Invincible Summer

by NJG

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I'm Setting up snowmen ,

Sending off otters,

and taking pet portraits to the holiday galaxy of Robot Candy (owners of tiny reindeer, and purveyors of fine coasters and switchplates) to get resined before the big day!

Happy Anniversary, Beija Georges!

Good Morning, friends.

Thirteen years ago today I worked a grueling shift at Toys R Us then drove to the Wayside Waifs Shelter in Kansas City, Kansas and picked up 6 month old "Roxie", the dog you now know as Beija, who was to be a Christmas gift for my high school boyfriend.

Well. Obviously things between she and he did not work out, and so today I celebrate my 13 year anniversary with one Beija Georges, once billed as a dachshund sharpei mix, now known as a beagle corgi sharpei.

Happy Anniversary , Beija!

Yes, those are bongos.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Food Tour of Maui

Shown: Pina Colada at the South Shore Tiki Lounge in honor of my Birthday. We'll visit them again later.

Mele Kalikimaka and Hello!

I recently turned THIRTY (30) and was taken to Hawaii as a giant gift from friends, family & my sweetheart, "Jeb".

I have many beach photos, but wanted to share with you my food diary !
We were able to eat like kings ( or like Oprah, if you will ) whilst there.

Try not to turn off your computer in a jealous rage, but I also went to Hawaii in June on vacation.

I was totally blindsided by the food costs my first trip, and so offer you this advice from my second:


Nevermind if you eat kale every day in the Northwest. Once you're on the Island and you see $5 imported bunches of kale, you'll understand the need to look local.
Also, consider how much gas it takes to jet all your produce over there from the mainland. Forget it! There are so many things growing on the Island on groovy sustainable farms, it's worth it.


Have I been accused of food hoarding by tour mates in the past? Perhaps.
BUT, the money you save on buying something stupid, imported & and overpriced like granola in Maui can be spent on awesome fresh local foods like avocados or PINEAPPLES! Pack some brown rice, peanut butter & granola in your luggage and get ready to party!


I got a small bottle of Braggs, some garlic chili sauce, and oil at the beginning of our trip and did not regret it for a second as we traveled from place to place whipping up salad dressings and peanut sauce wherever we went.

If you want to get miserly (like myself), get some Ziploc bags at the end of your trip and bring the sauces home with you in your checked luggage (insert Michelle Tea calling me crazy here). Leave the oil in Hawaii, though.


Mana Foods in Paia : The best natural food store on the Island, in my opinion. Giant selection, amazing hot bar and live food deli, fresh squeezed juices and groovy baked goods.

Longs Drugs
: Not food, per se, but a great place to get cheap macadamia nuts for your family before you split town. Seriously half the price of Safeway's nuts. Beware the slippery slope of purchasing too much from their giant selection of Made-In-China souveniers. There's a whole Island full of souveniers that directly benefit the island, local shops, or artisans, so please don't waste all of your money here on plastic leis.

Whole Foods in Kahalui: If you're so hungry after getting off the plane and you can't make it until you get to Mana Foods, totally stop here and keep your eyes alert for LOCAL produce. Hana Farms lettuce, avocados, local pineapple and apple bananas. I like getting staples at Whole Foods, because their store brand beans and milks are organic and inexpensive.

People's Front Yards - Hana
Don't blow your avocado wad in the city, because once you get out into the country you will find many front yards with wood boxes of avocados for 50 cents, limes for 25 cents, and tiny coffee cans in which to put your money. You will also find roadside leis handmade by families for a billion dollars less than the stupid ones at Safeway.

Safeway - I did get sauces and some weird staples here.

Controversial: I was NOT a huge fan of Down To Earth, the other natural grocery store here. They have a decent hot bar, but in general if you're looking for groceries, get out your scalpel and bathtub of ice, because you're going to have to trade some vital organs in order to afford their groceries.

On to the food!

As luck may have it, we ate mostly raw and gluten free whilst on this vacation. This was sort of unintentional, as we are neither raw nor gluten free at home. It just happened that the most delicious options were usually one or the other.

First off- Joy's Place Live Nut Burger.
$10.50 , a blend of nuts and other mysterious live ingredients wrapped in a leaf.
This was moist, delicious and deceptively filling.
I got something called the Indo Crunch Wrap here, also, which was pan fried tempeh with sprouts and raw veggies smothered in peanut sauce and wrapped in a rice paper skin. This was delicious, filling, and totally portable.

We went to Joy's Place not once, not twice, but THREE times, and maybe I spent my future children's college tuition on the food, but it was worth it as I had several once-in-a-lifetime meals, in addition to their Chaifee (pronounce Chai-Fay, even though the root words are chai and coffee... go figure), which is an iced drink with cold pressed coffee and chai.

P.S. If you enjoy people watching and want to see The Most uptight, anal retentive and possibly eating disordered raw, soy free, gluten free, etc etc people, sit at the bar at Joy's Place and just cast an ear as well tanned ladies come in and harangle the friendly counter staff for up to twenty minutes at a sitting inquiring about the garlic/soy/live content of any given food item before either giving up entirely and going outside to eat paper towels, OR ordering sauce free pieces of chicken wrapped in leaves for twenty dollars. Yum!

P.P.S. The staff here are knowledgeable, friendly, kind and endlessly patient.

P.P.S.S. For these reasons, I could never work there.

Next Up: Day to day eating!
We got a pomegranite, Jeb brought some granola from Portland (what can I say, we're thrifty), and we jammed on granola & fresh fruit (with soy milk) every single morning before attacking the ocean with snorkels in hand.


These are great to eat on the beach, in the car, in the hotel room. Many of the ingredients are interchangeable for other recipes. Toss the lettuce around, use peanut sauce as a dressing for future salads, whatever. You'll also feel somehow superior when you see people pay $8 for their own single salad rolls as you freely chomp on a dozen.

Portable ingredients that need only some local fresh avocados , salsa & limes to blow your mind. Avocados & limes can be found for 50 cents / 4 for a dollar (respectively) in front of people's homes in Hana. The avocados here are giant, often green with thin skins, and amazingly buttery.

We brought brown rice over in our suit case both times, like the hoarders we are, and had awesome salads with beans or nuts, brown rice, pomegranite seeds, and dressing made from fresh limes, pineapple juice, local garlic and some Braggs. Kazam. Again, Highly Portable,and a great way to jam as many local produce items into one bowl at the same time as possible.

With my excellent luck at talking trash, I'm sure he'll find this, but I have to tell you about our night at the hostel in Hana.

We were totally prepared and making this giant feast of salad & tacos, when a weary bike traveler who'd just bicycled from Wailuku to Hana (a full day trip, like 20 miles of winding roads and hills with traffic over a cliff!) rolled in with the weirdest groceries ever, including frozen vegetables and dried mung beans procured at Hana's mini- mart. Never having mung beans, we oohed and ahhed, wondering how one would prepare them. He was starving the ride (or so I imagine), and cooked them only a little while before adding them to his dinner of warmed frozen vegetables, which he bravely ate in their entirety.

We offered him some guacamole, a good deed which didn't go unpunished as he forced on us tasted of the mysterious mung beans.
"Have a bite"
I took a bite.
"Take a bigger bite than that!"
he commanded, and then to Jeb-

Our previously mellow Canadian friend became aggressive as he encouraged us to join in his culinary misery. The mung beans were terrible, hard and undercooked, and we got out of there as soon as possible, retreating to the living room to watch National Lampoon's Summer Vacation after our long day of hiking, swimming and cooking.

Now, Friends, you get to enjoy photos of the Coffee Stand I was crowing about in issue 17 of Invincible Summer!

Here are some quotes from theThe Laulima Farm Fruit Stand Yelp Page :Trippiest GMO-FREE ZONE on the Planet
Just dig the vibe and soak up the mana. This is the real fantasy island with a critical spooky core.

Granted, this is one reviewer's take, but these two sentences are pretty accurate.

The Laulima Farm is an organic farm off the Hana Highway (but past Hana), and they operate a little fruit and coffee stand with a deep hippie vibe. If you want to work here, you just show up and see if they need anybody, then see if you fit in. That's it.

This is the home of the amazing and delicious Chiller, the drink made of coffee, cane juice, and coconut milk all grown within a mile of the stand and blended together with a bicycle powered blender! Yum!

I had the second most delicious beverage of my life here (the first being The Chiller), which was a Ginger Blast made of ginger, cane juice, and coconut milk.
It was a real WTF moment. Something that sounds so weird but was so delicious and warmed my actual, physical (grinch sized) heart.

We met many trippy people at this fruit stand as I encouraged Jeb to visit it three times (that's THRICE to you) on our journey.

We met hippie guys and gals, pasty tourists like ourselves, and laid back Maui-dwelling millionaires who were just chilling out and having some freshly cut salads at their bar.

Another Quote from Yelp:
This place is very calm, peaceful, beautiful and defines the word "Zen". You can walk along the paths in the garden to see where your food is coming from.

If you are the egg-eating sort, you will be happy to know that though many of their baked goods are vegan, the ones that do include eggs are "from Happy Chickens". This may be one of the only places in the world where I'd actually believe it.

Lastly, back in Kihei the tourist area, we began re-acclimating ourselves to the foods we know best- those processed and fried with the evil friends wheat and soy.

This brings us to the previously mentioned Tiki Bar,
which boasts a powerful vegan menu!
(Well, powerful considering you are at a tourist bar in the middle of a strip mall).
Check out this little piece of their manifesto (not included: info about their free range cows and freshly caught Maui fish) :
Our oil “Whole Harvest Smart Fry” is 100% cold expeller pressed soybean oil used only for cooking our French fries. It contains no harsh chemicals, no solvents, no trans fatty acids, no hydrogenation and no cholesterol. Our veggie dogs and burgers are made from soybean and wheat protein. They are low carb, low calorie and low fat. Our vegan chili is made with 3 types of beans, 3 types of chili, 3 types of onions, corn, tomatoes, herbs and generous portions of our veggie burger patty.

Shown here: Veggie Dog , fully loaded from the self service garnish bar, and french fries with the addition of veggie chili (which harkens back to the days of Ottos Malt Shop in Kansas City, where I lived off of free Veggie Chili Fries as a teen vegan ages 16-19).

And with that as our final meal, Shaka Santa and I bid you farewell, and Mele Kalikimaka. Take Care!


Friday, December 10, 2010

CRAFTY WONDERLAND Super Colossal Sale!!!

The 2010 Super Colossal Holiday Sale is upon us!!!
shoppers at Crafty Wonderlandshoppers at crafty wonderland
That's right! This weekend is your chance to shop from over 200 of the NW's most talented artists and crafters! This is the perfect place to find the best handmade gifts for everyone on your list (including the ones who are super hard to buy for) - and you can feel good about supporting local artists at the same time! For a sneak peek at what we have in store, pick up this week's issue of The Portland Mercury - our event program was inserted into each and every paper!

The show will also feature:
*Goodie bags for the first 150 shoppers each day!
*Free craft projects in our DIY Area hosted by Collage (schedule below)
*Craft-related book signings courtesy of Presents of Mind (schedule below)
*Recycled gift wrapping area sponsored by SCRAP
*The Community Warehouse Lounge (they are looking for donations of small household items - see below for more info)
*Our friends at Supportland will be swiping cards and spreading the local love!
*Space to take a seat and enjoy some food and drinks during the event (yes, there will be a bar!) Vegan and vegetarian menu options will be available.
You don't want to miss this - it's going to be HUGE!

Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale!
TWO DAYS! Twice the fun!
Saturday and Sunday, December 11th + 12th - 2010
11am - 5pm each day
at the Oregon Convention Center
777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Hall C
Portland, OR 97232
Free Admission! All Ages!
Goodie bags to the first 150 shoppers!

Be sure to bring lots of cash!
No matter how well stocked the ATMs at the Convention Center are, they seem to run out of cash during the weekend of our sale! Not all of our vendors accept credit cards, so you'll want to be prepared with plenty of cash.

Details and vendor information at:

Thanks and hope to see you there!

Birthday Present!

Hey Everyone- It's my Birthday!
Here is my present to you to thank you for your support and readership:
get 10% off in my etsy store by today only by putting in the
coupon code: happybirthday at checkout .

Have a nice December 10th!!!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it's a little late, but...
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The dinner may be over, but it's never too late to Adopt A Turkey!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Calendars Have Come Home To Roost

They are a lovely torquoise color and were printed with care by Pinball Publishing.

I'll be driving around delivering them to stores for the next few days, and sending off a giant batch at the post office on Monday!

Get in on it!
These are going to be limited edition.

Good night.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beija dressed as Yours Truly

As you may or may not know, a lot of my recent work revolves around preserving and depicting the dignity of animals in the wild (versus the lack of dignity they experience in the world at our hands) .

That said...
Sometimes you take out the camera to get a photo of your part sharpei's face melting onto a pillow.

And then you add a pair of glasses....

And the next thing you know, your dog is in full Nicole drag.

I'm sorry! (Not sorry, would do it again). It's just so easy as she gets older to do things like this!
I promise that the other 364 days of the year, Beija retains a little dignity around the house. No booties or jackets, just a sporty bandanna and all the food she can eat / steal from Wishbone.

And with that, I say Good Night.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mailing List


Hi Everyone,
I am in the process of trying to corral my mailing list right now.
If you have received more than one email from me about this I dearly apologize.
Gmail thinks I'm a spammer, so I can't tell how much of my mail they are sending or trashing.
All I want is a reliable way to send mail to my email list!
I promise not to send you anything about "Hot Singles In Your Area" or "Penile Enlargement" .
More news on this as it comes.

2. I am reading at this benefit for In Other Words on Thursday.
In Other Words is our local nonprofit feminist bookstore-turned-community center.

3. Calendars are at the printers

4. I am going to be tabling at Crafty Wonderland this year!
Saturday and Sunday, December 11th + 12th at the Oregon Convention Center.

5. For Halloween, I went with a trio as The Shaggs. I was Dot.
Morgan coached me on how to properly conjure their spirit for photographs: "Just pretend like your dad is right outside of the photograph yelling at you to smile". See Morgan's brilliant performance below:

6. Calendars should be back from the printers by November 12th! Get in on it!



Friday, October 29, 2010

Writers In The Schools Invitation

Hi there-
I wanted to show you this invitation I created for the Writers in the Schools (WITS) fundraiser coming up in December:

This is the rough, preview version so I apologize for the weird white parts,
but the info is still the same, in case you are interested in checking them out! Tax deductible donations all go to bringing professional writers into all Portland high schools. Very cool!


2011 Calendars available for Pre-Order



(more photos coming soon)

Dear Friends,

As you may or may not know, I put out calendars each and every year, featuring animals (and sometimes humans) of every sort.

This year's calendar features:
2 Fennec Foxes
2 Unhappy cats
2 contented cats
5 springtime skunks
2 cuddling deer
2 dressed up dogs
1 singing dinosaur
some pencil-toting birds
1 t.v. watching squirrel
1 bed bummer

It is office or kitchen sized (6.25" X 5.25" pages) and will be on thick natural off-white paper with one interesting color of soy-based ink.

Please note : They are not printed in black & white!
The images are printed in a bright blue color
( color images coming soon) .

It is expected to arrive in my hands by mid-November, at which point I will pack it up and ship it off to you.
I truly appreciate any and all pre-sales, so thank you very much.

P.s. If you have a store or distro and would like to make an order of 10 calendars or more, please contact me!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My 2011 Calendar Is Coming! With Cats!

Hi There.

I am at home drawing cats for the new Invincible Summer Calendar.
Cat lovers rejoice! I have heard you calling and am going to answer your pleas!

There will also be dogs, maybe a monkey, a bummer, cuddling fawns, a squirrel watching tv, and more!

I am very behind on calendar work this year, so please please wait for me!

It should be out in mid-November *I Think*.

More details as they come.

In the meantime, here is a drawing of a cat dressed as "Prince Charming" from a cat fashion show.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

GOOD NEWS, and some Good Pet Portraits

First thing's first:

I'm very very happy to announce that
my graphic novel will be published by Houghton Mifflin in 2011.

Very psyched.


I have been so busy that I haven't finished the 2011 Invincible Summer Calendar yet.
But I will! Have faith.

Here are some recent pet portraits.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Not to be needy ....

But please please comment!
I wonder who reads this blog and it would be so helpful.

Thank you.


Look at what we found in the pantry

Hi There.

I have one of the best interns in the world - one Lindsey Huerta, Organizing Expert.
She did a bang up job of organizing my pantry room, which I would like to show you.



(Note: the before picture may or may not have been from google image searching the word "Hoarders")

I can actually walk in there!
If you look at the upper left corner, you can see a box of Masters & Original Drawings.

Here are some things I found:









Thank you, Lindsey Huerta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!