A series of unfortunate events

 “merry & bright” is available as a print or card. It is based on an original 11×14 painting in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on rice paper.

“merry & bright” is available as a print or card. It is based on an original 11×14 painting in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on rice paper.

It was a very trying couple of weeks. The first thing to go wrong was that mice invaded our kitchen and bathroom, leaving their droppings in most of our drawers and cabinets. Just days after I finished cleaning and sterilizing everything from that episode, the dog did his business on the driveway, my husband stepped in it wearing hiking boots, and voilà— a trail all through the downstairs that even a human could track by smell.

After cleaning the evidence off the carpets and floors, I updated some software for my website—and much of the sidebar text disappeared. I naively thought it would be simple to restore it from the nightly backup, but my web guy said that what with the reconfiguring and testing, it would actually be faster for me to recreate the content. There went another big chunk of the day.

Next up, my digital security service notified me that my Gmail account had been compromised. As advised, I dutifully changed the password. But this foiled only me, as the account could then receive email, but no longer send.

A couple days later, the front door permanently locked while open. We spent 24 hours with blankets draped over the top and side of the door to keep out the chill until a locksmith came to replace the failed lock

During this period, I noticed that the house alarm system was indicating a low battery. When I called the company that had installed the system, they had no record of our account

The way my luck was going, it was just par for the course when I picked up the lid of a ceramic butter dish and part of it broke off in my hand.

As each new calamity arose, I got farther and farther behind on my to-do list, just at my busiest time of the year. Instead of painting and framing art, while my husband was off teaching and the kids were at school, I spent many long and tedious hours cleaning and fixing things that I usually take for granted, like front doors that close, email that both sends and receives, and kitchen cabinets where you can safely store food.

 “peace on earth” is 5×7, painted in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on textured paper. It is also available as a print or card.

“peace on earth” is 5×7, painted in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on textured paper. It is also available as a print or card.

It was a small mercy that this series of unfortunate events happened just before Thanksgiving. Even while lamenting all the time I was losing, a part of me remembered to be grateful to have a home at all. I told myself that many displaced people—from Syria to the Philippines to downtown Arcata—are facing situations far more dire than a little mouse poop in the silverware drawer.

Beyond that insight, I am not sure what else to take from this run of aggravations, except that sometimes in life, poop happens. Then you just clean it up as best you can and carry on.

With everything running smoothly in our household once more, this past week I found time to paint several new holiday pieces, including the persimmons shown here. I’m now busy catching up and preparing for holiday fairs over the next two weekends.

Who knows what else might go wrong (what is that weird sound coming from the dishwasher?). But the little white Christmas lights are up and the mood here is turning merry and bright. Here’s wishing you delightful and aggravation-free holidays

warmly, Annette

Makino Studios News

Humboldt Holiday Fairs:

  • Humboldt Artisans Crafts and Music Festival at Redwood Acres in Eureka, CA, Friday through Sunday, Dec. 6-8. I’ll be offering new paintings, prints and holiday cards. The Makino Studios booth will be in the sunroom of the Home Economics building.
  • Arcata Holiday Crafts Market at the Arcata Community Center, Arcata, CA, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14-15.
  • Pierson Christmas Fair in Eureka, CA, now through Dec. 24.

Poetry & Honey: My new 2014 wall calendar has been selling much faster than I expected and is currently on its third printing. You can order copies online at my Etsy shop, find them at select Humboldt County stores, or get them at the fairs above.

Holiday Cards: My newest designs can be found in the card section of the Makino Studios Etsy shop.

Arts Alive Holiday Show: Several of my framed prints and cards are in a group show at the Mateel Cooperative Gallery, 773 Redwood Drive, Garberville, CA through December.

New Retailers: I’m happy to share that you can now find a selection of my cards at Eureka Natural Foods (see the special card rack in the center of the candle section), and at St. Joseph’s Hospital Gift Shop, both in Eureka, CA.

Haigaonline Show: Eleven new haiga (haiku art pieces) will be featured in the next issue of Haigaonline, coming in late December.