Not Focus Day

My brain is trying to keep track of what day it is. I stare at the calendar and there’s a number (holy crap, it’s that late in the month?) and then I have things I’m supposed to do every day, so the calendar reminds me, but today is THURSDAY. I keep having to tell myself that. I figure it’s leftover from Winter Break, when I had no idea what day it was, and then two Mondays with no students. February isn’t much better for keeping track of days, with two 3-day weekends messing up my brain calendar, which I will enjoy with aplomb. Whatever aplomb is.

Meanwhile, today is the last day of listening to kids present about landforms…that’s probably a good thing. Tomorrow I don’t have to teach…only have to be in the classroom for two periods, so that’s a thing. We’ll have some time to plan…also a good thing. I’m panicking a little about the next unit, which doesn’t really have a focus yet. It will be fine. I found some related assessments yesterday and we’ll get some brain time to figure it out. By the time we get to 7th period prep, our brains are often fried and can’t plan. Unfortunate. Typical teacher issue. Need a fresh brain to make stuff up, since we have no curriculum.

I had pilates after school, came home and dealt with all the random emails and texts that needed data or scans or signatures or whatever. Ate dinner and graded a class assignment that required me to read and write a lot. Ah feedback. Wish y’all would read it. Sigh.

Finally free! To finish tracing…at about 10 PM or so…

It was 11 hours total, over a week of tracing. That’s about 3 1/2 yards of Wonder Under…some truly long and large pieces and a lot of tiny ones.

The next step involves happily sitting on the couch, bingewatching something, while cutting them all out. Not sure when that’s happening, but I’m sure it will be.

Meanwhile, Luna was in crazy rampage mode last night…

She left me alone, and drove her daddy bonkers. After about 3 hours of it, he put both of them in the crate for some peace and quiet…

She’s definitely got some attitude…and crazy energy. They mostly sleep all day and then she goes nuts at night. Usually I just let them race around when he goes to bed early, but he was up late and she was getting in his stuff and being destructive. She’s out and rampaging a little this morning…maybe she’ll get it out of her system before nighttime.

Nova’s just chill. She plays, she races around, but in a much more mellow fashion. She’s currently watching Luna try to destroy a piece of paper.

Anyway, Calli is doing fine…she doesn’t seem to feel a lot of pain…

She’s old and sleeps a lot anyway. But she seems much more active today and ate normally, so that’s good.

Kitten was being a meerkat…and I couldn’t figure out what the deal was until she jumped up…

Ah yes, the screensaver. Very exciting.

Until the TV gets knocked over I guess.

OK, I have to focus. It’s Thursday. Not focus day. Get the kids through the presentations, let them explore some National Parks on video, hopefully get started on planning the next unit. I have a meeting tonight…just come hang out and stitch in the library! It’s gonna be me and one other person, I think. Building this group is hard, y’all. Then time to cut things out. Repeat.

Hiding a Demon

Hello morning. You had pretty colors and clouds, once I took the pillow off my head that I use to drown out the noise of the early riser. I don’t envy him his early and long commute. He left me with three crazy cats and a drugged-out dog. Poor Calli was supposed to have one tooth pulled yesterday, and ended up with two out and three more to come out at a later date, because her heart is old and beats a little weird. I spent a lot of time at the vet yesterday, reading stupid memes on social media while the boychild sat, wishing he’d brought a book. I also wished that, but thought it would be a quickie. It never is when you forget your book. When you bring your book, especially the one you really want to finish, then it’s quick as hell and you don’t even get to open the cover/app/however you read these days. After getting our sweet drugged-out dog, she did all the things the vet said she wouldn’t for a while (pooped, peed on herself) and then wandered around, trying to stay in my personal space, for quite a while. She seems better this morning, ate some food, and is back to sleep.

DEEPLY asleep. Poor old lady. The kittens were up at 5:30 and are also asleep again, while my cat is stalking a closet, no one knows why. When I opened it to see if we were hiding a demon or even just a lizard in there, she was offended and pounced off. Cats are weird yo.

Luna is always grabby and in your face and getting into things…

Nova is less like that and more like Nova…sweet and cautious, until her sister pisses her off.

Before the vet and after tutoring last night, I found myself here…more enjoying the skies than the store…

You gots to take them wherever you can gets them.

Yesterday was long and tiring. I did finally get a hold of the doctor about the blood sugar. The diabetes nurse isn’t allowed to work with me because my blood sugar is “under control.” Except last week it wasn’t. So we’re reducing my daily insulin…maybe I can stop for a while? It’s all such a guess and mess. I like science that is logical. Ironically, because I’m not a very logical person, as every male who’s ever been with me will tell you. I tell them I don’t have their logic…I have mine, which is kinda like a mountain road, rambling with switchbacks. I can’t help how my mind works. I think it’s a plus.

Here’s a cat making biscuits…

with my sweater. Sigh.

I traced for a couple of hours after grading…

Ten hours in, almost, with three yards mostly full and one barely touched…I hit 690-something, so very efficient last night. Although I stayed up too late. Only about 110 to go. Tonight? I hope. Then cutting them out.

I found an artist residency that looks really good, but I don’t think you can pick the weeks you go…it’s just a range. That’s an issue for me. I can’t just ditch school for three weeks. Sigh. I don’t know. Maybe this is a silly idea. Hard to say why it’s festering in my brain. But it is.

OK, school, listening to really bad reports of why it’s totally safe to live in a volcano but not safe to live in a cave (our ancestors would be confused by that, but I’ll accept the explanation). Really, I just get to sit in the rolly chair and listen to them be kids and talk. It’s not bad.

Not So Magically…

Well that’s a lot more rain than I think we were expecting last night. I always laugh when I hear people say that the rain helps them sleep, those nice, soft, rhythmic sounds. Oh yeah. That shit wakes me up. So do coyotes howling. So does Simba’s pissed-off response to coyotes on his property. Random boofing a full 30 minutes after they left does not keep them away, dude. Trust me. I’m a little rough this morning. Sleep is not my friend. Well, I think we COULD be friends, but only if it hung around and stop staring at its phone when it was with me.

So I was wrong about yesterday…I thought I was only in the 300s on the tracing, but I was in the 400s…and magically, now I am in the 500s.

OK, not so magically. I actually spent time tracing…because I finally finished grading that makeup assignment from hell. Totally revising how I do this next time. A. No one can turn anything back in without filling out something that proves they did further research. B. Give them a sheet to mark for what they fixed. I can’t expect 7th graders to write that in an email. Only 4 of them did it appropriately and they were all girls. Thank you, X chromosomes!

Kitten watched me trace yesterday.

Oh yeah, we planted the lime tree we got from a friend’s house finally. We were waiting for the trees to be trimmed and then for the local utilities to mark, because we hit some weird pipe that apparently does nothing.

Big hole…

Easier to do now, when the dirt is mostly wet…

Seriously rootbound…it was in a pot for about 5 years, we think, based on the label still on the tree. The spider plants aren’t helping with that.

The pot shattered when the boychild tried to pull it out.

Pieces of the random pipe we found in the hole…plus the tree root we thought was a wire…

It was wirelike.

Boychild pulled the spider plants off and put them aside to plant out on the slope or in pots, and then slashed the roots to try to help this tree grow here.

And then she went in the ground…the plan is for two more in this area…a lemon and an avocado.

All this used to be lawn. Not a fan. When the kids were little, it made sense. Not so much any more. Sure it’s possible someone with a family might move in here when I leave/die, but that’ll be a long way out, so I’m doing what I want now.

I have way too many cute pictures of sleeping kittens from yesterday…

Well, those aren’t sleeping. They’re cleaning each other.

There was a lot of sleeping yesterday.

They are adorable. Until they rip a hole in your finger or try to eat your backpack or pull your work bag onto the floor.

We also walked the dogs (and me. I like to walk). Coyote noise near the end…and a couple of loose dogs.

That shit drives me crazy. Not a dog park.

OK, the old lady dog is sad because I didn’t feed her. She doesn’t know she is having a tooth pulled this morning so she can’t have breakfast. So I get sad face. I need to go to school for a meeting and then I’ll be listening to presentations all day. It’s been fun watching the kids try to post the assignment and/or share it with me. It’s good that they care. It’s a group grade, though, and I got one email from a kid saying another kid on her team had wrong info and she was telling me so it wouldn’t affect her grade. Um. No. Go talk to your co-worker. Before you have me. This is fixable y’all. Then I have tutoring after school, plus a run to Home Depot for some food for that poor lime tree. It will be fine…it was a good time to get it in the ground. Then more tracing tonight! Yay. I probably won’t finish, based on the rate I’m going, but it’s all a step forward. Looking forward to the fabric part, and that’s a ways out. UGH. Sleep, you are mean.

I Should Draw That…

It’s been a frustrating day so far. It’s a holiday too…I should be jumping with Teacher Joy, a day off to catch up on my grading. Woo hoo. Yeah, it’s a day off. I appreciate that. I appreciate all of them. Things I need right now though: a massage person who can fix my neck and upper back. I have a name, but I just haven’t followed through. A diabetes nurse who will actually call me when I’m available to talk and will answer my questions. For instance, if my diabetes was out of control last week, why is it suddenly under control this week? Because they ran blood tests and realized it was in control last week, except when it was super low that one night, which they think is something I did, but I went through their list, and I didn’t. My fault? Well, my body’s fault. Sigh. I had an appointment (I thought) this morning, but I got there and they’re like, “Nah, it’s tomorrow.” I’m like “Nah, I wouldn’t have scheduled it for a work day.” So I know the nurse screwed up and she came in and talked to me and tried to reschedule, and I said, it’s cool, that’s a physical, it can wait, I’ll schedule for whenever, but someone needs to answer the diabetes questions like NOW. Of course, the diabetes nurse had disappeared from the office and hasn’t called me yet, so hopefully she will later today or tomorrow…when I’m teaching and can’t answer the phone. I’m not impressed by how Sharp manages its diabetics. There’s no information, no guidelines, no support, or if there is, it’s not on my schedule. I am OK with email or phone calls…I don’t need to be in your office for you to explain how to manage all this…I just want some answers and some guidance. Anyway, the diabetes is FINE (explains last week’s crash, eh?) and I’m to reduce insulin (good news). So I’ll do that.

Oh yeah, and here’s info that I could have diagnosed myself…I’m officially in menopause (really? the lack of periods wasn’t a clue?). The doctor asked last week when the last period was…

Well. So Satan is in charge of my periods. I guess I can delete that app now (I thought I had). It’s nice to be official though. I guess. I mean, I already knew that. I am a crone! Woo hoo! OK, lots of people already thought that but whatever.

Anyway, so I wanted to hike on Saturday, but the man had a different plan in mind. It’s his day off too, so I let him direct the day to here…

That’s different flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the background…all the local wineries have some gimmick besides the wine for some reason. I really liked their current Chardonnay, picked after the Fallbrook fire last year (?), so a smoky taste.

And then here…

Their shtick was chocolate, not my thing, but beautiful country out there. A nice drive…

Not quite a hike, but time together anyway. After all that and some food, we headed out to Visions Art Museum for their current opening…Ruth McDowell’s use of fabrics, especially big, bright, and crazy prints, has always fascinated me…

That piece is huge, as is this one…

Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the labels. Well, I did, but they’re far away and pixelated. So there’s that. I did really appreciate this one for its simplicity…

It’s like an anti-McDowell quilt…except not. It’s smaller and way less busy…and more importantly (?), I can read the label. This is Goldfinches. I really enjoyed her work. I also enjoy that they relaxed the no-photo rule in there, because lots of you can’t go see this show, or maybe now that you know it’s there, you’ll make an effort to go see it? I don’t know. It’s nice. I liked it.

I did some drawing…I really wanted to just sit and stare at the landscape on Saturday afternoon (and maybe Sunday as well) with a glass of wine and draw, but wine tasting rooms aren’t really conducive to that, so by the time I drew, I was tired and didn’t get very far…

It’s obviously not done…and I still find the pussy hat problematic. It’s definitely a symbol, but I realize some groups object to it. Anyway, still working on the daughters.

I traced on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights…

It’s slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

I’m in the 300s, I’ve mostly filled one yard and am well on the way to filling the second one. That’s about 5 1/2 hours…not super fast this time. I’ve done almost all of the background stuff, so next on to the body. My goal this week is to finish tracing this and start prepping the fancy paper I bought for the book I’m going to build/draw. If I’m smart, I’ll make a prototype first. It’s debatable if I’m that smart…that shit takes time I don’t usually have.

The kittens have reached the destructive age of 4 1/2 months, where there is a lot of rampaging and moving things away from them or hiding them completely. Like your hair. Or strings on your clothing. Or your toes…

We have temporarily renamed them Lunatic and Novocaine. It works.

Calli was all up in my business last night when I was grading makeup work…

She has a cracked tooth, but it hasn’t slowed her down. She still chews on sticks and bones and eats just fine. No worries…they’ll take it out tomorrow. Meanwhile, I wish these sweet students of mine would follow instructions. Tell me WHAT YOU CHANGED. Because “I fixed my packet” isn’t good enough if I don’t know what you fixed and you didn’t write in a different color like I asked. I can’t tell you how frustrating grading the makeup work was. And I’m not done. Because it’s a clusterfuck. Sigh. It’s OK.

I have the rest of the day. I can make it good. We’re gonna walk dogs, I’m going to trace stuff; my lunches for the week are prepped (although I forgot yesterday and then was up at 1 AM finishing up, because I needed the crockpot for today’s dinner too). My brain. Is fuzz. I should draw that.

It’s the Time and Effort That Count…

I’m not marching for women today. I didn’t even realize. Or I did and my brain was overwhelmed. It feels wrong not to be marching, because I still really care about this shit and realize that if we relax about the crap that’s going on, more of the bad crap will happen. And I don’t want that. Remembering a previous relationship where I got mansplained that it was all in my head (so easy for rich white boys to say). So I’m going to draw something…I’ve been doing lots of Earth Mothers during the years and started an Earth Daughter series (that only has two quilts in it, but there’s time for more). I had a plan to draw a few more of these for some upcoming shows that are paranoid about nudity…since the Daughters are usually just chest and up, it’s easier to hide the things that freak people out. Yes, that is a cactus…it just happens to be where nipples are. Can you see my snarky smile? So I had a list of Daughters I was planning to draw and just hadn’t gotten to yet. This morning in the shower, I came up with some more political ones…and even now, the Feminist Daughter will have two versions…with and without nudity. Is this violating how I normally make art? Well…yes and no. I’m aware of what I’m doing and of the power of getting my political/environmental work out there in a variety of venues without the nudity getting it thrown out. I might still get thrown out for politics, but then, realistically, I can’t put that stuff anywhere with stupid restrictions anyway.

Anyway, I’ll be drawing today. Drawing for women…harder to draw for everyone. I guess I pick my battles. Can I draw for everyone? Not really. I try to be more open to other issues or genders or modes of sexuality, but it’s not always obvious in what I draw.

I’m tired. I’m just gonna leave that there.

Kitten cleaning…curled up next to me while I was grading last night. Always grading…

They are related, that’s for sure. And sweet as hell.

I traced for about 2 hours…

I wasn’t very efficient. I was tired and spacey and lost two pieces for a while (didn’t really lose them…just couldn’t find them for a while…that’s a numbering issue).

I’ve mostly filled one yard and started a second one. I’m in the 200s. Hopefully I wrote that down somewhere.

Part of my tired is the puppy…barking at all the coyotes last night until probably 3 AM…and then a minor blood sugar issue around then. I was reading a chapter and eating popcorn at 3, and then finally got to sleep.

Man, I wish I were a cat…

They sleep so well. I suck so bad at sleep.

This is the tap root of the tree the boychild pulled out of a deep hole in the backyard. He’s been digging at it for at least a month, probably longer.

The tree is a volunteer/weed of sorts. Really invasive. We’ll use the hole for something that will block our view of the neighbor’s house. We have plans for planting we can finally start to implement…the trees are trimmed, solar is done and collecting precious sunlight, got the front yard marked for gas/electric and phone lines (which were in a confusing place). We have one lime tree from a friend who moved, and then are planning on a lemon and an avocado, some fencing, and some more plantings that will beautify, block overnight lighting from the neighbors, and keep UPS and Amazon from dumping packages at the wrong door. Big plans!

Still lots of cat interactions happening, all good. Makes us all happy.

OK, I have a ton of grading this weekend, doctor stuff, drawing, tracing, depressing TV (Chernobyl…good but hard to watch), hopefully some outdoors time, some art, who knows what else. Take care of the body, the mind, and Art Brain, but keep the day job from being overwhelming by tackling it and making boundaries around it. Almost a resolution there, but it’s where I’m always at, so not really.

I have two pieces in a show opening today in Ojai, California…the opening starts in 17 minutes. Whoops. No, I’m not there. It was too far. I couldn’t deal with it this weekend.

But it will be there until the end of February…debating my drive home from a trip in February that COULD go here…but it probably wouldn’t be open that day, so that would be silly. Never mind. Anyway, check it out. Beatrice Wood is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11-5 PM. Now I’m going to grab my sketchbook and go hang out at a winery or two with the man. Necessary stuff for relationships…time. Wine and art are good too, but it’s the time and effort that count.

Rampaging Cat Butts…

I’ve definitely used a significant amount of energy points this week. Labs with slogging bins of sand and water in and out of the classroom two days running, all day. Exercise twice this week on top of that. All the regular walking that comes with being at school. Today the kids research…I’m looking forward to some just-standing time. Maybe. I mean probably I’ll be in a chair at some table where kids can’t deal, but…it’ll be a chair and not running circles around the classroom.

I now have 17 bins of wet sand that need to dry, and it’s raining today. Cold and wet is not conducive to the sand-drying process…I do the weirdest shit for my job. I guess they’ll sit on the counter for a while. Evaporation is slow in a classroom. Hairdryer duty for a kid who needs a job? Anyway.

After the afternoon meeting I had signed up for, I was able to get out in time to kamikaze to the lab to get all my blood sucked out of me (it felt that way) to try to figure out what happened with my blood sugar the other night. I haven’t had any issues since then, except with my paranoia that it might happen again. Home to a few moments with the dogs until they left, and then the house was quiet and I was staring at my computer and stuff to grade. Like always. A short burst of productive time, interspersed with kitten shenanigans…blurry cats are the best cats…

Oh yes, that is a flying leap. We keep boxes for cat play.

They do like to play.

I was getting ready for pilates and got this weird thing going on with the three cats and the dog bed.

When the dogs are gone, there is a lot more interaction and play among the three of them.

But when I got back from class, things had settled down. Yes, that is my work bag.

Yes all the makeup work I need to grade is in there. Sit on, young ladies! Sit on! Can’t work. Kittens in the way.

And then they played some more…old lady got involved.

See Nova hiding by the table?

All that distraction makes it hard to concentrate. Actually, I’m pretty good at ignoring other things and still working. Years of practice. But they are fun to watch.

I started tracing the new quilt around 10 PM…

Maybe later. Yeah. Close to 11. I had finished grading one period of the hellacious assignment…only two to go. Ugh. And then piles of makeup work. It’ll get done. That’s what 3-day weekends are for, right? Double-ugh. They are also for artmaking…

I traced for about an hour. I can’t say how far I got, because I did through piece 84, and then I did all the car headlights, which were not in numerical order, but it made more sense to trace them all together so they could be cut out and ironed together, seeing as how they’re small, and there’s no point in making them all different colors of yellow or white. I’ll do the same with the exhaust pipes and clouds, but then the cars will be all different. That said, each car body is three pieces, and two will be the same color, so they can be traced and ironed together. That saves me time in the long run. I only cut them separately once, when they are on fabric. On Wonder Under, they stay together.

That probably only makes sense to me. And only barely, because I don’t even have one cup of tea in me. OK, buy donuts for the class that won last month, clean classroom, set up for the next assignment, hang out a little after school, come home and try to grade stuff (or nap, whichever seems more efficient). I need to iron and clean up the newest quilt for the photographer tomorrow. I’ve got work to do over the weekend and my doc is making me come in on Monday, where we will discuss her comment about my needing to eat balanced meals. (um. No duh. Stop assuming I’m not.) And maybe I’ll get some sleep. Hard to say with the rampaging kitten butts around here. Definitely going to be tracing more Wonder Under…maybe even finishing it up this weekend. It’s nice not to have someone else’s deadline running me at the moment. Although there is one I need to consider. Sigh. But not now! Now I need to go to work at the day job.

Trust Yourself…

So this is my day off. I did sleep in. With a pillow over my head. Because some people not getting the day off, plus dogs and cat and trash trucks. Not really sleeping, but trying to make up for two relatively early mornings. When you wake up early and your brain goes into overdrive, panicking about all the shit you gotta get done. Yeah. That.

The crockpot is going in 7 minutes. I prepped it already. I showered. I need to…hang on…do laundry. OK. That was 4 minutes. I got the laundry, started it in the washer, filled the dog water bowl, and started the crockpot 3 minutes early. Because it’s stupid to get up again. I’m watching the leaves fall outside. Because it’s Fall. Except it’s supposed to be like 85 degrees tomorrow, so Fall. Yeah. In Southern California.

I’m waiting for my hair to dry, and then I need to go to the grocery store and the pet store, and I really really really need to finish grading. I graded yesterday for a few hours and finished a bunch of stuff, but there’s one really heinous thing I have to do today. And another one I might just toss. Hmm. Don’t tell. It’s just a homework assignment. Nobody’s grade will change because of it. Not just one assignment.

Anyway. Those things are all going through my head, plus the fact that no one in the house wants to deal with Friday’s dinner, least of all me, so I guess we just won’t eat. That’s what I did last night. Long story.

OK, the weekend. I taught a fiber class for the Mingei Museum. Not a lot of people, but it went well…here was the original setup with some background fabrics and some samples I had done already.

I had instructions, just in case. The plus with not many people is being able to work a little bit with everyone. This girl did an awesome solar system.

This guy was amazing.

He did that guy and then built him a mountain.

There were adults in the class (and honestly, I wasn’t expecting kids…)

But everyone brought some creativity.

I gave her a link to a stitch website…I hope she adds some.

I love that someone took this background fabric and ran with it.

Good eye for color.

Here was Julie’s…

It was nice of her to show up…she knows what she’s doing and has a stash, so she took it home and finished it…

Awesome!

I spent the rest of Saturday mostly braindead. I graded a little. We went out to dinner. And I traced until I was done.

Gradebooks. So red.

Oh yeah, I did some embroidery on this one at the class…

And I made this one as a sample…

It needs more stitching.

I love that I used all that Wonder Under for just one long skinny piece.

It took 10 hours to trace everything…

Here’s all 4 full yards and about another 1/3 of a yard…not huge.

Now I need to cut all those apart.

This week is probably a good one for that. I’ll be tired. I’m already tired.

There’s the pile. Kitten was very high energy in between naps.

I’m listening to a podcast about differentiation for students, but it’s super vague. Science is always hard for this. I can’t really differentiate labs easily, not and have them get the same learning.

Yeah. Sleeping hard. I’m jealous.

So Sunday, we had signed up for a food tour of North Park, one of my Christmas presents from last year to the man. It started in a beer and cheese shop…this beer name amused me.

Not enough to drink it. We had great cheese…

and then pretzels and cheese (with kombucha for me…)

Off to an Italian pizza place and a burger place…apparently I stopped taking photographs in between…oh wait, here’s the pizza place…

Good stuff.

There was a little talk of history.

We’ve been on a couple of these. They’re fun. Interesting.

It was just a coincidence that I had been to more than half of the places we went to (it wasn’t my Christmas gift…). There’s so many things wrong with this…

We came back and I didn’t eat dinner, because the timing of the 3 hours of eating constantly didn’t work with my body. Oh well. I think I ate cereal at midnight because my blood sugar was having issues…and it was low this morning. I suck at weekends and managing food.

OK, so I graded a lot last night and then cut one yard out, plus those other two small pieces.

I stayed up too late. All weekend. It’s quiet late at night.

I’m tired today. Really tired. I’ve been really tired for a couple of weeks. Maybe decades. Hmm. I’m looking forward to a week off from school. Ironically, I’ll have a major project to grade over that week, so I’ll be working. Oh well.

Today, I need to finish grading and run all those errands. I need to prep for the week, mentally at least. Too many meetings. I’m trying to fit in exercise regularly. I’d like to spend some time drawing and reading and maybe even sleeping. Not sure those are options. This is the rundown teacher going into the holidays. The podcast is ending well…”you are one teacher…trust yourself to know when enough is enough.”