This Is the Flight Number of Our Galactic Sun*

December 6, 2017

I just realized what a wonderful word daft is. It’s not commonly used here in the US, but maybe it should be. Not sure what our equivalent is…in common usage anyway. Daft. I think I’m teaching that to my students today. After I teach them that wanting to go on vacation early is not a reason to ditch school. Trust me, it’s gone through MY head about 100 times in the last week.

Fires are back in California…that’s the down side of when we get lots of rain the year before. My heart goes out to Ventura and all the other communities up in the LA area fighting fire and winds. We haven’t gotten the brunt of the wind yet…supposed to show up tonight. It’s true that nature wants our hills to burn…it’s the natural order. But there are too many of us living in the hills now. We humans seems to suck at balance as a species.

Did I say three hours of ironing a night? Oh well. That didn’t happen. I had too much to grade. I was trying to balance! Grades are due Tuesday for progress reports. I’m actually almost caught up. Scary that. I’m trying to stay on top of it. The next three days may kick that in the ass, unfortunately.

I did another vine-type stitch on the left, but didn’t have enough thread in my piece to finish it. I should go back and fill in all the empty spaces here and there.

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It was cold last night…I was cold even…the winds picked up for a bit. Everyone wanted to be warm.

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I graded until about 9:30 PM. Then started ironing. This one is about women’s rights…

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The right to breastfeed in public, the right to vote…

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I tried to do the heart differently. If you think about the 100s of hearts I’ve drawn and all the hearts that end up in my quilts, they’ve evolved greatly over the years. Mostly, they’ve gotten way more complicated. I really like this one.

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Then the other lung…the right to decide what to do with your breast post-cancer. The right to keep or lose the nipple, the breast itself. Society has told us what IT thinks is acceptable. As always, society needs to open its mind quite a bit more. The right to health insurance that supports women’s health. No birth control? Then no Viagra.

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Torso is almost done…there’s one spot on the right side that needs ironing, but by then, it was just about midnight, and I had almost finished the 400s, so I would have had to take the time to lay out all the 500s and find the rest of the arm stuff to get done…and I do have to sleep, or I can’t deal with 12-year-olds.

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So I’m not even a third of the way through. But I should be able to get the torso done tonight, and then I’ll move onto the heads. Although now that I’m looking at this, I’m realizing that I didn’t do anything of the background between the arm and the body. That might look weird. I love that I’m just realizing this. Sigh. I’m probably going to have to draw that space and fill it in. Fuck. Seriously. Sigh. OK. Not hard. Just time-consuming. Twenty-five days left on this. Yikes. Good thing I have Winter Break coming.

*Hooverphonic, 2 Wicky


They Know Me Better Than That*

December 5, 2017

There’s something about a drawing assignment on a Monday. The kids seem calm, more ready to work (not all of them, because they had to read before drawing). It seems impossible to plan so that Mondays always incorporate some type of drawing, but I think it would be a good thing…our version of a Monday meditation. There aren’t enough hours in the school year, though…we can’t always use the day that way.

So yesterday’s meditation involved redacted or blackout poetry, except we used it to annotate the lyrics of a song about the layers of the Earth.

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So the stuff in boxes should be the important stuff. Hopefully. Some kid asked if there was a right answer. I said if all he boxed in were all the the‘s, then he did it wrong.

Afterwards, we had a 2-hour staff meeting that was all supposed to be fun and games. It’s hard to focus on that when you have a huge pile of work to do, though. I did make this Climate Change Snowman with my group. We won nothing.

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But I did make this awesome cobb pipe out of fabric remnants. You gotta be impressed by that.

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Came home, walked the dogs in the dark, made dinner, stitched on the top left side…trying to fill in still. Running out of days. Trying to be strategic about what I do.

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I sat for a while with puppy. Guess I sorta tired him out. Yes, this was my post-walk wear. Very fancy.

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Then I started ironing.

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Everything is very pale, but it will eventually be on a dark background. Yes, that baby hand is tiny.

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Ironed a baby…

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Into a body. I have three pieces currently missing. Strangely. All in the same area. Not sure why. That’s where I quit, because I didn’t want to recut them unless I knew they were missing for sure. I hate getting 400 pieces further in and finding them in the wrong box. Such a waste of time. Plus it was after midnight. That’s probably a more important reason to stop. Really. Yeah.

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So I’m in the 300s and I’ve spent about 4 1/2 hours ironing. Last night’s stuff was fussy little shit that overlapped in annoying ways.

You can see how big this thing is…I gots a lot to do.

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I’m really done with school at the moment. Everything is irritating me, from the parent demanding we take her failing student on the field trip (too late), but not giving a shit that the kid turns nothing in, to people trying to force merriment, to kids harassing each other and refusing to work and not even coming to school half the time. That’s why I walked the dogs in the dark last night, even though I was semi-worried about coyotes. I stayed on the main road near here, but there’s no street lights, so it’s pretty dark. I heard them howling, so I stayed away from the big open space where they were probably hanging out. Seriously, I needed that walk more than the dogs did (although they were pretty damn excited…I hate when it’s dark when I get home).

I want to iron for a long time, until it’s done. The plus is that I don’t have anything else this week at night except grades and one meeting on Friday (I’ll be mentally done by then). So I can iron every night for a couple of hours. I still won’t be done by the weekend though, now that I think about it, and that was my goal. Maybe if I aim for 3 hours a night? I do have to grade as well, though…so really it’s the days I can get grading done at school, so I don’t feel pressured to do it at home. Sigh. Multi-tasking…see, that’s all I could think about at the staff meeting yesterday…I NEED this time for school stuff, dammit. I don’t care about the social stuff. Sigh. Although I do miss my team and I didn’t get to sit with them, because we had assigned groups. I never see most of them any more. Ugh. Oh well. Whatever. Obviously working on Grinch status at the moment. I’ll get out of it…probably on December 16…the first day of Winter Break. That’s sounding nice right now.

*Depeche Mode, The Things You Said

Every Single Night They’re Driving Me Insane*

December 4, 2017

Copyediting project is done…it officially took a week longer than I wanted it to take, thanks to the wonders of Microsoft Word. Field trip is a giant clusterfuck of bitchslapping. No worries. I may quit before then. Wait! No. Meditate. Get all mindful on that shit. Seriously. I can pull that mindset up WHILE I’m getting and answering texts about the buses going to hell in a handbasket…after 10 PM on a Sunday. I’m still stressed about it this morning, but I realize I can’t afford to quit. Yet (whoa! Growth mindset before a full cup of tea…if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well…you’re probably fine without it. And you’re not a teacher.).

I finished the copyediting and sent all the files after 10 PM, if you’re wondering how functional I was yesterday…the answer is, not very.

It got done. That’s what matters.

Kitten actually came out and briefly hung out with me in the office, all by herself. It’s been a while since she’s done that. Cat interactions are still somewhat fraught with drama here.

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I title this, “Things that need washing”…

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Yeah, he is a bit of a freak.

More flowers on the right…probably gonna have to move on to something else soon.

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Then once I was done (and yeah, I graded and did a bunch of other school stuff), I started ironing again…

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And realized I’d ironed these two onto the wrong fabrics. The gray should have been on the one in my hand…the tree was supposed to be green. Except I decided I liked it gray. I did re-iron the other one, because a volcanic cloud of ash probably isn’t very green.

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It’s interesting, though, because I’d noticed that piece before when I was cutting and when I was sorting, and I was trying to figure out what it was, based on its shape and color, and I couldn’t. Well now I know why. (and yes, I usually do know what they are based on shape and color.)

Right side done.

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Then I started on body parts…super light against the white teflon sheet, but will pop against the dark blue background. I honestly didn’t get very far. I was pretty tired.

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Less than 200 pieces in…but not by a lot.

As it is, I wasn’t in bed before 12:30 AM. More tonight…hopefully with no school stress (ha! yeah right.). Seriously. School needs to back off and be nice. I don’t want to get sick before break, and increased stress affects the immune system. Sigh. Like I have any control over what goes on at work. Official observation, field trip, grades due, 2-hour staff meeting, plus the two weeks before Winter Break, which deforms the 7th-grade mind in a way I just can’t understand…it takes a strong immune system to survive all that. Y’all should thank a teacher sometime in the next two weeks. They need it. Maybe buy them dinner and a drink as well.

The two sides…the body goes between them…

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Seriously looking forward to some more of this tonight. But right now? That Dream Police song is stuck in my head…dammit…

Now it’s stuck in yours too. Say thank you.

*Cheap Trick, Dream Police

Going Just to Be Sane*

December 3, 2017

Every new month, I read back through previous years of the blog for that month, looking for the clue to how to survive it better, to how it makes me feel, because so many things are cyclical. I guess it’s good to review that, because three years ago, I still was going to multiple night soccer games, freezing my ass off, and then dealing with feeding kids and all that fun stuff. Although they are coming back in a week or so. It helps me to have a space in my head to prepare for the next few weeks…knowing that the holidays are coming, but that makes school that much more crazy for the weeks leading up to it. Knowing that I have some free time coming up to finish this quilt, even if I have to really push to get through any of it right now.

Even yesterday, a wide-open day…I copyedited (I’m almost done!), I worked, I managed a bunch of stupid tiny tasks, but I did finish some stuff and start the ironing, and that was my goal. I’m totally braindead today (which is funny, because I really do have to work today and be incredibly efficient and I just don’t have it in me). One of the reasons I write this almost every day is because it clears my brain and lets me prioritize what I gotta do. It helps.

So after copyediting, I took about 18 minutes to finish cutting everything out, for a total of 17 hours and 38 minutes of cutting…no small feat.

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Down to a small box full of 1360 pieces or so.

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Then I sorted them. Here’s the before picture. I forgot to take an after picture, but imagine them all sorted by hundreds.

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And then headed in to start ironing. I cleaned up the space a little first…

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You can see the cat under the ironing board. It’s a popular spot.

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That’s all I got done…because I had a show to be at, and the call was earlier than I originally thought. It’s OK. I was ready for a break…

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Although I didn’t realize there would be an actual elk there. Am I the only one who thinks they sort of desecrated the elk by putting party decorations on it? Seriously. I feel sorry for all the elks I saw there.

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It was someone’s birthday party. Not someone I know, of course…

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I’m there for the band. I’m the groupie. Well, there are other groupies, but I’m the weird one who sits in the corner and draws.

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As proven here. I spilled my first glass of wine…I wasn’t in the mood to dance (sometimes I do). I was tired. But it was an amusing people-watching event.

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Yeah, the elk stuff got in there. And the American flag…because I am most definitely American. Born on an Air Force base in Alaska. You can’t deny my citizenship. But sometimes this country makes some of us feel alienated…well, an awful lot of us, honestly…for a variety of stupid reasons: sexuality, race, religion, even just for existing.

Here she is without the weird lighting…

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And the wine spilling drawing.

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Came home and waited for the musician to come home…with his cat batting at my face…”pet me bitch” is his stance. So I did.

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Then did two nights on this, still on the right…just keep putting those big flowers in all the way down. They’re fun to stitch.

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And that’s where I was last night. I did about 4 1/2 hours of job stuff: copyediting job and art job, mostly. Today will be teacher job and the other two. Yikes. Well I should get on with that, even though I feel fuzzy and brainless. I’ll get there. The ironing is already calling to me. I can be pretty damn efficient when I hear that art call.

*The Black Keys, Tighten Up

In the Key That Our Souls Were Singing*

December 2, 2017

OK. Well that was an exhausting week. I got to sleep last night, despite 46 texts from my kids while I was asleep, plus a text and phone call from the pool guy, and a very insistent, apparently starving cat. I have lots of plans for the weekend, but as always, everything small and tiny takes up all the time. I’m still in pajamas (hey, I was in pajamas all day yesterday) and the first cup of tea hasn’t quite kicked in. Probably need to make cup number 2.

In good news, we made concrete and learned about superplasticizer and nobody died or got concrete up their noses, so we’re good.

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What’s funny is that they all had the same recipe…but look at the results.

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That’s a sign of what we deal with every freakin’ day. I’m laughing, actually, because otherwise I would be crying. Two more weeks. Two more weeks with a field trip and an official observation. I didn’t leave work yesterday until after 5:15, because we had to clean up all the concrete stuff, help the company who came out pack up all the stuffs, and then try to revise our field trip and notify everyone in the world that we were doing that.

I made it to gaming…but brought shit to cut out, because I’m trying to be DONE DAMMIT. I’m a little over 17 hours in…

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Home to puppy. Fell asleep soundly for a good long time…

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So I’m almost done. The bottom has maybe 10-15 pieces left. And then I’m done.

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Did I mention that I was almost done?

So. I can’t work on that until I get through the second readthrough on the copyediting. Doing that now. Then finish cutting and sort the pieces. Then IRONING! Woo hoo! Finally get to see it go together.

I got into a cool show this week that will be at the Oceanside Museum of Art February through July, opening March 17 from 6-8 PM (I can put 4 people on the free list to get in). It’s called Artifacts, and will be opening with two other exhibits at the museum, all based on the book Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, about a future civilization where we have lost electricity and many other things that make our society go. I did read the book before entering. I’ve seen the work that will be in our exhibit, which is with Allied Craftsmen, and it is pretty amazing…wood, ceramics, fiber, basketry…a wide variety of good stuff. So that was good news.

And I’m looking forward to some music and drawing tonight…need some down time after all this.

*Earth Wind and Fire, September

Wouldn’t Turn Around and Break It*

December 1, 2017

Friday, I’m so glad to see you. Even though today will be another exhausting challenge of moving 12-year-olds from here to there, managing their stuff while trying to deal with guests on campus, at least (a) I get to take two days off as of 3:30…well, no, maybe 4:30…have to deal with field trip, and (b) it’s pajama day, so I get to wear pajamas to school. Really, that makes it about 100 times better right there. I think the only thing that got me through yesterday was the donuts that someone brought for our 8 AM meeting. It’s the little things, people. Actually, that’s something I’ve been trying to remember as I have a couple of students who I would like to have disappear from my world…but I know one has significant challenges at home, so I’m trying to figure out how to break through the teenage girl drama she throws at me. The other kid? Honestly, at the moment, I’m not dealing with him…but I will eventually. Yelling profanity at a teacher never appears from nowhere…you know there’s other shit going on, and it’s probably not because of me. It doesn’t make it any easier to deal with at the end of the day, but the logical teacher brain sees it not as an attack on me, but as some pushback against his world. Which unfortunately, I am part of…

I’m good with that. As long as I don’t have to see him today.

So yesterday, we did a sieve analysis of construction aggregate. Yeah, sounds crazy exciting, except it WAS. So there. I didn’t even have any crazy stupid behavior really, although the tendency of 7th graders to do stuff you didn’t ask them to do drives me bonkers during labs sometimes. The chemistry unit is gonna be whack this year. We might have to duct tape some kids to the walls to keep them from blowing the place up with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar (could happen…).

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Today is concrete and admixtures. More concrete next week. It’s all good. Then we get to do volcanoes and earthquakes…way more fun.

Then I had quilt class, spent two hours cutting shit out.

Then I came home and Satchemo wanted lap time. Lots of purring and pets and cat hair left on me.

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Seems everyone wanted attention. My tea got cold because of all the pets. They wouldn’t let me sit up to drink it.

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Both on my lap…

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Eventually I shifted them slightly and did more flowers on the right side. I’m officially in the last month of this. Then decisions about what next…

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The plus is that I’m really close to the end of cutting stuff out. There’s maybe 100 pieces in that top box, maybe fewer, because the flesh ones are mostly pretty big.

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That’s 15 hours of cutting in that bottom box.

This view might be a little easier to see…trash in the bag, top box has everything that’s cut out, bottom box is all that’s left.

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PROGRESS. Almost done. I wanted to be done by now, but I’m doing pretty well.

And I was right…I didn’t do any copyediting last night. I won’t do any tonight either. I’ll get up tomorrow after a decent night’s sleep and finish the copyediting with a clear brain and then finish the cutting and sort the pieces and start ironing. That’s the plan anyway.

Yes, I probably need to grade stuff too, but I’ll look at that on Sunday…not Saturday. I have all day Saturday mapped out for (mostly) art. I’m not budging on that. Saturday night is booked, but that’s fine…I get a little too much in my head when I’m at this stage of a quilt, especially when I know it’s gotta be done and photographed by the first of January. It’s gonna be tight, but I’m pretty sure I can do it. But I do need to go out and be a non-hermit on Saturday night.

But first, I’m taking my pajama-clad butt to school.

*Cowboy Junkies, Sweet Jane

Don’t Pay No Mind to the Demons*

November 30, 2017

Copyediting is almost done (yay!)…it seems like I will never be done with cutting pieces out though. I’m sure that’s not really true, but some nights, it seems like I don’t really get much done. Tonight should be better…quilt class will give me a bigger chunk of time. Of course, I could come home any night and blow off all other responsibilities and just make art…wait, I do that already some nights. Certainly I haven’t brought any schoolwork home this week, unless you count printing new rosters. I had to add one kid and delete two. It was very time-consuming.

Anyway, the copyediting will hopefully be out of my hair sometime in the next four days. I potentially have another project coming up, but I’m still debating that one, and she may balk at price. We’ll see.

I’m waiting for this flower stalk to just burst out…it’s been getting taller and taller (no middle-school jokes here guys…I get those all day long)…

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I did more flower-type things on the right side…

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I may just do those all the way down. OR! I should do a flower stalk from an agave in here maybe. That would be cool…

This dog. Seriously. She sleeps in the weirdest positions…

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And this one. He was not happy that I was copyediting instead of throwing the ball for him (no worries…my co-dog-minder took care of that later)…

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I only did a few hours of copyediting…I’m on the second readthrough. And I’ll do a third, because I’m finding some mistakes in the second read. I hate that. But I worked for this guy before and he seems to like what I do to his stuff, so we’re good. But if I do it too late, I know I’m missing stuff.

Then I started cutting…this is a pile of fleshy pieces for the little heads and arms on the top of the larger head…

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I don’t cut the super tiny ones out until I’m ironing, because I lose them too easily. But here’s a pile of all the stuff I cut out before I started in on the bigger flesh pieces, the ones from the larger figure.

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At some point, Simba threw himself on my lap and refused to just lie next to me.

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So it’s hard to see progress…but you can see I did get into the larger flesh pieces. What’s left to cut out is on the right…

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I think once I get through the big fleshy pieces, I probably only have a couple hundred pieces to do. So hopefully tonight we’ll see some significant progress. I’m unlikely to be able to mentally copyedit (well) after 10 PM…and I have quilt class until 8, then dogs and dinner, so I suspect I might try to do one section (but that’s how I miss the mistakes). So I’m thinking 3 or 4 hours of cutting instead. We’ll see.

Yeah, even Simba thinks Calli sleeps weird.

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I have to laugh. I’m expecting some art notifications in the next few weeks, and one came a day early, a rejection. I wasn’t expecting anything but a rejection from that one, but I keep trying. It’s an art gallery, but they have taken fiber art in the past…just not mine. The one I was supposed to hear about yesterday hasn’t sent anything, which sometimes is a rejection, right? I hate when they do that…but I suspect it’s just that they didn’t get done, based on previous interactions with them. There’s another one this month that I really want, but I won’t die if I don’t get it. I never do. Rejection is reality. But I did have two friends send me a link to the same entry notice…one they both thought my work was good for. And it probably is…and because I got the one rejection, I definitely have work I can enter! See…one door closes and another one opens. Sometimes it takes a while…but that’s OK. I keep making and the world takes some of them and not the others.

OK, visitors AND a lab in class today. Prepare for chaos. Tomorrow too. Don’t even ask me about next week. I might over-react.

*Phillip Phillips, Home