topiary cats

topiary cats

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Halloween was fun, we got a lot of chocolate.
Daya was a steampunk girl.

It might be our last year trick-or-treating...according to Daya.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Aerial Brush Farm

Here is an aerial shot of my Brush Farm. I am surveying Furball as she surveys me.
I took this picture while opening the window.

In order to open my window I have to climb up and stand on the table or the window sill.
Until I sent this picture to Dru and she gave me a heads-up on the matter, I never thought about this being a somewhat odd procedure. It seriously never occurred to me.

You get used to just doing what you have to do, I guess.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


Today was nice. mostly.
We had a lot of heavy rain.
My housework is in good order.
I wanted to start clean, and that was accomplished.

Eva gave me an extremely generous gift, which means I can get a new tripod for plein airing.
Daya was supercool and wonderful until she had to go to a dance Halloween party and she wanted to leave but I made her stay. The dance teams sponsored the party and everyone had a job to do...her team's job was clean-up afterward...that's why I made her stay.  She's pretty mad at me for it but she must honor her commitments. If she hadn't been on clean-up crew I would have said fine, leave.

Rob got me a gift package to a fantastic upscale spa in Tribecca which I am really looking forward to.
Then we went out to a French place in Chelsea we love but haven't been to for a long time.  It was amazing. I love spending time with Rob.  Because of our schedules we don't get to see each other as often as we did last year, but we still talk all the time and he is always good company and conversation. I am very grateful to have him in my life.

We had nice desserts:

I didn't hear from my father (wasn't expecting to) and it is strangely ok. I have completely given up on that and it is the right thing to do.  I know this because I really am ok with no contact or acknowledgement. There is no looming expectation or question, no empty going-through-motions. The first time is hard and then it is fine.  I was wondering how I would feel and I'm completely fine so this is really good. It;s a hard thing to resolve and going through empty motions is much worse.
But you can't keep trying to be connected to someone who doesn't want to be connected.  Letting go is best.

In some ways I feel like I have a clean slate going into this next part of my I have cleaned out or resolved things that don't serve my well-being.  My 30s were really, really hard. But I learned a lot and I hope going forward I can move into positive changes and circumstance and not have to repeat any of the nonsense.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Squirrel of Judgement

I went painting in Central Park again.

Although I felt half-hearted about going out, I was committed to it so I went.
Destination: Turtle Pond but I never got there because I saw a tree I liked right near the Shakespeare Garden and it was away from people in general so that was a big plus.

The tree was not as great from my painting angle but I said OK I'll make it work.

There was a lot of foliage against foliage to resolve and in that sense it was a good workout.

Here's what I learned:
1. I prefer to have more sky in my view.
2. Just because a tree looks cool doesn't mean it is in a good spot for painting. It was just too dark.

The cool view (from the road):

But I persevered and then....the Squirrel of Judgement showed up!  Seriously, he came over and just stared at me.

it was very disconcerting.

NO ONE can make a good painting with the Squirrel of Judgement staring at them.

Ugly Painting, 8x10 oil on panel

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Amazing Maize Maze

Saturday evening Rob, Daya, and I went to the Amazing Maize Maze over at the Queens Farm is a hard maze during the day and we went at night (armed with flashlights)!

The theme this year was Alice and Wonderland, and the maze was in the shape of the Cheshire cat, MY FAVORITE.  I LOVE the Cheshire Cat!

It took us over an hour to find our way out.

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.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In a Couple of Weeks...

I'll be 40 in a couple of weeks.

Just about every single day I think about what to write about that, and I keep putting it off.
I don't want to turn 40.

While it is true that my life on Oct 30th won't be any different, this is a decade change and a mentally big one. Society says I'm not young anymore, I'm in mid-life.

The weird thing is that mentally I'm starting to feel older. But in a lot of ways, I've always been old mentally.

I look good for my age.  Actually I look better than a lot of people just 5 years younger than me. I attribute this to diet and lifestyle and good skincare.  Wearing daily sunblock starting as a teenager really does pay off. So does not smoking and not baking in the sun.  So does a reasonably healthy diet.

I have never had a cavity or a weight problem. I weigh less right now than I did before I had Daya...not much, but I can fit the same clothing size I was in my 20s.

Nevertheless I think turning 40 for women in particular is a transition in how we are viewed by society. It's scary. It is a turning point.

I don't know if this is a universal thing, but I can't help but review my life.
I have a lot of failed relationships.
No family relationships.
I own no property or anything of any real value.

I was doing ok financially in my 20s but being left with a child and no help has really killed me financially. That's the truth of it. I'm very responsible and I have a good job, but I'm just working to pay the bills which get higher and higher no matter how good I am at keeping up.

During my entire 30s decade I had very little freedom. No financial freedom, no physical/logistical freedom, no freedom of time, and taking care of everything alone left me with little mental or emotional freedom. I lost a lot of opportunities. So many Life Doors closed. I wasn't able to do a lot of the "normal" things and re-establish myself properly.  Only now am I beginning to get some of that freedom back, very least enough to have a boyfriend which I am very grateful for. Rob is the best thing that has happened to me in all this time. And now I am staring down Daya's Teenage Years which is no joke.

Through my 30s I have had the same job and have lived in the same apartment.
I'm better at painting than I was 10 years ago.
My home organization is much better than 10 years ago... I do feel that is a Life Challenge I successfully overcame during my 30s.  It was a carry-over from my mother and how I was raised, something I had to learn and change, and I have done it. So I'm proud of that.

I know some women have said their 40s were better than any previous decade...I hope that holds true for me too.  All the same I am dreading it.  Maybe it is a dread-thing before and up until the day, and after everything just normalizes.

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.