Thursday, September 28, 2006

Life Sucks, But Being Cranky Is Good

Having a cold sucks.

Having a broken toe sucks, too.

Being 37 and having someone tell you that you have arthritis in both knees really sucks.

Trying to take care of a baby and a preschooler who both have colds while suffering through your own cold is major suckage, especially when you stub your broken toe while trying to take care of your arthritic knees.

Finding out that being cranky means you’re smart is kind of cool though.

Okay, that’s not exactly what this article says, but still, it goes to show that cynicism pays. Now please excuse me while I tend to my snuffling baby and my (re)broken toe.


Here’s the latest artwork. I sort of copied the pose from a book on drawing manga, but the details of the figure are all mine. I’m going to flesh this out over the next week or so, adding hair and costuming, then work out a background setting for the character. When it’s done, I think I’ll take it into Corel Photopaint and digitally paint it. Not sure what the final product will look like, but so far it looks good to me.

Standing Figure, WIP, 28 September 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Today’s “D” Word Is Disney

We’re going to Disney World, folks. Well, me and my family are, anyway. I don’t know what the heck you guys are doing.

Michael is neck deep in planning this vacation. We’ll be in the Magic Kingdom for 12 days from January to February. My parents will be there of course. My mom is ga-ga about spoiling the kids, and wants to come on this trip so she can spend all her life savings on mouse ears and princess junk. And there will be a lot of princess junk, let me tell you. Cassie’s obsession with the Disney Princesses grows worse by the day. She now has a beautiful handmade Snow White dress (courtesy of her Grandma-ma-ma) that far outstrips any store-bought costume that I’ve ever seen. Every afternoon when Cassie comes home from preschool, she slips into Snow White and parades around the house until dinner time. Then this past weekend, when her best friend Sean came over to play, she insisted on modeling it for him, and then insisted on wrestling him while she still had the dang thing on. Like I said earlier, she’s too girly to be a tomboy, too boisterous to be a true princess, but I’ll be durned if she don’t look the part when she goes flouncing past in that blue and yellow gown.

Ah, Disney Princesses. Cassie has informed her Grandma-ma-ma that she will also be making an Ariel costume, a Belle costume, and a Cinderella ball gown. My mother is now torn between elation at the chance to spoil her first grandchild and agony at having to churn out so many froo-froo dresses (they ain’t easy to make). I’m just sitting back, shaking my head. The homemade costumes were my idea. I saw it as a way to slow down the flood of gifts that kept pouring through our door every day. Keep Grandma-ma-ma busy and she won’t have so much time to shop, see? It’s working too }>;) Bwahahahahaha!

Cassie’s princess obsession has its roots in the Disney movies. We must own a hundred dvds that feature this or that doofus princess - Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, the Little Mermaid, Aladin, etc., etc. Of course, I find the princesses to be extremely annoying. Most of them are pretty useless as far as heroines go. Let’s see, Snow White can clean house, but is too stupid to know not to take gifts from strangers. She survives anyway though, because some moron prince thinks she’s pretty and he can’t help but kiss her. Same storyline for Sleeping Beauty too. Cinderella is a charitable girl, nice to small animals, but that’s not why she gets a happy ending. No, she ends up coasting on her pretty blonde looks. We know that Belle can read at least, and she’s willing to make the horrible sacrifice of living with someone ugly to save her dear Papa, so I have to give her points for being educated and non-judgmental. But while she does develop a loving relationship with the Beast, did she really do anything in that movie beyond show up and look pretty?

Let’s see, who else? There’s Jasmine, who refuses to marry snobby princes so she can have Tom Cruise look-a-like Aladin (hope he doesn’t jump on the couches). She does show a bit of spunk, but she’s more set dressing than a real character in the movie. Um, Pocahontas. Technically, not really a princess but a chieftain’s daughter. However, as far as Disney princesses go, I think she’s one of the better ones. She’s athletic, thinks for herself, and is willing to face death to prevent a war. Too bad Disney screwed up American history and geography with this movie. Hey, I live within spitting distance of the real Jamestown, folks. That waterfall you see Pocahontas dive into at the beginning of the movie? I’m still looking for it. Oh, she was also more like twelve when she first met John Smith (who was actually short and balding from what I understand, not a hunky blond Mel Gibson clone, complete with Lethal Weapon Mullet), and she ran around topless, because that was the traditional costume of the Powhatan Indians.

Then you’ve got Mulan. I like Mulan. I’m not familiar with the original story, so I’m not bothered if Disney really screwed it up. I just like the movie (and the sound track - that Donny Osmond dude can SING!). Mulan cuts her hair and dresses up as a man so she can take her father’s place in the emperor’s army and fight the Huns. She’s athletic, smart, quick-thinking, and doesn’t give up when the going gets tough. Even when people spit in her eye after finding out she’s just a girl, she still does the right thing and goes on to save everybody’s mangy behinds. She’s got to be the most ballsie of any of the Disney princess, and she gets her man not by being the prettiest thing out there, but by being courageous and making some hard decisions. She’s a great role model.

Unfortunately, I can’t get Cassie to watch Mulan very often, let alone imitate her.

What I have been able to get her to watch lately is Disney’s Tarzan. What a movie! This is probably the most underrated Disney movie in my opinion. The story is good, the animation and the characters are beautifully drawn. The Phil Collins soundtrack is bland, but it’s also completely ignorable and doesn’t interfere with the rest of the movie. As for the characters, Jane is a girl, but one with guts and a taste for adventure. And Tarzan? Hey, he’s a hunky chunk of man-flesh dressed in nothing but a loincloth, baby! If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you gotta love that.

So we’re watching a lot of Tarzan these days, which is a nice change from the Disney Princesses. Cassie gets to enjoy her funny movie (she loves the monkeys), and I get to ogle an animated hunk. Even Michael thinks the movie is good, and he promises me that someday real soon, he’ll pick up a loincloth and we can both go swinging through the jungle on a vine. Everybody’s happy and life is good.


In honor of Tarzan, I present my own sketch of a hunky chunk of man-flesh. No loincloth, but the naughty bits are discretely (sort of) covered up.

26 September 2006, Reclining figure

Sunday, September 24, 2006

How Do You Like Me Now?

Medusa Painting, 23 September 2006

Ta-daa! What do you think? I finished it yesterday morning while nursing Sam. Came out pretty good I think.

I’m so proud of myself for finishing this thing. I still had a lot of work left to do on it yesterday, and was feeling a little apathetic about it, but then I sat down and just got lost in the process of laying down color and painting, and when I looked up, it was more than an hour later and the painting was done. Oh, and my left breast was completely flat because Sam was nursing the entire time.

Anyway, I’ve finally finished my first digital painting and now I’m going to look at doing another one. This was so worth the effort. So much more fun that the 3D stuff I’ve been struggling with. The results seemed almost immediate, which never happens when I’m doing 3D. I will probably continue to do the 3D stuff, but digital painting is so much more rewarding. I posted this image to 3D Commune last night and have already had a really nice comment back on it. I’m verra, verra happy right now.

In light of the rest of yesterday’s events, this image only seems to highlight to me how much I don’t fit in with other moms my age (or any age for that matter). I took Cassie to a birthday party yesterday afternoon. One of her classmates from preschool turned three last week and his mother threw a very nice bash. They had a lovely house, with a lovely pool, very nice furniture, nice careers, nice cars. They travel to Europe a lot (the mom is French), they both work. The other moms all worked too, and all the kids there were from Cassie’s preschool class. I sort of fit in, but I sort of didn’t, and I’d have to say the same for Cassie. It wasn’t horrendously bad, just little things I noticed that made me realize how far into Mundania I had to travel to get to that party.

You see, I live an odd life. Or at least I like to think I do. I love my artwork and my writing, I love working in erotica and science fiction and horror. I love karate and other hard core forms of exercise. I love being weird and dressing like a pirate and listening to strange music and being conversant in the latest episode of Doctor Who. I love my weird, weird friends. I love being cynical. But these other moms that I met yesterday, they all seemed so... mundane. Safe. Placid, maybe. Not Stepford wives, but too conservative for my tastes. For instance, one mom was commenting about her son. He likes to refer to one girl in class as his “girlfriend,” and he calls one little boy in his class his “boyfriend.” And his mom said, “Well honey, that’s okay for now, but when you get older, that’s going to have to stop.” The homophobia was so subtle, yet so tangible, I cringed. I’ve got a lot of gay and lesbian friends. I’ve got a lot of friends who have traditional marriages and relationships. I’ve got a lot of friends in open marriages and I’ve got friends who live the BDSM lifestyle to the hilt. So that one mom’s remark was like a slap in the face to me.

Then there was the great breastfeeding debate, where the moms all compared how long they managed to breastfeed their kids before they finally gave it up. I didn’t venture to say how long I’d breastfed Cassie, but let’s just say I nursed my eldest longer than all the other moms nursed their kids combined. And I did it while writing the most torrid erotic stories, and I’m doing it now while creating even more torrid art (did you see my lovely picture above? I'm so proud of it!).

Things got even creepier as I listened to the moms talk about the preschool. These are all working moms as opposed to the moms from my previous mommies group, who were all stay-at-home moms. This group of moms has had their kids in preschool and/or daycare almost from day one, so the preschool is a big part of their lives. And they’re very, very serious about it. They all sat around talking about next week’s letter of the day (it’s D, just in case you’re wondering). Each mom discussed how they were prepping their kid with a word for class the next week, so that when the teacher sat down with the kids and asked them to list words that started with “D,” the children would be ready with an answer. This sort of bothered me, because the first week Cassie had to deal with the letter of the day, she couldn’t figure out a word. She just hasn’t made the connection yet between sounds and letters, although she can name most of the letters of the alphabet when she sees them and she can sing the alphabet song. Her teacher, Miss Dorothy, said Cassie was in tears because she couldn’t come up with a “B” word. She finally got some help from the other students and came out with “Barbie.” So I felt a little... I don’t know, threatened, maybe... to see all these other moms talking about “D” words and how carefully they were preparing their kids for next week. It’s like they were already thinking about how Ivy League schools wouldn’t take their kids fifteen years down the line because little Johnny or little Susie couldn’t figure out that “Dog” starts with “D”. It seemed all so competitive.

Of course, I fell for it. When I got home after the party, I told Michael all about the “D” word debate and he and I spent all evening coming up with “D” words for Cassie to use. Being us, the list was rather unusual. Don’t be surprised if I report next week that Cassie chose “disco,” “diphthong,” or “draconian” as her “D” word.

(Then again, she could go the brown-noser route and say “Dorothy,” her teacher’s name.)

What got me most, though, was watching Cassie play with the other kids. She was her usual outgoing, rambunctious self, jumping around, exploring, directing the imaginary play, mixing it up with the boys and their balloon swords and then singing lullabies to the dollies with the girls. She was too girly to be a tom boy, too energetic to be a princess. She was some alien creature, fun and free spirited, who just didn’t realize yet how different she was from the other kids.

I love the person Cass has become. I love that she can wear her Cinderella dress and play soccer at the same time. She’s a bit of a goof like her mom, coming up with crazy songs and rhymes and riddles, and she definitely has a mind of her own. And that scares me because I know where all that leads to. I was never popular in school. I had my friends, and I still have them, but I remember that while growing up people went out of their way to make me miserable because I was different. And that may be why I didn't really enjoy myself at the birthday party yesterday. I still remember all that, and I’m just waiting to see the reactions from people when they find out how truly different I am. And thus how truly different Cassie is too.

Anyway, I love my painting, which I feel is a true expression of me, and I loathe taking trips into Mundania where I have to listen to other moms coach their kids to be normal and perfect. My kids will not be normal or perfect. It just isn’t possible. They’ve got me for a mom, and we all know normal and perfect just isn’t me.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Perfect End To A Lovely Day

I had a lovely day Wednesday. Wednesday is Cassie’s day at home with me, and a day I don’t have to be at karate, so I’ve decided to make it an all day play date of sorts, where I just focus on the kids. This past Wednesday I took Cassie and Sam to the YMCA. Poor Sam had to stay in the nursery, but Cassie got to go to the pool with me and swim for almost an hour. Afterwards, we went to Chic-Fil-A for lunch with Cassie’s little friends and then hit the local playground for another hour of frolic and fun. Cassie had a great time, and we only had one melt-down the entire afternoon. Sam just sort of went along for the ride most of the day, but she did get to lie on a picnic blanket with me at the playground, and she seemed to enjoy that.

After all the running around, we headed home, where Cassie and Sam both ended up taking a three hour nap. I used that time to work on some story ideas and do some drawing. I felt very productive and was in a great mood by the time both kids woke up and Michael came home.

For dinner that evening, Michael grilled steaks and corn on the cob (YUM!). Afterwards, I sat with Cassie and Sam and watched a Disney movie that didn’t involve a princess (yeah!). Cassie went to bed fairly easily, and Sam was down shortly after with very little fuss. As I put on my pajamas, I told my husband I had had the perfect day.

Then I went and broke my damn toe.


See, what happened is this. I was all tucked in bed, snuggling with my husband, when I realized I had forgotten to do my physical therapy exercises for my knees. So I hopped out of bed. Sam’s bassinette is right next to my side of the bed, so I was being very careful not to trip over it as I walked toward a more open part of the room to stretch. I was so careful, in fact, that I failed to notice the iron bedpost on the other side of me and I slammed my left foot into it, thus breaking my little toe. The conversation between me and my husband in the twenty minutes following that event was rather interesting.

Me: *%&^#^$*!!! Oh &$%(^$&!

Michael: Sweetie? What happened?

Me: @#$@#%%^^#*&^!!! I broke my $%^*@#! toe!

Michael: Are you okay?

Me: No, *^%&@$#%! Do I sound okay? I broke my %^$&#$%#$% toe!

Michael: Do you want me to turn on the light and look at it?

Me: #$*%&$%#&!

Michael: Okay, do you want me to go get some ice then?

Me: %&$%*#@(^&%^$##%^!!!

Michael: Maybe you should lie on the bed and elevate your foot.

Me (collapsing on the bed and writhing in pain): *&^#$*&%^#$^!! I can’t believe I broke my *#&%#^*(@&^&# toe!!

And so on. Note that in my moment of distress, I naturally lapsed back into my native tongue - swearing.

So after a perfectly lovely day, I smashed up my little toe and now I’m hobbling around the house in constant pain. The toe in question is twice its normal size and very, very purple. I did go see a doctor, even though I didn’t want to, and listened to him as he explained that the only thing he could do is tape the mashed toe to the one next to it (which is something I already knew, and that was why I didn’t want to bother with going to see a doctor but my physical therapist insisted). I’m out of karate for the time being because I can barely walk. I can do my physical therapy stuff if I’m very careful not to knock my left foot around. And I can still take care of Sam. But most of the time I’m pretty much immobile with my foot elevated and packed in ice.

So there you go, a perfect example of the Cynical Woman truism. Just when you think everything is going great, something goes horribly, horribly wrong, and then Cynical Woman raises her ugly head and says...

Well, you know what she says.


Here’s the artwork from yesterday. My plan yesterday had been to continue working on drawing torsos and maybe start adding legs. Somehow I actually ended up completing one of the figures. I’m thrilled with the results. The pose is complicated, especially the angle of the head, yet I didn’t need to look at any reference guides to make it work. I was able to draw it straight from my mind with a bit of experimentation. Practice has definitely made all the difference in my artwork.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Origins Of Cynical Woman

I have a secret to confess. I am not the original Cynical Woman.

Are you shocked? Don’t be. Cynical Woman is a title I inherited/borrowed from a friend of mine way back when. Many, many, many moons ago, I was a young college student studying communications at Virginia Tech. I was also a cadet and an ROTC scholarship student, but those are miseries we’ll discuss in later entries. As I was saying, I was a young Hokie working hard on my degree and in desperate need of a social life. Being the geek/freak that I am, I joined VTSFC, the Virginia Tech Science Fiction Club, and proceeded to meet a wild assortment of characters, including a charming young woman named Joelle. I do not use the word charming lightly. Joelle originally haled from Atlanta, Georgia, and was as close to a Southern Belle as anyone I’ve ever met. She had style, grace, good manners and enough attitude to power all five computers currently running in this house, which is funny because computers and Joelle never really did get along.

So I met Joelle and we very quickly became good friends. She was working on her master’s degree in entomology, the study of bugs, and did cool things like make pets out of giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (while still maintaining that wonderful Southern Belle attitude). Unfortunately for Joelle, life was not always easy. I think she had more than her fair share of bumps trying to get through grad school. She was supporting herself and paying for all her courses, which often stretched her finances thin. She worked an assortment of jobs to make ends meet, and did them all very well, but usually only got paid crap for them. She rented a small room in an apartment that was quite frequently mistaken for a landfill. Her room was clean, but the rest of the place was a dump. And she had problems with friends who turned out to not be friends, thesis advisors who stabbed her in the back, etc., etc., etc. I won’t go into too many details because a lot of it is quite personal and much of it is not pleasant, but I will say that Joelle survived in spite of all the garbage that was dumped on her by her graduate department, minimum wage jobs, and assorted aggravating room mates and faux friends. In fact, she did quite well, although there was always something coming up to cause her trouble even after she graduated and moved on to bigger and better things.

Through much of this, I had the pleasure of being one of Joelle’s friends. I can remember several lunches, usually held as some fine but affordable dining establishment located somewhere in Blacksburg, where we’d sit and discuss our woes (I had my own problems with being a cadet and an ROTC scholarship student, but again, we’ll save that for later). What I remember best is that after detailing her latest crisis, Joelle always said the same thing. “You know Helen, just when I think things are going well and everything is wonderful, something really crappy happens, and then Cynical Woman raises her ugly head and says ‘I told you so!’”

And that’s where Cynical Woman came from. It wasn’t until a few years later that I myself started to use those same words. “And then Cynical Woman raises her ugly head...” By then, I was dealing with my own crappy minimum wage jobs, assorted aggravating room mates and faux friends and I so totally understood what Joelle meant. You think things are going okay and you start to feel happy and kind of nice and then life jumps up and bits you in the ass. Only the way Joelle said it sounded so much nicer. Cynical Woman. It just had a nice ring to it, so I adopted the title and developed the persona to go with it. And I have to admit, being Cynical Woman has served me pretty well these last few years, especially when my life has been at its worst. Anytime I’ve been hip deep in agony, I’ve always been surrounded by a bunch of Pollyannas who try to tell me that life is great, things are going to get better, God has a plan for me, etc., etc. Well I know better. Life isn’t always great. Many times it down right sucks, and I’d much rather be Cynical Woman and know that life is going to hand me crap than be all perky and obliviously happy and then get kicked in the teeth when things go bad. Some people think that’s a horrible attitude to have, but I say it’s realistic, and being realistic means I’m always prepared for when things go wrong.

So whatever happened to Joelle, you ask. Where is the original Cynical Woman now? She’s in Bangkok, Thailand, a place she went to pursue her dream job and live an exotic, adventurous life. Of course, they’ve just had a military coup over there and everything’s in a sort of uproar. As Cynical Woman would say, “It figures.”


Artwork from yesterday. More torsos. I'm getting better at it, I think.

Torso studies, 19 September 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bum Knees And Bifocals - Not-So-Gracefully Growing Old

Did I mention I’m going to physical therapy three times a week? A couple of years ago, four months after Cassie was born, my husband mistook me for a six-foot, seven-inch, 200 pound man during a self-defense drill in karate class and knocked me hard enough off my feet to blow my right knee out. Four months after that, someone else got a little intimidated during a sparring match and took out my other knee. The end result? Two bad knees that sound like Rice Krispies cereal every time I go up and down the stairs. Snap! Crackle! Pop!

My knees got progressively worse during my last pregnancy, thanks to relaxin and all those other fun pregnacy hormones. The crunchy sound I was making going up and down the stairs got so bad that it creeped out one of my best friends (who just happens to be an emergency room nurse and so is not easily creeped out). Since I’d still like to be able to walk when I hit fifty, I decided to see an orthopedist who sent me to a physical therapist who told me that my knee caps are tracking to the outside of each leg and that if I don’t correct it now, my knees will eventually migrate to the back of my thighs, causing me to walk like a bird with my legs bent backwards for the rest of my life.


So in addition to all the other stuff I’ve got to do, I’m now going to physical therapy three times a week to fix my knees. Actually, the therapist says the problem is easily correctible if I keep up with all my therapy appointments and do the at-home exercises. I can make it to all the appointments. I’m determined to do that. But remembering to do the exercises at home on top of everything else is a little challenging. I’m trying though. I’ve got to stretch my outer thigh muscles while strengthening the inner ones. This is something I’ll probably have to work on for the rest of my life, seeing how weak and unstable both knees are, but at least it won’t take surgery to correct.

The biggest problem with the therapy is I have to slow down on my exercise and karate. It’s partly because the therapist doesn’t want me to overexert myself until my knees are stronger, but it’s also due to the fact that I’m in her office so frequently that I don’t have any time left to exercise during the week. I hate that. I just got my schedule set up so I could start practicing karate again and go to the gym on a regular basis and now I’ve got to spend that time at the therapist’s office instead. I know, physical therapy is exercise, but it’s exercise that is only concentrated on one part of my body - my knees. The rest of me needs a workout too, you know.

Of course, if I fix my knees, I can go back to having wild sex. I’m not kidding about this one. The last time Michael and I had sex, I just about dislocated both knee caps. And we weren’t doing anything all that kinky, just trying out a perfectly normal position that put a little too much pressure on my knees. I miss my sex life. I want my knees back.

Strong knees will let me get back to sparring (not my favorite activity, but I like being able to brag to weenies who are too scared to step into a sparring ring), it will let me get back to kata, kobudo, running, weight lifting, and sex. All those fun hard core activities that I love that make me feel young. Bum knees make me feel old. I hate feeling old.

Being told I will probably need bifocals by next year also made me feel old. That came up during my last eye appointment. What the hell? I just had a baby. I’m a new mom. Why is my body falling apart now? Oh, wait. I’m thirty-seven, going on thirty-eight. Forty is just around the corner. The warranty has apparently run out on my hot sexy bod. Oh well.

I will not grow old gracefully. I will fight it tooth and nail, kicking and screaming all the way. If nothing else, the resulting temper tantrum should make me look like a three-year-old, which is much younger than a thirty-seven-year-old, and since the goal is to look young(er), I think I can be happy with that.


Here is the artwork from yesterday. I’m going to work on figures for a while. I’ve been drawing heads and faces for so long, they’re easy. Now I need to be able to do the same with bodies. I’m having a hard time figuring out how to quickly sketch out a human figure though. None of the books I’ve got do a good job showing how to go from basic shapes to a completed figure. It’s almost like they’re leaving out a key step that I can't identify. Very, very annoying.

Figure sketches, 18 September 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

Preschool And Guilt

Sam is still congested, but doing better. She took two very long naps yesterday, so I managed to get some work done, even though I was completely fried after staying up with her all night.

Being fried isn’t the worst of my problems though. Cassie is headed off to preschool again today, and once more we are upping her hours there. I had initially envisioned sending my baby only three half-days a week, keeping her home with me the rest of the time. I figured three half-days would be plenty. She’d get a few hours to play with other kids and I’d get a short break where I could do a little work and spend time with just Sam.

No one could have predicted how much Cassie would love preschool.

The first time I tried to bring her home in the middle of the day, she went into hysterics. All the other kids were getting ready to lie down for their nap. Cassie wanted to lie down too. She kept sobbing and trying to crawl onto a mat and the teacher kept leading her back to a chair to wait for me. When I finally showed up, Cassie had snot running out of her nose and her face was all blotchy and swollen from crying. Her teachers had never seen anything like it.

Cassie cried all the way to the play date I had scheduled for the afternoon. She lighted up a little once we got there, but not much. So when we got home, I talked to Michael about extending her hours to two full days and one half day. Cassie could stay and take her nap on Mondays and Fridays and we could still do the play date on Wednesdays. The extra hours only cost us a few extra bucks.

The next Friday, Cassie stayed all day and was delighted. Same with Monday. Then Wednesday came along and once again I showed up at noon to find her sobbing wretchedly because she couldn’t lie down on a mat like the other kids and take a nap. It took me twenty minutes to calm her down, which really ate into her play date time. And then the play date only ended up lasting 45 minutes. Not long enough to justify the sturm und drang of Cassie’s crying jags.

So after debating it with Michael this past weekend, we are once again increasing the amount of time Cassie will spend at preschool. Now instead of two and a half days a week, she’ll spend four full days a week - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. She doesn’t get upset about the days she doesn’t go, just the days she leaves early, so we’ll still make it to her Wednesday play date, but she won’t have to leave early any particular day to do that. I get extra work time and more time to focus on Sam, which is good. Four full days cost more than we had expected to pay, but if won’t break the bank. Yep, everything is copasetic.
Except that I feel guilty as hell about sending my darling child off to preschool so many days a week.

I felt the same way the first time Michael took Cassie for an entire day so I could have a day to myself. She wasn’t even a year old yet, and I felt absolutely sick watching Michael drive off with her while I stayed home. The thing is, I’ve been the primary care giver for Cassie ever since the day she was born. 24/7, I have been on call to feed, bathe, dress, entertain and teach Cassandra Jane. I hate the idea that someone else is now taking over those duties and spending more time with her than I do during the day. I hate it just about as much as I hate the fact that I can’t give her all my attention the way I used to before Sam came along. Just like I hate the fact that I haven’t been able to give Sam any of my undivided attention since the day we left the hospital because her sister tends to demand it all.

I know Cassie is happy at her preschool. I know she’s going to be just fine and that she’s just dying to go there every morning when she wakes up and she hates to leave every time I come get her. I know that sending her to preschool lets her interact with other kids her age, learn to do new things, and otherwise provides experiences I can’t give her right now. And I know that we still have Wednesdays, when I can easily devote myself to being her full-on mommy for an entire day, complete with trips to the library, the playground, and Chic-Fil-A.

But I can’t help wondering if maybe I’ve ditched my responsibilities to Cassie by sending her off to school for so many hours each week. I’m her mommy, damn it. I’m supposed to do everything for her for the rest of my life. Even if it isn’t possible, I’m at least supposed to try.


Here’s today’s artwork. Having a sick baby on my hands made it hard to sit down and draw. I almost didn’t do anything yesterday, but I sat down right before going to bed and knocked out this quick head sketch. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s still pretty good and it only took ten minutes. My goal is to be able to draw full figures just as well as heads by the end of the year.

Head sketch, 17 September 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mired In Mucus And Mundania

Sam has a cold. She’s very congested, which makes it hard for her to nurse. I keep taking her into the shower to steam out her sinuses. Even so, we were up all night last night, dealing with the hacking, coughing, snuffling and oozing. She’s nursing right now but still having problems breathing while doing it. I’m hoping she takes a nap this morning to make up for her lack of sleep last night.

Meanwhile, I’m slumming around in the baggiest t-shirt I own. The only think baggier is my eyes. After all the ranting I did last time about wanting to jumpstart my life and follow my wildest dreams, it seems I’m pretty much stuck in mundane life right now, wiping snotty noses and praying for a few free moments to take a bath so I can wash the smell of spit-up out of my hair.

Sam is struggling too much to let me type, so I’m going to quit for now. Maybe I’ll get some work done later today. Probably not, though.

Who Do Voo Doo? September 16, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Let’s Talk About Sex Some More - Is It Time For A Career Makeover?

I’m slowly but surely wrapping up work on the dreaded novel synopsis. I plan to have the completed submission package out the door by next week. Thus knowing that that particular project is almost complete, I find myself looking around for what I want to work on next.

This is the part of my work that I hate - figuring out what to do next. I’ve got a ton of ideas for stories and projects, and I’m thinking I may just spend a week or so writing them all down, fleshing out story lines and seeing where each one heads. If something strikes me as particularly interesting, then I’ll have my next project. If not, I’ll have to brain storm (i.e. bang my head against the desk) for a while until I find something that really lights my fire.

So what does any of this have to do with sex, you ask? Everything. All the writing I do, all the project ideas I currently have, revolve around sex. Which leads me to a question that’s been plaguing me for a while now. What do I really want to do with my work?

Remember James Tiptree, Jr.? The brilliant woman who couldn’t figure out what she wanted to do? She could have been so much more, but she never reached her full potential because she just couldn’t focus on any one thing. I’ve been dealing with that same problem for years now. What do I want to do, who do I want to be? What do I want to focus on?

I think it’s pretty clear what I should be doing. I just haven’t taken the steps to do it. Two years ago, I found my niche in erotica. I discovered I enjoy writing it and reading it, and I think that eventually (when I get good enough) I’m going to be drawing it as well. The story ideas come easily to me, and they’re not just stroke stories, but tales with plot and setting and characterization and (gasp!) moral and all that other serious writerly stuff. Stories that I’m damned proud of, as a matter of fact. But as of this writing, I have yet to put together a writer’s webpage promoting what I do. It’s like I haven’t decided yet to be a professional erotica writer, in spite of the fact that I’m getting ready to send out my 82,000 word novel to a publisher again.

The same thing seems to be happening with the artwork too. I dabbled a bit in erotic graphics. I really wanted to do a series of sexually explicit images, but never quite got around to it. It’s like I was dabbling with erotica, but never taking myself seriously. I kept trying to focus on “real” work instead, graphics that dealt with non-erotic subjects that ought to have been artistically stunning, but never got done because I had no interest in doing them.

Why the hell does this happen, I wonder. Why do I waste my time on projects that leave me cold and ignore what I crave to do? Why have I not committed myself to being a full on erotica writer and artist?

Maybe it’s because I find myself caught between wanting to be the Good Mommy and wanting to be the Queen of Porn, a dichotomy that has really screwed up my ideas of who I am. I rant about how much I hate wearing the boring Standard Mommy Uniform when what I really want to do is go back to my freaky days as a goth-artist-vamp chick. Yet somehow I still find myself mulling over what’s appropriate to wear to Cassie’s next play date (a concern my best friend notes is rather ridiculous, since the play dates are almost always with people who know me and know what I do). It’s becoming a real identity crisis, and I’m reaching the point where I really need to decide who I truly am. The freaky goth chick would not hesitate to follow her true calling, I know. But every time I get ready to do just that, to cast aside all inhibitions and jump down the rabbit hole into the world of erotica, I hesitate. I can’t do it, I tell myself. I’m a mom, and with that role come certain expectations about who I must be and what I must do. I must be clean and wholesome, bake cookies and drive a mini-van. I must dress conservatively to blend in with my hum-drum surroundings. I must chat politely with the other mommies at the playground and not scare them by releasing my inner wild child into their mundane midst. I must fit in and become one with the herd.

You know what this is, of course. It’s stereotyping, and I’m expected to conform. Not by others, though, but by myself. Why the hell am I doing this to me? I hate stereotyping. I hate conforming. My inner goth pirate freak is just screaming at me because I’ve been suffocating her for the last three years beneath the whole Mom and Apple Pie crap. “Cut that shit out!” I hear her rage, “And let me finally come out to play!”

Should I do it? Do I dare? What would happen if I devoted myself whole-heartedly to erotica? What would be the result if I let all my creative efforts be driven by wild sexual impulse? Would it be a bad way to spend my life, or would I finally fulfill some of those lifelong dreams I’ve had of becoming a successful writer and artist? Picasso did it. Salvador Dali did it. Susie Bright does it to this day. She became an icon in the world of erotic writing, and so have many others that I’ve come across in the past three years. Am I really going to settle for doing anything less than what these others have done? Am I really going to spend the rest of my life as a self-censoring wuss who never followed her wildest, most erotic dreams?

No. Not this chick. Hide your sons and daughters, folks. The queen of porn is on her way.


Here's one of the hobgoblins living under my bed. I'll bet he lives an interesting life...

Hobgoblin, digital painting, 14 September 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Very Quiet Day

It’s 7:26 AM, September 11th, and Michael is trying his best to get Cassie out the door. Right now she’s fighting him tooth and nail. Michael’s a patient man, but Cassie is really pushing it this morning. They’ve got to head out for preschool in a few minutes, and she’s refusing to stand up so he can brush her teeth. The whole process takes only a few moments, and if Cass would just stop arguing, she’d be done by now. Meanwhile, Sam refuses to settle down and nurse. She keeps popping on and off the nipple, every now and then stopping to grin at me like she’s discovered some wildly hilarious new game. It’s infuriating and it makes it almost impossible for me to type.

Thus goes our mundane life on the morning of the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. I suppose I can’t not take time today to think about what happened five years ago. It’s like asking someone from my parents’ generation, “Do you remember where you were when JFK was shot?” Only now we ask, “Do you remember where you were when the World Trade Center was hit?”

I remember. I was sitting on my bed, not ten feet from where I am right now, with a drawing board in my lap, working on a colored pencil sketch that would end up taking me over a year and a half to complete. It was the last real piece of artwork I would ever attempt for a while. We used to keep a small TV in the bedroom back then, but I didn’t have it turned on. It was too peaceful and quiet that morning for me to listen to a bunch of yakkin’ on the tube. So when the phone rang, I was caught completely off-guard.

“Oh my god! Oh my god, are you okay?! Is Michael okay?!”

It was my sister, shrieking hysterically. I had no idea what was going on, and couldn’t get her to calm down.

“Of course I’m okay. Carolyn, what are you talking about?”

“They said there’s another plane! It’s headed your way, for Langley! Are you okay?”

“Plane? What plane? What’s going on?”

“Somebody crashed a plane into the World Trade Center! It’s on fire!”

I finally turned on the TV and saw it. Maybe an hour earlier that morning, the first plane had hit one of the towers. The second went shortly after that. Cocooned in my quiet little world, with no TV or radio on, I had missed it. My sister Carolyn was right in the middle of it. She lived in New Jersey and commuted to New York each day for work, so she was only a few blocks away when it happened. She didn’t know where many of her friends were (one worked in a building right next to the WTC). She’d heard a rumor that more planes had been hijacked and were being flown to other targets, including one on its way to Langley Air Force Base, only five minutes from where Michael and I lived. She was afraid we’d been killed.

I spent the rest of the day sitting by the phone, watching the news. Carolyn was stuck in New York. My dad was home in Arkansas. My mom was off somewhere in Michigan, I think, on a trip with friends. Nobody could get a hold of anyone else but me, so I became call central, keeping tabs on where the family was. I relayed messages back and forth, assured people that the rest of the family was fine, and sat in stunned silence when I wasn’t on the phone.

The next day, I called the Army Reserves to remind them I was still available for duty. I think that was the scariest damned phone call I’ve ever made. I did not want to go on active duty. I had been on inactive status the previous two years and was planning on getting out. But I was a captain in the Reserves, and I had an obligation, so I called and said I was still in and would go wherever they needed me. It was a few months before they called me back and asked me to anywhere, though. When they finally did contact me, the only place they wanted me to go was Germany for a three-week exercise. Apparently the Army was short on bodies to run this particular shin-dig. Most of the active duty units that normally participated were all in Afghanistan.

That was the only place I ever went for the Army after September 11th. I was supposed to go to Korea later that summer to fill in a spot at another exercise, but I was pregnant with Cassie by then and so sick all the time that I could barely stand up. So I called my Reserves contact and asked to sit that one out. Then the same day I would have arrived in Seoul, I ended up in the emergency room with a torqued ovary. My obstetrician had to operate on me while I was four months pregnant to put that puppy back in its place.

I left the Army Reserves not long after that. Between the scare with the ovary and other problems that cropped up during my pregnancy, I realized there was no way in hell I ever wanted to be separated from my child. I resigned my commission, wondering if I was a coward for getting out when I knew so many other women with children were going to war. Some days I still wonder.

I live a nice life, all bitching and moaning aside. I have two happy, healthy children and a husband who loves me. I have a nice house and plenty of nice things to go with it. I enjoy my work and my biggest worry is finding enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want to do. In many ways, five years after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, I’m still cocooned in my quiet little world. I wonder how long that might last.


Some silly artwork on a serious day. I drew these last night, just to goof off for a bit. The little witch reminds me of Cass.

Ugly toons, drawn 10 September 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Good Days and Bad Days - Juggling Family, Work, Guilt & Frustration

I’m tired and pissed off. What’s the problem now, you ask? Bone-headed people who seem to think I spend all day sitting around the house with my thumb up my ass because I’m a stay-at-home mom and I don’t have anything important to do with my time.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I am obsessed with time and schedules. I do my damnedest to squeeze the most out of every day, trying to fit in time for family, work, exercise and housecleaning during the 18 hours that I’m awake. It’s not easy. In fact, after running the numbers yet again the other night, I have to admit it’s damned near impossible. I can only get up so early (4:45 AM right now) and I can only stay up so late (some nights I’m not in bed until 11:30 PM). In between waking up and going to bed, I feel like I’m running a marathon while juggling chain saws and bowling balls all day long. And leaping over hurdles. Let’s not forget the hurdles, because they always trip me up.

Somehow, I have to get Sam’s nursing and nap schedule to jive with the YMCA nursery schedule (8:30 AM - 1:00 PM, Mon-Fri), my daytime karate class (11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, Tues & Thurs), Cassie’s preschool schedule (pick up at 4:30 PM, Mon & Fri; pick up at noon, Weds), and Cassie’s weekly play date (noon - 1:30 PM, Weds). In addition to this, there are certain things I want to make sure happen. I want the entire family to sit down to dinner as often as possible during the week (conflicts with Michael’s evening karate classes). I want to work at least three hours a day (conflicts with naps, nursing, and my daytime karate classes). I want time to play with Cassie and Sam, together and individually (which conflicts with damn near everything; besides, why would I want to do that? They’re only my kids, for crying out loud). And I’d like to do stupid things like go to the bathroom and eat a meal at least once or twice a day (frikkin’ impossible to find time for things like that!).

I can almost do it. I can almost get everything fit into the perfect schedule so that I can accomplish it all, but there are always one or two things that just won’t line up no matter how hard I try. I spent so much time this weekend going over my schedule (done in a multi-page Excel spreadsheet), playing with options, trying to make things work, that I thought I had time tables coming out my ass. I think I may finally have a schedule I can live with. It’s not perfect - I’d love to have a few more work hours in there, and I always need more time to spend with my family - but it’s doable as long as I’m willing to continue getting up very early and force myself to stick to the schedule.

So you can imagine how angry I was when someone heard about my little schedule and laughed at it. This individual (who shall remain nameless, unless you think Jack Ass is a good name) quite frankly doesn’t believe I’ve got any reason to need a schedule. Yeah, yeah, he knows I work, but it’s not real work like what other people do. As he put it, it’s not like I have a JOB to go to, or an EMPLOYER who’s expecting me to clock in at a particular time. My time is flexible because I work from home so I can just plop right down and work whenever I want. So I really don’t have anything important to do, do I? Noooooo, I’ve nothing to do but sit around the house with my thumb up my ass.

It pisses me off that this individual doesn’t have any respect for what I’m doing, and that he doesn’t understand that I do have a schedule, a very tight and overloaded one that I’m struggle to keep up with on a daily basis. Right now, I’m doing my best to be a good mom and wife, but still satisfy that part of me that needs to be a writer and an artist. It’s hard, but if I don’t work, the consequences are ugly. I get depressed. I resent my husband and kids. I hate myself and the world around me. I’d rather be overloaded and dead tired than ugly and resentful.

I want to spend time with my family and take care of my kids. I want to work. And you know what? I’d like some respect, just a little, for the effort I’m putting out to make all this happen. Call me crazy or even stupid, but that’s what I want, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. According to my schedule, it’s time to stick my thumb up my ass again.


Before I leave, here’s the artwork for today’s entry. This is a piece I started over two years ago and then set aside. Every now and then I pull it out and do a little more work on it, but mostly it’s just been gathering dust. Hopefully no longer, though. I’ve finally got this piece transferred onto a clean sheet of drawing paper and I’m ready to work up a color scheme for it. That means that you’ll be seeing this over and over again too for a while. Hope you like it.

Art Nouveau Woman And Jewels - Work In Progress, 8 September 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

So How Did It Go? Cassie’s First Day Of Preschool

Yesterday turned out to be an interesting day. After dropping Cassie off for her first day of preschool, Michael took off for work and I stayed home with Sam. For the first time in a loooooong while, I only had one child to take care. One easy-going, fuss-free, sleepy baby who’s sole demand on me was to nurse once between the hours of 8 and 11:30 AM. The rest of the time, she was sound asleep. You have no idea how stress free that made my morning.

I couldn’t believe the stuff I got done yesterday while Cassie was in school. I finished the morning chores in under twenty minutes. I took Sam out for a half-hour walk. I solved a technical problem I’d been having, trying to convert one of my animated cartoons to an AVI file (no small feat to fix that either). I did some research for a few other animation projects I want to do. I even got to sit quietly and enjoy of a decent cup of coffee. Amazing.

Then at 11:30 I headed out to pick up Cassie. What a surprise I got when I arrived. The administrator told me Cassie had had a wonderful morning, but she was now in her classroom doing something no child had ever done in the entire forty-year history of the school.

She was throwing a fit because they wouldn’t let her lie down and take a nap.

Nap time at the preschool starts at noon. Cassie is only signed up for half days, which means I have to pick her up before noon; therefore, no nap for her. She was furious about this. When I walked into her classroom, all the other little tots were laid out on their mats, tucked up in their blankies, watching my child sob hysterically because she couldn’t curl up on a mat too. You had to see it to believe it.

As I tried to calm my screaming demon spawn, I had a talk with the administrator. It’s only a few dollars difference between the full day and the half day price, and Cassie wants so badly to stay for nap time. How can I say no to that? So starting tomorrow, Cassie will be going to preschool for full days on Monday and Friday, and a half day on Wednesday. We can’t do full days on Wednesday because that’s when the playgroup meets, and Cassie would never get to see her best friends (and I wouldn't get to see MY best friends) if she didn’t go to the playgroup. I think that arrangement will satisfy Cassie. Of course, it means I’ll be forced to spend two full days a week taking care of only one child.

However shall I survive?

Here's the artwork for today. I know, I know, it's the Swan Prince drawing again. This version is the final pencil artwork, traced from the sketch I completed two days ago. I made some changes the the wing, one of the legs, and the background. Now that I've got it traced, I'll transfer it to some nice paper and look at inking it. Don't know exactly when that will get done, but it will probably take a couple of weeks. Meantime, I've got the gothic cartoon still to work on and another pencil drawing to finish transfering so I can start work on coloring that. So that's three drawing projects on the board right now. Astonishing when you consider that one month ago, I wasn't drawing at all.

The Swan Prince, Work In Progress, 7 September 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cassie’s First Day Of Preschool

Man, I thought this morning would never get here. It’s 7 AM, and I am up and dressed, Cassie is up and dressed, Michael is up and dressed, and Sam is at least up and bathed. She’s nursing right now, but will be dressed as soon as she’s done. Yes, the entire Madden clan is up and moving this morning, because...


Cassie woke up half an hour ago, all tousle-haired and sleep-muddled, and started firing off vaguely coherent questions about today. “Mommy, mommy! Is it preschool today? Is it September yet? Do I go to school now?”

Oh yes sweetie, today is the day. My baby’s all grown up and going to preschool! (Sniff!)

Of course, the entire family is going to see her off on her first day. We leave in half an hour. Once Cassie has been placed in the capable hands of her teacher, Michael will head off to work and I’ll go home with Sam. What will I do with only one child to look after, hmmm? I’m thinking Sam will go down for a nap and then I’ll have the chance to exercise and work on some Flash animation. Ooooooh, exercise and work. What a wonderful way to spend my free time ;)

This won’t be a huge change for me. Cassie is only going to preschool for half days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’m not ready yet to send her off all day long, and half days on Tuesday and Thursday wouldn’t work with our schedule. But for Cassie, this is gonna be big. She’ll finally get to spend time carousing with other kids and doing exciting fun stuff rather than sitting around the house all day while Mommy breastfeeds and changes poopie diapers. Her whole world is about to expand, and you better believe she’s psyched about that.

I’m psyched too, come to think of it. And why not? I’ve got plenty of story ideas to work on, lots of artwork in progress, a fat happy baby to cuddle, an excited preschooler to cheer on, and a studly computer geek husband who loves me enough to put up with my moods. Life is good, and today nobody can tell me otherwise.

Here’s an updated version of the Medusa painting I’m working on. I discovered how to get the brushes in Corel Photopaint to blend more like real oil paints. The results have been very satisfying.

Medusa, Work In Progress - 6 September 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Moody Mommy Looks For Her Next Writing Project

I’m in a mood today, as my own mother would say, a cranky, downer of a mood. I just sent out the latest draft of the dreaded novel synopsis to my writers’ group and am waiting to get back their comments so I can finally polish this puppy off. That’s a good thing. It means I’m very close to getting my novel out the door to a publisher, and therefore that’s not what’s making me feel so cranky. No, my problem is now that the synopsis is almost finished, I don’t know what to work on next.

Blah. I have plenty of writing projects I could pick from, I suppose, but none of them are striking a chord with me at the moment. I spent my writing hour this morning banging out some ideas for future projects, but I can’t do anything else beyond record them at this point. They’re ideas for comic books, you see, so I still have to get my drawing skills up to snuff before I can move past the idea stage.

What to do, what to do? Do I want to pick up another novel and start that? Maybe a short story instead? I could pull out one of my old stories and polish it off. Maybe I’ll do that. Maybe. Of course, I would like to write something fresh after having just spent weeks redoing the synopsis.

Blah and blah again. I’m free falling without a project to work on, and I hate that. I’ll have to mull it over for a while today and then pick something before I go to bed tonight so I don’t have two cranky days in a row. I just hate being at loose ends.

Here’s the artwork from yesterday. I did some more work on the Swan Prince Sketch. I still need to fix some spots on this one. It’s looking so nice I want it to be perfect. Once it’s done, I’ll transfer it to a clean sheet of paper and try inking it, then scan it in again and color it on the computer.

Swan Prince, Work In Progress, 4 September 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, Dead At 44

The news was a bit of a shock this morning. Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died from a sting ray barb to the heart yesterday while filming a documentary off the Great Barrier Reef.

I have to admit, this makes me more than a little sad. I’ve always admired this guy. He seemed like such a goof, but he really lived an amazing life. He was a man who knew what he wanted to do and he went out and did it. How many of us can say that?

It’s tragic that he died so young. Some might say he had it coming because of all the dangerous things he did - catching crocodiles, working with poisonous snakes, etc. But keep in mind anyone could die at any time. Is it really so bad that he died doing what he loved doing best? True, he left behind a wife and two small children, but this man could just as easily been hit by a bus yesterday as he could have been killed by a sting ray barb.

Everybody dies, but not everybody truly lives. I can’t remember who said that, but I do think Steve Irwin is one of the folks who grabbed life by the balls and lived it to its fullest. I’m sorry for his wife and kids, but I’m certain they have no regrets for him, just as I’m certain they’ll carry on by living their lives with the same kind of gusto Steve had. I wish we could all live our lives that way.

Here’s some artwork from this weekend. It’s another work in progress, and I’ll post the finished piece when it’s done. The character is inspired by a fairy tale about seven brothers who were transformed into swans by their wicked step-mother. Their sister changed them back by weaving each brother a coat out of nettles, but the coat for the youngest lacked a sleeve, so he was left with one wing in place of an arm.

The Swan Prince, WIP - 03 Sep 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

Let’s Talk About Sex And Motherhood Part II - Does Mommy Need A Makeover?

One of the things that makes me feel too much of a mom and not enough of sexy me these days is my wardrobe. I don’t know why, but somehow I ended up with a closet full of the Standard Mommy Uniforms - i.e. plain tee shirts and yoga pants (with the occasional pair of capris thrown in for good measure). I used to have all sorts of cool clothes - funky black tee shirts, velvet tops, slinky form fitting dresses, mini-skirts, black leather boots, etc. Anything that showed off my figure and my personality. Most of my wardrobe is still pretty form fitting (and miracle of miracles, I am back to my pre-pregnancy figure), but it’s all plain solid colors. It’s just so damned boring!

I guess I did it to myself. Maybe I didn’t want to wear all my nice stuff when it was only going to be covered in poop and spit up. Maybe I was too tired to get dressed up. Maybe I just wanted to make it easy to get dressed in the mornings by wearing mix and match clothing that didn’t require any thought. Maybe (and I can’t believe I’d admit this), maybe I just wanted my outfits to be appropriate for play dates with mundane moms. It’s hard to fit in with the other mommies when your favorite top screams “Anarchist!” and your jewelry is all little metal skulls and such. Yes, I used to be a punk/goth/sci-fi lovin’ amazon babe. Freak. Weirdo. Whatever. Look, you’re reading the blog of a woman who writes erotica and loves to draw dirty pictures. What did you expect?

I tell you what I expected. I expected to keep my weirdness and my cool factor even after having kids. I expected to be sexy and out of this world exotic no matter how many diapers I had to change. I did not expect to blend in with the beige carpeting at the pediatrician’s office.

I want my freaky clothes back. I want the goth tee shirts and the punk jewelry and the lipstick so dark it almost looks black. I want to be the scary mommy who reminds you of Morticia Adams when she shows up at play dates toting a baby dressed in a Roman Dirge onesie and a preschooler who reminds you of a character from “Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends.” I want to spike my hair, wear leather mini-skirts and make people’s jaws drop when I walk by in thigh-high black boots.

I want my frikkin’ wardrobe back and the personality that went with it. Then I’d feel sexy, damn it. Kick ass sexy.

Speaking of stuff both gothic and freaky, here’s the art work from yesterday. It’s a small piece of a gothic horror cartoon I’ve started work on, done strictly in my own style. As I work on it, I’ll scan in other bits and pieces to show off.

Gothic horror cartoon, detail - 31 August 2006