Young Dog, Old Tricks

One of the weirder traits of my dog (and trust me, Gentle Readers, she has many) is her ability to go from seemingly-normal-proportions to strange, Go-Go-Gadget-Neck status:
Slightly exaggerated for effect.  SLIGHTLY.

Seriously, what does she do with that neck the rest of the time??


Party Trick

Today after work I stumped down to the rock gym to hang out with my climbing buddies- and also to show off my exciting new party trick:
Try not to be jealous.

Everyone was suitably impressed with my mad skills, and I felt better for having breathed in some chalk.


Baby Bunnies!

You're welcome.


Torn Wings and Severed Heads

Once upon a time I lived in Kansas, and my father and I would go on long walks together.  It was a wonderful place for walking, because there were lots of old cemeteries to explore, and lots of enormous old oak and maple trees, the roots of which turned the sidewalks into cracked and frozen waves.

As we walked, my father would tell me stories.  One set of stories I particularly remember was about the Faerie Wars that were continually being waged along the pathways that we wandered.  Evidence of the carnage was all about- the severed heads of goblins with their war-caps still attached, the wings of fairies viciously plucked from their backs- and everywhere a fairy fell was marked by a single silken puff...
Violence is definitely for kids.

And so you see, I come by my storytelling naturally.


On the Angles of Ankles and Angels

When I wake up in the mornings, my right ankle has almost no mobility.  I get out of bed and stump around like a little old lady, because the joint is so damn stiff.  But then I run through a couple of (very careful) sun salutations, and that helps loosen it up to the point where I can walk like (almost) normal again.  I go about getting dressed, and Nathan heads downstairs to fetch me breakfast- which I need to eat before I can take my painkiller.  Last night was the last of my prescribed 800mg, so this morning I take 400mg, and steel myself for a more-aching day.

It's not so bad, actually- I get to work and kick up my feet (the boss is out of the office, which suits my gimpy self just fine) and study the difference between the two ankles:
(And then I draw an angel, because hell- why not?)
My right ankle probably would not look swollen to anyone who did not know what it looked like before, or if they did not have the left ankle to compare it to.  But swollen it is, and stiff, and still pretty damn colorful.

Less than two weeks before we leave for Ireland.  I am a bit... trepidatious.


Lobster Claw Tail No More!

Reworked the tail.  Haven't added the spots yet.
Nor have I decided where on my thigh... but there's plenty of time before autumn.


Trek in the Park!

Trek in the Park is a Thing, you guys, and it is Awesome.

I'd meant to go last year, but never quite got around to it- so this year I made definite plans to go while my mom was in town, because it's the sort of thing she would also enjoy.  But, as you know... tits up.  And so rather than going during opening weekend, as I'd originally planned, Nathan and I headed down there this afternoon to camp out two hours early, shielding ourselves from the Mighty Sky Fireball with a pair of umbrellas and good humor.

(Side Note: crutches work amazingly well for claiming nearby space for friends.)

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I'm definitely looking forward to going back next year (a performance for which I will arrive three hours early, and bring a cooler.)


The Mom is Back in Town

So my mom has been in the great PNW for the past two weeks, and before she came up we had such glorious plans for hanging-out-times... but they all went tits-up in the face of my grandmother's surgery.  So we adjusted our plans so that I'd come up there, instead... which in turn went tits-up in the face of my dramatic landing-fail.  Which means that I have seen very little of my mother, and she flies back home tomorrow.

But I got to spend allll day with her today, which makes me a very happy O, indeed (as does the phrase "tits-up", in case you were wondering).

One of the main things I'd planned for us to during her visit was to work in the garden- that is to say, for her to supervise me working in the garden, telling me what needed to be done while I provided the grunt work, all whilst jabbering pleasant mommy-daughter jabbers.  I would have made her iced drinks, even.


As it turns out, sprained ankles do not lend themselves particularly well to scut work, and when you add to that the fact that today was Not a Good Day in terms of pain/swelling... well, again things did not go as planned.


My mother is the very best mother in the world, and she decided that she was going to do what garden/yard work she could in a few hours, while I sat there like a fair-skinned slug.  I was a semi-productive slug, however, because as she trimmed back the rosemary bushes out front, I haphazardly tied the best cuttings into bunches to be dried.  And I felt bad that it was me sitting while she worked, but I also felt incredibly happy that she's willing to do that for me, to make my life a little easier and more pleasant after what has been a rather disappointing set of weeks.
I did not actually have a pillow... but then my mom DOES actually have lower legs, so hey- artistic license.

Believe me, Gentle Readers- I am completely cognizant of and grateful for the awesomeness that is my family.


Slow But Steady

Here is yet another version of the turtle tattoo:

I think I like this one better- well enough to actually tighten it up, maybe.



I am a big big fan of aquatic mammals.  I've thought for a long while now that my next tattoo might be of a seal or an otter- and today I did the first sketch in what will eventually develop into adornment for my right leg (probably thigh):

I will be adding spots, and reworking that tail, but all in all I'm pleased with this foundation.  Really pleased.  Makes me really look forward to autumn (which, as we all know, is new tattoo season).


Recapturing Winged Things

I attempted to recapture a bit of last night's lost drawing in today's doodle:
Tattoos and and Crystals and Gears, oh my!

It captures the gist of it, anyway (sans cute baby aspect, of course).  Maybe someday I'll put forth the effort to render it properly again.  We shall see.


Frothy Rage and Also Dresses

I'd done a beautifully intricate drawing of a steam-punk winged-elf lady, complete with lots of fancy gears and costume and hair and tattoos and tiny adorable baby, and just as I was ready to start laying in colors my expletive deleted computer shut down with no warning, and I lost everything.

I was, to put it mildly, full of rage.

And then when I tried to draw a stick figure me flipping off the computer, I discovered my Cintique pen had stopped working.

It is possible I was on the verge of frustrated rage tears, because I've sort of reached my limit for letting shit roll off my back this week.  Yes, rolling-off-back limit had been achieved, and I could not let go.

So I got out my nail polish remover and began woefully cleaning up my toenails on the stairs that I'd so laboriously climbed for what turned out to be no purpose, which is where Nathan found me.  I asked what color I should paint them and he said green, so I did (with sparkles!), while he did what he could to salvage the situation (not much, but at least he got the Cintique working again and hooked up to my non-senile machine).

And then I came down stairs and had a long conversation with my brother about happy things, which helped to soothe the rage, and then I did a doodle which is not so awesome as the my earlier drawing, but it will do.
I'm pretty sure my scanner settings are all wonky now.  Sigh.

And maybe someday I will attempt to recreate my awesome drawing from earlier, but not today.  Today I am just tired and still a little sad.



Yes, I scooted up my steep stairs on my butt so that I could get the blog all caught up.  It was highly dignified.

This is just a quick color-sketch of what's going on with the outside of my ankle right now:

The color didn't actually start showing until yesterday afternoon, and I think that if I were to attempt to render a more realistic image of it, I'd need Nathan to take a photograph for reference, because it was pretty darn awkward trying to look at it while propped up on my art desk.


Gimps Gone Wild

Today's DIY WOD:

in teams of three, run/walk/shuffle around the dog park course (one loop = 1/2 mile)
finish when the slowest team member reaches the end of the loop
(whoever that slowest member might be)

Penalties: any time a team member defecates on the course, run to the "bag area" and back, without adding it to your total.

Our score: Apx 3.5 miles as a team.  (Isis did a lot of extra running around the middle, and Nathan totally had to do the penalty on her behalf.)


Dem Bones Dem Bones

Let us all celebrate that I do not have any broken bones by looking at my sketch of a partial dog-skeleton!
Underlying structure is always the most awesome.


Going For It

I am having a really good day at the rock gym.

J, determined baker that he is, has been experimenting with the gluten-free scones he made for me last week, trying to get the texture less crumbly, and has brought me the results of his latest tinkering.  They are delicious, and far less crumbly.

The first route I try is a 5.11 that the guys have been working on perfecting for the past few weeks.  Okay, to be completely honest what they are working on is being able to do the 5.11 back-to-back with the 5.10 right next to it.  They haven't quite gotten it yet (they're both really close) but I've decided it's well past the time that I ought to be working on the 5.11, myself.  So I give it a whirl.

It's not as hard as I'd worked myself up to think it would be- sure, I have to have a take about 3/4 of the way up, but it's a controlled take.  Next time, I think, I might not even need that break.

The second route I do is another 5.11 that I've been working on for the past several weeks.  I can do it, and I can do it without any takes, but I've yet to do it cleanly, and clean is what we aim for.

I get a rough start because I am too distracted by the boys' beard banter, getting myself so off track that I just have J lower me back down so I can start fresh.

And this time, it's clean.

Filled with the giddiness of two incredibly satisfying climbs, I follow the boys to the back corner of the gym, where the top-rope wall meets the bouldering wall.  J is going to do an overhang, but as he's tying in KB is trying his hand at a dyno (essentially a move that requires a leap from one hold to the next- all four points of contact come off the wall for a split second) that's been eluding him.

The route it way beyond my level, but I figure hey- I want to try that!  And so I do.  But I'm not even coming close- I'm too scared to let go and really go for it, and so I end up launching myself backwards instead of sideways.  Over and over again.

The guys are really encouraging about it, and suggest that I try one on an easier route.

"This one is a really great handhold- I know you can do it!"

Yeah, I can do this, I think, and give it a try.  I come close enough that I realize that if I just really go for it, I will get it.  So I crouch down, take a few deep breaths combined with momentum-building swings, and I go for it.

My fingers slap the edges of the hold and I'm elated- I made it!  But I don't quite catch it, and instead I'm falling, just as I've done every time before.  Except this time, when I hit the ground, everything is wrong.


"FUCK!" I scream.  "FUCK FUCK FUCK!" The pain is so bad that I'm trying to crawl away from my own body, even as one part of my cold brain is telling me to look at it- look at it! and another part is noting that the amount of times I've screamed "fuck" (because I'm still screaming it) has probably alerted Hanz and Caroline that I'm not just having a missed-hold temper tantrum.

I force myself to look at my ankle, and it's wrong.  The angle is wrong.

"FUCK!" but now it's pain and rage, because I'm afraid it's broken, and I don't have time for a fucking broken ankle.

And then I pop it back into alignment, with another audible pop, and it's sickening to see and then I'm trying to crawl away from my body again but KB has me now and is making me roll over and elevate and I'm cooperating because even tho' animal brain wants to go away cold brain knows he is right.  And then J is on my other side and I'm shaking with the pain and clawing at KB's calf but cold brain has taken over my mouth and is telling J to get me an anti-inflammatory and asking KB to help me get my shoe off before it swells and it hurts oh gods it hurts and Caroline is getting me an ice pack and asking if she should call anyone,


And J is back with the drugs and I'm arguing that ibuprofen isn't an anti-inflammatory but KB says "Yes it is," (it is) so I take it and I'm trying to wiggle my toes and asking KB to feel their temperature and they're fine so it's not broken but gods it hurts and then Hanz is calmly and expertly wrapping my ankle and I've gotten myself enough under control that I can joke now,

"This is not going to help my fear of falling," I say to KB and he kind of laughs and says, "No, probably not."

Cold brain has essentially shoved animal brain down in a corner, so even tho' I'm still shaking, I'm able to banter as Caroline brings me a tub to elevate my leg and sand bags to lean back against.

"You guys just weren't paying enough attention to me!" I joke, and there is relieved laughter all around.  And my guys are staying right next to me and it's possible I have my nails dug into both of them but they don't say anything about it, because they are my dudes.

After what seems like a short eternity Nathan is there, and he and KB are carrying me out to the car (and I am suddenly acutely aware of the difference in their heights and trying not to laugh about it because that's not appropriate, right?) and KB gets my bike key and says he'll bring it by later tonight, along with some crutches his girlfriend has.

I am being stubborn and I don't want to go to the doctor because they will just tell me to wrap and elevate it, but Nathan wants me to and as we drive two blocks the pain and nausea are bad enough that I meekly agree, and so off to urgent care we go.

He carries me across the parking lot and into the building, and it is one of the more romantic moments of our relationship, nausea and everything.

They take one look at my ankle and essentially say, "Yeah, we're gonna' need to x-ray that," and by now the pain killer has kicked in so I'm feeling okay so long as I don't move, and I make a crack about the goose-egg on my ankle and the radiographer says "duck egg" so surely that's not as bad?

Well it is bad.  Not broken bad, but about as bad as a sprain can be, so I am sent home with a fancy brace, instructions to be non-weight-bearing for a day or two, and prescriptions for crutches, big-pill ibuprofen, and Vicodin.  I did not want the Vicodin, but after two attempts at saying "That's okay," to the skeptical NP, I gave up and accepted, because maybe the pain will be bad enough to warrant it when bedtime comes around.

I am not looking forward to going to the pharmacy, but when I call them they say that Nathan can pick my stuff up for me- oh happy day! And so I get to lay on the couch with my iced-ankle propped up above my chest, and think about that the things that can happen when one just goes for it.

Sure, you can jack your ankle up- but you can also discover exactly how good your friends are,  how sweet your husband can be, and how kindly strangers can treat you.


Nathan Has the Most Fun

Isis is very much a pack-oriented puppy.  She wants her pack together at all times, and if someone comes into the house she pretty much assumes they are now pack, so when they leave, she mourns.  It's both pitiful and hilarious, just like when we go to the dog park and walk at different rates and she keeps evenly between us because why aren't we together??

Anyway, she gets especially pathetic when Nathan goes outside without her, and we've decided that it's because what she imagines is this:

Yep, Nathan goes out back to play with the dog toys all by himself.  What a jerk.


Isis Out of Character

My dog hates being brushed.  Hates it.  And yet...
Why you no protest?
 ...the whole thing has me very nervous...


Mrs. Hare

When you are a military brat, you develop a very special sort of relationship with your grandparents.  Because you so rarely see them, seeing them is Very Special, indeed.  And if you are very lucky, you have the sorts of grandparents who make an effort to keep close to you even if you don't see them more than once a year or two.

I was very lucky.

I was going through some old papers this afternoon and came across some letters that my paternal grandmother had written me when I was young.  These letters took the form of stories- specifically stories about Mrs. March Hare and her relations.
Mrs. Hare missed her grandchildren, too.

Now the thing is, these stories are not technically proficient- they are riddled with instances of the passive voice, and changes in tense.  But they are wonderful, nonetheless, and I love them.  They brought me great joy as a child, and they bring me joy now, as an adult.  And it made me think that that's all I really want, when you get down to it- to tell stories that people love, that bring them joy in the reading.


More Nostalgia

Continuing yesterday's theme...

Daylight and Foxfire, post Grand Adventure


We Were Young Once, and Nerdy Too

Once upon a time, in my younger days, I was quite thoroughly obsessed with Elfquest.  Now that's not to say that traces of said obsession don't remain (it's possible that my bookshelves sport not one but three different editions of the original quest), but it definitely does not consume my existence as it once did.

One way said consumption manifested itself was in fanfiction.  Yes, fanfiction.  Reams and reams of adventures set within the World of Two Moons.  And since Elfquest is a comic, that meant that there were oh-so-many drawings to go along with the writings.  And most of those drawings featured,  naturally, the characters that stood in for myself and my best friend.

I was feeling a little nostalgic today.
Foxfire and Shadowrunner, in the days before the Grand Adventure

If you would like to immerse yourself in some delicious Elfquest-y action, you can actually read it for free online here.  My interest waned after Wendy stopped doing the art, but your mileage may vary.



Certain developments in Angel & Faith have got me re-reading Fray:
A girl and her Scythe.

I do so love a story that rewards the patient reader- and eleven years is a long damn time to be patient...


Slippery Good Fun

Ta da!

She is quick, oh yes she is...

Mom's flight was supposed to be in around 1900.  Yep.  Definitely not here yet.  ::sigh::


Base Layers for Warmth

I'm thinking I'm going to do more of this particular warrior...

Her spear is ivory-  haven't decided yet if it's carved for grip, or if she has shark-skin wrapped around it...
In fact I think I want to do more drawings of fat people, in general.  It's true that I love drawing muscle-structure (both human and animal) but the way that fat lays over muscle and bone, and how it reacts to gravity, is really kind of interesting...



Well that could not possibly have gone better.

I got up at 0440, left the hotel by 0455, and was settled in to the lobby of the hospital at 0507, after having learned that my grandparents weren't actually scheduled to be there until 0530.

They walked through the door a few minute before that, and the looks on their faces was absolutely priceless.  I seriously have never gained so much gratification for so little effort on my part.  They were thrilled I was there, and I got to bask in the glow of Being a Hero.

Anyway, long story short, surgery went quite well, and 'round about 1230, once everyone was feeling secure in the outcome, Opa went home to take a nap and I headed to downtown to Olympia to meet up with a friend for late lunch.  We spent a pleasant hour catching up, and then he had to get back to work, so I headed home once more.



My Dramatic Tendencies

I'm out on my afternoon walk, chatting with my mom, and she mentions that my Oma is going in for surgery tomorrow.

"They didn't tell you because they didn't want to disrupt your life," she says.  "They only just told me last night."

"Uh huh," I say, squinting at the leaves doing their best to shade me from the merciless sun.  "What hospital is it going to be at?"

And she tells me, of course, because she knows exactly what I am thinking.

They're supposed to be there at 0500- and Olympia is a two-hour drive from where I live.  I do not fancy leaving the house at 0230, so I'm going to head up there in a few minutes.  And sure, I could just appear on their doorstep and sleep there, but the show-woman in me knows it will be much more dramatic if I'm waiting for them in the morning.  Which means I am booking a hotel- and sure, it will also be less stressful on my Oma not having to worry about playing host to me, but really- it's all about dramatic timing.



And Then There Were Shadows

Ugh, too much driving in a 72 hour period...

The hair color is wrong, but it will be okay...


Lake Leaping

We're down in Crater Lake National Park this weekend, visiting Eel and Bee (and their parents, of course).  It is unbelievably gorgeous here, and I wish we were staying longer.  This morning we went out to breakfast at the Lodge, then while the kids went down for a nap (in theory) Nathan and I went out and drove the rim, taking plenty of stops for photos.

My main goal was to actually get in to Crater Lake, so we hiked down the only trail with lake-access, where I discovered that not only could I wade or swim in Crater Lake's breath-steelingly-cold waters, I could jump into them from a high(ish) rock.

So you know what I did.


It was a much shorter drop than the one I did in Hawaii, but it was still high enough (about 15-20 feet) that I didn't linger too long at the edge.  And I was grateful for the chill it brought to my body during the tedious hike back up to the rim- poor Nathan was dying, but I was comfortable as a clam.  A clam in cold water.

Anyway it got me thinking about arctic mermaids, which made me realize that really, mermaids are probably not the svelte or sinewy creatures I tend to draw them as.  Mermaids are more likely quite fat.  So here is a fat mermaid for you:
She is jolly because she is one of her tribe's very best huntresses.


Totes Turts

A friend of mine asked me for some input on a small tattoo design incorporating a turtle and the number 13.1 (the "small" part is relevant to the request because it necessarily means streamlined).  Here is where my beginning doodles have taken me:
It's been a while since I've done a tattoo design (especially since I started laying down Ground Rules regarding payment and the Right to Bug Me for Followup) so it's fun to let my brain wander around in this territory again.


Creeping Colors

This is about thirty minutes work:
Seems like there should be more...

But now it is time for bed, so she'll just have to wait for shadowing.  And hair.  And also looking at it small like this I'm pretty sure I got her skintone wrong.  ::sigh::



Lagoon Lounging