Backroads ghost buildings, Southern Utah.

Another couple of the birds that my mum photographed for me at her house in Woodstock.
I love this one's full-throated song. That always makes my heart swell when I see it.

Lunch and other goodies, Japantown.


Pssssst.......another of my illustrations is on the homepage of the Pioneer Woman's fabulous website right now.
Go look! (Hint: it's one you haven't seen, nor will see anywhere else)

Does anyone remember trolls?
I didn't have them when I was little, but other people in that era did - sometimes a bit obsessively. They were collectible. My mum found them creepy, as did I - so we never had any around the house. But when I was in college, and rarely saw my father anymore, he once gave me a set of little troll earrings for Christmas. It was such an unexpected gift - something so whimsical - and it just melted my heart.
So when my husband's news station had a work party, the year before we adopted our daughter, with an retro theme, and one of the party favors was a re-issued troll doll, we scooped up two and saved them for Q.
I'm glad we did. There's something about that funny little creature with his wild yellow hair.
It makes me want to smile.


Beacon, NY

Well, Yoli asked for more dress-up pictures, and since we have all three been down with colds this past week, and the weather sleety and lowering, keeping us from our usual running schedule, I can oblige.
Q and I spent a particularly fuzzy-headed afternoon playing around with cameras and hats again.
It's really the only chance I have to get her in all the lovely dresses that have been sent to us by Q's many fans (and friends, and relatives, and...).

There's a whole stack of them...too many, even, for the small dress rail in her closet. And honestly, she's not much of a dress girl. Not that she doesn't look good in them - she does! Oh, she does, and then some! But she's a tomboy, a daredevil, a stuntman. My little Danger Mouse. Always with dirty knees and bare, scuffed feet. So she spends most of her time in pants (and often gets mistaken for a boy).
This is my proof that, now and then (only just occasionally!), when we're home alone and feeling cooped-up, she can really get into a game of dress-up. I don't want to overdo it, lest I sour her on the whole thing.

My new toy.
It's a vintage Corgi VW 1200 Saloon, with a hood and boot that open, and a single rhinestone headlight. The wheels turn when you twist the spare on the roof.
Sometimes I imagine myself driving around in it, on a winding country road, through apple orchards, on a sunsparked summer afternoon. Wouldn't the world look somehow brighter from inside a car like this?
Q admires it, too. But who wouldn't?

I may have mentioned that I'm having a bit of an obsession with small songbirds lately. I realized after my first attempt at sketching a finch (much too quickly, since I'm on deadline for a job or two right now, and should not be spending my time doodling) I was instantly desperate to draw many, many more.
In that interest, I asked my mother (the wildlife painter, who has wonderful lenses for photographing birds) whether she'd have time to snap a few shots of songbirds for me in her beautiful back gardens.
This is the first that she sent me. It's a swift. Isn't it lovely?
When we lived in the Vail Valley, I remember a number of people in our community getting very worked up about swifts building nests in the eves of their garages, and pooping all over their shiny SUVs. That really rubbed me the wrong way. How can you be angry at a bird as beautiful as this? That's what car washes are for.

Incidentally, I also hooked up my own zoom lens (it's a much cheaper version than those my mother uses, so the quality will not be this good) and bought a bag of wild finch food. This morning when I awoke, I had a smorgasborg of wild finches outside on the deck. I will post the results once I weed through them.


Sunrise in the desert, outside Tucson, Arizona.

Spring blooms in the nothing else on earth.
You've got to hit it by early April, or it's all over.
Eating my husband's camp-stove breakfast of herb-spiked eggs and black espresso, with the dog standing eagerly by.

This is, btw, my mum's camping vehicle, not ours. She lets us borrow it for trips where the weather is likely to be iffy. Traversing the territory between Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona in early April is a mixed meteorological bag. Our usual desert camping consists of a two-person desert tent (mostly screen, for maximum ventilation and night-sky viewing) strapped with bungy cords to the top of a roof rack.

Broadway and South Broadway are Denver's official vintage-hunting district. The news station where my husband works is only a block from the heart of it, and every now and then we get the yen to browse the old booksellers, vintage clothing meccas, and antique marts that spread to the south. On this day, we started our rounds with a stop into Sputnik, a bar/eatery/music venue, for some superb sandwiches.
I love the old-school salon chairs that serve as a lounge at the front of the restaurant.
Q was fascinated with the battered and crochety but still-serviceable photo booth.
Refueled, Daddy and Q indulged mommy in a little vintage clothes shopping (you can see my spoils - or rather spoil, since I was frugal - below).
You can see Q getting pretty excited about a vintage needlepoint cushion here...I think it's the bird (and though I'm not a needlepoint type, it was a nicely done bird, at that). She and Mommy both are having rather a bird moment lately.
...I love the way her eyebrows shoot up into her forehead when she sees something she likes!
While Mommy tried on mumus and peignoires, Daddy and Q stopped in to Rock The Cradle next door - a funky toddler store, where they found Q a very ska-appropriate houndstooth t-shirt and some hipster sock-shoes.
Window shopping the funky antique book marts (since the last thing we need in this house is one more book!).
This little dress was my one indulgence. It's handmade and so beautifully done. But the thing that sold me was the fabric. What a gorgeous pattern, isn't it?