topiary cats

topiary cats

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Spider Sorceress

Daya is a Spider Sorceress this year.
We went to Boo at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo last weekend. It was a nice day.

Roasting marshmallows


And some really neat jack-o-lanterns

Friday, October 30, 2015


I guess maybe I did have a secret birthday wish yesterday, but it did not come true.
Hope is not worth having.  It really isn't.  It is just false thoughts to shield from reality.
It is important to be in reality, to face reality.

This has nothing to do with my secret birthday wish, but, sometimes, even when I don't want to have- or know not to have- expectations of other people, I have expectations.

Yesterday I did not hear from my father.
As much as the last thing I want is to be an obligation to anyone, it still would have been nice. He doesn't have to do anything, I know that, so I shouldn't be upset but I guess I am.  It is my own failing. I spoke to him on his birthday last month.

We don't have a great relationship, or much of any relationship to be honest, and that's because he isn't interested in having one. But he has always acknowledged my birthday. And I used to visit every two or three years, when they weren't too busy.

I'm not allowed to visit him anymore because a couple of years ago I had a falling-out with my stepmother, who I have known since I was three years old.  She dumped me. I don't want to go into it, but it was bad.  As a result I can't visit. I asked my father if that came from him or my stepmother, he said both of them. So Daya can go, but she has to go alone.  It is what it is.

They are a 2 hour flight away from me.
They travel a lot for my stepmother's business.
My father is now retired.

The last time we spoke about my wanting to visit, before I was banned, he told me I have "expectations" which make it difficult with their schedule.  He went on to say that when I visit, I have expectations of them actually being there, and how it is hard for them to basically put their lives on hold for me.

Daya has stopped asking when she can visit them. But she still asks about them sometimes. She hasn't gotten it yet. She doesn't understand yet that they don't really care.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


I have mentioned before that birthdays are rather like cat puke. And so it goes, today is another one.

What a crappy year.
That doesn't mean I lack gratitude, but it's also ok to say something is crappy if it is.
How often do we deny ourselves the space to feel a certain way because it isn't how we "should" feel?

Besides, it is possible to feel more than one thing at a time, and have awareness.

This year, from last birthday to this birthday, has been awful.
It is the 10 year anniversary of an awful time.

Events in the present have made it awful.
I do not appreciate the timing.

I dislike my birthday. It reminds me of how little celebration there has been in my life, and about my life. It reminds me that the people who are supposed to care really don't. And it has been so for a very long time. It will not change.

Today reminds me of all the sadness I have accumulated throughout my entire life. And then when I think it is finally over, it isn't. It has not gotten better, no matter what I do. I want to be numb but I'm not.

Being completely truthful, I just don't want to be here anymore.
Enough is enough.
But I have Daya to look after, so I'm stuck. Trapped.


A diamond has no worth or value if no one wants it.

I feel ancient inside.  Thousands and thousands of years old. I have lived too many lifetimes.
Outside, I don't look ancient.  People who know nothing about me routinely guess I am in my early- to mid- twenties.

So I look very young but I feel so deeply ancient.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mad ACEO: Ink

Slinky Inky-Ink!

Carey and I both wanted to keep going with ACEOs. Ink is our theme for this week's Mad ACEO. We decided to do 5 and post them as a little mini-series today.

I only got 4 done (sorry Carey :( ).

Yesterday was a Cactus Monday reunion, so one of my ACEOs was a cactus.

Cactus Monday Reunion
inktense pencils and faux gold leaf finish on Bristol

ink on Bristol

My Ink Runneth Over
Ink  and silver ink on Bristol

Inkblot Cats
Ink on Bristol

Carey's Mad Inks are here.  :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

I Have No Idea What to Call this Post

So, I have been trying to get a pic of the two guys dressed as the Statue of Liberty in Times Square. They are ALWAYS right next to each other. I was going to ponder the many why's of this.

I was going to title the post "Dudes Look Like a Lady". Although, to be fair, there are plenty of ladies under those outfits.  I know, because they take the masks off sometimes.

Before I could get a good picture, Chris blogged this post.

It never, ever occurred to me.

I did always wonder why there were so very many creepy characters in Times Square, more coming all the time, and how that could possibly be a viable job.  Yes, I do see tourists taking pictures with them.  But in reality, if you take 40 pictures and everyone gives you a dollar or two, that's not a whole lot of money.  I just assumed they were hired by a company and made salary of some kind.

Maybe they do.

But maybe they don't.

People are freaking SICK. They always have been- in all cultures and time periods; it is nothing new.
But it is still gross.

If you don't know what I am talking about go read Chris's post and the comments.
This is not something I know anything about, aside from a vague knowledge that it exists and it is weird. I don't want to know anything more. I don't want to google it. Ignorance is bliss.

I did not take this picture.
But I can say from first-hand experience...
...they really are everywhere.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Lesson in Jealousy

There is a new girl in Daya's Acro 3 class.  (That's level 3 acrobatics)
Acro is Daya's favorite class, and she is extremely good.  She is very strong and very flexible, which her teacher says is the ideal combination.  Most people are one or the other.

So anyhow, there is a new girl in Daya's class.  She is new to the studio.  She is 2 or 3 years older than Daya, and has been doing gymnastics since she was 3 or 4- which is when Daya started dance.

Anyhow, this new girl is really, really good in Acro.  She can already do a few things Daya has been working hard on.

Daya was very jealous.  The kind of jealous that makes you cry.  So we had a talk about jealousy, and I let Daya have her cry. I said jealousy is just one of those normal but unpleasant things about being human, that it is normal and natural. so allow it to be, acknowledge it, and let it go.  We talked about how this girl is older than Daya and has been doing gymnastics for a long time, so of course she is good.  The same way Daya has been doing dance for a long time and she is very good. I told her that maybe she might want to make friends with this girl and learn from her.  Daya said she wasn't there yet. I told Daya that was fine.

I told Daya there are ALWAYS going to be people who are better at things that we are, that's just life. And we are better at some things than others.  That is just the way of life, and what matters is that she is working hard and doing her best.  She shouldn't compare herself to others.

As the days went on, I asked Daya how she was feeling about the jealousy.  She said fine, better, but still a little jealous.  But she was thinking about our talk.

Yesterday morning as we went to dance, Daya told me she had a little speech.  I listened.  She said she realizes that if she is working and doing her best, that's what matters. She said that being jealous should make her want to work harder, and still see the positive in people instead of focusing on the negative.  She no longer feels jealous. She is ready to make a new friend. She feels good.

She did this all on her own. We haven't talked about the new girl for several days.

What Daya did is a deeply mature thing that many people never figure out.
We talked about giving those unpleasant feelings space, feeling them, allowing them, so they can run their course.  It is like opening the door for them to go out and leave.  And this is exactly what happened.

I am so very proud of her. I can't even express how deeply proud I am of her.

And this is just one of the many things she learns from dance. It is not just about dance technique.
It is very expensive and I am really truly completely BROKE but it is so worth it.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Two Daya Things

I found a picture of the best text ever.

And this one. Daya prefers to use a fork with cheeze puffs.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Mad ACEO: Black 2

I wanted to do more ACEOs on black. I asked Carey if she wanted to join me, and she said yes.

So last night I made two more cards, both on the black Artagain paper.

Here is the first card:

Turquoise Tree
Acrylic on black Artagain paper
2.5 x 3.5

The interference effect is hard to photograph

I used the Golden CT Interference Green-Blue over the tree, which is a fantastic interference color!

Seriously fun paint

For the second card, I wanted to try the Inktense pencils again, but this time I put one coat of clear gesso over the paper to give it some tooth.  It made all the difference in the world, both wet and dry!!
Wednesday's effort had to be applied so thickly you might as well just use paint.

Yellow Moon Vat
Inktense pencils on black Artagain paper
2.5 x 3.5

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mad ACEO: Black

Nancy called me last night because she said our horoscope was beautiful.

Scorpio, for 21 October
On the cusp of the old you and the new you;  
you are as mysterious as a midnight moon. 
Those who are "awake" enough to admire you 
can't help but wonder about 
the side you don't show the world.

I asked Carey if she wanted to do another ACEO, and she said yes. I cut some black Artagain paper* so I could do some work on black. Carey said that was fine with her so that's what we did: ACEOs on a black surface.

Medium is Inktense- both the blocks and the pencils.  I also used the opaque white flakes (acrylic medium).

For the most part, I was really fighting with the Inktense. I thought it would be good on black, but it was a struggle. Perhaps I need a surface with more tooth, like clear gesso or black Colorfix.

That's the great thing about ACEOs- they are quick, and good for experimenting.

Snow Light
Inktense and acrylic flake medium on black Artagain paper
2.5 x 3.5

*It is very unsettling to use an x-acto knife while watching American Horror Story.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A PEW for Dru

Dru liked the very cute little grater I showed last week, so I asked if she wanted one, since Blick was on my to-do list. She said yes.

I couldn't get her just the grater, she needed some other fun stuff to go with the grater. And that was when i saw the ACEO papers.........

So I made an ACEO card for Dru.
She likes PEW rats. (pink-eyed whites).
I like my new mica flake acrylic medium.

A PEW for Dru
ACEO (2.5 x 3.5")
Acrylic on paper

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mad ACEO: Birthday

ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals.
They are always 2.5 x 3.5 inches (6.4 x 8.9 cms).
Drusilla does a lot of them, and she does them well.
I always say to her, "I don't know how you work so small."

And THEN... I saw the pre-cut papers at Blick, in several assortments.
I had to get them.

I said to Carey, "Wanna do some ACEOs and choose a theme together?"
Carey said, "Yes!"

So we did.

Our theme is Birthday, because Carey is buried in birthday mayhem. I agreed to the theme, even though I think birthdays are rather like cat puke. Well, mine is at least.

So I struggled with it, thinking of images and rejecting them, until one popped into my head and I got excited! I thought of traditional symbols, like candles, and I thought of trees and how their rings determine their age.

Also, I LOVE Acrylic for ACEOs.
Here is my offering for Birthday.

Acrylic (I got to use my gold paint!)
2.5 x 3.5"

Carey's ACEO is here.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Pebbles is pretending to be me.
True Fact:  Pebbles spends roughly 80% of her life on my bed.

And it is another Monday. Unfortunately I cannot spend the day like Pebbles is.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

More Flakes & Beads & Stucco etc

Acrylic texture mediums are my new obsession.
Thank goodness they are finite in number.

I see so many creative possibilities with these.  It is very exciting.  They cannot be used over oil paint of course, but there is no reason a decorative acrylic background couldn't be integrated with an oil portrait, for example.

There is a sand medium (actually plural, there are a few of them) and I don't know if I need it (them) or not, yet.

In the meantime, here are more super fun mediums.

Liquitex Black Lava
Liquitex Ceramic Stucco
Golden Glass Beads*
Golden Mica Flake (Large)
Golden Pearl Mica (small)

Added to previous test panel:
Golden Glass beads under the Liquitex Glass Beads
Golden Clear Tar Gel (mixed with cerulean blue)

* Yes I have the Liquitex Glass beads. I read that the Golden glass bead medium is far more densely loaded.  I needed to compare them. There are worse things than being ridiculous about art supplies, right??

The Glass Bead Verdict: Yes, Golden's medium is far more densely packed than Liquitex. The beads in the Liquitex medium are a bit larger.  Golden does not seem to dry clear in thicker patches; Liquitex does. The Liquitex can be applied in a few layers to get more beads on there.  I like them both.

NOTE: I also got a crackle medium, but I still need to test it.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Oh Darn, I Missed It

I had no idea this existed.  It must be a hipster holiday.

Who knew.

Kale is ok, but I prefer spinach.

Friday, October 16, 2015

What the Hell Is It?

Can you guess what these strange-looking things in my studio are?


This is a two-of-a-kind* (I think?) color checker/isolator thingy that Sid made for me.  He even put stickers on it which was very thoughtful.

You look through it like so:

 And the white spot is for value-checking.

*Sid made himself one, too. I do not recall if it also has stickers on it.


Well, yes, that is a spoon,  This is more a "Why the hell?' than a "What the hell?"
That stuff on the spoon is dried linseed oil.  I use the spoon to mix mediums for oil, usually 2 parts oil and 2 parts solvent.  The spoon works very well for this, as I only mix in small amounts.


I have the XL Derwent graphite and charcoal blocks.  This odd-looking block thing is for shaping the blocks to make different marks.


The cuuuuutest little grater you will ever see! Also a Derwent thing, for powdering graphite, inktense blocks, or whatever your fine powder needs might be.


 Turned on its side, it looks like a cat!
 It is a sgraffito tool thingy, for scratching. Like cats scratch.

This is what the package says.  I kept the package so I would remember what this thing is for. Otherwise I will just think it is a cat.

As I write this post, Thursday evening (that was last night), my next door neighbors are BLASTING their TV of a Russian guy talking.  He must be giving a speech or something because no one else is talking and there is no other sound. It sounds like he is right here in my living room.


Thursday, October 15, 2015


I said to Daya, as we were coming home from dance, "I think my missing Lord of the Rings dvd is in your room, because it isn't anywhere else."

Since I have gone through everything I own this year, and purged and organized everything, I can say that with definite authority. And I have been looking for that disc. Almost obsessively.

It has been driving me batshit crazy.


Daya immediately said, "Oh yeah! Is it beige and says Part Two on it?"


"Yeah, I have it!  It is with my DVDs in my DVD case. Does it have vines on it?"


When we got home she produced that DVD in less than 30 seconds.

I have been looking for it since EARLY JANUARY.


Update on linked post: the smoke detector was replaced a long time ago.

There are no more outstanding "lost things".

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Time Capsules

Launna wrote this in a recent post:

"memories of a time I believed in dreams 
that never came to pass"

There is so much I used to believe in that I don't believe in anymore.  I couldn't even if I wanted to. A lot of that is due to just growing up. A lot of it is due to life experiences.

I have been going through my storage bins, where stuff from over the years has ended up. There are about eight bins, containing the last bits of things that needed to be gone through and either kept or discarded.  These bins are where a lot of unsorted items ended up through moving, life changes, etc. They are all pre-Daya. I also found 4 different NY state IDs going back in time through various points back to my first apartment.

The bins were like little time capsules, Going through them was like going back in time.  One bin held junk- literally junk- papers and things- from when I was married/with my ex. All happily trashed. Another was from my witchy coven days, and seminary. Then college.

That's about as far back in time as I go, with a few random exceptions.  Everything from before college that I kept is in my mother's hoarded-out house.  I don't expect to ever go back there, and that's fine. So while it would be fun to show Daya my old school yearbooks and things like that, it isn't possible so it isn't worth dwelling on.

There was a lot I forgot about. And probably even more that has been permanently forgotten with no reminders remaining. To be honest, there is nothing worth keeping from those periods in my life so it doesn't matter.

It's so strange how the stages of my life have definite starts and ends, with little-to-no overlap.  Even with people. Connecticut, Georgia, college, coven/seminary, the ex, and now raising a child alone. The people who have been with me the longest at this point are my rat-friends, Cathy and Drusilla, who I met in 2001.

I never really had Life Plans. There were things I wanted, things I wanted to do. I have pursued some interests, but otherwise my life has been a matter of trying to be ok, trying to learn how to be ok, not being ok, and surviving.  I have gone from too many very scary weird negative circumstances to neutral and stable, for which I am still grateful. Stability is very important to me. I am the only one who can be counted on for my stability.

As far as Life Plans going forward, I just have to stay afloat. There is a lot I have just given up on. There is a lot of hope I have lost, mostly concerning other people and things changing for the better. I do wish my life was different in that regard, but there is no sense dwelling on the impossible. I don't know what else I can do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Horoscope

Nancy sent me a note on Sunday.  Sometimes she sends our horoscope, since we are both Scorpios. I think she gets them from a newspaper in Oklahoma.

Anyhow, this is a cool one:

You elevate simple matters to the level of an art form.
 Others who don't take it quite as far 
will be impressed and inspired 
once they get past being jealous.

Now, it is absolutely incomprehensible to me that anyone would be jealous of me or my life.  But I do tend to take simple things to an artistic level- that is true.