Get Away

It’s what I need to do sometimes so I can actually relax. The house is too full of things I need to do. The Man’s birthday was a week ago, so I booked us an Airbnb in Julian…not a long drive, but mountain reset. It was unfortunately hot hot hot (it will be hotter in August and September, but we are not acclimated), so the deck was not used as much as I would have liked, but we did appreciate the air conditioning, which we don’t have at home.

We played games…

I lost all of them. It’s OK. I usually lose. I’m at one with the losing.

We only went upstairs in the cabin once, to take this photo.

Why? Even with the A/C on, it was Hades up there.

We hiked…in the AM…not very far (3.7 miles)…it was too hot.

We often plan a bunch of hiking that doesn’t happen. Wild turkeys!

Why? Because we need the mental space more than we need the exercise. Lake!

I’m OK with all that. I know I will hike more. It was hotter in Julian than it was here at home in East County…

So more hiking wasn’t really something we were willing to do unless it was at midnight.

That is either a deer or a coyote.

In this picture, it seems more deerlike, but in real life, it was a toss up.

I’m betting coyote, because no shelter, broad daylight, no other deer around. More milkweed!

Being in the heart of some fairly conservative sentiments, we had conversations about intelligent design (that’s what we get for reading social media while traveling). The design of this flower for example. I think science and nature are mostly incredibly ordered…except when they’re not, and when they’re not, there’s a natural reason for it. Some people call that evidence that there is a god. I call it evidence that this is the way natural things work. Plant needs insects to reproduce. Flowers evolve that increase this particular plant’s ability to reproduce. The ones that failed are no longer around because they did not have that advantage. Maybe they were really chaotic milkweed plants that fought the bees off. So they aren’t here anymore.

No one who thinks a lot about how human pregnancy and/or the uterus works would consider that intelligent design. Certainly there’s a bunch of politicians who have never ever understood how that works.

Red-tailed hawk?

Anyway. We appreciated nature.

As you should.

We also appreciated some breweries and wineries and cideries…

And I especially appreciated the time and space to just draw for drawing’s sake…

We even listened to some music…

This one had those misting sprinklers. Pro: it was raining on us constantly. Con: can’t draw when it’s that wet.

Some of the music was really good (Berkley Hart).

Lots of drawings…

Some of it back at the cabin over a couple of days…

That one’s not done. Which is good.

My one time on the deck, before it got too hot.

Small but nice.

We contemplated the universe.

And all the things in it.

It’s OK if you don’t get that. It made us giggle. And then we came home to hot and to-do lists. It’s fine. Really. It was good while it lasted.

I had some huge batting issues on Friday…all my own fault really. So I had to buy new batting and wash it and ran out of time to pinbaste, so I did it yesterday with a fan blowing on me the whole time.

This is not a small quilt. I keep saying that. It was supposed to be smaller.

But I got her pinbasted and then managed almost two hours of quilting…

I have a deadline on this one and it’s tight. But I’m going to do it.

But first, today I have two science meetings, so I need to go make my lunch and pack up and take my meds and brush my teeth and make more tea and get the fuck out of here. Plus deal with all the things on the to-do list, which threaten to bury me even during the summer, when I’m not working the other job. Well. Except today I sort of am working the other job. So there’s that. It’s a good thing I took a weekend off from almost everything.

So Much…

OK, let’s pretend I have a schedule and I follow it. Let’s also pretend I know what day it is without looking at a calendar and counting things. Saturday might have been a reset…I did ALL the things on Saturday and I know what day that was because the calendar kept telling me, and so today is two days past that, so it must be Monday. Plus the inept pool guy came this morning…wait, no, he hasn’t consistently been coming on Mondays. Geez. Can’t count on anything. Must be summer. Good thing because I’m trying to get some quilts done.

I’m 12 hours into ironing the newest one together…

I think I missed some pictures. Just know I’ve been ironing since last week sometime. This is Thursday I think…I’m pretty sure I was on Zoom with my friend Susan while I was ironing the cannon. And the handmaid. So I’ve seen the stuff about not using the handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s book, and I understand it, because she did borrow a lot of ideas from real-life happenings with women of color and slavery and native women. And certainly white women have had advantages due to their race and maybe even because white men value white women (annoying shit really, but reality). I was thinking of this part of the quilt as being like the Salem witch trials, burning us at the stake for our viewpoints. There are other handmaids in this quilt, and I guess I will just have to own them. That book had a significant effect on me when it first came out. I have been a serious Atwood fan since early college if not before. So I will own my white privilege on that. As I age, I realize and try to educate myself more on the inequality of our supposedly free (#notfree) country. The handmaids are a symbol…maybe not the best one, but the one I had for the moment.

This was at the end of Thursday night’s ironing…

On Friday, I did the center bit, the portal, skipping numbers from the 300s to the 800 and 900s because it made sense to do that bit now.

I lost one of the crow’s legs. I’m sure I’ll find it at some point. I just made a new one. It was easier.

From here, I started ironing all the things that line up the arms…

Including these two guys.

And then started on the hands. So I have both arms, the upper torso, and the head left, plus some stuff in the sky. I’m in the middle of the 600s, but I’ve already done 100 pieces in the 800 and 900s…so more than halfway…maybe 400 pieces left? Hard to know. I could do that in a couple of days. I’m hoping to.

I’ve been lucky with jury duty so far…just keep calling in and they say no. My biggest worry at the moment is getting put on a trial now that lasts longer than this week. I moved everything to next week…three meetings, a vet appointment, and a copyediting job. I’m gonna freak out if I have to go in now. I think my biggest anxiety with all this is the not knowing. I don’t deal with the unknown well. Anyway, knock on wood that they’ll keep releasing me, one freakin’ day at a time.

Saturday was a crazy day. Every meeting in July apparently happened on the 9th. I had planned a hike and potluck with my hiking group, because originally The Man was going to be on the PCT, so I figured socializing would be a good thing. The hike was awesome…

Saw some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while…

We were up in the Lagunas, which was still pretty warm, but not too bad…upper 80s. The meadows felt the warmest…

But there was a bit of a breeze. We started on Sunset Trail, which I’ve done a million times, but then went off on a different batch of trails to get back. Chico Ravine? Plus Old County. Here’s the familiar Water of the Woods…

I was really worried about this hike because my knee had been really cranky all week to the point of limping on Friday. So I drove up on my own so I’d have an exit vehicle if I had to bail out, and I had a knee brace and my poles. Totally needed none of that. Knee was fine. Not sure what was up with all that. Maybe I did something to it at the gym that lasted for 3 days but on the 4th was fine? Weird. Old bodies are annoying.

This is Wooly Pod Milkweed.

Never seen it in bloom. Very cool looking.

Anyway, then I went to the potluck, the first of THREE. You know how potlucks always have a weird grouping of food? Lots of funky salads, some bits and pieces of a real meal? And of course, you pick weird combos…tend to be heavy on carbs, although the hiking potluck was very heavy on interesting salads, which was nice. There were LOTS of people there…they sent 4 or 5 hikes out and then everyone from all those hikes met up for the potluck. It was cool to see some people I hadn’t seen for a while, but overwhelming in the long run. But that’s me. Lots of people I didn’t know. I should hike more with them though.

I made it home, showered (very important), then left like 45 minutes later for one of my art group meetings…which was, you guessed it, a potluck! I didn’t bring anything to that one because they are very heavily foodies and I cannot compete. So after having all those healthy salads, I settled on a slice of homemade bread and a tiny cupcake (what meal is between lunch and dinner? Tea? I didn’t drink tea…just sparkling water). I listened and watched presentations and stitched on this slow-stitch scarf for a while.

It’s going to take three million years to finish it, so don’t worry…you’ll see lots of it. I started it at QuiltCon 2021 (online). But then I didn’t have all the materials I needed, so it languished…as things do. But it’s all basted and all I have to do is pick it up and keep stitching at this point. Easy peasy.

Then I went home again for about 20 minutes, grabbed the rest of the cookies that hadn’t been eaten at the first potluck, and took them to the third one, which was the annual Burn the Sex Ed Cards Bonfire…little did we know that it was the second Eid (I didn’t know there was more than one) and everyone who celebrated it would be at the park where the bonfire was. Parking was a challenge; so was avoiding being seen by anyone I might have taught in the last few years. My co-teacher and I brought all the cards the kids write for our anonymous question box and let the rest of the people at the bonfire read them and then burn them. It’s cleansing. And funny.

This was the pizza and s’mores potluck. I don’t do s’mores because of chocolate, but there was yet another interesting salad! I don’t eat a wide variety of salads unless the girlchild is home. I don’t have the energy for it, so it’s nice when others do. I also did not have the energy to stay for fireworks…headed home and was in bed by 10:30, completely zonked out. Didn’t even hear The Man come home from his show at the Belly Up.

Sunday was all about recovery. I ironed most of the day. Also read a lot. I like to hermit over the summer. Saturday was not very hermit-like, so I will have to make up for it the rest of this week and possibly longer. Seriously, so much socializing and potlucking.

I’ve been doing a little bit of school stuff, just searching for and/or scanning homework assignments from this series. The cat loves my co-teacher’s bag. She will be sad when I return it.

I only have one book left to scan/search. Then I need to sort all the assignments into where they belong. Waiting for some lame professional development to do that.

This other cat spent Saturday night trying to punch a gecko through the window…

A lot of staring at windows goes on at night around here. They are fascinated by the geckos, who are just there for the moths who are attracted by the light coming through the windows.

In other news, the New Legacies exhibit opened this weekend at The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. I stole these photos from someone I don’t know on Facebook, because I will not be going to this exhibit…too far.

But there’s my piece So Cal Mama!

Always nice to see them out in the wild. Speaking of the wild, the baby owls are fledging! Noisy as hell, but also practicing flying at night. We’re not sure which are babies and which are parents, because at this stage, the babies are as big as the adults, but here’s three…

Last night, I moved the camera…not sure if there will be a better view or not. We’ll see. Certainly they are very active (and loud) at the moment. Apparently the parents will help get them food for a while longer, but they should be finding a new home by the end of the summer. After Halloween, we should be able to safely drop the box and clean it out for next year. We’ve heard and seen them in all the trees around the box, which is really cool, and found a few feathers in the yard. So there’s at least one baby…possibly two or three.

OK, so apparently I will be picking up some plants later today, plus ironing. And drinking more tea. And probably a shower and food would be helpful to my brain processing information. And then maybe I’ll do this again on Wednesday, like I normally do. And maybe the quilt will be ironed down and ready for stitching. I’m hopeful.

If You’re Into It…

Hmm. Independence Day. I think that word does not mean what you think it means. Lots of people have always had issues with today…since it meant independence for some and not others. It seems worse this year, although for some, it is the same as before…not independent. 60 bullet wounds on a young black man in Ohio…seems unnecessary. And another shooting today in the Chicago area…so far, 6 are dead and many injured. Another one of those high-powered rifles no human really needs to own. It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. It’s disheartening. So yeah, not in the mood to celebrate anything today with a barbecue and a bunch of people. Not that I usually do that stuff…but even fireworks are irritating me at the moment…too many illegal fireworks locally, including on our street, setting off the Man’s car alarm. No fires so far, so that’s good, but sheesh. We have official fireworks…can’t you watch those? Oh no? You have to have your OWN fireworks. We are such a special country…I mean that oh so sarcastically.

I’m tired because I didn’t sleep well last night, and then got up early, so we could go hike in the mountains before it got too warm. It’s been days and days of too warm, so a few cooler days have been appreciated. No worries, it’ll be back to warm by the weekend.

So where are we at? It’s July. I’ve finished a bunch of embroidered and quilted pieces into objects that can be sold. I have two more to do and then I’ll put them all on Etsy and let you know. I finished cutting out all the pieces for the current quilt on Friday night…

putting in some solid hours Thursday and Friday…15 1/2 hours total of cutting things out. Then sorted on Saturday night in between a bunch of other stuff that included finally getting the last quilt photographed after embroidering two tiny snake eyeballs.

Sorting took just under an hour to do…

And now I’m ready to iron it down, but I decided to do some things that had to be sewn first…like all those embroidery finishes, and then I needed to put borders on a bed quilt I made for my own bed in 2008…well, it’s not a quilt yet. It was just a top that needed borders. Now it’s a top…

That needs a backing to be pieced (today probably) and then the batting gets here Wednesday and then sometime after that, we go to mom’s house and figure out how to short-arm quilt it. By ‘we’ I mean me and the quilt. And mom will help. Because she’s done it before and I haven’t. Because it’s a bed quilt and it doesn’t need to be fancy. Yes. It’s bright. And it has aliens all over it. I’m OK with that. Then I can put a binding on it and finish it 14 years after I started it.

Once the backing is pieced, I can start ironing the other one together, the actual art quilt. I tried drawing the next one last night but my brain is a fucked-up mess. I found a drawing I did back in November and I’m going to enlarge it, redraw some of it, and then add to it. For the next one. Yeah. I was going to look at some of the other deadlines, but hell…I’m just making what makes me feel better right now. Full of anger and sadness and political shit.


Yesterday, the boychild helped clean the roof off…too many leaves, plus rinsed the solar panels. I’m not sure if we have to do more than that.

Our solar production is up a bit today over yesterday, so that’s good. The next step would be to use soap and warm water and then rinse them off, and I don’t know that I can get him to go back up there and do that.

So back to the hike. We did Red-Tailed Roost and Agua Dulce, about 4.8 miles. It was pretty. There was some up, but not a lot. It was hot, but not that hot. We were there early, so that helped.

Neither of us had done this hike before…

In a couple of weeks, we’ll be back in the area to celebrate the Man’s birthday, which is this week.

There were lots of trees, although definitely a fairly recent burn up there. Looks like it was a controlled burn a few months ago, when I search it up online.

We saw a few bikes and a few hikers…pretty quiet for a holiday, but we got up there fairly early. The parking lot was filling up as we left…

It was nice to be out in nature.

Even with killer trees…

Didn’t spend a lot of time under that one…

So now I need a snack, a nap, and some time with my book…

Which is my idea of a holiday. Also, I’m wearing this…

My brother and SIL called and are dressed appropriately for the holiday as well in black and politically appropriate shirts. I was the only one in the family with a uterus shirt, shockingly. I debated between it and my ‘Up with the Matriarchy’ shirt…saving that one for jury duty, I guess. My SIL found an appropriately themed protest for the 4th…

She’s in Montana…which has good people. Much like we do here, although some days I wonder.

OK. So happy 4th if you’re into it. If you’re not, have a snack, a nap, and read your book. Dress appropriately. Make some art if you want. Or don’t. That’s my version of an independent day for this year.

Post-School Brain Fog…

Ah yes. I survived another year of teaching. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and want to cry most of the time, and I was awake at 4:38 AM this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep until I typed some things in a to-do list, but I’m not sure that shit’s not just normal Nida behavior. My co-teacher and I banged out a rough plan for 8th grade science while waiting for her to get her room checked out (I had mine signed off during the meeting where the parent didn’t show up). I have two huge piles of books I need to either read, learn, memorize, or use for next year. I still need a good college textbook for space science. A little light summer read. Apparently everything I’ve learned in Star Trek and The Expanse will not be transferable. Dammit. The weather is gorgeous here, I have science meetings already planned for the next two weeks, the Man is hiking again, and I might be able to see him in two weeks. Maybe. SIGH.

Look! It’s my team! Which will change and be bigger next year…

No stress. Just more changes. Lots of them. A fuckload of them.

Giant Ass Sigh. Hello summer. I needed you. Don’t get too hot.

OK, so I have been ironing Wonder Under to fabric, mostly in an exhausted fashion. This was Wednesday night.

I ironed a cannon. And some other stuff.

Then last night, after 3 hours with the same group of kids, then a bunch of cleaning, then a school party (only one drink), and then a Zoom meeting, I ironed more. I looked completely exhausted by then. The wonder of Zoom is that you SEE YOUR FACE.

Laid out some flesh colors…they look really peachy here.

I guess they are peachy.

Usually I try to lay out the whole body at once, since it’s all the same fabrics, but it was going to be the 200s and the 300s and then the 700 and 800s and maybe beyond. I couldn’t deal with it last night. I just did the legs and the torso. And then put those fabrics in a pile for when I get up to the torso. It’ll be OK…although I only have small amounts of a couple of them…might need to substitute. That’s why I usually lay them all out at once…in case I run out of one, so I can juggle things before I start ironing down. Ah well. Juggling fabric is something I can do pretty easily. I think I’ll be fine.

Or I will be swearing at myself in a couple of days time. Well, at least some of the flesh tones are in. I’m somewhere in the 200s…or 300s…hard to say because I haven’t finished either.

Meanwhile, the Man’s local temperatures are dropping to 22 degrees tonight (it’s delightful here…I did say that). He has a pass to go over today or tomorrow that hopefully isn’t too bad. I have a friend’s daughter’s wedding to go to tomorrow…need to clean the bird shit off the car and figure out which boots I’m wearing (it’s outside in the dirt). Also need to get a short massage so the chiropractor can budge my neck, take the dog to the vet, and cook dinner. I really need a nap…that 4:38-AM thing really threw my brain.

It’ll be two weeks before my brain is really working well again anyway. Post-school fog…commence!

Just a Little Longer

Hey. It’s the last Monday of the school year. I feel like with just 4 and a bit days left that I might actually survive (actually briefly felt very ill this morning, so hopefully that was some sort of dream remnant). But I’m not positive about that survival shit yet. I’ll get there. But my grades aren’t done yet, so that’s fueling some level of panic. Plus I think I have three meetings today and then IDK how many more because people keep wanting meetings and I just want to crawl into bed, put my pillow over my head, and stay there until July.

Ah well. So in the artmaking realm, I finished cutting out all the Wonder Under on Friday night (a total of 9 hours and 15 minutes) and then sorted it…

Which doesn’t take very long…

Well, just under an hour for this quilt…

And then I realized to start ironing, I would need to clean up all the stuff from the last quilt, so Saturday night, after working most of the day, I made an attempt and got everything piled up by color…

And last night, after working most of the day again, could not muster the energy to go in there and start putting them away. Which is fine. I’m tired. I’m stressed. Cleaning is not one of my go-tos during those times. It will happen. Everything is ready for the next step of the quilt…except for me.

I spent most of the weekend grading. On Friday, I stayed late and graded all the late work and one last assignment for art…

Then Saturday, I started on the last of the science assignments…this was my seat most of the weekend…

Could be worse. Nova sat on the computer at some point and added to one kid’s assignment…

Undo! Undo! I probably graded for about 5 hours on Saturday. Took a break around 5 PM and walked the dog with the boychild, who is here until his dad tests negative or is 10 days out…

It was warm out…

We only did 2 miles. Then back to grading.

My Advisory class is all graded and done.

Luckily they occasionally make me laugh.

Sunday, I spent another 7 hours grading, with breaks in between to fold laundry and go to the grocery store. Ugh. I finished the science stuff and then had to grade the alternative assignments for the kids whose parents opt them out of sex ed. That was some level of torture. First, there are 17 of them (but two didn’t hand anything in, so that’s fun); second, about half didn’t read instructions and/or thought the instructions were “Copy everything from Google.” So I’m frustrated and irritated and need to change that assignment. In my spare time. We spend more time planning the beginning of the year. By the time we get to the end, we are brain dead and can’t deal. Hopefully we can do some backwards planning this year for next year.

Am I done? No, I’m not fucking done. I still need to input final grades and behavior and effort and all that crazy shit. Hopefully I will have a prep period today, because there are three meetings and I want to come home and collapse (after buying cat food).

My quilt guild is doing a UFO finishing challenge, luckily starting in the summer this time instead of in January. Teachers need a chunk of time to finish brainless stuff like this…I put this on my list last year and didn’t finish it. It only needs quilting and a binding. Wouldn’t take long. This is Sue Spargo’s Bird Dance, which I stitched on for years at soccer games.

This one is a new finish on the embroidery…needs to be sandwiched, quilted, and bound, but it’s smaller than the other one…this is Sue Spargo’s Chirp.

I guess you can see what my hobby stitching of choice is. Totally different from what I normally make.

Then in 2008, I started making a quilt for my bed. I know! WTH. I got the top done, minus the borders…

It’s all alien fabrics, super bright. It would make me happy to finish it and put it on my bed. But I need to learn how to use mom’s longarm for this. I could do it on the regular machine, but it would be a pain. I even have the border and backing fabrics, so I just need time. I already called mom, and she’s in. So those three. No worries. Lots of brainless for a while.

Well hopefully I will be done with grades before I get home tonight, and I can just read my book. Because it’s due Thursday and I don’t want to wait until it’s ready for me again to finish it. So I need to read a little faster. Or more. Something. One day at a time. I’ve been one-daying it for about 2 months now. Just a little longer.

Five Days…

There’s a march tomorrow, one I’ve done before. March for Our Lives…about gun violence here in the US. I’m going to be there in spirit, while my body and brain grade stuff for the end of the school year. I watched a tiny bit of the testimony from the Uvalde families…it was the tiniest bit because I was at school and then had to spend all day teaching kids just two years older, and very much alive, and that’s all I could handle.

I have five more days of school, but grades are due Tuesday. I am behind in the teaching sex ed schedule because the behaviors are pretty immature and it takes a lot to deal with block scheduling…it’s too much. So we will get as far as we can. I have 17 kids opted out of sex ed, so their giant projects are due to me today. That’s gonna take a while to grade. All the art projects are due today. So many kids absent for COVID or field trips or camp and somehow they’re all still supposed to finish. AND I have to have stuff for the kids who are done. I’m done, honestly. Very done.

I appreciated meeting with friends last night…when I was dropping the Man off on the PCT, I had almost finished a Sue Spargo quilt I’ve been working on since 2020. I think I’ve been doing the borders for a year (they are complicated and I don’t work on them regularly). I had about 2 3/4 of the last stitch on the last 4 flowers to do, and I could have done it in the car on the way up to Kennedy Meadows, but then mentally I couldn’t. So it’s been sitting around. I was fairly sure last night would be the big finish, which is kinda cool, since they’ve been around (mostly on Zoom for the whole damn thing). And here we are!

All the embroidery is done; I just need to sandwich, quilt, and bind. Minor work…compared to the rest of it. It’s nice to have a finish. My quilt guild is doing the UFO thing again…so I made a list of the unfinished and it was long. I will need to pick a couple to do though. This will probably be one of them.

Speaking of the Man, he made it over Forester Pass yesterday. He’s coming off trail today to pick up his resupply package. I wish him luck. I think he’s feeling better (besides being sore and tired), so that is a plus. I still don’t know when or where I will be able to meet him. His mileage has been pretty low…I’m hoping for the two weeks after school gets out, but it’s looking complicated. As usual.

I am so close to done on cutting out Wonder Under. I did a goodly chunk on Wednesday night…

Had about 3/4 of a yard left to go. But last night, I was home late and only got 30 minutes in (had to finish a book. Crucial. Absolutely. If you’re at 95% and you DON’T finish, what is wrong with you?). So I’m still not done…

There’s probably 30-45 minutes left of cutting, but I picked sleep last night out of pure exhaustion. So tonight I will finish cutting and then sort. Ironing tomorrow? Hopefully.

Meanwhile, there are cat antics. Nova wants to hug geckos…

And Luna has been a psycho in bed.

No sleep for the weary.

OK, my voice is shot even with a microphone. Today is STDs. Always fun. Plus a ton of grading. Hopefully during prep and not just after school. We’ll see. Looking forward to a weekend, even if it is full of grading and inputting crap. There will be some down time.

Give Us What We Need…

We are definitely getting near the end of this school year. My body and brain both agree. My inability to sleep at night does not help. Ugh. I wake up in the morning not sure what day it is (IDK what’s up with that…I am constantly staring at calendars…I should always know what day it is). I am exhausted. I’m also sore and rocking a sore throat constantly from talking with a mask on…but if I take it off, I’ll be out for 10 days with COVID like half the teachers on campus have been. That would get me out of the last two weeks of school, yes, but that’s not fair to the kids trying to finish art projects or the teacher who would have to come in and sub and NOT teach sex ed (IDK what I would give the kids, but not that). This year just needs to be done. I’m picking fights with the district office (they don’t give us what we need…I’m so tired of that) and other departments over legit stuff, but it makes me feel bad sometimes to ask for what I need. For what we need. Wonder of being a department co-chair plus a union rep. Just give us what we need to do this job, dammit. It’s hard enough anyways, and then to be like “oh that’s not possible…”. Aargh.

Bitch. That’s what they call me. I know that. I’m just tired of not getting what we need. Of ignoring what we need.

Somehow this week I need to figure out how to get two programs on two kids’ computers. I just need someone techy to do it for me, but no. If it’s going to get done, I will have to do it.

Sigh. Yeah. Done.

Also need someone to deliver food every day and not be expensive. And the pool guy to figure out what’s up with the damn pump without my telling him to. And for my insurance to send that damn letter without my having to call again. Sigh.

OK. Well. In good news, I finished tracing all the Wonder Under on Friday night…

6 yards and a bit…then started cutting on Saturday night…

And a little more on Sunday night…

Next step…seeing progress. I will hopefully be done with this by the weekend, and whatever time I don’t spend grading will be spent ironing. But I don’t have a background. Ah. Well. Will need to think upon that.

I also gave a talk Saturday at my quilt guild…took some quilts and my sketchbooks and explained stuff. Maybe. And then worked on this…

The neverending scarf.

I also hiked on Saturday…

Went out to Crestridge Ecological Reserve…it was warm but beautiful…

I got lost a bit on an overgrown trail, but found my way out eventually…

Hiking alone sometimes freaks me out, but not enough to stop. I just needed to get outside and walk for a while. It was good.

The Man took a few days off but is now back on trail…

He was here last night…weird-looking area…

He’s not feeling well this morning again. Not sure if elevation is just really kicking his butt or what, but he’s not giving up. Still moving. It’s hard. It’s hard for him and for me…different kinds of hard. Some 20-year-old died of elevation sickness a week ago, so now we’re all paranoid. Hopefully he will feel better soon…since his doesn’t sound like elevation stuff. Just being-on-trail stuff.

Here’s Luna, being her psychotic self…

She misses her dad, but I am an acceptable substitute. Apparently. For both the cats.

UGH. OK. I really need to go to school. Luckily it’s pregnancy video day, so all I have to do is listen to the squawking of 12-year-olds complaining about childbirth being so gross. Actually, I think all the childbirths will be tomorrow…short periods today. Well that’s a plus. Maybe I can get some work done. Maybe I will actually have my prep period today, unlike Friday.

I think what I really need is two weeks of uninterrupted sleeping in and lots of drawing and reading my book. And then maybe I can deal with humanity again. Soon. Maybe.

Survival Mode

It happens to all of us. We get to a point with our jobs that we just hunker down and do the things, come home, feed the things, do the things, sleep, get up, do it all again. I’m there. So there. I finally slept last night after three nights of anxiety brain being an asshole. That doesn’t help. I question my reactions to things…am I overreacting or are people being assholes? This is especially hard when you teach middle school…I worry so much about the kids being OK, especially when we teach sex ed. The questions written anonymously on cards. I do my best with the sexist misogyny that shows up in 12-year-old boys, I worry about the kids who write questions about not telling their parents stuff about them like forever. I worry about the quiet ones, the bullies, the overly loud and obnoxious ones, the ones who have changed a lot over the year, the angry ones. The ones who never get it. The ones who don’t care. I worry about asking for what we teachers need, worry that other adults will see that as bitchy. But then it’s what we need. Sigh. It’s just that time of year. TEN DAYS. Ten days of getting grades done, teaching pregnancy and STDs and HIV, giving reward ceremonies, field trips, hoping the kids turn in late work (but also hoping they don’t, because then I’ll have to grade it), hoping there aren’t any more teachers out with no subs (I need my prep period!), hoping next year isn’t this bad, but suspecting some parts of it will be rough.

That stuff is true. Under-supported as well. Managed by people who haven’t been in a classroom, haven’t taught, don’t know what we do. And dammit, the phone rings nonstop some days. That shit.

It’s Friday. Bless me, it’s Friday. Today I teach pregnancy, the first part of it. Hopefully I get some stuff graded (ha!). Hopefully I get my prep period. This afternoon, I have a short massage (just neck and shoulders; can’t afford the full one) and chiropractor. Hopefully that will help with this week’s headaches. Then a busy weekend with lots of quilt/art meetings. And hopefully I will finally finish tracing this beast. MY LORD…it’s taking for-freakin-ever.

Because I’m only getting an hour and a bit a night…

14 hours in. I’m in the 800s. Probably 250 to go? I don’t even know anymore. Oh! I lied. I made it to piece 913 last night. There were 1064 pieces before I started adding stuff, and I already traced the stuff I added. Holy shit. So about 150 to go. I can do that tonight. I can. I’m not cooking (I’ve cooked so many nights this week…it’s exhausting. I need a casserole or something for next week.). Then cut them out. I can do that. Sigh. Giant Ass Sigh. I love making art too…just wish I had more time for it.

The Man is still out there; I think this is from the day before yesterday.

Not sure why I screenshot these…they all look the same. But it helps me in my head somehow. He’s having some health and soreness issues, so is looking at a day off trail. He can’t afford staying anywhere nice, but anything is nicer than the trail sometimes. Plus resupply…it’s taking him a while to get acclimated to elevation and hiking nonstop again. It’s good to do hard things…but it’s also hard. We miss him…the cats are very needy at the moment. But we are surviving.

OK. I do have to leave the house. Can’t just stay here and trace Wonder Under and not think about grades. Need another cup of tea and then to get a bunch of stuff done today so it won’t follow me home. It always follows me home. Peace.

Dropped Off…

Hey. It’s the third to last week of school. There are 12 days left. I persuade myself I can do 12 days until the alarm goes off in the morning, and then I wonder DEEPLY about my choice of profession and the pandemic and how few social skills these kids have. Teaching sex ed is usually a pretty easy end of the year, but this year…man…so many inappropriate behaviors. It’s exhausting. I’ve been wearing a mic for weeks, trying to save my voice and it’s still crap by the time I get through the day. Sore throat, rough. Ugh. Most days, I’m not even really sure what day it actually is. I forgot (again) about my before-school duty yesterday because Tuesday? After a weekend? Yeah, no brain power. I remembered after school because I looked at my calendar and actually READ it. I have four places, maybe five that remind me of things, and I still forget.

The pro is that I graded two full assignments in the car on the way up to Ridgecrest. I have three real assignments left to grade. I just need to power through, and then I can decide which of these silly worksheets we do that I actually care about. Oh yeah, and then 16 projects for the kids whose parents opted them out. That’ll take me a bit. Just a bit. They’re trying to hand them in now, and I skim through, thinking (stupidly), “did you read the instructions?”. My high-level kids are still working on them. The lower kids are “WE’RE DONE!” My ass you are. Go back. Anyway. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s a pro.

So Sunday, we drove through the endless, windy, dusty desert to get to Ridgecrest.

It’s seriously a drive I have done way too many times, with at least a few in my near future. Tired of it. But the Man drove up because he knew I had to drive back. So that was nice.

Hotel room was OK, not huge, weird bathroom configuration, but was remodeled relatively recently. Can’t really recommend Ridgecrest for anything. It’s hot and dry and dusty and food choices are mostly fast and furious. We watched two movies, both not very memorable. I stitched and drew.

And read a little. Finished a book…it was short…

That is the last of the flower types. I finished one and a half of them…only three and a half to go. I could have stitched on the road from Ridgecrest to Kennedy Meadows, but mentally couldn’t. Plus at some point it was mountain road, so that’s not a thing for me. Look Straight Out the Window. That’s me. But I’m close to done on this.

At Kennedy Meadows, the Man tried to buy this year’s bandana, but she wouldn’t sell him one (strange excuse about not having very many…weird sales concept there), he saw a friend (and got a bandana from him instead) who worked where he worked for a couple weeks, and then we drove to the campground, where a PCTA person lectured about snow and bears. For a really long time. My plan was to hike out with him for a little way, and then head back all the way home. It was a good plan.

Expect skinnier the next time you see him…well at least with me.

It was warmish and elevation (6500′) was definitely a factor in breathing. Going from sea level up in one day is problematic.

Officially in the Sierras…

We hiked about 2 miles to the bridge over the river and he refilled his water. The plus to not being in the desert section is that there is plenty of water.

And that’s where we said goodbye…for at least 3, probably 4 weeks. Hopefully will meet him somewhere.

It’s never easy sending him off…

I worry about him. I stress about having to do all the things at home. It’s not fun dealing with kid behaviors all day and coming home to no one to talk to. The boychild is here half the time. The cats are demanding. And I hate having to cook all the time. It’s hard to communicate with the Man…sometimes his messages overlap with mine (there’s no cell service; he’s using his Garmin) or he’s messaging all day while I’m teaching, and then when I have time to message back, he’s going to sleep (it’s still daylight, y’all). So it’s hard. But he wants to finish it and I hope he can. I know his knee was painful the first day, better the second day, but elevation is pretty crazy and it’s all up for the next four weeks. With an occasional down. Plus snow and passes and all that stuff.

It is beautiful though. Blue skies, trees, new wildflowers…

Well, some are new. We have these in San Diego too.

From the campground, I drove all the way home…about 5 1/2 hours total with two pee stops. I hate that drive. Really do. Ugh.

I didn’t do much of anything Monday night except eat dinner (thanks to the boychild), make lunches for the week, and make sure I was ready to go. Last night, I finally found the energy to trace some Wonder Under, but I’d realized that I had all this bad shit in the outer part of the quilt, and COVID wasn’t lurking in there. So I had to draw that damn thing in…again…

Almost 1100 pieces now. Then I traced for a while (after exercise, making dinner, deciding not to enter a show, eating dinner, grading one class worth of one assignment, and doing all the cat things, oh yeah, and watering everything)…

So only a whopping 40 minutes in the end. Hopefully more tonight. Getting close to the end. Ready to just sit on the couch and cut shit out. Also Nova would like me to do that so she can shed all over me and knead my belly. Luna massages my shoulders for me (with her claws and all her weight pushing in)…trying to figure out how to get her to do that one spot on my back that hurts. She does not take direction well though.

OK. Gotta go. Shit. It’s late. Ugh. Puberty today and something else. Can’t remember. Ah yes. Menstruation and sperm production. Sounds like a day.


Hey. I’m writing on a Sunday. WTH. It’s OK…I have a 3-day weekend and I will not be home tomorrow morning…I’ll be dropping the Man off on the PCT, hiking a little way with him, and then driving home so I can teach puberty on Tuesday. Like you do. Because I’m trying to be responsible and not take days off when there are zero substitute teachers. That and the Man’s permit is for tomorrow and once I drop him off, it’s not like I want to hang out in Kennedy Meadows or Ridgecrest (apologies if you are from either place). So kamikaze back home it will be.

Yesterday, I did all the things…graded three assignments (two more to do in the car on the way up), shopped for next week’s groceries, got gas in the car, did my laundry, watered all the plants, prepped the school assignments for next week, and made the bullet journal pages for next week. Finished a book that made me cry. OK, maybe life made me cry, but the book was there with me. It’s OK…the second book in the series is sitting on my iPad waiting for me to cry to it as well. HELLO EMOTIONS.

In totally awesome news, Hold On sold this week…going to Seattle, where maybe I can see it in situ someday.

I started this piece in January 2020, and then finished it after my school sent me home for the quarantine. It was strange to finish something about nuclear missiles and the wildfires in Australia and climate change while the world was falling apart. I think every quilt since then (almost) has had a COVID virion in it. Because that’s still a thing.

Anyway, now I can pay my mortgage over the summer. Always a plus.

I also traced more Wonder Under on the new piece on Saturday night…

I’m in the 700s, so about 300 pieces to go…maybe two nights? Depending on the nights. I’ve been tracing for 10 1/2 hours so far. Not super fast. Fast is 100 pieces an hour. When I’m tired, I don’t trace fast. Reality check there. So maybe by Wednesday night, I’ll be cutting up Wonder Under. I could take it with me to Ridgecrest, but it’s a pain to pack up…so I think I’ll wait. It’s not really worth it for one night of cutting things up.

On Friday night, I went to see the Man’s band play…haven’t done that for a really long time.

It was nice to be back for the music and dancing (the Man is on the far left…I did not excel at photography after working all week). Well, except for the sky.

It was nice.

I also took lots of pictures of Kitten this weekend.

Because she was cute.

Well, mostly.

Right now, she’s in my face, stepping on the keyboard, headbutting me while I type. Less cute.

OK. Gotta pack up the last stuff, make a cup of tea, and get in the car to drive a long boring way. Then hang out in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, get up early, then find the trail, hike for a while, hike back, letting the Man continue for as long as his body will let him (hopefully the whole rest of the trail), drive home, and make lunches for the week. Yeah. It’s not going to necessarily be fun or easy, but it might help me with the goodbye part. I wasn’t really prepared for him to be gone until October, but some money appeared for him, so he’s going for it. May his body oblige.

I’ll be back here, holding down the fort, making art, reading books, and petting furry beasts.