Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Need to Get My Head Examined

On Sunday I was talking with the girls and mentioned that I was feeling a little bit like I wasn't sure if I wanted to take any classes this winter semester. They all got the most shocked look on their faces and railed on me.

"You can't quit!"
"Just buck up and take your classes. We all want to quit, but we don't"
"If you quit we'll all quit."

I knew they were right. I'm so close to graduating with my BA in art. I really need to stick with it and get this thing done.

I'm currently signed up for 3 classes. I know I can only take 2 on campus to have the tuition-waiver because of being an employee. I've been trying to decide which class to drop.

#1. Digital Illustration - a retake from probably the most talented digital illustrator in the industry. He hasn't taught this for a while. I know people all over the country would love to take this class from him, and here he is right in my own backyard. I'm taking the class. No question. The only thing is whether I'll be taking it for credit (which I don't need since I've already taken the class once), or for audit. I'm swinging toward audit.

#2. Creative Perspective - I've been looking forward to taking this class for over a year. It is only taught in winter, so if I miss it now I'll have to wait another year. I love the teacher. I had Media Experimentation last year from him. He's professional, extremely talented (he designed for Dreamworks before teaching here), and fair. I'm not going to miss this opportunity.

#3. Online Religion - I need this one for graduation. It's an upper division class and a religion class. I need both, so I'd be killing two birds with one stone. But I can't take 3 classes through the college. I'll probably end up dropping this unless I audit the first and then take these other 2. That would still mean I'd have to do the work for all three.

I'm an idiot. I need to have my head examined. I don't know what I was thinking, but yesterday when I opened up my e-mail there was a reminder about the online class registration for LVS. I took digital photography from them last fall and loved it. And its SO CHEAP!!! $25.00 for a 6 week class. I really wasn't going to even look at the classes, but right before I clicked delete I noticed they had a new class. Illustrator 2.0 and 3.0. I use Illustrator at work all the time and I am always trying to figure out how to do stuff.

Before I could talk myself out of it I signed up. Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Let it Stop, Let it Stop, Let it Stop

My titles seem to be reprises of Christmas songs.

I'm getting a bit sick of the snow, though.
Oh sure, it looks so pretty. The trees are all frosted and serene. All the ugly dead grass is covered up in the sparkling white stuff. And cold weather has never bothered me. But I'm getting pretty dang tired of shovelling the stuff. I hurt my back a few days ago trying to lift more in my shovel than I should have. I've been very careful since then. Mike borrowed a snow blower and we've been taking turns with it trying to catch up. I worked for over 2 hours, all the while the snow continued to fall. By the time I finished there was another couple of inches blanketing our very long 200 foot driveway. I quit anyway. I was tired. This morning our neighbor brought over a bobcat and scooped out some more snow. He actually did more harm than good, though. The heavy bobcat combined with the chains on his tires caused the layer of snow already on our driveway to be broken up. It was a mess when we tried to go to church this morning. We almost got stuck in the driveway. At church we asked that very nice neighbor if he wouldn't mind coming over one more time and scooping away the sloppy mess. He came. It looked great. And now there's more snow predicted for tonight. If the dang stuff would just fall on the trees and the fields it wouldn't be so bad. Just keep off the roads. Is that too much to ask?
I guess I'll go to bed so that I can be rested up for another marathon session of snow shovelling tomorrow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"The Weather Outside is Frightful"

We're having a blizzard. It's snowing and blowing. I wisely brought home some work with me yesterday so that I could stay home in my jammies and punch the time clock from my humble abode.

They didn't cancel school. I let Andy take my 4-wheel drive Explorer lecturing him all the way out the door, "now just because you have a big heavy vehicle, and just because you have 4-wheel drive does not mean you can drive like a maniac. You still need to go about 25 miles per hour. TOP SPEED! And DON'T tailgate. And drive defensively.........."

Well, you get the picture. Still, I'm going to be a nervous wreck until he comes home and shows me an undented car. They get out for Christmas break this morning at 11:30 so I shouldn't have long to wait.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Online Heaven, umm, I mean shopping

No lines.
If this place doesn't have it.....click, click click, that place DOES.
No carrying boxes out to the car.
**Ring, Ring** Open the front door and a nice man hands you your packages.
No crowds.
Often times cheaper than retail,
if you know where to look
and I know where to look.
Christmas shopping done early!
Yes! Now I can watch a movie with my kids, go make a snowman, whatever my little heart fancies.
I LOVE online shopping.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Excuse Me While I Throw a Tantrum


Okay, I feel better now.

Grades came out today. I received the grade I expected. Not an "A", and let's just leave it at that.
I wasn't the most talented student in the class and I guess talent counts for a lot more than
a. getting your work done on time.
b. turning it in in the proper format, matted, and on time.
c. following directions, and not creating my own version because "my way is better".
d. accepting the professor's critiques and working on my pieces more to incorporate those critiques graciously and without argument.

"Someone" in class got an "A". And this person didn't quite get the memo on the above rules.

Life isn't fair.
And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Just to make things clear:
My hair stylist - Superwoman
Me - Not

Lurkers, I know you're there. I see you. No use hiding. I won't bite.

Now onto other items......

Yesterday Abby got her wisdom teeth out. She's a real trooper when it comes to all things medical. Doesn't necessarily enjoy them, but doesn't whine about it either. She had to have a heart procedure done on the one year anniversary of 9/11. That was kind of a creepy day for me. We had to drive to Salt Lake City to have the procedure done at the University of Utah Medical Center. We stayed in a motel the night before. I think it was a Marriott. Anyway we had to get up very early that morning to drive to the hospital. Our car was in an underground parking garage. There was a bag pipe playing Amazing Grace in the garage. It echoed and sounded eery and mournful. Then we went to the hospital and had to sit and wait while Abby was in surgery. The TV in the waiting room was showing a tribute to all the people who had died in 9/11. I remember them showing picture after picture and reading their names, and my baby was back there having her heart operated on. It was just kind of a surreal day.

And through it all Abby never complained, never acted like she was being picked on, and was just a model patient. Just like yesterday. Today her cheeks are a bit swollen, but she's doing well. It's a good thing to have behind her.

Superwoman and Not

I saw superwoman on Saturday.

I received a phone call on Saturday morning.
"Hi Linda? This is Stephanie. I know I'm supposed to cut your hair at 11:00 this morning, but I'm running a little behind. Could you possibly come at noon?"

.....ummmm, I'd forgotten about my hair cut.......
"Sure Stephanie, noon would not be a problem."

So that gives me enough time to finish what I was doing and make a quick trip to the store before I arrive for my haircut.

When I walked in I saw Stephanie. She is beautiful. She's tall with perfectly coifed hair (of course) and always dressed like she just stepped off a runway. The model kind, not the airport kind.

Oh, and she's 9 months pregnant.

She came over and said she'd be right with me. Then I watched as she finished coloring one gals hair, instructed another gal on something, and then went back to styling on a third. Another gal who works there came over and asked me if it was all right if she washed my hair instead of Stephanie. Sure, I didn't care who did it. It's just a wash.

When I was washed and prepped Stephanie took over. We chatted a little bit. She has an amazing memory. It doesn't matter what I tell her --- SHE REMEMBERS! She asked me how I've been. I told her I had been extremely busy. A lady at work had to have surgery and I was doing both her job and my job. She said, "another one?" Oh yeah, I had told her about the first surgery fill-in that I did. I'd forgotten.

After a bit she told me she'd be right back and went over to help a gal pick out hair color. Then she instructed her "assistant" on how to mix up the color. Then she was back with me.

As she's working around me her bulging tummy kept bumping into me. Then the phone rang and another customer wanted to schedule with Stephanie. Stephanie said she could book for Tuesday, but she might not be there because of having the baby. I asked her how much longer she had.

"Well, I'm due on the 30th, but I'm already dialated to 3 and I'm 80% effaced."

I just stared at this wonder of a woman.

And hoped she'd finish my hair before her baby dropped onto the floor.

Its a puzzlement

It puzzles me. I can blog every day for a month and my readership shoots up to 2, or maybe 3 people. I can stay away, thinking I will be missed and then I peek back in and see that, um, no. Haven't been missed. My brother blogs rarely. He hasn't said a peep since May. I know for a fact if he opened up his blog and typed "boo" he would have 10 people comment. "Are you having a nightmare" "Is everything okay" "I'm so glad to see you are blogging again." and on and on. Other people are the same way. Nothing, nothing, nothing.....and then they blog. Within hours there are comments on there. 2, 3, 4, or more. Sometimes I think I should just disable all comments. That way I can pretend people really would like to say "hey" or "hi" or "just checking in with you", but alas, they are unable. sigh I'm just confused.

Friday, December 12, 2008

How Fun!

I found this website this morning.
Click on the link and then at the end of the link address type an "=" sign and then your name or something else fun and watch the penguin write it in the snow. How fun is that!

Example: http://www.star28.net/penguin_tebe.swf?msg=Mitchowl

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kitty Tail, um, I mean Tale

On Monday I got a frantic call from my mother. She said there was a kitten under her house. She didn't know what to do. She, along with everyone else, knows that I am the "Animal Lady". I told her I would send my daughter Joni over to see what she could do. I was stuck at work.

While waiting for Joni to come my sister climbed down under the house to try and get the kitten. You have to remember that it is COLD here! It was below zero a couple of days ago. And it was dirty and cramped under the house. I'm quite impressed that my sister made the trek, not once but TWICE. On the first trip she discovered that it was stuck down a long pipe. The pipe was too long for her to reach down, so she climbed out and got a towel. After climbing back under the house she dangled the towel down the pipe and the kitten grabbed on. It was then pretty simple to haul it up.

The kitten was very little. It was probably 4-5 weeks old. It was not very happy, and it stunk pretty badly. My mom kept it until Joni showed up and then Joni brought it home with her. The poor little thing was dirty, hungry and it's eyes kept gunking up so badly that it's eyes were glued shut. Joni used her awesome nursing skills and cared for it lovingly. She bathed it (with a little help from me), fed it every few hours, cleaned it's eyes, played with it and cuddled it.

Oscar was extremely interested and wanted a closer look, but we just didn't trust him too much. One chomp and the cat would be gone. Mike made a call to the local cat shelter and we made arrangements to take the kitten there.

This place is called Four Paws and it is awesome. They have a house, very nice inside, that is set up for the cats. The cats have the run of the place. There are cat beds, pillows, caves, posts, toys, and of course food water and litter boxes all over the house. And Joni said it was very clean! It didn't smell at all, and there were cats all over. They were calm, well adjusted and very socialized. Four Paws adopts out a lot of cats. They had a sectioned off place for the younger cats and a cage for the tiny kittens. Our little rescued kitty went into the cage where he was very happy to have some playmates.

The wonderful lady at Four Paws thought there would not be a problem with our little kitty being adopted. It was cute, tiny, and it is right before Christmas. All the ingredients for a quick adoption.

The thing that was kind of sad for Joni to see was all of the unwanted cats. 95% of them were full-grown black cats. It was a sea of black. Why aren't the black ones chosen? I wish I knew. Joni and I were trying to figure that out. Maybe they need really cool names, like "Panthro", "Destroyer", or "Steve McQueen". Can you think of any cool black cat names?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The End

Over 100 sketches - DONE

Sunday, December 7, 2008

93 and counting.....

My digital illustration class is winding down this week. I am working on my final project. It is posted on my other blog ready for the critique on Tuesday. Then on Thursday, the last day of class I have to hand in my digital sketchbook. There needs to be 100 sketches in there by then. ONE HUNDRED!!! I'm very glad I started doing these back in September when we heard about the assignment. I'm up to 93. Only a few more to go. And it's been a good thing. I can definitely see the improvement. My sketches last September are pretty awful. Here's one. UGLY!

And here's one I did recently. The one above took me an hour, the snail took me about 20 minutes. And I like it so much better.

And this one I did tonight. It took me about 10 minutes. I should be able to get my 100 done with plenty of time to spare.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Science Nerd Alert

This is fascinating.
There is a cellular slime mold called Dictyostelium, which has one of the more remarkable life cycles in nature. Individual cells of Dictyostelium roam the forest floor as free-living amoebas, but if food supplies turn scarce, they congregate in huge masses and assemble themselves by the thousands into a much larger multicelled organism that looks and acts like a slug. The slug creeps about for a while, then settles down and metamorphoses into something that looks more like a fungus. The blob of cells sprouts a thin stalk that projects upward perhaps a quarter of an inch. Then other cells of the slug climb up the stalk and organize themselves into a ball balanced on top. The outer cells harden into a shell; the inner cells shrivel into dustlike spores. Eventually the shell cracks open and the spores are scattered to the wind. Spores that land in wet places change into amoebas and slither off to begin the cycle anew.

From Life Itself by Boyce Rensberger, Nigel Orme

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pulled 3 Ways

I love my job.
Great people to work with.
Great hours.
Great benefits.

The Dean's secretary had to have surgery.
They asked me to cover her job and my job.
Sure, anything to help out. Besides, it's only for a month.

Our department secretary's Dad died on Thanksgiving night.
Very sad, and I've covered for her job before, so
I'll cover for her, too.

So far so good.
I run upstairs to deliver messages and take care of issues.
I run downstairs to sort mail, deliver messages and take care of issues.
I forward everyone's phones to where ever I happen to be.

Thank heavens for Diet Pepsi and caffeine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Not No-No-Normal

As we were playing a rousing game of Phase 10 on Sunday evening I started to tell Lisa about something interesting in a book I was reading.

She said to me, "Mom, you don't exactly read normal books like most people."

Maybe not, but I like them.

The book is entited "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat".

(I know you are supposed to underline book titles but I couldn't figure out how to do it on blogger. I don't know html code very well.)

This is a fascinating book written by the man who inspired the movie Awakening with Robin Williams. He is a neurologist who works with a lot of very interesting cases. This book tells about some of them.

All I can say is.....

Verrrrrryyy Innterrrreeesssting.

~A man who can't tell the difference between his wife's head and his hat, and couldn't understand what a glove might be for until he watched someone slip it on to their hand, "OHHH, it's a glove!"
~Shostokovich could hear melodies in his head when he would tilt it to the side, different tunes with different tilts, because of a piece of shrapnel that was touching parts of his brain. He refused to have it removed because he used the melodies in his composings.
~Epileptic seizures that caused a man to behave like a dog.

and on and on. Why would I want to read a book of fiction when reality can be so darn entertaining?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Things I Wish I Could Do Over

~Treated certain people better than I once did.

~Not eaten all that chocolate.

~Finished my BA degree 30 years ago.

~Become an x-ray or lab tech.

~Had my wisdom teeth out in my teens.

~Had my tonsils out as a kid.

~Been a better daughter.

~Been a better mother.

~Been a better wife.

~Been a better person.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Her Shoes Don't Fit My Feet

I survived yesterday.


Actually the day went pretty good. We had a college meeting. This was for the Dean, the Assistant Dean, and the department heads for Geology, Chemistry, Physics, Automotive, Computer Science, Math, Mechanical Engineering, and Architecture and Construction. I was in charge of getting the food, making and sorting all the handouts and stuffing them in the individual folders, taking notes during the meeting and cleaning up afterwards. It went pretty good. I don't think I detracted from the meeting, at least. And they ate all the food, so I guess it was a success.

Then I worked in Geology for 2 hours. It's a different world up there on the second floor of my building. Down in the Dean's office it is all business and quiet. As soon as I went up to Geology it was like walking into the land of the living. Hustle and bustle and students hurrying down the halls, and professors having discussions. It was vital and alive. And a very nice change from the quiet below.

My class went pretty good. On Tuesday we were given the assignment to do something to show primitive man. I came up with a Stonehenge idea and got it done on Tuesday. Yesterday while everyone else was still working on their assignments I was painting sunflowers. The professor came around and wanted to know where my primitive assignment was. I pulled it up and showed him. He looked at it, asked me if I liked it. I said, "Yes! I like this one. And then said, "Well, I think you need to change the grass. It's too scattered." Then he mumbled to himself as he walked away, "She likes it, and wants me to go away so she can go back to her sunflower." He was right, about me wanting him to go away and about the grass. The grass wasn't my favorite part either, so after he left I fixed the grass (it took me about a minute) and then went back to my sunflower.

Art Seminar proved to be quite interesting. All semester long Art Seminar has been notoriously BORING! Yesterday was anything but. The speaker was funny and engaging. His slide presentation was interesting. That by itself was a huge improvement, but to add a little extra spice to the class I noticed that a girl sitting 2 seats over from me was watching something on her laptop. There were laptops open all over the auditorium (mostly with YouTube's on), but this girl was watching something truly shocking (at least for an art seminar). I looked over just in time to see the baby's head crown. Yes she was watching a childbirth! Wow. I was getting all kinds of interesting information at this seminar.

By the time seminar ended I was blurry eyed, but stumbled over to the music building to watch a concert. I went with Lisa and Tyler and watched Abby perform with the symphony. I couldn't quit yawning and my eyes were watering. One time I looked up at the stage and could have sworn I saw the whole thing tilt to the left! It was a little unnerving. It was a very good concert, but I was very glad to go home and go to bed.

Today should be a short day. The student's are all ditching town like rats off a sinking ship. No classes next week. Yea! I can catch up a little.

I'm not sure how long I will be filling in for the Dean's secretary. We haven't heard yet whether she has cancer or not. The surgery by itself will put her out for 6 weeks. I can do this job that long, but I don't think I want it any longer. It isn't bad being here in her office, but it just isn't home. Her desk set-up is different. She is much shorter than I am and so her keyboard drawer tends to hit me in the knees. I've had to move her computer back so I can stretch my legs out, her monitor back so I can see it, and lower her chair. I just hope I remember to put everything back the way she had it before I vacate this place for good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Long Day Today, Longer Day tomorrow

Today was the first day sitting in for the Dean's secretary. She had surgery this morning. I really really really hope everything went well. I really really really want her to come back to work as soon as she can. I feel like I'm letting down my department, but they want me to help out and I want to help out. Still......

I was there at 7:50 am. Worked straight through to 5:00.
8-1 Dean's Office
1-3 Geology Office
3-5 Dean's Office
No lunch. I ate on the run.

Tomorrow is going to be much, much worse.
8-1 Dean's Office
1-3 Geology Office
3-5:30 Art Class
6-7 Art Seminar
7:30-9:30 Symphony Concert.

I think I will be very very ready for bed.

Mike called his sister last night. I think he was holding out hope that they would change their minds and want us to come for Thanksgiving. No go. Today he finally cancelled his substitute teacher for next week.

Mike is feeling like Uncle Jack, the uncle that moved away and was never heard from again.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I’ve been sighing a lot lately
“Mom, the cat has worms.”
“Mom, Oscar just dug a hole in the seat of the couch.”
My in-laws don’t want us to come up for Thanksgiving.
My son’s car won’t start any more.
The subdivision project across the road is not widening our street as they had originally promised.
Starting next Wednesday I have to be at work 2 hours earlier than I am normally, and I’m not an early bird.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


A retired professor still comes to teach a class now and then. This semester he comes on Tuesdays and teaches an Elderhostel group. He usually stops by my office to pick up visuals, samples, and other teaching materials. Today, after picking up the materials he needed, he asked me to accompany him to the teacher resource room. He told me there was a sample in there that he had some concerns about. He said that he thought he’d better say something because none of the “new” faculty knew where this sample came from. (New to him would be the ones hired in the last 12 years.)
He took me over to a tray containing sedimentary teaching samples.
He said, “See this sandstone here?”
I touch the rock. “This one?”
“Yes. That yellow on it is probably carnetite”. (Not sure if I spelled that right. I’ve never heard of it.)
I rub my finger down the yellow part of the rock. “This stuff?”
“Yea. It’s probably uranium oxide. It’s pretty radioactive. You wouldn’t want to have your teachers pass this around the classroom and then eat a sandwich.”
My hand jerks back like it had been bitten by a rattlesnake. He has me go get our sedimentary guy who takes a look at the sample and says, “that looks like carnetite”. He then picks it up and we go off to find a geiger counter. Sure enough, it starts beating out a heavy staccato beat. I’m told that it probably emits beta waves. Beta radiation can penetrate into the body but can be blocked out by a sheet of aluminium foil.
That’s great! I’m suddenly feeling like I need a shower. After we return the rock, and I tell our Sed. Professor that I’d feel better if he went and washed his hands, I go into the bathroom.
I wash my hands extra well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Hi!

Last night I made pumpkin cookies. I haven't baked for years! But I was in the mood. Then I went out on my front porch and carved a couple of pumpkins.

Then a while later my doorbell rang. I had the cutest trick or treater ever!!!

I was a lucky grandma for the evening. I babysat while mom and dad went to the Halloween concert. We're going tonight. It will be awesome, I'm sure. After all, Abby's in it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Ponder and a Burr Under My Saddle

Item #1
Why is it that people with money seem to produce more garbage? Every Wednesday as I drive to work I notice all the garbage cans alongside the road. Our garbage cans are huge things with wheels that can be pulled to the curb. The garbage truck has a contraption with arms. The truck will drive up alongside the can and these arms will reach out and grab it and hoist it into the air and dump the contents into the belly of the garbage truck beast before lowering the now empty can back onto the road. It’s all very automated and fast.
So every Wednesday, our garbage day, I happen to notice that the humongous houses all have 2 of these monstrous cans sitting out front. Even the humongous houses that only have 2 people living in them. What are they doing to create so much garbage? If they want to throw their money away, they can throw it my way.

Item #2
I really wish the university where I work would address the parking situation. Every day I have to circle the lot like a vulture, waiting to pounce. If you see someone walking toward the parking lot you have to follow them in your car, even if there is a string of cars behind you wanting to get past. Then you sit and wait while they unlock their door, climb inside, start the car and drive away. The trick is to squish into the spot as quickly as possible without hitting the exiting car and before the car coming in the opposite direction careens in ahead of you.
Yesterday I had a weak moment and parked in a service vehicle spot. Those things are all over the campus and they are always empty. I parked there. And I got a ticket. $25.00. It made me angry about the parking situation all over again. I waste time and money looking for a stupid parking spot. Today, once again, I could not find a spot in our lot, so I drove to the next lot over. No luck. So I drove to the next one over. There was one spot, which I took. Then I walked to my building.
And I counted my steps.
940 steps.
I measured my gait.
3 feet per step.
Then I did a little calculation.
2820 Feet = 0.5340909090909091 Miles
I had to walk over ½ mile to get to work. Another ½ mile to get back to my car when I want to go home.
Something’s not right.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Excuse Me?

I went into the ladies room and found a stall. There were two other stalls already occupied. One of the ladies was talking. I assumed she was talking to the lady in the other stall. Then I realized she was talking on her cell phone. She continued to blab away (and why do people on cell phones always talk louder?) clear through the entire "process" including the flush, hand washing (at least she did that!) and out the door. Maybe she doesn't mind sharing her personal "private moments" with the person on the other end (it was her son!), but I was extremely uncomfortable. Should I have said something?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sky View

No day is complete without a look upward. In case you missed yours here is one of mine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Class Project

In class this week we were assigned to "paint a pumpkin using big juicy textures.
I always liked the image of the stack of pumpkins. The first image was what I came up with before class today. He hated the background I originally had. Today in class we learned about making the background have texture. I changed my background using the new knowledge. Which do you like better?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Colored Sky

My readership has dropped to about 2. I can understand why. I've been so busy with my classes and work that I don't visit very much. It gives new meaning to the saying "what goes around comes around". I don't go around, so they don't come around. ha ha

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm getting in the mood....

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Maybe because fall is my favorite season. Maybe because night is my favorite time of day. Maybe because I like the colors. Whatever the reason I just love Halloween. Tonight I got on Photoshop and just played around a little. This scared little pumpkin showed up. He's scared of a spider. Imagine! Scared of a spider. Ha! Spiders don't scare me. Now that snake I caught in the garage yesterday..... That's a different story.


We had this for dinner. Mmmmmmm

Baked Ranch Parmesan Chicken

6 chicken breasts halves
1/2 cup ranch style dressing
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
Marinate chicken in the ranch dressing for 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 450*F (230*C).
Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, sage and salt and mix well. Coat the marinated breasts in breading mixture and place in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce to 350*F (175*C) and bake for additional 30 minutes or until done and juices run clear.
Makes 6 servings.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Teton Peaks

I found this photo at work today. Its a shot of the Teton Peaks, taken in the 1950's. I'm not sure who the photographer was, but I think it was Quincy Jensen. I think it's awesome.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tinted Twilight

Idaho has the best evening skies. People who move here tell us that all the time. I never really noticed the sky at twilight time until my college years. I was in Anatomy and Physiology. It was a rigorous course with a top notch professor. He expected and usually got alot out of us. There was so much course work to cover that we all became very good at accelerated note-taking. And yet every year, about this time he would say to his class as we settled into our seats, "put away your pencils and just listen".

What happened next was life changing. He talked to us about gratitude. About our wonderful bodies and how they were so extraordinary. How we should be grateful for the way the air we breathe and the food we eat was not only delicious to us, but that the wonderful human machine could turn it all into the resources it needed to thrive. He talked to us about being grateful for our surroundings. For the cold winters in Idaho. He said we should never complain about it because it was the cold that killed many of the germs that made everyone sick. He told us to watch for the winters when conditions were milder and see if colds and flu weren't more prevelant.

And he told us to look up as we hurry home to our apartments after class.
"Idaho has some of the best sunsets in the world. How many of them have you seen in the last 60 days?"

I realized that I hadn't seen any. That very evening I looked up. And ever since then I have been looking up every chance I get.

And boy have I been blessed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Caricatures - Flattering and Not

In my digital illustration class this last week we learned how to use the free transform tool. With that tool you can distort images. I was once again reminded that when you are in an art class you should check your dignity and pride at the door.
There were cameras on the computers in lab, so he instructed us to snap a photo of ourselves, distort it and then using it as a pattern, paint it in photoshop. Taking the photo was bad enough. Anyone who knows me will be able to testify that I hate having my photo taken. The fact that I'm posting them all on here, along with my terrible caricatures proves that I am fresh out of pride. Oh yeah, he also told us we had to use the eyedropper tool to get the colors for our painting directly from the photo. My first one was definitely purple. I never looked good in purple anyway, so that didn't help my self-esteem much.

The very next class period he told us to do it again. I hated my first one, so I snapped another photo.

Then I distorted it and started painting. Wouldn't you know it, purple again. And why did I make myself look like this. When I showed Joni later, she said, "why did you make yourself look like an ogre?"

Good question, Joni. I don't know. I didn't finish it, cause....... DANG, I'm UGLY!!!

Yesterday, at home, I grabbed my good camera and held it out in front of me and snapped another photo. I looked at the color. YEA! Flesh tones!

I took it into Joni's computer, cause it has photoshop, and tried to do a little more flattering distortion.

Then I painted away. This is the one I posted on my other blog, Mitchowl Studio. They bring my blog up in class and show it on the projector.

If you want to see some other fun caricatures, you can go to the Mitchowl Studio blog and click on the links on the right side. Those are all my classmates. They don't have any pride left either.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ballerinas and Trees

My daughter Abby is a photography major. She's just starting out on her quest to becoming a great capturer of images, but she's doing really well. She can "see". Those of you who are photographers know what I mean. She just needs more practice but she'll be really good. On her blog she showed a few photos of a photographer that she admires. Rodney Smith. The shots that Abby put on were Ballerinas. (I didn't know you wanted to be a ballerina, Abby. Shame on your mother for not putting you in classes.)
I went to Rodney Smith's website to see what other things he has done. I also love his work. I photograph a lot of trees. I'm fascinated with the way the bark can twist and the limbs curl. I found these images of Rodney's. I kind of like them.

Friday, October 10, 2008



1. My Family
2. The Gospel
3. Doing Art
4. Learning
5. Nature

1. Paint my caricature
2. Get Primary ready
3. Get the "To Do" list ready for the website
4. Finish winterizing the yard
5. Clean garage

1. Protein Bars
2. Sea Salt and Vinegar chips (but I try not to get them very often)
3. Swiss Cheese
4. Diet Pepsi/vanilla
5. Rye crisps (aka/poopy crackers)

1. I used to go into chicken coops and gather eggs from the chickens. I also had to pull dead chickens out of the cages. Yuck.
2. I once drove from Anchorage Alaska to Idaho with my sister and her 5 kids in a motor home.
3. I had scarlet fever as a child.
4. I love anything to do with medicine/science.
5. I am a science fiction junkie, but only the good stuff (Bradbury, Clarke, Card)

1. Rexburg, Idaho
2. Provo, Utah
3. Corvallis, Oregon
4. Hibbard, Idaho
5. Idaho Falls, Idaho

1. I like being alone.
2. I have so many things I want to do that I am always overbooked.
3. When I am with anyone I never want to control the tv or radio (maybe that's why I like being alone.)
4. Even though I got my first oil painting set when I was about 8 and I've taken art classes in jr and sr high school and at 2 colleges, I never considered myself an artist until the last year or so. I thought artists were people who were good at art. I always felt mediocre, at best. Now I think I'm an artist because of the joy that making art gives me. Whether I'm good at it or not is irrelevant.
5. I have this fascination with cemeteries. I like going to them, want to fix up graves that are run down, have always wanted to design headstones, want to create an on-line data-base about our local cemetery to help geneology researchers, and even helped dig and fill in a grave for my brother.

1. Nobody
2. Has
3. To
4. Do
5. This

Monday, October 6, 2008

Peaceful Evening

Tangerine rimmed sky.
Swirls of cloud wisps.
Cottonwoods silhouette against the dusk.
Peace inside.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I don't know why. I just feel driven. I see a class being offered and I just have to sign up. I get done with work and I find that I have a couple of hours that are not filled up and I know I can slip one extra class into my down time.

What's wrong with me? Why do I feel so urgent to learn, learn, learn?

Oh well, I guess there could be worse things. Like maybe I could feel driven to...



dang it! I can't think of anything else. I just want to learn new stuff!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ahoy There, Mateys. Arr!

I don't draw well without photo reference. When our instructor told us to "draw something simple", I thought "oh good, I'll draw a mushroom". Then another class member couldn't decide what to draw so the instructor said, "draw a pirate, in fact everyone draw something to do with pirates."


I don't draw well out of my head. I drew a blank. (no pun intended) I started drawing a parrot, but he was ugly so I erased him.

I started drawing an anchor. You'd think an anchor would be easy, right? NOT

I started second guessing myself. Does it have 2 spikes or 3? How far should the spikes go out?

I erased the anchor.

I decided to do an eye patch. ha ha Now that's what I call simple! I then tried to draw a part of the pirate's face around the eye patch. It was mediocre at best.

That was it. That was my whole drawing. I know the instructor thought I had zoomed in on part of his face when he walked past. Nope.

Today in class we have to show our pirate piece. I redid mine last night. I didn't know what to do until I was at my mother's house. I was telling her about class and my eye patch drawing. I told her I needed to find something else to draw. She dug out a picture of her grandson, Michael, all dressed up like a pirate. As I was looking at it I could see my mom's beautiful fluffy cat sitting there watching us. My brain starting connecting dots and I remembered about our poor one-eyed cat at home. Ta-Dah! Captain Winky was born.

I like it. I guess I'm more of a kitty person than a pirate person.

Hurry Hurry....

Winter's coming and you'd better be prepared for a rainy day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yes, It's Time......

...to squirrel away food for the winter.

A Real Swinger

I miss my grandson. I wish he didn't live so far away. 90 miles is far, isn't it? I'm just very thankful that they don't live 900 miles away. David has about a year left and then they can repent and move back home. *grin*

In about 4 months my little swinger here is going to be a big brother. Baby boy number two is on the way.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mini Rant

I turned right falling in behind a small sedan. The car was moving abnormally slow. Two blocks down it slowed to a stop at an intersection. No stop sign there. The stop sign was for the driving going across our road.

I looked.

Sure enough. The driver was on a cell phone.

A few intersections later I pulled up to a stop sign. I was going to turn right, but a car was coming from the left very fast so I waited. Right before the car reached my intersection it quickly slowed down and turned before it got to me.

No turn signal. Just stomped on the brake and swerved around the corner.

Sure enough. Once again the driver was on a cell phone.

There ought to be a law.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dang Government

Something is very wrong.
I don't often get on a political soapbox, but when I read this article in the newspaper I was pretty disgusted. This is the part that really got me.

Christie and Steve were divorced a few months ago and now live in separate households, enabling Christie to receive some state help with Jackson's medical costs. It was a heart-wrenching decision, as Christie and Steve are still very much in love.

A family had to break apart so that they could qualify for help?

So sad.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don't Look if You're Squeamish

Poor Burns. His eye swelling had gone done a lot in just one day, but he could not close it. He just layed on a bed and acted loopy, but he couldn't shut his eye. Joni very faithfully put in eye ointment every 4 hours (a good use of her RN degree) but he just wasn't improving.

Yesterday she took him back to the vet. The nice doc sewed Burns eye shut!

It looks worse than before, in my opinion, but today Burns is driving me nuts! He wants to go outside SOOO badly. He follows me from room to room mewing and pawing at all the doors. I can tell he feels a lot better, even though he looks like he's been through the wringer.

Joni says if they had to sew it shut permanently she was going to start calling him "Patches O'Houlihan" or "Captain Winky". I'm pretty sure they were able to save his eye, though. I think he had so much pressure built up around his eye socket that it was causing him pain before, so he just layed there, but now?.....He wants to get on with his huntin' and prowlin' and stalkin'. It's nice to see him get back to normal. It might even be worth it when we get the vet bill.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Burns, not Mr.

This morning while I was at work I received a phone call from Joni. She was very upset. Burns came in and was torn up pretty badly. His eye was bulging and lacerated. His nose and lip were bleeding and he had a gash on his ear and head.

I told her to take him straight to the vet. They fixed him up pretty good. The swelling in his eye has gone done quite a bit, although he still can't close it. He doesn't really care, though, as he is in La-La-Land. His purring away on Abby's bed. He'll probably be a bit onory once the pain medicines wear off.

Oh the joys of pet ownership.

I was kind of funny when the vet called my cell phone to tell me that he was ready to go home.
" Mrs Mitchell, I took a look at Mr. Burns. No, not.... not.... oh yea it is. That's his name. What a minute, is it Burns or Mr. Burns? We have 2 of those. We're not sure which one that is. Anyway......."

Don't name 2 of your animals the same name. It just causes confusion.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Art, Slides, Cemetery, and People Watching

My poor baby. Abby came home for the weekend and was babied properly. I made her some homemade potato soup. Very yummy, and slides down swollen throats pretty easily. She moved back into her apartment last night. This morning she called and told me she was out of pain medicine and her throat still hurt very badly. I told her to call the student health center and see if she could get some more. They wanted to see her. Bad news. She had not improved at all so they put in an IV and gave her 2 bags of saline and prednisone to bring the swelling down and hydrate her. Her mono has not been kind to her, but she still has a smile on her face. What a trooper.

Yesterday Mike took me to Jackson. I heard they were having a Fall Art Festival and I was feeling the need for a quick get-away. Joni decided to come with us. Abby wanted to stay home and rest (the best thing for her).

We had a ball. We were not in a hurry what-so-ever. Every time we saw something interesting we would stop. I took a lot of photos all day long. I was trying to complete my assignment for my photo class, but I also just took photos for fun.

At the top of the Teton Pass we stopped and went on a little hike. I hiked up the hill and took some shots of Mike and Joni below. Then I took a lot of shots for my class. You can visit my other blog if you'd like to see those. I'll be posting them tomorrow.
I did see a couple of little chipmonks through the hillside plants.

Once we got to the bottom of the pass on the Wyoming side we stopped at a river and took another little hike. Here's a couple of shots of that hike.

In Jackson we visited the park where the fair was underway. It was great.

For a long time Joni and I just sat and watched people. I had to get photos. There were so many interesting characters. Everything from cowboys to high society. I'm posting them here for your gawking pleasure.

Then we went to the Snow King Resort where Joni and Mike went up the mountain on the chair lift....

....and came down the mountain riding the Alpine slide.

Right next to the resort was the oddest cemetery that I've ever seen. The plots were terraced and fenced. There were a lot of wooden headstones and the whole thing was wild and unkempt.

After we got back to Idaho we saw a truck hauling one of our potatoes out of the field.

JUST KIDDING! Our spuds aren't really that big. That truck has been sitting beside the road with his fake tater for as long as I can remember.

We were almost home when I spotted these sunflowers. As they are my favorite flower, Mike stopped and let me go snap a bunch of photos.

It was an awesome day. I needed the break so badly. I can't believe how much better I felt today.