It Froze Me Deep Inside*

March 22, 2018

First of all, you need to go read the girlchild’s last post…it’s from a month ago, but she just posted it (data issues)…just to see how they got their truck across the water to the island. Terrifying to see…but after a month of trying to imagine what she was talking about, nope…it’s crazier than I thought.

Me? I just keep sending her dog pictures to guarantee she’ll eventually come back.

Yesterday was this…

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Every two years, like clockwork, I save some rubber dummies. My brain is still functioning OK, apparently, because I still remember how to do it. I spent the whole time, in between sucking face with that guy, checking up on my students with our online system, because hey…guest teachers allow things I tell them not to allow, and students lie about being done. It’s frustrating, but some part of me laughs and says, well, there will be fewer assignments to grade then, eh? If they don’t turn them in, I don’t have to grade them! OK, that’s how you know a teacher really needs vacation. Yup. One more day of teaching, then a day at the zoo with a bunch of kids I don’t know! Why do the kids who don’t know me pick me as a chaperone? That disturbs me.

Today is crazy hair today. I’m debating if I have the patience for it. Plus I have my last meeting for my observations today, so do I want my hair to be nuts for that? I kinda do. Yeah.

Last night, I went to a slide presentation about hiking in Nepal. Which now I want to do. But elevation has always been an issue for me…well. We’ll have to figure that one out.

I finished ironing last night around 11 PM…about 8 hours for this piece…and 82 fabrics.

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It’s not a huge quilt, so not a big dent in the existing fabric stash, but I think that’s always the case. I buy about 5 new fabrics every time I go in for a background or binding, a 1/2 yard of each, so that’s 2 1/2 new yards coming in (although I didn’t buy a new background this time…I had a few stashed away)…on the bigger quilts, I might use 2 1/2 yards worth of fabric per quilt (just the image…obviously the background and backing are more than that). The only way I could figure out if it’s using that up is to lay all of the stuff out that I ironed and then see what that looks like.

Huh. I might do that tonight. Just for kicks. It’s an interesting thought.

Here’s all the pieces ironed down to fabric…

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Does that look like 2 1/2 yards? Hard to say. But I’ll start cutting out tonight…hopefully I’ll be done cutting by Saturday and I can start ironing? Maybe? It’s gonna be tight. I keep saying that. Based on the last quilt, which is about the same size, although more pieces, I probably have another 38 hours to go on this quilt. Now when I say it THAT way, and consider that it should be at the photographer sometime next Thursday, a week from today, well, that actually sounds more doable than just free-thinking about the time and hoping I’ll make it. This is why I keep track of the times! I think. Well. Anyway. Cutting stuff out tonight…then we’ll see where we’re at. We being me, of course. I still have to grade things and weed the front yard. If there were more than one of me, I could do ALL the things.

*The Cure, In Between Days


Jingling a Wish Coin*

March 21, 2018

Today is weird. Today I have CPR training around the corner from my school while my students decide whether or not to work on the assignment that is due today and will largely color their grades for the next month or so, or whether to fuck around all day and drive some poor guest teacher bonkers. I could probably make you a list right now of the outliers on both sides: the hard workers and the totally-off-taskers…I hope the ones in the middle make the right choice, but with only 3 days left until Spring Break, the odds are low.

Whoa. Three days? Really? Wow. I have to say that this break is needed, but it will also be busy. Hopefully there will be some relaxing in the second week, but you never know. I also have a shitload of work to do for school…by Friday, I will have 2 weeks of warmups, 2 homework assignments, 2 online assignments, a slide presentation, and a full unit. I’m trying to get as much of it done before the break starts as I can, but it’s hard when I get home late from work and need to cook dinner AND I want to make art. Right now the art is winning. As well it should some days. Maybe most days.

Anyway, worst-case, some of it won’t get graded until after break, right? It will not be the end of the world. It’s happened before. We have to take time for our brains to get back to where we can teach without being frustrated again.

Yesterday was twin day, so our team all dressed the same. It wasn’t hard. We all have black and denim.

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When I was done with tutoring and setting my classroom up for the guest teacher, I headed over to get Calli…my ex sent me this picture, because he was leaving and she was still there, but she’s staring down the road at my arriving car…

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She seemed fine…

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Puppy too. Sewing more circles on…I’m getting near the end.

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Then 2 1/2 hours of ironing. I finished up all the little bits of the larger figure: her innards. Then I picked a different run of flesh tones for the two front figures. This was the majority of the rest of the pieces that needed ironing…

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That’s all that’s left to iron…well, and a few bits on the other figure…like her eyeballs. So that’s tonight’s task. I’ve got about 6 1/2 hours in and I’m close to done. I’m expecting to be cutting stuff out starting Thursday night…

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Some of the pieces are pretty small.

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Here’s all the fabrics I’ve used so far…still reaching into the back reaches of the bins to find stuff that has never been cut into…

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That part is actually fun. There’s a lot of red in here.

Here’s the pile to be cut out. This is not a huge quilt, but there’s still plenty of pieces.

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Balance! Balance the grading, the have-tos of fixing car things and yard stuff like weeding and taking an actual travel vacation with the artmaking…which needs to be done a week from tomorrow. Yeah. That’s a little nuts.

*Beck, Go It Alone

Like a Nervous Magician Waiting in the Wings*

March 20, 2018

That did not feel like sleep. I want a do-over. I’m not even really sure what’s up with that…stress about school? Maybe. I have a lot going on with art shows too…which is not a bad problem to have, in that I’m in a lot of shows right now, but there’s some juggling trying to keep track of what needs to go where and when. Especially if I’m going to be gone for a week.

Four years ago this week, girlchild was having back surgery. Today? I wake up to a message that she’s really sick (11,000 miles away), but it’s not malaria, so don’t worry. Oh. OK. Because there aren’t a million other heinous diseases where you are? Sigh. And then she doesn’t answer. Oh well. The program she’s with does keep on top of this stuff…it’s in their best interest to keep the kids healthy.

Yesterday morning’s sunrise. I’m really OK with not seeing sunrises. I’m looking forward to not seeing any next week. And to peeing whenever I need to pee. And??? Making art for hours. Maybe I will just ignore grading. Catch up after break. I might.

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I still hate that they cut down the other tree on the right that made it look an aardvark.

I walked the dogs yesterday. I’m increasingly paranoid about coyotes, even in daylight, so I walked the road to the local park…where I haven’t seen them yet (just heard them). Oh, that’s a lie. I saw one once in broad daylight bound across the trail, looking somewhat surprised that I was there.

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I was testing out this new trail I saw in the middle of the park. The max dog walk is about 3 miles (according to the dogs), so I can’t go from the house all the way around the park…but this trail seemed to cut through the middle. Nah. It didn’t. And there was this guy with a young German Shepherd smoking a cigar in the park. Like dude? This is a natural space where people walk. WTF? I’m betting the significant other was like “You can’t do that in the house.” and he was like “Fine I’ll inflict my disgusting smelly habit on people I don’t live with.” That’s my neighbor too. Ugh.

But it is Spring…I think officially today? Is it today? Yes! Spring equinox!

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And Spring flowers. That’s nice.

I have walked past this house for years as it becomes more and more derelict. There used to be a chicken farm here, and then they sold it to build houses, but the density was too high for the area and it got voted down, I think. So all this is still here. I wish they’d just add it to the empty space beyond it. But no. Probably houses will block this view too.

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So after dinner and some vegging out because exercise, I started ironing again with the plan to keep picking fabrics that haven’t been used as much. I wasn’t as successful here, because I needed certain colors…but this is her hair! I love it…

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I’m just in the mood to do whatever I want with this one. Well, I am sticking with flesh colors for flesh.

I got through most of the 500s and some of the 100s…and all the 600s. I’m really not going in order, so I have no freakin’ idea how much I have left. All the main figure is done, except for heart, lungs, and eyeballs.

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She’s definitely brightly colored. So I have about 20 pieces in the 500s, about 60 in the 400s, all of the 200 and 300s, and some portion of the 100s…most of them, I think. Crap and there there’s still some 600s. Damn. That’s more than I thought last night. I was trying to fall asleep and art brain kept trying to calculate how many more pieces I have to iron. I have a lecture I’m going to Wednesday night. I think I can cut pieces out there? And gaming. I’ve done that before. I really want to be ironing this weekend. I don’t know if I can finish in time otherwise. Watch me not sleep at all over break because I’m trying to finish this. I didn’t start until late last night though…so maybe I’ll be better tonight.

Kitten is back in the batting nest…with an incredibly old piece of mine pinned to the bulletin board behind her. Seriously, it’s so old, I don’t even know how old it is. It has beads on it!

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She looks happy. I’m glad she has a safe happy spot.

Well, hopefully today will go well…yesterday, I had 3 classes that rocked the assignment and then 2 that were a clusterfuck. That’s always nice. Because today they have to use what they did (or didn’t do) yesterday in a group assignment. All hell is probably going to break loose in 4th period. That period exhausts me. I feel like they need a totally different (and lamer) curriculum. They’d be perfectly happy copying notes from a slide presentation, but ask them to do anything that involves critical thinking? Oh fuck no. So there’s that. I will meditate between 3rd (when there is supposed to be an earthquake/fire drill, just to add to the excitement, seriously?) and 4th. I might meditate in the car on the way to school. I’m meditating now to Puddle of Mudd’s She Hates Me…great song for middle-school teachers.

In other dorky news, all the 7th grade teachers are dressed alike today for Twin Day. Yup. That’s a thing. I need to go find some sneakers. I don’t wear sneakers. I wear hiking boots.

Art tonight. For sure.

*Blues Traveler, Run-Around

It’s Much Too Late to Find*

March 19, 2018

So I ended a very busy weekend with a meditative two hours of ironing bliss. Picking fabrics really is one of my favorite parts of the process…I like ironing the piece together as well, but this is where I get to visualize the whole thing and then make that happen with whatever is in my fabric stash. For this new quilt, I pulled whole drawers out and rummaged around at the back, because when I use fabrics, I usually shove them in the front and then they’re the easiest to reach when I go back to that drawer. So I do often use the same fabrics over and over again. I’m trying to use fabrics that I’ve either never used or that I haven’t used in a long time. We’ll see how that goes.

This piece has three figures in it, so I have to pick at least two different runs of flesh tones. I did the first one last night…the stuff on the left is for a different part (pieces I missed ironing when I went through the first time), although the pink and yellow are both part of the flesh.

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Why not!? I can do what I want…it’s my quilt.

Unfortunately, when I numbered this one, I numbered the bottom part of one figure, then the two middle figures, then the top part of the first figure…but I need to iron all the first figure pieces at once so I don’t get confused. So I ironed all the 0-100s and a few of the 100s themselves…then rummaged through the end of the 400 bin (467 and on) and the 500 bin, but minus all the hair and sky bits (don’t need them yet), and then finished up with half the 600 bin. I just need the flesh…not all the extra bits…what you see below is some of the 100s that I set aside (heart etc) and then the 500s I didn’t need yet (mostly hair)…

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Why don’t I just number that way? Guaranteed I’d miss something. I already found one unnumbered piece in there. Had to trace it and number it with an ‘a’.

So in the flesh run, these are all the number 2 pieces…now you see how I have stash from the 1990s still in my studio…even with a ton of pieces, it’s still not a lot of ironing.

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Dirt and water use the most fabric…and sky/space now too, although this quilt has none of that. Some flesh fabrics that I’ve really loved are just tiny scraps now…still usable though! This one has been used before, but it’s been a while. There’s a piece about 18″ x 16″ left of it…so it’ll last for a while.

Ironed pieces on the left…the whole main figure’s flesh is done (not so her heart, lungs, eyeballs)…and on the right, what I used. So far…

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The other two figures are smaller, so I can use smaller pieces of fabric. But they need to be different than the figure behind…so we’ll see how that works tonight. Usually I know how much I’ve ironed, but I really can’t tell…at least 200 pieces? Hard to say because I jumped all over the place.

It’s not like I don’t have 6 drawers of flesh fabrics. Plus I need some vibrant hot pinks for the vulva…oh yeah, because she’s giving birth. Uh huh. So there’s that.

I went to another opening last night…supporting artists in my groups is something I try to do. I have pictures, but no time to post them. The next opening I’m trying to go to is this Friday…we’ll see how that goes. Anyway…here’s a sleepy puppy to amuse you…

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Yes, I have to go to school today. I’m ready (sort of). I even graded a little yesterday. This week will be weird…one day off for training (need to do sub plans) and one day of field trip and play, no teaching. So a crazy week, because it’s also right before Spring Break. And I have 9 days to finish this quilt!!! It’s cool. I got this. Well, at the moment, I got this. Just wait until the universe figures out my schedule and hits me with pneumonia or something else wacky. You know how that goes.

*The Human League, Don’t You Want Me

Enough to Make My System Blow*

March 16, 2018

I swear this is the third Friday this week. You know how Friday feels for teachers? Not like we’re ready to go out and party, but like hallelujah, I might get to sit down on the couch for a moment and not think about school. Or grades. Or worry about kids. Or what we forgot to do at school. Or go to another damn meeting. But while you’re still at school, it feels exhausting, like you’re done, like the world is ending and you won’t get to rest before it does.

I’m glad to be done with this week. I think it was the labs and the million meetings (damn, I have one this morning again! Fuck! Yes, I just remembered.) and trying to manage materials. Yesterday the little beasts started stealing handwarmers (we use them in one of the labs). So yeah, now those are Schedule A Lab Materials…get them from the teacher and she writes down your name and address when you take them. Seriously.

So there’s that. I’m glad to be done with the labs today. Next week should be easier, despite its proximity to Spring Break.

Tonight my (you know I really hate the word boyfriend…it’s so high school) significant other’s cover band is headlining at the House of Blues, so I’ll be down there hanging out and supporting them and hopefully having a good time. Hopefully I’ll wake up by then too. Then tomorrow, I drive to Los Angeles for the Branch Gallery opening, then to Oceanside for the Artifacts opening, then drop my car full of people, go home, and collapse. That’s my plan anyway. Sunday will be pick up all the pieces, deliver three quilts to the photographer, and groceries. Plus whatever school shit I need to do. Like grade and stuff. Recovery day. It’s a busy three days.

This below from a kid who was pushing all his limits in my class. I took his phone away from him the day before he left (and I didn’t see this warmup until yesterday). He was listening to music in class during a lab. There’s rules for phone use y’all. He knew it, but he cried because he was convinced his mom would take it away for good (he had it back the next day…I swear, if I had to come to school to get my kid’s phone, they wouldn’t see it for at least a month). But even so, he’ll miss me.

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(Um. OK. So I don’t think I’ll miss him? I know that’s semi-horrible, but he was not making good choices. I know he’ll grow out of that. I hope his grandma is OK…).

This was yesterday…

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And this was 4 years ago! I opened the wrong folder and thought WTF? Oh yeah. Valley of the Moon. 2014. Good hike. Second time I’d been there. I’d go back…but I need it to be chilly, not hot.

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So I had my quilt class last night, where really I just hang out at my friend’s house while she tries to sew/knit/fiber things and I try to do whatever I’m doing and we complain about our school district. She’s moving away, far away, when she’s done teaching, and that might be sooner rather than later, which would suck…because this does get me out of the house.

I cut these out…

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For over 3 hours last night, starting at her house and finishing at mine…but I finished. Simba looks upset that I have interrupted his sleep.

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Trash on the left, pieces on the right. Don’t get them confused!

Then I sorted them all…there’s only like 660 pieces, so this is a small one.

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Which is damn good, because I have (wait for it) less than two weeks to finish it.

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I may not succeed. I can tell you that in the last 30 days, I’ve spent over 57 hours working on quilt stuff, mostly the Scoliosis quilt, but also finishing up the Climate Goddess quilt and working on this new one. It averages out to an hour and 30 minutes a day, which is not as much as I’d like, but I do have a day job…which probably takes over 57 hours a week.

OK, but now I’m ready to iron to fabric…well, once I clean the office (hopefully tonight before the show). That will be next week…iron and trim and hopefully start ironing the whole thing together next weekend. Because if I’m going to finish? I’m going to have to go fast. Yup. OK. Got a plan.

*Imagine Dragons, Radioactive

Move It to the Exits*

March 15, 2018

‘Twas a long day yesterday…meeting in the morning, plus all day with labs (gonna be done soon, swear!), then a two-hour union meeting. During the day, lots of drama about dress code, but also more pushback from kids about the anti-violence walkout. Sigh. We did do a thing at lunch that went pretty well (although 2nd lunch was better attended…apparently our kids are too cool for school). I was supposed to go to book club but I didn’t get home until after 6 and book club starts at 7 and it’s at that winery this time with zero parking down in crap that’s a long drive and did I mention there’s no parking, plus I wasn’t even halfway through the book because when the hell do I have time to read at the moment?

So yeah. I didn’t go. Maybe I should have because it does get me out of the house and socializing, but ugh and yeah now I’m cranky. What’s new. Because this…I had to stare at this last night…

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I actually edited it to say 3:30 PM on the Friday, because before it was midnight between Friday and Saturday, and I needed to see EXACTLY HOW MANY DAYS HOURS MINUTES AND SECONDS I had left. Or more importantly, since I have CPR training on one day and a field trip on another day, I really only have 5 days of teaching left before Spring Break. That’s way more important, eh? Plus now I only have 2 meetings left this week (but another one added next week dammit!). My patience is low. I know that. I’ve been trying to spread positivity in groups as they’re working, because then I don’t feel like a total bitch for asking one group how they possibly could have taken so much time to do step 1 and why are they still staring at the paper 10 minutes after they sat down at that station.

Meanwhile, girlchild’s car is in Boston while she’s gone. There it is. Not towed.

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I get these emails from Brandeis about snowstorms and must move cars and I’m like how the fuck am I supposed to do that and we did try to find somewhere reasonable to leave her car, even garage it, and there was nothing, so she has a friend who sends pictures of it. And does have a key, but apparently the power-steering fluid leaked out so it’s really not going anywhere until early May.

Stephen Hawking…amazing man, amazing life, amazing brain. This is for my homeroom this morning, because yesterday they were being lame.

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Geez guys. Seriously. If he can do it, what’s your excuse?

I came home to no dinner plan and a lot of tired. I input some grades just to freak kids out. Seriously, if you don’t turn stuff in, what do you think your grade is gonna be?

And then I traced the last 60 pieces of Wonder Under. See?

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Only about 3 yards. I ate dinner in there somewhere, leftovers mostly. Then I cut stuff out. I had both dogs and one cat. It was a bit rainy, kinda cold. They tend to hang out with me more when the weather sucks.

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I’m their bad-weather friend. Trash on the left, cut pieces on the right. I finished one yard and started the second one.

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I have quilt class tonight, so I’m hoping to finish cutting. We’ll see. Exhausting weekend ahead. I’m already tired and cranky. I should get my head out of that. Two openings will help. Lots of art and maybe wine and cheese. Except I’m the driver! Ah. Oh well. Too much wine is probably not a good thing. I’ll be asleep.

OK, going to bang out the 2nd to last meeting of the week. Hopefully less drama today about kids getting dress-coded. Hopefully someone will like deliver a puppy or edible flowers or something cool. Yes, that’s random. I’m tired.

*Semisonic, Closing Time

I Really Don’t Want to Make Another Quilt about Gun Violence

March 14, 2018

So I’m wearing orange today…#ENOUGH…because dumbasses with guns shoot up schools. And my government lets them…hands them the guns sometimes. And if I were going to head up a committee to “harden up” schools (omg that person has never taught at a Title I middle school), I would not put DeVos in charge of it, because the only words she knows are “vouchers” and “school choice,” and she can’t figure out how to put those in a sentence with “save the kids.” So today sucks. I can’t walk out because my kids won’t get it and I’m responsible for them. I’m responsible for their learning and their safety and their cleanliness and their appropriate behavior in the classroom and a whole host of other things. And none of us get paid enough to stand between a gun and our students but most of us would. But I’m walking out in spirit. I hope you see it, all you NRA supporters who are up for election in 2018. I hope it makes you pee your $1000 pair of pants right down into your real leather shoes.

Meanwhile, back in the classroom, as a teacher, I’m constantly looking at what I’m teaching and trying to decide if they get it. I think on a one-on-one basis, most are sort of getting it, but this group is very slow-moving and often completely off task. And mean. Empathy is hard. It’s hard for some adults. So slogging through that and thinking I suck as a teacher on a daily basis is really dragging me down. I’ve analyzed it. I taught this last year. It’s completely possible for them to do what I ask them to do…but it’s taking me a lot more management than last year. And they’re not being incredibly successful. That may be more about the time of year than about anything over which I have control. Plus middle school reminds you of how little control you really have.

So that’s making the days exhausting.

Last night, I managed to finish the commission quilt. That’s exciting. All the binding and sleeves are done. I need to email the photographer and see if Sunday works for him…and then hopefully I can mail it to the new owners next week some time (oh school, please keep the meetings to a minimum). I do need to put a label on it too. Because it’s a commission that wasn’t from something already in existence (my last two commissions were redos of parts of larger pieces), I’m giving the new owners some time to live with the quilt before they decide if it’s what they really want. I’m hoping it is, but it seems fair to give them a choice. They’ve paid me a percentage for making it so far, so if it comes back to me, I have the quilt and some money for my time. Commissions are strange beasts in art. Useful but strange.

Puppy is helping me sew bindings on while watching one of the funniest episodes of Black Mirror ever (U.S.S. Callister, Season 4, Episode 1)…

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Not an official picture, obviously. I still need to calculate hours etc.

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Now here’s the real crazy. I have two weeks to finish another one. Normally that would be impossible. Certainly looking at the number of meetings I have this week and my disaster of a weekend, you’d say No Effing Way. But the drawing is done, it’s numbered, and as of last night, I’m almost done with tracing the Wonder Under.

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All I have left is the head. The hair is even done.

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About 60 pieces left for tonight. And it only has 664 pieces total (well, there were a few numbering issues). It’s not huge. And after next week, I have a whole week off of school.

Can I do it? Maybe. It depends on a lot of stuff, but I’m going to make an attempt. If I fail, I’ll still have a new quilt made in time for some show, right? I did get into another show, a local one, opening April 12…called Art That Cuts…I think mine qualifies in many ways. It’ll be at Mesa College and I should be there for the opening, assuming it’s at an hour I can go (unlike the one opening tomorrow, yeah?).

Simba is sad when it rains. He doesn’t like to pee or poop when it’s wet. He is a floofy dog. Rain is terrifying.

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And yes, it’s raining again. Hard. Hopefully it will stop by lunch so we can go link arms in the quad against gun violence in schools. I really don’t want to do another quilt about that.