Thursday, February 19, 2009

Five uneasy pieces...

So let's get right down to business. Fábio Cembranelli tagged me the other day and I'm supposed to pass the award along and also reveal 5 unusual things about myself. Since I tagged a bunch of people just a few days ago, I've decided to pass the award on to everybody on my blogroll this time. Lots of good art out there, folks. Check it out!!

As for the 5 unusual things about me, my thinking cap has had a good workout -- not because I had any trouble thinking of 5 things, but because I had to seriously consider whether I wanted the entire world to know about some of them!! I finally settled on the following, in no particular order:

1. I play the harpsichord, but strictly for personal enjoyment. I took piano lessons for more than 10 years, starting at age 5, and was forced into more student recitals than I care to remember. I vowed that when I grew up, I would only play for my own pleasure. I've had a small Neupert harpsichord for many years and my favorite composers are Mozart, Handel, Scarlatti, and Bach.

2. I once drove 6,000 miles through Mexico in a VW bug. In three weeks. My ex-husband was scouting out sites for a biology field trip, and we had only the time between school sessions, thus the hurried trip. I saw some amazing things -- incredible aquamarine pools in the mountains, cloud forests, beautiful butterflies, iridescent spiders, unusual birds -- but sadly missed all the major cultural sites.

3. About the time I was in second grade, I discovered that I could click my tongue in a way that sounded remarkably like a horse galloping, a skill that came in handy for providing a soundtrack for childhood playacting. Years later, I had a roommate who could pop her mouth to create the unmistakable sound of a ball being struck, so we amused ourselves at odd moments with auditory polo matches. Standing huddled in the dead of winter waiting for the bus, I'd provide the galloping and she the thwack of the ball being struck by the polo mallet. Hey! It passed the time!!

4. My first and only punishment in school was for the sake of art. Back in the days when each classroom had a Christmas tree, my fellow kindergarteners and I made various folded paper ornaments and chains out of colored paper and hung them on the tree. Then we sat in a circle on the floor to sing carols. I happened to be near the tree and, after some consideration, I decided to improve the arrangement of ornaments. Needless to say, this distressed the kids whose ornaments I decided to move, so the teacher told me to sit down. I obeyed, but soon the need to make that tree look more artistic overwhelmed my obedience, so I hopped up and started rearranging things again. Then it was off to the coat-room for me -- to stand in the corner until class was over that day!!

5. I began my working life as a graphic artist in the Department of Agricultural Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The publications group was housed in this building:

Hiram Smith Hall, built in 1890

This was the original dairy building on the campus, and our offices were centered around what had been part of a milking parlor and creamery. A lot of our work involved production of agricultural fact sheets. As the resident cartoonist, I was usually given the fun jobs of creating visual aids for professors to use when they conducted training sessions with farmers. My all-time favorite assignment from that period was the pigs. The entomology professor who commissioned the work wanted a series of cartoons to illustrate a talk on keeping your herds happy and healthy. Thus:

"Keeping lice and mange out of your herd"

For you lovers of "Charlotte's Web" -- that's Wilbur in the lower center!


  1. Pretty silly stuff, eh? But lots of fun to draw and reportedly a big hit on the talk circuit.

  2. Great list Chris! You're more of a goofball than I thought! (: Thanks for sharing.

  3. Small world. My parents courted at the dairy bar at University of Wisconsin Madisn and i was taken to see it as a child!

  4. The dairy bar was just a short walk from Hiram Smith Hall, Robin. Some of the yummiest ice cream on the planet and our afternoon break routine nearly everyday!


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