Saturday, October 25, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Under that are two smaller clock detail paintings. First is Almost Eleven and next is Half Past Six. The two clocks are my first completed acrylic paintings.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The second one is an A from the Ghiradelli sign. This particular one is called Askew. Not only is the perspective a little askew (I even got a little dizzy taking my reference photos from this odd angle) but the frame I used to wrap the paper is also not square. I don't know if anyone will notice, but I'll be sure to tell whoever buys it, since it can't be framed in a normal squared frame. I still need to do a lot of work on the Askew painting. I'm definitely putting off the painting of the light bulbs. I liked the idea of them, but the actual painting of 50+ bulbs is less exciting.
Both of these paintings are done in a wrap-around style. The painting extends around the edges. I saw a painting in the CCSF gallery done this way and I was intrigued. Doing these painting was also fun, so if it's well received, you can be sure to see a lot more of these. Both are still in regular watercolor and will be spray varnished so that no additional glass is needed. I intend to do some smaller acrylic paintings with a watercolor technique. I've already prepped the wood panels, so all that's left is the painting.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I took a few photos with my iPhone but the photos don't properly capture the scale and the fabulous detail work on all 100 life-sized pieces. I loved the flags, ribbons and feathers that were integrated into the painting as they flapped in the ocean breeze. It was a very enjoyable afternoon distraction. Below is my favorite indian. I was hoping someone would go up and pose while I was here, but alas no takers.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I am branching out, so to speak, and trying something new. I was at a art material expo and was chatting with an artist who had these wonderful watercolor paintings of crystal and glass. She stretches her paintings over wooden stretcher bars and I was inspired to do the same. I boughts some big beefy bars so that there would be some substance to it and perhaps it would look so good I wouldn't have to frame it.
First I started with a big sheet of watercolor paper. I wet it in the tub and after the first couple of times I managed to stop spraying myself. I let it hang a bit so that I wouldn't slop too much on my way to the kitchen table.
I cut the paper about 3 inches over the frame and trimmed it again once I set the stretcher bars over the paper. I tried a bunch of different corner techniques and settled on one that gave me a neat square edge. I was a little worried about the bubbles, but after I stapled the frame using a standard canvas stretching pattern and set it to dry. They came out looking pretty good. I'll be doing some small and some very large paintings on it. I took a varnishing class as well so there are bound to be at least one or two good varnishing stories after I finish up the paintings.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Here's what you need to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten. (The bolding isn't showing up that well with my template. So I used a different color for the foods I have never tried).
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
The VGT Omnivore's Hundred:
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak Tartare
6. Black Pudding
7. Cheese Fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13, PB&J samdwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and benas
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-o
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
44. Goat's milk
45. Malted whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more (I think I’ve had this on a business trip in
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme orignal glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (I may have had this if eating a deer hit by a car counts)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster thermidor
I was a little surprised how many of these things I’ve tried. Honestly there are some I wouldn’t eat again, but I’m glad that I tried it the one time. I thought I would have a few things crossed off, but decided that if I could eat all but 24 items, perhaps I should leave my options open. A few things I haven’t tried are there merely because the opportunity or finances didn’t allow it yet.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
So I pulled out 8 twinkies for each of us and we started cutting them, separating the yellow cake from the toasted brown bottoms.
Then you mush them up. For a while until they start looking like modeling clay. Modeling clay made from twinkies. At no time did I want a twinkie. I knew they were kinda old and the last time I ate them they were incredibly sweet to my palate. But after they start looking like a mushy ball of yellow and brown clay, you really get over any thoughts of eating it. Although I'm quite sure that it still tastes a bit like twinkies. We let it sit for a bit since they were quite a bit soft. After about 20 minutes it started looking good.
I decided to make a monkey since I was using the anniversary flavored banana creme twinkies. Becky began working on her mermaid. It was a little tricky getting the clay to stick to itself, but it came out looking pretty good. Now we just have to wait for the clay to dry.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
During our stay we relaxed, Dad read his books and battled daily with his nemeses, the common grey squirrels that were pretty much running the park. Cute and Fuzzy? I think not, these little guys would boldly enter your food boxes to steal food and would walk on hot coals, literally to grab food scraps tossed there. One morning we left Dad with the kids and went out in search of Mirror Lake. I can't say it's a must see since it is really much more of a swamp than a lake with all of the overgrowth, plus we were all assaulted by the mosquitoes there. A nice hike up to Vernal Falls was taken one morning. Hana and Aubrey became Junior Rangers and were sworn in before we left. Plus there was bike riding and game playing and S'more making and fire building and fishing. Who will forget the time that Bill got stopped by a Ranger for fishing without a license? Luckily he got off with a warning since they weren't using real lures but a big orange plastic fish to play fishing. Bill and HJ hiked up to Glacier Point while Anne and I took the kids and Dad up the easy way - with the cars! But either way, the views were worth the trip.
On our way out, we drove down to the southern gate to check out the giant sequoias at the Mariposa Grove. The curvy road took down poor Kaitie who held on as long as she could. We split ways at that point with Bill and his family going south to Disneyland and So Cal and Jerome and his family along with me and Dad driving north back to the Bay Area.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
So before breakfast of pancakes, bacon and coffee was ready, I went out with my cup of coffee to gather some photos. While I have every intention of coming back here, I wanted to try to capture some of this morning for painting reference photos and my memory at large. It was super quiet and there were only a few workers wandering around. It wasn't until I came back into the house that I realized I was wandering around in my pajamas!
After breakfast, we stripped down the beds, got dressed and packed up and checked out by 10am. Our earliest start time to date. we wanted to be sure to have as much time as possible for our trip to Yosemite given the limitations of the Rossi Rules of the Road combined with traveling with 3 cars.
After a quick grocery store stop to pick up a few overlooked items, we headed East. The plan was to stop for fresh fruits and veggies at roadside stops. The day was beautiful and the driving was fun. We stopped a couple of times, but never found any veggies we liked. Ah well! There were a few scenic vistas and we all stopped to enjoy them. We did a little musical cars and I ended up driving halfway with HJ and then switched at a gas stop and picked up Anne who ended up driving the last part of the way into the Park.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday morning we loaded up the cars with kids, food, luggage and headed south. Since we were following the Rossi Rules of the Road (RRR) I knew it might take a little longer to get there. 1. Never drive faster than the speed limit, 2. Stop for any interesting vista or stop along the way, 3. I can't remember and 4. Drink an icy cold beer at the end of the day. We headed south on 280 from my house on Potrero Hill, over to the scenic Route 1 along the coast. We didn't get too far before we made the first stop at a cherry stand in Pacifica. I had foolishly taken the lead since I knew where I was going. However being a novice at the RRR I wasn't at all surprised to find my caravan abandoning me just 5 minutes into the trip. Luckily I was able to pull around and join the group at the end. This was more appropriate and lead to less confusion. The rest of the trip was relaxing and we made it to the lighthouse and hostel a little before the 3:30pm check-in time.
We descended upon the beach and the girls and Annie wandered through the tide pools looking for sea creatures. Hermit crabs and sea anemones were found and much sand was able to creep into all of our shoes. A little geocaching was done on the way back up to the hostel. Cool items were swapped. We got checked in by our host, Michael who was very cool. We signed up for hot tub times and went back to unload the cars and get some dinner started. Now I should mention that there is no alcohol allowed on hostel property. So we had to modify our traditional end of the road cold beer for "tea" which was discreetly consumed in coffee mugs. HJ made a huge feast of salad and pasta and sausage. Everyone ate at one big communal table, so it was good that we had the entire Whale building to ourselves. After dinner we settled down and the girls played games. We took our hot tub time and were thrilled to see that it was perched on the far edge of the land. So there was nothing between us and the Pacific Ocean but a thin wire fence and a sheer cliff dotted with ice plants in bloom. We watched the sun set and decided that the grown-ups wanted some star-gazing time after the kids were settled in bed.
Friday, May 30, 2008
The Exploratorium was a hit, although HJ and I ducked out to get a little shopping done. Warm clothes for the girls and sweat pants for Bill. We swooped back and met the gang finishing up at the Exploratorium. Seems the best time to go is later in the afternoon when the class trips are heading out. Last time we came here it was late and everyone seemed sad to be kicked out at 5pm.
So Wednesday night I picked up Dad. I'm really becoming a big fan of the Cell Phone Park and Call lot at SFO. It's quite hidden, but right next to the Long Term Parking area. You can get back to the terminals in a minute or two so you can wait until they have their bags and swoop down and scoop 'em up. Me I waited until Dad's plane landed, added 10 minutes to get to the gate and another 10 to get off the plane before I head for the parking lot. After picking up 4 groups in less than a week, my timing was spot on.
The next day, we bought day passes and rode on the cable cars to Market St, then down to the Wharf on the old style F Street railway. Today's goal was to catch Musee Mechanique and go to the Aquarium of the Bay. Then work our way back to the hotel a short rest and then onto the 38 Geary to go to a nice place for an Italian dinner. On the way back, we found great stuff at the big Good Will store on Fillmore. I made a huge mistake and handed Natalie a wireless phone. I had assumed that there would be toys for me to do a bait and switch. I just couldn't yank her new favorite toy out of her hand. Michelle called me a light-weight. It's true. I found a couple of books, one with horses you can pet which was a life-saver for me. Whew! Friday we split up and had a low key day. Dad and I caught up with Michelle, Steve and the girls to do a geocache. On the way out, we did one of dad's caches. He spotted a box of junk on the side of the road and we ended up with a working heater, an electric frying pan and a green thermos. Great stuff to take camping. Friday night was a big get together at the new Moonstar in Daly City. Les and Ceal, Cathryn, Crystal and Esther joined the gang for dinner. I had fun messing with the cotton candy. Friday's done time to get packing and ready for the weekend!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I got a text message around 6:30am. (Ugh! Don't they know I'm on vacation too? I have a feeling these time zones are going to be an issue for me.) Seems the girls were up. Hana woke at 3am and she and Bill wandered around the hotel until HJ and Jeri woke up. I sent them off for coffee and directions to see the sea lions, which are always hanging out for free at Pier 39. I did tell them to dress warmly, but they didn't and were too cold to hang by the Pier. They did wander over to the farmer's market for a breakfast of fresh fruits and all were happy. We ended up driving up to Vacaville to do some outlet shopping (HJ's special request) and then to Farfield to go to Jelly Belly factory. On the way back we picked up more coffee for Bill and took the girls to the new playground at Golden Gate Park. There is a great carousel here and we got them in on the last ride at 4:30. It was redone since I was here last with Amanda and the girls were thrilled to be able to come back with their cousin the next day. Off for dinner and a beer at San Wang. This was HJ's introduction to American-sized chinese food. Too much was ordered but it was good and we left there stuffed and happy. We had the fried beef, a spicy seafood soup and the girls had tasty dark noodles (maybe the noodles with plum sauce). Off to go pick up stage 2 arriving from Pittsburgh PA at the airport.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
I've also been catching up on my blogs. One of them was talking about how beautiful and fit people are made to feel badly about their size or fitness. While there are tons of reasons to get in shape and stay healthy, what that really means is relative. How do you draw the line between a good habit and an unhealthy obsession? What do we need to do to ensure that we appreciate our strong and healthy bodies? In any case I really enjoyed this parody video. I think you will too.
I'm also starting to think about things to do when my family (the whole kit and kaboodle) show up at the end of May. I'll pull out my calendar program and start adding in arrival and departure days. Then I need to start pulling together things to do, places to visit, restaurants to eat, etc. If you've got ideas of cool things to do with kids and grown-ups in the Bay Area let me know.
Friday, March 28, 2008
So today I was off and decided that I needed to get another couple of boards for my paintings and knew that SCRAP often had large pieces that I could cut down to meet my needs. Nadine asked to tag along to peruse for fabrics. On the way back, I noticed that she passed our turn on Potrero. When she passed the 22nd street turn, I starting thinking. Of course it didn't take long for me to catch on as we turned down Florida street and pulled into SFSPCA. Unlike the average pound or ASFCA location, this one had gotten a grant a while back from a major corporation and the cats and dogs are in seriously cool digs. Kitty condos and TVs are in most private rooms. You can walk around and read little summaries about the animal and see if they might have the right personality for you. So we cruised around and spotted this cat, Cooper, that caught Nadine's eye. We found a volunteer to introduce us and we spent a few minutes with him. He was a chatty boy and came right over to check us out. First he let Nadine pet him and scratch behind his ears. Next he cam over to me and hopped right into my lap! We didn't want to make a hasty decision, plus Nadine was hoping to get a couple of cats. So we went and looked at the bonded pairs. But Cooper had already stolen Nadine (and my) heart. We left to go and check on a friend at the house and talked about the cats we met. Before you knew it we were back to go pick out a cat. We met with Cooper again and decided that he was our guy. That second cat, well maybe later. Turns out Cooper had some medical issues and that it was decided to let him settle in with us (and us with him). If we still want another cat, we can pick them out later.
So I bet you are wondering what's up with Gomer? Well it turns out that our little kitty friend had been in the adoption center for a while. I week before, they decided to put a little kitty curb appeal to work and changed his name from the more humble Gomer to a sexier, tall-dark-and hansome Cooper. While Cooper is a really cute name, we decided that if he was Gomer for 5 years already we'd call him Gomer too. Welcome Home Gomer Sgro! Isn't he just a cutie?
Monday, March 17, 2008
Just a mere 2 minutes and 28 seconds, this video embodies who I am and, more importantly, why I am the way I am. Not only was this a normal part of my childhood, it remains deeply embedded in my brain. Occasionally when I am alone in the car or elevator, this very song will pop into my head. And yes, I will sing both parts.
But for those of you who were wondering if this was a muppet phenomena, the answer is no. The same way that the Barber of Seville was not original done by Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. The song was on the pop charts back in 1968-69. And it's original use was as a movie soundtrack, Svezia, inferno e paradiso- those wacky Italians!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Happy Pi day! I don't usually remember the special days, but with Pi day, 3.14 and the Ides of March, 3.15 right next to each other this one stuck long enough to come up some celebration ideas. So of course with a day celebrating the area of a circle, it only seems right to eat round pie-like things. So we are making pizza pie for dinner and maybe having a pie or tart for dessert.
To learn more about Pi, you can check out this link for the Exploratorium's Pi day celebration.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
So on a recommendation of a friend, I've been trying out something new. I've been painting with watercolor paints and other mediums that are similar for so long, I wasn't sure if I could change and learn how to use acrylics. I bought some paints and had been dabbling for a bit. Since I hadn't made much progress, I signed up for a workshop. So we've been messing around and now we are working on a painting of our choice. So here's a picture of the underpainting that I am working on.
So this is first part of the painting. On Wednesday we will do a technique called glazing that will put transparent pigment over the grey scale of the undercoating. The color should make it pop. I'm kinda exciting by the black and white part right now. I can't wait to see how it will look after I add the color. I'll post an up-date with the color version later this week.
Friday, February 22, 2008
It involved twinkies. Specifically, using twinkies as a modeling clay and sculpting with it. I was horrified and fascinated. I took one of the the instruction sheets, because I will do this. I will sculpt something using only twinkies as the "clay".
Here are the instructions. If you were the person who came up with this idea, please contact me so I can give you proper credit for this.
Goal: To sculpt "anything" from 4 packages of TWINKIES
Things you'll need
4 packages of Twinkies - that's 8 cakes total
plastic or latex gloves
Step 1: Open 4 pkgs of Twinkies.
Step 2: With a knife, slice off and save the base of each Twinkie.
Note the base is a different color and will provide a contrasting color for whatever you choose to sculpt.
Step 3: Mash all the base pieces together with your hands (this is a great time to put on those gloves) and include as much of the white cream filling that may be stuck to the bases. We will be using every part of the twinkie for this project. Continue kneeding until you have achieved a uniform color and consistency. Set aside in a ball. The stickiness will go away eventually and you will have what resembles "play dough".
Step 4: Do the same with the rest of the bars. This may take a while...persevere.
Step 5: Think of something to SCULPT! Sleeping animal...Christmas tree ornament...pretty much whatever!
Once you've finished sculpting, place on a firm surface to dry. Your finished product will harden and keep FOREVER! It will never rot or mold, but it will always have a bit of that "Twinkie" smell.
If you complete this project one rainy day, please send me a picture so I can post it here.
Monday, February 11, 2008
We've been doing what we can to try to feel safe at home again. I've been doing some reading and home invasions are a different sort of fright you might have if you came home and someone had broken in, took a bunch of stuff and left. The police were great and reassured us that we did everything right. It also seems that this was a random act and not that we were cased and chosen. I realize that when something like this happens it makes other people feel better if perhaps we had set ourselves up to be victimized. Our front door, although fairly solid, looked like an easier target than the others down the street. Once ours is replaced, it will look as tough if not tougher than our neighbors - a solid reinforced steel door with an additional metal security door/gate.
I'm angry that our neighbors didn't do anything. It took them 3 house-shaking tries to break the door. The 2 inch wide solid wood door split in 2 since the deadbolt held tight and the door frame was as solid as the door. The door broke into about 5 pieces as they burst through the entry way demanding money. We decided that we need to know our neighbors better. If something happened tomorrow, I know that I won't worry about meddling or interfering and I will call the police without a second thought.
I also have added a few numbers to my cell phone. Neither of us knew that if you called 911 from your cell phone, that you may end up at the state police and not the local police department. It's just the luck of the cell phone towers and proximity to the highway apparently. Nadine was on hold for over 2 minutes as she hid in the backyard trying to call for help. Luckily I was able to take advantage of the situation and get out. Once I saw them leave in a waiting SUV, I ran back and called from the house landline. I got someone on 911 immediately. You should know this and have a house phone near your bedside. We do now. Call your local police and fire department and ask them for the direct dial numbers and add them to your cell phone. In San Francisco Police emergency dispatch is 415-553-8090. If you want to report non-emergency suspicious activity, call 415-553-0123.
While I don't want to scare you, gentle readers, this is something that does happen. If you want to do what you can to make your home as safe as possible, here are some links to prevent crime from happening in the first place:
National Crime Prevention Council
Crime Prevention Tips
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I've been having a hankering for fresh herbs. Every time I pay money for an anemic bundle of wilty herbs at the supermarket I tell myself that I should already have these things in the backyard. What sort of person buys fresh herbs? Well with any luck I won't be one of those people anymore. Around Christmas time I bought a little mini-greenhouse thingie and some seeds. Once i got back from New York, I set up my little house, soaked the cute little peat pellets and sowed my seeds.
I did something similar last year when I had the desire to paint Chinese Lanterns and thought it would be cool to grow my own. That didn't turn out so well, but given my earlier success with tomatoes, I'm willing to try it again. So I've chosen to start with three things, cilantro, parsley and mint. The first two I chose because those are the ones I buy the most by the bunch to cook with and the mint I chose for summertime iced teas and to muddle into yummy mojitos.
The fact that all three are hearty plants and are supposed to grow like weeds once they get going was the clincher for me. The photo is after only two weeks of growth. The tall ones in front are the cilantro and already starting to show a curly leaf on their second set of leaves. In the middle is the mint. They don't look like much now, but I've already told them how happy I am to have them growing for me. In the back is the parsley. Every day I see a new seed sprouting.
I feel like a kid coming into the office to see how they are doing each morning. I have co-workers visit to see how they are doing. Seriously, they walk right over to check them out and then leave without saying anything to me if I'm on the phone or something.
Stop by to see how my garden is growing.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Now I really need to find a few people to start a soup club with me. I love soup. Nothing warms the soul and all your other bits as well as a nice soup. I think the only thing better is a nice soup that someone else has made. Right? So if you are interested, intrigued and willing to make soup on command
On a separate note, I'm going to be adding old posts from my old blog, starts and stop and Tune Talk in to this blog. I'll be using the original dates, so they will show up as archived posts. Once I'm done I'll let you all know.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
There are many things in life that just make you go, huh?, but this one I believe deserves a capital H. I don't know who to credit for the first spotting of this cute squirrel. It might have been randomly found on Cute Overload. After checking it out again last night, I thought to snopes it. The crazy thing is that she appears to be totally real, not photoshopped or gasp, taxidermically preserved, and her name is Sugar Bush Squirrel, squirrel of a thousand outfits. After about 20 minutes of horrified fascination, scanning every photo and watching the video montages, you just have to ask the next logical question, why? Why would you fashion thousands of squirrel-sized outfits and post them on the Internet.
Okay, I know. It's all about keeping Sugar Bush's Mama in the bling. I suppose we all need to have a purpose in life and this is her purpose. Now if you think I'm looking down on this enterprising woman and her fashionista squirrel. You are dead wrong. I checked out Sugar's My Space page (we'll be friends soon, so I feel okay calling her by her first name) and she's got some serious star friends. I mean if Jimmy Buffet and Eminem both hang with the squirrel it's got to be good, right?