topiary cats

topiary cats

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


I haven't posted anything painting-related in a little too long......
But there is something on my easel, because Carey and I decided to resume our weekly projects.

I'm glad because it really does keep me moving.

So, there is a pastel up on my easel and it needs a lot of work.
I'm using my Mungyo semi-hards, which I love madly.

On Sunday when I started my new painting, my easel gave out and I am really bothered by this.  The.... thingy.... which tightens the painting from the top has gone and died on me so I can't tighten the painting to the mast of my easel.
Which causes difficulty.

It's this thing:
See where the threads are stripped?
I don't know what this is called but surely it can be replaced..... right??

Monday, February 27, 2017


Pebbles LOVES Rob and she is also extremely self-satisfied and self-important.
Because she knows she matches the wine.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Cat Barre

Daya has converted her ballet barre into a cat toy.

Pebbles spends a disproportionate amount of time in The Box Drusilla Sent (a year and a half ago) and Furball loves the hanging catnip toy. Isis roams around looking fluffy and scratching things.

I am happy Daya has a room with nice wood floors where she can practice.
She really does have good space to practice.
All artistic pursuits require always-available dedicated space.
(SIDE NOTE: I always find it odd when people with much more living space than I have tell me they don't have room for their painting space, they wish they did make room. If it is important you make room.)

If it was up to Daya she would sleep on a gym mat in an empty room with no furniture.
(I said no to that)

This year we have removed quite a lot of her furniture and her room at this point is mostly open space.  It is very nice.  And sunny. She likes to put those huge gym mats down with the spare mattress from her top bunk.

She wanted to get rid of the top bunk but I said no. After serious consideration.
We are in a one bedroom apartment- it is an excellent apartment- but it is still a one bedroom and we really have to maximize storage space while still keeping floor space open.
So I said No to removing the top bunk.  We simply need the space and the bunk bed is very space efficient.

When I told her she doesn't have to use it as a bed- it can be mat storage- and we moved the bed across the room- and especially when she figured out she can use the spare mattress to practice back handsprings- she finally decided to like her bunk bed again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Room(s) Where it Happened

School is out all week........ these school holidays were so much better when I was a kid and I was off.....well, we didn't get as much time off back then....

Anyhow Daya is out of school this week.
Yesterday she came to work with me. It's been a while since Daya has been in the office.  I hooked up her computer, got her internet, and she played Roblox all day. And she had an unlimited supply of free hot chocolate.

After work we went to yoga together, and it was a good class.
Daya did a pretty excellent shoulder stand.
She's good with the physical part, but she needs to grow into the internal/mental/meditation part.  The infinite part. It is a different pace than she is used to- it isn't dance class. Also, she is eleven.

The asanas do have very definite benefits, internal and external, but yoga isn't about how well you can do it, or even how flexible you are (or are not).
It isn't about showing off, or what anyone else thinks.

Daya is definitely a natural yogi (she even has a yoga name! Daya is a Sanskrit name) and I wish she would embrace the internal part a little more, because it would really help her right now, but it isn't something that can be forced.

A lady came up to us after class to ask how old Daya is and to say she is really amazing. Which is true.

Then we finally used the gift card Rob gave Daya for her birthday and went to dinner.

Daya's phone ran out of juice, so on the way home we each took one of my earbuds and listened to Hamilton together.

BY THE WAY if you are not familiar with Hamilton you ought to do yourself a favor and check it out, it is seriously brilliant and amazing.

We had possibly the goofiest ride home, as goofy as possible without being annoying to others. Daya is obsessed with Hamilton, she knows the whole score and has dance moves.  I already took her to the Met to see the Hamilton portrait, Next up we have to go downtown to Trinity Church to see the grave.
Drusilla says the Museum of Finance downtown has more stuff, too.  

I grew up in New England in Newtown CT, which is a pre-Revolutionary War town (founded 1705)- so we heard a whole lot about Revolutionary War Stuff pretty much all the time.  But NYC is, of course, a fantastic place to scout out historic sites. So I'm really glad Daya is into it- we live in a perfect place to explore.

Aside from having a nice talk at dinner, I think it was a really good thing for Daya and me to just spend time together having fun and being a bit silly.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dixie and Harvey

Dru and Branwen came over last night for a little birthday party for Branwen.
Rob came over, too.

Here is a little painting I did of Branwen's cats.  Harvey (who is a girl) is on top and her mom Dixie is below. 

Pastel on black Richeson sanded paper, 8x10

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

V Day

I always do something for Daya for Valentine's day...usually chocolates.
This year I got her a box of chocolates and 2 cards... one from me and one from the cats. I sneak into her room when she is asleep and leave it for her to see first thing in the morning.


Rob took me out which I really appreciate, especially on a Tuesday night after work.

We went to a really nice place in Brooklyn- actually right in my old neighborhood a couple of blocks from Pratt. It was lovely, and the food was really good.

He also gave me a big bouquet of flowers.
The cats were intensely curious until they decided it was boring, after all.

All three cats kept photobombing my flowers...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Conversation

She: Mom please massage my back.
Me. Ok.
I massage her back, then her legs.
She: No mom! Not my legs.  My legs are fine!
Me: Since when are your legs fine?
She: Never.

Isis is pretending to be a pillow.
She un-perfect-rounded herself just in time for the picture.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Topiary Snowcat

Here is a little topiary cat in pastel. ( all Nupastel)
It is on that second sheet of blue colourfix- primed watercolor paper.
I used acrylic glitter glaze in the background for the sparkles.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Back at the Met

Last month when I went to the Met there was snow.
Same for yesterday.

Rob and I went to the Met- I wanted to show him the colonial American furniture, which he liked very much. And the Frank Lloyd Wright room.

He also liked the European Renaissance paintings.

I took this pic of Rob in the dragon mirror.

And I visited my favorite Memling painting.
I love her.

Central Park is pretty in the snow.
All the kids were out sliding around on sleds and having fun.
We found some snowmen.

Here are some more snow pictures.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Orange Clouds

Here are some orange clouds.
My focuser is kind of broken so this was a small quick study that still took 2 easel-sittings.

5x7 pastel (assorted brands) on blue colourfix-primed Strathmore WC paper.

Friday, February 10, 2017

You Can't Wear Just One

I did a double-take when I saw this.
Yep she's wearing two backpacks.

One for school and one for dance.

Thursday, February 09, 2017


It is snowing!
I'm working from home and schools are closed.
We will go out later if weather permits, I guess thesnow is supposed to continue all day...we are supposed to get about a foot.
The cats are curious about the snow!
Furball has left the window but Isis is camped out there, taking up the whole window sill...she'll be there for a long time.

Furball is fascinated by the snow.
The window is open and the snow is hitting my screen.  She was trying to catch the snow while looking freaked out.

She did catch a snowflake, and she ate it!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Hoping for Snow

We are supposed to get a good amount of snow- I heard 4-8 inches.
I would LOVE a good snowstorm; we are overdue for a good blizzard.

Taxes are done and I'm as confident as I can be about my job stability going forward....this is a huge relief.  A massive relief.

And so I need to keep conserving and chip away at the financial mountains of dance and braces and Life in General.  Dance is killing me a bit because tuition went up a lot last October and I don't know certain costs up-front, like competition fees- how much and when. Recital is here too, more $$.

And that stupid basketball game she is required to perform at in April that I DON'T WANT TO GO TO but I am required to purchase tickets for me AND Daya...$66.  I'm really peeved about that.


I need a dance sponsor for Daya. :(
That has to be how people do this- when their kids show real promise and they work crazy-hard in the arts.  If the family is not well-off they must have someone financially backing them.

But I think for the most part people who excel in the arts or go into that world as kids come from money. This stuff costs money- a lot- and that's unfortunately what it all boils down to. I'm drowning. I'm holding up a mountain with a toothpick.

Since Daya is a crazy over-achiever I don't know how I can say no or cut back...she's holding up her end. I can't argue with straight As in honors.  She's also excelling in all her dance classes. She is incredibly driven. I can't take something away that she really is working so hard for.

I have no pictures except for these nice pink clouds from the other day that look like cotton candy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Long Dark Party

There is a game called The Long Dark and I have been smitten with it for more than a year...and Daya loves it too.  It is still in alpha and right now is in sandbox is a survival game in the Canadian wilderness in winter.

In addition to the sandbox there are some challenge modes, one of which Daya and i have been playing- the Whiteout Challenge.  You have a month to gather a certain list and quantity of supplies before a massive blizzard.

So we had a Long Dark party on Sunday night.
I got several food items from the game (except I couldn't find grape soda or energy bars!)

We had our can opener, survival bow (not pictured), and our knife and whetstone. I broiled our Coho Salmon and Lake Whitefish- plain with no seasoning and it was actually really wonderful.

We did not eat all this food, no way, it was too much, but it was fun.
Daya loved it.

It was a nice way to finish our Whiteout Challenge, which we did in 15 days! 
Last night we had party leftovers and we started the Nomad challenge.

Rob went to the dentist yesterday and I went with him.  
Everything went very well.

Saturday, February 04, 2017


Rob said he has a sink in his closet that someone gave him from a job.  It is brand new.  Porcelain and mohogany, do I want it?

Rob also asked if I want him to put in a new bathroom door.

My bathroom door is a ridiculous mess.The floor is elevated and someone cut the door years ago before I moved in, so the bottom was hollow.  They covered it with masking tape and paint, but that fell off years ago and the bottom started splintering.

The cats made it much worse.

A couple of years ago I covered it with contact paper and it looks ugly but at least there aren't bits of door splinter all over my apartment anymore.

So I will be getting a new bathroom door.

Here is my new sink!  I LOVE IT!
It is in my library until Rob can come install it.

Furball and Isis were snuggling today.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Dentist Day!

Yesterday was Dentist Day.
Rob went in the morning...he just got a cleaning and a referral to an oral surgeon.
He goes Monday and I'm going with him.

My co-worker was on her honeymoon last week and she had a wind surfing accident and lost her front she needs a new tooth.

My other co-worker's cat has a dental issue too.

I used to go for my cleanings every six months like clockwork but I have missed a has been hanging over me....well, I got all scared yesterday because of all this dentist talk and booked a cleaning and got it done.  I will only see one hygienist, I LOVE her.  She was very happy to see me and said she had been thinking about me and hoping everything was ok.

I have perfect teeth.  Never a single cavity in my whole life. Lots of orthodontic work but otherwise my teeth are fabulous.  I'm nuts about my teeth- they make up for my eyes.  My teeth looked so fantastic in the x-rays and I made sure to mention it to everyone at the dentist office.  Everything is fine and I'm glad I got it done.

I didn't paint but-! I thought about it and I primed some paper.  This is Strathmore watercolor paper with some nice Colourfix pastel primer.  They are 5x7s.....sometimes a small painting that can be done in one sitting is better than working on a larger project. I was only going to prime one but a second sheet was stuck underneath and I got primer on it got primed too.

Blue Primed Papers!

I think Daya might be on the verge of starting her cycle....which really makes sense as to why she has been so miserable and unstable.  Of course I explained this to her but she rejects everything I say. She doesn't believe me. There is no convincing her.

She asked if cravings are normal, I said what are you craving? She said sweet stuff.  I asked, chocolate?  And she said YES.  I said, "Daya, why do you think I have a chocolate drawer?" and she gave me a hug.

She has been having some issues with her friends (a huge contributor to the misery) and she talked it out with one of them I hope she starts feeling better. I'm proud of her for doing that- it is a mature and brave thing to do.

Jackie said that right before her daughter started her cycle it was horrible...just awful...and then it got a little better.

I hope it gets better.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Welcome to February!

We made it!

Daya got her report card and again she has straight As in honors.
She has a 100 average in Math!!
She is on the Golden Honor Roll. Again.
And that's in addition to 15 hours of dance- including assistant-teaching 2 classes.

And she is beating herself up because it isn't good enough for her......because her total average is something like a 95 and people in her class are bragging about a 97 average. And she doesn't have a 100 average in EVERYTHING.  (Her lowest is a 90.)

It's ok to want to do well and have standards, but there is a line that, once crossed, becomes unhealthy.  I have told her this but it means nothing to her. When Daya is feeling bad and I point out something positive, she says it doesn't matter.  I hope it is just the age and she levels out a bit with this pendulum thinking.

I am suuuper proud of her, though.
Ridiculously proud.
She works so hard.

I think I have finally arrived at a point where I need to paint again.
It is a relief.
I'm hoping I get a chance really depends on how Rob is feeling.  He is at the dentist this morning for that toothache and if he needs some taking-care-of, I will do that.  It is really nice to care about someone who appreciates being cared about.

I need a meditation structure for this month.
Sometimes I need that-- I need to implement a structure of daily practice to stay centered.  I have a couple of ideas for the month but I think it might just be an evening prayer I keep on my altar.  Someone gave it to me last year and told me to use it for 21 days straight- which I did- to good effect.

I had forgotten all about it until I noticed it on my altar a couple of days ago.
So I will spend some time with that this month.