Saturday, December 31, 2005


The painting is done. The photography is done. The prints are on their way to author and publisher. So, yesterday Orion and I played some Little Tikes basketball and after, I lay in the sun and worked on nothing but my tan. Okay, I at least neutralized the blue.

But this morning I look out on the deck and it's a different place. The sky is dark and forboding. The empty chairs, the canopies the trees, are still and waiting.
The sky is more and more like the painting.

The pool beckons. I so miss swimming. I'm thinking seriously about looking for a wet suit so I can stand the cold. These thoughts may pass soon. My reprieves are generally very short lived. Our dinner guests will go tonight, tomorrow will be a new year and likely, I'll be back in the studio before everyone else has breakfast.

Then, it's hours until then. Lots could happen. And I'm thinking about slicing through cold, cold water.

Happy New Year. Have fun. Be safe.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Chirp, chirp

It's a normal day when I take coffee into the studio with me. When I take a carton of orange juice, it's serious. I'll be gone for a bit, doing whatever it takes to make the art that needs to happen, happen.
You can thank Ben for the photo. I thank him too, for keeping me from falling into chasms, and Pete, for handling everything there is to handle so that, once in a while, I can disappear.
But then, I'll come back. I always do, so far...

Year of the Rat

Hi everyone, it's Ravyn, Lisa's webmaster, graphic artist, and Number One Flunky....

While the Boss Rat is busy doing her thing, i thought i'd say a few things about rats :-)

According to Chinese astrology, 2005 was the year of the Rooster, but, around here it seems like it was truly the year of the Rat. Quite a number of ratties joined the family this year: Vanda, Harlan, Ravyn (Blogger), Grim, Grammy, and..... the as-yet-unnamed "G" rat that i commissioned as a Christmas gift for my hubby.

Here is my mom (Grammy herself) on Christmas night, Grammy rat in hand, and her three grand"ratties". From left to right: Jenny, Ally, and Nikki. My mom is thrilled with the Grammy rat - she actually requested it, after taking possession of a Poe rat. And Lisa really enjoyed doing the baby ratties.

Here is a photo i took of the G rat, when he arrived (conveniently as the hubby was out doing some last-minute Christmas shopping, hehe). i'll post a photo of G with his rat soon. He is not Scottish, but he sure looks good in a kilt, and i thought it would make a really cool rat.....

i really love the way Lisa can put so much personality into these tiny sculptures. i guess that's why i've commissioned so many - i look at them as little rattie portraits - and everyone loves being "immortalized" as a rat.

More rats are coming.....

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Sleep, please

Maybe it's just me, but I was wondering if it's just my kids who, shortly into Christmas morning, have secured the Darth Vader Voice Changing Mask onto the Furby?

I don't know. Maybe kids all over are doing just that.

I do know that I passed the shelf a moment ago and Vader's voice, quite distinctly, began to sing.

....lullabye, lullabye...

Now the eldest sit around a tiny table engrossed in Orion's Playdoh Chomp and Chew Diner. I just heard Bridget exclaim "This is so cool. I didn't know it would be so demented!"
Orion, non-plussed, plays Tak...

Mom soaks it up for later, and sometimes dreams of painting. Oh and sleeping. A bit of sleeping would be very good.

From our front door to you...Merry, Happy and Joy to you all. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 23, 2005

another near silence

I seem to be the last person standing in a house full of people after a long day of cooking, shopping, laughing, tidying, hanging lights and putting bright red scarves, hats and bows on a plethora of black rubber rats.
Ok, well, Gurtie is up too, on my lap enjoying the lights and helping me answer dozens of emails. I love that word, dozen. It's one of those that gets weird on you when you put a bit of effort into it.
It was a good day, with parodies of mom, old stories and familiar zingers thrown between sibs. It was a good day of the last piece of another project falling into place unexpectedly. This one involves art by myself and stories set to them by Gene Wolfe and which should be out in the spring.

Tomorrow we'll all be here together, each bringing bits and pieces of all the other times we've spent together on such days and nights. Tomorrow will add it's bits to the montage that holds past and present.
It's a colorful, many textured, ever changing thing that looks a bit different to each of us, and is cherished by all.

Now I'll reluctantly remove a warm Gurtie from my lap, turn out all these lights and sleep.

All my best to you,

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

12:12 and all is well

It's just past midnight and the house is mostly dark and very quiet. Tomorrow night, daughters and sons and friends will begin to gather, filling it with sound and light. We are strange birds and we will make strange bird noises. We will tell stories that only strange birds would tell and make jokes only strange birds could understand.
We will cluster around tables of food and light and celebrate being strange birds in the way that only strange birds do.

Strange birds everywhere will do the same.

While I have a quiet moment to say it; wherever you are, (or who, or what, or why, or how) thank you and.....Peace.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Magic Worm Blower

Today was actually a regular sort of work day, except that calls and emails and packages kept coming in all day with funny and nice birthday wishes. Thanks to everyone for good wishes and comments too!
Among my favorite gifts were a singing e-card from Hy that Orion and I spent twenty minutes watching over and over and each time, collapsing into the chair laughing, a new Bill Hicks dvd from David (who is Aubrey’s dad and my friend.) Then, there's the graphic from Ravyn, which is exactly what I must deserve for making her a rat, twice. My favorite thing about the graphic is that the puppet has the look of a puppet who has been slipped a very puppety surprise.

In the goodie bag from Ben, (among things I shan’t name here and one thing that absolutely has no name and if it does I don’t want to know) is a Magic Worm Blower. I’m so touched. It’s just f*d up enough that I know he means it from the heart. Awwwww…

Soon off for an obscenely good dinner at one of my favorites and Kong, later, with friends (from Pete)

Hmm. Now I must find some of those Magic Worms....


I thought you were entitled to the Magic Worm Blower instructions as well, then I realized that I cut off the bottom, which says:

Keeps crawlers off the bottom, increases the size of skinny crawlers.

--Talk about your nematode hell. SHEESH So wrong, on so many levels. Ben loves me.

Happy Birthday, Evil Boss Lady :-)

i'm a bit behind i know, but, i've finally finished my little "portrait" of my evil RatBoss (hmmmm a boss Rattie.....), for her 29th birthday.....

Here's the link to the original photo that i "traced" with Adobe Illustrator to make the "portrait"

Since she's on the left coast, i'm not *quite* as late as i could be, hehe.


(oh, and you ROCK!)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Done, not undone

There is a mountain of boxes by the front door. The gift pieces are all done and I rewarded myself with the longest, hottest shower in the history of this house. Clear white zen.
The holiday project was hard work. I learned a lot and will be happy to share. Overall, it has been a good experience. I'm honored so many wanted me to make things for people they love. Very cool indeed.

The studio is papered with notes and quick sketches. I think I mentioned a while back that I work whether I'm inspired or not because good ideas nearly always find their way to the surface when I'm working. Maybe it just puts my brain on the correct channel. Unfortunately it works this way when I'm not looking for new ideas at all.

Next is a January of finishing up projects already in the works, a male version of Relic (I'm really looking forward to doing), a painting to replace "Star Play" at Worlds of Wonder. And, the fortune teller, who's wheel is now done.

Now I'm sitting looking at the fire and thinking about water. Years ago I wanted to make a sculpture that would work best underwater. Something that currents would move in a way that winds couldn't. It's not very practical, true. And some of my friends, okay, most of my friends, thought it funny. It can be funny, sure, but I still don't hate the idea. Maybe one day, many years from now. I can dream, can't I? Beats shuffleboard. Besides, I have no idea how shuffleboard is played, just that my grandmother played it and it looked really, really boring.

There's no Ben-ism for today, because there was no Ben. Music though (as you seem to be enjoying this):
Neutral Milk Hotel
Charles Ives
A ballet mix (Ballintine)
Bad Religion
Toad the Wet Sprocket
John Prine

Last week I couldn't find a spring on the floor. Tonight I can't find the floor. But the door stands out. It states, in big orange letters, "Nothin' can go wrong now!". I close it behind me.

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeep. Tomorrow is another day and we will each be a little changed.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Kitty Evil?

The studio is a dangerous place right now. Looking around, one can see numerous pointy, slashy, poisonous, mashy ways to die, or at least earn an ambulance ride. Orion is not allowed in here until we clean this place up, including our holiday language. Still, we are busily sending holiday gifts like the elves we are and all to arrive in time.

I can hear Orion from the other room. Lately, he's attaching the word "now" to all his requests. "Want to play with me now?" "I want chips please now." "Can we ride in the gold car now?" I noticed the 'now' adds a mysterious new layer of cuteness, and could possibly be somehow, cutely evil. Now, with distance between us, I hear how exactly like a cat's 'meow' Orions "now" is. It speaks to us on deeper levels. It behooves us. It draws us. It drives us to McDonalds...

I wonder, if on some level, he is aware of this.

Or, it could be in my head, the association with Gurtie's evilness. Though, I've meant to confess to you, sorry, I begin to love her. ?? I hardly ever post anymore without her in my lap.

Hmm. Do cats and preschooler's have a private language? Is there a conspiracy underpaw?

I think I need a hug...

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Whatever so troubled me yesterday was gone this morning. Cured by sleep, or coffee, music or nice emails, it is gone. Thanks!
I made grits for Orion, with cheese.

Ben is back today, with the whining, the complaining, the groaning, the snappy comebacks and verbal abuse. Awww, I missed that guy...

The mold for "Emily" failed two days ago. I knew we were pushing it. There's no backup. It's not practical to keep mulitple molds. The rubber won't survive long term and would eat up loads of space. Instead, we keep a master of each sculpture. Ideally, I replace a mold when it starts to show the least sign of stress, but once in a blue moon, one goes without warning, just a parade of special effects.
Today's Bennism: "Could be worse, you know. We could be ugly."

The end result was that several people who had ordered "Emily" got statues with individually hand-carved faces by yours truly, who has become quite adept with both the Dremmel and the file.

Tonight was a session for Pete's comic. That was almost like a break, because all that was required of me was mostly listening and commenting. I got to flex my fingers and s t r e t c h.

Now I write this, and eat oranges, wish good dreams to kids , stretch one more time, work on an outline for Lost and Found and paint. At night, music and oranges work better than coffee.

One more marathon day tomorrow, then things should get a bit easier. Yes, Lisa is working way too much, making her a dull girl indeed.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Indigo Wednesday

I've been really sad all day without knowing quite why. I have things to be sad about, as everyone does, but none of them are an exact fit.

What helps most is that how I spend the day is the same whether I'm happy or miserable.

What hurts most is that how I spend the day is the same whether I'm happy or miserable.

This may be less true another time, but for now I work, believing the answer is in there. And I do the things that must be done, because they must be done. Cats must be fed.

So, in that way, today was no different than yesterday, but mostly it was a strange day with Ben still away. A one-girl show with non-stop music and mostly non-stop art. Hyde has gone. I kept her under such control I feel nearly apologetic. Next time I'll let her make something.

Unified Theory
Pi (soundtrack)
Kronos Quartet
The Decemberists
Bad Religion
Zero 7

Sometimes music is better than coffee, which is nearly gone and somewhat cold, so back to it for me. I think, Chemical Brothers will do it.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Not for my readers, who are cool.

But for those who visit this site looking for gossip about someone completely not me: Go home little sheep.

Does anyone besides me miss Jerry Springer?

Harlequin Helix

Today is more like yesterday than yesterday and even longer.

Ben is sick, poor guy, so Pete subbed in the studio. Good job too.
I’d poured a casting mix into harlequin molds and gone back to peer at them twice already. Was it really that cold in here? Or was something wrong with the mix?
“Hmmm. Nothing’s happening,” I held my fingers over one, “—wait, there’s heat.”Pete said, “Then…something’s happening.” “Yup. Where there’s heat, there’s… happening,” I said. Immediately a sort of mental wormhole opened, back to the morgue and Dr. Bill, every winter night shift, saying, “Is it cold?”
We roll our eyes and recite, “oh yeah, it’s cold.”
To which Dr. Bill answers, as he’d answered every midnight for two months, “Then it’s dead! Becawze…( in the Baptist Revival voice he thought so funny) where they is ah-heat, they is ah-happenin’.” I could almost smell the bleach, and mint, and death.

As Neil Gaiman wrote Harlequin Valentine, he would phone and say, “Tell me more about the morgue.” Some of the stuff I told him made its way into the story. But there was more that didn't, and plenty I didn’t tell. Memories mostly blend or slide over one another, but my time in the morgue is clear and self contained. It’s its own world, with a spectrum that won't admit to yellow. Once in a while I take an odd step and slip headlong back into it. Today I did for a moment. But mostly it was yesterday, again.
It’s like what? Very good! You are correct. It’s like time travel.

We have officially closed submissions forTINY STORIES, the project . My sincere thanks to everyone who sent stories. You all deserve grand kudos. This was not an assignment for the faint-hearted. In mid January we’ll contact everyone who submitted and then list the names of those chosen. By then, Bob and I will have already begun to put the thing together. We’ll keep you posted.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Color Day, Monochrome Night

A long day of painting small sculptures, making notes, ordering supplies and listening to Ben's monologue to himself as he worked on the kinetic fortune teller. Today was drilling holes and attaching the pins that will slow the wheel to catch it on a particular fortune (determined, of course, either by fate or physics---up to you.) The trick isn't attaching the pins so much as creating the right conditions for the particular clicking sound I want. Supremely important, for such a wheel, at least for me.'s my wheel, for now.

Aubrey woke me at 5:30 for walking. We walked. Sheesh.

As for "Good Night and Good Luck": I won't attempt writing about this movie. What I will say is, see it, please. There are many reasons for seeing it and none for not.

Today's Ben-ism:

"Every moment of brilliance costs an hour of psychosis."

Lots of Chemical Brothers today, and some Porcupine Tree, Neutral Milk Hotel and a bit of, well, the Floyd.

Lots of Holiday sculptures are going out tomorrow. I'm getting up when I wake up.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Hands Spring says Ravyn, via paint fumes

This is a tiny part of the studio floor, where I dropped a tiny spring which, of course, bounced silently into a secret place where it could spend a possible eternity. Despite this obvious down side of such a studio floor, there are good points.
One being that the floor never looks dirty and that a drip of paint or whatnot is not a problem. The other is that one can do things like this should the urge strike (as occasionally, it does):

And here lies a tiny spring!!! Gee. This would be an amazing thing indeed if it were the spring I dropped...

Today it was light outside when I woke. I thought I'd somehow overslept, but then realized it was Sunday, so snuggled down into the covers again. Of course that was Gurtie's clue to start her morning campaign for food and attention, so there was nothing left but to get up early.
It was a day for working hard, well past very tired, even with much appreciated intermittent neck rubs that only seem to help when they hurt. I thought to ask Santa for a professional massage. After all, I've been good. The juggling of projects isn't likely to stop anytime soon. New ones seem to sneak aboard at least as quickly as others are completed. I'm getting better about stopping to stretch, and the Ben unit, who is off today, says he'll help install a barre on the back deck for me. That will help indeed. Ouch. and, did I mention, ouch?

We're heading out tonight to see "Good Night and Good Luck". When I'm busy, most movies have to wait for the DVD release, but I want to give this one my full attention.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Aubrey woke me at 6am, to remind me I said I'd try morning walks with her. But then, before I knew it, it was actually morning. Forget that. The stars were still out. No way.

It was crisp and chill and we walked with long strides past houses that reflect 1950's visions of the future. Some evoke a sort of Jetsonlike charm, some old hollywood, most show a touch of a dated sort of elegance. A few now reflect current desert sensibilities, i.e., they hunch behind walls. I remarked that my favorite house doesn't have the look of 50's California. Aubrey replied, "Right, it has the look of 50's Florida. Gotta be some sort of geriatric wormhole." And then there's that one house from Tatooine.
It was a good walk, and when we got back our house was warm and cozy.

Then later, off to shop for her formal gown, which was not terribly hard, and had it's truly comedic moments.

Orion plays Sly Cooper, which has music that reminds me of Angelo Badalamenti, making me think of Ennio Morricone soundtracks and how he sometimes very effectively scored simple, childlike music for violent or shocking scenes. The music alone carries a false sense of security, so when contrasted with the visuals can be unsettling in a unique way. I like that quite a lot.
Contrast is good. In art and words as well as in roller coasters and fun houses. Just when you get really comfy, things get weird.

Several hours of work on the Ben/Lisa project. We will try to post some photos soon but seem to be in a standoff about who will actually stop drawing and do it.

Let's see, the Ben-Ism for today is: Right. And every time I laugh I die a little inside.

Orion is just beginning to understand that if he will let me work for awhile, then after I will give him my full attention. I'm going to do that for a bit, then get back to the studio.

I've picked and am eating the first orange from the tree by our front door. It is obscenely delicious.

I've finished the ratty portrait for Ravyn, who has recently experienced moments of true brilliance for which I am entirely grateful. The little statue is of Ravyn's mom and three granddaughters, in rat, of course. Something sweet and nice. Yes, I can do sweet.
Comfy? Good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I spoke with Bob Podrasky last night. We will be deciding in the next few days whether it's time to officially and finally close submissions for Tiny Stories - Call for Submissions. I believe we most likely will, so that work can begin on the project in early January. If you have something nearly finished, or have a sudden inspiration, the time to act would be now.

Today is cold and rainy. Not so cold as in other places, but cold enough that paints and casting materials behave differently and coffee and hot chocolate taste better. I’ve managed to put Hyde away for a bit. She quietly hyperventilates in the corner so I can make lovely things for people who ordered holiday gifts and later, go to Orion’s class party at Chucky Cheese. That’s no place for Hyde.
She is ever present now, but it becomes clear to me that, though my hands shake just a little when painting the tiniest detail, I’m most definitely the one in control. At least, for now. Last night my brain really wanted to play until late, late, late, so Pete took care of things this morning and I slept in. I got some good work done for Lost and Found in those wee hours. Now I’m listening to Chemical Brothers and Porcupine Tree and painting.

It’s a good day.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hyde approaches. Sucking and Blowing defined

I don't want to frighten anyone, but it seems Hyde is beginning to get loud. Ben, studio partner and best bud, couldn't be happier.

I hear quotes of mine are finding themselves onto the web. I feel it somehow balances the universe to add some of Ben's to the mix. It's Karmic, sort of.
A few notable statements from today:

"Yeah? I'll tell you who likes Christians. Lions."

"You handed me two. I asked for a couple. Two is hardly a couple."

"Morals are definitely overrated."

Ah, Ben..........

Another common exchange, especially when work gets intense, goes like this:

"How'er we doing?"

"Well, we're either sucking or blowing."

Interestingly enough, Pete told me today that he heard (X-Play/G4) that sucking applies to a short-term assessment or to an immediate situation and that blowing refers to more long-term conditions.
You know? That feels oddly...right.

I finally got a photo that shows the eyes of The Children's Hour.


And, here they are. If you missed the rest of him, he's here:
The Children's Hour

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Press "X" to Jump

While I was miles away in winter, the very good Daddy took the Orion to the Tamale Festival, where he enjoyed some outdoor non-video game jumping. Apparently fearless in air as in water, he prepares to jump.

And, he's off! So, I suppose, am I.

And, with typical joyful abandon, he jumps, and jumps, and jumps. Yes, the desert has its good points.

Oh yes, Lorraine did indeed wear her pajamas to the airport and dropped me right at the door. As someone who has grown used to living in a vacation sort of place, who has been known to visit the grocery store in pj's and coat, and who is not surprised to run into 'speedo man' at the post office, I was non-plussed. She was actually cheerful and lovely and got coffee for us first.

I had a very long and busy day in the studio but very good. Then a meeting with Ben about projects for early next year, sending images and art out, answering emails.

Hyde, the name I call my creative drive, is making lots of noise. I try hard to quiet this by writing notes with quick sketches and promises to work them into the schedule. This may work, or may not. Sometimes you can resist scratching an itch. Sometimes you cannot. Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you are. In the long run, if no one gets hurt, what difference does it make if I step outside of Lisa for a little bit and become the lunatic some people kindly refer to as the visionary? It's mostly harmless as long as she stays in the studio. Yes, that would be the studio full of knives and razors and um, power tools of all sorts. It would be the Lisa who's family bet on when she'd clean her brush in her coffee, or sip mineral spirits. (They longer do this as they are banned from the studio when Hyde visits.)

I am very busy (and happily) painting "Luck's Dancer" and other gifts. I especially enjoy the thought that someone likes something I made enough to give it to someone they care about. That's very cool.

On Saturday afternoons I work on a very irreverent project with Ben. On Thursday nights I work with Pete on a comic project. On Friday mornings, I work on Lost and Found and other book projects. In between are meetings and correspondence and a big block of studio time, broken into smaller blocks of various sizes interwoven with everyday life. Somewhere in there I must fit some Hyde time in, otherwise, the noise will get louder until I do.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

arrrrrgh. Ok Nora. Yes, Lisa was there too, eating cookies and Hershey's kisses all day...and signing some things too, but mostly eating evil chocolate things Posted by Picasa

Snow and Signings

Yesterday was as snowy as I could have hoped. Just right, actually. The reading and signing went very well, but went on for much longer than anyone had expected. Still, Neil made lots of people very happy and I got to spend time with some nice people.

It has been a weekend of new insights and winter scenery, crisp air and new friends and cats each with unique personalities. And birds. It’s very hard not to notice the woodpeckers especially.

The sculpture was finally unpacked and discovered to be unharmed during its long trip. It now sits comfortably back in its nook where it belongs.

I will be leaving tomorrow somewhat changed, in the way that stepping outside of daily life changes us. I’ll be glad to see my family waiting for me back home in the desert and already begin to miss the ones here in this pristine winter.

snow Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 02, 2005


I left the desert dressed in layers which mostly came off in the plane, because it was 75 degrees or so outside and at least 80 in the cabin. Three or so hours later it was 17 degrees outside and I started thinking about longitudes and the shape of the planet. I put the layers back on but after a very long walk through a warm airport with heavy bags, forgot about longitudes and weather patterns and just enjoyed the cold air on my face outside.
Kelli Kelli Bickman slideshow made a very nice dinner and the evening was fun and I'm tired but still sort of looking out the window once in a while, hoping for snow. It's dark and quiet and I will fall asleep happy for the change of scenery. Tomorrow is the signing and later I will unpack the sculpture and try to get a couple of photos up then.