Monday, January 31, 2011

Chinese New Year Recipes (2)

This is for the Year of the Rooster

Chicken Fuyung

1 sprig fresh parsley
7 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
150 g (5 oz.) cooked chicken
1 large mushroom
3 spring onions
1 tomato
2 tablespoons cooking oil

Chop the parsley finely. Beat the eggs well, add the salt, pepper and parsley. Stir. Shred the chicken, chop mushroom, onions and tomatoes, mix all together and stir-fry in the oil over high heat for about 2 minutes. Add egg mixture and continue to stir fry until egg is set. Sever immediately.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chinese New Year Recipes (1)

For the week before Chinese New Year (2/3), here is a series of recipes. It's traditional to cook food that reflects the particular year. 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, but I'll include recipes for various years.

Fried Rabbit

1 fresh dressed rabbit
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons corn flour
cooking oil for frying
4 spring onions (shallots)
4 tablespoons peanut oil (optional)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
6 tablespoons chicken stock

Wash the rabbit, dry on paper towel, and cut into 8 pieces of equal size. Beat the egg whites until frothy, add the salt and 2 teaspoons of corn flour. Mix together. Dip the rabbit pieces into the mexture,allow to stand for 15 minutes, then deep-fry until tender.

Chop onions and stir-fry at high heat for 15 seconds. Add the rabbit pieces, soy sauce and the stock. Cook at medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chinese Horoscopes 101

The Chinese New Year begins on 2/3/11. Unlike the Western calendar, which is solar-based, the Chinese calendar is lunar-based. According to traditional dating, the year 2011 is 4708 by the Chinese calendar.

Chinese astrology is based on a 12-year cycle, and each year is named after an animal. Buddha sent out a call to all the animals on the full moon before he left Earth. 12 animals responded, and Buddha named the years in the order of their appearance: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep (or Goat), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig (or Boar). The Rat had asked the Ox for a ride to the meeting; the good-natured Ox allowed him to ride on his back. When they drew closer to Buddha, Rat jumped off Ox's back and approached Buddha, thus being the first to arrive. Buddha was impressed by Rat's inventiveness, and with Ox's permission, he named Rat as the first year of the cycle. Ox didn't mind being second.

There are 3 main parts to a person's Chinese horoscope: the animals that govern the year you were born, the ones who influence the month, and the ones who influence the hour of your birth. Each animal has its yin (quiet) and yang (outgoing) aspects, and is governed by a certain element. (wood, fire, water, metal, earth). All these complicated elements factor into a person's personality.

Rat: survival, craftiness, creative thinker, hoarder. 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996,2008, 2020
Ox: endurance, patience, hardworking, stubborn  1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
Tiger: impulsive, creative, courageous, reckless    1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Rabbit: virtuous, nurturing                                    1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Dragon: wise, mysterious                                     1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Snake: lucky, cunning                                          1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Horse: independent, self-sufficient                        1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
Sheep: sensitive, artistic                                       1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
Monkey: imaginative, fantastical                           1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028
Rooster: proud, direct, candor                             1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
Dog: loyal, idealistic                                             1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030
Pig: honest, good-natured                                    1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

Animals governing the months:
Ox: January                                                         Sheep: July
Tiger: February                                                   Monkey: August
Rabbit: March                                                     Rooster: September
Dragon: April                                                      Dog: October
Snake: May                                                        Pig: November
Horse: June                                                         Rat: December

And the animals governing the two-hour periods:
Rat: 2300-0100                                                 Horse: 1100-1300
Ox: 0100-0300                                                 Sheep: 1300-1500
Tiger: 0300-0500                                              Monkey: 1500-1700
Rabbit: 0500-0700                                            Rooster: 1700-1900
Dragon: 0700-0900                                           Dog: 1900-2100
Snake: 0900-1100                                            Pig: 2100-2300

According to this, I'm an Ox (1973), with a Rat month (December), and I was born during the hour of the Rat (2300-0100). [Double Rat!]. Weirdly enough, Hubs was born during the year of the Rat, month of the Ox, during the hour of the Ox. My kids are Michael (Sheep, Snake, Snake), Christina (Dog, Ox, Horse), and Sarah (Dog, Dog, Monkey).

Okay, just realized Christina is the only one without a double animal anywhere. That's weird.

This is only a guide...cosmic influences do affect (some might call them 'cosmic accidents') these factors.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Friday, January 28, 2011

Multitasking Writer/Artist Mama...

Remember that post a couple of days ago, in which I reminded myself not to overdo/overextend?

Um...didn't take my own advice. Multitasking is the only way I can get everything done and still get SOME sleep at night. For example:

a) I painted the backgrounds for three new "Chinese Calligraphy" 5x7 canvas boards (acrylic scarlet red)

and while they dried, I
b) Sorted out laundry into warm, colds and whites

and then I
c) Checked to make sure Baby Girl wasn't getting into some sort of trouble. Usually she's playing w/her Legos or her stuffed animals or watching Nick Jr. or scribbling on her little etch-a-sketch thing

Seeing that Baby Girl was safely occupied, I then:
a2) Painted the actual Chinese characters in yellow acrylic paint on all three boards

and while they dried I
b2) threw one load of warms into the washer

but then
c2) Baby Girl wanders to where I am and attempts to help by fishing a shirt out of the basket. Instead of putting it into the washer, she takes off with it, dragging it on the floor and collecting dust and lint on said shirt.

so I
c3) Chase Baby Girl round the downstairs (we have an open floor plan) to retrieve stolen (linty, dusty) shirt

b3) finish loading washer and turning it on

c4) Baby Girl wants her milk, so I get her some

before I
a3) check the calligraphy, determine that they are dry, find the digital camera to take pics

c5) Baby Girl cranky because "Team Umizoomi" has finished on Nick Jr. She proceeds to mash on the keyboard of my laptop (which I regularly lock for that reason).

and in the meantime
b4) Washer throws a massive tantrum. Find out it's unbalanced. Redistribute the balance, restart cycle

and in the meantime
c6) Baby Girl has located my digital camera and is in the process of "Oooh...what does THIS button do, Mommy???" I retrieve digital camera, much to her dismay

so I
c7) find the little plush camera that came with her Build A Bear present and give it to her. She recognizes it and is instantly happy again.

and then I
a4) take a few pics to judge position, lighting, etc. Adjust both

c8) Baby Girl copies me with her little camera

a5) I take digital pics, pop SD card out of camera, download pics for photo processing

b5) Wash cycle done, move that load into dryer, start loading cold load

c8) Baby Girl decides to repeat c3.

So I
repeat c4.

b6) finish loading cold load, start that cycle, start the dryer

And by this time
c9) It's lunchtime, then naptime immediately thereafter. For both of us.


All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ADMIN POST: Zazzle store/Phoenix Fire Arts

Just a reminder: Chinese New Year 2011 (The Year of the Rabbit) starts on 2/3/11. Chinese Calligraphy and my Chinese Dragon Collection postcards and notecards now available in my store. (*)

New postcards and notecards for Valentine's Day and African-American Heritage month are coming very soon! Check my store for details!


All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Note to self: Do not over-do, overexert, or overreact...

It's really bad for your mental, emotional and physical health.

Need to put that in my reminder in-box. And remember it next time.

That's all I 'm sayin'.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mediums and Major Messes

Last night, I was re-organizing my art boxes (the various boxes, bags and containers that hold my art supplies). A plastic organizer holds my inks, Chinese brushes, bamboo pens, dip pens and their various points. My gouache paints, chalk and oil pastels, and watercolor pencils are locked away in a rattan box. Acrylics and glitter paints are in a huge organizer, with watercolor crayons, charcoal and pastel sticks (with blenders) in the top compartments. Oil pencils, drawing pencils, Prismacolor pencils, pastel pencils, a mini-artist's figure, various erasers and pencil sharpeners are in three different pencil cases.

That's not counting my oil paints, turpentine, brush cleaners, hard pastels from England, Start Watercolour pencils from England, get the idea.

I never realized just how many kinds of art medium I have used in the eight years since I started making art. I started with the oils, moved to acrylics, then watercolor. When I became interested in my Chinese heritage, I began doing Chinese watercolors and calligraphy (and Japanese sumi-e watercolors). I started sketching in the spare time between household crises, so I fiddled with charcoal, pastel and oil pencils.

And my dining room table has so much dried paint on it...I might as well sand it down and re-paint it mahogany.

Time flies when you're having fun.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Monday, January 24, 2011

200 Posts! Thank you to my readers!

I realized that the last post was my 200th in this blog! Has it really been 200?! Thanks to all my readers who have been amused by my little ditties here! :-D Much appreciated.

Do I really write that much? LOL! I suppose writing every day does add up after a while. There are days when the well runs dry and I end up playing catch-up with posts. Eventually, the Muse smacks me over the head and yells, "Okay...WRITE THIS!"

"But this is pure crap!" I protest.

"I DON'T CARE! YOU CAN ALWAYS EDIT ANYWAY! WRITE IT!"  (Did I mention that my Muse uses all caps some of the time? And she's a Drama Queen? And a romantic?)

"Okay..." She's usually right in one long as I get the idea down on paper, I can always go back to it and add/fiddle with/turn inside out/delete later.

So...200 posts. Here's to another 200 more!


All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Short Super Bowl Poem

Three words: Super Bowl 45.

Three more words: Packers vs. Steelers.

Bring 'em on.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Artist Trading Cards, New Phone, and Other Random Stuff

I've been working on multiple projects at once, plus dealing with 3 kids by myself this past week. Hubby was in New Jersey on a business trip, so there was definitely no rest for the mommy-minded! I ended up doing most of my writing and art after the kids were put to bed, about 8 PM. So I'll throw in a load of laundry or stack the dishes in the dishwasher and try to have a few minutes of peace.

Time's been in short supply, so I've been doing quick sketches. I'm working on a series of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs, 2 inches by 3 inches. Think trade-able art cards, like baseball cards) connected with Chinese New Year. Chun Lian are New Year's couplets, traditionally written on horizontal (or vertical) strips of paper and affixed to your door frame. Usually, it's a quote about the coming spring or a saying from the Chinese classical scholars, like Lao Tzu or Confucius.

My phone's been on the fritz lately, so I've had to get a new one. The old one kept dropping calls, and after my son's teacher tried to contact me (and I finally got her message on the home phone), I told Hubs when he got back that I can't afford to have a bum phone. So I got a new one...spent a while transferring my important phone numbers into it, but as long as I can actually receive my calls, it's worth it.

Still working on my creative website, and I'm planning on adding PDFs of some of my writing and some podcasts (connected with this blog and Phoenix Fire Arts). Slow going, but it'll get there.

So there's no rest for the Creative Mommy, never mind the wicked.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Recipes from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (8)

Handwritten index cards, two connected recipes:


Grease and flour a 9x9 loaf pan.

Sift together: 2 c. flour 1 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cloves, 3/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt.
Add 1/2 c. shortening 1 egg unbeaten, 3/4 c. molasses, 1/2 c. sugar, 2/3 c. boiling water

Beat for 1 minute + blend thoroughly. Back at 350 degrees for 40 min.


Upside down Gingerbread

Slice thin 2 c. apples. Line bottom of 9x9 loaf pan with apples. Add 1/2 c. orange juice, 1/3 c. raisins, 2/3 c. brown sugar. Pour gingerbread batter over mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 min.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Recipes from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (7)

Another handwritten card from the file box. It took me a minute to decipher Hubby's grandmother's handwriting, but this is copied word for word, with no editing:

Drop Dumplings

2 c. flour
1 egg well beaten
2 t (teaspoon) baking powder
1 T(tablespoon) melted butter
1 t. salt
1 c. milk

First beat egg, next add milk + butter, add flour, bking soda + salt, stirring thoroughly. Drop from tablespoon into lather containing boiling beef or chicken. Cook rapidly for 15-20 minutes.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recipes from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (6)

This one is from a recipe card from a collection from Sun-Maid Raisins. On the back of each card is a fact about  raisins. I've included the one with this recipe.

Wrangler Barbeque Sauce
(Makes 1 3/4 to 2 cups)

1/3 chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 minced clove garlic
2 tablespoons oil or drippings
1 cup (8-ounce can) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Sun-Maid Seedless or Golden Seedless Raisins
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Saute' onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in oil until transparent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot with spare ribs, meat balls, etc. (A contemporary recipe based on the campfire barbeques of the Old West).

Fact on the back of the card:
All of America's raisins come from the fertile San Joaquin Valley in California. This lush valley is surrounded by towering mountains. With water cascading from the Sierra Nevada Range, plenty of sun and little rain, the San Joaquin Valley provides ideal conditions for growing raisin grapes.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Recipes from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (5)

This recipe was cut out of The Virginian-Pilot, dated Thursday, March 6, 1980. I think it was an addition by my mother-in-law. Makes sense...Hubs' dad's family is from the South.

Judy's Pork Steaks

4 pork shoulder steaks
4 T. butter
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
Few drops of worcestershire sauce
1 cup consomme or stock
2 T. flour
Salt, Pepper to taste

Use a little pork fat to grease lightly a heavy skillet large enough to hold mean in one layer. Brown the steaks slowly in the greased skillet, on both sides, then turn heat low, cover pan and cook gently for about 2o minutes, adding a few drops of water to pan if necessary to keep meat from drying out.

Melt the butter in the saucepan and cook the onions in it gently until just golden. Add 2 or 3 drops of worcestershire and the mustard. Cook down a litter, then stir in the flour and cook and stir to blend and thicken slightly. Add consomme and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well and cook down until of a good sauce consistency. To serve, simply spoon sauce over cooked pork steaks on serving plates. Serves 4.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Monday, January 17, 2011

Recipes from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (4)

This recipe was jotted down on the back of a receipt from a laundry/dry cleaners place in Sioux City, Iowa, where my mother-in-law's family is from. Cusack-Baumann, on Pearl Street.

Again, this is typed directly from that receipt, with no editing.

Tinted Rice

Use Coloring as desired: (2 tsp yellow, tsp. blue, 3 tsp green, or 3 tsp red)
3 c. cold water, 4 c. uncooked rice (1 # 12 oz.)

Mix desired coloring with water. Add rice and soak until desired shade is obtained. Drained tinted rice, saving colored water for re-use if needed. Few drops of perfume or cologne may be added to water after coloring as been blended. Spread tinted rice on cookie sheet and dry in oven @ 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes ab. 32 bags (2 tbsp ea.) Use regular milled white rice for pastel colors. Parboiled rice best for deep colors.

Rice favors: place on small squares of net or tulle, line with polyethelene and tied with ribbon.

Can be glued for decorative projects--or layered or mixed in clear vases or jars.

Can be used for mosaic paintings or caught up in net for corsages.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Recipes from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (3)

This recipe was printed on a card from a homemaker's magazine. I assume it's from one of those inserts that you can detach and put in a recipe box, book or folder. I've never seen this one's a main dish.

Tuna Curry in Rice Ring

1/4 cup snipped parsley
5 cups hot cooked rice*
2 7-ounce cans solid-pack tuna, drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 tablespoon minced parsley
                                                       6 tablespoons PREAM (Annie's note: I had no idea what this was, so I looked it up. It's coffee creamer.)
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 3/4 cups water

With fork, lightly stir 1/4 cup parsley into hot race; gently pack rice mixture into greased 1-quart ring mold**. Let stand 1 to 2 minds.; invert onto heated platter and keep warm while preparing Tuna Curry. In a small bowl, combine tuna, lemon juice, celery seed, mustard and 1 tablespoon parsley; let stand for 5 mins. In saucepan, combine PREAM, flour and curry powder. Add water; cook and stir until mixture boils and is thickened. Add tuna mixture; blend and heat thoroughly. fill center of rice ring with Tuna Curry. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

*Use 1 1/4 curs raw regular or processed rice or 2 1/2 cups packaged precooked rice prepared according to package directions. 

**If ring mold is not available, spoon rice onto heated platter to form ring.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Recipes from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (2)

Today's recipe from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (directly from a handwritten card):


2 c. sifted flour
4 tsp baking poweder
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp shortening
3/4 c. milk

Beat all ingredients for 1 min. Throw on floured board and roll 1/2" thick. Cut with round cutter, bake on griddle until golden on both sides. 

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Recipes from Hubby's Grandmother's Recipe Box (1)

Hubs inherited the recipe box that holds his maternal grandmother's recipes. It's a simple green file box, crammed with handwritten recipes and ones cut out from magazines. The paper's yellowed with age, but still readable. It's fascinating to see some of the recipes from 50+ years ago...the more things change, the more they stay the same.

This week, I'm featuring some of those recipes, copied directly from the cards. This one is "Popovers"


Blend 2 eggs, 1tsp salt, 1 c. sfted flour, 1 tbsp melted shortening 1 c.milk.
Beat until thoroughly blended. Pour into 8 custard cups about 1/3 full. Bake at 459 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn down to 350 degrees for 20 minutes longer.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Friday, January 14, 2011

Writing and Art for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year will be on February 3 and we'll be going into the Year of the Rabbit. I've always like Chinese New Year...the colors, the songs, and especially the food! I've got Chinese blood on my dad's side (as far as I know, Great-Grandma was Chinese, adopted into our family), so my kids do too. I was born in the Year of the Ox (reliable, dependable but stubborn). Hubs and Baby Girl are Rats (quick-witted, frugal), Son is a Sheep (sensitive, insecure), and Banshee Girl is a Dog (loyal but somewhat unpredictable).

I'm working on several pieces about Chinese New Year, both fiction and non-fiction. Some of them will be on this blog and others elsewhere. As for art, I've been working on my mingzi (Chinese characters). Some of them are at Phoenix Fire Arts and at my store on Zazzle:*

Here are some sites about Chinese New Year and the Zodiac. If you have kids, here is a site that features cultural information and activities about the Year of the Rabbit.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Escape from Cabin Fever

Yes, we did manage to get out today!

It was still icy in spots while we were getting out of our neighborhood. A nice half-inch layer of ice encrusted over powdery snow on the van and in the driveway. Despite a little sliding, I took the kids out to McDonald's for lunch and a run around the Playplace. They were happy to be out after being stuck in the house for the past three days. Luckily, they also behaved during our grocery run to WalMart. Michael was very helpful; he helped put items in the cart and held the door to the freezer cases. He's at the age where he can help out with simple tasks and I know it boosts his self-esteem when he feels like he's helping.

As of 7:03 PM, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will run on a 2-hour delay. I wonder if they won't just go ahead and cancel.

On a somewhat related tangent, I wonder what's up with all the weird weather. I have a friend in Queensland, Australia, who's directly affected by the floods. Please pray for her, her family, and everyone affected by the rising water. Thanks.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 2 of the Great Snow-In

Hubs and the Kids are at home for the 2nd straight day. Thank goodness for satellite TV, Netflix and the Wiggles! Hubs turned on the DVD upstairs so the kids could still be distracted while he has several phone conferences this morning.

I'm going to try to get some art done this AM...I managed to put some stuff up yesterday, but I'm way behind in photographing and processing those images. Ah, the perpetual problem of trying to fit 28 hours into a 24 hour day! At least this enforced hibernation is giving me time work on my languages/linguistics stuff that I've been neglecting for the past several months. I received several foreign language books this past holiday season that I haven't even cracked open...until yesterday.

I'm trying to put a positive spin on being housebound with 3 kids who are rapidly approaching "cabin-fevered". Their schedules have already been thrown off by the weather, so the transitions back to school are going to be fun.

Oy. When life hands you a snow-covered lemon, make iced lemonade.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow in Charlotte, Part Deux

The snow's still coming down and everything is covered with white. It started snowing last night and they're predicting 6-9 inches before it's all over and done with. And as the temperature rises, it'll go to freezing rain and sleet.

Wonderful. All 3 of my kids are home, so I've got to find a way to entertain them...besides watching Wiggles videos all day. Thank God for Netflix! Hubs is home on a conference call with work, so we all need to be as quiet as church mice!

I'll try to get some pics of the snow later, when I get the chance.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Why Do I Keep Doing This, Anyway?

There are times when I feel so disheartened with my art and my writing. Those days when I ask myself, "Why am I doing this? Why can't I just get a 'regular' job with a 'regular' paycheck? Why do I put so much effort in trying to promote myself, when I'm just being ignored? Why do I spend so much time with the inks and paints or in front of the keyboard when the house needs cleaning, errands need doing, and kids are getting cranky?"

Because I have to. My inner muse whispers into my ear and I listen. The Muse hits me over the head with new ideas to try and whispers, "What if...?" For the longest time, I ignored her and she took her long vacation to Barbados, so by the time I figured it out, she was long gone. It took a while for me to convince her to leave her cabana. I think she was afraid I'd jet over and take her place.

Yeah, right. That would be nice, once in a while. Since I can't do that in real life, I do it on the page and the canvas.

I do it for me and share it with others. That's why I do it.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Can Someone Type with their Toenails?

Sorry, for the short writing blip, but my hands are too swollen this morning...

I wonder if you can type with your nose, or your toenails. Or your eyeballs.

I need that voice-recognition typing program. Sigh! Or better yet, new joints.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Friday, January 7, 2011

Birthday Oddness...

A busy couple of days. My older daughter Christina had a birthday on January 5, and my husband Robert had one on January 6. We didn't plan it that way; it just happened. We took Christina to her favorite McDonald's for dinner and she had a blast. Our three kids enjoyed themselves a lot.

My family has an odd trend with birthdays. I wonder what a numerologist would make of all this. My husband's birthday is January 6 (1/6), while his dad's is June 1 (6/1). My son's is May 1 (5/1) and Christina is January 5 (1/5). Even Baby Sarah's birthday continues the strange number pattern: October 5 (10/5) and she was born at 5 minutes to 5 in the afternoon. (4:55 PM).

As I said, weird. Didn't plan it that way, just happened that way. Even my mom commented on the weirdness, then joked it shouldn't be hard to remember my kids' birthdays.

Unfortunately, my birthday breaks the pattern, but that's all right. It's just some oddness that runs in the family that we laugh about whenever someone's birthday rolls around.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Synchroncity, or Signposts from the Universe

Synchroncity is defined as "an event that happens at a fortuitous point in time, usually as a sign that the Universe is either 1) listening, or 2) has a sense of humor." It's like the cliche of thinking about a certain person just before the phone rings and it's them on the other end of the line. When something like that happens, it makes you pause and wonder, "What was that?"

Just two days ago, I wrote an article here about one of my favorite artist/authors, Nick Bantock. He's the author of the Griffin and Sabine and The Morning Star trilogies. I own both trilogies and The Venetian's Wife. This morning, I had an appointment with my rheumatologist at Presbyterian Main, and my favorite used bookstore is on the way home. So I stopped by to see what was new...and I found a copy of The Artful Dodger on the shelf. TAD is Bantock's autobiography in pictures, so to speak; his journey through art school and how he made his successful book series. I saw it was half-price, reasonable for a 200+ page art book, and snapped it up.

All this after I set one of my goals (I don't call them resolutions anymore): to improve my art technique. Is this a sign from the universe saying, "You're on the right track...keep going"? Similar instances have happened to me before, and it's never failed to startle me each time. It's eerie...but wonderful at the same time.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pre-Orange Bowl Thoughts

As I write this (4:24 PM, Eastern Standard Time), the Fed Ex Orange Bowl will start in a little over 4 hours. This year, it will be #4 Stanford against #13 Virginia Tech. I graduated from VT and am a proud Hokie supporter (alumna, Class of 1995). Tech's football program has been rated one of the best in the country. Since I left, we've had quarterbacks like Michael Vick and Tyrod Taylor, switched conferences from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference and won the Commonwealth Cup for a long time running. (The CC is the winner of the Virginia Tech/University of Virginia game).

Ah, but I remember the days when Coach Frank Beamer was only a few years into his career at VT. My husband still teases me about the time I stayed for the Thanksgiving game vs. UVA...which we lost. (I'd much rather see the football team lose than see him over the holiday, he teases.). I still remember the days where our record was 2-8-1 and Defensive Coach Bud Foster had just started busting up whiteboards. (Long story).

Those days are gone (thank goodness) and Tech has become a respectable football program. I wonder how they'll do against Stanford, another powerhouse. It should be a pretty exciting game.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Combining Art with Story: Books by Nick Bantock

Recently, I re-read my copies of the Griffin and Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock. The trilogy includes Griffin and Sabine, Sabine's Notebook and The Golden Mean. A mysterious woman named Sabine writes a letter to British artist Griffin, and the two continue to exchange letters and postcards. As the story continues, it becomes clear that Sabine and Griffin are both in danger from outside forces. They arrange to meet, but are unsuccessful the first time. Eventually, they unravel the mystery of why they keep missing each other. They do meet at the end...and the story continues with a second "trilogy": The Gryphon, Alexandria and The Morning Star.

I love the mystery, the intrigue and the definitely sympathize with Griffin and Sabine as their situation becomes desperate. Two lovers, perhaps fated never to meet, unless they take a great risk. In the second trilogy, archeologist Matthew Sedon and his beloved Isabelle de Rheims deal with the forces of darkness with Griffin and Sabine's help. The tension builds until the very end of the second trilogy. Will both couples be successful?

Mr. Bantock illustrates all six books with beautiful drawings and paintings, and includes actual envelopes with letters in them. It's a thrill to pull out a smooth piece of paper and read the writing on it. In this age of e-mails, instant messaging, Skype and Twitter, receiving a letter through the post becomes a welcome treat. The correspondence reveals the personality of each letter writer as they tell their stories. The detail of each piece of mail is amazing, down to the postage and the cancellation stamps!

Other books by the same author: The Forgetting Room, The Venetian's Wife, The Artful Dodger, The Egyptian Jukebox and The Museum at Purgatory.

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Happy New Year to everyone! *\O/* May 2011 be wonderful!

I conked out not long after the South Carolina/Florida State game, so I missed midnight, but I re-lived midnight through friends' blogs and photos from all over the world. ;-) It's gray and foggy out this first day of 2011, but we're all in here, watching the Wiggles' "Cold Spaghetti Western" (yeah, bad pun.).

I'm off to work on some art and writing in a bit...and Hubs has already run into a computer virus that prevented him from re-installing Google Chrome. I'm definitely watching the Virginia Tech/Stanford Orange Bowl should be a good game.

I don't have any New Year's Resolutions, really. It's like trying to give up chocolate for Lent---if I state it in public, it ain't gonna happen. So...what's everyone doing today, January 1, 2011?

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010