I Don’t Ever Wanna Feel Like I Did That Day*

April 20, 2018

Yeah, I’m up early. I was already awake…trying to remind myself in my sleep to wear my anti-gun-violence T-shirt today for Columbine. Things we remember: Reagan being shot, Columbine, 9/11. Fun stuff. Right eye is twitching. Yesterday was calmer. Today will be frenetic, because things are due to the teacher and you didn’t tell us! I did. You aren’t giving us enough time! Yes I am. Next week will be a little more chill. But we’ll be talking about what war does to a country, to a national park, to be specific, and that’s walking a fine line sometimes. Too many of my students have direct experience with guns and bombs falling. I think about that and I’m glad I grew up in sunny Southern California, where the only guns are in the workplace and at school. Whoops! No seriously, my growing-up time was also pretty chill. Same stupid drama you always see in middle and high school, but also dances and parades and homework and ditching school and dressing up for Halloween and all that stuff. No war, except the cold one. No weapons, except the nuclear ones.

The quilt I’m working on now isn’t about guns or even women’s rights or climate change or anything else political. It’s personal. I need a little mental space to work on it…it’s easier to see each piece as this particular shape than to try to tag it on social media with what’s important. What’s important? Across the board, how we treat people. All people…whether we’re trying to work with them in a group or teach them or love them or be with them or just stand in line with them in the grocery store. Or like that guy who was trying to drive up my ass the other day because he wanted to pass the truck in the other lane and he was in the wrong lane and I wasn’t going fast enough for him, so all I could see was the grill of his pickup truck and his middle finger thrusting at me in my rearview mirror. Really? I was doing 67 mph in an only lane that was exiting that freeway. Not fast enough. I wonder about his life that he thought that was an appropriate move. I hate that those guys sit in my chest and make all the feels.

I graded more yesterday. I’m trying to get caught up. It’s frustrating though, because then some kid emails me, completely confused about what I graded, but he never turned it in. So that’s a zero, sweetheart. I can’t (won’t) grade what you don’t turn in.

I had quilt class last night, which is just the two of us most times now…which is fine. I didn’t want to haul all the stuff to trace Wonder Under, so I just took the box of things that need sewing down. I forgot half my thread, but this is my quilt teacher, so she has that stuff. We like never run out of thread…the spools last seven thousand years when you’re doing applique…it’s such short strands. Even all the bindings I’ve sewn down…I think only the black and the dark blue thread are anywhere near empty…and they’re still NOT empty. When I die, it will be spools of thread and art exhibit announcements…and the FABRIC that drive my children bonkers. I’m OK with that. Maybe by then, I’ll be a mural painter and it will be my spray paint collection in the garage instead.

I got the lion’s body down, the two rectangles in the background, the body of whatever that gray animal is, and now I’m working on the tree. Still lots to do. Not even sure where the wool thread is for that blue hut.

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This is Mind the Gap, a show I will never see in person, unfortunately, due to the stupid hours. It closes today, I think…pick up is next week. Good friends drive down and photograph the show for you. Mine is on the right…there’s more pictures, but I didn’t have the energy to download them all yesterday. I partnered with James Watts, whose kokeshi doll is being stared down by my angry earth mother.

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I’ll post more later for that. I swear.

Then after dinner and grades, I started tracing the new quilt. At 1000 pieces (and it’s 1001…I just found one I missed), it’s going to be a while…

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There are some big rug pieces in there that take up lots of space on the first yard of Wonder Under. There are three figures on this quilt…so there will be lots of flesh tones. The fireplace is gray stone. Something to think about. The background will have two colors: floor and wall. How will I get the contrast I usually love? Well I need to consider that. Red wall? Dark brown wood floor? Dark gray stones in the fireplace? We’ll see. Complicated for sure. It’ll be at least 10 hours of tracing, probably more like 12. So I won’t be done with that until the end of next week probably. Good to have goals.

Time is tight. 39 days. Will I be making the other one also? What…am I nuts? Sigh. Yes. Yes I am. It may not be possible. I may have to reconsider. I may have to work harder.

This was at school. I have no idea why.

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Early meeting today. Long day today. But there’s a weekend and that’s a good thing.

*Red Hot Chili Peppers, Under the Bridge

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For a Minute There I Lost Myself*

April 16, 2018

Most common nights that teachers don’t sleep: (1) The day before school starts in August (or September, if you’re on that track). (2) Sunday nights. I don’t even know why. I totally tried to shut my brain down. It just didn’t work. I was talking to the girlchild right before, but I also was just glad to hear from her (earlier that day)…the no-internet week was difficult. Meanwhile, boychild is sending me pictures of lost weather balloons (REAL ones, not the Roswell kind of weather balloons).

Some weekends just aren’t long enough.

Yes, I spent most of Saturday in a car. Then talked about my work and all the other quilters’ work (because I was the token quilter there). Then we took all the work down and shoved a bunch of it in my car and drove back. Woo hoo! Ugh. Sunday was like it always is…do some work, clean up, do some yard work, grocery store, prep some food, hopefully get to some art. And the art started early, because I had graded all the makeup work and couldn’t handle anything else. There have to be days of the week when you don’t work. And I already had.

I have my post-dinner routine that will get this quilt done…we finish watching whatever not-quite-an-hour-long show it is and then I sew more balls on until the show is done. I’m on the last thread color…I think. I missed one pink one and some of the red ones seem darker, but let’s just say I’m close to done with sewing them down. Then I need to embellish them.

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I was actually looking up how to quilt wool last night, because the quilt BEFORE the birds has been pinbasted for a million years. I feel like it needs a heavier thread than what I usually use, but the woman I watched on YouTube used a thinner thread. So now I don’t know.

Anyway, so I am trying to get the other one done too…I guess this is number 3. I have all the wool cut out for September and October, but nowhere to put it. So I pieced September to one of the first blocks I embellished…

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And then pinned down the beginnings of stuff.

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I think the whole thing gets sewn together after that, which is a little scary. Don’t worry…it’ll be a while. I have a ton of embellishment left to do on the other piece that traveled with us throughout the Southwest. I didn’t get much done.

This was because the boychild needs to come home after college and may well be driving.

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I was just curious. It’s about how far we drove over Spring Break. But with no help. Long way.

Then I started drawing…it was easier last night. I added an octopus and a jellyfish. So much for keeping it simple.

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Then Christmas lights, of course…and the requisite bones.

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Stardard fare…some ribs, a uterus, the inevitable iPhone, some stuff from the past, and gingko leaves.

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Her hair on the right side…haven’t decided the left side yet. There’s more to add in there.

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This might be a little crazy.

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Found the other drawing I was considering for the time theme. This is good. It’s almost done, as far as the two figures are concerned…

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There’s a third figure I need to draw…but I need to add paper to do that. I think I’ll try to do that tonight, because this deadline is earlier than the other. Honestly, I’m not sure I can finish both. So there’s that. Never let that stop me yet though.

Wow. This is a tired way to start a week. Ugh. Oh well. Must go on.

*Radiohead, Karma Police


Crawling in My Skin*

April 10, 2018

First day back to school after two weeks went just about how you would expect. Some kids still asleep. Some kids obviously got no attention for days and were so excited to be back where there were lots of people. And all the teachers. Well, we’re here. State testing is coming up…it’s when you look at the group of kids you personally will be testing with for four days and wonder how you will keep them going. I rely on cheese and crackers and juice boxes personally. Plus a lot of coloring pages. One year, I had a lot of small plastic animals that I gave out. Whatever works.

It did mean that I came home (after dropping my car at the car guy’s place, because although the check engine light had been on since Petrified Forest, it went off yesterday morning…it’s OK, it was back on by the afternoon) and I collapsed. Well. I didn’t. I played with dogs and petted needy cats and cooked dinner and THEN I collapsed. Eventually, and honestly, it took a long while, I got off my butt and did stuff. Sometimes I think knowing I will have to write the next day and own what I did (or didn’t) do is what gets me moving…which is fine. Motivation is motivation.

We started a new unit yesterday, so I drew…although honestly, I was kind of haphazard about it…

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It’s done. That’s all that matters.

When I got home, there was a lovely package from Beth, thanking me for sending her all my trashy bits from the last three quilts…these will be beautiful in my flesh stash…very subtle and wonderful texture…

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In my mail was this…which I finally opened…

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And saw my quilt! If you want to hear me talk about this, it’s this Saturday at 2 PM at the Branch Gallery in Los Angeles.

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Unfortunately, the show is closing this Saturday, not continuing into May. Long stupid story on that one. The quilt to the left is Charlotte Bird’s…

Part of my couch collapse still involves trying to sew all 96 balls on this thing. I don’t feel too bad, though, because I just saw someone posting that they had just finished this. It’s not just me!

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I’m working my way around, one color at a time. I think I have 2 1/2 colors left, not that it means anything, because I can’t remember how many colors there were in the beginning…6 or 7? I just don’t know. It’s an endless twisting around, seeing if there’s another one that’s the same color (and some of them are pretty damn similar, if you ask me). And then I get to embellish all 96 of them. We could be here for a while.

Then sitting around on the couch, staring at stupid memes and crappy news until that drove me off the couch. I have two deadlines in June…I tried drawing for one of them Sunday night, and it’s not coming together. I have another drawing started that might work for that…but that meant pulling stuff off the piano (of course…don’t you keep all your half-done drawings on your piano?), and I wasn’t in the mood. So I picked the one that has to be an exact size and cut a piece of paper for that. I stared at it for a long time. And then started sketching in the shape of a body…you can clearly see that here.

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Or not. I don’t always use pencil, but when I do, it usually requires a lot of erasing and redrawing. Honestly, it’s hard to fit something into a shape this long and narrow without a lot of erasing and redrawing. Luckily, at some point, I decided everything from the knees down was good enough. I’m not done with this section, but I have a solid start.

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I’ve been trying those white-out things that have the strip you sort of swipe on the ink. I like it because it’s not bumpy, but it doesn’t do well in this situation. It’s coming up too easily…not sticking to the paper in a decisive manner. Ugh. Back to the liquid stuff? Maybe.

Anyway, expect to see this drawing for a while. I sit there telling myself to keep it simple (ironic…the bones aren’t even in there yet), and then I give them fingernails. Tiny little fingernails. Totally unnecessary fingernails. Ah well. I’m sure there’s a good reason for that. Things I draw automatically…fingernails…kneecaps…uteri.

Meanwhile, did I grade anything yesterday? Nope. Not really. Oh well. OK, gotta go to school again. Although all I really wanna do is work on that drawing. That’s good actually…it means it’s starting to talk to me. So that in itself will drag me off the couch, even if I’m tired.

*Linkin Park, Crawling


I’m Back…Physically…

April 9, 2018

Hi. I’ve been gone a while. Well. I’m back. Not READY to be back, but what’s new, right? Still need to clean out and patch the tent, but the sleeping bags have been aired out and packed up, the man’s head has been shaved, and very little grading is done. In fact, yesterday, while I’m trying to sit out on the deck in the lovely (not windy) weather, ready (sort of) to power through some grading, the app that we use to sign in to all our other apps decided I didn’t exist…

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OK then. I still needed to grade. Luckily my phone and iPad still let me in to the app I needed, but it was slow and fussy, so I didn’t get much done. Oh well! This was the view…

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No gusty winds, no 10% humidity or less…sleeping in my own bed. All good. Travel is nice, but it’s also nice to be home.

I have a drawing in my head. This isn’t it. This is the drawing I did to remind me that what’s in my head is better. It may take me a while to get there.

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This is the pile of science units that I did manage to grade over break…so that’s not a small amount.

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But there’s still a ton sitting around here that needs doing.

I worked on this on the trip…got all the wool bits sewed on. It actually took a lot longer than I thought I would to do that.

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And that hut is significantly crooked. But I’m OK with that.

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Mostly I worked on those two not-so-crooked huts and the warthog, who just needs his tail finished.

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The instructions were like “use the instructions from January to complete this stuff” and I didn’t bring those. I couldn’t figure the flowers out, but for the baby warthog, I just looked at his parents and figured him out. So I didn’t get much done.

I did drive about 2500 miles though and went to a bunch of cool places, which will pop up in posts over the next few weeks, because it will take me forever to find all the photos.

But today, I go back to school…I just spent 20 minutes actually talking to the girlchild in Madagascar, so that was cool. Nice to hear her voice. And now off to work. Hopefully my brain will follow.


The Weight of the Things That Remained Unspoken*

March 30, 2018

OK. So I have multiple to-do lists and to-take lists and I keep crossing stuff off but I’m still stressed. Boychild left on a week-long hike today for his Spring Break. Tomorrow, girlchild leaves for her independent study project, so we may not hear from her for a while. I have not finished anything for school. ANYTHING. Whatever. It will still be there when I get back. And today I’ve been to two grocery stores, the UPS place, my photographer’s, the gas station, Target, and I tried to deal with the two car issues, but one is something that needs ordering, and for some reason, my tire place is closed. Do they close for Good Friday? Not clear. OK. It’s all right. It’s just a faulty sensor. It’s not the end of the world. Nothing really is the end of the world.

I finished the quilt, I entered the show. I have no quilts in my head right now (not entirely true) that have to be done. I can draw with wild abandon. Like I don’t do that anyway.

Here’s Birthing the Gender War

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I think she’s one in a series…because there are more genders, and honestly, I’m at a point where I believe we should start over on the gender stuff. Just dump our preconceptions and argue for fluidity. Not sure how I’m gonna draw that, but give me time.

Kitten enjoying our Spring weather…

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I tested our new air mattress…hopefully no backaches this trip. Calli approved.

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She would have approved more if I let her on it.

Simba just wanted love. Poor dogs have gotten no attention this week.

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So one thing I want to take with me is this…for embellishment. I have the top block on the right and the two blocks before it that are barely embellished…

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But then I added the July blocks in the row below…I’m still trying to sew all the wooly bits down…

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And then the last row is for August. Even more things to stitch down before I leave.

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Realistically, I’m not going to get all those on there. Then again, I’m going to a show tonight that is supposed to only be an hour of playing, but it looks like I might be there for setup before. I can sit out on the deck there and do this, right? No one will mind? Yeah, it’s somebody’s house, but I sorta know him. Considering this…

So I shipped two quilts out today, one for a show and one commission.

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We have piles everywhere of stuff for camping etc. I finally got my clothes packed this afternoon…I was kind of freaking out. The temperature ranges we’re dealing with are kind of drastic.

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No snow, though…not like the boychild.

Here’s the girlchild with her Madagascarian troupe (well part of them anyway).

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They all separate into their ISPs now for 3 or 4 weeks before they get together again at the end. I think she made an awesome choice on this trip…still worry about her constantly (and the boychild too…he’s hiking by himself, of course. Sigh.). And I miss both of them. Apparently the girlchild’s housekeeper/nanny/cook gave her a gift for mamanao, which translates to Your Mom. Wow. OK. That’s so cool. I can’t even really send anything back. I guess I sent her my kid. But sweet Gina, thank you…for feeding her and washing her clothes (and all the stuff I don’t do for her!). I appreciate it.

Anyway, I need some down time and I’m going to enjoy it, even when there’s no showers and we’re being stalked by herds of javelinas and coatimundi…I can stitch, draw, read, and hike. It’s all good.

*Maroon 5, Won’t Go Home Without You


I Work ‘Til I Ache My Bones*

March 29, 2018

Well I finished the quilt. On time. It’s at the photographer. I’ll enter the show tomorrow, before I leave…well before the deadline. Mostly because the deadline is while I’m gone. It’s weird, though…I’ve been head down, finishing stuff, for months now…and now I don’t know what I’m doing next. There’s some deadlines, but I think they’re all in June. So yes, I need to work on them, but I need to draw some stuff and decide priorities first. I have other quilts I could start, drawings that are already numbered and ready to go, but I need to spend some time staring at deadlines before I make that decision.

I honestly thought yesterday’s finish would be a piece of cake, that I’d be done by dinnertime. Ah ha ha ha. Yeah. Right. I got up and trimmed the quilt, and then went through my stash, trying to figure out if I had something that would work for the binding. Nope. Nothing.

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Simba was barking all morning at bugs and birds…or whatever other ghosts he sees in the driveway…

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I found a cat sleeping on all the stuff I haven’t graded for the last 5 days. Smart move.

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Somewhere around then, I made the trip to the fabric store and bought some fabrics that might work for the binding. Two older ladies commented positively on my choice of colors, and the woman who cut my fabric recognized my name on the credit card and asked to see it (I think she was not really happy with the image). Weird that. Then I came back and realized I needed to wash the fabric, so I started that. Then I have three quilts that have to go out this week, so I put labels on two of them and then realized to ship, NOW WAS THE TIME to finally give in and buy pool noodles. So I did that. Exciting stuff. I had already bought boxes on the way to the fabric store…

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So I packed up the quilt I needed to deliver to my mom, so she can deliver it for me next week. I did that and then came back to the binding. The stuff in the middle was because I liked it. The two binding choices are on either side. Those older ladies in the quilt store were asking me what I was looking for…I said, “the one that makes sense.” Turns out that was the one on the left.

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So yeah, not a blending binding. I got it all sewn on and then made dinner, and then proceeded to poke many holes in my finger, because I was too lazy to get up and find the pads a friend gave me to stop that shit.

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I finished the binding at 11:30 PM. Pretty good. Not before dinner, but still on Wednesday.

Then this morning, I started thinking about the trip necessities…they don’t make my sunscreen anymore (I’m allergic to most of them)…so that will be interesting.

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Yes. Jellybeans are a necessity. I won’t eat the white or black ones though. They’re gross.

I also need to get this stitched down so I can take it with me for embellishment.

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Plus I think I’m supposed to stitch it all to something else, which I should do before I deliver my sewing machine for service later today. I timed all this kinda crazy. As usual.

So what do I do today? Grade Shit. Lots of it. Packing. Organizing. Delivering. Packing up two more quilts to ship tomorrow. One still needs a label. Probably a million other things to do that I haven’t even thought of yet. Seriously consider what art is gonna be made next. That might be the most important task of the day.

*Queen, Somebody to Love


They Tell You It’s None of Their Business*

March 26, 2018

I’m running late on blogposting today. I’d like to say it’s because I slept in, woke up at a leisurely pace, and am still in my pajamas, wandering a quiet house, wondering how to spend all my free time (snort), but none of that is true. What IS true is that the dog kept me awake a good chunk of the night and morning, I got up and showered, had guacamole and chips for breakfast, and went to a sleep apnea appointment, so my doc could try to blame my inability to sleep on something in my nose/brain/whatever instead of admitting that I’m a shitty sleeper genetically.

I put the sleep apnea device box on the bed, so I’ll remember to put the damn device on tonight. Kitten was perturbed.



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Yesterday, I managed to get my taxes done (hooray! but not in time to pay my property taxes, dammit) and go through all the camping equipment we have, so we could figure out what we’re missing. Calli hasn’t been to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a while. Grandpa throws her the ball on a nice flat lawn…

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She’s an old lady. I stitched horizontal grass down…I will need to go through my stuff and make sure I have enough of this stitched down and prepped for the trip.

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Can’t have nothing in my hands…that’s crazy.

Then I came in the studio, laid out the first 100 pieces of the new quilt, and started ironing…

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I’m done with the first 250 or so pieces…

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And everyone is flipping out over a penis. Seriously. No comments on blue pubic hair? Alright then.

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My goal is to finish ironing today. Yes. Today. No, I didn’t grade anything yesterday. Whatever. My priorities are fine.

I also picked the last three quilts up yesterday from the photographer…

This is BirdFoot, which was started in 2007 and sat around as a top for a really long time. It’s done now.

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Climate Goddess, which was started last June and then was filler in between a bunch of other things, until it was finished last month…

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And the commission piece, which draws from the climate piece, but was commissioned by the mom of a scoliosis surgery teenager. Its title is She Was Given to Us Perfect, from a poem the mom sent me.

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I think I’ll write more about the commission later this week, when I’m more awake and less worried about getting this next one done, but it was an enjoyable and different experience. It’s the largest commission I’ve done, but it was positive.

With that, I need to iron like the WIND. Or something. The HOT WIND. There we go. More tomorrow. After I’ve slept with that machine. Or not slept. However that goes.

*Adam Ant, Desperate but Not Serious