topiary cats

topiary cats

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Another Plein Air

Today was absolutely perfect painting weather.
I (reluctantly) left all my pastels at home and took my oils out.... but truly it felt good to work in oil again.

Painting from Central Park (somewhere in the low 70s, East side)
8x10 oil on panel, almost exactly 2 hours.

I primed the panel with Gamblin's Brown-Pink which I like extremely very much.

Pic of the start:

My beloved tripod is dying slowly and I also have a gear issue with my umbrella which I kind of needed but ended up not using.  I think I can fix the umbrella with some epoxy.

My tripod might need some too, the ball head where the quick release assembly attaches to the tripod is wobbly.  Wobbly inside and it should not be.  I'm going to see if getting some epoxy inside will help it out a bit.

One of the legs won't really stay out on its own anymore, it is rather floppy, though this isn't a problem as it is ok when the tripod is standing up.

There is beach sand stuck in another of the legs and it is hard to pull put.

But all in all I paid less than $50 for this tripod and it has been abused for 7 years so........
It is a wonderful tripod and especially since I have another Big Heavy Weight one for the really heavy stuff I don't abuse this one as much as I used to.  (That's what killed the ball head over time)

I think some glue ought to fix it for a while longer though, we;ll see.

Friday, October 20, 2017

They Can Fly

We had some trouble finding the cat last night.

I don't know how her fat fluffy butt got up there.
Carey says it is because cats can fly and she's probably correct.

Isis is a ridiculous cat.



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Alive Shoes

New shoes.
These should hopefully last longer, they are much harder and we had to get special glue for them to harden them even more.

The shoes do not come with:

$ Glue
$ Elastic
$ Ribbons
$ Thread to sew the elastic and ribbons.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Emergency Gloves

On Saturday evening Rob was going to pick me up after class (he is taking some college math) and we were going to go out.

He called me and said he was over in Long Island City and his car wouldn't start; the battery died and he wasn't sure why since he didn't leave anything on in the car.  He tried to fix it but couldn't, so he said he was going to take the bus to go get a new battery and take a cab back to his car.  I said I'm coming over.

I took the train to Long Island's not a great area at night.  Dark, desolate and very industrial. There is a prison there too.

Because I have walked the 59th St bridge from Manhattan many times, I know the area enough to know where I am and not get lost. And I knew Rob would need help, even though he didn't realize it.

He told me where he was parked and I got there shortly after he did...I found him putting a new battery in his car in the dark.  Poor Rob was so mad and frustrated- after 7 hours in math class he had to deal with this...and his battery was only three years old.  He was also mad because even though he always has his tool bag in the car he left his work gloves at his job. So one of the first things he said to me was "I wish I had gloves; I'm getting battery junk all over my hands!"

I said "I have gloves!" and I did! I got my first aid certification last month and I had a pair of gloves in my purse from that.  A good thing to carry around. So I gave the gloves to a very shocked Rob.

Then I said, "Do you need some light?"
He said "Yes!" I used my phone flashlight.  He has one too but he had forgotten all about it.

He got the battery changed and the car started, but he couldn't find the code he had to enter into the dashboard.  I found that for him, too.

I knew he needed help!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Dead Shoes

Dead shoes.  Three months.  $100.

Daya has to get a fitting for a new pair because she needs a harder shank...because she has super bendy arches (all that foot stretching...she has a thing that stretches her feet). I'm really hoping after she gets her new pair we won't need another fitting and I might be able to get them online slightly cheaper than in-store.

I hope that is the case because dead shoes are dangerous to dance in and they wear out so fast and they are so freaking expensive.

Ballet lessons for toddlers really ought to come with warning disclaimers of what might happen.

We have a shoe fitting appointment on Monday.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Conversation

Me: Daya! Why did you leave an empty box of ice cream sandwhiches in the freezer?
She: Because I like that it looks like we still have some.
Me: But if the box is in there I think we still have them and I won’t buy more.
She. Of course you’ll buy more!
Me: How do you know?
She: Because you know I like them.
Me: That’s true.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Mystery: Solved

On July 13 I posted on Facebook desperately asking for help identifying a pastel:

Today I identified it.  It is a Sennelier after all, and if i hadn't emptied out my box and started matching what was in there with my identified storage, I might not have ever guessed it.

This box has primarily Blick brand (they are really good) and a set of 80 Sennelier half sticks.

I matched the mystery Pastel by accident and I NEVER would have guessed it.
Pastels do get a little dirty or different looking when used and stored together, but you can clean them in coirnmeal.  Also the surface where they are freshly rubbed shows the true color.

So I never would have guessed the exact match is a much bluer stick, but it is.
I'm going to match the stick with open stock to find the number which will be easy.
I have done this but only with sticks that looked much greener.

Look at the difference- but they really are an identical match.
(The bottom one lives in my box.  The top one lives in my Sennelier Paris Collection box.)

Friday, October 06, 2017

The Frick & The Plaza

Jackie had the great idea to go to The Frick Collection on Friday night.  It is free every first Friday of every month, so we went.  I hadn't been there for many years.

Photography is NOT ALLOWED in the galleries but I had to get a pic of Rembrandt.  I did get yelled at and I apologized very nicely.

Jackie was full of good ideas so she suggested we stop at The Plaza on the way home, which is very beautiful.

Everyone always wants to know about the bathrooms so here it is... all marble, very nice.

And of course Eloise.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Space Buns

My favorite hairstyle of Daya's is called Space Buns.
I used to do her hair like this all the time when she was little. Now it's trendy for middle school.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Medieval Fair!

Another retro-active post, I'm so behind. And fatigued. The years of fatigue are catching up to me; I'm really feeling it.  This weekday schedule is really getting to me and I'm only a month in!!

Anyhow we went to the medieval faire again because this is maybe the only thing I really want to go to every year as a tradition.  Rob came too and it was fun.

I told Daya it was a dress up day so she could wear black lipstick, which got her very excited.
She wanted to wear all black and I gave her the top which I don't wear anymore.  It is actually a romper and I don't like rompers.

Daya looks absolutely smashing in black lippie.
Not everyone can pull this off.  She can.



Thursday, September 28, 2017


I'm in one of those blocks of time where days just pass one after the other.
Normal days, lots of them.
These are the periods of time that pass by and when they are gone you wonder where they went.

The fall schedule has reserved more of my evening time than I prefer but there's nothing really to be done about it.

Mondays right after work I have an appointment that was on Wednesdays last year.
Tuesdays are kind of free except I have to pick Daya up at 9pm.
Wednesdays I have yoga and then I have to go wait at dance until 8:45 for ballet to end.
It isn't worth going home after yoga because I would just have to leave again
Thursdays I have to get Daya from dance and she has an appointment right after that was earlier last year on a non-dance day.
Fridays Daya has dance but can come home on her own because she gets out early.
Saturdays Daya is in dance all day- literally- but she can travel on her own.  Rob has class all day.
Sunday is the only day was both don't have something always scheduled.

Daya is still taking a lot of dance (she just dropped Tap) but oddly she isn't at the studio every day right after school like she was last year.  I think it is a good balance for her because she can go home and decompress, get her homework done.

Seventh grade is The Year- the only year- that high schools look at for admissions, so it is a very important year academically.  One year from now we will be starting applications and auditions. It is a big deal, on level with college applications.

In NYC, students can go to any high school in the city (provided they can get in).
We do have neighborhood zoned high schools which have to take the kids in the zone but they all still have to apply.  A lot of those zoned high schools are terrible crowd-control schools and some are pretty good, like our zoned high school...which is a good school because we live in a good neighborhood.  Most zoned schools are awful.

But the specialized high schools- admission to those is extremely competitive.
That includes the academically specialized schools and the performing arts schools.

Daya, of course, will go to a specialized school.
We will apply everywhere.

Her first choice is La Guardia, of course. The top performing arts high school, the one from Fame.
She may go there, she may not- but wherever she ends up will be a good situation. She is more concerned about it than I am.  Even if she goes to Frank Sinatra she will be in an excellent situation.  (They have an amazing space) There are some others too, just not as famous.  I have no doubt between her straight A honors grades, top test scores, and her amazing dance she will get in somewhere good.

We will also apply to some of the academic-specialty schools, as Daya LOVES math and she could go to high school for that, too.  Last year she pulled off a 100 average in honors math for the entire year.

Since she started kindergarten and I knew there was high school admissions, I wanted Daya to go to a performing arts high school or a specialized school. Because the environment is better, and because in NYC it matters where you go to high school.  It matters a lot.

So this year her job is to maintain her academics because the students she is competing with also have top test scores and straight A honors.  And her dance, because she's going up against other students who are just as good as she is.

My job is to get familiar with the process before we have to go through it, and research the schools to which we will apply.  This year will go by quickly.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Autism Walk

Daya's dance team participated in the Autism walk on Sunday.
I think Daya looks great in this picture.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Furball the Perfect

Furball is so very cute and very perfect.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Pencils

I saw this picture on my Facebook feed from Derwent:

I have been using Derwent pencils since high school...they were my first professional graphite pencils, and watercolor pencils.

Pretty much all my pencils are Derwents, except for some Carb-Orthello pastel pencils which are really excellent. I have definite brand loyalty to Derwent.

There is a stupid amount of Derwent stuff in my studio. I love all of it.

So anyhow they posted this picture of absolute perfection and a link to a set which I fell in love with immediately.

Drusilla and Carey are both just as susceptible to the New Pencils Virus, and we all ordered the set together.

HRH Queen Isis of the Fur helped me test the pencils, which are lovely on grey paper.  I found this nice grey paper sketchbook in my stash, not even sure when I got it but it is important to buy art supplies in advance for situations just like this. :)


The pencils aren't as soft as my Derwent Coloursofts but they are good for detail and layer nicely.

Goodbye Munchie

Munchie finally passed on to the Rainbow Bridge last night.
I'm shocked he stayed with us so long.... about 4 days ago he had a stroke, or something happened, which left him paralyzed in his back legs.
He also seemed to have lost all motor control except his arms.

Still, he wanted to eat and just kept holding out.
It was hard watching him flip around to move, but he still showed preference to hang out in his box, and he was responsive to sound and food.

Munchie was really old.  He came from the West Side Highway rescue 2 summers ago, when someone dumped hundreds of white rats on the median at 57th street and the West Side Highway in Manhattan. He was young but full-grown when I got him.

Daya was very upset about Munchie, which kind of surprised me because until the end, she didn't have a lot to do with him. And she wasn't sad when Q-Tip died.  She liked Munchie but wasn't especially involved.  But she always still thought of him as "hers" because she named him.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Seventh Grade

Thank goodness school started yesterday.
7th grade.

Dance started too.

This year Daya wanted to do a duet which is separate from everything else she does, separate as in financially separate.

I'm not paying for it.
I CAN'T pay for it, even if I was willing to which I am not.

She didn't have to do it.
I told her not to do it.
I told her to save for a year and do it next year.

But she wouldn't hear of it, absolutely WOULD NOT CONSIDER IT so I bound her to a financial contract where she has to pay 85%, and I'll throw in 15% which I think is extremely generous of me.  I prefer she pays 100%. I told her she has to pay it all by June 2018. Which puts the timing burden on me.

I would like to repeat again SHE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO IT AND I TOLD HER NOT TO.

But she insisted, so she needs to learn a financial lesson and she really hates it. She is angry and resentful with me for holding her to it, and anxiety-ridden for taking on a large financial burden. Because she says she is only 11 so she shouldn't have to.  Well that's true but the money has to come from somewhere and I. AM. DONE.  Which leaves her.

If a child goes into a store and sees something expensive they do not need and it costs too much money what do you do?  Either save for it or don't get it. Welcome to the freaking world.

Now, Daya actually does have financial means and I know she can pay for this.
Whether she wants to or not is a whole other matter.
Her birthday money plus her monthly allowance would cover it.
And we are seeing if she can get another family for after school tutoring and homework help which would definitely cover her rehearsal costs.

If her completely un-involved grandparents continue to send her Christmas and birthday money to feel good about themselves, she'll have that too.

But I am finding my self very angry today over dance because it is a money pit and Daya is often very mean to me as children this age often are. I am being pulled past my capacity with absolutely no consideration or understanding.

I'm angry that she's mad and resentful towards me for making her pay for something very expensive that SHE DOES NOT HAVE TO DO when I am already giving her so much. She has more than most children in our circumstance have.  Unfortunately she can't see it because dance is full of extremely wealthy girls.

There are some who might disagree with what I have done because it is causing Daya a lot of stress--- to which I say what about my stress and my having to keep the finances stable? She didn't have to do it.  Terms and conditions were laid out well in advance before she made her decision.

So I don't feel sorry for Daya, not at all, but perhaps I could use some consideration for the burdens I have to carry, instead of constant expectations for me to pull water out of a dry dusty well.


Friday, September 01, 2017



Also, I am very behind on blog posts from Block Island and a few other things, I'll have to post retroactively.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Block Island Pictures PRT

Late but better than never post!

Rob took me to Block Island and it was lovely.