My sister and I went to Arizona this past week (mostly fun for my sister and work for me, but that was okay... for the most part...until the end). With the lovely economy booming and all we got charged for even one bag checked. Grrr. Then of course my dear sister forgot to take her jackknife off of her keychain and thus the knife and she departed with tears... salty tears. She was grumbly until she got some sort of fajita wrap. She said "Well they didn't say anything last time!" I said, "Well then they're stupid. You can't bring a knife on the plane. Duh."

Anyway, the flight was long and my laptop battery ran out half way through the trip. We got to the hotel, dumped our belongings, and went for some grub. We found a great restaurant complete with mechanical bull! If you know me then you know it's my dream to ride one. We decided to come back on the last day for another meal and a bull ride. Sadly, that didn't happen, which I'll explain later. Below is the hotel hallway (oooh, ahhhh... a hallway..!!!!) Then below that is a view from the window. We even had a balcony. The bad part is that if you look closely you will see that there is NOTHING out there besides parking lots. To go anywhere to get anything affordable (I'm talking a bagel less than 4 dollars) we'd have to cross a highway and go to god knows where. Believe me, my antsy sister tried. She came back a few hours later with a single bag of pretzels that she got at some lonesome gas station.

The next day I accepted my award--the Grand Canyon Reader Award. 4 books were chosen: "Tween - The Lightening Thief, Intermediate - The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Picture Book - I Ain't Gonna Paint No More, and Non-Fiction - Aliens Are Coming - (by yours truly)." I was in good company. It was quite an honor! I honestly wasn't sure what was going to happen. I knew I had to go up and accept the award and figured I'd have to say something once I got it and had promised myself I'd plan it all out once in the plane... but I got lazy and didn't bother. So there I was at the table...

... waiting to see what would happen. Would I make a fool of myself? Would I actually have anything to say? I got to sit at the "special" table. Next to me is Jessica Licurgo, a student who got a half day out of school (I hinted to her mom that it would be nice if she got the WHOLE day off - am I bad?). Jessica was very sweet and did a great job of introducing me. She said she wanted to be a writer too, which was cool. I made sure not to be little-miss-I'm-poor-and-broke-complain-a-lot for her benefit. Don't want to crush a poor young spirit.

Here's me getting my award (I didn't take it, that's why it's blurry. My sister isn't the best photographer): The whole time I kept saying I'd be fine as long as I didn't go first. Guess who went first?

When I got the plaque I said quietly "Uh... do you want me to say something?" I already knew the answer. Then I said something stupid into the mic like "I hate microphones." I'm happy to say that I think I did a good job. I didn't talk too little and didn't talk too much. I thanked everybody, especially the kids who voted for my book and explained how ALIENS was my first nonfiction book and as I recalled (you can go back and find my hysteria on this blog somewhere), my first review--NYT no less--complained that my aliens weren't scary enough. I was afraid that NO ONE would understand what the book was about or what I was trying to do (think I told my editor I was quitting books to join the circus or some such). Of course as time went on the book got great reviews and I all but forgot about the bad comment. I somehow explained all of this in a nice, brief way... I HOPE. I THINK. Who really knows.

Next up that day was a booksigning... but first my sister and I decided to let loose in the parking lot and throw a tiny football-type-thing around:

Mmm, this made me a bit late for the signing.

Next up was my "talk." It's all about my childhood creations, my inspirations, and how I got to where I am now. I hate to say it but my adult talk isn't as polished as my children's one. I'll have to work on that.

It was a LONG day but surprisingly I didn't mind all the public speaking. Am I finally over my fear????

I got the next day off and my sister and I met a great lady named Sallie McCutcheon. She picked us up at the hotel and took us on a car-ride through the dessert. From what I gathered, she's lived a full life--lived in Texas on a real ranch--cattle roping and the whole bit! She now travels the world volunteering for scientific endeavors - archeological digs and the like. It sounds like there's lots of roughing-it involved. She's amazingly in her 70s but it doesn't show!

We set up "camp" for a quick lunch and then Sallie took us on a walk to point out all the different vegetation (she's quite the expert!)

After our lunch and walk we raced to our next destination--horse-back riding! It was the "sunset ride."



It was hard to ride and take photos at the same time, but I did my best...

My horse was well behaved but my sister's kept nipping at mine and eating the grass. The tour guide told her to stop the horse from snarfing down the grass but my sister had some trouble with that. The tour guide was also great––we had a lovely conversation as the sun set. My favorite part was at the end, when the moon was in full and bright and we could hear coyotes howling in the distance.

I thought the evening had come to a close but we got to talking about beer while in the car and Sallie suggested trying out Chili beer. We couldn't resist so off we went in search of some. We ended up at an all-you-can-eat-and-drink rodeo! Everything was free, free, free! Sallie brought us right up to one of the bull riders and we got a great lesson on bull riding. There's more that goes into the preparation than I thought. I casually asked what the qualifications were to ride... and was told 30 bucks, 15 if you have gear. I said "Uh... no training?" "No," the guy said, "We put the inexperienced guys on that one," and he pointed to the biggest bull out there, who I GUESS was the tamest, though he didn't look it after thrashing around quite a few guys and then catapulting them into the dirt. Nonetheless I was seriously considering the challenge. Think about the bragging rights! The only reason I didn't do it (and I'm serious) is that I had to get up at 7 am the next morning for my school visit. They were expecting me and if I broke a bone(s?) then that would be the end of that. Instead of in school I'd be in the hospital.
That would be irresponsible to say the least. So I'll do it next time! I will also say that although the day was quite warm the night was not and the chilliness somehow made the whole bull thing less appealing. I kind of wanted a blanket.

So we got back to the hotel safe and sound, after raiding a super market (we were DYING for cheap, crappy food!). A big thank you to Sallie for being such an amazing tour guide!

Day number three was the school visit. My schedule was INSANE. I had to do four hour-long talks and fit in signing stacks and stacks of books. Of course I have to draw pictures in each, which takes a lot of time! Somehow I managed. The kids were great--very well behaved and enthusiastic. What's so fascinating is that no matter where I talk or to what age group I get the same crazy reaction from certain things. 1) When I told them I had no TV for a year as a kid 2) No video games were allowed 3) Whenever I show a picture from the movie Herbie. I have no idea why.

After each talk I show the kids how to draw an alien and let one student come up and draw an arm or leg or whatnot. I also let the kids vote on the amount of drool the alien will have. I'm sure you can guess what they all shouted. On one picture the drool went right off the page--I got a lot of howls from that. Then after the Q&A the kids flooded me every time. A lot of girls grabbed onto my legs and I felt like I was back as a camp counselor! A few kids were more timid. One said "I'm your biggest fan," very quiet and politely. They all had great questions. The one thing that cracked me up is that when I was setting up the slide projector a boy kept touching my foot. I couldn't figure out what he was doing. Then he whispered to his friend "I touched a famous person's shoe!" I had a little trouble controlling myself after that. Of course I also got the "Are you rich?" question and the "How old are you?"

I had lunch with the teachers and librarians and that was fun. The food was good. So I COULD have safely said at that point that everything went off without a hitch. Only... of course something had to happen. A parent had volunteered to drive me back to the hotel with her young son. She was great - we had a nice conversation - and it made it all the more worse when I had to ask for a plastic bag to barf in. I was sooo embarrassed. I wasn't better once I got to the hotel. Nor was I better when I had dinner at Mary Wong's house, a librarian with an AMAZING collection of children's book art. I must have vomited at least 5 times or more and ended up secretly lying on her bathroom floor in agony for 10 min or so while she prepared the dinner.

Ignoring that drama, I did manage to add to her illustrator wall. She has a wall in her home where illustrators have created autographed pictures. Below are some of the creations (recognize any?) and then mine. I don't know... I tried not to look sick when she took the photo. I think my color had come back a bit (you know, you always feel better after letting it out of the stomach) and I believe I even said "I"m feeling better," as I drew my little astronaut. Of course, that was short lived because I puked in her car and got it all over me. Good times dear readers, good times!

And that concludes my Arizona trip. I hate to end on a bad note, but that's what happened. It seems that if I try to push too hard and go-go-go these days I crash when the adrenalin dies down. Lupus patients (so says all the books) need to take it easy. One book even suggests taking breaks every hour or so. Ha! Like I do that. Come to think of it, I don't think I've mentioned on this blog that I have Lupus. So yeah, that's what I have. That's why I've been silent. I've been trying to accept that my life will be different... or at least not what I'd planned it to be. I'm still the old hyperactive Meghan, but only in spurts. Lots of days I feel ill. Come to think of it, I don't want to talk about this on this here blog because that's lame... so let me end on another bad note instead! Someone broke into my car AGAIN after I got back from Arizona. Smashed the window. Now there's glass everywhere and it's snowing both out and in the car. Good times, good times.

This is wrong of me to end so, oh, so so sadly. Let me try again. Here we have a man vomiting in a toilet. This is on display at Conely Island. Gross? You don't like?

Fine I say. How about these? Do I know these people?

How about what I call "Wrestling with Jay." This is where my friend Jay proceeds to annihilate his friends. Observe:

I don't know why I was laughing because I had HUGE bruises all over me the next day. Also, fellow Blue Rose Girl Alvina got me to sing in front of OTHER human beings for the first time!


The red eyes are attractive, no? And why do I appear to be wearing the same green shirt in each picture? I swear I have other clothes!


Somehow I can't get stuff done (and I mean creating books in case you weren't sure what I do for a living based on this blog - I know I'm not sure) when my environment isn't right... or perhaps it's just that I'm overly obsessive (hmm... obsessive is the definition of "overly" isn't it?). Nonetheless, first it was the coffee table:

Then it was the countertop obsession, which led to the tile obsession, which led to me re-tile-ing the bathroom floor:

There was of course a predecessor to this long string of one-project-leads-to-another. This involved first painting the stove black... then the radiator...

then the door. The door you ask? Mmm, yes. The door. Don't worry, it's not just black, is a chalk board black! Yay kids! A chalk board! Let's all draw on a chalk board door! (am I making fun of myself????)

Moving on. My other obsession lately has been to document what I am calling "street art." Please see my full street art bit in what I guess is like another glorified blog, only it's about projects. Hmm couldn't this post go there? Oh, it's going to be so confusing to have some many pages open for my own commentary. First was the "news" page, then this, now that. Blah. Blah I say. Blah. Can't I just have ONE? I've photographed some new "street art" that I haven't put up yet, so I'll show it here. Ah, yes, that's what this page can be! The website's garbage disposal.

(I heard this spoken on the news two seconds ago and just wanted to quote it).

So what else is new here. Let me see. I bought a new bag that my friend scoffed at. Scoff all you want Jay, but it's out with the black and in with the robin's egg blue.

I also must say that I am extremely frightened and repulsed by cockroaches. Why you ask? Huh. Well let's share, shall we? I should preface this by saying that new people moved in down below and they obviously brought the brown vomit bag bugs with them. Anyhow, I noticed one on my coffee mug one evening. It was about the length of a quarter. Not too big. Not too small. Aw, just right. I proceeded to CHASE IT. Then I got out my sprays. In case you don't know me, I have multiple sprays for every task--there's the toilet cleaning task, and the sink cleaning, and the bathtub cleaning, and the stain-getter-outer, and the glass cleaner, and the gnat killer, and the ant killer, and the bigger flying insect killer, and of course the roach spray that I had previously never used on roaches (don't remember why I bought it). I SPRAYED that sucker! Oh yes indeed I did. But of course I don't like to touch them or be near them, so I left the bug and decided I'd get it later. So following the cup incident was what I THOUGHT was another roach, but was in fact that same stupid roach, which was previously being oooh sooo clever and PLAYING DEAD. It was cute the first time, but not the second. I SPRAYED THAT SUCKER. This time I made sure it was D-E-A-D. Sadly, when I proudly walked into the kitchen to put away the spray I saw something FAR WORSE--a roach, which I swear to god was the size of... well, I'm not even sure what. It was at least the length of my thumb. Every time I say this someone says "Well, did you kill it?" Of course not! I was too frozen in fear to do anything, much less kill it! It scuttled its way under the refrigerator or somewhere... I didn't really look because I was too frightened.

Don't worry fellow readers, no more have returned. I sprayed the heck out of this place. Every nook and cranny has been cleaned, vacuumed, and SPRAYED. Under, over, through... you name it, I sprayed it. This also probably means I'm going to die. We'll just have to wait and see. See, readers, it will be fun! Like a game of hide-and-go seek! Only it'll be--let's check in and see if Meghan has sprayed herself to death yet. I can see the advertisements for this already! What a promotional idea!

Lastly, I'm working on a new painting: The key is to make it look like you're looking sideways at a movie screen. Dramatic, yes?


It's entirely possible that I've been listening to way too much NPR's This American Life. Anyway, this listening has lead me to start my own "This American Life" or in my case "Fireside Chat in Audio." This start will be called "Childhood Memories." This is the first bit of the piece called The Therapist. Enjoy!

On second thought, go here (the thing keeps playing when the page loads and that could get annoying).


I am now immersed in my garbage picture book. Previously, however, let's say a month earlier, I was going crazy with the projects. All that fun ended several weeks ago when I got the art revision requests. I did some paintings (posted those in the last blog post), and at work one day out of boredom I did some wite-out sketches. I love wite-out and will use it any chance I can get.

Oh yeah, see how productive I am at the cash register? Shh... don't tell! I actually don't usually get this distracted—it was one of those days. Anyway, this cardboard art gave me an idea––to do "Cars On Cardboard"––a series! Thus far I've only done one, but there will be more to come. Click on the car for a bigger version.

I went to the Rhode Island landfill last week with my mom to take some pictures––research for the book.

Honestly, none of it looked that bad. In fact, I was able to make the landfill look quite attractive:

I am taking a tour (made reservations as crazy as that is!) of the landfill next month. Hopefully I'll get to see more of the nitty gritty, like this here photo:

Anyway, while I was sticking my camera lens through the holes in the metal fence that surrounded the miles long landfill (this is why I didn't get any good photos), I noticed some donkeys (yes, donkeys) grazing across the street. "Look, Mom, donkeys!" I said. "Stop the car, I want to take a picture!" And take a picture I did:

Um... something wasn't right. I hope I don't gross any of you out! Something was coming out of the donkey... a baby donkey!

The donkey, didn't seem to notice or make a big deal out of the event, untll...

She crashed onto the grass (and I mean crash). And there you have it! A baby was born:

It wasn't long before the baby took its first steps.

So there you have it. I guess you never know what might happen when you take a trip to the landfill.


Dear Readers,

The Chat is back. I took a BIG vacation. I needed it. I was getting whiny and self-indulged. Okay, a blog about oneself I suppose has to be a little self-indulging, but... you know what I mean.

I've been painting a lot lately... taking a break from the illustration work. You can see some of my new paintings here. I will also be posting progress shots for one of them so stay tuned.

And on to more interesting things. This incident happened quite a while ago, but it was during "the break" so I didn't post it. To catch up, I'll post it now... but don't worry, I didn't get in ANOTHER car accident.

So here it is:

Oh, how I love New York. Let’s review how much crap has happened to my cars. On second thought, let’s skip it. Let’s talk about other people’s cars. I was driving home Halloween evening at about 8. I was approaching my apartment and saw a big fat juicy parking spot, ready for the taking. But what’s this?...

A yellow and red flame?...

Bellowing black smoke clouds?...

Sparks rolling like tumbleweed for blocks?...

A car fire!

Despite all of my car catastrophes, I haven’t witnessed a car fire. But there it was––An honest to goodness Brooklyn-brewed car fire. Good stuff. I was desperate to get home to take pictures but by the time I drove WAY out of my way to avoid getting the rental car hit by the flying rubber and metal, the fire department had arrived and the exciting red flames were no more. Nonetheless, I took some photos.

What I was surprised by, but shouldn't have been (silly me) was that the car was NOT removed that evening.

Nor the next day.


Nor the next.

Okay, this is what I want to know. Why is it that if I accidentally park in a zone that says “NO PARKING 4PM TO 7PM," my car disappears within the half hour but a burnt out car IN an intersection does not get removed? I can’t say MOVED because apparently it DID get MOVED.

Looks like about two feet or so (look closely at the photos above). Bravo NYC!

As a side story, perhaps you’re wondering what I’m doing with a rental car. Well, I got rear ended on the highway and hit pretty hard. Thank goodness, for once, the right thing has been done and my car is getting fixed (hopefully) and I got a rental free of charge. Sadly, my brain apparently did not fare as well. After the accident part of my tongue went numb. I also lost my balance and got dizzy and nauseous walking around. The good news is my tongue is better… but the rest of me isn’t. Only time will tell if I’ll ever be able to pass the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other police test. Now I seem intoxicated even when I’m not! Wonderful.

Speaking of car luck, it seems that the luck has passed on to my sister, but more on that later.


The other afternoon when I came home and decided to pour myself a glass of milk, I noticed something. I big brown furry something. Chirping. Watching. Bouncing.............................. (these extra dots represent the "feeling" of "bouncing")

This mouse is not shy. Not at all. Right now he is scurrying back and forth on my carpet! (I do have a photo - if I find it I'll post it) An hour ago he/she was sitting next to me on the couch. Why is it that these creatures don’t mind running all over the place like they live here? I live here! Me! Me! NOT them! Bad animals! Bad!

And then there was the squirrel. If you know me then you know about my past history of squirrels—how one was sitting on me one day when I awoke in the morning…clicking away…beaming at me with those beady black eyes. And then he’d come in when I wasn’t home and eat my peanut butter. I found it one day, on the ground, with claw marks coating the inside of the jar. How on earth did that squirrel get the top off? That’s what I never figured out. Anyhow, there it was, ANOTHER squirrel, in the kitchen, hopping happily on the counter tops. I stared at him. He stared at me. I stared at him. He stared at me. I stared at him.…then took a step forward and gave him the “It’s MY kitchen” look. He took a hop back. I stared at him. He stared at me. Then he hesitantly took a step forward and wagged his tail. MY KITHCEN! And finally hopped out the window and I shut it. Then he and I continued the staring war with the window SHUT.

That, dear readers, concludes my recap for the day... or rather a fill in for the past 4 or 5 months or however long I haven't blogged for.

Now on to new things. Check out this cool video:

And be sure to check out this guy's website:


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