Friday, July 25, 2008

Dork Like Me, Dork Like My Dog

My right hip was screaming. No, I wasn't in pain. I was not hallucinating. The headset to my cell phone had come unplugged while I was at the store. The last thirty? forty? minutes had been devoted to a very animated conversation with Livy while wondering why she had suddenly gotten so faint.

When I got to the car, my right hip demanded in angry, tinny tones that I plug myself BACK! IN!. Then it called me a doink. That was when I realized that I had been engrossed in shopping, muttering and gossiping to Livy while people were probably seeing my headset swinging free of my phone and thinking I was a loon. Well, then. At least I possibly kept a few people entertained for the morning.

Actually, Fate's little gift of dorkdom doesn't stop there. Kevin is still smarting from his last adventure with O'Neill (aka TardDawg, O-Dawg, Snoot, The Tard and a host of other names.) I'll tell him about this and we'll have a laugh and he'll feel better about what happened last week.

You see, he was watching O'Neill chase a squirrel in my backyard and decided that what Boy was really trying to do was herd the thing. O'Neill is an Old English Sheep dog/Bearded Collie mix, so there is a good reason for Kevin to think he might be a frustrated herder. However, he 1.)is eleven years old 2.)is a big, fuzzy couch potato except when it's playtime and 3.) has never laid eyes on anything remotely resembling livestock except for the pig that tried to attack him in the vet's office.

Kevin arranged for a mutual friend with an enclosed pen and a flock of sheep to allow O-Dawg to work out his genetic destiny. I took him into the pen and unclipped his leash. He looked at me, looked at the sheep and then walked over to the gate and barked to be let back into the car.

Kevin took him by the collar and walked him into the flock. The look on his face clearly indicated he thought he'd been thrown into a milling crowd of walking smelly sweaters. When a ewe stepped up and baaaed inches from his face, he'd had enough and started weaving back towards me. Halfway through the flock, he caught the attention of a tiny lamb who trailed behind him, baaing loudly and trying to grab his tail. Poor Boy looked panicked, shoved through the rest of the herd and ran behind me, looking around my legs at the lamb, who was roughly the size of cocker spaniel.

The lamb looked at both of us, gave a long, squeaky, tongue-shaking baaa as if to say, "Screw yas!" and then did a flippy-tailed scamper back to his mommy.

"He's had enough." I said to Kevin.

The people who owned the sheep agreed.

We headed back to Nashville and I dropped Kevin off at his house. His neighbors, who are professional dogsitters/walkers, happened by with their dog, Sheba. While they cooed and scratched O'Neill, we told them about his big adventure with the sheep.

Ellen and Amanda looked at Sheba, who happens to be a Dalmation mix and looked back at Kevin.

"Dude?" said Ellen, "You know you're not getting our baby anywhere near a firehouse, so don't even ask."

"Oh, ha ha. Very funny. You are all very funny women." He leaned over and scritched O'Neill's neck. "I'll check on you tomorrow just to be sure all the estrogen hasn't gotten to you, boy."

Hey, Kevster?" I said in my fakey deep O'Neill voice. "It's too late. They took me to the vet when I was six months old and ever since then, all the other dogs giggle whenever I walk away. I think I know why."

Of course the girls laughed, which was okay with me because I am a big slut for a cheap laugh. I went home to find a a request for reparations in the form of snickerdoodles for being such an estro-despot in my voice mail. O'Neill seemed to have forgotten about the sheep. He hopped on the couch while I found one of his two favorite shows (Sesame Street or anything on C-SPAN) and settled down with a Harmony Farms Health Bar and a massage from me.


We're here!
We're dorks!


We're dorks.

copyright 2008 jas faulkner

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Inspire Me Thursday (7/10/08) : Healing

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acrylic on canvas 10.75 x 13.75

This is my latest response to (yet) another artist challenge site called Inspire Me Thursday. The word posted last week was "healing."

Interesting piece of synchronicity there. I have been having some respiratory issues and talking is a bit problematic. The outlets for writing are there, of course, but not being able to talk cuts me off from a relatively small part of the way I communicate. I have also been letting the unkindness of a few nasty people get the best of me. Even when I'm feeling good, being angry leaves me sick and drained. Better to channel that emotional energy into outrage and action, which means stepping back and seeing if what has me discomfited warrants that.

So. Nonverbal me has been painting lately and these challenge sites are a great way to get kickstarted so I'm putting paint to canvas. To be honest, the cartoony quality of this painting and the one I posted last week come as a bit of a surprise. Maybe it's because the emotions I experience when I'm painting them are so basic.

copyright 2008 jas faulkner

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Illustration Friday (7/5/08): Sour


acrylic on canvas 10.75 x 13.75

Meet Jacques Limon. He's my entry into the latest edition of Illustration Friday. The idea behind Illustration Friday (or "Illofry" as it used tobe called back in the day)is to get creative without having to worry about being perfect. The powers that be throw out a word or a phrase every Friday and you have the rest of the week to illustrate it. Some people post scribbles in a lined notebook, others, paint, collage, draw or get creative with their software. The result is always fascinating and fun to see. Give it a try!

Now, about Jacques... When I saw the word of the week was "sour", the first thing I thought of was lemons. Thing is, I couldn't be completely sour about painting them. I love lemons. They're pretty, they smell good and they're almost always in my kitchen to make stuff taste better. What else is sour? Curmudgeons? I like them, too. They're not always pretty, but there is deep down an element of sweetness. To me, a curmudgeon is an idealist who has gotten a good look at humanity and thinks we all could and should be smarter. I suspect that most if not all curmudgeons keep some hope that we will get smarter. Why else would they bother?
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copyright 2008 jas faulkner

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Wild(ly Flung) Strawberries

Yesterday Alice and I spent the morning hiding out from Alice's cousin, MarshaMarshaMarsha. She was in town with her son, Ichabod, who was competing in a dominoes competition and wanted us to come watch. Yes, you read that right, MarshaMarshaMarsha expected her grown cousin to sit in a ballroom that did not have air conditioning and watch her kid play...dominoes.

"This is the same cousin who claimed her kid read "Moby Dick" at the ripe old age of eight?"

"Yep!" Alice shook her head and folded yet another Official Licensed Disney Tee.


Alice plopped the stack of shirts into her basket, "That's her."

"Of course you told her no."

"No, I didn't."


"It doesn't do any good. She's incapable of taking no for an answer. She's the Borg."

"The Borg?" I asked.

"Never mind. Just know that you have officially lost about fifty geek points. Anyway, I figure if we lay low for the first half of the day, they'll breeze by us and we can get on with our lives."

"That's ridiculous!" I snapped. "Tell me you don't think that's just nuts."

"Look, I'm kind of pissed about the whole thing, but what can you do?"

"Nothing, I guess. Family is family. I'm sorry. I have no room to talk because I have cousins who I avoid at all costs because they're okay for about five minutes and then they start shooting poison from their tear ducts."

She nodded and then we sat in silence as Jamie Oliver nattered on the tube about rice pudding and strawberries.

She folded a little Tow Mater tee and watched the screen. "You know, if we're going to be bunkered in, we might as well enjoy it. Let's go pick some strawberries before the kids get up. Jeffrey said it was about time for another batch."

"That's the spirit!" I hopped up. "Siege mentality be damned!"

We grabbed some Suckerware from the kitchen and headed out back. I was happy for the sunshine. Alice was still very quiet, which was unusual for her.

"Are you mad at me?" I asked.

"Aw sweetie. No. I'm mad at MarshaMarshaMarsha and I'm mad at myself. Would you mind turning on the hose? I'm a grown woman and I still let myself get talked into these corners. There's no sense in it."

I walked over and turned on the hose. Alice had her back to me and the front gate. She was still talking, getting a little madder and a little louder as she talked.

"And you know?" she said. "This is the way it's been for years. Damn! Some of these berries are overripe. I should have come out here sooner. Where was I? Jas, I can't believe I've let this go on for so long. MarshaMarshaMarsha is an overbearing, madly in love with herself twit!"

Alice picked up a large, gooey berry and lobbed it at one of the trees.

"She's noxious. She bullies everybody and I! Am! Sick of it!" She turned and rifled a berry at her son's archery target.

It was about then that I heard someone a few feet behind me and to my right softly say, "Excuse me?". But for some reason, seeing Alice lose her composure was riveting and I didn't register that someone else had joined us.

"And... And... Jas? I am so DAMNED tired of that odious, surly, rude little goblin child of hers. She needs to put him back under the bridge where she found him!"

At that point, she turned and flung a huge, nearly gellied berry, presumably at the wooden front gate. Aaaand... She nailed Ichabod squarely in the chest with it a half second before I turned, yelped and soaked Ichabod and MarshaMarshaMarsha with the hose.

We stood in stunned silence for a moment as Jeffery walked out on the patio, scratched his tuchis through his boxers and asked us what in the Holy Name of Jerry Rice we were doing making this much noise at this ungodly hour.

"You're naked!" MarshaMarshaMarsha screamed at Jeffery.

"Marsh, you really need to consider wearing a bra." I said.

She gave us all what I figure was her best attempt at a death glare, whirled Ichabod around by his birdy, underfed shoulders and strode to the gate. She turned and pointed at Alice, "I'm! Telling! GRANDMA!" she huffed at her and then went out, slamming the gate after her and her little changling.

We stood there for a moment, stunned. Then Alice poked a hole in a bigger berry, stuck it on her nose and danced around, singing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!"

"You're both nuts," muttered Jeffrey. "I'm making everyone French Toast. No one come into the kitchen while the grownup is busy."

So we didn't.

copyright 2008 Jas Faulkner