I Did Not Sew Through My Finger.

First partial week of school in the books. Certainly there are some challenges we can see, and I sort of already feel incredibly buried in all the minutiae and the demands of life around it, although some of those are things I take on, of course. My brain right now is trying to hold on to 17 different to-do threads, mostly involving finding one thing and emailing someone about it. It’s disconcerting.

I posted a picture yesterday afternoon on Instagram of a new thing we’re doing this year called a Wonder Wall. I didn’t make it up…it came from here…but I really wanted to tap into the natural wonder that kids have about science that sometimes the standards kick in the ass. Like here’s what we HAVE to teach, and here’s what you really WANT to learn about.

Like skin walkers. And why humans can’t lay eggs. So we started yesterday with a brain dump (although my co-teacher called it a brain drop) on paper, which almost killed some of the kids, OMG, 8 minutes of writing questions, do you hate us? Hey no. You can do this.

WHEN CAN I GO TO BED. I ask that all the time. I actually model it and sometimes kids copy the questions I’m writing because writing and thinking are hard and I’m really much better at it than some of them. And then they had to cull it down to 1-3 questions to write on the post-its. At the end of the day, I stood and stared at it…

Why ARE there too many questions in your head, child? I’ve always had too many questions. I started in every class with talking about easy questions like what’s for lunch (I should know; I made it) or when is class over (that’s on the wall), and then talked about questions that I might know the answer to, like why am I so short, followed by the more difficult stuff, and for this, I always pick one of the more mouthy boys (and if they’re mouthy and I know their names on the third day of school, you know I need to connect with them), and I say I’ve always wondered what would happen if we took MY brain and put it in THEIR head, who would they be? Would they be me? Would they be a combination? And they kinda freak out. I’m OK with freak out in here.

This thread though…

All the ones about death. I teach in a Title I school. I teach many immigrants and refugees. I teach traumatized kids. I know all these things. And yeah, the “Why am I still alive” kid is on my radar. I actually know which kid that is. Most of them I don’t. But he made a point of telling me it was his. And then running away. OK then. We’ve got some work to do.

The next step? They pick a question and research it and produce something for me. We’ll work on that. First I’m going to have my homeroom try to organize them in threads/piles (a lot of kids copied my Why am I short? question)…because right now, it’s a little overwhelming. And we’ll have to train them to think about this shit. But it’ll be good. The core of teaching science is helping them think critically. How do we answer all these crazy questions in our heads? How do we find stuff we care about? The one kid who wants to know about what it’s like in jail. Huh. Well. You can find that out. I’d rather you know that in your head before experiencing it for real. It might persuade you not to do certain things. Probably they’re asking for a reason…parent in jail is pretty common around here. Big project.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get everything done at home too…on my list for next weekend (this weekend is buried) is to get these plants organized and transplanted as needed. The one that escaped and is heading across the steps…

It needs to be planted out. A lot of the succulents have escaped pots or outgrown them. Need to work on that.

We walked both dogs when I got home…

We did a shorter walk, but even with that, Calli was limping by the end. She seems OK today though, so she may just be out of shape after almost two months of very few walks. I don’t think the back leg will ever be fully back. But she wanted to walk and she liked it and she didn’t whine so I think we’re good. Maybe not 3-mile good, but good.

Boychild saw that. My head was down, watching for lizards. We came back and I read for a bit, researching the Amazon rainforest and wondering (I need my own Wonder Wall) why so many dumbass politicians are in charge right now, and what will be left of the planet in 30 years’ time and holy crap the boychild was cooking dinner, so the dogs sat with me.

Doggy time is the bestest time.

The Man’s band played at Petco Park during Beerfest last night…they were very excited.

I did not go for once, mostly because it was sold out, but also the first Friday of school is exhausting and they started so freakin’ early, I don’t think I could have made it there anyway. Today I am also blowing them off, because I have to finish this quilt and this book. I quilted for three hours last night…finished the outlining…

Face before outlining…face after outlining…

Much better. And I did most of the background, but around 11:30 PM, I realized my eyes were drooping and I didn’t want to sew through my finger (I’ve done that) because I was too tired, so I quit, even though there’s only about 30 minutes left on there. It’s 30 minutes I’ll be doing this morning, then going to get binding, washing it, and putting it on. Done early! Woo! A miracle. Now I just have to get everything else done. No worries.

Grind It Out…

I’m staring out the window at lovely fog. And it’s quiet out there. I always forget how LOUD middle school is. It’s not that I don’t like loud. When it’s music (I picked) or probably even me, I’m loud. But a thousand kids is really loud. A class full of 37 kids is loud. You’d think it wouldn’t be on the first day of school, but it is.

It was a long and tiring day. This week usually kicks our butts…and then next week does it again…and then we get a 3-day weekend to recover. At some point, the body remembers how to do all the things without collapsing, and the feet get used to a million steps and wearing shoes and standing all the time, and it gets easier. And you remember not to drink a lot of water because you won’t be able to pee for another two hours. That part sucks.

My team had it together. For now. Because the amount of noise we had yesterday does not bode well for a quiet year. We knew it was coming. It will be fine. We will survive. But my first school-related text this morning was already about someone needing to switch classes because of behavior. OK. Usually we get two weeks of grace period. Not this year.

We did an after picture, but we still looked pretty good. We should do a last day of school photo, or the day before Winter Break, which isn’t in my calendar yet, but should be. Today is the first lab of the year, so that should be fun.

I came home exhausted, too tired to go ship the actual quilt box (I’ll do it this morning on the way to work…it’s easier for parking anyway). I needed to copyedit, so I started with checking all the Bibliography references and all the things I’d tagged as issues (double spaces, use of the word ‘kids’ instead of something more formal, weird quotation issues), because they were pretty brainless and easy…just time-consuming to check. By the time I was done, I had enough caffeine in me and recovery time in to be able to reread the whole section. I sent it to the author last night. So we’re up to 8+ hours of school, another 3 1/2 hours of copyediting, and then I ate dinner and finished my book. I liked it. It’s called Burnout and it’s by Emily Nagoski.

It won’t solve my problems for me, but it helps me remember to say no, even if I’m flattered that someone would want me to do something. I’m throwing two things around in my head right now that I should say no to, and hopefully I will, because there are already way too many things in the air. I also get into this stress survival mode and really shut down sometimes (Um. Like now), fully realizing it’s not healthy, but I’m often not sure what else to do but put my head down and get it done. So I do self care like draw and art and hikes and the gym, but really that doesn’t get rid of the stressor or deal with why it’s even there…and that’s a problem. Anyway. This is a start for the new year.

After copyediting, I quilted. There’s just way too much I need to get done in the next 10 days. The quilt has to be done first. Kitten was monopolizing the other chair in the office. Yes, I need two. Because cats.

My goal was to outline one half, just like when I did the stitch down.

There were some bits I forgot to stitch down, so I had to go back at one point and do that in the middle of the outlining.

It took me about 2 hours, but I got one side done of the outlining.

Tonight, hopefully, I’ll do the other side, and then Friday night is the background, then trim and bind on Saturday. Ready for the photographer Sunday or Monday…early even! WTF. That’s crazy. I was so sure I wouldn’t be able to finish it.

Well, I’m not done yet, so knock on wood. I need to finish copyediting the final bits on Part 3 in the next two days…then I’ll focus on the quilt and get Part 4 and the Bibliography done next week. I do also have a bunch of school stuff I need to do, like record us/me/my partner reading a whole chapter of a book without mispronouncing anything or (and this is harder) swearing. Oh yeah. That should be interesting. And do I have any idea what I’m working on next? Fuck no. That conversation can happen in my head later, like on the weekend. When there’s space for it.

Ah yes. Kitten shapes. They’re so weird and abstract.

OK. Back to it. Another grind it out day.

That Damn Red Shirt…

It’s a foggy morning. It’s quiet, except for the gurgle of the pool filter/motor thing, which has too much air in the system again, so I’m gonna have to email the new guy. I don’t have time to go out there and figure it out. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’m gonna go out and make sure there isn’t a coyote snout or a gopher caught in there, but then I’m gonna email the expert who cleaned it yesterday. (No dead animals. I checked.)

I need another three days before kids can come back. It’s unfortunate that I only have 24 hours. I’ll be fine. Really, I will. The 4 AM wakeup so I could put something in my calendar was fun.

The second problem is coming home to a hellacious to-do list. I managed to catch the cat and put flea medicine on her, check who all my resource kids were, wonder Why TF they put so many kids in one period with a kid in a wheelchair (gonna be crowded!), print a bunch of school crap, forget to print a bunch of other school crap (hence the 4 AM wakeup), put a label on a quilt that needs to ship out this week, run a load of laundry so I can wear our new team shirt tomorrow (although I don’t have a bra that is light enough to wear under it, so that’s a thing), cook dinner, and quilt. And try not to kill anyone. It’ll be fine. (As I get a text that I’m supposed to be wearing the same red shirt I wore last Friday, like I do laundry all the time or something. Oh wait. IT’S FATE.)

Who was it that said something about how you can tell if a diabetic’s blood sugar is crashing because she is irritable? And then qualified it with the difference between my normal irritability and that related to my blood sugar. Which certainly if you saw me this morning, dealing with the pool, some red shirt thing (NOT the Star Trek thing where you’re gonna die), two meetings like ASAP, which means I gotta get my ass outta here, you would understand why someone would need to know the difference. FUCK. Now I’m irritated.

OK. It’s all good. I got this. Yesterday’s cat legs under a quilt…

It’s where she likes to hide…

Puppy glad to see me when I got home…

We found another scrapey bit where the coyote might have got him. He’s doing fine. We’re all paranoid as hell, but he’s fine.

I did a little of this. I might run out of the blue. I might not. IDK what color the cloud will be…whatever is left over.

Does it really matter? Maybe. Maybe not.

I did outline quilting around the outside edge pieces, all the way around the quilt.

IT’S SO FUCKING MEDITATIVE. Seriously, it is.

So I forgot to look at a clock until after midnight. Oh well. It’s not like I had to be up early this morning to get my ass to school to meet with someone about someone else who is gonna light my world up this year. YAASSS! Bring it! I’m ready. Where’s my damn red shirt.

I Write Everywhere

I wonder how hard this is, trying to write on the weight machines at the gym? The answer? I can do it, but I kinda have to separate my brain so that one part can count while the rest is trying to write. Odds of my getting dementia due to not using my brain? Very low. Odds of my going insane due to over-multitasking? Very high. Odds of my counting to 10 wrong? Inevitable. Oh well.

I’m juggling things. Badly. Or well. Depends on what angle you’re at.

An amazing thing happened yesterday though: I finally cleared the kitchen table of the multiple landslides of accumulated crap from 7 months of receipts, books, paper, and oh-so-many pens and paper clips. As we go more online, I might have to make art out of my multitudes of paper clips.

I spent three hours in the afternoon creating things in a coffee shop. Two knitters showed up later…

Here’s how far I got yesterday…almost done!

I also copyedited a bit…more of that today. More cleaning today too.

And then I ironed. I did get almost three hours in, like I wanted, but I stayed up way too late. Damn dogs and cats won’t sleep in.

Picking lots of browns for trees and dirt and sand…

Then figuring out what goes where…4 levels of hills, 4 levels of trees on hills, followed by 4 levels of gray concrete and yellow road markings. And then Fire!

That’s about 250 pieces ironed. Since I misnumbered so heinously, I think I have 700 to go. Ok. A goal.

My days are reading about trauma-informed schools, making art about good and evil, house dust and detritus, and the orange baby’s stupid words.

I’m on the elliptical now. Way easier to write here…

I’m a Ninja on the Side

So first of all, if you’re ever wondering why I always have white fur on my ass, this is why…

That’s my chair. Covered in white fur. Also covered in cat, which can be an issue sometimes. Yes, I could stop wearing all black, but where’s the fun in that? Plus then no one would know I’m a ninja on the side.

I think I have 17 minutes to write this. Go!

Good news…got my annual boob squeeze (go get yours now if you are over the age of 35 or whatever your insurance says and you are female or have female hormones that affect breasts, because those damn things are both lifesavers and horrid toxic things…the hormones, not the breasts) and there is nothing wrong. Woo hoo! I can keep them for another year.

Then I spent three hours…THREE HOURS stitching with Susan in some random coffee shop that I didn’t even know existed. It was freezing in there, which was great with my hot flashes. She was spinning fiber…on the other side of the table.

With three hours of stitching time, you think I’d be done with this thing. You’d be wrong…

I even came home and stitched some more and I’m not done. And I’m worried that I will run out of blue. I might need to rethink the hair. That’s OK. You can buy the kit and do it just like me, or you can buy the pattern and do it however you freakin’ want.

I was going to draw more last night, but I got sidetracked by something…who knows what. I don’t. My brain is like a bug at the moment. A bug being chased by a gecko.

I finally started quilting after 11 PM…and I quickly finished the outlining…

There wasn’t a lot left of it…

She’s pretty simple…and then I started on the background. I’ll finish that today and go buy binding on the way back from the dentist, which I need to leave for in 13 minutes. THIRTEEN MINUTES.

It sounds like a lot of time but I don’t know where my shoes are, so that could take eleven minutes right there.

Anyway, I still have 17 thousand things on my to-do list because I only did two or three of them yesterday and then I added more. MORE. I am crazy. I’m also trying to clean and straighten up and get rid of shit, a little at a time. It’s not working. Well, maybe it is. I don’t know. I have this pile of checks I’ve deposited electronically that need shredding. I’m pretty sure there’s a shredder in the garage. (Hey Phil, is there a shredder in the garage?) But first! Dentist for X-rays only (don’t even ask, so stupid, health insurance drives me bonkers) and then quilt store (danger danger Will Robinson!) plus they’re tearing up the bottom of my road (finally!) so the check I wrote that is the money I wanted to use to trim the trees is finally going to be cashed in the name of new asphaltum. Woo hoo. Exciting being a homeowner, isn’t it? Oh yeah. I think I have book club tonight too…if only I knew what day it was. Dayum.

Like a Human

I think I need to leave in like half an hour. Oh my. Mornings. Kick my butt.

Hey, so I called yesterday about the sewing machine and made an appointment to bring it in, and made sure they had a cord for the other machine, so I could see if it was really having stupid needle-freezing issues or if it was the fact I was borrowing a cord from a recliner chair to test it. But just to check and make sure, I tried it again. And you know what? It freakin’ worked. I don’t know why. It’s an asshole is why. So I quilted yesterday. In between driving around a lot, because you can never get everything you need at one store, which is why Amazon makes so much money. I hate driving around and doing errands. But it sometimes needs to happen because you need it NOW and you don’t want to contribute to the crazy shipping of everything all over the world.

I only quilted for a little while in the afternoon, because it was the Man’s birthday and we had this 2-hour tour of the bay that was expiring today. So we went…this is the outside of the harbor bathroom. Very exciting. I have no idea what all of it spells out.

I’m assuming it looks different at night with the lights shining through some of the letters.

There’s a bunch of Groupons for these tours all the time. As San Diego County residents, we often forget to hang out in our own city…although I’ve done pretty well with that.

Coronado Bridge…

I went on this trip (on a different boat) last summer and thought the man would enjoy it. He did.

San Diego Cityscape…

It was a nice day for it…not too hot and not too cold…

Seagull above us…it flew alongside us and then managed to land up there.

Impressive skillz.

Wildlife…

This one waved…

More sea birds…

I really don’t go down to the water enough. It’s too far, I guess.

We ate dinner downtown and passed this positive message for the new birth year…

Oh yeah. Good times. His real birthday present is in about two weeks. And there are no baby goats. Too bad.

When we got home, I quilted. I did offer to hang out and watch a movie with him, but he had to go to work today and he was too tired for a whole movie. Maybe tonight.

Like I said, the machine magically fixed itself. I love that stuff.

I really don’t. I like things to make sense. Machines anyway. I realize they probably do on some level, but it’s like machine fairy level. You know? Tech fairies. Magical beasts who fix tech when you turn it off, swear at it, and walk the fuck away.

This thing isn’t that complicated. I quilted for about 2 1/2 hours yesterday and got the whole bottom part done…

All that’s left is everything above the shoulders, which isn’t that much outlining, and all the background.

I’d really like to finish today. I’m not sure if I can, though. The annual boob-squeezing is in less than an hour (shit, I need to get ready to leave), and then I’m hanging out this afternoon in a coffee shop with Susan, who had the balls to move to freakin’ Portland, which is a million miles away. No sewing machines in coffee shops. I’ll have to bring hand work and pretend to be a well-behaved seamstress. First I have to try to get the old lady dog to eat some foods. OK. And brush my teeth. Like a human.

Come and Open Up Your Folding Chair Next to Me*

I am so close to done. With a quilt. Not school. That’s why I stayed up late (again). I finished the quilting last night. I can’t show it to you yet. But it looks cool. Tonight I’ll trim it and put the binding on. I’m emailing the photographer…right…now. OK. That’s done. Now I have to finish it. I love forced motivation. OK, I really do want it done, because I want to work on something I can SHOW you.

Plus, I’m looking forward to having my Patreon pick the next one. I edited the video together last night and just need to add some titles or something. Every time I do this, I learn something new about video editing. This time, it was how to rotate the video. I still need to figure out how to fill the screen with it, but that’s tonight maybe. Well, let’s be honest…I have math testing again today, and this time, I get back the hellion who’s been gone the last three days of testing, and then I have science curriculum training for 2 1/2 hours after school. Which currently sounds semi-torturous, but maybe I’ll feel better about it at the time. Unlikely.

Last night, I had a union meeting. I was filling out a lease application to co-sign for the girlchild at the same time, and wondering yet again at when I might be able to stop paying for my kids. I think the answer is a long time from now. As I’m staring at the hole in my kitchen counter and trying to figure out how to fix it long term. No stress. So the house needs work. I literally cannot deal with that right now. Remove old grout, caulk between the sink and the counter, find tiles that will fit, trim them to really fit, adhere, and grout. Not happening until June 21st. Well. I can do some of that before then, but it needs to dry out, and that’s not happening either.

I’m going to try to finish the Patreon thing tonight…but it will probably be tomorrow night, posting Saturday morning. So that’s a little behind my self-imposed schedule, but the reality right now is that school is kicking my butt.

And then there’s these guys…

That’s Katie…my parent’s dog. They’re in Seattle at my nephew’s middle school graduation. Calli is never really sure about Katie. In this photo, Katie is yowling. Really that’s the only way to explain it. She sings. In dog. She’s very excited when new people come home. Or go to the mailbox and come back. Or get up in the morning.

She’s a good guard dog, although very nervous.

Will you come back? Will you? We always do, Katie. We always do.

I am totally holding dog treats in my hand here.

Because otherwise, they’re throwing their doggie bodies all over the place. This makes them pay attention.

OK, there’s 11 days of school left. I will be done with grading at some point (I did a bunch of that yesterday too). I will have my sanity back at some point (it usually takes a week or two after school gets out). Today will not be that day. At all. But I have an early meeting today, so let’s start with that and get on with the rest of it.

*Regina Spektor, Folding Chair