That’s Always Crazy

Did you notice January is flying by? Well, almost flown by? I spent some time the other day explaining coronavirus to my students. We used to teach infectious diseases…I remember when SARS came through and we added it to the curriculum to try to calm down some of the crazy shit the kids kept saying. Although I often say a virus is what’s going to take us down, the human race…or at least drastically cull our species. They’re saying it’ll be at least 10 days before this virus hits its peak…so probably 10 days before we’re really sure about the death rate and impact. Scary stuff though. Just like the normal flu that hits here every year for now…but with the potential to be much worse.

Today I have overlapping meetings, an opening to go to, and possibly an online meeting, although that hasn’t been confirmed. Plus it’s the last day of kids trying to figure out how to actually finish what they start. In that realm, I finally finished cutting out the Wonder Under for the newest quilt…

It was only 6 hours to cut it out, but it was spread out over more than a week. I had other stuff shoved in there, some even artistic. I have noticed that I’ve been doing less art this school year…I keep track of my hours, and I’m averaging about 35 hours a month, down from last year, at about 60 hours a month. I’m not sure why…this year has been harder on grading, ironically, since I joined a group to try to reduce those hours. So far have not been successful. The assessments we’re doing are pretty time consuming. Thinking of ways to deal with that. Also thinking of ways to up the artmaking time.

Anyway, I did exercise yesterday. Even better, when I got there early, I graded the last of an assignment in the parking lot before I went in and did my class. All good. There’s never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Some days it feels like I don’t get anything at all done. Yesterday was OK for that.

Ah, that’s what else I did last night…see, it was art-related. I scanned and cleaned up the Patreon drawing and posted it…detail here.

I want to try a larger Bird Daughter. Not sure when that’s happening, though, honestly. Tomorrow is crazy. Saturday is a little crazy. Sunday’s pretty crazy. Then I start a new week at school, and that’s always crazy. Plus a new science unit that we’re not done planning, and it starts tomorrow (NO PANICKING). Yeah. I’m good.

(Look at the big dog asleep. Pet the sleeping dog. It calms you. Do it again.)

I’m not grading tonight. I am sorting Wonder Under and then cleaning up my art space so I can start ironing. Unless the online meeting gets canceled, and then I’ll probably go to the gym, and then do those things. We’ll see. But first all the other things.

These guys keep me sane.

Well. In a crazy way. It’s better than without them, that’s for sure. (notice claws in couch. This is why we can’t have nice things.)

Everybody’s on Something Here*

Hey. Shhh. Guess what. I’m almost caught up with grading. SHHHHH. Don’t tell. I mean, it’s not gonna matter, because I have two major assignments getting turned in Thursday and Friday, so I’ll be buried again like immediately, but this is like a miracle mid-year…it never happens. Teacher reality shows would be really boring. We’d just be sitting around grading and drinking caffeine and trying not to eat all the cookies.

Yesterday was hard. I didn’t have the mental energy for tutoring and the group I was working with was difficult. Not happy about that. But it happens. All the time. Today will hopefully be easier…because no tutoring! Well, you know, the kids not working on this project will continue not to work…although usually it’s the video where they fall short, and we’ve revised the rubric to deal with that hopefully. Maybe. Anyway. School. It’s in my head when I wake up, when I fall asleep, when I drive. Sigh. It leaves when I exercise and when I draw.

I did come home and grade things…I pick chunks. Yesterday was all the makeup work on one difficult assignment, but since three of the kids changed absolutely nothing, it was fast. Faster than I thought it would be anyway. One more of those chunks to do.

Then I drew my January Patreon drawing. Once a month, the $5/month and up folks get a jpg of a drawing. They can color it or stitch it or whatever (not sell it), and eventually I’ll have a bunch to choose from for a coloring book. For some reason, I was seeing birds, so I drew them…with Kitten’s supervisory assistance.

She prefers the real thing. Tonight I’ll scan it and upload it to the Patreon site. The link is here, if you’re interested in joining. It’s a way to support artists to do their artwork, instead of all the side jobs we do to pay the bills.

When I finished that, I started cutting tiny pieces (and large pieces) of Wonder Under out…

I only have about 1/2 a yard left, that piece up at the top. I should be able to finish that tonight? I think? And then sort them. That’s the goal anyway. Always moving forward…which means I need to start drawing the artist book. I’m currently thinking War and Peace. I think. Maybe. We’ll see.

Lots of kitten love yesterday…Luna needed human interaction (pets) for a while when I was drawing…

My Kitten was on the other side, just as close (you will NOT move). Then there was playtime with the man (he’s holding a rattly mouse)…

All three were into this.

But yesterday morning, after playtime, they were adorable. As always.

They are good babies.

OK, off to work. Finish grading the homework, get kids on task, go exercise. Come home and finish cutting these things out and start drawing the artist book. It’s a plan. I like it.

*Phantogram, You Don’t Get Me High Anymore

I’ll Wish I’d Gone Faster…

My to-do list grows every time I look at it. I walk over to cross something off, and I have to write two or three more things. Usually they’re really simple, like remember my checkbook to pay the photographer on Friday, plus actually remember to pick the quilt up, so that’s two things, because one is before school and one is after school. So write them down, plus put them in the phone calendar so it will pop up and remind me. Cross off the one assignment I finally finished grading last night (ugh) and realize I have 25 makeups to do on that one and the assignment before (double ugh). We need a way to make sure kids are redoing work with purpose. I’m getting there though…until they turn in this project and packet this Friday and I have those to grade. Hence my goal to finish the makeups before then. So frustrating.

Also, I’m trying to get some time on the weekends to do non-work-related stuff…like art and fiber stuff and going to Joshua Tree for the weekend, which is coming up. Right now, it makes more sense to spend an hour or two each night trying to bang out some grades and then making art. Although I do have a deadline coming up, and some further-out deadlines that are going to need work. So I can’t ignore that. In fact, I need to sit down and plot that out a bit. Tonight. Put it on the to-do list

There were kitten interactions. I got a shipment for my car, so it was a large box and we thought we could make a cool cat toy out of it.

We were right. And it attracted all age levels…

Very amusing…

There’s another box coming today (my car came without the cargo cover and tray…and we’re going hiking and eventually camping, so that shit is necessary)…so maybe we can add on…

Yes, we are an animal-centered house. Why do you ask?

It’s fun to be a cat here. Although it can be tiring. Notice the dog as well…

She’s old though, so she sleeps a lot.

I had to go grab the little boy last night. He’s developed an annoying habit of sitting outside the boychild’s bedroom (closed door) and boofing when he wants to be let in…at all hours…even if the boy is asleep. So I try to grab him and make him stay with me, because I’m awake.

As you can see, he’s totally happy with this arrangement. He stayed for a while, because I was on the couch and cutting things out by then. By Then being 11 PM.

There’s progress…slow. I have about 1 1/3 yards left to cut out.

The kittens are very interested in the Wonder Under, so that’s an issue, but mostly I do it when they’re asleep or running around and playing away from me. Hopefully I’ll finish up this week, sort them into boxes, and then start ironing to fabrics. That part is fun. This quilt has no deadline, so I’m OK with being a bit slow, although at some point, I’ll wish I’d gone faster. It’s always like that.

OK, school. No meetings this morning, one of few free mornings this week. Tutoring after school. Then grade some more makeup work, and cut some more stuff out. Wash rinse repeat.

Random Friday Title #7

I think I need to start this weekend to build/draw the book project I’m doing. Or admit I’m not doing it. But I bought the paper, so I should try. It amuses me that I thought I would be an architect when I was younger, but then I always joke that I can’t draw a straight line, so that’s why I didn’t. Realistically, as a young, artistically inclined female, I had few role models for that or guides as to what to do with your life. Be an artist? Sorry. Gotta have a penis. Well, except I had Mary Cassatt. Seriously, she was the only female artist they would teach you about in elementary school because no nudity, no flowers you had to explain that might be sexual, no crazy stuff going on…just women and children. Easy! So I used to say I was the reincarnation of Mary Cassatt, because I knew I wanted to be an artist and I didn’t know any other female artists. Sad, but true (thanks, Mary, for your inspiration).

Obviously I moved past that, but I think what is freaking me out about this book project is that I have to draw straight lines. Yup. I need a pattern. That’s tomorrow some time. Or maybe tonight, but we’re gaming again (after a year plus hiatus), so I can’t promise I’ll have brain power or stamina. Maybe enough to make a pattern. We’ll see.

I had a stitching meeting last night, but no one came. It’s OK…really. I’m trying to build a group, but I haven’t found the right situation or people or IDK what. I’ll figure it out somehow. Or maybe just start taking ceramics classes. Hard to say. I started taking a monthly quilt class years ago and that morphed into a monthly stitching meeting that I really enjoyed. I was 23 when I started and everyone was older than me, and none of that has changed, except a lot of the people older than me are retired and can meet during the day. So that doesn’t work for me.

This is the lovely room we are currently meeting in.

Yes, it looks and feels wonderful. Rolling eyes. What did I do? I sat there for an hour and a half and input grades from the last four days. It was productive. I did bring stitching, but this work needed to get done, and if no one else was there, I was gonna do it.

I came home, made dinner, ate it, and started a drawing…with assists.

Some a little closer than others.

I need a redo on this one. Better composition, better hands, better helmet, more stuff. War Daughter.

I like the heart.

Then I cut stuff out for a while…

Hard to do with rampaging kittens, but I employed the Spraying Bottle of Scary Water, which helped.

Luna does like toes.

Lining them up, lightest to darkest.

Calicoes have attitude. Every cat in the house is a calico. Not sure what we were thinking.

But there is play now, and that is cool.

Sometimes there is also sleep, and that is also cool.

Today, my co-teacher and I get to plan all morning, and then we have to go to our afternoon classes and listen to the counselors teach about e-cigarettes and vape pens. I’m hoping their science isn’t crap, because it has been before. I already see typos in their presentation, which just drives me bonkers. You don’t have to be good at spelling etc…but you should have someone else review it so y’all don’t show kids those mistakes. They have a hard enough time knowing what’s right (ah yes, my own typo) without teachers making it worse. And we should know better.

This morning was pretty.

And now I must go.

Not Focus Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, Luna was in crazy rampage mode last night…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah yes, the screensaver. Very exciting.

Until the TV gets knocked over I guess.

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

Hiding a Demon

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

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

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

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

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

You gots to take them wherever you can gets them.

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

Here’s a cat making biscuits…

with my sweater. Sigh.

I traced for a couple of hours after grading…

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

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

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

Not So Magically…

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

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

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

Kitten watched me trace yesterday.

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

Big hole…

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

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

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

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

It was wirelike.

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

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

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

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

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

There was a lot of sleeping yesterday.

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

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

That shit drives me crazy. Not a dog park.

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