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.