Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29 work in progress

Dear Colored Pencils, I have missed you so much. It's been a long time since we've spent time together, and I'm glad we are finally hanging out again.

(YES!!! A drawing!!! I finally started today.)

"Drum" (American Paint Horse)
5 by 7 inches
colored pencil and graphite on tan Stonehenge paper
commission (sold)

Drum was sweet old boy who I knew for a couple of years. I used to take care of him when his owner was out of town. He was a gentleman, a horse who had an accomplished life of shows and exhibitions and trail rides. He died last winter in his mid 20s, dearly loved and dearly missed by his owner.

I will also be doing a scrimshaw pendant portrait of Drum in the near future.

ps- yes that lovely profile pic is a Halloween special.

Monday, October 26, 2009

it needs work

Well, I got to test drive the new studio setup today. It needs work. I knew it would, but it's still kind of disappointing. For one thing, I am going to have to get another chair right away. My drafting chair does not go down low enough for me to actually rest my feet on the floor (which is fine for drawing, I have a footrest under the drawing table). But I need my feet on the floor for engraving because the airgraver is controlled with a foot pedal. And I want a chair with a shallower seat, so I don't feel like I have to perch on the edge of the chair.

A side note about chairs, it's very strange for me to actually be able to roll around in them. Wood floor, neato! I must be careful, I've crashed into a few things already. ;-)

And the platform on the drill press is kinda bigger than it needs to be. It only needs to be big enough to hold the base of the blue turntable, but it's much larger than that. To be ergonomically correct (or at least somewhat close, I think true correctness may be impossible in this job) one needs to have the ball vise essentially in one's lap it seems to me. I can't quite get that close to it right now, which makes me lean too far forward in order to see the microscope. I am investigating options for reducing the size of the platform (in other words I'm hoping my brilliant engineer neighbor can help with that).

In the mean time, I met with a client this afternoon and got approval on a sketch for a small drawing. So I'm going to be cranking that out in the next few days. I'll show it in progress once I start.

Studio 4.0, an evolution (lots of pics)

Done! I haven't tried doing any work yet, but from the looks of things the new studio ought to be up and running. I do plan on buying another chair but unless I simply can't deal with the height of the old chair, that purchase will wait a little while.

So today I will entertain you with the tale of the ever-evolving studio.

Between about 2001 and early 2007, I had only a drafting table, and two sets of storage drawers. I worked only in colored pencil and graphite, and kept my pencils right on the table top. The piano used to be against the wall to the right of the window. There was a tall bookcase to the left of my drafting table, out of the frame of the photograph:

As time went on, I decided I'd like to start painting in addition to drawing, plus I also needed some storage shelves for paper and finished prints, etc. The drafting table didn't change much, except the pencils moved from the desktop into some small wooden drawers on top of the plastic drawers to the left of the table itself. The piano and bookcase switched places. I placed an easel in the corner to the right of the drafting table, and refinished an old set of shelves (the thing with the draped canvas sides) for holding paper. This is from March 2007:

That summer, I started doing scrimshaw, but was working across the field in my neighbors' barn, since they had a microscope and I did not at that time. It worked well for starting out, but wasn't the best work space since I had to tote everything back and forth every day, plus I wasn't able to put in any hours late at night or any time when they weren't home. By March 2008 I had my own scope, and got a second drafting table on which to set all that stuff up. So, the drawing table didn't move. I put in an area rug to kind of contain the space and keep the good carpet in good condition. The easel moved right behind my drawing table, and got its own little set of drawers for paint storage. I placed a new drafting table against the wall to the right of the window, and turned the bookcase out away from the wall. The large storage shelves and a set of flat files were (and still are) located in a different part of the room. There were a few gradual changes after this, like adding another small set of drawers to hold some scrimshaw equipment, but it stayed this way until this weekend! So here's March 2008:

And then I wanted to get into engraving metal, and this setup didn't work. Major changes were needed. I needed a stronger engraving bench, and most importantly some sort of stand on which to place the engraving vise so that there would be no wobble whatsoever (if you're working on something under a microscope, and it moves at all, it's horrible to look at). Sooooo, I took a bunch of photographs of what transpired in the last few days.

We start out with absolute chaos, the "between projects and I know I'm going to change all of this so who cares if I make a big mess" kind of chaos. I'm a little embarrassed by this, but I'll get over it.

Painting stuff and storage drawers moved out of the way:

Old drafting table removed (I'm standing in a mass of clutter taking these pics):

New drafting table cleaned off (what I was using for scrimshaw) and ready to be moved into position as new drawing table:

New drafting table in place, new engraving bench assembled:

Rod working on installing the drill press stand:

Drill press stand installed, but there are too many layers of stuff on the floor, that area rug needs to come out:

Rod had gone home by this point, so it was just me and the power tools. Floor boards cut and installed, extending under new drawing table:

Had to move all the furniture off the wood floor. So tired...

First coat of stain/varnish down. I finished the second coat around 12:30am Saturday night.

Furniture back in place:

Getting the lights and storage back into place:

Uh, where is all this stuff going to go?

I decided to pack up the painting supplies. The easel now is in the garage, but can be brought in as needed (probably not going to be needed much, I don't do much painting). And I decided to keep the old drafting table. All my paints and brushes are underneath it. It's coming along:

Done! As you can see, it's a long narrow space, definitely a studio made for one!

I love it!

Old drafting table finds a new job as a permanent home for the papercutter and cutting mat, and can be used as a general work surface as needed. This all does stick out a bit farther into the room than Studio 3.0, but there wasn't really any way around that.

New drawing table, bigger and better!:

New engraving bench with a cut off drill press stand holding the vise. There will eventually be another set of drawers and a new chair here:

The drill press stand becomes a vise stand:

And of course I had to do something girlie to it, so I stuck a flower in the top of the cut-off pipe. :-)

So that's it! It was way more work than I anticipated (mostly because of putting in a new floor). But it actually came together much more quickly than I had expected. Sure, there will be some changes as I work in the new space and get a feel for it, but I don't expect anything major to change. Let's hope not anyway!

I am toying with the idea of doing an "open studio" event, like an open house. Has anyone ever done something like that? [EDIT: I'm not considering that anymore, it was a passing notion, and it passed.]

Sunday, October 25, 2009

my everything hurts

I'm running on fumes (uhh, literally, I just did some varnishing) but wanted to post with a progress report. Oh golly this is a lot of work, more than I expected. I started tearing things apart and cleaning on Thursday. My friend Rod was here yesterday through this morning and knows how to do all this mechanical stuff so we got tons of work done and got the drill press stand all set up and the new bench assembled. I had to make another trip back to town today for more lumber, since it ended up being necessary to put down a new floor (on top of the existing carpet in the room, but I did take out my 6x10' area rug. So I just finished the second coat of varnish on the new floor (I was not planning on a new floor!) and every square inch of me seems to be sore and I'm soooo tired. These have been very very very very busy days.

I have been taking lots of photographs, from chaos to more chaos to clearing to new arrangements. I think it'll still take several more days to get it finished, and right now the rest of the room is crammed full of my art stuff and totally unusable (there is a drafting table 4 inches from my left elbow, that's NOT where it goes!)

Current dilemmas:

1) What to do with my old drafting table that I've had since high school. It has been my drawing table all those years, but is now replaced by a much larger (YAY! That had been an issue!) and stronger table (the one I WAS using for engraving). One option is to keep it, though there really isn't room in here for what would now be THREE tables, so that might be a moot point. Have there been times when I've wished for two tables so I could work on two drawings? Yes. But with the biz moving toward engraving and what was apparently my heyday of illustration work now several years behind me, those days might be over. The other option is to sell it. There's absolutely no other place in the house to put it.

2) What to do with my painting stuff. I'm not sure it'll fit within the confines of the new floor. It could sit on the carpet though with a dropcloth as needed. Or, since I haven't painted since April, maybe I ought to throw all my paints into a box and stick them in the closet and fold up my easel and stash it somewhere else. It would certainly unclutter this area if all those supplies went away. I'm not saying I'd never paint again, just that it would be available on an "as needed" basis.


I may wake up by Monday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

just a tease

I'm writing this first so I don't forget. I know that maybe 2 people in the universe are wondering, so no I am unfortunately not going to be showing at the National down in Ventura this weekend. I wish it would have worked out, but I have nothing to show. I'm going to wait til late winter/early spring to sell birds (please oh please don't anyone email and me what I'm selling, I don't know). Anyway, considering all that, I really couldn't justify making the trip. Sorry. :-(

I finished the almost-matched set of Colt .45 SAA pistol grips tonight, woo hoooooooo!! Well, technically I guess it's morning. *Yawn* They look AWESOME. I'll post what I can when I can. Here's a little tease though in case you have forgotten how teensy these things are. My thumb volunteered to pose for size reference:

Meet my new engraving vise stand:

You're thinking "but wait, that's a drill press." Yes, yes it is. And it's mine! Actually, the one in the box to the right is mine, but it'll look just like that one. And in fact I'm only using the lower part, the base and part of the post, and most importantly that round platform thingy. A friend of mine is going to use the top part... what most people would consider the functional part! So it was a little interesting explaining this at the store today...

checkout lady: would you be interested in the 3 year protection plan?
me: no thanks
guy helping me haul the thing: ooh, you really should, it's a good deal
me: well..... okay I hate to say this, but I'm actually going to have it cut in half. I'm using the lower half as part of an engraving bench, and a friend is taking the upper half to turn it into a radial drill press.
(flabbergasted people faces)
guy helping me haul the thing: wow, that is amazing
checkout lady then asks me to explain engraving and how this drill press helps me

I have to say it was pretty fun to say "I'd like to buy that drill press." Those words don't escape me too often.

Okay, so I'm not doing any scrim tomorrow, unless it's just a few more dots if I need to touch up the grips at all. I have 4 projects to sketch out, so I'll do that, plus some paperwork to catch up on. And I should probably start cleaning up the studio. The more organized it is, the easier it will be to take things out and put them back, currently scheduled for this weekend. Ooh new table should arrive tomorrow!

I'm putting flannel sheets on my bed, it's time. Tonight. And then I'm going to go to bed and I'm not getting up early.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

weekend's over?

I've ordered a new engraving bench. It should arrive this week. This is going to be a huge honking mess, because I pretty much need to take apart the entire "studio" in order to put it all back together anew. So I'm not going to move anything until I'm sure I have all the pieces to put together a completely functional engraving bench, because I won't be able to do anything until it's all totally assembled. What a pain! But I'm excited about the prospect of (finally!) engraving metal!

I've run into a case of artist's block on the turkey scrims. That's quite rare for me. I had to make some deviations from my original leafy background plans, so that kinda threw things for a loop. The backgrounds are actually done, and the turkeys themselves are the foregrounds, so now it's the middle part that's got me kinda muddled up. I think I know what to do though. I'll show you eventually...

In the mean time I've been focusing on the last remaining image (on the backside of one of the turkeys) and I can't show you that one. I won't be able to show all the work until the entire gun is engraved and reassembled, which I don't expect to happen before Christmas (though my part will be done in the next few days, oh thank goodness!)

The tree guys came out on Friday and removed the fallen tree (the one that squished the fence). Two of the 16' top rails were broken. One was salvageable (only a small piece broke off) but the other needed to be replaced. One post is broken underground and now leans inward toward the pasture, and wiggles. However, it's set into a cement strip that borders the yard, so removing it would be a serious pain in the booty, and putting in a new one would be an even more serious pain, and since the hot wire (at least theoretically) keeps the horses from abusing the fence, I decided to just leave it. I say theoretically because I've found several bent insulators, which means someone (Gwen!) is still trying to scratch on it. What a turd. Anyway, that stretch of fence will never win a beauty contest. The wire got so totally mashed down that it was impossible to totally straighten, so it's kinda rumpled, and the post leans a little. But, it'll get the job done, and the good news is I did not dislocate any body parts while working on it.

The little blue chicken is great, and not spoiled at all. Nooooo not at all, uh uh. ;-) I put her outside during the day, and of course she complained, so I took her out to the pasture with me, and she just followed me around making all sorts of happy noises, flying up onto whatever part of me is most inconvenient at any given time. My animals are all so helpful. Soooo helpful.

I took this photo last week, here's a little California gold for you. I think two of you will know exactly where this is. :-)

This is my favorite time of year. It's been crazy humid for the last few days though, and kinda warm. I don't know how people survive in the south, hoo boy. I would not be able to live there.

Friday, October 16, 2009

a house chicken

I have a chicken in the house. Yes, she lives in a cage. She's about 6 weeks old I think. I'm not really thrilled about having a house chicken, but it's also kinda fun.

See, I had these two hens that were raising some chicks. Let's call them Barn Hen and Garden Hen. Their chicks all hatched the same day (2 and 3 chicks, respectively). Sadly, Barn Hen was killed by a hawk a couple of days ago (#$%& Cooper's hawks!!!!!). I attempted to give her chicks to Garden Hen, and was reminded that although chickens aren't very good with counting, they do have a pretty strong sense of recognizing when something looks different. Garden Hen, whose own three babies are dark colored, accepted the little orphan black chick without incident (hey, looks just like the others!). But she rejected the little blue brassy back chick, whose pale slate feathers make her stand out like a sore thumb (yes I hate that expression now, since my sore thumb really did stick out!).

When a hen rejects a chick, she will kill it if she gets the chance.

I wasn't about to let that happen.

See, these chicks were going to stay out until they're fully feathered and old enough to move in with the ones that hatched in mid summer. I pretty much had two options at this point, I could either round them all up and wean them (but I don't have anywhere winterproof to put them), or raise the little blue girl alone. And if I was going to do that, well she's so little I really couldn't leave her alone in a pen outdoors...

I really did not want a house chicken. Foolishly, I decided I could try to trick Garden Hen by darkening the little blue chick. So I um... tried to dye her black. It didn't work. She's considerably darker than she was, but Garden Hen wasn't so easily fooled.

So... Blue Chick lives in the house now. She's adorable. In two days she has gone from an untamed wild animal to completely spoiled rotten. If I open the cage door, she flies out onto my lap. Cute, eh? She may end up being a good bird, or she might not, she's way too young to tell. But this bird is never going to auction! If she doesn't end up being breeding quality, she will need a good home as someone's pet. Oh, and not a house pet. Chickens are crappy house pets. Literally. You can't potty train them.

Anyway, time will tell what she turns into, but if someone around here thinks they might want the cutest darn pet chicken ever, there may be the opportunity for that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

catching up (lots of pics!)

Okay, I shall now attempt to get back on track with regular blogging, and certainly on to cheerier subject matter. I don't know if I have anything particularly useful to say today so I'll just ramble.

On Sunday I went to a harvest festival out in Sloughhouse with JJ. There were more pumpkins and gourds and stuff than a person could shake a stick at! I must admit I did not realize they were available in such an array of shapes and colors. Nifty!

I caught a certain orange cat cuddling with the infamous pillow the other day. Hee hee! ;-)

People in this area get really excited about the weather. Is that a Sacramento thing or a California thing? I mean sure, it's newsworthy that we had a giant storm today, but I think it gets a little overly-dramatic sometimes.

We did have a giant storm though. First one of the season. I did not anticipate so much damage. We got nearly 2 inches of rain, and there were very high wind gusts. I guess we don't usually get such high winds in the early fall when the trees are still leafy and full, so there was a LOT of tree damage here. There are branches all over the yard, and half of the perfectly-shaped mimosa tree snapped off, but this is definitely the biggest problem:

Not only does it suck to lose a big beautiful tree, but that means some serious fence fixing (I'm not sure yet if the leaning post can be salvaged, I didn't get a very good look at it today). Ugh. Dear Mother Nature, if you feel the urge to knock trees over, please have them land away from the fence, not on it. Luckily I'm able to pen the horses up in the corral while waiting for the tree guys to come out and remove this (I don't do chain saws, I'm dangerous enough with a hammer!)

The quest for a perfect engraving bench continues. I decided that hacking a hole in my really super nice drafting table isn't the greatest idea. I mean, it would totally work, but I just hate to do that to it. So I've found one desk that will work at Staples, but it seems a tad pricey for how simple it is. There are a few other places I'm going to look. I wanted to find some amazing antique thing at the consignment store the other day, but alas I did not. It was amusing though, there's some weird stuff in those places! Anyway, I was going to do that this morning but after doing the relatively short drive out to the barn-sitting job, I decided I didn't want to be on the road any more than necessary today considering the weather. It was a good day to wear flannel pants and stay indoors. Only problem (other than trees falling down) was that the power was off and on all day, which is pretty annoying when you're sitting at the microscope and the light turns off every few minutes!

I have to say it was a beautiful sunset though, setting over the lakes pasture.

Monday, October 12, 2009

greener pastures

This has been a difficult last few days with the horse situation out at the ranch where I'm barn-sitting. Thankfully it is now over. The horse was euthanized late last night, and I'm relieved that he's no longer in pain. Were he my horse, it would have been done much sooner. Have you ever had an animal look you and tell that it's time to go? It's a heartbreaker. As I was walking back up from taking the other horse out to pasture yesterday morning, the sick horse stood out in his paddock, wobbly and frothing, with his face pressed firmly against the bars of the corral (did this ease his breathing somehow?). He locked eyes with me the whole way up there, turning his head as I went past his corral and staring intently at me. It's a look at that says "Please help me" and I've seen it before. I couldn't help but break down and cry, and I held his face in my hands and told him how sorry I was that this was happening and that I wished I could help him and he didn't deserve this, and that I wished I'd gotten to know him when he was well.

It's heart-wrenching.

He was supposed to have an appointment with a different vet yesterday evening to put him down, but somehow (and I don't know the story here) his regular vet wanted to see him, so the other appointment was cancelled and the regular vet came out last night. I was not there. I had so hoped that someone else would see him, someone with functioning brain cells who could actually tell these people what was happening. And yes, I admit I wanted confirmation that I was correct in my diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Instead, the regular vet went on about some abdominal soft tissue tumor nonsense. Are you freaking kidding me? This person is allowed to practice veterinary medicine?


I am just glad that he is no longer suffering, and has gone to greener pastures.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


The horse (the one I'm taking care of for someone else), he fills my brain.

I am so frustrated. Totally helpless. And totally stressed because I can't do a damn thing about it.

The horse's stats:
25 years old
sudden onset of decreased appetite, listless, started about a week ago? (much worse in last few days)
massive pitting edema along the entire abdomen, sheath, also protruding below chest
edema under jaw
labored breathing, now using all abdominal and chest muscles just to breath
pulse 64bpm (way too fast)
normal temp
normal breathing rate
not eating = not pooping
not or barely drinking = barely peeing
capillary refill in gums now 3.5 seconds
frothing profusely from the mouth
listless, stands with head down
decreased circulation, no longer able to feel digital pulse (was there yesterday!)
unstable when walking or standing

Vet says:
unsure, but suspects pigeon fever (vet has not seen horse since Thurs? vet is out of town, vet discouraged second opinion)

Vet prescribed:
two antibiotics, banamine (very large dose), and get this... benadryl. WTF?
Note that pigeon fever is NOT treated with antibiotics, hmm.

I say:
Vet is full of crap. Horse has congestive heart failure and is going to die, and at this point ought to be put down. However my pleas for an immediate second opinion from another vet did no good, but at least I said what I believe and stated my case. There is nothing else I can do, it's not my decision. Meanwhile someone comes out twice a day and loads the poor thing up with drugs that don't do him any good.

And I have to watch him die. For his sake, I hope that happens fast. :-( I hate this.

Friday, October 09, 2009

emotionally invested

Sorry about the lack of postings lately. Blogging is something I do late at night. If I'm not around or too tired to think straight, it doesn't happen. The grips are coming along great, I'll try to get back to photos tomorrow. Too much on my mind tonight.

I have a little barn-sitting job I'm doing for a week. Two horses, it's very easy. Except that one of them is quite sick. These animals like to go into crisis mode right before their owner leaves, this is pretty typical though a different horse this time. I was "concerned" when I saw the horse on Tuesday. I am "kinda starting to freak out" at this point (this was the first time I'd seen him since Tuesday). He was seen by a vet before the owner left. Bloodwork was normal. The vet seems pretty sure of what's wrong with the horse, and yet the treatment he has prescribed is NOT the recommended course of treatment for that condition (he's giving antibiotics for something that is not treated that way). I do not think the horse has the disease the vet thinks he does, and I'm extremely confused by the treatment. I think the horse has something very serious wrong with him, something lethal (no, not contagious). Yes, I'm being very vague here, I don't want to get anyone in trouble. The vet and horse owner have agreed to a "wait and see" approach over the weekend. Meanwhile the horse is not eating, not (or just barely) drinking, and has some pretty painful looking symptoms.

I'm no vet, and I've never seen the condition that the vet has diagnosed, nor have I seen the condition I'm sure this horse has, but I'm sure he has it. And that he's going to die. While he's under my watch. And that even if the vet does end up being correct and it's just an atypical presentation, he's failing to address the immediate concern, that if this horse doesn't get some liquid in there he is going to shut down and die anyway.

Three people see this horse on a daily basis right now: me, the person who is giving him the shots (not the vet), and the owner of the ranch. The owner of the horse is a zillion miles away. There is no lack of communication, though I am going to get in touch with the owner tomorrow and express my very extremely serious concern about the condition I suspect, which the owner only heard second-hand today.

I'm emotionally invested. I don't even know this horse.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

oh you know, stuff

No work in progress pics tonight, things are at a slightly ugly stopping point. I have the first layer of background down and it's pale and very unfinished. Kinda like half dressed. I hate to leave you with something ugly. I've made some changes to the original background plan. It was going to be very leafy, like the turkeys were up against plants. But it's easy to forget that when your art piece is only an inch and a half tall it doesn't "read" the same as the full sheet of paper on which I sketched it! I didn't like the leafyness, too busy looking and I was afraid it would kinda pull the focus away from the birds.

When I finish these grips I am going to be making some big changes to the "engraving bench" as I will come to call it. I haven't used the engraving vise for months, it was too uncomfortable. But I NEED to get into metal engraving and therefore NEED the vise, and also need to avoid the really funky back pain that accompanies being in an awkward position all day, so I'm getting some new equipment and will probably be cutting a large hole (U-shape) out of my desk into which the vise will be placed. That'll make more sense when it happens. But I gotta get these grips done, that's priority.

I had started to ramble on here about another topic but I'm going to leave that for another day.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

October 4 work in progress

I had to get up at 5:30 this morning to take 30something birds to auction. Oh how fun (not). It was nice to go back to bed when I got home!

I feel pretty much all better although I've been freezing cold all day (weird). Olin's foot has healed up after a thorn was removed on Wednesday, and these turkeys I'm scrimming are the CUTEST DARN THINGS ever. Seriously, I totally gush over them. The backgrounds are going to be pale to mid tone and pretty soft, since there is soooo much detail in these birds.

Earlier today:

Later today:

I am thinking now it may make more sense to sell birds in the spring when they are older and I can really judge their quality and price them accordingly. I really have no idea what to do about going to Ventura, but tonight I lean toward having to miss it. Blarg.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

poultry show plans?

Okay, the Rosecomb National is happening down in Ventura at the end of the month. Today I looked at all my birds. They fall into one of four categories:

1) poor quality, and going to auction tomorrow
2) too young to show, because I didn't start hatching until June
3) too old to show or no longer in show condition
4) heavily molting

Thus, I have no birds to show. What I do have are birds to sell. Most of them. But I don't want to deal with shipping.

If you're reading this, and you're going to Ventura, and you're a serious breeder who is going to stick with it, and you are in the market for Rosecombs, let me know. I'm not exactly taking orders (because I'm not exactly sure what I'm selling) but I need to get a feel for whether or not that's the right time and place to sell a lot of birds.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I should write something

Yup, feeling guilty for not blogging in three days. The turkeys on the pistol grips are getting pretty close to done (still have to do the backgrounds, and the last image, okay this is REALLY hammering home how badly the prices need to go up, I am working my booty off on this piece). But I didn't photograph them just yet.

I've been sick for the last few days. It's a mild cold, but it's annoying, and I feel absolutely drained of energy. I baked cookies today (because me and Mom and my grandpa went to visit my brother at the fire station today, and I had the urge to bring the guys some cookies) and I sat down on the couch while waiting a few minutes for the pan to cool, and I was asleep in an instant. Hmm. Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon!

I'm about maxed out on family togetherness... it's weeks like this one where I envy people who have a separate studio into which they can sequester themselves. I need me-time!!!

Pet peeve of mine: people who call me something other than my name. I don't mean "you sexy gorgeous amazingly talented goddess" because that might be okay (though nobody's tried that specific one out on me yet), I mean people who don't know me who feel the urge to call me Kathy. Or Katie. Or Kate. Or Kathleen. Come on, that one's not even close. Seriously. My website is I sign things as Katherine, that's the name I go by. Sorry, it just drives me bonkers, especially when I sign an email as Katherine and get a return email "dear Kathy".

Another pet peeve: how do I say this, body noises? Specifically people who sniff incessantly. Constant throat-clearing gets to me too, but incessant sniffing makes me want to scream and throw things. Now, I'm fairly forgiving if you're sick, or eating soup, or outside in cold weather, or have terrible allergies (because goodness knows all that happens to me too, but really though, blow your dang nose or be conscious of snorking your boogers in the presence of other people), but when someone's normal daily existence and conversations are punctuated by a frequent loud SNIFF, I think my insides are starting to tie into knots. Aaaarrrrrrg! How are people unaware of how annoying they are?!?! Call that my public service announcement of the day. Nobody wants to hear your nose.

Hmm, did I mention I need some me-time? I'll stop ranting...for now.