Merit Badges / Wake up, Begochiddy!

Titles are tricky, because sometimes you just want to include every word up in there, when only 1-3 are necessary.

HELLO! It’s freaking March! Freak-dancin’! Freak flags a-flyin’!
I just re-read some old journals sitting on my shelf, when I first began writing at least three pages “every” “morning” in 2012, as a part of Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST WAY series. I found this sentence: “I need more goofballs in my inner circle” and it reminded me how grateful for goofballs I am. GFG.

Also, speaking of acronyms, M and I came up with HHH on our last coastal yurt trip, after meeting Nicole & Darlene, our camp hosts for the evening at Beverly Beach SP. The car had overheated (coolant leak) and Darlene stopped by to check in on us, walked us through troubleshooting and diagnosis and the temporary solution: water instead of anti-freeze and just keep an eye on it. Then she told us that in the last year, they quit their jobs, got rid of most of their shit and are traveling around in a 1988 Dodge camper van, lining up state park volunteer gigs for free lodging and having PROBABLY THE BEST TIME EVER. M and I were very inspired. HHH stands for Homos Helping Homos.

GFG and HHH would be very good patches, like these:


MaryMack Wear


KalenaKalena on Etsy


Lee Meszaros


SomeRabbits on Etsy


Mary Yaeger’s AMAZING hand-stitched “female merit badges”

SPACE merit badge set from Jet Black Press

…Aaaaand I just crawled out of an hour-long wormhole searching for “handmade merit badges” on Etsy and the ‘net. There are lots of great ones out there! Maybe I should start my own line.

There have been some happenings of late, and here are some of the noteworthiest:

  • Took Fiona out for belated birthday brunch at the Tin Shed, which was b-a-n-a-n-a-s with crowd, but so much fun anyway. I ate a pile of potatocake-mushroom-kale-sweetpotato-gravy and we had fancy bloody marys. Then we jammed out some drawing at Townshends Tea, and I ran into SARAH TALLMAN who was studying something and it was so rad to bump into her! Especially because the last time I went to the Tin Shed was in 2009, on a visit from SLC, with Sarah and friends! Danny, are you reading this? How cool is that?
  • Then we ate BOGO ice cream
  • Then I went to collage and bought a rainbow pencil and a tiny glass jar with a cork plug (See Fig 1)

    (Fig 1)



  • Have eked out a living situation for later this year that I feel pretty pumped about (read: North Portland house) but the details are still top secret
  • Oh yeah! My sister had THE BABY! According to fambly updates via photo text, Little Kirsten is doing great, is jumbo size, eating a lot and already has tons of hair. She is also insanely adorable.
  • Mary got a 100% on her paper for Women, Crime & Justice class, which I kind of helped out on (but the meat & bones were all her), and her teacher basically told her she is a badass genius. GO MARY
  • I have a looming deadline: March 21st for a wedding gift illo. Two friends (of friends, sort of) got hitched and I’ve been commissioned to draw a sweet illustration of them and what they love: each other, bacon and coffee.
  • I am taking a Basic Embroidery Stitches class at Collage PDX tomorrow with Serra! MEGA-STOKED
  • Speaking of classes, I will also be taking Intro to Letterpress at the IPRC this Saturday! DOUBLE MEGA-STOKED
  • Paige, Neil and I spent lovely time in the short-lived sun yesterday, setting up her drip irrigation system. I admired her beautiful mounded beds (I’m just gonna leave that one) and got to hold Snickerdoodle the Duck! Then we went out for beers and dinner at Tabor Tavern and there were PORT SHALLOTS in Neil’s bangers and mash and they were so fuggin good. Also consumed: CHEDDAR CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS, LAMB MEATBALLS, HORSERADISH POTATO HASH.
  • Worked on and finished the flier/poster for Charlotte’s upcoming MADCAP, ONE-WOMAN PUPPET MUSICAL on March 22nd in NYC! SEE BELOW
  • I got acupuncture from a wonderful woman named Vera today and I now have a Moxa stick to use on my wrist. Which has been achey and crappy lately. NOOOO NOT MY DRAWING/HIGH-FIVING HAND

I’m “sorry” for all the CAPSLOCK; life is too exciting not to capitalize

Here is the finished Begochiddy flier/poster design. Charlotte needs it yesterday so I had to stop agonizing over tiny details and just finish the dang thing. “Better is the enemy of done.”


These are getting easier and faster each time I make one. Here is the flier I designed for John’s Anti-Car Door Benefit DJ Dance Party event we put on last Thursday! This one was cool because the printer network was down at the IPRC so I had to cut ‘n paste it, draw it, slap it on the photocopier, adjust some settings and press the big green button. BAM!

johns benefit

I think more is less, non?

And now, it’s time to bike downtown and eat sushi from a tiny toy train with my boo, because life is absolutely bizarre.

Stay tuned for goofy sketches of marrieds and more hand-lettering. I love love.

xoxo ERM

Caraway, mustard, apple, cabbage


I’ve got a pot of cabbage ‘n apples on the stove, and am conducting a test of Meredith’s vintage kitchen timer, synched up with my iPhone. We’re at 16 minutes and change; the kitchen timer says…15 and change! Mostly a success! So who has a spare pork roast they can bring over for dinner?

Sometimes I feel very Polish.

I’m in my sleepwear in the record room, which can be very sunny, and have moved two plants in need of Vitamin D into the sunbeams. Also, I’ve said some kind words to them because I read somewhere that plants grow happier and healthier when you talk to them. TRUE STORY (from the 1990s, this is old news for hippie green thumbs)

photo 1
There’s so much to tell you, and I have fallen off my “schedule” of blogging on Sundays. It’s THURSDAY but that doesn’t matter, because what is time, anyway? It’s a day off, of which I feel like I have many these days, but then suddenly I wake up and it’s February 13th already.

Meredith, thank you for owning and alphabetically organizing 1,000+ amazing zines and minicomics that are just sitting in this room, ready to read, whenever one fancies. I picked up DORIS #17 and was reminded that I probably need to read every issue ever made. She wrote an incredible story in this issue called “Ice Cream.”

Emma knows I don’t like her. We’ve worked together for four days now and we barely talk, which makes me dislike her less. This morning a girl my age came in and ordered coffee and a raspberry croissant. She ate slowly while she studied calculus. She doesn’t hate her classes, which are all too big, and sits in the first row. When the professor isn’t looking, she draws pictures of him with larger than life feathers. She has friends and likes to sit on the top of city parking ramps late at night and watch the cars and people below.
When I go into the kitchen to check on the chocolate fudge brownies Emma’s making, they are not quite done. I watch Emma knead dough, her hands covered with flour and water. I don’t hate her. “Emma?” I say, wishing I hadn’t said her name, and she turns around.
“Do you like ice cream?” She hasn’t had any the whole four days. Not even a taste.
“I love it,” she says, “but I didn’t really feel right just taking it.”
“Well, do you want some?”
“I’d take vanilla.”
I get it for her and leave the kitchen quickly. I hope she doesn’t start talking to me.

Check out more rad Doris here. I am not sure, but since this issue isn’t listed in her distro, I’m hoping this story and maybe other bits/all of Doris #17 can be found in either Doris: an Anthology of zines and other stuff 1991 – 2001 or Encyclopedia of Doris: stories, interviews, essays.

WOW, I just spent a million minutes reading this amazing interview with Andrice Arp (by Julianna Green) about creating and productivity and work/progress. I am in love with Andrice’s response to this question: If everything you wanted to accomplish formed a mountain, and you ascended to the very peak, would you put another mountain atop that mountain?

I’m not one of those people who has a whole queue of fully formed ideas lined up and waiting for the current project to be done. I have a lot of beginnings of ideas, but I struggle a lot with trying to get or develop ideas. I have a lot of ideas about the form and structure of things, but I often have a hard time with the content. Content-wise, I have a lot of seeds, but often no idea of how to plant them and make them grow. So to continue this dorkatronic metaphor, I have the seeds, and some really cool-looking pots, but I don’t know where to find the right soil? I guess? Sigh.

I’m going to draw my mountain atop a mountain. And me putting another mountain on top of that mountain.

And then another million minutes browsing Sean Christensen’s funny and weird blog…

…and webcomics and such at Study Group Comics. I am so glad that everyone else is just as weird as me, and I love weirdos so much.

THE BLONDE WOMAN: Part 1 by Aidan Koch

THIS IS HOW I SPEND MY DAYS OFF. I don’t listen to or read the news. What’s happening in the world, on the planet? Which peoples are uprising against narrow-minded dictatorships, having their “spring”? Who is being oppressed and suffering injustice of cruel systems now? How are these events filtered through faltered humans with personal opinions? How else are we ignoring what’s really going on by zoning out to lists of cute cat pictures on BuzzFeed? That’s basically how the news feels to me.

On Tuesday, I got to spend some sweet catch-up time with Serra, who is lots of weeks pregnant but still has a couple months til baby! She’s picked up embroidery again, which is totally appropriate for a pregnant lady, sitting by the window on a cold winter day, embroidering amazing, colorful, strange thread renditions of her amazing, colorful, strange drawings. The roads were still covered in sludge and slush and ice and I wished her safe toddling home as I got onto the Surly and cursed the roads.


Oh yeah! It snowed a BUNCH! But it wasn’t that much snow, relatively speaking. New York and Philly have had like, ten snowstorms in 2014 already! It’s 54 degrees today!

On that note, here I go, off into the warmth. Off to eat some stewed apples and cabbage.

I will post some new drawings soon. I have plenty of them, but have been inexcusably lazy about hooking up the scanner. I will reign in my undiagnosed ADD and focus up so y’all can enjoy something new.


Just one thing…or fifty

Hello! Happy Thursday! I’m four days late for this update, according to my previous goal, but I’m going to be lenient here.

But for now I want Sundays to be Blogdays. Thursday for Therapies (I have acupuncture in 3 hours). Wednesdays for the People’s Co-Op Farmers Market that goes ALL YEAR LONG and it’s the best. Mondays for drawing nights? Serra & I were meeting on the regular at Harlow, Monday nights, in the fall. I want to host regular drawing nights, not at my house per se but at a coffee spot.

SOME COOL NEWS: I’ve been courted to draw some commissions!

I can’t give away too many juicy details, but two of them are wedding gifts (portraits) and outdoorsy magazine article illustrations for a dear friend who is an amazing ski/climb/mountain guide.

The most recent one is a total mystery from one of my sister’s college friends, having to do with the name of my tumblr?

Screen shot 2014-01-30 at 2.22.51 PM

Which is “Don’t Be A Butthole,” which I actually gleaned from the mouth of my past comics teacher / wonderwoman Nicole J. Georges during a class about building professional relationships with editors and publishers. It is still very solid advice, not just for cartoonists!

Charlotte (da twin) wants a poster/flier design for her upcoming theater production. My coworkers want a poster/flier for a fundraiser DJ night sometime in the near future – our coworker got doored and broke his collarbone and we want to help him out with some dough for his medical billz.

It seems that the friendly universe is finally demanding that I get out of my slump-hole and woman up to my (literal) drawing board again.

THE NEXT LOGICAL STEP is reinvesting in my technologies, i.e. buying myself a PROPER scanner and I want to purchase an iMac. I haven’t decided which route to take: used, refurbished, brand new with a flippin’ credit card? That’s how I bought my laptop, but my laptop has some elderly perks now (because it is approaching its 5th birthday which is apparently elderly?). See Figure 1.


Figure 1. Entire right third of screen is sometimes fercockt.

Or, some kind of work trade? I’d put money on that option in Portland, HAR HAR HAR
Anyway, if you hear of a person who is JUST trying to GET RID OF an annoying iMac 2011 or newer, holler at me.

What else.
The other day at work I met THE embodiment of my paternal grandfather’s second wife. This amazing character Jane comes into the bakery and wants oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies for her recently car-wreck hospitalized friend (my thoughts to your friend). Mind you, I’m familiar with her partner Linda, who calls almost every Friday, Saturday and Sunday to reserve two scones and a loaf of peasant bread. So Jane talks at me for a good 15 minutes the whole time I am helping her. Emphasizes that Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is the “real” Brooklyn, and that people with non-Brooklyn accents sound “wrong,” not her. Tells us all loudly, with a generous dusting of sh*ts and f*cks, about getting a grenade accidentally blown into her side by her comrade in the Gulf War. “Why did he do that?” I ask. “I dunno, it’s like having a dick in your hand,” she says.

It made my day.
I thought I got better and so I tried to do three things in one day (working early, bike commuting and going to the climbing gym) and apparently that was too many things, and I started to feel like I was filling up with phlegm again. So, don’t get too crazy when you’re on the mend, folks. Slow down and yes, you will be bored to tears with how much sitting and resting your body actually needs.

photo 5Right after I took this photo, this super cuddly purring cat sprayed that orange box   pssssssssssssssst
It was GROSS and SURPRISING but I’d forgotten cats do that.

It’s really warm here and finally raining more than in recent weeks.  I’d missed the wet and the warmth that comes with it, as opposed to the clear cold I’m used to in Salt Lake City.

photo 4photo 3Lettering and doodles at Woodlawn Coffee & Pastry, which is a lovely, lovely place.

The other day, my friend (aforementioned mountain-woman and commissioner of my drawings) related my passive job search to her little sister’s, reiterating that “it’s impossible to find a new job when you already have a job.” But maybe she meant “full-time, 9-5+ job.” My job is “full-time” on paper, but I’m still only working 3-4 days per week and I don’t “take the office home with me.” It’s a cafe where I clock in and clock out. I actually have a lot of spare time and energy to find another job. For this I am grateful; I’m still in need of something that challenges my brain a bit more.

I invite you to pick up a paper calendar and/or daily/weekly planner and physically write everything down coming up in the next 3-6 months. It’s ENVIGORATING

photo 2This week in books: I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen Kirkman; Just One Thing by Dr. Rick Hanson; Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip Volumes 3 and 4; Scheherazade: Stories of Love, Treachery, Mothers, and Monsters comics collection edited by Megan Kelso; Blue Is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh


Translation of the German phrases printed on the front of my Rollbahn notebook. I can’t figure out if these are Japanese or German? Is this a new thing, Japanese printing companies featuring phrases in foreign languages on their stationery, posing as if they are from another country?

Stay cool, kids.

“She has a gorgeous figyah.”

Faithful blog-readers! Of which there may only be two or three!

In regards to the title of this post, it’s from Jen Kirkman’s podcast, which is called “I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman” and you can find it here. I really love her angle on, well, everything. Been listening to it nonstop lately. If you’re unfamiliar, a good place to start with Jen Kirkman are her episodes of Drunk History; this and this.


I’m not really “into” “resolutions” for “the new year,” but it’s a nice place to be, this blog. I created it, and I’m coming back to it, and I’m resolving (yes) to update it at least once per week for a whole year. YES. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST.

Damn, what’s new? This is what I’ve been reading and re-reading and re-re-reading recently:
The Artist’s Way, The Hunger Games trilogy, Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons (Calvin & Hobbes), Hyperbole and a Half, Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book and Fair Play and her comic strip books, Lynda Barry’s One! Hundred! Demons!, my shredded copy of the original Peter Pan script by J.M. Barrie recovered from a dusty box of high school books in my parents’ basement


I’m sick with a cold and out from work today. And I am just rolling with it, I’m in bed with kleenex and my laptop now. Many people might spend regular, non-sick hours upon hours like this in their beds; generally I don’t. With the exception of today.

I probably caught this bug on my “tri-state tour” earlier this month, first to Salt Lake City for Russian Christmas with Ma an Pa and twin sister, and hanging with my homegirls Meredith, Juli, Isabelle and Claire. Then to Philadelphia to visit my dear Joanna, a taste of the east coast, and a bus to NYC/Brooklyn for older sis Katie’s baby shower! On or near February 16, I’m going to become AUNTIE EM you guys. I am very excited. But for six days my fragile Pacific Northwest immune system was bombarded with 1,000,000 people riding public transit to the nth degree, and now I’m here contemplating a Cold & Sinus Blaster tincture.

Mary and I are going to see civil rights activist Angela Davis speak in early February at Pacific University. We are on the hunt for a small house to share. Yes! We want to adopt a dog. I’d like to have chickens again, and a huge impossible garden.

Mostly, things feel like they’re moving forward, which is good, and moving too fast, and I want everything to slow down. SLOW DOWN!  That’s what I yell at cars who are clearly speeding. This is what I want to shout everywhere lately. Even though change is inevitable and good. This morning, Mary said, “I had a dream that I was looking for a house, but not with you, with some weird middle-aged woman,” to which I replied, “Sometimes I AM a weird middle-aged woman.”

More Cool Stuff To Focus On For 2014:

– Zinefests
– Finally making all those zines I want to make
– Travel
– Acupuncture on the regs
– Therapy
– A new job
– A new house
– A DOG(e)
– Climbing at least once per week
– Reading more Regarding because that is still the best blog ever
– Listening to music I used to love
– Getting a record player?!
– Getting rid of 10 mugs + all the other crap in my life that I don’t need
– Pursuing social media as a way to promote myself with vigor and enthusiasm
– Avoiding any and all situations that feel like ANY scene (except maybe the one in the snowy cabin) in the movie “Her”
– But also embracing and having fun with technology, because it’s here to stay

See ya next week, or sooner!


Eleven Days

Here is a lettering exercise I doodled yesterday. It was both a practice “drawing” typeface (the very thing that B.T. Livermore says we should NOT do, but I like it anyway) and a way to mark an experiment that hasn’t lasted long.

But for now, real letters! Hanging Out! Phone calls! Postcards!


Hello new days!

On May 9, 2013, I will have been in Portland for ONE YEAR!


I confess that as an “adult” who may or may not have her shit figured out, moving to Portland is still one of the most difficult transitions I’ve ever gone through. Making Friends As A Grown-Up In A New Place.

It helps to hear M. reassure me that this place, while still pretty great, is a different animal than it once was, when she lived here in the early to mid-2000s. There were multiple drug deals (complete with nightly gunfire) going down outside of her apartment in North Portland (now very near to the chic pet store with organic gluten-free puppy chow, and that ice cream shop that sells “Bone Marrow” flavor).

It was a seedy, gritty ‘hood. At another time she lived in a punk house full of resourceful people who didn’t own cars and fixed their own bikes and played in bands together and had to create their own rad community from the ground up.

And so, I love the idea of a community, and the way the internet connects us all. It connects us all to a fault! So there’s also a part of my psyche that groans when I think about how impatient, apathetic, and lazy humanity has become at the hand of technology.

Thankfully, creativity and magic between humans (and non-humans) exists. It’s happening all around us. 

Like this. THIS! If you ever hear about a screening of an animation by an artist called Lori D, and the animation is called “Lord I,” do your artist child perhaps the biggest favor ever: GO TO THE SCREENING AND WATCH THAT SHIT.

This animation was the summation of all years in my past and all days in my present and all years in my (projected, imagined, dreamed and hoped for) future(s).

I know that sounds vague as hell, but it was seriously profoundly eye-opening and inspiring. There were moments when I actually thought the animation had entered my own brain! I AM TOTALLY SERIOUS NOT KIDDING!!

Anyway, give support to Lori D because she is obviously a huge genius. Here is a fun animation reel she made, also:


A long winter hiatus

Hello, blog friends. I’ve taken a break from this blog, been hibernating just a bit.

Before I forget!!! Three of my comics will be appearing in a group comics show at the lovely Benna’s Cafe in Philadelphia, PA – – – March 8 through April 11! The opening is Friday March 8, 7-9 PM. If you’re in the area, stop by and ogle some sexy comics, man. (Link under dat image takes you to the FB event page!!!)


It’s been a good winter, if not a really strange one. Everyone says it’s too warm and I believe it. The frogs are peeping in a loud chorus every night. I can hear them on January-February-March bike rides home, along the upper lip of the Oaks Bottom Reserve from Sellwood to Brooklyn. It’s not supposed to sound or smell like spring yet, but it does. This is unnerving!

On February 10, we had to say goodbye to this dude. It’s been weird and sad not having him around anymore. But I feel solace knowing he is living it up in doggie-spirit-aura-ville…


In class, we are working on our final project, but “final project” is a bad word so we are supposed to refer to these as our “Investigations.”

Mine is developing into a sort of ode to twin-dom, a peek at text messages sent between two twin sisters on different sides of the world (LITERALLY AND METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING, YOU GUYS).

photo (2)

Our wonderful profesoras Lisa & Dunja remind us of these important guidelines while working on THE INVESTIGATION:

  1. Do not over-precious-ize your work
  2. Try EVERYTHING that is new and unfamiliar
  3. Learn to let go
  4. Channel your muse and turn your brain off (or down to a simmer)
  5. Stretch and do comics fitness while you work to keep your body happy and limber

This has been the most challenging and best semester yet. Without guidelines, I have a harder time with everything. Wish me luck….