I am in the lovely leafy neighborhood of Lexington, Massachusetts, in an old, funky home (ok, it’s not old to your East Coasters, but I’m from California, so we don’t know shit about old). Girlchild is graduating from college, so we have descended upon this town to torture her.
Today, we will be sightseeing and helping her move shit. Tomorrow, we sit through 3 graduation ceremonies.
So I spent 5 hours or so on a plane yesterday, watching videos and stitching.
I finished one, but it needs washing and ironing.
So there’s that. Don’t expect coherence out of me. It’s really early for my brain.
I did bring quilt parts to trim too. So hopefully some of that will get done. Breakfast now…
I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten something. But I have a packed bag and I’m leaving soonish. It’ll all be fine.
Hey! I finished ironing! Yay! I used 143 fabrics…here they are.
I have a car arriving here in 12 minutes.
I started cutting stuff out last night…actually a good start…I bagged it all up to take with me…
Hopefully I’ll get some done. Katie…my parents’ dog…showed up last night.
Yeah. My sub cancelled yesterday and no one picked up the job, so my co-teachers will have to cover. Sorry guys. At least I’m not teaching sex ed today! Plans sometimes work. See you on the East Coast in a while. No stress! Meditation app on.
Well. That was a weekend. I’m so glad I planned it though. I remember thinking, ah, no, you’re going to Boston the following weekend, it’s May, which is always a clusterfuck, LA is a pain in the ass, you’ll have to get somewhere to stay, blah blah blah, all the things you say when you’re trying to talk yourself out of something you really want to do. But I didn’t. Amanda Palmer was great. Amazing. A performance more than a concert, but riveting. Even though I knew some of the story, I hadn’t heard it from her, and that made a difference.
We drove up to LA, found our hotel, which was within walking distance of the venue, and hung out for a bit…
Hanging out looks like this after driving up to LA. Then headed out to get dinner early, because…well…so I joined Patreon originally to support Amanda Palmer. I had been reading her blog and she talked about it and I checked it out and went HEY. This is a thing. This is how we as a society support musicians and artists the way they want to be supported. This is how we back their projects and encourage them to do new things, better things, things that may not be very commercial, but are very much what we want to see. So I joined. And one of the things about her Patreon is she wants to hear from us and see us, so she sets up a photo shoot before every show. Ours was here…
And we needed to be there by 5:45. So we ate early…at Mikkeller…
Which has great art…
So we were at that park, waiting for AFP to show up and the security for the park? the buildings around the park? kicked us out. Because we were gathering on the walkways. They left the homeless guy on the lawn, but a bunch of liberal, semi-strange-looking people is definitely a danger to humanity.
Amanda showed up and talked to us…
Which was cool. There are many needy people who are fans. She is good to them, very patient. Much more patient than I would be.
I wish we’d had more time to walk around and photograph art around the area, but really, after the photo, we went back to the hotel for about half an hour and then headed to the venue…
The Ace Hotel is an old theater that’s been converted/adapted.
The inside is completely amazing…totally over the top…this was taken after we all left…
Our seats were in the lower balcony to the right. It was good.
She talked a lot, played a bunch of songs, there was definitely ukulele…it was emotional, sometimes painful, and funny on top of all of it. An amazing show. Four hours plus of amazing. It must be exhausting to do the show. I wanted the needy people to be quiet, but they never are. She handled them well. There are times to respond and times to ignore. I was worried the man would be bored, because he wasn’t really an AFP fan in the beginning, hadn’t heard anything since the Dresden Dolls, but she talked a lot about music and being an artist, and I think that dragged him in. He liked it. I loved it…it was a very personal experience, despite the hundreds of people and not being able to get through the bathroom line. It was worth the 5 hours of driving and getting not so much sleep and going to an iHop on Mother’s Day (oh hey, mistake) and not getting much work done and all that.
I did a drawing, but I don’t have the energy (or time for that matter) to get up and photograph it (find it first). I’ll do it later.
Yeah. Cool. Totally worth the trip.
I came home, rushed through all the errands, graded 96 emails worth of makeup work (ha!), came in here, and started ironing.
I was supposed to record the last bit for my Patreon video, but I forgot. So tired. So I’ll do that tonight. I wrote it in the calendar. After dog walking. It’s on the list.
I am nowhere near where I wanted to be with this quilt. I cut out nothing on the way to or from LA, because I did all the driving. I was too tired in the hotel. I’m about halfway through the 400s after last night, but that’s still about halfway…no, probably less than that. So I’ll have to decide if I want to bring it to Boston and cut stuff out. I can’t cut on the plane (stupid scissor rules). I could cut at three different graduation ceremonies though. Ah? Thinking about it. I have traveled with stuff to cut out before.
Anyway. It’s a busy week. I’m going to get done whatever I can. I’d like to be done with the ironing, but I can’t guarantee that. I can only try.
And oh hey…next weekend, we’ll be here…
to see the girlchild graduate. She matches the trees and the flowers.
So the day before we got to the Grand Canyon, the third person in a month fell to their death. I have to say that at no point in time have I thought to myself, Wow, dying on my vacation would be the best thing ever. The thing is, all of them were preventable. Stay on the damn path. No photo on the edge is worth dying for. Don’t get me wrong, the Canyon is damn beautiful, but scary as hell.
We left Tuba City early, because we wanted to avoid the Spring Break crowds as much as possible. We didn’t realize that there was a time change in there. Navajo Nation ignores Arizona time. So it was an hour earlier when we got to the Canyon.
That didn’t hurt us in the long run.
6 AM on the rim.
Our dads would be so proud of us for getting up so damn early for a National Park.
The park needs maintenance. I’m not a fan of graffiti, but this isn’t a bad plan.
We drove the east rim and stopped at all the viewpoints. Not a lot of people. Saw these deer.
We love deer.
We picked up a shuttle in town and planned to hit the west side of the rim…and there were the elk. Right in the village.
Haven’t seen that flower before.
The canyon was pretty chilly, in the 30s, when we started, but it warmed up.
We did a little bit of the Rim Trail.
We weren’t really prepared for more of it.
The sun is coming up. It’s still early.
Whatever I thought I remembered from my childhood and early adulthood, it doesn’t match up to seeing it again.
HOLY SHIT THAT’S DEEP.
And intensely beautiful.
It was definitely worth the day trip, and we’ll need to go back.
I’m willing to hike in, but something has to bring me back out. And not in summer. Too hot.
We saw this little girl multiple times on the shuttle. As we drove past amazing vistas, she had her nose in a book. I know that kid. Seriously. I was that kid. And she’s reading one of the Warriors series.
Just like my kids did. Dad kept trying to get her to look out the window. She’d look up, peer around, and then go back to the book.
So we get back to the visitor center around lunch time. We’re looking for bathrooms, a T-shirt, etc. Little kids running around and screaming, people everywhere. And we’d had this continuing conversation about turkey vultures or condors. We saw a condor in Zion, and then I look up, and amidst all the noise and people, there’s two of them (no I never got them in a photo together). You can see their tags. They’re condors. In the wild.
Shitty picture, I know. But I stood there and tears came to my eyes because that’s what we’re working toward. Despite stupid people and the government trying to drill for oil in National Monuments and other stupid crap because we need to keep our huge SUVs and you can’t take away my plastic water bottle. There it is. A pair of fucking condors in the wild.
Yeah. That was cool. No one but us looking up.
So we ate lunch and decided to leave the rest of the Grand Canyon experience for another trip. I think we’d like to camp and maybe hike the rest of the rim and who knows what else. As we’re leaving, we’re noticing these huge piles of dead wood and branches in the forest on both sides of the road.
You can see a couple of them in this picture. They’re everywhere. Miles of them. Because Arizona apparently raked the woods. You’ll only get that if you’re from California, maybe, after Trump blamed our most recent horrific fires on not raking the woods.
Yesterday, I went to quilt class, and then came home and finished cutting all these out.
I did it while editing a long science lab video for my students. Lots of wait time while video portions saved. So I cut and waited. Tonight, I’ll sort and start ironing. Hopefully. I’m really tired, so we’ll see how that goes.
We left Arches and drove through more beautiful rocks to get near the Grand Canyon in the next day…lovely Tuba City, to be specific. We knew we wanted to come in the East entrance, and do it early, so this made the most sense. The other thing we knew we wanted was a damn shower. So there was that.
We ended up driving through Monument Valley…we didn’t have time to go in and do the drive (always leave stuff for the next trip). But you can see some of them from the road that goes through…
It’s beautiful country…
That storm kind of chased us across the state, but without any real rain until we got to our hotel.
So making a plan to go back…
As it was, I think we stopped at almost every scenic overlook…
But didn’t buy anything.
Driving through reservations is always interesting. I taught near a reservation for a few years. It’s a different way of life, not always by choice. It’s interesting that we both thought Monument Valley was a national park, but it’s reservation-owned. So that’s a good thing. We white folks have taken so much away from the Native Americans.
The majority of what we drove through was Navajo Nation.
We illegally transported alcohol through…whoops. I’m impressed that they’ve taken this step toward managing alcohol abuse on the reservation. It’s drastic, but hopefully it works.
We finally made it to the hotel…and the most amazing thing in the world…a shower.
Too many hot hikes with no washing…this was a good thing.
Tomorrow, I’ll try to finish up. Another early meeting, though, so who knows.
Yesterday, we managed to get all the quilts shipped to where they were supposed to be going. Now they just need to GET there. That’s always the stressful part.
Meanwhile, after work, we walked the dogs…back to the routine! In the two weeks since we’d been there, the mustard had grown like…well…a weed. A lot of it was taller than me.
Certainly the path was harder to find.
Still new flowers popping up. We had a little rain this week.
The grasses are higher than I’ve ever seen them.
These grasses have purple heads of grain on them…
Tons of fire danger. Lots of foxtails to go in doggie feets.
Poison oak (not above) encroaching on the trail.
Flowers in abundance.
Ah, the boychild making the puppy run…
Calli and I are like nope. Not doing it.
This guy. Dude. Get off the path. Are you coming or going? Is the spike on your head end or butt end?
So many caterpillars this year…plus I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this hawk before…or one just like it who hung out on the same piece of wire.
It was a nice walk. Although then I came back and pulled things out of the fur between Calli’s toes (mostly not from the walk). Those curly things are a bitch to get out.
She was a very good girl and didn’t bite me.
OK, so I scratched her belly too.
I graded some stuff, and then settled down to try to get through more of the Wonder Under. Puppy helped.
Not so much.
I have that one piece on the top right of the second yard to do, and then a third yard. I have quilt class tonight, so I’ll try to get done there…if I can. Then sort them etc. I have a plan. I always have a plan.
I got into another show that will be local here in San Diego…it’s called Indoor/Outdoor (way too similar to Inside/Outside, whose opening is this Saturday). It will be at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan, The opening is June 8, probably 6-8 (I don’t have an exact time yet). There will be a coinciding exhibition with our Swedish compatriots at the San Diego Art Institute…we did a show with this group in San Diego and Sweden previously. So more about that later.
For now, off to school to an early meeting, then labs all day long…cool ones, though. Hopefully it will all work.
After two nights in Bryce, we drove to Arches National Park, which basically took all day. We went through a bunch of wild landscape, up over a snowy pass…
We were on this scenic highway 12, which was really beautiful, but long. Totally worth it. At some point, we came to Capitol Reef National Park, or maybe Escalante/Grand Staircase was first…I don’t remember.
That looks like Capitol Reef. We ate lunch in a shady spot and then it rained.
Not bad…just enough…
I basically spent the whole day staring out the window at all the weird rocks…especially those green ones.
We didn’t hike…there wasn’t time.
We did get out and look at stuff though…like petroglyphs…
Cool stuff. By the time we made it to Arches, it was after 5 PM, there was no one on staff anywhere, and we had to try to get a tent to stay in rocky ground. That’s our tent in front of their camper (it was the only place the stakes would go in).
And here’s what happened to the mallet.
Oh well. The stakes went in well enough to survive the wind and rain storm the next night.
We got up relatively early the next morning and walked out to the Devil’s Garden area near our campground…this time, we actually camped in the park. With no showers. I remembered that later.
The thing about Arches is that there are arches everywhere…the one below lost a major piece back in the 70s, so you can’t go up to it anymore. I’m OK with that.
It’s pretty huge though.
This is what stopped us going to one of the arches…climbing up this rock fin. Too slippery.
We got about halfway up and stopped. Other people kept going. I’m OK with that too.
Flowers and plants everywhere…a bonus of a rainy spring.
I think you totally miss that in summer. This is Delicate Arch. We did the in-between hike, not the rock-scrambling hike. There are people up there. Not us.
It was also pretty warm in Arches. I don’t do well with warm.
The flowers do though. This is Pothole Arch…fascinating thinking about the science behind all these.
We did all the short hikes during the day…
There were lots of people on these. Pulling a dance move? Nah. Pointing at an arch.
There were lots of them.
So a weird selfie, but mostly was trying to get my feminist shirt, which I hiked in, and a bunch of women told me they liked my shirt. That was cool.
Nevertheless She Persisted applies to many things. Turret Arch…
So I have all these appliqued quilt blocks from 2005-2007 that I did (a friend made the patterns), and some of the places we went are in those blocks…like this one.
This is one of the Windows, North or South…
I think it’s South.
Then we went into town for alcohol, wood, and gas. All important. We came back and tried to hike Park Avenue in the middle of the day heat. Ugh. No. We got about halfway…but I really feel like these rocks should just fall over.
They are illogical. The valley was very warm.
I can’t imagine it in July. Interesting rocks above and below though.
Petrified stream beds. Balanced Rock!
We did over 11 miles of hikes that I counted on this day, but this was like 300 yards off the road…so we walked much farther than 11 miles…just in little bits.
This is Skyline Arch…we hiked out to it.
Because we wanted to see the rock fall…some huge piece fell out back in the 1940s and is lying in the path. Not as exciting as the view up.
Then we headed back to camp…had a snack, refueled packs, and did a longer hike to see Tapestry Arch…
And then Broken Arch…well, flowers first…
And trying to find the path with stone cairns…some big, some tiny…
And wandering around the sandy landscape…until we found Broken Arch…
And a view of where we were hiking next, to Sand Dune Arch…this is the back view of Broken Arch…
At Sand Dune Arch, stupid tourist photos got in the way…this lovely Asian woman is in all my photos because her husband kept saying, “put your arms up.” “Now move forward three feet.” And my patience was wearing thin. His as well…
Although he smiled for me. Heading back toward camp…it was further than we thought…
But there were very few people out there. This funky flower…only the top one can be purple! All the rest are yellow!
Weird. We had a long discussion about open carry in a National Park, because of the guy who was hiking in front of us at Sand Dune Arch, with his gun. To protect himself from??? I just don’t know. Scared old man.
Back to the campsite, where we attempted to clean up enough to go out into public for dinner. Yes! Food cooked by other people in a restaurant! What a concept. We earned it.
Still no shower.
On the way back, we rode through a storm that then chased us into our tent for the night, tensely listening for thunder, planning to run to the car, finally collapsing exhausted by probably 9:30 PM.
The next morning dawned perfectly clear and beautiful…
So we packed up and got ready to leave. We originally had no plan for after this…we’d thrown around ideas, but knew we needed to start heading back home. So in the restaurant in Moab, we made a plan (because we had no cell service in the campsite)…and made a reservation for Tuba City, near the Grand Canyon. A quick day trip through there, then heading home. More on that tomorrow.
Meanwhile, I survived my first day back at school yesterday. I’m exhausted. No shock there. This is puppy love while I’m grading assignments on the stationary bike.
I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I packed up one quilt, six to go. I traced this piece, ready to embroider…
I’m a little short on two of the colors, so they hopefully will show up in the next week or so. I’ll go as far as I can. I started some of the embroidery on it…just because I need to get them done.
She’s pink and purple for now. And then I cut stuff out for a while.
I went to bed early again…
It’s going to be a rough week. But I’ll get stuff done. I have to.
Is not a thing. Not while hiking. No oxygen up that high. OK, not really, and we did eventually adjust, but it made hiking a challenge. After two days in Zion, we left for Bryce Canyon National Park (not a canyon). It’s not very far away, and there are a lot fewer people than Zion, hallelujah. A chunk of the park was still closed for snow…including some hikes and the main road past mile 12. That was still cool, though, because it was beautiful with the snow on the rocks.
So we camped just outside of Bryce, because campsites in the park are first come, first served, and we didn’t think we could get there early enough to get one. It was just outside the park, though, so no worries. We got in, set up camp, and then headed off to Bryce to see the sights.
The first day, we just drove to all the overlooks and well…looked at them.
The snow made it even more beautiful…
No matter when you go to these parks, the weather is going to have an effect…too hot? Too cold? Snow closed the road?
I enjoyed seeing Bryce with snow…
I think I’ve only been here once before. I’m not sure.
So driving up to the points closer to where the road was closed, there was definitely more snow…
At least by the side of the road…
Natural Bridge was as high up the road as we could go…and these guys were hanging out there…
We didn’t see much wildlife at Bryce…just a few deer on the last day.
We figured it was too cold.
Although our first night, we heard what sounded like a very lonely or wounded animal. A really loud animal. A sound that worried us a bit. Is that a bear? I don’t think that’s a bear. Do we have bear boxes here? Um. No. We don’t.
Bears are pretty rare up there, but the noise was loud and from a large animal.
Plus honestly, we kind of froze a bit on the first night camping here. It was in the low to mid 30s (good thing it didn’t get down to 18 degrees like we had originally seen). We didn’t prepare enough for that…the second night, we figured it out.
Anyway, so we got to all the overlooks on the first day, and then headed back to the campsite.
So we overlooked this field…there’s a fence on the left and in front that is the end of the campground, and then there’s all this open space out there. It didn’t block any of the wind, but that died down around 8 PM…
There was still snow in some of the campsites, but we liked this one well enough. It was pretty damn quiet. We made skillet enchiladas the first night…
Pretty tasty…and then the sun started to go down.
Definitely time for fire.
Like I said, at this point, the wind had died down.
And the moon was starting to come up behind the tent. We changed into warmer clothes…
And watched the sun go down and the moon go up.
The next morning, we planned to hike the Fairyland Loop. We didn’t get up very early, honestly, after not sleeping much, and my blood sugar had crashed, so that always helps me be in a sunny mood. We got to the parking lot a little late, but it turned out OK. I think we started hiking around 10 AM.
So in this loop, you hike down into the amphitheater and then around inside for a while, and then you hike out. It was awesome. Breathing was an issue at times, but mostly it was OK. It got warm at times when the sun came out…I was perfectly happy with the clouds and slightly cooler temperatures for most of it though.
It was definitely cool seeing the formations from below as well as above.
It’s supposed to be an 8-mile hike, but somehow we managed to make it 9 1/2 miles.
I guess we wander a lot.
That formation is definitely a cat.
I was fascinated by the trees, dead and alive. I saw at least 4 different pines, including one very strange one…
The one in front…almost sausage-like branches with the thicker needles.
There were people on this trail, but not a ton…and most of them understood trail etiquette, until we got to the very end.
And there’s flowers growing in rock…
We stopped to breathe as needed…
So the trail down to the Tower arches here is a shorter one…so lots of people here.
But we climbed out here…
And went and found a bathroom, washed off our muddy boots (I think my boots still have Bryce mud on them). There was a little snow on the path too, but not much.
But that was at the top, at Sunrise Point. Then you have to walk around the rim to get back to Fairyland Point, because the shuttle doesn’t go there.
It’s mostly level. MOSTLY. I saw on the hiking apps that people were arguing which direction was easier. I’d recommend starting at Fairyland Point and hiking down and back on the rim. Otherwise, you’re climbing up Fairyland for about 3 miles.
I like a short painful climb better than a long one.
The last 2 1/2 miles were all on the rim…
Which was a nice way to end. So I think that other fire picture was actually the second night, where we were warmer (dressed better, towels on the air mattress, etc), but the wind picked up and was throwing things around. We did sleep better, and that weird animal only yowled once. Well. So not a yowl. This is a shitty picture of what is probably a pronghorn antelope (it was far away), and when you listen to them online, that was what we heard.
A lonely or horny antelope. Good to know.
Meanwhile, I’ve been doing stuff here. I swear. Getting ready for school. Ugh. But also…finishing the second embroidery. Gotta get these washed and ironed and officially photographed.
And also cutting out Wonder Under, because I finished tracing on Saturday night.
Good to know. Plus yesterday was Calli’s 10th birthday…
From the girlchild. This is her baby. Old baby, for sure.
OK, off to school. Not sure exactly what I’m doing today, but I know I’ll be tired doing it.