Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Illustration Envy

This is not always the case with my dog and four cats. Usually, Mr. Nelson takes up so much time and dominates us for attention, the cats are usually the ones left out of the hugs and petting mix. Poor little guys. But when Mr. Nelson feels somehow cheated out of his attention, he lets it be known by jumping, whining, and almost a dog-like sigh. Odd, dog. So, don't worry Mr. Nelson gets lots of attention...buy he certainly does convey a sense of envy at times.

About the illo, it was done entirely on computer. A bit rough, but I like the feel.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Aquatic Illustration...

Phew! Just made it!

Titled: Life Aquatic with M. Nelssou

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Yarn pics...finally up

I don't know if I ever mentioned it but I do crocheting and yarn work. Actually, I've only made 1 thing out of yarn...a beautiful yellow scarf. I'm very happy with the outcome even if the middle is a bit narrower than the rest of the scarf (I'll probably regret this in the winter). But right now, I'm so proud of my first knit scarf.

For my scarf, I used two types of yarn. One was a yellow mixed with some turquoise and various shades of pink. And the other was a beautiful red/rust pink. Both are acrylic yarns...but very soft and delightful. I can't afford wools and such. I also seem to have bad luck with wool (I've shrunk so many blankets, shawls because I forgot they were wool...very disappointing).

I also did this baby blanket for my new niece, Allison. I like the way it photographed...

Well, it's another wet day. We needed the rain...I just wish I had planted this weekend too. But at least we were out enjoying the warm weather. Living back East, you have a totally new appreciation for books, getting outside projects done in record time, and the weather. I'm actually wishing there was a thunder storm. I've been reading
  • Wendy Edelson's blog and am amazed at all the hardships and beauty she deals with. I love her work and I she can come back to the US soon. I think she should write a book, actually. Her writing is quite excellent and she's the reason I'm excited about thunder storms.
  • Monday, May 23, 2005

    Sunday papers...

    I have this habit of getting the Sunday paper about every 2-3 Sundays a month and if I don’t finish a section for whatever reason, usually a time factor, I’ll put it into my stack of to-read-later-on’s. Anyway, so there I was reading from one of my stacks of papers I collected over the last month or so (okay, it seems to be going back about 4 months or more) and happened upon the style section of the Washington Post from March 6th Sunday 2005. I was suddenly reading about Buster Bunny from Arthur. For those of you who don’t know Arthur, he’s a popular kids show aired on PBS. Very good actually, even for us parents who sit in the same room and have to be subjected to most of these types of programs.
    Anyway, I’m reading this article and all of the sudden it’s talking about funds cut for airing Arthur and the “dangerous” episode. I’m like what? Is this some weird publicity stunt or something? Then I read on and it’s about the character Buster the bunny traveling across America visiting various families and cultures. I’m like, yeah, I’ve seen those…Buster goes to some farming area and dances a jig with some kids in a barn or goes camping with some other kids and tries out rock climbing. Or else he’s going to this kid’s Baptist church or as the article mentions sharing a Jewish Shabbat meal. I’m like, that’s cool. All of the sudden I read that the Bush administration is taking out funding for an episode because it shows a kid that has two mommies. “Education Secretary Margaret Spellings wrote to PBS last month (February 2005): “Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode.” She asked for the Education Department’s $160,000 back.” I’m like, what is wrong with this picture? Why is the government suddenly so concerned with a kids show that shows various people’s lives in a America? I suddenly started getting really mad. I’ve seen the show maybe 3 times and they’ve shown many different lifestyles and they can’t show this?
    What troubles me over all about this message is not so much the blatant prejudice the government is endorsing or the heavy hand of governmental censorship in art but the fact that our US government is more concerned about a children’s television show that promotes understanding and insight yet does absolutely nothing to stop blatant commercialism on kids with cartoons and does nothing but cut aid for the poorest children in the US. What is wrong with this picture?
    This is quite ironic, actually. I saw a documentary about a month ago on PBS, of course, about Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, the Taliban took over for many years, as we know. The religion is very strict. So strict, in fact, they absolutely do not allow any music or for that matter very little artistic expression to be permitted. What happened was they began to destroy artwork that contained elements they deemed evil. Anything with a human shape was to be destroyed; films, books, paintings, all to be destroyed. But some artists and historians rebelled. They did the unthinkable. They hid the film behind walls and painted over human figures in paintings. They saved the art. Are we headed down this path? Certainly, Buster Bunny is not a Van Gogh painting but the message is the same. Don’t go against what this person deems is unacceptable or risk them destroying your art work or for that matter taking away your funding.

    Haven't posted in a while...

    Oh, the weather has been so lovely this weekend. I hardly felt like even being in the house. In fact, we didn't. On Saturday we went to Duncansville and they had a huge street yard sale. Every other house was selling stuff. We got some good finds and help support the Unitarian Church were we go. Some of the great buys and finds: I got the complete "Golden book Encyclopedia" collection for $2. It's just like the one I had as a kid but better. I'm sure my mom couldn't have gotten that when they lost the house, so I was happy to get this. 3 bags of scrap fabric for 50 cents, lots of children's books, and few novels for me and Jon at a 25 cents. I love yard sales and this was a great one. I just wish we had left earlier. We always seem to leave late. Then when we got home I was tuckered out and we had a family siesta. It was lovely.

    The next day was Sunday and we trotted over to the Jaffa Mosque and checked out the huge flea market there. Again, we arrived late in the day and most stuff looked picked over. If you arrive too late, sometimes people knock down the price and you don't have to haggle so much. We had Mr. Nelson with us and he got tons of compliments and everyone described him as a ball of fluff. We need to get him trimmed.

    After the Mosque, we went to Penn State Altoona where they were having the Blair Arts Festival. I tried to get in but they never responded to my emails. So, I'm going to write them a letter and plan for it next year. Exciting! Again, we had Mr. Nelson and we must have seen 5 other bichons. Mr. Nelson was the handsomest, I must say and oddly the biggest one. Is it because he's male and not fixed??? I haven't gotten his hair trimmed so that could account for his looking bigger but some where being held like dolls. Maybe they were younger...

    Anyway, this was a lot of fun and it seemed everyone had their dogs there. Lyddie and Norrie had fun and were really tired afterwards. We saw Jon's parents sing in the choir at the pavilion and saw many neighbors. It was a good day. The food was way too costly...$3 for lemonade and for a skimpy hot dog it was $2! Jon spent $6 on a crab sandwich and it was NOT big. I was going to get a gyro but they were $7! Maybe I'm a bit cheap...that or sensible. Glad I brought our own water/tea.

    Next time we go out with Mr. Nelson, I'm bringing him a little dog bowl. I had to cup my hand for him to drink a little water from the water bottle. Poor, dear. But I could tell he was a happy dog. When we drove home, he didn't even try to stick his head out the window...he was tired.

    All in all, it was a good weekend. I've got to do some cleaning as the co-op people are coming on Wednesday and I put off all cleaning.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Illo Friday

    Here's my submission for the week.

    Honestly, this was a tough one for me as I think of nourishment as almost Oprah-like in context...Green tea, a warm bubble bath, lots of nature or lots of green house plants, a good book by a small fire, getting my feet pampered, etc. I ended up settling with soup. For me, soup a good soup with just the right mix of tomatoes, onions, a bit of chicken, maybe some rice and the magic of herbs is the soul food or nourishment for me. I guess what I'm remembering is the soups my mom would make us when I was a kid. They were just so perfect and so in the moment (she'd use whatever foods she had available) that they became elusive and dream-like in their flavoring. I've got to nag her to write a few of them down so I can at least attempt them! Here's to a soup bowl that brims with things made with love.

    One last thing, if anyone has recipes for a soup they love and would care to share, I'd be interested. I love trying out new recipes. So, if you've got one that is just your absolute favorite, please share!

    Saturday, May 14, 2005

    Fortune Cookie of the day...

    Keep your goals away from the trolls.

    This is an actual fortune cookie message found by my husband, Jon. Perplexing and humorous.


    That is what this life is about. Time and what we make of it. Do we do our best to fight for causes that benefit people? Do we spend time ignoring the needs of others and use our time to make ourselves feel good? These questions seem to follow me every day. Blame it on being raised as a protestant with good helpings of guilt, or what not, but in the end these are basic principles of life. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. The golden rule goes beyond religions and translates to people across the seas. Be kind. Be loving, if you can. This isn't the same as not making waves and challenging people to think beyond what they know.

  • Gandhiwrote, "I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
    Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away."

    This feeling of letting go of our own problems and seeing that we can create change to help those around us, is always there. Gandhi said it better then I could ever express it. His life was filled with protest and with peace.
  • Friday, May 13, 2005

    New Baby!

    My sister-in-law, Jenny, had her first baby!It's a girl named Allison Claire. Isn't that sweet? She has dark hair already and is so beautiful. We love you, Allison.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Illustration Friday

    Okay. Got this in. Titled " He gets it from your side."

    What a week...

    It's been one of those weeks. The girls are over the flu and guess who gets struck down? Yep, me. It started Sunday night with not so good feelings after the family dinner at the grandfolks. It was a great dinner but about 9pm I starting having serious tummy ickies. And on Mother's Day too!

    The good news is we went kite flying in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day of blue, blue skies, bright sunlight and everything was just so lovely and sunny. Poor Jon got mild sunburn (possible mild sunstroke). He forgot to wear a hat/sunblock and his crown was a reddish hue by 5pm.

    I had a case of Spring fever and started mopping the basement and cleaning out things. But all went to waste by 9pm. I thought I was sore from cleaning but I was really ill.

    I'm feeling a bit better today after marathon sleeping. I needed it. Still, I feel a bit woozy and the grandfolks have the kids for a bit, thankfully.

    Artwise, I haven't been much to holding pen to paper, let alone sitting up for too long. It's amazing how little patience you have for little things like pets and loved ones when you're feeling ill. I hate the flu. This is the second time in 2 months!

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    Mother's Day

    Mother's Day original started out as a call for peace by women who lost their sons to the civil war. This is especially poignant in these dark times when both mother and father, sister and brother are fighting in a distant land or their own lands. This is a call for peace for all people, for families torn apart on both sides.

    Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870

    Arise then...women of this day!
    Arise, all women who have hearts!
    Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
    Say firmly:
    "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
    Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
    For caresses and applause.
    Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
    All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
    We, the women of one country,
    Will be too tender of those of another country
    To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

    From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
    Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
    The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
    Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
    Nor violence indicate possession.
    As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
    At the summons of war,
    Let women now leave all that may be left of home
    For a great and earnest day of counsel.
    Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
    Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
    Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
    Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
    But of God -
    In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
    That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
    May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
    And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
    To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
    The amicable settlement of international questions,
    The great and general interests of peace.


    Just added some links...Hopefully they will work. It's good to have Friday here again. I went for an interview among chaos at home, so this week was really stressful. Fortunately, my little one is doing tons better and ate pasta last night and Chinese food for lunch. She's still thin and a bit weak but who wouldn't be after her flu? Poor, baby.

    There is beautiful sunlight streaming through the windows. We went for a walk today (actually the kids rode in the stroller) and Mr. Nelson helped pull the stroller towards every tree he could get too! Silly dog. I'm training him to pull a sled in the winter. He doesn't know this yet. But he will...Serves him right for chewing up the legs of my dining room chairs.

    In other news, I cleaned the basement a bit. I'm making space for the wood tools and we're trying to set up a sink. I'll try to take pics. I'm working on two paintings down there. One is a mother child theme and the other is an interpretation of one of my poems. I'm working with acrylic paints. I tried to make the stretchers my self, but that was a total waste of time. Some how I was able to do this in college. Of course, my professor,
  • Ben Sakoguchi was there.

  • *****NOTE Ben Sakoguchi is alive and well********

    I just looked up Mr. Sakoguchi and found that he passed away in 2002. Is this true? I feel very sad to know this. I last saw his work at Cal State LA. It seems like only yesterday that I was in his class and he was encouraging us to paint and go beyond. He was one of the most inspiring teachers I had in art and was open to all forms of art. My memories of him are still strong to this day and I will always remember him as an inspiration. He wrote little notes about each of our paintings for class and gave them out at the end of the critique. I still have mine. Each note was detailed and optimistic and as a young person and artist, I felt especially grateful for the time he put into these notes. I will miss you, Ben. You will not be forgotten.

    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    She's getting better!

    One of those things that makes a parent a parent is tending to an ill child. Now that my little one is finally getting better, I can write with more ease about all of this. It was a very scary feeling seeing my daughters face so hollowed out by this flu. I've never seen her look like that. And yes, this was her first flu. I'm so glad she's better. She nibbled on some toast and walked around today. It's almost like she regressed in her walking, a little. The same stiff legged walk she did about 4 months ago. She's starting to act like her old self and oddly her vocabulary has expanded in the transition. Maybe it was going to do that any way, but my goodness she's nameing everything and using two words, now. I'm amazed.

    She lost some baby fat and looks older too, poor dear. I'm lucky I am able to be home and tend to her.

    In honor of Mothers Day, I am posting this
  • CODE PINK ALERT. It's an amazing group reaching people and especially women, in the aim of Peace. Please check it out.

  • I've written several poems about mothers and mothers in times of war. I would like to share this poem. It was chosen for poem of the month for

  • Poets Against the War. Here it is:

  • Black birds fly against a stone gray sky

    The day awakens
    And still the birds call out

    Blue gray is my room and the
    Sleepy world begins to drive by.

    I am at home, a mom of two children.
    I sit here safe and relatively at peace.

    Outside, a light frost has settled on my sleepy town.
    How good it will feel, to numb that pain, to hide away and sleep.

    It is two days later.
    Two days of what could have been and now…

    The mounting sorrows, the bitter realizations are going to set
    People, slowly will start to realize what they have done and what they have missed

    Good-bye to thoughts of peace and common sense
    Tighten your waist belts and hope for the best.
    Praise all that is Good, there are only 2 terms.

    And what Good, if any, will come of this?
    More wars.
    More deaths.
    More rich and poor divides.
    More lies.

    But upstairs, in deep sleep my two children lay.
    Peaceful and lightly snoring.
    I take comfort in their warmth, in their not knowing.

    Yes, I fear the future…next 4 years. I think of 40 years and wonder,
    What will be…

    No lottery, no superman,
    no nothing can bring back a 200 year old tree felled by human hand.
    Nothing can bring back people lost in war.
    Nothing can calm the pain of children lost to mothers.
    Nothing can be the balm that soothes such grief.

    And so, I type this weak and simple poem in hopes to calm my troubled soul.
    And all in all, I can still hope and watch the black birds fly.

    Wednesday, May 04, 2005

    I'm a bit sad...

    my baby is sick. She's not yet two and she has the flu. I'm worried and am planning to go to the doctors today. My three year old is doing lots better, but the younger one has massive diarrhea. She's lost at least 3 pounds in water. Her face looks different. She had diarrhea today but doesn't look so bad. Still, it's very upsetting to see your child act so differently when ill. Very upsetting. This is what's on my mind. I'm lucky I live in the US because so many people don't have even clean water to drink out of. Still, it's very worrying when your child is sick. I'm not religious but I've been praying/meditating. I think she's getting better as she didn't vomit recently.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005

    Illustration Friday...

    Illustration Friday...Okay, I did this again...only as a quick sketch. This is based on my recycled "monster" eggs. The eggs are those plastic Easter eggs. We got quite a few and I had to do something with them.

    Illustration Friday...

    Okay, I am/was/maybe going to do an actual illustration but I've got an interview today and I just wanted to put something up. Plus, both kids are down with the flu. Let's just say, I've done something close to 15 loads of laundry in the past two days. So, I'm putting up my entry for Month of Softies. The theme was recycled monster...but I don't know if mine are really monster-ish. Then I thought well, they're more like ambitious eggs. So, I give you the "Dancing Egg". I give credit to Niina for the name! :-)

    If you'd like to see an operatic interpretation of the "Velveteen Rabbit" or, rather the "Eggalteen Rabbit" scroll down and check out my April post. :-)

    If I have time, I will do an actual illustration...

    Sunday, May 01, 2005

    Mothers ROCK!

    This is a great article:
  • Stay-at-home Mothers deserve high pay

    I always knew this to be true and it's great that there is validation of what stay-at-home moms and dads deserve!

    About 50 years ago, Russia gave out medals to mothers for being mothers. Of course, this was also for having lots and lots of kids (the biggest medal was for 10 (!) kids). But the idea is they actually gave something to mothers. In the US, mothers hardly even get respect (let alone a medal). Maybe some flowers on Mother's day...But what about the rest of the year?

    Childcare is often the lowest paid job out there. Why is this? There is a lot of talk of what a wonderful mom or teacher or childcare worker is, but what does that mean in real terms. Most of the people in poverty are women (and also are mothers). If you were to have a child today, that would almost guarantee you'd work at half the pay as women with no children and with twice as much stress. And don't get me wrong, women with no children are still working for $1 or less then men. Ridiculous.

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