The Dew Will Settle on Our Graves*

February 21, 2018

‘Tis chilly here in sunny San Diego…some random cold front making it colder than Ithaca, NY, where the boychild is, but probably just for today. I’m pretty sure that will change soon enough. Cold enough to make me a dog sandwich on the couch, a cat sandwich in bed, though. Amazing how close they’ll get when it’s really chilly.

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Yes, I actually cut stuff out with the two of them like that. It wasn’t easy. I’m used to one box on either side of me and one on my lap. Instead the boxes were precariously perched on either side of dogs who move erratically.

Earlier, I graded…because that’s all I ever do…and this one was already half in my spot. She didn’t move until bedtime.

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It was a frustrating day at school. Independent thinking is probably not best achieved on the first day back after a three-day weekend. I still remember what happened Friday, but not so my little chickadees. And even once I got them through a review, then I wanted them to come up with categories. Oh My Goodness. You’d think I had asked them to cure cancer. In my top class, chock full of honors students, I got one table with three categories: True, False, and IDK. Um. Ladies. They’re all true. LAME. It’s OK…today they will have to use what they did to make more sense of the world. I’m just damn cruel that way.

So yeah, I graded because grades are due soon and I know I will run out of time. I always do.

But I also was done with grading and dinner and all that dishery (I even cleaned a bathroom…just one and not the floor) around 9:30 PM or so and I did a few drawings in between cutting out the last of the pieces.

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I like this one better…of course…because it’s weirder.

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I did about 2 hours of trimming last night to finish up everything…with a total of 9 1/2 hours into the process. Box on top is the trash. I’m putting it in a ziplock bag with the trimmings from the LAST quilt and mailing them to someone whose address I saved (seriously, I did…). Box on the bottom will get sorted into bins tonight for ironing probably tomorrow night.

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I have book club tonight, so I will go out and socialize with my tribe. Plus I read the book. So that’s a plus.

Girlchild has some access to Messenger this week, although she is back to camping in the wilds of Madagascar. On the beach. Near a hotel. Where no one likes to go.

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It looks somewhat like my Spring Break trip to the redwoods last year…except the trees are smaller.

She’s really enjoying this. I’m really glad.

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They seem to take care of the kids…unlike my group when I went abroad in college, which flew me to London and kept me there for about 3 days, but then sent me off to the wilds of Aberystwyth with zero support…although I think they gave us Thanksgiving dinner…that’s something. I guess we were less likely to die of a nasty disease in Wales. And they apparently spoke English there, although some days that was questionable.

Anyway, today I throw cellular respiration into the mix. That should make smoothies of my students’ brains. It’s OK…they’ll survive. I might not.

*Tom Waits, All the World Is Green

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I Am Superman and I Can Do Anything*

February 18, 2018

Well I finally managed drawing on the deck on a sunny day. As opposed to drawing on the deck on a rainy day? That would actually be harder to do with the weather we have. I’m going to try again today, because it was nice. Duh. Of course it was nice.

If you are back East or anywhere else it’s snowing, I’m sorry. You’re thinking, seriously Nida? Why CAN’T you get your butt outside on a gorgeous day and soak in some of this obviously Southern California (those aren’t my palm trees) wondrousness?

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And the answer is, I don’t know. I have my weekly journal there, my sketchbook, a pile of art proposals that are coming up, the inevitable cup of tea? Perfect. Enough sun to warm my feet…bare feet. Yup. In February.

So I did this and rejected it…although there are things that might pop up elsewhere.

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Sometimes I just have to move the pen around on paper until better ideas pop in.

So I started another one, which might stick. It has some issues.

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That lower hand, for instance. I know where I’m going with this though, so it wouldn’t hurt to either start again or enlarge this and cut that crappy hand out and do another one. I think this might work.

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In the middle of all this drawing, I sold a quilt…a small one, but that’s money. That’s the grocery money this week and next. That’s a cushion I didn’t have when I wrote my post yesterday morning. That’s a deep breath.

I appreciate that. So that quilt will be winging its way (ha! It’s a bird) to Colorado on Tuesday. If the post office stays open late enough and I can book out of tutoring on time.

Then I came inside and graded more projects and videos. This was my second smallest class. I was going to do both the small classes at once, but after I got through this period and an entire video of one of the kids in the class yelling out “My ass itches” while the kid doing the video tried to keep it together (oh man, that other kid is in BIG TROUBLE on Tuesday…), I couldn’t bring myself to do another 16 of them.

Plus Kitten was being a pain in the butt. That tail was flicking at me the whole time.

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Two periods left to do. I’m doing the big one today. I might need mental assistance afterwards, but it will be done.

Then I started cutting tiny bone pieces out…

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After dinner out and a visit to a local brewery, we came back and I tried to video chat with the girlchild. Apparently they could hear everything I said, but she sounded like she was in a metal drum and syncopated. SIGH. It’s OK. I saw she was alive…good thing, because she leaves tomorrow for 5 days. It’s OK. I’m doing fine. Sometimes I get sad and miss my kids, and that’s OK. It would be weird if I didn’t.

So then after that, I cut more pieces out. The top one is the trash, the middle one is actual quilt pieces, and the bottom is what still needs cutting…which is a lot.

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But a lot of that is big pieces…all the details were on top, mostly, the last stuff I ironed down.

Girlchild did finally gt a picture of herself in the beach paradise of Antalaha, where she’s based for a lot of her stay…

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Look! She’s alive! And also barefoot in the sun (huh…well…genetics). We should maybe feel sorry for the boychild for being in New York right now in the snow and cold (or not…he chose that).

Today? I’m going to sit outside again. Really. I am. And I’m going to torture myself with more project videos. And I’m going to cut more things out. Really, just like yesterday, minus dinner out. And it’s Sunday. Which means I need to send the parent email for school. But otherwise, I have tomorrow off as well? So I can kinda be relaxed and sort of pretend my job doesn’t inhabit my entire life today, yeah? Maybe? Gonna try.

*R.E.M., Superman


You’re Stumbling a Little*

February 15, 2018

Good morning blue skies. It’s nice to see you, even though I (sort of) appreciated the rain. It wasn’t quite enough. And it didn’t have to be while I was trying to be outside every time. That part made me laugh. I’m leaving the union meeting and some sweet young obviously dissolvable thing just stopped when she saw the rain, looked heavenward, and sighed heavily. I assumed she had a car in the parking lot, like I did, but maybe she had to walk 2 miles home. That would suck. Me? I just walked out to the car, wiped off my glasses, and drove home.

So first of all, today is my mom’s birthday…so here’s a picture for her of a Madagascar sunset from the girlchild…I think I paid $40 for that picture (or for the app that retrieved it from her camera…long story…totally worth it)…

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May she have a delightful birthday. May Dad take her out to dinner. I already made her cake.

Yesterday’s lab…one version of it.

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Lab days are tiring. One more this week, I think, and then one big one next week too. Then done with that for a while. Wait. No we’re not. We have 7 days of labs coming up in a row. (Bangs head on desk for a while. It will be fine. It will.).

Came home after short meeting and graded stuff while puppy was cute.

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And then the two of the furry beasts slept for a bit until I got up to do other things…

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I’m so behind on grading. I was almost caught up last week. It’s such a fleeting feeling.

I came in here and entered another show, plus did some other computer stuff. Never-ending computer stuff. So it was about 11 PM when I finally got my focus on the fabric…flesh tones!

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So easy to pick this time. Not sure why. I did toss some blue into the mix…just a tiny bit in here…

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Makes it fun. Plus links back to all the blue around the figures. The people on this one are pretty small, compared to some of my figures, so it didn’t take long to get all the flesh ironed down and into the box to be cut out.

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I thought I might be doing that today, the cutting, or at least starting it, but quilt class was canceled again for sickness. So I guess I will be ironing and grading tonight…and going to the gym if I can force myself. Honestly? Probably not. Maybe tomorrow night. I’m exhausted already. Up early for another meeting. But I should be able to finish ironing tonight. That would be good.

Here’s all I have left to do…mostly bones and hearts and veins and a tree and all the metal bits. I do have to decide about the back opening. I was going with the flesh tones, but I kind of want to echo the skies, the spacey bits. So I’m still thinking about it…less reality (open cavities and all)…more fantasy. She’s filled with SPACE!

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Which reminds me of the misconception an awful lot of my male students have, which is that we all come from sperm. Yes, folks, it’s the 1600s again and we don’t realize the female is a significant part of the reproduction process. It’s gonna be a fun sex ed unit this year! Seriously. These kids needs some educating.

Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…it’s a lot! But more to come…some greens and reds…not a lot of those yet.

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And if you really want to see THIS quilt…it will be at the Visions Art Museum April 21-July 8 as part of the Things That Matter exhibit…which is cool.

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Because I get to go to the opening. We’re hoping this show will travel all over, so stay tuned.

OK, meeting time and then get through the day without losing my brains. That’s a whole ‘nother drawing, isn’t it? Oh yeah, I did hear from the girlchild finally last night (she’s been incommunicado since Sunday night)…and she had an awesome time with her lemur trip, although the village they stayed in/near had never seen white people before. She said there was a lot of staring…interesting experience for sure. I’m glad she’s having a really good time in Madagascar, learning lots, even though the language stuff is hard. I think this is the kind of stuff that makes us who we are in the world…and I’m glad she’s doing it.

*Massive Attack, Teardrop


Started as a Quiet Friday Night*

February 10, 2018

I think I’m finally getting past last week’s exhaustion. It took going to bed way earlier than I usually do. I took my book with me and read some pages. Then woke up later and hadn’t turned a page (well, electronically), so obviously I’d slept through some bit. Finally gave up on the book and performed sleep maneuvers as well as I could (which if you’re exhausted is pretty damn good) for a full 7 or 8 hours. A miracle for me. I feel better than I did last night. That part where you’re so tired you feel dizzy? Nah. Don’t like that.

And I’m almost done with my book. I hate that feeling of not knowing what you’re going to read next. It’s not like I have a shortage of books to read…just what do I feel like reading next? I just don’t know. Do I want to stay in this universe that I’m reading that has like 9 600-page books? Or do I want to read something else? I just don’t know yet.

Today I have to deliver a quilt. I found it last night, deep in a giant roll of quilts that I deposited on the boychild’s bed, because there’s already shit in the girlchild’s room. I’ll put it back when I have help to do so. Hopefully there’ll be more quilts to pull in the next month or so. I have a couple of entries out. I need to ship one to LA at some point too. Ugh.

What I really want to do today is iron a bunch of Wonder Under to fabric. I think I finally have enough sleep in me to do that. Although grading will happen at some point. And more blissful sleep, I hope.

I got this bag as part of my Kickstarter reward for the Social Justice Sewing Academy donation. They’re still doing cool stuff. You should still donate. I also got a patch…need to decide where it should go.

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So that’s obviously a house, a sun, and a windmill. The green thing is an alien spaceship. That’s how my brain works anyway.

So I’m debating going to QuiltCon in Pasadena. If I went, it would only be for about 3 hours or so, though. I have to be in LA for an opening at 3 PM, so this would be on the way. And I’d have to get up and outta here early. And I’d be gone all day.

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It’s hard to lose a weekend day…for school and art and all the errands and crap I get done when I’m not working 10- to 12-hour days. Aargh. Sigh. I guess the question is what am I going for? I think modern quilts are interesting…I don’t need vendors. I guess the quilts? Well, I’m still thinking about it. I have to go up there anyway.

So at gaming last night, I finally finished this guy, the last block of April…while I killed a…a…damn, what was that giant dog thing called? Don’t remember. It was a good dice roll though. I did not mention the chaos star that the DM forgot about. Or maybe he was just being nice. Who knows?

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So May’s blocks are already finished, and now I’m working on the three blocks of June…doing some couched road that is gonna be wonky as hell. I’m OK with that.

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It seems like I have an awful lot of this quilt done, until I realize I have to do June, July, August, September, and October, with three blocks each. So 15 more blocks. There’s a few more done that are attached to other things that are having the wool sewn down. Different box. Not pulling that out right now.

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It’s fun to work on these though. Even if I’m only sewing on them every two weeks, it seems. I certainly got more done when I was going to soccer games every weekend. Oh well. They’re not as high a priority as the art quilts, that’s for sure.

Girlchild is still posting from Madagascar…she’s still about a week behind in her posts, but seems to be doing one a day now. She leaves for a lemur trip on Monday. We’re all jealous.

OK, art tasks and then artmaking and whatever else fits in the holes around that. It’s a plan.

*Marian Hill, Down


It’s a Small World Full of Light*

February 6, 2018

Last night, a bunch of stuff happened. I felt sick, so I went to bed a bit early without posting a picture of anything on Instagram (not the end of the world). I drew a bit, leftovers from the loooong staff meeting I survived. I finished cutting out all the Wonder Under for the commission quilt. I tried to clean up in the studio. I was going to sort Wonder Under pieces too, but my stomach did not agree. I love it when random bodily organs decide to sabotage the night. I’m arguing with it, please why can’t you just get along? We don’t have to do this. Ugh. Nausea sucks. Always.

Whatever it was, it’s still with me this morning. Fun stuff. Plus a parent meeting and duty again. Mornings are never my strong point. Wait. I said at the staff meeting yesterday that afternoons were never my strong point. Also true. I really am a night owl. I can function in the morning, but usually by myself and not talking for a goodly portion of it. Until some part of the first cup of tea gets in me.

I tried grading stuff yesterday evening, but it was making me fall asleep, so I quit. I made dinner and then this guy joined me on the couch for a while…

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I started a drawing during the staff meeting because drawing helps me focus on stuff that’s kinda boring. Although I’m still not sure what the point of the meeting was…for us to do something we already do? And the video…I don’t know what it had to do with what we were doing? Sigh. Whatever. Last night I got a work email chastising a group of us for not going to a training on Wednesday for stuff we’ve already been trained on. I’m annoyed by that. I don’t need someone to explain the new standards to me right now. Thanks.

So I started the drawing, but then we had planning time, so we used it…and I finished the drawing at home…on the couch…

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I guess you know how I feel about staff meetings now. That big mouth is kinda scary. I kind of want to do a larger drawing with more and more mouths getting bigger and trying to swallow the smaller ones.

I finished the Wonder Under cutting…just under 5 hours (pretty damn good guess, eh?).

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I need to sort them. I was going to do it last night, but that stomach thing. It’ll take less than an hour to sort them, and then I can start ironing to fabric! Yay! I love that part! Although it’s more standing…and it will take longer, probably more like the 9 hours or so that it took me to trace the quilt…maybe a little more than that. So I’ll be doing that hopefully starting tonight…then I have a hike, a meeting, and gaming (3 nights of activities)…so not very much of that until the weekend, I think. So probably I’ll finish ironing to fabric sometime next week. ALTHOUGH…I have Monday off from work. I’ll have to grade some and probably walk some dogs (like this one sleeping with her ball)…

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And I’d like to plant some stuff and there’s floors and bathrooms to clean (oooh exciting) and could I Please Please Please remember to go sit on the deck and draw? Yeah? Totally. I should do that.

This was part of the cleaning last night…I was looking for bins to sort Wonder Under into, and all the fabrics from the last quilt are still there (I leave them there until I hit this stage on the next quilt), plus a few I bought since then, plus the ones the boychild gave me for Christmas. All sorted by color. So they need to be put away before I can start. Not hard.

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Just takes a bit of time.

The girlchild left last night (which was actually this morning) on an overnight into the rainforest. They drove for a while and then hiked an hour and a half into the campsite with tents and sleeping bags (now you can see why her packing was such a pain! Imagine hauling all your camping stuff 11,000 miles). I haven’t heard from her for a while, so I suspect even the limited contact we had is unavailable where she is now. She’s there for one night and then home the next evening, which means I won’t hear from her until Thursday morning at the earliest. Yeah that part is hard. Funny, though. I always keep her and her brother in the back of my mind when they’re away at school. It’s hard not to, but I don’t worry. I know they’re OK. But that’s harder when she’s this far away. I’m sure I’ll get used to it (will I? In just 3 1/2 months?). She’s talking about doing a rural independent study project, which could mean 3 weeks or more of no contact. So I guess I’m glad I’ve had some contact with her at the beginning, because I’m pretty sure it won’t stay that way. It’s interesting what the internet has done for us in terms of keeping track of people you care about…it’s too easy to always be in contact, I guess. There’s pros and cons to that.

Anyway, parent meeting, the last day of labs (oh hallelujah, because I might kill someone soon), hopefully an improved stomach, and fabric waiting at the end of the day. Plus I don’t have to cook tonight. Always a plus.

*Laurie Anderson, Dark Angel


You Show the Lights That Stop Me Turn to Stone*

January 31, 2018

Somehow I came home last night after a long day at work, and instead of pulling out the last pages of the assignment I’ve been grading at school on and off for the last couple of days and finishing it, I sat down with a cup of tea and my sketchbook and vomited out one thing that’s been in my head for weeks.

I had two or three false starts, where the body or the head weren’t quite right…and this guy trying to get on my lap didn’t help…

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Maybe he was just after my color pens. They are pretty awesome.

So yeah, nuclear bombs much? This totally reminds me of getting under my useless school desk in middle school…those Cold War bomb drills they did with us. Even then we were smart and savvy enough to know we would totally die if the Russian nukes hit our school while we cowered under those tiny little desks.

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I think if this becomes an actual quilt, I will make it bigger to the sides, maybe change the figures under the umbrella, add more earth. Or not. Who knows…

Then I started tracing Wonder Under. I’m sure I ate dinner in there somewhere and sewed some more binding bits on, but I’m not sure when that was. Post drawing? Probably.

I took a break from tracing at one point and had both dogs back there…

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Then back to the tracing. I have about 6 hours in and I think I’m just under the halfway mark…somewhere in the mid-300s.

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It went slowly last night, because it was mostly the big sky pieces, and they take longer to trace. I think I have two completed yards traced, and another two in process…filling up all the little spaces…with fingernails and finger creases. I have the whole background traced and I started on the first of the two figures.

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Next up is that back with all the tiny pieces…needs to be earlier in the evening to do that. So tonight…should be good. Hopefully I’ll get that assignment graded at school, so I won’t even need to worry about grading.

I’m hearing just a little from girlchild at the moment. I know she hasn’t figured out how to get the blog to post yet (wifi is the issue)…but here is her program center, where all her classes are.

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Hopefully she’ll get the blog sorted soon…that and learning French. Meanwhile, I’m going to go to school and try to persuade kids to do some work. They like doing labs, but writing stuff down is apparently some high level of torture. Fun stuff.

*Ellie Goulding, Lights


It Could Be Normal but It Isn’t Quite*

January 24, 2018

Being sick just sucks, even when it’s that low-level stuff that makes your nose run and your head spacey, but you’re still able to stand upright and appear human. I didn’t sleep well all night, between the sinus stuff and wondering if the girlchild was still alive. I knew she landed…

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I watched her flight all the way south…and then she texted me that she got there…

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That’s kind of a joke, because I can’t pronounce the capital city of Madagascar (Antananarivo)…it’s got way too many nananana’s. But then she texted that the lights kept going out, and then I didn’t hear from her for like 6 hours. Which would have been fine if she’d gotten through Customs at that point, but she hadn’t. So in typical worry mom fashion, I assumed she’d been thrown in jail for her stash of ADD pills (she really does have ADD) until I saw her texts come through at like 2 AM.

Yes, my brain does that. Plus iPhone, could you please fix the stupid iMessage problem where the texts come in out of order. It’s really annoying.

Sleeping is not my strong point at the moment. Too bad, because I hear sleep is good for you when you’re sick.

It was cold again last night, cold enough for the pup to put up with a purring cat on his butt.

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I stitched some more…almost done I think.

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Eventually he realized the cat was there.

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Although he refused to stay on the couch without humans. I came into the office and sewed the binding on the second piece I’ve had lying around since like 2007…

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I still need to do all the handwork. I was going to go back in and quilt, but I felt like crap…so I read for a little while and then went to bed early. Funny, because I don’t feel like I slept much at all, despite being in bed well before my normal time. I can only hope that today I start to feel better…because I can’t get anything done when I’m sick. And the grading is piling up too, although we’re showing a movie today and we were smart and got loaner computers, so we can grade while the kids watch on the other computer. Planning ahead! What a concept. I always bargain with myself…if I get a lot of grading done at school one day, I don’t have to do any at home. And when I have tutoring, I also don’t have to grade at home. I already did my time. Monday, I cleared out 33 emails of late work after school, though, and this morning, I have 26 more. Holy crap. I mean, yes, I want them to turn in their late work, but that’s a lot of emails to wade through. Gotta get caught up. And hopefully do some quilting tonight…that’s on the list. Hopefully I’ll have more energy than I did last night…or I do right now!

But first, treat the headache, hope the cold meds kick in, pack up, and go in to work. Be efficient today.

*Suzanne Vega, 99°F