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Thursday, September 27, 2007


No, I cannot help you with your homework.
Not really. The mind is willing but the memory is feeble.
Sure, I can flip flash cards for you. No, I cannot check your algebra. Let's just say I'm not fluent in algebra and leave it at that.
No, I cannot do a lab report. I could once, but not anymore. However, you mean "vial," not "vile."
Yes, I'd be happy to read your essay. You need the possessive form of "parents" there.
Yes, I hope you get a good grade. But really, honey, I wasn't that great at homework when it was mine. So you're pretty much on your own.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And the moon saw it all

Did anyone consider that the cost of putting men on the moon would be that we could no longer speculate about the types of cheese it might be made of? That we'd lose the whole "man-in-the-moon" mythology? That the idea of the moon as a witness to our nocturnal dramas would be replaced instead by the reality of a knowable, visitable and rather humble rock?

Was that a good trade?

Click on the sketchbook page to read it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lunch hour

Did this one Friday on lunch. I'm not much of a football fan, but the park where I sat to do this offers one of the hands-down-best places for admiring the city of Cleveland. It's about a half mile from Lake Erie, which might explain why (though they're not in the picture) I was surrounded by gulls lolling on the grass. It's very difficult for me to think of relinquishing the kind of weather that invites these sorts of sketches.

You probably guessed that I used colored pencils instead of paint.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A downtown Cleveland sketch crawl

Sorry I've been such a bad blogger lately, but it's been for a good cause. Well, several of them. I'll be back on track soon, but in the meantime I'm tossing you this drawing and urging you to come to the first Cleveland Sketch Crawl on Saturday, Oct. 6. It's going to be very cool. If you don't know downtown Cleveland, I can tell you that it's a beautiful old industrial city rich in visual stimulation. I love to draw there, and it'll be great to do it with others. And if you're a not-too-far-out-of-towner and you need encouragement and/or directions, please let me know.

You can see details right here .

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Art's back

It's been a project-y week, so I'm posting the latest installment in my Art t-shirt designs. Perhaps you remember Art Rules.
Art also saves, as it turns out. But then again we knew that, didn't we?
Is he not fetching?

Monday, September 10, 2007


I, um, made pork stew for the family yesterday.
Had to taste it while it was steaming, of course.
Click on the picture to read it more easily.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Penless practice

Did a little straight watercolor today, with just a bit of a pencil guideline. You can't tell from the scan, but there are two colors of gladiolas here, red and orange. I realized while I was painting them that I like gladiolas because they're built a little like asparagas. Didn't get the crystalline color I was hoping for. Guess that's why I call it "practice."

Thursday, September 06, 2007


What's your bliss? Here are a few of the ones I can name on a family blog. I will not tag people, but should you choose to tag yourself, I would find it tremendously entertaining. Maybe even inspiring.

1. Outside on a 77-degree day with a Micron and a sketchbook and something in front of me that I'm drawing well enough.
2. A moment in a novel with the writer gets a familiar emotional detail exactly right.
3. One in every 50 runs down a ski slope.
4. One in every 50 body-surfing waves in the Atlantic.
5. Nine o'clock on a balmy Friday evening with a beer and a friend and a conversation that is not casual.
6. Eight o'clock on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and no obligations.
7. Headphones on my ears, iPod playing a song I forgot I loved.
8. A moment in the spring of 1982 that involved a big outdoor college party, a rugby player and "Rosalita" at full tilt on a stereo. (Note: unfortunately this moment was followed sometime later by a hangover.)
9. Uncountable moments from my children's babyhoods when they'd fall asleep on my chest. I could smell their hair and listen to them breathe.
10. The first moments after the morphine kicks in and blasts out the migraine. It is almost worth having the migraine for the moment it stops. Well. No. It really isn't.
11. The moment in making this list when I realized it could go on and on.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I'll give you a few hints

1. Actor
2. Used to be half of a Hollywood couple (before the divorce).
3. Cover story in a national magazine this month. Carlo read the story. Said it was one of those magazine pieces that the writer does in such a way as to attempt to buddy up to the star he's supposedly profiling, while all it really does is put the focus on the writer, making him look like a jerk. I saw the byline. That's the kind of piece the writer usually does. I guess it's a certain kind of person who wants to do celebrity profiles. Ack.
4. He doesn't really have a shiner. Or two. I just got a little carried away with color and shadowing. I liked this yesterday, when I did it. Today, not so much.

Do you know who it is?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sunflowers are OK by me

I'm thinking of mother-daughter differences because of the sunflowers I bought at the market yesterday.
I'm thinking of the flowering plants my own mother loved: impatiens, azaleas, roses, daisies, geraniums.
And I'm thinking of the ones she didn't love so much: sunflowers, for one, and cone flowers for another. And carnations, but those are in a special category all their own because of their history of being used in cheap arrangements. You can't really judge a carnation unless it's still got roots planted in the ground.

I only found out about Mom's distaste for cone flowers late in her life, in some very casual conversation, but for many years I knew she didn't care for sunflowers. None of this is very interesting, I suppose, except that it's fascinating to me what parts of our parents we take up and what parts we reject. There are so many things my parents taught me to care about, revere, respect, admire or just plain like, from beautiful beaches to clean houses (I admire those from afar, apparently) to hard work to dachshunds to Chanel No. 5 to fried egg sandwiches.

And then again our preferences depart. The first time I noticed this was when a neighbor's cat walked into my mother's garden one day and I became instantly smitten and almost immediately felt guilty for it, since Mom had essentially decided cats were unworthy.

This is a long way of saying that sunflowers and cone flowers are OK by me, and they look even better if there's a cat nearby.
On the other hand, you can hang onto those geraniums.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Nutmeg, summer squash and raw eggs

The thing in the upper right corner is supposed to be kind of a detail box, not a picture badly hung on my kitchen wall. It's a celebration of nutmeg, an ingredient in the pasta and cheese casserole whose recipe is written here in the fine print. (Should anyone actually want the recipe and not want to squint at the text on the page, let me know and I'll be happy to provide it in a more readable form.)
Anyway, there's nutmeg in the recipe because the casserole has a roux, and I've seen nutmeg in roux before, but also probably because there's summer squash in it, and there might be nothing better than summer squash with a little butter and nutmeg.

Unless it's a big custard pie, nicely done to a light brown color. God, am I the only one on the planet who likes custard pie? Are you aware there's nutmeg in it? Does that change how you feel about custard pie?

There's nutmeg in eggnog, too. I sometimes make a virgin eggnog like this: 1 cup of skim milk, one raw egg, some kind of sweeter (I'm likely to use sweet and lo), a little vanilla extract and a blender. Whip it good, as they say. Pour it in a tall glass and sprinkle on the nutmeg, then offer a toast to yourself for daring to eat raw eggs. I know, I know. It's a bad idea. You'll get salmonella and all that. Well, I haven't yet. Still lick the beaters, too, thank you very much. Or I would if I ever made cake anymore, which I haven't in a very long time.

So anyway, I baked the casserole tonight, and everyone liked it, as they usually do. But I didn't eat it, because I don't eat pasta for dinner anymore.

I had eggs, but I cooked 'em.