So we changed Katniss’s food, she’s more active, it’s freakishly warm in Northern Wisconsin for February, she goes out on her leash and I go out and sit in the sun and entertain myself, all of which explains the vaguely cat-shaped sketch. The big ball at top is in response to an admonition to do contour sketching. The squiggley line is just for fun, and the circles are because circles. I put a bit of contour shading on the upper right left that reminded me of hair, so I kept on with that and then it looked like a choir, and there it is/here we are.


Daughter: Is there any stroganoff left over?

Me: In the Cool Whip tub in the refrigerator. I mean, the Sure Fine imitation Cool Whip tub in the refrigerator.



D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s right in front of you.

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s on the top shelf, in the box, on top of the lemons. It’s right square in front of you (which, jeebus knows, is my error, because “right in front of you” to her meant I don’t know, somewhere in the hinge or something).

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s in the white tub with the blue label with a red thing in it. In the box, on the top shelf, on top of the lemons, on the left side of the refrigerator. I can see it from here.



D: Oh, do you mean the whipped topping tub?

I mean, I know it’s semiotics. It’s the Kleenex (registered trademark) problem, writ large. To me, “Cool Whip tub” means anything that falls in that general range of substitutable products. Part of my problem is that I can see where she gets confused. That to her, “Cool Whip Tub” refers to – and only to – “CoolWhip tub.” I could have sworn I had thrown in enough descriptors to make it clear. Some days I’m not sure if it’s her or me with the problem. Anybody want to borrow her for a few weeks?

Sorry I faded out. I did have a cold, and as is so frequently the case, I did it better than anybody around me, including Daughter, who apparently didn’t get beaten enough as a child because if she had been she would know real suffering and I wouldn’t have to hear about all. the. things.

Oh, and another excuse; Daughter went to Kentucky to see her grandmother who isn’t doing very well. I didn’t go. I thought about going, just because I know her dad drives POS cars, but I didn’t want him driving mine because he is an asshole, and I didn’t want to drive for 18 hours to hang with loud argumentative people. From the reports I’ve gotten, I’m glad I didn’t go. I cleaned, instead.

I also had a tooth pulled. I’m lying there, pinned down by apparatus, the tooth comes out, and the dentist and other person both go “Ew, look at that.” And then they start calling in people that are walking by in the hall, going “You thought that was a big abscess? Look at this!” Apparently one of the other dentists had pulled the biggest abscess of her career earlier that day. Mine was bigger. Not the biggest, but up there.

I don’t think I want to go for the record. Also, I’m not going to show you pictures.

In art news, I’ve been messing with circles.



There’s a few of these I like. Need to figure out where they go. Smeary ones are watercolor pencil allowed to flow, and fairly conservative ones are watercolor paints.


And there’s this.

It doesn’t particularly look like it, but I’m thinking about getting serious about this art stuff. Problem is, when I get serious, I’m not happy. Also, I’m not sure what way I should go. Yes, I know where I want to go – liminal spaces – but I don’t know.



I’ve been driving up to Cornucopia, to hang out at the beach for sanity purposes. That dark line is open water. The week before, open water started at that farthest ridge, which was loose chunks of ice rising and falling with the waves. I stand in the wind and imagine that all the terror and fear and anger is being blown out of me and dispersed. It works.


A sleeping horse.


There were the customary gulls. This white feather against the russet sand exposed by wind blowing away the white snow, which could be a haiku, if I worked on it.

Maybe I’ll go up there again tomorrow.

In other news, all that stuff last time about iterations? I was doing something and not paying attention and turned on the burner under that cutting board. All I got to say is, thank goodness for smoke detectors.

I think my entire life has been one huge karma lesson about letting go. Or maybe everybody’s life is, and I’m just thinking I’m special. I should let go of that.

And also in letting go; we did passport applications. Word to the wise; don’t let that self-important weirdo from the post office take your photo. If I don’t get arrested and deported on the basis of that image, I will be stunned. (We’re not planning on going anywhere, but I have been told several times that it’s a good idea in this particular age of the world.)

how to write haiku

pieces of place and season

you stop to observe

There is a book in the world called “2312” by Kim Stanley Robinson. I checked it out of the library several years ago, and while I admired it, I was off-put by the austerity of the writing. A couple of years ago, I was at a bookstore and saw this book by one of my favorite authors, called “2312,” and snatched it up. I read for a while, and was kind of off-put by the austerity of the writing, and then realized I had read it before. But I finished it, and then donated it to the library up here. And have been thinking I should buy it again and read it again. Again.

The book is set well into the future, and people move all the time, from one planet to another to a moon to a spacecraft to somewhere else. One of the main characters, to combat the sense of dislocation establishes what are called psuedo-iterations, intentionally developed routines. I think about this, often.


I drink hot water with lemon, most nights. The cup is from a trip out West to see a friend. The cutting board is from my grandmother’s kitchen.

However, I’ve given myself permission to slack. Or do other things.

To be honest, the incoming administration rattled me severely, and I’ve been surviving on junk and denial. Words in particular have seemed trite, with a greasy overlay of deceit. I’ve been loads of fun. Except for the part where I’ve been occasionally harassing elected officials.

But! there is good news, for me anyway. Daughter discovered melatonin, and has been sleeping well for the first time in ten years. She has to double-check with her doctor, before she continues taking it (drug interactions and all that). But she’s been waking up with energy and sunniness. A big shift of gears.

In Knitting! I’ve started Bedragonned. It looks so innocent. To get a workable gauge, I had to knit fairly tight. I call it the Belgian Death Grip, for no reason. So I’m doing the Death Grip, and then I get to the part where I have to retrieve 128 stitches from a provisional cast-on using a slightly splitty yarn with another slightly more splitty yarn. I’ve gotten about halfway through retrieving the stitches, about an eighth of the way through knitting two stitches together in an awkward way. I’m reminding myself how proud I should be for persevering.

And for dinner I had Oreo cookies, the white ones, with potato chips for the main course, and a nice green salad for dessert.

Have a kitteh picture;


When she sleeps like this, with her face buried, she is out like a light, won’t wake or twitch her ears until you touch her rather firmly. I try to leave her be, but it’s hard, knowing how warm and soft that fur is.



Special Princess Farty Unicorn, sleeping in her comfy spot. I DO NOT HATE THIS SKETCH! Possibly because I got parts of the cat right. Possibly because she moved before I could do much comparing. The line of the back could be different, to imply a more correct foreshortening.

What else? I went for a walk, wearing a hoodie and a scarf and no coat because winter seems to be over. It’s fun to consciously remember that one does not have to do the penguin walk, and relax into walking.

Also, I’m reading Wuthering Heights, and am maybe having issues with people being that cuckoo, except that the people in question really have limited experience with humans, so of course. And it is a story, which would be no fun if Catherine said, “Hey, Heathcliff you are so not where I’m at,” and convinced Linton to move to London so she could see plays and museums and stuff. Also, Ellen, the narrator, brings up a memory of Mr. Earnshaw giving her a shilling for her Christmas box, which brings us really nowhere nearer understanding what Boxing day was all about, except a box is involved somehow.

Also, all those things that are happening. Ack.

This is depressing as fuck.


But anyway. Things I hope I learn; Pick a single focus or else figure out some way to introduce movement, because this is just awkward. Pencils are magical things that can go DARK  or delicate.  Use this knowledge. Ack. The proportions are better than they’ve been. The cockatiel bookend looks sorta like what it looks like. Oh, yeah. Straight lines; you might want to try them sometime.

Maybe it’s because I’m not just waiting for a really good one to post that I think I suck, but this is really bringing me down. Not sure if I’ll keep posting. I work most of the rest of the week, so being tired might affect things a bit.

In better news, Katniss has strangely become an actual cat, rather than a cat-shaped fat shedding bundle of nerves. She played today! She’s pooping pretty much where she’s supposed to – an incredible relief. My christmas cactus is blooming, as is my dwarf cyclamen. And it was warm today. I went out for a walk, and unzipped my jacket. Because it was a holiday, the town was quiet. Because it is January, the sky was blue.

Day 14: Drawing is stupid. I hate drawing.

Day 15:15-of-365

I pulled out an older sketchbook, and saw things! that I had drawn! that weren’t horrible! Some were even good. So I thought and thought, and abandoned the prompts, and went back to the old sketchbook, and grabbed the mechanical pencil I’d used – and made a terrible drawing. So then I made another one, which is not horrible.

So, the new plan is; don’t make yourself crazy, draw every day, a couple of things, post the better one.

What else? Princess Farty Unicorn Katniss is a Reformed Character. We switched her to an actually-grain-free catfood (my error), and we bought Lactaid, so she can have a teaspoon of milk every day. We sympathize with her pooping issues, and I leave my chair in the middle of the afternoon, so she can sleep in it. In return, she isn’t nuts, just crabby and demanding. And much more active, and actually playing. Much better.

For fun, I checked the online prices of three of the medications I take for lungs. Nearly $400. It will probably take two years for the end of ACA/medicaid block grants, by which time I’ll be eligible for Medicare, if that’s still available.

In the meantime, I’ll just be here doing what I do.

I have issues.


I was peevish when I did this page, but you never would have guessed, would you? Also, “Draw hands” for a prompt? That’s the best you could do? I was monkeying around with ideas, but I didn’t do well. The bottom left is merely awful. There were two other pages, all at least this bad. I’m trying to move on.


Day 12; peevishness returns. “Draw what you had for dinner.” Hello? I already ate it. (Ravioli and butternut squash. Really pretty good. In a nice sauce. Not bad for frozen.) So, I was on the verge of drawing a circle for the bowl with some circles for the ravioli, but then I happened to start shading, and the graphite felt nice and smooth, and it wouldn’t be so much trouble to add shading, . . . Dark blue bowl, by the way. I wasn’t being petty about that.


Day 13. I’m discovering that if I hold the paper kind of off to one side, and maybe lean a little too far to the left, I can really really skew perspective. Oops. Too bad. The left side was okay.

But I realized that a certain amount of my problem is that I dislike this sketchbook intensely. It’s not wire-bound, but the pages lie pretty flat. It’s got this cool magnetic clasp! which means you have to contend with a flapping thing trying to get in your way. I’m considering taking a scissors or something to it, and replacing it with a big rubber band. I’m not comfortable with pen sketching (see the hands? Pen), but I like the graphite pencil a lot, and I like  my Wolff’s BB drawing pencil even more. I might go find another sketchbook, but I am going to keep up, even if I’m peevish.

On the plus side, I’ve been prototyping a 3D pendant design. I pinned the pieces in place after flooding one piece with solder and turned the torch up high. By gosh, it actually worked. I need to look at it again tomorrow and see if this version is worth more work. If not, I have other ideas.

In other news, it’s January. I forget every year how much I love this month, with the cyan blue skies, and all the different colors of light.