Who I Am, Who I’m Not, Who I Wanna Be…*

As I get my room ready for the new school year, I wonder where all my fake class money went from last year. Have I been robbed? I had to stash a bunch of stuff in weird places. Have I not found a stash yet? I also wonder where my stash of floor pencils went. Floor pencils are those I find on the floor and then hand out to the kids who never have one. I don’t need to do that this year (although I still will…thrifty genes handed down through generations), because I ordered pencils this year and I found a stash from last year that I forgot I had, so I have about 1000 pencils to hand out. They’ll be gone in about a week. Plus I have all these spiral notebooks from when I used to use them for science notebooks (I now use packets that we grow as we do more stuff…easier to haul home when needed). I should totally sell those with the fake paper money that I can’t find. And where are my seating charts? No one knows. Seriously. I did something with the master at the end of the school year, but my brain refuses to tell me what. And please please remind me next year that YES I do need the square bigger post-its for the first day. The tiny ones won’t work. In fact, we should devise a lab JUST for the use of the tiny ones, because we misordered them and we have a lot. Plus I have 36 times 8 rulers now, so I will never ever ever need to buy any again. I don’t even know how I did that.

My white board eraser was moldy. I need a new one. I need a new nail file. Broke the first nail yesterday before I cut them all down from summer length. And if you want to regularly hit over 10,000 steps a day before you even leave work? You should become a teacher. So easy.

My library book is digital and it’s about to expire and I’m not quite done and I don’t have a lot of time to read today. It’s OK. I turned off the wifi. They’ll never catch me. No fines.

I got home and about a third of the bougainvillea was gone. Stolen!

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Nah. Boychild at work.

We took the dogs out for a walk…about 2 miles. I hadn’t been on this bit of trail before…

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There’s a great view from one end of it…north…

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West…rocks…puppy wanted to climb, but probably snakes.

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And south, Mt. Miguel in the distance. You can’t go to the top any more. I guess I’m glad (ha!) I did it before it closed.

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It was cloudy and muggy all day, but a little cooler than it has been. A relief really.

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Pretty clouds.

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I forget how much time gets eaten up by the job. I didn’t start quilting until late, almost 10 PM, and then I was tired and probably not very efficient.

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So no, I didn’t get four hours done last night (laughs hysterically). I probably won’t tonight either. I’m about 6 1/2 hours in though, so I must have done about 2 hours last night…mostly the volcano bits with the two grayed-out figures in front and the skelly. I also did one of the graffiti walls. Tonight, I’ll do the other one and then move up the slope. I need to get more than 2 hours done tonight. Right this minute, that doesn’t seem possible.

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I’m hoping to maybe hit the quilt store for binding fabric after school on Friday, but that means I need to be done or almost done. We’ll see. I have a hike Saturday night, so I will lose the whole stitching night to that (which is a good and healthy, although probably exhausting thing). That said, I have nothing else planned this week but surviving the first week of school. Always a challenge.

*The Fray, You Found Me

I’m a Rebel Just for Kicks Now*

So as I age, I am determined to keep healthy, continue to move, to do the things that I want to do, make art or hike or whatever. Last week’s hiking incident made me a little paranoid. I’ve been hiking for years, although less so in the last year, sometimes because of my time constraints and sometimes because one of the dogs who often accompanies me has had arthritis issues. Which sucks, because she loves walks. But I haven’t let my knee, my ACL, my LCL, plantar fasciitis, arthritis in my foot, my diabetes, or any other acronym or health issue keep me from going out and hauling my ass through nature, and I’m not going to stop now. So there.

So the boychild and I went out and hiked this morning. We didn’t do a super-long hike…although longer than I made it last week. I did climb hills, though, and it was only about 5 degrees cooler than last week, full sun though with no shade (I had shade last week). I had plenty of water…just like last week. I ate breakfast…just like last week.

And I was fine. No problems. The only difference was elevation, and yes, that could have been one factor, but I still think that the new medication was kicking my body’s ass. So I’m glad it’s gone. I don’t want to be a scared sick old lady who can’t tromp up the side of a mountain dammit. Medication should help, not hinder (unless you’re fighting cancer, in which case, it’s gotta do its thing and you’re gonna have to survive that shit…but I’ve avoided that so far, knock on wood.).

We went back to a hike I did with the dogs fairly consistently (every other week or so) until I saw 3 coyotes out on the trail a week after being tracked by a pack of them. That was back in March or so. I wanted to go back without the dogs and just sort of explore. Part of the path had been underwater as well, so that was a pain.

The water is gone, but there are a bunch of wildflowers I’ve never seen out there…

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Everything else looked greener, more lush…

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OK, maybe not in that photo…but in general. It is Southern California. Our idea of lush is way different than someone from Ohio.

This tree was still doing its thing…I’m always fascinated with the flowers on it.

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The boy and I tried some new trails, stuff I wouldn’t do with the dogs. The brush was closer in some places, so more chance for ticks and snakes. He dragged me up this hill (you can see him at the top…he ran up there to see if it would go to the right, which is where we needed to go, but it didn’t, so he came back).

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But then we went up this other trail I’d seen someone going up once, and we found this…THIS!

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Holy crap. There’s a baby lake up here. OK, it’s a pond…but we never knew it was there.

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Baby frog in that photo (sure, he’s tiny, but he’s there)…

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We analyzed footprints…pretty sure this and the others around it were deer. We didn’t know deer were up here.

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So pretty and serene and watery.

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Then we followed what looked like an old trail, mostly coyote trail now…

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Saved some yucca pods…we’ll see if they grow or not.

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We’re hiking up on the slope…normally I walk the trail down in the valley.

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Yo. Julie. Fungus or fruit? There were dried-out pods on the trail too…looked to be filled with dirt…which is why we thought fungus. They’re right on the branch…no stems we could see. There are two smaller, yellowish ones further down the branch.

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Those pink ones…never seen them either…

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So we hiked. And I did fine. I’m happy. Gonna keep going, although my plans for next week might have just been kicked in the ass by the current weather report…over 100 degrees next week again. Ugh.

The best part? They redid this section of the road. You used to need 4-wheel drive to get through this. Now it’s Bee-YOO-Ti-FULL.

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Seriously. It’s awesome.

Yesterday I worked on the quilts. It takes about an hour to put binding and sleeves on one quilt, once the sleeves and bindings are prepped. I did the sleeves at quilt class and started prepping bindings. Then I came home and did three of the quilts last night.

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I still need to stitch down by hand the loose parts of the sleeves, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I have three more to go. There’s three done…

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At 10:30 or so, again, I sat and worked on more chain stitch on the right, plus filling in one of the flowers in the orangey color.

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I had to cover the other quilts with a quilt of mine. The cats kept trying to lie on them. Kitten was very happy.

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And then I started numbering the long skinny climate woman (not-so-shorthand for it until it has a name)…

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Why do I put windows in? Why don’t I just pick a fabric that has boxy bits in it? I have such things. I did manage to tell myself that all tiny eyeballs (fish, birds, sheep) should be French knots. FK for short.

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Because the sheep feet aren’t tiny enough? I didn’t finish numbering. It was late and I knew I had to get up early to hike, so I’m in the 900s and not done. I’ll finish today sometime…after I finish copyediting and run some errands and I don’t know what else…hopefully get some more quilt shit done. I’m hoping to be done with all the copyediting and quilt stuff by Monday and to finally be FREE to be on vacation, to make art every single day (although I’ve been doing an OK job of doing some on and off, eh?). Of course, I’m still considering doing a Nida Art coloring book for my opening. If I’m gonna do that, I need to get my act together. Like now. Sigh.

*Portugal. The Man, Feel It Still

Hiking in Town

East San Diego is great for hiking close to home, yet seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We’re within 10-20 minutes of some seriously good hiking areas where you will see few people and only traces of civilization. Of course, in summer, these hikes are unbearably warm, unless undertaken in the early morning hours or in the dark (not recommended for most), but at this time of year, even when it’s 80 degrees in wintry December (seriously, that’s been the high temperature the last few days), it’s a nice walk with plenty of water at hand.

On Christmas Eve, the boychild and I took the dogs on a hike in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge near Jamul. We picked Millar Ranch Road as our start…the road goes out into the foothills…

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It wasn’t too hot or cold…which for December is nice. There was still some green on the hills, showing the effects of the little bits of rain we’ve gotten this month.

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There was still mud in some areas on the trail. We hiked out the dirt road for about 30 minutes and came back. There were lots of offshoots of the trail, which goes around the back of Mt. Miguel. We saw one coyote in the distance melt into the bushes, and then there was this guy…

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Wow. That is some gorgeous winter coat. He watched us for ages, while the dogs panted along, oblivious. He was quite a ways away, which is why the picture is fuzzy…but clearly sitting there and watching us.

Then on the day after Christmas (Boxing Day to the Brits out there), we dragged both dogs and the girlchild with us to Hollenbeck Canyon, which is about 15 minutes away, east of Jamul proper, so a little further out than where we’d been two days prior. Yes, Jake was excited…

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We spent about two hours hiking through here, getting lost at one point (yes, we had a map…no, we didn’t get TOO far off of it). There are many crisscrossing trails in this area, and random signs with mileage markers to unknown areas.

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It was a gorgeous day, but hot, over 80 degrees. Yes. In December. I think hiking here in summer would be difficult in the heat of the day.

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But it was OK…we did leave a little late in the day (I had to visit the vet with a couple of animals).

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We brought food and water, although we forgot a bowl for the dogs…a plastic bag that had been destined to carry poop managed to hold water for them though.

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There were some “quad-busting slopes” (not my terminology…someone described a couple of climbs that way).

And some beautiful vistas…

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We all peed in bushes…OK, the boychild didn’t. There was poison oak that the girlchild tramped through unknowingly…luckily, no one seemed to get a rash. I did wash Calli when I got home, mostly because the vet had told me to anyway, but it seemed like the possibility of her having the poison oak oil on her fur (it won’t bug the dog, but it will bug you if you pet the dog) seemed high, since the girlchild had dragged her through there. I loved her comment…”But LOTS of plants have three leaves…” Um. OK. But this one is pretty damn obvious. I guess my years in the Girl Scouts came in useful, but I did not transmit information well to the girlchild. The boychild seemed to realize it.

We definitely tired the dogs out…five miles.

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At some point, the girlchild stopped whining about how tired she was and how hot it was and how downhill sucks and uphill sucks and it all sucks, and she took off without us.

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She had headphones on. It might have helped.

All in all, lots of calories burned, nature enjoyed, time with kidlets, dogs exercised, new vistas explored. Not a bad couple of days. I’m looking at going back to Hollenbeck for a geocaching experience…apparently there are multiple caches in the area.

Both of these are within a 20-minute drive of most of East County, San Diego. Bring lots of water, even for the dogs, and always bring food. Oops. That’s the diabetic talking. There is a map at the beginning of the Hollenbeck trail…it was sort of useful…except when we wandered OFF of it. Probably more our issue than theirs. We didn’t see anyone on the Millar Ranch walk until we were almost done. We saw more people at Hollenbeck, although mostly on horses and a few on bikes. That said, they were both technically workdays for most people…weekends may be different.