Hope

May 29, 2018

Blargh. Yup. Made it home. Functioning on very little sleep, due to small puppy thing asshole who doesn’t know how to let things move around at night without barking his head off. Kitten finally came down off Batting Mountain because her mommy was home. She whacked the crap out of her substitute parent while I was gone. Ahhh, calicoes. They are the devil incarnate sometimes.

The boychild has officially graduated. He is no longer a student. Now he is an unemployed wayward adult child (he really isn’t the wayward one) who hopefully will solve all his transportation problems today (the state of New York is truly anal about its car registration process), pack up all his shit, clean his apartment because all his roomies have left, and eventually head out to see his sister and maybe even come home. I don’t expect him soon, which is good, because I need to clean up all the quilts on his bed. I’m really proud of him for getting through 4 years at Cornell and hope he eventually figures out what to do with his life, although I have never been the best role model for that, for sure. Save the world! Cure cancer! You promised when you were 10 to build me a robot that would clean the house…WHY HAVEN’T YOU DONE THAT YET???

Girlchild is back in WALTHAM…she doesn’t live IN Boston, just near it…she has a few summer jobs, the major one starting on Monday. She’ll be busy, for sure. She’ll be home for a week in August…long time away, but we saw her this weekend. She was the main cook, which was nice.

I have early stuff at school every day this week. I have a quilt that’s at the photographer for a show I’m entering later this week. I have another quilt that probably can’t get done in time…but I’m going to try. I also tried grading all those kid videos, but had absolutely shit WiFi in Syracuse Airport and on the plane this time, so I was unable to get any work done all that time…which is frustrating, because really right now, it’s either work on school stuff or the quilt, and I obviously couldn’t trace Wonder Under on the plane. So there we are. I’ll get through whatever I get through…as always.

So here was our dinner and post-dinner gathering every night, which explains each one of the 40 or so mosquito bites I have…although most of them seem to be ankle biters…

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Here in San Diego, our mosquitoes bite all over…so I find that intriguing.

Yet another of the awesome waterfalls we saw around Ithaca…this is Taugannock Falls.

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We didn’t have time to hike down, unfortunately. We had to be out of our rental place and people were slow-moving, so we went back and saw this tree fungus for the first time (it had obviously been there all weekend)…

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And then we separated. My ex went home to the Boston area with the girlchild (some worry about the car, we suspect, although he claims one-on-one time with her…also a plus), boychild went back to his apartment to figure all the packing and cleaning out, and I drove the parentals back to Syracuse, where we sat in an airport for a while…

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Wishing I could get work done. It was an efficient trip back…just enough time in Philly to grab food and get on another plane, where I couldn’t work even more, so I read a lot. Which is fine…

As we started to land in San Diego…

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I did one drawing on the plane, but it’s way over THERE and I don’t feel like getting up and photographing it right now.

Damn, my right eyelid is twitching like crazy today. I basically got home and had a glass of wine to shut my brain up and tried to go to sleep…about 17 times. Ugh. I’m tired. But happy for the kid. I’m sure NOW WHAT is looming large in his brain…hell, it looms large in my brain on a regular basis. I hope he has a cool and mostly trouble-free drive home, and gets to see lots of interesting stuff. I hope I survive the last three weeks of school and grades and finish that quilt. I hope the girlchild finally gets to move into the house where she’s living for the next year and she likes her new job and being able to eat something besides rice. I guess that’s the theme of today then…hope.


The End of History…

May 27, 2018

Well that’s the wettest graduation I’ve ever sat through…but before we get to that, here’s the cottage the girlchild and I are sleeping in…I’m downstairs and she’s upstairs. The dead possum is off to the right…

It was dead when we got here, just to be clear.

When I made the 3 AM hike to pee (there’s no bathroom in our cottage), the box of cookies we bought had been dragged out of the house and strewn all over the path…

Our current bet is a raccoon, although the house cat is very fat and we’ve seen a skunk…they don’t usually climb furniture though, I think.

Here’s the more rustic bathroom, where we’ve been showering. It’s not bad…a little cobbled together.

The shed near our cottage is apparently where history goes to die…not just possums.

Back to wet grad. This is before the rain started really coming down…the school gave out rain ponchos…helluva expense.

Later it was pouring…kind of miserably so. Basically, as soon as your kid’s college was called, you left for shelter. Luckily, they didn’t call all 3500 or so student names in the stadium…

This guy had a garbage bag for raingear and a cardboard box for a hat…

The students…boychild walking to his seat, no umbrella.

What, you can’t see him in that photo? I thought we did well to pick him out…

Truly a miserable day for graduation…

From there, we headed to the tent for his degree in Government…a much smaller event, and mostly the rain had stopped by now.

Walking back from graduation to the car, yet another waterfall…

That fat cat again…

No, that’s not another cat…that’s the porch skunk…not listed on the AirBnb site…

Graduation photos…well, the boychild doesn’t want me to put them on here…so I’ll respect that.

I’m currently sitting outside, getting eaten alive again by mosquitoes, typing this while the two men discuss whether this could actually be train cottages (where we’re staying, she claims they were built in the 1830s), while the two women are reviewing homes for the girlchild’s graduation next year. The old man went up to bed, I think. Tomorrow we leave for home…driving back to Syracuse, flying home in two jumps. The boychild will hopefully pick up his car on Tuesday and head back home when he’s got the apartment clean…it probably won’t be a straightforward trip. I’m not sure how long he’ll take, but hopefully he’ll give me a heads up, because his bed is covered in quilts. I need some warning.

Hopefully I’ll get a bunch more videos graded on the way back too. This has not been an efficient trip…not enough sleep, too many things that had to be done…but it was worth seeing him graduate. An achievement to be sure. I’ve got no brain for any more words…


This Is Ithaca…

May 26, 2018

Y’all may have noticed I’m not where I usually am…Friday morning at OMG I’m not even usually up by now, I was on a plane with my parental units and my ex-husband (no really)…

I graded student videos all the way across the United States (it was easier than you might think…although the internet signal was iffy over the Rocky Mountains)…

Like right about here (good reason to look out the window rather than watch the spinning wheels of no video yet)…

That’s snow y’all. Three airports, two planes, one medium delay, and a not-particularly-short car ride later…we arrived at our AirBnb near Ithaca, New York…a property with 3 very funky and rustic cottages. The only table we all fit at is outside…

There’s lots of interesting in this place. INTERESTING…

That’s the nice bathroom…I actually didn’t mind the other one. In fact, I took a shower in it just fine.

This is not the shed I’m sleeping in (although it’s right next to what I’m sleeping in)…

The front porch, where I wrote most of this, ate my lunch, and graded a bunch of kid videos…apparently there’s a skunk living under this porch.

Well. Not apparently. We saw it multiple times.

Here’s the main cottage on the left, with living room, kitchen, and one of the bedrooms. To the right, is the nicer bathroom and another sitting area plus another bedroom…

I’ll have to get a better picture of where the girlchild and I slept. It’s behind me in this picture.

This is Blue, the cat who comes with the place.

He’s sweet and adorable…and more than a little pudgy.

Ithaca Falls…coming from a drought state, this stuff is freakin’ amazing.

Girlchild and I taking photos of each other…

My parents, helping each other on the path to one of the rivers in the area…

The clock tower at Cornell…which is where we are…and where graduation is…

I’ve stitched nothing. I’ve drawn nothing. I’ve graded about 110 student videos, with probably another 150 to go. Wow. OK. That’s depressing…well, I’m not going to think too hard about that. It’s OK. We drove a million miles away and found the boychild a car, so he can drive his stuff home. Graduation present…CHECK. Then we came back and obviously toured the school a bit, bought food, ate…and now we’re sitting outside, getting eaten by who knows what, drinking some wine, and debating the plan for graduation viewing tomorrow…with potential thunderstorms on the horizon for all day…minor issue.

My brain is pretty blank right now. I’m looking forward to seeing the boychild graduate. I’m eating some blackberry ice cream and hazelnut cookies. I’m listening to the girlchild plan her future, which is interesting. INTERESTING. More tomorrow? Who knows…I can’t even tell you all the stressful shit we’ve discussed tonight…if you think raising adults is easier than teenagers, I can’t agree. At least not this weekend…


I’m Back…Physically…

April 9, 2018

Hi. I’ve been gone a while. Well. I’m back. Not READY to be back, but what’s new, right? Still need to clean out and patch the tent, but the sleeping bags have been aired out and packed up, the man’s head has been shaved, and very little grading is done. In fact, yesterday, while I’m trying to sit out on the deck in the lovely (not windy) weather, ready (sort of) to power through some grading, the app that we use to sign in to all our other apps decided I didn’t exist…

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OK then. I still needed to grade. Luckily my phone and iPad still let me in to the app I needed, but it was slow and fussy, so I didn’t get much done. Oh well! This was the view…

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No gusty winds, no 10% humidity or less…sleeping in my own bed. All good. Travel is nice, but it’s also nice to be home.

I have a drawing in my head. This isn’t it. This is the drawing I did to remind me that what’s in my head is better. It may take me a while to get there.

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This is the pile of science units that I did manage to grade over break…so that’s not a small amount.

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But there’s still a ton sitting around here that needs doing.

I worked on this on the trip…got all the wool bits sewed on. It actually took a lot longer than I thought I would to do that.

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And that hut is significantly crooked. But I’m OK with that.

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Mostly I worked on those two not-so-crooked huts and the warthog, who just needs his tail finished.

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The instructions were like “use the instructions from January to complete this stuff” and I didn’t bring those. I couldn’t figure the flowers out, but for the baby warthog, I just looked at his parents and figured him out. So I didn’t get much done.

I did drive about 2500 miles though and went to a bunch of cool places, which will pop up in posts over the next few weeks, because it will take me forever to find all the photos.

But today, I go back to school…I just spent 20 minutes actually talking to the girlchild in Madagascar, so that was cool. Nice to hear her voice. And now off to work. Hopefully my brain will follow.


A Title Would Be Nice

April 5, 2018

Not much time for writing these days. Internet is one of those things that many of us have easy access to (unlike the girlchild, who’s definitely missing it in Madagascar), but this trip has been out in the middle of nowhere for goodly chunks of time. Which is fine…we’ve been doing real-world stuff (well, some of it is NOT so real world), so the online world takes a back seat.

I think when last I wrote, I was sitting in a tent town that was a wheeled spoke of wooden walls in a KOA, which was a blessing against the 50-mph winds that mostly died down overnight. It was a rough night…being a light sleeper, road noise kept me awake, as did the wind kicking back up at 1 AM. There’s something about your entire tent trying to take off while you’re still in it that affects your ability to sleep. The plus is that we had to be up and out early, because we had a tour booked at Carlsbad Caverns that morning, and the elevators are currently out. Some poor souls were stuck in them for 3 1/2 hours last week and they’re still trying to fix them.

I just kept comparing the climb in (not what worried me) and out (somewhat more challenging) to Cowles Mountain, our local San Diego most popular hike for the non-hiker. 750 feet down in a mile and a quarter? Your knees will notice…

Going back up? Well they said there was food at the bottom, we were doing the Kings Palace tour (which ended up being very easy but totally worth the money for Ranger Mark’s story of the crazy-ass kid Jim White who discovered this cave), and then there was no food (being diabetic often sucks). But honestly? It wasn’t as hard to climb out as we thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong…there were quite a few happy dances when we made it to the top.

The caves themselves are freaking amazing. I have a ton of pictures, but it’s nothing like being there.

I suggest you go when the elevators are working, although the hike in is also a very cool experience. Those cave structures will definitely end up in some drawings…oh wait, they already have.

So after all that amazingness and natural splendor, we drove to Bottomless Lakes State Park to a very basic campground where the showers couldn’t decide on a temperature OR stay on more than 10 seconds at a time…we were the only tent in a sea of RVs and other smaller camping vehicles. And it was cold and windy…we gave up on cooking (no open fires with the wind) and ate out for the first time on our trip…

It was a cold night, but this is where I drew…fleece on, blanket wrapped around me. I get why no fires, but damn, fires are warm!

The next morning, it was in the 30s, so we packed up and went to breakfast at the Cowboy Cafe, where there was a taxidermied deer butt in the bathroom…

So I don’t remember ever being in New Mexico as a child (I must have been…I was almost everywhere else in the US), but here’s what I now know about this state: most popular vehicle: big white truck. Second most popular vehicle: any other color truck. New Mexicans run red lights with wild abandon. New Mexico is a lot flatter than I imagined.

And there’s a lot more Southern drawl than I expected. My phone thinks we’re in Texas half the time though, so maybe that’s related. Plus we’ve only been in the southern part of the state.

We were going to try to go to Cadillac Ranch in Texas yesterday, but decided to roll that into a future trip to Colorado…the thought of a day with 8 hours of driving was too much. So we headed back into Roswell for some alien fun.

Well you know…I like me some aliens…

And I think they like me too…

And then we headed for Santa Fe…more about that later, because today is all about Georgia O’Keefe and my WordPress app has decided I can’t see what I’m typing. Minor issue. Just know I’m alive and well and fed and showered and warm (ish…it is a high elevation here)…and more will follow.


Someone Let Me Drive…

April 2, 2018

So internet access has been sketchy at best…or when I have it, I seem to be doing other things, like driving, hiking, zoning out in a natural mineral spring, or sleeping. These are all good things, of course. I have no complaints. Well. Hmmm. The super high winds that greeted us this evening in Carlsbad, New Mexico, rumored to be anywhere from 30-50 mph gusts, well those were a little overwhelming, but true to my weather app, they have now died down to a reasonable breeze and my eyeballs appreciate the lack of dust pummeling them. As I type on my iPad, my new friend Mothra hanging around on my thumb, I smell an illegal fire in a nearby campground as bugs dash their tiny bodies against my clean face. Hallelujah for showers…I’ve taken three in the past 26 hours to make up for missing one Sunday morning. Hopefully the showers in the next campground will delight as well, because the elevators at Carlsbad Caverns are broken…so we hike in and out. At least it will be underground. In fact, that’s kind of cool. I usually hike up the mountains, not down into them.

I have about 3,000 pictures so far and probably not the internet to publish this (I’m gonna try anyway). Saturday, we drove a long way to Chiricahua National Monument (some bug just divebombed my wine…poor drunk little sucker), where we saw lots of birds, two deer, a skunk, three lizards, and the butt end of a coatimundi, just as we’d given up on seeing one. We did some hiking at over 6500′ and camped overnight in a gorgeous space that was unfortunately also peopled very closely by an incredibly loud family who said Shut up Don’t Touch That about 17 thousand times.

I’m trying to put photos in…who knows if it will work. It was an awesome place. More photos later when I have better internet.

We then drove to Truth or Consequences, NM, to Riverbend Hot Springs, where the draw was multiple soakings in mineral hot springs, based on a friend’s photo from last year…where I was like I Must Go There (I was right).

We spent time in three different pools, both in the evening and the next morning before leaving. Goodbye muscle aches from the hike…and a goodly amount of stress as well.

Our somewhat kamikaze trip continued today with a side trip to White Sands National Monument (never assume you can buy gas on a missile base) (I know how to coast a long way downhill). The wind had already started up by then, but not as bad as later, or we would have seen nothing…I’m pretty sure there’s white sand in everything I own right now.

It was REALLY WHITE…and soft, but not hot. Definitely glad we risked an empty gas tank on that. Really, I need a gas tank that realizes how much gas is left, looks at the map app for where I’m going, calculates my gas needs, and starts telling me about last-chance gas stations well before I need them…I’m imagining a high-pitched squealing voice getting louder and more hysterical until I can do nothing but pull over and fill my tank.

Until that happens, I will probably continue to space out on that shit until it becomes a desperate issue.

Then we drove over this pass that was about 8700′ and quite gorgeous…

And yes, about all I’ve managed is to finish one book, sew some wooly animals down, and attach 7.5 eyeballs. I don’t think we’re cooking much from here on out, so hopefully I’ll get enough sleep and downtime (ha!) to maybe draw. I’ve talked about drawing. It just hasn’t happened. And because the elevators are broken at Carlsbad Caverns (tomorrow’s adventure), we just added two hours of hiking up and down 75 stories to the day. I think the original plan allowed for one of those, not both. But what can you do, but put on your boots and rest when you need to? I’m looking forward to the equivalent of a Cowles Mountain hike, but down into a cave and back out.

When I’ve finished my glass of wine tonight, I’m going to head across to the very clean bathroom one more time in the dark…then consider tossing the ice chest back in the car for faster packing tomorrow. I’ll take a last look at the beautiful stars in the sky (there are way more than in San Diego…at least to my eyeballs)…damn, even all the moths have gone to sleep now…and then crawl onto the air mattress, bouncing my travel companion up and down at least 14 times until he cries for mercy, rolls over, and falls back to sleep. Seriously, this place isn’t Chiricahua, but it isn’t half bad when the wind stops.


Looking Up…

April 15, 2017

So we made it back, alive and still a bit muddy (one load of laundry is done; the tent and rain cover are out on the deck, waiting for me to have the energy and help to clean it out), still a bit exhausted. Driving through Los Angeles can do that to you. Ahhh, traffic, I miss you not.

It’s the first time I’ve taken a week’s vacation without the fam in about a million years. Being a mom and a financially strangled one at best doesn’t allow for such things, so it was much appreciated. And there will be more, once we do the math and see how bad the money actually was, and then try to focus on future travel plans. There was lots of WOW said; even if you’ve seen them before, the redwoods elicit WOW.

So then I have about 50 pictures of the trees, looking up…

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Because that’s what you do…

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(That was the one non-rainy day on our trip…the day we chose to hike around…)

I’ll have to write a post later this week about the trip, I think. Too many pictures for a Saturday-morning brain.

I did draw each night…well, minus one…

Certainly what I was experiencing ended up in the drawings. The first night, we had set up the campsite and cooked under a lean-to tarp, and sat there listening to the rain for hours. We’d made it to the visitor center and read about local animals and plants, and seen a beetle and lots of ferns and trees.

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That beetle on her cheek was on my sketchbook for a while…I saw his big brother in the bathroom for the next three days. Just hanging out…on the toilet paper rolls…waiting…for something.

We hiked the whole next day, with on and off rain…but a lot of sun. We cooked tacos that night, and tried to get the fire started. I think it lasted a whopping 20 minutes before the rain kicked up again. We had moved the tent by then.

I don’t think this one is done, but I was tired.

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At least one hand is facing the wrong way…or both are left hands…or something.

The last night, we had very little rain (after rain on and off all day, mostly on), but lots of high winds, which is a little nerve-wracking in a forest that really only loses trees to wind and the occasional flood.

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I skipped the next night…but the last night, food was on my mind apparently. And misplaced arms. They’re just wrong, all wrong.

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As part of the last day’s drive, we stopped at the California Fibers’ exhibit at The Blackboard Gallery in Camarillo, California, where two of my pieces are currently hanging through early May. This is Give Me Time

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As always, I love having my photo taken and can’t figure out what to do with my hands.

And here I am with Holding It All In, which is a big quilt…

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I’ll be writing a California Fibers’ post about the show, with details, later this week. I’ll link it here. It’s a nice show…in an interesting space.

I did keep up with these once a day stitches, albeit barely. I did some green lazy daisy leaves on the right with that curly line I added earlier in the week, with the pinky lazy daisy flowers (that’s three days right there)…then a feather fern stitch thing next to the tree trunk (hard to see here) and some star-shaped flowers in red/burgundy with straight stitch green leaves to the right of the feather, under the bird…finishing the thread off with some French knots (or colonial knots, who knows) down the side there.

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I didn’t actually do much stitching (or reading) on the trip. I finally pulled this out the last day for in-the-car stitching (mostly I can’t stitch with curvy roads…or while I’m driving)…finished the tree trunk, which I’d started at the campsite until I couldn’t see in the dark any more, then finished the flower center and started the bird. I think the bird is all that’s left, and then I’ll be done with this one. Maybe tonight. Not sure what my plans look like yet.

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I know they include cleaning and drying these, the second load of laundry, finishing my taxes…

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Working on the current quilt, which has to be done in a week, a ton of grading, some emails/contracts/headshots (ugh) to be sent out, and I don’t even know what else. Trying to get my head around all of it…which I will…eventually…maybe not today. Still looking up…even though the trees are gone…but here, at home, the furry beasts are all around. Both cats slept with me last night (strange), although I did not appreciate Midnight’s hairball extraction in the middle of the night (guess the duvet cover needed washing) or Calli’s early morning plea to pee. And the house reeks of skunk…fun stuff. No one cleaned while I was gone (another wonder of living alone). But I’m glad to be here, in my own bed, surrounded by annoying beasts, where I can make a proper cup of tea whenever I want dammit. (still wanna travel more though)