Considering Humanity…

So the positive from yesterday is that I finished cutting out all those tiny pieces and then sorted them, so if I have the energy and/or brain power tonight, I can start ironing this quilt together. I’m actually behind on my scheduling…this thing has a deadline, so I’ve got to get my act together. Hello, Day Job, back the fuck off my personal time, eh? Yeah, I know. Whatever. Only 20-some days left of that crap. My co-teacher and I have labeled the weeks with what we’re teaching. All that’s left is biodiversity, Gorongosa National Park, frogs, the stupid lame tobacco curriculum, and some weird last week when who the fuck knows what we’re doing because grades are done and that’s when we usually do awards ceremonies and field trips because everyone is completely checked out. Five weeks. Five weeks of daily minor nervous breakdowns and feeling overwhelmed and not wanting to turn the computer on or sit in that chair. Then I can crawl into my pillow fort with all the books and try to figure out how to reset my brain over the summer. The next quilt is already in my head, but I might need to pump out a smaller one or two before that (man, this year has sucked so far for quilt completion…my head’s not in it, there’s so little time).

Wednesday night…Nova has been inhabiting the couch and my lap more and more these days.

She is the more adventurous (and chill) of the two younger cats. Luna is more chicken, more tense, more likely to take off, although she’s been hanging out behind the computer while I teach lately. I suspect that is bird related. The window looks out at a wire where the birds like to sit, hence to better poop on our cars.

Wednesday night…damn…I really wanted to be done, but it was late and I’m trying to keep to an earlier bedtime, so I stopped.

That was only another 25 minutes of cutting though…because I finished last night, easily.

That’s 11 hours and 14 minutes of cutting you’re looking at. With the man gone, I am spending more time on art at night. I guess that’s a good thing. Pros and cons.

I had a stitching meeting on Zoom last night, which I appreciated, because my brain was not happy with me. It was a few hours of not remembering the ugh. Afterwards, I sorted all the pieces out, so I’m ready to iron tonight…

There’s actually not a ton of pieces in this quilt…only 890. I think the next one will have more. These are all the 500s…in the flesh.

If I can manage to get most of my planning for next week done today, I can iron for most of the day tomorrow. I have some errands and I need to hike, but otherwise, I have nothing going on.

I also traced and numbered some smaller pieces for Patreon rewards. I have these small hoops leftover from something that I can mount them in…I think.

So those need to get traced tonight too. I’ll do some as small quilts and some as embroidery I think. We’ll see.

The cats are sort of getting along. As always. Guess where I sit!?

The man is working his way toward Wrightwood today. There’s a fire up in the mountains causing some smoky haze. I miss him lots.

He’s still up in the mountains, but the desert comes next. Water shortages and heat and all. A bunch of people have hiked this section backwards, because it’s all up. He’s not…he’s getting himself ready for the Sierras (smart move). Still another two weeks before I can see him again…hoping that works out, because after that, it’s gonna be a while, until after school gets out.

OK, I’m tired and not in the mood to teach. Doesn’t really matter if you’re in the mood, though. I do know that being physically in the classroom helps. Being around the kids, even when they’re being annoying twits, it refuels a teacher. I spend so much time sitting in silence, typing in the chat, staring at black screens…it just sucks. Next year will be better. Also, I’m still paranoid about masking/not masking and going out in my neighborhood. I’m vaccinated, but I’m just not comfortable with the unvaxxed masses that are in my neighborhood. “So don’t go outside,” they say. Fuck you. Get your damn vaccine. Give a shit about the rest of humanity. Yes, please, send their rejected vaccines to India or any other country that’s short and needs them. There are consequences to all this, y’all. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. Thanks for vaccinating. Thanks for considering humanity.

In the Void…

I think my brain is completely done with this school year. The adulting part of it is dragging the rest along, bribing it with walks and time with a book to get the shit done that has to be done. I’m so antsy in my work chair, I just want to get up and run out the front door, leaving all the kids on Zoom, or make a pillow fort under the desk and crawl into it with a book…not sure some days that they’d even notice I’d left. It’s all frustrating and hard and some of that is my brain not working right at the moment, but some of it is just because I am so done. I’m tired of excuses, of trying to get what I need out of the district, of parents who complain and kids who lie. I tell myself to look for the amazing kids, remember the thankful parents, remember when the district was helpful (OK, that one is a lot harder to do, but they gave us some extra money this year, so I’m trying to be thankful). Then I go read my book again or iron some fabric or cut something out and try not to let my day job be so present in my head. Hard to do. Really hard right now. I’m frustrated by everything, and I realize it’s feeling overwhelmed and tired and not having the normal connections with the Man…we get some texting in each day, but it’s not the same as sitting on the couch together or eating dinner together and talking. The texts are delayed sometimes, so you’re not sure whether they saw the other text? Sometimes I’ll ask questions that don’t get answered, so I figure he didn’t see it, or he’s often really tired at the end of the day. Yesterday was a long, difficult day, and he ended up sleeping on a picnic table. So I got one “I’m camping” text and then a few complaints about where he was camping (because humans suck and leave their trash everywhere because we are assholes), and then he was going to bed. I don’t blame him…it just sucks to be in the void on the other end.

This is what I see at the end of every day…

where he’s been, where he’s at. He’s been moving further each day lately, doing 18-mile days instead of 10-mile days. It’s a good thing. I have a date I’m hoping he’ll be home, and he will have to mile up (not speed up…he can’t hike faster…he just needs to hike longer each day) to get back. Plus the snow will eventually happen in Washington, whether he’s done or not.

Anyway, I’m hoping to see him on Memorial Day weekend, probably north of Lancaster…then not until after school, and the drives get much longer…not something I could do on a weekend. Sigh. At some point, I won’t be able to do it at all without flying and renting a car, which probably won’t work with going back to school in August. Although, at the moment, I give very few fucks about my job (not true; I still work my ass off. It’s just easier to say fuck it and take a day off…or it would be, if I didn’t have to do 5 hours of prep to make it work)…so maybe in September, I’ll just take a bunch of days off to get up north. Who knows. Right now, it just sounds complicated and difficult. By then, it might feel necessary.

Anyway, I try to ignore my moody bitch side as much as possible (it’s hard; she’s loud), and make sure I do some art every night and some exercise as often as possible. So I’ve been cutting things out…FOREVER, it seems like. Not really. This was Monday night…

The pile on the bottom right still needed cutting out…it’s a lot still. But last night, I seem to have found the bottom of the box.

Bottom left…look! I mean, that’s still at least an hour or two of cutting, but I can see the bottom. Woo hoo! Then sort it and hopefully ironing together by the weekend. My brain will be happier if I can spend a good chunk of time on Saturday just ironing things together. Good meditative state. Hoping for that.

Here’s the current art project my kids are doing…well my rough mockup of an illuminated letter.

They’re being slow as hell and not listening to directions and questioning shit and it’s just been fun. FUN, I tell you. Not really. I mean, I would have loved this project in school, but it’s harder to do online. I can’t really help like I would in the physical classroom. Which reminds me, looks like I won’t have to teach distance at all next year, only in person. Fucking miracle. Although I might have to teach an elective. Art? IDK. There is already an art teacher, but now the principal knows I can teach this, so who knows what he’ll make me do.

Gotta be better than this year. I don’t think the absolute isolation of this year is something I ever want to repeat. It was all about keeping me healthy and alive, and I’m still really paranoid about the unmasked and unvaccinated and the virus in general…not sure how to rid myself of that anxiety. I know my coworkers are dealing with massive behavior issues in physical school. Me? I just get checked-out kids. Nothing new here.

One of the school computers I use died. It isn’t because of Luna…who likes to hide behind the one that works.

They all hide around the computers…

Hello Kitten.

Nova has been coming nightly for pets…

Both of them like to be right in your face, sharp little claws in the boobs or belly. I have a ton of scratch marks on my body right now.

Luna likes the top two shelves in the closet too.

Sunday or Monday, she knocked the roll of quilts that’s on the top shelf down onto the floor. Rode it all the way down. Silly cat.

Yesterday’s walk was better than last week’s…not sure if I was dehydrated or just exhausted.

Tiny little flowers…

Sometimes I run into the ex and the boychild walking one or two of the dogs. Calli is really slowing down and not moving well, so sometimes we just walk the little one.

That one’s not native…it’s my neighbor’s. I saw it at the plant store and almost bought one, because they are so amazingly wonderful…

We’ll see. They are fascinating though.

I’ll finish up with the boychild’s amazing bread from Monday night…

He’s a really good cook. Useful skill. We’ll make him cook for the grandparents next. I find it amusing that I raised two kids who taught themselves cooking skills. I’m a Food Is Fuel cook. Just get it done. Sure, that’s because I was working full time and making art and raising kids and just trying to get them fed. I appreciate their cooking skills though.

OK, work work worky work, with a union meeting after worky work. After that, I cook (not so fancy, but utilitarian), and then finish cutting those pieces out, hopefully. I have a ton of things to grade and prep for school, but I can’t do those until some of the grading is done, so that’s my goal for today. I had one academic assignment yesterday that was just hurting my brain, so I made it about 2/3s of the way through and quit. I need to unquit today and finish it off. I also need more tea. Like now.

Plain Old Hanging Out

I am taking today off work. It’s the first day I’ve taken off all school year, mostly because the thought of doing it was daunting; the prep alone made me want to build a pillow fort around my school computer and torch it. But I want to see the man, and today is the day he comes off trail, so I’m trying to get some school stuff done quickly this morning, and then I’m driving to Big Bear. Long drive. It’s OK. It’s funny; I was looking at where he might be in three weeks, and if it’s Agua Dulce, it’s a shorter drive than Big Bear. Huh. Weird shit that. Anyway. We’ll see if that works. For now, I know he’s about 6 1/2 miles away from where I can pick him up, and he’s already left, but is planning on napping at the pickup point until I get there. No pressure! I still need to make 7 more posts (of 21) for what my science kids are doing tomorrow, plus warmups, plus all the art posts, and I’m fairly sure I need at least one video for art, but that’s gonna have to wait until Sunday when I get back. Everything else will have to wait until next week. Try telling that to a bunch of middle schoolers and their parents: WAIT! Yeah. It goes down well. So probably all of that is the right eye twitching…it’s been coming and going all week. It hasn’t quite settled in to stay, so that’s a good thing.

In awesome news, a piece of mine has been traveling with the For the Love of Gaia exhibit organized by Luana Rubin. She’s been finding new venues, and it will now be at the Birmingham UK Festival of Quilts at the end of July and at the New England Quilt Museum from January through April of 2022 (another good reason to visit the girlchild). My piece You Pollute Me is traveling with the exhibit.

That’s good news…exciting.

In the meantime, I’m still progressing, albeit slowly, on the current quilt. I finished picking all the fabrics and ironing all the Wonder Under down on Wednesday night.

I will admit to staying up too late, which might have contributed to the eye twitch. Oh well.

It took just over 15 hours to choose fabrics for 890 pieces, and there are 133 fabrics in this quilt. Impressive. Could be worse.

And last night, I started cutting out the pieces.

I’m totally on track…this was my plan, to be able to take this with me to Big Bear and sit on a deck and cut shit out while watching the sky change and talking to the man. Hopefully I’ll finish this weekend, and I can start ironing this thing together. I say that as the Work Brain is politely (is it polite?) knocking at the door of my Day Off Brain and saying, “Um. I know you said you were taking the day off, but have you SEEN your to-do list? I mean…”.

Yeah. I’ve seen it. I’ve also read three books in the last week, because my brain is freaking out. One of them was the first Friendship to the Max volume of Lumberjanes. I’d heard of them. I think I even got this a long time ago as a gift, and never got around to reading it. It was awesome, so awesome that I ordered the other 5 and they’re on their way to me.

Yeah. Me too. Although my three are extremely needy at the moment. Every time I sit or lie anywhere, there’s all of a sudden a cat on my leg or chest, poking tiny claws into me, or headbutting my black shirt, so it’s covered in cat hair. They do reduce my stress with all their need of petting though, so that’s a good thing.

OK, I need to post things, finish packing things, and get in the car and drive. Hopefully there will be calm photos of trees and mountains and things in my future. Strangely, the man does not want to hike with me while we are up there (unfortunate…I need exercise), but we will manage some food and jacuzzi and just plain old hanging out.

Getting By…

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

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

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

Maybe I need more legs…and furry bits.

Longer and/or younger legs would also help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meditating cat. Or me meditating. Hard to say.

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

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

A Little Breathless…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flowers are still the best part of it.

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

Keep looking, new stuff all the time.

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

The Man made it past mile 200…

And to Interstate 10…

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

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

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

Makes for good entertainment.

I think this is gecko watching…or maybe moth.

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

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

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

This is still coming along…

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, Kitten. You always get the chair.

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

I Want Up and Out…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was warm, windy, and dry.

This was his view a few hours later.

Desert flowers are blooming…some are so tiny.

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

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

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

I came home to bees in the composter.

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

This guy is currently barking his head off.

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

There have been window geckos exciting the cats…

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Monday…

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

Speaking of the man, he is still hiking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s Headed North…

It’s the last weekday of Spring Break. I feel like it’s whipped past me, faster than a 12-year-old on a motorized scooter. As always, though…it’s never long and relaxing, mostly because we try to shove a trip in there, plus get everything else done. Today was the big day, though…today I dropped the man at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail and waved goodbye, potentially for a good 6 months (that’s the hope for him anyway). I’ve warned him that I’m getting a new animal for every month he’s gone (not really…probably, we’ll lose one in that time to old age and cancer). It’s weird, though…it’s been stressful for him leading up to this, the prep and the mindset, but also for me, trying to figure out how to remember all the things by myself. Although the boychild’s memory is good, he’s not here all the time. Plus petting all the cats. That’s stressful (not really). Also, because it’s the end of break and I was gone for 6 days, I have a to-do list that is double the normal size. That is totally stressful. I’m banging through each of the things as fast as I can, but the big ones (a book to finish copyediting and school stuff) are hanging over me. So that’s today and tomorrow, fast as I can.

This morning, we arrived just before 8 AM…

He’s been planning this for months, when he knew he was being let go from his job. He’s hoping to do the whole thing; I just tell him to keep walking.

His pack feels heavy, he says. Not a surprise.

He has a Garmin and I’m sort of obsessively following him (it pings his location every 10 minutes at the moment). I’m sure as we get a few days in, I won’t be so obsessive, but right now, it’s where my head is. I am worried about him getting injured and being alone, but he has an emergency beacon and lots of snacks, so I think he’ll be OK. And I hope it helps him find what he needs right now. He loved his job until near the end…jobs are more about the people than what you do, I think, and that became a problem. But he’s a hard worker and flexible, and will come back from this stronger and ready to go back.

Meanwhile, I have had a conversation with the cats and they know to come to me for pets (they already do; it’s OK).

Meanwhile, the art is back. I almost walked away from this drawing the other day. It wasn’t really talking to me, and I’d dealt with a host of show rejections and wasn’t feeling it. I left it for the 6 days we were gone, just to see. But coming back, I wanted to just make my own thing, fuck the rest of it. But then I gave it one more chance and it started talking to me, so I kept going.

It knows what it wants now…

It needs a head, and I dreamt most of that last night. I have some different techniques and materials I want to try with this one, so that should be interesting. We’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping to finish the drawing tonight or tomorrow night, then numbering and tracing. After I finish all the other work I have to do.

I hung out on Zoom with my stitching friends last night for just a little while…got more of this done.

It’s not a quick process.

Speaking of not a quick process: all these need trimming.

Eh. Not on my priority list.

This is coming up…

When I have a link to the online show, I’ll post it too.

My niece released a new song…you can find it on Spotify and iTunes.

She’s in college, but has been writing music and singing for a while. The artistic genes jump around in this family, but they’re there.

This butterfly…fell in the pool, I pulled it out, then it went back in.

So I pulled it out further away, so hopefully it would survive. I know their brains are small, but sheesh.

OK, I’m already exhausted (up early to drive to the terminus), but I need to do a ton of things. Going to stay caffeinated and maybe don’t watch the Garmin app too closely. He’s still moving; that’s a good thing.