Leaving in 2 Minutes…

January 3, 2018

Well I have a whopping 14 minutes here to publish something. Today is sorta crazy busy, compared to all the other days over break. I really did dump everything into one day. Easier to deal with? Who knows. My computer is charged, my bag has at least one sketchbook and writing-in notebook and more than 5 pens. Because you never know. You need all the kinds.

Ready to go back? Fuck no. Not even.

Yesterday was kind of a mental mess…I made the boychild his birthday cake…because he is supposed to be coming back today and he likes cake.

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While Satchemo got quietly stoned on catnip in the kitchen window.

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Yup. I decorated it. I am awesome that way. Seriously, one year I did a dragon and it was really cool. This batch of frosting was kinda old, though, so it didn’t work well.

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He just showed up by the way. So he’s alive.

I trimmed this and cut binding and sleeves for it…

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Same with this one.

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It was brainless work. All I could handle apparently.

This is the other quilt I’ve been haphazardly working on the last week. I drew it last year, did Wonder Under in June, fabric in? I don’t remember when…in between one and the other.

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Yesterday I started ironing it together. It won’t take long and this part is pretty painless.

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First almost-hundred pieces. Next section is that tree trunk…that will be a pain in the ass. Hope it’s worth it.

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I went to the gym, finished a book (Andy Weir’s new book Artemis…it was pretty good, but not as good as The Martian...too much unbelievable stuff, I guess.), cooked dinner, ate it, and then spent like 2 hours talking. I guess I needed that. A mostly nonproductive day. Oh well. It happens. I’m not even making any goals for today. I can’t think that hard yet. And I need to leave in 2 minutes.

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Things Will Happen Today

December 30, 2017

My feet are cold. It’s going to be in the 80s again today, but my feet get cold and I have to wear shorts and big fluffy socks all at the same time. This weirdo winter weather in Southern California…40s at night and 80s during the day. I know, I could be back East and freezing all my parts and not just my feet. I got that. Some rain would be nice here.

I didn’t get a whole lot of useful stuff done yesterday, except for some minor purging on the kitchen counters, which is a good thing (boychild is useful for that stuff). We threw out a bunch of old pens that were dead and bagged up the rest of the pens and pencils for school. Found the address I’d been looking for and had finally emailed someone to get. Of course. Organized the boxes of sundry kitchen items that pile up because I forget I’ve already bought them. Put all my Christmas gifts away. Today I will put away Christmas stuff, I think. Maybe. In between a raptor thing (cool!) and watching that band play (another episode of Draws in Bars! By the beach! But it will be cold, because it will be dark. So I will wear socks.). I wrote a commission contract and asked my dad to look at it, because I am not a lawyer and he is.

Artwise, I didn’t do much either. I did get my slowly flattening tire fixed, but not the tire sensor. It’s annoying that they are so expensive. Obviously the tire place has not seen the last two Visa bills. They are heart-stoppening. Not a word, I know.

Walked the dogs…a good solid three miles in the full heat of the afternoon. It felt hot but good.

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The dogs were tired.

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I needed to get out and walk off some of the irritation building up. I’m kind of irritated by all these studies going on in the wildlife preserve, but if I hike far enough out, they’re gone.

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So I do that.

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Tired dogs…I said that. But they were.

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We had gaming at night. My character didn’t do much. Moved from one side of the temple to another. Dodged a flaming thing. Or a horror. Not sure which.

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Block 20 is almost done…just need to finish the sheep.

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Exciting stuff. Came home and cut out pieces. When boychild wants to go to bed, he brings me the puppy, who is fast asleep. Snuggles him up against me, where he continues to sleep.

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I cut out a bunch, but there’s a shitload of tiny little pieces in there…overlapping tree parts. This crazy thing I drew. So I’m not done. But there’s not much left to do…

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Next week starts to be full of school stuff. No, I still haven’t finished grading that thing. Ugh. I piled it up on the couch and I look at it and feel guilty. Too many little details of shit to get done in the next week. I guess it’s good I took some brainless days in there.

I finished another book, A Closed and Common Orbit, the second in a series by Becky Chambers. The first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, was good, but I thought this one was even better…all about AI trying to exist in our world when they aren’t allowed to do certain things. Very cool story. You don’t have to read the first one to get the second one…they are the same world. It would help with understanding, but it’s not crucial to the story. There’s a third book coming out in April.

Calli is better at brainless than I am. I was trying to get her off the couch to come to bed.

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It took some persuading. OK. Gotta get ready to go falconing. Or something. I’m gonna need sunscreen…in December. I got sunburned yesterday. Duh. I never remember in the winter. Anyway, things will happen today. Not much will get done, I predict, but things will happen. Typical Saturday.


We’ve No Time for Later*

December 27, 2017

It’s interesting…when I don’t have a specific project to work on (yet), my brain just fails to work properly. Maybe that’s being on vacation too. I did work (on grading) for a good huge chunk yesterday and will probably do that again today, if just to finish this stupid grading assignment. That will take me down to just a couple, plus checking all the desperate emails that came in after kids realized I had posted their progress report grades but there was nothing they could do about them. I don’t really understand that logic, but I’m not 12.

Don’t get me wrong, I have 17 thousand things I could be working on. I have three (count them!) THREE pinbasted quilts, one art one and two not-art ones, that I could work on. I have one art quilt that is at the fabric-trimming stage, and if I got my act together, I could probably finish it this week. I really should do that. It would be a good use of my time. I’m kinda rebelling against “good use of my time” at the moment. I have about 4 blocks-of-the-month in various stages of completion (and I did work on one of those for a while, both on Christmas Day and yesterday). I could be drawing every day, all day. I haven’t drawn at all. I did finish a book, The Power, by Naomi Alderman.

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Interesting take on the possible reversal of power if women were in charge instead of men. Apparently testosterone is not the problem…it’s just power in general. She may be right. It’s an interesting story nonetheless.

The girlchild gave me all the ingredients for a Moscow mule (or 17). I love the owl cups and will use them for milk and cookies as well.

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My main only squeeze gave me a drawing by one of my favorite mural artists, Gloria Muriel…this is Lilith

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Christmas dinner was tasty, although I only managed to photograph the cheese plate. I loved that bean dip…gonna make more…

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Simba was spoiled for attention…

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Calli was patiently waiting for ball-throwing activities…of which there were few.

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See Simba? Asleep now. My parents petted him to sleep.

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I cannot explain this picture…

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Girlchild cooked it all…

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See the damn puppy again?

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I came home and did some sewing to fill in spaces on the left again…trying to sort of flatten out some of the edges, so I can use it as a centerpiece for a crazy quilt maybe.

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Still debating that. Meanwhile, I pinned 96 spots on this Sue Spargo quilt from 2013…which has been pieced for over a year. It took me that long to put the green border stem on and deal with the spots.

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There are 5 colors…I started sewing on the darkest ones. I think there’s about 19 of each color, so I’m going to be doing this for a while. It’s very meditative. And then they need to be embellished.

Boychild gave me fabric for Christmas. Well. I dragged him to the quilt store and made him pick some fabrics out, because he drew my name for the Sunday night party. I picked the red and white one…he did the rest.

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I like adding fabrics to my quilts that other people have picked. It widens my range. I’m sure I pick the same types of fabrics over and over.

Then I ironed and dehaired the big quilt for the photographer yesterday morning. It had a lot of hair on it. Damn cats. Really need to clean the floor in here before I start the next one.

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Then I graded and went to the gym and graded some more and made my own dinner because everyone was gone and read my new book, which is also good, and then did more on the left side…

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Satchemo not helping with photography.

And sewed on more dots. Yeah. Forever sewing on dots. Spots. Whatever.

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I wish I could say I have a plan for today, but I do not. I’ve been trying to plan our Spring Break trip, which is a pain in the butt. I need to grade more of those projects, just to get them out of my hair. I need to finish the Christmas holiday cards and send them out. I need to find some focus, but honestly, I’m OK if that doesn’t happen until next week some time. I’m obviously in need of some down time.

*Frou Frou, Let Go


I Can’t Operate on This Failure*

October 4, 2017

I’m ready to be Australia. Well. Except for some of the crazy bugs and spiders. Y’all can keep those. But let’s hand in all the guns. I think the biggest obstacles are the politicians who are more worried about their jobs than their constituents. No automatic or semi-automatic weapons…can you really argue that we need those? You do realize people in Australia can still own a gun, right? There are just strict rules for how and what. I have no problems with strict rules. Can you argue that your right to protect yourself is more important than my approximately 3,300 students’ (over 15 years) right to live? Or the 58 people who died in Vegas? Or the 49 who died in Orlando? Or any young black man wearing a hoodie?

The plus is that I finished stitching down the anti-gun quilt. Let’s be clear…my quilt is Anti-GUN. Because we don’t need them. Not in the numbers we have them. Not for what they’re being used for. Not. I just (in less than 5 minutes) contacted my three federal representatives. Told them to stand up and create legislation and keep fighting for it until it passes. Start there. You can do that.

This is who stares at me on the way home…after I pick her up…

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She wants to know why I’m not petting her. And then why I’m not throwing the ball faster.

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Still working on the eyeball in the top right. It doesn’t look like much right now.

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Then I stitched. Well, I made dinner first. And finished my book…The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I liked it. And then I read some Goodreads reviews and felt bad for liking it. And then decided those people had no lives and I was allowed to like it. So there.

Stitching things down…

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Sometimes I really hate America for its aggressive patriotism. I’ve been told so many times to LEAVE because I don’t agree with the majority…and I explain that is why we are here…because our ancestors didn’t agree with the majority and needed to flee…so we took over someone else’s country in a particularly nasty and violent way (somehow it was our inalienable right? I don’t think so…). So I mostly write off anyone who tells me I’m not patriotic when I object…it’s the core part of our country. I’m allowed.

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Ah…this thought bubble. Why do people shoot other people up? Anger? Hate? Fear? Core emotions…that mature brains can learn to manage.

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In a society that appreciates that. Yesterday, in the assignment we’re doing in class, I had told each class “no weapons” for their element superhero. One class started to argue…and I turned and said, “Really? After Las Vegas, you’re going to argue that you need weapons? Solve the problem without them. That’s what I want to see.”

Seriously. America. Solve the problem without guns. Do it. You know you can. We have some of the best brains in the world. Use Them. If you’re a politician scared for your job, then GOOD. Do it anyway. It’s worth it.

I did finish the stitch down, just short of 6 hours.

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The face of gun violence here in America…tonight I’ll sandwich it and pinbaste it…maybe even start quilting. We’ll see. Meanwhile, I started reading a book about violence in Africa. Maybe I should look for something lighter after that.

*Tears for Fears, Pale Shelter


“We Lived, as Usual, by Ignoring.”*

March 5, 2017

So I was trying to pick a place for dinner this week, a celebration dinner, and I was cruising through Yelp…one of the restaurants that I was considering (and now am not) was Bo Beau, one of the Cohn Restaurants here in San Diego. They have great food and interesting restaurant environments, but on their menu is a statement, a political one for sure, that I just don’t agree with…so I won’t be eating there. Ever. It’s that statement that they will be including a 2% surcharge to cover increased minimum wage and health costs for their employees. You know, most grownups who run a business realize that this is a good thing for the people they employ, that even if you don’t personally want to pay for better wages, for wages that actually might support someone, you should keep your mouth shut to your customers. Because you just lost one…well, and since I influence a few others, a few others will also not go to your restaurants now. Any of them. Good job. I teach the children of some of those minimum-wage workers, Cohn Group, and your lack of respect for their needs and for the vote of the majority is telling. Telling me to go somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong…wrap that surcharge into increased prices without making it sound like you object to paying your lowest-paid employees more? I have absolutely no problem with that. I want them to be paid more. But stop whining about it. I’ll go somewhere more mature about people’s rights to a fair wage.

I’m in political brain mode at the moment, drawings slamming into my head. Wish I had time for that. Part of it is the next birthday, age 50. I’m OK with achieving cronedom in general (wish my uterus would get the hint), although in the specific, there are things I would change in my own life. But that’s a work in progress, always. But the daily wham of stupidity and disregard I see in my elected officials? Sheesh. Meanwhile, my book club is reading The Handmaid’s Tale, which I read when it came out or soon after…1985…the year I graduated high school.

Here’s my cover…it fell off this time I started rereading it…

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Now I just marched in January for women’s rights…because I’m tired of being told I’m not worth as much, I’m not as smart, I can’t make decisions, I’m too emotional or illogical, or whatever other bullshit you’ve come up with about my DNA that makes you think you can decide for me…

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The variety of covers for the book over the years is intriguing…how they decide to depict what the story is about. I’d forgotten about the personal part of Offred’s story. I remembered the main part. It’s been a while since I read it last…

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Pears. Pears?

I also marched for women who couldn’t march. I marched for more equality for ALL women. I realize being white makes a lot of things easier for me than if I were any of my students, women of color, women with disabilities, women of a variety of religions, immigrant and refugee women. It doesn’t make sense to just fix it for the rich white chicks. It’s been unfair for so long…even more so for others. I’m tired of it.

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Don’t tell me to smile, to laugh, to ignore. Don’t shut me up. Don’t tell me to be nice. Don’t apologize for me.

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Some women having more rights than others for any reason doesn’t make sense. A bunch of rich white men making that decision doesn’t make sense. Why would we want to go backwards?

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This cover completely creeps me out. It’s from the first edition hardback released in Canada in 1985, artist Gail Geltner…a collage artist and feminist.

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I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane last night and there was a creepy moment in the movie when the male character couldn’t come up with the word “woman” with regard to the main female character. Although she was obviously an adult, he used “girl” and “princess”. As creepy as the movie was across the board, that moment sticks in my head. Like YIKES.

No video for you though…sorry.

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Yeah, I enjoyed my foray into the Prisma app.

This is a nice cover…except why flowers? Because she’s fertile?

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And they’re calling the 1980s vintage again.

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This cover…there’s pills and syringes and umbrellas and gloves and nooses? With your umbrella? The bleeding heart flowers…those are from the book.

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I actually think this is the best cover of all of them.

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If you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s relatively short. And Atwood is an amazingly eloquent and psychic writer.

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Here’s the whole picture of the wall (a WALL?!) that’s on my cover. A wall? Controlling women? Controlling immigration? Getting rid of the constitution? Protests? Oh sigh. It’s going to be a long presidency. At least I know there really was a conspiracy against those with uteri…I didn’t imagine it. It just wasn’t in my face all the time. Now it is. Thanks.

With that, I’m going to wear what I want to the grocery store and read the signs and buy what I want, even lotion if I like it, and I’m going to come back and make some political art with a uterus in it (oh wait, dammit, there’s no uterus in this one…just a vulva big enough to hide the world in). And you can’t stop me. Yet.

“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale


I Really Want Waffles

July 16, 2016

Summer quiet. Birds singing. Mornings need caffeine, sure, and nights are getting warmer, but there’s still a breeze. The days aren’t unbearably hot yet (give it time…this isn’t really our summer).

What did I get done yesterday? Not much. Honestly. I’m not sure why. Well, that’s not entirely true. I shipped a quilt, which meant going to get a box and then coming back and making a label and packing it up and then driving back to the place where I got the box and shipping it. So that was about 2 hours. I always forget how long simple tasks like that take. And I finished a book. And I gamed in the evening, and that went longer than usual. But I was not my usual efficient self. I find summer does that to me. My brain remembers what it’s like to be a normal human, instead of a teacher on work overload, and it tries to make me act that way…like a normal human. No, you should flail a bit and lie around on a couch or maybe read some stupid articles about whatever. Stop doing all the works!

I finished Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and all I could think was that question was not answered by the book. And it’s different than the movie Bladerunner. Which is fine…I don’t mind that part, but damn. I still want to know if they dream. And I’m glad I didn’t remember the Bladerunner connection while I was reading it, because I made my own pictures in my head instead.

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I was looking for cool covers and found these. And I’m still disturbed by the androids’ behavior with the spider. I guess I was raised on Star Trek androids. Data had a significant influence on how I view them. And Battlestar Galactica as well. But the later series.

Anyway. I’m reading a lot. This is not a bad thing.

I didn’t iron until late. You hear that a lot. Because it’s true. Today I plan to iron all day.

I did the daisies in the top left, and now that side is done all the way up to the arm that bisects the body.

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And then I started on the right side…

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Today I’ll be ironing a million spots on a giraffe. And a uterus…see that blank spot in the middle? Easy to figure out what that will be.

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We have renamed Puppy by the way (not really). Nugget of Idiocy. It’s a great name for a puppy. Seriously though…the first owner called him Fluffy Teddy (godawful name), then the second called him Simba. We call him a variety of things, including Asshole and You Little Fucker and Vladimir and Fanny, none of which he answers to…Nugget it is. Last night’s conversation revolved around how sweet he is when he’s tired and what a jerk he can be when he’s hyper. Plus all the moods in the middle. He’s not a bad dog…he is learning to behave. He’s just a puppy. Puppies are jerks sometimes.

OK. Ironing. I really want waffles though.


Head above Water

July 7, 2016

Yesterday. Was good. Although a little frustrating in the first half. Jackhammering continued (none this morning!), starting too early for me…and then, because editing was going so EASILY…the document turned into a Frankenbeast of formatting headaches. I made one change, moving something into a list that needed to be there, and it literally screwed up the formatting in the entire document. And I didn’t notice until I’d made another 50 corrections or so, so I couldn’t just undo without losing all of that. Aargh. I searched for ways to deal with bulleted lists, and got nothing relevant…probably because I didn’t know exactly what words to use. Formatting can be such a bitch. So I had to redo a chunk of it, which lost me time and money. Sigh. It happens.

After that, I managed to finish a book, hike 7.34 miles with the kids, make dinner from scratch, and cut stuff out. Yup. This is how I relax. Seriously. Look under the definition for workaholic and you find me.

OK. I never really relax like this…

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That puppy is spoiled.

So the hike…we did over 7 miles of Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, leaving from the Black Mountain trailhead and hiking out to the waterfall in a roundabout way, trying to avoid trails with bikes on them (although the bikes appear to just ignore the signs that say stay off, because they’re assholes? Or illiterate? Or special? I’ve never understood that.). There was poison oak everywhere…the wonders of a high-water winter and spring in Southern California. This is cactus overrun by poison oak…which you can only find here.

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The weather was much better than last week, and honestly, this isn’t a hard hike. There’s no up and down…just long.

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We made it to the waterfall and hung out briefly.

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But we had to be out of the parking lot by 8, because they lock it, so we were motivated to keep moving.

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There’s a few river crossings…I think we did this one twice.

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And the oak groves are always my favorite.

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A grave of a former ranch cook…

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And this sign amused us…because really? The trail to the right was pretty poison-oaked as it was…

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But whatever. We just didn’t touch the stuff.

After dinner, I managed to cut for another couple of hours…wait, make that three hours. So I think I’m over 11 hours in right now.

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There were lots of little pieces last night…some I didn’t even try to cut out (you can see a few on the bottom left), because they’re too small and I’ll just lose them. I’ll cut them out as I iron.

This is all that’s left…

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It doesn’t look like much, until you see how many of the pieces are small. It took me about 30 minutes last night just to cut out the giraffe’s spots. All curvy and weird.

This was my scrap pile from last night…

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You can see the color changes below…four different scrap piles from four different nights.

I’m getting there…slowly. Too slowly, I think sometimes. But I’ll get there. I do have to copyedit again today…and tomorrow. But I’m hoping to leave the weekend free. That would be a plus. It’s hard knowing that what would really help me relax and be ready for the upcoming (stressful) school year is not having to work NOW…but also needing to work NOW because of college and cat payments etc.

A friend sent me a link to a gallery in New Orleans where she saw stuff she knew I’d like (and I did)…and I’ve been thinking of trying to do an actual vacation trip in the next 12 months, but the money is nonexistent, and then girlchild tried to guilt trip me about coming to visit my kids instead. Ah. OK. That was discussed at one point. So we’ll see. Price it out. Work some more hours. And I have a quilt going to Houston, but I won’t be there…which sucks, but again…money kicks me upside the head. Keep making art. Keep working. Head above water…

The book I finished (and I will be reading the next one, once I get through the three I have checked out from the library) was The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch…very good, although in George R. R. Martin style, he likes to kill my favorite characters.

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I should make time to draw today I think. I believe I need to do that. I keep saying it and not doing it.