Eyes Burn with Stinging Sweat*

So the training is done…I’ve spent three days (that’s it!) staring at this in the morning and afternoon…

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I don’t do freeways and traffic for my job any more. I did it for many years, until I was lucky enough to get a job just down the street. I don’t really enjoy it. OK, no one enjoys it. I’ll be doing it again this morning to try to get my car window fixed, but that’s it…until I get called to jury duty downtown. Ugh. OK. Not thinking about that.

I spent all day for three days staring at this…two notebooks, a million highlighters and post-it notes, a computer, a phone, a poor desperate apple that was all bruised and beaten and will come home to go in my compost. I might eat part of it, but mostly not. Plus caffeine. Oh god yes, caffeine. And some people.

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What do I know after all that training? That I am woefully unprepared for the test portion of certification, but that’s fixable. That I’m not starting in 2019. I mean, I might start studying and collecting stuff in 2019, but I won’t start the official process until 2020 at the earliest. I need my district to pay for it and I need to not have to come home some nights and work another job. Yes, I bid on a copyediting job last night. Because I need the money. Let’s hope I don’t have to do it at the same time as jury duty.

It was almost 8 PM when I finished. The moon was out. It was way prettier than this picture can ever show. I miss my old cameras that recorded more than the phone does.

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So after I went and got my annual eye exam, came back and did a sample edit and wrote a bid, and ate dinner and only embellished 2 balls instead of 3…then I numbered the two drawings. Mind you, these are only 5×6″. This one had 90 pieces and the other had 39. Still not small or easy. But they jumped the line because they’re due the end of July…

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Then I traced the Wonder Under for each…it took about 30 minutes to do this more complicated one…

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And about 10 minutes for this one.

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Not bad. I need to trim the Wonder Under today, but then I really need to finish the other two things that are in my studio before I do any more on these two. Luckily those shouldn’t take long. As long as no more crazy shit appears in my inbox or hits my car or gets rescheduled. Seriously. The good news is that my eyes are fine. I didn’t even need new glasses yet. That’s a plus. I’m hoping the car window thing is easily solved (I don’t have a lot of faith in it this morning…men who think they know how women are always wrong…that shit) and I can do the errands I need to do and maybe just stitch this afternoon at my friend’s house, which is what’s on the calendar. I might need a nap. I’m so tired this morning. I’m sleeping in tomorrow. It has been mandated. Someone needs to explain it to the animals so there are no interruptions. Who am I kidding? You know there will be interruptions.

Trying not to assume the worst with the Supreme Court…or with the Janus decision. Politics, man. It’s so hard because you can’t put your head in the sand and ignore it all…that’s what they want. So you have to let it into your head and let the possibilities fester. Like what kind of dumbassery will we have to deal with next?

That’s when I turn to making art. It helps. Not with the lack of sleep, but with the feeling of helplessness this administration has made so pervasive. My faith in humanity is being severely tested.

*Alice in Chains, Rooster

Need to Be Out of Here

Well. I need caffeine delivery at my training. They are nice. They feed us lunch. They bring us snacks and extension cords that don’t have a third prong hole. There’s plenty of water. We can pee whenever we want (trust me, for teachers, that’s a major issue)…but there’s no coffee or tea and the day was long. I don’t sit for that long normally either…like unless I’m on a plane. They had us stand up a few times, but I need a long walk and more caffeine. I’m even willing to bring my own milk and tea bags, if they’ll just give us hot water.

So if you’ve never heard of National Board Certification for teachers, it’s not an easy process. In fact, it’s a monstrous pain in the ass…but doable. And I think it’s useful…not only as a way to focus on how one teaches and picks resources and handles assessment and feedback and differentiation (which is hard), but also to protect teachers from crazy administrators (they’re out there, along with the crazy teachers and the crazy parents). They talk about creating teacher leaders, which kinda cracks me up as I look around the room…there’s some crazy people like me in there, and then some high achievers (English, we’re looking at you), and some who had no idea what they were in for, but it does take all kinds. The teacher leaders I’ve dealt the best with are those who work hard, think about kids and curriculum all the time, reflect all the time, and are willing to share information. Science doesn’t attract a lot of teachers who like to follow rules, I’ve found…there were only two other science teachers there, and I’m betting one doesn’t show up at all today and the other one is only going to show up because she thinks I might be able to help her. And I might.

Anyway, today will be longer. And harder. And I need to find caffeine. Or another thermos.

What else did I get done yesterday? Not much. I watched the window fall out even more…

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Fixing it Thursday.

I sewed Pekinese stitch on three balls. THREE.

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And then I ironed. Eventually. It was late.

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The face…I ironed the teacup separately, same with the leaves…the snake, I did right on the hair. I don’t worry too much about being exactly in the right place for that. It’s not overlapping anything it needs to cover.

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The camera and the eye were separate…easier to see where the pieces need to be when I do it that way…

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Then onto the face. Cool. I like it.

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She’s really pale…which means she’ll pop on a dark background.

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I’m almost done with the ironing of the bits. I wanted to be done last night, but I got home and was tired and tried to deal with some stuff, entering a show, finding an old poem for a show…now I need to make the art to go with it, because I committed to that show. Whoops! Nah, it’s OK. I have to do two small pieces by the end of July too. I cut out some small pieces of paper to take to my training, in case I feel like drawing, but that’s hard to do with total strangers sitting next to you and watching everything you do. Plus I don’t know what to do on such small pieces. The big drawing is still sitting on the light table, waiting for me to start something…anything.

But I was in bed around midnight, because I knew I had to get up even earlier this morning…gotta fight traffic. If I get called on jury duty, it’s downtown. Talk about fighting traffic. Ugh. Not looking forward to that. I need lots of sleep over summer break…to make up for how little I sleep during the school year.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll finish ironing tonight, maybe even get it ironed to the background? I only have about 60 pieces to go, if that. And they’re big and easy…no fussy little face parts. Then I’ll have to finish quilting the other one so I can do stitch down on this. That won’t take long…but it will take SOME time. This week is so packed.

There was a video made of the Things That Matter Preview Exhibit…my quilt and I are in it…this exhibit is up at Visions Art Museum through July 8…and then the full exhibit will be in Chandler, Arizona, in November.

I don’t think I’ll be able to make that opening…pretty sure I’ll be hanging with the girlchild in Boston…but I hope I’ll see the full exhibit at some point.

OK, need to be out of here…in so many ways…

Too Much Water Damage

This week is tired. I’m pretty sure I thought yesterday was Wednesday, which would make today Thursday, but you know it’s not. Tuesday inserted itself rudely back into the week, refusing to be ignored. Damn you, Tuesday. So now it’s Wednesday and there are two more meetings today which makes it long and tiring. Plus, let’s be completely honest here, I’ve stayed up too late two nights (or more) in a row, trying to get the Wonder Under traced. That said, even going to bed late, I find it hard to fall asleep…my brain is racing, stressed, on overdrive, wants to read my book, wants to work on the quilt, wants to do anything but slow down and relax and rest and rejuvenate. Bad brain.

Yesterday’s afterschool meeting was about National Board certification…something I’ve been considering. I need to get my district to pay for it, though. I love that the only professional development that might actually be useful for me is something I have to pay for myself…all the stuff they force me to go to is mostly useless. Sigh. So it was an interesting meeting…we’ll see if I decide to do that. It might be best to wait a year, until I don’t have to work three jobs to pay for college. Being one kid down in that respect is not necessarily helpful…the boychild had more grant money, so his payment was pretty small…in fact, we haven’t paid anything this year out of pocket…it all came out of the college money we started saving when he was a baby. That was nice. Maybe the girlchild’s will be similar. Going into the 5th year of college payments is hard…there’s nothing left. (Who am I kidding? There was nothing left after the second year.)

Then I came home and soaked my very-much-not-infected (well, at the moment) foot. They still have me on antibiotics until the culture comes back…one of the wonders of diabetes…the fear of foot injuries. I was multi-tasking…reading my book (that’s due in 3 days) while soaking. Of course. And then! I’m a character in the book!

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So far, I’m kind of a lame character…but I’ll take it. Might be a true representation of the Nida character right there in the second-to-last sentence.

Then right back to this, because when I stopped Monday night, there were only about 230 pieces to go. And that’s doable in one night.

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Well, it’s probably more doable when you start earlier, because it was well after midnight when I was done. Piece 1000 is in there, but honestly, last night, there were at least 3 numbers that were used twice and at least 4 pieces that weren’t numbered, so who knows what I’m really at. Somewhere AROUND 1000.

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It took about 10 1/2 hours…not bad…almost exactly an hour per 100 pieces. I was on a roll! That’s 10 episodes of Agents of SHIELD too. I think. I must have watched something else too, because I still have quite a few episodes in there.

I spread out all the Wonder Under…it’s about 3 1/2 yards’ worth. Covers the light table and more…

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Next comes about 7 hours or so of sitting on the couch and cutting them apart. Oh yeah, I never found two numbers on the drawing…so either they were hiding completely (sometimes I number illogically) or they never existed. The human brain is a messed-up device. Too much water damage.

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Meeting this morning with the science department; after school, with any parents who want to see our sex ed program before we start teaching it. Yes! It’s almost THAT time of year. Oh boy. Seriously, they might wake up and pay attention…I’d be good with that.

If you want a copy of the catalog for the Things That Matter traveling exhibit, it’s available now on Amazon right here. All the quilt statements are in there too, which is nice. I still haven’t had a chance to read them all.


With that, I’m going to go deal with some other things that matter…