Tired Monday…

Hi y’all. It’s a tired Monday. Thanks to all who marched/protested in the last week. Usually I’m right out there with you, but I’m admitting to being terrified of this virus. I’ll have to ease myself into not-terrified before August. I have a hair appointment in mid-July. Probably my gym will be opening next week. Have to think about that one. School stuff over the summer might be in person. Not quite ready for that yet. Not ready for large groups of people or even small ones. People who don’t social distance. Apparently some anti-protest groups showed up armed locally. Gotta Not Love East County. So I will support with money and reading and speech. Plus most of a protest/change drawing popped into my head last night while I was trying to fall asleep. I will be working on that, hopefully this week. There are four meetings today, though, so maybe not today. We’ll see. There are at least three major parts to it, so maybe I can work on each part and then figure out how to fit them together. Might involve going to the copy place…damn, more people. I will figure it out. I will mask and step back from humans and wash my hands and perhaps my entire body after interacting with the human race. I have 67 days before I have to be back at school with other humans, perhaps fewer. Hopefully I can get my head (and my anxiety) around that by then.

I did hike Saturday, and while hiking, which clears my brain and soothes my soul, which makes up for sitting on my ass in numerous Zoom meetings, which helps me process what this world and the people in it are doing…I felt guilty for not marching in a protest. Ah well, that is my brain and I will have a discussion with it about that. We do what we can. I hiked at the same place as the previous week, but I felt strong and healthy this Saturday.

Plus it was a lot cooler than last week. I’ve been having some major blood sugar issues though.

I’m hesitant to talk to my doctor because her first response is always a blood draw. And that’s not something I really want to do right now. But maybe I will have to.

This is the same time last year when the hot flashes got really bad and my blood sugar control went with them. They stopped the end of July, and that’s when the blood sugar got really good. All you annoying doctors who don’t want to figure this shit out for us peri- and menopausal women who want to know how all this stuff is connected…sigh.

It was a great walk. I really enjoyed it.

This week is supposed to be hot, so there won’t be any delightful walks like this.

I did just over 4 miles.

There were still crows, but not a crazy number like last week. There were two bikes, a runner, and some hikers.

Definitely worth the drive. It’s a pretty short drive though.

Sometimes I protest by myself. In my head doesn’t solve a lot of problems though, so I’m working on that. How to be a presence without being present.

Here’s a link to a post I made for my art group California Fibers of Masked Response, an online art show we did.

This bench is cool. I wish I knew how to make one of these.

I know how to do mosaic…it’s just the form of the lizard bench in the beginning.

I finished trimming all the tiny little pieces for the big quilt…just under 22 hours worth. I did some of it at my quilt guild meeting…

And then I stayed up late Saturday night to do more.

I keep the trash until the quilt is done, in case I need a tiny piece of something. I usually do.

The next step, last night, was to sort them all into boxes by the 100s.

1541 pieces or so took about an hour and a half to sort…

Now I’m ready to iron the damn thing together. I’m looking forward to this part.

Saturday’s dot was the fish…

It’s a pufferfish.

There’s a lot of stitching on that little bastard.

Last night? Last night, I barely started…

I’ve been pretty good about finishing them every night, but this is one of two that I just didn’t get to. It’s because it was late and I was tired. I did the sorting first, so the dot didn’t get done. I’ll try tonight. The one for today is pretty simple. We’ll see.

In other fabric news, here’s the next shipment of Anna Maria Horner fabrics for Applique Stories, which I’ve turned into “Use crazy fabrics to make a nude” stories. Looking forward to that later this week…but if that bottom middle fabric doesn’t look like nipples to you, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Yeah. I know. I see things weird. I also want to do the same with her color shipments…

But I haven’t started those at all. Maybe this summer? Who knows. Summer will be weird no matter what. Right, Luna?

Just shut up and pet me, woman.

I forgot last night’s dinner…yummy pizzas.

Sourdough crust. Gotta use up that starter. The last time, these were unsuccessful. I think the girlchild has officially figured it out.

OK, well, I got sidetracked multiple times on this, and it’s now time for meeting 3 of 4 today. Ugh. But I think I have some plans for after the meetings. All art, all the time? And some exercise. For sure.

May There Be Change and May It Be Drastic…

I want to write today, if just for me. My head is full. As are many of yours. We are all processing, many of us angry, frustrated, many of us looking for solutions, ways to support. I donated to Campaign Zero

You should do what you’re comfortable doing. But do something. I have some reading to do, when I’m done with this and some other school stuff I need to do tonight. A little reading a day is good for you anyway. It should be about race and racism right now, I think. I tried to have a conversation with my students this morning…they ended up writing some things, but not saying much. Anything. I know if we were meeting in person, they would. But we’re not. So there’s that.

Saturday was a lot of TV noise, which eventually gets heavy and hard to watch. I hiked.

I went somewhere with big wide trails and not a lot of people.

This clears my head. Although it doesn’t really make it better.

I always tell my students that white people have messed up a lot of things in the world.

Things we had no right to do. I guess my place in all that is to keep talking to the kids.

I went to Crestridge Ecological Reserve, by the way.

It was warm. My legs felt like spaghetti. I felt off.

I did not hike fast. I just walked and looked and breathed.

Something that we don’t allow everyone to do.

I’m looking for other ways to spread my care. Someone suggested going to buy from our local shops that were broken into…I’m giving them a day or two to clean up, and then will head over there. I think my dentist is one of them. Not quite ready for that, unfortunately.

I’d like to buy some fabric, thread, or embroidery stuff from BIPOC, if someone wants to point me in the right direction. Googling for that is not effective. Although I found this and will make my way through it.

Did I mention that I totally freaked myself out on this walk because I was alone? And the crows were everywhere and circling and cawing and just being kinda nerve-wracking? I don’t like hiking alone sometimes. I get anxious.

Eventually I decided they were just enjoying the thermals and soaring all over for fun.

Intent is important.

All of our intent.

It was an OK hike. I didn’t feel well. I was freaked out. I didn’t go as far as I wanted because I was worried about my blood sugar and being alone.

So there’s that.

I did a dot on Saturday night…the crab to the left of the purple spool.

Small…

But cute. I did start Sunday’s dot, mostly finished it, but now it wants beads, so I have to deal with pulling those back out and trying to find a thread and needle that will work with beads. I was too tired last night to deal with that. I also made a mask for an art show I’m in, but I delayed the posting of the show for a week to allow space for all the protests and comments. It feels wrong to be putting up a COVID-related show today. Next Monday, I’ll feel better about it. Maybe.

Sigh. I cut some stuff out Saturday night, but work and packing up art (oh wait, I packed up art for my Patreon patrons…but forgot pictures of two of them. Oh well.). Here’s two of them.

I finished the edges and packed them up. I also repotted a bunch of succulents that were having issues. And watered things. It was a busy day.

Today too. But I did cut things out. I said that. Here they are.

I didn’t cut anything out last night. Maybe tonight? I hope so.

I still haven’t exercised today. My brain. Is fuzz.

I spend too many hours on a computer these days.

OK. Well. Decisions about tonight? It’s almost dinner time. Book? Maybe. Stitching? Definitely. At least finish a dot or something. Exercise? Hopefully. Sleep? Well I didn’t do that very well last night. I’m losing my hair and the horrific hot flashes are back, after being gone for about 9 months or so. Ugh. Plus my brain is not apparently into falling asleep. Oh yeah, got 7 hours of training to do as well before the end of the month. I went to school today to try to pack stuff up. Eh. Chaos in there. I’ll have to go back after they do the floors.

Until then, forward me places to send my thread and fabric money. I have relevant books to read. I put more on hold…they are 22 weeks out! Ah, the library. I might buy a few of them instead. Peace to all. May there be change and may it be drastic.

Somewhere to Land

I’m late writing today. I had a thing this morning, and then the boychild and I took the dogs on the last long hike of Winter Break…although next weekend is a 3-day weekend, so we’ll probably do another one. Hopefully by then, the daylight will last long enough that we can hike after school some afternoons, but we’ll see…it needs to be light late enough that we can avoid coyotes…as much as you CAN avoid coyotes while in wild spaces.

This is Crestridge, and it was cool enough to do this midday. We’ll come back on that trail way over there. We usually go UP that and come back this way or another, but this time we did it backwards.

A portrait of two dogs who refuse to look at ME, and look at the boychild instead.

Not very photogenic.

Lots of fungus…

Anyway. That was today. Last night, I hung out with one of my stitching groups…Julie is crocheting next year’s Christmas ornaments, which is very organized of her…

Many of her annual ornaments hang on my tree. When I remember to decorate it, which is often on Christmas Eve.

And Kathy is working on another Sue Spargo, Homegrown…which I own and will enjoy stitching if I ever finish the 2015 block-of-the-month, Folk Tails.

I finished the three September blocks with that flamingo, and she is working on Block 8 of a million. Or so. Yes. 2015. You read that right. I haven’t gotten much done on it this year…too many other embroidery projects on my plate.

Honestly, the process is more fun than the finish on these.

There was lots of kitten playtime last night…here they’re watching Simba, who’s watching things far away that he needs to bark at. The kittens don’t know why.

Honestly, none of us know why he barks so much or what he’s barking at. After the dogs left, we had all three cats playing with one purple ribbon…

Fun for everyone…especially if Nova grabs one end and tries to run with it.

I did finally cut a piece of paper to start drawing the next quilt. I guess I gave up on a drawing a day, because now I’m drawing the quilt instead. Nova came up to see and decided the remote was a dangerous beast that needed attacking.

She seriously pounced on it. Kitten is still the biggest…but there was some racing around the house by all three…

Back to drawing…I started with the drawing from a few nights ago. I’m not sure where else it will lead, but it’s a start.

It’s nice to have somewhere for Art Brain to land.

Tomorrow, I’m driving a million miles to take a class, and then driving back again. All good. Oh yeah, I got into another show…Artist as Quiltmaker XIX. Heart-Shaped Box will be at FAVA in Oberlin, Ohio, from May 16-July 26. Cool news…

Damn Eyelid

Hmmm. Well. I sorta forgot to write for a couple of days. I mean, I usually blow off Sunday anyway, but I’m pretty sure yesterday was Monday and today is Tuesday. In my defense, I’ve been busy and out of a normal daily routine, which is probably why the writing didn’t happen. I haven’t hit relaxation mode yet, and honestly, probably won’t over this break. I just have too much work this week.

In good news, there’s lots of kitten interaction, if only to try to figure out where they’re hiding or to introduce them to the other furry beasts in the house. And I should sleep more on a week off. I really should. Oops.

OK, so Saturday, I ironed for a while…this is Figure 3…all done.

Saturday night, I went to watch the man’s band…and two more bands…

Lots of 80s punk…and the man playing as Exene from X.

Like you do. I was tired after all that and went to bed early. Can’t get the sleep or the eating under control this week so far.

On Sunday, I had tons to get done. Unlike some…

Sundays are always too much stuff. But then I got most of Figure 4 done…

At some point, I realized it was well after midnight…that’s a lot of fabrics…

I was almost done, but it would have taken a lot of time to really get done…that’s it. That’s all.

So that would be Monday.

Monday started at the DMV. I needed to get my RealID and I figured now was better than waiting until the last minute…although I made the appointment two months ago, and this was the earliest I could get in. When I got there, they told me one of the pieces of documentation I had wouldn’t work, even though it was on the list they sent me. Luckily, I had another piece in the car (that expired the day before, but apparently they didn’t care about that), so after 45 minutes or so, I was done. I read my book. Good use of time.

A really good use of time was the 4.3-mile walk we did with the dogs…

We missed one trail but eventually found another one heading the same way…well, not that one…

That was the most relaxing thing I’ve done so far.

Outside. With dogs. And boychild. Plus no grading.

The grading is stressing me out. I keep thinking I’ll just do one part of the larger assignment a day, but that’s not necessarily working. And I won’t have enough days…because I’m assuming Thanksgiving through Sunday are lost days due to family gatherings and travel. I really don’t want a lot of these assignments transferring over into December. It’ll be hard enough to get through those three weeks. Plus grades will be due again. SIGH.

Better to be outside.

And it was a good day for it…supposed to be rain starting tomorrow. Lots of it.

Back to kittens…

They have totally different personalities. And they still need appropriate names. Apparently Sharp and Pointy are not options.

This bag was very exciting…

I just watched for a while and drank my tea.

Back to grading, I persuaded Kitten to come out and be sociable, and then she saw the kittens.

She’s still not a fan.

We lost kittens a few times yesterday. They climbed into the drawers from under the table.

That’s now a thread AND kitten drawer.

I finally made it into the studio around 10:30 PM…with the last bit of the ironing to do.

But I got them all ironed down…

Almost 14 hours…the chaos of fabric piled up…

I stayed up way too late.

There we go. 134 fabrics total. The box on the bottom right is the four different flesh runs.

Going for some variety. Every figure got their own red heart fabrics too. Anyway. The next step is to cut them all out. I also have over 3 hours of videos to watch today…not kitten videos, but students. It might kill me, but I’m aiming to finish it…in between buying snow chains and a turkey and making it to my pilates class. The right eye has finally stopped twitching, but I’m still grinding my teeth. Deep breaths. And more exercise. Wait. Dammit. That eyelid just started twitching again. Aargh.

Scone Bits…

Note: officially almond flour does not work in this scone recipe, unless I fuss with proportions and add some regular flour in or something that is chemically more similar so I don’t get whatever it is that is currently on my plate that I am eating anyway because there are nutrients in there and I need those and can’t be bothered to cook something else plus my grandma lived through the Depression so it’s hard to throw away Perfectly Good Food. I am eating a rather nutty but overly moist flat biscuitcake. Some culture probably eats these all the time. It’s not bad. But it’s not good.

There are seven more of these in my freezer. I can mail you one.

So yesterday was a mess. I’m not sure why. I did a lot of things, but none very competently, I feel. Well. We walked. That was good. I liked that. And I took care of some business things. Also good. This was Kitten yesterday while I was writing the blog for the second time.

That’s right, I slept in yesterday. It was delightful. I did not sleep in today. Today I have to be at school in about 40 minutes. It’s OK. My bag and lunch are packed. I just need to finish this and my tea, make more tea, debate how to make tea there (I can’t get into my own classroom where we have a tea kettle), pack things with which to make tea there, oh yeah and brush my teeth. It’ll be fine.

After the chiropractor, we took the nephew to Crestridge and walked…

It was warm but breezy.

He talked the ENTIRE time. I thought this was the quiet one. Ha!

He’s amusing. We took my parents’ dog. Calli still can’t walk that far.

We saw one good-sized coyote and a few people. But mostly not.

I wrote a blogpost for one of my art groups when we got home, while I was waiting for the boychild to make dinner. Looks good, eh?

He is useful. And he’s currently cooking one of the other scones, so now there are only SIX left for me to mail to you. Maybe he’ll like their nutty failure.

Then I cut stuff out for another 2 1/2-plus hours.

The box on the bottom is what’s left. It doesn’t look like much, but there are a lot of little pieces in those flesh colors. Some of them I’ll leave until I’m ready to iron everything together.

So thinking about this quilt, I think I can finish cutting everything out tonight. Then sort tomorrow morning. I also have a ton of copyediting and cleaning to do tomorrow…but I’m hoping by Friday night to be ironing the quilt together. I can only copyedit for so long before my brain fries, so some of that and some of this. Continue on Saturday, although I need to go to the gym Friday or Saturday as well. Friday morning, I’m thinking. Girlchild comes home Saturday afternoon, so the odds of my getting anything done Saturday night are low, but I have Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Ironing this quilt together will probably take close to 15 hours, I’m thinking. Can I do that in four days with copyediting and everything else? EHHH? I don’t know. Wednesday I leave for Arrowhead, back Thursday, at school for real on Friday. Maybe get to stitch down on Friday night? Miraculously? It’s going to be tight with school starting. I don’t know if I can finish it. Quilting next week…binding on, then see if my photographer can take it when? Because he works full time now. Sigh. I should ask him about his timing now. Maybe after the weekend, when I have a better idea of where I’m at. OK. A plan. Sort of. Kind of a sucky one. With that, I need to go brush my teeth. Scone bits. Bleck.

Filter Out the Noise*

Notre Dame…it seems you will be rebuilt yet again. I’ve seen so many people posting pictures of it in days past. I did visit Notre Dame, but was in those fussy artsy photo years, so if I have any pictures, they are probably of gargoyle-type things in black and white from my junior year abroad. It’s sad to see it burn, but I’m hoping enough of the stone and glass survive to allow it to be rebuilt. We humans are stubborn about our architectural symbols…so many of the big churches have been burnt and rebuilt multiple times. I wish we could show as much empathy for humans as we do for buildings…although this is a beautiful one, for sure.

The drawing for the next quilt is coming along nicely. It might be done today. It might not. I can’t show it to you, nonetheless, but suffice it to say, it has some imagery I’ve used before and some new stuff…because that’s always the way it is. I seem to only be able to work on it in the middle of the night, so that’s something. I wandered around it, staring at it multiple times during the day, but the stress of trying to focus on just one thing and get it done kinda got in my way. That was true for mostly everything yesterday.

I did run errands, mostly successfully. I did laundry and pulled the first round of clothing for the trip, now to be culled down to something reasonable. I am an overpacker. I admit it. I wrote out a very color-coordinated list of everything we need to take with us. Except I probably missed something. Today we try to make sense of that list. I have one medication that may not arrive in time, but it isn’t crucial. I still need to run a couple of errands today, including sitting in front of my school, waiting for the last 16 kids to show up with their Unit 6…I’m betting on the one who emailed me and no others. But they can’t say I didn’t try to help them.

We did walk the dogs too…it was too beautiful a day not to do it…

I meant to go to my quilt group meeting, but this happened instead…

And then I spent an hour or so with HTML code. Like you do. Still haven’t totally solved that issue…

This is all at Crestridge Ecological Reserve…

It’s further away, so we don’t usually go there.

But I’m on break, so there.

More flowers I never usually see…

The rain was good for that this year…

Looking forward to seeing some new landscapes in the next week…

Posting here might be more difficult…

I’m OK with that. No, I haven’t finished grading stuff. I have 10 things left to grade. I’m trying not to think about that.

I’m trying to think about the flowers instead.

Certainly they’re less stressful.

*Young the Giant, Simplify

She Isn’t Sure Where She’s Gone*

Someone I know called the Daylight Savings change in Spring “Satan’s Favorite Time Change.” I agree. Morning dark. Sleep little. Body confused. Why again? So I can haz the daylight later. OK. But that was coming anyway. Is this the real time? Or was the real time over the last 3 months? Wait. I’m asking the Google. Ah. No. This is the fake time. No wonder my brain is rebelling. I hate fake things. Fake time, fake boobs, fake news, fake people. Yeah. So. We’re all in pain together this morning.

I’m going to need to write fast this morning…yet another early meeting on a Monday. Never a good plan.

Saturday’s hike was nice…not super long, but a little chilly and long enough…

My favorite oaks…expansive views…

Flowers popping up everywhere…

I just wanted to get outside and burn some calories and experience some nature. Luckily my partner’s a good sport (I suspect on his birthday, we will be eating burgers and listening to music instead of sweating up a hill).

I don’t mind that either.

So many wildflowers…and new growth…

I love how the new growth is such a different color…

New oak leaves are gorgeous. Even the dead yucca flowers are nice.

We were stalked by crows on most of the hike…

Yelling at us. We yelled back. We stacked some rocks…

Silly humans. Official selfie of my 2019 birthday hike…

Then we came back, went to a block meeting about fixing our road (deep breaths over the dollar amounts), and went out to a nice dinner. I even traced some Wonder Under: so art, food, hiking, all in one day. Really, totally, the way to do it.

I finished tracing all of it last night…about 9 hours worth.

It’s not so much. Really. I don’t have a ton of days to finish this. Oh! I found the lost quilt. It was on consignment. I should keep better track of that shit. They had two of mine. Whoops. But I feel much better about finding it! Sheesh. Anyway, the next step is cutting this out…

I even got new scissors for my birthday. We’ll see how they go. And here’s my selfie for #marchmeetthemaker…me with my art…

Holding It All In…is the title. But maybe also my occasional mantra. Not necessarily a good thing. Art tonight! But first school and a meeting and walking the dogs and whatever else is in store for me today.

*Talking Heads, And She Was

Walk ‘Til You Run*

So here’s the trade-off. I went to bed early, before midnight even, because I knew I had to be up early today for a parent meeting. Hard to do on the first day of the week. But that meant that (a) I got no art done last night and (b) I couldn’t sleep well. Seems I have to be exhausted to sleep through. The coyotes didn’t help. Neither did the puppy’s response to coyotes. Shocking that. But I’m not sure I feel any more rested than if I’d stayed up another hour or so. Oh well. I tried. I was tired when I went to bed…it just didn’t translate into sleep when I made it into bed unfortunately…meditative breathing and all.

I did manage to get the binding fabric (s?) for the quilt under the machine, even if I didn’t get any quilting done. I lied…I quilted for about 12 minutes until the thread broke…I was going to go until the bobbin thread ran out, so I could take the quilt with me to the store to pick the binding, but then it broke, so that was an easy decision. I have most of three more sides to do. Two are pretty easy…the third has a huge chunk into the design, so it will take a while. I’ll get it done.

I can never buy just one. I think I already have the blue on the right. Awkward.

So it’s one of the two bottom blues. I like the one underneath, but I’m not sure if it will be too much color change for the binding. So I got the top one too. I can use it for sleeves. The sleeves on this thing are pretty huge. So I’ll finish quilting sometime this week. It just keeps taking longer and longer to get done. And I need to get the other one(s) started.

The best part of yesterday was the dog walk…hike…longness that tired them out.

It was a beautiful day, although chilly…

I really wished I lived in an oak grove. They’re so beautiful. I’d just stand outside and stare at them all day.

This is Crestridge Ecological Reserve…

It’s not too far from us…farther than we usually go on a weekday, but we were there at 2 PM or so.

A benefit of having the day off. The clouds looked ominous at times, in places…

But there was no sign of rain until we headed home…

Which is a good thing, because at some point, we were hiking through stream beds that were still damp and squishy from the last storm.

Usually we walk the dogs for about 3 miles…this was longer, a little over 4.

And we took a different way back, so that was cool.

Definitely greener than usual. We’re over 12 inches of rain this year.

That’s a lot for us.

Fire danger in summer will be bad.

We did tire them out though.

Tired me out too…probably why I didn’t get much done except grading last night. I’m really trying to get caught up. I don’t want to spend every waking moment grading, really.

Anyway. Off to work, long day. Hopefully I’ll have some energy at the end to quilt and/or draw. I like progress. It’s funny that I had the whole day off and didn’t get any art done…except buying fabric. Oh well. I seem to be more efficient when my day is full of stuff I have to do.

*U2, The Unforgettable Fire

Last Hike of Summer Vacation

Today the boychild and I hiked to celebrate the girlchild’s 20th birthday, because she is 3000 miles away and wouldn’t have hiked that far with us if she were here. Or maybe it was just the last day of summer vacation where I could actually find the time to hike at a reasonable temperature (time is irrelevant in Southern California summers…temperature is the determinant factor of hiking time). Yeah, that’s it. Boychild leaves Monday and it’s been a while since we hiked for realz, so he picked one hike and I vetoed it because climbing mountains is not good for me right now, and then he and I decided we could figure out random trails (really, I figured that HE could figure it out, and he did) to try to make a loop out of something we’ve done as an out as far as the girlchild can possible stand it and then back (which usually ends up being 5 miles or so, but because she was only there in spirit, we managed just over 7 miles). AND…there was fog in the morning, which was abso-fucking-lutely delightful. Seriously. Cool wet fog. Who woulda thought?

But wait. Because I am chronological. Tuesday night, I did some of this in the feather stitching again…a fly stitch with a straight stitch…

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Kitten is more playful when the dogs are gone…

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Then I quilted…about 2 1/2 hours yesterday…

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Then Windows tried to auto-update and killed my computer…

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Boychild fixed it this morning.

More quilting…

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All I have left is the head and the rocket and the spaceship…and then the whole damn background. I was going to get some done today, but that hasn’t happened yet. It will.

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So we got up bloody early to beat the heat and went out to the Crestridge Ecological Reserve, which had mostly no people, a few coyotes, one tiny snake, and a shitload of bunnies.

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I haven’t been out here for a couple of summers…

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Yes, the sun eventually came out, but it wasn’t too hot out there. Sweaty, but not hot. And poison oak, yes. Right there. At one point where the trail was kinda not trail-like, I was inching around a poison oak bush and talking to it about not touching me.

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Yup. Proof the girlchild was with us in spirit. Left by the side of the trail.

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She whines on hikes. Unless there’s chocolate. And sometimes even if there IS chocolate. Lots of old trees…

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And some transmission towers for the noise effect.

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There’s those towers after hiking a mile further on…

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Pretty much this is always my view, behind the spiderweb destroyer…

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The trail had been hit hard by last winter’s rains…at least this part of it. This would be the off-the-beaten-path part of what we did.

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I think he has air!

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This part was blocked off…the ditches are taller than I am…

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I saw lots of whatever this is (Julie!)…

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More ditches…to be avoided so no broken ankles.

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We went around and up to and past that water tower…

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Up up up. Yeah. It’s warm. It’s near the end. He trudges on, happily. I’m tired.

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But I did it. Only an 800-foot gain though. That’s about right for the bad shape I’m in. A good end to the summer hiking with the boy. Man. Whatever. That kid of mine.

OK. Need to finish the quilting and put a binding on that sucker. But first? Chiropractor. He’ll be amused by my morning activity. I always wait until he does the first check and asks, so what the hell have you been doing? My back is fucked up differently based on whether I’ve been quilting, hiking, lifting weights, or grading papers. He loves it. Really.

Hiking Crestridge

In keeping with my attempts to hike once a week with the kids, we picked a last-minute evening hike on Monday night at the Crestridge Ecological Reserve, out here in East County. Both kids claim to have been in the main area of the reserve in elementary school, but they didn’t remember much…

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And we were fully prepared to identify any badger that presented itself…

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There was a little bit of rainfall that hadn’t been checked since our weekend storm…

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And the visitor center was open…

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Complete with mosaic lizard? Alligator? Lizard is native. Gator is not.

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We had a crude map and a warning that the trail was not well marked.

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The beginning of the hike is in a beautiful old oak grove…

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The fire missed this part…

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Girlchild is Queen of the Mountain (of rocks)…

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The fire road was easy to follow, but we missed most of the trails shooting off of it.

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The surrounding mountains were beautiful as always. It hasn’t been too hot yet this summer, but we’ve had a few storms and all the nasty humidity we Southern Californians can’t stand.

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To the right was all private property, mostly avocados…

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We left a bit late, so we didn’t have more than two hours.

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The walk wasn’t particularly difficult.

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And I set my app to keep track of mileage for once.

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Anthills…

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The kids walk faster than I do usually.

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The trail dips down into trees every once in a while and then runs up along a ridge. The crows (ravens?) were stalking us…

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Hanging out in murders or alone…

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The skies got cloudier and darker…

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The kids got further apart…

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Here’s Julie’s plant of the week to identify…this is the same one I saw near the water in Hollenbeck Canyon.

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More crows…

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And poison oak, easy to see when it’s this color…

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Girlchild asks why I take so many pictures and I try to explain that I like to document where I’ve been and what I’ve seen…

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She has a million posed pictures of her friends and I have trees…and this bird. Either a juvenile hawk or one of the other raptors…

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Smaller than the crows though. At some point, the girlchild tried to keep up with the boys’ stride…not really fair since he’s significantly taller.

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We kept wondering when it would turn back east…the trail, that is…

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There were some rock piles here…

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Somewhat obsessively…

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A quartz collective…

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A sign to nowhere (this is the section that had been through one of the last two fires…

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This is about where we decided we might not make it back if we kept going…

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So we didn’t do the trail properly…means we’ll have to go back a little earlier in the day…

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We went back much quicker…and actually saw other humans on the trail…

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And the sun started to go down…

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A crow feather issue (could be a raven)…

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And the sun went down.

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Almost 5 miles in about 2 hr and 45 min. I had all these photos uploaded early Thursday morning, in case I felt well enough yesterday to post from the hospital. But I didn’t. I’m home today and doing OK, despite an allergic reaction to one of the meds. It just adds Benadryl to the spacy mix. I’m not getting much done today except sitting around, half-napping, and doing a tiny bit of sewing wool bits together. Lots of TV. I’m hoping after a day or two of this, standing for some period of time beyond the 4-5 minutes I can handle now will be possible. We’ll see. I don’t know if I’ll be hiking next week though…maybe just in my head.