People Getting Loose Y’all*

I was on a hiking trail yesterday morning, instead of writing a blogpost. Not a bad decision, although it was mighty chilly. I don’t think I’ve done an entire hike with my fleece on except for one in the snow. It’s a good thing I don’t live somewhere colder.

The hike was out to Kitchen Creek Falls, near Campo. It wasn’t particularly long…maybe 5 1/2 miles or a bit more. There were a few climbing bits, but I managed. I did expect more water, but that’s OK. It was still pretty.

First of all, I got up early enough to see the sunrise. On a Saturday. Ugh. That part sucks.

But it meant I had most of the day after the hike to lie around and pretend I was being productive, when I was really just futzing and reading my book. I guess that’s a thing.

Both the men who live here were supposed to go, but the older back damaged himself helping to dig and fill a giant hole so we could have the water back on. The younger back came with me though…

I used to hike all the time with this group, but my work life has evolved in a way that makes it more difficult to do so. I’m supposed to go every 90 days to stay in the group, but the leader is nice to me, so even though I haven’t shown up since August, I haven’t been kicked out yet. I try to come! But it’s not always possible.

We hiked part of the Pacific Crest Trail…I’ve been on this hike before, as part of a longer stretch of the PCT…

Although it was almost 5 years ago.

Oh yeah, there was this plant with these weird growths on it by the car park.

They were soft and probably filled with spiders.

Everything was very sage gray in color. And it was cold…low to mid 30s with a minor threat of rain or snow.

But in the end, we avoided most of that moisture, except on the drive back. The first part of the hike goes under Interstate 8…

It takes a while to get away from the noise of the freeway…there are a couple of gates…

No big deal in terms of a trail…mostly flat after a few switchbacks…

Greener than usual…we’re heading up there somewhere…

I love to hike. I wish I could do more of it.

It’s been a wet year for us…almost 10 inches down on the flat, so more up here…

Not much for other places, but we are dry. There’s the freeway.

Here’s where I was…

This group likes to take photos.

Finally we got to the falls…

Although there was a bit of a climb first…

To pole or not to pole? It was a crapshoot…needed them for part of it and not for the rest. You can see how far down we’re going.

Down by the water…

The rocks are very slippery…

Down there is another larger waterfall. I didn’t go down that way.

Didn’t trust my ability to get back up. The boychild is way the fuck down there…

I stayed up top and felt the temperatures drop again.

So we came out and headed back…

Just a few droplets though…

I would have been OK with some snowflakes at this point, but no.

Just a pretty view of the trail.

I really do love manzanitas…and one weird geocache.

OK then. We drove back home and showered and ate and then I tried to be a productive member of society by wrapping this giraffe, one of my Christmas presents…

He still needs a mane and a tail, but I have to wrap the other one first. Yes. I’m weird. I just liked the kit.

While I was putting stuff away, I found this. Sigh.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about trying to find all the blocks and threads for this quilt I must have started in 2008 or so. And I thought I’d found everything, but I was missing some of the threads. So I ordered new ones. Well here they are…in an entirely different container with another block that’s not finished. (Bangs head on table). OK then. It’s not the end of the world.

We eventually went out and to a bunch of art things…more of those later, when I feel like resizing all those photos. We stopped once for a drink…here’s my artsy photo…

And the photobombed one…

You should always be with someone who has a good sense of humor.

Who knew wine came in a can? Well. Lots of you probably. This was with dinner, over by another set of art things. We came back and I was tired and basically pretended to be functional until it was time to go to sleep. I guess that’s the way some days go. Today isn’t a whole lot better so far, but let’s hope I get that under control. I have a huge pile of grading and quilting to do. I do have tomorrow off, but there’s a medical thing in the middle of it. Whoopee! Love those. Not.

But a day of hiking and art is not a bad thing.

*The Trammps, Disco Inferno

Thanks for Showing Me Your Swiss Army Knife*

My cat freaks me out. I’m sitting here, typing at (staring at?) the computer, and she’s sitting there watching me, and then all of a sudden, she snaps her head up toward the ceiling and is STARING, like there’s a demon punching through the ceiling, so I stop (immediately) what I’m doing and stare at whatever space of bumpy ceiling SHE is staring at…and I see nothing. All the hairs on the back of my neck are up, but…ghost? Bug? She’s just fucking with me? I just don’t know.

Yeah, like WTF is that, cat?

Right now, there’s a dog under my feet, trying to catch the cereal I drop. I do drop cereal. He’s not stupid. It’s a smart place to be. Not a very fulfilling life, if you ask me, but he does ask for (and get) lots of pets.

I’ve made this pattern of getting the hell off school campus at least once a week to take the dogs out. It’s so much easier when we get more daylight (I think we’re past 5:15 PM for sunset at this point, so that helps)…I’m glad we chose (well, I chose) this hike yesterday, because there was lots of water still. Straight in front of us is the path…underwater.

It’s OK…it doesn’t take much to go around it.

There was water everywhere…

Friday we had like 3/4s of an inch…plus more on Saturday and Monday. That’s a lot for us.

It was chilly here yesterday…in fact, I think it was warmer where the girlchild is in Boston than it was here.

Nice clear skies though…we were pushing sunset, as always.

We saw one baby coyote, giant ears, rushing toward a hiding spot. And the vernal pool was full.

Just a few weeks ago, it was totally empty. Or at least only a damp spot. Ah nature.

Then back to the house and a million tasks, including a dinner made by moi. I was surprisingly efficient (although I didn’t spell either of those two words correctly the first time…I’m tired.). I spent some time dealing with emails and a list of possible pieces for my upcoming solo show in Pittsburgh. Looking forward to that…and this guy, still needing pets.

Never-ending mopey furball. He’s sweet. When he’s not barking his mad little head off.

Oh yeah, I also set fire to a lot of things in science today…

There was a lot of squealing for that.

Well it’s finally time for quilting this beast. It won’t be fast or easy, but it’s fun.

I didn’t get very far…I only had about an hour and a bit. First I had to fight the thread a little bit. As always. Every time, the machine has to be set up slightly differently to work right. It’s a guessing game. Plus this thing is huge, so it has to be manhandled to quilt it. Anyway, I guess you know what I’ll be doing with the next 20 hours of my free time. I do need to get it done though. The next one doesn’t exist on paper yet and it’ll be due sooner than I like…and the one after it is soonish too, and I’ll be on Spring Break for part of it, freezing my ass off in some campsite.

I’m looking forward to that actually.

So I got Figure 1’s bottom half done, and part of the hand that crosses her from Figure 5…

And then I wandered over into Figure 2…

There was some logic to how I did the stitchdown, and I seem to be following that order for the quilting. I should think about quilting all the in-between spaces as I do the outlining…maybe admit now that I will be using the same color? Or not. Decisions.

Right now, the decision is to get my act together and go to work. And be a productive member of society. Or at least get some grading done. That would be good.

*Laurie Anderson, Let X=X

There Is a House in New Orleans*

Another rainy morning. I might need to buy some real rain gear if this keeps up. I’m not quite ready mentally for this week. I did prep the science lab for today before I left Friday. All I have to do is pour the grape juice. I did the water and baking soda ahead of time, but thought the ants might have too much fun with the juice. I haven’t seen ants this year, except for the first day after they had all those teachers in our rooms, and they left their lunch remains in my trash cans…I know better than to do that. My school was built on an anthill.

As always, I got a bunch done this weekend, but not enough. C’est la vie. I do what I can.

I spent most of Saturday grading stuff…sitting in here with 2 out of the 3 dogs…

It wasn’t very exciting…but it rained a lot. Not as much as on Friday, despite the warnings, but enough.

A lovely view.

And eventually I went back to the stitchdown…

But I didn’t finish. I wanted to, but I was really tired. Sleep seemed like the best option. It was a good decision, because I got hardly any sleep last night. Brain won’t Shut Up.

Sunday was the same mix of errands and household/work tasks that always fill up my first official day of the week. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to take the dogs out today, so we went yesterday…it was gorgeous out (good choice).

Everything is green…except for the trees that haven’t come into leaf yet. The rain had moved this bridge…most of the dogs jumped across.

Calli just waded over. She likes water…

The boychild tried to move the bridge back, but it’s heavy and I couldn’t help because I was holding three dogs. We don’t usually see water here…

It’s nice to see it occasionally.

Water on the path, draining down into the creek.

Someday I will remember to put a towel in the car…

There was no escaping the mud…although this was one option…

There will be lots of fire danger this summer.

It was a beautiful day for a walk though…lots to smell and explore…

We were going to go up the hill instead of across the bridge, but the stream went across that path and there were no rocks big enough to cross…so this is the view down from the bridge.

There’s usually water there anyway, but not quite this much.

Katie enjoyed this random pool of water.

Apparently she is sort of a water dog. When she chooses…

Then there was this, coming back…listen carefully…

The babies talk…we could see them up on the slope. And then mom and dad answer from the stream bed directly across, right where we’d been before. I’m sure you can imagine that conversation. “I told you not to leave the den.” “Mom, you said to call if someone came near.” “They’re nowhere near you. Get back in the den.” “Moooommm.”

Fun stuff. The only dog that reacted to the coyotes though was the little one. The other two just stood there.

They were all tired last night…a good thing. I stitched during the post-dinner TV moments…and he slept.

Sunday’s project is moons…a place for some handwork to happen.

The beginning of that is making some scenes or places for the moons to occur. Embroidery to follow. Lots of it. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see what actually happens. That’s what I wanted with this daily project…some projects getting done finally, and some things I’ve wanted to try getting tried. I get tied up in deadlines on the art quilts and I never get to do other stuff. So there are two projects in the rotation that will allow that.

I finally went in to do this…

The last hour and a half of stitchdown. Finally!

Kitten agrees.

Actually mostly she said Pet Me. Loudly and insistently. I did a lot of that.

Then I checked the back, looking for things I missed, like this.

Three snakes. All of them have two eyeballs on the front…only one had two eyeballs on the back. So I fixed that.

The back is pretty fascinating.

And soon to be covered up for good…

I started piecing the backing out of leftover bits from other quilt fronts. I need to use up stuff before buying more. I hate piecing big pieces, but I’ll survive. I didn’t finish though. Stayed up too late, because my brain was racing. Tried to slow it down. Hopefully tonight I’ll finish piecing it and be able to pinbaste. We’ll see if I have time. So far there are 5 different fabrics on the backing, and I’ll need at least one more. Which is fine. I’ve had this pile of leftover pieces just lying around for ages. This is good.

It took 9 1/2 hours to stitch it down…I think I guessed 10. Not bad. I suspect quilting will be over 20 hours, easily. Looking forward to it. This quilt is taking much longer than I expected.

OK, but before that, I’ve got an early meeting, I’m running labs, I have a shitload of grading still, and it’s still raining, I think. Fun stuff.

*The Animals, House of the Rising Sun

Your Brain Just Caught on Fire*

What pithy thoughts do I have for a Thursday? Why do the powers-that-be at certain social-media sites have to make life so difficult? I’ve spent more time in the last 5 days trying to make them all Get Along than I have sleeping I think. Ironic, since that’s what I do with kids all day long. Get Along Dammit. I made a kid cry yesterday. Well, that’s not true. The situation made him cry, and it was because of something he didn’t do, but I essentially called him on it, so he cried. It’s not the first time…one of the things I love about middle schoolers is that they straddle little kid and teenager in such an intriguing and (let’s be honest here) fully annoying way. But this one made me feel bad for a variety of reasons…and I asked the class to help me try to make him feel better, and they freakin’ rocked it. I love that. Their empathy is sometimes lacking…but sometimes it overflows and reminds you that they will all grow up to be adults and hopefully kind and loving. Ideally, they will also be able to step back a bit and not sob over scores on assignments…although sometimes I sob over their answers. So there’s that.

I got out of there fast, because sunset still comes early and I wanted to walk those dogs. I couldn’t do it on our normal day, Monday, due to the hellishly long staff meeting.

They like it. I like it. The boychild might even like it. Hard to say.

We had a few friends…

Still pushing the sunset window.

Those coyotes mostly ignored us, luckily.

Came home and gained a dog. The parentals are heading north to my bro and fam.

Making this household a little crazy for a while. We hid all the dog toys, and Katie promptly found two more. Then Calli had stashed one and brought it out too. Katie destroys toys. Plus the dogs fight over them. Three is a pack. Two is manageable. Still jealous, but manageable.

I brought home stuff to grade. I just refused to do it once I got home. Two brains at war. Here’s who won…

I finished Figure 5 and the head for Figure 4…

I’m always fascinated by the back, which gets sewn into the quilt, never to be seen again.

Six hours in. Am I halfway? I close my eyes and visualize the whole thing. Yeah, I think I am. Maybe more. Hugely behind on my grading though. What’s new? I just need progress. And that I have.

*SWMRS, April in Houston

Everything Will Work Out

I did a lot yesterday. I marched. I stitched. I read. I ironed. A good day. I didn’t write, because I had to be out of here early, and I was not a responsible adult who went to bed early the night before, because…well…I can’t really explain that. I have stuff to do and it’s taking more time than I thought it would. As it always does.

I ended Friday with a kamikaze trip home after school to grab the dogs and run to the hills before we lost daylight…

With a little rain in the last few weeks, California gets green…so pretty. see the dog head down there.

It was still damp from a week’s worth of rain, but the skies were mostly clear.

We saw a million rabbits and hares, but only one coyote. Oh yeah, and this guy. Just sitting there as we walked past.

Yo. You’re supposed to be scared of people and dogs.

We were pushing it with the daylight thing, but it was a good walk for all involved.

The days are getting longer. This will get easier.

Saturday morning, I got up early and met a marching friend for brunch. I liked this cactus.

We went down and listened to music and speeches…sort of…while I stitched. I needed the mental down time. I didn’t want to stand. I’ve been standing all week. Two hours of standing is too much right now.

It felt good. Relaxing. Positive. And then we marched…because it’s important that we still represent…that the politicians can see that we’re still here and we’re still not happy with what’s happening, whether it’s immigration or women’s rights or issues of racism in our country.

I didn’t bring a sign this year. But I liked this one.

So true.

These were beautiful and heartbreaking. The immigrants who died in custody as they were trying to come here for safety. Children…

That’s not OK.

We need to be better than that. I hope we can be.

So I did some stitching Friday night during the movie watch…finishing up the August blocks…

So that whole section is done until I sew it to the next section, so I can finish the road and flowers on the other side of it.

I think I have to do the September blocks before that happens. Which I started at the march.

Didn’t get much done, but it’s a start. After dinner and some couple time, I came in here to iron…got another cat done…

And a snake…

And then the arm of Figure 4…

Along with a hurricane. I’m in the 900s. I’m getting closer to done. I’m hoping to work on it today as well, but I have school stuff, the slides for the talk tomorrow, and groceries. So I need to be efficient as hell to get to ironing as well. OK. Plan made. I also suspect I will need to iron Figure 4 by itself, instead of trying to fit it into what I’ve already ironed. It’s getting too large, too heavy, too unwieldy. But that’s OK. I’ll do Figure 4 and then see if I can add it to this. Or I might have to wait until I iron it to the background. It’ll be fine. Everything will work out. In time.

Time Is Weird

Well happy New Years Eve, all. Or for some, you’re already in 2019 and that’s just weird. Time is weird though, so what’s new. Yesterday I didn’t write because I was hiking, which was cool. Today the kids leave for Lake Arrowhead…I will follow them tomorrow, when the wind gusts will kick up to 45 mph, so that will be a fun drive. Plus really cold up there for people who don’t own puffy coats. I have fleece. That’s it. Fleece and Uggs. Prepare to freeze.

It will be fine. I’m looking forward to some artmaking time today, but also to a diabetes educator appointment. My insulin isn’t working right. Or I’m not working right, which is more likely. So I got a last-minute appointment to go in. Apparently no one wants to go to the nurse on NYE, but me…I’m OK with that. I’d rather deal with it now than try to fit it in during school. It’s so difficult to get appointments of any kind around my job. Frustrating. So maybe we can figure out WTF is going on with my body as part of the new year.

But yesterday, we hiked to Eagle Rock, which is on part of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). I’ve been there a few times, and it’s a relatively easy hike, but not super short…I think we did 6 1/2 miles.

First we drove way the freak out to Warner Springs…

It was chilly at first, but exercise warmed us up enough to shed the outer layers, even in the shade of the oaks…

It was a beautiful clear day, no wind, just a bit of a breeze…welcome as we got out into the flat areas…

I call this hike mostly flat. My hiking partner did not agree. I think I just forget about the hills after I hike them.

Mostly flat.

There were a lot of people out there, but not too many. Most of them had dogs.

Ah! There’s the eagle in Eagle Rock…and my partner, glad to be halfway. When we started dating, he had written that he liked to hike…

I’m not sure he and I agree on what hiking is…but he’s a good sport about it. Here’s the view of the valley from the rock formation.

The hard rocks that survived erosion over the years…

Proof I was there!

The last time I hiked this was May 2014…more flowers then. More water too, strangely.

There’s this place in Ramona that looks like a total dive from the outside, but is pretty hip on the inside, so we stopped for some food and a drink before driving all the way home.

Came back to lounging tiredly around post-hike, with puppy, who did no hike at all…

He ran around a lot in the morning.

I took a long time to draw this…just tired, I guess.

Yes, that’s T. rex as a spirit animal.

Girlchild eventually showed up again.

Puppy likes her. Although I think he slept on everybody. I haven’t seen the kid much…friends in town.

I finally started cutting out, but late…

It was an Avengers night…but it doesn’t look like I got much done.

Seriously, that’s three hours of cutting. Sheesh.

This is what’s left. A lot.

I’ll do some of that tonight. I’m not a fan of big NYE partying. We have errands to do today and I have that collaboration piece I need to get done by next Sunday, so I should get going on that today. I’ll go to Arrowhead tomorrow with all my crap that needs doing, hang out with the kids etc. for a few days, and head back to face the fact that I’m going back to work. Stressful. Oh well. I had time off…I still have almost a week. Use it wisely.

I Suggest You Switch Your Mind State*

Well, my perfect-laid plans of finishing the ironing yesterday and starting the stitch down did not come true. A shock! Holy crap, is it Wednesday already? Sheesh. This quilt. Life! It takes time, doesn’t it? I’m debating a longer hike for Friday morning, but realistically, it depends on how much I get done between now and then as to whether I can do that. Sigh. Deadlines. Grades. Stuff.

Yesterday I ironed for close to 5 hours. I also graded one assignment and recorded another one that a program graded for me. We walked the dogs. I picked up two of my quilts. I didn’t do a lot of things.

Ironing this quilt has been a challenge. I numbered it in logical order for ironing Wonder Under to fabrics, but it doesn’t iron together in the same order. Hence having to iron the feet (in the 400s) into the 100s of the landscape. So that continued as I ironed upwards from the ground…I got the legs done up until the hips…

IMG_9011 small

And then started working on the rest of the hill to the right…

IMG_9012 small

Bobcat and mule deer…

IMG_9014 small

Some manzanita. And Satchemo…asleep in the sun. He’s there again now.

IMG_9015 small

Wait. I didn’t iron the cat.

The hill…minus the poison oak.

IMG_9016 small

The poison oak went in, bridging the hill to the leg…

IMG_9017 small

Then some dog walking…we did over 3 1/2 miles…

IMG_9018 small

Mostly trying to tire out the little one…

IMG_9021 small

Back to the ironing. So when I got to the torso, it was all in the 500s, but the plume of water and trash coming out of the chest is in the 800 and 900s. I couldn’t make sense of trying to iron the whole body without putting the plume in, so I started pulling from the last two boxes.

IMG_9022 small

And then continued the body above that plume. So I’m about halfway through the 600s, plus I’ve ironed all the 900s and about half of the 800s…although there are a few of those still floating around. Haven’t figured out where they belong yet.

IMG_9023 small

And I’m missing parts of two eyeballs. Plus a piece of a fish. Huh. Well, hopefully they’ll show up sometime today. So I think I have about 200 pieces left to iron. I think. Honestly, it’s hard to say. I’ve been ironing it together for 9 1/2 hours…at least 2 or 3 hours left, I think. So I should be able to finish ironing today and start stitching down. That’s the plan anyway. Plus grade an assignment or two. And maybe an errand. Sigh. I really don’t want to do anything else…but there’s stuff that needs doing. Hate that. Oh well. Moving on.

*K.Flay, So Fast, So Maybe