The Good Meditative Stuff.

It’s my first day of nine days off of school. There’s about 40 hours of grading in there, but let’s ignore that for now, eh? Honestly, all I really want to do at the moment is avoid human interactions. People. Anything needy. Well, except for kittens. Kittens are needy but fun, so I’ll deal with them. And I can deal with a few people. OK, maybe one. At a time. But not before 9 AM. So far today, I’ve done a pilates class (actually talked to three different humans. Maybe four. No, five. But most of it was short and sweet. Take my package. I had knee surgery. My name is Kathy.). I need to go sign all my paperwork for the loan to put solar in. That’s exciting. I will probably need to speak to one person for that. I need to buy milk. No need for speech, y’all. There should be an introvert line at the grocery store. No Need to Ask Me If I Found Everything OK. Seriously. Don’t speak. Yes, there’s self-service in some of the stores, but I’m aware of that taking away people’s jobs, so although I personally prefer the self checkout, sigh. Please just don’t make them talk to me.

After signing papers, I have hours of alone time with my grading and my ironing. Gonna do both. Might have to talk to people tonight. Or not. Maybe not. I just don’t know. I’m OK with not.

So I finished Figure 2 last night…and all the bits in and around her. I’m ready for Figure 3 this afternoon.

Then Figure 4 on Sunday, start cutting out. Be done by Tuesday? Night? Then start ironing together. I’d really like it all ironed together by the time I go to Lake Arrowhead on Friday. Sigh. Then I can draw the next one while I’m in Arrowhead. Get it ready. Because time…it flies. Erratically, yes, but flies.

My right eyelid is still twitching from last week. And people. People are making it twitch.

Sometimes I’m OK with people. I worked on this on Thursday night at my stitching meeting…started the lion…

And finished the tree…

This is Sue Spargo’s Folk Tails 2015 Block of the Month. Yeah. I’m slow. This is September’s blocks. I’m getting closer to done. There were three people there. They were fine.

You’re always getting closer to done if you keep working.

I spent some time with kittens and my book this morning…my toes are fascinating.

Then again, everything is fascinating when you are a kitten.

They love to play…

It’s hard to get good pictures because they are always moving. We are still mulling over names. This is hard.

How do we climb the curtains?

Devious little beasties.

They met Simba. There was fear and confusion all around. A little bit of hissing…

Hopefully they will all get along.

OK, off to the bank. Then back here to grade and iron. It sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, minus the grading, but let’s just understand that it has to happen. I’ll fit in the good meditative stuff around it. Make that eye twitch go away.

Reading to Kittens…

Ah Friday…Friday before 9 full days off from the neediness and the having to be ON ALL THE TIME. Nine days of peeing whenever the fuck I want. Nine days of grading, yes, that too, but at least I don’t have to do it all at night after working all day. Or if I’ve been working all day, it’ll be on my quilt. I do have a shit-ton of grading to do. It’s a pain. It’s not fun. And we’re not fully planned for the next unit either, so that’s panicking me slightly. We’re close. Not there yet. And then we need to plan the NEXT one. Sigh. This job. Sometimes. Is just so hard and so much.

OK, so think about kittens and art instead.

I got home and went in to the cat condo to let them out and run around…we have them sort of (not really) contained in one room in the house, but it doesn’t have a door, so it’s a problematic thing. A baby gate wouldn’t help…they climb right up the cat condo walls like it’s a tree. So you distract them. I read to them from my book.

They were fascinated, but mostly by the light. And things that move. I should put cat TV on for them. They do spend a chunk of time in the large cat condo while we’re gone…

And sometimes when we’re here, because you have to keep eyes on them constantly and that’s exhausting. I did play a lot with them though before I came in to play with MY kitteh and iron some shit.

She still likes me. I take her in to see kittens and she doesn’t really like it, but I hope she warms up to them. Sigh.

So this is Figure 2 getting ironed down. I’m pulling a run of 7 fabrics for each of them.

Trying to make them all different. Might have to rethink my background options though. They might be too dark. We’ll see.

So the box in the middle is the two runs of flesh. Then everything else of course.

I still need to do all the funky stuff on Figure 2…hair, eyeballs, heart, etc. Then on to Figures 3 and 4. This is a good place to be in for going into a long week off…I predict getting it all ironed together and hopefully stitched down by the time I go back to school. OK. Wait. That might be a little too much for me to be able to do…but I probably should get that far. OK. It’s a busy week. No matter what.

For now? I’m going to school and hoping the kids continue to be as good as they have been (although two periods yesterday pushed me a little over the edge). Then they can turn in the million things I have to grade and I will finish the worksheet I’m drawing (yeah, that’s a little crazy, but whatever). And then it will end with an assembly and I can come home and read my book to the kittens again. Sounds good.

Hoping It’s Chill…

I know. You don’t care about anything but kittens. I barely hung out with kittens yesterday. Just scared the crap out of Sue-Bob (OMG that name. I’m so sorry if that’s your name. I mean I’m a Kathy…along with 75% of my generation) by trying to introduce her to Calli, who snorted excitedly and suddenly I had a tiny thunderstorm with claws in my hand. Speaking of thunderstorms, we had a tiny one yesterday afternoon…best part? Listening to my students scream because…lightning. I don’t understand the screaming. Not at the thunder, a big booming scary sound, but at the light. OK. They were outside. Still. I would understand screaming because of thunder. It’s amazing how loud 400 kids can be.

Anyway. Yes. Storm. Kids don’t come to school because of storms. And then we’re getting CLOSE to a week off, so some kids just leave early and then they’ll be back eventually, sometime in December. The kids who are still here are being remarkably chill (except when there’s lightning, and I think we’re done with that).

I didn’t see kittens much yesterday because I had book club. I rowed my boat (not really, but definitely hydroplaned very slowly) across town and enjoyed the company of some very well-read women. I should do more of that, since my local quilt group is having a hard time getting started. That group also has a crafty group, but they mostly knit I think. I guess I already hang out with knitters. Although I just looked on the app and those meetings disappeared. Huh. I guess I could try doing it with them? Like being the organizer? Maybe after the holidays. I’m overwhelmed right now. I actually wrote curriculum before and after book club…

He was not helpful in any way, shape, or form.

At some point, I ironed. A little earlier than previous nights, but not a lot.

It’s going slowly. I’m tired. I got a rocket ironed, plus the sun, plus all the things in Figure 1 (heart, hair, eyeballs, etc.)…

Calli had post-thunderstorm anxiety and stayed with me.

Yes, I have to step over her multiple times. It’s good exercise.

Here’s where I’m at so far. Lots of sun fabrics there.

I did a cloud too. On to Figure number 2 tonight. Although I have another meeting. It’s a busy week.

I have not been home much. Hopefully there will not be a lot of rain to negotiate tonight while driving. Last night’s excursion was a little crazy, although the people on the road were being mostly careful. Some TOO careful maybe, but better than than kamikaze.

Oh yeah, I signed up for a class in Palm Springs in January. Weird, I know, but it’s something I saw and it sold out and now there’s another one and it intrigues me. I’m not usually a class-taking person, but I guess I took one class in 2019. This will be my one 2020 class? Who knows. OK, off to school and a rewards breakfast for kids…hoping it’s as chill as it was yesterday.

Almost Relief

Well. That’s done. And a relief. Too many people in my classroom, my poor kids stressed out (OK, well, some absolutely blossomed with that many adults in there, good to know for next time). Super long day, a million steps, very tired, they canceled tutoring (oh hallelujah), but I had a meeting later…which was fine, except I’ve never ever seen that Starbucks that full, so we had to sit outside and it was raining (it was covered but cold and dampish). And I was able to come home and finish grading Unit 2, although that was more difficult than you would think due to kittens.

But I can go into the last three days of school before a week off with almost relief. I guess there’s still a shitload of stuff to do. It’s just less high stress. We even got the field trip lunches ordered, so that was a miracle. I’m feeling pretty chill. Knock on wood. Because that never lasts.

I’m back to insomnia though…at least the falling-asleep kind. Brain won’t shut up. Hopefully a week off will help with that.

Until then, there will be lots of kitten photos. Because they’re cute. This is Diva. She’s super cautious and not Diva-like at all.

I suggested calling her Frida. She seems the thoughtful painterly type.

This is Sue-Bob. She is aggressive and boisterous and adventurous. We both have accidentally called her a he, which says more about our social/cultural shit than it says about her. She’s a strong, opinionated female.

She should maybe be called Gloria, but since these are not mine to name, and people names on cats is a little weird, we’re probably not going to do that. I suggested Pussy. That did not go down well.

Oh yeah, here was my outdoor, slightly damp seat at Starbucks, waiting for my meeting, while fixing the holes in my sweatshirt.

We’ll see how it holds up.

By the time I got back, the man was cooking and the kittens were locked up, because they needed a nap.

Oh yeah. Cute.

The man goes to bed lots earlier than I do, so he asked me to supervise the little beasts until I was done. I had grading to do, so I sat in there and tried to grade with the little twerps.

They chewed on units, my fingers, and my toes. Sue-Bob tried to escape about 15 times. Diva almost went down the back of the desk into the never-never land behind. They tried to grab my pen and my phone, and definitely went headfirst into my tea. I forgot what babies are like. Holy Shit.

Uh huh. Thems my toes.

When I was done, I put them back in their giant-ass crate (seriously could fit 50 more kittens in there) and they mewed at me and I felt bad, but Kitten was waiting for me in the studio…

She’s being standoffish. I take her to watch them play or sleep. She’s not keen on this. I’m hoping she warms up to it. Because I think we all might have already bonded. Oops.

I didn’t get a lot done…there are four figures in this quilt and each one will be slightly different. I did all the flesh tones…

I still need to do the heart, hair, uterus, and all that floofy stuff.

I have book club tonight…hopefully I’ll get some ironing in after that. We usually meet outside, so I’m not sure what will happen with that. Not my problem.

OK, need to get to work. It’s raining. Just lightly for now. The downpour comes later. Makes the old lady dog nervous, makes the roads dangerous. Also waters the plants. I’m good with that. I think today is a Plant My Butt on a Rolling Chair Day. We’ll see if that really works. Hopefully.

Nida As Is…Plus Kittens!

Today is a crazy day. But once it’s done, I think things will just slide into a week off (a week off that includes lots of driving and grading and all that stuff, but still a week off, dammit).

My classroom will be full of people today…I had to pick kids to teach during my prep, just to show politicians what science looks like these days. I love that two of the science classes they’ll be going to are focusing on environmental science…because that’s a thing. I’m hoping it goes well…I’m just going to teach like I always do. They keep saying dog-and-pony show, but I don’t dog OR pony well, so they’ll just get Nida as is, maybe minus my commentary on “It sucks to be you.” Or not. I did cherry-pick my class…so it’s way smaller than any real class I have and no one is an asshole. It’ll be interesting. I’m not a fan of this crap, but these are the people trying to figure out how ESSA and NCLB will work, and they need to see real kids in action. So maybe I should have cherry-picked some of the more challenging kids, true, but…my sanity is part of this picture.

Meanwhile, back home, we are fostering two kittens with the plan of adopting them…

They are dilute calicos, which means they have more recessive genes than they know what to do with…both girls, sisters in fact. For now, they are residing in this kitty condo so we don’t lose their tiny bodies in this house, plus dogs and other cat have a chance to get acquainted.

One tiny kitten already voiced her objection to Simba, thus crushing his dreams of being their bestie. That might change.

Kitten has visited them multiple times without incident…

She was the real worry…we want her to have good years as the oldest cat in the house, but we also hope she will love them and play with them. She used to play with our oldest cat back in the day…so we know she has it in her. And with Satchemo dying, she’s been out and roaming the house and playing and running around, and we want that to continue…that’s kinda why we picked kittens, plus we want them to have someone to play with no matter what, so sisters is also good.

They have lame names. We haven’t figured that out yet. This is Diva…

She’s more shy and retiring and cautious.

This is her more aggressive sis, Sue-Bob. No really.

She’s into the love. Likes pets and playing like a maniac, plus pushing her sister out of the way. So I guess there will be a lot more kitten pictures. We haven’t let them out into the house yet. These are the man’s cats really, so he is taking the day off work to bond. Really just to play with kittens.

I did grade last night…just one more night of the big project is left, and then I have about 9 hours of reading CER essays (claim, evidence, reasoning). Then I ironed for an hour. An hour a night is better than nothing, and this was an easy hour…continuing around the background, I did the hills and the mountains.

The hardest part was finding all the pieces, because they were in three different boxes.

Next I start with the first female figure…each one will be a different flesh run, so that’s complicated. But not yet. I think I have to do the clouds and sun first. Can’t remember.

Anyway. Gotta go to work. Yesterday, I got to school and as part of the prep for these important folks coming to our school, they “cleaned” our rooms over the weekend without telling us. All the tables, chairs, technology, anything that was on my teacher desk, and all the lab materials we’d left out on Friday were all shoved in random places. It took me 40 minutes to put everything back. My co-teacher had a morning meeting, so she didn’t have that time. Let’s just say things got managed, but it was a clusterfuck. I didn’t get the stuff done in the morning that I needed to get done, unfortunately, so I’m still behind and I have field trip stuff that has to happen today. And I don’t have a prep today. It’ll be fine, but it’ll be better when the day is done. After tutoring. Plus I have an evening meeting. So a little nutso today.

Ironing tonight though…I hope.

Four more days.

A Weird Wind

A weird wind came through yesterday afternoon, and now I can see too much of my neighbor’s house (leaves fell off the two trees that normally block most of my view). I guess it’s good because I get more light in here, but I’m not a fan of seeing the neighbor’s house, so there’s that.

I haven’t been sleeping well. Can’t fall asleep, brain is in overdrive, could be school stress, could be life in general, could be hormones, could be caffeine, although I haven’t changed my intake, so why now would it keep me awake? I dare you to send me another article about more sleep and health. I’d do it if I could…I just don’t do it well. Maybe the hot flashes and weird blood sugar numbers are on their way back in with the insomnia. Who knows.

I did an artists’ talk on Saturday afternoon, after a different art group’s meeting…

One of the bathtub quilts…gotta do another one of those. I have no idea what I said. But I said it.

Saturday night was mostly grading stuff, but also visiting these two babies…

We’re fostering them as of tonight, I think. One of them is more extroverted than the other…

Hey. Play with me. Now.

Hopefully it will all go well with this old lady…

who was caught with her head in the handle of this plastic bag. We’re hoping she wants to play with kittens more than plastic bags. Let’s see how it goes.

We got another campsite booked for our Spring Break trip. I call this the Easy Bear Access campsite.

Right down that hillside. No, seriously…it’ll be a good time. No showers for 5 days, but that’s all good. Dad’s like recommending more campsites after this, and I’m like, 5 days? I’m gonna need a bed. An actual bed. Never mind the shower.

I graded a lot this weekend. We went to dinner at the parentals and I made lunches for the week (that’s one thing less to worry about) and finally, around 11 PM, I made it to the studio to iron stuff. This is where I realized that all the water, hills, and mountains behind the figures should be all the same fabrics, so I numbered stuff illogically. This pile is all the water, and includes pieces from the 100, 200, and 400 boxes.

That’s not annoying to do at all. So I’ll be continuing to do that tonight. Searching through boxes looking for 7 specific pieces. Hopefully. Got two more classes to slog through on the big grading unit.

All the 100s laid out…will move on to hills and mountains next…then the body starts in the 40s, I think.

Something like that.

I’m watching Mars…which goes back and forth between reality in 2016 and fiction in 2033. I’ve been trying to take notes for my students, blurbs they could watch…but it’s hard to do that AND iron.

I should recruit Kitten as my secretary.

My goal is to get everything ironed down by the end of the next weekend, then cut it out and start ironing. I don’t know if I can do that. I already have way too much to do next week.

I’m not really a fan of Thanksgiving week. It’s always full of work and driving. But at least there’s no kids or labs or politicians traipsing through my classroom (that’s tomorrow). And I can pee when I want. That’s a thing. Seriously. Maybe I can even sleep in a morning or two. That’s a thing too.

OK. Five more days. Head held high. Food healthy. Deep breaths. Maybe try to remember to meditate in between the panicked moments.

One Thing at a Time…

Writing is hard, y’all. OK. Not for me. The words spill out of me like drool, honestly. But that’s practice. I wrote my first blog post in 2004. Even writing essays in high school and college, I just sat down and let it pour out. I’d do one readthrough and that was it. Done. And that was back in the day of typewriters and that weird white tape you’d type over to cover up whatever you’d mistyped. I can’t remember why I used that over liquid paper. Because you didn’t have to wait for it to dry? It wasn’t as lumpy? There’s a fine line between coverage and lumpy. MY ANALYSIS OF LIQUID PAPER. Exciting stuff. But often frustrating. But writing? Writing this every day lets my brain just spill all this crap out, plus I make plans for the day and the rest of the week and projects, holding myself accountable for shit. It’s probably how I can get so much done, even when it feels like I’m getting NOTHING done. Do I want to be sitting here the next morning thinking WTF I did nothing? Well that happens sometimes and it’s OK when it does. But making art makes me feel better as a person about the other stuff, so I want to be damn sure I’m doing it. Lots of it. Tell my students it gets easier when they practice? Uh. They don’t want to practice. They get frustrated. Sometimes I wonder why I work so hard at their writing in science, and then I remember how you keep the really high level science jobs. You write. You communicate in words. You document your shit. Sigh. They have to write so much on the state tests and some of their writing is so difficult to read. So no, I didn’t grade any of the other written assignments last night. That stuff just hurts.

Meanwhile, I’m up early for another parent meeting. Maybe this one will actually show up. I’m not sure if I should email the one who didn’t show up yesterday and make some comment about how I have to get up early and get to school early and set up my classroom early to prepare for their being here, and even go pee early so I know I get to pee before school starts, but their lame-ass behavior, like if it’s an emergency and you couldn’t make it, then call or email, but don’t just blow me off. Annoying. So many of those this year. And then they never reschedule. The kids react to it too…they’re all worried about the meeting and then when the parent doesn’t show, then what does that tell them? Sigh. Ugh. Parenting is hard too, but you still gotta do it.

Lecture aside. For now. I won’t have a voice for it in class. I gave a quiz yesterday. I graded it last night. All of them. 160 or so. Good stuff. Still behind on grading other stuff, but I’ll get there. While I was grading, Kitten kept sitting on all the papers…so I turned on Cat TV for her.

Not that it stopped her from sitting on all the papers…she did watch the birds though.

I graded until about 9:30 and then started ironing…I hit the tiny pieces stage…

Her thighs have a lot of nature on them…these California poppies and the bees we’re trying to keep alive out here.

Plus a Joshua tree, a turkey vulture, and some cactus.

I wanted to get further last night, but these are tiny fussy things. I got about half of the 600s ironed…maybe a little more than that. I have another couple cactus to iron and then the monarchs…speaking of fussy. A rattlesnake, a bunch of toes, legs…and then that’s it. I have a science meeting after school today, though. I wanted to be ironing to the background tonight and I’m having to revise my plan. I suspect I’ll be lucky to get to that. So I’ll hope I get it all ironed together tonight…I’m still on track, still OK. Mostly. Still tired. Still got too much work to do. Still wondering what I’m working on next. Still don’t know what to get my dad for his birthday. All the things in my head. Plus I want to read my book. And be healthy enough to go to the gym. Ugh. One thing at a time…well…unless I can do two.