Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lughnasadh, Oh It's All About Lugh, Isn't It?!

We're coming up on Lughnasadh (sometimes called Lammas) soon which is the last Pagan celebration of summer, and the first harvest festival, celebrated around August 1-2. 

A Rock Star of a Sun God

Lugh may have been the first rock star, as you'll see from his legends to follow, no he didn't play a screaming guitar, but only because it hadn't been invented yet.  There are lots of great stories about Lugh, my favorite is quite personal.  It's the story about how I was inspired to create my piece Lugh of the Long Arm, seen here. It was actually on Lughnasadh in 2007 and I was driving in my car past a field of tawney wheat that was growing near my home.

The sun was shining on my face, and I was thinking about Lugh, his legends and what this day meant to me, when on the radio came Led Zeppelins, "What is and What Shall Never Be." Robert Plant was crooning away and I could picture him in my head, very sexy, very regal, the spotlight turning his mane of golden waves into a dubious halo of light. And I thought to my self, "Robert Plant is a Sun God!" Sigh. The rest is history, I went home and told my husband, and he agreed that Robert Plant was a great inspiration for a portrait of Lugh.  Dan did the pose for me standing on the coffee table in his kilt, (growwwell...I digress...) and then I channeled Robert while listening to lots of Led Zeppelin while working on this piece.
Lugh of the Long Arm, what a rock star!
Let the Games Begin

In Celtic legend the festival of Lughnasadh is said to have been begun by the god Lugh, as a funeral feast to honor his foster-mother, Tailtiu who died of clearing the plains of Ireland so the farmers could use the land for agriculture, she literally worked herself to death.  Historically, the Lughnasadh festivals were associated with the bountiful harvest of wheat, a time for contests of strength and skill, and a favored time for handfastings as well.

Lugh or LLew, (pronounced Loo, ) means "light" or "shining" and although believed to be considered a deity of the sun by the ancient civilizations of the Celts, the Roman invaders associated him with their God Mercury due to his many skills. He is known as Lugh of the Long Arm, as he is he guardian of the magical spear of Gorias. Another of his magical weapons is the sling which he used to kill his terrible adversary Balor, by using the sling to drive Balors evil staring eye backwards in his skull, so that it stared down it's baneful magic upon Balors own armies.

Jack of All Trades, Master of...Well, All Trades

Lugh is also known as Llew Llaw Gyffes "bright one of skillful hand." He could do it all.   In one legend, he was refused entry to the city of Tara, which was crowded,  he was told that only someone who had skills that no one in the city possessed could gain entry.  He told the keepers of the city each of his many talents, one by one, asking if anyone in the city possessed the talents that he had, wheelright, metal-worker, warrior, bard, magician, doctor, cupbearer, and more. He was told that all those skills were met by individual people within the city. He then asked if any one man possessed all of those skills, to which the reply was "No." This was how Lugh cleverly gained entrance to the city of Tara and came to serve as steward to the King Nuadha.   Later Nuadha lost his hand in battle, and since it was a taboo that a king couldn't rule unless he was whole, Lugh took his over his office and ruled in his stead until his had was replaced by a silver one.  And they weren't going to let him in!  *scoff*

Lugh is also associated with the Ogham, a subject near and dear to my heart.  My deck based upon the Ogham Voice of the Trees has another depiction of Lugh representing the Ash card, the Ash tree is associated with both the sun and spears.  A magical bag called the Crane Skin Bag was considered the vessel that held the secrets of the Ogham, and Lugh once had it in his possesion. 
Another version of Lugh, from my brand new deck Voice of the Trees, in which Lugh represents the Ash tree, this print is available in the new Voice of the Trees Etsy shop!
According to legend, the sea god Manannan mac Lir owned the original Crane Bag which was made from the beautiful Aoife who had been magically transformed into a crane.  It was referred to as ‘a treasure of powers with many virtues.   Manannan mac Lir appeared to the sun God Lugh disguised as a warrior and gifted the bag to him. Lugh incidentally was the first person to receive a message written in Ogham, a warning that his wife was in danger of being abducted, a catastrophe that was avoided because of the message.  Lugh passed the Crane Bag to the three sons of Cermait Honeymouth (another name for Ogma.)  The bag finally ended up back with Manannan mac Lir.  The secrets of the Crane Bag were shared around in this way. 

Those Groupies Will Kill Ya!

In a story from the Mabinogion, at one point Llew had a spell placed upon him by his mother Arianrhod, that he could not have a wife of the human race.  Not nice!  Great magicians Gwydion, his uncle and Math magically made him a wife of flowers, Blodeuwedd which means flower face. While Llew was away she had fallen in love with another man. She then tricked Llew into showing her the only method by which he could be killed. She later had her lover Gronw Pebyr attack him in the manner described. According to legend, the spear only wounded Llew, who turned into an Eagle and soared away. Gwydion found Llew and changed him back, and he also transformed Blodeuwedd into an owl to live out her remaining days. Llew slayed Gronw Pebyr upon the same spot where he had fallen. With Llew now healed and restored, the land grew bountiful and prospered.
A cup bearing the Cup Bearer!  From our Etsy shop

I hope you've enjoyed these tales of Lugh as we approach Lughnasadh, and have his blessing for a bountiful harvest of all the fruits of your labors!

Blessings!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Night Magical Movie: Yellow Submarine

"Once upon a time or maybe twice there was an unearthly paradise called Pepperland, 80,000 leagues under the sea."  So the story begins...
I saw this for the first time on T.V. when I was a kid, and I remember being simply delighted with the whole concept and also with the closing sequence with the actual Beatles, and Ringo quips, "I've got a hole in me pocket!" which was a floppy black hole that he produced. 
I was later dissapointed to find that the real Beatles participated only in the closing scene of the film, with the fictional counterparts of The Beatles voiced by other actors.  But this knowledge didn't ruin the magic of this animated classic for me.  The original story was by Lee Minoff and was directed by George Dunning who also directed The Beatles animated series.
Fred with his musical buddies in idelic Pepperland

This artsy magical animated fantasy was released in 1968, and starred, you guessed it, The Beatles!  It begins while Fred the intrepid captain of a magical yellow submarine has arrived in Liverpool and begins to stalk The Beatles one by one.  I hate it when that happens!  Fred is a good guy, he just needs their help because Pepperland has been taken over by the Blue Meanies who are a generally negative bunch of nay sayers and (bum, bum, bum, buuuuuum) they hate music! 
Blue Meanies plotting!

We'll have none of that!  So he begs the boys for help and of course, they decide to go with "Old Fred" on a grand adventure, which I'm sure had nothing to do with anyone taking any experimental mind altering substances....no, surely not.

Anywho, Old Fred teaches them how to operate the sub to the tune of All Together Now.   As they go beneath the waves.  The Fab Four travel with Fred in their yellow vessel through many seas on their journey, they sail into the Sea of Time and become very young and then very old as the appropriate song plays, When I'm Sixty Four.   The Sea of Science is a very interesting sequence set to the already weird Only a Northern Song.  They then reach the Sea of Monsters where they see a beast that is "sooo ugly, somebody push the button..."  which has since become a favorite catch-phrase for my daughters and myself sometimes applied to cars, items of clothing, etc. that just don't measure up esthetically.   They narrowly escape being sucked into oblivion by a paradoxical vacuum monster that sucks up it's own tail and end up in Nowhere Land.


Nowhere Land is about as interesting as it sounds, it's really just empty space.  Empty except for the sad little guy Jeremy Hillary Boob, Phd. who proceeds to fix the malfunctioning ssubmarine motor while reciting poetry.   This scene of course ends up being accompanied by the song  Nowhere Man and ends sadly with little odd Jeremy sobbing in realisation that he is in fact a Nowhere Man. Ringo feels sorry for Jeremy and invites him aboard, and he brightens right up. Jeremy does end up being useful.
Nowhere Man, don't worry, he'll be somewhere soon!

I love the Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds sequence in the Foothills of the Headlands, that song really lends itself to the crazy animation.  They cross through the Sea of Holes into the Sea of Green and end up in Pepperland and are disappointed to discover everyone has been turned into statues.  This is what happens apparently if you allow the Blue Meanies to say "No" to everything and outlaw music, so watch out for that.  There is only one way to put things back to right, with the magical musical instruments of St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band of course, that's why Old Fred brought the Beatles to help, you need musicians!
Blue Meanie, does he remind you of anyone?  I can think of a few of today's talking heads that he reminds me of!


Never forget, if you run into the Blue Meanies, "All You Need is Love!"  everything will be ok!


Being an artist, I can't discuss an animated film without giving credit to the people behind the art!  The style was very "Peter Max" a famous pop artist of the time, but he was not involved in this film.  The art director was Heinz Edelmann who's early work along with that of Milton Glaser were the fore runners of the psychedelic art movement that would eventually inspire others like Peter Max and Monty Pythons Terry Gilliam. There was a large crew of animators working on this, (over 200 of them, too many to list here) but it was Bob Balser and Jack Stokes who were the animation directors. Charlie Jenkins was one of the film's key creative directors, was responsible for the entire Eleanor Rigby sequence, (one of my kids favorite scenes) as well as the scene where the submarine travels from Liverpool, through London, and into the sea. Jenkins also was responsible for the Sea of Science, plus much of the multi-image sequences.

The soundtrack is a great blend of classic Beatles tunes and orchestral score composed and arranged by George Martin.  If you're feeling like an uplifting and magical "trip"  this is a fun one to go on that is perfectly legal and will have no long term effects, except perhaps humming Beatles tunes!

Kinda makes me want to play Beatles Rockband.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vintage and Witchy~My Prize Package From Mrs. B!



When I saw the box on my porch I knew what it was!  By the luck of the draw I won Mr. B's giveaway that she held over at her excellent blog "Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom" I knew it would be the perfect mix of vintage witchy kitsch.   I had already decided that I wanted to open it with my daughter Brittany the vintage fashionista responsible for the popular vintage fashion blog "Va-Voom Vintage."  We had already agreed to meet at Costco that day to pick up some items for her husband P.J.s graduation party, so it was the perfect opportunity.

Ok, I confess, I had to peek before I left the house,  don't judge me!  You would have peeked too.   I packed it all up and brought the box of goodies along to meet up.

Look at all this cool loot!  And yes, the cat right in the middle of it as per usual.


So there we were in the Costco parking lot, onlookers probably curious but we didn't care!  There were two recipe boxes, one was a lovely vintage reproduction of Betty Crocker recipes, I knew that one had to go in Brittanys fabulous vintage kitchen!  I also passed along the coasters because I wanted her to have at least one of the cool "Mrs. B" items and because as a very small child she used to put coasters under everyones drinks when they came over.  She was destined to be a 1950's housewife!



The other recipe box was amazing!  Mrs. B had hand written a ton of witchy recipes onto the cards!  Wow!  That one was mine, I really loved that personal touch, and I will treasure it forever, and I'm sure I'll use quite a bit of them too.

My Voodude is peeking out of his bag!  LOL


I just had to pass along the cute tote bag as well, Brittany loved it so much!


This book is so fun, I've been pouring over it, "Better Than Homemade" is a hoot, all about American convenience cuisine.  I think Brittany and I will share this one back and forth.

Yesterday morning I was running late and didn't have time to drink all my Chai Spice tea, out of my art mug, my morning ritual.  Now I have a cool travel mug, so I took it with me!

Brittany and I are thoroughly enjoying my winnings from Mrs. B's drawing, Thanks Mrs. B!



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Can You Get For Free in Our Etsy Shop?

Hi All!

Yesterday when my boxes of Voice of the Trees decks arrived at my house, I mentioned that I waited to go home to open them because I was working on a special item for my Etsy customers.  Well, here it is.  Created from some of my non-Voice of the Trees art, a free gift for everyone who orders something from our Etsy shop!
8.5 x 11 sheet, prints on regular sized printer paper of your choice

I've made you a printable magical summer scrapbook embellishment page! Starting today August 20 2011 and until Sept. 30 2011, this sheet is free with every purchase in our Etsy shop!

Its a digital scrapbook embellishment sheet in JPG format (PDF is available if you prefer) This file is high resolution, 8 1/2 x 11 inch (letter) size 300 dpi. These beautiful embellishments will add magic to your scrapbook pages, book of shadows, or even stick them on glass candle holders with a glue stick! Just print your sheets on regular paper or card stock, cut them apart, and get creative! You can print as many as you like for your own use. Now, that being said, the rights do not transfer to make items to sell, (the details are on the Etsy listing) but for your own personal use, the sky's the limit.
A detail shot, if you click to see a larger image
The images shown here are low resolution and have a watermark (transparent lettering) over the top, your file won't have a watermark and will be high resolution, and are designed to print out beautifully at their full size or smaller.  Files are sent via email as soon as possible. Usually within 24-48 hours, make sure to check your spam folder.
Another detail shot, if you click to see a larger image

Copyright Mickie Mueller~ All artwork and design by Mickie Mueller just for you to decorate your personal scrapbook.

I hope you all enjoy these fun and pretty embellishments and find many uses for them around your home.  I'm off to work on the third installment of my top secret project.  I'll finish it up soon and get the art submitted, can't wait until I can spill the beans! 

Blessings,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Two Blogs in One Day: What's in the Box??

Well, Dears,

It going to take a pretty big event to prompt me to write two blogs in one day!  I was sitting at work creating a nice freebie in Photoshop that I'll be offering to all of my dear Etsy customers very soon when I got a phone call.  It was Dan, and he sounded kind of funny. He ask how I was feeling, how was my day, etc. and I thought...oooo-kayyyy what's wrong.  So I asked in my most unconcerned voice, "What's up?"  His reply, "Weeell, I have two big boxes here from Llewellyn. "  Silence.   Whaaaaa???!!!

So we gabbed excitedly about, "We know what it is, it has to be, oh my Gods, what time are you coming home, I haven't opened it yet, I'll be home soon, We'll wait for you."  Kinda like that.  I finished up the design work, (I'm dedicated to my sweet fans!) then I headed home all a-tither.

I hope the pictures look ok, my hands were shaking like mad, they still are.  Gods, I'm so cool, what a dork!

Two big boxes, big Llewellyn Logo, right there in my living room.

Ahhh...the label, what's it say?  Voice of the Trees, THAT'S what it says....booo-yaaah!

Look at 'em all, exploding right out of the box!

And of course the Cats had to get involved, I think they have given their approval, rubbing all over the carton.

I had to open one of the packs, so you can see how nice it's all packaged up. 
I love, love, love the back of the packaging, it really is lovely!  I couldn't be more delighted!


So, how about that!  I'm so very excited!  We'll be offering them for sale soon on the Voice of the Trees website, you can have it autographed (for no charge of course)  We will be offering some lovely satin drawstring bags to keep the cards in with your choice of Voice of the Trees art on one side and the Fionns Window back design on the other very, very soon, just waiting for our shipment of the blank bags, so watch for that.

hugs, hugs, hugs all around!

Mickie

7 Ways to Use a Tote Bag

Tote bags, we love 'em!  Sometimes we get them free with a purchase, sometime we choose a special one for it's artistic flair, but where ever they came from, they are one of the most versatile bags we own, when you're rushing out the door, you know you can grab your trusty tote to help you get the job done with finesse.  That's why we all have at least one fancy tote bag, the magical place where fashion meets function.

Whats so great about tote bags?  Well, they are usually a medium to large sized bag with great double handles that you can either grasp or toss on your shoulder.  Why are they so diverse?  Tote bags boast one large main compartment.  We all have purses with scads of pockets, dividers, cubbies and compartments which can be really great, but a basic tote is simple, clean, and easily functional.  You don't have to figure out where to fit something in there, just toss it in and go.  It's a deconstructed purse in a way, back to basics, and a perfect way to carry extra stuff when you're on the go.

Here are some of my favorite uses for my totes:

Triple Goddess Tote from mickiemuellerstudio.etsy.com
Book Tote: When I'm working on a writing assignment, I can drop several research books and a notepad right in and take it between the office and home.  Also, if I'm checking out books from the library, it's a great way to carry them back and forth, and rules out the risk of having them tumble out of my arms in the parking lot while getting my keys. 

Shopping Tote:  I shop at Aldi a lot (for those who don't know that's a discount grocery store) to get good deals on groceries, in this economy we have to save where ever we can.  At Aldi you either bring your own bags or you can buy them, being thrifty and caring for the environment, I usually carry in my totes.  I have a mixed array of them, some from grocery stores, some were giveaways, and some are the lovely canvas totes that we sell in our Etsy shop.  If I have to bring my own bags and shop bargains, at least my bags are pretty!  And they hold up much better than paper or plastic.  No matter what store I go to I always prefer it if I have my nice sturdy totes.
We hit the grocery store yesterday, filled up quite a few totes with groceries for the week.  I had a Lunar Eclipse bag and a Violet Fairy bag in with my other random totes.
Workout Tote:  Back when I was doing Tae Kwon Do, I used a tote to carry my uniform, belt, deodorant, hair tie, and stored my street clothes in it during class.  I tucked in a little coin purse with some change for a bottle of water or other incidentals so I could leave my purse locked up in my car. 

Craft Tote:  When working on various projects, I  sometimes run to my daughters house, and sometimes she brings projects to my house, we love tote bags for the convenience of being able to fit any size or shaped craft supplies right in there.  You don't have to worry about small items falling out of those little holes you get in the corners of plastic bags.

Art Tote:  Speaking of projects, being an artist, I can carry a small piece of art, sketch book, pencil sharpener, and a great big pencil bag in one of my totes, great if I want to catch up on an art deadline if things are slow at the office or I'm vending at a fair.  I love to carry my art supplies in a tote with an inspiring design.

Pool Tote:  If we're going to the pool or the lake, I never want to forget sunscreen, hair ties, sunglasses, towel and a good paperback, cell phone.  The first thing I always reach for is my handy tote, everything I need is right there.  I always want a pretty tote for this purpose, gotta make a fashion statement.
This cool Vampire messenger bag is handmade by the talented Magical Monk Bags on Etsy I would love to take it to the pool, or anywhere for that matter, pack up the SPF 100 sunscreen, Vampire girls.
Diaper Tote:  Well, all my kids are grown, but I do have two sweet little grand kids, and if I'm taking them out for a short trip I might not want to lug the whole big luggage-like diaper bag.  But I can toss a few diapers and a pack of wipes in my pretty tote, even my purse fits in there, and I can just throw it over my shoulder to leave my hands free for toddler wrangling.

When picking out a new tote bag, there are several things to consider, above all what will your main uses be?  Pick a tote that could be used in many different ways.  We all love the give-away totes and the ones you can buy dirt cheap at the grocery store, I keep a stack of them in the trunk of my car, but sometimes you want an artsy designer tote that makes a statement about your personality.  A tote you can use for books or travel, you also want something that's durable with good stitching and quality fabric.  Another good quality for a reusable tote is that it be washable without shrinking or coming apart at the seams, and it should have good sturdy handles.

The totes that we currently offer at mickiemuellerstudio.etsy.com  and pictured here are made from white stain resistant canvas.  This fabric feels really nice to the touch, and has a tight heavy weave, a durable finish, and sturdy stitching. It features 2 strong black handles.  Most of the time you can just wipe it off with a cloth or sponge, but you can wash in the washing machine if needed, the ones I've used clean up really nicely.  They measure a generous 16.5 x 16.5 inches and have gussets on the sides to handle quite a bit of cargo.  The design is dye printed right in my studio and then hand pressed onto this handy tote bag.  The process that we use to transfer the design is not an iron on transfer that can come off, the dye is actually pushed into the weave of the fabric using a heat press.

No matter where you get your tote, it can be used in so many different ways and the right one can make a great statement too, this multi-use bag is a must have.
Priestess of Bast Tote bag from The Mickie Mueller Studio Etsy shop

What are your favorite uses for the fashionable flexible tote bag?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Night Magical Movie: The Dresden Files


Well, it's not really a movie, but I've been digging watching all the episodes of this magical 2007 TV series back to back while I work on art for the "new secret project."  Based upon the books by Jim Butcher, this series features Harry Dresden a private investigator who also happens to be a wizard.  I love the sign on his door, "Harry Dresden- Wizard."  This great series had a pretty short run, as good shows sometimes do, (Firefly is a good example of that) this series ran only a dozen episodes, and left me wanting more.
Her certainly has hung up the shingle

If you're in the windy city, you can look him up in the yellow pages, he's the only wizard listed.
Harry (Paul Blackthorn, kinda wizardly name too)  was named after Harry Houdini by his stage magician father and his mother who very talented in the ways of real magick.  His mother died when he was young, and he was raised by his father until he was 11. His father fell prey to Harry's Uncle who killed him with black magic in order to take on Harry's training as a Wizard any way he could.  Harry grew up, wiser and tougher, ending up working in Chicago both for private clients and as a special consultant for the police investigating "anything strange and unusual."  Incubus, body snatchers, and demons don't stand a chance!
I love this streetwise character, he always looks a bit grubby and unshaven, but his urban charm still shines through.  As he makes his way through the streets of Chicago, he is totally incognito, in the TV series Dresden could be anyone and his choice magical tools reflect that.  No magical robes for this wizard, a worn leather jacket is his garb.  His wand is a drumstick (ash wood, good choice) and his weapon of choice, his staff, is a hockey stick (probably ash too with birch and aspen) who doesn't love that?!  Dresden's accomplice is his mentor and friend Bob, who's full name is Hrothbert of Bainbridge, (played by Terrance Mann) who dies in 900 AD.  You guessed it, Bob is a ghost, who has been cursed to live in his beautifully decorated skull because he used black magic to bring his beloved Winnifred back to life when she was killed.  Bob is delightful for a cursed ghost, and helps Harry with his font of knowledge of all things occult.
Bob doing his cool writing glowy symbols in the air thing

Bobs home sweet home
Harry also has ties people who are in charge of keeping the peace (more or less) in both the mundane and magical worlds.  Lt. Murphy (Valerie Cruz) is the Chicago Police Officer who enlist Harry's help with cases that have supernatural elements.  There is a sexual tension there, that probably would have built into more had the series continued.  Morgan (Conrad Coates) is the Warden of the High Council for the Chicago area.  The High Council is the governing body of the wizard world, and Harry is a bit of a rebel, so there are no warm fuzzy feelings there.

One of the fun re-occurring characters is Bianca a femme fatale vampiress,  (is there any other kind?) played by Joanne Kelly who many will recognise as Myka from Warehouse 13.
Harry and Bianca relaxing, she doesn't drink...wine, but gets a taste anyway!
I think I'd like to pick up the books which I've heard are quite different from the series, but I think they would be a good read.   Apparently Harry Dresden's world also lives on as graphic novels and a role playing game.  If you have Netflix streaming, get the most out of their new higher prices (grrrrr, where's my hockey stick?) and check out The Dresden Files, it's loads of fun.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Ballad of Mickie VS the Deer

Once the hoofs and tread were flying, the wide eyed doe and the white knuckled driver had the same goal, not colliding!  Were we lucky or unlucky?  Read on...

Several Hours Earlier:

We had picked up Dans grandma Mar Mar and went our for dinner, we had a lovely time.  We ran over to Costco for gas and to do some shopping, Mar Mar had a blast buying giant vats of peanut butter and bricks of beef.  She keeps me laughing, and is really fun to hang out with.  We three decided that it was time for desert so I dazzled her with my GPS.  We call her Cal, after the computer with a young girls spirit in an episode of Dr. Who called "Silence in the Library".  I asked Cal where the nearest Dairy Queen was and we made our way over for hot fudge sundaes and Blizzards, what a decadent bunch we are!  After enjoying our treats, Mar Mar ordered a shake for Uncle Rick who remained back at the house and we chuckled while the obviously new girl struggled with the shake machine flipping ice cream off the beaters like a bad sit com.  She was very sweet, but clearly still learning the ropes.

We got on the road and as we neared the bridge on hwy 70 in St. Charles, traffic suddenly came to a standstill, and we were in the far left lane with only one exit to go before getting stuck at the bridge.  I managed to get over one nice person at a time and we waved our thanks and got off the highway.  We looked towards the bridge and saw flashing emergency lights everywhere right at the entrance of the bridge.  Dan said, "Mickie, I guess you're just unlucky."  I replied that no, not unlucky, very, very lucky indeed.  If not for stopping to pick up the extra shake on our way out, we could have been on the bridge for that accident!  That is the way I see things.   Feeling quite full of myself for my good luck, we made our way through the other highways and byways having plugged in Mar Mars home address into Cal and found our alternate route back to her house.

Oak Tree Print from Voice of the Trees deck, It might be my deers boyfriend! Click the pic to see it larger.

A Little Dark Road

Once I knew the way, I left Cal running anyway, and she lead me down a turn that I am familiar with but don't normally take.  By now it was 9:00 and dark, and on this little two lane road right next to a corn field, we were only 10 minutes from Mar Mars house.  Even at 45 miles an hour I spotted tiny frogs  hopping hear the side of the road, and I was hoping they weren't hopping under my tires.  I caught a large dark shadow moving quickly on the right side of the car and before I knew it, my headlights illuminated a tawny colored doe running quickly into the road right in front of me!  Without even thinking I swerved hard to the left and braked at the same time ending up halfway in the other lane.  Dan and Mar Mar both stunned hadn't seen the deer until after I took evasive maneuvers.  The frightened deer looked Mar Mar right in the eye and said, "Hey, I have the right of way!" which was probably correct, the doe being a pedestrian and all, even though most deer know very little about traffic laws.  We came so close to colliding that you couldn't have slipped a dime between my front quarter panel and that deer.   I fully expected to hear and feel a crash any moment, but it never came.  The deer dashed off into the dark field.  Once Dan and Mar Mar had breathed a sigh of relief, and my heart started again, I thanked my guardians and the deer for it's part, and we laughed all the way home about our near miss while I bragged unabashedly on my superior driving skills and reflexes.

When we got to Mar Mars house, Uncle Rick met us coming in and told Mar Mar, "The next time you go running around all hours of the night with your wild friends you better check in and let me know where you are!"  We all laughed, I'm sure he heard that many times when he was younger from her, and it gave him a chance to fire it back.  He loved his shake and we shared our tales of adventure on the road.

I told Mar Mar, when we take you out, we really want to show you a wild time!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Birthday Girl's New Tattoo

One of Chelseas artsy homecoming pictures I took yeeeears ago.

I spent yesterday hanging out with my girl Chelsea, today was her birthday.  She is a great girl, full of sunshine and fun, and also one tough cookie.  We went out to lunch and chatted laughed, and the radio played nothing but her favorite songs, how very cool.

One of the things that she did was to go get a Crohns Awareness tattoo.  Some of you might remember an article I wrote for the Llewellyn Magical Almanac years ago about Magical Body art, this is the daughter I mention in that article.   She has many beautiful tattoos now.  She's also a model for many of my pieces of art, and the cover girl for my book The Voice of the Trees Companion, out this September.
Voice of the Trees Companion

So what is Crohns Disease you ask?  Crohns Disease is a cronic inflammation of the intestines that can become quite serious, she was diagnosed  3 years ago (has it been three years?) and spent a week in the hospital, including her birthday.  Not a nice birthday present.   I remember the worry, the chair I slept in, the big can of baked beans her grandpa brought as a gag gift, the iPod from her grandma loaded with funny movies, Young Frankenstein and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  I remember the rubber glove balloons and sherbet that the nurses brought her, and especially I remember her unwavering spirit that kept her and I laughing through much of a very tough time. 
Chelsea modeled for this card for Voice of the Trees, it's about facing down your fears, she went into the hospital when I was working on this one.
She's planning on attending school soon to pursue a degree in cosmetology.  Right now she works as a manager at a fast food restaurant, and even on bad days, she is friendly and focused on her job, and Gods help any kid who comes in for their shift complaining about being tired or not feeling good because they partied to hard the night before.  "Oh, really, well I have Crohns Disease and feeling really bad today myself, and I'm still smiling and working, so knock it off and get on that grill!"  All said with her trademark enchanting smile and a flash of the eye.  She takes it all in stride.
Chelsea and I at a festival years ago, she's a great assistant.
So her tattoo?  It's a dark purple ribbon for Crohns awareness and text that reads, "I've got guts"  Yes, it really has a double meaning, that's her sense of humor, I love it. 


Happy Birthday Chelsea, you are a shining light when all other lights have gone out! 

Here is a link to the Crohns Awareness website, if you or anyone you love has it, share it with them, lots of good information.  It's an important cause for me, not just Chelsea, but my mom has it too, and I have IBS, so bad guts, good hearts!