Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Vote for Me is a Vote for…Well, uh, Me. Yeah.

Kids, today I’m here to talk to you about something very serious.

Winning.

Now, I’m not talking about that crazy Charlie Sheen tiger blood coke-fueled erratic behavior type of winning. Nope. I’m talking about my own special brand of crazy Coke (and other caffeinated beverage)-fueled erratic behavior kind of winning. The kind that forces me to look at each and every one of you with a suspicious and judgmental eye while trying to determine whether or not you’re telling me the truth when you say you voted for me (in all three categories) in this year’s Mobbies competition.

Well, did you? Did you vote today? Will you vote tomorrow and every subsequent day until voting ends on November 10? Do you really love me or would you rather see me sitting in a corner softly weeping and drowning my sorrows by gnawing on a wheel of smoked Gouda? And, if the latter is the case, would you be willing to send me a wheel of smoked Gouda (because it’s my favorite)? Also, crackers. Preferably with sesame seeds in them.

Wait, what?

Oh, yeah, winning. If you want me to win, then vote for me…because, trust me, the last thing anybody wants is for me to be replaced by Ashton Kutcher.

Click here (or on the badge in my sidebar) to vote for the 2011 Mobbies. Voting is open through November 10 and you can cast one vote per day in each category. Go! Now! Unless, of course, you plan on voting against me. In which case, please disregard.

 

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The Good (Teeth), the Bad (Teeth), and the Ugly (Teeth)

So, I currently possess three traits which, when combined, can make for some pretty unpleasant situations – bad teeth, a high pain threshold, and a knee-buckling, heart-racing, dry-heaving fear of dental procedures.

Now, I don’t know if it is physically possible for one to be born with bad teeth, but my own life experience has told me that it has to be. As a small child, I began visiting the dentist religiously – every six months. And every six months, without fail, the dentist would find a cavity.

Now, I should mention here that my mother was a world class sugar rationer. My brother and I were allowed very little sugar in any form – cookies, candy, ice cream, pretty much anything that would make a child’s eyes sparkle with the sheer joy of a potential sugar high. So, it wasn’t poor diet that caused my teeth to crumble like the delicious cookies we weren’t allowed to eat.

My mother, frustrated with having to drag my whiny little self to the dentist for fillings all the time, instituted a toothbrushing routine that we were made to follow. It involved an hourglass shaped egg timer. I hated that thing. My brother and I were forced to stand in front of the bathroom mirror brushing our teeth non-stop until all of the pink sand flowed from the top chamber to the bottom. No amount of toothpaste drool or sore arms could get us out of brushing until the last grain of sand had fallen. And you know what?

I still had cavities.

The dentist started sending me home with little pink tablets, which I was made to chew in order to show where the plaque was on my teeth so that I could see where to focus my rigorous brushing efforts.

And I still had cavities.

Fillings, surgeries, braces, root canals, more fillings – honestly, who could blame me for my general distaste for all things dental?

As an (anxiety-ridden) adult, I found ways to avoid going to the dentist. When my teeth would start to hurt, I took advantage of the aforementioned high pain threshold and employed a wide range of methods for ignoring the problem. When I was pregnant with Sir, I was stricken with an unbearable toothache. The pain was so intense at times, that I would literally fall to the floor. After several sleepless nights, I broke down and had an emergency root canal. Shortly after Sir was born, the same type of pain developed in the adjacent tooth and I had yet another root canal. But this time life got in the way and I never had the tooth restored.

It was fine for a while. The temporary filling held and all was right with the world. And then, one day, as I was eating a turkey sandwich, the whole thing just broke right at the gumline. I was horrified and hugely embarrassed, but I decided to hide it rather than face the dentist. I mastered the art of talking out of the side of my mouth. I never smiled fully. And I would always do my best to sit to the right of people so they wouldn’t accidentally catch a glimpse of my awful disfigurement.

Recently, I have been experiencing some very intense pain coming from two teeth that had lost their fillings (yeah, all those fillings that were placed years ago when I was a kid, are now starting to fail). For a while, I quietly subsisted on a diet of Advil and silent-agony. Then, the sleeplessness started. I knew I had to do something.

Fast forward to two days ago.

There I was, sitting in a dentist’s chair with my heart nearly beating out of my chest – toes curled, hands clenched – awaiting the bad news. And bad it was. Four of my teeth are a total loss. Two wisdom teeth and two molars (the ones causing my pain) are broken beyond repair and have to go. Even worse, the dentist was fairly sure that my other broken tooth was also a loss and that I would need an extraction and an implant (unless, of course, I wanted to spend the rest of my days half-smiling and jockeying for position in social situations). He asked me to come back so that he could take a closer look before making a final decision though.

Fast forward to this morning.

There I was, sitting in the same dentist’s chair – slightly less frantic, but still quite scared – awaiting the possibly bad news. The dentist drilled, he inspected, he drilled some more, he sighed, he took a brief break to see another patient, he came back and drilled some more. Did I mention that I didn’t have Novocaine during all of this? Because I didn’t. Finally, the tooth was drilled down to what was considered ‘keepable’. He said it would be a challenge, but he thought that he could construct a new tooth for me.

And (with Novocaine this time) he did!

In less than an hour and for about 10% of the cost of an extraction/implant, this AMAZING dentist was sending me on my way with an actual functional tooth! It’s a little smaller than my original tooth and it’s not quite as strong, but it’s a tooth! And I highly doubt that anyone who didn’t know that it wasn’t a real tooth could even tell the difference. I am so thankful!

Now, I just have the rest of my bad teeth to contend with. But at least I can smile through the pain now.

illustration : bad teeth by yours truly

 

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A Little Something Different

When my muse left me and  I was in the deepest throes of unspiration, I signed up for a one-night open studio fused glass class at Harford Community College, where a friend of mine works. The price was unbeatable, and it turned out to be a great introduction to a medium that I was not terribly familiar with.

My experience with glass never really moved beyond a brief attempt at mosaic work in my early 20s, when I lived a stone’s throw away from one of the largest art glass suppliers in the country. It mostly involved me making a mess and leaving glass shards embedded deep in the carpet fibers for future tenants of our apartment to discover at a later date.

Basically, my only skill walking into the classroom last night was scoring/cutting glass (and, of course, making a mess).

Fortunately, that skill served me quite well, as the project I had planned involved cutting squares and rectangles, which is about as simple as you can get when it comes to glass cutting. Other people in the class used the grinders, but I found them a bit too intimidating my first time out.

My goal was to make three 5″ square dishes that will be slumped in a mold to give them slightly raised sides. The pattern I found seemed simple enough – cut a base piece of glass and then stack random rectangles and squares on top of it.

As with most things that look easy on the Internet, it was a lot more work than I had anticipated, especially when you factor in my perfectionist/OCD nature. Not surprisingly, the three hour class time was not enough for me to finish and I ended up keeping the instructor an extra half hour while I frantically cleaned and re-assembled my pieces. Fortunately, she was a good sport and didn’t seem too put out by my tendency to bite off more than I can chew.

And now, we play the waiting game.

Ah, the waiting game sucks. Let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos! (Yes, a gratuitous Simpsons reference – you’re welcome!)

I will get to pick up my finished dishes next Tuesday night and I must say, the waiting is interminable for an instant gratification girl like me. One of the most difficult parts of this process was not knowing how the finished product will look. I tried to study some before and after photos of fused glass projects before the class, but I still felt I was going into this thing blind. Hopefully, the finished product will be somewhat representative of what you see in the photos.

So, the class and instructor were great and I definitely got more than what I paid for ($29 for the class and $25 for materials).  HCC is a bit of a schlep for me, but it was totally worth it. If you live in the area, I would highly recommend looking into this class. I may take it again the next time it comes around, so you may even see me there! Hmm, on second thought, that may be a deterrent for some of you. Heh.

photos : pre-fused glass by yours truly

 

 

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Hot Damn! I’m Freakin’ Nominated!

People, as you well know, I say a lot of things – mostly dumb things, but things nonetheless. Most of the time those things go unnoticed. So, I try to say them louder. But no one is listening and I end up just being a crazy person yelling in room by myself and, before I know it, Pandora starts showing me ads for antidepressants and online dating sites and I start to develop a weird following of dentists and pornographers on Twitter.

Wait. What the hell was I just talking about?

Oh yeah, things that I say. So, anyway, once in a while I say something and someone notices. And they think that other people should notice too.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned a *silly little goal that I had made for myself. **It was just a little daydream and ***I never really thought anything would come of it. But today, my awesomely huge little dream has come true.

Today, I was nominated for the Mobbies (a.k.a. Maryland’s Outstanding Blogs) in not one, but three categories.

Awesome, right? Right. But, you all know me, I’m not going to be one of these people who goes completely off the deep end with excitement (yes, I am). After all, I have worked very hard to cultivate an air of cool sophistication (bullshit) and it isn’t in my nature to, say, walk out my front door and scream something like, ‘Take that Baltimore! My blog’s the shit! Betta recognize!’ And even if it was, I wouldn’t be able to shout over the sound of my hippie neighbors playing the xylophone anyway. So, it’s a good thing I’m so calm, reserved, and not at all prone to emotional outbursts.

Yep, that’s me…good old even-keeled Ruth, sailing on a sea of tranquil waters. Ahhhhh(HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I WAS NOMINATED FOR THE MOBBIES!!!! WHOOOO!!!)hhhh…yep, cool sophistication.

 

* goal is neither silly nor little and my entire fragile ego is riding on this, people, so giddy-up and get ready to vote!
** oh, NO it wasn’t!
*** oh, YES, I did!


photo : yours truly by yours truly 

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Illustration Friday : Scattered

The Nightmare Carrots gather with other assorted evil vegetables to mourn the loss of their fallen leader. You may or may not remember what happened to him last week. His shreds will later be scattered on the evil compost heap.

© 2011 ruth blohm-hunter

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Daily Sketches : More Blue Owls

Right now, Sir is in a developmental phase where a lot of things are ‘scary’ to him. He tells me on a daily basis that certain things (animals, toys, etc.) are scary, but he isn’t really able to tell me why. He also calls us into his room at night to tell us that he is scared, but he can’t always pinpoint or put into words what is scaring him. It is heartbreaking and frustrating.

He often talks about blue owls being outside at night. When I ask him what they are doing out there, he doesn’t really have an answer. He just tells me that they are scary. So, I decided to do a little character development with his blue owls. When he saw my owl sketches from yesterday, he agreed that they were not scary at all. He liked them and wanted to look at them.

I am working on some ideas with these two owls. I plan to draw the owl on the right showing a range of emotions, while the owl on the left will remain mostly stoic, occasionally reacting the other owl’s emotions.

watercolor + ink

watercolor + ink + digital background

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Eyes on the Prize…or Something

So, you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been saying a whole lot lately. It has pretty much been all show and no tell around here. Sorry about that. I’ve really been focusing my energy on drawing every day and it hasn’t left much time for writing. I’m working to strike a balance though, so rest assured you’ll be getting regular doses of my insanity levity again soon.

I often find myself having trouble focusing my creative energy. My brain is always in about twenty different places at the same time and I have a really hard time accomplishing anything because I’m always thinking about what I want to accomplish next. I have actually seen this personality trait developing in Sir and it is kind of frightening.

In an attempt to rein myself in, I have taken some big steps toward getting focused and actually accomplishing my creative goals. First, I started working on getting my portfolio online. I have gotten hung up on a couple of steps in the process, but I am hoping to have it live in the next week or so. Second, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. This is something I had been debating about for a while. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was qualified to formally declare myself an illustrator. Then I discovered that my region’s conference is next month in Gettysburg (One of my absolute favorite places, I often go there when I’m feeling distressed and, for some reason, it calms me and helps me get centered again.). I took this as a sign that I should just bite the bullet and do it. So, I did.

As much as I am looking forward to the conference, it also has me feeling a bit frantic. I opted to have my portfolio reviewed and that means, well, I need a freaking portfolio!

Enter the near-constant sketching and stressing.

I am currently working on some character illustrations while trying not to get too distracted by all of my other interests, ideas, and responsibilities. Wish me luck!

I will be sharing some of what I am working on soon. Please feel free to offer any thoughts, critiques, etc. Currently, Sir is my only source of feedback and, while he is my target market, it would probably be beneficial to hear from people who can offer a little more than ‘Those are owls. Those owls are blue.’ Heh.

photo : card-carrying member by yours truly

 

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Daily Sketches : A High-Strung Owl

Lately, Sir has become very interested in owls. When it gets dark, he starts pointing at trees and saying ‘There’s an owl over there.’  According to him, these owls are blue and, occasionally, scary. I’m not sure why he thinks owls are scary, but I wanted to do a sketch for him of some non-scary owls. This is what I came up with – two owls, not scary, but one of them is easily scared. Heh.

(My mother used to react this way whenever I sneezed. She would then accuse me of sneezing loudly on purpose just to scare her. Uh, yeah.)

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Illustration Friday : Contraption

Recently, I had a run-in with some baaaaaaad carrots.

They.Messed.Me.Up.

Not only did they make me sick, but they also gave me nightmares. And they weren’t just any old nightmares, they were nightmares within nightmares.

This band of Nightmare Carrots has a leader, a head honcho, if you will, by the name of Evil Carrot. You can see his early incarnations here and (with some evil cohorts) here.

To be honest, I have no idea how to fight an evil carrot. I’m thinking that employing the services of an evil rabbit might work. Sadly, I live quite a distance from Caerbannog, so I’m hoping the contraption above (also known as a grater) might work.

© 2011 ruth blohm-hunter

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