December 30, 2009

My Favourite Video of All Time

Embedding disabled by request (I hate it when they do that!)

The bee girl I’m working on for the painting I’m planning right now is going to be different from the bee girl in the video, but the idea was very much inspired by her and the new “Splendid Gold” metallic paint I got at Michael’s a few weeks ago. I haven’t drawn my bee girl yet, but that’s on the agenda for today (after I have a nap, this getting up early thing is FOR THE BIRDS) and as I type this, I’m attempting to tea-stain white tulle for the bee girl’s tutu. I’ve tea-stained material before and it’s always worked out well, but I’m thinking that the tulle I have might be too plastic-y to take the tea properly, which sucks. It’s extra fine tulle and I have no idea what it’s actually made out of. It feels a little plastic-y though. If the tea-staining doesn’t work, then I’m going to have to get Blake to pick me up a metre of fine black tulle, which is cheap so I’m not worried about it, but I really wanted the tea-stained look and unfortunately, you can’t buy tulle in that colour. You can get sort of a tan/beige colour, but that won’t work for what I’m doing. And hey, if he has to pick up fine black tulle then while he’s there I can get him to pick up skinny yellow ribbon too, which I don’t have and which would add a finishing touch to the bee girl’s shoes, like in the video. Ah, we’ll see how it all works out.

Anyway, this bee girl painting is the one I’m using for my background tutorial, which I should have up by next week.

Posted at 11:02 am in: Art , Blake , Creativity , Music , videos , winter , youtube


Posted at 9:45 am in: Photography , Sunnyland , winter

The Sad Villain

For some ungodly reason, I woke up at 6am thinking of ghosts of the pasts. Now it’s almost 7 and I’m unable to go back to sleep, but that’s okay because I’ve got all day to do that – pending the kids let me.

I don’t know why, but I woke up thinking about my dad. My “dad” is not to be confused with Phil. My “dad” is Ken, the man my mother married when I was 5 and the father of my only brother. During the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about both of them fairly heavily and I keep wondering why that is. I haven’t spoken to my dad since late 2003 and my brother since late 2005. In recent years, my mother’s been reluctant to tell me anything about my brother, so I’ve all but written him off.

For those new to Sunnyland, I’m an only child. I have 3 siblings, but I’m an only child for all intents and purposes. My mom and Ken separated when I was 11 and my brother was 5 and my brother went to live with my dad while I stayed with my mom and thus, we were raised in completely different ways in completely different households with very little overlap until I moved in with my dad briefly when I was 15. And of course my sisters are 26 and 30 years younger than me.

My dad was/is a very bitter man who can hold grudges and hatred in his heart indefinitely. It’s a long story that I’m not going to retell today, but long story short, at the end of my parents’ marriage my mother had an affair and even though their marriage was over long before that happened, my dad remained bitter about that fact until the day I stopped speaking to him and throughout my brother’s entire life, my dad poisoned him against my mother in order to punish her for doing that to him. Or at least that’s what I think his motivation was. Now my brother’s just as fucked up, hateful and bitter as my dad is, especially towards my mother.

When my brother came to stay with me for what was supposed to be a couple of weeks over Xmas in 2005, we talked a lot about the past and I tried to set the record straight about his childhood, but he wouldn’t hear any of it. For example, my mom used to routinely send him letters and packages in the mail when she couldn’t actually go see him and my dad would throw them out. I witnessed this with my own eyes but my brother doesn’t believe me. He thinks my dad is this perfect man who can do no wrong because he raised my brother all on his own, with no help from my mother, or at least that’s his perception. What my brother to this day doesn’t realize is that his entire life, even to this day, his father’s used him as a tool, a weapon, against my mother and nothing more. Oh I have no doubt that Ken loves my brother, as much as he’s capable of love, but as I said before, he’s fed the kid venom since he was a toddler and now my brother’s this fucked up 24-year-old kid with no direction and no life outside of his father, from what I understand.

I stopped speaking to my dad when he didn’t get Wes anything for his first Xmas. When I was giving birth to Wes, my dad called my hospital room moments after Wes was born, I was literally still delivering the placenta, so my mother answered the phone and filled him in on what was going on and for some reason, my dad got mad at ME because I forced him to speak to my mother and didn’t speak to him myself. He held this grudge for almost an entire year, refusing to pick up or hold Wes, which I thought was weird, but I never really thought it was a malicious act until that Xmas when everyone got presents but my son. And then after the presents were opened and my dad started making Xmas dinner, we were all in the kitchen shooting the shit and Wes was on the floor crawling around and pulling himself up on my dad’s leg, my dad completely ignored him and at one point even sort of slid Wes across the floor and away from him with his foot. I played nice for the rest of the day but inside I was seething and that was the last time I saw or spoke to  my dad.

I have a theory on why my dad behaved this way toward my son and I think it goes deeper than just being pissed off that my mother answered the phone while I was in the middle of giving birth. You see, when I found out I was pregnant with Wes, this woman my dad got involved with – against my advice – was about to give birth to my dad’s 2nd son whose name I don’t even know.

Her name was Janet and she was only a  few years older than me, known to be one of the town’s biggest sluts and I’m not the kind of person who uses that term as a negative in many instances, but in Janet’s case, it fit. She would go to the local bars, pick guys up, go back to their places, sleep with them and then steal the money from their wallets before taking off like a thief in the night. And this isn’t just rumour, I know this to be fact because Janet used to be my Aunt Heather’s best friend, my Aunt Heather being my dad’s sister, and Janet lived with her for a while at the same time I was living there as well, and Janet used to brag about stealing these men’s money. It was like a second income for her. When she’d find a “rich” one, she’d become his girlfriend long enough for him to buy her things and pay some of her bills, but when the honeymoon period ended, so would teh relationship and she’d move onto the next guy.

Until one day she found herself a man who she thought would take care of her forever. I don’t remember his name, but he had a good job and drove a nice truck and Janet decided she was going to get her hooks into him so she got pregnant. And again, this isn’t just rumour, this is fact. She got pregnant on purpose to trap this man, I was there when she was telling my Aunt Heather all about it. But Janet got a little more than she bargained for in this man, what she didn’t know was that he had a very expensive coke habit and when her daughter was born, he wasn’t even there for it because he was coked out of his mind on their couch. Long story short, the relationship didn’t work out, so Janet went on welfare and laid low with her daughter while she got her shit together and her figure back.

Enter my dad.

My dad has worked at Toshiba, in the warehouse, for eleventy billion years and as a result he gets a lot of vacation days and makes a fair amount of money. And he’d always had a crush on Janet.

I was there, at the coffee shop, the night it all began between my dad & Janet. The flirting was enough to make a person puke. My Aunt Heather was there too and was equally disgusted by the two of them because she knew how Janet was and she didn’t want Janet to get her hooks into my dad. When they started dating, my Aunt Heather and I stopped speaking to either of them for a few months but they didn’t care, they said “fuck you, we’ll do what we want” and even though both of us warned my dad that she’d try & get pregnant to trap him, he didn’t listen. But lo & behold, that’s exactly what happened and when we found out Janet was pregnant, we both rushed to my dad’s side to support him. The relationship was all but over by the time she conceived so the paternity of the child has always been somewhat in question by everyone but my dad, but he never went for the paternity test and ever since the baby was born, he’s been paying $350/month in child support for a child he’s only even seen once. (Things in that regard could be different now, but knowing my dad, I kinda doubt it.)

I think that baby Wes reminded my dad too much of the child he conceived with Janet and he took his anger and frustration out on us for lack of anywhere else to channel it.

During that time, he became even more bitter toward women and painted them all as evil whores, not even making an exception for me, his daughter. All the time, if we disagreed on something, he’d tell me I was just like my mother and he said it with such disgust it was like I was covered in shit simply for having a vagina. To this day, I’ve never met a bigger misogynist and I hang out on one of the most misogynistic forums on the whole internet. Those boys have nothing on Ken and the attitudes I grew up with.

Another reason our relationship began to cool is that one day my dad got a little drunk and called me up to confess things to me that a daughter should probably never know about her dad. Let me preface this part of the story by telling you that my dad and I have always been very open about sex. When I lost my virginity (on his couch), he was the first person I told. When I realized that I couldn’t have an orgasm from sex, he and I discussed the million ways and positions to make it happen. (It never did.)

Well, this one night he called me up and the first thing he told me was that he’d been drinking and then the conversation became this fucked up confessional that I couldn’t tear myself away from. Among the things he told me was that he had this recurring dream about being sexually dominated by another man and sucking his dick and that he wanted to make this dream a reality. I suggested he go to a gay bar and find a guy to hook up with, I even volunteered to go with him to do this, but before we finished that part of the conversation, he was telling me that if he laid on his back in just the right way, with his legs and feet up against the wall, he could suck his own dick and that he liked the taste of his own semen. As I was digesting this little fun fact, he started telling me about how sometimes he would go to the produce section of the grocery store and buy mini cucumbers which he’d take him and put in his ass while he jerked off. I told him toys were safer and he said cucumbers were cheaper and he could throw away the evidence afterward so my brother would never find anything while snooping. After telling me all of this, he told me that if I ever told anyone any of this, he’d deny it all and I’d look stupid, so for the longest time I never told anyone but Blake.

But when my brother was here in 2005 and telling me how he hoped to grow up to be half the man his dad was, I told him about the whole conversation. He of course, called me a liar at first, but then I pointed out that Ken has never been happy with women, any women, and has been perpetually single for most of his life. Isn’t that a little weird for a heterosexual man? And then my brother said that Ken hates gays and I said that’s even more proof that he’s closeted, so many closeted men claim to hate gays and say all kinds of derogatory things towards them to overcompensate for their own feelings. My brother admitted that my theory held a bit of weight but then he said he’d love his dad if he was gay or straight anyway so the conversation didn’t matter, which I agreed with and that was the end of it…until we woke up the next day and my brother blasted me for trying to tarnish his dad’s “good name” by making up lies about him. (As if I could even make up something like that!)

That’s when my brother forbid me from calling Ken my dad anymore. He said, “he’s my dad, not yours, quit saying he is” and that hurt. In all the years my dad and I had fought each other my whole life, the one thing that was never ever said by either of us was “you’re not my dad!” or “you’re not even my daughter!” That was a line we just never crossed and my brother that day crossed it.

Then he started getting racist and violent, punching my walls and calling me a “nigger”, so I grabbed the phone and threatened to call the cops if he didn’t pack his shit up and get the fuck out of my house. At the time I had two handsets for our phone, so I handed him one and said he’d better arrange for a ride because his shit was going to be out in the snow in the next few minutes, so he called a friend, packed his shit up and as he was leaving he apologized for getting violent and scaring my kids and said he’d be back one day. He promised he’d be back. That was the last time I saw him.

I used to ask my mom if she’d heard from my brother and what he was up to and she used to tell me (he was usually unemployed, had a trashy girlfriend, living with Ken and trying to get money out of my mom) but more and more the updates have become less and less, like she’s reluctant to tell me what he’s doing, like it’s none of my business. So I don’t ask anymore.

I’m an only child. *shrug*

Now why the hell this was all in my head at 6 o’clock in the fucking morning is beyond me but I’m glad it’s now been purged and I don’t have to think about them for another year. Maybe since things tend to go down with my family around Xmas, I tend to think about this stuff around this time of year, I dunno.

I worry constantly about the deathbed confessional. Ken is not a healthy man and he’s halfway through his 50s, his own dad died of cancer in his mid-60s. I worry about my brother having to take care of him and watch him die all alone. I worry that I’m going to get a call one day, and I know I will, that Ken is dying and that he may want to see me. I play the scenario in my head all the time as to what I’m gong to do when that time comes. If Ken wants to see me and I don’t go, my brother will never forgive me…but do I care? If Ken doesn’t want to see me, should I go to the funeral? I figure I probably shouldn’t. When the time comes, will I be upset? Will I have regrets? Will he? I think about these things all the time. In fact, I think similar things about my grandmother and aunts & uncles that I no longer speak to all the time too, but this post isn’t about them.

Really what I wonder about the most is…when does life stop being something you have to survive and become something else? For me life has always been about survival and now that it’s not, I feel a little bit lost. Maybe that’s why my brain wanders into the painful past so often, it’s what I know and there’s comfort in that. This life I live now where most of my needs are taken care of, I have all the time in the world to do practically anything I want and everything’s going to be okay? I don’t so much know how to live that life.

But I’m working on figuring it out. One day I’ll find my niche.

And I think this post is done.

December 28, 2009

Lovely Ladies

These pictures were lovingly stolen from my step-mom, Lisa’s, Facebook because…well…I like them.

This is Lisa, who I think is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known, inside & out.
What’s kinda weird is that when I was a little kid, all of my Barbies were named Lisa because Lisa was my favourite name.

And this is my new sister Rachael! She’s 11 months old and this picture was taken Xmas morning.
She looks an awful lot like my dad & I, except brunette.

And that’s all I have to say right now!

Posted at 7:46 pm in: Family , Lisa , Rachael , winter
December 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

– Douglas Adams

Posted at 3:36 pm in: Quotes
December 22, 2009

What A Joyous Time of Year…

Last night Judy watched the kids and we spent 2 grueling hours in a packed Wal*Mart doing the bulk of our Xmas shopping. This year I/we decided fuck it, if you’re a grown up who can buy your own crap, I’m not even gonna bother hazarding a guess as to what you DON’T already have, so (and hopefully none of them are reading this, but I guess it doesn’t matter much if they are) all grown ups in our lives are getting pictures of the kids and gift certificates. Blake got almost all of the gift certificates yesterday on his lunch and only has one more to get today and then we are DONE.

Today Madison and I are going to clean the bathroom, then tomorrow after work Blake is going to vacuum and then my house will be presentable enough for when my mom, her boyfriend John and his son Chris come over to have Xmas with us on Boxing Day. I didn’t get John or Chris anything for Xmas because my mom basically told me not to, which was a great relief because we’re in the poorhouse as it is and my poor Visa is dangerously close to its limit. We decided not to defer our mortgage payment this month, but instead do all of our Xmas shopping on Visa and pay it off when Blake gets his bonus in March. If anything comes up between now & then, like say the car blows up, then we can defer a mortgage payment if need be and have it taken care of.  Now that we’re done our Xmas shopping, the only “big ticket item” we have to worry about is getting all of the animals their shots in January and then getting their township tags.

After we got home from Wal*Mart, Blake made a great steak dinner that I couldn’t eat because right now I’m pretty fucking sick and the only thing keeping me sane is Advil Cold & Sinus. I thought it was just a cold when it hit me on Friday but I’ve had a fever off & on all weekend and yesterday, my whole body aches etc. so I’m putting it more in the flu category. I am SO SCARED to get any of these friggin’ kids sick (ours + Courtney) that I reek of hand sanitizer and there have been no bedtime hugs. I just do not want to deal with 3 sick kids during the 2 & a half week holiday break, especially not if I’m sick myself.  I feel really bad that I felt too bad to eat the dinner Blake made us last night. :o/

We (well he) ate while we watched the Leafs vs Sabres game I started recording while we were at Wal*Mart and when food was done, I got started on wrapping presents. We got Madison this cute makeup bag that’s turquoise patent leather and her first set of makeup. I went way way way overboard in hooking her up with a good variety of stuff (like 6 bottles of nail polish, 3 compacts of eyeshadow…) and I wrapped each thing individually and put it in the bag, with cotton balls on top, zipped it up, then put the bag in a box and then we wrapped the box up. Annoyingly, Blake left a bag on my chair this morning with my hoodie over it which contained makeup removing facewash and mascara that should have gone in the bag with everything else, but I thought all of the cosmetic type stuff was in the bag I was wrapping from…soooooo I wrapped up the mascara & taped it to the box and the facewash I’ll just put in her stocking or something.

And that’s all I got wrapped last night because rapping all of those teeny tiny things took me the entire hockey game and when it was done I was exhausted so I just went to bed. What kills me about wrapping presents is how bad I suck at it. I make all these cute little girls with cute little paper dresses and I’m a whiz with scissors etc. but when I wrap presents, it looks like it was done by Wes. In fact Wes probably does a better job than I do. That’s why every year I usually get Blake to do all the wrapping but this year there won’t be enough time for that so I have to pitch in. While we were at Wal*Mart I bought gift boxes so at least some stuff I won’t have to wrap.

The next thing on my blogging agenda is that my cat is fucking retarded. Every single year for Xmas I buy her a treat or a toy and every single year she wants no part of it. Last year it was a laser pointer, she wanted nothing to do with it. The year before that a mouse or something, I can’t remember but she didn’t want anything to do with it. The year before that I bought her like, 5 different kinds of cat treats but she wouldn’t eat any of them. She just likes her cat food and that’s it. A few weeks ago someone on Facebook linked a YouTube video of all these cats getting stoned on catnip in a garden and I thought HEY WE SHOULD TRY THAT because I’ve never seen a cat actually high on catnip before. So last night, I bought some and it came with a little heart-shaped toy to put the dry catnip in. So I filled it up and got the cat and got her to sniff it and…she wanted no part of it. The toy then split apart and I spilled dry catnip all over my office floor so I picked a bit up and got her to sniff it and no dice. I thought maybe, just maybe, after we went to sleep she’d start getting all stoned on the pile which I left on my office floor for her but when I woke up this morning, it was undisturbed. So I give up. The cat no longer gets anything for Xmas and I guess Alex’s cats have a new toy and a big bag of catnip. Someone remind me next year that my cat sucks and not to get her anything because I know I’ll forget (or maybe it’s denial).

Blake & I weren’t going to get each other anything for Xmas this year due to money, but when we were at Wal*Mart I picked myself up some makeup because I’m running low on the essentials and this was an excuse to replenish my stock. We also happened to be going down the aisle with all the sports stuff and Blake pointed out Leafs jerseys….that were PINK & WHITE. Obviously not regulation, being pink & white, but NHL sanctioned and so Blake got me one for Xmas and I got him a Leafs home jersey (not regulation either). One day I will have a regulation Leafs home jersey to go along with my Leafs 3rd jersey but since they’re over $100, we’ll make due with Wal*Mart jerseys for now.

The rest of the stuff we got was mostly odds & ends, like I was out of incense so I picked up a bunch of that and I wanted to get a plastic “boot mat” for under the dogs’ bowls because they make such a mess and there’s constantly dog food all over my kitchen. (Lucky eats laying down and if Hoover’s eating too, Lucky will pick up his bowl and eat in the living room.) I also wanted to get Madison some yarn because I know she’s getting crochet hooks for Xmas and books about how to crochet, so we picked up a bunch of that too. She also needed pajamas and bras so those went in the cart as well.

We didn’t really get anything for Wes at Wal*Mart because Blake had gotten him stuff at Toys ‘R’ Us yesterday afternoon (Lego, some plastic dragons, I forget what else), but we did pick him up Lego Batman for his DS and Blake had already gotten him a few pairs of pajamas and some clothes so he’s good.

We got my 4 year old sister Raili some Barbies and my 10 month old sister Rachael a set of Little People. We got Courtney next door a DS game of Deal or No Deal. What else? I don’t even remember and you probably don’t care anyway. Long story short, after Blake picks up a couple of things on his lunch today, we are done our Xmas shopping completely. I plan on spending all afternoon today and tomorrow wrapping things and getting the house clean and after that we should be good to go.

Blake called my dad on Sunday and asked him to clean up the garage for the dogs, which he said he’d do and that takes a lot off my mind. What do the dogs get for Xmas? Well my dad hunts and I’m not sure what he hunted for this year, but usually it’s deer and moose and occasionally bear but whatever he hunted for in the fall, he gets the butcher to save him some of the bigger bones for his dogs and mine to have at Xmas.

I also have children’s Gravol to give the dogs before we leave so they don’t puke in the car on the way up. (And yes we called the vet and yes you can give dogs half of a children’s Gravol if they’re the size of mine.)

So I guess that’s it, we’re on track for Xmas. I had more to say but I think I’ll just end things here and start wrapping presents.

December 18, 2009

Showin’ Pink

I’m pink again!
I dyed my hair last night and realistically I probably should have bleached my roots first, but when my hair was blonde they weren’t very noticeable, it was only after I did the pink that I thought “oops”. Live & learn!
The roots don’t look too bad in person and they won’t look bad at all once the dye’s out of them, which should be in about a week.

Ps. I need my hair trimmed soooooooooooo bad. :o/

Posted at 6:13 pm in: Beauty , hair
December 15, 2009

Dead Sound

We’re supposed to get a crapload of snow in Sunnyland tonight and tomorrow, 10cm each day with whiteout conditions from snowsqualls. To those who don’t live near a giant lake in The Great White North, a snowsquall is kinda like a snowy thunderstorm, minus the thunder & lightning (most of the time…on the odd occasion we get both & it’s pretty cool, lightning in winter is green). Snowsqualls, apparently, are a result of the wind & snow crossing the lake and we’re close enough to Lake Huron (it’s only 10 mins from me) that we get these storms. Often during the winter, our road is closed because of them, although I doubt that’ll be the case tonight (and I also doubt we’re going to get as much snow as they’re saying.)

Anyway, this afternoon the snow looked really cool, it was coming down slowly and softly like a white curtain and I tried to take video of it but I think the framerate on my camera is messed up somehow because when I came back inside and looked the the video, the snow was falling much faster than it had been in person. Regardless, I uploaded it to YouTube anyway and if you care to see it, here it is…it’s only 40 seconds:

This morning I had to get up early to go to the lab and get a blood test done, which had be thrilled beyond belief because needles and veins and blood are just my favouritest things in the whole wide world! Almost as awesome as getting up early in the morning! They chastised me for taking my pills with about 6 mouthfuls of Coke Zero instead of water (some of the pills I take are capsules with powder in them and I find taking them with water really gross because the damn things dissolve REALLY fast and then the capsules feel like they’re stuck in my throat, for some reason this doesn’t happen if I take them with something carbonated) because they claimed it would affect my cholesterol reading. Truthfully, I’m not sure I believe them and they almost wouldn’t do the test but I told them it was my last day to do it, that it was Blake’s last day of vacation and that my doctor’s appointment was on Friday so if I didn’t get it done today I was screwed, so they said they’d do it but to make sure I told my doctor that the cholesterol results might be a little off because I was a VERY BAD GIRL. I’m not really worried about it though.

Remember last year when my GP freaked out about my cholesterol and put me on cholesterol meds? My shrink thought/thinks he was being a bit extreme because apparently my levels weren’t really anything to be worried about, especially since I wasn’t taking the medication that caused the spike anymore and while I’m still taking the cholesterol meds because I figure I might as well, I’m not worried about the 6 mouthfuls of Coke Zero I had this morning skewing my test results one way or the other. I am a little interested to see how my cholesterol looks since I began eating all these eggs though. Oh, did I mention I lost 2 & a half lbs last week? That’s almost 11 lbs total since I started eating eggs for breakfast 10 weeks ago. w00t!

After my blood test, Blake & I went to the post office where there were two packages to pick up. One was an Amazon box for the kids for Xmas from Blake’s mom & Charlie and one was a book called the Artist Trading Card Workshop by Bernie Berlin from Lia! THANK YOU LIA! I flipped through it when I got home, but then I got sidetracked and haven’t had a chance to pick it up again. It looks pretty wicked though, so many different kinds of cards! I plan on spending some time with the book later tonight. Again, thanks Lia, you’re awesome!

And of course, speaking of artist trading cards my first 8 are almost finished. They just need arms and a coat of varnish and then they’ll be done. And I guess when they’re “done” I have to figure out a way to put my name & stuff on the back…honestly, I’ll probably just write it. My printer is slowly but surely dying and there’s no way it would print labels nicely, even if I had any. I could also glue my business card to the backs of them, but I don’t really want 40 “internet people” having my home phone number. I’ll figure it out. Anyway, here’s a group shot I took of the 8 after I took the books off of them that were drying them flat:

Throughout the rest of this post, I’ll show you some of them close up. All images can be clicked to enlarge.

Doing the smaller girls has definitely been a lesson in trial & error. For the 8 that are almost finished, I screwed up just as many because like I said in a previous post, drawing them so small is actually kind of hard. I’m getting the hang of it though, and last night I started a sheet of 15 more, which I’ll work on while these ones’ arms and varnish are drying. Once the 15 I started yesterday are finished, I only have 1 more card with gold sparkles to do and then that stack is finished. The rest either have iridescent or silver sparkles.

While I’ve been doing these, because this is just how my mind works, I’ve been thinking about the ones that I’ll be selling and I’m not sure how I’m going to do that. I know that each card is going to be $30 + $2 shipping, but I don’t know if I’m going to sell them on my site or the site I linked a while back where all they sell is ATCs (or more properly ACEOs) in an Etsy-like setting. That site, from what I’ve been able to tell doesn’t take a cut, so I don’t have the issues with it that I have with Etsy and eBay, but I don’t know how popular it is or if the artists actually sell their cards. Another thing with that site is that you have to scan each individual card and list each one separately, which I guess makes sense, but that’s a lot of extra work and if I can avoid extra work and achieve the same result, I’m more inclined to do that. Selling on my site I have 2 options: scan, post and make a PayPal button for each one or DON’T scan them all, just show examples of each colour and then the card(s) the person gets would be left to my discretion. What do you guys think? I’m thinking that I’ll sell more if I scan each card and post them all with their own PayPal buttons, but I’m torn as to whether I should do that on my own site or on that ACEO site that just sells ACEOs. I suppose I could sell some on my site, like all on one page, and then on that page say that there’s more for sale on the ACEO site and give people the option to buy them there too, if the card they want happens to be there. I really really suck at the business of art, seriously.

Another thing I thought I could do, if I ever sell a freaking painting & actually have some money, is I could matte (mat?) and frame say, 3 cards and sell them as one piece. I have no idea how much framing costs though, so I don’t even know if that would be realistic or if I’d end up ripping myself off in the end because you can only price something like that so high.

Maybe it’s tacky that I think about selling things as I make them, but I’m a really utilitarian person and my grama, aka The Antichrist, is/was an artist’s worst enemy. I’m sure I’ve talked about this before, but when I was Wes’ age, I would make things and sell them in my grama’s furniture store and that taught me early that you only get to create things if you’re going to sell them. Even when I was an adult and we were living above her store and I started painting on canvas, I’d show her what I’d created and her response would always be, “Okay so you made it, now what are you going to do with it?” and when I’d tell her I was going to sell it, on the internet, because I knew that was the “right” answer, she’d say “Well who in the hell is going to buy that?” (This was back when I was going through my “fetal phase” and fuck you, grama, I sold every goddamn piece!)

While my mother definitely raised me (at least until I was 15), I spent just about every weekend of my life with my grama and the attitude that you can only create to sell is very deeply ingrained in me. The only thing I’ve painted for myself, in the 8 years I’ve been painting, is the covers of my sketchbooks and even those are extremely hard for me to do because as I’m doing them, I’m thinking that I could be spending that time and those supplies on something that’s going to potentially make money.

And back to the utilitarian thing for a second, I’m not a keeper on “nicknacks”. You will find very very few of these in my home and the ones I do have were given to me as gifts, I would never in a million years buy anything like that for myself because I think they’re a waste of money. They just sit there. Also the only pictures adorning my walls are my failed attempts that I don’t really know what to do with.

It would be lovely to say that I have this fabulous home and studio full of inspirational things, but I really just don’t. It’s the same thing with the way I dress, I mean people expect artists to be these crazy dressers with crazy hair & all that, but I’m pretty plain & boring. Today when I went to the lab, I wore grey trackpants, a brown t-shirt and a grey hoodie. Other times I just would have worn my pajamas because A) I live in sleepwear and B) I just don’t care. If I’m dressing up to go somewhere, whatever I’m wearing is usually pretty simple and usually pretty black. I suppose sometimes my hair, when I dye it crazy colours, is more conducive to the artist stereotype but it’s never really a conscious “oh I’m creative so I must look the part” thing, it’s just “hey I feel like having pink hair this month.”

I was actually reading about this very thing in the book Living the Creative Life a couple of months ago. Most of the artists who were interviewed for that book were like me when it came to dress and a lot of them said that they’d rather put their creative energy into the things they created than into looking the part of the “creative artist”. I couldn’t agree with that more, obviously, and it made me feel a lot better hearing it from other artists. I mean, why the hell wouldn’t I paint in my pajamas? I have nowhere to be, no one to impress and y’know what? I’m gonna get paint on them! And it won’t matter!

So there ya have it, my take on living the creative life.

Something else I’ve been doing this week is taking pictures and video for the background tutorial I keep being asked for. Today was the last step. I’m still not going to post it until after the new year because with Xmas & Buttercup & everything else I have to do these days, the tutorial is fairly low on my priority list. And actually, in writing this down, I’ve realized that I have one more picture to take for it and then all that’s left to do is edit everything together and make it into a post.

What I will tell you about it though, is that the background I made for the tutorial is the same as the black & gold ATCs on this page and the girl that’s going to be going on the painting is going to be a BEE GIRL wearing a tutu. I haven’t drawn her yet and I’m not sure if the tulle I have is tea-stainable, but she’s in my mind and I’m really excited about her. Again though, I’m not going to start working on her until after Xmas when things have died down a bit.

As per usual, all things Xmas have me stressed out beyond belief. I know I’ve explained this before, but every year for the past few years, we’ve gone up north to my dad & step-mom’s Xmas Eve, stay there Xmas Day, have Xmas dinner across the road at my uncle Paul’s house and then have to drive home Xmas night to do it all over again with my mother on Boxing Day. As I also explained in a previous post, last year my dad really disrespected my dogs by not cleaning out the garage and it upset me quite a bit. I didn’t sleep at ALL on Xmas Eve because I was worried about the dogs and felt sorry for them, only having the space of a blanket to lay down or move around on that wasn’t flooded or full of my dad’s van.

This year, to avoid all that, the original plan was to have my neighbours come and let the dogs in & out while we were away but as we get closer to actually having to do it I’m having a hard time dealing with it. Agoraphobia is the fear of the outside world, yes, but part of it, at least for me, is a fear of letting people into my inside world and the idea of people in my house while I’m gone really bothers me. I mean, I trust Wayne & Judy to look after the dogs, but I don’t know if I trust them not to take a tour of my house and inspect how clean my toilet is.

Last week I was really considering staying home with the dogs and not going to my dad’s at all because honestly, that sounds like the perfect Xmas to me – no Xmas at all – but even that stressed me out because like it or not, there are all of these societal pressures put on people during Xmas that you either have to adhere to or people will think you’re a shitty person. If I don’t go up north for Xmas, I’m a shitty daughter and a shitty mother (even though my kids couldn’t care less if I was there or not) and it’s going to look weird when they go over to Paul’s for Xmas dinner and I’m not there. People are going to expect Blake to explain and there really isn’t an explanation that would make anyone happy or us to seem less weird (when they already think of us as pretty fucking weird).

So after a lot of inner debate, the original plan stands, that the entire Crittenden family, those on 2 legs and 4 (well, minus Pixel who gets a nice vacation from all of us for Xmas), are going up north for Xmas and Blake’s going to call my dad personally and tell him (in nicer terms than I’m gonna put it here) that if that goddamn garage isn’t fit for MY dogs, we’re turning around and coming home. Blake also called the vet today to see if you can give dogs Gravol and yes, yes you can (1/4 of a children’s one, apparently), so this year we won’t be pulling over on some back road to clean up Lucky’s vomit with a box of Kleenex because that’s all that’s in the car.

To make matters worse, ALL of our Xmas shopping is being done on Thursday’s paycheque because we haven’t been able to afford it until now. And even then, and I’m sure Blake will love me for posting this publicly, we’re looking at deferring this month’s mortgage payment to even have Xmas this year because we simply don’t have the money to give the kids the kind of Xmas they’ve enjoyed previous years. Also, everyone who isn’t under the age of 12 this year is getting gift certificates because I just don’t know what the hell to buy anyone. When I’ve asked, I’ve been told gift certificates, so that’s what everyone’s getting. Our kids are getting clothes because they need them and we can’t afford to do “fun stuff” and clothes, so that’s just the way it’s going to have to be. My sister Raili  (aged 4) is getting Barbies and my sister Rachael (aged 10 months) is getting Little People because that’s what was asked for.

Also, I don’t even know for sure what the hell is going on with my mother this year and I’ve been too afraid to ask. The “tradition” has been that she comes here Boxing Day and we do presents and have dinner, but with her moving in with John, first of all, I don’t know if he and his son will be coming (which means extra gifts/extra food) and second of all, now that my mother has an actual HOME, she may want to start doing Boxing Day there like we’ve done for most of my life. The thing is though, with going up north and all the bullshit associated with it, we don’t want to have to do more traveling on Boxing Day and if she comes here, I hope she’s fine with pizza or Chinese food because I’m NOT leaving halfway through Xmas dinner at Paul’s house to make it back home in time for me to get enough sleep to cook Xmas dinner the next day for my mother.

Have I mentioned how much I fucking hate Xmas? Seriously, it kills me. I wish it was never invented. I wish I could sleep through the whole thing. I wish I could stay home, with my dogs, watching bad movies and pretending it wasn’t happening.

On a more positive note, did anyone see the Leafs game last night? Was that fucking beautiful or what? My throat is still sore from cringing/yelling at the TV.

And with that, I’m out and you’re probably thinking “thank god” because this post is 3,100 words long.

PS. My review of the new Sims expansion is up on Buttercup for those who were waiting for it.

PPS. I stand corrected about the snow. I just went outside and we got at least 15cm in the time it took me to write this post.

December 13, 2009

Hello old friend. Oh how I’ve missed you.

Tonight I watched my Maple Leafs, who are the 2nd worst team in the league at the moment, beat the Capitals, who are the BEST in the league right now, 6-3. It was a beautiful thing.

I stopped watching hockey altogether about 5 or 6 years ago because the Leafs started sucking so bad I basically couldn’t watch, but out of boredom last week or the week before, I turned on Hockey Night in Canada and while the Leafs lost that night to the Bruins, dismally (2-7, I believe), the hockey spark was reignited within me and I tuned into their next game against the Thrashers, where they won 2-5. I missed the Leafs vs Islanders game (I hate the Islanders, but more about that later) but we won that one too 2-3, then lost to the Bruins 2-5 and that brings us up to tonight’s game against the Capitals, which again, was a beautiful thing.

On Monday it’s the Leafs vs the Senators, with us having the home ice advantage and win or lose, those are always fun games to watch because of the whole rivalry thing. The Senators are an okay team, but I think everyone outside of Ottawa pretty much hates them, especially Toronto.

Needless to say, I’m in full-on hockey mode these days. I may not know half the players on my own team anymore and I may not totally understand all of the penalties (but then again I never did), but I’m so filled with quiet joy while watching that I can’t even explain it. I’m realistic though, I don’t expect my Leafs to make the playoffs and I think a lot of their goals are flukey and their passing is pretty much atrocious but they’re still my team and win or lose, that’s who I’m going to root for. Always have, always will. And just by the few games I’ve watched so far this season, it seems as though they’re getting better and better and acting like more of a team, so hey, maybe this is the year that things will turn around. Again, we’re not exactly gonna win the cup or anything, but I spent a lot of tonight reading about the current roster and it’s a good team, they just need to learn how to work together better and not rely on Kessel to do most of their scoring. Or at least that’s my observations of the team after watching only 3 games, in which case I could be completely talking out of my ass.

Prior to taking my 5 or 6 year break from hockey, I was actually really into it, mostly due to the fact that my ex-boyfriend, Chris, is the biggest hockey nerd I’ve ever known and when we first met, he chastised me for being unCanadian by not watching hockey and that pissed me off so I started watching. I mean obviously hockey’s kind of unavoidable in this country so I’d watched games before, I was just never really into it, but watching hockey with someone who’s REALLY into it turned out to be a lot of fun and since his team (he was from NY) was the Islanders and mine was the Leafs (which at the time was WAY WAY better), we had a friendly rivalry going.

Our breakup was not so amicable though because he cheated on me in both the emotional and physical sense and I channeled that hurt into passionately hating the Islanders, which I do to this day even though he & I are friends again.

I could be completely wrong on this because my memory’s fuzzy, but there are pictures of me roasting a pair of Islanders track pants on my BBQ from 2002 when I believe both the Leafs and the Isles were in the playoffs and a friend of mine from Camwhores, BJ, was a fan so I wanted to piss him off. Here they are (well, 2 of them anyway):

Good times, good times.

I was actually thinking tonight while watching the Leafs game that it’s a shame that I don’t have a Leafs home jersey, I just have the classic “away” one that Lisa, my step-mom bought me one year for Xmas. I used to have an Olympic Team Canada Jersey, but I lent it to Chris, my ex, and after the breakup I never got it back. To this day that pisses me off because those suckers are expensive and dammit, the Olympics are coming up and here I am jerseyless! Curses!

When it comes to Olympic hockey, I obviously root for Team Canada, but I also try to watch the Team Finland games too because half my family are fresh off the boat Finns and it is my belief that Finns are the best hockey players in the world. Prior to this Leafs kick I’m on, I was actually really looking forward to Olympic hockey this year because it’s the only Olympic event I watch. (I hate the Olympics otherwise, they interrupt all my shows!) The one year, again if I recall correctly, it came down to Team Canada and Team USA at one point and I made a bet with my aforementioned friend BJ where he had to do something on cam, but I forget what now, and he lost. I wish I could find the pictures from that fiasco because it was hilarious and my memory’s foggy. (What a pointless story haha BJ got banned from Camwhores for basically being a dickhead and the pics were in his archives so if I don’t have them saved somewhere, they’re gone forever. Bummer.)

Anyway, I think it’s safe to say that this season I’ve become a fan again and it feels good. I wrote all of the Leafs games down on my calendar (well up until the end of December when my calendar ends) and I plan on watching every single fucking game.

Posted at 7:37 am in: Canada , Hockey
December 12, 2009

It’s Ooooonly Teeeenage Wasteland.

This is my first ATC girl who is much larger than actual size. She has no arms yet and her shoes aren’t painted, but when they are, she’ll be going on one of the black & gold ATCs. I have 3 other girls in this state of being finished but I didn’t take pictures of them because their dresses look stupid the way they are now and won’t look proper until I cut them out. To explain, they’re in the same style as “Sparkle“, so the tissue paper is kind of everywhere until I cut out the shape of their skirts.

Tonight I’m going to work on the other 4 who are on the same piece of watercolour paper and are ready for their dresses. Two of them will be going on purple & gold ATCs and the other two are for the gold & black.

While I’ve definitely been procrastinatey with the ATCs (I’m also working on a canvas for the background tutorial), I am absolutely loving doing them. I like doing very small, detailed work and always have, especially when I’m in pain and I’ve always liked “cut & paste”. When I was little, like in kindergarten and grade 1, we would have art class and I would always get excited when the activity was “cut & paste”, whether it was cutting up magazines or construction paper. That’s why I like doing these girls so much (and the bigger ones, of course), the painting of them is actually very minimal, it’s the cutting & pasting of their dresses that I find fulfilling. It’s the mixing of media and little details. The backgrounds, of course, is all painting, but I see that as a separate thing from doing the girls themselves. All of my paintings are done in 4 stages: the background (which is like, 5 stages in and of itself), the girl(s), the varnishing and the addition of details, like jewels or fibers or thread.  I take pleasure in each step, but I have to admit that it’s the cutting & pasting of each girl’s ensemble that I like the best.

With the little ATC girls, I haven’t decided yet if they’re going to have thread (for the ones with corsets) or jeweled details. I’m kind of thinking “no”, because people will want the cards to be totally flat to put with a collection or whatnot and with the threads for the corsets, half of the thread would be on the back of the card where my information is supposed to be. (I realize I could do the sewing before I put the girls on the cards but I’ve found that when I do that, they don’t adhere properly because the thread is so bumpy and it makes their busts slightly curve.)

Making these little girls is definitely a lot harder than making the full-sized ones. Just to draw the first 8 took me about 3 days and shading them took another 2. Then another day to paint their faces and another to paint their eyes, lips and eyeshadow, which had to dry overnight. Making the backgrounds, the cards, was so easy, but these little girls are gonna be the death of me, I have no idea how I’m going to all 60 of them when 8 is taking me forever. But I figure I have all winter and have nothing better to do, so I might as well just keep plugging away. I’m out of canvases and have no money, so it’s not like I’m going to be painting anything else for a while.  I do have a pile of wood that Blake cut for me at Jesse’s house a while ago, like a dozen or so of them in varying sizes, but I don’t like working with wood because I can’t sew into it and I don’t like adhering watercolour paper to it because it just doesn’t seem right. I guess if I get really desperate, I’ll use it, but for now I’m pretending it doesn’t exist and just keeping my head down getting these girls finished.

Today Blake downloaded and burned the movie Julie & Julia for me and he has another 2 or 3 on the go so my plan is to just watch movies tonight and work on my girls. I got up this morning around 11am, but got tired again around 1pm and ended up sleeping for the rest of the afternoon, so I’m guessing I’m going to be up late.

Blake had half of Thursday off, plus Friday, then this weekend and then he has Monday & Tuesday off too because his boss made him take the rest of this year’s vacation days before the end of the year. That means that on Monday he’s going to help me take some pictures for the background tutorial because I can’t splatter paint and take pictures at the same time and then on Tuesday morning I have to finally go in for the bloodwork my shrink ordered 4 months ago which I’ve been putting off because nothing is worse to me than having your blood drawn. (Okay maybe getting an IV is worse. Veins and blood are just gross.) Hopefully my shrink will get the results before my appointment with her on Friday.

Anyway, my dinner just materialized in front of me, so I guess I’ll stop babbling, hit “post” and go eat. I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend and the snow isn’t keepin’ ya down.

Posted at 7:59 pm in: Art , Blake , Creativity , Mental Health , Movies , winter

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