The Rest of It (Not Resting)

If you know me, you know I suck at resting. The closest I get is sitting on the couch and stitching, or the bad version of that, scrolling endlessly through social media, which is, of course, silly. Short blurbs of that while waiting for someone to get out of the only bathroom or for the cat to get her blood draw…that’s cool. But just staring at it for an hour? I try to force myself off the couch for that. Even when I meditate, I have a hard time staying still, physically or mentally.

Anyway, our vacations tend not to be particularly restful physically, although I do my best to leave my job at home. I have not answered a student email since last week some time, so I guess that’s a good thing. All this lack of rest thing is why we got up early on a perfectly good Easter morning, ate a hearty breakfast, and drove the nausea-inducing, vomitous, hour-long drive from the Sequoia National Park Foothills entrance up to where the real shit is. You know, the trees. My lord, that road. Blech. Ten-mile-per-hour hairpin turns up and up and up. I was driving and still felt sick to my stomach. Beautiful sights, though…although I am still worried about the terrified deer that was tap-dancing its way down the walled-in road. IDK where it came from (cliffs) or where it was going (hopefully not cliffs).

I don’t know if my parents ever took me to Sequoia…I remember the Kern River, but I’m not sure when and where that was. Last year, we were supposed to camp in the park, which also has no showers (I’m sensing a smelly trend here), but this year, I was worried about temperatures being really cold at night, because Spring Break was earlier than last year. I’m not sure I needed to worry about that. The campground is down in the valley and I think the temperatures I was seeing are up at the top, a good 6000-foot different in elevation. So next time! Next time, we left a lot of Sequoia to explore. We wanted to get in early because the ranger the day before had warned us about parking and people (it was Easter weekend). We started at the General Sherman Tree lot and hiked in to see the biggest (in volume) tree in the world.

OK, I’m not sure it’s that one. I seriously spent a lot of time wandering around looking up and taking pictures of trees. I know the man has a picture of it with tiny me in front of it. Hang on. I got this.

See me? See tree? The man has a newer phone than I do and it has this cool feature where he could zoom out and get the whole thing, where I was stuck taking pictures of either the bottoms of trees or the tops of trees, but not both. Makes me want a new phone, just for that.

Sometimes the trees lie down for you so you can take pictures, right?

So we did the Congress Trail and then tried Bear Hill (no go on that…trees down and snow and up and it got old fast). What’s interesting is that a few years back, we went to Humboldt to see the redwoods there, and it’s very moist and wet and rainforesty, and this is totally not that. I mean, snow is wet, but there wasn’t a ton of undergrowth and it was much drier than Humboldt.

We did see two marmots.

Weird little furry beast balls. There was snow on the trail, but just enough to make it interesting…we had poles and spikes, but didn’t need them.

And it eventually warmed up enough to be in short sleeves with no issues.

We drove down to the main area and braved the crazy crowds there, although we skipped the Big Tree loop in favor of Moro Rock, which still had a lot of people. This photo is from Beetle Rock.

This is Hanging Rock, which scared the crap out of my height-hating self. I’m usually OK at the tops of things, but maybe I’m getting worse. The man walked out to that edge and looked over, and I just stayed way the fuck back. It was weird.

But no way was my brain letting me go out there. Too much down.

It was definitely much warmer at this point.

We didn’t go up Moro Rock. It was rock stairs and I was kind of done with that. Plus too many people. I can look at a rock without having to be on top of it. It’s OK.

The other thing that was different about Sequoia compared to Humboldt was fire damage. Almost all of the big trees had it…

Some much worse than others.

Burns had definitely come through this area multiple times. It was gorgeous though. Especially when we found the trail away from the road and ditched 90% of the people.

These redbuds were popping out everywhere in the lower elevations. Happy bees.

The drive back down didn’t seem as bad, for whatever reason. We did about 9 1/2 miles of hiking total and were completely exhausted by the time we got back. Although first, the man spoke to this turkey and made it shake her tail feathers and do a little dance.

Until she realized he was not good mating material. We’ll have to go back some day, because we didn’t get our National Park book stamped. We had to wait in line for the store, and by the time we got back down to the first visitor center, the rangers had packed up, and they weren’t out in the morning when we came though. COVID hours still. Or winter hours? Not sure.

Back to our little house in Exeter, where Tiger Roll (his real name) eventually parked his pointy butt on my lap and kneaded my boobs for a while. Ouch.

Also I finished the second Homegrown block, sitting outside and resting (my version) post-shower. Showers are wonderful, y’all. Really, they are.

The previous night, we Zoomed with the man’s family. They wanted a group/family hug of sorts before he left on his PCT hike. Here he is planning while I draw.

He leaves Friday. He’s hoping to do the whole thing…we’ll see how he does. Being in San Diego means I can drive to somewhere near him for like the first month of the trip…but unless it’s desperate, I’m going to pretend he’s further away…until summer, when I’ll meet him in Northern California somewhere. It’s weird prepping for a trip like that…on my end, too. Someone remind me that all the Oregon and Washington maps are in the bathroom and I need to take them with me when I meet up with him.

The next morning, we packed everything up, said goodbye to Tiger Roll and the peacocks and all the other animals…

And drove home through Los Angeles…this is near Castaic, where I had to start driving. Block 3 of Homegrown was not finished by then.

But I did manage to finish it at night when we got home.

Three done. IDK how many to go. I haven’t been focusing on these really…just sewing stuff down on them because that’s easy to do when I have no brain power. And I can’t show you the other one I’ve been working on because it hasn’t been published yet.

I’ve been home for a little more than 36 hours now and I’m still exhausted. I have been copyediting, prepping stuff for an online show, picking up a quilt and yammering with a friend for way too long (I don’t get to talk to people much…be kind to me when you do see me because of that). We have groceries. My sewing machine is back from the fixit guy. I have a drawing for the next quilt started but not finished. I have a lot of work to do before we go back to school. I need focus, but have very little of it. Straight up, Spring Break is never very restful…it’s just a break from school tasks, and a mostly short one, since I graded stuff last Monday. I still have three things left to grade (got an email from a good kid about one of them on Monday), tomorrow I meet with my co-teacher to plan as far out as we can to reduce our stress levels, the family is showing up in the next few days to see my dad, and the man is leaving on his hike…which is stressing me out, but probably not nearly as much as it is stressing him out. So there’s that. But I’m not on Zoom 6 hours or more a day, and that’s a major plus. For now. There are 48 days of school left. I can’t decide if that’s a lot or a little. But it’s not the majority, so that’s a good thing. If I do the math for how many Zoom hours that is, I might panic, so I’m not gonna do that.

Also, I’ve been rejected by I think three shows in the last month? Sigh. It’s OK. It reminds me that I don’t make work for shows. I make work for me, and when people want to show it, that’s a bonus. Seriously. It’s OK.

OK. I’m showered. I had a cup of tea. Need more. Need food. Strange cravings for English muffins. No idea why. Need to take the cat to the vet soon, plus a lot of other shit. See you later, hopefully with some art progress. I miss it!

Off the Grid…Sort of…

It’s hard to get totally off the grid, but certainly hanging out in places where cell service is random (4G in the bathroom, but only at 2 PM on a Thursday for 14 seconds) and wifi is nonexistent helps. We got back from our whirlwind trip yesterday, completely exhausted. We only did about 26 miles in 4 days of hiking, with two days more strenuous than the others, but elevation whomped us a bit as well, plus unexpected heat. 75 degrees F at 4000 feet is hotter than it is at 400 feet above sea level. That’s my excuse anyway. Plus not enough sleep, ever. Camping plus camp noises (I listened to a tree branch groan for at least an hour one night) plus AirBnb noises (that peacock chorus one night…). I wouldn’t trade the experiences out, but it does lead to general exhaustion…a different kind of tired than what school does to me, but tired. I am still tired. I could have slept in this morning, but I mis-set my alarm too early and then my to-do list entered my brain and that was the end of it. So I was up. Not fully functional, but up.

So last Tuesday night found us in a hotel room in Fresno with a massive Jacuzzi tub that I could have used every night AFTER that (my dream is a Jacuzzi, but it will probably never coalesce into reality), and as always seems to happen, one of the Jurassic Park movies was on, so we watched and I drew.

To bed earlyish…driving is exhausting, isn’t it? Then the next morning, up and out for the Yosemite experience.

I grew up in the Sacramento area, and my parents must have driven around rolling hills with oak trees a lot, because it’s a landscape my brain really responds to, so we stopped on the way up for one photo…

The flowers were starting to pop and everything was that bright spring green that doesn’t last in California.

The first view of Yosemite National Park…it never fails to bring tears to my eyes, when we get the first view of WHY this is a national park and not just some local thing.

I guess it’s why we keep going to all of them, eh?

Definitely worth it. I haven’t been here since high school, I think, when they brought us all in and sent us off in groups. My group hiked/backpacked a short distance (?) up into freezing coldness. Susie Cranston and I zipped our sleeping bags together and invited some dog (an actual dog, y’all) into the bag for warmth.

So it’s been a while…

It’s the crowds of people that keep us away. This was Spring Break, but it wasn’t too bad. A lot wasn’t open yet (like the showers and the pizza place, until our last day), so that probably helped. Plus we asked which hikes had fewer people, and when to do the more popular ones. It helped. So did camping…the first two nights were nice and quiet, once the rampaging gangs of children stopped screaming. We were on the outer edge of one of the loops…a good choice.

The last night, we were surrounded by groups of 20-somethings with copious amounts of alcohol. They were remarkably quiet, considering.

We got set up relatively early on Wednesday, and went for our first walk, but got sent back by a bear on the trail.

Hmmm. That was the only bear we ever saw, luckily? Or not.

Back to camp, cooked dinner, settled down to draw by the fire.

I cooked. Someone else has to do dishes. A tree, my view. Those damn ravens.

They’ll steal as soon as you walk away.

The next day was a our big hike day. We started with Vernal Falls…weren’t sure how high we’d go. It was definitely a climb.

We made it a ways up. Not all the way…

There was a lot more of that, and it was getting more and more slippery.

This was a good view though. After lunch and a bit of a rest, we set out to do the hike from the day before…no bear today, just deer…

Almost didn’t see them resting there.

We hiked up past Mirror Lake, doing the whole loop.

It was warm but otherwise mostly quiet.

Tired legs at that point…

Somewhere between 10 3/4-12 1/2 miles that day, between the two hikes. Our multiple apps wouldn’t agree on mileage.

Tired seemed legit. I finished this Sue Spargo Homegrown block between the driving and the camping…

Then made dinner and drew again by the campfire.

It was a good night.

The reward for lots of hiking is sleeping through the tree and people noises.

The last day, we headed out to Yosemite Falls…there were tons of people, which explains the man’s face.

He was reaching his limit. We considered trying to get to Upper Yosemite Falls, but it was hot and we were officially tired. So we checked out the Ansel Adams Gallery, got our National Park passports stamped, and got our official Yosemite T-shirts.

We scoped out a dinner option that didn’t make us cook, rejoiced that we weren’t in Curry Village (soon to be Half Dome Village), and rested a bit.

We actually got a pizza to go and brought it back to the campsite to avoid people. Yes, we hiked a mile for pizza. It was worth it.

There are other things we’d explore in Yosemite, but it would have to be later in the season. Too much was still snowed in.

I did draw that night too, but there’s no picture of that. We spent (well, mostly the man spent) about 2 hours trying to get a fire started on the third night. The young folks on either side had roaring fires (they both had fire starters of some sort), but ours was lackluster until we ignored it, and then it finally caught.

Some serious fire-building science and Girl Scout knowledge failed us on this one.

The morning had us packing up, with the ravens waiting for our leavings…

We were out early and headed south for our next park, Sequoia. On the way out, we stopped to look at some burn damage.

It’s hard to look at, even when you know some of it is necessary to the forest. Not as much as we’ve had lately, though. Lots of damage around from a big windstorm in January too, which toppled trees throughout the park.

I’ll write more about the rest of the trip tomorrow. Now I need a shower, groceries, and about a million other things to get crossed off the list. Wish me luck.

Jacuzzi?

Hi Spring Break. I’m in Fresno. It’s an exciting place to start my mini vacation, the last trip I’m going on before the man heads out on the Pacific Crest Trail. I graded for two days straight, copyedited another whole day (not done with that, no way, no how), and then we drove away from all of it, leaving the dead leaves, weeds, 5 animals, and all the leftovers in the house with the boychild, who is probably ecstatic to have the place to himself for once.

You know what? Copyediting (above) looks a lot like grading (below).

I have three assignments left to grade and nine chapters to copyedit.

We hiked on Saturday. It was supposed to be a nice, mostly flat walk around a lake. That didn’t happen. Instead, we hiked up a thing and then along a thing. Lots of wildflowers.

And a snake…

Yes, it had a few rattles.

I started drawing the next quilt…

And on Monday night, I went for ink.

Lots more to do. Got some experimental (for me) processes I’m going to try with this. Wish me luck.

I haven’t had some of this for a year, I think. It used to be a treat on the way home from a meeting I don’t go to any more. It’s on Zoom. No need to get In ‘N Out for a Zoom call.

I did some stitching in the car…been a while since I’ve done that.

The drive today was long and blah. Tomorrow, though, is Yosemite, camping, hiking, yay! Then Sequoia…half the trip we planned for last April, which all got canceled. We’re being safe, masked, hands sanitized, Clorox wipes, eating outside, but this staying in a hotel is a bit scary. There’s a jacuzzi in the room, though, and after I wipe it all down, I’m going to prepare my temple of a body for three days with no showers. Hallelujah for time off!

42 Hours…

It was good to have a few days, wait, was it even days? It was not…it was good to have…um…42 hours off of work. Seriously. It was. I came home with a nail in my tire, a bunch of wet tent parts, and a tick embedded in my torso (it’s OK…that one is gone and now I’m on antibiotics, purely precautionary. No way was it on me long enough to do anything but an allergic reaction. But the doc thought it was worth treating). I’m tired…we didn’t sleep well either night, from idiotic camp neighbors one night (solved by Ranger Eric, who reminded them of their indoor voices and the camp quiet hours) and the wind the next night as a storm wandered, no blew in. Hence the wet tent parts. But we got the hell out of here, and yes, I’ll pay all week with grading and planning, but I was doing that already. There is no catching up this year. There’s no feeling like you’re on top of things, like you’ve got it all under control. There’s just getting through it.

Let’s see if I can keep that in my mind as I wing it today in one of my classes…the other 5 are planned, but one is a little um not nope planned. Ah well. I have a short prep period before it happens.

We made it out of the house Friday at 4, but had to deliver stuff and pick up dinner and then the tire pressure light went on, but that’s not when we found the nail. We finally made it to Cuyamaca and Paso Picacho Campground at around 5:30, I think. Not dark yet, but wondering about it. Tent was up in the light still, although it was a bit dodgy. It’s been a while since we put it up.

It was a great campsite, no one on either side, down slope a bit. It would have been more awesome if the people inhabiting three campsites across from us hadn’t been throwing a rave that night, or if the camp host had taken that down. They were pumping music and yelling at sports-attendance levels until after 12:30 in the morning. I was too tired and cold to get out of the sleeping bag to go yell at them, but the man talked to the rangers the next day, and it was handled. They were great the next night, proving that even Trump lovers (ah the T-shirts) understand a man in a uniform telling them to shut the fuck up.

We got up Saturday and headed up to Cuyamaca Peak, at elevation 6512′, the 2nd highest peak in San Diego County. I’ve been up there at least twice before, maybe three times. It’s not an easy hike, but it’s not impossible…

This area was burned some years back. The trees are definitely coming back, in full force, which is nice to see.

We started from the campground and took the Azalea Glen trail up to Conejos, and then across to the peak. Sounds easy, but it’s a good 5+ miles of climbing to get there.

Trees are still dying and falling from the fires, and there are huge sections where the tree parts are just piled by the side of the trail.

Also, morteros…signs of Native inhabitation in the past…

Lots of new trees coming up, of all different types. Not sure what the conifer with the long needles is…

It’s heartening to see the new trees popping up all over…imagining what it will look like in 10, 20, 30 years. A forest again.

Even the dead trees grow stuff…burnt wood feeding fungus…

It took us a long time to hike it…

The weather was reasonably cool, a plus, because there wasn’t much shade on the first part.

It’s a pretty steady climb. There’s Middle Peak…another way up.

I’ve done that too.

Eventually we got out of the fire-devastated area into some with more trees…

Great views though.

One part of the trail is pretty rocky…slowed us down.

OK, to be honest, we didn’t hike fast. It’s at elevation, we were both tired, and it was long. But we did it. We always do.

And there are great sights along the way.

Earlier in the week, the man had said we would get up, do this hike, take a break, a nap, whatever, and then do the other peak, Stonewall, across the way.

At some point, I said, nah. I’m gonna do this one and that’s it.

I do love it. I just need a break. At the top…

It’s a pretty spectacular view, even when you can’t see to the ocean. The fire road you use to get to the top is steep and evil, but that is often the case.

We get there eventually.

I think our slowest mile was 53 minutes…ouch. Funny, that wasn’t even the last bit up the fire road…it was mile 4. Our fastest was 20 minutes, more our style.

I think I had to put blister bandaids on in mile 4…definitely slowed us down having me redo both shoes. Anyway…we’re not in it for the speed.

We came back and relaxed. I drew.

We ate, we stared at a campfire on a much quieter night than the one before, went to bed, and the storm started up. I’m not sure if the wind was louder than the neighbors the night before? Certainly it brought rain and then next morning, we packed up pretty quickly and came home. Tent still needs a bath, but we’re waiting for better weather…it’s all laid out in the garage for now.

All good things. Cats were glad to see us.

Luna love.

Today I am back to work, school all day, barely planned some of it, made some progress in some places, I need to go do some stuff now. Oh yeah, the tick got pulled, probably attached less than 24 hours, but the doc wanted to be safe…plus I obviously had an allergic reaction to it…nice red ring (no bullseye until day 3, so we’ll be good). So I’m on antibiotics for 10 days just to be sure. Fun stuff. The quilt goes to the photographer today and then I’ll start on the next one. Once I figure out what that is.

Out in Exotic Escondido

Well I’m sitting here in an Airbnb as the man cooks my breakfast (pros of a birthday weekend trip, because if we were still at home, I’d be eating cold cereal). We have a sort of plan, which might involve a bit of walking, which I’m not averse to, because it’s nice out and not raining. We’re in winery country, well, it’s exotic Escondido, which can be beautiful (San Pasqual Valley and all), but is really only 30 minutes away. I had a gift card to one of the wineries, and we just decided to make a weekend of it, get away from the house and the to-do list, although I keep adding to that list as I’m sitting here. It clears my mind to write it down. That’s a good thing.

Beautiful view, ironically from the back, where there is no door or cute patio unfortunately. Things Airbnbs should have: salt (this one does), enough towel racks for more than one towel (this one does not), more than one dish towel (you’re questioning me, but it’s happened), and nice fluffy towels. Honestly, you should have your MIL (or someone else’s, if you don’t have one) stay in it before you rent it out…or you should stay in it. It’s a nice place really…we’re just fussy.

One of the wineries we’re going to is over there…

I have my sketchbook. I have my new hiking boots, which need to be broken in. I have food in me. I’m still sick. We joke that we want to be well before coronavirus hits, so our immune systems are at their strongest. I work in a giant Petri dish and I’m diabetic, although we’re not in the oldest range. Paranoid. Yeah.

Missing the animals. Oh well. At least one of the wineries comes with pets…a pro for us. Hiking boots on (yeah it’s weird to hike to wineries). Pens in bag, sketchbook too. Snacks…because have to eat when drinking. First gonna get more tea in my body. We fell asleep early and slept in (I requested that!)…which probably wouldn’t have happened at home. But I’m still tired…always tired. There’s probably a lovely afternoon nap in my future too. Proof I’m old.

Weekend Requests…

Oh my. Friday is tired. Or I’m tired. Not sure which. I’m still fighting the tail end of the flu from two weeks ago…my lungs have crap in them and my sinuses are not happy. It’s not bad. It’s just annoying. Much like some of my students. Nothing is really bad…they’re just annoying. And the unit is actually rolling along pretty well, mostly because we’ve taught this many times before, so it’s comfortable. It’s not a new thing. It’s easier because of that. Which is good. We still need to figure out how to do something that needs the sun on a day it’s supposed to drop an inch of rain, but I’m sure we’ll be fine. FINE I say.

I finished grading one of the big assignments last night. Now I need to start the assessments, which just feel painful. I can’t do that this weekend, though, because it’s my birthday weekend! So we’re leaving town. We’re not going very far, but it’s far enough away from the pile of papers that I won’t be able to do anything with them. Which is OK. Probably that’s a good birthday gift. I’m OK if I’m buried next weekend in papers. It’ll be worth it.

This quilt is going slowly still, although I’ve done a lot on it this week. I keep track of my hours, so I can see a daily, weekly, and monthly hour count. I’ve been way down since November. I’m not really sure why. It feels weird though. This last week was almost a normal amount of artmaking. Anyway, I did finally finish cutting all those pieces out, 806 or so of them…

It actually only took another 25 minutes to finish them, so that was cool. Now they need to be sorted, which probably won’t happen until Sunday or Monday. I do hold onto the cut trash until the quilt is done, just in case I need a small piece of something. It’s easier than cutting a new thing sometimes. I don’t like to waste fabric, which is funny, because I have tons of it and will never run out. Some remnant of my grandmother’s Depression-era sensibilities. So next week, I should be able to start ironing it together. Sounds good!

So last night, I did a little cooking, some exercise, some grading, some reading (I love to read…wish I could do more of it)…but didn’t get around to cutting these out until after 11 PM somehow. I had to pack for this weekend too, so that took up some time. My faithful couch companion…

Who did come sleep with me last night…sometimes when it’s warm, she stays away, but it’s not warm yet. And yeah, the kittens are on the bed too, so it gets a bit crowded. When they’re full size (they’re only 6 months old), it will get worse, I think.

Yesterday’s #igquiltfest was about Quilting on the Go, I think…I often work in other places, although last year, it was all embroidery for some reason. Top left is waiting for the man’s band to go on, top right is the girlchild’s college graduation, bottom left is I think driving to Arizona? and the bottom right is the campground at Bryce Canyon National Park.

We have a trip coming up in about a month, another National Park trip. We’ve talked a little bit about what might happen with the coronavirus here in California and how that might affect us. Our plan is to go with hand sanitizer and soap (if there’s any left by then), but the other part of my plan is what am I going to stitch on during the trip? I stitch in the car, in campsites, by the campfire. I also draw most nights…which is easier than trying to stitch in the dark. But I’m not sure what I want to work on. It needs to be small and portable. We’ll see. I haven’t decided.

#Marchmeetthemaker yesterday was Close Up…which is easy…

People spend a lot of time close up on my quilts. There’s a lot of stuff going on usually. I like to fill all the spaces.

No parent meetings today, hallelujah. I’m not sure how useful one of yesterday’s was…the other one was easy peasy and successful, which is nice. It’s good when you can get a kid the help they need.

I think I need to take the big sketchbook with me this weekend. I want to sit on a deck/porch/something outside with a view and just draw. Will that be a thing? I’m not sure. I’m not totally in charge of this weekend. We’ll put in a request, eh?

I do actually miss these buttheads when we’re gone.

I know they look sweet there, but last night, one of them knocked a guitar over (loud), and the other one climbed halfway up one of my quilts (seriously?). So they got yelled at and/or frightened by loud noises. They are boisterous babies…which I’m sure we will miss at some point.

OK, school. Finish the things. All the things. Ha! So not happening. Then weekend requests: plenty of sleep. Some drawing time. Some physical outside stuff. Some relaxing. Some stitching. Some reading. Some decent food. Some quality time NOT thinking about coronavirus or Trump or the environment or stupid people or school. Aiming for that.

Portland in Review

We’re back from Portland. I haven’t slept much. I’ve been awake since 4:42 AM. I did go to bed early, so I think it was about the same amount of sleep. It was a fun trip, too short of course, but I think I might be able to handle the rest of this week. We’ll see. Perhaps the sub notes will send me over the edge. Certainly some of the student emails I got over the weekend might. I’m getting a shirt that says “It’s not fair…” and then something pithy. That my students won’t understand. Like most of my shirts.

Anyway, we picked Portland just because. We had to use a flight before the end of the year and we didn’t have much time, so we didn’t want to spend it all flying. Portland was a good distance, had some entertainment stuff we liked, had some friends we liked, and the man had never been there. Plus we might do a camping trip up there sometime. A ways out. So this was just kind of checking it out.

My ex-San Diego friend Susan (she’s not my ex-friend…she moved to Portland recently) picked us up and pretended to be our Lyft driver. We fed her lunch, which we don’t do with our Lyft drivers…

She then dropped us off at our Airbnb…with a stop at a grocery store for some supplies. We did talk about the street art and the homeless population…comparing Portland’s treatment to San Diego’s…

No spiky rocks planted there to keep them from camping out…

It was a longish day of travel…we were up early…so the man crashed out for a couple of hours. He needed it.

I graded stuff and drew and read my book. I’m good at entertaining myself.

Our Airbnb was up a huge hill, right next to Forest Park. Pros: right next to Forest Park and great views. Cons: huge hill.

We did walk down for dinner. The cold is not something we’re really used to, but we layered up. Ate dinner. Decided not to walk back. I would have. The man called a Lyft.

We got up at a reasonable hour the next morning, ate breakfast, and walked the half block to the first trail…

This was cool.

It’s been a while since we’ve hiked together…and it was good. Lots of dogs and misty rain and runners and green, so much green.

We went out Wildwood Trail for a good 4 miles or so, and then hiked down to the road coming back. It was shorter on the way back, but a healthy start to the day. Then we did a bunch of stuff that involved two Lyft drivers, wandering through Powell’s Books mindlessly, some chicken wings and cider or beer, plus seeing an old high-school friend, his wife, and their dog (dog is sweet), plus more walking, some more cider or beer and some food, plus this…

That’s from a dollhouse in the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium…

Which reminded me a lot of an alien museum in Roswell, NM, that we enjoyed…although I wanted to file a complaint about this…because that’s not needlepoint.

So there.

Drawing in bars…my specialty…although this was a bottle shop…

This was a painting outside a food co-op…

And this was the drawing I finished on Friday…

Sort of out of order. Here’s Saturday’s drawing…

finished in the bottle shop. I persuaded the man to walk back to the house! I know. He probably had a bit too much beer in him, but we made it! I think that was 7 miles total.

Sunday, we got up, ate, packed, and our lovely not-Lyft driver took us to the airport…on the plane, we saw the first sun we’d seen since we left San Diego, plus one of the volcanic majesties around Portland. We saw two, so this might be Mt. Hood…it might not.

Someone knowledgeable will tell me. Drawing 3 happened in the Las Vegas airport, surrounded by people with hangovers…

And then we were home…the man left to go get the babies, who got spayed last week…and are quite recovered. They look sleepy there, but that was after 3 hours of rampaging around the house…

They are officially ours now…paid for and our problem.

I consoled the old lady, who missed us. Maybe.

She helped me grade more stuff. It’s always good to go on a trip right before grades are due. I really only graded in airports, except for the 2-hour nap thing. No, I’m not done. I’m close though.

This morning, babies are up and crazy again…

Stitches my ass. They are not feeling it now.

OK. Gotta go to work. Teach kids. Ignore the whiny It’s Not Fair crew. Grade some shit. Give a test! Whatever. Hopefully art this week, beyond just drawing…not that I don’t like to draw. I truly enjoyed giving myself that time this weekend. Keeping that in mind for the future. Oh yeah, Portland…we’ll be back…maybe with a tent and more hiking time to spare…

Ditching

I’m not at school. Not going today. Going on a quick weekend trip. Crazy timing for that, but it’s possible there is never a good time. Currently sitting in an airport… not sure where getting sick is more likely: school or airport waiting area. They both are cesspools of germiness.

Kittens made it successfully through their spaying; we’ll see them Sunday.

I managed to find (at a store, 10 minutes before they closed) a background for the quilt…

It’s even washed, but it needs to be pieced. It didn’t happen last night. I exercised, graded the last of the hellacious essays, and packed instead. I even posted my Patreon video. All good.

While I was grading, Kitten explored the tree…

Very closely.

Well I’m hoping this is a fun trip. I packed hiking boots. Doesn’t that guarantee fun? More later…probably while I’m sitting in an airport somewhere. Back to trying to finish grades…

We’ll Survive, but There Might Be Tears…

My heart is still racing, my stomach is in knots, I’m running on an adrenaline rush…why? Because today was the day to try to reserve campsites in Yosemite for Spring Break. Oh yeah. Well. That was a clusterfuck, but we got three nights. In a row. In the same site. We’re old. We don’t wanna move. We could. Well, actually, we probably couldn’t. In 12 minutes, almost everything was gone except for a night here and a night there. TWELVE FUCKING MINUTES. OK. So it’ll be crowded and annoying because people, but YOSEMITE. So we’ll be fine. And we’ll book lonely far-out places for the rest of our trip. Or whatever. The man will tell you I was yelling, “What number! Give me a number!” as he kept asking “Why isn’t it giving a reason?” I’m like, seriously? Because it’s booked. Apparently he wanted like a message saying which nights were gone, and the computer took a while to refresh the availability and other people have bots or alien technology or better internet than I do. Whatever. WE HAVE A SITE. I’m good. Let the other people get eaten by bears because they got a better site. We’re going to hike all the time anyway.

Plus it might snow that early in the year, so there’s that. WE’LL BE FINE.

So that was my start to a Friday morning. It’s stress stress stress for the next week. We’ll survive, but there might be tears. Pilates last night helped. So did art stuff. But I spent a good long time doing work stuff yesterday. Emergency meetings. Managing groups for today. We set up for the lab but still need to do materials. And we have duty.

At least we have a campsite for April.

So when I load photos for this blog, I usually do a quick run through the photos from previous years (I really need to organize photos at some point…some months are totally organized. Apparently November is a chaotic month in every year.)…and it’s interesting that I was in exactly this same stage on a quilt on November 15 in 2016 AND 2017. I don’t know which quilts…I’d have to search more than I have time for right now to figure that out.

So I sorted…

It was late…but it was also fast…

A whopping 35 minutes. Did I clean the office? Fuck no. That will be tonight. Hopefully.

Slightly blurry due to psychotic movement.

Anyway. Crazy day. I need to go. But this first! I’m excited…my piece is here in San Diego! OK, it’s been in San Diego all this time, but now it’s officially finally part of the Tiny Pricks Project AND hanging in San Diego…

Even better, the infamous Diana Weymar staring at it and smiling…

Tres awesome.

OK. Off to the slaughterhouse. Oh wait. No. School. Yeah. School (no commentary on school shootings here. Today anyway.).

A Lot of Artsy Things…

I was gone for a few days. There was some chance I could have written a post yesterday or Saturday, but mostly I was tired, so I didn’t. I did do a lot of artsy things in the last three days though.

I finished the papercutting/embroidery class with Bhavna Mehta on Friday…and made a house. Each of us picked a body part for our house. I picked the vulva because multiple people picked uteri. This is the back of the house…I drew on the back and shaded what would get cut. To embroider, you need to make the holes where the stitches will go.

You also have to think about whether stitches will cross your cut area…that would be bad.

Also it seems to work better if you do all the embroidery before you cut. On one of my practice pieces, I tore the paper because I was trying to embroider after I had cut. I’m sure with practice, this gets easier.

I was going to make another layer of hair for this section, but we were running out of time…so I cut instead.

Then the next part is to make the house itself. I also made sperm and an egg to hang from the roof inside the house…

The building was pretty easy. And then we put them into a little body part village…

A uterus, an ear, a heart, a ribcage.

A side view of mine with the sperm and egg floating around in there.

A couple people didn’t finish…I was looking at this as a practice piece.

A couple of feet, an eyeball in the back, a better view of the heart…

I have a few ideas of what I could do in paper and embroidery, but I think they would be a lot like my teacher’s work, and not necessarily mine. I’ll think about it.

It was a fun class anyway. No matter what I do with it.

When we got home, I had planned a birthday trip for the man…up to Temecula Wine Country. We stayed in an RV…and I stitched in the morning.

I don’t know if we’ll ever stay in an RV again. But it was a quiet and relaxing morning…

Until we headed to the first winery…

I signed up for a Groupon tour that would drive us around. We were a large group of 24 people. We went to three wineries: Maurice Carrie, Longshadow Ranch, and Oak Mountain (the Cave). They were all nice enough. It was a warm day, though, and shade was often inside…

Although we did find a table in the shade here…

I drew a little. These wineries are big money for this area. And there are tons of them.

We had a good time. And a long nap afterwards. Then we headed out to Old Town Temecula for dinner.

Harvest is in August…

We’d been talking about doing this for a while, so it’s a good thing we finally did (note to self. Who plans shit? I plan shit.).

Sunday, I had an art meeting to come back for…so we came back kind of early (damn roosters). The man was done with trying to live in an RV (yeah). At the meeting, we had planned to start our version/contribution to the Tiny Pricks project…I had a few pieces, but couldn’t pick a short piece of text. Then one of the leaders asked me if I’d do this one…

Aack. Well, the big piece of text will fit on it. But I need to put it on a backing. Somehow. So you can see all the stuff. So I brought it home. The interior stretches…the edging does not. I’m trying to decide how to do this. Dark background, then bright text? Or gray background, black text? Not sure. I found it kind of overwhelming last night with not enough sleep in the last…well…ten days. Let’s be real. It was a very busy ten days. So I’ll try to make a decision on that today. Not sure how I’m going to transfer the text…

With all that in my head, I worked on this a little more.

She’s close to done. Then I need to wash this one and the last one, plus design and stitch one more.

Plus finish a quilt and copyedit an entire book. Uh huh. I worked on a public video I’m doing for my Patreon…and then started the private video for my patrons…

Kitten was glad to have me home again.

And then I started the tracing on the next quilt.

I don’t have much time for this. So I’m trying to be efficient and on task. Ha! Well. We can always try. Busy weekend. Honestly, they’re all like that this summer. It feels like there’s no down time. Oh well. I overscheduled myself.