Collaborate. Future.

So two things in my head this morning (besides why can’t the animals shut up in the morning and allow me to sleep when I obviously stayed up way too late last night doing art stuff)…collaboration and my not-so-successful experience of that, and how to retire sometime 20 years or more from now (because how will I ever be able to afford that).

Collaboration is in my head because I have an opening tonight for a collaborative attempt that did in fact end up making a successful piece, but I guess for me, it’s still not the collaboration I’m looking for. And then I think about how irritated I get with people, and maybe collaboration is a mistake. This project was not a mistake…it’s an awesome idea, and I hope my partner enjoyed his part in the project. A few friends of mine work with Project Paint, a rehab program for inmates in Donovan Correctional Facility. I picked a word (relationships), and was paired with an inmate. He started a painting based on that word, and then wrote me some reflections about his start…and then I was supposed to work from there. That is always the hard part, isn’t it? I stared at it for a while…

And then I decided how to add to it. I had been told to use fabric if I wanted to, because at the beginning, I was saying, hey, I don’t paint, and that was OK. So I sewed right onto that canvas, and then added some stuff above and below, plus some squares for the inmate to add to…

I even hid a barrel monkey down in the ground. Then I made a quilt out of it, so it would be able to hang, and sent it back to my inmate partner. He added to it, but I haven’t seen a written explanation of what he added, which has made it hard to respond again. So I guess I just didn’t.

I’m glad he gave him eyes and a shirt…the show Inside/Outside opens tonight at Art Produce, 6-8 PM.

So I guess I need something different for collaboration. Then again, this project wasn’t about me…it was about the inmate artist. So I hope he got something good out of it. I will keep finding ways to collaborate, and maybe one of them will spark something bigger in me. I’m looking forward to seeing the other work produced as well. And I would totally do it again. I guess I am always open to these weird collaborative attempts.

The second thing on my mind is my future. I have a friend retiring from teaching this year and I’ve been watching her figure this out, knowing that I am years away from doing this. But not a ton of years. At least 10, probably. But certainly, I think money will still be tight, because going through a divorce and putting kids through college has not exactly helped me save for retirement. I’ve done the required stuff; I even have funds from when I was self-employed, but I get screwed by having both paid fully into Social Security and having a state teachers’ fund. I won’t see everything I paid into it and I won’t be able to get enough years in as a teacher, because I started too late. Which sucks, but is. So I need to probably keep working even when I’m done being a teacher. As it is, every summer scares the crap out of me because I never have enough money going in to get me through a very expensive season with no paycheck. I have to time my school credit-card purchases for the next school year so that I will have actually been paid when the bill is due. I often work other jobs (mostly copyediting) on the side during the summer to try to pay the bills. It’s stressful and I don’t like it. I start staring at the bank balance during Spring Break, and sometimes I live on my tax return for that 8 weeks, but this year, that tax return is not only significantly smaller (sigh), but also I turned around and handed it over to my street basically to redo our entire road. Expensive. It’s been about 12 years since we last did it, and a new house being built at the bottom totally trashed one portion of it. So it’s an unexpected expense, but that’s the way it always is. Every year.

So I keep looking for ways to make money that don’t take the huge amount of time that my art does. Although I love making my art. I love taking the time for it. But I also have a bunch of college loans to help pay over the next (ouch IDK how many) few years, and I need extra cash. I need to keep my head above water. I have a week’s worth of paid teacher stuff this summer, and then 7 weeks with no money coming in. OK. I can do this. I do it every year.

So obviously, I started doing the embroidery patterns, which wasn’t really on my radar until I was asked to do them. Cool idea. I want to do a coloring book…I’m hoping to work on that this summer. I say that every year though, so I need to actually DO it this year. And then I finally started a Patreon account. I wrote it all up last summer, planned it even earlier than that, but finally pushed it out this weekend, because they’re changing the pricing structure, and I wanted to be on the earlier version. So it’s out there. Link in the side bar. But I should put one here too…hang on…here it is. It’s hard to ask people for money, to ask them to fork cash out for the crazy shit you do, but there it is. A monthly charge and you get some Kathy. Check it out. I won’t judge you for not signing up…or for signing up. I’m kinda looking forward to doing some different things for the Patreon than what I’ve been doing (adding videos!), so maybe that will leak over onto the blog…who knows?

I also started a Society6 account for wall art and posters…although the girlchild wants a cutting board with a uterus on it (disturbing), so look for that eventually. Yes, I only have one thing up there right now. Another summer project. Feel free to look through my gallery and suggest what you think you might want. I’d appreciate the input. It doesn’t make me much money, but it gets my art out there on people’s walls, so I’m OK with that for now. I don’t have the time, patience, energy, or money to do it myself, but maybe that’s a future thing too.

So here’s last night though…I cooked and graded and then…I sorted Wonder Under…

It didn’t take long…

About 40 minutes…lots of tiny pieces, and then I love it when the fusible separates from the paper.

I don’t really. But I’ll deal with it.

I had help, as always…

Really not helpful guys. You’re the ones who woke me up this morning.

Ugh. Tired. After sorting, I wasn’t ready to go to bed, or ready to come in here and clean so I could start ironing. Not a thing at close to midnight. So I embroidered a little on the third pattern.

I need to wash the other two today and iron them and make a nice picture. Yeah.

I’m doing all the pink/purple first because I think I might run out. I didn’t trace everything either. Because it just rubs off. So that’s OK. Hopefully I’ll get this one done this week. Hopefully I’ll get all the Wonder Under ironed to fabric this week too (that’s the plan). My weekend is busy. I’m looking forward to a weekend sometime in the future where I don’t wake up Saturday morning with a rock in my gut because there’s too fucking much to do. It won’t be any time in the next month. It’s not this weekend, that’s for sure. With that in mind, I need to go get ingredients for an appetizer thing for today, then make that app. Then do something on the to-do list, if not two or three things, before I have to be social. Ugh. OK. I can do it. You might see me doing it even.

Don’t Look Down…

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.

Hi guys.

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 huge

Sorta mind-boggling.

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.

Going to the Canyon

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.

Elemental Fiber

I keep forgetting to talk about my upcoming solo show in Pittsburgh. Like many of you, I got a show rejection, not surprising, but then the gallery where that show was going to be contacted me about a solo show at their satellite gallery, and that’s how this stuff happens. Very cool, and I appreciate the jurors who recommended my work for the space. It’s actually a glassed-in area of a public space in the BNY Mellon Center in downtown Pittsburgh (500 Grant St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219), and it’s the satellite gallery for Contemporary Craft. My exhibition, Elemental Fiber, will coincide with Fiberart International at the CC gallery, so that is also very cool. They looked at my work, had some tentative selections, then talked to lawyers (ah lawyers) and picked what they thought would work in the space. There is still nudity! It’s an interesting space, and my goal is to get there in the summer to see it (and Fiberart International, if possible), but I will miss the opening due to my daughter’s graduation from college.

So last night, after tutoring, I managed to pack up 7 quilts, shipping 6 to Pittsburgh and one to Form Not Function. Three boxes, 22.5 pounds of quilts.

It took a couple of hours to dehair everything, cut a few slats, I made a label for one yesterday, to make boxes, and negotiate all the shipping stuff. I’m dropping one this morning, and the boychild has to drive the other two to an official UPS Customer Service Center (only two in central San Diego, unfortunately). Such a pain, but totally worth it. You don’t think about the business side of making art quilts: entering shows, putting pictures up on websites, shipping work, publicizing it etc. It takes time and effort.

Same with the job. Yesterday, we realized we had some lab prep to do for tomorrow’s lab, and panic ensued. We had borrowed a magnetic stirrer (per the instructions) from the man’s workplace (nice of them to loan it to us) and made this stuff…

There’s a great video somewhere of me yelling Vortex! as the powder stirred into the water. Then we needed to make these glue strips…

So between the two of us, I think we have 5 experimental versions of this on different substrates. I finally put one batch in the oven last night, and this morning, I have what we need. But we’re pretty sure if we use the toaster oven that our principal got the school to bake glue that we will get into a shit-ton of trouble. Like that will stop us. Substrates used: white board, plastic covers, parchment paper, tin foil? (if she did it), even thought about wax paper or plastic wrap. Something about the smooth plastic doesn’t work as well…the glue pulls in on itself (“cohesion” and “friction” were commonly used last night in dinner-making conversation, as well as in texts with my co-teacher, which ended with us each buying shirts on Amazon, I think). Wanna nerd out? We can make that happen.

We just hope some version of the lab works. We also have our annual meeting with parents this afternoon to persuade them that their kid should take our reproduction unit (parents have the right to opt kids out)…it’s scary how many parents don’t want their kids to know anything. Plus then I have to place them elsewhere and give them an alternative assignment, which isn’t the easiest thing in the world. At this point, I’m up to 10 of them, which means having to grade all those alternative assignments at the last minute too. Sigh.

I didn’t even finish grading a whole assignment yesterday. I tried, but there was too much management that had to happen. Sometimes when we give them independent work, we end up having to micromanage it so that they’ll actually DO it. Sigh.

After all that, I think I cut out Wonder Under for maybe 30 minutes. But you know what? I cut it out for 30 minutes. That’s a good thing. I’d like the Wonder Under all cut out by the end of my Thursday quilt meeting. Then sort it. Then start ironing to fabric on Friday night. I’d like all the ironing done the following week, because we’re going to LA and I’d like to be cutting stuff out on that trip. Or done! I don’t think that’s a thing. Then I lose a weekend to Boston and the girlchild’s graduation (lots of drawing and embroidery then), but I can iron down and start quilting. Yikes. Time is tight. My phone says I have 44 days to finish, but it needs to go to the photographer before that. I can do it. It’ll be OK.

There are 924 pieces in this quilt, but most of them are pretty small. So it was just under 3 yards of Wonder Under. Last night, I finished the first full yard and did a chunk out of the 2nd yard. Not fast. But progress.

I do have more travel photos. I just couldn’t deal with them this morning. Hopefully tomorrow, but I have to be up early two mornings running for meetings. Woo hoo! Sleep. Ugh. Go to bed early? Get no work done. Go to bed late? Brain stops functioning. Must regulate mood today. Deep breaths. A walk after work with the dogs and the boychild. Looking forward to that.

Sweatin’ It in Arches

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.

Breathing Deeply in Bryce…

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 easy…

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.

He agrees.

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.

Hiking Zion…

Soon, so soon, I will have to get back into the standard routine of up early, write early, think early, eat early. I am not an early person. I can do it if I have to…trust me, on this trip, there were times we had to be up early to hike before heat or beat the crowds, and I did it, but sleep sometimes is so hard to get that it almost hurts. This morning, I am so tired, and it’s not even that early…tomorrow it will be two hours earlier, and my body is already protesting. Part of that is staying up too late, of course. Whoops. My bad. Good reasons though.

But I do have a meeting today and will have to leave soon (hence the not sleeping in until I really want to wake up, although really, the cats were already like, BIATCH WHY YOU NO FEED ME, so there was no hope).

I went through the 3000 pictures I took on the trip (I don’t really know how many there were) and pulled some I thought were especially good. I posted a brief run-through of the trip a few days ago after the most amazing shower in the world (not the shower itself, the physical stall in a bathtub…it wasn’t that awesome…it was just an amazing shower because I was so dirty by the time I got to it). Here’s the first two days, extended dance mix.

We left early in the morning, drove through Riverside and Las Vegas, and killed an inordinate amount of butterflies, it was truly disturbing.

I feel to atone I will need to plant my yard with whatever plants they eat and then get a bunch of caterpillars and let them feed off my yard. Because it was horrific.

On the way to Vegas, we stopped at Seven Magic Mountains…not because it’s totally amazing…but because it was weird…

It was also virtually impossible to avoid all the selfie people and people in general in this photo…

Definitely an interesting start to a trip that was all about rocks.

We drove all day, pretty much, checked into our bunkhouse, and then drove into Zion to check it out, hopefully get a map, and figure out what we were going to do the next day. It did actually bring a tear to my poor little eye, driving into the park and seeing those towering rocks. We did a short hike to make up for being in the car for hours…

and checked out the view…

From a little further back even…

Yeah. That.

And on the way back to the car, saw our first of many mule deer…

Oh hai! Sorry. Go back to eating that bush. Tree. Whatever it is.

We talked to the ranger at the entrance, and he said to make it into the visitors’ center parking lot, we needed to be there before 8. OK. We can do that.

This is, of course, how we end up making sausage and eggs on a barbecue outside at 6 in the morning. Ugh.

The different lights of Zion…

We didn’t camp in the park because apparently the tent caterpillars are awful this time of year. We did see lots of caterpillars. We’re hoping they all survived, to make up for the deaths we perpetrated on the way out there, even though it’s not the same butterfly dammit.

So the night before, we decided we would hike the Angel’s Landing trail until just before the crazy part, the single-file part. We decided to do it first, because it’s the hardest thing we wanted to do. We were on the trail early, around 8 AM, with this deer…

There were others. The hike starts in the bottom of the canyon, and then it climbs.

It climbs about 1000 feet to Scout Lookout, and then another 500 feet for the Angel’s Landing part. It’s also a higher elevation than we’re used to, so we took it as slow as we had to. Basically, that’s how we did every hike this trip. At the appropriate speed for us.

A view of the valley…you can see some of the trail we’re climbing on the bottom right.

Part of the trail that climbs up…this is the easier part.

Much easier in shade too…the full heat of a summer’s day? I wouldn’t be able to hike this…looking down at what we’ve climbed up…

There were quite a few people on this trail.

The valley again…see the trail to the left of those people? Yes, we started down there.

Beautiful views as the sun starts to come into the valley. And we’re still smiling…

At this point, we’re on the 21 switchbacks that make up Walter’s Wiggles…looking down, you can see a bunch of the switchbacks.

It was slow going, but we went.

And finally at the top…

Well, at Scout Lookout, which is where we stopped. The Virgin River where we started…

The rock face in front of us…

And the crazy people who aren’t scared of heights and don’t mind waiting forever for a space to keep moving.

I’m sure it’s cool. I just wasn’t gonna do it. I am afraid of heights. So there.

The sun peaking over the rock walls…

Then we explored the rest of the park until we couldn’t handle badly behaved tourists any more.

This is on the Riverside Walk…down to the Narrows.

The Narrows had too much water flow to hike down it. But I’d do that. Another day.

This fat squirrel perched in a tree…

Eat your greens.

On one of the flatter hikes we did…

An afternoon view of the rocks now…

At this point, it was much warmer, although still only in the high 70s. It felt warmer than that though.

This is the Lower Emerald Pool…

There were many closed trails and the main road through Zion was closed for repairs, so we’d have to come back to see the rest of it. The people made it hard, though…not on the first trail, but everywhere else. There should be a trail etiquette class required before you can come in a National Park, I think. Although Zion was the worst for that.

Anyway, more later…I have to leave in 5 minutes. We spent one full day and an hour or two of another day in Zion, and we could have spent a whole ‘nother day, no problem. Good to know.