28 July 2007

Yoga Yowch

So endeth week one of "Get In Shape Girl" Murphy. I have to admit, I feel better than I thought I would. You see, typically... I'd try to start exercising, but would become too exhausted and frustrated I was so out of shape. This time it is different. This time is going to be it. Joining a gym isn't as scary or expensive as I thought. When you think about all the classes and all the time you could potentially spend there, it's totally worth it. I can see how it might almost be addictive! I kind of like not having much of a social life and working from my studio (which is less than a quarter mile of the gym), because it always gives me a very conveinent option on a quiet afternoon. Well, Sue is also my slave driver, but if she only knew I really actually loved going.

But in this post, I really wanted to discuss Yoga. Ok, the word even sounded lame to me before this week. Yo-gaaahh, something an old car might sputter. Or something lumpy, found underneath rotten logs. I admit, I thought yoga was a lame fitness routine only for pregnant ladies, old people, or hippies. But! I am now ashamed of that thought. It's a wonderful way to increase flexibility and also gain muscle mass with the weight of one's own body. Lord knows... I need flexibility. I can't even touch my toes without letting out a guffaw, or reach across the table and falling over. My ligaments (what I have left) are particularily angry in my left side, I think because of trying to support the injured right.

Some of the fun poses include the Seated Child. So comfy, but I can totally feel it stretching all the muscles in my glutes and back. And no, the mats never smell good, and yes, occaisionally I do head butt the ground from exhuastion.

The Warrior Pose just makes me feel all bad ass. Like a samurai soldier about to bust out some flying crane kicks (not yoga, but Mr. Miyagi).

The Shoulder Stand reminds me of being a kid and acting like a complete crazy person, wheeling my legs like Indurain in the Tour de France. But now, I have the innertube of pudge around the midsection that makes it a bit tougher than back then.

Last but certainly not least, the all time favorite... the Corpse Pose. Never before have the instructors seen the "Corpsey" (my clever nickname) performed like I can do. I particularily love this at the end, when you can hear every vertebrae in your back cuss you out. It's around this time my feet and hands feel all numb.

I'll give a bit of history to this twisting torture, since afterall, true enlightenment comes from health of body AND mind. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yuj' which essentially means to join or unite. The union referred to is that of the individual self uniting with Cosmic Consciousness or the Universal Spirit. Yoga is a means to achieving this goal. Born in India, almost 26,000 years ago, Yoga is believed to have evolved during the period of the ‘Sat Yuga’, also called the Golden age. This period became known as a time of everlasting peace and abundant blessings, filled with seekers of the Eternal Truth. That is why, probably, even today we associate yoga with sages and hermits, not to mention sado-masochists. Kidding. It was not until the discovery of the Indus- valley civilization, the largest civilization (which if my memory serves me, also had the first working plumbing and sewer systems. Take THAT Rome), that knowledge about the origin of Yoga surfaced. Excavations give evidence of yoga’s existence during this period; yogi -like figures engraved on soapstone seals have been unearthed. In fact, it was the Aryans, migrating from the north- west, who were instrumental in discovering yoga.

Further research brought me to this redicuous notion: DOGA. I was joking when I said to Sue I should bring Lily in, saying that she needed to be more in control of her inner circle. Now I am laughing at the prospects of the both of us bringing in our animals. Sue and Duncan or Tucker (Great Danes) and me with a very shakey Chihuahua. I think I would rather enjoy seeing all 5 feet of Sue trying to make her 160lb Duncan into the Shoulder Pose. Here's an image I found of a Doga session:

Come on! That's totally the WWF old school Pile Drive! How mean! But funny!

26 July 2007

Totally Testosterone

Watching a documentary today, the light bulb shone down on my, recently discovered, male thinking brain. Academics find that finger of destiny points their way. Male scientists are good at research because they have the hormone levels of women and long index fingers, a new study says. The study at the University of Bath, which as been submitted to the British Journal of Psychology, also found that:
1.) these hormonal levels may make male scientists less likely to have children.
2.)those men with a higher level of estrogen were more likely than average to have relatives with dyslexia, which may in part be caused by hormonal levels.
3.)women social scientists tended to have higher levels of testosterone, making their brains closer to those of males in general.

The study drew on work in the last few years which established that the levels of estrogen and testosterone a person has can be seen in the relative length of their index (second) and ring (fourth) fingers. The ratio of the lengths is set before birth and remains the same throughout life. The length of fingers is genetically linked to the sex hormones, and a person with an index finger shorter than the ring finger will have had more testosterone while in the womb, and a person with an index finger longer than the ring finger will have had more estrogen. The difference in the lengths can be small – as little as two or three per cent – but important.

A survey of the finger lengths of over 100 male and female academics at the University by senior Psychology lecturer Dr Mark Brosnan has found that those men teaching hard science like mathematics and physics tend to have index fingers as long as their ring fingers, a marker for unusually high estrogen levels for males. It also found the reverse: those male academics with longer ring fingers than index fingers – the usual male pattern – tended not to be in science but in social science subjects such as psychology and education.

"The results are a fascinating insight into how testosterone and estrogen levels in the womb can affect people's choice of career and how these levels can show up in the length of fingers on our hands," said Dr Brosnan. He said that men having levels of testosterone very much higher than normal for males would also create the right hemisphere dominated brain, which could help in science. The extremes of low testosterone and high testosterone for men would create the scientific brain, and the normal range in the middle would create the 'social science' brain.

The question also arises as to why more women, who have this lower level of testosterone, are not in science, which is male-dominated, with only one in 40 science professors being a woman. The short answer is that we don't know: the high levels of estrogen in women may act differently on the brain and not give them the spatial skills that men with similar levels of the hormone have.

So, I am not too sure what all these means, but look athe that ring and index finger difference! My levels of testosterone must be comparable to the meatheads in a high school weight room! I think this means I am much better at spacial problem solving, than the social graces of the common cocktail party. Just what I need, and excuse backed by science.

Robert's Snow: For Cancer's Cure 2007

Just finished up my snowflake for this years charity event for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. They are celebrating their third year, and hoping to surpass last years fundraising numbers. Help make this year the best yet! Visit their website to find out more about this amazing event. Collecting over 200 picturebook artist's own personal vision, these flakes will be lifelong keepsakes.

This year, I dedicate my snowflake to Connor Ciesielski, a very gentle, adventurous little boy who was truly, a great crab hunter. Connor’s true love was being on a Cape Cod beach. He enjoyed the hot days in the sun and the early evenings on the beach. It was on the beach that "Conman" was his happiest. He would fish and hunt for crabs all day. He always made sure that any sea life that he and his brother caught was always returned back to the sea so that they wouldn’t be missed by their daddy and mommy and could grow bigger in hopes of catching them again on another day. Connor passed away due to Leukemia this July 15th. He was a very brave warrior.

Bidding starts in November, but keep checking the website. They will start to show all the snowflakes in late August.

23 July 2007

The Dragons Are Done, Dude!

A huge weight has been lifted off the workdesk here. I am so thrilled. I just sent off Hush, Little Dragon to Harry N. Abrams, and now I am off to haul buns on other projects. I know the older you get, life gets more complicated... but the summer of 2007 has been plain nutty. The only thing I DO NOT need to add to it is FedEx losing my package. I would quite honestly... die. Flatline, people.

Typically, I hand deliver my books, but because of the overshot deadline and other work stockpiling, I am not able to do so. Just letting you know, my heart will be in my throat till tomorrow morning when I hear they have it in the office. So I was wondering what measures I should take when shippig it. Almost all artwork I will seal in a plastic bag, in case the packaging gets wet. I'll also reinforce all cardboard with at least two layers. For my books, I hand make a box, typically lined with bubble wrap. But these I usually deliver in person. I was wondering, how many book artist break up the shipment into two or three packages in case they lose it, only half the book needs to be repainted. I almost did this, but thought that might be tempting fate, tooo much.

I did give a bit of attitude to the girl behind the counter when she asked me the declared value. I answered, "More than FedEx can ever pay me", but it's true. Factor together all the work hours, the stress level, and material costs there is NO way they'd be able to repay it. At that point I'd call it an omen, and restart from scracth.

So, how to celebrate finishing this book? Sue and I joined the gym! Yes, sitting for three months straight, barely moving with an injured knee means the flab has invaded. High school weight here we come. No, I am serious. Stop making fun!

13 July 2007


Free Online Dating
Are they NUTS? It says death is mentioned one time in my blog so it's safe for all to enjoy. But... hello? Did they see the post about chesty women, greasy food, and... people STEALING my beer? I am so confused.

11 July 2007

Fiona in 3D!

How flattered am I? Jessica Kennady created this doll version of Fiona for the Hillsboro Oregon Library. It was displayed to further encourage children of the community to keep reading. I think it may inspire some to pick up sewing! Thanks so much Jessica.