House Panthers, Volume 1.

As a cat “owner” (I use the term loosely), I’ve got some advice for anyone whose cat is currently experiencing a bout with, er, constipation. The simplicity of this technique will surprise you, but I promise it is foolproof.

The next time your Little Lord Fancypants or Mrs. Tiggywinkle is facing an intestinal logjam, just place the litter box right next to the tub and draw yourself a luxurious bubble bath, preferably with the most expensive beauty products, maybe a few candles and soft music playing in the background. Toss rose petals in the water. Spare no expense. Step into your oasis and slowly sink back for a steamy, decadent soak…

Within seconds, your house panther will rush in and poop his brains out.

I wish I’d known this trick when my first post-college cat, William, became seriously backed up. I was pretty worried about him because he’d stopped eating. Meanwhile, I was about to leave town on a much-needed vacation. Boarding him made more sense than leaving him with friends. I took him to the vet, fearing the worst. William stayed at the vet the entire week I was away.

When I returned from my vacation—worried about William the whole time, just super fun—I went straight to the vet’s office. My heart was in my throat as I entered the waiting room and told the receptionist who I was picking up.

“You’re William’s mother? He’s a really nice cat.”

Well, yes, of course, William was an astounding cat. He was the sort of cat that people inquired about years after they met him, in the same way they’d ask how your parents were doing, or your kid who is away at college. There’d be a slight gasp and then “Oh! And how is William?”

I needed to know, was William going to be alright? Did they figure out what was wrong?

“Well… Doctor Sullivan had to… uh… give him five enemas. But he’s fine now! Like I said, he’s a really nice cat.”

Five enemas.

There are some things better left to the professionals, and I believe “cat enema” is in the top ten of things you should not ever attempt, right up there with taunting an angry bear or giving a wolverine a mani-pedi. None of those things are worth the trip to the emergency room. Hence, I keep the litter box next to the tub.

You’ve been Chopped.

I’m a huge fan of Chopped, discovered it while I was stuck in the hospital last year and have been watching it every night via streaming, working my way from the very first episode to, currently, 2018. So I’ve still got three years of episodes to go, which in Chopped years is closer to seven.

I’ve never come across anything like this, but after binge-watching continuously for the past year I feel qualified to present my list of Things To Never, Ever Do on Chopped.

Some of these items are the typical dealbreakers that send contestants home; others are just my personal irritants, like the mispronounced ingredients and bad fashion choices.

  1. Do not make polenta, ever. You will lose.
  2. Do not add any basket ingredient as a “garnish.” You fool nobody but yourself.
  3. Do not attempt a mole. In thirty minutes? Not happening, especially if Aaron Sanchez is judging.
  4. Do not serve undercooked pasta or pasta without salt, you absolute clown.
  5. NO TRUFFLE OIL. Stop it.
  6. It’s vinaigrette. Not vinegar-ette. It’s not small vinegar.
  7. It’s mascarpone, not MARSKA-pone.
  8. Raw red onions? Really? Have you watched the show, ever?
  9. Stop saying “I gotta bring my A game.”
  10. Stop saying “bragging rights.”
  11. Stop saying “I know my flavors are there.”
  12. Please stop saying “I’m leaving with my head held high.” YOU LOST.

There are numerous others, but these are the freshest wounds from tonight’s viewing. I may start writing these down so I can publish more cranky lists.

Oh! And please stop with the dumb hats. Who cooks in a hat? It’s a thousand degrees in that kitchen. How does a hat even stay on? I’m waiting for the episode when a stupid hat goes flying and catches fire, or falls into hot fat. Alex will not be pleased if this happens. Take that thing off! You don’t look cool!

Bookshelf

Just received my copy of What They Don’t Teach You in Art School, by Will Terry, and wish it had been around when I first graduated. Thought-provoking, well-written and fully illustrated by the author, this is a worthy addition to my bookshelf.
I’m also waiting for my (used) copy of the 15th edition of Graphic Artists Guild’s Pricing and Ethical Guidelines, a book I’ve purchased in the distant past and never had the chance to implement as a designer charging an hourly rate.Simpler times, but also less interesting; the pursuit of greatness requires risk.


Also on my nightstand:
It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, by the brilliant Julia Cameron
Make Your Art No Matter What, by Beth Pickens
Illustration Workshop, by Mary Kate McDevitt
Making Comics, by Lynda Barry
Put Me in the Zoo, by Robert Lopshire


What are you reading, artwise?

Blah blah blah

Here goes another attempt at a blog. I enjoy writing. Why do I so rarely make the time for it? Why does carving out an hour or two a day fill me with guilt? Lately I have shifted my career focus to concentrate specifically on publishing a children’s picture book based on any number of manuscripts I’ve semi-completed over the years.

As it happens, you can’t approach publishers with half-finished manuscripts or “great ideas.” I mean, if you’re a celebrity you can probably do this, or if you’ve got connections in the publishing world you might be able to finagle a book deal based on charm and a killer elevator pitch.

Alas, I am a regular person with no friends, so I have no other option than to buckle down and make things happen. As my husband once remarked, these books aren’t going to write themselves.