Might Be Over Now, but I Feel It Still*

My definition of a break is different from vacation. Vacation is when you get in the car or on a plane and you travel somewhere and hang out there and it involves not sleeping in your bed and possibly eating weird food. Vacations are cool. I went years without vacations because I couldn’t afford them, and as it is now, I don’t do them a lot (still money), but I try to do one a year for a week and then a few smaller ones. This year, I’m going to Boston (excuse me, Waltham) to visit the girlchild in November. It’s really hard (for me) as a teacher to take time off during the school year. It’s such a pain in the ass to create good lesson plans and hope a guest teacher won’t completely fuck it up and teach the kids something completely incorrectly (sigh…it’s way too common) and then I lose days when I come back, trying to correct their misconception AND deal with behavior. So I avoid it.

I rarely get to travel during summer, because of that lost paycheck. It’s hard to plan to spend a chunk of money when you know you won’t have any more coming in. I currently have a list of things I need to buy but will need to wait until September (or whenever the credit card cycle starts that will bill in September…teachers, you all know what I’m talking about). I would love to vacate right now. Really. I would. We tried to set up a weekend camping trip, but we waited too long and all the campsites are booked. And I can’t plan anything in July during the week because of the silly jury duty. August is already a disaster schedule-wise.

So no vacation right now. Staycation? OK. Go see some music, maybe hike a bit, possibly kayak, go to the zoo? I don’t know. Something I don’t do during the school year very often, because I’m so buried. But maybe that’s my resolution for the 2018-2019 school year? More weekend things that are less about work and more about being a relaxing human. (I suck at relaxation, you may have noticed.) This is a break though…a break from the job and the kids and all the other crap and that in itself is a good thing.

Anyway, my car window got fixed yesterday. I was worried that it would be the wrong window or something else would go wrong, but it worked out and the gardener who accidentally shattered it with a rock ended up paying for almost all of it. So all that turned out well. I was expecting to have to spend more time and energy on the issue, and I didn’t have to. So that sort of freed up my brain all day to do a bunch of different art- and fiber-related activities. I think it was the first day since school got out where I felt like I was on break. Because no school. No doctor. Only two errands and they were done early. Nice. Need more of that please.

So I started out with trying to finish the ironing on this…another cat! Shocking.

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And some tiny sewing implements…

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Then I started ironing it onto a background, but I needed to go to my fiber-related summer social meeting. So I packed up some bits and pieces and headed out. I cut the Wonder Under for the two small quilts…

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These lunch containers work well for keeping pieces separated…the sandwich one doesn’t though because the divider doesn’t go all the way up.

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So those are ready for fabric choosing.

Then I finished sewing all the wooly bits down on this, September’s blocks.

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I also pinned October’s pieces down to that blank block, but that was when I got home…and I stitched a little on (I don’t know what month I’m actually on? July?) the bigger piece. I’m getting closer to done on this. I didn’t photograph any of that.

Then I ironed the rest of this down. I like her. She’s ready to be stitched down.

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I’ve been trying to keep doing yardwork, but mostly in the evenings because it’s too hot otherwise. Last night, I was entertaining the dogs while whacking at trees and bushes that haven’t been trimmed for a million years. I lost the puppy for a while in there, and Calli kept bringing me half-chewed sticks to throw.

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I will probably never finish back there.

So I can’t do the stitch down on the skinny quilt until I finish quilting this. I don’t want it to go back in the pile. So I quilted for an hour or two, until I was almost out of thread.

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It’s not hard. It just takes time. Thread purchase on the list for today. I didn’t want to buy more unless I knew I needed it. Now I know I need it.

So after all that, running out of thread, I decided to try drawing. It’s always hard to get back to drawing if I haven’t done it for a while. It’s like my hand stutters. I have an enlarged old drawing, I have this original drawing from 2011 or 2012, and then I have this cat on my lap. Huh.

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Anyway, so I started drawing the righthand figure again, but now I have an issue because I like parts of the old drawing better than the new and I like parts of the new drawing better than the old. Aargh. So I think I’m going to copy both real size and then put them together? Or maybe I’ll copy both enlarged and put them together?

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I just don’t know. Or redraw it again. Sigh. Maybe that. The shape of the old one is better but what’s in the belly of the new one is better. Fuuck. OK. Well no decision there, eh? Nothing new. Indecisive brain for two weeks now.

OK, so today…buy thread, make some copies (decide at some point what I’m copying?), pick up the ceramics I painted last week, go watch some music and grab some dinner. Easy. Not too bad. I can handle it. I might even feel relaxed by the end of it!

*Portugal. The Man, Feel It Still

When I Wake Up, Let Me Be*

In the past, summer vacation has always brought a sense of relief. Teachers and students get tired of each other, of the high expectations on either side. We need a break. It’s a lot of hours to be with a lot of kids, and for them, it’s a lot of demanding. I usually need to decompress for a bit after school gets out, just hang out and sleep in and don’t demand a lot of myself. But this summer is different than the last 12. This summer, I have to keep my brain and body out of the hole…that depression hole. I also have a ton of stuff to do. Hopefully those two needs will work together, but I also need to make sure I recharge myself this summer, which means not working myself into the ground just to keep myself distracted. I need to relax and rest and make art and get my head straight. And not slip back into a deeper depression.

Easier said than done. I try to tell the depressed part of my brain to leave me alone, to go the fuck away, to get out of here.

It doesn’t really work.

I checked out of my classroom today…took longer than usual because I had to lock up EVERYTHING so the summer school teachers and kids don’t get into the science materials. I’m not pleased about that, but I dealt.

Last night, I managed to sort all the fabric pieces for the big quilt…it took 2.5 hours… Here was the layout of boxes (with Kitten guarding them)…

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That’s a lot of sorting…I use mostly shoeboxes, but then I never have enough, so there are some weird things in there, like an ice tray from my fridge, because there’s no water hookup for the fridge, so the box never lived in there. There’s also a silverware tray in there and some bins from a kids’ shelf. It’s so much easier to do this now on the light table, standing. I used to put them all on the floor and sit on a cushion and try to lean over all of them to put pieces in. On a quilt this size, my leg would fall asleep and I’d pull muscles in my back (holy crap, old lady talk there).

Kitten was in there, pissed because she likes to sit ON the light table and I wouldn’t let her up there.

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Here are all the pieces and papers that came detached from each other. Most of them found their partner piece, but a few were left at the end…oh well. I’ll figure it out eventually.

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Here they are, all sorted out, ready to be ironed together next. Not sure when that will happen. Starting soon. Eighteen boxes of pieces.

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Kitten spent a lot of time sprawling about while I sorted.

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So today, in between cleaning my classroom and waiting for the tech chick to show up so I could check out, I went to Home Depot, where I will be living this summer apparently, to get painting supplies. We are in fact painting a huge chunk of the house this summer, so I had wandered my garage (which is like a Hoarders episode all its own self) looking for painting supplies, realized the hallway had last been done in 2007 and everything else was older than that and mostly trashed (I have never painted the living room, which means it probably hasn’t been painted in over 16 years). Anyway, we had picked a color. OK, I lie. I picked a color. The kids each picked colors I didn’t like. Boychild went gray-white, girlchild went yellow-white, and I stuck with Fresh Popcorn. I couldn’t paint it a color if I didn’t like the name. So I refused to pick Predictable. Yes, that was a color name.

The coolest thing I got was a spackle that goes on pink and turns white as it dries.

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It probably has chemicals in it that will hasten global warming. There’s nothing green about painting. It’s a shitload of chemicals and smells and fumes and yuck. I don’t enjoy painting. It’s a lot of prep and it annoys me. Always has. That’s why I do it so rarely. Plus it’s expensive. OK, it’s cheaper than buying a new house, but it’s not cheap. Boychild and I demolished the room we call the little living room, a smaller room that used to be an outdoor patio, but was built into a real room a million years ago. The ceiling was not flat and the moldings had gaps of almost 1/8 of an inch from the ceiling in some places, so I spackled the whole damn thing.

I’m a little wacko that way.

Boychild lives in this room, because that’s where his computer is. We had to recycle a bunch of stuff, toss a bunch of stuff, sort a bunch of stuff (girlchild isn’t here and I can’t just toss her stuff without her looking at it)…and then move a bunch of books out because the bookshelf is screwed into the wall and needs to come out for painting reasons. So we boxed all those books for now…

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You don’t want to know how many books we have. And a bunch of the knickknacks the boychild had accumulated as well  had to be boxed (soccer trophies etc.). If you thought the house was messy before, it’s turning into a disaster area now. Hopefully that will be shortlived. Ha! Yeah, I know. Now I have an excuse for the mess? Boychild was really helpful, a good worker. No complaints from him at all. He motivates me to keep going, because I really do hate this stuff and would totally give up if he weren’t there pushing me to do the next step. So that’s good.

Jake’s here too, so he managed to lie on the floor in all the most inconvenient places…

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Anyway, tomorrow we wash walls and then hopefully start painting. This is the only part where we have to do the ceiling as well…as the boychild says, the rest is toxic and doesn’t need painting (ah, asbestos popcorn ceilings that I can’t afford to remove…). Then when the girlchild comes back, we’ll do the dining area and the rest of the living room, which needs some major work…that damn mirrored wall is coming DOWN bitches! Finally. After how many years? So.

All that seems like enough work for the summer, but I do have other plans for my time. I’ve had a couple of requests for smaller quilts focusing on some of the birds I draw, so I pulled a bunch of my drawings and found the birds and traced them separately. They’re mostly pretty small and simple, so I figure I can make some smaller quilt tops and maybe put them up for sale for a reasonable price. We’ll see how it goes.

I got these traced off, two from existing quilts and three from drawings that are in the queue.

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Then turned around and noticed Kitten…

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Um. That’s the rest of the pile of drawings. I’m too nice. I leave her there. For a while.

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Eventually she gets bored of my staring at her and she wanders off, so I trace the rest…

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I did the eyeball bird with and without the eyeball. I personally prefer the eyeball, but I can understand that most people don’t.

The next step is to number pieces and then trace onto Wonder Under. Etc. Etc.

I’m trying to take one day at a time AND plan ahead. Talk about crazy. Tomorrow is a writing workshop where I will find out if my book-writing technique is crazy stupid or just nuts. I actually wrote an entire scene in abbreviated form when I was walking the dogs with the boychild this afternoon. It took everything I had to try to pencil it down in my brain and not stop on the hike and type it into my phone. It’s OK…it came out later on the keyboard. I’m doing the whole thing in Google Docs because I want to practice using it so I can transfer all my school stuff that way. It takes some getting used to…I like parts of it and I don’t like others. Kind of a normal response to change, I think, but I’m looking forward to having access to the documents I’m using across all my devices. Anyway, I was quite pleased with how the story developed in my brain today, and I’m hoping it keeps going into something more coherent. That’s always been my issue…what’s the purpose of writing this beyond the enjoyment of writing? I actually want a product. I do. And I think I can do the drawings for it as well.

So that’s a lot of progress. I’m trying to take some satisfaction from that. Keep up the momentum. Keep me out of the hole. Avoid the crash and burn. High expectations, eh? Whatever.

*Afraid, The Neighbourhood,