Took a Week Off to Work Hard?

I haven’t been painting. Have I? I have not. I have been making pages, rather small pages, of lists. Lists of things to do. The kind that have little boxes in front of them so I can place an “X” in them once I have completed the tasks. The tasks run the gamut from taking care of a parking ticket to cleaning up my entire mailing list, which takes …I don’t know how long that takes. I’m still working on that, but I have to go through each name one at a time, edited their first and last name, and/or delete it.

As I’ve said before, I stopped doing this list-making for a few years, but I’m back on it now. I started to forget things and also, or maybe because, things weren’t getting done. Additionally, I felt like I wasn’t getting anything done in general even though I wasn’t twiddling my thumbs all day. I work, but at what? I guess it’s so I can remember in the past. It’s so I can feel some sense of accomplishment when I’m not painting. The paintings show me that I did something. But big woop.

It’s also so I can break the big things into littler things so I don’t procrastinate anymore (on the bigger things). Not that I’m a big procrastinator. I’m more of a worrier. I worry about procrastinating.

One thing that sucks ass is that every time I’m in the head space to write, it’s not when I have the time to sit here and write. Any readers I get here – that are still with me anyway – that haven’t left screaming from their machines, “Ahhhh, death by boredom!”  They just aren’t getting the best of my brains. I think of the good stuff when I’m out in the yard gardening or something, which I did a lot of this past week and especially over the last couple weekends.

It all started when I found grape vines along my backyard fence. This is alarming since grapes can kill your dog and my doggie is about as big as a loaf of bread.


I got manic and tore them down and tried to find where they were growing out from, which was difficult. I found myself cursing at the cords coming out of the dirt and slicing them with my almighty sharp gardening cutters without cutting any of the other foliage. That fence is thick with a ton of other pretty things and it was hard not to hurt them, and not to cut all the wires that were set up for the grape vines which someone had obviously organized in a grid precisely carefully along the fence. I was going to need those for whatever else I was going to plant in its place. But, I managed to cut a few of the wires anyway. Better those than my fingers though.


You know how one thing turns into another thing, which turns into another bigger thing, and then your life gets eaten away? Well, that’s what my backyard did to me this last week or so.

Along this part of the fence I planted some white and burgundy Bougainvillea and a few Marigolds in front.

I H-A-T-E  those Sunset magazines with all those pictures of perfect yards, expensive plants, beautiful patio furniture, genius landscaping with pristine river rocks between each pant (that happen to somehow be in bloom during the moment of the photograph), and not a single dead leaf to be found! Who are these people?

Once and a while, you visit a real home like this and you wonder, are they doing the work out there? Do they pay their gardeners double to help keep it up? Where do you find gardeners like that? Where do any rich people find their gardeners? Who is raking out the dead leaves stuck inside their rosemary bushes? Can that even be done? Or are they planting new ones every week? I’m serious! Drive through Beverly Hills once and a while and ask yourself this shit. In my case, I live by San Marino – far prettier than Beverly Hills. It’s on the way to Armstrong Garden Center, ironically, and I think about stupid crap like this.

Here’s a pretty good picture because you can’t get too close to it to see all the dead leaves in the bed of my cactus garden, but once upon a time there were a few more live ones in the back and I had even made a design in the rocks that’s now long gone because there is a tree  way above it that sheds dead leaves like crazy. Every time I clean it out, a few rocks went with it, so there really aren’t many rocks left, but it used to have red rocks on one side, river rocks on the other and a white kind of eye shape in the middle that divided them. It was cool.  I built it six years ago. It was a drained out fish pond when we moved in.


Right now, it’s 1:25 PM. My gardeners are supposed to be here by 2:00, but they won’t be here. They come twice a month and cut the lawn. That’s all. If I want more, I have to ask them, even though they’ve been told to “always” keep the ivy away from the doors and windows. Once the ivy grows on the doors and windows, I have to go out there and ask them to cut it back. And the Mondays they are supposed to come, sometimes they won’t. Or, they will come at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 – making me stay home all day because I have to let them into the back.

Anyway, I have a few more things I want to plant in the back yard and I think I will be done with it for a while. If these things live, that is. I always have a few causalities. My thumb is not exactly green. It’s a kind of mood-thumb. One day it’s black, the next it’s a kind of blue-green algae that I make a smoothie out of: a horrible-tasting pseudo-ephedrine thing I try to sell to my friends at every opportunity I can find.

Other than gardening, getting my car to pass the smog test, paying some bills, catching up on laundry, I was able to get the rest of the art supplies I needed for the rest of the year, although I still need to make one last trip to McManus and Morgan for the Houses book. I’m getting some of the golden handmade paper from Nepal, like the flysheets that are inside my All Done But None books. Still in love with it. Here is the “mock-up” for that page, which will have a linoleum block print on it.


And speaking of books!…I just got word from Chance Press that the Neil Farber | Carol Es book will be out right at the beginning of next month and they are now taking discounted pre-orders at the crazy low price of $75 before the release. After that they will be priced at $100. There are only 18 for sale. It’s a very limited edition, so if you want this utmost fantastic work of art-as-book — what the hell are you waiting for????


Finally, tomorrow is mjp and my 14th anniversary, so we are going away for a couple of days to a 100-year-old resort later in the week. We found a trustworthy place to board our Gemma since every time we have left town in the past two years, we have taken her with us every time.  The place is called Wagville and she has been going there for daycare every other day for more and more time to get acclimated to the place. We should have thought about this a long time ago because she is such a terrified little pup, this seems just the right kind of medicine for her. She’s been having a lot of fun and now, so shall we.

Anniversary advice that you didn’t ask for:

Fourteen years seems like nothing. Seriously. For all of you that haven’t made it very long yet or ever, it’s really no big thing. Love changes. It gets different. It gets BETTER. New love is for suckers. If you fight a lot, that’s not a good sign. Ha!

And for those of you that have made it much further as easily as we have, you know what I mean.

All those boring things that old people tell you are true: Trust, communication, and same sense of humor.


4 thoughts on “Took a Week Off to Work Hard?

  1. Scarlett June 9, 2013 / 8:13 pm

    Awww! Happy Anniversary. Sometimes you are living in magical moments and you don’t even realize it until you look back at some point in the future and remember.

    And sometimes when you are away from your art for a period of time, you aren’t really away, new ideas are gestating or transitioning. It’s still doing its art-mojo magic.

  2. kel June 10, 2013 / 2:19 am

    Happy Anniversary

  3. Amparo June 20, 2013 / 3:34 pm

    Happy Anniversary to the both of you!

  4. Carol Es June 22, 2013 / 10:48 pm

    Thank you, you guys – for wishing me/us a happy anniversary. We are glad to have made it this far and look forward to another 14. 🙂

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