How I spent my summer un-vacation

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I can’t believe summer is basically over and fall is quickly approaching (at least in some parts of the country) the only way you’d know it here is that the mornings and evenings are getting significantly cooler.

Although I haven’t had too many teaching trips the last couple months, I have been very busy in other ways.

IMG_8937In July, I celebrated one year since I met my sweetheart Phil. He gave me this wonderful carved lizard to mark our special date. As much as I have always loved these sculptures, I have never owned one, I’ve only painted a quilt in homage to them, so this was such a perfect gift!


The next day my daughter Indigo, Phil and I drove to Southern California, met up with my folks and went to a friends wedding in Ojai, CAwedding wedding 2

and then we drove to a reception in Santa Barbara

IMG_9028for the wedding of my friend and wonderfully funny author Kathy Hepinstall.IMG_9040

After the party we stopped for breakfast at Denny’s at 2 am, that’s something I haven’t done in a few years!IMG_9114

The next day Phil, Indigo and I took the long way home and drove up the coast. I will never cease to be amazed at how beautiful California is.IMG_9110 IMG_9074

It was so fun seeing this beach filled with enormous elephant seals sunbathing, occasionally flinging sand over their backs and cavorting in the water bumping floppy noses to show who’s boss.IMG_9051


I also had the chance to catch up with several old friends along the way. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetMy friend Ildi in San Louis Obispo, my friend Sue in Avila beach, who I last saw when I was 14 and living in Maine, and Linda in Pacific Grove, who I last saw 22 years ago.


Then we had visitors from England. Penny was one of my students from IQF Houston several years ago when she was 17, she and Indigo hit it off immediately and have kept in touch over the years. You can see some of Penny’s beautiful floral painting in this postpennyIt was such a treat to have Penny and her family come to our home for lunch and then in the afternoon drive out to the sierra foothills to beautiful Helwig wineryIMG_9205

where Phil’s band was playing and we danced the night away under the stars.helwig night


Our next out of town visitor was German quilting teacher Birgit Schueller and her family while they were vacationing in the states. birgitI met Birgit when I taught at Quilt Canada in June.


The following weekend me, Phil and our kids spent a day in San Francisco, IMG_9408going by the ruins of a Victorian bath house, golden gatetaking in the beautiful view of the golden gate bridge IMG_9415and wandering in the shops of Height Ashbury.

IMG_9422Then we met up with this fun guy, it turns out that during a conversation Joe Cunningham and I were having, that he and Phil have a few musician friends in common, so we all got together for dinner. It’s amazing how small the world seems sometimes.


In early August, Phil and I spent a lovely weekend in Calistoga at a wonderful B&B, the Calistoga Inn.calistogaThe next day we went on a 20 mile bike ride through gorgeous Napa wine country from Calistoga to St Helena and back, then followed it up with a couples mud bath at Golden Haven Spa & Resort.IMG_9517It felt like wiggling into a vat of hot oatmeal, lol, then after a shower, we soaked in a hot mineral water jacuzzi and then blanket wrap. We were so relaxed after it was amazing. We had a fantastic late afternoon lunch and drove back to Sacramento over scenic back roads past the Monticello dam.IMG_9527


Phil’s band played a second time at dusk at Helwig winery and me and a couple of the band wives had fun wine tasting nearby while the guys set up.IMG_9548


I finally finished a piece I started a year ago painted with acrylic inks. I missed the deadline on the exhibit I was making it for this spring when I was really busy. I entered it into PIQF, so we’ll see how that goes, it’s been several years since I’ve had something to put in a show. I’ll write up a post with photos and details about it after it’s been in a show.truckload_Perez detail


The hardest time this summer has been Indigo’s ongoing health problem, she’s had terrible hives since March. She’s allergic to something in the environment here, because when she goes outside she gets worse and when we go away from the valley she improves. Tests have shown she’s allergic to trees in this area, 2 types of weeds, Bermuda grass and mold. She’s had to be on prednisone continuously for 5 months to keep the hives under control, and because of that, one evening her potassium levels dropped to dangerous levels and she had a tonic seizure. Basically she had a full body Charlie horse that escalated so rapidly that she lost consciousness, it was terrifying. We spent the night in the ER while they found out the cause and got things got stabilized.

IMG_9604 My son tried to get some much needed sleep, before I finally drove him home at 3 am.

Indigo’s recovery from the seizure took close to two weeks and she’s doing much better now.

The long term stress of not getting the help we need to resolve this has been exhausting though and feels very overwhelming sometimes.

We should have better insurance any day now that will allow us to get proper health care so we can hopefully get to the bottom of this soon.


A week following the ER trauma was my birthday and what a blowout celebration we had.
IMG_9774Phil, his son Scott, and my parents came over, joined by my ex and his girlfriend who came up from LA as well as my son Ty, his girlfriend Sierra, and Indigo were all here to share the meal, toast champagne and throw back a few tequila shots, while music played, laughter was plentiful and a few tears were shed.

My favorite gift was from Indigo, she painted the wrapping to look like it had been stained and wrapped with twine gift

this beautiful little painting she made says it all.


-to life, love and creativity my friends! xo

8 Responses to “How I spent my summer un-vacation”

  1. I always enjoy your stories an am a big fan of your art. Hopefully this next season will be less stressful. Thanks for sharing.

    • aw thanks Cathy! I think we are already off to a good start, Indigos skin looks calmer each day and she’s down to the minimum prednisone so I think whatever has caused the reaction is passing as the season changes. We also finally got back to UCD med today and the Dr put in an urgent request to see an allergist so things are moving forward 🙂

  2. Rowan says:

    What a great summer. And the ups and downs are par for the course. Keep moving forward. Keep making things.

  3. Hi Judy,

    I’ve had hives 3x, each time lasting a year, and each time they never did figure out what caused it, although I’m convinced that stress is a trigger for me. The last time I refused steroids as they make me feel quite psychotic. My regular doctor suggested antacids that work on the H2 receptor, and together with massive doses of other antihistamines that kept it under control. Heat is definitely a bad thing too, so hopefully she will feel more comfortable as the temps drop. Good luck to you all.


    • Hi Merran,

      wow, so frustrating, huh? Indigo’s taking a lot of antihistamines with antacids too, the cooler temps and change of spring/summer pollen to fall has really helped to calm it down. She’s also taking a 3 week break from the air here and going down to LA while I’m away on several teaching trips, hopefully by the time she comes back the allergic triggers will no longer be creating such havoc with her immune system.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I just found your blog when I went looking for reviews on Golden High Flow Acrylics. Then the story about your daughter’s hives caught my attention. Have you considered that her hives might actually be caused by food rather than environmental factors? She might try an elimination diet or get tested for food allergies/sensitivities. My hunch is gluten.

    • Hi Cheryl, she’s been tested for food and has no allergies to any that we know of, its mostly pollen and molds, but that doesn’t mean she may have some sensitivity that could be triggered by gluten as I’ve heard some other people have issues with. The Dr.’s are also looking into possible thyroid complications causing it since hives and thyroid problems can be linked and she does have thyroid disease. What she has are not normal hives either, they call it chronic uticaria, which is inflamed skin that stays inflamed for several weeks, blisters, peels off and then moves to another location for several weeks.

      She’s doing much better in LA though near the coast, where there is less pollen and is finally able to spend time outside and do normal daily life things.

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