I Need You to Back Off…

Currently appreciating the quiet morning and a gentle cool breeze that will be replaced by slightly scorching heat later. Only slightly scorching, because I think we’ll be under 100 degrees today. Maybe. I would like to still be asleep for another 20 minutes, but a cat woke me up and then my brain took over, panicking about the to-do list, as it is wont to do (and I wish it wouldn’t). I can’t catch up with anything. This is often the case, but it’s worse this year. I will get a handle on it. Brain, please remember that was the FIRST week of the new schedule and you will eventually figure out some balance and maybe manage the one unknown curriculum and the other two nonexistent curricula. Or not. I have two of the three days planned for science next week, and the other one is roughed in. I just need enough headspace to see the big picture and figure out timing, make the posts, finish the slides, make an agenda, sacrifice a baby lamb (wait, all lambs are babies) to the Goddess of Get It Done, and then it will all be fine. Art? Art is OK? Maybe? None of the posts are made, the agendas barely exist, and there are a few notes, but it will be OK? I just don’t know. I’ve never really been an art teacher…making it is not the same as teaching it. I would be fine in person, but online is just fucking hard. It’s hard with science; it’s even harder with art. If I DO anything, they copy me. I don’t want that.

And then the grading. There’s too many things. I’m picking and choosing, but it’s an avalanche of stuff that hit yesterday, and then my printer cartridge died and I thought I had ordered another one, but I never hit the submit order button, fuck me, so yesterday, I’m trying to find one and they’re sold out everywhere, the Staples guy who can’t keep his mask over his nose, big geeky guy, he’s just trying to help, telling me to try CVS, and I’m like, I’m not driving all over looking for this thing. A knockoff arrives today, the real deal on Tuesday. Fuck me, Hewlett Packard, you need to keep us in supply. When did printer ink become the new toilet paper? Or flour?

I keep telling myself it will be OK, it will get better. I can only keep telling myself that, because otherwise I will lose my already-stretched-thin mind.

You see, art is what always gave me balance. And at the end of a 12-hour-teacher day, I don’t have the energy for art right now. Or barely. So when I say it’s not sustainable, SURE, I can lesson plan and teach (and who the fuck has the time to contact parents right now?) for 12-14 hours a day…I’ve been doing it for 7 weeks now, but I am not OK because I can’t fit the art in. I need that. Maybe you need time with your family or a good book (I read for 10 minutes during lunch on a good day) or a massage (oh wait, I do need one of those). I need time making art. When I’m teaching art? I’m managing a bunch of kids on chat, trying to answer their questions, crazily trying to grade some thing that the state of California needs to prove my students are engaged in the curriculum, and trying to plan the next day, plus check their work as they’re doing it. I’d love to sit there and draw with them, but I can’t.

It’s fine. It makes me want to cry just typing that, because it’s not, but I’m an adult with a lot of persistence and talents and I will survive this fucking year. Speaking of this fucking year, my SIL sent me a dumpster fire sticker.

I love it. I need to decide where it should go. I love stickers, but I never know what to do with them. If I stick them on something and then it isn’t out where I can see it forever, then I can’t see the sticker any more. I guess I could start papering the bathroom. It needs it.

I love this kid already.

I am this kid. Except I’m the teacher, so I don’t get to do that. I also want to go in the breakout room where all the videos and mics are off. Also I don’t get to do that. Because I’m the teacher. Introverts in education! Don’t unite! Unless it’s in your own personal blanket fort.

Thursday night, late, I finished ironing pieces down for the SJSA Remembrance block.

It’s supposed to be done today (shh…don’t tell them I’m running late). It might be. I mean, I have until midnight, right? And it doesn’t need to be quilted. I thought about cutting pieces out Thursday night, but that thought exhausted me and I just sat there on the couch and stared at the pieces and the cat and social media.

Last night, I was better. I put on Enola Holmes, the movie (great movie, by the way), and got them all cut out…

Although it was still hot and the fan was still on and the dog was over there.

Done. Iron them together, stitch them down, and put a stitching outline in. And done. I can do that. I think. Today is not a quiet, do-nothing day, though…

Kitten’s response to my to-do list.

I went to school yesterday, rummaged around the front office (everyone was gone) and found the kid supply bags for delivery and mailing to some who don’t have them, visited my prep room, which was sad, put the old unit box away, stole the new stuff out of the box…

This time, I only brought home bags of rocks, some evidence cards, a pie tin, a couple of coffee filters, an evidence gradient, and the list my co-teacher made me of all her kids, a pithy note for each, which I’ve only barely looked at, because I haven’t had time. Instead of reading my book with breakfast today, I will read the list. Or maybe I will wait until Monday. I know co-teachers are walking away from school and computers on Friday night, and I try to do that, but when you’re home, it’s hard, and when I know I have too much to do and I don’t want to feel buried or unprepared on Monday, I can’t do it. I will try to keep Saturday clear and then kill myself with work on Sunday. Not healthy.

When my school office manager emailed earlier Friday that there was leftover pizza and they would deliver it to our rooms, I offered that I was only 2 1/2 miles away…it took her a while to figure out where I was. No pizza was delivered. I miss being at school. I miss people. I miss moving around during the day. I miss my classroom.

This was me last night, lying on the floor, trying to get my back and hips to stop hurting. Simba and I played with the ball for a bit while I stretched.

Then Calli stole the ball and that was it.

Here’s my quilt You Pollute Me at the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE, through November 29. She is part of the For the Love of Gaia exhibit there. A Facebook friend sent me a photo of her on this great yellow wall.

I appreciate that. It’s a reminder of why the art is important. Of why I have to find the time for it. I have to simplify something else to get that time. School, you are a total mindfuck right now and I need you to back off.

Today I have exercise (yay) plus a socially distanced art meeting out in Ramona to jury new members…masks and cold water and bring your own snacks and chair and we’ll be outside. It’ll be good. I hope. I can’t do schoolwork there, so that’s a thing. Oh yeah, and it’s October and we are that much closer to the election and cooler weather and a camping trip and another trip to 29 Palms, and maybe all that will help my brain be where it needs to be. Ugh. This year. I have a job. I am lucky. It’s fine.

Everything Changes

My computer is trying to download a video from iCloud that I need for my Patreon. I tried to do it last night, and nothing was showing up. At first, the computer said it would take two hours (for a 90-second video) and now it’s down to 2 minutes. Wildly inaccurate, if you ask me. But it’s where I’m at…not believing the technology. Seriously, I’m still looking at the weather app for this week, going into October, with temperatures of 104-105 degrees for the next few days. Ugh. I’m gonna die here in the no-A/C. I’d like the app to be wrong, but I’m sure it’s not. And I know the download speeds vary for the internet, mostly because my internet is a cranky bastard (I was gonna write bitch, but no…let’s not land all the bad shit on women…we get enough of it as it is)…yesterday, it kicked me out, or Zoom kicked me out of class 4 times in one 45-minute period. I suspect today will be the same. When it’s warm, it’s worse. Hopefully not, since I’m doing a demo today. Boychild and I set up stream tables in the living room (you know, like you do) and tested them.

The animals were fascinated. What’s really fun is the sand needs to be wet to do this, and it’s supposed to be hot as hell today, and I’m not just doing it today because all the schedules changed, so it needs to stay set up until after I teach on Thursday. Ah. Well. Life is interesting. The cats want to be in it. After today, I’ll move the trays outside until Thursday, although we’ll have to cover them out there as well…don’t need to make a bug nest or some intriguing place for a skunk to poop. Who knows what will happen with them.

I do have a prep period in between the two classes today, and I start with my smallest class…I’m more worried about the huge class on Thursday with a bunch of special-needs kids. It’ll be fine. I’m sure.

Here’s the temperatures…should keep the sand drying out (not what I want, unfortunately)…

So yesterday was like the first day of school again, except now I have three grade levels and three class preps and 40 more kids than I had last week. But I’m not in the classroom. Pros and cons. Today all my peeps go back with actual kids and we’re taking bets (not really) on how long it takes to shut school down with the first case of COVID. They’re in cohorts, so one will go home at a time, but you still know it’s going to happen.

At the end of the day yesterday, after managing a bunch of stuff I wasn’t ready for and also wasn’t completely comfortable with (ah, what’s new, 2020?), I rested briefly.

This space is over-crowded at the moment…and I need to figure that out, but right after that picture, we were setting up the stream tables and then I was running around watering, folding my laundry, making dinner, setting up the slides for today’s teaching, trying to figure out how the fuck far I can get in the lesson in an HOUR. Ugh. An HOUR. Too long. I’m hoping to get them to a certain point and then push them off to finish on their own, but yesterday, they were leaving when I said, hey, this thing needs to be done, and then it wasn’t. Sigh. So conversations need to happen today.

In good news, I think I said this before, but the quilt I haven’t been able to touch in a week (or more?) is tentatively sold. A deposit is on its way with a signed agreement, and as soon as I can get the two things off my shoulders that I need to finish this week, I’ll be finishing that one up.

She’s still in this stage. Not much ironing left…and then stitch down and quilt. Close to the end. Then I need to make some smaller ones.

First, though, I needed to finish this…

There were some very tense moments when she tried to collapse, but I have a strut inside right now that hopefully will help. Also, hopefully, she doesn’t explode in the kiln. I’ve tried to be really good about air spaces and all that. But you never know. Worst case, her parts will be by the side of the labyrinth we’re building.

It’ll be better if she’s whole though.

OK, well now I just need to figure out how to get her to our amazing ceramics person and her kiln before her deadline. I think I’ll need an assist on that. Then onto the fabric piece for SJSA, and then I can get back to the one on the ironing board. Which is sold! Good thing…money is tight right now. Not getting paid all summer is hard.

OK, survive today…only three classes instead of all six. Time to prep for next week, hopefully, or even beyond. Teaching art is still difficult for me (after the first day!). It’s not the same as in person…it’s really hard. Plus I don’t know the program we’re using very well, or any other programs, and there’s the matter of getting kids supplies when they can’t come in or won’t come in, for whatever reason, and what supplies actually exist and how to grade this shit anyway (I really don’t remember what I did a million years ago). It’s a lot of mental energy that I don’t have at the moment. No exercise in the last two days either, and it’s going to be hot as hell today, so that will make it hard. Hoping for a walk, if merely to clear the brain. Everything changes. We adapt, we adjust, and then it changes again. It’s a rough year for everyone…but teaching has been incredibly difficult. I’m not having fun right now, and I hope that changes…it has in the past few weeks been fun again sometimes, but right now…ugh. Nope. Not.

Does Not Currently Exist Anywhere…

Well this is a weird time for me to write, but it’s the time I have. My brain is in some sort of stasis mode in between work and sleep, or maybe somewhere else. I’m trying to bully through the to-do list for today but also to get ready for school tomorrow. I need a certain mindset to get there, and a brain dump here will help with that. I have science sussed out for tomorrow and mostly the rest of the week, although I have to set up and test the demo for Tuesday and finish posts for the rest of the week, but I have done NOTHING (let me emphasize how big those capital letters are…they are as big as a redwood tree looming over me) for the art classes. And maybe Advisory, which I worry less about. I finished grades Friday night around 11 PM and went to bed fairly early. Exhaustion is here and in my face all the fucking time. I graded all through online gaming and managed to pay attention somehow, although not to the level to which my co-player expects. It’s easy when you don’t bring your job home with you. My job is always here and currently making me grind my teeth in a very vexing manner.

Yeah. That.

So I posted last on Friday morning. I’m really trying to get back on an every-other-day schedule, best I can, not for you, my dear readers, but for me, the crazy brain that needs a focus, a goal, a written document of what has gone and what is to come, so I can actually DO some of it and maybe celebrate some as well.

Saturday, I packed up three quilts for delivery to the Front Porch Gallery.

California Fibers’ show Figuratively is opening there October 4 and continues through the middle of November. Enjoy! I have three pieces in the show.

After I did that, I worked for about 2 hours, trying to make sense of the new science curriculum and my stupid schedule that starts next week.

Yes, I stand there. I sit too much right now.

Then we dropped off the three quilts for the next show. From there, we wandered over to the Oceanside Museum of Art for the Southern California Contemporary Quilts exhibit. That link also has a slide show of the whole show, if you’re interested. I would suggest going online and reserving a ticket and time for an in-person view, but I realize not everyone can do that, so the slide show is what will suffice.

This is Libby Williamson’s piece Burn Cycles at the entry point.

I am a haphazard photographer of shows when I don’t have to document them, so I can’t even say these were my favorites, but maybe they were at the time.

This is Lisa Kijak’s Neon Pacific.

Lisa was there with her family while I was there, but I was apparently not in a sociable mood and didn’t say hi, but I do love her work.

I also liked Nancy Lemke’s work Seaside 1.

I was intrigued that the hand fabric is one I own. My gallery co-visitor mentioned that I never make hands out of one piece. Well sometimes I do, but not this big.

Charlotte Bird’s Southland Odyssey is amazing…

Lots of details here.

Intriguing construction too…

Lots of So Cal details.

And one of my favorite artists, Dinah Sargeant, with her piece Spines Return.

Plus a fun wall shape by Gillian Moss, We Came, We Liked, We Stayed.

There are other exhibits in the museum, including a large plein-air collection from Gardena High School, but also some photo and ceramic pieces by Pamela Earnshaw Kelly

I get overwhelmed in museums at times and stop taking pictures of signage…so no names on these two…

But those two were my favorites, and I liked the graphic quality of the little room of pieces by Allan Morrow.

Oh yeah, and my piece, So Cal Mama

She was pretty nice too. I recorded video for my Patreon of this and a little of the rest of the show. Hopefully that will get processed in the next 24 hours.

Our current Saturday goal includes a walk and food. Because we were already in Oceanside, we went to Guajome County Park and walked around there…

They claimed it was 4.3 miles, but I think we did something wrong, because it was 3 miles.

Different plants…

Still too suburban, so too many people.

It’s hard to get around all that at the moment.

And then we had our first restaurant dinner since everything closed down in March. I remember being in a restaurant the Saturday after the schools closed, but not after that. We did eat outside, near the edge, far enough away from people, but I didn’t have my hand sanitizer with me, and I wanted it. So I’m still not comfortable with it, but maybe that will come. Or maybe it shouldn’t.

Also apparently some parts of the PCT are in my future, assuming it opens. We’ll see.

Today has just been crazy trying to do all the things. I needed a new sun shade for the window where I work, because the old one broke on Friday and it’s supposed to be in the 100s all freakin’ week holy shit i’mma gonna die. I needed some bins to pack up fabric. I apparently may have sold the quilt that isn’t finished yet…I’ll wait on the contract and deposit for that maybe. For now, it’s a nice feeling…and I need those. Hey Nova…that’s my clean laundry.

She knows. She doesn’t care. And Kitten has taken over my paper box.

So much for getting paper out. Cat in way.

Ah. So it’s after 6 PM, and I still need to post school stuff, or in some cases, create school stuff that does not currently exist anywhere, not even in my head, and I need to finish the ceramic and fabric pieces that are supposed to be done this week, and then finish the quilt that is almost finished so I can make money off of it, because I need some money coming in soon, and then maybe even sleep tonight (ha! Such a joke) and not worry so much about everything under the sun, even though that’s how my brain works and I’m not very good at making it stop. Yeah. All those things.

Everything Under the Sun

I try not to be the person who counts days from this to that, although I have a Countdown app that always has the holidays in it, the week off for Thanksgiving, three weeks for Winter Break (I know, lucky!), two weeks for Spring Break, eight weeks (unpaid those) for Summer. And then the trips…last year was the Arizona/Utah National Parks in Spring, a couple of winery trips (one right before everything shut down in March), a trip to Portland and another to Joshua Tree National Park. All good. But right now, the numbers in my head are how many days to the election? How many days I’ve been mostly stuck at home (it’s a lot, over 6 months, just like the rest of you)? And the big one, how many days until I can go back to school? It’ll be at least 365 more, I think. That’s the hard thing to contemplate. Up to now, I’ve had a teacher team to plan with, dealing with the same kids, the same schedules, the same curriculum. As of Monday, I have none of that. Or very little. I’ve felt incredibly isolated as it is, but this is throwing me. It’s OK…I’ll get through it. I’ll survive it. I have a job. I’m mostly competent at it. There’s too much right now and I’m so fucking sick of 15-hour days focused on school school school, but I will eventually either get a handle on that time suck or I will quit and copyedit full time while selling one loaf of sourdough bread a week, because that’s all I can manage to make. It’s hard to say how close I am to that moment. I’ll let you know.

So the artmaking is sporadic and I have to fight for that time and yesterday I was told I should be watching education-related videos WHILE I am making art, because that’s time I could spend on school stuff that I’m not. Eye-opening. And don’t think I haven’t considered it. But I’m already in a half state of crying on a daily basis, and I think that might push me over the edge.

This shit sucks, y’all.

And then I wake up this morning, not really sure what I’m teaching today. I’m sure it’s on a calendar or a post somewhere; I just didn’t review it yesterday like I usually do because I couldn’t. And I checked my email, and Bigger in the Outside was accepted into Excellence in Fibers VI

She’ll also be at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad after this weekend with two other pieces of mine. The Excellence in Fibers show was supposed to have a corresponding museum exhibit, but that’s postponed until we don’t know when…if ever. Like many things this year. I guess the acceptances motivate me to make more? They don’t actually at the moment. It’s more a matter of where to put my brain that ISN’T school. Making bread is just as useful a place. Maybe. I don’t know. I know I’m not getting any peace out of artmaking right now, but then, maybe I never did. It’s meditative, and maybe without it, I’d be jumping out the window and running as far and fast as I could. We just don’t know. Because I haven’t stopped making it.

The SJSA Remembrance block is still in progress…I traced it on Wonder Under a few nights ago…it only has 116 pieces, so it’s not horrendous. And then I started cutting them apart one night, Tuesday? And didn’t finish.

Last night was my now-biweekly stitching Zoom, so I quick cut the rest apart, and then after the Zoom call, started ironing them to fabric. It’s not ideal, because I still have the last 80 or so pieces from the COVID Daughter piece on my table, and it’s precariously on my ironing board, waiting for me to come back to it (I want to!), but I got about half the pieces ironed down to fabric.

I quit when I got to the flesh, because I knew I was tired and couldn’t handle it. And I also knew I needed to do schoolwork. Yes, I took a break from about 6-10 PM…and then went back to work. I did also make a trip to Home Depot for new roller blinds to block the AM sun from my work spot and to pick up and drop off stuff at school after hours. I saw two people and waved. That was all.

Anyway, I’ll finish ironing the pieces down sometime in the next 24 hours and then cut them out…I might actually do some of that during gaming tonight. It needs to be done by 10/3.

I’m still working on the clay vessel for the labyrinth…

If I do a little each night, it hardens enough by the next night to support the next few inches.

So after the Wonder Under was done last night, I pulled this out and got a few inches higher.

I’m not going to be able to go high enough to put a full torso in, but that’s OK. I was trying to fall asleep last night (ha! What a fucking joke) and my brain told me how to finish the top, wherever it is.

Here’s my fat cat odalisque.

I want to be more like her.

And the girlchild has been gone for almost three months now, but we are still finding remnants of her cooking experiments…

I obviously don’t clean anywhere near enough.

OK. It’s the Friday before everything switches again and I gain 40 students and two more preps and two more grade levels and minimal support from anywhere, whatever, and grades are due Sunday and I was grading last night at midnight, fuck this job and COVID and the stupid government for not doing its job and stupid people for not wearing masks and staying away from each other and I need to get some exercise this weekend, maybe even this afternoon, plus get everything under the sun done that needs to be done and maybe a little less of the crying stuff because I can’t see to type or grade shit when I’m doing that. Peace out y’all. It’ll be different in a few days.

Send Cookie Thoughts

Hey y’all. I missed writing yesterday. My brain was on GRADE GRADE GRADE mode. It’s been there for 4 or 5 days and I’ve missed some things I should have been paying closer attention to. This school year just sucks. Usually, about now, the school year is calming down, we’re finding a routine, and stuff is getting under control. I’m sure you know the end of that story in 2020. Fuck all that, we’re back in, starting over, fuck the routine, and fuck calm.

Saturday, I ignored school. Mostly. I did a bunch of other stuff, including some art projects I just needed the impetus to get started, so I could then do a little each night. One was the clay piece for our FIG labyrinth…

I used to do ceramics in school and then for a bit after, but I think before the divorce? Or maybe just after? It was hard to find a studio and the time, so it just didn’t happen. Anyway, on Saturday, a super dry and hot day, I started finally. Sliced into the clay, started trying to roll coils and stick them together.

It was much easier Sunday night. I had something started, my hands were remembering how, and it wasn’t as dry out.

I have this clay tool I love, I remember loving it, but I can’t find it. It’s here somewhere, in this house.

She can’t be very tall, so it hopefully won’t take me long. That said, I didn’t work on her at all last night. Last night was kind of a clusterfuck.

The other thing I started was my SJSA Remembrance block, for Nicholas Bils.

I traced his face, and then went and got it enlarged about 150%. Then added it to a larger background.

And then added stuff in the background: his name, his dog, a river (for his dog, whose name was either River or Rio, and because he lived on the water).

And then last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under…

And get that done.

I have fabric for the shirt, but it needs to be dyed. Not sure if I can pull that off this week, so I might change my mind about it. We’ll see. Time is at a premium. Not my choice.

We walked around Lake Murray Saturday night…

It’s too peoply too, but manageable.

It was dusky.

Saturday night stitching was brainless.

Sue Spargo’s Homegrown March blocks. All I can handle is stitching it down.

I only have one done of the four. Don’t get excited.

Sunday, I had an appointment to go to Visions Art Museum to see Judith Content’s amazing work…always better in person.

It’s totally worth it and hopefully won’t close down today.

I was also introduced to Melody Money, whose work I haven’t see before.

She’s got some handwork on there.

Fascinating stuff.

Lots of details…

You should totally go see both these shows.

They’ll be there until January, so even if we shut down museums today, they’ll open back up eventually.

Fun stuff.

Very joyful.

Here’s where I’ve been grading…

Notice the cat? Yeah. It’s a crowded space when I’m doing everything.

Work sucks. I’m freaked out by everything. Everything is overwhelming. Staff meetings make my brains melt. Kid demands made me cry last night. I can’t do more than I am. Yesterday, I walked for 3+ miles to get it out of my head.

I only took the little dog. The big dog is too old for that far. So she was sad, and he was tired. But I needed it.

With that, Happy Tuesday. Love you all. Well, except for the non-mask-wearers. I don’t love you right now. And send cookies. But I’m fussy about them. So don’t really send them. Send cookie thoughts.

Doing Is Better Than Not…

Man. Nope. Woman. What a day. May the honorable RBG rest in peace. May my ever-patriotic-my-ass government behave appropriately and stop trying to write off 70% of the fucking population. You want riots? Nominate another knee-jerk white guy who thinks rape is all in a woman’s head to the Supreme Court of my land. Or a guy (because you know it’s a guy) who thinks that LGBTQIA is something we can teach out of someone. Or who thinks that BIPOC aren’t human. No, that’s not a threat…it’s reality. Y’all don’t fucking listen unless people are burning your Whole Foods down and then it’s like, oh STAHP. Why are you so violent? You get nothing! So many people ALREADY GET NOTHING. Sigh. I know RBG wanted so badly to survive long enough to see a new president. We all wanted that for her (and us).

This is where I sit every day to teach immigrants, kids, survivors, and she had their back. Don’t tell me the law is the law…if the person looking at the law doesn’t think women have rights to their bodies, in fact, doesn’t think anyone but White Men have rights to their bodies, then the law will not work for anyone but them.

Y’all, I’m sad. I’m overwhelmed. I’m scared of what dumbassery McConnell and his cronies are going to do next, because instead of being responsible for their constituencies, they’re gonna do what the rich white guys want. So I’ve got some emails to write to Republican senators. How about you? I’m hoping this link works. If not, go to my Insta @knida and find the RBG post with all their email/contact info. This is wrong. Don’t let them fuck us over again.

I’m lucky to have a job right now, I am. It’s hellacious at the moment. It’s going to get even harder for a while, and then maybe I’ll find a routine that works. Yesterday, I started working at 7:15 AM. I ate lunch standing at the light table while sending emails to parents and kids. I sent 138 emails yesterday, at least. And that doesn’t count the back-and-forths that happened when parents or kids had additional questions. I had a meeting after school and then went back to work. I finished the emails and grading one assignment at about 8 minutes to midnight. And then I looked at my class lists for the week after this upcoming week, and I counted the kids, 40 more than I have now, huge classes, less time to teach them, way less time to help them, I looked at my emails with all the stuff I needed to manage before grades are due sometime next week (I think they caved and gave us next weekend, but not all of it), and I went to bed and cried. And that is where we’re at right now. And I have a job. I can pay my bills. I’m lucky.

I taught yesterday morning with the noise from about 15 guys and loud rancheria music while they finally fucking plastered this pool.

Please may they be done. My students are like, what’s all that yelling? And I’m like if those assholes down there let out a puta or pendejo that my kids can hear, Imma gonna go down there and light them up. If they did, I didn’t hear it. But my patience with the neighbor’s construction is down to negatory right now.

Here’s a typical moment in my teaching life right now.

Guess which kid is paying attention? I’m laughing. The “hold on im eating” kid? He won’t be mine after this week. I’m good with that. I know he’ll be replaced with an equivalent kid who’s trying to get out of the work and being a jerk about it, and I might start meditating during class, but…well…this is what it is.

Sigh. I’m having a hard time with the new curriculum. It all needs to be rewritten. I feel like every year, we start over, and then shit happens, and we can’t make it better, because next year will be different, and then the following year will be different again, and I can’t listen to you people who just call this a bad flu. I think about my teacher friends going back and the kids going back to their families with whatever they got at school and I know we are just waiting until someone gets sick, and hopefully nobody gets really sick. Hopefully no one dies. That said, this kid is gonna survive on cucumbers and tomatoes he found on Mars. So I can laugh.

I ironed on Thursday, because I had stitching Zoom.

Everyone wants me to talk and socialize at the end of the day, but I’m too damn tired to do that and I don’t really want to talk about school over and over again.

I did for a little bit, because I wanted to make really really sure that my 80-year-old-plus friend wasn’t going to go sub at a school.

She says she’s not.

This is almost done being ironed together…there’s the fire above and the dirt below. Then iron it onto the background. Straight up, I don’t think I’ll get to work on it this weekend. I have ten tons of schoolwork and two other things I need to get started. As soon as I’m done with this, that’s what I’m doing.

This is for realz right now. This one and another one who was running across the carpet with two cats after it…

The man caught that one in his hands. But I didn’t find the one who kamikazed off the fireplace hearth. I hope this isn’t one who’s coming back, for god’s sake, save yourself!

All my screens and windows need washing too.

OK, gotta work myself out of overwhelmed and depressed into something better. Some outdoor time today, plus some artmaking I committed to. Tomorrow, I’m going to Visions Art Museum to see the current exhibits, before everything closes back down next week. Hopefully the museums will stay open, because I have a ticket for the Contemporary Quilt Show at the Oceanside Museum of Art NEXT weekend. Sigh.

At some point, this poor lime tree is gonna grow limes beyond this stage. It’s still recovering from being replanted. Poor thing. It keeps trying. There’s an inspiration for you. This lime tree that keeps making baby limes and one day one of them will grow up to be my margarita.

OK. Doing something. Doing is better than not.

The Lone Crow

I’m more than a little frustrated by technology this morning. Nothing is working right…it’s either slow or nonexistent or doesn’t remember who I am (same same). My brain is mush from trying to (a) remember all the shit I’m supposed to do, (b) grade all the shit I’m supposed to grade, and (c) shit, I don’t even remember the last thing. I’m trying to type this on the iPad because my desktop and I are no longer friends and I’d really like to get this done before I start the long hellacious day ahead.

Must stop working on day job before 10 pm.

Tuesday I was smart and I walked. 3.65 miles. It’s a good walk. Our air is still unhealthy, but I have to admit that I didn’t track it before, so maybe it always was. The haze is not normal though. Those aren’t our fires…those are from somewhere else.

Walks are nice. They help. I should do more of them.

Working on that.

I managed some ironing at 11 pm or so…

The central figure with her cytokine storm.

Then last night, I got the other side done minus the forearm…

It was well after midnight. I forget that school starts earlier now and I have to get up earlier.

The heart, the lungs. Y’all, the news is so awful. Is the next quilt about wildfires, the stupidity of our leadership, or forced hysterectomies? I just don’t know where to start. Maybe I will make a nice landscape. Sigh.

I feel like this is one of the few things I can manage appropriately right now…laying pieces out in numerical order.

Got it! I can focus on that. The rest is too many pieces. Ironic…so many people think my quilts have so many pieces! Crazy! But those pieces have numbers on them, consecutive numbers, and there’s a master drawing with matching numbers and pieces. It all makes everything so easy. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but look at what I get at the end. My day job? None of that right now. Random numbers, no master drawing, nothing matches up, can’t even get my head around it some days.

And then I walk in on a late-night cat convention.

WTF y’all. WTF.

That’s me right now. The lone crow, squawking at the top of a denuded tree.

It’s OK. The leaves will come back. My murder is around, just not right there in my space…which is hard.

There’s blue up there.

In four minutes, I will walk to my classroom and try to focus on flowing water and flowing lava, and grading something, and maybe the future science I’ll be teaching. Then later I can iron stuff. Because it’s like meditation and I need that.

Over the Top…

Ugh. Monday, you were over the top. Remind me not to answer work emails at 3 PM…or honestly, ever. Without a 12-hour break maybe. “Dear teacher, how is my kid doing?” “I don’t know. They don’t come to class or turn anything in.” It was a day. We thought we could grade an assignment while monitoring the chat during a quiz, but the monitoring became overwhelming as the day went on, and I couldn’t concentrate enough on what I was grading…which required thought and long feedback, lots of it. Pro: I think this batch of kids is better than the last batch for writing claim-evidence-reasoning (probably because we told 6th grade they had to do some of the prep work). Con: They still need lots of work, work that is harder to do online. I have more to grade today, and an assignment that hopefully will allow that. We’ll see how that goes. Teachers can’t be ON all the time. We burn out. Yesterday was long and required a lot of energy and I don’t even think I got all the way through it. And I didn’t barely even TALK. Just typed in the chat while they took the quiz. Today is a staff meeting explaining our new schedules for the week of the 28th…which should be interesting, because I need to understand it myself so I show up for the right class at the right time. Which could be an issue. No worries! I will draw a picture to get me there. Block schedule, but online, with two subjects. OK. I got this. Three grade levels. OK. I still got this. Ask me in late October how I feel about it for realz.

Meanwhile, not much visible art has been happening. I’ve been doing research and posting on my Patreon and gathering show information, but my brain was too tired the last two nights to do anything more than that. I really really hope that changes tonight.

Our air quality is still off. Makes for beautiful sunsets and sunrises though.

Maybe they’d be just as beautiful without the smoke particles.

My most recent sourdough was also beautiful.

Lunches from this. I have become a character in Little House on the Prairie. Or something. I make my own bread. I never leave the house. Pa! Pa! OK, I left the house yesterday to pick up my sewing machine. Crucial stuff. Laura Ingalls never did that. I’ll leave the house today to walk. I need to walk. It’s been a while for a good long solo hike.

Simba thinks he’s a cat.

He barks too much to be a cat. Our hot weather popped back up for the rest of the week. Sigh. No thanks. I can do without. Just like the construction. I had to shut all the windows yesterday so I could teach over a concrete saw. Like just fucking be DONE with it! It’ll be done soon. It has to be.

Yes. My clothes are always covered with cat hair. But I’m at home, so you can’t tell.

Apparently they are very comfy.

I finished my book last night, Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. Apparently I have been saying her name wrong in my head for years. Very good. I didn’t much like the other book of hers I read, but this was good. What’s funny is that book club meets tomorrow night, and I was going to read the book for book club first, but this was so good, I didn’t. So I think it’ll be the first time I go to book club and I haven’t read the book. I might get some of it read today and tomorrow at lunch. We’ll see. It’s also supposed to be good, but I just haven’t seen anything but the cover yet.

That’s the closest I got to artmaking last night.

I made it in the office and ironed some brainless stuff and looked at this thing (the drawing, not the cat…she’s fine…it’s not her fault I can’t focus) and was too tired, looked at the clock and it was almost midnight, and I gave up. Part of my time issue was deciding to exercise at 10 PM. It needed to be done and there wasn’t time or mental space before that.

OK, wishes for today: efficient grading, some understanding of my future schedule, a successful teaching day, time for a walk, mental space for art, a calm and restorative dinner hour. Might be wishful thinking, but it’s my goal and I’m sticking to it. Better air too. That would be good.

Leave It.

Day of brain chaos. Trying not to think too hard about school and what I need to do, but that’s what kept me awake when something woke me up before 8 AM this morning. My brain…ruminating about school. Even though yesterday I spent time planning a good chunk of the week with posts and warmups and then grading some stuff, my brain can’t leave it. Even with a walk on Friday and a walk on Saturday, my brain can’t just drop it. On the one hand, that’s useful…it’s always trying to solve a problem on the side, over there, in that corner, while I’m driving or dropping off my sewing machine to be serviced or cooking something, but sometimes…just once in a while…I’d like it to just stop for a bit. Leave it. It’s the same brain that helps me make art…I do so much of the work in my head and work it out while I’m doing other things, it means when I’m actually MAKING, a lot of the thinking is done.

I did find myself some down time yesterday. I stopped for a while. I needed to.

In two weeks, everything I’m doing for school will change again. I’ll think about that in a week and a half. There’s no point in doing it now. Well, except for some planning for the art stuff. I maybe should go find the state standards. Maybe.

Friday was a weird day, because I had tree trimmers here…they trimmed 5 eucalyptus…

cut my palm down to the ground, cut two other branches that were issues, and took out a sucker eucalyptus on the neighbor’s side of my fence, which may or may not be my property. But I had permission. So it’s all good.

They are sad trees now, and so are the hummingbirds who had nests in there, but there were some branches that were an issue for winter storms and even summer winds.

I have lots of trees. I love them all and would prefer they just happily grow, but the house and neighbors and probably my house insurer prefer I trim them occasionally. So I do.

It was a pretty noisy day, so noisy that I moved the classroom setup back into my office with the shitty internet, and I explained why to the students, but still got, “Miss, are you running a blender?” “Yup. All day. Margaritas!” No, not really. I don’t say stuff about margaritas to kids. That’s the chainsaws and the chipper/shredder. It’s a good thing we moved the quiz from Friday to Monday. It will hopefully be quieter. Oh ha! The neighbors had jackhammers and saws going Friday until 6 PM and then Saturday and Sunday as well. No jackhammer today, just saws. I’m done! Turn off the shit. I want my quiet neighborhood back dammit. Well, quiet except for me teaching about rocks. On Mars. The rocks…not me teaching.

We took the dogs on a short walk on Friday…it was finally cool enough and the Air Quality Index had come down…it went back up on Saturday though.

There’s a local mostly flat loop that Calli can do easily enough…

Everything is very dry and prickly…

The boychild won’t let me plant artichokes because they are invasive…

They’re also fascinating.

Ah well. Maybe the next Daughter quilt will be an Artichoke Daughter. Away from all the serious topics (can I do that? Am I allowed? Will I allow myself, is more like it.).

Friday night, I managed some ironing…the weird death arm and a bird and three virions.

One of my quilt guilds actually acknowledges that some people work and have a social Zoom meeting at night. It’s one of the reasons I joined…before COVID…because they had meetings I could actually go to.

Still ironing the background bits together…although the snake overlaps onto the ground in the front.

So here, I finally got the stuff behind on the left and the stuff behind on the right all in the correct spot so I could start ironing the stuff in the front in the middle. Yeah. It’s confusing to me too. No worries. It will all make sense eventually.

I just iron quietly on the Zoom and listen to other people talk, just like it would be in real life. Maybe I would talk a little more in real life but honestly, I talk all day. I get tired of it.

Luna in a box. Nova by the window, waiting for a bug or a lizard to come close.

On Saturday, we went down to Balboa Park and walked around a little bit.

It was too peoply. I’m looking forward to cooler weather so we can go somewhere inland and less peoply…somewhere more hike-like and less walk-like. But it was good to get out. Yes, we still have smoky haze…air quality was 150 yesterday, which is still much better than Northern California, Oregon, and Washington…but not good. Right now, it’s down to 100. Better. But not good.

We were tired after, grabbed dinner, and came home and watched random stuff on TV…some Banksy, some political stuff (video below related to it), and a through-hiker in Utah, who was traveling through some of the stuff we visited last year. I just stitched stuff down, Sue Spargo stuff I can’t even show you, because she hasn’t published it yet. Brainless stuff, but that’s what I needed. Sometimes that’s what I need.

The political stuff included Emma Gonzalez’ speech from the March for Our Lives, which might have been the last political march I was in? I can’t remember. I know I’ve seen this speech before, but it still makes me cry.

Fuck the dumbass who called her ‘just a lesbian skinhead.’ I hope she becomes President. Or cures cancer. Whatever she’s got passion for. Those kids…I love when I hear passion in my own kids, my students (but my own children too) for something. Change something. Fix something. It can be small. Just care about something. Kudos to Emma and the rest of those kids who tried to make change, tried to make the fat old white guys see some sense.

No art last night. No energy, no art.

Sleepy Nova instead.

This morning, the man found a snake outside the front door…

Pretty sure it’s a gopher snake…

I don’t have a lot of gophers, so hopefully that’s his fault. Or hers.

Most of today was getting shit done. Hung a towel rail, did the grocery shopping, dropped my sewing machine off for service, and baked this beauty.

She looks really good. Which is nice, because she’s a good part of my lunches this week.

I also made naan from scratch…

Which isn’t as easy as my daughter makes it look, but I eventually got the hang of it. Mostly. Rugs are for catching the shit I dribble from the counter to the stove, right? Yes. They are. The minor issue is that I just mopped those floors and washed those rugs. Whatever. As soon as I clean, it’s dirty again.

I also did some research for the one project I need to work on this week…read up, watched some videos, printed some pictures and words. I’ll hopefully get a good start on that tomorrow night. And the other project too. We even had a socially distanced dinner with the parental units. First time in a long time. The plus is that I crossed a bunch of things off my list today. The minus is that it’s almost 10 PM and I’m exhausted (didn’t sleep well last night) and I’m not sure what to work on next. I have one thing I need to grade, but I don’t feel like it. Maybe I should just iron things together and accept that I am allowed to have some non-work time at night, even when everything is not done. Everything is not done so often! And work will always be there. Speaking of work always being there, the rumor is that work is checking Facebook pages and schooling staff about what they say. Huh. Well, I’ve been blogging about my job(s) and everything else…since 2004. Maybe even 2003? Can’t remember. If they’re just gonna decide to school me now, I’m gonna ask where they’ve been for the last 17 years. Is my job perfect? Of course not. Is my district perfect? Oh heck no…no one is. Am I perfect? Well we know the answer to that. I wouldn’t stress about everything under the sun on a daily basis if I were perfect. So Hi! See me waving at my work. Howzit goin’! I suggest you start reading way way back. Let me know when you’re done. Then we can talk.

OK, iron for a bit, sleep early (ha!), then get up and conquer the world. Or whatever you can handle.

You Can’t Skip to the End of the Story…

I had time to write this morning. That was even the plan. Eat breakfast, write, then work. But the internet was not on my side. The first download failed and the second one took 35 minutes, so by the time all that happened, school was imminent. So I gave up. I think I had most of the pictures resized by the time school actually started, but I need a good 30 minutes to write most days, and I didn’t have that at all.

So here we are, Friday evening, going into the weekend. There’s a pile of schoolwork hanging over me. What’s new? I found out today that when my school goes back to some hybrid, some online, I will be teaching 3 sections of 7th-grade science online and 2 sections of online art. ART. Online. Hmmm. So the last time I taught art was in 2007. And not online. Minor issue. I’m sure it will be fine. I’ll figure it out. It’s better than some of the things I was worried about, like multiple grade levels of science I’d never taught before or teaching with different schools with admin I’d never dealt with, so this is probably the best option. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I have 2 weeks to figure out at least the start of it. Lots of work. You should always have credentials in stuff you like, by the way…which is why I don’t have a math or history credential.

Anyway. So that’s new. From now until December 15th or so at least. I won’t have a prep with my science co-teacher; we’ll have to meet after school, but I think my prep will be figuring out what the hell online art looks like. I’m sure there are standards.

OK, so I was totally exhausted Wednesday…worked 11 hours with Zooms and online meetings and all, and then kept working because shit was in my head and I needed to get part of it on a doc or something. So I kept going. And at the end of it, I had no energy for anything else. I think I read a bit of my book.

Thursday was a bit better…I had a shorter day and managed some stitching that I can’t show you online because I’m not allowed to, but then I started ironing…

It’s working pretty well…I got 100 pieces done…

I was tired, but this felt pretty good compared to more sitting…

This is the figure behind the main figure…

Hopefully there will be more of that tonight, but who knows. I’m tired and I have a book and a half to read before Wednesday and a ton of work to do and really I should be able to do Date Night, because it’s not going to be 114 degrees this weekend hallelujah and the fire down here is almost out. Woohoo!

Also in the art realm…and the teaching realm…I miss drawing cover pages for science.

I hope I can figure out how to do drawing online without too much trouble. We’ll see.

Those morning smoky skies…

You can see the neighbor’s pool is progressing…with more jackhammering today…which I am just done with.

Our air quality is finally in the almost normal stage.

So weird. Pretty but weird.

So the cats just follow me around when no one else is home. Nova was directly behind me while I was teaching…

And Kitten was actually in class at some point…

And then was reviewing the teachers’ edition of the new curriculum…

And then Luna was way too close and personal to the computer setup…

Uh huh…

This seems problematic…

But she didn’t chew on anything and only batted at my hands a little bit…

I spent all of today moved back into the internet-iffy office, because I had tree trimming going on…probably a good thing because they were jackhammering next door again. Ugh. Please stop.

This was in the book I’m reading…perfect to think about right now.

Finishing with this crazy shit.

Every time I read another attack on women’s rights, I am thrown back to a particularly contentious argument I had multiple times in the past where I believed there was a conspiracy against women in this country, and at this point, you could add immigrants and BIPOC and racial rights and gender rights and geez a whole bunch of other things and you would still be right, that a huge chunk of things I care strongly about were and are under attack. And that’s not OK. And someone I cared a lot about at the time was telling me I was wrong. It was all in my head. Fuck that. I wasn’t wrong. I’m still not wrong. There are people who want to limit women and BIPOC and immigrants and anyone who doesn’t fit their idea of “THIS IS WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT”. And I wish those people would stop trying to make everyone like them. Because they aren’t all that.

Vote dammit. That mail-in ballot is coming in about 3 weeks and I’m ready. Gonna sit down right away and fill that out.

OK, weekend. I’m thinking about dinner and waking up a little bit more because it’s after 6 PM and getting shit done. Yup. Hopefully thread and fabric and pens and paper.