Saturday, 31 December 2011


It's New Year's Eve and I'm dreading 2012. I used to get so excited about the new year. I really felt the old year was behind me and things would be different in the future. But calendars are man made. It's not like the problems I have today are going to be gone when I flip the calendar over tomorrow. Or on the other side of the coin, every day is the first day of the rest of your life, as the saying goes.  My resolution to give up eating out particularly at fast food places flew out the window today when my boyfriend decided to have Chinese food for lunch. He offered; I didn't hint or anything and I didn't want to be a killjoy by saying 'no thank you'. Then tonight he criticized me for overeating and being fat. Hmpf.
And we already have plans to go out for sushi on my birthday on Jan. 3. I really need to tighten my belt and spend less money, but in a move that truly puzzles me, I went on a craft shopping spree today.  Is that like 'eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we must die'?  Do I already feel deprived and therefore I spent money and ate out not 24 hours after I told myself to cut back? It's hard being human.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Enjoy Knott's But Don't Eat There

Yesterday I went to Knott's Berry Farm trying to get one more day in before my yearly pass expires. I won't be renewing it.
Because of the holiday season, the park was overcrowded yesterday. Since I was mainly there to take photos, the long lines weren't really an issue.  But eventually I got hungry for some lunch.
So I went to an indoor fast food counter in the Camp Snoopy section.  After 10 minutes of waiting I placed my order for a bacon cheeseburger.  The price was $7.75.  Lower on the menu sign it said you could turn it into a combo meal for $8.00.  So obviously the combo meal was a better value.  But it seemed too good to be true so I asked her to clarify.  The combo was $15.75. You got it...another $8. for just the drink and fries to go with your meal. Holy expletive!!! So I just paid for the burger.
There was no seating anywhere within site of the order counter so I stood there for 45 minutes waiting for my burger. I began to realize my ride home might get there before my lunch did.  So I asked for my money back.  By then I'd had enough of crowds and headed out the gate. Outside the gate by the employment center was a soda vending machine.  I put in my $2 for a bottle of soda.  I heard the machine sound like it had dispensed the bottle, but nothing came out. And this human-less machines offered no way to get a refund. I tried going inside the employment center to ask but those doors are by appointment only.  It was like the last kick in the ribs.

After my boyfriend picked me up I took him to Wendy's.  I had a single cheeseburger and he had a double, both with fries and drinks, and I had a chocolate frosty, and our total was under $15.75.  Plus our food was ready to eat in ten minutes or less.

I realize amusement parks are like movie theaters. They are making their profits on the food. But honestly, I know when I'm being gouged. I feel sorry for the families that had 4 or more mouths to feed.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Can a Girl Get a Cookie Around Here?

About 8:30 PM I decided I didn't want to sit at home alone on Christmas Eve so I'd go down to the corner Dairy Queen and write a while.  Well, they were closed. So I walked on down to McDonald's but was going to stop at the first open place with a table and a coke. Busy Bee was the next one. Also closed. You'd think an Asian place would be open. So I got halfway to McDonald's. This is not so great a neighborhood so I don't like to get too far away from home in the dark when I'm walking. The next place I could see was the Del Taco (which is across the street from McDonald's).  All the lights were out.  Del Taco was closed. But Subway had it's lights on.  When I got to the Subway I could see that McDonald's was also closed. I tried the door at Subway expecting it to be locked. Since it was now almost 9 I wasn't sure how late they stayed open on a Saturday night. Fortunately they were open until 10 so I was able to write in my journal and have some cookies. They were doing a brisk business since nothing else I could see was open. I can't believe a town as big as Anaheim just rolled up it's carpets and locked it's door just because it was Christmas Eve.

Open 24 Hours, but not on Christmas Eve I guess.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Cold Snap

Here in S. Cal we are having a cold snap. A friend posted on her Facebook that it was snowing at Disneyland last night, and not the fake stuff either. When I got up at 5 AM in Atascadero on Tues. morning it was about 30 degrees outside. It seems the cold followed me all the way to Anaheim. Last night San Diego broke a cold record. Time to buy a jacket that zips down the front.

Popping bubbles
My family seeing me off at the train station in San Luis Obispo, CA yesterday

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wrapping Up NaNoWrimo and NaBloPoMo

I'm killing two birds with one stone today, making my last November post for National Blog Posting Month as well as submitting my last few words to National Novel Writing Month.

I'd planned to write all day for NaNoWriMo, but alas it was not to be. My plans today just flew out the window. I knew I was vaguely planning to go up the coast for my grandson's first birthday and my daughter's housewarming party in December.  What I failed to realize was that to get to the party on Dec. 3, I need to be on the train tomorrow.  Tomorrow is Thursday and the train isn't too bad. Fridays however, tend to be stuffed as business commuters and people going out of town for the weekend are all looking for a seat.

So I had to drop everything, pack, reserve a ticket, decide what projects to take, do laundry, get my cell phone working again, arrange rides to and from the train station, and all those niggling little things a person has to do before going out of town for a few days. Don't get me wrong. I am looking forward to it. I just didn't realize it would be such a time crunch. December is going to be to hectic, so I won't be signing on to do another daily blog here.  Maybe in January when I'm a year old and wiser.
An old friend just sent me this photo. This is what I looked like about 35 years ago.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Painting and Artist Paul Cumes

I can't believe I'm up at 5 AM.  But at least I can share this video by an artist I like.

And I may as well post my last two paintings.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Where Will I Write Next?

I have a question for all of those who use Blogger to make multiple blogs.  I have over 70 blogs on Blogger and it would be nice is there was a table of contents page of sorts, where in 30 seconds or less, a reader could go straight to my most recent post on Blogger. If people have no idea which of my blogs I added a post to last, they are not going to click through the entire list looking for the most current post.

If you know of such a thing please point me to it.
When November's NaBloPoMo ends, I will still be blogging almost daily but not necessarily on the Red Quill Chronicles blog.  I already had a daily blog on crafts before this thing started which has been somewhat neglected to do this one. A person can only do so many 'daily' things, and I already do a daily painting and a daily doodle, and until the end of this month, daily fiction writing for Nanowrimo. Busy Busy. And of course December has holidays in it, and I will most likely be out of town for four or five days. And I'm opening a new Etsy shop for my square foot paintings on Dec. 1, 2011.

It may not be until January 2012 that I can write regularly again, unless someone is feeling really generous and gives me a laptop.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Ten Minute Day

I'm declaring my day today a 10-minute-day.  After packing on Friday and the craft fair yesterday, it looks like the place blew up. You other artists and entertainers will know what I'm talking about. So I'm going to live today in 10 minute increments.
Ten minutes of each activity.
1. Dishes x
2. Laundry x
3. Showering x
4. Sewing
5. Unpacking x
6. Exercising x
7. Reading x
8. Looking for lost library book x
9. Painting x
10. Juggling x
11. Nanowrimo x
12. NaBloPoMo X
13. Squidoo x
14. Facebook x
15. Etsy shop x
16. Walking
17. Edit Photos x
18. Nanowrimo x
19. Drawing x
20. Photography x

That's about 3 hours worth of stuff. 200 minutes equals 3 hours and 20 minutes. I'll check them off as I go along so you can see how it goes.  I won't be doing them in any particular order.  The important things isn't when I get them done, only that I get them done. It helps to have a 10 minute timer you can carry around with you.

Forehead balance

Three pin juggling

Nose Balance

Juggling at sunset

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Medieval Marketplace

Today I went to an SCA event called the Medieval Marketplace in LaVerne, CA where we set up our archery booth. I did my best to paint my boyfriend, though he didn't sit still much. I'm so tired right now. And he already fell asleep though it's barely 7 PM. The weather was beautiful.
Someone was selling his wife's books and fabric since she passed away recently. It was a shock to all of us.  I hope she will be happy to know her friends bought her books and fabrics and will put them to good use. I got a bunch of books on crafts and cooking, and a lovely piece of stretch velvet in a rich purple with gold designs.

At another booth I also got some used knitting needles because I like to teach people to knit and send them home with the needles. So when I can get them for $1 a pair I stock up.
There was also a hat crochet artist there.  When I've sold crafts at that event that is what I've tried to sell, so I'm glad I didn't bring stuff to sell to create even more competition. I wanted to take her photo and give her some publicity but she said she doesn't have an online presence, and she seemed camera shy.  So I passed her by.

I did take photos of some other interesting things.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Amedeo Modigliani

Right now I'm researching the art of Amedeo Modigliani because he was mentioned in the book I just got called 52 Creative Exercises To Make Drawing Fun by Carla Sonheim. You can see his slideshow at: One of the exercises in Sonheim's book is to do portraits mimicking the style of Amedeo Modigliani.  I tried that yesterday with a portrait of my daughter. Today I'm going to try it again.Yesterday I think I reverted back to my usual style of painting. I wish I had a live model to paint from.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Perpetual Calendar

I made a perpetual calendar out of index cards a few months ago.  It's in a recipe box. Each day I write one line about the daily highlight.  I've been so busy I was about ten days behind.  Some of the days I remembered a highlight. Other days I couldn't remember what I did. Daily blog to the rescue.  By scrolling back through this blog, I was able to fill in all my blank cards!  Each card then goes to the back of the box, so when the year is over, I start again.  Next year will be more fun as then I can see how November 24 this year compares to November 24 next year and so on. And today is Thanksgiving.  It's always the fourth Thursday in Nov. but the date varies each year. Making your own perpetual calendar can cost under $5, or less if you already have a recipe box and index cards.  I cut the month dividers out of old postcards.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Oh My It's Getting Busy

As the weekend approaches things are getting more hectic.  We have a craft show on Sat. and I just realized it's going to be hard to work on my novel when I'm not near my computer and I have other distractions. We are not doing a traditional Thanksgiving, so I at least have plenty of time to write today, Friday and Sunday.
I just passed the 5000 word mark.

I did my daily doodle in oil pastels today.  I need to work on a painting as well.  And I have so much sewing that I've shelved to do these other projects like NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. I'm busy, I'm happy, but I'm starting to feel a little frayed around the edges.

And if I decide to go to my grandson's 1st birthday party 300 miles away it's going to get even more hectic.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Follow up on NaBloPoMo Blogs That I Follow

Yes, I know I already made today's post but I wanted to do a follow up on the other NaBloPoMo blogs that I'm following while it's still fresh in my mind.

I just went back to my article about NaBloPoMo that I wrote on Squidoo here. I'm happily surprised that all but maybe 3 of my bloggers are still in the game.  A few have stopped doing daily posts, but are still blogging as time allows. I was sure a lot more than that would lose interest after a few days. I admire their dedication and persistence. Way to go all of you. What interesting lives you all have.  What diverse writing styles. Who knew those creative writing classes we took in high school or college would pay off down the road and be so important to our success and happiness?

My two cats wonder why I'm typing all the time.

Nanowrimo Continued

I'm really having fun working on my novel.  It's in the erotic category so I can be as naughty as I want.
My hands are not happy with all the typing though. It's one thing to type a blog post. It's another thing to type 5,000 words a day, which is what I need to do to finish in time.  I typed 1000 before breakfast.  At least I type fast. So far, the story is happening as fast as I can type, and then some.
You can track my progress on the bar widgets to the right.

I'm still doing a painting a day also, and here it is.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Darn You Lisa Simpson

This year I decided to skip Nanowrimo and do Nablopomo instead. I purposely did not go to the Nanowrimo site at all, lest I should be tempted.  Then tonight it was like the universe conspired against me.
Between seeing a post on Twitter from a friend who said this was her 7th year doing National Novel Writing month, and reading something about 'the more you do the more you can do', and my friend Freakishlemon getting to the 30,000 word point, I was still thinking, "How insane would it be if I started Nanowrimo now, on the 20th day. I mean I only finished it once before and barely in a nick of time.

But the last straw was tonight when I was watching the Simpson's cartoon.  It was all about Lisa trying to write a young adult novel, and procrastinating. It made me realize how much I missed writing fiction and how opportunities were passing me by.  I felt my resolve cracking.

Also, my boyfriend hates Nanowrimo and I didn't want to cause any friction.

Well, I thought I'd peek at the Nanowrimo site and see if my old log in would work. Talk about a gateway drug.  I saw this very night that my local group had paired up with the LA group and they were all on the Amtrak Coastline train on a fancy trip from San Diego to San Francisco and I could have been on it! They'd done some sort of fundraiser so they could go.  And then I realized that Nanowrimo is as much about socializing with other writers as it is about finishing 50,000 words. And I'm kicking myself for giving up one of my dreams just because my boyfriend thinks it's stupid.

So here I am, at the eleventh hour diving in to Nanowrimo with my first writing session almost 1000 words. Usually the big thing that stops me from succeeding at Nanowrimo was being out of town for Thanksgiving.  Well, this year I'm not going anywhere. I may or may not finish, but I'm sure going to put my finger in the pie and have a taste. If you want to check out my profile for Nanowrimo it's here.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bows and Arrows and Other Pointy Things

Everyone is busy and happy working on their projects.
Working on a basket for boy scouts.
Sal on the right discussing the fine art of straightening shafts for arrows.

Guy making a bow at the December meeting last year.

Cutting out leather for a quiver.

Tom knows tons about woodworking.  Here he is shaving a bow.

Our archery meeting got rained out today. At least I assume it did since the weather page reported 100% chance of rain in Pasadena.  We meet once a month but sometimes when this happens they reschedule to meet twice the next month to make up for it.  So I thought I'd share some of the bow making and archery photos from past get-togethers.
Sal making a yucca quiver.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Finding Inspiration

Every artist I read about says people always went to know where they get their inspirations. The short answer is 'anywhere and everywhere'. This morning I was watching a random TV show about remodeling a bedroom. A real estate agent was tired of the slow trend in housing sales and decided to go to Southwest Asia to get away from it all.  Once she got home she wanted to transform her boring bedroom into one with an Asian feel. In Asia she had met a street artist and commissioned him to paint her a series of four paintings to hang as a set on her wall.  She liked his work but she wanted something in purples. I took one look and thought I'd love to do a series of four square foot paintings in purple and gold.

We all grow up with color prejudices we get from well meaning parents and teachers and friends.  I remember once I went to work in my favorite red and purple skirt.  A friend took me aside and said, 'My mother would never let me out of the house in that." I said, "You mom doesn't let you wear long skirts."  She said, "No, we weren't allowed to wear red and purple together because they clash."  I was an adult at the time and had a good laugh over that.  Sometime in my childhood someone told me the same thing about gold (yellow) and purple.  So I've avoided that color combination because it clashes.  Yet here were these four paintings on this show that I fell in love with.  I couldn't wait to try something similar.

First I put gesso mixed with purple and gold all over four Bristol Vellum squares. I let those dry. I kept out the one I wanted to do for my daily painting and put the rest away.

I love dancing and dancers, so I wanted a dancer on at least one panel. So that's what I did today and I'm loving it.  And surprisingly I'm loving gold and purple together.  Now I'm thinking we all get stuck in artistic ruts of using the same colors we are most drawn to.  I'm thinking of making a bunch of color squares, tossing them in a hat and randomly drawing 2 or 3 for future paintings, to get away from my own color prejudices.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Off to the Theater

I spent the day painting, and tonight we are going to a Robin Hood play.  I need to get ready so I don't keep people waiting, but I'll write all about both when I get home tonight or tomorrow if it's late.

Today's painting: Mask and Pearls
Acrylics on Gesso covered Bristol Vellum

Update: The play was excellent. I mean how often do you get to go to an original play and meet the playwright? Here is our friend Eric looking mighty handsome in his King's archer costume. And that's my boyfriend in the kilt.  He made the new white arrows for the play.

It is a musical and it plays through December.  If you are near Westminster CA don't miss it. I'll have the details for you tomorrow. It's appropriate for family viewing so don't be afraid to take your kids, grand kids and grandparents.
Ticket info: Rose Center Theater in Westminster CA
Madrigal Singers lead the crowd to the opening of the theater.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Ballet Toe Shoe Painting

I like to paint on my front porch where the light is good and there are no cats to jump on the table. Since the Anaheim Ballet does the Nutcracker every year, and they were nice enough to give me free tickets to the ballet in exchange for being in their craft show fund raiser, I have a soft spot in my heart for them.  So this time of year always reminds me of ballet.  So for my square foot painting today I painted a pair of point shoes from a photograph. It's my favorite painting so far (out of the three I've done).

I'm glad I'm done though because it's getting pretty chilly outside, even if it's not even 4 PM yet.

I made a special Etsy shop for my square foot paintings. My grand opening is going to be Dec. 1, 2011 at five P.M. Pacific time.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Using the Table PC Input Panel

I just discovered the Tablet PC Input Panel. I'm typing this post with it in script using my mouse. If a person doesn't know how to do touch typing, this might be useful. Or maybe it your keyboard is old and the letters stick.

Sometimes it can't decipher my scrawl and spells the word wrong. Like 'letters' became 'titters' the first time I typed it. For me this is more of a novelty but I imagine for some people it could be a lifesaver; like if you had a broken arm and could only type with one hand. The program will also recognize numbers. 2b or not 2b. The upper right menu gives you easy to use tabs for correcting, deleting, splitting or joining. Hover over the icons to see how to use them. The tablet is easy to read. I don't even need to wear my glasses. Use the tool menu on the tablet to view other options. If you'd prefer a touch pad keyboard it has that too.