Scissors Cutting Wonder Under…

I feel like I should follow up the last post with It’s Monday! Like you don’t know what day it is. It IS Monday. Pros: It’s a new week, I finished grading all the science units AND projects over the weekend, and it’s supposed to rain here today…good for plants. Cons: Monday. Tired. Worked all weekend so I don’t feel ready or rested. Pros: All the stuff for school this week is copied and organized. Cons: We planned a week where we are ON for four out of the five days. Granted, we are ON with Oreos on 1 1/2 of those days. Y’all, I don’t like block schedule. Those periods are so LONG and kids check out unless it’s AMAZEBALLS the entire time. Which sometimes it is…like Thursday and Friday. That is exhausting though for the teacher. This week, I will be demonstrating tectonic plates with Oreo cookies…and magma with corn syrup. It’s cool, but it’s a lot of being ON all the time.

Other exciting things for this week: I need to find a Halloween costume in my stash that will not be too hot to wear in the mid- to high 80s. It should be Disney-themed, but I might just fuck that off, because I don’t have the will or the brain power. I’m supposed to dress like my opposite gender on one day, but I think I already do that every day. Maybe I don’t have to wear a bra that day? That would be AWESOME. Not an issue in middle school at all. I can totally get away with that.

Oh man. My brain is on a roll.

So on Friday, I finished tracing all the pieces…

That’s 6 yards, some with a ton of tiny pieces; some with some whopping big pieces. It took a little over 17 hours to trace them all…not bad for 1500 or so pieces. It’ll probably be at least 7 or so hours to cut them out. I didn’t start until last night…

The day job ran the weekend. That’s about 40 minutes of cutting stuff out. Expect to see shots of that pile growing each night until it’s done.

I really did grade most of the weekend. I had about 50 videos to watch with a smattering of slide presentations to check if there was no video. But they’re done. This is a good thing.

I took a break in between Periods 3 and 4 to go for a 3.6-mile hike…

I just needed a break…and some exercise. It sucks to spend a weekend this way, but if it means I can come home all this week and NOT watch videos, I’m OK with it. The end of the trimester is coming up, and I will be out of town the weekend right before grades are due, so I’m trying to get all the last-minute shit out of the way…because my art class will be slamming me with two projects right before the end of the trimester. So there’s that. I know…it’s my fault…but there’s nothing I can do about that. I’ll figure it out. This school year is not low maintenance.

Cat forts…

They like them.

This lizard has moved into the camp chair I left outside.

It’s there every time I get home. The chair is mostly broken, which is why it’s out there…I guess it’s now a lizard home.

OK. Well I’ve got about a million things on the to-do list this week, but I’m hoping that art will happen in the form of scissors cutting Wonder Under every night. Maybe I’ll be done by the weekend? That would be nice…to be ironing onto fabric next weekend? It could happen. I’d need to clean up in here, of course. No Halloween parties for me…just fabric? Maybe. Oh yeah, it’s school photos today. I’m not in the mood. Think I have some animal snouts somewhere I could use for that…should find those. This week also includes reviewing my insurance because it’s open enrollment, plus a flu shot, book club, some exercise, some planning (hopefully a lot of planning), and a Zoom stitching meeting. Plus a chiropractic adjustment while in costume. Things to think about when choosing one’s costume. Hmmm.

Happy Monday thoughts, y’all.

Fast and Furious

Well I have about 8 minutes here to write. Fast and furious. It’s been long days at work, interspersed with some tracing and a little stitching with friends. On Wednesday, the union meeting went for almost 3 hours…I managed to get these graded before and during, as I was listening.

This is the only way I can grade art. Lay it out in the spectrum. So different than grading science.

I get an hour or a little more of this done every night…

I’m in the 400s…only 1100 to go or so.

I just have the head to do on the second figure. IDK how many more to go. There’s a lot of people in this quilt.

I managed stitching last night with friends…well I stitched and they crocheted.

It’s nice to hang out with humans who aren’t pre-teens. And cats…

Luna on her pillar. Yes, I had to cover the top because she kept scratching it. She doesn’t scratch the bottom of it. Ah well.

Unit 2 at school is ending Monday.

So there’s lots of panic on the kids’ part to get work done.

Or not. Some kids don’t get the urgency. It’s been a rough week. I’m looking forward to a couple of days off. Parent meeting this morning with someone who will probably be a major issue. Love those. Enable your kids’ behavior. Please. And then trying to get kids through the assignment. I’m tired.

Ah well. It is Friday. Fridays are often tired. Saturdays will be art and more art with some grading probably. Maybe not. That’s something to look forward to. And more tracing. Meditative. It’s good to do that right before bedtime.

Warm Socks…

I’m loving this cooler weather. I actually wore warm socks to pad around the house, albeit with shorts on, because it’s not flannel pajama weather yet. Quite. It won’t last, of course, but it was nice this weekend to go out hiking with a bit of a chill in the air. Hell, it was just nice to go out hiking, even if it was only 3 miles. I’m fighting for work/life balance (and mostly losing). Here’s the hike view, though, so I don’t forget…

That was Saturday evening, around 5:30 PM.

Friday, after work, after entering a show, I got in the car and drove to Carlsbad, to the PHES Gallery opening of the Allied Craftsmen show. It’s a nice show in a nice space. My two pieces are here…

I lurked behind people and listened to them talk about the pieces. That’s always fun. Although I didn’t get home until after 10 PM, so that was also exhausting. I also got news Friday that two of my quilts at The Studio Door sold, so that was cool…not enough for a new sewing machine or to trim the trees, but it’s a start. It’s always a good thing.

Saturday, I got up early, because my brain knew how much work was on my plate and wouldn’t let me sleep in. I started by cleaning up, ironing, and packing up the quilt to go to the photographer at noon. Then I pieced the two blocks I owed for the community quilt my guild is doing for Quilt Con…they were due at noon to someone’s house, so I dropped them at 11:45 (I was early, c’mon), and then dropped the quilt at the photographer’s. Here’s the blocks…

They had given us some extra fabric to deal with the long pieces in the center, but I fucked that up and ended up having to do some improv piecing, which wasn’t hard and will probably add to the final design…I’ll post it when we have it.

I graded after piecing and before driving to drop things…and then I came home and graded until my sourdough dough was ready for the bulk stage. Then I went to school to deal with the stuff I’d left there…all the late Unit 1s that I had to rip out of kids’ hands (just a little more time! Dude, I need to do progress reports now, not later) and then all the stuffed animal drawings.

Guys, grading art is so hard. Sometime Friday night/Saturday morning, when I wasn’t sleeping, I figured out the best way to handle it…lay them out based on the rubric…who hit all 4 points, who hit most of them, who hit a few of them, and who wasn’t hitting much of anything. Yeah. It worked. I printed the rubrics and graded the obvious As first…they had all the things I asked for. I can’t say the middle lows were easy to grade…they weren’t. But I wrote suggestions, and with some, offered that if they kept going at home and improved it (like actually finished it), their grade would improve.

I know some would just give everyone an A, but this is an academic class and my kids feed into the REAL art teacher (I just play one on TV), and she will hold them to these high standards. Plus this is probably the hardest project we will do. So hopefully the next one will go better. We’ll see.

After 2 1/2 hours at school, I had what I needed, and that’s when I came home and hiked (what I REALLY needed). At dinner, I drew before the food came…

This is the beginning of an idea for the next quilt.

Sunday was more grading, lots more. But Sunday night, I got a chunk more done on this…

It’s taking me forever because of the other deadlines I have. It’s almost done, though, and should be on its way to the Social Justice Sewing Academy this week sometime, assuming I can get to the post office before it closes. I wanted all the things done before I started drawing the next quilt.

Cats are weird, y’all.

I’m gonna shove my face and use the wall as a pillow.

Am I done with grades? Nope. Wearing my Nope shirt today too. Had one kid constantly emailing me all weekend. I stopped answering. I’ll get through the last bit of it today and post grades. Hopefully some of them will learn not to do stuff last minute…luckily it’s a progress report and not a final report card. Then I will have my first chiropractic adjustment in forever, hallelujah. And maybe I’ll get to do something besides school tonight…maybe. I’m still two weeks behind on assignments, so that’s a thing I’ll be doing all week. Plus making videos for this week…kids are still out on COVID contracts. Ugh. Yeah. It’s been too much school lately. Need to get to work on changing that. Again. Still.

The Weirdest Last Week?

This might be the weirdest last week of school…wait, except for last year? I don’t even remember last year’s last week of school…completely lost in the crazy that has been the last 16 months or so. My grades are done (yay!) except for two kids that have issues, one of whom has answered and one who won’t. Sigh. So managing the last week should be easier…I’m not doing anything with content, except a quiz thing for fun and prizes, which are hard to deal with on distance learning. I sent Amazon online gift cards last year, but some went to parent email addresses and you have to wonder if they let the kid use them or not. Then there’s mailing stuff, but that gets expensive. I don’t have a solution to that yet. And I have to go in and drop off all my tech stuff and make sure my room has everything put away. I can’t do that until Friday. So I’m essentially done, but I still have to be on Zoom all day for three days and a half day on Thursday. Doing what? Damn good question. Don’t ask the district that; they can’t answer. They’ll pull something out of their asses about teachers knowing best, but the last week of school, after grades are all done, has always been a crapshoot. We fill it with end-of-year field trips and awards ceremonies and field days for a reason. Hard to do online.

As I was finishing grades yesterday, grading the last assignment, I found myself getting overly emotional, and I think that’s just because the year is almost over and it’s been really overwhelming. I just want it to be done. We all want everything to go back to normal, whatever that is…just read an article about the Delta variant of COVID, but meanwhile, masks will be optional and everything will be open 100% as of tomorrow in California. I’m not ready for no mask, so I’ll just keep wearing mine for a while. Through the summer? I don’t know. Maybe. I haven’t had a cold or the flu for 16 months…there’s something to be said for that.

I do have some school stuff to get through today during prep…we have to calculate student engagement and input that. Ugh. It’s time-consuming and probably no one will ever look at it. Frustrating. But some politicians somewhere decided that’s how they would make teachers accountable, because it sure isn’t about making kids or parents accountable. I’m sure some teachers blew this year off; I don’t know any of them. Although I hear stories from some parents; I’d like to talk to those teachers to hear the other side.

This was me on Friday, trying to work around the cat.

She was adamant about being in class.

This is how I felt about the last graded assignment…

I gave lots of leeway in my grading, because there was limited time and no time to fix anything. I even told them to turn in unfinished stuff, but a chunk of kids just checked out. Frustrating, but normal for this time of year.

Saturday, the man and I headed out to find a hike (walk?) that wasn’t in the full heat…

So we headed to near the beach, to the Tijuana River Estuary.

It was super flat.

There were a few birds we saw, and it wasn’t incredibly hot…

It wasn’t super exciting, although watching the birds was, when we saw them.

And there was some interesting flora. Really it was just time to hang out before he gets back on the trail this week.

He’s heading into super hot, super climby, but eventually into the Sierras, which sounds nice. I’ll meet him in a few weeks, after Whitney and some more ups and downs.

I have been tracing most nights, not for super long. I traced too long last night because I like to do at least 100 pieces a night (it’s a goal), and I started late because I entered a show first.

Fully my fault for not starting earlier.

I did get photos back for the newest quilt, Damaging Earth’s Fabric

She’s got some vintage quilt blocks in there and lots of images of how we make textiles and how they can damage the Earth.

It sucks that what I love does so much damage.

Too many toxins, too much water, too much waste. I don’t have solutions…just goals to reuse more, buy less. It never seems to be enough. Unfortunately.

OK, well, I’m sure I’m forgetting something…probably many somethings at the moment. My brain is a sieve. I need to do laundry and that silly engagement thing, plus teach all day. Hopefully there will be more tracing tonight. I haven’t been sleeping well, so hopefully that will come back soon too, although with the heat wave that’s about to hit, maybe not. I’m hoping though…there’s that sweet spot when you’re so exhausted that you fall asleep because you don’t have a choice. I may be close to that. Peace to all this week, a good book for those who want it, a quiet nap for those who need it. I think I might need both.

Insert Pink Fluffy Flower…

Yesterday I talked my voice partially out of existence. What about? Um a tobacco curriculum that mostly (no, all of it) sucks, where I literally just read off slides and try to find the info that the company (STANFORD UNIVERSITY, WTF) put in the silly quiz. Wait. ANTI-tobacco curriculum. Sigh. My poor kids are putting up with it. And then teaching how to make pop-ups. Which I’ve never done before. Apparently for damn good reason. In the middle of all this, I get a call that I might be teaching a class of art next year too. To 6th graders. It always seems like a mistake to give me 6th graders. They’re even more sensitive than 7th graders and their parents are so protective. I’m like a bull in a china shop and then feel bad because I’m so used to the half-jaded 7th graders, as opposed to the fully jaded 8th graders. I’m not thinking about next year yet, because I can’t. I literally just can’t. Yesterday’s staff meeting got canceled and put in an email (a fucking miracle that) and this morning’s student meeting got moved later to while I’m teaching, so I don’t have to do it. Free time! Not really. I’m buried in classwork and grading and planning. I think I’m scrapping next week’s video final project for art for something that will grade faster…I like the idea and may use it next year, but not now. Not with everything else.

There are 10 days of school left. I can do this. I will need to sleep for a week, maybe two, after it’s all done, but I can do this.

I think.

OK, I did finish quilting the current quilt, good news. It was 10 1/2 hours of quilting in the end…not a small amount, plus an extra 30 minutes to quilt the quilt-block clouds on top. Wednesday night, I finished quilting and then trimmed the quilt before bed…

And cut the binding and sleeves, so I could be on top of it for Thursday…

Then Thursday, after picking up dead frogs and dissection kits from school, coming home and walking 3.69 miles, tasting mulberries for the first time ever (weird things those), and eating dinner…no wait! WHILE cooking and after dinner, I sewed on the bindings and the sleeves while the man was texting me from a hellacious day of climbing sand mountains and trying to decide whether he wanted to take a week off and come home (ah. That.), and then started the hand-sewing part.

Which I did not finish. But I have to finish tonight, because depending on whether I am driving 8 hours round trip to get the man, I will be dropping this quilt tomorrow at the photographer. (I’m hoping I’m not driving.)

IT’S GONNA BE FINE. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

I am so exhausted. Really. Yes, I would love for him to come home for a week. This coming week is ugly, but OK, we don’t always get to choose, right? And he is going back on trail after that. So it’s all good.

Insert pink fluffy flower to prove everything is good.

The other day, I asked the man WTF he was doing around 2 PM because I saw this…

Apparently that’s what it looks like when you are mid-afternoon napping and you keep having to move to get out of the sun. Now you know.

I told you I demo’d pop-ups yesterday…24 of them. I demonstrated 2 different techniques in 3 different ways in 2 different classes, 2 times for those in the back.

No voice. Exhausted. Still gotta talk a big chunk of today, reading stupid ANTI-tobacco powerpoint slides with speaker notes. Did you hear my forehead hit the desk? And then teach more pop-up stuff. I’m not demonstrating today. I’m explaining and then hopefully just answering questions as they work and I try to grade things in the background.

This year. Sheesh. Fuck me. If two weeks on a tropical beach with fruity cocktails brought by cabana girls and boys EVER appealed to me, this would be the year. (I don’t get paid in the summer…it’s not happening.)

Peace out all…at least it’s Friday, right?

Sleepy Slow Fire

I wish I felt like I was prepared to teach today. I actually have no clue what I’m teaching…usually I spend some time on Sunday getting my teacher brain straight, but I lost electricity for 12 hours on Saturday and somehow that befuddled my Saturday brain into Sunday, and Sunday brain is still asleep, so Monday brain, which is mostly useless and panics frustratingly, is in charge, and that’s just a mistake for everyone involved. I miss walking into the prep room and having my co-teacher say, “So…” and we would recap what we had planned for the day and Monday brain would have a chance of getting through. Pandemic teacher brain writes down a plan for each day by class, because gone are the days when you only taught one thing…at least art is on the same page, but I have no actual clue what we’re doing next week and I’m out of town this weekend. That could be problematic. Ah well. Wing it. Again. I have an extra day this weekend, well, technically two because I’m taking Friday off to drive north to the man, even though he will be stuck waiting for me. I can’t plan well enough with fire closures and parts he was gonna walk and then he didn’t and having to book in advance and get a sub in advance and all that crap, so it is what it is. Hopefully it will work better in the summer. This week, it will suck for him and I apologize, but I’m also bringing new shoes and pants that will fit, so there’s that.

I am exhausted this morning. The mockingbird is back and although it was in the periphery of my hearing, it was there. Plus cats wanting to clean all their parts in the middle of the night. On me. Unfortunate.

The pro? I only have to teach 4 days this week and 4 days next week. The con? I need to have everything prepped for a guest teacher who doesn’t currently exist. Minor issue. I’m sure someone besides me will figure that out. Meanwhile, I’m teaching ecosystem services and national parks and illuminated letters and paper engineering. And grading like crazy (still haven’t caught up from last week). And my district wants me to get my head around reflecting on what I’ve learned in the last year, and I don’t do that until I’ve been in a library-book pillow fort for at least two weeks after school ends. So good luck getting anything coherent out of me this week besides fuck you. I mean, that IS coherent, yeah?

OK, so some person fell asleep in their SUV and ran into a power pole with a transformer and knocked it over on Saturday morning (they’re OK), and that meant my power was out all day. I did have non-power-related things to do, like move rocks…

There’s still work to do, but I’m glad to have gotten most of the big stuff in. Some planting needs to happen too, but not during the summer, I think. We’ll see.

Then I went to the quilt store for binding fabric…they still require appointments (although they were fairly empty) and they aren’t open past 3 PM on a weekday, so Saturday is the only time I can go. So I have the binding fabric for my quilt. Then I came back and did some stuff around the house and went on my hike earlier than I would have. They actually closed my road, so the cone guy had to keep letting me out and in (sorry!). At some point, the electricity was planned to be back on at 1:30 PM, but by then, they had revised it to 5:30. Ugh. So I hiked…

It wasn’t actually super warm out there…low 70s and breezy…so perfect.

I found a path across the river that I didn’t know about before…

It’s kind of half-assed and definitely not official, so I’m sure it washes out every winter when there’s actual water, but it was a new path, so I took it.

My plan was to do 5-6 miles, but the new path shortened that to 4 1/2. Not bad for a Saturday though. I’m averaging about 11-13 miles a week at the moment. Not as much as the man does in a day, but I’m not trying to get to Canada and I do work full time, so I’ll take it as a win.

When I got home, I cleaned the entryway floor to get it ready for pinbasting. Oh wait. Why was I ready to pinbaste? Because I finished the stitchdown on Friday night…

So sandwiching was next…and I thought it through, but not all the way, because I was going to have to piece a backing, and there was no electricity, so I was about 5 minutes away from calling my parents to borrow their electricity and iron, and it came back on…which was good. It was 5:48 PM and they had been estimating 8 PM at that point. My camping lanterns were in the garage, accessed by electricity, so it was gonna get dark. It turned out OK in the end…I pieced a backing, laid it all out, shooed all the cats away…

And pinbasted her.

I also trimmed the small Patreon reward pieces…

And ironed them together…

Super small…

And then ironed them to fabric…

Which didn’t take long…

I’m a little behind on these…

But they go quickly…

So hopefully I’ll get them done this week, on top of everything else. I even started the embroidery version of one of them last night…

While standing. Like you do.

And then started quilting…with furry assistants.

That one on the chair is not helpful at all.

The details on this thing are tiny and complicated.

And time-consuming.

There was some cat entertainment in the breaks…

They appear to enjoy it.

So there’s that.

OK. Worky worky work. All day on fire. Sleepy slow fire, but fire nonetheless. Then a walk hopefully and dinnermaking. Plus more quilting. I have shit I need to get done. I can still hear the mockingbird. When the fuck does that bastard sleep? Sigh. Happy Monday y’all. It’ll be over soon enough.

The Machine Is Always Crankballs…

Art Brain is like a little kid who doesn’t like bedtime. I wanted to be done with the stitchdown last night, and if I’d stayed up another hour, I could have done it. In retrospect, since my body refused to fall asleep anyway, I could have just stayed up and stitched and gotten the same amount of sleep, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work. Someone should explain that to my currently very tired brain.

Wednesday night I managed to get the whole thing ironed together, finishing up the face…

And then added the birds…

Then pieced a background, ironed the top of the torso to the bottom of the torso, and pulled it all off the teflon sheet…

And in a total of 13 hours and a few minutes, had the whole thing ironed down to a background…

That’s faster than I have been working. Good sign. Fuck school. Right? I don’t know. Ask me about that next week. I’m always playing catch up with this job.

Then last night, I started the stitchdown during my monthly quilt meeting…

IDK why the machine is always crankballs in the beginning with tension and then it eventually warms up? gets used to it? gives in? and stitches just fine. Annoying.

I took a break at one point to feed the other cats and do some stuff.

Came back and my chair had been occupied. She did eventually shift her butt over to let me sit, and then left because I obviously was hogging the chair. Oh yeah, the other things I was doing included hot-gluing the scratching post back together…

Like you do.

I really wanted to be done with this last night. Like I said, I could have done it. But no.

Just the upper torso, arms, head, and birds left. Then sandwich and pinbaste. Quilt. Bind. Might actually make the damn deadline. Who knows. Made an appointment at the quilt store to get binding fabric tomorrow. It’s the only day they’re open late enough. Frustrating. I miss being able to go over there after work whenever I wanted. I miss lots of things.

I’m working on my annual Patreon rewards.

Got them ironed to fabric. Hoping to get them mostly done this weekend. I have one set up for embroidery, but I haven’t started it. No time!

In other news, the girlchild…

and her dog…or my dog…who the fuck knows who in the family owns this dog…

Putting masks to good use.

The cats?

Would kill me if I tried that.

The man made it to Vasquez Rocks…

aka Star Trek episode location…

My meditation app made me laugh out loud.

Whoops. I really did try to think of a time. Blank.

And this.

Although that’s a blood clot. Or a bus clot. Whatever.

OK. School. Do it. It’s gonna be a long day for that. Then I think more rock hauling for me and the boychild, although he’s working for my dad today too. So we’ll see. Maybe a dog walk. Maybe not. Then finish the stitchdown tonight, maybe wash the floor, maybe pinbaste? That’s a lot for tonight. Maybe wash the floor and pinbaste tomorrow. Might be more realistic after working all week. I need to design (from scratch) a thing for my art students to do next Friday while I am driving to see the man. I need to finish sub plans for that, assuming they can find me a sub on the Friday before a 3-day weekend (ah well, admin can earn their big bucks teaching my hellacious schedule if they can’t find a sub). I need to wash the beeswax out of one composter and hope the bees don’t come back. I need to figure out the summer budget and see if I can actually afford to do more than eat and sleep. Which could be good goals. Add reading…books are free from the library. Make art and try not to need any more supplies (uh oh…do I have batting for this quilt? Yikes. There’s something to figure out like ASAP). OK. Yeah. All that.

Three Birds and an Eyeball…

Hello Wednesday. Pro? You have exercise options at the end of the day and it’s not my turn to cook dinner. Also, you are the third day of science, so mostly I explain the task and then help kids…I don’t have to do the hard stuff today. I say that, but because it’s the day we do the academic part of the assignment, it’s likely that there will be some panicking about not being able to find “the answer”. Because there isn’t one answer. I tried to set up the expectations yesterday, but I will probably have to repeat it about 3200 times. Sometimes that’s OK; sometimes I just find it onerous. Again, I think this is much easier to do in person than it is online. So many things are easier in person than online. Paying bills? Definitely easier online. Absolutely no reason to do it in person. There’s one that’s not easier in person.

So I’m close to being done with the ironing. I think there’s a damn good chance I’ll finish ironing pieces together tonight, and I might even get it all ironed down to the background. I’m sure somewhere in my amazing notebook of everything I’m doing that there is a small mockup of whether or not I have to piece the backing (I’m fairly sure I do), which will minorly slow the process down, but we’ll see.

On Monday night, I got the heart and lungs done and one whole arm.

It doesn’t look like much. I think I only had an hour before bedtime, and I went late, because I wanted to finish the fingers. Fingers are way more complicated than you would think…because I put in all the finger wrinkles.

Then last night, I did the other arm and the start of the head…

I only have about 50 pieces left, but they are tiny and fussy and will take a while.

Three birds and an eyeball, basically. So that’s tonight. And then hopefully get it on a background. So far, I’ve put about 11 hours into the ironing. Mostly I get about an hour to 90 minutes on a work night, especially this year, with trying to go to bed earlier. That second hour I used to iron is being used to meditate and sleep, on the off chance that it will help me balance my brain a bit. Not sure it is helping? But I’m trying. Last night’s meditation…I don’t even think I heard any of it. It’s trying to help me with stress and my brain was all tied up in sad. I’m sure there’s stress in there too, but sad was overwhelming.

Ah well. Moving on. The man is back on the trail today, back to a few terse texts a day, sometimes overtaking each other in satellite space, with lots missed and/or misunderstood. It’s been nice being able to converse more than usual because he had cell service, but I will see him in 9 days. It will be a long drive, but not as long as they will be, and I have a little more warning to plan lessons for next week for the day I will miss from school. Since COVID started, this will only be the second work day I have missed. I probably should have taken more mental health days, but there was nowhere to go to escape the work stuff. So I didn’t.

I’ve hiked over 12 miles in the last 4 days…not much for a PCTer, but for someone who is working full time, not bad.

We went up some hills.

This is how we tire out the little dog. The big dog gets much shorter walks than these.

There was a big up that we didn’t do…mostly because I said no.

I still had to cook dinner.

Long day…

But good hike.

Last night was the regular neighborhood hike…

Walked while the girlchild sent trivia questions via text for her weekly trivia night. We are part of the trivia team.

Luna came out to birdwatch while I was teaching yesterday. This is in fact her normal facial expression…sort of paranoid surprised?

Like, “what the fuck is happening next?!” She’s a strange one.

Nova is more chill…

Yes, all my clothes have cat hair on them. It’s inevitable.

On Monday, we finally got the bigger river rock delivered. I love the big rocks. I loved watching the dumptruck drop them on the ground.

I’m not so much loving lugging them over to the actual streambed, but that’s OK. We’ll do a bit at a time.

Still working on this for my art students. I use it for the demo, so little bits of it get done…

Honestly, I probably won’t finish it. Although I think I need it more finished than this for the next step. I do have a video from the art teacher. I could just use that? We’ll see.

OK, well it’s all science today and grading stuff, hopefully a healthy chunk of it so I don’t have to think about it all week like last week. We were smart and did group assignments last week, so only 7 sets of slides per class instead of 4 times that (although so many kids aren’t turning in work at the moment, so there’s that). I think even parents are checked out, because progress reports didn’t get hardly any emails or flurries of work being turned in. Ah well. It’s been a year. I can’t blame them. Although next year will be a shock for their kids I think, since most will be in person. For me too, I think. Anyway, after school is Pilates (my back will appreciate that) and then ironing after dinner. Hopefully finishing. Then start the stitch down tomorrow…my goal is to get this thing pinbasted over the weekend and start quilting it. I will need a binding fabric. I should think about that, since the local quilt store is still appointment only. I think. Ugh. Such a pain. I never have a big enough chunk for the binding. OK, well it’s in my head now and I will think about it today and decide what to do about it. Until then, thinking about biodiversity hotspots…science lesson.

In the Void…

I think my brain is completely done with this school year. The adulting part of it is dragging the rest along, bribing it with walks and time with a book to get the shit done that has to be done. I’m so antsy in my work chair, I just want to get up and run out the front door, leaving all the kids on Zoom, or make a pillow fort under the desk and crawl into it with a book…not sure some days that they’d even notice I’d left. It’s all frustrating and hard and some of that is my brain not working right at the moment, but some of it is just because I am so done. I’m tired of excuses, of trying to get what I need out of the district, of parents who complain and kids who lie. I tell myself to look for the amazing kids, remember the thankful parents, remember when the district was helpful (OK, that one is a lot harder to do, but they gave us some extra money this year, so I’m trying to be thankful). Then I go read my book again or iron some fabric or cut something out and try not to let my day job be so present in my head. Hard to do. Really hard right now. I’m frustrated by everything, and I realize it’s feeling overwhelmed and tired and not having the normal connections with the Man…we get some texting in each day, but it’s not the same as sitting on the couch together or eating dinner together and talking. The texts are delayed sometimes, so you’re not sure whether they saw the other text? Sometimes I’ll ask questions that don’t get answered, so I figure he didn’t see it, or he’s often really tired at the end of the day. Yesterday was a long, difficult day, and he ended up sleeping on a picnic table. So I got one “I’m camping” text and then a few complaints about where he was camping (because humans suck and leave their trash everywhere because we are assholes), and then he was going to bed. I don’t blame him…it just sucks to be in the void on the other end.

This is what I see at the end of every day…

where he’s been, where he’s at. He’s been moving further each day lately, doing 18-mile days instead of 10-mile days. It’s a good thing. I have a date I’m hoping he’ll be home, and he will have to mile up (not speed up…he can’t hike faster…he just needs to hike longer each day) to get back. Plus the snow will eventually happen in Washington, whether he’s done or not.

Anyway, I’m hoping to see him on Memorial Day weekend, probably north of Lancaster…then not until after school, and the drives get much longer…not something I could do on a weekend. Sigh. At some point, I won’t be able to do it at all without flying and renting a car, which probably won’t work with going back to school in August. Although, at the moment, I give very few fucks about my job (not true; I still work my ass off. It’s just easier to say fuck it and take a day off…or it would be, if I didn’t have to do 5 hours of prep to make it work)…so maybe in September, I’ll just take a bunch of days off to get up north. Who knows. Right now, it just sounds complicated and difficult. By then, it might feel necessary.

Anyway, I try to ignore my moody bitch side as much as possible (it’s hard; she’s loud), and make sure I do some art every night and some exercise as often as possible. So I’ve been cutting things out…FOREVER, it seems like. Not really. This was Monday night…

The pile on the bottom right still needed cutting out…it’s a lot still. But last night, I seem to have found the bottom of the box.

Bottom left…look! I mean, that’s still at least an hour or two of cutting, but I can see the bottom. Woo hoo! Then sort it and hopefully ironing together by the weekend. My brain will be happier if I can spend a good chunk of time on Saturday just ironing things together. Good meditative state. Hoping for that.

Here’s the current art project my kids are doing…well my rough mockup of an illuminated letter.

They’re being slow as hell and not listening to directions and questioning shit and it’s just been fun. FUN, I tell you. Not really. I mean, I would have loved this project in school, but it’s harder to do online. I can’t really help like I would in the physical classroom. Which reminds me, looks like I won’t have to teach distance at all next year, only in person. Fucking miracle. Although I might have to teach an elective. Art? IDK. There is already an art teacher, but now the principal knows I can teach this, so who knows what he’ll make me do.

Gotta be better than this year. I don’t think the absolute isolation of this year is something I ever want to repeat. It was all about keeping me healthy and alive, and I’m still really paranoid about the unmasked and unvaccinated and the virus in general…not sure how to rid myself of that anxiety. I know my coworkers are dealing with massive behavior issues in physical school. Me? I just get checked-out kids. Nothing new here.

One of the school computers I use died. It isn’t because of Luna…who likes to hide behind the one that works.

They all hide around the computers…

Hello Kitten.

Nova has been coming nightly for pets…

Both of them like to be right in your face, sharp little claws in the boobs or belly. I have a ton of scratch marks on my body right now.

Luna likes the top two shelves in the closet too.

Sunday or Monday, she knocked the roll of quilts that’s on the top shelf down onto the floor. Rode it all the way down. Silly cat.

Yesterday’s walk was better than last week’s…not sure if I was dehydrated or just exhausted.

Tiny little flowers…

Sometimes I run into the ex and the boychild walking one or two of the dogs. Calli is really slowing down and not moving well, so sometimes we just walk the little one.

That one’s not native…it’s my neighbor’s. I saw it at the plant store and almost bought one, because they are so amazingly wonderful…

We’ll see. They are fascinating though.

I’ll finish up with the boychild’s amazing bread from Monday night…

He’s a really good cook. Useful skill. We’ll make him cook for the grandparents next. I find it amusing that I raised two kids who taught themselves cooking skills. I’m a Food Is Fuel cook. Just get it done. Sure, that’s because I was working full time and making art and raising kids and just trying to get them fed. I appreciate their cooking skills though.

OK, work work worky work, with a union meeting after worky work. After that, I cook (not so fancy, but utilitarian), and then finish cutting those pieces out, hopefully. I have a ton of things to grade and prep for school, but I can’t do those until some of the grading is done, so that’s my goal for today. I had one academic assignment yesterday that was just hurting my brain, so I made it about 2/3s of the way through and quit. I need to unquit today and finish it off. I also need more tea. Like now.

Work Stampede

It’s kinda crazy how far behind I am on everything right now. Work is stampeding all over the place, partially my fault for trying to take a day off this week, but I barely got through any of the late work this weekend, and progress report grades are due tomorrow. I think I can get through them OK. Maybe. But the planning this weekend is kind of what kicked my ass. I had to stuff and deliver all the art envelopes, plus make some assignments from scratch, plus edit some videos and other crap. It’s a lot of work…I’m hoping it calms down some this week? Maybe?

I brought all the colored paper back to school that I’d lugged home for the sculpture assignment…needed a cart to get everything out of the car without it taking 5 trips. Luckily, my co-worker has labeled it for easier use.

I only make it to school every three weeks or so. This was Saturday, so I saw one of the custodians, no one I knew.

My room makes me sad.

I just hope I’m allowed to come back to it in August. Certainly with the desks set up like this, I’m not walking the room without giant-ass bruises on my thighs. I run into those desks all the time as it is.

I did iron on Saturday during my guild meeting…this is the small space I stand in to iron…

Between the table where the Wonder Under is and the ironing board…there’s not much room to move it because the desk and chair are on the other side.

I came back to it at night; finally got to the point where I was ironing flesh.

I got all but two of those ironed down before I was too tired. And then last night, I didn’t have time to iron. I worked on school stuff for about 6 hours yesterday, and another 4 or so on Saturday. Ugh.

These are all the non-flesh pieces that still need ironing:

Piles of birds and bones and hearts and hair.

The box is filling up.

I’m hoping to have grades done early enough tonight to iron. I say that but I also need to deliver art supply envelopes to kids who can’t get to school to pick them up. And walk. And cook dinner. So IDK if I’ll get there, but if I do, the plus is that there’s something I don’t have to think very hard about…I can just iron all those down and feel like I accomplished something.

I’m not sure how much I have left, because the flesh pieces came out of all of the boxes from 400 on. So bits and pieces, but probably a few hours at least. I’m hoping to have them all ironed down by this weekend, so I can start trimming. I did decide to take Friday off…it’ll be the first day I’ve taken off all year, mostly because it’s such a pain in the ass to plan for, but fuck it. Especially fuck it if no subs pick the job up and my principal has to teach it. I’m OK with that (I like my principal mostly, but it’s been a shitty year and maybe he should experience it from my end for a day).

We have lots of baby birds. These are on a light in my outside entry area. Not the best choice, but it’s a light I don’t use much anyway.

I hiked late on Saturday. Really trying to keep the exercise regular, for my brain and my body.

It was nice out. I almost got run over by a horse, but otherwise, there was no one out there.

Still lots of flowers…

Interesting fern…

It was a good three miles…I did 11 last week total.

Not bad for someone who works all day and isn’t on the PCT, right? The man got back on the trail, and only today is really feeling symptoms from the vaccination. Nothing major, so he’s just taking it easy. We were trying to figure out where I’d be picking him up, and I found this…see, it says ‘mostly flat’. It’s not just me using those words.

Awesome stuff. I’m really looking forward to seeing him.

My meditation does not go as well with this cat around…

Luna is fascinated with the lights and the voice. She ended up lying on my chest with her whiskers in my face. Meditation fail. Again. I’m trying.

OK, work work work work work. Then hopefully walk the dog and myself and the boychild, plus REALLY hopefully, no work after dinner. Ha. I don’t think that’s happening, but I can dream. Lots. I can dream lots. So fucking tired. So fucking tired of this school year too.