Sunday, December 31, 2006


For Illustration Friday

I started this in ArtRage, and finished it in Photoshop. Unfortunately, for some reason it looks darker on my blog page then it did in Photoshop. I tried to make it a little lighter in the second image. Don't know which one I prefer, so I'll just keep both up for now.

Happy New Year!

The dead of 2006

Dead People Server

Star Trek lives, apparently (Update at end of post)

I found Jerry watching an episode of the original Star Trek. There was an attractive female guest star, and I was curious who she was, and what she might be doing now 40 years later. So I spent a few moments searching.

Episode name: Mirror Mirror
Actress name: Barbara Luna
The IMDb website lists another Star Trek show in 2004 as her latest work.
Hmm, what's that, I wonder?

Star Trek, the new voyages. A new series that picks up where the original series left off. It has Captain Kirk and crew, but with new actors.

There have been only a few episodes made, but they are available to download free online. Maybe Jerry and will watch one tonight. If we stay up.

Star Trek, the new voyages website

UPDATE: Jerry has watched 2 of the episodes. I watched only a few minutes of one of the episodes and decided it was enough. I thought the acting quality closely rivaled that of Michael and his high school drama club. But the hardest thing for me to accept, and the reason I couldn't watch, was that ultimately I could not handle all these strange people portraying the crew. It bothered Jerry too, but he has a much higher tolerance for grade-B television, especially on weekends when post-workweek fatigue and computer and/or sofa-induced inertia facilitates hours of mindless watching.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

What I am

I'm not aware of too many things, I know what I know if you know what I mean.
Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box. Religion is the smile on a dog. ...

The whole song performed here:

(Someday, I'm going to figure out how to put a little music player on this blog. Until then, I'll have to settle for sticking YouTube thingys in it.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

The tragedy of a train wreck miniature.

Jerry remarked this morning about seeing broken pieces of what he thought were car parts in the street in front of our house, and wondered if there had been an accident that we had somehow slept through last night.

I had noticed them, too, although they didn't look like automotive debris to me. So I went outside to investigate.

It had been a train wreck. A model train. I came upon this piece first.

Then I collected the box, pieces of foam packing, and several broken bits and pieces. You can see the tiny little woodpile, unscathed and still sealed in plastic.

Smashed and broken bits from the debris field

I had an uneasy feeling. I knew my neighbor's husband across the street collected model trains, and I was hoping this hadn't been his. I called her at work and described what I had found. Yes, she said, he had received model train stuff for Christmas. Yes, he got this particular brand. Things were starting to look bad at this point. She checked with her hubby, and confirmed, in a "laughing so she wouldn't cry" kind of way, that Hubby had been rearranging things in the garage last night, and in the process had set his new little train engine on top of her minivan. And left it there. She drove the car last night, apparently unaware of her precarious cargo. Evidence suggests it held on as she backed out of the driveway, but as soon as she put it in "drive" and hit the gas, it was history. Must've been hit by a few passing cars, by the looks of it.

Here is what it was just a few hours ago. Suggested retail price $85.00 What a shame.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Caution: poop

There's this blog I found last summer. She lives out in the heartland somewhere, married to a cowboy, for Pete's sake. She has 4 children and a way with words (and pictures).
This particular story about Barbie's dog that poops is hysterical.

Dodge Nitro commercial

Now I know what lives deep inside the earth!
Dodge Nitro Commercial

I thought this commercial was mildly amusing when I first saw it on TV. Then, Jerry and I went to the movies, and a longer version of it was played during the previews and other "while you wait" stuff. The link is, of course, for the longer version.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Just another family

So many TV commercials insult my intelligence, not to mention my eyes and ears. This one from Ikea is not loud or obnoxious or dumb. It just shows regular people living in their Ikea-furnished (well, of course) homes. And what I especially like is this little family portrait that they show in the last 1.5 seconds of the ad. It's a bi-racial gay couple with a young girl. Nice.

You can see the whole commercial here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A dubious christmas ornament?

This is a little homemade ornament someone gave Jerry at work the other day. Kinda silly and a little tacky at first glance, then I noticed the little brown smudge near the bottom, (possibly chocolate?)

All of a sudden, he seems to have a worried expression on his face. I must now keep him safe, so he'll be OK.

Mary in a bottle

Amid the clutter in Eleanor's house, a small artifact became special to me over the years. It was a little religious decoration that Jerry had made in about the 3rd grade. A tiny figure of the Virgin Mary stood in a little blue bleach-bottle shrine, decorated with stones, bark and plastic ferns and flowers. For over forty years, it remained on the kitchen windowsill, silently keeping watch over the family. Time passed, other things on the windowsill would come and go, but Jerry's little shrine always remained.

During Eleanor's final weeks, she started to give informal verbal permission for various family members to take this item or that. I told her the one thing I really wanted was that shrine, and she said I was welcome to it.

After she passed away, we took pictures of everything in the house before we started packing everything up. I wanted to remember how it was.

At last she was mine. She had become covered with a sticky film of dust from neglect, and her plastic plants were brittle and rotten. I didn't even know where I would keep her. Of course, my first thought was my own kitchen windowsill, but it's too narrow. So I ended up putting her on my wall unit, and next to her we put Eleanor's rosary beads that she had been holding during her last days. I carefully washed Mary and all the little stones, and I found new plastic ferns that looked like the old ones, only new.

I am not Catholic, of course. Not Christian. Not even Jewish, really, except by birth. But I am touched nonetheless by the peace that this woman radiates. I am grateful to have had the chance to witness how important she was to Eleanor and her church ladies who came and prayed the rosary with her. I am touched somehow by Mary's grace, and comforted to know that she continues to watch over her family.

Peace be with you.

Are the photos working today?

Here's a random Christmas picture. Cross your fingers...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christina Aguilera, Candyman

After a couple of weeks of repeatedly hearing about 10 or 20 seconds of this catchy song on a Verizon commercial, I decided to find out who sings it. Thank goodness for the instant gratification of internet knowledge. I found it, and here it is:

It turns out the lyrics and booty shaking by Christina and her backup girls are quite suggestive, but if you can get past that, and just enjoy the music and the beat, it's a fun song. Sounds like it came from the 40's.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cute baby porcupine

Hey, I'll recycle my batteries if it will help this little guy.

He was in an ad in the back of my new National Geographic magazine.
And he has friends. species spotlight

Vidalia Onion Pie

Michael is always complaining there's nothing good to eat in the house. I'm always bugging him to tell me what he wants, and he says "I don't know. I just don't want what you usually have or make."

So today, he says he wants this: Vidalia Onion Pie

Sounds interesting.


We've been eating lots of these mandarin oranges lately. I think they're as cute as they are tasty!

Even the box is cute.

They have cute stickers that point out the obvious.

And each one has its own star on top! How cute is that?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I made cookies

After helping at a gingerbread-man-decorating session at the arboretum earlier this month, I was inspired to create some cookies of my own for our Nature Guides pot-luck luncheon today.
I based my designs on the 4 biomes of our CEEP program. (Childrens' Environmental Education Program)

This program is for 3rd graders in the Fullerton School District. They visit 4 different biomes at the arboretum to learn about plant adaptations: The desert, the tropical rainforest, the pond, and the coniferous forest.

Naked cookies

Clockwise from the top: pinecones, tropical leaf (drip-tip!), opuntia cactus, water lily

My favorite was the leaves!

Sunday, December 17, 2006


...for the beautiful colors of fall, at their peak now.
Soon they will be gone.

They are also the colors of the 70's.
Harvest gold, avocado green,
Orange and yellow.

I think if I could,
I'd go back to the 70's.
I was younger then, with
So much energy.
And those now long dead
Were still very much alive.

I treasure the memories.
As I treasure the beauty of the leaves.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Now this!

With the conversion to Blogger Beta and all the tweaking and changing that goes along with it, I have made the executive decision to do an "Extreme Makeover" of the ill-fated Club Ulano blog.

In fact, that blog is now officially gone. I have transformed it into....this!

Whatever that may be....

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Drama Club

For Illustration Friday's current theme: mask

When Michael was in high school, I designed this logo for his Drama Club's t shirts. It was originally black on white, but they reversed it, and printed it on black shirts. I thought it looked pretty cool. I have been after him for the last couple days to find me the actual shirt (which he still wears!) but he couldn't. (so disorganized!) But at least I still had the original image on the computer.

Michael took theater classes all four years and just loved it. As a parent watching him perform, I couldn't have been more proud if I were the mother of an Oscar-winning actor. Sadly, he hasn't done any theater in college.

Here he was, on the right, as Nathan Detroit in Guys & Dolls.

In the blue shirt, with cast members from Noises Off.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Create a snowflake! (UPDATED!)

Need a Snow Day?

Click on the picture to go to their website. It's fun, and it benefits the Salvation Army.

Update: While viewing random snowflakes, I chanced upon one with a link to another related snowflake-creating site. It has tips and tricks for making really awesome snowflakes, most of which I am incapable of understanding/replicating. But do look at the incredible work done by others!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Purple-y blue

One of my favorite colors of succulents.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Invention (?)

I'm not sure if this would actually be considered an invention. It's more of an idea. I got this idea a long time ago, and it comes back to me every time I eat ice cream right out of the carton. In fact, I always planned that if Illustration Friday had a topic for invention, this is what I would do:

My invention (or idea) is to have lines on the inside of the carton, so you (theoretically) know when to stop. I wonder if that would help?

I also did a drawing this way, from the point of view down inside the carton. Jerry said it didn't "read" as well, but I'm posting it anyway.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shiny baubles!

Last year, I was bummed because a certain store would not allow me to take pictures of their beautiful glass ornaments. This year, I broke the rules, in stealth mode, with my new little camera.

I don't want to put them on my tree. I just want to look at them. They are so beautiful. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 24, 2006

Orange for fall

Already, the world of commerce has changed colors, from the rich browns and oranges of fall to the red and green of Christmas. I just want to savor fall a little longer

  Posted by Picasa

Fallen seed pod

  Posted by Picasa

Colorful succulents

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Friday, November 17, 2006

If anybody cares....

Memes are interesting. They let people reveal random facts about themselves. Sometimes I see where people get "tagged" with a meme. That has never happened to me, but this meme seems to be up for grabs, so I'm taking it.
(I grabbed it from Snail's Tales.)

Explain what ended your last relationship. He was too slow to make a commitment. (It had been 5 years!) I was tired of waiting. I found Jerry.

When was the last time you shaved? Last week.

What were you doing this morning at 8AM? Stretching exercises in the living room, while watching TV.

What were you doing 15 minutes ago? Reading other peoples’ memes.

Are you any good at math? Um, no. I have a mental block about math. I have others do math for me.

Your prom night, what do you remember about it? Sitting at home. I never went to the prom.

Do you have any famous ancestors? I wish.

How many different beverages have you had today? 2: I had a smoothie for breakfast. And only water for the rest of the day.

Do you re-use towels after you shower? Yes… (what a question!)

Some things you are excited about? An upcoming cactus and succulent show at the arboretum. Using my new camera.

Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Until recently, I used to sleep with it open. Lately I’ve been leaving it closed to keep my dog in there with me. Otherwise he is in the livingroom at 2AM, barking to go outside. With the door closed, he stays quieter at night, and doesn't ask to go out.

Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? Does a Rogers & Hammerstein concert at the Hollywood Bowl count? I was 12, maybe. My first (and only) rock concert was Golden Earring. They might have just been the opening act for someone else, but I don't remember. I was a teenager. It was…interesting.

Last thing received in the mail? a prescription

Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? Well, it’s been a while. Let’s see: Salty water, sand, beach “gunk”. I don’t think so.

Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? But of course! The caramel corn went first, then the cheese. The plain stuff was last.

Have you ever been to a planetarium? I think so, when I was a kid, but it was a long time ago. I want to go to the Griffith Park Observatory It has just re-opened after being closed for remodeling for 5 years.

What's the most painful dental procedure you've had? My many crowns and root canals were each performed under adequate anesthesia, thank goodness. I did have braces for 7 years as a kid, and the monthly visits to adjust and tighten everything were a pain, in more ways than one.

What is out your back door? Some displaced garage-junk, our barbecue, a few plants.

Any plans for Friday night? This is Friday night, and I’m doing it now.

Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machine? Yes. Isn’t that what they’re for?

Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? No. And this is even more pointless than the hair question.

Have you had to take a loan out for school? No. (Thanks, Dad.)

Do you know the words to the song on your MySpace profile? I’m not hip enough for Myspace. That’s why I’m on Blogger.

What is your favorite flavor of JELL-O? Red.

Describe your keychain(s). It had a little metal tag with a sun on it that said Death Valley. Then the tag fell off. Last year, Mrs. W. gave me a cute little ladybug keychain. Then the ladybug fell off. So right now I just have a plain ring with a bunch of keys on it.

Where do you keep your change? My pockets, my purse, my car. We also have jars of coins that used to belong to Jerry’s dad.

When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people? What do you consider large? I give tours at the arboretum all the time, but usually not to more than 20 people at a time. I did speak briefly at a city council meeting last year. There were maybe 80 people there.

What kind of winter coat do you own? This is Southern California. I don’t have a winter coat. I usually don’t need more than a jacket. If it’s really cold (daytime highs in the 60’s!), I layer up a little.

What was the weather like on your graduation day? Not that I really remember that far back, but again, I refer you to Southern California. In June? Probably overcast.

Box of Love

Recently, my neighbor asked me if I would like to participate in the Boxes of Love holiday food drive sponsored by her church for local families in need. I told her I would, so she gave me the box, and a list of food items that I was to put into it. The list was very specific, and required what I considered to be very simple basic items: Canned fruit, soup, beans, rice, etc. I was instructed not to change or add anything.

There was also a small strip of paper which I could sign and "decorate if desired". Here was my chance to give someone a little something personal. I decided to share with them a few of the things that bring me joy, in the hope it might brighten their day.

Finding a little joy has sort of been my motto for the last few years. I am thankful to be able to enjoy these simple pleasures on a regular basis. And, for me at least, the things I treasure the most are even better when shared with others.

Whoever you are, I hope you are able to find joy in the simple things. I hope they will lift your spirit as they do mine.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Botanical Art class...Looks like fun...

Every Friday, the arboretum sends a bulk email to all the members, to let them know about events taking place this weekend. Today's message included a blurb about a class in botanical art. I'm sure this was in our fall brochure and I just didn't notice it. Tomorrow is the first of 5 Saturday classes in the series, and the last day to sign up. I wish I had found out about it sooner. I almost want to do it! The creator of this class has also put together a nice website: ArtPlantae: Home Page

Edit: OK, just as I was contemplating actually going to that class tomorrow, I realized I would not be able to make it to some of the other class dates, due to previous obligations. But I may just stick my head in the door and see what it's all about...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Unfinished business

I haven't posted anything new in a long time, but I have been drawing and playing around in ArtRage and Photoshop. Nothing I'm really wild about; I just don't seem to have the patience to finish what I start. Anyway, here are a few recent things that I did.

This is one of those Japanese carp windsocks. (Illustration Friday's theme this week is wind.)

This was something I made for "Red Ribbon Week".

Here are a couple of altered photos:

Here's a couple of friendly seed pods.

Summer's End

Some Black and Orange things