UberOverwhelmed

I’m not the only one who feels like this week has gone on forever. It was somewhat of a surprise to wake up this morning and realize it was finally fucking Friday. A joy! Well, I still have to get through the day, but I think it will be easier than yesterday? I hope? I finally started getting my head around the new art assignment that starts next week. I have a plan, at least, for the first full week of it, mostly. MOSTLY. So that should help. I realized Monday that I just assumed I could teach whatever was there without reviewing it, and I was oh so wrong. Again. Art reaches up and slaps me in the face again. “I drink and I know things” doesn’t work for teaching middle school. Anyway, I have a goal for today during school: to get everything posted for next week today, so I don’t have to spend hours on Sunday doing it. We’ll see how successful I am.

I’m up 5 students this week, after being told that I would get no new kids without other kids leaving. Such a load of bullshit. Whatever. I have dropped a few of the May Do’s that I had assigned myself for school, because I am a good teacher and I do all the things, but this year, no one can do all the things without insanity, and hopefully that will help. I’ve got people who are doing things to help me, which I greatly appreciate. I am beyond overwhelmed. Is there a beyond overwhelmed? OVER is already beyond whelmed…how can you get beyond that? UberOverwhelmed? That’s it. That’s what I am. 44 days, y’all. 44 days.

Meanwhile, the man hikes on. He’s at about 63 miles last night? I think? And I will see him tomorrow at mile 77 and hang out with him for probably less than 24 hours. I’ll drop him back at the trail, and then it will be a couple of weeks at the minimum before I can meet him again, and that’s only if the trail and my schedule work out. Hopefully. And also hopefully, my brain will start getting used to being the only one here for part of the time. The boychild is here half the week with the dogs. Otherwise, it’s just me entertaining cats.

They are finally coming out a bit. They do like to hide in the bedroom, but it was sunny on Wednesday morning, so they were happy about it.

Nova likes pets…

So does Luna, but she still whacks.

That’s her pre-whack face, so I’m standing back a bit.

We’ve been doing a little cat entertainment in the evenings, once the dogs have gone to bed.

Luna enjoyed that. The girlchild is working here, still on Boston time, and she takes the dogs to bed with her at a very early hour, but that gives the cats some time to run around without them. Not that the big dog cares about them, and half the time, the little dog doesn’t care either, but try to tell the cats that.

Speaking of the little one, he’s not good with being quiet during meetings…

Or for that matter, during class. My students know about him. He’s sometimes a giant pain in the ass. Like most little dogs.

One of my quilts is in the current issue of Fiber Art Now, part of the Excellence in Fibers exhibit…

Which didn’t get to be an actual exhibit unfortunately. Ah COVID. So many things.

And I am still tracing away on this…

I didn’t get any of it done on Wednesday night…was working on copyediting, and then was too tired to pull everything off the light table to do any tracing. Last night, though, despite being on Zoom from 8 AM to 5 PM, I pulled stuff off for my quilting Zoom and traced for 3 hours straight, so that makes up for it. I’m in the low 400s now, not quite halfway though. Getting there. I’m not expecting to get any of it done in the next two nights, though. Family plans plus the Man plans. All good. I’ll get there. It’s not fast, though, not so far. Lots of little pieces to trace down in the planet. It’s been confusing figuring out what is overlapping what. But meditative to trace. That’s the plus.

OK, well I have some late work to grade, some planning for next week to do, and a day of teaching cellular respiration and texture. Those do not go together. Then I am part of the SAQA conference that’s going on right now. I did the meetup last night and met some people from New Zealand and Boston and Wisconsin and Sacramento and San Francisco and that was cool. There’s some stuff tonight too, but I might miss most of it for family stuff. I planned to attend the conference before everyone else’s plans coincided with that. It’s OK…there’s stuff during the week next week and I’ll be around for next weekend’s stuff as well. I’ll get my money’s worth in the end. For now, I’m going to focus on one block of time at a time. 8-3 right now. That’s school.

Where’s the Pillow Fort?

I’ve managed two whole days of school without quitting or making a pillow fort, so I think I might make it through today as well. There are 46 days of school until summer break, and yes, I’m counting them down. Suffice it to say that the last two days mostly sucked and I am trying to modify my brain and responses to make that better, but if I can’t, at least there are only 46 more of them until I get a break.

This year is like no other, yeah, and I know that the next school year will be different. I can do a day at a time. I take a snack break and read my zombie apocalypse book and not think about school for 15 minutes, and then I go back to trying not to go crazy sitting in a chair for so long and pushing kids through stuff that would be so much easier in person. It is what it is, and what it is smells like shit most days.

Anyway. What else? My family is here, visiting my dad, so I’ve been over there for dinner every night. Yes, precautions have been taken. People always ask.

Hey Dad. Good to see you.

The man is smiling quite happily in all his hiking photos…here he has made it to Mile 40 and 6000 feet up.

He seems to be really enjoying it so far, although he admits it is hard. I’ll see him this weekend at one of his resupplies. He’s still close enough (and will be for a while) where I can drive and meet him.

There he is in the wild. I did get to talk to him last night. We’re so used to communicating every day in person, that this is really hard. He doesn’t have cell service all the time, so even texting is not always a thing. Going from in the house all the time to not at all and almost nothing in terms of talking has been difficult. For me, at least. We’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get back to my ‘normal’ exercise schedule during school routine, which means a walk on Tuesday after school. I had to ship a quilt first. This time of year, hiking is really about Spring flower pictures…

This is the neighborhood hike, so they’re not natives…

I take a picture of that one every year, because it’s such a weird flower.

Just lots of pretty. And I got my 3.67 miles in before dinner. All good.

I started tracing the new quilt…

It’s about an hour per 100 pieces, so after last night, I have about 7 hours to go…

I’m only doing about an hour a night. Last night, I got a late start and then went to bed late, and I’m still not sleeping well, plus I woke up to my blood sugar crashing again. I don’t know why, but it throws me off for the rest of the day. I’m OK at the moment, but I’d really like to just solve the issue so it doesn’t happen. Working on that. Working on more sleep. Working on getting all the late work graded so kids can stop sending me multiple emails about it. No, I didn’t do it over Spring Break. Take a breath, y’all.

Sigh. More tonight probably. More exercise, another family dinner, more work, hopefully more sleep. I really need more sleep.

Also…Luna…

Pre-whack. She’s sweet but in a dangerous way.

OK, making a pillow fort now.

Back to Monday…

Yes, it’s Monday. Mondays are not my friend. This Monday is the first Monday after Spring Break, also difficult. Plus the man has been gone for a whole three days, and apparently that will be harder than I had hoped. I forgot what it was like to be solo on a Saturday night, and during pandemic times, when things I used to do are still shut down or not exactly feeling safe to me, it sucks. I’m really proud of him for taking on this hike and keeping moving…I am…but I was unprepared for how I would feel. Luckily, there are three cats who cuddle at night (well, mostly…sometimes they just whack, since they are calicoes, but they try). Also, my family is around right now to see my dad, and so this week, I have a lot going on, which is nice, and hopefully I’ll be more used to the alone time once they leave? Who knows. It could be a very long 6 months. I need to shift what I do a little to maybe hang with more people. I have a hiking group; I just haven’t hiked with them since before COVID. They hike at different times than I usually do, so hence the shift. Things to think about. Keeping the brain occupied.

Speaking of the man, he is still hiking.

He’s got a few miles to go. Yes, he is planning on thru-hiking the whole thing. He’s moving slower than a bunch of people (but faster than some), but he is moving. I actually get to watch him move at the moment…

My kids will tell you I was a little obsessive with watching the app the first day. I was. It’s OK. I admit it.

But the second day, I did better, although once it got dark and I knew he was still hiking because of water issues, I did worry and watch it more.

Still gotta go down in the dark to get to that lake. He took a day off…that day 2 was difficult…and today he’s on to the next milestone. I hope it stays nice and cool for him, he manages to keep his glasses on his head (that was an issue on Day 2), and he just keeps moving for as long as he needs to.

Meanwhile, I’m back at online school today, trying to deal with all the last-minute changes and kid moves. I’m really done with this school year. It makes me cry on a pretty regular basis at the moment, and that’s not healthy, but it’s what I’ve got. I made some agreements with myself about what I was dropping for the last 10 weeks, things that help others but that I just can’t do any more. It sucks, because as a teacher, I really try to do what’s best for kids and families, often to my own detriment, and I just can’t keep on keeping on with that this year. It makes me feel like a shitty teacher, but it also gives me another hour a week for my own sanity. And I need that right now.

The girlchild is here to see her grandpa. She’s working during the day, but she’s on East Coast time…

so getting some sun after work is a thing. With the dogs…

Yes, Simba gets spoiled by her. He doesn’t seem to mind. What a weirdo.

I hiked Saturday on my own…I had worked (school) almost all day and needed to get outside.

I was the only person out there; I saw no one but one lone coyote and a bunch of crows.

They were probably ravens, actually. I was really tired, physically, and it was a slog for the first mile…

Eventually, my body kicked in, I ate a snack, peed in the wild (off that trail, y’all…I’m not a heathen), and then it was better.

It sucks to do it alone; I did tell someone where I was going, in case I disappeared.

The flowers are starting to pop, which is my favorite time to hike. I’ll need to vary my locations in the next few weeks to get the full flower drama.

I think this was Friday night’s drawing…getting the head in and the birds I had dreamed about.

Then Saturday night, I gave her hair and numbered her.

Lots of weaving in this one. She has 890 pieces. I will start tracing her some time this week. I’m sort of buried in stuff at the moment, but I do want to start. I’m still as exhausted as I was before Spring Break started, so I did the sleeping part wrong, I guess. I did go to bed early last night, but couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about school; not healthy, but normal. Hopefully pure exhaustion will kick in and let me sleep the rest of the week.

So teach all day, family dinner tonight, then trace some stuff, then sleep like a cat. Cats sleep better than babies, y’all, way better.

Cute Clean Tape Dispensers…

Hello Friday, the last day I have to teach or be on Zoom because of work until April 12, you delightful day, once I survive you. The last day of March for school. The last day I have to cajole kids to work, remind them of why I can’t give them all the answers, text their parents to get them to at least pull up the document we’re on, try to do chemistry or middle-school art on my light table instead of art that I want to do. I wish I could say that I won’t look at work over break, but that is impossible. I am still grading last week’s work. I want as much as possible of this week’s work graded before we leave for Yosemite. We’re planning the next unit when I come back. Plus I have a copyediting job. I need the money. Sad, isn’t it, that a public-school teacher has to take on extra work to pay the bills, but that is reality. So I’m actually relieved and stressed at the same time. Fun times.

At least I can do all the school things with music playing or with dead silence (well, except the screams of the neighbor kids). Not half turned, crick in my neck and back, trying to grade AND follow the chat AND answer questions as kids are finishing assignments. Wishing I could actually send them out for the asynchronous time, but knowing that they will not complete their work if I do that. This year is exhausting. \

So I have a show I want to enter, and I let it percolate in my brain, even sent the call to the girlchild for her expertise (although she just suggested what I was already thinking). Tried to draw some version of it the other night.

It’s under the cat. I swear there’s a drawing under there. It’s not a very good one though.

You know when your cat suddenly stares intently at something and you turn around and there’s nothing there?

It’s totally ghosts. I guess she left me the big planet there to draw on, but I was working on the person. It’s OK. I needed to go to bed. I needed to let it percolate more.

And then last night, my decision was to clean off most of the light table (I do still have to teach art today) and start it on paper.

Full size. Fuck the sketchbook. That tape dispenser is ancient by the way. Like circa 1989. And obviously never been cleaned. You don’t notice until you Instagram it and everybody else has cute clean tape dispensers. There are so many things in the world that I don’t have time for.

Did I mention my taxes? I need to do those too. I started. I yelled a lot. I asked the boychild a question that I would normally ask my dad. He had the answer; ironic, since he doesn’t pay taxes. Or own a house. Or run a business. Or two. Plus a day job. I need a new life. Or plants. I might just need plants.

This month just makes me feel like crying constantly.

OK, it’s almost done. I can do one day. I can do 6 hours with 45 minutes in between. Except not really 45 minutes because I work on either side of it, but 5 hours and 15 minutes, wait, subtract the 5 minutes in between each class, so 5 hours and 5 minutes with kids. FIVE HOURS AND 5 MINUTES WITH KIDS ON ZOOM. Yeah. That’s my day. Before some education ignoramus jumps in, that doesn’t count the hours before and after school…yesterday was 8 AM to 4:30 PM on Zoom with a few breaks, plus another 90 minutes of grading after that and 45 minutes before. UGH.

It’s fine. It pays the bills. It’s a job I love and hate on a regular basis. I can love my job and still hate parts of it. I can love teaching and still know that some of it is incredibly fucked up. District: “we’re not adding anything new this year; the pandemic pivot is enough for you to deal with.” Also District: “HERE’S a new program and HERE’S a new program and HERE’S a new program, and you’re required to teach them all. THANKS!”

So here was my chemistry setup this time.

I’ll have to bring this back in April for one of the labs. But I cleaned all this up. Art must be made here.

While I was teaching yesterday, this huge hawk kept hanging out on my front fence, looking for rodents or baby bunnies, I’m sure. Its partner was on the electrical line above. Beautiful animals.

The kids were sort of shocked that I could see a hawk. They live about 2 1/2 miles north of me. There are probably hawks there too…they just don’t see them.

Mini modern blocks are still happening.

This was Sunday, when I was irritated by that parent. I didn’t finish these.

OK. I can do today. I can do all the things. I can copyedit everything and grade everything and finish the taxes and get ready to go camping in four days. In the cold. It’s all going to be fine. Eventually. Fine.

As Long As It Was Easier…

Yesterday, teaching was a challenge. At some point in the middle of it, while trying to draw some level of understanding out of a class full of kids who had forgotten everything from the week before and the previous unit, I didn’t want to be teaching any more. I didn’t care what I was doing, as long as it was easier, less exhausting, less traumatizing, less IDK what. I did rally, got a new monitor from school, adjusted when my doc cam refused to work during a lab, and graded a shitload of assignments. So I guess that’s a good thing. I won’t go into Spring Break with nothing to grade…that’s impossible, but I won’t go in with MORE to grade than normal.

My school is going back to 5 days a week in person after Spring Break (not me; I’m distance through the end of the year), so I’m really hoping some parents call the school (I have a list of the ones I’d like to have call please) and tell them they want in-person instead of distance. As I was thinking that yesterday, I got two new kids in my biggest science class. Yeah. That. Hmmmm. Well there’s three more days until break, so I can dream. I’ve had way too many students all year. They could shove 40 of them back into in-person and I’d be OK.

It’s OK. I’m fine. In a normal year, I’d feel overwhelmed and exhausted right now too…maybe not this much, but at some level.

Because I graded last night, I didn’t do much artwise. I have this exhibit I’d like to enter, but I’m not sure I can get my head around what to make or what to draw. I’m aware that the process of making the fabric I use is mostly damaging to the environment. I do use a lot of fabrics that other people are getting rid of, but I don’t go out of my way to search out ecologically friendly fabrics. And I often feel bad about that. I’m making work that talks about climate change, but just making fabric into what I like to use damages the environment. Sigh. So there’s that.

So I worked on the anxiety drawing on Monday night…

It’s similar to my Swallowing Heads quilt of a few years ago…that is what anxiety feels like to me.

I did more on it last night, with Nova’s help…

It’s a slow process. I spent some time last night researching textile pollution as well. Not sure if I’m going to do something with that or not. I’m back at that place of Do I make work for a specific show? Or do I just make work? I have some group shows coming up where I probably have to do some of the former…so how do I make what’s in my head fit those themes? And how do I justify to myself making a quilt about what’s in my brain instead of some life-changing statement about racism? See that’s a hard one right there. I’ve been mulling that one over since last year and George Floyd’s murder. How do you make art about racism when you’re part of the problem? I don’t need to reveal racism to the world…I need to get the racist people to see the world differently than they currently do. I wish I knew how to do that.

And honestly, my overworked brain right now is not the best place for that conversation. It’s having it all the time, but it can’t find a way out of that knot yet.

We walked Monday with the little dog…

Although he pretended to be tired at one point…

He likes to smell the things and fake pee on the things. But not always walk the whole way.

It’s spring and the flowers are out.

Then last night, I did my neighborhood walk and ran into the boychild and my ex walking the dogs.

The dogs were pretty excited to see me. Calli takes a rest whenever she can…

She’s getting so old. Her sarcoma is getting really large. She’s already lasted longer than they said she would. We are grateful for every moment of her smelly old self. Even when there is thunder and she tries to dig through the couch while I’m teaching and can’t stop her.

I see this plant every few days when I walk past this house. The flowers are pretty, so delicate though.

New cactus is so sweet looking.

These are just weeds, but they’re pretty. I love Spring; can you tell?

New growth. A break from school. A look toward summer, a longer needed break.

Although there might be plastic in the way…I didn’t want to walk on this because I didn’t want to damage it.

Still trying to control water flow when we build in the middle of its natural path. Duh. Humans are stupid.

So I am exercising and Zooming book club today after school. I’m teaching and grading all day. Today should be easier. We got the doc cam to work again, plus I’m not doing a demo…mostly kids will be completing things on their own today. Hopefully their brains are more functional than yesterday (what are the odds?). Hopefully I can get through most of the stuff that needs grading from last week and then just have this week’s stuff to tackle over Break. We are going to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks…a short break before the man leaves for however long it takes him to do the PCT. I’ve been watching some current hikers on YouTube…will probably stalk a few who leave at the same time, just to see conditions as he’s hiking. And keep hiking in my neighborhood…same views all the time. Ugh.

OK. Tired start to the day. More caffeine.

Starting with Not Enough

Yesterday, I had a plan for if I felt OK after my second vaccine (I was mostly OK; finally ran a fever Sunday night, but then had a major blood sugar issue, probably related to that, and so I’m a little exhausted and fucked up this morning, thank you very much). I was going to do some work, grade a major art assignment, get it out of the way. I need a clear brain for it, and I wasn’t counting on it, due to the possibility of side effects, but when those didn’t show up (well, until later), I wanted to be ahead of the game with grades this week. The week before Spring Break can be really stressful, although it might be easier online than in person. Plus I’m exhausted and done with school and ready for a break.

That was my plan, anyway, and then a nastygram from a parent popped up and that threw me. You know you’re overwhelmed and overstressed when just one email can take your brain and smash it up like that. Anyway, I answered the email (like the mostly consummate professional I am) and then shut down the work computer and walked the fuck away from it. Now, it means I’m not actually ready to teach this morning (thanks brain for that, thanks parent for that). But I will figure it out. On four hours of sleep (thanks blood sugar and immune response for that). It’s fine. It really is. Some part of me just lets all of it roll over me and occasionally I lose my mind and go weed the yard or just sit and cry (seriously, y’all, if your kids are in school, know that a huge portion of their teachers have cried this year…multiple times). I still have a job to do and I’m going to try to do it. I sent the appropriate emails to the appropriate staff, and if the mom follows through, her child will never have to be in my class again. I am that heinous.

It’s OK. I know I’m not. I know this is the kid. I hope the family figures it out. I understand Mama Bear tendencies; I have some myself. I also know that it doesn’t help the kid. Get all the information, make sure you understand what’s going on, and if your kid has lied to you before, y’all know what you need to do.

So with all that, I am starting this week with not enough sleep and not enough prep and not enough graded. Oh well. So be it.

Friday and Saturday night, I worked on this…so close to done.

I poked holes in my finger doing the applique. It’s OK. It happens. But I finished, and did some hand embroidery on the fish, her face, and her belly (my 2000 self made notes to do that, so I followed her instructions). And then I pinbasted her last night.

She’s different than what I’ve been doing, but not that far off. As soon as I have a machine, I’ll quilt her.

The school thing that happened, sometimes what I need after that is something that occupies my brain pretty completely…my quilt guild is doing these tiny modern blocks, so I did the next variation, the hourglass…

I have a healthy chunk of blocks at the moment, all 2″ square (well, they will be when I trim them, and probably, some of them won’t be. Oh well).

It occupied my brain appropriately for a while…

Although I wonder sometimes which is the crazier thing to do. Next up? Arrows. No, I don’t know what I’m doing with them. Piecing is not my friend. I do have a plan for art quilting this week. I just need the mental and physical energy and last night was not that time.

So yeah, got the second one.

Doing OK. Pfizer, before you ask. Could have done without the blood sugar issues. I went for a hike afterward…

It was a good day for it…

I went alone because my hiking partners were either gone or not feeling well. One of my hiking partners is leaving on the PCT soon. His band singer made him a poster…

I wish him lots of good traveling. Certainly I’ll be stalking him on the Garmin website and maybe in person for a few days at some point. We’ll see.

He rallied Saturday night for dinner…here was my pre-dinner drawing.

I don’t think too hard about these. Just do them.

Speaking of not thinking too hard, here’s Simba…

Happily dream chasing. Hope to be there tonight, Simba. OK, y’all. Let’s do this.

Just Nod Your Head…

Rough week. Also, why can’t WordPress pick a font for drafts and stick with it? Also, pivot pivot pivot, even if you’re at home, you will have to pivot. It’s OK. I changed half the art stuff yesterday during lunch because…well, lots of reasons. It’s OK. It’ll be fine. I’m exhausted and headachy and panicked about getting all my work prepped today and tomorrow in case the 2nd shot knocks me out, plus there still is a shitload of stuff to do even if I don’t have a reaction (knocking on wood like a crazy banshee, don’t bring it upon me because I have thought about it, you know?). I need a break. It’s a good thing one is coming, although it’s already full, I think. Some travel, which I hope is good and relaxing, but it might not be. Positive thoughts…at least I won’t be sitting here, staring at Zoom. Thursday, I was on Zoom from 8 AM to 4:45? PM? Something like that. For school. I had a 45-minute (well a 41-minute) break in the middle for lunch, and then I was on Zoom again at 7 for a social thing. Ugh. Tired of that.

Did I mention exhausted? Ugh.

OK, so my quilt guild is doing this #minimodswap of miniature modern quilt blocks, and I wasn’t gonna touch it with a ten-foot pole, but then I saw a rainbow version and I have all these solid fabrics someone gifted me and nowhere to use them really, plus I can’t do one of my normal art quilts right now, and I really really need something brainless at the end of the day, so I did some.

OK, I did 49 of them. I’m gonna do some more, but not a lot more, I don’t think. I mean, it’s interesting enough, but I don’t need to do this. And I’m honestly not very good at piecing things. One of the blue Xs is really off, because the rotary cutter sort of didn’t go straight and I sewed it together anyway. I am not a perfectionist. It’s why my method of quilting works for me.

I am still doing hand applique…I think I have 17 pieces left…

Just the stuff in the face and a bit of hair on top. Then I’ll sandwich and quilt her, once I have my good machine back. The old one keeps freezing in the middle of stitching and the only way to get it back is to turn it off and roll it backwards through the stitch movement and then turn it back on. No way in hell am I doing that while quilting.

Anyway, maybe I will get that stuff done tonight, or maybe I will grade stuff all night in preparation for Second Shot Syndrome. Who knows?

Today is flame tests and combustion and how to draw a title and…

then take all the chemistry stuff back to school and pick up the next batch and grade all the things and measure engagement and prep all the posts for next week and…

Watch all the birds from my current work window as they collect nest materials. Or scope out a nest in the tree in front of me. Or dig for bugs in my plant pots on the deck.

After work, I wander around the property, looking for signs of regrowth, Spring, something new…the lime tree we transplanted in the yard from my friend’s house might actually make limes this year.

We’ve had flowers, but just a few at a time. We’ve had a few baby limes, but they get bumped off or something.

The lemon has flowers, but I think it’s still too young for fruit…

It also has new growth, which is a relief, because that swallowtail caterpillar that looks like poop ate a bunch of the leaves and I pruned it a bit to deal with that and then was worried there was no new growth…

Oh there it is. Although there aren’t many flowers up there. Learning experience maybe.

And this succulent has never flowered…

So pretty. Plus we have a new weed…

We have shitloads of weeds. I pull some of them, the nettles, but leave the rest because it’s too overwhelming, but I’ve never seen this one in the yard before.

There is some weeding in my future. Luckily I find it mostly meditative. I’ve been meditating regularly again, actually. Trying to get anxiety under control, figure out if some of my symptoms are just that and not anything else. I passed the stress test with flying colors, so that’s a good thing…hopefully if it IS all in my head, I can persuade my head to stop being such a dumbass.

Ninety one days until summer. Seven days until Spring Break.

My constant companions…unless they are with someone else.

Friday. That’s a plus. I can sleep maybe tomorrow morning. Maybe. Shot in the morning. Hike in the afternoon. Hoping for no symptoms, knock on wood. Or just the standard sore arm. Making videos and plans just in case for Monday. I want to read my book today. I want to draw. I want to sew. I want to go to bed and sleep a long time and then get up and not do school for at least a few hours. That doesn’t seem like a huge request, does it? Just nod your head.

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.

Not a Prime Number

I turned 54 yesterday. It’s an OK number, divisible by 9 and 3, not a prime number, but it’s good. Yeah, numbers sit in my head in weird ways. What can I say? It was an acceptable birthday. I felt well, got enough sleep the night before for once, had a break from teaching in the middle of the day (prep period…can’t say I was particularly effective, but that happens), exploded some baking soda and vinegar for class, texted about 10 parents about their kids (one was FINALLY a positive, made me so happy; I have so little time for everything, that the positive contacts have been the first to go), went for a non-strenuous walk, and went out to dinner. My Assistant Principal was my waitress…first time I’ve seen her since some time last March, I think.

It’s weird how our brains are training themselves to recognize people with their masks on. So that was cool.

I did not work after 3:30 PM on school stuff. I probably should have, but the world will not end if I didn’t grade an assignment yesterday. It will end because of the patriarchy and/or human stupidity. Straight up.

Really, if there hadn’t been a pandemic, it would have been a great day to take off and hike, if I weren’t on hike restrictions at the moment and we weren’t doing chemistry labs. So there’s that.

In art, we did a little blind contour drawing…

Bowie is looking good.

I also finally pulled one of these out. I bought canvas last May, I think, wanting to try this. Finally painted backgrounds in December? January?

I have about 4 of these done. And the other night, I finally had the guts to draw on one of them.

It’s kind of fun. This isn’t done. And I need a better white. This one isn’t that good. Actually, I need about 700 more colors to make me really happy, but this is good for now.

I also decided to finish this old hand-applique art quilt. It’s been lying around for way too long, and my sewing machine is still at the shop.

It’s a bit of a mess in terms of tiny little pieces, but I haz the skillz. So far, I’m only missing one piece, which isn’t bad. I think I started this in 2000? Something like that. I’m not sure there’s documentation of anything that far back. I used to put dates on the drawings, but this is an enlarged photocopy and the date isn’t on it. I don’t know where the original drawing is. And it pre-dates my writing the blog. So who knows? I can just place it after the last one I know I finished, which was January 2000. After 21 years, it deserves to be finished.

Cat NOT helping with chemistry setup…

One of the reasons starting another quilt in my normal fashion is not really happening right now. Nowhere to do it. Which reminds me, I need to set up for more chemistry demos today. And tonight is a union meeting, and I really do need to grade some things. But hopefully, I’ll get back to either drawing on canvas (and trying to figure out how I will finish those pieces when I am done drawing) or working on the hand applique. May my 55th year on the planet be full of vaccinations, openings of the things that keep me sane (hello art and museums and music and the like), and a shitload of art.

Ah yes, and this guy…

Whose cute little face was poised under my plate the other night, ever hopeful that I will spill all the foods.

Remind Me Not to Do That Ever Again…

Well grades are done. For last trimester. Now I need to start grading the stuff from last week. But it’s a relief to have the big stuff done on time. It meant grading a ton of art stuff at the last minute, so remind me not to do that ever again. I wanted everything clear before the trimester switch. I was expecting a bunch of switching students, and in reality, two switched and I got three new kids. The school has only TOLD me about two of the new kids. I’m wondering if they will ever tell me about the third. This year sucks, y’all. It really does. Plus I have literally no idea what I’m supposed to teach in art today. I know what I’m doing Thursday and Friday, but today is a blank. I’m hoping something exists by my prep period, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be winging it. No stress! Seriously. I’m supposed to increase sleep and reduce stress, and those are proving difficult. This calendar my team gifted me is helping though…

I really need to get my brain in a better place for all of it. I started the daily meditation practice again…although I keep zoning out in the middle of it. I’m not sure that’s OK. Surely it means something. I realized the series I was on, I had started it so long ago that I couldn’t remember the prompts, so I went back to the first one, and zoned out on it too. Sigh. Thanks brain! I did get to a point with meditation where I was pretty comfortable just doing quick meditative check-ins with my brain/body without the daily lesson, but I figure I need more structure with it at the moment. 63 days of school left in this year. We’re 2/3s of the way through. I’m not sure which sounds better. Science and art are roughly planned through the next three weeks…and then there’s nothing! I love nothing. It’s my favorite when it comes to lesson planning.

Grading is a lot of this…

Well I’m still drawing, because I still don’t have my sewing machine and I’m hesitant to start another new piece. This one came from the other one…

Those swallowing heads again. I’ll probably come back to this drawing. I like the start of it.

At dinner on Saturday night, I did this one.

We do go out on Saturdays at the moment, but only to places that have outdoor seating. It’s still a little chilly here at night, but definitely not like back East, so totally doable with the right shoes and jacket on. Once the man leaves on his hike, I probably won’t be doing that for a while, so best to get out and try to have date nights while we can. I missed drawing the last year…it’s been almost a year since schools shut down, yeah? I tried doing a drawing a day or a week, and just couldn’t keep up. Some weeks, I’d be totally planned Sunday night, or even mostly planned Friday night, but lately, it’s been a last-minute rush using my prep periods to get ready for the class right after. Which sucks. So drawing suffered. Art has definitely suffered.

I pulled this out from a million years ago for the #IGQuiltFest Day 7 prompt of Lessons Learned. I’ve been flailing on those prompts as well. Oh well. I used to do hand applique, still do occasionally, but soon figured out that making art quilts this way would take just too damn long.

Although someday I will finish this one. I hope. Maybe this is something I could be doing while waiting for my machine, eh? See. Lesson NOT learned.

Saturday, we walked. I can’t hike until I have my stress test and some other stuff (IDK what the other stuff is right now), but I was antsy as hell on Saturday after finishing grades (I graded through an art group meeting and a quilt guild meeting), so we found a longish mostly flat hike walk to do.

I don’t really know the difference sometimes between a hike and a walk. But this was easy enough.

Long enough to get a decent amount of steps in, but not strenuous.

When I feel like this, I want to climb things and go up and down hills in the back country. But no.

That’s industrial crap in the background. Just look at the river side! Ah well. Hopefully all that will be done and solved soon and I can go back to climbing hills for fun.

Cats…

Kitten is hyperthyroid and needs daily meds now. Luckily she likes pill pockets.

These two were whacking at each other for a good 30 minutes on and off…

Sibling warfare. They do like each other though. Just not all the time. I understand that feeling.

This week is my birthday, and we had dinner with the parentals last night. Both have had their vaccines. I’ve had one, second one is coming up. We (the visitors) stayed masked for a goodly portion of it. But I wanted a photo with my parents. I always forget to take those kinds of photos, and with almost losing dad last year, I wanted to be sure to get a photo.

Look! Mom is still taller than I am! I am the midget of the family.

OK, well, I should go figure out what I’m doing today, especially in art. And hopefully I’ll do some art stuff of my own tonight. And grade stuff. Because that isn’t stopping for 63 more school days.