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…

IMG_3649 small

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…

IMG_3648 small

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.

IMG_3650 small

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

IMG_3644 small

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.

IMG_3645 small

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

IMG_3646 small

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

IMG_3647 small

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.

Advertisements

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…

IMG_3624 small

Because that’s what you do…

IMG_3666 small

(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.

IMG_3944 small

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.

IMG_3945 small

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.

IMG_3946 small

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

IMG_3947 small

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

IMG_3965 small

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…

IMG_4032 small

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.

IMG_4074 small

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.

IMG_4078 small

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

IMG_4079 small

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)


All Work No Play…

April 13, 2017

You know how that goes…but barely 24 hours out of the mud, after a wild, animal-filled camping trip, listening to my guy analyze Danish wine bars (don’t even ask), having a hard time focusing on anything…have a story of a moth, lots of plant pictures and even more of classic rolling California hills dotted with happy cows and gnarly oak trees. 


Well, those are vineyard grapes…but I have more pictures than I can handle at the moment.

I also got into two shows while traveling, which is awesome. I’ll be home soon enough and will try to sum everything up, although the moth will need a post all to itself really. Glad we finally did this, got the hell out of San Diego, did a vacation with no work, despite the hellacious pile that awaits me at home. 

Free spinach artichoke dip and somebody’s very happy about his beer flight…


More later…we’re still alive…looking forward to seeing my furry babies…


How to Do the Holidays…

November 25, 2015

I’m eating cold toast at my brother’s dining room table right now, having been woken by light early enough…having listened to a teenager wake up very differently than my girlchild, then having two boys come down to play some Star Wars video game. The cold toast is because we blew a fuse, of course.

Kitten was not thrilled about my leaving…IMG_5139No, you don’t fit in the suitcase…barely anything fits in the suitcase, honestly.

My flight was uneventful, except for the old guy (my age, maybe a bit older) dancing in his seat next to me and offering to rub his companion’s feet or feed her peeled grapes while wearing a toga (say WHAT?)…I was greeted by a sweet dog and a goofball of a nephew…IMG_5152

The dog is Gracie and she loves me, of course. Apparently she also loves underwear. So she’s a real dog.

Yesterday we ran some errands and hung out with middle child and then went to pick up youngest at his hip environmentally friendly private school…lots of cool stuff going on there, but this was my takeaway as a science teacher…IMG_5155I could do this in my classroom I think…in fact, a rack on wheels with two sides would be kinda cool. Just an idea for next year’s grants…if I remember.

Then home, where I graded stuff until dinner time, with a brief view of oldest child, the only girl, who is now taller than I am, I think. Amusing. It’s been almost two years since I’ve seen these guys, I think, and that’s too long.

Indian food for dinner and conversations of people now dead or might as well be, plus childhood etc. My kids are together in Ithaca, where most people went home for the holidays…IMG_5161I couldn’t afford to fly them home for four days, and they’re home in three weeks anyways. I get occasional pictures from them as they move around…entertaining themselves. I haven’t heard from them today yet. Girlchild’s phone is probably dead.

Yes, I was grading here. I have to. I am so far behind, it’s not even funny. I have five assignments on Google Classroom and another major one I left at home, because it’s really not transportable. Ideally, I need to finish all of them this week (ha!). I finished two periods of one assignment last night. I’m about to start the third period (one was done at home), which won’t take long because many made the incredibly crappy choice of not actually turning the assignment in. Some shockers for them when grades come in.

I haven’t drawn yet, but yesterday, I was so tired…up at 4 AM is not fun. I fell asleep on the couch watching TV with my brother (now that’s funny). I’m sure I will draw today…my niece is an artist, which is very cool. The boys are goofy…apparently they know me as the aunt who makes vajayjay quilts. So I lectured on the difference between…well…you know.

Hope your Thanksgiving preparations are coming along (if that’s what you do). This is the first year in a long time where I basically have nothing to do but show up (and maybe help prep things I don’t usually cook). I have to behave as well…as well as I can. And there might be a quilt store today (because they have different fabric in Seattle? Yeah, I know…).

How to buy fabric for Kathy: walk into quilt store. Walk around. Pick 4 or 5 fabrics you like. YOU like, because Kathy is a fabric slut and will use everything, and she likes it when other people pick, because they see different stuff than she does, stuff she might never think to pick out. Get a half yard of each. Put a bow around them and hand them to Kathy. She gets happy. So easy.


I’m Just Doing It Different…

May 26, 2015

So I made it home yesterday, and then to pay for taking 2 1/2 days off of my life, I spent the next 8 hours running around like a crazy person, trying to catch up. That part wasn’t fun. At all. And at some point, around 10:30 at night, I quit. I am still feeling overwhelmed this morning…back to negotiating with my brain for a day at a time. “Today we will do this.” And trying not to think about the 70 trillion other things that need doing, but that I can’t possibly deal with right this second. Or even next week. And apparently I’m doing it all wrong anyway.

Giant ass sigh. Today we dissect frogs. Big lab day. I am leaving here early to set up, because I never got there yesterday. Ran out of time. The alarms are on at school at 11 PM, or I would have gone over then. Seriously, I was shopping for dog food at 8:45 last night.

That said, I did have a relaxing weekend (too bad I ruined it with real life, eh?), so that’s kind of a tiny buffer against all the crazy right now.

May 26 15 003 small

It was really cold on Saturday, but this was part of the walking view…

May 26 15 002 small

Bizarre broken panes of glass in the middle of trees…flowers everywhere…

May 26 15 004 small

Birds wouldn’t shut up.

May 26 15 007 small

My parents’ dock with dad’s canoe (took that out on the water on Sunday, when it wasn’t so cold and choppy)…

May 26 15 010 small

The ever-present fog this weekend…or cloud, really. We spent a lot of time driving in clouds.

May 26 15 012 small

There it is creeping into the valley…

May 26 15 019 small

Sunday was nice out on the deck. I drew a whole picture and got sunburnt in the weird places where I forgot to slather on the sunscreen…

May 26 15 023 small

Like the part of my wrist that is normally covered by a watch. It’s burnt now.

Coming home was a lot of putting stuff away, cleaning stuff, washing stuff, making lists, buying stuff, planning stuff, typing stuff, printing stuff.

And around 10:30, I sat down and started cutting these out again…

May 26 15 025 small

I had to stay up pretty late to get the laundry through, so I’m tired this morning. Then again, I’m always tired in the morning, so this is really nothing different.

I know there are lots of people trying to help me, but sometimes the help comes out as criticism. And there was a lot of that yesterday, some of it crazy-from-the-teen’s-mouth criticism (really? How many times do I have to ask before you will just do it?) and yeah, I sat in my office and cried for a bit, because it was all too much and I was obviously doing it all wrong.

Or am I? Because I’m the only one sitting in this chair, carrying all of it on my shoulders, and if there is a lack of understanding, I can’t really do anything about that. I have this huge job that sucks up so much time and energy, and then I try to be an artist on top of that, and woven through the whole mess is this parenting thing, which I do by the seat of my pants and with very little support. And when I get it wrong, I apologize and move on. But it seems like even with all I get done, there are still expectations that I’m not meeting. And yet I know I’m not doing it all wrong…I’m just doing it different. I have to remind myself of that, that my experience is mine…and they’re not seeing what I’m seeing.

You could just take one look at my art and realize that, I guess.

Getting through this week will clear some of this out, I think. Meanwhile, I’m still making art. There’s no magic that fixes the rest.