Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Another September...

Usually by September, I've had enough of the heat. Thankfully, we've been blessed by a milder August and storms to cool things off, so I'm not chomping at the bit like I usually am by this time.

However, today is an example of a cruddy September hot day that is not welcome. But it is what it is here in hell.

Here is the last Sunday Doodle for August 2014. I've found that smaller pieces of paper and larger subject matters help the doodle progress a little quicker. That's important if the Sunday nap is imperative too.  And it is. 

Third pumpkin for 2014 Scary Season completed
As for the third pumpkin, I'm not as happy with it, but it's finished. However, the larger one I'm working on now is coming together even better than I expected. That's the way it goes sometimes.Art can be as unpredictable as a tornado. Why a twister takes out a whole street, skips over two houses and then does another five house is a mystery. The same goes with art. It's usually less disastrous. 

There are two custom pieces in progress now as well. So I find I fare better if I take the pumpkins with me to pick up the kids from school and just work on them as I'm parked there waiting and Alexander is hopefully asleep in the back. The pumpkins do not block the air conditioner vents like my huge drawing board does with the larger pieces.  Still, I have 3-4 different projects in tandem. The large drawing board with the air conditioning issue might have to be tackled a couple of times this week. 

Sure, I wish Alexander is asleep in the back, and about 75% of the time he is. However, a lot of times he wants to draw too. It all depends on his mood. But he does draw a lot at home as well. He's really impressive with his skills and if I kept every single drawing, I'd have a huge box full by now. Therefore, I keep highlights and try to scan them in, such as these examples below. 

Here are some highlights just from the last couple of days:
Alexander drew around this clip art of a collar, tie and tag...the little head cracks me up...!
Someone Riding a Horsie

Alexander and Daddy!
Ship of Pirates...Spongebob, Patrick and Squidward under the sea...
Mr. Krabs from Spongebob
One thing that was hit hard in my Art Education studies in college was the drawing stages of children and the ages they generally hit these drawing stages as their motor skills are developed. It begins as scribbling, then they start to make shapes, and it goes from there, as outlined below. I do not like this particular example below, however, because it kind of skips over key areas in the pre-schematic stage. in how they start to develop the body as they draw. 

But I'm also being picky.
I noticed early on that Alexander blew past the scribbling stage and went into the pre-schematic and schematic stages fairly quick. I just wish he would not do it on the walls. I'd even prefer books being drawn in over the walls.

Mikelle has inherited artistic skills as well. I saw her develop it differently, but she does have it. Now at age 14, she doesn't seem to have as much interest in developing it further.  But I know when I was in high school, I had different ideas of how I wanted to draw and explore art. Sometimes I wanted to draw on my own time and not explore art in an academic form at all (especially 9th and 12th grades).  That was very different than how it progressed in college and even today. Therefore, I do hope Mikelle finds her way with it and develops it further. 

Even Christian's art skills can be impressive. But with him, I saw him easily becoming frustrated at the technical aspects of it, as his possible Aspergers suggests. His creative energy and outlet is better served in the IT and Engineering areas. In fact, when there was an issue at his school last week and the computer lab wasn't available to the class as it was originally supposed to be, Christian's teacher said, "Christian, please build us a computer in the back of the room that we can use!" Too funny. 

Well, now I've effectively tooted my Children's' horns, time to move on to multi-tasking and other royal duties of the Queen.

 Until next time...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Creepy Pumpkins and Crawlies

Today another Dr. Who Tardis design for a phone (in this case, an HTC model) is off to a customer in Florida and another creepy pumpkin is finished. A restaurant in Wickenburg said they'd like to have a few on hand and they think they will sell. Since a lot of tourists come through the town, I want to have three for the restaurant by September and go from there hopefully replenishing their inventory. 

Well, it's August 28th and I have two finished. I don't think I'll have three by September 1st. However, the third one will be in progress. I do have a big custom artwork in progress for a dear return customer, and between that and life's distractions, it's been a real challenge. 

Thank goodness for exercise and the gym. That's all I have to say.  Frustrated? Exercise. Run. Weights. Stressed? Exercise. Run. Weights. Sad? Emotional? Worrying about life? Want to get lost in music? Throw the ear buds on, turn up the music and Exercise. Run. Weights. Plus, I don't care that the gym has music playing. If I don't have my iPod, the work-out is a huge struggle. Especially when I was forced to listen to what the gym was playing. I'm sorry, but Justin Beiber's Baby Baby is going to accomplish the exact opposite of what I need at the gym!

As for life itself, I'm still missing Queen Creek, and sometimes it backs up on me. I want to work on some artwork that accomplishes something in the realm of moving on, creating new memories, despite how hard the "moving on" is. However, with Halloween season upon us, I doubt I'll be able to fit that in with all the Pumpkin fun.

Okay, there is that too.
One thing that does help with this transition is how much it cools down at night. This morning I almost felt a nip in the air. Sure, it's been an unusually cool August ("cool" being 90s and 100s...), but there is a difference here as opposed to the valley with all the concrete and asphalt holding the heat in.

I was putting off sharing this because of time and it wasn't fitting into the context of the posts i was working on. And well...distraction.

Back on the 11th, we were doing our usual evening weekday routines (so who knows what was going on), and then we hear Christian go, "What....is....THAT?!" And there by the dishwasher was this cute little baby snakie. At first glance, he looked almost like a worm, but then he had this tiny little tongue coming in and out and his little snakie wiggle. 

Chris and I assessed it and it was a good snakie. Not bad snakie. I know many people believe all snakies are bad snakies. But no. We let him go outside to hopefully find his Mommy Snakie, and he can grow up and eat the bad snakies. Bad snakies being rattlesnakes. It's a good idea in this ecosystem to encourage snakes like this one (we think it was a baby kingsnake) around your habitat to exclude the potentially harmful snakes, such as the rattlers. 
Cute little snakie. See the baby tongue?
The kids were freaking out while Chris and I are just standing there looking at it and trying to make sure he was a good snakie. Silly kids. Sure, snakes and scorpions and other critters were possible and I know they were in our Queen Creek neighborhood (a neighbor was even stung by a scorpion), but we were pretty much lucky to not run into anything like that at our house. We had a mouse problem about five years back but it was taken care of.  There would be black widows in the garage from time to time,  and lizards were in a house sometimes.  I'd try to rescue them (the lizards, not the black widows) before they fell victim to Simon (RIP Simon...) who was good at catching things. But that was pretty much it. Therefore, coming from their fluffy almost critter-free suburban lifestyle to our current residence continues to be an adjustment for the kids.

 Until next time...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Priceless Pearls

Sunday Doodle 8/24/14
This post is a little heavy on the emotions of a spiritual level. 

Today's Sunday Doodle contains powerful lyrics from "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen.
............."Why Can't We Give Love One More Chance? Cause Love's such an old-fashioned word and love dares you to care for the people on the e
dge of the night and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves..."

This world is increasingly selfish. Just the different attitudes and various political sides to justify one action or another is more prevalent. When in the end, the bottom line is how we treated each other. Borders or not. Skin color or not. Pocketbook or not. Whether they deserved it or not. 

Moving off that particular soapbox, but moving onto others...

I neglected to share last week's Sunday Doodle. The quote on the bottom of that one is from C.S. Lewis.  

"The Fact That Our Heart Yearns for Something Earth Cannot Supply is Proof that Heaven must be our Home..."

Sunday Doodle 8/17/14
It saddens me that there are those who are convinced they are not worthy for returning to that place that C.S. Lewis references: Heaven 

The adversary is so cunning and malicious to convince many that it is too late. Or the adversary is successful in convincing them that their demons are too hard to conquer. Or the adversary convinces those that their demons are preferred over the alternative. 

Oh, I'm not perfect (are you kidding me?! HA!). I have them too. Don't for one second assume that I am putting myself in a position of being above these pitfalls that the adversary wants to use to destroy us. Hell no. 

See? I swear.

The adversary is also successful in using his influence on putting us against one another. One of us can be struggling, and due to arrogance of others, we are made to feel we are looked down upon. Or those that feel they have made better choices than someone feels they can point fingers and judge someone for making a bad choice. 

Well, thank goodness church is a hospital for sinners. It is not a museum for saints, no matter how many of those sinners walk around as if they belong at the Louvre. 

We all need the hospital.

I recently finished this piece that I have faith will help communicate the hope and promise of the Lord's Atonement. At least i hope it will. I added words from others that make this point better and are certainly more worthy than I can in all my rambling. 

This piece is titled "Priceless Pearls", from this truth spoken by Dieter F. Uchdorf
Satan’s purpose is to tempt us to exchange the priceless pearls of true happiness and eternal values for a fake plastic trinket that is merely an illusion and counterfeit of happiness and joy.

The fake plastic trinket appears more appealing because of how Satan packaged it. But it's deceitful. The adversary is good at what he does. Then when we do unfortunately accept the counterfeit plastic pearls, some of us feel it's too late to change and go for the real things.  Some of us sadly fall for Satan's lie that we're "in it" and it's too hard to change and fix the mistakes of such exchanges. But as C. Scott Grow declared (that is front and center in this piece):

There is no sin or transgression, pain or sorrow, which is outside of the healing power of His Atonement.

And that's the bottom line. 

Until next time.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

...Not So Rainy Days and Wednesdays...

Hassayampa River August 19, 2014
No, I'm not sad the rain is over, but I do miss the clouds and diffused light. If the sun could just stay behind clouds most of the time, I'd be less bitter about its existence. That reminds me, there was a story on NPR this morning that I missed, but it was about people that have Seasonal Affective Disorder more with the sunlight than with cloudy weather. I looked for the story online, but couldn't find it. Maybe it's still coming up this week.

The Hassayampa River was running crazy yesterday with all the rain and storms. It was only 4:30 in the afternoon and it was nice and breezy and in the 80s. About 5 miles upstream, we stopped near the center of town and stood on the bridge and watched the water. Yes, when we desert rats here in hell get a lot of rain and see running water in washes and rivers, we take pictures of it and talk about it. That's how deprived we are.

I wanted to walk out to the river behind our residence, as we can hear it running. But there is a metropolis of red ants and multiple red ant hills 'guarding' the gate leading out from our yard. I wussed out. I can handle a lot of things, but there's something about millions of huge red ants that make me want to run screaming and throw a stick of dynamite down their holes. Since I'm not a character in a Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon with immediate ACME access to sticks of dynamite, I figured we'd enjoy the running river from the bridge.
This one shows the waves to get an idea of how fast and how much water was flowing.

Hassayampa River and Gorgeous Storm Clouds. Looking South. Sorry for the flabby woman in the foreground.
But yes, Mother Nature may have given Chris a nice birthday present with the cooler temperatures and nice rainy day yesterday. But the gift didn't include being home on time. Below is the main road his vanpool takes to and from work, and as you can see, they had to wait a bit before continuing on home.  At least no one was being a moron and trying to cross the thing. Here is a 10 second video to show how fast and deep it was.
Okay, I meant to include the stupid adventure Christian and I had last Friday. This is how I know God has a sense of humor and he's not done with making sure I'm just one foot from the entry of the looney bin - just so he can say, "Okay, I'm kidding...."  You know, like he did with Abraham when he was just seconds away from killing Isaac.

Friday afternoon, after driving 60 miles into Central Phoenix to the doctor appointment with Christian (which actually was fine. That's not the annoying part...plus, we made a Rubios run as part of it! Yum!) 

We received three scripts (prescriptions) from the doctor. I expected that. We go to Walgreens in Surprise which is 35 miles from the new residence (no Walgreens in Wickenburg). Okay, try to follow me here. That Walgreens (Walgreens #1) had one of the three medications in stock, but not the other two. The Walgreens closest to that one (Walgreens #2), had the second Rx in stock, but not the first or third. The next Walgreens closest to that (Walgreens #3) had the third one in stock but not the first two.
Three different Walgreens. 

Christian was the one that started complaining. I tried to keep a positive attitude about it. I was succeeding until the LAST Walgreens when we went back to pick up the Rx. Silly me - going to the drive-through to save time! The car in front contains two huge women and they are taking forever. They were probably trying to get meds they wouldn't need if they just stopped eating Krispy Kreme all the time. Okay, that last part was mean. But seriously? I ended up backing up and going inside the store and that car was still at the window. After I picked up and paid for the prescription they were still there. Geez. 

The good part in all this is the pharmacist at the first Walgreens (Walgreens #1) saw the crapstorm that was ahead of me and was very nice to make it as easy as possible.  Someone like her really helps when it's hard to see the silver lining.

I have never ever had that problem before with prescriptions. Friends of mine shared similar stories, but I guess I had just been rather lucky up until now.

And to end this post on something beautiful - but sadly, out of reach - $110 at Macy's. Booooooo! But just in case, I wear a size 9 1/2. But Size 10 works.

Until next time. I still haven't added the snakey adventure. lol

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rainy Days and Tuesdays...

Happy Birthday, Babe!
...Do not bring me down! 

I love morning rain and storms! Thunder and lightning seems so much more beautiful in the morning. And yes, we are invaded with weeds, but it is so green! I never thought I'd say this in August, but I love how green the desert looks. The rolling hills by the high school are especially green. It's just a little taste of how beautiful the desert can be. That's the part of this desert that I do love. It does happen. 

And with the dark storm clouds rolling in - even better!

However, the inundation of rain down closer to Phoenix has caused some flooding. Hopefully all this will help the drought, but the real help comes in the winter with runoff from snow-melt.

Today is also Chris's birthday. Last night we went out for Mexican food and part of Chris's gift was the kids didn't fight or cause a catastrophe on the 30 minute ride to the restaurant or back! The restaurant experience itself could have been better, but it wasn't too bad. If only duct taping your three year old to the booth would be acceptable. THEN the restaurant experience would have been closer to ideal.

Spooky Season is just around the corner if they're already selling Halloween candy in the stores. Who buys Halloween candy in August? If I did that, I'd have to buy more to replace the candy that was consumed. But this also means the craft pumpkins are in stock and I can begin my Pumpkin Art. The one pictured here was finished today and it's off to Georgia tomorrow! 

Next post: Our little snakey visitor last week, how God continues to have a sense of humor when it comes to accomplishing what should be a simple errand, and how awesome it is to hear the river flowing behind us!

I'd try to write about it now, but apparently the universe does not want me to blog today.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mid-week Snippets

Sunday Doodle 8/10/14
I am not sure how this post is going to come together, due to feeling that I have about 100 browsers open all at once in my head. 

Therefore, there may be random turns in this post without warnings or segways. No, there will be random turns in this post without warnings or segways. 

However, the good news is the madness phase of the move is over.  Sure, we're still in the tedious crap phase, but hey, no more madness.

The madness of course is the constant working and overwhelming frustration with the Queen Creek house and the constant back and forth between one extreme edge of the valley to the other. Yeah, the gasoline industry loves us.

We do have to go back again, but this time, it's just to sweep up the backyard and retrieve something. And there is no hurry to do so, since we don't have our renters moving in for a couple of weeks.

That's right! We have renters!
X-man showing off his Pirate tattoo on Sunday!

Yay! Looks like they'll only be renting for about 6 months or so, however, but we're still happy to have renters. More financial stress taken off our shoulders. 

Last Sunday, we came back from church and Alexander immediately wanted to show us his pirate tattoo. I laughed, not understanding why the nice older lady who teaches him at church would have the kids put pirate tattoos on! Turns out, it was the work of his 14yo sister. Since he was still in his church clothes and his hair looked like it could pass as being combed, I figured it was time for another picture. 

That night, while watching Scrubs on Netflix, Chris comes in and gets exasperated.
Me: What?
Chris: why do you have the Closed Captions on? (Looking for remote to turn them off) Did you turn them on?!
Me: No, but maybe if you watch it with them on, you'll know how words are really spelled.

Chris first said Scrubs was a little stupid (we watched it off and on when it was on prime-time), but it is the perfect mix of humor and seriousness for me. This Dr. Cox line sums it up. And when we did see that episode, both Mikelle and Chris said, "That's totally you!" 

Yes, I know. I'm going to hell. 

And I laughed so hard the other day at this line from 0:12-0:30. I hope I'm lucky enough when I'm 65 to have boobs that are 29 and a face that is 40. Awesome. 

And any show that uses an Erasure song as part of its plot for an episode is good enough for me. I think A Little Respect was my favorite song for the entire summer I was 15. Anytime it was played at a 5-Stake Dance, was a natural high. Especially if I was asked to dance. But that's a bonus. Dancing to it either way was awesome.

Okay, one more: Turk's Bugle witch nails. Hilarious. Reminds me of days of a faster metabolism (when I was in my 20s...before Christian's pregnancy... :sigh: and I could snack on Bugles...)...I could pretend to do the witch nails without eating the Bugles. But who are we kidding? I'd eat the Bugles.

Same day on Sunday the above Sunday Doodle was completed.  And on Tuesday I got an order for a large Dr. Who print! It was sent off to Rhode Island yesterday. 

Now that the madness has settled, I need to get back on the art promotion train. I'm also working on a steam-punk piece. 

As for settling into life on this end of the world - there has been a lot of more rain here than in the valley. That's been nice. It's gotten really green here and it does cool off more at night. 

Has the house building started yet? 

I better not go there.

Until next time...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oh Captain...My Captain...

Depression is such a dark and vile demon. It encompasses you and takes over your whole reality. It's not about finding the light at the end of the tunnel. It's not knowing or feeling the light exists at all. 

Rest in peace, Robin Williams. You filled us with light.