Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I've been feeling on the quiet side lately, but I'm still here.

Just used my babysitting time to do some serious Christmas shopping. I would like never to go shopping again, thank you very much. Spending money to spend money made me feel funny.

I was a very good girl and only bought myself one nail polish (color: black) for a whopping $3.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Only a peek!

or two.

or three.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Dad and Sarah departed this morning. I just put Anabelle down for her nap, and the house is awfully quiet. It's always nice to wake up in the morning and have a house full of coffee and tea drinkers warming up the couch, ever-ready to start the day. (Even if starting the day means finding pebbles to put down the water line and getting your knees good and dusty:)

Though the sun was shining the whole week, it has turned cold here in the desert.
Here's my little walker following her shadow at the Springs Preserve:

We took a visit down to the long-awaited City Center, the multi-billion dollar project that has just opened on the Strip. It is a cluster of hotels and casinos, condos, shops, a mall, large art installations and even a tram. Our day there turned into night, and I wanted to slurp up the lights and the concrete, the steel, the cold air and the skyscrapers above me. At night, this place felt real to me - solid through and through. I captured this blur of lights through the window of Dave Chihuly's gallery:

Now it is raining outside, and I am sitting by the fire. It has been so long since I've written, and I have missed you, my friends. Thank you all for your lovely comments.
Tomorrow I start my Tuesday/Thursday art days. That means TWO days of the week I will be working on my art for 5 hours each. It feels absolutely overindulgent but also pretty supercalafragalisticexbealadoscious.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Roosters are Finished!

And here they are:

My art afternoon on Friday was the best its ever been. I signed up at the library for my own private study room, and I got so involved in my work that time just fell away. That hasn't happened for... years?

On Saturday morning Anabelle and I picked my mom and Don up from the airport for their four day stay. And wouldn't you know it - that very day she took 8 steps on her own! Yup, stop the presses... She walks. (but still prefers crawling or walking with our help. So in other words I'm still praying to the Walking Gods.)

And then - of course - who can resist this guy?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Zion Park, Utah

It was a gorgeous weekend in Zion. We arrived Saturday afternoon and walked around the very very small town - wandering into art galleries and a cafe for a hot cocoa and coffee. Here's why exactly we keep returning (this was in fact our fourth time):

Sunday morning we got up and drove into the park where we took a beautiful hike:

And here is Anabelle practicing her walking technique. which involves gripping my fingers so tightly that mine turn purple and hers turn white.

It was so nice to get away from Vegas despite the awful night we had with Anabelle. There was very little sleeping on her part, and lots of driving her around at 2am on my part. All in all it was very tiring and not very restful, but the beauty of Zion and the quality time with each other was worth it. It is hard to take kids out of their environment and away from the comfort of their routine, but it's important to do it for your sake and sanity. Life on the ranch can get awfully monotonous.

The above picture is also very fitting because this morning she said two words: "up" and "walk." Or rather "bup" and "ock," but in either case, it was very clear what she was driving at.

On the art front. I worked for a few hours on my roosters on Friday when Anahi, the new and wonderful babysitter, came. I will show you when I finish!!

Also, a question for my lovely bloggy visitors. How does one price a piece? Most of my stuff is on 24"x36" paper. I'm hoping with larger chunks of time each piece won't take quite as long as it does right now because they are quite time consuming. I'm not looking to break anyone's bank, and I don't expect to make a million, but I'm not even sure where to begin! Any ideas?

Oh, a little note: several people have told me that they are not able to leave comments for me. If you try, and it says "not able to post comment," hit the "post comment" button again and see what happens. It might work the second time. Happens to me all the time. I'd love to hear from anyone who has a thought for me! Thanks!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Here's an inspiring quote to remember

"The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind."
- Albert Einstein

I'm working on my attitude towards Las Vegas. And in the meantime we are going to Zion for the night for a little nature and hiking! Back tomorrow!

Thursday, November 12, 2009



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally! A good nap!

So I actually had time to work on this:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tonight it hit me.

I am THE ONLY person between the ages of 16 and 93 who is not on facebook. I have been putting it off, putting it off... thinking how odd it is that people from your past can search for you, find you, see pictures and posts and, well, peep into your life like that.
Now I've seen all the action that goes on; it's an entire world that is bustling and busy -- and I'm missing out. I'm the kid who didn't get to go the party, and I feel sort of left out.
I give in. I raise my white flag. I'm signing up.

Friday, November 6, 2009

This week has aged me

I think I have been holding my breath and pursing my lips now for a solid three days. You know, parenting teaches you many things. Namely: don't get too cocky. I was rocking Anabelle and giving her a bottle four nights ago thinking, I've got this in the bag. Wake up at 7am, nap from noon to 2 or so, dinner at 6, bath every other night, bedtime at 7pm. Chugga chugga chugga -- all was running like a well-oiled machine.

Then. BAM.

Front molars have to knock down my nice, tidy schedule's door and ruin it all. All of a sudden Anabelle is falling asleep at 10am in her stroller and car seat and it's bye bye to nap time. There's screaming around and during all times of sleep. The tylenol and motrin fairy has come to visit many a night this week.

I feel fried. But no rest for the weary because Anahi, the new babysitter, cancelled today. She's sick, so I told her to rest, feel better and we'll talk next week. I'm sorry for her, I really am. Oh man, but since I'm me and only in my own shoes, I feel really really sorry for myself.

I feel old today. Don't roll your eyes, I know, I'm only 31. But feeling bone tired really takes the wind out of a gal's sails, takes the "care" and the "free" out of "carefree."

Kristin, my sister, gave me the book "Buddhism for Mothers" by Sarah Napthali, and I think I need to really read it. (Don't you wish you could read, sleep and watch tv all at the same time?) Flipping through the book, I found this poem by a Buddhist mother, and it resonated with me on a very deep level:

...she fights the shame
Of a temper at small infractions
By her children (thank god for them)
Never knew such temper simmered
Aching to be lost.
She sinks into memories and dreams
Folding corners of herself down
Like a neat napkin
Hiding the stains, the dirt
Of her most wonderous gypsy self
So that this life - this perfectly happy life -
Might proceed without incident
Without tragedy.
She who writes this song to herself
Sings now for the selves
That have no place to be sung.

Ok, Mothers. Unite. Has anybody else found refuge in daydreams? I often think of my old apartment on Fern Court in Old Town, Chicago. My crummy little apartment (with its teeny tiny bedroom and broken linoleum floors) that I made my own and fell madly in love with. Fern Court. One tiny block long, an alley really, with the Buddhist temple and the dog park. In the fall the leaves turned yellow and fell in windswept piles around the curbs. Overhead, St. Michael's clock lit up white like a full moon every night. I walked to work, fall, winter, spring and summer. I trudged through the snow and wind, wet hair tucked into my hat. I meandered home at the end of the day, always stopping into Anthropologie for a look. I remember the day it snowed and snowed, and I took Buzz out for a romp in it when I got home. He bounded happily around for an hour, and we both went home tired and happy.

There are times (like these) that life seems to go by in the blink of an eye. I suppose those are the times that make me feel old. Like I'm looking back on my life even as I live it. There's a delicate balance then, isn't there, between enjoying the present, looking forward to the future and reminiscing over the past.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Monday

Life is in full swing here at the Brown residence. The weather in Vegas is LOVELY. Growing up in Chicago we always had to wear coats over our Halloween costumes, but not here in the desert. This is Vegas at its best!!
Anabelle is at such a fun age; she is interacting and laughing lots, she's saying "doe-doe" (dog) and "ba-ba" (baby), and she is THIS close to walking on her own. While I was in Spain she started standing without help, and now she is holding onto my fingers and walking like a champ. A wiggley, jello-y champ, but a champ nonetheless.
On Halloween Lorraine and Karl came over to carve pumpkins, and Anabelle dressed up in her peacock costume. Pat's pumpkin is a tribute to Buzz (look closely at the top pumpkin; see the piggy nose?) who has an awful eye infection and has to wear a lampshade around his big head.

Now. As for my art. Well, I am working on it in various ways... I have found a babysitter for Friday afternoons who is wonderful. She is coming this Friday and I am really really anxious to get back into the swing of things.
In the meantime, i made this hand puppet over the coarse of two days during Anabelle's naps:

Here she is testing it out:

And these two little doodles from my sketchbook I did when I was in Spain:

I used my new watercolors on the geraniums which is very exciting. I got a travel compact to make it easy to tote to and from the library on Friday afternoons, and I don't have a clue how to use watercolors but I'm going to learn.
I have to sign off now. There's laundry to fold, the dishwasher to unload, the floor to vacuum (we had friends over for dinner last night and two toddlers really know how to drop some serious cracker crumbs) -- all before my employer awakens from her slumber. Oh my, it is a never ending cycle... Didn't I JUST do this all yesterday?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hold the phone peeps

I thought I'd let you know that I am back and working on my post to tell you all about my lovely trip to Spain and show you pics!
I have had a few technical difficulties (liiiike for instance - no internet for the past several days), but I learned that you should just unplug and replug the modem if this happens. You don't really have to call Cox Cable and wait for technical support to hold your hand and then get really really upset when your cell phone drops the call in the middle of your conversation. Because unplugging and replugging is pretty much the whole of it.
This simple solution reminds me of the time not so long ago when I went to the car dealership with my "check engine" light illuminated, and after an hour wait they told me my gas cap was loose.
K kiddos, more later!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


October 27:
I'm back from my trip to Sant Cugat, Spain! The hot neons of the Las Vegas Strip gave me a warm welcome on Friday night after almost 22 hours of travel home. I feel rested and renewed (which is lucky because I've been up with a screaming Anabelle every morning at 5am) and generally more person-like. Does this need an explanation? It felt nice to travel light - with only myself that is. My body relaxed. It's a whole different ballgame to hold an 8 pounder as opposed to a 23 pounder. My brain relaxed. I slept in, relaxed and even read.

The week here in Vegas seemed to go really smoothly. I can tell Patrick's confidence in his fatherly duties strengthened during my time away. I can't quite explain how fabulous it makes me feel when he gives me suggestions on how to wash the soap out of Anabelle's hair during bathtime.

Life in Sant Cugat seems pretty spectacular. It's a walking town, and although it rained 90% of the time I was there, the weather is generally wonderful. There are a million and one beautiful kid stores, a wonderful pedestrian street that fills to the brim around 6:30pm every evening, little cafes, a store to buy fresh pasta...

Ok, let's get down to the good stuff. Here's baby Gael, 3 weeks. What a handsome guy!

Here are the proud parents and then also the proud Grammie:

Here are the girls and then Mom, Samuel and Gael, Kristin, Don and Samuel's brother Victor:

And of course the mama:

Here I am holding my nephew, and there hanging on the nursery window you will recognize
the felt garlands!

And here, Gael, is the photo that is going to bring you to the United States to see your American family:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ta Da!!

Secret felt project UNVEILED:

I leave for Spain on Friday morning to meet my brand new nephew Gael, and this felt garland is what I am bringing for him. Something bright and whimsical to look at! They remind me of dozens of soft fortune cookies. I'd love to make more more more - monochromatic with colored thread or just two colors or some more with all the colors. Can you imagine a fabulously massive garland around a window or on a mantle - all white with white thread. It'd look like a feather boa.

I am frantically trying to get everyone organized before I go.
New car tire, check.
Anabelle flu shot and passport for Mexico in December, check.
Buzz eye appointment, check.
Grocery shopping, blow up mattress, Buzz eye drops, fold laundry, pack. Still gotta do those.

Then on Friday the three of us - ME MYSELF AND I - are going to get on the plane together and do things like:
sit down for more than 5 minutes.
stare out the window.
go to the bathroom. alone.

I am going to miss my little family, but they will be in very good hands. Pat's sister and mom are coming out for the week.

So friends, I'll be sure to take lots of photos, and we'll catch up when I get home!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here's how we spent our anniversary

I thought I'd share the cards we made each other for our anniversary. Here's the one I made for Pat:

And this is the one Pat made for me:

I think Pat really put some thought into his. He was sitting next to me hard at work for almost an hour. That is us riding our bikes together through the ups and downs of life and marriage. There's the skyline of the strip, the cacti of the desert, Anabelle sitting on the moon (check it out -- I think she's naked, but she is definitely wearing her red shoes), and of course Buzz-guy. He's the turd shape there on the moon. sorry to be so crass.

Anabelle is saying "this" and "uh-oh" on a regular basis. And she gets off the bed and goes down the stairs feet first now! She is so yummy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Aufedersein Maria

But before I get into that, check out this.

Ok. Now. Let it just be said that I have had a very bummer of a past few days. Some contributing factors to this bummer-ness: hitting a curb yesterday in the parking lot at the park and blowing my tire, a most pointless visit to the Subaru dealership EVER (check engine light on. appointment made. baby packed up and seat belted in. 5 U-turns later pulled in, checked in and settled in. baby unpacked and trailed around the dirty showroom floor. only to find that my gas. cap. was. loose.) and last but not least - firing Maria.


Showing up 40 minutes late every single time, cancelling and then! not showing up at all just wasn't cutting it. I've never fired anyone before, but she certainly made it easy. No hard feelings, but I am left with no crafternoons. This is a big letdown.

I feel a creative blockage happening. a big creative traffic jam and bottleneck situation.
Maybe I'll explode, and the explosion will be something absolutely brilliant, all colorful and glittery.

Just stick with me folks; I'll persevere!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy 2nd Anniversary Patrick!

Thank you for never giving up, and thank you for all you have given me. I love you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two more things

Here's a pic of Anabelle's new red shoes:

And here's the latest on the chickens:

Maria cancelled on me today, and we are going to Chicago for a wedding on Friday, so I won't be able to get back to my artwork till next week. Also. Those black sun designs are all Marimekko. I thought they were so cool and was very inspired by them, but now that I'm actually posting my drawings online I probably shouldn't be "borrowing" anything like that anymore. oops. lesson learned thank you.

Get a load a this ladies and gents

We went to the Liberace Museum last weekend. How in the world it could have slipped my mind to share all this with you is beyond me. These are some of my favorite pics from the outing. Here is Liberace in a nutshell:

Wow! Those hot pants! Those socks! Those hairy legs!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's a lovely day to be an aunt!!

Here is what today looks like at the end of our street. Even Turtles Peak looks celebratory; Gael Navarro Berry has joined the world! Welcome Gael - we love you so much already! Today is a day to be happy, and I feel like calling everyone on my phone's contact list to share the news. Yup, I like being an aunt already. Congratulations to Mama Kristin and Papa Samuel. I wish I could blink my eyes and be there, but I'll see you soon.

Anabelle and I celebrated by going to Tip Toe Shoes. We found her a pair of red leather, T-strap shoes with real soles. Size 20. A wonderful German woman who'd worked there 18 years measured her foot and gave her a pink bouncy ball to keep. I'm not sure who had more fun, Anabelle or me.

All of this makes me think about having Anabelle...
that hazy cocoon of time in the hospital. shuffling down the hall to meet her for myself in the nicu, holding pat's hand and dragging my rolling iv alongside me. the world was new. i felt like a queen and a child all at the same time. i was emotionally tender and happy. i had nurses, both sets of parents, friends, my husband. our healthy baby. pain medication.

More of the pieces of life's puzzle seem to be falling into place for me as years pass. I have a deeper understanding now of why engagements are such cause for celebration. Why weddings call for a party. A wedding marks the Beginning. Only the older folks really know what is to come. What it feels like to fall in love, make commitments, make mistakes, make peace, make babies, fall in love...

For Gael:

On the night you were born,
The moon smiled with such wonder
That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”
Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.
So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain
That they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.
It sailed through the farmland
High on the breeze…
Over the ocean…
And through the trees…
Until everyone heard it
And everyone knew
Of the one and only ever you.
Not once had there been such eyes,
Such a nose,
Such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.
When the polar bears heard,
They danced until dawn.
From faraway places,
The geese flew home.
The moon stayed up until
Morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.
So whenever you doubt just how special you are
And you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
Listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)
Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)
If the moon stays up until morning one day,
Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
Or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
It’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…
For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
Has the world ever known a you, my friend,
And it never will, not ever again…
Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born.

Happy Birthday Gael!
Tia Kate

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Love it

The Quiet World


In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

Jeffrey McDaniel, “The Quiet World” from The Forgiveness Parade. Copyright © 1998 by Jeffrey McDaniel. Reprinted with the permission of Manic D Press.

Found here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Look at that!

Anabelle's a natural! I showed her how to use the colored pencil, and she ran with it:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Deep Thoughts of the Day

I am forging ahead with this one in all its strange messiness (click to enlarge):

And I also started this one:

I have such a heavy hand with colored pencil. I get such satisfaction from laying down that rich, saturated color that *poof* all chances of softly blending colors are gone. Maybe I should try watercolor. It would be easier to transport a small box of watercolors than a big bag of my acrylic tubes to the library if I really do want to paint.

I suppose what I am doing with my art is this: telling tidbits of my life. Weaving small stories, small moments together. I've struggled for a long time as an artist wondering if what I have to say is big enough, important enough. Maybe it's not about trying to shout really loudly. or saying something brand new and completely different. Maybe it's just about... going to the library every Wednesday and Friday. Maybe it IS about just showing up and doing what feels right.

So what I really want to know is this: if I enjoy the journey (and I do, I really really do), does that mean I'll have a successful show at the end of it?

There. Do you see my dilemma?

I'd like to focus on the journey, but I can't help wanting to know if the end result will be a good one. Will people like my art enough to actually buy it? And if I'm so hung up on that question... who am I making art for??????