June Wrap-up

So I’ve started actually moving again in June, wrapping up several pieces that had been languishing, ignored, on my hard drive for weeks or months. I took a few reference photos for other drawings I want to do in the next few days, and still have several more to take — I realized the other day that of the five A-to-Z redraws I was supposed to do in May, it has taken me until the end of June to complete just two of them. I’m still interested in revisiting several of them, so I will have to do some reference photos for them this week, as well.


Life keeps moving. We’ve been venturing into the Outside World a little more, establishing household routines, buckling down and actually making strides on goals we’ve been talking about for ages. Life has some semblance of order and routine, and we are secure enough within our social bubble to finally be making plans with friends and family again.

I am glad, as I am often actively glad, to live in Massachusetts, where we have more than half the population fully vaccinated (and 70% of the actually elligible population), and a 0.33% positivity rate. I’m hoping the trend continues; I’m liking this controlled return to something approaching normal. I’m liking having something like a life, again.

Stay safe and sane, all.

Ambitious Morning

I woke up this morning, made my bed, did my skin care routine, brushed my teeth, and headed downstairs where Bear worked on his summer academics workbook while I made us omelets, whereupon we ate breakfast, and I cleared the table, loaded the dishwasher, and wiped down the counters.

Mornings like this are incredibly dangerous, because they allow be to labor under the delusion that not only do I maybe actually have my shit together, but that maybe I can 1.) heap more helpings of crap on my Plate O’ Tasks, since I’m handling everything so gosh darn well, and 2.) tell other people how to get their shit together, too!

I am painfully sure I am not technically qualified to do either of those things, but damn it, I’m gonna do them both anyway. I mean, you knew that, right? You knew that’s where this was going?

I started a project ages ago that kept having false starts. It was a YouTube project, a one-person podcast of a sort, and I continue to really like the idea behind it, even if I could never master the execution in that particular medium. The obvious solution — obvious to Present Day Me, who has now had a little bit of distance — is to simply change mediums. I have a blog, and a small but extant blogging audience. Just do the project as a series of blog entries, obviously.

The gist of the project was ways to inspire creativity and to keep creative in the midst of chaos — chaos here being high-levels of everyday brand stress, particularly for those who have low thresholds for that sort of thing. As someone who feels burned out on the reg by the basic expectations of adult existence (wait, I’m supposed to shower every day? Hang on, coffee isn’t a substitute for water? But it’s literally bean water!), I do feel at least somewhat capable of speaking from that perspective, and there have definitely been strategies I’ve used that have benefitted me (ahem, when I could actually motivate myself to use them. But you know, that’s on the individual, right? You can lead a horse to water, and all).

So yes, in the very near, perhaps nigh immediate future, expect a regularly occurring series about keeping creative in the midst of chaos. I will likely be adding links to the entries on my Writing archive page as well, if anyone finds them especially useful and wants to return to them.


As is likely suggested by my chipper ambition, I got all my routine chores done and the house in back to baseline, which means I feel a little more free to be a little more creative again. I spent yesterday taking reference photos and started on that sweet, sweet self-indulgent fanart,* and today I’m hoping to wrap it up, and start to wrap the other two active art projects I still have going, one of which is months old at this point (and which I legitimately forgot about until I had to open my digital art folder on Sunday). After that I have three more pieces conceived of as digital, and then I’m going to take a break from digital art and try doing more sketching and watercolor.

Speaking of watercolor, you all should go check out Emily Artful over on YouTube; I’ve been watching her for about a year now, and she’s always interesting and engaging to listen to, and her art is beautiful. She’s always worth a watch, but in light of the events of the last few weeks (if you are curious and don’t know, it’s easy enough to look up), I thought she was deserving of a little extra love.

Stay safe and sane. I’m back on the wagon with language learning, so I’m off to re-start (it has apparently been five months??!?! So I should probabaly totally restart) my Finnish lessons.

Take care.


*Fanart of Zoga from Worthikid’s animated short CAPTIAN YAJIMA. Kira and I have recently been watching and rewatching all his stuff pretty much non-stop, so they’ve been fresh on my mind again. I’m glad to not have entirely abandoned Tumblr, since there is some great Worthikids art and stuff over there, and I pretty much have a ready audience.

Tangentially, someone (who I can’t find now, because of course) tagged their art of Zoga “a gnc (gender-nonconforming) icon. I don’t even know what gender they’re not conforming to, but they sure as hell aren’t,” and I was like, yes! Yes! Gender goals!

Working working working

Yes, yes, yes — I have been slowly picking away at a couple of art projects. I have. Honestly. You all can check out my Instagram for progress shots of what I’m working on. I’m in the thick of two pieces at the moment, but I have one I’m itching to start on (but I need to take reference photos, first), one that has literally been languishing as a pencil sketch in my sketchbook for probably about two months now, and one really silly, self-indulgent piece of fanart I am really aching to work on, but probably won’t get to for a while.*

Part of that is, starting Monday, I will be back to work full-time.

In the classroom.

It will be my first time in a classroom since March 13th, 2020.

Ya’ll must remember (or at least those of you who have been around since then) how absolutely desperate I was to get work-from-home accommodations. As a hypertensive, pre-diabetic, clinically-obese person, I was absolutely terrified for myself during the early days of the COVID pandemic, and as a parent, was scared to death about bringing the virus home to my kid (who would then in turn bring it to my parents (who would have been my childcare), who are both high risk and live with two immunocompromised housemates).

I sent email after email to HR and my building principal, emailed my (brand new; like literally she had been hired weeks before the school year started) department head, and had actually started looking into both medical leave and work-from-home opportunities were I not afforded the accommodation.

Needless to see, I, uh, I really wanted this.

And I appreciated having it! I recognize I was lucky to be able to get these accommodations (whether or not it should be a matter of “luck” and not just standard pandemic protocol is another story — but the fact remains, for the reality of the world we live in, I was very lucky), and I did my best to do my job within those parameters. I think I succeed, to the best of my abilities. But goddamn, was it hard.

This was a ADHD nightmare. Focusing on a screen for seven hours a day was torture. The tech issues were irritating. Having Bear routinely meltdown or blow-up practically at my elbow while doing his own on-line schooling gave me heart palpitations. Having no delineation between at work/not at work was confusing and demotivating.

But then the vaccines came. And… well, it’s complicated.

I’ve got to say, first off, that I still think we are jumping the gun in packing schools back to full-capacity. Not everyone can get vaxxed yet. Schools are already over-crowded, I don’t trust the three-feet that DESE says is “all we need,” and disrupting kid’s schedules with only four-and-a-half weeks left in the year is ridiculous. So, as A Thing? Like, as a decision as a whole? I think it’s a poor one. I don’t understand why we couldn’t have just waited until September and started fresh. In a year full of upheavals, why add one more to the pile for these kids? Hell, why add one more for any of us?

And yet… with that being said, if it’s happening now, at least I feel ready for it.

Sweet Christ, do I feel ready for it.

My wife is now fully vaccinated; she’s not at her two weeks post-vaxx yet, but she got both shots, and the efficacy rate for her right now should be hovering around 80%, and my folks are getting their 2nd shots today. With me being fully-vaxxed, the chance of me picking up and transmitting anything is pretty miniscule to begin with, so between my own vaccine status — and the pack of K95s I picked up yesterday to wear to work — they all feel a fair degree of confidence in my return.

My coworkers are nearly all fully vaccinated, my kids have been getting vaxxed steadily, and now with the approval for ages twelve and up, we are having in-school vaccine clinics for eligible and willing kids.

If I had to go back this year, this is the time to do it, I guess.

And just on a personal level… this year has really done a number on my mental health. I hadn’t realized how much of my social quota is filled simply by going to work an commiserating with my coworkers, seeing my kids, etc. I’ve felt such a disconnect from my job — which is hard, for me, since I love my work — and so alienated from a place that has been sort of like a second home for me for the last sixteen years that in the last several weeks, I will be honest, I feel like I’m just phoning it in. Just, doing the bare minimum to scrape by until the year winds down.

I hate it. That’s not how I want to be. That’s not the way I work.

So, this whole going-back-in-late-May thing is a terrible idea. But as far as terrible ideas go (and in so far as, I really don’t have a choice), I’m all in.

This weekend will be a period of mental adjustment and self-care in preparation.

See you on the flip side. Stay safe and sane.


*On a lighter note, for anyone wondering about the “self-indulgent fan art” I’m dying to do, it’s The Wicked Zoga, from the Worthikids animated short “Captain Yajima.” Shit, they are the most adorably chaotic thing and I am madly in love with them:

An Emotionally ExhaustingWeek

A few things this week:

I’m writing this slightly more than 48 hours post-full vaccination!! I got my second dose of the Moderna vaccine at Gillette Stadium on Saturday at a bit past 11 am. The whole vibe there could only be described as “festive,” honestly. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and most (possibly all?) of the people coming through the West Clinic were there for their final doses. I walked in at 11:05 for my 11:18 appointment (technically, three minutes earlier than I should have, but I wanted to hit the bathroom first — hey, Gillette is over an hour drive from my house, and I had my morning coffee before getting in the car, ok?) and I was sitting in the post-vax observation area by 11:16. The observation deck door was open, with people post-vax milling about outside, taking selfies over the field, so of course I had to step outside. God, what a gorgeous day. Being outside has become a rarity for me; being outside on a gorgeous spring day, knowing that I could finally breathe a little easier, was an amazing feeling.

Watching that number go up in real time did funny things to my insides, guys. Just, the idea that — while we aren’t out of this yet — that this is finite. It was an emotionally as well as physically exhausting day.

The side effects hit a few hours after I got vaxxed, and peaked mid-afternoon on Sunday with chills, body aches/weakness, and a pretty bad headache. Still, given how hyped up the possible side-effects were, I feel like I got off pretty easy. I had certainly felt better, but I had most definitely felt way worse. I spent Saturday and Sunday on the couch and in bed, drinking a lot of water and watching a lot of YouTube (namely Simply Nailogical, NerdECrafter, and any and all James-Acaster-on-panel-shows compilations I could find), and after crashing last night around 10:30 (very early for me, who usually doesn’t go light’s out until about 11:40), I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. My arm is even less sore than it was after my first dose. I’m incredibly excited for more and more of my friends to get their final doses so we can start getting together again.

And to continue the ride on the emotional rollercoaster, tomorrow is, at long last, Bear’s IEP evaluation. I have nothing but respect for Bear’s teachers, but the remote learning journey is absolutely failing him, and casting in stark relief all of his learning and behavioral issues. As a highly-intelligent, hyperlexic, inattentive, hyperactive, emotionally dysregulated child, he is basically the perfect combination of both a young Kira and a young me, and we — and Bear’s teachers, for what it’s worth — are banking on a diagnosis, and hoping that getting an IEP in place will help when we finally get back to in-person lessons in September.

Oh man, September. I keep thinking about going back to work, and every time I do, I start crying. I miss going to work. I miss seeing my coworkers and my kids. If fall is one of my favorite times of the year in ordinary time, this fall is going to be the most highly anticipated ones in my life.

That’s it from me. Stay safe and sane, everyone.

I’m still here!

This has been an unexpectedly long time away from blogging that I’m hoping to end with this post. Not that this post in and of itself is going to be especially deep, or especially funny, or especially thoughtful. Really, I just want to break the silence and say, yes, I am still here.

Since last we spoke:

I was prescribed Paxil, which my insurance refused to cover; so I was prescribed Prozac, which my insurance was asking a 100% co-pay for (how…is that different from just not covering it?) which I then opted to simply not pick up.*

I tried weed to see if it would be helpful for acute stress/anxiety, but had a really poor reaction to the THC, which sucked a whole damn bunch.

My mom bought me CBD oil, which is working wonders for her and my dad (chronic pain), and I pick that up tomorrow.

Bear started K2, all online. He’s been pretty into so far, honestly, and has been doing pretty well behaving during the Zoom meetings, at least as well as I would expect a five-year-old to.

And… I’m working from home.

Holy fucking crap on a cracker. Let me tell you. The instantaneous relief I felt from that phone call felt a lot like euphoria; weeks and weeks and goddamn weeks of relentless anxiety and uncertainty, gone.

I mean, to be replaced by the daily anxiety of trying to juggling homeschooling a kindergartener synchronously while simultaneously teaching a class via video conferencing myself, but hey. That will eventually become routine.

I have a job. I have an income.

I….have not done any art in weeks. This is going to a long road back to feeling creative.** Actually, it’s going to be a long way back from feeling anything but exhaustion, I think.

But I’m here. We’re here. And we’re doing ok.


* The meds were a new prescription, I’m not just ditching my meds. Don’t just ditch your meds, guys — talk to a doctor first. Also, I’m not anti-med by any means, I just feel like in my situation, I’ve got a handle on the chronic anxiety, to the point where it’s really just background noise and not really something I feel like I need a daily medication for (and with the work-for-home allowance, even the acute anxiety has lessened considerably. I’m actually feeling functional again).

** I will be participating in Drawtober in October and NaNoWriMo in November, so at the very worst you’ll see me working then!

Another Work/Life Update

I have some reassurances that the things I am concerned about at work (don’t you love how vague I am?) are being considered.

Ok, so, namely — I need to work remotely. We live in a “red zone” city, and my son is on mandated remote learning, which means the child care inherent in in-person schooling is gone (and honestly, it would have been disasterous to put him in school even if that were an option, with something like 4000 active cases in our city). Also, if I enter the building, I will not be able to bring him to my mother’s house — they’ve let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they cannot take him, and I one-hundred-and-ten percent agree. Both my parents are nearly 70, my mom is asthmatic, physically disabled, and partially sighted (complete blindness in one eye and partial sight in the other), and they share their home with two people who are also immunosuppressed. I could not and would not take that chance.

So my options are COVID Emergency Leave or remote work, which I parroted back more than once to the powers that be; I’m hearing, luckily, that people are working to try to make this happen, for which I am hugely grateful.. So, I have hope that I’m being heard and my needs are being met, which is better than I’ve had in several weeks.


I woke up this morning to a full Twitter inbox because someone tagged me in an art photoset — they’d used my modelling photos from FatPhotoRef! It was really cool! I’ve never been used as a model before. My wife and I are going to take some photos tonight based on requests from the Discord, so hopefully I’ll have another set up there in the next few days.

Ugh, fate willing, I will have more fun things to talk about than continued work drama soon.

Stay safe and sane, everyone.

No Marketing Genius/Just to Check In

Now, my spam filter has caught them all, don’t get me wrong — and I have to approve all comments posted to my blog anyway, but — how effective do you think the ads for “sexy singles in your area” and “hot new porn sites” are when posted as comments by bots on not-even-marginally-related blog content? Have there ever been, just, horny-as-shit blog readers skimming my posts who have thought, “hmm, you what this deeply personal essay on the creative journey has left me craving…?”

I mean, to each his own, and I’m not a marketing genius (and have no desire to be), but if this is still a thing that’s happening, either 1.) the people programming these bots are terrible at their jobs, or 2.) it’s… actually working? Right?

But on who???


Life is settling. Not for the long term, and it’s hard to say if it’s even for the better or the worse, but at least I have some temporary reprieve from the “what the fuck am I supposed to be doing” thought loop, and a personal plan of action for next steps. It doesn’t feel good, exactly, but it feels better than the endless spiral.

I’m trying to keep in perspective those things over which I have control and remind myself that I can make good things happen for me and for my circle of influence if I can stay focused and motivated.

I’m trying.

Stay safe and sane.

End of Summer

We are in a lull between a string of storms making their way across New England. The first batch barely left an impression; about an hour ago, I noticed a notification from my weather app that I had missed timestamped at 11:55 am that notified me rain was starting in five minutes. If that happened, I didn’t notice it. Actually, no; I left the house at 1:30 with Bear in stocking feet, and the ground was dry, so it definitely didn’t touch us. The second one was pretty firece in terms of rain, with a couple of good peals of thunder, but over within an hour. The sky looks like another might come through soon, but right now it’s still. I’m hoping the humidity will break when the last one rolls through.

It’s been a quiet summer in terms of storms; I remember childhood summers where we spent days upon days watching the weather channel, monitoring rain moving through the area, being shepharded downstairs by my mother on the days when they worst of them rolled through. When we were slightly older, I remember distinctly sitting out on our three-season porch with my dad as the storms came in; my mother hated it, which, I think, is part of why we did it (I mean, honestly I think that’s part of why my dad did it, too; my mom was insufferable when bad weather was coming through, talking incessantly about nothing else, harrassing people into bunkering with her, etc.) I still love the smell of ozone, and that strange moment of perfect stillness right before the first major wind whistles through the trees. There hasn’t been much of that this year. Not for us, at least, and here we are at basically the end of summer.

Melissa texted me this morning that a work friend brought her a pumpkin coffee this morning, and that, for me, is one of the surest signs of imminenet Fall. There is a part of my brain that’s still stuck perpetually in March, when time existed and I had a rhythm and a life outside of this house (and a tight, tight circle of other people; though how grateful am I for those other people). Seeing September on my calendar already seems like a joke, thought I hesitate to call it a cruel one. It means time is passing, and — for me at least — faster than I could have anticipated. I thought this situation was going to drag, but it actually hasn’t. We’re moving. Time is passing. Things are changing. However long it will be before we see an “end” (and an “end” is going to be a gradual thing anyway, not a one-and-done set point in time, but regardless), we are moving towards that “end.” We have not stopped. We have not stood still.

I hope you are all still moving forward. I hope you are all still pursuing whatever ambitions lit your flame in January. This is not the year I had envisioned, ot by a long shot, not by any stretch, but I have made more progress towards some of my goals than I thought I would even back when we thought that was going to be an “ordinary” year.

I hope you are finding joy in moments, and in the increments of progress you are making on your ambitions and projects.

Stay safe and sane, everyone.

What I Miss

I talked to my friend Melissa via Discord for the first time (with the exception of “you still ok?” texts) since December.

We’ve been friends for eightteen years, so long stretches of not a whole lot of talking — because I have a kid, because she works a weird retail management schedule, because we both have anxiety (which is incredibly mentally draining) — is not unusual or particularly upsetting. With COVID, though, this absence from each others’ lives has been longer than intended or anticipated. So chatting was good; more than good.

She mentioned a post that popped up on Facebook Memories that morning, of a beach trip she, I, and my sister took, nine years ago (holy shit); we reminisced about how drunk we got, and walking back from the bar to our hotel, how worried all of us were that she was going to run into the sea “to make sweet, sweet love to the waves, as was her wont.”

Oh, God — I miss the beach, I said.

I miss going out and getting buzzed, and I miss streetlamp lit walks back to our hotel, and the smell of saltwater and the crash of waves in the background. I miss bad karaoke at La Bec Rouge, and free Sour Apple shots on Ladies’ Night, and mind-numbingly hot waitresses, and seductive indie guitarists playing on the patio.

I told her how, every once in a while, I get struck by how badly I miss something that COVID has changed, or taken away, and how I keep thinking I should write about that, even though it seems like everyone and their mother is writing about it, and I couldn’t possibly add anything exceptional or new to the mix.

You should, she said. It’s good to think about. It’s good to keep in perspective, and to aknowledge an appreciation that you never really considered before.

So, here are the things I miss that I’d never really appreciated before.

I miss stopping to grab a latte at Dunks before an all-day shopping spree with my wife.

I miss calling my mom up in the early morning and asking if she wanted company, then packing a bag with stuff for Bear and heading to her house to spend the day there.

I miss impromptu McDonalds run with my sister and her kids.

I miss propping open the front door, and letting Bear play with the neighbor kids (as long as I could still hear them!) until dinner time.

I miss standing outside my son’s school with the other parents, waiting for the janitor to open the doors for afternoon pick-up.

I miss listening to podcasts on the treadmill at the gym.

I miss piles of air matresses on the floor, hard cider, and old I Love the 80s reruns at sleepovers with my friends.

I miss clandestine cigarettes out on my sister’s back porch after the kids have gone to bed.

I miss stocking up at the grocery store for supplies for a weekend potluck.

I miss scrounging through clearance racks at the change of seasons.

I miss sitting and reading a magazine in the Children’s Room at our library while Bear plays with the hand puppets and Thomas the Tank Engine activity table.

I miss rainy nights in the Boston’s Theatre District, and long walks between the restaurant and the theatre before a show.

I miss the early morning anticipation in the admission lines for Comic-Con.

I miss cosplay meet-ups in Boston, I miss conventions, I miss packed-to-capacity panel rooms with a hundred nerds in costume.

I miss midnight movie releases and line parties.

I miss my sister stopping by hours early before a party with alcohol and baking supplies.

I miss sending my son to school on field trip days.

I miss crowding around a computer with my mom and brother to play an escape-the-room game.

I miss knowing my wife has something wonderful planned for our birthdays, or anniversaries, or whatever special occassion she’s remembered (the day she gave me my ring, the day of our first date, the day we met it person, etc.)

I miss impromptu hotel stays with fancy dinners when my wife thinks I’ve been too stressed lately.

I miss… the freedom of not having to plan for my every move, to take into account every possible precaution to make sure I’m not bringing home a potentially deadly pathogen. I miss being able to be impromptu. To be spontaneous. I missing being able to do, without having to mentally measure physical distance or remember to bring masks or stock up on hand sanitizer.

I miss being able to write my chronic anxiety off as “excessive.” I’m tired of my fears being vindicated. The novelty has worn off.

I made my first trip to a store today, set foot inside a retail establishment for the first time since March 12th. It was terrifying, even though everyone wore a mask and kept their distance (though that was really encouraging to see). I have my first social event tonight that isn’t just with my family, in the form of an outdoors, socially distanced get-together for the 4th — nine people including us, BYOB, some food but all single-use disposable serving utensils and all disposable plates and cutlery, plus a bevy of sanitation precautions for bathroom usage and hand sanitation. It makes me feel a lot more comfortable going somewhere where I know we and the other guests and interested in mantaining all the safety protocols, but man, I miss not having to worry about safety protocols.

I miss the days when the biggest social safety protocols I had to worry about was keeping my wallet and drink close by and arranging a designated driver.

But if we keep living like this, we keep… living. And honestly, I will trade conveience for peace of a mind and a chance to safely see my friends. I hope all of you realize that that’s a worthwhile trade off.

There’s a lot to miss, but there’s a lot we can still do if we’re just conscientious about it and follow the experts’ guidelines.

Stay safe and sane, everyone.

Ringing Out #Pride

I’ve had murals on the mind, as of late.

I’ve had a lot on my mind, as of late; I’m sure I’ve mentioned it.

This is the crossroads of those two things.

A few days ago, my husband of ten years became my wife of ten years. Or rather, revealed she was my wife of ten years — coming out is about recognition and revelation of what has always been there, however deeply it may have been buried.

One of people’s first questions over the last few days when she’s been telling people she’s trans is for them to ask — either bluntly (as my father-in-law did) or with more subtle, gentle language — if she and I were staying together.

I mean — yes, of course. We love each other, and gender is incidental to me at best (my own gender being fairly ambiguous, and my sexuality being pretty flexible). Any fears or concerns I have — and I do have them, don’t get me wrong — are focused entirely on the cruelty and intolerance that others are capable of, not of my own feelings of attraction or affection towards her. The relationship between she and I, our own interpersonal give-and-take, has not changed. Will not change, at least not directly or dramatically from this, and at least not any more or less than any relationship shifts and changes over the years as both parties themselves grow, and shift, and change.

I cannot imagine not being in this with her for the long-haul. I cannot imagine her not being in my life.

And so, as Pride Month winds down, and my wife begins living her life authentically, I painted our closet doors with our Pride flags.

From left to right: genderqueer and bisexual (mine); trans and lesbian (hers).

The weather has turned from warm to hot; the typical summer thunderstorms have been rolling through all day, teasing a break in the humidity.

We’ve been invited to some social events — all outdoors, all socially distanced, all COVID safety guidelines compliant — and are hoping to get out a little more frequently with smaller groups of friends in the warm weather. I know there must be some mental health benefits to seeing people, and I know (intellectually) there are safe ways to do that, so we should probably make an effort. I miss the sun. I miss seeing people’s faces.

Stay safe, sane, and inside — or outside (masked and socially distant, of course).