Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Ode to March


March, I found you lovely when
your sunshine smiled on me.
And lovely, too, the way you worked
to water grass and tree.

Your azure skies and fluffy clouds
were pleasant to behold.
So, too, the buds formed 'pon the stalks
in pink and white and gold.

Were I to fault March just a bit,
in just one little thing,
'twould be in how the temperatures
do violently swing.

One day I find sunscreen to be
a thing not to be missed.
The next I need my winter coat,
which tends to leave me pissed.

So fare thee well, dear March, I say
so soon your time will pass.
And as you go, be careful that
the door don't hit your ass.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings

Gay Street

Completely loving her music.

Getting really nervous about this.

Planning a trip for May that I haven't even mentioned to Dr. SmartyPants yet. What? She has a new house!

And another for August that I have mentioned to Dr. SmartyPants.

Looking forward to a Thursday photo event with her. But it means I have to give this back.

Missing this.

Loving this and this.

Hoping your virtual wanderings are full of joy and magic...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pride and Joy

Pride and Joy

These two boys never cease to amaze me. Honestly - I'm not an overly emotional person - I very rarely cry, but I spent this weekend with a huge lump in my throat and constantly wiping at the corners of my eyes.

Derek and Joshua have been taking tennis lessons since the last week of January. They started out taking a couple of clinics a week, with 8 or 10 other kids, and about a month ago, they started working with a pro once a week. We've played a lot of tennis in the last two months - we've played more days than we haven't - and we've had a blast. They absolutely love it.

Their tennis club hosted a tournament over the weekend. The USTA has a new approach to teaching younger kids how to play tennis, and the tournament was designed to accommodate those new rules - smaller rackets, smaller courts, lower compression balls - and the boys' coach encouraged them to sign up, to gain some experience and play against some other kids.

So we did, and we've been talking a lot about expectations - obviously, we weren't in it to win it - two months of tennis lessons were not going to turn them into Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, after all. Honestly - I was a little worried. One of my children, who shall remain nameless but looks just like a miniature version of me, is just a teensy bit competitive. He hates to lose, and when playing his brother, has been known to burst into tears at the end of a lost match. The other child, who also shall remain nameless but looks just like a miniature version of his father, doesn't APPEAR to be competitive, but has a tendency to beat himself up (quietly) after he doesn't do well.

We have no idea where they get these traits. Okay, we do. Let's just say the freaky similarities between the grown-ups and their clones extend more deeply than just looks...

In any case - they played the tournament. They lost in their singles matches. They lost in their doubles matches. I watched with tears streaming down my cheeks as Derek faced a boy that had a dozen tournaments under his belt - the balls went flying past him so quickly he rarely got a touch with his racquet, and when he did, he told me later, his finger tips went a little numb. But he probably had a 90% first serve, no double faults, and he won a few hard earned points. I watched with a lump in my throat while Joshua worked to adapt to a smaller court and a more experienced opponent than he's ever faced, and go on to win one game in his first match, three in his second, and never once make a scoring error.

And I couldn't be more proud. They were consummate sportsmen. They shook hands and chatted before the matches. The warmed up and smiled. They called the scores correctly and fairly. They called faults and outs with much grace toward the other players (maybe a little too much grace occasionally...). They supported and encouraged each other in doubles and treated each other with respect when a ball was badly hit. They lost and ran to be the first to the net to shake the hand of the other player and tell them "good game." They walked off the courts smiling and talking with their opponents.

They came home, asking if they could go outside and hit balls up against the garage door, and could I please book a court for Monday so they could get some more practice in. Joshua was lying on the sofa, eyes almost closed, clutching his racquet in his hand and asking to please go outside for just a little longer to play.

In two days, Joshua played a total of 36 games, and Derek played 32 - and they were still eager for more, and asking when the next tournament they could play in would be.

I think children may be the most amazing creatures on our planet. I was so impressed with all the tournament competitors - their respect for each other and the spirit of fair play. They played their hearts out. They celebrated quietly. They lost gracefully.

And now I'm all teary again, just thinking about it.

We'll be doing it all over again on Saturday - with Joshua, at least. Derek's too old for this next tournament, but I have no doubt that he'll be there, rooting for his brother and making notes for his next match.

I'll be sure to pack tissues. (sniff)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday...a Celebration


Happy Birthday, Dr. SmartyPants. You're the most awesomely fabulous 54 year old I know.

Wait. Reverse that. You're the most fabulously awesome 45 year old I know! Mwah!

Happy Anniversary, Melinda! I'm so glad I was privileged enough to get to share that sweet day with you 5 years ago!

Happy Anniversary (yesterday), Jesse and Samantha! I may be a day off, but I'm so proud of both of you - you are amazing and I love you.

Happy 5th Day of Spring to the rest of you fabulous people! I love you all.

And, you know, your hair looks great today!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where's HGTV When You Need Them?

New Patio

Sorry I kind of disappeared this past week - but Dr. SmartyPants and I have been busy bickering building a new patio for our backyard. It started out to be a small weekend project, and then it grew into home improvement reality show territory. He built that fabulous retaining wall and filled it with fill dirt and gravel and sand and blood and sweat and tears. I laid all but about two and a half rows of the pavers.

I'm tired.

I still have dirt under my fingernails.

My lower back has been saved only by copious quantities of anti-inflammatories and frequent jacuzzi tub soaks. And beer.

Beer is good for the lower back. You'll just have to trust me on that.

Derek and Joshua were cheap champion laborers throughout the entire process. They hauled pavers and gravel and sand. The dug dirt and swept sand and ran errands and all they ask in return is a grilled bratwurst and maybe some s'mores when everything is finished.

INTERLUDE: Conversations with Derek:

Derek: (setting down a paver close to where I was working) Whew! Man! These are heavy!

Me: Yes. I know. Do you see all those pavers there? (I point to the 10 or so completed rows of pavers.) I've lifted every one of those things 17 times trying to get it to lay right.

Derek: Really? (pause) How do you know it's been 17 times for each one?

Me: (eyebrows raised...wait for it, wait for it...)

Derek: OH...hyperbole! Good one, Mama.
In any case - the heavy lifting is done. The pavers are in place and mostly level. I did have to relax my standards after a half dozen rows, when I realized that at the pace I was working, I wouldn't be finished until next February.

(wait for it...wait for it...Hyperbole!)

And I figured that when my exacting engineer of a Dr. SmartyPants told me I might just be a little anal retentive about my checking to make sure that each and every paver was precisely sloping in the appropriate way to facilitate drainage away from the foundation, that maybe I could use the longer, four-foot level and go for a more generalized approach.


Of course, now that I have the chance to look at it, I find that each and every paver that isn't precisely in the right place makes my eye twitch a little. But guess what?

I have a cure for that, as well...

Yep. You guessed it...


Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi, the Circumference of Things and other Mathematical Ponderings


Today is Albert Einstein's birthday. He's 132 years old. Well. He would be, except that he's been dead for almost 56 years.

Today is also Pi Day. In case you weren't aware, pi is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any Euclidean plane circle's circumference to its diameter. It is approximately equal to 3.14159265, hence March 14 is the day on which all we geeky nerds celebrate its very existence.

I think it's completely apropos that Albert Einstein was born on 3.14. It's just a pity he wasn't born in 1915, because then he could have been born on 3.14.15 which would totally geek me out.

There are only 6 days until spring is officially here, but this weekend was a lovely preview. Linda and I stole a way for a few hours on Saturday evening and headed downtown in search of beautiful light. We found it in abundance, along with gorgeous flowers, interesting people and a few light bulbs.

Some of the lightbulbs were spherical. You could use pi to calculate how big they were.

The Sunsphere is a sphere, as well. Its diameter is 75 feet, which means it has a radius (r) of 37.5 feet. The volume of the sphere is 4/3πr3, or 220,893 cubic feet. The first derivative with respect to the radius, 4πr2, gives you the surface area of the sphere, which is 17,671.45 square feet. The second derivative describes the circumference, which is 2πr, or approximately 235.6 feet. looks really pretty through the spring blossoms.

Spring Sets on Knoxville #crossprocess

Pi. Yep.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chugging Along

Annie Savoy

I've got a good painting groove going, which is pretty exciting - AND - I'm using acrylics, which I've avoided like the plague for the past few years and they're working really well. These are obviously based on the Sketchbook Project book I worked on at the end of last year. This particular quote made it into the book, although the painting did not.

I've got four different ones finished so far, with plans to do as many as my inspiration allows me, or until I run out of 6x6 inch canvasses, whichever comes first...then, I suppose I'll either order more canvas or move on to something else. Once I have a hefty supply, I'll put them in my painting etsy shop and reopen that dusty little place!

We're off to a tennis carnival today - and to grab the camper to fix the toilet - and to start work on revamping the backyard - and to...well...everything that's been sitting on our to-do list for the winter is going to get started today, pretty much.

Wish us luck.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Complete...and Open for Business!



All done. Not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination...the printing and mailing center is a bit, well...low to the ground, but it's functional until I find a better solution. I moved the alphabet print, because it just seemed so busy over the workspace, and I still haven't found a cork board I like enough to hang in there, so right now, I'm just going with a nice blank space between the shelves.

I found the chair at a local antique shop and recovered it in a sweet little aqua and brown print - it's got a certain aluminum 1950s office vibe that I'm digging right now. Plus, it cost me $12.95, and the fabric was on sale, so I've got maybe $20 invested there. AND it's comfortable.

And to celebrate it getting done, I opened up my Ottwork Studio Etsy shop! Please come by and have a look around, and if you have any suggestions or comments for me, I'd love to hear them. Now that my studio space is finished, I hope to have my painting shop back open for business in the next month or so, as well. Thanks to everyone who helped select prints and get me going. You are all beautiful people.

And your hair looks mahvelous.

Saturday, March 05, 2011



I love a day that begins like this - full of promise and glorious color.

It makes me feel like anything is possible.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

You're the Tops


I've not got much to say's a little toy to hold you over...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wednesday Winners!

Here are the winning ten photos that you, dear readers, selected to be the first additions to my new etsy shop, which will open next Monday...I'll provide the link then - it's still undergoing some renovations, and I want to make it all pretty before you come see it. Thank you so much for all your help!

Now for the winning commenters:

First up, the grand prize of five photos goes to (drumroll, please...)

Weird, I thought - #1 never gets selected...but it did, so congratulations to commenter #1, Susan E of This Old Paper! Susan, send me your mailing address and your five selections from the top ten photos shown above to diahnott (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll get them to you as soon as possible!

Next up...the runners-up.

Commenter #12 is Teresa, and

Commenter #4 is Karen Blados!

Congratulations, ladies! Send me your info and select one of the images above and I'll send it out to you!

Note:  Photos 1-8 will be 6x6, and photos 9 and 10 will be 5x7.

Thanks again for all your help and support - you really are the best!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Tuesday Marches On


Happy March! I don't have any daffodils to photograph right now - my yard is a barren wasteland of mud and misplaced mulch, especially after the flooding rain yesterday, but I did find this daffodil-colored chair and its flaked and fading paint made me smile just as much as an actual daffodil would.

Today is the last day to offer up your opinions of my etsy iphone prints and get a chance to win a few for yourself. If you haven't entered, you simply must - and you must do it before midnight, eastern time. Your very life depends on it!

Okay. That's a lie. But you'll be more beautiful than you were yesterday.

And I'm not just saying that.