Monday, August 31, 2009

August, Decreasing

Last year, on the day after my 40th birthday, I posted about my sweet family and what they did for me to usher in a whole new decade. It included a self portrait in the side mirror of my brand new (to me) Mustang convertible. I thought it only appropriate to revisit the side mirror self portrait on what my friend Cyndi calls my 1st Anniversary. (Could it be that life begins at 40? Hmmm)


See - now, I'm not one to obsess* about my age too much. I'm 41. It's awesome. I've never been healthier, happier or more content. And being 41 is so much better than the alternative. I'd always rather have another birthday, know what I mean? I was talking with my Dad on my birthday, and he wished me a Happy 29th, with a sly grin.

Okay - he was on the phone - but I could hear it in his voice.

Anyway - I quickly corrected him and said that I wasn't 29 - I was 41, by golly, and DANG proud of it. This unhealthy obsession with being young is a detriment to all of us. I went through way too much to get here to want to go back again, people. WAY too much. I wouldn't trade one wrinkle or saggy tricep wiggle for the amount of wisdom I've gained in the last 20 years.

Sure - I dye my hair pink on occasion, keep it blonde to hide the grays, and have an occasional piercing done, but that's not because I want to BE younger. It's because I HAVE EARNED IT, my friends.

With every gray hair.

With every misstep.

With every poor choice.

With every push up.

With every lap around the track.

With every triumph.

The secret to staying young forever isn't to never grow old. It's to get your nose pierced embrace those things that have brought us this far and to realize the lessons we've learned are the things that make us who we are today...and love that person.

*shut up.

Friday, August 28, 2009

On a Hill

1415 Clinch Avenue

This house sits high on a hill, overlooking the river in Knoxville. The owners rarely come out, but when they do, it's always alarming. The man has wild, white hair and a canny gleam in his eye. His wife is small and sharp, like the edge of a table. The grow a garden of heirloom herbs and are said to cast spells around the town on moonlit nights.

Okay. Not really.

It's really a kind of dilapidated house with a ubiquitous FOR RENT sign hanging on the front porch and a couple of old beer kegs lying forlornly on the front porch - near enough the university to make it a popular place to live while going to vet school.

But that's just not what I see when I look at it. I see the next great NaNoWriMo novel...

November is still a couple of months away.

But it is looming, my people. Looming...

Clinch Avenue Lady is in the shop. Feel free to purchase to fuel your own novel writing adventures!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Emory and the Last (random) Day of Summer


Emory is going into the shop. He likes to eat blueberries. They make him feel indulgent and reckless.


We went to the pool today for what will likely be the last time this season. There's a front brewing and the temperatures will be dropping over the next week - into the mid 70s, which is entirely pleasant and exciting - but when you have a kid with 0.2% body doesn't make for happy pool days.

I could go in the pool and stay warm just fine. I have my layer of blubber to keep me warm.


Do you remember when you were a kid and summer just stretched out forever until *poof* one day it was just gone and you were wearing stiff new Levi's and the whitest Keds imaginable and shuffling to the school bus with a kind of dazed expression on your face, holding your Scooby-Doo lunch box with the smooshed peanut butter and jelly sandwich inside and wondering what the hell just happened?

Maybe that's why I homeschool.

Although, given that that was quite possibly the longest run-on sentence ever created, I shouldn't.


We'll be back in our little schoolroom on Labor Day. ON LABOR DAY? (I can hear you shouting) And the answer is yes. Dr. SmartyPants is off work that day, so we'll have a ceremonial school day in the morning and then go do something fun and completely educational in the afternoon.

I like to start things on Mondays. Partial weeks throw me.

I never recover from them.


I'm reading the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke. I started speculating today on sending someone evil into a book where 99% of the people die, in order to dispatch them from my world, and what would happen to that person if I did. I determined that sending evil people into evil situations only squares the evil and evil squared is really evil, so I shouldn't do it. (Even if I could...)


Enjoy your last days of summer, friends (or winter if you happen to be south of the equator). You never know when someone will read you into another story...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ocean City

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope you had as wonderful a weekend as we did. We headed east as far as we could go without dropping off the continental shelf, and perched our weary bodies upon the Ocean City, Maryland, beach.

The waves were spectacular, thanks to the brewing of Hurricane Bill, out in the deeps. The lifeguards weren't allowing anyone in at all on Saturday. With the 10 to 15 foot waves and the seriously strong undertow, I don't blame them. It was almost enough to pull us off our feet just standing in the swash zone, and in fact we did see that happen to an unsuspecting lady. Total face plant.

On Sunday, they allowed people in, but were constantly whistling and waving at people venturing too close to dangerous areas. We watched as one lifeguard swam out and rescued a girl who had gotten too far out and had underestimated the pull of the currents, and her ability to swim against them. He had to work extremely hard to get her back to shore. Heroically, even.

The boardwalk was active and lively and colorful and loud. We wandered aimlessly toward the arcades and rides - enjoying the ocean breezes and the completely different flavor this beach has than what we are used to...

For my readers who are familiar with the Great Smoky Mountains of East was strangely reminiscent of Gatlinburg, except without all the bears.

We ate Boardwalk Fries and had ice cream for lunch.

We saw the most #1 famous world famous only gallery like it in the world gallery. Ahem.

We gulped it all in and savored it, as the light faded to spun gold, storing it up in our treasure box memories until summer comes our way again...

Saturday, August 22, 2009


When he was a baby, I had the hardest time getting a picture of him in-focus. He was so soft and radiant, the camera couldn't read him properly.


Now that he's 8, his lines have become a little more angular. But he's still pretty radiant.


When he was little, he was constantly frustrated because he couldn't do everything immediately. Like walk and talk and ride his bike like the big kids. Or stay awake all day.

Out like a light

Okay. He still has a little trouble with that.


When he was younger, his brother was his best friend, and they did everything together.

Brothers at Newfound Gap

They still do.


When he was 7, he was my baby.

Junebug's Birthday Party 023

Now that's he's 8?


What, are you kidding me? He's still my baby. Always and always and every day.

Happy Birthday, Junebug

Happy Birthday, Junebug. Mama loves you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Taste of Things to Come...

It may still technically be summer, but I can already feel the change in the air, can you? Sure, it's 95 degrees with 843% humidity, but that doesn't mean it isn't coming. It's just around the corner.

Every year I do a great big happy dance when spring rolls around. Really - it's kind of embarrassing when I go back and look. Like here and here and here and here. From all that dancing, you'd think that spring was my absolute favorite season, but while I adore spring and all its showy, flowery goodness, it isn't my favorite season.

Without a doubt, it's the fall that stirs my heart the most. I love the changing light - the way the sun lingers in amber liquid, lighting up the golden leaves. I love the smell - a caramel-y, smoky shimmer in the air. I love the way the temperatures start to drift downward, slowly becoming crisp and cool without moving all the way to chilly. I love the dusk, as the light fades on the horizon and the sky turns indigo blue.

I'm looking forward to this fall - my first in the mid-Atlantic region of the US. In the deep south, the fall tends to be slow to start and long to linger - the months changing before the temperatures and leaves begin to fall. I don't know what it will be like here, but I'm looking forward to finding out. My scarves are ready and waiting, my knitting needles are looking at me with a sharp desire to be useful...

...and my paintings are moving from the birds of spring and summer to the golden leaves that start to flutter in the breezes...keep an eye out here and in the shop. In 30 days, fall will be're not going to want to miss it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Front Page!

I made the Etsy front page this evening!

For you non-Etsy folks...that's HUGE. Do you know how many GAH-jillions of Etsy items there are for sale? Me neither. But it's MANY.

That's my Thaddeus, column 1, row 3.

A nice ending to an otherwise incredibly BLAH day.

What an oxymoronic statement...incredibly BLAH. I can't believe I wrote that. I really can't believe I left it, but I'm just trying to be real here, peeps.

I do it all for you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lil' Abner and the Randomness of Tuesday


We had a gorgeous, hot day here in the DC area, and so we had no choice but to spend it basking like lizards on a rock, only without the rock and with a swimming pool in which to cool ourselves. This was the first day we've gone that the pool wasn't overtaken with day camp kids - not sure where they were, but I can't say we missed the extra crowds.


It's also the first day since July 31 that I haven't spent most of my waking moments endlessly obsessing over whether or not I was promoting my shop enough - twittering and chatting online with hot babes all day, except without the hot babes.

Or, I guess they could be hot babes.


In any case - I spent the day reading and soaking in the sun and watching two little water bugs learn all about buoyancy and how that means that little bugs can lift big bugs and "throw" them in the water.

Gosh, I love homeschooling.


I did do one bit of work by listing Abner in the shop. I painted him last night while watching Soylent Green - perhaps the finest bit of work in which Charlton Heston ever had the opportunity to star.


It's people.

Spread the word.

Monday, August 17, 2009



Have you ever watched a bird while it sang?
How it opened up its mouth and the song just poured out, unashamed?
Have you ever sat motionless in a meadow and closed your eyes?
Allowed the swell of sounds to envelope you?
Have you ever stood in the quiet, amber, morning light?
Have you ever heard the song your heart sings?

And he's been featured at Tiny Theatre (Now Showing: Birds of All Stripes), a blog by Susan Sanford. You can catch Susan's own work at her personal bog, ArtSpark Theatre. Thank you, Susan!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scooter Shadow

My big boy and his shadow... scooting across the pavement in the afternoon sun.

For more shadow fun, visit Hey Harriet! and click on the links!


In other news - I've had my first feature in an Etsy Treasury - please click here to see it! How nice to be included with such lovely items!

Have a restful Sunday evening, folks - I'll be back tomorrow with some more paintings!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Offspring

Doodlebug's Cardinal

Kindly note the official "Ott" signature...his idea...not mine.

Junebug's sandpiper...also with the official "Ott" signature. I'm thinking of registering it as a trademark.

It's funny - that signature - the way I sign all my paintings. It's completely nerdy. In an artistic way.

It's a circle. And pi.

'Cause that's just the way we roll.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thirsty Fun

Back in 2006, Linda and I went on a sketchcrawl of Knoxville, and we both drew a little run down place called "Toddy's". The sign in front of the building proclaimed it to be "Knoxville's Fun Place to be Thirsty," which struck me as rather odd. I mean - if you're thirsty IN the bar, doesn't that mean that your bartender isn't doing his/her job? Maybe it means that even though the service is really bad, you'll still have a good time?

I don't know. I never actually went inside.

I drove past there about a month ago and saw that it is no longer called Toddy's. Another bar has taken its place, although they hung onto the tagline, strangely enough.


So I thought it needed be immortalized as it used to be. The Toddy's that Knoxvillians knew and thirsted over - the best place in town to not get a drink.

It's newly listed in my Etsy shop - feel free to purchase it to hang in a really dry part of your house... SOLD

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's a Baby!

Well, not really. Just a tiny little painting. I thought I would try my hand at some ACEO sized birdies and put them in the shop. This is the first.


The second didn't work out quite so well. Could have been the distraction of the TV. I'll try again tomorrow.

And don't get to see the second one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Show and Tell

I just had to show you the ACEO that steviewren gave me when we met up last week...

She's got such style, this girl - with her jaunty magenta hat and bauble earrings. But I think she looks a little melancholy too. Maybe she's trying to offset her mood with the accessories - I don't know. Her eyes are so expressive - a little world-weary, but with a glint of hope, I think.

She belongs on the cover of a detective story.

She makes me want to invent stories about her - and that's exactly why I love her so much. Thanks for letting me bring her home with me, Ms. Wren - she's got a place of honor in my studio...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009



This iris grew up by my back garden gate - so tall and proud and gloriously purple. I thought she needed a proper welcome. Click on the picture for a closer look at Flickr, click here to see her in the shop, along with her garden mates.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Watch Out, Little Birds...


There's a new sheriff in town.

Merle is an osprey...bigger, stronger and faster than all those other little guys, and a bit of a threat. (SOLD)

Just trying to keep it interesting over at the shop...can't have the fellas getting complacent...


Random thoughts:

  1. I've been wanting to use the word "debacle" in my blog, but I haven't come up with a good story in which to use it, so I just used it in this bullet point. just felt like it should be capitalized.
  2. It's 10 days into August and I still have my July banner up. I'm trying to decide if I should just wait and start working on my September banner, or go ahead and design an August one. I'm stumped. It's a debacle. DEBACLE. Debacle averted.
  3. I have realized that when I iron, I think in Twitter bursts. I wish I could hardwire my brain into my iPhone's Twitterific app, 'cause DANG, I'd be funny.
  4. Summer walked right up to the Washington Monument and smacked it on its pointy head today.
  5. I love JONAS.
  6. Farkle. I'm just sayin'.

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Little Birdie Told Me...

Steviewren and Me

...that I was going to adore steviewren, and it was right!

We met up at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens yesterday afternoon, and just had a lovely time. She brought along two of her granddaughters, her daughter and her adorable 6 month old grandson. I brought Dr. SmartyPants and the bugs.

It's so interesting, this global community in which we live. I saw them walking into the gates, and knew who they were, having never met them. We started talking and already knew so much about each other that it was more like catching up with an old friend than meeting a new one.

I gave her the bluebird painting and she let me choose one of her gorgeous and expressive faces that she draws. If I had a scanner, I'd scan it and show it to you, but I'll have to wait until I get back to Arlington for that.

If you ever have a chance to meet up with one of your blogging buddies - do it! We're so blessed to be able to meet such wonderful folks online - people we'd never connect with definitely makes you feel a little less alone in this world, doesn't it?

Water Lily with Dragonfly

Thursday, August 06, 2009



There's a new kid in town...

We're traveling again - in Alabama to visit Dr. SmartyPants' family. I'm also planning a visit with steviewren of a little birdie told me so. She won the bluebird painting a few weeks back, and I thought it would be fun to deliver it in person.

We'll be heading back north over the weekend, and then hanging out there for a while - giving the car a much needed rest!

Monday, August 03, 2009



Jedediah just joined the gang at the shop. Why don't you mosey on over and say, "hi!"


-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Shadow Smoochin'

Shadow Smooches

Just a little love for all you fine people...

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

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Have You Seen Digby?


Well - you would have if looked at my Etsy shop yesterday.

But you won't if you look today.

He's flying away to a new home.

My first sale!