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The Mighty Hunter Branches Out [Mar. 27th, 2015|07:47 pm]
Baxter hasn't brought us any birds yet, but he HAS started bringing still-alive lizards into the living room. The first one was tiny and adorable, and then today he brought us one of these handsome fellows,* a Texas Spiny Lizard. Less tiny, less adorable.

Anyway, he sets it down in the middle of the rug, the lizard takes off, and Baxter chases it down the hall until it runs under the door to Benjamin's room, where it stays for a while because Benjamin is finally quiet after two hours of trying to get him to nap and I'll be DAMNED if I'm gonna open that door and risk waking him up; I don't even care if a big lizard is chilling in there with him.

It worked out for the best, because by the time Ben woke up, Baxter had wandered off and I was able to scoop up the lizard between a bowl and a large book and deposit it outside.

Can't wait to see what bit of notably-larger-than-California's wildlife he brings us next.

*- That is a Wikipedia picture, I did not pick up the lizard. Though apparently you can keep them as pets? GO FIGURE.
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Sinus Infection [Mar. 24th, 2015|02:19 pm]

All three of us got knocked on our butts by a cold/fever last week, and in the aftermath, I got what I'm pretty sure was a mild sinus infection. I can't remember having had one in a long time (if ever), and my whole right cheek/jaw area was sore from the inside out in a way I wasn't quite familiar with. Like I had to keep touching my face to make sure it wasn't turning into zombie flesh.

I also totally lost my sense of smell for a few days, and that really threw me off. Trying to cook food when you can't smell and everything tastes like cardboard is weird. I got a little paranoid about whether things were clean or dirty. I didn't realize how often I still snort Benjamin's head until I couldn't get that hit of toddler-head-smell anymore.

I got most of my smell back today though, and was actually pretty impressed with the carrot ginger soup I'd tried to throw together a couple days before (One of the only non-fruit non-bread things Ben will eat right now...). So hey there, Past-Sick-Annie, good job with the guesswork on that soup.
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I continue to talk about weird sleep things? [Mar. 19th, 2015|05:42 pm]
I was reading an Oliver Sacks book about hallucinations, and there was a whole chapter on ones having to do with falling asleep and waking up.

There is some scary stuff in there, y'all. People's brains can be assholes.

But anyway, he described some "hypnopompic hallucinations" that weren't pants-wettingly terrifying,* and did I ever tell you guys about my hallucinated gnome?


I woke up in the middle of the night one time back in high school, and in the corner of the room sat this little scruffy dwarf/gnome-looking guy with a beard and big eyes. He smiled at me and winked, then after about 5 seconds, faded out and disappeared. I was a little confused, but he wasn't scary for some reason, so I just got up, went to the bathroom to get a glass of water, and went back to sleep. It didn't feel like a dream, I was pretty sure I was awake at that point, but I figured this was just something that happened sometimes.

Turns out it is! And I found the official name for it. It's the only "hallucination" I've ever had, and even though the gnome was friendly, I'm perfectly fine with not experiencing that again and taking the chance of getting something decidedly less friendly.

*-The first page of Google links I found for explaining "hypnopompic hallucinations" wasn't helpful, so: it's a hallucination that happens just as you're waking up. They're different from straight-up dreams, in that you're not *really* asleep at that point, but your brain isn't totally on its awake game yet. Or something like that.
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Oh my God it CAME TRUE. [Mar. 17th, 2015|09:58 am]
I saw this video making the rounds on facebook:

And I was like "Why is this freaking me out on some level? OH WAIT. This was a nightmare I had a few years ago!"

Luckily the ducks in the video did not eat the kitten.
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(no subject) [Mar. 16th, 2015|06:32 pm]
My four-year-old niece and I were walking around their front yard the other morning. I have fantasies of being the awesome aunt who's going to teach her science and biology and gardening, but they don't always play out like I imagine quite yet.

Niece: Look! It's a raspberry bush!
Me: Oh hm, those are berries... I don't think they're raspberries though.
Niece: But they're berries!
Me: Yeah, but not all berries are good for people. Some are good for birds and squirrels, and—
Niece: The grass is wet!
Me: It is! That's called dew.
Niece: Dew?
Me: Yes! See, when the temperature falls at night, the water—
Niece: I have a seashell!!
Me: ...That's cool too.
Niece: (runs off in the other direction)
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Ko-waaaaaahhh-la [Mar. 13th, 2015|03:17 pm]

Nope kiddo, I'm not going to let you play with the toilet bowl cleaner. Please feel free to spend the next 15 minutes clinging to my leg and tearfully yelling, "NOOOOOOOOOO EEEAAAAHHHHHH NOOOOO."
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Owl Dragon [Mar. 9th, 2015|10:17 pm]

At first I thought Owl Dragon would almost certainly ask you a riddle, but then I wasn't so sure. Owls are more about the wisdom than the cleverness. And besides, riddles are already kinda the sphinx's "thing," and Owl Dragon strikes me as a polite type who wouldn't horn in on someone else's trademark move.
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Spring?? [Mar. 6th, 2015|04:42 pm]

It was sunny and pleasant (like 50 degrees) here for the first time in a week or so, so I was able to get out for a little walk this afternoon. And whoa, there are blossoms happening on trees! Trees that were bare a few days ago! Some were white, some were pink, it was nuts!

People who have been living in places with seasons this whole time, do you fully appreciate how magical this is? I haven't had a proper spring (or winter, or fall for that matter) for the last seven years.
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Thought of the Day [Mar. 5th, 2015|11:04 am]
I had to enter my age for something, and without a second thought I typed "28." Then I sat there and looked at it for a second. Then I remembered I'm 30.

I have a feeling this sort of thing only gets more pronounced as you get older.
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Kitty Pals 4 Life [Mar. 4th, 2015|07:22 pm]
Baxter's best buddy in the whole wide world, Mr. Bumble, has been by to visit a few times since we first met him. He has even come to the front window and peeked in just to get Baxter riled up. One time I opened the back door to find Bumble lounging on the deck and Baxter hunched over the top step looking all like ಠ_ಠ .

I haven't seen them fight yet, but they'll sit and yowl at each other for a while before Bumble stalks off.


(Baxter's doing a very good job here of fluffing his fur and looking almost as big as Bumble.)
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Thought of the Day [Mar. 2nd, 2015|02:55 pm]
Smell and taste memory are weird things. I just tried some Asian candy-snack-thing, and it reminded me of something from childhood. I can't figure out what, but I got the very distinct sensation of feeling like I was 6 or 7 years old again. Bizarre.
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Whose Blog is This Anyway [Feb. 27th, 2015|06:07 pm]
Y'all, Nate's a pretty awesome dude. Not only has he been working on a computer game (you can follow his development blog here, if you're into the technicalities of game design), but he set up a woodworking studio in the garage and has actually made stuff.

I'm impressed, considering my half-semester experience of woodworking in art school consisted of a.) trying to not cut my fingers off, and b.) actually, that was about it.

So I just wanted to share pictures, because he's humble and might not have taken pictures otherwise. First, a jewelry-box-thing that he started probably 3 or 4 years ago, but after we moved out of the Hawthorne house, we'd never gotten space set up to finish it until recently. It's got a space with hooks for necklaces, and then little Rosewood drawers with carved-out sections for earrings and other shiny whatsits:



He also made a shoe rack, since we really needed one. For two adults, we have a lot of shoes sitting out. And our previous rack had been plastic and wire and was about the least sturdy thing you could imagine. This is much better:



And most recently, he finished a couple of stools to use in the bar-like spaces between the living room and kitchen:




Apparently Adirondack chairs are up next. Exciting!
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Back in Flat [Feb. 26th, 2015|01:40 pm]

The mood of wanting to shade and sketch and painterly color in everything disappeared mid-picture. So we're back to Illustrator strokes and halftones and starbursts.
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Baxter to the Max-ter [Feb. 23rd, 2015|12:15 pm]

Baxter has not yet brought us any birds, and he seems to eye the big blue jays and grackles out there with trepidation, which I think is wise.

I guess that means his hunting instinct gets taken inside and turned into other bad habits, though. Have I mentioned how he loves to chew/tear apart anything paper or cardboard? This may someday provide Benjamin with an unbelievable excuse for why he doesn't have his homework, but for now it's a little obnoxious.

Also, he has taken a fancy to Benjamin's cute little stuffed kangaroo and will leer at it (as pictured above) when Ben plays with it. We leave that thing unguarded for five seconds, and Baxter is on it—kicking it, swinging it around with his claws and trying to bite its nose off. And since this kangaroo a.) was a gift, b.) is super cute, and c.) is probably Ben's favorite of the stuffed animals, this is not cool. When not in use, the kangaroo now sits up on my desk where I can keep an eye it.

(I like to give Baxter a hard time, but honestly, he's still awesome and sweet and low maintenance and a Grade-A Snuggler. It's great to have a family cat who seems to like us so much.)
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Purple Derple Mandrill [Feb. 22nd, 2015|02:33 pm]

As I google-imaged for this guy, I've rarely seen an animal that can run the gamut from sweet to evil-looking as well as the mandrill.

(Except for maybe housecats.)
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The Biking Viking [Feb. 19th, 2015|11:12 am]
biking viking

Now imagine a whole fleet of them descending on your village, wheels all squeaky-squeaky-squeaky.

You'd probably just have to walk up a medium-sized hill to escape. That thing looks like it can't do hills for crap.
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Der Elefant [Feb. 17th, 2015|10:23 pm]

(Marching ever to the right, as usual.)

Because, I dunno, I hate my wrist and want it to suffer?
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In the Land of Pinky Things [Feb. 12th, 2015|02:15 pm]

Discovered this background sketch among some old stuff and added the knight on horseback to it, because those guys can be at home anywhere.

P.S. Holy crap I'm looking at the last few entries, and freaking everything I draw is facing to the right. I wonder what's up with that. Maybe because I tend to align the images to the left edge. And they'd look silly staring right into a "wall."
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Grouchy Wolf [Feb. 11th, 2015|08:47 am]

"I gotta find a house to blow down. Or a toolshed'll do. Mailbox. Anything. It's been one of those weeks."

(My week has been just fine, incidentally.)
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Thought of the Day [Feb. 9th, 2015|04:37 pm]
Ever have that moment where you accidentally start typing your most-super-secret-secure password into the "username" spot, and then you frantically backspace and are looking around like, "OHCRAP I hope nobody saw that."
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(no subject) [Feb. 4th, 2015|03:46 pm]

Still waiting on the Cintiq pen, so more Pen Tool and layer-styling nonsense.

Bigfoot contemplates, "I'm more than just my big feet, right? If my feet were a normal size, people would still find me interesting, wouldn't they?"
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(no subject) [Jan. 30th, 2015|07:09 pm]


Alas, another Cintiq pen has gone to meet its ancestors.

While I wait for a new one to arrive, my desk has very little room for the back-up Wacom tablet, so I'm all, "What can I do without any real drawing or sketching having to be involved?"

One answer involves Illustrator's pen tool, layer styles, and Google Image textures.

(The other answer involved making cheese, but I'm trying to assume an art-related scope here.)
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Mr. Bumble [Jan. 27th, 2015|09:36 pm]

Baxter has already made an outdoor friend, and by friend I mean mortal enemy. This cat looks like a tabby ran off with a snow leopard at some point, and he could definitely beat Baxter into the ground if he wanted. So when he showed up, Baxter had to settle for keeping a safe distance and "mrrrrrrow"ing only as much as cat etiquette demands.

If his collar is to be believed, this hulking blue-eyed beast's name is "Mr. Bumble," and while he may be a snuggle bug with his own family, we give him a wide berth around here. He walked right up to me and started hissing, so I'll hang back and give Baxter moral support if he comes by again.
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Green Troll [Jan. 19th, 2015|10:02 pm]

I've gotten able to tell when I'm blocked. I've got a canvas with a greenish abstract background sitting in the bedroom that I haven't touched for a week because I don't know what to put on it. I'll check a "random drawing theme for the day" and go, "Nu-uh. No way, I don't wanna draw that." And I'll bake ever more complicated cookies in an effort to avoid sitting down to draw.

That last one means I end up with cookies, which is not a bad outcome. But procrastination is still procrastination.

The only thing to do is to fight past the block and get something, anything down on paper or in Photoshop. It's the only way to break the spell, and while I still do it grudgingly, I can at least do it these days without having to collapse into a pile of grouchy tears first, which is the way we used to have to do things around here.
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Puccoon [Jan. 14th, 2015|04:39 pm]

There's a road on the way out of our neighborhood called "Puccoon."

The only meaning I can think of for that word is a cross between a puffin and a raccoon and I don't want to know the truth.

ETA: Never mind, I looked it up and "puccoon" is apparently a kind of flower. I like mine better.
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