Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Spring Goslings

I figured I'm way past due in posting my spring gosling photos.  Since most of these little buggers are filling the skies with squawks and following their elders south already.

 Cute Goslings were swimming at Lake Nokomis this Spring. No big surprise. The only difference was that this isn't Lake Nokomis. It is the flooding around Lake Nokomis.  The relentless Spring and Summer rains turned all of Minneapolis into a water park. 

He's got a leg up on his peers.

Look at that sweet face.

Drip dry.

They're all small fries! But they don't stay this cute for long. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014



I caught a Swallow at Wood Lake.  And when I say caught I mean caught.  He was only there a few seconds.  Swallows, warblers and anything small were in a feeding frenzy this Spring.  It is so hard to catch them sitting still.

I love the colors in this photo.  And how the metal railing leads into the bird. A split second lucky shot that is actually focused.  Nice.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Skull.  The timely theme over at www.illustrationfriday.com this week.  Who would have thought that I started my art career painting them.  Especially when I've been wandering around in the world of children's illustration for so long now.  Maybe too long.  When I was painting my southwestern and texture filled skull pieces I was still making slides of my work.  And this is the only one I have scanned.  One of the originals sold before I could even get a slide done of it.  It still remains my largest single sale to date.

That would definitely qualify as skulduggery now.  Or more like stupidity.  Selling something you can't even make prints of.  But I miss those innocent and naive days of making art.  I didn't know what the heck I was doing.  But I enjoyed painting and expressing myself so much.  Now my work has to have a purpose to promote myself.  Or be appropriate for my website.  No skulls there.

Maybe it is time to climb the mysterious stairway and find out where it really leads me... 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Internet Cat Video Fest 2014!

We brought our cat cups!

No, I'm not joking.  This is an official Internet Cat Video Festival.  And it is at the Walker Art Center.  No slouch in the art world.  I do have to admitt feeling a little embarrassed last year at the 2013 fest at the State Fair grounds.  Especially when a guy on stage started shouting, "It's a cat party.  A cat party!"  Uff da.  We still have that going through our heads.  A meow worm.

We weren't decked out in cat t -shirts, head gear or tails.  But we did bring our cat cups.  We use them all the time.

Dean was the first to get a tat.  

Of course I had to get one too.

And look!  They played a video of my cat Hana!

O.K. I just photoshopped her in. But she's definitely a star.  She's named after a town on Maui.  Mew, mew.  And she pukes on cue.  Actually, she's just yawning here.  Poor Hana.  It's called cat shaming. 

And Akua made his film debut as well!  

I'm just pulling your tail. Akua is named after a cat we met on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The original Akua Nani means gentle "female " spirit.  Opps.  Sorry big guy.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Chicken Lost

I thought it would be fun to post my Chicken Little illustration for www.illustrationfriday.com this week.  The theme is journey.  I don't have it on my website anymore.  It has traveled all the way to my saved files.

So where are they now?  Well, Chicken little grew up to be Gold and Plump.  Henny Penny has a line of clothing stores.  Rooster Cogburn, A.K.A. Cocky Locky was arrested for street fighting.  Ducky Daddles forgot to migrate.  Go figure.  Goosey Loosey, well, we won't go there.  And Turkey Lurkey ended up in prison with Cocky Locky for stalking. 

Of course I could just be feeding you a line of gobbly goop. 

The end.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Classic Corkscrew

I've been taking photos of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary for years.  And every time I snap a photo of the morning light shining down on the boardwalk I intend to do a painting of it.  So far I haven't.  But it is on my bucket list.

A green gecko was hanging around.

There were magic orbs.

A hawk looked down from above.

The swamp was in bloom.

Lettuce Lakes was ready for dressing.  (It really is called Lettuce Lakes)

A little Blue Heron was selecting a snack.

Lunch!  I love this shot!

Another beautiful morning in good old Florida.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Life's highs and lows...

Scarlet Macaws fighting for a nesting spot.

I was searching for old blueberry picking posts and Life's highs and lows with the only label of Costa Rica popped up.  O.K. blogger.  I'll bite.  What could picking blueberries and Costa Rica possibly have in common.  Well, blogger knew more than I did.  You'd have to read my former post below for the rest of the story.  My funny highs and lows post.  At least it was amusing to me.  Like a time capsule.  Or diary.

I thought retrofitting this post was timely because we are picking blueberries at Cain's Orchard next weekend.  Click here to pick some blueberries virtually there. And we just booked a return trip to Osa!!!!  The rustic and beautiful peninsula of Costa Rica down by the border of Panama. And the best part is we'll be seeing these beautiful critters again. Except this time I'll be armed with a 30 + zoom instead of only a 10.  Scarlet Macaws.  Get ready for your close up

Now for some highs and lows...

High tide
Low tide
Osa Penninsula, Costa Rica

Last week's Highs...(2 years ago anyway)

1) We picked two ice cream pails of big blueberries at the postcard pretty Cain's Orchard.  Antioxidants!

2) I discovered the smallest and most perfect of feathers on the scenic Foundation Trail in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

3) I was juried into Art Perchance at the MIA for the 3rd year in a row! I dropped off my framed print, Cat on a Blue Stairway at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts last Monday.  And they are actually going to hang it up.  

4) I made my first recipe from Pinterest.  Pretzels, chocolate chips, pecans and caramel.  How bad could it be?

5) I unveiled my new website and book on my blog.  Yay!  And my blog followers left lots of nice comments.  Thank you!

6) My husband and I split our first triple deluxe burger at Culvers.  It was a burger moment made in heaven.

7) We were gone for the weekend and didn't discover any cat puke when we got home.  Double yay!

8) We were among the last people to leave the party at our National Night Out event last week.  

9) And speaking of partying we stopped at the Sand Creek Brewery and discovered they made a Doppel Bock out of their Wild Ride IPA.  Whoo Hoo!

10) I actually got something in the mail.  My friend Christina's book!

Last Week's lows...

1) I somehow had to find room in the fridge for two huge pails of blueberries.

2) The feather I found won't help me fly.  Although I could hold it and take a flying leap to the couch.

3) The print I dropped off at the MIA will be given away at a fundraising event.  I'll walk away with empty pockets.  Again.

4) I made the recipe right before we left town and it was too gooey to cut.  I still haven't had any!!!!!!!

5) I posted the news about my new book and website on facehole and didn't get one comment.  I suddenly feel the need to change my status to loser.  And change my profile shot to one of me holding my hand over my forehead in the shape of an L.  Plus, none of my friends came to my MIA event.  Again.  Double L.

6)  The burger is no longer in my stomach.  Just on it.

7) The cats were still here when we got home.  Just joking.  Maybe.

8) Our new block leader fell and sprained his ankle and wrist at our block party!  He didn't have any fun at the event he organized.

9) My husband didn't want to sample the Doppel Bock at the tap room last weekend.  He was not feeling wild enough.  For shame. (but we did bring some home)

10) I'm still waiting by the mailbox...

Well, I'm still waiting by the mailbox.  For what I don't know. What were your highs and lows this week? 


11) I have another low to add.  My cousin Debbie just told me that Cain's has a bad blueberry crop this year and won't be open next weekend!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jay Walking at Wood Lake

I caught a Blue Jay at Wood Lake.  He is not a "friend" of most birds.  But look at his amazing plumage.   A beautiful bully.

He looks like a bearded grandpa here.

"The objective is to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees and enjoy what he understands"

Aldo Leopold

Thanks wise old Blue Jay for pointing out this quote to me.  I hadn't noticed it before.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Golden Brown

The theme this week at www.illustrationfriday.com made me think of pancakes.  So I'm posting my latest illustrated recipe. I'll be making this very soon.  Juicy summer peaches are the best!  I've also been enjoying my granola with lots of summer berries.  Alas, the raspberries in our garden have come to an end.  And Winter Breakfast, a.k.a Nutty Toast has turned into Summer Breakfast.  Click here for that recipe.  But for delicious pancakes follow this...

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1  beaten egg
2 tbsp oil
1 cup flour or 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet ones.  Don't over mix.  The batter should be lumpy.

Drop the batter onto a hot buttered skillet.  Add sliced peaches and toasted pecans to the top.  Fry until golden on each side.

Serve with butter and syrup and don't forget the bacon!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sock Kitten Cam

Don't worry.  You don't have to play a movie...

I thought this was the perfect post to follow my Pawshanks Prison illustration...

Our cat Hana has this cute habit of leaving what we call sock kittens by the door when we leave the house.  I think it is like a welcome home gift.  Or something.  We'd never actually caught Hana doing it before this.  But we knew it was her because she loves to drag soft blankets around as well.  So a few days before we took our trail cam to the woods this summer we did some under cover cat surveillance.  Mission accomplished.

We left the house and...

Hana enters the frame with a sock at 11:43 am.

She sets it down...

She adjusts it....

But something wasn't quite right so off she goes.

But she immediately brings it right back and drops it.  I think the camera surprised her.  Ha!  This photo is hilarious.

Hmmm.  Is it right?

  No.  So at 11:47 we see an empty carpet and her bringing it back again!

The new placement.

She exits the frame.  

Success!  We find a sock kitten in front of the door when we come home.  So cute.  Thanks Hana.  We know she misses us.

P.S.  If you like cats be sure to scroll down to see my Pawshanks Prison illustration!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Invisible Stash/Repeat Offender

I thought the invisible theme for www.illustrationfriday.com would be a tough one.  But I actually had quite a few pieces that would work.  I even had one with the word invisible in it.  Click here for my invisible thread piece. 

But I've never posted my Pawshanks Prison piece.  The orange cat is hiding his stash of illegal catnip behind a poster.  Hmmm.  I wonder where I got that idea?  If I wouldn't have painted a toilet in the background, I could imagine that the gravel chunks collected from the wall were hidden in the litter box!  But I did.

  The Shawshank Redemption is one of my all time favorite movies. A classic.   Pawshanks Prison is also a clawsic.  At least in my mind.  The acatamey nominated it for a Morris.  But it lost to a documentary on Li'l Bub and Grumpy Cat.  The catics ripped it to shreds in the press.  But I don't care.  I know it would get 4 paws if the voters knew how to vote!

P.S.  I posted this for invisible.  (Briefly) But it turns out the theme is Repeat.  But I think it works for that too!  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Apoyo Lagoon

We visited the Catarina look out over Apoyo Lagoon in Nicaragua last winter.  It was interesting to see the view from the top since we were staying at the bottom.  The Apoyo Lagoon formed from the inverted cone of a volcano.  It is warmed by hot springs and is the cleanest water in Central America.  The green slopes hold a diverse variety of fauna.  And a lot of Howler monkeys and Motmots.  Our kind of place! 

 Boy were we attacked by "sales" people at this stop.  My husband caved and bought 2 oval magnets.  They are sized and polished so that they make a whizzing sound when you throw them together up in the air.  The cats are fascinated by them.  And they remind us of the trip.  So I guess getting conned into them wasn't so bad.

Mombacho Volcano is on the right.  I recently read in the newspaper that Nicaragua had a big earthquake.  And all those Volcanos are no joke.  At the active Masaya Volcano (not shown) they request you back into your parking spot.  So you can make a quick escape!  Uff da.

Our little cabana at the bottom of Apoyo Lagoon.

And our first outdoor bathroom!

  It was quite the drive getting in and out of the crater for sightseeing.  But worth it.  We did all of our own driving in Nicaragua.  And it is almost impossible to be a tourist driver and not get waved over by a police officer.  So we had a whole variety of tricks up our sleeve for dealing with it.  Tinted windows.  Hats pulled down over our face hiding our gringo status.  An expired driver's licence at the ready.  And if we got pulled over we would act as confused as we really were.  You heard right.  We wouldn't need to act.  But it never happened!  I guess it is the watched pot phenomena.  We've heard that if you just don't pull over, gas is too expensive to give chase anyway.  But that was one thing we weren't planning to try.

A king fisher on the dock.

But what we really loved spotting were the Motmots.  

The Turquoise-browed Motmot is quite a stunner.  How does he keep his delicate tail so perfect?

We had a lot of fun at San Simeon on our last night.  We were celebrating with a little Flor de Cana.  O.K., a lot of Flor de Cana.  When low and behold the owner brought out the aged 18 year variety.  Some of the best in the world.  Ours to taste for free!  Well, we certainly didn't need it.  But it made for a fun night.  And more fun memories.