It’s Hard to Walk Away…

August 13, 2018

OK, so I didn’t sleep much. Art brain on a roll. I said I wanted to be done with the ironing before we left for the mountains. I ironed in the afternoon…put all those single leaves together.

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I ironed the bird on her head…

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And a lamp. Of course…because we’re outside…

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Girlchild keeps the puppy happy, as always…

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Then we headed out to dinner with the kids’ cousin from the UK, on a US tour. I think the last time I saw him, he was 5…so that was cool.

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Then I came home and ironed some more…the last figure!

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I didn’t think about race when I originally drew the first drawing, but I wanted to have a diverse group in the finished quilt, so I made sure I picked a variety of color ranges. I really like how this woman turned out.

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And the inevitable cat…

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More single leaves getting put together.

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So it was after 11 PM before I started ironing the whole thing down. Normally I’d iron a piece this big on the entryway floor, but it wasn’t clean, plus it’s horrendously hot in there right now. So I fussed with it on the ironing board until I got all the bits in place.

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The two larger figures got ironed down at the top, and then every leaf got put on individually.

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Not a quick process.

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So there she is. I need to do a steam iron of it before I start stitching down. That’ll be Wednesday.

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It’s huge, by the way. It took 25 hours and 38 minutes to iron together. Yikes! There’s a lot going on in this quilt. The statement will be fun to write.

Meanwhile, the boychild is currently driving me toward Lake Arrowhead, where we’re going to hang out for a few days while the girlchild is here, before school starts. She’s in the other car with her dad and the dogs. I’ve got a couple of quilts that need bindings sewn on…I have 2 or 3 drawings that need development. Plus hanging out and trying to not get sunburnt. Wish me luck. It’s hard to walk away from the quilt at this stage, but I did meet my goal, so that’s a plus.

Just the Way I’m Supposed to Be*

August 12, 2018

This morning has involved maggot collection, pool filling, trying to persuade the cat to catch and eat the fly that is harassing me, and my milk gone bad, so no breakfast tea. I’m not happy about that last one. My office is a disaster, there’s too much on my to-do list, and somehow I’m leaving town in the middle of all that. A bit more panicky than I like, honestly. At some point, life becomes normal again, with the day job and the night job and all the errands in between. But not this week.

I got a couple of hours of ironing in yesterday…not as much as I wanted, unfortunately. Too tired. Awww. Puppy…

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Girlchild came home in the morning and the dogs were very happy.

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So then she went to lunch with a friend and I got this thing ironed…

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I still have a huge pile of leaves that need to be ironed together, but won’t be ironed down until I have the background ready to go.

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So then I started on the second-to-last of the 9 or so figures in this quilt. This is one of the original figures from the drawing I did back in 2012 or so, with arms turning into tree branches.

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It’s hot still. Not as hot as it’s been, but the animals have been suffering as much as I have.

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So I drew this back in 2012 and it wasn’t meant at the time to be Trump, but it certainly looks like him.

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We wanted to go see some art last night, which we did, but mostly we sat and watched my friend Kathleen Mitchell and her studio guys do some glasswork. Freakin’ amazing and fascinating to watch.

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Yes, we went somewhere hot on a hot day…but like I said, it was amazing to watch them work.

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And the outside felt much cooler after hanging out in there.

We had a drink around the corner, where another Gloria Muriel mural dominated the place.

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We had gone in there to wait out the end of an artist talk, so we could go see the art in that gallery without disrupting the talk. The work was by Dave Persué and included paintings for a book he published that he wrote with his mom.

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I bought the book, yeah. I really liked the paintings and the style. The exhibit is The Origins of BunnyKitty: The Book Paintings, and it’s at the Athenaeum Art Center in the Bread & Salt Building in Barrio Logan (1955 Julian Avenue, San Diego 92113) through September 13. Kathleen’s glass studio is down there too. We meant to go to the rest of the Barrio Art Crawl, but got waylaid by glass fascination.

I did finish this before we left, but didn’t take a picture of the whole thing until later. I wanted to iron more, but I was just too tired by the time we ate and got home.

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I’m hoping to get more ironing done today, but I know we have a dinner thing tonight as well, so that will probably cause an issue with artmaking. Plus we’re leaving early tomorrow morning for Arrowhead. Schedules are always adapting. I’m doing what I can. As always.

*Sara Bareilles, Gravity

Master the Weekend

August 11, 2018

Successful day yesterday. I can’t say I did everything, but I did lots of things. Although I did not wrap the girlchild’s present…because it wasn’t on my list. Everything needs to be on the list. I didn’t find the quilt I need to ship (it’s OK, I didn’t even try). I didn’t copyedit. I did go to school, dump a bunch of stuff off there, set up my technology so the interlopers can teach their class next Friday, move all the stuff off the counters that’s supposed to be on the floor, find the table I like that they don’t like and switch it out with the other crappy table they tried to force on me, and GEEZ this was the worst part, after having to sit through an hour’s worth of videos and quizzes about integrated pest management (is it more important than bloodborne pathogens, angry parents, and court-mandated reporter rules?), I found this in my classroom…

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Someone (custodial) left food containers in that trash can. Hence line of ants. Did they not watch the video? I like never ever leave food leftovers IN my classroom…I always put them outside. Sigh. Yes, I aced the IPM quiz. Oh wait, I missed one because there was a timing component or something and I didn’t watch carefully enough to memorize that. But I know how to keep ants out of my damn classroom. So ironic.

I came home and watered the dog.

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This summer has been rough on all of us.

Then I ironed for a while. I WANT TO BE DONE. I don’t know why. There’s just another stage after this one that requires me to sit in this hot little room. Except when I’m sewing, I get TWO fans on me. I can’t use the other fan while ironing because it will blow everything away. I’ve already lost an eyeball (a fabric eyeball, chill out) and found some finger wrinkles attached to my shirt due to the breeze (ah, the breeze, when it happens, it’s delightful).

So I ironed this hand. Ten years from now, people will ask me why that hand is orange. I think most of you know why.

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Then the parents, coming for their baby.

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On the next thing I was ironing were a lot of these little pieces. Turns out I didn’t need all of them. That happens sometimes.

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Birth control pills…guess she will be short three of them.They won’t fit.

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Let’s hope she’s not really depending on them to keep her unpregnant.

Then off to gaming. No, we’re not done with the game yet. We think every time we meet that it will be the last time, and it’s not. It’s OK. We can handle it. I sewed more embellishment on the blue flowers and worked on the hippo some more.

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The hippo has nostrils and eyeballs, but I’m still working on his ears. Plus you can see the additional flower embellishment. I still need to stitch around them with that hellish thread that ravels like a bitch. Rayons are not my friends.

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And then I managed to continue ironing after gaming, mostly because I drank more water than wine. That has been true all summer. So I ironed that hand and birth control pack on the left and you can see the ICE steal on the right.

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Tiny things like this take a long time to put together. And it needs outlining.

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Then my last goal for yesterday was to get this momma ironed down…

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She’s got some tiny little eyeballs. The iris on the right is the one that has disappeared…I just cut another one.

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Not ironing the baby down yet.

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You can see where she goes on the left.

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So all I have left is about 500 pieces (I’m in the mid 1300s) and two large figures, each of which has about 25 loose leaves with stems that will have to be ironed down to the background one at a time. I could iron the base down to the bottom of this piece, but I suspect it will be easier if I iron the two women together, attach them at the top, where they belong, and THEN try to get the base on, iron the whole thing down to the background, and then do all the leaves. It sounds like a lot because it is.

I’m leaving to pick up the girlchild in about 30 minutes. I have about 18 1/2 hours into the ironing. I probably have at least 7 hours to go. I will probably get some of it done today and tomorrow…hopefully ALL of it, but I can’t guarantee that because plans need to be flexible. I am, as always, panicking about time. 15 hours to stitch down? Maybe only 10? The other big quilt I finished last year was only 7 hours of stitch down. So maybe 10. Then a couple hours to sandwich and pinbaste it. Probably 20 hours to quilt it and another 8 or so to bind it. 45 hours left. Plus the 7 of ironing. That’s gonna be tight. Deep breaths. I can do it. This quilt is going to be epic once it’s done. Until then, my stress about it will be epic. Laughing at that. OK, gotta make more tea. I woke up early with a massive headache. Probably weather related. Oh well. I’ve taken meds and drunk the first cup of tea. I’m ready to see my kid and then master the weekend and whatever comes after.

She’s over by the Corner*

August 10, 2018

I’ve started trying to train myself to get up earlier, as the beginning of the new school year veers dangerously close to my summer brain. I have a ton of stuff to get done today, and lying around half asleep is not helpful…although standing around half asleep is pretty painful. Normally I would try to avoid school until the day I was actually required to go back, but because the district-wide conference is going to be AT my school and IN my classroom, I have to go back today to figure out how fucked up my room is after summer school was in there. I have stuff here at home that has to get into my classroom. I have stuff there that has to be hidden or moved. I’m going to try to organize stuff a little bit, but that’s hard to do when you know total strangers will be in your room all day and they might not respect your space as much as you’d like them to.

I still need to finish copyediting and cleaning the girlchild’s room out, and I’m really really trying to get the ironing done. My friend has gone back to her life in Northern California, although we did get out and about yesterday before she left…plus now I have a fridge full of Indian food…yum.

First, a gratuitous picture of Kitten with her favorite petting instrument.

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My friend stayed at the Sycuan Golf Resort and what I loved about their free water was that it didn’t just say WATER…it’s MY WATER. Interesting thought living here in California, where water is sacred and Nestle owns a shitload of it. OWNS water. Sigh.

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ENYA HA Nestle.

We headed out to Balboa Park…we didn’t have a ton of time, but we wandered around…like you do.

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It was bloody hot there too.

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We went to the Timken Museum to see my friend Bhavna Mehta’s newest work, Leela, who is made completely out of paper.

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This piece is in response to that painting you can see across the room…

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There’s a lot of amazing construction and vivid color going on in this piece. I love that it’s not a direct representation of the painting. Bhavna talks more about her interpretations in the catalog, also available at the museum. I really enjoyed taking all of it in and thinking about how we portrayed women in the past and how we can portray them now. Leela has power in her stance.

Of course, I lost my friend to the docent at one point…

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Take an artist to an art museum day. I tolerate docents. They are nice people. I just like to figure stuff out more than be told their version of it. This was the second docent that tried to track us down. My friend likes docents more than I do.

So the rest of the day was sort of kamikazing around to meet with people and sew…I finished the Palestrina knots around the hippo, but then once again forgot to photograph or bring the rest of the hippo instructions from March (they’re in the notebook!), so I couldn’t finish the June blocks. Tonight!

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So I started working on July’s blocks, which are the three in the middle. I did the stems and leaves, and then started on the blue flowers.

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It’ll be a while before I get July done. Then August is the one with the tree and the two down at the bottom right. I have September sewn down and October cut out, but I think it will be easier to embellish September first before I sew October into the mess, because then I think I’m sewing most of the quilt together. Because working on wool things when it is 100 degrees out makes sense. And once it gets big, it’s hard to cart around to gaming or anywhere else with limited table space. The piece I’m working on here is already a bit too big.

Remember how I was going to be done with embellishing the circles on the bird quilt by the end of July? Didn’t happen. I have been working on the art quilt nonstop. Plus did I quilt the other wool quilt that was on my list at the beginning of the summer? Fuck no, I didn’t. I got one unfinished non-art quilt done this summer. Better than nothing.

So I started ironing around 10 PM, after my evening meeting and eating dinner. I had a couple of graffiti walls to put together.

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Not too complicated. Lots of pieces, but pretty easy to put together. The hardest part was cutting out all the holes in the little letters.

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The other wall, plus a talk bubble for the figure below the wall.

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I’ve been putting sections together and then ironing the big sections together when it makes sense. So I did the hill behind this woman…

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Ironed her into her space…then the walls to the sides. Obviously, I have two things that need to go into the hill where the big white spots are. The big piece I showed before will get ironed to the bottom of this.

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This is not the first time I’ve put a woman holding the Earth into one of my quilts.

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This is Watch Me Go from 2010…


So this new woman is about immigration though…I really feel like we need to look at the world as one place for all the people. Trying to build walls or claim that there is One Right Way to get into this country is kind of idiotic. Read the history of immigration here in the US and then realize that your ancestors mostly likely immigrated here for similar reasons to those trying to get here now. Why is their plight not as important as your ancestors’? Anyway…so she holds the world in her hands.

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I have about 15 and a half hours of ironing done and I am finally past the halfway mark. I’m in the mid-1100s. So there’s another 700+ pieces to go…probably 9 hours of ironing, easily.

I’m hoping to get the school stuff and bedroom stuff done early enough that I can iron for a few hours this afternoon before gaming. Sometimes gaming is long and I don’t get much done afterwards…but maybe I will get some done tonight. Then the girlchild arrives tomorrow morning, so I can’t predict what will happen. Well, except for squealing and very excited dogs. That will definitely happen.

*The Velvet Underground, Foggy Notion

Work Harder…

August 9, 2018

First of all, happy 21st birthday to the girlchild…now she can do all the things.


Including rocking her birthday 3000 miles away with poison ivy. She’ll be home Saturday. Miss her.

My friend who is visiting this week has been around for a while…she used to drag her kids down here too, since they’re all about the same age as mine. Here they all are 13 years ago (4 of them are now adults, 3 are in college) at Balboa Park, where my friend and I are heading off to this morning. It’s easier now that it’s just the two of us figuring out what to do…


Really, the faces in this photo are cracking me up.

Yesterday, we rode the Hornblower cruise around San Diego Bay. I’ve lived here how long and I’ve never done that? The Star of India and another replica of some old boat…

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It was definitely cooler there than out here in East Country.

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Fat sea lions…

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The Coronado Bridge…

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San Diego has a lot of military crap.

I’ve photographed this sculpture before. Apparently there is a numbers version of it at MIT, where my friend’s oldest daughter is.

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Small world.

This sign. Punctuation.

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I started ironing late. We had dinner with the parents and then I have to do these online classes for school, so I did three of the four yesterday afternoon. It’s too hot.

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Face in stages…

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She goes in the volcano in the middle…but I think I need the background behind her ironed first. Direct response to the dumbassery that is immigration at the moment.

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It makes me sick to my stomach to think of kids not seeing their parents for long periods of time because of our government’s stupidity. Or never. I can’t even fathom that. It’s so wrong.

I forgot to add this one’s viewpoint, so I did that last night too.

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I only got two hours in last night. I’m in the 800s…no wait…I’m in the 900s. Duh. So I’m almost halfway. But this is slow. And tomorrow, I need to copyedit and clean the girlchild’s room and go to school and get my classroom organized enough for the following Friday. I’m behind. I’m always behind though, so there. Except when I’m ahead.

Realistically, I’m not halfway done with the ironing and I’m at 13 hours. So if I manage another 3 hours tonight, that leaves at least 10. I might get 6 in tomorrow…oh shit, no, we have gaming. OK. Well I’m fucked then. Maybe. I’d like it ironed together before I go to Arrowhead. There’s the goal. Then I can do stitch down next week, sandwich over the weekend (yes, I am totally ignoring that I have to be at school on the Friday), then quilt it the FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL (OK, I’m laughing hysterically here) and bind it that weekend. Oh yeah. I’m nuts. OK. Well there we are. Work harder.

Why Does the Cherub Have a Jackhammer?

August 8, 2018

I’m up a little earlier today because I have a friend visiting and we have plans to get the hell out of sweltering East County and probably get sunburnt somewhere, except I can’t get my toe wet. Bad timing. It’s OK…we have plans. We’ll figure it out. We went to middle and high school together…and we still talk to each other. Always good. The first thing I noticed when I got into her rental car was this really useful function…

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to fold a cat while in a car.

We ate lunch, we hung out, we checked her into her hotel. These pillows. No one sleeps with pillows like this. It’s like there were three of them, but there was no logical way to place them on the bed because there are only three, or you know how it’s always hard to get the quilt or blanket to neatly fold over the pillows? Solved it.

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We played some card games, including concentration, which I haven’t played for a million years and mostly lost because we have old brains that can’t remember anything. She’s not blind (well, she and I both are)…

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We’re analyzing the cards. I wasn’t thinking about their being Bicycle brand…I was wondering why a cherub had a jackhammer.

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You wonder how I get all these ideas for quilts. It’s because my brain doesn’t work quite right. I’m OK with that.

After an awesome dinner, I was able to spend about 3 hours ironing. The skeleton, the first of the not-so-invisible women…

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I had the whole ocean folded up still…and ironed the second not-so-invisible woman…

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Then I managed to iron the ocean onto the bottom of that section, so now it’s huge.

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Although I’m not even halfway through the ironing. There was a female figure in the water…so she came next. Eyeball ironed separately.

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Got the face together.

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And put her under the appropriate wave.

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I quit then, 12:30 AM or so, because I knew I had to be up earlier this morning. I’m in the mid 700s, so not even halfway. I’ve got about 11 hours into the ironing. So 25-27 hours total maybe? Yikes. I might finish Saturday…I probably won’t. OK. Well. Rethinking. The first three days we go back to school are just conference (waste of time) and prep (hard work). I am going in this Friday as well, but just to drop stuff and start trying to organize, because I’m going to have teachers in there all day NEXT Friday for the damn conference, so I can’t put everything out. I wish we could trust teachers not to mess with our stuff, but we can’t. I’ll try to get a chunk done though…so I can come home each night and work for 5 or 6 hours on this thing. Aack. And there’s no homework or assignments for the first few weeks.

Gotta go!

She’s a Bad Mama Jama*

August 7, 2018

OK, speedwriting. I thought I’d sleep in (still not falling asleep quickly) and have a leisurely morning, but first a dog woke me early to pee and then my phone reminded me that the car needed to go in…in 5 minutes…oh shit, rush around, where’s my brain, who the hell knows, maybe in my toe…

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It’s OK…trying to deal with a persistent cyst thing. Just can’t get it wet for two days, which is kinda gross, because it’s covered in blood and betadine. MMMM. Lovely. Friend is showing up in minutes and I need to find a bra. I hate bras. Seriously not sure the world is ready for my never wearing one though.

While waiting for the water heater installation yesterday, we were cleaning the girlchild’s room and found these. Tossed the wine. It was vinegar. That vodka is mine though.

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For making penne alla vodka. Apparently I was supposed to just be cleaning MY shit out of the room…not finding her secret stash. Well then. She’ll be 21 on Thursday. She can come get the alcohol out of the cabinet. (She’ll be here soon.)

I ironed a little bit in the afternoon before the foot procedure…got her heart and lungs in.

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And did the tattered American flag. We feel tattered, don’t we? Not because we need America to be great again…but because the person(s) trying to make it great have a seriously idiotic and skewed view of what great is. Racist, misogynist, sexist, zenophobic, and generally ignorant and insane.

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This is the house of lizards and geckos, by the way. Lots of them. This is a baby.

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It’s been so hot and muggy this summer. The dogs really suffer. We put them in the pool about once a day. Calli likes it. Simba doesn’t.

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Calli fetches pine cones.

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Back to ironing? Hands in place.

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Doing the face separately…just to get the eye right…

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That fabric makes it look like there’s an eye right where there’s supposed to be an eye. Then face in place. There is a world in her viewpoint. I ironed it on later. Basically, here I’m done with the bottom section. So I pulled it off the teflon and rolled it up.

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Then started on what’s behind that section.

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It’s too big to do it all at once. I didn’t get much done yesterday. And I have a friend visiting for three days. I’m hoping to get a little bit done each night, but we’ll see. I’m freaking out on time. As always. I probably said the same thing yesterday. Gotta find that bra.

*Carl Carlton, She’s a Bad Mama Jama