Lazing (31 Day Challenge: Days 28 & 29)

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28.  What’s in My Closet

Every piece of clothing I own – we don’t do “winter” and “summer” clothes, here.  Probably fifteen or so dresses, twenty-ish skirts, literal stacks of t-shirts, sweaters, and leggings, a few pairs of jeans, and lots of various tunics and button-downs.  I have a double wide closet with shelving, and my clothing takes up more than 3/4ths of it.  We also have a platform bed with under-the-bed storage comprised of eight drawers, and my stuff take up half of those (my husbands takes up 1/4th, with the remaining 1/4th being old Halloween costumes and bathing suits).  I have a lot of clothes, and yet I’m generally dissatisfied with my wardrobe.  I’d really like to curate a more signature look, but it’s hard when I feel like my aesthetic is about a dozen different things all at once.

29.  How I Started Writing

I don’t remember not writing.  The older I’ve gotten, the more sporadic and touch-and-go my writing has gotten, but when I was young, I remember writing (and drawing, come to that) all the time.  The first thing I remember writing were several small books that all had essentially the same plot, wherein a princess gets attacked by a bear (in one version, a knight come and kills the bear to save her, in another she, like, gets mugged by the bear?  And he takes her money and runs off?  I was six, I don’t know).  I also remember writing what was my first and likely only foray into self-insert, crossover fanfiction at age nine or ten, though looking back, I realize a lot of what I wrote would have been classified as some genre of fanfic (I’m completely okay with that, it’s just an interesting observation).  I’m not a naturally overtly social person (though I like being around people and interacting with the people I’m comfortable with) and my parents were pathologically overprotective and isolating, so writing was a great way for me to pass the time and have something to occupy my mind.


I’m going to have to accept the fact that my A-to-Z sketches are going to be even more amateurish and, well, sketchy than my usual art, because I won’t have the luxury of limitless time (sure, I’m still on lockdown, and I defintiely have more time than I normally would, but I also have a kid, another monthly challenge, and I’m taking on a flexible schedule for Camp NaNoWriMo because I need to get all the fanfic stagnanting on my Google Docs done and out of there, damn it).

I’m currently art blocked as hell, and the above observation was made because I tried sketching out some ideas for possible A-to-Z entries yesterday.  Yesterday was a highly self-critical day (don’t know why, nothing different about the day than any other day since lockdown started), so maybe I’ll feel better about things when the challenge actually starts, but I’m not holding my breath.  Much like Inktober, this will be entirely for practice and to prove to myself that I can complete such a challenge.  And to be fair, I stumbled upon my Inktober 2018 drawings while deep-diving on Facebook last night, and holy hell, I have legitimately improved.  I’m still amateurish and clumsy, but so, so much better than I was a year and a half ago.  Clearly regular practice helps, so that’s what this is — a month of regular practice.

I’m wondering if part of the reason I suddenly became “art blocked” is because a part of me knows that I will be doing the A-to-Z challenge in a few days and I shouldn’t start a new project with that one looming on the horizon.  On the flipside as well, if this goes well, I can always start turning to song lyrics to inspire future art.

It’s gray out today.  I know I haven’t been leaving the house, but it’s amazing how much of a difference sunlight — even just sunlight filtering through my curtains — makes in my over-all mood and energy.  I didn’t even get out of bed until past 9 am, which is insanely late for me, and have yet to really delve into my dailies.  Actually, I’ve yet to figure out what my “dailies” constitute today.

The house is kind of a mess, but not so bad I can’t integrate it into our routine for tomorrow (Bear has actually gotten kind of into the idea of cleaning the kitchen and putting away dishes), and I do have all those books to read…

It’s Sunday.  Today may be a pretty lazy day, but isn’t that what Sunday’s were meant for?

Stay safe, sane, and healthy — and so much as you can, stay inside.


(Also, apropos of nothing,  I am almost definitely hearing a chicken outside, but I live in the middle of a highly urban area and already had one next door to me two apartments ago, how many people in this city could possibly keeping illicit chickens and how do I keep ending up with them for neighbors?)

Slow but Productive (31 Day Challenge: Day 27)

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27.  Favorite Recipe

Bold of you to assume I cook.  I do, technically, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to talk about “recipes.”  My meals, assuming I don’t get distracted and wind up burning things, are generally fine.  I’m not a gourmet chef, but no one is going to get sick eating my cooking, and sometimes it’s even actually pretty good.  But I don’t really have recipes, even for meals I cook frequently – actually, particularly not for meals I cook frequently.  I tend to just throw things together, utilizing whatever I happen to have on hand at the time.

I do have one or two meals I’m particularly proud of, though they are all recipes that I have found online, not recipes I’ve crafted myself.  They make for a great meal, though, so if you’re interested, here they are:

Thai Curry Vegetable Soup:  I love a good soup, and this is a great soup.  I’m not a fan of rice noodles, so I make mine with egg noodles.
Crispy Tuna Patties:  These, as the author mentions, are incredibly forgiving; I use this recipe as a base and add what I have at hand as I feel.  Throwing in some cilantro and lime (if you like it) is good, as is dill and lemon.  Shallots, garlic, and diced onion are great.
Cheesy Taco Pasta:  Look, I love tacos, I love pasta, and I like things that take under 30 minutes and only one pan, ok?
Bruschetta Chicken: This is so simple and so good.  If you have a hard time finding fresh basil (which we have, lately), basil paste (like this one from Gourmet Garden) is not a bad substitute.


Today was both productive, yet uneventful.

I spent some time getting familiar with Google Meet to prep for a Monday morning online video conference with all my freshman students and co-teachers (fifteen people total), and I’m so excited to see everyone.

Today was also the first day in a very long time that I got Bear to more or less willingly help with the chores.  We loaded a huge load of dishes into the dishwasher, washed a few more by hand, cleaned the counters, cleared off the kitchen table, swept, and put away a ton of craft supplies and toys in the living room.  I think tomorrow I’ll do a bit more of a deep clean in those rooms, as well as straightening my own room and folding some laundry, but I’m certainly not going to complain about how today went.  The house feels manageable, and I’m not feeling stressed about excess clutter.

I have yet to do anything creative today.  I’m torn between sitting down and just reading, reading, reading (I still have three books I’m working through, two actively and one that just came off hold a few days ago) and doing something more actively creative.  I’m still aching to try painting something in acrylic that deviates from my usual style (since I’ve not had luck with my usual style in that medium), but no idea has really jumped out at my yet.

Whatever I do will likely have to happen before 7 pm, though, because at 7, the one hour series finale of Steven Universe (Future) will air, and I will likely be an absolute wreck and spamming the living shit out of Tumblr.  Whatever doesn’t happen tonight will take priority tomorrow (like, oh, prepping for A-to-Z Challenge?  I don’t know, maybe).

It’s Friday.  In spite of everything, that still feels like a good thing (it means two days with my husband at home, for one).  Stay safe, sane, healthy, and do something tonight that makes you smile.

31 Day Challenge: Days 22 – 24

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22.  Best Thing to Happen

The three best things that ever happened to me were all things I stumbled upon: my job, my husband, and my son.  My job was the result of blanket applications to any place I was remotely qualified, and that turned into fifteen years and a decision that this would likely be my life’s work (unless something drastic changed).  My husband was someone I met on a dating site, whose profile amused and intrigued me, but who I never really thought to message until one day he just happened to message me, and just happened to live walking distance away.  My son was not planned (which is not the same as not wanted; kids were on the horizon, we just got there unexpectedly early), but my pregnancy was probably one of the happiest times of my life.  I don’t think I ever conscientiously did something that worked out quite as well as those three things

23.  Dream Job

It used to be “writer,” a no brainer.  Now, honestly, I’m not sure.  I certainly wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to write professionally, but I keep thinking I’d love to work with, like, The Office of Transformative Works preserving fan culture, or doing social/creative/academic studies regarding fan and fandom culture.  Or, hone my drawing skills and be an illustrator and collaborate with people on graphic novels or storybooks.  So I suppose my ambitions haven’t changed much; they’re still creative, but the definition of creative has expanded a bit.

24.  Favorite Childhood Book

Define childhood.  Younger childhood, I was obsessed with the Disney Classic adaptation of The Great Mouse Detective (I still would love to read/intend on someday reading the original Basil of Baker Street series), Charlotte’s Web, and an incredibly obscure book called Felita.  As an older kid, I loved Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, and basically anything Christopher Pike (which, if you were also a Pike fan, please go listen to Teen Creeps, they have some great episodes about his books).


Oh my God, my head.

This has been simultaneously an unbearably long week and a surprisingly quick one.  I feel like the quarantine is going to be (and should be, honestly) longer than anticipated, and I’m not sure if I’m cool with that (I feel safer at home, and the last nearly week-and-a-half passed way faster than I anticipated) or dreading it (Bear has been awfully restless, and hasn’t listened to a damn word I’ve said except for the two hours or so of formal instruction we do each day.  Outside of that, everything has been a chore.  Getting him to do anything I ask has been like pulling teeth, and despite my best efforts, it’s grating on me).

I have, however, been keeping occupied.  I’m almost ready to post another batch of micron drawings to the gallery (I’ll post them in a blog entry first), and I’ve been playing around with the Copic markers my sibling-in-law gave to me before they went to Sweden (oh my God – I had no idea how pricey they were.  They’re like $5-$10 a marker.  Even at the low end, that’s $120 worth of markers they gave me!!)  I ventured into the shallows of — what do they call it?  ArtTube?  Artist YouTube?  There are some enviously good artists out there, and I’ve been enjoying exploring some of their videos — not just tutorials, but sketchbook “yours,” tips and tricks, motivations, and time-lapse painting/drawing.  It makes me want to get good, fast, ha ha.  I’ll post a list of my favorite when I have more of a chance to dive deeper.

It’s Tuesday.  Stay safe, sane, and vigilant.  Get off social media for a while (my WordPress is curated to this doesn’t feel like social media — I don’t get the gloom ‘n doom vibes).  Do something you love, and share it (uh… when you get back on social media, I guess?  Look, curate your social media.  Honestly.  You know how many people I’ve snoozed, muted, or unfollowed?  It’s helped a lot).

Take care of yourselves and each other.

PS: Anyone else feeling totally unprepared for NaPoWriMo/Camp NaNo/A-to-Z Challenge??

From Home (31 Day Challenge: Day 18)

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18.  Blog Name Meaning

No big secret behind this one, since the inspiration for my blog name is right now my side bar (for anyone who has ever been to my blog “in person,” as it were).  There’s a quote with several various attributions (also, as a result, often credited to “Anonymous”) that goes, “Creative minds are rarely tidy.”  Given that I knew I wanted my blog to be a mativation to be more creative, as well as a showcase for my creativity — and given that I have dealt with pretty prohibitive ADHD that definitely “untidies” my thoughts and maybe causes me to be a little less than succinct — the name just made sense.


Third day of learn-from-home.  Thank God for some of the free resources companies are offering; we’re using Scholastic (hopefully they’ll extend what is currently 20 days worth of lessons), Khan Academy Kids (so highly recommended), PBS Kids Learn and Grow, Kahoot (a Basic (free) plan, where I’m making him little quizzes), and various YouTube channels (I found a few channels that do exercise videos for kids, Civics and Social Studies lessons (including “Sung History,” little music videos about historical figures and events), and a number of channels that do storybooks readalouds that include animations or costumes).  I also still have almost entirely untouched Crayola phonics and math workbooks I bought at Dollar Tree and put aside for vacations or illness, and a Craft Activity Jar I picked up a while ago at the Target Dollar Spot.

I’m going to be honest, my anxiety has been on ultra-high alert lately, and as someone who, even under ideal circumstances, suffers with anxiety (including hypochondria and medical anxiety) and obsessive thoughts, this is an especially trying time for me, mentally.  Which doesn’t mean I’m cowering in a corner 24/7; I’m playing with my kid, doing art, reading, laughing and smiling.  But there’s always an intense undercurrent of fear and anxiety there in the back of my mind, and it has it’s moments of creeping up to the forfront more often than I’d like it to.

So while I can’t ignore what’s going on — and I don’t expect anyone else to — I think I am going to opt not to write about it, either.  I feel like we (collectively, but I know myself, definitely) could use some spaces where we aren’t being bombarded with the shit that’s going on outside our windows right now.  So, I will be posting my challenges (this one, NaPoWriMo, and A-to-Z), my daily thoughts, observations, and anecdotes, and my art.

I may also flail and fangirl more than usual, since I will need to fill up more time than normal and I’m going to be deep-diving when it comes to the media I love. Fair warning.

It’s Wednesday.  My husband is home, and this is a great comfort in itself.  We ordered from our local Indian place to try and support a local family-owned business and have something special to enjoy while we’re stuck at home.  Hope you are all remembering to treat yourself.  You deserve it, now more than ever.

31 Day Challenge: Day 6

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Popping in very quickly after an absolutely exhausting day just to keep my current streak!

6.  My Five Senses Currently

Watching/Sight:  I just finished watching the latest two episodes of Steven Universe Future, “In Dreams” and “Bismuth Casual,” and wow, what a welome, delightful palate cleanser after the last run of episodes.  Of course, having two incredibly soft episodes in a row pretty much means that the rest of the run (I can’t believe there’ll be no more Steven Universe after March 30?!) is going to be a gut punch.  Also, I am unexpectedly but whole-heartedly shipping Pearl/Bismuth now.

Listening to/Sound:  I was listening to the latest episode of The Worst Bestsellers this morning while I was getting ready for work, but only got about 45 minutes into it before I had to pack up and leave the house, so I never finished it.  It’s about Portrait of a Killer – Jack the Ripper: Case Closed, by Patricia Cornwell, which sounds absolutely awful and I was really enjoying listening to them rip on it.  Once I’m settled in bed and Andy is ready for lights out, I’ll probably plug in my headphones and finish it.

Smell/Scent:  My mom got her first ever Fab Fit Fun box and was showing off all her products including something called “Jaboneria Marianella Imperial Jade Body Oil,” which she so persuasively convinced me to try by saying, “I hate the smell of this, put it on.”  It… was not awful, actually, but I did think it smelled vaguely familiar.  I’m sure that the scent varies based on your body chemistry and likely how acute your sense of smell is (mine is shot to hell from chronic sinus problems and years of living with/being a smoker), but finally it ht me that the familiar notes in the scent was basically, uh, Lemon Pledge.

Taste/Eating/Drinking:  I have managed to fend off the desire to snack binge for the last two hours, but within the next 20 minutes, I’m likely going to eat  blueberry fruit br and probably polish off an Orange Vanilla Coke.

Touch:  I mean.  The keyboard, I suppose.  Also, blessedly soon, my bed.  Hurrah.

It. Is. Friday.  Blessed-fucking-be, y’all.  Go, go to bed.  Sweet dreams.  You can deal with whatever it is in the morning.  Go chill.

Nervous Excitement (31 Day Challenge: Day 5)

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5.  Soundtrack of My Life

I used to think I was very “into” music when I was younger, but it sort of turns out that actually, I am simply very affected by music.  Music significantly buoys me up (even ostensibly “Sad” music), and I feel a very deep-seated need to listen to music every day.  That being said, my actual musical exposure is really fairly limited.  I tend to cling very tightly to a small selection of artists and songs, and cycle through them with fair frequency.

That being said, I don’t know that my life has a soundtrack.  I can tell you what I’ve been cycling through most frequently most recently, though.

“Toss a Coin to Your Witcher,” a capella cover by Peter Hollens
“Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” a capella cover by Pentatonix
“Believer,” Imagine Dragons
“Eliezer’s Waltz,” Disparition
“I’m the Guy Who Sucks Plus I Got Depression,” Satellite High
“Ring of Keys,” Fun Home OBC
“Bremen,” Pig Pen Theatre Co.


In a move that is as shocking to me as I’m sure it would be to anyone else who knew me (if they actually knew I was doing this, that is), I am submitting three of my sketches to be a featured in a local art show elevating and showcasing the work of “womxn and femmes,” and I am terrified and thrilled in equal measure.  This is a big step for me, and taking myself seriously/valuing myself as a creative individual.  I’m not sure if this is a truly “open call,” or if there is a selection process, but the sheer act of putting myself “out there” for wider consumption is huge for me, and I am incredibly excited to be doing it.  It makes the whole endeavor feel realer, somehow; like I’m doing this for a reason (psst, I know that “it makes me happy” is a completely valid reason for doing something creative, because of course it is.  But there will always be a certain sweetness to a particular kind of external validation; it might not be necessary, but it sure is a treat).

Can I also point out that this is a bucket list item?  I’m so happy to be making some progress on some of my goals, even if it’s not as much or as consistent as I’d hoped.  At least I don’t feel like I’m standing still.

Anyway, I had a few logistical questions before I went ahead with submissions, but if they don’t answer me by lunch time tomorrow, I’m just going forward with the submission as I had intended (I mostly wanted to know how we should submit our work, via attachment or link or etc. etc., but I can attach and if that’s not kosher, they can let me know and I’ll resubmit).  I’m really excited.

Tomorrow is Friday!  I’m pumped.  Let’s all get into bed early, get super cozy, and start tomorrow refreshed, okay?

Little Slice of Life (Also, 31 Day Challenge: Day 4)

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4.  Most Afraid Of

I feel like this would be a substantially shorter answer if I were to talk about what I wasn’t afraid of.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t have fear buzzing like low-level static in the back of my brain.

I’ll try to separate these into hierarchical categories to streamline things.

Things I Can’t Control:  the coronoavirus; war; the election; climate change; people’s perception of me/my worth as a human being/my likability; my son getting hurt (physically or emotionally); my son growing up and apart from me; dying; my parents dying; my husband dying; literally anyone and everyone I’m close to dying; losing my job; losing financial stability; car accidents; being robbed; hurricanes; carbon monoxide poisoning; gas explosions

Things I Can Control (But Feel Like I Can’t):  Having a blood-pressure induced stroke; my health; that I’m an inattentive parent; my house falling into disrepair;  my friends losing interest over my lack of social awareness; never following through and completing any of my goals; missing out on opportunities.

Petty phobias:  Dentists, heights, needles, butterflies, moths, birds.

To paraphrase a comic strip (that I really should find):  “Pfft, ‘get out of my comfort zone?’  I don’t even have a comfort zone.  I am literally always uncomfortable.”


I got an email last night from a former student, class of 2017, reporting in on how his life is going and inquiring about mine.  Because of the nature of the program I work, he is technically still in my system, so I have to temper everything I tell him through the lens of, yes, he’s an adult but I’m still technically a teacher (so I can be casual, but not too buddy-buddy), but man, and I thrilled about what he told me.  It sounds like he’s doing so well, and it makes me so happy.

I never kept in contact with any of my teachers from high school; granted, immediately post-high school, it was a little harder, because social media wasn’t a thing and wouldn’t be a thing for several more years, but even since then, I know some of my friends Friended old teachers; I did not.  I just… I never had that kind of relationship with my teachers.  I think about that a lot, actually; my relationships with teachers could be described basically as, “I Really Want to Please Them Because They Are Nice and Say Nice Things About Me,” “I Really Want to Please Them Because They Are Insanely Hot and I am a Horned-Up Teenager,” “I Really Want to Please Them Because They Terrify Me and I Want to Escape Their Wrath,”  and “I Hate Them (But I Really Want to Please Them Anyway Because I am an Insecure Teenager Seeking Constant Validation.”

I was never “close” with them.  We didn’t shoot the shit between classes; I didn’t go to them when I was in an emotional crisis; I didn’t share personal victories with them, or gush about TV shows with them, or share in-jokes.  But I do all of that with my kids, because I wished, so hard, as a kid, that I’d had someone to do that with me.  I would have killed to have one adult give a shit about the crippling anxiety attacks that made me miss days of school, or didn’t roll their eyes behind my back at my dorky interests (and think, somehow, that I didn’t know they were doing it).  I’m not saying my teachers were bad; most of them were kind, and fair.  I’m sure they had close relationships with other students; hell, I know they did.  It was just never me.  I never really had anyone like that.

So I try to be that person now.  For someone else.

I set an alarm for tomorrow, to write him back (because social obligations are hard, and I have zero energy the last two night).  I’m glad that he apparently thinks of my as One of Those People.

Unrelated, but I looked at the calendar today and felt a jolt.  Back when I first started teaching I had what you would call A Hard Kid, who I adored, who I still remember as just… having a special place in the pantheon of students I’ve worked with over the years.  And I realized that today he turned 31 years old.  Jesus Christ.  My husband is 33.

Starting teaching so young messes you up, guys.

It’s Wednesday!!  I’ve got some really cool plans and goals I want to tell you all about really soon, but for tonight, I will be hanging out in chat with my mom and sister, and then it’s tea, some magazines, and bed.  Sprint, guys!  We’re almost at the finish line.