Monday, December 22, 2008

Nature photography moment

This, for those who have never seen one, is a screech owl
This is a screech owl sitting on my bare hand ...
This is a screech owl acting like he belongs on Heather's arm ....
... and hanging on her every word

Friday, December 05, 2008

Catching up news

BAY MINETTE, Ala. - Heather and I have been flowing with creativity since arriving in Alabama and made a recent trip to Ely's Fabric Warehouse on Springhill Ave., in Mobile, Ala. Rennies would drool over the possibilities for costumes that stand in spools everywhere, and with the exception of tartan, they have just about everything you can imagine.  We gathered some nice fabrics for two separate cloaks and a pirate costume for Liam.

I've been stripping down Harris and Donegal tweed sportcoats and turning them into argyll kilt jackets ... stay tuned for pictures soon. Heather is also nearing completion of my sweater. 

Tomorrow, we head to my dad's for a few days, before heading back here for my mom's birthday, then on to Tennessee to look at some possible places to land somewhat permanently.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Two more from Loime Studios growing portfolio

"Seo mo Leaba Mo Chuan is mo Run" (trans. This is my bed, my port and my dear) Taken from a Kíla song from their "Gamber's Ballet" CD.
"Báidin fheidhlimidh" (trans. Phillip's little Boat - pronounced Bawd-jen El-imee) Taken from a traditional song by the same name.

More artwork

Fear Fíréanta (The Righteous Man), from Salms 1
Pog mo phog (Kiss my Kiss) from Song of Songs 1
Sifreá agus Púá (Shiphrah and Puah) The midwives from Exodus 1 who protected the Hebrew mothers as they gave birth.

New artwork

For those who are Gaeilge challenged, the title means, "The Birds were Singing Today." The title is taken from a poem written by Bobby Sands on the 13th day of his confinement
"Dreas do chorn phioba meid-reac agus go beo" (Trans. Play the bagpipes mirthfully and beautifully) from the traditional song, "Rince Philip a Ceol."
Loime Studios Fancy Logo. This will be the logo for my studio and artwork. Loime means nakedness or openess.


Liam and his Granny work on dinner preparations.
Nothing says Celt like blue paint, a flowing cloak and a shamrock t-shirt
The entire clan gathers at the Mahoney home ... though we were a little light on people this year, though the Bells, Lathams, James, Brantleys, Zieglers, Williams, Calzettas, Halls and Pryzborskis were at least partially represented.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Mastodon Drum

After several weeks of working on this mammoth piece of wood, we have reached a new plateau. After Eddie finished carving out the interior and sanding the exterior, we were left with 270 lbs of dense maplewood. I then took over creating a design, which took on a very Nordic/Celtic feel, incorporating a design from a Viking shield and lots of spirals. I carved in the designs then resanded and then started applying the colors. At the point this was taken I spent about 6 more hours applying color in very fine swirl patterns before my hand started cramping too much and Heather, Liam, Eddie and Meaghan all had to pitch in to help finish the design before I started oiling the drum the next morning and getting ready for the next phase.
Oh, yeah, and it started snowing ... a lot.
... but luckily I had a knightly dude to protect me.

Deakstock II poster

The Burning Bush

Kiss my kiss

"Pog mo phog" taken both from the Kila song, "Seo mo Leaba" and from the Song of Songs, comes Kiss my kiss which explores the many aspects of love that just can't be discussed in English.

The Nordic Horseman

"Marcach Lochlann" The Nordic Horseman, which some of you may have seen at DeakStock II. The original sold, but I am putting this on the website, and will probably offer it as a limited edition lythograph soon.

Heather's Birthday Tea

For Heather's 28th Birthday, we went to Old Town Occoquan, Va., for a lovely Sunday Brunch Tea. We were blessed with the presence of many friends, and well wishes from those who couldn't make it ... and here's a little photographic proof.
The Colonel and the Commander swill Earl Grey and Russian Caravan in the Pink Room
The ladies and gentlemen gather outside for a well hatted photo
Stacy looking mod
Man in Skirt with Pink Bicycle loving aging beauty with a foo-foo frills hat.

Playing Catch-up

BAY MINETTE, Ala. --- So we arrived back at mom's house for a few weeks around Thanksgiving. I completed the mastodon drum, or at least it's current state for a while and we left the comforts of Red Oak Mountain Road with Meaghan and Eddie yesterday and drove through the night to avoid two long days of riding in the car for Liam.

We have come equipped with plenty of projects ... Heather has wool for sweaters, I have tweed for jackets and somewhere in there we have some plaid for kilts, so hopefully when we leave here, I will have a work kilt, a hiking-in-the-woods kilt, and three new argyll jackets and a hoodie sweater. 

We also left Meaghan in charge of putting the website together for Loime Studios grand opening for business. Hopefully, that will be up on board soon as well, but for now, I'll try to get a few pictures up for everyone to see.

Friday, November 14, 2008


So, quick note for everyone. I was scheduled to shoot a band on Tuesday and went to a TV studio where they were going on a show called ARTSCAPE. They were praising my work prior to me getting there and the producer decided to interview me as well, so after a 16 minute show, I have exceeded the Warhol Scale by a minute. Hopefully it won't be the height of my career, but for the moment, its a great boost. The drums are looking great and will be completed by Wednesday next when we head south for the holidays.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I'm getting a little quicker at this

We have returned from the hills of Virginia for the weekend for a baby shower, a soup get together and Heather's birthday tea which we'll be holding in old town Occaquan, Va, just outside of old town Alexandria.

I've been knee deep in creating illustrations to go into production soon, as well as carving a 270 lb. drum, which should be completed by next Friday and ready for the auction house. My artwork should go online in a few weeks, as I've got to photograph all the artwork and we have a few decisions to make about printing lithographs, marketing and e-commerce issues.

I'm also shooting an Irish pub band on Tuesday, but I'll try to make it to a wi-fi hookup and upload some new photos soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A return ... finally

Has it really been a month since I last logged in and wrote? I guess so. Its been a crazy scramble from where we're living in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia to the Maryland Renaissance Festival since returning from Alabama. I've been pretty prolific with the artwork and am working on some drums as well with my partner in percussion Eddie. 

The long story made short, the faire has gone well for us and the Deakstock benefit raked in about $3600 for an old Marine who has fallen on hard times of late. I am getting ready to start my own website to market my artwork and today, I bought a new pair of leather pants and a dashiki. The beard is expanding, the child is growing, the wife is lovely as ever.

I'll try to stop the carousel in a week or so and fill in some details with some photographic evidence.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Last Journey

BAY MINETTE, Ala. --- Just when we were settling into a visit with Heather's brother Jeff and family, including the new addition of Caleb, we got the call from home that my grandmother had slipped into a coma. Just a few hours later as we strolled down High Street in Pottstown, Pa., we got the news she had finally slipped away.

As we traveled the hours between there and here, I contemplated the journey Grandma had traveled on, and wondered how it is different from the one Kaitrina made just a few weeks ago. As I blasted Kila and listened to the beautiful lyrics about the mundane acts of life, and the wonder therein, I contemplated how I was going to explain this process to Liam. People make it simple by talking about Heaven, but that is a bit counter to my beliefs on death and the immediate afterlife. We've chosen not to discuss Kaitrina's absence, but as I'm preparing to go to the funeral home, I have to wonder how I can introduce a 3 year old to the idea of Sheol and death as the destination of this little journey of life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On to PA ... via the 14th Century and B'more

POTTSTOWN, Pa. --- From our base camp in Woodville, Va., we spent Friday catching up with Heather's parents, Saturday and Sunday at the Maryland Renaissance Festival catching up with everyone else, Sunday night and Monday with our friends at the Maryland Kenesiology School in Baltimore's Orthodox Jewish Community and last night in Pennsylvania with Jeff, Ashley, Carter and the new addition of Caleb.

Saturday was our 6th Anniversary so I bought Heather's selection of dresses from Wolfstone Kilt Company (gorgeous!) and she is having a pair of Medieval Moccasin boots tailor-made for me. Besides getting to catch up with people we have not seen in a month of Sundays, there is the exciting news that our brewmaster friends Andrew and Maria have brewed a beautiful Oatmeal Imperial Stout for Deakstock, which they will be auctioning off for the benefit. They have requested permission to use some of my photos of Deak for the label, so the facets of my art career are expanding. Unfortunately, the pint they left with me to take to Deak exploded in our car leaving it smelling a bit ... different. Speaking of smells, we also got an invite to stay with friends in Harford County who have horses! Speaking of horses, I ran into a group of my old compadres from PGSO out supporting a fellow deputy competing in the MDRF Highland Games. It was great catching up with them and I hope to see a few more when I visit the department in a few weeks.

It was greatly refreshing to spend a night with Karen, Danielle and family in Baltimore and we are looking forward to spending the week of Sukkot with them. More details on that later.

For now we are in PA and enjoying the new family addition, and Liam is definitely happy to have Carter for a few days.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


SPERYVILLE, Va. --- Finally, after more than 24 hours on the last leg of our journey, we have arrived at home with Meaghan and Eddie.

Since leaving Yosemite, we made a mad dash across the midwest to Bloomington, Minn., to visit with our former pastor Tim and his family Cyd, Peter and Leif. It was great having an evening to be back together and share in the events of our lives since departing 3 years ago.

We pulled out early on Tuesday morning and arrived in the Shenandoah mountains a little after noon, and are looking forward to some quiet time of reflection and friendship before going on to Heather's family on Friday, and the Ren Faire this weekend. From there, its to our friend Karen's for a night, to Jeff and Ashley's for a week to see our new nephew Caleb, then back home to Meaghan and Eddie's until sometime in mid-November when we go nomadic again.

As a side note, Liam is making some mad progress with his new grasp, and our new focus, on Gaelige, so from all of us, "Tog e Go bog e!"

Sunday, September 07, 2008

One very long day

LAUREL, Mont. --- The Brendan's Isle voyage has made a landing somewhere on I-90 for the rest of the morning.

We left Cousin Sheree's Friday afternoon, picked up the car in the nick of time, dropped off the rental just before they closed and caught Cousin Joey right before they left for the evening, so we were able to pack everything and hit the road. And hit the road we did.

We drove through the night and on to Butte, Mont., where we spent a luxurious amount of time at Cavenaugh's Celtic Shop, where we learned Butte boasts more Celts per capita than any place outside of Ireland. 

Needless to say, we found a score of things we needed, including Liam's new Irish fire engine and my Gaelic/ English dictionary with a pronunciation guide and a new bed spread. We even picked up a few gifts to share in our grand adventure. We also looked at a few mansions - given the extremely low cost of living - so if we suddenly disappear, you might want to check out west.

From there we stormed through Yellowstone National Park where we took some closeups of elk and Buffalo and some absolutely amazing geological events, which we will share in the near future. After heading out of the park and toward our next landing, we drove over an 11,000 foot mountain and got caught in a blizzard, but unfortunately, we only had rain by the time we reached the valley, but onward we went to the next town, which had no rooms in the inn, so here we are 2 1/2 hours after leaving Yellowstone, finally putting our heads down for the night.

Tomorrow, Liam and I are going to hit the pool before packing back into the car and heading toward Minnesota. We're hoping to be seeing the lakes by midnight or so tomorrow, then dinner with the Johnsons, and finally onward home.

We'll see how it goes.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Getting ready for the Cross-country Dash

RIDGEFIELD, Wash. --- Today we are sadly leaving my Cousin Sheree and Jimmy's home for the first leg of our return to the east coast.

Our plan for now is to stop at Mount St Helens on the way back to Olympia, Wash., pick up the newly repaired VUE, visit shortly with Heather's cousin Joey and Sarah while we gather the rest of our belongings, then head in an easterly direction for a few days.

While the visit with Sheree and Jimmy and their kids has been uplifting and engaging, it has also been rout with sadness as we've lost the baby.

We understand there is purpose in all pain, and God would not have allowed this if there wasn't a greater reason than our loss, yet, we feel the loss of this child and what she would have become.

We are thankful in the loss that God allowed us time to spend with her and to bring her home to rest in our mountains.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Pure Hope

On Sept. 2, our child was born, too soon to live in this world, but forever alive in our hearts. This is what I didn't get to say to her.

You were born on the second of September and I can't even remember how we were going to spell your name.

Was it Katreena or Katrina? or had we decided on Caitrina? I only remember it meant pure, and was a companion to Hope.

You came on the day we drove along the Columbia River to see the waterfalls. Your mother had been spotting and I could only pat her hand and say it would be okay, and quietly all day we prayed that it would be. We hiked to a place where the water rained down from the cliffs above, drenching everything in wonder. It was a place so wonderful you could feel Heaven coming near. I went back to get your brother, to carry him on my back to where he could feel the mist billowing from the cascade, and I dreamed of bringing you back there.

You came shortly after dinner, and we were thankful to be able to hold you, suspended in your little amniotic sphere. You lay sleeping in our hands, curled inside your little orb ... floating in our dreams for you ... and I imagined you swimming. 

We gazed into your world as if we were looking into a crystal ball that could tell us what to do with those dreams and our anguish. We found no answer as your little world clouded over, but you were already etched into our hearts.

We suspended you in tears and carried you in an ordinary little bowl. We traveled for 10 days between your birth and your laying to rest. We traveled through grief.  We traveled across a continent, with your mother desperately knitting for you, and I folded paper into an oragami box and painted it with knotwork and flowers.

We found humor in your travels - of your great journey in the week after your birth, of riding in the car unbuckled, of giving you a proper Irish wake. And every night we poured more tears into your bowl, and your mother knitted and I folded paper into a proper oragami box with thistles and shamrocks.  

We carried you to Riversong. We carried you in your bowl wrapped in knitted knotwork. We carried you down to a tree by the river and built you a stone house while Liam gathered wildflowers with Meaghan. Our friends played drums for you and we danced with you while Liam took pictures. We burned incense and candles and placed your little clouded sphere into an oragami box decorated with knotwork and flowers.

We closed your riverside home with a flat stone door, but we opened windows in our hearts to Sheol. We were able to leave because we know Heaven comes near in this place, and when we think of you beside the river, we will come swimming in your dreams.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Creel's providing a bed to their wayward traveling family

RIDGEFIELD, Wash. --- We've come in for another landing at the home of my cousin's house in southern Washington state, just north of Portland, Ore.

We've had an amazingly blessed time here and are looking forward to the days ahead before our car is finally in working order and we head off blazing saddles toward that eastern shore some 40 driving hours away. 

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Before Leaving Vegas --- the lost photos

Before heading out from Vegas, we toured the Freemount area with J&N and the Stewart clan parental units ... so if you can't picture it, here's the proof

A few more photos

Pirating the local snails near San Francisco
Our little fender bender
FDNY at the YNP? They really do like fighting fire

Last few shots of Fern Canyon

Again with Heather taking the wildlife photos - this guy was out on the beach and was about 10 feet away, and didn't seem to care about us.

One guess on why they call it Fern Canyon

Picture us from the California Coast to Fern Canyon

Roadside family portrait
Guess who's learned to climb
A new camping friend
again with the climbing - this was a bit scary as it was about 200 feet down to the water on the other side of those rocks

Welcome to the Cally Coast

Heather's peace out from the West Coast, and we're not talking Compton
Can we write this trip off as a homeschool lesson?
If the batteries in the back-up camera hadn't died, I would be able to show you a picture of Heather taking this photo, from about 20 yards away after she had crawled across some tough rocks, trying to get the shot before the tide flooded her foothold.
The first official toe in the Pacific Ocean - sweatshirt needed.


OLYMPIA, Wash. --- Brendan's Isle traveled to Washington State's capital city for Harbor Fest today, walking the boardwalk to see the tall ships, picking through the farmers market and some vendor booths to pick up a few new items for the closet. Heather found a few new headscarves and a hat for Liam at a vintage clothing store, then a shirt and skirt for fair, and I found a great new hooded, poet shirt as well.

We had a great day out with Heather's Cousin Joey and Sarah and got to see an amazing new band - The Blackberry Bushes String Band - who were the featured local entertainment. The have a self-named website with some great links to their music.

Tomorrow, we head down south to my Cousin Sherrie and Jimmy's house for a few days, a bit of camping around Mount St. Helen and Mount Rainer, then hopefully picking up the new improved VUE and heading east on I-90 toward Maryland's Renaissance Festival, the Beleck House, Meaghan and Eddie, The Rogues and the rest of our family.

We'll try to keep everyone posted along the last few days of this journey, but that depends greatly on how well AT&T decided to keep us hooked up.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A home for a while

LACEY, Wash. --- Brendan's Isle made a landing this a.m., at the home of Cousin Joey and Sarah where we will be residing until our transpo is up and running again. 

It was really sad today as I began removing everything from the VUE so it can be repaired, when I realized just how dirty our car has gotten over the past 7,500 miles or so. There are muddy shoe prints on top of layers of dust on top of chocolate milk and Goldfish crumbs, but in an effort to clean things up, we managed to spill an entire bottle of laundry soap in the back. Needless to say, its going to be an adventure to clean it out when we arrive back home.

Realizing our destination to Cousin Sharon's wedding might have to change since its not likely that the repairs will be able to be completed in time for us to make the run back to Alabama, we have started plotting a more northernly route home, with the plans to spend a longer amount of time with Mamma Bell at Thanksgiving, rather than a 3 -4 day turn around if we got back in time for the wedding. We'll see what the body repairmen say about our near future plans tomorrow.

Moxy the dog and Liam are getting along smashingly well, and Joey and Sarah are taking us to a farmers market this afternoon, so stay tuned for Seattle based adventures and don't forget the photos at the picasaweb address from a few posts ago. I'll be adding more to that this p.m.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


HWY 101, Ore. --- Brendan's Isle voyaged into the Brewed Awakening Coffee Shop this evening for a bite of food and some brews before heading up to Coos Bay for the night.

The Oregon and California coasts have been absolutely amazing, but we have to pull a long day of driving tomorrow so we can reach Lacey, Wash., by tomorrow night, so we can drop our car off to be repaired on Monday.

Last night we camped at Patrick's Point Park in California and then hiked through Wedding Rock, Mussle Rock and then on up the road to Fern Canyon - by far one of the most amazing journeys we have gone on during this trip.

We'll have photos downloaded in a couple of days, so everyone can enjoy the sights. Hopefully, though we are looking forward to staying with Joey and Sarah for a few days, we are hoping for a quick turn around on the car so we can get back on our way to Alabama in time for Cousin Sharon's wedding.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Heading Northbound ... and a little extra news

DEL RIO, Calif. --- A call of coffee, toilets and free wi-fi beckoned us off of Hwy 101, shortly after leaving our coastal California dream land for the land of big Redwoods, so I thought to take time and give the update. 

There are two rules in this modern age of blogging across America's campgrounds - never pass up a shower because you never know when you'll get your next. The second, is never pass up wi-fi.

The California coast has been a dream, and other than the deplorable commercialization of the Redwoods, they have been magnificent. We are going to be stopping for the night somewhere shortly after Eureka, then on through the Redwood Forest into Oregon tomorrow, then hopefully at cousin Joey's the next day.

As for the other thing, there is another baby on board this amazing journey of ours who should be joining us mid-April! We're thinking Chava Tzion or Hamish Yohannan, but then again, we've got a few months to dream upon it. 

PS --- Kayaks make good baby gifts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Surfs up in Californ-I-A

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. --- Since our last log-in at Twentynine Palms, we traveled through and camped in Sequoia National Park and Yosemite. From Twentynine Palms, we left with temperatures soaring to 108, then two days later we woke up at Yosemite's Glacier Point to temperatures below freezing. It was great on every point through the national parks - great to see trees again, and both parks feel incredibly like home to me. Heather also got see her first brown bear up close and personal as it stuck its head out of the bushes as we were driving by.

Our problems began as we were exiting Yosemite when another tourist side-swiped our car. We have got to get some major repairs done but are trying to postpone the repairs until we get to Washington State so we can have a place to stay while the repairs are being done.

At any rate, we arrived at San Francisco and there was no room in the inn. State parks were filled up, and the rates at the KOA and some hotels were far beyond what we were up for paying, so we camped in the car at a state park, got up extra early and headed for the beach. We spent about three hours crawling over the rocks and frigid waters, taking pictures of crabs, pelicans and a group of harbor seals, for which Heather got within about 20 feet of them taking some great photos.

So we've meet and ate with Heather's cousin Brian, coffee is loaded, and as soon as the pictures get finished uploading, we will be on our way up the California coast.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Packing ... again

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --- We are packing again tonight to hit the road tomorrow, and bid a sad farewell to Courtney and Brian. For those of you who know, you know ... for those that don't, she is all I would ever hope for my own children to become. Not that she's not my own.

Tomorrow, we head out early for Big Bear Lake, then on to Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite National Park, and San Francisco to see Heather's cousin Brian. Then, we go onto Paradise, Calif., if we can get in touch with our friend Warring, or we'll be heading up the west coast road for Seattle.

More to come from the road.

Horses and carrots