A Taste of What I'm Currently Working On

She did not like the sky.

It was entirely too far away, and she did not like the vague discomfort it gave her, the knowledge that above her head was simply... nothing.  It was easier at night, when she could pretend the stars were simply bits of mica glittering in magelight- but best of all was when it was overcast, the low gray clouds providing her with the roof she so instinctively sought.  She knew, of course, that clouds lacked any real solidity, but she took comfort in the illusion.

There were no clouds tonight, and what was worse, the thin crescent of a waning moon made her mica-pretense all but impossible to sustain, and so she pointedly ignored the sky, focusing her attention on the gardens around her.  It was where her focus should be at any rate, although she knew full well that sunshy would not be cultivated out in the open like this.

The gardens were beautiful, even to someone who had no special affinity for plants.  Some portions were neatly, rigorously maintained, while others were allowed to sprawl and overflow in a manner that came across as more inviting than wild.  Bloodborn suspected these portions were just as rigorously maintained, perhaps even more so, as making something look natural must always be more difficult than making it look cultivated.  Paths meandered through the grounds, leading from one garden to the next, or to small greenhouses, or alcoves, or to nowhere at all.  At the end of one of these paths, she knew, there would be a windowless building, or a cave, or perhaps even stairs descending into the comforting earth- and that would be where she’d find the sunshy.

But the imperial gardens were so large, taking up at least a square mile that twisted and turned about the palace, and she had no idea where to begin her search.  She wished irritably that she had a scent to work with, for it would be nothing to track the plant by scent- but if she’d had a scent to work with, there’d be no need for this mission.  She briefly considered tracking each unknown scent to its source in a systematic manner- but there were too many.  Better to follow the paths one at a time, or perhaps stalk the gardeners, or maybe even-

A dark form moved from one shadow to another.  Bloodborn froze, even though she knew it was impossible for the other person to see her.  She could see him, however- see him as clearly as if he were standing in a patch of daylight.  More clearly, perhaps, since she still found sunlight a bit irritating.  He was young, and although he did move like a fighter, per se, he carried himself with an air of confidence that said he knew his own worth.  His black hair shone in the moonlight as though it was oiled- but she could smell it was not.

His head turned in her direction, and she could see his expression was one of puzzlement.  His eyes searched the shadows- and then locked with hers.

Which was, of course, impossible.

His eyes, black as the space between the stars, widened with the same shock Bloodborn was feeling, and she got the distinct impression he’d believed himself to be every bit as invisible as she was.  Then they narrowed in fury.

“Who are you?” he hissed.  “What are you doing here?  You can go right back to the council and tell them if they don't think I can handle this on my own, they can-”

Bloodborn bristled and drew herself up to her full height- which was half a head shorter than the boy.  How dare this human speak to her with such insolence?

But was he human?  A tendril of fear uncurled in her belly.  All the Arete she’d encountered over the past month had been as far beneath her as children- but perhaps that was only due to their relative youth.  Perhaps this one was older, or drank the more powerful elixir.  He was certainly handsome enough to be one of the Arete.  She wished she could see his teeth.

“Well?” he demanded.  “Aren’t you going to say anything?”  He seemed angry, perhaps even dangerously angry, if you only paid attention to his sound or his stance... but his scent was heavy with fear.  And confusion.  And maybe even... wounded pride?

He could not be Arete.  He was not arrogant enough.  What was he?

Bloodborn pierced his mind to find out.



Clothes for Sneaking

Bit o'costume design for you today:
Her boobs are not actually that big.  Whoops.


Return of Sheepicorn

...or should that be "Sheepishcorn"?


Crossfit Field Trip (or: Once Again I am a Black Sheep)

There were no crossfit classes this morning, because the Portland 5k Foam Fest was going on.  So, naturally, I joined my box's team ("The Dirty Snatches") and showed up to get my obstacle-run on.  A breakdown in communication meant that I didn't have a cool, home-decorated unicorn shirt like the others who ran in my heat, but that's probably for the best, since when it comes to me hanging out with those guys, it's more like this:
Hint: I am the one in black.

The mollifying part, however, was that they stuck to the whole "we are a team" thing, and waited for me.  A lot.  Because running is not my forte.  It was super frustrating, because the obstacles were not nearly so scary as I thought they'd be, and I got through them with no problem (minus the one time I forgot to take my ankles into consideration and got a mild electric zap, which led to a mud-muffled expletive not-so-deleted) but I just... couldn't keep up with the run.  Apparently my cardio endurance is for **expletive deleted**.

Black sheep, indeed.

And then, of course, I had to do what I do so well, and roll my ankle whilst running downhill, which caused me to take a somewhat-spectacular fall and my teammates (who were, again, waiting patiently at the bottom of the hill for me) to let out satisfyingly-horrified gasps (hey, I take my comfort where I can).  Fortunately it wasn't so bad, and a bit more walking (plus a trip down a super-long-and-steep-and-foam-covered-slip-and-slide) made it feel better enough for me to start running again.  And I felt somewhat smug because I had pinky sworn Nathan not to tear my ACL again, and I kept that promise.  (Again- comfort where I can.)

Speaking of Nathan, my handsome husband had come along to take photos, and at one point he actually ran a little bit with me.  What a good, good man.

Eventually I made it to the end, where I was given a medal (I'm not much for "participation medals", but I do like that it's shiny) and the cutest race shirt I've ever seen (it's actually cut for ladies, for starters).  Also there was a banana and some water, and a hand-towel which I thought was a great souvenir.

I had a lot of fun (minus the parts where running was making me want to die), but it was a pretty serious wake-up call, too.  Even if I didn't have the motivation of new running shoes to make me get up and run, this would have done it- because as much as I do not enjoy running, I even more do not enjoy not being able to run.



Too Bad Real Hair Won't Do This

This is Ebonwing, although mostly it was a chance to fiddle with costume design.
Hence the lack of hands and feet.


Knots to You

Today KB actually showed up, so I got to practice my lead-climbing again.  Before we could do that, however, we had to satisfy Hanz that we remembered the basics, so he came over and I tied in and KB suddenly realized the rope that he'd thought he'd flaked properly was full of snarls (probably because it had been picked up and moved).  So he and Hanz started to fix it, and realize it was not just full of snarls- it was also full of (loose) knots.  Which is what led to this:
This happened like three times.

I did offer to untie, but apparently it was more fun to untie knots-with-person-still-attached.

(It was definitely more fun for me, anyway.)


My Unexciting Day

I woke up around 0430 this morning.  Not because I wanted to.
True Story.

Some jackass was failing to start his car.  Over, and over, and over again.  And I feel like, maybe, if you car is making noises like that when you try to start it, maybe you shouldn't try to start it, because maybe it is prying open a portal to hell.

I woke up again at 0600, when my alarm went off.  And I spent four minutes moaning to myself that I didn't want to get up, before the stronger part of my will won out.  (The stronger part of my will, by the by, seems to be directly tied to my inner Miser; the argument that actually got me out of bed was that if I didn't get out of bed and go running I'd have wasted the money I just spent on new running shoes.)

So.  Out of bed, did my yoga, released the dog from her cage because I figured hey- dogs like to run!

But not my dog.  Not this morning.  Normally she is all about some running-really-fast-faster-than-her-humans-can, but this morning she kept it to a very slow trot.  Behind me.  With lots of stops for sniffing.  I'm not sure if it was her earache (currently being medicated) or just that she didn't want to be up so early, either.

I had Nathan drive me to work because I was meeting up with KB afterwards to practice lead climbing, and my rope is too heavy and bulky for me to haul it on my bike for so far.  Which meant that after work I hauled it on my back for less far.

Which, as it turned out, was all for naught, because KB totally spaced.  Ah well.  I got in plenty of bouldering, and practiced clipping in and out until it felt like my arms might fall off.  Also I got the admiration of a newer climber, which was flattering but also embarrassing, because I'm not really that good, and I feel like a fraud when I say thank you (but it feels dickish to say, "Oh I'm not that good- you just really suck right now.")

And then I came home, and made a cucumber avocado soup for dinner.  I added bacon, which made it way more delicious, but next time I make it I think I'll be making even more tweaks.  Now the dog and I are hanging out on the couch, watching a movie which I picked because I thought it would be terrible, but is actually not bad, while I write a blog entry to warmup for some more world-building.

Ta da!


On the Quality of My Melons

Let's be blunt here: when you look like I do, you get used to Unsolicited Comments Upon Your Physical Qualities.  Most of the time they do not bother me- I choose to take them in the flattering manner they are most often intended.  Wolf-whistles or appreciative stares don't get my back up- on the contrary, often times they please me.  I may not have had anything to do with my genetic makeup or the symmetry of my features, but I have plenty to do with my physical fitness, clothing, makeup, and hairstyle.  So it's nice for my efforts to be appreciated.


As I was riding home from work today, a cluster of boys (I'd say they ranged in age from about 14 to 17) who were conversing in Spanish (a language which I have a tentative grasp on) deliberately switched to English long enough to comment on my "huge melons" as I zipped past.

Readers, it pissed me off.
Those are supposed to be cantaloupes, in case you were wondering.
 And I spent the rest of the ride home trying to figure out why.  Why did that particular remark make me so angry, when other incidents have not?  I mean, I understand and appreciate the culture of piropos (goes back to that whole, "studied Spanish" thing) but this- this was not that.  But why wasn't it?  Was it just the crude phrasing?  (Piropos ought to be poetic, and I'll admit there was a tinge of insult to my anger- a sort of, "Screw you, my breasts are worthy of far better compliments than that!") After much thought and furious pedaling, however, I think I figured it out.

The incident pissed me off because those boys weren't trying to show their appreciation, or make me feel beautiful or good about myself- they were expressing their power over me by intimidating me.  A group large enough that I certainly didn't feel comfortable stopping and confronting them (as I have been known to do if just one or two males are being inappropriate), deliberately switching to a language they figured was my native tongue, to make absolutely certain that I understood the rude thing they were saying about my body.

Melons, indeed.



This is Faith:
Pleased to meet you?

Those facial tattoos maker her as an uber-devout member of the religion called Servants of the Blood.  She is incredibly important to the story, even tho' she's not around for much of it.


Spoiler Free

Guess what we just saw!

That's right, Batman.  I will say two (spoiler-free) things about it:

Nathan hated it.  Hated it with a fervor that I found kind of hilarious.

I loved Catwoman.  (But then, I always do.) (Okay, almost-always.  The-movie-which-must-not-be-named doesn't really count, anyway.)

I may dissect my reactions to the film further at a later point, but it's just not fair to do so only three days into it's release...


Lead On!

Today I got to check another thing off my Summer To Do list: I took my lead climbing class.

I got lucky in that no one else was signed up for today, which meant that I got Hanz all to myself for the full three hours.  Once he went over the basics with me (and had me practice over and over and over again, with both hands, from both sides of my body, until my shoulders were a bit achey), I tied in and scaled the 5.8 specifically meant for learning lead climbing.  Because the route was on the easier side, I was able to focus on applying the skills I'd just learned- sometimes more proficiently than others- until I got to the point where Hanz had instructed me to "take a fall", so that I would know what it feels like.

Let me explain- when you take a fall on the top-rope, you don't fall very far- if at all.  This is because the rope is holding your weight from above.  When you fall on lead, however, you fall twice the distance between you and your last anchor, because the rope is trailing along behind you.  So if you're just about to hook into a new anchor, but instead you miss and fall, you can go quite a bit of a distance (say ten feet), with quite a bit of resulting swing.  As such, you have to fall properly, to absorb the force with your legs or arms, rather than giving in to the instinctive tuck-into-a-ball and thereby letting your whole body crash into the rock.

So.  The time had come for me to take my fall.  I knew I was going to seriously fall, because I was at "the next anchor" but hadn't clipped in yet.  And for the first ten seconds or so, all I could do was cling to the wall mutter, "Ohshitohshitohshit" under my breath.  But then I stopped that, took a deep and bracing breath, reminded myself to "make an X", and I fell.

It really wasn't that bad.

Hanz is, of course, an expert at what he does, so he gave me a very soft catch, which meant I barely felt it at all.  And once I'd done it that first time, I was able to let go and drop on command like a well-seasoned spider, trusting in his ability to catch me (and my ability to keep my head and thereby my form).  So that was good.

But then it came time for me to belay him.

I found it very awkward to belay for a lead climber, because rather than constantly gathering in slack as one does for top roping, I was feeding out a steady stream of slack, with the occasional huge gulp of slack whenever he went to clip in to an anchor.  In other words, it felt backwards, and I wasn't very good at it.  Not to mention I wasn't very good at judging how much or how little slack to allow.

And then it was Hanz's turn to take a fall, and I... completely screwed it up.  My hands were wrong, my stance was wrong, and then everything went very wrong.

Fortunately they plan for just such instances, and Caroline was my backup.  She saved Hanz from plummeting to the floor, and saved me from slamming up into the overhang (which, I am sure, would have slowed his fall enough that he'd have been just fine), and I just stared at her with wide, panicked eyes as I dangled in the air between her and the also-dangling Hanz.

Humiliating?  Yes.  The very best way to make sure I learned not to repeat that mistake?  Also yes.

And they, of course, were very kind about it, as good teachers are when you truly learn a scary-ass lesson.  And I got it right on every subsequent fall, so there's hope for me yet.

It was tiring work, largely because I had to think so hard about what I was doing, instead of just doing it.  It will probably be a while before I can comfortably climb a 5.10 on lead- or even a 5.9 without having to take breaks.  Ah well, such is the progression of life: learn and practice, practice and learn.


Sometimes Color is an Integral Part of the Image

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you non-specific Character Doodles:
Also rare instance of me using color in my sketch book rather than after-the-fact.

Okay, to be strictly honest one of them is a Specific Character.  And I'm sure you can guess which one.


Is it Playing if You're Super Serious About It?

Last night Nathan interrupted my True Blood watching to tell me his Grand Idea for a Book.  And I couldn't even be aggravated at the interruption, because Nathan never has story ideas; in fact any time I ask him for help with a story he's all, "I'm not really good at making things up."

Which, by the way, is a total lie, because his idea really was Grand.  So we started brainstorming, and world-building, and you guys it's going to be awesome.  It got me so excited, and so excited to write, that I woke up this morning feeling a bit queasy with the need to put fingers to keyboard.  Screw work, I wanted to get the story out.

But I went to work.  Well, for a few hours anyway, just until my boss showed up, and then I hightailed it out of there because it was dead and I really wasn't feeling well.

Felt better after I got home and started writing', tho'.  But to be fair to the Universe I did stay home from climbing to make it a true "sick day"...

Anyway in terms of a daily doodle this doesn't amount to much, but it's the beginning of something wonderful, I just know it.

What does it all MEAN?!


It's Not Saturday!

And yet, Gentle Readers.  And yet.

And yet I went to Crossfit, that is!  I made this schedule-deviating decision based on the fact that Saturday classes are canceled, but I still wanted my weekly round of ass-kicking.  So I made the time and showed up for the 1700 class.  When I got there, Aubrey was busy rowing about a billion meters, but when she finished she gave a casual (sweat-soaked) glance over her shoulder, saw me, and said, "Holy shit!  You're here!" which of course made me laugh.  Apparently I have a Routine.  ::cough::



10x Dips  (we used boxes for our feet, and the more bad ass amongst us did Ring Dips)
20x Walking Lunges (bad assers did jumping lunges)
400 Meter Run (bad assers did it with their shirts off.  Okay, just one guy, but still... I didn't blame him one teeny bit.)

We also had the option to do Monday's WOD, the Filthy Fifty, but looking at the times on the board told me I didn't really want to spend 40+ minutes on my mid-week workout, so I opted for today's.  Plus I still sort of hate running, which makes me feel like I should do it more...

Anyway, I was excited about dips because I am always excited when we do things that I haven't done yet.  The first round was... interesting.
Not natural at all, I tell you.

The second round was smoother, until I managed to knock one of the parallettes over during one particularly enthusiastic dip (I then moved the bars a bit closer together).  Third and fourth rounds felt good, but the fifth round was a bit of misery.  As one might expect.

I was wearing just entirely the wrong shoes for running, and my feet let me know within the first 200 meters- not to mention it was kind of hot and muggy, which made it harder to breathe, which made me slow and miserable (although I told myself no walking no matter what- and I didn't, so small victories).  I also made it a point to be super-appreciative of my typical 0800 workouts.  Furthermore, it made me decide to quit dithering about money and just invest in some friggin' shoes for Crossfit/running.

After we were done I made sweat-angels for a while, then (inspired by the bad assers) pulled off my shirt to fan myself with it.  At which point Jack walked into the gym and did a double-take.
(Jack shaved his beard, so his resemblance to Nathan is significantly reduced.)

Maybe I should switch things up more often?


The Bold Adventures of Dude-Bros and the Lady-Bro

I had a raging headache as I approached the rock gym this afternoon, and the heat was not helping.  But as I pulled up I saw that KB was already there, so I knew that at least I'd have a climbing partner.  We went inside and there was J waiting for us, teasing us about our absences the previous week (I was giving my tweaked back a rest, KB was just super-busy).  I went and changed and started stretching out while the guys geared-up and debated which routes to do first.  The banter was flowing thick and fast, and I gave them sage advice for their respective partners ("Tell her you're totes into her.  Also tell her to chillax.  Chicks love that."), and we were soon laughing like maniacs at our own ::ahem:: 'cleverness'.

"Oh man, I love our merry band of... us," said KB, but I could tell he'd wanted to say "brothers".

"Our band of bros and sis-bro, you mean?"


I rested back on my elbows while J did a route and KB belayed him, feeling my headache disappear and general good cheer fill me up, and it suddenly occurred to me-

"This is my bar."

"What?" said J, on his way back down.

"Remember back in the day when people would go directly to the bar after work?  Well this is my bar.  This is where I come to hang out with my friends and decompress from work."

"It totally is!" they agreed.

And then I made them admire my fancy sparkly-pink fingernails, and they rolled their eyes but did, because they are good dude-bros, and I am their lady-bro (which, in retrospect, sounds way more awesome than sis-bro).
And so can you!
 (Fellow lady-bros, you know what I'm talking about.)


Sometimes it is Very Hard to be Good

For instance, right now I'd like to stay up and watch more True Blood.

But instead I am going to go get ready for bed at 2100, because that is Getting Ready for Bed Time, so that I can be theoretically in bed by 2200 and possibly asleep by 2230, all in the hopes of actually getting up when my alarm goes off at 0630 so I can do my yoga so that I can spend the rest of the day feeling like the lithe young 31-year-old I am rather than a stiff and cranky old person,  not to mention have time for a fat-and-protein-heavy breakfast that will give me the energy to cycle to work and get through work and then go climbing after work (with lunch to help it along).

But all that is about feeling good and having fun tomorrow, whereas watching more True Blood sounds like fun now.


This is what it means to be a grownup, I guess.


Proverbial Wisdom

Here is an old woman, and also some other things that I doodled in my sketch book while listening to today's sermon on Proverbs.

I like the book of Proverbs, because it reminds me a great deal of the Tao Te Ching.  Which is to say, I find a lot of applicable wisdom in there.  Of course, I also find plenty that I feel free to ignore, but that's true of the Tao Te Ching, as well.

 Today's Grand Adventure was going to America's Largest Antique and Collectible Show.  I went not because I had any real interest in the event, but because some friends of mine needed some extra hands to break down their stall after the fact.  I got there a little early, and they encouraged me to look around a bit before things shut down.

"Why not," I shrugged.  "Sure, it's not really 'my thing', but there could be cool stuff."

Oh.  Oh Gentle Readers.  'Cool stuff' abounded.  Here is the text exchange between Nathan and myself as I walked through one stall with some extraordinary jewelry:

I am having to stuff my inner crow under very firmly under my arm. 

Don't put anything in your mouth please. 

It is difficult.

(and it was)

Antique jewelry I might have expected myself to be attracted to (especially a gorgeous Egyptian-revival headpiece from the 1920s)- same thing with old photos and letters.  These are things for which I have a weakness, and I am aware of that fact.  But other things- other things I think I just wanted because there were so many of them.  A collection of glass floats in nets?  Yes please.  A bag full of old skate keys?  Gimme.  A bucket overflowing with wrenches of all sizes: some shiny; some rusty?  I need those things!  I tell you what, it's a good thing I'm actually in a purging mood right now (the garage is getting it tomorrow) because if I'd been in an acquisition mood I'd have been so screwed.  I really came quite close to running to the ATM on behalf of an old prohibition-era poster advising me that if I didn't want my daughter to marry a drunkard I'd better get rid of the drunkards...


"You Might Have to Scream at Me"

I missed Crossfit last week, so I was pretty dang stoked about going this morning.  As it turned out, my previous new-guy partner and I were the only ones there for the 0800 class, so we got to be a team again.

The warmup included double-unders (or as I like to call them, "ego-busters"), and I did not manage to get more than three consecutive.  It is seriously irritating me to the point where I'm just going to break down and buy a speed rope so I can practice at home.  It also included kettlebell swings, which I'd been doing at 20lbs for a warmup, but today I went for 25lbs.  They felt pretty good, so next time I'll try 30lbs and see how that goes.  There were pushups and squats, too, and it was one of those days where I wondered at what point the warmup would feel like a warmup instead of just a pre-workout-workout...

Today's WOD:

800m row
deadlift hold

150 situps
plank hold

50 burpees
overhead plate hold

So basically what that means is that there are three stations, and at the first station one person rows on the erg while the second person holds the weight in the deadlift position.  If/when person #2 drops the weight, they switch off so that person #2 is rowing and person #1 is holding.  At station two, one person holds plank for as long as they can while the other does situps, and when person #1 drops out of plank they switch, until 150 pushups are reached.  For the final station (as you might have guessed) one person does burpees while the other holds the plate above their head.

Now, this was one of those WODs that made me think, "Oh that's not so bad."  Yeah, one of these days I'm going to learn to fear that phrase popping up in my brain...

J wanted to discuss strategy before we got started, so we decided that to start out we'd try to hit 400m and switch off.  He volunteered to row first, and joked that if I dropped the bar he'd just have to scream at me.

And so we started.  And hot damn, that bar was friggin' heavy.  It seems so simple to just hold a bar, but it really, really isn't.
My legs are wrecked from a) rock climbing b) wiping out on my bike and c) my general klutziness...
 I kept having to use my thighs to lurch it back upwards so I could re-establish a good grip, but most of the time it was just sort of barely dangling off my fingertips.  Finally it got to the point where I knew I couldn't hold it much longer, and I called out,

"You might have to scream at me pretty soon..."

But no sooner had I finished my (truthful) quip than J yelled, "400!" and I was able to drop it and start rowing.

Now, I am pretty okay at rowing- I know the proper form and I know to dig deep, but even doing the best that I could, J had to switch when I still had 150m to go, which meant that I had to hold the stupid bar again- and it was much harder after I'd been rowing.  In fact I was pretty sure I was going to drop it when J yelled that he was done, and I was able to act like dropping it was totally voluntary.

On to situps, which I did first while J held plank.  He started to make, "Let's switch!" noises about 20 in, but I convinced him to hang in there until 25.  I hung in there until 50, then we switched again at 69, 90, 101, 120, and 140 (I think... I definitely know I did the last ten, but I can't be positive on the numbers between that and 69)

And then, trembling, we moved to the last station, where J valiantly volunteered to do burpees first.  I picked up the plate (which was not that heavy), got it over my head, and wailed, "This shouldn't be so hard!" which made Aubrey laugh.  But I swear, that 35lb (I think it was 35 lbs) plate felt like it weighed about 80 lbs.  We swapped off after J did 10 burpees, and the rest of it is sort of a misery blur until the end...
I actually looked at my shins for this drawing, and did my best to match up the bruises with their real-life counterparts...
 But then it was the end, and I was so, so glad.


Dog Days

My dog is a good dog.
It's true.

Nathan and I were sprawling on the couch with her this evening, and discussing how glad we are we got her when we did, instead of waiting until the predetermined "right time" to get a dog.  Sometimes life is like that, I guess- things don't come when you think they ought to, but when they must.

It's for the best.


Chasing the Rabbit

This is how a drawing is born:

I am reading something.  Not sure what, but most likely it's on the internet.  And I come across a quote from Albert Einstein:

"I have no special talent.  I am only passionately curious."

Yes, I say to  myself.  Passionately curious.  What an excellent phrase.

I jot down the quote in my sketch book, then write out beneath it,

"Be Passionately Curious"

I like the look of it.  It is the sort of thing I would stencil above my baby's crib.  If I had one wish for a child, it would definitely be for him or her to be passionately curious.  So many wonderful things come of it.

So there's the excellent phrase, sitting all lonely in my sketchbook, and I think,

That could use some embellishment.

So I pick my pen back up and it just so happens that the shape of the phrase lends itself beautifully to having a heart drawn around it, and as I'm drawing the heart it turns into a speech bubble (as hearts do), which of course makes me realize that someone needs to be saying the excellent phrase.

Curiouser and curiouser, I think.  Or maybe someone else thinks it, and I just pluck it out of the aether.  Either way, I know it is going to have to be Alice that I draw.

Initially I think I'll draw Alice Liddell, but after about twenty minutes of poking around on Wikipedia (you really ought to read about the "Carroll Myth") I come to the conclusion that no, I am not going to draw Alice Liddell, I am just going to draw Alice, because regardless of whether or not the one inspired the other, it is Alice's passionate curiosity that I am actually familiar with.

I may work more colors in later.

(And in case you are curious, my elephant's-child wanderings of the day also educated me on Victorian Dress Reform, which was a real and awesome thing, you guys, which in turn led me to learn about bloomers, pantalettes, crinolines, farthingales, bustles, panniers, and  and can I just say that the history of fashion is freaking insane and fascinating?  Also I spent some time learning more about Lady Hamilton, for good measure.)



I just finished re-reading American Gods last night, which means my brain is awash with Norse mythology.  Which means you get a doodle of Hefring, daughter of AEgir and Ran.

 Her name means "Riser", and she will cut you.


Ariel's Partners All Dressed in Green

I woke this morning to slate gray skies and a chill in my bedroom.

It made me happy.

The sun made his appearance around mid-day, warming the skies and the earth, but now he is slipping behind the horizon once more, while the wind stirs up the trees in an joyful circle dance.  Loose strands of my hair sway along to his tune, and again- I am happy.

I do so love my corner off the country.
Has someone been watching Game of Thrones?  Hint: yes.


Where DO the Hours Go?

Actually that's not a fair question.  I know exactly where they go.  I just wish there were more of them...
Do you know who this is?  Because I don't.


Proud to Be

My Katie called me up around noon.

"Hey, are you guys going hiking today?"

"Probably.  Why, you got a hankering to come along?"

As it turned out, she had an out-of-town guest hanging out with her, and thought it might be nice to show off some of the gorge.  So I suggested we do Oneonta by way of Pony Tail and Horse Tail, because that's nice and impressive without being over-taxing (Isis was feeling unwell, and we didn't want to leave her at home or push her too hard).

We picked the two of them up, and learned that her guest is French, and spending a few months tooling around the US.  Further conversation revealed his itinerary, which Nathan and I both approved of (I'm sure he's relieved...), his studies (engineering- all the engineering), and various other tidbits.  He was very smart, funny, polite, and interested in everything, and I give him big thumbs up for representing his countrymen in such a fine manner.  I can only hope we do so well on our own journeys...

And I tell you what, Gentle Readers- there is nothing so good for re-kindling one's excitement for one's country and culture quite like having a tourist to drag around.  I was proud to the point of smug over how beautiful and interesting our sprawling country is, and when I picked out music for the car ride back I chose bluegrass, "Because it's so uniquely American!"  (He said he liked it, but that might have been the afore-mentioned politeness)

It makes me even more wiggly with anticipation about going to Ireland in a few months, and immersing myself in a foreign geography and culture (foreign-ish, I guess).  Nothing like travel to stir up the spirit!


More Ice Cream Adventures

Ladies and gentlemen, I've been at it again- I've been Experimenting with Ice Cream.

Experimenting- and failing.  At ice cream.  I did, however, make a very delicious Chilled Cherry Soup.

 (Stupid lying internet with it's stupid lies about how much alcohol can be added to ice cream...)

Anyway I'll try it again some other day (maybe even later this week, since I still have half & half left), but in the meantime, have the illustration I did for what I was going to call Virgin's Jubilation:

Sweetened with honey, naturally.


Let's Draw Sleeping Dogs...

...because wakeful ones sure don't hold still long enough for more than a quick impression...

More practice is needed.
(Getting off from work early is made even better by having a pleasant back yard to sit in whilst sipping on hard cider and doodling one's dog.  Yes indeedy-do...)


Good Days Abound

I feel like the Powers That Be are making up for the crappy start to this week by making the rest of it awesome.  And I am totally okay with that.

The Face of an Okay Person


Independence From Expectations

"You ready?"

Caroline is beaming at me.  I think she is possibly as excited about my first outdoor climbing experience as I am- and I am pretty damned excited.

"Oh yeah," I reply, and step over to where she is standing to tie myself in to the other end of the rope.

"Okay, so it's super important on this route to remember that even tho' you have to stretch for some of the holds, they are there," says Bryan, who has just come back down.  "Just reach out your hand and trust that the handhold will be there, and I promise you it will."

"Right," I say, trying not to think about myself groping helplessly for holds I can neither see nor feel.  This is not the gym, with technicolor holds jutting garishly out from a slate gray background.  There is no difference between the holds and the background, here, and the holds can be quite thoroughly camouflaged.  I comfort myself with the thought that Bryan isn't that much taller than I am, so if he can reach those far-apart, invsible holds, so can I.  Then I take a deep breath and assess the cliff face.  I can do this, I think.

"Climbing," I say.

"Climb on," says Caroline, her hands making the graceful movements that means she is taking in the slack from my rope.  I put one hand on the rock, and then the other.  One foot comes up, and then the next- and I am climbing.  I am climbing outside.

In the beginning I am nervous, and so my arms are too flexed, muscles straining; there is something about being on a real-live cliff face that makes a primal part of me cling as tightly to the wall as possible, good climbing form be damned.  As a result I tire quickly, which is embarrassing, but I try to have compassion for myself in this new incarnation of a beloved activity.  It helps that Caroline and Bryan are very vocal in their encouragement of me- and for me to take as many (long) breaks as need be.

Slowly I get used to the feel of it: the texture of the rock and grit sliding beneath my fingertips; the way that I cannot see a hold from below, but that I can certainly feel it; the smell of the sun-warmed stone as my nose comes close to the earth; the strange high-altitude stillness that is cut only by my harsh breathing and the occasional cry of a passing eagle.  I twist to look back over my shoulder and there is the Gorge in all of her glory.  At one point I take a fall, and as I swing serenely back and forth I look down and see that tiny white petals have fallen onto the dark green boughs of a pine tree just below my hips.  I reach out and stroke them before re-starting my climb.

It is strange- never once do I feel that I cannot do this.  I feel tired, I feel a pinch of fear, but I know that if I keep at it, I will finish.  And when I do finish, when I finally get to the top, grinning triumph like a madwoman, I am greeted by the tiny white flowers who had sprinkled their petals down below.  They smell like heaven, and I feel I have ascended.

Photo by Nathan, of course.


My Problems Tell Me My Life is Good

Because the biggest problems in my life right now include things like this:
So basically not a problem so much as an annoyance.

Nathan is far more rage-y about this than I am.  The truth of the matter, however, is that getting rage-y will not help.  And yes, I feel a little sick when I think about all the data I lost (in terms of notes about stories and Crossfit times, etc), but quite frankly I spent some time being rage-y this morning about something else (equally unimportant, in the long run), and I don't have it in me to be rage-y any more.  It's all ephemeral, anyway.

I feel like I've gotten better about this, over the years- better about being able to shrug off the stuff that's really not worth getting upset over (::coughcoughaccidentscough::)  About letting go, in general, and accepting that sometimes things are lost, and that's okay- because nothing can take away the fact that they were there in the first place.

I do try not to argue with the Tao.


My Black Pen Ran Out of Ink

Thus I present to you a doodle done with blue ink:
Nameless for Now


July is Here

Fire month, ruby month, month of burning passions...  it's going to be an excellent month, I tell you.

Here is a fun drawing for you:
I don't always have to draw milk-white girls...
 I forgot to mention it yesterday, but our vet asked if Nathan might be interested in putting up some of his work in the office, to be sold on consignment.  Needless to say, we are very, very interested.