’t have any great opportunities to get vaccinated, unfortunately. And he doesn’t seem worried about it, so I will do that for him, in true Kathy fashion.

Friday night, the family and I went down to the beach. It’s not somewhere I usually go, and there were a lot of unmasked people walking around in Pacific Beach. Scary really. For me, I guess. This is my brother and his youngest.

They left Saturday. Girlchild leaves Thursday. It will be quieter here then. Not necessarily a good thing. Just a thing.

I came home to bees in the composter.

I took the lid off, hoping they would leave. They haven’t yet, but it’s been less than 24 hours. I’ll call the bee guy eventually.

This guy is currently barking his head off.

The kids left to go on a hike and so it is just me and 5 animals. He is offended by any living creature on the property. I haven’t gone to look at what’s setting him off, but it’s probably a bunny or the neighbor.

There have been window geckos exciting the cats…

So that’s how far I got on these over the weekend…

This is Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block of the month from a few years back. I started stitching things down when the pandemic started, but only just started the embroidery. They are fun. Distracting.

I started up on the tracing again, after coming home last night. I’m in the 500s…

So officially halfway. I need more Wonder Under, though, so will have to venture to JoAnns hell today. Oh well.

I’m not ready for school. I didn’t get much done over the weekend due to family and hanging with the man. So I’m behind. Oh well. I am looking forward to more tracing tonight, though…I finished the world and am now in the human figure. So I’m getting there. 43 days of school left. I finally lost some students, instead of just adding them on. So that’s a plus. I’m really mentally done with my job. I’m still doing it. I’m still creating stuff and recording videos (4 yesterday, I’ll need to do 2 more by Thursday or Friday) and grading stuff and answering emails, but I’m finding it difficult to be present in the chair, on Zoom, without being really antsy. I want up and out…and over. I want school to be over. I want everyone vaccinated. Although the man is loving his trip and he’s barely started, I want that to be over too. It’s hard being the one left at home. So I count days and keep myself working on art and reading and being distracted by those things. The ends will come. Eventually they will come.

Where’s the Pillow Fort?

I’ve managed two whole days of school without quitting or making a pillow fort, so I think I might make it through today as well. There are 46 days of school until summer break, and yes, I’m counting them down. Suffice it to say that the last two days mostly sucked and I am trying to modify my brain and responses to make that better, but if I can’t, at least there are only 46 more of them until I get a break.

This year is like no other, yeah, and I know that the next school year will be different. I can do a day at a time. I take a snack break and read my zombie apocalypse book and not think about school for 15 minutes, and then I go back to trying not to go crazy sitting in a chair for so long and pushing kids through stuff that would be so much easier in person. It is what it is, and what it is smells like shit most days.

Anyway. What else? My family is here, visiting my dad, so I’ve been over there for dinner every night. Yes, precautions have been taken. People always ask.

Hey Dad. Good to see you.

The man is smiling quite happily in all his hiking photos…here he has made it to Mile 40 and 6000 feet up.

He seems to be really enjoying it so far, although he admits it is hard. I’ll see him this weekend at one of his resupplies. He’s still close enough (and will be for a while) where I can drive and meet him.

There he is in the wild. I did get to talk to him last night. We’re so used to communicating every day in person, that this is really hard. He doesn’t have cell service all the time, so even texting is not always a thing. Going from in the house all the time to not at all and almost nothing in terms of talking has been difficult. For me, at least. We’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get back to my ‘normal’ exercise schedule during school routine, which means a walk on Tuesday after school. I had to ship a quilt first. This time of year, hiking is really about Spring flower pictures…

This is the neighborhood hike, so they’re not natives…

I take a picture of that one every year, because it’s such a weird flower.

Just lots of pretty. And I got my 3.67 miles in before dinner. All good.

I started tracing the new quilt…

It’s about an hour per 100 pieces, so after last night, I have about 7 hours to go…

I’m only doing about an hour a night. Last night, I got a late start and then went to bed late, and I’m still not sleeping well, plus I woke up to my blood sugar crashing again. I don’t know why, but it throws me off for the rest of the day. I’m OK at the moment, but I’d really like to just solve the issue so it doesn’t happen. Working on that. Working on more sleep. Working on getting all the late work graded so kids can stop sending me multiple emails about it. No, I didn’t do it over Spring Break. Take a breath, y’all.

Sigh. More tonight probably. More exercise, another family dinner, more work, hopefully more sleep. I really need more sleep.

Also…Luna…

Pre-whack. She’s sweet but in a dangerous way.

OK, making a pillow fort now.

Back to Monday…

Yes, it’s Monday. Mondays are not my friend. This Monday is the first Monday after Spring Break, also difficult. Plus the man has been gone for a whole three days, and apparently that will be harder than I had hoped. I forgot what it was like to be solo on a Saturday night, and during pandemic times, when things I used to do are still shut down or not exactly feeling safe to me, it sucks. I’m really proud of him for taking on this hike and keeping moving…I am…but I was unprepared for how I would feel. Luckily, there are three cats who cuddle at night (well, mostly…sometimes they just whack, since they are calicoes, but they try). Also, my family is around right now to see my dad, and so this week, I have a lot going on, which is nice, and hopefully I’ll be more used to the alone time once they leave? Who knows. It could be a very long 6 months. I need to shift what I do a little to maybe hang with more people. I have a hiking group; I just haven’t hiked with them since before COVID. They hike at different times than I usually do, so hence the shift. Things to think about. Keeping the brain occupied.

Speaking of the man, he is still hiking.

He’s got a few miles to go. Yes, he is planning on thru-hiking the whole thing. He’s moving slower than a bunch of people (but faster than some), but he is moving. I actually get to watch him move at the moment…

My kids will tell you I was a little obsessive with watching the app the first day. I was. It’s OK. I admit it.

But the second day, I did better, although once it got dark and I knew he was still hiking because of water issues, I did worry and watch it more.

Still gotta go down in the dark to get to that lake. He took a day off…that day 2 was difficult…and today he’s on to the next milestone. I hope it stays nice and cool for him, he manages to keep his glasses on his head (that was an issue on Day 2), and he just keeps moving for as long as he needs to.

Meanwhile, I’m back at online school today, trying to deal with all the last-minute changes and kid moves. I’m really done with this school year. It makes me cry on a pretty regular basis at the moment, and that’s not healthy, but it’s what I’ve got. I made some agreements with myself about what I was dropping for the last 10 weeks, things that help others but that I just can’t do any more. It sucks, because as a teacher, I really try to do what’s best for kids and families, often to my own detriment, and I just can’t keep on keeping on with that this year. It makes me feel like a shitty teacher, but it also gives me another hour a week for my own sanity. And I need that right now.

The girlchild is here to see her grandpa. She’s working during the day, but she’s on East Coast time…

so getting some sun after work is a thing. With the dogs…

Yes, Simba gets spoiled by her. He doesn’t seem to mind. What a weirdo.

I hiked Saturday on my own…I had worked (school) almost all day and needed to get outside.

I was the only person out there; I saw no one but one lone coyote and a bunch of crows.

They were probably ravens, actually. I was really tired, physically, and it was a slog for the first mile…

Eventually, my body kicked in, I ate a snack, peed in the wild (off that trail, y’all…I’m not a heathen), and then it was better.

It sucks to do it alone; I did tell someone where I was going, in case I disappeared.

The flowers are starting to pop, which is my favorite time to hike. I’ll need to vary my locations in the next few weeks to get the full flower drama.

I think this was Friday night’s drawing…getting the head in and the birds I had dreamed about.

Then Saturday night, I gave her hair and numbered her.

Lots of weaving in this one. She has 890 pieces. I will start tracing her some time this week. I’m sort of buried in stuff at the moment, but I do want to start. I’m still as exhausted as I was before Spring Break started, so I did the sleeping part wrong, I guess. I did go to bed early last night, but couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about school; not healthy, but normal. Hopefully pure exhaustion will kick in and let me sleep the rest of the week.

So teach all day, family dinner tonight, then trace some stuff, then sleep like a cat. Cats sleep better than babies, y’all, way better.

He’s Headed North…

It’s the last weekday of Spring Break. I feel like it’s whipped past me, faster than a 12-year-old on a motorized scooter. As always, though…it’s never long and relaxing, mostly because we try to shove a trip in there, plus get everything else done. Today was the big day, though…today I dropped the man at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail and waved goodbye, potentially for a good 6 months (that’s the hope for him anyway). I’ve warned him that I’m getting a new animal for every month he’s gone (not really…probably, we’ll lose one in that time to old age and cancer). It’s weird, though…it’s been stressful for him leading up to this, the prep and the mindset, but also for me, trying to figure out how to remember all the things by myself. Although the boychild’s memory is good, he’s not here all the time. Plus petting all the cats. That’s stressful (not really). Also, because it’s the end of break and I was gone for 6 days, I have a to-do list that is double the normal size. That is totally stressful. I’m banging through each of the things as fast as I can, but the big ones (a book to finish copyediting and school stuff) are hanging over me. So that’s today and tomorrow, fast as I can.

This morning, we arrived just before 8 AM…

He’s been planning this for months, when he knew he was being let go from his job. He’s hoping to do the whole thing; I just tell him to keep walking.

His pack feels heavy, he says. Not a surprise.

He has a Garmin and I’m sort of obsessively following him (it pings his location every 10 minutes at the moment). I’m sure as we get a few days in, I won’t be so obsessive, but right now, it’s where my head is. I am worried about him getting injured and being alone, but he has an emergency beacon and lots of snacks, so I think he’ll be OK. And I hope it helps him find what he needs right now. He loved his job until near the end…jobs are more about the people than what you do, I think, and that became a problem. But he’s a hard worker and flexible, and will come back from this stronger and ready to go back.

Meanwhile, I have had a conversation with the cats and they know to come to me for pets (they already do; it’s OK).

Meanwhile, the art is back. I almost walked away from this drawing the other day. It wasn’t really talking to me, and I’d dealt with a host of show rejections and wasn’t feeling it. I left it for the 6 days we were gone, just to see. But coming back, I wanted to just make my own thing, fuck the rest of it. But then I gave it one more chance and it started talking to me, so I kept going.

It knows what it wants now…

It needs a head, and I dreamt most of that last night. I have some different techniques and materials I want to try with this one, so that should be interesting. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping to finish the drawing tonight or tomorrow night, then numbering and tracing. After I finish all the other work I have to do.

I hung out on Zoom with my stitching friends last night for just a little while…got more of this done.

It’s not a quick process.

Speaking of not a quick process: all these need trimming.

Eh. Not on my priority list.

This is coming up…

When I have a link to the online show, I’ll post it too.

My niece released a new song…you can find it on Spotify and iTunes.

She’s in college, but has been writing music and singing for a while. The artistic genes jump around in this family, but they’re there.

This butterfly…fell in the pool, I pulled it out, then it went back in.

So I pulled it out further away, so hopefully it would survive. I know their brains are small, but sheesh.

OK, I’m already exhausted (up early to drive to the terminus), but I need to do a ton of things. Going to stay caffeinated and maybe don’t watch the Garmin app too closely. He’s still moving; that’s a good thing.

The Rest of It (Not Resting)

If you know me, you know I suck at resting. The closest I get is sitting on the couch and stitching, or the bad version of that, scrolling endlessly through social media, which is, of course, silly. Short blurbs of that while waiting for someone to get out of the only bathroom or for the cat to get her blood draw…that’s cool. But just staring at it for an hour? I try to force myself off the couch for that. Even when I meditate, I have a hard time staying still, physically or mentally.

Anyway, our vacations tend not to be particularly restful physically, although I do my best to leave my job at home. I have not answered a student email since last week some time, so I guess that’s a good thing. All this lack of rest thing is why we got up early on a perfectly good Easter morning, ate a hearty breakfast, and drove the nausea-inducing, vomitous, hour-long drive from the Sequoia National Park Foothills entrance up to where the real shit is. You know, the trees. My lord, that road. Blech. Ten-mile-per-hour hairpin turns up and up and up. I was driving and still felt sick to my stomach. Beautiful sights, though…although I am still worried about the terrified deer that was tap-dancing its way down the walled-in road. IDK where it came from (cliffs) or where it was going (hopefully not cliffs).

I don’t know if my parents ever took me to Sequoia…I remember the Kern River, but I’m not sure when and where that was. Last year, we were supposed to camp in the park, which also has no showers (I’m sensing a smelly trend here), but this year, I was worried about temperatures being really cold at night, because Spring Break was earlier than last year. I’m not sure I needed to worry about that. The campground is down in the valley and I think the temperatures I was seeing are up at the top, a good 6000-foot different in elevation. So next time! Next time, we left a lot of Sequoia to explore. We wanted to get in early because the ranger the day before had warned us about parking and people (it was Easter weekend). We started at the General Sherman Tree lot and hiked in to see the biggest (in volume) tree in the world.

OK, I’m not sure it’s that one. I seriously spent a lot of time wandering around looking up and taking pictures of trees. I know the man has a picture of it with tiny me in front of it. Hang on. I got this.

See me? See tree? The man has a newer phone than I do and it has this cool feature where he could zoom out and get the whole thing, where I was stuck taking pictures of either the bottoms of trees or the tops of trees, but not both. Makes me want a new phone, just for that.

Sometimes the trees lie down for you so you can take pictures, right?

So we did the Congress Trail and then tried Bear Hill (no go on that…trees down and snow and up and it got old fast). What’s interesting is that a few years back, we went to Humboldt to see the redwoods there, and it’s very moist and wet and rainforesty, and this is totally not that. I mean, snow is wet, but there wasn’t a ton of undergrowth and it was much drier than Humboldt.

We did see two marmots.

Weird little furry beast balls. There was snow on the trail, but just enough to make it interesting…we had poles and spikes, but didn’t need them.

And it eventually warmed up enough to be in short sleeves with no issues.

We drove down to the main area and braved the crazy crowds there, although we skipped the Big Tree loop in favor of Moro Rock, which still had a lot of people. This photo is from Beetle Rock.

This is Hanging Rock, which scared the crap out of my height-hating self. I’m usually OK at the tops of things, but maybe I’m getting worse. The man walked out to that edge and looked over, and I just stayed way the fuck back. It was weird.

But no way was my brain letting me go out there. Too much down.

It was definitely much warmer at this point.

We didn’t go up Moro Rock. It was rock stairs and I was kind of done with that. Plus too many people. I can look at a rock without having to be on top of it. It’s OK.

The other thing that was different about Sequoia compared to Humboldt was fire damage. Almost all of the big trees had it…

Some much worse than others.

Burns had definitely come through this area multiple times. It was gorgeous though. Especially when we found the trail away from the road and ditched 90% of the people.

These redbuds were popping out everywhere in the lower elevations. Happy bees.

The drive back down didn’t seem as bad, for whatever reason. We did about 9 1/2 miles of hiking total and were completely exhausted by the time we got back. Although first, the man spoke to this turkey and made it shake her tail feathers and do a little dance.

Until she realized he was not good mating material. We’ll have to go back some day, because we didn’t get our National Park book stamped. We had to wait in line for the store, and by the time we got back down to the first visitor center, the rangers had packed up, and they weren’t out in the morning when we came though. COVID hours still. Or winter hours? Not sure.

Back to our little house in Exeter, where Tiger Roll (his real name) eventually parked his pointy butt on my lap and kneaded my boobs for a while. Ouch.

Also I finished the second Homegrown block, sitting outside and resting (my version) post-shower. Showers are wonderful, y’all. Really, they are.

The previous night, we Zoomed with the man’s family. They wanted a group/family hug of sorts before he left on his PCT hike. Here he is planning while I draw.

He leaves Friday. He’s hoping to do the whole thing…we’ll see how he does. Being in San Diego means I can drive to somewhere near him for like the first month of the trip…but unless it’s desperate, I’m going to pretend he’s further away…until summer, when I’ll meet him in Northern California somewhere. It’s weird prepping for a trip like that…on my end, too. Someone remind me that all the Oregon and Washington maps are in the bathroom and I need to take them with me when I meet up with him.

The next morning, we packed everything up, said goodbye to Tiger Roll and the peacocks and all the other animals…

And drove home through Los Angeles…this is near Castaic, where I had to start driving. Block 3 of Homegrown was not finished by then.

But I did manage to finish it at night when we got home.

Three done. IDK how many to go. I haven’t been focusing on these really…just sewing stuff down on them because that’s easy to do when I have no brain power. And I can’t show you the other one I’ve been working on because it hasn’t been published yet.

I’ve been home for a little more than 36 hours now and I’m still exhausted. I have been copyediting, prepping stuff for an online show, picking up a quilt and yammering with a friend for way too long (I don’t get to talk to people much…be kind to me when you do see me because of that). We have groceries. My sewing machine is back from the fixit guy. I have a drawing for the next quilt started but not finished. I have a lot of work to do before we go back to school. I need focus, but have very little of it. Straight up, Spring Break is never very restful…it’s just a break from school tasks, and a mostly short one, since I graded stuff last Monday. I still have three things left to grade (got an email from a good kid about one of them on Monday), tomorrow I meet with my co-teacher to plan as far out as we can to reduce our stress levels, the family is showing up in the next few days to see my dad, and the man is leaving on his hike…which is stressing me out, but probably not nearly as much as it is stressing him out. So there’s that. But I’m not on Zoom 6 hours or more a day, and that’s a major plus. For now. There are 48 days of school left. I can’t decide if that’s a lot or a little. But it’s not the majority, so that’s a good thing. If I do the math for how many Zoom hours that is, I might panic, so I’m not gonna do that.

Also, I’ve been rejected by I think three shows in the last month? Sigh. It’s OK. It reminds me that I don’t make work for shows. I make work for me, and when people want to show it, that’s a bonus. Seriously. It’s OK.

OK. I’m showered. I had a cup of tea. Need more. Need food. Strange cravings for English muffins. No idea why. Need to take the cat to the vet soon, plus a lot of other shit. See you later, hopefully with some art progress. I miss it!