I recently started drawing Custom Pet Portraits. I had forgotten how much people and families love their pets. Their pets are like family members. Dogs and cats provide companionship, comfort and a lot of fun. Growing up, our family had two dogs and my sisters and my husband had cats in college. Unfortunately, the two dogs and one of the cats met an untimely demise. Trigger, our golden retriever simply went missing one day. Hermie, our miniature schnauzer suffered an accidental death. Piggy the cat never woke up. Sooza and LiLi developed cancer and had to be put down. My husband’s cat Saby just left the house and never came back. I was traumatized by these events. I haven’t gotten over the pain of losing them. Even though I love animals, I haven’t been able to get another dog.
My kids are always asking for a dog and I keep telling them “maybe when you are older…” However, they do play with their friends’ pets all the time. It is sort of like having fun without the responsibility.
Doors are intriguing and mysterious. Doors lead to curiosity… What’s behind that beautiful door? Is the house or building as amazing as the door itself? Are the people who live here as wonderful as the door? Doors are like book covers. You can’t judge a book by its cover. And you can’t judge a building by its doors.
On a recent trip to India, I was amazed at all the doors I saw. They ranged from very ornate to very simple. The first door featured below is from a courtyard at the Amber Palace in Jaipur. The color and intricate design makes this my favorite door.
Here are some of the other fantastic doors:
While I was marveling at the art and craftsmanship of all the doors we saw…my kids’ favorite door was the one to the Dessert Refrigerator!
Back in the day, my family used to watch TV shows together. Especially the prime time shows…Three’s Company, Wonder Woman, The Jeffersons, Love Boat, Seinfeld, Friends. All five of us, parents and three girls would gather around the sofa and laugh and laugh. Even my super serious and super cranky Dad! Saturday mornings were sacred for us kids. We watched shows like the Justice League, Buck Rogers, Scooby Doo…on Saturday mornings eating our Cocoa Puffs.
Nowadays, my kids watch YouTube, DVR TV shows and binge watch Netflix. It is such a different world. They are in constant virtual contact with their friends via group texts, FaceTime and social media. Everything they watch is ready and available and they don’t need to wait. I used to program our VCR for my favorite shows and MTV video premieres. I get it. But there are so many shows out there, that it is impossible to keep up with all of them. Some of my friends are addicted to Bravo, some to HBO and others to Netflix.
Luckily for us, my kids both recently discovered Stranger Things and The Office. So now, all four of us have a show that we can watch together (we fast forward the inappropriate teenager parts for my 10 yr old with Stranger Things). There is common ground and content that can work for the whole family. It takes a little bit of research and a lot of patience.
My thirteen year old son and my ten year old daughter get along well. They have different likes and interests and don’t fight a lot. Their biggest squabbles are what movies to watch on family movie nights and who ate the last ice cream bar. While I think this is great, I can’t help but think of my own childhood that was sort of like “Hunger Games” in comparison.
Looking back at my childhood, I have many fond memories. Having two younger sisters was a lot of fun. If I got into a fight with one sister, there was another one to take her place. As the oldest sibling, I ruled the roost and made the laws. I am two years senior to my middle sister P and almost 6 years older than J, the youngest. For years, I was physically larger and taller than both of them. Growing up with two younger sisters and two crazy parents can really sharpen a girl’s sense of humor and survival skills. We fought about all kinds of things…not just movies or ice cream. I don’t know when we started to joke about each other mercilessly or play pranks on each other…but it hasn’t stopped.
As a teenager, my room was covered with 80’s celebrities…JFK Jr., Duran Duran, the Soloflex guy. I subscribed to Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine and watched Elsa Klench on Style. I was just sooo cool. One day I came to my room to find that there were mustaches on several of my posters. That was call for extreme action. I marched to J’s room and beat up Mingy, her favorite pillow.
For some strange reason, we were obsessed with lip balm in the 80’s. Blistex in those round canisters was all the rage. Keeping interlopers from my Blistex was practically a full time job. I used my Blistex in a uniform and clockwise fashion, it was always clean and of course perfect. My sister J’s Blistex had an upside cone design. My sister P’s container always had fuzz, random bits of mystery flakes and looked like it was stabbed with a toothpick. If I didn’t hide my Blistex, I would find that one of them had dug a nail into the middle of the canister!
Secret video taping was also a constant danger in my house. My sister J would place a cam corder on top of the fridge just to tape us with morning face and bed heads. And forget about sleeping happily on tour buses while on vacation. She made sure to take multiple shots of me dozing with my mouth open and my head in an angle that gave me two chins.
My sisters also had a collection of fake bugs. I remember pulling back my comforter and finding a line of fake ants on my pillow. I also let out a blood curdling scream when I found a large plastic spider in my dresser drawer.
Before you feel too sorry for me, I was not so innocent growing up. I loved imitating my sisters, making up terrible nicknames and shaming them just for fun. Luckily, as adults, the pranks have died down. However, my sister J sent me a picture that my son had texted her. It was a picture of me asleep on the sofa with mouth wide open and my head at an angle that allowed my chin to double!
I have acquired the unwitting title of “Margarita Maker”. I did not seek this title, but everyone talks tequila with me as though I’m George Clooney and Randy Gerber. As a lifelong calorie-phobe, I have always been on the lookout for low-calorie drinks. Alcohol was never a requirement in my diet. Although in college, we drank a lot of beer at fraternities and boy this put me off beer for life. And, a group of us would go bar hopping as seniors and drink long island ice teas. Now one of those was all I needed because we ran and didn’t bother with dinner! We usually got pizza around midnight. Sigh, youth.
I moved onto vodka and pineapple juice in my early twenties. I was introduced to this drink by a coworker. After finding out that my new and cool drink was over 350 calories a serving, I lost interest…
Gimlets, either gin or vodka were my go to drink in my late twenties. My husband’s uncle, who drove a Porsche 911 made one for me and I loved them. It is what all the cool grown ups were drinking in the late 90’s. My early thirties were all about marathon training. I did not drink any alcohol then because those long training runs were brutal.
What bought me back to drinking was playdates with fellow moms. I remember a lot of wine playdates. I am not a wine person and therefore decided to drink something else. Somewhere in my kitchen was a large stainless steel cocktail mixer with a dozen drink recipes on. Just twirl to the drink of choice and the ingredients appeared on the side! Before this margarita immersion, the only margaritas I had were from that fancy restaurant chain “Chi Chi’s”! The super sweet, goopy, made with fake margarita mix concoctions that came in gigantic glasses.
I made the margarita recipe from my cocktail mixer. It was too sweet for me and had too many calories. I did experiment with some other versions, but I did not care for them. There are many, many margarita recipes out there. But I came across a simple recipe that is the best margarita I have ever had. It is refreshing, delicious and not too sweet. Just for the record, one of these is all I need.
The rule is…there are no rules! For decades, I had three rules that I ran by.
Once you start running, don’t stop until you finish your said miles.
If you can talk when you are running, you are not going fast enough.
No music, that’s cheating. I am a purist…thank you very much.
So, those rules worked in my twenties and thirties. Nowadays, I have a phone and GPS watch strapped to my left arm, water bottle or pepper spray in my right hand. And I will mention the metal plate and six screws in my right leg. (Fell down the stairs during my second pregnancy at 37 weeks, tri-malleolar fracture…that story is another post).
My younger self would have never believed it. But to be fair to myself, I am running longer and faster than I ever did. Aside from training for marathons back then, I usually ran twelve miles a week in my twenties and fifteen miles a week in my thirties. That is all it took to stay in shape back then. Aah, youth. I run over 25 miles a week now…Dear metabolism…thanks for nothing!
I have come to accept aging and all the rules I have to break to manage. I think breaking those rules and getting rid of my running vanity has made me faster and able to run longer. Apple music has made my hot and humid Raleigh runs so much more bearable. Stopping to drink water is just a necessity in our humid state. And talking while running is okay too because slow days are necessary to prevent overuse injuries.
A lot of my runner friends have asked me what I listen to when I run. I have no shame in liking these songs. Whatever works right?!
I have so many favorites, but here are some tunes with a fast beat that take me up those hills:
Fantasy, Aldo Nova
Original Sin, INXS
Evenflow, Pearl Jam
Magnificent Seven, Clash
Legs, ZZ Top
Dr. Feelgood, Motley Cru
Kickstart My Heart, Motely Cru
Iron Lion Zion, Bob Marley
How Do U Want It, 2Pac
Renegades of Funk, Rage Against The Machine
No Church in the Wild, Kanye and Jay Z
Bullet the Blue Sky, U2
Happy running to you all! I will have my Chickpea Fry recipe in my next post!
When was the last time you tried something new? Something you never imagined you would do or even like? The last new thing for me was becoming a vegan three years ago. So, it had been a long since I did something new until a few months ago. My husband kept bugging me to try art classes at the Art Museum. My response to him was “Meh…” I thumbed my nose at the idea. I liked my comfort zone and didn’t want to leave. Then he left the colorful brochure from the museum on my desk. I was signing up the kids for art classes and ended up reading about the adult classes. I signed up for a paper art class. I am an artist and illustrator. I knew nothing about paper art. In this class, we had to use four pieces of card stock to make a three dimensional scene. We used X-acto knives to cut designs into the paper. It was really cool and really fun.
I didn’t think much about the class after taking it. But slowly I started noticing paper. There are so many cool things made with paper. Cardboard, fast food packaging, various food product packaging, electronics packaging (iPhone boxes), gift boxes and greeting cards. Paper is such a beautiful material. There are so many types of paper from shimmery card stock, plain white watercolor paper to stiff solid colored card stock. I got a variety of these papers, an X-acto knife and a paper trimmer and I have been having a lot of fun since. Paper art is not the same as illustrating, painting or digital art. The art class made me think of designs in a whole new and different way.
I have included some cards that I have made further in the post. My cards are for sale at my Etsy shop (My Etsy Shop). I encourage you to try something new. Get out of your safe zone and just do it! You never know what you might like, what might inspire you and where it will take you.