Shoshanah Conquers Space (With the Help of her Dad)

I love this little blog of mine. It's been going on for years and years. I have changed a lot since I began it, though, and one of the changes is that I actually sell books now. I have read in several sources that my blog title, "" is just the worst. Everyone says, if you sell art or books on line, you need to have a web site that is your name. And it shouldn't be a blogspot, because... I have no idea why, but that's what they say. (I am so not up with trends. I still can't figure out why everyone hates Comic Sans font.) So, with the help of my dad, the great computer genius and European Steel Guitar Hall of Fame member Bobby Lee, I have a whole new web site that is my first name:

I know I have a really small but incredibly loyal group of followers here at dommn2703, and I thank you from the bottom and top and middle of my heart for sticking with me for so long! I hope you will continue to follow me in space. I know, it's a big change. Change is difficult. I've actually had the domain name for a year, but I'm so set in my ways here on blogspot that I've barely used it.

If you have any problems or comments or whatever, write them here in the comments, or write them at in the comments, or email me at I don't want to lose anyone! Your opinions matter to me.

Thank you!


Do you hear the voices?

When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' house. Their "house" was a rent-controlled flat in San Francisco, where they had lived since before I existed. Upstairs, they had a neighbor named Rita, a sweet old lady who gave them sugar cookies every Christmas. 

Rita stayed up late every night, watching TV. Or perhaps she slept with the television going. You could hear it in the flat downstairs, all night. My grandparents were too polite to complain about the late night TV noise, so they contrived to always sleep in a room that was not below Rita's room. My grandparents' bedroom was a beautifully wood paneled room directly off the kitchen- the original dining room. Until I was six or seven, I had a little bed between their two beds. (They never slept together, because Grandpa was a boxer who dreamed about fighting, and he also had a sleep disorder which caused him to act out his dreams.)

When I got to a certain age, I felt it was too babyish to sleep in my little bed between my two grandparents. I wanted to sleep in the big bed in the guest room, in the front of the flat, under Rita's room. 

In my young life, Grandma had three main concerns about my well being, which were related to:

1. The consistency and frequency of my poop.
2. The dangers of my eating too much and getting a tummy ache. 
3. The possibility of my freezing to death in the mostly unheated front bedroom.

Because of the third concern, the first night in my new Big Girl Bed, I found myself under no fewer than six wool blankets. Grandpa kissed me goodnight, and I remember having difficulty moving. Those blankets were just so heavy. It was nice, though, too. A gentle pressure. It was a weight that felt like a continuous hug. 

As I settled in to sleep, I became conscious of the voices. Was it a game show? A news program? Was that an audience, clapping? I couldn't make out the separate voices, just a constant babble. Like a white noise of late night, cheap TV. Once I realized what it was, it didn't bother me. I pictured Rita up there, with her ridiculously red dyed hair, and her too white false teeth. Watching her stories, into the night. Was she wearing her red lipstick? Perhaps she was eating sugar cookies. I fell asleep many nights to the murmer of Rita's TV. 

That's not weird. What is weird is that, many times, on winter nights, when I bury myself in wool, and I feel that sweet weight of warmth, I can still hear Rita's TV. I tell myself it's not there. It can't be there, in the middle of this Midwestern countryside, with no television playing, so far from the City of thirty-five years ago. But there it is, still lulling me to sleep. Those indestinguishable voices. 

It's not there. Not really. 

But. . . I hear them.

Music Monday

Sorry I haven't been around here much! Here's a good song:

Rainbows Here in the Valley Tonight

The pot of gold appears to be either at Gen Eric's place, or those people up on the hill who always have the garage sales? You know the ones.

Best of The Meaning Bot, Week 1

I created the MeaningBot42 Twitter Bot (using this tutorial) about a week or so ago. According The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series, the meaning of life is 42- but what is the question? This is the task the meaning bot is set to answer. It looks, from the tweets, that little MeaningBot42 is already a bit frustrated. But that's good. Perhaps it means she is close to an answer (or a question).
Less Spam, More Same Sex Marriage? I never knew Meaning Bot 42 felt this way.
I'll listen to you, Meaning Bot 42. I'm here.
You forgot your end quote and your comma after how, Meaning Bot 42, but I do like the sentiment that libraries teach us to fly, and not necessarily in one set way. Certainly, every book teaches you to fly, in some way.
Yes, it's a problem. Modern life. It is what it is.

"The Lawn Mower Caught Fire" (a short email exchange)

Subject: Lawn Mower Caught Fire, everything is fine but...

The lawn mower is not working.

I cleaned the engine with carborator cleaner, because I thought that it was overheating from being covered in a thick layer of oil. I got it all nice and clean, but I probably should have washed it with water, I guess, too, because when I started it, it caught fire! The fire was going really well, still feeding off of all of that built up oil laying around, but I managed to put it out quickly with the hose before it spread. Luckily, I had it parked close to the hose. 

I'm sorry. 

So, I got it started again, later, and it sounded pretty bad, and I put it in reverse and it died. Now the engine won't turn over. 

I do think it is fixable. I am really shook up, though, and will not attempt fixing until tomorrow. 

I'm okay... I think! I can't believe it caught fire. 

Artistic Re-Enactment

The Scene in Simple Town

Today's drawing:

Murgatroyd Buttercups

Now that I put this up, I don't know about the windows in the building. Should I just make them solid white? 

How I Lost My New Year's Resolution and Won Summer

For me, summer has different responsibilities than the rest of the year, and her name starts with a Z. It's amazing how one small human can be so much more responsibility than fifty odd farm animals, but so it is. I didn't exactly keep my New Year's Resolution of drawing every single day, but I did keep the spirit of it, remaining creatively productive for most days.

For instance, I worked with Alex Bledsoe to finish The Tufa Coloring Book on time, and put that out mid-August.

And then there was this anthology, Ellipsis, that really came out of nowhere, wanting to publish my story. Which was great! Fine! Wonderful! So I just sent them the story, and watched in amazement as someone else published it. What is this? I thought. Wait, I don't have to do everything? I just write the thing and they do the rest? This is amazing! So that at least gives me the appearance of having done something over the summer, although I really wrote the story a while ago. (Did I ever mention that it came out? It's available! And it has no reviews yet, but I hear it's really funny. And all profits go to charity. How cool is that?)

And somehow, I also hosted several visitors, toured Portugal, and helped my daughter take her sheep, Candy Darling (named by me after that Candy Darling), to win Grand Champion Exotic Animal at the county fair! What a summer!

But now it's over. And I am back to drawing every day. Another book deadline draws nigh: I'm illustrating the children's book, "Murgatroyd Buttercups."

Yesterday, I was working on Murgatroyd's flying.

Murgatroyd flies

Murgatroyd Buttercups is due September 27th-ish. 

In Search of Meaning on Twitter: I Shall Do So Only By Speaking of It

I made a twitter bot! It's hard to say exactly what it is tweeting about, but my intention was that it would discover the meaning of life for us. As it stands, it seems to advertise articles that do not exist:

meaning of life on twitter
@MeaningBot42, like most of Twitter, refers to things that aren't real.

It will be exciting- at least, exciting for me- to see what it comes up with next! My lovely little robot.
Follow here.

27 Things You Would Discover While Visiting Portugal, If I Had Not Told Them to You Already

Hello friends! I haven't been blogging much lately, because as you may have guessed from the title, I've been in Portugal for two weeks! I had a wonderful time and I would even say that Lisbon is my new favorite European city. If everything goes to hell here in America, that's where I'm moving! Or maybe some 500 year old house in Sintra? I did learn a little bit on my trip, so I thought I might share some tips (and some pictures):

1. Portugal is actually in Europe- shocking, I know! So the Zika virus isn't really an issue there. (But thank you everyone who told me to watch out for it, because now I know you care.)

2. In Portugal, they speak Portuguese- not Spanish. Portuguese is a Latin based language, like Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian, but it is actually different from Spanish, so don't speak Spanish in Portugal!

3. The Portuguese they speak in Portugal is a bit different from Brazilian Portuguese, so if you are going to learn the language before you go, be careful that you are learning Portuguese from Portugal. I learned Brazilian Portuguese, and it was a bit frustrating. The pronunciation was very different, as were many of the words. 

Unrelated: I want these tiles.

4. Portugal's currency is the Euro! Which works out well for Americans, at this point. Portugal is cheap.

5. People in Portugal eat dinner at 9 PM. The restaurants don't open until seven, so you might be pretty hangry by the time you get your food, if you are on the American schedule of dinner at six. So, the one way to get around this is to take advantage of the pastries.

6. They have great pastries in Portugal, and the Portuguese traditionally eat pastries at around five PM. So, avail yourself of pastries! Each town usually has a specialty pastry, and a little cafe that makes them. So. Yum.

7. At restaurants in Portugal, they charge you for that bread they serve before your meal. But, because Portugal is cheap, they usually charge about one Euro, which at this point is $1.20. They also charge for water, but it isn't too expensive. And don't tip the waiter! He makes a living wage.

8. The public transportation in Lisbon is cheap and good. For six euros, you can buy a 24 hour pass for the subway, the bus, the ferries, and even (just to make it even more like San Francisco) the streetcars.

9. When driving in Portugal, note that it is illegal to make a left turn, except in rural areas. Instead of turning left, you must proceed to the nearest round-about, make a u-turn by driving all the way around it, come back, and turn right.

10. Graffiti does not mean you are in a bad neighborhood. For whatever reason, Portuguese people don't seem to clean up the graffiti on the walls. Everywhere you go, there are the names of football teams tagged onto walls. (I didn't take pictures of the graffiti.) 

11. Street signs in Portugal are on the wall of the nearest building. This is a little inconvenient if you are driving, but completely charming if you are walking. They are elaborately tiled and really quite pretty.

12. Most places in Portugal have little or no air conditioning. Surprisingly, however, the oldest bookstore in the world, Bertrand's, is in Lisbon, and it has excellent air conditioning. The best spot is if you stand in the arch sort of by the cash register and the post cards. Here I am in that spot:

13. Portugal has what you call a "Mediterranean Climate," meaning it's mild. There are several microclimates around Portugal, due to the mountains meeting the sea and all that. Generally, however, it's nice most of the time, with frequent rain in the winter. It's so warm, they play chess outside! 

14. Portugal has a really interesting history of a dictator and then going Communist in 1974. Though the Communist party is not currently in power, they still have their influence. The place has that "we kind of don't give a care" air that I imagine many Communist countries have. And people smoke a lot.

15. Portugal has all of the charms of the great European countries: castles, cathedrals, cobblestone streets, Roman aqueducts, and on and on. It's really beautiful (except for the graffiti). This is me in front of the place where the royalty used to bless the giant wooden ships before sending the conquistadors across the ocean:

16. Portugal has great beaches.

17. Proper beach attire in Portugal is anything you damn well please. I saw three hundred pound people wearing bikinis and 88 pound people wearing scuba diving suits.

18. Everyone I encountered was super laid back and chill. And yet- it's hard to explain this- Portuguese people seem to like to argue a lot! But it's like they don't take it personally. It's just a thing they do. (I hate to generalize, but you notice these things when you go to another culture.)

19. There are lots of stray dogs roaming about. The stray dogs don't do much. They are unusually well behaved stray dogs. This picture of a mama dog and puppies is by my friend Heather Lawnicki, who feeds the strays:

20. Due to a huge "luxury tax" on smart phones and the like, few people own them and therefore the Google Maps app doesn't work nearly as well in Portugal as it does in the United States.

21. Also due to the luxury tax, one often encounters people - even young people! looking at each other and conversing. They're all over the place! It's so weird!

22. I saw two police officers during the two weeks I was in Portugal, and I spent most of the time in big cities.

23. Most waiters speak English, and the ones who don't do well pointing.

24. You have to ask for the check. They will never give it to you if you don't. People in Portugal spend hours dining, so it is considered rude to just give you the bill in the middle of your evening.

25. Take your kids out with you at night. Everyone does.

26. Fish is a big deal. They eat tons of fish. The entire grocery store reeks of it, and it's just stacked in these huge piles:

27. Lisbon is the safest capital city in Europe, tied with Helsinki. It has virtually no violent crime. Watch your phones and computers, though, as the most common crime is theft. 

Bonus Fact: They have a bridge exactly like the Golden Gate Bridge in Lisbon, except that their model has a huge statue of Jesus Christ on the other side! 

All in all, Portugal is a great place to visit. For Californians, especially, I think you will get a kick out of Lisbon! And beautiful little Sintra, with the castle on the hill.

Are you more like a (...) or a (---)?

Apparently, I am more like a (...), because the editors of the new Ellipsis humor anthology have decided to include a short story of mine! Yippie! 

And that's pretty much all I know at this point. More to come, I'm sure!

How to Dye Wool Vibrant Colors

Z took a wool dying lesson today from Mo at the Cat and Crow in Mount Horeb. (They are such nice people!) Z took some notes and I took some notes, and basically, this is how you go from just sheared white wool to vibrant colors:

Materials (stores are all Wisconsin stores, but surely you have similar stores where you live):

1 pound white wool (from your sheep, alpaca, lama, rabbit or albino tarantula)
1 package extra wide plastic wrap (from Kavanaugh Restaurant Supply in Madison)
1 package food dye in your favorite colors (from Millers grocery store)
4 mesh bags (from World of Variety, laundry supply section)
1 or two 60 ml farm syringes (from Farm and Fleet)
1 bottle vinegar (from Millers)
1 bottle Dawn dishwashing detergent (from Millers)
1 pair Plastic gloves (from Millers)

You will need a clean table to work on, a place to air dry things (we use a fosball table), a microwave oven, and either a toploading clothes washer or a large sink for washing.

Time: 2-3 hours.

1. Wash the wool either in the sink or in the top loading washer, but do not use the regular wash cycle (agitating will felt the wool). Start by filling your tub with the hottest water you can from the tap. Fill washing machine (or sink). Add 1/3 cup Dawn. Soak 30 minutes. Spin it out. Rinse. Soak for another thirty minutes. 

2. Mix your dye: vinegar, water, food coloring. Put it in your syringe.

3. Cover your table with plastic wrap. Spread some wool over the plastic wrap. 

4. Squirt dye all over the wool. 

5. Wrap it up in the plastic wrap, like you would a loaf of bread. Seal it. 

6. If you have to use two layers of plastic wrap, poke to holes in the top.

7. Microwave 5 minutes or until juices run clear.

8. Cool in sink.

9. Take wool out of plastic wrap and put it into mesh bags. 

10.. Spin it out in the washing machine. (You can do all if the colors at once in different mesh bags.)

11. Rinse in water the same temperature as the wool.

12. Spin again. 

13. Take wool out of mesh bags and spread it out to dry on a fosball table or some other place safe from cats. 

Once dry, you can card it and spin it or use it for a felting project! 

Five Things I Love About the Olympics

1. It's all over so quickly! No long term commitments required. The longest things seem to take under an hour. Compare that with football? Months and months of Monday nights? It's just no contest! 

2. It's easy to know whom to root for. Look for your country's flag on the uniform. (Don't know what your country's flag looks like? Go, Iceland!)

3. The commenters are terrible! Just tonight, I've heard the following comments:

"She's like an octagon." (He either said "octagon" or "ottoman", neither really applies to Beach volleyball, but whatever! These are professionals.)

"Your neck strangles with every stroke! That's doing it right."  Yep, that's swimming! A strangle with every stroke. 

"That was a most dangerous move!" Referring to a volleyball player hitting the ball. 

4. The interviews are calming in their predictability. 

Reporter: "What was your plan tonight?"

Athlete: "I wanted to win the gold medal."

Reporter: "How do the results so far effect your strategy here at the Olympics?"

Athlete: "I want to win the gold medal."

Reporter: "So, who do you think will win here tonight?"

Athlete: "I was kind of hoping I would win?"

5. I love the older athletes. My favorite is Oksana Chusovitina.

I Sent My Grandma a Coloring Book In the Mail, and You Will Believe What Happened Next!

She colored it, of course! 

Imagine Three Genres Rolled Into One

A friend of mine is putting out a new book. Though I haven't read it, her enthusiasm is amazing, and it's cheap enough to take a chance! 

The Book:



‘Abiku: A Battle of Gods’ is due for release on 16th September 2016. Pre-order now, from Amazon:


I've been working with fantasy author Alex Bledsoe, and the result is something beautiful.

Hey, all of you coloring book fans! I just made a beautiful book of pictures for you to color, based on the fantasy novels of Alex Bledsoe. This is the official coloring book of the Tufa, folks! Based on the four Tufa novels and a short story. For those not reading outstanding fantasy fiction, it is simply a book of beautiful pictures of forests and fairies and magic happening in very air itself. For those who are Alex Bledsoe fiction fans, you may just have died and gone to Cloud County.

Tufa Coloring Book

Order it now, and you can get $2 off the official price of $9.98. That's right, from now until Chapel of Ease hits the shelves on September 6, you can get the official Tufa Coloring Book for only $7.98.

Click here to buy it.

I hope you enjoy coloring it as much as I enjoyed drawing it.

Thank you,