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.

Nida As Is…Plus Kittens!

Today is a crazy day. But once it’s done, I think things will just slide into a week off (a week off that includes lots of driving and grading and all that stuff, but still a week off, dammit).

My classroom will be full of people today…I had to pick kids to teach during my prep, just to show politicians what science looks like these days. I love that two of the science classes they’ll be going to are focusing on environmental science…because that’s a thing. I’m hoping it goes well…I’m just going to teach like I always do. They keep saying dog-and-pony show, but I don’t dog OR pony well, so they’ll just get Nida as is, maybe minus my commentary on “It sucks to be you.” Or not. I did cherry-pick my class…so it’s way smaller than any real class I have and no one is an asshole. It’ll be interesting. I’m not a fan of this crap, but these are the people trying to figure out how ESSA and NCLB will work, and they need to see real kids in action. So maybe I should have cherry-picked some of the more challenging kids, true, but…my sanity is part of this picture.

Meanwhile, back home, we are fostering two kittens with the plan of adopting them…

They are dilute calicos, which means they have more recessive genes than they know what to do with…both girls, sisters in fact. For now, they are residing in this kitty condo so we don’t lose their tiny bodies in this house, plus dogs and other cat have a chance to get acquainted.

One tiny kitten already voiced her objection to Simba, thus crushing his dreams of being their bestie. That might change.

Kitten has visited them multiple times without incident…

She was the real worry…we want her to have good years as the oldest cat in the house, but we also hope she will love them and play with them. She used to play with our oldest cat back in the day…so we know she has it in her. And with Satchemo dying, she’s been out and roaming the house and playing and running around, and we want that to continue…that’s kinda why we picked kittens, plus we want them to have someone to play with no matter what, so sisters is also good.

They have lame names. We haven’t figured that out yet. This is Diva…

She’s more shy and retiring and cautious.

This is her more aggressive sis, Sue-Bob. No really.

She’s into the love. Likes pets and playing like a maniac, plus pushing her sister out of the way. So I guess there will be a lot more kitten pictures. We haven’t let them out into the house yet. These are the man’s cats really, so he is taking the day off work to bond. Really just to play with kittens.

I did grade last night…just one more night of the big project is left, and then I have about 9 hours of reading CER essays (claim, evidence, reasoning). Then I ironed for an hour. An hour a night is better than nothing, and this was an easy hour…continuing around the background, I did the hills and the mountains.

The hardest part was finding all the pieces, because they were in three different boxes.

Next I start with the first female figure…each one will be a different flesh run, so that’s complicated. But not yet. I think I have to do the clouds and sun first. Can’t remember.

Anyway. Gotta go to work. Yesterday, I got to school and as part of the prep for these important folks coming to our school, they “cleaned” our rooms over the weekend without telling us. All the tables, chairs, technology, anything that was on my teacher desk, and all the lab materials we’d left out on Friday were all shoved in random places. It took me 40 minutes to put everything back. My co-teacher had a morning meeting, so she didn’t have that time. Let’s just say things got managed, but it was a clusterfuck. I didn’t get the stuff done in the morning that I needed to get done, unfortunately, so I’m still behind and I have field trip stuff that has to happen today. And I don’t have a prep today. It’ll be fine, but it’ll be better when the day is done. After tutoring. Plus I have an evening meeting. So a little nutso today.

Ironing tonight though…I hope.

Four more days.

Tired Is a Thing

Another foggy morning. I like fog, especially when hiking. I like the house encased in fog. It’s somehow quieter and more peaceful (except for the fridge, which is humming away like a happy…machine). I can see the tree branches moving slightly. I can hear the tiny dog barking like a maniac. Hmm. That wasn’t part of my peaceful foggy morning.

I’ve been going to bed earlier, a little bit, most nights, but it’s not really helping. Tired is a thing. It’s possible I am just always tired. It’s hard to get enough good sleep these days. There’s noise from people and cars and dogs and my brain. That last one is all on me. I listen to my brain. Yesterday I talked to my students about listening skills. About job skills. About how when your boss talks, you have to actually remember what they said. In one ear, out the other? Possibly. And the host of emails I got last night…”I don’t get it.” Um. What don’t you get? What are you asking me? It took me until this morning to realize the girl who said she’d “written the climate but didn’t know how to do the rest,” and I’m like, “climate?”, WTF, we barely talk about climate in here at all, and we haven’t yet, WTF is she asking me, and then my brain this morning said “claim. She means claim.” Head on desk. FUUUCCKK. OK. Claim. You wrote a claim. Still. WTF are you supposed to do next? I gave you a paragraph with all the sentence starters. Write the next sentence starter and fill in the blanks. Listening skills. This is the 3rd time we’ve done this. This is the first time she’s tried? The first time she’s listened? Maybe.

One more painful thing for me to grade. If they would read my comments, it would help. Them and me.

OK, well. It is what it is. The kids who have been trying are improving. We move on. Last night, I photographed what I think is a student forgery of a parent signature, and I emailed it to the parent. Waiting on that one. I wish I cared less, but we just met with that parent about this kid. Another meeting this morning, different kid. Should be interesting.

Speaking of interesting kids, I should hire this one to do doodle notes for us…

So school goes on. I try to balance. Same as always. I was at a meeting until 5:30 last night. I started at 8 AM yesterday. Today I’m going in a little early. Today is the last easy day on this assignment…then we go into labs and it’s work. We were smart and broke it up over the weekend (it was a coincidence…it just happened that way). I don’t have any long meetings after school today; that’s nice. I have pilates. That’s also nice. And art is happening in little bits and pieces.

So I got home late last night and did more work…I sent the union email I send every month, and then I tried to start putting groups together for tomorrow’s labs. Kids who won’t pick a group. Kids who pick groups who don’t want them. Kids who pick groups that won’t work. Kids who pick groups with too many people in them. Three is the max. It includes you. There will be no groups of 8 kids y’all. This afternoon, I will finish all the group picking. I’m sensitive to the loners and lonelies. I will do my best to place them in a safe group. Sometimes we give them choices; sometimes we don’t. They need practice with both.

After dinner and all that work stuff, I finally did art stuff. That pile of pieces in the box doesn’t look very big.

Every animal stopped by for a bit…

Simba doesn’t like the big pieces of Wonder Under. The sound makes him nervous. He eventually left. I did finish cutting everything out though. In 5 1/2 hours. I could have sorted them last night…it would have taken another hour. I’m glad I didn’t though. When I’m tired, I don’t deal with kids as well as when I have more sleep in me. So I’ll sort tonight.

And then come in here and clean up, so I can start ironing to fabric tomorrow. I should pick a background fabric too. That sounds nice. Don’t think about the pile of assignments that needs grading. They will be there no matter what. You can bring some home. Maybe finish a chunk today and tomorrow. I got some done yesterday. It was kind of magical. Today I could get more done. Knock on wood.

I make plans every day. That’s how the art gets made. It’s good.

Especially the Breathing…

It’s such a quiet house without Satch. Kitten is still running around like he’s here, looking around corners, refusing to walk down the hallway with me for her breakfast (I’ve carried her to breakfast since we had Babygirl, so that’s a long time…hard habit to break, I guess.). I encouraged her, but she squawked at me and wouldn’t move, so I went back for her. She and Satchemo didn’t get along very well. There were some moments when he wasn’t chasing her and she wasn’t trying to whack him. It’s hard when you introduce adult cats. We haven’t been particularly successful with it. Unfortunately. I did manage to persuade her to come out last night, because the dogs were gone.

Like this is a safe place…she’s hung out here before…

Glowy eyes and all. Mommy’s light table is safe ground.

Eventually, she came down on the couch…a rare occurrence…

And she’s blurry because she wouldn’t stop moving. Of course, there’s already talk of fostering cats. I’m not sure that’ll work with her. She’s not the most tolerant of cats. We’ll see. We have a friend who rescues cats, so that’s why the conversation is happening. I think she might be OK with kittens…other adult cats, probably not so much.

Anyway. We’re going to be OK. We know we gave him good views of hummingbirds and geckos, and lots of pets and love. It sucks that his last week was so yucky, but it’s hard to know when to say goodbye to them sometimes. Probably true of people too, but we have fewer choices about when to stop trying to fix them.

I got another piece into a show, local this time. This is Finding Peace and it’ll be at The Studio Door in Hillcrest, opening November 2, from 5-7 PM.

It’s the Best of FIG exhibit…I had to laugh, because there were size restrictions, and I think my best work is larger than the size restrictions. And I told him that. I do love the bathtub series, though. So that’s OK.

I got home late last night, after tutoring and chiropractor. I watched Bat TV (the bats off the deck), I cooked dinner, and I graded science units for a while. After yesterday’s mood check thing, where I totally reamed the counselor on campus (this woman needs a middle-school reminder), but managed to get the principal to pay for a bunch of triple beam balances as a pay-off for my irritation (um, OK. I’ll take that). Seriously, how does an ex-teacher not understand how I do not need to be in charge of all the counseling shit? Because she only had 25 students and I have 164? That’s not a good excuse. I know kindergarten teachers work their asses off teaching all those subjects AND potty training etc. I do not know what this woman’s problem is. But it’s done now.

Last night, finally after all the grading (still not done), I started cutting stuff out again.

I’ve been cutting for 11 1/2 hours…not nothing. But I’m almost done…I can see the bottom of the box…that’s a good thing. Could I be done tonight? Maybe. Looks are deceiving. There are a lot of small pieces in there, landscape stuff. It might take a while. But maybe. I can do maybe.

Lab today. My co-teacher did it yesterday. Apparently there will be lots of confusion. Great. I love confusion. I’m gonna deep breathe all day and then sit at a meeting and then hopefully go to the gym. That’s the plan. Especially the breathing.