topiary cats

topiary cats

Thursday, January 19, 2017

At Least the Sun is Out Today

Sometimes things just need to be processed before they disappear.
I wish- seriously wish- that I could just think things away, dismiss them and they're gone, but life doesn't always work like that.

Today I'm not feeling great but since everything seems to have culminated it's all on the way out.  When I am feeling bad it just needs a little time.  I'll feel better in a day or two; I know how it goes. This is familiar ground.

Like splinters. it hurts before extraction, it hurts during extraction, and it hurts after extraction but it starts to go away.

My shoulder still hurts but less than yesterday.  Again, just like feelings, it slowly works its way out. I know it is stress-induced.


I hear the owl in the night
I realize that some things never are made right
                                                -Indigo Girls

Here is something I have thought about a lot in...well, I-don't-know-how-long, Recent-ish time, a couple years perhaps.

As humans we are internal and external beings.
There are things we can physically observe (our bodies, etc) and things we cannot physically observe (thoughts, personality, emotions etc).

Sometimes it happens that a person has an ailment with their physical body- loss of limb, an injury, a disease- that causes chronic pain that- in truth- will never go away. It is something they will have to cope with for the rest of their life. It is, in a sense, easier to define because it is physically observable and measurable. There are also many unknowns about our physical makeup and what causes dysfunction.

Sometimes it happens that the internal non-physical structure of a person gets messed up. It could be genetic, It could be trauma, abuse, childhood situations which can impact a person for the rest of their life.  Something has happened on a core foundation level and everything else developing from there just has to make due the best it can, if it can.  If a tree grows crooked, for example, it can never be made straight. If a tree grows straight, it can never be made to bend.

Sometimes there are things that are missing which can never be replaced.  Or injuries that cause permanent change. And this may cause an internal chronic pain issue, such as depression. And depending on the source of the dysfunction, it can definitely be something that won't ever go away.

There are different ways to manage chronic pain issues, some better/more effective than others, but the point is that in these situations it may never go away and that is something to be looked at and accepted.

It doesn't mean a person is weak, and it isn't even a failing.
It just is what it is.

The point is that you can make huge efforts, good efforts and all you can do is manage something that will never go away.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stupid Week

I'm having that kid of week where everything feels very wrong.
I wish it was possible to just think away being so scrambled.

Daya had a bad day yesterday, some friend drama I guess, and she didn't want to talk to me about it.  I guess that's ok but she was really upset and I wanted to help and support her, but she just shuts me out.  I know it is the age but it is still hard.

I sent ** (person who unfriended me) a text asking why.
I need closure, because this is someone I have known for a long time and I just can't figure it out.
As stupid as it is, I'm upset.
Nothing back. Maybe later.

Work is...ok for now but I'm still worried and I can't shake it.

No sun all week.  Gloom.

** called me and I'm glad she did.
She is furious with me because of something that happened several months ago.

** has a 21 year old daughter, and ** has been going through some drastic life changes and I heard through the grapevine it was going very hard on her daughter.  So I reached out through Instagram to offer support if needed.

** looked through her daughter's phone and correspondence and saw the text, was furious I did that, and that's why she ended our friendship.

There are other things that could be said here but most of it has nothing to do with me so it doesn't belong on my blog.

**I reserve the right to monitor Daya's phone and she knows that but I also believe in privacy.

Monday, January 16, 2017


I have been working on a painting, a large-ish layered oil painting.
The whole thing is a bit of a color experiment and it still needs a lot of work.
But my clouds are coming along nicely- I did a lot of work on them last night.

Here is a detail of the upper right corner of the painting (oil on panel):

It is still very wet and I have to wait a few days before continuing.
This is fine though because this painting needs a lot of thinking.  It needs to sit while I problem-solve.

Today I went to Jackie's for tea, which was lovely.
Another friend of ours came up in conversation and Jackie asked if I saw something she posted, which I had not so when I went to check I discovered I had been unfriended.

I'm trying to wrap my head around it because absolutely nothing happened.
We haven't been in touch much lately, because she has a whole new group of friends she has been hanging around with and I gave up on keeping in touch other than Facebook because I never got a response. I know the unfriending has been very recent.

And now I have been unfriended (??) and have also found out she has apparently resumed friendship with one of the close friends I lost in 2015.....and this person she resumed friendship with told me several times she didn't even like her very much!

This is stirring up a lot of not-good feelings for me, mostly a lot of hurt and sadness.
People like to talk about others a lot and they never look in the mirror.  
It's always someone else's fault, and they never look at how they themselves are treating people.
Those are the people you have to watch, because they will always turn on you eventually, too.

Or they do and say things that break relationships and they reconcile it in their own mind, and then want to act like nothing happened because they got over their mind...without ever resolving or apologizing with the person they said terrible things to. And then, somehow, there's something wrong with me for not acting like nothing happened.

Daya was also hurt by those events.

I know the above saying is true but it still hurts and I feel very sad.

I wish I was the kind of person people wanted to stay friends with and keep around.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Something Furball Does

I have those cube organizers instead of a dresser.
One of my cubes contains my....errr, not-daily-wear-unmentionables.

Furball likes to pull this particular cubby open and unpack all my lingerie.
She only ever unpacks this particular cubby, though she could unpack others if she wanted.

It is extremely odd.

I think she's laughing

Friday, January 13, 2017

Budget Cuts

I am freaking out about money.
Rent went up $80 and dance tuition went up $50.
A month.  I am feeling it.

Basic life expenses outpace salary increases, and I really desperately am hoping to stay employed in my current situation.

So, budget cuts.
No one is immune.

*Art supplies- OUT OF BUDGET not unless I run out of something vital, like white oil paint.
It is a good thing I am ridiculously stocked in everything.

*Sephora- OUT OF BUDGET-  A while ago I already limited myself to only Urban Decay unless it was seriously- very seriously- WOW. And I have been very good about sticking to it. I have passed on many items due to this rule.  It is a good thing I'm not interested in anything new from Urban Decay, including their two recent palette releases.  I will replace things I run out of, that I always use, but I am also well-stocked in this area.  I admit I did get the new Kat von D Alchemist palette, which I love tremendously and I'm glad I got it.

Duane Reade- MOSTLY OUT OF BUDGET- I love Duane Reade (Walgreens).  They are my go-to place for anything non-Sephora and I can also spend too much there.  Essentials only!!!!!!!! And if I can get it cheaper elsewhere, I will!

Munchie and Q-Tip really don't cost much at all so they won't notice anything.
They are both old and I'm not getting more when they pass.

The cats are used to getting 2 cans of wet food split three ways every morning. Effective immediately, they will get 1 can split three ways each morning. Their dry food  (Blue Buffalo, it is good stuff) will remain unchanged. my cats are grain-free and will continue to be.

We won't be going out to eat nearly as much as we used to. She'll have to deal with less sushi, or better yet I'll teach her how to make it herself.  I have the tools and it is easy.
I'm going to say no to a lot of little stuff.  She gets an allowance so she's used to me saying "Buy it yourself," 
Mostly Daya will notice we don't go out as much.
She already knows resources are limited and her budget goes to dance.
She may complain if I say no to something but it's minor.  She already understands.

I don't know if it is all my own economic anxiety, or if I am also picking up on the extreme angst and anxiety surrounding the inauguration, but I'm feeling pretty intense anxiety.. It is maintaining in the long-term that has got me stressed.  Things are getting harder and harder every year- and the things that used to be pathways to security just aren't anymore.  Society is changing, and not for the better.

This week Rob has been working long hours and I haven't seen him all week.
I'm going over to his place for a little while tonight.
He always makes me feel better.
In so many ways, he is a very healthy presence and I am very thankful we met.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cat of the Day

Daya still designates a Cat of the Day.

Today, Isis is Cat of the Day because she is very fluffy, and she hasn't been Cat of the Day for a while.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I Got Unfriended

"Walking out your front door 
is dangerous business" 
                                 -Bilbo Baggins

So recently I made a Facebook connection with a painter in New Zealand.
Let's call him CH.
He's a really good painter, and a cool person.

I posted a pic on Facebook of Daya hanging upside down on the subway.

Here it is, and it is a great picture.

CH made a comment about it isa good way for her to break her neck and I'm just standing taking a picture. We had a short exchange, nothing rude at all, but it must have triggered something because he unfriended me.

Ok, let's pause and think about this.
I'm a pretty safety-conscious person but I'm also not a worrier and I think people are a bit too paranoid sometimes.

I know the subway.
I was there....I took the picture.
I know the situation.
I know the physical space.
I know how the train moves.
Daya knows how the train moves.
She was also not very high up.  Those bars are not terribly high- even I can reach them!
I know Daya is very strong, and I know the only possible strong jarring motion would be if the train stopped short unexpectedly, and that almost never happens. Seriously, almost never. AND if it did, she could reach to the side or up and just hold on. It is not a big deal. It would be extremely easy for her to brace herself if needed.

I explained to CH that Daya was fine.
He started talking about strong able-bodied people in spinal injury wards.
Ok, yes, I know that exists. But it is not proportional to the situation here.
But there is an evaluation of a known environment balanced with risk factors.
This is nothing close to something like a car accident or a high-impact sports situation.
Or skateboarding.
Or even possible dangers of bike riding.
Driving down the highway.
Normal every day activities that pose far more risk than Daya hanging upside down on a subway bar for about 5 minutes.

I maintain this was not a very dangerous thing for Daya to do for the 2 stops we were on the train last night.

But something must have really triggered CH because he unfriended me, which I think is a very strong unwarranted reaction.

We need to take risks and let our kids take risks.
The world is full of danger. everything is a risk.

Society is over-paranoid, sanitized, and kids are suffering for it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Time Travel

Daya wanted to to go the Museum of Natural History on Sunday.
As we were getting ready, she said she wanted to go to see ancient Egypt because she is studying it in school. (I also studied ancient Egypt in 6th grade.)

I told her Egypt is at the Met, not Natural History.
She said, "Oh yeah! Let's go there!"
I said, "You want to go to the Met? Really?" (Daya doesn't like the Met.  She thinks it is boring.)
She said, "Yes!"

Well, I'm not going to argue!  I LOVE the Met!
So that's where we went.

Daya is into Pokemon Go, and she says Manhattan is the best place to get whatever it is they get.
I thought the Apple store at 5th ave would be a good spot, and it was. Plus it was on the way.

Looking straight up from the Apple Store elevator

We went to Egypt.

Daya with Anubis

Deciphering hieroglyphics


Daya with Sekhmet

The museum was setting up for some fancy event in the Temple of Dendur so it was roped off.

Daya had some change and she wanted to make wishes for her, me, and Rob.

Then, since Daya is into the musical Hamilton, she wanted to go to the American Wing to look for the portrait of Alexander Hamilton. She even went to the Met's site on her phone to look up the exact gallery.

One thing Daya LOVES is the glass elevator in the American Wing.
I took the BEST pic of her.  She didn't pose intentionally, it just happened she was looking at something and I wanted to take a pic from the other side of the elevator, and there is a sculpture that reflects through the glass.

More pics from the American Wing.

I love this cat in the sculpture court.

Central Park covered in snow! ...and someone's dog.

We found the Hamilton portrait.

From Colonial America Daya was Museumed Out, but I needed the growly lion pic we always take if I can mamage to get her to the Met. The lion is in Greece.

But on the way to Greece I wanted to take a detour because I like this fountain.

When we got to Greece, we stopped in the Greek Sculpture Court because it is one of my favorite places ever.

We made more wishes for her, me, and Rob in the fountain.

And then we went to go roar at the lion.

Thursday, January 05, 2017


I'm feeling extremely wobbly and I'm trying to stay upright.
Basically, I'm seriously concerned about my job stability looking forward.

I have been here for almost 11 years now....I really love my job.
I like the office, I like the people, I like the work, and I like the company.
I like being very established.
I have a good commute.
It is a good situation and I want to stay.

There is so much unknown.....but I feel shaky in a way I never have before.
I'm trying to not be scared but it is hard.

Right now I'm doing nothing.
I don't want to leave and there is no reason to take immediate action.

But I am scared.
I don't have people who would help me in a tough time.
And I need to take care of Daya.

I'm trying to reign in my mind and stay positive, go with Flow, and keep remembering that no matter what I will be ok. But my mind tells me there are people who do not end up ok... Minds are scary things.

As much as I am not ready to leave this life I do think, often, that I'm so glad it will come to an end at some point, that this stress won't last forever.

This is one of those times when I need to keep my energy stable and get out of a fear vibration. It is very difficult.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Message Maybe? and GRRRRR

I haven't thought much about Gabriel since s/he showed up a couple of months ago.

But I maybe might be starting to understand it.
I did get a message, it was subtle, kind-of, but if something comes across your vision and nags and tugs at you, it is probably best to check it out.

So I'm checking something out. Should be interesting.

What I think is that Gabriel gives everyone a lot of messages all the time. Sometimes they don't make sense immediately, or people don't pay attention, or they get a pretty strong "heads up!" then they forget because time can do that to us.

Mini-update:  HAHAHA yep definitely Gabriel and I got the message.

My fuckwit neighbors with their piano.
It is LOUD.
It is BAD.
I cannot for the life of me understand why they don't move their goddamn piano.

I got new upstairs neighbors over the summer.  Supposedly a 70-something old man living alone with a home health care aide.
Yeah right, no way.
He has definitely imported people into that apartment, and there is definitely a kid living there.
The other night I had to go up there because they were BLASTING music down thru my ceiling.

I have called the landlord.
I have called the super, who is FINALLY starting to admit it might not be just one old guy living alone up there.

Over the summer when I was looking to meet people/date I met a guy and we went out a few times. He was a really nice guy, has 2 daughters, and I thought, an actual adult and I made the mistake of not wanting to be mean even though I knew from the start it would never work out.

Not to mention this person was the freaking clingiest person I have ever met.

I was very honest with him back in July- I said I was still going to see other people. Then in the beginning of August- I told him I was starting to see Rob and I wanted to stay with that and see how it goes.  He wanted to be friends.  I said- ok, but I need to be very clear that I am not interested in anything romantic with you.

And this guy would just not take no for an answer.

Being nice didn't work.
Completely ignoring him didn't work.
Getting really angry and being very mean, and outright TELLING HIM TO STOP did not work.

I thought in the beginning of December I was finally done- but he freaking texted me when I was at Winter Walk. So I blocked him.

This morning I got a Facebook friend request from him, and I blocked him there too. It blew up my anger. I need this person to go the fuck away IMMEDIATELY and PERMANENTLY.

I had actually felt badly about rejecting him (had to tell him three times), but when he kept on I stopped feeling bad. Now I'm just super angry about it.
He is not nice, he is a creepy stalker.

I hope he forgot where I live and if I see him I will call the police immediately.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Canarsie Pier

14x18 oil


Sunday, January 01, 2017

2017 Intentions

Well we made it to another new year.
Rob stayed with me and Daya again last night which was really nice.

During the day he and I went out for lunch and he took me over to Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn- I had never been there.  Rob went there a lot as a kid. It is close to the last stop on the L train, then there is a bus that runs right to the pier. Rob drives, though, so no bus or train for us.  We were going to check out the new Second Ave subway but I guess we forgot to do it!

Canarsie Pier has a beautiful view- and there were a lot of people out fishing!
It is surreal- the water is flat and the sky stretches out. There is no city.

My 2017 intentions are:
1. Drink a lot of tea
2. Paint some pictures
3. Nurture good healthy relationships
4. Financial balance.  2016 killed me with dance, summer camp, and braces.

I pulled a tarot card for new years. This year is the 5 of wands, from Tarot of the Water.
This is a very relevant card for current world events.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Well another year is rolling to a close.I sincerely hope 2017 brings in a lot of good energy.

2016 for me personally was a year of good change.
I am still employed for which I am deeply thankful.
Those November job cuts really freaked me out.
I am hoping for job stability in 2017.

This year I found Rob, and I'm really happy about that. It's really, really nice to have a boyfriend.
And long-overdue.

I had a couple of (now former) friends who really looked down on me because I was the terminally single one. They would say, "Oh leave Daya with me." That's not going to work on any kind of regular basis when they live three neighborhoods over. That's a lot of traveling, for me and for Daya. People don't think logistics through, they like to give you a simplified answer to your "problems" without knowing or thinking through the details of reality, especially from your perspective, not theirs. And when you think through those details and say, "No, that won't work logistically," they act like you are making excuses.

I don't care what people say, when you are **literally by yourself** raising a child, and you don't have help with someone watching the child and helping with the daily stuff it really isn't possible logistically to go out dating or carve out regular time for a significant other.  Everyone else who manages it has money for a sitter, or the other parent, or friends/family to stay with the child. Which all of them had.

This is the area my friend Jackie and I really understand about each other- we were both completely alone from the start. She gets it. And I understand this about her, too. She never looked down on me or judged me, because it was the same for her and she knew.

Let's also not mention that during the week, after getting your child to school, you go to work, collect child, come home, get child fed etc it is 8pm and you're DONE. And weekends are about getting all the home stuff done (hopefully), getting the child to lessons or whatever. There is no help with any logistics. Your entire life is completely tied down.

I'm really proud of myself for continuing to paint through those years....but it is something I can do at home. When I started plein air painting most of it was done with vacation days. And it still is.

Even now, I have logistical constraints with Rob and my availability. We often manage to see each other once during the week but it revolves around Daya and needing to get her from dance.  I cannot stay overnights- ever. Daya is too young for that. He can stay here, and he has done so a couple of times, like Christmas, but Daya is here too which makes things different. Not bad or worse, just different.

Daya likes Rob, though the two of them don't have much connection and that is ok. Rob has no experience with kids, especially tweenage girls. I think Daya would like to have a connection but it will be harder for her with Rob because he doesn't have any experience with kids. Besides that, I really consider my relationship with Rob to be about the two of us and not about Daya. I don't want to force anything, and I want my own adult time and space.

That being said, this is one of my favorite pictures from this year, from the Medieval Faire in September.  Daya climbed the rocks and Rob went right up after her.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Terrible Cat Disaster

This morning I heard a crash in my studio.
I thought, "Those stupid cats. I hope it was just my brushes they knocked over again."

Honestly, I never thought I would hope for that....


I had my Dakota box filled with all my Unisons on my drawing table and......

yeah that's what they knocked over and of course it wasn't covered because I forgot to do it last night.

I almost took a picture but I didn't because I don't ever want to see that again and you all shouldn't be exposed to that kind of graphic imagery, either. It was bad.

So anyhow I spent a good part of today putting my Unisons back in the Dakota box...oddly it was bursting full and now it is not...Many of the sticks were unharmed and many were very harmed. I also decided to start removing all the labels.

Here is the box in its current state:

I have a pile of pastel chips that is painful to look at.
I know they can be reconstituted.
I have done that with a few larger chunks, but it is very messy.

I posted on wetcanvas to get help dealing with the chips.

I am trying to not be upset but I AM SO UPSET.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bad Painting Analysis

I have come to the conclusion that being on vacation is really excellent for my plein air painting.

Today I went back to Brooklyn and tired myself out making this really bad painting:
9x12 pastel on Colourfix

When I stepped back from this painting after deciding I was done for the day, my first thought was, "I hate my foliage. My foliage is just terrible."
Now, that is partially true but it isn't the reason why this painting doesn't work for me.

I had some assorted papers with me- my 8x10 sanded papers and one sheet of 9x12 Colourfix (the light blue one) that has been living in my Yellowstone box for a really long time, probably over a year. I might have felt a little sorry for the paper, and I also have been on a Good Painting Streak on the 8x10 Richeson sanded paper, so I decided to be a little different.

Don't get me wrong, Colourfix is amazing paper.  It isn't the paper's fault. But though it doesn't seem like a big difference, there is a difference working 8x10 vs 9x12.

I had come into BBG wanting to paint the reflecting ponds where the water lilies bloom in the spring. The water is like a big mirror, really pretty.  But I couldn't get a composition about water reflections that I liked and not be in the way of people walking or building entrances.

So I went to the Japanese garden because there is water there and I wanted to paint water.
The paths are narrow and again, I couldn't decide on a composition about the water.
I settled on a spot that wasn't in the way of others and had water AND a supercool tree.
Which is what brings me to the 9x12 problem.

Do you see how I am rambling here?
That was my exact problem finding a location I liked.

I thought, "If I use the 9x12 paper instead of the 8x10 I'll have MORE ROOM TO FIT EVERYRTHING!"

And that is exactly the problem.

There is too much going on.
I wanted to paint the tree AND the water, but to do that I had to include all that background stuff because it was in the picture frame.

Landscape with a panorama view works because it is not about details, but the overall shapes the landscape makes in its entirety.

Landscape with a particular focus needs to stick to the focus.

Basically, this painting should have been only about the tree or only about the water.
And from my vantage point the tree worked better because I didn't really have much distant view. The tree was closest, then there was everything else on the same plane. I only have a foreground and a mid-ground.

Also, working 9x12 takes longer because it is larger. 
I can absolutely tell the time difference while I am working.

Ok, there are a few things which I like.
I like the red tree all the way at the left.
My skyholes are effective enough.
I like my twiggy trees, though I need more of them.

But my foreground tree, the one I really liked, came out overworked and rather terrible.
Colourfix, while an amazing surface, doesn't take as many layers as a fully sanded paper,
Also, I started out with a color block-in instead of drawing.  In this case establishing the tree with more drawing would have worked better.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rob's Topiary Squirrel Receives Acorn

Rob has a topiary squirrel on his bookcase.


There is no question it belongs in at least one painting.

Here, the Squirrel has made a friend and gets an acorn.

Pastel (all Unisons) on black Richeson sanded paper 8x10

Monday, December 26, 2016

Turquoise Fog

9x12 pastel on pastelmat
all Rembrandt pastels

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Christmas was nice.
Daya made out exceptionally well.
Rob stayed overnight so he could open presents at Oh-God-Thirty with us.

The cats got presents.
The rats got a present.

It was all quiet and peaceful, and no one shot their eye out.

My father sent Daya a lot of money and she feels sad because she would rather have grandparents who remember how old she is and what grade she is in, and what she is doing in her life. If nothing else at least this is a lesson that money is not a substitute for an actual relationship.  I tell her not to take it personally.

I did not hear anything from my father- he has always acknowledged me at Christmas but he did not this year. When Daya called to say thank you he did not ask to speak to me.

Daya wanted a new gym mat.
I wanted to know why since she already has one, and she gave me a list of reasons that sounded very suspicious.

But Santa shelled out the $94 for a new gym mat.
And there were TWO.
gym mats.

I had no idea.
No idea how big they were and there are TWO.

I checked about 7 times to make sure I wasn't charged twice.  Nope.
Rob said that happened to him once too- he thought he bought a single item but it turned out that Qty 1 meant a set of 2.  They arrived in MASSIVE boxes and have been driving me insane for most of December.

Daya's old gym mat, when laid across ONE of the new mats, looks like a postage stamp.
It is a good thing her room is big enough to fit the mats.

Munchie observed.

Handstand Shirt.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Today is the Winter Solstice, the darkest night, after which the light comes back.  it is the birth of light.

As I have done for several years now, I went over to St Patrick's to light some candles and send some energy and intentions out to be birthed.  Today is the day of all days to do this.

Here is the tree at Rockefeller Center:

Inside the cathedral.

I lit three candles this year, they are the three at the top next to the angel.

More inside the cathedral.

This year's nativity scene.