Missing Work

Today was the first day in a long time when I did nothing art related. Well, I’m doing a massive Reeves paint-by-number that my sibling-in-law gifted me back when they were downsizing in prep for their temporary move to Sweden, but nothing as “authentically” creative as my own drawing, sketching, or designing.

Part of that was time constraints; I had synchronous (video) classes today at 8:30, 9:30, and 11:30, with 10:30 being occupied by a trip to the school to retrieve some essential belongings. Being back in the building was bizarre. The hallways were all one-ways, with designated up and down staircases; half the classrooms were torn apart for the summer cleanings, so the hallways were packed with all sorts of classroom detritus, doorways to classrooms with newly waxed floors were hung with caution tape; signs and posters for upcoming events and club meetings that never got to happen were still hanging on the walls. It wasn’t “burst into tears” sad, but it was “dull ache deep in my chest” sad.

I’m glad I brought my keys as sort of a last minute whim, because when I got to the room I needed, it was locked. Opening it was like opening a little time capsule. Krissy’s umbrella was still hung up behind her desk. Stapler and paper puncher still on the table where Patty, Kyle, and I were sitting when news of the closure came in through e-mail. When I opened the cabinet where I usually kept my laptop and found it empty, I had a moment of panic until I realized, oh, wait — the day of the closure, I’d spent some time on my laptop, at the desk in the back. The laptop and bag were still propped against the filing cabinet under the desk where I left them, 11 weeks ago.

My mail box was empty, but my cap and gown had come in, for the graduation ceremony that would have been June 1st. The ceremony that I would have carpooled with Kathy and Patty for.

It’s weird, and I don’t think I realized it at the time, but man, what a difference it made just… seeing people’s faces? Only a few — they were tightly controlling the number of people in the building, and only at a distance — but just seeing other human beings in person, who don’t live in the same house as me? I’m not really a “social” person, I don’t make friends easily and I’m uncomfortable in most social situations that don’t have clearly defined rules and roles, and I have managed to completely take for granted how significant of a role in my social needs fulfillment that this job — full of people I’ve worked with for years in an environment and role that I know like the back of my hand because I’ve worked here for nearly 40% of my life — fulfills. How much stopping into a classroom and chatting about TV, or my son’s latest escapades, or school gossip, actually meant, how much it actually bouyed me along and helped me feel tethered to something.

Quarantine has not been bad, honestly. I am incredibly fortunate to be in isolation with people I love, incredibly lucky that I can do my job from home, incredibly privelleged that we have not lost income. But there are moments and days when I’ll think I’m totally fine, and then I’ll get a work email or see a video the kids put together, and I just lose it. I just utterly lose it.

I miss commiserating with people I feel comfortable with. I miss the kids. I miss sitting around the tables in the learning center and shooting the shit once the last kid leaves. I miss faculty meeting where all the teachers act like goofy middle-schoolers and our department head surprises us with donuts. I miss hiding out in the vocational office during a free block, or running copies as a favor to a friend.

But so it goes. We’ll see what the fall brings us. When I do finally find myself back, I know we’re going to celebrate. I’m looking forward to it… whenever it is.

Stay safe, sane, inside.

Selling Out??

I’ve started to slowly mirror my Art Gallery onto Artstation, to (hopefully) reach a wider audience, and to find professionals whose work inspires me. And, ideally, to maybe make a little extra money selling prints of some of my work. I know most of my stuff isn’t up to snuff yet, but I made prints of five works that I’m proudest of, and that I think hold their own as complete, individual works.

We aren’t scraping the bottom of the barrel my any means and I don’t want to make it sound like we are, but because of COVID I am losing my usual summer income, so I’m trying to find the potential for some passive income. I like having a financial buffer, and I definitely feel that way now more than ever. We will be fine without it, but I would still breathe easier with it.

If you have an ArtStation account, please follow me! I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of artists on there at the moment, and am feeling more than a little shy (which, I know, doesn’t bode well; sometimes I just take a little time to warm up).


Tomorrow, after much much wailing and gnashing of teeth (read: after rescheduling three whole-ass times because I can’t remember my own class schedule) I finally have a time slot to go into work and retrieve my belongings, one of those being my work-issued laptop (finally. Only three weeks before the end, too). I’m a little concerned that when I walk through those doors tomorrow morning, I might burst into tears, but c’est la vie.

Not much to remark on today, but I have some projects and plans for the weekend and beyond that I hope to share soon, so hopefully I can be productive going forward.

Stay safe, sane, healthy, and indoors.

Settling in with Exhaustion

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I don’t talk about my work online, because I work at a public high school and even barring the very real rules and regulations we have regarding information we can divulge, I also simply don’t like discussing work publicly.  Suffice it to say, I honestly and unabashedly love my job, and my students, and my coworkers, and know how unbelievably privileged I am in that regard, but today was hell for reasons completely removed from my students or fellow staff.

I was literally reduced to a shaking, sweating, heart-pounding wreck by a series of increasingly uncooperative copy machines.  Oh my God, it was the most frustrating thing I’ve experienced in a long time.  I have very little patience for technology; its sole purpose is supposed to be in service of making our jobs easier, and when it massively fails in what is literally its only purpose — and not only fails, but actually accomplishes the exact opposite and infinitely complicates and hinders my ability to do my job — I get pissed.

I’m generally a fairly laid-back person at work; I mean, I have anxiety, but that’s an internal issue, and is not affected by nor does it majorly affect how I interact with students.  Sometimes students frustrate me, sure, but generally, 1. I can reason with them and usually come to some sort of understanding; 2. I remember what it was like being a teenager, and know not to take any of their obstinance or attitude personally; 3. I understand that they have an internal life that I am not privy to, and generally accept that any behaviors they exhibit are a result of them sorting through and processing their thoughts and emotions (in other words, I get that they are probably Going Through Some Shit, and I have empathy).

The copiers get none of that leeway.  Just print my documents, for Christ’s sake.  It is literally your sole purpose.  Geez.

But no.  Today they jammed on literally. every. document. Every. single. sheet.

For almost an hour.  Guys, I was livid.

But it’s over.  Ugh.  My assignment for tomorrow keeps me far, far from any of the tech that was the bane of my existence today, and by the end of tomorrow, I will have basically crested the highest hill on the road to Mid-Winter Break.  I think I’ll make it.

Tonight I’ve gathered my microns and am going to start inking and continue sketching the micron piece I’ve been holding out on, and probably begin the sketch for a subsequent one.  I’m really interested lately in drawing really mundane scenes, as I’m sure a few of you may have noticed — someone listening to music, someone reading a book (this one is someone sewing; the next is someone brushing their teeth).  I don’t know why, but it feels very satisfying to populate their environments with trinkets and tchotchkes, bits and baubles.  It gives me the same little voyeuristic thrill I used to get reading people’s personal LiveJournals, or driving by a house at night where the shades were drawn open, catching the blades of the ceiling fan casting shadows across the room in the blue light of a TV set to a channel I didn’t recognize, or catching the retreating silhouette of someone carrying trays of food into the kitchen.  I’m sure I will tire of it soon, and in the greater scheme of things, I mean, does it carry any artistic merit?

Who knows.  But it’s fun.  And sometimes I’m allowed to make art that’s just for me.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.  Keep on keeping on.

Sleepy

Today, I am exhausted.  This is midterms season, and work has me beat, so no daily sketch today.  I know, I know.

However, in lieu of it, I wrapped up a micron drawing.

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I didn’t feel like cooking tonight, so my husband stopped for some quick food before heading home, and in addition to a small salad and some egg salad sandwiches (which I love; I can’t seem to make a good egg salad, for some reason, and our local grocery store make a great one), my husband picked me up a giant jug of pre-mixed Jose Cuervo maragaritas.  That, paired with some popcorn, was a nice little after dinner treat.

Anyway, I know I’m getting old because that one (single, solitary) margarita has knocked me on my ass.  9 pm bedtime, here I come.

Also, I’ve been reading The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, who is a new-to-me author but is apparently quite prolific.  I’m really loving the book so far.  Has anyone read any of her others?  Are there any recommended follow-ups?

Tomorrow is Hump Day.  You’re halfway there.