Introducing Mimouka enjoying her favorite pastime at home, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Once upon a time, Mister Cat and a monkey named Mimouka lived as pets in the same household. They were at first great friends and enjoyed in all sorts of mischief together. They were simpatico in that they were both had gourmet tastes and they would seek roasted chestnuts by any means necessary.

One evening Mimouka and Mister Cat were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting on the hearth. Mimouka put on her sweetest expression and cooed, “I would gladly get them, but you are much more skillful at such things than I am.” Mister Cat, ever cavalier, hesitated. Mimouka interjected “Pull them out and I’ll divide them between us.”

Mister Cat stretched out his paw very carefully, pushing aside some of the cinders, and drew back his paw very quickly. Then he tried it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A third time and he drew out the chestnut. He performed this feat several times, each time singeing his paw more severely. As fast as he pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, Mimouka let them cool to perfection then ate them up.

Now their human came in, and away chased the rascals away. Mister Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts learned his lesson. From that time on, they say, he contented himself with mice and rats and had little to do with Mimouka.

Monkey cat

The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense. “The Monkey and the Cat” by Aesop retold and illustrated by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, one clover and one bee, and revery. The revery alone will do, if bees are few.” Words by Emily Dickenson, No. 1755, design with one four-leaf clover by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


“One catfish does not make a creek make, nor one hero a nation,” words by The Iconoclast, and image by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


For Jennifer Golick, Christine Loeber, and Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba with the Pathway Home at the Veteran’s Home of California in Yountville, California, and for all of the good people who continue to work with our veterans who need healing after serving. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few…” (Matthew 9:37), drawing by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.



Lax light water

“the-light-is-still-up-on-the-wa-ters-the-sun-is-still-up-on-the-sea” inspired by the words of Robert Lax, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Light is still notecard



“Siegfried” condensed…

February 27, 2018


Conceived out of the year of failed revolutions – 1848 – Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (1876) is a fusion of drama and epic narratives forged in a cultural hearth of shifting ideologies. Wotan disguised like an old man, becomes the Wanderer. Mime twists plots to obtain the ring of power created by his brother. Siegfried returns from his wanderings in the forest with a wild bear in tow, and immediately breaks the new sword. Mime has raised Siegfried as a foster child. Similar to The Fool, Siegfried complains to Mime that he has never learned the meaning of fear. Siegfried arrives, and the Wanderer questions the youth. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Mime despairs as he imagines the ferocity of the dragon, Fafner. The Wanderer also arrives at the entrance to Fafner’s cave, where Mime’s brother Alberich keeps vigil. A forest bird sings to Siegfried of a woman sleeping on a rock surrounded by magic fire. Siegfried, unaware that intimacy brings vulnerability, wonders if he will learn to comprehend fear from this woman, and follows the bird to the rock. Siegfried, confronted by the Wanderer, does not recognize him as his grandfather, and insolently responds before continuing on the path towards Brünnhilde’s rock. The Wanderer blocks Siegfried, but the youth only mocks him, laughing at his floppy hat and his missing eye. Siegfried breaks the Wanderer’s spear, the symbol of Wotan’s authority, with a blow from his magical blade, Nothung. Wotan calmly gathers up the pieces and vanishes. Siegfried passes through the ring of fire, emerging on Brünnhilde’s rock. At first, he perceives the sleeping armored figure to be a man. However, as he removes the armor, he discovers a woman beneath. She is the first woman he has ever seen, and at last Siegfried understands the power of fear. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Old Man Rhine

The Rhine River as an old man knows what starts in the River, is fated to return to the River. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Another grassroots production of the transient Trade Wind Opera Company, where even the Wanderer looses his hat.


There was an old country house that was infested with rats and nothing could be secured from their depredations. The vermin scaled the walls to reach the farmer’s bacon hanging from the ceiling and hanging shelves offered no protection for the cheese and pastries. The preserves and sweetmeats were no safer in the pantry, the rats gnawed through cupboard doors, undermined floors, and ran races behind the wainscots.

The cats could not reach them, the vermin were too clever and too well fed to bother with poisoned bait, and traps only caught a few heedless stragglers. However, the farmer caught one of these stragglers and fitted him with a small bell and then let him loose.

Mouse and bell

Moral: He who is raised so much above his fellow creatures as to be the object of their terror, but suffer for it in loosing all the comforts of society. He is a solitary being in the midst of crowds. He keeps them at a distance and they equally shun him. Dread and affection cannot subsist together. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Overjoyed by his freedom, the rat ran into the nearest whole and searched for his companions. They heard the tinkle, tinkle at a distance and assumed it was an enemy in their midst and scattered in every-which way. The bell-bearer pursued, and soon guessing the cause of their flight, he was greatly amused. He chased his friends from hole to hole, and room to room, laughing all the while at their fears, even as he increased it by all means in his power. Soon he had the whole house to himself. He thought, “That’s right, the fewer, the better.” So he rioted alone and stuffed himself with goodies until he could hardly walk.

For two or three days, life was good. He ate and ate, until he grew tired of his lonely condition and longed for his old family and friends. The difficulty now was how to get rid of the bell. He pulled and tugged with his fore-feet until he nearly wore all of the fur from his neck, but all in vain. The bell was now his plague and torment, so the rat wandered from room to room searching for a companion, but they all stayed out of his reach At last, as he moped about in despair, he fill into a puss’s clutches and was devoured in an instant.

Source: John Aikin (1747-1822) and Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825), Evenings at home, or, The juvenile budget opened (New-York: Harper & Brothers, 82 Cliff-Street, 1839.) Barbauld was unable to publish because of her political stances, and collaborated with her brother to get this book published.



3 ravens

Nevermore and two companions followed me to work, asking, Where shall we our breakfast take? I thought about it for a moment and recommended the fried rice at our neighborhood take-away in honor of Chinese new year… they agreed and took flight. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Happy Chinese New Year!

February 16, 2018


brown dog

Welcome Earth Dog! Earth Dog humans are communicative, serious, and responsible in the workplace. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Earth Dog 2018 Card


moth heart

Some California Indian tribes consider moths to be sacred and powerful creatures that are spirit guides into mystery, darkness/light, and transformation. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Heart Moth Card