Show Your Work…

Oh my. So exhausted after two whole days of school. I must be doing it wrong. Of course, sleep is not my friend. I’m teaching a new engineering unit, so my brain decides to go over how it will all work, precisely, specifically, we move from this to that, over and over and over again…while I’m trying to sleep. Not helpful, brain. Not helpful at all. It’s OK…at some point, I will be so exhausted that I will fall asleep even though my brain is trying to do all the things. I mean, it can’t possibly DO all the things.

Speaking of the brain, our school district is back to trying to make us understand how our brains work and how we can work better HARDER because of it. Or better with other people? Much as I like the little brain quizzes (ok, 177 questions is not little, and it was timed, so you couldn’t rest or relax while taking it), I don’t really need the 3 AM email that says because I am STRATEGIC, I need to (OMG get this) SHOW MY WORK. I kinda wanna send that to my kids and all former and current male attachments, because that is all about how my brain gets from here to there with 17 thousand iterations that you didn’t see and you don’t understand. That is the random shit I say sometimes when my entire family turns and stares at me because we were talking about widgets and I’m now talking about cloud movement and there were actually connections between the two in my head, it’s like this crazy twisted ribbon of how I got there, and now I have to SHOW MY WORK and explain to y’all how I got there and you still think I’m nuts.

That however does not make my job easier at the moment. I did successfully post 24 videos of kids dropping egg supply pods yesterday. We did not use real eggs yesterday…practice run. Only one died…

Which is why we’ll be doing real chicken eggs in a week and a half. Hopefully the mess will not be too bad. Ugh. Some interesting designs though…

Mostly there were some big clunky noises though when they hit. So today we’ll redesign with some physics in mind. Hopefully. One class is decidedly “we just want to DO without thinking” so that makes it fun. Not. Gotta love middle-school kids…they do think they know everything even when they know they don’t. May today be easier than yesterday.

Artwise, I’m still ironing. I really thought I’d be done last night, but I went to the gym (very frustrating last two periods of the day, plus trying to plan some shit out without much help), then made videos for each period of all of their drops, then made a doc I need for next week that the stupid curriculum thinks the kids don’t need but they do. Their understanding of what my kids need is almost always off by about 5 years of ability. Which sucks. I scaffold like a bitch, but even that’s not enough some days. One of the brain quiz questions asked if I LOVE my job or DON’T LOVE my job. Right now, it’s a lot of the latter unfortunately. Just because of the planning taking SO MUCH time and having a group of kids that are really difficult all together in the last two classes of the day. Sometimes they’re awesome and I try to hold onto that as much as possible, and sometimes it’s a shit show. Too much of that. Makes you feel like you’re a shitty teacher no matter how many years you have in. So hopefully I will find more love for it; hopefully they will find their chill a little bit too. Too much drama.

So the ironing did not get totally done…but I’m close. Here’s Monday night…

I’m having a hard time picturing this one completely colored in my head. I am using some colors in places I don’t usually use them. But I think (hope?) it will work. Here’s last night…that big piece of blackish fabric is one that I’m kind of questioning, but I think it will work.

I thought about green instead, but there’s all these green hills behind and I didn’t want that part to fade into the back. I wanted it in your face. So we’ll see how that goes.

This is all I have left…

Not much. That’s tonight. Then I can start cutting.

Kitten has been bringing me socks and pieces of my wool stitching…mostly in the middle of the night while I’m sleeping, as she vocalizes quite loudly that she’s brought me my things. It’s been a while since she’s done this…I forgot how annoying and cute it was.

The socks I don’t mind. I wish she’d leave the wool stitching alone. She pulled one block out from under a bunch of other stuff. She does prefer wool to anything else. Weirdo.

OK. I’m not sure what I’m teaching today, because my late-night brain worried about all of it for so long. Sucks. I have to make kids read in both grade levels, which is always a challenge. I could just read to them, but that’s not as useful as their trying to read themselves. They fight it so much. Then pilates after school. Then probably I’m cooking tonight because the boychild is half dead with something awful (not COVID), and then I’ll get to iron. Depending on what school shit I need to do tonight. Which depends on how much I can get done during prep. Or something. I’m not even sure what I need to do at this point, my brain is so tied up in knots. It’s not SHOWING ITS WORK dammit. It comes to me that I spend a lot of time here showing my work though…I guess that’s a thing. Certainly gets it out of my head and into the ether.

Until Tomorrow…

Good morning. Or as I am feeling it, Morning. So incredibly never ever ready to go back after time off from school. Plus the dog barking at a skunk last night while we were trying to sleep did not help. Luckily no spray…the skunk was outside and the dog inside, but the obvious intrusion into our personal area seemed to drive the little guy nuts. Eventually we got him settled and then tried to sleep again. Ugh.

In good school news, I finished grading the last of the stuff (except for homework, which will be quick), but lots of one grade level didn’t actually do the assignment in the first place, so there’s some issue with that. I don’t have time in the schedule to make them do it in class, so I made a video for those who want to improve. We’ll see if that helps. This year is certainly causing me to jiggle my expectations and revisit how I teach, just because they have COVID brain and can’t function in a classroom. Or maybe it’s just too many devices. Hard to say. Certainly it’s one of the hardest years I’ve taught…and I thought the Zoom year was gonna be that. Ha! The universe chuckles.

I was reading my old blogposts yesterday…sometimes I do that to remind myself that this is all cyclical. And sure enough, Thanksgiving week was a lot of food crazy, not enough exercise, plus a lot of grading, but didn’t finish it all, made some art, but it’s never enough…and it was Santa Ana windy hot! Just like last week. Some things never change. I don’t know if that’s a relief or annoying. Hopefully next year, I will look back at this year and think, oh hallelujah, it’s not that bad. That’s my hope anyway.

So besides grading, we did hike on Saturday…we went out to Barnett Ranch in Ramona…

This is not a hard hike or a long one, but we had the pup with us, so I was aiming for new and different but not too hard.

It’s a nice enough hike. Could have been longer…

Looking at our schedules, I think that’s it until Winter Break for me anyway. We’ll see. Got too much shit going on.

I also ironed both days, but not much…like an hour each day. Back to that sucky schedule…

Although I was more efficient last night…got all the way through the 300s (almost), so I’m about 2/3 done…

Just have the head and all its stuff and then the vomit. Like you do. I was hoping to be done with this part before school started, but no. Maybe I can get the rest done tonight, but it’ll probably take two nights. We’ll see.

I did get these out for the teachers’ manual for our curriculum.

I hate how I have to comb through tiny little print and multiple sources to get what I need to actually TEACH this thing. So frustrating. Plus have to have the headspace and time to figure it out. Hence when it takes an hour to plan one 51-minute class…that’s too much. There’s something wrong with that.

So yeah. Did not plan all three weeks out. Got 6 1/2 days done. Maybe. Not a good sign. Well I don’t have to grade anything but homework for a few days, so maybe I can plan a bit more. Ugh. Really just want to be able to come home and NOT do any of it.

Because that.

OK. It’ll be fine today…starting two new engineering projects on the same day…one I’ve taught before and one I’ve never taught before. Plus 2 meetings. Or 1. Depends. Ironing tonight. After cooking. Hmmm. Might be a tad on the exhausted side by then. So yeah, probably not done until tomorrow.

Antonyms of Fine…

Apparently I have no clue what day it is. Not surprising, really. I get like this over breaks. One day at a time. Do the things for that day, then make a pillow fort and disappear into a book. I had a legit reason…the book was going to be sucked back by the library demons at 2:33 PM today and I needed to finish it before that happened. I’m not entirely sure I understand what happened in the book, but when the fourth (in the trilogy, yes, really) comes out, I will just reread all of the three previous books and maybe it will all make sense. I really liked parts of it; just wasn’t sure how they were related to previous parts. It was confusing.

I really loved that highlighted bit. Because my co-teacher and I joke about everything being fine, but it’s not. It’s just hard this year. So I missed writing the blog yesterday, even though I wrote it down in my bullet calendar list of things to do, which I’ve been mostly ignoring, except for the parts where I have to be places and feed people. This morning I have to be two places. So I’m up because of the dog and the cats, earlier than desired, but whatever. That’s because the boy left and the dog thinks daylight is an alarm clock. He distinctly does not understand sleeping in.

So yeah, I made a lot of food that is still feeding people, and my family showed up…well, some of them anyway.

Minus the last-minute gravy the boychild helped with, so I officially still have never made gravy, and the cranberry sauce I forgot was in the fridge, but remembered. It was good. I never liked cranberry sauce until I had it made fresh.

This was after all the eating and drinking, so most people are smiling. The next day was the Man’s family, well, some of them…

This time before the eating, and at a much prettier table.

Also, I didn’t have to cook, which I appreciate.

And then there’s the artmaking, which I greatly appreciate…I sorted on Wednesday afternoon, while the turkey was cooking and before people arrived…

And then I started ironing to fabric. This piece has relatively few pieces (630) and is smaller (much) than the last one (28×36″ image). Those are little baby mountains…

This was what I had ironed after Thursday, I think…

And yesterday, I graded all morning and through the England v USA World Cup game. It needed to be done. Also someone needed to score, but I guess that didn’t happen. I’m not done with grading or planning. It’s possible that I never will be. I have two harder assignments left to grade and about two weeks more of planning to get me through to December. But it’s been taking me about an hour to plan each day of this unit/project, crazily, so I don’t know that I’ll get that far through. We’ll see. Too much researching shit, trying to figure out how better to present it than our curriculum does (because even when it’s pretty good, it still isn’t).

I also finished my book. But didn’t exercise. There’s 78 things on the to-do list that aren’t done. The Christmas shopping is mostly done, though. I need to assemble some things and I’m waiting on some stuff and I have to pick up one thing today, but otherwise, I might be sorta done. Kind of. More done than I was a week ago anyway.

I spent a goodly chunk of time ironing yesterday afternoon and evening and night though. And that was good. This piece of sky is one of my hand-dyes. I occasionally like to do it myself. Find it fun.

But then I dye things that are hard to use. This will be good sky though. I made it through all the fleshy pieces…they started in the 100s, then through the 200s and most of the 300s, I think.

Of course, I only did the flesh. I still need to do all the non-fleshy bits: the bones, heart, lungs, burning trees, and polluting cars. So that’ll take a while. I might be halfway through? Not sure because of the numbering. Feels like I’m further on than that, but the head is complicated and so is the vomit. So today sometime I’ll work on the bits in the torso that aren’t flesh, and then I’ll have a better idea of where I’m at. I’m also going to pick up a quilt and hopefully hike/walk the dog and the Man. So here’s what I’ve gotten so far…need a bigger box, plus extra points if you can find the cat butt and tail.

Also need to grade at least one of those hellish assignments. Ugh. Don’t feel like it, but it has to be done. I know some people just don’t do any work over break, but it’s looming over me and I know how panicked I would be next week (or tomorrow!) if I hadn’t done what I did. I need my head above the water, not doing that thing where you’re kicking your feet to push your nose and mouth up a little to get air, which was the last three weeks. Sigh.

When I made it to bed, a bunch of animals followed me…Kitten settled down by my feet, which is not normal for her…usually she comes up later and shoves into my back.

She was there for quite a while before she wandered off to sleep on a blanket somewhere less crowded. Simba was squished between us most of the night…

Although this was before the Man came to bed. Luna showed up in the dark. Nova doesn’t come in on the bed any more. She would, but the dog freaks her out. Her loss.

OK. So I’m up. I need to shower, go get my quilt, pick up the Xmas thing, go for a hike, probably eat somewhere in there, grade some shit, plan some other shit, iron fabrics, probably do a date-night thing, and read another book (it’s OK; it’s short). Today is Saturday. I’m just writing that for my own assistance. I need to remember to do all the things tomorrow that get me ready for school, and the more times I remind myself that today is Saturday, the more likely it is that I will remember to do all the things on Sunday that will help me go to school on Monday. I’m glad I’ve had time this week to recharge without students around. To plan without panicking. To get caught up on grading. That’s good. Plus make a bunch of food and freeze it so my December self panics less. These are good things. Maybe next year I can have a break from school that isn’t full of grading and planning (ha!). Next year, I’ll have taught all this once and will have more help. Hopefully. For now, I’m thankful that it’s Saturday and not Sunday. I can do a Saturday.

Not Much But…

Well today is one of my Thanksgiving celebrations this week…my family. Pretty small, only six of us, but still a lot of cooking. I cut some corners, bought a pie. Didn’t do anything fancy, but still seem to be doing not much but cooking and cleaning. That said, the bathroom is clean and it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving…I’m just thankful it’s clean. It’s been driving me nuts, that and the carpet, but the Man fixed the vacuum and did that, so it’s all good. I have a hard time prioritizing cleaning over school and art, so it falls by the wayside. I think the garden is higher on the list, honestly. So at the moment, the turkey is brining in a bucket in the fridge, due to come out in about 4 hours, I made cranberry sauce for the first time ever (usually the girlchild and boychild are helping with all this)…I baked the storebought pie (it’s Julian Pie, it’s better than regular storebought), the roll dough was made last night and is currently rising, and the bread for the stuffing is drying out. I need to make stuffing, get the turkey in, and then do potatoes. And gravy. Mom’s bringing the beans, the boychild made a pie last night, but IDK what it is (something I won’t like, hence the Julian pie), and wine and appetizers have been delegated out. As long as I don’t drop anything or the oven doesn’t conk out (always a possibility considering its age), we’ll be fine.

For some reason, a picture of the inside of one’s refrigerator seems very personal…but here it is, minus the rolls and the second pie that showed up this morning…

I need to eat some of that yogurt and get that bucket out of there!

Luckily, I don’t have to cook or clean for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving celebration…just show up with alcohol and rolls. There’s a lot of eating this week. I need more exercise. I’ve also been dealing with school stuff, but need to deal with a lot more. I’m behind. Always. Need to get this 8th-grade unit figured out though. And posts made. I think I have through Wednesday done for next week. I’d really like the whole damn three weeks done, but IDK if I can do that. We’ll see.

In the totally positive realm, I’m making good progress on the newest quilt. I started cutting pieces out on Monday night and finished last night…the two piles don’t look a lot different…

Here’s the final piles…with just under 5 hours of trimming to get to that point…

Sometime today I’ll be sorting those (won’t take long) and then cleaning up the studio/office so I can start ironing to fabric tonight or tomorrow. That’s what I really want to be doing this week. Gonna have to force myself to stop and grade and/or lesson plan once that starts. Ah well. If I can get the whole thing ironed to fabric before I go back to school, that will be a good thing.

I also fixed Simba’s favorite old dinosaur toy. So there’s that.

Kitties still cuddling…

We’re hoping to hike Friday (Black Friday outside away from the stores!)…or Saturday. I’ve got Christmas shopping mostly under control (not really, just in WAIT mode on a lot of it). Haven’t touched the yard yet, though, and it’s in need. Ah well. Can’t do it all…

That’s what I really want to do…is read. I wish I were better at listening to books being read. I just stop paying attention though, so it’s kind of a waste to even try. So push some reading into today…somehow. Maybe once the turkey is in…can’t do much while that’s going on.

Hope everyone who wants to deal with Thanksgiving is enjoying most of what they’re doing, and if you’re not celebrating it (like most of the world), that your week is going well. And if Thanksgiving is traumatic (I find it stressful even though I like the gathering part…for the most part)…then I hope you find something that makes the next few days better…I like the outdoors for that, but also making stuff. Highly recommend. OK. Gotta go make stuffing now. Peace out.

More to Be Thankful for…

Good morning. Less sleep than usual. My fault. My desire to sleep in is not matched by the dog’s desire to be awake, fed, and peed. I forget this. Unfortunately.

Also unfortunate. Or at least things to consider: Red Shawl Day on Saturday, which I noticed because I follow a ton of National Parks, and they were all posting about it…per their website, “American Indian and Alaska Native women are missing and murdered at a rate of more than 10 times the national average. Red Shawl Day is an annual national effort to bring attention to the horrible acts of violence committed against Indigenous people, particularly women and children. Throughout the week surrounding November 19, people are encouraged to wear red as a symbol of the loss of sacred lifeblood through violence.” Just proof that justice is not the same for everyone.

Then Sunday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance…”an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.” More people who do not receive equal justice. That followed by the LGBTQ-hate shooting in Colorado Springs by the grandson of my former Assemblyman, Randy Voepel, MAGA all the way down.

They redrew the district lines about 10 years ago, but this is one of the guys I used to email regularly because he didn’t represent ALL of his district, just the white conservative faction (and honestly, the far right). There’s a lot of that dumbassery out here, unfortunately. But sure, let’s make sure all the haters have guns.

I’m currently working on an environmental issue quilt, but guns are ruling for the next one. Or something. Hate? I don’t want to do another hate quilt. We’ll see. I’ve got a while before I’m done with this one.

That said, I finished tracing the Wonder Under last night…

By staying up way too late…

I guess the dog let me sleep in an hour after the Man left for work…that’s a plus. It’s only three yards…much smaller than the last one.

Oh yeah, and this bit…

The vomit. Hence its nickname in my data collection app. So that was 8 hours and 40 minutes of tracing. My hand and shoulder hurt last night…this morning, they are somewhat recovered. The next step is to cut stuff out. I really want to be ironing to fabric by Thursday. I have a lot to do in the next three days, including grades, a dentist’s appointment to finally get the crown I needed back in August, and a Wednesday Thanksgiving dinner…so clean the house and cook. Lots of cleaning and cooking. Plus walking the frantic dog? Yeah, probably. He’s losing his mind right now because the boychild just arrived after being gone since Thursday AM.

I spent most of Saturday grading science units…but we did manage a short hike…

Mostly to try to tire out the barky dog so he’d do less of that…

Plus drawing at dinner, finishing one from last weekend…

The two younger cats have decided to be friends again…less fighting. More cuddling…

The old lady is sleeping a lot…

She had gained weight by the last checkup, but she’s lost weight again this time. One of her meds is for her thyroid, and we’ve had problems getting the right dosage. Plus whatever is going on in her gut causes issues. The truth of it all is that she’s old. But she’s relatively happy and playful despite all that, so that’s a plus.

Oh yeah, Friday’s field trip was OK. Could have been an hour shorter and I would have been OK with it. Expensive place to go, Old Town. The Scavenger Hunt part was good. The kids participated and all. Apparently the 7th-grade group was not as good. I guess that’s the plus of having 8th grade this year.

The graveyard in Old Town…and some diorama thing where the little plastic dog had fallen down.

Anyway, not a bad end to the week. I am enjoying hanging out in my pajamas and not panicking about posting assignments and lesson plans…yet. That’ll be later this week. It’s not a stress-free week, though…never is. Need to catch up on grading and planning so the next three weeks aren’t insane. Need to do Xmas shopping and shipping. Need to catch up on cleaning and yardwork that’s fallen by the wayside while teaching. Plus read 10 books. Is that a thing? I also need to catch up on sleep, which isn’t going to happen if I keep staying up late. But my brain works better then. Sigh. OK. For now, I have one more class of science units to grade so I can take them back to school today. Easier than dealing with them next Monday, plus I have counseling today and need a space that is not inhabited by multiple humans for that. And I need to check the stash for the lab I’m doing next Tuesday. So I need to read the teacher manual for that. Busy week. Always is. But still thinking about all the hinky shit people are doing to other people instead of getting along. Sigh. May there be more to be thankful for as the week progresses.

No Fanfare…

Usually I feel like there’s a bigger fanfare coming up to a school break. There’s a countdown. I mean, there’s a countdown in my head, but it’s mostly panicking because I didn’t have a plan for teaching everything this week. So I was panicking about that and not thinking about how today is the last day of school and then I have 9 lovely days off (well, there’s a lot of stuff that needs to happen, so not all of it is lovely, but that is the way of the world…and at least I’ll be able to pee when I want). Today, we are on a field trip…strange, though, because half the team is going to the Zoo and the other half to Old Town, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. But whatever. It’s done. We’re not at school. I don’t have to try to get a bunch of kids to do something they don’t want to do today. And the buses are picking up late because of elementary-school conferences, so we won’t get back until almost the end of the school day. Sweet. So no trying to teach two class periods after a field trip when we’re all cranky and exhausted. And for once, I end the day with 8th graders instead of 7th graders. Netflix? Check.

Then there are 125 or so science unit packets to grade. I got through exactly 9 yesterday (I had other stuff to do during class). I’d like to finish Period 1 and leave it at school, and then if I have the stamina, finish Period 2 (it’s huge) and leave it as well. I’d rather stay at school for an hour and kick those out than take them home. I’ll have to bring 7th grade home no matter what.

Last night, before my quilty Zoom meeting, I managed to post the first three days of stuff for 8th grade for after the break. I’m really hoping to have all the posts for that whole three weeks planned out before the end of Thanksgiving. I need to get ahead of stuff. I need to backwards-plan genetics and geologic time scale, and then see how much time is left for space and magnetism. Not much, I’m thinking. Ah well. This year is hard. I’m doing my best.

In art news, ah yes, the bliss of tracing stuff. I finished redrawing the new quilt on Wednesday night…

I didn’t change a huge amount, but cleaned up lines and added some stuff, especially to the earth head.

Then I stayed up too late and numbered it…

It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to number it…but it was enough to put me in bed late…

This one is smaller than my last few. It needed to be; it has to be done before the end of the year.

Only 630 pieces! Crazy. For me. Not a lot.

Then last night, I was a on a stitching Zoom with friends. I spent the first hour doing something for a Christmas present and the second hour plus another after the Zoom tracing Wonder Under pieces…

Yay! It’s very meditative and calming. Not enough, unfortunately, because I couldn’t fall asleep, and then something was crawling around outside the window, so Simba lost his mind and then I couldn’t fall back asleep. So I’m not awake. And I’m hopefully going somewhere I can buy caffeine. Or I’m taking it with me. IDK. Something. But now I can trace for the next two-three days, then cut it out, hopefully ironing to fabric by Thanksgiving Day. Big chunks of art, please. Yes, I will have to grade shit and plan shit and probably clean shit (fuck, I think Thanksgiving is here Wednesday night…so I need the vacuum fixed…yikes). But I need a break from the rest of it. I need to read a lot and contemplate silence. Or loud music of my choice. And less whining and neediness. That especially. Learned helplessness. Ugh.

OK. Here’s Nova this morning…

Such a sweetheart. Good thoughts for the day. We’ll be outside and wandering around Old Town and trying to find stuff on a scavenger hunt. Sunscreen. I need sunscreen. And a lunch…I bought a sandwich yesterday to take with me. The fun of being a diabetic. Ah, my head just twinged. Drink more tea. Make sure there is Motrin in my bag. I do actually love field trips. I’m just missing the zoo today.

Compelling, Complicated, and Worthwhile…

Can I stay home and draw? I was just starting to get into it last night when I looked at the clock. Damn. Nine minutes past bedtime. Fuck. My fault for going to the gym, right? Except I need that. Except my knees apparently don’t appreciate it. The knees have been fussy for a week now, really painful at times, but I was able to hike, no problem. Going up stairs is the issue…and anything balance-y, which should make pilates interesting. I actually went to the gym because work was stressing me out. The last period of the day just sucked and then I spent an hour trying to figure out what I’m teaching in 8th grade for one day before break, after we’ve turned the unit in, plus field trip stuff. It was a giant downer, so I exercised and read my book…which I don’t really like. Huh. It’s book club though, so I’ll finish it, hopefully before Monday’s book club (laughs quietly to herself…I’m only 50% of the way through and I don’t really like it, so we’ll see how that goes). I’m pretty sure this book is YA and that’s my problem. Or not. The review I read said, “compelling, complicated, and worthwhile.” Maybe that’s the subtitle for this school year? I guess I won’t know until I finish. Ugh. It’s fine. It’s not horrible. It’s just lots of girl meets boy, bad situation, but lust, but unrequited because religion, and I don’t have a lot of patience for that sometimes.

So dinner was late, I had to finish grading an assignment, and Google Classroom was being a jerk…

Still, that is how I feel about this entire school year. It’s exhausting. Three more days until nine days off. Nine days I really need. Nine days that will have too much work in them no matter what. I need to get ahead on the planning. Need to get my head above the water.

Pro: new drawing exists. Con: I need to redraw, so I need brainpower to do that. On Sunday, I started cutting and pasting the one I did at 250%…

And the Man walked by and said “That’s not small. That’s big.” Huh. So I stopped and started taping together the one at 200% instead.

There are some parts of it that need refining and some that just need changing (the top hand needs a purpose…and Monday night at 11:45 PM, I stopped trying to fall asleep and typed the purpose into my phone so I wouldn’t forget). So I started tracing over the bits that work…refining some as I went…

Not a lot of changes here…

Last night, I got a whopping 22 minutes, like I said. I’m hoping for better tonight.

Not a lot of changes here either. Added another plastic bag and another water bottle. Redrew one floating trash bit so it looked less like a student-drawn penis and balls. Like you do. Tonight? More of that. Grading too. Cooking. Exercise. Maybe read more of that irritating book. Irritating because of the relationship between the characters…not the back story. The back story has definitely got some interesting pagan vs Jewish vs Christian patriarchy shit going on. Ah well.

This.

Between school and political stupid Trump and shootings and stupid crap? Yeah. Can’t afford to retire early. Next year will be easier? I keep saying that. I keep saying ‘I can do it,’ and I can. I just don’t like it.

Today. Some pain and suffering all along the way. Need to find a video for 8th grade. I will push through in 7th grade. I feel like a shitty teacher this year. I’m working super hard, but I don’t feel particularly effective. That said, the last academic assignment in 7th wasn’t too bad. And 8th grade mostly understands…I’m not sure I do (Newton’s Third Law makes my brain hurt). And I get to draw at the end of the day.

Out and About…

Well we’re back from nature. Into cold feet and a house that perennially needs cleaning. So much easier to control a campground’s worth of stuff. Although even that can be a pain. The meat didn’t defrost…it was too cold! Well there we are. Years of mom experience to the rescue.

We left for camping around 2:30 PM…drove a little over 90 minutes to a campground in chaparral, mostly, dry, but with oak trees for shade. No showers, OK for a couple of days. It was already cold when we got there and started setting up. It seemed like I kept going into the tent and putting more layers on, or trading out my current layers for better ones.

We had a simple dinner planned the first night…probably a good thing. Mostly we tried to get the fire going…and wondered why people in campgrounds feel a need to play their music loudly.

I managed to finish a drawing I started in May in Ridgecrest, the night before I dropped the Man at Kennedy Meadows to continue his hike.

In bed early, because sleeping bags are warm. Parties around us continued until 3 AM, although we were pro the coyote parties, not the human ones.

We went hiking the next day, although 4 miles was our max.

It was all up. Well the first two miles were anyway. We’re both out of shape. The Man broke his toe in July and wasn’t hiking for a while because of that, and the weekends have been busy with either openings, shows, or my day job sucking up the weekend. We vowed to change that, although my left knee is being cranky and probably needs something.

This was the night of the non-defrosting meat. Warm water baths to the rescue, but my hands are still paying the price today with the repeated dunking in water in dry, cold air. My drawing started in the afternoon, which was a lot of reading and drawing…

This was a big one. I’ve had an idea in my head for the next quilt for about a month now, and this is the first iteration.

After dinner, I did another drawing, not related…

In the smaller sketchbook this time…

Watching the firewood make faces…

The cold chased us to bed around 9 PM again…where the Man had bought lights for the tent…

Fairy lights it is.

Morning dawned cold.

That was after we’d been up for 40 minutes. The cell service was more than we expected, in that it existed, mostly, although not always. The weather app was quite willing to tell me I was actually freezing. We ended up packing out early and eating breakfast at home. There were dark clouds and I didn’t want to deal with rain. Plus I had an artist Zoom at 11, so it made sense. Here was our last view of the area…

Those were not the dark clouds…they were behind me.

We got home in time for the Zoom, managed to shop, do laundry, clean out the tent (the Man did most of that, thanks), and get everything packed away. Every time we do this, we plan to make a list of things we should take, and then the day jobs take over and we never do it, which is how we forget stuff. Ah well. And I’ve misplaced my flashlight too. It’s here somewhere; I just don’t know where I put it down.

I did a bunch of school work yesterday, none of it grading unfortunately. Got a ton of that to do this week and next. More unfortunately. I did pin the bindings on the big alien quilt for the bed…

I’ll be stitching for a while. A bunch of people recommend using those clips to do this. I know I have some…just not sure where.

Earlier, I had enlarged that drawing from the fire…200 and 250%. I started taping it together to see if this is it, or if I’m going to (a) redraw a clean one over the top of it or (b) cut some bits out and redraw them. Don’t know. Will look again tonight. I had to go to bed. A warm bed. Squished between two cats and a dog…a little TOO squished. But warm at least. And not an air mattress. Old bodies.

Work today. Can’t say I’m in the mood. Only five days though. I’d like to get as much work as possible done this week, so I don’t have to do it all next week, but I don’t know how that will play out. Just wish for the best, be as efficient as possible, stay on task, get it done. Art at night…got 8 weeks to finish this next quilt. Don’t make it huge and insanely detailed (might have already blown that edict). Work on it every night…that I can probably do.

Until Nature.

Bless a 3-day weekend. Although I made stress for myself by deciding to go camping. My knee is cranky as shit, it’s gonna be cold as shit. And then I was like…there’s no wifi. You can sit in your chair in front of a fire, all bundled up, and read your fucking book. Or draw. Or stitch. In nature. Like fuck the rest of it. If I don’t attain an amazing hike because my knee is being an old lady, IT’S OK. I have three books on my iPad. THREE. Like what more do I need? (secretly puts an actual paper book in her bag, just in case). CAN’T do work. Yes. YES it will be stressful Sunday when I realize how much I need to do, but it was going to be stressful anyway. So yeah.

That said, I’m stressed this morning trying to get it all done. Tried to pack last night, Luna said no.

NOT NOW LADY. I WANNA BE IN YOUR BAG.

OK then. No packy. Pack later. Also signed up for an exercise class this morning. It made sense at the time. I thought I would have all day to do schoolwork, but no. Exercise is good though. It will be fine. And the cat has to go to the vet. And I still need to PACK. OK. Shhhh.

I finished the quilt Wednesday night, by the way. I have not calculated hours yet, but it’s a lot. I started drawing it in July? I think. Yes. July 23. Finished November 9. Fuck me. Insane year. Here’s the unofficial, standing on the fireplace hearth picture…

They don’t always have names right away, but this has been Same As It Ever Was since the very beginning. My old-white-lady educated self was horrified (still is horrified) by Roe V Wade falling, and then the following climate change policy dumbassery perpetrated by the not-my-Supreme Court, but really, if you’re young, of color, trans, LGBTQ in any way, poor, anything the old white guys don’t see as A-OK, then nothing has really changed. You still don’t have equal rights. Which sucks. And will continue to suck for a while, although the midterm elections were heartening. Hopeful. Not locally, unfortunately, but in general, trying to think positively and not go down the rabbithole of holy shit, when do I buy my own island and move there with my friends and family. Some of them. Yeah that.

I went out stitching with friends last night…finished the block on the left finally and started the one on the right…Sue Spargo’s Homegrown.

Perfect for when I can’t think straight.

Which I couldn’t. Rough day at work. Really, three out of the four this week were rough. Frustrating. Kinda done with this year. Only 23 weeks to go.

I’m reading a wonderful book though…almost done…Cloud Cuckoo Land by IDK, go Google it, oh wait, I guess I’ll do that for you, Anthony Doerr. It’s lovely, time-spanning, core story, nice thoughts even though also hard thoughts. Damn those, but they are good nonetheless. Mind-boggling at times. Yelling NOOOO in your head at times. Love that.

Yeah. Read it. I really can’t wait to sit on a chair in a campsite and finish it. That’s later today. But now? Now I need to pack, exercise, transport cat, pack some more, plan some school, blah blah blah. Until Nature. Thanks to veterans for what you’ve done, although my political nature isn’t a fan of some of it (and don’t tell me you’re protecting my freedoms…because you haven’t done that here…but that’s all a problematic conversation that we can have another day)…today, take some time, remember a veteran, enjoy the day in their honor.

Remain Calm…

First of all, apparently we got 2.36″ of rain out here in East County yesterday. Only had one branch go down on my property. Not bad. The yard is a sopping mess, but that’s OK. I remembered to turn the sprinklers off. If you live somewhere super wet, shhh. Be quiet. There are some years when we barely get more than that. I think it’s done…I hope it’s done…I’m going camping in two days and don’t really want to slog through a ton of mud (but there will be mud, I’m sure). Certainly the night temperatures are going to be in the 30s…I’m hoping at least there’s no moisture to go with it.

Secondly, I finished grades. There were some issues on the day they were due. One kid was absent, so I couldn’t have a conversation about something where I think she got more help than she should have. My SECA is back from COVID…not sure that’s a good thing, unfortunately. The sub was more competent. Ah well. This year rocks from kind of sucking to really sucking. The last two periods of the day yesterday were really sucking. Today will be the same, probably, because we’re making them write, and writing is hard, and the little buggers fight it. Well. Then they will start the new trimester with an F, which is not what I want. Successes breed more successes. Their underdeveloped brains do not do well with failure or difficulty. I have said “We can do hard things” about 7000 times in the last two days, and it’s making me tired and cranky.

I then came home and was lesson planning, because I was panicking about 8th grade, but I think I’ve solved the end of the unit and got a healthy start on the engineering design project they’re doing next. I was going to go to the gym, but it was pouring rain and I was already slightly damp and I couldn’t deal with it. Unfortunately. I need the exercise. I also need the planning time, because originally, I was going to spend Friday planning because I have it off and the Man doesn’t, but then the Man was all worried about arriving at the campsite in the dark (I wasn’t) and took a half day at work, and now my work time has disappeared. Sigh. I still need to write warmups for next week and copy all the shit I need…I think I have this week’s stuff copied? Not sure. I have some prep time today, hopefully. I went in early yesterday to get a ton of shit done and then the copier wasn’t working and my computer battery was dying. It was a mess. A clusterfuck.

Anyway, I made myself stop working Monday night and last night at 9:30 to stitch binding…

Kitten likes it when I sit on the couch.

Last night, I found my thimble sticky things because I had a divot in my right middle finger from the needle.

I think I’m about 3/4 of the way around…still gotta do the sleeves after that. I was hoping to drop this with the photographer this weekend. Not happening. Maybe next weekend. Then start drawing dammit. I hate this school year. I have cried more about being overwhelmed than I have ever cried. OK, maybe my first year. I don’t know. It just sucks. Fucking sucks.

SO. Gonna make a new quilt. These two are hanging in Arizona for another week or so? Nah. Coming down after Sunday.

At the Tubac Center…mine are in the background of that beautiful purple person…I don’t know who or what any of these are. There’s an artist/juror talk Zoom on the closing day of the exhibit, Sunday the 13th, at 11 AM. I told them I might be in the car, but I’m registered for it. Hopefully I’ll make it. Even if I’m coming back from camping.

The PHES show closed yesterday…

I’m lucky to have a friend who is picking up my piece. Because IDK when I would do it.

Kitten doesn’t either…

She offered, but is a horrible driver. Can’t trust her. She’s distracted by bugs. And lizards.

Ah election day…

This is kind of how I feel with most of politics lately. Then you watch The Handmaid’s Tale and it’s all too real. Our local school board election has picked up a crazy nutbag. We are getting rid of one, so I guess that’s fair, but I’d rather have sanity prevail and I don’t think it will.

OK. Parent-teacher meeting this morning. Hoping to keep my brain where it needs to be while teaching, which today, is more like directing some sort of chaotic orchestra where about 20% learned their part and is quietly playing in the corner and the rest need help, and some of those are racing around the stage throwing water balloons at each other so I can’t actually help the kids who want it. Sigh. I mean that might describe my job on a regular basis, but it was definitely worse yesterday in the last two classes. I will remain calm. Even though I’m tired and stressed out. I will. Union meeting after that. Then maybe putting more divots in my fingers.