Thursday, October 30, 2008

They Weren't Ready For Her Jelly

Her body's too Hooch-i-licious for them.

Actually -it wasn't an extreme hoochified shot that got Sheena the boot.  In all fairness, the competition is just getting really, really tight now and "good" just isn't gonna get it done.  You have to really shine and quite frankly, I'm impressed she made it this far.

But let's begin at the beginning, shall we?

The group of 6 girls arrived in Amsterdam and they were immediately tasked with finding their own digs.  They had to pair up and in a bizarro instant - Elina grabbed Samantha's arm.  What the ---  huh?  I think Samantha was probably thinking the same exact thing.  'Don't you hate me?'  She didn't say it, but you could tell she was thinking it.  

But they worked well together - those two - and they ended up finding the place first and winning 25 extra frames a piece.  Friends Forever, right? HA!

Then while Samantha, Sheena and McKey were trying to get some sleep, Marjorie, AnnaLeigh and Elina decided to take a girlie bath together.  I believe it was McKey who called it, "a Va-jay-jay shaving party" - although, if it was in fact that, they edited that part out to use for bachelor parties for the crew.  I don't think the trying-to-sleep girls would have minding so much but the the bubble triplets were being quite loud with all their giggles and such and the other three were - well - trying to sleep. A wee bit rude, I might say.

Then it was challenge time. For some reason, the fashion designers in Amsterdam have some project where they go into the brothels of the red light district and show their fashions off in the window instead of sex.  Okedokee.  The girls paired off again: Sheena and Marjorie.  Annaleigh and Elina.  Samantha and McKey.  They each had different designers and different attitudes.  For example - McKey and Samantha were dressed like, I don't know, definitely more normal clothes that the others and they were supposed to be like dolls in a doll house.  So the girls would hit 5 second poses and hold them, then switch.  They worked well together and eventually won.  Marjorie rocked it, but Sheena was too hooch.  And Annaleigh kept getting stuck in the window decoration although Elina did a good job.     

So McKey and Samantha won a return trip to Amsterdam to participate in a runway show.  Not too shabby.

As soon as they got back to the house Samantha and Elina got into it again over prostitution.  Elina has no problem with it but Samantha was trying to ask how could it be respectable.  As far as I can tell it breaks down like this.  Samantha has a question and instead of answering that question Elina accuses her of being small minded and then they fight.  I don't have a problem with legalized prostitution either but I think I could have answered Samantha's question in a way that would have showed my viewpoint and allowed her to have her own.  Elina just freaks out over the smallest little thing.  You'd think a girl that was so freakin' "controlled" on film might be able to deal with her own issues in the house a little bit better.  Any charm Elina once held for me is fading fast.  

This week's photo shoot was on the water on a big ol' yacht.  McKey was determined to get best pic this week and - god bless her - she surely did.  Her legs went on for miles and miles.  Actually, I thought most of the photos were good.  Both McKey and AnnaLeigh seem to be breaking out of their shells more and more each week.  Even Sheena gave a good face - softer and prettier than usual - but the body was dead.  And that's why she went home.

Couple things:
1. Does anyone else think that AnnaLeigh's face looks like a cocker spaniel?
2. We don't hear a lot from McKey.  I'm getting the impression that she's kind of dim.
3. Would someone PLEASE get Marjorie a charm class!  If she weren't so gosh darn awkward in person I think she could win it all.  Well - her commercial did blow too - didn't it?

Next week are the go-sees.  That is always entertaining.



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Birthday Bash

Sunday was my 37th birthday.  I can't imagine how I got to be 37.  I don't feel that old.  I feel closer to 27.  So let's just say it was my 27th birthday.  Okay?  Please!

Anyway, on my birthday eve, I had a small gathering of gal pals over to have some dessert and play a game I made.

Every lady brought a dessert so we had a buffet.  Let's see, what do we have here?

A chocolate mousse cake, some coconut ice cream, fruit tart, two-bite brownie, lemon cookie, and a pudding tart.
 

Since I don't eat sugar, I wasn't exactly sure how well my system was going to handle this.  But I was going to risk it!

Then we played my game, The Game of Love.

The goal of The Game of Love is to move around the board and pick up men.  When you have a few, then you start picking up situation cards.  Your goal is to get married to a guy you like.  The fun of the game is going through all the guy cards and reading their bios.  Just like in real life - there are way more guys NOT to your liking, so it can be a challenge to find someone you enjoy.

This is the third edition of the Game of Love.  I made the first edition when I was in college.  Most of the hot guys were in their mid-twenties then.  The second version took place in Chicago.  I was still in my lower 20's - so the guys were too.  Then I dug this game out of the closet last year and all the good guys were way younger than I was so I decided to redesigned it.  New board layout and new cards.

Michael also enjoyed listened to the hens laugh at the bios since he helped write a few of them.

It was a very nice party and thank you to those who came to celebrate with me.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Karate Graduation

On Saturday, Magoo attended his karate graduation from white belt to yellow belt.  Three other students were moving up too.  Normally, parents have to sit in the lobby, but today we were allowed to come into the dojo and take pictures.  You know I was all over that.

(For some reason these pics are not in the order I put them in.  So we'll start at the end.)
Here's Magoo with his certificate and his bright, new yellow belt.


Magoo and his group practicing front punches.  (He's the one in the middle.)


Working on his blocks.

And the best parts - the action clips!


Look at that mighty kick!


Magoo did a great job and his father and I are very, very proud of him.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When FIERCE Falls FLAT

They liked ya - Joc.  You slid by week after week on your personality alone.  But it just wasn't enough this time.  

The episode started off on the heels of last week's elimination.  Elina was in a huff because - despite REAL tears - the judges still felt she was bottled up.  Marjorie consoled her - and they concluded that the reason they couldn't emote was due to being European.  Okay.  Fine.  You're uptight Europeans.  But what gets me is that the other girls were trying to ask questions, trying to understand and Elina and Marjorie just went ape-sh** like "How dare you?!?!?!?"

Samantha ( who is starting to annoy me in her own right) asked - and I felt it was innocent - "Haven't you guys lived over here for eleven years?"  Meaning, can't you emote already?  I'd call that a fair question.

OOOOOOOh baby - did Elina get mad.  She screamed, "Do you even know how offensive that is?"

I would have been sitting next to Samantha thinking, Is it?  It didn't seem offensive.  And then I would have thought, Oooooookay.  I'm just not going to talk to the touchy girls anymore.  Let's see what AnnaLeigh is doing?

And that started the rift in the house.  We now have Team Touchy European and Team Get-Over-It America.  

For my part - Elina can blame whatever she wants, but if she doesn't deal with it, she's going home.  Tyra doesn't care if you're European.  Elina needs to work toward a solution rather than clutch to her excuse.

But on to the challenge -

The girls had to wear head-to-toe green screen bodysuits with clothes over them so that the clothes seemed to dance on their own when filmed.  They wore the clothes of an older lady designer named Noni something who looked like she'd been rejected from Ringling Brother's Clown School 42 years in a row - but was keeping the dream alive.  And she was NONE TOO IMPRESSED with the models.

Marjorie's dress fell down and she didn't know it.  Jocelyn did a semi- strip tease.  Sheena twirled and twirled and twirled!  Elina ended up winning because she worked her flowy sleeve.

The best part of last night's episode was filming the Cover Girl commercial.  Oh how I love to watch the models walk and talk!  However, they weren't that terrible because they had a teleprompter and spoke English this time.  Remember the cycle where the poor girls had to do a Japanese commercial?  Now that was a challenge!

Even so, Elina was controlled and stiff.  No, you don't say!  McKey couldn't find the product in her purse.  And, I'm sorry, looked like she was wearing whore make-up.  Samantha did OK - but was a little spazzy.  Marjorie - oh - Marjorie.  She would do so well in an edgy European Vogue shoot.  All her awkward angles and anorexic legs look good then.  But for Cover Girl - goodness.  She was a train wreck of nerves and self-loathing.  And she juts her chin out like a chicken when she talks.  Yikes!  Jocelyn was over-the-top corn ball - but I will give her some credit because she had puked in a garbage can only minutes before her take.  The girl was SICK.  And she got through it.  

Sheena and Annaleigh did really strong jobs.  They were both natural - in their own way - and moved and spoke quite well.  Annaleigh's looked like a professional commercial.  Very clean cut and "American."  If CG wanted a more urban vibe - Sheena's would have been the choice.  But it's good for both these girls b/c they are not the high scorers so far.  Sheena was in the bottom 2 last week.  So they're both just scraping by.

But in the end, Jocelyn wasn't taking good photos and she was shooting good commercials - so that's it for her.  Ba-bye.

So a really light skinned group of gals is heading out to Amsterdam next week.  And how did I not see that coming with the lame wooden clog runway challenge at panel?!  Shame on me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apples

This morning I got to accompany Magoo's Kindergarten class to a local orchard for their very first field trip!  Woo-hoo!  It was sunny enough.  Well - it wasn't raining.  But it was COLD! Frickin' frackin' cold.

They showed us how they pick the apples, peel the apples and then turn them into cider.  The kids got to help with every process along the way.

Here are some of the beauties from the apple tasting room.  Guess how many kinds of apple Magoo tried?  That's right - none!  Because none of them were baked into an muffin or pie!

But speaking of pie - last week I DID bake an apple pie.  And I have to say - it turned out pretty good.  My hubby didn't go for it - but he usually doesn't like fruit desserts so I wasn't too surprised.  But Magoo LOVED it!  He had big ol' pieces and wanted more.  So I'll definitely give it another go.  


The crust is gluten free and the filling is sugar free.  I could have used a little more crust - so next time I might add a few more ingredients.

APPLE PIE

Crust:
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp agave
1 vegan "butter" stick, chopped
4 Tbsp ice water

Pour flout, salt, agave and "butter" pieces in a food process and pulse until you get pea sized clumps.  Add ice water and continue to mix until smooth.

Cover in plastic wrap and cool for at least an hour in the fridge.

Filling:
5-7 apples, peeled and sliced
juice form 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
2 Tbsp GF flour

Peel and slice the apples and place into a bowl.  Toss and let sit in the lemon juice.  Add cinnamon and allspice.  Toss.  Add flour.  Toss.  (I didn't add any other sweetener - but you could use some honey or agave if you like.  I was just sort of combining different recipes and winging it.)

Preheat oven to 350.

When the dough is cool, take 1/2 and roll out a 12" circle and place in your pie pan.  I placed my apples in - sort of neatly, filling in the bottom and building up layers.  When I was done I rolled out the rest of the dough - to about a 10" circle and placed it on top.  I didn't have any to spare.  I sealed it with a fork and cut 3 slits in the top then I brushed it with a bit of soymilk.

Bake for 1 hour.

Mmmmmm.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Abstract Collage

These are three collage pieces I did last week for the upcoming show.

Drops

Rectangles

Sticks and Stones

I like abstract, but I don't usually do it.  It's always difficult - for me - to start a piece and not really know what it's supposed to be.  It's purely based on aesthetic and composition.  It's not how I usually work.  But I'm all about expanding myself and I'd been wanting to give it a try so I bit the bullet and did it.

The first one - Drops - was the most difficult.  I got started but nothing seemed right so I basically ripped off ideas from the collages I did for my bathroom months ago.  I just needed a little guidance.  Rectangles (don't you love my edgy titles?) came together more easily.  I knew the color combination I wanted to use and that made it easier.  I love blues and browns together!

Sticks and Stones simply evolved on it's own.  That was not my intention at all when I got started.  I had tried to just work with circles but it wasn't quite right.  And I loved the lacey paper I used on the top so I let that guide me.  Then I got to the ovals and stacked them like stones.  And nothing seemed to work next to them so I thought I'd break up the color block and the idea of thin lines came to me.  They looked like sticks and the title came from that.

These actually look quite nice in their white mats and black frames.  This is something very new to me and my usual collection of art.  I'll be curious to see if they sell.  

They're small - each one is about 7" X 9" and they're in 11" x 14" frames.  So I shouldn't have to price them too high.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The First Leaf Pile of 08

There was one thing Magoo wanted to do when we got home from school yesterday - make a leaf pile.  At first it looked like it was going to rain so we stayed in.  Then the sun peeked back out through the clouds and I thought - what the heck.  So we got out a rake - for me - and a small shovel - for Magoo (because we couldn't find his rake) and I raked some leaves.  

And this is what Magoo did ...

Not much of a leaf pile for that kind of jump, is it?  But he was having a grand ol' time with what he got.

I even buried him in them.

Look at that dimple - gush!

Then we had some quality time in the hammock as I reread some favorite parts of Twilight (My mouth salivates as the movie premiere approaches.) and he played Spiderman in the ropes.  Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back to Work

Days pass and quick enough it will be time for my show in Hartford.  The theme for the gallery show is SERIOUS FUN.  All the exhibitors are invited to show a piece with that theme in the main gallery downstairs.

This is my collage: SERIOUS CIRCUS


The nice thing about what I do, my style of collage, is that most of the artists at this show are "serious" artists.  They do serious art about serious subject matter.  I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.  And that's cool.  But apart from a brief period in college when I when I felt that good art dealt with serious subject matter - I'm just not that much of a downer.  I like colors and happier things.

So this will stand out.  And when they see my stuff in the hallway upstairs - they will recognize the style.  That doesn't mean they will buy anything - but being recognized is good.

I chose a circus because I wanted to pick something that was fun - obviously - but also something that we adults know a lot of work goes into.  I was thinking about puppet shows and plays.  The kids just have a good time but all the adults behind the scenes have bust their guts preparing for this.  That sort of thing.  The fun is on the surface.  There's just an understanding about the serious part.

Also - I drew inspiration from one of my childhood drawings.    This is a parade going over a hill which I drew when I was 5 1/2.  I love the details of my little imagination - so I tried to capture some of that.
 
So much work to do.  On my list today: print up some cards, make an abstract collage, start plotting out a new story.

Better get to work.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Pickin' was Good

It was a gorgeous New England weekend and on Sunday our family of three went apple picking.

Well, we started out with a hayride that lead into the orchards (at Rose's Berry Farm in South Glastonbury) and stopped for the corn maze...


and the pumpkin patch.
We actually went through the corn maze twice.  Beginning to end and then end to beginning.  I think we made a lot of right choices the first time through so it didn't take long to find the end. There's no fun in that, right?

It wasn't that big of a pumpkin patch, but Magoo found a beautiful one right away.

After went went back down, it was time for apple picking.  I am determined to make an apple pie - but I haven't quite found the time.  Maybe tonight?

The trees were pretty picked over at Magoo's height - so he needed a little help to get some good ones.


It didn't take long to fill a bag.  Here's Magoo with a beauty.


Monday, October 13, 2008

This Was My Week

This is how I pretty much spent this last week - reading the Twilight series.  After each book I would make promises to myself that I wouldn't start the next one until I cleaned a room or threw in some laundry - but I just as quickly broke those promises b/c it was sorta out of my control.

I never smoked, but I think I can kinda relate to the addiction.  I was twitchy if I couldn't get back to my books.

But I finished the last page, last night at 9:20 and I am happy to say that the end was such that I felt the closure.  I was worried that it would end in a way that would leave me ... hmm, what's the word ... I don't know, unsatisfied.  Needing something.  But I felt good.  I don't want to say more that that.

I did the math last night and it came to about 2300 pages of reading altogether.  I think I can safely say that's as much as I have ever read in my life in one week.  And - to be honest - I didn't get a lick of work done.  I wish I could read something I love at a more leisurely pace - but I just get consumed.  So I won't pick up another book for a little while now.  There's much to prepare for around the house.

Now I wait for the movie.  And I'll definitely be seeing it opening weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Twilight

Yesterday morning my husband woke up to find me under the covers, reading with a flashlight. I woke up early to read and I knew he would get up soon and I didn't want to crawl out of my toasty bed. I also didn't want to wake him with the light - so there I was. I started my morning session around page 150 of New Moon by Stephanie Meyer, the second of her Twilight series.

I started Twilight on the bus on Monday on my way to New York. I finished on Tuesday.

I finished New Moon yesterday, Thursday.

I am chomping at the bits to start the third one which is in my living room and I have promised myself that I MUST MUST MUST get some work done before I can begin on it. But, even now, I am wondering how long I will hold out.

This is my problem. This is why I don't read that much. Because if a book is ho-hum, I'll just drop it. I don't care. But if it hooks me and the only think keeping me from knowing what happens next is my own power to turn the page - I can not help myself. I will read at every opportunity I get. One book is not so bad. I can finish it quickly and reclaim my life and my productive habits. But a FOUR BOOK series - that takes a chunk out of my life.

My house is a mess. The laundry has been sitting in the dryer for days. I don't care. Every spare moment goes to the books. I will only be free when I am done. And then, I will be a little sad about it. But I can read them again - not soon. But later, when I have some time and I bet, then, that I will be able to keep it under control at least a little bit better.

At least I hope.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

And The Fiercee Goes to...


Tyra Banks! It was another episode where Tyra didn't have a lot going on in her life and she needed to be on camera much of the time. I think she really wants to be in a Broadway musical. The girl can't help from prancing around and singing. What was with that live action Tyra mail? Whatever.

For starters, I couldn't tell who was in the fire early on. They've gotten down to few enough girls that they try to interview everyone so I had no idea who was leaving until the end.

Seems to me the girls were harshing on Laurne Brie a little bit. And then they cut to L.B. in the "confessional" sobbing about her lost confidence. That pretty much made me think she was going to be fine. It's the cocky ones that usually get cut.

But I want to give some props to a very good exercise for the girls this week. Tyra was working on them with their "signature poses" - they're necks, shoulders, hands. She'd have them take about 10 shots and have the girls come back to the monitor and look at what they were doing, point out the issues. Then the girls would do 10 more frames with coaching. This is actually a really good way for them to learn. Too often I think they are shoved in front of the camera and then criticized for not being able to find their light or not knowing their angles. How on earth should they just instinctively know that stuff!? So it was nice to see them actually get a lesson.

Marjorie - who the editors made less annoying this week - won. She got a NICE prize too. She and Annaliegh got to go to the diamond store and pick out jewelry. See, if I was on that show, my goal would be to be nice to everyone so they'd pick me to go on their challenge wins with them. I could be the America's Next Top Model's Mooching Friend!

But since I'm on Marjorie - I have to give credit where credit is due. The photo shoot was A Night at the Fiercees, and all the girls had to model different red carpet scenes of embarrasment. Marjorie's task was to be a girl who couldn't pee b/c her dress was too awkward. They walked that girl - in her head wrap and evening gown - into a bathroom stall and she had to pose over a toilet. SHE DID A GREAT JOB. She conveyed the need to pee but she was - in fact - fierce. Hats off - you nervous little French fry - hats off to you.

Could you see that Mr. Jay was so grossed out to be in a bathroom?

Mr. Jay had another nice moment as Elian's personal on-set Shrink as he tried to get her to let go. I thought she did a pretty good job - but the judges were only ho-hum about the pick. I guess she wasn't ugly-pretty enough for them.

And speaking of the judges - WHAT WAS PAULINA WEARING? She - as always - is just stunning - but the dress - the hideous Barbie doll collection from 1982 dress - UG! And Tyra was all mini dress from the hood. Who dressed these people? No Fiercee for you!

In the end, Lauren Brie fumbled her "trip up the stairs" photo beyond repair and she was sent packing. But really it was the even more brutal crime of not having a strong personality that sent her home. But, she assured us as she was packing up, all her friends think that she is really fun.

I guess that's what putting her in my top 3 does - gets her the boot. Sorry L.B.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cauliflower Soup


I mentioned in my weekend post that Saturday night I had a FANTASTIC cauliflower soup at a restaurant called Barcelona in town.  It was luscious.  It was like wearing new fluffy socks or a flannel robe right out of the dryer.  It made me warm and happy.

A soup like that - I gotta try to make, right?  Right.

So I went online and started searching and I came up with something that I thought would be a good place to start.  One thing was important - non-dairy.

Now, my soup wasn't as good.  I didn't expect it would be.  But it was, in fact, good soup.  So I'll give you my slightly modified recipe.

SPICY CAULIFLOWER SOUP (But it's not really spicy)
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large potato, diced
1 small cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup soymilk
salt and pepper to taste

So you start with a large pot and heat up that olive oil and throw the onion and garlic in there until the onion is translucent.  Add the potato, cauliflower and the water.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add ginger and spices - stir them up and cook for another 2 minutes.  Now you can add the stock and any other seasonings you might want (salt, pepper).  Bring to a boil and cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the veggies are soft.  Stir in soymilk.

Now it's time to whip out your food processor.  Depending on how big it is - you might have to do it in batches.  I did four batches.  Put it in - blend it up.  Put it in - blend it up.  When it's all blended and smooth - put it all back in your soup pot and heat it up a little more - give it another 5 minutes or so.  Serve and eat.  Yum.

See, I forgot to add space for the pics - I always do this.

So here it is bubbling in the pot:

And here's the finished product with some bread.  It was a good hearty dinner for a cool autumn day.

But I want it a little creamier so I'll either A.) add more milk or B.) add a little yogurt.  And I totally forgot the soup I had in the restaurant had toasted pine nuts in it so I'll try that next time too.

In other news, mainly for Sara - I finished Twilight last night.  Once it got to a certain point (after a family gathering in the woods, wink, wink) I just could not put it down.  So I  missed most of the debate.  And now I have to try really, really hard not to start the next book until Friday because I have too much work to do and those books are so darn tempting!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day Trip to New York


5:00am - wake up. Cab is scheduled for 6am. Ready by 5:45 - just in case it's early.

6:00am - It's not early.

6:03am - Where's that friggin' cab.

6:05am - cab arrives

6:30am - board Peter Pan bus (I travel in style!) to New York due to arrive at 9:30 in Port Authority. I have a seat to myself. Yeah! I begin to read Twilight by Stephanie Meyers.

6:45am - stop in New Britain, CT to pick up passengers. There are many seats on the bus to choose from. Someone chooses the seat next to me. Booo.

8:30am - I need to pee. But in order to pee I have to ask this person next to me to move. No one else has used the abthroom. Is there even a bathroom on this bus? Yes - it looks like there is. Hmmm. Maybe I can hold it?

8:45am - I really need to pee. And If I don't use this bathroom, then I'll either have to hold it until I get to Viking at which point I'll have to excuse myself IMMEDIATELY to pee or I can use a bathroom in Port Authority and does one really want to do that? No, one does not. I ask to be excused and make my way to the back.

8:47am - ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

8:50am - that wasn't so bad, was it?

9:30am - Supposed to be in Port Authority by now. NOT in Port Authority. It's rough driving a bus through Manhattan. But it's good to see the city so I pause in Twilight - I think I'm on page 175.

10:00am - arrive in Port Authority. Find #1 Subway Downtown. Teh train takes a while to come at which point I am free to soak in all the people and what they are wearing. I am always sort of amazed that more people don't fall/get pushed into the subway recession that holds the tracks. I try to picture what a mess my clothes would be if I fell down there and figure I could quickly buy a new outfit before my meeting. This is how my mind works. Train comes and I ride it.

10:25am - arrive at Viking. Chat with receptionist about crochet. She's very excited about it.

10:35am - meet with editor, go through dummy book and discuss other ideas. This is a good discussion and since we have met before, we are both more confortable with each other. I think when editors and author/artists meet for the first time a lot of time is spent on figuring out the other person. She might think, "How can I express my criticisms in a way that won't offend her?" And I am thinking, "I hope she likes me - I want to do more books!" Now that she knows I am pretty open to suggestions and are not easily offended - we can communicate a little easier.

12:35pm - lunch at Italian place around the corner and discuss story ideas. I had a crabmeat salad. Mmmmmm. They had a yummy dessert menu but everythign was SO VERY DAIRY that I decided to stay on the straight and narrow. I was a cheap date.

2:00pm - back on the #1 Uptown to Times Square. Go above ground to find a gift shop to QUICKLY buy a gift for Magoo. I get a Superman T-shirt for $20. I know - $20! But I was in a rush and I didn't want to come home empty handed. I figured I didn't have to pay for lunch so it evens out. That said - I did buy it big so he can get a few years of wear out of it and it is a Superman shirt so he will want to wear it a lot.

2:30pm - get in line for 2:45 bus back to Hartford - crowded!!! Some terdball skater guy was clearly cutting in line but no one said anything. I don't think any of us were from New York and didn't want a hassle. Still - I cursed him out with my mind!!

When I got on I sat right in the front - BIG MISTAKE - over the tires.

2:45pm - bus departs and I don't feel so good. Bumpity, bumpity. Hard to read my book - my head is throbbing. My body feels ever so slightly nauseaus. I just try to concentrate on breathing so I don't hurl. By 4:45 we arrive in New Haven to drop some people off and some fresh air comes whooshing on. That was much better. My headache calms down and for the final hour of the journey I can ready again.

5:45pm - arrive back in Hartford and get picked up by Mike and Magoo. Eat homemade cauliflower soup. (Recipe tomorrow.)

It was a good meeting with my editor. We really picked apart the dummy book and talked about where it was too busy and how to simplify and work on the pacing. I think many people would be surprised at how much work goes into making a successful picture book. They seem so very simple. But that simplicity is what is widdled down from a huge knotty tree of ideas and ways to express them.

So I have a ton of work in front of me - but when you have a direction to go - it makes it all the more fun.




Sunday, October 5, 2008

Busy/Fun Saturday

Saturday morning, Magoo marched in the town parade with his Karate group.  This was the first parade he ever marched in.  He was pretty excited.  We got there early (because I'm incapable of getting there any other way) and he had a chance to frolic with some clowns.


It was actually kind of funny b/c a girl in the group with a blue belt was totally afraid of the clowns.  Blue belt - HA!

Then the time came to march.  Magoo got right up front and helped to hold the banner.


And he was given another task - stay on the yellow line.  He took that task very seriously.
Here he is, head peering down, watching the goal, tongue drooping out of the mouth in serious concentration.

The two girls on either end kept veering left or right.  Magoo wouldn't budge from that yellow line though - so his place on the banner would move around - sometimes he'd be on the left side, sometimes he'd be on the right side - but his feet were always on the yellow line.

After the parade we walked home and had a quick lunch then we got in the car and drove off to Newington for the Waterfall Festival where I was a judge for the yearly chalk walk competition.

This is my fourth year doing the chalk walk.  The first two years I competed.  Year one - I got third prize.  Year two - I got second prize.  Then they changed the judging process - and THANK GOODNESS - because it used to be just one old lady who would leave insignificant notes by all the art, as a guide to the viewer like, "Notice the shape of the barn."  Things that didn't mean anything.  She was crazy!  And I think there were a lot of complaints because two years ago they changed the system.  The library enlisted three judges (of which I was one) and we had a form of criteria we would judge the work on and then they'd tally the points.  

This year there were only 2 judges - I'm not sure what happened to the third guy.  Here's Magoo helping me out.



And while I was busy with my numbers - Michael and Magoo hit the bouncy houses and kid activities and even got to hang out with Spiderman and the Cat in the Hat!  Exciting!


Mike then went on a bike ride - how did he have any energy left?  And in the evening I went out to dinner with a couple friend and had a fabulous cauliflower soup (which I am going to try to make) followed by a lobster risotto and a apple/peach/strawberry crisp.  OMG - soooo good! 

No post tomorrow b/c I will be in NY but I'll tell you all about it on Tuesday!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pineapple - Coconut Muffins


A while ago i tried this recipe and Magoo wasn't going for it because the pineapple chunks were too big. That was just a little too much fruit chunk for him to handle. So this time I cut the pineapple into really small pieces and - SUCCESS - he loves them. And so do I. They're really, really yummy.

(This recipe is Gluten-Free, Casein- Free, Sugar - Free.)

Pineapple - Coconut Muffins

¼ cup melted vegan “buttery” spread
1 egg
½ cup honey
2 TBSP Safflower oil
a little water

½ c. tapioca flour
½ c. potato starch
¼ c. chick pea flour
¼ c. brown rice flour
1 tsp. Xantham Gum
½ tsp. salt
½ TBSP baking powder

1/3 cup shredded coconut
approx. 1/3 cup diced pineapple – cut really small



1.Preheat oven to 350 and line 12 muffin cups.

2.Mix wet ingredients with electric mixer.

3.Mix dry ingredients with whisk.

4.Add dry to wet – mix.

5.Fold in coconut and pineapple.

6.Bake 17 – 20 minutes. Cool.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

ANTM: Get Cocky - Get Screwed

Someone was thinking she was a little too good last week to possibly go all the way down this week.  Sorry Clarke.  Well, I'm not really sorry because I never liked her anyway.

But did you see poor bisexual Elina put her hands to her mouth when Tyra pulled out Jocelyn's photo and not Clarke's?  And Elina rushed over to hug Clarke?  The show hasn't been featuring it - but early on, Elina confessed that she had a girl crush on Clarke and I believe there was a girl "truth or dare" kiss in the hot tub.  She kissed a girl and she liked it!  

Actually - I was thinking it was going to be Marjorie who got the ax.  Early in the show they caught a rare moment of -gasp - confidence and she said she wasn't going anywhere - or something along those lines.  That's usually the kiss of death on this show.  But Marjorie soon became her own super-anxiety self and trashed her every move, even saying, "I failed."  

I'm with Samantha on this one - Marjorie is driving me crazy.  I can't stand it for an hour - can you imagine living in that house with her?  My 20 year old self would probably have tried to be supportive for a day or two - then I would have figured out that Marjorie's self-esteem needed some heavy duty lifting 24/7 and would have been done with it.

Plus - how frustrating is it to hear her whine and whine and then have all the photos turn out pretty darn good?  

I noticed last night that we are getting to the point in the show where some of the girls are really started to wither and fade.  The constant criticism from the judges has got them questioning every move they make and there's also a real inconsistency with the info they get.  Case in point - Mr. Jay loved McKey's performance at the "L.A. Disaster" photo shoot.  She got 50 extra frames b/c she won Paulina's ugly clothes challenge, but Mr. Jay said she didn't need it.  From the film, it looked like she was doing some pretty interesting things.  So her confidence is up, right?  She thinks she did well.  At panel, the judges were pretty harsh with her photo.  It was OK, but they didn't think she rocked it.  So now she's probably a little confused.

Another case in point:  Mr. Jay reminded the girls that they have to be the disaster - the tidal wave or the earthquake - but they are still featuring a garment that they have to show off.  Who wins this week?  Samantha and her tidal wave that covers up 90% of her dress.  All you could tell for sure was that it was short and yellow.

But I have to agree with the judges - Samantha's shot was really good.

OK - let's pick the final four.  Right now.
Elina - I think she's either going to crack next week or go all the way.  I'm betting on a break through.
Samantha - she has a "can do" attitude and I think she is improving.
Lauren Brie - she has great weeks and good weeks, but so far no bad weeks.  She will fly under the radar until the final 4.  She's this season's Chantall.

The last one is a toughie.  The judges clearly like Jocelyn, even though she's been fading fast.  Sheena is a wild card - but she has toned down the hooch.  Annaleigh - I'm going with too bland to be noticed.  Marjorie - I just want to smack her.  McKey - she was the one I couldn't remember existed.

Who do you think?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Couple Pieces for the Art Show

This week I am busy, busy, busy preparing a dummy book to take into NY for a visit with my editor so I will show you a couple more pieces for the November show that I have completed.

Planet V - collage
I never know what's going to sell - but I like to make planets. I called it Planet V because Magoo likes to say "V" a lot. He incorporates it into other words like "explode" is "v-splode" and if he wants me to pause a movie, he'll say, "Can you v-pause it?" It's like his fo'shizzle. We have a Snoop Dog in the house!

And here's the companion goldfish piece.


I don't imagine one person will buy both of them - but I did make them the same size and framed them in identical frames so that's an option. They'll look nice hanging anyway.

Okay - back to work for me. Happy Wednesday everyone!