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 Challenges: Days 16 & 17

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16.  Top of My Bucket List

Well, if we’re to go with the literal top of my literal Bucket List, it’s apparently “Learn ASL,” which is funny because it is literally the one things I haven’t touched or looked at in weeks (I think I might be logging off and rectifying that today.  I’ve got at least three weeks with nothing but flexible, self-imposed household commitments).  If we’re talking about my at-the-moment greatest ambition, it would be to have my art featured in a gallery (which I’ve taken steps towards; I know the world is crazy right now, but I hope they at least still go forward with art selection for when it is once again possible to stage the exhibition) and to small-press publish a collection of poetry.  That ambition has been put off a bit for a lot of reasons, but who knows, maybe sometime during this weird hiatus from normalcy I’ll have the opportunity to take stock of what I have and figure out what I still need to pull together a coherent collection.

17.  My Proudest Moment

This is hard, because I feel like it “should” be something momentous, like my wedding day or the birth of my son, but while I would assign any number of glowing descriptors to those two days — exciting, life-changing, thrilling, joyous — I wouldn’t say they made me proud.  I am happy and grateful that I am in a marriage where I feel supported and comfortable in my own skin; I am proud of my son, but for the person he’s growing into, and at five, no single moment stands out.  Though, I suppose there have been one or two moments when, after spending time socially among a group with my son, I’ve had one or two people approach me and tell me what I good job I’ve been doing; that they’d been watching me with my son, and commended me on my parenting.  And I have to admit, as someone so consistently riled with self-doubt, especially regarding my abilities as a parent, that felt pretty damn good.


Well, I haven’t quite been at this everyday, which was the primary point of the exercise, but I suppose now it’s a matter of keeping on it as well as I can, and soldiering through to the end.  I want to be warmed up and in good practice for next month given I’ll be doing two challenges (full disclosure, I may well begin prepping sketches for A-to-Z in the next few weeks, since I can’t prep for NaPoWriMo (I really do like trying to follow the prompt challenges), but still.  Sitting down, logging on, and posting something is a commitment and a habit I need to develop.

Day Two of Learn-at-Home for Bear, though I think that’s an entry unto itself.

It’s Monday, y’all, and days are already blending into one another (though to be fair, I would occasionally end these posts with “It’s _________” just to remind myself what the hell day it was, so my slipshod recollection of the day can’t be entirely blamed on the lockdown.  Keep yourselves occupied and stay social; reach out and say “hey.”

31 Day Challenge: Day 14

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14.  If I Won the Lotto…

Hoo, boy, this is a classic question, isn’t it?  It’s a hard one for me, too, because I grew up in relative financial insecurity — I wasn’t poor, per se, but it felt like we were always one disaster away from ruin, you know?  So I grew up with an inate need to sort of hoard money.  I rarely spend, I’m incredibly selective when I do, and I always feel a surge of guilt and regret immediately post-purchase, even if what I’ve bought brings me tremendous joy in the long run.

But if money wasn’t an object, I think the first thing I’d do is buy nicer house outright.  There’s nothing wrong with our house, but I think both Andy and I would rather have a free-standing one-family than the half-duplex we have now.  It wouldn’t be big, but I’d like it to be new — new appliances, new windows, everything up to code.  I’d buy my folks a new house, or — since I honestly think my folks would balk at a gesture quite that big — put first, last, and security on an apartment for them (at nearly 70, they’re thinking of downsizing anyway), and pay for any loss on their house.

I’d buy clothes for my son for the next couple of years, and shoes to grow into.  I’d outfit his room with a dozen bookcases, so we’d never have to donate or give away his favorites, because he hates that.  I’d enroll him in the music lessons he so desperately wants.

I’d feel free to buy myself the expansive, joyously genderqueer wardrobe I want; the mix of femme and mac clothing that I’d ideally curate for myself, and I’d hire a personal trainer — oh, and a maid. I’d take art classes.  I’d take writing workshops.  I’d travel.

I would, honestly, just do a lot of the things I see my friends doing on a regular basis.  There is a stark financial discrepancy between us and most of our friend group, and while I don’t begrudge them what they have, during the rougher moments, it makes it really hard to even log onto Facebook or sit around a table with them while they talk about their European trips or all the couple’s classes their taking together or their theatre excursions.  Aside from the first few purchases and splurges, I think I’d really just allow myself the freedom that a lot my friends already have — the freedom to pursue the passions that matters to me without incurring financial ruin.  That’s basically it.


Day One of semi-lockdown!  I’m still horribly stressed and paranoid about everything, yet strangely also feeling a lot better, again, with the added stress of going to work off my plate, and with knowing all my friends and coworkers are in this together.

It’s later in the day — I took the better part of the day to simply decompress — but I’m about to start some chores, and hopefully having a cleaner house will make me feel better as well.  Spending two weeks locked in with a mess is not the way to go.

Also, I am still 100% on board with doing NaPoWriMo and Blogging A-to-Z.  Either the worst of this will have passed in my area by then, or I’ll still be in lockdown, so I might as well keep busy, and we may as well keep each other company.

It’s Saturday.  Even if you’re on lockdown, please remember — you can still go outside (just remember social distance!)  Ride a bike, take a run, go on a long walk, fly a kite, take a stroll with your dog.  Wave to strangers.  We’re all in this together.

31 Day Challenge: Days 11, 12, & 13

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11.  Five Favorite Things

Difficult!  Tangible things?  Things that I just “love to see?”  Do experiences count?  Abstract concepts?  I’ve been stressed and anxious to the point of depression lately, I’m not going to lie.  The last couple of weeks have been a little dark for me, and I’ve been pretty down.  I’m going to list five things that have been giving me comfort.

  1.  Rewatching my favorite episodes of Queer Eye on Netflix.  This has been a great, emotionally cathartic release.
  2. Old Jim Gaffigan stand-up.  I can put him on even when my son is around, which is not true of many of the comedians I enjoy.
  3. Cuddling with my husband watching Great British Bake Off before bed.
  4. Finally friending some coworkers on Facebook and getting the absolutely most supportive comments from them while I’ve been sick.
  5. Chinese take-out from my favorite place.

12.  My Daily Routine

Oh man, this is gonna be ridiculously dry.

5:30 am:  I wake up and put on a podcast, usually one of my “bad books” podcasts, though lately I’ve been listening to Dungeons and Daddies as well.  I lay my clothes out the night before, so I shower and dress, then go downstairs.

5:45 am:  I prep.  Prep what?  My coffee, my breakfast (usually eat at work, 5:45 is often a little too early for me to feel hungry), my lunch, and Bear’s snack (he has breakfast and lunch at school).  For those interested, breakfast for me is generally just Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, yogurt, or some fruit; lunch is Well Yes drinkable soup, seasoned tuna, and fruit.  Bear’s snacks depend on his mood from week to week, but this week has been sort of a “pick three” of drinkable yogurt, Babybell cheese, pretzel sticks, apples, plantain chips, fig bars, and Mott’s fruit pouches.

6:05 am:  Bear’s alarm goes off.  I get up and make sure he’s got his uniform ready, and then I brush my teeth and pack his bag.  I also make sure I have both my badges and my phone charger.

6:25 am:  Out the door.  Ideally.

6:45-7:20 am:  I get to work at about 6:45, and I check my mailbox, then let myself in our Learning Center to drop off my coat, my laptop, and anything I don’t immediately need.  Then — I walk.  I know it sounds weird, but I try to get in as many steps as possible before I start my day.  It literally gets me moving, which I won’t always get to do once I’m actually in class, and it helps hype me up for the day and relieve/release some anxiety.

7:30-2:20 pm:  My work schedule is, um, interesting.  I work a rotating 7 + H schedule, so the order of my classes, and what classes I teach are different everyday.  This semester, it’s some combination of Algebra I, World Civilizations, Academic Support, Social Skills, Career Studies, and Vocational internships.

2:35:  Leave work and head to my son’s school to pick him up.

3:15:  Bear gets out of school and we head home.

3:25:  Coffee, checking social media, and getting Bear a snack.

3:55:  Emptying/loading dishwasher, picking out tomorrow’s outfit, general upkeep.

4:30-5:15:  I’ll hang out in Bear’s room with him while he builds with Legos or organizes his Pokemon cards.

5:15:  Andy comes home, and I start dinner and put something on the TV.

6:00 pm:  Dinner, generally.

6:40 pm:  Bear’s bathtime!

7:00 pm:  Read a story, watch a Bri Reads video, have Bear brush his teeth, and settle him in bed.

8:00 pm:  Bear is settled in, and I have my free time.  Generally that means checking in on social media, sketching, watching my YouTubers, writing blog posts, showering, reading a book, listening to a podcast, etc.

10:00 pm:  Settle into bed to watch Great British Bake-off with my husband and read him silly articles on Buzzfeed.

11:00 pm:  Lights out.
13.  Favorite Childhood Memory

I don’t know if I have one.  There are huge chunks of my childhood that I have very few memories of — apparently that’s not uncommon in kids with ADHD or anxiety, so that’s kind of a double whammy for me.  I have very fond memories of a lot of Christmas Eves, when my siblings and I all woke in the middle of the night to congregate in the living room, poke and prod at gifts, and watch cheesy late-night holiday programming on TV.  I have equally fond memories of being a young teen and recording dramatic performances of various songs from Les Miserables and other showtunes with my siblings and my cousin and sending those VHS tapes halfway across the country to our penpals.  That was a unique time in my life, and there was never really a time before or since that I had Real Life companions that were so deeply, deeply into the same things I was.  I miss those days.


I hate to bury this at the end of a long and pretty fluffy entry, but I feel like I need to mention: I am out of work (with pay!) for at least the next two weeks in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  My son is home with me as well, and while my husband does not (yet) get time off, he also works in a building where a lot of people seem to be starting work-from-home, he’s not in an office, and doesn’t have a ton of personal contact with anyone (he’s a security guard, and most of his interactions take place on opposite sides of a rather large reception desk).  So, all this to say, this actually take a little bit of stress off of me, not having to worry about work, keeping my son close by, and being able to spend my days chilling out a little.

I hope you all find yourselves safe and comfortable.  I may be on here less (I want to keep Bear to a schedule, and spend a couple of hours every morning doing academic/school stuff, plus getting some stuff done around the house) or more (more “free” time technically, more of a need to occupy my mind with creative/social purusits and endeavors), but either way, I’ll be seeing you.  Take care of yourselves.