Gonna Read for a While

July 17, 2018

In case you’re wondering why I’m writing so early (because this is early for Kathy on break), it’s because I’m sitting in a dead silent jury room, half (or more) asleep, after fighting my way through motorcycle accident traffic. Honestly I have zero brain power right now, and I tried going to bed early (for me), but I was still the first one up. Hoping for no jury, but you can’t predict that shit. I have had so much anxiety about this process…I hate being forced to sit like this.

Anyway. Onward and upward. Trying not to read too many political things. Our country…what a disaster. Even the quilt world is full of it. I start so many responses in my head…such a difficult world we are in.

Kitten held hands with me yesterday. She feels me.

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So yesterday, I did manage to get my butt in gear eventually and quilted the two little quilts.

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They’re so tiny, it doesn’t take long.

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Fully quilted, ready to trim…

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I didn’t put a real binding on these…just trimmed them to size and zigzagged the edges with a heavier thread underneath. There’s probably a technical term for that.

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Now I just need to decide how to label them, hang them (after this exhibit), and attach them to the boxes. No problem. I have until Sunday.

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Then I hung out on the boychild’s bed with the dogs…long enough to decide to walk those beasts. Might be my last chance this week.

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Lucky dogs. We went hunting for the vernal pool. Very little evidence of it in summer.

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But sharp eyes (not mine) spotted two baby California horned lizards…we must have disturbed their hanging out together…

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Hard to see…

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But very cool. I’ve only seen 3 or 4 of them while hiking, and never so small…not even an inch long.

Then dinner and more weaving (whoops, no picture)…and then I really wanted to finish drawing last night. The last woman went in. And I think that’s it. Ten hours to trace the stuff that was on the other drawing and then do the rest.

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It doesn’t sound like much.

I did start numbering, but I knew it was a big job, so I quit at 488 pieces. I’ll finish the rest tonight and then start tracing.

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That 488 got all the waves and everything in them, including the Earth Mermaid, numbered. So maybe a third? Hard to say.

Gonna read for a while.


I Can’t Feel a Thing from My Head Down to My Toes*

July 11, 2018

I keep thinking I’ll get so much done, but then reality kicks me in the head. I did quilt. I did draw. I even walked dogs. All good things. I also drove 2 hours to pick up a quilt and went to the chiropractor. And made dinner from scratch. Still all good things. I did not finish the quilting. I didn’t even finish the outlining. That’s OK. I’m going to do more today. There’s progress…

Although, even though I checked the back for missed stitchdown areas, sure enough, there were three I fixed yesterday…the octopus tentacle was just one of them.

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Where the pin is. It’s OK. It happens most times.

Then quilting the rest of the legs, above the knees…

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Then the dogs earned a walk…and it was cooler (although still humid) yesterday, so we dragged them out to our regular place. I’ve seen the stinky melons on this vine, but don’t remember the spiky balls. So many plants around here have spiky balls for protection…

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And I don’t think I’ve seen these out there ever. It’s weird, because I was just there maybe a week and a half ago…so maybe the bushes were there, and the extreme heat made them flower?

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Lovely cloudy skies…cuts down on the temperatures. Not so today.

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And wild roses…not sure I’ve ever seen them blooming here. But they were beautiful.

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I made dinner…it was lovely. No seriously, it was. I’ll be eating leftovers tonight before book club…for a book I read over a year ago and don’t remember (I just wanna hang out with my book-club mates before school comes back and screws up my schedule). Then I finished all the orange balls (fly stitches) and started on the pink balls (bullion knots).

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Second to last set of balls.

Then back to quilting, up into the torso, which was a bit complicated.

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Uterus done (it’s not a vajayjay, people). Stomach, liver, intestines (it’s not pornography…it’s parts).

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Full view of that section. I have the upper torso, arms, and things floating around. Not a small amount left, but not hard.

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OK, quilting is never really HARD…it’s just time consuming and I’ve got a hard time sitting still sometimes. Like now. Hence the walk in the middle of quilting.

When it’s late and my co-housemates all go to bed, they prefer it if I’m not quilting. Apparently the WHOP WHOP WHOP noise of the machine with my music loud enough to cover that is disruptive to sleep. Who knew? Luckily, I have another project in process, so I moved into the living room to work on the drawing. I seriously haven’t started drawing before 11 PM on this thing most nights. It’s too hot in that room. I need to buy another fan. I used to have it in a certain place and it was easy to unplug and move. Now I share it (what!) and it’s not so easy to move. So a new fan would be smart.

Anyway, I had decided that the mermaid sea mother needed a viewpoint, but I had already drawn in that space. So I could use liquid paper, but then when I trace, there are multiple lines that show up with the light and it’s confusing. Usually that’s what I do, but this was a fairly straightforward cutout. So I did it.

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Then inserted paper behind and drew the earth.

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I added a few more things to the plastic trash.

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And then broke up all the water spaces. It looks really complicated, but I just needed smaller pieces of fabric for easier ironing. Lots of dead fish. But I think the ocean section is done. Although looking at this, the space under her arm looks empty. I need to visualize a sand fabric back there…it will be fine.

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Then while I was driving to Oceanside yesterday to pick up my quilt, I had some ideas for the last figures…definitely a breastfeeding woman. Faceless though…standing for many women? I guess. There’s another one on one of the other waves that I didn’t ink last night…she’s just in pencil.

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Here’s the whole drawing (ish…the top is falling off the back of the light table). As you can see, I’m getting there. Also penciled in is a volcanic area, and I need to put a skeleton in. And then maybe a bird or angel or something? Still considering that. Cherubim? Yeah. Maybe.

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This will be a fun one to explain. It started out as one thing and morphed into 17 other things and I think all I can do to explain it is to call it my brain on politics right now. It feels really bad. Although the Thai soccer players are out! That’s good! Distract me from judges and laws and stupid policies and tweets and everything else. We can’t look away…we don’t dare. But Shee-it. So this quilt is that. All that.

I spent about an hour this morning going through upcoming shows and deadlines and organizing for them. I don’t know if I’ll be able to enter everything I want to, just because I have a finite number of pieces available. But at least I have an outline and some organization for that. I do need to iron fabrics for the two little ones though, because they’re supposed to be done in 11 days. OK, stop hyperventilating. It will be fine. They’re small. You could finish both of them in about 2 or 3 hours if you wanted to. Shush.

What I need right now though is breakfast. And then once I finish the legal stuff I have to do today, then I can quilt all afternoon. It’s warm, but there’s a breeze…and two fans in here. One day at a time. (don’t think about the school stuff you have to organize before Friday. Shush.)

*Genesis, That’s All (so I had this significant other who used to give me shit for some of the music I listen to, and this is one of the bands he shamed me for, even though Pandora picked it this time. But I like Phil Collins…and his bald head…and his earnest voice. So I guess it’s a good thing that SO is out of the picture.)


Mostly Brain Dead

June 30, 2018

Interesting conversation online came up yesterday about feminism and quilts. A quilt teacher mentioned that she had never heard her students discussing feminism and quilts (she should hang out with me and my quilter friends, I guess) and a whole bunch of women claimed feminism is politics and/or man-bashing and there shouldn’t be politics in quilts. Um. Why not? And feminism is not about man-bashing…I think men are just fine. I just want equal rights for all versions of gender and color and culture and ethnicity and whatever word you would like to put in there, but I also think ALL of that belongs in quilts. It doesn’t HAVE to be in quilts…but why would we say it can’t be there? So many rules. Sigh. The one I’m drawing (mostly in my head, honestly, because yesterday was not a drawing day and today probably won’t be either) is all about feminism AND politics (they’re not the same) AND it will be a quilt. Because that is my chosen art form, and I especially like that I use an art form that used to be only made by women who needed things to keep them warm and they wanted them to look interesting (not just pretty).

I guess I just don’t understand why if you don’t like something like politics in quilts (can you say Threads of Resistance?) you don’t just WALK ON BY. You can chat with your friends and say, hey, I didn’t really care for that exhibit that was all political, but I do love me some Baltimore Album quilts…did you see those? (By the way, I love me some Baltimore Album quilts, for realz.) It’s not hard to be civil and allow others to express themselves differently than you do. And that goes for their relationships and marriage and how they dress and how they live and who they love and how they love. But that’s just me.

And me today? Got a lunch date with an old friend and then the man who lives here, his band has a show tonight, so I have my table reserved for some food, wine, and musical drawing. Sounds good…hope it turns out that way. That’s the plan anyway.

I got very little done yesterday. It was just one of those days. I spent about an hour going through the quilts in the boychild’s room, rolling up one grouping, pulling 6 that are shipping out. I still need to find 4 little ones that are supposed to ship out as well, but this was a start…

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It’s a good thing I did that, because he’s on his way back. I still need to move the roll where it belongs and actually SHIP some of these…some I just rolled together, because they won’t ship until August, but I don’t want to put them back in the big roll.

Then I was fussing around doing some other stuff, ran some errands, bought more thread, worked on the quilt under the machine (not an art quilt…just needs to get done) and realized these guys needed exercise. Hence the sad faces…

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So we walked them…

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And then we went out and watched a band and ate some dinner and came back to this HUUUGE beetle thing on the window screen. I’ve never seen one of these…a gecko came by and thought about eating it, but it was bigger than his head, so no. He left.

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We are surrounded by wildlife.

This is Simba this morning. He had a huge tick on his chin (yes, he’s on meds to kill ticks? I don’t actually know what it does to the ticks if they bite him…), but he’s off to play now at the other house.

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And I need to get off of here and get ready to go to lunch. I’m hoping to come back and work on something later…whatever that something is. I feel like this summer is so discombobulated. Oh well. At least there’s nothing to grade. Because I’m mostly brain dead right now.


Take a Walk on the Wild Side*

May 21, 2018

Yup. I skipped writing all weekend. It’s not because I was out doing totally amazeballs things away from technology, so I couldn’t check in and clear my brain (cuz that’s REALLY why I write, to do the brain dump thing…AND to keep me on task with the artmaking stuff). Nope. It was just because I was trying to get this quilt done…and I was pretty close to successful.

Friday night, I graded…and yes, that woman in the background was me. Totally.

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But I only graded until it was time to head out for the musical event of the evening. This was in the parking lot where I left my car…

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Everyone likes old signs.

Then to the Music Box for that band I follow…

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It was a good show…might be because we got a VIP table this time. Much nicer experience…but not particularly cheap.

Came home and then hey…I was the one who fed all you bastards and threw balls and petted snotty-nosed cats. But I do not get all the love (actually, I’m OK with that)…

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Saturday, I got up (eventually…it was a long, exhausting week)…and started quilting…outlining first.

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And I outlined pretty much all day Saturday, on and off.

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While on FaceTime with the girlchild, do you see the mouse? On the agave leaf? He was trying to get seeds off my weeds (see, having weeds is good for the ecosystem. Please tell my neighbors.).

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Fascinating stuff. Back to the outlining. This usually takes the longest part of quilting, because I have to be (semi) careful and go (semi) slowly.

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It helps that the machine behaved…always. This section will need inking too.

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Then a late afternoon walk to clear the brain and allow my eyes to see in the far distance, instead of cross-eyed close up.

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No coyotes out there this time. Well, that we could see.

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Sometimes you just need to get out into nature. I need more of that.

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I remembered to take a picture of the two backing fabrics. Told you they were obnoxious together. The fish one is at least 22 years old.

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I bought three different fish fabrics to make baby bedding before my son was born. This was one that didn’t get chosen…and he’s 22 years old plus. Graduating this weekend. So it makes sense to use it now. Probably not gonna make a baby quilt out of it now.

More outlining…this is still Saturday…

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I finished outlining around 8 PM…

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Then out to dinner and this cat. Well, he was really close to my face. He didn’t want me to finish my book (I did anyway).

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I was too tired at that point to keep quilting. So I read and then went to bed.

Sunday morning (still hard to wake up)…the background quilting was pretty basic. I just followed the board lines in the floor.

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And did a big stipple thing on the wall. It took almost no time at all to be finished.

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I trimmed it easily…

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Went to the quilt store, bought binding, a fabric I think I’ve used somewhere else in a binding, but can’t remember where (it was the right shade of dark brown)…sewed the binding on after dinner, and then started the hand-sewing.

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It’s going to the photographer on Thursday. So I need to finish sewing and do the ink stuff in the next night or two. And then get going on the next deadline. No problem! Seriously, I’m feeling kind of amazing at the moment. As long as I don’t think about school.

I did grade some on Sunday as well, but noticed a huge issue with what I need to grade…not sure how to solve it. Only panicking slightly. OK, a little more than slightly. Sleep was not my friend last night. This week will be a challenge…I think I’ve been saying that since February. No but this time I mean it! Laughing hysterically (maybe a little TOO hysterically) over here.

I think the quilting took about 5 1/2 hours and I’ve got 2 hours into the binding so far. So things didn’t take as long as I thought they would. I tried to pick a similarly sized/complicated piece to figure the time…but this one was apparently simpler and faster. That’s a good thing. I’m deliberately trying not to think about the other quilt in terms of time. Because grades will be due in the middle of all that. Plus 4 days lost to travel. It’s OK…I’m looking forward to seeing the boychild graduate from college. Seems like a fair trade-off. The other quilt will either get done in time or it won’t. Like all things in life.

*Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side


Sinking Is All I Had Planned*

April 29, 2018

Took a day off from all the things. Looking ahead to May, I can see some stressful events and lots of meetings (three in one day? Really?), so I wanted to do a hike before all that. We originally were looking at a short one, but the weather was right and I had this hike that had been bugging me. Last June, I tried to do a hike with the boychild, but I had recently started taking a new medication, and it fucked with me…so I ended up having to get helicoptered off the mountain (that was a fun experience actually). The situation was scary, though, in that when that happens, you get paranoid that it will happen again, where you’ll feel like you can’t control or trust your body and do the things you want to do. So it’s been on my list since then to do the hike again (it’s one I’ve actually done 5 or 6 times anyway), just to prove to myself that (a) I can do it and (b) it was the meds, not me.

We go out Sunset Trail, then pick up Big Laguna back…pretty simple, not too much climbing, gorgeous views and a meadow.

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It was a gorgeous day, weather was warm but breezy, not too bad. Probably better than last June, which was hot. The fires came through here however many years ago, so there are always new trees that have finally succumbed and are lying around.

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This was a perfect time to go…lots of meadow and mountain flowers, plus the oaks have all their new pinkish growth coming in.

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Seriously, there were flowers everywhere…

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We didn’t see any animals, except lizards and birds…not even the cows that are usually in the meadows!

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Looking down at Water of the Woods, which had quite a bit of water in it. There were only about 4 hikers on Sunset Trail, but a lot more (mostly bikers) on the Laguna trail. Bikes aren’t allowed on Sunset…that’s a plus.

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This bird is loud and weird. Pretty sure it’s a
Red-winged Blackbird.

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You can listen to one here…but the one I was listening to seemed to have been listening to a bunch of electronic music. He had a definite electronic twang to his song.

Walking up from the pond, that tree was just leaning there, most of its bark gone, just perched on its stump.

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Some dead trees, some burned trees…

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A view of Cuyamaca Peak, Middle Peak (to the right), and Stonewall.

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Then we come to where I sat for about 20 minutes or so last June, waiting for the helicopter to show up. They had sent out the Forest Service guys who were already out there to check on me, and then the official rescue people hiked in from Penny Pines. Boychild and I had debated if I could hike another mile, mile and a half, to Penny Pines, but I was barely able to walk more than 10 steps without feeling like I was gonna pass out by then.

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So the helicopter landed there. I had plenty of water, had drunk, had eaten. And yesterday, I was fine. No problems at all.

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So we kept hiking.

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A view of the meadow from Sunset Trail…

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There were pinecones all over the place.

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We kept going around the meadow, avoiding the mountain bikers…

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Nature at its best…

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And there’s water in the lake!

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I’ve actually never seen this much water…then again, I didn’t hike there right after the rains last year…I’m sure there was more than this.

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But it was nice to see this much anyway, along with the swathes of color across the meadows.

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No cows. Girlchild would have been disappointed.

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Heading back…

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A little over 8 miles. Definitely tiring…I zoned out most of the afternoon, but it was good. It felt good. I’m glad to have conquered that.

Meanwhile, I did buy fabrics for the background of the new quilt. There’s a contrast challenge between bodies and fireplace and floor and background wall. The left is part of the fireplace, the middle is the wall, and the right is the floor.

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I got these too. Maybe if my kids ever have kids, they will realize what all the alien fabrics are for. Or not.

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These two are still nervous about each other…

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Friday night I finished cutting out all the Wonder Under with Simba’s help…

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This mermaid with two tails was in the Starbucks in the morning…

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I finally got off the couch yesterday afternoon and sorted the Wonder Under…it didn’t take long.

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We got dinner at the new Mexican place in town. I don’t believe that Frida actually said that.

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And then I started ironing.

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I didn’t get very far, because I was tired and it was late and standing hurt my feet at that point, but it’s a start.

Some blues for a backpack…

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I’m expecting the ironing to take at least 10-12 hours…so all week, really. Hopefully I’ll be cutting pieces out by next weekend. That’s the plan anyway. Stay on task. I might need to grade some stuff sometime soon though. Sigh.

Today has a long to-do list, as always. Better get on it…

*Aimee Mann, Humpty Dumpty


Tell Me Now How Do I Feel*

April 26, 2018

The early mornings are getting to me…I actually went to bed early last night. I know, it’s a miracle. I was tired though. Yesterday was three meetings before and after school, and the afterschool one took a lot out of me. When we teach reproduction, we have to allow the parents to preview the curriculum, which is fine. I’m glad they’re paying attention…but this was more about a culture clash than reproduction. Those are hard. I think it might have been just as hard for the dad. The parents can choose to opt their child out of a sexual education, which I don’t really agree with, but I respect their right to do so…so every year, we send letters home and do these meetings and then have parents who choose to have their kid NOT learn about how their bodies work. And no, it’s not just girls. Anyway…unfortunately, they don’t let US choose who to opt out, because there are some pure trolls and some incredibly immature (um boys) who make it a lot harder for us to teach this unit.

When I got home from that, which took longer than it ever has, I walked the dogs.

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It was over 3 miles, and they were dragging at the end of it. It felt good, though. All of us need the exercise. Unfortunately, because of coyote sightings, I’ve limited the walks we go on now. I need to go out into those wild places and see if that’s still an issue. Of course, I know the coyotes are still there, but with daylight stretching later, it’s possible that I can go and avoid them.

When I came home, after eating dinner, I started cutting out Wonder Under.

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I had (tired) couch companions…

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He’s now licking his paw something awful, so there must be something in there. Unfortunately, he’s a bitey asshole, so he won’t let anyone else look at it.

This one also slept…

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And I cut for almost 3 hours.

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It’s a very methodical process, very meditative. Cut this larger section, cut the big pieces out, then down to the small pieces. Then pick up the next larger section. I got through one whole yard of Wonder Under and part of the next one…looks like it’ll take me three long nights to get through it, but I could potentially be done Friday night. I’m not caught up with grading at school, but I know there are many opportunities in the next week or so to get caught up, so I’m going to try to limit what I bring home. That life-work balance is a bitch for teachers.

I did book the girlchild’s flight home to San Diego (not until August) last night. I’ll see her in May in New York for the boychild’s graduation. She’s on short time in Madagascar now…hoping she stays healthy for the last bit and manages to get home safe.

*New Order, Blue Monday


A Title Would Be Nice

April 5, 2018

Not much time for writing these days. Internet is one of those things that many of us have easy access to (unlike the girlchild, who’s definitely missing it in Madagascar), but this trip has been out in the middle of nowhere for goodly chunks of time. Which is fine…we’ve been doing real-world stuff (well, some of it is NOT so real world), so the online world takes a back seat.

I think when last I wrote, I was sitting in a tent town that was a wheeled spoke of wooden walls in a KOA, which was a blessing against the 50-mph winds that mostly died down overnight. It was a rough night…being a light sleeper, road noise kept me awake, as did the wind kicking back up at 1 AM. There’s something about your entire tent trying to take off while you’re still in it that affects your ability to sleep. The plus is that we had to be up and out early, because we had a tour booked at Carlsbad Caverns that morning, and the elevators are currently out. Some poor souls were stuck in them for 3 1/2 hours last week and they’re still trying to fix them.

I just kept comparing the climb in (not what worried me) and out (somewhat more challenging) to Cowles Mountain, our local San Diego most popular hike for the non-hiker. 750 feet down in a mile and a quarter? Your knees will notice…

Going back up? Well they said there was food at the bottom, we were doing the Kings Palace tour (which ended up being very easy but totally worth the money for Ranger Mark’s story of the crazy-ass kid Jim White who discovered this cave), and then there was no food (being diabetic often sucks). But honestly? It wasn’t as hard to climb out as we thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong…there were quite a few happy dances when we made it to the top.

The caves themselves are freaking amazing. I have a ton of pictures, but it’s nothing like being there.

I suggest you go when the elevators are working, although the hike in is also a very cool experience. Those cave structures will definitely end up in some drawings…oh wait, they already have.

So after all that amazingness and natural splendor, we drove to Bottomless Lakes State Park to a very basic campground where the showers couldn’t decide on a temperature OR stay on more than 10 seconds at a time…we were the only tent in a sea of RVs and other smaller camping vehicles. And it was cold and windy…we gave up on cooking (no open fires with the wind) and ate out for the first time on our trip…

It was a cold night, but this is where I drew…fleece on, blanket wrapped around me. I get why no fires, but damn, fires are warm!

The next morning, it was in the 30s, so we packed up and went to breakfast at the Cowboy Cafe, where there was a taxidermied deer butt in the bathroom…

So I don’t remember ever being in New Mexico as a child (I must have been…I was almost everywhere else in the US), but here’s what I now know about this state: most popular vehicle: big white truck. Second most popular vehicle: any other color truck. New Mexicans run red lights with wild abandon. New Mexico is a lot flatter than I imagined.

And there’s a lot more Southern drawl than I expected. My phone thinks we’re in Texas half the time though, so maybe that’s related. Plus we’ve only been in the southern part of the state.

We were going to try to go to Cadillac Ranch in Texas yesterday, but decided to roll that into a future trip to Colorado…the thought of a day with 8 hours of driving was too much. So we headed back into Roswell for some alien fun.

Well you know…I like me some aliens…

And I think they like me too…

And then we headed for Santa Fe…more about that later, because today is all about Georgia O’Keefe and my WordPress app has decided I can’t see what I’m typing. Minor issue. Just know I’m alive and well and fed and showered and warm (ish…it is a high elevation here)…and more will follow.