Tag Archives: baltimore

What’s Going on Around Here?

I have (mostly) not abandoned my blog, although it probably looks like it. Honestly, I am desperately trying to play catch-up (and tackle a ridiculous task of epic proportions in my pain-in-the-arse backyard) now that I am back in Baltimore.

I apologize for my lack of, well, everything around here. No Friday Favorites? No nothing? Yeah, pathetic. But I really, really needed a break from pretty much every aspect of my life and that break somehow managed to last three weeks. The only downside (aside from my shameful neglect of this blog) is that my muse decided to stay in northern Michigan (as I wish I could have). So, instead of creating (I haven’t touched my art supplies at all since arriving home), I’ve been focusing on the aforementioned ridiculous task…that, and falling down the basement stairs. Boy, am I sore.

So, for those of you who missed me (What? You didn’t even realize I was gone? Sheesh.), here are a few random tidbits.

  • Friday Favorites will be returning ASAP, now that I am once again in the Land of the Reliable Internet Connection (also the land of freaking Code Red air days and stifling humidity).
  • My trip was not completely devoid of creativity. In fact, I shot (what I think is) a very nice series of photographs while in northern Michigan. I even sucked it up and created prints for sale in my Etsy shop. Please check them out and let me know what you think!
  • I have once again fallen way behind on my 365 Project. Hopefully, I’ll get all caught up by the end of the week. I really can’t wait to be done with it.
  • Mosquitoes only like to bite the back of my left calf. What the hell is up with that?
  • I have really missed reading everyone’s blogs and looking at Illustration Friday submissions. I really need to get back into the swing of things and hope that I can coax my muse to come back east.
  • I chickened out on the gallery thing. I know, I know. Lame.
  • This place is fantastic. Try the Auxerrois  and the fungus wine (sounds disgusting, but it’s actually quite delicious).

photo : lakeside II by yours truly (available for purchase here)



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My Obligatory Allergy Post

Dear Allergies,

So, we meet again.

You seem to be the topic du jour on blogs, Facebook, news sites, and *shudder* Twitter these days. I bet you’re pretty proud of yourself.

I mean, not only have you forced me to spend all of my time outdoors looking like the Unabomber (because, you know, the hood and big glasses are the only things keeping the trees’ reproductive nastiness from completely covering every inch of my hair and skin), but you’ve also managed to suck a nice chunk of change out of my pocket and generously deposit it in the overflowing coffers of the pharmaceutical industry.


I must say, you have really outdone yourself this year. Claritin can’t touch you. The 24 hour relief I was promised quickly dwindled from thirteen hours to a mere four. I cannot open my windows to let any fresh air in, lest you assault me and set my lips burning and skin itching. This is especially problematic since there seems to be a mystery stink emanating from my refrigerator (and permeating my house) that I have, as of this writing, failed to locate.  But I digress.

I made a valiant attempt to thwart you by employing some so-called immunotherapy. But, alas, not even the expensive local honey that I have forced myself to consume has lessened my misery.

Has anyone ever told you that you’re a total JERKFACE?

Great, now you’ve forced me to resort to name-calling…the last refuge of the outwitted. Oh, but Allergies, you haven’t beaten me yet. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. And if all else fails, there’s always my movable plastic bubble plans (pollen-removing windshield wipers optional) (patent pending).

Yours truly Get bent,


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Illustration Friday : Journey

the journey is over

There has been a lot of snoozing going on around here since Izzy ended her 24-day journey through the wilds of Baltimore County/City. Heh.

Speaking of which, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY. It ends this Friday and you can win one of three Izzy the Dog prints. Cool.

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Will I or Won’t I?

To say that this week has been a whirlwind is a bit of an understatement. I started this week completely focused on two goals – finding Izzy and finding a way to keep moving forward if we didn’t find Izzy. And then…


My whole focus shifted in the split second that it took for me to look in the rearview mirror and see that crazy prodigal Basset Hound ambling her way towards me.

It is odd how the mind works. After the initial shock and disbelief started to wane, the first thought that popped into my head was ‘It’s over.’ And it is. The worrying, the waiting, the flyer-posting, the tracking sniffs, the sleepless nights, the miserable, sad toddler in the backseat calling for his dog and begging to get out of the car and PLAY instead of being strapped in day after day as we drive around searching. All of it is over.

Now the focus shifts to fattening up our now-frail Basset Hound, getting her to the vet to make sure that she is actually as healthy as she seems to be, and driving through what used to be unfamiliar neighborhoods to pluck down flyers and thank the people who went out of their way to help us.

Yesterday, one of the neighbor kids asked who found Izzy. When he heard that we found her ourselves, he said ‘You must be happy you don’t have to give anyone the reward!’

Well, sort of.

Instead of giving one reward to one person, we now have the ability to properly thank all of the people who went above and beyond to help us out. That is a significant part of my new focus as well.

Speaking of focus, I’ve completely lost mine in this post. I meant to talk about Illustration Friday. Heh.

The topic this week is ‘bottled’ and, quite honestly, I am struggling with finding the inspiration and motivation to tackle the theme this week. My recent reflections on my 365 project have me feeling like I really don’t want to try to force creativity simply for the sake of meeting some imaginary deadline. Real deadlines? Sure. Doing-something-for-fun deadlines? Not so much.

I’m still hoping that some brilliant ray of creativity might hit before tomorrow, but I’m really not counting on it. And, I guess I’m okay with that.

photo : bottles by yours truly

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Found: One (Really) Smelly, Barky, Stubborn, Lovable, Exhausted Dog

It’s true! It’s true! After 24 days, Izzy the dog is HOME!

Last night, I didn’t sleep. It was hot in our house. It had been a miserable day of Izzy searching. And at midnight, we got a somewhat upsetting call about Izzy’s whereabouts.

She had been spotted several times in a neighborhood in Baltimore City and that is where we had been concentrating our search efforts. In the course of our searching and flyer-posting, I found myself garnering some very strange looks from people around the neighborhood. The local residents were obviously wary of my slow-moving mini-van and the two-year-old shouting ‘Iiiizzzzzy come home!’ out the window. Heh.

After posting a few flyers and speaking to a few people, I managed to establish myself as a mostly non-threatening character. Unfortunately, no one that I had spoken to had seen Izzy.

Yesterday evening, Big Sir met with our search team from Dogs Finding Dogs to do a tracking sniff around the neighborhood and set up a feeding station. The tracking dog took them to backyards of two different abandoned houses in the area. After speaking to the owner of a house next door to one of the abandoned houses, they were allowed to set up a feeding station near where Izzy had been spotted several times.

With the feeding station established, Big Sir came home for the night. At around 9pm, we received two calls one right after the other. Izzy was making her way through the neighborhood. One of the callers tried to catch her, but she was too fast (I know, a fast Basset Hound sounds like an oxymoron for sure). Neither of us was comfortable with going into a strange neighborhood at night, so we decided to wait until morning to follow up.

We went to bed. I didn’t sleep.

At midnight, the phone rang. It was a man one street over from where we had set up the feeding station. He said that Izzy was lying on his front lawn. We asked him if he could try to very calmly approach her and/or possibly lure her with food. He didn’t seem very interested in doing this and tried to convince my husband to come down there. It was far too late and the surrounding area is not a very safe place to be at night. So, we tried again to convince this man to approach her. He started questioning us about the reward and the conversation deteriorated from there.

In the morning, we decided that I would go out searching while Sir was at school. I harnessed Yofi and we headed down to where Izzy had been spotted. It was starting to rain. Izzy hates getting wet. The likelihood of her being out in the open wasn’t good.

As I drove slowly down the street, a woman in her bathrobe approached me. She told me that it was her husband who had called the night before and that they had seen Izzy many times before finally seeing one of our flyers. She then showed me where they had seen her – in the backyard of an abandoned house. She told me that she had been there everyday for four or five days just hanging out. One of Izzy’s favorite things to do is to lie around on her side sunning herself in the backyard. We call this activity ‘pigging’ because she looks like a hog with her big Basset belly (she had also been seen pigging several times in the backyard where we had set up the feeding station).

After several unnecessary reassurances that it would be safe for me to get out of my car and look around (because ‘there are police who live in this neighborhood’), I parked my car, grabbed Yofi, and began traipsing through the abandoned, overgrown, trash-filled yard calling for Izzy. She wasn’t there. The woman I had spoken to beckoned me to her yard. She showed me some other places they had seen Izzy (specifically, the yards across the street and the alley that runs behind some houses and businesses). I looked up the alley and saw several garbage bags that had been ripped open. I was sure that Izzy was to blame. But she was nowhere in sight.

Cold and wet, we headed back to the car to search the next block over. The rain was starting to really come down, but I wanted to check the feeding station. We walked up and down the street calling for Izzy. We searched another abandoned backyard. We were completely drenched. I decided that we should just go home and try again when the rain let up.

It rained all day.

Finally, at about 5:15, the four of us (Big Sir, Sir, Yofi, and yours truly) arrived back at the first abandoned house. We called for Izzy, but there was no sign of her. We checked the alley. No Izzy. We decided to check the feeding station. I stayed in the car with Sir, while B. and Yofi headed across the street and through the yards. Sir was antsy, he really wanted to get out, but it was still cold and rainy. We waited and then I heard jingling. I looked in the rearview mirror and there they were! My husband and not one, but TWO doggies!

When they went to check the feeding station, B. heard jingling coming from inside the fence of the abandoned house next door. He took Yofi over and there, standing in the middle of the backyard was Izzy! She ran right over to Yofi and jumped up to lick B.’s face as he put her leash on her. When they got to the car, she jumped right in. Sir shouted ‘Izzy! Hug! Kiss!’

Unfortunately, the filth she was covered in and the horrendous stink emanating from her hindered any hugging or kissing attempts. We brought her home and put her straight into the bath. She was not happy about that, but as soon as she was out, she went downstairs to roll all over her favorite couch and then ran in circles around the basement. She drank a ton of water, peed on the floor, and we knew our Izzy was home!

She has definitely lost some weight and it looks like she may have gotten scratched by something as some of the fur on her nose is missing and there are some mostly-healed scratches. But, other than that, she’s the same old Izzy. We were told to keep an eye on her for a couple of days and then take her to the vet, which we were planning on doing anyway. Hopefully, she will be released with a clean bill of health.

There is so much more that I have to say about this situation, but it will have to wait. After 24 days, it’s finally time for this family to get a good night’s sleep.

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Randoms on a Sunny Sunday

It’s time for some randomness…mostly because I can’t seem to focus on any one thing for more than about a minute and a half right now. Heh.

  • Izzy is still on the run. We received some leads yesterday and a tracking sniff revealed that the information on her whereabouts was accurate. The search continues.
  • I am beginning to feel slightly human again. Unfortunately, a quick trip out to my backyard this morning had my ears completely plugged and every bit of exposed skin itching . Yes, friends, it is spring in Maryland! Bring on the thick blanket of yellow pollen and non-stop Claritin popping!
  • Okay, so remember that thing I said about getting this blog back on track and trying to bring back some lightheartedness? I know, I know, I’m not doing a very good job of it. So, I think it’s time for a giveaway. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I think this one might be a big one. I mean, multiple prizes big.
  • You may have noticed that my 365 projects seems to have fallen by the wayside. I’m working on catching up on posting my photos. Hopefully, I’ll be all caught up by today. Apologies in advance for the barrage of posts. Heh.
  • The fact that I finally got off my ample duff and made some prints of my work has given me the motivation to get up off my ample duff AGAIN and make some prints of my work. So, keep an eye out for new prints in the Etsy shop. I am looking for opinions on whether I should offer them as-is or have them matted.
  • Speaking of Etsy, I still have some of my cherry blossom pieces available. Proceeds benefit Red Cross relief efforts in Japan. Also, I’m seriously trying to clear out my old stock of jewelry that I designed back in the day. I’ve knocked the prices way down in hopes of making room for other things in my studio.

I guess that’s all I’ve got for now.

photo : languishing art by yours truly

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April Fooled (and Broken Hearted)

As much as I want to bring levity and lightheartedness back to this blog, I just can’t seem to do it yet. I apologize for another depressing story.

Last night, an amazing thing happened. We got our brightest ray of hope in our two week search for Izzy.

I had been down for most of the day with my ear causing me significant problems. Instead of obsessively checking craigslist for new lost & found ads every 15 minutes like usual, I spent most of my afternoon and evening lying on the couch trying to shield my ear from irritating noises (which, at this point, is pretty much any noise). When I finally got around to checking the ads, I found one that looked very, very promising. Someone had found two dogs running in the road not far from here earlier in the day and had managed to catch them and take them in. They were described as very friendly and very cute. Izzy certainly fits both of those descriptions and so I responded to the ad via email.

I then checked my email and found a message from a woman who had responded to MY craigslist ad. She directed me toward the ad I had just responded to, telling me that earlier in the day she had spoken to the man who found the dogs and that he told her one of the dogs was a Basset Hound.

I nearly fainted dead away.

Unfortunately, it was after 10pm and I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to call the number in the ad that late at night. I decided to wait until morning.

Not surprisingly, I spent most of my night tossing and turning. I had convinced myself that this person had Izzy and that, after two weeks of misery, the three of us would get in the car and go bring our dog home. During the brief periods when I was able to sleep, I dreamed of Sir hugging Izzy and helping to put her in the tub for a much needed bath and of our other two dogs jumping and barking with excitement as they sniffed their sister to see where she had been on her grand adventure.

I was up for the day at 6am – still far too early to call.

Somehow, I managed to occupy myself until 8 o’clock. I picked up the phone and dialed the number in the ad. It rang and rang and rang…and finally, it went to voicemail. I nervously left my rambling message about our lost Basset Hound and how I really, really hoped that he had her. I left two phone numbers and then hung up to wait (and wait, and wait).

I was a nervous wreck all morning waiting for the phone to ring. When it finally did at almost 11:30, I was shaking. When the man on the other end of the line told me that the woman who contacted me was mistaken and that neither dog was a Basset or was even the same colors as Izzy, he almost sounded more disappointed than I was. I held it together and thanked him for returning my call (many people whose ads I have responded to never even bothered to write/call back).

Izzy was still out there. And she wasn’t coming home today. I felt like the biggest April Fool in the world.

I still do.

photo : baby izzy by yours truly

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Limited Edition Prints : Izzy the Dog

Well, the stats speak for themselves. My readers are tired of missing dog posts and are ready for a return to normalcy. I can truly sympathize and I plan on doing my best to get this blog back on track. Please bear with me.

With that said, here is a post about art (and my missing dog…sorry).

Losing Izzy has been very hard on us and she sneaks her way into everything I do right now. I’ve never been very good at making the best out of a bad situation, but I am really trying now (mostly for the sake of my family’s mental health). So, when I sat down to work on Illustration Friday last week, out popped the character Izzy the Dog.

Like the real Izzy, Izzy the Dog is a cute, friendly, (mostly) happy hound. Fortunately, unlike the real Izzy, Izzy the Dog doesn’t smell like a hound (anyone who has ever lived with a Basset, beagle, or other hound knows exactly the smell I’m talking about – it’s stinky, but it grows on you). So far, I have only finished two illustrations in this series ‘Izzy the Dog Picks a Flower‘ (for the Illustration Friday topic ‘cultivate’) and ‘Izzy the Dog in the Rain‘.

Originally, I had no idea what I was going to do with these illustrations. But, as more and more people assist us in finding Izzy, we have realized that not only do we want to give a significant reward to the person or persons who bring our Izzy home to us, but we also want to give as much as we can to the people who have been helping us. So, I am offering limited edition prints of my original ink and watercolor Izzy the Dog illustrations on Etsy to help boost our reward offering and provide a donation to the agency that is helping us track Izzy.

The prints are very reasonably priced at $10 each. Image size is approximately 5×7″ and each print is numbered and signed.

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Izzy at Large

Izzy the dog is still missing.

We spent the whole weekend doing everything we could to find her. We have distributed nearly 300 flyers with another 300 ready to go out today. We did a tracking sniff with Dogs Finding Dogs on Saturday that gave us a general idea of where she has been and focused our flyer efforts there. We also put down a scent trail leading to our house and set up a feeding station on our front porch. Still, no Izzy.

Last night, we finally got our first leads. The first seems legitimate and we are following up on it today. The second was completely frustrating and heartbreaking.

Sir has been sick since last week and I seem to have caught his illness. Today is the first time in two days that I have been able to sit up long enough to blog. I had a fever of 102° and couldn’t manage to drag myself out of bed. When the calls about Izzy came in last night, Big Sir (who had injured his ankle on the tracking sniff, but was still pounding the pavement all weekend posting flyers) had no choice but to grab our neighbor and our dog Yofi and start searching.

The boy on the phone told us that he had seen Izzy about 2 hours earlier in a neighborhood a few blocks from here. As the search party departed, the phone rang again. The same boy, out of breath now, told us that he had been chasing Izzy, but couldn’t manage to catch her. With the search still going on and daylight quickly departing, the boy called again to tell me that he was still chasing Izzy (and now two other dogs) toward a park in Baltimore City. It was at this point that I finally heard from my husband who told me that my neighbor had run into the boy and spoken to him. Apparently, his story kept changing and he was very interested in finding out how much the reward would be, which leads us to believe that he had never actually seen Izzy and was just messing around in hopes of either securing some reward money or just getting a rise out of us.

And so, with darkness descending, they returned home without our Izzy girl.

As soon as I find the energy, Sir and I will be heading out to post more flyers. This afternoon, we’ll do another tracking sniff in the area where Izzy was spotted.

This situation has taken a serious toll (emotionally and financially) on all of us. Sir has been exhibiting some behaviors that we have never seen in him before and we can only attribute it to his little mind’s (and heart’s) inability to understand this loss. Any time we go outside, he looks around and calls Izzy’s name. It is heartbreaking to witness.

In spite of all this, the outpouring of support has been more than we could have imagined. Our neighbors have really stepped up to the plate – printing and distributing flyers and helping with searches. The Facebook page now has over 100 fans, most of whom are people we don’t even know, but who are helping to get the word out about Izzy. They come from as near as our own neighborhood and as far as Sweden. The Internet is an amazing thing. I just hope it can help us find our girl.

One last thing, I will be making a dedicated post about this, but wanted to get it out there now – I have made a limited number of prints from my Izzy the Dog illustrations and I am offering them at a very reasonable price on Etsy. We are hoping to raise money to add to the reward we are offering and for a donation to Dogs Finding Dogs.

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Happy Birthday, Izzy the Dog…Wherever You Are

Today is our Izzy girl’s 8th birthday…and she’s not spending it with us.

Even after shelter searches, flyer posting, countless phone calls, and many, many hours online filling out lost dog reports, posting ads, and scouring lost & found ads, we have not one lead. It’s like she just vanished.

I cannot begin to tell you how frightening and disheartening that is.

This morning, all three of us set out to check another shelter and pass out flyers at several animal hospitals and pet stores in the area. Sir is sick with a terrible cough, fever, and runny nose, but he rode along with us like a real trooper in hopes of being able to ‘Hug Izzy!’ again (he asks repeatedly to hug all of the dogs now and repeats ‘Hug Izzy! Hug Izzy!’ over and over again because his little two-year-old mind cannot fathom his favorite dog not being around anymore.). Sadly, not one person that we spoke to had seen her.

Yesterday, we created a Facebook page at the suggestion of someone we had contact with at a shelter. This afternoon, we will be meeting with a tracker from Dogs Finding Dogs, a local organization that comes HIGHLY recommended. We are hoping that maybe, despite recent heavy rains, Izzy’s scent trail is still out there and their dogs can pick it up and find her.

I am currently working on a quick project to help raise money for both the Dogs Finding Dogs services and a reward for anyone who might bring our doggie back to us.

If you live anywhere in the area (Baltimore metro) or in any of the surrounding counties (Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Howard, or Harford), please consider sharing the link to our Facebook page or printing some of our flyers to share with local shelters, vets, groomers, pet stores, etc.  Thank you.

Happy birthday, Izzy! We love you!

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It’s Rainy. And Cold.

More calls. Less answers. Endless disappointment.

Tomorrow I am doing what I have been dreading since this whole thing started – going to the shelters. They all say they don’t have her, but mistakes are easy to make. I cannot handle walking through those places. Seeing all of the animals that have no homes and no families and are confined to miserable cages just makes me sad and ill.

I don’t know how much more sadness I can take…but it looks like I’m going to find out.

Fortunately, we have amazing friends who keep going out of their way to help us. I’m pretty sure that is the only thing keeping me sane right now.

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Missing: One Smelly, Barky, Stubborn, Lovable Dog

Last week was kind of rough and sadly, it culminated in an even rougher weekend. On Saturday, one of our three dogs escaped the yard and went missing.

There has been no sign of her in the neighborhood, at the shelters, or at any local animal hospitals. Her microchip has not been scanned and no one has called to tell us that they have her.

It is very hard not to give up hope.

The more that I speak to people in the area, the more dire the situation looks. For a number of years, there have been issues around here with people stealing purebred puppies and dogs to either sell or just keep. Our Izzy is a purebred Basset Hound, and even though she is 8 years old, she is small and could easily be mistaken for a puppy or younger dog.

I keep hoping that if someone is keeping her, they will realize that she is not the easiest dog to live with and decide to call the number on her tags and give her back to us. She is ill-mannered, kind of smelly, barks A LOT, poos on the floor when she gets mad, and chews stuff up just because. We are her family and we love her despite all of this (or maybe because of it). She should be with us and not strangers, even if they are taking good care of her.

Sir is continually asking after her. She is the smallest doggie in our ‘pack’ and he has always liked that she is at his level. Our middle dog has been looking all over for her partner in crime. She sits outside the door keeping vigil in the backyard. The house and yard are eerily quiet without her here.

If you live anywhere in the Baltimore area, please keep an eye out for her. Bassets have a tendency to pick up a scent and follow it for many miles, ending up very far from home. So, she could be anywhere in the area.

Vital Info

Name: Isobel (Izzy)
Breed: Basset Hound
Color: Tri (brown, black, and white)
Size: fairly small for a Basset about 40 lbs.
Age: 8
Other: She is very friendly, but can be timid when scared or around strangers. She has tags on her black polka-dot collar and she is also micro-chipped.

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