Thursday, October 25, 2007


Chopping chopping chopping. I just love fresh produce.

Leftover onion

... you know, you take what you have on hand, chop it up, saute it, throw it in a pot with organic chicken stock, and let it simmer. You invite weary souls in to share it, warm their bellies and help calm their recent, long dusty days.

With thoughts and prayers to the people who need an extra dose of comfort. You know who you are. If you feel like you need an extra serving, go ahead, there's plenty.

Turkey noodle soup
The unexpected ingredient here was the soy sauce. And I threw in a splash of the white wine that I STILL have in the fridge. Not drinkin' fast enough, I guess. We didn't have enough turkey, so I added roast chicken. Chicken, turkey; by the end of it, it didn't really matter. Yummy. And, yes, soooo good for you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I’ve been tagged by Desiree. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to do a meme. What’s a meme? Here, try this on for size. I thought it was, you know, like Me-Me (as in “it’s all about ME!”). [shrug]


Seven Random things about me:
Isn’t my whole blog about random everyday things about me? Not trivial, let’s be clear, but random? Scritch, scritch, scritch. Okay, no matter. Here we go, maybe there’s something new to learn.

1. I am a degreed mechanical engineer and worked in aerospace for over ten years. On the Space Shuttle Main Engine and other advanced rockets. So when I roll my eyes and say, “Look people, this is *NOT* rocket science”, know that I say that with authority. Indeed.

2. Karen occasionally asks me, because people are curious and ask her, about my (ethnic) background. My grandparents came from Okinawa, so that makes me Okinawan / Japanese. The “Lee” part is my ex-husband’s, and even then, it’s of the Caucasian variety. You know, like, Irish.

3. "You were married?" Yes. It’s an unusually and exceptionally friendly divorce and I’m thankful for that. That explains the whole dating-at-40 thing, doesn’t it?

4. I’m allergic to cats.

5. I wear by wristwatch on my right hand, but don’t let that fool you: I’m right-handed. I discovered in design school that it’s impossible to draw with my watch on, so if the wristwatch comes off, I’m on a roll and in for the long haul.

6. I love Chinese Almond Cookies. And jello. Cut into little cubes (you have to love food that’s so jiggly in its exuberance, in spite of its seriously geometric form, don’t you think?).

7. I’m a degreed Industrial Designer. What’s industrial design? I have lots of thoughts on that, but for now, this should work. I teach industrial design at two great area colleges and work as a product design consultant. And volunteer a good chunk of time as an advocate for the profession. I know that's not really random, but I don't think I mention exactly what I do very often here. It surprises people, when they find this out, the people who know what product design is...

Okay, so now (rubbing my hands together) ... who do I want to tag, next? I get to pick seven people.

Can I segue this into something even more? I found this collection of "Small is Beautiful" bloggers:

The Small Is Beautiful Manifesto

The first part of their manifesto goes: "We believe stories are valuable, no matter how many people read them...". This is what I love about reading blogs, the little stories of the everyday, often told by creative people. I think that we should get more random insight into some of the bloggy people out there who make the world a richer, cozier, much more intimate place, by sharing their stories and art.

So, I tag these Small/Beautiful blogs:

KarenW is my painting buddy and lends a sympathetic ear and warm heart, too. She just outed herself as a paint and plant geek. But we already knew that, Karen. Tell us something even more random!

Toni Not only is the art wonderful and the lettering so graceful, but Soup Night is an extra yummy bonus.

KarenB Aren't her sketches and stories great? The art is super too.

Kim finds amazing and very distracting links on the web, finds beautiful things to make us pause, creates great self-portraits, shares bits and pieces of life in her photographs.

Ophelia is living life very juicy and shares it; raw, gritty, everything! I confess my unexpected affection for Mr. Pooh!

Pete I don't know how I found Pete, NerdGuru. With a name like that, how could I resist? I teach business practices, for designers, and find that his collection of essays on business practices for engineers strikes a resonant chord with the teacher in me, and his stories and book reports are really fun. I am a nerd, deep down.

MrMominFL My dad was a stay-at-home-Dad (SAHD). Remember, that was 40 years ago. OMG, the stigma. Have things evolved? MrMom will give you an earful. And, although our familiarity with Canada might make us think otherwise, when one moves from Canada to the US and tries to get a job, one is still an ... alien. I forget this detail in MrMom's life, that he's from Canada, 'eh. Dude, hope it's going better. The photos (raw and editorialized) are great and fun, too.

I'm going to sneak a couple more in.

Jen Gray's photos are great. And the stories and thoughts? Oh, just go see.

I admit that I almost left out the other Wendee, because her life is normally SO not ordinary and everyday. She's off, out in the world, writing and photographing. Her adventures of the soul and of the wild are great. A normal suburban Texas mom? I don't think so.

Okay. I've given you plenty of places to go visit. Support the Small and Beautiful bloggers out there and the very wonderful lives and stories that they share. Enjoy. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire, Ash, and sighs in the wind

It’s hard to feel … impish … when Southern California is burning. I’ve lived in SoCal for 20 years now, making it the longest I’ve lived anywhere. Long enough to have grown roots! When I hear of the canyon road closures – Topanga, Kanan, Malibu Canyon – I used to commute on those roads just a year ago. Long drives up Pacific Coast Highway after days at work, winding through the canyons at night to get home.

That part of stretch of PCH was a soothing ritual, and the thought of it, and so much more of Southern California, burning – it makes my heart a bit heavy and fretful. Fire, ash, dangerous gusts, closed highways... Be safe out there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I left my heart ...

in San Francisco...

I'm so the SoCal girl. You weren't gonna fall for that, were ya'?

I'm back from a design conference in SF. I might not have left my heart there, but did leave my cold there (yay!). And apparently my luggage felt compelled to stay for an extra day (rolling my eyes and shaking my head). I'm back home, along with my luggage. Lots of great ideas, stories and thoughts from the conference, but for right now, I have to catch up with work and grading papers. More later.

But you can at least check out the photos:

Click here to see the photos.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bits and pieces

From the collage workshop

From my guy! (the flowers, not the image)
More playing with Photoshop.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I went to the Pasadena Art Expo yesterday. I had two workshops; one on exhibiting your work and another on acrylic media collaging. Both very fun. I think the Art Expo is run by a different organization than it had been; the last time I went was probably over 15 years ago. I realize now that not only am I more well-versed in specialized art products, but in the time that’s passed, I’ve found great sources and local shops where I can find my graphic, drafting, modeling and art supplies, and that I’m not shy about stopping by to pick up supplies and indulge in browsing to see what’s new, too. So, seeing all the goodies there at the expo was great, but there wasn't anything there that insisted on coming back home with me.

It’s like going to the See’s store when you’ve already had your fill from the Cheesecake Factory. Or something. Oh yeah, like I wouldn't come home with a chocolated-covered caramel! Pf!

Okay, yeah, right. I did play with some new (? to me) water-soluble pencils from Derwent called Inktense. The pigment might be more intense than the other water-soluble pencils I already have, and, as advertised, the lead seems to be more firm, as well. I would have bought a set of those, but the vendor had chosen to not bring any pencils from that line! Duh! They were letting us take one pencil, free, as a reminder to go buy ‘em, when we find ‘em, though.

Here’s the first from my one, lonely, blue Inktense pencil.

p.s. I added a photo of the soup to the Mexican chicken soup post!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mexican Chicken Soup

Somedays, all I feel like doing (when it comes to the daily sketch) is coloring. Not shading, but coloring. Colorcolorcolor ... oh, darker, darker. As I hum. Is it just me?

You're going to ask me for a photo of the soup. I just know it.

I’m still not 100% but felt ambitious enough to make Chicken Soup. Everyone tells me to drink orange juice, but the acid is just too much of me. Bleh! Why make myself feel worse? I like chicken soup better.

During one of our trips into San Diego, we literally stumbled upon a restaurant called La Especial Norte (604 North Coast Highway 101 at Leucadia Boulevard, in Leucadia).

The food is fantastic. Their Chicken Soup is renown and oh, so yummy. Chicken, avocado, lime and cilantro. Yum. Their chicken mole is really great, too. We’ve made the drive south just to eat there again, at least once (so far). Oh, my eyeballs are starting to roll back in their sockets ... Yummmmmmmmy.

Anyway. I felt like cooking up a pot of something and was thinking about chicken soup, but I didn’t feel like the typical chicken noodle variety. You can get whip some of that up with a can-opener, you know?, if you're really under the weather. No, I wanted yummier. I immediately thought of Mexican Chicken Soup. But, heck, La Especial Norte won’t deliver, as we're easily three or four counties (who's counting?) away and a good 2+ hours north. Imagine! Tsk!

I did a search online and found several recipes for Mexican Chicken Avocado Soup. Isn't the internet great?

I worked mostly from this one, although this one might also do (although the cumin and lime are key).
I left out the tortilla strips and it was fine, although J thinks the tortilla strips would be something good to include. I added two sliced carrots and extra lime juice and water. And a dash of white wine we have languishing away in the fridge. I’m not crazy about the potatoes (J thought they were fine) and noticed that La Especial Norte has rice in their soup. Hmmm.

The verdict: yummy yummy yummy.

Very colorful. And so healthy for you, too. Not that labor-intensive (but, of course, I like chopping fresh produce and herbs). Plus, in case you're wondering about the medicinal benefit: I feel better, ready for a good night's rest.

It’s a keeper.

~ Like this talk of food? Check out Toni Kelly's Soup Nights.

Oh, I see

The tricky thing about drawing glasses is that you usually wish you had them on, to better see the details of what you're drawing...
Sumpthin' like that.

The sinus-infection-sneezy-coughy-thing that I'm afflicted with? Apparently it's going around. Maybe I'm not allergic to my new surroundings after all...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bananas, everywhere

We've had the tangelo too long! Iick!

Who knows? Still got the bananas and tangelo on my mind, I guess.

I’d like to say that I enjoyed the long weekend (I was one of those lucky ones that got Columbus Day off), drawing and painting and meandering.

But, my whateveritis allergy is threatening to become a full-blown cold (“Oh, maybe it’s a cold!”), complete with that worn-down feeling and a cough.

And my left eye isn’t really liking the new contact lens, even after a couple of months.

So, I’m tired and congested and not seeing things as clearly as I ought to be (what a metaphor, huh?). You might think I’m being cheeky, winking at you, but really, I’m just trying to see if I can get my contact lens to settle in …

So I’m not feeling the ‘drawing and painting and meandering’ so much, at the moment. Going to try and find some hot apple cider and take it easy…


Saturday, October 06, 2007

What's that sound?

What? Hear that? Wait. I hear it again! Wha-?

What IS it?

It sounds like,

like a ...





Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Carbo loading

opaque w/c, M'skine sketchbook

It's still warm here in SoCal, but I think the autumn routines are kicking in. I feel the urge to cook up a big pot of stuff on Sunday nights and have that on hand to keep life easy at the start of the week. By the end of the week, after all, we're heading out for Mexican food and muy grande margaritas... mmmm. Margaritas... And for sure, that makes up for all the PB&J sandwiches I eat; dinner the other nights, on my way to school. Weary sigh.

And it always seems significant when I get the urge to put together italian meat sauce. Something very soothing in the chopping, crumbling up spices, opening all those cans of tomato product, stirring.


Monday, October 01, 2007

See? There I am!

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.” -Robert Bresson

My guy at Glacier National Park

This was the quote for the day, and I was inspired to go through my photos for a few appropriate ones. You realize that without me, my guy would never have documentation of him taking photographs. The big ol' bear used to roam alone, and that's plenty of roaming. Alone. He has stacks of photographs of these great places, but none of him hiking or setting up to take photos of his landscapes.

My collection of photos of him either hiking ahead or snapping a shot has grown since the Glacier trip, over a year ago (maybe you've noticed). Someone got on my case for not actually being in very many of these photos, but if you think about it, I am in these photos that appear to be just of him, really.

I am there. In all of them.

I was looking through my files and through my Flickr sets and realized that I never posted photos from the second half of our trip to Glacier National Park, last summer (2006). Duh.

Click here
for more!

They're new to you, though, right?
There are a couple of photos of the two of us, even...

A Snapple-y Sunday morning

Opaque w/c on M'skine sketch, wonky ellipses and all...

It might look breezy, but it actually shows how busy we both are – grading papers, creating improved lecture handouts – on the weekends. Kinda wishing for a sluggish, lazy, no-guilt, don’t-hafta-go-anywhere weekend. I get the 8th off from school (Columbus Day), so I’m looking forward to enjoying a little bit of no-guilt play-time in a week.

Between the pan gouache and tube watercolor kits I’ve been using on the new sketchbook, I’ve discovered that I'm starting on more pages that bear the mark of too much water on the side before. You can see it here as a diagonal streak to the left of the papers, in the empty space. Time to start carrying around more watercolor paper with me, huh?

Oh, check this out guys:
"Blogger Play will show you a never-ending stream of images that were just uploaded to public Blogger blogs." Like watching the clouds go by. But better.