August 30, 2011

Look at me! Over here! I'm the one with the pen-cil, yoo hoo!

August 29, 2011



August 26, 2011

(I shouldn't have put those hearts there. They look dumb. I just got lazy and didn't want to reproduce my drawing in miniature.) Why didn't any of these people ask me what I was doing? You can't draw pictures like this without taking advantage of people's good manners! I should prob'ly get a refresher on operating in stealth mode.

August 24, 2011

For Limpy

August 24, 2011

This blog entry is about my cat, Bear. If you don't like cats, there's a little button at the top that says "next blog." But please come back tomorrow!

The vet tripped over herself with joy on our voicemail today -- she managed to discuss his case with the internist and the medicated food rep, and now she has excellent news she can't wait to share with us!

Internet, if only you knew what Bear has been through.

The Life and Times of Awesome Bear, a.k.a. Limpy

Bear was born in a barn that, eleven years ago, housed dozens of cats, many rescued from the road where owners left them. Bear developed an eye infection at an early age and suffered minor corneal scarring. This same infection afflicted most of the other cats born in the barn, and it cost most of them the use of part or all their sight in the affected eye. For the same reason, the barn owner and my parents' beloved neighbour George, eventually decided to spay and neuter everyone in the barn. In 2 decades, no treatment had ever stopped the mysterious disease, and so the last resort became the only one.

But in those days, George thought that maybe if he raised Bear and his half-brother Socks (who was also sick) in his own house, they might escape the worst of the disease. The gamble paid off in their cases. The downside was that George's daughter was terribly allergic to cats, and so the only home he could make for them was in his unfinished, dark basement.

And there they lived for five years until I came along.

Bear is a lovable cat. He's called Bear because he sits up on his hind legs. He lies down for anyone, and chooses caresses over food. He forgives my brutal 2-year-old anything. He has also limped, almost from birth, and suffered from arthritis in both hindquarters.

Out of curiosity, my previous vet examined Bear closely, and discovered via x-ray that both of his back hips are essentially snapped in two at their growth plates. It's a rare condition having to do with the age he was neutered, among other things. (Lesson: don't neuter too early, or your animal might not develop properly.)  Instead of rotating in their sockets, the balls of his thigh bones have fused to their sockets, and his hip "joints" occur at the breaks in the bones.

Yes, it is painful. He walks on broken legs. It's an amazing testimony to the ability of the body to adapt.

We treated the arthritis for years with a powerful drug. Eventually, it caused kidney failure, and Bear almost died. After his week in hospital, we fed him medicated foods he hated, and subjected him to thrice weekly top-ups of fluid subcutaneously (under the skin). He got thin, and we were never able, despite repeated lessons and recourse to the Internet, to do it well. Much cat and human crying was involved. A year passed, and finding good spots among the scar tissue to give him his fluids became next to impossible. We gave up for almost two months.

Then he started vomiting again. Actually, our current vet said, he looks better than last time I saw him. He's gained some weight. So let's do another blood panel, I said, so she wouldn't have to ask me if she could do one (they cost a few hundred bucks). And then I gathered up my courage and asked her for another lesson in giving fluids. Her and the vet tech stayed late at the hospital showing me yet another goddamned time the good places for the needle, the good ways to hold him, and so on.

I have talked across my cat's slim gray back to this woman, whom I adore, so many times since last spring. Every time, her message is, we're doing a great job. But this isn't going away. Kidney disease is usually for life. To make his life as long as possible, let's try this. Or this.

But now she says she has excellent news. She can barely keep herself from spilling it on the machine. What are you going to tell Bear, Doctor?

***Thursday Update***

I spoke with Bear's vet today and received overwhelming news. He is completely, unexpectedly well. No more medicines. No more pokes with needles. His kidney disease is gone. Presumably, his life expectancy is back to normal. He's free.

I'm just ... Wow.

Dr Wara, thank you.

August 23, 2011

Yellow ochre people


This mediocre drawing is me limping back to bus blogging still feeling really sleepy after my holiday. Also, I'm so annoyed by how popular it is to say Ottawa is "mediocre" that I'm just going to claim it. (Somebody published a big article about it this week. I'm not going to link it.)

I think Ottawa rocks. What kind of city would this be anyway if it was just trying to be Toronto and Montreal? No, we're not the cultural or architectural hub for thousands of miles around like Winnipeg or whatever. We gotta be our OWN town. This is a superlative place to live, work, play, raise family, and connect with nature. How come those criteria aren't in the "world-class city" context?

So fine. Yeah! My art is mediocre! I guess this blog belongs here, like me.  

August 22, 2011

What's this! Photographs?

Since I publish under my own name, I don't feel right announcing when I'm going on vacation and leaving the house empty. (Well, not empty. Bear and Socks were here! Ottawa's faithful pet-sit service, Loving Paws, took great care of them. Plug! Plug!) Anyway, if you were wondering what happened to Bus Blog last week, it disguised itself as a middle-aged mom and vanished to the Eastern Townships. It wasn't a perfect trip -- my little family needs more traveling practice (don't we all?). Nor did I make a single drawing. I took these few snaps while Ada threw stones into the river on a pit stop during a hike in Parc Sutton.






August 11, 2011

Today is Thursday

August 10, 2011

Just one quick and jittery drawing today as I didn't get seats too often this week so have little to show. But I wanted to post again once more this week since I rarely post on Fridays.

Anything working for the good of the mentally ill is roses to me. On Sunday evening, theottawagirl's brilliant photos, along with the art and music of a bunch of local talent will be on show at Mercury Lounge to support the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. The artists and performers are largely (all?) drawn from Basement Artists. Starts at 7:30 pm, 10$.


August 9, 2011

Bumpy foots

August 9, 2011


I yearn for more time for "finishing" pictures, even redoing them nicely. Alas!

August 9, 2011

Sitting in the articulated section always produces fun, wobbly results!  

August 8, 2011

Put that shirt back

August 4-8, 2011

A mom looking down at her son in his stroller. A very open expression isn't something I normally have the chance to draw on my commutes.

She's wearing someone else's shirt, which suffers a bit from bus bumpiness variation. Hatch marks can be challenging for mobile drawings. Can you guess where I was standing at a bus stop and where I was lurching back and forth (um, on a bus) along Queen Street?

I learned in a roundabout way that the CBC replayed my Ottawa Morning interview today. I didn't get to hear how it was introduced -- anybody know why they put it on for a second time?

August 8, 2011

Some marker doodling I do sometimes just to loosen up. She gave up her priority seat and sat down beside me. Had to cover my drawing with my hand. Awkward.

August 5, 2011

I heart octranspo, too

Hey! There's an Iheartoctranspo blog! This is so cool. Right now they're featuring station design and art.

August 4, 2011

Exhairiments, part 4

August 4, 2011

A retro hairstyle! You don't often catch longish hair on men groomed into a sideswept style. Smashing.* The mildly wood-block style was inspired by the traditional woodcuts illustrating Italo Calvino's collection of 200 Italian Folktales. (I'm on #64.) 

from Italian Folktales, by Italo Calvino

The stories read best over bleary breakfasts. 'There once was a King who had three sons. One day..." Inevitably, great deeds are performed, foolish mistakes made, and fairies interfere in the running of things for good and ill, all delivered in a matter-of-fact tone of suppressed parental exasperation. But I could be projecting.


This post was brought to you by your temporary and wholly inept fashion-watching bus blogger. Back to your regularly scheduled programming soon.




August 2, 2011

Exhairiments, part 3

August 2, 2011

More hair! You were excited, I knew you were ;)

Very short hair: there's the short hair that sticks up in little spikes, the tufty kind, the twisty kind, and the mini wavelets I attacked this morning, above. Very challenging. No idea how I could suggest that hair with just a few strokes rather than the pile-on-the-pen style I tried here.

August 1, 2011

Dusky woman and river bridge

July 19, 2011

I forgot to post this composite beauty that I spotted a couple of weeks ago. The eyes, nose and hairstyle come from three different women.

July 26, 2011

These black lines I drew (they're so dark I want to say inked) using a Galaxy marker, which is marketed for the comic/manga crowd. I'm not wielding them well. How do comic artists make their lines so clean?