topiary cats

topiary cats

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Poor Decision

Once upon a time...

...two brothers named Ben and Jerry went shopping at an exclusive Korean market in Paris.

They purchased several unusual items.  Only a few were perishable.

They were very happy and excited about their purchases.

A foreign independent film was playing in a nearby theater.
Jerry said, "Ben, I know of a candle shop where we can put our bags during the film. I am friends with the owner and I know they will not mind."

So, Ben and Jerry put a total of two (2) bags in the candle shop where they would not be disturbed.

They went to view the film and had a lovely outing.

When they returned to the candle shop to collect their parcels, the shop was closed.

"I was not expecting that," said Jerry.
"Don't worry, I know how to pick locks," said Ben.
"Wow," said Jerry.
"I need something long and thin." said Ben.
Jerry looked in his pockets. As it so happened, he had a safety pin and an eyeglass repair kit.
"I can pick the lock with that!" said Ben.

He tried and got very close, but alas, success eluded the brothers.

They then noticed the store hours sign, which indicated that 1) the shop had been closed for several hours and 2) the shop would open again in two days' time.

Jerry said to Ben, "Well, I'll have to mail you your Korean delicacies."
Ben said, "Ok."
Jerry said, "Nice work trying to pick that lock. You have mad skillz and I appreciate your valiant effort."

Ben said, "Lock-picking is a valuable skill. I am going to get you a lock-picking kit for Diwali."

They took the metro home and wrote a blog post about the incident.

Ben said, "Are you sure no one will recognize us in the blog post?"
Jerry said, "Yep, I'm mostly sure."

The End

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fuckwit Neighbors Update

Don't get any hopes up, they are still fuckwits.

I have been blasting them for the past couple of evenings. They make their poor child play the piano through my blasts of ridiculously loud music which is absurd. I feel terrible for the child; she's actually a nice kid. She should absolutely not be in the middle of this.

Someone was actually banging on all the piano low notes as loud as they could- I heard it between songs. It was just no match for Depeche Mode.

Sad, really.

So last night they started with the piano again, and I started with Guns N Roses (which they do seem to particularly dislike). My speakers are connected to my phone (or computer) through Bluetooth.

I'm not sure how they did it, but they are doing something to break my bluetooth connection. Because my speakers are right against their wall, so the signal is probably accessible through their apartment.
They cannot pair to my speakers but they are doing something to interrupt the connection between my phone and speakers.

I did some research on how that might be happening. There are a few things they could be doing, all of which are more complicated than just moving the piano.

Anyhow, because I am a geek I have several assorted cords and connectors- one of which happens to be my beloved line-in cable. I have been using it for years. It looks like a headphone connection on both ends and costs around $5.

And so I don't actually need a bluetooth connection to blast them. I can do it old-school with wires and there's nothing they can do about it.

When they stopped playing the piano I treated them to a Guns N Roses concert, followed by
this perfect song:

BS Detector

The best parenting advice I ever got came from a former boss named Barry Kruse.

He told me that when kids act up, it is either because they really need something, or because they are just being little assholes.

It is so, so true.

Sometimes I actually feel sorry for Daya, because she has a mother who has insanely good BS radar.

This past Thursday night:
On the train home, Daya asked me if I got paid this week.  (No.)  She then INFORMED* me that she needs new jazz shoes. They are "ONLY" $35.

*INFORMED.  Not asking nicely.

"ONLY" $35.  I see.
I inquired as to why she needed new jazz shoes.

The answer: the current (Capezio brand) shoes look ever-so-slightly different from the shoes most of the other dance team girls have.  Oh, and her shoes "aren't slippery enough on the bottom".


Not slippery enough on the bottom.

I called immediate BS since Daya has been wearing her current jazz shoes since September and this is the first I am hearing about "slippery" problems.

Yeah, she had to do better than that to convince me and I told her so.

Daya was so angry with me for not believing her.  She even went to bed angry.
Well, we are both Scorpios and I am just as stubborn as she is.

I don't care.  She can be as mad as she wants. I truly do not care when she is mad at me.** Whatever. I dump *so much money* into her dancing, and time, and energy in supporting her.  There is NO FREAKING WAY I am falling for a BS story like that.

***It is especially important to allow girls the space to be angry and learn to deal with/cope/express it. Girls expressing anger is generally unacceptable in society, and too often we learn to repress it. If you are a girl, and when you get really angry you cry uncontrollably (like me), this is the reason. It is more acceptable for girls to cry, and this unfortunately becomes our "programming" for expression.

It was a long day for her and I know she was tired, which compounded things.
In general, Daya is absolutely amazing and awesome.
She does regularly say thank you to me.
She really is a great kid. So, I don't take the BS too seriously at all.
Friday morning she wanted to forget about the whole thing.

Oh, but I was so NOT impressed that I asked one of Daya's teachers to resolve this little dispute.
(I always defer to them because I am a painter, not a dancer.)

Of course she does not need new jazz shoes.
But I would prefer to call her out on this BS to hopefully prevent some future BS.  Well, as much as possible. She's a kid, it really is ok. But I wanted to make a point.

Anyhow, I told Daya that if she had said, "Mom, my jazz shoes smell really funky; I need new ones!" I would have taken that more seriously.

Really, her jazz shoes do smell very funky.

However, funky shoe-smell is very easily cured by an overnight soak in some clean kitty litter, which I always have on-hand.

you do NOT know
funky shoes
unless you have
a dancer child

Daya ssked me, "What would you do to de-stink my shoes if we didn't have cats?"
I told her, "I would buy kitty litter just for this purpose."
She said, "40 lbs??"
I said, "No, not that much."

Friday, February 26, 2016

Vintage 72

Dru found an amazing set of pastels at The Second Show, which is the most amazing secondhand store, ever.

They are Winsor Newton pastels- and WN does not make pastels any longer.
The pastels are in almost brand-new condition, none are even broken.  Most aren't used at all, and a few have a tiny amount of use.

There are 72 of them. FULL STICKS not half sticks!
What an amazing find!

Dru got them for EIGHT DOLLARS.

Because Dru is awesome, and she doesn't use pastels (I think she should but she disagrees), she sent them to me!

Such a great color range.  Most of the pastels are nice and soft in consistency- a few are slightly harder (probably due to the individual pigments)but all have a good consistency.

They have lots of friends here.

Thank you Dru!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Log Progress

The rats are on a mission to eradicate the Log.

Through the years, I have had many rats, and I have given them Logs before.
But no one- EVER- was addicted to their Log the way Munchie and Q-Tip are.

Actually it is mostly Munchie.

How do I tell them apart?  Easy. Q-Tip is much bigger than Munchie.  He is a huge mellow lazy brick.  Munchie is small and constantly tries to compensate for his small size by being a bully to Q-Tip. And the funny thing is that Q-Tip just doesn't care.

The Log Raft on Monday night:

The Log Raft Plank Wednesday night:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Yesterday afternoon Daya had another dentist appointment.  A quick one.  She just needs a few more sealants.

I scheduled the appointment for 2:30. I notified school I was picking her up early at 1:45.
That should be plenty of time. I worked from home.

I knew Daya would be hungry, so I made her a shrimp-filled onigiri (Japanese rice ball wrapped in seaweed).

Daya's school is a very quick ride on the bus- less than 10 minutes. It's just across the neighborhood.
I planned on leaving around 1:15 but was running late, so it was more like 1:25.  Still ok.

It was cold and raining and I did not bring my umbrella.  Also, I was wearing my light jacket.
Bad decisions.

I just missed the bus and the next one was Very Far Away.

Ok, not too big a deal, Route #2 activated- 2 fast train stops and another quick bus ride.

I just missed THAT bus, too.

Time check: 1:38.


At this point I started to wonder if I should have just walked to her school in the first place.
20 minutes, but guaranteed.  But I was COLD.  And it was raining!

That stupid bus took FOREVER.
I was still waiting at 1:50.

2:15ish- arrived at school very late. Collected Daya.
Went back to the bus (a different one).

Gave Daya the rice ball.  She loved it.
We waited.
It was cold.
Time: 2:34.
I had to call the dentist.
They said since her appointment was so short, they had someone else booked at 2:45.
We rescheduled.

Daya saw the bus she takes to dance approach.  She wanted to go, so I said ok, bye.

Then I waited until my stupid bus finally showed up and I went home.

I spent 1 hour and 20 minutes freezing cold in the rain waiting for buses and going around in a pointless circle for what should have been a 10 minute trip.

The ONLY thing accomplished was that 
Daya ate a rice ball 
at a bus stop 
waiting for a bus 
she didn't even get on.

*Jacket: FAIL
*Umbrella: FAIL
*Bus: FAIL x 2
*Dentist: FAIL
*Rice Ball:  SUCCESS

well the rice ball was successful at least

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mad Butterfly

Our theme this week is butterflies.
This is a good theme. lots of possibilities.
I did a little color study.

Panpastels* and unisons on black mi tientes
*the black sparkly one, silver, gold, and iridescent yellow

Monday, February 22, 2016

Just Reality

I have felt ambivalent about writing a post on the state of things lately. Not sure why, perhaps lack of will to do it.  I don't know.  It's hard to care these days.

In a nutshell, I am not doing well. I'm not even close to being ok. It's not really apparent from outward appearances. For too many years I have been running on empty, and I have finally reached that point when the engine can't manage anymore.  But I have no choice, I still have to survive and take care of a child and be functional. I don't know what comes next.

I dread waking up in the morning and having to get through yet another day.

Over the last 20- yes, TWENTY!! years- I have been consciously and actively working on myself, my life, to create positive change.

I have done all the right things.
I have done some wrong things, too.
But honestly, nothing very horrific.

And yet, I have been unsuccessful in creating a good positive present life.
Through the years I have never encountered anyone with as few people-resources as me.

I have no bank of major positive experiences.
At best, my experiences have been bad.
At worst, they have been traumatic.
There is no balance.

For years I have been aware of a very high level of background stress.  It just runs in the background whether or not  I think about it.  It has everything to do with raising a child completely alone. I have no backup, no buffer in the event of emergency or misfortune.  It is like travelling on a very narrow snowy mountain road with no guardrail. I am always aware of that brink.

It is also very sad to have no one to share the joys of Daya's childhood with.
It is indescribably lonely.
I know for a fact it affects Daya, makes her sad.
But there is nothing I can do about it.\
I tried.
I failed, on every level.

Sometimes life shapes us in ways we cannot control despite our best efforts. And then we can't care anymore because there's just not much of anything left.

I really don't want to be here anymore.

The irony of that is I'm really freaked out about what would happen to Daya if something did happen to me. I mean, I really, really worry about this. Often.

I have a will, but it needs to be changed as I haven't heard from my sister in years and I don't ever expect to again.  I have no one else I would entrust Daya to. There is no one else.
Filling out emergency contact forms stresses me out.

I wish I had known that nothing changes despite all best efforts before I had a kid.
Now there is no escape.

These days my only consolation is that one day really will be the end.

People can say and think what they want, but I would challenge them to live through my life and come out differently. I don't think it's possible, not for lack of trying.

Have compassion for things you don't understand,

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Yesterday we went back to the museum of natural history to check out the new Titanosaurus.
He is huge.
So huge that he does not fit inside the HUUUGE room allocated for him.

We love the titanosaurus, and I hope he is a permanent addition to the museum's dinosaur family.


Saturday, February 20, 2016


I got the rats a Log.
It is crunchy and edible.
They are obsessed, especially Munchie, which I suppose is appropriate.
He might be trying to eat the entire Log in one night.

Q-Tip was gnoshing on the Log, but he is very lazy and he stopped to take a nap.
Munchie has been gnoshing on the LOG for- literally- hours.

He also photobombed the Log.

Pebbles thinks the rats are interesting and perplexing.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Featuring Furball

I was looking for some pictures for Nancy, and I came across these lovely photos of Furball.
Furball is cute and perfect.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


At work yesterday, I needed an envelope.
There were no envelopes in the copy room by my desk, so I went across the floor to check out the other copy room.

There were no envelopes there, either.

Instead, there were "Free Books"........

.......... on Hepatitis C.

Oh, I DEFINITELY don't want that!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Daya had her teeth cleaned yesterday.  She has zero cavities and 1 baby tooth left.
As always, she requires my sunglasses because she is allergic to the light.

Daya needs braces.
I have known this for a while and I have delayed the consultation...I guess because subconsciously I am scared of the cost.

How to pay for it....I don't know. I really, really don't know.
Having no help for anything, in any way, ever- really stinks.
And it is scary.

How did I end up like this?

But she has an appointment next month, so I'll have to face it.

I had braces.  Twice. I hated the orthodontist...going and all the crap surrounding it.  My mother used my orthodontic expenses as a way to harass, annoy, and financially burden my father.  There were many screaming phone conversations- the arguing even extended to the receptionist at the office.

It was bad.

During those years, on occasional visits to see my father, my teeth were always a topic of conversation. How much the braces cost. They argued around me and through me. My father was so angry that once he even took me for another opinion during a visit.

The orthodontist apparently took advantage of the situation, and my braces cost three times what they should have, or something like that.

Of course my sister's teeth came in perfectly and she didn't need any orthodontic work at all.

There is that small voice that tells me perhaps this is my karma for having been such a burden as a child.

But I'll never make Daya feel badly for having... needs that kids have.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mad Beer

Carey was lamenting the dreadful Budweiser superbowl commercial.
As a joke, she suggested beer for our theme this week.
I thought it was a fine idea, so, beer.

There is a beer in my fridge. Someone left it here. It has been there for more than 2 1/2 years, making it the oldest resident in my fridge. It lives on the top shelf way in the back, and for some reason that I do not know, I just leave it in there.

I do not like beer.
It tastes gross and gives me a bad headache.

So here is my tribute to the ancient beer in my fridge.

I have decided to evict the beer and leave it in the hallway on the window sill.
Someone will definitely take it.

pastel (Unisons) on black mi tientes

evicted beer

Monday, February 15, 2016

Telephoto Cats

The cats go on top of my kitchen cabinets sometimes.
Isis was napping up there last night. I went to make tea and I woke her up. Furball was following me around, and she went up because if someone is up there Furball ALWAYS follows.

The photos definitely need color correction etc but I'm too lazy to do post-production.

This is my fave pic of Isis, ever