Burgundy sunflower

Burgundy sunflower
Crescent Moon Designs Henna Art

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Time keeps on tickin'....

I recently read a blog post on TeeZeeTee about the Human Clock Project.

Remember when there was an installment artist who made a giant calender made up of people looking at each other?
This is by artist, Craig Griffen.
Well, he did a human clock a while back with photos of people holding up cards with the time on them. And now he is asking people to draw the time and mail him the postcards.

How could I resist such a challenge?  So I clicked on the link for the humanclock - mail clock and there is a computerized gizmo that gives you a time to draw (you can also click a link if you want to choose a different time for some reason.)  And once you're done drawing, you send it to the humanclock project.  It needs to be received by January 8, 2011, so time is running out.

This is my drawing.  I used henna on paper (naturally, as a henna artist), let it dry and sealed it with Polycrylic.  It smudged a little bit from being rehydrated with the sealant, but I'm pretty happy with it.  I chose the sunflower for my drawing because it is a kind of plant clock, following the path of the sun during the day.  And my assigned time was 3:38.  I signed it on the back.  And off it goes into the mailbox!  It's so cool being part of a large project!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Creative Every Day

I just joined the Creative Every Day Challenge by artist, Leah Piken Kolidas.

The challenge is to do something, anything, creative every day.  Pretty simple concept.  And actually, implementation is easy, too, since being creative is not just about writing or painting or making a work of ART.  It's about attitude and approach.  Yesterday I made a creative Thanksgiving dinner.  It was still within the parameters of a traditional turkey dinner, but due to my Mother's diet restrictions, I was challenged to make it gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, al-dente free.  So I used coconut milk whenever I usually used cream or condensed milk, and I used gluten-free bread for the stuffing.  And I made a gluten-free gingerbread cookie crust for the pumpkin pie -- which wasn't the best, but can be improved on next time.
Close-up of an Aeonium taken by N. Papousek

Today, we went to a native plant garden and I took a photos to serve as inspiration for silk paintings -- or just by themselves.
an agave taken by N. Papousek

Being creative every day is going to be a fun adventure!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I recently went for my 6-week post-surgery check-up and received the "All Clear" to drive again!  Whew.  I am eager to get back to my life again!  The PA said everything was looking good.
This is a photo of the x-ray of my hips.  Surgery done by Dr. Robert Powell.

The surgeon had told me that these replacements weren't the most beautiful surgery he's done, but because my hips were a bit irregular, he had to use parts of different replacement kits so that it all worked for my structure.

I think they're beautiful.  Titanium and blue chromium sockets.  There is no friction now between the head of the femur and the socket.  There is no more deep arthritis pain.  The human body is an amazing structure and medical science is a miracle.

I have no more hip pain.

Ok. I concede that I do have muscle pain, but considering how much the muscles were moved around during the surgery and that some were cut through and have to rebond, my amount of pain is minimal.  I feel so much more energetic now and ready to get back to my regularly scheduled life.  The difficult part is trying not to do too much too soon.  How do I know what is too much?  Obviously, a hike up Cowles Mountain would likely be too much.  But how about dancing at a party?  Hula hooping?  Doing basic exercise videos?  The doctor was vague and said it was better to err on the side of caution.

Well, I've never been one to err on the side of caution.  I won't start training for a marathon, but I am going to make sure that at least 1 mile of exercise is a part of each day and when the music is good, I will dance.

This is my vision of my new hips!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A mushroom is a mushroom is not just a mushroom

I like to cook.  I may not always create everything from scratch but I do enjoy jazzing up stuff.  Last night was Big Pasta Dinner Night (a revival of a tradition from my husband's bachelor days) and I took out a jar of sauce that I'd gotten on sale at Henry's and put it in the pot.  I tasted it and it NEEDED something.  So I added some garlic and zucchini and chopped bell peppers.  It still needed something.  I added pumpkin puree and it still needed something.  I added a carrot slurry that I mixed in the blender.  And it STILL needed.  That's when I had the bright idea of making it a mushroom sauce.  I added in some sliced buttom mushrooms, and then I remembered we had dried shiitaake mushrooms in the cupboard....and then I saw the tree ears.

Tree Ear fungus growing on a tree.
Tree Ears are found in Asian grocery stores with all the other dried fungus.  Once rehydrated in some warm water, they are tasty and nutritious and an indespensible ingredient in Chinese cooking.  They are not, however, common or even heard of in European cooking.  But I thought, a fungus is a fungus, why not add them to the sauce.

Button mushrooms have a meaty flavor and are delicious in sauce or on pizza (or even grilled by themselves).  Shiitaake mushrooms, once rehydrated, also have a rich meaty flavor.  Tree Ears (or Mu Er as they are called in Mandarin) have a rather chewy texture reminiscent of overcooked calimari.  I'd forgotten this quintessential characteristic of the tree ear.  It has been years since I used to them, and I think the last time I used them it was for Hot and Sour Soup which really needs that texture.

My dear husband was a bit taken aback when he saw black strings in the pasta sauce, but he tried them.  And he did not like them.  He is from New York City where they take Italian food very seriously.  Tree Ears are not a welcome addition into list of approved ingredients.

Sigh.  I didn't mind them, a fact which further highlighted in my DH's mind how much an infidel I am.... the tree ears are now strictly relegated to Chinese cuisine in our household. Maybe they would be good breaded and fried in olive oil and garlic....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To blog or not to blog....who and why

I realized fairly early on in this blog that I really have no clue what I'm doing, so I signed up for a 4-week blog course.  It's a self-paced online class designed by Alyson Stanfield (http://www.artbizblog.com/) and Cynthia Morris (http://www.originalimpulse.com/) and our first lesson is to identify whom we envision is reading our blog -- the target audience -- you!

I am writing for kindred souls.  Age is not a factor, but a curiosity and sense of wonder about the world are.  My ideal reader has traveled or longs to, loves to eat a variety of global cuisines, admires science and loves learning about how the forces in nature that shape our world and Universe.  He/She will like henna and may be a colleague.  I hope to generate engaging content so my readers will respond and interact.

Through blogging, I hope to gain clarity about my goals and methods.  I hope the writing process will not only crystallize thoughts but also generate new ideas, especially through discourse with my readers.  I am not an expert in anything, but I am enjoying the learning adventure and hope you, the reader, will enjoy briefly taking a ride with me.