Monthly Archives: January 2014

This is a little “game” for you to play, oh deer!

Slide2Today is my first anniversary of doing this blog so I have a gift for my followers. Have fun!

From PENCIL GAMES Magazine Spring 2008.

Match the song title with the occupation below (it could be a theme song for them to adopt!)

Pictured here is “Oh Deer!”


The Man on the Flying Trapeze

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Knock Three Times

Silly Love Songs

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Roses are Red My Love

King of the Road

Wake Up Little Susie

Mrs. Brown you have a Lovely Daughter

American Pie

Bette Davis Eyes

Stand By Your Man

I Love a Rainy Night



a.   door-to-door salesman

b.    meteorologist

c.    truck driver

d.    circus performer

e.    delivery-room nurse

f.    movie make-up consultant

g.   disc jockey

h.   florist

i.    alarm-clock

j.    square-dance caller

k.   flight attendant

l.    Houston Chamber of Commerce

m.   baker

Can you make up a few more? Sure brings back lots of memories if you are from my generation (old that is!).

Back home is a cold place, enjoying warmth here on my face!

winterEvery time I turn on the news and see the temperatures back East, I feel guilty for about, ummmm, 2 seconds. Cleveland is being snowed upon and I am in California out in the sunshine, taking two courses online (, free classes).

My Roman Architecture class is so interesting (from Yale!). Did you know that the Roman’s invented cement and took Greek Architecture (which I adore) to a whole new dimension because of it. They combined Etruscan and Greek buildings and came up with so many wonders. Problem is, I have visited many ancient places and never realized what I was looking at and would’ve gotten so much more out of the trips. If you want to “see the world”, I highly reccommend you look into this course.

I now am looking at buildings on TV, in magazines, books and all around me and seeing the influences and appreciating so much. When I see columns, I remember their “orders” (e.g. Doric= plain flat tops, Ionic=the bulls horn sort of like spirals on the sides, and the Corinthian= the flowery sculpted tops). But now I know the many ways they can be formed. In Grecian sites, you see many are broken and lying around. Same with Roman sites, but they are not all made of the same materials. I am telling you, go look around and view life in a whole new way.

The second class I am taking is Dinos 101. Having loved dinosaurs for all my life (and working at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History), I know a lot about them, but never had taken any courses. Wow, what a great job the University of Alberta is doing, showing how scientists discover every aspect through the various fossilized bones and pieces.

I love fossils and usually can find them wherever I go. My sister, the geologist, is always surprised that I have this talent. We worked on a kids book (“What’s Under your Feet?”) for several years (1992 it came out) and she would take me to places so I could see some geological events on my own (and not just in books!). I even got to run with the dinosaurs in Culpeper VA. where there were hundreds of footprints all over the quarry. I also had an opportunity to talk to scientists and developed a comprehensive book that makes Earth Science very understandable. In fact, I never used the word evolution or die in the entire book and even adults who have seen it have been impressed that I was able to share the facts very visually.

I just found out that they will be offering a song writing class in the Spring and am looking forward to taking this course again. I took it in Cleveland and wrote loads of songs and poems when I did take it. The nicest thing is that I am giving a recitation, using a few of them in  performance with another sister, in San Diego in February. I always get so creative when I take courses and the free ones online are so nice. The most fun is talking on the discussion forums to people from around the world. Mind-blowing, no?

So, go take a class!

What’s Cookin’?

I decided to have a lazy day with my daughter today (Sunday) and made a potato soup for lunch with whatever I found around in the freezer and frig.  I had a prepared seaweed package from an Asian market in the freezer for a while so I decided to concoct something special. I am known as a cook that doesn’t use recipes, so, any amounts are arbitrary.

I once was asked to cook on a local PBS TV cooking fundraiser and sent them a recipe, last-minute. They called and asked if I would demonstrate it on live TV. I was embarrassed to ask, but had to get the recipe I sent in because i made it up and sent it without recording it anywhere. I did the show and it was great fun. They asked me back three times in fact and I grilled with the Grilling Guy, George Hersh too. Once the stove was not hot enough and I made something with raw turkey meat that never cooked and the hosts had to pretend to eat it!  And BTW- I had designed the dinnerware and they let me plug it on the show! Live TV is interesting. I even forgot an ingredient and as they were tasting it, I ran over and poured my “secret sauce” (Papa John’s Pizza garlic butter) as they were talking about my “shrimp delight” dish with sour cream and lemon juice with sauteed celery and onions.

So here is my recipe for Hot and Spicy Seaweed Soup: a container of homemade turkey soup, with all of these thrown in.

Three pre-cooked white potatoes, chopped baby carrots, diced celery, sautéed onions and mushrooms, bacon bits, one grated yellow squash & fresh ginger, garlic, 1/2 c Greek yogurt, a little orange juice, 1 C Moscato wine, 1/2 C sherry, agave, orange juice, a pat of butter and one packet of commercial sweet and sour (spicy) sauce from a  packaged chicken meal from Trader Joes.

There is only one problem, when my husband was visiting he went through the freezer (because I could never find anything). So he was kind enough and wrote everything down on a big list. I can see and know which shelves everything is on, BUT now I have to go back and cross off everything that I use. What a pain in the neck! I liked my old hide and seek method! Got any bright ideas on this matter?

Anyway- go make soup, start with chicken broth or turkey or beef broth from a can, add instant mashed potatoes to thicken it, saute onions and celery and add butter and sherry and that’s your base. Anything goes when making soup with these basic items. I make a fabulous Peach Bisque using these with a can of peaches with the juice & evaporated milk in a blender, and add a little dried parsley and a little garlic powder. Yummy!


Challenges for artists, complete a piece where SHAPE plays it up.

Slide1Knowing the ten design elements can help you flourish in your artwork. The best photography course I ever took was one where we were to use each element and do photos using just one element at a time. LINE was the first. SHAPE came next.

So I am asking you to create work with the design element of SHAPE this month. Paint or shoot for this and see if you can spot good shapes, ones that are positive and negative. And try not to repeat the same sized shapes. Notice how bothing is centered in the photos so the negative shapes are all uneven. The triangle piece has repeated angles which makes for exciting shapes. In th4e florals below, the same thing happens when you do not center something, the outsidfe shapes become interesting. Remember this when taking ohotos of people, keep them near the line of thirds so the negative shapes become part of the piece. sha shshap shep

I notice in my paintings, I often don’t realize that I do accidentally have spaces that are equal shapes, until it’s too late. So if we can understand this concept early on, our artwork will be much better. For instance, if doing a church steeple, you have a quadrant of shapes that are usually pretty much equal. The building takes up the bottom two quads and then the sky and the steeple are the other two. The best defense you have is to break up those areas with shruberies and maybe to frame the top where the sky is and put a tree branch there to round off the top half.Slide2

So take this advice and go for it.

I do remember people in the class getting confused with SHAPE and FORM. Form is three-dimensional, has shadows and highlights. Imagine the distance between trees, those are the repeated shapes that will do most painters in because we tend to make them to same distance. I suggest one goes and takes photos first and you can see how the perspective changes that on a flat plain.

Poetry in Motion

Being an avid songwriter, I decided to see if I could teach a class on it here in San Diego. I had been asked to recite some of my work coming up in February so I began looking through some of my work in my laptop. I found a few pieces I had done after a trip to Guatemala and on our Northern California trip and thought I would share some with you. If you have ever wanted to write poetry, take a small subject and enhance the experience. This first one was inspired by a photo I had taken of a fountain.ladyin fount

                 Lady in the Fountain  by: Penni Rubin Copyright C 2011

As I walk around a downtown park in Antigua,

I see pigeons fluttering about

                        Sitting on benches and the limbs of trees,

Annoying people, but entertaining

The kids as they chase them to make them flee.

I spy the fountain in the center of the town square,

Of a beautiful, stone-carved woman spilling water from her breasts.

I guess in Guatemala they didn’t believe in censorship

The way Americans do, when they created the square

For families to gather and gossip and pray.

A novel idea, water spilling from her bosom.

Water, like mother’s milk for a planet

Spewing in a far off place where no one seems to mind

Or see the metaphorical value of this piece of sculpture.

Where would we be without this liquid?

Falling from the clouds or filling a lake

From the ocean to the sky

And over the mountain tops

To reach the other side to create creeks and rivers.

From the upper atmosphere,

As it gets colder, it snows upon the mountain tops

And replenishes the streams that become the rivers

And then forms the Lakes

Where families gather to gossip and play.

And here is one about our trip to Pebble Beach when we were coming back from San Francisco.  We had no intension of going on the extra road but I tempted them by telling my family it was quite beautiful and you could see wild seals and pelicans.

Pebble Beach by: Penni Rubin Copyright C 2011

What a December afternoon.

We drove the seven mile drive to Pebble Beach

Just for the heck of it.

Paid the money and wound around the road,

Following the map, stopping here and there.

The little one wanted to climb the cliff,

We elders got out to check out the vistas to

View the beauty of nature in blues and rusty browns.

We did it even though it cost us to drive this roadway

What an experience, an unexpected treasure of pleasure.

Which leads to the famous golf course and fabulous mansions.

Which of course overlook the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

Over and over, we hear the crashing of the waves,

Pounding the rocks, creating swirls of foam,

Swishing great white sprays of water over jagged rocks.

We stopped and decided to have a picnic right there,

Instead of going on our way to Carmel for lunch.

We pulled out the cooler and leisurely

downed the packed goodies from our van.

Our little one climbed and ran and chased the birds.

We lazily watched and gazed and were amazed

At the energy surrounding us.

The pelicans and sea lions were all around

Playing amongst the kelp and sitting upon the rocks

As we admired being out in nature

On a December afternoon,

without our coats on!