under the bed

What were you afraid of as a kid and why? is a question I was asked not too long ago, and it might be more appropriate to rephrase that question and ask what wasn't I afraid of as a kid. I've already covered the pool sharks story and more recently the dirty foot obsession, but for actual under-the-bed fears as a little one... well, it was pretty random. While most kids were hip with the trends, fighting to keep their eyes open against the threats of the closet dwelling Boogie Man, I was afraid of Peter and the Wolf under my bed.

I did say random.

Peter and the Wolf, a story by a Russian composer named Sergei Prokofiev, was originally introduced to me in a (Disney) Silly Symphonies animated short. With each character represented by a specific musical instrument to depict their personality and a story told with very little dialogue, it wasn't much of a wonder why I was both fascinated by the storytelling and petrified of it at the same time. It was hearing the sound of the french horn, which represents the wolf, that made me want to run and hide under the blankets for shelter. How is it that a blanket would even protect one from a hungry wolf, I'm not sure. However, this instance left perfect timing for my sister to come and jump on me in the middle of the night, snarling and growling as I shrieked for mom to come and look once more for assurance that Peter and the Wolf were not seeking residence in my bedroom for entertainment.

The only thing that I can add to this story to make it even more humorous is that we should all bear in mind that at this time I had a waterbed. I didn't even have an "under the bed" other than the 8x8 inch gap between wall and base. Oh yes, I did say random didn't I?


write hand

I feel so bad that I haven't posted in a while, but I'm actually trying to think of more interesting things to write. I got some wonderful feedback about my foot phobia story, and so from that I'm trying to be more adventurous with my writing. It's something I've always enjoyed, writing, and something I've been often complimented on. I just never really took it seriously. Me? Not take myself seriously? Nev-er.

One of the things I've been working on taking myself seriously in is writing (and illustrating) children's books, as storytelling has always excited me. The hardest part, I find, is where to begin. To ease myself out of my shell, I'm challenging myself as exercise to write more often. And so, my next post will be about what monster I was afraid of as a kid, and why.

* And hey, if you have any topics/ideas that you'd like me to write about.. throw them my way.


happy birthday

Forgive the quality of this photo. It's actually a screen shot from an 8mm film of my grandma when she was young. This picture warms my heart in so many ways as I find it incredibly cool that she was artistic, that she chose to paint a picture of a pin-up, and I can still remember that modest grin.

Today would have been her 81st birthday.


bare witness

We all have funny habits. Those strange little quirks that others tend to marvel at, question or shake their heads. With summer taking its course, I'm left to answer a funny question. How can you not wear sandals? Well, I used to wear sandals for years before this habit came along and suddenly, as I grow older, my strange quirk has elevated into becoming a totally irrational fear. It's not that I'm afraid of feet or the look of them, as they somehow remind me of potatoes, it's more that I'm afraid of dirty feet.

I was probably 8 years old when I first caught myself rushing up the stairs of my grandmother's house, to wash my feet in the bath tub after playing outside with my sister and cousins. We'd play for hours, barefoot on the pavement, yet somehow somewhere the idea struck me as being totally gross. To sum it up, dirty feet to me is like the equivalent of having dirty hands. And so, from explaining this part of the equation, my next story might make more sense as to why I said what I think is the stupidest thing to say to a bride during a wedding ceremony.

It was the wedding of my dear friend Colette, from Winnipeg, who had asked me and our circle of friends to be part of the ceremony. Debbie and Rebecca were to recite a poem together, while I was to sign as a witness. As we were all slightly jittery, waiting for our parts, Debbie decided that a way to shake off some of the nerves and the possibility of tripping up the aisle was to take our shoes off. Rebecca followed suit without hesitation, where I tensely sat up in my chair. Thankfully they added no pressure to the situation and admired their painted toes together while I waited to decide.

Now that the room was silent, the more I began to think about going up sounding like a Clydesdale pony or ungracefully falling on my face, as I had to keep in mind that these were my first pair of high heeled shoes. Yes, at the age of 29 I had never worn heels before. Debbie's plan sounded way too masterful, so I took a deep breath and unbuckled my shoes. Thrilled, gawking as I curled up my toes and kept them from touching the ground, the girls giggled over our rebellious freedom. Anxiety at a 6 of 10.

When the ceremony ended and it was my cue to go up, I felt a slight out of body experience as I floated up the aisle on my toes, feeling like my shoulders just might possibly fit in my ears. Dirty feet, dirty feet. Suddenly, all I could think about was doing the job right. Where do I sign? Swooshy K, loopy L and I'm done. It's done. As I look to the happy bride and she grabs my hand lightly to mouth the words "thank you" I loosen my shoulders and whisper back the first thing that comes to my mind. Not congratulations, you're welcome, I'm happy for you, or anything remotely endearing. Instead I replied, while looking once more back at the crowd, anxiety 9 of 10, "I'm not wearing any shoes."

Oh yes, I'm well aware that I'm a giant loser.



I feel kind of selfish lately, as I've decided to retire from toys just for the summer, to give myself a break. It's a hard thing to describe since we artists like to snivel any chance we get about how our work just isn't what we want it to be. In many cases with art, or at least with my own, I know that if that grumbling feeling persists it can often be seen in one's work. Others may not see it, but for an artist, it doesn't provide enough fuel to go forward.

There are many projects I have on my shelf that have been put on hold for the sake of my craft, and in many ways I'm seeing that this decision is rather irrational. I lose focus, grow incredibly anxious and, in some cases, resentful simply because I have a hard time saying no out of fear of disappointment. Instead, I can only do what is best for my sanity and my art, as there are so many other projects and ideas to share. I have my website that I've been promising for months, providing easier access to my work (toys included.) Something new, a step forward, something to make my work more diverse and enjoyable for everyone

. . . including myself.


signs of life

I'm starting to see little spots of green growing in my garden, in the backyard, and it's a very rewarding feeling. With talk of frost and snow and continuing rain on the weather, I wasn't sure what was to come of my little sprouts and decrepit- but still blossoming- tomato plant. We survived. My peas are poking through like little beaks in the soil, the carrots are creeping in and my zucchini is winning the race toward the sun.

With patience comes growth.


whether the weather

To me, complaining about the weather is a waste of breath because it's so out of our control. Instead of focusing on the things that we don't like about it, I prefer to find those pieces that make it enjoyable.


change and time

Because I didn't want to miss out on the moment, I didn't take (m)any pictures at the wedding this weekend. I'm still lacking experience with shooting in dim light, though it wasn't a huge concern to me since the bride is well acquainted with talented photographers, who also attended.

As tribute to the lovely bride - who wore ruby slippers - I thought a yummy bottle of Black Cherry Pic-a-Pop would illustrate the story perfectly. Man, this stuff takes me back in time.

It was a great trip.