Sunday, July 31, 2011


Happy Illustration Friday time where this week's prompt is "obsessed".   

You know how when you're obsessed with something or some idea or some event and your brain just keeps thinkingthinking obsessingobsessing and the gears in your brain just turnturnturn clickclickclick chunkachunkachunka and you can't turn it off but you don't really want to turn it off but you do want to turn it off and in the meantime it just keeps turning turning turning...

Yeah... like that.

dog days

Okay, I know you've all been fretting, now that summer is nearly over.  "Has Abby been camping yet?",  you worry, "Why no blog posts about camping?!"

Truth is, NO, we haven't been camping!  My gosh, what's wrong?  Well, remember when Arizona was burning back in late May/early June.  We in Colorado had a few of our own fires burning, but it was small potato news next to Arizona.  Anyway, we've been under fire restrictions all summer.  No campfires.

What?  No campfires?? We're not camping if we can't have a campfire, I mean really.  July has been notably wetter, and while some restrictions have lifted, the campfire ban has remained.  We're holding out, and making do.  Yesterday we got a taste with an afternoon of local fishing.

I enjoy the calmness of fishing.  The fish were shy - not a whole lotta catching going on, but that was fine. 

And, unbeknownst to me, I guess it was "Fish with Your Chihuahua Day" because there seemed to be quite a population of chihuahuas present.

Chihuahua with the fishing ladies in their little raft, chihuaua in the rocks with the big burly fisherman guy, chihuahua with the young fishing family, chihuahua fishing day.

From what I saw, the chihuahuas didn't catch anything either.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the examined life

I was beginning to feel that I've too readily fallen into a slothful state since the school year ended. This whole idea of summers off has been too easy to adapt to.

So I frantically began a search for meaningful productivity with only a healthy amount of sloth. I realized that in the last 8 weeks or so, I have:
  • Gotten everyone caught up on physical checkups, eye exams (including new glasses for Wolfgang and Meego), and dental checkups.
  • Acquired a learner's permit for Wolfgang and a driver's license for Chaco.
  • Taught the aforementioned permitted Wolfgang the art of driving a stick.
  • Read a couple of books that I actually learned stuff from.
  • Visited the parents.
  • Vacationed in the mountains.
  • Got an aquarium up and running
  • Spent a bunch of money on automobile upgrades.
  • Accompanied the dog on many a walk
  • Cooked some stuff.
  • Cleaned some stuff.
Okay, so it hasn't been total sloth, but some days it feels that way.  Believe me, there've been some good slothful moments peppered throughout. 

And today I attempted my first ever self portrait.  Well, first ever since like first or second grade, but that doesn't really count.

It was a weird exercise.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Greetings, hot enough for ya!?  This week's  Illustration Friday prompt is "perennial", and rather than flowers, I'm thinking of the return to fall. 

Fall is my favorite season.  Spring is nature's innocence, summer it's passion, winter is dormancy. 
Fall is the bedtime story.

Plus, I figured this would make better use of my day-at-the-DMV pens...

Friday, July 22, 2011

to be continued...

I was back to the DMV today.  This time, we set a new P.R. of just over 4 hours.  Good times.

I was there with Chaco and crazy Meego, who decided he'd come along even after having experienced the last not-so-long-ago visit with Wolfgang.  Chaco's had all of his "prework" for his license completed for a while now, we'd just been putting off the DMV for the final step.  Today, we bit the bullet.

While there and waiting, I decided to get a new tattoo:

It reads:  "ME  DMV  4 EVER"  with a little passion flower, just above the left knee.  I just needed something to remember the day by (that and I was extremely bored and the stationery store next door to the DMV had a sale on pens).

Weird things happen at the DMV.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

bad flick good flick

Saw a couple of movies over the weekend.  One bad, one good.  Allow me to share.

On Friday, both Chaco and Wolfgang were out with friends, so I suggested to Meego and Magnum that we go see "Cars 2".  Meego wanted to see it.  It is one of only two movies on our list-of-things-to-do-this-summer, the other one being "Transformers 3" which we knocked off a couple of weeks ago.

So off we went, and like "Transformers 3", I didn't have high expectations.  Just go sit and indulge the kid and enjoy some air conditioning.  Easy enough.  Except I didn't like it, found it rather annoying actually.  I know I'm not the target audience, but still.  I give it a down dipstick.  Okay, I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Next up:  "Black Swan".  This one, Mag and I watched on DVD.  Have you seen it?  I didn't really know much about it ahead of time, and only afterwards learned that Natalie Portman won a Best Actress Oscar for it.  That's how out of the loop I am on such things. 

I'm glad that I did learn just before watching it that it is considered a "thriller" and not a "drama", otherwise, I probably would have been ghastly surprised.  So yes, it's graphic and edgy and DARK dark.  If you like graphic, edgy, and DARK dark, I predict you will like "Black Swan".  I give it two toes up.

If psycho people and creepy moms and ballerina-on-ballerina action make you uncomfortable however, you might want to pass.


Sunday, July 17, 2011


It's that time again, Illustration Friday time.  This week's prompt is "gesture" and I had a hard time coming up with something that didn't include hands and obscenity.

So, I was thinking "gesture" which got me thinking about body language and nonverbal communication in general, all the while it is very hot around here so I drew a dog.

I don't know if I should give away the secrets of my artistic process like this, but I don't even understand it, so what the heck.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

and then there was one

 So it's summertime -  not all vacation and sloth around here.  It's the time of year when I get the kids all caught up on their various checkups. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was with Meego at the dr.'s.  Everything checked out fine... except when it came to the vision check.

Nurse:  Read this line for me?
Meego:  *silence*
Nurse:  Let's go a little higher, this one?
Meego:  Uuuhhhhmmm....
Nurse:  How 'bout this one?
Meego:  F (it was a P)... O (it was a C)... etc...

HOKAY, make another appointment with the eye doc.

No big surprise I suppose.  Both Magnum and I are nearsighted.  Wolfgang joined the club when he was 9 years old, and now Meego is also in the fold.

So what's up with Chaco?!?  The kid who spends most of his waking hours with his nose just a few inches away from computer screen?!?  We are all wondering where the justice is in that! 

He happened to be in the next room at the doctor's office having HIS checkup on the day we discovered Meego's optical failure.  I poked my head in and told him, "Looks like Meego needs glasses, did you pass your vision test?"

Without a blink, he replied, "Yes, my eyes are awesome". 

okay, I had to touch up the photo
a little...

I guess what he lacks in modesty, he makes up for in 20/20 vision.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I've said here before that I don't give a hoot about reality TV.  Most of it I just ignore, some of it actually repels me.  Then there's celebrity gossip and the like.  Don't care for that either.

Then there's The Royals.  Last week, Prince William and his new bride What's-Her-Name were visiting our nation, so there were daily news updates and photos of their every movement.  *Ho Hum*.

BUT, I admit, I'm not totally immune.  I did just happen to catch the news of the recent royal wedding in Monaco.  There was a photo of it somewhere in the middle of the newspaper with a short paragraph about it.

"Oh pretty!", I thought.  "Oooh, Monaco!", I remembered reading something years ago about Monaco and how it was all playground for the filthy rich and not much else.  So while the British Royal Wedding did nothing for me other than offer some amusement as to Elton John's posing like our elementary school mascot, this wedding caught my attention.  Mr. and Mrs. Prince William are just kids, but these two Monacoans, they were like, old! 

I learned that he, Prince Albert, is 53 while she, Princess Charlene is 33.  Take the average, and they're like my age.  I could relate.  Finally something for me to waste time on!

And I did...

I read reports of the wedding, watched videos, learned about the bride and groom, learned about Monaco, even planned a trip for myself there someday: 

View Larger Map

"We could not calculate directions between Colorado Springs, CO and Monaco."

Oh well, thanks a lot for nuthin' Google Maps.

And in the midst of all this research, I learned that all is not quite well in Castle de Monaco.  Reports of possible (more) illegitimate children for the Prince and ice cold feet for the Princess complete with several attempts to be a runaway bride.  Even stories of a curse put on the family, effectively dooming all their marriages forever.  Geesh!

I gotta say, watching video of the wedding, she doesn't look particularly happy.  At one point she's downright bawling and those don't look like this-is-the-happiest-day-of-my-life tears, but rather sh*t-what-have-I-done? tears.

Here's a short clip, what's your impression?

I for one hope things work out.  It figures, though, that I finally find some shallow indulgence only to have it be all confused.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Greetings on this Illustration Friday once again.  This week's prompt is "stay".  As it happens, I was drawing another one of them houses and it seemed fitting.

I could just plop on that bench under the big shady tree and stay there for a good while.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

today, we take the battle to them *

We deposited a ready Wolfgang off at his second phase of driving school this morning. Him and the car.

He did the classroom portion, passed the written test, spent 3 lovely hours at the DMV to get his permit, now it's on to round 2:  the "Skills Course", or as I adoringly call it, the "Crash Course".

He gets to learn crash avoidance, controlling a skid, the hand-to-hand feed, the slip-and-grip, all kinds of things over the next two fun filled days.

Our car is a manual transmission and I've been learning him the finer points of driving such a thing over the past few days.  We pulled up amid a few wimpy minivans, some crossovers... some kid is in a Hummer.  No worries.

Our Subaru Outback is ready to take them all on.  Pardon the attitude, but recall that I just saw "Transformers 3".

As I pulled the car into the ready position for the start of class, I heard one of the instructors comment, "Op, we got us a clutch". 

I handed the keys to Wolfgang, "From here on, the fight is yours...**"

* Optimus Prime
** same guy

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the dark side

We went to see "Transformers 3" over the weekend. I went reluctantly, figuring it was a mom duty. But I confess that I actually rather enjoyed it.  As we left the theater, though, I had this strange feeling that the the other cars in the parking lot were watching us.  Weird.

I have now seen all three of the Transformers movies (see referenced "mom duty" above).  The first one was kinda cute, the second one I barely tolerated.  This one?  Strangely, I think I liked it.  I chalk that strange feeling up to two things:  (1) In the interim between T2 and T3, I have intimately known Optimus Prime, and (2) I had a good sense of what to expect and what not to expect.

Expect lots of explosions and carnage.

Don't expect feeling any deep connection to any of the characters.

Expect some cool mechanical things.

Don't expect much acting skill.

Expect a ridiculously miscast hot female.

Don't expect to think, "yeah, that could really happen".

Expect an adolescent to kick my chair from behind.

Don't expect to get a good seat if arriving right at the posted showtime.

So all up and in, I was glad to have gone.  This is possibly my favorite of the three - not to be confused with being possibly a favorite movie, just a favorite Transformers movie.  It's darker than the other two.

I find that I like dark. Not sure why, but I like.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Happy Illustration Friday where this week's prompt is "remedy".    I mean seriously, who's never used this stuff?

Let us spray.