Sunday, January 31, 2010

second last trip to endicott

more exploring for duke and i during andre's second last workshop in endicott, new york. that saturday morning, the city and parks were foggy and magical.


scratch, scratch

and then i found this ziplock bag filled with messages that were frozen from the water that got into the bag. what a nice, analog way of communicating.

secret messages


last time, this group of geese and ducks were hanging out in the same spot. they can get quite loud and are amazingly used to dogs and humans coming close to the shore of the river. i just don't understand how they don't freeze to death in the cold water!

honk honk!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

spec work

rejected mockup

these are two graphic theme/logo mockups that i created for one of my clients that never ended up being used because they decided to stick with the same firm that they worked with in previous years.

as a rule, i never do spec work (speculative work) - ever. i always give the example, 'would you ask an accountant to do part of your taxes just to see how much money they can save you? or would you ask a lawyer to present strategies for a case and hire them only if they come up with something you like?"

this time, however, seeing that the request came from an existing client, i went ahead and did it. i don't regret doing it,i'm just not sure how i feel about taking on this type of spec work. especially since they are a client that i want to continue cultivating a relationship with.

either way, i enjoyed created these images and since they aren't being used, thought i'd share them. can you guess which books they represent? since the bottom one is more obvious, here is a hint for the top book: it's a giller prize winner.

anyway, here are some links on spec work:

Monday, January 11, 2010

more on petey

lost in thought

lick  lick

snoozing petey

mr. petey has lived with us for 6 months now. although we were fully aware of his biting when we decided to foster him, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. mostly because duke, despite his on-leash aggression, has never even come close to biting us, we didn't have a fear of dog bites. duke is a dog that can be handled and touched in anyway - we can carry him around like a baby, he lets us begrudgingly clean his ears and we wipe his paws down after every walk. petey is very particular about how he is touched.

i am happy to report, however, that we are going onto 3 months now of no biting incidents! petey now lets us clean his paws (although not to the degree that i find clean) with tail wags. the tailwags show that he now has what behaviorists call a "conditioned emotional response" to being touched and cleaned - which means he's going from being scared of handling to actually looking forward to it.

when we first got him he would snap at us and one time, duke actually had to intervene to prevent petey from biting andre! with lots of praise, he even lets me clean his belly as well. also, another encouraging development is that petey is developing bite inhibition. before, if he'd snap at us, it would break skin every time. now, if we accidentally cross his threshold of handling intensity, he air bites, or mildly grazes our skin - not even leaving a mark. he's learning that humans will respect his wish for space and he doesn't need to use a hammer to squash a fly.

slowly but surely he is learning to trust us and hopefully he will be able to generalize this trust to all humans that come in contact with him. it is so important that we continue to work patiently and respect his limits and not damage the tiny sparkle of trust and safety that's starting to show.

aside from his biting, however, he is the perfect dog! he can happily meet all dogs on the sidewalk (even a giant schnauzer that was 4 times his size), will snuggle right up next to you on the couch and is totally house broken. he gives lots of kisses too.

check out some of the cool things petey has learned to do by being andre's demo dog for his karen pryor academy work:

we've also taught petey to not beg at the dining table. you can read andre's writeup on this here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

toronto girls' cupcake ride

i want to start a cupcake ride in toronto, much like the ones in nashville and paris.

these rides (at least the nashville one) are comprised of cupcake eating and bike riding.

it's probably due to the weather, but finding members is harder than i thought. or perhaps there aren't a lot of fixie or single speed girl riders in toronto ... yet. either way, my dreams of having a ride before the first snowfall were dashed this past week.

so now i'm looking towards the spring for the inaugural ride. i wonder if the weather will cooperate and allow me to organize one cupcake ride before i head off to vancouver? keeping cranks crossed!

edit: it might help if i actually provided the link!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


happy new year!

may your new year be filled with excitement, joy and happiness. oh and i guess prosperity wouldn't hurt either.

a few 'ideas' for 2010 - as our friend sara would say:
  • grow my freelance business
  • cherish every day with duke - he's turning 7 this year!!
  • a clean desk
  • more veggies
  • watch and support andre's business as it grows
  • hannah's wedding
  • family
  • goal making

"if you look at life from a broad viewpoint, you naturally spot the way to solve any problem you may confront. this is true when we consider our own personal problems as well as those of society and even the future of the entire world"

- from a home-made fortune cookie that i recently received

Friday, January 1, 2010

devon in november

"the library" front view

i think i've mentioned the landmark trust before -- they are a charity that restores beautiful old buildings and then rents them out to the public. all profits return to the trust so that they can continue their work of rescuing architecturally amazing buildings.

"the library" was our third landmark (the first was "prospect tower" where we stayed after we were married; the second "woodsford castle" to celebrate dom's dad's 70th birthday). situated in sometimes stormy devon (heavy rain and winds for nearly three days straight!) we took advantage of the slashed winter prices and stayed for a relaxing long weekend.


set in the middle of the countryside -- no internet, phone reception, t.v., or music players of any kind -- there's gloriously nothing to do but snuggle up in front of the fire, snack on scones with clotted cream, and read a book (although confession: i did bring my ancient ibook so that we could listen to some music and watch some dvds!).

visiting this countryside in early winter, i'll always remember the trees with their bare branches stretching towards the sky at 45-degree angles, bent in the direction of the wind. and we did brave the weather to do a bit of sightseeing...

tintagel in cornwall and the remains of "merlin's castle"


it's incredible to think a castle once perched perilously amongst these rain-beaten hills while the sea raged close below. not a lot of pics, i'm afraid -- i was too wet and cold to bother -- but you can see the remains of the castle wall in the distance on the left cliff.

a historic traffic-free fishing village clinging to the side of a cliff in north devon. the steep descent to the sea can be treacherous in the rain as all the streets are made of cobblestones, but it really was very charming!



i've finally started using my flickr, so you can see more here