Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School/Back to Work



Last Wednesday, Magoo headed off to 7th grade!  Woo hoo!

He was ready to go back.  He is a boy that does well with structure - and try as I might - it's hard to put a lot of structure into a hot summer.  Don't get me wrong, he likes plenty of lazy time too, but he was ready to get back into some academic challenges, see his school friends, and get into a routine.

After three days, all is well.  He has a new bus driver. (The last one was like Otto from the Simpsons and that bus was crazy and always late.)  He seems to like his teachers so far, and he has his group of buddies that he sits with at lunch.  He's happy, so I'm happy.

I'm also happy that I can get back into a little work myself.






I wish I had an easier process of working through my picture book stories.  You should see the amount of sketch and dummy book work I do.  I may start out with writing, but until I start laying out the pages and fitting it into a 32-page book, I can't really make it work.  Then, when I do fit things in, I see what I have time for and what I don't.  Then, I start to see issues that I couldn't see before, so I have to re-draw.  It basically goes like this: draw it out, see a problem, think of a solution, draw it out.  Repeat.  Lots.

There doesn't appear to be a short-cut that saves me hours of drawing, but I'm happy to have the quiet and the time to do it.

What I'm not happy about is the heat.  Another 4-day heat way!  Whaaaaaat?  Whyyyyyyyy?
I love 65-80 degrees.  Give me endless Autumns and Springs.   Or central air.  Someday, maybe, I'll have central air and then I can enjoy staying cool inside all summer long.  Until then, my poor husband has to hear my whine about another 4-day heat wave.  Waaaaah.

The other thing that's got me a little stressed out these days is our poor kitty, Java.



She was fine Friday morning, but she didn't come for dinner on Friday evening which isn't like her at all.  She turned up in the basement, completely spooked, and was under my bed for the rest of the evening.  Basically, when she hasn't come out for a brief moment to eat, she's hiding somewhere.  Last night, my husband and I were happy to see her go outside.  She seemed calm enough, but then she didn't come back in after dark.  Mike found her hiding under the back porch where we couldn't get to her.  We were more than a little concerned about that.

But this morning she woke me up at 5:30 to come in and eat and now she's hiding out in the studio.

She seems to be moving around OK, and she's eating, so we don't know what the heck is wrong with her.  She may be having some kind of anxiety attack.  I'm not inclined to take her to the vet unless I absolutely have to, because getting into the carrier, riding in the car, and being examined is torture to her.  If it is anxiety, a trip to the vet will only make it worse. 

So we're riding it out and hoping she'll calm down and perk up.

And that's what's going on here.
Thanks so much for stopping in!
Hope all is well with you!



Monday, August 24, 2015

KIDS Finders Keepers

Yesterday was KIDS Finders Keepers.

"What's KIDS Finders Keepers?" you ask.

KIDS Finders Keepers is a painted rock hunt by the WeHa Artists Emporium, much like the one we did in December - only instead of professional artists painting the rocks, KIDS paint the rocks.  Also, kids hunt for the rocks.  It's a kid event.

We put the word out in June and put several how-to-paint-rocks tutorials on our Facebook Page.
We (Stefanie Marco and myself) even did a spot on the local news.  (I'll put the video at the end of this post.)
Then we collected rocks, hid them in a lovely park in town, and at 1pm the kids came.
If you hide them, they will come.

We had approximately 300 kid painted rocks to hide.
Photo by Phyllis Meredith
 Magoo was a fantastic help!  Here we are standing by the check-in table, welcoming the Finders.
Photo by Phyllis Meredith
75 Finders and their families lined up and were ready to go!
Photo by Phyllis Meredith
It's a big park, so it probably took the kids 30 - 45 minutes to really pour over all the paths and little sections.

Photo by Phyllis Meredith




 But in the end, there were lots of happy faces eager to show us the treasures they found.
And kids were really tickled to see other kids with the rocks that they had painted.  One mother wrote that it was teaching her son about how art can bring joy to people.  Isn't that awesome!?

Photo by Phyllis Meredith
 BIG THANKS to everyone who painted rocks and came out to the hunt.  Extra BIG THANKS to the lovely crew that helped set it all up.  It was a wonderful day.



Here's the link to the news clip from Channel 3 in Hartford.



Thanks so much for stopping in!
School starts on Wednesday.  I'll try to be a better blogger!
Have a great day!
Julie 






Friday, August 7, 2015

Captiva Island Vacation

We just got back from a lovely vacation on Captiva Island.  (It's right off of Fort Myers, Florida - just north of Sanibel Island.)



We stayed at a lovely resort called 'Tween Waters Inn.  When I first heard of it, I thought it was a place that catered to tween, so I thought Oh hey - Magoo might like this.  But it's actually called 'Tween Waters because it's situated between the Gulf of Mexico and another body of water called the Pine Island Sound.  I must admit, it was very nice to walk across the street and swim in the Gulf of Mexico.  Very nice, indeed.





It was actually unusually rough in the Gulf.  Normally, at this time of year, the winds come in off the Atlantic and hits the East coast of Florida.  For some reason, the winds were coming from the West, though.  It meant the snorkeling wasn't great.  But the waves were great fun.

We took a Sanibel Cruise Line boat ride up to Caya Coasta, which was a highlight of the trip.


  Our captain, Captain Jack, would stop the boat and tell us about the islands and the birds.  We found some dolphins who loved to jump in the boat's waves.




Then we dropped anchor off a remote island for some watersports.  We all enjoyed paddle boarding.


Another fun activity on Captiva was shell hunting.  This is our haul from day one.



By the third and fourth day, we were getting kind a picky.  The boys were actually really good about finding gorgeous conch shells, but they often had inhabitants.  (Most of the mollusks would recede into the shell.  I found one and I swear that sucker was coming out to fight me for it.  Don't worry, little guy.  We're not going to steal your home.)

Mike even found a shell with a hermit crab!



I spotted lots of cranes and pelicans...




.. and towards the end of the trip, when the water in the Gulf had calmed down, we enjoyed the occasional dolphin swim-by.


Twice we saw something that I will swear was a manatee.  Mike doubts me.  But it was big, smooth, fat, dark grey, and it did not resurface like a dolphin.  Dolphins popped up every 20 seconds or so.  These mysterious creatures were a one-spotting-and-then-gone kind of deal.  (Heh-hem ... Manatees.)

Our days were pretty simple: Breakfast, shell hunt, swim in the Gulf, lunch, some activity, dinner, swim in the Gulf, swim in the pool, retire for the evening.  We were even glad that it was overcast the first couple of days, because when the sun did come out - MAN OH MAN was it hot!  Still, if you got too hot, just jump into the Gulf.   (Oh and we used TONS of sunscreen.)

Our final night, Mike and I went out to admire the sunset.


It was a really fun, relaxing vacation.
And now we are happy to be back home with out kitty who missed us.

Hope you're all having a great summer so far!
Thanks so much for stopping in.