What Kind of Crazy is That?

‘Tis the season for dealing with lost packages, yeah? I’m typing this on the iPad, because I’m in a chat on the computer, trying to replace the thermostat I need that was decidedly NOT delivered Monday night. At least not HERE. Sigh. At least it’s not a Christmas present, and the current thermostat is working. It’s cantankerous though and will probably die on one of these really cold nights. Good thing I have a bed full of cats, right? OK, the new one is arriving Sunday. Apparently. I’ll believe it when I see it…and hopefully I won’t be wandering through the yard with a flashlight trying to find it.

I swear I woke up yesterday thinking it was Wednesday already. So did my boss; he was talking about today’s meeting, which is actually tomorrow. Yesterday was a slog…started well, successful learning experience, fell into the deep turbulent water of What. The. Fuck. by the end of the day. It’s hard teaching such a wide range of abilities, but I also wonder what that group would be like in the morning. I never have them in the morning…just right after lunch or at the very end of the day. And I say things like “tomorrow, we will…” and there’s always this kid going, “We don’t see you tomorrow” (because of block schedule), and I’m lucky I even know what day it is and what I’m teaching…I can’t possibly keep track of who the hell will be in my class on the next day. What kind of crazy is that?

Last night’s post-8 PM texts with my co-teacher were “how do we change this assignment we’re in the middle of because ugh teaching it this way is painful and it could be worded better.” On the one hand, I really am grateful for a co-teacher who has a brain that works with mine. But maybe we should relax more at night and read a book or something. I did read for a bit when I got home. I wanted to be all good and go to the gym, but I’m tired…so tired. It was cold and I didn’t want to deal with it. This morning, I wish I’d gone. Oh well.

Ironing is what I do every night before bed, for close to or just over an hour. Not a lot…which is why it’s taking so long to get this done. Plus it’s complicated as hell. This figure is pretty small, but it’s hard to see the pieces under the teflon sheet and small means tiny pieces.

Lots of overlapping finger parts. Here it is upside down with cat butt.

And right side up…hanging over the ironing board.

Last night, I managed 78 minutes of ironing before bedtime. I pushed it a little late…been having problems falling asleep too, so that’s a fun thing. Ironing is the best thing though…it’s meditative. I finally pulled a separate sheet to iron this little baby in her hand, though. Could not see the pattern underneath, because this lies on top of the other figure.

Then I can just pull that piece off, all ironed together, and put it where it belongs…hoping always that it actually fits, because I’m not really perfectionist about it matching the pattern perfectly.

In fact, I’ve had two pieces that I debated putting in at all…they were so small and it wasn’t going to really make a difference to anyone but me. I left one out in the end. The other one is in there. So this is Figure 5…it seems like she blends in with the land a little more than I thought she would (stitching outlining will help with this), and I haven’t finished her right arm (damn fingers, so complicated), but that puts me squarely in the 900s with half of them already ironed (sky behind the other figures), but I still have some 300s and 400s, the other arm of Figure 2 and her head, that need to be ironed down. I wanted all this bottom stuff done, though, before I pull it off the teflon sheets and try to do that. I think I will iron the bubble all by itself and then make it fit. Maybe. We’ll see. Sometimes I have to stretch stuff or fuss with it to make it fit. That’s easier to do one small piece at a time than a big honking piece that has to carefully fit in. I think it will work though. So let’s say I’ve got about 600 pieces to go…that’s two thirds of the way done.

I’ve been ironing this thing together for 13-plus hours. Probably going to take me 20 total. So another 5-7 days. Wow. OK. Well. There we are. Copyediting job coming in too. Actually not sure I’ll be able to finish this quilt in 2021. We’ll see.

What else is going on? Animals. Notice Simba’s terrified look…cats have sharp bits.

But he’s the one who sat where the cats sit.

Luna climbs the Man Mountain.

She’s also pokey sharp.

Nice to see a block I embroidered in a finished quilt…3 down, 2 to the right. It’s huge!

I’m taking a class with Sara Trail of SJSA in February at QuiltCon. I’m taking two classes total, neither of them actually modern quilt stuff. Then again, I’m not really a modern quilter either. I’m still going through my stash. I got through the greens on the shelves (there are three more drawers of green) and four boxes of yellow. It’s going well. I hope they actually want all this stuff. I’ll find another charity group that needs it otherwise. Maybe divide it up. We’ll see.

I hit the 10,000 mark the other night…

Crazy. I think it helps. Sometimes it seems to help. Sometimes my brain can’t settle down even with meditation. That is the same brain that makes the art, though, so I guess there are always pros and cons.

OK. School. Rewrite yesterday’s assignment for my last, lowest class. Teach a bunch of other things today too. Then union meeting. Ugh. Long day. Then ironing. That’s good. I can look forward to ironing those damn fingers and then doing the rest of the sky.

It’s All the Other Stuff…

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

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

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

The number of fabrics is growing and getting pretty chaotic.

A closeup of the pile to be cut out…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s cool.

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

Finishings

Hey. Wednesday here. I’ve got some warmer weather and a crazy schedule, but I am also halfway through the work week. Plus grades are done (for now), so that’s a relief. The fact that you actually finished them an hour after they were due? Eh. Minor issue. She’s not processing them until this morning. I think. It’ll be fine.

I’m currently (like while I write this) trying to upload two videos and combine them into one for an assignment we’re doing today, so the absent kids and those who need more time will have access. I should have done it last night. I spend a lot of time in the Forest of I Shoulds…and I shouldn’t. So it will either get done, or it will be two videos. It’s still processing, so there’s that. At some point, it’ll be done, and hopefully that will be in the next 20 minutes. Ha! A reminder to always do the stuff the day before. Except when you don’t feel like you can. Then don’t.

I’m trying to finish up some smaller projects before drawing the next one. And then I realized there’s a deadline potentially coming up that I said I’d deal with and now I’m not sure I want to. Whatever. I haven’t decided anything yet.

But I finished the Patreon reward quilt…put a binding on it Monday night…

And then forgot to take a final picture of it. OK. That’s about where I’m at right now. I need to put a label on it and then mail it.

I also finished the Social Justice Sewing Academy block and will be mailing it off as well…

It took me a while to get it done…

When I first requested one, it was summer 2020 and I thought I had time.

It arrived a week before school started. 2021.

Which is fine…I just needed the whole 30 days (plus a few more).

It gets mailed this week too.

When I finished the to-do sewing last night, I was going to grade, but then I decided to do this instead.

Relaxing stuff. Learning how it looks. OK. This is cool.

Exactly.

The parentals’ dog is here.

The cats don’t appreciate her. The dogs are OK with it. She’s excited to be here. Hopefully she’ll only pee on the carpet once (that already happened…I think she was excited).

OK, so I have pilates and book club today, this time for real. So I’m not expecting much to happen on the art front. But you never know. I could get back inspired (and not exhausted). I’ve got 8 minutes for this video to process…and I think it’s gonna be a no-go. Ah well. It is what it is. And I have my booster shot scheduled for Sunday…so my left arm will hurt like a bitch on Monday, but otherwise, I’ll be more protected again. All good. Then on to the next quilt! I sense drawing in my future. THAT is good news.

Warm Socks…

I’m loving this cooler weather. I actually wore warm socks to pad around the house, albeit with shorts on, because it’s not flannel pajama weather yet. Quite. It won’t last, of course, but it was nice this weekend to go out hiking with a bit of a chill in the air. Hell, it was just nice to go out hiking, even if it was only 3 miles. I’m fighting for work/life balance (and mostly losing). Here’s the hike view, though, so I don’t forget…

That was Saturday evening, around 5:30 PM.

Friday, after work, after entering a show, I got in the car and drove to Carlsbad, to the PHES Gallery opening of the Allied Craftsmen show. It’s a nice show in a nice space. My two pieces are here…

I lurked behind people and listened to them talk about the pieces. That’s always fun. Although I didn’t get home until after 10 PM, so that was also exhausting. I also got news Friday that two of my quilts at The Studio Door sold, so that was cool…not enough for a new sewing machine or to trim the trees, but it’s a start. It’s always a good thing.

Saturday, I got up early, because my brain knew how much work was on my plate and wouldn’t let me sleep in. I started by cleaning up, ironing, and packing up the quilt to go to the photographer at noon. Then I pieced the two blocks I owed for the community quilt my guild is doing for Quilt Con…they were due at noon to someone’s house, so I dropped them at 11:45 (I was early, c’mon), and then dropped the quilt at the photographer’s. Here’s the blocks…

They had given us some extra fabric to deal with the long pieces in the center, but I fucked that up and ended up having to do some improv piecing, which wasn’t hard and will probably add to the final design…I’ll post it when we have it.

I graded after piecing and before driving to drop things…and then I came home and graded until my sourdough dough was ready for the bulk stage. Then I went to school to deal with the stuff I’d left there…all the late Unit 1s that I had to rip out of kids’ hands (just a little more time! Dude, I need to do progress reports now, not later) and then all the stuffed animal drawings.

Guys, grading art is so hard. Sometime Friday night/Saturday morning, when I wasn’t sleeping, I figured out the best way to handle it…lay them out based on the rubric…who hit all 4 points, who hit most of them, who hit a few of them, and who wasn’t hitting much of anything. Yeah. It worked. I printed the rubrics and graded the obvious As first…they had all the things I asked for. I can’t say the middle lows were easy to grade…they weren’t. But I wrote suggestions, and with some, offered that if they kept going at home and improved it (like actually finished it), their grade would improve.

I know some would just give everyone an A, but this is an academic class and my kids feed into the REAL art teacher (I just play one on TV), and she will hold them to these high standards. Plus this is probably the hardest project we will do. So hopefully the next one will go better. We’ll see.

After 2 1/2 hours at school, I had what I needed, and that’s when I came home and hiked (what I REALLY needed). At dinner, I drew before the food came…

This is the beginning of an idea for the next quilt.

Sunday was more grading, lots more. But Sunday night, I got a chunk more done on this…

It’s taking me forever because of the other deadlines I have. It’s almost done, though, and should be on its way to the Social Justice Sewing Academy this week sometime, assuming I can get to the post office before it closes. I wanted all the things done before I started drawing the next quilt.

Cats are weird, y’all.

I’m gonna shove my face and use the wall as a pillow.

Am I done with grades? Nope. Wearing my Nope shirt today too. Had one kid constantly emailing me all weekend. I stopped answering. I’ll get through the last bit of it today and post grades. Hopefully some of them will learn not to do stuff last minute…luckily it’s a progress report and not a final report card. Then I will have my first chiropractic adjustment in forever, hallelujah. And maybe I’ll get to do something besides school tonight…maybe. I’m still two weeks behind on assignments, so that’s a thing I’ll be doing all week. Plus making videos for this week…kids are still out on COVID contracts. Ugh. Yeah. It’s been too much school lately. Need to get to work on changing that. Again. Still.

Complicated Fingers

Hey. It’s Wednesday and I’m feeling overwhelmed. I got caught up with some school stuff, which is good, but yesterday, the work day started before 8 AM and ended after 6 PM. Today will be the same. Thursday will start earlier and will have to end earlier, only because I have to be somewhere. And it’s not like I’m getting shit all the way done with all that. The shit I was supposed to do during prep yesterday didn’t happen because we have these new short-term contracts the state wants us to do for kids who are out on pandemic quarantines, and it’s quite a bit of work…not the actual contract. It’s pretty easy, once you have everything set up and all your videos or whatever you’re gonna do made…OK, that actually took most of my prep (also my computer decided it didn’t want to be my friend any more), but then emailing every kid and parent, searching out parent emails, cutting and pasting. I did 11 contracts last night…I probably will have 11 more to do today (I had one I didn’t do last night, because it’s the other subject and so are the other ones I’ll get today)…and it took 90 minutes after school to get it all done. Meanwhile, nothing gets planned or graded for the kids who are actually IN class. I know we have to provide work for everyone, but someone at the district needs to hire someone who can code a program/system/app/I don’t give a fuck what it is but it will go do all the menial shit that’s in the system so I don’t have to…and all the other teachers don’t have to repeat the same work I’m doing. That’s the idiotic part. Politicians pass a law to help kids, but the infrastructure to help the teachers is not in place (what’s new there??? Nothing), and teachers can’t help ALL the kids because they’re helping the kids who will trigger the state to audit our procedures and fine us if we don’t do the things that the state doesn’t give us the money for in order to create the infrastructure. SIGH. A friend asked where all the COVID money went. I DON’T KNOW. Here’s a good place for it. Also, when politicians vote for things, they should be required to sit in my classroom with me until almost 6 PM and HELP ME search out all those parent emails and record videos and set up lessons.

None of that happens. So instead, I am feeling overwhelmed and like I literally got nothing done yesterday that was on my plan…and because I have a union meeting this afternoon, probably today’s prep will be similarly fucked.

Anyway. I can’t say I come home in a great mood…and no exercise because everything ran too late and then I had to cook dinner and I’m pretty sure two phone calls came in and I didn’t answer either of them.

I have renewed my optimism that I will be incredibly efficient during prep today, because I don’t have a prep tomorrow.

I have been ironing. Not much each night, but at least an hour before bed. Monday, though, I managed about 3 hours of ironing. I was really good about getting work done in the morning…so here I am, up in the sky finally.

I’ve decided that I’m the only one who can see the figures…

They are damn subtle. I will pull them out with stitching…

I was hoping to be done Monday, but I had about 50 pieces left, including some complicated fingers and a face that would have to be done separately and then ironed in.

So last night, I finished all that…

With stitching, the face will appear. I can see it.

Hard to get a picture of the whole thing until I get it on a background…which will be tonight, hopefully. Iron it down, clean the space up a bit, and start stitching down.

My Social Justice Sewing Academy block is closer to done…just a little more embellishment.

The back is fascinating.

Kitten keeps trying to lie on it.

She follows me around when I get home, trying to figure out how to get close to me. Not ON me…just close.

Shit. Which reminds me, she needs her meds. Gonna go do that, then brush my teeth and get out of here. I promised a kid a folder up front at the office by 8 AM, and that’s not too long from now. I think I’m fucked on that deadline…hopefully dad will come later. Wish me luck for the day, that it’s productive and less frustrating than yesterday.

Not Hard. Just Time.

Hello Friday! It seems like it was just Tuesday. I guess that’s a good thing. I have a ton of stuff to get done today, on Friday, and hopefully that will actually happen so I don’t have to do all of it in the middle of the night. I’m supposed to deliver 7 quilts tomorrow to a gallery…awesome thing that! Opening is this coming Thursday.

Good thing I’m reminding myself of that, because I thought I had another week. All seven quilts need to be ironed and dehaired and readied for exhibit. Luckily they are smaller and not particularly wrinkled, but it needs to happen before tomorrow afternoon. So there’s that. I think one needs a label and slats too. Not hard. Just time.

That’s the mantra right now. Plants need watering. Not hard. Just time. I really need to draw a stethoscope for this Social Justice Sewing Academy block. Not hard. Just time…plus getting the cat off the bag it’s in. That’s harder. She has sharp pointy bits. School…need a doc done, some posts done, papers copied, grading warmups and some other stuff. Not hard. Just time.

As far as the art stuff is going, really what I need is energy. I did a little stitching after dinner on Wednesday night on the SJSA block (got it out from under the cat for once)…

Then I managed to iron down all the fabrics for the Patreon reward piece…

It took about an hour and a half. I borrowed some fabrics from the one I just finished cutting out and then added more. It’s actually mostly blue in area…I think it’ll be cool. We’ll see though. I need to cut those pieces out. I was going to do that last night, but mostly I laid down on the couch and tried to keep my eyes open while the man talked. Then I went to bed.

Why? Usually I can do the things. Yeah no. I was at school early, then stayed late to plan science…trying to do it all in one day is hard. I’ll get used to it again, but it’s hard. We can’t get everything done and we don’t have the same prep periods, so I just don’t have the rhythm of it yet. I’ll get there. Maybe on Week 3? Maybe by then we’ll be shut down. So many kids out on quarantine or pandemic concerns (they have symptoms but haven’t been tested or if they were tested, parents didn’t tell the school the results…so they’re just out for 10 days)…trying to keep track of those and my head. Ha! Then after all that, I drove 45 minutes to the California Center for the Arts for the closing reception of the Allied Craftsmen show Crafting Memories

There’s my piece. Hopefully I’ll be back here in January with California Fibers and more pieces. I did meet people and pretended to network. Not really. They all came and talked to me and that was OK. Then I Zoomed with my stitching group on the way home, picked up a burger, came home, ate it, and collapsed.

Not my best moment. Today will be better. Today I will do ALL the things and finish them all and then go get tested for COVID because I’m just gonna do that every week or two to make sure I’m not infecting the world…and then clean up and pack up all those quilts and maybe cut some things out or maybe go watch the man’s band (outside…I think this is probably outside of my exhaustion level). And sleep. Because I have to be up early for the annual boob squeeze. Do it! Breast cancer doesn’t care that there’s a pandemic or that I’m exhausted.

Damn zebrafish. Yeah. Going to school now. Doing all the things. Caffeine is also my friend today.

Nice of You to Show Up…

Hey Friday. Nice of you to show up. Appreciate it. I’m back to that world where I look forward to maybe sleeping in on Saturday morning (dependent on neighbor noise and animal incursions). I do already have stuff to grade. Ugh. How did that happen? Oh yeah. My own fault. I’m still trying to get my head around this crazy schedule we have. Mondays and Fridays are normally all the classes, but Monday is shorter. Tuesday through Thursday rotate through blocks of four classes a day, so some days I will have four different things I’m teaching and some days, I will only have two. Today I have three different classes and no prep period (because today is not a normal Friday because we started on Tuesday, don’t even ask, I honestly have a headache about that), so that sounds exhausting. I needed to pee after two classes (they’re LONG) yesterday…three in a row today might be an issue. Certainly, having art at the end of the day with 6th graders is difficult…that’s three days a week. I’m just tired from science teaching and then have to switch gears, from science brain to art brain. Art brain is like, what? I’m tired. Leave me alone.

But it’s nice being back in person (when I don’t think too hard about COVID exposure)…because we can do the things!

Ah science and art in person. What a concept.

Prepping for art is different too…it’s hard to know what they can do in person because I taught it all online last year. So lots of decisionmaking going on in my poor tired brain.

That said, the first week back is almost in the books, and (knock on wood) no one has been sent home yet. It’s a miracle, considering the number of kids who can’t keep a mask over their noses or mouths…

Artmaking has been OK this week, despite the tiredness. My goal is an hour a night, and last night, I managed two plus (because I was in a Zoom meeting for part of it). I’m still cutting things out…this is Wednesday, with Simba’s help…

I also did some embroidery on the Social Justice Sewing Academy block…still just getting everything attached.

My plan is some decorative embroidery in the letters, but I need to do a stethoscope too. Need to mark that this weekend.

Last night, I had a Zoom quilt meeting and cut out the Wonder Under for the one Patreon reward I have left.

So I can iron that to fabric this weekend. And then I cut a bunch…

Both on Zoom and later…

The middle box is getting emptier; the bottom box is getting more full. I watched some news…still trying to get my head around Afghanistan. I feel like I’ve spent 20 years trying to get my head around the Taliban and people like it. I have classrooms full of kids who fled regimes like that. I’m OK with that…they’re hopefully better off here, although sometimes I wonder.

Kitten shows a side view…

Yeah, there’s still a lot of pieces in that box. It probably won’t get done tonight…but hopefully this weekend, I’ll get them cut and sorted, and be ready to iron together next week…more standing after all day of standing. Well, it’s better than too much sitting, I’ll tell you that. Ironically, I still need more exercise at the end of the day; maybe today will be a walk. Tomorrow will definitely be a hike. Plus art. Plus grading. Plus IDK exactly what I’m teaching next week for art. I should figure that out. Plus I have a million posts to put together for classes…hopefully can get those done in class today. I’d like to keep weekends clear of work. I know it won’t happen, but I’m trying. Ha!

OK, off to work. Mornings are hard, y’all.

How Did I Do This Before?

Well. That was the first day back with kids. Bam. I’m officially exhausted for the next 10 months. I walked over 15,000 steps on the first day, compared to about 3,000 when I was teaching on Zoom. So my body needs to get used to that again…not sure that’s a bad thing. Interacting in person is strange and somewhat difficult, although I will get used to masks and my glasses and not being able to talk loud enough and hot flashes in a warm classroom because the AC is on but the door is open. Yeah. All that. Sure. Plus the tech changes. Amusingly, our district emailed us last night that the science curriculum (all online) will be available ‘soon’. Not on the first day of school (it’s OK; we don’t really like most of it and/or use most of it). I didn’t even have my kids touch computers yesterday…today for Advisory only. Tomorrow, just for research for pictures. Maybe next week for an actual assignment. I had enough computer stuff last year to last me a long time.

Going back to school is always an energy suck. A brain suck as well, apparently. I don’t remember how to do anything. I even asked one class how to explain an instruction better to make sure I got the results I needed…because I obviously wasn’t! They were very nice and suggested some things. The pro of middle-school kids is their desire to help. Most of them. I stayed late last night to get ready for today…luckily, my first block day is relatively easy. Only one subject and a nice long prep period in between the first class and the last two. Hopefully I will use that prep wisely…as in, get my act together with art class, because yesterday I ran out of stuff and took them for a walk instead. Like puppies. We were all tired. It was legit.

Before I had any kids in there…this might be the neatest it ever is (and you can’t see the counters…I still have some chaos to control).

My team is very cool…our shirts confirm it…

“like a regular team only cooler”…

Ironically, it was muggy as heck yesterday. OK, not really, for those who live in truly muggy areas, but for dry, desert areas, this was ugh. And having to put on shoes and pants was hard. I didn’t wear shoes for 18 months.

We tried to do an after-school photo, and this is all we got.

Still smiling? Probably in shock.

Yeah. This.

Such a waste of money for these. The man never comes to our school and sees the kids. He just sends this. Dude. Send food. Or money. More useful.

Meanwhile, I’m still cutting stuff out, although not much…I think this was Monday night…

And Tuesday night, after another 56 minutes (can you tell? I’m not sure I can)…

I know I’m more than halfway, but there’s still a lot of pieces in there.

I’m also working on the Social Justice Sewing Academy block…

I finally marked the letters she wanted embroidered (had to find the right marking implements) and got some of it done after dinner. There are ‘does-not-equal’ signs going in between the words, in case you can’t see the incredibly light marks. (They are incredibly light.)

Seen on our walk on Monday…

It’s hard to get good flight pictures sometimes, especially with a phone camera. Beautiful bird.

This is the girlchild, amazing kid, but also…that’s the dress I fixed.

I appreciate the boots. Evidence that she is my child.

I saw this and was sort of horrified, and then realized it was satire (it was the ‘asshole’ comment that clued me in).

Some local music venues are now requiring vaccination cards or recent COVID tests (yes!). Teachers will need both. I taught yesterday and felt OK, until a co-teacher said something about not taking her mask off even when the kids weren’t in there, because their air was still in there. Fuck. I didn’t even think of that. Yes, I’m vaccinated. The odds of my getting so sick that I have an issue are very low…but I teach a bunch of unvaccinated kids…because they can’t be yet. Some have major health issues. Some have family members at home that have issues. I don’t want to be the cause of anyone else’s illness. And we have staff who are not vaccinated. So much anxiety over all these pieces.

Anyway. Today we do a lab! Yay! I missed labs. They are exhausting and a pain but a real joy to watch and experience the kids doing the things. We’ll see how it goes. And then I have pilates (have to remember all my gear…how did I do this before? It’s been 18 months since I lived like this) and book club and then I will just collapse. We’re back!

Fully Aware

OK. Well. It’s possible that I need to move away from all the people. One neighbor is Day 5 into a 2-day (yes you read that right) project to install a chain-link fence between us. It’s noisy, it’s ugly, I hate it. Ugh. The neighbor on the other side started a jackhammering project Saturday morning that gave me a monster headache, no warning. At least I had warning on the fence job, even if it’s gone on forever. Jackhammer neighbor doesn’t ever realize the noise pollution he creates, I think, until after he hears me ranting through the house at the top of my lungs (yes, I do that. Yes, the men who live with me wish I wouldn’t. It makes me feel better though.). He emailed 12 hours after it happened to tell me about it and how it wouldn’t continue on Sunday (it did). As a teacher, I kind of think of the last weekend before school starts as this sacrosanct time. No noise, just sleeping in and relaxing. The last weekend before I don’t have to put in 4 hours of work on Sunday every week (or last year, 8 hours). Then the neighbor behind us bought two jacaranda trees. I love jacarandas. They’re purple…what’s not to love? Except they seem to be planting it right next to our fence. So that jacaranda will be about 20 feet over my fenceline and dropping shit everywhere in a period of time. Sure, I might be dead by the time that happens. I just think they’re idiots not to consider a tree’s canopy when planting it.

So yeah. Twenty or thirty acres should do it for me. Not sure where or how I would afford it, but no more smells of spray paint, no more generator sounds, no more screaming at the kids or even just screaming kids. Just quiet and nature and yeah.

Yes, I know I start school in 4 days and quiet and nature will not be happening there either. Fully aware. I miss my old quiet neighbors…they had their quirks, but they were less stupid.

I’m in a great mood to start school by the way. The district has decided that gamifying our professional development is something we all need. I’m not sure how many screenshots I’ll need to do to prove I already did the things, or if I really have to prove I know how to use all the Googles (I do…it’s been years now). They say it provides CHOICE, but I don’t see a whole lot of that going on. Choice from their very elementary, and limited, scope of things. Being a middle-school science teacher in the middle of an elementary district is annoying when it comes to that…so much of what they do and say is irrelevant to what I need or do or see.

That said, we’re planning today and I’m getting a bunch of stuff out of the house and into my classroom. I am looking forward to being in a classroom again, although yes, the thought of filling it with the great unvaxxed makes me more than a little anxious. But hands-on is better than Zoom for me AND this crew, so that will be a good thing. And having my team around me, even if I barely see them and can’t plan with most of them…also good.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get the ironing done on this current quilt.

Deer.

Seriously a ton of browns in this thing…

The to-be-cut pile grows…

So sometimes weird shit happens. I do have another piece of Wonder Under that matches the drawing with 316 on it.

I’m just going to hold onto this until it makes sense, and if it never does, I will throw it out.

I think this is the tree…

Yeah, with fungus and bear claw marks.

I said I was going to bed before I cut out the green trees on Friday night, I think? And then I did it anyway.

The bottom row is the stuff in the figure; the top is all the ‘real’ stuff. So confusing.

More greens. Check out the dog’s feet and mine.

Now there’s a cat in that photo. I did more ironing…hard to say what here.

Then last night, I laid out all the green parts of the mountains. All marked out in my head. Could be a mistake.

But I got all that ironed too. So much for early to bed, early to rise.

I need to do all the rocks in the mountains now. This is chaos. I think I’m in the 700s but there’s a lot left to do, and the electrician comes tomorrow, so I need to move a bunch of stuff this afternoon/evening so he has access to the attic. Ugh. So I’m not finishing the ironing before I have to do that, unfortunately. I have at least 250 pieces left. We’ll see, but it doesn’t feel promising. I’ll get the ironing done, though, probably before I have to go back to school. That’s the plan anyway.

I’m also working on embroidery for a Social Justice Sewing Academy piece…

Just blanket stitching letters down first before embellishment. Need to make sure they will stay down.

Saturday included two meetings, one on Zoom and one in person. The one in person was to see a future exhibition space before entering…this is a piece by Anne Mudge. Fun.

Reminds me of pepper trees. Or atoms.

After that, we hiked again, only a little over 4 miles, but an extension of a trail we do often into an area we never have gone.

So that was cool.

The man is still training. Progress.

Yeah, this guy. That’s a female pole dancer.

The driver was older. I don’t know how you are in a relationship with anyone with that on your car, but maybe that’s the point.

Oh yeah! Happy birthday to the girlchild, who is 24 (holy crap) and was a smart woman and took the day off work.

I’m proud of her. Also love her. Miss her. All the things.

Anyway. I have ironing to do and school stuff and aack I need to eat lunch before counseling starts and then it’s go go go for probably 10 months straight. Art often. Art always.

Never Ready

This is my last full week of Summer Break. We go back next week. Never ready. I’m not ready to teach…our site hasn’t even picked a schedule yet for next year. We get that Friday. We can’t plan without a schedule, although I’m guessing which one I think will pass the vote (shorter periods…all the others are over 106 minutes per class, which is just crazy cuckoo). I’m not ready to be in an enclosed space with multiple people for a long period of time. I haven’t done that AT ALL in 18 months or so. Well, except the gym. But even that’s not all day. Doors open, windows open. I’ll get used to it. The block schedule also screws up my blood sugar until I get a routine going. Four hours with no bathroom and no food break…welcome to our world. Last year was easier…I could get to the bathroom in my house in a really short period of time. Not so much at school. Plus getting kids out of the classroom on Zoom is a single button click, which is much easier than in real life. Then thinking about art supply storage and how to move materials between science and art classes. That’s complicated.

Adjustments to life are gonna happen. I’m hoping that planning is easier than last year. Certainly my co-teacher and I can do the same things again, and I don’t have to make everything digital access. I think. With quarantines still happening, the district hasn’t really told us their solution for how to get those kids curriculum. I think they believe the science curriculum is an easy digital source, but it’s not. So much supplementation and creation of assignments had to happen last year. We’ll see how that rolls, but local schools have quarantined kids on the third day of school, so it’s not like we can wait a while to figure that plan out.

That said, this week is NOT school. I do need to think about some of it, but hopefully more art time than school time will be happening. I have an electrician coming next Tuesday to do a bunch of things I’ve put off for months, nay, years in some cases. One of them may involve attic access, which is in my office/studio. In the closet. Which is filled with fabric. To get access, I have to remove half the fabric and one of the shelves so they can even get up there. So that needs to happen before next Tuesday. I’m currently trimming Wonder Under. The next step is to iron all the Wonder Under to fabric. It would be much easier to have everything done and ironed before the electrician comes. See? Now I have a deadline. It’s totally arbitrary and I could adjust, but this is the one I’m following right now.

I started cutting out on Friday during the Quilt National talk, and then finished a second yard that night…then cut another yard out on Saturday night…

It doesn’t look much different. Sunday’s yard was one of the most complicated ones. It had all the trees in it, so fussy pointy pieces.

So that’s what four yards of trimmed Wonder Under looks like. I have two to go. Today. I have a talk I’m listening to this morning, and hopefully can start cutting the easier yard; then I’m going to try to get the other yard done before nighttime, so I can sort tonight and maybe clean the studio today as well. We’ll see how that goes. It’s been hot, and that often sucks energy away from doing the things. But I have a plan and that helps. I’ve been cutting for about 7 1/2 hours so far, but some yards are more time-intensive than others. I’m assuming 3-4 hours of cutting today.

The girlchild was home for about 10 days, but working every day. As always, she brings home clothes that need fixing. This one was a bit of a pain…needed darts and had a lining and all that.

But it turned out well. I hope. The others were slightly less time-consuming. Certainly she should learn how to hem her pants when she rips out the hems. She left last night on a red-eye for home…

Boston at 3:30 AM our time. Yes, I was awake. I don’t know why.

I volunteered again for the Social Justice Sewing Academy embroidery, and got this block on Friday…

I volunteered in June 2020, so it took a while to get to me…there are some embroidery suggestions provided by the artist as well. So I’ll get started on that once I have all the Wonder Under cut out. Emily Lang made this block, and says “My block is about Ableism, how society seems to attach value and love only to health, thinness, and ability.”

I also got the Olga Norris quilt finally. Her husband was kind enough to mail it to me from the UK, and we watched it wander all over the US before it got to me.

It’s beautiful work…I need to decide where (and how) to hang it. I have a couple of pieces that need homes on the walls.

We walked on Friday, not too far, just a couple of miles. Still aiming for flat.

It was hot and muggy. Walking is hard in this weather.

Calli is hanging in there. She still wants to chew on pinecones that she drops in the pool.

She needs a little help with it. But it’s hot, so the pool is probably good for her.

So I have a plan that might get thrown by the weather, but hopefully it will work. I won’t think about school. I lie. We have three hours of training videos (bloodborne pathogens, pest management, sexual harassment, mandated reporter, etc.) that have to be done before the end of September. I always try to get them done before school starts. I’ve done the three shorter ones so far today. I can do them while doing other things, luckily. Annoying to do them every year, but whatever. Looks like I need to go down to Visions Art Museum too and see the exhibits there. I’ll add that to the list…along with fixing the sprinklers. Maybe I’ll think about making a syllabus after that…surely that won’t take long. Ha! Art. Make the art.