Monday, August 22, 2016

Off to college and the meat comic

At 4:15 am on Thursday I was awake and was off dragging Chloe out of bed and trying to keep up with Mike who sprung out of bed at the first blimp of the alarm. Mike and Chloe were headed to the airport, and flying to Missouri for "move in day" at the dorms.

Here they are in flight.

         After dropping them off I made my way out of the airport, and everything went south. I took the wrong elevator bank and wound up on the opposite side of the parking garage that is built to be a duplicate of the other side. I stood in the duplicate spot (where I was sure I'd parked) freaking out! The numbers were even rubbed off and repainted askew the same way as in the other lot in that row (all other rows are fine). I was sure the car was stolen. I called for help and basically this happens all day (and night long). They hire these people to drive lost travelers to their cars on the other side.  What's important though, is that they made their flight.

Hours later I was on the phone with Mike. They had rented a car with an awful GPS that was sending them 3 hours out of their way through some of the loveliest back roads Missouri had to offer (meanwhile Chloe was missing orientation.) So I sorted it out here on Google maps and navigated them back on track.

They made it though! They even wore the shirts they sent for move in day. :P

Chloe has already made a bunch of friends, and started classes today.

Here she is with her new roommate. They were both chosen to be part of the fostering program this year. Her campus is pet friendly and they have a program where the students who apply and get in are asked to foster an animal from the local shelter for a significant grant towards tuition/expenses.  Mike said there were many beautiful dogs moving in at the dorm. Chloe and her roommate will be getting their cats this week!

While Mike was traveling he was also promoting the last days of his kickstarter for a slightly disturbing comic about meat written by horror writer Cody Goodfellow.  It was a smashing success!

In other news my rabbit mask is on the cover of Adore Noir magazine this month. Photographer Sharon Covert did a whole series using my masks and they are featured inside as well. The photos are to be in another print magazine next month as well as in a gallery exhibit in LA. 

I'm continuing to promote my fundraiser for my artist residency in Morocco. This is my first residency and I truly hope everything falls into place to make it possible!

Have a fabulous Monday!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Sun

   It's always there. ALWAYS. The heat is bad this time of year, but it's the sunshine and the constant glare that pains me. Phoenix, you see is the second sunniest city in the world. THE WORLD. The sunniest one is just a few hours away in Yuma, Arizona.

When most people think of the sun it's like this.

When I think of the sun it's more like this.

The glare burns a hole in my head through my eyes as I scramble for my only protection... My $10 sunglasses. The light reflects off everything even the pavement for some reason, and then we hit November and the weather outside is pleasant all at once, but the sun still shines. My eyes hurt from it. My head hurts from it. On the other hand I don't want to live in the cold and the dark. There must be some middle ground.

This week Naomi and Phoebe started their new school, up in Glendale. It's called the Arizona Conservatory For Arts and Academics. Naomi has entered the middle school and is starting off with guitar and ballet as her arts choices and Phoebe is studying visual arts and advertising. They attend long days from 7:30am till 4pm, but the school has Fridays off so kids can come in for tutoring or rehearsals for any performance classes. They seem to be adapting well (especially to the 3 day weekend part).

Chloe opening gifts

The most incredible vegan chocolate cake made by Naomi for Chloe's big day.
    This week Chloe turned 18! On the morning of her birthday I said "Hey now you're 18!"
"Yes, now I can uuuuuh..."
"Well you can join the military."
"No, Mom, I have a heart murmur."
"Right, well, you can register to vote."
"I did that months ago...."
"Oh yeah, well, now  you can be prosecuted as adult!"
"YAY!" (then she rolled her eyes).

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A comic about meat and SDCC

Mike is home again now from San Diego Comic Con. He spent the week dressed as a chicken.... Really!

He's the one in the middle promoting his new project called "Mystery Meat" with writer, Cody Goodfellow (the pig man on the left). This is a link to the kickstarter, which is doing quite well as it just launched! 

Of course he did other things too. Like participate in the "Sketch-a-thon" over at the Cartoon Art Museum booth, and find publishers for a number of projects (which is great!).

I spent the week teaching kids and getting Phoebe over to her Theater intensive program at the Phoenix Theater downtown. She's in a production of Snoopy and working quite hard at it! Naomi's swim team is over so she been gearing up for her new school and Chloe's still in California camp counseling (is that a word? ), but she'll be home this weekend.

    In other news, photographer, Sharon Covert's mask series is being featured in Adore Noire magazine. She's including my credit for mask designs and had me describe my process for the magazine. Anyway I'm really excited!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Mask making and Phoebe's trip to Seattle

With just a few classes on the weekend, this week's all about hiding inside for me. So I'm hiding from the heat and designing masks for my store.....

My desk is covered, and my storage bins are filling up! You can have one of these masks as your very own for a donation to my fundraiser for my Morocco residency! Check it out. :)

Last week Phoebe flew to Seattle on her own. Since she's 14, I could send her without signing her up for the minor traveling alone program where they guide the kids from one destination to the other, which adds a lot of cost to the ticket.  Unfortunately, after we left her at the gate in Phoenix she missed the announcement where they changed the departure gate and she missed her flight! The great thing was that she had to step up. She got herself booked on a new flight and over to the new gate and contacted us about the changes. Here she is in the Seattle airport.

She spent a week traveling around the city with her aunt and uncle!

All week they sent me some fabulous photos! Here they are on a ferris wheel by the waterfront.

Phoebe and Kristin by the waterfront.

And next to the ferris wheel!

They took the ferry to Whidbey Island.

Went to the Aquarium, hiking, and biking and of course the Space Needle.

In the end I'm pretty sure she had an amazing time!

Chloe left as well last week to be a camp counselor at a camp in the San Bernardino mountains in California. She doesn't send photos but she did call today, and said she was really enjoying working with the kids! 

In other news, our days inside resulted in a theft in our car. Everything was rummaged through and the GPS was gone. We seem to get robbed a lot at this point, but this is why we can't have nice things... Oh well. Stay cool and for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere who doesn't live in the freaking desert, enjoy the summer!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Under the desert sun

The past week and half has been the usual for summer in Phoenix. Just "surface of the sun" weather. Step outside and get inside as fast as you can.  It's a tough place to come home to in the summer.

I've been consumed with running summer camps for Abrakadoodle, Inc. in Scottsdale. By the end of the week some of the kids were tired of face painting so we went with feet painting!

The kids LOVED it and we had a lot of fun!

It was a challenging week for teaching though. I teach at different sites all over the Valley and need to lug supplies with me. Generally not a problem but my rolling cart broke and I needed to move a lot of supplies under the desert sun.

I'm also still promoting my fundraiser for my artist residency in Morocco. There are many books and masks and even paintings available as gifts for anyone who donates (think of it as shopping!)

This is my frog mask that I just finished.

It's one of many masks you could choose from from my fundraiser!

Chloe and Heidi in Little Italy, San Diego

Chloe spent the last 10 days visiting her old friend Heidi in San Diego.  Heidi is a bit nutty and at one point signed them both up to volunteer at the Food Festival dressed as sushi for the day! I truly wish I had a photo of her as a sushi..... Anyway this morning I sit drinking one of the hundreds of packets of Thai coffee Heidi's family sent her home with. Like the package says "It's tasty AND delicious"!!

Friday, June 24, 2016

A painful departure

For our last days in Mexico we explored the waterfront and pondered riding the horses that walked up and down the beach by our house. No one could agree when to go, and in the end we didn't do it... ( I know lame).

Checking out one of many vendors by the port. Probably one the only pictures of all three girls in one place I've seen in a long time!

The skulls on the sidewalk. These were so cool when I first saw them in a window, but then like many things for sale in these markets they lost their charm after seeing the same ones carried at five or six shops. At least in Argentina in the "mercado artesanal " the products were of a similar vein but they were handcrafted by each artist at the stalls.

The port was a busy place even when a cruise ship wasn't in town especially on the weekends. Families from all over the city came down to walk near the water and get dinner.

After walking in the sun for a few blocks we decided to duck into alley and found the fish market..

Mike and Oscar by the fish. Mexico is actually very dog friendly. Dogs can go on beaches, in restaurants and shops, as long as they stay leashed. We found this to be true here, in Puerto Peñasco, and in Juarez.

In the square a market had sprung up over night.

We milled around the market buying tamales and studying various crafts and products (mostly the same ones from the downtown area, but now in tents). There was also a little train going around for children, and these odd giant plush toys with wheels for children to ride.

Shopping in foreign supermarkets is something I actually enjoy doing a lot. It's surprising because I hate going to my regular supermarket.  Anyway we discovered that the banana code we punch in at our local Safeway is the same as the one the guy at the local market in Ensenada punched in to his register when we purchased bananas ... 4011. It turns out this is the international banana code for all supermarkets everywhere! 

In the supermarket I also came across these.... Chocolate surprise eggs!! My kids had an ongoing relationship with these when we lived in Argentina. They loved them! I insisted on buying a few as they are contraband in the US. Mike was sure the girls are too old and don't care anymore. Boy was he wrong -they were thrilled! They even liked the kiddie prizes inside.

Finally the moment came that we had to pack up and leave the house we'd been renting. Our cat vanished in the first 10 minutes of arriving the week before and we'd waited, and waited for her to return like she always did. She's a traveling cat and has been for a long time. We adopted her as a kitten when we lived in Bariloche, Argentina. She's slipped away on road trips before, in Sedona, the Grand Canyon and once right out of the car into the woods in Wisconsin, but Isabella always came back. Usually with a dead mole or a lizard. Anyway, we had to go and take solace in the fact that she's been micro chipped. Hopefully she's found a nice family in Mexico.

The ride out of town alternated between stunningly beautiful with views of the ocean and the mountains, and complete horror. At one point traffic slowed down as cars crept past an accident. There on the pavement was a motorcycle on it's side next to a body covered with a bloody sheet.
Then more miles of the beautiful coastline, till we cruised into Tijuana and saw an impoverished man in the street missing most of both his arms.

After getting lost in Tijuana on the way in I studied and studied the directions and even insisted we buy a map. Then of course everything was well marked and went completely smoothly. In no time we were waiting at "la linea" to get across the border. The man in the photo is a hat seller working the line.

Vendors walk up and down the line of cars while we wait. At first you groan, because you want to just cross and not be bothered, but then the hours tick by and you find yourself buying ice cream, and churros, and running out of pesos! In the end you're glad they are there to distract you from the crazy wait for crossing one of the busiest borders in the world.

After getting through to San Diego we met up with Mike's "step mother" Claudia. The plan had been to see his father Russ too, but Russ passed away earlier this month, so it was a very melancholy visit.

Then we dropped off Chloe at the house of an old friend from middle school. Heidi's high school graduation was the next day and Chloe was invited to go and stay for a visit.  From there we began the epic drive back to Phoenix. We rolled in to 108º heat at around midnight. Gotta love returning to Phoenix in the summertime!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wandering through museums and a "Fun run"

Cruise ships come in pretty regularly here, increasing the population in a sudden swoop!

This one swooped in early yesterday morning. I took this from our patio as I sipped my coffee.

After some pretty intense sunburns at La Bufadora we decided to stay inside and see some local museums. This giant torso is outside the local art center in town.

Mike and I by the massive mural at the art center.

This metal sculpture also decorates the courtyard.

They're huge and quite striking.

This wonderful mermaid adorns the lobby.

Chloe looking at art in the main gallery. Chloe's the only one of our kids who came with us the see the museums.

Honestly it was a very good show and I think they missed out, but Phoebe's not feeling well and is permanently connected to her ipad since we've arrived.

Nude with dove.

The artist was very surreal with some of his work.

I like the show quite a lot.

From here we walked over to the Cultural Center and the History Museum.

The grounds outside were quite pretty.

The history museum was full of twists and turns and had little peepholes in hidden corners that peered into a mysterious ballroom.

It of course had many historical exhibits.

Like this model of the "Santa Maria".

After spending time spying on people in the ballroom we headed back outside to see if it was part of the cultural center.

This building also had a collection of interesting sculptures out front.

Eventually we found the ballroom.

The art on the walls was unusual....

...But the ceiling was stunning!!! All in all a pretty successful outing. 

             Days on the beach have cause some crisis here and there. A few days ago Naomi went wave jumping near sunset and had her glasses knocked off her face and swept out to sea. Yesterday Oscar was stung by fire ants while walking on the beach and had to be carried home and the to the veterinaria. Fortunately that only cost a few pesos. 

 Mike and I are really enjoying our mornings in town. The kids sleep in every morning and we usually head out to a coffee shop. Early one morning we found this amazing doorway.

This morning we sipped our lattes and watched a marathon pass us by. It was a very flexible marathon as some people were wearing roller blades, walking dogs and pushing strollers or maybe they all do that (I don't watch marathons very much.)

Every morning we keep an eye and an ear out for our missing cat. Where are you Isabella?
"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut


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