Sunday, June 7, 2009

Prickly Lettuce

Lately I've been trying to make the outside of our house look more...homey/less embarrassing. When we moved in (2 years ago this May) the front lawn looked nice (despite the dead tree in the middle of it) and there were two pretty flower beds. Since then we've planted a Red bud, taken out the dead tree, and planted a maple (that grew up in our untended flowerbed) However, our lawn now has a strict more weeds than grass policy, and our flowerbeds have turned into bare dirt and weeds with only a few hardy plants left that survived our negligence. After several days of weed-pulling and the addition of new mulch one of our flowerbeds now looks like this:

I'm pretty proud of it.

Now, I have to say, I'm pretty good at pulling weeds (and baby trees) and getting the taproot out and all...but one weed I can't seem to ever pull out is this one:

My roommate says she can pull them out no-problem, so I left them for her ;) I don't know how she does it though, as every time i try to, their prickly hollow stem breaks right off and all this nasty milky-white juice drips out. Of course, I had to know what on earth this weed was, so I finally googled it. I'm 99% sure now that it's a plant called "prickly lettuce" Identified not just by it's milky-hollow stem (apparently lots of plants have that) but by these spines on the underside of it's leaves (another reason these are a pain to try and pull.):

Now here's the interesting part. First of all the leaves are edible (I'm not gonna try them) and that milky stuff I always avoided because I assumed it would irritate my skin is actually good for sunburns. Oh ya, and it's a narcotic drug.
From this site: "The dreamy effects are a little bit similar to opium, but milder. Wild lettuce can help reduce the feeling of restlessness, excitability and insomnia."

Another site is filled with more fascinating stuff. " is still used for making a lotion for the skin useful in sunburn and roughness. The Ancients held the lettuce in high esteem for its cooling and refreshing properties. The Emperor Augustus attributed his recovery from a dangerous illness to it; built an altar to it, and erected a statue in its honour. "

Good to know. I still want it out of my flowerbed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Under da Sea

I recently got my 30 gallon tank filled back up/re-cycled/re-stocked with fish...and I had forgotten how much fun it is to just sit and watch my aquarium. Its very... relaxing.

That dark thing under the fake tree root is a chunk of driftwood for my pleco. It used to sink, but I took it out for a little while, and now I'm just too lazy to get it to really sink again so its just wedged under the root to hold it in place. Said algae eater is to the far right, his name is Dr. Juan Itor. Here's a better pic:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I just got back yesterday from visiting Ohio. The niece turned one on Thursday and that was really the whole point of the visit. I got her a giant blue ball...the kind that are in those 12 foot tall "baskets" in walmart. My dad built her an awesome toy box. Among her other gifts she also got this--which was a huge hit. She ate her first ever piece of cake with two fists.

Last time I saw her she had trouble sitting up on her own. Now she walks everywhere , has teeth, and eats things like cheese ravioli and black olives.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


This weekend was warm. Trees are blooming, flowers are popping up all over the place. I fricken took my dogs to the lake Sunday. I wore shorts.

This morning I had to scrape ice off my car and there's snow on rooftops. What the heck. Turn the heat back on please, God.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Old photoshopped stuff

Found some old stuff from college. These are from an assignment--Pick a band and make a "best of" compilation CD, and design the case and booklet. I chose Marcy Playground.

For the song "I'd Say Never"

For the song "Pigeon Farm"

And this one was just an illustration I did on my own. I remember being afraid to swim in any pool that looked green. For some reason I thought that meant there would be hippo's in there, and since I've always been such an animal nerd I had already read about how the hippopotamus killed more people than any other animal in Africa.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Basic Obedience

My eldest furchild has graduated from basic obedience school. I have taken her to a trainer before to work on her dog aggression. That trainer was great....however, he lived in Lawton (2.5 hrs away) and his only group class was Fridays at 5pm. Which meant that I would have had to leave work 3 hours early on Fridays to have time to go get number-one-mutt and drive her all the way to Lawton. (Pedro is number-two-mutt in case anyone was wondering.) The trainer was so great he even offered me a big discount and said I could just come whenever I could, and pay per class instead of asking me to pay up front. I was only able to make it once. Since that time Bella never really got any good experiences around dogs outside her "pack" and her aggression which had gotten a little better, started to get worse again. So I started searching for closer trainers that had experience with aggressive dogs. I found Full Circle Obedience School in OKC. She got 6 weeks of great exposure to other dogs. some of which were well behaved. heh. She graduated this past Saturday and my roomie came to the big event and took pictures. Bella placed second in the fastest come-when-called-and-sit race, and won a bumpy green football that squeaks. She placed fourth (I think) in the longest sit-stay competition. She got up when the weimaraner broke it's stay and came over to sniff her butt. AND GET THIS...she didn't try and kill the weimaraner! I was so proud. At another point in the graduation class I had her sitting butt-to-butt to a cattle dog who even hit her with his waggy tail...and she never even glanced at it. It was awesome.

Next I'm planning on getting her the Canine Good Citizen thing. Their CGC class at full circle is supposed to work even more with teaching dogs to deal with other dogs being around it. And I think she would be a good candidate for the kids reading to dogs program, cus she LOVES kids.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Just a quick sketch for Illustration Friday. Every day on my drive home from work I watch the birds hanging out on the power lines (while I’m stopped at the lights--not when I’m actually driving.) I always wonder what they are thinking and why they keep moving. They will look perfectly happy perched in one spot…and then randomly decide they want to fly over to the power line across the street. Do they see a friend over there? Did the new bird that just flew over to the line they were on offend them in some way? Anyway…this is Oklahoma and half the time the birds get blown backwards no matter how vigorously they flap their wings (the other half of the time is when they actually decide to fly in the direction the wind is gusting.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bella got a new seat belt

I think that carabiner in the back fastens to the buckled seat belt. doesn't seem to be as secure as a human seat belt, but I feel a little better driving down Lake Hefner Parkway with her "buckled in." Thanks cuz Kathy for sending it to me! Isn't she a perfect model? OK so it's a little big...she doesn't have broad enough shoulders..

Did I photoshop out the mess in the background? Yes. Yes, I did.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I love books. Not just reading...books. I always have. I Love the way the pages feel, love the smell, love the way books look. Especially old books. I own several books that I have never read (or ever intend to read) that I got simply because they look awesome. Most of them are kinda old. Some are very old. The oldest one was printed in 1890 something if I remember right. (It's called Elementary Lessons in Logic by WS Jevons. I recomend reading his thoughts on how increased fuel efficiency does not lead to a decrease in that fuel's consumption. Interesting stuff.)

One of my favorites in my old book collection is Paris and Environs. It's small, and really old, and full of fold-out maps...a little travellers handbook. It's hardback but has a paper jacket which I think might make it worth something. At least worth more than what I paid. I got it an estate sale where they had a small room absolutely overflowing with books, and I guess the people hadn't wanted to bother putting prices on all those books, so it was just however many you could fit in one paper grocery bag for $5. A friend and I filled a bag together.

I've gotten my books from various places...some of my first I got from library sales at OC. Some from estate sales, a couple from garage sales, and one from a thrift store on 23rd street (Les Trois Mousquetaires, Printed in 1926.) Others came from book sales at the state fairgrounds. I just love rummaging around and finding these little treasures. Now, don't get me wrong...I don't buy every old book I come across, only ones that seem in decent condition. Ant they have to strike me a certain way (Cool illustrations, a famous title or author..intriguing subject matter...)

Anyway, now I'm thinking about selling some of them. I don't ever read them and I feel bad about it. they're just sitting on my shelf and I never even get them down because I don't want to accidentally rip any pages or--heaven forbid--leave one laying around where a dog could get to it. Not sure where I'll sell them online. Craiglist seems to be a bad place to sell things. I guess I'll list them on eBay...poor books.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Scammer Scum

I listed the above painting on craiglist on Monday, Feb 2nd. I was looking to make some cash, but also happen to like this painting and I have to admit, have a bit of a "To a good home only" mentality about it. Which is unlike me, I don't think I'm usually that attached to my artwork--or at least I didn't used to be. Maybe I've changed in that regard. Anyway, the one and only reply I got was from a guy named "Paul Scott." At least that's what he said his name was. This guy is a scammer...which I didn't see at first, but it got really obvious.

Here are the emails that went back and forth between and I, with his emails in red and mine in blue:

Paul on Feb 4, Wednesday:
hello, i saw your ad on the internet and im interested in buying,if sowhat condition is it in,what is your last asking price?.reply me with allthe necessary information i will need.thanks and i would really liketo buy it.thanks very much

Me, later that same day:
It's in good condition, I painted it about 4 years ago and have had it hanging up in my own house since then. I stretched the canvas myself so the back doesn't look as neat as a store bought canvas. I measured it and the exact size is about a quarter inch short of 3' long by 47" tall. I'm asking $400 but might be willing to sell it for a little less than that.

Paul, Thursday:
thanks for your reply i am currently out of the country on a business trip and dont know when i will be back but will be able to send you a payment,i will send you a check,do get back to me with full name and address you want the payment written in and sent to.paul

(A red light didn't go off at this point for me. Plenty of people have to travel outside the country on business trips. I just thought the guy was pretty weird for thinking he could pay with a check, and for offering to pay way before he would get the painting.)

Me, Thursday:
Are you planning on picking up the painting when you get back in the country? If so I'd rather just wait and be paid with cash. If you want to go ahead and pay while you are out of the country you can send a money order or pay with paypal, but it seems to make more sense for you to pay when you actually get the painting.

Paul, Friday:
hello,thanks for the reply, i have pickup agent who will come and make the pick up for me as soon as you confirm that payment has gotten to you,do send me full name and address you want on the moneyorder and were it should be sent to,and do send me your call contact soi can get to you as soon as i send the payment.

(Ding! here's where the red light went off. A pickup agent?? what the heck is that? This guy obviously wasn't just some dude wanting a painting because he personally liked it and wanted to hang it on his wall. For some reason that instantly made me not want to sell to him. What if he wanted to buy my painting just to sell it to someone else? I didn't know yet that money orders can be forged, so I never should have brought it up. I later googled it, and also noticed a the big warning about them right there on craiglist.)

Paul, Friday:
hello,i have not heard a word from you,i really need you to send me thedetails i asked for(full name and address on the moneyorder),please do get back to ASAP

Me, Monday:
I'm sorry I havn't replied faster, my computer wasn't working this weekend. I'm also sorry, but I've changed my mind about accepting a money order. I will only accept cash. If you want to pay me in cash whenever you can pickup the artwork that's great. I can hold the painting for a few weeks sinse you said you don't know when you will be back in the country.

(I thought about what to say over the weekend. (my home computer wasn't working, that's the truth.) I couldn't tell how exactly this guy was trying to scam me, since I wouldn't be giving him squat until I saw the money actually in my bank account balance, but after reading more about money orders online I decided the best thing would be to go back on what I said and tell him I would only accept cash. I really felt bad about it, but his reply was what made it clear that yes, he defiantly was a scammer. Also, his reply was at 12:45 in the afternoon instead of the middle of the night like they had been. He must have been staying up really late in that imaginary foreign country he was in for business.)

Paul, Monday:
hello,i dont like this i have already sent the moneyorder earlier today,and i dont know when i will back that is why i have sent you a moneyorder in the first instance,we have already made arrangements and you can just turn around we just have to do it this way,thanks very much

Me, Monday (Feb 9):
How did you send me a money order when I havn't provided you with my name or my address? I'm sorry but I will only accept cash, and if you really want my painting I'll be more than willing to hang on to it for a little while. That way you don't have to pay me in advance, you can just pay when you get it.

Paul, Sunday February 15:
hello,i havent heard a word from you,i hope you are ok,i just want to let you know that i have sent the payment to you,so you should be expecting it this week,i sent you an excess payment i hope you dont mind,upon receiving this payment,you deduct your amount and you will then forward the remaining to my agent who will then move towards pick up.thanks very much

Me, This morning, Feb 16:
I'm sorry Paul, but you did here from me. I replied to your last email and told you that I will only be accepting cash. It is impossible for you to have sent me a money order as you don't know my name or my address, And even if I had given that to you I never agreed to send you're "agent" anything.

I changed my craigslist add to say "cash only" I wonder if I will hear back from Paul. I had tried before to keep him dangling a little with my comment that I would hold the painting for him if he wanted to wait and pay with cash, but thought he'd given up when I didn't hear from him for over a week. Kinda made my day this morning when I checked my email and found he had tried one last time. Wonder where this guy is from.