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.

To the Other Side…

I guess the weekly exhaustion is now outweighing the nightly inability to sleep. Or the cats are standing on me in the middle of the night less? Hard to say. I evaluate nightly sleep on the number of times I get up and/or look at the clock. It was a one-clock, no-get-up night. Not bad.

I just walked away from the computer to heat up my tea (crucial to thought processes, the movement AND the tea), and had a bright idea about the jeans remnants that my daughter left on the ironing board for me. Sometimes I really love my creative brain. It is an incredible beast, working with almost nothing to create amazing things, or sometimes even just workable things (school). It’s the same brain that mires itself in anxiety and insecurity. That creativity can go both ways. That’s this morning in a nutshell. It’s a damn good thing it’s Friday. I’ve been so antsy in my work chair, so tired of sitting in front of Zoom and answering tiny little questions over and over and worrying about getting stuff graded and preparing the best stuff for my kids. I so appreciated last night’s Zoom with stitching friends, because it did let me get out of that shitty headspace for a couple of hours. SAQA conference is this afternoon and tomorrow, so hopefully that will also help.

I finished tracing the Wonder Under for the newest quilt last night…

I thought I was only on piece 600 Tuesday night; turns out, I had made it to 700, so Wednesday night, I did another 100 or so pieces, and then finished the final 100 last night. That’s almost 11 hours of tracing 890 pieces…not incredibly efficient, but OK.

Three full yards and one baby yard, not even full…in fact, I cut out all those pieces in the baby yard last night in 14 minutes.

Three full yards to go. And then it was time to meditate, clean up cat stuff, and go to bed. More tonight. Looks like I’ll be ironing to fabric next week, hopefully. That’s the plan anyway.

I worked on these during the Zoom call with stitching friends. It’s brainless stuff, just sewing wool and cotton down for the Sue Spargo Block-of-the-Month Homegrown.

It’s easy, I enjoy the stitching, and the bright colors are fun.

The man is heading for Idyllwild at the moment. He did his longest hike yesterday, 17.3 miles…

He has been hiking with a group, but half of them are not thru-hiking, and are almost done. He has to have a totally different mindset…he’s got a good 2500 miles to go. Yesterday was hard, but he did it, and I’m proud of him for persevering. I’m going nuts at home, but that’s me. Thirty nine days of school yet. Don’t even ask me how many days before I see him again…not sure when his trail will meet up with my weekends. And coming home? It’s a LOOONG time. Many too many many days.

Girlchild left yesterday. Here she is with my parents.

More family photos, y’all. I suck at taking them and should work harder at it.

OK. It’s Friday. My lessons for today are hard hard hard. Not really, but they will be hard to mentally get my own self through…well, maybe art will be OK. It’s always difficult when we start a new project. It’s hard to show things. I make videos to help, but not everyone will watch them. I have a bunch of new kids in art and I’m having a hard time getting them to produce trackable work, like my other kids have learned to do. I have some parents who don’t understand how I hold kids accountable for their in-class time. It’s just a lot of frustration. Plus the district gave us a new “required” curriculum that is not set up for distance learning at all, which I figured out last night and just about lost my mind over. It’s OK. I sent yet another bitchy email. It’s all I do these days: remind the powers-that-be that me and my students exist and that they all mostly suck at remembering that.

It will be better in August. It has to be. Or I might just decide another job is better for my sanity. I can see why people jump out of life and hike the PCT. I can’t afford to do it, so that’s a thing. But I get it.

Friday. Conquer it. Or at least get through it to the other side.

Y’all. Fabric Doesn’t Go Bad…

Damn. I was sure I wrote a blog post on Monday. I blame Daylight Savings…I lost an hour and I lost part of my brain with it, apparently. Still looking for it. Tell me if you see it. It doesn’t have any tags, but it’s running fast and zigzagging so you can’t shoot at it.

So yeah. What the fuck have I been doing anyway? Besides lesson planning and grading and screaming into the void? I still haz no sewing machine (I called. I was desperate. It’s not ready.). OK, I pulled out the old machine and 2 hours later, I found the pedal and the cord for it. It works fine for straight lines and basic stitching. I don’t want to attempt stitchdown or quilting on it. But it’s here for the crazy thing my quilt guild is doing, which involves these, and honestly, the crazy part is me because I wanted rainbows and wasn’t willing to just go with two fabrics.

More on that crazy shit later. When I can get any of it done. It’s straight lines (mostly) and brainless (sort of. there is math).

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to applique this thing by hand.

That fish fabric is some Matisse garden fabric from 20+ years ago. All these fabrics are from 20+ years ago.

(Y’all. Fabric doesn’t go bad.) Hey, so headless, missing fish parts, but getting there. Yes! Those are some Kaffe Fassett fabrics from back then. Even then, I loved his stuff. More on that below.

I’m getting down to the last bits, although this thing will need a bunch of embroidery, because I did that shit on my art quilts back then.

The fish are done. No, I can’t explain this quilt.

Seriously, it’s about childbirth and IDK what else. 21 years ago I had a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old and was working full time as a copyeditor and was still married. So another world, y’all. Another world.

I will finish her though. This year. Maybe even this month.

Back to Kaffe Fassett…I saw the new collection for 2021, started looking at what I wanted. Figured out that I wanted too many of them, so I used my birthday money (and some other money I got, thanks mom and dad) and bought a fat quarter package of all of them.

I will use these until I die. Or I run out. Hopefully the latter comes first. Yes, I washed and dried and folded all of them. I did not iron them. That’s crazy. I’ll iron them when I use them. I bought them from a quilt shop online that I haven’t shopped at before…and they were nice enough to send me a note…

Whoa. They know who I am. So that’s weird? Or cool. Anyway, check them out: StitchCraft. I just searched for that link and saw some other things that are catching my eye (MUST STOP). So I’ll think about those things. Support the indies! Yes, I could shop locally, and sometimes I do, but I also can’t leave the house much and this is faster and easier. Sigh. I miss shopping for fabric when I don’t actually need something specific, just wandering around the shop. I may schedule that.

School. Sigh. It has “this intoxicated thing inside of it.”

I have no idea what this kid is talking about. Although he mentioned atoms and balloons, which was on topic.

Also art. I’m going to have to do the start of a sketchbook page every day I teach art this week and next.

It’s OK. I do them during my prep period. I have to do two of them today, I think. And grade three assignments. Plus late work. It’s OK. Really. I’m sort of resigned to my online teaching existence right now. Because there are only 8 more working days until Spring Break. I may feel differently next week. Or even tomorrow. Or later today. My co-teachers who were recently quarantined (again) are feeling the pain of pivoting (hate that word) back to distance after being hybrid. I guess I’m used to it. It’s not like I have a choice. After break, they are going back to 5 days a week. That will probably be my reality in August. But I’ll be vaccinated and mostly feral. It’ll be fine.

I’m still walking, although I had to be non-strenuous (aka flat) until my stress test.

Lake Miramar has a dirt trail below the paved trail for most of the distance around the lake. Most? At least half.

It was muddy at times, but worth it to be off the pavement.

Almost 5 miles.

More than a little chilly. And breweries have opened up, so we stopped for a freezing outdoor cider before going home.

It was nice. Relaxing. Almost normal. Not really. But better. We were outside for dinner too…also cold.

I’ve been drawing before dinner. It’s good. To draw. I missed it.

Monday’s walk with the little dog, who had some pent-up energy.

Me too, little dog.

Dinner Monday night. Good food, but the recipe said 20-minute prep, and that was an hour.

I did make my own roasted peppers, but still y’all. ‘Twas not fast.

Oh yeah. Go to this link and read this article about how Michaels censored a cross-stitch artist’s book (Stephanie Rohr you can buy patterns there too) they ordered. During Women’s History Month. And then go buy her book from an indie book store. And if you have some extra cash, offer to buy one for someone who doesn’t. I just sent one to one of my daughter’s friends.

Ah Nova. You are the sweetest cat in the house.

OK. School today. Exercise. Hopefully some more poking holes in my fingers with needles (sewing. Nothing weird. Just sewing.).

I Will Ignore Stupid Shit Today

I guess the pro is that March is slipping away from me, disappearing like so much fluff. Spring Break will be here soon, or in my students’ minds, tomorrow (two weeks is kinda like tomorrow). It’s all doable when you break it down into chunks, right? I’m a little concerned that I haven’t finished grading last week’s work…so I’m getting backed up again. It’s a clusterfuck of time, really…takes so much time to make things to use in online school, and then some days, what I’m doing in Zoom is really time-consuming. Yesterday was 9-3 non-stop talking, I think. I was exhausted. Today will be more of the same for art…in fact, I should actually test out what we’re doing in class before actual class time to make sure I know what I’m doing. Like maybe watch the art teacher’s video even. IN MY SPARE TIME. Nah, it’s really good that she makes videos for the kids that I can also use to figure out what we’re doing.

I do want to get more art done, but the sewing machine is clogging up my process, or the lack of sewing machine. Calling today! But I’m still working on the hand-appliqued piece. It deserves to be finished. It’ll look weird with my current style, but that’s OK.

Hi, Simba…and the man…

It’s getting done. I might pull out the old machine tonight though if my baby is not ready. I like sitting and hand stitching, don’t get me wrong, but I need something to get finished for my own sanity right now.

Last night, I hung out on Zoom with my now-biweekly stitching group, which was nice. I’m working on something that hasn’t been published by Spargo yet, so I can’t show it, but it’s also not very exciting at the moment…I’m just sewing flowers on. I have 13 of 24 done. They are time consuming. After the flowers are on, there will be 24 flower centers and about a million little circles that go on. THEN I get to embellish them. So it’ll be a while. She’ll publish the pattern before I finish probably. But it’s been a calming companion since I started working on it at the beginning of the pandemic.

Last night, I managed three pieces on here…two eensy weensy ones and a larger fish body, seen here.

There’s hand embroidery planned for this one. I know this because I wrote it on the pattern. I wrote a lot of things on the pattern, none of them the date. I’m still guessing 2000 though. More sewing, y’all. I need more drawing and sewing.

It’s been raining on and off here for a few days. It’s OK. We need the rain, and it makes for some beautiful skies.

I can’t complain about my view from my home school this year. I’ve seen hawks bank right in front of the window, beautiful skies, hail, clouds, hummingbirds, and the neighbor kids in my driveway with some sort of gun things…OK, that was an issue. I banged on the window and became that bitchy old lady neighbor you all know about…but y’all little shits are not shooting things in my yard. I don’t know if it was birds or bunnies, but get the fuck away with that shit.

Hmmmm. Positive vibes. Calm and relaxed. Time to go grade some shit. Ohhhhmmmmmmm.

May today be calm and peaceful. I will ignore stupid shit today. I will be productive and get shit done. I will pretend those kids doing nothing don’t need a parent contact. Again (the contact, not the pretending…I’m not good at that). I will not stress about the pile of things I need to do, including cleaning the damn house that just gets dirty again anyway. I will send positive thoughts to the frozen chicken in the fridge that needs to be not frozen by tonight for dinner. I will quietly and peacefully flip off any adult who sends me a demanding email, but it will be here, in my house, where they can’t see me doing it (note to self: don’t do it while on Zoom with kids). I will create a mantra that maintains my peace…oh wait…I’ve already got one…ignore stupid shit…ignore stupid shit…ohhhmmmm… I will make art tonight. It will be good.