Alphabeasts: P is for Pushmi-Pullyu

This week's entry in the "Alphabeasts" project gave me a little trouble, because it's such a strange creature that I kind of couldn't figure out how it works. As it is, I wound up departing from my available models considerably.

Friends, I give you the pushmi-pullyu.

I know what you're thinking. "I've seen that movie, Isaac, and the pushmi-pullyu is more like a llama thing than a gazelle thing. It doesn't have horns. It likes to dance. I've never seen anything like it, but your drawing isn't much like it, either."

But believe me when I say this has more fidelity to the original than what you'll see in the Rex Harrison movie (or the Eddie Murphy one). In Hugh Lofting's original The Story of Doctor Dolittle; Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and His Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts (1920), the pushmi-pullyu is an African animal (and that alone quashes any llama/alpaca/vicuña/guanaco theory) descended from "the Abyssinian gazelles and the Asiatic chamois" on one side and "the last of the Unicorns" on the other.

In fact, the author himself illustrated the first editions of the book (which you can now see for yourself, thanks to Google), and his pushmi-pullyu definitely has horns.

It also seems to have only one eye on each side of its head.

So, rather than the cordial double-llama, Lofting gives us a rubbery chimera, a sort of combination of the cyclops, the amphisbaena, and the unicorn, with a dash of gazelle and platypus thrown in. Egad. It wasn't an easy creature to draw. I had a few false starts.

I figured out quickly enough that I didn't want to make the posture symmetrical, though I suppose I could have saved myself some drawing if I'd done that. I also thought, for a while, that I might swipe my own drawing of the gerenuk from the Animal Alphabet, but those results weren't great.

This looks like a regular gazelle trying to fool hadpanagus by putting a papier-mâché horsey head on its rump. So, so lame.

I include that image only to chastise my own drawing hand, to remind myself that although I am getting better I am still not a very natural cartoonist. Please, pass it by.

Next week is the letter Q. I'll have to use one of my aces in the hole.

$250 recipe...but really

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Cookies


You may have this recipe too thanks to my mother in law.

Neiman Marcus (extra chocolatey) Chocolate Cookies

2 c.  butter
2 c. white sugar
2 c. brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour
5 c. blended oats (blend those puppies up good in a blender)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking power
2 tsp. baking soda
24 oz. chocolate chips
8 oz. granted chocolate bar (I used almond bark)
3 c. chopped nuts (optional of course)

Cream butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix together with flour oatmeal, salt,
baking power and soda. Add chocolate chips, and grated chocolate.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375
It says it makes 125 cookies.
It made 6 dozen for me.
When I make these babies again I will half the recipe. 

As of yesterday... (wait for it, wait for it)

we got CABLE..... I can hear Court's cheering and clapping as I am typing these words.
Cable one has a little deal between internet and cable.
So we caved.
Not our proudest moment. :)
We're babies.
We already feel like it is our guilty pleasure.

The Perks:


-The News, we will feel like we actually
know what is going on 
in the world and will feel confident
in making a well educated
vote on our upcoming 

-Food Network. ahhhh. LOVE

-Isaac can keep up with Sports. Which will
be so nice for him.
He deserves that!

- And waaaay too many other addicting shows.

I am determined not to get sucked in.
(as I typed those words I have Food Network playing
in the background)
but really....

                                                                    lou and lee                              mine

I need to go stock up my felt supply 
after hours of learning to work with

two fav peps

sometimes I headband braid my hair.

DAMN! Now, that is a STAMP!

Somehow the postal rate increase took me by surprise, so I am not ready with enough small-denomination stamps or whatever. I just spent an hour or more trying to order the right stuff on the USPS website (which is a miracle of clumsy web design).

But on the plus side, check out this year's Lunar New Year stamp.

It's enough to make you want to send mail, I tell you.

Mom Gets Kicked Out of Summer Camp

Strange headline, I know, but that's almost exactly what happened. She was not my mom and in actuality, it was not summer camp. She is Lynnette's mom, my mother-in-law and on Thursday we received a call from the Neighborhood House letting us know that after requiring three staff members to assist her in getting out of the bathroom, she is no longer welcome.

Eleven years ago, my mother-in-law as diagnosed with dementia. This is a little bit like that radio program I used to stay up late on Sunday nights and listen to--Doctor Demento, but really there are very few similarities. That was eleven years ago. She is now 70 years old and is in the severe stages of Alzheimer's. My father-in-law is still working a few days a week, so the Neighborhood House recently became the summer camp we needed and began relying on for life to carry on in some semblance of normal. But lately, finding the right balance of medication is proving to be very difficult. She is either very sleepy or very agitated, bordering on aggressive. Sometimes that border is non-existant. What a tragedy. This has got to be the most cruel ways to die--for all who are involved. Lynnette is amazing with her. I find that I normally have to walk away. It is kind of like dealing with a belligerent 180 pound toddler without the ability to reason and still enough muscles to throw her weight around when she gets upset. I know she is without control of this situation, but the thing I really hate about it is that we are, too. We can try different things, but few of them have any effect. I like to fix things--recognize problems and do all I can to try and come up with a remedy. There does not seem to be one here that is acceptable to all involved parties. It is heartbreaking and frustrating and cruel. Our children are already starting to be afraid of her and she has brought both of them to tears with her outbursts. We know this is beyond her control to control herself, but it barely lessens the reality of the sting.

My father-in-law is not interested in assisted living. He wants to keep her out of that for as long as possible, which means as long as he is breathing. And there really isn't money available even if such an option were allowed. Many of those facilities charge upwards of $200/day. That is a good way to go broke fast. So, we try to do what we can. Lynnette has cared for her mom several days in the past few weeks. It makes it difficult to get anything done around the house. I guess my emotions range from sadness to frustration to helplessness. It just seems like we should have a few more good years with her mom--as a mom, than who knows how long with someone who looks like her mom, but really isn’t. Life is never fair, but we are doing our best to keep our chins up and smile and learn what we can, and take one step at a time. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I am still plowing on with the next book. I had a minor breakthrough this week with the story after a couple of weeks of spinning my wheels without gaining traction. I am feeling a lot of self-imposed pressure. I know those of you who have read my other books have some expectation as well. I hope to be able to make some good progress in the coming week. Wish me luck. I need it.

Quick color sketch

When I was in LA for CTN, I rented a car and drove around to shoot some reference material for some color studies. Haven't gotten around to actually using any of that material until tonight! Just a quick little photoshop sketch, enjoy!

The Hungry Mouth is here

After a rather unprofessional 1 month delay, my book of short stories, The Hungry Mouth, is finally here. Need proof?

That's my plans for this weekend. Hand-packaging, labeling, and shipping 300+ books. I still have about 100 available, which you can get at

"Yes, all copies will be signed, damn it." -My Wrists

I am not invented. The Ethical Accountability of American Presidential Candidates

The last Republican presidential debate, conducted by CNN, produced yet another assault by Republican nominees on the Palestinian people. Newt Gingrich repeated again his infamous statement that we Palestinians are in fact "invented people", this time adding that we are an invention of the late 1970s. (The late 1970s! And he claims to be a historian). Earlier of course, Gingrich has stated that we are all terrorists, and that our text books teach that if there are thirteen Jews and nine are killed, then how many Jews are left? This of course, is factually wrong. The other leading candidate, Mitt Romney, was no better, falsely claiming that our text books teach how to kill Jews, and that we Palestinians do not want a two state solution, and that we want to eliminate the state of Israel. 

The notion that we are invented is insulting and condescending to say the least. These claims are not new to us as Palestinians, as we have repeatedly heard them over the years from radical Christian Zionist leaders. But really, who are you to tell me who I am? In the word of Palestinian Christian journalist Daoud Kuttab, "The people themselves are the best authority on what a people is. If the learned Republican nominee really wants to know who Palestinians are, I would suggest he listen to what they say about themselves." Daoud's article is a powerful and personal response to the claims that Palestinians are invented.

These candidates are not ignorant. They know better. These statements are political in nature, and the aim is, of course, to attract American Jewish money and support for their campaign. Or to quote Kuttab again, "Gingrich’s attempt to deny Palestinians their identity has nothing to do with history. It is simply political pandering."

But why should it be at my expense? For how long would these American politicians use us Palestinians as a stepping stone to reach their goals? How many dehumanizing insults do we have to endure? The irony is that these statements are coming from the party that has the majority of the Evangelical support. I am grateful for the support we receive from some Evangelical leaders, but the time has come for more ethical accountability from Christians on such statements. Not only is most of what is said about Palestinians wrong, it is also insulting, dehumanizing, and condescending. And I am afraid it will get worse as the general elections come closer. Enough.

bread and babies

Ernest Hemingway:

Before you talk, listen
Before you react, think
Before you spend, earn
Before you criticize, wait
Before you pray, forgive
Before you quit, try

Well said Ernest. You pretty much covered it all.
Keys to a happier life.

This is why as soon as I can get some pennies together I will
be buying a canvas and painting these words
to go in my home!!!!

enough said...

I made bread... You proud?

First time!
Mom Doman showed me how.
It turned out very tasty.

P.s. This is why I did not make it to the store tonight

 ouchy bonk on the head.
fell off the couch, 
head first.
hard to see but the bonk is in the
left corner of her forehead

Alphabeasts: O is for Oskie Bugs

I am not sure how obscure this week's Alphabeasts critter is, though I've had a really hard time finding information about it online. I thought that Yo Gabba Gabba! was a thing these days, but maybe my impression of it is distorted by the fact that I read Evan Dorkin's blog (he is an occasional contributor to the show) or by the usefulness of the program in holding the attention of very small children.

But maybe if you're a fan of Yo Gabba Gabba!, or if you've got a wee one in the house, you will have heard of the oskie bugs.

Like Gooble, the oskie bugs are denizens of Gabbaland that appear infrequently but are treated more or less as known quantities by the show's main characters. I gather that there's an episode in the third season in which the main characters shrink down to follow the oskie bugs into their tunnels, but I'm basing my drawing here on the oskie bugs I'm familiar with. (I have only seen the episodes I can stream on Netflix, but I have seen those many times now.)

In episode 7 of the first season, "Friends," at about five minutes into the program, Toodee and Plex (the magic robot) are waiting quietly in Toodeeland to see whether the oskie bugs will come out. (One of the things I like about them: the oskie bugs will only come out if everyone is quiet. I plan to make use of that fact in the future.)

When they do come out and march across the screen, Toodee is so psyched that she wants to give Plex a high five about it; this leads to a song in which she explains what a high five is, and what it signifies. I've found a couple of badly recorded clips of the song, but none that starts early enough that you can see the oskie bugs. (That's why I snagged the screencap above.)

If you'd like to see someone "re-enacting" the scene with dolls, that's up to you.

Next week: I think my next Alphabeast had a cameo in an Eddie Murphy movie.

Anakin, Skiing, Babes

Isaac and I have been 
First Harry Potter.
Now (one of my VERY favorites, not sarcastic)

There will not be a time of watching this great classic
that I will not be completely 
BROKEN hearted watching this transformation....

what a doll, right?

anyone see this coming? :(

In just two movies these events happen!

Step #1-Forbidden Love/Marriage. Step #2 His sole reason for coming to the dark side was to save his wife's life. Instead it resulted in..ending her life. Seriously breaks my heart Step #3 Darth Vador

Well we will be starting the next set of 3 in the trilogy

Skiing with the Porters

(Side note, this is how Janie fell asleep
No Joke! I kept looking back there to make sure 
and she didn't budge until we were home.
And when we pulled into the garage Janie said,
"Maaaaan! We're home already?!?!?
I was in the most comfortable sleeping position."

These are the only pictures I took, due to a continuous
down dump of snow!
When Isaac and I went, there was hardly anything
and it began to get icy. Which was not our favorite.
This time... there was plllllenty. Tons of powder. That was not yet groomed.
FUN but also scary at times. My calves and sore today
which is a sign that I am a baby and went so slow.
Furthermore it just snowed and snowed with the wind out of faces
which wasn't the best. 
HOWEVER...we really all had a blast despite the conditions.

People in attendance-
Esock (the hubs)
and The Jane Factor

Mom hung out with the babes at home. 
I missed her loads.


 two of my fav. things about her.
-the "no wrist"
-finger dimples. AH

 her dad's all time fav pic

 pretty outfit that the bestie got for Reagan for Christmas
 she's clapping because she enjoys the outfit as much as we do :)
how is she mine?

this girl...

P.s. 7 month crib growth eval pics are in :)