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.

New work from Kathy Nida

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

New work from Kathy Nida

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.

New work from Kathy Nida

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


It Froze Me Deep Inside*

March 22, 2018

First of all, you need to go read the girlchild’s last post…it’s from a month ago, but she just posted it (data issues)…just to see how they got their truck across the water to the island. Terrifying to see…but after a month of trying to imagine what she was talking about, nope…it’s crazier than I thought.

Me? I just keep sending her dog pictures to guarantee she’ll eventually come back.

Yesterday was this…

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Every two years, like clockwork, I save some rubber dummies. My brain is still functioning OK, apparently, because I still remember how to do it. I spent the whole time, in between sucking face with that guy, checking up on my students with our online system, because hey…guest teachers allow things I tell them not to allow, and students lie about being done. It’s frustrating, but some part of me laughs and says, well, there will be fewer assignments to grade then, eh? If they don’t turn them in, I don’t have to grade them! OK, that’s how you know a teacher really needs vacation. Yup. One more day of teaching, then a day at the zoo with a bunch of kids I don’t know! Why do the kids who don’t know me pick me as a chaperone? That disturbs me.

Today is crazy hair today. I’m debating if I have the patience for it. Plus I have my last meeting for my observations today, so do I want my hair to be nuts for that? I kinda do. Yeah.

Last night, I went to a slide presentation about hiking in Nepal. Which now I want to do. But elevation has always been an issue for me…well. We’ll have to figure that one out.

I finished ironing last night around 11 PM…about 8 hours for this piece…and 82 fabrics.

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It’s not a huge quilt, so not a big dent in the existing fabric stash, but I think that’s always the case. I buy about 5 new fabrics every time I go in for a background or binding, a 1/2 yard of each, so that’s 2 1/2 new yards coming in (although I didn’t buy a new background this time…I had a few stashed away)…on the bigger quilts, I might use 2 1/2 yards worth of fabric per quilt (just the image…obviously the background and backing are more than that). The only way I could figure out if it’s using that up is to lay all of the stuff out that I ironed and then see what that looks like.

Huh. I might do that tonight. Just for kicks. It’s an interesting thought.

Here’s all the pieces ironed down to fabric…

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Does that look like 2 1/2 yards? Hard to say. But I’ll start cutting out tonight…hopefully I’ll be done cutting by Saturday and I can start ironing? Maybe? It’s gonna be tight. I keep saying that. Based on the last quilt, which is about the same size, although more pieces, I probably have another 38 hours to go on this quilt. Now when I say it THAT way, and consider that it should be at the photographer sometime next Thursday, a week from today, well, that actually sounds more doable than just free-thinking about the time and hoping I’ll make it. This is why I keep track of the times! I think. Well. Anyway. Cutting stuff out tonight…then we’ll see where we’re at. We being me, of course. I still have to grade things and weed the front yard. If there were more than one of me, I could do ALL the things.

*The Cure, In Between Days

Like a Nervous Magician Waiting in the Wings*

March 20, 2018

That did not feel like sleep. I want a do-over. I’m not even really sure what’s up with that…stress about school? Maybe. I have a lot going on with art shows too…which is not a bad problem to have, in that I’m in a lot of shows right now, but there’s some juggling trying to keep track of what needs to go where and when. Especially if I’m going to be gone for a week.

Four years ago this week, girlchild was having back surgery. Today? I wake up to a message that she’s really sick (11,000 miles away), but it’s not malaria, so don’t worry. Oh. OK. Because there aren’t a million other heinous diseases where you are? Sigh. And then she doesn’t answer. Oh well. The program she’s with does keep on top of this stuff…it’s in their best interest to keep the kids healthy.

Yesterday morning’s sunrise. I’m really OK with not seeing sunrises. I’m looking forward to not seeing any next week. And to peeing whenever I need to pee. And??? Making art for hours. Maybe I will just ignore grading. Catch up after break. I might.

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I still hate that they cut down the other tree on the right that made it look an aardvark.

I walked the dogs yesterday. I’m increasingly paranoid about coyotes, even in daylight, so I walked the road to the local park…where I haven’t seen them yet (just heard them). Oh, that’s a lie. I saw one once in broad daylight bound across the trail, looking somewhat surprised that I was there.

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I was testing out this new trail I saw in the middle of the park. The max dog walk is about 3 miles (according to the dogs), so I can’t go from the house all the way around the park…but this trail seemed to cut through the middle. Nah. It didn’t. And there was this guy with a young German Shepherd smoking a cigar in the park. Like dude? This is a natural space where people walk. WTF? I’m betting the significant other was like “You can’t do that in the house.” and he was like “Fine I’ll inflict my disgusting smelly habit on people I don’t live with.” That’s my neighbor too. Ugh.

But it is Spring…I think officially today? Is it today? Yes! Spring equinox!

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And Spring flowers. That’s nice.

I have walked past this house for years as it becomes more and more derelict. There used to be a chicken farm here, and then they sold it to build houses, but the density was too high for the area and it got voted down, I think. So all this is still here. I wish they’d just add it to the empty space beyond it. But no. Probably houses will block this view too.

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So after dinner and some vegging out because exercise, I started ironing again with the plan to keep picking fabrics that haven’t been used as much. I wasn’t as successful here, because I needed certain colors…but this is her hair! I love it…

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I’m just in the mood to do whatever I want with this one. Well, I am sticking with flesh colors for flesh.

I got through most of the 500s and some of the 100s…and all the 600s. I’m really not going in order, so I have no freakin’ idea how much I have left. All the main figure is done, except for heart, lungs, and eyeballs.

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She’s definitely brightly colored. So I have about 20 pieces in the 500s, about 60 in the 400s, all of the 200 and 300s, and some portion of the 100s…most of them, I think. Crap and there there’s still some 600s. Damn. That’s more than I thought last night. I was trying to fall asleep and art brain kept trying to calculate how many more pieces I have to iron. I have a lecture I’m going to Wednesday night. I think I can cut pieces out there? And gaming. I’ve done that before. I really want to be ironing this weekend. I don’t know if I can finish in time otherwise. Watch me not sleep at all over break because I’m trying to finish this. I didn’t start until late last night though…so maybe I’ll be better tonight.

Kitten is back in the batting nest…with an incredibly old piece of mine pinned to the bulletin board behind her. Seriously, it’s so old, I don’t even know how old it is. It has beads on it!

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She looks happy. I’m glad she has a safe happy spot.

Well, hopefully today will go well…yesterday, I had 3 classes that rocked the assignment and then 2 that were a clusterfuck. That’s always nice. Because today they have to use what they did (or didn’t do) yesterday in a group assignment. All hell is probably going to break loose in 4th period. That period exhausts me. I feel like they need a totally different (and lamer) curriculum. They’d be perfectly happy copying notes from a slide presentation, but ask them to do anything that involves critical thinking? Oh fuck no. So there’s that. I will meditate between 3rd (when there is supposed to be an earthquake/fire drill, just to add to the excitement, seriously?) and 4th. I might meditate in the car on the way to school. I’m meditating now to Puddle of Mudd’s She Hates Me…great song for middle-school teachers.

In other dorky news, all the 7th grade teachers are dressed alike today for Twin Day. Yup. That’s a thing. I need to go find some sneakers. I don’t wear sneakers. I wear hiking boots.

Art tonight. For sure.

*Blues Traveler, Run-Around

It’s Much Too Late to Find*

March 19, 2018

So I ended a very busy weekend with a meditative two hours of ironing bliss. Picking fabrics really is one of my favorite parts of the process…I like ironing the piece together as well, but this is where I get to visualize the whole thing and then make that happen with whatever is in my fabric stash. For this new quilt, I pulled whole drawers out and rummaged around at the back, because when I use fabrics, I usually shove them in the front and then they’re the easiest to reach when I go back to that drawer. So I do often use the same fabrics over and over again. I’m trying to use fabrics that I’ve either never used or that I haven’t used in a long time. We’ll see how that goes.

This piece has three figures in it, so I have to pick at least two different runs of flesh tones. I did the first one last night…the stuff on the left is for a different part (pieces I missed ironing when I went through the first time), although the pink and yellow are both part of the flesh.

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Why not!? I can do what I want…it’s my quilt.

Unfortunately, when I numbered this one, I numbered the bottom part of one figure, then the two middle figures, then the top part of the first figure…but I need to iron all the first figure pieces at once so I don’t get confused. So I ironed all the 0-100s and a few of the 100s themselves…then rummaged through the end of the 400 bin (467 and on) and the 500 bin, but minus all the hair and sky bits (don’t need them yet), and then finished up with half the 600 bin. I just need the flesh…not all the extra bits…what you see below is some of the 100s that I set aside (heart etc) and then the 500s I didn’t need yet (mostly hair)…

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Why don’t I just number that way? Guaranteed I’d miss something. I already found one unnumbered piece in there. Had to trace it and number it with an ‘a’.

So in the flesh run, these are all the number 2 pieces…now you see how I have stash from the 1990s still in my studio…even with a ton of pieces, it’s still not a lot of ironing.

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Dirt and water use the most fabric…and sky/space now too, although this quilt has none of that. Some flesh fabrics that I’ve really loved are just tiny scraps now…still usable though! This one has been used before, but it’s been a while. There’s a piece about 18″ x 16″ left of it…so it’ll last for a while.

Ironed pieces on the left…the whole main figure’s flesh is done (not so her heart, lungs, eyeballs)…and on the right, what I used. So far…

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The other two figures are smaller, so I can use smaller pieces of fabric. But they need to be different than the figure behind…so we’ll see how that works tonight. Usually I know how much I’ve ironed, but I really can’t tell…at least 200 pieces? Hard to say because I jumped all over the place.

It’s not like I don’t have 6 drawers of flesh fabrics. Plus I need some vibrant hot pinks for the vulva…oh yeah, because she’s giving birth. Uh huh. So there’s that.

I went to another opening last night…supporting artists in my groups is something I try to do. I have pictures, but no time to post them. The next opening I’m trying to go to is this Friday…we’ll see how that goes. Anyway…here’s a sleepy puppy to amuse you…

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Yes, I have to go to school today. I’m ready (sort of). I even graded a little yesterday. This week will be weird…one day off for training (need to do sub plans) and one day of field trip and play, no teaching. So a crazy week, because it’s also right before Spring Break. And I have 9 days to finish this quilt!!! It’s cool. I got this. Well, at the moment, I got this. Just wait until the universe figures out my schedule and hits me with pneumonia or something else wacky. You know how that goes.

*The Human League, Don’t You Want Me

Gonna Make You Burn, Gonna Make You Sting*

March 2, 2018

So yesterday morning I was convinced it was Friday. By the end of the day, I was sure it was Wednesday and I had one more day to finish everything. The brain is a strange thing. My brain on days of the week is apparently a messed-up thing. It’s Friday! You’re all like, yeah, we know. Today I have two parent meetings…in the morning…and then I get to drive in Friday rush-hour traffic to deliver a quilt…in the rain. If you live in Southern California, you know we don’t drive in rain well. Water confuses us. So I might be “driving” (sitting stopped in traffic) for hours. Fun stuff. But at the end of it, there is a weekend. There will be sleep and no students. For Two Whole Days. That will be good.

Although yesterday we had a good solid discussion on what teachers look for when grades come up…say a kid has a 59.5% (F) and they want to know if the teacher will bump it up to a D-. Well I told the kids we look at what the kid has been doing. If they’ve been working hard, on task, asking about makeup work, and turning it in, odds are we see that hard work and bump them up (not every teacher…but in middle school…in MY middle school…that’s a good sign. I want to encourage that behavior). However, if they have 18 missing assignments and I’ve reminded them of that a few times and they have done nothing, no makeups, no tutoring, nothing…then they have earned that F, fair and square. And extra credit bathroom passes will not fix that hot mess. These kids still believe in magic.

So that is a significant chunk of my weekend: getting grades done. I have two periods graded of the science units, three to go. Ugh. I’m getting there. There’s light…it’s a ways off, but there’s light.

I had a meeting last night, my stitching friends, so I worked on this…

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And realized I was going to run out of the thread for the grasses. Damn. Can’t get that locally. I’m going to go through my stash and see if I have something that will work…

Then I had some time when I got home with animals. This one is way too close. He can’t just hang out on my lap…it’s gotta be in my face.

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Then I got up off the couch around 10:30 PM to iron…to finish the last bit, the second figure.

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I ironed the eyes separately…it’s easier to make sure they’re placed correctly that way. No crooked eyes!

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And there she is. So I could iron both figures to the background tonight and then iron to the background. Yay!

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That sounds good. Hopefully I won’t be too exhausted when I get home to do that. Then I’ll grade some stuff tomorrow and Sunday, but hopefully I’ll have time to stitch this down and get it pinbasted for quilting. That’s my goal anyway.

My current goal is getting through those two parent meetings and all day teaching energy to kids who alternately have way too much or nowhere near enough energy. Should be interesting.

*Led Zeppelin, Black Dog

Playing with Fire Gets You Burnt*

March 1, 2018

Some mornings, I’m so sure it’s a different day. It’s Friday, right? I think that’s because I had two 4-day work weeks and this is the 4th day. So it must be Friday, right? Oh no. It’s not. But I did survive everyone turning their stuff in yesterday, although the boys (it was ALL BOYS) who didn’t have all their papers in order and strew them all over the desk and then the end-of-class bell rang and they stood there helpless and ever hopeful that I would come over and do it for them…yeah. Well. I’m not enabling your shit today people. I also wouldn’t let any girls come over and do it for them. I said “You’re not their MOM” about 72 times.

So there’s that. And the doctor…so I think once you hit a certain age, they just want you to do all the possible invasive tests, so that’s fun. Because then I have to schedule all that for one of my breaks, because no way in hell am I trying to schedule and prep for a colonoscopy during teaching. They were adamant that I do a sleep apnea study too, because I admit to not sleeping well. I tried to explain that I had never ever in my entire life slept well, plus I’m an old lady with hot flashes, but that was not stopping them. So fine. Whatever. I’ll sleep with the machine. We’ll see how that goes. I did get to run downstairs to get to radiology for foot X-rays (ironic that) before they closed…and then the guy told me to stay in the room and never came back. It’s OK…he did the X-rays…and then I think he went home. I don’t blame him. It was late. No one was there when I came out of the room. I could have been locked in there with no supplies but hand sanitizer over night.

Anyway, that’s done. I just have 118 science units to grade. I did a few yesterday…I brought the rest of 2nd period home to grade last night but that didn’t happen. I ate dinner and then packed up a quilt to ship today, which took a really long time. Part of that was ironing it…it’s huge. And then dehairing it. I didn’t finish getting it all packed up until around 10:30. I didn’t start ironing until 11:24…and honestly, I almost didn’t start. But I’m a fan of At Least 30 Minutes a Day. It works. It makes me feel better and shit gets done.

I just walked away to warm up my tea, and the cat ate my Cheerios. Or licked them really. Now they’re all sticky. Crappy breakfast anyway, but it’s all my stomach can handle some mornings. I am NOT a morning person. I realize I sent an email this morning and it was cranky as hell, but I’m tired of editing something for this woman and having her ignore the fucking Oxford commas. Why ask me to edit it then? Because it’s fucking wrong! OK. See? I’m not fit to do anything in the morning but drink tea. And I’m obviously bad at that, because it’s always cold because I forgot to drink it in a timely fashion.

So 30 minutes of concentrated ironing…I started on the other figure. It’s a frontal view, but with a tree…all those rib bits will look better when they’re outlined during quilting.

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So I ironed the tree separate. Why the tree? Two things…rooting her into the Earth, but also the support she’s getting from the surgical stuff. Like this strong tree trunk that’s helping to hold her back straight. To give her the room to grow.

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Pick up tree, iron on top of body. Lower torso done! That was easy.

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Seriously, it was. Tonight, if I have the energy (I have a meeting), I’m doing the rest of the body. So maybe Friday I get the whole thing ironed together. Hopefully.

I am pretty damn exhausted at the moment though. But I really like the ironing part, even though it’s late at night and I’m tired, it’s cool and feels good and is meditative and there’s a picture at the end. Damn, I need grades to be done so I can ignore them for a few weeks and get some art done. Seriously. This is annoying. Stupid job sucking up so much time and energy. For what? So you can tell me no more money for SCHOOLS, but we’ll give money for GUNS? Florida, you are a fucked-up state. I appreciate California so much right now. I love my stoned, hippy, snowflake state. We rock.

*Yaz, Midnight

Time Has Come As We All Go Down*

February 28, 2018

Today is the day I’ve been preparing for, the day I get (shit…I don’t remember how many students I have right now…hang on…133 students)…wait, it doesn’t matter how many kids I have, because inevitably, a bunch of kids won’t hand them in, but hey! Let’s be optimistic, even though we’re a public middle school teacher in March about 4 weeks before Spring Break and 3 days before the end of the trimester and there’s very little optimism available to my brain right now, let’s say I get 133 science units turned in today! Yeah! Let’s say it! Yeah! Then I need to grade them all before, well, honestly, Monday night. Yeah! And my doctor is gonna give me shit tonight about working too many hours and not exercising enough! Yeah! And I’m gonna tell her that on the days when I do 12,000 steps AT SCHOOL before I even leave to go home, hell, there’s no steps left in me (not true…I do more because dogs). Yeah!

I do work too many hours. I don’t exercise enough. This is not the time to stress about that balance. When my grades are done, I can stress about it. If I get far enough in the grading by Sunday, I can even take time off and go to the gym. That’s my goal at the moment. It’s a few days out, so it’s still doable. Meanwhile, my lunch is made, I have a plan for the day to balance my sanity with my job (that’s a thing…and this week, that means I’m allowed one Rice Krispie treat a day. ONE, doc, ONE.), and I’m hoping to come home and (well, grade a bunch of science units, honestly) iron the last body down. Hopefully. It’s about 150 pieces, so it’s doable.

By the way, when it’s cold, apparently it’s acceptable to have a cat face up your butt…

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After dinner was eaten, while once-nightly TV show is being watched, I have been sewing on circles…I figure I will never get them done otherwise. I think I got three done.

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Then off to the ironing (I did grade before all that). See this is the part I was kind of afraid of…that’s a lot of little tiny spine pieces…

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But honestly? It was pretty easy to iron together. Because of all the metallics, I used a press sheet between iron and fabric…and I’ll need to remember to keep doing that.

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I decided the space in her back was going to be just that…SPACE. There’s definitely a space theme going on in this. I guess I’m thinking of all the potential a teenager has…and it feels like they have all the potential of SPACE. Or something like that. It’s HUGE.

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Then I laid the spine piece all ironed together on the space and put the border around it…and voila! ‘Twas awesome. Seriously. I really like it.

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Kitten is not so sure…

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I gave her some hair and finished all the finger bits, thus getting me into the 520s or so.

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One figure done. The other one does have another 150 pieces, true…but I don’t think they’re as bad as those back pieces. We’ll see tonight. Then hopefully iron down to the background on Thursday night and start stitching down? I’m not sure how these fabrics will deal with that, but let’s just assume it will work out. Yeah!

That optimism (that really isn’t optimism…it’s some sort of crazy)…is what will get me through the day. Maybe.

Oh yeah, I just finished this book…Golden Hill by Francis Spufford…


My ex-SIL sent it to me at Christmas and I just started reading it a few weeks ago. At first, I was like…um…this is 18th-century stuff and I’m sort of a fan at times, but it’s not easy to read, but after a few pages in, I realized, OMG. No really. OMG. This book is great. It’s funny as hell sometimes and stressful at others but it was published just a few years ago by someone who generally doesn’t write fiction, but does like history. So the history is there, and it’s definitely got some accuracy going, but then he throws in this half-assed explanation of sword fighting that made me almost fall out of my chair. And he full on admits its half-assed. The ending is also awesome. So yeah, I recommend this book…and if he writes any more like this, I’m in. Totally in.

Now I have less than two weeks to finish my book club book. Yikes. Priorities.

*Kaleo, Way Down We Go (didn’t we just hear this one while writing not that long ago???)