Monday, February 28, 2005

7:06 a.m.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Running and Birding

One of the things I love about living where I do is the close proximity of nature. There is variety. There are surprises. The mountains change and stay the same. Right now looking out the window of my office I see chickadees, a nuthatch, a yellow-bellied sapsucker, crows and bluebirds. The bluebirds are always a nice surprise. I didn't see many bluebirds during my forced "incarceration" in the city. We have several bluebird houses, but none moved in last year. Right now they are checking out the various accommodations. I hope they find one to their liking.

I went for a run an hour or so ago. Yesterday's prediction about the weather was correct. It's 40 degrees, windy and cloudy. Rain is forecast for later this afternoon. We have a winter storm warning and snow forecasted for today and tomorrow. The cold and my sore knee made the run a little more taxing than I wanted. But I saw a couple of pileated woodpeckers. They are slightly prehistoric to me. They are so big and they have that funny dipping flight. I love to see them. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see so many around here. We are surrounded by large tracts of woodland after all.

During the last leg of my run, which is up hill, two vultures were flying low over me. Made me wonder if they knew something I didn't. It's a particularly difficult stretch for me. I am returning to running after about a 10 year hiatus, I have a bum knee and asthma (although since our move from the city I've been able to go off my daily medication and have had no attacks in a year). Last week on that route, I had to walk the last bit and felt defeated. Today I just focused on making it to the speed limit sign, then the driveway, then the green mailbox, then the cemetery road and finally the Tom's driveway. I did it. My lungs were burning, but it felt good.

After my cool down walk I trudged up the hill to our house and saw a blue heron fly over the front yard and down toward the valley. That was a little strange. There are a lot of birds today.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

We will plant shallots for grandma.

2:50 p.m.

Another blue sky day. Temperatures are in the mid-50's. We visited a couple of Big Daddy's worksites this morning, then went to the nursery and garden center to pick up some seeds and plants.

We bought white and red onion sets, shallots, broccoli, cabbage, beets, lettuce, carrots, radishes and asparagus. The onions are tiny things in baskets which we bought by weight. The Monkey, of course, had to have her own paper sack full of shallots. She said, "I will plant these for Grandma!" She has her own little garden where the daffodils are coming up and the orange and purple pansies we planted last Fall are blooming.

We spent the afternoon clearing and tilling the garden while Monkey miraculously napped. I am looking forward to radishes fresh from the ground. The French Breakfast are my favorite. We bought a packet of the Black Spanish Rounds to try. They look so strange and well, so black. The Baby Nantes carrots did well last year so we'll plant those again. I can't wait for fresh picked lettuce and salad greens. I will be looking every day for signs of growth. How will I ever be able to wait until next year for the asparagus? I am a most impatient gardener.

And I still think that the Seasons are just toying with me and it will snow again soon.

Perhaps a Ray of Hope for Togo?

So the man who stole a presidency and a tiny country's chance at democracy and hope for healing is stepping down. My bet is he wins a faked election. I hope not. The people of Togo deserve so much more. I always feel cynical in February.

Friday, February 25, 2005

3:15 p.m.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Illustration Friday - Sorrow


This week's topic for Illustration Friday is sorrow. I've been very busy this week and occupied with another project. I didn't think I would have time to come up with anything. My other illustration project at the moment is very cheerful and earlier this week I had no place for sorrow. However, I recieved some unsettling news last night and now I'm rather full of sorrow, remorse, anxiety, grief.

The older sister of one of my oldest, dearest, most valued friends (we've been friends since first grade) is losing her fight with cancer. This is a family who has been much closer to sorrow than I can even imagine. Her husband died several years ago and soon their children will be left without parents.

As I began to think about sorrow the images of Kathe Kollwitz filled my head. Mother and child. Pieta. Perhaps I'm also under the influence of the lenten season as well. I don't have the heart to draw anything new, so I cheated a little and pulled a sketch out from one of my Togo notebooks. Here perhaps there is a little poetic license in art. The child is sleeping, but the slumped form suggests darker images as well. I wished it was more finished, but it's all I have today to share.

The irony is I have to get right back to cheerful, upbeat and happy to finish the project I'm getting paid for.

10:08 a.m.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

4:44 p.m.

After a morning at the gym, the Monkey and I came home and played outside. She dragged her little folding chair down off the front porch and sat out in the sun. I had to laugh. It has been a beautiful day. I saw a wasp. The birds are singing and chattering. I know spring is officially a month away (and even farther away here in the mountains), but I can't help but feel a little uplifted.

I cleaned out the fish pond and all three fish have made it through the winter. I can't wait to tackle that area this spring. The pre-formed pond the previous owner put in doesn't quite suit my sensibilities, but will do for now. I started planting up the area last year and hope to continue with some more native plants this spring.

I've got my lists of seeds ready and need to place my orders. In another month we should be able to put in the cool crops (maybe even sooner for some). In about two months I'll be able to get my baby chickens and keep them all warm in the garage until they can go live in their newly constructed chicken house and yard.

7:08 a.m.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Full Moon

7:11 p.m.

When I went for my run this evening I heard frogs. The Seasons are teasing me.

It was still light an hour ago. As I ran up the valley, the moon had just come over the mountain to the east and the sun was just going all rosy behind the mountain to the west. Hurry, Spring, hurry.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Today's Color Is Grey

1:44 p.m.

It's cold and rainy. I want to go running, but not that bad. Where is spring?

Yesterday it was bright and sunny. It got cloudier as the day progressed. We took a nice little family hike after lunch up on the Mountains to Sea Trail. It's hard to turn around when you know a trail just keeps going. I always want to see whats around the bend, beyond the next clump of trees, or over the hill. But after about 45 minutes of climbing uphill, Monkey was tired and we turned around. She's a good little hiker, my Monkey.

Today is just cold and damp and I can't get warm. I'm going to have to go sit in front of the fire and wrap myself up in a blanket. I can pull out all my seed catalogs and plan for spring even if it feels like it will never come.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

So Not What I Wanted

Yesterday I was feeling a little bored and a little fed up with my hair color. It's a dangerous feeling. So, while I was picking up laundry detergent at the local discount superstore, I decided to buy me a little hair color. I have not colored my own hair in ten years. Ten years. I also, after this move to this mountain paradise, no longer have the budget that allows me to spend $100 on a haircut and enjoy the color expertise of a true artist and professional. Ten years. No money. Boredom.

The particular hair kit that I bought promised neutral brown and neutral/cool highlights. Highlights. I can do highlights. I have a master of fine arts. I have watched professional hair stylists do it for years. How hard can it be? I am an idiot. Obviously my idea of neutral and cool are quite different than L'Oreal's. The base color is a nice brown. Not too cool, not too red. I can live with it. The highlights are orange. Orange is not a cool color. Orange is orange. Orange is brassy. Orange is not for me.

Big Daddy, to his credit, said he liked it. Big Daddy said I was beautiful. Big Daddy is a liar.

I broke down and called the salon. They chuckled at my misfortune. In a nice conspiratory way they chuckled. I am pathetic. My new stylist (who is very busy) cannot see me until Monday afternoon. Monday. Afternoon.

I am doomed.

7:13 a.m.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Back Seat Baby Driver

Go faster. FASTER!
Turn the wheel. Turn! Turn!
Faster Mommy, faster!
Don't stop now.
Not that song.
The light is green. GO!
Turn the wheel.
Go that way.
Turn here! Turn here!
Did you see that dog?
Not that song.
Look at the tree Mommy.
I love chocolate!
Not that song.

Illustration Friday - "Flight"


The topic for this week's Illustration Friday was flight. I have spent the last two days working on a drawing of crows. But tonight after dinner I was playing "airplane" with the Monkey ("Again, again, again, Mommy! I wanna fly!") and had another idea. I scrapped the birds and went for the Monkey in flight as high as the soles of my feet could take her. Go Monkey, fly high!

Watercolor on Aquarelle Arches Hot Pressed 140 lb. paper.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

2:53 p.m.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentines Day


I made Monkey pink heart pancakes for Valentines Day. Every girl should have something pink on Valentines Day. She ate three and then wanted blue ones. We'll save those for a blue holiday.

I've now accomplished hearts and mickey mouse pancakes. My mother used to make my brother and I elephant ones. I've yet to accomplish a believable elephant. Maybe I'll try making blue ones some day.

I didn't post much this weekend, so I didn't get to write about Monkey's first movie theatre experience. We went to see Pooh's Heffalump Movie. She was enthralled. I don't know if the movie or the popcorn and "fizzy" (sprite) was the bigger hit. Big Daddy liked his supersize popcorn and the movie. I found the character development a little lacking and think that Tigger is relying a little too much on his past performances, but it was quite the movie for a young lady of Monkey's age.

Sunday, January 13, 2005 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Isn't It Romantic?

happy valentine's day

Behold my Valentine's Day present! Big Daddy got me new running shoes. He did not pick them out of course, that would be silly. He got new shoes as well to wear to the gym. His are not as nice as mine. That would also be silly. We are indeed a most romantic pair. I think to celebrate the actual day we have a babysitter. We plan to go to a movie.

Friday, February 11, 2005

4:21 p.m.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

And Just One More

2:43 p.m.

The Many Faces of Thursday

2:14 p.m.
Yes, that is snow.

9:07 a.m.

7:24 a.m

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

It has been an incredibly dreary day. The fog didn't lift until after 1 p.m. It isn't raining. There is no wind. It is just dark and grey.

4:39 p.m.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

2:00 p.m.

Instead of the normal photo, I did a painting today. I had to take advantage of the fabulously warm weather we are having. I find it rather hard to concentrate on the act of painting with the Monkey finding everything she shouldn't in my studio. We washed her hands four times this afternoon. At least we didn't have a reenactment of last year when she came to me, her mouth a lovely shade of cerulean blue, and announced, "This frosting doesn't taste good!" It was acrylic paint and poison control assured me it was non-toxic. And the Monkey isn't the only distraction. Try painting en pleine aire with a German Shepherd bringing you a ball every 30 seconds, dropping it at your feet and whining until you put down the paint brush and throw the damn slobery thing. I'm still amazed I got something done. I'm leaving it like it is for awhile.

I must say that all the wonderfully nice comments about my illustration friday submission gave me a little more courage to post this painting today. Thank you for the nice feedback!

I hope Big Daddy gets home early as promised so I can go for a run. Then we can head out for some pizza and my last beer before Lent. Hey, I made it 9 months without my favorite beverage, I figure I can make it through Lent.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Illustration Friday - The Year of the Rooster

This is my illustration friday submission for this week. This is my first and I can't wait for next week's topic. The topic this week is The Year of the Rooster. An appropriate year because I'm currently building a chicken house to hold a new little flock.

7:23 a.m.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

3:53 p.m.

Great day for a run!

My Job History, Or What I've Done with My Life So Far

Here is a list of all the jobs I've held. I think they are chronological to the best of my memory. Many of these overlap. Some continued for many summers (like the camp jobs) so I've left a few redundancies out.

  • Babysitter
  • YMCA Day Camp Counselor
  • Ice Cream Shop Employ
  • Easter Bunny
  • Photographer for Seasonal Promotions at Mall
  • Usher at Movie Theatre
  • Worked in an Icelandic Fish Factory
  • Camp Counselor/Horseback Riding Instructor at Camp Zoe
  • Student Employee in Dean of Students Office
  • Summer Clerk at Missouri Board of Medical Liscensure
  • Horseback Director at YMCA of the Ozarks
  • Cook in Dining Hall (change of colleges...)
  • Mailroom clerk in dorm
  • Clerical staff in Office of Admissions (upgrade)
  • Sign Painter
  • Summer Clerk at Missouri Board of Medical Liscensure (it's called guarded nepotism...)
  • Clerical staff in Office of Admissions and Campus Tour Guide
  • Summer Clerk at Missouri Department of Natural Resources Laboratory Services
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Horse Trainer/Excerciser
  • Waitress
  • Bartender
  • Horseback Director at Camp Juliette Low
  • Starving Artist/Bartender
  • Peace Corps Volunteer in Agroforestry and Environmental Protection in Togo
  • Assistant Camp Director at Camp Juliette Low
  • Middle School/High School Art Teacher
  • Art Instructor at Community College
  • Illustrator
  • Nursery Worker(plant nursery)
  • Private Gardener

I think I'm going to have to say that Easter Bunny was the oddest job. What was yours?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

You May Not Even Know Where Togo Is, But It's Important to Me

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Togo it's hard to believe that this man is dead. Gnassingbe Eyadema was the longest ruling leader in Africa. We Peace Corps Volunteers called him "Stevie" after his French name, Etienne. Now it just remains to be seen if the military and his son will follow the law, or change it like Stevie did so often to suit his own needs.

Mommy the Super Hero

"Hey! You look like Spiderman!"

- what Monkey said when she saw me in my running gear

Friday, February 04, 2005

2:42 p.m.

So once again the pit bulls who belong to the confederate flag flying, t-bird up on blocks in the front yard people down the mountain have showed up in my yard. This time my dogs wanted inside immediately (o.k., the smart shepherd mix wanted inside, the terrier wanted to go try to kick some ass and get mauled again).

The county has strict breed specific laws, which in theory I am against. But when it comes to the safety of my own dogs and child, I'll take the law that requires the dogs to be penned when outside. I'm not someone who thinks all pit bulls are bad and must be eliminated. I myself have owned a pit bull, who was a wonderful dog. These are not nice dogs and are overly aggressive. I tried to talk to the owners to no avail. In fact, on one visit to their home, I was forced back in my car by the dogs.

Today I called animal control first. I'll let them handle it. Maybe the owners should be forced to be penned when outside...

9:34 a.m.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


9:47 a.m.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Animal Predictions

My dog is shedding like mad. Does this count? Some good might come out of the masses of black fur in the corners of the room after all.

I couldn't decide on photos, so there are two this morning. I'm looking out the window and I may have to take another.

7:23 a.m.

7:20 a.m.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Tuesday is Better Than Monday

Tuesday is Kindermusik day. There is nothing in the world quite like a room full of 18 month to 3 year old children shaking bells, beating sticks and dancing around the room to "Roll Over Rover". "Roll Over Rover" just happens to be the Monkey's current favorite. You get to sit, lay down, roll over and wag your tail all in one song. How could it not be a favorite?

Our schedule after Kindermusik is normally pretty loose. We go have coffee and muffins with some other Kindermusik parents and kids. Today after coffee we met up with T. And her son Jacob at the park. Monkey and I got there early so we took a walk around the lake. It was quite chilly, so when the others arrived we decided to head to the mall. The play space at the mall is a scary venue. It's surrounded by the food court. We ate, we played, we came home and napped.

Monkey is over her cold for the most part. Big Daddy is now knocked out by his cold and is quickly turning into Big Baby. I sent him to bed awhile ago. He must get better by Thursday. We've got a thing to go to. I don't get a chance for too many "things" these days, so I'm a little excited. I get to get dressed up. I get to eat good food and drink fine wine. I get to have adult conversations with adults. And these adults have grown children, so there will be no baby/toddler discussions if I can help it. I am looking forward to Thursday.