This quote on my #VeronicaMars dottery mug makes me happy every time I read it, both the words and the way I painted it.

I’ve been drinking gallons of it, thanks to this cold. My whole family has had this cold. Troy, Annalie and Elliora were pretty much over it in three or four days. In me, the same cold morphed into a sinus infection and bacterial conjunctivitis.


me, Heather & Brenda
me, CC, and Brenda, taken by my mom Oct 2008

I’m on drugs for both now, so fingers crossed I’m feeling better soon. Meanwhile, today I’m missing my chance to see CC before she flies home to Northern California, and I’m actually pretty bummed about it. The last time I saw her was at Brenda’s 40th birthday extravaganza, two summers ago. We were planning to meet up when Jen and I passed through their town on our way to or from LeakyCon last June, but that didn’t work out either.


So here I am at home with two kids who are definitely feeling better, while I hack and cough my way fuzzily through the day. I guess this is one of those days when I just keep throwing one-step-from-junk food at them and thank goodness we live in the era of DVDs and are well-stocked with children’s shows and movies. And, of course, keep guzzling peppermint tea with honey.


happy new year!

January 16th, 2013

I am also a big fan of @wwjend's hats.
My favorite hat, knitted by my friend Jen

Oh hai there. Yes, I’m still alive. Just out of the habit of telling you all what I’m doing.

You can see the sun sinking below the horizon. Golden.

A teeny sliver of moon. This sunset is SO much prettier in person.

So…what have I been doing? Well, taking lots of sunset photos, as usual.

Sunset photographer. Checking the shot.

Annalie has also been taking sunset photos. I’d show you the photos she took, but I haven’t downloaded photos off that camera in weeks. I love Instagram along with 100 million other people, but it’s made it way too easy for me to be lazy about taking pictures with my real camera.

Homeschooling in a blanket fort.

Homeschooling is going really well lately. Annalie mostly does her daily lessons without complaint nowadays. It probably helps that she’s almost nine years old (!), and that she can do them in a blanket fort if she wants to. Also she’s not allowed to watch any TV or movies or play any computer games until she’s done with lessons and reading and her daily chores. (It’s all about knowing what exactly motivates your particular kid. If you’d told me I couldn’t watch TV till I’d done my chores and homework, I’d have shrugged and retreated to my room with a stack of books, content.)

Annalie's door art.

A lot of art is going on lately, too. Annalie always loves to draw and paint and create, but she seems to go through occasional periods when she is creating more or less constantly. It’s like she wakes up in the morning with ideas, scenes, pictures she dreamed up and she can’t do anything else until she gets them down on paper or canvas.

Annalie and her portrait of Lady Gaga.

And then sometimes, we’re eating dinner at a restaurant where the tables are covered with paper and Annalie picks up a couple of crayons and casually whips out a portrait of Lady Gaga before our food arrives.

Annalie drew herself as a mermaid. A Christmas mermaid. Like ya do.

Annalie’s Christmas-mermaid self-portrait. (What? “Christmas-mermaid” isn’t a thing?)

I love this beach scene. I love all the amazing art Annalie has been creating lately.

I love this beach scene. There are so many amazing things going on in it: the detailed sand castle, the far-away sailboat, the plumes of smoke billowing out of the cargo ship, the different colors of blue of the water and sky, and the huge crazy sun dominating everything else.

New art in the front hallway, by Annalie.

I thought the sun in the picture went rather well with the ceramic sun—purchased by Troy in some Mediterranean country while on a deployment years ago—that hangs in our front hallway. I’d tried several different paintings and photographs in that spot, but nothing looked quite right. I framed the drawing and hung it up, and it works perfectly.

Bug's creations on the left; Annalie's on the right. Re: the top right canvas,  Bug's real name starts with H. :-) @secretagentjo

My mom gave Annalie a stack of a dozen small canvases for Christmas, and I think it might have been Annalie’s favorite gift this year. She hasn’t been hoarding them, but—atypically for her, the kid who uses every sticker on the sheet in two minutes flat—she hasn’t blown through them, either. The first time she used them, Brenda and Bug were here visiting, and she generously and excitedly shared her gift. The two canvases on the left are Bug’s; the two on the right are Annalie’s. (Re: the canvas on the top right, Bug’s real name starts with H. Awwwww.)

Awesome Narnia-themed card by Annalie.

I think this is my favorite thing Annalie has drawn recently. She made this awesome Narnia-themed birthday card for friends who had a Narnia-themed birthday party. Look at it! Aslan, Reepicheep, Susan’s bow and arrows! The Dawn Treader! The painting in the Scrubb family’s guest bedroom that drew them back into Narnia! What really impressed me about all of this is that it’s been probably a year or more since Annalie has seen any of the Narnia movies and even longer since we read the first book. (And can you tell that Annalie has recently discovered Cake Boss on Netflix?)

Sequined hat, pink rhinestone shades, rocketship footie pajamas. The girl's got style.

Why yes, I do have two children, now that you mention it. This one is just harder to get photos of these days, because she’s constantly in motion. She is something else, this kid. When we ask her how old she is, she tells us, “Six.” If we try to insist she’s two, she shakes her head and airily replies, “I’m not two. I six,” before wandering off to climb on something she shouldn’t be climbing on.

Double-handed I-love-you signs.

She flashes the ASL “I love you sign” two-handed, and tells us, “I love you too!” When someone is carrying her against her will, she demands, “PICK ME DOWN.” Troy has discovered that if he reminds her to use her manners when asking for something with the phrase, “Can I get a ‘please’ in there?” then Elliora will repeat her request for food or water or whatever and tack the phrase, “please in there?” onto the end. It makes us laugh every time. She makes us laugh a lot.

Doing our part to raise the next generation of geeks. #GeekShirts

They both make us laugh a lot, these little geeklings of ours.

E: "I'll snuggle and help warm you up, Annalie!"

I think we’ll keep ‘em.

Two colorful potholders I've crocheted recently.

I’ve crocheted a few potholders recently. Some of them I’ve given away as gifts, but these two I’m keeping because the two crocheted potholders I’d been using for years both got burned on Thanksgiving.

A galaxy of crocheted stars! Some last-minute gifts a friend ordered: crocheted balls and a star ornament. Fingers crossed they get there on time!

Some star ornaments I crocheted for Brenda and Bekah, and a few crocheted balls. I’ve actually crocheted about 20 balls recently to give as gifts, but I haven’t take pictures of them all. Yes, I said “to give as gifts.” Only about three people got timely Christmas gifts from us this year, and that’s only because I ordered their gifts online and had them shipped directly. Everyone else probably thinks we suck and don’t love them anymore. And let’s just say I’m hoping to get our holiday cards mailed out before Valentine’s Day. I won’t even mention all the Christmas baking I didn’t do this year. Ironically, however, our Christmas tree is still up. (Was it just me, or was anyone else particularly unmotivated this past holiday season?)

An owly hot pad for @secretagentjo.

An owly hot pad I crocheted for Brenda, at her request. It’s meant to look kind of like her book character, Little Hoo. I think it turned out pretty good, considering I was completely making it up as I went along.

Be wholehearted.

I’ve painted some stuff, too. Have I taken pictures of most of it? Noooo. In fact, one person who had commissioned me to paint her a mug, oh, a couple of months ago sent me a very sweet note on FB, wondering if her mug had been fired. I have been very, very slow about shipping items to people lately. Lucky for me, people are mostly kind and understanding about this, but I hate the fact that I’ve been taking advantage of people’s good natures. If I have been slow about shipping something to you, please accept my humble, heartfelt apology and this reassurance: I’m so sorry I’m slow. It’s not just you. Everyone has been waiting forever for their pottery. I promise I will try to do better.

Annalie found my origami book & paper. She folded the blue hat first, then the green hat.

I hate to end a post on that slightly bummer note, so here! Please enjoy this photo of oranges wearing origami hats, folded by Annalie. She found a book and some paper that I had and has been folding all kinds of things entirely on her own. It’s kind of awesome to watch her figure something like that out without any help.

Rainbow cake on a random Tuesday: that's how I roll.

If you were here in my house, I would further brighten your day by feeding you a piece of rainbow cake, which I made on a random Tuesday because that’s how I roll. Here’s hoping you all had wonderful holiday seasons and that 2013 is full of random-Tuesday rainbow-cake goodness for everyone.

dottery pottery auction

Do you read Balancing Everything? Jessica (AKA kerflop, AKA verymom) and her family have dealt with a number of health issues in the past year or two, a couple of them involving surgery. The most recent one involved Jessica learning of and having surgery to repair a hole in her heart that was—atypically—causing her to experience frequent blackouts.

I’ve been reading Jessica’s hilarious and heartfelt take on homeschooling, gardening, ineffective-but-well-meaning housekeeping, and life with kids for years now. Even though I’ve never met her in person, I feel like we’re good friends once removed, because of our mutual friendship with Heather. I’ve been following along with the health dramas and ensuing financial stresses, praying for her and her family, wishing I could do more.

Then a couple of her good friends decided to give Jessica a rash and a ray of sunshine in one fell swoop. They took over her blog and set up a donation button, compiled a list of businesses who are donating a portion of their profits to help Jessica’s family cover their medical expenses, and asked for donations to a charity auction.

And that’s where I come in. I donated a custom-painted piece of pottery to the Operation Pay For the Hole auction to help Jessica and her family pay for recent medical expenses. The auction closes on the 10th, which means as long as the winner contacts me promptly, I would have time to paint and ship the piece in time for it to be a Christmas gift! There are some other neat items up for grabs, including a handmade bag and some beaded yarn and crocheted earrings I’ve got my eye on. Why not check it out? ‘Tis the season for helping our fellow bloggers, right?