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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Boy with a Fancy Bowtie

This is the latest painting I finished. I pushed it get it done earlier so that I could submit it along with the painting of Roxanne's with her face painted to the candle art show- I participated in the candle art show last year too, and it was really fun because all of the artwork that is displayed is also reprinted onto glass religious candles. I didn't intend for him to look sad in the picture. I just didn't want another obnoxious show off face- I thought a candid, vulnerable expression was more endearing and contrasted the personality the paint on his face seems to imply.
I've been hooked on listening to "This American Life" episodes while I paint. It's a free podcast and through my iphone, I can select to listen to any episode ever by browsing through the topics list. My favorite episodes so far are "20 acts in 60 minutes", "Fear of Sleep", "Pray", and particularly "Testosterone" which I, coincidentally listened to while painting this picture. The show revealed how testosterone effects the core of who people are by interviewing someone who suddenly lost all testosterone and a separate someone who suddenly tripled their testosterone. They were super interesting stories, and I couldn't help but nod my head as I painted and thought of how accurately they described the symptoms of boyness and how precisely Rocket embodies those traits. He's competitive, arrogant, obnoxious, ambitious, and loud. But every now and then I am able to see into the crevice of a tiny crack in the facade of testosterone, and within that tiny gap, I see a glimmer of vulnerability and tenderness that I really don't think anyone but me, as his mother, is able to see. I wanted to capture that part of him. As the radio program continued, I learned that as time goes on and he gets older, even I will probably lose the privilege of seeing that. That sort of makes me sad, but I think I will always know that even if he doesn't let me see it anymore, it's still there.
As far as the face painting goes, everything on his face was his own idea. He said he wanted to make himself into a "half woman half man". So the mustache, beard and bowtie are the man aspects. The lipstick, eyelashes and eyeshadow are the woman aspects. He thought this idea was extremely hilarious. Then he posed proudly for me to take his picture, making all sorts of goofy, obnoxious faces. Then I said "hold on a sec" while I reviewed the pics I'd taken on my LCD screen. That's when he stopped posing momentarily and looked down into his lap as he waited for me- which is when I quickly snapped the picture that I used as a reference for this painting.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Halloween's Past

Halloween is one of the many excuses during the year for us to dress up- but we do it during other season's as well, because dressing up is fun. Especially when it means you get to wear make-up (and usually don't get to) or get to wear girls tights (and usually don't get t0).
This year, Roxanne chose to be a bat princess. She at first wanted to be a bat but then realized that wouldn't call for lipstick and mascara, so she changed it to a bat princess.

Rocket completed his Mexican wrestler costume with turquoise girl's tights and blue woman's panties.

And I made him a matching cape, which he really really appreciated.

Matt and I don't typically dress up, but we have been letting loose the passed couple of years and joining in on the fun. This year, we went all out and dressed up as our favorite cleaning products (I did all the work):

I just went on a nostalgic mission to dig up pictures from every Halloween past since our kids have been born (there's not much before that because I wasn't allowed to dress up for Halloween as a child). For the last couple years, that just meant going into the archives of my blog for an October post, which was pretty easy. But farther back than that, was the pre-blog era, which means my kids are really really old. I had to go back into photo albums to find those olden-day pictures. This was a lot of fun, because their costumes each year really say something about who they were at that time in their life. I'll start with last year and then go back in time:

2009: A Princess and a Rockie's player (and they weren't happy about having picture time before trick-or-treating time)

2008: Batman and Batwoman- apparently Rocket still had control over what Roxanne's costume would be this year

2007: Sharkboy and Lavagirl- they sure did watch that movie a ton that year.

2006: Princess and Ninja Turtle- woah, so apparently Rocket grew up a LOT between 2006 and 2007- look at the difference in the pictures.

2005: Peterpan and Tinkerbell- I think this was the year I didn't have a camera.

2004: Fireman and princess puppy (the puppy was a recycled costume)

2003: Puppydog- he loved puppy dogs. I remember his first words were "arf arf", if that counts as words. And Roxanne was about a month old, so I think she didn't dress up.

2002: An itsy bitsy spider! This was in Iowa

1997: A few years before the kids. This is Matt and I our junior year as "Palmer Honor Students".... I guess we thought kids that went to Palmer High school were rebellious thugs... I don't know.
Who would have thought we'd end up being so "squeaky clean" (and still in love).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And one that is rectangular

This is my second painting of Rocket. My first one I accidentally gave to my mom and she refuses to let me correct my mistake. While I was painting this one, Rocket instructed me to not make the same mistake again. My goal with this one was to capture the obnoxious enthusiasm that makes Rocket so lovable and so unlovable at times. I think it is what will eventually make him really great at something. Yesterday, a friend on Facebook posted a link to this article which claims that there is a link between overexcitability and the gifted. It says:
A small amount of definitive research and a great deal of naturalistic observation have led to the belief that intensity, sensitivity and overexcitability are primary characteristics of the highly gifted....
One who manifests several forms of overexcitability, sees reality in a different, stronger and more multisided manner.
I can relate to that too. I take comfort in that fact that when no one else thinks my really awesome ideas (like being Windex for halloween) are as awesome as I think they are, it's really just because they are not as smart as me. I'll definitely be pulling that card in the near future.

Yesterday, Rocket came home from school in an overexcited mood. He said that he and his two friends had a really great idea, and he needed my help. He said at recess he and his friends wrote some really hilarious poems, and he just needed me to type them up, because tomorrow they are going to try to sell them and make lots and lots of money!!! He said that this was a really exciting opportunity for me because if I did the typing for them, he would give me one fourth of all the money they made. YEEHAW!!! (the identifying sound of an overexcited person). Here is a few examples of the poems they had written. Please enjoy (but try not to get too overly excited).
There was a wimp
That climbed a chimp
And turned into a shrimp

There was a skunk
That stunk
And climbed under a trunk

There was a ducky that was lucky
Because it lived in Kentucky
And drove a mucky trucky

There was a man
That invented ham

There was a boy named Tommy
Who ate a bucket of salami
To please his mommy

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two Paintings that are Round

This painting I sculpted into the old frame of a thermometer and clock that had been damaged by moisture outside. I removed the middle and salvaged the frame. Then I used wood, paper mache, spackle and hot glue to build up the surface into a semi sculpture... then painted it. I don't think I'll do in again any time soon. It's called "Bottom Dwellers Examine an Unexpected Visitor".

This one I made out of a mirror frame that I got at an auction. I also picked up a second frame just like it, and I hope that when I get around to utilizing that one, I will do a better job. I had hoped the shark baby sacs would inspire a better painting than this one, but that's OK- it was more fascinating in person. I think this one is called "Mama Shark and her Babies."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Calls for a Head Transplant

When Jodi left for Scotland, she left me with lots of treasures. Unfortunately, most of the treasures were living things, and I am not good at keeping living things alive... I've been exceptionally lucky when it comes to my children and dog. The cat, I give the neighbor credit for because he feeds her more than I do. One of the things she gave me was a luscious flourishing vine, and I told her I would treasure it as a symbol of the life our friendship will have despite our distance. But when it started to die, I got nervous and changed my mind, saying that the cactus that she gave me would be the symbol instead, and I thought for sure I would be able to keep a cactus alive. Up until about a week ago, everything was just fine. But then one day I noticed that the stem had suddenly died. I am certain that it must have decided to die very very suddenly, because it didn't look sick or anything prior to dying. But it turned into mush. The head still looked healthy though, so I did some research and found that there was still HOPE for the cactus... and my friendship with Jodi.

After much internet research, I found that these common cacti, called "moon cacti" are actually transplant patients to start with. They are actually grafted in mass in Korea and then shipped over to the United States where consumers are always impressed. Most professional cactus enthusiasts snub their noses at these novelty cacti, though. How they are made is sort of interesting. They start with a round green cactus growing in the ground. Then they somehow zap the chlorophyll (the stuff that makes things green) out of it, which makes it turn red. But the cactus can't live without chlorophyll, because chlorophyll is what makes the food for the plant, SO they cut the top part off of that cactus and then graft it onto the top of another cactus (which gives it it's chlorophyll). And so I thought that if it can be done once, why can't it be done again?

So I went and got a cactus that looked like it would have a good body and then performed a head transplant. Actually, it is either a head transplant or a body transplant, depending on where you think the soul of the cactus resides. If it resides in the head, then it is a body transplant. If it resides in the body, then it is a head transplant. I realized this concept after reading "Stiff" which talked about the possibility of performing head transplants on people. If I were to have a head transplant I would choose the head of Hillary Duff, Taylor Swift, or Lara Flynn Boyl (but only before she had the lip transplant, not after).
Also, the original cactus had two very large buds growing on it that were getting very large and looked as if they might soon be too heavy and fall off. So, I also purchased two other smaller cacti body donors, and grafted those two bulbs onto the tops of the smaller stems. In this case, I think we could say that I have multiplied the cactus Jodi gave me, symbolizing our compounding love over time. Of course, all this is depending on all of my transplant patients surviving the operation in the long term, and I am praying that they do, but not keeping my hopes up in light of how I did with the vine and all of our tadpoles.
Clyde commented to me that since my children and dog are about the only things I have had luck keeping alive, perhaps I should have transplanted the cacti heads onto them. Now that's a great idea, except that then it would probably hurt to hug them.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Happiness from my Inbox

I got an email from Rocket's teacher yesterday. When I saw a message from him in our inbox with the subject line "Rocket", I have to admit I thought "uh oh". But when I opened it and read it, I felt sort of teary eyed, and not for a sad reason. This is significant because all the emails I've gotten from Rocket's teachers were not so positive (Rocket loves attention, especially when he's the center of it, even if it is negative attention). And when I came down stairs and said "I just got an email from your teacher", he immediately hung his head, probably because conversations starting like that usually don't go well. But this time was different and it made me so so so so SO happy. Here's the email:

Now I feel as though maybe I should have had Mr. Kollar sign a media release for before posting this to my blog. :/ Oh well.
And I was worried at the beginning of this year that teachers would discriminate against him because of his mullet- especially since it makes it hard for me, his own mother, to be nice to him sometimes- but I'm getting used to it and it's kindof growing on me.
This is him after coming home sick from school on Thursday. He's better now.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

9 Years

It is the 9th anniversary of Matt and I's marriage today, and I think this says a lot:

When I woke up this morning, Matt had left me a card, pretzel M&Ms (which Rocket took credit for) and a cactus- to replace a certain OTHER cactus that I have been mourning over. But I haven't told Jodi about that cactus' death yet. Just so you know, DON'T ever plant a cactus too deep in the soil as an attempt to stabilize it. It won't stabilize the cactus- it will cause the bottom of the cactus to rot and then the whole cactus will die. Maybe if I keep this new cactus until Jodi moves back from Scotland, it will be about the same size as the one that didn't make it.

I stopped by Matt's work to deliver him some quickies... I mean cookies. And I got it right this time- Kroger brand, not Safeway brand. Then I left a message on his car window:

(That's me taking a picture with my phone in the window's reflection). And then I also left a random somebody else a message too:
I might do that more often.

But, lastly, I'd like to treat you to this delightful song, and dedicate it to my love, Matt, on this day. We've lived in three different states, and many different houses over the last 9 years, but home- home is wherever I'm with you.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Mention of Rocket

Here is a news article written about Scum of the Earth Church- I was in Utah on the specific Sunday it is written about. But Matt was at church with the kids. It also explains the mask Rocket is wearing in the above picture- he intends to complete the Mexican wrestler outfit in time for Halloween.
The article:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

School Pictures

This is a third grader........................................................................... This is a first grader

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hello, My Name Is AWSUM!!!

This is my latest painting. I used this painting as a reference (the photo that is in the "X" of the word "pixels" in my header at the top of this blog). It was a risky subject matter to attempt, because, if not execute correctly, it could have looked like a very abstract painting of a face- instead of looking like a realistic painting of a face that had been painted on. Do you get what I mean?

My kids love to paint their face, and they do it a lot- especially Roxanne. They use watercolor crayons to do it. They are just like regular crayons, except when you dip them in water, they glide onto your face real easily. Here is some examples of the many faces they have created. I couldn't locate all the photos I know I have somewhere on this computer of their painted faces.

On a subject unrelated to face painting, I just got back last night from Utah- a beautiful yet strange place. I was there for a friends wedding since Wednesday. It's really a weird feeling going back to a place in your life that you haven't been in a while. It's interesting to notice which tidbits of information remain familiar to you, which ones you completely forget, and which ones make you feel totally nostalgic. It makes me wonder what parts of the life I am living now will be remembered, forgotten, and longed for again. That's why I think it's important to keep up my blog and try to capture the truly precious parts of my life. I should really try to describe them better so that years from now, when they are long gone and I miss them, I will be able to go back and relive them through my memories.... like years from now when life is sad because Rocket and Roxanne don't paint their faces anymore- then I will have to come back to this and relive these happier, more colorful times. But maybe that day will never come- they might be face painters forever.

The kids instructed me to bring something back for them from Utah. So, yesterday, after being absent from their lives for 5 days, I quickly regained their love by presenting toilet bowl candy. It's a little plastic toilet bowl filled with powdered candy and it comes with a lollipop plunger to dip in it. When I saw it, I knew this was the exactly what my potty-mouthed little children would just love. And they sure did. When they are done eating all the potty candy, I think I will wash out the toilet and keep all their baby teeth in it forever.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dream Machines and Other Pretty Pictures

Our heads have been higher on weekends lately. We've been enjoying our time together, which I'm so thankful for, as we emerge from not so likable times together.
I mentioned that we loved reading "Ticket's to Ride" this summer by Mark Rogalski. After returning that book to the library, we requested that the library purchase one of his other books, "Dream Machines". And the library did, so we've been enjoying that book before we have to return it.
The illustrations are so intricate that you can explore them with your eyes for hours. They've also been making the wheels of our imaginations turn, giving us lots of ideas of our own.

On Saturday, the kids decided to dream up some dream machines of their own, while scouring the book for gadgets to copy into their own paintings. Here is what they came up with.
Rocket's dream machine:

Roxanne's dream machine:

Speaking of great illustrations, Saturday night, I went to an art opening for an illustrator I've been admiring a lot lately, Lea Wells. This was also the perfect opportunity to take Roxanne along with me to an art show, in order to emphasize that I do take her seriously as a fellow artist. The images were perfect for her tastes- whimsical and playful images, many of little girls. This is probably because Lea also has a little girl of her own, and I think we "get" eachother's art because of that. Roxanne thoroughly enjoyed mingling around with the other art admirers.

She was sure to bring along her camera that she got for her birthday so she could take pictures of art she wanted to remember.

She loved the top painting in this picture.

Meanwhile, Matt and Rocket enjoyed the Rockies game at home.
After the show, Roxanne and I went to "Sweet Action" ice cream with Clyde and Susie. "Sweet Action" is supposed to be icecream for hipsters... but I think anyone could like it. Roxanne was by-far the youngest ice cream eater there. I guess she's mature for her age. Ha!

Things are going good. Hoping it stays that way!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Birthday School Treats

These are the birthday "treats" Roxanne made to hand out to her classmates for her 7th birthday tomorrow. The edible kinds of treats have been banned. While making them, Roxanne said, "I really hope these make all my kids laugh and laugh and laugh a lot!!"

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labor Day

As you know, yesterday was Labor Day, and we forgot that it was a holiday until just the day before. We hadn't planned anything ahead of time, but when I woke up Monday morning, I thought, "nothing says 'labor' like crafting with the kids!" So that's what I did. I am pretty sure I am storing up a lot of treasures in heaven by crafting with my kids. Because, you know, Jesus said "if you have crafted with the least of these, you have crafted unto me." And when he said "least of these" I'm pretty sure he meant the least cooperative of these, and the least agreeable of these... certainly not the least picky of these though. And that is why I choose MY kids to craft with.... Actually, I typically craft with my kids because I am spontaneous and never anticipate how particular and impossible the kids will be about it.

Rocket and I made a rocket out of caps and nozzles and stuff... and a lot of hot glue. The main part of it is a container that held bubble solution.

Roxanne and I made a robot out of caps and stuff too. I have a big container full of colorful plastic caps and containers and stuff that I keep for days like this.

Luckily, Matt made us lots of delicious appetizers to eat while we crafted- little bagels with different toppings like spinach and artichokes and different cheeses and stuff. Yummy. Oh and hot wings too! Made from scratch! And then the boys watched the Rockies game. It was a good labor day- just the right amount of labor and the right amount of not labor- and with the people I love a whole lot.

Monday, September 06, 2010


The Denver Art Museum (the DAM) is a really wonderful place- a super inspirational space. I have been there FIVE times this summer. Now this is the really great part- I have managed to not pay to get in all five times!!! Of course, I have to say that if I HAD payed to get in, it would have been totally worth the $25 ticket, but as luck would have it, I never had to.

Correction: The tickets are actually $10 for Colorado residents. Thanks for pointing that out DAM!

1. The first time I went was with my wonderful cousin Kristen. I didn't have to pay this time because she actually payed for me, as a way of thanking me for hosting her during her time in Denver. Very unnecessary- I loved "hosting" her- which consisted of Matt babysitting the kids while me and her explored the funnest places in Denver. We went to the DAM for an event which is titled (oddly enough) "Untitled". It happens every last Friday of the month- the museum stayed open late, has a rockin DJ, cash bar, and lots of awesome games and activities. My favorite monthly "Untitled" feature is the appearance of "Joan and Charlie"- two characters adapted from a painting in the museum. This is me in front of the painting:

The painting is by artist Joan Brown and is entitled "Portrait with Swimming Coach Charlie Sava". "Unititled" brings this otherwise unnoticeable painting to life by acting out the dramatic occurrences happening during Joan's swimming lessons. The funny thing is, everything takes place in the "the pool" which is really just the museum's elevator.

You see how those two people in front of the elevator are the same people from the painting? Perhaps you'll just have to take my word for this, but it's really hilarious and if you're going to go to the Denver Art Museum, you should really do it on the last Friday of the month so that you can see Joan and Charlie. I think they might be falling in love.
I also like to imagine that someday (maybe after I die) an art museum will reenact one of my paintings... but that's just a dream.

2. The second time I went this summer was with my bestest friend from Utah, Stephanie. We didn't even realize it was the first Saturday of the month when we arrived there, but as we entered a lady with a stack of tickets asked us "Are you here for the free first Saturday?" and we were like "Umm YEAH!". So that's why I didn't have to pay that time.
This picture shows off some of the awesome interior architecture of the museum... sort of... actually you just have to be there in person to experience it fully. That's Stephanie in the picture.

Some man walking by laughed a WHOLE LOT while I was posing for this picture. I am glad I could make his day.

3. My third time at the museum was for the very next "first Saturday of the month". So it was free again! I went with the art group from "scum" (the church we have been attending). This is a serious art group with serious artists. I also brought along Roxanne, for her very first time at the DAM.

This is Roxanne observing the same piece I posed with the month earlier. I couldn't talk her into posing the same way. It would have made MY day. Oh well.

She was equally as impressed with the museum as I was, although different artwork inspired her than would have inspired me. But, what-the-heck, she was inspired, and I just love it when people are inspired!!!! The only problem is that she really really really wanted to use my camera so she could remember the paintings that were the most inspiring, but I didn't want to let her use my camera because my camera is so expensive!! I let her use my iphone, which is slightly less super duper expensive, to take pictures. Later, I printed some of her pictures for her so she could copy them on sketch paper, or draw on top of them.

Yes, I agree, that is a horrible painting she is taking a picture of. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, correct?

4. The fourth time I went to the DAM was for the sake of Dr. Sketchys. You know how "Untitled" always has fun activities? Well, last month one of their fun activities was Dr. Sketchys. As a faithful Dr. Sketchy's sketcher, I was selected to be a "planted" sketcher at the event. So I didn't have to pay... again. YESSSSsss.

Oh crap.... I just noticed now that I can't find any of the pictures I took from Dr. Sketchies at the DAM. This is bad because I was supposed to email them to someone. I didn't save them under the "DAM" folder or the "Dr. Sketchies" folder or the "August" folder... so I don't know where they are. Wiiiiierd.

5. The FIFTH time I went to the DAM was just the day before yesterday. This was also a free "first Saturday" and we went for Roxanne's birthday. Yes, I am raising my daughter with fine tastes, and she chose to go to the DAM for her birthday. We let her open her presents that morning and she got a camera from Matt and I. She was absolutely thrilled and couldn't wait to be able to take pictures of her favorite paintings at the museum. She also got to pick one friend to go with her, and she chose her best friend from school, Cody. Oddly enough, she has similar taste in boys as I do, because she chose a boy who got pretty ticked off at her for taking too many pictures.

A PINK camera. Even better.

I might hear from Cody's mom later....
But THEN... this is the coolest part... THEN, after we left the museum... OK maybe it's not cool, it's sad... THEN, after we left the museum, and we were out front, Roxanne was looking inbetween these two sculptures on the lawn and was like "there is a really huge bug in there!" and I was curious so I looked inside, and there was a little itty bitty bat on the ground. I didn't know if it was alive so I poked it with some posters I had, and it started HISSING really loud at us and looked really really scary:

Ok, this isn't the best way to wrap things up but, I have to go now.