Star Sprite

Star Sprite all began during Michael’s chemo session. They can run anywhere from less than 2 hours to more then 7. It took me several sittings to come to the realization that although it was good to be there with him I could use the time to draw. And so I began. Since it is the Christmas season and I am an illustrator from a toy and greeting card background what I drew were holiday themed. Sometimes I struggle with a drawing but while drawing Star Sprite my pencil seemed to have been guided by its own GPS. Once on paper and then scanned and color rendered the simple shapes lead me to the inevitable question, “Would this work as an Animation?”. The simple shape of the sprite reminiscent of Scandinavian candle powered carousels lent it self to animation. I loaded up Cheetah 3D, found a tree out of my previously created objects and so it began. My daughter said I needed music that sounded like twinkling stars. I found just the right music on, “Winter Fairy” a piano piece by Caela Harrison. After deciding that the winter shot from our yard was a bit scrubby looking I downloaded the perfect piny image from Creative Commons. I did my final editing in iMovie including adding titles, transitions, music and timing. What you see here is the 3rd go around fussing with the details as artists will do.

Star Sprite ©2010 Muriel Fahrion

The drawing took 45 minutes, color 45 minutes the animation 3 days off and on. It is hard for artists to estimate time. Time has so little to do with creative flow. The storyline (all one minute of it) is strictly mine. I am pretty happy with the results. Would I change it again? Yes. And that’s why I have to walk away from it now.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good sprite…..

Oklahoma Red Dirt

Kyle Nix Turnpike Troubadours

Can’t say I had ever heard the term “Red Dirt” before I came to Oklahoma. And even then I didn’t pay much attention until I moved to Medicine Park. Red Dirt is kind of gritty country with blue grass undertones, the best of which tells a story and also invites you to dance. After really getting to attend the Red Dirt Ball, Memorial Day Weekend Medicine Park.  I got to hear a number of performances. Red Dirt music grows on you or should I say it cakes and once on it is hard to shake loose. My new favorite would have to be the Turnpike Troubadours, I’m a sucker for fiddle playing. And the lyrics, well they tell a fine story. The Funeral takes you with it, you feel everything from bump in the road to the lump in the throat. I would say it was the most interesting of their songs but I ended up buying the album because there isn’t a bad song in the lot. Who can’t see the picture they are painting in 1968? And that is what’s great about their music, She’s Every Girl, case in point, by time the song is done, you know that girl. Even before the Red Dirt Ball I heard Feeling Better Now by Travis Linville, simple but just what you need to hear sometimes.

And then again maybe not the expected form of Red Dirt are some of the Oklahoma born women singer/ song writers of heard of late. They don’t have a kind of frilly voice that sings you a lullaby they have more of “let me tell you like it is” voice.  Ali Harter is one  of them, with a very personal style, worth a listen. Poor Kate (She’s a Drinker) is one of the grittier.  Run Run Run a message song that speaks to the chaos women’s lives. Fresh in my memory is one Jenny Casey, the Rosanne Barr of

Ali Harter at Medicine Park

song, who takes what life dishes out, the good, bad and ugly, and makes you laugh with her. Jump in the car with her as she sings Morning Drive.   And she lets you know you’re not alone in an imperfect world.

Don’t take my word for it, give these Oklahoma talents a listen you might end up buying a 99¢ wonder or even a whole album!

Adding Spice to Life


As I savored the cantaloupe this morning I thought about how we had enhanced the flavor by grating fresh ginger on top. Fresh ginger that we keep at hand in the freezer. Neither of us can remember when or why began to do this but it improved our life in a minute but flavorful way. The “if only” people never  quite get a hold of the idea that doing small things can enhance your life, like along with fresh fruit on Sunday mornings Michael (my husband) bakes up a batch of home made muffins. They are pretty much a surprise but the result ranges from good to fabulous. And yes, as eccentric as it may seem, I now pepper my bosc pear. Last year we put in a porch railing boxes where we grow fresh basil, rosemary, thyme and mint. Add that to your dishes and you have given yourself another reason to want to eat at home.

We needn’t be so literal, spice is more than about food. Spice can be trying out a new style of music. We discovered Buckwheat Zydeco when we stopped at a shop in Eureka Springs, AR adding some Cajan to our musical taste. Out of the blue my sister-in-law sent me Bachata music from her native Dominican which I now listen to make cleaning less drudgery and more of a dance. Then I am forever sampling music son, Colin, recommends like Tremor, Argentinean tech-no music or music I have no idea what it is called but its new and interesting. Right within earshot of our mountain bungalow are live Blues Ball or Red Dirt Music Fest in the Medicine Park. We’re there we listen, move to the music and add zest to our weekend.

I can spark up my day by just adding a pair of earrings and funky bracelet. Today it was my button bracelet I got as a birthday gift from sister Cathy. For friday night at the Tavern I wore my red polka high heeled sneakers. I might compliments or maybe just a smile but adds to others fun as well. In a very small way. But its about the small things.

Sharing the spice is also improves your life. Lately I have been experimenting with gelatin (not Jello). There is espresso gelatin with a hint of orange Cognac, cherry with a hint of cherry brandy. Both excellent and shared with friends and family. Michael added whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg to the espresso gelatin; it was the perfect compliment. Sharing for me can be a show and tell at the Tavern or scanned in image on Facebook. There is so little time and so much to share. Michael to a video of our lavender dancing in the breeze I added the french version of “Lavender Blue” and put it up on FB. One of my friends wrote back that it made her morning. Yes, that little touch of lavender made her day.

So my idea of changing your life, a little spice goes a long way.

Music of My Life

Eric Clapton San Francisco Filmore Ad

I keep thinking if I don’t write them down I am going to forget who I saw in concert. What artists I got to hear. Most were in the accompaniment of my husband, Michael but a few weren’t. I have also included Music Festivals and Musical Theatre. Most of the musical acts you will have heard of but some are local talents, worth the mention. I tried to remember dates but we heard so many in the 70’s that it is hard to pinpoint. If my pocketbook was deeper the list would have been longer but I appreciate those live performances. We also shy away from any HUGE venues including baseball stadiums and refuse to pay exorbitant amounts. As John Bassett once sang “I did not go to Woodstock and I might not go again. Just too much confusion for the kinda state I’m in”. So I think we saw the Mama’s and the Papas but I can’t bring up the details. So maybe later tonight I will remember. Yes, I remember details. Occasionally the details end up being more memorable than the music. Like the Throat Singers concert in San Francisco Presidio where our taxi never showed up and we ended up hitchhiking with the performers. Or my teenage son, Colin, calling and calling the radio station so we could get tickets to see the Subdudes at Peabody’s Downunder in Cleveland.

Not in the list but noteworthy are the local bands and singers that are part of the Medicine Park Music Festivals and local drinking establishments including Blueprint and Curly Jackwire, Usual Suspects, Amanda Cunningham and Live to Tell. Also not on the list are the Operas I attended with my Mom because she loved them and my dad didn’t.

Please note that I didn’t actually see Eric Clapton but I did get this flyer and every blog post needs a visual. By the time we saw John Mayhall the Bluesbreakers, Clapton had moved on.

Ah….The Tavern on Open Mike Night

Thursday night open mike, Park Tavern Medicine Park. A neighbor returns from his brother’s funeral and steps up to the mike. He sings his brother’s favorite song, “Honky Tonk Angel” with a broken hearted voice. Another Parkie returns after fighting for his life a year longer than his Oklahoma doctors gave him (thanks to Texas doctors and stem cell therapy). He would sing if he could but he is not yet strong enough. Other musicians take their spot at the mike and without dedicating the songs to him, play and sing his favorite Johnny Cash songs. He sings quietly to himself. One of those is Les, a long time Parkie fixture, dressed handsomely in his fanciest cowboy duds with his signature patch over one eye and proud Stetson hat on his head. He sings songs I have heard a zillion times but they ring truer with that yodel that you hear from only the best cowboy singers.

The next night at the Tavern Mark, a park ranger, returns from fighting the fires in California. His family is much relieved and so is the town.

And it is just another night at the Tavern where we collect all the hugs and pats on the back we can get and steel ourselves with the support of those around us.