Both Sides of One Coin…

What a morning. I’m up! Not packed, not ready, showered, but the laundry wasn’t dry (long story, my fault for not changing the thingie and it took 10 minutes for me to figure out how to change it because I hadn’t had my tea yet). Simba got bit by a coyote this morning…not here, but at my ex’s. He’s OK, but I need puppy cuddles. We’ll pick him up from the vet later and hopefully he will run next time. Calli apparently went after the coyote (oh great, 10-year-old gimpy Golden Retriever). We do live with the wildlife here and need to respect it and then yell at it and spray it repeatedly with a hose so it won’t come back. I actually occasionally buy wolf urine pellets and sprinkle them about the edges of the property. I don’t know if it works…but I haven’t seen them on my property (just down at the end of the driveway) in a while. He’s OK! That’s the takeaway.

Not a current picture. I haven’t seen him yet. Today, we’re supposed to be driving to Lake Arrowhead. I’m only up for a day, because I have to be at school on Friday. Sigh. I was at school yesterday…got in there and had no desks, so I moved a few things out of the hallway and then started pulling stuff out of cupboards. At some point, one of the custodians started bringing desks in.

Ironic because I had already gotten an email from one of the Assistant Principals about using my tables to sort Chromebooks. I’m like SURE! What tables? Anyway. I’m not there today or tomorrow, so just don’t leave a mess.

We’re doing a portfolio thing this year, so I needed new things. New system. Originally they were not in rainbow order, but my brain rebelled and rainbowed them.

Can’t help it.

My boards aren’t done. I haven’t found everything. My tech isn’t set up. Did I mention I haven’t found everything?

I spent a couple of hours trying though…there’s two prep days next week, so hopefully I will be more prepared after that. Right now, it just feels like chaos. All this stuff and the stuff on the other side had to be locked up because of summer school.

The plus is that I toss stuff at the end of the year, and then I toss more stuff at the beginning of the year, because I’m like, why the fuck did I keep this? But then I keep stuff for 16 years and I don’t know what to do with it. Anyway. More to do. Honestly, it’s less about what I do to decorate and organize and more about what I do with the kids. I always remember that part.

As part of the new-year resolutions, I’m reading this book about burnout. It’s called Burnout and it’s by Emily Nagoski, but this caught my eye.

It’s the science part I like. A good way to start the new year anyway.

Calli agrees.

Resting up. Literally.

Two caterpillars yesterday on the milkweed. I haven’t seen a lot of caterpillars…lots of butterflies though, so that’s good.

Lots of aphids.

So I copyedited a good chunk of the afternoon. Lots more left to do. I’m copyediting a book about trauma-sensitive schools and one of the stories set me off yesterday. I work with a lot of traumatized kids. It’s hard sometimes. Hence the burnout book.

And then I ironed a bunch…

I was trying to finish last night…worked on the other side…

She was fussy…and I had to iron both sides together on the floor…it was too big for the ironing board.

Then I went back and did the hands. They’re holding hands. You can’t have light without dark. Not good and evil. Not good and bad. A spectrum. Working together. Both sides of one coin. Coyotes and domesticated dogs. Teaching and art. Or something like that. Anyway…I wanted to get it on a background, but I needed to piece that and it was already after midnight. And right now, I need to leave in about 15 minutes to deal with the girlchild’s hair and then hopefully get the puppy and go to the mountains. I might get to this Thursday night, depending on how late I get back. I NEED to get it done.

I honestly have no idea what I’m working on next. That’s weird. Huh. OK. Well then. I’ll have to think about that while I’m traveling. Lots of driving, that’s for sure.

In Fragmented Bursts

Up early for a class. Mostly my brain is working, but in too many directions at once. For example, I’m typing this while waiting for breakfast to cook, and I’m remembering something I didn’t put in my bag, plus I don’t know if the boychild ate my goldfish, but I can’t find them (the cracker ones, guys, chillax), but if I’m going to remember to put that thing in my bag, I need to stand up right now and do that, but that’s exactly what they tell you NOT to do, because multitasking like that, in fragmented bursts, is really inefficient and you really don’t get as much done, so I’m going to try REALLY HARD to remember to put that thing in my bag when I get up to get my breakfast, which will happen when the timer dings. In preparation for the ding and the remembering, my shoulders just tightened up and I stopped breathing, which is also not good for relaxing or remembering or anything really except keeping you from sucking in water if you just jumped into a pool.

I packed everything for this class but food yesterday. And that one thing that needs to go in my bag. Honestly, I’ve sort of been packed since last week, except for bits and pieces. I always wish they’d explain why you need stuff in workshops. Like when you say “paper towels”, is that a whole roll? Is it just one that I’ll need to wipe my face at the end of a long day? Is it for glue? Is it because you’re going to give me treats? WTF is it for? There’s nothing in this class list that explains the use of paper towels. And if I pack them and I don’t use them, I’m gonna be irritated.

Anyway, I’m driving across town and if I left right now, I’d be more than an hour early, but it would only take 30 minutes to get there. As I get closer to the time it actually starts, it takes longer and longer to get there. Weird time dynamics. I am looking forward to a burst of non-project-related creativity though. I’m not looking forward to working creatively with people I don’t know (I know the teacher)…that gives me anxiety. But I will get over it and may even enjoy some of them. That’s my hope anyway.

So yesterday, we had no access to our road…it’s a private road, which just means we have to maintain it (aka pay for it) and it’s not even really two lanes wide, which is fine, because mostly then people stay off of it.

So my car had to be parked down the hill and around the corner, which is a bit of a hike…I did that yesterday morning to go get the dogs for their post-surgery checkups. Simba is fine, feisty as usual. Doesn’t like the vet. Doesn’t like big dogs. Calli is still a little rough in the walking arena, but that’s arthritis and not the surgery, and she got her stitches out! Yay! No more cone…

As long as we can keep her off this area…(innovative uses for old soccer socks)…

Girlchild was not thrilled that we cut up her sock for this, but I figure after 4 years, if a soccer sock was left here, it’s not one she really cares about.

The guys also did my driveway, which hasn’t been sealed in probably 10 years…I’ve been patching cracks, but so did they…

And then they swooped in with the sealant and made quick work of my behemoth of a driveway…

Which reminds me, to get out of here, I’m gonna have to hike all the way down the hill in about 10 minutes. Yikes!

The rest of the day was filled up with minutiae and tasks and clearing the to-do list best as possible, but never enough, dontcha know that’s how it always is.

I did manage some of this…

The browns are different…although they don’t photograph well at night for that…

I totally went and got my breakfast because the timer dinged and I did not put the thing in the bag. SEE! See how much brain power I’m wasting on it right now. Sigh.

And then I drew on the Yin side for about an hour…getting closer to done. Maybe tonight?

I did actually plan to be done last night, but sometimes shit happens and you don’t get shit done. Welcome to my life.

OK, gotta get my butt in gear and get out of here…now the maps app is telling me 32 minutes, but the yellow areas are creeping up…hate traffic. Wish me luck. Wish me art.

You’re So Funny and I Kinda Like Your Band*

Happy Pride y’all! San Diego has two cool things every summer: ComicCon and the Pride parade. And I’m going to neither of them. Ah well. Enjoy if you’re there…

There’s something about the routine of school that keeps me more on task. I guess it’s because my available time is so short…and there are a lot of things that I just let fall by the wayside during the school year. I rescheduled one of today’s events, which is good, because I might just get most of what I NEED to get done before I leave for Palm Springs tomorrow…there’s things that have been on the to-do list all week that still won’t be done, but I can’t help that. It is what it is. I’m not packed for the trip, and the food is an issue, that and the temperatures. Ugh. Hot. I am ready and packed for my class next Thursday and Friday though…priorities! It’s an art class and I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t often take classes any more. This is my summer treat.

Anyway, before that, I need to get my teacher ass (and brain) to Palm Springs with appropriately casual and cool (temperature) clothing. More importantly, I need enough stitching for the the drive up and back. Seriously. That’s important.

Yesterday was busy, but productive. I’m trying to figure out my retirement…yes, it’s at least 10 years out, but I have bits and pieces of funds and plans all over the place from being self-employed, privately employed by multiple companies, and publicly employed. Talk about chaos. I just want to know if I will be able to afford to retire…like ever. So I’m working on that. Yesterday was the first step in getting that managed.

We walked the little dog…the big dog is still not physically up for that. It’s possible that she thinks she up for it, but that back leg is still not in compliance. It was pretty hot yesterday, so the boychild picked a location I hadn’t been to before, but that has a significant amount of shade. It’s good that it did, because the heat kicked my ass at one point.

I haven’t drawn the superhot hot flash woman yet. Maybe while I’m sitting in a hotel room at night? Who knows.

So this is Oakoasis County Preserve, which isn’t far from here and isn’t a long hike, around 2 1/2 miles, but that’s a good dog distance, especially when it’s hot.

There are still lots of flowers…

But things are definitely drying out. And there were bees buzzing so loudly it sounded dangerous…

The Cedar Fire came through here, so the brush is about 16 years old…

But the oaks for which it’s named are still standing…ah shade! It’s about 15 degrees cooler under there than out in the sun.

And fungus!

I’m fascinated by these…

The shapes and colors, plus their ability to grow on something that is dead in the full heat of East County.

Nature is so cool. That’s why I keep drawing it.

Some parts of the trail obviously have more access to water than others…

This tree is dead now, but forced itself out of the center of that rock…


We went in the late afternoon…there’s a peek of San Vicente Reservoir…

Nice to see water when it’s so hot out.

We haven’t been hiking…dogs recovering from surgery, plus hot, plus chaos. Next week is the worst for that (chaos) this summer…but on the 22nd, I think it all mellows out. A bit. So hopefully we’ll find some cooler weather and hike a bit more.

Nice meadows…

And flowers…

And more fascinating fungi…pretty sure the one below is a gall…so pretty though.

The boychild had seen California Horned Toads here a few weeks back, but we didn’t see any. They are funky little beasts.

So yeah, a short hike for the two of us who don’t like heat. We left this old lady behind.

She’s still searching out the best stick for throwing purposes. Even though none of us will throw anything for her at the moment.

Both of them want outside…

The two oldest in the house, I think…although a tie with Kitten, who’s turning 11 next month.

We got a lot of boxes yesterday…just for Satch.

He appreciates them…

I did eventually let the dogs out (I won’t babysit the cat outside…his daddy can do that) so I could try to draw the next embroidery pattern…I need something to stitch in the car.

Although it was warm out, the sun is not on the deck in the afternoon and it’s usually much cooler. There’s a breeze.

No. We won’t throw you a stick.

There’s a fire down on the border and we watched this helicopter transport water down there a few times…

The fire is 40% contained so far…mostly it’s on the Mexican side of the border. Good thing there isn’t a wall that would stop people from fighting the fire. Well, there might be in this part of the country. Walls don’t stop fires. People do. And defensible spaces. Anyway.

We came back and I did some of this during dinner. The never-ending embroidery.

It really is relaxing to stitch…I just know I need to get 6 done this summer, and I’m three weeks in and haven’t even finished one. Sigh.

So then I worked on that drawing again…

I added a snake and some other stuff later. I’m not sure I want everything I added though. So there might be some editing before I scan it for the pattern. Basically I’ll need to decide that today. I’m also going to add an embroidery page to my website so you can see them all. The patterns and kits with the threads I used are available on Global Artisans. Of the finished embroideries, one has sold and one is traveling with Global Artisans…the rest are available. They’re not cheap though…embroidery takes time.

It was late when I started working on the drawing for the next quilt. This is about 49″ square…

I wanted the bodies penciled in before I started in ink. I often just draw in ink with no pencil, but this is big and fussy enough that I wanted to be sure the main figures worked before I inked anything.

I added some ink last night, before realizing how late it was.

Oh yeah. Bedtime. Ugh. Too late. Animals don’t understand sleeping in. I think it’s because they just sleep when they want to…

Too bad really. I don’t know how much of this I’ll get done before I leave tomorrow, but hopefully some. I already have a post-it note with a list for today. I should get going on all that. Food, mop, pack, draw, computer stuff…

*The Fratellis, Stacie Anne

Stupid Machines

I’m so busy lately that I haven’t been writing regularly. Plus I’m getting on average about 2 more hours of sleep a night. I should stockpile those for the school year. I’m a slow mover in the morning on a good day. During the summer, I hit molasses mode. This is not a good thing for next week, when I have a conference with 7 AM meetings (do they hate me?) and a class that starts at 9 AM but on the other side of town (ah morning traffic woes). It’ll be fine. I’ll survive both. With caffeine.

This week has a bunch of stuff going on too…trying to get all those silly annual or semi-annual appointments out of the way. Check my teeth, cut my hairs, squash my boobs.

Anyway, Saturday’s axe-throwing event was successful…

No one lost a limb or even a finger. And we all enjoyed it.

Calli made it back from the vet. X-rays showed nothing. We’re assuming it’s more arthritic stuff, so she’s on even more meds, including anti-nausea pills because she wasn’t eating.

This morning, she ate most of a bowl of dog food, but mostly out of our hands. Blech to the dog saliva, but if it gets her to eat, OK. She’s on a lot of sedatives and pain meds, but she is walking better in the last two days. She will put some weight on the back leg, so that’s promising. She’s done this before with a front leg, but she seems less stable losing a back leg. The reality is that she’s getting old, and moving is not as easy as it used to be. Hopefully we’ll continue to see improvement this week. Because it sucks. Simba is confused about why Calli gets to eat anywhere in the house. He’ll survive. He’s young.

We have bunnies at my house. Here’s one who was not scared when I opened the window…

I don’t think I’ve ever put a bunny in a quilt. Maybe now is the time.

Speaking of quilts…well, hang on. Yesterday, my school team met at the beach for a BBQ/hang out/team-building session that went pretty well…certainly there was enough food for all.


That’s a bird I have put in a quilt. Unless it was a heron. It might have been a heron. See, even after my science co-teacher explained the difference, I still can’t remember.

I stitched for a while. It’s relaxing.

More progress on her…but it’s slow. I need to draw a couple more this week so I can take them to the conference and stitch them. I’ll have to decide whether to make them on dark or light. Maybe I should do a gray. Hmmm. I don’t have gray fabric. Do I need an excuse to buy fabric? Well, I will still need a binding fabric sometime…although so here’s the deal. I came home from the BBQ and exercised and tried to get my to-do list organized, and then I was going to quilt. But then my machine really was being an asshole…seriously, I checked all the settings, but the feed dogs won’t stay down. I can quilt in a straight line, but when I try to free-motion, the thread keeps breaking because the tension is wrong. It did this once before, like a year ago…and it was just in for its annual cleaning, so I’m a bit annoyed. I’ll call the machine guy in a bit, once I’m awake and showered…

So because I’m persistent (really, I am), I pulled the old machine out. It should work, if I can figure out how to thread it (it’s been a while). But then I can’t find the power cord. Seriously? Was that the cord that was lying around the office and I finally (I think) threw it out? Fuck me. Seriously. The boychild had a cord, but we aren’t sure it’s ideal…but I tried it…

My old 1+ quilts quite nicely…until the needle freezes. And then breaks the thread…

It only did that 5 times before I quit. So I don’t know if that’s related to using a cord not made for this machine, or if it’s something wrong with the machine. My plan? Call about getting the other one fixed, sooner rather than later (he’s usually booked like 6 weeks out, but this is an emergency and sometimes he’ll do those), ask about getting a new cord for the old machine, then see if it still has the needle stoppage problem, and maybe fix that too. More things on the to-do list. AND…it meant I couldn’t quilt last night for very long. Which was very frustrating. I need to get this one done.

Anyway, so I didn’t have a choice. I finally sat down with my sketchbook and did something as a start for the next deadline…

It’s not great…but it’s a start. I can do something with this. I’ll probably draw the other side and then redraw it better. I don’t like the hair and head. Or more. I don’t know. It’s too much like the Bill Nye quilt too. I need to do some brainstorming with words before I do this again. I just didn’t have the brain space last night. I was expecting to be meditatively quilting…not wracking my brain for ideas. Stupid machines. Plus when I haven’t drawn for a while, I need to do more to get loose. Let it flow.

Simba agrees. He’s sitting on the couch next to me while I’m on the stationary bike…

It was the closest he could get to me. Poor baby. Not enough attention.

OK, shower, call sewing machine fixit guy, it’s the man’s birthday, so we’re going on a boat and doing stuff. I need dog and cat food too. Busy day. AGAIN. Stop and brainstorm for the the drawing, because it looks like I might be doing that tonight instead of quilting. Sigh. It’s fine. I just was on a roll. I don’t like starting new pieces while I’m still finishing the old one. And I need to post my Patreon video! Oh yeah. Go do that.

Brain on break. Messy thing.

I Reach Out from the Inside*

Some worry this morning for the big dog…she won’t put weight on her back left leg all of a sudden…

Same side as the lump removal, so that’s a concern. She’s off to the vet in about an hour…hopefully it’s an easy thing, like muscles…she’s had muscle and arthritis issues before. Good thoughts, baby girl.

She was fine yesterday afternoon when I was pinbasting…her biggest worry was that I kicked her off her favorite floor to lie on…so I could clean it and baste the quilt…

Cone head.

Oh yeah, I finished stitch down yesterday…maybe 3 1/2 hours total.

Pinned…ready for quilting.

I was going to start that today, but I got sidetracked by many things, including the dog.

Yesterday, I was totally sidetracked by all these…

I’m just putting them here…

So hopefully a year from now and a bit…

I can rejoice in his loss…

And we thought Palin and Quayle were idiots.

Sometimes I truly love the internet’s ability to take on stupidity in a humorous way.

We gamed last night…two different games. I did OK on the first one, but killed three characters in the last one. Impressive.

I did not win. It’s all good. I’m OK with dying. And losing. Well, here. In a board game.

Today? I might die. We’re trying axe-throwing. Plus I have a meeting. Plus I’m tired. Plus I’m worried about the dog. I’m not sure I should be allowed to throw an axe honestly. I suspect not a lot of art is happening today. Hopefully that will be different tomorrow.

*Peter Gabriel, In Your Eyes

Sturdy Up Your Heart*

I’m frozen again. It’s 95 degrees out there. But my brain. Frozen. Too many things on the list. Dogs have been to the vet…one is now coneless and fancy free…the other is on more meds, a bloody abscess cleaned out, and still a conehead. Fun stuff. The washing machine died (again…it died last August too) last night while trying to finish up the boychild’s bedding. I really don’t have the time to deal with that right this second. Maybe tomorrow afternoon? I just don’t know. This might be an online thing. Trying to decide if it’s worth trying to fix again (I never actually fixed it last time…gave Sears the money to fix it and then spent 4 months trying to get the money back because they said my husband let them in the house and they fixed it. Interesting. I have no husband. Or male who lives here at the moment.) or whether I should just accept that the last 9 months of forcing it to work, even though it was apparently unfixable, was better than I thought I would get. Write that shit off. Because buying major appliances when I have no paycheck during the summer seems like a good plan? Fuuuuck.

Deep breaths. The list is long. I will get through bits and pieces of it, a little at a time.

There’s the nervous conehead at the vet. She gets all freaked out.

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And on the way home, she wouldn’t shift over to give the puppy some room…

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Don’t squish your baby brother.

I’m typing now with this one lying on the caps lock. I keep shoving her over.

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I did do some stitching last night…two nights’ worth on the stitch-a-day…it’s about all I did. I was so exhausted. I’m better today. Got over 8 hours of mostly OK sleep. I really needed it.

I stitched a (dammit…just forgot the name of it) feather stitch in blue and then straight stitches in the purple vine, and then put in a few French knots and a stem stitch under the eyeball to finish the thread. Then I did a pink lazy daisy in the feather stitch and straight stitches off the purple vine.

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Filling space. Plus trying to relax. Then I graded for a while. I’m so incredibly behind, it’s not even funny. Trying to catch up. Frantically.

I did work on this at gaming…

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I did the frog and started the grass…plus the symbol on the tree. Still debating going back and adding bullions to the outside of the tree. Then this one is done. Not taking it with me to Ohio.

It’s funny, I’ll be frantically stitching while gaming, trying to keep myself calm (not) and awake (that works). Stress levels are a little insane at the moment.

I woke to good (but a little scary) news this morning. Both the pieces I entered into Threads of Resistance got in.

This is Absolutely Nothing, originally in an exhibit called Women at War

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And this is Work in Progress, from the exhibit Expressions of Equality.

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These were made one after the other…hence the tree showing up in both…I wasn’t done with that imagery apparently. Much like the bathtubs I keep doing.

So yeah, I didn’t have time to make new work for this show, but I do often roll in those topics anyway. There was a climate change one I wanted to enter, but it was like 2″ too big. It’s all good.

So why is it a little scary? Well. So. A few of my quilts have upset people’s sensibilities. And these two have about 10 penises between the two of them, plus yes, full-on nudity, and one is NOT very nice about how I feel about the way women are treated in society.

So. I guess we prep for the media storm this time…because some of these venues could be an issue. The plus is I know the group that organized this show has my back. Most of them have supported me in the past with personal messages or posts online. So I’m feeling OK about opening some eyes, or getting those heads nodding up and down in agreement. And I know the Mancusos will just invite the press in…still think I should get a kickback on their ticket sales if I make the news again.

The show opens July 15 in Lowell, Massachusetts, at the New England Quilt Museum. And then it travels through 2018. Or longer. So check it out.

Now I gotta get through this to-do list or I’m gonna go crazy.

*The Beautiful Girls, La Mar

You’d Better Change It Back or We Will Both Be Sorry*

There’s too much shit in my head right now, swirling around. Massive to-do lists banging into me like two dogs wearing plastic cones on their heads. Wait. That’s real life. I’m tired of their doggy heads banging into the backs of my legs…or both of them trying to get through a door before I’ve opened it all the way. Thunk! One dog gets 7 1/4 pills in the morning; the other gets 1.6 ml? or µl? of some white stuff that he tolerates. Treats for all! Plus soaking of the feets! So time-consuming. And then there’s all the stuff I should be doing for school but keep blowing off…grading, most of it. But also calculating grades and awards. Then the boychild is home in less than a week…I think his room is pretty clean, but the bedding definitely needs washing. And I need to vacuum, but my vacuum is dying a not-so-pretty death, so I need to deal with that. And then I’m gone for two days next week to go to Quilt National…yay! But that’s a planning nightmare for school. You just don’t take off during the sex ed unit. Or. Well. You do. You just plan really well for it.

And this block I’m working on is supposed to be done by the 29th…which it probably will be. It’s not a hard thing to do. It really only needs to be a top, but since the drawn line is really important to my quilts, I’ll have to figure out how to do that without quilting it. I might use batting anyway. Or maybe not, since I think I’m one of the ones in charge of sewing this thing together. I can quilt it later. Maybe. I don’t know.

Anyway. I did manage to finish all the ironing last night…although I did this first, two night’s worth…I did some red straight stitches and then some weird whipped stitch just to the right of the eyeball. Then a barbed chain stitch (I don’t know if that’s a real stitch…it’s just what it looked like as I made it up) and French knots in green near the eyeball and that whipped stitch.

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The color is really dull because I took that photo basically in the dark without a flash. So the next time you see a photo of it, you’ll be amazed by how bright it is.

Then I ironed all those flesh fabrics from last night and cut out the rest of it (a heart…an ovary)…

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So that’s 32 fabrics, a pile of stuff to be cut out tonight, and about three hours of work.

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Like I said, it’s not a hard thing to do…in fact, maybe I should do a few smaller ones. So that reminds me, I need to put an official list together of what is going to be in the Visions show. I should do that this week, because next week is gonna be a cluster. Plus I want it done. I basically know what’s in there…I just have a few wishy washy issues. And being overwhelmed is not helping me deal with them.

I wish I were her sometimes. It looks so easy…

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Goofball dogs.

But really. I think it’s 21 days left of school…and I’m gone for 2 of those. But then I have jury duty. And I need to pick up some copyediting jobs for the summer. Plus I need a big project (or three) for the summer. Right? It’s true, I love that about the summer…a big meaty project or two to focus on with all that “free” time.

OK. Well I still have a headache, so the tea isn’t cutting it. Yesterday we eased into sex ed with Liking vs Loving…much easier than slamming right into anatomy, which is how we’ve always done it. We ramp it up a bit today with relationship abuse, and then tomorrow, we bring out the penises and vaginas. Whoa Nelly. Then slam them upside the head with puberty. It’s on!

*The Human League, Don’t You Want Me