lay-out hints

The second major blizzard of the season rolled onto the north shore of Long Island last Sunday.

It’s still exciting to prepare for a big snow dump. You check your refrigerator and your books and your  laundry and your Netflix queue to make sure that you have enough supplies to tide your body and mind over if you get snowed in for a few days.

I put my Champagne-O-Meter on the den patio table (with bird seed — the Cardinals are too shy the and Blue Jays are too big for the feeder so they dine where they can scootch their feets in the food) and went to bed.

The next morning we woke up to this:

Winter Storm Orlena was a big, slow-moving nor’easter … and that’s the last time I’m using that term because I don’t like it. I grew up in Pennsylvania in the 1960s and ’70s and I never heard the term “nor’easter” until newscasters started using it in the early 1990s. I think the Weather Channel made it up, and turned us all into  old squinty-eyed farmers from Maine, giving the sky a side-eye and predicting a “nor’easter”. 

P.S. The Weather Chanel also came up with the gimmick of naming Winter storms. But I’m OK with that. It helps to keep them straight.

Anyway, the storm was slow-moving, so we spent the day watching big, fluffy, lazy snowflakes making a thick Winter blanket.

By early afternoon, the snow was mixed with rain:

The big question: Would the snow cover the tippy-top of the Champagne-O-Meter???

 

Those ears belong to Bibs, watching the birds dine on the food that I waded out, four times that day, to throw down for them.

Yep. Taffy certified Winter Storm Orlena at an even 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) here in the backyard of Too Many Cats Mansion:

The s-l-o-w pace of the day made Kimmy fell asleep and have sweet Winter dreams (of tackling Taffy when he least expects it…she’s really a pest and Taffy is her favorite target):

We didn’t dig out until Tuesday. Shoveling snow is something that Top Cat and I both enjoy, and it’s been too cold for me to do my daily 5-mile runs, so I was thrilled to have something to do!

Our snow-shoveling season was delayed a bit because Top Cat couldn’t find his snow-shoveling gloves. He kept saying, “I thought my red gloves were right here. Where are they?” pointing to the credenza in the kitchen that we call Chuck because neither of us likes the word “credenza”. 

“Have you seen my red gloves?” he asked me. 

I said, “You don’t have red gloves.”

“Yes I do,” he said. “They’re the gloves that I use for snow-shoveling. I’ve had them forever. My red gloves.”

I said, “Let’s look in the glove shelf in the hall closet.”

“They won’t be there,” Top Cat said. “I put them in Chuck’s top drawer. I know I did.”

I go to the hall closet and pull down some gloves from the glove shelf (where we keep all the gloves).

“Oh!,” Top Cat says, very surprised. “There they are! My red gloves!”

For the record, these are Top Cat’s red gloves:

I protest, “Those aren’t red!”

Top Cat considers this carefully, and looks at them closely as if seeing them for the first time. And he says, “Oh. Well. They’re not red now. But they used to be.”

It’s the little things like this that make me glad I married Top Cat. Because even when he’s annoying, he’s pretty cute.

It’s stayed cold all week and the snow has stayed beautiful and the Champagne-O-Meter has been outdoors the whole time, and we’re going to harvest it tonight for Friday Homemade Pizza Night. I am really looking forward to it.

I thought it was going to be a slow news week so I loaded some photos I’ve saved from the inter webs since last August to discuss my new hobby, but current events picked up on Wednesday so yes, this is going to be a looooong post, go get another cup of tea.

My new hobby is Saving the Planet. 

If we all buy just ONE item of clothing a year, we can turn the manufacturing of hideously wasteful fashion clothing into a green, self-sustaining industry. Jane Fonda, who is 83 years old, has vowed to not buy any new clothes, saying that she has closets full of stuff that she will just wear out. I don’t think that I have enough stuff in my closet to last me the next 20 years, but I do have a good supply.

I have a thing for jackets with zippers, and I have several really cool jackets with interesting zippers, and I have a really cool Ralph Lauren jacket that I bought three years ago and still haven’t worn yet, so I know how wasteful we are as clothing consumers.

But here’s a way to indulge your taste for cool clothes and still be environmentaly correct.

Jillian Owens has a blog called The Refashionista and here’s how she re-makes thrift store clothes into one-of-a-kind clothes. She can tailor anything, and she reproduces designer looks with $5.00 thrift store finds. 

Enjoy these Before and After shots:

 

I want to do this! As soon as thrift stores re-open, I’m going to find me some hideous dresses and rescue them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lets all do this! 

Well, things have started getting crazy again, so let’s consider what we’ve been through this past week, starting with our coolest-ever Vice President doing the job that we elected her to do:

I got this in my Twitter fed on Wednesday, February 3

Yikes, what a year 2020 was. And 2021 got off to a hard start but. . . 

The biggest news story was the United States House of Representatives held a debate, and then a vote to remove Republican Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments because of her many, many psychotic Twitter and Facebook postings that approved of killing Democratic members of Congress, spewed crazy conspiracy theories that Donald Trump was ridding the Deep State of its pedophiles, claimed that 9/11 never happened, and that the mass shooting murders at Parkland High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School were “false flag” operations staged to take away guns from Americans.

Oh, right…she also claimed that the fires that ravaged California last year were cause by lasers.

Lasers from space.

Owned by Jews.

Jewish space lasers.

 

 

 

The Republicans, in a tit-for-tat move, tried to remove Progressive Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocassio Cortez from her committee assignments. That didn’t go over too well.

 

The Republicans also tried to remove Republican Utah Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership position in the party because she voted to impeach Donal Trump. That didn’t go too well either. Liz Cheney is still the ## Republican in the House.

The My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell, is famous for trying to convince Trump to declare martial law in December to prevent the Democrats (and 80 million voters) from “stealing” the election. Certain retailers have retaliated by removing his pillows from their stores — Bed Bath and Beyond and J C Penny, for example. He’s also banned from Twitter for advocating for insurrection. 

This is real:

These guys are going to make their pillows in America, with union workers. They will ire ex-cons, and make their product environmentally sustainable.

I’m ready to buy their pillows.

Seriously.

Not for me — I swear by TempurPedic — but for Top Cat. He uses six pillows a night (don’t ask), and he’s due for new pillows. I would love to put Mike Lindell out of business!

The Screen Actors Guild voted to kick Donald Trump out of their union because, you know, insurrection, but Donald beat them to it. This is his resignation letter (and puh-leese, get a load of his letterhead!):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, for something completely different, because as long as there are dogs and cats in the world, we will get through this:

First Halloween for a rescue dog and his human.

 

 

 

Somebody timed the shot of his two cats playing JUST RIGHT.

 

 

This little girl as five cats who love her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone. See you all at the watermelon festival with your zip-lock bags. Watermelons are 92% water, so we have a lot in common. Meaning, I could cut out the middleman and just soak myself in tequila…yeah. I think that would be kinder to watermelons. Yeah. 

So, as I am putting on my coat for a run to the tequila store, I want to give you one last reason Why You Should Get A Cat:

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Thank you, Dear Readers, for your condolences last week regarding the loss of my BFF. It’s still hard to understand that I will never see her again, or that we’ll ever get together again to kill a bottle of pinot on a Sunday afternoon, or head to our fave Japanese restaurant in the middle of the week for our fave spicy tuna sandwiches and mean girl chit chat, etc. After I published my last book and was feeling very bored with life and myself, it was Renee’s idea that we enroll at the local community college for ASL classes, and then it was her idea that we take over the second hand book store for the local library and raise a ton of money. I can’t stand ballet, but I’d listen to her go into raptures about her latest outings at the ABT, and she wasn’t into K-Pop but she’d hear me out on why BTS deserved to be my Korean husbands. She was a great BFF. The fact that she is gone from my life forever takes my breath away.

Ah well. There is no escaping the pain of life. The best we can do is not let it drive us crazy, right?

And this week, my gift from the universe was this sweet girl:

This is Juno, who lives with Dear Reader Gali in Massachusetts, who hosted the Scottish Stromness Rock on the beginning of its 8,000-mile journey around the United States and showed off the sights of the birthplace of the American Revolution (1776 version).

If ever there was a week then I needed to spend time with a Golden Retriever, it was this week.

I am glad that she is the final Stromness Pet Portrait because it will take all the technical expertise I have amassed during this project for me to paint her. Not because she poses any particular compositional of painterly challenge. It’s because she’s a Golden Retriever. It’s like trying to paint Jesus. If you now what I mean.

For my Golden Retriever Hue, I began mixing paints with a base of Chinese White (for technical reasons — because it makes it easier to manipulate the paint with a Chinese White base, not because I needed that white)and added several browns and yellows to match Juno’s golden-cinnamon color:

Eyes first,as usual:

I think it’s funny to have a pair of eyes popping out of a blank shet of paper.

These were the most complicated eyes I have painted so far:

Juno appears to be wearing eye-liner, and I have to get it j u s t r i g h t.

And now for the boopable nose:

 

 

 

 

I am fond of bleeds:

 

 

 

 

And here is where I had to stop, because I ran out of time. This is by far the most painstaking pet portrait I have done yet, and I don’t want to push it. I will continue to paint this tomorrow, when I am re-freshed and can get all of Juno’s nuances.

Also because I haven’t got her quite right yet, and I have some tweaking to do. Rescues are my super power, though, so we’ll be back next week with a “Wrong Juno And How I Made It Right” 100% Juno portrait.

Until then, let’s take a look back at this past week, and marvel how we all managed to live through it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. I looked this (above) up. It actually says that women should be quiet IN CHURCH. That’s all. It’s OK to raise hell everywhere else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. It’s only 18 more days, not even three weeks, until all this will be over. Imagine how the whole world will celebrate when Trump gets slaughtered in 50 states and the Republicans are returned to their rightful status as the minority party in the Senate on Nov. 3, oh, just imagine that, and be happy. The world will break your heart in a thousand ways every day, but not on November 3, no.

(James Carville was the political strategist who engineered Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 victories, so he knows. He KNOWS.)

I only have three more times that I can say this about a President who is not a lame duck:

Fuck Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Because a dear reader asked me, I am going to show you what a Work In Progress looks like:

This is my Damn France Book in progress: a file folder for each chapter plus a few more for misc. notes about France and travel and publisher business stuff that I need to keep track of.  My spiffy Reebok shoe box lets me keep all that flotsam in one, portable place.

This week I’ve been working on the Normandy chapter (green folder, because Normandy is a very lush, green province) and today the WIP (Work In Progress) is opened to the pages where Top Cat and I are taking leave of Omaha Beach and catching a train to a little town called Pontorson:

This is how I block out art work and text. I would like to break up the text into interesting bits, instead of simply left to right wrap around.

This is what I do for every page. Every single page.

I used to wonder why it takes me three years to write a book.  I think I just answered my question.

 

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