"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Help

So, I just finished reading The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, and I'm pretty dang sure I'm the last person in the world to read this book:

What did you think? I always have a hard time with books that become super popular because then the hype builds expectations in me that I wouldn't normally have. That's why I didn't want to read this book. However, someone gave me this copy as a gift, so I thought that gave me a big enough excuse to read it. While I thought the book was entertaining and an interesting look into a world I'm not familiar with, I didn't find it as compelling as I imagined it would be. Drat! The writing wasn't as good as I expected, and I've read more meaningful pieces about explorations of racial division. I thought it played it too safe and glossed over things while pretending to expose them, if that makes sense.

That said, I'm still glad I read it and will probably read it again in my lifetime. I found the following explorations interesting:
  • The help know everything about their white families while the white families know hardly anything about their black employees. It's a classic case of dominance and subordination, where the truth is known to those most aware, in a position of subordination.
  • The hypocrisy of being an incredibly flawed person yet a wonderful mother...aren't we all, though?
  • Having a safe place and keeping personal and work lives compartmentalized, successes and failures.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scrumptious Specimens

And now, stuff to drool over:

I can't believe how many sick cars we saw at our neighborhood car show! My favorite was probably the Bel Air...what a delicious shade of red!

Friday, August 24, 2012


I've been wanting an easy way to display pictures, baby's art, and any announcements and cards we get (without having to turn everything into a fridge magnet) and I've had a big empty wall for far too long. So, I took approximately 2 seconds and tacked a baker's twine clothesline on the large wall space:

It's super easy to change things out, to conveniently display an invite in a conspicuous spot until we don't need it anymore, or to show off some simple projects that we want to temporarily display in our home. When mi madre saw our fun new clothesline, she told me that she did the same thing when I was a wee one. I always knew she was cool.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sad Tale, Happy Ending

Here's a sad tale for you: one year, perhaps last year, my father and I had a date for just the two of us. We planned our date weeks in advance to attend an annual salmon dinner fundraiser. I found a babysitter (thanks, Kirk!) and Daddy-o told my mom that he was taking me out and not her (she welcomed it because a seafood date would be pretty much the worst possible date in the history of the world), and we drove 45 minutes to the place where it was supposed to be. There were tents set up, but it looked quite sparse...in fact, no one was around. Where was all the salmon? We drove around for a while longer with some confusion...we weren't terribly late, we had this marked on our calendars weeks in advance, we were both hungry for some delectable seafood (and let me tell you what! Us Nielsons get dang cranky when we haven't had protein within the last hour and a half!) To our disappointment, we discovered what the problem was. A sign advertising the event indicated that we were in fact late...24 hours late! Oh poop!

So, we salvaged the date and went to Red Lobster instead where we ate seafood to our hearts' content. However, that is not the happy ending to the tale.

Fast forward one year, perhaps this year, and we double-and triple-checked the date before marking it on the calendar. My little sister joined us too, and on the day of our date we did indeed eat the salmon we were looking forward to. Hooray!

Here are things I learned:

One, this is a geriatric convention, and they actually bus in loads of oldies (but goodies). Two, the police in this tiny town take this event very seriously and put police line tape around the entire park. It is hilarious. Three, the entertainment is free for a reason (except for that one 14-yr-old kid who sings like a well-seasoned country star. He's pretty dang good and I usually don't care for that type of music, so that's saying a lot). Four, aside from the line to the Statue of Liberty ferry or some 5-second ride at America's favorite theme park, this may possibly be the longest line you'll ever stand in. Five, your hair may end up smelling like scrumptious smoked salmon for a couple days even if you wash it (that's not really a bad thing, just sayin').

All that aside, though, Pops and I are thinking of making this a tradition. Wanna join us next time?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Free as a Bird

I have a thing for birds. So, when my sister and I were picking a sketch to practice on, we immediately went for this one:

It is cheerfully hanging on my clothesline wall, which I'm excited to show you soon. This bird makes flying look so breezy and effortless, which is not really the case for people, usually.Well, here's to a winged heart: fly away, fly away, my friends!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scary Rapids

I took a river rafting trip down the treacherous Provo River with those fun teen girls that keep me on my toes. Honestly, the most treacherous thing about that river is the bevy of fly fisherpeople and their flicking fishhooks. Okay, to tell the truth, my kayak companion and I did get run over by a tree, but we escaped unscathed:

This picture was taken before we went down the river. We were much more soggy by the end of our journey.

This is at the end of our journey. We didn't even care how soggy we were.

The water was cool and the wildlife abundant. We passed some cows drinking peacefully at the waters' edge, a black weasel scampering along the bank, some fish that were leaping for joy because they were too happy to stay in the water, and a huge beaver just chilling in the middle of the river eating something delectable. If you haven't done so already (or even if you have!) you should totally take a little drift down a river (quick! before summer is totally over!). It will do your soul good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


My favorite little monkeypants just turned two, and lucky for us, his family was in town so that we could get some birthday pictures taken:

I don't know if you've ever tried to take pictures of a two-year-old whirlwind, but it is most challenging. He's such a busy little stinker that it is difficult to change settings fast enough to capture his little moments. Being busy, though, is one of the things I love most about him. It's good to stay busy, I think.

Also, to see who won the sketch giveaway, check back with the previous post.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Watching the Ships that Go Sailing

Here's another sketch that I've done recently:

I'd really like to give this drawing away to someone. Leave a comment by 10 pm on Monday, and I'll randomly pick a winner. Good luck!

Update: The lucky winner selected by the random number generator is Rachel! Congratulations! I'll be sure to get you your sketch :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012


So, when we were paddling about at girls' camp the first time, one of the younger girls frantically paddled to some other girls in our group, upset about some creatures she had found. In the shallow waters were some giant leeches! They were several inches long and had legs and horns!

I don't know if you know much about leeches, but they do not usually come equipped with appendages. In fact, I think it might be a genus requirement. I drew this salamander using the grid method, and interestingly enough, it looks very similar to those ferocious leeches:

The grid method is an easy way of ensure all proportions, angles, and details are correct, by studying then reproducing art section-by-section. I had forgotten that this is a good tool to keep in mind. Never fear, though. It's at the forefront of my drawing mind now.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Camping in the Rain

My family is fun, and that's all there is to it. My siblings and I know how to have fun at all times. Yesterday, my mom said--and I quote, "The kids in our family know how to have fun. They may not have the best judgement, but they can make anything fun!" This is true. (Except the judgement part. I'm pretty sure we have excellent judgement, which is why we can have fun all the time.) Our extended Nielson family, however, does not know how to have fun, so we had to teach them how to have fun, even when it was raining:

(Rainbow photo courtesy of my brother and his super-cool iphone. That's right, his iphone.) We tore up some muddy trails, got scared by thunder, played frisbee, shot off water rockets, went on nature walks, had treasure hunts, got into marshmallow and water wars, swung in hammocks, ate nigh to bursting, and played all sorts of fun games. I saw some huge cougar tracks (the closest I've come yet to fulfilling my dream of meeting a cougar in the wild) and saw a wild turkey with quite the brood (I counted 9 babies! Can you see them?) It was so much fun!

Plus, we got to camp in the rain, which always sends tingles down my spine. I love the sound of thunder and rain pattering on the tent roof is a-mazing! One day it rained for hours and hours, so Kirk, the baby and I got to kick it in our tent by ourselves. Pepper was so snugly and we just chillaxed and napped and cuddled...it was perfect!