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

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No One Told Me About Her*

January 28, 2018

I have these goals to go on long hikes on the weekend or go hang out at the zoo (new passes for Christmas) or sit down on the deck and do a new drawing (that’s a perennial goal for me), but often it just ends up being the grocery store and the compost bin and maybe laundry if I’m really organized. I have two openings coming up in LA, and the thought of having to drive all the way up there and back in a day is disheartening…although I’m gonna do it. Twice. Which means having to plan ahead for the school stuff I normally do on the weekend.

It’s not that I’m not getting anything done…I just always want it to be more. And I forget how much energy school sucks out of you (I have three THREE parent meetings this week…for parents who just figured out their kids are failing. Sigh. I guess I’m glad they figured it out.). Meetings and grading and explaining and planning and grading and sending the parent email (I did that at 11 PM last night. Normally I do it today, but I’ll be in a car for a significant portion of the day.). It’s supposed to be almost 90 degrees here today, but my feet are freezing. I should go sit on the deck. Really. It’s warm out there.

I am glad to say that I finally finished the quilting on the small quilt.

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The lighting in here seems worse than usual…so quilting during the day is easier (although impossible during the week). I’ve been considering pulling this room apart at the beginning of summer, removing wallpaper, replacing flooring, painting the whole thing, maybe a new window, take the TV I never watch out and put more shelves in, replace a bunch of plastic drawers with something more sturdy and wall to ceiling, maybe even put in French doors instead of the sliding door so I can get more air in here…or something. But I don’t think I can afford it. I can think about it though and price shit out and see if it’s something I can do in the future.

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At some point, I won’t be paying for college any more.

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This was really quick to quilt because it’s small. The tree leg was the most complicated bit. It was only 4 hours and 45 minutes total.

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But it was just big enough that I wouldn’t have enough fabric for binding…I generally buy half yards, and that’s what this was going to take.

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But nothing worked. OK. Don’t lie. You didn’t even try. You wanted to go to the fabric store. It’s true. I haven’t been there in a while. I like the fabric store.

Here she is trimmed…

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About 36 x 42″ or so. So I made a trip to the store and put all that in the wash…

Then settled down to some TV and finishing this finally. Packed up all three blocks to send back to Social Justice Sewing Academy…

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And then graded for a while last night…cleared out all the makeup work (37 emails) and input those, plus pulled grades for another assignment from the website. I don’t have to grade anything but the last question…and then it gives me the score. Easy peasy.

Then heard briefly from the girlchild. With 11 hours difference, her day is my night etc. But this morning, I heard a lot. I’m going to let her tell her own story on her blog, though, although she’ll need wifi to get that posted. There are two posts so far, but she’s got another two written and ready to post. You can read her here if you want…all I can tell you know is that this is her bed in her host family’s house…and she’s feeling a little overwhelmed. (The bed alone would do that to me.)

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I remember doing this…barely knowing the language, staying in a strange house. It’s hard. But worth it. I hope she feels better after a long night’s sleep. She’s trying to learn two languages at once and adjust to a new place and not get sick. Hard stuff. Makes me appreciate my host family even more. They were really easy compared to some.

Here’s the fabric I bought after they came out of the washer. I didn’t allow myself to wander and shop much. I didn’t have much time and I don’t have much money. Although! The first check for the commission piece showed up yesterday, so I’m going to be starting tracing Wonder Under tonight! That’s actually exciting. I’m looking forward to it. In fact, I got some of the purplish fabrics for the spacey bit I think. Or I just liked them. Yeah that’s it.

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There’s the one I picked for the binding. I actually picked two, but couldn’t decide until I got home. The store was full of people, so I didn’t feel super comfortable throwing my naked climate chick out on the floor and trying binding fabrics out around her.

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Sometimes you just have to buy more than one and decide in the peace and quiet of your own home.

So now I have three bindings to sew down, plus one quilt that needs a lot of hand embroidery…it’s going to be my go-to for after dinner but still watching the end of that TV episode. So it’ll probably be around for a while. I’m hoping to finish one of the others in January, just to say I finished something in January, because I’ve been lax as hell this month. Normally I do 50+ hours of art-related stuff each month, and the last month has been only 20 hours…and that’s WITH time off from school. Lame. Yeah, it’s OK, I know the kids being home and being discombobulated about what I was doing next was part of that. But I’m done now. I’m on a roll. I have 60 days to get this quilt done…partially because that’s what I put in the contract, but also because I leave on vacation in 63 days. Don’t laugh. I’ll be fine. I have a goal now, a place to look forward to. That helps so much. Really, it does.

I’m going to be feeling better this week. The cold is going to go away, I’m going to get some exercise in, I’m going to finish some things and start some things. It’s all good.

*The Zombies, She’s Not There


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


Mahna Mahna*

January 23, 2018

So the girlchild got stuck in Paris for about 5 more hours than she was planning, which sounds like an awesome thing, unless you’re stuck in the airport and haven’t slept in 24 hours or more. She just left for Madagascar, 11 hours long, but she has the whole row in the airplane to herself…I suspect as soon as they hit altitude, she’s stretching out and drooling sleepily for as much of that as possible. It’s a horrible feeling, not being able to lie down when you’re that tired. So sometime tonight, I’ll hopefully hear from her again.

Meanwhile, I’m sick. I guess your body holds off all the crazy sick around you (all my students are sick) until you release some of the stress by putting your kid on a plane…and then that’s it. Not true, actually…I must have been exposed Friday or Saturday. Oh well. It was gonna happen sometime. It’s not the crazy flu everyone’s been having…feels like a bog-standard cold. Woo hoo! While teaching! And setting chemicals on fire! I was so tired yesterday that I forgot to go to the chiropractor. Unfortunately, because I think I needed it.

Instead, I cleaned up all the girlchild’s leavings…we had boxes and plastic wrap and those stuffed-with-air bags that Amazon uses. I sorted it all and recycled most of it. And then went around finding her left-behind bags and water bottles and all the stuff she borrowed from my dad that she didn’t take with her (she did take a lot…just not the 20-year-old lotion…Dad, if you’re reading this…I threw it out. It smelled really awful. I’ll buy you a new one.). And I did some grading and some school tasks. I even made dinner from scratch, but it turned out weird. Dunno why. Probably did something wrong. I’m not an awesome cook like she is.

Then we watched Ghost in the Shell, which was OK…still don’t know why they cast white people in Asian characters…that shit is stupid.

It’s been a while since I worked on the SJSA blocks, and I’m almost done with the last one…

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Gotta decide what to do with the gunshots…

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It was really cold last night…

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Simba is super cranky at the moment. All his favorite people left and he’s stuck with us. We don’t sit still enough for his liking.

Girlchild texting me from over the Atlantic Ocean…

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No such texts on this flight…batteries are dying.

So there were a few small changes I needed to make to the commission drawing…I re-angled the “perfect”…it was bugging me…

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The original poem was about a boy…but this quilt is about a girl…so one request was to change the two gendered words…

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And then these screws are like what is used in scoliosis surgeries (and perhaps other back surgeries), but they weren’t exactly like what was used in hers, so I had photos of the screws to change them…

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So I did…I just cut out the space and put new paper in and redrew…just a few things…

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Easy fix…

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Straightened out…

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And then, I numbered…because I couldn’t stand it anymore, not knowing if I stayed within my own boundaries. I knew I tried, but I often suck at that.

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Because the piece needs to be under a certain price, I aimed for something the same size and complexity as one of the bathtub quilts, because they are under that price. I figure cost by keeping track of my hours. It’s the only way that makes sense to me. Some big quilts have fewer pieces (which affects the time) than some smaller quilts. So I can’t do it by the inch or foot, like some quilt artists do. This works for me. Plus keeping track of that shit for the last 15 years or so has made me better at estimating time.

Not perfect, just better…

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I wanted to be under 800 pieces…and I was! A miracle.

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Now just waiting for the final OK and partial payment, and then I’ll get started. I set up the contract so that they can refuse the quilt at the end if they don’t like it, but I still get a percentage, so I’m not working for nothing. I don’t think it will happen, but I want the new owner to be happy with it and I want to be protected in case they aren’t…so this was what I came up with. It’s hard for someone to look at my black and white drawings and get a good idea of what the quilt will look like. I have a better idea in my head, but I haven’t even colored it out or anything. That stuff kind of comes as I’m staring at the drawing and the drawers of fabric. It’s a very intuitive process.

Also just waiting to know the girlchild is safe on land again…that’ll be a longer wait. I’m excited for her but also nervous. I didn’t sleep much last night because I would wake up and see if she had texted that she had left…because I was worried she would fall asleep in the airport and get left behind. Mom worries, right? Because she’s a capable and amazing adult and she will be fine. Looking forward to seeing her pictures and hopefully reading her blog.

OK, taking my snotty self to school, where, I’m not kidding, I’ll be setting shit on fire. Stand back! I should take a hairband, huh.

*Cake, Mahna Mahna


But I Won’t Stop and Falter*

January 17, 2018

Sleep is still apparently optional, although I think I did pretty well between 3 AM and 6 AM. One kid is apparently on his way back to school, weather permitting. At the moment, his flight is not cancelled. We’ll see if he gets stranded in Philly.

He accidentally left this on my drawing…

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His sister came back for them. This is his last semester of college. Time flies. I hope he enjoyed it. The dogs are gonna be devastated by his leaving.

I only got two letters done last night. We did dinner and the watching of Stranger Things (I’m only allowed one episode a night…sigh)…and then we had to do a family FaceTime about chargers and voltage converters and adapters and unlocked phones and how to unlock phones and what unlocking a phone means and holy crap, it was more than a little annoying, but whatever. The girlchild is a big jump closer to leaving.

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I finally got up off the couch and attempted to be an artist. It’s been tough the last few weeks. Too much other stuff to deal with and juggle. Too much stress too. But this was easy. I had already cut out the binding from the stash…some baby quilt borders from a million years ago. Might have been one of the first baby quilts I ever made. Pretty sure that kid is in middle or high school by now.

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I’m going to do a lot of hand embroidery on this piece. It’s just for fun. It’s really old, like older than things posted on my blog, I think. I just freeform cut fused pieces and plopped them down. I wanna guess early 2000s? Anyway, it will be good to work on during that one episode a night thing, now that I’m done with the stitch a day thing. Although I need to do something with that too.

So this never happens. That’s the sleeve on the top and the binding on the bottom…and they magically lined up. The pattern. No way. I did not plan that.

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So I need to hand stitch the binding and do a ton of embroidery.

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She’s interesting enough. I’m planning to have some fun with her. Stitching is relaxing.

I still have one more binding to put on and then the stitch down on the other piece. Neither is time-consuming or hard. That’s probably a good thing right now.

*Howard Jones, Things Can Only Get Better

 


Wish You Were Here*

January 16, 2018

Well I’ve been up (awake) since 5 AM. Hot flashes, worry about the girlchild’s trip and forgetting something, money (of course)…timing’s all wrong on this trip. Usually I can pay college a little bit at a time. This is more like pay a lot right now and later you won’t have to. But you have to get to later. We’re not there yet. Boychild leaves tomorrow. Girlchild doesn’t leave until Monday, but we spent a good chunk of time yesterday shopping for her trip (and some for the boychild…he’s still in need of clothing). So I’ve been wide awake, hoping for sleep, for more than 2 hours. Guess that’s a done deal, eh?

Straight up, this weekend was a clusterfuck for getting stuff done for me. I guess that’s not surprising, considering we’re trying to get a kid outfitted for 4 months in Madagascar. It’s just a lot of details. I can’t even figure out the travel plugs. I think it requires a degree in physics. Or something more than what I have. Same with the phone. Oh well…it will all work out one way or another. It always does. I wish I could tell the part of my brain that was awake and worrying at 5 AM that. But it doesn’t listen.

Anyway, most of it isn’t crucial. I sent the drawing off for approval and have that, tentative for a few days on one piece of it. An easy piece. So that’s cool. It means I can do the fun stuff now. Well, I’ll start numbering and tracing Wonder Under with final approval, and until then, I have other things to work on…as always. Here she is…

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About 34 x 41″ for the image…so it will be about 44 x 51″ final…maybe a little smaller. That’s exactly the size I was aiming for, so that’s good. Keeping track of quilt processes for years is sometimes useful.

Awww…doggies. Girlchild is the only one who lets them sleep all night with her. They will be sad when she leaves.

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Yeah, well, this is the 2nd time in the last month that a tent has been set up in the living room. Just a normal day here. This is one of the weirdest, but easiest tents to set up, luckily…because it’s flying (HOLY FUCK) 11,000 miles away. And then being set up in a tropical rainforest. OK. I’m not sure I wanted to know that number. But now I do. Eleven-hour time difference too.

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Girlchild is ready.

Here’s the disaster that was packing the backpack…and she’s not done. But I think she has enough bandaids. And we figure some stuff, even if she doesn’t use it, she can leave it with host families. Apparently things like tampons and bandaids are great gifts. Seriously, when they tell you to bring enough tampons for your entire trip? Yeah. Well.

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I couldn’t handle much last night, but the last two nights, I’ve been stitching the last of the SJSA blocks down. I finished the first word with a backwards buttonhole stitch.

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It just sort of accidentally happened.

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This is Mr. Biteypants. He’s got an owie or two, and he keeps snarling and biting at anyone who tries to check the sores or scrapes or whatever they are. Even girlchild couldn’t get him to stop.

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Yes, I have school all week. No, I am totally NOT in the right mindset for it. I will be fine, though…today and tomorrow are easy. I mostly know what I’m talking about. I think we have to make a bathtub full of Oobleck tomorrow, but otherwise, things are fine. FINE. No really. They are. It’s amazing how stressful being a parent of adults is. You thought you survived babyhood and then middle school and teenagers and sending them off to college. But no. There’s more. It will be an awesome trip, though. I think she’ll have a great time, in between being totally overwhelmed. It’s a great experience to go off to a foreign country like this. I totally think all kids should have to do it, just for the world perspective alone. Although it’s pretty easy to figure out what other countries think of America right now. We’re sorry! Well, most of us are. Seriously. I don’t know how much more sorry I can be.

*Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here


But Here’s a Little Feedback*

January 14, 2018

Aargh. Some days are like running in oatmeal. Sludge days. I did eventually get all the makeup work graded and input. Yay! One thing done. Miraculous. I went to two openings…more on those tomorrow, because I don’t feel like writing about it now. Watched Wonder Woman and was not impressed…worse than that…irritated. Sigh. The portrayal of women in movies, books, TV shows. So annoying. I hope I don’t add to that. I hope I’m a different voice. Maybe not. Hard to say.

I feel out of sorts with the whole world today. Hard to feel that way as I’m looking out at trees that have decided Spring is coming. I really should go walk something today…even if it’s just myself and my headphones. If I’m irritated by blue skies and trees, there’s something wrong there.

Girlchild finally got a backpack…that’s not really the rain shield…it’s a pocket.

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Now to figure out how to fit everything she needs to take in that thing. Ha! Yeah right.

Makeup grading included this. If only I knew what he meant…

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Either he was in Israel or he wasn’t real or I really just don’t know what he was trying to tell me.

I finished the second SJSA block. The last one is back to clumpy glue…

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But I’m on time, I think, so that’s good.

This morning, Satchemo would claw at my toes every time I stopped petting him…

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Sheesh.

So I cut the head off. It bugged me.

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There it is. Still bugging me.

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Better. It’s not much different, but different enough to make me happy.

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I’ve put more time into the drawing…I’m going to be done today. Which is good. And then hopefully approval or minor changes? And then into the doing part…which is where I like to be.

All day yesterday, nuclear bomb drawings in my head after Hawaii’s oops. Terrifying oops. This is the world we live in. It’s not a very pretty one at the moment. OK. So I’m trying to get consensus right now on a grocery list, and even that is too hard for everyone. I’m considering handing everyone a $20 bill and walking away. Deal with yo’selves now. When you’re the mom, you’re the one in charge all the time. I would love to NOT be in charge. Sure, we can blow off grocery shopping until 8 PM, but then you said you’d cook for your grandparents, and when is that going to happen? I don’t know either. My eyelids are both twitching.

Gonna go draw some more…draw some space and stars and a happy sun and an alien craft, because you can’t draw space without aliens. Damn. Maybe I’ll put an alien in too. OK, that’s probably too much. But a happy alien? Might be OK.

I might eat some ice cream for lunch too. Because.

*Patrick Sweany, Them Shoes