"Ain't Life Grand" by Kathy Hoynes 2004

"Ain't Life Grand" by Kathy Hoynes  2004

30 December 2007

Happy Birthday Remy!

You are my little one.
You are the one who gave me your paw and told me it was ok to love a greyhound again.
You don't like storms so I keep lots of pillows in the closet when you hide in there till the "boomers" go way.
You have a little football spot at the top of your head where all my kisses go
You like to sleep with me at night but I'm not sure why you like to sleep on my head!
You are a very good model.
You chatter quite a bit but I guess that's because you have a lot to say. Think about getting a blog of your own.
You are my Remy and today you are 8 years old.
It's great to be 8!!!
I love you my silly girl. Have a very happy birthday.


22 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, my company has skidaddled, the pup are all snoozing (and for some reason Remy has holed up in the closet) and the homeless kittys are enjoying a bit of turkey on the back porch. This year's turkey was 20 lbs. juicy goodness, my stuffing was yummy and for the second year in a row my gravy was perfect. Homemade gravy and I have never had a good relationship but lately it's a snap. All in all it was a ideal day. Tomorrow is the start of Glendale Glitters, our annual holiday festival and the zillions of lights throughtout the park and streets. It's really something to see and makes our evening stroll more enjoyable. I didn't think holidays without snow and 20 degree temps would feel right but as long as you are with those you love and you like where you are, you learn that the weather does not make the season.


05 November 2007

It was a dark and stormy night....

I attended the Arizona Adopt-A-Greyhound picnic on Saturday and as usual, it was a great day. I've met oodles of greyhound adopters since I've been out here but every now and then I get a knot in my stomach as none of these people will ever know the face that inspired every one of my t-shirt designs. True, I mention that the beautiful brindle on the pebble colour shirt is my first greyhound but it's not quite the same as when year after year friends would drop by my booth just to heap lots of love on my boy. His name was immediately recognized. He had an extended family who loved him as much as I did.

So as I vended at the AGGI picnic, you can imagine my shock when a voice called from the booth next to mine...

"I'd know that greyhound t-shirt anywhere. IT'S WINSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And there stood my old friends Pam and Chuck from Illinois. I'd met them at one of my first shows when their group, Greyhound Angels in Disguise (aka Greyhound A.I.D.) allowed me to share booth space with them at a pet fair. Back then everything I sold came in beige and my entire "empire" fit in a 14"x14" box. I'd last seen them in 2004 and knew they were moving but had no idea they'd ended up in Arizona. It was hugs and happy tears and we caught up on what was we'd found life to be like in Arizona and told each other about the new greyhounds in our lives.

I suppose that it was a most perfect pre-reminder of the fact that today, is the 11th anniversary of the dark and stormy night that my lovely Winston arrived on my doorstep. He was just a young, shy brindle pup in a yellow collar who didn't quite know what to make of this strange blond who was grinning from ear to ear. And you know, he always kept me smiling.

And tonight, as I always do, I will say a silent goodnight to Winston and tap the tags on his collar that is above my bed before I go to sleep. I will remember all the wonderful adventures we had. And I will be forever thankful to him for the joy he gave me and for being the most perfect greyhound. And I know tomorrow when I have my morning romp around the yard with Scotty, Dee, Remy, Harley, Nutmeg, Beauty, Blueberry, Bobo and Huey, that Winston, and Marty too, will be watching from a place just beyond the fig tree.


26 October 2007

Got My New Shoes On

"Hey, I put some new shoes on,
And suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on
And everybody's smiling."

Yes, I know.

I don't write for almost 2 months and now that I've returned I'm writing about shoes???!!??
In case you, yon devoted reader, have not yet realized, the reason I blog is to show that your life is way more exciting than mine. Which could then spark the question - why the heck are you reading my blog???
And I know you're out there reading 'cause I can hear your eyes moving.

However..."I'm wearing my brand new shoes."

I have never been able to jump on the Crocs bandwagon. I find them waaaaaaaaaaaay too ugly and frankly, I think they make everyone's feet look weird. Sorta like plastic Earth Shoes. Or jellies injected with Botox. The fact that they seemed very functional for gardening and came in yellow did spark my interest. Yet I'm far too self conscience about myself to go out in public wearing something to make me look goofier than I already do.

A few months back I was leafing thru the Soft Surroundings catalogue (one of the over 82 catalogues I receive on a regular tree killing basis) and saw a sassy pair of Sketchers mary janes with tiny red flowers embroidered on them. So I skedaddle down to my local Sketchers store to pick up a pair, plus 2 other styles (oh my are they comfy!!!!) when I spot...


It's Sketchers version of the Croc but with a dash more flair and not as bulky plus a pretty ribbon strap. And they came in bright, Crayola crayon yellow. They looked like such a happy little pair of shoes that I couldn't say no. And I'm very glad I said yes! The pups and I ran around the yard this evening and I had very happy feet. My Calis are adorable!!!!!! Heck I may even make a fool of myself and wear them out in public.

So be on the look out for me 'cause I'll be very easy to spot...

Have a sunny, happy weekend,

Imelda...er...I mean...Kathy

30 August 2007

No wonder I'm HOT-HOT-HOT

Phoenix recently broke a weather record - the most days in a row over 100 degrees is now 32. And many of those record breaking days were 110 and over. CRIPE!!!!!!!!! Gotta tell ya - once you exceed 100 degrees, a few extra degrees does not make much of a difference. Hot is hot. Thankfully the humidity is back down to almost zip and I can have good hair days again. Cause when you're hot, you need to look your best.




28 August 2007

Just a quick note

Oh boy! Two blogs in one day. Lucky readers?

As I've been doing a lot of drawing, the TV is sometimes on when I'm too lazy to get up and switch out Cd's. And the music behind the new Saturn VUE commercials has really got my attention. Frankly I think I would be willing to purchase whatever that tune is selling. Not since Martin Barre's driving solo in "Aqualung" have I pumped up the volume so high. My sources tell me the tune, "Higher" will be out soon. Till then I'll just keep looping it on my laptop.


Good thing this tune came along as I needed something to push Emmy nominated "**** In A Box" from the Saturday Night Live skit out of my brain. Emmy nominated??? Oh my! ;)


27 August 2007

Come on, get happy

I enjoy good news. It starts the day on a positive note. And it's always welcome. Blah, blah, blah.

A week ago I received a notice that I was accepted into my 1st juried art show. Cool. Way cool. Happy dance way cool. I vaguely recall bouncing up and down in my dining room for 15 minutes. So OK...I like good news. I've been working like crazy creating new pieces for this show (and a large greyhound event I'll be attending in October). The extra good news is that the show is in the Las Vegas area, which means that I can not only drop into The Capital Grille for dinner one night but also get out to Lawry's. (ooooh!!! I can just feel my arteries clogging as I type.) The Lawry's in Chicago, along with Bistro 110 (don't miss their monkfish and be sure to get a table in the back as a window seat there screams "I'm a tourist") have long been my favorites. Oh that reminds me. I need to book my November trip to Chicago. Be right back.....

(38 minutes later)

Phew! All set. Now where was I? Oh yes, Las Vegas art event. My greyhound nephew Nate's mom aka Shel will be there too with her paper art. I love what she does and as I have no clue how she does it, I'm a devoted shopper. I believe I also heard something about a wine walk on Saturday nite. Hopefully it will be a good weekend sales & weather wise or it just may turn into a whine walk.

Good news or not, being an avowed pessimist ensures I'm never disappointed! Now here's a few offerings I hope you won't find disappointing....

"And I Didn't Say"



I recently took photos of the adoptables at the Tucson Greyhound Park kennels and this strappin' boy was the fourth greyhound I met that day.

"Red Deco"

"mon petit Bobo"

Yes, that is my very flexible Bobo who prefers playing with a box of Kleenex over a stuffy any day.

Well, braketime is over. It's back to the drawing board for me.


23 August 2007

Quantity not quality

I’ve got so many bits of blogs rolling around in my head that I figured I’d toss them all together and see what happens. (I also do this when I open the fridge during a “Martha Moment” and feel the need to create a culinary masterpiece.) Nothing is involved enough to warrant an entire blog. Think of this as a test run for my one woman way off Broadway play. Now remember…my blog is my kingdom and I have the right of way. The rest of you guys are here because you’re bored or just nosey.

Hugh Grant:
I have seen EVERY film Hugh Grant has ever made. This includes the unintentionally funny “Lair of The White Worm” and the pretty but occasionally uncomfortable “Maurice” as well as the totally perfect “Love Actually”. Funny thing is, while I enjoy his acting, I don’t find him all that cute.

Burger Nation:
There are oodles of burger places. Fast, slow in-between. I sorely miss The Patio, a local chain where I used to live and Wonderburger, a fun and funky 50 year old + eatery in the neighborhood I grew up in. Their curly fries are as legendary as the mouthwatering taste of a “wonderburger”. Since moving to Arizona and jaunting with regularity to California & Nevada, I have discovered perhaps the ultimate in hamburger heaven – In ‘N Out Burger. The first time I ever heard of In ‘N Out was on an episode of “The Osborne’s” when Ozzy & Kelly get lunch to go at the drive-up. The open box rather than a bag totally freaked me out. Well, it’s less scary in person. And all they have are burgers – no chicken, no breakfast, no salads. AMEN!!!! But In ‘N Out offers all their burgers protein style, wrapped in lettuce rather than a bun. Now that is total heaven. Oh sacred In ‘N Out Burger, where have you been my whole life???

My Fairly Odd Parents:
If written as a book, the trials and tribulations of my dysfunctional family would be longer than “War & Peace”. (However, I found “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon” by Rebecca West waaaaaaaay longer!!!) So it should have come as no surprise to me when, prompted by the news of my separation (and subsequent divorce) my parents began speaking to each other after 23 years. Well heck, I hadn’t spoken to my father for give or take 22 years. Kodak family moments were rare for me growing up so it was with dumbfounded amazement that I experienced the 3 of us in the same room actually talking to each other. I guess when push came to shove, they were able to put aside their issues and be there to help me. Oh and those pink thingies you’ve seen flying around? Don’t worry…they’re just pigs.

My Sex And The City moment:
I had my hair guy for almost 20 years. Unfortunately, the ex had my hair guy for about 25 years. In the event of le divorce, make sure you do not have the same stylist as it seem possession of the hair guy goes to whoever’s been going to him longer. While pledging not to take sides, my hair guy called me 10 minutes before my (unknowingly last) scheduled appointment to tell me it would no longer be possible for him to do my hair.
MY HAIR GUY DUMPED ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Luckily I asked him for the #’s and formulas of my hair color. (Oh grow up! Did you actually think my hair was naturally these colors????!!!???) Happily (or so I thought) he complied. A few weeks later I found a new hair babe who did everything she could to talk me out of the color #’s and formulas I had given her saying they did not match what was on my head. Pishaw! Color away, new hair babe, it will be fine. And it was…providing I actually wanted the Elvira, Mistress of the Dark look.
After the initial shock wore off, I got used to my rust, mahogany and dark brown hair. Actually it didn’t look that bad. And looking good is always the best revenge.

Giada de Laurentiis:
Holy Cow! Where have you been my whole life??? Yes, I am a little tardy jumping on the Giada bandwagon. I want to look like her. I want to talk like her. I want to cook like her. I want to have her pipeline to all the best chocolate indulgences. Cripe I’ve turned into a Giadabe!!!!

She's Got Legs:
My legs are my worst feature. One leg is a half inch shorter than the other, giving some wags proof that I really am off balance. An operation when I was young did reduce the difference in length (it had been 1.5 inches) and got me out of orthopedic shoes and lifts after 11 years but it left me with 8 inch scars on each side of my knee and left said knee looking not unlike an overripe grapefruit. Naturally I wear pants as much as possible and my skirts or dresses fall almost to my ankles with boots or dark hose providing total coverage. So with this delightful quirk, you can imagine my joy at living in Arizona, the land of shorts and flip-flops. Flip-flops yes, shorts in public – NEVER!!!

So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star:
Well actually, yes I do. And with my musical ability, I could win “American Idol” hands down. In the “Worst Singer on the Planet” category. I’m so off key I can’t even open the door. I will sing along at the top of my lungs to whatever is playing. So if your ears suddenly start bleeding, look around ‘cause I might be close by.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peeky-boo into the nether regions of my mind…or lack of one!


22 August 2007

The soundtrack of life

There are times when the lyrics of a song completely tell about a moment in life far better than a blog entry ever could. Case in point....Sting's "When We Dance". During an extremely difficult time, I knew things would be better.

If he loved you
Like I love you
I would walk away in shame
I'd move town, I'd change my name
When he watches you
When he counts to buy your soul
On your hand his golden rings
Like he owns a bird that sings

When we dance
Angels will run and hide their wings

And the priest has said my soul's salvation
Is in the balance of the angels
And underneath the wheels of passion
I keep the faith in my fashion

I'm gonna find a place to live
Give you all I've got to give
I'm gonna love you more than life
If you'll only be my wife
I'm gonna love you night and day
I'm gonna try in every way

If I could break down these walls
And shout my name at heaven's gate
I'd take these hands
And I'd destroy the dark machineries of fate,
Cathedrals are broken
And heaven's no longer above
Hellfire's a promise away

I'd still be saying
I'm still in love... still in love
with you

He won't love you
Like I love you
He won't care for you this way
He'll mistreat you if you stay
Come and live with me
We'll have children of our own
I would love you more than life
If you'll come and be my wife

I had a dream last night
I dreamt you were by my side
Walking with me, baby
My heart was filled with pride

12 August 2007

Trickle, trickle,spalsh, splash...

...tell me how long will this rain last?

It's monsoon season time in the Valley of the Sun - and it's NOT a dry heat by any stretch of the imagination. But I think this offering from Remy's diary will enlighten all of you, in a roundabout way, as to what happens at my house during the rainy season.


2 August, 2007

Dear Diary ~

Well Blondie...who is no longer blond by the way. For some reason she decided to be one of the brindle boys (Dee, Bobo & Huey) and now has blondie, copper, chestnut and brown hair. She's very stripey. It's a good thing I take a peek in her paint box to learn about such things or else I'd never know what Blondie is talking about half the time. To tell you a secret, I don't know what she's talking about half the time but she's very nice to me and rubs my tummy and snuggles with me at night and calls me her "BFF" and I love her very much. But I digress....anyway, however....Blondie and I had a long discussion about this rain-storm-thunder-lightning thing that's been going on here. And to be frank, well actually, to be Remy, I'm not a happy camper. (to digress once again - I don't like camping. I've never been camping but I know I don't like it!) I mean the wind blows and makes lots of racket and sometimes the branches from the trees fall down. The lightning makes the rooms all bright and I just cannot get a bit of sleep when the lights are on. Then there is the thunder. What's that all about??!!?!?!?!!??? Angels bowling, my eye! I just told Blondie that she's better do something to ease my stress during these storms or I was packing my knapsack and checking into the Hotel del Coranado for a month!! And guess what??? Blondie did some redecorating for me. First she rearranged her closet (read: she put away all her shoes) and layed down 2 very comfy pillows. It's a really big closet and I find it a nice place to hang out during a storm because there are no windows and the storm can't see me. Wonder if Blondie could put a water dish and a treat cart in the closet, too? Then she put up new curtains in my room...well, my room is not actually "my" room as I have to share it with rest of those mopes so I guess it's my dorm room. Theses drapes have special powers 'cause they make the room really dark and the storms sound more quieter. And they are very pretty with roses on them. I like flowers. Lots of people don't know that even tho I look and pee like a boy, I am very feminine and I really like flowers. In my 1st home I would go in the garden and pick all the pretty flowers but that didn't go over very well. I don't do that here but Blondie has planted some very nice flowers that I think would look swell in my dorm. And a lot nicer than the baby birds that Harley brings in. Oh drat...I digressed again....Now I'm not too stressed when the noisy storms come. If it get too loud in the dorm room, I just go into the closet and wait. Sometimes I fall asleep in the closet and Blondie forgets I'm in there and starts running around calling for me. Well DUHHHHHHH!!!! Like I'm going to go outside in a storm? HELLO!!Hummm...clock radio...maybe that's what I need in there...I'll talk to Blondie about putting one of those in too. Ya know...if she'd move all her clothes and shoes out of there, I'd have a nice little apartment for myself...

21 July 2007

Healing a heart that aches

Upon the tragic death of his wife Clover, Henry Adams wrote to his publisher, "what a vast fraternity it is, - that of Hearts that Ache." With the passing of each greyhound I have known those words always come to mind. There is a part of me that will never get over Winston. There is a part of me that will never get over Marty. Yet unbeknownst to us, the heart coaxes a tiny bud to bloom and renew the bond that we thought was gone forever.

Marty's passing left a big hole in the heart of our family. I cannot put into words how much we miss his quiet (and not so quiet) woofs, his "Brighty of the Grand Canyon" ears and his gentle, loving soul. Marty was the old sage, knowing every greyhound who has passed through the house including the most recent foster Huey. You may recall that Huey has been "the greyhound who came to dinner" since November. There were no intentions to keep him. Yet a new family never materialized. The fit was never quite right. So Huey settled in, waiting for a forever home. I began to get worried as Huey quickly bonded with all of us and became my shadow. He would watch Scotty and try to mimic the things he saw. He'd see Bobo race around the yard and follow in hot pursuit. During the day Huey claimed the bed and matching pillows, made by my friend Elaine, and guarded my bookcase full of Russian and English history books. At night he'd snuggle in on one of the pillows at the foot of my bed. Every morning Huey would wait his turn as all the pups wished me good morning.

The bud was starting to open.

Huey was scheduled to have an "overnighter" with one of the adoption group volunteers who was going to take him to meet & greets on July 6 & 7. There were a few families who expressed interest and were coming to see Huey. I knew it had to be. Huey deserved a chance at a forever home.

And then Marty passed away.

It's funny how things are right in front of you all along. It seems that an average sized red brindle greyhound with a long, heart shaped white face and little tiny feet and funny looking ears and a skip-walk (due to an old injury to his back leg) had his life all figured out. After all, he already had Marty's approval. Huey just waited and let the rest of us catch up.

On July 2, 2007, I adopted my newest greyhound - Huey Lewis. Funny, I always thought if I had a rock star greyhound I'd name him after Bruce Springsteen who I have adored since I was 14. Oh well...maybe next time.

The bud was now in bloom.

I don't really think Huey has any clue to the change in his life although last Friday I did get him a brand new mallard blue collar. He continues to worship the ground I walk on and gets all wiggly when I come in the back door, whether I'm returning from a 3 hour shopping jaunt or just taking out the trash. He is still my shadow making sure he's at my side whenever I go into the yard. He enjoys sitting with his head in my lap as I draw. Huey has also enabled me to become a member of the "I Failed Fostering 101 Club". One the weather cools off, we'll start taking walks around the block and to the park and shops as he is very good on a leash.

I know my lovely Winston approves of the heir to his kingdom and that my lil' Martykins is happy to see the circle he started continue.

Please raise your water bowls and welcome Huey to his forever home. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you never expected.


08 July 2007

My week

It has been a difficult week. I can hardly believe Marty is gone, let alone for a full week. The house has been very quiet. No one has taken up Marty's job of starting a group roo. There are no thump-thumps of Marty's lopsided stride through the house. There is no woof to wake me up at 5am. Nor is there a woof to let me know I need to get breakfast ready. I have no one to give me stinky kisses on my cheek. There is no one to sit by my side for hours on end while I draw. But for all the things I miss, there are so many more wonderful things that I will always have in my heart, the best of which is simply having had Marty in my life.

The rest of the pups miss Marty as well. Some more obviously than others. The pack has begun to readjust and that's as it should be. They are proof that life must continue on. Maybe not exactly as before, but go on it must. There are others depending on me. And we will get through it together because we are a family and that's what families do.

There is a spot in the garden where I can think...about Marty...and Winston...and wonder what sort of adventures the 2 of them are having. I have been reminded that an "M" is just an upside down "W". And so on my heart I will carry my 2 special brindle boys.


01 July 2007


My little Martykins passed away today. Even tho we had only been together for a little over a year, he had touched my heart and had me wrapped around his paw. There is so much I could say but I think this photo, taken by Marty's friend Lauren, says it all.

Sweet dreams Marty. You and Moo-Cow have a wonderful adventure and meet up with lots of your old friends till we see you again.

30 June 2007

The journey is easy...

...it's what to do once you get there that's a bit difficult.

Over the last two and a half years my life has taken me on unexpected journeys. Many were unpleasent, one was heartbreaking, one made my eyes roll to the back of my head and almost get stuck there, a couple are a lot funnier now than they were at the time and one has made me happier than I have ever been.

My dog died.

My business almost folded.

I got divorced.

I got a "real" job.

I've learned who my friends are but more important, I've learned who my friends aren't.

I've witnessed my parents resume speaking to each other after divorcing 25 years ago.

I can't figure out why I took the tv cabinet and not the tv, the tea pot and not the teaspoons and most perplexing...why did I finally remember where I hid my mad money stash AFTER I moved???!!!????!?!?

I discovered I could go home again.

The house I grew up in was sold.

I moved twice.

I still can't find many of the things I packed.

My oldest friend Carol died of brain cancer and a huge part of my childhood is gone forever.

I flew for the first time in my life. And then did it 6 more times!

I finally got that old house with a white picket fence.

I found I was a lot stronger than I thought I was.

After many tests, I'm happy to report I don't have macular degeneration - yet!

I now have a life full of dogs and while I wonder just how crazy I am, I wouldn't change a thing!

Much as I hate to admit it, I will always be a material girl.

My house has become my home.

And best of all, I'm living happily ever after!


27 June 2007

a taste of Chicago

For years I was told that you could never find good pizza outside of Chicago. And that is 90% fact. Chicagoans are simply pizza snobs. I should know. I was one for many years. But you CAN find good pizza in other states, you just have to look.

For those transplants that have never gotten over the food shock, there is hope. A fellow foodie sent me a catalogue called "Tastes of Chicago" which features nationwide delivery of all the favorites we can't get here. Lou Malnati's pizza is offered and is very good, but my favorites were always Papa Joe's and Salerno's. While I will pass on long distance pizza delivery, my heart skipped a beat to discover I can once again savor a Portillo's beef sandwich. Now if someone could just figure out how to ship me a Portillo's chocolate shake!!!!! Eli's Cheesecake is available and in several yummy choices as are tasty offerings from the Long Grove Confectionery. On a trip back to Chicago in November, I took an Arizona pal on a tour of the city and spent an afternoon in Long Grove, where I'd been many time since I was a child. The confectionery is a really cool place were you will be blown away by all the varieties of chocolate. No trip to Chicago is complete without a plateful of Carson's ribs - pork or beef. The real secret is their sauce. Last but not least in my taste trip down memory lane was the Vienna Beef Chicago style hot dogs. As luck would have it, I live within walking distance of a quaint local hot dog stand that specializes in Chicago style hot dogs - totally authentic, right down to the neon green relish!!!

Now could someone send me a "Taste of Buffalo, NY" by mail catalogue? My life has not been the same since I had my first beef on weck.


21 May 2007

The Artist Myth

Just where did the destitute, intense, depressed, bohemian, oddly dressed and insanely talented artist myth come from? Is it true? And why the heck don't I have an artist's statement?????

I'd say somewhere between Vincent Van Gogh, la Belle Epoque and the writings of Jack Kerouac, the myth of the modern artist was born. Remember the good old days, when artists were gainfully employed by a wealthy patron or better yet, ego crazed royalty who wanted to present a pretty face to the world. After all, it was due to the artistic license of Hans Holbien that Henry VIII chose wife #4, only to discover that in person Anne of Cleves looked more sow's ear than silk purse...or as Henry put it "a horse's arse" But I digress...

Yup, I wear a lot of black. Too much actually, but it makes deciding what to wear so much easier. I would not call myself depressed. Often boring. Always dull. But never depressed. The closest I get to anything bohemian is listening to Queen. I'm not intense but the prescription in my tri-focal lenses (oh the humiliation!!!) do make my eyes look a little odd. Regarding that starving artist connotation - been there, still there, don't see that ever changing. And as far as that talent thing...well, it's always come naturally. Looking back, I sometimes wish I had a degree to make those resumes look more impressive. Yet I know what my ability and knowledge is and I'm perfectly comfortable with the works I produce. On the roads I travel there is always something to learn, to see, to remember, to create.

Thinking about some of my friends, only one falls slightly into the myth area but she's not exactly destitute and her fashion sense is to die for. As a whole most of the artists I know are rather nondescript aside from their ability to create beautiful things.

I have never resided in a garret (or worn a beret, though if I did, it would be black) and I have never had the luxury of a studio. Shattering the myth even further, I find the most comfortable place to create is sitting crossed legged on the floor and most times it's on a dog bed with a greyhound curled up against my back. I seldom do formal sketching. My sketches looks like a 3 year olds doodles on a cocktail napkin and my sketchbooks are primarily used to write shopping lists. I do need to prepare if I'm working in watercolour but as far as pen & ink, I just grab my pen & a sheet of paper and go. When people ask me how I do the things I do, I'm lost for an answer. The art just happens.

CRIPE! I think I just made a statement.


19 May 2007

On this spot....

When I moved into "historic Catlin Court", little did I know that I was living in a real historic house. On 17 May, my home was presented with a bronze plaque, which is now proudly displayed at my front door, announcing to the world and the unsuspecting public at large that it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Well as far as I know George Washington didn't sleep here, which would have been a historic feet in itself as my house was built 120 years after he died. Country singer Marty Robbins lived on the next block but I don't think he ever dropped in. And Jordin Spark's mom had a gift shop about 2 blocks away from my place but alas, she didn't come by either. About the only thing that happened "on this historic spot" is that my favorite homeless cat Charger takes a nap in the sun sprawled out in the middle of the front porch every day about 2pm.

So if you plan on dropping by for a visit, my house is vey easy to find. If you spot a very overweight cat snoring happily in a sunbeam while a woman in paint splattered jeans frantically polishes a 5 pound historic plaque with 4 or 5 greyhounds looking out the window, you've got the right place!


07 May 2007

Say "cheese"!!!

I decided to take the big step and purchase a real camera. No, I have not been using a Playskool model but I do have a little cutie - Canon's ELPH, It's handy, takes fine photos and has oodles of useless gizmos and doohickeys but I needed a camera that would not only take sharp, precise photos of my artwork but also enable me to capture the pups running around the yard...or wandering around with no clue, looking for bugs.

Enter the Canon EOS Rebel XTi with 10.1 pixels, a 2.5" LCD monitor, a couple of lenses, a way too heavy extra flash, tripod, lots of media cards, an awesome non-Coach camera bag and oodles of new & improved super duper gizmos and doohickeys.


To echo the words of legendary photographer and Olympus spokes model Cheryl Tiegs - I can't tell the difference between a lense opening and a Broadway opening.

WHY did I get real camera???? WHAT was I thinking???? Was I out of my depth??? And most important...HOW THE HECK DO I TURN THIS THING ON?????

After a few days of reading the instructions and attempting to push buttons with the hope I would not blow anything up, I got the hang of it. Heck, these digital SLRs are so easy any monkey can do it. It's much easier than my grandfather's vintage Canon Canonet. And I am having tons of fun taking photos of everything. I'm planning on taking a photograpy class or two. And who knows...if I come up with something interesting, I might add "photographer" to my list of talents.

Say "cheese"!!!!


27 April 2007

Lights, camera...no action

It was a case of when good ideas go bad. I wanted to take a group photo of the pups and I. Nine greyhounds and I all looking good AND at the camera. How hard could it be?

OK...stop laughing.

Presenting for your amusement, highlights (lowlights?) of the backyard photoshoot ~

Everybody line up. Big dogs in the back row, little dogs up front.

Hey guys, the camera is thataway!!

Apparently no one has a clue as to what we are doing.


Harley smiles for the camera.

Huey takes a kiss break.

WOW!!! It's the incredible 3-headed greyhound!!!

Nutmeg ponders what the other pups find so difficult to understand.

Marty & Kathy start a roo.

Another kiss break. This time it's Bobo.

Ok, everyone say "Kitty".

At least Dee is willing to take a nice photo.

HELP!!!! ;)

Dear Lord, please let the next bright idea I have be doable....
Have a picture perfect day!!!

12 April 2007

A.I. fever

My interest in watching "American Idol" begins and ends with the first episode. Once the freak show of off-key, untalented, delusional wannabes is over, I shut the TV off and switch on my "Best Of William Hung" CD. And while I have not changed my original opinion of "American Idol", the fascination of having a hometown girl still in the running seems to be griping even moi. But Glendale is a party place and cheering on Jordin Sparks has become a weekly event.

Fans gather at the Disney-like Westgate City Center in front of the big outdoor screens watching American Idol, amid live bands and other entertainment, homemade posters in hand (on the off chance Jordin will be able to see them from the other side of the screen!) and have a good time. I'm hoping that the local FoxTV reporters will never interview me as I'd hate to admit that I'm not really paying attention to the show on the screens. I have more fun people watching. And I gotta admit, it's a hoot.

Stay tuned...with luck Westgate will be partying with Jordin for a few more weeks.


10 April 2007

It's just enough

This magic moment
So different and so new
Was like any other
Until I met you
And then it happened
It took me by suprise
I knew that you felt it too
By the look in your eyes
Sweeter than wine
Softer than a summer's night
Everything I want, I have
Whenever I hold you tight.
With a bit of help from The Drifters, Jay & the Americans, Lou Reed and scores of others.

03 April 2007

On the road - Las Vegas

I’m in Las Vegas about every 4 months and have become quite the cruise director regarding local attractions. So rather than bore you with my adventures (which are required by law to stay in Vegas) or upload hundreds of photos (well ok, a few won’t hurt), I present…..

~ Kathy's Best & Worst of Las Vegas ~

Best Slots - New York, New York

2nd Best Slots – The Venetian…and they sound so pretty!

Best Hotel Exterior – Paris and Monte Carlo (tie)

Best Old School Hotel - Tropicana

Worst Snootiest Hotel - The Wynn…but who cares as it’s so cool.

Best Towel Free Hotel - Treasure Island. This had been my favorite, most fun hotel.
However the management change has not been a good thing if
service during my recent stay is any example. No towels for
24 hours? No way! WAY!! “Dear Mr. Lanni….”

Best Dining - The Capital Grill

Best Luxe Dining - Le Cirque

Best Cheap Eats – Canter’s

Best Drink - Champagne at night overlooking the Belliago fountain.

Best Drink I Can’t Make at Home - Ilsa’s Mojito
Best Biggest Drink - The 48 ounce margarita at Gonzalez y Gonzalez

Best Kitch - Hawaiian Village

Best Show (classic) - Wayne Newton

Best Show (contemporary) - Prince

Best “Trifecta” - Starbucks, Krispy Kreme & Cirque du Soleil…available in almost
every hotel!!!!

Worst “Trifecta” - $1.99 margaritas, mud wrestling and a mechanical bull
at the Frontier.

Worst Attraction - Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden. Very overrated. Instead, enjoy the free display as you enter The Mirage. The white tiger is always happy to see you.

Best Place for Air Hockey - Coney Island at New York, New York at 11am.

Best Unsung Sight - the aquarium at the Mirage.

Worst Forgotten Attraction - The Liberace Museum.

Best Fun Fact – the showgirls at MGM’s “La Femme” are required to have champagne
glass size breasts. I have pretty much come up with every imaginable comment regarding this tidbit of useless knowledge, but please let me know if you think you have something original.

Best Weird Moment – Walking down Las Vegas Boulevard and seeing someone you know on the opposite side of the street.

Best Ride - the outdoor gondolas at the Venetian

Worst Best Ride - the roller coaster at New York, New York. Wheeeee!!! OHNOOOOOOO!!!!

Worst Idea - taking a cab.
Best Golf - How should I know? I don’t golf.

Best Side Trip - Hoover Dam at sunrise. So worth getting up early for!

Best Mausoleum - Bunkers Eden Vale Cemetery. Final resting place of Harry James and
The Binions of Horseshoe Casino fame.

Worst Souvenir Since Cedar Salt & Pepper Shakers - Huge fuzzy dice pillow with the
“Welcome to Las Vegas” sign on it. Needless to say, my mom now has one of these in her den.

Best Greyhound in the Las Vegas area - my “nephew” Nate.

28 March 2007

On the road - California, Part II

One of the coolest things about driving along the 101 are the bells that mark the El Camino Real – the road that linked the missions, pueblos and presidios in the early days of California.
In 1902 the design of a mission bell suspended from a staff in the shape of a Franciscan walking stick was chosen to mark each mile of this historic route.

I found two very interesting websites that explain the El Camino Real far better than I ever could!

18 March 2007


My fascination with Russian history began at a young age after seeing "Rasputin and The Empress" with the Barrymores on WGN's late night movies. My 7th grade history teacher got me totally hooked and somewhere in the Chicago Public School System archives is my prize winning history project of my drawings of Russian clothing. My best friend Carol and I would go to the local bookstore on Saturdays in hopes of finding biographies of the tsars. (we were such nerds!!!) In high school I did 30 inch charcoal drawing of Grand Duchess Marie for a history final and an etching I did based on "The Snow Queen" fairy tale had a very Imperial Russian twist.

As we got older, interest did not wain. While Carol visited Russia many times and sent me a piece of the Winter Place (bad Carol!!!), I would try new art techniques inspired by the faces of the last Grand Duchesses, the beautiful daughters of Nicholas II who were 4 of the most photographed royals of their day. The girls letters were often signed "OTMA", a combined signature of their names - Olga, Tatania, Marie and Anastasia.

In recent years the book "Tsar" by Peter Kurth, inspired me and the result was this pencil drawing...

In 1999, taking a break from drawing greyhounds, I did a series of 4 small watercolours based on photos of OTMA.

I was pleased with the results as I'm not all that great when it comes to working in colour. On a whim I e-mailed these to Carol who drove me crazy for the next 5 years begging me for them. Our fascination for all things Russian had remained.

17 March 2007

The Remy Diaries - Part II

It appears Remy is having a hissy fit about Bobo’s 15 minutes, based on her latest diary entry….

Life with Bobo is no bed of roses. He does not know the meaning of the word “no” – literally. Now that might have a lot to do with Blondie naming him Bobo. As I learned from my close personal friend, Lee Livingood, it’s very unhelpful giving your dog a name that sounds like something else…Bobo…no no…oh no Bobo no NO!!!!! Cripe, Blondie is clueless. She thought Bobo was a cute name. I’m sure glad I had a name already cause I’d hate to think of what moniker she’d stick me with. Bobo enjoys peeing in the house but to be fair, 80% of the time he does pee in the bathroom. And his idea of treats are a box of Kleenex, a pair of fuzzy socks, Blondie’s art erasers and unshelled pecans fresh off the tree. Thankfully it all comes out in the end so Blondie knows exactly who the problem child is. And he will play with a squeaky stuffie until my ears bleed. Then he does it in the middle of the night so I am forced to grab the stuffie and disembowel it myself just to get rid of the squeaker. Bobo has perfected this Alfred E. Newman look (“What, me worry?”) when caught in the act of civil disobedience or rearranging the garbage can which he follows up giving Blondie kisses all over her face which makes her giggle. Ya know, she fails to giggle when I give her kisses all over her glasses. WOMEN!!!!!

So now Bobo is going to be totally impossible as he thinks he’s soooooooooooo special cause he's famous just because he got his picture in a magazine. All I know is that Blondie has never done a drawing of Bobo but she has done a lot of me and people ooh and ah over them and then buy them and say how pretty I am...Hey…wait a minute! That means I’m famous too. OHBOYOHBOYOBOY!!!!!!

14 March 2007

Bobo Daze

My Spring 2007 issue of CG Magazine arrived yesterday and on the inside front cover and on page 35 , are my photos of Bobo. For those of you in the greater Southwest and parts of Mexico, that was not an earthquake you felt, it was just me doing the dance of joy. I’ll admit, I’m a sentimental slob when it comes to photos of the pups. Sure I can draw them any time I want, but I feel such unbridled joy seeing their actual photo in a magazine. After I finished making a fool of myself, I took all the pups into the yard. Sitting on the grass, surrounded by 9 fuzzy faces I began crying my eyes out. Yes, it was a good cry. Thanks to Bobo, I could once again be that silly, goofy and borderline obnoxious (borderline???!!!???) greyhound owner who’s friends’ eyes grow wide with fear as I drag out my dog-eared copy of the latest CG Magazine and bore them to death for the 100th time with how “my greyhound made it in the magazine!!!!”. I promise not to be such a stage mother this time around, but there’s nothing wrong with being Bobo’s PR babe.

I’m going to cut this entry short and get out into the yard as from what I can see out the window, Bobo is prancing around there woofing “Superstar….superstar".


11 March 2007

They say it's my birthday...

...and according to my birth certificate it is. As legend has it, there was a huge snowstorm in Chicago the night I was born. Considering my outdoor thermometer is reading a dry 86 degrees, I'm not too worried about that right now.

So far my grand birthday weekend has been a good one. I'm a Famous Dave's BBQ fan and have been a member of the P.I.G. Birthday Club for years. Each birthday, Dave emails me a birthday jingle and a mystery coupon. In past years it's been for a free desert, and Dave's deserts are as yummy as his BBQ. On Friday night, to kick off my birthday weekend, several of us headed off to Dave's to start a night of fun & frolic. I handed the waitress my mystery coupon. She returned a few moments later with a perplexed look on her face. Turns out I was not getting my usual free desert. I was getting a free All-American BBQ Feast Dinner for 5. The waitress mentioned that they had never had a Feast coupon before. Sounds like I got the golden ticket. Guess I know why they call it the P.I.G. Club!!!!

This morning each of the pups woke me up with birthday kisses. Their card was waiting by the coffee pot. I am continually amazed how they not only sign cards but manage to get them into a sealed envelope. There was also a note to look in the fridge, where I found my princess-themed birthday cupcakes. Hopefully this is an adorable tie-in to my Party Princess persona on Greyhounds Make Great Pets and not a subliminal reference to an unsightly personality trait. Either way it's a lot of frosting and I'm SO there! I have a surprise dinner in store for later this evening. I'm not sure where as it's a surprise.. or it is in Surprise????

And as to which birthday I'm celebrating...(why yes, Kathy, inquiring nosey minds need to know)...well in the words of my friend Pat, who said in all sincerity and sobriety last December "You're what? 36?" Gotta love a friend like that!!!!! So in order not to let Pat down, you may all wish me a happy 37th birthday.


10 March 2007

Don't leave home without it!

I just want to fore warn you that I am NEVER going out of the house without make-up on ever again. Heck, I'm so traumatized that I had to trowel it on just to write today's blog entry.

On Friday I woke up bright and early. It was a beautiful morning. Sun shining. Birds chirping. Some even starting to build nests. The orange trees have started to bud and I could just faintly detect the scent of orange blossoms wafting across the yard. The pups had an orderly breakfast and Bobo had almost given me his paw but I'm guessing he had a leg cramp. I'd gone for my pre-birthday (March 11 and remember, nothing says "Happy Birthday" like cash) spa appointment and decided to do a quick shop-a-thon for my upcoming Las Vegas adventure. Trips are so much more fun with a brand new wardrobe. Strolling back home and successfully avoiding a stop for ice cream, I found myself face to face with a crew from the local news - Arizona 3 - who provide me with my nightly dose of "Sex & The City" reruns. They were doing interviews on safety in the Valley and wanted to know if they could interview me. Oh great... I still don't even know what Valley I live in!!!!! So there I am, about to have my 30 seconds of fame - and I'm not wearing make up. THE HORROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I knew I should have stopped for some plastic surgery while in LA last week. Sigh! I did my best Mariah Carey impression and made sure I kept my good side to the camera while praying they were filming from the neck up.

With luck I'll end up on the cutting room floor but I'm keeping myself glued to the new just in case. My friend Shannon is hoping my segment ends up on the Internet (over my dead body) while another pal, Ev said things could have been worse and at least I didn't run into an old boyfriend while not wearing any make-up.

So on the off chance you see some pale blonde that looks like me on the nightly news babbling about neighborhood safety, just turn the channel.


08 March 2007

On the road - California

on my way up north
up on the Ventura
I pulled back the hood
and I was talking to you
and I knew then it would be
a life long thing
but I didn't know that
We could break a silver lining

“a sorta fairytale” Tori Amos

There is nothing as lovely as a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. For those of you who’ve done, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, do it!! I stopped several times and just drank in the amazing view. I took a few photos but it was much nicer enjoying the moments of peace.

While walking along the beach I came across a bit of seaweed in the sand....

Our fairytales are found in the special moments.


23 February 2007


Dee is my quiet greyhound. I have never heard him bark. He will lie on the bed, barely lifting an ear when the pack begins a roo. He’s a big red fawn brindle who measures in at 30 inches at the shoulder and has an impressive 24 inch tail. He likes to run but is a bit of a klutz and always comes in with a scrape or two. I wonder if it’s because he has a vision problem that requires daily medication. Dee knows how to sit and can give his paw – either right or left – if asked. He’s not what you’d call a “chick dog” but he follows me around and snuggles up to me whenever possible. He’s also very fond of my mom who is just crazy about him and is always giving him treats. Dee is a very social greyhound who will happily stand for hours when we’re out and about, which I find odd as he’s the ultimate sleeper at home. And for some reason when he sleeps, all 90 pounds of him likes to sleep on me. Dee has big sad looking brown eyes and an eyebrow that occasionally wrinkles giving him that quizzical cartoon dog expression.
My old friends will understand how emotionally difficult it was for me to get to know Dee. I may have subconsciously not wanted to get too close as in almost every way Dee reminded me of Winston and it hurt a lot even looking at him. I would often burst out crying just giving him his eye drops. But as time passed, I found that Dee helped me overcome my feelings of loss and allowed me to remember all the fun, silly and happy times. In the process, I found I had been given the gift of a truly beautiful greyhound who I came to know and love for who he is.

Dee is very special to me because he brings to mind wonderful memories. But Dee is very special to me because he is Dee and is giving me wonderful new memories.

Huey, my foster (left) and Dee (right) in my pen & ink drawing "Waiting".

22 February 2007

AB comes to AZ

While reading The Arizona Republic, I learned that Aaron Brown will be joining the faculty at ASU’s school of journalism and will be speaking there on March 8. Well, well, well…as a devoted follower of Mr. Brown during his tenure at CNN and a faithful viewer of the lamented “News Night” this is definitely a bit of catnip I doubt I’ll be able to pass up. And you all thought I only got excited when Bruce Springsteen came to town. Wonder if my GMGP credentials can get me a back stage pass?


08 February 2007

In search of greyhound "stuff"

I enjoy finding unique and unusual greyhound related items aka greyhound "stuff". What greyhound owner doesn't? But when one of my favorite places is the source of a greyhound find...well that's even better.

I've long been a fan of Pewabic Pottery in Michigan and have a small collection. Their selection is always interesting, natural and really gives you the feeling of the beauty that you find across Michigan. While they have an on-line store, I breathed a huge sigh of relief to discover Pewabic in a Flagstaff boutique during a recent day trip.

The Pewabic gallery contains an adorable greyhound statue....

Oh my...I bet The GEM Babes from Greythounds of Eastern Michigan are making plans for a field trip to Pewabic right about now!! ;)


04 February 2007

Catching up

No, I haven't forgotten about all of you. Just been a tad busy. In Arizona, this time of year is the start of gardening season. Amid my blooming daffodils, I'm busily planting bulbs, snapdragons, herbs and plants I've never seen before let alone heard of. The pups have done their best to dig holes for me but unfortunately, not where I want them.

I've also been drawing like crazy. The West Coast Greyhound Gathering in Solvang, California is less than a month away. I'm doing logos for 2 upcoming greyhound events. One is still under wraps but here's my design for the 2007 Phoenix Invasion.

If you can't make the event, you can order a tshirt. Drop me an email at greyhoundstudies@yahoo.com and I'll tell you how to get one.
I'm also doing some non-greyhound related artwork. Other breeds, the Southwest and just some fun images.

This drawing was based on a photo from a Greytalk friend.

I'm very pleased with how this image worked.
Remy's been pretty busy as well. I know she's still writing her diaries and now she wants to be a dancer. Something about trying out for "Dancing With the Stars". Here we are - with Dee looking on - taking a twirl around the yard.

I've done more hiking the last few weeks. The weather has been perfect for it. On Friday I tried a longer trail that went up into the mountains.
OK...I'm not ready to scale Mt. Everest quite yet. But I did see a deer and took I did take a few photos along the way.

This weekend was our 12th Annual Chocolate Affaire - a little music, a little romance and a whole lotta chocolate. Chocolate covered everything. Strawberries. Cheesecake. Key Lime pie. Chips. Turtle crepes. Make your own heart shaped chocolate pizza. And all within 3 blocks of my house. Oh and the horse drawn carriages were back, too! The Chocolate Affaire was recently listed among the Top 100 Events in North America by the Washington Post. I did my best to up the weekend's chocolate consumption in addition to a bit of shopping.
Now, enough about me, what have you guys been up to? ;)