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Conversations [Feb. 18th, 2017|07:54 pm]
Six-Year-Old Niece: "I'm a girl-boy."

Me: "...You are?"

Niece: "Yeah. Because I have a brother and a sister."

Me: Ah. Dodged a potentially deep conversation about gender identity there. "Wait, but you don't have a sister. You just have brothers."

Niece: "Nefret's my sister."

Me: "Nefret's more like... your cat."

Niece: (shrug) "Nefret's my sister."
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Floofymoth [Feb. 14th, 2017|07:40 pm]

I'll name him Mothy and feed him whatever the heck moths eat.
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Thought of the Day [Feb. 6th, 2017|03:15 pm]
We've been watching Bob Ross painting on Netflix in the evening sometimes, because our household is nothing if not lit.

Now I find that voice in my head when I'm doing other things, like cooking.

* * *

Hi there. So glad you could join us. Today for lunch, we're going to be making a fantastic little soup that I think you're really going to like.

We'll start with some onions and garlic for our base, and just... cut 'em up and sprinkle them allll around in the pot. They're pungent little devils, so mellow 'em down in some butter on medium heat for, oh, say about 5 minutes. Now, let's add some happy little peppers and carrots in there. Just toss' em on in there. You can use peppers and carrots, or you can use mushrooms, celery... it's your soup, and it can be whatever you want it to be.

I also like to add some chicken. Some people don't like chicken. That's ok.

Go over the whole thing with a nice dusting of salt. This'll help smooooth everything out and hide your brushstrokes.

Now, I'll let you in on a little secret. You can use Better than Bullion and some water for your broth. People'll think you slaved for hours over that pot, boiling down a carcass, and shoot, we won't tell 'em any different.

Okay, you know what, let's get crazy. You know me, I like to get a little crazy every once and a while. Let's add some red pepper flakes and a few shakes of curry powder, what the heck.

There, that smells real nice.

And now we've got a nice, simple soup going, just that easy. And I guarantee you, anybody can make it. Happy cooking, and God bless, my friend.
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Terror From the Deep: Follow-Up [Jan. 31st, 2017|02:47 pm]
As horrifying as the grub-worms in our garden beds are, the thought of not being able to garden because of them broke my heart.

("Garden" in this case means buy a bunch of tomato seedlings, then be disappointed when they all get some random blight and die before I get the first tomato, but that's ok.)

So I've switched my tool from a trowel to a full-size shovel and have continued to clear out the bed. Just knowing and accepting that I'm going to bump into one of these things every few minutes helps, for some reason. And when I do, it's a comfortable five feet away from me, so I can flip it out onto the ground and destroy it with a couple of well-placed slams. Apparently they're not great for gardens, so I have no qualms about ending their abominable little lives.

I've now made it through a whole bed like this, and I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. I've learned an important lesson too: Don't let your fears paralyze you—forcibly evict them from the ground and beat them to death with a shovel.
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Terror From the Deep [Jan. 23rd, 2017|05:47 pm]
I consider myself pretty good when it comes to wildlife. I love snakes, lizards, and bats; and I feel smug when I get excited about spiders that send lesser mortals running for the hills.

But I have my weaknesses. And when I come across them and am reduced to a sniveling pile of NO NO NO, I remember that I need to shut up and give other people some sympathy.

Case in point:

Ben and I were out in the yard, beginning to tackle the garden beds left by the previous owners. I had a trowel, Ben had his toy bulldozer, and we were rockin' out, pulling weeds and enjoying the weather because this is Texas and it's 70°F in January. I dug up an old lawn ornament and tried to explain the concept of "buried treasure" to Ben, who replied only with, "It's shiny!" We were having a great time.

Then I unearthed something that it took me a second to wrap my head around because I had never seen anything like it before.

DID YOU KNOW there are grubs around here that are over three inches long? Maybe don't click that link if you're like me and can't stand grubs. But what that kid in the picture is holding is exactly what I dug up.*

"It's shiny!" Ben said.

"EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeegh," I said.

I kinda kept going "EEEEEEEE" with this weird grimace plastered on my face since I didn't want to completely freak out in front of the kid. Then I walked inside, closed the door, and took a minute to jibber and whimper and hop up and down until I could form sentences again. Then I told Nate that if he had ever wanted to buy a flamethrower, now would be the time to do it and I would fully support him.

To people out there who are afraid of other bugs: I'm sorry for judging you. I get it now. I get that feeling where your adrenaline spikes and your skin crawls and the urge to run away overtakes you. I know this thing can't hurt me, but it doesn't matter. It's terrifying.

Annnd I just went outside to check on it, and it's gone. That means it's back in the dirt. Which means it'll be there when I start digging again. Which means I'm ditching the trowel for a full size shovel in order to keep myself as far away from it as possible. And so that I can use the shovel to kill it when I find it again.

Gardening in Texas is more dangerous than I thought it was going to be.

*-And then at the end of that webpage it's like, "Some cultures will actually eat the grub worms indigenous to their—"internet stop, you are not helping here.
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Overheard at the Playground [Jan. 22nd, 2017|09:23 pm]
I hear some little six-or-seven-year-old kid yell, "Daughters need to be kept safe, but sons—sons don't need safety!"

I'd beg to differ, but ya know... kids. Then I overhear him again.

"...my dad's in prison after the car accident, but my mom and sisters are over there."

Well dang. Poor kid. I start watching him play, and he's talking with another boy around his age. The first kid goes away and returns with a sketchbook.

"Do you like to draw? I like to draw. Let's draw a crying child."

Whoa, um.

"Here's the crying child, and his mother is the puppet."

Some therapist is going to have a field day with this.

"And here's the puppet-master. He's reeeal skinny and has a loooong square head."

"Why is he smiling weird like that?" the other boy asks.

"That's how he smiles when he murders."

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More Game Monsters [Jan. 20th, 2017|07:18 pm]
These aren't the finished versions, but they are things that I have been drawing lately.






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Owligator [Jan. 10th, 2017|08:15 pm]

You guys what other animal names can I insert "owl" into, this is fun.
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Owlephant [Jan. 8th, 2017|10:24 am]

Most of the sketches were not this imposing but this guy turned out to be a very imposing owlephant.

"Annie you sure like to draw animal mashups."

YOU BET I DO. There's more where that came from!


Nate: "So how does he eat if the tusks are in the way?"

Me: "Well, he lifts the carcass of his prey and drapes it across his tusks and then just kinda munches—you know what, I don't know, so hush."
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The Niece and Nephew [Jan. 6th, 2017|02:26 pm]
well then
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(no subject) [Jan. 4th, 2017|02:00 pm]

I just discovered the Goliath Frog and my first thought was, "I wonder if you can eat that thing." My second thought was, "I wonder if they'd make good pets."

I'm not sure what this says about me and my priorities.
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Thought of the Day [Jan. 3rd, 2017|07:26 pm]
"Sendero is pleased to announce a new customer service center which will significantly improve customer support for our 2017 members."

Okay, well I've tried to call our health insurance's new customer service line five times now throughout the day, and I just keep getting a busy signal. If this is a "significant improvement," I'd love to see what the 2016 version was. Maybe it crashed your phone every time you tried to call it.

Edit: Oh man, I tried it the next day, and actually got through. Turns out it's one of those horrible menu systems where:

a.) You have to say the option instead of pressing a button, sounding like an idiot yelling "I'M A MEMBER!" multiple times, and
b.) they give you like 4 options, none of which are what you're calling about, and no option for "other."

After telling me it couldn't understand me a couple times when I tried to say my member ID, it finally bugged out and started repeating that we were having trouble, having trouble, having trouble. It then said it would "transfer" me, at which point it hung up.

This is obviously so new and so improved! THANKS GUYS.

Nate noted, "Well it's probably an improvement for them. 90% of callers give up before they ever talk to a person, so you can have a much smaller customer support staff."

Another Edit: After about 12 times of trying to get through with varying levels of success, I finally lied and told the menu I was calling about something called "approvals," which finally got me through to a human being.

"Oh thank God, hi! I'm not actually calling about approvals! This was the only option that got me to a person, but maybe you can help me."

The guy on the other end kinda chuckled like he had been hearing this all week. Turns out he couldn't help me anyway (it's funny when you pick a health insurance plan in December based on the fact that a certain doctor takes it, and then that doctor suddenly stops taking it come January 1st, which is the day your plan goes into effect. Funny is the word for that, right?).

I did get a robo-call later that evening from the health insurance company which basically said, "Sorry our new phone line is such a train wreck, we're gonna try to fix it. If you need help with something, email us and we'll call you back." So that was validating.
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Merry Stuff Happy Things [Dec. 25th, 2016|09:17 pm]
Good Lord, what's been going on. Not a lot of art.

We finally moved into the house we bought back in... geez, April I think. Word to the wise: always assume any renovation work on a house will take two to three times as long as you think. It's been tricky, because we hadn't wanted to start big woodworking projects or sign Ben up for classes or find playgroups or whatever, because "Oh we're probably going to be moving in a month or two," except then you stretch that out to eight months, and you end up with a year that fell through the cracks in some ways.

We did have a baby though, and while I don't feel right calling that an "accomplishment" (my pregnancy was too uneventful to call it that, which I'll take with much gratitude), it's definitely a big freaking checkmark for 2016.

Then you have the holidays, which... like, on one hand, I was walking through a crowded Target a few days ago distinctly thinking, "That's it. I hate everyone. Everywhere. Especially everyone in this store." But then on the other hand you get time with family and friends that you don't normally get, and your grinchy heart grows three sizes and you're feeling all warm and festive and deciding which charities to give to this year because yayyy people are wonderful and I want more of them to be happy.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, etc.
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At least Ben comes by it honestly. [Dec. 9th, 2016|11:14 am]
Me: (oh hey a large wrapped box on the coffee table!) "Whoa! Birthday present! Thank you!"

Nate: "You're just now noticing it?"

Me: "...Wait, when did you put it there?"

Nate: "Like an hour ago."

Me: "In my defense, there are a lot of boxes around right now."

Nate: "I mean, I figured it would take you a while to notice, but I didn't think it'd take that long."

Me: "You're talking to the woman who failed the gorilla test twice in a row."

* * *

Turns out the gift was a cheese press! And cultures to make cheeses! I am super giddy about this.
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Waiting for the News that This Was All a Big Joke [Dec. 8th, 2016|08:24 am]
Between the news that keeps coming out about future presidential administration and navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace, I sometimes feel like I've been dropped into a novel by Kafka or Joseph Heller.

This is great:


Lol naw man, she's like a month old.


Yep, that's right.


Indeed. That zero is still zero.


Oh my god yes. Zero. Zilch. We've established this three times already. Can we move on?


...And then these were two actual questions they asked, one right after the other.

The whole thing is like this, you guys. And then for some reason you get to the end and it's convinced that your husband isn't actually in your family, giving you no reasons for this conclusion, and if you want to edit one thing you have to start the whole process over again.

Also there's a little spinning "wait" wheel after every single question, giving you this awesome 1-2 second delay after every entry. And even though that may not sound like much, let me assure you, after a few times through the entire thing, it slowly drives you insane.

Also it auto-fills like 90% of the things correctly, but not all of them.

I don't know if I could make a more subtly infuriating application process if I tried.

(Note: Lest anyone get the wrong impression, I'm not hating on the ACA overall. Web UIs just hold a special place in my heart, and when they are done bizarrely, it stings.)
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She of the Stink-Eye [Dec. 4th, 2016|03:53 pm]

Eleanor has two main expressions:

1.) One where she can't believe she has to put up with your nonsense for the next 18 years
2.) One of vague dawning horror
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Deerbird [Dec. 3rd, 2016|06:39 pm]

Fun fact: made entirely one-handed with the touchpad in Illustrator while waiting for this girl to finish nursing.

Anything that would require actual drawing has to wait until the baby is down and I'm not currently a.) sleeping, b.) attending to the other kid, c.) feeding myself, d.) working on the game, or e.) packing up the house.

These conditions uh, haven't been met yet.
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The News [Nov. 14th, 2016|03:15 pm]
Man, so in the last week, the election happened. Which, if you've known me for more than 5 minutes, you can probably guess my views on. Other people have had much more eloquent responses, so I'll leave the wordsmithing to them.

AND we had that baby:


This is Eleanor! Also possibly Ellie, Ella, Nora, Eleanoraphant, The Illustrious Miss El, and whatever other obnoxious nicknames I come up with in the next few years.

If you're interested in following baby stuff, that will be at the other blog.
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Ba Dance [Nov. 6th, 2016|05:57 pm]

Sorry guys, I'm too lazy to actually animate this.
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Thought of the Day [Nov. 2nd, 2016|09:47 am]
There's some kind of construction going on in our neighborhood, and for the last week and a half, someone has been using what sounds like a jackhammer every day from 7:30am into the mid-afternoon. It makes a lovely on-and-off "takkatakkatakkatakka" noise and makes this whole working from home thing so much more enjoyable.
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Tarsier-Owl [Oct. 28th, 2016|09:05 am]
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Beached Whale [Oct. 27th, 2016|03:29 pm]

We're in these last couple weeks of watermelon-carrying, and some kind of switch has flipped in the past few days where I've suddenly gone from "This is okay. This is sustainable. I am rocking this" to "I swear to God I'm going to gnaw my own belly off if I have to do this much longer."
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Elephone [Oct. 17th, 2016|06:08 pm]

"So then I was like, 'Honey, I'm a pachyderm, I think I can handle it.'"
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Zoodles [Oct. 12th, 2016|04:54 pm]
After what, almost 2 years of living here, we finally made it out to the Austin Zoo. It's a funny little rescue/non-profit zoo kinda out in the middle of nowhere, but it was an enjoyable visit, and just about the right scale when you're dragging along a 3-year-old.

They had a few larger, more "impressive" animals (lions and a tiger and bears oh my), but the petting zoo/barnyard was where I ended up spending most of my time while Nate made Ben's wildest dreams come true and rode the train with him. Twice.

So yeah, a large number of goats + some other guys:


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Sleepy Bear [Sep. 29th, 2016|08:46 pm]

Back when we were in Minnesota, we went to the zoo there and got to see brown bears up close for the first time (they were one of the Russian types, I don't remember which species specifically). Did you know how BIG brown bears are? I don't think I realized it. They look even bigger when they're two feet from you behind a sheet of glass.

This one was sleepy, but there was another who was very interested in the visitors, and turns out there is a deep, deep part of your brain that gets a little nervous when a carnivore with a head the size of a microwave is inches from your face and very interested in you.
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