Saturday, March 25, 2017

Catch and Release

   I'd be lying if I said that I didn't think they were really d@mn cute, but they certainly don't belong in my home! My animals failed at capturing this one, and I was able to grab it by the tail, drop it in a wastebasket, and drive it up the street to the park to release it back into the wild. Welcome to the Rarey Catch and Release Program.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The joy of pets

   This is in response to an article in the New York Times called "things I wish I had known when my dog died."   Wonderful, and sweet. Brought tears to my eyes, thinking about the two cats I've lost as an adult… Let alone the pets I grew up with, and dear friends' pets.
   Many daily joys revolve around interaction with my pets. The cat is always the first to greet me when I wake up, and anytime I return home. (With the dogs pushing and shoving to be next in line.) They howl with excitement when I get out of bed every morning. Every morning!
   Reading an article like this reminds me to cherish them every day they're here, and to be thankful when they're well. And not just pets, but people too.
   And I'm especially grateful for those who dedicate their lives to saving these precious creatures and placing them in loving homes. Kathi Nichols, Kate Fields, Jack Pullan, Steph Allen, Bonnie Drayson Still, Joahnna Lyzza Osmena, Rachelle Steele, Casey Waugh, Robin Bybee Rowland - among many many others I'm lucky to know!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kindness for the kind

   In January 2016, I started walking the dogs every morning to improve my own fitness and start the day off right. We walked past the little elementary school in our neighborhood, and learned that a couple of the kids who especially enjoyed our visit had recently lost their mom. The crossing guard told me that she hadn't seen them smile in weeks, and that we brought a little moment of joy back to their lives. So we made a point to go every day.
   In time, I began to realize that our visits were just as important to Mary, the crossing guard, as they were to the kids. She began bringing (very generous amounts of) treats for the dogs every day in anticipation of our visit. And if we had to miss a day, I could sense her frustration and disappointment next time we saw her. And we, of course, would miss her too.
   Yesterday as we approached Mary she didn't look like herself; something was wrong. She had recently been sick, and her husband has been sick for a long time: pneumonia and then the flu. Her husband is struggling. It's not only emotional for her, but he is a much larger person, so it's hard for her to help him get around. With every detail she shared, her eyes welled up with tears and her voice wavered. Her heart was breaking with worry, and mine was breaking to see her in such pain.
   If you are the praying type, I would appreciate if you'd send up a prayer for my friend. We met in such an ordinary way, and only see each other in that one context, but our connection is so very special to me.
   The photo was taken last week behind the school, during spring break. Even when I knew no one would be there, we walked past, and my dogs look for Mary every single time. She has such a kind and caring heart and just thinking about her lifts my spirits.
   Thank you.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Note from Taylor

   Hi, friends-- it's me, Taylor. Jen put some butternut squash peel, eggshells, coffee grounds, and daffodils in the compost bin, and they smelled delicious. So I jumped up there and my Serresto collar got caught on the fence that's there specifically to keep me out. Silly fence! You can't stop Taylor. I'm just glad I didn't hang myself on there. Jen says I'm the hungriest dog in the world. PS: coffee grounds are yummy.

Turtle Tattoo!

   Yesterday my dive buddies Michelle and Jason got inked with the sea turtle I designed for them! I look forward to admiring this next time we're all underwater together!!   Nice job to Kelly at Illustrated Man in KC.
   I believe this is the first official tattoo I've been commissioned to create, though I've had my work taken from my site and tattooed without my knowledge before. While it's indeed very flattering that people like my work enough to have it permanently installed on their body, I definitely appreciate the people who understand that artists are professionals who should be compensated for the work they do—it's not free clip art!
   Working with my friends on this art allowed them to be a part of the creative process right along with me—giving me ideas and direction, and landing on one they liked best. Thanks, friends! This was as fun to create as it looks on your shoulder!

Thursday, March 2, 2017



The Journey Continues...

   Crazy to think that two years ago today was my final day at Hallmark, where I "lived" for 18 years.
   These last two years have been a fantastic adventure. I've met a ton of new friends. I worked for a year at a little agency creating marketing for Coca-Cola. I seriously considered moving to Hawaii for another job.
   In January I started teaching part-time at an art college near my house. Instantly fell in love with teaching and plan to continue. (I'm still teaching scuba as needed, too.)
   Within the last three months, I launched my own full-time freelance business and have been blessed with some great clients and fun work already. (I appreciate referrals, of course!) The variety of work I'm doing and the challenge of juggling everything is exhilarating. You can see what I've been up to at 
   When I left my long time job, it was an ending-- but I also believed it was the beginning of great new things that I never would have discovered otherwise. I'm thrilled that Facebook has made it easy to keep in touch with so many of you. Thanks for your friendship and support! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


PSA (Pet Safety Announcement)
   Anybody who knows me knows that I love my pets. And that my pets have a ton of personality. And that "personality" is code for "they are sometimes a complete pain in the @**." Sharing this story and sketch in the hopes that it can help you avoid similar trouble in your own home. Take out the trash!!
   Overnight, my cat got into the trash and dragged out some pork bones (delicious KC BBQ!) that I had forgotten to take to the garage. She dragged them into the living room and chewed on them, then came upstairs and puked on my bed (while I was sleeping in it).
   The dogs knew all this before I did, so when we headed downstairs bright and early this morning, one ran straight to the bones in the living room and swallowed at least one of themwholebefore I could intercept him.
   Number 6 in the drawing is: I wait nervously to see if an emergency surgery will be in order. UGH!!! Welcome to the circle of garbage.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


    77 degrees in Kansas in February... WHAT?! As much as I fear climate change, I must admit it was nice to spend a weekend outdoors and/or with all the windows open. We took lots of walks, washed the car, and tonight grilled some brats. The Shibas supervised and made sure I didn't burn them.

Scuba Shower!

       This afternoon was the baby shower for our good friends—Zach, a fellow divemaster, and his wife Megan. They and their daughter Hailey are expecting boy/girl twins in April/May!
   That's my dive buddy Jeff D.—with stickers on our foreheads. (You may recognize Jeff as the guy who kissed me 60' underwater in Roatan.)
   Many from our Skin n Scuba family attended, including Sam himself!
    Aaaaand if you have liquid in your mouth, you should probably swallow that before you read on—don't want a spit take on your computer! Chris, our fabulous organizer, asked me to draw one of the games: pin the sperm on the uterus. My artistic piece de resistance! I've waited all my life to be asked to draw something THIS ridiculous!!! So here they are in all their glory... I give you... SCUBA SPERM!

   I nearly did a spit take when I overheard one of the kiddos speculating what I was drawing on the dry erase board. She guessed "a person holding cookies." Similarly, one of the boys said the sperm looked like snails riding motorcycles. Clearly, my work here is done!