"Ain't Life Grand" by Kathy Hoynes 2004

"Ain't Life Grand" by Kathy Hoynes  2004

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.