Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Science of Sleeping Dogs

I think we need to add a new field to the sciences. I have something that needs to be studied.

Alasse has two sleep modes: Nap Mode, and The Long Haul.
Now, when Alasse is in Nap Mode, she curls up into a perfect little ball, reducing her body mass by at least half. How does she do this? Or, the better question, why won’t she do this at night??

And then there’s The Long Haul.

Now, Alasse likes to sleep under the covers, with her head on the pillow. Once I get her out of My spot, things are generally okay. Okay, not just Okay, they’re perfect. I’ve got my space, she’s got hers. We cuddle. She curls up underneath my arm. Sometimes we spoon.

And like I said, everything is perfect. For a while. But eventually things get less and less perfect, because this is when Alasse starts to grow. Because you see, during The Long Haul, she expands to twice her size, taking up two thirds or more of the bed, and almost all of the covers.

So I’m putting it out into the universe. Someone needs to study the science of sleeping dogs and get back to me. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Today's Artist feature is Izzy, from izzybizzy. I absolutely love her designs! She has iphone cases, clocks, prints, cards and more! And the best part? Her products are adorned with animals. Adorable animals. Kid friendly, adult friendly, anybody friendly, these are the perfect accessory for all you animal lovers out there!

izzybizzy has a large selection of the most adorable clocks you will ever see! Check them out here:

1. How did you get started?

I am a mother, wife and a graphic designer from Zagreb, Croatia. Although the primary area of my interest and my work is design, I occasionally create abstract compositions and illustrations for kids. I often draw abstract compositions as a way to relax or when I need some decorations for our living space or as gifts to friends.

Illustrations for kids started as a fun game for my son Val Jakov and as a decoration for his room. Some of my friends have seen those illustrations and told me they would love them for their kids, too. So I have created izzybizzy name and illustrations and room decorations are here :)

I love this iphone case! I'm pretty sure it's the cutest one I have ever seen.You can buy it here:

2. Who or what is your inspiration?

My five year old son Val Jakov and my newborn son Vihor, three months old :)

Click here to view all izzybizzy cards:

3. What is your favorite part of your creating process?

Drawing the illustration and simplify the form as much as I can, but still make it recognizable which animal it is. My goal is to create illustrations that would be simple enough so a small child can recognize and understand them, yet interesting and fun enough for older children too.

Awesome Art Prints!

4. Do you have any special routines? 

I often draw with my son or make creative home workshop with him, or home exhibition… You can find some stories and photos about that at my blog ( Then, when everyone goes to sleep, I sit at my computer and draw from a sketch I did earlier.

6. Do you have any social media links?

7. Anything else that you want to share?

Although I started izzybizzy as products for children, I have a lot of adult customers. Adults are particularly interested in iPhone Cases and Wall Clocks. Love birds wall clock adults usually buy for kitchen or living room, and Oh Happy Day art print and wall clocks you can find in a lots of apartments of my friends and relatives :)

Visit izzybizzy on Etsy:

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Rats are Alright

The rats and I recently went through a bit of an ordeal, Cathy had a tumor. So, I guess I should really be saying that the rats went through an ordeal, and I put myself through an ordeal by worrying. Now, since we were going to have a surgery anyway, I elected to get both of my little ones spayed at this time. I highly recommend getting your rats spayed.

Rats are very prone to getting mammary tumors. I had one rat as a little girl who had seven. But, if you spay your rats, they are less likely to develop mammary tumors. So go for it! It will save them a lot of discomfort and one surgery is a lot less expensive than seven.

Now, where to get your rat spayed? Many vets do small animals as well, call and ask! I was lucky enough to have been raised by a veterinarian. So, I planned a trip home to get my rats spayed by my mother.  For those of you in the northern California area looking for a vet, her website is:

The trip home is a long one- about six hours. The rats were in the front seat in their travel cage with snacks a plenty, and I was equipped with a thermos of black tea and a box of chickin-in-a-biscuit crackers. Mmmm. I don’t even want to know how bad they are for me, so I always eat the whole box at once and throw the package away as quickly as possible.

On this journey, I was also equipped with an audiobook. Terry Pratchett’s  The Color of Magic. Now, I was really excited about this book. Terry Pratchett came to me highly recommended by quite a few friends. However, despite this recommendation, I was disappointed with the book. The main thing that put me off was that the narrator kept reminding me of the same thing. Over and over again. It felt like my hand was begin held the whole time because somebody thought I was stupid. Along the same lines, character descriptions were given again and again with similar language. Descriptors for dialogue were also repetitive.

That said, I loved the Discworld. It was a really cool idea, definitely a very magical place. Pratchett is also very funny. There were a few places where I laughed out loud. But there were also a lot of places that could have been really funny, but they just didn’t quite make it. Now, there are thirty or so of these Discworld books. Since this was #1 in the series I am going to give Pratchett another try somewhere in the high 20s.

Ah, and this brings me up to 6 in my 100 books in a year goal!

Books Read In 2013

1.      Pocho - Jose Antonio Villareal
2.      Do You Speak American? – Robert MacNeil
3.      Hunger of Memory – Richard Rodriguez
4.      So Far From God – Ana Castillo
5.      Y No Se Lo Trago La Tierra – Tomas Rivera
6.      The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett

Lyra getting prepped for surgery 

But back to the rats. The rat surgeries were an all day affair. Lyra was the easy one, so she went first. When she was out, my mother, along with her assistants Emily and Rachel, clipped the fur on her stomach and scrubbed the area with a surgical scrub to sterilize the area. After that, she went on into the surgery room. I had planned on staying with her for the duration of the surgery but after the first incision I was out. I am afraid I have to admit that I am a bit squeamish. I have been known to faint at the side of blood. Not too handy in a crisis.

So I waited outside, reviewing some corrections I’d been making on my novel. And when the surgery was done, I was ready with hot water bottles when they handed me Lyra, all wrapped up in a blanket. Then, cradling Lyra, still out cold, along with the hot water bottles, I watched while Cathy was prepped for her surgery. Hers was going to be a little more complicated, as not only was she being spayed, but her tumor was right in her arm pit. Tricky spot.

Lyra, waking up

Lyra woke up shortly after Cathy went into surgery. She woke slowly, and seemed quite content to remain in my arms. It was quite refreshing actually. Normally she would be climbing all over me at about a hundred miles per hour.

Me, with both of my babies!

Then they handed me Cathy. I briefly had a rat bundle in each arm. Then I was quickly outfitted with a tub lined with hot water bottles and a blanket. Cathy and Lyra recuperated quite nicely there, and soon were as lively as ever. Now, I have gone through this with quite a few rats, but never before had my rats gone after their sutures. But both Cathy and Lyra were determined to get theirs out.

Getting out of the jackets

The solution? Jackets! Now, neither Cathy nor Lyra were too pleased with this idea. It soon became apparent that while it took us two minutes to get a jacket on, it only took two seconds for a rat to get out of it. But eventually, with a lot of trial and error, we finally devised a jacket that would stay on. And my little babies are doing just fine!!

Lyra in her Jacket!
Cathy, not so happy with her new attire 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Step By Step, A Horse

Step one: sketch and outline
Step two: Shade in lights and darks
Final Product

Prints available on Etsy:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Finished a new drawing last night! It is the first in a series of I don't know how many yet but I'm working on it. This drawing features a goofy horse named Tazzy. He has more personality than any horse I have ever met. Next up in the Series will be Ira, you'll learn more about him next.

Swift Series #1

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Walk In The Woods


Don't you just love walks? I love being out with the dog. Alasse and I are very fortunate to live in an area abundant with dog friendly trails. Now, Alasse loves walks even more than I do. She goes nuts when I say the word, and when we get in the car, she knows exactly where we are going. 
Alasse, asking me to throw the stick
Alasse's first order of business is always to find an appropriate stick. She  loves sticks as much as she loves walks. The only thing she loves more than sticks and walks, and lets not forget balls, is smelly shit. Her all time favorite smelly item is turkey poop. And let me tell you, that stuff is SMELLY. Lucky for me, we didn't come across any this morning, but she did find something to roll in. I don't know what it was, but the odor is much milder than turkey poop, so I'll take it. 

Alasse, begging

Besides, if you look like this, it doesn't really matter if your covered in shit, you'll get away with anything.
Alasse is faster than me

The great thing about our walks is that Alasse covers twice the ground I do. She runs out ahead until I call her back. When I do, she turns around and runs at me full force, ears flapping in the wind. Then, as soon as she reaches me, she's off again. This is wonderful for me, because when we get home, she'll take a nap and I can get some work done. 

Alasse and the stick of the day
 But back to the stick. Once she selects one of good quality, she brings it right over to me. I throw it for her for a while, but when my arm gets tired, she won't just leave it, she'll carry it for the rest of the walk. When we get back down the hill, she'll want to take the stick in the car.

Remember what I said about the nap? Well, after she watched me eat my lunch (she stares and whimpers like I haven't fed her in years) she headed straight for the couch. She always waits for me to lift up the blanket for her, and once I do she settles in and snoozes. Ah, the good life. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Who Let The Cat Out Of The Bag?

Cleo Lovin' On Her Paper Bag

Have you ever noticed how much cats love paper bags? The sit on them, sleep on them, crawl in them, bat them with their paws.

I bought two tubs of ice cream the other day, yes two. Mint chip and chocolate peanut butter if you must know. Anyways, as usual, I had forgotten my cloth bags. I should leave them in car, I know this. But after I bring up my groceries, on the rare occasion when I remember to bring them, I just leave them in the apartment. On these occasions I think to myself, I’ll remember to take those down to the car tomorrow. This hardly ever happens, which is how it came to pass that I brought my ice cream home in a paper bag.
When I got home, I set the paper bag on the floor while I rummaged around in the freezer, making space. By the time I managed to squeeze in the tubs, just enough to shut the door quickly, my paper bag had been commandeered.

Cleo, Utilizing The Bag For A Bed

I don’t know what it is about paper bags that cats love so much. There must be something there that I just can’t see. She’ll crawl inside and then poke her head out warily, surveying the kitchen before slowly retreating back into the dark recesses of her paper cavern. Sometimes she stays there, curled up inside. Other times she settles down, half out of the bag and watches me. Still other times, she sits on top of it. Sometimes she doesn’t sit at all, on or in, but splays with it. She’ll bat it with her paw, or stalk it stealthily before pouncing. The possibilities are endless. 

Cleo In Her Paper Cavern of Possibilities