Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Magic Whiskers

I picked an illustration from the good old days for this week's theme soft. It's a selection from a story I wrote and illustrated called, The Tale of the Magic Cat Whiskers. I never attempted to get the story published.  It would need some work.  But with a title like that it really does deserve a second look.  The fairy sitting on a soft hydrangea puff is sad because she has lost her tiny fairy wand. And this is a little known fact.  But certain and very specially selected cat whiskers can be used as fairy wands.  At least in my story.  And maybe even in real life...

Hana at 6 months old.  Loaded with "magic"whiskers.

My beloved cat Hana has magic whiskers. I dare you to prove otherwise.  She was named after the beautiful road to Hana on Maui. And that's just what life is like with a cat like her.  It's full of twists and turns.  And great fun!  We knew she was special the first minute we spotted her calico coat at the humane society.  She is the boss of our household.  But a boss with an easy going catitude.  And a love for everyone that comes within a paws length of her.

Hana was diagnosed with cancer last week.  She had what we hope is a successful surgery to remove a small sarcoma on her leg.  And do you know what caused this tumor?  Well, you should.  Her vaccinations.  Be sure that your Vet injects them low on the leg or in the tail.  Because a cancer can form at the injection site.  And trust me.  If you don't catch it early like we did, they might lose life or limb.  And make sure they are necessary in the first place.  

Hana has a big scar on her leg and is spending quite a bit of time in a big tent that has transformed our living room into the wilderness.  She needs to be separated from her inquisitive brother.  And kept from jumping and playing while she heals.  It's been like trying to stop time.  Or a tidal wave. get the picture.

An Update...
 Well, just as I was creating this post I received an email from the U of M Veterinary Services that Hana's sarcoma was completely excised and should be curative! She's been such a trouper.  Sleeping in her tent like a Persian queen, wearing her clown collar with pride and purring through it all.  Yup, magic whiskers for sure.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Stone Arch Bridge

You never know when you're going to have a good time. (like last Summer) We decided to go for a walk after having a brew and some Cajun 2 Geaux (my favorite food truck) at the popular 612 brew.  We decided to wander around at the Stone Arch Bridge. The balloon guy didn't disappoint! 

I like how the blurry guy is looking up in amazement.

Dean is looking down with unknown thoughts.

I never tire of looking at the skyline.

Drying his wings almost out of my photo range.

Something old.

And bold colors!  I love this capture.

The evening glow is starting to illuminate.

And reflect.

There were interesting sculptures of some historic buildings on our tour.

This might be one of the most interesting art installations I've seen around town.  There were at least a dozen or more historic replicas.  Yup, you never know what you'll run into when you take a walking photo safari.

A classic shot of the bridge taken a few years ago.

5 random things I love about downtown Minneapolis.  But not for Random 5 Friday.  
That ship has sailed yet again.  Geez.

1)  In the winter you can walk in the skyways.  It is a lot more fun than mall walking.  Because you are rewarded with glimpses of the busy streets and downtown architecture every time you cross one.

2)  The Oceanaire has a great happy hour.  It includes Filet Mignon sliders, cajun shrimp with cheesy grits and a James Bond Martini.  Yum!

3)  Or (unrelated to downtown) how about a Vesper?  "I never have more than one drink before dinner.  But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made"  James Bond in Casino Royale, 1967  Bond switches to martinis after his Bond girl du jour Vesper meets her maker.

"The Vesper"
3 ounces gin
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce blonde Lillet

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve with a large, thin slice of lemon peel. Why?  Because that's the way Bond liked it.

4)  The farmer's market on Nicollet.  Since my husband works right by it he can easily pick up fresh vegetables and other local products.  Opening soon!

5)  When I meet my husband for lunch I can get a great cupcake at Cocoa and Fig.  It's right next door!

Friday, April 3, 2015


The light was warm and wonderful as we strolled at Richfield Lake last Spring.

I love this photo.  The  back light made the old fluffy cat tails glow.  Meanwhile, the muted green of last year's new growth peeks through the cracks.

Reflections of an egret looking for an evening bite before bed.

And here are 5 random new reflections and nature observations for Spring 2015...

1) It was a record breaking 84 degrees in Minneapolis on April 1st this Spring. No fooling. We had our first outdoor picnic.  Even though the winds were fast and furious  We brought a margarita and picked up Chipotle and ate it by Minnehaha creek.  Everything tastes better outdoors.

2)  My husband inline skated around Lake Harriet on two occasions before ice out. 

3)  We have a surplus of chipmunks in our back yard this Spring.  Hmmm.  I wonder if it is because we give them so much corn in the Fall.

4)  We finally kept the bunnies out of our raspberries over the Winter.  We'll have a record bounty this year!

5)  I remember that Random 5 Friday ended around Easter last year. I created a Random 5 post about the beautiful resort town of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua for Easter.  San Juan del Sur has the 2nd largest Christ statue in the world.  Christ of the Mercy.  To see the statue with breath taking views click here!

Happy Easter Everyone! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Pier

Everyday is a beautiful day at the Pier.  Well, sometimes it is windy.  And maybe cold.  But as with any beach, there is always beauty to behold and discoveries to be made. I always see dolphins here.  And birds.  I think these are willets or sandpipers.  Or willets and sand pipers.

You never know what the tide will roll in.  I love how I caught my toe in this photo.

  A footprint.  Just not mine.

Out on the blue.

Out on the beach. 

A vivid inspection.

What lies beneath. My favorite photo from Naples last year.

The ibis were picking and pecking.

The pier might be full of tourists.  But it's just your feet in the sand and some birds for company a ways down.

Naples beach, Florida.  A glorious way to spend a day in March!

5 things I love about Naples, Florida

1)  My sweet in-laws have a groovy condo there.  It's sure better than a condo in Fargo.  You betcha.

2)  No matter how old we get we are still the youngest people there. Ha!

3)  The people are so rich that they literally litter money all over the floor at the mall.  (My in-laws will understand this one) 

4)  There's a Waffle House!  I heart waffles.  And cheesy eggs.  Nuff said.

5)  Tommy Bahamas has a happy hour! And pina coladas and their famous coconut cloud martini are on it.   Nothing tastes better than one of those after the above photos.  A prescription for winter happiness.  You'll thank me later.  

P.S.  I just passed 100,000 blog visits!  Whoo Hoo!

Outside Heaven's Gate

Heaven's Gate

I just added Heaven's Gate to my other blog.  Sharon's Studio I like to mix it up and add something new seasonally.  And kitties roaming around outdoors seemed fitting for spring.  I painted Heaven's Gate when my cat Baby died.  She was no longer on the outside looking in.  Or on the inside looking out. But hopefully she is somewhere. I can't imagine Heaven being very fun with out our beloved pets.

Outside is the theme this week over at  And baby's piercing stare down through the fence seemed like a perfect fit.

Friday, March 20, 2015


I figure this old illustration I call Devil Cat fits the bill for Ruckus.  A theme I can't ignore.  Because the word Ruckus is just plain cool!

Devil Cat is just busy and full of crazy cat energy.  Cats do create a ruckus where ever they go.  Especially at meal time.

Here are 5 random crazy cat tales about my old cat Baby. For Random 5 Friday


1)  Baby once got locked in a stranger's apartment. But before I discovered this I called my future husband Dean to lead a cat hunt. No baby. She was dog gone lost.  But then I heard a faint cry near the door of a future cat burglar.  "Baby, is that you?"  "Mew, meow.  Meow, mew" she whined.  I called the land lord and he came over with a key.  Disgruntled.  He opened the door and Baby made a bee line for my apartment. After that Baby was no longer allowed to roam the halls.  But it was almost impossible to keep her inside.  

2)  Baby hated everyone.  So when she met my future husband for the first time she creeped up behind him and gave him a hard paw slap on the cheek.  After this initial punishment they became fast friends.

3)  Baby went ballistic over other cats. One night while I was away on a layover as a flight attendant, my future hubbie Dean slammed the open window down on her paw.  Baby had woke him up in the middle of the night screaming at a cat outside.  You know the kind of blood curdling alley cat screech. Some how she used her super cat powers to heal herself because she was fine soon after.  But Dean worried that our relationship wouldn't be.  If she would have had a limp.....

4) One time I found a piece of cat poop in my bedside kleenex box. It took me awhile.  But I figured she was having one of those kook outs after she got one stuck in her nether regions.  You know like when they run at warp speed and scoot across the floor.  Well, she used to jump from my head board onto the mantle of the fireplace in my studio apartment.  That's when the poop hit the fan.  Or dropped into my kleenex box as it were.

5)  Baby left her DNA on all my artwork.  Here she is sitting on Devil Cat.  How appropriate.  She was mine.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lover's Key

Lover's Key State Park has been my favorite beach since childhood.  I remember fondly the cool mornings when we would sneak in before dawn.  We were on a mission to find sea shells.  You never knew what mysterious gifts the tide would unfurl.  First, you would cross the wooden tidal bridges that connect the key to the mainland.  The sun just a blush on the horizon.  Then, with flash lights in hand you would search the shore for precious jewels.  At least they were to me! 

By the time you reached the end of the key the sun was high enough to warm your back on the return.  I usually had a bag of conchs, tulips and cat's eyes. And the rest of the day to picnic, sun tan and watch for raccoons.  They would steal your lunch if you weren't careful. And the sea gulls would get the rest.

Nature's sculpture

Now days I'm happy to simply photograph someone else's shells. And stroll... 

But Lover's Key holds more than shells and sunshine.  Birds like this osprey love it too.

They were hard at work feeding their young. 

I love the pop up head!

I also love how their head feathers blow around in the breeze.  Majestic.

A white egret standing tough.

Lover's Key has changed over the years.  You probably can't sneak in anymore.  And the old wooden tidal walkways are now wide and strong enough for long trams. It's not quite so rustic and wild.  But still better than a beach lined with condos and restaurants.  The good old and new days.

And I'm giving a shout out to my friend Danielle who was at the beach with us on this day.  Hi Danielle!  We will have to do this again this year! See you soon. Siesta Key this time.

P.S.  I thought I'd share two new links. A Minnesota bird blog.  The blog title says it all. And...

I recently read this book and I highly recommend it for bird lovers. Michele Raffin tells a humorous, heart felt and engaging tale of her life among the exotic and endangered!

Bonus Random 5 Friday tidbits

1) I missed Random 5 Friday!  I love that I can do some creative writing.  Or post what ever trips my trigger.
2)  My birthday is March 1st.  My age?  None of your business. 
3) My father in law Jim and my Dad Sidney both have a birthday on March 10.  Go figure.  Happy Birthday Jim.  See you soon!
4) I have a date with Harry Potter in March.  Do you know where?
He wrote it in sea shells!  
5) My husband proposed to me on the beach at Lover's Key State Park.  We were shelling early in the morning.  I was on a mission to find shells.  Oblivious. Meanwhile, he dropped behind.  Then, on the way back he popped the question.  And look what he did!  He wrote it with sea shells.  He knew Lover's Key would be the perfect place.  It was.

Plus, if you missed last week's Scarlet Macaw photos, don't forget to scroll down!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Squawk Boxes

When I did this self portrait several years ago I was alluding to my sensitive side along with my love for animals.  At that time I'd never encountered a Scarlet Macaw in the wild.  Now I find this illustration humorous.  If I really had a Scarlet Macaw in my boudoir, peas would be the least of my concerns!

They are loud.  They mate for life.  And they constantly talk to their significant other.  Not always of the opposite sex! Well, talking might be putting it mildly.  Screaming is a more appropriate description. Their boisterous voices make it easy to spot them in the wild.  You can hear them coming.  And their voice is unmistakable. Now if I were to do an illustration like this I would paint two Scarlets.  They need companionship to survive.

Sleep (or lack there of) is the theme for

I encountered this Ocelot at the Belize zoo a few years back.  She might not be the Leopard of my illustration, but her markings are so beautiful and similar I decided to include her today.  She was so curious about us I managed to get quite a few good shots.  All of the animals at the Belize Zoo are rescues.

This is my favorite shot.  Because I just love the markings on the back of her ears

We saw plenty of Scarlet Macaws.  This one came right over to greet us.  I don't remember if there was a loud squawk hello.  

But it is even more fun to see happy and healthy birds in the wild.  I just got back from the Osa penninsula of Costa Rica.  It is the Garden of Eden of birds and animals.  Scarlets are an everyday sighting.  How great is that!  We were by the pool one afternoon, and 50-60 squirrel monkeys came flying through the trees.  It was quite a sight.  I later learned that it is common to see such huge packs.

But just because there are a lot of Scarlets doesn't mean they are always easy to see or photograph.  They are busy eating.  And it is hard to believe, but these large colorful birds can easily disappear behind this foliage.

A big chomp.
P.S. I put this photo on facehole and got 7 "likes" No one said what a beautiful bird or photograph.  Why is it that some people can post that they are taking out the garbage and get 20 people to ask, "How often, what kind and do you recycle?"  I just hear birds chirping.  Literally.  Ha!  Uff da.  

Then it's, "adios amigos".  And they are on to the next tree.  And the next...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Scarlet Macaws are perfect for this holiday.  They mate for life, are red and eat flowers!