Friday, May 30, 2014


Temptation.  Boy, what a timely theme for  I just about lost my patience with my naughty cat Hana today.  Imagine a cat with a naughty streak that has the intelligence of a monkey. Well, that's Hana.  You'd be tempted to get a dog instead right?  She is the cat in this illustration.  I've posted this for i.f. before.  But I really kneaded to vent today.  

I learned early on to guard the food on my plate.  Because the fact that she loves to sit on my lap while I'm eating always has ulterior motives.  She will just grab the food right off my plate.  Or swipe it off onto the couch.  Uff da.  That's why I did this tempting cheesecake illustration.  I was attempting to mitigate my frustrations through my art.

But stealing and or contaminating food isn't her only offence.

 1)  There's rampant bra strap chewing.  (when I'm not wearing them)  Preferably my expensive Blue Canoe ones. AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

2)   Total flip flop destruction  (unless you like your flops dotted with fang shaped vents)

3)  Water glass contamination.  She loves to stick her paw into check water levels.  A visual check is not enough.  I'm sure she does this every time she exits the litter box.  

4)  Unsolicited paper parties before lunch.  It is not really a party.   But she turns all newspapers, magazines, letters and books into confetti that litters the floor.  Just because she thinks today will be the day that no food will come. Unless she throws this party first.  Day after day.  Sigh.

5)  Soap licking.  The worst part is that she prefers to lick it off my face mid wash.  It kind of defeats the purpose of washing in the first place.  I always wonder if my face was cleaner before or after. 

6) Expensive cheese addiction.  She'll steal anything.  But if you leave a bag of parmigano reggiano on the table you are just asking for trouble.  That bag will disappear faster than it takes to throw a noodle on the fridge. 

7)  The deadly ninja claw cat attack.  She likes to perform this while we watch T.V.  We are all relaxed and purrfectly content.  Until a  faint sound occurs outside.  Then she propels herself off your lap using her claws for extra fuel.  Nice.

8)  Extreme hair chewing.  She has had Pika since she was born.  That's one of the reasons she is kicked out of the bedroom at night.

9)  Marathon crying sessions. (because she is kicked out of the bedroom at night)  I never knew a voice box could go on that long.

10)  Exiting the house backwards.  She is so fast that she will be in the street before you shut the door.  Now we have to awkwardly step out backwards so we can see her coming.  For God's Sake!

Enough said.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Don't you wish you could call deceased loved ones?  Especially your Mom.  And what would make it even better would be to talk with them when they were young.  I love this old photo of my Mom.  She is about to pick up the phone.  Maybe the photograph was interrupted by a ringing sound.  Or maybe she is pretending to be a secretary. To me she looks like a starlet on an audition.  I know her dream male lead would have been Gene Autry. 

In Memory of my Mom Doris.

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 19, 2014

No Soup For You!

Parrot at backpacker dive restaurant

When you've been to Central America 7 times you start to accumulate a few "experiences" shall we say.  Luckily we've never had anything happen that we couldn't laugh about later.  

Well, we had one of those experiences after our hike to the waterfall that I covered in my Dog Gone Tired post.  Remember that little dog gone tired dog at the end?  We were pretty tired as well.  And hungry.  We didn't pass any restaurants to speak of on the long 4 wheel drive extravaganza from our hotel to the trail head of San Ramon.  So it wasn't a hard choice to eat at the restaurant at the bottom of the volcano.  I mean, all we had to do was follow the dog, right?  

They didn't have a menu.  And their buffet looked rather suspect.  And they didn't understand a word we said.  We know it is high time we learned some Spanish.  Uff da.  (Norwegian)   

Finally, an employee came along that spoke English.  Saved!  We ordered a fish dinner and two Tonas.  

Me happily drinking my Tona.  Until....

Ahhhh.  We can finally relax and enjoy the view and drink a beer until our food arrives.  This is when I photographed dog gone tired dog.  We waited, and waited and waited.  Which isn't unusual in Central America.  They usually make everything from scratch.  So it takes a long time.  We then proceeded to wait some more.  Unfortunately, the only person that spoke English left a long time ago.  And to make matters worse another group of people came, ordered and sat down.  We started to smell fish.  Then we heard the grill sizzling.  Thank goodness we thought.  Until the cook whizzed right by us with the fish. And took it to the newcomers.  Restaurant fail!

We just paid for our beers and left with our tails between our legs.  The moral of the story is to learn Spanish one of these years.

So what would we find on the long road home?  Well, we just stopped at the first place that had gringos in it.  Was it even a restaurant you ask?  There were young backpacker types there.  It must be.  And it was in a (sort of) town.  It was indeed a restaurant.  At least there was a cook and a grill.  And backpackers.  The cook didn't speak English here either.  But there was a confidently loud Italian girl that sensed we were idiots.  She barked out an order for us. We added two more Tonas.   Even we can say "Dos Tonas.  Gracias"

Well, our huge $1.50 meal (including drinks) was delicious.  I'm not joking.  One dollar and 50 cents.  No wonder all the world's backpacking youth was eating there.  It was fun to overhear some of their adventures.  That just added to our adventure.  And when I say adventure in Central America I'm rarely exaggerating!

Friday, May 16, 2014


This was my very first submission.  And it just so happens to be one of my all time personal favorites.  Maybe because it is a self portrait dealing with my childhood gorilla nightmares.  Thanks Planet of the Apes.  Is it weird that I am dressed like Snow White?  Well, yes.  But I did this for a themed journal for Art House Co-op.  My alter ego was Snow White.

I've always loved the colors and light in this piece.  And instead of the stuff of my nightmares, I'm the one hiding under the bed.  And the wall portraits still make me smile!

So I retro-fitted it for today's post.  A blast from my illo past.  Plus, Snow White is pretty retro herself.
Here's what I wrote on Friday January 28th, 2011.

I'm participating in my first illustration friday today. It's funny because I just put this illo on facebook in honor of Am Bam. He's the gorilla that's all over the news today because he likes to walk upright. What's next? Dancing perhaps? Then I logged on to illo/friday and surrender was the theme. This illustration seemed to fit that as well. I created this piece as part of my Nightmare themed sketchbook project for Art House Co-op. This year's journal was mailed 3 weeks ago to the Brooklyn Art Library.

Snow White is my alter ego in this series of self portrait illustrations. And I had a lot of nightmares about gorillas as a kid. Come to think about it, in one of those dreams the gorilla was standing upright. My Mom and I were ironing in the dining room and we looked into the kitchen and there was a gorilla staring (while standing) back at us. But that's a whole other illustration!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

This particular mother has 4 perfectly blue eggs.  Have you ever seen a more beautiful blue than a robin's egg?  Hmmm, maybe something sparkly that comes in a Tiffany box.  And those are also a miracle of nature.

I caught this patient mother at Richfield lake.

Happy Mother's day to all feathered mothers, scaly mothers, furry mothers and human mothers.  Did I forget anyone?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Have Map. Will Travel.

I illustrated a map of Dominical, Costa Rica and you can find it here!  Would you like to take a voyage there?  Well, I did and its laid back surfer vibes, natural beauty and call of the wild make it one of my all time favorite travel destinations.  So why don't you monkey see, monkey do and plan your own journey there.  

Check it out from my lens...

Happy dog days

Whale's Tail Beach

Dominical Beach

Ventenas Beach

Dominical Highlands

(If you could hear this photo it would sound like howler monkeys and cicadas)

Ventenas Caves at low tide

Hacienda Baru Beach



Bon Voyage!

Voyage is the theme this week at

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dog Gone Tired

You never really know what you are getting into when you hike in Central America.  Sometimes you are lucky to even find the place where you want to hike.  But as we drove up the steep slope of Maderas Volcano on the island of Ometempe we encountered signage painted on a rock.  Always a blessing.

We heard Howler monkeys right away when we started our ascent on foot.  And lots of birds, butterflies and even this stick.  Or bug.  You be the judge.

A Kiskadee was in the trees

We spotted a Trogon.  Possibly a Violaceous Trogon.  The photos are shadowy.  But that's where birds like to hang out!

Look at me posing like a nerd.  This was where the 2 hour trail became a river bed full of boulders.  And it wasn't supposed to be that hard.  It was for me.  Uff da.

But we made it!  I love this photo.

And look who else made it to the top.

He followed this group of hikers all the way from the restaurant at the base of the Volcano. He wasn't their dog! They asked Dean to photograph them.  And even though I didn't capture it on my camera, the dog lined up with his group of hikers perfectly for the photo session.  What a ham.  I think he has done this before.

Then he started following us back.  But we were too slow for him.  When the other group over took us he left with them.  Fickle.  I had to laugh at all the people that we passed on the way down.  They were only about 15-30 minutes into the hike and were already exhausted and wondering how much longer to the top.  I didn't feel like such a wimp after that.

Dog gone tired.  I bet he hikes up the volcano everyday.

For more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday