topiary cats

topiary cats

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.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sprinkler System PRT

8x10 pastel on Richeson sanded paper.
This is the last Turquoise Loitering painting.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fissures PRT

8x10 pastel on Richeson sanded paper

.... and i now have the stuffy cold. Woke up with daggers in my throat. :(

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sundries PRT

On Friday we got a LOT of rain.....and there was a GINORMOUS WATER BUG in my bathroom!
I'm super very really extremely scared of water bugs.  :(

Daya was scared too so we shut the door and hoped it would go away overnight....and it did.

Daya has a stuffy-cold.  :(

Rob got me really pretty flowers!  And... I have been looking for a can of WD-40 unsuccessfully so he remembered and got me one.  Flowers and man is awesome.

Sunday I went to Jackie's for tea.

Then I came home, made a spinach lasagna in my crock pot, chocolate mint brownies, and a loaf of banana bread.  Then I bleached my whole kitchen..... maybe I breathed in too many bleach fumes because my lungs kind of hurt......

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Riverside Park Plein Air PRT

Here is a plein air from tonight, a bit less than an hour and a half.
8x10 pastel on grey Richeson sanded paper, Rembrandt pastels.

big geese to the right

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Travelling the Shallows PRT

Another Turquoise Loitering topiary cat.....

8x10 pastel on Richeson sanded paper
(lots of Unisons)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Two Bikes PRT

Daya's bike needs repair so I told her she could use mine.
This bike is 27 years old, I got it when I was 12 and I was SO EXCITED... I waited over a year for it.

Riding my bike was one of the few nice memories I have of that time.
I rescued it from my mother's hoarded house when Daya was in preschool...the last time I ever went there.  It was a HUGE battle for me to be able to take my bike, even though it wasn't being used and was one of three sitting in the garage.  Besides, it is my bike.
However irrational, even when THEY know it is completely irrational, taking something out of a hoarder's home- even if it isn't even theirs- results in much infliction of suffering.  My mother sure did make me pay for taking my bike.

But I had wanted it back for years, and I know that i would be sitting here to this day wanting it back. Now I can give it to my daughter -- in a time of need, too- although it is a cool thing to pass down... instead of it rotting and rusting in that dangerous horrible house.

Jackie bought an exercise bike from a hipster on Craigslist.  She asked me if I would go with her to pick it up, and I said of course because I want Jackie to be safe, even though it was in her neighborhood.

The hipster wasn't very threatening.

DEFINITELY a trust fund kid.
She apparently has a problem with getting drunk and buying expensive stuff on Amazon Prime...she spoke about it quite casually and assumed the both of us could relate. (nope)
Even as we took the bike out a delivery man came with another HUGE box for her.
I guess she'll sell whatever that is on Craigslist too.

So anyhow we brought that bike back several blocks to Jackie's the way everyone in NYC does with no car--- in the ubiquitous shopping cart. It fell a few times, only once while crossing street, and we provided entertainment to everyone sitting out on the stoops watching the neighborhood go by.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Portal Entry PRT

Another one in the Topiary Cats: Turquoise Loitering series.
8x10 pastel on black Richeson sanded paper

Friday, August 11, 2017

Thing Three PRT

In a freakish accident the stoneware bowl of my crockpot shattered.  :(

The replacement only cost $13 with free shipping....relieved about that.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Plein Air PRT

I went out painting after work... the painting is not great, has been a while since I got my oils out.
But the evening was lovely.... I saw another painter not too far away.

My bug repellant fan thingy needs new batteries or a new cartridge because I have a ton of mosquito bites. :(

The sky is from early evening then the street lights came on later and made nice reflections which I added in near the end.  It is maybe a little too much composition for a 6x8.

Conservatory Water
6x8 oil on panel

Monday, August 07, 2017

Thing 2 PRT

Today is a very Mondayish Monday.
I came into work and rebooted my computer which resulted in my randomly getting locked out of the network (resolved) and the corruption of all my USB ports. 

IT said everything needs an update- the BIOS and all the drivers. 
And it is taking forever and freezing. 
Things eventually go corrupt if not updated properly. 

While I am not especially concerned, there are things I really need to get done today and I cannot work at all.  I am literally sitting at my desk reading a book. 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017


There was a HUGE GINORMOUS WASP in my bathroom.
I have never had a wasp in here before.

I tried a few things but ended having to run out and get spray and then I flushed it and that was scary too because it fell in the bathtub and I had to get it out..

Rob stayed on the phone with me.

It was horrible and awful and scary and I'm exhausted and I think I breathed in wasp spray and I'm a bit traumatized.

I didn't know wasps were that HUGE and I didn't know they wanted to come into my bathroom.


Flip Ninja PRT

So back at the start of July I had this Idea that if we had Deadlines it would make the month go by faster because time flies with a deadline.

Week 1 was to come up with a story in 4 parts
Week 2 was the storyboard
Week 3 first 2 paintings
Week 4 last 2 paintings

All I can really say right now is that July was a truly brutal month and I'm not in a good place and it is pretty incredible I painted at all. And I have to get through PRT.

Weirdly I have this nagging suspicion I did 4 paintings but I know I only did three and at least I stuck with a theme of some sort.

Carey and I didn't know what our title would be so she said Flip Ninja and that sounds fine to me.

All are 8x10 pastel on Richeson sanded paper.
The first 2 I previously posted.



The Waiting Pools

Monday, July 31, 2017

Entering PRT

Pigeon Risk Time (PRT) starts at 11:59pm tonight all local time zones.

I did not actually make it through July but Carey resurrected me so....
This year is the 10 year anniversary of Pigeon Risk Time.

This summer has been really brutal. :(

Monday, July 24, 2017

Assorted Long Update

July is dragging terribly but would probably be worse if Carey and I hadn't implemented Deadlines.
Procrastinating with blog updates also helps speed time up.

A Course in Miracles
I'm still going through ACIM, mostly every day.
It is pretty amazing.
When i am done with the theory I'll start the workbook which spans 1 year.

As of right now I have 11 hours and 46 minutes remaining-- of 36 hours.

Beach 1: two weeks ago I took Daya to the beach (Rockaway), on a Tuesday which was nice because it wasn't too crowded.  I wish people weren't allowed to play their stupid music and we had to move twice but the water was lovely.  I got a terrible sunburn, really bad, and it is mostly gone but I am still itchy.

I have gotten a long sleeve swimsuit top, should have done that a long time ago.

Daya is bored and very lonely.
I don't know what to do about it, really, because I can't send her to camp this year.  To be honest, and as much as she would deny it, she would also be miserable at camp because she was last year aside from a few overnight trips.
Everything I suggest is flat-out rejected.
She's too young for the volunteering and community service places to take her without an adult.

All the dance people and school friends have vacations to go on, camp, and families to be with.

She was very burned out on camp last year and of course has forgotten all about that. By the last two weeks she was even tired of swimming and was wanting to stay home.

Daya is tutoring in the neighborhood twice a week, and she goes to dance but the studio really doesn't have much going on at all this summer.

Rob has suggested maybe finding a church and I'm open to it.
I have been researching a bit and I think I have to go Unitarian because they are very inter-faith friendly.

Daya needs more people in her life- adults and kids. It can't be just her and me- it's not good for either of us.

Rob said find kids who are exposed to hearing things like be kind to others and he has a good point. Daya is vehemently against going but she doesn't have any concept so I'm not taking her refusal seriously.  She rejects every single new thing I suggest anyhow. So I'm going to override her on this one.

We painted Daya's room and it is a nice grey color instead of purple.

Upstairs Neighbors
I spent $25 on a really thick padded moving blanket and brought it upstairs and asked nicely if my neighbors would put it under their speaker, which they were willing to do.  It worked. I'm not getting pounded by drums and bass now.  Last night my ceiling seemed a little bit shaky and rumbly even over the fan and air conditioning, so I wondered just how well my blanket was working.  Turns out, fantastically.

They are on the third floor and their speaker is back and down the hall- and I could hear their music in the second floor hallway in front of my apartment.  I walked upstairs, got halfway up and oh. my. gosh they were BLASTING- and I mean BLASTING AT FULL VOLUME some kind of terrible death metal. This was about 10pm Sunday evening.  I couldn't believe how incredibly loud it was, truly excessive- I'm shocked their other neighbors aren't complaining.

So the blanket works. Thank God.
That was absolutely horrible.

My plant flowered... it has been on my desk at work for years...and it just flowered for the first time.  It is a huernia something-or-other.

I showed my boss, and he said it looks like the super-villain Starro from 1960... comic book stuff.

I think it is awesome to have a super-villain plant!
No one is particularly surprised I have a super-villain plant.

My Desk at Work
I moved my desk again thanks to my manager who did me a great kindness and moved other people around.
Now I'm back at my old desk that I was moved from back in 2013.
It is a good location, with my team, and my old window.
So it is like coming home and I am very grateful and happy.

I was at this desk from 2009-2013.
When I was moving back in, I found an old drawing of Daya's from preschool!!!
It was still there!

Beach 2: Last Saturday Rob picked me up and we went on another Rob Improv Adventure. We ended up at Jones Beach which was so amazing and lovely. Neither of us was prepared but it didn't matter, we stood in the water, got wet, and had a nice walk.

We saw baby seagulls... really teeny ones.
They are the dots next to the big seagull.
They were so cute, especially flying together in a little clump.

Rob is a very don't-plan-in-advance person, probably in balance to all the planning he has to do at work. So he doesn't like to be bogged down having to think about more stuff.  I, also, have too much to think about and I don't want extra stuff to think about.  Which is why I never ask where we are going when he picks me up.  Actually, I don't care.  I'm up for almost anything, and the things I wouldn't want to do are the things Rob also wouldn't want to do.  Because I like spending time with him the destination is always secondary.

Rob cooked dinner which is always wonderful because he has kitchen skillz.

What I need, critically:
I need a break and a complete change of scenery.
I need a break from Daya and she needs a break from me.

We both need for her to be able to go somewhere for a week and I go somewhere else and we both reset and recalibrate. Decompress.

I am completely burned out and I can't seem to get to a reset-relaxation point anymore. At least I know why but there isn't a solution because I have nowhere to send Daya. It is the break and change of scenery that we both need, taking vacation days from work and staying home isn't going to do it.