Thursday, May 24, 2012

Peg and Jack

Sometimes I have to just paint for myself, with no real audience in mind. I love adventure stories and fantasy backdrops (and mayhaps the occasional game of Dungeons and Dragons). No surprise when I paint for myself, I'm happiest with the results. Tonight I had barely finished a pencil sketch before I dove into a full painting, and the whole project took maybe 3-4 hours.

This is what I do for fun, when I paint to take a break from, ah, you know,... painting.

Peg and Jack

Peg and Jack were quite the pair of adventurers in their prime. Now the old druidess and her elderly dire boar live peacefully on a small farm, remembering their glory days fondly.


I love little old lady characters. Swan Eaters centers strongly around Grandma Hawker, and I get the impression Peg is a pretty cool old chick too. What can I say? Crones have lead interesting lives and have buckets of wisdom. They've got more to say than younger women. They're more confident in their opinions, and they're not usually out to impress anyone. It's the perfect storm for an excellent woman. Heck, look at any of Dame Maggie Smith's characters in the last 10-20 years.


And I enjoy drawing monsters because they're monsters. Dire boars are a particular favorite. I love anything I can outfit in fur, tusks, and pointy bits!

The pencil sketch

Beginning the wheat wash.

My paint box. It's a mess because it's constantly in use.

Speaking of Dame Maggie Smith, I've been painting to a lot of Pogo lately....

Goodnight, Neverland!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Otter on a Laptop

Last week while waiting a long (LONG) time for our check at a restaurant, Matt, Duncan, Ryan, and I started talking about otters. Specifically, how cute they look when they use their bellies for tabletops while chowing down on seafood. Eventually we began joking about them lounging with little laptops on their tummies, and I decided okay, I have to paint that.

So I did!

Otter on a Laptop!

The pencil sketch, with some clams for snacking.

A close up of his little paws typing.

The print's for sale in the shop here!

Ryan saw the pencil sketch and said, "That otter is supposed to be working on spreadsheets, but instead he's just tweeting about how he hates his job." He looks happy enough though, maybe he's just checking Otterbook.

Either way, if he rolls over that laptop is toast.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A tribute to 1980s wrestling and Macho Man Randy Savage

Believe it or not, wrestling was a huge part of my life growing up. Heck, if I'm being honest, into my college years. Basically until WWE started favoring the boring wrestlers with typical cool-bro-bad-ass personas over, well... Larger than life heroic characters.

Like this handsome devil.

My Mom got me into watching wrestling. She had followed WWF since she was a kid. (She was a big fan of Gorgeous George and Haystack Calhoun--whom she met once). When I was a little kid Saturday afternoon meant taking in wrestling matches over peanut butter and honey sandwiches. She explained to me it was like a soap opera for men (and we watched Santa Barbara every weekday afternoon, so I already knew I liked soap operas).

It was a great metaphor.

There were good guys...

Bad guys....

(Good guys? ...Maybe?)

Shocking betrayals...

Supernatural forces at work...

...And love stories.

It was flashy and spectacular. No one could possibly wear these wild clothes or function under the weight of these towering personalities, yet these neon tassled gods pulled it off. Every week these incredibly powerful, shaking, impossibly loud men hollered threats at each other into my living room. I would get all kinds of riled up.

There's not a six year old alive
who can't get behind this kind of energy.

They held grudges, they avenged wrongs. They saved their friends one week to stab them in the back the next week. It was riveting.

There is a 90% chance that ref suffered
permanent hearing loss from this match.

It seemed to me back then that Miss Elizabeth had the best job in television. Vanna White was a close second (I was six, give me a break).

She got to escort Macho Man down to the ring...

She had an endless closet of puffy, sequined dresses...

She rode around on Macho Man's shoulder....

She was friends with all the good guys...

...Which was helpful, because all the bad guys stalked her.

In her own cowering, crying way she was breaking the glass ceiling just by being there. And she never gave up. She never backed down. Oh, she flinched. And she cringed....

She flinched and cringed a lot, actually....

But she always stood by her man.

Every week she was back, cheering on Macho Man. George "The Animal" Steele wasn't going to scare her off. Ric Flair wasn't going to keep her from supporting her man. However many times she was kidnapped, Miss Elizabeth never stopped flinching for her right to stand outside the ring crying. 

Ric Flair was born 75 years old.
His mother was a tanning bed.

There are always people who complain that wrestling isn't real. "No kidding," I like to respond, "They had a guy who played an undead corpse. What about that did you EVER think was real?"

Spoiler alert, that guy's not really a king either.

Sure, maybe they weren't actually beating each other senseless, but they were real gymnasts. They were still doing back flips off the ropes! They were still bench pressing 250+ pound men over their heads and holding them there! Cirque du Soleil isn't real, and people can't wait to pay money to see those shows--and no one even gets smashed in the face with a steel chair!

Remember when Hulk Hogan lifted Andre the Giant over his head?

They still had to deal with this vicious creature.
And its snake.

It breaks my heart this generation won't have Macho Man, Hulk Hogan, or Ultimate Warrior as their heroes. Childhood heroes should be larger than life over the top champions. Not the guy standing in front of you at Six Flags.

John Cena looks like the guy you have to talk to at your
family barbecue because he knocked up your white trash cousin Denise.


Now these are role models.

When the Ultimate Warrior told you to
eat your vegetables, you f-cking listened.

Why am I posting about wrestling today? Well, it's almost a year since Macho Man Randy Savage passed away. A lot of wrestlers have met with crazy or self destructive ends. Randy Savage? He just suffered a heart attack while he and his wife were driving. It could happen to anyone. (The Red Sox sadly lost announcer Carl Beane the same way last week).

By all accounts, Randy Savage was as sweet in real life as his good guy Macho Man ring personality. He even admitted to the steroid use so people wouldn't make the same mistakes he did. In an industry plagued with scandal, he was one of the actual good guys.  He's one of our childhood heroes we can still feel really good about.  

He even aged gracefully.
While Hulk Hogan is still dying his hair blonde,
Randy Savage rocked his inner Santa Claus.

Ryan grew up loving wrestling too, especially Macho Man. If you're friends with my husband on Facebook, you may have noticed he's been honoring Macho Man Randy Savage this week. Starting Monday Ryan began posting pictures, video clips, and observations about the heroic wrestler's life. He also designed a series of Macho Man themed "covers" for his Facebook.

He's offering these to folks for free download, if you want your Facebook cover to show some love to Randy Savage this week too. You should be able to right click and save them from here, but if you can't send me an email at and we'll hook you up! (Ryan has more fun with FB covers than anyone I know. Especially for someone who hates Facebook as much as he does).

Our television has been playing Wrestlemanias and Summerslams nonstop the past few weeks, as we've revisited our favorite Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth moments. They're both gone now but they'll live on in our hearts and on our tv screens for years to come, thanks to video. Because our kids are going to have larger than life over the top heroes to believe in.

Like this handsome devil.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Health Update: Benign Tumors Have at Thee!

This morning I met with the specialist my doctor referred me to. I didn't want to tag that onto my pink hair post because, let's be real, it's kind of a bummer. I tried working it in, but every opening sentence I attempted was like, "OH ALSO MY UTERUS--", so I decided to explain in its own post.

The specialist was so nice, I feel a lot better after meeting with her. The good news is three of the benign tumors do not need to be removed. They're located in the muscle lining of the uterus, and these are the more common kind of fibroid tumors. (I was hoping for this). This kind usually does not cause serious problems. It's a good thing, she told me, because they would be difficult to remove and scarring up the uterine muscle at multiple angles would make it hard to carry a child to term. So, it was agreed it's in my best interest to leave them alone for the time being. The only downside to this decision is they are hormonal and often grow with a pregnancy. In fact, the woman who did my ultrasound last week had that experience and shared her story with me. Her baby was healthy, she was just a bit uncomfortable. Heck, I've yet to meet a woman who said pregnancy was a piece of cake, right? Hopefully if I ever do become pregnant they won't go all Akira on me.

The bad news is one of the tumors does need surgery :( It's the same kind I had before. It's hanging out in the uterus, growing on a stalk, the whole deal. (And it has a name, it's a "intracavity pedunculated uterine fibroid tumor"). That's why I've been experiencing some of the pain and symptoms I have. As they grow they can twist from time to time and cut off their own blood supply--that's some of the agony of the previous big one finally explained. Until it's taken out it will keep me from getting pregnant, because the body recognizes something is hanging out in there. However, there's some more good news, they caught it at a great size to be removed!

I still need surgery, but it will be a day operation. After waking up and recovering from the anesthesia I should be able to go home that evening. This is a huge relief. I'm still kinda scared, but I have a lot to be thankful for and I will not be going through anything like what I went through last time because they found it so early. She wants to do the surgery within 2-3 weeks, and I'm very much looking forward to having it behind me.

The specialist is committed to preserving everything so hopefully Ryan and I can have children one day. She was honest that a second one means it's likely a hysterectomy is in my future (as this thing will probably keep growing back and causing problems)--but it can wait until I've had children. And we all know I hate this stupid uterus anyway. My uterus is the closest thing I have to an arch nemesis. It's literally hijacking my womb to grow its own weird tumor baby. For all I know the damn thing is trying to spawn a second uterus. Well, not on my watch, cretin!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pink Hair!

On Saturday, I went to Vain in downtown Seattle and had my hair dyed.

What do you think? Too subtle?


It is however, exactly the shade I wanted and I love it! If you live in Washington and you're thinking of a dramatic hair change, I would wholeheartedly recommend Vain. Carissa was my stylist, and she was so helpful! She listened to me, carefully looked over the pictures on the "dream board" Duncan and I worked on the night before, and counseled me on how to care for my new hair.




In high school I used to dye my hair blue, purple, or bright red from time to time, but I always went darker over my natural color. This is the first time I've ever lightened my hair, which was why I choose Vain and Carissa. Her coloring credentials are pretty awesome, and I knew this was way beyond my previous color-in-a-box skills.  I really do love my natural hair color, so it was a little scary to change it so permanently. I gave myself two weeks to think it over (I scheduled the appointment in April). I'm really glad I went with a professional, and I'm extra glad I actually went through with it. Saturday morning I woke up pretty nervous! 

I know what you're thinking....

It looks like cotton candy!

It's okay, everyone has been saying it, you can say it too! The hue is actually a "Cotton Candy pink". The fluffiness is just an unexpected bonus for someone who's always had really fine hair.

I suddenly have a lot more volume than I'm used to. I have to credit dry shampoo (since my hair doubled in size shortly after I sprayed it in). The salon recommended stretching the color with dry shampoos, so I picked some up. It smells like this cheap perfume I got for Christmas in seventh grade and gives me a major shot of nostalgia every time I whip the can out.

It makes me feel like I'm washing my hair in space. I bet astronauts have to use dry shampoo, right? Or maybe Tang. Either way, this stuff gives you major Barbarella hair.

The more flammable my hair is, the more feminine I feel.

Just...gotta...jam it...into... PLACE---

When I die, I hope our kids use this as one of the photos set up in
the funeral home lobby. "This is our mother, she was awful."

A casual up-do, jammed into place.

Be honest: We should have more everyday surreal hairstyles.

I wish I could tell you some real deep reason for dyeing my hair pink. I could make one up I guess....

....But sooner or later you're going to realize
Netflix recently added 'Jem and the Holograms'.

Truly the most outrageous part is I'm not even ashamed. I kinda feel really great about it. Like, it's stupid and happy and ridiculous--and that might be what feels so delightful about it. It's not like I'm a terribly serious person to begin with.

They see me trollin', they hatin'--

Ryan is an incredibly rad spouse to not only spring for this (finding a salon was his insistence when I worried I might not ever get it the right shade "If you're going to do it, let's get it exactly how you want it. Go balls to the wall, honey" my husband said), but also to help me see it through when I got scared. Not every partner would be so cool about a drastic change in appearance--but every partner should be, because if they're not that's some real Lifetime movie bullshit. 

Ryan and I, Saturday afternoon.

I worried at first that people would freak out, or strangers would be weird. Or people would think I was really pretentious and needed to get them into obscure Hipster bands ("YO, HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS?") However, so far the reactions have been really wonderful. My friends have been excited about it. There's been an outpouring of sweetness on the social networks. Even my Mom loves it.

"You've wanted to dye your hair that color since you were little!" She said tonight. "I never let you! You finally did it!"

Probably the best unforeseen effect of this hair is children go crazy when they see me. Kids have zero filter. 90% of the little girls and boys I've walked past have stopped dead in their tracks to squeal in shock and awe for their parents to look at the lady with pink hair! 40% of children have waved. I feel like a magic unicorn warrior princess.

Magic Unicorn Warrior Princess Glamour Shot