When It’s Out…

Long weekends are a blessing. I graded a bunch of stuff over the last three days. I’m not caught up, but I’m panicking less. I managed exercise three days in a row. As the school week goes on, that is less and less likely. So I did well. And I’m ironing. All good. Trying not to think of things I should be ironing or sewing or deadlines that are coming. Just doing the things when I can.

Friday night, I did more trees…

And I think I also ironed the hiker…

Could have been Saturday though. I ironed a bunch on Saturday afternoon…like this…

Starting up the mountain. Last night, I got part of the mountain in…

I’m hoping to get the mountains done and be well into the sky tonight, if not done. I might be able to do it. There’s about 270 pieces left.

I drew briefly on Saturday night…

I hiked this morning with the man…

Just Cowles Mountain…the original plan had Pyles Peak as well, but it was warm…

Although the valleys were socked in. Weird.

A view of one of my quilts behind the amazing Margaret Fabrizio…

We traded earlier this year.

And some pictures of me with my quilts at The Studio Door opening…

I don’t really like posing for photos…

Even with a mask on, you can probably tell.

Not even sure what I’m looking at in that photo…but here’s 1, 2, and 3 in one with me.

We missed a few. You get the idea. Check out the show though! It’s a nice area with many restaurants for lunch or dinner. Parking isn’t awful (but it can be). It’s open through September 25.

Every Friday afternoon, I’m here, waiting for my COVID test…

I’m negative again…it does make me nervous to have any possible symptom (stuffed up nose? sore throat?), so this is how I feel better about it. Stick a swab up my nose once a week.

Meanwhile, Texas politicians are idiots, so is the Supreme Court, I have incredible sympathy for Afghanistan, did I mention how stupid Texas is? Not all Texans, I know. Ida and Henri, sheesh, some people, an awful lot of them, really need help. This as California’s fires started well before the actual fire season.

Maybe there are just a lot of stupid people out there who believe they have the right to govern women’s bodies, even though we can’t do the same to them. I’m angry. I’m pissed off. I would just like to say that I called this 10+ years ago and got told it wouldn’t happen. My ass it wouldn’t. Feel like you’re losing control of the country? SLAM SOME GROUP INTO THE GROUND. That’s what we do. Fight back, y’all. Give money if you can. Yell loud and lots. Those rich white ladies won’t suffer over this idiotic law…it’s the ones who can’t afford to suffer any more than they already do. Yell louder.

Seriously, if you don’t don’t own a uterus, don’t tell people what to do with it. And if you do own one? You get to control YOUR OWN and nobody else’s. Because if y’all can own that, if you can pass laws about that, then it’s about time we took ownership of some dicks out there, and I can tell you, it’s gonna be ugly. You’re not making babies? You certainly don’t need sperm (vasectomies for all men over…um…I’ll give you age 50…at that age, the DNA is getting damaged and you shouldn’t be making babies anyway). And if you use that dick incorrectly? Like raping someone? Well you’ve proven you don’t know how to use it, so we’ll just take it away…starting with some rich old white boys.

Yeah. I’m angry. God damn it. We’ve done this already, before I even was old enough to understand it. Why the fuck do we have to go over all this again with you folks? Do you not listen?

I guess the next quilt is drawing itself again. I’ll let you know when it’s out.

Hike It Off

Saturday morning girlchild infusion. Nice start to the day. I was thinking about her. She’s applying for jobs and will probably end up staying back East, committing for up to two years. I miss her. It’s a long way away.

Meanwhile, the boychild and I dragged the dogs up Cowles Mountain (in the case of the old lady dog, it really was hard for her at some point, although she’ll never stop).

An actual stream crossing the path up Cowles…don’t know that I’ve seen water up there before.

I don’t hike Cowles a lot any more…too many people. But we had daylight and it was the 2nd walk of the week, so the boy wanted to do something different.

And the weather was gorgeous, a little chilly with a breeze, but beautiful blue skies. Lots of flowers, although not as many as our regular dog hike…

I need to find a way to get out to the desert in the next two weeks.

Rest time! Calli was tired. Tried to get her to drink water, but she fights it.

She’s an old lady. Stubborn as hell.

Getting outside is the best medicine for a day that became more stressful than I thought it would. Two classes of not-listening. Just keep talking instead of hearing the instructions. Can’t read instructions. OK. Then don’t do the lab. Watch the table next to you. Don’t get mad at ME for your shit. Hopefully Monday will be better. Two more days of labs.

It’s not just my classes…it’s across the board in our grade level. At some point, schools might learn that testing on top of testing on top of Daylight Savings on top of the counseling program that didn’t seem to do much for MY kids is not a good plan. Plus normally Spring Break would be right around the corner…and it’s a LONG way away. Why do we pin these things to religious holidays? I don’t understand.

The water they wouldn’t drink…

Up at the top finally. More resting for the old lady.

The dog. I was OK. I don’t like stopping. My muscles complain.

There’s a migrating butterfly in this picture. Can you see it?

There weren’t a lot, but they were hard to photograph…never stopping. At the top, on the way down…

It wasn’t longer than what we usually do. It was just more up.

I’m glad I did it though…even though I have a shitload of other things to do this weekend. I came home and graded one assignment while this guy zonked out…

The old lady too. It was after 11 PM when I finally set everything up for sorting…

But it didn’t take very long. I’m hoping to start ironing today…but I do have other things I need to do as well. Efficiency! Ugh. Shower, breakfast, then clean up in here so I have some chance of getting to the ironing. Then grade some stuff if I have time before the social stuff and a few errands. I don’t know what’s planned for tonight, but I’m sure it will involve food. Food is good. Maybe art too. Hard to say. Although I do need a relaxing weekend, I don’t see one in the near future…so I’m trying to sprinkle life with some relaxing things in between the stressful have-tos.

This morning, Calli woke me up because Kitten stole her bed.

I think this is funny. And I hate brown carpet.

Art today, somehow.

I Better Go It Alone*

The good news is that after almost 20 hours, I finished tracing the Wonder Under on the newest quilt. Last night. At like 1 AM. But it’s done! Anyone who thinks I get lots of sleep on breaks is crazy nutso. I should. It would be good if I did. But I don’t. I’m in full art mode. Plus grading stuff. So I got myself back on the one-assignment-graded-per-day schedule yesterday…four down, four to go…with two of those four being awful brainsuckers. I’m going to do another one today. Probably not a brainsucker today. I’m doing OK on the grading. Not great.

The Wonder Under took over 5 hours yesterday…tracing some intestines here…img_1256-small

The hair was just Wonder-Under-wasteful. I managed to put some small pieces in between hair strands, but they wouldn’t fit together very well.

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There’s 8 yards plus in there to cut out. I’m hoping to be on fabric by Friday or Saturday. I do have NYE plans, but not until late, so I’d like to spend most of the 31st with fabric if possible. We’ll see.

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We did a spontaneous hike yesterday with the dogs…it was hard, but not deadly. Being cold helps me…

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Top of Cowles Mountain…up the back way and down the service road. A gorgeous day for it…

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Girlchild’s photo of Calli and us further down the service road, waiting…we missed the sunset mostly.

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And this was in the driveway when we got back. Frozen like that until I started inching closer to them. Obviously plotting world destruction.

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If you leave a quilt top anywhere flat, then you should expect cats to lie on it…

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Apparently the same is true of college kids. This is why they love having the kids home…they lie still long enough to be lain upon. Or laid upon. Or something.

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Girlchild loaned me this for a chuckle…yes, it’s a cookbook, but a very snarky one.

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We did eventually get the dogs tired out for once…

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Today is grading and cutting shit out, plus I made it to the doc and the chiropractor. I’m done with the have-to’s for the day (well, except for the grading, dammit).

This quilt is not small. It’s gonna take me a while to get it done. I should remember that when I design the two for either side of it…or accept that there will only be one on one side of it. Or something. Ack. Thinking that far ahead hurts my head. Plus the 24″ piece I need to do before April. OK. I got this.

*Beck, Go It Alone

Two Peaks, Some Art, and Two Books…

No matter how much screaming and arguing seems to be happening here, we have now managed a second “family” hike. This time, they ditched me (it’s OK…I’m out of shape…and they waited at the tops of mountains, which is all I asked) and walked and talked together. I’m OK with that…

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We hiked up the back way to Cowles Mountain with the million people who always do that (there actually weren’t that many last night)…

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Where they beat me up by 10 minutes, but missed the rattlesnake (I didn’t stop to take a picture of it)…but then girlchild spotted a California Horned Toad (not a toad at all)…

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They’re so adorable and so hard to photograph. This is on the trail past Cowles down to Pyles Peak, because we don’t do easy. We climb mountains. OK. Not big mountains…there’s a view of Cowles looking back from the saddle between the two peaks. You can see the trail we’ll have to take back UP.

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Sometimes I don’t think through the suffering part of these until I’m doing them.

I’m amazed that with little rain and drought conditions, there are still flowers everywhere…

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This is from the base of Pyles…with Cowles in the far distance.

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And looking up at the “peak.” It’s kind of a lame peak…more of a rounded thing. But you do have to climb to get up there. Trust me.

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We saw maybe 5 other people on this part of the trail…here’s the top, overlooking most of San Diego County…

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We tried to time it so we would hit sunset when we got back to Cowles, so hopefully we wouldn’t need to use the headlamps. The marine layer always makes for interesting pictures into the distance.

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And Cowles to the south…

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Another interesting flower…

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I was behind the kidlets again (they walk fast…youth plus lack of injury), so the sun started setting as I was heading back up that long trail.

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Looking back towards Pyles…

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Beautiful sky…

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Definitely worth the pain…

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When we got back to Cowles, we actually ran into someone I knew, so she came back with us. We pulled the headlamps out for the last 10 minutes (we’re blind old ladies…the kids were fine) and had a great conversation about life, art, and hiking.

I’m smart about these hikes…I made dinner (casserole) and stuck it in the fridge so it needed about 20 minutes when we got home…just long enough for a shower to wash off the worst of the sweat. Of course, then it takes me an hour to get my butt off the couch. Ah, old age. And a good workout. There’s conflicting reports on the mileage. I call it 6 miles, but it might have been more.

I eventually got up. It took a lot of willpower. I haven’t finished sewing the binding on yet, but girlchild was going to bed, and I wanted to watch Elementary, which has to be on the television in the living room…so I started tracing the next one. My ex-Cousin-in-Law (I think that’s what she is) requested a cat with a heart, so I drew an extra piece for her…

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Very anatomically correct, of course. And I kept going, although standing was exhausting.

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Kitten was no help (as usual). I managed about 100 of the 500+ pieces, and then I looked at the clock…

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It’s a good thing it’s vacation…that was a late night. I’m feeling it this morning, because I didn’t sleep well. Trash trucks and birds chirping and sunlight and cats hurdling me and dogs whining. Ugh. I don’t do mornings well.

I finished three books in the last week…I need to write a separate post about one of them, but the other two…Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie…

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which I read for book club, but then didn’t make it to the meeting (grades were due). This is actually a common occurrence for me. I don’t mind, but in this case, really wanted to discuss the whole confusing gender thing in the book. I didn’t think it added to the story at all, and although I finished the book and gave it an average rating, I don’t want to read the rest of the series because of the gender confusion. It was never really explained satisfactorily and just annoyed me. I don’t mind gender commentary. Just explain it before I’m 150 pages into the book.

The second book was recommended by a friend, The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston…

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This one I liked…a current-day dragon-slayer. This is a YA novel, but I think easily reads as an adult novel. I love the connection to historical stuff and the environment. Definitely a good retelling of the dragon story. I’m reading the sequel to this one.

Yes, summer is about reading and hiking and art. Surely there’s other shit I need to do (and I will), but I’m still in recovery mode.

Keeping Track

I don’t know what the fuck You’re doing right now, probably sleeping unless you’re in the other half of the world from me, but I know you know what I’m doing. Oh yeah, baby. I’m tracing tiny little pieces into Wonder Under. I’m not curing cancer or delivering damn babies. I’m getting a tan from my light table and smearing my hands with synthetic lead, while you quietly snore, happily curled up in a nice bed, dreaming the dreams of the contentedly asleep.

Imagine Rambo or Chuck Norris being art quilters, and that’s kinda how I felt last night. I needed to finish tracing one section, a logical section, but I had hiked earlier, just a short one, and I even meditated like a good girl, but I had to psych myself up to finish that little bit. I wanted my 200 pieces last night. I was tired after 100. A normal person would have stopped after 100 pieces, brushed her teeth, taken her meds, and gone to bed. I guess there’s no question in my mind about my normalcy. Or my sanity. But I’m getting close to the end on this task. I’ve worked on it every night, just like I planned. I was a little light on pieces Wednesday night, but I knew Back-to-School Night would probably kick my ass, so I was pleased to even get 100 pieces done that night. I’ve met my goal every night. The fact that I’m too tired to keep my eyes open right now, even though I need to leave for school in 20 minutes…that’s OK, right? That won’t be a problem tonight?

Huh. Yeah.

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Because never-ending photos of tiny Wonder Under pieces are really interesting.

Here was my hiking crew last night, a fairly large group. The dog was a sweetheart…

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Her name was Luna. She had her own light on her collar for when we came down the mountain in the dark.

Cowles Mountain is one of the most-hiked mountains in San Diego County, I think. The front path…I’ve been up and down it probably 50-100 times. So has most of the county. It’s way too crowded, but more importantly, there are way too many people who don’t know hiking etiquette and are completely rude and annoying. Hog the path, run past you and almost run into you (the runners are often the worst ones out there), leave your dog’s poop in the path, break the trail. So we hike up one of the many paths on the back of the mountain. The other plus with that on a hot day like what it has been is that you’re in the shade for most of the hike.

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We got up to the top around 7, just in time for the sunset, although it wasn’t particularly spectacular.

This is facing southwest, with Lake Murray in the middle and the ocean in the distance..oh yeah, and trashcans in the foreground. Mostly people use those.

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There were lots of people at the top. Kids do this hike; it’s only 3 miles round trip on the main trail. This is facing east, a little southern-facing…my house is in that direction.

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And this is northeast.

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I prefer a little longer hike, but honestly, the shortness is probably the only reason I got anything done last night. I was definitely on a roll, though. Not watching the clock. Just tracing the next piece. I’m in the mid 800s at the moment. The male figure is completely traced and all I have left is the tree and everything hanging in it, about 210 pieces. It doesn’t sound like much, but the tree is cranky to trace…all those curvy branches that are overlapping. I’ve been tracing for 9 hours and 17 minutes. I had guessed 10-11 hours, and I think that’s pretty accurate. I can make guesses like that now because I keep track of my time using an app, and I can go back and estimate based on similar-sized quilts, or quilts that are about the same level of complication. It’s nice to be able to do that. I can budget my time better that way, motivate myself to get the next step done. I think I would have a really hard time getting a 2000-piece quilt done at the moment, so I’m glad it didn’t go that high. “It”. Like I have no control over it. Well, sometimes it feels that way, that the art brain is just doing her thing and I have to try to rein her in occasionally.

I’m going to have to try to finish this later…I have a staff photo this morning and should probably get there on time for that (eh…).

Later: it’s not even 11 AM and I have officially reached my quota of drama for the day. Meditating now. Finishing Wonder Under later.

On a Tuesday Night…

In which another thousand words of a sci fi novel randomly pop out of my head into Google Docs…where they righteously belong. For no apparent reason. After hiking 6 miles. Really, I shouldn’t be capable of much after a night hike, but apparently those words needed out. I don’t actually read what I’ve written, unless I’ve forgotten something, but even then, I usually just tag it with a comment to be fixed later, because I’m over 35 pages at this point and trying to find that one paragraph where I explained whatever it is I explained (probably something to do with government takeovers) is pretty much impossible.

There is a cat ballet going on in my house at the moment, as the most likely petter of cats has left for college. Yes, boychild was home the most and would search out cats and scratch their heads and pet them and sometimes comb one or two of them. Without him here, they are constantly gathering around whatever space I inhabit and I will turn around and try to shepherd one into the space and one out (none of them like each other, some actually hate each other). Last night, while letting one out of the laundry room (home of food and litter trays), Babygirl came kamikazing out of the boychild’s room, front legs cycling like a windmill, caterwauling at Kitten like she was a foreign invader. Made me scream. Little pyscho. Aren’t you the oldest one? Kitty equivalent of 80 years old? Feisty old bitch. It’s the only excitement I get at night.

So I hiked last night after school. It was nice, but it will be my tutorial day in a few weeks, so I probably won’t be able to do it again. It was hard enough to find the energy for a Tuesday night…I suspect Thursdays will be considerably worse. When I showed up for the hike, I was told I looked like I was moving slowly (I was…it was after school…I was tired), but my body eventually figured it out and got moving. The group I hike with mostly looks normal…until cameras come out, and then the weird happens…

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See? Normal…for zombies. Well, we started out normal.

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We did Cowles Mountain to Pyles Peak from Barker Way, leaving at 6 PM and coming back in the dark.

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Yeah, it was hot yesterday, probably in the high 80s when we started, but it wasn’t too bad…do you see the little tiny thundercloud in the back of that picture?

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It got bigger.

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I kept trying to get the color that was really showing, but my camera wasn’t quite up to the task.

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The sunset reflects off the clouds to the east. This one is from the top of Pyles Peak.

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It was nice and cool by the end of the hike. And dark. Yes, dark. But in the beginning, you could see all the clouds and marine layer in the distance to the west…this is from the top of Cowles.

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This is facing north from Cowles, looking out toward Pyles Peak, which always looks a million miles away from here.

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And from Pyles, here’s Cowles Mountain. At this point, we’re halfway through and it looks like a million miles to get back. It’s not really. It’s only 1.5 miles to the peak and then another 1.5 down. At 8 PM. On a work day. Before you’ve eaten dinner. Yeah. A little crazy.

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As the sun set, we had popsicles! It felt really good to have icy sugar with the heat.

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It’s hard to capture the look of the hills. I love looking at them, but I can never get a good picture of what I love looking AT. The graying out of the different layers of hills in the distance. Totally opposite of what they taught us in painting class.

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There was wildlife. This scorpion is maybe 2-3 inches long.

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I decided this was a gopher snake because it’s skinny and has a pointy tail.

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Lovely. Spider creepout.

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When I got home, I was feeling tired (OK, physically exhausted but mentally alert), but I really want to make a point of art every night. It makes me feel better. I’m still falling into these nightly downspaces, especially on the nights when the girlchild is not here. Plus I have deadlines. I want to be making progress. I need to be able to show that something is getting done. That there’s a purpose to everything. That it’s not just Go To Work. Go Home. Watch TV. Like some people.

I had decided in order to reduce the price on the two quilts that will be in the Art Produce show, which is being installed this weekend (some pressure to get done, eh?), I wasn’t going to bind the edges. In the olden days, I used to participate in a weekly or monthly challenge (don’t actually remember) that was one word? Maybe two? And you’d make a small quilt for it. I have about 7 or 8 of them. I’ll try to find them maybe. They were fun to experiment with, but I didn’t want to spend the time binding them, so I remembered a technique that I think Ellen Anne Eddy taught us using cording to help satin stitch an edge. Now I’m sure I could do the same thing without the cording, but for some reason, the cord seemed to make it work better.

Unfortunately, I think it took 20 minutes last night to FIND the cording.

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Once I did, I finished the two edges…it was kind of amazing that I had thread to match the lighter one.

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OK, maybe not so amazing. I do have a lot of thread. Now I just have to figure out how I want to hang them. Keep it simple.

I was really tired when I finished all that, but I think it was better going to bed with something completed, something that I’d accomplished…yes, besides teaching all day and hiking 6 miles. I didn’t say any of it made any sense. I do spend a lot of hours not talking to anyone though and it wears on me. Girlchild is still coming to school each day with me, so that helps, but that ends this week. Then I go back to talking to myself. I already know how those conversations will go. Anyway. My goals for the week are to get the other three birds and the house done and get that damn drawing done. Holy moley. That needs to happen.

Apparently I will also be writing more sci fi…it’s crowding into my brain even now, waiting for the end of the day when it can all spill out. I guess that’s a good thing.

Celebrating American Independence with an Iron

Yesterday, I ironed. For like 5 hours. So shockingly, I got significant portions of this beast done…because that’s what it takes, standing in front of an ironing board for 5 hours. In case you were wondering about my process. Yes, it’s mostly crazy. Trying to explain it to non-art people, they mostly just nod their heads carefully, like people do when they think you’re crazy, and then they say something about how they could NEVER do that, because they’re not creative.

OK, well, I disagree with that. You obviously don’t have the fucked-up, obsessive mind that I do, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing at the moment. Me and my mind have not been getting along. I started by working on the ribcage. The uterus was ironed separately, to be placed properly later.

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Sometimes it’s just easier to do it that way…I can’t see through fabric once it’s ironed on. And this whole central torso is pretty complicated…

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There’s lungs and a heart and two hands and that uterus…I still do the whole thing while watching X Files…finally made it to Season 6.

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I started ironing in the morning, then continued during the afternoon in between sanding plaster and filling holes and waiting for them to dry and washing walls and then starting all over again, although not in that order. There’s more of that happening today. Ugh. Tired of remodeling. Can’t really stop now, though. Not motivated. Until I walk into the room and realize I can’t stand the mess. It’s easier to hide in my studio/office/room at the end of the hall where all the animals congregate.

I have the same problem with ironing…if I get to a really hard bit, a complicated section, it takes will power to keep myself standing at the ironing board and working. It’s easier to walk away and come up with something else to do. You saw how many books I read earlier this week…total avoidance of ALL things, art, house, etc. Just make it all stop. I’m doing better with it right now, but that’s also because I got through the really hard bit yesterday with a whole lot of bitchy persistence.

Sometimes I don’t know where that comes from. Sometimes I know it’s genetic. Sometimes it’s just the drive in my head, the artist finally coming out of the cave where she’s been hanging out with depressoid brain. She hasn’t been around lately. She claims she was tired, that the end of the school year and boychild graduating and all the shit that came with that…she couldn’t deal. And that often happens at the end of the school year.

I’ll give her a break, as long as she doesn’t wander off again. She needs to be here. She’s got a lot of stuff to do. No excuses.

I posted these on Instagram/FB last night to see if anyone could tell what they were…

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I often iron all the bits and pieces (lungs, heart, etc.) off to the side and then assemble them all into the big picture in one go, because otherwise this is overwhelming, trying to fit everything in there with limited view of the drawing below.

Here’s the heart…I cooked dinner somewhere in between the last picture and this one…or maybe I prepped it even before the last picture. I got halfway through the heart when the timer went, so I stopped and ate with the boychild, who actually stuck around at the table with me after he finished eating (oh my god, he DOES have manners) because the girlchild isn’t here and I guess he decided it would be rude or mean to leave me out there on the deck alone (we’ve been eating out there because the kitchen table is a disaster…I thought we would only have to do that once or twice. Yup. It’s been over a week. Whatever. I always underestimate home renovation time.). Then I realized we were leaving for fireworks in 20 minutes and I still needed to pack up water bags and find my hiking boots from yesterday (you’d think that would be easy), so I speedily finished ironing the heart together…

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Got some crazy colors in there. My hearts are never simple. Ironic that.

I had persuaded the boychild and ex to try a new firework experience. We’ve been going to the same park for the same display for the last 16 (15?) years, with a few years off to go to Lake Arrowhead’s display. Actually, we probably started going to this one after the divorce, when Arrowhead was no longer the family destination, so maybe 12 years. Anyway, I wanted to hike up a mountain to see fireworks, multiple displays. I liked the idea of working for your 4th of July. And they crazily agreed, so at 8 PM, we were at the bottom of the back side of Cowles Mountain (Barker Way entrance). I had mapped everything out trailwise and my ex had been up one of them with the boychild before, so we weren’t completely blind and stupid. Plus we weren’t the only people doing this…which is kinda cool, if you think about it.

It’s a 1000-foot gain no matter where you start.

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This is halfway up, looking back at El Cajon. It’s getting darker, but no need for flashlights yet.

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The sun definitely went down.

 

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All the local fireworks displays start at 9 (the big ones, anyway), so that’s what we were aiming for. There were a ton of people at the top, mostly facing west towards the bay. We decided to face east, towards what we usually see in El Cajon, plus we could see Santee, Poway, Mira Mesa, and some smaller ones as well, plus it must have been Viejas Casino (we are totally going there next year…not the casino, but somewhere nearby, because from what we could see behind the hill, theirs was freakin’ awesome).

Night pictures have their own weirdness.

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And it’s honestly not the same as being right under the big booms and cascading lights…

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And we wouldn’t have known that if we hadn’t tried…that’s the display we normally watch.

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Getting blurry. It was a good experience though. Burned 750 calories for the day, so you can’t argue with that. We got a little lost on the way back because we are a family who is easily irritated by other people, and the groups that were stretched all the way across the trail and giggling like drunken maniacs (really, carrying your drink in one hand down a steep slope while you carry your child on your hip? Whatever.) annoyed us, so we sort of kamikazed our way down. Saw two baby scorpions on the trail (don’t think I’ve ever seen those in the wild before, at least not since I was a kid). That was cool.

And when we got back, after 10 PM, I decided to keep going on the ironing. That might have been a bit crazy, but if you’ve been here for a while, the crazy will not surprise you. I got it to here before we left…

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All those bits and pieces ironed down, except for the Fallopian tube that lies over the hand on the left…it’s not attached yet because the hand goes under it…so when we got back, I did the hand and the stuff on the right shoulder/arm.

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We had closed Calli up in the girlchild’s room, because she freaks out over fireworks. The ones that went off the night before, apparently she hid under the computer desk and then tried to climb into the boychild’s lap. So when we got back, there was a lot of crying and neediness, and this is where she slept for the next 4 hours…

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RIGHT under my feet. A little annoying, but she was better afterwards…hard to concentrate on ironing, though, when you’re trying NOT to step on a dog.

Yes, I ironed for the next 4 hours. I was a little obsessive. I started on the face, which meant trying to find tiny little pieces in another box, because the face straddled two boxes.

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I eventually found all the parts and got the whole thing together.

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So now I have the whole bottom section ironed in one piece, then two side sections that sit on/in the water, then the entire torso is one piece from knees to clavicle. Then the head is separate. I’m about 17 hours in and I made it to the middle of the 1300s…it was a logical place to stop. Unfortunately, it was about 2 AM and then my brain wouldn’t shut down. It was fully in art mode, and although I was too tired to keep ironing, I couldn’t shut my brain down enough to go to sleep, so I read blogs for a while…but Ms. Needy was on my lap requiring attention.

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Could have been fireworks. Who knows. I gave her what she needed and eventually made it into bed before 3. Not good for today’s brain, but it needed to happen for yesterday’s brain. I’m trying to wake up enough now to handle the gym and more ironing and painting or texturing or something. Not sure of the order. One thing at a time. Another ironing day like today, though, and I could be done. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can pull off that level of focus today. We’ll see. It’s progress anyway, significant progress.

I found a list last night (ironically while trying to shut DOWN the creative brain) of 37 creative books to read…Here. I’ve read 7 of them. I don’t really need help with the creative brain. When it misbehaves, I know why and I know how to get it back, although it might take me a while. Those aren’t artists’ blocks or anything…it really is just a matter of what I can handle. You need times of fallow to counteract the times when the brain is going like gangbusters. It’s rest, just like sleep at night (which I also suck at doing properly). So. I might read some of these. I might not.

Cowles Mt Hike from Lake Murray Blvd

This is the first hike I’ve been on in a few weeks; I tried a short, easy, flat hike in mid-June, but my knee was still bugging me, so I’ve been paranoid to try again. I’ve done Cowles Mt from the Golfcrest access about a million times and don’t really like it because of the huge number of people, but this was supposed to be longer and sparsely peopled. I brought my poles just in case. We left at 6:30, which was good, because it was still in the low 80s and not a sweat-free experience. This access is from Lake Murray Blvd, which deadends at the trail entrance.

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It’s a nice, big, wide service road at this point, on the shady side of the mountain, although the sun was distinctly in our eyes for part of this section.

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From the service road, you turn left on Mesa Trail and take a narrower path across a stagnant creek and up the hill through manzanita and ceanothus. It’s steeper in this section, but still very doable. The next turn was a T-intersection, and we went away from Big Rock in Santee, toward the Barker Way service road. This is that intersection, so you can see the amazing view behind us of Santee.

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Following the service road, you then look up to see the peak of Cowles Mt from the east, not the way most people come. You can’t see the trail on the mountain here, but it’s pretty brutal…at least my body, which hadn’t hiked for real in about 5 weeks, thought it was brutal, but it was starting to cool off, and as long as I can stop a few times, I can make it up anything apparently.

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This is looking towards La Mesa and El Cajon…a lovely hazy summer’s evening.

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Here’s what the climb looked like at the end…

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Pretty steep. Thanks to Steve for the pictures of me sweating. Because I was. Because that’s what I do. And I turn red too. It’s very healthy.

Then we were at the top…

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Too hazy for a good sunset picture…but still, it’s the top.

On the way back down, I took a panorama shot to the east…

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I think that’s where we’re headed to watch fireworks tonight…hopefully it will work out and it won’t be too crowded. You never know. Anyway, it was 2 hours, 5.3 miles, 1000-foot gain. A good workout…could have done without the clouds of weird flying bugs that attacked on the way down, but they didn’t seem to leave any marks, although someone commented about those bugs who lay eggs in your eyes…

Yick.

Searching for Better Than This…

When my head gets all tied in knots, I have this stash of partially written or barely started posts in draft form on here, and that’s what I put on the blog. It’s like fill-in-the-blank posts, posting-lite, don’t have to think too hard about posting…like the Road to California post…I had all the pictures resized and stuck in the post. I just had to go through and add all the names and links. I can do that without hardly thinking about it…and yet it takes up mental space and time. So I don’t have to deal too much with the goo in my head that wants me to feel bad. Avoidance. Book reviews? Same thing. I have about 8 other posts that are started in draft form, just sitting there, waiting. The Chihuly glass one? Started with photos, but then words took over.

This weekend? Not so much fun. Just keeping my head above water. Trying not to think too hard about feeling bad, about feeling sad. Trying not to remember how I used to feel, because that Kathy does not live here any more. She has moved out. She is never coming back. She can’t get in past the hoard (imagining when they try to get in the front door and all the crap that’s been hoarded is blocking it, and you can only squeeze in).

I went to a movie last night. I used to go to the movies almost every Saturday night. I loved going to the movies. I don’t love it so much by myself. I did it, though, because I felt like I was being punished for being alone, that I didn’t feel like I could do the things I love because of that. I’m becoming a hermit. OK, I was kind of hermit-like before, but I’m getting worse. It’s because it’s honestly too hard to be with people. I often feel more lonely in groups than I do at home alone with my sketchbook and my fabric and a cat or two. It’s sad. I wish it weren’t true. But it is. Right now. And realistically, the movies cost money and money is really tight at the moment.

So I picked a movie I had wanted to see when I first saw the trailers ages ago (there were others, but they weren’t at convenient times), and I drove out there to the theater and I cried through almost the whole movie and all the way home. I saw Her.

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It was good…although it had some slow bits and the ending was…eh. Thing is, when I see people with technology now, out to dinner, hanging out in groups, everyone is doing that…talking to themselves, to their OS instead of a human…so it’s creepy, but not that far off of reality. Shades of that book…crap…Wake, by Robert Sawyer, where the WWW becomes conscious and starts talking to a teenage girl…because I know that’s who I would choose to talk to if I were the web (not). Anyway. Here’s why I’m on Goodreads…so I can look shit like that up, books I read before that I can’t remember the name of because my brain is like mush.

I suspect it’s really that so much of my brain is otherwise occupied that stuff like that just slips through.

So that was really successful, guys! I joined a couple of movie-going groups on MeetUp…maybe it will be a better experience. Of course, I can only go like one night a week, and most of their movies are not on that night. Sigh. But it’s better than this. It’s got to be. Something has to be. I keep searching for Better Than This…it’s an island in the Atlantic and there are no boats that go there. I might have to swim.

All the hikes I wanted to go on this weekend were too many hours for a two-day weekend…I had too much I needed to get done, so I got up this morning and hiked Cowles Mountain instead. It’s a quickie, but still is a good workout. San Diego has two mountains that get the shit hiked out of them by every weekend-walker and lame-ass wannabe hiker in the whole town: Cowles and Iron Mountains. The annoying part is the number of people…and the number of people who don’t know trail rules (yes, I’m a hiking elitist, sorry, get the fuck over if you are hiking that slow please)…and the number of dumb bimbos and assholes who are hiking up the side of the mountain, not following the trails, destroying it for future generations. Yes, I yelled at two girls. I apologize. Wait. No I don’t. They were being stupid. Ladies, if there’s a fence, it’s there for a reason. Where are the vicious rattlesnakes when you need them? Avoiding Cowles, for sure. I should carry one in my pack for times like this, just hurl it at the dumbshits who can’t walk on a trail without damaging sensitive habitat. Yes, they went over a fence right next to a sensitive habitat sign. I don’t feel bad about yelling at them.

That said, I did it fast (the hike) and proved I am much more fit than I was 7 months ago, when I would have to stop to rest. I didn’t rest at all, and I ran the downhill, passing two of my former students. HA! That was funny. And their mom. YOUR MOM. Sorry. Middle-school brain took over. I did pass your mom though. She’s looking good. You should be proud of her.

I didn’t do much in the way of art, because I was doing a lot of work-related shit. Which sucks. Always. I did a whole 16 minutes of cutting out Wonder Under…

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The thing is, there isn’t much more to do on this one…then I’ll be on to the next step of picking out fabrics. But to what purpose? Hell. I still don’t know. Still don’t feel it. Maybe that’s why I didn’t push it. I knew I’d be done and have to go on to the next step and I wasn’t in the mood. It’s depressing to finish a step right now. I hate that. It used to be fun, sometimes even exhilarating. Now it’s just fucked up.

Then I cleaned photos off my phone. My computer is actually getting full. I have too much music and too many photos. I need to do something about that, like soon. I meant to do it over Xmas and freakin’ ignored it. It’s too much for my brain to handle, like the broken sprinkler lines. I just can’t take it on. I have to though.

The girlchild got reading glasses.

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Which is funny, because it was the boychild we thought needed glasses and turns out his vision is almost perfect. She describes her vision as “buzzy.” We said, “vibrating? blurry? fuzzy?” She said, “No, buzzy.” The child has her mother’s way with words. Oh well.

There was this…

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Now, it’s one thing to put all those words on the back of your car (to remind you? because it’s not reminding others…driving along, OH SHIT…I’ve blown number 8. Dammit.); it’s another to spell one of them wrong. Sigh.

Jake helping the girlchild make her bed…

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I am still learning to take panorama photos on my phone…I inevitably do it wrong three times before I do it right.

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That’s Penasquitos last weekend. NOT a panorama.

And here it is again…done almost right this time…

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Pretty, huh?

And here was the top of Cowles’ Mountain this morning…

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San Diego does have the weather, doesn’t it? OK, summer will suck. I’m a little worried about summer. I won’t be able to hike like this. I don’t do heat well. Maybe I will borrow my ex’s kayak a lot. Maybe I will swim more. I don’t like swimming though.

I finished this book…A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore…

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which is a good thing because book club is Wednesday. I liked it. I liked his turn of phrase. I like his weirdo stories. It’s the second of his books that I’ve read. It’s a little wacky, a little out there, but amusing and not dreary. Probably that was a good choice for the weekend, because it was a bit dreary…except for the hiking bit.

I watched this, a Tate Gallery video on nudity in art through the ages…

What’s funny is that to actually link to this video, I had to persuade YouTube that I didn’t need Safety Mode on my videos. They thought it was unsafe…I guess you shouldn’t watch it at work (I thought it was pretty benign myself). I like their shorts…educate the public about art. God knows we aren’t doing it in school any more.

This week? This week is the girlchild’s team finally making it to the CIF playoffs…two games this week guaranteed unless a volcano swallows us up (could happen), a book club meeting, and I think I signed up for two hikes next weekend, just because I think one will get canceled due to rain (she’s a real water wimp, the leader is). I set some goals on the art stuff for this week…I have two drawings I’d like to get done…one is in the sketchbook and one has been copied full size, but needs more. I want to finish the Wonder Under on the Mammogram quilt and start ironing it to fabric. I’d like to get all the wool cut out for Ivy’s quilt too, but I suspect I just shoved more into a busy week than can actually realistically get done. All that is better than thinking about the muck my brain wants to wallow in, though, so hopefully it will keep me distracted. If not, I may be back here again, clearing out photos and writing filler posts that don’t let my brain think too hard about reality. My other goal is to try to go to bed earlier…those super late nights aren’t helping. Maybe just 10 minutes earlier each night until I get back to something in the realm of sanity? Or not. It’s got to be better than this.