Friday, August 10, 2012

A Rainy Day on Facebook

It started when my son, Caleb, posted this on Facebook:

He says: 5K in the rain. Feeling good. (Notice the sewing machine in the background? MIL loves to see evidence of sewing.)

Later, Nathan (our oldest), posted:

He says: Not to be outdone by brother Caleb S. Ferrier, I did my own 4 miles in the rain. I'm damp. Really damp. But I put up a 31.49 on four miles. Not too shabby.

Next we hear from the youngest, David:

He says (with some editing due to repeated use of his favorite swear word): Not to be outdone by my brothers Nate Ferrier and Caleb S. Ferrier I went for my own (expletives deleted) lungs! My @#$% LUUUUNGS ::wheeeeeeeze:: ::cough cough::  That's it. I'm quitting smoking. Today.

And then we hear from Jacob:

He says: Not to be shown up by my three brothers, Caleb S. Ferrier, Nate Ferrier, and David Ferrier, I went out for a run, but unfortunately, it is not raining in Baltimore.

When Kent and I saw these posts we just had to play along.

Kent says: Not to be shown up by my sons I drove 5 hours in the rain for a two hour meeting. (He sprayed himself with the hose to reach the desired degree of dampness.)

Finally, from me:

I say: This is what comes of letting you guys play in the rain. And this is me, standing in the rain to take the picture of your dad. I do love you all so!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A day in Pompeii

Long ago, when my hair was still red, Heather Purcell  (Mother Superior) and I went to Pompeii. It was part of an invitational trip to Switzerland, to see the Bernina factory.

It was Heather's idea, actually, to visit another place in Europe, since we were going there anyway, and neither of us had ever been. That's a little like saying, I need to go to Vermont, let's visit Florida along the way. But I was game, so after some conversation, we decided to fly to Rome a week before the Bernina event, so we would be over our jet lag and have our clocks reset. We were going at the end of November and we didn't want to end up in weather too wintery . It turned out to be one of the warmest winters Europe had enjoyed in many decades.

At first we had ourselves a fun competition, seeing which of us could take more arty pictures of textures. I have close to a zillion, and they are all as facinating as these two.

We had a terrific tour guide, an older Italian gentleman. (It turns out that there is a huge difference in Native Italian speaking English, and Native English Speaking.) As we were introduced to Pompeii's daily life it became clear that if it hadn't be wiped out by a volcano, Somebody owed an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah. My, my, these folks were lusty!

The businesses seemed to come down to two basic sorts: brothels and doctors to cure what the men picked up in the brothels. They didn't seem to care much for treating the women, therefore assuring the doctors a steady stream of patients.

The guide explained that there were three levels of doctors. The first treated the fellows', um, ah, privates, with topical creams and powders.

When that didn't work, they went to Doctor Level Two for more invasive therapy. I shudder to think of what that must have meant all those years ago. But men are awfully proud of their, um, ah, privates, so they are willing to do pretty much anything to keep it operational.

Yeah, you're seeing what you think you are seeing. This is one of the least risque of the many murals. These guys used phallic symbols as directional arrows on their walls and pavement.

They went to the final level of doctor when there was nothing left to do but chop the thing off. Our guide then suggested, in his thick Italian accent, "You know, like America's Lorena Bobbitt" and everyone giggled.

I was standing in the back of the crowd, where the tall people always end up. I can never resist an opportunity to make folks laugh, so I said, "Do you know what they call Lorena Bobbitt in Russia?"

Everyone turned around and looked at me. (I wasn't expecting that, I don't much like being the center of attention.)

"They call her Lorena Kutachunkoff." The group roared! I've now made people laugh on two continents! For the remainder of the tour, the guide would occasionally sidle up to me and ask, "how you say?" and I would repeat Kutachunkoff. "Ah, yes".

This happened several times before then end of the tour. Finally a fellow with a New York City accent spoke up. He said, "Hey buddy, if you're going to steal her material, the least you can do is refund her the cost of the tour!"

So, if by chance you end up in Pompeii, with a tour guide who tells you about Russian Lorena, would you let him know I'm still waiting for my check?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Playing with Pens

For my next project I broke out my Tsukineko inks and pens. I collected most of these while taking a class with Lura Schwarz Smith, one of the best teachers I've ever had. In truth, I had no idea what I was signing up for. If I had realized how much drawing we would do (I can't draw, only artists can draw!), I would have never chosen that class. But Lura was a delightful teacher, and I learned a lot.

The tools are very simple, a tiny bottle of ink (which goes a really long way), Fabrico markers (which have both a pen and brush nib), and Fantastix (pointed for drawing or bullet shaped for shading.) I love the fantastix. Just dip them into the ink, rub on a bit of waste cloth until you have the intensity you desire, and then color away. It feels a lot like using crayons, but not as streaky as crayons or pencils.

I did a couple of samples, trying to remember all the terrific stuff I learned from Lura.

On my blue sample, in addition to the pens and ink, I used an ink called Champagne Mist. Applied with a brush, it adds just the tiniest hint of sparkle. We all need a little sparkle, right?

Here it is in all its glory. I free handed the basic outline (it's what my friends call a Beth flower.) I tried to pay attention to what would be in shadow, and what would be highlighted. I have a thing for dotted centers, it sort of makes it look fluffy or textured.

Here's my second try. A little less streaky, especially in the leaves and buds.

I really like how this bud came out, and the curvy leaf. Exactly what I was going for! Have you ever played with art supplies? Did you like it?