29 November 2011


During the lunch break for the Creative Live workshop I'm watching, I went out for a quick walk. As I got closer to the end of my street I kept a wary eye on the house across the T-intersection. A boy and girl were in the driveway shooting hoops and the dogs that often bark at me were jogging around them.

The kids disappeared into the garage for a few minutes, so I hoped the dogs wouldn't charge. The black dogs were content to watch their charges and they emerged with a large bouncy ball. They were throwing it towards the hoop, and I thought, "If they make it, it's going to be stuck up there."

As if they read my mind, the girl sat on the ball and bounced it a few times. I'm not sure what happened next except that the ball was swiftly rolling towards the road and the boy was running after it, towards me, a bad cliche.

I saw a car whizzing up the hill and yelled, "WAIT!"

The boy stopped in his tracks thankfully. The car narrowly missed the ball and kept going without even slowing down.

I jogged over to get the ball as it rolled into my street and waited for a string of four cars to go by and then a fifth from the other direction. Oddly heavy traffic today. Yet another vehicle kindly stopped for me, so I walked the ball over. The dogs immediately surrounded me.

The boy said, "It's OK, they're friendly."

One sniffed my hand and gave it a lick. Huh. They seemed downright nice when they weren't barking at me for a change.

I bounced the ball back to the boy who kept saying, "Thank you. I'm so sorry."

"That's all right," I said and turned to cross the road again. And waited for another car to go by.

6 years ago on TTaT: tip worth the time...

25 November 2011

Life of Art SitRep #94 Black Friday edition

Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
This week, I

  • Post-processed Snow-covered Oak Tree photograph, wrote its production description, and created a new product line for it:
    Snow-covered Oak Tree
    Check out the complete collection of Snow-covered Oak Tree products.

  • Tweeted and FB'd some sales.

    $5 OFF T-shirts
    $3 OFF Mugs
    60% OFF Wrapped Canvas
    50% OFF Posters and Framed Prints
    50% OFF Cards
    40% OFF Calendars
    30% OFF Ornaments
    20% OFF Case-Mate BlackBerry/Android/iPhone/iPod Touch cases and Speck Case iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch cases

    FREE SHIPPING (on orders of $50 or more)
    FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING $19.95 (instead of $39.95) for a year of Zazzle Black 2-Day free shipping!

    Use promo code: ZBLACKFRIDAY

    Offer is valid through November 25, 2011 at 11:59 PM PT.

  • FB'd, tweeted, blogged, zblogged Snow-covered Oak Tree and 4 New Gingham Patterns.

  • Changed both zazzle stores so they display prices and link to all of the styles an item is available on. The styles thing is cool! Also rearranged store a bit.

  • Worked on Storm Clouds photograph again from scratch. Scratches being the main issue with the scan, sigh. Think I'm in range of having it sorted though.

  • Posted 51 products to blogs.

  • Submitted links to 11 lenses/blogs.

  • Organized and narrowed down my folders of photograph contenders.

  • Downloaded a category tree for zazzle. Wish I'd noticed this in the forums sooner.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going? Hope you all had a groovy Thanksgiving!

    A year ago on TTaT: Thanksgiving haiku: Back to the Past

    19 November 2011

    Treasures of the Pharaohs

    Treasures of the Pharaohs44. Treasures of the Pharaohs by Delia Pemberton

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Up until a couple years ago, we used to have a Borders Outlet store in my area. I never failed to find a book I wanted (at a very good price!) when I went there, and I have missed it since it closed. Treasures of the Pharaohs is probably the last book I bought there. It caught my interest because it has a section on Deir el-Bahri, Hatshepsut's gorgeous mortuary temple.

    The photographs in the book are superb, including a wide variety of aerial shots of temples and terrain, tomb interiors, coffins, and jewelry. I've long been fascinated by ancient Egypt: I love the art, craftsmanship, hieroglyphs, columns, and structures. The history is also rather interesting, and the text in Treasures of the Pharaohs is very readable and informative. Lots of great information in the photo captions as well.

    Well worth a look if only to check out the photographs.

    A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #41 iPad and iPhone cases

    17 November 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #93 Personal Best

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    This week, I

  • Created 4 new product lines. I learned how to create gingham patterns in photoshop. My first line of products was not quite what I wanted, so I shelved it and went back to the beginning. (Zag!) I figured out a better way to make the gingham pattern with wider squares/lines. I remade 3 designs, created a 4th new one and set to adding them to my store again:
    Red and White Gingham PatternGreen and White Gingham Pattern 
    Check out the complete collections of Red and White Gingham Pattern products and Green and White Gingham Pattern products.
    Red and Green Gingham Pattern Navy and White Gingham Pattern 
    Red and Green Gingham Pattern products and Navy and White Gingham Pattern products.

  • Tweeted, FB'd, and emailed some sales, notably:
    Get 50% Off Cards, Mugs, Calendars, Ornaments, BlackBerry/Android/iPhone/iPod Touch cases, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch cases, Keychains, Necklaces, Wrapped Canvas, and T-shirts!


    Offer valid until 4:00pm PT Friday, November 18, 2011.

    After that it drops to 20% OFF until Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 11:59pm PT.


    Get 50% Off Cards and Postcards & 10% Off Custom Stamps in my shop until Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 11:59pm PT.


    Remember: you can get free shipping if you sign up for a free 30 day trial of Zazzle Black.

  • Zblogged and blogged 50% off cards/postcards & 10% off stamps sale.

  • Made Snow-covered Trees: Vertical (small & large) & horizontal, Rainbow Bullseye notepads. Rainbow stripes, Light Blue and Dark Blue Rectangles large & small notepads.
    Rainbow Stripes notepad
    Rainbow Stripes by RocklawnArts
    View more notepad designs from Zazzle.

  • Made Snow-covered Trees: Vertical & horizontal, Snow-tipped Pine Tree on Blue Sky gift tags. Rainbow Polka Dots on White shipping label:

  • Made Snow-covered Trees: Horizontal and Vertical calendar posters.

  • FB'd new Snow-covered Trees: Horizontal and Vertical links.

  • Zblogged and Rocklawn Arts blogged Snow-covered Trees: Vertical & Horizontal.

  • Rearranged store a bit. Changed top picks to winter holiday cards and postage.

  • Posted 42 products to blogs.

  • Watched Beauty + Fashion Photography with Matthew Jordan Smith workshop on Creative Live.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?

    A year ago on TTaT: Funky red tulip

    To Reune or Not To Reune

    Somewhat unfathomably to me, it's been 20 years since I graduated high school. Via the blessing/curse that is Facebook, one of my old classmates reached out to me to get my address so she could send me an invitation to our 20th reunion.

    I was reluctant but obliged because she had been nice in school and we'd actually been best friends in elementary school. I figured I'd just say no when the invite arrived. What I didn't expect was a handmade, hand written invitation accompanied by a mix CD of songs from 1991, also handwritten and decorated. Somehow that made it harder to dismiss without more consideration.

    Some background: my senior class had 51 people, most of whom I'd known since kindergarten. One transferred to our school a few months before graduation and he hated us all; he didn't even show up to graduate. I don't expect him to come. Two are convicted rapists, one still in jail I think, and the other out on probation. Obviously, no desire to see or even be in the same room as either of them. Another was arraigned on drug charges several years back. Mom reads the local paper and keeps me abreast of such things.

    So, of course, that also means I've heard about lots of weddings. On occasion, I run into people or their parents, so I've also heard about someone who needed a kidney transplant a couple years ago and someone who got divorced. Really it's more that they run into me since I tend not to recognize them. While their looks have often changed, mine seem eminently recognizable. (As for the parents, it's not like I knew all of them.)

    My last encounter with an old classmate was about a year ago. He was very nice, had an attractive wife, and very well behaved children.

    Guests are welcome at the reunion, but I find myself with no one to bring which would put me out there without any buffer or sanctuary.

    Before we'd even graduated, most of my closest friends had drifted off for various reasons. Some had left for other schools before senior year. The people I liked best in 11th and 12th grade weren't in my class.

    By the end, there was a casual group of us and my "best friend." I put it in quotes because it's not like we were actually that close. We hung out, played tennis, went to movies, and her church's fair. (Assuming she wasn't dating someone in which case I didn't see her much.)

    She's the only person who kept in touch with me once we'd started college. She wrote the worst letters, long but saying absolutely nothing. We talked about an election at some point when she revealed she wasn't registered to vote, so hadn't despite having opinions about the candidates. I was appalled and said they should make registering to vote mandatory to graduate if you were 18 like learning CPR had been for us. She said, "You can make me register, but you can't make me vote."

    That infuriated me so much, I actually did write our old principal a letter with my suggestion. He thought it was a great idea, though revised it to sending reminder letters to students when they turned 18. Not mandatory but better than nothing.

    Also, I was assured that I would just as soon my old friend not vote. Before I recognized that I was bi, I went to a yearly dance at college called The Homo Hop. It occurred around National Coming Out Day and was open to everyone, just a great dance. (It's too bad I was not tuned in yet to my sexuality and not yet out, because that year was the best Homo Hop while I was at college.) I told my "best friend" from high school about it because I thought it was awesome, and she said, "I'd burn the place down." And she meant it.

    So I was done. Didn't send her a Christmas card that year and voila! Permanently disengaged. No desire to see her again. Last I heard she teaches locally and is married to a guy who does recreation for inmates or something.

    One person comes to mind that I'd go out of my way to see. Kate and I crossed paths about 7 years ago and hung out a bit, but she's no longer living in the area. Also, I know she blew off our 10th reunion just as I had. If we were in the same place, I wouldn't need a reunion as an excuse to see her.

    It's not like everyone in my class sucks. At least I assume many of them are fine now. I'm just not particularly drawn to them.

    It wouldn't be so terrible to hang out for a few hours except that my least favorite question is, "So what do you do?" If I could go and not talk about myself, I might be game. There's a certain amount of conversational maneuvering I can swing (though not at all smoothly), but a couple of hours during which the intent is to catch up is more than I can manage.

    Fine, I'll say it: I don't want to feel like a loser. It's been a rough year for the most part, and I don't want to tell them about it. Amidst these people, I was valedictorian and voted most likely to succeed. Granted, it's not like they all believed the latter was true, but I'm nowhere close by conventional standards.

    Why do I care? It's not so much that I care what they think, it's how being around them triggers my own negative thoughts. Part of me thinks I am a loser by objective standards. Mostly I hold these thoughts at bay knowing I've chosen the life I have. In many ways it is what I want though at a glance it might not appear so.

    Anyway, with the year I've had, depression could so easily take me over. I've been in pragmatic mode for months, but there are things I can't change or fix and the weight of that sometimes breaks through. I don't need to fall apart at my 20th high school reunion.

    Looks like I should RSVP that I won't be there...

    A year ago on TTaT: Orange tulips

    10 November 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #92 The number is 506.

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    This week, I

  • Added 506 new items to my shop including 3 new images, 8 new product types (now available as appropriate on all my previous photographs and designs), and several poster and mousepad Calendars:
    Snow-covered Trees: Vertical
    Check out the complete collection of Snow-covered Trees: Vertical products.

    Snow-covered Trees: Horizontal
    Check out the complete collection of Snow-covered Trees: Horizontal products.
    (You can indeed drag adjustment layers into other images the same way you add additional images. Just hold down shift while you drag to center the layer on the new image. Sweet!)

    Snow-tipped Pine Tree on Blue Sky
    Check out the complete collection of Snow-tipped Pine Tree on Blue Sky products.

    And introducing:
    Laptop Sleeves
    Flexible Magnets
    Photo Plaques
    Gel Mousepads

    And in case I forgot to tell you in the past few weeks, my store now also features:
    Case-Mate BlackBerry/Android/iPhone/iPod Touch cases
    Tile Gift Boxes
    Premium Gift Boxes
    Canvas Prints

    I'm excited!

  • Shot 2 photographs of a tiny hemlock cone on a little branch.

  • Tweeted, FB'd, Blogged and zblogged Snow-tipped Pine Tree on Blue Sky.

  • Published new 50 Art Quizzes lens. Stop by and give it a thumbs up if you would.

  • Added new cards and a stamp section to my Winter Cards lens. If you need holiday cards, check it out.

  • Changed top picks in my store's intro to new items: photo plaque, notebook, laptop sleeve. Rearranged store a bit.

  • Posted 37 products to blogs.

  • Submitted store links to 2 lenses.

  • Tweeted some sales.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?

    Two years ago on TTaT: Dance Dance Revolution: The Beginning

    I've been meaning to thank you...

    To all the people who have raved about David Sedaris's books and performances/readings on their blogs over the years, thank you. I believe this group includes Cheryl, Sizzle, Dave2, and Kapgar, but I don't have the time to search your blogs to be sure. My apologies if I've missed anyone whose David Sedaris post I also read sometime in the last 6.5 years.

    I confess I dismissed him at first, thinking of him as someone everyone liked. But the more I got to know you all through your blogs, the more I trusted your judgment and realized you weren't like everyone else (which is why I liked you in the first place).

    That lead to me seeing a local performance of The Santaland Diaries last December. This year, the man himself was giving a reading, and I felt the tug to go even though I still haven't gotten around to reading any of his books. (I am convinced that I will now, however.)

    His performance was very funny, a bit unsettling if you really took in what he was saying, and on occasion shocking. All in all, a great night made even better because the venue was spectacular.

    The original theater and the renovations they pulled off to restore it are amazing. Seriously, I thought to myself, If Dave2 ever travels this way and I need to show him around or tell him what he should see, this theater is a must! So ornate. Seats around 850, so there's really no bad seat in the house. I would avoid the vertigo-inducing 2nd balcony though.

    I can't think of a more gorgeous theater I've been to, and I've seen quite a few shows including a bunch on Broadway.

    In any case, if David Sedaris comes back, I would see him again. And I would buy a book before the show to have him sign it because the line after was insane.

    Thanks again, bloggers, for sharing your Sedaris love!

    Also, I'm considering getting my Dad one of his books for xmas since he laughed so hard at the show. Any particular one you'd recommend? All, of course, assuming he hasn't already read them by then. Your suggestions are appreciated!

    A year ago on TTaT: 50 Photographers You Should Know

    09 November 2011

    Dreamy Jackson Brodie

    Did you watch Case Histories on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery a couple weeks back? So good.

    If you missed it, you can watch it online. Really worth it if you like mysteries. I don't see an embed option, so here are the links:
    Episode 1
    Episode 2
    Episode 3
    (They're each just under 1 hr 53 minutes long.)

    The lead actor looked familiar to me, but I just figured he was reminding me of a younger Timothy Dalton. I never would have realized that dreamy Jackson Brodie is played by the same actor who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies if I hadn't looked him up. Well done, Jason Isaacs!

    A year ago on TTaT: Kinetic Sculpture in Fall

    04 November 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #91 See-saw

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    Creation and promotion, I have not cracked the balance between the two. I'm not sure it is a balance really, more like a heavily lopsided see-saw as far as I can tell. Alas, sinking towards promotion seems key.

    This week, I

  • Shot 137 photographs of first snow: snow on mandevilla and treetops.

  • Tweeted, FB'd, Rocklawn Arts blogged, and Zblogged the following sale. This is the last day!
    60% OFF Cards & Postcards
    30% OFF Calendars, Case-Mate BlackBerry/Android/iPhone/iPod Touch cases & Speck iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch cases
    25% OFF Ornaments & Mugs!


    Offer valid until November 4, 2011 at 11:59pm PT.

  • Made Red Dianthus With Raindrops postcard, label, tote, and mousepad.

  • Added Red Dianthus With Raindrops to Rocklawn Arts on Redbubble.

  • Zblogged and Rocklawn Arts blogged Red Dianthus With Raindrops.

  • Made Sunset on Onota Lake: Horizontal, Sunset on Onota Lake: Vertical, and Two Oriental Poppies cards with message templates. Also added blank card tag and new description add on to blank card stragglers I'd missed. I'm done, woohoo!

    Every image I have available on a card is now available with an easy to customize greeting. Creating template versions of all of my older blank cards was one of my goals for this year. Can't believe how long it took!

  • Made new horizontal and vertical templates for notebooks, puzzles, flexible magnets, gel mousepads, plates, coasters, laptop sleeves, photo plaques. Lots of cool stuff coming to the shop soon!

  • Narrowed last year's winter contenders from 90 to 37. Also did 2, 3, 4, and 5 star passes on winter shots from 10/28/11.

  • Posted 25 products to blogs.

  • Submitted store links/products to 14 lenses/blogs on forum.

  • Wrote and published 2 new lenses (webpages on Squidoo): 30 Photography Quizzes and Winter Cards. Stop by for a look, try your hand at some quizzes, or perhaps some Art Polls. Your visits, comments, and likes help raise the rank of the lenses, which helps my art get seen by more people. Your support is appreciated!

  • Added links to winter cards, stamps, labels and ornaments to my Rocklawn Arts store introduction. Rearranged store a bit. Swapped out top picks for new tile and box options.

  • Changed my RA zazzle store banner to eliminate transparent top border and so it reads "original photography & design" instead of "cool, unusual photography." Not quite sure about it. Going to leave RA blog header the same while I mull it over. Any opinions on the revised Rocklawn Arts store header?

  • Wrote a revised short bio to be featured on a lens.

  • Added descriptions to all of my uploaded images since apparently that may help with search results in Google.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?

    A year ago on TTaT: 34. Life in the Wild

    01 November 2011

    43. I Am Maru

    I Am Maru43. I Am Maru by mugumogu

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    So, I've become a bit obsessed with a Japanese cat named Maru. You can follow his adventures on the web at I am Maru. It's like reading a little picture book each day that always improves my mood. Thank you, Dave for introducing me to Maru!

    As for the book, I might've rated it higher if it were physically larger. A lot of the photographs are actually smaller than what I see on the web, but I still rather enjoyed it. Many of the photos are taken from the early days of the blog, new to me, but I'd say mugumogu's photography has gotten better in the past couple years.

    In addition to the usual commentary from Maru that serves as captions to the pictures, there's also some behind-the-scenes entries which reveal more about Maru and what life with him is like.

    Even if you don't read the book, be sure to check out I am Maru. My favorite thing about him is how he loves to squeeze himself into tiny boxes.

    A year ago on TTaT: Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. xvi)