Thursday, May 31, 2007

Illustration Friday: Cars

For Illustration Friday I give you a double whammy for this week's word "Cars" (click on the image to see a larger version). The first being a tribute to The Cars lead singer Ric Ocasek, and the second a tribute to my first car, a 1973 Lincoln Continental. What do these two have in common you might ask?

On my 16th birthday my dad gave me a little box tied with a bow. Inside were the keys to "The Batmoblie" the aforementioned '73 Continental that my dad had scored for $500 bucks, repainted its oxodized red body a glossy black, tinted the windows, polished its many layers of chrome, and outfitted it with some pretty pimpin' whitewalls and wire rim wheels. On the bug shield we placed a bat-insignia sticker and dubbed it The Batmobile. This car was long, measuring in at somewhere around 233 inches (that's nearly 19 feet of car, people). When you drove it you felt like you were driving a yacht. At 16 I wasn't thinking much about gas mileage, but what was important was that I could fit all of my girlfriends in this car, and we looked cool. People at school thought I drove a limo.

My dad has a real soft spot for old Lincolns. In The Batmobile era he owned and restored two other models, both equally sweet as mine. My dad is also a musician and always listens to music while he works on his cars (he currently owns a Bill Blass Model..and if that isn't the definition of pimpin' I don't know what is). One of his favorite bands in the 80s was The Cars, and I can't think of my dad with out thinking of Ric Ocasek and the catchy synthesizer riffs in many of The Cars tunes. As a kid I listened to a lot of The Cars with my dad, who can cover a mean version of Shake It Up. I put on my Cars album as I drew this and have to say I think they are still pretty cool, just like my dad.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Since today is Mother's Day, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to write a little shout-out to all the women in my life who have shown me what it means to be a mom. This Mom's Day is especially especial because I'm about to become a mom myself, and I have been doing a lot of thinking (and let's be honest..a little freaking out) about the great responsibility that lies ahead. But if you read on you'll realize (as I do) that I am in no shortage of some pretty darn amazing examples.

Of course I've got to start with the Original Super-Mom, numero-uno, the queen, my main lady, my Mom. Really I could write a book about how wonderful my Mom is, so somehow mentioning her on my little ole blog seems not quite enough. My mom is hands down amazing, and pretty much the sweetest person you'll ever know. Besides bringing me into this world (which I am gaining a whole new appreciation for) she did an amazing job raising me as a single parent from the time I was 9. I'm not sure if I went through The Terrible Twos, but I know for certain that I went through the Terrible Teens. Some of my many antics during this time included scaring off all of my mom's boyfriends, and driving her take so much Tylenol she should have bought stock in the company. I had to leave the country in order for her to meet and fall in love with my uber-sweet step dad, and I thank my lucky stars I didn't get in the way of that one. How anyone could come out the other end of that phase loving me more than ever still completely blows me away. And it is not just the big things she's done for me that knock my socks off, it is the things she does for me on a daily basis too. Last week she helped me clean and organize my entire house (trust me friends, it needed it). She vacuumed, dusted, cooked meals, and helped me wade through piles of all my embarrassing clutter, and then at the end of her stay she thanked ME for letting her help. That's just the kind of person she is. She is so giving to the people she loves, and is completely selfless and tireless about it.

Then there's my Mother in Law. I've loved this lady ever since I was 3. She was my preschool teacher and I was in love with her before I fell in love with her son (that only took another 14 years). My dad used to do interviews with me using our tape recorder and once when he asked me what I loved most about preschool I said it was her. I was pretty smart back then, because I still love her as much today if not more. One thing I love most about my mom-in-law is her ability to make everyone feel welcome in her home. When I was dating her son, my own super mom was going back to college and working so there were times when I was kind of on my own. I was welcomed to hang out at their house after school, there was always room for me at the dinner table, and sometimes there would be other people there too (as well as my hubby, his dad, and the other 4 kids in their family). Pretty amazing if you ask me.

The next mom figure that I encountered in my life was my Dutch Mom, or Moeder as I call her. She was my mom when I lived in Holland for a year, and I really do consider her one of my moms. Before we met I spent a good amount of time trying to imagine what she would be like as I'd left my hometown without even seeing a picture
of my future Dutch parents. I'll never forget driving up to their house and seeing her stand in the doorway. I felt like I had always known her. When I was trying to learn Dutch she was my patient teacher and never tired of correcting my poor grammar. She taught me that I could remember the word for Mother (Moeder) because the first part of the word "moe" means "tired" in Dutch. And it was easy to see how she'd be tired with 4 of her kids at home plus Pops (my dear host father),and then me and all of my aforementioned school-skipping and inability to communicate for the first few months of living with them. Add to that list an amazing garden to tend to, house work, helping my Dutch sibs with their homework, volunteering, taking care of her mother, and cooking meals worth of mention in Bon Apetit magazine. But with Moeder there is always time for fun, and we have had so much of it together over the years. On hot afternoons she'd drop everything to take us to the beach, and most nights at the dinner table most of us would be in tears from laughing so hard together. This lady works as hard as she plays, and loves even harder. She really lives life to the fullest and I admire that so much.

And of course there are my grandmas. Both worthy again of a much longer tribute. I've been super lucky to be close to these two ladies my entire life. I grew up spending summer weeks at their houses when my parents were working and I was out of school. Now they both live in the same retirement community and even eat dinner together every night. My grandmas are both very different people with different ways of showing their love for their kids and grandkids (when I was little I used to call one of them my Sewing Grandma and the other my Talking Grandma). But one thing they do have in common is their strength, they are both very strong minded ladies who refuse to stop being happy. In their collective 182 years on this earth they have seen their fair share of difficulty, lost their soul mates, and have seen their own children and grandchildren battle illness and tragedy. But they've also seen an equal amount of joy, and will be the first to tell you what a pleasure their lives are and how happy they are to be in this very moment. You've got to love that, and if I am lucky enough to make it into my 90s I hope to be the same way.

If all this wasn't enough I also have 5 incredible aunts and a wonderful step-mom to boot, add to that all of my same-age pals who each do a wonderful job as moms and I pretty much have an All Star Team of Moms to look to for advice, inspiration, and courage before I step up to the plate myself. Happy Mother's Day to you all!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Illustration Friday: Neighbor

I am super excited for this week's Illustration Friday topic: Neighbor. For me the word Neighbor means more than just someone that lives next door that you wave to every once in a while, for me it is synonymous with the word Friend.

Back in the late 90s my hubby and I lived in a funky duplex. Not too long after we moved in, the unit next door became available. I knew of some friends of friends that were looking so I gave them a call. They came and looked at the place and took it on the spot. I was excited because I had only hung out with these two a handful of times and thought they were great, and looked forward to getting to know them better. Nothing could have prepared me for the incredible friendship that would develop as we lived side by side, separated only by a very thin, poorly insulated wall.

We met for dinners and lunches in the shared back yard, made up nicknames for some of our less friendly street-mates, survived an earthquake, spent holidays together making delicious meals, and talked, and talked and talked. You would think separated only by such a thin wall that all of this talking happened in person, and some of it did. But mostly we talked on the phone. We both had to invest in headsets to relieve the phone-elbow and sore ears that became a symptom of our dedication to talking. And this habit continues today, now that we live in different neighborhoods. In one afternoon I will exhaust the battery on both my cordless phones, and my cell phone during our marathon conversations. One time we figured out how much time we spend on the phone together and the results were shocking. In an average year we spend about 35 DAYS talking on the phone. There is so much I could say about my Neighbor that I will just have to save for other posts. Most importantly I cherish our epic chats and I wouldn't spend those hours any other way. Love you Neighbor!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Illustration Friday: Remember

I was recently chatting with my ultra cool grandma, who at nearly 90 is as web savvy as most and a faithful reader of this blog (thanks grandma)! We were talking about memories, and what we want to remember in our lives. She said that she likes to think of all of her experiences as a potpourri, some wonderful, some difficult but they all mix together to make something beautiful and fragrant. When I think of Remembering I think of a tree that lives in my head, always growing and putting off new fruit. Maybe the tree is not something I'm entirely in control of, but it is something that I want to nurture just the same.

As a little aside, some people have asked me what all this Illustration Friday stuff is about. Some of my pals thought it was something I was just doing on my own. Please check of this link: Illustration Friday to learn all about it and to see a bunch of fun stuff!