Thursday, May 27, 2010



I made it! I'm in Louisiana, with the fabulous Melinda! We stayed up half the night talking, so if my post today has bags under its eyes, I'm sure you'll understand and try not to stare, right?

I brought Atticus with me. He is the first in what I hope will be a long series of literary-themed bird paintings that I'll be working on when I get back to Arlington. It combines a lot of things that I love...birds, books, stacking things, cryptic references, I'm UBER excited about it. When I got the idea for the series, this was the first book I had to do - it's a lifelong favorite of both of ours, and I knew immediately when I started painting that it was for her.

Tonight, we're planning on dinner at the Olive Street Bistro with a group of Melinda's friends, including Lisa, who is my friend as well. We've not actually met, of course, but we've got a healthy correspondence to back up the claim that we're already friends.

I love the internets.

Oh - and Mark...


The eh-too-fay was DELICIOUS...

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Great Westward Journey

Japanese Maple

I'm at STOP ONE on the great westward journey - my parents' house in Alabama. Okay, I guess it's actually STOP TWO because we did stop at our house in Knoxville, but I didn't think it needed capitalization since we technically live there kind of and we only stayed one night so I'm calling this STOP ONE and you'll just have to deal with it, okay?

We drove here yesterday - Dr. SmartyPants in our SUV, me following in the Mustang, top down almost all the way, until the temperature hit above 90 and I melted into a puddle under the dash. I sang my Glee soundtracks so loudly that I had a bit of trouble carrying on a conversation once I got here.

In other words? It was perfect.

I'll be here through Wednesday morning, all the Ott boys are heading to their STOP TWO, which is Dr. SmartyPants' parents house back up the highway a bit. Then, on Wednesday, I'll continue on my way and go to my STOP MOST IMPORTANT STOP DOESN'T NEED A NUMBER TWO, where Melinda is waiting to entertain me and feed me and house me and provide me with beer a tall glass of water.

And, of course, most importantly...crawfish eh-too-fay.

Oh. And this picture has absolutely nothing to do with that, but I haven't unpacked my computer yet and I'm borrowing my dad's and so I haven't downloaded any new pictures of important things like my parents' pretty view from the back deck.

Hence...a japanese maple near our house in Arlington. Enjoy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Whoa. Wait. It's Friday?

P51 Mustang

Okay. I'm not really sure where Wednesday and Thursday ran off to. But look! It's Friday! And that second sentence ends with not just one, but TWO prepositions.

Because I'm awesome like that.

But today is FRIDAY! Which means tomorrow is SATURDAY! Which means we're heading SOUTH! Which gets me even closer to going WEST! To see MELINDA! And eat CRAWFISH ETOUFEE ETOUFFEE EH-TOO-FAY!!

I'm just a teensy bit excited.

I've already packed, that's how excited I am.

By that, I mean I've already packed for ME. I guess the boys need something to wear, as well, right? Fine. I'll do it.

I made this trek last year, which makes it a tradition and something that cannot be stopped. It's the SECOND annual Mudbug Madness Adventure. I'm thinking of having t-shirts made and taking donations and running a 5K, except not actually running the 5K.

Because that would involve running. And sweat.

I'm taking my Mustang this trip, and I'm seriously stoked about it. It has an iPod plug in, so I can head down the highway whilst belting out all the songs from Glee and no one will be plugging their ears or laughing hysterically because I WILL BE ALONE IN A CAR FOR OVER 6 HOURS.


You know - I've just figured out that this is my own personal version of Bossy's (No) Book Tour, except without sponsorships and blogger meet ups and napping in my car. And I'm only going halfway across the country, instead of all the way to California and back.

And it will only take one week, instead of six.

But other than that, it's EXACTLY the same.

Screen shot 2010-05-21 at 10.02.32 AM

I'll keep you all posted about where I am and what kind of AMAZING FUN I'm having, okay?

And I promise to disable my caps lock key.



Laissez les bon temps roulez, people!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Assailant

The Assailant

So. Yeah. Here we go.

We were standing in the spectator area at the air show, in front and to the left of this man. When the aviator from the Air National Guard landed, guys on the flight line started shooting t-shirts into the crowd with one of those air powered guns they use at basketball games.

They flew to the left and right of us, behind us, in front of us, when suddenly...

One came right toward me. Dr. SmartyPants said, "That's yours, babe!" I reached up my hand, fingers outstretched, stood up on my tiptoes and felt the fabric nestle into my palm. I was excited. I didn't really care about the t-shirt exactly, but was caught up in the moment of "I caught it! I caught it!"

That's when it happened.

The pinkie and ring fingers on my left hand were suddenly wrenched backward. My wrist bent at an unusual and uncomfortable angle. Then my arm was torn from its socket and fell with a thud to the ground and that man up there pulled the t-shirt from my dead and flapping fingers.

Okay. That last sentence didn't happen, BUT THAT'S WHAT IT FELT LIKE.

That man. THAT MAN grabbed the t-shirt I HAD ALREADY CAUGHT and stole it from me. I am not even kidding when I say that I lost feeling in my hand from the force of his grab, and that my wrist and neck were sore for the rest of the day.

Obviously, I let go of the t-shirt, because I value my limbs more than I value a $5 poly cotton blend shirt, but I was OUTRAGED. Where the hell did common decency go, people? I turned around and glared at him and said, "OH MY GOD. Seriously? That has to be the rudest thing I have ever encountered IN MY LIFE. You ripped it out of my hand!"

He gave a little shrug. So I looked at Dr. SmartyPants and said, "Wow. That's some kind of big man there, isn't it? Stole a t-shirt from a WOMAN half his size. Nice." The man, who was now seated in his comfortable seat half stood up and kind of offered the shirt back to me.

NOT because he felt guilt or shame at the way he treated me, but because he could see other people glaring at him.

I told him I didn't want it. And I didn't. You couldn't have paid me to take the t-shirt at that point.

Dr. SmartyPants told me that the guy came out of nowhere - jumped up over my back and grabbed the shirt after I clearly had it under control. Joshua said, "Mom - you had a great catch. I can't believe that guy stole it from you."

People, I really was stunned. I mean, I've seen that ridiculous kind of behavior when a foul ball is knocked into the stands at a major league baseball game and some tool rips the ball out of the hand of a child, but I've never been on the receiving end. What happens to people in that moment? Where does the sense of right and wrong go when tempted with a free prize? That man wasn't some young punk kid with no respect for his elders - he's clearly older than I am, by a decade or more.

Everything I could see about him would lead me to believe that he was a fine, upstanding citizen of the world up until the point that a $5 bit of fabric flew in his general direction. At that moment, he became an ass, willing to sacrifice his dignity and take down a woman.

Step carefully, friends. And stay away from the free t-shirts.

You never know what they will end up costing you.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kissing the Sound Barrier

F/A 18

This is an F/A18 Hornet kissing the sound barrier...traveling at just under the speed of sound. So beautiful - so powerful.


We spent the whole day on Sunday wandering around Andrews Air Force Base Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility for the Joint Services Open House, and they put on quite a show.

F22 with Payload Compartment Open

This F22 let us look up her skirt and see her knickers. Or maybe that's where the bombs go...

P51 Mustang

The pretty little P51 Mustang made me miss my pretty little Mustang.

Blue Angels

The Blue Angels were amazing, but I still think the Thunderbirds rule the sky...

Top Gun

We saw Maverick and Goose and that other guy that was hanging out with them trying to be cool. What? That's not Tom Cruise? Oh.

Well, now I'm just embarrassed.

Anyhow - at least there was this cute Marine to make up for it...

Marine. Lounging.

Yes, I know that Marines are tough, finely-tuned war machines.  But they are also adorable.

There was also this guy.

The Assailant

We'll just call him "The Assailant" for now. Maybe "The Ass" for short. I'll be sharing that story tomorrow. I'm still recovering today. We'll just leave him in the category of "Why Diahn REALLY Doesn't Like People Very Much Especially When They Are in Large Crowds of People."


Until then, feel free to peruse the amazing aircraft of the United States military. I've got lots more pictures here, plus one up on Lens Us Together, and one at quirk!

I think I'll be looking up at the skies the rest of the week...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Every Braggart Shall Be Found an Ass..

Standing Tall

Shakespeare said it. It's true. Yesterday I bragged about mah babee and his laundry prowess.


Well. We were getting set to go the park, and the boys decided to take their scooters to ride. They retrieved them from the back porch while I got the dogs settled into their crate. When I came back downstairs, they were in the dining room, fighting over which scooter belonged to which boy. You know - the exact same scooters that we bought on the exact same day and that have been ridden the exact number of times.


Anyway, I told them to sort it out, and I walked in the kitchen, where the back door was still standing wide open. So I started to shut it and looked out at the back porch.

Which was covered in buckets, sand and seashells. And shovels.

Because when they got out the scooters they knocked the buckets over and dragged them out onto the patio.

And then walked into the house, leaving the backdoor open, where the memory of that bucket-and-seashell-and-sand-strewing event flew right out the door and straight up into space, never to be heard from again.

And thus, as I sent them out to clean up their mess, and they looked at me as if I were a crazy person, was all order restored to our household.

And by order, of course...I mean disorder. And chaos, utter confusion, and a wee bit of entropy.

Your kids do things like this, right? Please tell me they do. You can feel free to comment with specific cases so I'll feel better. Thank you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Boy. The Home Ec Honor Student.

jakey in gray

I believe in equitable sharing of household duties, especially if it means I can pawn those duties off onto unsuspecting children.

Wait.  That sounds bad.

I believe in preparing children to live independently, so that when the time comes for them to leave the nest, they soar, rather than drop.

Yes. That's what I meant.

Sometimes it doesn't work. I'll never understand the trail of socks and dolls action figures my children leave in their wakes, nor the ability to clear the table after lunch, but leave all the silverware and napkins. It's just weird.

Sometimes, however, I see flashes of the kinds of men my boys will be when they grow up and leave home, and I get goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes. Last night was one of those times...

El doctor pantalones inteligentes had been out of town for a couple of nights, so I recorded American Idol and Glee so that we could watch them together when he got back. (Tuesday night TV belongs to Mama.  One night out of seven isn't too bad, right?) So last night, the whole family watched Idol, and then we sent the boys downstairs to play while the grownups watched Glee.

So, off they went, dolls action figures in hand, to play in their basement apartment bedroom.

When Glee was over, they came back up and we watched a little of the Idol results show before they had to go off to bed. They kissed me goodnight and went back down with Dr. SmartyPants for prayers and kisses and doll action figure playing, etc. He came back up the stairs laughing and shaking his head.

Apparently, while they were getting in the bed, Joshua suddenly remembered that he needed to put the clothes in the dryer. Smarty, thinking they must be clothes I had washed earlier in the day (or the day before...I'm frightfully forgetful), told Joshua that he'd better check them to see if they needed to be rewashed so they wouldn't stink.

Joshua looked at him with a confused expression on his face and said, "I just washed them a little while ago."

Yes. While we were upstairs watching Glee, Joshua (on his own) decided to do a load of laundry.

And he remembered to dry it.

I have no doubt that had it not been bedtime, he would have folded them and put them away.

Of course, I take full credit for this behavior. I did teach him how to use the washing machine and dryer, after all...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010



Here's one of the reasons I ♥ Melinda...she knows, from 1200 miles away, when I need a little help.

And she sends me a text to encourage me...

Melinda: You're sketching again! Woo hoo! Loving Humbolt.

Me: I love the Humbolt, too. If I could only figure out what to balance 'pon his head...a fish, mayhap? The Oxford English Dictionary? EWAN MCGREGOR????

Melinda: Hee hee...ewan mcgregor. Can of sardines? A shark?

Me: A rubber duckie? A rubber duckie in the shape of Shamu? I actually have one of those.

Melinda: I like that...playful and ironic.

Me: Brilliant. I love brainstorming. How did u know I needed that?

Melinda: The Mike and Ike thing. ;)

Me: 2 more weeks till Mike and Ike get to drink a toast to each other IN PERSON!

...and so on.  See what I mean? I never would have balanced a rubber Shamu on the Humbolt penguin's head except for that text-storming session.

And then you all would have been bereft of ironic bird stacking.

You're welcome.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Can't Talk...

bird sketches
bird sketches
bird sketches
...too busy stacking...
and sketching
and erasing
and re-stacking
and transferring
and crumpling
and cursing
and stacking again.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Yo, Mama

Happy Mother's Day!

My boys treated me well this morning...

Thanks, Guys!

Flowers, chocolates...and my very own Lego kit.


Friday, May 07, 2010 the Park


Yesterday I mentioned that we go to the park almost every day.

Today we went to the park all day. After breakfast, I loaded up the school books in my handy tote bag, grabbed the picnic blanket, water and apples, and we had a park school day.

Big, big love, people.

History. Geography. Literature. Math. Spelling.

And recess.

For lunch, we walked down to Potbelly and met Dr. SmartyPants. We sat outside, facing a small park and ate our sandwiches and watched the world go by. About the time we'd finished eating, we saw a baby house sparrow flutter to the ground, his mama bird following. He looked a little stunned - sitting back on his legs instead of perched on his little feet. He opened his mouth in a "feed me" fashion and mama bird shook her head and flew up to a tree branch and beckoned him to follow.

Tough love.

He made a couple of hops and then took off, low to the ground and unsteady. He tried to perch on a light post, but couldn't find any purchase on the slick, vertical surface. Mama kept calling and flying, and baby turned and flew toward her. She perched on a tree branch over one of the park's garbage cans, and that baby tried his hardest to get there. He flapped is wings, and up he went.

But he got tired. He tried to land on the garbage can.

Instead...he landed in the garbage can.

Now, I don't know if you've ever watched a freshly fledged baby bird try to take off, but they can't do it vertically...they need a little running room.

There's no running room in a trash can.  Not to mention - these trash cans have tops with a small hole through the top where you toss the trash. There was no way that baby was getting out of the can.

Derek and Joshua and I ran over to see what we could do while Dr. SmartyPants cleaned up our sandwich papers. I tried to reach in and help the baby out, but he was scared, and his mama was screeching at me and he kind of freaked out and burrowed into the bottom of the can, under all the trash.

I finally managed to dig down and find him and lift the trash bag up around him until he had enough space to fly off to his mama, who I'm sure wanted to hug him and beat him at the same time.

As the baby flew away, both of my boys pumped their fists and yelled, "Yay, Mama! You did it!"

I felt a bit heroic.

Then I went to the restroom and washed my hands.

That's motherhood for you. Heroic and messy.

To all you mothers, grandmothers, daughters, aunts, women...

Happy Mother's Day weekend...enjoy, laugh, love, get a bit messy.

I'll see you back here on Monday.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Random Randomosity with a side of Randomness

Hey, Bud.

  1. We went back to the park today. Obsessive mom who thinks my kids are dangerous was there, but she kept her child away from mine and they weren't interested in playing with him anyway. I didn't see her until we were leaving and her son shouted across the playground to say hi. She looked up, smiled...and waved. Hmmm.
  2. We went to the park yesterday, too. Confession: we go to one park or another almost every day that isn't rainy. Even homeschoolers need recess. But yesterday, we went to an official "PARK DAY" for a local homeschool group. It was our second time there, and we had just as much fun as the first. Everyone is really nice, the kids are wonderful with each other. I actually met one of the moms at Bossy's meet-up last month.
  3. Which is why I finally decided to go to park day. I've known about that park day for a year, but last week was the first time we went. Because I'm excellently social and friendly like that. Wait. I meant socially awkward and stand-offish. Same difference. Thank you, Mary, for making me feel like I already belonged.
  4. There are 21 days until I get to see Melinda. *squeeeeeee*
  5. Dr. SmartyPants is actually cuter than Ewan McGregor, but he doesn't sing as well. He does an excellent Sean Connery accent, though, which makes up for that fact. 
  6. Yes. I am endlessly obsessed with accents originating in the British Isles, please don't ask why. It's just fact. The guy who came to fix the steps out front last month had a delightful Irish brogue and I wanted to ask him in for a spot of tea. Or whisky. But I didn't have anything but Diet Coke and milk.
  7. My big, tough, gigantic puppy is a big, fat, mushy crybaby scaredy-pants. He's afraid of balloons, leaves, awnings, birds and squirrels. And people. And rocks. And that cloud over there. And holy lord, was that a dandelion? Because those are scary.
  8. I've been getting to know Lisa via email, which is cool. I'm much less socially awkward on email. Because of the edit option. My mouth needs an edit option. Lisa also homeschools, so we've been comparing notes about what works and what doesn't. She's an excellent writer, so you should all go read her blog and then throw comments at her until she feels compelled to write even more, please and thanks.
  9. Lisa is also a Twilight aficionado, and we recently discovered that we both love Edward Cullen, but not Robert Pattinson. Can I get a what-what?
  10. In addition, Lisa is Melinda's sister-in-law, and is married to the older of Melinda's two little brothers. Melinda and her brothers and my brother and I all went to high school together and at one time or another I had crushes on both of Melinda's brothers. Melinda married mine. While we were in high school, Lisa's husband very kindly agreed to go to a church Valentine's Day banquet with me, even though he had not the slightest interest in me whatsoever. Then he called me the day of the banquet and told me he couldn't go after all. I don't know why, as I was so hawt with my freshly permed big hair. You're welcome, Lisa. 
  11. Dear inventors of orthodontics, highlights and straightening irons: I love you.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Only Because I Auto...

Mercedes 300 SL

Yet another car-show-type weekend - this time it was Germany's turn to keep us enthralled. I think Dr. SmartyPants could have stood next to the Porsche 911s all day and just gazed upon their loveliness.

But I liked the Mercedes 300 SL, mainly because it was bright red and it looks like some sort of alien bug sitting on the green lawn.

We brought along the Kraken and Grumplestiltskin, so my hands were a bit full and I had to turn the camera duties over to my trusty photography assistants, Derek and Joshua. It just goes to show that my skill at photography is only surpassed by eight and ten year old boys. I only take credit for post processing on these, and a couple of Hipstamatic grabs...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Now - next weekend is Mother's Day. I wonder what kind of car show we'll find for that?

What? There are no Mother's Day car shows? Why the heck not?

Here's how Mother's Day car shows should work, people...

The cars are luxury limousines, stocked with fresh strawberries, chocolate, champagne and Ewan McGregor. And if you are a mama?

You get one.

The end.

Saturday, May 01, 2010



GORgeous day.

Farmers Market.

Fresh produce.

Fresh air.

Fresh freshiness.