Tired Is a Thing

Another foggy morning. I like fog, especially when hiking. I like the house encased in fog. It’s somehow quieter and more peaceful (except for the fridge, which is humming away like a happy…machine). I can see the tree branches moving slightly. I can hear the tiny dog barking like a maniac. Hmm. That wasn’t part of my peaceful foggy morning.

I’ve been going to bed earlier, a little bit, most nights, but it’s not really helping. Tired is a thing. It’s possible I am just always tired. It’s hard to get enough good sleep these days. There’s noise from people and cars and dogs and my brain. That last one is all on me. I listen to my brain. Yesterday I talked to my students about listening skills. About job skills. About how when your boss talks, you have to actually remember what they said. In one ear, out the other? Possibly. And the host of emails I got last night…”I don’t get it.” Um. What don’t you get? What are you asking me? It took me until this morning to realize the girl who said she’d “written the climate but didn’t know how to do the rest,” and I’m like, “climate?”, WTF, we barely talk about climate in here at all, and we haven’t yet, WTF is she asking me, and then my brain this morning said “claim. She means claim.” Head on desk. FUUUCCKK. OK. Claim. You wrote a claim. Still. WTF are you supposed to do next? I gave you a paragraph with all the sentence starters. Write the next sentence starter and fill in the blanks. Listening skills. This is the 3rd time we’ve done this. This is the first time she’s tried? The first time she’s listened? Maybe.

One more painful thing for me to grade. If they would read my comments, it would help. Them and me.

OK, well. It is what it is. The kids who have been trying are improving. We move on. Last night, I photographed what I think is a student forgery of a parent signature, and I emailed it to the parent. Waiting on that one. I wish I cared less, but we just met with that parent about this kid. Another meeting this morning, different kid. Should be interesting.

Speaking of interesting kids, I should hire this one to do doodle notes for us…

So school goes on. I try to balance. Same as always. I was at a meeting until 5:30 last night. I started at 8 AM yesterday. Today I’m going in a little early. Today is the last easy day on this assignment…then we go into labs and it’s work. We were smart and broke it up over the weekend (it was a coincidence…it just happened that way). I don’t have any long meetings after school today; that’s nice. I have pilates. That’s also nice. And art is happening in little bits and pieces.

So I got home late last night and did more work…I sent the union email I send every month, and then I tried to start putting groups together for tomorrow’s labs. Kids who won’t pick a group. Kids who pick groups who don’t want them. Kids who pick groups that won’t work. Kids who pick groups with too many people in them. Three is the max. It includes you. There will be no groups of 8 kids y’all. This afternoon, I will finish all the group picking. I’m sensitive to the loners and lonelies. I will do my best to place them in a safe group. Sometimes we give them choices; sometimes we don’t. They need practice with both.

After dinner and all that work stuff, I finally did art stuff. That pile of pieces in the box doesn’t look very big.

Every animal stopped by for a bit…

Simba doesn’t like the big pieces of Wonder Under. The sound makes him nervous. He eventually left. I did finish cutting everything out though. In 5 1/2 hours. I could have sorted them last night…it would have taken another hour. I’m glad I didn’t though. When I’m tired, I don’t deal with kids as well as when I have more sleep in me. So I’ll sort tonight.

And then come in here and clean up, so I can start ironing to fabric tomorrow. I should pick a background fabric too. That sounds nice. Don’t think about the pile of assignments that needs grading. They will be there no matter what. You can bring some home. Maybe finish a chunk today and tomorrow. I got some done yesterday. It was kind of magical. Today I could get more done. Knock on wood.

I make plans every day. That’s how the art gets made. It’s good.

Not a Waste…

I’m always a little discombobulated at the beginning of a new trimester. I had my head down and was grading like crazy, and now I can relax a little. Only a little. The stuff I have to grade right now isn’t very portable. I do want it done before next week, but I don’t think it will be. Not based on yesterday…needy kids who can’t work independently. “Miss, there’s no websites on turtles in San Diego County.” “There are 14 million websites…see that number right there? Have you considered scrolling down?” They would totally scroll down if they were looking for game hacks or videos of their fave person. Two kids yesterday: “This is boring.” Ah youth. I told both of them, “You’re boring. Go find out something new.” The need for entertainment is constant.

So. Trimester 2 has started. I’m up early because I agreed to something crazy. As usual. Hopefully it won’t be too bad. I wasn’t expecting multiple meetings over it. Ugh. Oh well. Stop volunteering! I didn’t actually volunteer. I was sideswiped. Plus there will be politicians involved. I’m intrigued by that.

Yesterday, after school, I kamikazed to an educational professional development meeting on special education and the law. It’s funny…I’ve been a union rep for 15 or 16 years, and I never feel like I know anything, but as I’m sitting through this info session, I’m thinking, I already know that. I do know stuff. I just don’t know ALL the stuff. I will probably never know ALL the stuff. I’m OK with that. I’m OK with knowing a goodly chunk of the stuff. The meeting ran late though and I was tired of listening to the Question and Answer section, which turned into a Complain and There’s No Answer to That section. There are laws and there are people and there is no funding for the laws (yo, politicians…give us the money to DO what you say we should do), which makes it all very frustrating. Also, the instructor paints a picture of a Special Ed department that is very different from the one I’ve experienced recently. Which is also frustrating.

I came home. I did some school stuff, just because I needed to. I actually made a worksheet and started a table of contents for the next unit while I was at the meeting. I can’t just sit and listen at that hour. I’m too tired. I’ll fall asleep. I need to engage other parts of my brain to keep me awake. I remember that when I’m planning instruction, but I’m not sure how to get around it when I can’t even get a kid to pick up a pencil some days. Let alone to read and think about what they’re reading. Independent learning? Yeah right. And maybe someone could let me know when I’m getting new kids in my class? Like especially when they’re transferring from an existing class on campus. Did I miss an email? I might have. Some woman at pilates on Monday was complaining that she had been gone from work for two weeks and had 290 emails to go through. I’m like, that’s it? Sheesh. That’s a week’s worth, maybe. At certain times of the year, that’s a few days.

Yesterday, while writing the blog…well, resizing photos anyway.

Weird. Reminds me…I have some blogposts I need to write for the art group I’m in. Time! I need time. Always.

I spent about an hour cutting another yard of pieces out…with furry butt involvement.

Apparently she heard my car come up when I got home and ran for the front door to see me, but then ran away when I opened it. The reality of me was too scary. She’s a scaredy cat. We were talking about fostering kittens last night. We’ve asked her. Who knows what she thinks. We do know she’s a lot more playful and visible right now than she has been for years. That’s something. She might like kittens. Who knows?

OK, another long meeting today. I’ll be planning shit for December and maybe January while taking notes. Otherwise I’ll fall asleep. I do have my sketchbook as well. I used to draw during union meetings, but then I had too much work to do to waste that time. WASTE. Not a waste. Sigh. I WANT TO DRAW. Maybe you should just draw then.

When I get home, I’ll be able to cut out the next and last yard of Wonder Under, maybe even sort the pieces, if I can stand up for that long. Wait. That means I’ll be ironing pieces to fabric this weekend. Ooohh. I like that. Nice.

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.”

Let’s Go Be NOT Irritated

Ten days of school until break. Less than ten until I NEED a break. I get Monday off, but I already know it will be full of grading. I’m so far behind. I did manage a few reassessments last night. I finally could get my head around them. My co-teacher showed me how to see the old comments. That was a revelation. I’m not sure why it wasn’t a revelation before, but hey…I don’t always click on all the little icons at the top to see what they do. I probably should do more of that. In my spare time. CLICK ON MORE THINGS. I’ll get there. I swear I will.

Yesterday was good (but short) on the planning side. The in-class with the counselor side? Oh fuck me. Serious chaos. Not a level of chaos I’ll do with 36 kids in the room. Not this crew. Anyway. It’s done (you have to do it again, two more times. Don’t think about that.). Today will be painful…for the kids and for me. Because they have to turn stuff in and that is like tearing off toenails for them. The kids with a pile of crap in their backpack that is all disorganized and crumpled…do I help them? Do I toss them into the fire? I did record a video with all the pages in order. You’d think they’d use that. I already know where my frustration levels will be by the end of the day. I’m putting my chill hop YouTube station on and maybe grading some stuff. I’m going to keep a big, slightly scary smile on my face all day. I’m going to nod knowingly and shake my head at appropriate times. I’m going to take deep breaths. I might wave at kids. I might grab the rolling chair and just hang out. I’m not going to take their crazy on myself.

Oh yeah. OK. I can do this. It’s a nice thought anyway. A goal. Something to aim for.

After school yesterday, I kamikazed across town to the Rose Gallery, on the campus of Francis Parker School, which is chi chi and bougie and oh-so-not like my school. Three friends of mine had art in this cool show, Words Imagined, where they picked words and then made art to go with it. I love these…

The artists are Peggy Wiedemann, Don Weeke, Polly Jacobs Giacchina, and Johanna Hansen.

Their work is all different and fascinating.

So many weird little things to see. It’s cool that it’s at a school and the kids will be interacting with the work.

Then I kamikazed (much slower due to rush-hour traffic) back home, ate some food, wrote some instructions for tomorrow’s class I’m guiding (not really teaching am I?), and went to my first ever full-length Pilates class. The pro is that I’m stronger than I think I am. The con is the core is not. It’s all good. I will get there.

Back home, dinner after 9 PM. Hmmm. Planning sucked there. Oh well. I did eat. And then I graded, and then I traced.

Kitten watches me with one partial eye…

Oh wait, somewhere in all that, in between the bits and pieces, I cleared a space for them to check my attic…

Here’s the resultant mess that I will have to deal with…

Sigh. Whatever.

Finally tracing. Fifty one minutes…

Yes, I went to bed late. I have one more person to trace and the center, and that’s it…plus the space cat. So that’s about 200 pieces. I could do it tonight, but suspect I will be panicking about grades and the class I’m not teaching tomorrow. Why did I sign up for this? New experiences. OK. Let’s go be NOT irritated. I can do this.

My Long-Lost Used to Be’s*

I don’t know why I agreed to teach a quilt class on Saturday. It’s drop in. How do you know how much stuff to bring? All of it? Assume 20 people are showing up? What if you run out of materials? How many copies do I make? Do I need another iron? Do I HAVE another iron? Seriously, I kill those things. What if I forget the scissors? I’m not even really sure what I’m teaching. WTF was I thinking? It’s funny, because I can manage 165 12-year-olds through 12 stations of chemistry labs and not freak out (well, there’s some stress there), but this sounds like the end of the world at the moment.

IT’LL BE FINE. It will. It has to be. I should get my shit together though. It’s all in my head. Some of it needs to be on paper, a good chunk needs to be organized and put into some sort of containers. I need to figure out how to get it to the classroom.

I think I need more time. Because I found out yesterday that I have to get access to my attic for a site review for installing solar. And my attic access is awful.

It’s above all that. Up there.

So all that has to come out, and then I have to take out the top shelf as well. It’s a bitch. All this when I need to do some prep for a fabric thing, which should be taking place in here as well. Tonight is when I’ll have to pull everything down. Tonight after an art opening and pilates. Uh huh. OK. Oh yeah. Wait. That’s a song.

You can see how my brain is working right now.

I need a list of things to bring to class. I need something to hand people with instructions or something. I need to organize everything.

I also need to finish grades. They’re due Tuesday. Ha. Ha. I did some of that yesterday…

This is not a picture of what I graded. It’s a picture of Kitten judging me for not petting her more while I was grading. And the essay regrades just give me a headache. So I’m listening to The Style Council and Paul Weller this morning. Tryna channel some 80s Brit pop in my soul. School today? I’m not teaching. I’m meeting and filling out some form, but mostly planning with my homie, and then I have to sit through two periods of a counselor teaching social-emotional learning with two of my better classes. That will be after my first two classes have burned down the building.

Yeah. Uh huh. OK. My ever-changing moods are mostly panic and anxiety and stress. Hence pilates. And the gym! I went there yesterday and finished one book and started another. I’m not reading enough at the moment. Or exercising enough. Or relaxing at all. Whoops!

The boychild and his dad (my ex) were recently in Boston to visit the girlchild…not sure when I can pull that off AND not freeze my feet off…but I got this photo out of the trip…

Art museum trip. Nothing’s changed. He always took them to the museums when they were little. This is one I didn’t go to when I was there. Anyway, so last night at 11:30 PM, I was leaving the airport’s cell phone lot to pick them up…so it was a late night and I didn’t get much done. To be specific, I traced this bird…

Yup. That’s it. Not quite as far as I wanted to be. Tonight might be more of the same. And I think dinner will be chips and hummus. Maybe a pear. In between school and art opening. Oh wait, this opening always has good food…but I can’t eat too much, because pilates. Let’s get that core taken care of…

This morning’s view of the table.

Slow progress. But it’s progress.

*Paul Weller, Uh Huh Oh Yeah

Pillow Fort?

My 52-year-old brain sometimes just wants to wander off and be 12 again. Not really 12, because then I’d have to get my mom to drive me places and I wouldn’t be able to drink, but I’d have more time to make art and read books and possibly even sleep and I’d stress out less about money and the to-do list and how to get people to get along and my job and who’s going to go buy more toilet paper (that last one? It’s me. I’m the one who’s going to go buy more toilet paper). I don’t want all the drama of middle-school existence. Ironic that, since I do have to deal with that every day, but at least it’s not ME who is in trouble or has to go to tutoring or didn’t finish their homework or whose friends are bugging her. Or worse.

This week is kicking my ass. It’s only Wednesday morning. UGH.

I did make scones last night for the next 8 breakfasts. That’s nice. They taste good. I had to go buy more butter to do it, because I didn’t realize we had so little in the fridge (my fault…should’ve checked on Sunday. I checked everything else), but for once, the store wasn’t crazy at 5 PM. So that was nice.

I graded nothing. Tutoring just takes everything out of me. I’m done with school when I get done with tutoring. I can’t. I just can’t. I walk in the door at home and I just need to pee and eat (oh body, you are a delight) and then sometimes I just want to cry because I still have to cook dinner and do other stuff and I am just done. It’s not just walking around…it’s being ON the whole day. I gave a makeup quiz during lunch too, so it was ON for too many hours. Way too many hours. Makes me want to build a pillow fort.

I made an animal fort instead…one at my feet…

Another one on the other foot…

The cat was behind me, then on the desk, then to the left.

Eventually I decided to trace. This is yard 3.

I got through most of the second to last figure. Not all the way. It was late, I was tired, my brain is just sucky right now.

Figure 3 needs the other arm and a head. Then I have one figure left and the stuff in the middle and a few things in the sky. I really should be doing some other things, but I don’t feel like it…grading for one. Sigh. I’ll get there. Today I will be trying to get kids to write an essay again. It’s not even really long…just 7 sentences. You’d think I was trying to torture them with they way they react. It’s exhausting.

Positive attitude ahead. I have some paper stuff I can work on. I can move from table to table and check in while working on the paper stuff. Maybe it will work. It works in my later classes…my morning classes are just a challenge. Tomorrow I don’t have to be in my morning classes…I should consider that a gift, I guess. We’ll see. (Comes back to room on fire…)

Meditating with Wonder Under

It’s Tuesday morning, in case you haven’t noticed. I made the big old lady dog come in here and lie next to me on the floor, because she’s in a mood, and when she’s in a mood, she hunts out paper things to eat and or tear apart. She especially likes pads of post-it notes, but anything will do: boxes, napkins, receipts, 20 dollar bills, books. You name it, she’s eaten it. She’s a little anxious because the boychild isn’t here, and she knows it. We got rid of the parents’ dog last night (they came back; nothing drastic), but the boychild is gone for another two days in dog brain. Well, the dog brain doesn’t know that. She just knows things are different and she doesn’t really like different. Neither does the little boy dog. I had to go chase him down in the backyard already this morning to get him to come back in. Fun stuff. Stuff I used to do every day. Stuff I will probably have to do again someday.

I know we gained an hour, but apparently I only gained the tired hour. Seriously, shouldn’t my body be happy I’m getting up later (well, no, because it’s not like I’m going to bed earlier…)? Daylight Savings time switches just mess with our brains, no matter which way they go.

Yesterday was hard work. Lots of waiting for kids to get their needs for attention out of the way. My first two classes are a challenge in that way. I stand a lot, arms crossed, eyebrows up, waiting. Eventually they settle down, like jumping beans who ran out of jump. But every time we transition, they do it again. It makes for a long couple of periods some days. Today is a lab, so it will be fine. Tomorrow is hard, so it will not. Acceptance. Mindful acceptance of chaos? Huh.

Anyway. My room is set up for the lab today, because everyone at school got to pick new furniture but us 4 science teachers. We’re good! They say. Whatever. Then I kamikazed over to the bank to figure out how to pay for solar…which is happening! I’m so excited. I finally found someone willing to design an affordable system that didn’t make me cut all my trees down. I love my trees. He was awesome. I’m hoping this is as cool as I’m feeling it is right now. I also refi’d my home loan for a shorter time period, so when I retire, I’ll be mostly paid off. I may have to refi again (god knows I’ve done it enough times) to remodel stuff, but for now, this is really cool and I’m really excited.

That did take up a chunk of the evening though. I packed a quilt to ship later this week, I tried to deal with some photos for some posts I have to do, and I graded absolutely nothing. After dinner, I actually did a tiny bit of applique…

Stuff I’ll never finish. Apparently.

Then I decided to trace stuff. Because why not?

I seriously wasn’t in the mood for anything else. It’s funny, though, because one of the reasons I stopped the previous night (well, it was late) is that I couldn’t find the next number on the drawing. Granted, I’m reading upside down and backwards, but it was seemingly invisible. Until yesterday. I’d traced the entire body, but not the head. Duh. Back to the neck, the head, the hair…then onto the next dividing space between bodies.

I’ve filled one yard and most of another yard…started a third yard, but barely.

I’m up to piece 443, which is dividing space between two bodies. I think I only have one body left? Maybe two. Yes, two. So I’m about halfway. Five and a half hours in…so a goodly chunk to go. Plus I really should be grading stuff. Ugh though. Will it make a difference? The reassessments…some of them will. The rest? I don’t know. We reviewed quizzes yesterday and they can retake today or tomorrow. Oh yeah, more shit to grade. If they improve, OK. OK. OK.

Sigh. Kitten, you feel me?

She’s like, momma, I got this. Let me just finish cleaning my armpit.

Another sighting of Bill! Bill! Bill! Hope he enjoys his travels.

You know what? I hope the real Bill gets to see it at some point. OK. Lab day. I might lose my mind in the first two classes. Hopefully not. Then tutoring. Exhausting. It’ll be fine. FINE I SAID. Looking forward to meditating with Wonder Under later.