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.

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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


Promises Me I’m Safe as Houses*

March 8, 2018

I left school early yesterday…meaning I walked out the door within 30 minutes of the school day ending. I wanted to walk the dogs…it’s been a while. So I walked in the frong door, put them out to pee, and changed into dog-walking attire…so as soon as they came in, they were excited, running around, woofing woofing woofing. They know what it means.

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This has seemed like the safest place to walk lately, in terms of coyote incursions. We know they’re there…but I’ve never seen them in the 3-mile loop I do with the dogs. Boychild has seen them further out. I figure if I can’t see them, I’m probably OK…

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Plus the dogs like all the good smells…

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And it’s apparently spring there…plus there were 5 runners and at least 5 bikers.

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But there we are. Coyote. On the flat open area. I yelled at him, picked up the little dog, and took the other branch of the trail. He didn’t budge. Even followed us a bit. Sigh. Well next week it will be light longer, so hopefully coyotes subscribe to daylight savings time and will stay hidden for another hour.

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Girlchild says I should walk where there are no coyotes. No such place exists. I know they have a place here…it’s just scary with the dogs.

My TV-watching companion is working hella hours at work lately, so I was on my own for dinner. Read my book…book club is next week already again and I am not done. Nowhere near done.

Then I started quilting. Quilting is relaxing. Meditative.

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Especially when the machine is being nice and stitching with no issues.

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I got all of the water/land of the Earth done, and some of the sky around the figures.

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I did a little outlining on the figures and this caduceus (can’t spell it; can’t pronounce it!).

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Not even halfway, but I did quilt for 2 1/2 hours last night. Tonight I have an opening to go to, so I don’t know how much I’ll get done. We’ll see.

For #marchmeetthemaker, I posted some of my process…because I finally got it down. It helps me get stuff done. What do I do next? I already know. I draw. Then I trace. Cut the Wonder Under. Iron it to fabric. Cut the fabric. Iron the pieces together. Iron it to a background. Stitch it down. Sandwich and pinbaste. Quilt. Bind. Repeat.

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It’s working for me. Has been for quite a few years.

The next two nights are kind of busy, but hopefully I’ll get some quilting in…then finish it up Saturday? I have stuff to do Saturday and Sunday…if I want to buy binding fabric, it probably has to be Saturday. This is part of why I think everything out. When will I have time to go get binding fabric if there isn’t enough of something here? Now Saturday is in my head as Go-Get-Binding day. I might even write it in the calendar (probably should).

Now I should probably get to school…morning meetings suck. And yet they still exist.

*Depeche Mode, Never Let Me Down Again


It Shines Like Destruction*

February 20, 2018

It’s interesting how I can get most of my to-do tasks done, except the cleaning ones. Those just suck and I suck at doing them. I just can’t get motivated to clean the kitchen floor. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t throw parties…I’d have to clean floors for that. I did clean the kitchen counters last night…and the stove, so I guess it’s not hopeless. I just reach an ending point on cleaning, and it’s never when everything is clean. I’d rather draw or something…anything else.

The project videos are done. It’s a miracle. I have plenty of other crap to grade, of course, but those are out of my hair. Next week, I get all of Unit 4, which will have to be graded in 6 days. And people wonder why I’m not going to a bunch of social stuff on the weekends. I did about 12 hours of grading this weekend, maybe more. Ugh.

No more 3-day weekends, which help with balance. Five weeks until Spring Break though. I can do that.

Sometimes school seems really heavy and hard. It’s usually right about now.

So add on hikes and art and whatever else makes the head rise above the slog…because I still have to go back every day and teach difficult subjects to kids who don’t necessarily want to learn. Labs help to keep them engaged, but it’s nothing if they don’t get understanding out of the labs…so we’ll see how that goes.

But yes, we walked the puppy yesterday…he needs exercise, and so do we…

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It was a gorgeous but chilly day. Good day for a hike.

Then I came back and finished up as much of my to-do list as I could…and in between cutting out pieces of the new quilt, I did some smaller drawings that could be quilts…

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I don’t really like all of them. And I have absolutely no time to make them, even more importantly.

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I realized last night that I have five openings in the next month…two in Los Angeles. It’s gonna get a little crazy around here.

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And grades are due for Trimester 2. I like this one…

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I needed those breaks, because I trimmed pieces for about 4 1/2 hours yesterday. My hands get tight…

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But I don’t think you can tell from here (trash top, to-be-cut in the middle, cut in the bottom)…I’m almost done. Like maybe an hour or two from finishing…with about 7 hours in. So that’s cool. It means I should be ironing together this week. My favorite part…where the image finally starts to appear (besides in my head). I hit the halfway mark on most quilts (on time) some time around finishing the trimming and starting the ironing. Although I need to be faster on this half, for sure. Keeping that in mind.

Meanwhile, back to school today, hammering the photosynthesis chemical reaction (which hopefully they’re getting by now), so I can throw cellular respiration at them next. Then tonight, I can cut out the rest of the pieces hopefully…

*Eurythmics, Love Is a Stranger


Like a Leper Messiah*

February 13, 2018

The girlchild is currently observing lemurs in the middle of cellular nowhere. I might hear from her on Thursday. I’m kinda glad she’s far away, because there are apparently no showers. I am looking forward to lemur pictures though.

Meanwhile back here, I managed to walk the dogs yesterday on my day off…this does in fact feel like a great achievement. It’s hard to get those walks in when I’m dealing with meetings etc. after work and the sun goes down so early. This is one of the few walks where we haven’t seen coyotes yet…

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Oh, I know they’re there…they’re just not in my face, so I’m reasonably OK with it. I try to avoid sundown, best I can.

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The green popped up from the little bit of rain we got two weeks or so ago.

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There’s still water in the stream…

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And there’s more and more of the weird cones protecting some plant that’s supposed to grow here. Makes for a strange landscape sometimes.

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But it tired the assholes out, so that’s good. No barking at night. Some cranky snapping at the cat. He misses Midnight.

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We all do…

I finished a quilt…this is BirdFoot. It’s ancient, like 2007. We watched Hidden Figures (good!) and I sewed the sleeves on. I’ll get it photographed the next time I go in to the photographer.

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I probably kept track of how many hours were in it up until it became a quilt top, but who knows where…in a calendar I tossed years ago? Yeah, probably. Oh well. I can estimate based on stuff similar to it, luckily.

I started ironing late…

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I did a lot of things in the sky. Not all of them. I still need to pick some more purplish fabrics for the last little bit.

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I did get into the 300s though…not quite halfway, but close. Next up is flesh, and that’s time consuming.

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Here’s everything used so far…and the pile to be cut out.

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Today’s gonna be a really long day, but it’s all good…I’m going to have work in another show and I need to go get a piece from another artist. Long story. Maybe later. There’s no rest for the already busy, apparently.

*David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust