frog in my throat

January 31, 2008



To have a frog in one’s throat is to have a temporary hoarseness caused by phlegm in the back of the throat.

Of all the animal idioms out there, the origin of this one seems pretty obvious. Anyone hoarse with a cold or allergies will typically sound or croak, pretty much like a frog, right? So, duh, that’s a no-brainer. However, with a little digging around I found there is a wee bit more to the story.

According to The Phrase Finder

It used to be thought that if you drank water from a pond that had frogspawn in it, a frog could live and hatch out in your throat, which naturally would block your voice. Quacksalvers (that’s the traditional English equivalent of snake oil merchants) used to have a scam whereby the quack’s stooge used to pretend to be so afflicted; the quack would administer his medicine, lo and behold the stooge would cough up a live frog and “regain his voice”, and all the gullible peasants would buy this wonderful cure. For this reason, an obstruction in the throat is known as a “frog”.

Interesting story, if not exactly full of detailed information, like: What period in time did all this take place?

So with a little more digging I found this:

quack·sal·ver [ kwák sàlvər ] (plural quack·sal·vers) noun
Definition: quack: somebody who falsely claims to have medical or other skills or qualifications ( archaic )

[Late 16th century. < obsolete Dutch, “salve-hawker” < Dutch kwaken “quack, prattle” + zalf “salve”]

So, there you go.

A term likely originated by quacks in an effort to sell snake oil in the late 16th century.

Sound familiar?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make myself a nice hot spot o’ tea. I seem to have an amphibian lodged in my esophagus.



December 26, 2007



Ted chewed up his gum,
because he had some.
He blew up a giant sized bubble.

The bubble was hollow,
and managed to swallow
his mother–now Ted’s in big trouble.

This week’s Illstration Friday theme is “horizon” and as you can see Ted and his long suffering mother are not quite seeing things eye to eye and are therefore on different communication horizons. Perhaps with a little effort on both their parts, some common ground can be gained.

Hope everyone enjoyed a lovely holiday. Currently recovering from an absolutely fabulous Christmas myself. Want to wish a very Happy New Year to everyone!

airy fairy

December 22, 2007


Pretty cutestie stuff, I know. But hey, it’s the last day at work before a long holiday weekend and instead of the usual property management or men’s apparel clients, I was given the task to come up with something for a children’s clothing line. The client wanted a fairy princess with a rainbow coming out of her wand.

So who am I to argue?

An enjoyable project, that felt like playing on the job…and I get paid for it!!

You have to love it!

So, here is the proposed label art, (or at least a first go,) and a vector version, for a possible logo.



front side

December 18, 2007


Tiger wants to apologize for his rude display yesterday. Sure, there was important business to attend to, chasing after some lint fluttering around on the ground, I believe it was, but, well, he just wasn’t being very sensitive to the people behind him. Tail up in the air, kicking up snow, he just wasn’t behaving well at all.

Go ahead Tiger, tell them what you wanted to say.

Um, ok. Prrrrrrrrrrt will have to do for now.

a tail of well-read bunnies

December 7, 2007


A well-read bunny,
is sitting on his tail.
He’d rather read a book,
than open up his mail.

It’s really quite astounding,
will wonders never cease,
although he is a bunny,
he’s reading “War and Peace.”

This is dedicated to the scholarly rabbit in all of us.

have yourself a…

December 6, 2007


…Merry Little Chrismahannakwanza!

Whatever holiday you celebrate or choose not to celebrate this winter, I hope it’s the happiest ever!!

Christmas is the holiday Tom and I both grew up with and still enjoy with gusto, although I’d never turn down an invitation or opportunity to participate in a Hannukah, Kwanza or any other holiday celebration. The more opportunities to hang out with friends, eat (food you would never dream of eating the rest of the year due to sheer terror of heart failure,) or light candles, the better!

For us Christmassy types, many towns in the U.S. have what they call Candy Cane Lane, or a Candy Cane Lane-like street, where every blade of grass on every lawn of every house is blinking, strobing or sparkling with copious amounts of holiday lights and decorations. However, in Valencia, CA the entire town is pretty much a Candy Cane Lane.

Yes folks, Christmas threw up on our town.

What we lack in the beauty and wonder of snowfall, we more than make up with a king’s ransom of an and electric bill and Home Depot receipt.

Tom and I bring up the rear with a token strand of red lights tacked lovingly across the front of our house. We tell ourselves we’re trying to be green, but really, we’re just too lazy busy. Why, we’ve got “Daily Show” reruns to watch.

But you know, as excessive as all the lights, giant blow up snowglobes, and creepy animated santas are, there’s nothing Tom and I like better than taking a detour on the way home from work to gawk at the handiwork of our zealous neighbors.

It’s the closest thing to tradition we have in our suburban town, and we’ve grown to love it.

Above is a an image I drew in Photoshop for my 2002 Christmas card. Thought I’d try to get a little more mileage out of it.

cat’s pajamas

December 5, 2007


Clearly these are not Pumpkin’s pajamas. However, you can tell by the look on his furry little face, that he was very anxious to demonstrate today’s animal idiom for you. “The Cat’s Pajama’s

The term “Cat’s Pajamas” got it’s start in the 1920’s, or roaring twenties, when pajamas (or pyjamas, if you’re from the U.K.) were a bit of a novelty. The term was coined by the sports writer and cartoonist at the time, Thomas A. Dorgan and along with “Bees Knees”, “Cat’s Meow” and “Cat’s Whiskers” meant “the height of excellence.” Similar phrases used in the 20’s but didn’t quite catch on were:

“the eel’s ankle”, “the elephant’s instep”, “the snake’s hip”, “the capybara’s spats”, “the flea’s eyebrows” and “canary’s tusks,” (hee heeeee, canary tusks!)

Along with these terms, Dorgan is generally credited with either creating or popularizing such words and expressions as:

dumbbell (a stupid person)

for crying out loud (an exclamation of astonishment)

cheaters (eyeglasses)

skimmer (a hat)

hard-boiled (a tough person)

drugstore cowboy (loafers or ladies’ men)

nickel-nurser (a miser)

as busy as a one-armed paperhanger (overworked)

Dumb Dora (uh, dumb)

Benny (for hat) and dogs (for shoes)

Sources: Wikipedia and Phrase Finder

Oh, Pumpkin also wanted me to point out that there were three cat related terms for “height of excellence.”

Thank you, Pumpkin, now get out of my pajamas.


December 3, 2007



For a small sum of money
Ben bought a pet bunny,
then figured he’d buy
just one more.

Ben felt some regrets,
because his two pets
soon became
four hundred and four!

Excess is the theme for Illustration Friday this week. So I once again dusted off a page of the children’s book I’ve been working on, (it’s been coming in pretty handy.)

I wrote this silly little rhyme and drew Ben and his bunnies about a year ago. It seemed fairly apropo for the theme.

I love it when things come together like that.

me me me me me meme

November 29, 2007


The very lovely and talented artist Val Webb tagged me for a meme over a week ago, and being a great, big procrastinator, I am just now getting to it.

Val is the artist behind The Illustrated Garden. Her blog is filled with beautiful drawings of her garden, helpful craft and art tutorials, and among other nifty things, just a nice place to find yourself. You must stop by.

The rules of this meme are:
· When tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you.
· Then post the rules before your list, and list eight random things about yourself.
· At the end of the post you must tag and link to eight other people


    1. I married my best friend, Tom a year ago, October. After dating two years, we moved in together, then two years after that, we bought a house, two years after that we got married. We like doing things a little out of sync. Keeps things interesting.

    2. We have 3 kitties, or should I say, 3 kitties have us. They allow us to think we are running the show.

    3. My favorite color is green. All shades of green, but especially deep jade and the bright yellowish green of a sapling. The first time I saw the sun back light a dewy meadow along the 101 heading north from L.A. to the central coast, I felt the magic of that color take hold of me and never leave. Green invigorates, heals, inspires and gives me hope.

    Oh, and it looks great with red hair.

    4. I love…no, I am addicted to strong coffee. In fact, it pretty much needs to be espresso, whenever possible. My favorite way to start the day is either some black french pressed, french roast, or a double, short brevé (steamed half and half) cappuccino. I like it short because I want just a wee bit of steamed milk so I can really taste the bite of the coffee. I like the way this drink smacks me upside the head when I’m blurry eyed and stumbling around in the morning. Especially with the late nights I’ve been keeping since starting this blog.

    My favorite way to end the day is with a nice cup of tea, either straight or if I need extra comforting a little milk and orange blossom honey.

    Another favorite way to end the day is with a nice glass of cab or zin or a shot of Irish Whiskey. But that’s another conversation.

    5. I like soup.

    6. My husband says I smell good, so I’ve got that goin’ for me.

    7. In addition to kitties and dogs, I adore bunnies, raccoons, squirrels and all things furry. Check it.

    8. I would love nothing more than to spend my days illustrating and possibly writing children’s books. I realize I am not alone in this, especially since everyone and their movie star is writing children’s books these days. But there you go.

    You gotta have a dream.

If you’re still awake, thanks for sharing 8 random things with me.

Here are my tags.

Eli at Art by Eli

David at Pickle Dog 

Ginger at Ginger Pixels

Nancy at My Collage Art 

Alicia at My Place Over the Hill

Eugenia Gina at Dua Mata Saya

Angela at Angelato

Michelle at Illo Blog


November 24, 2007



This week’s Illustration Friday theme is “Zoo”. A great theme and certainly in keeping with the animal idioms I’ve been illustrating for weeks now. It also seemed high time for an elephant drawing. It’s almost always a good time to draw elephants, in my opinion.

Elephants are some of the most intelligent creatures you’ll ever run accross. However, due to their stubborn refusal to use sunscreen and a shortage of extra large golf umbrellas, the elephant’s skin has become prematurely wrinkled and leathery.

Although the expression “Big enough to shade an elephant” proved itself fertile ground for image ideas, sadly, I could dig up no origin. For all I know, it’s not a well worn, seasoned old saying at all, but rather some blogger’s witticism from a few weeks ago, caught in the Google web. No matter, I decided to post the origin of another elephant saying, less visually inspiring but none-the-less interesting in it’s origin:

White Elephant

Meaning: A burdensome possession; creating more trouble than it is worth.Origin: White (albino) elephants were regarded as holy in ancient times in Thailand and other Asian countries. Keeping a white elephant was a very expensive undertaking, since the owner had to provide the elephant with special food and provide access for people who wanted to worship it. If a Thai King became dissatisfied with a subordinate, he would give him a white elephant. The gift would, in most cases, ruin the recipient.

Obviously the white elephants are a bit more vigilant about the use of 30SPF.


I stumbled upon this term in a couple of places online. I’ve never actually heard anyone utter (or udder) this particular phrase, but by golly if it’s on the internet it must be true, right? Well, regardless of it’s validity, this alleged idiom tickled me, and I immediately conjured up an image.

Granted, the little bovine beauty above does not appear to be awkward at all. Instead, she seems to be gliding right along, hauling…well…er…beef, if you will.


November 20, 2007


I visited a wonderful blog, angelato, where she posted a link to the Golden Compass website. She mentioned that she visited there and discoverd her daemon, your animal spirit who accompanies you throughout your life, and represents your soul. It sounded so enchanting and I am already so excited about this film, that I hopped over there immediately. After taking a short quiz I found that Erasmus the raccoon is my daemon. Raccoons rule!

So, in keeping, more or less, with the animal idiom theme, I figured I had to feature a raccoon tonight. Why he’s bowling, I’m not really sure. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I figured, if I had a little raccoon spirit following me around as a companion, he’d probably be the bowling type. Besides, raccoons, not having the most athletic bodies in the forest, would likely go for bowling as a passtime, given the option.



November 18, 2007



A monster with horns,
as prickly as thorns,
delighted in causing folks dread.

But he shuddered with fright,
at the thought that there might
be a kid hiding under his bed.

Illustration Friday’s theme thise week is “Superstition.”

My drawing is a “mostly” finished watercolor/pastel for a children’s book project I’ve been dragging my feet on for quite a while now. Although not depicting the typical black cat, Friday the 13th, broken mirror type superstition, I figured the old monster-under-the bed theme illustrates a sort of superstion many children have. Although, whether or not it is a superstion or reality is still in question. I certainly had a hideous mouth breather lurking amongst the dust bunnies under my half of the bunk beds. If it wasn’t for the safety of my blanket, pulled up to my eyeballs for protection, I would have been monster munch and wouldn’t even be hear to tell you about it.


November 4, 2007


Few things are as endearing to me as the feel of my cat and best friend Joey, winding himself around my legs as he follows me from room to room. Of course, this causes me to take each step cautiously, lest I trip and fall flat my face. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.