Monday, May 31, 2010

A two week haitus.

Basically, in a grand family tradition of six-some years, I get to spend some summer time at my folks' hobby farm in Indiana. Which means slave labor. And all-you-can-eat strawberries. (The hundred plants they've planted a couple of years back have doubled, if not tripled, in number.)

There may or may not be some reading and some artsing. There will be lots of weeding, watering, chiggers and ticks.

Fun times!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A post for there wasn't enough time.

Finished reading: Dan Simmons's Summer of Night. Not scary at all. Read if you liked Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked this Way Comes.

Finished listening to: Poe's Children, a gathering of short stories read by multiple people and edited by Peter Straub. Not a single one of those stories was even moderately creepy. (A lot dealt with insects, one way or another, a topic which isn't creepy, no matter how you put it). "Louise's Ghost" was unique and hilarious, however. I'd listen to this collection again just to hear this story.

Now, as for the lack of time.. My folks and baby sister came down a day early, and I've been out and about, entertaining them (a task complete with a mild heat stroke yesterday). What with unglazed pottery, unfinished art trades, and heading out to the farm soon, it's been crazy-insane-ow, just bit my lip to blood.

... I'm going to go finish eating a slapped-together breakfast (dumplings, mango, and acai tea- best combination ever), now, and stop hurting myself.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Whitetop biking; more of.

First of all, a limax maximus, or a great gray slug, as found under one of the planters outside. The hole on the side of its upper torso is a breathing hole!

Secondly, this is going to be another short post, since my folks are down here this week, and 've got packing/cleaning/etc to do before leaving for the farm.

Elrin and I biked down Whitetop again, 17 miles that took us about 4 hours. Shuttle: 26$. Experiences: priceless.

It is impossible to describe the beauty of the region in words, and do it justice. There is about fifty different kinds of green in any one direction, and rocks, gray and brown and pink, jut out ever which way, threatening the trail. Rhododendrons have finished blooming, but there are cancerweeds, and mountain dandelions, and mountain laurel. The bugs are plentiful: not only the biting gnats and mosquito larvae in the stillpools beyond the mountain river, but millipedes, massive swallowtail butterflies, and others, whose names are a mystery.

There was a spot along the river, where the afore-mentioned butterflies converged to drink. They were not skittish at all, and we've actually gotten to pet one on its fuzzy back.

River cuts through rock, leaving water-smoothed boulders in its wake. Under the trees, these begin to be consumed by moss so green that it hurts the eye. In a hollow of one such boulder, we discover a clump of grass studded with little blue stars. Quaker Ladies.

We see a snake at one of the bridges, a slow, brown-black-rat-snake, about to shed. It escapes the attention unhurriedly, heading down into the beaver dam below.

Elrin’s bike keeps breaking, but since we’ve got all the tools needed in my backpack, I don’t mind. It’s another excuse to poke around in the crevices of the rocks. We meet bikers by the handful, and hikers with massive backpacks that go all day, and stay, at night, on the occasional small openings with fire pits.

Light is filtered through the branches above at all times, playing tricks of lemon-yellow in the grayness of shade. There is no god. There is, however, the natural world—a thing infinitely superior in its magnificence.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jazz gal update.

Since the first sketch looked mostly like an anatomy study, here's a final, dancing

Also touched up Moonweaver.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jazz gal

A little sketch for an art trade with Rachel. To say that I admire her works would be an understatement. Might rework this one to make it seem more 'extreme', for lack of better words.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Just had to share. 9x11 inches, gouache on bristol board. May touch it up a bit, as I'm not entirely happy with how Haben (the red thing) turned out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Narrator in an episode of Life: “The pack of hyenas splits, and one of them spots something…”
Elrin (without missing a beat): “A cameraman?”


The Forest Lover
By Susan Vreeland
Read by Karen White


“Artists Make Strong Talk Badly”
“A Story of a Life in Full Color”

Summary: A tnovel based on the life and inspirations of Emily Carr, who was a Canadian impressionist in the first part of the 20th century. Some of the events have been rearranged to make for a more interesting read.

Rating: Listen only if you have the tolerance for an overly gushy voice of the reader. A read-if-bored, if you’re reading a hard copy.

It’s an allright book, and I’m particularly thankful to it for introducing me to works by this artist. It’s interesting: I was never that keen on the simplified forms and bolder colors of this style before I began painting in a very limited palette. And now, all of a sudden, I’ve gotten a real appreciation for her style. Odd!

Here’s a link to a website that has images of her works.

Currently reading

Summer of Night
By Dan Simmons

More accurately, “trying to read”. There’s been a (pardon the language) crapton things to do. Namely: volunteering at the library, (soon, also volunteering at the local museum) Wednesday morning painter group, throwing on the wheel, plant trade, plants needing repotting, curtains, art trades, a Moonweaver painting that I need to finish before even looking at the art trades… there isn’t enough hours in the day.

A painted coil-and-slab pot.

The unfinished Moonweaver.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rain, and male witches.


We’ve done a fair amount of hiking recently, mostly on Virginia Creeper trail (VCT), but, when weather didn’t permit, along the main streets of Abingdon. The houses in the latter, especially the older ones, have rather nice yardscaping, so it’s almost as good as total wilderness.

Here’s a neat ‘little’ cave, discovered some 6 miles from Abingdon, along the VCT.


Another online trade is (hopefully) happening this week! A bunch of my guys (kalanchoes, spider plant) for a bunch of someone else’s sedums. They’ve sent first, which I wholly appreciate.

African Violets, as a whole, are doing rather well. I’ve wicked a bunch of dwarf ones, and they seem to be thriving. The pink jasmine isn’t exactly blooming, but it is putting out a bunch of new shoots, as is the spider plant. The spidey’s magnificent- still giving off 5-10 flowers per day, with very little leaf browning. Guess I was under-watering it before.

Stuck a bunch of lavender into the rectangular planter in hopes that something will finally thrive there (thanks for the seedlings, Mina!). There’s been some aphid problems with the stevia, and leafhoppers on the sunflowers. Both were tended by ants, and both were liberally sprayed with soapy water. Though, with the amount of rain that we’ve been having, it’ll probably have to be done again.

An odd moth also decided that the outdoor light was a perfect predator-safe location. (In this, it was mostly right. Birds tend to avoid that side of the house for lack of cover, and OtherKitty isn’t there much, as a result.)

Lastly, since good pictures are lacking this week, here’s an old shot from Biltmore’s conservatory. Not sure what this guy is, but he sure is pretty!

Apparently, begonias have male and female flowers! Never knew that!


Mushka was limping on her right foot yesterday, with one of the toe-pads swollen. It seemed to get better today. I sincerely hope that it was an ant/spider bite, rather than her cancer coming back.


Elrin found a game for me, called “The Witcher”. After not touching the said game for over a month, ‘ve finally picked it up and started playing. Something about the main character struck me as familiar…

Witcher, or male witch, is ‘ved’mak’ in Russian.

And there was a call to relatives and some wiki-ing to double check.

And there was much “SQUEE”-ing.

Apparently, the game’s based on a series which I absolutely loved when I was about 11. Granted, it was a rather filthy-mouthed series for an 11-year-old to read, but, in my defense, it was in my mom’s fantasy collection, which I used to sneak books from. For guilty pleasure.

I’m pretty sure that fantasy books were the beginning of my sex education. I’m also pretty sure that an English copy of the first book in the series is coming in the mail within a week.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Clay, clay, and some painting.

Here's a short run-through of some of the things I've done last week.
First of all is a roughly 8 by 11 panel of gouache on bristol board, on vaguely Daonic theme.


The instructor was kind enough to drop by on Friday and demonstrate some wheel throwing. My first attempt (leftmost corner) was a total screw-up, but I've kept practicing! :3 (The faceted and scored pot is the instructor's example.)

A fired coil pot construction.

Two views of a slab construction.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Inadequate ghost stories and geese!

Ghost Story
By Peter Straub


“Salem’s Lot, v. 2.0”
“The Whorish Antagonist Returns”

Summary: A group of old geezers call upon a writer to resolve their nightmares as well as the mystery surrounding the writers’ uncle’s death. And then they all meet –evil-. (There’s a small kid in there, which makes it –creepier-).

Rating: Only read if you’ve never read Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. … Actually, skip this one, and just read Salem’s Lot.

This book annoys me. Not only it doesn’t have any main females (usually a sign of the author living through his own characters), but it is a total rip-off of Salem’s Lot. Take a small town, in which all’s peachy-clean, except a few dirty old secrets. Insert a visiting writer. Then insert a young kid-sidekick, whose parents get killed eventually. Then insert a bunch of secondary characters that only muddy the storyline. Oh! And don’t forget to kill off the main characters one by one, and have the last old geezer have a physical ailment.

Except, surprise! The town gets saved, the –evil- gets off’d after a time period, and everyone lives happily ever after. The end. (?!?) Makes one want to bang ones’ head on the desk, it really does.

Haunting of Hill House really spoilt me, when it comes to scary novels. When you measure something by that level of psychological horror, it’s very difficult for anything to live up to your standards. Ghost Story –does- get brownie points for using the element of winter to its full advantage, but those points are almost entirely eaten up by the author trying to (unsuccessfully) justify the nature of evil that moves through the pages.

You’re better off reading Salem’s Lot.

Currently reading

The Forest Lover
By Susan Vreeland
Still a decent book, though the reader isn’t getting any better.

Summer of Night

By Dan Simmons
A few pages of S. King’s Dead Zone were utterly uninspiring. Thankfully, this little gem came through inter-library loan yesterday, and it’s looking rather promising so far. Reminds me a lot of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (which I really need to finish).


On a more exciting note, we got to hold a baby goose yesterday! The parents and their two goslings (each- about the size of an acorn squash) were waddling about by the side of the road/the shopping center by our house, as we were driving back from the daily walk. Of course, we had to stop.

Of course, Err’s border collie instincts came into play. In short, I’ve gotten a hold of one of the babies while the parents were hissing and crouching in my general direction. At one point, the larger of the two adults actually flew up, buffeting me with its wings, and, according to Elrin, trying to eat my head. That was exciting as heck, but not scary. A goose is pretty helpless if you’ve got your hand around its neck and the wings/body tucked under the other arm. … Don’t ask me how I know that. And this one was virtually offering me its neck on a silver platter

As exciting as it was, it wasn’t the best thing of me to do. The geese have enough stress as it is, and I’d certainly not recommend anyone to go outside and catch a baby goose of their own.

After patting the baby for half a minute or so (it had delightfully fluffy head and soft, rubbery paddles of feet), we put it down and allowed the larger goose (male?) chase us off. It was quite magnificent at it, too. Then the entire avian family went down into the lowlands surrounding an adjacent creek, and got into the water.

Fun times!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pictures galore!

Planter box.

The planters are doing relatively well. We get near-daily greens out of them, which is a plus, and the tomatoes are beginning to look less sun-burnt and more promising.
The stuff in the rectangular box include stevia (almost blooming), left-over bulbs, seedling air potatoes, dianthus, and basil.


Elrin and I did about 5 miles along Virginia Creeper trail, with plenty of things to see along the way.
Such as this spring larkspur!

Not Solomon's seal, but Solomon's plume or zigzag.

Some pretty big cliffs encountered en-route. Notice moi in the lower right-hand corner for comparison.

Nature sure likes to outdo herself.


View from Mina's farm. (Which we hiked on last week.)

Squawroot, a parasitic plant, as seen in the forest of the above-mentioned location.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Of role-playing.

There has been no artsiness, due to massive amounts of reading and a Friday hike with Mina (three hours of delightful up-and-downing on the slopes, picture included.)

However, there –was- story-telling. A past-time of mine (one that I became sadly addicted to throughout college) has recently crept up, courtesy of a guy we’ll call Serke, and a girl we’ll call Dove. I find this particular past-time entertaining, challenging, and not a little time-wasting.

This particular log is an example of a free-form roleplaying session through AIM. The people (Serke and I) took turns typing up what basically amounts to a story.


The crickets chirped. The frogs, at least, the ones not currently dead of the Great Purple Plague, wisely stayed silent. The plague itself shifted soundlessly above the bogs, a faint violet mist that hung around the edges of the reeds in a pansy-pink glow, and suffocated all the vertebrate life it touched.

From somewhere up in the deadwoods, which studded the landscape like something out of a horror story (which this, in essence, was), someone added their voice to the soundtrack of insects. It went something like this:



In the dead of an enchanted dusk, a pale light cut through the withered and twisted trees, sending rivets into the heavy and foreboding fog. It was torchlight, of kinds. Planted partway into the deadened earth, a gnarled piece of wood raised, clutched in a firm and unyielding grip. Such a grip belonged to such a thing, this male frame, which loomed at a slight tilt this night.

Perhaps a hermit of the bog, running as well from the fog, his tattered burlap ropes lilting over his features near in full. What cloth and thread that frayed from it's seams seemed to simply hang, in the windless air.

There was nothing but an oddly bittered smell, and a coiled and low voice

Matching the passive bravado of the pale green flame, which hung on staves end.

"..Good evening." A flat line, from a figure who had startled the other in such a way.
The mist around the tree's base churned, akin to the movement of the waves, yet so subtly different. It lapped over the humps of bodies, caught in its gentle trap; and what bodies. Humans and beasts in the prime of their life, belonging to two equally stubborn sides which have extended their conflict a bit too far into the night.

From a top the one tree, a child called a naive question to the bog walker.
"Mister, are you a ghost, or a madman?"

"" Was all he gave, short and sweet, the deep and hollowed hood tilting up to the more diminuitive thing. The bitter smell which may touch little nostrils registering with some familiarity or so.
Iron, and ashes.
"Perhaps some, may call me mad, child.."
He paused, a tinge of amusement ringing in that otherwise grave raising tone..
"Though, to I, I am neither."
"But if you are neither, then why do you stand when so many others have fallen?" Accusing, but not fearful, never hysterical, as the plague's tendrils lapped ever higher.

The child dangled its legs over the forbidden ground, squinting down to the fuzziness of the mostly-dead men, and the horses, the latter as familiar as the former, maybe more so. Her shape was a smear against the moonless sky, and could be mistaken for a cancerous growth on the body of the tree itself.

"This light you carry, does it banish that which is in the night?" "That" wasn't quite capitalized, and it should've been, in the world where people hid behind stone walls and heavy shutters, warding against that which happened when sun failed.
Do you save, or do you damn?- was the real question, one which she knew better than to ask outright.
As the head craned, what starlight that did fall eluded to an ashen visage, under the shadow which otherwise caressed an unseen face. From the tip, wired and fastened hairs entangled the end of a pointed chin. Though paled lips were tied tight.. it was as if a smile could simply be felt.
The same sort of thing, given from predator to prey.
At sudden, the man seemed ever separated from what carnage did wrack the bog. Above, despite his grounded state.
"-dearest child. light is a fickle thing." It was for sure, now, that that mouth gained it's jilted edges.
"For where light is cast, the shadows grow only more apparent." The last word, spoken in that level tone, would feel as if he had joined her in that treetop, and muttered it into her ear.
Though he stood all the same, at ground, the incandescent lighting giving no more of the mans features- seeming to lap at only the dead and dying alike.

That was as much of an answer as one needed to rise, clinging to the trunk, and, with some effort, relocate on the branch directly above the previous. A twig and some lose bark spiraled towards the earth, as the truth-laden little tales, reality which was once superstition, were presently remembered and made her footing unsure.
"Shadows can't be without light."
The contradiction was made in tune with the hopeless turning of the head, towards the eastern horizons, silent as they were dark.
Louder, now. "Light can be without shadows.. the Emperor's trumped your kind many times before!" Before, when the last fiefdoms were not crumbling into weed-choked obscurity. Before, when changelings didn't eat small children in their cradles and big bad wolves didn't scratch nightly at the door.

The figure hung still in pause, seeming to take the childs caution in. A bittersweet ichor, for the wanderer in the bog. A shadow even in shadows. "And the brighter the light, the thicker the shadow it casts." Those last words were made into a near seductive whisper, his tone snapping back and forth.

"You speak of light bringers. Hunters. Men of the unchanging sun." The thing took a step forward, head craning even further, leaving the hood somehow still impossibly lilting.
"Then, child, of whose artifice was this destruction cast? What kind of a man, do you believe, would it take to make...-this-?" A gloved hand, which was nary staff clutching, gestured casually to the damnation in it's wake.
It's wake? There was a terrifyingly personal inference to the utter and whole destruction which had shaken these lands to their bones.

"Of the kind that break rules laid by the wise men," She spat back at him, holding onto the ever-so-slightly swaying trunk with one arm, reaching out to pluck a long-dried cone from the skeletal bough with the other. Lanky frame- bent in in a shape of a question mark against faint stars.

"Kind of demon summoners, dead-wakers, enslavers of all that is pure and good in the world!"

The spruce cone flew towards the talking shadow below, ineffectual gesture of rage against the purple fog, and nature. "Go back wherever the hell you came from!"
As the cone fell, the figures head seemed to pivot, watching it clunk unceremoniously into the ground before him. There was a long pause, which not even the chirping insects dare show their reprisal. A deathly stillness, as the robed figure leaned down, that same free hand plucking the cone from the ground in a sure and unhastened motion.

"...-Interesting..~." The now split wide smile could be heard true in his tone. A thing separated apart from hunger, and anger alike. Much unakin to the more bestial things which did stalk in distances unmeasured.
"I do wonder, fledgling.. How far this courage of yours goes."
In a sure motion, the hand on the stave left it's grip- the thing standing on it's own as if driven into the ground, by workers now long since deceased. Fingers clutched around the borders, pulling the thickened cloth back-

To a full and unhidden face, of an ashen features so laden with permanent and unbiased rancor. looking eye to eye with the child, neonic iris' seemed to flicker with their own flame, on a night such as this.

A night so laden with suffering.

It was the sort of stare, entwined with ancient history the face betraying the age of the hellion who claimed the title of 'architect'.
"Dear child, would the light fade from those eyes, should I consume you whole?" Not a hint of intention was given away, nor any doubt to the gravity behind his words.


The living thing above the dying gave off a startled squeak, clinging to the trunk with both hands now. As if in malicious response, the branch beneath her creaked precariously. But there was no further movement from the man-creature below, and, in a minute, the grip on the deceased fir eased, the stranded one- looking around frantically for something to use as a weapon. Never had the ground, virtually coated in steel, seemed so far away..

No cones, no branch large enough to swing, no squirrel's nest.. no nothing. Back to the shade's question it is!
"Probably, as you'd choke." Replied the child through chattering teeth.
"And if you don't, it's false light, and you'd end up being skewered by one of the militias of the lowlands before the next day's out!"
The devil looked into that tree still, lips already thatched into a small and unrevealing smile. The kind a man could love, or kill with. The kind which, with an undying thing, was all the more dangerous. Those eyes would play tricks on her, seeing flickerings of a thing twisted with a wide and fanged grin - nothing but amusement on his face.
"Of all I have watched die, you are the most intriguing." The smile settled some, the bristling and unseen bitterness releasing their grip from the girls senses.
"Hear me then, as these words of mine are honest. By rite and writ, I swear thus." The sing-song tone of that violating tone was hard read, though there seemed a great deal of weight behind archaic and long unused words.
"I, am Dareth. I bear no surname. I bear no heritage."
"-I am the one responsible, for those who you have seen die. I have ground your people, your mother, your father, and all you have loved to the ashes we stand upon, this night."
"I do not seek forgiveness, for something I so enjoyed." As those lips anunciated, pearled and edged teeth could be seen moving there-under.
"The lowlands, too, have fallen. And will continue to fall, with little resistance."

"And should you die, here, I suspect your land is mine.. to do with what I wish."
A purposefully languid gesture brought the glove around that stave, pulling it from it's rooted soil.
"Know these things, and survive. Perhaps, you will become interesting. ...Or perish as unceremoniously as so many before you." He turned then, looking away only to start on the path he had been on before, down the grayed and desecrated earth.
"-Though should you live, to be interesting..perhaps we will meet again."
"Perhaps," He sounded, as his figure grew distant, "-You will stop me." Intrigue and interest rang hearty and true, in a coy way only managable by centuries of calculation and awareness. He would still be in earshot, though the hand of death seemed to move away from the frightened creature in the branches.

"will stop me.." The stunned echo of his last words was no louder than a whisper, almost overshadowed by the continuing song of crickets. A pair of pale eyes, wet with angry tears, trailed the departing evil, following its every step with growing certainty that he had not lied, this wolf of the bogs, about either his name or his purpose... or the impending fall of the region in which she was born and raised.

There could be no contesting with the one that trod upon the plague as though it was regular, long-since-absent mist of the morning. Not now. Not, perhaps, ever. Scraping together the last of her fourteen-year-old wits, and dreading calling the 'thing's attention to herself once again, the servant called out the one question presently needing an answer. "Are there others like you!?"

A mere silhouette, dotted by the evoked light, paused, head craning some. Too far to address without volume, and too far for an expression to read. The only light, apart from which shone so close, was the slit of green which pierced from an eye turned sidelong. Though, like before, it seemed to peer into her very soul.

Without any generous warning, there was a sound again, as if he was speaking from next to her, perhaps on a pairing branch. His tone was calmer now, as if he had already dismissed the fact altogether. Though, the ancient spoken pact still stood.

"There once were, though now, they are with the void. I am their sole successor."
With the answer clear, there was a final and parting thing, spoken from his own blackened soul.
"Do not disappoint me, lowland child."

There was a rush of air, as the light in the distance flickered out. In adjustment to human eyes, it was entirely dark. Though, despite its mysteries, the young one may feel suddenly - assuredly alone.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A scary book that never was, links, and more links.

Gad’s Hall/ The Haunting of Gad’s Hall
By Norah Lofts


“Five Kids, 0 Happiness”
“Oh Terror, Where art Thou?”

Summary: A family of a hard-headed wife, disabled husband, and 2.5(read: 3) kids finds a cheap house in great condition, the prior owner of which is rather fond of it as his childhood/family home, and helps them settle. The book then delves into the tale of the family of the prior owner’s grandfather. The older family is that of a wife, an early-dead husband, 5 kids, and, later, 3 husbands to some of those kids.

Rating: Don’t read unless you’ve got nothing better.

As strange as it may sound, I rather liked this book. But then Wikipedia kindly let me know that not only was Lofts a rather prolific author, but her preferred genre was historical fiction. Unlike Ken Follett, she just didn’t do that great of a job switching genres. The core story was great, the fact that I could actually remember everyones' names (she had maybe twice the number of core characters from that of World’s End) at every point was nothing short of amazing.

But it was not scary.

At all.

If you are going to write about a precocious child, chosen to be Satan’s bride, than killing herself and the resulting child right after delivery, at least make it seem –substantial-. The intertwining stories of the child’s siblings as they grow up carry more emotional weight than the actual ‘haunting’, though it is rather apparent that the author at least tries to insinuate some creepiness in there somewhere.

With that said, I wouldn’t mind reading Loft’s Suffolk series, if time and the increasingly insurmountable to-read list will someday allow.

Currently reading

The Forest Lover
By Susan Vreeland

An audiobook that Elrin’s kindly selected for me on the impartial basis of “It’s long, therefore it must be good”. So far, the voice actor is trying to be way too passionate, and the story itself is plowing along like a very determined turtle in a months’ worth of an unmoved lawn. Not exactly annoying, but not exactly making one want to sit and listen for eight hours straight, either.

Plain Tales from the Hills
By Rudyard Kipling

Have just started that one, and it –might- get replaced by one of the books listed in here , if the local library carries them.

Websites of note

Urban Dictionary - … Like dictionary! For –urban people-!

Good reads - … Like facebook. For –books-!

Bookins - I used to be a part of this swapping service, gotten some Thieves World series books off of it. The shipping charge, if I remember, is something like 4$, but it’s actually not a bad way to get ‘em, if you’re into the entire ‘trade resources’ thing.

Horror Movie A Day
- A listing and opinions of one person on many movies. Worth glancing at, if you’re not sure whether or not the latest “Nightmare on Elm Street” is worth it. (Hint: It’s not.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Elrin is gone for three days. (One day and two half-days, to be exact… but still!)

The 6 hours’ distance does seem to be an insurmountable distance, and neither of us could sleep last night. It’s odd to suddenly have an empty space behind you in a bed, a space that should’ve been filled in with another person.



Elrin’s off having fun, and I get to stay in, clean, and make artsiness. (The said artsiness mostly takes form of 1. Learning to use a sewing machine (the long-overdue curtain project is looming just over the horizon) and 2. Staying up until 2am to make my first-ever attempt at pirog (pirog/pirogi/basically a type of pie). (The thing took a total of about 4 hours, what with dough rising.)

There is a Russian saying, “perviy blin - komom”, or “first crape will turn out badly”.

As far as appearances go, these are nothing like my grandmothers’ (the best cook I know (possibly rivaled by my mother), who makes veritable works of art in forms varying from blins, to pirogi, to pel’meni, to any other type of nutritious, delicious stuff that I’ve grown up on). Taste-wise, mine didn’t turn out too badly, though! The one on top has apple-and-pie spice filling, and the one on the bottom’s apple, currant, and mint. It took all my willpower at 1:30 AM to not eat all of the latter’s filling raw. T’was –good-.


Bird-watching’s fallen by the wayside for now, since the birds in question seem to be too busy making nests and glaring at one another (*cough* insectivorous robins *cough*) to possibly be interested in any meager sunflower seeds we have to offer.

Also, OtherKitty killed two wrens in this past week (one- still a baby), and brought them to our back porch to show off. This was sad on multiple levels, as both El and I love birds (especially the small ones), and the cuteness of the cat makes it very hard to scold him. We ended up getting OtherKitty a collar with a bell on it, and for days afterward, the faint jingling could be heard, as the wild beastie romped across the sloping back yard in search for prey. No wrens since then, so –maybe- it’s working.


We haven’t done as much hiking last week, mostly because of me being a big baby about the entire cheek pain. (Which, by the way, isn’t hurting much at all today!) What we –did- do was a 30-minute outing onto the Sugar (Creek? Maple?) Hollow wetlands, without the camera, of course.

There were ducks in the wetlands, which were cute. There were also baby ducks in the wetlands, which were cuter. About five of them, along with their mom, were sleeping within five feet of the boardwalk, on some mossy logs.

There was a fair number of turtles out, as well, including a three-foot snapper, taking up most of a sizeable rock. There was another foot-and-a-half long one that slowly inched its way closer and closer to the boardwalk, as we stood and watched it.. I think it wanted a piece of our toes.

These reptiles put you in the mind for a distant, horrifying age, where humans didn’t quite rule the world, and everything and their brother was out to get them.


Potted plants continue to thrive! Of a particular note is a partly-seed grown/partly friend-given plain green spider plant, which has been putting offshoots with a huge amount of flowers and almost no suckers to speak of.

The flowers last only a day, but every day, I get anywhere from 3 to 10 new ones. Kind of curious how long the plant can keep going like this.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

No artsy post for obvious reasons.

Bright side: the cheek is getting better.
Dark side: It's still sending an occasional jolt of pain down the neck and into the skull.

The Arts Depot does have a rather neat quilt/paper/ceramicware display up, which is worth seeing, if you're in the area.