Monday, December 30, 2002

Longing for some Italian Grandma-esque advice and nagging.... I am really missing my Grandma and Paul's Nana right now. In my family, usually a pregnant woman would get all sorts of unsolicited advice from her Italian Grandma somewhere along these lines: Grandma: You know what you need? You need to eat some fish. Look, I made you some special. Pregnant Granddaughter: Grandma, I really don't want fish. G: YOU may not want fish, but the baby wants it. PG: Grandma, nobody wants the fish. Thank you but no. G: I heard about a lady who didn't eat fish when the baby wanted it... and then the baby was born with a fish head! Do you want that to happen to you? Eat the fish! PG sighs and starts to eat the darn fish. I have witnessed this in my own family, but now that I'm the pregnant one, I don't have anyone to nag me in quite that special way. So I'm asking you to throw on the mantle of Italian/Jewish/Polish-ness (all Grandmas are the same at heart) and please send some old-fashioned nagging and superstitions my way so my child won't grow up deprived.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Our Christmas was wonderful, but tiring due to the amount of snow falling and the continuing spell of exhaustion the little one puts on me. I got to spend it with both wonderful families and my fairy godchild, Joey. It was lovely going to Mass with the snow all around, giving thanks for the baby Jesus, and finally winding up in front of a roaring fire with my hubby and baby. listening to (great music for me and the little one): Pied Piper by Donovan (thank you, Paul) The Muppet Show 25th Anniversary Collection (thank you, Craig)

Monday, December 23, 2002

I always used to say it wasn't Christmas until I heard "Wonderful Christmastime" on the radio. I haven't heard it this year, not once. I have it on tape, but that doesn't count... now I'm actually searching the airwaves (and netwaves) to hear it. All this so I can gleefully sing, "The word is out... about the town... the dog just died... the house burned down.... we're simply having a wonderful Christmastime." more! more! The history of the "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" special. The year in review, Google-style. Just fascinating. I'm a little surprised "french toast" didn't make the top lists. Better luck in 2003, eh?

Friday, December 20, 2002

And more presents and goodies for you are here.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Good news! I am more than halfway done knitting my baby blanket — now I get to decrease and the rows will start getting shorter, making my mandate to knit 2 rows every day, no matter what, a whole lot easier. I have some fuzzy purple yarn that I think I want to crochet around the border when I'm all done so it's more colorful. You can make your own! Get the pattern here. The description reads: "Since it is knit on the bias, the blanket tends to stick on the baby, at night, when the mother is asleep, which is a Good Thing." Anything that involves sleep sounds like a Good Thing to me.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

We spent a fun day with my brother and his family — it was Joey's 5th birthday. His latest obsession is Def Leppard, which he pronounces with an "a" as in, "Daddy, can we please play the Def-a-Leppard CD now?" After the 20th request, daddy gave in, and we were all treated to seeing Joey jump joyously up and down and sing to the music. Daddy also didn't have a blank videotape for the camera, which is a shame because it was absolutely hysterical. I asked Joey, "But what about the Beatles?" (his last obsession.) He assured me that he still liked them. Phew. All is not lost.

Friday, December 13, 2002

My husband's piano studios are at our house. They're soundproof.. But what I didn't realize is that people in the waiting room can hear me singing in the kitchen. The other day, I stepped out to ask him a question, only to find a mom in the waiting room grinning at me. "Was that you singing Age of Aquarius in there?" Well, actually, it was, and I was pretty loud because I happen to love that song and it was on the radio. So I fessed up but was inwardly embarassed.... who else heard me? Then last night we had a recital/party for all the adult students, and I related this story. Three of them said right away, "Oh, we hear you singing in there all the time!" Good grief! Thank God I play the oldies station while I make dinner... otherwise they might have heard me singing about how hot is was getting in here and that I needed to take off all my clothes. Yeesh. [Side note: I actually sung ON that station a couple of years ago. No fooling.] singing along with in my car: The Muppet Movie Soundtrack (sadly, out of print!) My mix tape entitled More Roger Miller Than You Can Shake A Stick At Billy Joel's Turnstiles and Streetlife Serenade Beatles for Babies: because you gotta start them on the right track early on

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Last night we had a "passing of the torch" ceremony for Cornerstone (from our team to the new one who will run the weekend in Feb.) and I was recruited on the spot to do a reading. It turned out to be the one where the angel comes to Mary and tells her she's going to have a baby. Everyone asked me later if that was on purpose, and I have to say honestly that I think it just worked out that way. :) And then this morning, I woke up from a dream I don't remember. But I did wake up sure that I had just been holding the baby in my arms. It was a really wonderful way to wake up. reading/just read: Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life — I am so into this beautiful book. The Fiery Cross — The latest in the Outlander series. The Right Words at the Right Time — When simple words can change your life.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Had a lovely but exhausting weekend with buddies from college and then was in a Christmas concert at my church. Being exhausted and singing in front of people, combined with extra pregnancy hormones, made it very difficult to keep from bursting into tears from sheer emotion. One of the solists sang "Mary, Did You Know?" and from there on it was all I could do to not weep openly in front of everyone. There's something amazing about being pregnant at Christmas — I feel such a link with Mary. I can understand some of the feelings she must have had; being pregnant and uncomfortable, scared at what's ahead, and still loving this baby inside her and marveling at what he'll become. And then just as I got myself under control... the children's choir sang. Good grief. ;) So I put a huge smile on my face and just sang my heart out. linkage: Elf Bowling 3 is out! Woo hoo! Download the whole series for free here (and expect your productivity to go down the drain).

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

On my way into work yesterday, I passed a nursery selling Christmas trees. They have a nice shiny new sign that advertises that they also sell wreaths and "garlin". I wondered; do I enlighten them to the fact that what they're selling is, in fact, "garland"? It's a painted sign. I didn't have the guts to stop and tell them about it, but apparently someone else from the spelling police was on duty and alerted them since this morning the signs were all spelled correctly! (The last time I almost stopped was when the local Burger King advertised "halepeno poppers". It was fixed the next day.) So now the jewelry store down the street at work has a misspelled sign (they spelled it "jewelery"). Do I tell them? Or do I mind my own beeswax?

Monday, December 02, 2002

Thanksgiving was just lovely, thank you; both our families were together and somehow we wound up getting to take home a pecan and a pumpkin pie. Yum. Speaking of pumpkin pie; we've been trying to figure out how many songs mention it. So far, we've got "Sleigh Ride" (my fave), "Home for the Holidays" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (and there must be others....) And according to this book, a slice of pumpkin pie counts as a serving of vegetables! All kidding aside; we're so very thankful for all the blessings we've received this year, especially the one that arrives three months from now and keeps kicking me. :) note: My blog is now a year old. See what was going through my head when it all began.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Woo hoo! My Adventures in Chalking article is a Backwash Gold Choice link! There's never a bad time to go chalking.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Tonight I will be making manicotti shells for Thanksgiving. In my family, it's pronounced "mah-nih-GAW-ti". The rest of the non-Sicilian world calls it "man-ih-cat-ies". When I was growing up, our neighbor called because my Mom had made extra. I swear all three of us kids passed the phone back and forth because we couldn't understand what the heck she was talking about. What the heck is a manicattie? I've bowed to saying "motzerella" for mozzerella instead of "mootzadell" like I was brought up with. All I know is it tastes good. linkage: Let's hear it for the Sicilians! Due to an erupting volcano, there may be a new island off the coast of Sicily. Divers have already planted a flag on it with "the hope of claiming it as Italian the moment it rises above the surface."

Thursday, November 21, 2002

For the first time ever, my original Christmas cards are for sale! It's for a limited time only, so go take a peek!

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Try to use this in a sentence at least once today.... de·fen·es·tra·tion (d-fn-strshn) n. An act of throwing someone or something out of a window. --------------------------------------------------- [From de- + Latin fenestra, window.] I forgot all about this word until I read someone described in a book as a "defenestrator".... that would be a cool thing to add to your job title.

Monday, November 18, 2002

More POSSIBILITIES.... This weekend, I not only found the possibility that I could do fantastic things, a little bit at a time, but I also found the possibility to say "no" was at my fingertips too. That's where I start getting excited about possibility: I can take the chance. Or I can leave it. Or I can twist it so I'm seeing it from another angle to make it into something I can handle on my own terms. Things that seemed overwhelming to me now seem attainable. Coming this week is the possibility that I am actually going to sell my cards online. I thought I couldn't, until I looked at it in a different way. Now instead of being a monumental thing of towering perfection that I had to do a certain way, it can be something simple I do with great love. And if it doesn't work, I can always try it again a different way — the how of it doesn't upset me or stress me. In fact, the whole thing has me pretty darn excited. Possibilities, here I come.

Friday, November 15, 2002

I've had such an extra jolt of something lately that can only be described as POSSIBILITY. The permission to make a change, to go with the flow and see where it takes me, to set goals for myself and actually enjoy trying to attain them. I overhauled a project today almost from scratch and I am 100 times happier with it. I designed another project that is making the clients very happy. (I love when my clients love things, especially when it's something I did!) I took time away from the computer to draw in my sketchbook and got instant answers. They weren't the right ones, but they led me on the path to the right one. It's like the answers are in my fingers and were just itching to get out. I need to spend some more quality sketchbook time just doing some doodles and imagining the possibilities around me. The moon is smiling at me through the window, I'm wearing a butterfly in my hair, and the baby is giving me little wiggles. I'm managing more than my two rows of knitting per day and all of a sudden I feel like there's an aura of creative possibility around me that's so bright I can see it.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

"You see, wars are a wickedness, perhaps the greatest wickedness of a wicked species. They are so wicked that they must not be allowed. When you can be perfectly certain that the other man has started them, then is the time when you might have a sort of duty to stop him." "But both sides always say that the other side started them." "Of course they do, and it is a good thing that it should be so. At least it shows that both sides are conscious, inside themselves, that the wicked thing about a war is its beginning." ~ Merlyn instructing King Arthur T. H. White's The Once and Future King

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

I'm feeling lots better about the micromovements: I can combine the two rows of knitting with watching Sesame Street and then everybody wins. :) I also realized that (okay, with a little help from my friends) that (a) pregnancy wears you out, and hey, I am being creative, every single day! I'm creating a baby in here! A very very active one, too; and (b) I maybe can still do the things I planned to do, just not in the way I originally planned. I may not be able to set up my whole online store for my Christmas cards, but I can still send out an email and take orders that way, if I want to go ahead with it. And if I decide that it'll be too much, I don't have to do it and that doesn't make me any less creative. I'm not going to beat myself up any more. Yay for me.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Okay, at last I have an excuse for all my tiredness/forgetfulness. My brain is shrinking because of the baby. So if I owe you a phone call/email/something else, my sincerest apologies. I'm working on it. I'm trying to make lots and lots of lists, and be very kind and forgiving to myself. I can't get half the things done that I want to, or plan to — I'm just too tired. My hope is that more exercise and chipping away at my list bit by teeny bit is going to help in that regard. I want to work on my website, finish the baby's webpage (you knew that was coming), and get Christmas stuff done so I don't have to get stressed out about it. I'm trying to knit a little bit every day (like SARK's micromovements) so that I can just do little bits and not overwhelm myself, and maybe by March this baby will have a blanket.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Paul and I voted* this morning and then we went out to breakfast with Paul's mom at the diner across the street. We had a printout of the baby pictures (for Mom) with us and we showed them to Carolyn who was at the voting place too. It wasn't long before EVERYBODY there wanted to see them... it was fun! And I got to eat my french toast. (High in protein! And I think the little one liked it — there was non-stop wiggling going on.) *You did vote today, right? Frank Zappa wants you to...

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Had a weekend where I saw lots of people, and every woman I saw except one said, "You look so skinny! You don't even look like you're pregnant!" Grrrrrrrrr.... You know what? I'm 5 months pregnant, darnit. There's a baby in there, and I totally have a belly on me. Paul gave me a big hug and said that they probably thought it was a compliment and that of course I had a belly, but I think people don't realize how incredibly annoying that is. A sweet thing happened two weekends ago when I was songleading at church; the priest announced to the church that we were expecting. Since our engagement had also been an impromptu announcement from the altar by the presiding priest who really wanted to share the news with everyone, this was like another seal of approval. (And plus, then nobody thinks I'm just getting chubby!) One priest actually said that me getting up and singing when I was pregnant was a "beautiful testament to life." That's a nice perspective.

Friday, October 25, 2002

I ordered Thai food today and I decided to go to the little out of the way place that I know always makes good food, instead of the big chain one that opened up on Main Street. My best friend Kirsten and I always go to the small place, it's run by this really nice woman named Tammy. (There's even a photo of us up on the wall as frequent customers.) So when I got there to pick up the food, she had these little roses in a vase and I was admiring them and smelling them. She told me they came from her garden and then she picked out two and gave them to me to take home! Wasn't that nice? The big restaurant wouldn't have done that. Oh yes, and last night I got orchids from one of Paul's students! So I have flowers everywhere now!

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

I've been in quite an Arthurian groove lately. I just finished The Book of Merlyn which was just great. It's the last part of T.H. White's Once and Future King volumes, which his publishers conveniently 'lost' since it was wartime and this book is an essay on the futility of war. Very interesting. Now I'm rereading The Mists of Avalon for the nth time. (sigh...I love that book.) I keep meaning to tackle Malory and memorize Tennyson's "Lady of Shallot"... but until then, I may have to settle for watching this instead.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

My mom just got me Quilting With the Muppets... imagine how cool the baby's room is going to look with one of these in it! My sister has already claimed the Oscar square. I've also been knitting for the little one... a teeny hat to match mine, I started a sweater that's red with white and glossy maroon strands in it, and a soft butter-yellow blanket. It's fun knitting tiny things.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I have exciting news to report: The baby is moving and I can feel it. Most common occurrences are right after I stop singing (I'm hoping this is a "More! More!" reaction and not a "Finally! I can get some sleep!" reaction) and when I first wake up in the morning. It's really, really amazing. For anyone who's counting, we're at 20 weeks now. ps ~ Craig has been running a commentary about Yoko Ono music all this week. Just don't say "onobox" three times or something dangerous might happen....

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Woo hoo! At last, I'm in style as big hair makes a comeback. They think this is big? I can top this without even trying. My hair did look like Gwyneth's when I left the house this morning... but then the rain and humidity set in and I wound up looking more like Foxxy Cleopatra from Austin Powers. I am determined to get my hair cut, but also scared. I only get it cut about once every year and a half, so I don't have a regular person I go to. Do I go to SuperCuts and get a $15 haircut and tell them just to thin it out and trim it? Or do I do my homework and go to a classy salon and get a $60 cut (and tell them just to thin it out and trim it)? I don't want to lose the length, just make it less Foxxy.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Happy Birthday to John Lennon, who would have been 62 today, and Nana, who would have been 96 today.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Since lately I've been feeling a wee but overwhelmed, it's been amazing how much feedback I've been getting from the universe. Not because I asked, just because I've been noticing. Alex, Kevin, and Melissa are all saying NO for a little while and taking time to replenish the sources by doing things that recharge them. They're all taking a break. So from them, I'm learning that I might not need to do every single solitary thing I think up. I think the fact that I got this message from three separate sources in the same week says something. I'm also learning Step 2 of planning: it ain't enough to simply make a nicely detailed list in my Handspring. Every item needs to make it from the list to a day of the week, a blocked out period of time with a little alarm on it to remind me that it's art time. I had a full — but productive — weekend, because I planned when to work on my project, and then when I could happily stop and go play with Paul or the cat next door.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

I have my magic wand with me today and I'm granting wishes. Go ahead, make a wish!

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Well, you can't get any cheerier than this: 1. I now have Photoshop 7 loaded on my computer. It is all that and about 15 bags of chips. 2. Claire of Loobylu fame is having her baby tomorrow. Wow. Send some sweet happy thoughts her way. 3. Tonight I meet with my Cornerstone sisters. The theme of the meeting? Creativity. Guess who thought of that one. I am still working on the not-doing enough feeling. First off, I have never in a gazillion years ever meant to make anyone feel small-fishy. In fact, my whole goal has been to get everyone into my pool, however big or small it's perceived to be, for one big nurturing creativity party where we're all equal. So if I have ever made anyone feel that way, I apologize. It's the not having enough time, the having a day job, the being pregnant and not having the energy I was used to, the sheer immensity of everything I perceive I have to do that overwhelms me sometimes. That's all. Promise. :)

Monday, September 30, 2002

Oh, how I want to write something witty and creative! But instead, I just went and looked at a whole bunch of other artist's websites. Artists who are being shown. Artist who are selling their work. Artists who are out there selling themselves. I feel like the teeniest guppy in a puddle-sized pond. Make that a sea-monkey. Meet Elena, the adopted Sea-Monkey! (sigh) Notice how it keeps smacking its head against the wall.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

It's Banned Books Week! It's amazing when you read WHY some of these books have been banned. For example, take The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis. Banned for use of magical imagery. The same people who want to ban Harry Potter for being satanic are after this one too, and probably can't be bothered to learn that the entire series is a Christian allegory. Just amazing. linkage: Forbidden Library Banned Books Project Official Banned Books Week page of the ALA What are your favorite banned books?

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Spent a little time at Wild Snowflake's abode {which useta also be mine} to swap food and chat. I gave her tomatoes, which is the only thing that grew in my garden this year; she picked up Halo Farms Peach ice cream for me. {For those of you who went to TSC and remember making Halo runs, drool with envy.} She has a long-awaited brand new blog. I think tonight I am, once and for all, tackling one of the many items on my list so I can scratch it off once and for all. My problem is that I don't just want to create something for the sake of creating it, I want to do it right, and preferrably the first time so I don't have to do it over again. What I've been trying to work on is a store for the website: for starters it will just have cards and then it will expand to shirts, mugs, and bags. I know next to nothing about how to do this, so I think I have to go with a "phase one" approach and see what happens. I think I really need to jump in and see what the water feels like instead of asking everyone else how cold it is. It might be just perfect.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Listening to Beatles, Beatles, and more Beatles today. In the car, I'm listening to the Rutles, which I know is not officially the Beatles but is like finding a hidden vault of very clever and silly Beatles songs. Now at work, I've got the illegal somebody-bought-it-for-$10-on-the-train-CD that has every Beatles album on it, pretty much. I'm not overly concerned about the illegalness of it all since I already own all these albums anyway. If the folks at work are lucky I won't start singing along until, say, 10 o'clock. In other news: tomorrow is the International Day of Peace. Spend it chalking. Spend it in bed. Spend it singing. Just do something.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I am now caught up in the dilemma of having some really creative and exciting things to do, and when I come home from work, all I want to do is sleep. I have one wonderful project I'm working on, and the second I think I have everything figured out about how to do it, some detail comes up that I hadn't thought of yet. I make my lists, and then there are 15 zillion other little mini spin-off lists that I still have to deal with before I can scratch the first thing off the list. It's frustrating. Once I finally get it done, everyone will look at it and think, that's what all the agonizing was about? I have to remind myself: baby steps. Micromovements. On an interesting note: I have now eaten pickles and ice cream together. Not in the same bowl, but within a few hours of each other. This is such a stereotypical thing to do that it scares me on a certain level, and yet it fascinates me. As Homer Simpson said, "Disgusting..... yet straaaaaaaaaaaaangely compelling."

Thursday, September 12, 2002

We're having a baby! This is something we've hoped for, wished for, and prayed for for a long time. Now the little one is finally here, and we can hardly believe it. I'm about 3½ months along. I am in disgustingly good health, I have had NO morning sickness, and the baby is doing great! At the last doctor's visit we saw the ultrasound and the baby opened and closed his little fist — he waved at us! I've lost my heart completely to this tiny little being. I say "he" only because I think it's going to be a boy and because I can't say "it"; I know nothing for sure. We may find out, we haven't decided yet, but we have a lot of time to decide. Please keep us in your prayers... and I'll be keeping everyone posted. (This isn't going to turn into a "babyblog" but there will be days when I just have to share.) You can read more here. I'm so happy — and happy to be able to share this with everyone.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Just a heads up to let you know that the web page will look a little different this Wednesday. Last September touched me more than you would think for a girl whose whole family turned out to be safe and sound. I wound up keeping a journal of sorts: I painted every night and wrote my feelings of the day around and even on top of the pictures. I thought that maybe I would share them all some day. I still can't. So instead of a gallery, there will be one page, one painting, one thought. My memory. And please don't take this the wrong way, but please, please, please, DON'T forward me any mass emails about September 11th. I can't watch a single thing about it, and I can only handle it in tiny doses. I really don't ever need to see a single picture of people jumping out of buildings again. I remember it all too well. On an inspirational note: my friends Jen Starr and Erica Cohn (of Harmonytryx fame) had the honor & pleasure of singing background vocals for Phoebe Snow, Beth Neilson Chapman, Delores Holmes, & Bar Scott (I've sung with her; she is a beautiful soul and a gorgeous songstress). The concert is called "Voices of Inspiration" and was given by the widows & families of 9/11 victims to honor the firefighters & workers of ground zero. The television station UPN purchased this & it will be aired on 9/11/02 @ 8PM. That's channel 9 in NJ and NYC & it should be aired on a national level on UPN. It may also be on @ 2PM as well. So if you want to hear beautiful music sung by talented ladies I know, check them out and let your heart soar with their music. There are lots of good, happy, and cheerful things that are going to be coming to the site in the next few weeks. Trust me, they're going to be VERY exciting. :) One of them should be making its way to the site in the next few days. So keep a look out.

Friday, September 06, 2002

My little brother gave me the coolest (and nostalgic!) birthday present: the first DVD in the Battle of the Planets series. We used to get up at 5:30 every weekday morning and watch it with my dad before he left for work. He always missed the last 5 minutes, so we would give him a recap at dinner. I wanted to be Princess, and I wrote the storylines in my little diary; I thought they were romantic and adventurous. Is the classiest animation you've ever seen? No way. Is it great to watch in your p.j.'s and pretend you're 10 again? Heck yeah.

Monday, September 02, 2002

This weekend I witnessed a truly odd thing. Paul and I were walking in the park, and just as we got to the near side of the pond, I saw what I thought was a huge leaf on the grass. Until it got up on its hind legs and waved at me! It was about 5 inches long and looked like a minature lobster. I yelped and ran around behind Paul (no WAY was I going near that thing) and tried to figure out whattheheck it was. It was then that we noticed 4 or 5 others, clambering out of the water and crawling across the grass to the street. The closest thing we can figure is that they were crayfish, and for some unknown reason they were migrating. Unfortunately, it's a very busy road and we saw at least one that didn't make it across. {The rest were en route to my house, maybe?} This is NOT something you expect to see in New Jersey, miles and miles from the shore. We told our neighbors, who planned to take their little ones over to the park for a little crayfish rescue. I love animals, cute or crustacean, but there was absolutely no way I was going to pick one of those things up. Blecch. I would love to find out what they thought was going to be on the other side of that road, and if they ever found it.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

"Follow your heart wherever it takes you, and be happy. Life is brief and very fragile, and only loaned to us for a while. Wake up every morning with the thought that something wonderful is about to happen." ~Flavia I read this quote online today, and I realized, this is exactly the way I try to live my life every day. I believe what Anne Shirley says, "Each day is brand new, without any mistakes in it." So no matter what happened yesterday, I can start off today with a fresh, brand new day that is just ripe and waiting with all sorts of wonderful possibilities. Not that yesterday was bad, far from it. And this morning I awoke in darkness, with rain and wind lashing against our windows. I loved picking out warmer clothes, PowerPuff Girl socks to wear around the office, and making myself a huge mug of tea. I never know what wonderful thing is going to happen next, and I always make sure I leave myself wide open for plenty of magic to enter in. ps ~ not sure what happened to the comments, looks like the hoster is out of commission. I'll hafta do some investigative work.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Found a delightful site that's a joyful look at creativity. Check it out and recharge your batteries: Being an Artist.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

I'm sleepy and still have to make trays of baked ziti, so I'm short on energy right now. However, this is true:
you're parents were lucky with you. you're sweet.
innocent. helpful. and cute.
what kind of child were you?
(brought you by april)

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

I don't get this whole "American Idol" craze. First off, where is the fun in seeing talented people pour their hearts out on stage only to get trashed by Simon, the Nazi judge? I know he's controversial, and probably the only reason this show gets ratings, but I don't get any pleasure in seeing people's dreams get ripped apart. It's just plain evil. {I'm sure that's also reality, but there's a reason I'm not in showbiz.} I heard him on the car radio this morning when a station was having a contest that he was judging. I sang 30 seconds of "New York State of Mind" to myself in the car, knew I would have beat both the contestants on the radio, didn't want the prize anyway, and turned off the radio in disgust. That show reminds me of the Harry Chapin song, "Mr. Tanner." I'll keep singing for joy, thank you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

I just found out that Matt Robinson passed away. He was the original Gordon on Sesame Street and also Roosevelt Franklin, one of my all-time favorite muppets. We had the "My Name is Roosevelt Franklin" album growing up and we used to sing and dance around to it. What I never understood until I got older was that almost all the songs were about racial equality. I just liked the songs and thought they all applied to me too, a little white girl in the suburbs. I think that was their point exactly. So last night I took out the record and listened {and boogied down} to my two favorites from the album: here are the liner notes from the back of the record. The Skin I'm In: That's Baby Ray singing about how happy he is about the color of his skin and what he looks like and what his family looks like. And you should be happy about your skin, too. Days of the Week: They are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When my friends and I get through with this song we make those days get up and sit down and turn around upside down. {I love this song — any time we eat eggs I have to sing "Woke up Tuesday, ate my grits and eggs. I put shoes on my feet, but first, I put socks on my legs." I also love that the kids want to know the days of the week and Roosevelt Franklin agrees only if they'll get him a plate of string beans.}

Monday, August 19, 2002

(Sigh) Lots of hiking, lots of time spent with the hubby, and a teeny little bit of journaling. So much for the all-knitting, all-painting extravaganza. I get really frustrated when I have all these good ideas buzzing around in my head, and no time to put it all down. If I didn't need to sleep or eat, what a lot of great stuff I could do! The only thing is, I happen to like eating and sleeping an awful lot. Somewhere there's got to be a balance and I will be looking for it diligently. I had a birthday this past week, and the chance to get all introspective, and the one truth I came up with is this: if I have another year that was as filled with living as last year -- and some parts of it were very hard to get through and some parts were just glorious -- I will be pretty darn happy. I have a good feeling this year will be quite event-filled and exciting.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

I'm taking a week away from the computer to spend more time with the good things in life: painting, books, journalling, and my husband {although not necessarily in that order}. In the meantime, you can get your fill of french toast here.

Friday, August 09, 2002

5 years ago today, right about now, I was walking down the aisle with my parents to "Our Love Is Here to Stay", arranged by us and sung by my acappella group. I wore my Grandma's dress with a train that was about as long as I am tall. I wasn't a bit nervous, I was thrilled and full of joy to finally be marrying the love of my life. I knew he was absolutely the right one for me. And it's only gotten better.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Song that... Reminds you of an ex-love: Right Here Waiting — Richard Marx Reminds you of an ex-friend: don’t have any ex-friends! (at least, not that I can think of….) Reminds you of your childhood: The Muppet Show theme song Makes you cry: Shower the People – James Taylor Makes you laugh: Amish Paradise/the whole Weird Al catalogue Makes you wanna dance: I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine— James Brown Reminds you of the one you want: Annie’s Song — John Denver Makes you very, very sleepy: Pachebel’s Canon in D You wish you wrote: Hold My Hand — the Rutles You wish had been written for you: She’s Got A Way — Billy Joel Fills you with complete joy: Sir Duke — Stevie Wonder You never want to hear again: anything from Britney Spears You want to get married to: Our Love is Here to Stay (we did get married to it!) You want played at your funeral: What a Wonderful World — Louis Armstrong Makes you want to mosh/slam dance: Hello, Dad, I'm in Jail! — Was Not Was Sums up your teenage years: Every single Beatles song You used to hate but now love: Touch Me — the Doors You like to wake up to: Great Day — Paul McCartney You like out of your parents record collection: Old Man River — Jim Croce Your parents like out of your collection: River of Dreams — Billy Joel You love that you wouldn't know about if it wasn't for a friend: My Shoes — The Bobs Makes you think of someone who died: Someone Who Cares — Paul McCartney You love the video more than the tune: Keep Fishin’ — Weezer Reminds you of your first crush: who the heck remembers? You love which is from one of your favorite movies: Storybook Love — from the Princess Bride Makes you think of the moon: Voyage of the Moon — Donovan Makes you think of sex: Let’s Get it On — Marvin Gaye (esp. from Austin Powers….) Makes you think of being alone: American Tune — Paul Simon You love to hear at clubs: don’t go to clubs, but if I did: Mo Money Mo Problems thanks to grammardog
It's finally here: the HOW section. Want tips on starting your own website? Want my favorite french toast recipe? Wait no longer! Learn HOW. Now!

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

This morning as I was eating my blueberry pancakes, I realized that I was SO not dressed interestingly enough to meet such a gorgeous day. {I was dressed for work in a long sleeved t-shirt and jeans.} So I ran upstairs and changed into a maroon ruffled peasant blouse and a black velvet vest and put tiny glittery clips in my hair. I snipped a perfect hydrangea blossom off the bush by our porch on the way to work and stuck it in my backpack, and then I felt ready for whatever magic the day might bring. ps: happy birthday, Trish!

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Went chalking this morning: "But if you have nothing to create, then perhaps you can create yourself," from Carl Jung. It reminds me of when I was in middle school and didn't fit in — I didn't know how to be popular, I didn't know how anything about fashion, I didn't know how to talk to boys; the only thing I knew how to be was myself. Luckily, I stuck with what I knew and the rest of the world caught up to me. (hee hee hee) I'm happy to be a late bloomer. Plans for this morning: making blueberry pancakes and watching Sesame Street before work. Telly just played "In A Gadda Da Vida" on the tuba. I don't like the new format of the show (okay, I hate it), but at least I know that at 7:30 every morning I'm guaranteed to see Ernie.

Monday, August 05, 2002

Surefire proof that talent runs in the family: here's a screencap from the latest movie of my godson, Joey, Jedi in training: My brother did all the sounds, created the little robot, and of course, made the lightsaber. I wish I could post the movie, but it's too big and I don't have the bandwidth for all that downloading. For now, you'll hafta just imagine. It's simply fantastic. As Joey says, "Just like Yoda!" They're probably just about the same height, too. In other exciting news: I was listed as one of SARK's "websight" resources in her August e-newsletter (the theme this month is Living Juicy)! I have to write a nice thank you letter. Right away. Yow.

Friday, August 02, 2002

You're Nut, the goddess of the sky. You have blue skin and stars all across your body. Pardon the pun, but you're pretty spacey.
What Egyptian Deity are you? go to:the quiz! {found this from Ubiquitous Pixie.} Today I'm going home to watch my little sister Mary's graduation as it's webcast from Arizona State University. And one final note: there are now 13 shopping days till my birthday, 7 more days until our 5-year wedding anniversary, and 29 more days until Paul's birthday. It's a beautiful month.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

I get so inspired by new stuff others are doing... Alex has a gorgeous new layout here and a new site here and Claire has comments now (yay!). Although it seems like I've been awful quiet lately, I've been very busy....there are some very exciting creations in the works that you'll be quite happy with. I promise.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Hot dog! The new Harmonytryx CD is out and I can finally show off my artwork! And lest anyone forget, I'm on 5 songs and helped arrange one more. You can check it out for yourself here. I was an extremely proud member of the group for about 7 years or so, and I'm so glad to be a part of this. And tomorrow I'm going to be seeing the girls as they open for Ray Charles! {And if you're in NJ, there are still tickets available!} I'm so amazingly happy for them!

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Happy birthday to me. Today, the French Toast Girl site is 3 years old! Celebrate by eating some french toast today! Woo hoo! {If you can't see the little animation, you need the Flash player. It's free.}

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

I had a humongous list of all the great and exciting things I was going to do my website this summer, beginning with a grand redesign. Every time I would start on something else, I'd stop myself because I hadn't planned out the redesign yet. So I finally started working on the redesign, and I realized something important: I love my site just the way it is. I'm not ready to overhaul it yet, not until I come up with an unpressured, fully toasty design that really makes me warm and happy inside. And I don't want to hold up all the rest of the nifty things I want to do, waiting for that to happen. When it's right, it'll be right. I need to trust my instincts on this one. I did a poll a while ago asking the Loyal Readers what they liked and didn't like. {The most common respose was to stop opening things in a new window.} The other responses all said, "More art, please!" and "More writing, please!" and "When the heck are you going to post your HOW section?" So I'm going to concentrate on just that. More art, more inspiration, and more about french toast. The rest will come when it's time.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

I don't get this. I just walked downtown to get a scoop of ice cream. One scoop. So I go into the shop and ask how much it is for one scoop, in a cup. It's $2.25, no matter what flavor I get, in a cup, or in a cone. "For one scoop?" I ask. The guy behind the counter says yep. So I say, sure, I'll get a cone of peanut butter ripple ice cream with one scoop of ice cream for $2.25. What the heck. I just want a taste. He proceeds to jam three huge scoops on top of this cone, wraps the bottom with a napkin and hands it to me. "This," I say, gesturing with the cone, "is ONE SCOOP?" Yep, apparently so. It's not one, it's three, and it's two more than I wanted or needed. It's 96 degrees out, and by this time everything is melting. I lick off my hand and give him the $2.25. Next time, I'm going to vault over the counter and show him what one scoop means, i.e., you stick the scoop in the ice cream, scoop some up, once, place it in a cup, and you're done. Either that or hand him a dollar and a cup and ask him to fill'er up for a dollar's worth. It was great ice cream, though.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Just got back from wonderful D.C., home of the free museums and clean-and-easy-to-use subways. We tooled around and visited lots of exciting stuff, including the Natural History museum, where I was able to watch my favorite movie. It's cheesy, old, and absolutely delightful. We asked in vain at the giftshops for some CHON t-shirts; they didn't have a clue what we were talking about. I saw it at least 3 times and sang along. This describes it pretty well. We also giggled a lot at the new and really cool John Paul II Cultural Center — it's interactive, and we got a little crazy in the Gallery of Imagination. I firmly believe that God the Creator loves it when you get creative. We stood on line for ages to get into the amazing Treasures of Egypt exhibit {totally worth it}, whirled through the National Geographic headquarters, visited the planetarium at the Air and Space Museum {quoting Homer Simpson: "What do you mean, there's no air in space? There's an Air In Space Museum, isn't there?"} hung out in Union Station, went to Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where there's lots of beautiful artwork featuring different countries' depictions of Mary — very cool — and got to visit with Paul's school buddies. As if that weren't enough, we also visited the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and saw a free concert and a dance recital going on, seperately, on our way to dinner. We didn't get to visit the newly opened International Spy Museum... I think we packed enough into 2½ days for this trip. That'll hafta wait for next time. {phew.}

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I just read this book: "Anatomy of a Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers" on our camping trip. It's all about the sneaky and amazing ways flowers adapt to get what they want: namely, to get pollenated. It was really a fantastic read, and talked about the titan arum, the "world's biggest and stinkiest flower". Nature is so cool.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

I have been listening to some mighty interesting music lately. In addition to the usual lunacy, I've been singing along to gems from these electronic geniuses: The Moog Cookbook: A cover band that pays homage to that great instrument of the 70's, the Moog synthesizer. Listen to their awesomely playful renditions of "Black Hole Sun" and "25 or 6 to 4" (my faves). They're addictive. The Minibosses: It's hard to get cooler than this. They cover background music from Nintento 64 games. The music was a lesson in composition simplicity, due to the limited instruments available on the soundcard. Darn catchy little tunes. My fave: the Kraid/Metroid theme. {ps ~ they're not the only ones out there that do this, but 90% of any mp3's you look for on this theme will be credited to them. Just enjoy.} The Laziest Men on Mars: Famous for "All Your Base Are Belong To Us", you'll also want to check out "The Terrible Secret of Space". Complete with video. Do you have stairs in your house?

Monday, July 15, 2002

This weekend was spent camping in the great outdoors! Did I mention that the great outdoors also happens to be bear country? High Point is a great place to camp, but all food has to be hidden from the black bears that live in the area. “Hidden” means in the trunk of the car, and making dinner gets to be an ordeal as the cooler is never supposed to be visible. Bears who see it in the backseat of the car have been known to rip the car apart to get to the food. We saw all kinds of wildlife on our trip; cows, horses, cats, dogs, three groundhogs/woodchucks, a rabbit, deer, and one very persistent little mouse who kept nosing his way around our campfire in the hopes we’d dropped some food, but thankfully, NO bears, despite the warning from the rangers that there had already been several “incidents” that weekend. We did have absolutely gorgeous weather, polite neighbors, and a view of the shimmering lake. And the most important thing – lots of marshmallows and books to read around the campfire to each other.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

According to my SARK calendar, today is Sidewalk Chalk Day! So naturally, I went out this morning and did my chalking thing. Today's quote: "The greatest achievements were at first, and for a time, dreams. The oak sleeps in the acorn." (by James Allen). So then I wanted to draw a circle, put some acorns in it, and write, "Take one..... dream big." Only those squirrels had sucked the park dry; there wasn't an acorn to be found! So I had to content myself with drawing an acorn instead. If you do have acorns around you, feel free to use this when you go on your chalking adventure!

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

I find this just fascinating. It's a site about the nature and origin of symbols. Paul and I have this symbol carved on the inside of our wedding rings.
happy i yam all on a new day happy i yam people and flowers are one and the same all in a chain at the beginning of a new world someone's singing and i think it's me... someone's painting and i think it's me... someone's living and oh gosh it's me... ~ "someone singing" by Donovan

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Paul and I went out at 7:30 this morning and picked raspberries in our front yard, and had raspberries and crunchy granola out on the porch this morning. {Yum.} Our garden is joyously flowering, and soon we'll have more zucchini and pumpkins and tomatoes than we can handle. And yesterday the broad expanse of dirt we call a yard finally got seeded... I can't wait to walk across the new grass with my bare feet. As Bobby McFerrin said, "I am so happy/Simple pleasures are the best."

Friday, July 05, 2002

We spent a lot of yesterday at the town pool, watching the incredibly long line of kids waiting to try out the two new slides they just put in. Sitting next to me was a family with 2 kids under 10, 2 women of mom age, and a man in his 40's who was clearly mentally disabled. Eventually everyone but the man got up, and he began talking to himself, making comments about the water, how hot it was, the fact that he was hungry. I pretended I was asleep because I was really tired and wanted to relax, not make conversation, but I felt a twinge about doing it.... he was literally 3 feet away from me. When it came time for the family to leave, they packed up all their stuff, and then struck up a conversation with an friend the mother had run into. The women completely ignored the man, who was hanging hopefully on the fringe of the group. The children tried to ignore him too, turning their backs to him and peering into each other's eyes, comparing who's were redder from the chlorine in the pool. "Let me see," said the man to the little boy. "Oh, you're just fine," he reassured him. "How would you know, you moron?" asked the girl derisively, turning away. The man put his hand on the boy's shoulder, but the boy brushed him off and ran away too. "But you're my buddy," said the man to himself. "You're my little buddy." It just about broke my heart. What would it have cost me before, just to give a smile, a nod, to say. "Yep, you're right. It is really hot!" A conversation that might have made someone feel like he belonged, just for a minute?

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Here, as promised, are the many more details about meeting SARK. {Warning: it's looooooonnnnnng!}

Monday, July 01, 2002

This weekend's chalking: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." {Eleanor Roosevelt} As always, I went undetected... well, by humans, anyway. The squirrels seem to like it.

Friday, June 28, 2002

I'm back. Exhausted, exhilarated, uplifted. Manymanymany more details will be coming, but I can say this: I met the delightfully zany SARK. And she already knew who I was. How's that for excitement? ps ~ if you're reading this and I met you last night, either for the first time or just for the first time face to face, it was wonderful to see you. Hope you had as much fun as I did.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Another day of excitement... I'm going to see SARK tonight with my wonderful Mom!!! I'm bringing: a camera, a copy of my favorite SARK book {Inspiration Sandwich}, bubbles, and a small bucket of chalk to give to her as a thanks for all her inspiring ways. Am I giddy and a little star-struck? You betcha!

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

This really gets me steamed.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

SO excited.... I just put the package containing the artwork for the CD I've been working on in the FedEx box. Soon it will be winging its way to New York, where it will be pressed and printed and become a real CD. {My voice and my art will be on it!} On the way back from the box I picked a sprig of Queen Anne's Lace growing wild and tucked it into my hair as I sashayed back to work. Think it's a coincidence that it's Succulent Woman Day today? Oh, I think not....
Today is Succulent Woman Day {according to my SARK calendar}! suc·cu·lent (suk'-yoo-lent) adj. 1. Full of juice or sap; juicy. 2. Botany. Having thick, fleshy, water-storing leaves or stems. 3. Highly interesting or enjoyable; delectable Thanks to all of you who are the living version of #3. I'm glad you're a part of my life.

Monday, June 24, 2002

Yahoo and hooray, I'm back from vacation. I read, slept, read, hiked, read outside, painted, slept... well, you get the picture. It took me a couple of days to loosen up {of a couple of bad paintings} and do a few fun and good ones. We saw in the Solstice at 5 am, on the dock at the lake, watching the sun come up, and greeted the Summer with all the birds, fish, and dragonflies around us. After all this nature, it's going to be kind of a shock to sit in front of a computer all day today... maybe I can slip away at lunch for a walk or something.

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Thanks to all who wrote a nice note, I'm feeling better. I need to refocus on my art, which is why I'm taking a week away from the computer to paint and read and do yoga and just be with my hubby. {I promise to scan in stuff when I get back.} So in the meantime, enjoy the rest of the site. ps ~ Today I was linked to at Dress Up Games... if you haven't played dressup with the French Toast Girl, now's your chance.

Friday, June 14, 2002

Feeling rather down about art, design, other people's opinions of it, and web pages in general. Any cheery thoughts are greatly appreciated.
I am really digging this new John Mayer song, "No Such Thing": "I'd like to think the best of me Is still hiding Up my sleeve They love to tell you Stay inside the lines But something's better On the other side..."

Thursday, June 13, 2002

My day started off just right this morning — with yoga and french toast. Plan on repeating tomorrow and as many days after that as I can manage. It's funny; I've been talking for so long about starting up yoga again and have been doing so sporadically, and just as I was about to heave another sigh of I-really-have-to-get-my-act-together-ness, Paul comes home with 2 yoga mats, bricks, straps, and orders us this DVD with multiple workouts on it. I stopped in mid-sigh, surprised out of it. Instead of thinking about it, he just did it. And planned for the two of us to do it together too. I joke about "butt-kicking for goodness" as my battle cry, but sometimes when I need a butt-kick to get me back on track, Paul's example gets me there.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Something really annoying happened to me today where I was exposed to rude, inconsiderate behavior. I wouldn't even mention it except for the fact that I was proud of my reaction — I behaved politely and professionally, and I stood up for myself. In the past I would have been a wimp and agreed with everything the other person said because I could maybe see their side of it too. I can still see their side, but when people get caught in some wrong-doing they try to laugh it off, and I wasn't going to laugh along just to make her feel better. {Note: this was not office related. Work is groovy.} The evening took a much nicer turn when I went over to a friend's to sing. We're not certain what just yet; we just enjoy the singing together part of it. {Luckily she can play the piano, since my piano repertoire is limited to "Martha My Dear" and various other Beatles songs; "My Cherie Amour"; and the ever-popular "Fish Heads".} In any case, harmony ensued and I had a wonderful time.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

What Jelly Belly flavor are you? I'm — Find your flavor here!

This is actually not too much of a surprise, since I just bought shampoo with the delightful name of "Tangerine Tickle." The marketing folks got it just right: I bought it for the name {and the fact that it was 97¢!}. Where else can you find something that cheap that puts a grin on your face? This is going to have to get added to the toasty list, because it's waaaaaay under $20. linkage: Today Paul McCartney weds again. Good for them.

Monday, June 10, 2002

This weekend Paul and I went out for bagels and noticed the girl behind the counter had a brightly-colored card pinned to her shirt above her name tag. Being super nosy friendly, I asked her about it. It was a coupon for a free hug. "Yeah, the hug lady comes in every weekend and makes sure each one of us has one on. It's supposed to remind us to be courteous and friendly towards everyone we come into contact with today." How amazing is that?! They don't even know her name, they just call her the hug lady; and apparently we missed her by 5 minutes. I have a plan to lay in wait to meet her and to give her a hug.

Friday, June 07, 2002

The recitals are done! DONE, I tell you! I did the woo-hoo-recitals-are-done-dance last night, which looked something like this {click on "Who's Your Daddy" and you've got it}. Tonight we're partying with the other teachers and their spouses. I'm a little down that it's the same night that Beatlemania is coming to town, and I really wanted to go. The only time I've ever seen them was in college, when Heidi and I sat right in front and danced to EVERY song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Paperback Writer"; you name it, we danced to it. We impressed the guy playing John so much that he jumped down off the stage to dance with us to "Lady Madonna", all dressed in his Sergeant Pepper uniform.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

from a GREAT book I'm reading right now: "For God is anything but sterile, and 'the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man.' I want God to be foolish. I want being-in-God to invovle a certain amount of Dionysian giggling, rude snorts, pennywhistles piping through woods where there are bonfires blazing and figures leaping in very ancient dances. Maybe others want God to be black-and-white, a figure of neat divisions and clear-cut law, but I want God to be in flagrant swirling Technicolor. I have seen what it is to be a Very Good Girl, and I'm not sure that's what God's goodness is like. I think maybe God's goodness has a fair streak of mischief. Or so I hope." ~ from Angels & Dragons: Of Sorrow, God and Healing by Molly Wolf

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Night 3 of 5 piano recitals It's one of those "I'm up for a challenge, bring it on!" kind of days. I think it's because I started my day with a complete nutritious breakfast, which consisted of french toast with strawberry syrup, whipped cream, and fresh-picked-right-out-of-my-garden-two-minutes-ago strawberries; and a cup of tea with fresh mint leaves, also of the f-p-r-o-o-m-g variety. {Insert huge contented sigh here.} Wearing a sundress and picking strawberries on a sunshiny morning can't help but put me in a good mood. The only thing that would have made it better would be to eat breakfast with my husband. Or to have him play some nice piano breakfast music to eat french toast by. That would work too. ps: the illustration above, which has nothing to do with strawberries, is for the song "Harmony Tricks". Paul wrote the music, I did all the illustrations. Creating books together is pretty fun.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Last night I was talking with one of Paul's adult students about Beatles records and what the B-side was to "Yesterday." {Never mind that I wasn't born at the time, I know this stuff.} He pointed out that most kids today don't have a clue what a B-side is! Okay, his kids know, but they're the exception. Then this morning I heard that the new edition of the American Heritage Dictionary is adding in some new words, but one of the ones they're taking out is "record-changer." How sad.

Saturday, June 01, 2002

Tomorrow night is the first of many piano recital nights! There are so many adult students that they have the first night all to themselves; and then the following nights will be a mixture of all ages of kids for the rest of the week. It means we have manymany nights of dressing up, taking pictures, clapping enthusiastically, and slicing up ice cream cake. We've gotten it down to a science: where to take the best photos, how to hand out programs, when to take the cake out so it's sliceable but not melted, how to make sure it gets eaten. I'm really looking forward to the whole thing. And I'm also looking forward to the end of the whole thing, because that means summer's officially started and I get waaaaaaaay more Paul hours of the day. More Paul = a good thing. While Paul's printing programs and setting up chairs, I've been under self-imposed house arrest to finish up the CD cover. So far I've done the front cover painting and two versions of the back cover to try out. {So far, so good!} It's funny; I always need to do multiple versions and then I almost always pick the first one I came up with. I think this is some kind of throwback to college, where we had to bring in 50 thumbnails of a project to show we had thought it through. It never hurts, I guess. When I was in my senior portfolio class, we had a summer assignment to come up with 100 prospective logos for your letterhead, resume, portfolio — by the first day of class I only could come up with 97 but I hoped that would probably be okay. Apparently, I was the only one who actually did anywhere near that many; most of the class did 20! Oh well, I've always been a teacher-pleaser. Anyway, the winning logo for me was somewhere in the 50's, so I guess it was a good idea. {Incidentally, the class picked it out as being the one that most represented me, and it was the little girl with braids over there on the right who became french toast girl over the years.}

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Updates aplenty at french toast girl. Read about why why I've had an amazingly, astoundingly, blessed life, and check out the latest updates to my year-long Learning project.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

I'm on my way out to the art store to get a new Rapidograph {or its like}, since my old one is all dry. I was explaining to my husband how I need to take the pen apart, run it under hot water while keeping a careful eye out for any teeny parts that might end up down the drain, and hope that would do the trick. If not, I'd need to run out and go shopping for a new one. He said to buy a couple of spares first so that I could get started as soon as I got home, and clean the old pen later; and then he said, very seriously: "The quality or availability of your art supplies should not be keeping you from making good art. Go out and get your pens." Well, of course. This is why he is the entrepeneur extraordinaire; I would have spent half the night trying to clean out an ancient pen or seeing what markers I had that might pass muster, instead of doing it right the first time. I can picture a split-screen in my mind: on the left, frustrated and ink-splattered Elena is washing out a pen with a 000 nib to no avail. Then she runsrunsruns around the studio, trying out markers, desperately wanting them to be waterproof, knowing they weren't last night but hoping something magical happened between then and now that will make them work this time. At 9pm, she runs to the art store and is too tired to do any work when she gets back..... On the right side of the screen: Elena, happily drinking tea and with The Simpsons on in the background {don't laugh — this is how I work}, is inking and painting up a storm. Her biggest problem is remembering not to dunk the brush in the tea. Of course he's right; I just was {wrongly} obsessed with the idea of cleaning my pen rather than actually doing work. I could choose the right side of the screen every time if only I would plan a little.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Question: why is it that when I have the time {i.e., 3 days off from work}, I'm so darn exhausted that all I want to do is sleep? I had all these great things planned and the only thing I painted was the living room! I wanted to be watercolouring, paint flying everywhere, and all I really got good at was falling asleep in mid-read. Darn. I had this total craving for scones, looked up recipes, got all the ingredients out on the counter, and then realized I was too tired to follow through and make them, so I put everything away and took a nap. Darn. It's not like this weekend was a waste, I just wish I felt better and stronger and had gotten done what I set out to do. If I don't have the energy on a 3-day weekend; how am I s'posed to have the energy after a full day at work? {sigh.} At least I didn't say any of the forbidden words....
How's this for interesting? Someone left a little doll dressed as Little Red Riding Hood sitting in our front garden! Heidi just said it wasn't her, so we're not sure how she got there. Hmmmm.... Saw the new Star Wars movie; Yoda's kick-butt maneuvers made up for the boring and tepid love story. The whole audience was cheering and screaming for him. I just wanna know one thing: who was doing Amidala's hair when she was away from all her attendants and on Tatooine? R2?

Monday, May 27, 2002

In just a few minutes we're on our way out the door to watch the Memorial Day parade. We're lucky enough to be right off the main street in town, so all we have to do is wander down to the end with a cup of coffee and go hang out until we see the first marchers approaching. There's something so special and sweet about a town parade; it's not perfect and polished, but you do get to see the girl scouts and boy scouts and the high school band, and anyone who has an interesting or antique car, and the first aid squad, and the snow plows {they always get huge applause}. We shout and clap and wave to the firemen and policemen, and Paul's students, and everyone who's been practicing their instruments for just such an occasion. Then you head on home, chatting to your neighbors who are wheeling their kids behind them in a little wagon, and contemplate what you're going to do with the rest of your day. And today, especially, you're a little more contemplative.

Friday, May 24, 2002

I need:
  • to do some serious painting this weekend
  • to play outside with my husband
  • to eat large quantities of strawberries
  • to not use the following words: powerpoint, template, interface
  • to not wear shoes
  • to dance around to James Brown
  • to do some chalking
  • to read my big bunch of library books
  • to nap
  • I also need to do laundry, paint the living room, and help get ready for recitals, but I'm sure I can squish them in somewhere between strawberry-eating and James Brown.

    Thursday, May 23, 2002

    Nice news all over the place: today's the debut of my new faery skirt! Unfortunately, nobody in the office seems to have brought their digital cameras so the fashion show will just hafta wait for another day. On the homefront: everything is all planted, and a family of housefinches is building a nest in one of the geranium hanging baskets on our porch. This will be the third or fourth year they've done this; it's a little hard on the geranium but they're quite adorable — we call them "the peeps" because you can always hear when the babies are hungry! Did I mention that at the park there are 16 baby ducklings and 4 goslings? Darnit, they're cute. And after work today, Krystyna and I have a date to go out for gelato. I am SO ready for summer. linkage for a happy day: Spend some musical time here and with your headphones on. Some extremely dedicated fans with way too much time on their hands assembled a list of every wacky little Beatles anomaly you can think of. Example: in "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" George and John substitute their own lyrics; when Paul sings "Desmond lets the children lend a hand", George yells out, "Foot!" while John calls out, "Arm!"

    Wednesday, May 22, 2002

    And now, in the careful what you wish for department: I said yesterday I couldn't think of anything to be fearless about. Now there are terror warnings for NY for this weekend, and I have to give a presentation in NY on Friday morning. I'm not overly thrilled about this. It's not that I think an office building would be any kind of target, it's the Holland Tunnel that I'm a little concerned about. I'll be fine, I just don't have to like it. I've been very satisfied with the level of work I've been getting done, both at work and in personal projects. Sometimes it seems that you trudge along and are working on the same thing forever and ever and ever; but I'm finally seeing real progress in a lot of my work. My skirt of fairy material is just waiting to be hemmed, I'll probably be doing the final cover painting for the Harmonytryx CD this weekend, and most of my garden is all planted. At work I'm doing projects that require my design perspective and it's fun coming up with new solutions. I bought a journal just for work and it's been helping me keep all my sketches in one place.

    Tuesday, May 21, 2002

    There's been a whole lot of planting going on... finally, the garden beds have been made up and the seeds are in! We planted tomato and basil plants, and pumpkins, gourds, zucchini, spinach, and sweet peas from seed. I've been soaking morning glory seeds and will be planting those today; we have a lamppost outside that it'll look lovely twined around. There's something wonderful about staring at these beds of dirt that hold the promise of things to come. Last night was Movie Night at work, we watched Strictly Ballroom {my pick!} and afterwards, I gave my co-workers a cha-cha lesson. I was told to go home and brush up for another one, so today it'll be the rhumba. The theme of the movie: A vivir con miedo es como a vivir medias {A life lived in fear is half-lived}. I'm trying to think of something fearless I can do today, but nothing comes to mind... I guess I'll just have a fearless attitude and see what comes my way.

    Saturday, May 18, 2002

    a thought for today... If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring. He sends you a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He listens. He can live anywhere in the universe, but He chose ... your heart. God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. ~ from the Postcard Fairy board, posted by Trish ps ~ I could use a little light for the way right about now.

    Friday, May 17, 2002

    The stupidest darn things are making me get weepy: Ernie on Sesame Street this morning singing "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon;" a retrospective on Princess Grace, one of Paul's students playing "Good Night My Angel"; and something so stupid I heard on the radio that I don't even remember what it was. I don't get it.... chalk it up to the 75-degree, incredibly rainy weather. On the artsy side: delivering sketches for that CD cover today... it's gonna be a really fun project. Actually, there's a very slight possibility that I'm singing somewhere on this CD too, but regardless, I'm really excited about being a part of it.

    Thursday, May 16, 2002

    A ladybug landed on my butt today. That's the whole story. We laughed about it at work, saying that it sounded like the first line of a Shel Silverstein poem. No, I didn't sit on it; we thought it was some very scary-looking spot on my khakhis until I reached down and it climbed onto my fingers and flew away. Apparently my behind makes a more than ample landing strip when you're a ladybug. I hear that having a ladybug land on you is good luck; I guess it doesn't really matter where it lands. Anyone who wants to write me a ladybug poem is encouraged to send it to me here. Woo hoo! Now that my comments are back up, feel free to leave a poem there if the mood strikes.

    Wednesday, May 15, 2002

    From the french toast girl journal...{the real one, it's leather-bound and looks like Indiana Jones's dad's Grail diary; a mixture of sketches and thoughts} This is exactly what my hair looks like with 100% humidity. You who know me know this look and know it well. The next day was really windy, so by comparison I had to draw my hairstyle for the day: The note accompanying it says, "kinda like the Princess Leia look only with aqua beads in my hair too." Today: it's tied back in a ponytail with two blue beads, one at the base of my neck and another 2 inches down. Brandy wore her hair last night that way on Moesha, and of course, it looks 9 zillion times better on her but at least it's out of my face. More about my love/hate relationship with my hair can be found here.
    6 random things about me:
    1. I think that the bass guitar on "Band on the Run" is flat. I just listened to it with the bass cranked up, which leads me to believe that either they tweaked it for the digitally remastered version, or the speakers of every system I've ever heard it through in the past are faulty. Maybe it was really humid when they recorded it.
    2. The quickest way to annoy the graphic snob in me is to use the inch mark instead of proper curly quotes. {note: this doesn't count for web pages, just printed material.}
    3. The quickest way to my graphic snob's heart is to use ligatures. {sigh.} I've never forgiven Quark for not enabling them for the PC.
    4. If I had a theme song, it would be "Bein' Green", with Stevie Wonder singing "Hold On to Your Dream" in a close second.
    5. I have relative pitch and can hum middle C before playing it on the piano 95% percent of the time.

    Tuesday, May 14, 2002

    Tonight the plan is to actually work on new projects! In the works:
  • a CD cover for an incredibly talented a cappella group some of you might have heard of {who I used to sing with...}. Painting for yourself is all very well and good, but it's nice to do it for a reason.
  • a family portrait of three very sweet little girls
  • another CD cover that's for a contest; I won't win, but it'll be fun to do it anyway
  • my online artshow showcasing talented creators from all over, which I plan to get together this summer... I am writing up the specs now and will send them out just as soon as my email will allow {it's being mischevious again!}
  • redesigning my website... frenchtoastgirl is getting a major overhaul for its 3rd birthday this July! Somewhere in the midst of all this will be me, perched in my Tower Room of a studio, surrounded by paper and brushes and markers and glitter and loving it all...
  • Monday, May 13, 2002

    Today's entry starts with a song {sung to the tune of "La Cucaracha"}: I got a Hand-spring! I got a Hand-spring! La la la la la la la.... To help me in the almighty pursuit of organization, I now am the proud owner of a Handspring Visor Neo. It's smoke-colored. It's see-through. It lights up at night so that when inspiration strikes me at 2am, I can scribble down my ideas without getting out of bed {already done this} or waking up my hubby. This is part one of the great plan {see 4/9} to sell my artwork: get organized. I have a list of promotional websites, a big to do list, and my little address book, and it's all right there in the palm of my hand. cool programs: Sketch Pad lets you sketch and doodle right on the screen! Ebony/Ivory plays the piano on your Hanspring or Palm. Lists one of its uses as "impressing young children." Ring tones changes your alarm to Beatles songs or the highly coveted Inspector Gadget theme song {my personal fave}.

    Friday, May 10, 2002

    Artgirl to the rescue! Friendly neighborhood artgirl uses the color wheel of goodness to cut looming projects down to size. Although her ponytails have been registered as lethal weapons, she prefers to kill with kindness. Secret identity: mild-mannered chalk-carrying, magic-wand-toting Art Director Élena. linkage: Get yer own Superhero here Check out my company's Justice League

    Monday, May 06, 2002

    This weekend I painted a lot, did some walking, helped with a downtown street fair, knitted, met a baby rabbit in the park by being verrrrrrry quiet, and planted a mini herb spiral. {I learned about it from Loobylu.} Mine is much smaller, about 3 feet across, and I only have three types of herbs planted in it so far, but darnit, it looks neat when you get the aerial view from the porch. Paul and I had fun planning out the rest of the garden, which should come into being any day now. This year, as we have more garden space, Paul is finally going to get his sincere pumpkin patch. linkage: I found this guide to making your own "do-it-yourself beauty solutions." The leave-in conditioner for dry hair requires a handful each of rosemary and mint... which I just happen to have in my little herb spiral. Neato. ps: we had to skip the bike ride, as Paul was sick. This means I'm lame, but I had an excuse.

    Friday, May 03, 2002

    I had a dream last night that I was doing the Farmlands Flat Tour {it's tomorrow}. I was taking a break, all sweaty and disheveled and staggering in, while a group of female athletes breezed in, not even breaking a sweat, and laughed at me as they flipped back their perfect ponytails and drank their designer Gatorade. Then they hopped on their bikes and left me in the dust. Can we tell I'm a little overwhelmed by this bike ride? I'm not overweight, but I am woefully out of practice. Paul said we can do the 20 miles at a nice slow pace and take lots of breaks. It's going to take us all day at my pace, but I'm glad he's so supportive. And I really, really need to do this. Really. Maybe I'll bring the camera so I can take pictures of me and all the horses I hope we're going to cycle past.

    Thursday, May 02, 2002

    I believe in little things That you can hardly see Like honeycomb and spider webs and starfish in the sea. I believe in little things Like icy drops of rain That melt into the morning mist When winds are warm again. I believe in little things Like colors in the sky And noticing the waves roll in And how the flowers die. Knowing they'll be back again Whenever it's July. I believe in little things Like you and me, And just how big Little things can be. ~ Joe Raposo, "Little Things" {one of my favorite Sesame Street songs}

    Wednesday, May 01, 2002

    I got up extra-early this morning and DID YOGA! Finally! I used to do this program but since September 11th, this was the first time I've even been able to get that station in. All I would watch on that channel was the yoga show, and reruns of Touched by an Angel and Eight is Enough, but darnit, it's still nice to have it back. Every time I passed that channel and got a wall of static it was another reminder of how much things changed. So how do I feel? Sore. But you can betcha I'll be setting the alarm early tomorrow morning too. This brings up a question I asked myself in my journal last week: Why do I keep putting off things I know would be good for me {and that I love}? Like Yoga? How long is it going to take me to sign up for a class again? And why? Why have I still not joined my town's Art Association? Why is my bicycle all tuned up and yet I haven't ridden it this year, except home from the shop? Why is it that I have a gazillion and one great and creative ideas, but I'm too tired to do even a percentage of them?

    Tuesday, April 30, 2002

    After an early-morning walk in the park, I picked some tiny purple flowers in our front yard. I don't know what kind they are, in fact, they're probably weeds, but I don't really care; they're pretty. I picked a generous handful and put them in a cobalt glass votive to make a teeny arrangement. Then I brought them upstairs to do a quick watercolour sketch before leaving for work. Giving myself a 15-minute time limit forced me to work loose and splashy and concentrate on my main focus: the deep, velevety colors.

    Monday, April 29, 2002

    Tonight was the special on Gilda Radner... I waited and waited, and finally at the very end they showed the clip of her singing "Tap Your Troubles Away" on the Muppet Show when she was glued to everything that wasn't nailed down, including Beaker. {Yay.} I did think it was a little off that they interviewed Kermit the Frog, but not Gene Wilder. Hmmmmmmmmm......

    Sunday, April 28, 2002

    Paul and I went to the bookstore recently to stock up on journals — I've decided after my latest success with journaling this week to get a journal devoted only to work. It's black, spiral bound, and of course unlined — I like being unconfined and to have room for lots of sketches if the mood strikes. While we're in the bookstore {because there's no way you can go in for one thing and not wander around for ages} I decided to go see if they had the latest SARK book. They didn't, but they did have her book "Eat Mangoes Naked" so I had to pick it up since I don't have it. I sort of flipped around, and then decided to just open it up anywhere and see what I got. I opened right up to a story about her chalking up the streets in NYC! SARK! Chalking! 3 pages of it! I grabbed Paul and made him read it too. I had a moment right in the store. My other moment came when we left the store and saw the gorgeous full moon smiling at us. We drove home through the park as usual, and Paul wanted to get out and stargaze. So we did! We walked up to the hilltop and tried to find all the planets in alignment. We found Venus {very low in the sky and flickery} but not too much else. The moon was so bright, I could read the little logo label on Paul's windbreaker clear as day. Since Jupiter was aligned with Mars I sang "Age of Aquarius" to them and the moon and Paul. We smooched under the stars.* *{sigh} Shouldn't every journal entry close that way?

    Saturday, April 27, 2002

    Once I asked Mom and Dad for the recipe to make zucchini bread. I was handed a typewritten sheet from Vacation Bible School way back in the 70s. There was writing on the back in Dad's handwriting: Fill radiator. Check squirter. Elena name plate on bike. Play Winnie the Pooh with Elena and Anthony. Also Silly Sandwich. Dad would always write notes to remind himself of things he didn't want to forget. And that included taking the time to play with us. He never worked weekends. He never went on business trips. Working late for him was such a rare occurence that I can only think of 2 or 3 times in my life that he wasn't there at dinner. We, the family, were his number one priority. And it showed. Happy Birthday, Dad. I'm so glad you're mine.

    Thursday, April 25, 2002

    I have been working on an intensive project, one that's going to require a lot of creative input. Anyway, last night I was worried about all the stuff I had to do, but this morning I woke up differently. I decided to open up my journal at 5:30 this morning and started writing. There's a part that could see all this as oppressive, but at the same time, I felt challenged. I noticed there was a spark; a little part in the back of my mind that was just waiting with its arms folded, sitting there with a little "oh, you just WAIT and see what I can do!" smirk. A part of me that says, "Bring it on, baby!" And that's the part of me, the spark, that I am going to honor and celebrate and feed into. And then I proceeded to write and write and sketch and work my way through almost the whole project — things became so clear to me — maybe my subconscious was helping me work on it while I was asleep.

    Tuesday, April 23, 2002

    I have an interview on the Creativity Day website, celebrating "Creativity and Innovation Day on April 21st as an inspirational worldwide event." It's a veeerrrrrrrrrrrry cool site. Also, today is St. George's Day. Hug a dragon today!

    Monday, April 22, 2002

    This weekend I had chalked for Earth Day: "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." {Albert Einstein} and drew lots of butterflies around it — three little ones and one so huge we nicknamed it "Mothra." So when we got home, I started watching my Saturday morning cartoons and knitting, and I turn on to the middle of an episode of Recess I've never seen before. Spinelli spends two days chalking up the whole playground and all the kids love it. A passing helicopter touches down and a woman from some art association hops out, praising the artwork. Everyone climbs to the top of the jungle gym to have a look at the whole thing. And then — a hose bursts and the whole thing is obliterated. They find Spinelli happily zooming around on her skateboard, who says she doesn't care that it's gone. "It's doing it that was the fun part." The whole message — chalking is art and doing it {making art} is fun was sweet and not lost on me. Especially since at the close of the show, it started to pour outside.

    Friday, April 19, 2002

    Tis the season to be chalking... there are new chalking adventures on the site!

    I’ve posted the revised “Adventures in Chalking” article complete with photos! And from that page you can access 2 brand new chalking adventures: one from Paul’s latest Earth Day project, and one from my Cornerstone weekend in February, both with lots of pictures! Enjoy!