Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Days….

Well, school is in session and I swear not one of my classes look at the ‘week’ as beginning and ending on the same day.  I just can’t get in step yet with when things are due, so feeling a little unorganized.  And unfortunately, the key to online classes is organization.  Some days I just want to come home and do this…..

P8270068  Yep, just sack out on the bed and be comfy. 

 

(If you look really close, she has a little green line on her belly.  She has a tattoo, like Texter and I.  Except she got hers because she’s fixed.  I think that’s cute.)

So, back to work for me.  Have some stuff with Dreamweaver and Photoshop I need to do tonight.  That way if I have problems I can go to the learning lab tomorrow if I have questions.  Then it’s Beowulf and Chaucer.  But I haven’t forgotten my other artwork.  I have my first canvas on the wall, working on it in bits and pieces.  I’m pleased so far and don’t want to rush it.

 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hare Today, Goon Tomorrow

No, that was Little Bunny Foo-Foo. 

It was a dark and stormy night….

No, no, that’s Snoopy.

Ok, so I am walking out to the trash can just as it gets dark to dump the empty bags of kitty litter, dog food and cat food.  I was preparing for the approaching Hurricane Irene and the storms we were suppose to start getting later that evening and most of Saturday.  I had put my bags in the trash can and turned to come back inside and I hear a little ‘thump’ and then the sound of an animal crying.  At first I thought it was a hawk that had caught something up under the trees by the house and I walked around my car to see if I could catch sight of it in the dark (ok, I’m weird like that).

I zeroed in on the site by the crying.  About 20 feet from the end of our trailer and about 10 feet from the car, on the ground is a baby squirrel, all flattened out on it’s stomach where it had fallen.  I go inside and grab a towel and come back out and pick it up in the towel and take it inside.  By the way, the one time I really want Texter home in a hurry (she was checking out the drug bust a couple of blocks over) and her phone is dead.  And yes, the next morning we looked up at the nest and it had been destroyed by the wind.

So she gets home and we looked up ‘baby squirrels’ on the internet.  God bless the internet.  I know there are people who don’t like it, but at 8pm on a soon-to-be stormy night, it is a miracle.  We get a cage and put ‘Zazu’ (as Texter named it—I was going for Harry Nuts myself) in it with some towels to stay warm.

Texter was all for trying to rehab Zazu herself until…..hahaha….it keep her awake all night crying and chattering.

zazu2

I will admit it was cute and we figured right about 5 weeks old based on the ‘furrage’. 

What I am proudest about is Texter’s ability to do something even advanced adults would not want to do.  She was on the phone all morning, going from person to person, to see about finding a rehabilator to take the squirrel.  Finally she found one with an opening and drove about 30 minutes away, in the rain, to turn over Zazu/Harry Nuts.  It was a boy, by the way.

So my plan of coming home Friday after work and just staying inside, out of the storm, no problems, work on homework until I go into work on Sunday morning have been shot to hell.  Because, on the way home Friday night, we stopped at the store, and as we were coming out, there sat a toddler and an infant in the back of a car, windows rolled up, hot and muggy outside.  They were there alone at least 10 minutes because we remember the mother coming into the store.  As I walked back into the store to get the mother, she comes running out saying she was only in there 2 minutes.  Texter took down her license plate number and called it into the police.  Turns out they have had other reports of the same thing on this woman.

My stormy weekend has been more than just the rain.  I’m tired and going for a nap now.

 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Exercise Is Going to the Dogs

Now of all the inhabitants of my household, I am the one in most need of exercise.  And since we started school, Amani is in a kennel during the day since otherwise she will pee, pooh and destroy the house.  So, I ‘try’ to take the dogs for a walk in the evenings.  But with it still being 90 degrees and 70% humidity at 8pm, it’s really hard to get motivated.

So the past few days the weather has been a little kinder in the evenings and I have been taking the dogs on my “Soccer Fields” walk.  In other words, I walk them out of our park, up to the stop sign by the soccer fields and back.  The trip, door-to-door, is 1.28 miles.

Noel and Amani take off like sled dogs in a race, hauling me behind them.  Actually, I want to get a little cart and hitch them to it.  And about a quarter of the way through the walk, they settle down, have peed and poohed and are settling down to sniffing and walking.  They have to keep moving, I don’t stop after they have taken care of business.

On the last quarter of the walk, with the heat and humidity, their tongues are hanging out and they are just shuffling along (until they see one of the feral cats and then they try and take off like a rocket).  I look like hell, all ‘glowing’ and my hair hanging all wet and limp. 

Amani has proven she has some brains.  She comes in and looks at the air vents and if the air comes one, she plops down on top of it.  Not a dummy.  But we all retire to my room.  I am usually doing the last little computer stuff, getting ready for a shower and bed.  And this is what Amani does…..

P8180056  Yep, she sprawls out, taking up the whole bed and gets into her ‘position’.

 

Actually, this is how she will sleep most nights if she can get away with it.  Noel, on the other hand, is a neat, tidy, little 40 pound package. 

 

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But something is wrong with this.  They are dogs, they should still be ready to go after a little walk, not going to bed to sleep the night away.  Wait.  Hummmmmm…..doesn’t seem such a bad outcome after all.

 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Orange Watermelon

I love the Farmer’s Market.  And every year there is always something I haven’t seen or tasted before.  This year it is a staple of our summer dining – watermelon – but with a twist.  An orange twist.

P8050002  Virtually seedless, this is probably the best watermelon I have had all year.  It is sweet and juicy and a delight.  Savvy scarfed down a bunch before she headed back to Arizona.  Hopefully, this next Friday I can go by the market and find another one. 

 

Ok, back to studying.  Texter is making hash browns for dinner.  Just hash browns.  But at least I don’t have to cook!

 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nature in the House

From an early age, I introduced the girls to nature, or at least tried to.  If nothing else, I wanted them to be a bit more observant about their surroundings.  So even now, when they are young adults, they still bring me ‘things’.

Texter’s contribution last week was this cicada.  You don’t really appreciate how big they really are until you get to pick one up.  Granted this one is dead, but it’s still fun to check it out.

P8060006  The wings are so amazing.  It makes me think of Cinderella with glass wings rather than a glass slipper.  And they are a lot heavier than you might think, even deceased.

Savvy’s contribution before she left was the following…

P8070033  a piece of shed snakeskin.  Apparently she knows the hole when Mr. Snake lives and this was outside of it.  I am hoping and thinking this is just Mr. Non-Poisonous Snake, like a black snake, but looking at the skin up close it amazing.  Of course, if you forget you draped it across a pencil box at the back of the desk and scare yourself one morning, it’s your own fault.

And then, if you take a picture of it using your new camera you can play with it a bit…

P8070028  Snakeskin is still inside, Mr. Bug has been removed from outside and I spared everyone pictures of the dead beaver.  Count yourself lucky.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Art and Cupcakes

I ran by Askew-Taylor the other day after work to ‘plot’ some of the art supply purchases I would be making for my classes.  I have mentioned Askew-Taylor in the past and it is such a fun place to go beyond the tons of art supplies they carry.

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This is an organized section of the store.  When I go in I have to leave my purse in the car and carry my money and list in hand as the aisles and piles get really tight.  Upstairs is even more cluttered.  But what a joy to delve into.  I don’t think there is anything they don’t carry and if you can’t find it, you can ask a clerk and they can lay their hands on it immediately.

Since my art purchases are on hold until I get the actual list from the instructors, I soothed my soul by going up the block to this store…..

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This store is almost as good as Askew-Taylor, but for completely different reasons.  They sit there, taunting you, calling your name in whispers in flavors of peanut butter and coconut and lemon.  And “Plain Jane”, a simple, all vanilla cupcake, is a stunner.

 

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Yep, drool away.  And all the way home, they taunted me from the front seat.

P8110092  Since I couldn’t decide on what flavors to get, I bought 4 different ones for Texter and I to share.

P8110095  There is red velvet (which Savvy couldn’t eat if she were here), brownie, chocolate mint and mocha.  Hhhmmmmm, seems to be a chocolate theme here.  The red velvet is Texter’s.  The brownie and chocolate mint are up for grabs.  We will probably half them so we can sample them both.

P8110104  Poor little Mocha is the first to ‘bite the dust’ so to speak.  I had a salad.  I was justifying the calories in Mocha by eating a salad beforehand. 

Ah, the joys of shopping for art supplies!

 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Savvy Was Here

Savvy came back to North Carolina for the first time from her new home in Arizona.  She is (hopefully) at the end of her ordeal with braces and flies back for her appointments.  Thank goodness I work for an airline.  So last week was her first visit home.  Despite the fact I had to reroute her to an airport 3 hours away and drive and pick her up at midnight and get home at 3am and still go to work the next day at 6am, it worked out fine.

Now when she comes to visit we have to share a room.  And in returning order to my ‘personal space’ after she departed, there were tell-tale signs she was here.

First, evidence of braces….

P8100041  Rubber bands left on my ‘desk’ in the room

Then there were the piles…..

P8100043  and….

P8100042  Believe me, although I am trying to ‘think young’ the fuzzy, pink purse is NOT mine.

And in my closet, on top of my dresser, I find a jacket she wore while here (she thinks the bedroom gets too cold)…

P8100046

It wasn’t all just clothing and accessories either.

P8100045  She came for a new phone and left with the phone.  However, all the packaging remains on MY shelf and not the trash can.

P8100048  Eyeglass case (and yes, she left it here even after we had to go get her glasses straightened), boarding passes from her trip here (which will be used in a further art journaling project probably), and a cup she was drinking out of.

The ultimate remnant of her visit….

P8100053 A headless manga character and……

P8100050My little Fluttershy will be back in September for her next appointment.  And it just happens to be right at my birthday.  Maybe I’ll get my room back to normal by then!

 

(By the way, she was complaining all I ever write about is Texter, Texter, Texter, so now this one is all about her!)

 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

 

ghost story cover

 

I am a huge Harry Dresden fan.  Actually, I started with the TV series (bummer, no more), enjoyed it so much, I then picked up the books.  Jim Butcher is one of those authors who can’t write fast enough as far as I am concerned.  But I love me some Harry. 

Anyway, I got the latest book, Ghost Story, and wedged it between The Deed of Paksenarrion and A Dance With Dragons.  I needed something a little less than 1000 pages to read.  At first, I was a little disappointed in the story.  Can’t really tell you why without giving away the premise of the book.  Needless to say, I kept on and once again I am in Happy Harry Land.

But there have been a couple of quotes which really had me chuckling (I like humor in my reading….all those doom and gloom books – I can enough of that in real life!).  The first was about cats.  You have to admire a cat even if you don’t love them.  I basically like cats because they can tell you to take a hike without saying a word.

This scene starts with Dresden and a ghost, Sir Stuart, looking in a window at a meeting at Murphy’s home.

And dogs,” Sir Stuart added.  “Maybe one in ten of them seem to have a talent for sensing us.  Probably why they’re always barking.”

“What about cats?” I asked.  Mister had fled the living room upon the arrival of other people and wasn’t in sight.

“Of course cats,” Sir Stuart said, his voice faintly amused.  “As far as I can tell, all cats.  But they aren’t terribly impressed with the fact that we’re dead and still present.  One rarely gets a reaction from them.”

Further into the book, Harry describes himself and his feeling about himself and his relationship to people.  OOOOOHHHHHHH.  HHHMMMMMM.   Wait, he’s describing me!  Boy, does that hit close to home.  I have always wished I could be like Harry, and now it seems I am more like him than I thought.

I always considered myself a loner.

I mean, not like a poor-me, Byron-esque, I-should-have-brought-a-swimming-buddy loner.  I mean the sort of person who doesn’t feel too upset about the prospect of a weekend spent seeing no one, and reading good books on the couch.  It wasn’t like I was a people hater or anything.  I enjoyed activities and the company of friends.  But they were a side dish.  I always thought I would also be happy without them.

 

  Now if I could just channel a little Anita Blake and her men!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge Update

I am still toodling along with the challenge.  Not everyday, but when I do sit down to sketch, I generally do 2-3 at a time.  My productivity I am expecting to pick up as my art classes start mid-August.

Jul 3  Can you tell I was at work when I did this?  But I like how the words pop out from the tangles in the background.  I did a little shading on it, but wish I had a chance to do some more.

Jul 5  July’s theme was elements and this was my rendition of ‘Air’.  I do think it does look like it’s blowing in the wind, if I say so myself.

Jun 15  And another random tangle sketch.

sc jul12  I am not doing just tangles, but I am working on my watercolors.  I sketched my little traveling case of watercolors and some other watercolors and sketched them.  Then I used part of the page to wipe off my brush after I filled in the colors on the palette.

 

sc jul15  Some flowers.  I put down some dabs of color and then drew over it when dry to make the flower head and the leaves.  Still want to work on this some more.  I would like to put a little more detail into the flowers themselves.

sc jul29  And trying out my new Sharpies with a new tangle I learned.

So I am maintaining my sketchbook.  Maybe not everyday, but I am still out there doing it.  August’s theme is Everyday Items, so I will try to do more sketching on what is sitting around me.  Especially when it rains and my internet connection goes kaput.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Not Your Mother’s Lipton Tea

I am a good ol’ Southern Iced Tea drinker.  Please note the caps.  And it is sweetened (my daughters’ say waaayy to much).  But for 50-something years it has been Lipton or Louisanne tea bags, boiling water.  Let it seep.  Add sugar.  Store in refrigerator until pitcher is finished.  Repeat.  This is the routine regardless of season and temperatures.

Now Savvy comes along and gets interested in hot teas.  I have had hot tea in the home of tea drinkers – England – and sorry, but tea DOES NOT have milk in it.  But I have slowly branched out.  I have a recipe for Russian Tea which I enjoy during the winter, especially when I feel like I have a cold coming on.  But with the amount of lemonade and Tang on top of the instant tea, I am not sure real tea people would consider that tea.  I have discovered I enjoy a fruity based tea if I am doing to deviate from my norm.

P8050005 

 

So, while out getting Texter’s Batman shoes a few weeks ago, I came across Teavana.  In sticking my nose in the store, I was obliged to sample about 8 different teas.  Youthberry/Orange blend took me by surprise and I couldn’t wait until Savvy came into town to take her there.

When she came into town and we were out running errands, we stopped by Teavana and sampled teas.  Now her little eyes just lit right on up.  Better than a jewelry store for her.  But the highlight of the trip was sampling the Blueberry Bliss/Strawberry Lemonade combo served cold.  It was great.  And probably one of the most important parts, is very little sugar.  In fact, they sweeten it with their German Rock Sugar.

 

P8050004

 

It looks like gravel and actually to suck on a piece of it will cure a craving for something sweet.  The rock sugar is suppose to be better and not kill the beneficial ‘stuff’ in the tea.

If nothing else, how can you not like something that looks like this….

P8050002

 

This is the blueberry bliss, if you haven’t guessed already.  I was really impressed with all the chunks of ingredients instead of it all being ground to a fine powder.  And then the Strawberry Bliss looks like you could just add milk and eat.

P8050003

 

Of course, this is loose tea and I sent all the empty teabags to Arizona with Savvy.  So my tea brewing for a large pot of tea is very ‘ghetto’ according to the girls, but it works for now.  Savvy and I are suppose to be dividing up the tea so she can take some back to Arizona with her, long with the rock sugar.  Oops, I can’t seem to find it right now.   Oh, darn.

Week in Review July 30–August 5

IMG_0511

 

Prepared for Savvy’s homecoming (changed the sheets on the bed)

Picked up Savvy in Charlotte, rather than Raleigh, 3 hours away so she could get here

Set Savvy up with new cell phone

Bought some wonderful blueberry/strawberry blend of tea from Teavana along with their German Rock Sugar to drink iced

Set up my Year 2011-2012 planner

Bought an armload of fruit from Farmer’s market, including an orange watermelon

Received notice Texter’s and my Pell Grant approved and for how much.

Picked up books needed for this semester and got a new camera.

Two blog postings written.

Driving Savvy to and from seeing friends while she is here in addition to her orthodontist appointment

Took Texter to first night of Inkfest (tattoo convention).

Friday, August 05, 2011

School Books for the Fall

I am such a school junkie.  I could go to school for the rest of my life.  This semester I am finishing up my Associate of Arts and getting my Web and Graphic Arts certification.  I should finish the two of them up in the spring.  And these should be two really fun semesters – hectic and busy as all get out, but fun.  Lots of art, both by hand and by computer.

So today was spent getting my books for the semester.  It’s a nice impressive stack.

 

P8050002

 

And one of my purchases was a new camera.  There are stories behind the cameras I was using.  My original digital camera was given to me by a friend and is about 8-9 years old.  It is bulky compared to today’s cameras.  Of course, the battery door has been held in place by duct tape all these years.  Savvy dropped it at her first Animazement and it broke the closure.  I liked it and it took very good pictures, but I could only download pictures via my old desktop because the memory card was too big for my new laptop.  Of course, I remember when floppy discs were 9 inches square.

Then, about 4 years ago, Savvy got a camera for Christmas and I used it for most of my pictures.  However, too much zombie blood this spring and it is….well, zombie camera.  So, with the financial aid I received I got us both new cameras.  Since she is now 2000 miles away, it is a little hard to share a camera anymore.  Besides, I need pictures of the scorpions she is combatting.

P8050004 

 

So now I am playing with my new camera, which by the way I do need for my classes.  The shot above is ‘pinhole camera’. 

 

P8050006

 

And this is one of my favorites ones – Drawing.  Isn’t it so neat!  Like I drew the scene.  And then the ‘Punk’ version.

 

P8050007

 

There will be a lot more pictures in the future.  Some of them of the work I am going to have to do for my classes.  I can’t wait to not only have a new camera to work with, but learn Photoshop in depth.  Yep, it should be a fun semester.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Year In Review

With the advent of the start of school this year, I realized my “New Year” actually starts in August and not January.  That is the natural flow of my year.  The frenzy of buying new school supplies has always been more meaningful and fun than New Year’s Eve parties to me.  Give me a new box of 64 crayons over a glass of champagne any day!  As I prepared to start school again after my summer off, I realized “this” is when my year starts – with the start of the school year, not the lull after the holiday season.  So with the inspiration of Lisa Sonora Beam and her 2010 Creativity Plan, I decided to sit down and do my own goals for 2011-2012.  I also threw in some guidelines and inspiration from The Art of Nonconformity and Chris Gillebeau’s  yearly review plan.  But before I started on the plan itself, I had to create my binder to keep my goals and progress in.

 

IMG_0499

 

First off, I took some Japanese prints I got on sale at Borders for next to nothing.  I didn’t want to frame them (too boring) and they had been just laying around waiting for me to find something to do with them.  So I used them for some of my dividers.  I added some of the postcards I received, adhered with my new paper tape.  Most of the postcards I received from a friend when he goes to Thailand.  The other dividers I covered with 2-3 layers of acrylic paint.  All the dividers I made from watercolor paper because I wanted them larger than regular dividers.  Right now all the dividers are in a photo album binder I am recycling from the decluttering of albums I did a couple of weeks ago.  I plan to add some collage work to the binder itself shortly.

 

IMG_0506

 

The areas I am concentrating on for this year are writing, school, art/web/journaling, finances, spirituality, exercise/health, home/style, and travel.  I have set goals within each category for the coming year and will review them on a regular basis.  There is a big part of the Virgo in me which loves organizing and plans.  It’s the artistic side of Virgo in me which has issues with the follow-through.  Hopefully, will help.   There is also a section for Ideas and Notes which I added to the back of the binder for future use.  It was very interesting to sit down and decide what it was that I really wanted to concentrate on and how those “things” could be broken down into steps or goals which were much more realistic than normal ‘resolutions’.  So my word of the year, RENEW, can very well be applied to my plans now.

 

IMG_0508

 

The basics for both Lisa Sonora Beam’s plan and for Chris Gillebeau’s plan is setting a measurable goal and then breaking it down into smaller steps.  So under writing, for example, I have three major goals – Attend a writing workshop, enter a writing contest, and completing a rough draft of Dragon Earth.

 

IMG_0513

 

As you can see, I have a lot of notes, partial outlines, ‘stuff’ for my Dragon Earth trilogy.  Now it is time to get it in gear.  So under completing a rough draft of the books, my first step is to take everything I have on paper and put in onto the computer.  As I do that I will have my notepad open for ideas and thoughts as they come about so that I can jot them down rather than forgetting them or going off on a tangent.  One of the programs I am using more and more is OneNote from Microsoft.  It is really fun and interesting to have a ‘notebook’ on my computer which actually feels like a real paper notebook in many ways.  I have several different notebooks set up for different topics.

But this is my plan.  I am on day three of my new year and how am I doing?  Well, Savvy came home on the first from Arizona and unfortunately, as she travels standby I had to bring her into an airport 3 hours away at the last minute.  There went day one and two…..Day 1 waiting to get her here, Day 2 hung over no sleep and still having to go to work.  Day 3 is better.  I traded my Wednesday off to work for someone on Saturday (while Savvy is off with friends and Texter is at Inkfest) and we did a little errand running.  So now, she is off with friends and I am settling in for some ‘work’ time.