It’ll Be Pretty Chill…

Everyone slept better last night. Everyone peed when they were supposed to. Everyone laid down and stayed asleep, or at least were quiet about their issues and didn’t wake up mom. Well, there was definitely a cat playing with a catnip toy that I heard at one point (bat bat bat tiny bell ringing). Mom ears hear everything eventually.

We started school yesterday with no internet, no phones, random bells, which was fine, because we didn’t need the internet yesterday and keeping the front office from calling me is a plus. Like every period. Stahp. Please. So they couldn’t call us. Amusing. It was all fixed by 3rd period, though, so then it was like normal, which really just means there are a bunch of kids with tech issues that they didn’t solve and they think excuses them from work. And the front office keeps calling. I need to start making those tech phone calls. In my spare time. I don’t seem to have any of that. I did finish grading all those videos last night, which is a plus.

I made it home after a meeting and recording a couple of videos for class, and we walked the dogs. I look forward to these trips out into the semi wild. Plus exercise feels good. I’m sorry for you if that’s not the case. Even when it hurts, it feels good.

We watched a turkey vulture swooping around, looking for something dead.

It was really close at one point and quite large and beautiful. I’ve always been fascinated with birds. They end up in a lot of quilts. A turkey vulture is actually in the newest quilt.

There’s a coyote in this picture. See if you can find it.

It was closer when I first saw it. Interestingly, last year, on the same day, we also saw a coyote…but I think it was the other place we hike. I don’t think these guys noticed…

Although sometimes the little one refuses to go any further. I think that’s laziness more than coyote super-sense though.

The big girl is much recovered after a summer of iffy hips. She’s still iffy, but she’s moving pretty well for an 80-year-old.

So I have a piece in this exhibit…it’s a traveling exhibit, so it will be all over the place.

It’s cool that my piece is second from the left. Here’s the actual link so you can read about the quilts and exhibit. My quilt is about Bill Nye, because I teach middle school science and he’s done some good work about climate change.

I finished grading videos at 10:20 PM. Then I cut stuff out. I cut out one yard on Sunday night and two yards last night…

That’s four yards to go. Not bad. I have a SAQA stitch-in meeting tonight at the El Cajon Library from 6-8 PM (you don’t have to be a SAQA member to be there). I’m taking some of this with me. Maybe I can get done by Thursday. I did buy background fabric on Saturday…well, I bought 4 different options, because I couldn’t decide.

Gotta go to work now. Was gonna post Full Moon art pictures, but I don’t have time! I never have time. Oh yeah! I am teaching that workshop in November for sure. I’ll have to post that info too. It’ll be pretty chill. Shockingly. I spend all day teaching 12-year-olds how to sit up, get their heads off the desks, actually DO something, and even THINK, ah the torture. Handing out some fabric and explaining how to iron and stitch it should be easy. Ha. Well. Maybe.

Why Do We Care?

Imagine asking a classroom full of 7th graders this question. Then telling them they’re not allowed to say they don’t. Most of them were up to the challenge of figuring out why they SHOULD care. Some were shallow and just said because of their grade. But some dug deeper. Good conversations.

Then later, I see this…

We’re teaching the states of matter. Here’s why they care…so they can fuck with TSA. I’m betting she didn’t win this one though. The government isn’t great with science.

It was a frustrating day. Reteaching what classroom discussion looks like. Why we don’t all yell at once. Why yelling stupid shit is not productive. I’m behind in the teaching content part because there’s so much behavior teaching. We’ll get there. We just didn’t get there yesterday. By the end of the school day, I was more than a little frustrated with what was showing up in my inbox. They added two kids to one of my biggest classes, making it a potential issue when we’re doing labs. And then fucked with our schedule. We’ll make it work, but there’s no reason why we couldn’t have known about this hiccup a month ago. That’s the frustrating stuff.

So after a 2-hour staff meeting that was mostly a waste of time (I thought), I needed to be outside, moving. So we walked the dogs…

It was our first test of Calli on a full-length hike since late June, because of her hips and leg. She did awesome…

They’re staring at the boychild. I’m not interesting.

There’s still blooming flowers, despite the very little rain…just one day a week ago.

Desert flowers like their sporadic water.

I did a little on this. Tonight I will send the email…I think.

I found out I got two pieces into a show that will be in Liberty Station through January. There’s a first Friday opening every month, starting in October. That might be painful for me. Fridays are tiring. But I got into a show!

Today will be tiring…Back-to-School Night. Ugh. Not my favorite event.

I did start tracing, but only got about an hour in. Maybe I’ll be finished by Saturday? I doubt it, but it’s something to aim for.

If I get an hour in tonight, that will be a plus. OK, off to keep kids from doing stupid shit with water and balloons. I know, it sounds problematic. Welcome to my world.

The Whole Week on Me

Long weekends are nice…even when they are long weekends that are filled with work of all kinds. Hopefully some of the work will be artistic. That’s the plan anyway.

I picked up my quilts from the photographer after school…and then spent way too long trying to name one of them. I had a really good name at one point, but I didn’t write it down anyway, so it’s lost. This is Each Piece Belongs

It’s about 51″ square. I finished it relatively fast, considering all the other crap that was going on.

This is Desert Daughter, which I was working on earlier this summer and then the binding sat around unsewn for quite a long time until I realized it was easier to take two quilts to the photographer at once.

She’s 40” w x 34” h. I’ll get both of them posted in official places on here soon.

When I got back to the house, we kamikazed out to walk the beasts. I think in the long run, I need to transition back to walks on Mondays instead of Fridays. Fridays are tiring. Mondays are too, but I don’t have the whole week on me as well.

It was definitely warm out.

Some guy was wandering around with a backpack that had what looked like arrows poking out of it and a device that is not a pickaxe but looks like one to the ignorant, such as me. Boychild gave me a rundown on pickaxe-like equipment (it was not a pickaxe), which makes me wonder what he does in his copious spare time. We so rarely see people on this hike, and this guy was especially strange.

I had a to-do list a mile long last night: entered a show, packed up a quilt to be delivered today, wrote a bio for today (well, edited one), printed it, washed this and ironed it…then thought about the samples for the class in November, pulled some stuff out and then realized…

How deeply buried the stuff I needed was, and gave up. Tomorrow I will try again…or maybe tonight. This class thing is outside my wheelhouse. Not entirely, but it’s not how I normally roll. I’ll get there…it’s all about trying new things and seeing whether they can help support the artist as she ages. I can’t teach forever, but odds are, I will still need more money coming in for at least 10 years after I retire. Which is scary, sure. But at least I have some options. The Man says he’ll be a Walmart greeter. He is much nicer than I am, so that could be true.

I do have a drawing that I need to post on Patreon today. I had started it earlier this week, but last night, I sat down and watched some Orange Is the New Black and finished it up…with puppy assist.

Patreon patrons will be seeing this later today. It’s about the Amazon rainforest burning. Sigh. Stupid politicians who do stupid shit. Or allow stupid shit to happen.

OK, heading off now to the San Diego Quilt Show to sit in the SAQA booth this morning. Stop by and say hi…I’m bringing some embroidery with me, in case I have stitching time. A girl can dream.

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.

I Roll on Chaos

Ah busy times here in the Nida household. It seems I will never have a quiet and simple and organized start to the school year, because well, that’s just the way it is. First of all, I gave birth to the girlchild right before school started, so if she’s home for that, it causes crazy chaos of feeding people and weird schedules and lots of grocery shopping plus trips to the mountains. And then because they put summer school in my room and THEN needed to clean the floors, I can’t get into my classroom (maybe today? hopefully definitely tomorrow or I’m significantly fucked). Plus a copyediting job, a quilt deadline, and an embroidery deadline. I’m fucked. OK. Not fucked. Just busy. And not quiet, simple, or organized. My head is full of to-do fluff. You know when you can’t pick one thing to do because there are too many? I just turn around in circles.

I’ve been copyediting a little a day. It’s hard to concentrate, staring at a computer screen, for that long. But I do it. That’s how I’m going to get the trees trimmed. I’ve also been ironing a little a day. That’s how I’m going to get this quilt done in 15 days. Oh my. 15 days with school starting. Ha. Ha. Crying a little here.

We picked girlchild up from the airport on Saturday night. The dogs were very excited to see her…

She has a friend from school staying here too, so she was gone most of yesterday. I copyedited for a good chunk of the day, but that meant I needed to get out and do stuff…physical stuff. We are down to one dog who can go on long walks, and it’s the little fluffy one.

He’s not the best walker in the world. He gets tired. Then he’s faster on the way back. At one point, the boychild had to carry him because he refused to go on.

Lame. Then again, we were really walking ME, not the dog.

Rattlesnake shed skin caught in a plant.

We saw snake markings across the road at one point too.

This egg…

Those curlicue seeds too…you can see them in this picture. They’re such a pain to get out of Simba’s fur.

We wandered across here to a different viewpoint to see if last week’s fire location was visible.

We’ve had a bunch of small fires locally lately. Fire danger is pretty huge this year after last year’s rain. October is usually the worst month for it though.

There’s the bushwhacking pup.

He does pretty well for a pretty, fluffy boy.

It’s nice to get out. It’s not too hot right now. Knock on wood, because it will be. Like tomorrow.

California horned toad/lizard…a little one…

They’re really hard to see. We only caught sight of him because he ran in front of us.

I did this after dinner. Slow. I’m planning to get a bunch done at the mountains, I hope.

I might need to take her to the professional development stuff on Friday.

My ironing partner…she’s not very good at it. She was running in her sleep.

I feel well guarded.

Then ironing. This is kind of a pain in the ass. I mean, it makes sense to do the whole background before I do the figure on top. Hopefully it all fits…

It seems to be working…although I’m already missing one of the misnumbered pieces.

This is where I stopped at 12:15 last night.

I have a little of the background left to do above this…I have to decide whether to move the stuff that’s already ironed down so I can fit the sheet under the top part, or whether to add another piece up there. That’s probably easier. This is still in the fussy stage.

And I’m not even halfway done. It’s OK. Really. Except I want to be done with the ironing before I leave for Arrowhead. So I’m fucked. NO I’M NOT. I CAN DO THIS.

This is the crazy that is the totally fucked-up badly numbered 300s. There’s some serious crazy in here. I laid them all out. It’s the figure in that space and then the beginning of the other side.

Although I’m pretty sure the arms for this figure are all 400s because I forgot to number them. Duh. OK. Well. Later today. I’m debating the gym. I need to go find creme fraiche. (WordPress, dude, I did spell that right. I just left off the symbols.) I need to copyedit. And tonight is birthday dinner…so that’ll be a little extra chaos in the day. I roll on chaos though.

Oh yeah, I picked up the cards for the show I’m in that opens in September. My piece is on the card, which is always cool.

It’s at Sophie’s Kensington Gallery…I’ll be at the opening. This is the one on Adams Avenue.

Oh yeah, the house above me is for sale again. Three years we dealt with Mr. Cigar Smoke, who was the arrogant son of the previous owner, and their letting Tilly, the dog, down to shit on our property. Long story. They didn’t do much to the inside, but are putting it on the market for an additional $300K. Wow. But this drone photo cracks me up…

Wanna know where my house is? See all those trees on the right with a hint of a pool? Yeah. That’s me. Shade. It’s a wonderful thing in the summer. I guess he gave up on trimming my trees. I hope the new neighbors don’t have three small children (we already have that on the other side…it’s a little loud sometimes), don’t smoke (ugh. That’s been annoying), don’t throw loud parties, or what did the Man say, don’t have country band practices twice a week. Yeah. I’m pretty quiet, I think. We’ll see. It’s not really a family-friendly house as it is. Oh yeah, construction. Can we avoid that for a while too? Seriously, they built one house down below, and then did major remodels on two other houses on this private road that only has 10 houses. Like tile saws and hammering and jackhammering. I could do without all of that. I’m a really ornery neighbor apparently. Not really. I don’t go out and yell at them. So there’s that.

Anyway. The young women have left for the beach, so I need to make a decision. Gym now? Gym later? Copyedit first? I haven’t eaten. I should finish Part 2’s first readthrough. Then go. It’ll be good.

The Pieces Don’t Fit Together So Good*

I missed writing yesterday. It was a busy day. I did a lot of things. I forgot about normal routines. Food included. Eh. Not the best plan. I’m going to do better today, I hope.

On Thursday, I drew this during the talking time…

It wasn’t that I wasn’t listening or contributing…this shit helps me think. This is small, by the way, and could never be a quilt. Seriously. That would be crazy.

The boychild picked me up from school and we saw this on the way home.

I’m disturbed that this exists.

This guy was waiting for us as we walked down the driveway. Lots of hawks around here…

We got out a little early, and the dogs wanted a walk.

So did I. It was hot. We need a better way to water the dogs on a walk. Although they might not drink anyway. Lots of ticks collected on this walk. Sigh.

I can’t explain this. But it was on the walk.

Name of my next quilt…

So that was Thursday…and I didn’t get a lot done that night (tired)…Satchemo got some sleep in…

Look at that face. So cute when he’s not snorting snot everywhere. I did get some stuff cut out on Thursday…

I’m not really doing any of this during the day. Not by choice…just other stuff seems to suck up my time.

On Friday, there was some shopping, some planting, lots of computer crap, some job-hunting (not mine), some dinner prep…

My plan was to cut out all the pieces of the quilt after dinner until I was done, but then we watched the 6th episode of The Handmaid’s Tale and I couldn’t get the covered mouth thing out of my head. I tried. I started cutting. And then I got up and got the sketchbook.

The left side is nature OK; the right side is nature not OK, which is what was causing the issues in why people couldn’t have babies. So I kind of worked with that. I can’t explain the hand cut off…like the bodies weren’t allowed to be whole. I was really disturbed by the silent handmaids…and we don’t know yet if that was a choice. And how the hell do they eat? Who knows.

There was a sleepy dog…

So this was about 45 minutes. And then I started cutting again…but not done.

I still need to cut out all the stuff on the right. So that’s today, I guess. It’s funny…I made this long list of stuff to do yesterday and got hardly any of it done. Frustrating. Hopefully today will be better. I’ve got stuff to do tonight, but the whole day is free…although there’s cleaning that needs doing too. Sigh. OK. Food, shower, organizing my brain, then art. I have a whole ‘nother drawing I need to do as well. One week of summer break is gone. It feels scary to have lost a week. OK, not lost…just gone. It’s OK. I’m still tired, my cold came back to bug me, I need more rest, that’s for sure. Maybe that should be my goal for the weekend? Huh. Maybe. I think I’ll feel better if I can cross off a chunk of things off that list. I’m sure there’s something wrong with that idea, but it makes me feel better. I’ll meditate later!

*Amanda Palmer, Astronaut: A Short History of Nearly Nothing

As We Drift into the Zone*

It’s the weirdest thing. You turn in your last grades of the school year, and all of a sudden, you come home and you don’t have any schoolwork to do. My brain panics a little. Wait. What do I do after work? I don’t have more work? (I mean, I do, but not like grading stuff, which is a never-ending thing along with planning for the whole school year and part of the summer.) I joined this teacher group for the year to try to cut some of my work hours, to streamline the shit so I can enjoy the not-shit more, and so many teachers are already on break and wondering why they can’t get going, why they’re still sleeping in the morning, still in pajamas at 2 in the afternoon. It’s called recovery. And I’m not there yet. My classroom is still a disaster. I’m still teaching sex ed today, plus there’s a school teacher breakfast, so I need to be in early. And then I also have a field trip tomorrow and another award ceremony, and then the sweet horrible wonder of the last day of school. I’m almost done getting everything put away in the classroom. Today I’m typing up the list of hazardous stuff we need to get rid of, so hopefully it can get picked up before they put summer school in my room.

Yesterday was exhausting. This whole last month has been exhausting. Frustrating. Stupid people stuff. Dumb adult drama. Too much work. Soon. Soon it will be done.

So I went home and walked dogs…

We went to the more open space…

The plants are changing color…

It’s been dry and hot in the last week. I had to put the sprinklers back on at home.

They scraped the road…it’s a fire break, so that makes sense. Less chance of getting ticks too, unless you’re the little boy and need to pee by standing on a bush.

No sign of coyotes…although you know they were there.

I know there’s cleaning to do. I need to sew some stuff (quick) for a friend. I need to do my second Patreon video. I found the videos I already recorded and downloaded them. Then I got distracted by something else. Easy to do when the brain is still so overloaded. The men around us teachers keep asking why we’re so irritated, emotional, distant, whatever. Um. So it’s really hard to explain how much emotion and care we put into our jobs. We think about kids nonstop. Not always with irritation! With worry. With sadness. With joy. With hope. So this week, we’re kind of a mess. Come back to me in July and I might have recovered. Mostly.

But I didn’t grade after eating dinner. I worked on this!

I haven’t been working on this at all, because I’ve been doing the embroideries. Which needs to start up again, but I have to do drawings first. Maybe later this week. I have one I want to simplify already. He’s not done, by the way. He needs nostrils and eyes and something on his horns.

I also started cutting stuff out…

I actually did one whole yard and the smaller piece, so I’m more than halfway done. I might be ironing to fabric by Friday. That would be cool. This could be a really fast piece. Of course, that means I’m forgetting all the other stuff that is going to suck up my days in the next week or so. But it’s OK to forget all that right now.

*Weezer, Island in the Sun