Summer Fades

I could see my breath this morning as I walked the dog.  Summer in all its glory is fading from the air. The girls both head off to school next week and new runners and lunch kits and school supplies seem to be taking over.  It’s time to start getting up earlier as the morning becomes a little more rushed.  Lunches to be made, breakfast to be had, lost socks to be found.
School supplies were actually quite easy this year and not that costly.  After buying so much every year for so many years we seem to have a lot of them hanging around.  You would think our house is a mini-staples at times.  I already had all the basics covered, dictionaries, verb books, geometry sets, calculators you know the “big ticket” items.
The little stuff can add up certainly but even then we didn’t need too much.  It’s another example of why I always say organizing is the key to everything.  Those who ask how I have the energy to do all that I do don’t realize that sometimes I don’t have the energy.  I can keep going because I know whatever it is will be easier because it’s organized.
That of course is the biggest challenge to those first back to school days, organizing the girls and all their stuff.  It’s always a lot to carry that first day and I try to space it out if I can. Actually no, that isn’t the biggest challenge that would be getting them up and out the door on time.  
I let them sleep in during the summer months and while my youngest happily gets up early without a problem any time of year the oldest is becoming a little more challenging.  Like me she isn’t a morning person and over the summer she would have happily slept until noon each day if I’d let her.
School starting is just another sign that the time for summer fun is almost over. Like the changing leaves, the cooler nights and the shorter sunlit hours.  I’m not worried though as fall fun is just around the corner.   

Character Design

100 word count - Crab Apples

Tis the season for crab apples falling from the trees. A bag quite near to bursting sits on my kitchen counter, full of apples waiting to be made into something tart and sweet.  A warm apple pie, a cold apple jelly, a  sticky apple crumble, sweet apple pancakes, flaky apple turnover, a warm baked apple, an ooey gooey apple topped cake or perhaps some crunchy apple chips. Lots of ideas and things I can do, perhaps I’ll even manage to use them all. Soon the whole house will be filled with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg in the air.  

Picture Day - Grand Beach

Even though the days are still hot the evenings have begun to cool and beach days are looking to have come to an end. We may get one more in this coming weekend but that will be the last for sure. The vibrant green of the forest trees have begun to fade and a few have already fluttered to the ground.

Picture Prompt - Empty

Finally John felt as if he was halfway back to being human.  After spending the past week either in bed or in the bathroom he was finally feeling better.  He was still a little queasy and shaky on his feet but he felt that he might just be able to stomach a little real food.
Opening the fridge door his nose crinkled. Well he may feel well enough to eat but there certainly weren’t going to be many options. The only thing his fridge contained was a carton of eggs he couldn’t remember buying, a few condiments, a half dozen beers and a couple of takeout containers at least a month old.  He pulled out the eggs looking at the date stamped on the side.  Well those certainly weren’t an option. …
Opening the freezer door wasn’t any better; a lonely tray of ice sat in the center of the freezer with nothing to accompany it other than a fair amount of frost.  Perhaps he’d been living the bachelor life a little too much lately.
He opened each of the cupboards in turn finding nothing more exciting than the contents of the fridge. Turning back to the living room he walked over to the coffee table where a bunch of chip and cracker packages lay spread out after having sustained himself on them for the past week.
He emptied each straight into his mouth before balling up the whole mess and tossing them in the garbage bin. He picked up the phone and dialed Arts’ pizza palace on the corner, after a dozen rings he decided they must not be open for breakfast and headed off to shower realizing he’d have to go get some real groceries.
Locking the door behind him as he headed out of his apartment he noticed the stale shut in smell of his apartment seemed to have seeped out into the hall.  Stepping out into the bright late afternoon sun he blinked around noticing an odd quality to the street around him. 
He looked left and right seeing not a single moving car or person walking.  That’s weird he thought mentally calculating the date. It was a Friday and as far as he could recall not a long weekend. Even if it had been a long weekend though some people and cars should be about. He couldn’t even hear anything moving in the distance.
He shrugged maybe his ears were still plugged from being sick and slowly he made his way down to the little corner store.  He pulled open the door the bell jangling above his head and wandered the empty aisles picking things up absentmindedly as he stared out the storefront at the empty streets.
“Weird” he thought making his way over to the counter where Mr. Chan usually stood.  He rang the little bell standing on the counter peering into the dark back room. Sighing he leant back against the counter as he waited for someone to come up front. He picked up a chocolate bar from the rack under the counter and opened it gratefully chewing something that wasn’t a cracker.
Finishing his bar he turned back around, tapping the bell a few more times and calling out to Mr. Chan the store’s owner again.  He waited a few more minutes and cautiously walked towards the darkened back room calling out again.  Reaching the doorway he hesitated not wanting to enter the darkened space. 

Confused he turned back to his basket filled with food and then back again to the darkened room where not a sound issued. His head was beginning to spin again, his knees felt rubbery and his stomach had begun to churn again.  He walked back up to the counter selecting a few items and grabbing a bag from the back counter stuffing everything inside as he added the prices up in his head.
Reaching into his wallet he pulled out three tens then pausing pulled another out, just in case his math wasn’t right.   He reached over the counter slipping the bills under the edge of the till so that they sat about halfway out from underneath.  He called out to Mr. Chan again and explained what he was doing. With a final glance toward the back of the store and a loud rumble from his stomach he decided this was the best he could do and left the store.
By the time he reached his building and made his way up the single flight of steps his head was spinning full force and he rushed to the bathroom tossing the bag and it's entire contents into the fridge along his way.  He would sort it out later. 

Trying not to think of what he’d seen that morning, or had not seen, he left the bathroom shuffling across the hall to collapse onto his unmade bed. He fell into an uneasy sleep, silence all around him.  

Random Happiness

In the spirit of noticing things more, of looking up and finding small moments that make me smile here is a random list of 5 things that made me smile over the past weekend.

1)      Fundraising at the mall for The Children’s Hospital we borrowed their mascot suit and so my job was to be Dr. Goodbears escort for the day. It's impossible not to smile when you see the faces of child after child so very excited to see a giant bear who can hug back.

2)      Winning a game of Life. I know the outcome in a game of life has no bearing on any actual skills but still, everyone likes to win.

3)      New flowers in my favorite planters. It has not been a good gardening year, the deer have been quite destructive and I haven’t had a lot of time to spend tending to plants this year. These planters died out when we were away during some of the hottest days as the person who had volunteered to water for me didn’t.  The lack of colour in these planters has bothered me all summer so it’s nice to see them brightened up.  
4)      Feeding the geese and ducks at the Assiniboine park duck pond. They are always somewhat amusing to watch, well except when they chase you. Let me tell you Canadian Geese have got some attitude.
5)      Making fun of the planetarium show we saw on Sunday as a family. It had clearly been produced in the mid 70’s. That’s the problem with being museum members we aren’t as selective in the planetarium shows we see and end up watching even the crappy ones. Fun though to poke fun at them afterwards. Aha Pluto IS a planet, the planetarium still says so after all!

For The Love Of Kids

I’ve been stressing over how to write my post today.  Whether you’ve noticed, from the tone or all-over the place posts of late, I’ve been struggling with my writing the last couple of weeks. It’s not that I’ve run out of things to say, in fact I have a ton of stuff to say I’m just finding that I have no clue on HOW to say any of it.
Usually that’s fine, by the time I actually sit down to write, something has come to me.  Today though I have a specific topic in mind and I’m having a little bit more difficulty in determining the right wording. I think it is probably because for the first time I’m going to ask for something back from my readers.
As I’ve mentioned before I participate in a yearly Dragon boat Festival which is held in support of Cancer Care Manitoba and The Children’s Hospital Foundation.  This year we want to raise $1000.00 in support for sick kids and so each team member is using as many avenues as possible to raise funds.
This is one of my avenues.  So I’m asking even though I’m absolutely terrible in asking for support.  I can only do it now because it isn’t asking anyone to support me but to support sick kids who need every ounce of caring and love they can get. 
So if anyone at all chooses to donate thank you from the bottom of my heart.  If you read this and have dedicated all of your charitable donations for the year thank you for being a reader and no hard feelings.
If you would like to donate please visit our team page at Cancer Care Manitoba - donate today. Thanks for listening.

Picture Day - The Way We Were

Pictures of me and my brother from when we were kids.

Picture This

I am by no stretch of the imagination a great photographer, I do enjoy taking pictures and between my husband and I we have managed some pretty nice shots over the years many of which are displayed around the house.
One of my favorite picture groupings is two collage frames filled with pictures of the girls as babies.   I always love to stop and see how even in these very early pictures you can see how very different their personalities are despite their similar looks.
When I put these collections of pictures together I recall having had a difficult time.  What I had an issue with was not only deciding which pictures to use, but which pictures I was willing to cut in order to fit the many differently sized frames.
With my youngest it’s not an issue, her baby pictures are all digital format and so they can be printed and reprinted and reprinted.  My oldest however arrived a few years before the advent of digital cameras and so in many cases a picture only exists as that one and only photo. 
Cutting a picture which can’t be re-printed means you better be darn sure that’s the one you want.  It’s something that’s bothered me and has more than once prevented me from using a picture I wanted to use.
Another advantage I noticed with digital copies is digital picture frames.  While setting up a new one for my Dad recently I realized how odd it seemed to have pictures of my youngest from infancy to current age while my oldest simply seems to pop into existence at about the age of 3.
As digital pictures and uses for them become more common I think the time has come to start scanning pictures and so I’ve begun what I’m discovering is a much larger task than expected.  I figure if I’m scanning pictures I may as well scan any and all pictures I have.  It makes for some pretty formidable stacks.

A Mystery

Many buildings in Winnipegs exchange district have a uniqueness to them.  They are almost exclusively older buildings and the architecture of some is absolutely stunning.  Many of these buildings also have little stories behind them, nuggets of "oh that's neat" to discover.  Well I'm currently searching for one of those little nuggets as my curiosity has been sparked. My husband often visits a place called Assentworks, a great non-profit maker space which is located on Adelaide Ave.  Adelaide is known to be the western boundary of the exchange district. While dropping some things off there over the weekend I noticed something odd a little further up.  This building is at the corner of Adelaide and McDermot Avenues and with a quick glance one would think it was simply at some point in time a police station and nothing more.  Take a closer look at the sign over this particular doorway though and you see the real mystery.  

Toronto City Police
Station 4

Say what? Now being that I took this picture with my feet (or at least my wheels) firmly planted in Winnipeg where exactly does Toronto city police fit in?  So far I'm no closer to answering that question than when I first saw it. Rumor has it that it was for a film some years ago and that the signage was simply never taken down which yes does make sense but what film and what is the actual history behind this building? I can find a fair amount of historical information information on every other building surrounding it but not even a footnote about this little oddity and so the search continues.

Wasn'tThat A Party

Each year when the time for birthday parties arrives I do my best to make them as fun and exciting and different as I can.  I like to think I’ve done a pretty good job of it over the years and we have done some awfully fun stuff but as they have gotten older it has become more of a challenge. 
Finding something that will be enjoyed by a group of 12 and 13 year old girls is not quite as easy as something for a group of 5 and 6 year olds.  My balloon making skills are of very little use these days.   So what to do? 
As always I ask the girls for the theme of their parties and then we expand upon on their ideas with a bit of brainstorming. My youngest came up with the suggestion of a cupcake decorating party and it was fairly simple to put together and went really well.  Unfortunately just trying to get a straight answer out of a teenager is not as easy and we went back and forth through a number of suggestions without getting any closer to a decision.
Finally after what seemed to be an absurd number of discussions the realization that The Hunger Games would be released on DVD shortly it was decided a simple movie night would do.  Except I don’t do simple and of course we had to expand on the idea and make it into something more.  So how do you make a simple movie party more exciting?  Outdoor movie night!
When all was said and done it was the best way to watch a movie you can imagine.  For my husband and I memories of the drive-in theatre came flooding back, for the dozen or so girls sprawled out around the screen wrapped in sleeping bags  it was a new and unique experience.

Hanging Out on the Cape Cod Canal

As I may have said before on this blog, both Sarah & I love Cape Cod and have great memories of visiting there with our families as kids. My parents took me and my siblings there every summer.  And, whether it was camping at Nickerson State Park in Brewster, or a day trip to one of the many beautiful beaches, I have endless memories of summertime on the Cape.

As I have also probably said on this blog before, Sarah and I have started to create memories of the Cape for Allie, Anna and Emily the past couple of years by making it down there a couple of times during the summer months. Sarah and the girls have come to cheer me on while I run the Falmouth Road Race for the past 4 years, for example.

In some ways I can't believe I did it, but I (just me) took Allie, Anna and Emily with me to Falmouth so that I could get my number for this year's running of Falmouth. (There is no number pick-up the day of the race, so runners MUST pick-up their numbers by Saturday for Sunday's race.) And again, I surprised myself by stopping along the Cape Cod Canal in Buzzards Bay on the drive home.

Note: Buzzards Bay has special meaning to Sarah & I as we both have a brother who graduated from Mass Maritime Academy, which is located in Buzzards Bay.

Here's a video clip of the girls taking in the beauty of the boats, bridge(s), birds and people:

Animated TV-Commerical - Character Designs

So I finally got permission from snowball | VFX studios to post some of the Character Designs and artwork I did 'Israeli Oscar Wining' animated short/TV commerical 'Sharry Arison - Shikun & Binui - Real Estate'. So, the first two characters below are the ones you can see in the first commercial (the other 2 commercials haven't been aired yet) and the rest of the characters below are some of the early designs we did for this commercial but didn't eventually use. I had the best time working on this short with the guys at the studio, I had an awesome experience and I'm really happy with the way the overall look/feel of the commercial, so many talented people have worked on this commercial and I'm truly happy I could be a part of it. ALL RIGHT RESERVED to snowball | VFX Studios

שיכון ובינוי - עיצוב דמויות על ידי עינב דרעי - חברת ההפקה האחראית על האנימציה וארט - סנובול סטודיוס - פרסומת אנימציה - שרי אריסון

Summer Sky

I know second picture day of the week but just remembering my promise to look up more often.

Oscar The Grouch

I’m reminded today of a book which for a very long time was the favorite of my youngest.  I can still recite it line for line and word for word.  It is a sesame street book called Happy and Sad, Angry and Glad and begins like so…. 
Oh welcome oh welcome to our little play, we are ever so glad you could join us today.
We are going to talk about feelings and so please open the curtain and on with the show.
I didn’t need the book for that, in fact I could keep going and in my head each respective characters voice would come to life in my head along with the words.  Anyways my point, I know I had one somewhere…..Ahh yes feelings. 
Specifically that we are all allowed to have happy, sad, angry and glad days.
I’ve noticed recently a trend towards the idea that any down in the dumps days signifies there is something more than just being down in the dumps.  That if you live a decent life where nothing is life threateningly wrong that you should be happy every single moment of every single day.
Now really that just isn’t realistic. In fact if you were to be happy as punch without ever a down moment you would be called manic. Everything including our happiness level needs balance and sometimes a down day is nothing more than your body saying “look we’ve been having some fun but give me a REST!”
It doesn’t have to mean anything more.  I spent the first two days of this week sick as a dog and am now just exhausted. This morning kicked off with the realization that it was garbage day and the garbage was not at the curb, I stubbed my toe, I burnt my tongue and bit my cheek instead of my bagel and that was just in the first 20 minutes.
I’m not having a good day and in response I’m feeling a little grouchy.  At first this grouchiness made me feel even worse because I have no REASON to be a grouch. Sitting down to write my post today I had no motivation, no energy; my muse had gone absent, all because I was feeling bad about feeling bad.
For the first time since I began writing this blog I thought to myself, “fuck it I’m not going to bother” but you know what, no that isn’t me. I do this for me and whether it’s a grouchy day or a happy day, or even a grouchy week it’s ok. 
So here’s my post, grouchiness and all.  Oscar can be my muse for the day. So thank you for sharing my feelings today.

Summer cruising on princess bikes.

Since we gave the girls bikes for their birthdays LAST year, we have talked about taking them to a nearby bike path. Well....they finally got to ride on the bike path a couple of weeks ago!

Unfortunately, "they" did not include Anna because she had ben sick with a temperature and was just too run down for any physical activity. Emily and Allie had a good time, though:

Otherwise, it has been another good summer here in New England in terms of weather.  And, as a family, we have had a good summer as well.  Everyone (for the most part) has been healthy and we have been able to do some of the many things we want to while the weather permits.

I ran the Falmouth Road Race last week and hope to do at least one post on that day.  Falmouth, by the way, is the best road race in the area (in my humbled opinion, of course!).

Shipwrecks Sail Again

I’ve been feeling off this week, my normal optimism waning and the things I love to do not holding as much interest as usual.  It seems that frustration is plaguing my every waking moment and I seem to have an endless cycle of thoughts running through my mind.  There seems to be an unprecedented number of challenges that seem to be without solution that I find I’m unable to escape thoughts of.
I do believe this week is feeling a little overwhelming as I’ve been feeling rather sick to my stomach the past couple of days and I know I haven’t been getting nearly enough sleep.  I also don’t sit idle very well but with my energy levels rather drained from this flu/cold/whatever it is makes it hard to get moving.
This is why I’m so looking forward to tomorrow evening when I have an activity guaranteed to get me going and focus my thoughts elsewhere. Dragon boat practices begin tomorrow and I can’t explain how much I’m looking forward to getting out on the water.  
I’ve been craving the feel of being on the water for a while now, the coolness rising from the river, the sound of gentle waves lapping at the boats edge, the pull of water against the paddle.  Everything about paddling in a dragon boat team feels rewarding and satisfying.
The count of one, two, three, four ringing in my head drives out all other thoughts focusing my mind completely on the task at hand.  Staying in rhythm with the others gives me a feeling of focus and determination.   Alone none of us would be able to move the long boat against the current but together we have amazing strength and the boat reaches amazing speeds.
It is in those moments, when we all paddle in perfect harmony that I am anticipating, when there is no thought only rhythm and strength carrying us all forward.  

Alphabet Soup

A living myth she is called with her gleaming hide and dreamy eyes.  Born to the cruel fate of being the last of her kind she has become legend. Children still know of her and dream of her, loving each story and tale told. Down from the mountains she is occasionally drawn, searching for another like her, racing across the moors. Elegant and ethereal she runs free for a short time keeping an ear turned to the village. For in the valley there are men and once she hears their calls ring out her time for running free in the open land comes to a close.  Grown men begin to shout and call to one another in clear deep voices.  “Hunters it is time to hunt, we have seen the greatest creature.”  Instantly the peace of the day is gone. Just as in days gone by, the hunters fall upon her trail.  Killing her is their goal, to catch her and mount her on a wall. Long and silvery her mane and hide glow in the evening moon, to them she is only a prize with the horn upon her head. 
Many have joined in the hunt although it has proved fruitless oh so many times. Next to a river bank she races through the night. Over the edge stones tumble and fall splashing in the water. Pounding heart she bounds leaping from one bank to the other and into the cool dark forest.  Quiet and still, she huddles in the deep shadows of a yew tree.  Rough leaves brush against her and drift down to the forest floor. Spotted once again she springs away heading deeper into the woods. Trees, massive and ancient, surround her giving her shelter, silent sentinels guarding her from searching eyes. Unicorns are not something for the faint of heart to hunt, nor is travel in this ancient forest. Veering away from the sounds of those still following she fades away deeper into the forests protection.
Webs catch on her horn as she stumbles into an area unfamiliar to her, the canopy of leaves creating a fragmented and shifting light.  Xanthium plant covers the ground here and just as she lowers her head to graze an odd familiar shape catches her eye. Young and wandering on its own she has found the most magnificent thing, a foal with a horn of silver upon its brow. Zealous energy flows through her with the sudden and inescapable knowledge that she is not, after all, destined to wander the rest of her life alone.   

Israeli Oscar Award!!!

Awesome news!!! The animated TV commercial that I've been working on with all the SUPER TALENTED people at 'snowball | VFX studios' has won the 'Israeli Oscar Award' for the best animated short! So many talented and awesome people worked on this project, I'm so excited for all of us! =) I'm responsible for the Character Design in this commercial, I also designed some of the props in the commercial =) Check it out!


שיכון ובינוי - עיצוב דמויות על ידי עינב דרעי - חברת ההפקה האחראית על האנימציה וארט - סנובול סטודיוס - פרסומת אנימציה - שרי אריסון 

GamesCom 2012, Cologne, Germany

I'm going to the 'gamescom' convention in Cologne, Germany tomorrow with the whole Flaregames team! It's gonna be a lot of fun! Looking forward to it! =)

Thing(s) that make me go hmmmmm...

According to TIME magazine:
  • $3,600 = Lemonade-stand revenue earned in a week by 9-year-old Josuhua Smith of Detroit; he donated the money to his struggling city.

  • $11 million - Amount Jersey Shore star Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio earned from DJ appearances over the past year.

Picture Day - Rainbow Beach

Manitoba has many lakes, and spending a day wandering the sandy beaches is a day well spent.

Royal Revolt! New Game for IOS!

AWESOME AND EXCITING NEWS! We've been working on this game over at Flaregames and keen games. I had the opportunity and honor to work on it as well with some amazing and super talented people, I created some art and a few characters for this game (The enemy characters in the game!) =) You can see my character in this poster - the old evil lady in the tower!  I've had so much fun and I'm truly excited! Check it out guys! It's truly an awesome game!!! =)

Royal Revolt! is an upcoming 3D game in the emerging reverse tower-defense genre. It'll be available in September 2012 for iOS devices.

Related Links:
Keen Games
Royal Revolt - Facebook Page
Royal Revolt -Article