Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chronic Chronicler Built for Bus Tour

Top 22 reasons why Jan Brett should hire me as the
Chronic Chronicler Photographer on Her Winter-Spring Bus Tour.

22. I chronicle my own day to the complete tedium of everyone, and I know the bus tour would be more interesting to my Facebook friends.

21. I'm in a good place; my kid is 14 and would be sooo happy to not pose for pictures anymore.

20. Not only could I chronicle everything and put our progression on Facebook and Blogspot, but in a pinch I could double as the mascot.

Resume For Being a Mascot: Clown in a Detroit Christmas Parade, Southern Belle in Opryland hotel (with a Detroit accent), Raggedy Ann waver at Opryland, Reindeer Comet (Rudolph went to the Director of the library who is obviously a stage hog), Miss Spider of Miss Spider's Tea Party book - nearly passed out from heatstroke and suffocation, but didn't - outlasted the young ones who were also having issues), a flyer distributor in Honolulu Hawaii, a cigarette girl passing out free samples on Detroit streets (okay, I was 17 in the 70s and didn't know better). Giant Paper Mache Moon-head from McDonalds (I made that one and came in 2nd place at the Halloween party, lost out to two nearly naked women). And a fork.
Okay, maybe I won't be the mascot, I'm having a hot flash right now and could die in that thing; this would be most traumatic to the young.

19. I need to get paid for photography or anything that's creative since I'm tired of working for free; impromptu weddings, perhaps pictures of hundreds of kids spelling Nashsturtion, Nasturten, Nasturtium, whatever, church photos, or take pictures for my portfolio so we can make a million dollars and you don't.

18. I have a boatload of BUS EXPERIENCE. I took Detroit City buses at 4-years old and survived. Not even lying here. But Jan's bus is very impressive - and those marvelous drawings! How did they do that? See, I would take pictures of the process of getting the drawings on the bus. I must know, and I must photograph it.

17. As adults, my sister and I took a Greyhound Bus tour from Tennessee to Detroit. If you can survive this, you can survive anything. We don't complain about airline travel any more.
(A ditch at 4 a.m. - I'll say no more.)
This was the answer to any question, "When will the bus come to pick us up?"
"How long will it take to get there?"
"There's No Way of Knowing!"
This has become one of our favorite quotes.
16. Total Children's Literature nut! I could brief (or just chit-chat with) Jan on all the latest and greatest children's books while we're bouncing along the asphalt. We could look at D.J.'s videos, James' latest eBook, photos from Kerry, as well as discerning the hottest Suzanne Collins. You get the idea. Plus, I have a degree in English Literature, but that hasn't really done anything for me, except that I can write that sentence.

15. I don't smoke.

14. I don't whine and complain about long stretches of boredom - I read a book or do my own art journals.

13. I don't get drunk, ever since the party in 1982ish when I told Julian Lennon he wasn't welcome. I regret this immensely. Have never been drunk since, Julian, so I learned my lesson, and  "I'm sorry!"
12. It's my YoT (Year of Technology) so I would say yes to all learning.
11. I would be Extremely excited about taking photographs of Everything! From sketching, crowded bookstores, kids, mothers, sisters, fathers, books, books on the shelves, Jan's art work, presents they give her, staff, the bus of course, other's art, playing cards on the bus, cows, horses, big cities, buildings, sunrises, sunsets, lost ring of the Ecliptixcs, ancient artifacts, Americana, reflections through windows, twigs in the shapes of letters, tennis-ball art, pronghorns, cats, dogs hanging out of open windows, and even coffee mugs; everything but bad hair-day in the morning (actually that too - but wouldn't post those on the Internet).

10. I would really dig stopping off at all Americana Roadsides (these photos could be a side book). You know, the stuff such as an 50-foot bowling pin, a house built into the rock, twenty-foot statue of Superman, 30-foot donut. Imagine the artist who spent his/her life creating this JunkArt must have been interesting.

9. Went on a cross-country tour for Motorcyclist Magazine in the 1980s (further experience) taking photographs published in the magazine. Today, my middle-aged body is suited for a cushier bus.

8. Did I mention that my husband would really like me to have a job and make money again; he misses this, ever since I quit my design job to take care of our son. He says, a paycheck would make him understanding of my inability to not be home to make oatmeal. What happened to those men who insist their wife stay home? Gone since 1952, I think. Well, I sure don't want to do something dull at my age. Life is short, and I'm only good at children's literature, tennis and witty banter. As my sister tells me, you have no clear visible talents. So, definitely a shoo-in chronicler for the next tour.

7. It's my destiny to take photographs involving Children's Authors. I've been bringing in children's authors to the Linebaugh Library Pen Pal Committee for ten years, and I have never met a children's author who isn't fabulous. They are all sweet down-to-earth great people - it's probably because they love what they do and it's important work.

6. I mix photography into my own work either as JunkArt Journals or Children's Books. And would be busy with my own stuff and not be bored for long stretches of road time.

5. I would learn from Jan because she's one of the best in America!

4. I'm about the same age as Jan, so I'd understand her aches and pains and issues of hot flashes and why my leg just fell asleep and I won't be able to move for about thirty seconds.

3. I'd photograph all the funky bookstores and compile that into a book. I'd be lost in all the BOOKSTORES! Big Yeah. "Where's Naieva Bookist? The bus is pulling out - somebody go get her, I think she's still in the kid section playing with the sock monkeys. What a funny person."
2. Okay, we're getting down to the final reasons that I should have a job as Chronic Chronicling Photographer on Jan Brett's Bus.

The number two reason is that I should not be the Chronic Chronicler Photographer on Mats Vilander's Tennis Bus touring America. It would be weird to get into my funky pajamas at night near a tennis dude, and then what about how I'm looking in the morning before coffee. But, I wouldn't mind doing one event somewhere, especially if he plays a round of tennis with my kid.

And the Number One Reason that I should be the photographer on the Jan Brett bus is . . . .
are you ready for the top Reason:

 "It would work out nicer than Real Housewives of Atlanta Bus Tour."
At least, I would hope.

So there you have.

We'd have to schedule it around the NALTA season, and I wouldn't want to miss the big tennis Cincinnati tournament we go to in August  either (I have to take pictures of buddies Fernando Gonzalez and David Ferrer). We've got our children's author coming to Linebaugh in Mid-Fall.
I will skip the parade (the Giant Podiatrist Foot Float Debacle a few years back isn't easily forgotten).

Winter 2011 to Spring 2012 works for me.
My kid can drive himself to school.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chicken or Reality?

Eva Graalman Masterpiece

Charlie Morey Photograph

Headstrong Chicken

When Charlie Morey posted this photo of a chicken he met walking around at the LA Zoo, I couldn't help but think that this proves everybody wrong when they say, "Unlike Naieva, I deal in Reality!"

In MyYoT (Year of Technology) I've been getting on Facebook and making new friends and renewing old ones. Charlie was the Editor of Dirt Rider magazine when I was the Gopher. Today, he is a Fabulous Freelance Photographer and I've become a Big Time Chicken.
Our conversation on Facebook:
  • Eva Graalman What is this thing? I drew a kid's book called Headstrong Chicken and this gal is exactly what I had in mind. Didn't know it actually exists.

  • Charlie Morey ‎- It's a Southern Crested Screamer, Eva. Here's a link to the information page about it on the Los Angeles Zoo's website:
My Headstrong Chicken is a cross between a hideous bird-of-prey vulture, turkey, and a hint of chicken with a serious sinus condition. She is a girl with a roster head-thingy.

What the LA Zoo nearly has to say about her:

Headstrong Screamers mate for life. Both male and female help build the nest, a large pile or platform made of reeds and other plant matter located either in shallow water or on land near water or water bowl if provided by humans. Two to seven eggs are laid, and both parents share incubation duties but the female just want to be left alone or be adopted. Hatching occurs 42 – 45 days after laying and then randomly ever after. Both parents use the unhatchable eggs for golf, tennis, soccer or various other sports.
STATUS: The crested screamer is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and of pretty much no concern to the general public. However, it is, as is other wildlife in South America or rural America flea joins, feeling pressure due to deforestation and destruction of wetlands or neat neighborhoods.
HABITAT: The crested screamer is found in marshes, wet savannas, swamps, open lowlands and forest lagoons in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Middle America pile-heaps if unlucky.
DIET: Screamers are primarily herbivorous, eating leaves, flowers, seeds, corn with loads of butter, and roots of aquatic plants; all which causes serious digestive excrements of unpleasantness. They find food by grazing or digging in mud around shallow water a Hat Society Tea-Parties. Occasionally, they will eat insects and crumpets especially during breeding season which we won't further discuss.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: This bird looks more like a turkey or an unpleasant pheasant, but in reality, it is more closely related to a duck or vulture with bad sinus. The crested screamer is a large, heavy-bodied bird, about three and a half feet tall, with fluffy, gray or brown plumage, and a black tail. Females necks have four Adam's Apples and grow additional ones when become happy, some have a black or red collar and a lacy, prominent yellow crest at the back of the head. The screamer’s beak is short, strong, and hooked, resembling the beak of prey, and its eyes are black and have a rose colored bare patch around them as if they've been caterwauling incessantly. An unusual, and primitive, feature is the two long, sharp spurs on the leading edge of the wings, which are used in defending the screamer’s territory or against predators when threatened. Vampire fingernails are quite alarming. It has long, pink legs and toes, and its feet have a tiny amount of webbing between the toes to hold up the latest fashion. Both male and female look alike; the male is slightly larger than the female, but you wouldn't want either one for a pet when you can get a nice dog.

Reluctant Water Birds

Screamers are considered to be a primitive form of fowl, indeed.  Their bones are hollower than those of any other bird and quite repulsive if seen with one's glasses on.  This adaptation, along with air sacs below their loose skin and the trace amount of webbing on their feet, gives them the ability to swim (albeit reluctantly) and walk over muddy, marshy ground without sinking or getting out of feed sacks if thrown into one in the middle of the night by someone mean. Screamers are said to be sedentary and do not migrate and if taken home will never, ever, leave. They do, however, travel long distances in search of a boy and a good or unsuspecting home. They are powerful flyers, even though they do have a bit of trouble getting off the ground or out of locked cages in a dog pound. Once airborne, they can soar at great heights for long periods of time and get out of any mess to make it back home.
Fast Fact:Screamers are extremely vocal; air sacs right above their black (or red) neck collar help amplify their distinctive trumpeting call, especially when threatened to be abandoned by new found family. Because of this behavior and their defensive nature, farmers will often take juvenile screamers and raise them with domestic fowl to help warn of potential predators. This fact is regrettable and that's why Naieva likes to deal in fiction.

This is all going to be added in my book - get ready Janell!

The similarities between Charlie Morey's chicken and my Headstrong Chicken are impossible to ignore.

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Entire Life in 300 Words or Less

I entered a Pie Writing Contest from a magazine. At least I hope I did. The online site accepted my entry, but gave a 404 error, and it also asked for $25 and then it didn't. So, I really don't know if I've succeeded.

Once I write something I hold the paper to the light and scream Eureka, this is such Greatness! The world awaits! I mail it out knowing now is the time I will be rewarded for all my hard work.

Me, Sugar and Flour
A few days go by and I pull it from the door to rekindle my worthiness. This I shouldn't do, because now I see fifty mistake in an essay 50 words or less. I chuck it into the garbage and know that I'll never write again!
Later as I'm driving wondering thoughts of trolls invade, kites going astray and destroying the town, cats talking, and then I must write or die or at least take a nap. 

Unlikely as it seems, I've actually won some contests.

We won $500 worth of Balls (donated to Walter Hill Elementary)
for my Coach Essay 50 words or Less.

This was the only good thing that came from being forced to take French in College.
I learned the Easiest Recipe from my French teacher.
I found it a bit disturbing to have The Easiest plastered over my head.

  I think I got voted Most Creative because I used my own pictures in the ads.
Also won gift certificates for photography contests.
The Berry Company (Yellow Pages)
 This writing assignment is to take any recipe and relate it to your life. I took our friend Allen Howell's pizza pie recipe. (Allen is floating around the Yellow Pages in a picture taken of him painting but he really owns Corporate Flight Management.)

Ha. Here's a YoT (Year of Technology) side note. I went to my email to copy the essay and received this email from a friend.

It took me most of the day to somehow get the info scanned, sent to my computer, sent to my email, and then sent to everybody............I could have driven to every one's house and hand delivered it quicker! Please let me know if you got it and could open it..............if not I'll start the car!
We all must go through these frustrations, and know that it will get better.
Ok, on with the essay of My Life in 300 Words of Less:

Life Lessons in Peaches Pie

Five clumps of dough being raised in a broken-down lazy oven should ruin the recipe, but it doesn’t.
A rare moment of happiness (and dinner) was my parent’s announcement to take us all out for Peaches Pie. Dreaming of gooey sweetness, the waitress plunks down a hot doughy mess smelling of funky cheese that burns my fingers and makes me whimper. This is my first lesson that life is a cruel misunderstanding.
What to do? Well, learn to love what is given to you; Instead of a Peaches Pie, I got Detroit’s Pizza Pie.

2  2/3 cups of whole wheat flour (Ruth, my flour, taught me that green beans don’t have to come from a can).
1 tablespoon sugar (sweet Susie gifted journals, paper and pencils and insisted I still write).
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (Joanie taught me tennis, crafts and competitiveness).

1 teaspoon salt (My hippie brother Paul lured me into a hamper and then sat on the lid until I hollered).

1 teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar (My dad never liked me, but he should have. I was this cute round funny puddle of fat, but he just saw me as another mouth to feed).

Sugar, Yeast, Flour and Naieva

1 Cup Warm Water (Maid of Honor Leona Prall and I still vow to be best friends thirty years later).
Yellow Cornmeal (At first appearances my husband may seems a little dry, but he leaves me giggling about something corny every night, and that’s the secret to a happy marriage).
Olive Oil (my son Taylor is my smoothest artwork).
Let Rise (Life got better once we read the Bible, found a church, pray and believe in God).

Me and My Cornmeal


Therefore: My motto: Just because you’re born in the ghetto doesn’t mean you have to stay there.

Detroit seemed like nothing but Cars to me.

Pizza is Delicious! The Complete Allen Howell Pizza Pie Recipe

Allen Howell's Pizza Pie
The Crust:
 2 and 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour, I grind my own flour from hard white wheat because you can really tell the difference when you start with fresh ground flour. Much more nutty flavor to the crust,
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Cup Warm Water (105-115 degrees F, be careful not to use water that is too hot, it will kill the yeast and not ferment)

In a mixer bowl mix 2/3 cup flour with the yeast, salt and sugar, add the warm water and balsamic vinegar. Stir with a whisk until mixed well. Let sit covered for at least 15 minutes, but longer up to an hour doesn't hurt.

Add the last two cups flour and with a dough hook attached to the mixer on low speed let the hook knead the dough. Remove from the mixer and knead by hand on a surface like granite or stone. Once it is elastic and well kneaded place in a glass bowl with a small amount of olive oil already in the bowl. Move the dough ball around in the bowl until the dough and the bowl are coated with olive oil. This keeps the dough from sticking to the bowl. The oil also adds flavor to the crust.

Let rise for at least 1 hour but two is better, it should at least double in size, in the glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap to keep air out. If you are not ready to make the pizza yet then put dough in the fridge until you are ready. If your fridge it take out and let come back to room temp if time allows.

Punch the risen dough down, divide into two sections for two pizzas. Start working the dough into a round circle. Add flour to the surface as needed to keep it from sticking. Work it out by hand and then get a rolling pin to roll it out further. I like mine thin so if you do to roll it out thin by dusting with flour on both sides until you work it as thin as you like. it should be about the size of the pizza paddle.

Drop the crust on to a pizza paddle that has been dusted with Yellow Cornmeal so the crust can slide off into the oven. The crust should not be sticky - if it is it will not slide off the paddle when you are ready to cook it in the oven.

Now you’re ready to add ingredients.

I like to brush the outside of the crust with olive oil or basil pesto for extra flavor and a crispy pizza bone.

Then spread tomato sauce, we use sauce made from Roma tomatoes grown in the garden. The sauce is cooked down to a paste consistency and includes basil, oregano rosemary and maybe fennel, fresh herbs to add flavor. The sauce and home-made crust are the foundation of a really good pizza,

Toppings: Cheeses like fresh grated Asiago or Parmesan, fresh mozzarella, maybe some goat cheese on a vegetarian pizza. I don't overdo the cheese, but prefer to have more of the healthy stuff.

Best ingredients, fresh olives, prosciutto Italian ham, salami, Italian sausage, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes, pineapple, salad greens on top after it is cooked, an egg in the center poached as the pizza cooks, Taylor's banana peppers, and anything else you want,

I am learning to limit each pizza to 2-3 distinct ingredients that complement each other versus making the kitchen sink pizza,

Oven should be preheated to at least 450 with a baking stone on mid level. Slide the pizza carefully on to the stone. It is tricky to not end up with a disaster here.

It takes about 8-10 minutes. Crust should be brown and crispy on the edges and bottom, and cheese bubbly.

Slide the pizza back on the paddle and slice and serve.

Buon Appetito
Serve with Dark beer or good spicy red wine like a cab, Chianti, Malbec or red Zinfandel.

You do realize I have just successfully copied all this stuff. Bravo for Me and MyYoT! And now on to more frustrating learning - I bought for $14 at a yard sale and home video machine that can be uploaded to Facebook. The box hasn't even been opened - I think someone didn't want to bother learning it.