Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!

2010 was... intense. I am 39 credit hours closer to my degree... by this time next year I'll have my BA!

I had a relationship for about 5 months (from April to August) that taught me what I want (and don't want) in a romantic partner. Interestingly, I thought that intellectual compatibility was paramount for me, but I found, much to my surprise, that emotional compatibility was much more important. Also political compatibility is essential and - this is a big one - MUST LOVE DOGS! So I put this out to the Universe: I'm very clear that the person I share my life with in the future must be a kind, warm, intelligent, left-leaning dog lover. :)

I was unemployed for nearly all of 2010 and I'm so grateful that I had paid enough in to unemployment that I had the benefits I needed (along with a new housemate - more on that in a second) and student loans that allowed me to make my mortgage payments and feed Griffin, Merry, and Pippin. Maeve is still in "foster care", living the good life with friends who spoil her rotten. She's had a trainer, been in a couple of horse shows, and even starred in a commercial! A miracle occurred in December - the owner of the appraisal company that shares an office with my old firm called me out of the blue and offered me an admin assistant/researcher position. He's someone who I've known and respected for several years, and since I worked in the same office with him and his appraisers, there are no weird personality surprises. I like the people I work with a lot and think this is a perfect fit, especially since I can continue to attend UNM full-time while I'm working.
My friend Robert started renting a room from me a year ago today. It's worked out great! Robert has a wicked sense of humor (example: he was about to go and house sit for other friends and he said, "I bet you'll be glad to have your house to yourself." I said, "No, I'll miss you. You're like the brother I never wanted. " He replied, "and you're like the sister I wish I'd killed.") Expecting more hilarity this year. :)
I've lost about 20 pounds this year - just 40 more to go! I haven't really been dieting, but I walk to and from school every day and I walk Griffin (now about 100 pounds of puppy) twice a day as well. I gave up artificial sweetner and watch my carbs. I think I'm getting kind of inflexible (bad for someone who has traditionally been known as "entirely flexible") so back to yoga for me. I'm working on illustrations for a yoga book for a teacher in New York. It will be a pop-up and will come with a DVD. I'll post when it's available to buy!

Speaking of available - the Two Fine Ladies books are now available from Lionaps, as IPad and IPod applications. I asked Random House for the rights and they kindly allowed them to revert back to me. I'm hoping a whole new crowd of five year old girls will enjoy them. :)

I did one show this year - Lucky Stiff at the Adobe. It was great fun, but I think I need to wait til I'm done with school to do any more. I also costumed Spelling Bee for MTS, which was awesome. I'm sorry to say that most of the costumes went up in flames during the warehouse fire, but MTS survived and is still doing theatre, so that's good. I also worked on two movies - one for 48 Hours, which I co-wrote with my friends Karl and Glenda, and one that I did art department stuff for - the Treehouse for Duke City Shootout. I am hoping hard that the NM government remembers all of the revenues the film industry brings to this state when they decide about tax incentives for film here...

Guess that's it for now. Looking forward to seeing what the year brings - and I'm hoping to be more devoted to this blog!

Wishing anyone who reads this clarity, happiness, and the strength of your convictions in 2011!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gainful Employment (with unusual benefits)

So, I was without a job for nearly two years. I've been trying to make the art work into a full-time career, but since I'm also at UNM full-time, well... it's all about time or the lack thereof, isn't it? Or maybe it's about drive and the lack thereof.

At any rate, it was looking like unemployment was coming to an end and student loans would just barely cover my expenses with no room for pesky things like food and gasoline. Wonder of wonders, a few weeks ago I got a phone call from the owner of the appraisal office next door to the one I used to work for, and he offered me a job.

I watched how this man treated his employees for about 3 years. He is consistently kind and respectful - a real gem of a boss. I also know and like all of the other employees, so no surprises there. I was really hesitant because I don't want a full-time position right now on top of my two other full-time positions. But Gareth (the boss) said he'd work with my school schedule until I finish, and even at part-time, I can afford to pay my bills. :)

Don't think I'm giving up on the writing and art dream. It just takes the pressure off of it a little.

Merry Christmas to me, and to all of you.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Break

The summer semester ended yesterday and I feel like I've been run over by a truck. A truck full of knowledgy stuff! I took 9 hours this summer and in retrospect, it was a little ambitious. I did survive, however, and I think I kept my GPA more or less intact.

Analysis of Literature is probably one of the hardest classes I've ever taken. We covered Milton, Wordsworth, Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, some Proust, and on and on, plus we studied the entire text of Blood Meridian, Richard II, and Polynomials and Pollen - a somewhat pretentious poetry book that fortunately included some really good poetry along with the obscure and relatively meaningless stuff. Blood Meridian made me hate my life for a few weeks. It is unrelentingly black and violent. No three-dimensional female characters, and a slew of child murders, told in gory detail.

I loved Dante in Translation. We didn't make it through much of Purgatorio or Paradisio, but we did a thorough examination of Inferno. It made me realize how quickly I forget my Italian when I'm not speaking it. Italian Lit this fall should improve that situation.

The real surprise was Professional and Technical Writing. I love it. The teacher was really fun, and I learned to do a lot of things with Word. I also met with the head of the department and he gave me some good news about the potential for an actual job when I graduate.

I have three weeks to catch up on housework, the yoga book that I'm working on with Andy Baron, and my own writing and illustration projects. I'm also going to take a trip with Charles (my new beau) to Durango. He's never been to Mesa Verde. There is also a horseback trek to see runins that we might do. We're planning a trip to San Jon to do some archaeology too.

Griffin is huge, well over 90 pounds at 10 months. Kitties are fine. Maeve starred in a commercial. I haven't seen her in way too long. Will probably head over there on Monday to watch Orrie give her her lesson.

Tonight, going to the Duke City Shootout Gala with Tree and Rick. I worked art department on one of the films, The Treehouse. It's been a movie summer: Tree and Rick put together a 48 Hours team and I co-wrote our movie, acted as production designer and costumer. It was a blast. I'll post a link here when it's available. The movie is called Past Perfect.

I guess that's all for now. I hope to blog more frequently about school and art in the coming months, but I can't promise anything...

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Was I crazy to take physics, medieval archaeology, interdisciplinary approaches to literature:age and gender in the media, and intermediate Italian all in one semester? Maybe, but it's half over and I'm not drowning, just waving...

Griffin is still fighting the parasites he came with, the latest infestation was hook worms and I'm not entirely sure the meds knocked them out. This angelic looking pup can clear a room in seconds...

I'm costuming the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for MTS and think I may break down and audition for Lucky Stiff at the Adobe toward the end of the month. It's been too long since I trod the boards!

Got lots simmering on the back burner in the art area, will let you know when it boils.

All for now- back to studying. I'm happy to say that the 2nd law of thermodynamics explains why my studio looks the way it does.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Griffin story

So, as I posted last, I have a beautiful new addition to my family, Griffin. He may be a purebred Akbash, or he may be an Akbash/Great Pyrenees blend, but I really don't care one way or another- he's gorgeous whatever his lineage.

Here's the thing. I woke up this morning thinking of Griffin's mom, whose photo is at the top of this entry. First a little history. Akbash dogs are sheep guardians from Turkey. The traditional wisdom there is apparently (I'm going to use that word a lot in this blog) that you put the dog with your flock of sheep as a youngster, handle him or her as little as possible, and basically the dog becomes a flock member. A flock member with pointy teeth who will protect the rest of the flock from predators because they are now the dog's family. Maybe this works well in Turkey (maybe dogs there never need vet care or to be touched by human hands). I don't see how it could, but hey, what do I know?

What I know is that Griffin's mom and two male dogs, a Great Pyrenees and an Akbash, were being used to guard a flock of sheep on a hillside in Ferron, Utah. When it came time to move them to the winter pasture, the sheep's owners apparently felt that it was too much trouble to move Mom and ten pups, so they left them there. In October. With no food or shelter, and no one to care for them. I'm not a violent person, but if I got hold of one of these losers, I believe I could do violence to them. A swift kick to the groin area seems appropriate.

Fortunately, one of the neighbors found the pups when they were about 5 weeks old and an Akbash rescue organization and Big Dogs Huge Paws (a large breed rescue organization) managed to find homes for all ten of the pups. Mom didn't fare so well. She is wary of people and neither rescue has been able to catch her. There is a lot of snow in the mountains, so caring people have built a winter shelter for her, and are bringing her food. For a while she was trying to guard a neighboring rancher's flock of sheep, but he kept shooting at her. I am told that Akbash, like wolves, form very strong pair-bonds. Mama's mate is gone,along with the sheep. Her pups are gone. The goons who "owned" her are gone, and they left her unsocialized, which means she's not getting the vet care she so desperately needs. She also needs to be be spayed, so this tragedy doesn't replay next year when the flock and the male dogs return... The situation just breaks my heart.

Fortunately, the rescue organizations continue to try to catch Mama dog so she can get care and maybe have the chance at a brighter future... keep good thoughts for her, k?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I guess since I completely missed December and January due to the newest member of my family (a Pyrenees/Akbash puppy who I've named Griffin) it's time to play a little catch-up.

My critique group decided in January to make "artistic resolutions". My resolution was to finish revising Bone Songs and Lizzie's Purple Dragon and sell them, and to send out at least 2 packages a week to art editors. I've been somewhat successful at doing both, although I'm behind on the two packages a week- it's been more like one a week, but it's still progress.

I'm also at UNM full-time again this semester, and I'm feeling like I've maybebitten off more than I can chew. I have Interdiscplinary Approaches to Literature: Age and Gender in the Media,which requires reading at least 100 pages a week; Intermediate Italian where the teacher now almost never speaks English and neither does the book; Physics and Physics Lab which my friend Cy is teaching, but that doesn't make the concepts any easier; and Medieval Archaeology, which I love, but which also requires a huge amount of reading. Add to this the fact that I still don't have a source of income beyond unemployment which ends in May, and you can imagine that I'm feeling a little stressed... but I'm hopeful too, and excited to see what the future holds.

That's all for now, more next month, I hope.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Tonight I am trying to prepare for the three mid-term exams that I have tomorrow. My teachers all thought that their students would have a lot of mid-terms last week so they were "kind" and moved theirs to Thursday this week. Unfortunately for me, all but one of my teachers thought the same thing, so I have a pile up.

Why am I feeling guilty? Here's the list:

1) I've missed tai chi for the past 3 weeks and had planned to do a make-up class tonight, but now I'm not going to because I have to study. My "Spirit Mom" paid for the class and I hate feeling like I'm wasting her money.

2) I need to be working on a logo but I'm putting it off because I am so terrible at Illustrator. It just seems so counter-intuitive to me! The logo is designed- by hand- but now I have to put it into the computer to make it actually useful and I'm not working on it, I'm writing this blog.

3) I don't write anything on this blog nearly often enough.

4) I have no idea what I'm going to do when unemployment runs out. I need to be working on the 4 picture books, YA novel, and screenplay that I have under construction, I need to be more diligent about my portfolio and I need to be networking and following up on leads more, but I'm not. I can blame school, or recent car troubles, or any number of things, but to be honest, I know excuses are just excuses and if I could make myself focus I'd be in a lot better shape.

5) I spend too much time on the computer, claiming to be doing research.

6) I keep saying I'm starting a diet, but I never really do.

So, what to do with this hot mess which is me? I think I need to deal with it instead of feeling guilty about it... Suggestions?