Monday, January 31, 2005

Illustration Monday night!

Okay, I know it's totally early...I just have been doing little bits of artwork, stuff for myself, and this seems to fit the word of the week, "Friendship".

Titled "Hide and Seek This is actually rather small (4 by 5, I think) as I do most of my work on a smaller scale. I usually do bigger pieces with acrylic and mixed media but small pieces I'll work with watercolors or Chinese ink. I also completed my softie for loobylu in the previous post (see below). Tell me what you think! :-)

In other daily reflections, it was a magnificent day. I mean just wonderfully beautiful and sunny. I felt so happy to be driving around with the girls and later playing in the snow for a bit. It was so nice I didn't feel too cold standing outside without my big winter coat on and sandles (with socks). But around 5:30pm, I was sitting at the computer and I could feel the cold crawling on the floor. Has anyone felt that too? Oh, but it's a achy feeling! Thank goodness I can remember the sun warming on the white snow and making everything seem to pop out at you with the clear blue sky. Oh, that's a nice memory! Hope tomorrow is a little like that, again.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Softies...

Phew, I thought I wasn't going to get this in. I actually sketched out a few ideas in the last few days and still, didn't have any idea what I was going to do. Then, it struck me. I could use a bunch of scraps of material from this bag I've collected from over the years...but I didn't have enough time. So, I looked around and got some left over felt and came up with "Armando". The only thing vintage are his button eyes and they are red and blue. I can't tell you how he needed a sweater so badly that I made it in less than 2 hours! And it's my first crocheted sweater too. Not too shabby. I crocheted the snow boots, as Armando insisted upon walking in the snow. He did not lose them, thankfully.

As for the snow, Armando did seem to like it...for a little bit and now wants to dry off by the heater and curl up and take a nap. I totally understand, Armando. Anyway, he has a little blue scarf that matches his boots and if I had more time he would be wearing snow pants...but I wanted to photograph him before it got too dark...as you can see.

Yes, Armando is a cat going on a walk in the cold, cold snow. :-)



I would have taken better photos but my digital camera's battery was passing out from exhaustion. My fault, I forgot to recharge from last time. Oh, well. :-P

Can't believe it's Sunday, or was Sunday. I feel so sad the weekend has ended already. It's nice outside...not too cold around the 20's and everything is blue and white. Spring, where are you?

Armando says, it will be here before you know it, my dear.

You can see all the other entries for this month of Softies at:
  • Loobylu
  • Thursday, January 27, 2005

    Illustration Friday

    Boy, I sure had fun doing this assignment. I liked it so much I did 3! I guess you can pick which one you like the best. What inspired me? Dr. Seus's book
  • The Lorax, my daughter and the US consumption or, rather, over consumption of oil.

    Anyway, I'll let my work speak for itself. Peace,Emily

    Titled "Will he see them?"


    Titled "The Price We Pay"


    Titled "Too many treats"

    The last one is my favorite...and oddly it was the one I put the least effort in. Wonder what that means? :-)

  • Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Tuesday...

    I actually posted earlier but in the last bit of posting my blog froze up and I lost it all! AH! So, I took that as a sign and didn't do any more blogging or emails.

    It's been a fairly good day. I went in for a job interview and got a part-part-time job typing up reports for an architect! Interesting stuff really as he does lots of local work and I have seen the outcome. Things like the duck pond at Penn State Altoona and the track! Neat! I wonder if I can glean different info on what types of trees to plant during the year. Hmmm

    So, I'm feeling pretty good. The girls were great today...little rebellions but nothing much. My mom heard Lydia shouting over the phone and recommended The Nanny to me. My sister has done this too. It's a bit annoying as I really don't think there is a problem. Jon has stated otherwise. Am I too flexible? Honestly, Lydia has one had 2 tantrums in the last 2 months. I think that's pretty darn good and normal. The only times are when we are outside in the snow and she doesn't want to come in. She's a good kid.

    My mom is sweet, though. I can't complain. She's way over on the West coast and I miss her very much. I haven't seen her in 2 years and I wish I could fly over there tomorrow. I feel sad that she is still struggling. I wish I was really wealthy and have them all live here. I'd buy them a nice house and they could be close by and I'd figure out all my dads problems and resolve that too. I know my dad doesn't like the cold, so this would be a problem.

    My sister is coming in July to see us! I am so happy and it's going to be for my birthday and Norries! I cannot describe how happy I will be when I see them all again. Even my brother-in-law, Huan.

    I'm also happy because I just got another brain wave for a children's book. Really, making up stories for your kids or other peoples kids is such good inspiration! I've got 3 so far! Just from talking to them. I love it! :-)

    Well, it's cold. I think I need a mini-space heater just for under the computer table.

    Mr. Nelson got a bath yesterday via me. I have to make an appointment for him at the groomers. He's so much better looking clean. He looks like a fluffy cloud...well, he did until today's adventure of oatmeal. Still, he's mostly soft. His legs were getting gray! He's been sneaking into the basement and unearthing the cat boxes, going into the forbidden coal bin (we've never cleaned it...It's too spooky...we will eventually though) and peeing on the floor down there. Otherwise, he's a good dog. So, I had to clean him and I think he liked it. I might have gotten water in his ear. But I tried to dry it out as best I could. It was a good session.

    I'm happy I finally got him washed up. I think he missed the bathes too. When my sis-in-law saw him she called him a little pork chop. Isn't that cute? I liked it so much I've been calling him pork chop whenever I get the chance. Of course, I feel guilty about wanting one, esp. a stuffed pork chop at Dave's Dream. That's really good.

    Speaking of eating I've been, it feels, over doing it a bit. Is it the weather or something? It's so odd. I find I can put away a veggie burger, tatter tots and a bowl of oatmeal! Odd, odd, odd. Although, cabbage soup with bits of ham is pretty good with mustard. Jons mom made that last Sunday and it totally overwhelmed the pizza that we ordered.

    Everyone is bummed a bit about the Steelers. I'm not a football fan but even I was a little down too. But at least there is another PA team in the superbowl. This is so weird for me to write. Basically, I've gleaned all this stuff from my dad-in-law who actually follows this and gives us reasons as to how teams loss and the strengths of the other team. It's actually pretty interesting to hear him talk about it. Watching is another matter. Although football players do have really nice pecs...hmmm ;-)

    Now, I want cabbage soup. My mom-in-law also made this cauliflower and broccoli soup with half&half, salt/pepper, and a bit of flour to thicken. Then she blended it. Oh, that's good!

    Speaking of cauliflower and broccoli has anyone seen the broccliflower? It's a strange greenish cauliflower shaped vegetable. I wonder if it's any good. I got one of those creamy white pumpkins and let's just say it ain't a pumpkin unless it's orange. The smell was totally wrong and plastic like! Sometimes the best veggies are the ones the mutated naturally. Even so, I'll try out the broccliflower.



    Red Dog
    This is something I did as a "first try" with my photoshop. hmmm not a bad start. ;-)

    Saturday, January 22, 2005

    Snowy Sundays (with some pics!) and Dolls...

    I feel so tired lately. It's amazing how different I feel and I think it has to do with vitamins. I took one of those prenatal formulas left over from my last pregnancy. I think it really helped me get moving. The next day I forgot to take one and I was like "I'm just going to lay here and to heck with the hardened play dough on the carpet and the layers of popcorn." Actually, that stuff did annoy me and I had bursts of crazy rage...I yelled at my kids! I couldn't believe it. I must have been tired, really tired. The last time I felt like this was when I took some cheapy allergy drugs and had a big drink of regular coffee. Let's just say I thought I was going mad. It was awful. I was hyper, paranoid and my heart was beating to some unseen drummer. Thank the stars I found Clariton. No side effects and 1 pill is good for 2-3 days for me.

    That's pretty much it for the chemicals I use to stay normal. I do have migraines on occasion and they, I'm pretty sure, are allergy related.

    In other news, we survived the big snowstorm. I wonder how everyone else faired? It wasn't as bad as the weather people said. Of course, my husband Jon, really dismissed it all and went to the market at night. He came back and he was all wide eyed and said, "You know it's actually kind of bad out there. The snow was really coming down..." I just looked at him and shook my head. It wasn't my idea for him to go. Anyway, I warmed up his half frozen face and watched as big bright pink patches appeared on his cheeks. He looked like a little boy with a beard. So cute!

    I think I may have slight cabin fever because I started cleaning out bunches of stuff and it seems there are so many cobwebs but I never see the spiders, thankfully. Actually, these are little spiders that eat dust mites. Scientists actually have studied this and wondered how these little spiders survived. It's funny because I have always assumed they ate dust mites. I must be a genius! :-)
    Oh, and for the record DON'T ever do a search for dust mites and spiders unless you want to get all this fascinating and disgusting information of all the small and unseen buggies on you body, home and pets. It's can be a bit upsetting to say the least. Here's a pic of a dust mite:Yikes!

    One of the interesting things about a blizzard is the snow and wind really blows quite intensely. We have old windows in this house covered in old paint (lead). And most of these old windows are covered in plastic right now. I looked out the only windows that are covered and the warmest room in house to stare in amazement as the wind and snow swirled by and to my great surprise there was snow on the window ledge. No our window didn't break. Snow was coming up through the old pulleys on the window! So we stuffed towels on the edge and we're planning to get more plastic for these windows now. I was quite shocked to see that. I'm so glad we're getting new windows. It's just not soon enough.

  • From K. LemieuxThis sums up my feelings for the year to come. It's so true that we think we need to disappear and our lives will magically become perfect. Why is that? I've been going through a lot of emotional feelings about being trimmer and thinking this will make me happier...but it wouldn't really. I think a lot of the times people mistake physical for mental happiness. I'm not talking about health here. In other words, if you want to walk for miles around and you can only make it to the driveway, it's time to start walking. What I'm talking about is the lies we accept from commercial industries. These commercial venues are only out for 1 thing: our money.

    It seems like these venues care about us, don't they? I mean look at the magazines for women and you'll see all those wonderful articles on how to stay trim, lose 10 pounds before Easter, and they'll show you perfectly normal looking women with a slight tummy bulge and Now look at her! It's about being looked at instead of listened to. It's about the eye of the beholder not about who you are or what you think or what makes you real. It's stuff like this that makes us think it's abnormal to have tummy fat after you've given birth or even if you've never had a baby. It's stuff like that which takes away our voices and makes us into packages easily sold and bought for...Essentially dolls. Do you want to be a doll? Cut off your tummy fat, burn off those unseemly pads in your legs and butt and once you're skinny we'll pump up your body into a plastic doll. Scary. Very scary. And the ultimate consumerism. Like I said earlier, this is not about people that really need this treatment (like burn victims, natural birth defects, etc). It's sad to see people who are perfectly normal and beautiful think they need to do this stuff. And yes, I'm one of them too. How many products have I bought to color my hair and remove hair off my upper lip. And I'm going to keep doing that too. And I plan on being healthier by walking more and eating less sugar. But that's about as far as I'm willing to go. Why? Because I have two daughters and I want them to have a mommy who's healthy and into life not watching life from the couch or computer chair...hehehe
    Here are some normal people from the photography of
  • From Laurie Toby Edison and
  • I like her work as it makes the eye adjust (and perhaps our misconceptions)to what is the human body and the real beauty of everyone. Her work on men is fascinating too.

    Well, I've blabbed enough. I hope the snow is snowman worthy. Oh, and one last thing, if you've never done it, you should: Midnight sledding. This is my secret to sanity. When the kids are all tucked in Jon and I sneak outside and sled to our hearts delight down the side hill by our house. This is what keeps mom's sane. Try it! So you'll be a little sore in the morning and tired. That's what weekends are for! :-)

  • Friday, January 21, 2005

    I tried not to think about it

    but I did. Now I'm sad again... It is a sad day in America. January 20th, 2005. The swearing in of an immoral, arrogant, and sick individual. I didn't watch the disgusting event but I did see a bit of the news and at least some talked about the protestors. It makes me sick. Is America mad? I wish I could see the positives of this person being re-elected. But where is it? What did this person do that was so good? All the policies this person put out benefited the rich and the corporations. Now, there are "problems" with Social Security and Iran.

    See, I wouldn't have minded if this person was re-elected if he were honest, fair and did help people. But what has this person done??? Divided people with fear, made monsters out of innocent people, killed countless people and further bankrupted the government so that schools can't even afford basic needs like paper. THIS IS WRONG. This is what the blinded people of America have brought forth. Maddening.

    It's a depressing thought that there are so many people who have made up their minds with lies and can only see in black and white (or should I say rich and poor). Amazing. Unfortunately, we have to wear this thing like a dead chicken around our necks (to borrow from Molly Ivins) and wait until things progressively worse.

    I keep thinking about the people that didn't have to die, the 13,600 men and women, the 100,000 men, women and children in Iraq. Things could have been treated much differently but they were not. I used to think that my own personal life was tragic and so awful. But one thing I can say at least no one was hurt or killed in the process!

    I don't believe in war. I don't believe that fighting is ever going to resolve anything. That's why people go to counseling, get therapy or else get leave the situation. This is normal. This is what we, as intelligent human beings, are supposed to do. Instead, we are doing the crazy barberic activity of slaughtering the weak and infirmed.

    I believe, and maybe I'm too cynical, that most of the aggression toward people in Iraq is based on prejudice. I just saw the "Jack Johnson" documentary and it had so many interesting descriptions about American history. Mind you, this is history in the sense of less then 100 years ago. Black Americans were thought of as nothing and worse. I know this attitude extends to people of different origins and ethnicities too. If you are different you are feared. I admit feeling like this at times toward the unknown. Sometimes fear is a valid feeling; most of the times it is not.

    What I'm getting at here is we think we are so seperated from our past...but our past is always there. And if you don't know the past, as the saying goes, you are doomed to repeat it. I think America is like a sick person who needs to go to therapy, get some good doses of self reflection and think beyond themselves. It's hard to do and many people struggle with this who want to change. The fact is many people don't even realize there is something wrong. They think by ignoring the problem it's going to be okay. But we've all been through that now, haven't we? Isn't that how 9/11 happened? Nobody wanted to face the warning signs.

    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    Me again...

    Well, I'm officially over the honeymoon period of dog ownership. I can't tell how many toys, books, paper items, various furniture this dog has destroyed. MY GOD! What am I doing wrong? It's so exasperating. He's a good dog...most of the time...when he's tired out from playing outside. But really!

    Okay, I'm just annoyed because most of my dining room chairs are chewed up. Plus, the girls are like little vandels. It seems like my house is imploding or something. Plus, there must be an unusual amount of dust in my bedroom because I keep sneezing like crazy.

    I also feel bad about sitting in front of the computer typing away or doing a little art every now and then when the girls are up. I think they've caught on to me too. Thye break out of the living room, I mean come over to the me while I'm typing and say draw Humpty Dumpty (I have this simple story line I sketch for them). I think I'm just feeling the awful feeling of my ear infection. I still need to go to the doctors. I always know when I'm not feeling good...I don't have a much patience. I also wish I had a maid or cleaning person. Wouldn't that be nice!


    I decided to touch up my "seasons" contribution...I discovered some new features and had to try them out.

    Going back to what I was writing about previously, I think it's good to remember being a mom is not easy. Hence, my favorite bumper sticker "Every mother is a working mother." Also, I had to share
  • Punk Moms! Is that not cute or what?
    And
  • Frump And
  • Mamapalooza Makes me want to start a rock band. Wouldn't that give my teenage drum playing neighbor a shock! What would I play? Either the keyboard or the drums...I think I could do that. Anyone wanna start a band? ;-)
  • Just walked the dog

    came back inside. It's a nice day. Do I dare, dare take my girls outside and have them have me pull them 20 times around in the sled? And then have a melt down (my girls, not me) when we are going to go back inside? Do I dare do this? Sigh...

    This is my big dilemma of the day. Gorgeous winter weather and sunny skies, freshly fallen snow...the benefits are they will be really tired when we come back in. So maybe I will. I forgot to mention I'd have my 9 month old puppy (say hyper, hyper, hyper!) with us. I had to tie him to the railing the other day so he wouldn't keep snatching off the girls mittens. Norrie was having a tough time as hers are attached to her snow suit and she was dragged a bit. Believe me our dog is not big (bichon) and it looks rather comical...not to the baby of course. How do you train a dog not to do this? I think I know...I'll put some of that bitter stuff on it...maybe on mine only (don't want the girls to get that on them).

    Anyway, I need to take the camera out with me. It is so gorgeous. Lots of reflected light from the snow and everything feels bright and cheerful. I'm so glad we got snow late this year. I think it's depressing to have too much snow, really. One good thing about having a dog is they draw you outside...even if you don't want to go. Kids do the same thing...only with cuteness. Lately, Lydia has been saying "I love you mommy" to appease the giants (mom and dad). Last night, she got angry and said in an angry voice "I...love...you...mommy." It was really funny.

    I've been viewing various blogs and saw a few annoying ones. I'm going to probably rant a bit here, so watch out. I don't think making fun of heavy people is a nice thing or a cool thing to do. It's annoying, rude and really immature. I could easily draw or write about skinny people or the problems skinny people have, but I don't. Really. I think it's fine to make fun of your self, if you're skinny or heavy, but if you are not heavy or skinny, it's stinks. Even if you were once heavy or skinny, I think it's rude. Why? Because I believe one has to be in that situation to see the humor of it. Would we make fun of poverty stricken people because we were once poor, or would we make fun of the ill because we were once ill? I don't think so. And if we did it would be in poor taste. That's what it comes down to, poor taste.

    I guess I'm annoyed at this particular cartoon I saw (I'm not going to post it because it's just one of many out there). It basically said because this person is heavy they don't have balance. Actually, the truth would be an inner ear infection which causes the person to have problems with their equilibrium. But that wouldn't have been so funny, would it? Why? Because it's an illness. Interesting. It's like how people would talk about weasels and say those crazy weasels. And there is that song that goes "Pop goes the weasel." Well, it turns out that weasels actually do have an illness caused by round worm (destroys the brain). http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GVK/is_4_8/ai_86041039
    So, it's not so funny when you think about the truth of the matter. Of course, I'm one for humor. I love humorous stories and parodies and silly antics. So, I'm not humorless...maybe I'm humor conscious. ;-)

    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Illustration Friday

    Here is my interpretation of Seasons:


    I used adobe photoshop. I think it came out pretty good. :-)
    I thought this was cute so I thought I'd give it a try. Reminds me so much of highschool and junior high when the girls (and sometimes guys) would pass around these notebooks with a list of questions to fill out about your self. It was really cute...of course there was a certain amount of clique-ism involved (meaning I wasn't in the clique)so I made up my own little notebook of questions and we off brands got together (probably 4 of us)and gave it a try. This is from
  • Between you and me(thanks and cute!) Anyway, here is mine:

    My stuff

    Grooming Products
    Shampoo – Herbal essence (because I can get a big container at Sam's club...I'd shop at Costco but the nearest one is something like 75 miles away)
    Conditioner – I have conditioner and use it on the ends of my hair, never on the top
    Moisturizer – don't know the brand...it's very light which is nice for summer time
    Cologne – can't wear any or I get sinus problems.
    Razor – I use my husbands razor. It is the best thing I've ever done as this is super sensitive...something called glide or Mack 4? I don't really remember
    Toothpaste –Colgate, I think...and we buy it in bulk too

    Electronics
    Cell phone – used to have one...but never really used it
    Computer – hp pav...love it!
    Television – Sony
    Stereo – some cheapy brand...and not really a stereo, one of those portable players.

    Home

    Sheets – I want to say Ikea but that is the comforter cover...probably Target
    Coffee-maker – I don't know. It's borrowed from my sis-in-law and I've never used it...hehehe I do like coffee but only decaf or I go crazy.
    Car – Rodeo...I love it. It was my sisters (we bought it off of her). I'll never buy a new car, they just go down in value and used are so much nicer.
    Stationery – Email, and lots I've collected over the years. Plus, I have some neat vintage type stuff from the 70's!

    Beverages
    diet coke (caffeine free), water, tea (without sugar) and watered down juice
    Coffee – decaff...Folgers
    Vodka – not really
    Beer – Recently, discovered Rolling Rock (I don't usually drink beer) and of course non-alcoholic O'dolies (something like that).

    Clothes
    Jeans --whenever I can. Love em and sweats.
    T-shirt – Northernsun.com Good quality and good messages!
    Briefcase or tote – my hemp bag...it's so nice and comfy. I have my movable studio in it! And crocheting stuff!
    Sneakers – Any brand. I've got big feet...I usually have to buy the mens wear...yuck. I'm thinking of painting them pink or something.
    Watch – Don't wear one. I had one that had a black strap and yellow face. It was supposed to be good under water to a certain amount of feet. I loved that watch. Where is it?

    Favorite Places
    My little art studio, garden arboretum,bed, home, by the computer, Vietnamese restaurant (if there was one in Altoona, that is) and walking around Canoe Creek in the summer, art galleries when there is a good one, and old book shops/thrift stores.

    Necessary Extravagance
    computer and techno stuff (I'm with you!), art stuff (yep!),sitting by the fireplace doing nothing at all but watching the flames flicker, and reading good books.
    Pass this list on.
  • Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Headaches...

    I've got one and it's a big one. I have a bad feeling it's actually an ear ache. My ear (left side) has been feeling stuffed and then I have this pressure in my head like a sinus thing and I feel dizzy. I'm sure it's ear related. Plus, I took my ear temp and it's 99.8 in my sore ear. My nephew has an ear ache and that's how they could tell he had a problem...the temperature. I think I'll have to go to the clinic tomorrow or this week for a doctors visit. Ugh.

    In other news, it's a bit of snow again. The last time it turned to mush! Ha! Now, I think snow is going to get it's revenge. Sigh...

    I wish I had more time. I guess a lot of people feel this way, but I really, really do. I don't watch any TV now so I know I'm not wasting any time doing that. It's very liberating. But I do wish I had more time...maybe if I slept less and didn't do some much internet? Nah...

    Anyway, Mr. Nelson is doing good. I found out I that there is a Dremel type nail filer to use on their nails. I wonder if I could use my Dremel on his nails. I think I'll give it a try. He doesn't like the hair dryers so I'm not sure about the noise.

    Lately, I've been experimenting with linoleum cuttings. I love it! Unfortunately, I've gashed my hands a few times. Not pretty...and painful. I need to wear gloves. I think I'll check out some books from the library on the subject for pointers. I'll post asap.

    Anyway, we're off to the market in a "blizzard". It feels like one anyway. Thank goodness for down coats and warm husbands/lovers to cuddle with. hehehe

    We went to the movies for the first time in 2 years. My hubby goes, "Emily, we've been to the movies more than that." Me: Jon, no we haven't. Jon: Yes, we have...when you were pregnant with Lydia. We saw Lord of the Rings. Me: And Lydia is going to be 3 pretty soon...Jon: It can't be that long. Me: Oh, yes it has.

    Now, don't get me wrong. It's not like I'm this big movie theater lover. I personally think the whole thing is over rated (7.50! For a movie?!?) and usually will go and rent the VHS. Lately, however everything is turning into DVD nightmares and even that is getting ridiculous. I don't have a DVD player and really, I don't want one. Another crappy thing to stick on your TV and sit in front of the tube. But back to my movie point...I do like to occasionally go out to movies and it seems a Wednesday night is the best thing for this. On lines, maybe something like 10 people in the theater with you and it's nice to have the place "to your self". So, we had a good time.

    What we saw:
  • Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. This is a good film for those who loved
  • Jacques Cousteau(such as my self) and the mockumentary (me again). Bill Murray was great and touching. I loved his portrayal of an aging has been adventurer. I liked that he looks like my dad with his beard, was low key about his lines and there is the great scene where he fights for his boat back. Love it! I thought the writing of the story line was interesting and it had a nice blend of truth and whimsy within. The characters had a realness to them that so many movies can't grasp. It was interesting to see people as people and not labels. Beautifully done.
    Oh, and I really dig the soundtrack.

    Most people won't get some of the humor, I think, mainly because it's a good blend of the real and whimsy but if people watch the film and keep in mind a lot of it is tongue in cheek, they'll have a good time. You gotta love those candy crabs...hehehe

    Other junk I've done, we rearranged our living room only to find that it was looked very wrong. So we moved everything back (found most of the missing dog toys, kid stuff and a very foul smelling baby bottle)moved the little rugs a different way and low and behold it looked 1000 times better. Who'd a thought...I guess rearranging the living room at 2:30am does that to you. :)

    Other than that this week has been low key. Well, there was the doctors visit for Lydia but that went smoothly (thank the stars, I had both girls with me.At one point Norrie started wandering out of the office but other wise okay). We went to Weis Market (Weis means white in German...considering this is a very Germanic place especially with the Amish, this is not surprising. But it was to me considering I was familiar with an array of Mexican and Spanish last names...as well as Asian, Bulgarian and Armenian. Boy, California has variety...which I miss greatly). Got some good specials and I found a mix for Falafel mix! Wow! I'm excited. I'm glad I found that. Plus, they had matzo ball soup. Love that! Might be a tad too salty but I'll reduce that since I make it my self. Yum!

    Well, I think I'll go lie down and rest. I hope this ear thing goes away but a doctors seems inevitable.:( oh, well
  • Thursday, January 13, 2005

    Illustration Friday

    Oh, it's a good feeling to be sitting at ones little desk and breaking out the Chinese ink. What a thrill! I feel like between being a mama of two little ones and living in a 1930's house with all the repairs of a 1930's house, I have hardly any time to do me things like art. But I manage it...tooth and nail!

    Well, here's my Illustration Friday submit: I think this speaks for itself! :-)

    Good news, we've been approved for the home loan and we're getting a new roof! Yeah! Plus, we're going to get new windows! Big yeah! No more (hopefully) plastic on the windows...boy does this help. I learned the hard way that you need to seal the windows from the cold air. You NEVER do this in Southern California. You don't need to! I was shocked to learn that we owed $1,000 in gas last year. Boy, I felt bad about that. So, now with the new windows acoming, I'm very happy! Wish there was a little extra for a Geothermal heat pump. Now, that is a dream to have! Cost $6,000 but well worth it! I'd tear out my backyard to have that installed in a heart beat.

    Emily

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Tuesday...snow

    I was under the delusion that we would have a snowless winter. Well, actually we had some snow but it melted just after Thanksgiving. I was actually happy it all melted because, honestly, it's too much for me. I'm a native Southern Californian. Southern as in no snow ever unless you shimmy up to Big Bear and see some snow on the ground...not falling. That's always what would happen to my family, whenever we trekked up the mountain. Actual mountains too...Not these little worn down hills of PA. Of course, with the big mountains of California, you have the big earthquakes too. Maybe the worn down hills are a good compromise.

    Anyway, I learned I really don't care for snow from the past 2 years I've lived here in Altoona, PA. I'm just going to be frank about this. I don't like it because something always goes wrong when it snows. The first year of snow (we caught the tail end of winter) and we had just moved to Altoona. I thought I had lost my cat (he was missing for 3 days) and went around putting up signs on posts while 6 months pregnant, and standing outside in the cold wet snow yelling out "Sampson, Sampson!" in the vain hopes he'd come running. All this and he was in the basement. He wandered up to us like nothing was wrong, covered from head to toe in coal dust and looking like nothing was ever the matter. That's my first impression of snow...I hope it goes away; a feeling of fear and sadness.

    The next time it snowed I had all the overwhelming feelings of my cat being lost to over come, plus my sorrow about my family and their situation back in California. It was tough, to say the least.

    Then this year when it snowed, I got canned. Snow seems to be a negative for me...probably others as well but in my own little world, I feel especially punched by it. It's funny; I used to imagine (in the warmth of a Southern California afternoon)how lovely snow would be. Falling gracefully into soft mounds or packed high and smooth for sledding. And usually it's all these things...But the snow we've had has turned to ice crust on top and you couldn't even build a snow man. Disappointment, to be sure.

    Another aspect of suffering from snow, is my lack in winter apparel. Actually, I've finally gotten my down coat so this is not longer a problem. I was packing my California winter coat (a windbreaker with thin lining) with double sweaters and still not being warm enough. Thank the stars for the down. Yes, I feel bad about the poor ducks but there is something to be said about staying warm. Most of my stuff is synthetic, so, I'm not too guilty.

    Well, I was reading some web sites and came across a good one: http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=2683 It's an article about the debt that Sri Lanka and people of the effected areas have been dealing with. They pay 7 billion dollars a year(!) for their debt. Incredible but what's more you can do something by writing to our pres and asking him to forgive the debt so the people can create better lives. Go to the above link and read the article and there is a link for writing your message. I also like that there are grassroots groups in the areas you can contribute to directly.

    Well, I hope everyone is safe and warm!
    Peace, hope and love,
    Em

    Sunday, January 09, 2005

    Sundays are my days...

    Yes, I like Sundays. I'm not religious (although I wouldn't mind finding a good Unitarian Church in the area) so these days are left to ourselves. Today was nice as there wasn't any rain! We've been having an awful lot of rain lately. Fortunately, I'm getting over my depression and feeling a lot better.

    As for crafts and my art I started to do some linoleum cuttings and guess what, I cut my finger, 4 times. The last was the most serious and I didn't faint because I would have been too embarrassed. So, I started to feel a bit nauseous but all right after 30 minutes. I really hate hurting myself like this. I'm going to wear leather gloves from now on.

    We went to AC Moore today and I got some huge sheets of watercolor paper for $9. I was happy about this and I found some yarn that I needed for the shawl I'm making for me. I had to stop because I ran out and I have been searching all over the net for some like this.

    It wasn't too bad a day and I feel content. I do feel annoyed that I haven't put up any auctions on eBay. I'll have to do some tomorrow or if I'm up to it later on tonight.

    I've heard some questions as to why people are getting so worked up about the tsunami and not other tragedies and I think I have a few ideas. Besides the obvious, people dying instantly in great numbers and with no real warning, I think it's a huge realization of how small our world is and the power of the media.

    The first concept, the smallness of our world is based in part on the second concept, media. We've all heard about how travel has made the world very easily accessable, at least for those who can afford it. So, if you live in China you can take a plan to America and visit. The same is true for various countries and accessablity to travel by planes, cars, etc. This was not true say about 150 years ago. Travel and information was stunted by time and availablity and invention.

    So, a person of today of moderate or upper class means could move rather freely across the world. This brings me to the second concept, media. How does media fit in to all of this? Well, on several levels, it is the great liberator or oppressor. Media, such as TV(radio, newspapers and the internet)is in nearly all homes in the US. Voyerism, watching or listening to something as if you are there is a great escapist thing to do. TV is the epitome of voyerism. This is not necessarily a terrible thing. Books do the same effects but we are able to create our own world from this information. The problem with TV is the view is coming from the director and their interpretation...Also those damn commercials.

    This brings me to my next point, if something or someone is on those media formats, we are all bound to see this someone or thing. In this case, we have seen or heard or read about the tsunami and its effects. And in this case, the media has proved to be a powerful and helping aid in reaching out to people in distress. This is what the media should be doing most of the time. The power of viewing people and the reasons for their distress and knowing there is something to do (such as sending aid and voicing to our leaders to be compassionate and help) is a hugely humanistic one. Truly, this is what everything is about; helping others in their time of need.

    The strength of the media is shown in the awareness it has created in many people. Imagine how this awareness could be amplified say on the AIDS epidemic in Africa, the poverty of every continent, the economic problems in the US, etc. If the media turned it's eye onto these issues (and some have, but so few in comparison to the exuberant display of commercial products)just imagine how much more people would take interest in the affairs of their community as well as those across the seas.

    Yes, media has the qualities of being both an educator and in most cases (unfortunately) a protitute for money. I'm one for hope and the ability to change. I know most people reading this will probably think, oh how pollyanna of you, but people can change. The world has changed...Certainly the lose of life is horrible, and it's cause, besides the earthquake, is basically of environmental genocide (stripping the land of the protective Mangrove trees for shrimp farms and making luxury hotels on beautiful but potentially dangerous shoreline). Questions about how many people were beaten from their homes to make these places are never asked or even thought about, until now. We are thinking about how these things come to pass and realizing we live on a much smaller planet because of media.

    Before I sign out, I'd like to thank
  • Leontinefor bringing this topic up. I found the question interesting on many levels and have been thinking about it when I least expected to.

  • Friday, January 07, 2005

    Friday post...

    I've found there are still artists out there that think we have to suffer to the depth of extremes in order to create art that is meaningful. Some artists think that only some subjects should not be touched because somehow that will take the edge off of that subject. However, I disagree. Certainly, there is some truth that I wouldn't make a film or illustration about war with no one dying or superficial wounds, etc. However, there are many films, illustrations and comics that deal with very dark subject matter in an interesting and emotionally sound way.

    I'm thinking about the film

  • Life is Beautiful
    . and the comic book by Art Spiegelman called

  • Maus
    . These two artworks handle a very dark subject matter, coincidently, about the holocaust, in a entirely different way say from the book Anne Frank. Some artists, think that in order to portray a period of time, one needs to be entirely realistic or not do it at all. One is entitled to their opinion, however, I do think without these various depictions of art we lose a new perspective of what is happening to humanity.

    This is a question about art, really, and not so much about the ethics of art. For that matter, shouldn't we, if we are judging on ethics, denouce films that portray women in demeaning roles, art that promotes prejudice and misconceptions of people who are different?

    But, as I said, that is based on an ethical standard, which is not an erroneous way to to look at art certainly. I'm thinking of

  • War and Peace
    by Leo Tolstoy (excellent book and one that needs to be read by many. I read the Maude translation, I believe; it's much more digestable.

  • What if someone said, you cannot do a painting of cats showing human attributes because it's too cutesy and demeans the human plight. I'd have to disagree. We can use cats and rabbits and any animal and it would not devalue the story of human suffering. For example


  • Watership Down
    byRichard Adams. This book shows the struggle of man in this framework and does so very realistically. When I first read this book, it was a bit hard to put my self in the mind set of a rabbit...that's when I realized it was not about rabbits, obviously. It is about our relationships with fellow humans and the intricacies of our personalities and dominance.

  • I guess what I'm saying is I find it arrogant that only certain arts can obtain a "higher" purpose and others are basically nothing. I find people who have this view of art often have the same perspective about them selves, thinking they are of a higher purpose and others are basically nothing. Certainly, I have my limits and would agree that movies like Dumb and Dumber should not have been made (and my case, viewed). So, obviously, I have a feeling of superiority over this film...and a much emptier pocket book too, I might add. So, I am guilty of the same feelings...so haha on me! :-)

    Anyway, I've never been really good at arguing this sort of thing so I'll just cut it short now and end with some basic reflections:

    20 Reasons why I'm glad I live in Altoona, PA (this coming from someone who has complained about moving to this cold, depressed economically town):

    1. My extended family

    2.I have a house that is less monthly then when we rented in California (we payed $650 a month and that was cheap!)

    3.The cold is bad but not that bad

    4.I have a drafty studio all to my self...usually

    5.I gave birth to my second daughter here

    6.There is a lot more wildlife and nature to love and protect

    7.My family likes to visit me to get away from the big city

    8.I'm not in the big city (though I sure miss Pho soup...and the Happy Family restaurant in Alhambra, CA)

    9.I'm with my life partner who loves me dearly and I love him dearly. As the saying goes, Birds of a feather, stick together...so true in our case

    10.I have more room to display my books...though I need more bookcases. Oh, well.

    11.I don't live in an apartment!

    12.I have a basement with 7 cat boxes (I have 4 cats) and a coal bin that is really dirty and creepy becaue I have not cleaned it out. It's too creepy.

    13.There are beautiful colors in Fall (I just developed 11 roles of film and was happy to see Fall colors again)

    14.Even though we are basically poor, we are not so poor and have a lot to be thankful for like the library. That's a pretty good place.

    15. I'm learning a lot of new things about this town...even if I don't want to.

    16.The people are mostly nice...a few farts but mostly nice. I guess you can say that about every place you live in.

    17. I got my dog...though this is bad and good (Mr. Nelson is "in the doghouse". He chewed up a leg on the dining room chair. I felt awful...the set came with the house and has been here probably since the 1930's).

    18. I can be at home with my babies and though I hardly have time to breath let alone do my art work, I really enjoy being at home.

    19.There are opportunity to meet people and I've realized everyone is not the same and it's not fair of me to judge people on what they wear or look like.

    20. The grandfolks are 2 blocks away and help as much as they can (and they do a lot).

    I'm pretty darn lucky, I think, to live where I do...it's funny how getting this down really makes you see there is positive things in your life.


    Illustration Friday



    Disaster Relief for All


    This is my interpretation of recent events. I feel this aid could be and should be applied not to those who are victims of nature but of man as well. Regardless of ones opinions, we should remember that over 100,000 people have died since the US has "helped" Iraq. Why are we trying to solve problems with bombs?

    What I have learned from the horrible events of the tsunami is we need to stop fighting among our selves and help each other over come natural and man-made disasters.

    The reason I put Iran on a letter is because the US stated they would send aid when they had their earthquake a year or so ago. They have yet to see any funds from the US. I would like to see the US take action by keeping their word and helping those in need.

    Peace, love and hope to all,
    Emily

    Sunday, January 02, 2005

    Frivolous stuff that keeps me sane...

    Well, my cat and dog got into last night and so did my hand. I have a huge scratch on my hand that was meant for Mr. Nelson. It still stings; nothing major but it looks angry.

    We trotted over to Target and hit a big 75% sale of x-mas goodies. My favorite thing to find! Plus, we had a $50 gift certificate. We splurges on socks for all, long undies, and I finally got the stocking holders I've thought about getting for the last 3 years or so (for an amazingly reduced price of $6.50!).

    And yet, all this stuff, just reminds me of my fortunate state, my shallowness, my greed, my ability to have what others lack.

    I have these feelings of having so much and at the same time so little power to do anything truly humanitarian...like volunteering in Sumatra. I'm an at home mom with a 2 year old and 1 year old. All I can do, is for them. Is this selfish? I guess this is normal to feel.

    I donated to my favorite organization: habitat Humanity. I'm seriously thinking of volunteering there in the future. One person I admire totally is Jimmy Carter. I have yet to read his book, but from what I've gleaned from observations of him, he is truly a good person. My second daughter is named (somewhat by accident) Eleanor Rosalind. I feel good about that.

    And I'm depressed about my family in California. I know they are plugging along at their speed but my mom has still to reunite with my sister and my dad...He needs to let go of so much.

    And then there's this craziness with my job situation. Do I attract cruelty in people or something? I know I'm tall and chubby but does that mean people can treat me poorly? Is it about that? Honestly, the person that treated me like that. I can only say they are mentally ill. Professional and kind people don't cut people to bits for their ego (and I have a feeling it was about that). The most horrible part is this is a person in education. This person is probably the least educated person I have ever run in to. Amazing.

    Okay, I got that out. I feel a bit better. I think there is truth about it raining too much. I really feel like I've moved to Seattle, Wash. I love the rain but really! Sigh...

    Well, my little monkeys are waking up. These are the guys that make me insane and keep me sane. Do I love them? Beyond all that matters materially and as many have done in Sri Lanka and the surrounding areas, would give up everything for them.

    Sunday again...

    Today I'm feeling sad...all these things happening across the ocean. It could very well be America sands this happened to. Horrible to happen to anyone of us.

    Questions about my faith in a higher being...one I came to terms with many a year ago...are coming up again. The tsunami just reaffirms the sense we are all alone on this little planet called earth and ought to be helping each other regardless of country, faith and differences we have. It makes me angry that my president is still killing people for some vague reason. Enough with the killing! That's what I say. Enough and use our power for good, for God's sake! We have so very much potential to do good and what are we doing? Destroying one country and kind of sort of helping another.

    What this earthquake means to me and I hope others feel or come to a similar conclusion is we need to respect the earth. We need to not destroy trees and build houses on shore lines that are in the path of danger. Certainly, it's hard to tell where devestation could happen, but as Mike Davis points out in several of his books, money is the cause for placing people in dangerous places. He mentions how in the LA area of California they used to sell properties right along the rivers edge...until most of the homes were destroyed when the rains came. All for profit. The cost of human life was not worth anything to these people but money was everything.

    I was angered that many of the hotels in the area helped the rich tourists and did little or nothing for the people of the area. One person from the hotels even said the native people were "second-class citizens" and to deal with it. Maybe the wrong people were swept away by the tsunami.

    What is it with this idea of class and wealth? If someone is in need, help them! I have no idea about the politics of Sri Lanka, Thailand and the other areas that were hurt by this, however, I do know the basic principals of humanity. Every person learns this in nearly all religions. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.


    Sociable

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