Stapled

Well here we are. Back in. The saddle. School. Meetings and prep today and tomorrow, kids on Wednesday. So incredibly not ready. I would be much more ready if I only had one grade level this year, but that’s not happening. I spent 5 hours over the weekend just finding and trying to make sense of my bulletin boards (gotta get two grade levels up on the wall). It’s all about the staples…

I’ve had to move everything so far to get room for an additional 6-7 units (IDK even how many units I’ll be teaching because I can’t get that far ahead right now). Which means I unstapled everything and then stapled it back up in a different place. It’s all about the staples getting picked up by something other than my feet. Today I have meetings all morning and then this afternoon and most of tomorrow to prep for realz. We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s what 2500 people at a school district conference looks like…

Actually, that picture was probably less than 2500…I didn’t take a photo of the actual conference room (ballroom) we were in (this was breakfast), but it was a lot. Wore a mask. I don’t want to be sick for the first week of school. Was it worthwhile? Eh. Some camaraderie, sure, but we could have done that in a smaller group. One speaker was interesting (because he was funny). The rest? I’d rather be setting my room up. The reason I had to go in over the weekend was because normally they do about 90 minutes on Friday and then we get the rest of the day to prep. We didn’t get that. So that sucks. That’s tone deaf, honestly. But it’s done.

I’m still proofreading. SO CLOSE TO DONE. Hopefully today, although today is kind of a mess. Maybe tomorrow.

I’m also still ironing. I did NOT meet my goal of finishing the ironing this weekend…maybe if I hadn’t had to go in to school over the weekend. And yes, sure, I could have NOT done that and tried to get boards up once school starts, but using last year as an example? I never did it. Never had the time. This year will be similar with two different classes. I will never have time. So I did that. For my sanity. This is Friday night’s progress on the piles of fabric and pieces…

On Saturday, I focused on the main figure, so here’s what she looks like when I’m picking fabrics…

Although I forgot to do the head. Whoops. This is what one fabric of that run looks like…

Not much left of that one after this gets cut out. Which is fine. There is always more fabric.

Saturday night’s final count on the piles…

When I pick the fabrics for the flesh, I lay out all the other pieces too (bones, heart, lungs, hair, etc), but they don’t get ironed down right away. Fleshy bits first, then the rest, which can take a while…

Each pile is some discrete object on the quilt…there’s a pile of arm hair, a needle and some thread, some fingernails. I know those because I ironed them last night…

Still ironing those, honestly. Will be tonight as well. I have no idea how far along I am. I’ve pulled flesh through the 900s, but haven’t ironed all the missing bits in there, back to the 200s, I think. Maybe the 300s. Quite a bit to go. Revised goal? Work as fast as fucking possible this week.

Kitten loves it when I leave these drawers open for her…

She’s still not eating much, but seems perky enough. Comes out for her meds anyway. Wants pets. Still eating pine needles, because that’s a thing. If I could make her food smell like that, maybe she’d eat more of it? Or is it the long stringy stick-like-ness of it? Who knows.

Oh yeah, I drew (and read my book) at the district conference. It made it more bearable…

Too many people. Even if there wasn’t COVID, I wouldn’t have enjoyed being in a space like that with that many people. Lots of bugs in the drawing though.

OK, need to get going, wake up, ready for a meeting with a lot more people, then a smaller meeting, then lunch out (because we don’t get to do that during the school year), then work my ass off in the classroom. I went up and down off the counters about a million times in the last two days, mostly thinking that the next time I’d have to do this…well, I could do it every year, but I’d rather not. So maybe this is it? I spent a lot of time telling myself to be careful and not fall off anything. Oh yeah, and the boards aren’t anywhere near done…I’m missing all the vocab and posters and big ideas and essential questions. For 8th grade, those will get filled in all year, because they flat-out don’t exist yet. So there’s that. Knowing that.

One of the baby owls keeps coming back and hanging out in that tree outside my office window at night. Screeches occasionally. I talk to it. Say hi, how are you, thanks for coming back. Probably it’s coming back for our mouse/rat population (which it is welcome to eat), not for my dulcet tones. I haven’t named it yet. Betty? Betty the Barn Owl? Eh.

Most important part of today…send a thought out to Simba…he’s being left alone all day for the first time in a long time.

Poor pup. OK. Wish me luck for the 2022-2023 school year. I think this is my 20th year teaching? Something like that. Or my 20th starts in February, because I was a mid-year start. Yup. Either way, it’s a lot.

The Right Headspace…

I’m up early. First day of training today. Training? I’ve spent a lot of mental space being irritated at needing 12 hours of training about teaching sex ed after 20 years of teaching it. And Friday’s ginormous conference when I really need time in my classroom. It doesn’t matter if I fret over it…I still have to do it, although one of my co-teachers yesterday suggested we take a sick day on Friday to miss the conference and then spend it in our classrooms, setting up, as a protest. Yeah. It would be a better use of my time. That said, I will have to spend some time at school this weekend, no matter what, so I’m getting my head around that as well. It will be air conditioned, unlike my house, so that will be the plus. Supposed to be hot this weekend…and today. Ugh. OK. Air conditioning today, as well, but also stuck in a chair for 6 hours, being fed unknown food (one of the things I dislike as a diabetic…not knowing where my next meal comes from or what it is), probably gonna have to do some role playing, so not in the mood. Such a positive attitude! I love the kid-learning part of my job. There are some parts I really dislike: multiple-day group trainings that are redundant, team-building exercises, rah-rah stuff that is supposed to get me all excited. Give me time to get ready. Give me the mental space for that. Introverts teach too, y’all.

Anyway. I’m also mourning the lack of time to make art that is coming as well. I will be glad to get paid though…which doesn’t happen for three more weeks. It’s been a financially long summer and I’m ready for that to ease up. The Man got a job! This should also help with money worries, significantly. All good. He hasn’t actually walked out the door and driven there yet and spent all day working and come back, but this is happening! So glad.

So my summer to-do list was crap. Well, I didn’t do much of it, for sure. Some summers I rock; some I don’t. To my credit, I did two book jobs this summer, one copyediting and one I’m still proofreading (almost done). So that didn’t help. I’m still trudging along on the new quilt, hoping I can meet the deadline (ironing when it’s hot out is difficult). The first thing I did was clean up. I forgot to take the requisite picture of all the fabric I needed to put away, piled up by color. But I did that. AND I cleaned the floor in here (that won’t happen again until probably Winter Break, realistically). And then I cleared out the Pile of Lost Pieces…

These are either pieces I lost and had already recut (they were put in the wrong bin, probably) or recut for color reasons (the little person shape and the big one at the bottom…both out of the wrong fabric color). I save them, just in case…but really, what for? So I cleaned that out.

Throwing things away is not my strong point. I also cleaned up the top of the washing machine, which had become a repository for shit, including all the big dog’s stuff from when she died in November (teaching kicks your ass cleaning-house-wise, man).

Then I sorted all the pieces after dinner…

Took me about an hour and a half.

Then I hung the drawing in my studio and set it up for ironing…

It’s not a large room and there are three tables and three bookshelves in here, not to mention lots of fabric storage. It’s a tight fit sometimes.

I started ironing to fabric on Monday night…

Honestly, it’s been a slow start…probably because I’m starting with three people and they all have a different run of fabric, which is a lot of choosing and making sense in the beginning. It takes me a while to get in the right headspace to pick fabrics.

Last night, I got through most of the three figures…just some eyeballs (missing one iris piece) and hair to go, and then I move on to the water, I think. There might be some fleshy bits on the big figure first. I won’t get to that until after dinner tonight, unfortunately. My goal is to be completely ironed by the end of this weekend. IDK if I can get there. It’s really hard to iron during the day when it’s hot in here. I get dizzy sometimes…there’s not a lot of air flow in here, so then I have to go sit under a fan (I run a fan in here but below the ironing board because otherwise the Wonder Under pieces would be flying all over, like a WU tornado, which would be problematic for losing pieces) and drink cold water and basically act like a fainting woman from Victorian times, but without a corset and big petticoats. I’m having an issue wearing pants and a bra today for the training…it’s too hot here for that level of clothing right now. I’ve been living in shorts and tank tops and that’s about it.

Ah well. I will iron tonight and it will be cooler then. I will also get rid of the hot clothing by then.

Monday night, we were visited by a beautiful moth…Kitten was fascinated…

So fascinated, she got her claw stuck in the screen. I think one of the other cats might have gone THROUGH the screen if they’d seen that.

And then last night, one of my babies came back to visit me!

The tree outside my studio. How do I know it’s one of the babies? Vocalizations are still very juvenile-like, feed-me sounds, instead of the single screech we get out of the parents. Also, it froze when I went out there. The adults just fly away. I was so happy to see it. I talked to it. It hung out for a while, because it was still out there, screeching away, when I went to bed. Big smiles. I know one is OK. (I also know it didn’t come back to see me…it’s OK…I’m probably pretty terrifying to a young owl.)

Got this picture from the boychild from last week’s fire near Yosemite…

He’s down near the bottom. That is one nasty slope. Glad it’s him and not me. I just deal with teenagers (and today, adults).

OK. So ‘learn’ sex ed today (I’ll let you know what’s changed since 7 years ago, the last training…actually, I don’t even think it’s been that long), go to an exercise class, I stupidly signed up to cook tonight (well I have to do it sometime), then ironing more body parts. All good. I think I get to do the Statue of Liberty next. I did her torch already. Will adjust mindset as I go.

Space for My Self…

I have two days of summer left. Then hours of training and prep and then we teach. We teach a lot. Not ready. Never ready. I think I could finally be in my classroom tomorrow. Maybe. But that would mean spending the last day of summer in there, and that seems like a bad plan mentally. Some wonder why I keep doing a job that causes so much stress; I probably don’t write enough about the amazing stuff, the thinking and learning and aha moments that happen in the classroom. The kids…the ones you get to, not the ones that drive you bonkers (although sometimes those end up being the same kids). Also, I hate to be bored, and it’s hard to be bored in this job, unless you’re in a staff meeting or professional development…sad, but true that those are mostly boring. I got through all four hours of online training. Also boring. Very repetitive and some of the questions are badly written. But it’s done. This week is two days of sex-ed training (yeah, really) and one day of district-wide meeting (ugh, lots of rah rah and whatever they think is important…last year was a hotel owner trying to tell us how to treat our customers…kind of irrelevant, but they hammered it all year, so I guess they thought it was important). I don’t mind an inspirational speaker…sometimes they are…I worry about the additional focus/work they want to throw at us. I don’t have it in me. My fault for working a goodly chunk of the summer…I had to, to pay the bills.

Anyway. It’s a start. Stop worrying about it and just do it. Find space for my self in between the work. That’s always the biggest challenge.

It’s been hot here, so quiltmaking has required a fan. I finished tracing the Wonder Under on Friday…

No help from Kitten there. Eight yards of Wonder Under approximately…

Almost 19 hours of tracing. Then I went to watch the Man play a show at the park…

Lots of little kids dancing, which is always funny to watch…

I drew a little…

I think there’s another drawing too. Didn’t take a picture of it.

Then Saturday, I started cutting out the Wonder Under…

I started at my quilt guild meeting, then came home and sat myself down with a fan blowing directly on me and started cutting. Bingewatching too.

The Man and I took a break; we’re dining out at fast-food restaurants until he gets a job (this was a particularly expensive fast-food place, if you ask me), but there was a lovely sunset going on…

Not sure I’d go back for the food though. It was OK, but expensive.

I cut a lot over the weekend…in fact, I cut all of it out in 9 hours and 20 minutes.

Later today, I’ll sort it into boxes by 100s, clean my office so I have room to start ironing, and then start picking fabrics. My goal is to have it all picked this week and hopefully start cutting. It should be about 18-20 hours to pick fabrics, so having three days of training and meetings is not particularly helpful. I hate sitting through meetings without something to do with my hands. It helps me think…but teacher trainers tend to think we’re not paying attention if we’re drawing or stitching or knitting or whatever. Which is idiotic. But hey, whatever. So I’ll need to get all that done AROUND the training stuff. PLUS get my room set up. Ha! There’s not much time for that next week. We have two days to prep, which would be enough if I didn’t have multiple meetings and an orientation (that’s new) that I have to attend. So probably I will need to go in over the weekend. Unpaid. We’ll see.

I’m also trying to finish the proofreading; I finished one readthrough and a check for headings, so now I’m on the second readthrough, which should be faster. I want it done before we go back to school. I’m motivated.

I got the photos back for the most recent piece, titled The Way Out

And found out last night it will be at the PHES Gallery as part of the Feminist Image Group’s exhibit Portals, opening September 11. The opening will be 2-5 PM on the 11th; hope to see you there. (51 ¼” w x 80 ½” h, $5997)

It’s nice to make something for a show and have it get in. So often, it doesn’t, which is fine…then I still have a piece I can show elsewhere. But it’s nice when it works.

Lots of cat action…best use of the exercise bike at the moment…

Kitten turned 14 last Thursday. She goes to the vet today for more tests. We have a definite gastro issue, but hopefully can just medicate. Been trying to keep her on food she doesn’t really like with a baby appetite.

I’m not sure the heat helps. She sleeps a lot. But she still races around sometimes like the kittens (who are going to be three this September and are definitely not kittens any more).

Nova begging for pets.

Her sister doesn’t like her any more for some reason. Sigh. Ah well. They all know how to get attention from us.

In barn owl news, the babies are gone…totally all of a sudden. On Thursday night, they were squawking out there all night like normal, and then Friday night, there was nothing. Saturday night, we heard a few screeches, but adult sounds, not the babies. Same with last night. I read online that the parents often chase them out, especially mom, when they are old enough to get food on their own. I’m hoping that’s what happened and not that a neighbor got annoyed and did something. It’s so weird…having seen and heard them so many nights to suddenly have them gone. I’m kind of verklempt. The last videos we have look like the adult checking inside the owl box (which I never saw the kidlets go in and out of) and swooping around. The night before, kids doing all the things.

OK, maybe a lot verklempt. Miss those annoying squawkers. In November or December, we’ll pull the box down and clean it out. Then hope for someone to come back next year…they should.

Right now, I’m locked in my office with Kitten and Simba while the Man does some online interviews. It’s warm in here and I need breakfast and a shower. Plus some proofreading time. I may just wait until he gets through all his stuff. I think there’s a phone interview after this. Stressful for all of us. Well, except Kitten. She’s sleeping through it all. So proofread…then clean in here. Then sort all the Wonder Under, pick a background fabric, and start ironing. Somewhere in there, go to the vet, plus make dinner. Not bad for a summer day.

So Much Quilting…

Well I sort of slept in today. After two mornings of regular work-time wakeups. When I put the pillow over my head, I can apparently drown out a lot of things that would normally wake me up. I don’t feel more awake though…I feel sort of braindead. Which maybe I am. Monday, I spent a lot of time working on science for the upcoming school year, and I have a hard time turning that off. But we have a healthy start to what will be an interesting clusterfuck of a year. I’m working with some good people though, so hopefully that helps. Makes my stomach tighten in uncomfortable ways, though. I still remember last year, two preps, no common prep with my science co-teacher. It’s hard. She’s really good about not bringing work home with her. I don’t know how she does it…I certainly haven’t been able to. I think a lot of the hard part with two different preps is that you have to switch your brain between the two and it’s almost twice the work. I have fewer things to grade for each class type, but the switch between doing this class type to that class type is hard. At least this year they will both be science? I don’t know if that helps. Art and science was hard, for sure. But we will not have a block schedule this year and every day will be the same schedule, unlike last year’s insane rotation where I had no idea what I was doing each day. Advisory, Science block 1, Art, Science block 2. It was hell. So none of that shit this year. PRO! Cons may bury me, but for now, I’m hoping for a planning prep with both science grade levels (unlikely) and my 7th-grade science classes fully separated from 8th grade so I don’t have to bounce back and forth between the two. Knock on wood. I don’t think that’s likely either, but I’m hoping. Also either early lunch or a morning prep. For the diabetes. I don’t ask for much, do I? Sigh.

So what am I doing today? Another science meeting. I know. Sigh. But this is with friends from other schools in the district, one who has taught 8th grade with the new curriculum and will hopefully give me some serious insight.

What else am I doing today? Well I have a quilt that needs to be done by Saturday for my photographer. Yeah. I know. But I’m doing OK on it. I’ve been putting in a few hours a day…

In fact, I’m almost done with the outline quilting…just have the two guys on the right there, the cloud, and a bunch of bombs on the other side. Then I can do the background quilting hopefully tonight and tomorrow morning, buy some binding (I might have some that works, but probably not enough), put it on, and then get it done. It’s totally doable. Even though it will be in the high 90s today and I have to put two fans on me to sit in this room when it’s hot. It’s fine. I just sweat.

I do prefer quilting at night for all those reasons, and this quilt is not as dark a blue as I normally use, so I can actually see to quilt at night. What a concept.

I also spent about 5 hours plus at my mom’s yesterday trying to figure out the short-arm and get it working right so I can quilt this bed quilt. We practiced a lot…

Then after lunch, finally got the actual quilt on the machine…

Not a quiet and calm quilt at all. I know. The Man says it looks like a kid’s quilt. I’m OK with that. I’m not trying to impress anyone with the quilt on my bed.

I think we figured it’s taken about 8 hours to get to this point, where there are two rows done and they’re not quite nested appropriately.

I’m also OK with that. I did some math, and based on this rate (not the 8 hours, but the 12 minutes to do each row, which doesn’t count trying to figure out where to put the next one), it will take about 8 hours of quilting for this to get done. So here’s my plan. Get the current art quilt to the binding stage, then do the handsewing portion of the binding during the 12 minutes that each bed quilt row is stitching out. While watching for breaks. It’ll be interesting, but I think I can do it. So that’s Thursday/Friday? Maybe? I don’t know. At least it will be done. I’m not sure I would use a short-arm again. I’ve tried a long-arm and they don’t really work for my art quilts. I guess if I ever did another large bed quilt, I’d do this? Or hire someone, because they’d be more efficient and they deserve every penny.

Katie wanted pets while I was at Mom’s…

She will be with us in September/October when my parents are traveling. She’s a good girl, but sheds a lot, talks a lot, and bugs the cats. Plus she’s awfully fat right now. But we love her.

Yesterday, the boychild noticed Kitten hunting in the Crocs (we have a pile of them in the hallway for outdoor and standing work). After he left, she moved into hunting in the hallway, where I figured out the prey…and saved it, minus the tail…

It is always lizard-saving season in this house.

Simba had to have his teeth cleaned yesterday. He was a little out of it when I picked him up…

Very droolio. He has horrible teeth despite everything we do to help him, so it’s easier and probably cheaper in the long run to just have them cleaned every year. Big expense for the month I don’t get a paycheck though.

I compost my kitchen waste. I use that compost in my yard. This is a compost tomato growing among the milkweed seedlings that I planted over a year ago.

Don’t know what kind of tomato it is…doesn’t look like a Roma, too big for a cherry? Might be whatever the standard grocery store tomato is. Looking forward to seeing them all grow. Probably they will be stolen by raccoons…which is what usually happens.

Last but not least, this is horrifying…but I had to fact check it.

I found this as an interesting summary of how it could be calculated over 20 years…and I also found this

No matter how you look at it, the US has a problem with guns. And there is a solution to that. Certainly, I didn’t sign up to be a target to protect my students. And I will protect my students. Because we care about them even when they drive us bonkers. They’re children. They shouldn’t even have to think about this at school. School should be the safe place for those who don’t have that elsewhere, yeah? Anyway. There’s that.

So I need to go make and freeze a big batch of pancakes (it’s been a while), then shower, then hopefully quilt a bit before going to the science meeting, come back, do Pilates, cook dinner, then quilt some more. Busy day. Damn. Needed to put some yardwork in there; don’t think that’s happening. Oh well. It’ll get done eventually. I’ll leave you with the three juvenile (and loud…the neighbors finally commented) owls…I think only one is really hanging out here still. The others seem to be branching further out. Which is good and what they’re supposed to do.

Just like all teenagers.

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.

A Place in the World

Still here, still trying to find a place in the world. I realize for many that the US has never had a place for them. As an educated white female, I always had a place…not a great one, not an equal one, but better than many. We were never 1st-class citizens. And now it is worse. Depressing and worse.

What do we do? Ah well, that is always the question…

There’s that. There’s making art, donating money (when I have it, which isn’t now), writing postcards, protests…

When I can handle them, marches, figuring out how to get rid of half the Supreme Court without violence, voting, persuading others to vote. Sigh. I remember in college locking arms with others in front of women’s health clinics to keep the anti-abortionists from harassing women coming into the clinics. It was the era of bombing clinics, but no part of me considered that. Youth. But I did think about that when I was at the vigil on Friday night. People will die. Many of them will be women who aren’t allowed to get healthcare they need or who find it unsafely, illegally. Women will die. For this shit. Ignorance. Unscientific ignorance.

Still processing all of that.

Meanwhile, there was an artist event at the California Fibers’ show at Visions this weekend. I’ll post more about that on their website and link it here later this week.

They all had better clothes than me…not hard really.

The show is up through July 2…you should go check it out. It’s a wide variety of textile art.

I’m still ironing stuff down and cutting things out…

I’m getting close to done with the ironing…

I’m almost done with the 800s, so maybe 250 pieces left? Or less?

Nowhere near done with the cutting out unfortunately. Getting there. Although now this competes with copyediting, which started Friday and will hopefully be done this week. After this morning’s science meeting. I take breaks in between copyediting to go beat my yard or house into submission. Copyediting means I must be supervised…

She’s not very helpful.

I am trying to finish up some embroideries/small quilts to put on Etsy. I got these done on Thursday…

I’ll let you know when I’ve had time to put them on Etsy…

I might rephotograph too…ugh…

I know I’m trying to do too much. That is always the case though.

Oh yeah, baby owl…see the little white bit in the hole? That’s one of the babies!

That’s the best photo I’ve gotten, though. They hide when I come up further into the yard. Getting brave though!

OK. Science meeting, then copyedit, then more yardwork. Finish my book before it’s sent back to the library. Try not to burn down the country while I’m at it. Huh. Maybe.

School Dreams…

It doesn’t feel like the last day of school before Spring Break…well, except for the school-related dreams. Hate those. Like I don’t already spend enough time at school…I shouldn’t have to go there when I sleep. Yesterday I worked a million hours, trying to get through a good chunk of the planning and grading I have so I don’t have to think about it until the weekend before I go back. I leave tonight for Boston; I’m mostly packed. I will leave 100-degree temperatures here and go to a morning low of 46 degrees, feels like 34. Hard to dress for that. We have a field trip today and I had nightmares about that. Some kid requires coping strategies that are over a page long? Maybe a parent should come? Instead of putting that on me? I don’t just have one kid to watch out for. Whatever. Hopefully once we get on buses, it won’t be too bad. Knock on wood. Then teach two classes after the trip (that’s always exhausting…here! Keep teaching!), then make sure the classroom is ready to be cleaned, then get outta here. I’m lucky to have 2 weeks off.

All the grading and packing really ate into my artmaking time last night. I spent the 45 minutes I had available entering an opportunity that came up, so I’m OK with that, but it’s hard to take pictures of me resizing photos and submitting them. Not very interesting to look at.

I did a bunch of stitchdown on Wednesday night, though, a couple of hours, I think.

It’s not hard. It’s just time-consuming. I might get some done tonight before I leave. Maybe.

Kitten needed her belly shaved for an ultrasound. She’s OK. We’re hoping the new food helps so I don’t have to try to get another pill down her throat every day. I finished stitching down the whole bottom section and am up in the arms. Maybe more than a fifth. But the deadline I have is probably a no go. We’ll see. I always have hope. Might be very misguided hope, but it is hope nonetheless.

This is very true.

I had one last night who aced the assignment, but only because I accepted the word “pacific” instead of “specific”. She wrote it about 5 times, but everything else was spot on. She’s an amazing kid and English is obviously not her first language. I remember handing homework assignments to my sister-in-law (also a teacher, although not full-time any more) once and her slogging through them…someone who actually had experience with teaching, but she was thrown by the levels we deal with. It’s exhausting. All of it. The adults and the district are even more so, honestly. So I’m glad to leave it behind for some time and take a break.

Sigh. Looking forward to reading books and stitching and drawing and hiking and sleeping.

The owls are still here…

I’m hoping I don’t miss anything over the next two weeks. No babies until I get back!

OK, wish me luck. It’s a busy day. Hopefully I sleep on the plane. Hopefully the plane gets there. It’s already delayed, but I should show up at the original time because they don’t want it to be delayed? Whatever. Kitten is hanging out here by the computer…the Man might have a job, but in Kennedy Meadows. That’s a big sigh. On so many levels. Going to school to get everything done.

Trying to Stabilize…

Struggled to sleep last night. School…the district…the dumbassery of nuclear weapons. Hey, let’s destroy the Earth so we WIN! I am disheartened this morning. I’ve had some good news lately; hopefully more on that in a little bit. I’ve also had a pile of disappointing news about school and some downright stressful news about Kitten. The latter is going to cost money…of course…the one thing I’m really stressing about at the moment. I am going to try to come home and walk tonight…and hike tomorrow, although the man has a show and I have a shit-ton of work on all sides to get through. I’m trying not to panic about that…one thing at a time. Go to school and do the things there first. Come home and walk somewhere.

I have been ironing more at night. Perhaps I should have done some of my taxes last night instead of ironing for 3+ hours, but I had a stitching meeting, so I can’t do taxes during that, and trying to do them after 9 PM seems dangerously close to making lots of mistakes. So I chose art.

The mule deer after the lizard…

Oh yeah, and that hare…

And a bobcat. Stitching will make them stand out.

Got the whole bottom put together on Wednesday night.

Then last night, I tried to do the sky. The plan was to just iron the whole thing, but ironing up both sides and trying to keep the bottom aligned when it’s wider than the ironing board was becoming a major (frustrating) issue). So I skipped half of the 400s and went into the 500s, figuring if I got the torso between the sides ironed, it would stabilize the two sides and let me continue up.

It’s still a bit wibbly wobbly though. I did all the 500s, which were mostly snake and spider details, plus rocky ribs…and now I’m thinking I should do the arms first and just get this section done, and then continue up. So that means putting the rest of the 400s back in a box so I have room to pull the 600s.

Meanwhile, I need to do my taxes…but here’s the whole chaotic thing right now.

Yup. That’s chaos. More tonight. More tomorrow. I don’t know if I can finish this before Spring Break, and I’m gone for most of that. Hopefully. If we can afford to even do the trip. Ugh. Sigh. I need to get out of here, but I also need to be able to pay the bills. And be sane. Whatever that is right now. Tenuous place. It is Friday, though.

And we have owl videos…

We moved the camera so we could see the entrance better. There must be eggs in there, possibly even babies, although it might be too soon for that. Mostly we see one owl, but occasionally both.

There’s lots of swooping we hear in the yard. Sorry bunnies. Not sorry rats.

I hope we get good baby pictures.

So I need to go to school. I know some of the news is gonna hit today. I will get an answer (probably not one I like) about one of the others probably today. I will get through the curriculum and try not to feel completely disheartened by all of it. I’ll try not to think about war and nukes for at least a few hours. I know I will get exercise and ironing tonight. And I will have some socializing tomorrow in between all the taxes and other stuff. I have a home. The bathrooms are mostly clean (thanks to the Man). I don’t have to cook tonight (also thanks to the Man). I can make art because no one is currently bombing my country. There are owls in my yard taking care of babies. These are good things.

Juggling…

It’s been a busy weekend…did a ton of grading and schoolwork-like stuff, made it to a quilt meeting, cut out a bunch of pieces, ironed some more, hiked for a bit, drove to a closing reception, sold a quilt (that was fun)…still not done with grading…or ironing…or cutting things out. But I have money to pay for the septic fix now (yay!) and the current quilt in progress is further along, and I should be able to finish grades today, one hopes, because they are due tomorrow.

Meanwhile, acknowledging Ukrainians trying to escape war and/or save their country from invasion while Russia behaves like a big asshole. So there’s that. On my mind, always. I have a newswatcher in the house, so even though I am gone for hours on end, I will get the summary at the end of the day. It doesn’t seem like it will end well. Certainly it has already ended badly for many. Sigh.

Meanwhile, here in San Diego, I ironed a little on Friday night, exhausted…

I’m in the 1000s…getting close. I got home late, because I stayed at school to grade all the art assignments and set up for today. Today’s Kathy appreciates that I did that, but Friday’s Kathy was pretty tired when she got home well after 5 pm. Owl box at sunset…

We’ve been having camera issues. It’s currently charging in here and will go back out this afternoon, if I remember. Simba demanded some play time when I got home too…

Saturday, I had my quilt meeting…nice to hang out and do art things in person. I took pieces to cut out, because I had a huge pile of them and it seemed to make sense. Then I ironed some in the afternoon after we hiked…it was cold out there and rained on us a little bit…

I guess ironing continued into the evening…

Still very green and brown. Which is OK…

We watched a movie with dinner. After the quilt meeting and the movie, I had this many pieces cut out…

The top box is cut. The bottom is not. There are still a ton in the other box that need cutting. Last night, I managed a whopping 29 minutes of ironing…

I think I ironed a rock and a chuckwalla. Getting closer to done.

And I sold a quilt! One of my favorites, but I think once I make them, I don’t need to own them.

They seem to really like the piece…I hope they enjoy her. The California Center for the Arts show is now closed; I brought home the other two pieces. There’s still one of mine at Visions Art Museum, and in April, there will be two more. I’m also going to be doing a Lightning Talk for the SAQA conference, so I’ll be working on that in the next few weeks…I thought I would have through the end of the month, but apparently not. Yikes. And I’m finishing up my copyediting job this week, as soon as I finish grades today. Deep breaths. Everything will get done. Everything will get paid for. I might even end up with some extra to put into savings. One can dream. Thanks to all who support artists though! We appreciate you.

What Color?

Still watching news of war abroad. Still wondering what Putin is thinking. I spend entirely too much time wondering what other people are thinking, not in a “I wonder what they are thinking” kinda way, but a “W.T.F. are they thinking???!!!” kinda way. I should work on that. Also, war quilt in my head. I am back to wondering when I will ever be sitting here thinking, “OMG, I can’t think of anything traumatic or troubling to put on a quilt. I should make a pretty landscape!” Not dissing the landscape people; y’all bring us peace and beauty when we need it. Actually, the quilt I’m working on IS a landscape…and it’s not about politics or war or climate change or any of that. It’s just about the desert landscape. So that’s a thing. The last quilt was hard on me. This one is too, but in a different “what freakin’ color is a cholla tree” kinda way.

So yeah, I’m in the 700s. Finally I can definitively say I am halfway. 18 hours in too. Did some yucca and some cactus on Monday night…

Then last night was the cholla tree and something else that I don’t remember…

Agave…and some grasses. This is super slow. But I’m halfway up one arm. So I’m getting there. I keep discovering more green fabrics that are useful in this quilt. You don’t want all the greens to be the same. I don’t anyway.

I am grading every night too…and last night, I made it to the gym, mostly to read my book (it’s a good one! John Scalsi’s Lock Out…really enjoying it.), but I’m also icing the right shoulder, dealing with tendonitis I think of the rotator cuff. That is painful. Hopefully it will get better if I let it rest and just do everything one-armed. Thus probably damaging the other shoulder. Aach. Getting old. At least my tendons are.

I have made the plan (again, for IDK how many years) to participate (as best I can) in #igquiltfest2022 and #marchmeetthemaker2022. They don’t match up, so that makes it exciting, yeah? Plus a lot of the maker stuff…I don’t really sell myself. I sell quilts, but not as a real business. I did have a conversation with a friend last night about trying to set it up as a hobby for last year and this year…made some money, could deduct some expenses. We’ll see. It might take more brain power than I can handle. A lot of the Quiltfest stuff doesn’t apply because I make art quilts…every one is scrappy, I don’t have favorite tips, blah blah blah. We’ll see how it goes. I might not have a ton of mental space for it. But it’s why I took a picture with the drawing for the most recent quilt. I think I’m gonna put a river in her face. Maybe.

Anyway, slow process at the moment, but I get an hour a night. Grading this weekend will slow down the art, then the copyediting, and then maybe I’ll get a break? Maybe? Hopefully?

Ugh. OK, well more labs at school today. Survived yesterday, only two table groups were totally incapable of listening. Wait. No. Three groups. Sigh. One more class group on that set of labs today, then the rest of the week is demos and watching and reading and writing. They fight the last two. It’s kinda torturous. I have kids who are capable and care and get it done, and they’re just sitting there with nothing to do, and I wish I had the energy to create and set up (and eventually clean up) an extra fun chemistry thing for them to do, but I don’t have that energy. I’ll pop it into the calendar for next year, although I’m hoping the block schedule will go away so I won’t have to deal with it. Ha! The district wants it; I don’t. It’s too long, 79 minutes. MY brain goes into cognitive overload. It’s good for art; occasionally good for science, mostly not.

And more owl video…

Sometimes there’s like 60 videos of bugs flying around, but sometimes it’s owls…so cool. I’m excited. Can you tell? Yeah. I know.

OK, lab setup, grading, more ironing. Repeat. Think good strong thoughts for Ukraine, fuel and ammo shortages for Russia. Plus bad karma. Don’t attack neighboring countries. Bad Russia.