Like I Have Control Over That Shit.

I would like to thank my principal’s kid for his fever that canceled my morning meeting. No really. I mean, I hope the sweet boy is OK and all, but I needed sleep more than I needed another early meeting. Note to self. Fewer meetings. Like I have control over that shit. Seriously need to figure people out and their need to make useless meetings or add people to my meetings who aren’t going to add to the conversation or set meetings up and then not show the fuck up. Wasted time is like the worst thing in the world to me. Don’t make me do it! That said, I’ll show up to almost any kid meeting, hoping against hope that THIS will be the one that gets them to see the light (them being the kid, the parent, or someone who might be able to move the helping process along, hello counselors and psychs and all those other people who get in the way of our helping the kids who need it due to stupid governmental crap). I’m an eternal optimist, despite the cynicism you see and hear daily from me. I believe in people choosing good over evil…in doing the best things…despite seeing stupid shit day after day. Sigh. I’m preparing my mind for two lab days in a row. Wait until next week. Ha! Yeah. It’ll be fine.

I came home early last night and went to the gym. It was my night to cook, but I thought this shit through…the crockpot was going all day. Easy and awesome foods and plans. I tried using the iPad at the gym to grade these essays, but it doesn’t work like it does on the computer, so in 25 minutes on the bike, I managed two essays. Not great. And you know what? When I came home and was sitting there watching some weird Russian robot show (I don’t know why we keep watching this…the dialogue is awful and the lips are moving and nothing else is and the bots themselves…my lord.), I did NOT go get my computer and continue to grade essays. Yes, it means I’m behind. I’m always behind. Whatever. 20 minutes of grading after dinner wasn’t going to solve THAT shit.

Then I came in here and it took an hour to cut bindings and sleeves and sew them onto the quilt…

Same stuff as the background. I bought just enough to do the sleeves. Note to self…when your quilt is WIDER than it is TALL, your sleeves will be really long. Ugh. I have to sew all those down. Damn. Well. You learn something new every time you do this. Yeah, this cat is blurry. I kept trying to take pictures of her rubbing her head and body all over this quilt (sheesh), and she was moving too much. The Instagram one is the only non-blurry one.

Then I spent another 2 hours pinning everything and starting to stitch all the rest by hand. I got all the way down one long side and one short side, so that’s half of the outside part, but I still need to do the sleeves. Hang on…this is math. There are 380″ total inches of hand sewing and I did about 113 of them last night. That means I have a shitload left to do. No really. I don’t need to do that math. I’ll be fine. No gym tonight. No having to cut things out or sew them by machine or pin them, so another 3 hours and I should be done? Hopefully? I do need to do some inking on it, plus iron and dehair it…probably can’t deliver tomorrow, but definitely Saturday. Whew. Woo! OK. What am I doing next? For my sanity, I cannot have down time on the art stuff. It keeps me going. Seriously.

Meanwhile, school. No meetings today. A blessing. Don’t ask about tomorrow.

Do It Better…

My brain is significantly nonfunctional. Unfortunately. Because job and all. Plus morning meetings just suck. I’m sure it will be fine. I currently feel like I might still be asleep. I even went to bed early to try to make up for the early rise, but no. Not less tired or more awake. I’m just not a morning person. My brain is literally crying out for a sleep-in right now. No, brain. We don’t get that until maybe Saturday…not Sunday though. Sigh. OK. Some time in November! There we are. Is it November yet? Close.

The weather’s wacky again here in Southern California…it must be that weird burst of October summer we get most years…Santa Ana’s? Maybe. The old dog is increasingly more reactive to weather as she ages…now wind upsets her because it often comes before rain and her ultimate fear, thunder. There will be none of that this week, except for the wind, and she will freak out and be needy and we’ll pet her and it won’t help. Poor thing.

I’m in a daily routine…I come home from school and grade stuff…it was a 10-hour day yesterday. I’m not sure this thing where I keep track of it is making me feel better…but I’m doing it anyway…collecting data. Today maybe won’t be as bad…well, except for this early-morning meeting. Ugh. Grading is just such a time suck. There’s no solution I’ve found for it yet. Nonstop time suck. I was doing OK at the beginning of the year, but it’s the stuff we use for assessment that takes forever. Anyway…and makeup work. That’s killing me at the moment. I can’t even get to it. I only graded until we were done watching our dinner TV show though…then did a few things that needed doing.

Then off to the quilting. Which I took no pictures of…mostly because the thread broke approximately 28 times. I don’t know why. But it was all on the righthand side of the quilt. I booked it through the top section and then all of a sudden, every 6 inches or so, SHRED. WTF. I used the thread conditioner I have. I slowed the fuck down (OK, it’s true I was driving Nascar with the machine when I could). I thought about changing the needle, but I had just done that right before quilting. Anyway. Eventually it behaved and I made it all the way around…almost 9 hours of quilting. Not bad. When did I start? Saturday night? Yeah. Quick.

Then the trimming…

Sometimes this is a real pain in the ass, but last night, it was easy peasy. One side had to be recut, retrimmed to make the measurements work. And then I was done. It’s about 70″ w and 43″ h. I don’t usually do long and wide, but the image called for it. And she looks good! She needs a little ink (don’t we all) and a binding for sure. I have three nights for that! Maybe. We’ll see. I think the photographer would like it earlier rather than later, but I also know that all that binding will take a while. Plus holes in my finger unless I remember to use those sticky thimble things that I always forget I have until the hole is well established. Ouch.

Kitten agrees.

She was quite happily ensconced on the couch while I graded. Well, she tried to lie on the computer (why do they do that? It can’t be comfortable) and then she followed me to the office for the stitching time. All good.

OK, binding on tonight, start stitching it down. Hopefully I’m going to the gym as well…really need it. My back is tweaked. Plus blood sugar always needs it. Maybe I’ll figure out how to grade this current assignment there. We’ll see if the iPad can handle the weird add-ons I’m using. Early meeting tomorrow too, so I’ll be in bed early again. My brain is like YAASSSS. Bed. Sleep. Sheesh. If you like sleep so much, why don’t you DO IT BETTER?


Hi. I’m Kathy. I’m a bit of a workaholic. I seriously don’t know how to relax, especially with a bunch of grading that’s late and a quilt that’s due. The man was asking about my Saturday plans, and I kinda went off, because Saturday is DAYS from now and I have SO MUCH to do before then that my right eye is twitching. Or maybe it’s my left. Or they’re alternating. Did you know there’s something called TwitchCon? And it has nothing to do with my eyelids’ propensity to denote my stress levels.

12 hours plus on school yesterday. I am tracking actual hours this week for the program I’m on. Why? So I can cut some of those hours. I’m not sure how that will work, but I’m getting there. By hell or high water. Or I’ll die trying. OK, shouldn’t offer that as an option. This job will take it all out of you. I remember the guy who planned to retire from teaching, had to go out 3 months early on medical, was dead by the end of summer. Cautionary tale!

Anyway, I quit because I was reading this one essay and I’m thinking, whoa, this sounds familiar and then read a phrase about convection being a substance (WTF?) and went, holy fuck, Batman, I’ve read this before. Sweet little dumbasses. They must think we’re idiots. OK, sometimes we don’t catch this shit just due to time etc, but seriously, write something as lame as that and I will FIND YOU and award you the zero you deserve, you and your little friend. Yes, because Google Docs tells me who edited it when. Haven’t decided what to do about it yet. Drawing and quartering seems a bit much (though tempting). Making them rewrite during tutoring sounds fun. Not really. But I’ll probably do it.

Today is some practice with equipment that will hopefully help them with a lab tomorrow and the next day. Then we go into days of labs, which after yesterday’s incidents with “I don’t know how to shut up long enough to hear instructions,” might be an issue. Anyway. My day job…can suck the brains out of my head and spit them out in a what do you call that thing by the side of the road, next to the curb, damn, there goes my brain. I’ll let it ruminate and hopefully I’ll remember what it’s called. THE GUTTER! Sheesh. Google will be saving my forgetful ass until I die. The gutter.

So it was around 9:30 PM when I started panic quilting. Really it’s all a run to the finish now.

I had both arms, the Anza Borrego section, the entire torso (trees, heart, lungs), and the head to do.

In the last week, I’ve worked on this quilt for more than 18 hours. Yesterday, I only got in 2 hours and 12 minutes. They were good ones though.

Because I finished all the outlining, which was my goal…

And then I started quilting the background, of which there is not much…and I got about a quarter of the way around, maybe a little more. So that’s tonight…and hopefully trim it and maybe cut and start stitching the binding? We’ll see. It depends on how long the quilting takes. And on my sanity after tutoring. I really should grade more things, but I don’t know if I’ll have the fortitude. How come I can remember FORTITUDE but not GUTTER. My brain is like a fucked-up sieve.

Oh yeah, while I was watering last night and dealing with my composter, I saw this guy…

I thought their season was done, but apparently not. He looks well fed.

OK, off to the day job, where I will remember the word GUTTER and try not to use a triple-beam balance in a way it was not intended to be used. Seriously, though, why does it make sense to weigh your hand on a TBB without cutting it off? Because otherwise, you’re not weighing anything. Now you know why I’m a middle-school science teacher and not a kindergarten teacher.

I Stitched a Few Miles…

My blood sugar crashing woke me up at 5 AM. Not a normal occurrence. I need to be better about eating on the weekends. I forget. I’m not in the mood. There’s no plan. I’m pretty sure I said this sometime in the last 4 weeks. And then didn’t do it. Sigh. Part of it was that I was busy trying to get this quilt done. I’m still busy trying to get this quilt done. I’m going to be busy with it all week. I did manage to stitch a few miles this weekend, that’s for sure.

I got up Saturday morning and did a bunch of stuff I already wrote about, and then I started the stitch down again in the early afternoon…

I had done about 2 1/2 hours the night before and I was on a roll…

It’s not like this is hard. As long as the sewing machine behaves (sometimes an issue), this is easy. I put on some loud music, I try to remember to stand up occasionally, I forget to eat…and I stitch. At 4 hours and 51 minutes, I was done.

The back is always intriguing. I actually look at the back to find what I missed. I found one, but not the other…I found that one last night while quilting.

Then I went through the stash to find something for the backing. This is a batik on the front, and I used the whole width from selvedge to selvedge, so I knew I’d have to use another batik on the back, unless I wanted to piece it (I did not)…because batiks run about 44″ wide and regular fabrics are usually only 40-41″ wide. I didn’t want to lose the 3″. So I grabbed something that might work as a background, but was being conscripted to backing today.

I ironed it nice and flat. I’d already washed the batting, so I cut that, ironed the top, and laid it all out on the floor I’d already cleaned in the morning (I had a busy morning).

Looking good. Get down on the floor and start pinbasting. Look at the clock…the Visions opening has started, but you’re still OK on time.

Pinbasting doesn’t usually take very long…

Less than an hour. Put on something besides shorts, put a bra on (aargh, society, fuck you), head out to Visions for the opening of Interpretations. Talked to some interesting people, checked out the art, don’t have time now for resizing photos and looking up people’s websites, just know there was some interesting art there. And people!

I knew there was no food in the house (that I wanted), so I headed over to Liberty Public Market, had a glass of wine, and read my book while I contemplated the chaos inside and my food options.

Also stopped at Comikaze and got a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, graphic novel style. Looking forward to reading that.

Then decided on crepes (I always decide on that…not sure why…because they’re a rarity in my world and I like them?)…waited for them to be cooked, and drove them home to continue reading. I finished the book. So I took about a 3-hour break from the quilt existence. The man was playing a show I couldn’t go to, so this was my one break all day.

Back to the grind…the quilting…

And that’s what I did, more music blaring, for the next 2 1/2 hours…quilted a little Torrey Pines cliffs…

Some water and a whale…

I was on a roll…a mule deer…

Somewhere around the river, the man showed up and I actually looked at a clock…after midnight. Ah. OK. Time to stop.

So Saturday was close to 6 hours of quiltmaking. Now that’s a day. But I didn’t get any schoolwork done, and that’s an issue. Yes. Well.

Sundays are always really busy, and this one was no exception. I did do schoolwork and I also went to the grocery store and the fabric store for binding fabric, plus made some lunch and breakfast stuff and a cake for my dad who just turned 79, which is awesome. So it was late before I started this…

I graded a little at the parentals’ house before dinner, but was panicking. And listening to a podcast about the Panic Monster. I quilted for an hour and then took a break, went on the bike and graded a few essays while riding, then went back to quilting.

I hate grading sometimes. And the quilt wins timewise at the moment. Hopefully I can get more of both done today. I’d really like to finish the quilting tonight…

I did 2 1/2 hours last night, so that’s almost 5 hours so far. Probably another 2 1/2 hours just of outlining left…

I have the whole torso, most of one arm and all of another, plus Anza Borrego and her head. Then I have to quilt the background. Hmm. Plus a 2-hour staff meeting and I’m cooking dinner tonight. Sounds problematic. OK, finish the outlining tonight. Finish the background tomorrow night and trim it, cut the binding. Maybe put the binding on? Shit. Time. When the hell am I going to grade anything? I guess it’s a good thing I have absolutely no evening plans this week. I did record some different videos for my Patreon this weekend…a bunch of me singing along to music as I quilt (not so interesting) and then a short treatise on materials and why you should wash your Machingers more often than I do. It’s not hard. I just buy new ones.

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.


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.