What a Good Place to Be*

It’s a good day. It’s a Friday. We’re done with three days of labs and almost done with this hellacious pilot of a unit. Ah to teach the stuff I know works! AND I sold two quilts yesterday. In fact, my portion of my son’s college loans will hopefully be paid off with the sale of the last three quilts. I wonder sometimes what it will feel like to not have to come up with these crazy sums of money to pay stuff off. Maybe that never stops. But if I didn’t have the college stuff, I’d be most of the way toward remodeling one of the bathrooms in this house, which is next on the list: two new bathrooms, a new kitchen, and a backyard redo with a much smaller, more useful pool. Of course, the tree guy is coming sometime in the next month too, so that money needs to come from somewhere. Yikes. It’ll be fine!

I did go update the current shows and recent work sections of my website, as well as marking those two sold. It’s all good. Oh yeah, and I got a rejection and an acceptance in one morning…I Can’t Be Your Superwoman will be at CraftForms 2019 in December, one of 90 chosen from 1300 entries. Not bad…

I have two more shows to enter this weekend. Keep making! Like I need an excuse. Seriously.

I did stitch a little last night. Like one leaf. I sent my shopping list for the drop-in workshop I’m teaching on November 9…come by City College, see the Allied Craftsmen show Metamorphosis, and then hang out with me and fabric and thread! No really. Please. I’ll be there from 1-3 imparting my wisdom. Whatever that means. I’m used to teaching 12-year-olds, so if I tell you to spit out your gum, I apologize.

I did eventually iron. It really is super slow. I’m hoping to be done by the end of the weekend, but I’m not sure it’s possible. I ironed lightning, some stars, the moon, a mountain, and an ocotillo.

Maybe another 50 pieces?

I’ve been ironing for almost 10 hours and I’m only in the 300s. So weird. Not sure why. Lots of searching for colors. I like things that are real to be real colors…whatever that means.

And then I sat on the floor with all my flesh-colored drawers and picked the flesh run…which honestly is most of the quilt. Although I might make the leg sky color. Or part of it at least. Haven’t decided.

I get into habits with certain fabrics and keep using them over and over. I tried to branch out with this, reach into the far back of the fabric drawers, where stuff gets pushed back and never seen. The stuff in the front gets used all the time. That’s why it’s in the front, eh? It was 11:30 PM, though, and this week has kicked my ass. So I went to bed, because there was no way in hell I was going to be able to iron anything before I needed to sleep…and it’s easier to pick the whole flesh run in one go. Tonight? Although I need to grade. I need to grade while I’m awake. Picking fabrics is a different part of my brain…much easier than reading kid essays. That’s the rest of my weekend.

Yesterday morning’s partners…

See this room needs remodeling too. Nice floor. That’s what happens when you iron on the floor. Sigh. Easier than bathrooms though. Floor, walls, storage. I’d love to bump it out a foot or too. I’ll definitely replace the damn doors. Maybe a new window. One with a perch for the cats. I can dream. Bedroom side of the house needs new carpet too. All new flooring honestly. Sigh. It’s never-ending. I can’t stop working until I get through a good chunk of it…if not all of it. It’s not that I want to stop working right now…it just seems overwhelming right now to do all that work…and pay for it.

Then again, it is Friday. Everything seems overwhelming at the moment. But we get through it anyway. Happy Friday all!

*The Housemartins, Happy Hour

Like Following Them…

Day 2 today of thermal energy/pressure labs. Yesterday was…um…OK? My co-teacher may not agree. It’s not easy. I hit 10,000 steps right after lunch just fetching water and ice. I had about 10 kids who live on the edge…the edge of my having to stinkeye them. One may not survive today. We should have done some more group labs before we got to today; they still have a hard time with instructions. Like following them. Not entirely atypical for this age, but frustrating in the moment. Hopefully today will be smoother. Ha! I’m not sure why it will, but it will need to be. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be hiking tonight, so that will be interesting. I’m pretty sure my legs will complain about being tired. OK. Well. Nothing new there.

I did tutoring yesterday too, spending some quality time (ha!) with some very interesting kids. As always. We have an assignment due tomorrow that is HARD. It’s really not as hard as some kids make it out to be, because they want the answer key and there isn’t one. So they want me to tell them exactly how to write it (What’s the ANSWER??? whine) and I won’t, because it’s an assessment. I gave them a format and about a million ideas and three labs and a couple other assignments as evidence, and I’m not doing that last step for them. It’s painful, but a learning experience, for sure. All this is exhausting. I’m not sure if it’s more or less exhausting this year than any other. I just know I’m exhausted right now.

Yesterday, this spider hitched a ride to school. I always wonder what they’re thinking as they’re bouncing along in the wind. And then whether they get off when at school. There’s a nice bunch of plants there that they can live in…

It might be better than my driveway…who knows?

I was actually too tired after dinner to work on anything. It was my brain, though…I couldn’t decide between stitching and working on the Unit 2 calendar. I knew I should do the latter, but I didn’t want to. So I did nothing.

Eventually, though, after dishes were done, I went in to iron. I keep forgetting to take in-process pictures. I did finish the second September Patreon video as well, where I try to explain how I pick fabrics.

At the end of another two hours, this is what I had used…

A few more browns, greens, and grays. A mule deer is in there. I didn’t actually get much done, depressingly enough. Just the righthand side of the landscape…some bushes, dirt, a river, the deer, some hills, and a mountain. I’m not sure why it took so long, but it did. I’m in the 250s. Only. ONLY. Sigh. The pile is growing. That’s what matters. I don’t think I’ll get any of it done tonight because of the hike, but who knows.

Here’s the rest of the 200s…all clouds and a sun and IDK what else.

I see a star. There’s probably a mountain in there too. Then the body! I wish I could say I’d be done ironing soon, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe by the end of the weekend? After I grade that assignment. The one that might kill them.

I haven’t posted my SAQA auction piece that I bought yet. I need the light to be better than it has been, but it’s already hanging on my wall. I like to buy pieces by people I know…this one was by Natalya Aikens and features recycled materials.

I buy one piece a year to support the group. I can’t handle making one…they’re too small.

This guy this morning…I’m hoping the boychild comes back and deals with him…he’s on the living room ceiling.

He’s bigger than I like to try and catch over my head. On a bumpy ceiling. On a ladder. By myself. I feel like that’s a recipe for disaster.

OK, back to school and Day 2 of labs. Meditation at times. Getting my act together. Then hiking a mountain. Which by the way, I hiked on the same day (or day before?) 5 years ago. That’s interesting. I need to remember a headlamp and my poles. And food. That would be smart. Water. Water is also good.

Three Days of Labs…

OK. I think I am ready for today. It’s a lab day, the first of three. It’s the first time we’ll be doing stations with this crew. It’s not just stations: it’s ice and hot water and materials. I don’t entirely trust these widgets yet, but the solution is to toss any kid who doesn’t listen to a warning and behave appropriately. There’s some cool learning that can happen in the next three days if you’re paying attention and following instructions. Hopefully they’ll do that. It was a lot of prep and now I have to meet with the principal about printing costs, but since we don’t have a textbook or any print materials, I think we’ll be OK. There’s just no way to do labs with middle-school kids without printing stuff. They need to record their ideas and observations somewhere. Their heads are not good for remembering that stuff. I understand that.

I got home late, but knew I needed to keep working on one thing for school…a resource deck for the thing they have to write on Friday. What I really wanted to do was go for a walk, but it was already late and I had work to do, so I crawled onto the bike and worked there for a bit…

I had headphones in and was listening to science videos about thermal energy and pressure. Exciting stuff. I did more of it here after dinner…

And eventually gave up on it and went in to iron. There’s only so much work I can do in one day before I’m mostly useless.

Not this stuff. I can do this for hours. It’s a different part of my brain.

I do have video for the Patreon crew at this point of how I pick colors, so I’ll edit those tonight…and hopefully get them posted. This quilt is not ironing fast…

It looks like a lot. It is. But it’s only the first 200 pieces or so…not even. I have a few 190s to iron yet. I’ve spent almost 6 hours just on ironing the first 200 pieces. There’s been a lot of thinking and searching for the right color, apparently. Only 700 to go! Sheesh. At this rate, I’ll never be done. Plus grades are due next week. I’m caught up at the moment, but there’s an assignment due Thursday that will need to be graded over the weekend.

OK, so I prepped a lot yesterday after school, but I still need to set up the stations and get my brain organized. And then survive it all.

You Gotta Wear Those Shoes*

It’s Friday. I’m not sure where the week went. My weekend is looking a little crazy. Mostly because I didn’t do all the things during the week that I should have done. Typical. It’s OK. I’ll get caught up on the things that need doing. Delivering things here and there. Cutting stuff out. I think I can get it all done. Maybe. I really want to be ironing things together on this quilt, but I was tired last night (seriously, three meetings in one day, just 11 hours on campus or at the district office. It’s FINE.). I cut stuff out, but gave up early. I could have stayed up later, but I don’t think it would have been good for me today. I only have a little left to cut out though…

About half a yard. Maybe less. I have about 7 hours in so far…it MIGHT take an hour to finish…probably less. So that’s tonight…and then sort them. And then the fun part…cleaning my office so I have room to iron to fabrics. My second Patreon video might run a little late this month. If I start ironing tomorrow, I can probably put a video together early in the week. More importantly, can I hit my deadline? I think so.

Seriously though, I’m overwhelmed and buried by all the things. It’s going to get better. Soon. At the science curriculum pilot meeting last night, we decided to cut the pilot short…before we killed something. I think this is a good decision. It won’t solve all the issues we’re having this year…a lot of that is the kids…but it will help our sanity to teach the things that we know work and that make sense…because if I can’t understand what the question is asking in a 7th-grade curriculum, there’s a problem.

Weird things I do for science teaching. We need two buckets for next week. I have two, but they’re stickered. I did pull off the mostly inappropriate Jane’s Addiction sticker. Part of Greenpeace is still on there.

I figure they can survive Greenpeace. They’ve probably never even heard of it. Does Greenpeace show up on Fortnight? Because that’s the only way they’d know.

My two pieces have been hung in the That’s What She Said show that will open October 4th in Liberty Station (the one on the left)…

And the one on the back wall…

Interesting trio. This is the Martha Pace Swift Gallery in Liberty Station, just behind Solare (a restaurant). The openings will be from 5-8 PM every First Friday through January. So that’s 4 possible openings to come to. One of the things on my to-do list is to make the 4 Facebook events for those. It won’t take long…I just need to do it.

I really want to spend some time drawing this weekend. I’m hoping that happens. But first, off to school (no meetings today!). I think today involves 90 ice cubes and Dixie cups. Don’t even ask. It could be ugly. Or it could be interesting. Hoping for the latter. Really, it’s just water. It can’t be that bad. (Laughs hysterically because has been teaching middle school for 17 years and knows exactly how bad it might get.) I actually think the kids are starting to realize that their teachers aren’t kidding. I see improvement. I may feel differently tonight, but lately, it seems like they’re getting it. We’ll see (knock on wood).

*Patrick Sweany, Them Shoes

From Where, I Do Not Know…

Another long day. I’m hoping for a normal-shaped day today with a trip to the gym at the end of it. Luckily, I have nothing to grade yet…that’ll be this weekend. A bunch of videos to watch…that’s about it. School. It’s always a struggle in September. I’m really feeling overwhelmed. It’ll get better. It always does. But not today. Not right now anyway. I was so prepared when I left school yesterday, until I realized I’d left behind the two things I needed for the meeting I was going to next. Ah well. So be it. It’s fine. It’ll get done.

Deep breaths. Maybe a run around the block.

I got home late. Another 2-hour meeting. I was tired. I laid down. I stared at things. Someone fed me (best part of the day, maybe).

I revived. It happens. I stitched after dinner…I’m not sure why I keep stitching on this. I’m still not sure I like it. It may not matter.

I did email them yesterday and haven’t heard back. We’ll see. I’m not totally invested in this venture. This one is less cluttered.

I have one other I haven’t stitched on. Then maybe I’ll do something else after dinner. Something I actually want to work on. Sigh.

Oh yeah, so school. I can’t get anything done. I drew the cover page like two weeks ago…

No time to color it. Usually I can sit down with the kids in each class, moving around the room, and get it done. Not so in these classes. So it’s not done. At all. Sigh. I should do that. I should mail it to my daughter and have HER do it. Or my niece. Could happen.

Anyway. I started tracing early last night. I managed to find energy to stand, from where, I do not know.

I traced for about 2 1/2 hours or so. I’m a little over 5 hours in with about a 1/3 traced. So I guess I have 10 more hours to go. That’s gonna take a little longer than I thought. The plus is that I lost one event on Saturday, so I can trace for a while…maybe even while listening to the videos I have to grade? Maybe? But gym tonight and plans tomorrow night…so maybe I won’t be done until Monday. Yikes. Time is always tight. I work best with a hellacious deadline apparently.

I Did Not Sew Through My Finger.

First partial week of school in the books. Certainly there are some challenges we can see, and I sort of already feel incredibly buried in all the minutiae and the demands of life around it, although some of those are things I take on, of course. My brain right now is trying to hold on to 17 different to-do threads, mostly involving finding one thing and emailing someone about it. It’s disconcerting.

I posted a picture yesterday afternoon on Instagram of a new thing we’re doing this year called a Wonder Wall. I didn’t make it up…it came from here…but I really wanted to tap into the natural wonder that kids have about science that sometimes the standards kick in the ass. Like here’s what we HAVE to teach, and here’s what you really WANT to learn about.

Like skin walkers. And why humans can’t lay eggs. So we started yesterday with a brain dump (although my co-teacher called it a brain drop) on paper, which almost killed some of the kids, OMG, 8 minutes of writing questions, do you hate us? Hey no. You can do this.

WHEN CAN I GO TO BED. I ask that all the time. I actually model it and sometimes kids copy the questions I’m writing because writing and thinking are hard and I’m really much better at it than some of them. And then they had to cull it down to 1-3 questions to write on the post-its. At the end of the day, I stood and stared at it…

Why ARE there too many questions in your head, child? I’ve always had too many questions. I started in every class with talking about easy questions like what’s for lunch (I should know; I made it) or when is class over (that’s on the wall), and then talked about questions that I might know the answer to, like why am I so short, followed by the more difficult stuff, and for this, I always pick one of the more mouthy boys (and if they’re mouthy and I know their names on the third day of school, you know I need to connect with them), and I say I’ve always wondered what would happen if we took MY brain and put it in THEIR head, who would they be? Would they be me? Would they be a combination? And they kinda freak out. I’m OK with freak out in here.

This thread though…

All the ones about death. I teach in a Title I school. I teach many immigrants and refugees. I teach traumatized kids. I know all these things. And yeah, the “Why am I still alive” kid is on my radar. I actually know which kid that is. Most of them I don’t. But he made a point of telling me it was his. And then running away. OK then. We’ve got some work to do.

The next step? They pick a question and research it and produce something for me. We’ll work on that. First I’m going to have my homeroom try to organize them in threads/piles (a lot of kids copied my Why am I short? question)…because right now, it’s a little overwhelming. And we’ll have to train them to think about this shit. But it’ll be good. The core of teaching science is helping them think critically. How do we answer all these crazy questions in our heads? How do we find stuff we care about? The one kid who wants to know about what it’s like in jail. Huh. Well. You can find that out. I’d rather you know that in your head before experiencing it for real. It might persuade you not to do certain things. Probably they’re asking for a reason…parent in jail is pretty common around here. Big project.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get everything done at home too…on my list for next weekend (this weekend is buried) is to get these plants organized and transplanted as needed. The one that escaped and is heading across the steps…

It needs to be planted out. A lot of the succulents have escaped pots or outgrown them. Need to work on that.

We walked both dogs when I got home…

We did a shorter walk, but even with that, Calli was limping by the end. She seems OK today though, so she may just be out of shape after almost two months of very few walks. I don’t think the back leg will ever be fully back. But she wanted to walk and she liked it and she didn’t whine so I think we’re good. Maybe not 3-mile good, but good.

Boychild saw that. My head was down, watching for lizards. We came back and I read for a bit, researching the Amazon rainforest and wondering (I need my own Wonder Wall) why so many dumbass politicians are in charge right now, and what will be left of the planet in 30 years’ time and holy crap the boychild was cooking dinner, so the dogs sat with me.

Doggy time is the bestest time.

The Man’s band played at Petco Park during Beerfest last night…they were very excited.

I did not go for once, mostly because it was sold out, but also the first Friday of school is exhausting and they started so freakin’ early, I don’t think I could have made it there anyway. Today I am also blowing them off, because I have to finish this quilt and this book. I quilted for three hours last night…finished the outlining…

Face before outlining…face after outlining…

Much better. And I did most of the background, but around 11:30 PM, I realized my eyes were drooping and I didn’t want to sew through my finger (I’ve done that) because I was too tired, so I quit, even though there’s only about 30 minutes left on there. It’s 30 minutes I’ll be doing this morning, then going to get binding, washing it, and putting it on. Done early! Woo! A miracle. Now I just have to get everything else done. No worries.

Quilting Will Be Nice…

Even my computer is moving slowly this morning. It’s thinking about perhaps opening that tab, but um maybe um maybe OK there it is. Whoa. Much like my 2nd period will be today probably. Which should be fun, because I’m gonna make them think again. I made them build stuff yesterday, which was mostly OK, with a few notes, like don’t buy really wimpy spaghetti noodles, because it makes it REALLY hard (although still doable, so there’s that)…

And also you will have those three boys who just can’t sit still and you will already be telling them forcefully on the second day of school what having their parents sitting next to them will feel like. Sigh. Today I will sit with those boys and try to work on the supportive relationship that will make or break labs with them for the rest of the year. This group is ready to roll and we’re gonna have to roll with them in some way, shape, or form. I think today is rolly-chair day. I’m really gonna roll! My favorite. Also I need to get the nurse’s office to stop calling and wanting to have long convos during class. Short and sweet, y’all. I don’t got time for all your words! Oh yeah, and the two kids who will miss my class for 20 minutes every day? Um. OK. Not sure what to do about those.

Moving on. I came home and went to the gym like a good adult woman in charge of her strong body and the mind that wanted to read a good book. (It was a good book…the first of the Murderbot series by Martha Wells. Now I gotta get the other three…) While at the gym, I think I had 3 different school-related conversations going on. Until I was reading, and then I ignored all of them.

I didn’t have to cook last night, which was nice. This week has been a lot of people not around at home or my changing schedules, so I’ve kind of been eating the same thing for days, it feels like. I worked a little bit on this…

which is So Close to being done! After that, I quilted for a little while. I didn’t get a ton done, but I got some…

Most of the land parts and the legs…

Just those mountains left, then the torso, arms, head, and sky. That’s tonight. Hopefully. And the background. So I can buy binding tomorrow and get this puppy done. I have No Freakin’ Clue what I’m working on next. I know I said that before. I’m saying it again. Oh yeah, I need to put a Patreon video up this weekend too, but I’ve gotten pretty good at editing them now, so it’s really only figuring out which of the 15 videos I recorded to use. The Man is playing in two shows this weekend, one of which I can’t go to anyway and the other one, eh, I’m good, I have a lot to do…but it means I’ll barely see him this weekend. I guess I will get a lot of work done, including some copyediting and maybe even schoolwork, although I’m kind of putting the quilting first so I can get it to the photographer early next week. It’s all good! I’m also debating teaching a class, just real short, introduce people to how I make stuff…I got asked to do it. I didn’t search it out. I have been going back and forth about whether to do it or not. It’s paid…but that’s not why. I wonder if it’s something I would want to do. That’s all. So I said yes. I think. Sheesh. I’m crazy. It’ll be FINE. Seriously. OK. This day. This weekend. Quilting will be nice.