The World’s on Fire and It’s More Than I Can Handle

Dear crack in my car windshield: I don’t have time for you. Go away. Seriously, why do you have to be so needy (first-world problem, right?). The post office also…you could have knocked on the door to get that signature, but no…you dropped that slip in my mailbox so I would have to go to the post office a week before Christmas. If you wanted to see me, couldn’t it have been in November? When the lines weren’t crazy long? But no. It has to be now. And today is Pajama Day at school, so wherever I go before or after school, it’s gonna be in pajamas. I’m that person. So don’t assume when you see a person in pjs wandering around the grocery store looking for the family pack of Oreos that it’s someone who hasn’t done their laundry and is having a craving. I don’t even eat Oreos. It could be a middle-school teacher on Pajama Day. It’s PART OF MY JOB dammit to wear pajamas today. I’VE GOT SPIRIT. YES I DO.

I came home to the ex and the boychild putting up lights. Yay! I love lights.

Yeah, I might get old someday and just leave them up all year, because I can.

I had a meeting after school, but got home at a reasonable hour, so I made it to book club, which turned into a psych session and general discussion of female tropes and depression and people’s reactions to depression. ‘Twas good. Although I think I agreed to read 2 more books in a series and meet again in January. That might have been a little crazy.

My food restrictions meant I couldn’t eat there. Nothing worked. So I came home and ate white food. My gut is so tired of this. Annoying food. Calli was happy to see me.

Eventually, I was ready to trace. I really did think I might finish last night. That is SO FUNNY. I traced for almost 2 hours, but only got 100 pieces done. Sigh. 19 1/2 hours in. Still not freaking done. Only 200 to go. I wish I could say I’d finish those tonight, but I can’t guarantee that. Certainly I’ll try. I also have to figure out the windshield and the post office…since I am at work during all the hours when I could solve those two problems, I’m gonna just table them for now. I even channeled that stupid commercial with the soccer mom who can’t miss a game and the guy comes out and fixes her windshield in a parking lot, but I’m not sure I can get away with taking 32 middle-school kids out to the school parking lot while he does that..let alone on a walking trip to the post office, tempting as though that would be (can you imagine? Oh hell no.). So those will have to wait. 

SEE! I TRACED SHIT.

And yes, the kids at school were antsy as hell yesterday. But today I get to wear pajamas to school, so I’m good. Please don’t ask me about grades or Christmas presents or my to-do list for break. 

*Sarah McLachlan, World on Fire

Legs Up with a Book and a Drink*

So this guy…

Made both dogs freak out at the top of their doggy lungs at about 1 AM…and then it had the balls to sit there and stare at me, offended that I disturbed its bug-eating. It wandered around out there for a while, making Simba lose his mind. Sleep was a challenge. 

No worries. Who needs sleep? This was my view while tracing last night. 

Calli gets sleep. No wonder she doesn’t mind barking her head off in the early morning hours. She’ll get to do this all day. Gives you a good idea of how big the drawing is. No one can sit on the couch without getting poked in the back of the head with drawing paper at some point. 

I have way too many yards of Wonder Under started as I try to trace all the big pieces in Figure 4.

I made it to piece 1076. I thought I’d get further, but big pieces take longer to trace than little ones. I’m in the snakes that make up the hair of Figure 4. I have about 500 pieces to go. Slow going really.

Who thought snakes would have so many pieces in them. I traced for almost 3 hours last night. I didn’t grade anything. Too tired at the end of the day. Plus my principal made us do a holiday rap. Brain power zero. 

This is what it looks like when Calli needs to pee and I don’t stop what I’m doing fast enough.

She is pitiful. 

Today is Gondwanaland. Exciting stuff. It is, actually, but I need more sleep to really enjoy it. Meetings and tutorial on top of it. Getting there, though. Four more days until break and real sleep. 

*Squeeze, Is That Love

On Little Sleep

I’m not sure who thought an early meeting on the Monday of the last week before break was a good idea, but it wasn’t me. It’s probably the same type of person who thinks touring a school for academic reasons makes sense on the Friday before break. These people are insane. I think I slept last night, but I can’t confirm it. I’m sure this week will be fine. Luckily, we have pajama day in the middle of it…any excuse to wear pajamas to school will automatically put me in a better mood, especially when I have a meeting at the District Office right after work. Score!

I worked a lot all weekend, school and tracing. Mostly school. Shocking, I know. Looking forward to putting that down for a bit over break. I am taking one large assignment home with me on Friday, but maybe the rest of it won’t be as bad. A girl can dream. 

I didn’t use to even try to make big quilts during the school year, but I gave up on that years ago. Last year at this time, I was making a big quilt…I was further along, though, because I had to be done by January 1. Not this one! I have a little more time. So after I worked all Saturday morning, I traced for a bit.

It’s still really boring for y’all to look at. But it’s all I’ve got.

Is this better? I had to make cookie dough Saturday and Satchemo is very convinced that everything that happens in the kitchen is all about him. He also likes the sink.

That grumpy face IS his face.

Oh yeah, and the man’s holiday party was on the 15th floor overlooking downtown. That was a nice place. 

So we did that. 

As the designated driver, I did have the ability to come back and do some of this. 

I am a woman on a mission here. Not really. I just want progress to keep happening, so I keep doing, plus it makes my brain feel better. 

Sunday morning grading…61 emails from students to manage, including one 19-page screed from the night before…because instead of doing your work, you should be making excuses for why you didn’t do it. Sigh. Calli’s got it right. 

I wish. She continued it at my parents’ house at night…she always lies right behind my mom’s chair, so mom can’t get up. 

By dinner time, I had graded all the 61 emailed assignments, a whole ‘nother assignment while baking and frosting cookies for staff today, and started a third assignment, plus managed some calendar stuff for school.

So I totally could work on Wonder Under when I got home. 

I have two yards completely full…

And then four more yards that are in process…one can only take relatively small pieces. The last piece only has three larger pieces on it that wouldn’t fit on any of the other pieces. 

There are lots of larger pieces in this quilt. So there’s a lot of wasted space on the Wonder Under. This always offends me. 

But realistically, the stuff is relatively cheap and I shouldn’t be bothered. I’m in the 900s, on the neck of the 4th figure. The arm is done for Figure 4. I think there’s only one arm on that one? Can’t remember. I’ve got 10 1/2 hours into the tracing. I hit the halfway point, which is nice, but I probably have another 10 hours to go. Maybe less? These are all pretty big pieces, so they take longer to trace. The 5th figure has some tinier details in it. We’ll see how that goes. Hopefully I’ll be done with it this week sometime, although there’s three nights with 2-hour meetings or so, plus tutoring, plus I’m already tired. But that’s my plan. Finish by Friday. Start cutting them out. Ready to iron to fabric next week? Yeah. 

But first, school. On little sleep. Good combo.

Generalized Panic

I am trying to type this as a cat repeatedly walks in front of the computer monitor, sniffs at my breakfast, and finally lies down on the mouse…foot on the keyboard, tail flicking at me. ‘Tis the cleaning hour and I am in her way. She’s whacked me once already for trying to handle the mouse. Let’s see how far I can get before I need to mouse something. Sweet thing. Not. 

Plans for the weekend? Grading shit. Prepping for school. Tracing Wonder Under. Baking cookies. Trying to finish the holiday shopping. Laundry. Groceries. Generalized panic. If I alphabetize them and go in order, I get to bake first. Then panic. Seems reasonable.

No really, I’ll start with grading because it hurts and I should get it over with, like pulling the bandaid off. Then I’ll give myself a break and do some tracing. Then there’s a holiday dinner tonight, so I should figure out what the hell I’m going to wear, because I  might need to wash something black for that.

Yesterday, the kid at school who’s been driving me bonkers and says everyone hates me and I’m a horrible teacher…well, I helped him get his sticky ball off the ceiling and didn’t kill him in the process, and he hugged me. And then came by later and fist bumped me. Because just when you think you can dislike them and write them off in your head, they remind you that they act like assholes because there’s shit going on in their lives that they can’t control and you can help them with that…maybe…so yeah. Dammit. 

So I came home last night with the goal of game night at the house…something different than sitting on the couch and watching television or whatever…so Settlers of Catan with the three of us (and all the animals)…

Two of us had played before, but it was a long time ago. Boychild won (of course). We’ll play again though. 

This was the sky when I got home…

Probably the sunset western view was even better, but I can’t see that from my house.

I saw this on the drive home and was all excited about a snow leopard table until I realized they probably weren’t attached. 

Sad really.

Dogs while gaming…this is Calli when there are no big booms from the sky. 

Poor dog…Thursday night was hard for her.

Simba is kind of a dork. Please scratch my belly.

My belly is waiting for YOU.

Had to save him from that…I think Calli stayed on that couch the whole time we played the game…

I finished sewing all the bits on this…the last of the September blocks? I think? 

There’s a loose monkey that goes somewhere after some of it is sewn together. Same with another hut, I think. 

Then I traced, but only for about an hour. I did some grading last night too. 

I’m barely in the 600s…not even halfway through. I’ve got about 7 1/2 hours into the tracing so far. In the last 7 days, I’ve worked on this quilt for 10 1/2 hours. Good to know. 

I have a couple other projects coming up, one of which will fit into this one’s time space, which is fine, because it will be Winter Break by then. I’m working with a prison inmate on a piece…I picked a word (relationships) and he is making a collage/painting that is related to that and is writing me about that, and then I will get that and add to it. I can use fabric or whatever I want (I’m probably using fabric). And then I will send it back to him and he can continue it or whatever. It’s a prison art program called Project Paint. Anyway, I have no idea what I’ll be getting…but it should be interesting, and you will see it here. The original artist can donate the work to Project Paint and they can sell it to fund more materials for the program. So there’s that. 

But before I can do any of that, I need to grade some stuff…so that first. 

Here In My Car I Feel Safest At All*

I’m pretty sure I chatted with a computer last night. I needed to figure out why the Featured Image thing wasn’t working for WordPress any more, so I finally went into Help and Troubleshooting and What the Fuck to Do When Things That Used to Work No Longer Work, and I was chatting…well, I talked (typed) and then it went silent for a long time and then I said (typed) Hello and it said OK, yes, I’m still looking into it but I don’t think it was a human. To its credit, it did find out why it wasn’t working…my THEME had expired (does this happen?) and no longer supported Featured Image, so it then suggested new themes. I guess that’s a useful tech thing, unlike Autocorrect on the iPhone, which thinks I talk about ducks way more than I EVER talk about ducks.

So the theme has changed. I haven’t tried all the things yet. It pretty much just dropped everything I had (except the header, which I don’t have, because I didn’t make it) into the new theme and made it fit. Hopefully it works. If not, the computer wants me to come back and chat again. (It didn’t give me a name. Those chat things always tell you their name. So it was a computer.)

Last night was full of anxious animals and lots of rain and thunder for a short period of time. I don’t know if that jacket helps, but the boychild puts them on the dogs anyway.

I had a quilt meeting last night, but I waited about ten minutes, because getting into a big metal box of a car while a thunderstorm goes overhead is a little nerve-wracking. The plan was to make bees wax food wraps. I have some already, so I didn’t bring a lot (unlike some)…

It certainly wasn’t hard to do…

There’s about a million websites that will show you how. 

We measured nothing, by the way.

Different than our usual night…but kind of cool on a rainy Thursday after a long day at work.

I also worked a bit on this. Trying to get that horned thing sewn down. Not crucial. Just relaxing. 

Straight up, the rest of the day/evening was not so relaxing, so I needed what I could get. I also stress-baked. And freaked out about next week, not being able to eat nuts or seeds or popcorn or vegetable skins. Colonoscopy prep sucks. I can eat lots of white foods. Eh.

My quilt teacher made these cute little knitted bags for soap slivers, so you can use them up. Very cool. 

I did trace Wonder Under eventually, for about 30 whole minutes. I finished the 60 pieces or so of things that are attached to Figure 2. Tonight, I can start on Figure 3. I also need to grade things. Lots of things. Blah.

I forgot to photograph last night, and the windows are all foggy, but there was a beautiful sunrise this morning.

My light table has a good view…behind it.

OK, weird day at school with professional development that isn’t actually professional development. Whatever. I might be able to get some work done. If I’m lucky. But I have to remember to grab all the stuff in my classroom that I’ll need in order to do it. Rolling my eyes at this. 

One more week and then a break. I totally need it.

*Gary Numan, Cars

In My Life I’ve Loved Them All *

So that plan I had to go to bed at a reasonable hour last night? Somehow, the 45 minutes between 11:15 PM, when it was too early to go to bed, and midnight, when I should have already been in bed, did not register in my brain. I kept tracing, time kept ticking, and I went to bed late again. Because I had to take both dogs out (in the wet…) and close everything up, turn the lights out, take insulin, brush my teeth, reset my alarm even earlier this morning (earlier meeting), and then it’s well past midnight and I can’t fall asleep, because the to-do list is knocking on my brain. I did grade PART of an assignment last night, only part…if I’d done the whole thing, I wouldn’t have had time to trace anything. Earlier in the evening, I was prepping stuff for next week, creating worksheets from scratch (aargh, so time-consuming) and sending them to print shop and trying to figure out the warmup for next week…because however many meetings I have this week (7), I have a similar number next week, and they’re all longer. I don’t want to go into Winter Break with a huge pile of work to do. Although I won’t have a choice, I think. 

So I know I need to spend SOME time making art every night, no matter how tired I feel, because it makes me feel somewhat less stressed and like there’s something in life besides trying to manage my job. I went to bed with the face of the one kid who completely shut down in class yesterday, because I don’t know what his issue was, but I couldn’t get him to work, and usually he’ll at least try, but no, not even with a pencil (and I think he kept my Think Pretty Thoughts pencil, dammit). 

Today is a new day. They always are, aren’t they? More rain here…not sure we need it all in two days, but hey, it’s water, right? So I didn’t trace for long, and it’s not very exciting to look at unless you’re me…Figure 2 does have bigger pieces than Figure 1 (logical…the person is bigger too)…

And I tried to limit (ha!) the detail as the pieces got bigger. Otherwise, this thing would easily have gone over 2000 pieces. I do need to actually finish it.

I’m on the third yard of Wonder Under. The one on the right is mostly full, the middle one is almost all full, and one I’ve barely started.

I traced for about an hour and a half. I’m in the mid-400s. I finished all of Figure 2, but not all the stuff that’s touching her (tree, bird, vine). I have a meeting tonight, but I’ll still trace afterwards. I want to finish grading the assignment I was working on yesterday at some point today, but maybe I can get that done in class today. This unit has been really bad for giving us time to work on stuff in class. I spent most of yesterday showing kids how the plate boundary that goes through Iceland works. I still have a bunch of kids who think that earthquakes make tectonic plates move (you can blame the shitty simulation for being vague about that). Things that are logical to adults are rarely as logical for kids. 

Anyway. It’s survival mode until Winter Break. If I can get them through the next week and have them turn in the unit, we’re leaving this curriculum behind and going back to hands-on, creative, variety, and interest. Plus some down time for teacher. Less of my having to tell them things and more of their figuring it out. They learn better that way anyway. I’m looking forward to that. It’s amazing how much HOW I teach affects my mood. 

*The Beatles, In My Life

But Not a Word I Heard Could I Relate*

I have this calendar announcement that pops up once a month that is obviously from an ancient online calendar that I can’t access to delete the announcement. It’s Untitled. It has no announcement except that it is Untitled. So every month, I close it or snooze it, depending on how I’m feeling, and wonder if the month I die, that untitled announcement will still pop up, and if the month after I die, what will happen with that announcement. Will it still pop up somewhere? I mean, it’s gotta be years old and who knows where it’s hiding, but I can’t find it and so it will never ever go away for good. 

That’s kind of how all of life seems right now. Laughs hysterically. Too many things to do, as always. I need stuff done for school that I have to get copied for next week…like 3 different worksheets or assignments or something. I need all the stuff prepped for at least the first week of January, so they can get copied in time. I have been backwards planning and the first 8 days back are still blank. Blank is nice. Blank will be good. It’s because I can’t possibly fit all the things I should be teaching into that space, so I have to figure out how to logically place all the things they absolutely need to get through the rest of the units I know we’re teaching, and my brain is just not engaging with that yet, because it’s still panicking about next week. And with multiple meetings each day, I’m not catching up.

Here’s an example of how I cope:

Yes. I’m at the gym. On an elliptical. Grading the last two questions of the assessment they did Monday. I finished! I’m excited about that actually. On my phone, I had the rubric, so if I wasn’t sure what score a kid should get, I could quick look at it again. While listening to Linkin Park. So there.

But I got to the gym late (tutoring after school) and so then I ate dinner late and started doing other stuff late, and then because everything was late, I stayed up too late, and now I’m feeling that. 

I already called my online pharmacy (they called yesterday, but they keep East Coast hours). They’ve discontinued the little stabby things I use in my diabetes kit, so I need a new device for the new stabby things, which are just like the old ones, but of course, a slightly different size and design that won’t work in the new device. Assholes. Diabetes is expensive and complicated and annoying. 

I have to admit to lolling on the couch for 15 minutes before I started tracing. Kitten came by and was trying to figure out how to sit on this, but the drawing is huge and she was nervous about finding the table underneath. 

Also, no one can sit on the couch while I’m doing this (not true…I have my ways).

She finally settled for this position. In case you were wondering, yes…yes, she IS sitting on the edge of the drawing so I can’t move it.

Because she is a cat.

This stage is never very photogenic. It’s just days and days of this. I find it meditative, but that’s me.

I’m watching Killing Eve (thanks to whomever suggested it…it finally popped up somewhere I could watch it for free). It seems appropriate to my holiday, last-two-weeks-before-break-middle-school-teacher-mode brain. This week is going…it’s managed. Next week will be crazy time. I should get all my shopping and wrapping done this week, if I’m smart. HA! Not smart. 

Anyway, I have 4 hours into the tracing and I’m at 330 or so. I’m on the 2nd figure…I’ve finished one arm, most of the other, and the torso up until whatever arm is covering it. So head and neck and shoulders left on this one, plus the stuff that’s touching it. I have a ton of stuff after school today (including negotiating a new tester for the pokey stabby things?), but the goal is to be tracing sometime late tonight, plus going to bed a little earlier than last night? That would be a good plan. I really wasn’t watching the clock last night. My bad.

*Led Zeppelin, Kashmir