.....and other random stuff......

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Water is a big part of our city here.
We are surrounded by it and have over 400 miles of canals filled with it.
We have two water processing plants.
We have duel water to each home (primary for drinking and secondary for lawn watering.)
It’s a vast and intricate system used to keep the streets from flooding and to provide us with water for living.
 These pipes are part of the whole complex system. They stick up out of the ground all over the city.
I had no idea what they were when we first moved here. They don’t have them (visible) up north. (I guess they would freeze if they were above ground.)
Over the years I’ve come to think of them as ‘urban sculpture’. I think they are quite lovely, always standing at attention come sweltering heat or torrential downpours.
Looking for something different and interesting to sketch I thought I’d give them a go. I might even turn it into a series (if my attention span doesn’t wane too quickly!)
(I also thought they’d be easy subjects [HA!] to sketch ‘en plein air’. But I have to admit I cheated this time. I took pictures and came home and sketched in the comfort of my air conditioned house.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watercolor Bliss Lesson 4

I’m in Alisa Burke’s Watercolor Bliss online class.

This is lesson 4:
Add variations of color and value to add depth, to find control and comfort when working with different brush sizes, explore how you can use lines to add details and washes to your subject matter.”

Sounds simple enough. Looks simple enough when she demonstrates.


This is what I get:
Uninspired, flat, dull, boring, uninteresting, tedious, dreary, unexciting, lackluster, mind-numbing, lifeless………I could go on.

What am I doing wrong here? Any suggestions?  I thought I followed Alisa’s directions. Apparently not. LOL
(I do see I need more contrast with the background color. This was a poor choice.)

Although, these two aren’t complete disasters.
I think this one could use more pen detail.

(I like squares, LOL!)

Okay, deep breath, chin up, soldier on and PRACTICE. PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Don't you just hate it when it's not perfect on the first (or second, or third...) try? LOL

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Last One, I Promise!

Okay, this is the last pun for the June theme of the Sketchbook Challenge (pathways). Be grateful we’re running out of month so I don’t have time to do the ones still stuck in my head! LOL
"the beaten path"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mommy Moments

December 1986.

Son1 is six months old, happily lazing in the playpen.

I am baking Christmas cookies.

Nat King Cole is playing on the stereo and I am singing along.

It’s unusually warm so I have the front door open. As I bake and sing, I dance back and forth between the kitchen and my beautiful baby boy.

At some point I pick him up and we dance around the living room, singing and laughing and just enjoying what I will come to call a ‘mommy moment’.

As I twirl around, I see the mailman standing outside the front door watching me with my son.

I freeze, starting to feel embarrassed, but then I realize he’s smiling at us, enjoying this moment as much as I (not to mention the cookies I left for him in the mailbox!)

 I throw my head back and laugh out loud and continue to dance with my son in my arms.

Christmas, cookies, beautiful baby, all is right with the world.

(a special memory on this special day)
Happy Birthday baby boy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

En Plein Air

Does it still count as ‘en plein air’ if you’re sitting in your air conditioned car (because it’s 97° and the sun is beating down like a scene from Lawrence of Arabia) while sketching the lamp posts outside the library? LOL
So, I sort of dipped my toe into the ‘public’ sketching arena. (The woman in the car next to me noticed!)  It’s definitely a new path for me. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Get the Best Ideas in the Shower

The trouble is, when I’m finally OUT of the shower I’ve forgotten what they were! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lesson 10 Photo Silly

Instructions: Show me how to do something that you are an expert at using four photographs and no words. Could be a step-by-step or just descriptive shots... the only restriction is that you use only photographs. Your subject could be anything.

So with my mission clearly defined, I gleefully went about my task! 

(All kidding aside, I really am learning so much in this ‘silly’ little class! I have learned more about my camera in just a week than in all the years I've had it! And in such a fun and entertaining way! Kudos to Steve for making it all so easy and non-threatening! I really recommend this class to anyone who wants to expand their photographic skill and knowledge.)

(footnote: reason it's called 'Wilsonade' is because we call our lime tree 'Wilson'. Long boring story, don't ask, just think Castaway with Tom Hanks.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I hate housework.
 And the older I get the more I hate doing it!

So I procrastinate.

more dust!
And then I procrastinate some more.
Until my house starts to resemble Miss Havisham’s banquet room.

So for those of you who think your house is a mess, it couldn’t be as bad as mine! 

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

(The bright side is [and I always try and look for a bright side!] you could leave me a note in the dust and I'd be sure to see it!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

THE Tree

Son2’s b’day had me reminiscing.  Of all the ‘situations’ he got into growing up there are one or two that stand out in the ‘I almost had a heart attack category.’
He was a monkey as a kid. Climbed on anything and everything. Had no fear. None.
On this particular day I was picking him up from a visit with Grandma.
 I pulled into the driveway and as I got out of my car I hear a little voice call out, “Hi Mom!”
Looking around I don’t see him, so I just figure he’s in the woods somewhere hiding.
Then I hear giggling.  Strange, it sounds like it’s coming from high up. Must just be the acoustics of the trees.
Oh contraire!
“Up here, Mom!”
And as I look up I see my six year old son perched on a branch in the Hemlock tree, THIRTY FEET ABOVE THE COINCRETE DRIVEWAY.
“Okay” I say to myself, “don’t panic, don’t sound alarmed. If you do you may spook him and HE’LL panic and fall ONTO THE CONCRETE DRIVEWAY.”
My next thought is, “Where the hell is Grandma?”
So I very casually say, “Time to go kido, come on down.”
And then I do what every responsible, loving mother would do.
I go inside!
When I get inside I find my mother and son1 sitting on the couch.  
“Why aren’t you out there?” I ask.
Very calmly she says, “We couldn’t watch.”
(Insert rimshot sound effect here!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Birthday Salute

You’re the baby, gotta love ya’!

You’ll always be my baby! (Like it or not! LOL)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It’s a Daddy’s Duty

I used to take great pains to settle the boys down for bedtime.

 I’d give them a nice warm bath, maybe read to them while they were in the tub, dry them off, and snuggle them into clean jammies.

As I was cleaning up the bathroom they would run into the living room where Daddy would rev them up.

He would tackle them, wrestle with them, and tickle them until they were in fits and squeals of laughter.

Then I would have to gather them up (pretending I was annoyed) and try and put them to bed.

As I was settling them into bed and finally quieting them down, Daddy would poke his head in the door and send them into gales of laughter all over again.

There must be a rule somewhere that only Daddies can see that states:

“Rule: You are OBLIGATED to stimulate the children right before bedtime.”

It’s a good rule.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pterodactyls in Paradise

One of the best things about living in a subtropical environment, and there are many, is the wildlife.

Living up north we didn’t see much wildlife. I mean we had our fair share of squirrels and bunnies, and the barrier islands were full of white tail deer. But that pretty much summed up the fauna in the area.

Since moving here I’ve seen some pretty amazing wildlife.

I mean where else can you live (at least here in the states) where they have Pterodactyls?

Seriously. I was sitting on the lanai, when a shadow passed over head. It blocked the sun out entirely.

I looked up and I swear it was a Pterodactyl!

(I think they are called pelicans now. LOL)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Self Portrait

Photo Silly Lesson 4
"Today’s task is to create a self portrait without
you in it. Create a scene or still life that represents you... something that others would immediately recognize as being about you. Oh yeah, the shot has to be taken from a very low camera angle. Less than 2 feet off the ground. (Like a frog hopped into your office or studio to get a sense of who you are.)"

Okay, I cheated a little using my feet. But I think this is pretty indicative of who I am.
99.44% of the time I am barefoot (hate shoes.) The white background is because from the outside I look normal (and bland.) The markers are to show that inside I am bursting with color (and my medium of choice at the moment.) And the angle is because I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I am “off the wall”. (I took this from below, looking up at my feet leaning against a wall.)
This lesson forced me to get out the manual. Thanks, Steve! Whether I retain this new information is yet to be seen! LOL


When I was very little I used to have a recurring dream.

It was in black and white.

I would ‘see’ a blank piece of white paper.

When I was and happy it would fill up with black crayon marks in long flowing loopy lines. Soft and gentle curves. (I never saw the crayon or the hand making the marks, they just appeared.)

When I was angry or upset about something the crayon marks would appear darker, thicker and at angry angles and many more would fill the page.

Textbook, huh? LOL

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Lesson 2 of Steve Sonheim’s Photo Silly course was a ‘portrait’.

Well, there’s nobody home but me and the cat. And you KNOW I’m not going to be posting any pictures of myself! LOL

I elect Fluffy! Yeah!

Try taking a composed shot of an uncooperative cat! 

After chasing her around the house I decided to just sit and wait for her to settle somewhere. She settled in my lap.

I had to just shoot ‘at’ her without actually composing anything, while simultaneously petting her to keep her cooperating. (All while keeping my hand out of the shot!)

Can YOU pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time? Similar concept.

But I did get this:
This is a great course. I highly recommend it! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


My father was the consummate BBQ chef.

There was nothing he enjoyed more than a burger from the grill.

He BBQ’d ALL the time.

Winter, spring, summer and fall.

In ANY kind of weather.

Nothing stopped him.


His motto: "Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night will deter this griller from his appointed charcoal."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden Path

 Not one of my best gardens, but I needed a brain dump and this seemed appropriate. 
(Sometimes you just want something mindless, right?) 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge--Pathways

No matter what path I take…..
I yam what I yam! 
(Sorry, I can't help it, it's hereditary! LOL)  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Beautiful Blue Schwinn English Racer

It was a three speed English Racer, had hand brakes (the other kids still had pedal brakes) and it flew like the wind!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

Do you ever feel like crawling in a hole and pulling it in after you?
My mother used to call this 'feeling punk’.
(some days it seems it's just not worth the trouble of getting out of bed! LOL)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Post Partum Blues

I am a pretty even keeled person emotionally. 

I mean, I never had raging PMS.  I don’t go off the deep end. I don’t yell and scream.  I may bang a pot now and then, but for the most part my emotions are pretty much in check.

The one time I remember feeling totally out of control was after son 1 was born.

I sat on the couch sobbing uncontrollably. (I should say here, I don’t cry. I mean I don’t cry in real life. I cry at movies, and an occasional Publix commercial can bring a tear to my eye, but in real life situations I am the stiff upper lip type.)

So there I was sobbing and poor husband had no clue. He looked more miserable than I.  

He knelt down beside me and very gently took my hand in his and asked “What’s wrong?”


The hormonal roller coaster, bleh!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Bathroom is a Portal to the Spirit World

I’m convinced my bathroom is a portal to the ‘other side of the veil’ as they say.

When the exhaust fan is on, the noise it makes sounds just like a room full of people in conversation. You can’t make out what they're saying, but it’s definitely people talking.

I wonder if it’s the waiting room to the Pearly Gates?

This is the way my mind thinks.

Aren’t you glad you’re not in here? LOL

Monday, June 6, 2011

‘Follow Your Own Path’

I know all sorts of useless information. One of these little tidbits is: elephants tend to follow set migration patterns, so they follow the same routes repeatedly throughout their lives.

Hence the title.

(More useless information, but a funny visual: When going down steep hills, elephants like to slide down on their bellies! Whee!)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I am Learning Many Things on this Artistic Journey

Mostly about myself.

One, I much prefer bright and saturated colors.

Two, I don’t paint (am incapable of painting) in a loose style. (This is why I’m now enrolled in Alisa Burke’s Watercolor Bliss class.)

Three, I am impatient and want to create a masterpiece in a ‘moment’!

I worked on this particular piece for over two weeks, on and off. I’ve rendered it in five different ways (well, two of them were watercolor, so I guess for honesty’s sake it was really only four different ways. But I PAINTED it five times!)

I liked it when I started but now I am just DONE with it. lol

Maybe, given time, I’ll come back to it with a better appreciation.


I found a picture of a quaint street online and sketched it, refined it a bit (just to make my life easier.)

That took two or three try’s. I scanned it into Photoshop and added color. Just as a reference. 
Next I tried it in colored pencil, then markers, then finally watercolor.

I was also trying to loosen up (to no avail!)

All this was in preparation for the 'real' one on a larger piece of watercolor paper.
I guess I just have a ‘stay inside the lines’ kind of mentality :(

Saturday, June 4, 2011

This Little Piggy

This little piggy went to market….

I don’t think so. He’s not going anywhere he doesn’t damn well please, from the looks of him!
On the other hand, she has no clue as to what fate awaits her.

Do you make up narratives for your characters as you sketch?

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Father Was a Genius

Seriously, he was a genius. His IQ was off the charts. He was a member of Mensa.

He could do math IN HIS HEAD! No paper, no pencil, IN HIS HEAD!

My mother would be balancing the checkbook, legal pad in hand, she would write down the amounts as she called them out to my father.

By the time she got to the bottom of the page and drew the line to total the column, my father had the answer.


I, on the other hand, am math impaired.

I took Algebra in high school three years running, and only passed out of pity. I wanted to drop it but wasn’t allowed.

My father lectured on the necessity of math skills till my brother’s and my ears bled. (I may exaggerate, but only slightly!)

I tried to explain to him that I would never need to know algebra in my adult life. He disagreed.

A few years out of high school on a plane trip to Florida with my parents, the pilot decided to break our boredom with a little contest.

Anyone who could calculate the exact midpoint of our flying time accurately would win a bottle of champagne!

My father pulled out his ever present legal pad, and commenced to long involved algebraic calculations, filling  the page.

I took out a note pad and divided our estimated arrival time in half.

When the Captain announced that I’d won the bottle of champagne, I turned to my father and said; “See, I told you I didn’t need to learn Algebra!”

Sweet vindication!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge Theme —'Pathways'

Yesterday, sitting around with no electricity, thinking about this month’s theme and this happened.

I WISH I had a pink car! LOL

I wonder where I’m coming from and why I’m heading home.

Is there a psychologist in the house? 

'Headin' Home'

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Have You Ever Heard the Expression……

I had a friend in high school whose Grandmother used to say “You can get used to doing anything if you do it long enough. You can get used to hanging, if you hang long enough.”


I asked my friend what it meant, and he laughed it off as something his crazy 'ole grandma said, don’t worry about it.

I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t get it. I think he didn’t get it either, that’s why he never explained it.

Does it mean if you do something you don’t like long enough it will kill you? Literally or maybe figuratively?

Does it mean if you do something you don’t like long enough you will become insensitive to it and it won’t bother you anymore? (Or is that the same thing as killing you figuratively?)

Maybe I’m over thinking it.

If anyone can explain this to me I’d be forever in your debt, ‘cuz this is the kind of stuff that pops into my head at two A M.  LOL!