December 31, 2011

50 miles? Check.

I know you've just been on the edge of your seat waiting to see if I got in my 50 miles for this month. I gotta admit I was tempted to simply skip it. Had various things to take care of today and a fun date with my nephews. But I knew that it would bug me, and that is no way to start a new year. So, am happy (and quite pleased with myself) to report that I got in 50.56 miles. Yes, my legs are sore, but am so happy - think I mentioned that already.

To celebrate, I decided to chart my miles this year. If you recall, my goal was to walk 50 miles each month, and I squeaked that in some months. My grand total for 2011 is 714 miles. What an accomplishment to see it laid out like this. Little steps add up over time.

Happy 2012. May it be the best year yet.

December 30, 2011

Final push

One of the goals I've had this year was to commit to getting in at least 50 miles of walking every month. Some months are great and I am way over. Other months it comes down to the wire, and this is such a time.

I woke up this morning with 7.74 miles to go to meet my target of 50 and 2 days left in the month. I was too lazy to get bundled up and go out for a cold morning walk, so jumped on the treadmill instead. You know me you know my passion for books, and was I ever delighted to find an On Point podcast with the Best Books of 2011 waiting for me to listen to. Most of the books are already on my TBR pile. I've read a couple on the list, and was introduced to some new ones to add to my towering TBR list. You can see the On Point list here.

Okay 5.14 miles to go. Will I make it?

December 28, 2011

Recent Reads

131. Sandman Vol 3: Dream Country
I do believe this is my fave book in the series so far. Delightful.

132. Sandman Vol 4: Season of Mists
I am slowly making my way through this series. Slowly, because I do not want the series to end. Fun read.

133. The Defector
This is No. 9 in the Gabriel Allon series, and I'd suggest skipping it. It is boring, repetitive and lacks a cohesive story. Too bad really, as I have quite enjoyed the others in the series. Am keeping my fingers crossed that the next one in the series is better.

134. The Ice Limit
What are the odds that I would read two horrible books back to back? On a trip no less? I simply do not understand the rave reviews about this book. It is poorly written, lacks a strong story line and a thriller it certainly is not. Why did I finish it? The rave reviews gave me hope of something better around the corner. Did not happen. Skip it.

December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

As much I love traveling, there is something wonderful about being back home.

This page was done in ink and markers. I saw this image in a mag somewhere, but cannot recall where. Let me know if you do so I can credit the creator.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with love, laughter and adventure.

December 22, 2011

Happy Solstice

It is the longest night of the year in these parts. The desert winds are howling outside my window as I write this. The sun is not up yet, and it does not seem like it will ever rise again. I can see how humans started offering sacrifices to the sun god. As a species we are not comfortable in the dark.

I am loving journaling sessions with my nieces. We spent a part of every day playing in our journals. Love that.

This page was done in ink and watercolors.

December 20, 2011

Night on the Strip

Vegas at night makes up for her sins of the day.

You can tell there is a recession on. This has to be the first time ever in all my trips to Vegas were I've not been annoyed by traffic and jostling crowds on the strip.

December 19, 2011

Random musings

From the road:
  • Vegas is a fab place to watch sporting events. Found my way to the South Point casino for some fab football. So fun to watch great games with fans. And not just fans, but fans with money on the line. Having the Pats shut down Tebow on his home turf? Sweet. And boy, oh boy, did you catch that Lions game? Think I've got whiplash from watching several games at once. Oh, and did I mention the $2 drinks? Second hand smoke is on the house. All in all a wonderful way to watch football.
  • So the Vegas Barnes and Noble, on Maryland Ave, has full time security. Asked around and learned that it not just for the holiday season - no stampedes at a book store I guess - he is there all year round. The store even has their special editions and multi-pack books (like the Harry Potter series) behind the cash registers. Kinda like cigs in a liquor store. So, I've been having fun imagining book thieves at work.
  • Loving reconnecting with my brother and his family. There is something wonderful about kids around 8 and 9 years old. They are all there. Little people. We have the most fascinating conversations.
  • What is it about women getting all dolled up for an event or dinner out, when the men they are with wear jeans? I heard once that women really dress for each other, not men. Have been thinking about that as I watch couple after couple who do this. This does not apply to European couples.
  • While we are on couples, what is the deal with dressing up and paying for dinner at a high end restaurant only to sit across from each other and gaze deeply ..... into your smart phone? I say stay at home, order pizza and save the money for new apps.
  • Vegas at night is worth all the drabness and depressing sights of the city in the day light. Think of Vegas as a vampire. Sunlight is not good for it.

December 16, 2011

Journal Page

Greetings from Vegas my pretties. Am jet lagged and hungry at strange hours, but loving getting to hang with my nieces. Today is the last school day before they break for a 2 week holiday so am looking forward to some fun days ahead.

I did a quick sketch of the house across from the bus stop the other day. What was I doing there? Waiting for my nephews who had early dismissal. Background acrylic wash was already on the page. Quick pen sketch. I still need to work on perspective. Not there yet.

December 14, 2011

Journal Page

I was inspired by this Geo Paper project, and decided to try it. I did not have Sumi ink, so used watered down black acrylics. I found painting this quite meditative.

I fly tomorrow and am looking forward to seeing similar landscapes outside my window.

December 13, 2011

Journal Page

I'm not always in the mood to draw what is in front of me, so while I was waiting for people to arrive decided to try "automatic drawings" ala Comfortable Shoes Studio. You can see her fun videos here.

Here are my faces. Quick and fun to sketch. Added watercolors when I got home.

December 12, 2011

Bound for Vegas Travel Journal (pre-trip)

One of the things I do to prepare for a trip is make a new travel journal. I decided to make this one 6x6 inches as I really love the portability of that size.

As usual I try to recycle as much as possible when I make a journal. The covers are cardboard covered with wall paper samples on the outside and scraps of wrapping paper on the inside. I used a piece of furniture swatch for the spine. The inside is made up of cheapo watercolor paper colored with cheapo acrylic paint, and vellum paper that I had bought ages ago. Also recycled a couple of envelopes I got in the mail. Decided to add photos to this journal, so started with some photos from my visit this time last year. Added stamping, collage material, stickers and labels. All bound with an easy pamphlet stitch and I'm good to go.

You can see a quick video of the journal pre-trip here.
You can see all my videos here.

Thanks for stopping by.

December 10, 2011

Journal Page

I've reintroduced my body back to the gym a week and a half ago, and oh can I tell that I have been a stranger to the gym for too long. There is much groaning as my sore and aching muscles adjust, but I feel great.

This page gave my brain a workout too. The idea is to draw the face/vase line on the left side (I am right handed), and the draw the right side as a mirror object. My brain stuttered several times. A great way to engage both left and right brains. Give it a try.

December 9, 2011

Spring 2011 Travel Journal

I love travel journals. Making them. Filling them. Seeing how other people do them. The possibilities are endless. Quite fun.

I had made a travel journal for a 2 week trip this spring and filled it up, but did not make a video because I had to figure out a way to hide personal pages. I spent some time marinating on the issue. I could simply remove the pages. I could put them into envelopes, or cover them in some way. My eureka moment happened when it occurred to me that I could simply fold the pages in half - easy enough to do since I used a ring bound book. This way the pages are in the right place in the journal, but still I have a measure of privacy. Viola!

The fun thing about a ring bound book, is that the pages can be re-ordered at any time and I don't have to use all the pages I start out with - so no leftover pages at the end. On this journal I did not add any of my photos - something I will explore with my next one.

You can see a quick video of the completed journal here.
You can read about how I created the journal and see the "before" video here.

December 7, 2011

Hillary rocks

To see why, click here.


I have always loved stories and story tellers, and I found a new story teller today. You can see her here.

Strathmore Online Classes

I quite enjoyed the three classes that Strathmore hosted earlier this year. Looks like they are doing it again for 2012. You can sign up here.

Recent Reads

129. The Relic
Have read good reviews about the Pendergast series, so decided to dive in with the first book, and found it a thrilling ride indeed. Reminded me a bit of Crichton's early work. Every time I see an exhibit in a museum, anywhere in the world, I am reminded of how much of the stuff was stolen and/or plundered. How can displaying mummies be anything other than grave-robbery? And yet, I appreciate the privilege that museums afford me. This story is about the "curse" of moving things to places they do not belong.

130. The Last Council
This much anticipated book #4 of the Amulet series does not disappoint. Emily and her friends find that there is no help to be found in Cielis. As a matter of fact, a competition (kinda like the Hunger Games) is about to ensue. My nieces (7 and 8) love this series, and I just bought the first book in the series for my nephew (9). Cannot wait for the next installment.

131. Sandman Vol 2: The Doll's House
I am slowly making my way though this series. It is a fun ride and the illustrations are fab. Have the next two books on my nightstand.

132. Best American Comics 2011
I find anthologies tough to read - there are some stories are that incredible and others that are so-so. This collection is no different - a mixed bag. What I really appreciated though was the chance to be exposed to artists that I had never heard of. There is value in that.

December 6, 2011

Art Journal Flip #2

To see a quick video of my recently completed art journal, click here.

For this journal, I decided to try a different size, and made a 6x6 inch book. It took a bit of getting used to, as I don't usually create on square pages. I love the portability of this size and will make journals like this again.

This handmade journal is so easy to make and uses recycled stuff. The covers are leftover illustration board, the spine is a fabric sample swatch, and the cover image is a junk mail postcard. I used cheapo watercolor paper for my signatures and bound the book together with a simple long stitch. As always, I feel quite fond of my filled journal and was reluctant to put it down to start a new one. Books become friends don't they?

You can see my other videos here.

December 5, 2011

Journal Page

I'm starting to get excited about my trip to Vegas to visit my nieces, my brother and his wife. Have not seem them since May, and we have 10 days to do nothing but play and reconnect. I have, of course, created a travel journal for the trip and plan on having journaling sessions with my nieces as we usually do. Will try to post a "before" journal video before I head out.

This page captures 10 things right now. Acyrlics, ink, makers.

December 3, 2011


As someone who has sat through more boring Power Point presentations than I care to recall, I love this idea. To see what inspired me today, click here.

Imaginary Animals #5

Halloween is a fave holiday in our house. There is something magical about being whatever you choose to be for a night. Most people think it is all about the candy - but I think it is the chance to dress up and be someone else.

What do you want to be for Halloween? A superhero. A vampire. A mermaid. The options are endless and much more interesting than the answer to that age old question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Vampire never seems to be an acceptable answer for that one!

This is one of my final pages for the imaginary animals series. Pen and marker. Love how an old, almost out of ink marker created that texture on the box.

December 2, 2011

Imaginary Animals #4

The thing about imaginary animals, is that once you start you cannot stop. There are so many fun possibilities. The inspiration for this one came from a bike part - of all things. Ink and markers.

December 1, 2011

Imaginary Animals #3

This all started with a magnifying glass. Why did I have it out? I was trying to read the teeny tiny writing on the nib of my fountain pen.

It looked like an eye. So traced around it and then added whatever seemed to fit. Ink and markers. Ah, the lusciousness of markers. Had forgotten about that.

November 30, 2011

Goodbye November

And just like that another month is gone. I know time is not constant, but dang it seems to be going by really fast. Except when I meditate. Then 6 minutes seems to last about 45. Maybe I should meditate more and see if that slows how fast the days are rolling by any. Will experiment and let you know.

I've been playing in my journal - have not scanned the new pages yet, but here is one that ended up nothing like I originally planned. Not that I had a plan to begin with. Simply started by drawing that fruit shape in the upper left and this is what I ended up with. Ink, acrylics, watercolors, markers. So fun. Hope you are getting in some play time too.

November 26, 2011

Reading with kids

Had a lovely day with my nephews yesterday. One of the fun things we did was stop at the library so Jonah could pick some books for us to read.

1. I Need My Monster
This was hands down our fave book yesterday. Luke (who will be 9 in a week) read it and loved it. I read it aloud to both boys over hot cocoa. A fun story that is wonderfully illustrated.

2. Bones and the Dog Gone Mystery
Jonah (who will be 7 in less an a month) read this one all by himself. Cannot even begin to tell you how proud I was to hear the words "detective" and "magnifying" come out of the little guy. He liked the story - it has a dog - one of his fave themes. He actually asked the librarian for books with dogs.

3. The Spooky Old Tree
Jonah read and quite enjoyed the illustrations and easy to read story.

4. Buzz Boy and Fly Guy
Jonah picked this book for the ride home and Luke read it aloud to us. Cute little story about friendship and self-publishing.

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Bucking tradition, we are having pheasant instead of turkey this year. It is a beautiful day and I for one have lots to be thankful for.

This is a quick sketch of my sister done while she was flipping through travel books at the bookstore.

Ink on a background of acrylic wash.

November 23, 2011

Art Play Date

I met up with a member of the local art journal meetup group this past weekend for a play date. I usually assign a prompt and we get together and share what we created.

The prompt this week was to draw/sketch/paint/capture an object in your home. Then bring that object to the meeting for a sketching session.

This is the object Monique drew in her sketchbook and brought along. I did a quick pen sketch and added shading with a watercolor pencil and water brush. At home I added the stamped text and a bit of journaling. Love how it turned out. You can see my object page here.

November 22, 2011

Recent Reads

126. The Catcher in the Rye
My book club had a lively discussion about this book this past weekend. My first time ever reading the author and I loved this book. I was the only one in the book club who had not read this book when they younger, and I wonder if that affected how I felt about it. I kept putting the book down, not wanting it to end. A coming of age story, filled with teenage angst and despair. I loved the writing, and the story got a hold of me from the very start. A young man who does not want to grow up and be a "phony" adult, and loose the innocence of childhood. I smile to think that this book was once banned for racy language and themes - seems so tame compared to what kids are reading these days. Am going to add all of Salinger's works to my TBR list.

127. Sketchbook Confidential
I love books that give me a glimpse into how artists use their sketchbooks, and loved this book. A wide range of artist styles are covered with both photos and thoughts about the sketching process. Chock full of inspiration.

128. Habibi
At about 680 pages, this weighty tome of a graphic novel is as satisfying as it is hefty, and is an wonderful example of this adult genre. Loved the story, and the illustrations are fab. This might be my fave book by the author so far. You can watch a quick interview with the author here.

November 21, 2011

Imaginary Animals #2

Another page for the sketchbook challenge this month.

This cutie lives with me and was found abandoned at the marina a couple of summers ago. Pen and watercolors.


I loved the Hunger Games trilogy - especially the first two books. Dystopian books are all the rage at the moment. To get your next fix look no further than here.

November 20, 2011

Lovely Sunday

We are lucking out with some fab weather for November this year. Weeks of temps in the 60s - love it.

Today is another such day. The sun is shining. My body feels good after a walk in the fresh air. The house smells wonderful - salmon frittata anyone? Music. Waiting for my book club gals to come over for a fun afternoon romp.

Hope you are having a lovely Sunday too.

November 19, 2011

Food for thought

It always surprises me when I meet people who find science boring. Maybe they are upset by all the math.

How long has humankind chased the holy grail of eternal youth? Since the very beginning, when we realized that we die probably. You can listen to a fascinating talk by Cynthia Kenyon on experiments that hint at the possibility of longer lives here.

November 18, 2011

Journal Page

I sketched this girl at the local Barnes and Noble store during the power outage a couple of weeks ago.

One of the fun things about that week was how everyone suddenly talked to everyone else - we were all in the same boat. Cafes and book stores were filled as people came in for coffee, food, or wifi access. Made me think again about the cafe culture in Europe when all the writers, painters, artists got together for long hours every day in cafes to talk, challenge and inspire each other. The did not have heated Mc Mansions with flat screen TVs to hide away in.

Makes you wonder no? What have we lost? What have we gained?

November 17, 2011

Recent Reads

121. Bossypants
Tina Fey tickles my funny bone, so was delighted to discover that she reads this memoir. I listened to the audio version and there are parts that are laugh out loud funny. Not that surprising really if you know Tina's work.

122. The Art Journal Workshop
This is a good book if you are just starting out with art journals. Traci shows you step by step how she creates her journal pages. While I really like her style, I found the book to be somewhat repetitious - the pages look pretty much the same with different color and collage schemes.

123. Sandman Vol 1 (Preludes & Nocturnes)
I love comics (aka graphic novels) and decided to try this series. I love the colors and graphics and the story is good as well. I've got the next couple of my bedside table.

124. One Drawing A Day
This book is a 6-week course to jump start your creativity and has some interesting exercises. There are examples of different ways to capture objects in a multimedia manner.

125. Painted Pages
I always like to see how people use their sketchbooks - whether as a final product or as a sketch of some future work. While I found the book colorful and full of ideas on how to do just that, I do not particularly like the author's style of work.

November 12, 2011

Imaginary Animals

The sketchbook challenge theme for this month is Imaginary Animals.

We recently visited the Pompeii exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston. I loved it. It is an amazing thing to me that artifacts buried over 2000 years ago are now in front of me in Boston. If you are in the area, I'd highly recommend it.

I saw this creature at the exhibit. The earthenware bowl had these guys as feet. How cool is that?

November 11, 2011

Maine Day Trip

My sister is visiting for a couple of weeks, and we've been having a fun time. In addition to lots of lobster dinners, we spent a day exploring Southern Maine - a state she claims to never have visited. We spent a lovely fall day in Kennebunkport, Wells, Perkins Cove and Ogunquit. You can see more pics from our outing here.

November 10, 2011

Recent Reads

117. Tokyo on Foot
I love travel journals and loved this one. The author spent 6 months in Japan and captured his experiences with a sketchbook, pens and colored pencils. Delightful.

118. Artist's Journal Workshop
This gem of a book is the newest one from Cathy Johnson, and I loved it. The book is unusual in that it does not start with a materials review, but rather a discussion of why one keeps a journal. What follows are pages of ideas, inspiration, suggestions and examples of journal pages kept both by the author and others. Am sure this is a book I will dip into again and again.

119. Fray
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Joss Whedon wrote books. I quite enjoy his shows, so decided to give this book a look. It is typical Whedon - futuristic setting, strong yet vulnerable young woman who finds her destiny as a slayer. Beautifully illustrated. Can only hope that there are more of this series to come.

120. The Night Circus
An unusual circus is the setting for this interesting story. There are magicians who use trickery and then there are magicians who can do magical things. The story is about the latter. Two young kids are trained in different traditions of magic and then are used as pawns to determine which master is better. That they fall in love complicates the duel somewhat. This is a delightfully spun yarn about magic, dreams, hopes, family, love and destiny.

November 9, 2011

Journal Page

My sister is in town for a visit, and we are having fun exploring and catching up. We've had a fab weather window - great for being outside.

Here is a page I made prior to her visit. I find that I'll do just about anything other than vacuum - in this case I did a quick sketch of the vacuum cleaner. I did get the cleaning done after the sketch, so everyone was happy.

November 8, 2011

Journal Page

I've started a new journal - back to the 9x6 size and love it. Will post pics when I get a chance.

Owl Cookies are a Halloween tradition and I eagerly await the box of cookies every year. This year we were in A2 in September and I helped Jane make them - easy, tasty and fun. Yum. Of course I ate my way through my stash on the ride home, so need to make another batch soon.

November 5, 2011

Journal Page

We've finally got power back - after 5 days. Grateful for the little things like that today. The simple act of flipping a switch and something happens.

I love graphic novels (aka comics) and quite liked this one. Tried to capture some of the drawings.

November 1, 2011

Power Outage Day 3

Night 4. Thank goodness it is Oct and not late Jan or Feb with frigid temps. The latest forecast is for the power to be back Thurs night.

On the positive side, I've had ice-cream for breakfast ad lunch today - simply cannot let my fave flavor (Bear Claw) melt away. And there are plans for a big surf and turf cookout tomorrow. Yum.

Yes this is inconvenient, but really not that bad. It's kinda like late fall camping, only so much much cozier.

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Day 2 without power. The snow brought down trees and power lines all around town. Went for a hood walk yesterday to access the damage and it is pretty bad. We've got 2 big limbs down in the back yard, but no damage.

Nothing to do but wait for the power to get restored. Last night bundled up, lit lots of candles, made a pot of tea, and snuggled in bed with babes, my book light and a good book. I realize that I look better in candlelight :-)

Trick or treat has been canceled in our town tonight due to downed trees and power lines. That is a bummer.

October 29, 2011

Story Cutting

"We all need stories to make sense of the world", says Beatrice Coron, and she creates stories with paper. I love how artists are inspired to create art is so many forms. Prepare to be amazed by her work here.

Journal Page

We've got a winter storm headed our way - and it is only October! Forecast is for about 6" of snow. Have I mentioned that it is only October? What happened to Fall? I barely had time to enjoy it.

This journal page was created with pen and watercolors - my usual mo. It is interesting to sketch directly in ink - which is how I usually do it. No erasing that way. Makes it a freer sketch which I like. Gourds are pretty no?

October 28, 2011

Journal Page

Sometimes I feel creative and sometimes I don't. Am on a creative roller coaster at the moment, and have started a project that is taking much of my juices. But since it is a gift, I cannot talk about it for another month or so. Stay tuned.

Tis the season for pumpkins. The one on the dining table is on a leaf shaped platter. Love the contrasting colors. Pen and watercolors.

October 27, 2011

Journal Page

One of my goals this year was to get over my fear of drawing faces. Well, would not say that the fear is gone, but am certainly more comfortable doing it. Have more faces in this journal that ever before, and now can really see how faces are similar and how they are different. Progress.

This page has my usual mo - pen and watercolors.

October 26, 2011

Recent Reads

114. Goodbye Chunky Rice
I liked this graphic novel. It explores themes of friendship, home, travel and the search for one's place in the world.

115. Syncopated
Another graphic book - an anthology of non-fiction picto essays. This is an interesting collection, with some of the artist entries more compelling than others. Worth a read though.

116. Turn of Mind
There seems to be a collection of recent releases that have to do with memory loss in one way or another, and I really liked this one. This is the story of a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I found it quite a tense read and was never really sure of what was real and what was not - quite an adept writing style, as it put me in the mind of the person losing her memory. This story gave me lots to think about. Who are we without our memories? Who can we trust? Can we even trust ourselves? The idea of the "mind rotting inside the head" is an image that has stuck with me.

October 25, 2011

Journal Page

I attended the Boston Book Festival this year and so loved it.

Here are the sketches I made that day. Both pages had acrylic paint backgrounds and I used my trusty sharpie pen to quickly sketch people around me. The first sketch was made while seated, and I was standing in line sketching for the second one. A first for me.

October 23, 2011

View - of Wacky Candy

This is a view of the Wacky Candy store at the Topsfield Fair this year.

This is the first year that I have been disappointed with the fair. Maybe it was because I was there on a weekday - but the fair seemed rather drab and all about carni stuff and junk food. Not sure that I'll be going next year.

October 22, 2011

Journal Page

I recently read this book, and loved the style the artist used to capture people.

So, took out my journal to try and see how he does it - sometimes with so few pen strokes. The line is really different when I use a brush pen. Had fun with these pages.

October 20, 2011

Journal Page

The thing about drawing someone you know is that the drawing does not quite capture the person - though in some ways it does capture the essence I see. I read somewhere to focus on what you like about a drawing, and in this one I like the angles of the wrists and elbow. Getting better with each drawing that I do.

October 18, 2011

Recent Reads

110. Leaving India
This was my book club selection this month and while I found some of the writing quite poetic, I would not have finished the book if not for my book club commitment. I did learn some new things about the South Asian diaspora, but for the most part, this is really a family memoir and I was not particularly interested in the family. Way too much detail for my taste. On a positive note, it did lead to a interesting book club discussion about what is lost and gained when a family is suddenly flung across the oceans.

111. Carnet De Voyage
I love travel journals and this one is so much fun to read. I liked both the story telling and the drawings, and the fact that all but a few of the drawings were made on site and not in retrospect is a staggering achievement. There is something quite magical about following along on an artistic journey. My only complaint is that the ending was rather abrupt - okay there was a deadline, but still, that could have been handled better.

112. Blankets
This graphic novel is heavy - literally - be kind to your wrists and use a kick stand. The story is a coming of age memoir and is wonderfully illustrated.

113. Moscow Rules
This is book #8 of the Gabriel Allon series, and at this point, the art restorer/spy/assassin feels an old and dear friend. He gets pulled out of retirement - again - and the story flows in a typical manner - various locations, murder and mayhem, a dash of history, a thrilling operation. Buckle up for a fun ride.

October 17, 2011

Journal Page

I got the idea for this one from a magazine at the local bookstore. Decided to make her hair funky.

The background was created some time back with leftover acrylic paints. The drawing is done with pen and watercolors.


Am back from a weekend full of inspiration.

I attended my first ever BBF. This year was the 3rd annual Boston Book Festival and I loved everything about it. Attended 4 sessions with authors who were funny, insightful and articulate. What more can a book lover ask for?

The MFA is hosting a stunning special exhibit - Degas and the Nude and I loved everything about it. Could spend hours just looking at his drawings, oils, pastels and sculpture.

So my mind is full of images and thoughts and ideas, and I need some time to digest it all. Bliss.

October 15, 2011

View - of faces

The theme for the sketchbook challenge this month is View.

This was fun to do. I do not usually have multiple drawings on a page and I like the layered look of this one. Quick sketches of people around me at the bookstore.

October 14, 2011

Eve Ensler

To hear another incredible talk by Eve, click on the link:
Suddenly, my body

Recent Reads

106. We the Animals
This debut is getting quite a bit of buzz and I can see why. A very short book of almost whispered stories that pack quite a punch. Vignettes into the particulars of one unhappy childhood.

107. Drawn In
A peek into the inspiring sketchbooks of 44 fine artists, illustrators, graphic designers and cartoonists is right up my alley. I love looking at how people use their journals and this one shows quite a range of styles. I was a bit disappointed by the Q&A sections - seemed too light and an opportunity wasted to capture some insights from the artists.

108. The Winter Rose
This is the 2nd book in the Tea Rose trilogy and I loved it. A huge, sprawling saga of passions, dreams, loss and redemption. And there were portions set in Kenya! How could I not love that? Yes, a bit Hollywood-like in the ending, but quite a satisfying read none-the-less. I gotta say that I am a bit reluctant to get the final book in the series based on the negative reviews, but will give it a try based on how much I enjoyed the first two.

109. Anya's Ghost
I quite enjoyed this graphic novel about teenage angst with a twist. Anya hates everything about herself - her name, her family, the food her mother cooks, her body - why can she not be just like other American girls and fit in? Enter the ghost, who eventually teaches Anya an important lesson - you are good enough just the way you are. This would be an good graphic novel to read with a teenager as it could start some interesting discussions.

October 8, 2011

Time flies

My sweetie pie and I are celebrating our 20 year anniversary this weekend. Am a little stunned at how fast time flies.

So 20 years years later, here are some of my lessons learned, in no particular order:
  • Let go of having to be right.
  • Relationships are all about compromise.
  • Fight for what is really important and let go of the rest.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff.
  • Me, you and us are equally important.
  • Don't get joined at the hip. Have your own interests, friends, etc.
  • Realize that no one person can meet all your needs. Heck even I'm not perfect!
  • It is essential to share common values.
  • Life is easier if you share some goals and interests.
  • Learn how to fight. And make up.
  • Communicate. Listen. Support.
  • A sense of humor can save the day.
  • Without trust you got nothing.
  • Laugh. Play. Learn. Grow.
  • Love. Each other and yourself.
Happy versary Babes. 82.

October 7, 2011

Journal Page

I decided to visit the Karanis exhibit while in A2 and was quite impressed with the collection from the Michigan dig.

Since it was right across the street from UMMA, decided to go back in with my sketchbook Here is the page I created with pen and markers.

October 6, 2011

Recent Reads

102. The Lincoln Lawyer
Great for a road trip. Listened to the audio version of this book a the long ride to A2 and quite enjoyed it. Time behind the wheel flew while listening to this interesting story about the justice system and the notion of reasonable doubt.

103. The Brass Verdict
Another great book for a road trip. Listened to this one on the ride back home from A2. This is Bosch #14 and Haller #2, and it was interesting to see the two characters interact.

104. The Wake of Forgiveness
Maybe I was not just in the right mood for this book, but I do not understand the rave reviews. I quit reading after the first 100 pages - simply did not care about any of the characters and what would happen to them. Some of the writing is quite lovely, but in the end was not enough to draw me in and keep me interested.

105. Stitches
I love graphic novels and loved this one. This memoir captures the particulars on one unhappy and tragic family story. I love that the drawings are deceptively simple and yet stay with you for a long time after you read the book. Makes me what to give the author a hug.

October 4, 2011

Journal Page

The fun thing about being in a college town is that you end up surrounded by young 'uns at every turn. So full of excitement and energy and angst. And oh so painfully young.

Here is one of the young men across from me at lunch. I was drawn with by all that hair.

October 3, 2011

Recent Reads

99. The Land of Painted Caves
I've been reading the Earth's Children series this summer, and was really looking forward to this final book in the saga. I got several hundred pages into it and simply could not continue. It is boring and not well written and though I really want to find out what happens, I've decided to stop reading it. And I almost never stop reading a book once I start it. Am so disappointed.

100. The Secret Servant
Am slowly making my way through the Gabriel Allon series, and this is #7. A fun ride that also got me thinking about how population growth and decline can change a region in terms of religion and politics.

101. The Tea Rose
Get ready for almost 800 pages of juiciness. Not since Gone With the Wind have I read such a sprawling historical novel. The story of a determined young woman is set in Jack-the-ripper London and 1890s New York, and I got a real sense of what it was like to live with and without money in those times. Yes, there is a love story too - but like GWTW, it is the time and place and the sheer grit of the main character that draws you in. Loved it and already have part two of the trilogy on order.

October 2, 2011

Home again

It is delightful to be home again. Even though the week of rain in A2 has followed us home, it is lovely to sleep in my own bed at night.

I love playing with my journal on the road. Here are two pages from the trip.

September 29, 2011

One in every port

As a kid I remember reading how sailors had a sweetheart in every port. My goal is to have a friend in every port, and was delighted when I met up with one in A2. Pam is delightful and fun and we can talk for hours. And no pond scum for us. We dive deep.

We started with a tasty lunch at Mani Osteria. The fire alarm went off at the end of our meal, and wouldn't you know it - not a single person moved or even seemed to notice the migraine inducing sirens and flashing lights. I, of course, knew the location of the nearest exits. We then explored the exhibits at UMMA. Love this little museum - a local gem.

Of course, we were too busy gabbing to take any photos, so I have none to share. No pics but fond memories of a fun visit with a fellow traveler.

September 28, 2011

Banned Wagon

It is the middle of Banned Book Week. Makes you want to run out and read all the books on the list no? I have never understood what all the fuss is about. After all, a good book is meant to provoke thought, provide insight, make you change your mind, let you explore different worlds. What the heck is wrong with that?

Yeah, the problem here is that the kid was actually interested in reading a book sent home from school. Shocking indeed!

September 27, 2011


No trip to A2 can be complete without a visit to Hollander's. Love this store. Could take one of everything. Maybe two. Of course I bought supplies for my stash. Here are some candy shots from in the store.

September 26, 2011


Beautiful day in Ann Arbor (A2) yesterday so explored Main Street. Every exploration needs a place to take a break, and I quite enjoy Sweetwaters - the downtown location.

September 23, 2011

Happy Equinox

It sure does not feel like the autumnal equinox today. It has been raining on and off for the past 2 days and there is a flood warning in these parts. The rain is expected to continue for the next day or two. Have not seen the sun at all today - so kinda hard to appreciate equal parts day and night today. But it is here. The official end of summer.

There is much activity at home as we get ready for a road trip to Ann Arbor. Clothes? Check. Toys? Check. Art supplies? Check. Snacks? Check. Music and audio books for the ride? Check. Books? This used to the be the thing that always took me the longest time. How to decide? How the heck do you know what mood you'll be in when traveling? Am delighted to not have a large bag full of books to schlep around. Nook? Check.

September 20, 2011


I'm not much of a dog person. It is not that I dislike dogs as much as I dislike badly behaved dogs. And yes, I put the full blame on the owners. So imagine my delight when I saw these warnings on a morning walk in Scituate.