Monday, March 31, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Diahn Gets Her Groove Back

Or at least continues to try to get it back...It was a rainy, rainy day here in east Tennessee, so I sketched from some photos I took on some recent adventures. It feels really good to draw again. I can feel the little frowny lines between my eyes relaxing...

A jellyfish from the Aquarium of the Smokies - one of my boys and my favorite places to visit. I love the jellyfish tanks - they look so ethereal - like underwater sea fairies...except they might wrap their nettles around you and make you wish your nerve endings didn't connect to your pain receptors.

Jellyfish at Gatlinburg Aquarium

And a page of memories from our trip to Dollywood. I didn't realize that they have a large eagle sanctuary there, and could have stood in front of the majestic birds all day. Just fantastic. I also enjoyed watching the boys take it all in for the first time. Not surprisingly, D was slow to warm up to the more adventurous rides, loved the mid-range ones with less-steep drops, while J LOVED the gigantic drop of Daredevil Falls and wanted to go over and over, and in the FRONT SEAT! We all got wet that day, but he was SOAKED.

Opening Day at Dollywood

Can someone explain to me why I can draw an eagle, but not my own children? Strange. J looks like he will when he's 16, and D's eyes and mouth are wonky, but...that's okay. Right?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Isn't Technology GREAT???

Yes, I'm a tech-nerd. I admit it. I love electronics more than the average American woman, I think. Except for Linda. She's at least as techno-geeky as I am. I mean that as a compliment.

SO...for Valentine's Day, my sweetie got me the best thing. Well, yes - he did get me some chocolate, but this was even better than that.

It's a Sanyo Xacti CG6 digital video camera, and it's awesome. It is about the size of my Blackberry and just slips into my handbag and goes everywhere with me. I've been playing with it for the last month and annoying filming my family all over the place (which you can view on my YouTube channel, if you want to see what the videos look like.
It also takes 6 megapixel stills, and I've got to tell you, I wasn't all that hopeful at what it would produce. It's got a tiny little lens, but I'm very pleased with what I have seen so far. It even has a flash.
But, that's really NOT what this post is all about. My oldest son, D, is 8 and he used it to take this (beautifully framed and composed) picture of me, Dr. SmartyPants and J. Now come on - I was impressed when I saw it - I know you are, too!
Spring Break 2008 022
He's obviously a photographic genius...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Crayola Rocks!

Okay. All too often, I complain about lousy customer service and shoddy craftsmanship, etc. But today...I'm going to give a big KUDOS to Crayola. Now...I'm a big Crayola fan. I love their products - my kids love their products and usually I can buy them without any fear that they are going to be less than fantastic.

Yesterday, the boys and I went to the store for a few items and I saw a cool tower of 50 of the Pip-Squeak markers for a reasonable price.

The tower opens up and stacks like a pyramid, so you can just grab a color and go. Well...we had to have it. All of our other markers are scattered from here to Timbuktu. I told the guys we'd get it as long as the tower stayed on our work table downstairs, instead of traveling all over the house. Great. Got it. Good to go.

Just a few minutes ago, they decided to color and D. brought one of the dark green markers to me and told me it didn't work. Sure enough it was all dried out, as were 15 others. WHAT?? 15 others? That ain't right. So, I called their 800 number.

An incredibly short 2 minutes later, I spoke to a very nice lady who apologized up and down and back and forth and assured me that they had tried to recall all those markers, due to a sealing problem, but obviously some had slipped through the cracks and could she please send me a newly designed tower right away?

I LOVED it. Are you kidding me? A company that takes responsibility for its problems? Holy cow - what an idea! She didn't try to tell me that someone must have broken the seal (they hadn't) or that it was a result of a shipment problem by some unnamed contractor or any other nonsense. Just - "Hey - we made a mistake and we are going to fix it. We are so sorry for your hassle, is there anything else I can do for you today."

And that, people, is how you win brand loyalty.

i CAN draw

Linda and I went out wandering about a while back and I did actually sit and draw something that almost resembles a person! Yippee!! I can do it!! I asked J if it looked like and old lady, and he shook his head and said, "No. It looks like an old man." So. My apologies to the nice lady who was having lemonade with her friends. You didn't look anything like an old man.

At Panera with Linda

I also grabbed a moment to draw while we were at the Biltmore on Thursday. The spires on top of the house are really lovely and fun to draw if you ignore the crick in the neck that accompanies the task. We were sitting in the courtyard drinking hot chocolate while I drew it. It's a good way to keep young boys still. The orchid was in the conservatory and I had to draw it from a picture, because the downside of using hot chocolate to keep young boys still is the burst of energy that comes after they finish the drink. do what you can

At Biltmore House, Asheville, NC

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Birthday

Ronald's Birthday Candles!, originally uploaded by diahn.

You really are the best, you know...

It May Not Be Painting...

...but at least it is something!
Playing around with mobiles again - and an old Patricia Wyatt calendar that Linda gave me...
Now flying from the entryway chandelier.
The fact that they are birds of prey silhouettes might reflect my current state of mind regarding my artwork...but I'm remaining hopeful.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

In Search of Spring

Forsythia at Biltmore

Technically, it is here. The temperatures don't quite show it yet, but it is official. Spring is here! We went in search of it over the weekend, and found it in smallish doses. This forsythia had burst forth at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. As had a whole crop of daffodils and this lonely tulip...

Tulip at Biltmore

The big tulip displays will be in a few more weeks, and I hope to go back and see them all.

It was a day to enjoy the sunshine, even though the wind remained quite chilly. A little running and hill-rolling took care of that, though...

Boys at Biltmore

Hill Rolling

Do you remember rolling down hills? Getting all dizzy and disoriented and covered in green, green grass? Oh, I do, and it always makes me think of days like this. Days when you listen carefully to hear the sounds of buds cracking open and seeds sprouting.

Diana at the hunt

Days when you realize there's just a teensy bit more daylight than there was yesterday, that the chill in the air is not quite so sharp.

Days when you remember that the best things in life don't cost a penny and can be held in one's lap.

Me and the Boys

I love days like that.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Yo, Peeps!

There are signs that a change is a-coming. A new wind is blowing - a fresh perspective is inevitable. Creativity has been hard to come by lately, but the last day or two has brought it out in unexpected ways...

For J's Easter party at school...Peeps cupcake baskets with jelly bean eggs. The licorice handles just didn't work. And who likes licorice, anyway?

My New Mobile
A new spring-color-palette-inspired sewn paper mobile to replace the paper snowflake mobile from Christmastime.

Hope of the warmth to come has come out lately, too...

In lightning fast bicycles ridden around the neighborhood lake...

Planting seeds
In tiny seeds dropped into planting pods...

In the determination and strength it takes to conquer monkey bars for THE VERY FIRST TIME EVER. And yes. I did remember my camera. Smug mama look...

Oh. My. It's almost here. The green is coming back. The trees are whispering it to the wind. The frogs are talking about it in the pond. I overheard them today. They say..."not long now. don't give up."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Sunday afternoon the kids in the neighborhood came across this little girl. She's got on a collar with a rabies vaccination tag, but it is out of date and the vet clinic that it was registered to doesn't keep the owner information in their computer longer than a year (how lame is that???). She's a sweet girl - at least 2-3 years old, according to that tag (it was from 2005) and she is currently renting the doghouse out back.


The boys and I made flyers and passed them out all over our neighborhood and two other neighborhoods nearby. We also let the local shelter know we had found her in case anyone was looking. Given the smell that is currently emanating from this pup, she's been away from home awhile, although she's not overly scrawny. Slim, for sure, but not starving. She's been very sweet to the humans here, but I introduced Oscar and Chico to the mix today to see what she would do.

Strangely enough, she and Chico did okay. He sniffed...she growled...he walked away. No hay problema.

She and Oscar did not fare so well. It may be time for a little Dog Whisperer action.

I think Dr. SmartyPants (the softy) is secretly hoping nobody claims her so we can keep her. I don't know. She's got to have a serious bath and a cat-scan. Literally. If she is not nice to Ben, forget it. She is obviously a Jack Russell Terrier, so she is going to have a need to chase things like cats.

I don't know.

The boys have already named her "Precious." AS IF. I mean, please. "Precious?" I think we can do better than that. Something has to stand up to those manly names the other critters have.

IF no one claims her and IF she passes the cat scan (and getting along with Oscar) and IF a fabulous wonderful literary strong name pops into my head. THEN I'll think about it.

At least there would be another girl in the house...

OH - and hey everyone...if you have a dog/cat/bird/ferret...whatever...PLEASE put a collar with ID on it. I mean really. It's simple. It's cheap. You could have your pet back.

Monday, March 10, 2008



I've made it all the way through the longest part of winter without being too badly affected.

Until last week.

Or maybe the week before. It's hard to say, now.

In any case...I'm stuck. Stumped. Stultified. Stalled, stifled, squashed. Stagnant.

Are you getting my drift, here?

It's hard to say why. Daylight savings time just didn't start soon enough. Someone looked at me cross-eyed last Wednesday. Spring Break is next week. Who the heck knows anymore.

It doesn't really matter why, I think. What matters is breaking through the funk. The stump-funk. The steaming, stultifying, stagnant, stalled, stifled, squashed stump-funk.

Aren't you glad you dropped in today? Here - have a big steaming cup of stump-funk with me! Pull up a chair and whine awhile.

You'll fit right in.