Be Delighted

"Oh my my my my, what an eager little mind!"

Auntie Mame

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Clio's Texas Adventure

Our son, Ian, brought his girlfriend, Clio, home for Thanksgiving. She is a native New Yorker doing her PhD in Astrophysics at Berkeley, so mainly a coastal person. We decided to bring them to the middle and have a taste of Texas, especially as it's not summer, so therefore not 100 degrees outside.

First they flew to Dallas to spend some time with Andrea and Tina. Art galleries, restaurants, and a sculpture garden.

I don't know what's happening here but apparently they're off to Oz.

Next a rental car to drive to Lubbock. And a photo op with this sculpture somewhere near Throckmorton.

Upon arrival in Lubbock Clio decided to try a Cosmo. I make a good Cosmo.

She brought a card game for us to play, Mystic Vale. Took me a couple of tries to figure the rules, but it's visually a very pretty game. I certainly liked my Moon Wolf card (Moon Moon!)

Ian and Clio take a walk around Tech Terrace Park

                    We ate in. We ate out. Jalisco's, One Guy From Italy, Hayashi, La Sirena. And Ian had to treat Clio to chicken fried steak at the Cast Iron Grill.

                                                  Breakfast at George's with Ian's Nana.

And we all enjoyed a room escape adventure. This time we were breaking out of a science lab with secret documents. (Glenn, Val, Naomi, Chel'C, Isaac, Ian, Clio)

Glenn arranged for Clio to ride a horse on the ranch of a friend, LaGina Ledbetter, who lives outside Levelland. Clio had had some horseback training when younger so she wasn't a complete newbie.

                                                      Putting Chance through his paces.

Riding Poco

                 A day trip to Paladuro Canyon, two hours north. It was a great day for hiking

                                      As we left the park this fine lady wished us happy trails.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

All Creatures Great and Small

Growing up with a British heritage many of my story books were about cute and clever woodland creatures living cozy, heartwarming lives in gentle forests. Many great British authors have brought to life these lovely, bucolic worlds, for children (and adults) to immerse themselves in a natural world that is not threatening or brutal, but awash in beauty, charm and mystery.

There is, of course, Beatrix Potter, with her wonderfully detailed watercolours of little animals with delightful personalities, like Mrs. Tiggy Winkle. Who doesn't love a domestic hedgehog?
 Then there are all the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Woods in A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh series:

And of course, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I still have a very old edition of this book and fondly remember my father reading this aloud to us. He particularly enjoyed getting into character as that rascal, Mr. Toad. I suspect because he, himself, was a lot like Mr. Toad:

Later, when my own children were growing up there was the Brambly Patch series by Jill Barklem:

And as they got older, just shortly before the advent of Harry Potter, they really enjoyed the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I mean who doesn't love a sword wielding field mouse fighting an angry badger or an army of weasels?
All of these stories may have an influence on some of my recent artworks. Maybe I need a diversion from the real world but I love creating my own whimsical characters in animal form, or just capturing the beauty of our wild companions on this planet.

And I leave you with Mr. Toad's humble tribute to himself, imagining my Dad reading this in his Russian accent and stopping to laugh between verses:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Liquid Blue

The last part of our recent trip to San Francisco was a day trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium. This was a particular request of mine, so Ian's girlfriend, Clio, offered her car to drive all four of us down there, about two hours south of San Francisco, to check out some beautiful aquatic creatures.

The town, itself, is also charming so we started out with lunch at a popular local restaurant on the boardwalk, a mini version of San Francisco's Pier 39.

The aquarium was packed. It was a Saturday so families with kids were everywhere. It often required a bit of patience to get to an exhibit, especially when it was feeding time for the penguins, so eventually we worked our way to the cepholopods.

This octopus was just chilling on the glass. Front side and back side.

Here's a quirky favorite of mine, the tiny and peculiar Cuttlefish. Apparently the smaller male cuttlefish can pretend to be a female fish in order to avoid being attacked by a larger one, but then will zoom right in and mate with the female right under the other male's nose, er, face tentacles. Pretty crafty.

Lots of schools of silvery fish being mesmerizing.


The ever cranky Moray Eel:

Of course, one of the most popular exhibits is the big sea otter tank. They can be seen at the lower level sweeping through the water, and at the top level, surfacing, or in the case of this fuzzy face, grabbing its' blankie and going behind a rock for a nap. They also live in the ocean just outside, along with seals, who are frequently seen sunning on the rocks.

My surprising favorite exhibit, though, was the jellyfish. Their gorgeous colours and wispy ethereal quality were both soothing and hypnotic to watch. Even shot with just my cell phone camera they looked dazzling, the most photogenic of all the sea life there.

Here's their official website:

They are also on Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram, often posting cute photos of their ocean friends.

And of course you can buy local souvenirs like this: