gridlock raises my vamp-ire

October 31, 2007

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Commute to work this morning (notice the gridlock from back window).

In keeping with the day, I wrote a little children’s rhyme about vampires. It goes a little something like this:

VAMPIRE

I was craving garlic pizza,
so I grabbed my trusty bike,
and peddled off to Lou’s Place,
where they have the kind I like.

Rushing home, my luck turned sour.
I blew out my front tire.
As I stopped to check it out
I saw my first vampire.

He snuck out from the shadows
of the jacaranda tree,
and hovered just above the ground
while making eyes at me.

He smiled at me with sneery lips,
and stared his vampire stare.
Then floated over to me.
Man he gave me such a scare!

I pretended not to notice,
that his eyes were glowing red.
But he knew that I was frightened.
You can’t fool the dang un-dead.

I figured I was done for
as he flashed his gleaming fangs.
Then I got this great idea
when I felt some hunger pangs.

Remembering I bought some
garlic pizza from Lou’s Place,
I grabbed it from my bike rack
and I shoved it in his face!

The vampire’s eyes shot open!
Oh he croaked just like a toad!
My trusty garlic pizza
caused the vampire to explode!

my tooth needs a crown

October 30, 2007

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If you’d like to know anything about procrastination, just ask me. However, if talking about teeth and dentists and spending ridiculous amounts of money makes you queasy, perhaps you should go here.

I’ve had a throbbing toothache for days, yet I haven’t gotten around to calling the dentist. The reason for the toothache might likely be, I’ve neglected to get my crown finished, after the root canal I had months ago. Yep, I’m dealing with a three month old temporary crown right now, and I’m an idiot, or maybe not, it’s hard to say.

I mean, can you blame me? I dumped a truck full of cash at three different dentist offices these past 6 months. First, I got shaken down for $1200 to get my teeth “deep cleaned”. A month later, another 5 big ones for a crown prep to be followed up by another $500 when I get the crown “delivered.”

Feeling the need to recoup, I ingnored my dentist’s instructions to come in and finish the crown in no more than two week’s time. The temporary crown was doing fine, why rock the boat? Why spend the money?

Believe it or not, I feel this was one time procrastination paid off. I was about two months late for my crown delivery, and I was feeling like someone took a sledgehammer to the side of my head. Every sip of coffee or spoonful of ice cream brought me to my knees.

Turns out I needed a root canal.

There you go. Had I been a good girl and gotten my crown after only two weeks, as I was directed, Ole Tooth Boy would have had to rip my new crown off to administer said root canal. It would have meant extra pain, extra agony, plus an extra $1000. Not to mention the extra visits to the dentist. Don’t get me wrong, my team of dentists and their office folk are lovely people. It’s not that I hate dentists, but I seem to feel better when they’re not around, (if I may bastardize a quote by Henry, from Bukowski’s “Barfly”.)

So, after enduring the torture of my very first root canal, I again, and with conviction this time, ignored the directive to finish up my crown….soon.

Three months of procrastination later, here I am, throbbing. Did I call the dentist today. No I did not. I guess I need to bite the bullet (but not to hard, it might hurt) and pay the nice man and get my mouth fixed.

There are probably no more excuses.

scaredy cat

October 29, 2007

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Forgot my sketch pad and my pencil today. I had to resort to lined notebook paper and ball point pen. Because of this, I had resigned myself to simply jotting some thoughts down. Instead, my rotund feline companion, Joey managed to make his way through the ink well and onto my pad. He has a way of insinuating himself into many aspects of my day.

Joseph is an ornery little guy. He fancies himself the alpha cat in our tri-kittied household. The other two humor him. He is bigger than them afterall. He could crush the life out of a kitty, by simply dozing off while on top of one.

Well, as ferocious as he thinks he is, I am fairly certain that this image illustrates accurately what would ensue if Joey were to ever meet up with an intruder.

but…

October 28, 2007

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It rained Saturday morning, so what could be better than sloshing over to one of the ten neighborhood Starbucks for a cup? Tom and I did just that. Tom became quickly engrossed in the front page of the L.A. Times while I pretended to read the business section, my mind wondering off to some distant land.

After about fifteen minutes of sipping joe and daydreaming, I raised my glazed, uncomprehending eyes upwards a tad. There she was, in all her glory, a statuesque woman in her forties. Arguably, an attractive woman, she was tall with long, blonde, over-processed hair. You could just about make out a pretty face underneath the two and a half inches of Cover Girl foundation, too orange for her skin tone. Amazing, I can’t focus on the damn newspaper, but I can take in every detail of some strange woman in two seconds flat! Anyway, I’m sitting there, taking in her Payless, three-inch-heel, platform sandals, noticing her nicely toned calves, (making a mental note to get back to the gym,) when I saw them.

Her butt cheeks.

Her provocative, yet slightly saggy and dimpled butt cheeks! They were peeking out from her black, too tight, micro mini dress. Did I say peeking out? They were hanging out! Big as life they were!

I’m not even remotely a prude, but I have to tell you, I was feeling a wee bit uncomfortable. For one thing, it was obvious she knew I had noticed her and her exposed derriere, and at that point seemed to preen. She began a sort of prance in place, pretending to be self-conscious and pulling down her dress and giggling. To no avail. Those puppies were not going quietly. I believe her antics may have been for Tom’s sake. His back was to her and she wanted to make sure he saw her. He was the only man in the place, other than the young kid behind the counter, who was already turning a little pale. I obliged by giving Tom a nudge. So, as she sashayed out the door, he took a good look, after which we just looked at each other and blinked a few times in disbelief, fighting back the immature snickering that was dying to come out.

You know, all I can say is, we’re not in Portland anymore. God bless California!

And I hope she didn’t catch cold in the rain, poor thing.

a good life

October 28, 2007

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On the days I am wise enough to count my blessings, among the many I count are my moments spent drawing and drinking coffee. Of course, I have to count my health, a wonderful husband, three rambunctious yet lovable kitties, a family who loves me, some very close and precious friends, my home is intact and I have a good job, (just to name a few).

However, the thing I am thinking about at this moment, is the simple pleasure of sitting, sipping a damn fine cup of coffee and belting out a sketch or two. If I could, I’d spend my whole day doing just that. Drawing and sipping coffee. Maybe some day. You never know, eh?
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Daryl and Muffy, Rufus and Delilah, Stan and Roz? You decide.
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catbunfrobirdishpup

October 26, 2007

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I often encounter this annoying, yet ongoing argument: What critters makes the best pets? Some feel it is the loyal, unconditionally loving canine, while others insist it is the self reliant, yet snuggly feline. An aquarium of colorful fish can be stress-relieving and very healing to the soul. Parrots, though they may have ear piercing squawks, never seem to tire of entertaining antics.

How about a nice moist amphibian?

Frankly, I’m not sure why folks engage in such pointless arguments. Any critter willing to put up with us humans is alright in my book, (although I don’t believe fish have much of a choice.)

Anyway, as this thought rattled around my caffeine deprived head this morning, an image presented itself to my sketchpad.

Meet Catbunfrobirdishpup.

Catbunfrobirdishpup may not settle any pet related arguments, but he/she was darned fun to draw.

grampa goes a-courtin’

October 25, 2007

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I believe my many, recent, covert, coffee shop, sketching sessions, might have tweaked my brain. Every day I find myself enthralled with some facial curve or crevice as well as some epidermal peak or valley. This voyeuristic exercise has caused me to notice happy, sad, bored, grumpy, stressful, manic and annoyed expressions on faces of all ages, shapes and sizes.

As I leaf through the dog-eared pages of my sketch book, and view these rough little drawings, (sometimes weeks later), I find myself recalling each person and my impression of their personality. These impressions may be based on a snippet of conversation, caught in the ethers or sometimes, just pure speculation and imagination. But I remember them, all the same.

I guess you can call what I’ve been doing “active people watching”.

So, anyway, I’m afraid all of this has had a bit of an odd effect on me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but lately I find myself “channeling” strange characters. Channeling them onto my sketch pad. Last week, it was the screaming lady and her spider. They both just hopped onto my page without any warning, and today, at lunch, grampa made his presence known.

It’s pretty cool, actually. I hope they keep coming. All are welcome.

Other than that, all I can say is, good luck grampa, you’re gonna need it.

home sweet home

October 24, 2007

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TYLER (sketched on plane going home)

Tonight we say good-bye to Portland, Oregon, to our friends, Tim and Paul, and to chihuahuas, Tyler and Ethan.

Home. We are safe. Kitties are safe. House still standing. A fine film of ash all over furniture in bedroom, where window was open. May be more ash around; too dark to tell right now. A palm plant knocked over from the wind. Manic wind chimes fill the air with eery tinkling. Air also filled with faint smell of smoke.

All is well. We dodged a bullet.

Our hearts go out to all the folks who suffered loss during this disaster.

silverton, oregon

October 23, 2007

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It seems strange to be looking around Oregon for a new place to live when our current residence in California may be threatened by no less than three different fires, fanned by Santa Ana winds. Information we’ve been getting from friends and family, the media and the internet, seem to indicate the whole Southern California is going up in flames.

Being hundreds of miles from home and feeling completely helpless, we decided to try to make the best of it. So, joined by our friends Tim and Paul, we headed back to Silverton, the quaint little town we visited yesterday.

We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a dream and this idyllic town really did exist. Tim was at the wheel and we directed him to the neighborhood where the house, that Tom insists he will die in, could be found. It was still there in all it’s glory. So Tom got out and took a few photos, doing it quickly, hoping no one would get creeped out.

We drove by another house that caught our fancy, still trying not to be intrusive. The owner saw us and beckoned us in. He, his wife and daughter were so nice and hospitable, it took us cynical Californians a little by surprise.

Afterwards we headed down to the little downtown village area for some espresso. We were accosted by an old-timer, or “moss back” as he described himself, named Ray. He assaulted us with folksiness of the likes I’ve never experienced in California.

After freeing ourselves from Ray’s über-friendly grip, we ordered our espressos and sat out on the deck overlooking the Silver Creek. It was a sunny warm autumn day. The creek shimmered, the leaves on trees glowed orange and red and the coffee was delicious. It just doesn’t get better than this.

We finally tore ourselves away, and decided to head back home. As we walked away, to the smiles and waves of more Silverton residents we passed, we decided that this place was just too good to be true. Surely the entrance of the Black Lodge could be found somewhere in the forest nearby. This kind of serenity and euphoria couldn’t be real. It could only be masking some insidious evil, the stuff of Lynchian nightmares.

How jaded our we Californians anyway, that we can’t take all of this for face value? Maybe it isn’t just a dream, maybe we actually could find nirvana in the tiny bucolic town of Silverton.

But first, let’s hope our home in California survives this latest firestorm.

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I wan’t my llama

October 21, 2007

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Some words I never thought I’d hear: “This is where I purchased my llama. You should call them when you are ready to buy.”

We were in Silverton, Oregon today, at the suggestion of our friends Tim and Paul. They thought we might consider it a possible place to move to when the time is right. When we got there, we found Silverton to be, not only reasonably close to the urban and cool downtown Portland, but also unbelievably quaint, artsy and friendly. The best of both worlds. It is nestled in a fairly rural part of Oregon, and is complete with rolling hills, groves and groves of pine trees, sheep, goats, horses, cows, and llamas. Yes, you heard me, llamas.

Why are llamas part of the Oregon landscape, you ask? Well, the story we heard, from a lovely woman we met in a small art gallery in town, is that llamas are the next best thing to a guard dog for protecting your livestock from coyotes. She told us this story after we half jokingly mentioned it was our dream to move to Oregon and raise llamas.

Apparently one of her and her husband’s goats (goats? who are these people?) one of their goats was attacked by a dog or coyote. (Not to worry, the goat survived and is resting comfortably). They hated the idea of getting a mean old guard dog but figured they had to do something to protect their animals. After some reasearch they found that llamas, although not aggressive animals, are quite intimidating to the likes of coyotes. The llamas become quite attached to their goat friends and if a coyote decides to make trouble, the llamas just run it right off their property, tail between it’s legs.

Hearing about the darker side of the gentle llama left Tom and I fascinated and amused. I might also mention that the woman telling the story was an attractive older woman, somewhere in her late 50’s or early 60’s, yet she had a youthful, almost beatific glow to her. We figured it to be euphoria caused by living in such glorious surroundings, not the least of which being trees, art galleries and llamas.

After our conversation, Tom and I continued browsing around the gallery, taking in some of the local artwork. When we finally got to the counter to purchase some trinkets, the glowy llama owner handed me a piece of paper with the number of her llama dealer.

“When your ready.” She winked at me with knowing look.

weeeeeeeee!

October 20, 2007

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We just flew into Portland from Burbank, and boy our arms are tired…ba da dum!

But seriously folks…
we got here safely and are enjoying rain, good friends Tim and Paul and chihuahua’s Ethan and Tyler. Did I mention it was raining? Oh dear lord does that feel good. It’s heaven I tell you! While L.A. swelters in the middle of an Indian summer, we here in Portland, were refreshed and rejuvinated by a hydrating rain. We strolled in it, without umbrellas, letting it soak into our skin, stopping at the Central Bakery, to eat soup and drink copious amounts of good strong Pacific Northwest coffee.

So now it’s time to turn in, but I have to first tell you about the Vietnamese dinner we had at Pho… something-or-other, around the corner from Tim and Paul’s house in Clackamas. Not only was the food delicious, but the owner, an adorable woman, not only told us what we would be eating, but how to prepare it and how to eat it. After bringing our food to us, she would then grab the food out of our hands, dress it up with hot chili then hand it back to us. It was hilarious and a tiny bit off putting, but in the end, actually quite wonderful. She did know her stuff, and steered us in the right direction impeccably.

The soup was extremely hot, but the four of us slurped it down like it was our last meal, taking time only to blow our runny noses and wipe our sweaty brows. For a short while, the conversation became stifled, due to the inability to speak from chili induced injury to our larnyxes.

A good time was had by all.

Really, drippy sinuses and injured throats aside, this soup was not only delicious, it just may be a cure for the common cold, maybe even arthritis or male pattern baldness! It’ll put hair on your chest, that’s for sure.

Well, it’s off to dreamland and then up and out to discover new lands. We’re going to investigate some of the surrounding towns and see if there are any open houses. We want to see how the natives live.

I hope this post made sense and there aren’t too many typos or grammatical errors. I am deliriously tired.

Good night!

pug shot

October 20, 2007

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Keeping true to my nature, it’s 1:00 a.m. and I’ve just now finished doing laundry and packing for our trip to Portland, Oregon tomorrow morning. The delicate balance of nature would surely collapse if something as unexpected as my planning ahead would have occurred.

My suitcase is predictably packed beyond capacity with damp clothing and may blow it’s rivets at any moment. In contrast, Tom’s bag is reasonably and lightly packed, possibly with room for me to sneak in a shoe or two.

Yes, we are finally taking a wee vacation! Heading off to Portland for four days, to see if we can’t re-ignite our passion for moving there. As much as we still dream of our eventual move, we have become a little complacent of late, and now that the summer swelter is behind us, we’re feeling somewhat less desperate about getting out of California.

So we’re off to the airport early in the morning, so I best get my butt to sleep.

I might add first, that the above pug is a detail from one of my children’s book (in progress since forever) spreads. It’s one of my less than successful spreads. Although I like how little pug dude turned out, I am not in love with how rough and toothy the paper is and how it shows up so prominently in the the background. So I will be giving this one another go, trying something smoother perhaps. But for now, little pug guy gets to live on my blog.

Good night!

empty head

October 18, 2007

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I have a bad case of empty-head syndrome tonight. I’ve been rummaging around for a while now, and nothing. Nothing but this silly drawing of me rummaging around in my empty head.

halloweiner dog

October 17, 2007

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Sick of the ubiquitous Halloween theme yet? Not me, I’m loving every minute of it. Just can’t get enough pumpkins, witches and candy corn.

However, everyone has their limits. For instance, I certainly don’t envy the employees of Rite Aid or those Halloween specialty stores. You know, the stores that sell witch figurines with flashing red eyes and the irritating cackle. They sell candy dishes with the skeleton hand that grabs at you as you reach for peanut M&M’s or Snickers, chortling maniacally.

I can imagine, every day, these employees going just a little bit more mad. As the gazillionth customer, that day, pushes the button unleashing just one more witch cackle, one more baleful ghostly moan or one more banshee scream, they snap! Now there’s a scary thought.

So, take heed, all ye who enter Rite Aid. Step lightly and resist the temptation to push yonder button, lest you unleash hell upon thee.

Ahem, so anyway, I thought I was super clever coming up with Halloweiner Dog. That is, until I insisted on googling it, to make sure I was, in fact, being original. Turns out, the whole freaking World Wide Web is lousy with Halloweiner Dogs. In fact there’s even a children’s book called Halloweiner. Who knew?

scared

October 16, 2007

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With a slight chill in the air and the Great Pumpkin scheduled to arrive soon, our minds turn towards all things frightful. Well, mine does anyway. Which is why I was wracking my brain at lunch today, for a Halloween themed cartoon gag. A great many half ideas came to mind, but nothing fully jelled.

So, I doodled around, sipping on my triple brevé cap, searching for ideas. Then, at some point, this extremely frightened figure emerged on the page of my sketch pad. Hmmmm, wonder where that came from? The deep recesses of my neurotic psyche, no doubt.

I showed the drawing to Tom and told him I was thinking about leaving it up to whomever saw it to decide for themselves what this poor, wretched creature was horrified by. I figured, although it might be a little bit of the lazy way out, it might also be a fun little exercise. Tom, not seeming to care for that idea much, simply said “Just put a teeny little spider in front of her face.”

Bingo! Cool idea. It may not be the hysterical gag I was looking for, but it is one commentary on terror, as it comes in many forms. Perhaps the irrational, neurotic kind, among the worst because of it’s persistent and pervasive nature.

So there you go. An aracniphobe. But why stop there? I still invite you to insert your fear here. What would cause you to make an ungodly face like that? Hmmmmmmm? Bwwaaaaa haaaaa haaaaaaa haaaa!