October 31, 2010

In Costume

Madison as Ramona Flowers.
She made the hammer herself, it’s +2 against girls.
“The finger” isn’t part of her costume, she’s just…being my kid…

Wes as a FABULOUS  Hogwart’s wizard:


I love how his socks don’t match. Ever.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Posted at 6:24 pm in: Kids , Madison , Wes
October 29, 2010

Colourful Kids

Madison’s hair was dyed blue for her Ramona Flowers costume but you can’t really tell in today’s grey light with how dark her hair is (I wouldn’t let her bleach it) and yes, she is wearing one of my old Scratching Post shirts. Ramona Flowers would have to wear either a NY or Toronto band’s t-shirt. Madison also has goggles and since it’s cold she’s just wearing jeans and an army jacket. Oh and Blake made her a faux messenger bag with a star on it, the same as Ramona’s.

Wes’ hair is pink because he just likes pink. He’s actually being a Hogwart’s wizard for Halloween.

Posted at 6:59 pm in: hair , Kids , Madison , Wes
October 28, 2010

The House of Lulz

I guess technically I told, since I’m making this post.

Tonight I dyed Madison’s hair blue for her Ramona Flowers costume and I dyed Wes’ hair magenta for the sheer fact that he let me.

PS. I got that cowgirl hat for $4 on Saturday. What a bargain!

Posted at 8:33 pm in: Blake , hair , Kids , Life , Madison , Wes
October 25, 2010

Organizing…

We got a bookshelf. This is a BIG DEAL.

I get and read a lot of books and until today we had 2 bookshelves full of books and one full of kid DVDs and video games and that was problematic because I had piles of books ALL OVER THE HOUSE that had no homes and they were constantly in the way. So today, we bought a bigass bookshelf and gathered up all the books that were in piles all around the house and just about filled that sucker. Behold:

It also houses the glittery pink cowgirl hat I bought yesterday, 2 TELUS animals (a lion & a hippo) and 2 jar candles which I get a lot of for Xmas. (Not complaining, I love candles, but today I also bought a BBQ lighter so I could actually light the damn things once they’re halfway burned.) To the right is the easel I never use and the dogs’ harnesses and leashes. To the left is a fan that Blake’s gonna put in the shed sometime soon because it’s almost winter and we don’t need it in here right now.

So with the books out of the shelf that my TV sits on in my office, it became free to actually ORGANIZE my DVDs which were also in piles in my office because I had nowhere to put them so behold, my organized (and dusted!) DVD shelf:

It too holds 2 jar candles that I can now light with my fancy (and fucking childproof grrr) new BBQ lighter. These are mine & Blake’s DVDs, the kids have their own DVD shelf in the living room, as I mentioned.

I know I know, shelves are boring, but to me they are very exciting because I’m not tripping over dusty piles of books anymore and I can actually SEE the top of my dresser! AND, look at all that room to accumulate MORE books and DVDs! Now THAT is exciting!

It was a whirlwind of a weekend and I’m just now starting to come down from it. We went to Old Navy to get the kids some clothes, then we went to a Halloween store to get Wes a costume (he’s being a Hogwart’s wizard but NOT Harry Potter),  then we went to a guitar store to get Blake his guitar and finally we went to Shopper’s Drug Mart where we bought Madison blue hair dye for Halloween (she’s being Ramona Flowers – PS. Alex, can Madison borrow your army jacket?) and I bought all new makeup because the stuff I had was all 8-10 years old and chalky or sticky as hell. I threw it all away and replaced it with the new stuff and THAT felt good. I also bought hair dye in “Hot Hot Pink” because apparently Shopper’s Drug Mart doesn’t carry the Pink Flamingo Manic Panic that I normally use. I think this shade is more of a magenta but it should fade nicely to the shade I normally use. I think, anyway. We’ll see.

So that’s my exciting update. Yay, right? I took enough clonazepam and lorazepam to fell an elephant this weekend to get all of that done, but dammit, I did it.

Posted at 12:57 am in: Blake , Books , Fall , Family , Gratitude , Kids , Life , Madison , Money , Sunnyland , Wes
October 22, 2010

Whoa. *thumbs up*

Posted at 4:57 pm in: Life , Politics , videos , youtube

I wonder what it would be like if she were president.

Apparently she has a strong pro-LGBTQ track record. I didn’t know that.
Man, Canadian politics are so boring with our whole “everyone can marry who they want” thing and anti-hate speech laws and pro-prostitution legally stuff.

Posted at 2:03 am in: Canada , Feminism , Politics , Women
October 20, 2010

Everything’s Just Peachy

I just ordered tickets to go see Mother Mother next Wednesday at Lee’s Palace with Blake (obviously) and that makes me very excited. They are inexplicably OPENING for some band I’ve never heard of, I didn’t realize they were such small potatoes. They shouldn’t be. Anyway, it should be a good time, especially because, due to this whole job thing, I actually have money to buy myself a drink or two, which will make me forget that I’m out in public where the scary people are.

As I type this, I’m doing my light therapy for S.A.D. Blake rigged the lightbox up so that it’s directly behind my laptop and I can turn it on while I’m working. This is my first day using it and while I don’t think I need it just yet because the days have been mostly sunny still all month, the grey skies are coming and my shrink says it’s better to start treatment early and have it be preventative than a treatment to bring “down” depression once it sets in. The same line of thinking goes for pain management, actually, although I suck at explaining it.

Yesterday my Xmas present from Charlie arrived, which was pretty much an entire Free People wardrobe, beautiful clothes full of lace and ruffles. I’m going to wear one of the outfits when we go to see Mother Mother, but I’m unsure as to where I’m going to wear everything else. I don’t really go too many places where dressing up is required, but Blake says he’s going to think of places to go that do require that so stay tuned. Charlie is way too good to us.

This weekend is Xmas shopping for the kids and Blake which means going to Old Navy to get the kids new clothes and to Long & McQuade to get Blake an acoustic guitar and case as he’s been wanting one for a really long time but we haven’t had the money. When we go up North to my dad’s, there are often impromptu jam sessions and once Blake has his guitar, he can join in too. :o)

At the beginning of the week I was stressing because I couldn’t find the time to do the things that are important to me, namely art, but also reading and while I haven’t perfected my time management skills yet, I am getting better and actually completed the girl who is to go on the front cover of my The Sketchbook Project sketchbook. (Which you’ll see when the project is finished and my sketchbook is digitized.) So that’s progress. I’m okay with things taking longer and things being slow, it was the fact that I didn’t have time to do it AT ALL the past month that had me starting to get sad. What changed? I’ve been sleeping less and I think after only 2 days my body is already getting used to it because I’m not tired. I still get tired after I take my morning pills, but I’ve been just pushing through it and having breakfast and so far I’ve been mostly okay. Naps have been limited to an hour long after falling asleep. And that’s without setting an alarm, my body just seems to be doing that on its own. Mind over matter, maybe?

As long as I work during the day, as opposed to getting up at noon or 1pm and trying to catch up all afternoon, I seem to be able to still work on art, or, as I’ve been doing today, reading. Also, I’m getting a lot faster at my job, which helps.

Right now I’m reading a book called The Help, which is turning out to be really good. It’s basically about black maids in the South in the 60’s but the characters are so well defined that even after only reading 3 chapters, I’m hooked and have a hard time putting it down. But then again, I like stories like these so your mileage may vary if you decide to get yourself a copy. My next book to read is called Those Who Save Us, which is about the Holocaust and that is absolutely new territory to me. I sucked at history in school because I thought it was boring (history in schools here are mostly about Canadian politics, which is a snorefest) so I missed all the Holocaust stuff and therefore I know actually very little about it so I’m very interested in this book. After those two books, I have The Girl Who… trilogy to work on (Millenium Trilogy, I think they’re being marketed as) which Blake has been listening to as an audio book (the first one) and he doesn’t think I’m going to like them because I hated The Da Vinci Code with a burning passion and I guess the first book in the series is similar? I don’t know, I barely glanced at the book’s synopsis on the back cover. We’ll see, I guess.

And that’s pretty much all that’s going on with me at the moment.

October 18, 2010

Today I Painted

And I should be painting again right now, but instead I’m stupidly choosing to write about it.

I started my job one month ago and during that time, until today, I hadn’t painted a single stroke. The cover for my The Sketchbook Project has been sitting on my office’s coffee table all glittered and ready to go, but I haven’t had time to work on the girl to put on it, nevermind the other 2 girls I’m working on for full-sized paintings.

When this job was offered to me, during my first discussion about it with my boss, I told him I’d do 8 hour days M-F but that I didn’t want to work weekends because that’s when we do family things like groceries or basically anything that involves going anywhere and we compromised that I would “check in” on weekends. Well, until this weekend, I’ve been working full days on Sat & Sun for the most part, partially because I’m still learning and the learning curve for this job is pretty steep so I want to immerse myself in it as much as possible, but also because I have a tab open constantly where I can see how many e-mails there are that need answering and if that number gets to a certain point, I can’t stand it and have to go work on them. And I say “okay I’ll just do 20” because it’s my day off, but it’s never just 20. I try not to do all of them because on weekends, it is not my job to clear that inbox, but yesterday and even today, I suckered myself into doing 4 hours worth, which is half a day. That’s a little more than a “check in”.

And don’t get me wrong here, I’m NOT bitching about my job or my boss or anything like that – I love this job and my bosses seem pretty cool –  it is 100% me and how I function that’s the problem. I just don’t know how to change it so I can set boundaries for myself and have enough time to do the things that are important to me.

When I told Blake about the job and we were talking about it in the beginning, I told him I was worried that this very thing was going to happen and he said that there were 3 sections to each day: 8 hours to sleep, 8 hours to work, 8 hours to do X. My X could be painting. And that’s all fine & good but that’s not how things have been going.

I sleep like, 10 or 12 hours. Then an hour or 2 later, I have a 2 hour nap. (Although I’ve been napping very very rarely since I started the job.) I sleep a LOT. Part of it is because I’m on medications that make me tired and part of it is that I just like to sleep. I’ve always been a fan, what can I say? But do you think it’s possible to train yourself to only sleep 8 hours at night when you’re used to sleeping 10 or more? Like if I set an alarm? I haven’t gotten up with an alarm since 2001. It doesn’t matter WHEN these 8 hours of sleep occur, I’m not looking to set a schedule, I’m looking to change my sleep requirements. With my meds, I’m not sure it’s possible, but even if I slept 8 hours consecutively then woke up, took my drugs, ate my breakfast and worked, then if I had a 2 hour nap that would still be sleeping less than I do now with more time, in theory, to paint later. That 2 hour nap though, would (and does) eat into my 8 hour block of potential painting time, bringing it down to 6. I can still work with 6!

The unfortunate thing is that I can’t work 8 hours and stop. I can work 1 hour and stop and do something else for an hour and then work again, but working 8 hours and then saying “okay I’m done for the day!” doesn’t really seem to work with this job, or at least if I had that attitude they probably wouldn’t like me as much as they do. I asked specifically if they wanted me to “sit on the inbox” and the answer was no, I’m supposed to check it sporadically. So…I don’t really know how my time works there. I wouldn’t feel right doing say, 3 hours of work in the “morning” (which for me could be 1pm) to get the inbox emptied from what we got over night and then going off to do something else, like painting, and have my painting time count toward my 8 hours. Does that make sense? Like yes, technically I’m waiting for the inbox to fill up again and then in an hour or 2 I’ll go in and it might take me another hour to empty it again, but I don’t think that “in between time” is what they’re paying me for. And that’s one of the perks of this job, that “in between time”. The problem is, I’ve been pissing it away.

It’s a blog post here, a forum post there, a few tweets, Googling something, catching up on my Facebook feed, clicking that YouTube video someone sent me, answering a few e-mails…that shit sucks up so much time! And look! I’m doing it RIGHT FUCKING NOW when it’s MY DAY OFF and I SHOULD BE PAINTING. But something I’ve found is that when I WANT to paint, I don’t necessarily have the time to and when I have the time to, I don’t want to paint. When I paint, as I’ve mentioned before, I listen to stuff on TV. I don’t really watch it because I don’t look at the TV really, I just kinda listen to it while I paint which is why I watch the same movies over & over again. Movies are about 2 hours long. And I can’t let the inbox go 2 hours because if I do, it takes me too long to get it caught up again because I’m still a n00b.

And maybe that’s just it: Maybe I haven’t given it or myself enough time to get a groove happening. My time is hard to gauge. I can’t really say that X amount of e-mails take me X amount of time to reply to because I don’t know those numbers yet, not accurately. It depends on the e-mails and what I have to do on our end. And I still have a LOT to learn. I’m not allowed to go into detail on what I still have to learn but let’s just say that I’m only doing about – and I’m guessing here – 1/3 of what my job entails. Once I get more accurate and faster at the 1/3 of the job I do know, they’ll teach me the rest. I assume that’s just how jobs work.

So maybe right now my art is just going to have to suffer. Is that okay? I mean, am I allowed to just shelve it for a while and still be considered a professional artist? What are the rules here? I mean fuck, I just had business cards reprinted!

Whatever. Life is what it is, right? I think you can only cut a day into 3 clean, 8 hour pieces if you’re a machine and I’m as squishy as they come.

I guess since this post is finished and it’s only 12:30am, I’ve got 2 hours left in me to watch a movie and paint some more before I go to sleep (with an alarm) and the work week begins again.

PS. Mad Men finale? PEGGY & JOAN ARE MY FAVOURITE. That is all.

Posted at 12:33 am in: Art , Creativity , Mental Health , TV , Work
October 15, 2010

Awesome and totally NSFW

October 13, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

I just randomly woke up with some of the worst cramps of my life and a huge gush of blood between my legs. Luckily tonight was yoga night (which caused the major cramping to begin with…I thought I shouldn’t go because I was in pain but Blake said I’d regret it if I didn’t go, but now here we are…) so I was wearing the biggest of my Lunapads and I didn’t get blood on the sheets. I’ve been up long enough for the Tylenol 3 & Naproxen to be doing their jobs so along with my Magic Bag (sort of like a heating pad you microwave, I think it’s full of some kind of beans) I’m doing alright.

It’s only Tuesday and my first day without Blake & kids in 10+ days, but already I feel like my days are less pressured now that I’m doing my job full time . I’m still training but I’m still expected to train 8 hours a day and that’s a lot easier without everyone around. Blake checking on me to make sure I didn’t need anything and could work was making me pretty insane. It’s just better if I do my work when the kids are at school and Blake is at work, then I take a break until the kids go to bed and then work until it’s my bedtime. And of course clear up the inbox a bit when I wake up in the middle of the night like tonight or work extra like I did the other night when I couldn’t get to sleep until 4am. There’s no real schedule and as far as I can tell, we’re on the honour system and I think that’s just peachy.

This Friday is payday AGAIN and I think that’s so fucking crazy that I get money AGAIN. The only real jobs I’ve ever had, like where I was paid by a 3rd party (I don’t count my job at the vet office in high school, everyone has a high school job, right? plus I didn’t work there long), were freelance writing jobs or commissioned painting jobs where you just got paid once. Or maybe half up front and half upon completion. This “regular paycheque” thing and how fast the time flies in between them is so completely foreign to me that…I dunno. After this next paycheque we’ll be out of overdraft and then some, I think, which is good good good.

The way we’re going to do it after we’re out of debt is that 1/4 of my paycheque will go in savings, 1/4 will go in a bank account to save for taxes, 1/4 will go to family finances and 1/4 will be to do whatever I want with. As my mother is probably thinking right now after having read that, that plan was Blake’s doing, not mine, as I am the most horrible person on Earth when it comes to money. I don’t understand what to do with it, how to budget, how to prioritize bills, how not to spend it. The concept of saving money is just…I don’t get it, but Blake says it’s a good thing because after a year or so, we’ll have saved enough to buy a cheap car with cash or, if he also gets a raise (he has an interview tomorrow!), put a decent downpayment on a better house. Or, like, we’re going to be old one day and while Canada has an okay pension deal now, I think, you have to supplement that with savings. So whatever, I’m just happy with my own 1/4 and he can do whatever he wants with the other 3/4. I trust his judgement. I mean, he grew up with money and I didn’t, plus whenever money’s been discussed in my lifetime I’ve just kinda tuned it out because I don’t care, so he knows more about it than I do. I have a hard time dealing with the meager money issues surrounding Sunnyland Studio. :o/

And speaking of which, no, I have not been painting. As I’ve said before, once I get a routine down with this job thing, my plan is to be able to do like, half an hour’s work on a painting and while that’s drying, do my job, then when that’s finished and I’m waiting for more e-mails, I’ll go back to painting. I’ve had these 3 girls on the go for like, 5 weeks I think and I’m getting really antsy to do something with them considering they don’t even have backgrounds yet.

I got my new phone on Thursday or Friday, I think, and I’m already in love with it. I downloaded an app that tracks your periods, which is helpful because I’m not on the pill anymore but my beef with it is that it only lets you track the period of one person, whereas it would be helpful if I could also track Madison’s periods, but that’s probably something that wouldn’t occur to a developer. I’m also playing Foursquare as an unofficial form of immersion therapy. As I’ve explained before, I won’t do anything without a reason. I can’t just “go for a walk”, I can only “walk to a place”. The destination is the reason and just walking to a destination for no reason is something I would never do. Like I wouldn’t just walk to the park and back because that would be stupid, but theoretically I would walk to the store to buy a Coke. But there are baby Cokes in my fridge, so why would I even do that? To get points on Foursquare.

For those not in the know, Foursquare is this (stupid) game where you get points for “checking in” to locations using your smartphone just about everywhere and if the location where you are isn’t in the database in your phone, you add it. If you check into a place 4 times (I think), you become the “mayor” of that place, but you can be ousted by another person if they’ve been there more times. Your locations are then broadcast on Twitter or Facebook (I only put mine on Twitter) with a short message, like tonight we went to yoga, so I inputted the studio and when I checked in, my message was “Namaste, bitches!” and that was broadcast to Twitter.

Honestly the whole thing’s pretty silly, but since I got the phone and started playing it, I’ve left the house 3 times in 5 days and I’ve gone to 7 different locations. I know this because the game keeps stats. Tonight I actually said to Blake that when he went somewhere (I forget where we were talking about now), that I would come too just so I could check in and get points and that is VERY unlike me. If I can stay home, I do, and I never go out unless I absolutely have to – usually, anyway. But I like games and points and winning and as a friend pointed out the other day, it’s very feasible, since our town is sort of technologically challenged, that Blake & I could become the mayors of just about every location in town. And that would be sorta cool. Personally, I’m looking forward to being the mayor of the mental health clinic I go to because that’s sort of like being the mayor of Crazytown and that’s just FUNNY.

I had a moment on Sunday when we were at the bookstore that was sort of interesting and I’m not really sure what to make of it, except to say that it was interesting.

First of all, I love bookstores. Probably more than art stores. Dunno why, I just love magazines and books and the fact that I have enough money to actually buy magazines now is asjdlwgflyfg. So we went to Chapters on Sunday and I made a beeline for the magazine section where I grabbed bitch and BUST magazines, the former of which I’d never read before but had always heard good things about. (I’m enjoying it, I must say.)

Now Chapters is a super high stress place for me, even though I love it, because it’s one of those places where I feel like A) I don’t belong and B) I feel like people are looking at me like I don’t belong. I took Ativan before we went in but that didn’t stop the mini panic attack I had in the “80% off best-selling fiction” section where I had to crouch down and pretend to look at a book on the bottom row or I was going to pass out. So I took another Ativan and pulled Blake to an obscure part of the store where I crouched down some more (because I thought sitting would have us kicked out) and pretended to look at low books until it passed, then we went back to the “80% off selected best-sellers” section where I had been looking at this book called The Help, which I knew was on my Amazon wishlist. But see here’s the thing, a couple of days prior, my friend Charlie said he’d bought me a few books from my wishlist and I knew what all of them were called but one and I was afraid The Help was one of them so I didn’t want to buy that one but I couldn’t find anything else I was interested in because the store was just way too huge and overwhelming.

But then I was likme, hey I have a phone now where I can get my e-mail! So I pulled it out and pressed the little e-mail button and up came my inbox. But then I realized that I’d filed the e-mail where he’d told me which books he’d bought and so that knocked the wind out of my sails and I told Blake we should probably just get the magazines and leave. Except I decided to double check my e-mail again and when I did, I accidentally hit the “menu” button which gave me the option to look at my e-mail folders, so I found the e-mail with the list of books, found that The Help wasn’t one of them, and so that’s that one I bought.

It was kind of a cool moment though, when I realized for the first time that I literally had the internet in my pocket. Not only could I check my primary e-mail on this phone of mine, but I can check my work e-mail and do my job from it, I can log onto IRC and have instant friends if I’m ever stuck for some reason or just bored, I can update Live Journal or probably my site because I’m sure there’s a WordPress app for it that I just haven’t downloaded yet (mental note). I can hang out on Camwhores on it, play Foursquare, use it as a GPS, use Google maps and a thousand other things that I haven’t even though about. Oh, and I can track not only my periods by LEAFS GAMES, which is very important. (Although I haven’t found a decent app yet for real time scores.) I’ve often wondered if a lot of my agoraphobia was tied to the fact that inside my house, on the computer, I have a life, but once I step outside my front door, for the most part, I don’t. I’ve also known that money’s always been a big part of it too, so now that I have some, maybe things are going to start to change. In fact I see them already changing, but I don’t know how far it’ll go. I don’t see myself driving to Barrie any time soon or going to yoga by myself, although a couple of weeks ago I did drive to the grocery store, at like, 8pm, in the rain, to get chocolate mousse pudding and that right there is a small bit of progress.

When I told my shrink about the new job on Friday, she was happy about it but cautious. While the job is great and I love how it’s changing our lives and that I think I’m pretty good at it so far, it does cause me extra anxiety and thus, my anti-anxiety meds have been bumped up to 3x a day rather than 2 at bedtime.  I think this is only a temporary thing, like while I train and I’m unsure a lot of the time if I’m doing the right thing or I’m unsure if the boss is going to think I’m lazy because I didn’t answer 3 e-mails in a row when *I* know I could, but I thought it best to let them handle them in case I was wrong…that kinda stuff. Once I know the job inside out, which they expect will take several months, I don’t think I’ll need the extra pill, but for right now I do. And like I said, my shrink is happy about the job and agrees that it’s the perfect job for me, but is cautiously optimistic about it rather than just plain ol’ optimistic.

So I guess we’ll see how that goes. I mean, as I’ve said, I think the job is going great and I like my bosses, I just have some adjusting to do and they know this is my first job, too, so I think they’re being extra patient with me.

Anyway, these days I couldn’t be happier. Life is amazing. I fully expect to be hit by a bus any day now.

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