You Got to Lose to Know How to Win*

Yesterday, while on crosswalk duty after school, two of my former students came up to talk to me about high school. I’d spent all day with kids who thought coming up with new ideas that they couldn’t copy off the internet was HAAARRRDD (well yeah, school is supposed to challenge you…otherwise, why would you need it?). Now don’t get me wrong, the majority of kids are designing really cool, amazing stuff that shows a vast expanse of interesting thinking (yay!), but for some kids, they don’t even know where to start. Well draw the snake egg. Because you have to keep it warm and protect it, so draw it. Because it has to be in your drawing.

Anyway, these two girls were bright, interesting thinkers, and honestly, I don’t remember their grades, but they were there to tell me (a) they missed me, (b) high school is HAARRRDDD, and (c) they missed middle school, because it was so much easier. One said we teachers had claimed high school was the best 4 years of our lives! I said, well, hell no…college was way better…and even that was often HAAARRRDDD. I enjoyed the hugs, told them I knew they would be fine, that I had faith in their good, hard-working brains, and now I had something to tell my kids today, I guess. That what they think is hard isn’t hard? Well…middle school is its own kind of hard…that’s for sure. So maybe I’ll keep that to myself today.

I have no art to show today. Instead of artmaking last night, I climbed most of Mt. Woodson (we did a mutant version of the Fry-Koegel trail, shortening it up and avoiding most of the asphalt road). I don’t even have pictures because it was dark. There ARE pictures, but they haven’t been posted yet. Proof that I was there! That I hiked 4.5-5 miles on a school night! Yeah, so it did wipe me out after. I did a little eating and reading and hanging out and then went to bed early and didn’t sleep a lot, because the coyotes were out in force and little Simba can’t handle that. He becomes a tiny Pomeranian coyote warning system (dude, like we can’t hear them yipping?) and my brain can’t deal with noise at night, so sleep was a problem. And I’m up early for a meeting, so I’ll be half dead by the time I get through the day. What’s new? Nothing really.

Here’s the only proof I have of the hike…and yeah, I did over 9,000 steps at school before I even left to hike, which is scary in itself.


Here’s part of the hanging out process. There’s Mr. Barkypants, napping away. This is why he can afford to stay up all night yelling at coyotes.

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The girlchild is out of the rainforest and back into a cell service area. She had a good time, even though they weren’t allowed to shower until they’d written and presented (in French) a group essay on scientific procedures. I think her blogposts are a full week behind now, but she’ll get there. And at some point, we’ll lose her and cell service for longer than three days, I’m sure. She did check in at one point from the top of the rainforest…but I’m fairly positive there will be healthy chunks of time coming up when she won’t be able to even do that.

The best use of the new headlamp? Besides hiking? Lighting up the backyard for the nervous Nellie of a night-pee-er, Calli. She appreciates it.

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I do plan on art tonight. I’m hoping I’m still functional after multiple meetings and hangouts and another day of It’s HAAARRRDDD and my laughing maniacally because I forced 12-year-olds to think and create. It’s a tough life sometimes. I’m glad I have the time and ability to hike and draw and make art. These things are all good.

*Aerosmith, Dream on

Going Solo

So I have some really good news I’ve been sitting on for a few days, just letting it percolate. I’ve been invited to have a solo show in the VALYA gallery at Visions Art Museum next July. It’s the smaller gallery space in the back and there will be another show (which sounds cool too) in the front. I will be making some new work and using some already-made work as well…as I get closer to the date, I’ll hopefully figure out what that might look like! As I’m sitting here with three quilts ahead of anything for that…

But I’m excited! My first solo show and in Visions…it’s a good thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in that gallery and imagined my work up on the walls (and I’ve had plenty of pieces in there, but never more than one at a time). So expect to see some work coming for that…and because of the timing with Comi-Con, you might see some of this…


Or this, minus the lame costume. Really I just want to use Bif, Bam, and Pow in a quilt or two.


With my own take on superheroes maybe. We’ll see. I’ve got months to think about it.

Meanwhile, yesterday was no art, just work…and then a hike that seriously kicked my butt. We did Mt. Woodson, but went up the back way, via the Fry-Koegel trail. We picked it because we knew it was going to be hot most of the week, and the kids are working Friday, and this has mostly shade going for the first two miles. We left around 6:15 PM and the heat was intense for me. I don’t do heat well, being pale-faced Northern European, and my legs were like wooden blocks for miles 3 and 4. But I did it.

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We missed sunset on top…we were about 20-30 minutes too early, but that was better than hiking down in the dark. I think. Maybe.

It was still beautiful, even if it kicked my ass. I taped up the blister really well and it didn’t get worse (it’s not healing particularly quickly, but probably hiking before it healed was not the best thing for it!). We won’t hike again probably until next week…maybe a short one with the dogs…but that’s not too bad.

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This is finally on the way down the front of the mountain. There were about 17 lizards on this rock, so the girlchild was checking the warmth…

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Yup. She’s a lizard-in-training.

OK, back to copyediting so I can get this chapter out of my hair and continue with ironing and maybe drawing for the next one. Ha! Crazy. It’s because as July approaches, I feel school looming…especially this year, it seems an incredibly early start. Trying not to think about it. Too much to do…

Mt Woodson: The Fungal Trail

So no art was made yesterday. It happens. About one day every two weeks, I do nothing artistic. No Thing. Yup. Used to be, I’d go weeks without touching art stuff, but I don’t function that way any more. Yesterday I worked and I hung out with friends and I hiked with my kids. That’s not a bad day. If it were just work and nothing else, I’d be upset.

So my vacation is essentially over. I didn’t grade everything. In fact, I need to get one batch of science journals done before Monday no matter what, and I really should finish that assignment that’s kicking my ass. But otherwise, I did pretty well. That said, I am not well-rested and relaxed. It’s been a stressful break…too much to do, too much on my plate, too many things to worry about. But that’s just the way it is sometimes. There are still 8 things on the post-it, but I can’t do anything about many of them. I’m in wait mode. Or I need materials.

I also made some progress on the Grossmont show prep…figured out what quilts needed dowels or slats, made a list…heading over to Home Debit later today. Then I’ll need to start the long process of ironing and dehairing each quilt. Girlchild leaves on Tuesday. Maybe she’ll finish washing her dishes and putting them in the dishwasher by then, but it seems unlikely. I’ve asked three or four times now. So yeah. I love her. I really do. Boychild is stuck here for another two weeks…he’s looking forward to having access to the car and going on longer hikes than we do. Whatever.

So speaking of hikes, I’d never done Mt. Woodson…not sure why, except everyone seemed to say it was hard. And I won’t say parts of it weren’t difficult, because I’m not in good shape at the moment, but I did it. And I was a little nervous about it, but that’s how I get over that. I tell the kids we’re doing it and then we do it and I know I can do it, and that’s the end of it. Easy.

I also wanted to see the infamous Potato Chip Rock after seeing it posted on a million hiking pages. We started on the service road off the 67…one of many places to start this hike (we debated all of them).

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The road was relatively well-maintained. There’s Woodson in the background.

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The problem with roads is that cars drive them, and cars don’t always need switchbacks. So it was uphill. A lot of uphill. A 1200′ gain in 2 miles, apparently. Somewhat painful for the old lady. But a beautiful day…

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Not too hot. A little chilly.

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And beautiful views for miles.

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The mountain has boulders all over it, plus lots of instances of nature having its way with big rocks.

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Roots traveling all the way down…where there are dirt and water, the trees will find a way.

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Lots of butt rocks.

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Oh yeah. That’s a butt.

A view of the valley to the east…nice to see blue skies after four days of rain.

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And way down there, the road where the car is parked.

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More views, this to the northeast.

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Interesting rock formations…

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And an antenna farm at the top…

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Boychild had a doggie friend for a while (his owners were behind us, then in front of us, then behind us).

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There were a reasonable number of people going up this route. It was a weekday, but not all of us were back to work.

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I’m actually fascinated by towers.

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All the weird shapes and protrusions…

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Then we headed down the other side, towards the west.

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To Potato Chip Rock. It’s been there for years and everyone (except us) gets their picture on it. In fact, one of my teacher friends was there yesterday and had her picture taken with her dog on it. Me and the kids? We agreed there was no way in fucking hell we were standing on that. Because it would break.

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There was a line for it…probably the shortest one ever (only 10 or 15 people). But still. Not doing it.

We headed out the ridge towards Poway. There’s another entrance at Lake Poway.

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There’s the view to the south, with that tall peak near the middle being Iron Mountain, the one we hiked right before Christmas.

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Standing on rocks…

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And then we went northeast on the Old Fry-Koegel trail, where we delightfully saw no one the whole way back. We did nickname this section The Fungal Trail though, because of all the fungus we saw. Though this is moss. A plant. In case you didn’t know that.

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But damn, that’s some fungus.

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There were many yellow and white and brown versions…

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Looking back up at Mt. Woodson from the north side.

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This trail was nice. Not too up and down, although probably would seem like a lot of up if we went up that way. Can’t decide which would be worse.

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More fun fungal things…

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And cracked rocks…

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Too early in the season for true spring flowers…

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Lots of shade and a true trail…not a road. The mud wasn’t too bad, considering the amount of water that fell this week.

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Another clump o’ fungi…

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I’m not even showing you all of them.

This tree was burned up the middle, but still very much alive.

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Signs were helpful. We had a map and a compass and a hiking app, but didn’t really need them for directions.

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The fires a few years back definitely left their mark. And there were a few tree parts down over the trail.

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We walked through this beautiful oak grove…

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Gorgeous trees…and poison oak.

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Just under 6 miles with 1200′ of gain. It took us just under 2 1/2 hours. Pretty good for being out of shape. And now I know I can do it. I’d like to try up Fry-Koegel and maybe the Lake Poway version as well. Next time.

I had found some smaller quilts when I was pulling stuff for the Grossmont show. I did the journal quilt thing back in 2005 or so. Got some of them into the book. Not sure where all of them are, but here’s a few things that will probably go up on Etsy in the next few days.

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Maybe. And maybe I’ll get ready for school too. And start working on the next quilt, before days have gone by. Aack. Too much to do. Always. Ugh. It’s true I hate being bored, but there’s a fine line between not bored and overwhelmed. This does seem to be my existence. Oh if only I were a normal person who didn’t come home from work every day and try to figure out how to make more art. Just sitting and relaxing does not seem to be in my toolbox. And that’s probably OK.