Planet Earth

September 26, 2018

I dunno what I did, but now I can’t even get on the internet on the computer, so I’m writing this on the iPad…it’s fine, although my pointer finger gets tired. I have a tiny keyboard for it somewhere, but that requires even more thought than trying to find the network security key, which is NOT the same as a password, despite the similar feel to the words.

It’s going to be short today anyway. I have an early meeting plus a packet to make for a kid who’ll be gone for over a week (sigh…so frustrating…parents just want a packet, but that means I have to find or make stuff to replace hands-on curriculum…at least this parent gave us a heads up. The other kid asked for work yesterday for the next week. No chance.).

Last night, I blew off everything and went to see Rachel Ignotofsky talk about her new book, Planet Earth.

She previously published Women in Science and Women in Sports, plus her Etsy site has all the prints and T-shirts I want. I am refraining from buying everything.

She’s fun and creative and perky and loves talking to kids, and her next book is Women in Art! I’m excited…plus the new book is all about ecosystems and biodiversity and saving the world, which I can totally get behind. And she merges art and science in an engaging and beautiful and fascinating way.

I think I just went all fangirl. I had her sign both my books. And then I came home and found out I got into Quilt + Resist at Woman Made Gallery…a gallery I’ve been trying to get into since I was an adult artmaker. Rooted in America is heading out again, this time to Chicago. Good news, that.

And I also got into the Surface Design Association Exhibition in Print, so it’s been a good week for notifications. I don’t know which one will be in the magazine. But I’m looking forward to finding that out.

Well hopefully when I get home, the computer will connect to things. Tonight I work on grades and art. Last night was cool and inspiring…now back to work.


Beat Me Up with Your Letters*

July 12, 2018

Late post today…wish it was from sleeping in and relaxing, but I’ve been up for hours. Took one car into the shop…I’m tired of the driver window not working. Then drove to pick up another quilt…well, quilts, because some little ones were in their shop for the last year, and they just gave back the three that hadn’t sold…so those are back on Etsy. I’m never sure Etsy is working very hard for me, but since I sell about one small quilt a year on there and the expenses are much less than that, it can’t hurt. I don’t work very hard at my Etsy account though. None of the larger quilts are on there. They’re too expensive for that market, I think…and I suspect even some of the smaller ones might be too. Probably most of my stuff is too weird for Etsy too.

Anyway, I also bought the binding fabrics for the two quilts that are now ready, because Yes! I finished quilting the long skinny one yesterday. I finally managed to sit still for like 3 1/2 hours (it’s been hard folks) to finish. Here’s the heart and boobs…

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The whole thing stretched out over my chair…

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Did the face…the pin is another place I forgot to stitch down. Done now.

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And then I went right into quilting the background…there wasn’t much of it.

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So there’s two ready to be trimmed and bound. Maybe later today? I have a lot going on today.

Then I realized I had quilt class today and nothing really to work on. I have a bag I could finish, but I’m missing some materials and haven’t had (made) the time to get those. So that’s out. I could take the binding with me, but I’d have to take all my stuff with me to do that, and it’s too much to deal with. So I remembered those two little quilts…last week at class I trimmed the Wonder Under. So I spent about an hour and a half last night ironing it to fabrics…I think this more complicated one has about 23 fabrics in it (but 90 pieces).

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I am keeping track of time on these, so they’ll be for sale after they’ve been in the exhibit they’re getting made for…so December maybe? I can’t remember when the exhibit closes. It’s a California Fibers’ exhibit at Soka University in Orange County. I have four larger pieces in the exhibit, and then these two small ones will be part of a wall display our whole group is making. It should be cool.

I just used the same flesh fabrics from the quilt I just finished. It was easier. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on these.

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The second piece only has 30 pieces, so it will be quicker to get done.

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I may have underestimated my time with thinking I could finish them in a couple of hours. It’s going to be a bit longer than that. But now I can take them to class with me and get them cut out. That’s a step in the right direction.

So I didn’t get time to draw last night, because I was doing those. Plus I had book club last night. It was an interesting conversation about The Power by Naomi Alderman, especially in light of watching the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale and dealing with politics over the last few months. We spent a lot of time talking about social implications and nature v. nurture…always interesting. My book club is sci fi and fantasy based, so we do spend a lot of time on the science of things, which I really enjoy. I used to review the books I was reading on here pretty regularly. Honestly, I’ve spent most of the last 5 months reading the Expanse series…I have one novella left, and then I’m totally caught up until the new one comes out in December. I’ve really enjoyed the stories but also the portrayal of women in this series, which seems to be a bigger issue for me now that I’m old and mostly invisible. I read one of Philip K. Dick’s books, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and spent the first three chapters just chafing at his women. Sigh. It makes it harder to read…and watch, honestly, when they turn them into movies. Maybe I’ll try to write more about what I’m reading here. Again.

Anyway, so getting some more stuff done today, although probably more hobby stuff than art stuff. That’s OK. There’s progress…that’s all I need.

*Squeeze, Is That Love?


Maniacal Pencils

June 7, 2018

First of all, does anyone actually win the book giveaways on Goodreads? I feel like I’ve filled 100 of those things out and I never win. So the competition is stiff for the weird-ass shit I like to read? Seems unlikely. The book I’m reading now, that I just started reading, expires in 1 day and 15 hours. Now I know it doesn’t actually expire until midnight on that day, despite its dire warnings, so I have until midnight on Friday to read it, or to get halfway through and then renew it (except for every copy the library has, there are 4 people waiting for it, so I won’t be able to get it again for a long time). My internet friends have clued me in to turning airplane mode on that device so I can continue to finish the book. I need to remember to do that. Because I don’t think I can finish the book, teach for two days, go to two social events, grade a million things, and sleep at least 5 hours a night, AND get the book done. And so far, it’s an interesting book, so I want to read it. Although I think it’s my book club book from May. Whoops! I know I’ve already read June’s book (it was eh). I read July’s book last year. I’m looking forward to reading all summer, right? It’s about the only thing I’m allowed to take to jury duty if I get called in.

The WordPress app is being cranky this morning. It’s continually refusing to save. It’s not me…everything else here is working. Sigh. On the iPad now. Tiny little buttons…fingerpeck typing. It’s letting me force save it, but won’t do it automatically. Technology is so cool and so annoying.

Six days of school left. I’m sick, but not horribly. I’m tired because I stay up too late. I’m not done with anything. I almost finished grading websites last night…have two to deal with this morning. Imma gonna buy me some maniacal pencils.

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We’re going to make some changes to the project for next year…for a better outcome from the kids and less torture on us, hopefully. But I’m down to only two assignments for grading that aren’t just recording whether they did it or not…so that feels very doable. I started cleaning my room yesterday too. Because we will have teachers in our rooms the first day back (hate that…they aren’t always respectful of our space), I have to hide a bunch of stuff. That part sucks.

So I graded until 10 PM, texting back and forth with three other teachers during that time (weird times, people…weird times). And then I ironed all the flesh pieces down. This is fabric number 3 in the run from light to dark.

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This is fabric number 1…this is ALL I have of it. So there’s not much left, eh? It’s a hand-dye from somewhere…when I see flesh tones, I buy them.

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Here’s everything I’ve used so far…the flesh run on this one is very not pink. Sorta beige.

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Here’s everything I’ve ironed so far…

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It’s not a huge pile. There’s a lot of little flesh bits in there on the bottom though. They were on the top until I upended the box into a bigger one. So I could start cutting them out at tonight’s meeting, but with the deadline extended, I’m not feeling that scary rush to get it done, so I think I’ll take some of my embroidery stuff. I haven’t done that for a while, except for those Palestrina knot stems…I did more of those last night…almost finished one of the short sides. So 7 more nights should do it on those. They’re pretty relaxing. I’m not measuring them or marking them. I’m all into it being a bit wonky. Wonky is good.

So if you compare this table to Tuesday night’s table, it looks very similar…because basically I took over an hour to iron all those other flesh pieces down and then I ironed like three other things off this pile of stuff and quit.

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It was well after midnight. Too well, probably. More tonight…won’t be done tonight…probably won’t be done until Saturday or Sunday. It depends on grading. I have too much to do before Monday.

We’re still at three dogs. I try to get them to stay in one place for photographic purposes and they pretty much see the camera and rush me. I might have food, you know. I might pet them. I might walk them (I thought about it for one crazy minute last night…I got home right at 6 PM and still had to make dinner though).

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Poor things…end of the school year is hard on them too.

Thanks to whichever hardy reader told the boychild to confirm life. Here is Lake Erie. He’s alive.

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I thought it was the Atlantic Ocean, but apparently not. I guess that puts him a few hundred miles closer. Hope he’s enjoying it. I’m kinda jealous actually. I wanna get in my car and just drive for like a week, hanging out, seeing stuff. Then I remember how exhausting that can be. I want one of those pop-up camper tents so I don’t have to set up a tent and all that…plus food delivery. Not junk food…good homemade stuff. So that’s not happening.

Hello right eye twitch. Sigh. Stress off please. (Soon. Very soon. Not soon enough.)


If You Only Knew*

May 8, 2018

I’m apparently reading a book no one else wants to read. Usually, I get a book digitally from the library, and it always checks out all my holds at once…they’re never spread out over time, like when I requested them, but I’ll get four all at once and then I have 21 days to read four books and I kinda do a library panic, because I can’t just HOLD ON to that book. When the time is up, they’re just gonna stop my loan and that’s it…if I’m on page 161 of 400, it doesn’t even matter, because the Time Is UP. (Yes, I have a lot of fines at the library for overdue books, the real kind, not the digital kind…why do you ask?) So I have this book and it’s warned me that it’s due in three days and I’ve been reading it, but when I started, there were only like seven days left on the loan, and it’s not a particularly short book, and I do go to work and cook dinner and walk dogs and occasionally try to have a life, so I can’t just READ READ READ even though there are times when that’s all I’d LIKE to do. So there was no way I was gonna finish in three days. Just no way. So I have a choice…I can buy it, which I only do very occasionally, because money and data and why own it when I’ll only read it once (I have a very good memory…generally I don’t like rereading books because I remember too much and it’s like someone gave away the story to you already, spoiler alert, except my brain is that someone). Or I can re-request it. Usually every book I’m reading has at least 3 and sometimes 300 holds on it, so I won’t get it back right away, which is really annoying, so then I’ll stay up to 2 AM reading it instead of not finishing.

I can’t stay up late enough to finish this one…it would be an all-nighter and odds are I’d fall asleep in the middle of it due to tiredness caused by not sleeping caused by stupid hormones and age and IDK what else (I had this vivid and terrifying dream…moment…of a coyote while I had the puppy out and the leash was stretched out and nothing actually happened because I woke up instantly and painfully with my heart trying to beat out of my chest, it was so realistic). So I re-requested it. And the library sent me this message, chill out my dear mamanao (that’s Malagasy for Yo’ Mama) cuz no one wants this book but you, so as soon as it seems like it’s gonna come back to us here at the library-yo, we’re gonna check it right back out to your sweet self. Don’t you even worry your old wrinkly head about that sweetie because it’s yours…for as long as you want it…(because no one else wants to read this).

Huh. OK. I’m not really offended. It’s the fourth book in a series of nine and I’m not even sure number nine is out yet, but apparently most people make it through the first three books and then quit. Losers. I’m going for the gold. (It’s the series that the TV show The Expanse is based on, and I happen to really like it.)

In other book news, I read the wrong book for book club this month, so I’m not going. It’s OK. I read June’s book. Whoops. I think I forgot to request May’s book? Or I requested it but it never came, because everyone else had requested it too? I just don’t know. There’s no book posted for July yet, so I can’t pre-read…but that’s OK, because July is vacation. Except this year, it’s a fake vacation because of jury duty looming over my head all month. Aargh. I can still go to book club though.

OK, so I drove to San Ysidro yesterday after school and it was pretty easy traffic-wise, hallelujah, because it’s a long way, just to pick up my quilt, but I think a lot of people went to that site for a bunch of other meetings and stuff, so that’s cool. It’s a nice space, even if it’s far away. Then I came home and walked the little dog, because he’s been way too hyper lately, and the big dog still needs to rest her foot. And then cooked dinner. Late. So it’s kind of amazing I got anything else done at all honestly. And I wish I had gotten just a LITTLE bit more done. I get to the end of the evening and think that a lot. Damn yourself for taking that 20-minute break in the middle of the evening there. Damn you for needing to take pee breaks or heat up your tea. If you’d just worked harder, you’d be done and on to the next task. Yeah. Workaholic much?

This is why there are only like 20 pieces left to cut and I had a hard time stopping, but it was after midnight and I kept thinking I could finish, but then it was approaching midnight thirty and ladies and gentlemen, I really need to be able to function like an awake person at school, so this is just not acceptable. But Art Brain is whining because SERIOUSLY LOOK HOW FEW PIECES ARE LEFT.

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Ugh. I did not finish. I will finish tonight and then I will sort them and then hopefully I will have enough energy to start ironing tonight…or maybe I will trace the other one for a while. They both require standing, though, which is sometimes hard after a long day at work. But progress! Shut up, Art Brain. You’ll be fine. Teacher Brain needs sleep to function. She pays the bills…well, most of them.

Puppy is an asshole by the way. I know y’all think he’s cute and all, but he poops in the most random places on walks, and at least 17 times, which is just annoying, and he won’t sit and wait patiently while I pick it up. He tries to race around on his leash and pull on the hand that’s picking up his crap even when I tell him to sit and then he freaks out if you tie the bag to his leash and then he wouldn’t go to bed last night until I told him he was being an asshole.

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Little dogs. Assholes. Yeah, he’s adorable, but…

*Shinedown, If You Only Knew


Too Much Water Damage

April 25, 2018

This week is tired. I’m pretty sure I thought yesterday was Wednesday, which would make today Thursday, but you know it’s not. Tuesday inserted itself rudely back into the week, refusing to be ignored. Damn you, Tuesday. So now it’s Wednesday and there are two more meetings today which makes it long and tiring. Plus, let’s be completely honest here, I’ve stayed up too late two nights (or more) in a row, trying to get the Wonder Under traced. That said, even going to bed late, I find it hard to fall asleep…my brain is racing, stressed, on overdrive, wants to read my book, wants to work on the quilt, wants to do anything but slow down and relax and rest and rejuvenate. Bad brain.

Yesterday’s afterschool meeting was about National Board certification…something I’ve been considering. I need to get my district to pay for it, though. I love that the only professional development that might actually be useful for me is something I have to pay for myself…all the stuff they force me to go to is mostly useless. Sigh. So it was an interesting meeting…we’ll see if I decide to do that. It might be best to wait a year, until I don’t have to work three jobs to pay for college. Being one kid down in that respect is not necessarily helpful…the boychild had more grant money, so his payment was pretty small…in fact, we haven’t paid anything this year out of pocket…it all came out of the college money we started saving when he was a baby. That was nice. Maybe the girlchild’s will be similar. Going into the 5th year of college payments is hard…there’s nothing left. (Who am I kidding? There was nothing left after the second year.)

Then I came home and soaked my very-much-not-infected (well, at the moment) foot. They still have me on antibiotics until the culture comes back…one of the wonders of diabetes…the fear of foot injuries. I was multi-tasking…reading my book (that’s due in 3 days) while soaking. Of course. And then! I’m a character in the book!

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So far, I’m kind of a lame character…but I’ll take it. Might be a true representation of the Nida character right there in the second-to-last sentence.

Then right back to this, because when I stopped Monday night, there were only about 230 pieces to go. And that’s doable in one night.

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Well, it’s probably more doable when you start earlier, because it was well after midnight when I was done. Piece 1000 is in there, but honestly, last night, there were at least 3 numbers that were used twice and at least 4 pieces that weren’t numbered, so who knows what I’m really at. Somewhere AROUND 1000.

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It took about 10 1/2 hours…not bad…almost exactly an hour per 100 pieces. I was on a roll! That’s 10 episodes of Agents of SHIELD too. I think. I must have watched something else too, because I still have quite a few episodes in there.

I spread out all the Wonder Under…it’s about 3 1/2 yards’ worth. Covers the light table and more…

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Next comes about 7 hours or so of sitting on the couch and cutting them apart. Oh yeah, I never found two numbers on the drawing…so either they were hiding completely (sometimes I number illogically) or they never existed. The human brain is a messed-up device. Too much water damage.

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Meeting this morning with the science department; after school, with any parents who want to see our sex ed program before we start teaching it. Yes! It’s almost THAT time of year. Oh boy. Seriously, they might wake up and pay attention…I’d be good with that.

If you want a copy of the catalog for the Things That Matter traveling exhibit, it’s available now on Amazon right here. All the quilt statements are in there too, which is nice. I still haven’t had a chance to read them all.

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With that, I’m going to go deal with some other things that matter…


I Got My Head Done When I Was Young*

April 21, 2018

Well here’s a Saturday that is just WIIIIDE open. Until 3:30, when I have to leave for the next 9 or 10 hours and somehow wear/bring/change into appropriate clothing for three different style and weather-exposure events. I seriously can’t even get my head around that. What do I wear to an art opening, then a bonfire, and finally a house party I’m crashing? Jeans and a black t-shirt seems appropriate for all? Maybe? Addition of some warming attire that can be shed, because as a woman of a particular age, I heat up too much inside? Yeah. I’m thinking. So there’s that.

And I had this plan to go to the gym this morning, to get back into that routine, but I got this email last night that says that it’s KIDS DAY at the gym. Oh holy hell…lots of free games and kid stuff…there will be 700 people there, no way in hell. Sigh. I suck at life sometimes. I do have grades to do…they’re due Tuesday. I’m taking one assignment with me to the meeting tomorrow, so I left that one. I graded one and a half last night. I’m sitting here now, about to do all the makeup work, thus frustrating those kids who will wait until Sunday night. There’s one other paper assignment I need to get done, but very few kids did it (it was a makeup test). So there’s all that.

What do I really want to do? Stand here.

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For like the next 4 hours. Seriously. I’m hoping to do some of that today anyway, since I started really late last night, due to the grading. I haven’t gotten very far…about piece 180, I think. I stopped last night around midnight because I was going to be good and go to sleep (I didn’t). Although this is probably one of the most boring phases of the quilt for those watching me, it’s one of the relaxing parts of the quilt for me. OK. Wait. Most of them are meditative in one way or another. I think that’s those artistic brain waves. I welcome them.

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But just tracing around things that are already thought out (mostly, because I have to decide what goes under and needs an overlap and what doesn’t. OK. That’s actually a lot of thinking, but it’s very focused thinking.).

So this guy was hanging out and precipitated a discussion of the differences between lizards and geckos and whether or not the ridges on the tail were one for every time he lost it (he obviously has a new tiny tail there).

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I could not figure this out online. I suspect not. But I thought it would be cool if that were so…like the rings of a tree or the rattles on a rattlesnake.

I finished the intriguing book I was reading this week, Future Home of the Living God, by Louise Erdrich.

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I started reading Erdrich when I was in college as part of my comparative literature degree. I have a bunch of her books from those years, and then as I’ve noticed books coming out, I read more. This one was totally not what I expected, and I loved it. I mean, I’ve always loved her semi-fantastical family woven into Native stories, but this one went sci fi, and that’s almost always a good thing for me. I was able to ignore most of the science questions (I still have lots!) simply because hell, we really don’t understand a lot about all that extra DNA. The only disappointment for me was that there was a letdown at the end of the book (not giving story away)…I wanted more, of course, and maybe that will come or maybe that’s just it. I didn’t see a connection to The Handmaid’s Tale while I was reading, but I guess I can see it now, just in that there’s a reproduction problem (which we know will probably happen) and because of that, shit happens. I’m waiting for the dystopian novel that takes that story and has women taking over because of it, but I don’t know if that’s happened yet. Interesting idea of how paranoid our society might become if women can’t pop babies out on demand (we can’t now either, but there’s enough doing it that it doesn’t seem to be a problem).

ANYWAY…on to the next book. I love reading. Have I told you I love reading? In fact, it’s hard to look at tonight with three THREE social events without thinking, I wonder if I can just bring my book with me? Um. Probably not.

Simba needed loves last night. He got them.

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Although he looks somewhat perturbed by it in this photo.

OK…finish the makeup grades, then get thee to the light table. Eventually make a decision about clothing and get the hell out of here. I do have some free passes to the Visions opening tonight…I keep forgetting about that. If you want one, email me and I’ll meet you out front? I know, that means (a) you want to go, (b) you live in the San Diego area, (c) you’re not already a member, and (d) you read all the way down here to see this in time. Sorry. I suck. Just remembered. I think I’ll take them with me and just hand them out to passersby or something. More eyeballs! I’m actually really looking forward to seeing this piece hanging…

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Not Less Than…part of the Things That Matter exhibit opening tonight at Visions, and then traveling to a variety of places that I should know off the top of my head! Whoops. Working on it. Check the Current Shows page. I’ll get it updated next. I swear.

*Blur, Song 2


Today I Read

April 12, 2018

The first week back to school after a break is always hard. This one seems to be chock full of meetings and other afterschool stuff, which just makes it harder. I’ve needed to go to the chiropractor for days, but had to reschedule to pick up my car, and now it’s gotten worse. Today is the day! Hooray! Tonight is also an art opening. Yesterday was book club…there was a lot of discussion about the characters and the world the book was written in…The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison.

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I used to do book reviews on here all the time. I don’t know why I got out of the habit. I still read all the time. Anyway, this book was good, good enough for me to read the whole thing in about 3 days flat over break (while driving around New Mexico and Arizona), mostly because I panicked and realized book club was this week. There’s a lot of interesting geological science in the book, obviously from a fantasy/sci fi viewpoint, plus some version of a post-apocalyptic/dystopian future. All the good things! And the 2nd book is already available…I think the 3rd book is out as well.

I also started (and finished) Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire, which is a pretty trite title for a kind of dark little book. It’s short and not sweet, but definitely an interesting read.

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I know I’ve read something from McGuire before, but I don’t even remember why this was on my list (probably someone at book club mentioned it and I requested it from the library). Honestly, at the beginning of break, every book I’d requested from the library showed up at once, so I had to re-request two of them, and this was one of them. It’s about, well, wayward children, but those who go into different worlds and then fall out of them for a variety of reasons and can’t figure out how to get back. It’s a fast read.

I now have two books (only!) on the library app. And about 2 weeks to read both.

Last night, when I got back from book club, I was too tired to engage the drawing brain, so I finished the McGuire book and started a new one, a Louise Erdrich book (been reading her for years). It’s not like I have tons of time to read…I have to usually choose between reading or art, which might be why I’m reading less than I used to. I miss it. I miss sitting around on the couch for a couple of hours, immersed in a novel. So often these days when I try to do that, I fall asleep. Or I feel guilty because I know I should be grading. I didn’t grade yesterday because I had a union meeting and I was making a slide presentation for today so I wouldn’t have to write the same stuff 5 times. Grading is kicking my butt right now. I can’t find the time.

Did I tell you my sleep apnea study was fine? I sleep normal…for me. Which is badly. Unless I’m on the couch trying to read a book. Then I sleep fine. Although I woke up to the sneezy cat on my chest.

Anyway, after tonight’s opening, I’m hoping I have the energy to come home and work on the drawing. I miss making art when I don’t do it. It makes the next work day harder. I feel emptier. So I guess reading fills the space with a story right then and there, but art makes me feel like I accomplished something, that I’m making something, and that’s somehow more important to me. Good to know.