Monday, December 26, 2011

Post-Christmas Assesment

Looking over my Christmas goals list, I succeeded in doing 6 out of 10 activities.  I thought "Watch traditional Christmas movies" was an easy one, but there just wasn't enough time.  Kind of a bummer; I feel like I definitely missed out not having watched them.  We usually watch Prancer , Christmas Vacation , and Home Alone in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Ah well, maybe next year.

Christmas cards were kind of a purposeful write-off.  It's just too much of a hassle.  And we hardly got any anyways, so I don't feel too bad about it.

I am distressed at the lack of holiday bazaars.  I tried, I really did.  I scheduled them into my phone calendar and everything.  But something always came up to prevent me from attending.

I donate my hard earned dollars to suffering animals all the time, so I'm not all that upset about this one either.

All in all, 60% is not too bad, especially given the sadness that overwhelmed me for most of the beginning of December.  I'm just glad it went away in time for me to get things done.  So all's well that ends well I suppose.  I think I use that expression too much.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sketch 52

bedraggled flapper
I had originally intended this picture to be a flapper after a rough night, but she ended up looking like she was meant for something a little more epic than that.  I'll probably end up painting her at some point.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Tunes - Special Edition

Today is the ten year anniversary of the day Chris and I first went to the mall together (mentioned here in part one of "Our Story") - an event I have taken to calling our first date since we never really properly dated.  I was going to post some exerpts from my diary at the time, but they were way too embarrising and school-girlish (go figure).  So instead, I drew this picture, which pretty accurately describes the time we had:
I am so lame.
Since it is Tuesday, I figured I would also post a song - the song that will be our wedding song in a few short months.  Enjoy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sketch 50

More Agatha Christie fan art?




















The two on the right are from "Murder In Mesopotamia" by Agatha Christie.  The one on the left?  Not so much.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday Tunes



Roll Away Your Stone - Mumford & Sons

Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I see
Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I've seen

Stars hide your fires,
These here are my desires
And I won't give them up to you this time around
And so, I’ll be found with my stake stuck in this ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul

But you, you’ve gone too far this time
You have neither reason nor rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Diets

A while back, I heard about this thing called the Paleo Diet.  I was instantly interested, since I am a huge fan of prehistoric things.  And the premise was pretty interesting - basically, you try to emulate the diet of a caveman.  Lots of meat, vegetables, and nuts.  Seems reasonable.  But there was no way I could switch to this sort of lifestyle when I lived in a house with Chris: the king of cheesy rice.  Rice and cheese are not allowed in the paleo diet.  So I wrote it off as impossible and forgot about it.

A month or so ago, Steve and Meghan decided to start the slow carb diet, which is pretty similar to the paleo diet, except that you eat beans instead of nuts.  And you get a cheat day once a week to sort of reset your metabolism (or something like that; I'm a little blurry on the details).  They were really excited about it and talked about it a lot, which got Chris interested.  So I started looking into the paleo thing again, figuring that if Chris was slow carbing it up, I could do the paleo thing and everything would work out perfectly.  While looking up information about the paleo diet again, I found a somewhat less rigid system called the primal blueprint.  Perfect.

We were going to get started right away, but unfortunately Thanksgiving got in the way, so we decided to reschedule for this week.  I was really excited to start, since I've been fed up with the unhealthy, dine out two or three nights a week lifestyle we've been living.  So I started out strong on Monday, eating eggs for breakfast, some nuts and meat for lunch.  I made dinner (shocking, I know) of seasoned chicken and garlic lemon broccoli.  I had some sunflower seeds for a snack.  Fine, but I was still really hungry.  I wanted to have an apple, but that would have put me over the 50 carbs necessary to stay within ketosis (whatever that is). So instead I went to bed hungry and feeling a little sick.  I started feeling a bit uncomfortable about this diet.

Tuesday, though, I forgot to pack breakfast.  So I ate some dried cranberries I happened to have in my desk at work.  Fine.  Still hungry, still feeling a little sick.  For lunch, I ordered a salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  When it arrived, I was distressed to find croutons in there.  And it came with a pretzel roll - one of my favorite things in the world.  Suddenly it seemed very strange to me that I should have to pick croutons out of my salad and discard one of my favorite snacks in the world because cavemen didn't eat them.

On the way home, I started fantasizing about Reese's peanut butter cup trees.  I imagined pulling into Wawa, buying a tree, and eating it illicitly in the parking lot, destroying the evidence before Chris could fine out that I'd "been bad".  Now I was feeling very uncomfortable about it.  It felt too dangerous to me.  I decided that I was going to quit this diet immediately.  So I went home and ate an english muffin with lemon curds.

Now, I know that some people reading this are going to think that I am suffering from a simple lack of willpower.  You are free to think that, I really don't care.  But let me assure you that you are wrong.  I have plenty of willpower.  If you do not believe me, take a look at this picture.  I was 86 pounds at 5' 6".  This purposeful limitation of food is not, I have decided, something in which I am interested.  When eating a thing starts to feels forbidden, I'm going to have to bow out.  I'm not saying that the paleo, primal, and slow carb diets are bad and dangerous for everyone, I'm just saying that they are not for me.

But this does not mean I am going to pig out on cheese fries and fried chicken for every meal, either.  Chris has decided that he probably wants to stick with the slow carb thing, and that is perfect.  This way, I will still have motivation to eat healthy meals.  Which is really all I wanted out of this diet - to eat more fruits and vegetables.  I can eat more fruits and vegetables while enjoying the occasional peanut butter tree if I want.  I can be more healthy and still sometimes have an english muffin for breakfast.  I can eat a salad without picking out the croutons.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Holiday Checklist

Did you know that Christmas is in three weeks?  Yeah, me neither.  I haven't started Christmas shopping.  I haven't even started think about Christmas shopping.  Usually by this time I have at least started my Christmas Budget Spreadsheet, but not this year.  It just doesn't feel very much like the holiday season to me, despite the October snowstorm.  As time goes on, Christmas seems more like a kick in the chest than the happy celebration I remember. I'm not entirely sure what the problem is, but I am setting some goals for the next month that will hopefully help to get me into the Christmas Spirit (whatever that is).

Go shopping on Black Friday - completed!
Get a Christmas tree from a real field - completed!
Send Christmas cards
Decorate the house - completed!
Watch traditional Christmas movies
Make cookies completed!
Donate to something
Acquire an advent calendar - completed!
Attend craft shows/open houses/holiday bazaars
Go for a ride to look at Christmas lights completed!

This doesn't seem like I am overshooting, right?  These all seem like reasonable activities that could be completed before Christmas?  I guess we'll see.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sketch 47

Dancy from ASoIAF



















Rather than offend any delicate sensibilities, let's assume she's wearing a body suit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sketch 46

Perspective?



















I'm trying to work on perspectives. Not my strongest point.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Catch-Up Time

Hey.  I've been busy working on a new project, and in the process I've missed some sketch posts.  Here are the missing weeks 42, 43, and 44:



I've also missed some work-out updates. I started week four of the Couch to 5k plan, and it is brutal.I'm managing it, though, and that's good enough to me.  I can run for five minutes straight, without stopping or slowing, which feels great, and I can do it without my inhaler.  I think that's the thing that is surprising me the most about this working out thing - how much it has helped my crappy lungs.  Here are the stats from 10/17 -10/30:

Weight: 125.6
Waist: 27
Hips: 37.5
Thigh: 20.5
Calf: 12.5
Upper Arm: 10.25

 Total Miles: 7.3
Calories Burned: 480
Average Speed: 4.45
Average Heart Rate: 155 bpm

The numbers aren't changing all that much, but I have noticed some physical changes just from looking at myself.  My calves, though apparently not any larger, are definitely more defined.  And my thighs are less... lumpy?  Not the most delicate way of putting it, but it is true.  My goal at this point is to be able to run for 20-30 minutes at a time by the spring.  This way I can go jogging outside without looking like a lame-o.  I think this might actually be an achievable goal.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Mix

Hey there.  Welcome to the Halloween Edition of Tuesday Tunes (on Monday).  I wanted to share the track list of my Halloween Mix Tap, but it would be pointless to do it tomorrow.  So you're getting your tunes a day early this week.

Bad Moon Rising
Come Little Children
Disney's Halloween Treat Theme
Don't Fear The Reaper
Evil Woman
Ghost Of John
Gypsy
Halloween Theme
Harry Potter Theme
Jeepers Creepers
Magic Man
Monster Mash
Moondance
One Last Wish (Casper Theme)
Somebody's Watching Me
Sweet Dreams
The Headless Horseman
This Is Halloween
Thriller 
Werewolves Of London

If you are anything like me and grew up watching a lot of holiday specials on TV, you'll notice that many of these are from Disney's DTV Monster Hits.  If this is the case, you should probably check out Halloween Specials.net - talk about nostalgia!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



Pandora introduced me to this one. Love it.
Welcome Home - Radical Face

Sleep don't visit, so I choke on sun
And the days blur into one
And the backs of my eyes hum with things I've never done
Sheets are swaying from an old clothesline
Like a row of captured ghosts over old dead grass
Was never much but we've made the most
Welcome home

Ships are launching from my chest
Some have names but most do not
If you find one, please let me know what piece I've lost
Peel the scars from off my back
I don't need them anymore
You can throw them out or keep them in your mason jars
I've come home

All my nightmares escaped my head
Bar the door, please don't let them in
You were never supposed to leave
Now my head's splitting at the seams
And I don't know if I can

Here, beneath my lungs, I feel your thumbs press into my skin again

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

Oh man, it's been a while since you've seen one of these, hasn't it?  But here it is - What I Wore Wednesday!  I've decided then rather than showcase what I am wearing on Wednesday (since Wednesdays are pretty busy for me), I will just feature my favorite outfit from the week.  This week's outfit is from Saturday.  I woke up with the idea in my head that I needed some corduroy leggings for Fall Activity Day, so I ran out that morning and found some at Boscov's.  Impulse buy much?  But I was very happy with them and how the overall outfit turned out.  So here we go:


I had decided weeks ago that I would wear that particular blue shirt, so I selected a nice brown corduroy to go with it.  I wore my brown work flats (which were criticized as not being the best "slosh around in a muddy pumpkin field" shoes, though I didn't really experience any problems with them).  In the evening, when it got colder, I threw on the sweater (which my dad picked up for me in London when he was there last month - it is one of the warmest sweaters I've ever worn).

So here's the run-down:

Shirt - Aeropostale
Pants - Boscov's
Shoes - K-Mart
Sweater - Next

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



Heard this last week on Sirius XMU's Download 15 countdown and instantly developed sparkly eyes over it. You can ask Chris, he was there. It's pretty much all I could hope for in a song.

Wood - ROSTAM

Monday, October 17, 2011

Couch to 5k - Week Five

Again, I only got to the gym twice last week.  I know, I know, I am such a slacker.  I redid week three again, but I can tell you that I actually started week four of the plan today.  So don't worry.  I should be back on track in no time.  But more about that next Monday.  Today we are only talking about the results from 10/10 - 10/16.

Weight: 126.4
Waist: 27.5
Hips: 36.5
Thigh: 20.75
Calf: 12.5
Upper Arm: 10.25

 Total Miles: 3.1
Calories Burned: 253
Average Speed: 4.2
Average Heart Rate: 145 bpm

So yeah.  I haven't quite been keeping up with the plan, but I have been consistently going to the gym.  So that's gotta count for something, right?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Decoupage Paper Mache Pumpkins

Hey guys - have you felt, while preparing your house for the autumn season, that your decorations are missing that special something?  Well I have great news for you!  Look no further, I've found the perfect addition to your festive fall display.

Decoupage paper mache pumpkin.


Isn't it just the cutest thing?  It's from Maddie Madeline's, and there are tons more where this one came from.  These decoupage paper mache pumpkins come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.  There's bound to be one that matches your autumn color scheme of choice.  So go ahead and check them out!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



This song was on the radio as I was driving from work to the hospital when Kylie woke up from her coma. I didn't even realize that my mind had registered it until I heard it again afterwords and was reduced to tears. So this song means a lot more to me than it probably would have otherwise.

Lost in a maze
Of a thousand rainy days
But when I heard her voice
Oh it led me to the end
Yes it led me to the end

Stay Young, Go Dancing - Death Cab For Cutie

Monday, October 10, 2011

Couch to 5k - Week 4

Only got to the gym two times last week, so I am redoing week three again as punishment. It's getting a little easier, but my ankles have started to hurt. Not sure what to do about that. Here are this week's stats:

Weight: 127.4
Waist: 28
Hips: 36.25
Thigh: 21
Calf: 12.5
Upper Arm: 10.75

 Total Miles: 3.4
Calories Burned: 223
Average Speed: 4.05
Average Heart Rate: 146 bpm

Well, at least I lost almost half a pound, right? Hopefully nothing will come up this week and I will be able to get to the gym on all three scheduled days. Then I can move on to the terrifying Week 4. Yikes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Couch to 5k - Week 3

 Uggggh.  I'm redoing week three because a) it was hard and b) I missed the third day because I forgot my to take my gym stuff to work with me on Friday.  Bummer.  But yeah, week three is pretty hard.  I mean, I have to "run" for three whole minutes in a row.  And I have to do that twice within a 23 minute period.  That's pretty much insane.  I mean, I did it and I am pretty pleased with myself for doing it.  But it was tough.  And week four requires me to "run" for five minutes straight!  I think an extra week will do me good.

Weight: 127.8
Waist: 28.5
Hips:36.75
Thigh: 21
Calf: 12.5
Upper Arm: 10.25

Total Miles: 3.4
Calories Burned: 223
Average Speed: 4.05
Average Heart Rate: 146 bpm

...and it seems I've gained two pounds this week.  And an inch and a half on my waist.  Not sure how that works; probably has something to do with all the terrible things I've been eating.  Guess I'll have to work on that, too.  These are not the inspiring results for which I was hoping.  Ugggggh.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Couch to 5k - Week 2

Couch to 5k - Week 2

Week two was super easy, no problems.  Here are the stats:

Weight: 125.8
Waist: 27
Hips: 36.75
Thigh: 21
Calf: 12.5
Upper Arm: 10.5

Total Miles: 5.2
Calories Burned: 335
Average Speed: 3.9 mph
Average Heart Rate: 142 bpm

Go me!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sketch 39



Oh, hey, by the way. I have a tumblr now. Actually, I've had it for a while but have only just started using it. It's mostly for art and things I reblog from the people I follow. So I'll still do a weekly sketch dump here, but my other drawings and stuff will be on the tumblr.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September

September has been too stressful.  First was the Kylie thing, then my dad was in London, and next week my mum has surgery.  There's also work stress and home stresses that are too varied and ridiculous to get into.  I can't wait for this dumb month to be over.  Perhaps I will throw a "Good Riddance, September" party on Friday night.  I will burn a September calendar page to symbolically rid myself of this month.

It's the worst.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So, I went to see the Lion King 3D with Kylie on Sunday.  I would be lying if I said I did not cry throughout almost the entire movie.  It was an emotional event for a number of reasons.  A) Things that remind me of my childhood always make me a little weepy. I can't help it, I am a sucker for nostalgia.  B) The plot of the movie itself is not without a good deal of sadness.  I mean, the entire story basically revolves around a young boy (lion) coming to terms with the death of his father and his place in life.  That's pretty brutal.  C) I didn't even know this movie was being re-released until I saw the commercial on TV in the hospital.  I told my then-unconscious sister that I would take her to see it when she got better, but there for a while I wasn't entirely sure that was ever going to happen.  So it was kind of a big deal to have her there awake and walking and talking right in front of me on an outing I hoped and prayed would take place.

While we were out, she said that it was nice to be doing a normal activity without chaperons, since her life after the hospital has thus far been pretty restricted.  She said that the whole month of September was pretty much "a waste" because she was mostly constrained to the house.  I told her that she was wrong, it is not a waste at all.  The very fact that she is alive makes it the best September that has ever been.  I don't think she fully understands the seriousness of what happens and how much her continued existence means to all of us.  To me, it doesn't matter if she ever leaves the house again, as long as she is alive.  I think that, even though this thing happened directly to her, all of this has effect us, her family, more than it has effected her.  Sure, she has a missing week of her life and a few restrictions and some medications.  I will not deny that these things all suck.  But we had to stand by and see her in a coma for a week, wondering every day if we would ever hear her voice again.  We had to watch, holding our breath, as the numbers on her monitors dropped and rose and set off alarms.  We had to see the doctors rushing around her and be told that she was critical.  We will spend the rest of our lives worrying about her every moment that she is out of our sight.

I'm sure it will get easier with time - I really hope it gets easier with time.  But for now, just watching her exist is the greatest gift I have ever been given.  So please forgive me if you are sick of hearing about Kylie; I need some way to get all of these feelings out before they consume me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Couch to 5k - Week 1

Week one of my Couch to 5k running plan is over and I'm feeling pretty great.  I was a little sore, but it seems I have not slipped nearly as much as I fear by taking two weeks off.  This is good news.  Here are my stats as of today:

Weight: 125.8
Waist: 27.5
Hips: 37
Thigh: 21.25
Calf: 12.5
Upper Arm: 10.25

Okay, so that hasn't changed much.  I guess that's to be expected.  Here is some other info about this week's running:

Total Miles: 4.7
Calories Burned: 309
Average Speed: 4.1 mph
Average Heart Rate: 145 bpm

Not too shabby!  Especially for me, who generally cannot be bothered to get off the sofa.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Working on my fitness

A while back, at the beginning of August, I started the Couch to 5K running plan.  I had been tread-milling it up at the gym three times a week and was doing pretty well with it.  Unfortunately, Kylie ended up in the hospital for two weeks and, during that time, I abandoned the gym (and pretty much everything else in my life as well).  But now that she is safe and sound at home, I am making my triumphant return!  As of today, I am resuming the Couch to 5k Challenge!

Since I am out of practice from two weeks of sitting around, I am starting over at week one.  Each week I will post my progress in the form of weight, measurements, distances, calories burned, and average heart rates.  I'll try to make this a weekly Monday event.  So if you don't care about my fitness adventure, probably just skip those days.  Here are my current stats as of today:

Weight: 125.4
Waist: 28
Hips: 37
Thigh: 21.5
Calf: 12.5
Upper Arm: 10.5

Eventually I also plan to start some the Nerd Fitness Beginner Body Weight Workout, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.  I'll see how this goes first before I start adding extra days of obligations.  The ability to stick with things has never been one of my strong points, but I am hoping that being accountable on my blog will help.  This way everyone (or at least everyone who reads my blog) will know if I fail and I certainly don't want that to happen!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

There are no words.

If you don't know me in person and/or follow me on Facebook, my last post might require a little explanation.  My sister was in the hospital from 08/27 until 09/09.  I had started several posts on my feelings about this whole experience, but I obviously didn't end up publishing any of them.  They were way too personal; I couldn't bear the thought of my raw feelings spilled onto the internet.  So I will be keeping those private where no-one can see them (except maybe Kylie, since they are about her - but only maybe).  Now that the worst part is over (I hope), I feel like I can talk about it in the vaguest of terms.  That is, I'll give you a list of what has happened and very little more.

Sunday afternoon my mum showed up at my house unannounced.  This, on its own is not too unusual, but we were still experiencing the remnants of hurricane Irene.  So it seemed a little weird to me that she would just happen to stop by.  I knew something was very wrong right away - everything just instantly felt "off" - but my heart just about dropped out when she told me that Kylie was in the hospital.  Apparently she fell down the stairs to her bedroom on Friday.  Even though she was fine when I saw her Friday night, this somehow caused her to be unable to breathe Saturday night.  Her friends got worried and took her to the emergency room where they were unable to figure out a cause for her shortness of breath.  From there she had been admitted to the ICU where she was remained, sedated with a breathing tube.  I wanted see her right away, but my mum said I'd better not, since it would just upset me.  Then she left to go back to the hospital.  I managed to keep it together until she left, but after that I pretty much just collapsed onto the sofa in a fit of tears, where I remained for the rest of the weekend.

I spent Monday worrying, until it was decided that I could finally go and see her after work.  I got very angry during the course of the day.  Why, I wondered, hadn't anyone deemed it necessary to tell me about this until Sunday afternoon when she had gone to the hospital Saturday night?  And why did my parents get to decide when I could and could not see her?  So what if I get upset?  I am 27 years old - I think this is the sort of decision I should get to make on my own.  And why hadn't Kylie called me if she needed to be rushed to the hospital? I am her sister - shouldn't that count for something?  By the time I actually got to the hospital that afternoon, I was so consumed with worry and anger that I am not even sure how I drove my car.

Seeing her in that bed, hooked up to all of those machines, was very nearly my undoing.  My sister, who is so full of life, was still and silent in a hospital bed.  Her heart was fast, her blood oxygen was low, and she was running a 104 degree temperature.  She didn't even look like herself.  She was all greys and purples, with puffy eyes and limp limbs.  No-one was sure why this was happening and all of the tests were coming back negative.  All I wanted were answers, reassurances, and no-one could give them to me.

Nothing had prepared me for this eventuality.  You spend your whole life realizing that someday you might have to see your parents this way, but never had I ever expected that anything could happen to my sister.  Not Kylie.  She's the healthy, vibrant, damage-proof sister - nothing can take her down.  How did this even happen?

I went to the hospital every day and sat there watching her sleep until 9:00 at night.  After that I went home and generally just fell asleep.  It felt like we had been living this way my entire life - I couldn't remember a time before Kylie was in the hospital.  What did I do with all of that time?  The week went on, each day bringing its own set of feelings.  Monday was terrible, Tuesday was worse.  Wednesday was a little better, but Thursday was awful again for some reason I couldn't quite place.  On Friday things started to look up, but I still cried several times a day - at work, at home, at the hospital.  She improved drastically over the weekend, so they decided to start weaning her off of the ventilator on Monday.    She did so well with her weaning that they took her off of the ventilator entirely on Tuesday.  Oh happy day!  I left work, abandoning payroll, to see her soon after she woke up.  She was whispering and a little loopy, but she was Kylie.  Talking and laughing and moving around.  It was the best day I've ever had.  Wednesday they moved her out of intensive care, Thursday she had her first shower in almost two weeks, and Friday they released her.

Now that she is home and, God willing, in the clear, I thought I would feel much happier and stress-free.  But that isn't the case so far.  I feel a certain... emptiness.  Like I am not sure what to do with myself.  I am still worried about her; I am still crying.  I feel like something is missing from my life.  I have an ache in my chest.  My heart has been broken and will slowly need to be stitched back together.  I wasn't even the one in the hospital and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this. 

I just hope that after all of this, she realizes that I love her and would be forever lost without her.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An open letter to the summer of 2011

Dear Summer 2011,

I'd been planning to write a follow-up entry to my list of summer goals pretty much since I wrote it.  I figured Labor Day would be the perfect time for it since, for me and many others, it is pretty much the end of the season.  I know we've still got a few weeks left if you're going strictly by the calendar, but let's face it - you're over.

That being said, I'm having a pretty difficult time keeping an open mind about you.  Sure, you were pretty wonderful for the most part.  I did a lot of fun things and made a lot of great memories.  But this last week of you has been pretty rough.  Super rough.  Like, the worst week of my entire life rough.  So forgive me if I'm feeling a little harsh and resentful.  I'm going to, in the future, probably remember you as "the summer Kylie was in the hospital".  It's nothing personal, it's not your fault.  It's just the way the calendar fell and I'm sorry about it.

So instead of reminiscing and recalling all the good times we had together, Summer, let's just take a look at my original list and see how many goals I accomplished.

Celtic Fling
Apple Dumpling Festival
Art of the Avenue
Community Days
Celtic Oyster Fest
go to the beach
pick fruit at an orchard
go to a theme park
go swimming
host a picnic
go to yard sales/flea markets/antique shops
go on a photo adventure



Okay, so, it looks like I completed 6/12 of my goals.  50%.  Not too bad, I guess.  And to be fair, there was mention of going to a theme park and picking fruit in September or October, so maybe I'll just start of things to do this autumn.  In that case, we're at 6/10, a 60% completion rate.  I'll take it.

So really, you were a good summer.  I'm sorry to see you go, especially on such bad terms.  But we'll hang out again next year, and we'll aim for 70% completion.  It'll be great.  So have fun doing whatever summers do during their down time, and I'll see you in three seasons.

Yours truly,
Kera

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sketch 35



Another sketch for a painting. This one has actually been painted and finished. If you follow my twitter, you may remember seeing this sketch when I rigged a DIY light table.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bats

So, we had another bat in the house over the weekend.  What's that, you didn't know we'd had a bat in the house?  Go watch this informative video and then come back here to hear about bat #2.  Go ahead, I'll wait...  But yeah, this second bat was not asleep.  This bat was flying in a blind panic through the entire second floor of our house.

Let me back up and set the scene.  It is Friday night.  Chris and I had been watching The Venture Brothers, but I had fallen asleep on the sofa.  He had woken me up and told me we should go to bed, since I get pretty cranky if he just leaves me there to sleep on the sofa all night.  So I headed groggily upstairs with Chris behind me.  Since many of the lights upstairs do not work, we were using our cell phone flashlights to guide us.  I had just reached the bedroom door when Chris let out a yelp.

"What?" I asked him, looking around.

"Didn't you see that?  Something just flew out of the bedroom."

No, I had not seen anything fly out of the bedroom.  I told him it was probably just a reflection or something.  He insisted that it had not been a reflection, and began aiming his flashlight wildly around.  Sure enough, we were not alone.  A huge bat was doing laps around our heads.  We allowed ourselves a few moments of panic and then we flew (ha ha) into action.  I ducked into the stairwell, which protected me from any low bat swoops, and told Chris is no uncertain terms to "hit the floor!"  It may have been a little dramatic, but how often do you legitimately get to yell at someone to hit the floor?  Not very often.  I regret nothing.

But anyway...  I knew the easiest thing to do would be to open the door out onto the side porch, get the bat in the art room, and then close the art room door.  Eventually it would find its own way out.  This sounds pretty simple, right?  Unfortunately, there was something for which I forgot to account in that plan - the cats.  Mutz was still downstairs (he is very old and very slow), but Morgaine and Mako were running around crazily, chasing the bat.  Morgaine can't really get enough lift to jump very high anymore (she a bit on the chubby side), but Mako was leaping wildly into the air.  He was getting pretty close, too.  If I hadn't been so terrified by the threat of rabies, I would have been pretty impressed.  So there was no way I could open the side door, as the two bat hunters would run right out after the bat and probably leap off the porch after it to their deaths.  We would have to corral them somewhere.

This, of course, was going to be a daunting task.  They realized pretty quickly that I was trying to get them into the bedroom, so of course they ran into the art room and would not come out.  I called them, they ignored me.  I even brought treats and sprinkled them all over the floor in an attempt to lure them out.  No such luck.  They just shot me a look that said "Are you kidding me?  Do you see this bat?  Chasing this thing is every house cat's dream.  There is no way a few cat treats are going to tear us away from this."  By this time, Mutz had finally come upstairs, so he feasted upon all the discarded treats.

Chris grew tired of this waiting game and took matters into his own hands.  He ran into the art room, flailing his arms around and hissing.  This is, to the cats, the scariest thing that can ever happen, so they all took off into the bedroom and hid under them bed.  Mission accomplished.  Chris stood there in the doorway to the bathroom, looking quite pleased with himself.  The bat chose this moment to return to the art room.  It flew straight for him.  Chris let out a strange, primal sort of growl-hiss at the bat, and flailed his hands in the bat's general direction. Luckily, the bat was not actually trying to attack him and flew away.  Unluckily, it flew back out of the art room.  So Chris dropped to his knees and crawled back to me in the office.  I waited, stretched half across the floor from the stairs, to close the door when it went back into the art room.  It did, rather quickly, and I slammed the door shut.

"Now what?" asked Chris.  "How will we get the side door open?"

Ugggh.  I hadn't thought of that.  I briefly contemplated climbing out of my office window and onto the side porch so that neither of us would have to go into the art room with the bat, but there was no easy way to get over there.  So I went into the bedroom and I got a spare bed sheet.

"Here," I said to Chris, draping the sheet over him.  "Go in there and open the door."

I opened the art room door a bit so he could crawl through, and quickly closed it behind him.  Inside, he unlocked the side door and opened it from the relative safety under the sheet.  He crawled back out of the room and we cracked the door so that we could watch and make sure that the bat flew out and did not just roost somewhere to wait and terrorize us later.  When it had gone, we closed and locked the door.  And that was the end of our second bat adventure.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sketch 34



This is an inked sketch for the portrait of my old D&D character Kera Sweetwater that I intend to paint soon. I want to do a whole series of painting of all my role playing characters through the years. If you follow my twitter, you may remember seeing a preview of this sketch the day I drew it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sketch 33


Not to sound full of myself or anything, but I really like this one a lot.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



Every now and then I get into a mood where nothing will soothe me except for a specific music. Sometimes it is a genre, sometimes it is an album, and sometimes it is a band. In this case, it is Dethklok. Crazy, I know, but there it is.

This is my favorite Dethklok song. Even though they are not a real band (in that the band members are animated an as such do not exist) and are probably somewhat of a joke to some people, this song really speaks to me on some strange level. Listen and enjoy.

Go Into The Water - Dethklok

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Beach

Hello there!  I am back from the beach!  Let me tell you about  my good times:

We left from Steve & Meghan's house around 7:00 on Wednesday after work.  We got down to Wildwood around 10:00 and met up with Kim & Dustin at our hotel, the Starlux.  I was excited to find that we could see the boardwalk and beach from our adorable little balcony.  We hit the boardwalk after we got our bags situated in our rooms.  I was overwhelmed by the delightful tackiness of Wildwood.  I don't mean that in a bad way - it was the exact kind of beach town for which I had been hoping.

The ladies got up early the next morning for a walk on the beach.  When I say early, I mean early.  We were up at 6:00 am and out on the beach by 6:45.  It was so exciting to know that I was looking for shells and having fun with my friends when I should have been feeding the cats and getting ready for work. 

While we were walking, it started to get super foggy.  It was so foggy that we couldn't even see the boardwalk from where we were walking down by the water.  It was beautiful.

When we got back from our walk, we relaxed until the guys woke up and then went out for breakfast.  After that we got our stuff together and headed down to the beach.  The weather was perfect.  When we started to get hungry, we went out to dinner at Urie's.  It started to storm, so we drove to the restaurant instead of walking.  Good thing, too, since the storm was bad enough to knock out the electric while we were eating.  I got a steak and it was super amazing.  I don't eat nearly enough steak - I always realize this when I am eating steak.  Bobby & Hannah arrived shortly after we got back from dinner.

Friday we got dressed in our skimpy clothes (well, the ladies did at least) and headed out to Atlantic City for a little gambling.  I made $6 on my $21 investment.  We had planned to go to Ocean City as well, but it started to rain pretty intensely so we just went out to dinner instead.  The rain didn't let up for the rest of the evening.  We went to the Boathouse since their website had a deck menu with reasonably priced sandwiches.  When we arrived, however, we were informed that they had gotten rid of that menu.  So we were forced to have a second expensive dinner.  They mostly only had seafood, which was did not want, so I ended up getting mozzarella sticks and french fries for dinner like the five year old I truly am.  I was highly displeased.  While we were there, I developed a terrible migraine and went to bed as soon as we got back to the hotel.  I was up most of the night feeling sick to the stomach since I took a regular painkiller instead of my migraine pills.

My ill feelings were mostly gone by Saturday morning, so we went to the Cape May Zoo.  It was really big and a lot more impressive than I was expecting.  I can't believe that admission is donation only!  After the zoo we went back to the hotel to change into our swimsuits and then walked the boardwalk for lunch before hitting the beach.  It was a bit flooded from all the rain, but still fun.  We went in the hotel pool for a while to rinse off before changing back into regular clothes for dinner on the boardwalk.

Sunday we packed and left pretty early so that we could get some breakfast at The Mad Batter in Cape May.  I got orange almond french toast, which was amazing.  Then we headed home after a very exhausting, but very fun vacation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Farm

I know I haven't shown you many pictures of my vegetable garden this year, but rest assured that it isn't because I have been neglecting it.  I've been taking photos, I've just been way too busy to post them.  So here are some photos of my veggies.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sketch 27



Dunno who the first two are, but the bottom two ladies are my rendition of Lady Bess Sedwick and Elvira Blake from At Bertram's Hotel.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



Heard this on the way home from work today. It is totally weird, but very catchy. It's one of the many songs I would have heard once and then forgotten about if my cousin hadn't introduced me to SoundHound. SoundHound, for those of you too lazy to click on my link, is an app that identifies music. Like, say you are in a store and you hear a really catchy tune on the in-store radio. You just activate the app and in a few seconds it will tell you the name of the song, the artist who sings it, the album, and all that good stuff. You can even look up lyrics and tour dates! Or just buy the mp3 right from your phone!  And it saves a list of all the songs you identify so that you can remember them. It even has a gps map of where you were when you heard the song. What did we do before smartphones existed?

Frontier Psychiatrist - The Avalanches

Monday, June 27, 2011

MIA

So I know it is bad blogging etiquette to make a post explaining and apologizing for blog laziness, but I;m going to do it anyway.  I just wanted to make sure you know that it isn't because of infinite sadness the way it was last summer.  Lately I haven't had time to post very often because I have been too busy enjoying myself.  Crazy, I know.

I've been having a lot of fun and I've been very happy.  I don't know how long it will last, but I intend to take full advantage of it while it does.  A lot of this has to do with my newly revised outlook on life.  I started developing this new outlook back when I made my summer goals list.  I realized that I would have to loosen up a little if I wanted to fulfill and enjoy all of the things on my list.  So I made a concerted effort to stop and enjoy things while they were happening rather than planning and expecting and worrying.  More importantly, I realized that I could have a good time on weekdays.  I know this sounds dumb, but it is a big deal to me.  You see, I've been very strict about going to bed as close to 11:00 PM as possible.  This meant stopping what I was doing, no matter how much fun I was having, around 10:30 to give myself enough of a buffer.  So I spent most of my night watching the clock to make sure that I would be in bed "on time".  This constant clock-watching would make me remember how nice it was to stay up late when I was young and didn't have to worry about getting up early for work.  I would then spend the rest of my time remembering that I had to get up and go to work the next morning.  This all combined to be a huge downer and I would no longer be having a good time.

Recently, though, it was as though a switch was flipped.  I am an adult.  I don't have to go to bed until I want to go to bed.  Will I be tired the next day if I stay up late?  Yes, probably.  But who cares?  As long as I can still wake up and go to work the next morning, what does it matter if I yawn a little more than usual?  Also, back in the day when I didn't work?  I didn't really do anything during the day anyway.  I was just bored and broke.  So what's there to miss about a time when I was poor and sitting around the house all day when now I have money and can do whatever I want whenever I want (within reason)?  It seems kinda silly to me.

Now I am not saying that I should go out partying til 3:00 AM every night.  But if I am having a good time watching a movie or creating art or hanging out on a weekday and it gets a little late?  Who cares!  Have a good time, me.  Life is flying by at an alarming rate - why waste it?

...that being said, I'll try to update my blog more often.  But only if I feel like it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



Can I tell you a secret? I actually really enjoy the music of Nine Inch Nails most of the time. This embarrasses me and I am not entirely sure why. So I'm coming clean about it, I guess.

Only - Nine Inch Nails

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sketch 25



Still haven't decided on the apperance of my new D&D character.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Air Conditioning

This morning, while I was checking weather.com so I could decide what to wear, there was an old lady being interviewed on the news.  The caption beneath her? "Remembers life before air conditioning."  For realsies.

I remember life before air conditioning, though maybe not in exactly the same way.  I mean sure, it existed at the time.  But I did not have access to it.  My family did not have a/c until 1994.  And we lived in the city!  And even then, when we did finally get a window unit, it was only in the living room.  I didn't have a/c in my bedroom until we bought this house (the bedroom at the apartment had protective bars on the windows, so we really couldn't put one in there)!

You know what else I saw on the news?  Local schools have been having early dismissals due to the heat.  Can you believe this?  We didn't have a/c at school in the dark ages during my school career and we never got sent home early.  I feel like an old lady saying so, but back in my day we just suffered through it!  Kids these days need to learn to suck it up.

It has been ridiculously hot though.  Seriously - it is only June and it has been in the high 90s this entire week.  I hate to think what the temperature will be in August...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



The first time I heard this song, I didn't really like it. I think I turned to a different station before it had even finished. But somewhere along the way I fell in love with it and now I just walk around singing it to myself.

April Fool - Manchester Orchestra

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer

I love summer, it is pretty much the best thing.  And yet, I still usually end up wasting it away without even noticing.  Does anyone else have this problem?  This year, I made a solemn vow to myself - I vowed to enjoy ever day of this summer to its fullest potential.  So far I have been very successful with this goal.  Since I consider Memorial Day weekend to be the beginning of summer, here's what I have done so far to enjoy the season:

05/28 - Kyle's picnic
05/29 - Mt. Gretna
05/30 - family picnic
05/31 - gardening
06/01 - wings
06/02 - greenhouse & ice cream with Kim
06/03 - girls' night
06/04 - shady maple and relaxation
06/05 - gardening, pool party, and ice cream

I know some of these things are not necessarily summer-related, but the point is just to have a good time and so far I have been doing just that.  There are, however, lots of seasonal things that I would like to do - such as:

Celtic Fling
Apple Dumpling Festival
Art on the Avenue
Community Days
Celtic Oyster Fest
go to the beach
pick fruit at an orchard
go to a theme park
go swimming
host a picnic
go to yard sales/flea markets/antique shops
go on a photo adventure

I have a lot of goals, I know, but they all seem decently acheivable.  I'm not aiming too high - just high enough.  Seriously, though, I had enought fun this weekend that I forgot to be sad that it was Sunday when that dreadful day came around!  If you know me, you know what a big deal that is.  Here's to hoping I can keep up this momentum!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Tunes



This song was stuck in my head when I was gardening over the weekend. It's about 300 years old, but I still love it.

Mexican Wine - Fountains Of Wayne

P.S. - I have a front yard garden update at the Hateful Hovel.  Go check it out!