Wednesday, October 31, 2007


This year's pumpkin carvings were done in styrofoam pumpkins. I know, I know, not traditional, but Himself would whine about the smell of the rotting pumpkins. Can't say I really blame him. No matter how much cinnamon and nutmeg you rub on the lid, you can't keep that funk smell away when the pumpkin begins to go off soon after they are carved.

The cat pumpkin is in honor of Ink. He is 10 years old today and celebrating by sleeping in his favorite hidey hole. Black Kitty
Have a happy, safe, and blessed Samhain.

Friday, October 26, 2007

30 Some-odd Questions

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? Erica. She just slays me.

2. What were you doing at 0800? If it was AM, I was reading Chip Morton fanfic stories (Lt. Cmdr. Chip Morton, XO of the SSNR Seaview, not the Bengals coach.) If it was PM, I had ice cream.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Watching “The Fall Guy” on DVD.

4. What happened to you in 2006? The Young One and I went to the Western Writers Conference in Minneapolis, MN. We had tons of fun. Met Erica, Mossflower1, Frauee, BVMom

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? “Do you want me to pause it?” Himself had to go pick up the Young One at the school Halloween dance. We were watching “Fall Guy” and Himself got hooked on the episode.

6. How many beverages did you have today? 2 cups of tea this morning maybe 3 I sorta forget, a bottle of water with ice tea mix at lunch, a Wendy’s coke for dinner and now I’m having a cup of tea.

7. What color is your hairbrush? Purple

8. What was the last thing you paid for? Filled the car with gas.

9. Where were you last night? Same place I am most nights. At home.

10. What color is your front door? White

11. Where do you keep your change? On my dresser, in the pink piggy bank, in the blue apothecary jar, on the half wall by the pink piggy bank. Sort of like a squirrel, I just hide bits here and there.

12. What’s the weather like today? It was a dark and stormy night.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Hood’s Heavenly Hash
14. What excites you? chaps in chaps Cowboy

15. Do you want to cut your hair? Had it done on Wed.

16. Are you over the age of 25? Two score twelve, yup that’s over.

17. Do you talk a lot? Me? Quiet as a mouse.

18. Do you watch the O.C.? Maybe I would if I knew what it was.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes

20. Do you make up your own words? Sometimes. My favorite is from a fella I used to work with gyromauselate: to roll in one’s grave.

21. Are you a jealous person? Sometimes

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Alesia

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Karen.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? Bank of America

25. What does the last text message you received say? “Add minutes with out new add by phone plan. Your friends at Tracfone.

26. Do you chew on your straw? No, I swallow it whole. Pony

27. Do you have curly hair? Not any more. Sherrie cut the curls off

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? To bed

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? Rude people don’t last long

30. What was the last thing you ate? Wendy’s #4, no onion.

31. Will you get married in the future? Nope. Have me the best.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? Can’t remember. Baseball has taken over. Go Red Sox!

33. Is there anyone you like right now? Like crushes? Richard Widmark, Lee Majors, Robert Redford,

34. When was the last time you did the dishes? I don’t do dishes. That’s why God made us buy the dishwasher, but I did load it up this morning.

35. Are you currently depressed? Nope

36. Did you cry today? Nope.

37. Why did you answer and post this? Alesia made me.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. Does anyone want to play?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Homework, Again

Spent the morning drawing my word as a design element. Finished one. Did a second. Amazing how the more I practice the worse the final result was! Guess I'm a one trial learner.

An email just arrived from the instructor with a question from a classmate. Did I say yesterday I was a visual learner? Seems I interpreted the assignment incorrectly. What we are supposed to do is free hand our word as a word. Left to right, paying attention to spacing. Duh If we have time we should trace the design element, transfer a 3" square to good paper, outline and paint it in.

Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


This month's homework is to take a 7 letter word, use it as a design element and draw the letters free hand. The letters are to be outlined in pencil at a height of 2 inches. After the drawing has been made a 3" x 3" square of the design is to be traced and transfered to good paper, outlined with a Pigma pen and painted in with gouache. Phew

I decided to spend the entire day working on the first part of the assignment. I found the assignment so hard to do, and frustrating. It shouldn't be this hard to draw Roman caps. Heck, these are the first letters we learn to print in monoline.

My biggest problem was I couldn't see anything in my head other than the word. I couldn't imagine a design. I'm such a linear thinker, (comes from so many years as a computer programmer), and I'm so used to engineering things when I draw: straight edge, French curves, compass, shape templates. I've also decided I'm a visual learner even though the silly blog quiz said I was an auditory learner.

Light Bulb So with visual engineering and the friendly scanner, I scanned in the backward example we were given, mirrored the image and printed the letters on acetate. I cut out my word. I laid the letters on a sheet of paper, moved, shifted, and arranged them. I still could read my word. I then employed the James' magic hat technique of selection though I used a tissue box as it was close at hand. Tossed the letters in and then picked them out and tossed them on the paper. I had a visual tool I could use.

The first drawing sux. So I traced and transfered. That's my graphic. It will help with the visual as well as muscle memory. I've printed it out and will go back to the drawing board.
Can you see my word? Cowboy

Monday, October 22, 2007

Animator vs. Animation

This animation by Alan Becker came through the calligrapher's list. Thought it might add some amusement to your Monday. Click on the figure to activate.

Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART

Friday, October 19, 2007

Oh, Fudge!

Last week, my friend Red and I took our annual trip to Old Mystic Village to putter around in the shops. One store we especially like is Franklin's General Store. Franklin's has 20 some odd varieties of fudge and free samples. The flavor du jour was pumpkin which was ok. I bought a brick of their Snickers fudge. Mmmmm, too die for! I decided to recreate the recipe.

I started with a basic recipe for Foolproof Fudge. Found at the Eagle Brand site. I alter the basic recipe. I just dump in 2 bags of chocolate chips and I use 2 T. of vanilla extract.

To make the fudge into snickers, I melted 2 bags ( 5.5 oz) of Werther caramels with sweetened condensed milk using the same method as melting the chocolate. No vanilla extract. Into the melted mixture, I added 1 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts.

In a greased 8" x 8" square pan, I poured half the fudge mixture. Then I spread the caramel layer and let that cool a little bit. Then I had to reheat the fudge mixture to make it spreadable and then spread that on top. Refrigerate to set.

Since this was the test batch, it still needs tweaking. I give it a C. Next time around, I will look for the square caramels as the Werthers have a different consistancy. The store I was at didn't have the square ones. I will also melt that bag without the sweetened condensed milk. I thought that would help melt the caramels. It worked a treat, but it doesn't set up as hard as I thought it would. At room temp, the middle layer becomes gooey. I would also use lightly salted peanuts as I think that would enhance the taste.

The presentation isn't all that pretty, but it eats well.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lady Bugs

The lady bugs arrived in swarms today. Each year in October on a warm day, not an Indian summer day, as we haven't had a first frost yet, but on an unseasonably warm day, the lady bugs arrive. Hundreds of them dotted the house, the windows, the screens. Several dozen were walking along the ceiling of the front porch. Ink was entertained by them. He eagerly watched them flit about. Tentativley touched his paw to the screen and then decided just to watch the little critters. They decorated the house all day and then at sunset they vanished as mysteriously as they arrived.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy Little Time Waster

I found Halloween Hangman on my friend, Alesia's blog. I can't thank her enough for this seasonal treat. Halloween Hangman isn't just a happy little time waster. It's a morbidly funny happy little time waster with a smart mouth host. The Young One and I spent yesterday afternoon laughing as we played low score.

Follow the link if you have nothing better to do

Halloween Hangman created by The Dimension's Edge, Inc.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10 - 20 - 30 Tag

Erica from On The Write Path has tagged me. This is called the 10 -20 - 30 tag. The game is simple. You just blog what you were doing 10, 20, and 30 years ago.

10 years ago 1997: I was a stay at home mom with a 9 year old and a 5 year old. Mommy We had just switched the Eldest from public school to 4th grade at a parochial school. The Young One was enrolled in morning session kindergarten at the public school. The public school had changed the start time of school 15 minutes earlier to 8:30am, the same time as the parochial school. The Eldest's new school was a fifteen or twenty minute commute to a town south of us. I didn't have anyone that could see the Young One got on the bus so she had to come for the ride and arrived to school late every day. After the first 3 weeks, I got a call from the principal at the public school chastising me for the fact that the Young One was late. I explained to him I couldn't be in two locations at the same time and the Young One would be late to school every single blessed day of the year because it was more important the Eldest be at her school on time. He was not happy. I stopped him dead with, "If she's late to kindergarten, will it mar her chances to get into Harvard?"

20 years ago 1987: I was a computer programmer for a software house to the electronic and electrical distribution industry. I was working on a point of sale system. I was also expecting The Eldest.
Pregnant Smiley

30 years ago 1977: I graduated from Boston University with a BA in English. Teddy Grad I concentrated in Medieval English Literature and could read 3 dialects of Middle English. After graduation, I worked full time at our local hospital in the laboratory (I had worked there through high school) I was promoted from lab receptionist to a float and I helped out in various departments. I was on the phlebotomy team in case of disasters and was stationed in the ER. I was the OSHA inspector for the lab. I ran the lab computer and made rounds picking up blood test orders from all the floors. I was the bench technician in microbiology. You name the bodily substance, I plated it. Winky

If you want to play, let me know so I can link your blog so others can read.
Gringita decided to play. Read what she was up to 10-20-30 yrs. ago: Gringita's Blog
See what Pete was up to 10-20-30 yrs. ago: Pete's Blog

Monday, October 15, 2007

Scrabblings II

I finally ventured down here. I don't hear anything running around in the walls. Not sure whether that is good news or bad news. It could mean the critter dropped dead behind the wall. Guess we'll know in a day or two. That would be bad news. Maybe Ink made a friend last night and had a little snack. Come to think of it, Ink did leave me a huge kibble tube that he hawked up. That was bad news too. Maybe the critter found his way out. That would be really good news.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I hear scratching and scrabbling coming from the wall that separates the playroom from the furnace room. I thought it was Ink romping in the cedar closet, but I found him curled up, sound asleep on a quilt. Some watch cat. I thought the noise might be from a mouse, but the scratching is loud as if made by a large critter. Every once in a while I pound on the wall hoping to scare the living daylights out of the critter. Doesn't seem to be working. There's a moment of silence and then the scratching begins again. He's scaring the living daylights out of me though. Nothing like scary noises to get in the Halloween spirit. Think I'll go upstairs and use the laptop. Scrounge some chocolate and have a cup of tea to calm my nerves.

Monday, October 8, 2007

ATC - Dr. Seuss

This month's ATC theme was Dr. Seuss. Since today was a rainy day, it was a perfect day to play with Thing One and Thing Two. I found this theme to be hard to interpret. I looked at Green Eggs and Ham, my favorite Suess book, but couldn't find anything that inspired me. Scoured the Internet for images and quotes. Finally came across this one:

"You're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in."

But what to do for an image. Last year, I had made some ink blots for a small book I made. Yes, these were done on purpose like Rorschach blots. Anyway, one of the ink blots reminded me of a silhouette of Dr. Seuss' creatures. Maybe even the venerable Cat himself if he was wearing tails along with his stove pipe hat. The background is a computer generated image created in Paint Shop Pro. The ink blots were printed on glossy paper and mounted with double stick tape to give a 3D effect. Ziller Glossy Black ink with heaven knows what size crowquill.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Calligraphy School - Class 2, Continued

After we had painted in our letter, we were supposed to doodle around it with the Pigma pen and make a sort of modern illuminated initial. By the time I reached this point, it was near the end of class, and my brain was pretty much fried. I also didn't want to wreck my letter. So, I made photocopies of the letter and last night before going to bed, I finished the assignment. The doodle style is based on a Australian mail art award I won (brag, brag). The certificate was done by Karen Ter Haar, Cecilia Sharpley, and Diane Ting.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Calligraphy School - Class 2

Today's lesson involved tracing Roman skeletons to understand their proportions. We were to think of the letters inside a box. Some letters like O take up the entire box. Letters like W and M go outside the box. I and J are narrow. K and R are half the width of the box.

We then drew a pencil skeleton and then added the weight to the letter by drawing in the appropriate lines. This is a very different approach, but the exercise would give us a greater and more intimate understanding of the letters. After the letter was fleshed out, it was then outlined with a .01 Micron Pigma pen and then painted in with black gouache.

This was my first attempt. Pleasant, potentially harmless. Needs more tapering in the waist.