Monday, October 23, 2017

Art 17: Diana 1

During a Life Drawing workshop back in 2013, a model named Diana posed for the class. I thought she was great because she moved like she belonged there, at that moment in time. All her poses spoke volumes. Using a regular pencil, I sketched the figure in three- minute-intervals on an off-white page. This was the third pose of the bunch and my favorite. My focus was on the movement from her hip. What do you think?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pet News 27: Making your Home a Safe Place for Pets

Here is a list to get you thinking about your backyard when you have a pet given by the Humane Society of the United States ( Note that it doesn’t matter if you live in a house, an apartment, or other dwelling. The important thing is making sure your pet is safe and has the basic necessities.
  •          always have water available

(whether in a large bowl, birdbath, or man-made small pond)
  •           provide a nutritious and balanced diet

(look for treats, kibble, and cans made with authentic ingredients)
  •          avoid harsh chemicals on your lawn

(like pesticides that may harm both your pet and children)
  •          make your swimming pool safe

(teach your dog to swim, but never let them swim unsupervised, fence the pool or purchase a top to close it, have a way for the pet to climb out)
  •          keep cats indoors

(cats can still have a fulfilling life if you provide views to the outside, a fenced patio, leash training, etc.)
  •          clean up your yard during Fall and Spring

(this is when ticks and fleas grow in abundance and like to hide in tall grass or accumulated leaves)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Books I’m Reading 35

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michelle Borba, Ed.D. The author provides nine essential habits that help build empathy in children. She provides examples and different strategies to get kids practicing to be empathetic.

Ozone Journal by Peter Balakian is an excellent poetry collection with various themes related to Native Americans, Nairobi, Armenian-Turkish border, and more. Balakian has a gentle writing style which captures a lot of the sensitivities about his subject. Great read.

Unlikely Heroes: 37 Inspiring Stories of Courage and Heart from the Animal Kingdom by Jennifer S. Holland. This book is filled with pictures and stories of the various animals, from llamas to dogs, who have shown caring or helped others.

Unlikely Friendships Dogs: 37 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage by Jennifer S. Holland. This book is filled with heartfelt stories of dogs becoming close friends to the animals they care for, from meerkats, to pot-bellied pigs to kittens and goats, there’s a lot to say about the kindness these dogs provide and get in return.

Booked by Kwame Alexander. Written in verse, this story is about a middle school boy trying to piece together the changes in his life- from his parent’s separation to getting the guts to ask a girl out, and from dealing with bullies to learning to love words. This book is a great read.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Writing Endeavors 15: Breathing PART II

Still working on my fantasy novel and querying agents. I’ve submitted to poetry publishers, too. Here is another compiled list of links to some of the poems that were published online. Enjoy!

I’d like to thank all the editors and publishers who accepted my work. Don’t forget to follow =)

“the Loss” poem read live at CafĂ© Gallery in Chicago
“Veteran’s Wish” (scroll down)
“Seasons” (scroll down)
“Hidden Crush” (scroll down)
“Milk” (scroll down)
“Pheonix Song” (scroll down)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Quotes 28

“Always do more than is required of you.”
-General George S. Patton
To all those service men and women and volunteers who have assisted during the various catastrophes around the globe, THANK YOU.
That’s what this quote brought to mind. All the people who put themselves in harm’s way or are available after the harm is gone are important. Their dedication is amazing and needed.
This quote also reminded me of what your donations do for the different charities, helping provide food, shelter, and equipment to others. A deep thanks to all of you.
I’m sure by now you have seen the different places to send funds to those in need due to the hurricanes and earthquakes. I will list a couple of places to send donations (food, toys, money, blankets, etc.) to our animals in need.
-learn how to help with the animal’s environment and about a painting giraffe
-learn the extent of this horrible practice and see how you can help the Born Free Foundation
-learn how you can make a difference in a horse’s life through the different fundraising events
-learn what the National Wildlife Federation is doing to combat conservation efforts for all wildlife and their environment

-learn how this group is gearing to enhance the sanctuary and what they do to help the different animals in their care

Monday, September 18, 2017

Art 16: Reclining Beauty

This piece was done back in 2015 in a Life Drawing Workshop. I used pastel colors to draw the female model in a reclined position within the twenty minutes given. 
Though, the hands and arms look mechanical and need a little work, I do like the way the color enhances the shape of the body and adds dimension. 
If I had more time to work on it, I would focus on the shoulder areas to get a better feel for the arms. What do you think?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Short Stories & Such 35: Final Lunch

The following prompt came out of the Writer’s Digest Magazine. I had cut it out, but didn’t write the date (oops) of the issue. The prompt was: “When a man takes lunch to his wife’s office, he’s told that she hasn’t worked there in weeks.”
Here’s what I came up with. Maybe you’d like to try the prompt, too =)
Final Lunch

Every morning, my wife leaves me breakfast on the table, covered in one of those cake lids. The steam fills the lid’s inside area until I release it by lifting it. The smell of sunny side up eggs or the spinach induced platter consume my nostrils. Beside the dish, she usually leaves a note with different messages. Whether she’d be late or something for me to do or ‘have a nice day,’ but today, there was no message (and no breakfast). I looked around the pristine kitchen and couldn’t find it. Which got me to thinking about how hard she worked at the firm and a minor slip like this was nothing compared to that, so, I decide to buy her lunch on my day off to surprise her and thank her for all she does. What husband wouldn’t?

Carrying the take-out lunch from Claim Jumper’s, I headed up the elevator to the fifteenth floor, when the doors opened, the gray and white walls of the lobby led me to the receptionist. A whiff of anti-bacterial soap hit me and I loosened my tie.

“Good afternoon,” I said with my friendliest smile.

She looked up and removed her glasses. Her hair in curls and her nails painted blue. “Good afternoon. May I help you?”

“Yes. I would like to see Mrs. Amanda Esparza.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t think she works on this floor. Maybe—”

“No, you don’t understand. Mrs. Esparza is my wife and this is where she works. Please check your records.”

The receptionist cleared her throat and stood. She was an inch or two taller than I. Then, she lifted her index finger in a gesture to wait and she walked into the office behind her.

Sweat trickled on my forehead. Probably from the hot food I carried, but I stood there like an upright spaghetti noodle searching my memory for a possible wrong floor number or the staff had changed?

After a few minutes, the receptionist walked out and looked me up and down, inspecting me and searching for some explanation. She frowned and sighed before biting her lower lip.

“Your wife hasn’t worked here in weeks, Mr. Esparza. I’m sorry you had to find out this way. I’m new here myself and I’m not familiar with everyone’s names yet.”

Blinking, I watched the food bag roll off my hands onto the floor. “Not worked here?”

She nodded as her eyebrows pressed together like an accordion.

I bent to pick up the spill and tossed the bag in the receptacle beside her desk. I scratched the back of my head and turned to her. “Do you know where she went?”

“I’m sorry we don’t have that information.”

She placed her glasses back on and proceeded with her work.

All I could do was gulp. What could have happened? When did this happen? Without answers, I decided to head back home and wait for Amanda’s arrival. Short of a panic attack, I decided to call her mother when it was past midnight. Better yet, I decided to pay her mother a visit. Somebody had to know something about my wife.

The sound of a motor stopped me from opening the door. Then, a thud for the door made me step back. But when the stomp of feet got closer, I knew there was more than one person outside. The gun was under the bed in a shoebox and I grabbed it. The rough handle glued to my sweaty palm. Securing a flashlight, I rushed to the kitchen. I wiped my palm on the back of my pants, then, turned toward the living room. My wife walked in… with another man.

She turned the lights on and led the man inside. They didn’t speak, so, I decided to step in.

“Honey?” I hid the gun behind me and left the flashlight on top of the counter.

She turned, her chin up, brown eyes wide, and long ponytail swaying.

“I went to your office…”

The man narrowed his eyes. He had a gray suit which complemented his blue eyes.

She smiled. The kind of smile she gave me when she wanted me to massage her feet after a long day. I would kiss her toes and she would…

“I must have been at one of my lunch meetings,” she said.

I neared her and got hold of her arm to lead her further from the man who never spoke. I inserted the gun inside the back of my pants.

“They said you don’t work there anymore,” I whispered. “What’s going on? and who is that man?”

She placed a finger on her lip, and said, “That’s the new Mr. Esparza.”

After minutes of composing myself, and giving her the gun, Amanda made it clear what changes were needed. All of it involved the new Mr. Esparza. I was suddenly out of her plans, which made the next part the ultimate blow.

“Before Mr. Esparza kills me, am I entitled to why?”

Amanda held the rope around my wrists and pulled me to the backyard. “Sometimes, a girl gets bored, too, honey.”

She kissed my cheek. That’s when the knife went through my back.