mini montage

Tucked away with a manuscript. When I get out, here are some image highlights. Hope this finds you well. Humanity always rises up in times of suffering.

I love this little yoga studio in the woods. Search and rescue vehicles in the back. Someday, when life's a little less hectic, I will train to be an SAR wilderness volunteer. On the bucket list.

I love this little yoga studio in the woods. Search and rescue vehicles in the back. Someday, when life's a little less hectic, I will train to be an SAR wilderness volunteer. On the bucket list.

From a workshop on dendrochronology and wildfire. This tree dated to 400 years. I learned how to date a tree based on fire scars. The rings look like the mesas in Arizona or peaks of the Cascades. 

From a workshop on dendrochronology and wildfire. This tree dated to 400 years. I learned how to date a tree based on fire scars. The rings look like the mesas in Arizona or peaks of the Cascades. 

coffee shop random doodle. tiny notebooks work, too.

coffee shop random doodle. tiny notebooks work, too.

First Things First

A rare self-portrait: a sense of renewal in the summer of haze and smoke of wildfire. 2017.

A rare self-portrait: a sense of renewal in the summer of haze and smoke of wildfire. 2017.

I married a master tactician and analyst. He's brilliant; he's good at everything I am not. And I'm good at the skills or controls he lacks. We are yin and yang, a rare breed of a couple. He teaches me things he learns from reading Harvard Business Review, books written by M.I.T. professors, and living inside case studies. I teach him, well, you'd have to ask him. He'd say something smart ass, like how to burn toast or how to pick up dog poo.

I do like our walks and musings. What could a business analyst teach an artist? Something simple and easy to say. It goes like this: First Things First. I'll let you chew on that. 

He and I move at different paces but we both come back to one place in the end....

eclipse magic. and then this...

My photograph appeared on the front-page of The New York Times. I took a quick screenshot of it above the digital "fold." 

My photograph appeared on the front-page of The New York Times. I took a quick screenshot of it above the digital "fold." 

9:30 am Monday. I've been calling this the great eclipse "apocalypse." We made lots of jokes about the world ending. The merchandise, the emergency response plans, and the hype had been unprecedented along the "path of totality" [cue awesome drama music].

We sat on chunks of obsidian and oscillated our naked eyes between watching the light fade to wearing our NASA-approved glasses. Humans made a balancing rock sculpture. Dogs scratched at the ground. The blue hour descended with the quickness like never before.

When the eclipse got closer to totality, outside house lights switched on: the sensor had been tricked into (phantom) dusk. The bats flew and darted above our heads. The night birds sang. And we stood in darkness. Stunned. I felt like I was living inside a time-lapse camera. 

The hairs on my arms stood on guard. Chills down the spine. 

From deep in the forest, cheering and clapping erupted. Meanwhile, a dog remained vigilant at a nearby rock, staring and waiting for a golden-mantled squirrel to reappear. 

"Good job, pups, you made the squirrel miss the eclipse," said the huz. One dog, who has a great Arctic Fox hunting pounce, looked up at him and then went back the prey's arrival.

"Okay," he said. "Back to work. The world is still here." We all walked back to our daily life with the sun opening up to its full potential and the glasses tucked in our pockets. The house lights had turned back off.

New York Times story here:  A Solar Eclipse's Journey Across America.

Thinking about Intelligence (a meta circular thing)

On a recent hike, my family and I discussed the types of intelligence. There are different variations of this theory. The theory we were working from included creativity, sexual, and sensual in its intelligence list. Howard Gardner's popular version, however, as illustrated below, doesn't include those categories. Harvard's Gardner includes naturalist and musical, Here's a quick recap of Gardner's work

We talked about each of our intelligence strengths. We first had to assess ourselves and then everyone else got to have their say on your "intelligence." (Cue random insults from a family of one-up out witting each other.) Result: none of us were the same. We're an eclectic bunch. They all agreed on my strongest intelligence as creativity (outside Gardner's intelligence, apparently). My daughter said, "It's because you're lovable and weird--I mean in a good way." Later that day, I'm not sure what I said, she said, "Mom, now you're being weird, and I mean that in a bad way." Intelligence is a spectrum.

And because I am the "creative" one in the family, they are used to me being armed with a load of graphic memoirs on long airplane trips or stacking them on the sofa table to read at night. Here is BookRiot's comprehensive list of some of the must-read graphic memoirs that I've adored. 

And that's an abrupt ending to a blog post. Shazam.

with a sliver of time, little wins

When a child's wonder catches my eye...

When a child's wonder catches my eye...


But the combination of movement and stillness enables you to unleash your creativity in all directions—wherever the power of your attention takes you.
— Deepak Chopra

I  have hit a new speed with a creative project: the sliver of three, uninterrupted hours a day has made all the difference in the world. It's unleashed creative output at a speed that I haven't known before. Rest and attention are paramount to tapping into the images and stories in my mind. So fun.

A Brief Break

It's that time of year again to take a break from digital life and delve into creative noodling, finish up some deadlines, arrange new timelines, and watch things grow. I look forward to coming back with new adventures in graphic novels, sketches, inspirational passages, and whatever else I come across that hits me in the creative mind-gut. Have a good one. Find the quiet to feel the poetry....

Sketching day at an alpine lake. A good day, yes.

Being my own field scientist: documenting random tree growth. My version of Walden.

Being my own field scientist: documenting random tree growth. My version of Walden.

The Bookstore Rule

My daughter had to pull me by the hand to the cash register. "It's time to go," she said. "You're dangerous in a bookstore; you get distracted and stop listening." I became the child in this instant. Ooops. 

We were late, and I wasn't paying attention. Blame Powell's City of Books for its selection and tall stacks. I spend as much on books as I would on an ottoman. We have a rule in our house: if you want a book, we'll buy the book. My kids never walk out of a bookstore without at least one. And they read it, hover over it, and stick it in their bedroom.                                          

Books tell stories to you (duh, of course), but they also say something about you in that space and time of your life. It goes both ways. I can look at my bookshelves and tell you my mental state, life happenings, and the importance of that book as it has a place in my life. They are almost like photographs except nobody can "see" how they matched an interior life episode. 

Here are some outtakes of books I mulled over, browsed, and couldn't wait to read: (I've hit the strange, illustrated book mode, again)...

IMG_0489.jpg

Another woman

and I went for this book at the same time. Nerd Alert in the Adult Graphic Novel section. 

found  

in the youth graphic novel section. 

My daughter, off to the side, decides if the Rookie Yearbook is worth the money. Her criticism: "It's busy; I don't know where to look. I can't focus. I'll just get frustrated." She passes on it. She's ten. 

My son leans and reads a military strategy book he picked up in the store. He's a middle-aged man in a tween body. 

found

young adult graphic novel section, again

if

I shop around people my age

I dislike

cereal but this isn't about the soggy-factor and milk. I took an image like this year's ago, so I think, aesthetically, I'm on the same page as the creative director. Trying it.

funeral journal / outtakes

I hadn't opened this sketch journal since December 2015. During that month I found odd things to sketch, think about, and document while dealing with the raw and sudden death of my sister-in-law at the age of 44. Some outtakes:

Diagram drawn, taken from a rare book on literary criticism, 1847 published

in-laws' home

Jen's dog in mourning

Penny kept trying to find her master. 

IMG_0823.JPG

the love life of a mason jar

random doodle

flight attendant

using my daughter's Crayola markers + Stabilo pt 88 pen 

pediatric unit/ sketches in low light

My son's been in the hospital long enough that we know almost all the nurses and doctors. So far, while being here, we have heard the "transition chime" seven times that rings throughout the entire facility. This indicates a birth or death in the hospital. The first one came hours after I heard the intercom: Code Blue. O.R. Adult. Code team dispatched. I hoped it was a birth and not that patient needing resuscitation in the operating room.

UPDATE: As of breakfast time, we heard two more chimes in quick succession. Twins, we hope!

We had lots of long, great conversations with her. Very helpful, excellent bedside manner.

We had lots of long, great conversations with her. Very helpful, excellent bedside manner.

She was never our official nurse, but always there for backup and cheer.

She was never our official nurse, but always there for backup and cheer.

Very industrial-looking thermometer. 

Very industrial-looking thermometer. 

My son could calculate the temperature conversion in his head faster than the nurses. Small win for the sick one.

My son could calculate the temperature conversion in his head faster than the nurses. Small win for the sick one.

Watched the medical helicopter work its magic throughout the days and nights. 

Watched the medical helicopter work its magic throughout the days and nights. 

Too Soon.

Today way before dawn, while reading the New York Times brief, my jaw dropped. NOOOOO. Chris Cornell died at age 52. He was such an integral part of my self-identity in the early '90s; I loved grunge music, went to the concerts, and wore flannel with a fabulous zig. :)  A part of me fell on a black day. One more time. Right here. Listen up. R.I.P. He joins the other movers among the grunge legends...Nirvana, Temple of the Dog .... 

My daughter said, "Wait....You liked this music?" 

"Wayyyy before kids, honey," I said. 

"Who were you?" she said with a drifty voice. I smiled.

Evolution of the self matters. 

True Story

When I commute, I rarely listen to the radio anymore. I use the time to sit in absolute silence and be present. It's something new I've been trying for a few weeks. I use other times of the day to listen to NPR and to read the New York Times and Washington Post. But today, I had this real craving to hear that song, "Kids," by One Republic, for a reason I have no idea. So, I broke tradition, turned on the radio to the FM station, and guess what song had just started? Yes, the synchronicity made me smile. Here is it for you. In case you have the random audio craving, too. Damn, Deepak Chopra would be proud.

Clearing Space(s)

I took this photograph in the basement of a wacky thrift store in Vancouver, BC. O where will my slide film photographs end up when I am dead and gone? 

I took this photograph in the basement of a wacky thrift store in Vancouver, BC. O where will my slide film photographs end up when I am dead and gone? 

People live. People die. Their stuff remains in cases, lofts, boxes, drawers. I think of dead peoples' lives often when looking around strange thrift stores. I see stories in each of these slides (yup, those above), presumably taken from the 1970-1990s, the lifespan of beautiful Kodachrome.

I bring this up as I stumbled upon, read, and enacted the KonMari Method into my life. (My husband and daughter have looked at my "spaces" in the house and exclaimed, "WOW. That looks amazing. Will you do it for me?") It's a Japanese method of sparking joy and tidying up. Here are links to what it entails:

Kon Mari checklist

Illustrated Guide to KonMari:

Note: I HAVE found a deep reflection with stuff per this book--I tended to toss things every six months, anyway--but this is a more Zen version. KonMari does clear up the head space for more creative time. Tidying leads to the next blog post: bullet journaling (a life-changing force for all breathing humans with fire in the belly).