Cat Interference…

Woke up early, not enough sleep, not enough caffeine, did the Quilt National talk, forgot my headphones keep the sound from showing up from my video, oh well, answered questions…

Photo stolen from the QN Instagram. I’ve actually watched all but one of these. I find them fascinating. You can see all of them (they haven’t uploaded this morning’s yet) and all the artist videos for this year on the Dairy Barn YouTube channel. Also, if you want to see my studio tour with sound (because that was missing this morning), you can see it here.

I know. As a teacher, I should remember how this shit works, but my brain was not awake. So there.

I spent the time cutting out Wonder Under, because I find it easier to listen carefully when I am doing something with my hands…

Which, yes, means I finished tracing last night.

So many cat interactions on this…

It took quite a long time to trace, longer than normal.

More complicated pieces than normal? Maybe. Also maybe that I had to think extra hard about overlaps.

I could just blame the cats. They were in the way.

18 hours and about 6 yards. Now I just need to cut them all out.

Yesterday, the man and I did a little driving reconnaissance for some possible training hikes.

Water is an issue. But he has more physical therapy in store and hopefully will be back on the trail in a few weeks or so.

This lizard…I think he’s the one I follow up the steps sometimes.

He jumps up the steps in front of me like he’s showing me the way.

Anyway. The day is half over, because of the talk and the car had to go in and a bunch of school stuff happened (that gave me a headache) and then lunch and I had to record a video for another art group I’m in and it only took about 17 tries to get the words right. I’m tired because I got up too early, but will be walking later. And cutting out lots of Wonder Under. And hopefully crossing some stuff off the to-do list because it’s insanely long at the moment. Stupid long. Maybe nap. Nap sounds nice. I tried it yesterday but cats interfered. Ugh. Ah well. Whatever happens, art will be involved.

Zen and Chill…

So I’m late writing again. Mondays are just not a thing I do well. I get all tied up in stuff that needs doing and all of a sudden it’s 5 PM and I forgot to eat lunch. OK, I remembered lunch today. I think I’m cooking dinner too, so that ought to be interesting. The plus is that I have new glasses. I mailed a Patreon reward out. I walked to Home Depot and blindly (no glasses) picked out a towel rack. My right eyelid is twitching…this is not a thing it normally does in August. This is an end-of-school-year thing. Sigh.

We got the first official school email. We have to do block schedule (ugh. sigh. I like it for art, but sometimes for science, it limits the number of things I can cover in a week). We won’t know exactly what schedule until about a week before school starts. Fun stuff. No master schedule yet…we think we know what we’re teaching, mostly. It could change. I’m trying to be all zen and chill about it. The eye twitch is probably an indicator that some part of me is not so zen and chill. That part needs to pivot.

Anyway, to remedy all that, I’m working on art stuff. As always. I thought I had finished drawing the current piece, but in the end, added COVID into the sky. It’s not gone.

Putting it in her gut makes sense to me. And then I started tracing…

It’s pretty slow going. There are lots of weirdly overlapping pieces, because the two female figures are blending in. So I have to think before I trace about what goes over or under what’s next to it.

Still, it’s meditative. I’m almost 8 hours in, but I’m only in the 400s.

Big complicated pieces take longer to trace. I’ll hit halfway tonight, I think.

Cats are no help. And the man sits on the couch behind the light table and I keep whacking him in the head with the drawing.

Not on purpose. We did a short walk on Friday. His knee was not happy.

Sigh. Frustrating for him, I know. He has one physical therapy session this week. Maybe they can help.

So many cats getting in the way.

Luna was going to grab Kitten’s tail, but I think she rethought that action.

Here’s Kitten lying in the lid of my embroidery box. So helpful.

Well, normally I use this as a place to figure out what I’m doing today, but today is almost over and I’m still slogging through the to-do list. I was supposed to finish a video for my Patreon yesterday and the website was down, so that still needs to happen. I would like to trace for another couple of hours or so. I did go to the gym today, so that was good. I think a fresh cup of tea and maybe a small snack is what I need, and then check the to-do list and cross some shit off of it (always a fun thing to do), and then get that damn video done. Then I can do art things. I can’t think about school right now (someone should tell my brain that part). We won’t know what block schedule we’ll have until August 6. We go back the 12th. Kids the 17th. I’d like to thank the universe for making us PIVOT again. At the last minute. Still gonna be doing that all year, I see. More art to be made in response.

Weird Week…

There are only two days of official school left, whatever that means, because we don’t really teach anything this last week of school. It’s always a conglomerate of entertaining, awards, field trips, videos, and cleaning. How to keep kids out of trouble and keep our own sanity. It’s all about grades needing to process before they can be allowed to leave? It’s a silly practice. This year is decidedly weird. I ran some competitions on Monday and am putting prize envelopes together for the winners. Yesterday was movie day; so is today. I can’t sit and do nothing; nor can I watch the same movie over and over again (there were two different ones…one for art; one for science), but normally I’d be cleaning my classroom out for end of the year, getting rid of stuff (which I never did last year…last year was just about shoving stuff into cupboards and locking it up), so I’ve been cleaning up our shared Google Drive instead. It’s LIKE cleaning. But not as physical. It’s mostly mentally exhausting, but it’s better than nothing.

It feels (tentatively) good to be almost done with the school year. Walking away from that level of overwork, overwhelm, and crazy. I’m not really walking away though, because I haven’t left the house for work for 16 months. Which is already weird. California is open again by the way. No masks required! I went to the gym yesterday for the first time since March 2020, and I wore a mask. I don’t trust people to be vaccinated; I don’t trust the variants. I’m not ready to be unmasked in places where people are breathing heavily yet. And it doesn’t hurt me to be masked there. They ask for the unvaccinated to wear masks, but they don’t ask for proof of vaccination. So there’s that. My pilates studio is also not requiring masks. Theirs are optional. So I will keep wearing them. At least for now. I’m used to it now. It’s not fun or enjoyable, but it works.

On Friday, I will take all the school stuff I have here back to my classroom and lock it up. Get it out of the house so I don’t have to think about it or look at it. Don’t think about school until August. I wish that were really possible, but I’m going to try. I have lots of art to make, lots of house stuff to do, lots of books to read, lots of hikes to do. In the heat. Man, it’s been warm this week. The man is still here, waiting for the desert to cool down enough for him to restart his hike. He is frustrated by the delay, but that is the way of it. Can’t control the weather.

I’m still tracing things…

I’m almost done. Lots of cat assistance last night (not). Hi Nova.

She didn’t like it when I turned the lights on, but Kitten doesn’t mind…

They’re LEDs, so they’re not hot. Good thing, because it’s already hot here. Don’t need more hot.

I have about 75 more pieces to trace. I had to go to bed. Not sure why, because lately, I can’t fall asleep anyway. Sigh. After exercise even!

I’ve been trying to get the Patreon rewards done too. It’s taking a while.

More of both of these today. Hopefully done with both. We’ll see.

Yeah. Exactly.

I’m tired. Still. I’m glad I have an art quilt that is in that stage of just trace, then cut, so I don’t have to think yet. I want the hot hot hot to go away. I’m glad the man is here, but he’s antsy to be on trail, so I want him to get there. His quest is not finished; I can tell. Weird month. Weird year. Weird day.

Clearing the Brain…

Clearing my brain before the work week starts? Before I start the next stage of the newest quilt in progress? It seems a useful thing, like meditating before I go to bed. I know the meditation app wants me to meditate in the morning, but I’m not a morning person and can’t get my head around it. It’s better to clear everything out and calm it down before I try to sleep. Even that leaves too much floating around in there some nights.

I spent most of the weekend trying to get bits and pieces of things done. I finally planted the milkweed seeds the boychild gave me for my birthday.

There’s 5 different varieties. If they all sprout, we’ll have milkweed for miles…which will make these guys happy…

My current three milkweed plants are not particularly healthy…

But they have caterpillars anyway.

I went to some of the SAQA conference this weekend, well, maybe most of it…

I cut out all the Wonder Under for the newest quilt in the last three days, mostly while listening to the conference webinars.

I think that was what I got done on Friday night…

And the rest on Saturday. After the conference, I sorted all the pieces…

So they’re ready for ironing to fabrics.

This guy is still hiking…

Yeah. Well. I got a few words and images of him. One phone call so far, one FaceTime. At some point, when he gets up to the Big Bear area, I might be able to meet up with him. It will take him a while to get all the way across those mountains, so I have a better chance of meeting him. He just made it to Idyllwild this afternoon, so with my having to work tomorrow, that doesn’t work at all.

The loss of the daily personal connection is really hard. He’s been gone for trips before for work, even going to Europe, but never for this long. And the vast expanse of time ahead with his continuing to be gone? I can’t say I’m dealing well with it. There’s a lot of connection already missing from my life due to COVID and teaching from home.

Anyway, my solution yesterday to an increasingly low mood was to shop for fabric.

Just to be clear, I don’t need any more fabric. I have plenty. And this piece I’m working on now will use some recycled fabric and donated fabric, but I was in a bad mood and fabric makes me happier. So there we are.

This was my weekly cat photo on Instagram for the Man.

I don’t know if he misses his cats. They miss him. They like me, and certainly, they are all over the bed at night (if only they would curl up like this and not hog the bed).

Ah sisters.

OK, well this is just really my procrastination over cleaning the studio. I don’t feel like cleaning. I did vacuum yesterday. Look! It’s like I’m a housewife or something (something. I’m definitely something.). I did a bunch of schoolwork this weekend, just because I need to stay on top of it. Grades are due next weekend, and although I’m losing 16 kids to in-person instruction, that means their grades have to be done early. Stress me out much? Yeah. So clean up, be ready to iron tonight. I’ll meditate, and hopefully sleep a little better? I don’t know. This coming week is a little crazy. Hopefully not in a bad way. There’s only so much fabric in the world. I can’t (and shouldn’t) buy all of it.

To the Other Side…

I guess the weekly exhaustion is now outweighing the nightly inability to sleep. Or the cats are standing on me in the middle of the night less? Hard to say. I evaluate nightly sleep on the number of times I get up and/or look at the clock. It was a one-clock, no-get-up night. Not bad.

I just walked away from the computer to heat up my tea (crucial to thought processes, the movement AND the tea), and had a bright idea about the jeans remnants that my daughter left on the ironing board for me. Sometimes I really love my creative brain. It is an incredible beast, working with almost nothing to create amazing things, or sometimes even just workable things (school). It’s the same brain that mires itself in anxiety and insecurity. That creativity can go both ways. That’s this morning in a nutshell. It’s a damn good thing it’s Friday. I’ve been so antsy in my work chair, so tired of sitting in front of Zoom and answering tiny little questions over and over and worrying about getting stuff graded and preparing the best stuff for my kids. I so appreciated last night’s Zoom with stitching friends, because it did let me get out of that shitty headspace for a couple of hours. SAQA conference is this afternoon and tomorrow, so hopefully that will also help.

I finished tracing the Wonder Under for the newest quilt last night…

I thought I was only on piece 600 Tuesday night; turns out, I had made it to 700, so Wednesday night, I did another 100 or so pieces, and then finished the final 100 last night. That’s almost 11 hours of tracing 890 pieces…not incredibly efficient, but OK.

Three full yards and one baby yard, not even full…in fact, I cut out all those pieces in the baby yard last night in 14 minutes.

Three full yards to go. And then it was time to meditate, clean up cat stuff, and go to bed. More tonight. Looks like I’ll be ironing to fabric next week, hopefully. That’s the plan anyway.

I worked on these during the Zoom call with stitching friends. It’s brainless stuff, just sewing wool and cotton down for the Sue Spargo Block-of-the-Month Homegrown.

It’s easy, I enjoy the stitching, and the bright colors are fun.

The man is heading for Idyllwild at the moment. He did his longest hike yesterday, 17.3 miles…

He has been hiking with a group, but half of them are not thru-hiking, and are almost done. He has to have a totally different mindset…he’s got a good 2500 miles to go. Yesterday was hard, but he did it, and I’m proud of him for persevering. I’m going nuts at home, but that’s me. Thirty nine days of school yet. Don’t even ask me how many days before I see him again…not sure when his trail will meet up with my weekends. And coming home? It’s a LOOONG time. Many too many many days.

Girlchild left yesterday. Here she is with my parents.

More family photos, y’all. I suck at taking them and should work harder at it.

OK. It’s Friday. My lessons for today are hard hard hard. Not really, but they will be hard to mentally get my own self through…well, maybe art will be OK. It’s always difficult when we start a new project. It’s hard to show things. I make videos to help, but not everyone will watch them. I have a bunch of new kids in art and I’m having a hard time getting them to produce trackable work, like my other kids have learned to do. I have some parents who don’t understand how I hold kids accountable for their in-class time. It’s just a lot of frustration. Plus the district gave us a new “required” curriculum that is not set up for distance learning at all, which I figured out last night and just about lost my mind over. It’s OK. I sent yet another bitchy email. It’s all I do these days: remind the powers-that-be that me and my students exist and that they all mostly suck at remembering that.

It will be better in August. It has to be. Or I might just decide another job is better for my sanity. I can see why people jump out of life and hike the PCT. I can’t afford to do it, so that’s a thing. But I get it.

Friday. Conquer it. Or at least get through it to the other side.

These Pieces Are Kinda Small…

So yesterday was 4/20, which if you’re a middle school teacher, you know why I’m bringing this up. Every year, it’s a Big Deal for middle schoolers that it’s 4/20 because pot and ha ha ha and do you get it wink wink. Teachers roll their eyes and explain this is not new, they are not amazeballs, and we move on. Yesterday was 4/20 and I didn’t even realize it (like most of you) until I was creating an invoice at the end of the day, and then I was like, HOLY CRAP. The last two years, I don’t think a single kid has said a freakin’ word about 4/20…or about pot in general. Like at all. So many of the annoying behaviors we see in the classroom just disappear online. Also, unfortunately, some of the kids just disappear online, but that’s another issue. So weird. No 4/20 this year.

The good school news is that they are hiring two more teachers and I will be losing around 20 students in 2 or 3 weeks. This will get me close to 150, the lowest all year. I’ve had 170+ students in previous years, but in a physical classroom with only one prep, science. This year, with the multiple preps and having to create so much curriculum from scratch that will actually work with online students has buried me like no other year. I’m walking exhaustion at the moment. Even hiking yesterday, my legs complained for the first mile (although my speed was good). I felt like I was dragging wood blocks through molasses. Ugh. Today I need to grade like the wind and be efficient, more than I was yesterday. I say that, but I worked all day, then worked through the SAQA conference after school, so I’m doing the things. They just feel really hard at the moment. MOMENT=all year.

The plus is that I did walk yesterday. It’s been warm and it looks it here, but it was starting to cool off.

It’s flower and also weird pod season. I see these every year and they are always fascinating.

I managed to trace another hour’s worth of Wonder Under both on Monday and Tuesday night…

I’m supposed to be trying to go to bed early, and I do look at the clock and make that attempt, but then I just lie there in bed, unable to fall asleep. Singularly frustrating. And that’s after meditating. Sigh. Bad sleeper, that’s me.

These pieces are kinda small.

I did through piece 600, so I have 290 pieces left to trace. Damn. I thought I was further along. Ugh. OK. It’s fine. If I’m efficient with grading today, since I finished the copyediting finally, I will have some extra time for tracing. It’s all good.

Couple things: the bees left the composter, so that’s good. Now I need to wash the wax off. They tried to start a hive and I don’t want them coming back. They will come back though. The bitchy neighbor in me wants to put a bee hive up on the slope where the neighbors want to build a fence. Sigh. They haven’t done it yet, but whatever. I don’t want a fence. Chain link. Ugly. And then she wants to plant bamboo, the ‘non-clumping kind’. Stupid. And blocks my light. Whatever. So annoyed by neighbors these days. And the movie Mary Shelley. Double ugh. Is that really her story? She did write Frankenstein at a really early age; impressive. But the story of Percy Shelley and their relationship just sucked. So it turns out that some of it was inaccurate. You can read about it here. Interesting that this Shelley researcher says the book Frankenstein focused on her anxieties while pregnant, and that they didn’t even use her words in the movie; they used her husband’s. Sigh. So I just finished reading nonfiction about teaching. I try to read some nonfiction. It’s not my favorite. Reading is escape, right? But I am trying a new Zoom book club, and I now need to read another nonfiction book by next Tuesday, and the book is good, but it will just boggle me and make me feminist angry (like I’m not already). It’s called Invisible Women and is about the data biases that disappear the entire gender in the world. It’s not that I don’t know about some of these things; they just irritate me. As well they should.

The man is still hiking…the boychild delivered a supply box yesterday, and now he has 70 miles to the next store. It’ll be a few days. I can’t see him this weekend; I’m buried in meetings and stuff, but hopefully the weekend after that. Although grades are due for progress reports; that complicates things. Sigh. Dumb job. He did text me about Derek Chauvin though…because he saw the news before I did. Tears to my eyes. America, let’s do this. Make it better. We’re not done.

Here’s a cat.

Here’s a bunny. We have lots of them.

And here are two more cats…

I think it must be nice to be a cat. They certainly get more sleep than I do. It’s probably not as nice to be a bunny. They always seem so scared, and we have tons of predators outside.

OK, efficient grading day. More tea to counteract the tiredness. It’s somewhat chilly today. I have pilates (yay) and then I can trace for a chunk of time. Maybe I will finish? Probably not, but maybe. I did get more Wonder Under, a whole bolt of it. That should last me a while. These are the plans. And the positives. Wonder Under. Tea. Pilates. Tracing.

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.

UberOverwhelmed

I’m not the only one who feels like this week has gone on forever. It was somewhat of a surprise to wake up this morning and realize it was finally fucking Friday. A joy! Well, I still have to get through the day, but I think it will be easier than yesterday? I hope? I finally started getting my head around the new art assignment that starts next week. I have a plan, at least, for the first full week of it, mostly. MOSTLY. So that should help. I realized Monday that I just assumed I could teach whatever was there without reviewing it, and I was oh so wrong. Again. Art reaches up and slaps me in the face again. “I drink and I know things” doesn’t work for teaching middle school. Anyway, I have a goal for today during school: to get everything posted for next week today, so I don’t have to spend hours on Sunday doing it. We’ll see how successful I am.

I’m up 5 students this week, after being told that I would get no new kids without other kids leaving. Such a load of bullshit. Whatever. I have dropped a few of the May Do’s that I had assigned myself for school, because I am a good teacher and I do all the things, but this year, no one can do all the things without insanity, and hopefully that will help. I’ve got people who are doing things to help me, which I greatly appreciate. I am beyond overwhelmed. Is there a beyond overwhelmed? OVER is already beyond whelmed…how can you get beyond that? UberOverwhelmed? That’s it. That’s what I am. 44 days, y’all. 44 days.

Meanwhile, the man hikes on. He’s at about 63 miles last night? I think? And I will see him tomorrow at mile 77 and hang out with him for probably less than 24 hours. I’ll drop him back at the trail, and then it will be a couple of weeks at the minimum before I can meet him again, and that’s only if the trail and my schedule work out. Hopefully. And also hopefully, my brain will start getting used to being the only one here for part of the time. The boychild is here half the week with the dogs. Otherwise, it’s just me entertaining cats.

They are finally coming out a bit. They do like to hide in the bedroom, but it was sunny on Wednesday morning, so they were happy about it.

Nova likes pets…

So does Luna, but she still whacks.

That’s her pre-whack face, so I’m standing back a bit.

We’ve been doing a little cat entertainment in the evenings, once the dogs have gone to bed.

Luna enjoyed that. The girlchild is working here, still on Boston time, and she takes the dogs to bed with her at a very early hour, but that gives the cats some time to run around without them. Not that the big dog cares about them, and half the time, the little dog doesn’t care either, but try to tell the cats that.

Speaking of the little one, he’s not good with being quiet during meetings…

Or for that matter, during class. My students know about him. He’s sometimes a giant pain in the ass. Like most little dogs.

One of my quilts is in the current issue of Fiber Art Now, part of the Excellence in Fibers exhibit…

Which didn’t get to be an actual exhibit unfortunately. Ah COVID. So many things.

And I am still tracing away on this…

I didn’t get any of it done on Wednesday night…was working on copyediting, and then was too tired to pull everything off the light table to do any tracing. Last night, though, despite being on Zoom from 8 AM to 5 PM, I pulled stuff off for my quilting Zoom and traced for 3 hours straight, so that makes up for it. I’m in the low 400s now, not quite halfway though. Getting there. I’m not expecting to get any of it done in the next two nights, though. Family plans plus the Man plans. All good. I’ll get there. It’s not fast, though, not so far. Lots of little pieces to trace down in the planet. It’s been confusing figuring out what is overlapping what. But meditative to trace. That’s the plus.

OK, well I have some late work to grade, some planning for next week to do, and a day of teaching cellular respiration and texture. Those do not go together. Then I am part of the SAQA conference that’s going on right now. I did the meetup last night and met some people from New Zealand and Boston and Wisconsin and Sacramento and San Francisco and that was cool. There’s some stuff tonight too, but I might miss most of it for family stuff. I planned to attend the conference before everyone else’s plans coincided with that. It’s OK…there’s stuff during the week next week and I’ll be around for next weekend’s stuff as well. I’ll get my money’s worth in the end. For now, I’m going to focus on one block of time at a time. 8-3 right now. That’s school.

Where’s the Pillow Fort?

I’ve managed two whole days of school without quitting or making a pillow fort, so I think I might make it through today as well. There are 46 days of school until summer break, and yes, I’m counting them down. Suffice it to say that the last two days mostly sucked and I am trying to modify my brain and responses to make that better, but if I can’t, at least there are only 46 more of them until I get a break.

This year is like no other, yeah, and I know that the next school year will be different. I can do a day at a time. I take a snack break and read my zombie apocalypse book and not think about school for 15 minutes, and then I go back to trying not to go crazy sitting in a chair for so long and pushing kids through stuff that would be so much easier in person. It is what it is, and what it is smells like shit most days.

Anyway. What else? My family is here, visiting my dad, so I’ve been over there for dinner every night. Yes, precautions have been taken. People always ask.

Hey Dad. Good to see you.

The man is smiling quite happily in all his hiking photos…here he has made it to Mile 40 and 6000 feet up.

He seems to be really enjoying it so far, although he admits it is hard. I’ll see him this weekend at one of his resupplies. He’s still close enough (and will be for a while) where I can drive and meet him.

There he is in the wild. I did get to talk to him last night. We’re so used to communicating every day in person, that this is really hard. He doesn’t have cell service all the time, so even texting is not always a thing. Going from in the house all the time to not at all and almost nothing in terms of talking has been difficult. For me, at least. We’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get back to my ‘normal’ exercise schedule during school routine, which means a walk on Tuesday after school. I had to ship a quilt first. This time of year, hiking is really about Spring flower pictures…

This is the neighborhood hike, so they’re not natives…

I take a picture of that one every year, because it’s such a weird flower.

Just lots of pretty. And I got my 3.67 miles in before dinner. All good.

I started tracing the new quilt…

It’s about an hour per 100 pieces, so after last night, I have about 7 hours to go…

I’m only doing about an hour a night. Last night, I got a late start and then went to bed late, and I’m still not sleeping well, plus I woke up to my blood sugar crashing again. I don’t know why, but it throws me off for the rest of the day. I’m OK at the moment, but I’d really like to just solve the issue so it doesn’t happen. Working on that. Working on more sleep. Working on getting all the late work graded so kids can stop sending me multiple emails about it. No, I didn’t do it over Spring Break. Take a breath, y’all.

Sigh. More tonight probably. More exercise, another family dinner, more work, hopefully more sleep. I really need more sleep.

Also…Luna…

Pre-whack. She’s sweet but in a dangerous way.

OK, making a pillow fort now.

135 Days…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The plus of these late walks are the skies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cat.

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