Tuesday, December 24

Xmas Eve Amox!

Ho Ho Ho! Here's a little Xmas eve present for me, a nice bottle of antibiotics! I've been more or less ill since the evening of Dec 13th....I thought it was just a virulent cold and that I was getting slowly better but this morning I either had a relapse or started afresh on illness number two (which appears identical to illness number one.) My physician didn't even bother to see me again: when I called the office to see if I could come in (again) the receptionist wouldn't make me an appointment, she just took a message and an hour later called to say the doctor had phoned in a prescription (unspecified) to the drugstore. Phoned it in about sums it up. I guess it's xmas eve and nobody really wants to be working, but this is not confidence-inspiring.  Not sure why if it's "just a virus" as the doctor decreed at last week's office visit, that I'd suddenly need an antibiotic? Without another check-up or even a phone consult? Ho Ho Ho!  #feelingrumpyandlousyandUNCONFIDENTinmyhealthcareprovider

Follow Up: The antibiotics worked like a charm. So, I guess my doctor knew what she was doing after all! ;-)

Sunday, December 22

The Three Brothers

Everybody is home for a little while anyway. There's something about having all three fledglings back in the nest again however briefly...says Mama Bird with a contented little chirp!  That really is all I wanted for Christmas. ~♡♫♡♡~

End of Semester!

My newest obsession project!
The semester ended a week ago with my showing both paintings and also my newest project, a series of photos playfully exploring personality and identity. Its working title is Re/Present. So far I have done 27 sessions, all but one with just one person at a time, friends, family and fellow graduate students whom I think of as my collaborators.  I've made a blog of selected images over at Tumblr but a) I am waiting to get the okay from all my collaborators before going public and b) I am having some trouble with the Tumblr interface: I find it much more difficult to configure and control than Blogspot. ;-( So I may in fact scrap it and start all over again on Blogspot...but I'll keep you all posted either way.

Here I am inbetween two mediums: digital and canvas! Photo: Kathleen Hogan
A big crowd at my review!  Photo: Kathleen Hogan

It was a rough week leading up to the final review on Friday, with an art opening, several snow days, weather cancellations, and sudden family health emergencies in CT necessitating a lot of extra confabulating with siblings and parents and almost as soon as Friday's effort was over I immediately became sick. After the last review on that last day I had my coat on and was standing at the school entrance with a bunch of fellow students getting ready to go out and have a celebratory drink. I suddenly felt wham! an enormous clout of shaky exhaustion. I made an excuse and went straight home and was sick for this past entire week! A terrible bad cold, I guess but more like a mini-flu, fever, congestion, sore throat, aches, etc. worse than any cold I've ever had. Anyway, just starting to feel the recovery has started as of today, one week and one day later! Oh well...onwards and upwards!

illustration by Norman Rockwell

Saturday, November 30

Henry and Art

Henry came home from his boarding school the previous Saturday for a full week of Thanksgiving vacation. We started his break off by going to the Astrid Bowlby exhibition and Gallery Talk at Gallery Joe last Saturday night:

It was a packed house



Henry attended his first art opening on his ONE MONTH birthday, and it has just gone on from there, so it's an atmosphere he is comfortable with and also seems to naturally enjoy, at least for short periods of time.

The next day we visited my studio at PAFA:

We looked at my new piece (on the right) hanging in a small group show 

and we also visited the PAFA vending machines...very much appreciated in every way.

 These big boxes that light up, and hum, and show you lots of snacks and then you GET one of the snacks and you can eat it! It is like the most perfect kind of art really, when you think about it...

Not so sure about this one and what it wants from him? :-)

Henry is a catalyst for re-examining preconceived notions of the world, that's for sure. We took in a few more shows:

Hen responded positively to The Artist's Response to Tonalism show

Judging by the number of stims per square inch, I think his favorite was this small piece by Al Gury

And he was as good as gold in the other galleries as well. Another nice thing is that most museum/gallery goers seem to be generally sophisticated/broadminded and savvy people, we rarely get more than a brief glance and a friendly smile when Henry flaps his hands (stims) with excitement, or gives the occasional happy little skip (which can be a surprising move enacted by a six foot five inch young man.)  I guess it is pretty well understood that art-loving comes in all shapes and forms...

Wednesday, November 27


Feeling thankful for friends who rallied to my cry for companionship on a long day of solo Henry-tending! First, Home Depot with Sarah Barr:

Next, we visited a lumber yard with Alex Tyng:

Lastly, a long drive on a rainy night, going nowhere in particular but Mary Walsh to chat with made all
the difference!

All full of gratitude for friends and ready for Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 1

Personal Best

I love the sport of Cross Country Running (more commonly referred to as X-C.) It's like life, both solitary and communal. You're a member of a team but you are also running your own race. I'm so happy two of my boys have gotten into it. Our area's District Championships were held last Friday and son H did a wonderful job, finishing high overall but more importantly, achieving his own personal best! We are all really proud of H's hard work, talent and dedication!

Here comes the thundering horde!

Fleet feet flying past

Me being a typical X-C mom, hugging the ropes...

Proud Dad congratulating H!

Cooling down with teammates

Coach was pleased with H's performance!

It was a great day! Congratulations H!

Sunday, October 20

PAFA tries out POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours)

PAFA decided to try participating in POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours) this year. It was decided only the graduate degree students would participate this time, maybe we are the guinea pigs? I wouldn't say the traffic was heavy but there were a lot of interested strangers poking their heads in, and a few good friends came to hang out and make it more fun!

Queen Catherine: friends enjoyed trying out my prop box of head gear!

From Betty to Veronica in one second flat! So cute.

Friday, October 18

Cupcake Day!

Today was Cupcake Day for students at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts! Rainbow-tinted fun. Here is Cupcake Day: The Photoessay:

My own personalized cupcake (there was a toppings bar!)

Thursday, August 29


...in Graduate school, that is. After taking a year off mid-program due to complications following surgery for an injury.

I wasn't really sure how I would feel upon "re-entry" but the moment I walked into my beautifully minimalist light-filled studio I was filled with joy! Interestingly, I've been looking into the early works of painter Max Beckmann and I've been mesmerized by this particular image:

Max Beckmann  "Self-Portrait in Florence"  1907
Hamburg Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

Okay okay, so my studio looks out onto Philadelphia's Convention Center rather than beautiful tuscan hills, and I'm lacking a smartly tailored formal outfit, and I don't smoke, and I'm not a stunningly handsome twenty-four year old German man at the turn of the last century, but other than THAT, it's like these pictures are twins, right? ;-)

Saturday, July 27

Peach Season

Peach season is just starting here in the mid-atlantic, and oh how I love it! There's nothing like a good perfectly ripe peach, with it's velvety skin, tender flesh and sweet-tangy juice.  But I am a bit of a peach-fusspot, I will only eat a peach when it is perfectly perfectly ripe. My husband and sons laugh at this, they don't mind chawing at a rubbery unripe lump, or slurping up a peach with deteriorating flesh-quality. Their random grabs at the fruit basket leave me frustrated, as I may be waiting with eagerness for a peach to get to the perfect pitch and before it is quite there, maybe it is even close, wham...they've gone ahead and eaten it. Or they'll crunch up a bunch of very unripe ones, leaving a batch of ripe ones...half of which will "turn" before I can attend to them.  Okay, yeah, fussy fussy fussy. I know. And I don't really care.

Let's see if this signage helps! ;-) Anything goes in my pursuit of the perfect peach!

Wednesday, June 12

Happy First Birthday Kitty!

It's a little odd, knowing the birthday of my cat, even his birth order (youngest of four.) That's because he was born to a supposedly fixed cat adopted from a shelter by a friend of mine. It was kind of a strong arm kitten adoption ("You're my friend? You'll take a kitten, then.") but it turned out to be a wonderful thing. We all love this cat who, as his birthday card proclaims, is unique, fun, cute, smart and lovable! ♡ We keep him in kitty treats and he keeps our collective blood pressures down, a lovely symbiotic relationship! 

Sunday, May 26

Love Loaves

My Sourdough Adventure continues! I decided it might be nice to have loaf shapes rather than the boules I have been making. For these loaves I used the King Arthur Rustic Sourdough recipe with a few home modifications. Instead of free-form (i.e. rustic) loaves I used loaf pans, and I also changed the recipe from all-white to multi-grain. These loaves include whole wheat flour, oat bran and ground flaxseed meal. I meant to dust the pans with cornmeal too, but forgot. I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of sour salt (aka citric acid, or vitamin C crystals) to boost the "tang" factor. It all worked out beautifully, this time at least! I've made several clunker batches too as I forge ahead on my sourdough adventure. Those loaves don't get blogged about, but they do get eaten, all the same. Homemade bread, even if far from perfect, still tastes good.

Now for some bread art shots...I just think the whole structure of bread is so gorgeous! It's like an art project you can eat!

Macro shot of the crumb form. Click to enlarge.

My peanut butter jar full of starter continues to do just fine, living in my fridge with only sporadic feeding. I can be a bit scatter-brained so I thought for sure I'd kill her dead in no time but so far she seems perfectly content and healthy!

Somebody asked, so thought I would mention that yeah, I'm using NO fancy or specialized bread-baking equipment. No french bannetons, no danish dough whisk, no scoring knife, no kitchenaid dough hook, no proofing container, no dough-raising bucket, no silpat kneading mat, no baking stone etc etc.  All that stuff does sound great but at the moment I am just having fun, enjoying a free-form free-for-all using only common kitchen utensils. I don't even weigh my ingredients the way real bakers do, although I may come to that in future. :-) Who knows?