I Like Goals…

I’m trying to write in the morning again, and I suspect I won’t finish. I’m in a meeting for a kid that started before I’m officially “at school”…and it’s complicated, so I’m pretty sure this won’t get done until later. And with a vet appointment later, I’m going to have an issue getting it written.

It’s going to be a long day.

Monday night, I did the crazy thing of picking all the flesh fabrics for the largest figure…and these are all the pieces that WEREN’T flesh colored…

So right now, they’re all covered up so cats won’t make a mess in there. Here’s all the flesh bits laid out with Kitten supervising…

So I did about 4 hours of ironing Monday night because the girlchild called me from her drive back from Maine to see her cousin, who’s starting college this week there. So then I just kept ironing stuff down. I probably should have done some schoolwork. Oh well. Here’s everything I’ve used so far…

This thing. So not helpful.

She mostly sleeps, but sometimes is in my personal space a little more than I need her to be.

I’m still listening to the meeting…but the mom is late, so I’m trying to get this done. Like that. That cat.

It’s still hot, but not as bad as it’s been. I think today is supposed to be a bit warmer. And tomorrow. I’m done with it personally. These guys are still hiding from the parents’ dog.

Last night, I wasn’t able to deal with ironing…so I quilted the small Patreon quilt.

For the next Patreon video, I’ll probably show some finishing techniques…I will be binding this small piece, but I have some others that will be finished in other ways.

OK, well I finished…so today I will teach. I will go to the vet. I will try to get some work done at the vet. Ha! In the car. And then hopefully I will exercise and make some art. That’s the goal. I like goals. They help.

The Mondayness of It All…

So it’s Monday morning on the first 5-day week back to school…and Zoom is out nationwide. You know, the program we use to actually DO online teaching with the kids? The video thing? Yeah that. I’m amused. It may be back up by the time we start school, but this certainly complicates shit. Last week it was the program we use to log all the kids in…this week, Zoom. I’m ready to go when they are, though. Attendance might be an issue today. I’m laughing.

In other news, it’s still warm here, although it’s cloudy and not so bad at the moment…it’ll get warmer later. I look forward to the months where it’s freezing here (not really, because we don’t get snow) and I have to wear socks. But right now, I’ve got those two fans on me at 8 in the morning and I’m supposed to be working. So I’m going to do that and finish this later. You won’t know the difference, because it will all get posted later. Just know that I thought about starting this in the morning. I even resized all the photos, but the girlchild called and it’s Monday and that’s just a thing. A thing that slows us down. The Mondayness of it all.

It’s still Monday, but now it’s after 6 PM. I just finished working…well, maybe. I really should do more, but I’m not sure I have it in me. I started at 7:30 AM, took a break at lunch and to water stuff after school, then drove to school to drop stuff off, and then back here to finish what’s on my to-do list. There’s still one thing on there, but I’m not sure I have enough brainpower to do it right now. So there’s that.

OK, so Friday, we did cover pages for our first unit, and although most of them did it online using Google searches for images and super-quick font and color choices, I couldn’t help but go old school.

I showed them how to do this, but I think I only had one kid try it. I’m going to color it in and then upload it onto mine…just because. Sigh. I miss this.

Friday night, I walked…first time all week. It was a long and tiring and hot week. Friday was no less long, hot, and tiring…I just couldn’t take the lack of exercise any more.

It was late and kinda cool and sorta nice.

I was a slow-moving sloth in the heat and tiredness of it all though. My feet were hot at the end, so I used the pool…

I’m not much of a swimmer, you may have noticed. Mostly I think the pool is for the dog.

I continued the walk at Lake Murray on Saturday evening, part of my plan to reinstate Date Night out of the house and out and about, minus the crowds at art openings and restaurants…

It was cooler outside…

Plus the whole sitting at home thing just sucks. Ask him…or her…I don’t know how to sex an alien.

I also got some stitching in Saturday night, but mostly I was tired…

Sunday, I used up most of the sourdough starter discard to make the next two weeks’ worth of frozen pancakes for a quick breakfast…

And then Sunday night, after working on school stuff for about 4 or 5 hours, I finished stitching this…

It needs a bath, some ironing, a hoop, and then a place on Etsy.

Then I did the stitch down on this Patreon reward…small is easy!

She got some ironing as well…

And then I pinbasted it…

So she’s ready to be quilted tonight.

The last hour of the evening was dedicated to ironing the newest quilt pieces onto fabric…

I didn’t get far…

Only a few colors so far…

But I did lay out the next 100 pieces of Wonder Under so I’d be ready to go tonight. I hope. Movement in the right direction.

The boychild is cooking dinner. I need to go dip my feet in the pool again. I watered everything, finished a packet for a kid in a shelter, talked on the phone to a bunch of people, made a vet appointment, and I think I’m ready to teach tomorrow. Although I think I have one other thing I need to work on tonight. I just can’t remember what it is. Oh well. So be it.

Messy Around the Edges…

Ah yes. You should know that fully half the things I thought I could get done yesterday did not happen, but I did send 20 emails with mostly (hopefully) correct information about schedules. I remember now what I hate about sending the same (mostly) email to every student…finding all their parent emails, making sure I change the things that need to be different. It’s just time-consuming. The extra communication we do because it’s all online is a lot. My co-teacher is planning to leave her computer at work (she is going in to her classroom) every weekend. IDK how I will possibly do that and get everything done. I will try? Aack. We’ll see. It’s hard to find work/life balance as a teacher no matter what, but when it’s happening at home anyway, it just gets ugly.

I did get a few things done yesterday that weren’t work-related. I persuaded my sourdough starter to be happy and on my fourth loaf of bread, I might be doing it right. Of course, I haven’t cooked it yet, so WTF do I know?

This is what the weather app was saying yesterday.

Today it puts the high temp at 98 with a real feel of 108 (I can vouch for those real feels), and then Thursday will be the highest, with rolling blackouts from our electricity company. Now to clarify, I don’t have air conditioning. We sweat and run fans. And sometimes just stand in the open doorway of the fridge. I could put the computer in there and see how that works. I might have to go to school for a few days…I’d rather not, but we’ll see how it goes today and tomorrow, which are prep days.

Every day, Calli begs to go in the pool to fetch pine cones. She can only manage 4 or 5 short fetches (only one tiny swim, mostly just reaching out)…and then she’s tired.

Then we sit out on the deck until she dries off a little. I was doing bread prep during this time, so I kept getting up and going inside to mix something or so stretch and folds, but often I try to make it a break in the day, so I will read. Sometimes I don’t have the brainpower for reading, though. We all get that way. It has to be later in the afternoon, or the deck is too damn hot, so it will hopefully correspond to ‘after school’ times.

We watch a lot of hummingbirds out there.

Sometimes they hover right in front of me, trying to figure out what I am? I am never smart enough to get my camera going for those…too fascinated by their closeness.

Am I the only one who is going back to work full time and trying to figure out how to still make sourdough bread on a regular basis?

It was 10:30 PM when I finished the school emails and dinner and all the other things. That’s when I made art. I needed to sort the Wonder Under to make it easier to iron them all together.

Nova wanted pets, so I did that first. Then sorted…it only took 43 minutes, and that was with a dog-peeing break in the middle.

So much for getting ironing and cleaning done in here yesterday. I sorted.

And then it was late and I was hot and tired and eventually (too late) went to bed. I heard it sprinkling briefly around 5:30 AM, but it was dry by the time I got up. It’s cloudy right now, which is delightful and I hope it stays, but it probably won’t. Ugh. My hair is hot, my bra is hot, everything on my body is hot. I was looking at this slide show of teach-at-home spaces and was relieved that mine is not the only one that was messy around the edges, but I didn’t see any set up by a pool…which makes sense with the whole water/electricity thing, but I don’t know why I can’t teach poolside. Like computer on the side, me in the pool. It could work.

Here’s Kitten dealing with the heat in the paper box…

And my morning view. Ugh. Too early.

At least it was pretty. OK, working all day at things…weird because usually one of the major things would be putting my room back together, and who the fuck knows when I will do that again. But there is plenty else to work on…all on a computer, unfortunately. Then a break to wet the dog. I don’t know what MY exercise looks like this week, unless I walk in the dark (it’s a thing). And then I will clean up in here for real this time…I did start yesterday. I organized the remaining pieces for Etsy and cut the felt backings and put the felt back in the garage to get it out of the way. So it’s not that I did nothing. It just wasn’t enough. Hopefully today I can start ironing to fabric.

School starts in 2 minutes. I should pee.

A Perfectly Normal Sunday

So many days of hot. OK. It’s been two days of hot. But more are coming. It’s not going away. So I’m just becoming one with the sweat. And drinking lots of water. Here was Friday’s alternate desk report. I do have two desks and this one is in full sun in the morning.

It hit 104 degrees later. Fun stuff.

I’m doing lots of schoolwork at the moment, tweaking things, checking links. Everything has to be made new because online schooling is a thing. Our county has been under 100 cases per 100,000 people for the last three, maybe four days, so schools may open in two weeks. Scarily. PIVOT! The confusion between going from all online to some kids back in school full time and some part time is going to be very very real. So don’t REALLY get to know these kids, because they might not be yours in a few weeks. Sort of mind-boggling really.

You probably won’t get this if you’re not a teacher right now, but these two words, Synchronous and Asynchronous, are not only hard to type and say, but my English-learner kids don’t have a fucking clue what they mean.

I have to remind myself that A means NOT, so NOT at the same time. Except sometimes it is. The word HOMEWORK no longer has any meeting, right? If I can’t remember it,

I spent a lot of time on Friday yelling at my cable company and probably my neighbor kids learned some new bad words. But they are lying pieces of shit (the cable tech people, not the neighbor kids). I finally drove to the cable store (damn, if I’d known that was an option, I totally would have just done that), but still had to spend another hour with the online chat person to get it set up. So much for self-activation of the cable box…or for anything else, honestly. That was 8 people on chat, 3 on the phone, and one in person at the store. Hopefully this will solve some of the internet issues, although I might have to up the data plan at some point. And maybe speed, but we hope not. It all costs money…money my district is not reimbursing. Fun stuff that.

Friday was hard in many ways…I knew most of my teacher friends were at school, isolating in their classrooms, except they saw each other and talked with masks on in that socially distant way. I was home with the cats and dogs and the boy, who is an efficient PDF manager. With so much online stuff we’re doing, sometimes it’s easier to send something his way and have him manage it. I miss my friends, though. I miss planning in person and conversations where more than one person can talk at a time and the sound doesn’t kick out halfway through. I’m lonely here without all of them, and that will probably get worse when they go back in person. That said, I know it’s safer here, and since my principal already had to remind people to wear masks after 5 months of a pandemic, I know being at school would be an issue. I’m hoping there’s no issues with letting me teach from home…I won’t know for sure until I meet with Human Resources and all that, so that sits in my belly until it’s a done deal…and probably after that, I’ll still be paranoid that I’m going to be replaced or lose my job somehow. Deep breaths. It has to be done. Also, San Diego is threatening more rolling blackouts, so I might be in the classroom this week anyway. So there’s that.

I decided to try and get the 5 finished embroidery/wallhanging pieces up on Etsy yesterday so I could check that off my list, although I think there are 5 more that need finishing and to be posted. I’ll get there.

But these 5 are up. That’s progress.

Friday we gamed, but I also cut stuff out…

I think I had about 1 1/2 yards left at this point? Maybe? What’s funny is that I had a picture above and realized it was the wrong one. BECAUSE THEY ALL START TO LOOK THE SAME. Sad but true.

Saturday was warm, but I did Pilates in the morning with all three dogs…Simba came in later.

It’s hard to exercise alone in this house. Yes, Katie is back. She’s leaving today, coming back Friday, and staying for a week. It’s a little stressful for everyone, but she’s chilled out from 5 years ago, so that’s a plus.

Then I got my computer setup mostly done…

School laptop on a stand, wireless mouse, spare monitor hooked up to laptop, home computer on the side. Considering a board between the table (you can just see my sewing machine to the far left) and the printer shelf, just to move the mouse over. Might be useful. Now I can watch students AND run Zoom on the computer, and run something else on the other computer if I need to. Maybe Kitten will run that…

Still getting the paperwork all sorted and cleaned up. I also ordered new business cards, because I was almost out of the most current ones. They offered stickers as well (yes, they cost money, but the pictures were already uploaded and it wasn’t a lot more money…plus stickers!). They’ll all be here in September sometime, which is fine. It’s not a rush…just a checkbox I needed to fill in.

I did a lot of schoolwork yesterday as well, bits and pieces again. My focus is off, as always at this time of year. Fix this, fix that. Students are already contacting me on Google Classroom, parents are already signed up. I need to do about 50 things before Wednesday.

I did take a break after all the school and art business stuff and cut more things out after a no-cook dinner (cheese, crackers, and random meat)…

And I finished it all…so that means sorting tonight and hopefully starting to iron to fabric sometime soon. Which means putting a bunch of stuff away in the office/studio. Aargh. More cleaning. It took about 6 1/2 hours to cut out all the Wonder Under. The next step will probably take closer to 10 hours.

Kitten would like me to clear the light table off too…I will…mostly. But it’s a good place to stand and teach when it’s not unbearably hot out there. Although I’d have to move the monitor too. It’s doable. How mobile can I be? Hopefully pretty mobile.

There’s the girlchild, on her way to her second job? Or something.

She’s on a bike. Hopefully she bought a helmet today. She is in fact sticking her tongue out at me, probably because I haven’t listened to her new podcast episode yet. I started, but realized I wasn’t concentrating because what I was doing was taking too much brain power. So I’ll save it for when I’m doing something mostly brainless, like sorting Wonder Under or cleaning the office today. I’m also making bread today…the starter is happy with all this dry heat, unlike the rest of us. And I’m going to put all the felt I was using to back embroideries back in the garage, so it’s out of my way. Grocery shopping and laundry are on the list…so is panicking about school, in case you were wondering. Otherwise, it’s a perfectly normal Sunday. In a pandemic.

Bits and Pieces Together

Well that’s it. Summer Break is over for 2020. I don’t really know what to say about that. Many of you are as confuzzled by this year as I am. Do I feel ready for school to start? Fuck no. Do I feel relaxed and rested after the summer? Of course not. Who does? I’m currently running around (more mentally than physically), trying to get my internet to be happier with its existence (no thanks to Cox Cable for that…sigh…but they will be here this morning, replacing THEIR stupid modem that they claimed was mine. What a clusterfuck.), hoping to plan for the school year, hoping to HAVE a plan. I thank my co-teachers for their presence of mind, because mine is distinctly absent. Although I have bits and pieces together in my head. Just not the plan that ties them all together. I think honestly, after 17+ years of teaching, that I finally realize those prep days on campus, where we put our rooms together and set the stuff out that needs to be out and check in with our co-teachers and meet in person, those days are important to how our minds get ready for the year. I could go to my classroom, but I am anxious about being around people (in a way where I feel trapped? Anxiety is a fun thing…), plus at some point, they will probably use my classroom for childcare (amusing, considering the crazy shit that’s stored in there. Seriously, stay out of the locked cabinets and prep room.), and I will have nothing but the crazy setup(s?) that are in my house. I’ve been spending time trying to get those cleaned up and usable. We’ll see how that goes. Seven hours a day of Zooming with short breaks, one longer break, two might not have to be on Zoom, but at least one probably does because we have no science plans this year. Minor issue. We’ll get there…a little bit every day, I think.

It’ll be fine. FINE. I’m powerful AND jumpy. Makes me laugh anyway.

Here’s one of the work setups. Nope. Not moving the sewing machine. Somehow gonna fit a second (third? There’s a computer to the right on the desk there too) monitor in there. Ought to be interesting.

Yes, I was cutting stuff out during a training. It was a rancidly useless training. All three of them were. Too bad really. Actually, the third one, my internet was so bad, I couldn’t hear more than a third of it. My co-teacher tells me that was OK. It was beyond useless.

I finished cutting out all the pieces for my larger Patreon piece. I’m hoping to iron it together this weekend.

It shouldn’t take long, with only 111 pieces. Plus it’s tiny.

I also started cutting out the pieces for the COVID Daughter quilt. The first night, I got through 1 1/2 yards of Wonder Under, with Kitten’s help.

The second night, I was less efficient…

I got the other half of the second yard done, and and then about 3/4 of the third yard. So much math! So I think I have 2 full yards, a 1/4 yard, and a 1/2 yard left. Or something. Another night, maybe two. Hopefully. I want to be ironing fabric…in the heat. Laughing…it’s every August and September. Ironing in the heat, embroidering on wool in the heat. All crazy things. I think it’s only supposed to be 99 degrees today.

Explains it all.

We did get a bunch of things put away and moved appropriately yesterday during the three hours it took Cox to figure their shit out. Hopefully today will be quick, because I have 4 Zoom calls for school, and I can run them off my phone/iPad, I think…hope…

I love this. I would stitch this.

And proudly display the only Jesus thing in my house.

Can you see the chrysalis? It looks like dead wood. It’s leaning back from the tree trunk, held by two gooey sticky strings…

Man, this shit is fascinating. Here’s the next two generations…

I would’ve thought that big one was the same generation as the one in the chrysalis, but apparently not. Yes, I am watching Lemon Tree TV in my front yard on a daily basis.

Cats. Lounging around on everything.

It’s been hot. I get it.

Calli and her hedgehog.

She begs to go in the pool every day at the moment. I try to let her, when I can.

One of the things we cleared off was the hearth…my camping/hiking stuff had been there since the last trip in February, to Joshua Tree…because I thought we were going camping in April (yes, I know some people would consider two months enough time to put shit away, but their priorities are very different than mine)…

Well, we are camping in October (knock on wood), but this is also the location of the baby lizard and its tail incident, so I finally put everything away. It made me sad, but it will come back out. It will. Camping is something I think we can handle. We aren’t ready for AirBnB or hotels, but camping seems fine.

I’m currently watching my school welcome breakfast announcements, but the sound is awful (it got better…it was them, not me…for once). I’m not on the wifi, because who knows when the Cox guy will show up and I have to be on this welcome thing. It’s so weird to see people sitting so close together. It’s OK…I’m not required to be on it for another 28 minutes, so I have time to finish this. I have to admit to always hating the real first-day, whole-district gathering. It’s always in a church and is just too perky for me. I know it works for some people, though, so I guess that makes it OK. I think most middle-school teachers are more cynical than other teachers. Maybe not.

If you do have kids or grandkids in school, please keep this in mind. Actually, keep it in mind at any time you are having shitty thoughts about teachers…

This is so true. We’ve put hours in so far, mostly not reimbursed. Not paid. That’s the way it always is, and this year won’t change that. So many things need to be translated into online work, or when we go back, into socially distanced or hybrid work. No one is doing that for us, and as we saw in the training yesterday, the online applications aren’t doing it for us either. We listen to all the news stories too, we listen to what our district says (and roll our eyes sometimes), and we see what you all say about us. I don’t need to be a hero. I just want my kids to feel like they’re learning something and that we care about them. I’ll work my ass off to make sure that happens.

OK, today is All Zoom All Day. Hopefully with new and improved internet. We have gaming tonight, but I think I can cut stuff out as well. Art this weekend, as well as school stuff…that’s unavoidable, unfortunately. Be well, all…be safe. And if you’re anxious like me, meditate, exercise, deep breaths, lots of nature (find the chrysalises!), and good thoughts…

I Don’t Need Shoes…

We are a week out from starting school with kids. First we have to contact all of them and make sure they know how to sign in to a class and get their schedules and class codes and Zoom links and internet (holy hell, my internet has been awful today)…but I need to know WHO I’m contacting before all that happens. Ought to be interesting. Meanwhile, temperatures (actual temperatures of the air) are rising and everyone is hot and why do I have to start wearing a bra again? Sigh. Ugh. So here’s something about being an online teacher. I don’t need pants. I don’t need shoes. OK, I might stand up and do something for class, but odds are, I don’t need shoes. I might need slippers when it gets cold, but not shoes. It will be a shoeless school year. I will have to wear a bra most days though. Time to get used to those things again.

Today, I made a bunch of videos about how to use certain apps and websites, and posted those, and started trying to do some other school stuff. I sat through a total waste-of-time training. Hopefully the next one is NOT a waste of time, but you know, when you have to turn your camera off so others can’t see your extreme eyeroll and because you know you have one of those faces that everyone can read…well…that does not bode well for professional learning.

Deep breaths, new school year. I see you and I will get through you, hopefully still standing…on my bare feet.

Yeah. Think some of the crazy through a little bit.

I did finish tracing the Wonder Under last night…820 pieces (or so…had some with a’s and b’s because I missed numbering them) in exactly 11 hours. Weird to be exact like that. So this is about 5 1/2 yards of Wonder Under…

Covered in little drawn pieces…so that’s probably 6 hours of cutting stuff out…

I also am still embellishing these squares and rectangles…only getting through about three a night…

It’ll get done eventually.

Here’s the fence…actually done…

And here’s the Bird Poop Caterpillar chrysalis finally…

Its horns finally showed up. Apparently they show these red horns when they feel threatened, but I never saw them. There’s about 5 more caterpillars on the tree…yes, I sacrificed lemon tree leaves for these future butterflies.

I walked yesterday. Apparently I’ve done 150 miles in my hiking boots since March 2nd…

Yes, my hiking app keeps track. Impressive, eh? Well, it could have been more.

This bird was definitely perturbed about the tree disappearing.

More rocks getting painted and left outside…

I love those.

And last night, trying to go to bed earlier (and failing)…the moon was beautiful and orange and my phone camera just couldn’t handle it.

Kitten slept right through it.

I don’t know that cats care about the color of the moon. OK, another training starts in 18 minutes. I’m not feeling good about this school year, I have to admit. Those people dissing us teachers for “not wanting to go back to work” (yes we do…we want more than anything for it all to be normal again, whatever that is)…you don’t know what our job is like…at all. I’m just watching all the experts with their advice about going back, and all the not-experts and what’s happening in schools that are already open. Masks, no masks, cohorts, no cohorts, hybrid, no hybrid, testing, no testing. It’s all very scary. I’ve actually considered in my head what might happen if I can’t go back to teaching, or if the district screws me over in some way and I lose my job. Dear Ivanka…I have done many jobs in my lifetime…I’d like to continue to use my years of teaching experience to impart my love of science to 7th graders…not start over yet again. I already have two other jobs I do that aren’t enough to support me. Deep breaths…I said that earlier. I think it’s the bra that’s causing the breathing issues…I should do something about that.

Late Start…

Hey. Late start. Why? We finished the fence. The front one. The second fence of the summer. You know, I thought this summer I might remodel my office/studio, but that didn’t happen. It probably would’ve cost the same as the two fence sections, but they were more of a priority this year. Maybe next year, the office will get done. I’m just glad to be done with the two fences before school starts. We can plant some stuff and get some wood chips and maybe do some irrigation lines. I hate unfinished projects. There are too many of those already here.

But it meant I’m starting the writing of this right before dinner, and I’m the cook tonight, so who knows if I’ll even finish before I need to start cooking. But I’m gonna try.

I’m still tracing Wonder Under, but I could notionally finish tonight…I think there’s only 250 pieces left to trace.

I’m still working on the central figure…

I finished tracing her whole torso and one arm, and now need to do the other arm and her head.

I have about 4 yards of Wonder Under traced. There are some big pieces coming up, though, so they’ll take big chunks of that. Anyway. Tonight? Maybe? Done?

I also ironed all of the Grow pieces to fabric…

They need to be cut out sometime soon too.

I got all the squares and rectangles sewn down to the Folk Tails borders, and am now embellishing them…

All progress. I’ve gotten less done on the Etsy pieces…I can only do so much, right? And I’ve started working on school plans. So there’s that. Kitten approves only because I’m in here and she’s in here and she likes that I’m in the same place she is.

I also cleaned up a bunch of art stuff that needed filing so I could have more room for school stuff. I’m not done with that, but it’s a start. I need a better school setup in here. Working on a second (well, really, third) monitor and some good storage plans.

See? The cat moves out here when I’m tracing on the light table…

The light table that might be my standing desk for school. I might need another light to do that. Otherwise I’m backlit. Sigh.

This is nice.

So many memes out there. So little time. This one is for real.

Those bastards. Sometimes I have to negotiate for deck time…with dogs. Wet dogs. Wet dogs who want to go in the pool.

But then can only fetch 4 or 5 times because they’re tired and old, and then they’re wet and need to dry out.

I actually made them (dogs and man) all stay outside so I could mop floors. I wanted a clean floor to start school in here. I need to clean up too in here, besides the desk cleanup. I can’t use the green screen feature on Zoom because my computer part that handles that is too old. Which sucks. Because it means whatever is behind me, they can see. And so can their parents. So there are certain places in the house that I can’t be sometimes. Whether it’s noisy or art that might be inappropriate-for-12-year-olds or the disaster that is my fabric storage…I have to be careful sometimes.

Yesterday, the girlchild turned 23.

Apparently in a bathroom. I wasn’t there.

This is true. I need this.

OK, the fence! We needed it to look nice from both sides…

So we did slats on both sides…

I think it turned out really well.

I had to go buy 9 more boards and another box of screws in the middle of the day, after eating lunch and making pancakes to freeze for the next three weeks of school breakfasts.

Do I have a picture of the finished fence? Um no. I do not. Oh well. It’s finished. You’ll have to trust me. And now I can plant things on both sides of it. This is exciting. Notice I have more pictures of the fence than I do of the art quilt in progress. Ah yes, and here is the first Bird Poop Caterpillar turning into a chrysalis…

I’ll go check on it again tomorrow. I wonder what it feels like to like solidify all over the outside and liquefy all over the inside. What happens to the brain? Any memories left after that? Do caterpillars have brains? Or memories? I’m pretty sure I read a book about this in college. Kafka, right? Ugh.

Anyway, it’s dinner time now, for the dogs and the kittens, and then for us peoples. And then artmaking time. Tomorrow is set aside for work work work. Double ugh, but it needs doing. Then two days of train train train. Then work work work for days on end, right? Art will always be there at the end of the day. And maybe my lunch practice will include some as well. We’ll see. I’m wondering how my days will go, how they will feel, without kids in my personal space, without adults around all the time. Will there be more time-wasting? Less? Will I have to do more before or after school hours or on the weekends? Will I have tons of prep to do? I think so but I don’t know so. In two weeks, I’ll have a better idea of what this looks like. In four weeks, hopefully I’ll have it down.

A Situation Made for Pie…

This is my 3,660th post on my blog. That’s crazy. I guess I can add ‘writer’ to the list of shit I do. Although that might have already been on there, notionally. I’m writing less often than I used to. I’m not sure what changed (a pandemic…but I don’t know why it affected my writing time). As of 11 days from now, I’ll be tied to a computer from 8-3 every day, and I can see that having an effect on my ability and willingness to write a blog every day. I may shift to afternoons? Or I may go back to quick and pithy (I’m not great at pithy) every day but Sunday. I don’t know. We’ll have to see how everything rolls. School is starting earlier for me…but I don’t have to drive there most days, so it shouldn’t matter…it’s a little earlier than I would leave to drive to school. It’s a lot earlier than when we started online in the Spring. I’m thinking kids are gonna be braindead in the first few periods every day. Me too, probably. Too many school thoughts right now. That’s actually not abnormal for this time of year.

p.s. If you have kids in school and their district is saying “Teachers are much more prepared this time around. Everything is ready and they’ve been trained.”, um, yeah. No. No, we’re not. We’re not trained, we don’t have access, we don’t have everything ready, and we’re not prepared. We’ll roll, we’ll be there, we’ll have stuff, it will look good, it may even look awesome and work well, but we’ll be panicking every morning and night trying to get there. A lot of it is trying to figure out HOW to do what we used to do or something better. We don’t know what will work yet. We barely had things working before, and now it’s all changed. So be kind to us. You hate us, you love us, we save your kids, we are the worst ever. This job is so hard, y’all. Be kind. Stand up for your kid if necessary and get them what they need, but be sure you are being supportive on your end. I’ll probably have 150 students. Online. I’m scared. I’ll handle it. I have the most awesome team and co-teacher ever, so I’ll handle it. But it scares the crap out of me.

OK. So in other news, I’m still tracing Wonder Under on the newest quilt. I made it to the halfway point and beyond last night…

Of course, the kittens tried to eat one of the lungs on the drawing…

In the center of the drawing. Of course. I fixed it and now I cover the whole damn thing again with boxes in between tracing. I keep thinking they have matured and don’t do stupid kitten things any more. I would be wrong. They are not quite a year old. They still do stupid kitten things.

I also cut out all the Wonder Under for Grow

This is the small Patreon reward for one of my patrons. I’m hoping to pick fabrics today or tomorrow for it.

I’ve mostly been working on trying to get a bunch of stuff ready for Etsy. It takes longer than you would think. I got this on a hanger…

I have a few more to do that way, both quilt tops and embroideries. And this one has its backing on…

I’m still working on the others…these are all the hooped pieces in process.

I’ll get them up on Etsy as soon as I can. I can’t decide if it’s more efficient to put them all up at once or to do a few at a time. My office companions are really no help at all…

You can see the stack with backings ready to go.

I did a little of this one…

And I also sewed most of these squares and rectangles on…

I think there are four left to go, and then they all need embellishment.

I’m in a mood today. I can feel it. I hate that feeling. But it is what it is. For now. It will hopefully change.

Every time I go get the mail or go out to water the front yard or dump stuff in the composter, the dogs chase after me and guard the door until I return…

The caterpillars are still growing.

I’m still waiting on chrysalises. Chrysali? Hmmm.

Sleepy time…

I am never alone…

And my chair is often co-opted.

This is Katie…

Katie is my parents’ dog. She’s visiting as they finish up with selling their mountain cabin. She came and then had vomitous and diarrheal events all over the place. It was fun. She’s on meds and has had fluids but still has diarrhea. I feel sorry for her, but that’s what you get for eating dead things. Dead things that aren’t cooked anyway.

And if you haven’t checked out the girlchild’s podcast…there’s armadillos and Obamas in this one.

Somehow dead things that aren’t cooked reminded me of that. It’s on the i-family of podcastery now too.

So yesterday, I had a hike planned with two co-teachers…socially distant and all that. I’ve done two pieces of this preserve…but not the West Vista loop.

So we started out…it was warm and there was a climb…

But it was outside and there were vistas and birds and plants. We did a lot of this kind of distancing…this was a shade stop going up.

I think this was the view from the bottom person, my science co-teacher…

Actually, that’s a different batch of shade. We liked shade. And interesting trees.

With brand new acorns…

These are not the oaks I have in my yard. But those oaks were there too…plus poison oak, which isn’t an oak at all…and lots of dry and dead stuff… I have Black oaks. These are live oaks? I would have to go grab my book to make sure.

Because well it is August. Black sage…

We hiked slowly but talked a lot and looked at lots of things, so that was good. Including vistas!

I’m pretty sure up there is the Clevenger Canyon hike I did with the man a few years back.

Another interesting tree.

It’s a nice hike. We had asked a random hiker man in the parking lot which direction he would go, and I think he was right. Do the big hill at the beginning, and then it’s downhill a lot and then flat a lot.

So we started at the N (Nature Center) went out to the right and up, then the loop around the top (0.9 and 0.5), then down toward Highway 79, and back to the Nature Center. The Nature Center is not open because of COVID, but is a cool spot from 12-something, so you can use the bathrooms after 12.

Next time, we’d bring sandwiches and have lunch at one of those picnic spots.

We saw turkey tracks and cows and birds…like this Harris hawk…

We think it’s a Harris hawk. Vistas and distance.

It was just under 5 miles in about 3 hours.

I enjoyed it.

We’re trying to figure out how to fit some sort of trail talk into our science curriculum…a video of us talking about rocks in the county and showing them to the kids.

Ecosystems and elements and photosynthesis. All around us. How rocks change…

And why…

And what they’re made of…

This is the hardest part…we have great ideas, but sometimes making them happen gets lost due to time constraints. If I have to be on a computer teaching a class, how do I have time to go record these videos? We’ll have to figure that out. Maybe every Wednesday, we kamikaze out of the house and school buildings as soon as school is out and meet somewhere for that week’s video.

We’re both really busy. We’ll have to find a way to make time.

We can always drag the history teacher with us. She didn’t seem to mind.

This is me trying to figure out what this used to be…

I am a curious sort.

This was another thing…electrical lines. We had ideas…

For earthquakes? Fires? Nah. Just too hard to dig a full footing in this soil…lots of little ones are easier.

I came home and we did food and I did work and some stitching and tracing. The cats are wary of Katie still…so this happened.

Three layers of calicoes. They’re all staring at Katie.

And this morning, doing school stuff…

I wish I could nap like a cat.

Well today is mostly gone. I’m hoping to get some artwork done and some more schoolwork maybe. I’ve done a bunch. There’s always more. And hopefully some decent food. I did get a pie yesterday, but I have to cook it. There’s dinner! Um. OK. Not the healthiest. I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m cranky though. Sounds like a situation made for pie.

Hard Doesn’t Mean Impossible

I have a headache this morning. It’s partially caused by the concrete trucks and related noise from nextdoor’s new pool construction. I can’t really escape it, so it’s driving me more than a little bonkers. The rest of it is school-related. It seems I really shouldn’t go back to a classroom until there’s a vaccine or this virus disappears into the ether (hello COVID conspiracists…I am talking to you. Now leave. You won’t like it here.) I’m hoping not to disappear my job in the middle of all this, but since they were gonna co-opt one of the two bathrooms on the floor for my private use, and honestly, as healthy as I usually feel, any time you show me the list of high risks for COVID and I see mine on there, I get wibbly in my tummy and run to check that all the beneficiaries on all my accounts are still my children…well, I guess it totally sucks to be that person, but I am that person. Online teaching is not my favorite, but for now, I’m doing it with my team, so I will survive, as will we all. The going-back-in-person thing is the bad juju for my body. I also can’t afford to not work. I am glad that hopefully I will be able to do my job without the exposure. We’ll see. I’m thankful that it’s a possibility. I just don’t like it.

Monday night, my brain was just not working, for whatever reason, so I just cut and pasted the other drawing I had enlarged…

There will be too many COVID quilts from me? Maybe. It’s not done…but it’s the right size at least.

Last night, I got my act together and traced all the Patreon reward pieces on Wonder Under…

So that’s what 111 pieces look like. This is for a Patreon patron who gives me a significant amount of money a month, and I appreciate her support.

Then I started tracing Wonder Under for the COVID Daughter quilt…

I finished the first figure, which was about 100 pieces. It takes about an hour for 100 pieces. So I have about 7 1/2 hours to go. I stayed up way too late, mentally debating next steps for work and consequences and fears and all that good stuff, and now I am tired and headachy (my own fault) for lack of sleep. Bless those concrete trucks for their lovely noise. I have issues with noise, if you haven’t noticed. I can ignore children screaming (mostly) and lots of other noises, but construction noise drives me bonkers. Also the humming of fluorescent lights. And you tapping your fingernails together. Ick. Anyway, art progress has been made. I do feel remarkably (or not) unfocused about everything. My school team met yesterday for 2 hours and banged some shit out, and now I feel overwhelmed. That is normal for this time of year, though, so I’m rolling with it.

I bought a bunch of devices for hanging some of my finished small pieces (quilt and embroidery) that are not going to Patreons. My goal today and tomorrow is to get them finished on the devices, photographed, and uploaded to Etsy. The fence wood should be coming in Friday or Saturday, so we can finish the fence next week, right before school starts and I’m online for 7 hours a day (ugh). Progress with tasks.

I worked a little on this one…

The yellow is hard to see. Should have used the blue. Ah well. Blindness caused by embroidery.

I took a long walk yesterday to deal with some of the crap in my head. This was an unexpected addition to this spiky plant I’ve been walking past for months…

And there’s the view of the giant-ass hill I can either go up or down (there are two other hills I can also go up or down…I end up going up one, down this one, and then zigzag up the last one).

Walking tries to clear my head. It’s not always effective.

I try to stay off of Facebook to avoid the crazy shit, but there it is…

First of all, spelling. But I have friends who are good people who can’t spell, so OK. Second of all. Um. Antifa. I really don’t get why people think this is a thing. I consider myself anti-fascist. Now straight up, I studied all these -isms in school, but I had to go read up and make sure I was remembering correctly. Like who isn’t anti-fascist? Besides dictators and their best friends? And Marxism/Socialism, I know those scare people, but it’s just talking about capitalism not being the best for all the people, and maybe we should take care of all the people. I don’t understand why those things are scary. Because you earned your money by pulling up your bootstraps and everyone should have to do that? Well, I’m not telling you which friend this comes from, but I know she doesn’t work for a living. Hasn’t for a really long time. Her husband does though. Must be nice. No really, it must! But capitalism means that some people can’t get a leg up in society, especially with all the racist crap that’s embedded in our society about who gets jobs and who gets to live where and be paid how much. I didn’t respond to this woman because I knew she wouldn’t listen. I do unfriend a lot of these people, and I hovered over this one, but it’s useful to have one or two that I think are nuts so I can read their crazy. Also, protest doesn’t have to be peaceful. It can be angry, especially when us dumbass white folks aren’t listening. For years. But also, Portland isn’t burning down. So much drama.

OK. So there’s cats. They’re easier to deal with…this one is pretending to be flat.

She’s not very good at it.

This one has decided she will climb into the upper shelves of the closet and sleep on my quilt roll.

She dumps a bunch of stuff on the floor every time she clambers up there.

Here’s flat Nova again…

Dayum. Cats sleep a lot. Probably they are lazy and won’t hold down a job, which is why capitalism doesn’t work for them.

Stretchy Kitten. Goddamned socialist. Look at her suck at the tit of my hard work.

Update on the bird poop caterpillars. They are larger. And they have migrated to the stem/trunk of the tree.

I’m keeping track so I know when they go into chrysalis mode.

I’ve been reading here, on the deck…but it is where the concrete trucks are today.

Right over there. Causing headaches.

Yup. That. OK. So I need to do art things today. And school things (videos of mandated reporter and injury stuff and pest management because we will not even be in our classrooms). I might even give up and go take pain meds for the headache. Then try to be chill with my self. Honestly, I cried a lot yesterday and in the middle of the night about work, and I will probably cry again. OK. I have a job (for now). I’m not dying. I’m not sick. I’m not happy, but that’s a normal thing. It will all work out somehow. I should be glad I have some level of choice, even if it’s a hard one. Hard doesn’t mean impossible. It just means not easy.

Realize.

I meant to write this yesterday. There are a lot of things I meant to do yesterday. I really should just remember that I am unfocused at least one day a week and that day is often Saturday. At least at the moment. Realize. It’s a word I should pay more attention to. Realize reality? As the county starts to open more things up, it’s harder to get away from crowds of people? Is it OK to go to Target to get pool noodles for shipping? Will I be shipping anything anywhere? Eventually. How do I feel about Target? I don’t know. I don’t know about anything. It all feels uncomfortable at the moment. Realize nothing.

I ironed nothing down on the Covid quilt in the last two days. Three days? Nothing since Thursday night. Let’s put it that way. That sucks. I was really tired on Friday and we had gaming…

I didn’t do anything after that except be tired. I did stitch on some dots…this was Friday night’s…the one under the green spool.

Simple flower shape…

And then Saturday night’s…just under the magenta spool.

I had another late finish and then mental exhaustion.

Pretty rose stitch though.

I also finished the first of the Patreon rewards…

And traced the second one on fabric, although I need to choose threads. And then I traced the Wonder Under and cut it out for the two small quilts.

I was hoping to finish picking fabrics for these yesterday, but brain fog won out.

I have a shit-ton of work to do for school this afternoon, so we’ll see what I get done. When I had finished the other embroidery, I didn’t have the next one ready to go, so I pulled this out of the pile and started on it while gaming.

It’s a Cozy Blue Handmade pattern. I suck at ironing stuff on. I bought this in Boston when I visited the girlchild a year and a half ago. Long time.

What else? The requisite dog and cat pictures…the deck is an appropriate temperature for us to live on some days, super buggy other days, way too hot at times. Simba likes it.

As long as someone is out with him.

Kitten has found another chair to sit on…although right now, she’s in her normal place…

Right behind me.

Simba loves the girlchild. She does not love his ticks.

There are a lot of ticks right now.

Yesterday was warm and tiring.

I agree, Luna…wholeheartedly.

I have a few new babies…I didn’t even do this right, and it made a baby. I’m so happy.

Succulents are amazing.

I think this one is my first…no second grandchild. I think the first one died. Or maybe it was incorporated into this one. But we do spend a lot of time thinking about them…

Yep, that’s our sourdough starter, version 2.0.

We did a short walk with the dogs on Friday, and then Saturday, I did a longer one, later, close to sunset, by myself. Everyone else was gone anyway.

It was relatively cool out, nice day, nice breeze, hazy skies.

Dumbasses on motorcycles zooming around in the valley, polluting the world with their tiny-penis noise. Seriously. Stop.

I like to just listen to the birds…not my neighbor’s lawnmower. He mows so many days. I realize it’s a ride-on and he likes his toys, but ffs, just stop. Let the lawn grow an eighth of an inch before you mow it again dude.

Most people out there have masks, although fewer on the walks in the neighborhood. One in the grocery store with no mask, though. WTF?

Apparently someone is painting these and leaving them around the neighborhood I walk in.

That’s so cool. I love that. More of that shit. More ravens just hanging out on wires.

Less noise pollution.

OK. Well. It’s 3 PM and I probably have at least 2-3 hours of school shit to do, another dot to sew, and then I’d really like to do some ironing. If I can. A good night’s sleep would be good too. One where I woke up the next morning and didn’t feel tired? That would be good. That’s a rare thing though. New week. Get it on.