anonyrrie: October 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Illustration Friday - (un)Broken

shards and splinters and shrapnel
broken dreams and hearts and toys and promises...
sweep them up
pile them high
a pyre...
light the match
fan the fire
one last look...
it's burning well
walk away
spirit unbroken.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Tag Fever

I was tagged again earlier this week by Sultry Painter Woman who assured me that it's really a good exercise to keep examining oneself for personal history, character traits and behaviors. She has, rather impressively, accomplished the grand list of 100 facts, and by the time I finish this list, I will be 40 short of that goal. All in all, it's been relatively painless and actually quite fun, but I am not going to tag any more people this time around. I was also tagged by Jody, the fabulous Cheap Tart to find out which Peanuts character I am. So, my first fact is going to be a double-dipper, and I will add the other facts as they come to me.

41. I am Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

42. Indian food and sushi...delicious!
43. If I had to do it all over again, I'm not sure that I would.
44. I used to visit my mother several times a week when I lived nearby. I miss being able to do that.
45. I enjoy doing laundry, and don't mind vacuuming, but I really hate doing other kinds of housework.
46. However...I can't stand mess and dirt. I need to work on wiggling my nose, I guess.
47. I used to be something of a perfectionist. Then I worked on easing up on myself. Now, I think I'm too undisciplined, so I feel guilty. Does that mean I'm still a perfectionist, or just a garden-variety neurotic?
48. I am German with a bit of English on my mother's side and German with a bit of Latvian on my father's side.
49. I am not one who enjoys recreational shopping, and will generally avoid going to a mall unless it's absolutely necessary.
50. I do, however like going to the bookstore,the art supply store, and the Apple Store...and I almost always come back with goodies.
51. Sometimes I really believe my cat Jezebel is a reincarnated human.
52. Although I fall asleep quickly, I usually wake up several times in the night.
53. Some jobs I've had over the years include (in random order) dog-walker, babysitter, advertising and display assistant, first mate, cook, waitress, ghostwriter, fitness instructor, writing coach, and now...teacher.
54. I have never enjoyed playing team sports or group exercise, opting instead for solitary activities such as weight lifting, running, walking, biking, and long stints on cardio machines.
55. In the same vein, I do not like doing group work. I prefer to get projects done efficiently, very well, and on my own. I am, however, very gracious and cooperative when I do work as part of a team.
56. Manners count. Kindness counts. Respect for one's elders counts. Respect for all life counts.
57. I think about my father almost every day, even though he passed away eight years ago. Sometimes I talk to him, hoping he's in a place where he can hear me. He was a truly wonderful father and a dear friend. I miss him very much.
58. This is Froggie, a 1973 Porsche 911RS. He lives in our shop, and sometimes goes out for a ride if it's a nice day. I bought him because I love the color.

59. I think green might be my favorite color, but I also love red, orange, and certain shades of blue.
60. Please don't tag me again! I'm running out of things to reveal!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Illustration Friday - Remote (II)

We tend to fear what we don't know, and such is the case when we misunderstand why some people choose to keep themselves remote from society. We often imagine the worst about them, endowing them with negative traits and behaviors, thus creating fictional characters that stand in for the real human beings.

I had planned to illustrate this idea with two literary characters, but time constraints forced me to settle for one. Her name is Lori, the Red Witch from Paul Gallico's beautiful novel Thomasina. It's a touching and magical tale of a widower, his daughter, a ginger cat named Thomasina, and Lori, a healer. The red-haired Lori lives deep in the woods, and is branded a witch because of her healing powers and mysterious solitary way of life. She shows her true side, however, when she saves Thomasina from death, and ultimately heals the hardened heart of the widower and the broken heart of his daughter.

The second character is Phillip Rhyader from The Snow Goose, another work by Paul Gallico. It is about the bond of love that forms between Phillip, a deformed, hermetic painter who loves birds and Fritha, a young girl who brings an injured to snow goose to him. I have a picture in my mind, but I will save it for another time.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Illustration Friday - Remote (Possibilities)

I'm pressed for time this week, so for now I am sharing two drawings I did about thirty years ago. I do have an idea and some rough sketches for my real submission for this week's topic, but I might not have time to get to it. Monday Update - I did do one new illustration which you can see here.

I remember doing the above drawing at a time in my life when I felt remote and inward and also very fragile. I think this visually reflects those feelings pretty well. I've always like this one for its mood, and I also like the attenuated figure and the patterned hair. I did play around a bit with the background after I scanned it.

This drawing depicts what I had imagined my life would be like someday. I would live in a remote natural setting with a wonderful view of trees and mountains. I'd have my books and art around me, and life would be fine. Well, I count this as a testament to the power of visualization, for here I am, living in the country with a view from my office/studio that looks pretty much like the view in this drawing. I am surrounded by books, art, and true love, and I have to say that life is pretty darn wonderful. I'm one lucky lady, and I am thankful for my blessings. The only thing that's missing is the painting in the drawing; after hanging above my parents' fireplace for many years and then on the wall of one of my apartments, it came to a sad end. I won't tell the story here, but let's just say it falls into the category of "water under the bridge." I've long since moved on. This was originally a pen and ink drawing to which I added color in photoshop.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Strip Tease, or Tagged II

The very accomplished Dennis West has tagged me, so I'm back for the next installment of 20 random facts about myself. I think this is a fun game, but I have to say that the concept of "random facts" is worth a closer look. After all... how random are these facts we post? I mean, whether we actually let the facts roll off our fingers spontaneously or mull them over before posting, isn't there always an editing process going on? Either consciously or subconsciously, we control our images. How much should we show of ourselves? What are our best parts? Should we give away a little more? It's really like a strip tease, as we peel away a few layers to show what we want to show, while keeping the audience curious to know more. Nonetheless, I'm enjoying learning about my fellow bloggers, so I like doing this. I'm figuring that we could all easily get up to 100 facts if we keep retagging one another...which is not too far from what's already happening. Or...we could try something new, say an illustrated version of "Two Truths and One Lie." That would be a really fun anyone game?

So here I go again, and I promise I will try to be as spontaneously random as I can...

21. I'm 5'9".
22. I once ate an ant to impress a group of kids. They weren't impressed. I wasn't either. Ants taste terrible.
23. Once upon a time, I lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean.
24. I haven't been swimming in over three years. Oh well.
25. I've seen a ghost.
26. I did not attend my high school, college, or graduate school graduation ceremonies.
27. I get very cranky if I'm interrupted when I'm trying to think.
28. I attended Catholic school for nine years and know the wrath of nuns.
29. I believe in God, but not organized religion.
30. I am physically very strong for a woman my age, and probably for a woman half my age.
31. I don't know how to work most of the high-tech gadgets we have in our home. Too many weird switches!
32. I have never read, nor do I intend to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy or any Harry Potter novels. Please forgive me.
33. I just signed up for National Novel Writing Month. Am I crazy? We'll see...
34. As a child, I was an avid trash scavenger. Among my best found treasures were discarded wallpaper sample books, piles of photography journals, and two sterling silver belt buckles. I used some of the wallpaper to decorate my dollhouse and I still have the belt buckles.
35. I also collected the discarded window displays from the liquor store that was on my way home from school. I managed to amass a good supply of flimsy colorful satin fabric that I used to make costumes and cardboard props that I used to decorate my bedroom. I remember in particular a cardboard street lamp that I propped up next to my bed...for atmosphere.
36. I ran away from home for a few days when I was in high school.
37. Every day I make Jol a "love sandwich" to take to work for his breakfast: almond butter and strawberry jam on home baked multigrain bread. He loves eating it and I love making it:>
38. I sold a painting for $400 when I was in high school.
39. I used to pretend to be sick so I could stay home from school and read all day.
40. I am looking forward to the day when I can spend less time teaching and more time doing.

That didn't take too long, although I did it in bits and pieces. I think the following people haven't been tagged, and I know I'm interested to know more about them:


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Illustration Friday - Cold

This week's Illustration Friday topic resonated with me for many reasons. First, I've had a nasty cold for over a week, and I finally had to take a day off yesterday to stay at home in bed. I felt like I needed to wrap myself in down and fleece because it's been beastly cold where I work, something to do with the ventilation system that recirculates air. All it really does, as far as I can tell, is blow freezing air during the cold months and hot air during the warm months. By the middle of the week, I was so thoroughly chilled, I was certain I would crack into thousands of pieces if someone were to give me a pat on the back. To add to my discomfort, it had been pouring rain almost continuously all week. Not that lovely rain that feeds the flowers and leaves everything glistening and clean, but torrential rain that washes away dirt roads and topples stone walls. I know...complain, complain. It's just that I'm not really a cold weather person.

The rain did, however, provide me with a couple of fascinating encounters with the avian life in my neck of the woods (quite literally), during the few times it let up. As I wrote yesterday, we had a visit from a few hundred migrating birds, who covered our driveway and trees for a short while before they continued on their journey. This morning, I came downstairs to find a dozen or so wild turkeys outside our front door, pecking away in the garden for seeds and berries. I tried to be stealthy as I grabbed my camera, but they sensed my presence and took off pretty quickly.

What does any of this have to do with my illustration? Well, with the cold and the rain and the birds, I kept hearing the song "White Bird" in my head. I remember it from my teenage years, but I can't remember who wrote it and/or sang it. Jol thinks it might be a Pentangle song, but I wasn't able to track that information down in my admittedly cursory search. I did, however, find the lyrics, some of which I've included below. drawing started as a remembered song and ended up as an enchanted peacock-like creature in a magic snow field...and like magic, the sun came out just as I was finishing it! Really!

White bird
In a golden cage
On a winter's day
In the rain
White bird
In a golden cage
All alone

The leaves blow
Across a long black road
To its darkened sky
In its rage
But the white bird
Just sits in her cage
All alone

White bird must fly or she will die
White bird must fly or she will die

White bird
Dreams of aspen trees
With their dying leaves
Turning gold
But the white bird
Just sits in her cage
Growing old

White bird must fly or she will die
White bird must fly or she will die

The sunset comes
The sunset goes
The clouds roll by but the earth turns slow
And a young bird's eyes do always glow...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Saturation Point

The word rain can best be described as:

a. Water condensed from atmospheric vapor and falling in drops.
b. A fall of such water; a rainstorm.
c. The descent of such water.
d. Rainy weather.
e. All of the above.

One of my favorite nighttime noises, when I was living in the well-traveled suburbs outside of Manhattan, was the sound of passing cars on wet pavement. It seemed so romantic, as if an entire story was encoded into the rthymn created by rubber and saturated asphalt. Where were these people going when most everyone else was asleep in bed? What necessary errand or personal quest sent them out into the dank night? Love, tragedy, an ice cream jones? It was a lullaby, the words of which would change with each season, more gentle and full of love in the spring and summer, almost terrifying in the colder months.

It has been raining here for days and days, making the season feel all wrong. Instead of the vibrance and energy that usually accompanies Autumn in New England, there is a bitter feeling of impending winter. It is only a matter of degrees before all this precipitation turns from rain to snow. Yesterday, the air filled with another sound, an almost metallic screeching, when hundreds of birds landed on our driveway and in our trees. It was surreal, and for several long moments I wondered if they were exhibiting the unusual behavior some animals show before a natural disaster. I tried to imagine what horror might be coming our way as I attempted to count the crowing, flapping black shapes that surrounded the house. After a while, on some signal I couldn't hear, they took to the sky and swooped back and forth as they fixed their flight formation. Our home was nothing more than a migratory rest stop.

So it continues to rain, and I feel cold to my bones. I huddled today under two comforters, dressed in fleece and overalls, dreaming of seasonless warm climes. Somehow, my motivation seems as frozen as my hands feel. I tell myself that my mood, my whole physiology, will change when the rain stops and the sun comes back. Until then I am thinking of of Ray Bradbury's short story, "All Summer in a Day." I hope I'm not locked in a closet or stuck behind a pile of papers when the sun does finally come out. I'm ready to play.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I've been tagged by Diong to post 20 random facts about myself and then tag the same amount of people as minutes it takes me to write the shouldn't be too difficult, right?

So here goes:

1. I eat grapefruit and/or red grapes for breakfast every day.
2. My two least favorite colors to wear are pink and purple.
3. I speak to animals in their native tongue whenever possible.
4. I talk out loud to myself in public places.
5. When I was in college, I thought I had "the potential to be groovy."
6. I was wrong. I grew up to be a dork, and I love it.
7. I'm an excellent vegetarian cook.
8. I live with two tabby cats, one German shepherd dog, and a guitar guru.
9. J is the love of my life. I feel blessed that we found each other.
10. I'm a coffee/espresso purist: strong, black, no milk or sugar.
11. I majored in Classics in college, thinking I would just keep going to school.
12. Like Goldilocks, I prefer the temperature "just right."
13. Food addictions: dark chocolate, almonds, trail mix.
14. I have two tattoos, a scorpion on my ankle and a sun face on my lower back.
15. I speak in funny voices and accents for the heck of it, even when I teach.
16. I can't get NY Times delivery where I now live, and it bums me out.
17. I am so proud of my son. He's grown up to be an extraordinary young man.
18. I have three younger sisters and two younger brothers. I'm the old lady.
19. I have no idea what shows are on television.
20. When in doubt, I wear jeans, a black top, and black boots. Old school.

And now I'm tagging (I hope they don't mind) ...


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Illustration Friday - Lost

Not all who wander are lost. - J.R.R. Tolkien


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

- Constantine Cavafy (1863 - 1933)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Illustration Friday - Float

This week's topic brought to mind two literary characters who, in their attempts to escape unbearable situations, took to the water. Poor Ophelia, driven mad by Hamlet's callous injunction, "get thee to a nunnery," chose instead to drown herself. She is often depicted floating dead in a shallow pond, her bouquet of symbolic flowers strewn about her. Because she has been painted by so many wonderful artists, I decided to let her rest in peace.

The other character is Thumbelina, from the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. She escaped marriage to a boorish frog with the help of some fishes who gnawed through the stem of the lily pad where she was being held prisoner until the wedding. As she floated downstream away from her hideous fiance, Thumbelina was joined by a butterfly who offered to pull her along with the help of her sash. Unlike Ophelia, Thumbelina's water journey eventually led her to her prince.