Just called to say it's good to be ALIVE.

5 years ago when I was going thru my transformation, I made a playlist to empower me and to keep me accountable for all of the goals I wanted to achieve.

Flobots are a hip hop group from Denver, Colorado. Their music is politically charged and socially aware. "Handlebars" became a huge hit in the indie-hop community.

Look at me, look at me, just called to say it's good to be ALIVE
In such a small world, all curled up with a book to read
I can make money, open up a thrift store, I can make a living off a magazine
I can design an engine 64 miles to the gallon of gasoline
I can make new antibiotics, I can make a computer survive aquatic conditions
I know how to run a business, and I can make you wanna buy a product
Movers shakers and producers, me and my friends understand the future

The first time I heard this song, it sent the chilliest of chills down my spine. I've always believed that as individuals we are capable of so much more than we believe we are. I think often about influential people- people like Galileo Galilei.

Galileo discovered the law of pendulum by timing his pulse to the swinging of an overhead lamp and discovering that the period of swing was exactly the same in small swings and large swings. We still regulate clocks this way, over 450+ years later. He invented the telescope, discovered that the moon wasn't smooth and polished, but rough; and then he corroborated Copernicus' theory that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. This was a ballsy move- he was contradicting the teachings of the Church and nobody BUT the Church was allowed to teach the solar system. Other men were burnt alive for the theories that he proclaimed. He eventually was banned from teaching the Copernican system, but did it anyway by writing a satirical fictional dialogue between a genius and a moron- the moron being the Pope. By threats of torture he refuted his theory- but legend has it he whispered under his breath a contradictory statement after his confession. He was pardoned by the Vatican in 1992- he was born in 1564. Crazy, right? He was the most hated man in Italy at one point, yet he never wavered from his belief because he knew he was right. I dig it. I love a strong Italian man. : )

When I think about it, if I can put my feet down on a ground that a man like Galileo walked upon, how can I settle for anything less than greatness, or anything less than what I truly believe? I look around me at my friends that I've had for the past ten years and I wonder what happened to their dreams. I'm living mine- no doubt- and I wish that others that I care about would stop living out of obligation and start making and creating their future.

QuiltMarket this year hammered that same paradigm into me. I met two ridiculously talented art quilters while I was in Portland, and I remembered that I used to be an art quilter, before I was a shopowner; before I was a "traditional" (for the sake of distinguishing between piecing and art quilting) quilter; before I even moved to Texas.

Let's talk about QuiltMarket for a second. Just a second, because I was so busy the whole time I feel like I just spun in a ball like Sonic the Hedgehog.

I got my Amy loves.

I picked my good friend's mind about some deep philosophical things.

I shamelessly solicited AWESOME prizes for the Post Market Soiree Party on June 23rd (more on that next blog).

I created an exciting event at my store next year for South by Southwest (or SXSW as it is here-on-out referred) that I can't really talk about because I don't really want to spoil the surprise- suffice it to say it will be a hip-hop interactive event, and that's all I gotta say about that.

I ordered some really fun new lines- actually, I let my BFF Lily do most of my ordering for me, since I was tied up in meetings most of Market.

We're also launching a fun new sewing program to make clothes for all your cute kids that come thru Remnants and make my life so enriched. My favorite guests are usually under three feet tall and not fully grown yet, with little Mickey Mouse voices yelling about playing in the kids room. LOVE my little RFC family. We've partnered with Violette Field Threads- stay tuned for the amazingness ahead.

I had to cut my Market trip a day short, so I missed out on the fun MQG Meetup (I saw photos of karaoke action; I am furious at all of you). However, I was invited to tour the Colette studio and see what their inspirations are. OK OK, the REAL reason I went is because the Butlers and my friend Lisa Ann Logan from Craftsy were there and I wanted some lovins from all of them. I can't keep a secret.

After my two-day-manic-spree at Market, I hopped on a plane from Portland to Sacramento (which is actually where I started writing this entry, you know, a week and a half ago) and was greeted by the face that I love the most in this world. There is nobody on God's green earth that can make me smile and laugh like my sister Sammy. She is the light of my life- at times she was my caretaker, at times I was hers. She started a hair salon at the age of 21- young entrepreneurship runs in our family. She sold it 5 years later to start a family and to concentrate on her own studies. She is my hero, and the reason why I do what I do.

I spent two glorious days with my sister, basking in the laughter and the love that we provide each other. I spent time with my adorable niece Alex.

OH I almost forgot to tell you- I went snail hunting with my sister.

Now lemme tell you, I'm a pacifist, so as a disclaimer, I did NOT participate in the murder of the snails, however I am an accessory to the crime. I can't throw her completely under the bus, because I was laughing hysterically the entire time. I think the headlamp makes me look more intelligent.

My sister is a compassionate person. I just so happened to fly into town the day before what would have been my dead best friend's 30th birthday. She graciously and patiently went to the memorial park with me so that I could tell him happy birthday. They were best friends, too, for a time---before heroin took over, years before his murder, back when life made sense and we were just kids. I cried so many tears at the park that I dehydrated myself. It will NEVER not hurt and I will never understand. I don't believe in absolutes, typically, but I believe this in my heart to be true. I don't tell this story so you feel sorry for me--I tell this story to keep his name in my mouth and to keep awareness of this injustice.

Oh wait, there's more.

My dad agreed to drive out to Texas with me because I needed a vehicle, and with my mom gone he now has four cars. Four cars and one man- which one of these things does not belong? I am lucky that my family loves cars and takes good care of them. So Tuesday we packed the car to the brim with fabric and fixtures, my old record player (it plays 8tracks too!!), Mom's clothes and stuff, and started on the road. Now granted, when I've taken this trip in the past (three times), I've made it in a day and a half, two days tops.

Can we talk about New Mexico for a minute and how I hate it with a fiery passion? (Sorry New Mexicans, you're cool, but your state wants to kill me.)

Last year when I made the drive, I was stuck in Cline's Corners for two days, snowed in, two days before Christmas, with only a dive bar and a gas station next to me. It was a doozy of a weekend, that's for sure.

THIS YEAR, my dad and I were on our way to meet Teresa Pierce (good friend that lives in ABQ and patient woman, I tell ya) for lunch, and I gave my dad a bad direction. He tried to get back in the right lane but there was a car there, swerved and hit the brakes. The hard brake caused a wrought iron easel that was on top of all of my stuff to hit me in the back of the head. I started bleeding profusely.

This is the only moment of my life that I have been afraid to die.

Luckily there was a hospital a block away.

In the Emergency waiting room, I started feeling incredibly dizzy, and my hands and feet started tingling. I couldn't move my thumbs. I hadn't eaten anything that day and I could feel my blood sugar dropping and I started sweating like Colin Kaepernick during the SuperBowl.

I started hallucinating. I could hear my mother's voice, calling me. There are only 3 people in the world that can call me Jessie, and I could hear the sweet lilting sounds.....Jessie.......Jessie.....

I wanted to reach for her, but something told me not to go.

At this time, I was on the floor, literally, sprawled out, waiting to die. I was crashing hard- I know now that I was on the brink of death. My father was yelling at me to stay with him. Teresa was alarmed. My dad was freaking the hell out on the inside- I could see it in his eyes- but he remained calm and got me in a room, where they pumped me full of sugars and examined my now-swollen head.

In the ER, my dad told the staff that he had just lost my mom, and if anything happened to me, he was coming for them. My dad's a pretty intense guy, but he's a pacifist, so I must have been in bad shape if he's threatening to kill all of their legacies.

I'm fine. It turns out that the head injury was really quite mild, but the ER discovered that I am a diabetic, which is why I was crashing so hard. (I went from a 99 to a 40 in about 15 minutes. I don't know what that means but my dad says it's pretty bad)

Suffice it to say, I am going to take a break from cross-country road trips, New Mexico in general, and I am no longer packing my car above its capacity. I'm going to the doctor to figure out how to get in the right health so that I can be around long enough to see myself accomplish my goals.

Do you know what I do after a head injury, and 12+ more hours in the car?

I make up dirty rap songs about boys I think are cute.

Can I even blame the head injury for that?

I am trying to work on some clean raps- I don't blame rappers, it's REALLY hard not to throw in a mother-effer every once in a while. However, I don't want QuiltMom to disown me! So if you know me well, and ask nicely, I will spit my rap game at you, but ONLY in the right company. I am a lady (sometimes), afterall.


Let's talk about something briefly before I send you on your way.

You may be surprised to find that I am changing my name from Jessica Sloan to Jessica Darling. I am in the process of getting a divorce (no, I don't want to talk about it, it has nothing to do with quilting or anything else, just wanted to clear up any confusion. Moving on!) and have decided to take my mother's maiden name. I am now moving forward with Darling as my surname. So all the Jessica Sloan patterns will be a collector's item, now. Lucky you!

Please refer to me here on out with this name. Like Janet Jackson would say, "Miss Darling, if you're nasty." I love me some Janet. I'm proud to be a Darling.

Ok- gotta go. Dad is outside pruning the rose bushes by himself and I feel like an ass sitting here talking to you. Love to you all! Thanks for the support! And if you're New Mexican, tell your state to calm down! xoxoxoxoxo