Getting By…

I woke up at dark thirty this morning with a purring cat sticking its claws into the side of my boob (it’s a common occurrence these days) and with the distinct thought that half of what I had typed in my sub plans for Friday wasn’t going to work, and in fact, although I thought I had finished the plans yesterday AND all the videos (5 videos…5…for one day off school), I was going to have to redo one because after teaching what I taught yesterday, it needed revising. Ugh. OK. Because I used all of yesterday’s prep to get that done and today’s prep was supposed to be for grading last week’s work so it didn’t all pile up on me. OK. Well. So…again…I’m going to get this post done and go work before the starting time and then continue to work after the ending time, and I really don’t know how anyone is setting any boundaries with their school jobs right now. I mean, it’s also hard to do that when you work from home, because it’s always there, screaming at you that it needs to get done. I can’t leave everything at school and walk away from it because school is in my living room.

31 days. It’s 31 days. It seems a vast expanse of time at the moment. I am 5/6s of the way through the school year and the last sixth is the hardest so far.

So I walk…although my legs currently feel like wooden stumps that I’m dragging along by pure willpower, but drag them I do.

Maybe I need more legs…and furry bits.

Longer and/or younger legs would also help.

We did a 3+-mile hike at Crestridge on Monday with the little dog. The old lady has strained herself and needs rests from long walks.

She hasn’t done 3 miles for a while, though. Which is sad, but the way of aging…eventually…

Then I did another 3 1/2 miles yesterday in my neighborhood. Usually I can do an 18- to 19-minute mile up this hellacious hill behind us, but I was at 22 minutes yesterday. Legs like logs. Ugh. Not sure why. Whole walk was slow. My legs are sore today, like I haven’t been hiking every other day…which I have. Not sure what’s up with that, but I could do without it.

Monday night, I managed a whopping 38 minutes of ironing.

But that’s 38 minutes I wouldn’t have done otherwise, so I am thankful. Irritably thankful. Dumb day job. I did get all the flesh ironed down and then started on the other bits.

Other bits included a uterus, some bony bits, all the cardiovascular stuff, her eye, some weaving on her face, and one of her tattoos. I haven’t figured out hair color yet, and the lungs are still on the list. Plus the birds pulling on the strings coming out of her mouth. I keep thinking I might be close to done, and I probably am. Last night, I ironed for about an hour and a half (better!), so I have 12 1/2 hours in so far. In 8 days? 9? Slow as fuck. But progress. Keep telling myself it’s progress.

Progress toward finishing the quilt. Progress toward the end of this hellacious school year and a mental break where I can read all the books. And make more art. Progress toward seeing the man again…even though it will be a longer drive each time to get to him, and at some point, driving won’t make sense. Fly? Rent a car? School will start again before he’s back and time will get tighter. Ah well. Whatever. My principal sent out a form yesterday to ask what we wanted to teach next year. How about WHERE I want to teach. Not in my living room. Not on Zoom, although that’s a very real possibility. It’s probably easier if you can see and talk to real humans during the day who are doing the job you are doing. I don’t know if that’s easier? I haven’t done it all year. Yesterday was Teacher Appreciation Day, by the way. One sweet kid wrote me a really nice email. Which is OK. This age group is notoriously bad for acknowledging shit, but that one email was really appreciated. Yes, I told her that.

Meditating cat. Or me meditating. Hard to say.

And this one decided that meditation time was sit on your chest and poke sharp claws in you time.

OK, so that thing that woke me up at dark thirty (the thought about redoing the videos, not the cat claws) still needs to be done, and then school and school and school. And hopefully exercise and ironing at the end of it. I do not have to cook tonight (oh hallelujah), so that’s a plus. More cooking with the man gone has not been fun. Food is fuel. I just make lots of it and eat the same thing each night and get more and more sick of it. In the summer, I will do a better job of preparing a variety of meals and freezing them in batches so I can just pull from that each night I need to, but for now, it’s just getting by.

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.

A Little Breathless…

OK. I did a bunch of stuff yesterday and it wasn’t nearly enough. The to-do list for today woke me up this morning (well, the cat woke me up and it was light, so I put a pillow over my head and then the kids next door were up early and the dog started barking at them and then the Man texted from his hotel on the trail and that was the end of it, because the to-do list started screaming. Full on. Screaming.). Progress reports are due Tuesday, I have 25 kids transferring out of distance into in-person (oh halle-fucking-lujah, go you sweet bastards, go), so all their shit had to be input yesterday, including the two who were added last minute (one of them a good hour after school, thank you very much, stupid district and their shit), so I got all that done and graded all the late work that wasn’t high-level academic shit (and then got more kids emailing shit). It was a shit day, for sure.

So I still have 17 late assignments to get through, but they require brain power and I don’t have enough tea in me yet for that. Then finish creating the science assignment for MONDAY (shit shit shit) and the art warmup that is only in my head and nowhere fucking else (really y’all techy people need to figure out how to download shit from my brain ASAP; It’s just fucking boggling that you haven’t figure that out yet). Then finish planning for next week, make some videos for art. I’M STRESSED Y’ALL. If that isn’t obvious. I’m trying to gather all the tasks into my arms and hold them, and it’s why I made this quilt, I Gave Already…because I did and this is what it feels like.

That quilt is not new, so the problem is also not new.

So yeah. I’m OK. But a little breathless when I think too hard about what’s on that list. Art envelopes need to get to school, get more stuff in them, emails go to people who will handle the giving out of the envelopes. Cat food and meds for dog and cat. Groceries. Hang with a friend (that’s probably a good thing). Got the Man a vaccine appointment for today (yes, a major portion of my anxiety in the last three weeks has been his hiking unvaccinated), booked a cabin for next weekend so I can hang with him (needed laundry facilities…I got that AND a jacuzzi. Latter might be for me.). Might even take a day off work. Dunno. That might be more stress to prep for. Fuck my job, though. It’s beyond overwhelming at the moment and I can’t get away from it.

That’s why I walk so much…to get away from the job. It takes about a mile uphill for it to get the fuck out of my head and to be able to breathe deeply again.

It was hot on Thursday, Friday too, so I waited as long as I could before hiking. Still hot.

Flowers are still the best part of it.

I walk by this tree once a week and I don’t think I’ve ever seen flowers on it…and they’re awesome.

Keep looking, new stuff all the time.

Meanwhile, we had a juvenile coyote trying to move into our upper yard. Boychild went out and chopped up some plants and spread some wolf urine pellets, hopefully to persuade it to move along. I was checking the space the other day and saw this donation from our feathered predator friends.

The Man made it past mile 200…

And to Interstate 10…

Sometimes the Garmin gives some pretty amazing pictures. He did go UNDER the freeway. He’s in a town now, waiting for his appointment. Hopefully he’ll feel OK tomorrow and will be able to get back on the trail. I know yesterday was rough…over 19 miles down 5200 feet or so through a burn zone with limited water. In the heat. Certainly a challenge. I’m proud of him for doing this, even if I miss him tons.

His cats are in constant bird-watching mode. We have a bird house that was just sitting out on a bench on the deck. Nothing has ever lived in it until this year, when two tiny birds moved in and became BirdTV.

We also have baby birds in a nest in the entryway. I’m sure we have more than that, but those are the ones I’ve seen.

Makes for good entertainment.

I think this is gecko watching…or maybe moth.

Gotta watch the open windows this time of year…could lose the screens to the cats.

Someone I know was making tea towels for her mom…apparently the cicadas are coming back East? But this is kinda how I feel about the summer this year.

I was seriously considering just packing up the car and booking AirBnbs all up the Sierras to follow the Man. That’s not really doable or mature in any way. Just how I’m feeling. Mopey and lonely. Summer looks like shit. Except there will be no school, so that’s a plus.

This is still coming along…

I’m not totally invested in this quilt yet. I think it’s all the other stuff in my head. That said, it is a peaceful hour each night when I work on it. My brain can kind of push the other shit out for a while. So I appreciate that.

I think this is making silk…that part of the quilt. So I did the silkworms and moths, but these are cocoons being turned into thread for weaving.

Uh huh. I know. It doesn’t look like much here. Trust me.

After last night…I think I’m at about piece 340. Not fast, this. I have a quilt guild Zoom this morning, so I will do more during that. Hopefully I’ll do some tonight. We’ll see.

Because grades rule. And assignments rule. And then I get to have a life after that.

Ah, Kitten. You always get the chair.

OK, grade some shit, iron during meeting, kamikaze to school, the vet, and the pet store (wait, I could do that tomorrow on the way to the grocery store…never mind…I’m chaining those errands as much as possible). Then hang out for a while, come back, work some more. Hopefully art after that. Watching benign British drama at the moment. Shadow and Bone was a little YA for me. Maybe the book is better? Who knows. Ah yes, you’ll be glad to know that the neighbors behind having lights on all night was an aberration. Maybe they just forgot to turn them off, because the last two nights, they have been off. Light pollution solved on that side. Now for the side below me (still need BB gun for that one)…or my ex suggested taking cookies over and politely explaining the issue, but I’d probably also have to explain that when their parties get too loud and cackly or their kids get too high-pitched and screamy, I do in fact turn on music with swear words, loud, on purpose. Could be an awkward conversation. Oh well.

Less Cottony

Dear all my youngish neighbors with your little children who have now all installed really bright motion-sensor lights: Do you know that things that MOVE make your lights go on ALL NIGHT LONG…on the other side of the house, where you don’t even know about it, and the things that MOVE are animals, birds, and trees, sometimes bats. Seriously, the wind makes your stupid lights go on and you don’t really NEED them because you’re not out there in your side yard checking out what’s setting them off, BUT THEY ALL SHINE IN MY HOUSE. EVERY DAMN ONE OF THEM. Plus the damn fairy light strings everywhere. Yes, they are nice and pretty, but they don’t need to be on all night. I think they’re still on now and it’s broad daylight. Have you never heard of light pollution?

I hear my parents have a BB gun.

Yes, I am the crazy old lady neighbor. But seriously. So much lighting of spaces where there are no peoples.

Hey, well, it’s Thursday. Somehow I got off my every-other-day schedule and am trying to write on the days when I don’t normally write. Today is a staff meeting day AND a lab day, so this will be hopefully quick. What have I been doing? Well, working on a quilt, of course. And I needed to dye some old quilt blocks for the background of this one.

So I don’t know about you, but I have all the dye supplies ready to go in the cupboard, and can start a small dye job at 9:38 PM on a school night. I don’t usually do this, but it worked. I picked some of the old (really old, because I got them on Etsy a million years ago, but they aren’t in that great condition) blocks and tossed them in a mix of dyes that I thought would approximate the background fabric I already had picked. Left them for 24 hours and got this…

What’s funny about this is when I did the first rinse out of the dye bath, they all were that purply blue color…and by the time they got out of the washing machine, you can see that three were less cottony than I thought. OK. And I’m not sure the one on the bottom left will work…I don’t really want anything that has a lot of contrast. The 5 that worked are probably not enough (although they could be?) so I will probably try again. I did get the subtle changes that I wanted in about half of them, so that’s a success. Sort of.

Then I’ve been picking fabrics for an hour or so each night…

I find it really difficult to stop, actually. I just want to keep ironing. But I need to stick to my earlier bedtime, even though I don’t seem to be falling asleep much earlier. I’m sure I’m getting a little more? Maybe.

I’m averaging about 10-11 hours of artmaking a week at the moment…

That’s much better than the month of March, when I did a lot of nothing on art quilts. No sewing machine? I guess it was an issue. Plus overwork and exhaustion. Now I’m using the art to distract myself from isolation. But it’s also the artwork…and I love that normally. It’s not that I don’t love it now…it just isn’t giving me the same hit as usual.

I’ve been ironing for over 4 hours and I only have 200 pieces ironed down. Not super fast, y’all. There are a lot of fussy little decisions in the stuff on the Earth in this piece. Lots of overlapping colors and bits that require thought.

I finished appliqueing all the bits down to the April Homegrown blocks during one book club this week…

On to May. During the second book club (yes, I did that this week. Nights are deadly empty time.), I drew my Patreon drawing for the month…

And posted it. Talk about multitasking. I do it all the time. It works for me. I know it doesn’t work for some people. Certainly things like sewing and drawing occupy a different part of my mind than the meeting part. So it works. It’s not as effective during staff meetings, when I actually work on schoolwork through them. Those are overlapping parts of the brain and it means I sometimes miss stuff, but since 3/4s of what they talk about right now in staff meetings doesn’t apply to distance learning, I don’t really fucking care. I ask my team when I miss stuff.

I created that slide deck during the last staff meeting for the lab we did this week. And that calendar thing is so true at the moment.

I don’t even deal with one day. It’s sections of days. Morning. Afternoon. Evening. Night. Rinse. Repeat.

Here’s the lab we actually did…cellular respiration…

I have to do it one more time, today. It’s a pain in the butt, but it helps them think about the different types of food. Although then they think that sugar and food are the same thing. Not quite. I’m having a hard time getting a good chunk of them to listen at the moment. Normally, this is almost where we start sex ed and I have their full attention. I think this year will be harder at the end. I guess I will just roll with it. I don’t have control over so much of what goes on with their home lives, their attention spans, and their Wifi.

These two are sweet.

When Luna is not rampaging.

OK, hours of Zooming today followed hopefully by a good long walk and an already made dinner. Then more ironing. I think. Maybe I’ll get through more than 100 pieces in one night.

Clearing the Brain…

Clearing my brain before the work week starts? Before I start the next stage of the newest quilt in progress? It seems a useful thing, like meditating before I go to bed. I know the meditation app wants me to meditate in the morning, but I’m not a morning person and can’t get my head around it. It’s better to clear everything out and calm it down before I try to sleep. Even that leaves too much floating around in there some nights.

I spent most of the weekend trying to get bits and pieces of things done. I finally planted the milkweed seeds the boychild gave me for my birthday.

There’s 5 different varieties. If they all sprout, we’ll have milkweed for miles…which will make these guys happy…

My current three milkweed plants are not particularly healthy…

But they have caterpillars anyway.

I went to some of the SAQA conference this weekend, well, maybe most of it…

I cut out all the Wonder Under for the newest quilt in the last three days, mostly while listening to the conference webinars.

I think that was what I got done on Friday night…

And the rest on Saturday. After the conference, I sorted all the pieces…

So they’re ready for ironing to fabrics.

This guy is still hiking…

Yeah. Well. I got a few words and images of him. One phone call so far, one FaceTime. At some point, when he gets up to the Big Bear area, I might be able to meet up with him. It will take him a while to get all the way across those mountains, so I have a better chance of meeting him. He just made it to Idyllwild this afternoon, so with my having to work tomorrow, that doesn’t work at all.

The loss of the daily personal connection is really hard. He’s been gone for trips before for work, even going to Europe, but never for this long. And the vast expanse of time ahead with his continuing to be gone? I can’t say I’m dealing well with it. There’s a lot of connection already missing from my life due to COVID and teaching from home.

Anyway, my solution yesterday to an increasingly low mood was to shop for fabric.

Just to be clear, I don’t need any more fabric. I have plenty. And this piece I’m working on now will use some recycled fabric and donated fabric, but I was in a bad mood and fabric makes me happier. So there we are.

This was my weekly cat photo on Instagram for the Man.

I don’t know if he misses his cats. They miss him. They like me, and certainly, they are all over the bed at night (if only they would curl up like this and not hog the bed).

Ah sisters.

OK, well this is just really my procrastination over cleaning the studio. I don’t feel like cleaning. I did vacuum yesterday. Look! It’s like I’m a housewife or something (something. I’m definitely something.). I did a bunch of schoolwork this weekend, just because I need to stay on top of it. Grades are due next weekend, and although I’m losing 16 kids to in-person instruction, that means their grades have to be done early. Stress me out much? Yeah. So clean up, be ready to iron tonight. I’ll meditate, and hopefully sleep a little better? I don’t know. This coming week is a little crazy. Hopefully not in a bad way. There’s only so much fabric in the world. I can’t (and shouldn’t) buy all of it.

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.

These Pieces Are Kinda Small…

So yesterday was 4/20, which if you’re a middle school teacher, you know why I’m bringing this up. Every year, it’s a Big Deal for middle schoolers that it’s 4/20 because pot and ha ha ha and do you get it wink wink. Teachers roll their eyes and explain this is not new, they are not amazeballs, and we move on. Yesterday was 4/20 and I didn’t even realize it (like most of you) until I was creating an invoice at the end of the day, and then I was like, HOLY CRAP. The last two years, I don’t think a single kid has said a freakin’ word about 4/20…or about pot in general. Like at all. So many of the annoying behaviors we see in the classroom just disappear online. Also, unfortunately, some of the kids just disappear online, but that’s another issue. So weird. No 4/20 this year.

The good school news is that they are hiring two more teachers and I will be losing around 20 students in 2 or 3 weeks. This will get me close to 150, the lowest all year. I’ve had 170+ students in previous years, but in a physical classroom with only one prep, science. This year, with the multiple preps and having to create so much curriculum from scratch that will actually work with online students has buried me like no other year. I’m walking exhaustion at the moment. Even hiking yesterday, my legs complained for the first mile (although my speed was good). I felt like I was dragging wood blocks through molasses. Ugh. Today I need to grade like the wind and be efficient, more than I was yesterday. I say that, but I worked all day, then worked through the SAQA conference after school, so I’m doing the things. They just feel really hard at the moment. MOMENT=all year.

The plus is that I did walk yesterday. It’s been warm and it looks it here, but it was starting to cool off.

It’s flower and also weird pod season. I see these every year and they are always fascinating.

I managed to trace another hour’s worth of Wonder Under both on Monday and Tuesday night…

I’m supposed to be trying to go to bed early, and I do look at the clock and make that attempt, but then I just lie there in bed, unable to fall asleep. Singularly frustrating. And that’s after meditating. Sigh. Bad sleeper, that’s me.

These pieces are kinda small.

I did through piece 600, so I have 290 pieces left to trace. Damn. I thought I was further along. Ugh. OK. It’s fine. If I’m efficient with grading today, since I finished the copyediting finally, I will have some extra time for tracing. It’s all good.

Couple things: the bees left the composter, so that’s good. Now I need to wash the wax off. They tried to start a hive and I don’t want them coming back. They will come back though. The bitchy neighbor in me wants to put a bee hive up on the slope where the neighbors want to build a fence. Sigh. They haven’t done it yet, but whatever. I don’t want a fence. Chain link. Ugly. And then she wants to plant bamboo, the ‘non-clumping kind’. Stupid. And blocks my light. Whatever. So annoyed by neighbors these days. And the movie Mary Shelley. Double ugh. Is that really her story? She did write Frankenstein at a really early age; impressive. But the story of Percy Shelley and their relationship just sucked. So it turns out that some of it was inaccurate. You can read about it here. Interesting that this Shelley researcher says the book Frankenstein focused on her anxieties while pregnant, and that they didn’t even use her words in the movie; they used her husband’s. Sigh. So I just finished reading nonfiction about teaching. I try to read some nonfiction. It’s not my favorite. Reading is escape, right? But I am trying a new Zoom book club, and I now need to read another nonfiction book by next Tuesday, and the book is good, but it will just boggle me and make me feminist angry (like I’m not already). It’s called Invisible Women and is about the data biases that disappear the entire gender in the world. It’s not that I don’t know about some of these things; they just irritate me. As well they should.

The man is still hiking…the boychild delivered a supply box yesterday, and now he has 70 miles to the next store. It’ll be a few days. I can’t see him this weekend; I’m buried in meetings and stuff, but hopefully the weekend after that. Although grades are due for progress reports; that complicates things. Sigh. Dumb job. He did text me about Derek Chauvin though…because he saw the news before I did. Tears to my eyes. America, let’s do this. Make it better. We’re not done.

Here’s a cat.

Here’s a bunny. We have lots of them.

And here are two more cats…

I think it must be nice to be a cat. They certainly get more sleep than I do. It’s probably not as nice to be a bunny. They always seem so scared, and we have tons of predators outside.

OK, efficient grading day. More tea to counteract the tiredness. It’s somewhat chilly today. I have pilates (yay) and then I can trace for a chunk of time. Maybe I will finish? Probably not, but maybe. I did get more Wonder Under, a whole bolt of it. That should last me a while. These are the plans. And the positives. Wonder Under. Tea. Pilates. Tracing.

I Want Up and Out…

I managed to see the man this weekend on one of his zero days. He was about an hour away from me, so I drove out and hung out with him for…well…less than 24 hours. It is what it is. I’ll probably get one more visit with him before the end of school, if the trail coincides with my weekends, and then he’ll be too far out. I’ll manage a visit or two over the summer, depending, and then that’s it. It’s a lot of days and it’s hard, but he’s having a great time (most days, most minutes) on the trail and all that is a good thing.

He is still trying to lighten the load, so I brought some things back with me…

We went out to dinner, and there was live music.

It felt really strange to be sitting outside, having a drink and some food, while listening to music. I really missed that. Almost cried at the table. Silly, yeah? But yeah.

I stitched while he was organizing his stuff…both times? All three times?

There was a lot of organizing going on. The next day, his group found out that the next resupply store they were aiming for had burned down overnight, so there was some scrambling, both physically and mentally. In the end, I offered the boychild to drive up the resupply boxes when they got to the next section. Complicated stuff, but we can still help right now. As they get further north, they might be camped out next to a post office for a few days instead.

The next day, we shuttled out to where they had left the trail, and I sent him off on the next section.

I won’t see him for at least 2-3 weeks.

It was warm, windy, and dry.

This was his view a few hours later.

Desert flowers are blooming…some are so tiny.

I was glad to see him, sad to see him go. I’m a little isolated at the moment by my job situation and the continuation of COVID stuff here. Sure, I’m vaccinated, but my kids aren’t. And he’s not either, which worries me. But with Johnson and Johnson getting pulled, he doesn’t have any great opportunities to get vaccinated, unfortunately. And he doesn’t seem worried about it, so I will do that for him, in true Kathy fashion.

Friday night, the family and I went down to the beach. It’s not somewhere I usually go, and there were a lot of unmasked people walking around in Pacific Beach. Scary really. For me, I guess. This is my brother and his youngest.

They left Saturday. Girlchild leaves Thursday. It will be quieter here then. Not necessarily a good thing. Just a thing.

I came home to bees in the composter.

I took the lid off, hoping they would leave. They haven’t yet, but it’s been less than 24 hours. I’ll call the bee guy eventually.

This guy is currently barking his head off.

The kids left to go on a hike and so it is just me and 5 animals. He is offended by any living creature on the property. I haven’t gone to look at what’s setting him off, but it’s probably a bunny or the neighbor.

There have been window geckos exciting the cats…

So that’s how far I got on these over the weekend…

This is Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block of the month from a few years back. I started stitching things down when the pandemic started, but only just started the embroidery. They are fun. Distracting.

I started up on the tracing again, after coming home last night. I’m in the 500s…

So officially halfway. I need more Wonder Under, though, so will have to venture to JoAnns hell today. Oh well.

I’m not ready for school. I didn’t get much done over the weekend due to family and hanging with the man. So I’m behind. Oh well. I am looking forward to more tracing tonight, though…I finished the world and am now in the human figure. So I’m getting there. 43 days of school left. I finally lost some students, instead of just adding them on. So that’s a plus. I’m really mentally done with my job. I’m still doing it. I’m still creating stuff and recording videos (4 yesterday, I’ll need to do 2 more by Thursday or Friday) and grading stuff and answering emails, but I’m finding it difficult to be present in the chair, on Zoom, without being really antsy. I want up and out…and over. I want school to be over. I want everyone vaccinated. Although the man is loving his trip and he’s barely started, I want that to be over too. It’s hard being the one left at home. So I count days and keep myself working on art and reading and being distracted by those things. The ends will come. Eventually they will come.

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.