Lots of Tea and Lozenges…

Ah yes. Back-to-school dreams last night…not really nightmares…they were too close to reality: kids not listening, kids not working, and people sucking up my prep period with other shit. Yup. That’s real. We’ve got three weeks before Winter Break, so hopefully the kids will check in and realize they have progress reports after Winter Break…it’s always a crapshoot this time of year. Luckily, we’re doing a fairly interesting engineering project on tsunamis…at least, WE think it’s interesting. No, it’s not a video game or Squid Game, so there’s that. Did I finish all my grading? I did not, but I did most of it. I’m good. Well, until the copyediting project starts, which shouldn’t be for another two weeks. Aaack.

Anyway, am I ready to go back to school today? Nope. I was at Urgent Care yesterday with a nasty sore throat that doesn’t seem to be wandering off like it should. It’s not strep, though, so that’s good…and it’s not COVID, although I will get tested yet again this week. So the physician’s assistant was like, well, here’s a throat lozenge (she only gave me one…I had to go buy more) and you should call your doctor and try to get an appointment, but also, if they refer you to Ear Nose Throat doc, then you will need to have been on Flonase for a week, so just go do that. Hmmm. So I did that. I already know the soonest video appointment I can get is two weeks out…if they need to see my throat in person just to give me a referral, it’ll be the end of December before I can just see the doc, let alone the ENT. Fun stuff. They did offer me a flu shot (did that in October), a vaccination (did that), a booster (did that), and just that one lozenge (took that).

So am I ready to talk all day? Nope. Am I ready for two staff meetings running an hour each? Nope. Am I ready for what I’m teaching today? Nope. It’s something about tsunamis…that’s all I know. Sigh.

Meanwhile, I am making art. I love to make art. I like to do that every day. So I do. How do I get so much done? I do it every day. Friday night, I finished cutting everything out.

Saturday night, I sorted all the pieces by the 100s…

That was a tough one. We hiked about 5 1/2 miles during the day and I was tired.

Then last night, I started ironing things together…

So far, it’s just the background behind the people…

With a requisite volcano. I was hoping to have this piece done by December 1. As you can see, that is not happening. I make art every day, but not as much as I’d like, unfortunately. And although this is not a large piece, it’s complicated. So it’s taking longer. It’s OK.

Back to the hike. We’re doing the 2021-2022 SDRVC Coast to Crest trail challenge, and this is our second hike of the five total. This is Blue Sky Ecological Reserve to Lake Poway.

It was actually pretty warm out, low 80s…

But neither of us had been to either the reserve or the lake, so that was nice.

There were more people than we usually like (we only like 3 people really), but most of the trail was pretty empty.

Three more to go.

Ah hills. We celebrated with cider flights at Serpentine…

And I remembered my sketchbook. Sometimes I think I should just make these little ones into quilts to sell, but then I remember they take a lot longer to make than people are willing to pay for.

Dinner’s drawing didn’t get finished…

My family did Thanksgiving dinner on Friday so I wouldn’t have to try to cook one dinner while eating another.

We have lots of leftovers. Which is always the point.

Girlchild had other plans. I’m not sure who looks more freaked out in this photo.

Kitten enjoyed the couch bits that I uncovered for company…

Normally all that is covered with stitching stuff. And Simba said hi when I came over to pick up the brined turkey…

So fierce. Ah. Missing Calli greatly this week. All the while thinking how to clean the carpets because she had an issue with a tumor at the end. Sigh. I don’t have time for that stuff right now, but I actually miss stepping over her in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

OK. I have to do the school thing now. Wish me luck. Sore throat is still there, but not as bad as yesterday. Lots of tea and lozenges.

Do I Need to Make Gravy?

Today I will be celebrating Black Friday by cooking a turkey, mashing potatoes, and eating a lot of carbs. Wait. I know this was supposed to happen yesterday, but a goodly number of us out there end up doing this more than once with different people. Yesterday, I was lucky and didn’t have to cook, but got food, thanks to the man’s fam. Today, I am in charge of some things and the boychild has stepped up to be an awesome stand-in for his sister, who is in Finland.

No explanation on that photo. At least he is wearing a mask.

I have barely exercised in the last week, due to illness and then just being busy and/or mentally incapable, plus it got hot all of a sudden, Santa Ana winds bringing the 80-degree temperatures to November again. I’m hoping for a hike tomorrow.

Today, though, I have to go buy more cheese because it was moldy and I need it for the green beans, and then I need to pick up my brining turkey from the ex’s house (my fridge was full),

so yeah, that bucket is coming back in the car, and then make potatoes and clear off the table and shit, we need two more chairs, and every time I walk in the door, I miss Calli lying totally in the way and lifting her head to say hi, or until the last week or so, getting up and whining her helloes with a toy in her mouth. Ugh. I miss her. Lots.

I graded yesterday, finishing off three assignments and ignoring the idiotic email from a kid asking why I was returning one of them (because I graded it, sweet dingbat). I also read my book and cleaned up a little and wrote down the details of a drawing that popped into my head at Pilates on Wednesday, and finally booked the AirBnb for QuiltCon in Arizona (I’m taking two decidedly NOT modern quilt classes), thus committing to the largest event with people that I’ve been at since…well…since school. I CAN DO IT. I figure the AirBnb over a hotel is not only cheaper, but will give me a small space just for me where I can decompress from all the people. I’m weirded out by going alone, but maybe the man will come and hike instead of quilting. He’s not really a quilter.

In awesome news, Swallow Me Whole got into Excellence in Quilts, and I figured I was out of the museum show, because it was way too big (I have very few pieces that will fit a 30×30″ requirement), but they emailed me and asked if I would send it, all 76″ x 66″ not-really-a-square of it, and I’m like YEAH I will, so it will be at the Virginia Quilt Museum from February 15-April 9, 2022. Enjoy it!

Last time I had a quilt in Virginia, Fox News was all over it. Let’s see how this one rolls.

Yes, I also have been cutting things out. I was so close to done last night, but I was tired (early morning skunk wake-up call) and didn’t have another 45 minutes in me…here’s Wednesday night’s progress…

Actually, here’s 5 nights of progress…

Start at the bottom right…first night…and you can see the piles changing size. It’s the only way I can see that I’m getting anywhere…and here’s last night’s…

Toldja I was almost done. Tonight for sure. But first, roasting a turkey and mashing 4 pounds of potatoes or maybe 5 or is it 6? I just don’t remember how many pounds of potatoes I can eat. And family…hanging out with my own people for the evening. They won’t care if I wear pajamas, although I will shower first. Then I can sort the pieces and maybe start ironing the whole thing together. The next quilt is already drawn in my head, which is cool. Just have to get it out on paper. I have more to grade, as well, but it’s not all getting done before we get back no matter what, so I’m going to try not to stress about it too much. Although now I’m wondering if we have gravy for tonight. Do I need to make gravy? Shit.

Never Long Enough…

Ah hello. We are still sad. Calli (full name Calliope) was with us since she was 4 months old…she was the girlchild’s dog, but stayed here when she went off to college. We expected this much sooner, due to the sarcoma that was developing on her nose, but she was a stubborn old girl and hung on for a good long time. Not long enough, though…never long enough.

We’re in the stage of crying every time we see a photo of her. The top one is my favorite ever. She was a big loving goofball and we will greatly miss her.

Meanwhile, it is Thanksgiving week and all the food things are supposed to be happening, although for us, the one I have to cook for is on Friday, so that will be a little offset from the rest of you. Couldn’t figure out how to BE at one holiday party while cooking for the the other one. So we moved one. It’s fine. Not in the mood, honestly. Hung out with friends for tacos yesterday, read a lot of my book, cleaned house some, graded some, did a chunk of yardwork this morning (it’s never enough), got a massage because my chiropractor could not budge my neck at all last week, my muscles were so tight. Today is a long list of to-dos around the house and things I need to buy, from wiper fluid to a hanger for a piece of art. I hung three pieces of art on Sunday, and have two more to locate. One needs a sleeve, though, so I have to add that to the list. I entered an art show today and have some digital stuff to do for two other art groups I’m in. None of it is particularly hard…it all just takes time and when I’m teaching, I don’t have time for any of it. I’ve started dealing with Christmas gifts, mostly trying to find stuff that will give money back to small indie artists. That’s hard for some of my giftees, but I’m trying.

I’ve been cutting a lot of pieces out…

It doesn’t require much brainpower…down in the 900s here.

And last night, down into the 500s mostly. I see a few 600s still, but not many. Eleven hours in. At least 5 more to go, I suspect. Another couple of nights? Then sort and iron together. And think about the next one.

Hey, Nova.

She tried my lap, but it had quilt parts on it. Besides Daddy is more comfy. Maybe.

Anyway, we are quietly hanging out and cleaning up (well I am…the rest aren’t so much). The boychild is out working today but will be helping cook, because the girlchild will not be home…she’s spending Thanksgiving in Finland, of all places…ah, Boston, the home of cheap Euro flights. Enjoy kiddo.

OK, back to the to-do list and trying to figure out what to do with half-open bags of dog food and dog meds and a cone for a big dog. I mean, I’m sure I’ll have another big dog someday, but not sometime soon. Sigh. Miss you Calli.

Just Wibbly Wobbly and Blech…

It’s a Monday morning and I’m not at school. I am however soon to be on my way to the vet, probably for the last time with Calliope, who is a very good girl. Maybe there will be some miracle treatment that will make all her tumors disappear and persuade her to eat consistently, but I doubt it. I think this is the end and it is always so hard, even when they’ve had good long lives and honestly have survived longer than they said she would.

So there’s that, and I’m trying not to dwell too much on it right now.

I was sick over the weekend; got tested Friday and it was COVID-negative. Will probably get tested again this week, just to be sure, but most of it is gone…just a tiny bit of a dry throat and a cough. Never had a fever, never lost smell or taste. Just wibbly wobbly and blech. It’s a strange world where a simple cold is such a big deal. It meant that I didn’t get much done, mostly finished ironing the quilt down to fabric…which is actually a good thing. At some point on Friday night, this is where I was at…

All the people in the bubble had been ironed down, and I just needed to iron all the hair and shirts and signs. That might have been Saturday, actually. I don’t remember.

Yeah, I suspect this was Friday night…I got all the people ironed…the ones in the bubble are all those white fabrics.

Then Saturday, I finished the rest…this is the 199 fabrics I used in this quilt.

I think that’s my record. Not sure. It took 24 hours and 56 minutes to iron everything to fabric.

And then Saturday night, I started cutting them out.

The first two batches were just tons of letters. Tiny fussy shit. Kitten does not help. She wants to sit next to me and the boxes are in the way.

She tries to stand IN the boxes sometimes. I even cleared a space next to me and she rejected it for this…

Which didn’t last long. Mostly she wants pets. She is an old lady too. Sigh. This vet thing. Fuck. It’s not like you don’t know it’s coming…it just sucks anyways.

Last night’s cutting…the pieces are piled up mostly in order, so I’ve made it down from the 1500s to the 1000s.

I’m about 6 hours in. Probably another 15 to go or so. I am grading things too, slowly. And reading my book. And dealing with lightbulbs and crap that’s been piled on the counter for weeks, maybe months, and laundry and the yard. So much gets put aside while I’m teaching because there just isn’t time for it.

I pulled a drawer out to look at the fabrics in it, turned back around, and found a cat instead.

Petulant beast.

My quilt Womanscape at Quilts=Art=Quilts

Nice tour of it here.

OK. Vet soon. The inevitable visit. Then book reading and crying and maybe grading and cutting things out in between all that. Ugh. She is a very good dog.

Leaf Pile

So here’s an example of why teachers need time off. I’m sitting here in my office, waiting for some update to run, and (wait. WordPress has finally figured out its font size issue on the fucking screen. That’s amazing. Sorry. But this IS how my brain works) I notice…AGAIN…for like the 5th time that there are plants growing in my leaf pile by the pool. My leaf pile by the pool has been there long enough for the bottom layer to decay into something approximating soil so a plant can grow in it. Yeah. Now during a normal school week, I will see that, say to myself “Self, you should clean up the leaf pile.” Self will agree, but there is never ever ever time when I am not doing school things or art things because I spend 60 hours a week on school stuff and another 10-15 hours a week on art stuff and maybe 49 hours on sleeping (or pretending to sleep because I suck at it) and I’m not going to count up hours showering, peeing, or heating up my tea AGAIN because it went cold because I lost it somewhere in the house. So cleaning up the leaf pile is not very high on the list until you give me 9 days off and I can allow for the time to sweep up the leaves and put them in a green bin or something. Maybe. Because Thanksgiving week is always sort of a clusterfuck of family and cooking, so there often is all this time on that where you can’t politely check out and go sweep up your leaf pile.

So there’s that. Plus sleep. And sanity. Seriously, we’re doing a volcano eruption lab today because we can, not because we need to, but it’s been a lot of days of reading and writing and we need some doing, and a ton of kids won’t even show up because it’s Friday before a week off, which is fine by me honestly, because I’m gonna grade your shit whether you’re here or not, but also, fewer exploding volcanoes in the classroom is a plus, but I just realized that the full moon was last night and tonight is some weird lunar eclipse, and we all know the moon affects kids’ brains and turns them into psychotic beasts (also Fridays before break do this), so I’m wondering, as a long-time teacher, what crazyass shit will be going on today. I’m actually not even apprehensive…just wondering, sitting back, meditative brain going “hey, watch THAT” and looking forward to reading my book tonight with no fucking guilt. None.

At book club, many people loved the book…and I wanted to, but I got lost in all the same character, different parallel world, different name, can’t keep track of this shit, and apparently I needed to read it all in one go. I don’t have time for that…wish I did…but most books get read in dribs and drabbles and I have to be able to hold onto those bits, and with this book, I just couldn’t. And I feel like with a good book, you can hold onto those bits. Ah sigh. It is what it is. On to the next one.

So I’m still ironing.

That was the end of the sky with the sun in it…there were other sky bits that happened the next night. Speaking of doing things in dribs and drabs…

Last night, I had a Zoom quilt meeting for a while though, so I got more done…

That’s the last flesh figure…the others will be white…like white white. Really white. I laid out the 1100s but haven’t ironed many of them. I’ve been ironing for 19 hours and 58 minutes at this point. It’s not a short process. I won’t be done tonight, that’s for sure. Hopefully sometime this weekend though…although I think I’d rather spend this weekend grading all the things so I don’t have to think about them for the next 7 days, yeah? IDK if I can pull that off though. We’ll see.

If you haven’t seen the Allied Craftsmen show at the Phes Gallery, it closes tomorrow…go check it out.

Really, instead of doing a messy lab today, we should have done this…

We often do that when we come back from field trips…our next field trip, though, I have a 6th-grade 6th period, so I will actually have to teach them. Who the fuck thought that was a good idea?

I liked this grasshopper…very decorated.

I don’t think I’ve ever drawn a grasshopper. Must be time.

So we teachers get these all the time from our local politicians…nicely printed certificates on heavy paper about how appreciated we are.

Y’all…save your money on the paper and just send us food…or gift certificates. We just recycle these. I don’t feel the love. I have a senator who has probably never stepped foot on my campus, probably doesn’t even know where my school is or what kind of kids go there. Send food. Teachers are not OK and all of these are just killing more trees than we already do…I constantly feel bad about that, but my kids need paper in their hands to write on in order to learn better. You could send us paper! There’s always a shortage. That would be helpful.

Sigh. It’s OK. Tonight I will read and sleep and probably grade some shit too, let’s be honest, and hopefully iron some fabric, and the leaf pile and I will commune with each other at some point. Happy Friday y’all…may the politicians all send you a certificate of recognition. I can send you mine! I’ll just cover up the name and write yours in Sharpie.

Get the Good Stuff Done…

So only three days before a well-deserved break. How I felt at the end of four days off on Sunday tells me I need the next 9 pretty badly. That said, they are the 9 Days of the Food Coma, mostly preparing for the Food Coma and then surviving the Food Coma, and I’m bringing home two major assignments to grade, so I’m not expecting much. I would like to be done ironing this quilt by this weekend, though, and it would be cool if I were cut out and ironing the thing together by the end of that 9 days. So much for an early December finish, though. That’s not happening. Ah well. I’m gritting my teeth into the holidays…need to do a copyediting job in the middle of all of it, plus parse out a shitty tobacco curriculum produced by Stanford University, of all places. I expected more from them. Maybe it’s just high-school level and my 2nd-grade-level readers can’t deal with 80 slides packed with info. Hell, I can’t deal with 80 slides packed with info. These block-schedule classes are just like mushing cats through snow when it comes to info…it is overload for the kids, and although we can think of ways to make it easier, a lot of them come with less info, more busywork, which is silly. Or a ton of work for us creating curriculum because the stuff we’ve been provided isn’t appropriate. SIGH. That’s a big one. Ah well. At least the next project is interesting. And works pretty well, I think.

I was at school or a school board meeting yesterday from 7:30 AM to almost 7 PM. I’m tired today. When am I not? The sun sets on the school parking lot…

Certainly I’m teaching one thing differently today to my lowest class after watching my second-lowest class yesterday brain fart all over the place. Just give us the answers! I’m not doing that.

Anyway. I ironed both nights, always a good thing, but only really got the sky done. It’s big, but it’s not a ton of pieces. It just took forever to do. Here was the first night, when I got about halfway through the sky pieces.

And last night, after the second half…

I didn’t even finish the sky…there’s clouds and stars. I did get through piece 998…

Tons of fabrics being used so far. So I have book club tonight…might not have the energy to come back and iron, but I’ve got a little over 500 pieces to go. That seems like a lot…it IS a lot. Picking out fabrics for ironing people is really time-consuming. And brain-consuming. It’s good, though. I’m looking forward to this one coming together. It’s a big, complicated quilt…my favorite to make.

Speaking of big, complicated quilts…Coronawood finally found a show where it fits…Art Quilt Elements in Wayne, PA.

Big and complicated, like I said. Dino bones included.

Enjoy it if you get to see it.

So I’m not quite at this stage yet…

Although I predict I will get there. Sometimes the level of crazy in school districts boggles me. I used to have more faith in my district…no more. Anyway. Three more days. I feel like I can do three days, yeah? And then find some time for hiking and drawing and honestly sleeping. That’s been an issue lately. Too worried about stuff. Ugh. Hate that. Also need more caffeine and maybe cookies. And more time to get the good stuff done. That.

It’s All the Other Stuff…

Back to a normal week. I can tell you that my brain yesterday was squawking about how it wasn’t ready to go back to school, but then, I’m not sure it ever is. I mean, the week is completely planned out, although I think someone has to go buy soap at some point and we have to set up a lab. I’m almost caught up on grading for science, and completely behind in art (that’s how it always is though). None of my students are out on pandemic contract (knock on wood HARD, because that’s the only way to keep from getting a ton of contracts). And most importantly, all my lunches are prepped for the week. A fucking miracle if you ask me.

I finally used the new sewing machine for the first time…to fix the boychild’s work backpack. It performed beautifully…going through 4 layers of crap with a zigzag…this time, I figured out that stitch pretty quickly. A good sign. Hopefully over Thanksgiving Break, I’ll get to use it on an art quilt…but it means I need to get the rest of this quilt ironed and cut out…which is not a small amount of work. I’m about 16 hours into the ironing, with about 600 pieces to go. Yikes. It’s slow. It’s all the people…each one is a different batch of 5-7 fabrics from light to dark, with all the pieces laid out in my head. It’s time-consuming. I’ve done a couple hours each day over the 4-day weekend.

It’s a nice way to end the day…I think that is figure number 3 above and number 4 below…

The number of fabrics is growing and getting pretty chaotic.

A closeup of the pile to be cut out…

Sometime yesterday I couldn’t deal with that, so I reordered everything.

Now colors are together at least. And I know which ones I used on the 5 figures so far. The next step is the sky, so expect a lot more blues and purples in the next day or so. Those are all really big pieces too, compared to the little stuff I’ve been ironing so far. I’m in the 900s…after the sky, I have another 4 or 5 figures in the bubble. I’m debating making them white. Like actual white, not the pinky tones us white folks actually are. We’ll see. I’m still thinking about it. Here’s where the idea came from though…

That’s my quilt Wise Choice…the light white and gray figures live in a landscape without choice…it’s a quilt about International Planned Parenthood, giving women the right and ability to choose when to get pregnant, often so they can afford to feed their children. The bubble in color is her dream of a planned future. The quilt is at San Diego Mesa College through December 9…part of their Sowing Seeds exhibit. Check it out…I have more art pictures, but no time to resize right now. On Friday, we tried to make it to three shows and managed only two due to nasty traffic. One of them was this one.

Saturday, we did the first Coast to Crest hike for this year’s challenge, 2021-2022…but we totally mistimed sunset (we both spaced on it)…

Gonzales Canyon Loop in Del Mar…a nice start down down down.

We did realize it was getting darker than we’d anticipated, and neither of us remembered our headlamps. Stupid really. We cut a portion of the trail off once we got to the selfie spot, because it was almost dark…

And then kamikazed out by moonlight…pulling out phone flashlights for the last 10 minutes, when the trees blocked that light. It would have been a nicer hike if we weren’t worried about the daylight…not a bad uphill in daylight, I suspect…a little more nerve-wracking in the dark. We managed to find outside dinner in Del Mar and didn’t even get kicked out for being in hiking clothes.

The block I stitched on showed up on Social Justice Academy’s feed yesterday, getting sewn into a quilt…

That’s cool.

OK. It’s fine. I can survive the week. I’ll get some grading done. I’ll come home Friday with a pile of stuff to do, unfortunately, but that’s always what happens. I’ll get some ironing done most nights this week…I think I have book club one night, so that will be more problematic, but the other nights are pretty clear. And I have next week off to look forward to…it’s been a long school year so far. The kids aren’t so bad…it’s all the other stuff the district keeps piling on us. I feel like they are completely tone-deaf since the pandemic started. It’s unfortunate. But all too common. Anyway…off to school. Need more caffeine. That’s a given.

Still Off

Could be a title for my blogging activity, for my brain, for my job…hard to say. A respectful Veterans Day to those for whom today resonates. My mental relationship with the military aside, some people have truly sacrificed for our country and should be remembered. My neighbor remembered by mowing the lawn and blowing the leaves. He might be vacuuming the rocks later.

I do have today and tomorrow off of school…my district is one that realized that people will take that Friday off (mostly the kids), and gives us the 4-day weekend when the holiday is on Tuesday or Thursday. Thanks for that guys, because apparently a shit-ton of districts all over the US forgot to plan intelligently and are scrambling for subs. We were short yesterday, and teachers had to sub during their prep period. It’s stressful and means you don’t get done what you needed to get done, plus it’s a subject you don’t teach and other people’s sub plans can be confusing. Sometimes you get lucky and the kids are helpful…they do like to be helpful. But it sucks nonetheless. Whatever we don’t get done during the school day comes home and haunts us during our time off.

I worked last night for a bit, grading a couple of assignments. I didn’t do the hard one. I will. Just not yet. My co-teacher somehow did it in class yesterday…while I was walking around, trying to get kids to understand that you can’t prove plate motion with a random fact about Mesosaurus having lungs instead of gills. Kudos to her. I can’t grade academic stuff without some mental space, and I didn’t have that yesterday.

My art brain is totally arguing with teacher brain and house brain right now. Art brain is like fuck it, don’t take a shower, stay in the pajamas (but it’s going to be 90 degrees today and flannel is warm), just iron things to fabric ALL DAY LONG, fuck the day job, don’t clean anything, don’t put shit away, don’t go to the gym, don’t even water the plants. JUST ART. House brain is like, you have to spend SOME time cleaning shit up…it’s getting out of control. At least the kitchen counter and the table…just a quick moment…it won’t take long…and the plants will NEED water after the heat today. True true…but I have an in-person stitching meeting tonight, so that’s time, plus the gym is time, plus the cleaning is time, and then how much ironing time is left? What about drawing? I want to draw more. Then teacher brain is arguing that there’s another academic assignment next week, plus kids will be turning in their unit packets and I’ll have to grade those, so I should really just get on top of the assignments now, yeah? At least grade the 30 or 40 who handed in the academic assignment. Do the others when they come in. Ugh. That sounds like the worst option. Teacher brain, shush. I need time off. We’ll talk later.

I have been ironing at night…Tuesday night, I did about an hour, most of a smaller figure…

I finished ironing the flesh, but needed to do all the inner bits…heart and hair and eyes and arteries. I did those last night…got them all in the box…

and then started laying out everything for the second, much larger figure.

I got up into the 500s, I think…yeah. But not all of them are ironed down. I was going to stop there, just lay them out and iron them today, but then I said fuck it, because I didn’t have to get up and teach today, so I channeled my old midnight self and kept going…ironed all of it down. Today I’ll go back through all those and do the eyes and hair and heart and all that good stuff…bones too. Maybe get on to the next figure…hopefully, but the night meeting might affect that. Going to the gym might affect it. I’d like to hike, but it’s going to be in the 90s for the whole 4-day weekend. Ugh. Maybe late Saturday…we’ll see.

Tomorrow is all the art exhibits I want to see…I’m going to Visions Art Museum to see Interpretations and Linda Anderson’s solo show, then on to the Oceanside Museum of Art to see Marty Ornish and Charlotte Bird’s work, and ending up at the Sowing Seeds opening at Mesa College, where one of my pieces will be. Sounds fun, yeah? The man is coming with and maybe we’ll stop for lunch somewhere…we’ll see how that works. It’s rare I get a day full of art these days. And I’m taking on a copyediting job for December/January, because I need the money, so it’ll be a challenge to get that time in December. I’ll try, because the girlchild is coming home (yay!)…she got permission to work from California for a few weeks, which is awesome. The holidays are always a bit crazy, so I enjoy what I get.

So there we are…a short break in the school slog, always appreciated. Use it wisely. I think I might iron for a bit and then go to the gym…and then see where I’m at. See? Art brain is winning…house brain and teacher brain will get some time, but not first. Me first.

A Day Off…

I don’t usually write on Tuesdays. I have a routine…set it up when I realized after blogging for a year or two (started in 2004) that I wasn’t very consistent, so I made it like a journal for me, documenting the art but also everything else, exactly what they tell you not to do, but I didn’t care…I was doing it for me more than for others. I had a crazy couple of years when I was blogging every day, more to keep my sanity than anything else, and then I went back to usually three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Last week on Friday, I was driving toward Joshua Tree National Park, so that didn’t happen, so I blogged Saturday because that’s when I had time. Then yesterday, I just lost time somehow, well, bad lunch planning for the week. Time consuming in the morning is not a good thing for me. So here I am. It’s Tuesday of a three-day work week (oh hallelujah). I finished grades Sunday night and spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon planning science, since we lose that time this week. I really miss the daily plan time with my co-teacher. It’s making things harder to get done. But that’s what the last two years have been like across the board: Harder to get done. A 4-day weekend will have some work in it…but hopefully it will mostly be art and hiking and yeah, cleaning house and catching up with all the shit I can’t do while I’m teaching.

More pictures from Joshua Tree…

It’s hot and dry, even in November. I’m pretty sure I’ve hiked this exact hike three different times in the last 20 years.

It’s different and yet not every single time.

Dinner had some art…

And then I had a blissful hour to draw Saturday morning.

I’m finding it so hard to find time to do that. It was all the things I was thinking and feeling in the desert, in that space. I need more of that time. But when I do have time, I try to finish whatever project I’m working on. It’s hard to find the extra time to just breathe and draw.

Cindy Zimmerman’s Rain Grotto at the Desert Dairy. A beautiful space in a dry climate…

It was also fun to hang out with other artists for a while. That cow ended up in my drawing.

We made pizzas one night and hung out and talked.

Fire is always fascinating.

We also toured Mojaveland, the wonderfully funky, homemade, artist-filled mini-golf experience Anna Stump is creating. Linda Litteral has an installation there as well…

It was a good way to spend a weekend, even if I’m exhausted now.

We saw an art show too, but I’m going to have to wait to post that…I’m running out of time here before I have to leave for work. I always feel like I’m running out of time. I worked on these in the car on the way back for a little bit.

And last night, after a 5-day hiatus, I finally tried to get my head back into choosing fabrics for the next quilt…

I kind of lost it in my head for a while, the colored-in image. But it’s back now. Hopefully I’ll get it all ironed to fabric over the long weekend. That’s my goal anyway.

OK, off to school to teach the hard stuff. Got a new batch of 6th graders. Ugh. Not sure how I feel about that, but we’ll survive. And no more complicated morning lunchmaking. That’s a mistake. More tomorrow, if I get back on schedule. Who knows if I will…

Ditching School

I took a whopping two days off school since COVID started. Getting a sub for what I teach was difficult…sub plans for what I teach felt like writing a novel, then rewriting it because it was too long. It’s a tough call: how much do I need a break vs how much work is it to TAKE the break? A common teacher issue made worse by the sub shortage and kids who didn’t do normal school last year so sometimes learning is a challenge. But I had an art retreat coming up that I went to last year (without taking any time off) and I was determined to take a day. ONE day.

Whatever happened at school is fine. I got one kid email about kids deleting stuff…and they did. They were being dumbasses about it on Thursday with me. I’ll just torture them with it on Monday. It’ll be fine. Next week is short anyway for Veterans Day, and I can get them through what I need to. Zen and chill.

So where am I? Twentynine Palms, right outside of Joshua Tree National Park. We drove a back way to get up here, and it was delightful…no traffic, nice views. Then we came in the southern entrance of Joshua Tree and enjoyed the drive through, going on a couple of short hikes (mid to high 80s here still…)

There were too many people in some places, but the longer hike lost them all…

And it was outside, not teaching, didn’t have to be anywhere. Although I checked email when I had service.

Sometimes people are very hardass about disconnecting and not looking at their phones on vacation, and I just do what makes me feel comfortable. Sometimes my anxiety means I need to check email. Or school stuff. So I do it. One of my students had emailed me about the chaos in her class. No worries, kid, I got this.

We checked into our AirBnb, the same one we stayed in last year, ate dinner outside at a local place, met Kyle and tried his special sauce, shook hands with him (weird feeling that), then I headed over to my friend’s place for a fireside conversation about the future of our art group, which has grown in size, but not volunteers…unfortunately.

Dinner drawing. This morning, we’re up early so the man can hike and I can draw in a space with other artists for a while. Not sure what the rest of the day will bring, but I’m ok with that. I have two books on my iPad, three different sketchbooks, caffeine, and goldfish snacks. What more do I really need? Plus got news that one of my pieces will be at some art show in Torrance next October, which is a new venue for me…always cool.

All in all, sometimes ditching school is what teachers need to do. My district spouts self care constantly and then hands us more work to do and won’t give us a cost-of-living raise. So more hours for less pay? Eh. You don’t get buy-in that way. Anyway…drawing soon, if my brain lets me.