A Smudgy Meh

So I decided to play around with the smudge tool a bit more, and I revisited a familiar image.  Here is the result, although, although it's not particularly dramatic:
Finally got those pants shaded...

I think perhaps I should try it with something where I haven't already done hatching... I'm just not super impressed with the difference.  Like I said, it's not dramatic enough.  In fact, I give today's entry a resounding Meh.

(Sometimes it is okay to have a meh day.)



Another good (but packed) day.

I spent the morning getting caught up on some stuff I'd been slacking on (yes, including the blog), and then around noon-thirty Nathan dropped me off down at the convention center for Stumptown, where I met up with my Katie, and good times were had by all.  One of the things I specifically wanted to do was sit in on a panel on digital painting, and thus we did so.  Which brings us to this:
Smudge Tooled

No, it is not particularly exciting.  But what it is, is me putting into use one of the things I learned during the panel.  Well not so much "learned" as "was reminded of".  See, I have this bad habit of getting into a rut with what I do with how I color; I know what works and I stick to it.  Don't get me wrong- I like my vaguely-cel-shaded-style, but sometimes I forget that I don't have to work that way.  Hence I busted out a smudgy sphere.

Anyway, we eventually wandered back across the river and into the rock gym, where I pushed the hell out of myself and tried a 5.10+ (couldn't solve it without cheating- yet) which schooled me on the importance of keeping your core tight.  But what was super the most exciting was that I tried a 5.8 overhang (ie, on a wall angled more than 90 degrees) called Starfall.  Now, what you need to understand is that I'd done Starfall before.  A couple of times, actually.  Failed it a couple of times, too.  Solving that route had involved a lot of swearing and brute strength, but I hadn't tried it since I started the technique clinic, and I wanted to see if I'd actually made any improvement in my climbing.

Holy stars, have I ever.

I'm not saying it was "easy", but it felt good.  I didn't feel like I was fighting the wall, I felt like my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing, and that I was actually flowing instead of muscling; I didn't completely deplete my strength getting to the top.  It was a fabulous feeling, and I was super, super triumphant- and super glad Katie was there to prove I wasn't making it up.


A Farmer Sort of Day

Today was an excellent day, and it started (as so many of my excellent Saturdays do) with Crossfit.

WOD (as done by me):

Team Relay

200m Farmer Carry (35lbs)
500m Row
20x Burpees
400m Run w/ medicine ball (14lbs) (I think)
30x Jumping Lunges
Move a stack of weights and a barbell 100m

So the way this one worked was that we had two teams of three, and at Go our first person started the farmer carry while the other two of us waiting.  Once he got back, the second person started the farmer carry while the first person went to row, and I continued to wait.  Once the second person got back, I did the farmer's carry while person two went to go wait until person one was done with rowing, at which point she took over rowing and person one went to burpees (except I think he did wall walks [this video calls them "wall climbs"], which I was not comfortable with, hence I did twice as many burpees) .  Get the idea?  I asked to be anchor because I knew my fitness level was the least advanced, and I didn't want to slow the whole team down.  The last part of the relay, the move-the-weights part, was the only part that multiple people were allowed to work on at the same time.

Anyway, when Jack got to the part of his explanation where he talked about the run, he said, "There is no non-awkward way to do this, so just carry it however you choose."

Readers, he was not kidding.  I tried at least eight different positions with that ball as I was "running", and do you know what I discovered?

True story.
Anyway my team did not come in last, which was awesome, and I did manage to help with the very last part of the "move the weights" leg, so I got to feel like I pulled my own weight (so to speak).

After that Nathan and I took Isis the the farmer's market (you're shocked, I know), and in the afternoon we met up with our friend Nick to watch Cabin in the Woods (a second time, in my case).  If you haven't seen that movie, you probably should.  It's awesome, and I can't tell you anything about it, but you should see it.  Unless you don't care anything at all about subverting genre, and then it may not be your thing... but chances are, if you get any sort of pleasure out of the voice that this blog comes to you in, you will derive some sort of joy from that movie.


Seeing What Can Be Done

You may recall that a while back I did a doodle inspired by my mother.  And when she saw that doodle, she very sweetly requested a few others.  Well, here is the beginning of me seeing what can be done:
There is more to the doodle, but it's not really filled in yet, so I expect it will be a few more days before you see it- especially since I have a particularly busy weekend ahead of me- one that starts in about an hour when Tavish and SCurry get here for some totally awesome Game of Thrones watching.


Patterns, People, and Pigs

Here is a page from my sketchbook, done whilst watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and thinking about  1) Jane Lindskold's Breaking the Wall series (so good, you guys), 2) how much my dog looks like a pig, and 3) Minoan snake goddesses/the pantheon of Tortall

Also, apparently, bustiers that shoot bullets?  I just don't  know...

My sketchbook is, in a very real way, my version of stream-of-conciousness writing.


Just a Tree

I guess it's pretty rare that I do doodles of things that are... well, things, and not people.  This is because I love drawing people most of all.  But sometimes you need to put people in settings, and thus I'd be remiss if I didn't occasionally practice drawing things...
Notice how there is a perfect place to put a PERSON in this drawing of a tree...
Of course, the fact that I love trees almost as much as I love people means that this drawing might just be considered a little bit of a cheat... but I won't tell if you won't.


Popcorn Dress

Obviously there are many days that, while I do my sketch or doodle or "progress on a piece", I don't actually get around to uploading them until later (despite how I may fudge the date stamp for the purposes of organizing this blog).  This is one of those days, and thus I can't totally remember what the hell inspired the dress at the bottom of the page.  My best guess, however, would be a piece of popcorn...

Also, although I did not fill them in, her hair is supposed to be ridiculous sausage curls.
 I am pretty sure, however, that the flow-y one up and to the right was a vague sort of Dany inspiration...


A Song of Ice, Fire, and People I Want to Punch

I have a confession to make;

I never finished reading A Song of Ice and Fire.

I know, I know- no one has finished reading ASoIaF because the series itself isn't finished yet.  But what I mean is that I sort of quit reading somewhere in the midst of  A Storm of Swords (the third book).  Of course "quit" is kind of a strong word... it's more like I just... petered out.  I was bored and frustrated, and hated lots of everyone (and for some reason the few characters that I didn't want to bitch-slap weren't getting enough page time), but I kept trying and trying... until I didn't anymore.

That was about three years ago, I guess?  And I've borne the shame ever since (I am probably the only geek person I know who isn't totally in love with those books) (who has read them, I mean).  Then, of course, A Game of Thrones came out, and my interest was somewhat re-kindled.

It kindled the interest of others, of course, including friends of mine who do not typically read sci fi or fantasy.  One such friend decided to tackle the books, and I felt compelled to read them along with her- to see if maybe I might like them better the second time around (plus I want to be able to properly bitch about discuss what changes were made between the books and the show).  So I'm rereading A Game of Thrones (and settling in later this week to re-watch season one with some friends who have neither seen nor read them) which means it's ultra on my brain, which is what led to today's at-work-doodle:
Maybe lay off the mead, maybe?

Furthermore, I will probably be posting My Opinions on here from time-to-time.  Not that I'm going to go all A Read of Ice and Fire on you (although I highly recommend it for good-times-readings) but sometimes snarky thoughts must be shared (but I do promise to post a giant SPOILER ALERT before I do so any such thing, because I am super sweet that way).


On the Moral Obligation of PNW Residents to Spend as Much Time in the Sun as Humanly Possible

...or am I the only one who feels that way?  Like I am doing a Bad Thing if I'm not outside while the sun is shining?  I'm suffering from that guilt right now, because I just spent the past hour or flailing around in Painter until I came up with something I was satisfied with sharing:
Creepier than originally intended- but I like it alright.

Nevermind that we spent several hours out hiking with the dog- the sun is still up!  Why am I not still in it??

(Maybe I will take my netbook back out on the back porch to do some more editing... I am quite close to having replaced all the ridiculous "place holder" name with actual names... and, as I said to my friend today, how can I ever expect to get paid not to work if I don't hurry up and publish a book?)


Sometimes a Restart is What's Needed

Bryn of House Rhosmund
It's been an odd day.

I woke up this morning determined to go to Crossfit- I had some sadness that needed working out, and intended to do just that- work it out by working out.  Unfortunately I also had some abdominal cramps- some seriously bad abdominal cramps.  But I thought, Screw you, cramps.  Exercise will take care of you.

(I really, really wanted to do Crossfit- I needed that post-workout-high.)

So I got to the gym and I started the warmup, and as I was doing the first of my scheduled 200m runs, my cramps were all, "Think you can get rid of us this way?  Oh ho ho, we think not," and I kind of wanted to cry- not so much from the pain as from the frustration.  But I didn't because I was even more determined not to be a baby- especially not a "Woe is me, oh look at how pitiful I am and give me special attention," baby in front of my trainers and co-Crossfitters so I sucked it up.  (That is one of the ugliest flaws in my personality- the attenion-craving-drama-queen-whiny-baby.  I hate it more than just about any other of my weaknesses.)

But Aubrey, she is observant.  She'd asked me earlier how I was doing, ("Not my best week ever- but I'm here now!") and when she saw me trying to grit out the cramps during the explanation of the WOD she came over to talk to me again.  I admitted to the cramps, and that I was thinking I might have to go home.  She agreed that was probably a good idea- that I really didn't look good.

So I went home.  And almost started crying again, from the pain, frustration, and humiliation of giving up before I even started.

Then I crawled back into bed with Nathan and slept it all away.

When I woke up again it was like a chance to re-start the day.  We puttered around the kitchen making brunch, then loaded up the dog and headed down to the Farmer's Market, where we spent two hours socializing the hell out of her.  She got to bounce on a couple of great Pyrenees, a great Dane, and a very patient grown up pit bull (gorgeous brindled boy)- and then she was wonderfully polite with a pair of tiny dachshunds.  It gives me hope that one day she'll make the same sort of connection about tiny humans.  Not that we want her bouncing on any humans, but especially not the little ones.  Although she did, for the very first time today, sit for pets from a stranger without being told.  Progress is made!

I tell you what, though- if you don't like people, you'd better not get a pit bull.  Everyone loves her, and just about everyone wants to pet her and talk about her.  Doesn't matter the gender, race, socioeconomic status, able-ness, or culture: my puppy bridges them all.  I really like it, actually- I think the world needs more opportunities for people to interact on a positive basis.

So that was two hours of sunshine and happiness, and although I ended up being pretty sunburned (it always happens once per year- that's how I know when it's sunscreen season) I came away feeling much better about life and myself.  And I did a couple of pullups when we got home, so that helped, too.



More playing with Painter:
Good ol' trois crayons...
It's kind of this infuriating mix of intuitive and not intuitive at all.  Yeah...  expect a great many more of these random, flailing-around-with-technique doodles in the coming months.

(Chances that I'm looking forward to Crossfit in the morning?  Extremely high.)


Sometimes I Deliver on My Promises

Behold!  A few of the shots from last week's newborn session:

Keep an eye on your sibling: you never know when they'll try to steal your stuff.
This one is here mostly to prove that Nathan does, sometimes, use color.
Oh right- there were grownups there, too.
And now (and far less interesting) here is today's doodle, slapped on the screen before I must dash away to my climbing clinic:
Playing with Painter.  I have Oh. So.  MUCH to learn.


Complaint of the Lioness

One of my all-time favorite authors is Tamora Pierce- and of all her series, the dearest to my heart is The Song of the Lioness Quartet.  In fact, those books and the effect they had on me is a large reason why I'd rather write YA than any other "genre"- I want to be able to touch someone like I was touched.


Today's doodle comes from a scene in the second book, In the Hand of the Goddess, in which Alanna has decided (for the first time since she began training to become a knight over six years prior) to try dressing "like a girl".
Oh MAN- totally didn't even color the trim on the right sleeve.  WHOOPS.

The actual passage reads:

"It doesn't look right," Alanna objected, trying to hold her body rigid while she turned her head.  "It looks like Squire Alan in a dress."
"That's because we've done nothing with Squire Alan's hair.  Hold still!"

That scene always cracks me up, especially the idea of 'doing something with Squire Alan's hair'.  I didn't have the book with me when I drew this, and I'd forgotten the whole "body rigid" thing- I was just picturing her expression as she looked herself over in the mirror...

 In the past when I've doodled Alanna (especially young Alanna- she's sixteen here) I've tended to make her, well, kind of a string-bean (one of the easiest ways to imply youth).  But as I started to sketch this out the thought occurred to me that, by this point in her training, Alanna would be pretty well muscled.  As an adult she's described as "stocky"- so I tried to imply some of that beneath the dress.  Her body really should be fairly boy-like at this stage, especially when compared to the other noble women of her time.  In fact I may have over-exaggerated her bosom- but I think I'll forgive myself for that (even if she wouldn't).


Cocoa Regina (or: Honey-Sweetened Chocolate Ice Cream)

I stayed up a bit late to ensure there was an illustration for today's entry, and not just a whole lotta' jabbering...
I have a problem with sugar, Gentle Readers.  And that problem is that although I like sugar, sugar does not like me.  Specifically it does not like my joints, or my un-inflamed state.  Yep, too much of the deadly white stuff and my joints get all swollen and painful- plus I just generally feel like crap.

Honey, on the other hand, does not seem to have this effect on me.  Don't ask me why- honey is sugar, too, after all- but I'm sure there is some science-y explanation I just haven't stumbled across yet.  Or perhaps it's psychosomatic- who knows!  Anyway the point is that ever since I discovered this strange reality (sugar = pain, but honey does not) I've been turning to honey to sweeten things.  Obviously it's not a one-for-one substitute (honey is sweeter, for one thing, and it's a liquid rather than a solid- although you're supposed to treat sugar as a liquid when you bake, sooo... never mind, ignore my ramble-prone brain) but it does a damn fine job.  Especially since I actually prefer the flavor of a good dark honey to that of plain white sugar.


Oh but, Gentle Readers.  When we got our ice cream maker last month, I dutifully made my beloved Riesling ice cream- and for that I used sugar.  I thought, briefly, of using honey, but there was much I did not understand- for example, would it crystallize differently?  Probably, but would it matter?  According to the interwebs, using honey in ice cream can make it grainy- well that's no good.  So I stuck to the traditional recipe, and vowed I'd do some experimentation later on down the road.

Well last week I came across an article on NPR about the bacon sundaeWhat an excellent idea, I thought to myself, bacon and ice cream!- and then recoiled in horror at the photo.  Basically they just threw a couple of limp "bacon" slices into a cup of soft-serve.  Gross.

I can do better than that, I thought indignantly.  But if I was going to make bacon ice cream, I was going to use chocolate.  And if I was going to start experimenting with ice cream, then the time had come for me to muscle down and figure out how to do it with honey.

On a whim I posted to Facebook: "Who has the best recipe for chocolate ice cream? Bonus points if honey is used instead of white sugar..." because sometimes I am lazy and want other people to have already done the work for me.  The only person who responded was my friend Jason, who didn't have a recipe, per se, but offered to tweet at Alton Brown for his opinion.  The response?

"It's not a simple trade out because the honey is quite different from sucrose. And there's the added moisture to calculate."

Which made me say, "Not a SIMPLE trade-out, but DO-ABLE. This shall happen, oh yes..."

And thus began another, more in-depth round of Interwebs Research.  Finally, armed with what I'd gleaned from dozens of sources, as well as Alton's own chocolate ice cream recipe as a jumping-off point, I got started.

Here is what I used, and what I did with what I used:

1 c. cocoa powder
2 pints half and half
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
8 egg yolks (fresh from the farmer's market, no less!)
1/2 c. local raw honey (I used Garden of Beeden's "Mystery Blend") (Wish I could link to them but darned if I can find their website)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Oh farmer's market, full of delicious things to use to make other delicious things.*

First things first, I put a cup of half and half and the cocoa powder in a sauce pan and whisked the heck out of it until they were well blended.  Then I added the rest of the dairy and turned up the heat to medium, stirring occasionally until it hit a low simmer, at which point I took it off the heat.

While the dairy was heating, I whisked the egg yolks in a medium bowl until the yolks got paler, and then whisked in the honey.  Once the milk mixture was ready, I enlisted Nathan's help to ladle in 1/3 cup at a time while I kept whisking (I know the limits of my own dexterity).  Once he'd ladled in about half of the mixture I had him pour in the rest, then I put it all back in the saucepan and back on the heat.

I kept it on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it hit 175 degrees and passed the spoon test, then poured it back into the medium bowl and let it sit at room temp for thirty minutes.  Then I stirred in the vanilla extract and transferred it to the fridge to chill for three hours, until the bottom of the bowl was cold to the touch.  After that it was just ye old "follow ice-cream-maker manufacturer's instructions".

It came out super thick- and amazingly smooth and creamy, which I'd been nervous about.  Honestly, it came out incredible.
Super, super thick.

In my opinion the texture fresh from the ice cream maker was just perfect- after being frozen overnight it became annoyingly hard (not icy: just hard)- but I've read that's par for the course with home-made ice cream (that hasn't been made with alcohol).  Maybe next time I'll just serve it fresh from the 'maker and ensure there isn't any left over for freezing!

Nathan thinks we ought to try using less cocoa next time; he felt it had a weird follow-through that dried his mouth a little.  I didn't get that, but I'm- obviously- always willing to experiment...

*But where's the bacon, you ask?  Well, I decided I'd better make sure I could successfully make the ice cream using honey before I went tossing perfectly good bacon into it.  So next time, Gentle Readers.  Next time.



Remember yesterday when I said something about creating a background for my octomaid?  Well today (as I stayed home from work all sick and pathetic) I started working out just what, exactly, I want to do.  Here is a page from sketch book so that you can see how I do this sort of thing:
Who's up on their Greek?
Haven't decided yet on colors- but probably the blues and greens I'd initially thought I'd do the 'maid herself in.


Getting Closer

I'm getting closer to Happy with this piece:
Everything's better with a little mucous membrane action...

I think I'm going to ::gasp:: put in a background next.  Not sure yet how I'll do it- maybe draw it out in my sketch book, then piece it together in Photoshop?  We'll see... first I have to decide what I want the background to be... (beyond stylized, I mean).  Perhaps sea-flora?  That seems likely...


Body Politic

It's been a while (::coughtwoweekscough::) but I finally got back to Crossfit.  Today's WOD:

30 Box-jumps
Walking lunge from the door of the box to the gate at the end of the parking lot
Run Devine Hill
Walking lunge from gate back to the door
30 Box-jumps

That doesn't sound so bad, right?  Yeah, that's what I thought.  You'd think I'd have learned by now that it's the ones that seem the most innocuous that kick my ass the hardest:
I was last to finish- but only by ten seconds!
That last illustration is an exaggeration: I did manage my final thirty box-jumps, although it was through sheer force-of-grunt-power, I think.  I really hate it when people make loud noises when they work out, but for some reason I can't not grunt when I do box-jumps.  So I guess I need to adjust my loud-noises-opinion, or end up hating myself...

In other news, we took Isis to the Farmer's Market today for the first time ever, and she was in doggie heaven.  On the way out some woman-with-a-clip-board asked if we want smoke-free parks in Clark County...

"Welll," I said, "Yes and no,"

"Um, alright," she said, and backed away.

"Our bodies want smoke-free parks," Nathan said as we walked away,

"But our sense of..." I started,

"The Constitution," he helped,

"...means we believe in freedom."  And then I said something to Nathan that's very true;  "It's so annoying- my love of the constitution is constantly coming up against my personal convenience."

But that's the way it should be, in this little libertarian's opinion.


I Am Too Tired to Come Up With a Clever Title

I had zilch in the way of inspiration for a drawing today, and so I went for coloring, instead:
She will beat you to death with her Mace of Healing, oh yes she will.

Fun fact: I based the colors of her outfit on my mom's high school colors.  Because I can.  Also, you will notice that she is not so friggin' pale as most of my ladies- this is because, unlike me, my mother actually manifests some of our Native American blood in the form of that elusive thing called melanin.  My brother does the same, darn his eyes.

...also, I just realized I forgot to lay in the shadow colors on her shorts.  D'oh.


Doofy Doggie Dentation

You don't get good at drawing things unless you practice, and right now I am not good at drawing my dog- thus I present you with a bit of "practice":
...also with a tiny corner of tonight's "To Do" list...

I seriously love pit bull grins more than just about anything.  They are just so damn doofy looking- how could you ever take a face like that seriously?  A big, head-splitting pit bull grin is guaranteed to make me smile in return, every time.  (It also fills me with the urge to grab their jowls and squeeze...)


Yeah? Well My Mom Can Totally P0wn Your Mom.

I've mentioned before that I am a second-generation geek.  That's right, Gentle Readers, I come by it honestly.  My mother is a gamer, and more than that she is a gamer who will kick your friggin' butt at anything involving strategy.  We occasionally get into gleeful conversations about our most recent in-game-butt-kicking-exploits, and the other day as she cheerfully recounted her literally-last-second obliteration of an opposing army I got the inspiration to do a doodle for her.  This is the result of that inspiration:

That's MADAME Cleric to you, bitches.
Yeah, that's right- my mom doesn't just obliterate armies, she does it while playing as a cleric (a typically defensive character, for those less-nerdly-than-I).

Feel free to be in complete awe.


Parents Who Are Awesome

Possibly you remember that Nathan is a photographer?  Well, it's been a long time since he's done portraits (he prefers landscapes, if we're being honest, although they don't pay as well as human beings tend to) but tonight we had the opportunity to do a newborn session- and not just a newborn session, but a pair of twins!  Yep, all the joys and hair-tearing moments of a newborn session, doubled!

No really, it was fine- the parents are friends of ours, and very laid-back people, and Nathan got some really great shots (actually not that hard with newborns- they're sort of naturally tiny and photogenic).  I'm pretty excited to see the results of him processing them... (possibly I will share a few on here... we shall see).

Anyway, afterwards we had dinner, which provided us with one of the very best moments of the evening:

Wait, baby monitors have an "off" switch?!
 Yep, that's  how Todd and Tara roll- awesomely.  They are that rare breed of parent who a) has a sense of humor about the whole experience (babies want to scream instead of doing cute pose?  That's life, man... and a hilarious photo op!) and b) still have interests and lives outside of their babies.  Parents (and potential parents) this is a thing I highly recommend you do.  I think it makes you a better parent if you can model this sort of behavior to your offspring- I know my mom did, and look at how well I turned out!

(Right? Right??)

Trust me- you want your kids to grow up well-rounded, independent individuals, and the only way they're going to do that is if they have good examples of adults doing the same.  (And in my case, the only way my [theoretical] children will survive to adulthood is if I have something else to focus on every once in a while...)


This is What One Hour's Work Looks Like

I really enjoy laying down colors- I can happily spend hours at a time on it, the same album on repeat in the background.  However, there are a great many Other Things in my life that demand my attention, and thus I must be somewhat Strict with my schedule.  Therefore, although I'd like to hurry up and finish this piece, I only let myself work on it for an hour- and here is the result.

Which I guess is mostly... freckles?  Wow, that's kind of discouraging...
Needless to say, you will continue to see more of my octomaid in the coming month...


Hoppy Easter (YES I WENT THERE)

I was sad that I didn't have an Easter basket.  Apparently I made the bunny's Naughty List this year.  ::sigh::  But hey, not too naughty, or I would have gotten a shoe full of pellets.  That's how this holiday works, right?  Right.

Also part of this holiday was going to church, and listening to my husband get his Music on.  Behold:

He is very good, my man.  Anyway he did his thing for three services, but I ducked out after the first one to go home and a) let the dog out for Potty Times and b) scramble to get caught up Interwebs Related Items (such as blog entries and emails).

I need more time in my week.  More not-"real job"-time.  ::sigh::


In Which Isis is a Naughty Puppy

We did our best to sleep in decadently late this morning, and yet we still were wide awake by 0830.  Ah well...  We made up for it by doing the exceptionally decadent deed of ordering room service.  It just about took my breath away to be so damn frivolous- but when we realized that the service charge for room service was actually less than we typically tip, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Once we'd gotten the car loaded and had checked ourselves out of the hotel, we headed back over to the Washington side of the river to Columbia Hills State Park- more specifically for the Catherine Creek hike.  Just about the time we were approaching the turn-off, I happened to glance into the back seat- and there was Isis, merrily chewing on her leash.

"Ack!" was my articulate response, and I leaned in to take it away from her- only to discover she'd already chewed entirely through it.

That's right, Gentle Readers- she managed to ruin her first hike before it even began.  Except that I'm never one to let a little thing like a chewed-leash stop me, and so when we stopped I jury-rigged the hell out of that thing until it passed muster.  It was a very short leash, but at least it worked- and so Isis had her first hike in spite of herself.

I was fortunate that the looped end of the leash also had a D-ring that I could attach to the hook end of the leash- which I in turn attached to the ring on her harness.
The other chewed-upon end, which was thereafter wrapped tightly around my left hand.
The creek in question.

We kept it pretty short- didn't do the whole thing, probably about a mile-and-a-half.  But by the end of it the dog was thoroughly pooped- and that, my friends, is always a good thing.  She passed out in the back of the car almost as soon as we hit the road, waking up only when we made a stop in Camas for our most favorite pizza (I had the brain storm to call ahead and have it waiting for us as we drove through).

 And now we're home again, taking a very chill afternoon to mentally and physically prepare ourselves for tomorrow- and the three church services Nathan will be playing in... early bedtime for all!

Initial Colors?  Check!


Hangin' in the Hood

Strictly speaking, that title is a misleading one, since we spent the majority of the day not in Hood River.  But still.

We got up a decent hour so that we could take Miss Isis to doggy day care- and I would be lying if I said I didn't have a tiny little pang at abandoning her to complete strangers.  But it was necessary, because, generally speaking, they do not allow dogs in museums.

But before the museum we had a date with Stonehenge- not the original, obviously, but a replica located in Maryhill, Washington.  So very random and awesome.
Someday when I am filthy rich I want to recreate Stonehenge, too.  Only I want to do it with stones, not concrete.
From there we drove the few miles to the museum, which was quite good, especially if one likes art nouveau (as this one most decidedly does).  They also had an impressive collection of Rodin, which was meaningful to me because I finally got to see Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone, of Stranger in a Strange Land fame (one of my all-time favorite books).   Once we'd had our fill of Art, we asked the lady at the front desk if she had any local food recommendations.  She said that no, she didn't, but that we could probably find something in the little town up the way called Goldendale.  So we chanced it, and thanks to the powers of the interwebs, we found a little place called The Glass Onion.

Readers, it was ridiculous.  As in, ridiculously good (and beautifully presented) food in the middle of frickin' nowhere.  I had a charcoal-grilled polenta, and Nathan tried the fish taco- he declared it the best fish taco he'd ever had, including the super-delicious one he got down in southern California*.  This place would be right at home in the Pearl- but it wasn't priced that way.
Shave Parmesan YES.
After that we headed back into Hood River, and spent a while wandering its oh-so-charming streets until the 4pm  tour of the Full Sail Brewery.  That was interesting, and afterwards we sat in the pub and Nathan sampled a few beers (and I, for the first time since being diagnosed with the gluten intolerance, felt sad about not being able to have beer).
Teeny weeny tasting glasses are amusing to me...
All too soon it was time to pick up the pup, and when we did so we were treated to at least four different staff members rapturizing over what a sweet, good dog she is.  They even took her picture to show off to another staff member who wasn't there.  And Readers- one of them even came running out of the building to say goodbye to her.  What a spoiled baby.  (...she says in a relieved tone that is code for, "Thank the stars she didn't eat anyone,")

Speaking of which:

This would never, EVER happen at home.  Because I am WAY too neurotic about the sheets...

*(I went to link to that entry and discovered that I never did get around to posting our Road Trip travelogue.  Hmph.  The darn thing is written, so I have no idea why I never put it up.  Maybe I'll go add it to the archives...)


Weather 'til Leather

Happy three year anniversary to me!

The Official Year Three portrait
We're celebrating by taking a trio-moon to Hood River (as opposed to the one-ymoon we took to North Carolina our first year), emphasis on the trio, since we brought Isis with us.  We're staying at the very swank (and dog-friendly) Columbia Gorge Hotel, in a room that is bigger than I'd feared it might be (you never can tell with this charming old historic places), and we have all sorts of adventures planned for the next two days.

But first, let me take a moment to be inordinately pleased with my anniversary gift, which was a pair of knee-high doc martens (because year three is leather, you see).  Oh so fabulous, I assure you, and they satisfy a literally decades-long (because fifteen years is more than one decade!) lusting.  And I must say, they are sexy as hell...  There was a long debate about whether to go with the oxblood or the black.  On the one hand, I felt like oxblood is kind of my signature- I own two pairs already.  On the other, as Nathan put it, I'm "kind of covered" on oxblood, because, um, I already own two pairs.  Also, the oxblood came only in smooth leather, which is beautiful and hard-core, but a bitch to break in (I speak from bloody experience) whereas the black came in buttero ("a full-grain, smooth leather, with a satin gloss and luxurious supple feel", according to their web site) which requires no breaking.  So basically it was Young and Hip Jenny O arguing against Old and Comfortable Jenny O ("But oxblood is awesome!" vs "But breaking in knee-high-boots will be the opposite of awesome for several very long months!") and in the end Nathan made the call (based on the aforementioned surplus of oxblood) which made sense since he was the one making the purchase, anyway (and is also the one who would have to listen to me whine about ripped open blisters).

I like my black boots.  They are super comfortable and also classic.  And as it turns out they are the perfect accent to an outfit that I'll be sharing with you sometime next weekend... in the meantime, have a sketch!
I need more practice doodling Isis, so that she looks less dooftarded when I do it...

And now it's time for some ruminations, I suppose.  About marriage, since it is my anniversary, which should be a time as much for reflection as for awesome gifts.  So what insights have I had after three years?  Well, I don't know about insights, per se, but I'd say that finally, finally the "newness" has worn off.  But not the vague sense of surprise that it worked out the way it did.  I no longer have to actively remember that I'm married, but I do still look at him and think sappy things like, "Is this happy life really mine?"  So I am used to being married by now*, but I do not yet take it for granted... and aim to keep it that way.

*(full disclosure- I did refer to myself as "your girlfriend" the other day, so maybe I'm not actually that used to being married?)


Anniversary's Eve...

...and there are a great many things to catch up on before we leave for our little get-away.  I did this doodle at the bottom of my To Do list for tomorrow:
She looks like a woman who Gets Things Done, no?


Girls Who Love Cephalopods

Who loves octopi?  Thisgirl.  Also?  This girl, who is a very sweet and talented girl that I have a tendency to run into at conventions.  I ran into her again at ECCC, and she gave me a lovely sticker just because- and so I have done this drawing to say Thank You to her.
Will there be colors later?  Outlook likely.

Hopefully it comes across at sweet and not creepy?  I find that such a fine line to walk...


Hungering for an Opinion?

...well you've come to the right blog!  Because Nathan and I just got back from watching The Hunger Games, and  I am chock full!  (Not "chalk full" apparently; I learn something new every day.)

One thing that my friends know about me is that as much as I enjoy a good movie, what I really enjoy is a good movie with one thing wrong with it so that I can bitch about it (I am not totally joking about this...)  Long story short, I really enjoyed the hell out of Hunger Games.  I thought it was a really good adaptation (emphasis on adaptation) of a really good book.  Sure, they had to leave things out, but they didn't leave out anything that really bothered me, and they made up for it by adding a few things that, in my opinion, enriched the story.  In fact I'd have to say that the only thing that sort-of bothered me (and this was before I watched the movie) was the casting.  Because I am sorry, but it could not have been two actors in five that actually fit the physical descriptions laid out in the book.  Jennifer Lawrence is a smokin' hot young woman (although I must say- she should stay brunette fo' sheezy), but do you know what she is not?  She is not an emaciated, petite 16-year-old who-easily-can-pass-for-14.  Josh Hutcherson, while most likely attractive to a certain segment of the population, is simply not believable as a stocky-wrestling-champion-of-a-boy who can hurl 100lb sacks of flour like it ain't no thang.  And Amandla Stenberg?  I'm sorry but her skin is not "dark".  Her skin is literally almost as light as Jennifer Lawrence's (which adds a whole 'nother layer of WTF to the moronic "controversy" of casting her in that role).

But do you know what?  None of that matters, because each one of those actors played the hell out of their parts.  They may not have looked exactly like the descriptions of the characters, but they acted like them, and that's the important thing.  As Nathan put it, in the hierarchy of Casting for Movies-From-Books, it goes:

Awesome Actors Who Look Like the Characters
Awesome Actors
Actors Who Look Like the Characters
Keanu Reeves

Of course, if I can't even DRAW them like I see them in my head, what hope have we of CASTING them that way?
And yes, yes, they cut down on the horror of the book, but that was to be expected, if they wanted anyone beneath the age of 18 to be able to see the movie (it does amuse me that it's apparently okay for thirteen-year-olds to imagine someone taking hours and hours to die a painful death, but to have it be inferred on screen is too much for their delicate sensibilities).  But all in all?  I highly recommend it.


ECCC: Day Two

Actually my time at ECCC per se was fairly limited. After Tavish and I went out for breakfast (and I was melodramatically Gluten Free- I do not know what had gotten into me) I dashed in and out of the vendor's hall to exchange my shirt for a smaller size.  And then?  Then Katie and I drove alllll the way out to Stone Gardens to go climbing for a couple of hours before we had to head home.  I am hoping this will encourage her to join my gym so we can go climbing together all the time.
Not my most favorite doodle ever, but at least I did one.
This little Sailor Moon is the half-hearted attempt I made at drawing during the drive home, the result of me gleefully pretending like I was going to subject Tavish to a full explanation of all things Sailor Moon... (which I did not, because I love him) (and the others in the car).