Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Sophie's birthday was Sunday. Hard to believe my little one is three years old. (note: an adorable photo would normally accompany this post, except that I can't get any of them from the camera to the computer currently. Hopefully fixed soon.)

We had a fun day, which included Sophie being serenaded at church (and did she ever eat it up!), a huge Ernie balloon, and strawberry shortcake for desert. I was on my way to grab her pajamas out of her room when I did a quick email check and saw my update from babycenter. This time it said "About Your Three Year Old" and when I opened it, the header said "Your Preschooler This Week."

Not your toddler, which is what it usually says. Your PRESCHOOLER.

I completely broke down in front of the computer. Everyone is fond of telling me, "Oh,they grow up so fast, enjoy them while they're young, blah blah blah." I said to my mom only last week that I would like to buy my kids a fast ticket to kindergarten and that I wished everyone would shut up about enjoying them while they were young.

Now I get it.

My Sophie is never going to fit in the crook of my arm again. Never going to curl up in my lap for a midnight feeding and be rocked to sleep. She's running, leaping, jumping, twirling. I don't MISS the constant care she used to need, but I do remember all those things and how far she's come.

Sophie is sheer delight, incarnate. She feels so passionately about everything. She makes up songs, has an incredible imagination, and can I brag here, the girl is READING. She actually taught herself to read. She is the neatest three-year-old I have ever met and I love her with all my heart. I am so fiercely proud of her and I can't wait to see what's coming up for her in the year ahead.

It used to terrify me that if I died today, my children wouldn't have any memories of me. But the fact is, it doesn't matter. I have enough memories for all of us.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Illustration Friday: Tea

Tea is a magical potion even to humans; is it any wonder that unicorns find it so enchanting? I very rarely drink tea alone. It seems that whenever I begin to brew a cup, another tea drinker turns up. I had just poured a cup when I felt what I thought was steam upon my cheek. I found the soft muzzle of a unicorn inches from my face, inhaling the aroma of herbal mint tea, and hinting strongly that she'd like a cup. In this case I had to make a bit more than usual, but luckily I had a teacup big enough for my friend. We spent a quiet evening with our tea and a handful of cookies. The cookies, of course, were chocolate chip and were long gone by the time this picture was taken.

(More pictures of my adventures with unicorns are here. And yes, I need to rescan them all, larger.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mutts and other shtuff

If anyone's planning on attending the NY Comic-Con this Saturday, I will be representing Mutts Comics along with Patrick and the rest of the gang. I'll also be a part of this talk, actually - um - talking. I'll be the one with the big hair and the Mutts shirt. See you there!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Illustration Friday: Song

Wouldn't it be the coolest if you actually could make your singing visible, like the picture? I barely shut up as it is, there would be no stopping me then!

In my day, I've sung with select choirs, madrigal groups, done songleading and solos at church, and had many amazingly wonderful fun years with these ladies (play some tracks, I'm on there) that had me singing at New York night clubs, on CDs, in a PBS Christmas special, and flying across the country.

I won't lie, I miss it.

But nowadays I have something way more my speed: my church's choir director lets me sing whenever I feel like it. They leave a mic set up in the choir area and email me the song list for the month. I sing harmony, whatever harmony I want, along with the songleader in front of the church. If I don't like the song, I skip it. (HA!) If we show up late, I jump in whenever I can. The whole family sits with me, and is getting used to the fact that sometimes Mama's going to go stand over there for a minute, and if you know what's good for you, you will not make a peep until she's done (that mic picks up everything!) Everyone seems to like it, and it makes me so joyful to sing again in public but not have to sweat the small stuff or worry if I'll faint in front of everyone.

At Christmas, Paul (I met him in the choir, you know) and I sang a duet together. We first sang it 10 years ago when we began dating, and have sung it almost every Christmas since. As we sang it this year, I looked over at him, and thought, If someone would have told the two of us then that 10 years later we would be still singing it together, each with a baby on our hip, and our oldest twirling around in front of us, we never would have believed it.

Then again.... maybe we would.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I know WHO a square is!

If you remember this:

or the beauty that is this:

Do yourself a big old favor and get yourself here . (Sigh) Back when Sesame Street was hip.

p.s. And while you're checking things out, make sure you watch my super genius brother's animations too. 'Specially this and this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

we love you, yeah, yeah, yeah

Click for a bigger pic.
More of that lovey-dovey stuff here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

one with everything

I've been doing lots of reading lately... and one book that's resonated deeply with me is the Dance of the Dissident Daughter (thank you, Jill!) There will be lots more about this later...

I absolutely loved the parts about being connected to nature, and the whole world, which I suppose is part of why I'm so interested in organic/sustainable living - I have been crying/feeling deeply and passionately about so many things lately, and I would blow it off by thinking, gee, I'm being awfully hormonal today. And now I think, NO! I'm not hormonal: I'm being a woman. I'm feeling and caring that children in NJ need foster homes (a commercial that makes me cry regularly), or that the sun shining through the trees took my breath away on my morning walk, or that a family member or friend is going through a hard time and I would do anything to help them. That's not weakness, to feel so deeply about things like that. That's strength.

I wondered why I've felt such a need to go for a walk every day, even if it was freezing and I did a quick jog around the block with my hands jammed in my pockets and tears streaming down my face from the bitter cold. Why I felt compelled to pick up stones, acorns, leaves - not even pretty ones sometimes! - and carry them around with me or put them on my desk to look at all morning. That's being in touch with myself, and with God, through nature. And I never had a name for that before.

I learned on my last mother's retreat that spending time in nature/noticing it/painting it is a prayer. Taking a walk once a week, or painting once a week, isn't enough for me any more. I have to do it every single day now to fill myself up as a barrier against the stuff I deal with in the rest of my day, or something's lacking. And I love knowing that about myself too. Living that feels right and true to me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

angels for one another

A couple of weekends ago I actually left my house (gasp!) and went to a concert (gasp!) with Snowflake and Lucky. It was for one of my all-time faves, Christine Lavin. When I heard she had an opening act, I thought, eh, who can be as cool as her? But he was fantastic - David Ippolito, who makes a living playing the guitar in Central Park.

He had a great song that keeps running through my head, about how one day you may be down, and I'm here for you, or you may get inspiration from something I say. And when I need help/a vote of confidence, you're there for me. It's a good way to be.

And so here's my official thanks, to anyone who reads this blog and has ever gotten anything out of it, or written back. Thanks, angel.

We take turns being angels for one another
'Cause there's never been a day when we both wanna stay
Under the covers.
I guess we're both just lucky that it works that way.
And, thank heaven we're not all crazy on the same day.

Listen to the song here.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Illustration Friday: (The Mermaid) Chair

I was asked recently by David after reading The Mermaid Chair, how I would illustrate it.

So here are three sketches, because no matter how much I read over the book (I went to the bookstore just to look it up since I had returned my copy to the library), I couldn't get a clear image of exactly WHERE the mermaids are on the chair. So: based on the fact that I felt the chair would be very very old and carved out of wood, the largest one on the left is how I felt the chair would appear. Or how I felt MY chair would appear. I would want to be sitting between the two mermaids.

So if you've read the book (and even if you haven't) which one speaks to you? Which one would you want to sit in and pray in?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

focusing on the good stuff

Those kiddos have now been sick for going on three weeks (flu, then colds, now hacking coughs), and I have been making myself paint through it all. I say "making myself" do it because I know that the only way to be a better artist is to work through the crappy paintings. What I need to do is show up and let whatever happens, happens.

So, when I paint things I feel less than fantastic about, I try to find pieces I like about it. So here's what I like:

* I like the eyes.
* I like the color of the butterfly (which was not the color it started out as).
* I like the way that I resisted being anal-retentive about the details on the flower and just sploshed the paint around.

I don't think the whole thing hangs together, but there are certain parts I do like. Click here to see the whole thing. For some reason, this reminds me of George Harrison. Or something hippie-ish from the 70s. Or the paintings of where the eyes follow you around.

And for some odd reason, I really like all my paintings upside down. What the heck does that mean?