Stay Wilder Than the Wind*

September 16, 2017

Late writing today…not because I slept all day…ah ah aha ha ha ha. OK. Teacher humor. But yeah, I’ve put in a few hours of grading today already…trying to free up my evening for artmaking…which in this case is really just hours of scissoring. With scissors. Just to be clear.

But I do like the school days when I get to do art as well…so yesterday was the start of a new unit, so I did my cover page…

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I like it better than last year’s…mostly because it’s missing last year’s mistake. So yeah, I got to color on Friday. For my job. That’s awesome.

Which is good, because that was really all the artmaking that happened, being gaming night. I’m training to do runes…but I need a hammer and a ton of money.

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A late-night trip to the grocery store…this never makes me feel safe…

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I finished the block on the left…block 15? I think? While gaming. And started on the elephants. It took me about halfway around the baby elephant to remember how to do coral stitch…the book I use is usually quite good, but for some reason, I couldn’t figure this one out until I looked it up online and then went…OOOoohhh…that makes more sense…

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This morning started with some school work…grading of course…but then a 3-mile hike with the dogs…and a random coyote who was quite vocal and nerve-wracking…and then gave up and went to sleep.

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Tired the damn dogs out at least.

I had been looking at Blocks 15 and 16 and trying to figure out how I was supposed to sew this moon thing on…oh yeah. Sew the damn blocks together. So I did. This is Blocks 4 and 5 sewn to 9 and 10 sewn to 15 and 16. I think. That doesn’t make sense though numberwise. Something like that. I realized after that I should have trimmed them before I sewed.

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That’s some crooked elephant stuff down there. I’ll figure it out…don’t worry. But it’s looking pretty good so far.

Kitten has decided the dog bed is the right size for her…and she’s pushed the blinds to the side for a kitten-sized window out to look at the front yard…mostly at the bunnies.

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She’s still not comfortable coming out here by herself with Satchemo in the house, but both of them were on the bed this morning. Only a little hissing happened. It’s a VERY slow process that involves a lot of petting and treats.

Anyway, I’m grading (and cleaning house a bit) for the next two hours, and then dinner plus artmaking afterwards. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how it goes in reality.

*Duran Duran, Come Undone

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Pulling Your Puzzles Apart*

September 5, 2017

It’s funny…I thought I would have all this time yesterday to iron, but grading took forever, plus we walked the dogs in the much cooler weather. Yeah. This dog…

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The clouds were low and it was in the 70s…a huge change from 109 on Saturday.

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There’s an endangered bird species or two who live here…it’s nice that someone makes their homes decorative.

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We tried a new way back, one we won’t try again, because it goes past a variety of sewage treatment areas.

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Plus at some point it’s just a paved road. Not my first choice, although this piece of equipment was pretty.

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I graded for a couple of hours after that, then cooked dinner and did something on this. Hmmm. French knots in the bottom left, in a variegated thread this time.

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And because we were trying to finish watching the first episode of Ozark and I can’t just sit and watch TV, I kept sewing parts down for the next month’s worth of Folk Tails.

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I think I made eyeballs too.

Finally to the ironing! I finished ironing down all the pieces of flesh from the day before.

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Which probably took close to an hour. And then I started on all those pieces that weren’t flesh but were in the body…there were a ton of pieces in the heart this time, and many more arteries/veins…so the reds were more extensive than normal.

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I don’t feel like I got much done really…just the eyeballs and one tattoo and the bloody stuff. I still have parts of the face, the lungs, the octopus tentacles coming off her hand, and another tattoo.

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I started the bullet trails through her head, but didn’t get to the bullets. They’re lined up on the bottom. Anyway. I’m almost 6 hours into the ironing and I still haven’t gotten to the 400s…some of them are in the hair too. So I guess that will be tonight. I hope. I suspect 15 hours for the ironing is a good estimate…although I hope it will be less. Maybe by the end of the week? This is a tough week…back-to-school night will kick my ass. We’ll see.

Here’s the pile of pieces that are ironed plus the fabrics before I organized them…

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I’m trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour (ha!), which just means midnight instead of 1 AM. So I’ve been watching the clock and making myself stop.

Here’s what I’ve used so far in fabrics…the flesh run on the left at the back of the box…and a ton of reds.

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I have to remember that I have tutorial today after school, so exhaustion will be high. But I don’t have to cook dinner tonight…so that’s exciting. No really, it is.

*Coldplay, The Scientist


Crazy Thoughts Have Quick Wings*

August 22, 2017

Eclipses are cool y’all. That’s all I have to say about that.

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NASA has way better pictures than I do…not surprisingly.

I’m realizing that I’m still adjusting to new eating times…blood sugar was wacky yesterday, but then I figured out that we have a different schedule on Mondays. Hence my body’s complete confusion by the end of the day. Working on it. Still. Forever.

I’m a little tired this morning. Sure, I went to bed late, but I do that a lot. Puppy wanted to bark at everything last night though, so I remember 1:53 AM and 3:21 AM and 5:38 AM. I think those were all coyote responses, but I’m not sure. Ugh. Still can’t keep my eyes open all the way. Blargh.

Tired the dogs out after school yesterday…apparently not enough for Simba. We did over three miles…

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I love how the old seed pods are mixed with the new…castor bean plant. Freaky beast.

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I did…um…oh yeah! the three roses on the bottom right. It’s a stitch called rambling rose, which consists of French knots and stem stitches. Very simple.

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I was mostly horizontal with Simba. He liked me then.

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Eventually I made it upright and cooked some dinner. On Mondays, that usually means reheating leftovers…because if I’m not getting back to the house until after 7 PM, it better be easy.

So I had enlarged this one just because I thought it should be a quilt. And I taped it just to get it done. It’s not huge.

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Who knows when she’ll get made…I have a waiting list at this point.

Then I started tracing the newest piece. The pieces are bigger than what I usually do.

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I was really trying to keep it simpler than some of my recent pieces. We’ll see how that goes. I only traced about 87 pieces in an hour. Not bad. Not spectacular. But because I don’t have a lot of grading when I get home at the moment, it means all I have to think about is art stuff. So as long as I can fight the tiredness, I can get some stuff done. That gets harder as the year goes on. That part always stresses me out. I’m trying to keep my head in a positive place about school…I wonder if admin realizes every crazy-ass thing they do, messing with the master schedule, assigning yet another thing to teachers to keep track of, making us do a 2-hour homeroom with lunch 45 minutes late. We absorb all of it, try to cope, adjust the peeing/eating schedules, take lots of deep breaths, and come home and walk three miles out in nature to clear our heads. Yeah. Well.

*Jem, Save Me


Like It’s Tryna Get Away*

August 15, 2017

I really hate the days when I can’t find the energy to make art. Even if I got a ton of stuff done (I didn’t) and walked a lot of steps (I did) and even walked the dogs (I did) and made dinner from scratch (I did) and the boychild got safely to college with a minimum of delay (he did…only an hour and a half in Detroit), it still feels like I did absolutely nothing yesterday because I couldn’t even pick up my hand and draw. Hell, I didn’t even do the stitch-a-day thing. THAT was too much work. Yes. I went to bed early. That’s how you know you’re old…you can only do one night of almost no sleep before you crash. Apparently 3 hours is my crash point.

My bulletin boards aren’t done. My room is a disaster. A clusterfuck even. I can’t find anything because I had to put it all away in June. I did finally find my phone. At like 3 PM yesterday. I thought someone might have stolen it. Nope. They didn’t. It’s OK. I still have today to try and get my head straight. And it all doesn’t have to be done today. I have time to get some stuff done in the next few days…although it feels better on the first day to be on top of all of it…because it will be the LAST TIME ALL YEAR that you will feel that way. Seriously.

I am wearing my Threads of Resistance t-shirt today. It’s how I feel. Resistant. And maybe it will help.

I’ll photograph my room today. It’s scary right now.

When I got home from school, I took the dogs on a 3-mile hike. We all needed it.

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Not the greatest picture…such a delicate flower.

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I had some issues trying to get both of them to walk together after months of not doing it…especially when I was trying to keep them out of the poison oak.

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Someone left this on the bridge…

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And puppy slept close to me for a long time. Honestly, I didn’t get done with dinner and clean up until 9 or so (not so abnormal)…

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But I couldn’t even pick up a needle or a pen. Hopefully tonight will be better. I forget how exhausting the first week can be. I wish I had a project in a better stage right now, like tracing or cutting…I could probably handle that. But no, I’m in the highly creative phase of two different projects at the moment. OK. Well. Draw tonight. No excuses. My day job doesn’t get to co-opt my favorite job.

*Max Frost, Die Young


Last Hike of Summer Vacation

August 9, 2017

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.


No Time to Think About What She’s Done*

July 22, 2017

I promised to talk about some of the quilts in my Nida Powers exhibit…so I’m picking this one…the first of the earth mothers…aptly named Earth Mother

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This is also the first of the truly long skinny quilts…I started with a drawing on one page of my sketchpad, and then copied it and taped it to the next page…and maybe a third page. She wears a cape. People want me to explain everything in my quilts and the reality is that I can’t. Even this one, which dates back to 2006, I was journaling then, but often I don’t write down what I’m thinking when I make them. Ah, but I just went and looked and found this:

I meant to write about the 1/22/06 drawing to say what I was thinking when I drew it. I drew two eyes and they were too far apart, so I drew a third eye between them. She’s very calm looking. I think of her as native, earth mother type. I had a lot of problems with the arm behind. Used a bunch of liquid paper trying to decide what to do with the hands. Multiple nipples…didn’t like the placement of the first one, so I added some more. Seemed to go with the Earth Mother theme. Maybe that’s the name for now…Earth Mother. I know I want the feet to grow roots and the ground to be layers with tunnels and things down below. The 1989 tattoo is my marriage. I was thinking some people put significant names and dates on their body as tattoos, and that was a significant date, the date of my marriage. The eye relates back to that Indian (from India) thing of the all-seeing eye or even the evil eye. Her heart shows. The child is almost a Jesus figure, but eyes closed and wearing a diaper. Weird. Lots of decorative drawing. I drew the cape and the vine sort of as an afterthought. The halo is off center on purpose. Lots of religious overtones. I’ve always liked the stories of Mary that are sacrilegious and the stories of Our Lady of Guadalupe, so maybe that’s where I’m going with this.

Anyway, that’s where my brain was 11+ years ago. She is the most calm and peaceful of the Earth Mothers I think. She hangs in my entryway usually and I miss seeing her there. But she belongs in the show. Someone was asking about all the animals in the quilts; they’re all mine. I couldn’t figure out one of the cats in this one though. It’s back when Russia (the dog) was still alive. So I think it’s Willow and Juniper and Limbo, but I’m not sure who the other one is. Maybe Kiwi or one of the other dead ones. Even Russia was dead when I drew this…

So my art goals have been shot to hell otherwise. Yesterday was a lot of driving around and freaking out about black mold…it’s OK. We solved that. We had an expert over here, who scavenged some of our wood stain that was going to haz waste in exchange for his opinions and 9 wood screws.

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The big hole now has a medicine cabinet in it and the smaller hole is still there. I’m going to house animals in it.

Not really. I’m gonna fix it. But don’t ask my dad about it. He’s convinced there’s a 2×4 on the right (there isn’t). I know how to fix this kind of shit. I’m good.

Kitten. Seriously. I have video of her whiskers twitching while she sleeps in this position.

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So I didn’t get much done all day but errands and computer shit and I don’t even know what. The garage isn’t handled totally. The Craigslist ads are ready to be written. I’m posting those later this weekend. Don’t wanna deal with it right now.

Then I persuaded all living things that aren’t cats to go for a walk/hike down in Sweetwater…

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Strangely, cats don’t like walks. Well mine don’t.

Finally! Man. I need those walks. This weird plant…there’s still all new growth down there, minus rainfall.

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Fire hazard is gonna be high from here on out.

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Gorgeous evening though…

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Came back and made risotto (you know, like you do)…and then finally got to the ironing around 9:30. Yeah. Late again. So much for ironing all day, right? Fucked up mess. This is just like being at work.

So that’s what a tornado looks like before I iron it together. The brown fabric has been in my stash since I started making art quilts, like 1990 or so. It actually has some pieces drawn in pencil on the back of it. Fucking nuts. Really. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that any more (because drawing all 1320 pieces on Wonder Under is better? Sigh.).

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I was doing tiny buildings with tiny windows. No, they can’t all be the same color. That’s crazy.

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So I’ve ironed about 450 pieces down, maybe a bit more. And there’s still not a ton of color…lots of gray. Which makes sense maybe. I’ve done both legs all the way up to the pubic area, plus the land area below the knees.

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I’m hoping to do some today as well, but I don’t know how much time I have. Here’s the pile of pieces to be cut out. Silly windows.

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The whole fam went to bed after 1 AM (ugh)…no, the girlchild didn’t stay there all night, and Simba sleeps in a crate because he’s a fussbudget.

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Those faces. Calli sleeps through everything.

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Gonna miss the girlchild. Am not gonna miss her sticky labels from apples that I find attached to the kitchen counter every day.

Haz waste is gone. Did I mention that? Some shit got crossed off the list. Medicine cabinets. Another load of trash is ready to go. At this rate, my driveway is gonna look like Hoarder Central for another three months. That should keep the rabble away. Boychild is painting the fixed door. That’s good. And he’s the one that installed the medicine cabinets. (so he’s also the one that unearthed the black mold…)

OK. Checking my schedule. Going to iron until I’m told to do otherwise.

*Talking Heads, And She Was


A Cool Breeze Flows but Mind the Wasp*

July 6, 2017

I spent 4 hours ironing and dehairing quilts yesterday. No problem. It was a lot of standing. I cut some slats too, and also put on 3 or 4 labels on the backs of quilts. Everything is going in today…for this…

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I had a hard time coming up with a title for this show in the beginning. I really wanted Super V, but that was an issue. Then they suggested just my name or something about my story. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with my name being part of the show, but now I’m owning it. Maybe it’s turning 50. Maybe it’s something else. I don’t know, but hell, I must have some super powers to do what I keep doing. So I might as well adjust that cape and wear it as well as I can. I’ll share it too…any time you wanna borrow it, just let me know.

Kitten was very helpful during the ironing stage.

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I’m actually surprised she’s still talking to me. I took three animals to the vet yesterday to try to get a handle on the flea issues here, and she was one of them. She’s not a fan, but she did OK.

After the ironing was done, boychild and I hiked Hollenbeck Canyon…I have been testing the hiking out after the evac a few weeks ago. This hike just confirms that was medication-related…because I had no problems yesterday…still in the heat…climbed a few hills, much worse than the other hike…plus twice as far.

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I think I haven’t been here for a year…can’t remember. It was very dry looking, with remnants of a fire that was set out here a month or so back…

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From almost the top of the hill…

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On the back side is all oak trees and meadows…and bunnies and jackrabbits and squirrels and one coyote we saw.

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These trees always make me think of witches, for some reason…that and all the crows everywhere…

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We did do the late afternoon/evening, to try to beat some of the heat. It’s supposed to be in the high 90s by Saturday, so yesterday was supposed to be the coolest day of the week. Hiking in the summer is kind of difficult because of the weather, but it’s when the kids (or at least one of them) are home.

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This is where we saw the coyote…and where the burn was, on the left…plus some further back. Most of it was on the hills across from the park entrance. I don’t understand people who start fires.

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I’ve always loved this view, as you’re climbing out of the river valley, looking back…

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So yeah, over 6 miles, no issues, except a slow climb for me. Boychild is patient. Lets me stop and breathe. Girlchild is back next week, but the weather is also supposed to be awful. Plus I have a ton of art-related stuff happening next week.

I did something on here…more chain stitch, I think. On the right…

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And then I spaced out for a while before deciding to cut out Wonder Under for the first climate quilt…the one I didn’t really mean to make right now. And will probably have to just put aside for a while. We’ll see.

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So I have quilt delivery and installation set for today for two different shows. I don’t actually know what that entails for one delivery, but the other one, I know I’m up on a ladder.

But then I’m done. Well. You know how that goes. Done worrying about getting stuff finished for these two shows. Ready to make my own stuff…this has not been a great year so far for that I think. Well. When I look back at last year, I had 5 quilts done by the end of May, and then nothing was finished until August, because I was working on a huge one. This year, I have 3 new quilts completed, but 1 from last year that got finished differently, so most of the work was done last year; that’s number 4. And then another one that’s in the community quilt that is almost finished, but won’t be until it comes out of the quilt. Not sure if and when that will happen. It’s small too. So I’d like to have the long skinny one done in August…I almost typed BY August, but when I look at the calendar for the next two weeks, I’m not sure that will happen. It can be a goal, I guess. Then two more big ones in the Fall. That could be a challenge. But I’ve done it before…I think I’m actually much better at scheduling art time when I’m teaching…because I have to make time for it, so then I just do it. These days, these chaotic days of summer? It’s harder to do that for some reason.

I’m always looking far ahead, deciding what I need or want to get done. What I really want? A bunch of days when I can just lose myself in the making. Yup. That’s a vacation for me.

*Morcheeba, The Sea