Friday, September 28, 2007

Caught Up

Double Purple, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Yesterday I shipped new work out to The Harrison Gallery and I also have a number of paintings ready to go to Gallery 100 in Saratoga Springs next week. Both galleries have sold a number of my paintings in the last few months and need more for their inventory. The Blogger Show pieces are finished and are just waiting to be packed and shipped in October.

Finally now, after wrapping up those details, I can devote the next next month to preparing for a solo show in Pittsburgh at Boxheart Gallery. This one has been on my schedule since early 2005 and it seemed like a show that would never arrive! I have about six paintings finished but need to do about 15 more. I am not too concerned about being able to do that ( I just began six more yesterday) and I even think I won't have to work on the weekends. Meaning my life might be kind of normal. However, I suppose more things will come up, I do have to do some small works for a holiday show at Gallery 100, a small painting that will be used for a holiday card for a friend of mine (more on that in another post) but I can easily fold those into the mix over the next few weeks. And as soon as the work is finished for the Pittsburgh show, I have to begin again for another solo show in January at the The Harrison Gallery.

Right now though, today, I am reveling in the feeling of being caught up.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Extreme Makeover

Mr. Wilson's first haircut. None of us are entirely sure that we got the right dog back from the groomer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I am NOT a Morning Person

Purple Weeds, 2007, Oil on Panel, 6x8

Kesha left a comment the other day, aghast at the possibility that I could possibly be a morning person.

I'd like to assure everyone that I am not a natural morning person at all. In college, I thrived on all nighters, and rarely went to bed before 3 am. I hardly ever began any work in my studio before 11pm and I still have fond memories of how creative I was between those incredibly surreal hours of 3-5am. Of course I slept later than I can now, and most of my classes began later in the days with a few notable (and painful exceptions). One thing I did learn from all of this late night activity, was to never use an x-acto knife after midnight. The possibility of losing a finger or a good chunk of skin really goes up when using tools with blades late at night. Just so you know.

Although I have long ago ended the all nighters, up until we moved to NY four years ago, I tended to be up late (midnight or so) and sleep in just a bit in the morning (7 or 8am). But we moved here and for some reason I began to just wake up at 6am. The kid's bus comes at 7:30am and I like to have a shower before I have to get them up. The pets need food, the dogs need to be released from their crates and the chickens are waiting for their food. And then I have to use the time that the kids are at school effectively (not that I always do) and so I have no choice anymore but to jump up every morning and be fully functioning within minutes.

So I do it, but it is under duress. And I suspect that working and functioning against my nature is why I am often so dang tired by late afternoon. And to really seal the deal, I seldom go to sleep before 11pm and I absolutely cannot sleep past 7am, even if I don't HAVE to get up. Crap. Plus I find myself trying to schedule things for the morning, when I have more energy.

Double crap.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back to Figure Drawing (again)

Heavy Sky, 2007, Oil on Panel, 6x8

One of my new year resolutions last January was to attend the local figure drawing sessions each week. I went exactly once and then life got in the way. Snowstorms, a traveling husband, exhaustion, one thing after another gave me a reason not to go each Monday night. It is beyond difficult for me to leave the house in the evening anymore. I am not sure why, but I suppose it has to do with how full my days are and how much I need down time at the end of them. Or maybe it's age related. Heh.

But finally I decided that this is the time. I need to go. I am going to the Vermont Studio Center in February, where they have figure drawing sessions every day for three hours and I intend to go to every single one of them. The thing is though, my figure drawing skills are very rusty and I don't want to embarrass myself. Well, any more than usual, that is.

All day yesterday I planned to go. Then around late afternoon I started to rationalize. I don't have to go, I can start next week, I have other things that I really need to do, my night driving vision is bad, I am tired, waaaaa. So after dinner, I decided to buck up, quit whining and just go.

And as always, I am so glad I did! (when will I ever learn?) I did have a rocky start though. The model was a male. I don't mind drawing a male model, it's just that I so much prefer to draw the female figure. After seriously considering leaving early, I made some mental readjustments, settled in and got to work. I did some really horrible gestural warm ups and then managed to eke out two not awful drawings from 15 minute poses.

The process, not the results, is what made me feel giddy as I drove home. Which is why I feel comfortable posting them even though they are not my best drawings. I am still feeling the love.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I Got Nothing

Blue Line, 2007, Oil on Panel, 14x18

Nothing to talk about today, that is.

The weekend passed in a haze of soccer games, yard work, cleaning, and cooking, all superimposed on the most heartbreakingly beautiful fall days ever.

During all of that, I decided yet again, to rearrange my daily schedule so that I get to work in the morning and leave the afternoons for catching up in the office, including writing my posts and reading blogs. Um, starting today. Surely I will stick with it this time, right? ha. I did ok this morning, although I didn't get to actually painting until about noon. I did get a good walk around the block in first thing, which is something I have been neglecting lately and then I had to putter around a bit before I could settle in to work (sometimes puttering is totally necessary).

Maybe I'll do better tomorrow though and get started earlier.

But watch out, I begin my downward slide into negativity and pessimism each day around late afternoon and so my posts may reflect that. Heh.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Slight Slant, 2007, Oil on Panel, 14x18

So naturally, the very day that I started to feel very full of myself about how well the art thing has been going lately, I had a bit of a reality check. One of my galleries is sending back all of the recent flower paintings I did in August because they have not generated any interest. They were originally painted for a local group show, ahem, where none of them sold either.

I am choosing to see the good in this situation though-the gallery was willing to try new imagery by me, which is always a plus and another gallery I work with has requested flower paintings, so I can send the work off to them (third time is the charm?). I know that the markets are all different and that what sells in one market may not sell in another. I go through that all of the time with the barns.

But that said, it does still sting a bit to get them back, knowing that they didn't appeal to this gallery's visitors. Kind of dashed my fantasies about an immediate sell out of inventory, ya know?! I admit to secretly hoping for that every time I deliver new work to a gallery.

And for now anyway, it's taken a bit of the wind out of my sails, concerning the four flower underpaintings in my studio that are waiting for their color.

PS. If you'd like to see the flower paintings, they can be seen in the blog archives in late July and early August.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's Honey, Honey.

Continuing on with the farm updates (super exciting, I know) Doug's beehive is flourishing. He started with 12,000 bees last spring and he estimates that there about 60,000 bees there now. They have been very productive, probably because of my flowers, heh, and there is plenty of honey, honey. We will probably fill at least fifty of these jars!

This is the first jar of honey that he extracted from his hive and you would think that Doug had negotiated world peace the way he is prancing around the house with it. Sometimes though, it's the little things......

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dogs, Cats and Chickens Everywhere

So Mr. Wilson is unbearably cute. He is much fun, and it hasn't escaped me that it's been just like having a toddler in the house again. I am forever fishing odd things out of his mouth, he LOVES to be held and carted around, and house training is taking way too long. He does sleep way more (and through the night!) than any of my kids ever did though. Heh.

He has folded nicely into our household however, and the other pets tolerate him quite well. He tries desperately to play with the cats, but they just stare at him like he is deranged. Once in awhile if he pesters them enough, one of them will turn and bat at him with a (declawed) paw, their version of playing and he completely overreacts by yelping and whimpering. I call him a drama queen. My kids correct me and say he is a drama king, since he is a male. They don't understand certain subtleties yet.

Anyway, as you can see in the photo, Mr. Wilson is in dire need of a haircut. There aren't any pet groomers in our town, but a friend of mine was able to get Mr. Wilson in with her dog next week. Some groomers in the area aren't even taking new customers. Good grief, who knew?

Penny is coming around. At first she completely ignored him, but now they interact and I think she enjoys his constant adulation. He follows her everywhere and when we go on our walk Mr. Wilson finally has a good shot at keeping up, because they are both on leashes. Sometimes the constant licking and pawing at her face is too much and Penny very politely stands up, ensuring that there's no chance that Mr. Wilson can continue bothering her. He keeps trying though!

Our new chickens will soon be laying eggs, I think. There are eight-three Buff Orpingtons and five Araucunas, which are the ones that lay blue or green eggs. I have been keeping them in a dog kennel, separate from the other hens until they were big enough to go into the other hen house. Before we left on our vacation I put them in with the other hens and things did not go well. The older hens harassed them so badly that they huddled in the hen house and wouldn't go outside, but we had to leave them there because we needed the kennel for Penny while we were gone. When we got back the new hens had managed to crawl under the screen under the roosts (where the poop falls through) and were all crammed in there, totally terrified. We got them out and put them back into the kennel. A couple of them actually had chunks of skin missing from their backs and one had a terrible gash on the back of her head. I was very disappointed in my older hens and told them so. Now I am trying to figure out another solution. I have a few things that I can try and if all else fails then we will just set up a more permanent, separate hen house. The good thing after all of that is that the new hens like me better now (I saved their lives, after all!) and now approach me and let me hold them. We are patiently waiting to see our first blue eggs.

The older hens clearly have their pecking order established and the new rooster in charge is much nicer than the previous one (Penny killed him) was. He never attacks me, which is a definite plus, and with the exception of rough sex, he is kind yet firm with the ladies. Ok, the rough sex is bad, all of the hens have bare spots on their backs from where he um, holds them down. BUT, I have been recently letting them free range in the late afternoons and I have noticed that many of the hens have feathers growing back in. I guess he has other distractions now. We didn't let them free range before because of Penny, but we spent a few days working with her, making it clear that the chickens are off limits (she is very smart) and now she just sleeps on the front porch while the chickens are just across the road running free. We don't entirely trust her though, everyone knows to keep an eye on Penny and/or the chickens while they are out. I love seeing the chickens wandering around the property though. It seems right.

Oh, and the cats are exactly the same, fat, lazy and shedding everywhere. Once in awhile they get all worked up, chasing each other around the house and knocking things off the tables and shelves. Then they collapse and nap until feeding time. Typical cats.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Deep Blue Barn, 2007, Oil on Panel, 12x16

I have been trying to catch up on my paperwork. I have a great system for tracking my work (I wrote about it here) but it doesn't really work unless I actually, you know, write the info down. At least once. Somewhere. I am about a year behind on updating the individual inventory sheets and it is really starting to bug me. So I have been spending a little bit of time almost every day trying to catch up.

I have been able to put together some numbers though regarding sales and it's been interesting to see those.


I painted about 225 paintings or so, and they were mostly VERY small, 8x10 and under, although I did begin to work a bit larger throughout the year. I was still developing my process, plus lining up shows and gallery representation that year. I sold 94 paintings, however most of those sales were from an open studio sale that I had in order to clear out my work space. My total income was crap, less than zero after deductions.


In 2006, I painted approximately 230 pieces. I know this sounds like a lot and I guess it is. But a number of those weren't quite up to gallery standards (and I have stacks of returned paintings sitting in my studio to prove it), and of course I do tend to work on a small scale so the pieces really add up. I sold 114 paintings in 2006, or to be more precise, my galleries did. And my income doubled from the previous year, although after deductions for materials and travel, my net income was still well below poverty level for a family of six. All in all though, 2006 was a huge step forward for me, I was crazy busy the whole year and was happy about the sales.


Even though I was pleased with 2006, I found myself feeling embarrassed about how low my prices were in comparison to other similarly accomplished artists and also since my paintings were selling so quickly, which is often a sign that prices are too low, I raised my prices in 2007. Sales actually rose even more when I did that and so my income this year is lovely, and my gross is double what it was last year at this same time. I have sold about 80 paintings so far in 2007 and have painted about 110 paintings. That lower number is important to me because it reflects higher quality (I have added many fewer panels to the sand down pile this year, and very few unsold paintings have come back from the galleries) and also that I am painting at a larger scale and with more skill (hopefully), which were some of my goals.

I don't go crazy tracking these numbers and trends, but I do keep an eye on things, even if I am so behind in tracking each piece. Of course I am very pleased that the trajectory of all these numbers is upwards, but even better is that I am still painting what I want to paint. Maybe a little bit more than I would otherwise (actually, the hard work has been good for my focus and development). I am still feeling as if I have much more to say with what I am doing now. So it's all good.

And I can't deny that the sales don't give me a thrill too. Not so much because of the income, although that is certainly nice, but because I really appreciate the fact that there are people out there that feel a connection to my work, enough to let me know by contacting me, and enough to put down money for a painting. That connection feels as good as being able to do whatever I want.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Guess I 'm Doing OK

Fields, 2007, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Even though I feel like I have been spending too much time on the computer since the kids went back to school, looking back at this last week, I see that I did actually accomplish quite a bit.

I have cleaned the house. Not super thoroughly, but good enough for now.

I sorted through the girls clothing and delivered the outgrown items to a local charity program. I also washed nearly every single item in our entire house; clothes, towels, sheets, bathroom rugs, even the dog's bedding.

We attended our son's middle school open house on Tuesday evening, where the parents were herded through their kid's daily class schedule in order to listen to a short presentation by each of their teachers. I found myself still making a beeline for a desk in the back row, still feeling self conscious when walking into a full classroom and having everyone turn and look at me, and I also found myself inexplicably happy when my friends would say hi to me, while passing in the halls. Some things never change.

I have spent a number of hours in the kitchen each day, peeling and removing the seeds from our nine million garden tomatoes. I have made a number of different versions of tomato sauce and they are now all in the freezer, ready for the coming winter. I have also been preparing peaches, zucchini and apples for the freezer as well.

I have been continually preparing panels as well painting each day. This week I finished up seven pieces, all of which have to be shipped out right away to various galleries.

Got a few walks in this week, which is lots of fun now with TWO dogs on leashes and have spent some time tidying up the gardens. There is still much to do with those though. Sigh. And I can't even begin to describe how much preparation we have to do in order to make our vegetable garden more productive next year.

Oh yeah, all of the usual daily stuff, dinner, writing notes to school, picking kids up, phone calls, running errands, etc. Thank god for multi-tasking or I'd get really off track.

And I have been trying to keep up with my reading, getting in almost an hour each day. Not as good as during the vacation, but better than before! Although last night I skipped that and watched a movie which I highly recommend, The Lookout. It was so good, and it was really nice to see Jeff Daniels, where has he been lately?

Anyway, I am being productive now, and it's a very welcome feeling.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Signatures and Other Such Details

Out In Front, 2007, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Bridgette made mention of how I label my work the other day on her blog. I must admit now that I have changed things a bit and no longer apply the printed labels. I stopped using them for several reasons. One was that the back of the beautiful birch panels that I switched over to are so much nicer to write on and look much neater than the backs of the hardboard that I previously used. The hardboard was dark and so even when I wrote the info on it with a Sharpee, the writing was barely visible and so that's why I added the labels initially. So since the writing shows up better now and the written info is the same as the info on the printed label, it seemed foolish to do both. The other reason I was happy to discontinue using the labels was that they were so dang irritating to make up. No matter how many times I proofread them, invariably there were mistakes and I'd have to print them a second (or even third) time. Plus it's just another step that I don't really have time for anymore.

I should add though, that I still believe having a label on the back of an artist's work is a good idea, especially if it isn't possible to add your info any other way.

So this is how the back of my paintings look now.

I make a huge effort to write neatly. You'd think as an artist, I would have nice handwriting, but I don't and despite my best efforts, my handwriting is not very attractive. I also tend to write slower (or maybe faster?) than my mind thinks, so I have to concentrate in order not to make any mistakes with that permanent Sharpee. Alas, there a few of my paintings floating around out there with a crossed out word or two.

I also decided to change the signature. I toyed with eliminating it altogether, but not because the current fashion is to NOT sign the work. I was going to stop adding my signature because I was sick of doing it, finding a good small brush, making it look nice, yada, yada, yada. Pure laziness, frankly. But then after looking at some art in a museum, and then at a collection of work owned by some friends, I found myself looking for a signature, or at least some kind of identifying mark by the artist. I realized that the signature is an important aspect of art for me and so the signature stays. I did compromise though and stopped adding the year below my initials.

By the way, the painting I have posted today, Out In Front is the piece that will be included in the upcoming Blogger Show in NYC. I was reasonably stressed about which piece to enter, especially since my work is pretty much in country bumpkin territory compared to the other artists who are participating. But I decided to embrace my bumpkin tendencies, I do live on a farm after all, and enter a good old classic red leaning barn. What the heck, right? The trees next to the barn are nice, and I am putting up a close up shot of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Involuntarily Moving On

Setting Sun, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Note to self: Don't panic when you run out of your favorite color. It can be a really good thing.

I tend to work somewhat obsessively with colors. For example, nearly all the skies I have painted in recent months have been a combination of a blue and greenish yellow color. Before that I used Old Holland violet grey for all my skies and before that it was a cobalt blue mixed with a lighter blue. I usually use the same colors until I can't bear to look at them for a second longer, then I move on.

Sometimes however, running out of a tube of paint and neglecting to order a new one in a timely manner will force me to move on too. I recently ran out of Gamblin Radiant Blue and so yesterday, I reluctantly mixed a new version of blue green for my skies, with good results. And as often happens, which I tend to forget, I am feeling a bit energized by having to change things up.

This morning I ordered a few tubes of the Radiant Blue anyway, but I suspect that the mood has passed and by the time I get it, I won't be interested in using it. At least not in the sky.

So keep an eye out for some light blue barns. That blue is going to show up somewhere!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Upcoming Travel

Patterson Road Barn, 2007, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Besides trying to get back into the painting groove (I have been partially successful; I have done some really nice underpaintings, but have yet to break out the color, always the most challenging part) I have been making what seems like a million travel plans. Well, it's only three, but still.

I don't hate traveling, but it's not something I love either. I like it best when it's rare, a short trip, and when the place I am staying at is more comfortable than my own home. Heh. Actually I am not really joking there, I am very finicky about where I stay. So sue me.

Anyway, I have decided to go to Atlanta to attend the opening reception of "Six of One," a group exhibition to introduce six new artists at Twinhouse Gallery. I don't really have to go, and they don't expect me to be there, but it's a new gallery for me and so I have decided that I should go. Unfortunately, Doug will not be able to go with me to this one. I think this will be the first time that he hasn't accompanied me to an opening where I am showing work. Hopefully, I won't do anything more embarrassing than usual without him next to me.

Next up is a day or two in New York City for the Blogger Show opening at Agni Gallery. Obviously, I am totally looking forward to this opening, to finally have the chance to meet fellow bloggers and to see their work in person as well. Of course that could be a bit risky and I am especially concerned that anyone I meet who reads this blog will realize how utterly boring, silly and middle aged I actually am in real life. Although I suspect my secret may already be out, hehe.

And I just made the flight arrangements for Doug and I to go to Pittsburgh for the solo show opening reception at Boxheart Gallery on November 17. I have had this one on my schedule for almost 3 years (no exaggeration) and it's hard to believe that it's actually almost here. I am also looking forward to meeting up with a few fellow artists while there, including Susan Constanse and John Morris of Digging Pitt Gallery that I have corresponded with via our blogs and email.

The other portion of The Blogger Show, to be held at Digging Pitt Gallery in Pittsburgh, will have an opening reception on December 8. I will have a piece in that show, however I don't know yet if I will be able to go to that opening. I would like to, but I have to wait until it gets a bit closer to see how my studio time is going. I have a solo show in January and things could be a bit hairy in early December if I am still finishing up the work for that.

I am looking forward to these events, yet am also feeling a bit tired in advance.....

Friday, September 7, 2007

The New White House (sorry, can't find a before photo)

We have been really needing to get the exterior of our house painted. And so last summer, we made two decisions:

1. The was no chance whatsoever that we could do this ourselves. It's a big house, and hadn't been painted for at least 12 years. The wood was bare in many spots and scraping paint is kind of like fingernails on a chalk board to me. I scraped one side of the hen house last summer before retreating to my room with permanent goosebumps. Plus Doug is so busy and travels so much it seemed laughable that he could ever get the job done. So we hired a guy, who with his crew, did the whole thing in about nine days. Totally worth the expense.

2. What color? The house was a light yellow, with blue shutters. A combination I hated from the first minute I saw it. I liked the idea of taupe with black shutters and with off white trim to match the trim inside, however, I kept coming back to the feeling that the house should be a classic white with black shutters. I liked the idea of all our interior color enveloped by a white exterior (Our house is full of color; the dining room is a tomato red, the kitchen is a squash yellow, apple green in the office and a sandy brown in my studio. The kids chose blue, mustard, lavender for their rooms and our bedroom is a warm grey.) So that's what we went with. White. I did choose a few less conservative details. The porch floor is barn red and the porch ceiling is a natural wood bead board.

We think it looks beautiful and I still get really excited when I drive towards the house and get a glimpse of it through the trees. Ok, I am aware that I need to get a life. Heh. But the funny thing is that not one single person has noticed it, none of our friends who have stopped by or our neighbors who pass by each day. Sheesh! How can anyone not notice such perfection!?

And what's really exciting is that after four years, we finally have a step from the TV room to the patio. It was a 3 foot drop until we had the step put in a few weeks ago. Total luxury!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

On, But Mostly Off

Those Cabins on Route 20, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Steven has asked me a few times, about whether I am on "on" or "off" as an artist when I am on a trip or out of the studio for a length of time. My answer is usually that I am somewhere in between on and off.

On this trip it was no different. As usual, my intentions were to be "on" and just have some fun with drawing and watercolors. I took a box of supplies along and for the entire week, it sat in the exact spot where it was placed on the night we arrived. None of us did anything creative, I am afraid. I actually looked at the box often, longing to pull out the supplies, but I just couldn't do it. I guess I really needed the break, which is puzzling because I haven't been working terribly hard this last summer. Maybe it was a break in advance; now that I am back home and have gone over my schedule, I see that I will have to work at least full time until I leave for the artist residency in February.

But still, I wasn't "off" entirely. I took a lot of reference photos. New Hampshire has some wonderful barns, and I have already incorporated some of those images into the paintings I started yesterday. I also have references for new landscapes, water imagery, including lily pads, which intrigue me, and a few new houses as well.

Most importantly though, I spent more time than usual just sitting around observing my surroundings and while I probably won't remember the details of what I saw, the feeling from all of that will show up in my work at some point.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Little Pond, Near Squam Lake. NH

View from the screened porch

I have never been a water person at all. In fact, after 2 near drownings, once in a river and once in a pool, I was mortally afraid of going into deep water as a child. When I was around 13 or so, and hanging out at the pool at the mobile home park I lived in, staying in the shallow end of the pool really became embarrassing. I was a good swimmer, but felt mortally terrified if I couldn't touch the bottom. However, personal embarrassment can be very motivating and one day I just dove into the deep end and swam to the shallow area. I still preferred to swim in pools, rather than bodies of water, but at least I conquered at least one issue that day. And I have kept swimming. I have done many, many laps over the years, especially while I was pregnant.

For the last few years, I have been feeling like we really needed to have a vacation on a lake. This seemed odd because of my pool preference, and also because I have never really done much boating or anything like that either (I get motion sickness very easily). But since I try to pay attention to my instincts, I told Doug we should do a lake vacation this year, since we had decided not to do a full on vacation in Cape Cod (I only go into the ocean up to my waist, by the way) this year.

And so, first thing on our first morning at the lake I found myself swimming along with the kids, from the landing outside our rental house out to a dock, in a very cold lake. Then before I knew it, I was in a canoe with my son, paddling around the lake. Luckily, my kids have not inherited my water fears (I was always careful not to show any of that to them) and they were very helpful in showing me how to use the oars, as well as helping me with the kayak, another experience I have missed out on. Always good to have scouts on hand, who have been kayaking, canoing and swimming for years already. Heh.

With the exception of the two days that it rained, we were in the lake several times each day. Doug took the kids fishing quite a lot and we played a lot of board games and cards. We spent a day shopping at the outlet stores in North Conway, and on another day we went to The Flume Gorge and I took the younger kids on a gondola ride at Loon Mountain, which was very cool (Doug and I did this last year on our little trip to NH) yet unbelievably terrifying. Doug stayed at the bottom with our older son who refused to go on the ride.

Besides spending so much time with the kids, my favorite thing about this vacation was sitting on the screened porch reading books! I read two whole books and got about halfway through The Great Deluge, which coincidentally, I started reading this on nearly the exact day that Hurricane Katrina wiped out New Orleans. I am making an effort to continue to read more each day, mostly because this is a really good book and I'd like to finish it before I forget the first part of it.

Anyway, even though it was a great vacation, we are all glad to be home. I am having some trouble getting back into the flow of things, and am feeling distracted and a bit scattered. But I think things will be smoother when the kids go back to school tomorrow.

Surely you can hear my big sigh of relief about that!