Never Ready

This is my last full week of Summer Break. We go back next week. Never ready. I’m not ready to teach…our site hasn’t even picked a schedule yet for next year. We get that Friday. We can’t plan without a schedule, although I’m guessing which one I think will pass the vote (shorter periods…all the others are over 106 minutes per class, which is just crazy cuckoo). I’m not ready to be in an enclosed space with multiple people for a long period of time. I haven’t done that AT ALL in 18 months or so. Well, except the gym. But even that’s not all day. Doors open, windows open. I’ll get used to it. The block schedule also screws up my blood sugar until I get a routine going. Four hours with no bathroom and no food break…welcome to our world. Last year was easier…I could get to the bathroom in my house in a really short period of time. Not so much at school. Plus getting kids out of the classroom on Zoom is a single button click, which is much easier than in real life. Then thinking about art supply storage and how to move materials between science and art classes. That’s complicated.

Adjustments to life are gonna happen. I’m hoping that planning is easier than last year. Certainly my co-teacher and I can do the same things again, and I don’t have to make everything digital access. I think. With quarantines still happening, the district hasn’t really told us their solution for how to get those kids curriculum. I think they believe the science curriculum is an easy digital source, but it’s not. So much supplementation and creation of assignments had to happen last year. We’ll see how that rolls, but local schools have quarantined kids on the third day of school, so it’s not like we can wait a while to figure that plan out.

That said, this week is NOT school. I do need to think about some of it, but hopefully more art time than school time will be happening. I have an electrician coming next Tuesday to do a bunch of things I’ve put off for months, nay, years in some cases. One of them may involve attic access, which is in my office/studio. In the closet. Which is filled with fabric. To get access, I have to remove half the fabric and one of the shelves so they can even get up there. So that needs to happen before next Tuesday. I’m currently trimming Wonder Under. The next step is to iron all the Wonder Under to fabric. It would be much easier to have everything done and ironed before the electrician comes. See? Now I have a deadline. It’s totally arbitrary and I could adjust, but this is the one I’m following right now.

I started cutting out on Friday during the Quilt National talk, and then finished a second yard that night…then cut another yard out on Saturday night…

It doesn’t look much different. Sunday’s yard was one of the most complicated ones. It had all the trees in it, so fussy pointy pieces.

So that’s what four yards of trimmed Wonder Under looks like. I have two to go. Today. I have a talk I’m listening to this morning, and hopefully can start cutting the easier yard; then I’m going to try to get the other yard done before nighttime, so I can sort tonight and maybe clean the studio today as well. We’ll see how that goes. It’s been hot, and that often sucks energy away from doing the things. But I have a plan and that helps. I’ve been cutting for about 7 1/2 hours so far, but some yards are more time-intensive than others. I’m assuming 3-4 hours of cutting today.

The girlchild was home for about 10 days, but working every day. As always, she brings home clothes that need fixing. This one was a bit of a pain…needed darts and had a lining and all that.

But it turned out well. I hope. The others were slightly less time-consuming. Certainly she should learn how to hem her pants when she rips out the hems. She left last night on a red-eye for home…

Boston at 3:30 AM our time. Yes, I was awake. I don’t know why.

I volunteered again for the Social Justice Sewing Academy embroidery, and got this block on Friday…

I volunteered in June 2020, so it took a while to get to me…there are some embroidery suggestions provided by the artist as well. So I’ll get started on that once I have all the Wonder Under cut out. Emily Lang made this block, and says “My block is about Ableism, how society seems to attach value and love only to health, thinness, and ability.”

I also got the Olga Norris quilt finally. Her husband was kind enough to mail it to me from the UK, and we watched it wander all over the US before it got to me.

It’s beautiful work…I need to decide where (and how) to hang it. I have a couple of pieces that need homes on the walls.

We walked on Friday, not too far, just a couple of miles. Still aiming for flat.

It was hot and muggy. Walking is hard in this weather.

Calli is hanging in there. She still wants to chew on pinecones that she drops in the pool.

She needs a little help with it. But it’s hot, so the pool is probably good for her.

So I have a plan that might get thrown by the weather, but hopefully it will work. I won’t think about school. I lie. We have three hours of training videos (bloodborne pathogens, pest management, sexual harassment, mandated reporter, etc.) that have to be done before the end of September. I always try to get them done before school starts. I’ve done the three shorter ones so far today. I can do them while doing other things, luckily. Annoying to do them every year, but whatever. Looks like I need to go down to Visions Art Museum too and see the exhibits there. I’ll add that to the list…along with fixing the sprinklers. Maybe I’ll think about making a syllabus after that…surely that won’t take long. Ha! Art. Make the art.

Zen and Chill…

So I’m late writing again. Mondays are just not a thing I do well. I get all tied up in stuff that needs doing and all of a sudden it’s 5 PM and I forgot to eat lunch. OK, I remembered lunch today. I think I’m cooking dinner too, so that ought to be interesting. The plus is that I have new glasses. I mailed a Patreon reward out. I walked to Home Depot and blindly (no glasses) picked out a towel rack. My right eyelid is twitching…this is not a thing it normally does in August. This is an end-of-school-year thing. Sigh.

We got the first official school email. We have to do block schedule (ugh. sigh. I like it for art, but sometimes for science, it limits the number of things I can cover in a week). We won’t know exactly what schedule until about a week before school starts. Fun stuff. No master schedule yet…we think we know what we’re teaching, mostly. It could change. I’m trying to be all zen and chill about it. The eye twitch is probably an indicator that some part of me is not so zen and chill. That part needs to pivot.

Anyway, to remedy all that, I’m working on art stuff. As always. I thought I had finished drawing the current piece, but in the end, added COVID into the sky. It’s not gone.

Putting it in her gut makes sense to me. And then I started tracing…

It’s pretty slow going. There are lots of weirdly overlapping pieces, because the two female figures are blending in. So I have to think before I trace about what goes over or under what’s next to it.

Still, it’s meditative. I’m almost 8 hours in, but I’m only in the 400s.

Big complicated pieces take longer to trace. I’ll hit halfway tonight, I think.

Cats are no help. And the man sits on the couch behind the light table and I keep whacking him in the head with the drawing.

Not on purpose. We did a short walk on Friday. His knee was not happy.

Sigh. Frustrating for him, I know. He has one physical therapy session this week. Maybe they can help.

So many cats getting in the way.

Luna was going to grab Kitten’s tail, but I think she rethought that action.

Here’s Kitten lying in the lid of my embroidery box. So helpful.

Well, normally I use this as a place to figure out what I’m doing today, but today is almost over and I’m still slogging through the to-do list. I was supposed to finish a video for my Patreon yesterday and the website was down, so that still needs to happen. I would like to trace for another couple of hours or so. I did go to the gym today, so that was good. I think a fresh cup of tea and maybe a small snack is what I need, and then check the to-do list and cross some shit off of it (always a fun thing to do), and then get that damn video done. Then I can do art things. I can’t think about school right now (someone should tell my brain that part). We won’t know what block schedule we’ll have until August 6. We go back the 12th. Kids the 17th. I’d like to thank the universe for making us PIVOT again. At the last minute. Still gonna be doing that all year, I see. More art to be made in response.

Y’all Can See the Rainbows…

No Zoom teaching ever again. Or at least not for a super very monstrous long time, yeah? I spent yesterday afternoon taking the workstation apart…monitor from the district back in a box (they didn’t give us one until March 2021), extra computer unplugged and divested of my identity, all the school paperwork and notebooks and detritus shoved into my car, packed up, with the bag of extra frogs for dissection next year. All of it. Gone. I was at school by 7:30 AM, had my shit all put away in a variety of random places I will promptly forget before August…I’m gonna have to pull everything out anyway…and back home by 8:45 with a bag of candy for kid rewards and water for me. I packed up all the kid rewards for competitions they won and they are ready to go to the post office. I’m waiting on two Patreon emails to follow through on that task. I read my book for about an hour. Just sat my ass down on the couch with a cup of tea and read dammit. Didn’t worry about what I wasn’t grading or prepping. Didn’t freak out over some parent or kid email. Didn’t look behind me and see the document camera or the pile of school-related art supplies or my grading notebook. All FUCKING GONE. Yeah. I need this to be my home, my art workspace, but not my school workspace. For at least 8 weeks. I’ve never needed to say Fuck You to a school year so badly.

Sigh. Yeah. Brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. Too many kids, too much nonexistent curriculum. Onwards to summer!

I’m going to make art and do some yardwork and some house stuff. Mostly make art. Exercise. Read books. Hike. I set my reading goal for this year at 45 books for the whole year, but with the man gone, I have been reading a lot more. So I’m almost at the annual goal, but there’s 6 months left. I’m OK with that. I’m even almost OK with him leaving to hike again on Monday. He’s going to love the next section, I think. I hope. And I have some plans to meet him along the way. So that is the closest I get to a vacation away from here…and that’s OK. For now.

And drawing…I miss drawing. Damn. Need to draw.

And sleep. I need sleep. More of it. No more 6:15 AMs. Well, there will be a few…there always are. But a few is better than ALL the days. Wow! This summer feels so much better than last summer…although I will miss having the man around. Lots. Saturdays will be weird. I did sign up for a hike with my local group though…first one since just before COVID hit. Looking forward to it. Looking forward to lots of things.

Ah. Deep breaths.

So I straight up didn’t get much done last night…just cut out like 5 pieces of Wonder Under.

OK, maybe 10. I was exhausted. Calli was a big help. Ha! Not.

The night before, I was working on finishing up all the Patreon rewards…I hooped them, then backed them with felt. So I sewed 3 of them Wednesday night and 2 of them last night…oh yeah, I had school for the whole morning, playing games and watching videos with my advisory kids and another class. Then the end-of-year school party, where I saw people I hadn’t seen in 8 or 10 or even 16 months. And then I had a stitching meeting and that’s when I finished the other 2 hoops. Braindead, y’all. Totally and completely braindead. It’s normal! It’ll take me a week to find my brain again. It’s OK. It happens every year.

And my niece released another song last night…

It’s on iTunes and Spotify and probably other places…more of a pop influence on this one than the last two? Maybe? I’m glad she’s found this way to express herself…it’s a good thing to have. Check her out!

And here’s the finished Patreon rewards…whatever doesn’t get sent to a patron goes on Etsy…I’ll let you know.

They’re all 6″ hoops. I am reminded (again) that embroidery takes longer than quilting. And quilting isn’t fast, although this method is faster than what I normally do.

I have some other hoops that have been waiting a long time to be finished too…they are bigger, but will make it on Etsy soon enough. Clearing stuff out! Crossing stuff off! Feeling lighter and freer! Or something.

OK. I need to eat some lunch. Not rushing to do it in between Zooms! Not at 11:05 in the morning! Oh yeah. Teacher on break. Y’all can see the rainbows around me, can’t you?

Weird Week…

There are only two days of official school left, whatever that means, because we don’t really teach anything this last week of school. It’s always a conglomerate of entertaining, awards, field trips, videos, and cleaning. How to keep kids out of trouble and keep our own sanity. It’s all about grades needing to process before they can be allowed to leave? It’s a silly practice. This year is decidedly weird. I ran some competitions on Monday and am putting prize envelopes together for the winners. Yesterday was movie day; so is today. I can’t sit and do nothing; nor can I watch the same movie over and over again (there were two different ones…one for art; one for science), but normally I’d be cleaning my classroom out for end of the year, getting rid of stuff (which I never did last year…last year was just about shoving stuff into cupboards and locking it up), so I’ve been cleaning up our shared Google Drive instead. It’s LIKE cleaning. But not as physical. It’s mostly mentally exhausting, but it’s better than nothing.

It feels (tentatively) good to be almost done with the school year. Walking away from that level of overwork, overwhelm, and crazy. I’m not really walking away though, because I haven’t left the house for work for 16 months. Which is already weird. California is open again by the way. No masks required! I went to the gym yesterday for the first time since March 2020, and I wore a mask. I don’t trust people to be vaccinated; I don’t trust the variants. I’m not ready to be unmasked in places where people are breathing heavily yet. And it doesn’t hurt me to be masked there. They ask for the unvaccinated to wear masks, but they don’t ask for proof of vaccination. So there’s that. My pilates studio is also not requiring masks. Theirs are optional. So I will keep wearing them. At least for now. I’m used to it now. It’s not fun or enjoyable, but it works.

On Friday, I will take all the school stuff I have here back to my classroom and lock it up. Get it out of the house so I don’t have to think about it or look at it. Don’t think about school until August. I wish that were really possible, but I’m going to try. I have lots of art to make, lots of house stuff to do, lots of books to read, lots of hikes to do. In the heat. Man, it’s been warm this week. The man is still here, waiting for the desert to cool down enough for him to restart his hike. He is frustrated by the delay, but that is the way of it. Can’t control the weather.

I’m still tracing things…

I’m almost done. Lots of cat assistance last night (not). Hi Nova.

She didn’t like it when I turned the lights on, but Kitten doesn’t mind…

They’re LEDs, so they’re not hot. Good thing, because it’s already hot here. Don’t need more hot.

I have about 75 more pieces to trace. I had to go to bed. Not sure why, because lately, I can’t fall asleep anyway. Sigh. After exercise even!

I’ve been trying to get the Patreon rewards done too. It’s taking a while.

More of both of these today. Hopefully done with both. We’ll see.

Yeah. Exactly.

I’m tired. Still. I’m glad I have an art quilt that is in that stage of just trace, then cut, so I don’t have to think yet. I want the hot hot hot to go away. I’m glad the man is here, but he’s antsy to be on trail, so I want him to get there. His quest is not finished; I can tell. Weird month. Weird year. Weird day.

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.

Right Eyelid Is Twitching…

This is the last Friday of the school year. Well, the last Friday I have kids. I have to check out of school (ha ha ha, wow, might have already mentally done that, not really, because I’m still making stuff for next week and grades aren’t done) next Friday. I’m supposed to clean up my room, but I did that last year, so I guess I just have to make sure whoever’s been in there didn’t leave anything behind, plus drop off all my electronics and make people sign my paper about keys and shit. But TODAY is the last Friday I have students on Zoom. Hopefully EVER. Seriously. Zoom. Ugh. I need a long long long break from teaching, from creating curriculum from scratch with zero help from my district, from sitting in that chair that won’t even stay in the right position any more, because I’ve been sitting in it 5 days a week for a solid healthy chunk of the last 16 months. UGH.

I’m exhausted, but I always am. It feels more exhausted than usual, but that probably doesn’t matter. It feels more emotional than usual, but so has the entire year. I have grades almost done for 2/5 classes. The other 3 will be done by Tuesday. I have a lot going on before that, but I’m going to do my best to get them done quickly.

As you can see, I’m writing end-of-year quiz things and only have half my brain working.

I finished the science one on Wednesday; art is taking me longer. Harder to write those questions, because we didn’t so much study content as technique, and that’s harder to ask a question about with one right answer. So I’m getting there. I need them by Monday. It will be fine.

At the end of the day, I reward myself with artmaking…the drawing got done on Wednesday night…

And then I numbered it.

627 pieces for a quilt this small is a little crazy. Oh well.

At least the pieces are small, right?

And yes, that’s blood on the drawing. I have an owie on my elbow that won’t heal because I keep leaning on it. Maybe when I’m done teaching it will have time to heal up.

Last night, I started tracing the Wonder Under.

Yeah, I’m exhausted, but I feel better if I’ve done something non-school-related every day. Besides watering the plants and feeding the animals. So I do this. This stage is pretty brainless, which is good, because I don’t have much of a functional brain right now.

I had my Zoom stitching meeting last night and worked on (and fucked up on) this…

It’s OK…I didn’t read the instructions right so I’m stitching bullion knots over something I already stitched. No biggie. I did consider not stitching over what I’d done, but the bullions are a stronger line and it needs it.

It’s not the first time I’ve misread the instructions because I was tired and/or doing something else at the same time.

I also did the stitchdown and quilting on the Patreon rewards…

There’s 4 quilted ones and at the moment, one embroidered one.

I decided to quilt them with a layer of batting, but then had a brain fart moment about the batting in a hoop.

But my stitching group had a pretty obvious answer…obvious now that they say it…not so obvious before, because I had set my brain in Search Mode and it still hadn’t come up with an answer.

Anyway, I didn’t have the guts to attempt it last night (too tired, had to make dinner still), so tracing Wonder Under was the much easier option. They will get done next week though.

Wednesday night sky…

And Simba being cute…

His job is to let me pet him when I’m stressed. Which is often at the moment.

OK. Exhausted is still here, despite a full cup of tea in me. Not sure when it will be gone. Today is the last frog dissection too. At least I get to DO something in class instead of just waiting for questions. Teaching online has not been fun. Do not recommend. But please don’t tell me I didn’t do anything this year. I spent more time on my school job this year than I ever have in a million years of teaching, and I’m done. Totally done.

Well. Except I have to get through today and four days next week. Right eyelid is twitching. Uh huh. Friday. It’s Friday.

Mornings Are Loud…

Oh man, apparently a 5-day week is at least 3 days too long at the moment. I will be dissecting frogs today. I did a demo yesterday for a video and completely fucked it up, forgot what the heart looks like, missed a bunch of stuff, said some random stuff. So I deleted it. I’ll try again today for realz with the kids, hope I don’t mess this one up too badly. I’m going to go watch a video of some people who are way more awake and with it than I am. Not that it’s hard to be that. I’m going to bed at a reasonable hour…just can’t fall asleep or apparently stay asleep. Mornings are loud, y’all…really loud. The birds, the sun, just damn loud.

The plus in all this is that the next quilt drawing is coming along, mostly because I’m using the drawing I did in Tehachapi, all stream of consciousness while hanging with the man and watching weird stuff on the telly. Apocalyptic Love, Death, and Rockets, yeah? No, not Rockets…ROBOTS. Oh my. Hello brain. You want a scalpel today? Seems like a mistake, but sure…we’ll give you a scalpel. WTF. ANYWAY. I cut some paper to the right size and added the elements I needed for this theme, and then traced a goodly portion of the existing drawing…

I got the existing drawing transferred onto the new page, which is longer and skinnier, and now just need to do some filler and the sky tonight hopefully. Yes. Too many small pieces. It’s OK. I’ll be OK. I’ll complain about it later, but I’ll be OK.

This is why size of quilt isn’t as relevant to me for price as number of pieces is. I have one smaller piece with over 800 pieces in it that is really expensive…but if you think that each small piece needs to be drawn, traced, ironed, trimmed, and ironed down to the backing, you can see how number of pieces adds up. It’s OK for this one. Just when I get to commissions, it becomes an issue. Keep it simple! The quilt I just finished had 800 or so pieces in it…and it’s much bigger, but the cost will probably be similar to the small one I did a few years back. We’ll see. I haven’t calculated time yet on the new one. I’ve had no time to calculate time!

Anyway, it’s progress. It’s good.

I’ve hiked the last two days, Monday with the boychild and the dog…

The man will hike with me on Saturday.

He’s in recovery mode, which means going to hang out with a bunch of people and eating a lot of sugar. Funny stuff.

He’ll be back on trail next week, and then I’ll see him on the other side of Kearsarge Pass. Somehow. I’m debating hiking part of that, but acclimation could be an issue (starts at 9200 feet above sea level. I live at 400 feet above sea level). We’ll see. It’s supposed to be gorgeous though. I’d like a gorgeous hike or two this summer.

Here he is giving Luna some love.

He was afraid the cats wouldn’t remember him. They did. Right away. Even with all the smelly hiker clothes.

Because I’ve been hanging out with him at night, I’ve been embroidering on the Sue Spargo Homegrown blocks…finished another one of the March blocks…

Crazy little houses. One row of the roof shingles is the wrong thread. Not changing it. Nope.

OK, frogs today. Yup. Gonna go watch that video and make another cup of tea and keep creating random instruction for next week’s weirdness. Then do some exercise and draw some more. Try not to panic at any given time. Good plan.

The Art Option…

Monday! Surprise! Yeah, maybe not. You probably knew it was coming. So did I, but I hoped it would slope off in another direction and leave me alone for once. Sundays and Mondays feel SO different during the summer…Sundays especially. I’m always working on Sundays during the school year…trying to finish plans, make posts, make sure everything is ready and I’ve got my head around it (I rarely have my head around it, just to be clear). Today is the last week of academic work, because grades are due next Tuesday. I’m a little panicked about that, because I had a plan to grade a bunch of stuff on Saturday, and then I ended up driving. Yeah. That.

First of all, though, I did finish the binding and sleeves on the newest quilt by staying up too late on Friday, because I knew I might have to drive on Saturday…

I know I always say the cats are helping, but they’re really not. I know you people with cats know that. This one, Nova, spent a lot of time trying to crawl INTO the quilt, between the layers, with pins everywhere poking at her, before settling down to claw my belly rhythmically. I love cats, but they do not help.

I don’t have total hours on this quilt yet. They’re in the app on my phone and I haven’t gotten that organized yet. I will. Maybe later. I’m still playing catch-up.

I had a plan to deliver the quilt Saturday afternoon, because I needed time to clean it up and pack it up, plus I had a quilt guild meeting on Zoom. Yeah. So that didn’t happen. Well, it did, but differently. I got the quilt cleaned and packed up Saturday morning while waiting to hear if I was driving, and when I found out I was, I texted my photographer, who luckily was available, so I dropped it off early. It’s done! On time! A miracle! Not really. I’m pretty good about deadlines.

So the driving. The hiking man had a rough week…long and hot and not enough water…and he wanted to come home for a week off. NO, he’s not quitting (everyone keeps asking). He was just homesick and missed his cats and maybe even me (although he’d just seen me), and needed a chiropractor. So all that. He tried a variety of ways to get home and they all fell through, so I left the house at around 10:30 AM on Saturday, dropped off my quilt with the photographer, and drove 4+ hours to Ridgecrest…

A lot of the drive looked like that. Ugh. Boring. I did stay on my quilt guild Zoom until my first pee stop in Temecula, and then I lost service for Zoom. So yeah. I went from 80-degree temperatures to 106 degrees. That was warm. It was long. Then we got in the car and came back, but he drove, so I could finish stitching one of my Patreon rewards…

Yes, my windows are dirty. I just drove a million miles. Second time in a week. Ugh. But he’s home for a week, so that’s nice. Probably I will have to reset my missing-him-sadness next week when he leaves again. Double ugh. I’m not thinking about next week. I’m literally thinking about 20 minutes ahead at the moment. Welcome to the last two weeks of school.

Once I finished that thing, I just stitched on the Sue Spargo Homegrown block I’ve been slowly working on for months…because I didn’t have the time (or presence of mind) to prep another embroidered block before I had to get in the car and drive.

Super slow. But slow will get it done eventually. For a week, I have a dinner companion, so I’m sitting and stitching after we eat and until we finish an episode of whatever we’re watching. It’s nice. If it’s just me, I read, which is how I have read a million books in the last two months. It’s while eating by myself.

Anyway, so there’s that. It means I didn’t get all that grading done on Saturday, though, so I’m pretty far behind. I will get there. I will be exhausted for the next two weeks, though, while that happens and school ends, and if anyone knows what I should do on the last four days of school, please, for all that you love me and care about me, please let me know. I’m blank. At a loss. Don’t have any creativity left in me. Everything I’ve seen will require me on high-attention mode, which I just don’t have in me at the moment, or I need to do a bunch of editing.

Well, that’s not true. I’m drawing the next quilt. That’s creative. I think. I had done a drawing in Tehachapi that was sort of an idea in progress, and now I’m revising it for this entry.

We’ll see how that goes. Went to bed too late again. Silly. Probably part of the tired, but I hate going to bed when I haven’t made any art. It’s frustrating. I have all these things I want to make and then I have to work for 6 hours and I don’t get to do what I want. Silly job. I’m gonna work today on getting stuff done during the school day. That’s what’s (one of the things that’s) lame about this job…we are constantly trying to find time during the school day to get the work done so we don’t have to work 5 and 6 hours on a Sunday or after school. This job is a time suck.

Anyway. At the grocery store yesterday, Mother’s cookies has branched out from Circus Animal Cookies (which are awesome, although IDK if they still are? I know they changed the taste a while ago and got Way Too Sweet…not sure if they reverted back or not, because I’m scared to buy them and shouldn’t buy them anyway).

I find this amusing. Sparkly too. I would get these for students if I were in person. We could do a taste test on Monday, short periods, mythical vs circus animal. Yeah. But no. We’re on Zoom. So tired of Zoom.

OK, the plus is that I don’t have anything going on tonight, so hopefully I’ll be working on some Patreon rewards and the commissioned little quilt I’ve had going for ages, and then maybe some drawing. That’s the plan anyway. I might just fall asleep at 8 pm instead. Hoping for the art option.

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?

Getting It Done…

The first week after I drop the man back on trail seems to always be hard. Maybe it will be less so when school is not part of the mix, hopefully…right now, I’m trying to catch up on planning and grading, which is time-consuming as hell…yesterday I started at 7:15 AM, continued through until after school, went for a lab test real fast, came back, worked some more, took about 90 minutes for Pilates and dinner, and then worked until about 9:45 PM. I’m calling it 12+ hours. And nowhere near done. I’ll get there. I mean, the last day of school is the 17th. Grades are due some time before that. It will all get done, for some definition of ALL. But no art happened yesterday. Some happened on Monday, luckily, so I’m not feeling totally inept. Just mostly.

Plus honestly, I just really miss him and it’s a damn long time before I’ll get to see him again. It’s trail-dependent…there are many days when he’s in the middle of nowhere and there aren’t even dirt roads to get there. The next section is particularly complicated for that. There’s some chance of one connection at Kearsarge Pass, but if that’s before school gets out, then it won’t be until Tuolomne Meadows. And that’s a long time from now. He’s been having water issues, plus a heat wave, but today was gifted deer footprints and a Gatorade and amazing views. So that’s how his days roll. They seem simpler (not easier…just simpler) than mine. I see the appeal. Especially with 12 days of school left and meetings every day this week. And just plain too much work.

I did manage a hike with the boychild and one dog on Monday…

I’m trying to type this with Kitten rubbing her head on my face and the computer monitor. Apparently I need to pet cats more. Seems unlikely. But I am not a cat, so what do I know?

The old lady is still hanging on. She sleeps a lot. Simba needs long walks, so we do that at least once a week.

I also need long walks, so it works out. Although he brings these home in his fur…

Those are some fun seed pods.

I got a lot of the background quilting done on Monday…

I started behind the clouds and got more than halfway done…

I think another hour tonight would do it…if I can find an hour tonight. Union meeting after school. Who knows how long that will go. I’m already exhausted though and I haven’t even officially started working today. I need to get the quilting done and the binding on. Sooner rather than later. I’d really like to deliver this to the photographer this weekend. I can’t email him though until I have the binding at least machine-stitched on…then I have some chance of making sure it can be done. It’s OK…I have no social life, so beyond school and exercise and watering the plants and occasionally talking to the boychild and petting ALL the animals, I should be able to get more art done. Ha! This is been such a shitshow for making art. Between the stress and anxiety of the last 16 months of school and COVID and other stuff, and the sheer number of HOURS my day job has sucked up in that time, I have made very little art. I have ideas, I have the need, I have the want…I just don’t have the TIME. This summer? We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully from June 17 on, this gets better. I can’t conceive of putting this amount of time and effort in endlessly. I will lose my mind.

I’d like to thank this evening sky, AND my neighbors for having all their screamers inside and not ruining it, for keeping some of my sanity last night. Yes. I just stared at it for a while.

Also I was trying to keep this innocent-looking beast from eating my succulents.

I was grading things. Luna was not helping. That plant in the middle looks like that because of cats.

And Monday night, while trying to meditate. Sometimes they are just not helpful.

It does appear that they missed me.

Ah. Missing people. I’m feeling totally overwhelmed and in a bad place right now. It’s OK. It will pass. I will start working and realize all the shit that needs doing and that will take over the emotional stuff until later today, when I will quilt that thing until it’s done. Hopefully. And maybe this weekend, I can start drawing the next one or two or however many it will take before I feel like I’m artistically back on track and my day job is under control or on hiatus for 8 weeks (along with my paychecks, ah well). Yeah. It’s a day. Happy June! Happy Pride actually…that is a positive thing for so many people. May society get their collective act together and stop making the world a shitty place for those who often make the world a more wonderful thing.