Going to the Canyon

We left Arches and drove through more beautiful rocks to get near the Grand Canyon in the next day…lovely Tuba City, to be specific. We knew we wanted to come in the East entrance, and do it early, so this made the most sense. The other thing we knew we wanted was a damn shower. So there was that.

We ended up driving through Monument Valley…we didn’t have time to go in and do the drive (always leave stuff for the next trip). But you can see some of them from the road that goes through…

It’s beautiful country…

That storm kind of chased us across the state, but without any real rain until we got to our hotel.

So making a plan to go back…

As it was, I think we stopped at almost every scenic overlook…

But didn’t buy anything.

Driving through reservations is always interesting. I taught near a reservation for a few years. It’s a different way of life, not always by choice. It’s interesting that we both thought Monument Valley was a national park, but it’s reservation-owned. So that’s a good thing. We white folks have taken so much away from the Native Americans.

The majority of what we drove through was Navajo Nation.

We illegally transported alcohol through…whoops. I’m impressed that they’ve taken this step toward managing alcohol abuse on the reservation. It’s drastic, but hopefully it works.

We finally made it to the hotel…and the most amazing thing in the world…a shower.

Too many hot hikes with no washing…this was a good thing.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to finish up. Another early meeting, though, so who knows.

Yesterday, we managed to get all the quilts shipped to where they were supposed to be going. Now they just need to GET there. That’s always the stressful part.

Meanwhile, after work, we walked the dogs…back to the routine! In the two weeks since we’d been there, the mustard had grown like…well…a weed. A lot of it was taller than me.

Certainly the path was harder to find.

Still new flowers popping up. We had a little rain this week.

The grasses are higher than I’ve ever seen them.

These grasses have purple heads of grain on them…

Tons of fire danger. Lots of foxtails to go in doggie feets.

Poison oak (not above) encroaching on the trail.

Flowers in abundance.

Ah, the boychild making the puppy run…

Calli and I are like nope. Not doing it.

This guy. Dude. Get off the path. Are you coming or going? Is the spike on your head end or butt end?

So many caterpillars this year…plus I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this hawk before…or one just like it who hung out on the same piece of wire.

It was a nice walk. Although then I came back and pulled things out of the fur between Calli’s toes (mostly not from the walk). Those curly things are a bitch to get out.

She was a very good girl and didn’t bite me.

OK, so I scratched her belly too.

I graded some stuff, and then settled down to try to get through more of the Wonder Under. Puppy helped.

Not so much.

I have that one piece on the top right of the second yard to do, and then a third yard. I have quilt class tonight, so I’ll try to get done there…if I can. Then sort them etc. I have a plan. I always have a plan.

I got into another show that will be local here in San Diego…it’s called Indoor/Outdoor (way too similar to Inside/Outside, whose opening is this Saturday). It will be at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan, The opening is June 8, probably 6-8 (I don’t have an exact time yet). There will be a coinciding exhibition with our Swedish compatriots at the San Diego Art Institute…we did a show with this group in San Diego and Sweden previously. So more about that later.

For now, off to school to an early meeting, then labs all day long…cool ones, though. Hopefully it will all work.

Feeling Fresh Like a Ziploc*

Somebody’s phone was buzzing with notifications last night and it wasn’t mine. It’s a weird world we now live in, where technology is so ingrained in our existence, when a mere 30 years ago they weren’t…maybe even 20 years ago? It means I’m a little tired this morning. Buzzing wakes me up. It doesn’t wake everyone up. My brain’s not fully up though. It’s wondering about sleep. Still. Forever maybe.

My progress report grades are done. Good thing because they’re due today. Before I finished them, we walked the beasts. I need a good walk on a Monday afternoon…

It cleans out the crazy shit in my head after meetings and kids.

It was hot though, almost 90 degrees. Ugh.

This time of year, teacher empathy is really at a low. I don’t understand parents or how they deal with kids. You look at really bad behavior and you know it doesn’t come from nowhere. This one kid is driving us all bonkers and parents made this. He’s a fucked-up mess and a bully and is being a general shit, when he’s capable of much more. But there’s zero parental support for that. We have 4 days until Spring Break, and then he’s not my problem for two weeks. He’ll still be my problem when we come back, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel for that.

Trying to get the dogs to drink water while walking…they don’t like it.

The thing is, whatever jerk I have this year? I’ll have another one next year. And I’ll start out with a shitload of empathy and try to work with them, and at some point, I won’t have it any more. Or I’ll use it on another kid, a kid where it seems to have an effect.

It sounds really awful, but we are human and some kids are in need of more help than I can ever give them. At this point, I’m just managing behavior. His bullying is increasing because he’s feeling pressure somewhere. I’ll report everything I see and hear toward other kids…his need to bully adults though? That’s amusing. As a middle-school teacher, I always find it funny when they use the stuff they use on other kids on us. Talk about my clothes? Talk about my being chubby? So what dude. You’re not hurting a grown adult who works with kids all day with that shit.

It really was a beautiful walk. I managed to kick that kid out of my head until I did his grades. And then for the rest of the night.

I think it was too hot for the old lady though…

She was moving pretty slowly. The dog. And me, I guess. We let her lie in the water to cool off a bit.

See the tongue?

Pretty sure this was dead.

And LOOONG.

So after dinner was made (by me, to be clear) and grades were done (also by me), I trimmed the quilt and remembered to put the binding in the dryer and then put it on the quilt.

So a bunch of handsewing tonight and I’m done. Tomorrow I can iron and dehair both quilts and deliver them to the photographer, and then I need to draw the next one. I did one preliminary drawing. I need to do something slightly different. But I can worry about that tomorrow. Tonight I need to finish this. Before that, I need to go teach hotspots. And some of the kids are kinda like hotspots. They need our attention. Rolls eyes at encroaching empathy attack. Damn. It’s in me. I can’t stop it.

*Max Frost, Good Morning

Oh My Kiss Breath Turpentine*

I just read someone else’s blogpost this morning and now my brain is like sludge. Probably it has something to do with being up too early for my brain, but school is like, Hey, you should do lots of early meetings. Other people like early meetings and they need you to be at them too, even though you are a cranky-ass bitch in the morning and you don’t even like talking to people until maybe 10 AM but you have to be at work at 8 today and you have a headache and aren’t particularly recovered from your hellish cold, and sometimes you just get tired of being responsible and caring about shit regarding your job and you consider what it must be like to have a job where you come home and you don’t worry and plan and continue to work, even though you’re not getting paid. Really, all those words are in my head way too often, but as it gets later in the school week and the sleep deficit gets larger, your brain starts punctuating those thoughts with groans and sighs and requests for long lie-ins in bed.

Oh brain. You’d think you’d have figured me out by now. I’ve got plans. Some things I have to do (today’s morning meeting, tomorrow’s morning meeting)…some things are optional, but don’t necessarily feel that way because you do have obligations to people…you don’t really hate people…it’s just that being with people sometimes means having to do things you don’t really feel like doing, right? And I know people feel the same with me, so I try to minimize that shit and remember my duty to the human race and be a contributing part of the things in which I’m involved. That’s a lot of words explaining why I have to go to the grocery store again tonight. Somehow. In between a cat to the vet and potentially (hopefully?) finally getting my car back. My mechanic offered to come on our trip to Utah in two weeks if he couldn’t fix the car. Nice one. Awkward though.

Speaking of our trip, we start out in Zion National Park. I follow Zion on Instagram, which is where I found out that they’re closing part of the road through the park for three weeks, starting next week, to do a major repair after all their rain this winter…the same rain we got. Fuck. We have a reservation on the east side of the park. So that means a 3-hour, one-way trip to get to the west side of the park from there. And they have a shitty cancellation policy, although I’m calling this morning to try the manager, even though I’m sure they will say the same damn thing, and then I will come back on here and tell you their name so you can never stay there. I did already reserve some weird place on the west side, just to cover our butts. It was a frantic search for about 30 minutes or so, and that was after 20 minutes for me to realize holy fuck, this isn’t going to work. Don’t even ask me about Bryce right now. I think we’re going to freeze. We’ll be fine. FINE DAMMIT. Laughs hysterically. Next year, we go somewhere that has no bugs, caterpillars, or snow. Really. Maybe. I don’t know. There’s the excitement of a trip and then the holy crap what was I thinking this sounds awful and then the real life this is awesome part of it. I’m in the holy crap stage. I’ll get over it. No worries.

So I got home yesterday after school…and I dragged my mostly well ass out with the dogs…

OK. I’m not mostly well. I’m sort of well. We had a little rain yesterday night, but not a lot. It’s crazy how much the grasses are growing; it seems like a foot or two in just a week and a half.

The coyotes must be loving the hiding possibilities.

The flowers are still going crazy.

I spend most of my day trapped in a building with 140 12-year-olds. I need this. I need outside and air and plants and moving fast and dogs and water and green stuff or brown stuff, but moving and my knee complaining and all this crap.

I do want to know if there’s ever a time that this little puffball of a flower thing is covered with those little purple flowers, or if it just does a few at a time.

It’s important shit. Must know. I also meant to look up the caterpillars that are everywhere. Oops.

We went and looked below the bridge…lots of trash unfortunately. And the requisite graffiti…you dickheads.

But still pretty. And calmer than it has been. Calli likes water…

Simba does not. We traded dogs today. Simba was perturbed the entire time. Whatever, dog. So that felt good. I cooked veggies for dinner, because the main man is not a veggie person. I got him to cut some up once. I don’t count potatoes. He will cut them up because he eats them. But other veggies? Nah. We ate dinner, I graded something (!). I know you’re shocked. I was actually trying to grade videos all day…I got another 19 or so graded throughout the day while trying to manage kids making posters…some classes were totally on task and some were needy as hell. As always. I was going to come home and get through another 20 videos (because I still have a ton to do), but then Zion happened and I lost all that time.

I finally got in there and finished the stitch down. Two and a half hours total…

It was late, though, so my original plan of getting it pinbasted last night did not happen, unfortunately. Tonight…and start quilting. But also grade and car and cat to vet. Ha! Not sure how all that works. Not worrying about it now. But I am so happy with this quilt. It’s beautiful and I’m happy with it and I’m glad it exists. That’s the best part about the making is the finishing part when I see it all and I’m just staring at it and thinking, that’s so beautiful or powerful or just what was in my head and that right there might be my purpose on the planet outside of all this other stuff.

Ah, so philosophical. Then I sat down on the couch and tried to meditate (oh so many interruptions, including this sweet one)…

And then sleep. Actually slept last night, so that’s good. It was exercise or later-in-the-week exhaustion or meditation or a combination of all three. I don’t really care, because it felt good for the 5 1/2 hours that it happened. More of that tonight, please. May today repeat the good and helpful things from yesterday and minimize the assholes (ha!) and the adding to my stress levels. I can move the cat appointment if my car is fixed (please let my car be fixed). And let’s get quilting dammit. I’ve got a deadline to meet.

*R.E.M., Crush with Eyeliner

The Pile Is Still There…

That moment when your daughter, who is less than 2 months away from graduating college, tells you she’s dropping out to become a boudoir photographer.

It’s OK. She’s joking. I’m good. I’m laughing even.

Long staff meeting yesterday. It was supposed to be fun, a photo scavenger hunt, but I wasn’t in the mood for it. I have too much work to do. I wanted to get home and walk the dogs. Which I did anyway…

There’s still water in the streambed…

This guy wasn’t scared of the dogs…

Everything is so pretty now…

Lots of flowers and greenery…

Enjoy it now…it’ll be dead in a couple of months…

Walks are good for dogs and humans…pretty interesting flowers on this bush.

I know this bush is always there, but I don’t remember the flowers…

I’m just so happy when I make it out there, even though we got back at like 6:30 and then I had to cook dinner and it was late and I was tired. It’s OK.

Lots of these little guys…

Anyway, after dinner, I did not grade anything. I figured an almost-2-hour staff meeting that was mostly a waste of time (sorry…I wasn’t in the mood for interacting with people. Introvert problems) meant I shouldn’t have to grade at night as well. Plus I wanted to finish ironing…which I did! So 8 hours total of ironing to fabric, with 142 fabrics…

That’s a lot for a quilt this size. But there’s all the pieces…

Now I need to cut them all out. Ha! OK. Easy peasy. I only worked for about 30 minutes, because it was late by then, but I did a little.

You’ll be seeing this pile for a few days. Hopefully not a lot…but who knows. Meanwhile, work calls. Loudly. Sigh. I always feel bad when I don’t grade at night. Silly really. I should be able to take a break. But then I get to school and the pile is still there.

Gonna drag my introverted self out of here now. To school. With a million people. Yeah.

“You’ve Been in the House Too Long” She Said*

You know how exercise is supposed to help you sleep? Hmm. Me too. I know that. I don’t always have that experience, but I know it’s supposed to. Last night. Sheesh. No rest. I don’t know if my brain was the issue or my body (my neck really needs the chiropractor, which is tonight, unless I forget again, which is what got me in trouble in the first place)…the dog needed to pee at around 4:30 AM; that was fun. I just don’t know anything but that I was awake a lot for such a short period of time of sleep. I went to bed too late because I was ironing the flesh colors down and I like doing that in one fell swoop, but then I had to be up early for a meeting (ugh). You might have noticed that I don’t like early. I don’t. And I was really tired yesterday after the dog walk…it took me a long while to rally.

The plus is that the kids were much better at labs yesterday, thus saving me from sacrificing one (or ten) of them to the science teacher goddess. Let’s hope that continues. The staff meeting was short and sweet. Also a blessing. Well, not sweet, but certainly not as onerous as some of them are.

Mondays are for dog walks…when I don’t have 2-hour meetings and no daylight. We haven’t been here for a while, maybe a month…the first part of the trail is still underwater…

No biggie…we go around. Although there were ducks swimming in it…and tadpoles growing in it (OK, they’re really hard to see in here, but they’re gray-ish and pretty large).

Is this a quilt blog? Well, sort of. Quilters should go on walks and get inspired.

Still green and bloomy…although not superbloomy here…the dogs still like it…

I just like to get out and exercise…

The wildflowers make it good too though…

It’s like this annual fascination with Spring…

Every year I’m like OMG, look! There’s flowers!

Some sort of renewal in the brain brought on by the weather. Honestly, these flowers are easier to think about than job stress, weight loss, the shooting in Christchurch, the flooding in Mozambique, the idiocy of my elected officials.

Yup. Flowers. And a good long walk after work.

For some reason, the puppy doesn’t like this hike as much as the others. He fights it until we turn back toward the car, and then he’s fine…

Although we took another side trip up to see the vernal pool…which was huge!

And had those other big fat tadpoles, but also these tiny ones…

Makes me wonder where all the frogs are most of the time…

There’s glass up there…that’s why he’s carrying the pup. So he doesn’t get glass in his toes from the dumbasses who break their beer bottles up there. It’s nature, but the town is right there. And people are stupid.

They kept following me around when we got home…although I think this was following someone else around.

After the walk, I did some photo editing for work, some scanning for embroidery designs, some business paperwork, some email…picked colors for this one…

I have a really hard time seeing what they will look like without stitching them out. That’s soon, I guess.

After some flailing time, some braindead time, I finally persuaded my old tired body into the studio for this…picking flesh.

It’s really much easier to do all the fleshy bits in one go, so I did. It was pieces from the 100s through the 800s, so I have no idea how much I actually did…at least 100 pieces, I suspect. I have one piece of the cheek that I couldn’t find, so I’ll need to retrace that tonight.

Fitting pieces together. I don’t like to waste fabric.

Somewhat obsessive about that. Here’s where I’m at so far…

Not a whole lot of color yet. Wait until I do all the other stuff…bugs and sky and heart and hair…it’ll have lots of color then. I fell asleep to imagining the hair all the colors of nature. Which is good, because that’s what this quilt is about…my need to be outside for a little bit every day, for longer when I can. This week will be a mishmash of finding that space, for sure…too many meetings. So I’m glad I got yesterday’s walk in.

OK…meeting, school (last day of labs hallelujah), tutoring, chiropractor (oh holy moley my back and neck will be so happy), and then whatever else I can handle before I iron again. It’s a good plan.

*The Smiths, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

And Oh My Days We’re Rolling*

Somehow I have to persuade my body that midnight is an hour earlier. I find it difficult to go to bed earlier than my body wants me to…although by the end of the week, I’m sure exhaustion from not enough sleep will help. Right now, today, this very early morning that isn’t early but is…ugh. Ouch. Erg. Holding it together but feeling the pain, and it’s only Tuesday. My longest day. Maybe. Tomorrow might be longer.

My students handed in a shit-ton of work yesterday. Good for them, painful for me. I’m getting through stuff. Slowly. As always. It feels more than a little bit overwhelming at the moment. I graded two more classes of tests last night and an entire assignment during a staff meeting (yes, I was mostly listening). Today the kids are starting a project…on some days, I will be buried under the labs, but today is pretty low-key. One more class of tests to grade and then I can work on the massive pile of Unit 5. Ugh.

I took a break there to send out a work email I needed to do. I forget about stuff if I don’t calendar it or do it right when I remember. Happens often.

So after work yesterday, the one plus of the time change is the increased PM daylight for walking dogs…

I don’t have to race home. It’s so beautiful out there right now.

Although some of that beauty is poison oak growing like crazy. Should keep that in mind.

I use an app to track the distance, but the clouds must have been messing with it yesterday (it was raining the whole time we walked)…because that mess at the bottom is not what we did…

We did a little out and back, reconnaissance, trying to figure out what the orange flowers were (poppies…but all folded up)…but not that crazy stuff. So the mileage was off too. We heard a group of coyotes singing to us…maybe the same young ones as a few weeks ago…but didn’t see any.

After dinner, I graded, and then did a few more small drawings. This one is a bit weird for an embroidery design.

But this one might work…

Who knows. I don’t.

On to the next stage on the most current quilt (no, I haven’t finished the binding on the other one yet…why?).

I should be able to get all the Wonder Under cut out this week. Easily. Then on to ironing to fabric. Simba wanted belly rubs…

I combed him a bit too after the mud run we did this afternoon. After everyone else goes to bed or shuts their door, I get the dogs…

Well. And one of the cats…eventually he reached up and started kneading Calli’s leg, at which point, I shoved him off. I never know how Calli will react.

It was cold…so pushing your face into a dog leg makes sense I guess.

I got about 1 1/2 yards cut out…

Not bad. Using new scissors. They have a name on them, but all I can think of right now (so very wrongly) is Tim Horton. That’s wrong. They were a birthday present. We’ll see how my hand feels.

Crap. It’s late. Gotta go to work. Art tonight for sure. And grading. Sigh.

*alt-J, Left Hand Free

Never Want to Put My Feet Back Down*

I have this big old lady dog who’s been following me everywhere, which honestly is better than her sneakily trying to find paper she can eat. She brought her toys with her into my office and is laid out on the floor with them.

And if you talk to her, she grabs her toy and tries to shove it at you, but you’re not allowed to touch the toy.

Meanwhile, the little boy dog is waiting oh so patiently outside the boychild’s room…

Please get up. Please get up. Let me in. He will, Simba. He will.

My breakfast this morning and until they’re all eaten. I had apples and cream, so I made apple cheddar scones a few days ago, froze them all, cook one a day.

Tasty. And one of the few breakfasts that doesn’t make me nauseous on a regular basis. I totally couldn’t face a hard-boiled egg this morning. It’s weird how my morning food brain works. Annoying as well. I need food or I won’t get through the morning.

Speaking of not getting through the morning, my voice is a disaster again. Although I was in professional development yesterday for most of the day, I did also talk most of that time, because we were planning. That was actually pretty good until my brain shut down around 1 PM. Then back to my classroom to “assist” (there was nothing but paper collection that needed doing, and the kids can do that) with the lesson that didn’t make sense. They were teaching them about neuroplasticity, but the game had nothing to do with it and neither did the drawing. I’m confused by what we’re teaching them.

I’m up early today for a meeting. It’s not one I’m looking forward to. Early morning conflict. Ah well…such is the life of a union rep in a public school. And I’m going to try to be nice to my voice today, although I will have to talk a little bit. We’ll see how it goes.

We walked yesterday in the misty rain…

Nobody is on the bridge when it’s raining.

There’s a lot of plant blooms that I normally don’t see…

That’s what plenty of rain gets us…

My SIL called in the middle of it from Seattle, complaining about snow…

I think she’s tired of it…but not tired enough of it to move.

Right now, everything is beautifully green with specks of color…

Although I lost my Fitbit out there somewhere. SIGH. OK, so we went back in the dark without the dogs to try to find it, using an app that might have been able to locate it if it were on…but mine only goes on if you bump it.

There were other people on the trail, so maybe someone picked it up. Or it popped off into the crazy greenery on either side of the trail. We know when it last synced, we know where I noticed its absence. It’s actually a small part of the trail.

There’s one other app that might find it. Hoping I can persuade the boychild to go back out today and check it out…because I have a doctor’s appointment (seriously can we figure out the abdominal crap please?) and an opening in San Ysidro that I’m trying to get to…

Anyway. Stupid shit at the end of the day. Lots of that. I was going to grade last night, but I ended up doing an extra mile in the dark, trying to find a device that needs to learn how to ping if I want it to. I came back and prepped and sent a complicated email I needed to get done, and then looked at colors for these. Oh man, only five colors is HAARRRDDD.

Either I do black and white or three thousand colors. Never in between. This one was even harder…

Plus it’s hard to see what it will actually look like without stitching it. Scary.

Finally in to trace. (I did some binding before that.) See the big dog in the background? I’m surprised she’s that far away.

Usually she’s right by my feet. So I’m about 5 hours into the tracing, made it to piece 367. Not super fast or super far. But progress. I’m not sure what tonight will look like. I’m expecting some level of exhaustion. What’s new. Still haven’t found the lost quilt…sigh.

*Depeche Mode, Never Let Me Down