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.


Someone Let Me Drive…

April 2, 2018

So internet access has been sketchy at best…or when I have it, I seem to be doing other things, like driving, hiking, zoning out in a natural mineral spring, or sleeping. These are all good things, of course. I have no complaints. Well. Hmmm. The super high winds that greeted us this evening in Carlsbad, New Mexico, rumored to be anywhere from 30-50 mph gusts, well those were a little overwhelming, but true to my weather app, they have now died down to a reasonable breeze and my eyeballs appreciate the lack of dust pummeling them. As I type on my iPad, my new friend Mothra hanging around on my thumb, I smell an illegal fire in a nearby campground as bugs dash their tiny bodies against my clean face. Hallelujah for showers…I’ve taken three in the past 26 hours to make up for missing one Sunday morning. Hopefully the showers in the next campground will delight as well, because the elevators at Carlsbad Caverns are broken…so we hike in and out. At least it will be underground. In fact, that’s kind of cool. I usually hike up the mountains, not down into them.

I have about 3,000 pictures so far and probably not the internet to publish this (I’m gonna try anyway). Saturday, we drove a long way to Chiricahua National Monument (some bug just divebombed my wine…poor drunk little sucker), where we saw lots of birds, two deer, a skunk, three lizards, and the butt end of a coatimundi, just as we’d given up on seeing one. We did some hiking at over 6500′ and camped overnight in a gorgeous space that was unfortunately also peopled very closely by an incredibly loud family who said Shut up Don’t Touch That about 17 thousand times.

I’m trying to put photos in…who knows if it will work. It was an awesome place. More photos later when I have better internet.

We then drove to Truth or Consequences, NM, to Riverbend Hot Springs, where the draw was multiple soakings in mineral hot springs, based on a friend’s photo from last year…where I was like I Must Go There (I was right).

We spent time in three different pools, both in the evening and the next morning before leaving. Goodbye muscle aches from the hike…and a goodly amount of stress as well.

Our somewhat kamikaze trip continued today with a side trip to White Sands National Monument (never assume you can buy gas on a missile base) (I know how to coast a long way downhill). The wind had already started up by then, but not as bad as later, or we would have seen nothing…I’m pretty sure there’s white sand in everything I own right now.

It was REALLY WHITE…and soft, but not hot. Definitely glad we risked an empty gas tank on that. Really, I need a gas tank that realizes how much gas is left, looks at the map app for where I’m going, calculates my gas needs, and starts telling me about last-chance gas stations well before I need them…I’m imagining a high-pitched squealing voice getting louder and more hysterical until I can do nothing but pull over and fill my tank.

Until that happens, I will probably continue to space out on that shit until it becomes a desperate issue.

Then we drove over this pass that was about 8700′ and quite gorgeous…

And yes, about all I’ve managed is to finish one book, sew some wooly animals down, and attach 7.5 eyeballs. I don’t think we’re cooking much from here on out, so hopefully I’ll get enough sleep and downtime (ha!) to maybe draw. I’ve talked about drawing. It just hasn’t happened. And because the elevators are broken at Carlsbad Caverns (tomorrow’s adventure), we just added two hours of hiking up and down 75 stories to the day. I think the original plan allowed for one of those, not both. But what can you do, but put on your boots and rest when you need to? I’m looking forward to the equivalent of a Cowles Mountain hike, but down into a cave and back out.

When I’ve finished my glass of wine tonight, I’m going to head across to the very clean bathroom one more time in the dark…then consider tossing the ice chest back in the car for faster packing tomorrow. I’ll take a last look at the beautiful stars in the sky (there are way more than in San Diego…at least to my eyeballs)…damn, even all the moths have gone to sleep now…and then crawl onto the air mattress, bouncing my travel companion up and down at least 14 times until he cries for mercy, rolls over, and falls back to sleep. Seriously, this place isn’t Chiricahua, but it isn’t half bad when the wind stops.


When I’m Tired and Thinking Cold*

March 17, 2018

So no art was made yesterday. It happens. I survived work. I got home. I walked the dog…

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Because it was still daylight and he and I needed exercise and it was good, because the poor guy got stuck in the bathroom for another 5 hours later so I could go to this…

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Significant other plays keyboards, back right. Watched the two bands before him as well…parking downtown can be difficult, so I came early. I went to a lot I know and probably paid more than I needed to, but it was easy and close. It was a good show. I thought I’d be too tired to enjoy it, and I almost was, but managed to pull it together. In between shows, I pulled out my iPad and tried to finish the book that is now due in TWO HOURS. Fuck. OK. I am about to go read that, because I think I have like 60 pages left and I can’t renew it and there’s no way I’m paying $16 on Kindle for 60 pages and I don’t want to wait until I can check it out again and try to remember what was happening. Seriously. I read a book in the House of Blues while everyone around me was getting wasted. I am a geek.

I’m leaving for Los Angeles for an opening in about 2 hours and it’s still pouring rain here and I really need it to stop because driving to LA in the rain will suck. It’s not supposed to still be raining here. This is what’s wrong with being dependent on apps for information. My weather app is currently claiming there is a zero percent chance of rain and that is totally untrue. Because that’s rain. Lots of it.

I can’t complain. No one in Southern California can complain. We always need the rain.

In art news, here’s a dance performance group practicing in the space where my quilt is hanging out on the back wall on the left. I thought that was cool.

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So today is all art openings and driving and hopefully because I’m the one driving, I get to decide when we stop to pee. And get more caffeine. And maybe I should pack a sandwich. Yeah. I should. Or something. Because just wine and cheese does not make a healthy meal, and that’s all art openings ever have. Right now, I’m still wearing pajamas because I can’t decide what to wear…it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so green somewhere, but I know I’ll be taking photos in front of my incredibly colorful quilts, so maybe black. Aargh. Can’t think. Not enough sleep. Or caffeine.

I did not clean my studio yesterday, so either I’ll do that tonight when I get back, or tomorrow…so I can start ironing. Except I need to pick a background fabric…luckily I bought more than one last time, so it will be one of those. Yup. No choices.

OK, on with the day…food, pick clothes, get the fuck outta here.

*Boston, More Than a Feeling


Enough to Make My System Blow*

March 16, 2018

I swear this is the third Friday this week. You know how Friday feels for teachers? Not like we’re ready to go out and party, but like hallelujah, I might get to sit down on the couch for a moment and not think about school. Or grades. Or worry about kids. Or what we forgot to do at school. Or go to another damn meeting. But while you’re still at school, it feels exhausting, like you’re done, like the world is ending and you won’t get to rest before it does.

I’m glad to be done with this week. I think it was the labs and the million meetings (damn, I have one this morning again! Fuck! Yes, I just remembered.) and trying to manage materials. Yesterday the little beasts started stealing handwarmers (we use them in one of the labs). So yeah, now those are Schedule A Lab Materials…get them from the teacher and she writes down your name and address when you take them. Seriously.

So there’s that. I’m glad to be done with the labs today. Next week should be easier, despite its proximity to Spring Break.

Tonight my (you know I really hate the word boyfriend…it’s so high school) significant other’s cover band is headlining at the House of Blues, so I’ll be down there hanging out and supporting them and hopefully having a good time. Hopefully I’ll wake up by then too. Then tomorrow, I drive to Los Angeles for the Branch Gallery opening, then to Oceanside for the Artifacts opening, then drop my car full of people, go home, and collapse. That’s my plan anyway. Sunday will be pick up all the pieces, deliver three quilts to the photographer, and groceries. Plus whatever school shit I need to do. Like grade and stuff. Recovery day. It’s a busy three days.

This below from a kid who was pushing all his limits in my class. I took his phone away from him the day before he left (and I didn’t see this warmup until yesterday). He was listening to music in class during a lab. There’s rules for phone use y’all. He knew it, but he cried because he was convinced his mom would take it away for good (he had it back the next day…I swear, if I had to come to school to get my kid’s phone, they wouldn’t see it for at least a month). But even so, he’ll miss me.

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(Um. OK. So I don’t think I’ll miss him? I know that’s semi-horrible, but he was not making good choices. I know he’ll grow out of that. I hope his grandma is OK…).

This was yesterday…

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And this was 4 years ago! I opened the wrong folder and thought WTF? Oh yeah. Valley of the Moon. 2014. Good hike. Second time I’d been there. I’d go back…but I need it to be chilly, not hot.

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So I had my quilt class last night, where really I just hang out at my friend’s house while she tries to sew/knit/fiber things and I try to do whatever I’m doing and we complain about our school district. She’s moving away, far away, when she’s done teaching, and that might be sooner rather than later, which would suck…because this does get me out of the house.

I cut these out…

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For over 3 hours last night, starting at her house and finishing at mine…but I finished. Simba looks upset that I have interrupted his sleep.

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Trash on the left, pieces on the right. Don’t get them confused!

Then I sorted them all…there’s only like 660 pieces, so this is a small one.

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Which is damn good, because I have (wait for it) less than two weeks to finish it.

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I may not succeed. I can tell you that in the last 30 days, I’ve spent over 57 hours working on quilt stuff, mostly the Scoliosis quilt, but also finishing up the Climate Goddess quilt and working on this new one. It averages out to an hour and 30 minutes a day, which is not as much as I’d like, but I do have a day job…which probably takes over 57 hours a week.

OK, but now I’m ready to iron to fabric…well, once I clean the office (hopefully tonight before the show). That will be next week…iron and trim and hopefully start ironing the whole thing together next weekend. Because if I’m going to finish? I’m going to have to go fast. Yup. OK. Got a plan.

*Imagine Dragons, Radioactive