Ah Yes. Overwhelmed. I Remember You Well.

OK. OK. So this is what overwhelmed feels like. I get it. I’ve been here before. I came back to multiple emails about when I’m installing a piece I really haven’t started (two weeks. breathe deep), a bunch of classroom changes (whatever, remember your mantra), and something that’s due on Friday (homework?). I’m still not anywhere near caught up for school, although I’m better this morning than I was yesterday morning. I used to have prep period right after homeroom, so if I needed to set up or plan for classes that day, I did it then. No longer! I have a 2nd period science class, so I have to be ready to rumble before school starts. And then 3rd period comes and my brain freezes. I need to get to the point that I’m prepping for the NEXT day during 3rd period. Yeah. Maybe next week.

Mom delivered a new iron last night, but my exhaustion level almost took me to bed at 10. Then I remembered all those emails I was supposed to answer and some bills I had to pay and other things to be put right, so I did all that and then the clock said 11:45. Weird how that happens. I tried to get the dog to go to bed in my room, because that’s where she ends up anyway, but she was having none of it. I think she really wanted to sleep ON the girlchild’s bed, but I haven’t finished the 8 loads of laundry yet, so that wasn’t an option. Moved her bed back in her mom’s room. Went to bed myself. Dog in my room 10 minutes later, whining. Do you need water? Like having a 2-year-old. No water. Just whiny. Go to bed, you silly dog. You’re not sleeping ON the bed with me.

Dirty dishes washed, dinner was frozen leftovers from two weeks ago. Smarter things that I did. Have to go back to the grocery store today, because I thought I had meat and I don’t. Lunches are still cobbled together from whatever I can find in the fridge or the cupboard. There’s lots of cheese and crackers. I am still exhausted.

And no art got done yesterday after all that. Not surprising. But I need to get my head down and get this thing done. I feel like if I could start, it would get done quickly, but I don’t even know. And maybe I don’t care as much as I should, because it was supposed to be a collaboration and that fell apart. Whatever! The mantra. Don’t lose it. And the other piece will be awesome, but I’m gonna have to bust my butt to get it done on time as well. Basically, besides school stuff and the meetings/stuff I already have on my calendar, don’t expect me to leave the house except for my job and groceries. I’m going to try to fit the gym back in (I meditated last night too). Three things on my list for the Fall: Meditate, go to the gym, eat healthy.

The rest of it is more for family and friends who know the girlchild and are trying to imagine her in a triple with two roomies (hey I was there, and I’m still trying to imagine it). Or if you’re sickly fascinated with our college ritual of shoving kids who don’t know each other into tiny spaces together and waiting for explosions…

Girlchild has the top bunk, because she arrived last. It’s a bit rickety (I know, because I climbed up there and made the bed)…

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Three closets (tiny!) in a row. Crazy when you figure winter clothes have to fit as well.

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A view out the door to their second room, with the other bed on the right.

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There are three desks in the other room and not a lot else.

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Girlchild is trying to fit everything she owns on and in this desk…

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She does have a nice view of tree-filled hillside.

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Her desk in the first incarnation (I’m sure it will evolve).

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It sucks to be on the top bunk…no underbed space. So underdesk space it is (trust me, I tried to find another option. It’s her problem now).

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Her actual dorm. That small building in front is connected and has a kitchen! She may survive yet.

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And her quad. Probably will look much different in about 3 months.

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Anyway, she’s there, I’m here, her dog is on the floor next to me, and now I’m late to school. Whatever.

17 Towels Stuffed in a Hamper

It’s official. I’m living all by myself for the first time in 26 years. You know how I know? I had popcorn for dinner. Ok, now just to clarify, I got home from Boston at like 10:30 at night San Diego time, which was really 1:30 AM Boston time, and I ate “dinner” at Logan Airport before I left but that was at 3:30 PM Boston time and then a fruit and cheese plate on the plane at 7:15 PM Boston time, and then I got home and I was hungry but because my body has no clue what time zone it’s in or when I should eat. Plus I kept forgetting to eat in Boston. So there’s that. This morning, I am eating breakfast like a good girl and I have prepared a lunch of whatever was left in the fridge that had not grown mold or gone bad in some other stomach-twisting way. So yeah. That’s cheese, crackers, and kiwi. It’s a fruit and cheese plate!

The cats missed me. Maybe the dog did. The ex and I are still sharing custody of her. Yeah. Whatever. I’m home more during the week and they would miss each other if they didn’t hang out. So she lives here and goes to Daddy on weekends. You can be sure I will inherit all vet appointments, but he will clean her ears out and bathe her and take her for walks. It’s on my list to take her for walks.

I managed to keep it together when I said goodbye to the girlchild. It was OK. I had already cried all over eastern Boston area, from Home Depot to Target, to Bed Bath and Holy Hell What Don’t They Sell Here (one BBB had a mini Cost Plus inside it?!). She hugged hard and I held onto the tears until I got about 2 minutes down the road. It’s really unsafe to drive while crying by the way, but I’ve perfected it over the years. I cry more in the car than anywhere else.

Certainly the whole thing makes you re-evaluate your entire life. I really don’t need that much pressure right now, though, because it’s the 4th day of school and I’m only semi-prepared for the week.

I do have college dorm pictures. Oh so exciting, right? When you look around at your own personal space and realize how far away from that you are, then yes…yes it is. Girlchild is in a triple…should be interesting. So those will have to come later, when I have time to deal with them.

By the way, I have no idea what’s going on with the first picture on the last post. I’ll have to try to fix that later too. They both came from the phone camera app in exactly the same way…no idea why WordPress had an issue. I did draw on the plane both ways and in the room on the last night there. I wasn’t thinking too hard about drawing…just wanted to get pen on paper. I don’t think I’d drawn all summer, except finishing up the cats (what cats? I haven’t done any cats. Shhh. Maybe no one will notice that they are still piles of Wonder Under that have been cut out.) and the drawing for the big quilt I’m ironing now. So it was kind of a relief to fill up a few pages. Very meditative. In fact, my meditation app prompted me in the middle of the plane flight, and I thought, this is the perfect place to meditate, but then I drew instead. Ah, priorities.

So mom, you’ll have to wait another day (or so) to see dorm pictures (yes, she’s stalking me, but for a reason), but here’s what I drew on the plane…

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In keeping with the Mother Earth where the plants are covering her. I like it. I could make this into a smaller quilt. In my spare time.

Speaking of quilts, Mammogram got into the Interpretations: Celebrating 30 Years exhibit that will be at the Visions Art Museum opening in October.

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They have been good to me. No censorship there (that I’ve seen). Impressive. I should be at the opening; stop by and see my giant boob.

Really, it’s hard to miss the kids. I just found 17 towels stuffed in the bathroom hamper and a bunch of the girlchild’s socks. I wonder if she wants them.


Preparing for Hell in a Handbasket

I’m trying to stay on schedule with the new quilt. I know for a fact that at some point, the schedule will go to hell in a handbasket. Some major thing will happen that will completely suck up all my time and I will fall behind, so the better I am NOW about trying to make up time, the better off I will be later. So I traced Wonder Under for about two hours last night while helping the girlchild fill out the Common App for college…aargh…I feel like I should be able to copy all the pertinent info over from the boychild’s app, like the exact date of my divorce. I looked it up last year, and since it’s significantly different from the separation date, which is seared in my memory, I can never remember the year. It didn’t matter by then. They asked for stuff I don’t remember having to look up last year, like the address of the school in Wales I attended for a year. So the ex was on speaker phone while watching the Chargers lose (as always), girlchild was on the computer, swearing at the app, and I was tracing Wonder Under.

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It kinda looked like this, except she was sitting over there. The light table is not a small thing. But I absolutely love it. It’s so incredibly convenient for what I do, so much easier than what I was doing before.

I got over 200 pieces done, so I’m now in the mid-300s. That’s good progress. If I can do that every night (questionable?), I’ll be done Friday night. Then cutting out the pieces? Maybe another three nights? Hard to say. I do actually have teacher duties and art events this week, so I might have to adjust.

I try to fill in as much of the space in between pieces as possible.

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The girlchild has a much different college-choosing process than her brother. I don’t actually know what his thought process was…I just know he eventually had a list. She had a list from all the mail she got, locations she wanted, a bunch of internet searches, and other random info. Then she talked to a college counselor, and got some more names (but also got kinda pissed off, because the counselor gave her a chunk of schools she really didn’t want, like religiously affiliated schools), and then last night, she finally did this…

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Yes, there are like 21 schools on those post-its, but she knows she needs to get down to about half those. Some she just needs to research a bit more, like the UC schools…I suggested she pick two, but she’s having a hard time deciding which two. She has a couple uber-reacher schools…she probably doesn’t have a chance of getting in, but she really would like to try. So we’ll see. The plus is that she’s not leaving it until the last minute, like some relative of hers who is now at college (cough cough, her brother, cough). Needless to say, the stress levels around here are somewhat charged.

To counteract those stressful thoughts, I present this…


My GISHWHES diploma…I do love their sense of humor. If you can’t read it, “In recognition of the personal sacrifices and dedication demonstrated by shocking the world with public art, kind deeds and generally being an unapologetic weirdo.” I think that’s my life philosophy. I probably need to work a bit more on the kind deeds. I think I will print this out and hang it next to my credential at school. I did not choose to hang my credential at school. It was done for me, by the way. I get kinda tired of explaining why I teach science when I have so much painting/literature experience (and really, I was never much of a painter).

We had an incredibly long staff meeting yesterday. The new school year has brought us Monday Minimum Days, presumably for collaboration with co-workers, although that hasn’t happened yet. But once a month, instead of collaborating, we start a staff meeting at 2:45 PM, the worst possible time in the world for my brain, which turns into mush between about 2 and 5 PM, and then it potentially can go on until 4:45. Shoot me now. I know how my brain works, though, so I draw. My last principal, I avoided drawing, because if your eyes were not wide open and trained upon him, you would be chastised the next day for your lack of attention, so if you consider the eyeball-straining scene from The Clockwork Orange


That’s kinda how it felt. Anyway, this new guy seems better…so I drew. One of my co-workers requested a cat. I glared at her. She glared back and said, “I know you know how to draw them. I’ve seen you do it.” True that. But I wasn’t in the mood for just a cat…

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Just so you know, because some people feel confused by this, drawing just occupies the part of my brain that otherwise causes trouble by falling asleep or spacing out. It actually allows me to concentrate BETTER on what you’re saying. I’ve always had a hard time convincing other people that I know how my brain works, but I do.

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It started with a hand on fire. Anyway. I may need to draw during collaboration days as well, based on what’s been happening in my department, which has two new teachers, both female, who may shake things up a bit (not a problem, personally).

Because of the heat here, when I’m working on stuff in my office or at the light table, I am followed by the living creatures who inhabit my house. They like to lie underfoot.

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This is better than where she was before, which was about where I was standing. I persuaded her to move over so I could actually use the light table.

Or under ironing boards so they can’t be moved.

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Eh. I do not rule my house. Pets do.

I’ve been under some reading stress lately too, which conflicts with my ability to get art done. Apparently every single book I had on hold at the library will be coming in within the same two-week time period, even though some have been on hold for over 6 months, as I was number 723 on a list of 5,000.

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I actually already finished two that came, one that was almost 800 pages. And I’m sending back the audio book, because I don’t concentrate well on those. I did not mean to get the audio version (whoops), so I re-requested it as a real book, with pages and all. I’m perfectly OK with waiting longer for that book at the moment, because I’m going to have a hard time getting through all these. Only two are book club books. And you can’t renew these, because 700 people after you have holds on them as well, so if I go over the due date, this explains my increasing fines with the library system. Pay for college? Pay my library fines? Hard decision to make.

Anyway, last but not least, here is a link to a blogpost I wrote for FIG, the women’s art group I’m in, about the installation at Art Produce opening this weekend: The Fence/La Barda exhibit


And a picture of the flying junk-mail birds I helped install.

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And now I need to go to school and try to figure out a way to deal with Google docs without using Google Classroom, because they still haven’t figured out how to fix that. Sigh. Nothing is ever easy. Yes, I could have them all SHARE their files with me, but apparently Classroom has a really easy, efficient way to do that, and I’m not allowed to have easy or efficient at the moment. So I’m winging it. Ha ha. Birds. Winging it. OK. Need more caffeine.

Figuring out How to Make the Feels

It’s highly possible the girlchild and I are related. I often come home from work and my brain is fried. I have no ability to get anything done. I sit and read, whether blogs or book, and I can’t move off the couch or the chair. Inertia. I’m tired. My job can be exhausting. Tonight, I come home and read, because I have 5 books that were on library hold and all came in at the same time and will all be due in 3 weeks. I love this STRESS to get the reading done. I start with the 800-page book. It’s long. Read it first. 

When girlchild gets home, she’s upset. There’s drama, there’s sad, there’s hormones, there’s just a whole lot of stress and worry and shit. She’s worried about her future, her college choices, her soccer team, what she will wear the first day of school (in contrast, I have no idea what I’m wearing to school tomorrow). I’m working really hard at ignoring the big future things, about not worrying about her leaving, but I’m sure she knows I worry about it. That said, I want her to go. I want her to go and have a college experience without living at home, to be far away and functional all by herself. To know we love her and will jump on the first plane if necessary, but meanwhile, she needs to handle her own laundry. 

And we’re a year away from her leaving. It’s just amplified by the boychild being gone. She misses him already (it’ll be a week in about 5 hours). I do too, but not like she does. It’s different between brother and sister. I don’t remember missing my brother, but I was the one at college, and college is noisy and messy and busy and inhabits your entire brain. 

So instead of all the things I thought I would do tonight, I hung out with the girlchild. We cobbled together some lame-ass meal after seriously considering Menchies for frozen yogurt (it’s almost a healthy dinner). It wasn’t the greatest, but it was food. It reminds me that we should have better plans once her school starts, because there are some nights when neither of us want to cook. Before, the boychild’s presence would kind of force the issue, unless I was totally dead, and that was usually Friday, and then I would just order pizza. Now, with just the two of us, she’ll tell me she’s not hungry, and so I’ll just forage. I think we need to spend one Sunday a month cooking and freezing meals for those nights, or we’re going to be in serious trouble. If we’re smart, we’ll start this Sunday. I don’t know if we’re smart (I already know I’m working on an installation on Sunday).

Anyway. The plus is her moods seem less volcanic. The minus is they are swimming in salt water. Luckily, my brain is still holding me well above the water line…mostly. I can’t say I feel normal, because I feel…I don’t know how to explain it…distant. Distracted. Emotions are mostly held far away. I don’t know what that means. It just is at the moment. It just is. I honestly am not feeling most of the time, or the feels are so far away, they don’t really affect me. Strange.

I spent about 4 hours with her, talking, hanging out, reading, because she needed it…and then she went to bed and I started quilting the last bird, the second owl…

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Background and owl color. I trimmed all 3 bird quilts that will be bound…maybe tomorrow night I will get the bindings on. I also need to make some decisions about the floating house and how to hang the other two bird quilts, and then DRAW DRAW DRAW. No more fucking excuses. I really could have sat in the living room with the girlchild and comforted her as I did anyway, and I could have been drawing. Except my brain said no. I’m not sure why. There’s some mental space I need to be in, and I can’t be there at the moment. Unfortunate. I expect to be done by the end of the long weekend. I do. 

Expectations? Modify. Every day. Deep breaths. Modify again. 

Girlchild does not want to leave her pets behind when she goes to college. She was feeling mopey today and subjected Calli to full body hug…

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Calli put up with it for about 20 minutes. That’s all the doggy love she’s got, apparently. Although that’s a little closer than I get to the dog on a regular basis.

It’s a rough week. Lots of adjustments at school. Parent meetings are already starting. Trying to keep on top of things, to use my staff (girlchild and student aide) appropriately. To put art in every day. To take care of myself. To take care of my mind. To be myself. 

The path to happy? I don’t know. I follow this path and get distracted and end up on another path, one that doubles back or ends at a cliff, and I pick my way back, or I just end up bushwhacking across the hillside, stickers in my socks, scratches on my calves. I don’t really think, this one thing, it’s what will make me happy. All those things are now troubled choices. I think what made me happy before? I won’t trust it for a good long while. Thanks for that. That’s not my construct. It’s what others do…they damage the normal neural pathways and we have to route around. You think, “This SHOULD make me happy, but due to all the heinous shit I associate with it, it no longer works.” How else will we get there? Sometimes that’s the hardest part, is figuring out how to make the feels. One step. One day. One.


Staying Up Late in the Name of Laundry

Oh yeah. Friday night. Hell, it’s Saturday morning. I meant to write this earlier. Really. I’ve been kinda sideswiped by life. Starting school, sending a kid off to college, that whole lack of sleep thing, which reminds me, the only reason I’m up now (because I’ve already fallen asleep on the couch once) is because I’m in charge of late-night laundering again. Girlchild dumped it all in the washer and then went to bed, and I’m fairly sure she needs it early tomorrow morning for soccer. Hmn. Motherly duties.

Staying up late in the name of laundry. Wish it was something a little more meaningful, like reducing waste or reversing climate change or curing cancer. But no. It’s because of laundry…laundry that could have been done at ANY time today. Without my assistance. Yup.

Thursday was an exceptionally long day, up early to send the boychild off (he has arrived and moved in, although reports on the roommate have been limited to insider knowledge about his plethora of monogrammed towels and accessories), then worked all day and went to physical therapy and then quilt class. I had been hoping to get all 5 birds quilted last night.

Wow. That’s crazy talk. What’s funny is that I was so tired that I couldn’t quilt FAST, so I kept moving the quilt in tinier and tinier squiggles…

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I’m not sure that was a good thing. Lord, the lighting is horrible in this picture. Suffice it to say, it’s quilted.

I did miss stitching down the underside of the neck somehow…

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So I’ll have to do that tomorrow. This is one being made for the Art Produce show, so there will be no binding, just a satin stitch. Also hoping to do that tomorrow.

I didn’t fully finish quilting the second eyeball bird.

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Toldja I was quilting fucking tiny. Finish it off tomorrow. Then quilt the other three. Faster. And in a less anal manner.

Today was similarly crazy, although I got more sleep. I also started the 5 loads of laundry from the boychild’s room. Cleaned out his trash. Picked up the books in there. He won’t like that I didn’t alphabetize by author, but I need to leave something for him to do when he comes home, right? Plus I think I want to read half of them. Next week, I have to ship his piano and some other stuff. Yes. I said Ship a Piano. Don’t laugh.You want me to ship YOU a piano? I will. I have extras. I shipped paintings and etching plates home from Britain when I lived there for a year. We had to have a special crate built for some of the stuff that I sent home from there and it came via ship. Had to be picked up from the docks in Long Beach or somewhere around there after it cleared customs.

I forced my hand this morning and contacted my photographer to take pictures of the Mammogram and Menopause quilts. That meant I had to actually FINISH the second one, so I finished up the binding tonight. Tomorrow or Sunday I’m going to do some inking on it, I think. Maybe some embroidery. I get myself in such a rush that I don’t do so much of that any more. Both are being photographed early next week, so I will have to make sure they are DONE. For reals. Then finish all the birds and the floating house (I think I’m done with it…although…no…sigh…I don’t know). Then get the drawing done on gender equality, which has been kicking my butt all summer. It’s become a significantly high priority, which I actually think is a good thing. It means I can’t come home from work and procrastinate by staring at the computer. I have to work on art in order to get it done in time. Like every day. Seriously. I think that helps me keep a balance.

So yeah. I did that on purpose. Uh huh.

The art brain is excited about it anyway.

So my plan is (you know how I love to have plans that I can later dash to pieces) to get it fully drawn and numbered by Labor Day weekend, and then start tracing it in early September. I need it traced and cut out by mid-September (yikes. deep breaths. There’s only a million things happening in the next three weeks, because that’s what we’re talking about is three whole weeks…three whole weeks with an art installation that will take two days and revolving openings. Back-to-school night. Two of them. Don’t Think About It.). Then start choosing fabrics in mid-September. It’s about the size of the Celebrating Silver quilt, a little smaller, so maybe 15 hours of fabric-choosing. That’s at least a full week and a weekend. And another week plus to cut the fabrics out, so ideally, it’s fabricked by the end of September. October is for ironing and quilting. Holy crap. I’m in trouble here. I need another month. I don’t have another month. OK. Well, that decides some things, doesn’t it? I do think I have until mid-November. There’s a 3-day weekend in there. I don’t need to sleep in November, do I?

I need to get my act in gear. Good thing I have no life. Well, except for my job. And the girlchild’s soccer. And all the art stuff and hiking and book-reading I do. And the gym. Sleep? Eh. Not so much.

At least I have a purpose for the next few months. Besides surviving school. And flipping the laundry in the middle of the night.

I do miss the boychild. There is an empty space where he would normally be. But the girlchild has been a little less crazy this week (well, if you ignore the food issues because of the lost wisdom teeth and her freaking out about coaching soccer without her dad around to help). She’s been less screamy. She may just be lonely.

Anyway, I have a teacher’s aide at school this year, one of my good boy students from last year who follows instructions well. I’m going to use his talents best I can to reduce my load. I’m going to collaborate with my teacherfolk to get up and running on these Chromebooks and get off of paper. Google is trying to fix my Classroom access so I can actually use the system the way I want, but until then, there are other apps that will do. I’m doing a lot of winging-it this year. There’s a lot of change in the air at school and it seems positive. Well, some of it is just plain weird, but mostly positive.

I still have to stay up for another 45 minutes though to flip the laundry again. You know, in the past, I have gone to bed and set an alarm for an hour later to wake me up enough to go turn the dryer on. It’s a little crazy, but it works. I’m a little crazy too, so it makes sense. I started the school year with a little crazy in mind. I think my students are a tad freaked out by my crazy, but I really don’t care. I’m gonna hug their little brains with dissections and nerve-cell-exploding ideas about genetics and nutrition and what WHITE means (that’s in light and pigment and even in skin color). In fact, I might just do a whole lesson on What Is White (I do a lab called What Is Black?…I should just connect the two). Just after I do the Zombie Apocalypse unit. Seriously. I didn’t have the brain power last year. I was deep in a nasty-ass hole made by someone else. I guess I’m good at dragging myself out of holes that other people make for me. I think the next time I have to do that, I’m gonna go all wizard and demons killed with sharp silver blades on someone’s ass. Because it’s not cool to do that shit to people you’re supposed to care about…

You know, with the boychild gone, there are way too many leftovers in the fridge. Girlchild and I need to adjust the cooking volume. Mr. Bottomless has left the building. And is that skunk I smell? It surely is. Nice.

It has to be bedtime.


Oh Lonely Sriracha

I’m up at holy shit in the morning because boychild leaves for college today. I’m not taking him. It would be really hard to take the second and third days of school off without there being major issues, so his dad is taking him out there. It’ll be good for his dad to see Cornell anyway, and I would just annoy the crap out of him at the moment because I’m all girl-like and hey let’s get set up and fill out your I-9 so you can get a job and say HI to people and stuff. You know. Like a mom. Plus I probably wouldn’t stop crying, and that’s never cool when you’re a freshman in college, mom sobbing away in a ball of saltwater on your dorm room floor.

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He has missing teeth in that picture. And girlchild, what is UP with the barrettes? Sheesh. (2004…ages 7 and 8)

I’m actually too tired to be emotional right now.

So I send him off this morning. Yesterday afternoon I got home from my first (LONG) day of school…OK, it’s only long because I haven’t talked that much without stopping since, um, the LAST day of school…OK, not even that…since the last day I taught something I had to talk a lot about (sexually transmitted diseases, to be specific, probably AIDS), and the boychild has dumped all his clothes on the couch and folded about 5 shirts. So I start folding and putting in logical piles and tell him to go find everything he wants to bring and he eventually brings more stuff (dude. where’s your jacket. seriously.). I realize I can ship some of the warmer stuff if I need to, because I don’t think New York is going to go to freezing before mid-September (we Southern Californians are not great with actual seasons, so I don’t actually know if this is true, but I do have a weather app that claims there’s a 54% chance he will be hit by lightning in the next two weeks), but it would be nice not to have to ship anything.

So we count underwear and he’s a little short. You have to understand that I asked him back in early July about his underwear (oh my god, mother, do we have to talk about underwear?) and suggested a two-week minimum. Because I went to college. And laundry is not fun. And you have to fight for machines, even if you’re a night owl like me. In fact, I do not even remember doing laundry the first two years. Maybe I didn’t. I remember doing it in Britain, because there were three buildings all attached to each other and you had to go to the very bottom floor (I was on the 4th or 5th floor?) of the furthest one away and it was like going to Siberia, it was so far away and no elevators, just up and down stairs, and a total pain in the ass. I asked about socks too. So it was no shocker to me that he only had 11 pairs of underwear (why is underwear a PAIR? a PAIR of what?) and 8.5 pairs of socks. One with holes in them. Where the hell is his sock stash? We never did find it.

You might be saying to yourself, Kathy, why did you not get him to pack earlier? Do you think I didn’t try? Do you think I haven’t been telling him to pack for the last WEEK? Or MORE? Yup. This is why I meditate. And drink alcohol. At the same time. In the morning.

So after my first day of school, at 5:00 at night, we got in the car and went to Target for underwear and socks. Sigh. Yes, I know he can buy stuff there, but…I wanted to at least attempt to send him off outfitted with those, because he’s got no cold-weather clothing or shoes and he’s going to have to figure all that out on his own. And I’m his MOM, dammit.

Then I get the big suitcase packed and it’s 3,000 pounds. Not gonna fly. Literally. Send boychild over to grandparents’ house to get smaller second suitcase that will fit inside big one on the trip back (his dad is bringing those back; we’re leaving him a duffel bag…it’s all he wanted) while I start making dinner. Girlchild is still mostly out of food commission because of chipmunk cheeks from wisdom-teeth removal. I did go to the store for her already and purchase soup and bread and ice cream and something else. I did not make her risotto like she wanted. She’s the cook. Yes, I did all that after school too.

Second suitcase shows up and I reapportion the load. We’re under the max weight on both of them now. Good job. Unfortunately, he wants to add stuff this morning, so I don’t actually know if it’s under or not. You know what? It is no longer my problem. He’s on dadwatch now.

My mom is driving them to the airport, because I can’t guarantee I’ll be back in time for school, and honestly, it was easier to have him do the dorky I’m not gonna look you in the eye OR hug you thing here. Boys. Asperger boys. Sigh. So yeah. He’s gone. I’ve already booked his flights for Winter Break. I looked at flights for Thanksgiving for me…he doesn’t get the whole week off, but I do. Not sure what I’m going to do about that. It’s not cheap. Girlchild wants to go too. But I will have to pay for all those college applications and test scores at the same time. So. Yeah. I don’t know.

Meanwhile, I’ve had about 4.5 hours of sleep and I’m teaching in two hours…and possibly two more cups of tea. Eyes. Open.

I did do quilt stuff last night. I stitched down all five bird quilt tops…

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And then I started sandwiching and pin-basting.

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None of them take very long to do, luckily.

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I think I started after 10 PM. Can’t remember what I was doing before. I’m sure it was something very important. Yes, normal people go to bed at 10 PM. I know that.

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Seriously. I’m not awake. Maybe I should go back to bed for an hour and set the alarm, except my hair’s wet now from the shower and it will look goofy as hell if I do that. Goofier than normal. And it should be obvious by now that I don’t go to bed at a normal hour.

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I have quilt class tonight, assuming girlchild doesn’t need me at her soccer practice to yell at parents. She is having a hard time with a couple who don’t respect her knowledge base. Sure, it’s hard to think that a 17-year-old can coach 9-year-olds in soccer, but she’s been playing since she was 5 and helping her dad coach for like the last 5 years. I think she’s probably better than about half the parents I’ve seen out there.

Oh yeah, and I saw the final episode of X Files last night. I started rewatching the series back in January, because I liked it then and I didn’t remember most of it. I realized that I hadn’t seen the last season at all, which isn’t surprising, because it aired in 2001-2002, so I had a 4- and 5-year-old at home while working and going to school to get my teaching credential online. I finished my masters in May or June of 2002, I think. And then I got divorced that fall…well, separated anyway. It’s possible that TV was not a priority. The series wasn’t the same without Mulder, of course, although I love Doggett and Reyes NOW. The last episode tried to explain everything, which is kinda lame, but I did enjoy rewatching it. I guess I’ll have to start watching something else now…something that doesn’t have any major triggers and keeps me entertained but allows my art brain to pick fabrics or iron without too much distraction (yes, I have to distract my own brain in order to get stuff done).

Anyway, all this distracts me from the boychild’s departure, which is probably a good thing at the moment. Keep the brain over THERE. It’s also probably good that the girlchild is with me for the next 5 days, because her dad is gone, although she has three social events planned and at least two soccer practices. I might be in trouble with her because I didn’t wake her up to say goodbye to her brother, but we kinda ran out of time, because he kept handing me stuff to shove into his luggage. At the last minute. Because yeah. Probably he didn’t want to think too hard about leaving either.

Last night, he says, “Hey, if you clean my room, don’t throw anything out.” And I’m looking at his room, which is usually pretty neat. And it’s not. Sigh. OK. I’ll be cleaning his room, I guess. Only so it’s easier to clean up the cat puke. And find his secret stash of nudie magazines. OK. That’s not happening. Pre-internet, right? And it’s more likely to be sci fi/fantasy graphic novels…which I’ve already read.

The sriracha sauce will sit in the fridge unused for months now. And wait until Babygirl realizes he’s gone (I had to promise to comb her regularly last night…must find comb). OK. Have to go render young minds.

Hello Cornell…

Last week, the boychild and I visited Cornell University so he could make a decision about college for next year. He had said all along that he didn’t need to visit a college to decide, but hey, when reality is staring you in the face and it’s a few thousand miles away, then apparently you change your mind.

So I scheduled a last-minute trip during his (and my) Spring Break and their Cornell Days. I watched the weather and was a little freaked out about snow being forecast, especially since we were flying into Syracuse and driving to Ithaca (cheaper). We got into Syracuse (and Ithaca) pretty late. Luckily, I’ve realized that all college towns in the East have the same pizza place that delivers (yes, even to hotel rooms) late at night.

The next day, we ventured out into the rain to the registration area and a class and an info session and lunch and the bookstore, but it was nasty wet rain (I actually bought an umbrella, it was so bad…I know. I’m from Southern California and my old umbrella had BROKEN way back in January or February and I hadn’t replaced it because I DIDN’T NEED TO. I realize my entitlement). I took zero pictures during the rain, mostly because it was so wet and then it got cold, dropping about 40 degrees from the morning to the late afternoon. So ALL of these are from the next day. Well, except this lovely photo, taken from the (crappy) hotel room window when I realized it was SNOWING. Yes, I don’t get out much.

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It’s not even sticking at that point. We actually went out in that to find a local brewpub for dinner.

The boychild doesn’t like to write his name…in fact, I have no problems posting this online, because you can’t even read it (OK, not really).

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He did wear this, but under his jacket. OK, wait, I lied. I did take pictures at Buttermilk Falls State Park, where we went before dinner, just to get a walk in. It was bloody freezing and snowing and absolutely different from what he’s used to here at home, and gorgeous.

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I’m not sure you can argue with any of that. Certainly, visits to see him at college will be fun. Although I might avoid some of the snowier months.

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To many of my readers, this style of house and yard is probably very familiar, but San Diego doesn’t do it this way.

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The next morning, we headed back out to campus to wander around in NON-rainy weather. This I believe is one of the cooperative houses on campus…there were a few of them. At this point, there were some brief snow flurries, but mostly it was just a pretty (and bloody freezing) day. I managed to keep my nose from freezing off my face, but only barely.

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Boychild acknowledged that he might need gloves and better shoes for next year. He wore short sleeves the entire time we were there, but the jacket I bought him for Christmas was entirely the right move.

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There’s a lake on campus (it’s not very big, but it’s cute) and a bridge going over the river that exits the lake…

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The falls were very impressive in the morning…

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He was kind of amazed by the color of the water and the walls of the ravine on each side.

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I was kind of amazed by the ice…

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And the tree icicles.

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Towards the bridge we walked over in the rain yesterday.

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I know. Not much snow.

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This time, we just wandered around to get a feel for the place when water wasn’t sluicing into your eyes.

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He likes it. He says it’s pretty.

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And it has its own art museum.

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Lots of old buildings that remind me of going to school in Wales.

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With Spring just around the corner.

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We ate in there the day before…the bathrooms looked like something out of Hogwart’s, and there was a library with lots of soft chairs and tables, a really old library, that I was too lame to take pictures of…

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Part of the student housing is down this big hill…so I made him walk down it…

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Looking back up at the main campus…

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So he could then experience walking back UP that hill. Definitely a good exercise option if you have to do that a few times a day.

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The weather stayed nice (but still freezing!) the whole time we walked around.

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When we were done exploring (he had decided…he needed no more exploring), we headed off for Syracuse…driving the Bob Nida (my dad) way: If there is a two-line road running parallel to the main highway, then you should be on it, because it is more interesting than the main highway.

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Plus, it has more cemeteries (I warned the boy that I like these…he has experienced my cemetery habit before)…

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And the trees and blue skies with the snow made it quite lovely…

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Meanwhile, back in San Diego, it was SO HOT (per the girlchild)…

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It was in the 80s.

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Certainly a temperature difference.

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We had some time when we got to Syracuse, so we went to a local lake…

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Where fish were dropping from the sky…

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And geese were squawking…

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and trees were falling in the lake…

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More icicles (things I NEVER see).

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Anyway, the goal was to help him decide and it worked, and now I know where he’ll be for probably the next 4 years, so that helps me be less freaked out by it. Besides, I figure he’ll WANT to come back to Southern California after 4 years of freezing his butt off…and it gives me a good excuse to go out there and hike some new trails.


Trying to Find Normal

Being home from hospital and going back to work doesn’t equal normal. Work was a little crazy…apparently my guest teacher was ALSO a little crazy. I got desperate hugs from my students. I guess they missed me.

The good news is that, although girlchild doesn’t think she’s getting better (it still hurts a lot), I could see improvement just in the 20-odd hours she was with her dad. She can walk a lot further and she’s a lot more alert. So those are good things. She chose to come to my house (and walk up the stairs!) last night, and she ate a real amount of food for the first time since Monday night. Her med schedule is still fun for ALL of us. I got up at 12:30, 2:30, and 4:30 to medicate her, and then I was up at 5:30 because I’m some sort of crazy and I’m going on a hike today. I NEED to go on a hike today. So I am. So no post last night…too tired. Managed to cook dinner, exercise, meditate. Stared at artmaking supplies. Accomplished nothing. I don’t need to accomplish anything right now. It’s OK. Soon, but not right now.

Boychild is relieved that he got into one of his backup schools. There’s so much negative crap about smart white boys not getting into good schools that I think he was worried (I know I was). So we have started the acceptance/rejection round as of last night (one of each)…in another 10 days, we might know where he’ll spend the next 4 years, but as he said last night, now that he has ONE acceptance under his belt, “I can go to college!” Yay. I think he thought he would be stuck here forever. No worries kid.

More later, assuming I survive.