This is my great-kids, Kaden, Kyler and Cassidy with Mimi, her kids and Basil on the day after Christmas. My niece and her children came to visit family in Pittsburgh for a week over Christmas. The boys were going to be leaving the next day so we all went out for dessert and came back here to pet cats. They adopted Simon and Theo two years ago so we know they like kitties. It was really wonderful to see them all and be able to spend time with them and my niece Jennifer. That was a gift in itself.
We did have a white Christmas! We’ve had more snow since then, and it’s quite cold. I will just say that I am a fan of winter, though the extreme cold is a bit much. I feel fortunate that we are all safe and warm and indoors. After taking time to consider several ideas I decided to make some huge changes to the layout and content of first floor of my house to reflect what I actually do for a living now. That’s what I’ve been spending a lot of extra time with the past week or so. I decided to wait until after the new year to finish with my main computer and as usual the computer in my studio is a little, sometimes a lot, slower than the main computer so blogging, along with editing photos and art, takes way more time than usual. I’d intended to spread these photos out over several days, but I couldn’t make myself sit down at the computer for that long! Now that I’ve been working on several projects I’m happy to sit and work, so here we go.
It was so much fun to see family and spend time with them. They live in Savannah GA and this cold that began with Christmas Eve was kind of a shock for them. Jennifer and her daughter and I had planned a visit to one of our cousins and her family, second cousin? third cousin? hard to tell, but a cousin to all of us nonetheless, who we hadn’t seen in years. They have a wonderful cat, Leo, a huge tuxedo that my cousin rescued, and I managed to not get a single photo of him! But here are three generations of girl cousins: me, my niece Jennifer, her daughter Lindsay, our cousin Stacy and her daughter Adison.
When we left it began to…snow. Jennifer and Cassidy look like they might cry. The cold was bad enough. The snow was too much.
We did have a white Christmas and I ran around photographing snow, cats at windows and more birds. Here are some photos from Christmas morning.
Since the year my mother died I’ve been visiting the trail each Christmas day. The holiday season has always been busy with both graphic design and artwork, but suddenly by Christmas day all the work is done so Christmas day has always felt like the first day of the new year for me. I visit friends on Christmas Eve, and on can rest, gather my thoughts, and get myself out into the quiet and peace of nature and let my creative self go free no matter the weather. The temperature that day was 10 degrees and I was prepared. I’d invited my niece to come with me knowing the kids would be with grandparents, and had it been warmer she probably would have enjoyed it but it was a little too cold for someone whose winter might drop below freezing now and then. We had a nice short walk and selfie, though.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from that walk, and you can visit my post on Today to see more.
Cassidy had wanted to ride the subway since they don’t have on in Savannah, so we planned to ride into Pittsburgh on the train/subway, then walk around. It was another cold day, and with the wind off the rivers it was even cold for me, so we froze our faces getting to the train, rode in, froze some more walking to our first destination, had lunch, visited one more place and then caught the train back out. One more photo, by the skating rink in PPG Place.
They left the next morning, and then the big job here began. When I removed just about everything from my office for my Open House I knew it wasn’t all going back in there. I still had boxes of papers from my mother’s and brother’s records, and I had plenty of my own paperwork that needed to be sorted and filed or recycled. I left up my Open House display until after family left, and took some time to look over the room and consider it each day. I don’t do anywhere near the volume of graphic design that I used to, and what I do requires very little space and very little paperwork. My art and merchandise needs the space now. So I took down my display, then rather than packing it back into those plastic bins that have filled my house for the past few years, giving me narrow paths to walk and no room for cats to play, I found space to put all of the merchandise away, but in places where it’s easily accessible when I need to pack up for a show or when someone purchases something.
Above, Giuseppe, Mewsette and Basil aren’t sure what to think. This is when I still had some boxes inside that will go out for recycling. That whole area from the far right over to where the edge of the carpet is,and out past where the rocker is, was covered with a table, boxes of art and bins of merchandise. No more.
I still have some work to do to put things away, but we have our room back with open floor space, and a chair for me to sit in—I realized that I had no place to just sit and relax now and then except my bed! I am also planning to use some of the areas in the entertainment center and on the dresser with the mirror to keep a display out all the time, and also be able to use the room for other open houses and events.
The cats are thrilled with the open floor space, the carpets, and the “new” bed that I found packed in a box; I think it was sent to me by a manufacturer with whom I would be working but they ended up not having the campaign they’d planned. The bed is one of the cave-type beds, and it only fits one cat, no matter how hard they try! Here they are the first night, six of them investigating the bed with Giuseppe inside.
This was after three of them had settled on my lap the first time I sat in the rocker. A lap! A rarity around here! They took turns with the bed last night, and I think everyone had a chance in it. Here they are today, with variations on waiting in line and using the bed with kind of having two of them in it«Sunshine is sleeping in it but Jelly Bean figures he will get as much of himself in there as possible.
Then Basil comes along to wait in line.
Basil is still waiting his turn, Bella decides to walk on top of it to see how that works.
Mimi only had a few times in the bed—one of the boys gets in there with her and I don’t think she cares to be so crowded. But she found a way around that, first by sleeping on Sunshine’s legs in the front…
Then what seemed to work best was just to sleep on top of the whole thing. They both look very happy.
We took a little time for snow watching this morning, and I got a few more photos this afternoon.
So that about catches us up. Vacation time is over, tomorrow is the new year. I’m looking forward to a great start and hope you are too.
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This papier-mâché box has five of my “Winter Cats” pastel paintings on the lid and four sides of the box, trimmed with soft light green. Box measures 6″ x 6″ x 6″. Price includes shipping. Read more and order.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!