Monthly Archives: July 2011

How Do You Nourish Yourself?

This little found Italian statue stands in the bird bath, it makes me happy to see it when I'm sitting quietly in the garden.

I follow a wonderful blog written by a fellow artist in the South. Lisa writes a blog called “Cheap Therapy.” I’m not sure how I “met” Lisa in the blogosphere, but I love her writing and her art work both. Some of her posters make me laugh out loud, like “Chocolate and duct tape, what more do you need?” or “Don’t worry about avoiding temptation as you get older, temptation will avoid you.”

Lisa is writing “An Experimental Year” this year, and each week she is trying on a new idea.

Beautiful fresh food like this beautiful fresh bruschetta with mozzarella nourishes both spirit and my body.

Lisa’s blog this week was on nourishing yourself which got me thinking about the word nourishment. The art of  cooking, and eating and drinking wonderful things are never far from my chubby little heart, but beyond the physical how do I nourish myself?

 I must say though,  I have eaten things that I swear were spiritually nourishing: a meal at bed and breakfast in Burgundy with handmade cider and a cassoulet,  pate made on a farm in France with a wine selected by the farm owner, my mother’s Mexican food,

France, and the most memorable meal of my life. I think Sherry and I were in tears by the time we finished four hours after we started. Everyone should have a meal like this at least once.

the first cafe creme and croissant I had at a cafe table in Pamiers, France, barbecue at Jack Stack’s in Kansas City, and oysters toasted on my grill topped with a big glop of handmade pesto and an ice cold Italian white wine. I’m not even going to start down the list of wines that took me to a heavenly place because I’d be writing all day.

That's Barbie, she went all over France with me and she has her own travel blog. This is a picture of my first cup of coffee in France in the market town of Pamiers. I got to sit here and just exist for three glorious hours.

I definitely see a connection between how I nourish myself, stomach and spirit, and how I experience fantastic food. Hmmm…what’s the commonality? Being in the moment completely would be rule number one. I can sit in my garden with a cup of coffee and have 30 quiet minutes and if I am in the moment my spirit is rested, relaxed and joyful. When I make or eat fanatastic food, I am in the moment, knowing that something magic is happening right then, right there.

I think my wonderful chair surrounded by the garden is a great place to nourish my spirit.

The hardest thing to learn for me  was that in the middle of life’s craziness and demands I can take time for me. That would be rule number two. TAKE some time just for you.  This is my life and as far as I know I won’t get more minutes to replace the ones I am using up. We all need to make quiet spots in our lives to refresh ourselves with the natural world.

 That’s a component of fantastic food too. The time given to fresh food, the best ingredients prepared with care and eaten with joy and respect for the work of the chef. Taking the time to truly enjoy the meal, to linger and give the experience the time it deserves.

I try to take time every day, to be in the moment completely. It heals my spirit and my heart and makes me a nicer person, ask my husband, LOL.

Its easy to not make time for ourselves in our busy lives, but if we don’t  make the time we won’t ever learn the pay off of being quiet. Rule number three would be to learn to be quiet. Franz Kafka said this, one of my all time favorite things, “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

It’s true, it’s hard to do and so worth it. As a painter who has to draw inspiration from somewhere inside I have to top up the tanks on a regular basis. In my life these three rules work together to nourish my spirit and my stomach. Synchronicity happens.

1. Be in the moment.

2. Take time for you.

3. Learn to be quiet and wait.

Last but not least, I have to say thanks  for getting me thinking about my life and the concept of nourishment in a new light. I wound up being filled with gratitude and happiness for all the places I’ve been and the things I’ve both seen and eaten. Thanks Lisa!

The link to Lisa’s “Cheap Therapy”  blog is in this entry, go visit, enjoy!


Surpassing Cuteness

That's MY tail you tiny twerp!

This last Sunday I got to meet my friend Tone’s new family members. Freckles is a rescue kitty who turns out to be an excellent mouser and Tuxedo is a tiny ball of kitty energy who already rules the roost. Tone’s shih tzu Bella is my Mushka’s sister and her 4 pound Bella Donna is my 8 pounder’s sister. Complicated familial stuff here.

I am Queen Bella and I wantz nothing to do with these kittehs and dogz.

We moved to the deck to enjoy the dlate afternoon sunbreaks and the herd traveled with us. Photo op! I love taking pix of cats and dogs and Freckles is about to make his debut as the ‘bad cat’ in the new ‘bad dog’ painting which will be called ‘My Toy’.  He’s perfect for the part, just enough attitude and very mellow when he’s not busy patrolling.

Freckles, "I has attitudes and I am the mightee hunter kitteh".

Tuxedo, Mr. Four Ounces of Purring Curiousity, he just got 'fixed' so she's stuck in the cone of shame for four more days.

Brother and Sister, same litter, Moose and Mini

I gives my sissy big sloppy kisses

Too cute sitting with entwined tails, Mish and Bella Donna


Freckles in the distance on patrol fascinates these two.


Misha wonders, " What exactly you is? You don't smell like nothing I ever met."


"Just to make sure, I gonna check both endz."


Freckles explains that its his tail and Tuxedo cops attitude, Belladonna wonders what will happen next!


I bored with that fat orange kitteh, I climb you now.

What that kitteh doing now?

Where dat orange kitteh go? He unner da porch!

We all playz til I passes out in my kitteh mommy's arms, Ize purring.


Rabbit Loves Lavender

Theda Bara is thinking purple thoughts with her kitty companion.

I adore lavender. I love the way it smells, the way it looks, I even love the way it cooks.

Shastas and lavenders, summer beauty

Lavender-lemon shortbread, lavender iced tea and lavender ice cream are all mahvelous dahling. Of course, if you go at it with a heavy hand you might as well nosh on a cake of soap taste-wise. It’s  about balance, like all the best things in life.

I love painting lavender and photographing lavender. My bucket list contains another visit to France, when the lavender is blooming in Grasse, but until I make it back I’m lucky to live in Washington State.

Purple Scent Lavender farm on a cool cloudy day.

Sequim is the lavender capital up here in Washington with its own festival in July. This year with our crappy weather the lavender didn’t cooperate and bloom in time so I’ll be going up after we get a few sunny days to wallow in purple smells and sights.

Meanwhile, I discovered a gorgeous little farm much closer to home this past weekend. Purple Scent Lavender Farm is breathtaking! It’s in Bremerton with an amazing view of Dyes Inlet, who could ask for more? Lavender And a water view.

Suzanne Powers, owner of farm and boutique is delightful and knows her stuff.  I wound up buying two Royal Velvet lavenders to replace the ones that got destroyed last winter and I can’t wait to see them in their full glory.

They served lovely lavender ice cream and even a very French seafood lunch. Sadly, after being on an MG rally in the Mini all day we missed that gorgeous meal.

Royal Velvet ready to plant


I did get to meet adorable scrappy Zoe and managed to get a few pictures of that happy bundle of energy. I had to paint her, I love doing dog pieces and this one is perfect!

Zoe on the farm

 Miss Zoe is done on recycled wood, I have gone green and almost all of my work is based on repurposed materials. The loft is full of blank canvases but wood seems to inspire me more than canvas does. The piece is around 18X24″ ( I have to measure it to frame it, what was I thinking?) and will retail for around $275.00 after framing.

Zoe is in good company, here’s a painting, on seflf-framing canvas, of  a lavender farm cat who charmed me last year.

Lavender Farm Cat

The next  ‘painting’ here is big, it’s in a beautiful frame  under glass. The piece is oil pastel is on Canson Paper, I knew I had to paint it when I saw this lonely little chair in this huge purple field. 




I took the photographs I worked from for this piece on the last trip I took with Terry on our bikes just before his accident. It’s hard  to believe that was five years ago now, and its nice to know he’s fine and riding again.

Chair in the lavender field

Except for Zoe, who is too new to be there yet, my work including exact sizes and prices can be found at

I’m off to plant my lavender and if you would like to visit Purple Scent Farm in Bremerton here is a link to their website which includes directions and hours, I highly recommend it for a relaxing afternoon.



Price is Right and So Are Petroglyphs

  May 27th, Salt Lake City and South!

Train headed for Soldier Summit

 After a successful airport extraction and stashing Pam’s paraphenalia we joyously hit the road to Price and petroglyphs in Nine Mile Canyon.Then it dawns on me it is Friday at 5:00 p.m. on a three-day weekend. Oh my lord, what was I thinking? Traffic is inching along at about ten miles an hour and time is slipping by. We want to get to Price before dark and our thoughts turn to poor Paula. She has to fight this crappy traffic all the way from Logan, well north of Salt Lake City to join us with the Wonder Jeep for our run to the canyons tomorrow.

 Still, Pam and I are deliriously happy to be starting out on our vacation.  Make that  mostly happy. Finally, when I’m ready to get out of the car and slap a few lousy drivers we get to American Fork and I know Spanish Fork is just ahead, along with our turn off the interstate onto highway 89 and south to Price. Bad jokes ensue regarding forks in the road but we make the turn to the two lane and say toodles to the worst of the traffic. Of course I have to pass a few trailers the size of brontosauruses, or is that brontosauri? Who cares, we are headed up to Soldier Summit and Helper and right after that, Price.

The railyard at Soldier Summit, where the helper engines live

We get the Moon Guide out and Navigator Pam satisfies our curiousity. Helper is a railroad town and it got its moniker because of the fact that heavily laden coal trains couldn’t make the pass at Soldier Summit without a helper engine. We get off the highway to drive through Helper because we can and we’re curious.

Mid-century modern, eternally ugly library and auditorium in Helper

Finding the main drag, I am enchanted. There is a big-assed black statue of a miner in front of the really ugly 1940’s style library. The statue is one of those giant tire guys you used to see advertising what else?  Tires. I have seen them done up as Paul Bunyan, cowboys, cooks and tire guys, but this one is a coal miner complete with a six foot long pick axe.  Photo op!

Giant Miner with Pam, fill in the rest of the caption yourself, preferably with something slightly smutty.

We cruise the rest of the town finding the old Rainbow Bar whose front is covered with cobalt blue glass tiles. Pam takes about 20 shots, and we are both sad that this is Utah and the bar is not open. 

Pam trying to get the perfect shot of the blue glass front of the Rainbow

It would be cool to slug down a beer there, but we keep going and find the rest of the town is really rather charming with a lot of empty stores. The guide book tells us the town is trying to reinvent itself and has a lot of art galleries.  we’ll be back to investigate the “ghost galleries.”

Beautiful downtown helper with the Fyr Fly

On to Price! We find our motel. Such a deal, I found it on line. I never heard of the National Nine chain before but its clean, simple and the price is right. You know how you can determine you are in a cheap motel? No hairdryer, ever. Luckily, I can stuff my mop into a ponytail and a baseball cap and so can Pam. Pam and I are campers from way back. We are outdoorsy girls with evil senses of humor who don’t mind getting dirty and looking like hell when we go baying after fun.

This is as grubby as Paula ever gets, the jeep gets dirty but not Ms. P.

Then there is Paula. She drives a jeep and she drives it well off road and on. Her  jeep is jacked up for off road, it has a winch on one end and a compressor on the other and she knows how to use them. She is a talented artist and photographer and she is passionate about petroglyphs and rock art. She loves to go exploring off road and she doesn’t mind getting dirty, much. Paula loves pink, she’s an adorable blond with nice hair, fingernails, a great tan, and really cute clothes.  We know she will be traveling with a hairdryer, make up and product for her own mop. We will probably have to tie her down to convince her this is a NO MAKEUP weekend. This girl who jeeps with a bunch of rough tough guys has never slept in a tent, a fact that just boggles our minds.

Walmart, Price Utah

We settle in at the motel, eat fast food for dinner and consider it heavenly not to cook. Paula arrives and its just like being 17 all over again, clothes and crap everywhere. Pam is getting over sickiness so she passes out early and the last two of the Posse yap all night.

 Next morning, we request that the poor housekeepers not even bother with our room, all the 500 pieces from the Mini and Paula’s stuff and us in general. They are so sweet and give us a ton of towels and toilet paper, probably just glad to not have to deal with That Room. We gather ourselves up and make the list of things we need to pick up.

KMart, across from the motel, so handy.

Price has a KMart and a WalMart, and I cannot believe I visited both of them the same day. I took pictures as proof. Hey, I needed a shovel and gloves okay? I have ghost town scrounging plans and this is the best place to top off the supply stash.

Fascinating fact: If you want to go shopping in a store that is EMPTY, go on Sunday. The Mormon folk are spending the day with family and they generally don’t go shopping.  It was great, our own ghost towns full of imported from China Crap. 

Best instagram shot ever. The ball was there and Walmart was empty. I love this!

 I took my all time favorite instagram shot in Walmart. I didn’t stage it either. I saw it and snapped it in situ.

We did Sunday brunch at McDonald’s, Pam and I made a pact to avoid cooking even if it meant junk food. Utah doesn’t have tons of organic stores in small towns, so we’ll take what we get if the price is right. And now, finally to the gas station and jumping off to Nine Mile Canyon!

Next: We find Nine Mile Canyon is 40 Miles of fabulousity and the roughest road ever!




Artful Rabbit Hits Utah, Let’s Get this Party Started!

Accoutrements that all fit neatly into the Fyr Fly

May 26, day two, on to to Salt Lake. After a good night’s sleep, I packed up the Mini with all 500 pieces of assorted luggage and accoutrements, snugged it down, dropped the top and headed out of Ontario, Oregon. I headed straight across Interstate 84 and the bleakness of Southern Idaho, dropping south into Utah and on into Salt Lake City.

I was speaking at at the UASLA conference, that’s the Utah Association of Student Loan Administrators, which got me launched on this proposed  5000 mile expedition in the first place.

Almost there! walking around break, too hot to drop the top. My rule is 85 degrees and air conditioning!

Really, if you are driving to Salt Lake City why not just  keep on going? The best parts of the state are all south of here anyway, am I right? Of course I am.

I had to make Salt Lake, drive through the heart of the city and find the campus guest house at the University. Get there, check in, drag a comb through my hair, round up the usual suspects and head for a baseball game by 6:00 p.m. I made it with time to spare, I drive fast, quel surprise eh?

The Salt Lake Bees are a home town fave, they are the Triple A team for the Anaheim Angels. I love minor league ball.

The Bee's Knees, Salt Lake Bees Ballpark. Perfect evening!

The fans are always great and the atmosphere is just plain fun. These guys have a great ballpark too, the Apiary is its nickname. Bees=apiary, cuteness abounds. I digress, the conference had gotten a skybox with dinner included. Oh boy! Hotdogs and foul balls. The highlight of the evening was almost having my head removed by a foul ball that whacked the plexiglass window behind me. Okay, enough baseball.

Our tricky chef at work.

The next night our big dinner was at Benihana and we just about filled the place. Our chef was fun and the food was great. I went for the Ahi seared tuna, so good I had to take a picture, knowing I would want to remember it when I hit the back country and chili in cans.

I have died and gone to heaven. Ahi tuna, barely grilled and so yummy.


Outside the restaurant was a fantastic art installation, what a great find to stumble on. An empty lot full of wiggly poles. I loved it!

Art installation, loved stumbling on this, it was really dramatic and fun at the same time

The next day, my speaking chores finished and an excellent conference over I said good bye to all my Utah buddies and packed up the fyrfly again. I lit out to kill some time before I picked up my partner in crime, Pam, at the airport. She flew in to meet me to maximize her vacation. Accidental retirement (me) does have its good side, I no longer have to worry about how many days off I can take. I only have to worry about paying for my hijinx.

Utah capitol building

I adore Utah and have spent days and days exploring the state but this was my first time spending time in Salt Lake City. What a cool town. I had just enough time to go wandering around their capital campus. I have my own state capital at my doorstep living in Olympia so its always fun to compare Capitol buildings.

The dome of the state capitol

This was cool! The place was EMPTY, in summer the government apparently shuts down on Fridays and the building was empty except for some arab tourists, an organized group with a guide and little old me and my big old camera.

The inside of the dome is painted with Sea Gulls! I wonder if there was trompe l'oeil poop on the floor underneath?

Gorgeous murals, probably from the 20's or so, on panels around the ceiling showing Utah history.

and tucked up in the corners were adorable griffons with flamingo pink wings! How strangely gay is this?

Heroic sculpture abounded, this is Brigham Young's hand. The whole statue must have been ten feet high.


The top floor was laced with beautiful stone sculptures, like this native American chief's head.

Bonneville Salt Flats anyone? I didn't write this gent's name down, but he was a native son who broke speed records up the wazoo back in the day. Gorgeous bronze sculpture too.

I went to the gift store across the street, fighting off ten thousand Chinese tourists on the way, and found a wonderful Utah map and a book about petroglyphs.  In the next few days I planned to see finally see enough petroglyphs and rock art to make me happy, and I was looking forward to making the trip in the company of Pam and Paula and the magic jeep.

Oops, four o’clock, time to hit the road to the airport and scoop up Pam and her suitcases, figure out where to stash them and head to Price, jumping off point for petroglyphic pleasure. Have you met the Prairie Dog Posse yet? Stay tuned….

The Posse Rides...


Artful Rabbit Makes Memories With Summer Photo Fun

Self portrait: Sisters

Summer fun alert: If you have kids that are a little bit bored here’s a great idea. Unleash their creative flair by turning them loose with cameras to photograph whatever they fancy. Yes, I am lucky enough to be a professional camera hog with at least four cameras in my world so sharing is easy but everyone has digital cameras these days and lots of them are not expensive at all.

The best part is that digital media lets you burn through photos like crazy with no film development costs or worries about the cost of flubbed shots. 

 My granddaughters are old enough to turn loose with my two small but very nice digital magic boxes. I toss one of these in my purse or backpack when the big Canon camera is too much work to haul along. I am never without a camera–even if its my Iphone with Instagram.  Ah Instagram, that’s another entry entirely. I 😛 Instagram!

Pinstripe Petunia


I have Adobe Photoshop and use it for professional stuff but for just fun fooling around I absolutely adore Digital Image Pro from Microsoft. It does almost everything Adobe Photoshop does, okay, not everything, but it does a whole lot and its easy to use.

Best of all the learning curve  to mastery is not as long as the Great Wall of China. Photoshop is a pain in the patootie to learn and  my goal is to get the kids to love what they can do with photos, not give up in frustration.

State Capital WWI monument, check out the light!

I started out by giving them the cameras and the chargers for the batteries, always important. I explained how the zoom worked and the basic features like close up and yes, you can take pictures outside at night and they can be pretty cool.

We had a couple of bumps in the road, but we even got two cameras and two girls to the beach with great success and no sandy cameras.

Bird dreams, filtered shot of one of my poetry birdhouses with text added. Love it!

I showed them how to edit but for them the great fun at this point was in the taking of pictures. I gave them no direction and no guidelines. I wanted to see their response to the world around them. Wow, just wow.

Moosh, hilarious, how did she get that close to his face?

 Some of their shots were incredible. Many of them were perfect right out of the camera. 

We uploaded all the shots to the computer and I stashed them in two files, one for each girl. We will put all the raw shots and the edited shots on a flash drive for each of them to take home. What a perfect memory of summer!

I got in on the collaboration by editing their first batch of shots. Some got cropped, all got resized for print and saving, and a few had filters or exposure corrections on them. I love the black and white effects too. I think I had as much fun making magic as they did!

It has been so much fun to see the world literally, through their eyes. Seeing what they saw, what they liked, what they took pictures of has been so amazing for me. I highly recommend it to any one with kids, cameras and a computer.

Mom and Dad and sand dollars, love this shot!

Mock Orange in bloom, beautiful in black and white

Seattle Bug

Tyler loves shadows and they love her too


The State of George

Sunny Cam

Self Portrait Tyler

Tyler shoots sis, great shot of mom too!

The Rabbit Garden Window looks like a garden. Great!

night shot of a geranium, magic happens!


Family portrait

And they even got me and Moosh in a shot!

Roxipedia: Thinking Outside the Box

I love people who think outside the box. In this age of teetering on the federal fiscal brink of disaster on a daily basis, low cost cleverness rocks my higher education world. 

During my tenure at Saint Martin’s University (I admit it was several years ago and much water has run under the bridge since then) we used humor and positivity to relate to students when we wanted their attention. We designed a logo for the office featuring a drawing of a dog and his sidekick dressed up as Wild West do-gooders, Pronto and the Loan Arranger. We used that shtick on post cards to be returned to us by continuing students and in setting up exit and entrance interviews and other communications.

Our school was Benedictine, and we had an abbey with monks as part of our campus. Naturally, our collectors became widely known as the Sisters of No Mercy and students brought them postcards and birthday cards with pictures of nuns which were immediately posted and shared. In my office, we worked really hard at developing relationships with students and helping them avoid the Sisters.

I believe students must have  face time with a real person in order to be comfortable calling for help when they get in trouble or have a problem. Relationships work and its worth the investment to build them even if most of our work is through technological media like the internet.   

Adding to the getting attention mode before the world was totally electronic, our exit packet was themed as a rocket launch, as in launching into the future with all the silly space metaphors as paragraph heads. There is no faster way to lose a student than with incredibly dry factoids, especially miles of them in tiny type.  You want them to read the stuff not just file it and forget it as so often happens.

The Loan Arranger, practically an antique by now. "Drawn" as a bitmap with Paint about 20 years ago. Good grief, where did the time go?

These days, this information is all delivered electronically and the potential for cool interactive features is amazing. You only need a pet programmer. Today’s tip: make friends with the IT guys on your campus, give them cookies, give them treats and be nice to them no matter what.

I realize I worked at a small school so I was able to get a pet programmer who was willing to work with me to implement what I needed.  Look at what others at schools your size are doing, go hunting for what is out there in the market place, and if you can’t afford it how can you model it?  I had a faculty in art school who told me, “Always steal from the best.” I’m not saying plagiarize but I am saying think about adapting what is out there with your own resources, especially if you are a small school with a small budget.

When you want to deliver something to a student think like a student. Yes, we are the grown-ups (in most cases) but we don’t have to repeat the parent-kid scenario that didn’t work for us as a kid or a parent.  You may remember it as the one where kids ignore parents like they are the dumbest, clue free creatures on the planet earth. Just transfer that scenario and if the shoe fits, change your shoes!

This one up/one down scenario can makes finance people seem to be the meanest in the world with our insatiable demands that students pay attention and pay their debts. Heaven knows there is just not enough time to fit the money part into their worlds, unless of course, it is 2:00 a.m. and they are on the internet. How do you combat this perception of unfair demands and maintain some control?

Tip: If you have a project try and get a student club involved, student buy in gives you a peer-to-peer connection, great new energy and a different take on the issues, and extra hands to get the information out there.

 SUNY Genesee Community College did something brilliantly outside the box, in this case sort of outside the litter box. They have a Stall Wall Monthly Newsletter that posts important information like deadlines, tuition costs, payment dates and refund dates inside every bathroom stall on campus. Everybody uses a bathroom so everybody sees it. How clever is this?

If all else fails, feed them. Food still motivates college students. Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, uses Pizza Nights to get students to sign their eMPNs. Participants were all entered into a drawing for an IPod Touch as further incentive. Food and fun work as well now as they did 50 years ago. Somethings change but not student stomachs.

 My favorite clever trick for getting another type of students, those with past due balances, to respond is from a school in the Pacific Northwest. They bought brightly colored envelopes and stamped them with the return address of the school, just the street address and not the name of the dreaded Collections Office. They stamped “You’ve Won!” on the outside of the envelope and inside is a notice on more colored paper that says, “You’ve won a trip to collections if you don’t contact us regarding your past due balance.” It goes on to list the fact that they are there to help and some of the options available. Talk about hitting a mule over the head to get its attention, half the battle is getting their attention and the other half is getting them to respond. This worked really well because of the shock value but it takes a brave and fearless finance office to put this tool to work.

These are a few of the things I have discovered, what you have done or discovered outside the box on your campus? 

Why we need Fiscal Literacy Counseling
Swiped from the website Overheard Everywhere

Really skinny college girl: I paid my rent and then I spent the rest of my refund, $700, on this new Louis Vuitton (squeals and hugs the purse). But now I have 30 bucks to last a whole month. Looks like I’ll be dating for dinner or eating crackers.
College student girl friend: You spent twice as much on your bag as you did your rent! At least you paid your rent on time! Don’t worry, you’ll find dates. That purse is totally worth it!
Really skinny college girl: I know, right, I should just live in my purse. I think that is why married women get fat: they can finally afford to eat. You know my ass is getting fat when I get married.

overheard at IHOP
Dallas, Texas