Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shadow Patterns

Shadow Room

I love the way light pours into this little bathroom.  It makes an ordinary, yet necessary, room feel so warm and welcoming.  The repeating black and white pattern in the tile and radiator cover make me smile, too.

For more shadowy goodness, visit Hey Harriet!  And hey - find your own shadow patterns and snap a shot, then play along!

Right now.  I mean it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hoot 'n Holler

We're camping in the deep dark woods.

The deep dark woods with the wireless internet service.

Roughing it.


It has been raining.  Here and there.  Intermittently.  At night.

But  How I wish I had night vision goggles hooked up to my camera.  I was stepping outside the camper when I heard a low trilling sound.  I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye, and definite something landing 10 feet away, on the timber that surrounds the campsite.  I got my flashlight and pointed it in that direction.

There was a little red screech owl sitting RIGHT THERE. 

Looking at me like, "Dude.  What's with the light?  I'm an owl."  But it stayed.  RIGHT THERE.

I called the boys out and we stood and watched as what appeared to be the mama owl (the red one) flew around talking to her baby owls (fuzzy gray ones.)  She occasionally flew down onto the ground and scooped up lizards and worms to take back to them.  They flew from branch to branch, ungainly and awkward, constantly trilling to keep in touch with her. 

It totally reminded me of my day today, with the boys, only without the worms.  And I didn't make them eat the lizard.


Anyway, I walked up to within about 5 feet of Mama Screechy.  She was all, "Whatev.  I don't even see you there.  I'm completely ignoring you, twit.  What are you - the paparazzi or something?"  (You should totally add a Rosie Perez accent right there, because that is what I heard.  I swear.)

It was so cool, that we watched that show for about 20 minutes, instead of Star Trek.  The original Star Trek.  First season.

Shut up.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On Not Driving

Aaaah.  I'm sitting.  But not driving.

That's a very good thing.

Although...I wouldn't have done it any other way.  I actually still have 500 miles left in my trip, but I'll let Dr. SmartyPants handle that bit.

I had a REALLY great time in Shreveport.  It was too fast - but then again, it always is.  There are never enough hours in the day to squeeze in all the things that we can talk about. 

We took in a Shreveport-Bossier Captains baseball game - super duper minor league baseball.  It was like the movie, Bull Durham, minor league.  Just great stuff.  The man selling beer had the funniest yodeling beer call I've ever heard.  And one guy in the stands, young...well on his way to drunk...was the loudest and most hilarious heckler of the opposing team I've ever heard.



He was completely opposed to the third baseman of the Grand Prairie Airhogs.  Our favorite insult that he hurled was, "14!  Hey, 14!  Sweet mullet!"  That was among the least offensive things he said.  When he started dropping the F-bomb, a lady near him got up and yelled at him for a few minutes before she found the manager of the ball park, and the police were dispatched. 


After that, things were relatively boring, so we left.

The next night, we headed out to Mudbug Madness, a street festival in downtown Shreveport.

We ate and ate.  Then we had some food.

Music, food, friends, beer, dancing.  It just doesn't get much better than that.

My pictures are a little crazy, because the light was ridiculously bad, but they still give such good flavah...

Bucket O' Mudbugs

A big ole bucket o' mudbugs.

Mo and Robert

Melinda and her sweet husband, Robert.

But, I like to call him "Skipper."

Gator on a Stick

Everything tastes better on a stick!

Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band

Zydeco, baby. Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band. Melinda's friend Crystal got to meet the guitar player there on the right - excuse me...I mean Randy Ellis, the ridiculously good guitar player on the right. Melinda and I played wingmen. We have no idea how to do that.

Chubby Carrier

Chubby. I got to talk to Chubby after the show. Super nice guy. Had his whole family with him, including his super-cute daughter, who sang with him on one song.

Earl Sally

Earl Sally on the washboard. I've never seen anyone with that much energy. He was all over the stage, and off of it too - at one point he led a long conga line all over the pavilion. Really nice guy, too.

The one picture I didn't get was one of me and Melinda together.  I guess we'll just have to save that for next time!

Tomorrow, we'll head out to camp for the week - a little relaxation after a whirlwind journey, and just the breath of fresh air I need...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bridging the Gap

Shreveport-Bossier 047

Melinda and I are making up for lost time by staying up too late and talking until our throats hurt. 

And I've been hanging out with this bit of fluffy cuteness...

Shreveport 052

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Willie Nelson is Riding Shotgun

Georgetown Rowhouse print

I carved this block a week or so ago, and used some sort of stamping ink I had lying around to test it out on copy paper.  I based it on the drawing I did of a row house in Georgetown last month.  I'm thinking of doing a series of them, as block prints, in analogous colors.

I'm at stop two in the great road trip of 2009, sitting on my in-laws' couch, being waited on hand and foot while my children completely ignore me.  I love this place.

Willie and I are heading out tomorrow, bright and early for the last leg of the trip, which includes an early morning breakfast with my folks, who live just down the road from here.  From there, I'll make my way to the burg where I grew up - that same town I left as soon as I could legally manage it, at the tender age of 17.  I'll revisit some old haunts, avoid a few others, and discover some new places.  In the meantime, I'm going to have SIX WHOLE HOURS OF ME AND WILLIE NELSON ON MY IPOD. 



I have other music, too.

But seriously.  Six hours of uninterrupted nobody but me in my immediate vicinity.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Sky High

The Thunderbirds - F16 Falcon

On Saturday, we headed out to the Joint Service Open House Air Show at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. That's the base where they house Air Force One, and while we didn't see the President's plane, we did see the hangar in which it is housed. From a distance. Pretty cool.

The day started out dreary and drizzly, and to be honest - I didn't even want to go. I love air planes - my dad was a pilot and I grew up running around airplane hangars, BUT it was RAINING. I figured the fun stuff would be cancelled and we'd have wasted most of a morning of the day before I started my big trip. GREAT attitude, no?

So - we went anyway, with an umbrella instead of hats and sunscreen. I took one of the boys' nice point and shoot cameras instead of my big DSLR, because there wouldn't be anything worth seeing, right?


The clouds parted, the sun shone strongly upon our bare heads and we fried a little, until we spent a little cash on new hats and I put up my umbrella. All the scheduled attractions flew, including the amazing Thunderbirds, and an F/A 18 that went just an eensy bit supersonic right in front of us.

Which was way freaking cool.

It was one of those days where I was absolutely glad to have been wrong about going. Amazing, awe-inspiring, absolutely fantastic.

Here's a little slide show for you...great pictures, despite the teeny camera.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Soapy Shadow

My Method

I'm not overly brand loyal. I usually buy products based on their cost, rather than on their label, but there are a few exceptions. This is one of them. I go out of my way to buy this cucumber hand soap by Method. It smells heavenly and doesn't dry out my already dry skin. Lovely.

Even more lovely was the shadow it cast on my sink!

For other wonderfuly shadowy pictures, visit the links over at Hey Harriet! It's the birthday of Shadow Shot Sunday! (And looky - I'm featured in the collages! That's so exciting!)

Happy Sunday, peeps. I'm off on the road again...I'll be driving 2400 miles or so over the next two weeks...

But I'll keep you posted...

Friday, May 15, 2009

On Chilling the Heck Out


Most, if not all, of my drama is self-created.  I hope you all understand that.  I don't.  But I usually catch myself before I lose it entirely.

So.  I am chillin'.  I sat on the couch last night and drew this pear that exists only in my memory.  I started with colored pencils, which were too hard for the paper, then broke out the gouache and just played a bit.  I love how gouache looks on this paper, although the paper really needs to be stretched to keep it from buckling.  Maybe, someday, I'll do that - stretch it and paint and watch the magic.

I'm also counting my blessings, out loud and in print:

  • Dr. SmartyPants is AWESOME.  Seriously.  He came home last night after two nights away, ate supper and then did the dishes.  Plus?  He looks really hot in blue jeans.
  • My children are healthy, creative, funny and amazingly helpful.  They vacuumed their own room yesterday.  Without complaint.  Because vacuum cleaners are cool.  And as far as I can tell, they did a pretty good job.
  • My in-laws are keeping my kids AND THE DOGS for a few days so I can have a break.  They are wonderful people and we miss them and I, personally, can't wait to see them.
  • My next door neighbor has been mowing our front yard in between our visits back to Tennessee.  Just because he wants to help and he's a super nice guy.
  • There are only 5 days left before I get to see Melinda!  And her sweet family!  And eat crawfish!

And oh, so many more...

If only I could remember these and all the rest BEFORE my brain explodes from the minutiae of irritation daily living brings.  Then?

Well.  That'd be about perfect, now, wouldn't it?

***edited:  PLUS - look what my sweet baby J drew for me today.  JUST FOR ME.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Fritillaria Crown Imperial 

Fritillaria in Gouache

I know it isn't a word.  But it's really fun to say.


Makes my tongue tingle.

The scan doesn't show the colors as well as I had hoped - there's a lot more variation in the orange - from yellow all the way through to a deep red.  Maybe I'll try and take a photo to see if it is any better, but I always have a rough time getting reds to show up well...


Wednesday was...


Folks, it was a crap day.  There.  I've said it.  It really was.  It was one of those days that just takes all the wind out of your sails and punches you in the gut and then pinches your nose really hard just for fun.  I'm not much of a crier, but people...I've been close today.

Was there tragedy and mayhem?  No.  Just life.  Nothing major.  Nothing worth talking about, except as an aftermath kind of note.  It was the kind of day where kids tiptoe around hoping mom isn't going to start yet another long lecture on the reasons we need to remember math facts or how lying never solved an issue and oh my word, do you call that making up your bed?

I can't even blame it on hormones.  It's just that some days, even though I know how incredibly blessed I am to have this life - and believe me - I know it, I'm just weary.

Weary of the laundry and the dishes and the dusting and the ironing and the schoolwork and the dog poop in the backyard.

Weary of the books I read and the drawings I make and the music I play and the blog posts I write and the constant worrying about how I am screwing up my kids.

Just weary.  And maybe a bit whiny.

And very much in need of a vacation.

Just 6 days.  I can hang in there for that, I guess.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cheesy Chihuahua. Now with Extra Fat!


Do you have any idea how hard it is to draw a muy gordo chihuahua that has wiggled his way under your leg on the couch?  It ain't no siesta, amigos. 

This dog. 

Is fat.

We can't really figure out why.  He eats about 3/4 cup of food a day - the minimum recommended, and even then, he doesn't always finish it all.  He doesn't get enough exercise, that's for sure, but neither does Oscar, and he's a lean, mean, shedding machine. 

Chico is just an old fat guy.  Excuse me.  And old fat GRUMPY guy who snarls at children. 

We went to a park nearby on Sunday, and all the little children wanted to pet the cute little fat dog and the pretty sleek big dog.  Oscar stuck out his butt and let everyone scratch it, tongue lolling about and grinning at all the cute babies.  Before we left, people were walking by, calling him by name and promising to bring him dog biscuits and toys, pointing him out to other people in the park like a doggy celebrity.  "Have you met Oscar?  Oscar is great!  Such a happy dog.  Too bad about that other one!"

Chico sat under the bench, between my feet, and growled at everyone while I explained to the littles that Chico is a mean, mean, nasty Chihuahua.  Please don't touch the mean dog.  He's mean.  And mean.

Strangely enough, he's actually mellowed a lot since we got him.  He used to snarl at the boys, too, but 5 years later, he's finally decided they might be okay.  Maybe.  As long as they don't touch him.

Or look at him.

But we keep him around anyway.  He's an excellent foot warmer in the winter - especially when we are camping.  He can stand on his hind legs and box his front paws like a circus dog.  He can snatch a chocolate bar wrapper off a side table before you can say lickety-split.  He's fiercely loyal and always on guard against delivery men and the mail carrier.

Plus, when you need a little entertainment, you can flip him on his back like a turtle and watch him flail.

That's just good, clean fun right there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Photo by Junebug

While walking to the Talky Beer Place:

Dr. SmartyPants:  You boys are such goobers.

Boys:  Nuh-uh.  No we aren't!

Dr. SmartyPants:  Diahn?  Why are you raising these boys to be such goobers?  What's wrong with you?

Me:  I don't know.  I can't help it.

Junebug:  Yeah.  It's because she married one!


I'm working on a painting, but I don't have anything to show for it right now - it's in an extremely ugly stage and I'm thinking of trying a new technique in gouache and it may be a complete failure, but I will have learned something...hopefully I'll have something to post tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother, May I?


What a lovely Mothers Day I had.  Is it Mother's Day or Mothers Day or Mothers' Day?  I never can figure it out.  And really...who cares.  It's all about the Mamas, no?

Dr. SmartyPants cooked me a lovely breakfast, and my boys cuddled up with me on the sofa and one of them even remembered to say "Happy Mothers Day" without prompting.  The other doesn't wake up quite so well and needed a reminder, but he quickly jumped into my lap and snuggled in and mumbled "Hphmuhday," and that worked just fine.

We spent the day quietly.  We walked the pups to one park and let the boys play there while Oscar was loved on by everyone that passed by and Chico growled from under the park bench.  We walked to another park and sat in the shade while the bugs played Joe and Frank Hardy and solved a few thousand mysteries.  We went home and mowed the grass and pulled a few weeds from the garden.  Doodlebug got to try his hand at mowing for the first time and did a great job (with the Smarty trailing him, holding the power cord).

I sat in the back yard and drew this iris that was blooming by the gate and soaked in the sunshine.

We all sat at the patio table and ate popcorn and read our respective books.

We watched a "Naked Science" episode about the earth's crust while we ate our spaghetti.  Mama's choice.  'Cause I'm geeky that way.

We laughed and we hugged and we rested and we loved.

It's hard to imagine that life could get any better than this.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers (Shadow Shot Sun)Day

Shadow Self Portrait
For more Sunday shadows, check out the links at Hey Harriet!

We woke up Saturday morning with no idea what we would do. The weather was nicer than expected and no one wanted to mow the lawn, so I suggested we see how far it was to the coast. I guess everyone was feeling the Mothers Day love, so they played along.

Turns's just an easy 3 hour drive to Ocean City, Maryland. We thought that was completely doable for a day-trip, and we were completely right. We enjoyed a couple of hours lounging around on the beach, a couple of hours roaming the boardwalk, and a leisurely dinner before we headed back.

Next time, we'll either leave much earlier - we were lazy this morning - or just plan an overnight trip. It would not be my choice for a week-long stay...too many people and shops and busy-ness...but it's perfect for a day-trip or a one night stay, and it was just what my winter-weary body needed.

I couldn't have asked for a better Mothers Day present.

Mother's Day, Everyday

Friday, May 08, 2009



I needed to draw something different - something to take the sweetness out of all the flowers I've been drawing lately, and this little carnivore fit the bill perfectly. I just love me some dinosaur bones, I'll tell ya.

This guy (or gal) is an Allosaurus, from a photo I took at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The Allosaurus is quite a bit smaller than the T. Rex that everyone is familiar with, but seems so much better designed to me.  

And scarier.


Speaking of scary. All the rain over the last week has finally tapered off, but not before it decided to enter the basement of our townhouse. We had the heaviest rain on Wednesday night, and Thursday morning, Junebug walked upstairs and said, "Hey, Mama, why is the carpet all wet in front of the laundry room?"


A quick call to our landlady (don't you love to call people with bad news first thing in the morning?) and all the logistics of the mess were taken care of (Thank you!) - estimates to rip out the carpet padding and set up de-humidifiers, inspection from a waterproofing company, etc. Today, the carpet people will come and get the water all gone.

The good news is that today is sunny and warm.

The bad news is that the rain is on the way back tonight and tomorrow.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Floral Mystery

Mt Vernon Flower
cheap-o pens from Borders in my large Moleskine sketchbook

I'm not a gardener. I don't know a lot of flowers - just the ones that I know. You know? These - I don't know. The stalk was taller than I am and really thick. The flowers pointed straight down at the ground. There were a few scattered around the upper garden at Mount Vernon, and they were so unexpected - so tropical among the more proper tulips and boxwoods.

Any of you know what it is?

edit: it seems to be a Fritillaria Crown Imperial. Thanks to lvetopaint over at Flickr!

We're still enduring the deluge. I'm thinking of scaring up some gopher wood and starting a new building project.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Petal to the Metal

Tulip in Red

I broke out the gouache yesterday. It's been awhile, and I forgot how velvety it is on hot press paper. So, um, tulip-y...


Funny story...the boys and I went to the store today, and on the way back, they were in the back talking and cutting up and Doodlebug said something, I can't even remember what, exactly, but it had the phrase "thin, but..." in it. Junebug started laughing, "Thin Butt! Ha! Thin Butt!"  

Because nothing is funnier than butts when you are a 7 year old boy.

Doodlebug didn't get it, because he was just thinking "but" not "butt." Subtle, I know, but he's a little more literal, you see.

So. I'm trying to help him get the joke. "He's saying, 'Thin BUTT,' honey. You know...'Thin BUTT. As in, "Wow, Mama has a thin butt."

Junebug pipes up, "You don't have a thin butt, Mama!"

.....(chirp. chirp.)

Me: "Excuse me?"


Him: "Uhm. You have a PERFECT bottom!"


Suck up.

I love that.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Wait a Minute.

Parrot Tulip

See... I thought it was "April showers bring May flowers."  Not "April flowers bring May showers."

The forecast for now through Saturday?  Rain.  Rainy rain rain.  Then?  It's going to rain, did I mention the rain?

I drew this parrot tulip (yes.  look closely.  it is a flower.) from a photo I took at Mount Vernon on a very sunny and warm day a week and a half ago.  It was sunny then. 

I remember the sun.  It's kind of the opposite of rain.

On the bright (sunny, non-rainy) side, it does give me ample time to draw and paint in the studio, and to play around with some different art-making activities.  I've got two or three irons in the fire right now - but you'll have to wait, now won't you? 

Monday, May 04, 2009

Eagle Eye

Bald Eagle

Technically, I started this one before Every Day in May began, but I worked on it in May, so it counts.  I drew it from a photo I took at the National Zoo a couple of weeks ago.  It always amazes me to see a Bald Eagle up close.  They are so big and muscular and fierce.  That beak is a force to be reckoned with, isn't it?


We were supposed to go see a German car show yesterday, but it got rained out.  It's been raining pretty solidly since sometime Saturday evening or Sunday morning, which makes all of us want to stay in our pajamas and curl up on the couch with a good book or five.  We had to get up and go to the eye doctor to get Junebug's glasses checked out, but I think we'll be changing back into the jammies here in a few minutes...or when we finish our lessons for the day.  Poor Dr. SmartyPants.  He has to stay dressed all day.


We went to a local pancake house for breakfast yesterday morning.  The food was good, but I was more interested in the party seated at the table next to us.  It appeared to be a mother and daughter, neither one of whom weighed more than 100 pounds.  TINY women.  I felt like an Amazon.  HUGE.  They sat facing each other across a very small table, not speaking.  Each stared at a spot slightly to the left of the other's head, looking incredibly bored and slightly irritated.  When their food was delivered, I saw that they had ordered the same thing - a GIGANTIC thing that looked like the world's largest cinnamon roll, covered in powdered sugar.  Each.  One could easily have fed a family of six.

No kidding, it was as big as the plate.  I wanted so badly to lean over and say, "Really?  Are you kidding me?  You're going to eat that?  It's as big as  bigger than your head!"  But I didn't.  Because I'm all polite and well-mannered and too busy trying to eavesdrop on their almost non-existent conversation.  Instead, I just kicked Dr. SmartyPants under the table and rolled my eyes in their direction and made faces to try and convey my shock and awe.

Yes, I am just that engaged with my family.  Thank you.  I deserve an award.

People - let me tell you - little tiny women can pack away a lot of cinnamon rolls.  They did take away a little of the monstrosities in their to-go boxes, but not a lot.  What I really wanted to do was follow them out to their car and ask them how in the world they could eat like that and stay so tiny.

But I was too busy chewing on my rasher of bacon.  Amazonian women need their strength, you know.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Grace in Shadow

Grace Episcopal Church

Grace Episcopal Church, Georgetown, Washington, DC

For more lovely shadow shots, head over to Hey Harriet! and click on the links...

I'm back in Arlington, resting up for a busy week.  I'll be back tomorrow with some Every Day in May items.


Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day

Smithsonian Gardens


It's May!  Yippee!!  I love May.

It's the start of Every Day in May, where I'll draw or paint every day.

This is obviously not a drawing or a painting, nor was it taken in May.

However.  I drew today.  But I'm in Knoxville, many many miles away from my scanner.'ll have to wait until I get back to Arlington...sometime tomorrow.

Have a spectacularly springy Saturday, peeps.