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Posts Tagged ‘Angela’

I’m an extraordinarily lucky girl, you know.

Sometimes, all I have to do is wish for something…

…and it appears!

POOF!

I must have a Fairy Godmother, or something.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…

I’ve got some more wishes to make.

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One fine day last summer, we were roaming around downtown Cincinnati on a trip to visit Jeff’s sister, looking for something to entertain us. Downtown Cincy isn’t always the most happening place, you know. While passing by some store fronts, a display of brightly designed skateboards caught Jeff’s eye, and he beckoned us back for a look. We were pleasantly surprised, and looked for the name of the store: Harper Studios. Hmmm. We tentatively ventured indoors, and were greeted by a small gallery space packed with art that instantly won us over.

Of course, the first thing I noticed was that everything was animals. Then, I noticed the incredibly unique minimalist style and the vivid colors. Things just kept getting better and better. These weren’t just paintings of animals, they were works dripping with personality and insight, full of charm. It was impossible not to smile as I recognized the quirky little habits of all the wildlife I love personified in these flat, two-dimensional images. Geometry and nature were fused into one medium which was guaranteed to win me over. We left with a catalogue of Charley Harper’s works, and kept coming back to enjoy the fun images time and time again that weekend.

Last Christmas, I had the great fortune of receiving not one, but three Charley Harper prints! They seem to blend in naturally with my decor and color scheme, and I never get tired of admiring them. Thank you Ang, Trese, and Jeff!

So who is this Charley Harper guy, and what is his studio doing hiding out in downtown Cincinnati?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Charley Harper was born and raised on the family farm in West Virginia, where he no doubt developed his keen perception of the quirks of nature. He left home to attend the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he met his wife and fellow artist Edie, and where he stayed on for years as a teacher. Eventually he worked in the commercial art world before opening his very own studio. He became immensely popular before he died in 2007, and his works can be seen in books, posters, and displays across the country. Since I fell in love with Harper’s gallery last summer, I’ve been more aware of his works popping up in random places. Walking through the education building at the Indianapolis Zoo, a Charley Harper print would catch my eye. Perusing photos of interior design spaces, I get excited when I notice a Charley Harper book artfully placed on a coffee table. And of course, at the Cincinnati Zoo there is a wealth of Charley Harper waiting to be noticed by the zoo-goer in the know.

What is so appealing about Charley’s works? Well, it has something to do with the way he takes an impossibly dense natural situation, and breaks it down with mathematical simplicity into a scene that instantly reflects the complex beauty of nature. Each image tells a story. As Charley used to explain it: “I don’t try to put everything in, I try to leave everything out.”

You’ll just have to see for yourself what we mean…

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It may be 90 degrees outside with the summer solstice fast approaching, but I’m already looking forward to winter.

Why?

Reason #1: New hats that transform me into a variety of whimsical creatures. Thanks Ang and Trese!

Reason #2: These bad babies. Thanks Grandma!

I’m sure to be stylish, warm, and comfortable all year long!

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Although I was not successful in my attempt to curb my Facebook usage last month, April turned out to be pretty astounding in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I did manage to accomplish a few of the things on my list, but the real joy came in unexpected packages.

April started off with a wonderful surprise gift. Jeff gave me a very special Marie-sized guitar, which he had carefully restrung so that I can play left-handed. I consider this to be perhaps the most thoughtful and generous gift I have ever received, as it includes not only the physical object (which is quite beautiful), but comes complete with a committment of the time and effort and patience that will doubtless be needed to teach me to play. School and work and life in general has prevented me from having the time to do any more than learn a few chords, though I did manage to learn my first melody, which is the intro to Tom Petty’s “Honeybee.” Needless to say I am very much looking forward to spending the summer aqcuiring my new musical skill.

So, one thoughtful turn deserves another, right? I decided to forego my studies for a night (an ENTIRE night!) and give my creative muscles a good flexing. Early one morning I stopped by Jeff’s to leave a special message. That message started with a splash of hearts..

…which climbed up the furniture..

..swarmed the windows..

..passed the friendly paper squid..

..and finally rested in the doorway, ready to greet as cheerfully as possible.

Though quite exhausting for 12 solid hours’ worth of cutting and taping, I think the results were well worth the effort!

My other unplanned April adventure came with a pretty epic road trip. Angela, Theresa and I drove to San Francisco, California, making the trip in just two days, with another two days to spend sightseeing and helping Ang get settled as well as she could in her new apartment there. Though the photos taken were numerous, I will post just one here which I think does a pretty good job of summing up the grandeur and beauty and adventure contained in those four short days that we were lucky enough to get to spend together.

Even with the coming of May and the end of the spring semester, my life has not become any less eventful. This week has been my very first working as an intern for WildCare clinic in Bloomington. The experience has been both overwhelming and wonderful so far. I wouldn’t even be able to recount all the different species I have seen in the past few days alone. And throughout it all the staff at the clinic have been amazingly patient and eager to let each of the interns gain the fullest experience possible. Several times I have had a baby raccoon or an opossum joey suddenly placed in my unexpecting hands, much to my utter delight.

I’ve learned so much about wildlife in the past two weeks that I can’t believe I ever thought I knew anything before now! I feel extremely privileged to be soaking it all up firsthand. On Monday I learned that opossum joeys are very fond of climbing on my braided hair, and that they have tiny, alligator-like mouths too big for their bodies, that can clamp down relentlessly on said braid, rendering me quite helpless. I’ve also learned that baby raccoon urine has a very distinct smell, especially when it is dropping in copious amounts onto the top of my shoe. Just today I learned how to sex a turtle, and how to get a starving nuthatch fledgling to eat. (How? you ask. Simple. Take a waxworm, cut it in half, heat in the microwave for a couple of seconds, soak in warm water, and serve. Num num.)

Unless you know me well I don’t think I can adequately relate just how delightful it is for me to be able to recount the past week and remember all the animals: the noisy starling fledglings, the robin, the box turtle, the coyote pup, the baby opossums and baby skunk and baby raccoons, the beautiful fawn, the clever crows, the tiny helpless hummingbird, the countless baby bunnies and the owls and the crazy squirrels. –it is going to take me most of the summer just to get used to the novelty of it all, though I never expect to stop being delighted with each and every new patient I have the good fortune to encounter.

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Dream Big

A book called The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes has proven to become one of the most rewarding gifts I have received this past Christmas. Angela very wisely selected the book off my Amazon wishlist, and I’m glad she did!

As a pre-vet student I have some very vague (albeit grandeur) visions of what my future could hold. The thought of someday becoming a wildlife veterinarian is a motivating force that I haven’t felt in my life since I believed in Heaven and Hell.

It seems these days that every step I take leads me closer to my goal. But it’s not always easy to know exactly what that goal is. There isn’t a lot of literature out there for aspiring veterinarians to get an idea of what they may become, beyond the iconic image of the friendly stethoscoped neighborhood vet at the clinic down the street. But even as a pre-vet student I’m not sure what my options are beyond this..

This book has taught me a wealth of wisdom since I began savoring it weeks ago. It has taught me that I may one day be tube-feeding an eel, or suturing the eye of a dime-sized frog, or darting a wild elephant, or bracing the leg of a baby giraffe. It’s assured me that my creativity and well-roundedness will not only be an advantage, but a necessity. It’s made me believe that the possibilities are endless. It’s given me a bit of a glimpse into the personal lives of the type of person I aspire to be, and the type of people who will one day be my colleagues.

It has also taught me that many veterinarians are not the best creative writers. Don’t get me wrong; I find the entire book to be highly entertaining and insightful, but it’s not a source of great literature by any means. These are no James Herriots who have taken the time to record these anecdotes for the likes of forgiving readers like me.

So naturally I have decided that I would like to write my own book. In fact, I’m already thinking about my first chapter. I realize that writing a book about one’s adventures is a long and painstaking process, especially when one has yet to encounter said adventures. But I’m willing to take all that into account and continue looking forward to the day when I will have something worth writing about. And who knows, maybe it will even end up being interesting!

That being said, I’ve already prepared my Fantasy Bio, which will be featured in my amazingly riveting future-autobiography. Now I know, of course, that all or many of these things may never come to pass….

But hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie Brown graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. In 2016 she graduated from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Brown completed her zoological medicine residency at the Bronx Zoo, and went on to gain field experience through volunteer work with wildlife conservation and rehabilitation programs across the U.S. Board certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine, she has worked as researcher and veterinarian for the Lemur Conservation Foundation in Myakka City, Florida. She has gained extensive field experience working with small primates in Madagascar, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Foundation. Dr. Brown continues her passion for conservation medicine as Chief of Veterinary Services for the American Wildlife Foundation in Molalla, Oregon. Dr. Brown enjoys educating the public through various media. In addition to writing, she has been filmed at work with animals in cable television documentaries, and lectures regularly at universities across the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys life on her small farm just outside Portland with her husband (Dr?)________, their two adopted children ________ and ________, and their modest menagerie. She hopes to continue caring for the wild and endangered for many years to come.

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Christmas Eve, 1987. Reading, Pennsylvania.

Our house in Reading had four bedrooms. I have no recollection of my parents’ bedroom. I slept in a small room on the first floor; Angela and Theresa in the bunk and I in my own little wooden bed with the plastic-coated mattress. Upstairs was a finished attic space which Jennifer and Cindy shared.

Also upstairs was an unfinished attic space which housed the boys. They always seemed to get the short end of the deal when it came to divvying up the bedrooms, but they never seemed to mind. I remember their room, the boards on the walls, and the orange and brown plaid sheets on the beds. If I hung around for long enough there, one of them would give me candy just to get me to go away.

On Christmas Eve we were sent upstairs to wait for Santa. It was a family tradition to open presents on Christmas Eve, which meant that Santa would appear at a pre-appointed time during which we kids would all have to gather in the upstairs room waiting while he dished out the goods. That evening I lay on Jennifer’s bed and watched out the window for Santa and his reindeer. I could see Rudolph’s nose blinking far away on a distant hill. It never seemed to get any closer, but I knew it was Rudolph.

Mom and Dad called to us that Santa had left, and I rushed down the steps, completely convinced that I had just missed him.

I sat on the floor in front of the console tv and ripped into my presents. I remember quite clearly opening a large box which contained my brand new, shiny red tricycle. Unlike the big trikes my brothers would race in the basement, this one was just my size. And since I was the youngest this meant that no one else would be allowed to use it. I relished this.

Christmas Eve was the one day of the year when we were allowed to stay up as late as we wanted to play with our new toys and eat candy. Somehow this never seemed to work out so well as I dreamed it would, as I inevitably ended up being carried off to bed, having fallen fast asleep after a mere hour or two of celebration.

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Merry Christmas!

May you celebrate with such joyful abandonment

that you have to be carried off to bed.

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