desultory thoughts

Blast from the past

OMG. This old thing! I read the last blog post I wrote… 5 years ago? It’s like looking at my old sketchbooks. My drawings were so stiff and thin. It’s kind of embarrassing to think of how proud I was. I’ll probably come back 5 years from now and laugh at myself some more.

Anyway, since personal blogs are vehicles for vanity, here’s some of my more recent pieces.


Sketchbook Pro Challenge in the style of Dr Seuss



Barn owl, gouache and watercolor



“Danger was his name,” watercolor and pen



April showers

So I’ve been going to this writers/artists group that’s based in Silver Spring pretty regularly. I’ve yet to produce anything stunning, but I have to admit it’s good exercise, and it’s really loosened me up so I don’t feel nearly as much pressure to produce something “perfect.”

One night, out of sheer curiosity and boredom, I started writing… something. I didn’t get very far at all.

She stared at the computer screen. “How hard can it be?” she said to herself. Plenty of people write in their spare time. Her brain churned through half phrases and incomplete thoughts. She told herself severely that there was a reason her daydreams never developed anything resembling a plot. Besides, she had no gift for writing conversation.

Pretty bad, eh? I think I should definitely stick to drawing and cooking and the occasional blog entry.😀

I didn’t read nearly as many new books in April.  I did order two new books over the weekend: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb and Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

Where She Went, Gayle Forman– I think I liked this even better than the first book, If I Stay. You feel so much for Adam. I loved the progression of Adam and Mia’s night out on the town. Adam finally gets resolution from the questions that have been dogging him ever since Mia left. I love the lyrics to Animate: First you inspect me /Then you dissect me /Then you reject me/ I wait for the day /That you’ll resurrect me (Chapt 23). I can almost hear the music in my head.

p.s. After watching Gayle’s tour of NYC, I am possessed of a burning lust for a “Fictional Character” T-shirt.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins– I thought this was a pretty amazing book. Good writing, good story-telling, good characters, good handling of difficult subjects of poverty, death, grief, starvation, etc. It’s hard not to love Katliss. She’s independent, resourceful, and protective. She’s blind in some spots but that just makes her that much more convincing. I liked Peeta and Cinna, but sometimes they felt a bit too much like tropes. Will have to finish the series.


fox rabbit

Oh Shenandoah

 I long to hear you. Away you rolling river…

March books

Ok, so it's not *yarn*, per se.

My words are all tangled in my head like so much yarn. I, umm, spent a lot of time reading in March.

Knitting Rules!, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee– I took up knitting a few weeks… no, a month ago… inspired by Robin McKinley’s foray into the magical world of fibercraft. It’s a great companion book with writing that’s both good and easy to read. Highly entertaining.

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman– Whatever it was that I was expecting, I wasn’t expecting this. The writing was so clear and simple, like a bedtime story. A really cool bedtime story. In fact it reminded me of Diana Wynne Jones’s writing.* It was a little slow going at first, but by the second half I couldn’t put it down. Will have to explore more Neil Gaiman.

Passage, Connie Willis– I don’t think of myself as being a scifi reader, but the subject, near death experiences, was too interesting to pass up, especially when the book came free. I loved how Dr. Joanna did NOT fall in love with Dr. Richard and how dedicated and heroic she was.

Feed, MT Anderson– More scifi! With a much more, hmmm can’t find the right word, political slant than what I’m used to. It reminded me of Brave New World with its vapid, superficial society. Life is so easy for Titus until he meets Violet, who wants to be part of the crowd, but because of her upbringing, can’t reconcile herself to how very commercial and empty it all is.

If I Stay, Gayle Forman– This was a very emotional and absorbing read. Mia, comatose in the ICU, is the sole survivor of a horrific car accident. Her parents are killed instantly and her little brother Teddy follows her parents not long after. Mia, stuck in limbo, is stuck with the decision to stay and live without her beloved family, or die. While Mia deals with grief and loss, the story is ultimately about life and the connections we make with other people… and music.

*I was so sad to hear about Diana Wynne Jones’s death. I heard she’d been battling cancer, but I’d hoped she’d win through and write more wonderful books. As a reader, I grieve for the loss of an exceptional author. The world has lost so much in potential books.

Assorted readings

I’ve been bad about not posting about books I’ve read. Not that I’m under any obligation or anything. That’s just the attention-whore in me talking.

His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik: I really liked this and will probably read more. I just loved the bond of deep friendship and affection between Temaraire and Laurence. I really enjoyed Laurence’s transition from reluctant Navy officer to more freethinking Corpsman. And Temaraire himself is insanely lovable.

The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon: Lou Arrendale is a high functioning autistic with a gift for pattern recognition. He is compassionate and very, very bright and insightful. I don’t know much at all about autism, but Lou and his high functioning autistic coworker-friends (they work in a special division of a pharmaceutical company in the future) were convincing and interesting. One of my favorite themes was the pattern recognition; Everywhere Lou looks he instinctively looks for patterns. He sees the differences between himself and the “normals” but doesn’t quite understand why. Highly recommend.

Pegasus, Robin McKinley: I’m a loyal reader of Robin McKinley’s books. The bond between Sylvi and Ebon in their unusual friendship felt almost heartbreaking to me in it’s intensity. The writing is very dreamlike and the pacing is rather leisurely. I especially loved the story at the end told by Fthoom. There was just something very powerful about it.



If I ever win the lottery, I’m building a house with this. It’s like a modern, scaled down version of the Beast’s library in Beauty and the Beast.

From Apartment Therapy’s Warren & Mimi’s Highly Personal Architectural Home House Tour.


Abominable sunday night art project

 So I’m not going to support myself as an artist any time soon. I started out wanting to create a christmas card of sorts and since I love drawing trees, I thought I’d do another one.


It just wasn’t my day. I thought I’d experiment with colored pencil. Now I want to break every last pencil in two. So, what did I learn from this little  exercise?

1. To be wary of using colored pencil on heavily textured paper, especially when I’ve gotten used to using paint, and I’m obviously a novice at this new medium.

2. Not to expect my art to be top notch when I’ve been out of practice and wound up about various parts of life gone wonky.

3. I should probably try adding more detail and work a lot more saturated color in to the background, but I’m really lazy. From now on, I’m sticking with paint.

The lady doth protest too much

It’s been a month and I’m still bitter about the Wedding of the Century, where only about 60% of those who RSVP’d showed up to the reception dinner, judging from the numbers of empty tables.  The head table, on the other hand, was crowded and overflowing. Just a little insane, if you ask me. Oh, and there was a 3 hour photo shoot after the ceremony, 2 hours of which was spent freezing outdoors.

I still hate traditional weddings. My friend turned into Bridezilla. I thought the fact that she is a schoolteacher by trade meant that she would handle the planning better. She developed a martyr complex that really made me want to slap her. Having a wedding is a totally voluntary project. I do not understand the need to blindly follow tradition at the expense of your mental and financial health. When you have to borrow money from your 401k to fund what is essentially a big party, I think you’ve crossed the line to insanity.

I used to love her. Now, not so much.

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