Unearthing creative possibilities: Trish Roque's website, personal blog, & portfolio

Archive for 2008

The drawing fool

That would be me.

We spent a nice long weekend in Tahoe. (Actually, it wasn’t long enough!) It’s a trip we make annually to get our fix of snow – yes, Jon and I are from the Northeast, and yes, we actually love snow. The fortunate part about living in the Bay Area is that we have the option to drive to winter, unlike the Northeast, where one does not have a choice in the matter…

We rent a house with our good buddies, drink beers, snowshoe, play scrabble, ski, and not necessarily in that order. And this time, I actually drew in the sketchbook that I brought up with me. I drew almost every day. And here are the results:

Siwa sleeping

Siwa sleeping

The drawings above are of the one and only Siwa, sleeping, of course.

The drawings below are of Jenny’s dog, Bailey, who was an excellent model because she actually has form, and not so much fur, though she moved a lot… I couldn’t quite get myself to do gesture drawings of her, and that would have been perfect for her.

Bailey sleeping

Bailey sleeping

Bailey sleeping

Sam on Jon's lapWhere is Sammy in all this you ask? Well, our young pup is maturing. He tolerates only so much from us. After Jon had his fun with him, he decided to tell us in his own special way: “Screw you guys, I’m going upstairs…” (do you hear Cartman?), and immediately his fuzzy butt could be seen going up the stairs to the loft where Jon and I slept, no doubt climbing onto our bed to get away from all the hands groping him.

Sho ’nuff, there was the monkey butt on our bed:

Sam sleeping
And finally, I had to attempt a landscape. It’s funny how even with drawing, using the wrong tools can make or break the sketch. Guess who had the wrong tool?

Tahoe landscape

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Traditional Buddhist Blessing & Healing Chant

Young Siwa & Me Recent Siwa & Me

Siwa & Me, Then (1996) & Now (2008)

Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings,
Those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness
May your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment of your goodness
May all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom and compassion, of the Way,
May your life prosper in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

We began Siwa on the vaccine last Thursday, prior to our trip to Tahoe. It may just be wishful thinking on my part, but I swear she is responding positively! The bounce to her step is back, and she’s not lagging as far behind on our walks. Actually, she seems to keep up now! I am hopeful!

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Some facts on canine melanoma

Siwa sleeping again!Needless to say that I’ve been scouring the web for information on canine melanoma. Here’s the important stuff:

  • it is an aggressive form of cancer that typically appears in the mouth
  • dogs that are beyond the initial stages will not survive beyond five months with conventional therapies
  • treatment often includes radiation and surgery
  • the cancer spreads rapidly and is often unresponsive to chemotherapy
  • it can be incredibly painful
  • most common in dogs with dark pigmentation
  • there is a vaccine that has shown promise in clinical studies; published reports have included individuals whose cancer completely disappeared!!

Here are some facts about Siwa, based on the lab results from the vet:

  • though she is 12 and has cancer, her blood work apparently had a healthy dose of all the good things (sorry I’m a little fuzzy on the details)
  • she has a healthy appetite (loss of appetite is a bad sign)
  • she still has control of all her bodily functions (thank goodness!)
  • she can still see, hear, and smell
  • though she has slowed down on the trail, she still exhibits a playful enthusiasm when she hears the word W-A-L-K
  • in short, if it weren’t for the cancer, she would be perfectly healthy

Back to the vaccine. The vet said she is a good candidate for the vaccine, which is administered four times in two-week intervals.

It’s expensive (~$700/shot) but not as expensive as the less successful surgery and radiation (~$5K-$8K), nor is it as uncomfortable. If the tumors grow back after the first two shots, then we know the vaccine is not working and we discontinue with the treatment and just give her painkillers. My biggest concern has always been Siwa’s quality of life. This was the least intrusive, least painful, and least expensive option.

Siwa was with me at the beginning of my journey into adulthood – she put up with a lot from me, including every significant relationship I’ve ever had, five moves (one of which involved crossing several state lines), two cats, and Sammy. It’s the least I can do for her.

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Water is water…

Siwa at Lake Faucherie

(Siwa at Lake Faucherie, foothills of the Sierras, California, August 2007)

From Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Zen master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi:

…the water comes down like a curtain thrown from the top of the mountain. It does not seem to come down swiftly, as you might expect; it seems to come down very slowly because of the distance. And the water does not come down as one stream, but is separated into many tiny streams. From a distance it looks like a curtain. And I thought it must be very difficult for each drop of water to come down from the top of such a high mountain. It takes time, you know, a long time, for the water finally to reach the bottom of the waterfall.

And it seems to me, that our human life may be like this. We have many difficult experiences in our life. But at the same time, I thought, the water was not originally separated, but was one whole river. Only when it is separated does it have some difficulty in falling; after we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling from the waterfall is separated by the wind and rocks, then we have feeling.

You have difficulty because you have feeling, you attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created. When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water.

Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact we have no fear of death anymore, and we have no actual difficulty in our life.

And here’s today’s sketch … Jon said he would sit for me, so I drew him:

Jon reading

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Spoiling my dog…

And enjoying every minute of it!!

Though Siwa has slowed down, she still enjoys being outside – not around the block outside, but in the hills, among the flowers and cow poop outside. See:

Siwa in the flowers

Her front legs were shaved so the vets could run the IV fluids through her after the surgery to remove her tumors, hence the funny looking legs.

Sam & Siwa

It is a challenge walking two dogs who have incompatible needs and energy. That’s why I started the separate walks. However, I don’t always have that kind of time (it’s pretty rare actually!). Fortunately, we live in the Bay Area, where even I can find a secluded field where Sammy can run amok and chase sticks that I throw at him which he doesn’t bring back and instead chews and eats, and little furry animals that are fortunately quicker than him. Siwa just enjoys the scenery.

Here are recent drawings of her. I have to admit, Siwa foreshortened is a tad difficult, especially with her short, bear-like muzzle:

Siwa sleeping

siwa dreaming

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