Thursday, November 30, 2006
Woo-hoo! 30 days of non-stop posting! I had a really fun time doing it, and hope to continue posting something new every day into the next month and for as long as I can. I also loved reading fellow NaBloPoMo-er's contributions. Congratulations to everyone who posted or tried to!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
See the paintings in progress here and here.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
What was your motivation for starting a blog?
Well, I work for a web company and I thought at the time I knew enough coding to figure it out. I didn't actually know anyone who was doing one and I like a challenge. Now that Blogger just announced that they will support tagging for those who use FTP instead of Blogspot (me!) I will have to restrain myself from trying to tag every one of my posts from the past 5 years, like, in the next week.
What motivates you to keep writing?
Pure narcissism! Hee hee. I have a real journal too, that NOBODY reads. Ever. Not even Paul. I need an outlet like that. I also LOVE to get comments; it makes me feel like I'm not putting it all out there in a vaccuum.
Who do you imagine as your audience when you write?
I think they're people like me (ha!) - people who strive for creativity, love, and a little something over and beyond the ordinary in their daily lives. Mamas. Boys in college. Senior citizens. I believe that inside my heart there is a me that's still 5, a me that's still 19, and a me that's 35, my real age. And that will never change, and hopefully someday when I'm 80 and cycling through Florence on my Schwinn with a straw basket on the front full of art supplies, there will be other me's of other ages to join them.
Have you ever felt concerned about certain other people reading what you write?
There are some things I don't talk about online. I decided long ago that I would put up some pics of the kids and paintings, and share about my life, but there are certain stories I don't share online. Mainly because if this one certain person ever comes to this site (and I think he has) I don't want to give him the satisfaction of hearing about himself. It was a long time ago.
More things I don't really talk about: my adolescence. I was an extremely late bloomer. I was tripped, teased, and verbally abused on daily basis at school from about 6th grade till the middle of high school. You show anything out of the cookie cutter mold, and you get stomped on and crushed. When I went on a retreat in 11th grade, I had to do some sharing with one of the worst offenders who was SO surprised I didn't want to sit next to him! I said, "Are you really that clueless, don't you remember the things you did?" and he honestly didn't. I'm not sure if that makes it worse or not. Anyway, he asked for forgiveness, and we talked it out, and I'm truly grateful for it. He passed away in a car accident a few years later. I would not go back to being a teenager for a gazillion dollars. High school had its moments, but college was WAY more fun.
I also do not give my measurements (I get enough crazy hits from people who think anything with 'french' in the title somehow equates with sex), show revealing pictures of myself or anyone in my house, or complain or give inappropriate details about work-related shtuff. I only post stuff I wouldn't mind my mom or mom-in-law reading. I share more about feelings and ideas than anything else. I think it's way more interesting reading than what I had for breakfast today, although that was pretty darn awesome, too.
Monday, November 27, 2006
When your twins are bent on getting their clothes off as quickly as humanly possible, especially when they are supposed to be sleeping, and you are getting royally sick and tired of changing the bedding over and over again because after six months, while they are certainly improved but nowhere near being actually called toilet-trained, you put the pajamas on backwards where they can't reach the zippers. And then when they get out of that, you put on TWO pairs backwards.
So far that's been their limit, but I have one more trick up my sleeve. Next comes the duct tape. I am so not making this up; I read online on help boards for parents of older children who do this that duct-tape around the waist and on the zipper makes the pj's even harder to get out of. And the kids think it's hysterical. What can I say... I'll do whatever it takes to get the laugh. Especially if it gets me out of having to clean up pee. Again.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
One week ago.... Sophie decided to give potty training a go again, thank you God. I've been afraid to talk about it for fear I'll jinx it.
One year ago.... we were putting on Peter's pj's backwards to prevent him from taking all his clothes and diaper off and "decorating" during his nap. Today, we're STILL doing it. He's tapering off... my next recourse is duct tape.
Two years ago.....I was getting over my PPD and preparing for our first christmas as a family of five. 2004 was easily the hardest, most wretched year of my life. I rejoiced when it was over. :)
Five years ago..... I started this blog! We had construction on our house, and George Harrison passed away.
10 years ago..... This lovely boy and I were planning a wedding.
What have you been doing?
Friday, November 24, 2006
She puts the spoon down and shows them how it's done.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Other great places I've been linked to lately...
My incredibly driven and talented mama-friend Michelle shows what happens when Rufus and Lucy make a stop at our house on their national tour.
Creative Mom Podcast mentioned my take on the never-ending struggles to balance taking care of the kiddos with having time for my artwork in this episode.
Some lovely girls (hi, Casey!) at TV By Girls had a French-Toast-Girl-themed breakfast on their retreat where they served french toast and got everyone psyched to be Mad Chalkers! Woo hoo! When I got their first letter telling me what they planned to do, I actually cried because I was so honored. These teenagers are bright, articulate, and on their way to take the media world by storm. Yay!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Charlotte Braun is a long-forgotten character from Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts, who first appeared on November 30, 1954. She was originally intended as a female counterpart of the strip's protagonist, Charlie Brown.Click here to read the full entry, and click here to see the actual ax-in-the-head letter and accompanying picture. Seriously, like you're not going to look!
In 2000, it became known that a fan of Peanuts had written Schulz a letter requesting that Charlotte Braun be removed. Schulz wrote back, promising to remove the character but asking the reader if she wanted to be responsible for "the death of an innocent child". The letter included a picture of Charlotte Braun with an ax in her head. The letter has been donated to the Library of Congress.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Help a girl out! You know you're sick and tired of seeing these cards each winter! You know you want me to make new ones! But I can't until these are all gone. Now's your chance to clean out my inventory — have gorgeous cards to send out for the holidays and original artwork to keep for yourself, so you get to be both naughty and nice.
Choose 5 card sets and get an 8" x 10" print FREE!
Whether you're looking for something deep and thought-provoking, or artwork to just plain make you laugh, this special's for you! These two paintings are the ones I've gotten the most mail about: the thoughtful girl with a tree and two birds; and the one we like to just call "Fishies." Choose any combination of 5 card sets to send out and pick a print for yourself! Each print measures 8" x 10" and is printed on glossy stock with quality inks. Just let me know which print you want in the field marked "Additional Information."
All cards are professionally printed on glossy stock in full, luscious color. And each card shows one of my original watercolor and colored pencil paintings. Or if you just can't decide which to choose, there's an assorted multi-pack so you can have a little of everything.
Go see the cards and check out those prints right here at the French Toast Girl Shop.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Yesterday, the most wonderful cat in the whole world died. Spackle was not our cat but our next-door-neighbors', though he treated us as his extended family. Friends and visitors to the studio alike would be greeted by his big friendly fluffiness, sitting on our steps like he owned the place - he'd always greet people with a big meow and would sometimes walk them to the door.
He loved Paul (and it was mutual)! He used to meow outside the door until Paul would come out and play with him. Paul even wrote a song in his piano series called "Meow" that was Spackle-inspired, sort of a call and response song. My illustration had a split screen with a cat on the phone calling up a boy who looked like the way I was doodling Paul at the time. Our neighbor's daughter, who takes lessons from Paul, knew who it was right away.
I have looked for Spackle outside on the porch at least 15 times, even though I know he's gone. I know this sounds ridiculous because he wasn't even our cat, but he was a wonderful part of our lives for almost 10 years. He lived a long, full, happy life (17+ years) with a wonderful family (and us!) who loved him very, very much.
We're still deciding whether or not to tell the kids - whether it's a good lesson on death or if they're truly too young to understand yet. So we're doing more research. Whatever we tell them, it will be the truth; that much I know.
Goodbye, Spackle-cat - nobody will ever be able to fill your fluffy place in our hearts. Go say meow to God for us.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Back again, my list of now 35 things I hope to accomplish by next August 15th. Some are simple, some are finite, some are ongoing. (See last year's list here.)
Write letters to artists I admire: SARK, Tomie dePaola, Paul McCartney (for starters).
|2.||Listen to more podcasts/online radio.
Some notables - I love love love Maccaradio; Pandora is cool; also digging Creative Mom Podcast and Spare the Rock radio show (via the awesome Kiddley)
|3.||Have regular (weekly would be lovely) artist's dates.|
|4.||See these movies: Brother Sun, Sister Moon; The Agony and the Ecstacy, Waking Life.|
|5.||Walk/bike whenever possible, instead of using the car.|
|6.||Take up yoga again.|
|7.||Make a puppet FOR MYSELF.|
|8.||Revamp online store to have prints, new cards, and everything all under one roof.|
|9.||Go out on regular dates with Paul. :)|
|10.||Research licensing for my artwork.|
|11.||Donate artwork for charity.|
|12.||Try to get my artwork sold in local stores.|
|13.||Record a song — either with Paul, or by myself, a cappella, in parts.|
|14.||Go to the dentist.|
|15.||Get a physical.|
|16.||Walk every day.|
Limit myself to one cup of coffee per day, with the goal of eliminating it altogether.
|18.||Write in Peter's, Angela's and Sophie's journals.|
|19.||Read and complete the work in Walking in This World - the sequel to The Artist's Way (which I did on my Big 33 List)|
Try to live responsibly - saving as much energy as possible; eating/feeding my family as organically as we can; recycling as much as possible - and teaching the kids about it.
|21.||Go on a retreat.|
|22.||Get Christmas stuff done very early so I can enjoy Christmas.|
|23.||Keep up the morning pages/journaling every day.|
|24.||Have more of my artwork hanging up around the house.|
|25.||Fix up studio the way I want it.
Cleaned, organized, and working on hanging up pictures.
|26.||Fix up purple room (the room I work in) the way I want it.
Room is cleaned out, sketches for window seat to come!
|27.||Focus on being content with where my life is right now, this instant.|
|28.||Plan a vacation for our 10th wedding anniversary. Sans children.|
|29.||Sell out the rest of my Christmas cards. People, I am so serious here.|
Finally take all those Muppet quilt squares people made me for Sophie's baby shower and sew them into one rockin' quilt.
|31.||(Private painting note - will post when it's done.)|
|32.||Sunscreen. Every day.|
|33.||Participate in a fund-raising event/donate to a cause I feel strongly about.|
|34.||Get my artwork shown in a gallery.|
|35.||Say hello or good morning with a big smile to people I pass on the street - whether I know them or not.|
So what's on your list?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It was bound to happen sooner or later.
I held up a foam number 5, ripped in two. "Who broke this?" I asked.
Petey pointed at Angela. "Angewa did it."
Angela, just as fast, pointed at Peter. "No, Petey did it!"
I asked again, and this time got simultaneous responses, "Petey! No, Angewa!"
Paul pointed out that they were probably both yanking on it at the same time and were both to blame, so they actually were telling the truth. Either way, Sophie, who was absolutely delighted by this exchange, thought it was a hoot. And so did the twins, because now whenever we ask who did something, their automatic response is to blame each other, even when it turns out that Sophie did it! Now if they could just keep their pajamas on and stop running around naked, we'd be getting somewhere...
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Collaboration between me and Soph based upon a favorite vintage sketch from 1974... watch it below. Jim Henson as Salvador Dada is genius. I plan to do a painting of "#5" as well as the portrait Ernie and Bert have in their living room.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Sophie says we should talk about playgrounds: "I like slides, because I pretend they're honeycombs, and I pretend houses are honeycombs too. I like the honey in them. Honey comes from honeybees. Not all bees, honeybees. They get nectar from a flower. And they mix the honey and they put the honey in the wheel and they turn it. And then they put the honey in little bowls, and they make honey cookies. That's what they do, and then they eat them." (Who eats them? I ask.) "Me! Everybody!"
(At this point, Sophie makes screechy noises like a bat and wraps herself up in a blanket.)"I was baked in a pie.... I was baked in a pie. Grover fell on the pie, in the pie. I'm Grover!"
And people wonder why I'm so tired all the time....
Friday, November 10, 2006
Click the image or here to watch the movie.
Longing for more kid pics? Check them out pumpkin picking and trick or treating.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
There are times in life where you, well meaning and slightly curious, will want to know something about someone else's life. I used to ask these questions myself until I learned better. I'm here to tell you some questions that you do not ever ask:
When are you getting married? (Or, the variation, When are you two finally getting married already?) There is a strong possibility that one person in the relationship wants to, and the other likes things fine the way they are, and it's rather painful to talk about. Or maybe they have been talking about it, and they really don't feel the need to share it with you. Or maybe he's going to propose next week and would really like you to shut up about it already. Bottom line, this is none of your business. You will know when they're getting married when they tell you about it. I think a good answer for this would be, "Tuesday." and then when the questioner is struggling to answer, you either walk away or say "We'll let you know," and end it there.
When are you having a baby? See above. Couple this with the fact that the people in question may be trying desperately to have a baby, and don't need you pointing out the fact to them. They know already. Your telling a woman that she should really have a child before she's 35 does absolutely nothing to help the situation. As if the couple is going to turn to each other and say, "Yes! You're absolutely right! We DO need to have a baby - let's start one right now! Thank you! Thank you!" The Tuesday answer above would be appropriate in this situation.
The flip side to this is the couple who does not plan on having children, which is also perfectly fine, and should not have to be defended.
Are you going to have any more kids? I have been asked all of the above questions, but this is the one everyone asks me now. You would not believe how many people, well-meaning, ask me this. People I meet on the street, even. And a few who actually ask if I'm using birth control.
I would like to report that I've said, "Tuesday" defiantly to the people who have asked. But this is the hard part - the people who ask me are usually good friends; people who know how hard it's been to have so many so close together. They mean well. And, "Well, it really isn't any of your business," as much as I'd like to say it, just will not come out of my mouth. So I usually say, "Let's see what God sends us." which is sort of vague enough to not really be an answer without saying, "I'm not telling you, or anyone for that matter."
So... have you been asked these questions, and what have you said in return? What do you wish you said?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
We used to dress in matching sweaters and tell people we were twins, when we weren’t killing each other and devising new plans to make the other’s life miserable. It took the two of us living very far away from each other to really become friends – he joined the army, I went to college, and we made a lot of long-distance calls and sent wacky letters. My parents still have one in a photo album where I had sent a letter to him in the army. On the front of the envelope was a sticker of Captain Kirk looking all manly, and I made a balloon coming out of his mouth saying something like, “Sulu, deliver this letter at warp speed to:” and then his address. We saved it because some postal worker with a sense of humor hand-cancelled the letter with a stamp of The Enterprise, bearing some legend about boldly going where no man had gone before…
I could write about 50 posts on the subject of how he continually messed with telemarketers, his adventures as Paper Clip Man going incognito in downtown B’ville, the fact that at 17 he could grow a beard in 2 days and get served at a bar (he stopped them in time), and many of his other wacky adventures. There are things in this world that I know are so zany that only he has the same appreciation for it that I do. Paul appreciates this and says “Go share it with your brother.”
Through all the weirdness, we have always deep down loved each other. Even though Dad never got his dream of the two of us being the next Donnie and Marie to happen, Laughing Boy, you are still a little bit rock and roll. And a little bit Koozbane.
Check out my brother's movies here, and some art here.
ps ~ Yesterday was my fabulously talented and sweet brother-in-law's birthday - you can check out his music here and here and here.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
It's fresh and amazingly silly. It seems like the Henson team, after so long, is finally figuring out what they want to do and getting back into the game. Far from the embarassment of The Muppet Wizard of Oz (blecch - if you didn't see it, you didn't miss much), this is just fun. Loose. A new interpretation of what performers can do with puppets. Honestly, I think Jim would be proud.
Watch a clip here (you have to click "acknowledged" to view.)
See it on TV! Their first special is set to air on Monday, November 20, 2006 (at 11pm Eastern/Pacific) on TBS. I already have a friend who's burning me a DVD of it, as I am cable-less. Woo hoo!
Monday, November 06, 2006
From her children's books - the illustrated book of "Stay Up Late" by the Talking Heads.
I loved the illustrated Elements of Style the very first time I saw it. It's simply gorgeous.
(Sorry so short today - went to a wedding last night and have had about 4 hours of sleep. Lovely to see my family, but figured I'd type now while I was still coherent.)
Sunday, November 05, 2006
After we were all moved in, I started looking for a church to go to, and picked up the phone book. Regardless of the fact that there was a Catholic church across the street from me, I chose Saint Helen's and started attending. (We now look upon this as a sign of divine intervention.) Of course I wanted to join the choir! I showed up at the first meeting in September.
I sat alone all the way in the front pew, mainly because I was used to sitting in the front, and I thought that would be a good way to meet new people. Because I didn't just want to sing, I had high hopes of meeting a nice musical Catholic boy. (Mind you, I had previously dated someone who turned out to be a not-very-nice-at-all musical Catholic boy that I met in the choir, for 5 years, so this proves what an optimist I am.)
Someone slid into the pew next to me, and the meeting started up. There was a short break where we were encouraged to say hello to the person next to you, and I found out his name was Paul, he was a teacher, and for some reason, we started talking about Macintosh computers. He loved them. I casually dropped that I worked on one every day. The conversation bloomed from there. We kept sneaking peeks at each other for the rest of the meeting, and afterwards, he pressed me for my phone number. (This is not as cheesy as it sounds; he heard me sing and I invited him to out next gig. He wanted to call me "for directions." Yeah, right!)
For the next few days, I gushed about Paul, the sweet boy in the choir, to anyone who would listen. One night after a rehearsal, Snowflake excitedly told me, "Go look on your bed!" My stuffed Kermit was propped up holding a sign that said, "PAUL CALLED!" and the rest was history.
ps ~ I found out later that Paul decided to sit next to me because he liked my hair (which was probably all he could see of me when he walked into the room) and that when he got home from that meeting, his mom asked if he met any pretty girls, and he told her yes!
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The bizarre thing was that the DVD opens with an animated character named Bob (who I distinctly recall as being named Christopher Clumsy, but I digress) talking about how this is nostalgia and not for today's preschoolers. Paul and I exchanged surprised glances over the kids' heads: what the hey? But after seeing 4 straight minutes about milk and where it comes from, I remembered that yes, this Sesame is nothing like today's Sesame. And darnit, I MISS IT. I will confess something here - I never stopped watching Sesame Street. I watched it from babyhood through high school, college, and in the mornings when I was getting ready for work. So after 35 straight years of Sesame Street, I know what I'm talking about.
My kids were delighted to see that at the end of the show, Sesame Street was brought to you by the letters W, S, and E, and by the numbers 2 and 3 - not the measly one letter and one number they get today. My kids love Sesame Street today with a passion, and it has its moments, but some of the charm is missing today from what it was. Whether it's the changing of the guard or the fact that the format changed, the zaniness and spirit is just not the same.
Read more about it:
Die hard fans weigh in here.
And if you need further incentive to buy it, rumor has it that it's Elmo-free. No red menace!
Buy it here - if you buy through Muppet Central (on Amazon) supposedly you can save 25% off the regular price. And you're going to get The Electric Company sets too, aren't you? :)
Friday, November 03, 2006
This is another painting using only wine. (interestingly enough, my last painting with wine was also in November. Hmmmmm.... )
I tend to doodle in front of the tv. Actually, it had been a really long time since I painted or even drew anything, since I'm still getting over being perpetually exhausted, and I know that if I try to jump in on a project I'm supposed to be working on, I will ruin it. I need to warm up first. So I had a glass of wine (not in any way a regular occurence for me), some good Thursday tv, and children in bed. I started doodling.
Left to my own devices, I will almost always doodle people. I like people. I like faces, and I like to draw hair. Half the time my doodles turn fantastic, which is not at all strange if you know me. Girls sprout wings or antennae or are tinier than a teacup. So in this case, the doodle started with the eyes, and I wanted really dramatic, vampy eyes. So I did huge eyelashes. When it started to come together for me was when I realized the eyes shouldn't be gazing off to the left, but as far right as I could; looking at you, or something beyond you. The second change I made that made me like it more was when I erased the mouth and made it a tiny pout - ala Anchal from ANTM, I love her - and then I realized that I didn't want hair, I wanted flower petals. Then it started shaping up into something... I don't know what, but interesting, and not pretty. Pretty interesting.
About painting with wine: wine's a fickle, imprecise mistress. It goes where it wants. You can do wash after wash with it and have no idea how dark it will be until it dries. I was impatient and splashed it on rather generously - when I went to bed I left it with beads of wine on the speckles of the lily petals, and on the mouth - that was a big bubble of wine waiting to be absorbed into the paper. I would have liked the mouth much lighter, and the petals don't have the "this is a flower"-ness I was hoping for, being monochromatic and all. I may do it again in watercolour, with bright orange, or even white and maroon petals. But did I accomplish what I wanted - to loosen up with a sketch and get in the painting frame of mind again? Heck yesh.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
So... my question is, what do you want to hear about? I'm accepting any and all ideas for posts. I have quite a few of my own, thank you, but if there's a burning question you want answered, or just "more paintings, darnit!", now's the time to speak up.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Anyway, I was singing this to the kids when Paul and I realized that, thank God, we don't HAVE to teach them that women can be any kind of job in the world. Because they don't even think about it - Sophie has wanted to be an astronaut, and now an artist, for ages. They know women who are doctors, and all sorts of other jobs. The message planted in our little pink heads in the 70s worked; I grew up believing no goal was beyond my grasp as a female and that I could do it, and have a family, too. Is it hard work? Heck, yesh. But the point is that one generation later, nobody even questions that women have a place in the workplace other than as a nurse, or teacher. Now if we could just get equal pay....
Anyway, watch and enjoy. And sing along!
Women can fly way up high on trapezes
Women can be rollerskaters
Women can help to find cures for diseases
Women can hunt alligators
Pilots and poets, policewomen too
Look at the things that we women can do
We can be clowns
We can be cooks
We can be bus drivers
We can write books
Just look around you, it's easy to see
There's nothing we women can't be
Sing it like it is, Teresa.
I used to be good with a needle and thread
I'd sew dainty dresses of blue
Then I got an urgin' to be a great surgeon
And now I sew people up, too!
Then she got an urgin' to be a great surgeon
And now she sews people up, too!
Margaret, tell 'em about the cat.
Once I had a cat that I'd try to teach tricks
A quiet and sweet little thing
But the tricks I was tryin' required a lion ...
(A lion ...! )
... and that's why I'm here in this ring!
The tricks she was tryin' required a lion
And that's why she's here in this ring!
I used to go bicycling far from my home
My mother would say "come back soon" (come back soon)
I travelled so fast off the earth in a blast-off ...
... now I'm on my way to the moon!
She travelled so fast off the earth in a blast-off ...
5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...
Now she's on her way to the moon!
(To the moon ...!)
Women can ride up inside of a rocket
Women can be office clerkers
Women can sew things like pillows and pockets
Women can be soda jerkers
Pilots and poets, policewomen too
Look at the things that we women can do ...
We can be clowns
We can be cooks
We can be bus drivers
We can write books
We can catch fish
We can train dogs
We can climb mountains
And we can chop logs!
Just look around you, it's easy to see ...
There's nothing we women can't be!