All About the Rocks

Wow. I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting in years. In my defense, my cellular connectivity has been iffy as hell, if not nonexistent, for much of this trip, and when I did have it, I was busy doing something else or totally exhausted after hiking over 11+ miles a day. I realize that’s not much to some, but this old body has been running on little sleep, weird food options, and lots of climbing around for days now.

Seven Magic Mountains outside Las Vegas

That said, it’s been freakin’ awesome…a mind-blowing trip of all the different geologic formations you can get in two states (Arizona a little, but mostly Utah). I think we both decided while huddled in the tent last night during a rainstorm that we were done with camping on this trip, though, as we pinky-swore to wake the other one up if we heard thunder, so we could race to the car before lightning hit the aluminum connectors of the tent. Or the ground.

First night checking out Zion…

So this is the short version. We left last Wednesday on a long drive to Zion National Park. We originally had a reservation for the east side of the park, but they closed the road going through on April 9 to fix storm damage this winter, so I found a weird but functional place on the west side in La Verkin about a week before we left. It had a kitchenette and shared barbecues, so we used those (yes, even for pre-hike breakfasts of sausage and eggs). It’s Spring Break for about a million people, quite a few of them from other countries, and they all had the same plan for visiting Zion. We went in to the park that night to plan the hikes for the next day. We also did the Archeology Trail as a warm up for the next day…and saw our first wildlife.

Mule deer everywhere…

We got our butts up early and headed out to garner a spot in the coveted Visitor Center parking lot (you don’t wanna know how early), and then caught a shuttle to a hike I said I’d never do: Angel’s Landing. It was still morning cool, which is a good thing, because that climb and the Walter’s Wiggles with 21 switchbacks (it didn’t seem like that many) is not something I would’ve wanted to do in hot sunlight. We didn’t do the last stretch that’s single file and a chain attached to a rock wall, but we did go all the way to Scout Lookout. Some might call that chickening out…I don’t care…we did awesome.

Looking down from Scout Lookout…

From there, we caught the shuttle and did all the things we wanted to do…part of the Pa’rus Trail, the Lower Emerald Pool Trail (Upper and Kayenta were closed due to storm damage), Weeping Rock, and the Riverside Walk out to where The Narrows starts (also closed, because the water flow was high from Spring melt and rains). At that point, we’d had it with crowds of people and their bad tourist behavior. The Angel’s Landing crowd understood trail etiquette and were amazing…the shorter hikes? OMG. People. Really. So we headed back to our domicile and another barbecued dinner. We did a lot of miles that day…my app says over 14 miles that day total.

Waterfall at Weeping Rock

Friday found us driving to Bryce Canyon National Park, where we camped outside the park, because everything else was first come, first served, and we didn’t want to risk having nowhere to stay. The campground at Ruby’s Inn was quiet and the showers were free and hot, and it wasn’t as cold at night as it was originally supposed to be, but it was still pretty damn cold. We got there pretty early on Friday and set up camp, and then headed off to Bryce to check it out. I’m glad we did, because we saw a bunch of the easy stuff on Friday, thus allowing us to do a really long hike on Saturday without feeling like we had to then go look at everything else. There was snow at Bryce, most recently from like 3 days ago.

See? Snow.

Sleep was not our friend Friday night; it was just too cold. Nevertheless, we got up early again and headed out for the Fairyland loop, which goes down into Bryce and wanders around, then climbs back out (oh yes, at elevation No Oxygen for You), and then traverses the Rim Trail back to the Fairyland parking area. Wow. Great hike, but we did way more than the 8 miles it claimed.

Down in the amphitheater…

We figured a better sleeping plan on Saturday night (towels on top of the air mattress to stop the cold seeping up from the ground, even though we had a tarp that was supposed to help with that, plus three layers of clothing, and wool socks, dammit, because cold feet were an issue the night before), and got out of bed early again, expecting (rightly so) a long driving day.

I have absolutely no idea what this is a picture of, but it was on Sunday.

We made it through parts of Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument and then Capitol Reef National Park, and finally headed into Arches National Park in the late afternoon, where we actually had a reserved site. At this point, it was Easter night, and there was no firewood or alcohol to be had (both useful for keeping moods light after a long hard day of driving, plus trying to pound tent stakes into hard rock), so it was not the best night, but the morning dawned ready for a day of hikes. And hike we did.

Double Arch in Arches National Park

We were camping in Devil’s Garden, so we started on that hike, although we turned around at the rock scramble where I was like um no way, can’t do that. So we then drove through the park, stopping at just about every possible sight, attempting one longer hike at Park Avenue (way too hot in between the rocks). We made a quick trip into Moab for alcohol, ice, gas, and firewood (the necessities), but then continued on to see the rest of the arches and other bits. We made it back to the campsite, and set out on a trail marked by rock cairns to see three different arches. I think that was what put us over 11 miles that day. Awesome views though and mostly avoided stupid people.

Crazy drive at night in the rain…

We had decided to treat ourselves with dinner out (there’s only so many camp meals we know how to make before wanting to drown ourselves) , so we headed into Moab for burgers and beer (or wine, as you prefer). On the way back, in the pitch black, a rainstorm wandered in and we white-knuckled the drive all the way through the park to the campground, watching lightning strikes out there in the clouds. The campground was dry as a bone, until about 5 minutes after we arrived, when the raindrops started…and then the wind. Holy crap, everything in the car or the tent, no fire tonight! In the end, we were so tired from the day of hiking that we went to bed, no thunder ever sounded, and we slept really well. Not too cold, just right, so tired we didn’t mind any of it.

Monument Valley

There was no cell service in our campsite (further up the hill had it, but they also probably had a rougher night with the wind and the rain), so we had mapped some ideas out at dinner in Moab. Canyonlands was a possibility, but in the end, we decided to brave the crowds at the Grand Canyon. We left Arches this morning and drove through Monument Valley (we didn’t go through the actual park…that’s for another trip) on our way to Tuba City, where we actually booked a hotel room. With a shower. Because there weren’t any in Arches and I think we really needed that. So we’re clean now and have a crazy plan for tomorrow, I had my Indian Fry Bread and retraced the most recent embroidery…more about those and the daily (almost) drawings in another post. Grand Canyon tomorrow and then heading back home. It’s been a whole lot of wow and hiking our old asses off, but I think it’s been an amazing trip so far. We have a pact for tomorrow to leave the park when one of us feels like pushing someone over the rim. We know this will be just a quick view of the park, and we’ll plan another trip later.

I have graded nothing. I have dealt with very little email, due to lack of access. The world is still rotating, though, and that’s a good thing.

Filter Out the Noise*

Notre Dame…it seems you will be rebuilt yet again. I’ve seen so many people posting pictures of it in days past. I did visit Notre Dame, but was in those fussy artsy photo years, so if I have any pictures, they are probably of gargoyle-type things in black and white from my junior year abroad. It’s sad to see it burn, but I’m hoping enough of the stone and glass survive to allow it to be rebuilt. We humans are stubborn about our architectural symbols…so many of the big churches have been burnt and rebuilt multiple times. I wish we could show as much empathy for humans as we do for buildings…although this is a beautiful one, for sure.

The drawing for the next quilt is coming along nicely. It might be done today. It might not. I can’t show it to you, nonetheless, but suffice it to say, it has some imagery I’ve used before and some new stuff…because that’s always the way it is. I seem to only be able to work on it in the middle of the night, so that’s something. I wandered around it, staring at it multiple times during the day, but the stress of trying to focus on just one thing and get it done kinda got in my way. That was true for mostly everything yesterday.

I did run errands, mostly successfully. I did laundry and pulled the first round of clothing for the trip, now to be culled down to something reasonable. I am an overpacker. I admit it. I wrote out a very color-coordinated list of everything we need to take with us. Except I probably missed something. Today we try to make sense of that list. I have one medication that may not arrive in time, but it isn’t crucial. I still need to run a couple of errands today, including sitting in front of my school, waiting for the last 16 kids to show up with their Unit 6…I’m betting on the one who emailed me and no others. But they can’t say I didn’t try to help them.

We did walk the dogs too…it was too beautiful a day not to do it…

I meant to go to my quilt group meeting, but this happened instead…

And then I spent an hour or so with HTML code. Like you do. Still haven’t totally solved that issue…

This is all at Crestridge Ecological Reserve…

It’s further away, so we don’t usually go there.

But I’m on break, so there.

More flowers I never usually see…

The rain was good for that this year…

Looking forward to seeing some new landscapes in the next week…

Posting here might be more difficult…

I’m OK with that. No, I haven’t finished grading stuff. I have 10 things left to grade. I’m trying not to think about that.

I’m trying to think about the flowers instead.

Certainly they’re less stressful.

*Young the Giant, Simplify

A Lot of Art…

OK, well sleeping in is not a thing for dogs or the trash trucks or hangry cats or the weed-whacking neighbors. Apparently they don’t know it’s my Spring Break AND I stayed up way too late last night drawing because the inspiration finally smacked me upside the head, and I can’t show you anything until like July. So just know that I’m taking photos and there will be some pic-heavy posts in July explaining WTF I’m doing. Well, I’m entering a show I was invited to enter, and the jurors are all out there in my world, and they don’t wanna be swayed by seeing the stuff first, which I think is funny, cuz you’re totally gonna know it’s mine. But whatever. I’m willing to go along with it.

It makes it hard for the next two months though, because I usually post my entire process and that’s what I write about. I can still write about it, but it will be irrelevant pictures I guess. So I had a preliminary drawing I’d started for this piece a week or so ago, and then I cut the paper the right size the other night (that in itself is sometimes an issue!). Then last night, I started sketching for the final drawing and inked a good chunk of the structure of it. I still have a bunch of vignettes for it, so hopefully I’ll get those done today and tomorrow. I’m not really expecting to be able to start tracing Wonder Under before we leave, but I’d like it ready for when we come back. So drawing and numbering…

So here’s the rest of it. Today, I’m doing all the errands and shopping I need to do before we leave. I have to pack about 7 quilts to ship either before I go or right after I get back. I need to walk the dogs. I have a quilt group meeting tonight, if I can manage to get to it. I finished grading ONE assignment yesterday, so there are still 10 left to do. To be honest, that ONE was the biggest…and then I crazily emailed the 16 kids who didn’t turn it in and gave them a chance to not lose points…but they don’t check their email, so they’ll probably lose out. Oh well. I tried. Tomorrow will be about packing and food prep. Actually, there’s some food prep I’d like to do today if I can. We’ll see. The weather for the trip is finally looking bearable…no 18-degree temps staring us down for now! Still have rain and cold, but not as bad as it was going to be. We tested putting the new tent up last night at my parents’ house, and it was pretty easy. All good.

I meant to write yesterday, because we went to four different art exhibits on Saturday night, but I never got around to it. So here they are…first we went to Oye Como Va at La Bodega Gallery…the Flying Panther Tattoo family made all these. This is by Rob Benavides…here’s an article about him with some contact info.

In a totally different style, here’s one by Matt Howse

And something different in the skull realm by Frank Chavez

And this one by Thomas Fernandez

Another by Frank Chavez…

I seem to like the graphic and highly colored ones the best…another by Rob Benavides…

And one by Marc “Beatle” Lindenmeier of Harry Dean Stanton in Repo Man. Good movie.

From there, we headed out to Bread & Salt for the opening of Warpaint, with Lynn Schuette’s work. A totally different vibe, but beautiful work…hinting at our trip that starts in a few days. I really liked this line of work…

She had a few different series of works in the building…

But the landscapes and this grouping were my favorites…

Beautiful work.

In Bread & Salt is the Athenaeum Art Center Gallery, where Alessandra Moctezuma was showing work with Hilary Paul McGuire in a show called Identity|Antiquity. I especially liked some of Moctezuma’s drawings and etchings…some political and more recent…

Some with kitchen implements…

And an older etching/drawing…a detail below…

Over by the print studio was work by Elena Lomakin…who did some collage with paper and other materials…

And then outside, there was this…Kenneth Capp’s sculpture, Rose.

You’d think we’d have been done by then, but there was one more, which would put us in a place where we could eat…at Visual Gallery+Design, an exhibit called Unfolding. I knew of two of the four artists…this is Sofia Silver’s Cosmic Eye

And Laurie Nasica’s You and I, Highs and Lows, Down with the Current, and Le Tourbillon de la Vie

Also Untitled by Melissa Walter

I also liked Mary Juhn’s Memories

And her Take It, My Love…

Then off to dinner, with this showing up on the walk…

Some people.

So what else this weekend? I delivered this, freshly ironed and with hanging hardware, for the Inside/Outside exhibit that will be opening at Art Produce on May 4…

And I don’t know what else I have…ahhh…grading on the deck…

And puppies…

Funky clouds at my parents’ house…

More puppies while embroidering…

Anyone who thinks embroidery is quick is nuts.

But it is relaxing…you’ll probably see a bunch of this going on for the next month. But now? Errands. Gotta go. Get it done. Yup. Now.

You Got Time, You’re on the Mend Babe*

Well I am officially on Spring Break. There was a definite feeling that a huge weight had dropped from my shoulders yesterday afternoon. Totally ironic, since I have like 7 things to grade in 4 days. And packing. And a bunch of art stuff. I certainly don’t feel relaxed at the moment…I think I have to wait until I’m hiking through a canyon to get there. We started the break with an escape room adventure…which started in a total dive bar…

Hence wine in a can. We did pretty well in the escape room…

Despite the scary additions. We managed to escape with 8 minutes to spare. Pretty good for teachers after the last day of school before break, which included a talent show.

We even came back to our rooms after school and had to get them cleaned up so hopefully they can clean them before we come back. They didn’t do it over Winter Break though, so I don’t know what to expect. Probably nothing.

I met the man for dinner, came home, and basically tried to be functional and failed. I did a little on this.

He’s just sniffing it. I’m worried I’m not going to have enough of the gray thread, so I’m doing those bits first, in case some need to be another color. Nine meters (is it meters?) sounds like a lot until you’re stitching with it. The plus is that it’s not very hard to do this.

So on my plans for today: finish the damn taxes. Start the drawing for the next quilt. Hopefully hear back from photographer on pickup of the other two quilts. Prep a quilt to be delivered tomorrow (it needs ironing and hardware). Start to seriously pack for trip. Grade a pile of Unit 6 (they’re quick and small). Input grades. I think there’s other stuff on the list that I don’t remember.

Here’s the paper ready for me to start drawing…

I’m going to make myself do the taxes first though. Hi guys…

There will be no sleeping in on the first day of break. OK. Taxes. Do them. Do them right. Move on. Maybe sit on the deck in the sun for a bit too. That would be good.

*Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, You Worry Me

I’ve Placed Faith in Geography*

I’m on hold. This is not a philosophical statement, although sometimes life feels that way, eh? I’m on hold with my online prescription service because there’s been a problem with putting things in my cart, and I feel like that’s kinda rude on their part, judging my ability to pay for my meds, so I’m calling to fix that shit. Oh yeah, they’re not fixing that shit. They want me to clear my cookies, and I don’t do that for just anyone, assholes. The nice woman who is the interface between me and the web folks says that THEY say if I clear my cookies, it will only affect their website. OMG you fucktards. So untrue. Absolute bullshit. Sigh. So the other option is that I call back the next time it happens. Great. So that will be in weeks. Someone remind me to do that and have the TIME to call in and walk through something like that. Not happening on a school day, is it. It’s OK, I can order meds by calling, but they ask all these questions and want responses and I just don’t want to deal with that crap. Especially before tea.

Well good morning all! It is the last day before Spring Break, hallelujah, and I am ready for it! Nope. I’m not. Not at all. I did work my butt off yesterday and created all the posts we need for the project when we come back from break. And realized I hadn’t copied one thing that we needed. Oops. Fuck me. Then I delivered my quilts to the photographer, so I should have those back in the next few days. Deadline met! Then I headed out to San Diego Mesa College for the opening of Subterranean…here’s me and Grace Gray-Adams with our respective pieces.

As another friend said, they put the person who makes lint and the person who uses lint together. Nice. I had good feedback from people…so no one came up to me and said they hated them, which is always a plus.

I did have an interesting conversation about thread and holes from the needle with one man, who knew a lot more about sewing than most men (or even people) do. This show is only up until the 25th. That probably means I will need the boychild to pick up the pieces, because I might not be back yet. I’m not sure I have pickup info yet. One more thing for the to-do list. Sigh.

I was exhausted by the time I left the show. I came home and read for a while, then exercised, and then tried to be functional. This is an issue right before break. I’m mentally done and my body keeps telling me how tired it is. Meanwhile, we’ve been trying to get everything figured out for our trip. The plus is that the nighttime temps in Bryce have come up 10 degrees (still not enough). The minus is the snow has increased.

Well OK then. I’m going to obsessively watch this for the next week. I’m hoping it stays 28 and the snow goes away, but this is better than it was. Although 30-mph winds during the day is also an issue. Apparently the road is currently closed because of trees down on it. Worrisome. I think we’re camping under trees. IT WILL BE FINE. Dad came through on a passport holder that I can shove under all my clothing that is the right size to hold all my diabetes crap so it doesn’t freeze. As long as I have blood running through my core, that is. Which is the ultimate goal.

The man, meanwhile, is totally excited and hyped and into all this trip stuff, so he can go pack and organize everything while I race around with the to-do list and grading. Uh huh.

I do need to finish a drawing before I go, at least…if not start tracing. Last night, I managed to cut a piece of paper out that is the right size for that. That was all. Then I worked on the first embroidery for a while.

So far, so good. I’m using chain stitch and backstitch so far. I’m also keeping track of stitching time, because I want to know how much time I’m using (a lot more than you would think) for whatever I get out of it. Anyway. It’s also relaxing and meditative.

I’m already nervous about how much thread I’m using. I can only use what’s on the bobbin. It seems like a lot? But not? We’ll see. If I weren’t limited to 5 colors, that would be fun. So far, it seems to be turning out OK though.

OK, so survive day, which includes a talent show (ugh). Escape room with coworkers tonight (seems ironic in some way). Come home and attempt to function. Ha! Finish all the things on the to-do list before Wednesday at 6 AM (double Ha! So not happening.). Enjoy trip. Do not freeze to death, have low blood sugar three miles out on a trail, or break a leg. Or crash. Do NOT call Emergency Services. Have a good time! Finish my book. Or books. Stitch a bit. Draw a lot. Hike a lot. Take cool pictures. Don’t hang out with any 12-year-olds. At all. OK, that might not work. Campgrounds tend to have 12-year-olds. I’m gonna try though.

*Death Cab for Cutie, Gold Rush

A Few Hundred Needles

We’re closer to some version of sanity I think. The two quilts that need photography got packed up last night…it took about an hour to get all the cat and dog hair off the big one. To be honest, I found a cat sleeping on it more than once, so there’s that. I’m delivering them right after school…

Pretty exciting stuff. First two finishes of the year finally getting their pix taken. On to the next one! Sometimes deadlines are really annoying. But then they hopefully turn into shows, so there’s that. I have an opening tonight at Mesa College for Subterranean…two of my pieces are in that. I’ll be at the opening after I drop my quilts.

None of those details are mine. One of mine made the press release. I’m good with that. Hopefully I’ll have some show photos later today. The opening is from 5-7 PM.

I’m a little spacey this morning. Blood sugar was really low. I have no idea why. Well, I exercised after dinner. Not sure what else. I’m eating. I’m getting better about carrying food everywhere. I ate circus animal cookies yesterday (one of those cute little bags that only has like 5 cookies in it). That’s probably not it. I had a union meeting. It was a weak moment.

OK, so two more days of managing the exploding squirrels who are my students. They have work to do, but you know how that goes. It’s not just me being driven nuts by their inability to function…all of us are. Spring Break is late and we are all cranky. The different is that I’m still working. Ah well. Progress reports go home today. That should help. Maybe? There’s a fire drill this morning. Because they hate us? Who picks these days? People who don’t work in the classroom, that’s who. Idiotic.

OK. Well, I didn’t get much art-related stuff done last night. I paid my property taxes and my daughter’s college payment and I graded a bunch of stuff and exercised and meditated like a good girl and packed up those quilts and thought about the next quilt. I even looked at the drawing I had already started. I thought about cutting paper the right size. I even thought about what the right size would be. But I didn’t do anything. It’s OK. I’ll get there. Not particularly quickly. I have too much to grade to get anywhere quickly.

This guy. Asleep on my foot.

He’s a sweetheart, although we’ve been pulling these curly sticks from some bush out of his fur for days and he hates that, because they stick. On certain parts of his body, I just cut them out. It’s easier.

OK, go to school, live through fire drill and kids not working, get some grading done, hopefully don’t have to yell at anyone or lose my mind. Then deliver quilts and go to exhibit and wonder at the art. Come home and eat and do some stuff. Hopefully draw. That’s where I want to be. I might even embroider. It could happen. The only thing that’s stopped me so far is finding the appropriate needle. Ironically, because there’s probably a few hundred needles all over this house. Hopefully not in the carpet. Should I worry that my left eye is twitching? No. I should be glad that I got this late in the school year before it started up! Yaaasss!

Helps If I Have a Title

It’s all about checking off the to-do list at the moment. How much can I get done before we leave on our trip? How much can I get done before we go on Spring Break and I can pee whenever I want? How much can I get done in class today? How much can I get done in an evening? I made myself go on a walk after school yesterday, because after tutoring and the chiropractor, I still had enough daylight. And it’s good for me. It confuses this guy…

Yeah, that’s my dog. At my ex’s house. Don’t ask. He comes barreling out of the house to bark at me as I walk by, and then realizes it’s me and wants to know why I’m not walking him. Huh. Well sometimes I like NOT picking up poop.

This is the urban hike I sometimes do. It has a lot of weeds right now.

At least on this section. There’s a big hill at one end of it. Good exercise. Takes me about an hour. Then I can come home and cook dinner and get on with things.

I graded for a while and then realized how late it was and that I was supposed to finish the binding on that quilt last night, because I have a union meeting tonight and I’ll need to iron, dehair, and pack up both quilts, which is not a small amount of work for one evening. So I stopped grading (I like to finish a whole assignment if I can. I didn’t.)…and started sewing binding down.

Assist not needed, Satch. Yeah, I did the whole thing. I finished just before midnight. There’s a couple of embroidery stitches I need to do as well, but they won’t take more than about 10 minutes. So she’s done.

To the photographer tomorrow…and then I start on the next one. Which I can’t show you. Awkward. Seeing as how my whole artistic existence is focused on what the hell did I get done yesterday? Well. We’ll see how I roll with that. Might be hard. Lots of dog and cat pictures. Weird views of lines and piles of stuff that you can’t recognize. Wait. That sounds like about half the quiltmaking right there. I’ll be fine. First I have a pretty significant to-do list to get through today…starting with the last of the girlchild’s college payments. Yay! (don’t think about the loans. It’s OK.)