Not Today

May 12, 2018

I have been looking forward to this weekend. No real events…just something tonight. No things I really HAVE to do, except work on these two quilts…which I should probably get going on. I slept in (but went to bed really late too). I need a swathe of unplanned time to just sit around in my pajamas and drink tea and maybe do what I want. Think what I want. Not really though. That’s what weekends SHOULD be…but I’m stressing out about school and getting stuff done and whether or not to give kids more time to finish something when I can’t really afford to give them that time. Because I need to grade it. Aargh.

Anyway. I don’t know who let all that shit in, because I was trying to keep it out. Deep breaths. Sip the tea.

I worked on both projects last night. I also wasted chunks of time doing hell I dunno what. Seriously. I really don’t know.

A student gave me a rose for teacher appreciation week (his mom made him)…I don’t pick yellow usually, but it’s pretty.

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I traced Wonder Under for about an hour while my show was finishing up…I’m in the 300s? I think? All the way up both legs and now starting to do the stuff around that.

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Then I moved into the studio and worked on ironing the second figure. He’s got legs…

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And I did his hands (one hand is literally just the tips of his fingers)…

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That hand was complicated. I like it though…and the arm attached to it.

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I numbered the fleshy bits before the box he’s holding, so I guess I’ll iron all the body parts and then the box and then insert the box? Not sure. That was midnight last night and I was tired, so I quit…and then stayed up too late anyway. It happens.

Today I am braindead. So I’m going to eat, shower, drink more tea, and then start ironing I think. I have an event tonight, but I should be able to get a chunk done this afternoon. Kinda looking forward to it. Then tomorrow I can make a decision about whether to extend kids’ time or grade stuff or whatever. Not today.

It Could Happen

May 10, 2018

I really need to work on this thing where I sleep through the night. It’s like having a baby around…except it’s my brain or the dog or who knows what. Exercise seems to help, but I don’t always have the time or energy for it…like if I walk in the door at almost 6 PM and I’ve been working that whole time, except for a nice leisurely lunch with my coworkers because it’s teacher appreciation week and the only kids who appreciate me are last-year’s kids (I’m OK with that…we’re probably pretty annoying right now…by this time last year, they won’t still be annoyed by us)…well then I THOUGHT about the gym, but a wave of exhaustion hit me as I walked up the stairs to the front door. So I didn’t. I will later this week. I’ll just do it on a day when I get home before dinnertime.

I think mostly the sleep thing is stress. I have other signs: the twitching eyelid, the canker sore I always get, the tight jaw…yup. That’s stress. I’m trying. I really am. So last night, after getting some stuff done like rejecting one proofreading job because the timeline was too tight for someone who works during the day, dealing with beneficiaries on my life insurance (yo kids! It’s you! plus how did they spell my brother’s name wrong? It’s the same as mine!), and some other email stuff…I decided to start tracing the next quilt. Yup. I don’t hardly ever, as far back as I can remember, work on two at a time…except when I’m working on one and the deadline on the other is more important. Then I might set the less-important one aside to work on the more priority piece. But I’m doing these pretty much simultaneously. Mostly because I had a Netflix video that I knew my video-watching partner wasn’t going to like, and he was gone, so I could watch it while tracing, but not while ironing (two different rooms, only one has a DVD player. I wrote VCR. I mean, it has that too, but we don’t use it any more).

I traced for almost 3 hours. Meditative.

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I didn’t get super far…all the stuff in the bottom, ready to start on her feet. Maybe 150 pieces or so. Not sure why it took so long, but it did. My brain fighting the process. I’m still working on not bringing any work home…on getting stuff done at school and at meetings, so I don’t have to bring it home. Not sure that will last, but I’m trying.

I got a phone call this morning at 6:30 AM from a duct-cleaning place. Every other day or so there’s another message from one of them. That and the phone researchers…one called last night at 8:45 PM. Annoying…not sure how to get off those lists.

Early meeting today…hopefully I’ll wake up and find my brain by the time I get to school. It could happen.

Sinking Is All I Had Planned*

April 29, 2018

Took a day off from all the things. Looking ahead to May, I can see some stressful events and lots of meetings (three in one day? Really?), so I wanted to do a hike before all that. We originally were looking at a short one, but the weather was right and I had this hike that had been bugging me. Last June, I tried to do a hike with the boychild, but I had recently started taking a new medication, and it fucked with me…so I ended up having to get helicoptered off the mountain (that was a fun experience actually). The situation was scary, though, in that when that happens, you get paranoid that it will happen again, where you’ll feel like you can’t control or trust your body and do the things you want to do. So it’s been on my list since then to do the hike again (it’s one I’ve actually done 5 or 6 times anyway), just to prove to myself that (a) I can do it and (b) it was the meds, not me.

We go out Sunset Trail, then pick up Big Laguna back…pretty simple, not too much climbing, gorgeous views and a meadow.

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It was a gorgeous day, weather was warm but breezy, not too bad. Probably better than last June, which was hot. The fires came through here however many years ago, so there are always new trees that have finally succumbed and are lying around.

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This was a perfect time to go…lots of meadow and mountain flowers, plus the oaks have all their new pinkish growth coming in.

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Seriously, there were flowers everywhere…

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We didn’t see any animals, except lizards and birds…not even the cows that are usually in the meadows!

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Looking down at Water of the Woods, which had quite a bit of water in it. There were only about 4 hikers on Sunset Trail, but a lot more (mostly bikers) on the Laguna trail. Bikes aren’t allowed on Sunset…that’s a plus.

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This bird is loud and weird. Pretty sure it’s a
Red-winged Blackbird.

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You can listen to one here…but the one I was listening to seemed to have been listening to a bunch of electronic music. He had a definite electronic twang to his song.

Walking up from the pond, that tree was just leaning there, most of its bark gone, just perched on its stump.

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Some dead trees, some burned trees…

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A view of Cuyamaca Peak, Middle Peak (to the right), and Stonewall.

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Then we come to where I sat for about 20 minutes or so last June, waiting for the helicopter to show up. They had sent out the Forest Service guys who were already out there to check on me, and then the official rescue people hiked in from Penny Pines. Boychild and I had debated if I could hike another mile, mile and a half, to Penny Pines, but I was barely able to walk more than 10 steps without feeling like I was gonna pass out by then.

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So the helicopter landed there. I had plenty of water, had drunk, had eaten. And yesterday, I was fine. No problems at all.

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So we kept hiking.

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A view of the meadow from Sunset Trail…

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There were pinecones all over the place.

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We kept going around the meadow, avoiding the mountain bikers…

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Nature at its best…

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And there’s water in the lake!

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I’ve actually never seen this much water…then again, I didn’t hike there right after the rains last year…I’m sure there was more than this.

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But it was nice to see this much anyway, along with the swathes of color across the meadows.

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No cows. Girlchild would have been disappointed.

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Heading back…

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A little over 8 miles. Definitely tiring…I zoned out most of the afternoon, but it was good. It felt good. I’m glad to have conquered that.

Meanwhile, I did buy fabrics for the background of the new quilt. There’s a contrast challenge between bodies and fireplace and floor and background wall. The left is part of the fireplace, the middle is the wall, and the right is the floor.

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I got these too. Maybe if my kids ever have kids, they will realize what all the alien fabrics are for. Or not.

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These two are still nervous about each other…

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Friday night I finished cutting out all the Wonder Under with Simba’s help…

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This mermaid with two tails was in the Starbucks in the morning…

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I finally got off the couch yesterday afternoon and sorted the Wonder Under…it didn’t take long.

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We got dinner at the new Mexican place in town. I don’t believe that Frida actually said that.

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And then I started ironing.

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I didn’t get very far, because I was tired and it was late and standing hurt my feet at that point, but it’s a start.

Some blues for a backpack…

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I’m expecting the ironing to take at least 10-12 hours…so all week, really. Hopefully I’ll be cutting pieces out by next weekend. That’s the plan anyway. Stay on task. I might need to grade some stuff sometime soon though. Sigh.

Today has a long to-do list, as always. Better get on it…

*Aimee Mann, Humpty Dumpty

In My Dreams…

April 27, 2018

Things that help: exercise, reading, interesting food, not bringing work home, even though you probably should. Things that don’t help: the weirdass dreams I’ve been having almost every night this week. I seriously wake up thinking I’ve lived this entirely different life in my head (and you’re all there, doing weirdass things), and my brain is confused by the alarm, by the bed, by the cat, by everything. I feel like I have to recite this mantra in my head: You’re a teacher. You teach middle school. You teach science. You will have to go to work today. Wait, I’m NOT discovering some weird anthropological creature in an underground dig in Mozambique? With my high-school chemistry teacher? Who’s probably dead by now (OK, maybe not…he wasn’t THAT old)? With 3 friends from elementary school and one from college, none of which I’ve seen in 30 years? OK. Brain reset.

Somewhat disorienting.

I went to the gym last night to finish my book. Oh yeah, and get some much-needed exercise. I’d forgotten how nice it was to do that. Must add back into calendar. Then I came back and made a lovely healthy meal. Also a good thing.

I pulled this picture of the girlchild’s travel group off the webs…

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A motley crew for sure. They are all writing 40-page papers in the next three days, and then she’ll have a week of being a tourist, and then back home. Fast, eh? And then it’s less than a month until the boychild graduates from college, holy crap, when did that happen?

This is every teacher right now…especially as we realized yesterday that the full moon is this weekend…and that was fully apparent on our campus.

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I have had to explain multiples times that they have almost TWO MORE MONTHS OF SCHOOL SIT DOWN AND DO YOUR WORK. Yeah. Rough year. Time to start teaching sex ed.

After the healthy dinner, I did more of this…not as much as I wanted to get done…

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I only cut for about 2 hours, but I finished the second yard and started the third. I figure I’m about 2/3ds of the way through. Maybe another 3 hours? Sounds like tonight, eh?

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I’m hoping. And then sort them and start ironing down…which means I should go buy fabrics today for the background. Store closes at 5…they used to have one late day a week, but no one (but me) used it. I can kamikaze over there after work…I try to never have meetings after school on Fridays. I need a break. Especially this week…it’s been meeting-heavy. And next week is May! Holy crap that was fast.

OK, today will be a lot of managing behaviors and pushing them through learning…hopefully it will go well. (in my dreams! ha ha ha…I don’t usually teach in my dreams…although I’m often at school. A girl can dream. Ha ha ha! I’m killin’ myself laughing over here.)

Tell Me Now How Do I Feel*

April 26, 2018

The early mornings are getting to me…I actually went to bed early last night. I know, it’s a miracle. I was tired though. Yesterday was three meetings before and after school, and the afterschool one took a lot out of me. When we teach reproduction, we have to allow the parents to preview the curriculum, which is fine. I’m glad they’re paying attention…but this was more about a culture clash than reproduction. Those are hard. I think it might have been just as hard for the dad. The parents can choose to opt their child out of a sexual education, which I don’t really agree with, but I respect their right to do so…so every year, we send letters home and do these meetings and then have parents who choose to have their kid NOT learn about how their bodies work. And no, it’s not just girls. Anyway…unfortunately, they don’t let US choose who to opt out, because there are some pure trolls and some incredibly immature (um boys) who make it a lot harder for us to teach this unit.

When I got home from that, which took longer than it ever has, I walked the dogs.

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It was over 3 miles, and they were dragging at the end of it. It felt good, though. All of us need the exercise. Unfortunately, because of coyote sightings, I’ve limited the walks we go on now. I need to go out into those wild places and see if that’s still an issue. Of course, I know the coyotes are still there, but with daylight stretching later, it’s possible that I can go and avoid them.

When I came home, after eating dinner, I started cutting out Wonder Under.

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I had (tired) couch companions…

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He’s now licking his paw something awful, so there must be something in there. Unfortunately, he’s a bitey asshole, so he won’t let anyone else look at it.

This one also slept…

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And I cut for almost 3 hours.

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It’s a very methodical process, very meditative. Cut this larger section, cut the big pieces out, then down to the small pieces. Then pick up the next larger section. I got through one whole yard of Wonder Under and part of the next one…looks like it’ll take me three long nights to get through it, but I could potentially be done Friday night. I’m not caught up with grading at school, but I know there are many opportunities in the next week or so to get caught up, so I’m going to try to limit what I bring home. That life-work balance is a bitch for teachers.

I did book the girlchild’s flight home to San Diego (not until August) last night. I’ll see her in May in New York for the boychild’s graduation. She’s on short time in Madagascar now…hoping she stays healthy for the last bit and manages to get home safe.

*New Order, Blue Monday

Too Much Water Damage

April 25, 2018

This week is tired. I’m pretty sure I thought yesterday was Wednesday, which would make today Thursday, but you know it’s not. Tuesday inserted itself rudely back into the week, refusing to be ignored. Damn you, Tuesday. So now it’s Wednesday and there are two more meetings today which makes it long and tiring. Plus, let’s be completely honest here, I’ve stayed up too late two nights (or more) in a row, trying to get the Wonder Under traced. That said, even going to bed late, I find it hard to fall asleep…my brain is racing, stressed, on overdrive, wants to read my book, wants to work on the quilt, wants to do anything but slow down and relax and rest and rejuvenate. Bad brain.

Yesterday’s afterschool meeting was about National Board certification…something I’ve been considering. I need to get my district to pay for it, though. I love that the only professional development that might actually be useful for me is something I have to pay for myself…all the stuff they force me to go to is mostly useless. Sigh. So it was an interesting meeting…we’ll see if I decide to do that. It might be best to wait a year, until I don’t have to work three jobs to pay for college. Being one kid down in that respect is not necessarily helpful…the boychild had more grant money, so his payment was pretty small…in fact, we haven’t paid anything this year out of pocket…it all came out of the college money we started saving when he was a baby. That was nice. Maybe the girlchild’s will be similar. Going into the 5th year of college payments is hard…there’s nothing left. (Who am I kidding? There was nothing left after the second year.)

Then I came home and soaked my very-much-not-infected (well, at the moment) foot. They still have me on antibiotics until the culture comes back…one of the wonders of diabetes…the fear of foot injuries. I was multi-tasking…reading my book (that’s due in 3 days) while soaking. Of course. And then! I’m a character in the book!

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So far, I’m kind of a lame character…but I’ll take it. Might be a true representation of the Nida character right there in the second-to-last sentence.

Then right back to this, because when I stopped Monday night, there were only about 230 pieces to go. And that’s doable in one night.

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Well, it’s probably more doable when you start earlier, because it was well after midnight when I was done. Piece 1000 is in there, but honestly, last night, there were at least 3 numbers that were used twice and at least 4 pieces that weren’t numbered, so who knows what I’m really at. Somewhere AROUND 1000.

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It took about 10 1/2 hours…not bad…almost exactly an hour per 100 pieces. I was on a roll! That’s 10 episodes of Agents of SHIELD too. I think. I must have watched something else too, because I still have quite a few episodes in there.

I spread out all the Wonder Under…it’s about 3 1/2 yards’ worth. Covers the light table and more…

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Next comes about 7 hours or so of sitting on the couch and cutting them apart. Oh yeah, I never found two numbers on the drawing…so either they were hiding completely (sometimes I number illogically) or they never existed. The human brain is a messed-up device. Too much water damage.

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Meeting this morning with the science department; after school, with any parents who want to see our sex ed program before we start teaching it. Yes! It’s almost THAT time of year. Oh boy. Seriously, they might wake up and pay attention…I’d be good with that.

If you want a copy of the catalog for the Things That Matter traveling exhibit, it’s available now on Amazon right here. All the quilt statements are in there too, which is nice. I still haven’t had a chance to read them all.


With that, I’m going to go deal with some other things that matter…

It’s Much Too Late to Find*

April 24, 2018

Apparently the girlchild and I are simultaneously on antibiotics for infected leg/foot wounds. Impressive. Except mine was a tiny little bougainvillea thorn and hers is a whopping scab from a hiking fall with a 70-pound backpack that didn’t help her Not fall. And hers is in a third-world country that hosts some nasty-ass infectious bugs. Although they cultured my tiny wound…so maybe I have something fun too. FUN.

My afterschool experience: Yup, that sucker was tiny, but my body had already mounted significant pus protection against it. Plus it hurt like a bitch.

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It was deep enough that my science co-teacher rescinded her offer to dig it out with one of the rusty school scalpels (we would have put a new blade in, no worries).

Meanwhile, 11,000 miles away…some serious pus…

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Blech. The mosquito bite on top of the knee looks lovely.

So I actually left school early to go to Urgent Care. We were supposed to have a staff meeting, but because grades were due, he gave us the time to do that instead. So I texted him and told him where I would be grading (and I did…free wifi..score!). But I wasn’t done when I got home…took me another 2 hours or so, maybe 3? Yeah, more like 3, to finish up grades around 9:20 PM or so. Hallelujah. (This is not the first time I have graded in Urgent Care.)

Then I bid on a copyediting job, since I won’t be able to do anything during July without constantly panicking about jury duty (SIGH). So it makes sense to take jobs on now? With school? Whatever. This one has a long deadline. Plus it might lead to more work, who knows. I don’t really WANT more work…but I still have a year of college to pay for with one kid, plus loans that need to be paid off for the other (with his help, after he gets an awesome job at BevMo).

And then I traced some more. I’m well past the 50% mark now…in the high 600s. I found two more unnumbered pieces (I am a space cadet)…so we’re at 1003? I think? No, there was one the night before…1004. I have two yards mostly filled…and I started on the third.

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There are a lot of small pieces, even though I tried not to do that with the stuff I added to the original drawing.. I’m almost done with the third figure, so all that’s left is the fireplace and everything on it…cat, log pile, fire, logs, I said logs, the shit on the mantle. Not a small amount of stuff, but maybe I could finish tonight? Probably not though…

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What day is it? Tuesday? OK, so finish tracing by tomorrow and start cutting out…I need to see if I have a background piece that will work for this…no, I don’t (remember conversation about fireplace and wood floor contrast)…so I should plan a quilt store trip at some point…can’t iron down without a background to compare fabrics to. Cool. A plan. Background purchased this weekend. Ironing to fabrics sometime next week? I forget sometimes how close this deadline is. I may not make it. Oh well, it will still be a cool quilt.

*Human League, Don’t You Want Me