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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Goodies

Santy Claus was beddi-beddi good to me, as you can see here by the small but significant sampling of gifts that came my way.
I cannot tell you what a difference good boots make for a dog-owner's willingness to brave cold and wind and do the right thing by her hound.
And of course the basket (with a scrimshaw top) ... and the lizard (with a light-up tongue) ... so nice.

These do not even begin to account for all the riches that have filled my year, most of which I could not address here anyway. I hope good things found their way to you as well.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

From "The Errand"

This is a selection from the Japanese album I turned into a wordless story for my friend Sally in Michigan. I had finished drawing 30 pages before I figured out that I couldn't use watercolor on the coated pages. Ahh well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

To all my friends in the flesh-and-blood world and to those I know only through their wonderful artwork: Have a very happy holiday, and thank you so much for all you bring to my life.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

O Purplebaum

If I had a certain kind of house, I would have one of those fantastically fake Christmas trees in a wild color, like this purple one I saw at a coffee shop downtown.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ghosts in the mall

I had to brave the mall yesterday to replace something the dog ate, but it gave me time to make a page here. Drawing in the mall is a challenge, but I was figuring out some of the challenges yesterday and might have to do it again. One challenge is finding a good place to perch, which I almost did yesterday. Not quite.
The other challenge is reacting appropriately when you think you just saw someone you couldn't possibly have just seen - but wish you did.

Click on the pic to read the text, if you wish.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catching up

I drew a bit more than I blogged this week.
And I knew your weekend wouldn't be complete without seeing the mold my dentist had made for my two new crown$$$$$.
I am very sad to report that shortly after I made this drawing, Miss Pearlie the totally orally fixated Newfoundland managed to grab the mold off a counter where I'd put it, dragged it out into the backyard and removed most of its "teeth." Very upsetting, especially since I wanted another go at the perspective.

However, I was delighted to see the delight in the dentist's eyes when I actually told him that yes, I would like to keep the dental mold so I could draw it. He's been waiting for someone to want one of these things for a long time.

Friday, December 12, 2008


We all have different ideas about what's essential in our lives.
I was talking to a friend today who spoke wisely about her discovery, over time, that her husband's exercise routines were essential to who he was -- and not just a colossal waste of time he could spend doing something she might think of as more productive.

I think maybe the purest essential elements in our lives are the activities we don't ge paid for but that we're driven to do anyway. In some cases, the weirder the better. I'll never forget a guy I interviewed earlier this year who spends all kinds of time in pursuit of knowledge and creativity around made-up languages. What good is a made-up language to most of the world? Not much, and yet it was essential to him.

What good are sketches full of thought and effort, mistakes and energy, anger and bliss? Not much, beyond their essential value to the maker. What good are naps? Not at all to the non-nappers of the world.
But a good nap is one of the absolute essentials in mine.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Go ahead - feed him

In summer, he's out running around chasing rodents and playing cowboys and Indians under the bushes.
Come fall, he begins his transformation into a one-cat sleeping and eating machine.

It was a surprise to find, on my first day as a "retired" person (not) that Elliot can sit for hours on the counter where we store the cat dish (to keep it from the dog) and the occasional wine bottle (to keep it near to us) in hopes we will forget that we already opened a can for him earlier.
Literally. Hours.
If you walk by, he meows loudly.

I figured drawing him might be a good way to make him go away; animals usually don't like to be stared at, as anyone who tries to draw a pet already knows. But he just stood there for the 10 minutes I took to draw this, and when it was all over, I felt he'd earned another morsel.

Now that's what you call co-dependence.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The joy of {not} shopping

Call it an inkling. For several years, as my materialistic self has roamed the aisles of department stores and boutiques, pulled more books than I can ever read off bookstore shelves and acquired clothing that sometimes goes forgotten as soon as I take it home, I have had this niggling worry:

What will we all do when we can no longer shop for fun?

It has just seemed inevitable that shopping for recreation was going to have to give, for one reason or another. I'm no financial expert; I never saw this recession coming, exactly. But it's fair to say I've felt something was going to come along and force Americans like me to figure out what else we might do with the time we've been spending acquiring stuff.

So here we are now at Recession Central. I haven't stopped shopping, but I have slowed the insane acquiring, and from the looks of things others are slowing down, too.
We know this is bad for the engine of the economy, but something tells me it's good for us as well.

Shopping does a fair job of mimicking joy, but it isn't really joy. It's more of a happy distraction.

So here's what I say: If you're still able to shop, shop, because the retailers need you, and the economy needs the retailers. And if you're able to shop a bit less, and you're feeling the withdrawal (see me raising my hand here), get ready, maybe, to face the things you didn't want to face before when you were shopping.
Like boredom. Or maybe do the things you thought you should be doing before but didn't, because you could go shopping. Like reading a book. (I have lots of them myself.)

I'm thinking real joy may be on its way back as well. I do. I'm hopeful.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Random page and Karen Blados

Friday was my last day of work, and I've been a bit lax on the daily sketching thing, so this humble page is all I have to offer.

But if you'd like to see some dynamite images, check your daily newspaper (in print! on paper! still! yesssss!). Or, if you must, follow this link to the online version my profile of fellow Cleveland sketchchick Karen Blados and her wonderful work.
Karen did the self-portrait just for the article. Talented, isn't she?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Fried Turkey

It pains me that I did not remember that a two-page panoramic spread doesn't fit on my scanner. Thus am I forced to offer you a piecemeal version of my entry on deep-friend turkey. Pity.

The only thing for me to add to the notations here is that I think I like to fry turkey for the sake of frying turkey. Certainly it's the tenderest turkey I've had (especially after you play doctor with it and give the bird its injections of marinade). But when all is fried and done, I just like playing with the fire and living to tell about it.