Anchored Down in Anchorage*

November 15, 2017

I’m feeling awesome because I’m three days ahead on the quilt! For now. Shhh. Don’t break the spell.

I had tutoring after school yesterday and taught a lot of one- and two-step equation-solving. Math…I used to be good at it, but now my brain freezes sometimes when trying to do it. I wonder if what I’m doing makes sense. I wonder if that’s because I don’t use it as much as when I was younger. I have to talk myself through solving a problem: I paid blah and he paid blah and we each owe half so without using an Excel spreadsheet, how do I figure that shit out? Ugh. I feel like quilting makes me Math all the time. Yesterday, I had to measure the drawing and figure out how much yardage I needed for the background. That’s math. I do have to draw it out, though, because I’m a visual learner. I don’t have a problem admitting that.

But first I graded more stuff, because that is the way of the teacher.

Some weird twisted chain stitch and some star stitches on the far right…

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And then I cut for another hour, making it a total of 9 1/2 hours to cut out all those pieces. I started last Friday and now I’m done. Not bad.

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I was tired and I knew I had to be up early for a meeting, so of course, I went ahead, grabbed all the boxes I needed, and started sorting Wonder Under…

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There’s the requisite glass of wine, a boxful of pieces, and 14 boxes ready to go, all labeled with part numbers etc.

This is a new one for me. I don’t usually forget to write numbers on the pieces (then I can’t figure out where they go)…but I did it not once, but three times.

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Sheesh. Brain dead much? It’s OK. It’ll be obvious what they are once I start ironing. It’s like the one kid who didn’t put her name on the test…if she’s the only one in that period, then it’s easy. It’s only if there’s more than one and they don’t have distinctive handwriting…then I’m fucked.

There they all are sorted. That took almost an hour. I wanted to quit about 300 times, but I persisted. As always.

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So I can start ironing to fabric tonight? Well, first I have to clean up in here and put all the fabric away from the last one, plus I need a background fabric (hence the measuring and mathing from the night before). It’s on my calendar for after school. Looking forward to that. But first, I’m going to see what kind of chaos I can create in the classroom today (yikes…three days until vacation for the kids…this is where they turn into scary beasts, worse than a full moon). I can do this…

*Michelle Shocked, Anchorage (song note: I was born in Anchorage…some day I’ll go back)



So Take That Look out of Here*

November 14, 2017

My new oatmeal tastes funny. I couldn’t find the old stuff. Instant, but low carbs. I don’t need a million carbs for breakfast, but on a cold morning, a quick and easy oatmeal is nice. So the new one, ironically, being low carb, is way too sweet. I’m sure they’ve been uber-healthy and used some fruit juice or something, but blech. Yeah I’m a diabetic who doesn’t like sweet things. More irony. So I’m forcing myself to eat it because I need food and I hate wasting food (Hello Grandma…that’s you talking)…but yikes yuck blech.

Yesterday, my students started a new unit, so I got to draw…I know how meditative that is for me, but I was noticing how it worked for them on a Monday as well…just time to sit and color. To interact with the new content merely as pictures first. They were relatively calm for a Monday after a 3-day weekend…a Monday before getting a whole week off…

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It didn’t take me all day to color it…I was done in 4th period…so I could grade stuff.

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But then we had a 2-hour staff meeting afterwards, watching a video. The guy we were listening to was fine, although I don’t focus well at 3 PM on a Monday after teaching all day, so I had to draw to stay awake.

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It was a long video…

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I’m not disagreeing with the guy…I just think I’m already trying to do what he says. Not quite at the level he does, but I’m not sure I needed a video that long to get it. I fully understand the difference between equity and equality…there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes to do all the things teachers are supposed to do. Teach content. Take care of their basic needs. Give them the self esteem they’re lacking. Teach them the difference between their, there, and they’re. That one alone is a bastard.

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I have no great insights after all that. But it makes me feel better about how I was trying to deal with the one kid a few weeks ago.

Home to the dogs and grading a couple of assignments (I’d really love to go into the week off with no grading…which is just about impossible)…Simba got his toy to stand up.

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I did two nights’ worth on this…that weird chain-stitch R shape and some pistil stitches below it.

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I don’t know why the dogs were so tired…they did nothing all day…

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This one is really tired apparently.

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I cut out another yard, the second to last one. I should have been more focused and finished, but I wasn’t. Tonight hopefully. Although I still have to grade.

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Then I can sort and start ironing to fabrics…early! That’s a plus, for once. I’m looking forward to that part.

*Big Country, In a Big Country

You Put the Load Right on Me*

November 13, 2017

‘Twas a productive weekend…I finished grading 2 or 3 assignments, didn’t finish a bunch of other stuff, hiked a mountain, cut out a ton of Wonder Under, and replaced the headlight in my car (with help). That was an achievement.

We started late…the goal? Clevenger Canyon South, apparently 4.3 miles (a fact we questioned multiple times), on a day that was supposed to be cooler than it felt. The wonder of San Diego is the temperature can be quite warm in the mountains, even in November.

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We climbed a lot in the first mile…and if you’d told me I was hiking to that rock (and beyond) that you can see on the ridge, I might have given up. But no. We kept going…

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Looking back here on the trail we’d been on before going down into the canyon, where it was obvious one of the fires had gone through here (2007)…

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So this little guy…I just about stepped on him. He never rattled…he never even moved. I noticed him, yelled snake, moved my foot further along than I had been planning, all in a matter of seconds. Yes, I realize we’re lucky he didn’t strike…because that’s a baby rattler and he wouldn’t have known to only dump some of his venom in my calf. It would have been an interesting hike, I guess…

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From further up, the canyon is down where the green is, although there was still no water.

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Evidence of burn even on the rocks…

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Looking to the north…

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And to the south…actually, my car is way way down there…

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This was our goal: two metal chairs bolted to a boulder.

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And a view to die for. Well. Not die. But we were glad to get there…

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It ended up being 4.65 miles, mostly up for the first 1.7 miles.

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And the way down was super fast. Yes…we were to the left of that rock most of the way to the far left peak. We didn’t do the last 0.2 miles to that peak. We had the view already.

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Poles were helpful on the way down. The snake was gone on the way down.

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More evidence of burn…

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And then this was delightful…just remember that what looks like a scary dive bar on the outside houses a lovely bar with cool refreshing drinks and snacks on the inside…

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Then last night, I did some feather stitching on this, above the righthand eye.

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And I cut out a bunch of this…while watching a show in Icelandic. I think I’m semi-fluent now…

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I think this was actually the night before…

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There’s more of that in a bit, but these photos are from the Threads of Resistance exhibit, which made it to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Minneapolis, Minnesota over the weekend. As always, I’m behind the sign…

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And the curtain…

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I kinda wish they wouldn’t hang the signs on the quilts…

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But I’m in good company back there…

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So I’m a woman of a certain age…who knows if and when I will ever have another period (NOT complaining), but the app updated and now it ignores perimenopause completely. I find this highly amusing.

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And kind of a metaphor for women of my age (ignored). Whatever.

I graded more videos yesterday…at 3 minutes per kid, it takes a while, so I poured a hot cup of tea and grabbed my stitching, so I could listen better. It worked.

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I got the hippo done and part of the sun…

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For some reason, this month’s stuff is taking forever to stitch down.

Puppy was tired…but he wanted to be near me and my Wonder Under…

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Sometimes more near than others.

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I did about 5 hours of cutting out yesterday and 2 the night before, so I have a hefty chunk done…ahead of schedule.

Speaking of schedules, I need to get my butt outta here and to work. More progress tonight, I’m sure.

*The Band, The Weight

Happiness Hit Her Like a Bullet in Her Back*

November 11, 2017

I never get as much done on a day off as I think I can. Somewhere in there I lose about 4 hours and then it’s dark and dinner time. I can’t really explain it. Time travel or something.

Anyway, most importantly, I walked the dogs yesterday. It had been a while, just because of the weather and the time change and life in general, so I tried to walk them into the ground.

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The puppy was tired about halfway in, but he always gets a second wind when we start back.

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It was a nice cool day with pretty clouds interspersed with sun…

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And very few people on the trail…

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Mostly they were all at the beginning of the trail having their holiday card photos taken. Apparently a popular spot.

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I wanted to tell the one girl she was probably standing in poison oak, but whatever.

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Certainly if she stood on one of those gourd things with her spiked heels, she would never get the smell out.

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I have no idea why these are flagged…

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Maybe there’s seeds in there? I just don’t know…

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Anyway, the dogs were tired out for a bit. They were very excited to be walking, so that’s a good thing.

I did something on the left. I used to be so good about telling you what stitch and where and what color. Not so much by day 314 apparently.

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Then back to the tracing. This photo is for Sion…because yeah, they are smaller than my fingernail. I could stitch them or paint them or whatever, but I don’t. I cut them out of fabric.

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I am aware of my insanity, yes.

So I finished…8 yards total…here’s 5 of them…

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And the other 3…

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I got one cut out last night, the easiest one, the one with a big empty space on it. Calli was supremely helpful.

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It took 15 1/2 hours to trace everything. Usually it takes less time to cut out the Wonder Under.

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I want it all done and sorted by next Saturday. It seems doable, although I do have a bunch of stuff to deal with this week.

Supposedly I am hiking today as well, but it might mean bouncing someone out of bed. Which seems mean, because I got to sleep in yesterday, but…with the day ending so early, it’s gotta happen sometime.

I’m really excited about this quilt. I think it will be very cool looking. I can’t wait to see it.

*Florence and the Machine, Dog Days Are Over

A Spray of Stars Hit the Screen*

July 28, 2017

Been up all hours now. Stayed up too late finishing the cutting-out stages on the quilt. Then up bloody early cuz I couldn’t sleep, plus some crazy person drove from Long Beach to buy my serger in the early dawn. I don’t serge. I also don’t early dawn. You don’t even know what a serger is, if you’re one of my non-sewing readers. Do I have non-sewing readers? Probably a few. I can’t even thread a serger. It takes 5 YouTube videos to thread a serger. Certainly not happening with the brain power I’ve got at the moment.

The Don’t Shut Up show is down. I got to leave early to come home and spend two hours writing the blogpost for it. You can see that here, if you didn’t go to the show. Shows are a lot of work, even when you’re not in charge. I still need to suss out the videos I’ve got and post about the artist talk, but that’s not happening today. Straight up, I need a break from all the cleaning and doing shit. Which is silly, because it’s not like I’ve been doing it full time or anything, but it just gets very overwhelming to have to make that many decisions about what to do with stuff and/or how to store it or get rid of it. I found a cardboard box full of silverware yesterday. In my bedroom cupboard. I didn’t even remember its existence. They’re not solid silver, unfortunately, because then maybe I could pay somebody to clear all this out, but they’ll supplement my stash. My eye is twitching again. The internet is ever so helpful. Causes are stress, fatigue, and caffeine. Well yes. I do have those. Thank you, internet.

Anyway, I will deal with the hangers today, but I’m not planning on a lot else. Well, there’s the pile of clothes I just dumped on the bed. More to go through…aaargh.

So yeah, I stayed up way too late last night because I just needed to be done with the cutting out of tiny little pieces…

See…there’s someone who knows how to sleep properly.

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I finished cutting stuff out sometime after midnight. I think it was about 13 hours total.

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And then early this morning, while waiting for the serger woman to show up, I negotiated space on the light table with Kitten…

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Apparently it’s her table, not mine.

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I just worked around her. Like I always do.

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I sort all those tiny pieces out again into bins…they’re easier to deal with 100 pieces at a time…

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I was visited by a hummingbird.

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So this took two hours…and most of the last hour was sorting through pieces like in the bottom box. Tiny pieces. Crazy pieces. Who the fuck thought this was a good idea?

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These pieces are either missing the paper or missing the fabric. Not bad…and that piece 485 is either the gray or the red. I’ll figure it out when I iron it all down.

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All sorted.

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Fourteen boxes of pieces for today’s ironing pleasure. If I can wake up enough to do that. I have shitty role models around me, all of them asleep. Think I’m going to go take a nap with the clothes on my bed. They probably won’t bug me too much…then maybe I’ll be able to iron for a while.

*Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kiss Them for Me

You Said That You Could Let It Go*

July 27, 2017

OK, I don’t have much time here. I have to hurry rush go very very fast to get downtown and sit for about 6 hours. OK, probably not sitting the whole time, but it’s deinstall day at the Don’t Shut Up show…it wasn’t up for long, but we did a lot of stuff while it was up. So much work to put the show together and then it comes apart in a day.

I preloaded a bunch of resized photos onto a flash drive and I’m hoping someone will be nice enough to share the school wifi password so I can write a couple of blogposts for the two art groups I’m in. It takes a good 5 hours to write those posts sometimes: Find the photos. Resize the photos. Ask people for better photos sometimes. Start writing. Find all the artists’ names. Find all the names of the art. Resize things again because Blogger is a pain in the ass. Check all the spelling. Email three people whose labels you forgot to photograph. Save a draft. Save a draft again. Preview it. Go back and fix everything you fucked up on. Rewrite Blogger’s code because that’s easier than starting over. Save it again. Maybe publish it.

Now do it again for the other art group. And then sit back and wait for the stuff you know people will want you to fix.

So I’m gonna try and get that done today in between people picking up art. Or maybe we’ll be able to start spackling and painting…who knows?

Yesterday was mostly about cleaning the bedroom. I don’t know about you, but I have no freakin’ clue why I have so many hangers…I don’t even hang most of my clothes up. I live out of the laundry basket most of the time. In fact, you could take my wardrobe down to 7 pairs of black pants and 7 black shirts and I’d probably be OK with that.

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I still haven’t dealt with most of that pile. It was overwhelming. I walked away. Cleaned something else.

Then I found this. Oh sigh. Really? So we grew up (and this may be some weird thing with just my family; feel free to tell me that) with wooden coathangers that some poor soul had crocheted over. I think when my grandma died, my mom packed up all of HER crocheted wooden coathangers and put them in a plastic bag with my name on them. This was early on post-divorce, so I apparently shoved them in the back of my closet.

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Where they stayed for like the next 10 years. I think. I just don’t even remember taking possession of that bag, and now I have to figure out what to do with all these.

When my parents die, there will be another 100 of those fuckers.

After dinner, I headed for the couch. I did pistil stitches in a white variegated thread in the very bottom area. Trying to branch out. Or fill in. Or whatever I’m doing.

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Boychild joined me and merged the dogs into one. They should be easier to take care of this way.

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Then I cut stuff out while watching A Series of Unfortunate Events, which was pretty funny.

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I’m so not done. I’m taking this with me too, just in case there’s no wifi. My hand hurts today though. Shockingly.

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The stuff on top still needs cutting out. I did about 3 hours yesterday and I think I’m 9 hours in total right now. I didn’t start until late because I was cleaning most of the day. The cleaning is very difficult…I have to spend way too much time thinking about the implications of the 100 vintage scarves and hankies I found, plus the kid’s book that my grandma’s grandma made (do the math…I can’t). Like where the fuck do I store stuff? I have too much stuff in that room. It’s traumatizing. And cleansing. And dirty and stressful and at some point, I just gave up and vacuumed the living room because it was easier. And then I resized 150 photos for the two blogposts.


OK. There we are. Feeling better. Need food, need more caffeine. Leaving soon.

*Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know

Not Close Enough for the Champagne to Get Chilled*

July 24, 2017

Weekends. I got some stitching done in the car yesterday. Got some cutting out done at the meeting. People make fun of me for always working…although there are down times (Saturday nights usually)…but I actually find cutting those tiny pieces out mostly relaxing. So if it’s a meeting, I actually pay more attention when I’m cutting. I know that sounds weird, but the action of cutting keeps the part of my brain that gets off task from affecting the part of my brain that’s listening.

So I listen better when I cut or sew or draw. I’ve had huge issues over the years with mostly control-freak teachers and bosses who believe people are best paying attention when they are staring into your eyes, unblinking. Yeah. Well they’re wrong. Interesting insight for me as a teacher. I totally understand the kids who are trying to read a book while we’re teaching…luckily we do much less of the direct instruction than we used to, so now they have stuff to do. I would have been drawing AND trying to read a book at the same time, so I get it.

So I cut these out during the meeting…got almost two hours in. AND paid attention like a good member.

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So it’s harder to know how much more I have to do, whether I’ve hit the halfway mark anywhere (nope. Bet I haven’t.). I have about 3 1/2 hours into the cutting. Nowhere near half. But that makes sense, because I only exceeded the halfway mark on ironing pieces down sometime yesterday…here’s my fabrics for the bunch of wildflowers she’s holding…

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I had more greens, but turns out I didn’t need them.

I did over 3 hours of ironing again yesterday, mostly at night. I’m 14 hours in, so I think I’m going to go over my 15-hour estimate by quite a bit. Unfortunately. I’ve barely started the 900s, so probably tomorrow will be when I finish ironing. Today is kind of busy.

On the left is all the stuff that’s ironed down. On the right is all the stuff that’s trimmed.

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And here’s the disaster I left on the ironing board last night. Actually, I think I made myself clean it up.

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The pile on the right is all flesh fabrics. Usually I cut all the flesh in one go, but because of how this quilt was drawn, there are little bits of flesh and then big whopping bits of land and all the things on it, so I just keep the pile of flesh fabrics separate and pull them out when I hit the next fleshy bit. Sometimes I write numbers on the drawing for the colors…1 is the lightest, then 2 etc. In case there’s an overlap farther up or the arms need to match the color of the shoulders. The drawing is not sacred in any way.

I did just check and on an average quilt, I hit the halfway point in total construction somewhere in the cutting-out-fabrics stage. So close to halfway but not close enough for the champagne to get chilled. That’s for sure.

So I’ve finished all the flesh up to the shoulders, but all the stuff in the chest area (buildings, sun, nuclear power plants) all need to be ironed. And I saved out the decorative stuff on the arms: waves, veins, tattoos, etc. So I can work on that now, although I think there will be an issue with food at some point, and I have to be two somewheres this afternoon. Sigh. Busy summer.

All the crap from the garage is now on Craigslist though, so there’s that. I’m not quite done dealing with the garage, but it’s manageable now. I think I have to start working on the bedroom honestly. And worry about school? Not yet. Girlchild goes back to Boston tomorrow…feel like I’ve barely seen her, but she has friends she wants to see as well. Shockingly. And I’ve been busy too…not entirely on her.

Anyway. The to-do list is massive. Time is limited. Sleep is optional. With that in mind, I’ve got art to do and cleaning as a backup.