And You Just Don’t Get It*

December 13, 2017

Ah that was frustrating. An entire evening into night of frustrating. I was doing OK until I got home. That’s funny…because I normally have some significant frustration on tutoring days, but that went OK. So I had to make cookies for a school thing, and Satchemo, the gray cat, has some bizarre human food issues…so I spent a good two hours chasing him out of the kitchen, even using the water spray bottle. He just doesn’t care. When the cookies were cooling, I covered them, but he pulled that off to go at them. What cat eats cookies? He also eats bread out of the plastic bag…rips the bag open to get at it. It’s just strange.

So when I needed to frost the cookies, he got a time out in the bathroom. Luckily his daddy backed me up on that once he got home. I felt mean, but he was being a dick (the cat). Meanwhile, I was trying to lay out the quilt to iron it down. I had to piece the background, so I did that in between cookie batches and chasing the cat…then laid the background out on the entryway floor, and that’s when I remembered something I said before…the spaces between the arms and the body should have the background in them.

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Fuuuuckkkk.

I stared at it for a long time, swearing a bit, plus yelling at the barky dog (that’s not efficient by the way…barking dogs don’t stop because you yell at them to stop)…realizing that most people won’t notice, but it will bug me. Forever. All the time.

So I iron-basted in the centers of the spaces and left the armpit areas loose…it’s this space…

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And this slightly larger one…

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All I have to do is draw the background behind her.

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Sigh. So I did that…hills and sand and rocks and mountains…

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Only 17 pieces…

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And I traced them…

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Turned them upside down and traced to Wonder Under (it’s a good thing I remembered that part…I don’t need more frustration right now)…

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Cut out the Wonder Under, ironed it to the right fabrics. This is one of the reasons I don’t put the fabrics I used for that quilt away until the quilt is done.

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Usually it’s not this large of a fuck-up, but it’s been bigger, trust me. The quilt I finished LAST December had the entire top portion flipped. That was a fuck-up. Maybe I shouldn’t do this shit in December? Yeah, well, that’s not an option.

Easy enough to fix…but I wanted to be done ironing last night. Oh well. Maybe tonight. I’m hoping the tickle in the back of my throat is not the inkling of illness. I don’t have the time (or energy) for that.

So tonight? Ideally, I iron those little bits in the armpits, add the head, and iron all that other tiny stuff down. That’s the plan. But as you can see, the best-laid plans of mice and men…or whatever that quote is…

I don’t remember when I thought about those background pieces…wish I’d followed through then. It was probably in the middle of the night, though…or driving to school. So much of what’s in my brain is lost some days.

Damn. I just sneezed. Aargh. Those little bug factories that I teach…

*Local H, Bound for the Floor

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He One Spinal Cracker*

December 12, 2017

This is not the week of sleeping well. I’m hoping for that maybe next week. Well. Probably not. Maybe the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Sometimes I wish we lived somewhere that got more wintry weather…it seems (to me, ignorant) that it would be easier to sleep if it were darker and gloomier, instead of all sunny and 90 degrees with birds chirping. I could be wrong. I spend a lot of time thinking about sleep. Like the last 22 years. (Boychild will be 22 in January…that’s about right.) This morning feels like I got almost no sleep. I know that can’t be right, but it feels that way. Hopefully it will feel less like that once I get the first cup of tea down my gullet.

A vast sense of relief fell upon me last night. Seriously. That’s how it felt. I had my official observation yesterday. That’s done (well, except for another one when we get back in 2018). I finished my grades last night. That’s done (until March, when I have to do it again). My chiropractor was finally able to move the muscles that have been clamped down since late October, and that without a pre-chiro massage. Bad news? He’s moving to Phoenix. Huh. Too far to drive every three weeks. Just.

It just felt easier to BE all of a sudden. That was good. Hopefully I can hold on to that during the middle-school-fueled chaos of this week. Trying to ignore some adult drama…don’t need that, folks. Teachers should be responsible for their shit. It annoys me when they try to get out of stuff they’re supposed to be doing. Don’t get me wrong…we have to do way too much shit, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and do your part…stop trying to play the system. The system benefits kids. If you can’t handle that, get the hell out. Nobody’s in it for the money.

No, I never get voted for teacher of the year. Makes me laugh actually. I piss too many people off. Oh well. I accept my fate…science teacher until I retire (and work full time as a copyeditor, because I can’t ever afford to retire).

Anyway, that drama is also a done deal, one with which I no longer have to deal.

So just after dinner, my brain realized all those things were done and it sort of let go of some of the stress I’ve been carrying around for the last month or so. Nothing feels easy or perfect at the moment, but I can see progress all around. Good things. Getting all philosophical…

More on the lefthand wave. With 20 days left on this, I’m really just trying to fill in spaces. I should do something with that stuff on the bottom right. Too many holes.

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Who needs expensive cat trees, by the way, when you can just build a box tree with everything Amazon sends you.

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So I ironed some more…finishing all the little bits floating around the heads…

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Trying to focus on what women are “known” for, but also what we should be known for. I had to change the dropper bulb on the right…it was black, and the background is pretty dark, so it wouldn’t show up. I keep trying to remember that…which is why all the kitchen stuff is not black.

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So it was 250 pieces I did last night, but in all these small bits. That one is Kitten. She shows up in a lot of quilts. The calico in the older quilts is Juniper, my previous calico.

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I was tired at the end. Almost didn’t do the cat etc. But I just wanted to be done, so I can iron the whole thing to the background tonight. It’s 16 hours so far. Ironing it all down, that will be a bitch…it’s a big quilt. I’ll have to clean the floor in the entryway first and then lay it out and iron it on the tile…then do a final iron down on the ironing board with steam. Pain in the ass, honestly. I should make a padded board for the light table, just to give me another option for ironing. It would need to fold. Huh. Just thought of that. It’s not happening before this one has to be ironed down though.

So yeah, after teaching all day and doing tutoring, coming home, making dinner, I’m going to be on my knees ironing. Ironically.

This box has all the pieces ready to go. Lots of loose little bits. Oh wait, the heads are on the teflon sheet still. So the torso is one piece, there are the two side pieces, and then the heads. Everything else can be done on the ironing board. Well, there’s the two cats. They need to go on with head and shoulders.

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She’s almost done. Not really. Probably 10 hours of stitch down, then pinbaste for a couple of hours, then probably 20 hours of quilting and another 6 or 7 hours of binding. A small amount of embroidery and probably inking. So that’s another couple of hours. Maybe 40 hours left…in the next two weeks. I can do that. But only because I don’t have school next week.

My new app keeps track of how many hours I’ve worked in the last 30 days…73 1/2 hours, but more than 16 hours was copyediting. Still, 57 hours in a month of artmaking after working a good 60 hours a week as a teacher…my daily average is 2 1/2 hours. I did almost 2 hours last night and over 3 hours on Sunday. So yeah. I work a lot.

Still a cat in the sink.

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Not sure what he wants. Not water to drink…because he’s in the wrong place for that.

Then onto the next project…that should be an interesting one. And honestly, I haven’t thought past that at all, for once. Although I just got notice that there might be another show with one group I’m in, plus I know there’s one coming up with a June deadline…although I might already have work that will fit. We’ll see. It’s not like this administration doesn’t give me plenty of content. Not that I ever needed help with that. I’d be glad to sacrifice my needs to get him and his cronies the hell out.

OK. School calls. Almost got a whole cup of tea in me. I can almost focus.

*The Beatles, Come Together


It Is So Strange the Way Things Turn*

December 11, 2017

There’s always a point in the task I’m performing while making my quilts when the scale tips, when I can see light at the end of the tunnel, when I know I’m close to the end. That was last night, when I got into the 1100s and realized I only had about 250 pieces (or fewer) to go. Then I can visualize the next step, maybe even the end, and start thinking about the next one. Not yet. Not with this one. Have to get clear of school to get my head around the next one, but it’s percolating. Fermenting. Bubbling away in my brain.

Puppy was very tired yesterday. This is how I felt when I got up in the morning and started grading for 6 hours or whatever it was. I still have to input the final stuff into the system tonight or this afternoon or whenever I can fit it in.

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I ironed a little in the afternoon…had to stop mid-face for dinner.

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I was three nights behind on this, so I put a chainstitched wave on the left side and started filling it in.

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And then, because we were watching Westworld, I started cutting out circles for the Bird Crazy border (it’s not really called that)…I finished stitching the stem down finally. Satchemo is very helpful with cutting out circles…

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More circles, covered in cat and dog hair, of course.

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There’s only 90 of them. It’s only taken me a year to get to this point. They all have to be stitched down and embellished. Sounds like a Christmas Day project. Maybe.

Then back to ironing…finished her head…

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Added the last of the arms…

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I really like this head. It’s awesome.

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Ah Midnight. Weird story. I was sitting here grading yesterday afternoon and felt something brush against my leg, automatically thought it was Midnight, because that’s what she always did. But she’s dead. And there weren’t any other animals in here.

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Yeah. Well. Creeped out now. This is the room where cats always stare intently at the ceiling, like there’s something there, and then I whip around to see what it is, and they pretend it was nothing…until I’m not looking at them, and they start that intense stare again. Sigh.

Asteroid? Meteor?

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The sun…

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This quilt has a lot of floaty bits and pieces…here’s the sewing section…

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Following by a spaceship and a condom. You know, like in real life.

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Lots of birth control options here, although I would recommend against the screwdriver for that, and I think marriage is NOT supposed to be a birth control option. Although the current regime certainly thinks women shouldn’t be allowed to have any of it without marriage. Unlike men.

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Sometimes I really hate people. I try not to. I try to mentally explain and respect their stances, until they negatively affect me and everyone I care about, and then they just irritate the fuck out of me. This quilt is about that. Things that matter: Women. Their rights. Options. Not having someone tell us what we’re allowed to do and when and how. Having a voice.

I have a draft of an email to another teacher on my system at the moment. I’m obviously more mature than I used to be, because I haven’t sent it yet. There’s a trigger I’m waiting for, and then it goes. I’m looking forward to break so I can hermit away from the populace. And make art. And hopefully not grade a million things. Ha! I already know I have an entire unit due Friday. Oh well. It’s still gonna be vacation.

*Peter Gabriel (and Kate Bush), Don’t Give Up


And You Got to Take a Little Dirt*

December 10, 2017

OK, even though I finished a thousand things yesterday, I just made a real live post-it note for today, and it’s full. That’s not fair. Really not. Grades are due, the basic school stuff still has to happen, other things have popped up. I need a clear space for my brain.

Not happening this week. Obviously.

That said, you know when I said I had 30 minutes yesterday? This is what I did…that head.

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And then we went to the opening of Lenore Simon’s solo exhibit at Sparks Gallery downtown. You can click on the show catalog to see more of her work, but here’s what fascinated me…impossible to get good photos due to the glass. This nude is made of screen material with what looks like wood behind it. Amazing piece…

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This is Torso I…and a detail…that might be cardboard under that part…

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This was a detail of a print she did called That’s Why They Call Them Fellowships…with a rejection letter from the 1960s…because women couldn’t be printmakers. My ass, right?

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And this Torso II, which had amazing designs caused by the interactions of the layers of screen material.

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Really cool…

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She did printmaking for a while as well, many examples of those. This is Eve and Moses.

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I miss printmaking.

Sparks upstairs always has other artists’ work…this is James Hubbell’s work…

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A view of Lenore’s work from the upper level…

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Another of her screen works…On the Go

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Lenore is turning 90 on March 8, 2018…she has been making art for a million years. We all want to be 90 and still making art. She’s even moved on to digital art recently. The creative mind is always changing…

Then we came back and I kept ironing…

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Another head, another arm…

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And the third head…only two to go.

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But I have to finish all the stuff on the post-it note first. Damn. Well. Get on with it then.

*Tonic, If You Could Only See


Nothing’s Stopping You Except What’s Inside*

December 9, 2017

It’s a late post today. I’ve been up and doing shit all day, running all those errands that don’t get done during the week. Groceries are done for the week, I got dog food, shipped the Xmas gifts to Seattle that needed to go there, found some weird spice thing the boychild wanted (he comes home this week), managed a couple of Christmas gifts I should have bought a week ago, and wrestled with the environmental difficulty of loving Christmas trees. I love the smell, I love the lights, I love decorating them, I love sitting in the living room, stitching or drawing, with Christmas lights all around. So. Yeah. But cutting trees down every year is kinda stupid, and so is having them trucked down from Washington state or wherever.

So I drove to a couple of local nurseries and wandered all over the place and asked some questions and googled some shit, and finally hoisted this bad boy into my car and drove him all around San Diego to do the rest of my errands (only 6 stops)…

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It’s an Eldarica pine, sometimes known as the Afghan pine. It tolerates heat and wind and dry weather (wow, just like this week). The plan is that it will be a Christmas tree on the desk this year, then go outside until next Christmas, where it should have grown a foot, so it will have to be on the floor…or a coffee table maybe. Then back outside for YOU. Then the following Christmas, it will probably only fit in the entryway…and that might be when it gets planted out in the yard.

It already has a kitty friend (gaaack).

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I’m quite happy with it. Let’s hope I can keep it alive. Positive thoughts, people. Positive thoughts.

The lights are up outside, which also makes me happy.

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So it was in the 80’s and still windy here. Fires are still burning, but none near me. Word is my grandmother is out of harm’s way, no evacuation necessary. Hopefully the fires will start to get under control soon and people can go back home, those that have homes. Fire is terrifying and devastating. I’m never sure what to do to help…since having extra money is not my strong point. But maybe I’ll figure something out.

Meanwhile, this is the girlchild’s school back east. A definite difference from the weather here…

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But beautiful.

Satchemo decided he wanted to sleep in Simba’s crate last night. Yes, we crate him, because he’s a peeing beast otherwise. Plus running around and barking at the coyote population, which seems to be getting closer and closer. Over break, I’m hoping the boychild will help me prune out some of the backyard, to reduce the number of coyote hiding spots really.

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We did pull the cat out. Simba looks worried.

I have gotten absolutely nothing done on the quilt ironing…although I did email the photographer, so now I have a deadline. It’s incredibly close though. Scary.

I did have my stitching meeting last night, which is partly why I didn’t iron. No energy when I got home. I’m still trying to get all this stitched down. I finished all the eyeballs and two roofs, but still have the rest of the houses and the tree, plus that sun bit. And probably some other things that haven’t been pinned on yet. Who knows.

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Pretty brainless stuff, if you ask me. I’ve got about 30 minutes right now with nothing going on…I think I’m gonna iron a bit. Then I’m hoping for a chunk tomorrow, but I have to finish grades first. This is not a relaxing time for most people, myself included. Go go go. Eye twitching all the way. I’m really looking forward to Winter Break.

Art opening tonight though and a decent dinner that I don’t have to cook. That should be good.

*U2, Get Out of Your Own Way


The Devil Take Your Stereo*

December 8, 2017

Whoa Friday morning. You snuck up on me, but I’m very glad to see you, although now I’m wondering (a) if my grandma got evacuated in the fires last night, (b) what’s for breakfast, and (c) why the hot water heater isn’t producing enough hot water to get me through a scant 10-minute shower in the morning. I really wish my brain could slow down sometimes, but no. I’ve already handled two Fed-Ex-related phone calls from the girlchild, wait, and a text, wait, a series of texts, plus two emails to the principal, and I still haven’t finished my tea, but it and my feet are cold, but it’ll be in the 80s today. Grades are due Tuesday, but it’ll be fine, it’s just progress reports and we didn’t lose or kill anyone on the field trip yesterday, so we’re all good. Seriously. That was the bar I had to reach and I did that.

Insert artsy field trip photo here…

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Seriously, it was fine. Timing was good. All the food got eaten (we give away the extra lunches at the end of the day), no one got hurt, the wind was crazy, but the movie and the games were cool.

My agave spike continues its strangeness…

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My quilt in a photo at the Schweinfurth Art Center (it’s the one on the left, in case you couldn’t figure that out).

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I did something on the left. Filling in spaces.

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Then we were still watching a show that hadn’t ended and I have all this nervous energy, despite feeling exhausted (I zoned out on the couch for about 45 minutes before starting dinner last night…I’m OK with that), so that nervous energy was trying to finish sewing this on.

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With puppy.

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He looks downright pitiful there. He thinks he’s a cat. Tries to sit on my lap like a cat too.

Then I made sure, when the show was done, to get in here and start ironing…STAND UP and get off the damn couch, because you’re falling into it…here’s the face…

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Well, one of six faces anyway…it wasn’t particularly hard…

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The arteries were a bit more challenging…so that got me through all the 500s.

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So next I laid out the 600s, which gets me to almost halfway, and I got through one arm before my body and brain were like, hey baby, that’s it, it’s been two hours and we’re tired so please let us stop.

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So I did. In reality, I had the time to iron for another hour to hour and a half, but realistically, when I’m tired, I’m tired. So 5 more heads, either tonight (might be a stretch) or tomorrow or Sunday, hopefully I’ll get a good chunk done. Probably not tomorrow. Sigh. OK. Not as far as I wanted to be…but we’ll see where I’m at by Sunday night. Iron the whole thing down by Monday night? It’s a goal. Then stitch down (ha! it’s the week from hell next week), sandwich by the next weekend? Quilt like a racehorse and bind it before Christmas? Holy crap. That’s basically what I have to do. I should email the photographer now. Crikey.

The crazy winds continue, the psycho fires continue…best of luck to all my friends and family dealing with both…nah, send that to everyone, because this is scary as shit and horrible to experience. May everyone stay safe, from human to domesticated animal to poor wild beast trying to escape the fires.

*Adam Ant, Stand and Deliver


Everybody’s Looking for Something*

December 7, 2017

Well. All plans went to hell. It’s OK. Shit happens. Sometimes my brain is absent. Certainly I got a lot done yesterday at school, and hopefully (knock on wood) we’ll make it to the field trip today without any more major issues. Usually by the time we get on the bus and it’s barreling down Interstate 8, I’m like, well, we’re OK now, right? Usually. Think good thoughts. If we can just get to 3:30 today, we’ll be good. We can handle all the crazy that happens next week if we can survive today. If I bring my headphones on the bus, I can listen to my meditation app on the way to the museum. Unfortunately, because I’m one of the people apparently in charge, I will not be allowed to do such a thing. Sigh.

Both eyes are twitching this morning.

So it’s not surprising that I didn’t get much done last night. I didn’t get much sleep either. Anyone besides me and the small barky dog feeling all those earthquakes coming out of the Julian area? Freakin’ me out. I guess it’s better for the fault to release a bunch of 3.0-4.0 earthquakes than to do one big fat one. I’m good with that. Scarily, we are teaching earthquakes next week.

More vine stitches on the left…

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I did grade stuff. And then I spaced out for a good long time. Then at 11:30, I went in and did this…easy peasy.

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Had to lay out all the 500s to get there. That’s the big head and the beginnings of the small heads.

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I ironed the neck.

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And that was all. Then I went to bed because it was midnight and I knew I had a bitch of a day today. Didn’t help, because I didn’t sleep much. Oh well.

Dunno why this field trip has been such a beast to organize…except some policies changed. And yes, they told us, in the flurry of emails that came out 3 days before school started. With no timeline of what had to be done when. I just hope the kids who go have a good time. And that no one is lost. That is all.

I’m not even going to predict tonight. I’m hoping to iron, but also know I might be a dead body on the couch. So low expectations.

*The Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)