Monthly Archives: May 2006

A mile walked…

Bike Path
Pencl & watersoluble colored pencils in Moleskine

I decided to take Hashi’s lead and start walking daily a distance of at least one mile from home, and then stop to sketch my surroundings before heading back. I’d purchased a pedometer many months ago and had yet to use it. So duly clipped on (it fell off during my trek; slipped right out from my waistband), and plugged in to an iPod, off I went. My legs were still sore from yesterday’s jaunt to the zoo, but I figured if I didn’t get back on the horse, I’d decide not to ride at all. I walked to my son’s school and then down a bike path in the neighbourhood. There were plenty of doggie poo-bag dispensers, but no benches to sit down on, so I stood while I sketched and then colored in my drawing. I only realized, once there, that I left my larger Moleskine at home on my scanner, so I ended up using my mini Moleskine. Though I’m not impressed with my sketch, the walk was good and I got to capture some photos of Mr. Crow.

L.A. Zoo Sketchcrawl

Zebra, L.A. Zoo
Copic pen in Moleskine

What great fun we had today. Gabriel and I went to the L.A. Zoo to meet up with a group of folks from our Yahoo So. Cal. sketch crawl board. Gabriel managed to sketch one drawing (but he won’t share it here because he thinks that instead of looking like a koala bear, it looks like a sloth). The critters were moving around a whole bunch, so by the time I’d scope out a layout and start drawing, my ‘models’ would move. Therefore, I have many partially drawn animals, but I definitely became much more adept at hurrying up to draw them while they stayed in position. Remember those two-minute gesture drawings done in art class when a live model would come to pose? Yup… I’d forgotten them, too… a good lesson on not getting attached to the outcome, but just to ‘see’ and draw. I did take a camera and was able to capture a lot, so I’ll get to revisit the animals later.

Speaking of seeing… ugh…! I’ve determined that I really, really, need a new pair of glasses. I’m squinting to see any kind of detail these days, from (not so far of a) distance, and must remove my glasses, position small printed items about two inches from my nose and squint (once again) to read the text. Very disconcerting. Hello? Lasik fairy? Please wave your magic wand…

Giraffes, L.A. Zoo
Copic pen in Moleskine

I invested in a cap with this fabric flap that covers the neck before getting started. Good thing, too. As usual, I was not lubed up with sunscreen (you know… is it just me who can’t stand the smell of the stuff?!) and so thanks to the 3/4 length sleeves I had on, only a quarter of my arms (hands up to half way to my elbows) got crispy… that and the left side of my neck. I thought I was doing relatively well in keeping myself in the shade of my cap. Ah well… c’mon aloe vera gel…

Ibex, L.A. Zoo
Copic pen in Moleskine

I also am really tired from all of the walking we did. I can feel it in my legs and calves. I should get out and do it more often. I suppose if the incentive is to get to stop every little while and sketch some, I might actually do it. Gabriel and I concluded the afternoon with dinner at Palermo’s on Vermont St. in Hollywood. The food was fabulous. We ate and then made the trek back to “the O.C.” It’s quite amazing that I managed to make my way over from the zoo to the restaurant without Mapquest directions or a Thomas Guide. It’s equally amazing that I figured out how to get to the 405 (I drove aaaalllll the way down La Cienega; scenic route, anyone?).

Sheee-it, I’ve been tagged…

Kelly’s tagged me…

In my fridge:
Brita Ultramax water purifier
Every conceivable condiment known (or available at your local Trader Joe’s)
Kosher Dills
Reduced Sugar French Vanilla creamer from International Delights (though I’ll get the other brand; whichever is on sale)
Withering veges, intended for home-made dinners, but since we end up eating out more than in, they mold or shrivel before I make use of them

In my closet:
Shoes, shoes and more shoes… though I’ve been wearing a select few for several years now, and I’ve even pared down my “collection” from what it was originally, I’ve heard the misnomer “Imelda Jr.” my way
Big box of memories… photos, postcards, my dad’s old “Tarzan” bikini bottoms (which he used to use as swim trunks)… don’t ask…
Bag of fabrics and needlework stuff
Duffle bags
My husband’s massive t-shirt collection (swag from every MX manufacturer in business today)

In my purse:
My wallet
My cell phone
My digital camera
My bundle of Copic pens, Niji brushes and water soluble colored pencils
My Moleskine journal

In My (crappy-ass) Car:
Empty boxes I brought home from work, because we’re moving next month
My access badge for work
Hand sanitizer
My son’s booster seat (which he hates “I’m not a baby anymore”)
Stuff in the trunk that I can’t even begin to list… pillows, a box of stuff I’d cleared out of my desk from a previous job and stashed in my trunk, beach/sand toys, an extra quart of oil

(I’m adding this one)-
On my Nighstand:
Bird by Bird-Anne Lamott
A Writer’s Book of Days-Judy Reeves
The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)-Jill Badonsky
John Constantine Hellblazer/Rare Cuts, a graphic novel
Altered Words-Journals, Winter ’05-published by ISABA (International Society of Altered Book Artists)
Blick Studio art supply catalog
Process Recess-James Jean
Recidivist-Zak Sally
Tales from the Bed-Jenifer Estess
Blink-Malcolm Gladwell
A pen, a spiral notebook, a glass bowl filled with paint chips, a photo of my dad as a young man (taken in a Siberian prison camp, no less), my alarm clock, box of tissues, more magazines…

I tag…

A Self-Portrait

Watersoluble Colored Pencils in Moleskine

I don’t know what it is about pencils that I like so much. I’ve drawn with pens, pastels, charcoal… but I always revert to pencils in the end. I like that I can build layers of line to solidify and define a shape. It’s difficult to do that with ink without making it look messy (or botching it altogether). My process of reproducing what I see involves massaging, caressing a line with my eyes until I get it right. The added benefit of color and watersolubility brings it right over the top for me. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Being a human pin cushion and all that…

Yesterday I finally had my EMG testing done. Great fun it was… the good news is, I appear to not have any neural damage (which leaves only one thing: I need to stretch and strengthen my muscles). Otto is scheduled to come over to give me a massage on Monday night. Last time I bruised (again!); maybe I’ll suggest he go just a little lighter this time. However, for anyone who is in doubt about whether or not I am a wuss, here’s an ad-lib recap of part of my conversation with the neurologist:

“This last one’s going to hurt the most,” he warned, as he stabbed the inside, fleshy part of my thumb (a.k.a. mount of Venus). I breathed deeply and relaxed; I didn’t even start when he poked (though it hurt like hell dammit). He said, “Man, you’re a tough one! It must be the child birthing and all that. That one usually makes most of the guys hit the ceiling.”

Well, it doesn’t say much for the guys (wimps), and since I had a c-section and missed all of the fun of “natural” childbirth, I wouldn’t know what that pain is all about. However, I *can* say that the pain that I was feeling in my neck and shoulders since the end of March through the better part of April *killed* and the next time I ask for meds, they better not poo-poo my request, thinking that I’m just whimping out.

On the other hand, those freaking (not so little) needles they poke you with are not the most pleasant… not to mention the shock that follows soon after to test for neural response. I was hoping for acupuncture type needles… they were more like thumbtacks.

Last night after I tried (and failed) to talk Gabriel into an order-in pizza for dinner, I succumbed and took him to McDonald’s as per his heart’s desire. It was past 7PM by this time… we were sitting on stools at a counter, eating our food and minding our own business, when someone (who appeared to be in drag—red lyra above-knee dress trimmed with sequins; platform shoes), asked us, with great flourish, if we would mind if ‘she’ sat next to us. What was I supposed to say… yes I mind?

“Yes, yes we do mind! Your appearance is disturbing… not only to my 10 year old child, but to me as well. If white bra straps were meant to masquerade on your shoulders like that, they’d sew them that way and make them part of the dress. Did you know that the average lipstick-wearing woman consumes about XXX pounds of wax annually… I’d say, by the amount you have all over your face presently, that your innards should be good ‘n slick… and how ’bout those acrylic nails… did you get your arms and chest hairs lasered off? Please, do tell…”

But no… I just smiled (which looked more like a grimace, I’m sure) and said “Sure, have a seat.” ‘She’ proceeded to pummel Gabriel with questions… ‘how old are you?’ ‘are you doing well in school?’ ‘what’s your favorite subject?’ ‘do you do any sports?’ Like… WTF? Then ‘she’ says… “Sometimes kids get confused… I don’t want him to get confused…” “Confused about what?” I ask (though I really feel like saying… “What? The Lou Rawls timbre to your voice even though you’ve got a red dress and heels on?!” “I’m not a pretendie… I got an operation and I’m real… it cost me $75,000,” ‘she’ says. “Okaaaaayyyy…”

We wrapped up dinner shortly after that, and as we were walking out to the car, discussed what exactly ‘she’ meant by “real” and “pretendie”… the “pretendies” are transvesties who only DRESS like women, but still have all of the male hardware… the “transexuals” are the ones who went through a whole lot of time, expense and probably a lot of time on the shrink’s couch to essentially have a boob job and his sexual organs altered to look like a woman’s. However, either one is NOT a real woman, no matter how much they’d like to think they are. We discussed how strange it would be to be in such a situation, where you are not really one or the other, and wondered about the kind of person you’d attract as a mate. Just the kind of conversation I was anticipating I would have with my 10 year old… And no folks, this did not take place in L.A. All this in our very sedate, uber conservative (Republican) city of Irvine. Don’t blame me… I can’t vote anyway.

I heard from Steve today, who was at the mini-moto race this afternoon in ‘Vegas. Mercedes Gonzales was on hand for the race (she subsequently crashed and broke her leg). She’s kindly offered to give Gabriel and me some private riding lessons… hmmm… I was only kidding about running up the hospital bill, y’know. 😀 When Steve worked at Specialized Bicycles, I went to more than a few mountain bike races, and I got to meet many of the riders, including Mercedes. I’m stoked… when do we start?

On a totally UNrelated note: I saw my first “Hello I’m a PC / Hello I’m a Mac” tv commercial today. LMFAO ROFL! Now *that* was funny! I’d seen one of the print ads, but not the commercial. It was worth the wait. 🙂

And on a FINal note for tonight, I got the Dog Star CD, Quattro Formaggi, in the mail today… only four tracks… they’re pretty good… too bad they’re done as a band. I always marvel at how the heck bands come up with their names… this one queues me over to Harry Potter (oh, my mind works in mysterious ways)… Dog Star / Sirrius / Harry’s godfather, Sirrius Black… well, I know, it’s a stretch, but bear with me. It works the other way ’round too… I was so set on a certain piece of music from one of the scenes of the second book (I think) that I felt something was missing from the movie when it didn’t include it. During the scene when Nearly Headless Nick is throwing a party for all of his ghostly friends, I couldn’t help but “hear’ Oingo-Boingo’s “Deadman’s Party” playing in perpetual loop. Wasn’t that an obvious fit?!

Okay… I’ll shut up now… since I woke up way before anyone OUGHT to wake (at 4AM this morning), I’ll be turning in.

Bullet point update…

* new employment on the horizon for my (better?) half
* mom made it through surgery, with a hop-up porcine valve and some extra work on the aorta
* I found some old music on iTunes… Falco’s ‘Rock me Amadeus’ and a collection of Ultravox tunes (so, in your best Fairly Odd Parents’ Cosmo voice, say: Woo…! it’s an 80’s-a-paloosa!)
* tried finding “Der Kommissar” on the ‘net… wish it was available on iTunes **
* and I found some newer (doggone hard-to-find!) music: the 3 Dogstar CDs – woo-hoo!

Alright… past my bedtime… gotta get in to work for 6AM… tomorrow’s EMG testing day…

** some day when I’m brave, old and/or stupid (not necessarily in that order), I will recount the story behind Der Kommissar…

Hospital visit…

Visit with Grandma at Kaiser on Sunset, Hollywood

Earlier this week we got news that Steve’s mom was having some episodes of heart arrythmia and was taken into the hospital during the weekend. She was transfered to the cardiac unit in Hollywood for further assessment and is now waiting to undergo a valve transplant, hopefully tomorrow or Friday. Since Steve will be in ‘Vegas this weekend, covering the Supercross finale (so…. who will it be… Bubba? Chad? Ricky?), we figured we’d pop in on mom before surgery takes place. Though she tires quickly, she was glad to see us all, especially “the boy” who aged two years within a matter of hours *big wink* so that he could go and visit her in the hospital.

After our visit, we grabbed dinner locally with Grandpa. My friend Kelly suggested an Italian restaurant called Palermo’s off of Vermont St., but Grandpa and Gabriel picked The House of Pie instead. Urp!

Just can’t see…

Watercolor & watersoluble colored pencils

There’s some weak art production going on here… my attempt (above) at a spring themed postcard for the Belle Papier spring postcard swap. My eyes just aren’t working. My art-seeing eyes, the ones I use to see line and shape and color. I am bereft. Perhaps I am overwhelmed with things. Perhaps the pain in my neck and shoulder and the constant neural short-circuiting going on in my left arm has thrown me for a loop. All I know is that I am mighty displeased with whatever I’ve produced lately, and as I circle around the apartment, trying to figure out what it is that I have to say, and how, exactly, I want to say it, all I feel like doing is just laying down for a nap, or flipping on the TV and watching Build or Bust, or some such thing. *sigh* I’m very unimpressed with myself.

What I have been doing is reading blogs… I’ve added a few more to my links. When I grow up, I want to be like Liz (see: Granny Gets a Vibrator Blog). Maybe I ought to try something a little more primal? Hmmm…