135 Days…

Time has a strange warp to it. I have never put Summer Break on my countdown app (it counts down until an event) until after Spring Break…until this year. Every day, I slide over on the phone so I can see: Spring Break 51 days, Yosemite 55 days, the Man leaving for the PCT 64 days, Summer Break 135 days. 51 seems doable. Until a day like yesterday, and then it’s like, man, how many days left until the weekend (3). I really hate people who will say things like TWO days to the weekend on Wednesday morning…I’m like, fuck you, we still have to survive today. That’s THREE days. I guess they are perkier people than I. Delusional. Sometimes time is so slow in class that I feel like I’m checking the time every minute; yesterday, doing a demonstration on elements, time was faster than a cheetah, skimmed past and was gone. Oh shit. Well. Weird. Because in the physical classroom, I would have done that demo in a 51-minute period with time to spare. Online? Much longer.

But today is Wednesday, hump day, get over it. Dad comes home today. Hopefully being home around familiar things will help with healing, remembering. I’m hoping to see him today; I’ve seen him twice (well except for FaceTime once) since he fell…once when we thought he was dying and once when he was in the COVID ward, from outside a window, standing in the dirt. It’s been a weirdass 2 1/2 months. I’m good with those being over. I’m hoping the next 2 1/2 months have fewer lows and more positive shit going on. School notwithstanding. School is a frustrating exhausting demoralizing annoying all-encompassing whirlwind of stress and anxiety and irritation. More so than usual.

So I hike. And I make art. And I read. And sleep. And pet lots of animals during the day. And plant succulents, because they are harder for me to kill. Small rewards. Mom got her first vaccine shot. Small rewards. COVID sent my whole grade level home for the next two weeks. Well. That sucks. But it’s not surprising. Vaccines aren’t available for the kids yet, and here in San Diego, teachers aren’t even on the list yet. Maybe by the end of the month. Maybe.

Monday, Kitten took over my work chair. This amused my 6th-grade art kids no end.

Eventually I put her on the light table, where she appeared under the doc cam, and then slept on the edge of the couch, near me, for the rest of the class day. She’s a strange needy beast at times. I’ve been doing chemistry demos the last two days, and keeping the cats out of the materials has been hard. I set up and put plastic bins over the test tubes and element samples until I teach, shooing the cat away on the regular.

The next unit will be fun for this crap. All chemistry, all the time. The test tubes have HCl and CuCl2 in them, but they need to sit for 24 hours for some of the chemical changes, so outside they went…

They’re a little damp this morning, but they’ll work. I had a headache all day, though, because of the iodine and sulfur. Windows open, not good enough. Today is corrosion and something. I’ll remember it…tarnish! Yeah. It’s a little easier and shorter, but the vinegar will drive me bonkers. The kids thought it was cool though. So there’s that.

I’ve walked two days in a row (see a need? see above rant)…over 8 miles total. We left the old lady behind on Monday and dragged the little one out for 4 1/2 miles…finally found the gate at the end of the path.

There were a lot of people on the trail, but 16 of them were what looked like a high-school cross country team.

There was definitely evidence of last week’s rain in the creek/river/whatever it is.

But the water’s been higher. We’re just over 4″ of rain since July 1…it’s not enough.

The little boy (dog) was tired afterwards, which is a good thing. The old lady can’t really do more than a mile, mile and a half, right now. Even then, she is very limpy. Which is too bad, because she loves walks.

Yesterday, after a lot of parent and kid issues with school, I walked myself…

I got a late start (dealing with kids and parents after school)…and ended up in the almost dark at the end. This sign confuses me. Should I just knock on the door?

Maybe she will be lurking around outside? I would totally buy cookies from a neighbor kid right now. Except I haven’t had cash in my wallet for 11 months now. Hmmm.

The plus of these late walks are the skies.

Although it’s staying lighter later. Hallelujah. Leaving at 3:30 to get an hour in before dark was rough.

Art: this piece is smaller, much smaller…so it’s going fast. I traced Wonder Under in two nights…

While binge-watching Bridgerton. The man called it soft porn. Eh. That’s possible.

Three and a half hours later, I was ready to trim Wonder Under.

Before that, of course, I graded shit. I do that almost every night. I give myself Saturday night off. Usually. I sometimes have help…Nova was first, then Luna.

I thought I might be able to get it all cut out in one night, but I was exhausted…

So that’s tonight’s work. Then sort it and hopefully iron it to fabric after I iron the baby owl down. I’m also supposed to be quilting my wool piece, the UFO, for progress before Friday night for my guild. Um. Hmmm. Maybe. Anyway. Progress. I like progress. It makes me feel like I’m getting something positive or useful done. My day job did NOT do that for me yesterday…well, except for kids liking the chemistry part. That was cool. Today will hopefully be cool too. We’ll see.

Cat.

OK, meeting in 25 minutes, school time starts in 11, need to set up demo, get some other stuff pounded out, hopefully no more nastygrams demanding or claiming shit that doesn’t, didn’t, wouldn’t happen. Sigh. Kids. They panic, cry, lie about shit. And parents don’t question that; just assume I am wrong, I am horrible. Sigh. Double sigh. It’s demoralizing sometimes. And this year has so little support…because there’s no one else here and my team is not a team this year and I can’t get answers to stuff I need answers to, because…just because. I’m back to looking at the countdown app. 135 days.

Manage This Better…

I am currently completely and totally procrastinating answering all the parent and kid school emails from this weekend. Some don’t need an answer; they were an appropriate acknowledgment to the weekly notifications I send about hey, y’all aren’t turning shit in. Unfortunately, some weren’t. I saw the first one roll in Friday night. I could say I ignored them, but I didn’t. I just didn’t answer them. So they’ve been sitting in my gut all weekend. Maybe that’s why I answer right away…so that doesn’t happen. Sure, I could be like some people and not have my email come to my phone…or my home computer…and I could never open my school computer during the weekend…HA HA HA…oh wait, that’s bullshit, because I can’t even come close to getting all my school work done in the 5 days of the week I’m paid to do it, who the fuck am I kidding? Anyway, it is my constant goal to manage this better, acknowledge my failure to do so, and move on. Those emails will get answered today; no one will like the answers, but oh well. The really annoying one from last weekend, the mom never emailed back and said, oh hey, I’m sorry for bitching you out for something you don’t even do, don’t have any control over, and tried to fix for me. No thanks, no sorry, no acknowledgment at all. Noted. Fully noted.

This job. Is. So. Hard. This. Year.

Luckily, when I went in to school on Friday, my co-teacher was still there and helped me (and my overwhelmed fuzzy brain) gather all the science-y stuff together for this week’s demos. Chemistry for all! It’s hard to make art around the job sometimes…literally, right now, I need the light table, and I have all this school stuff on it, so I’m trying to work around it. Or through it. Hard to say which.

Friday, I dropped my quilt at the photographer (pictures tomorrow!), then went to school, then to enlarge some drawings from December 2019-February 2020. You know, pre-COVID shit hitting the fan.

I only copied three drawings. They’re out of a 9×12″ sketchbook and I enlarged them 200%. I figured that was a good size for right now, when I don’t have much room on the light table or in my brain.

I think this was one of my Patreon drawings…maybe? Can’t remember.

This was one of the December drawings a day from 2019…because I didn’t even come close to doing that in 2020.

And this was from our Joshua Tree trip from February last year…

I sometimes go back and read previous year’s blogs for the same month as now, just to remind myself of the mindset at the time. It helps when I think things are out of control. I saw these drawings and thought they’d make good smaller quilts. I posted all three on Insta/FB, and there were a few votes for this one.

But I’d already picked the Joshua Tree one for the first quilt. I started tracing it last night and forgot to take any photos. I forgot a lot of things yesterday. I also stayed up way too late on Friday night trying to manage some of the stress in my head…stitching things down.

It didn’t really help. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ll figure it out.

I wanted to hike Saturday, but with all the rain on Friday (we got over an inch in 24 hours, which is a lot for us), we didn’t want to stomp through a muddy trail and destroy it, so we picked an urban hike, the Seven Bridges Trail. I’ve done it a couple of times, but the Man hadn’t. It starts in Balboa Park, where there were lots of people…

Bridge number 1…

It’s not a difficult hike…fairly flat…bridge number 2…

Interesting views though…bridge number 3…

And some intriguingly bouncy bridges…OK, only one bouncy one…bridge number 4…

Came through Hillcrest, which is constantly evolving, and got off the official trail down a back alley of murals…

Which is probably how we got over the 6-mile mark…

It’s a little weird waiting for signals during a hike…

Bridge number 5…did I miss one??? Maybe.

Yeah, I didn’t photograph one. I don’t know which one. Bridge number 6…no wait, I did it right…

Some people will argue this is not a hike, because it’s not ‘out in nature’. Except there was nature all around. Hence the urban word. Not my preferred type of hike, but we still walked the whole time, didn’t stop and get ice cream (although it would have been OK if we had)…

Bridge number 7…

And I’ve never been able to figure out why it’s the Seven Bridge Walk, if there are eight bridges…

Another side trip adding to our mileage…

Through the cactus garden at Balboa Park…

Bridge number 8…

Like I said, over 6 miles. Tired. But good. Outside. Too peoply. Next weekend, we’ll do a hike on dirt with fewer people around.

Saturday night, I ironed all the fabrics for the tiny owl quilt I’m making…

And then cut them out…

After doing the January Patreon drawing…

And numbering the third of the smaller quilt drawings…

Plenty of art happening. Plenty of work happening. It’s February now. I have 17 emails to answer before school.

I mean, my school district actually has kids in physical school too, but I have kids in school, every freakin’ school day, and yeah. Working my ass off. Stressed out. Overwhelmed. Buried. Don’t tell me I’m not working.

Cats…

They handle everything better than I do.

OK, work, then exercise, then art.

The Bones of This Nation

Ah Friday. But also rain, lots of it. I see a bit of blue sky out my window, but I don’t know if it will last. My moods are sort of mirroring the weather this week: fucking all over the map. I’m not sure why, but I bet there’s a reason. My job? Yeah some of it. Finishing a quilt? Not usually an emotional thing, but these are fucking unprecedented times. I think being immersed in a difficult and time-consuming project in a medium I love is a good thing, like a big chunky and all-encompassing book you’re reading, and it helps distract me from the other stuff that sucks or makes me anxious, and when it’s done, there’s this letdown, like WTF am I going to do now? I can’t have a single down day; I need a new project. It’s OK. In the back of my brain for days, I’ve been planning new projects. A few lighter ones and then perhaps a heavier one. It’s like my reading…I just finished reading the Indigenous People’s History of the United States, and it’s dense and heavy and often difficult to read…

Certainly some of this history better explains our fascination with our right to guns. I did love the ending though…

The bones of this nation will mend after the revolution. I can get behind that. I can get on that train. But this next book needs to be a bit lighter to help my mood.

Also, in the mood, my dad is finally coming home next week. His brain will take a year to heal. We don’t really know how he is at the moment. I just know my mom is really excited and we’re glad to have more time with him. So many things affect mood. I’ve been kind of trapped at home this week; didn’t get my mid-week walk due to emergency union meetings, so I’m antsy and irritable, more than usual. Hiking tomorrow though. Hopefully.

So I managed to do all the hand sewing on the binding in one four-hour marathon run on Wednesday…

I started in book club and finished on the couch with a variety of animals.

This is an amazingly bad, late-night picture of it…

Of course, I stayed up past midnight on a school night to finish it. It’s going to the photographer this week.

A friend liked the owl up in the tree and asked for a small quilt of it…so I traced it…

Inked it…

Traced it on Wonder Under…

And cut it out last night…

It’s ready for ironing to fabric tonight. It’s a palate cleanser…super small, super easy. And I have a smallish drawing picked out for the next one…one that caught my eye as I was reading back through my blog…I do that as a sanity check, although this last year is a doozy.

I had book club Wednesday, yesterday was full of meetings…this is my work desk view…and the Zoom window on the left is my prep room at school…

I’ll be there today, picking up materials for next week’s demo. My co-teacher is awesome and gathers everything as I panic at home. It’s not ideal. But it’s functional…

I also had a stitching meeting last night. I can’t show what I’ve been embroidering for the last few months, because it hasn’t published yet; just know you’ll see it soon enough. But I did this start of a mend…

I really love this shirt and it developed some holes on the belly area…that’s where I get all my shirt holes. I’m going to embroider/slow stitch over it and wear it anyway. Saving clothes, one shirt at a time.

It’s been chilly here and kittens have been doing lots of cute curling upness.

They are sweethearts.

I have work in this upcoming show in LA. I probably won’t get to see the show, but it’s nice to have this piece shown…show notice…

And the huge piece that will be there…One of My Kind

Those are my kids, my mom, and my grandmother…she’s the skeleton. We bury them, but they still live on in our hearts and minds and often our behaviors.

OK, today will be long and full of work, but hopefully ending in some artistic endeavors and a good night’s sleep. I hope. And hopefully a mood shift. I don’t always have control over those, but I try.

It’s in the Agenda…

I think it’s finally Thursday. It’s not finally Friday and it’s not still Wednesday. Thursday means I’m done teaching half my kids, but now I have to remember what I taught Tuesday to science and hopefully figure out what I’m teaching today to two levels of art. I write a lot of shit down and this is why. Like those weekly/daily agendas I put on Google Classroom for the kids? Sure, they might help a kid or two who actually looks at them, but really, they’re for me, so I can remember WTF I thought I would be teaching today. Tomorrow? Who the fuck knows. I think it’s in the agenda. I’ll check later. My not-morning self hopefully was coherent yesterday afternoon in the heat and managed shit. We just don’t know.

Today is also the first day I don’t have a prep at all. And my lunch is at 11:05 AM. On the other three days, I can eat at a normal time, but not today or tomorrow. This is not a big deal to most people. My blood sugar likes a regular schedule though, so we’ll see how it goes. It’ll still be hot. I know that part.

I walked Tuesday night in anticipation of yesterday’s OMG heat. It was still hot, though, and I had to persuade myself multiple times not to jump ahead and do it faster, shorten the walk. Skip that section.

Is it Halloween? I even left later and was walking in dusk, which isn’t a bad thing right now. The view of the valley with a bit of haze…school is down there somewhere.

I need to go to school tomorrow and drop off the materials I needed for this unit and pick up the materials for the next unit. But that wasn’t in my head that night.

Oh I lie. School is always in my head. Even when I’m asleep.

Will I ever get to go back? Will I feel comfortable when I go back? Will I remember how to teach the way we should be teaching kids this age? Too much talking right now.

Speaking of too much talking…

I didn’t want to watch it, but it was on in the room. I worked through it. So much need to shut up, y’all. So much.

Yesterday was just hot. This is the stream table setup I’m using for class (what you can use a light table for)…yesterday I upped it to two fans on me, plus the doc cam was up there as well.

Too many cords snaking across, too much sand and water. But it works. Kids can see what’s happening. There’s still a chunk of kids who don’t do anything, but I will eventually have to give up on them. They will come and go and I will continue to teach and offer help, but if I can’t get a parent/guardian to respond, it makes it really difficult. Those conversations about school need to start really early, y’all…not when the kid is 12. I do love their video views of the ceiling and the tops of their heads (lots of curly tops at the moment), and the occasional chat message that makes me laugh.

Yesterday had some of that, but it also started with this…

So that’s our science curriculum. Somehow in re-rostering kids, we lost access from about 3 PM Tuesday until noonish yesterday. I had a class I taught before that, though, so I panicked in the morning and made the docs they needed from stuff I had stashed in the drive, instead of using the program, but it was a pain in the butt. And then by my afternoon class, access was back and I actually had the right kids in my classes, unlike Monday, and it was almost like a real teaching thing. Except now I have 7,000 things to grade or check off and I think a new printer cartridge is coming today or maybe it’s not until tomorrow, which I guess is permission to not grade shit until then? Ugh. UGH.

Yesterday. Today will be 4 degrees cooler. I relish those 4 degrees.

I only get 2 tomorrow.

I spent about 2 1/2 hours last night after Pilates planning more shit (after planning right after school briefly with my partner, who’s doing similar but not the same stuff in a similar but not the same at all way because she’s in person), so IDK how many hours I worked yesterday, but like 14 hours minus an hour for exercise and 20 minutes for lunch and 30 minutes to do all the watering. I ate dinner while working. Not bad. Really. I was trying to plan AND watch the man’s band livestream, their newest version of being a band not in a bar…

Yes, he’s wearing a cow costume. It was a pajama party. I’m not sure how that translates into animal costumes. All this while the neighbor’s kids ran screamingly amok for a good four hours of did I mention screaming? with about 5 other kids, which means no, they are not social distancing and IDK how they don’t get people sick, or maybe they do and they just don’t know it, but it better be fucking quiet tonight or I am buying paint guns. Multiples. One for each hand and anyone who wants to help. Fucking noisy as hell, and yes, I raised children, but it’s a fucking school night and some of us are trying to work and I can’t shut the windows because it’s too damn hot and those kids, especially the little whiny screaming-at-the-top-of-their-lungs ones, drive me bonkers at that noise level for that long. Short term? OK. FOUR hours. Nope.

I’m old. It’s true. I’m relishing the quiet right now. It’s delightful. It won’t last, but it’s good for now.

I needed to do a drawing for my Patreon last night, so eventually I gave up on working (it’s such a slog prepping shit because the curriculum is only half ready and I need slides, so right now I’m making them because theirs won’t be available until ‘mid-October’, whenever that is…too late, assholes). Simba helped for a while (fan blowing on both of us)…

Those many arms have shown up before when I feel overwhelmed. Kitten was decidedly not helpful.

Although I think I was almost done at that point…

Certainly she thought I was.

OK, well school, then exhaustion, oh wait, OMA opening tonight (virtual) plus I need to make dinner and plan more and grade some and hopefully finish ironing fabric for the SJSA block that needs to be done SATURDAY (oh my. please stop laughing. I might be able to do it.). I’m exhausted. Didn’t I start out saying that? Heat needs to go. I need that printer cartridge. I need the science curriculum to catch up with me. I need art supplies and a way to get them to kids. I need time and sleep and cookies again (there aren’t any). Short term, I definitely need more tea.

Everything Changes

My computer is trying to download a video from iCloud that I need for my Patreon. I tried to do it last night, and nothing was showing up. At first, the computer said it would take two hours (for a 90-second video) and now it’s down to 2 minutes. Wildly inaccurate, if you ask me. But it’s where I’m at…not believing the technology. Seriously, I’m still looking at the weather app for this week, going into October, with temperatures of 104-105 degrees for the next few days. Ugh. I’m gonna die here in the no-A/C. I’d like the app to be wrong, but I’m sure it’s not. And I know the download speeds vary for the internet, mostly because my internet is a cranky bastard (I was gonna write bitch, but no…let’s not land all the bad shit on women…we get enough of it as it is)…yesterday, it kicked me out, or Zoom kicked me out of class 4 times in one 45-minute period. I suspect today will be the same. When it’s warm, it’s worse. Hopefully not, since I’m doing a demo today. Boychild and I set up stream tables in the living room (you know, like you do) and tested them.

The animals were fascinated. What’s really fun is the sand needs to be wet to do this, and it’s supposed to be hot as hell today, and I’m not just doing it today because all the schedules changed, so it needs to stay set up until after I teach on Thursday. Ah. Well. Life is interesting. The cats want to be in it. After today, I’ll move the trays outside until Thursday, although we’ll have to cover them out there as well…don’t need to make a bug nest or some intriguing place for a skunk to poop. Who knows what will happen with them.

I do have a prep period in between the two classes today, and I start with my smallest class…I’m more worried about the huge class on Thursday with a bunch of special-needs kids. It’ll be fine. I’m sure.

Here’s the temperatures…should keep the sand drying out (not what I want, unfortunately)…

So yesterday was like the first day of school again, except now I have three grade levels and three class preps and 40 more kids than I had last week. But I’m not in the classroom. Pros and cons. Today all my peeps go back with actual kids and we’re taking bets (not really) on how long it takes to shut school down with the first case of COVID. They’re in cohorts, so one will go home at a time, but you still know it’s going to happen.

At the end of the day yesterday, after managing a bunch of stuff I wasn’t ready for and also wasn’t completely comfortable with (ah, what’s new, 2020?), I rested briefly.

This space is over-crowded at the moment…and I need to figure that out, but right after that picture, we were setting up the stream tables and then I was running around watering, folding my laundry, making dinner, setting up the slides for today’s teaching, trying to figure out how the fuck far I can get in the lesson in an HOUR. Ugh. An HOUR. Too long. I’m hoping to get them to a certain point and then push them off to finish on their own, but yesterday, they were leaving when I said, hey, this thing needs to be done, and then it wasn’t. Sigh. So conversations need to happen today.

In good news, I think I said this before, but the quilt I haven’t been able to touch in a week (or more?) is tentatively sold. A deposit is on its way with a signed agreement, and as soon as I can get the two things off my shoulders that I need to finish this week, I’ll be finishing that one up.

She’s still in this stage. Not much ironing left…and then stitch down and quilt. Close to the end. Then I need to make some smaller ones.

First, though, I needed to finish this…

There were some very tense moments when she tried to collapse, but I have a strut inside right now that hopefully will help. Also, hopefully, she doesn’t explode in the kiln. I’ve tried to be really good about air spaces and all that. But you never know. Worst case, her parts will be by the side of the labyrinth we’re building.

It’ll be better if she’s whole though.

OK, well now I just need to figure out how to get her to our amazing ceramics person and her kiln before her deadline. I think I’ll need an assist on that. Then onto the fabric piece for SJSA, and then I can get back to the one on the ironing board. Which is sold! Good thing…money is tight right now. Not getting paid all summer is hard.

OK, survive today…only three classes instead of all six. Time to prep for next week, hopefully, or even beyond. Teaching art is still difficult for me (after the first day!). It’s not the same as in person…it’s really hard. Plus I don’t know the program we’re using very well, or any other programs, and there’s the matter of getting kids supplies when they can’t come in or won’t come in, for whatever reason, and what supplies actually exist and how to grade this shit anyway (I really don’t remember what I did a million years ago). It’s a lot of mental energy that I don’t have at the moment. No exercise in the last two days either, and it’s going to be hot as hell today, so that will make it hard. Hoping for a walk, if merely to clear the brain. Everything changes. We adapt, we adjust, and then it changes again. It’s a rough year for everyone…but teaching has been incredibly difficult. I’m not having fun right now, and I hope that changes…it has in the past few weeks been fun again sometimes, but right now…ugh. Nope. Not.

Permission to Take a Break

I’m not sure when I thought I would write this blogpost. Back in the old days, I would get up around 6:30, take my shower, get dressed, feed the animals I’m responsible for, grab a cup of tea and something that approximated breakfast, and I’d sit down at the computer and bang out a blogpost. I did that almost every day, Monday-Saturday. I took Sunday mornings off most week and the occasional other day, but pretty much this was how I cleared my brain for the day and dealt with any lingering anxieties from weirdass dreams and the previous day’s existence. Then I’d brush my teeth, take my meds, pack my lunch, and drive to work to teach all day. Come home, repeat the next morning. Work was a separate place you went to and although as a teacher, it’s really hard NOT to bring it home, at least it was at a different location and sometimes you’d treat yourself and leave the pile of papers and the work computer AT WORK, where they belonged. Permission to take a break.

Ah, no longer. I basically live in this one room of the house, venturing out only to pee and heat up my tea, with the occasional walk down the hallway just to move my legs. And here I am, at 10:30 at night, writing the blogpost I was supposed to write this morning. In the same place I sat all day. School starts earlier now, so I get up 15 minutes earlier, and granted, this was the first day of online school, so maybe I’ll get into a routine and there will be less morning panic about whether or not I have everything set up right (we didn’t. I was retyping a Google Question at 8:09 AM for a 9:25 AM class, which isn’t actually THAT abnormal, but I don’t like it). Two computers, three monitors, this is before the boychild brought in two pieces of wood that go across from the left desk to the printer shelf, notionally for the mouse…

Or also for a tripod that holds my phone, which is dialed into the Zoom class so I can show the chemistry demo.

That’s calcium chloride, cornstarch, and baking soda on the red plate. Don’t get excited. I didn’t blow anything up, although we had color change, gas, temperature change, and odor, all created in one fell swoop. Fun stuff. Totes would do this lab in person. Maybe in 2021.

School…exhausting teachers everywhere, every August and September, but especially in 2020. Rumor has it my school will be back in person on September 9. And my guess is that it will take about 3-4 weeks before at least one cohort is quarantined. Ah well. It is what it is. Kids will learn something this year. They will survive. I don’t subscribe to the theory that this is going to put them all behind. It might even drill some resilience into them. Some of them. It’s worse for the kids in schools that already struggle to bring kids up…losing a year when they’re already a few behind…but I believe some kids will still get it, they’ll still find a way to learn in the chaos of all this. And it’s not like we did this on purpose, invited a pandemic into our midst. Oh wait. Maybe some people are making it worse. Sigh. Vote dammit. Vote vote vote. Like our lives depend on it.

What else? I did iron the small Patreon piece together on Monday night…

Making small things is sometimes fun…

It didn’t have a lot of pieces and went together fairly quickly, in maybe an hour…

I got it ironed onto a background…

I’m hoping to get it finished this weekend.

I sold two pieces on Etsy, so that was also nice. I figure it’s about 30 decent bottles of wine.

I’m joking. I don’t need that much wine. Not yet. Give me a month and I might change my mind.

Then last night, I cleaned up and set up to iron the new Daughter quilt together. This drawing hangs in the background of my school Zooms, so I have to remember to pin it back up every day before school starts.

There’s boobs on that thing! Oh my. My office isn’t huge…I had two fans going last night, but it was still a million degrees in here.

The ironing board gets moved around and out of the way on a regular basis, then pulled back to the middle of the room for this stage. For reference, the desk setup I showed you earlier is to the right of the top corner of the ironing board. Like RIGHT THERE.

I got just about the first 100 pieces ironed, most of the first human figure.

I’m totally exhausted tonight and not sure I have the energy for any of it. I’d LIKE to iron. I just don’t know if I have the energy. It took about an hour after school started of just sitting there before I could think straight again. And then I did Pilates and book club, which is part of the tired, but they were both things I needed.

It’s still hot here…

Which explains the prostrate animals everywhere.

I think it was actually a tiny bit cooler today.

Definitely cooler out on the deck in the late afternoon…

But also buggy as shit and I was so tired, I needed a cup of tea to do Pilates.

The first week is always exhausting, wherever you are. My team ate lunch in a socially distanced matter, with my being dialed in on FaceTime. We talk about kid issues during lunch, so it was useful. I’m still glad I’m not on campus. I miss everyone, I miss my room, I miss my materials and my setup, but I don’t want to be there right now.

Getting used to early mornings again.

At least the sunrises are occasionally pretty.

I made this Monday. Still not airy enough.

But it tastes good, better than what I get at the store.

This is not the lizard that belonged to the tail from the other night…well, first of all, it’s a gecko, not a lizard…

Second of all, the lizard was tiny and this is not.

I have a fan who lives near where Form Not Function recently opened at the Carnegie Center for Arts & History in New Albany, Indiana. My piece I Can’t Be Your Superwoman is flanked here by Helen Geglio’s Wisdom Cloak: Invisible Visionary on the left and Tracy Taylor’s The Distance Between Us on the right…

Definitely prime real estate on that wall…

Wish I could’ve seen it, but these pictures help…

She won an Honorable Mention, which is nice. Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll get my act together and post pictures of the two newest quilts, one of which has been done since March or April, but it’s taken me and the photographer a while to get our acts together.

OK, let’s be real…it’s after 11 PM, I’m exhausted after my first day back to work, and I get to do it all again tomorrow. It’s OK if I don’t iron tonight. Tomorrow is another day. I really want to iron. I enjoy this part of the process…but this is also one of the hottest rooms in the house with the lights on…it’s possible I might be able to replace the bulbs in here for cooler ones, which will help, but also it needs to be cooler tomorrow (it won’t be, I don’t think). Ah well. It will be cooler eventually. And I will get used to the schedule and rally sooner. And more often.

So Thursday is for artmaking and Wednesday is for survival and then sleep, which is where I’m headed now…completely backwards to when I usually write. And Friday is just Friday, part of which is Not Here Yet. Man I’m tired. Peace out. See you later.

A Wednesday Miracle…

I’m going somewhere this weekend, to Joshua Tree. It’s a 3-day weekend for me, so we’re leaving Friday and coming back Monday. Boychild will hold down the animal fort. All of them are staying behind. We’re going to hike and hang out and go see some art and eat some food. I’m bringing my sketchbook, although it might be more important to bring the artist book pages I’m working on…depends on if I can get another one done before Friday. I think I can. I’m also bringing tiny little fabric pieces to cut out and my work computer…because the reality is that when the man takes a nap, I need to work.

Last night, I came home from work and I worked some more. I finished grading packets and input all of those. Tonight I’ll try to grade the last bit of makeup work that’s floating around, and then I’ll start on the projects. It looks like less than half the kids have turned them in…always the problem with these things. We alternate between things that have to be handed back to me during THIS PERIOD and things that take more time and require a kid to hit Turn In on the computer. Apparently that’s hard. I also need to enter some shows and submit some stuff for a new website tonight, so it’ll be busy. That’ll be after I go to the doctor so she can make some attempt to figure out what happened to my blood sugar a month ago. Apparently you need to be seen in person for that. It’s some sort of doctoring magic.

Busy day. Too busy. Looking forward to hiking through a desert landscape to clear some of these cobwebs.

Oh yeah, I forgot…I finished the current unit cover page…

Fun stuff. The kids only have to do 3 vocab words…I try to do as many as I can. It’s a challenge.

I did tutoring yesterday. It’s always exhausting, although there were fewer kids than normal. Because basketball started? Hard to say.

After eating, the speech from our orange dictator was still on, so I worked on the artist book…you can see that Luna is still trying to sit in or on everything.

I’m not really sure what I’m doing with these. I’m just doing them. Sometimes I think too hard.

But I finished one and then glued it together. Went through three glues before I found one that worked.

I can’t have nudity or challenging subjects. I’m not entirely sure what that means, so I just drew.

Covered nudity up with nature. I need to do at least one more of these…the original plan was for three, though, so we’ll see how I feel about that.

The man as a cat couch. They are lovey beasts.

But then you have to get up and do the dishes.

We had all three of them on the couch for a while…

There is still a bunch of play going on…

Apparently it is safer to do this between my feet than out in the open.

I made it in to iron around 9:30 PM. Early! Kitten curled up in here (it’s cold right now) and I worked for a couple of hours.

There’s not much color yet. That will change soon. This is mostly clouds and buildings and roads and tornadoes and nuclear power plants. Lots of gray. I’m 200 pieces in, almost. Tonight there should be more of this…moving into the Earth, I think. Or maybe space comes first. Can’t remember what order I numbered. I always try to be logical and mostly fail. Mostly because my logic changes from day to day.

OK, today is the third and last day of teaching these stations, where I’ve taught the same lesson 10 times now and am heading into 15 turns today. Woo hoo! Ugh. It’s necessary, but the groups are still too large. To do it well, I would need groups of 5 sometimes, and that means 7 days per class. Not happening, unless we get way more efficient. Or two groups during a period. If the rest could work independently and bring their computers charged or at least the charger itself, well that…that would be a miracle. Let’s hope for a Wednesday miracle. Miracle or not, tonight will find me making art like…well, like an artist. Looking forward to it.

We Survived…

Today we take a bunch of kids to the zoo. Hopefully we don’t lose or damage any of them and they all come back with us. Well, you know, our classes are big this year…we wouldn’t miss a few of them. No really. It’s usually a good field trip, one I enjoy, even though I currently feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck. My team rocks, though…they’ve handled a good chunk of what’s going on today, which I appreciate. I, however, will be carrying about 17 epipens and inhalers in a backpack, along with 149 permission slips, just in case we have to call a parent or guardian about a kid. I feel like that could be automated, but what do I know. Nothing, by the way…I know nothing.

I stayed late last night for an hour-long parent meeting, plus the last bits of field trip stuff. Came home way too exhausted to deal with going to the gym (too bad…I really wanted to this week). Plus I was supposed to make dinner, so timing was an issue.

I started grading the horrible assignment last night…made it through about three of them before my brain shut down. One of those three was actually pretty awesome. One could have been awesome. The third one was the ouch. I’ll keep working on them. I need to get through them before next week. I don’t want to take my computer with me at all. And grades are due about 36 hours after I get back.

This weekend is busy. Not horribly so, but enough. I’m tired. I’m always tired though. The holidays are demanding. I’m looking forward to the girlchild coming home and having a lot of time for art. I will have grading to do, of course, but hopefully it won’t be too bad.

After dinner, after talking to the girlchild on the actual phone, after doing some work, I sorted the quilt pieces…only 8 boxes because there are only 800 or so pieces in this one…

This part doesn’t take long usually. I had some assistance? Not really. Luna is incredibly curious about Kitten.

Kitten is less interested…

Although she didn’t do as much hissing as before, and I played with both of them at the end of a long ribbon. So there was some staring at the little one, who played like a kitten. And they’re all fascinated with the Christmas tree. So I think there’s hope. We’ll see.

It took about 48 minutes (which included cat interactions) to sort all these…

Then I came into the office and cleaned up a bit so I could iron. I made it through part of the first torso and all the stuff behind.

That’s about an hour’s worth. More tonight, hopefully, after the artist talk I have to go to. It’s going to be a long day.

Here’s some of the drawing stuff I’ve been doing for school…I did a worksheet for a video and website we wanted the kids to go through…

I don’t know if doing this is ever worth the amount of time it took.

This is an assignment we have them do with lyrics of a song about the layers of the Earth…

And I finally got the cover page colored…

Space cat! Yes, I needed a lot of coloring time this week. It’s good. Next week is a lab and then more coloring, and then I’m ditching school for a day. Hopefully I will be well for that, because I’m surrounded by sick people at the moment. I can’t afford to get sick. I don’t have time. Nobody ever has time…that’s when it’s mostly likely to happen.

Wish us luck. This could be newsworthy. Hopefully not. Last year? Oh, last year, when our bus driver took the wrong turn (she was a newbie) and couldn’t figure out how to get us on the freeway without getting hit…oh shit, it was scary. We survived.

I Like to Color…

Another early morning. The parent didn’t show yesterday. I got an angry parent email this morning. Yesterday I called a parent and now I will be meeting with them after school with their kid so I can explain all the stuff that’s in the email we send out and that she gets, but she needs to see it (I’m actually totally OK with that one…it’s just the timing that’s rough). The meeting today is with the principal, so as long as he shows up mostly on time (he’s got littles), I’m good. At some point, we need to finalize the field trip stuff today…yesterday at 9:00 PM or so the texts started, trying to get groups fixed and wondering how we aren’t gonna end up burning the whole zoo down and letting all the animals go. I think I know which chaperoned group will do that too. They’ll have my phone number. Minor issue. I can almost guarantee one of the teachers will be making their group race across the zoo to grab that one kid who can’t deal. It’s possible all of us will.

But it’s the zoo! And outside. And not in school. So tomorrow should be cool. Once the buses leave school, a sense of relief hits and you know you can get through the rest.

Until then, things are tense. I have a good team. They help. I need another brain, but that’s not a team thing.

Here’s the current unit cover page in process…

I need to color it today. Plus the other thing we did yesterday. Lots of coloring at the moment. I like to color.

Yesterday after school, I went to a neighborhood gathering…the house above me finally sold (again). They’re retiring to Mexico and a young family with a baby is moving in. So we’re surrounded by screaming. The boychild and I will respond with music and whatever else keeps us sane. We’ve said all along that house is not kid friendly…and I wonder how a young family affords it, but I guess I was a young family here 21 years ago when we moved in. That makes three families with kids…as they get older, maybe they’ll be able to dog-sit. You never know. My neighbors call me an enigma because they never see me. I imagine they are all talking amongst themselves at tea parties and cocktail parties while I work into the late hours. Plus I don’t garden much.

Anyway, it’s change. No more cigars! I hope. That smell. Ugh.

OK, so after all that, I graded the rest of an assignment (grades are due again in less than two weeks) and then cut out the last of this…

FINALLY. I’m so frustrated with the lack of progress on this. But it’s OK. It’ll be fine. It probably won’t be done until Christmas. It’s not the end of the world. It took almost 12 hours to cut out all the pieces. I started on November 26 and finished last night. I really wanted to be done the week of Thanksgiving, plus have the whole thing ironed together that week. HA! Oh so funny. I will sort pieces tonight and hopefully start ironing it together. Friday night is questionable for that…got an artist talk plus it’s our anniversary of meeting each other, me and the man, so we’re going to celebrate that. Then his holiday work party is Saturday. I’m hoping to get some ironing in on Saturday anyway, but there is still a major assignment looming over me. Sunday has us moving a tree (don’t ask). Next weekend, we’re in Portland. Strange timing…but it’ll be fine.

There was lots of kitten activity last night…Nova is totally about to attack Luna’s tail…

They play really well together…

And then we had Luna sleeping on Simba…lots of belly rubs for Simba so he didn’t freak out.

We had a cat, Midnight, who he just loved, so we’re hoping he can love these cats too.

Calli is bigger and clumsier…but she also sleeps a lot, so she’s been walked on a bit…and sniffed.

She’s still pretty scary though…which is funny, because she doesn’t really care about cats. She is a little bit frightened of their sharp bits, I think.

You have to watch where you sit, walk, stand, step, and lie down right now. There are kittens everywhere.

Anyway. They’re nice. Although we all have stab wounds at the moment, mostly from Luna. Kitten still hasn’t really warmed up to them…although they mostly stay in one half of the house and she mostly stays in the other half.

OK. Meeting. Need to make lunch. Need to figure out all the pieces for tomorrow. I know I’ve forgotten something. Need to take deep breaths. Need to make art at the end of it.

Wet Morning…

The rain is back. It woke me up at 3:42 AM. I don’t do noise well. Eventually I incorporated it into my dreams, though, and I slept again. I’m up early for a totally pointless meeting. Ah, the frustration. I did draw a bunch yesterday. Do I have any of it here to show you? Um. No. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll post it. It’s all school-related anyway. You can kind of track my moods based on the Unit drawings I do. Simple? Complicated? The latter is when I need the brain dump. I was explaining it to one class as Brain Vomit, and there’s this one girl in the back, nodding her head vehemently in the back, OH YEAH MS NIDA. TOTALLY. Those are my people.

My school is doing this Elf on a Shelf contest. I am not really a holiday festivities person. I wanted to set fire to him, but my co-teacher stopped me.

We had chemicals on fire next to him. OK, she couldn’t really stop my setting him on fire. I just had had enough of the toxic chemical smell by then. That face. Sigh. Seriously though…please don’t make me sit through another holiday ‘party’ where I’m assigned a group. Sigh.

More things dropped on my plate last night. It’s that time of year…last-minute emails about this event, last-minute texts about can you stop by? You offer to bring food because it’s the right thing to do, and then you’re going into a store 10 minutes before it closes and trying to find something that fits what they asked for (dude, don’t volunteer.). Sigh. There’s a lot of sighing going on right now.

After I finished drawing the worksheet for tomorrow (yes, there is seriously something wrong with me…), I cut some more stuff out. I am so close to done, but I knew I had an early meeting today and it was almost midnight…

It was after midnight once I found the second kitten to put them to bed. They are excited about the tree coming inside…

This is my live tree. It graduated to the hearth from living on the desk for the month of December…two years on the desk and it was too tall. Next year, it’ll have to be on the floor…then the entryway? Maybe? Higher ceiling. Then we’ll plant it. Then start over.

My Kitten also likes the tree, although she’s not sure about its vicinity to small kittens. Luna viciously attacked this Kleenex (and everybody’s hands). You can see Nova in the background…

She’s not quite as attacky.

Finish cutting out tonight. Sort. Start ironing? Maybe Thursday. We’ll see. It’s a busy weekend too. Maybe I won’t get two done by the end of January. Hmmm.

Oh yeah, I got into the Southern California Contemporary Quilts exhibit that will be at the Oceanside Museum of Art, opening May 9…

This is So Cal Mama. She’ll be there through the summer.

OK, off to school in the rain. To the pointless meeting. Then to make children think about what the Earth is made of. All good. More drawing.