Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Survey Adventures

Apparently, I'm boring.

Or at least according to the surveys I attempt to take through Swagbucks (http://www.swagbucks.com/). Normally I wouldn't join one of these types of sites but I've been hearing some good things about this one in particular. The person in question said she was able to fund a trip from Michigan to Tennessee through Swagbucks and another site. I was skeptical but when I visited Swagbucks, it had multiple ways to earn the bucks. One of those was taking surveys from sites they already checked out to make sure they were safe. They often give you quite a few bucks.

Except when you don't meet their criteria, which for me is about 90% of the time. Apparently for these surveys, a married white 20-something female who doesn't have to have the latest gadgets including a "smartphone", drinks rarely, is a homemaker on a budget, and whose family only buys used cars apparently doesn't have opinions that matter. The only surveys I've been able to qualify for involve grocery or retail shopping.

I get it, they are looking for people who can  give them opinions on products and services they actually use. I simply don't fit the bill. But it's no less annoying. Swagbucks is nice enough to give you one little Swagbuck for five of the surveys you don't qualify for in a day. Unfortunately for me, I fill that quota with great speed. And one buck verses the 50+ a survey gives out isn't much of a consultation prize. Not that it's their fault. That falls to the survey people.

I just want to know when and how I became too boring to survey.

Oh well. Now for something completely different.

This is Un-Yukai, a warbeast from one of my stories. No Stealy. He's Mine.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Worry About My Head

There's good news and there's bad news.

The good news is that I'm working on starting a little webcomic, mostly so I'll have to do something with my art or people will show up with the torches and pitchforks for lack of updates. It won't be shmancy at first but who said I had to be fabulous before posting anyway?

The problem is, I have no idea where to begin. I'm fairly certain I'm going to do something semi-random a la Awkward Zombie ( http://awkwardzombie.com ), in that somethings will connect, other things will be experiments and random crap that comes to my head. But from there, I'm not sure what I'm doing.

How do I find a place to host the comic?

Should I include original work, or fanfiction...or both? And which ones should I do?

How often should I update?

I think my head may go splodyboom!

So, any ideas?

Also if anyone knows who did this lovely image, I would really like to know so I can internet hug them. This is a recent fandom of mine and this picture is quite possibly one of the best I've seen for it. N and Touko from Pokemon Black/White is seriously adorbs!

Who drew you, beautiful picture?!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A "Shoot Me Now" Day

This isn't going to much of an update simply because of the kind of day I've had.

In Short:
- Couldn't get out of bed this morning.
- I thought the washer had died.
- I tried to wash some blankets in the tub. I succeeded but I couldn't wring them out well so the dryer couldn't handle them.
- My husband fixed the washer in two seconds...just needed to hit the reset button on the outlet.
- I'm horribly tired despite getting enough sleep, so much so I couldn't even work out today...

Dinner went well though.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Artist Media Revelations

*** Warning: This post contains a little bit of drawn/painted nudity in the form of a man chest and the back of a nude woman, so there's a butt shot. These were meant simply as anatomy practice, but its not for little ones or those who would be offended by this. ***

Hello all!

I wander around the internet a lot, usually to things on Pinterest or links from the blogs I read. I'm also trying to find new ways to improve my art process. And that's when I discovered that I actually like watercolors. 

For years I belittled watercolors as something you used if you couldn't afford other paints. I didn't mean to be like that, I just hadn't seen how beautiful watercolor could be with the work I already do. Pinterest is full of art like that. I have been humbled. 

And then I remembered I still had some watercolor sets from high school and I went crazy! I think I'll be incorporating watercolor into my sketch process more often.

This one looks better in the sketchbook. Less bruised...
She's the best one I did. And the first. I'm not sure I improved or not.

This was the last of my face studies. I think I was getting tired because she's way messier than I'd normally let happen. By the way, this is my character Firestorm.
This is Ayseirah.  I did her before Firestorm and she was turning out really well until I did the hair behind her face. Don't get your paper too wet...
Here's my character, Lark. I'm bummed the picture turned out really blurry because she is the best one of the bunch, especially since she has white hair. The blue worked perfectly as the shade color.

This is Laine. I'm most proud of her because she's not a dark brunette like most of my lead females and it worked fabulously.

Yay Meira has green eyes! She was the first one face I painted. I really struggled with her hair when I drew it and then again when I painted it. Curse you fauxhawks!

This is my Fluttershy cosplay redesign in color. Unfortunately, the color was eaten by the digital process.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Patience When "Wait" is Akin to an Expletive

Anyone who has read any of my post may have notice I'm not a patient woman. I've even blogged about it before. I'm realizing it may be worse than I previously thought.

You see, there are two things that stand in the way of my husband and I having children, not counting the biggest one which is God's timing. Obviously, if He doesn't make it happen, it won't. But there are two things fully withing my power to change. Namely, my desire and ability to keep a home and the thorn in my pudgy side, my weight.

So why is this bothering my impatience? I have been far more diligent working on both of those aspects of my life. I'm doing really well. So of course, I stupidly think that means we should be having kids right now because I've managed to keep the house in order for two weeks. Yep that's right, I think that I have made LIFE ALTERING PROGRESS from two weeks of success.

Two weeks of success is definitely an improvement for me though. Usually when I try to make something a good habit, I manage it for about three days and fizzle out, only to find myself doing nothing but scouring Pinterest and wondering why I can't accomplish anything.

I need to keep waiting, even if I was raised to think wait is the same as profanity. Rather than sit there and wonder when my husband is going to say I've done enough ( goodness I love him for being the sensible half of us!) I'll keep moving forward, establishing laundry as a habit rather than a chore along with many other things I "forget" to do.

God's really working on me with this one. He keep putting awesome Christian moms' blogs in my inbox that are amazing and convicting. These are ladies that share many of my view on raising children,  like homeschooling in a way that doesn't create socially awkward weirdos, but confident people with a love of learning, serving truly nourishing food so that my whole family is healthy (saves on doctor bills!), and creating the kind of home life God wants me to create for the family. Wow...that was quite the sentence. Don't throw things at me!

Going back to the point, it's been great to have daily reminders of what I desire to see in the future of this crazy little family of two. Please pray/ send good vibes my way that I continue exercising patience while we wait for the right time to have little ones and that I continue to make homemaking a habit.

I shall leave you with this:

I came up with some strange things back in the day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mending Whimsically

Just a small update of what I've been up to lately; Mending! This is a very easy technique I sort of based off something from the book Mend It Better by Kristin M. Roach ( Find it here on Amazon ). I don't think I did it like the book shows, but it worked well. All I needed was for it reinforce some minor holes that resulted from pulls in the knit fabrics. I used six strand embroidery thread separated into either three or two strand bundles depending on the size of areas I needed to cover.

This shirt was the first one I did, botched it, did another one and then started this version. I forgot to take a finished picture. Oh well, it shows the process.
This one was just a small hole by the hood this shirt. You can't tell by the picture but the heart is a very pale

I'm not telling you what this is. You can probably guess though.

This is my Kingdom Hearts 358/2 shirt so I decided to make my mending paopu fruit which shows up in a tree on the shirt. This was my favorite one.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Here's the List

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to look at my excuses for not doing things that I should be doing. I have answered my excuses. Thanks again to Amy at Raising Arrows for the inspiration! ( Check out her blog here ) . Also, please feel free to share anything that you make excuses about not doing when you have the time and resources. I'd love to share your efforts to change this with you!

Here's the list.

Refuting the Excuses
~ This list is an exercise in proving that I have plenty of time to do the work that I am supposed to as a homemaker and wife and the ability to prepare for these things. I have 24 hours in a day, just like everyone else and God has given me many abilities I can use to make these things fun. I have no excuses! Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” NASB ~

  1)  I can’t stay up after making James’s breakfast and lunch.                                  I have done this before so I can do it again. I know that tea helps me stay awake so I should use that. Early morning is ideal for quiet time and doing my work out. I don’t need all that extra sleep, which may be contributing to my weight issues, and I can get to sleep at the right time if I don’t sleep in.

  2)  I can’t work out and still be productive during the day.
      If I do the work out earlier enough, I can rest for a bit afterward without hindering time for other tasks. Also, I need to do exercises that won’t fatigue me too much. If I don’t feel like I could work out again, I’ve done too much. Gentle yoga moves, transverse abdominal work and walking are ideal.

  3)  There isn’t enough time during the week to clean the house.
    There is no reason for this. Doing a one-shot task and an on-going task is not too much during the day. An example would be cleaning the bathroom and folding the clean laundry. Neither of those things takes too much time. Make a schedule for each day that includes a one-shot and on-going and a maintenance task. Stick to this and it will be much easier to tackle these things.
  4)  I can’t keep up with the laundry.
    The above schedule will address this. Not only will this make things easier on James when it comes to work clothes, it will help our clothes last longer. Patching and mending will also help.

  5)  I don’t have the time or the inspiration to draw every day.
   Given the above things, there should most definitely be time to draw. I need to carve out a specific time, probably after lunch as it will be easier to assimilate into nap/quiet time for children later and is good for letting digestion do its thing. As for inspiration, this is not necessary. Follow lessons on Drawspace or work on specific things for stories. There is never a time I don’t have something to draw, as long as I don’t expect perfection.

  6)  Nobody helps me out that much so why should I keep up with the house?
     I don’t need that much help. James is willing to work on the basement and Mom does the dishes when I cook dinner. I have plenty of time so this is an attitude issue. Proverbs 31: 17-18 “She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable, her lamp burns late into the night.” NLT

  7)  The mess is too overwhelming for me to handle.
     The mess is big but it is not impossible to deal with, especially taken in small chunks. A little every day will go a long way. This can be worked into the on-going tasks. Remember Philippians 4:13!

  8)  I will never be able to lose weight.
     Says who? Just because the pounds aren’t melting away doesn’t mean they won’t eventually. This takes time and diligence neither of which I’ve been putting into it. If I’m doing this and still I can’t seem to lose any weight, then there may be a problem to address with a doctor but first I need to put in the work. Again, I need to carve out time for this.

  9)  I will never know how to do things for myself rather than others or other-oriented goals.
    This one I’m not so sure about but it’s something I should take to God. I don’t know what to do about this but He knows and can direct me in the way I should go in regards to this. Talking to Jeff may help as well because I really don’t understand what James means by this. My art is pretty much all for myself, or at least I think it is. This needs further scrutiny.
   10) I can’t do anything toward my homesteading goals right now.
     There are many things I can experiment with while waiting for garden space or livestock. I can sprout things, grow small batches of herbs and microgreens, work on soaking and fermenting grains, search for second hand tools like a grain mill and work on other skills I have the tools for, like sewing. The biggest thing I should be doing is breaking down my goals into steps that I can be working on so I’m not trying to do everything at once.
  11) I can’t feed my family well on conventional food.
    While conventional food is not ideal, it is what is available to us at this time due to budget restraints. Until we are able to rework our budget to accommodate the higher prices of better quality food, I need to focus on making meals as healthful as possible with the conventionally grown items. I should also strive to have a variety of foods to limit the overexposure of chemicals specific to the particular food. Growing as much as I can with the space I’ve got and limiting the foods that are the most sprayed/injected/etc. will be a good start. This is a step by step process.

  12) I don’t have time for experimenting and must get things right the first time.
    I am not God, therefore I am not expected to get everything right the first time. There is no rush because things will not fall apart if I don’t learn to bake sourdough or set up a permaculture garden immediately before having babies or what have you. God is in control of what I can and cannot do, of the timeline for my learning and of all that I should do for myself and my family. I need to let Him direct my projects and let go of the need to be perfect because I’m not and He is.
  13) I will mess up badly if I try to can food.
     See above. This is something I need to try before writing it off as impossible. Aunt Mel did it wrong for years and never killed anybody, so why am I so afraid to do it right? The safety precautions are easy to understand and I know how to identify food gone icky. Furthermore, it is a skill that is extremely valuable in light of the depleted conventional farms that are currently failing, one that I wish to teach my children so that whatever the future may hold for the state of food, they will have skills to feed their families and save that food for the winter.

  14) I will be stuck on birth control pills for as long as we’re not actively trying to have a child.
    I need to continue my research on this. As far as I can tell from my research, conventional doctors believe them to be safe but a large body of studies indicate that long-term use can cause increased risks that outweigh the benefits of use. While they do reduce the chances of ovarian and endometrial cancers (which makes sense because these parts are not being used in the same way due to the hormones), it increases the risk of breast, uterine, and LIVER cancer (which I cannot live without). One of my biggest issues though, is that while the pill can guarantee 98.9ish% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, it prevents ovulation on about 68-75% of the time. This means that because of the dramatic thinning of the endometrium (it needs to be about 12mm thick for implantation and the pill keeps it at less than 6mm), eggs that were released in that 25-32% of the time may have been fertilized but were simply unable to implant. This is pretty much what the terrible morning-after abortion pill does. This is also the definition of a chemical pregnancy, which is considered a miscarriage. So following that logic, taking the pill is forced miscarriage. It also is looking more and more like we don’t trust God to know when we should have children and when we shouldn’t. I don’t want to Crouse or Gentner, but the pill is seeming less wise. My research is also indicating that the pill is not helpful for PCOS, if I indeed have it because it creates a false environment of hormonal rightness. It may even be doing more harm than good by flooding my system with androgenic hormones that increase my testosterone levels, which in turn increase my estrogen levels, which lead to weight gain. The excess fat then gives off more estrogen and the cycle continues. These things seem to outweigh protecting my other ovary. Shouldn’t I be trusting God to protect my fertility, indeed my very life, rather than a man-made chemical set?
  15) The Lysakowski-Sparkia homestead is nothing but a dream. 
    While it is a dream right now, it doesn’t have to stay that way. We are all for it right now, we are creative and determined people. With proper preparation, this is not something impossible to achieve. God willing, of course.
  16) I will be a bad mom because I don’t have enough discipline and will thus become hypocritical when teaching our future children.
    Every parent will go through this. The best thing I can do is pray that God gives me the desire to learn discipline so that I’m not asking things of our children that I am not doing myself. It’s not a sign of a bad mom, just one that is sinful, imperfect and still needing to learn about her role.
  17) I can’t break my sugar habit.
    Philippians 4:13 strikes again! This is completely doable, especially if I’m doing the cooking. I don’t have to add refined sugar to my food. It would be nice if I didn’t have to go it alone but if that’s the case, I will do it.
  18) I will never have Imogene, Geraldine, or Mable (Mini Jersey Cow, goat and ewe) because I’m not disciplined and brave enough to handle them.
    I need to start small with this one. I should start by raising laying hens before anything else. If that goes well, with proper research and seeking out opportunities to interact with these bigger animals, this is completely doable. These animals require daily care but this is not something out of the scope of my abilities.
  19) I will never finish any of my comics let alone publish them.
    Says who? Only I can say that and based on what I’ve been doing, I’m saying I can’t do it. But I know I can and the only way to do so is to work at it every day. Preparation and planning is the key. Keeping to the plan is essential. This is doable, especially because I plan to self-publish. I cannot keep living in fear that I will fail. I only fail if I don’t do it.
  20) I will never be enough for James.
    Where in the world did I get this idea? God made me for James, He knows what He is doing. I am enough because God made me enough. I have things to learn but so does James. We are both imperfect and will mess up, but we are where we are supposed to be with each other. Keep making positive changes but don’t freak out!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Failure and Success

I blog about a lot of weird things but I was prompted to really think about what I'm doing with the time I have right now. I often act like I'm swamped with things to do. In reality, it's more that I have a lot of things I want to do, so many that it leaves me paralyzed, thus unable to do any of the things I wanted. And my mind starts screaming "FAILURE!"

Then I read a recent post by Amy of Raising Arrows. Here's a bit of it :

"We’ve all heard the phrase “Busy as a Bee” and more often than not we probably feel like that phrase fits our lives perfectly.  But today, I want to ask you,
"What are you busy doing?
I hear a lot of women lament their lack of time.  They don’t have time to get the homeschooling in, the meals prepared, the house cleaned.  They have all sorts of reasons why and most of it boils down to not enough hours in the day.
I’ve said it myself…
“I just don’t have enough time to do all the things that need to be done in a day.”
But, I’m wrong.
I do have enough time.  God gave me 24 hours a day just like everyone else.  But, I’m not prepared" (read the rest  here)
And then I started mentally screaming " OWOWOWOWOWOWOW!" because that stung. Here's a homemaker with six kids speaking about how she can get things done if she prepares properly.
Here I sit, a married woman with no children yet whose mother does the evening dishes (mostly, I still end up unloading, reloading and running the dishwasher most of the time. As I type this, she's asking me to unload it for her so she only has to do the ones that don't go in the dishwasher. Most of the time she just ignores the dishwasher and does it all by hand...at least she thanked me for it! ).
 I have a ton of time on my hands and I accomplish next to nothing in a day. Some of it is the hours I keep. I don't like to fall asleep when I should (around 9 pm) and I don't stay up after I finish my husbands breakfast and lunch (at about 5 am). I usually don't get up again until 9:30 and by then most of the day has been wasted. And on the off chance that I did stay up, I don't start doing things until my mother leaves at 7 am, mostly because I'm a grouch in the morning and my mother tends to set me off. No body wants that. So clearly some of my preparedness needs to be about being awake to do things...I'm trying again in the morning.
So I'm going to do what Amy did as an example and write out what I think I don't have time for during the day and see how preparation can remedy this. I have the perfect opportunity to gain a organized and prepared life before we have little ones so I'd better get crackin'!
One a better note, this past Sunday, my aunt, my cousin and I stripped their herb garden so that the colder temperatures that we've had the past few days wouldn't kill them all. My aunt handed me some bags and told me to take all I wanted. Boy did I ever!

This is part of a huge Lemon Verbena bush. I'm going to have sooo much tea!

Lots of herbs from Back to Front: Sage, Rosemary, French Thyme, Oregano and Chives.
Please ignore our exploding basement.

Ultimately the success for me is not that I have the herbs but that they aren't still riding around in the back of the car. I will say it did improve the smell of the car though. We call it The Goat for a reason. This is why used cars can be an adventure. But yeah, I'm very excited to have them up and drying. Hopefully we will be able to afford the quart sized mason jars I would like to store them in when they are done. The lemon verbena is currently drying on top of the fridge after my cousin and I plucked the leaves from the stems.

Pardon the weird highlighting...I couldn't get it to stop.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I seem to lose them fast...

I guess I should have known that things would turn out the way they did.

I can't say I have a shortage of friends, but it really distresses me when it feels like I'm losing a friend, especially when I don't understand why they are leaving in the first place. I can't say he's a really close friend to me, but he's really good friends with my husband and I enjoy his presence in our life very much.

Maybe this wouldn't suck so much if I hadn't been realizing how many friends I've lost touch with. Maybe it wouldn't suck so much if, because I have no siblings of my own, my friends become like brothers and sisters to me. Maybe it wouldn't suck so much if because of the previous thing, I wasn't convinced that the future LunaMusings children would miss out on knowing such fun, quirky and faithful unofficial uncle.

I understand that this very well could be God's will for his life. I will not interfere with that. That doesn't mean it's going to hurt any less to see him go. It doesn't really fill in the big gaping hole in my self-gathered family. It just makes it more understandable. At least a bit.

Maybe I was presuming too much about his friendship with myself and my husband. I do that sometimes. I think I'm better friends with someone than I am. I know I 'm not the most fun person in the world but my husband is a blast and a half to be around. That's not enough to keep him here. But oh how I wish it was.

But that's not what matters.

What matters is that he do what supposed to in regards to what God wants him to do with his life. That's the bottom line. I just wish how I felt, how my husband feels about this mattered. Just a little bit.

I know Michigan can't offer mountains, can't offer new places, wilder places. But it still has much to offer. And it needs much as well. I know he wants more for his ministry than he has here, but doesn't God often use one person to spark change somewhere?

I'm probably over emotional about this because parts of it feel personal. It comes off to me as him saying to all of us who call him friend over here in the Mit that we "will never be enough for me so I'm done with you" rather than challenge us to something greater.

 I'm probably looking at this the wrong way. I want to encourage him, not freak out on him. But I don't think that when the day comes that he moves so far away, that I will be able to hold it together. I will probably cry, probably get angry because there goes one more person who I held dear.

So friend, I'll be praying for you, that God will show you His will quickly. And if He does want you to move away, that I will be able to be happy for you. Just remember those who are still here and know you will always people who love you here. I apologize in advance because I'm sure I will say hurtful things and I may even mean them. Just know that however selfish and ridiculous I may be, I still think of you as my brother, not just in Christ, and love you because of both of those things. I also pray that whatever your journey with God leads you to, you will be content with your circumstances.

Just please don't forget us.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adventures with the Whole Chicken and Pumpkins

Oh hey there Interwebs!

I have had some very happy things in the world of culinary skills happen to me lately and a funny thing as well. I don't have pictures for everything, but here's a small smattering.

Hi, I'm Imogene, the whole chicken. This is just after my tail was removed. I look a little lumpy because LunaMusings just buttered me.

This is me in the crockpot, all rubbed in seasonsings and more butter.

LunaMusings's  hands after rubbing me. There was a lot of paprika so she's a bit stained.

I was so proud of how Imogene turned out. There were some issues, being that Imogene was unfortunately a conventionally raised chicken but other wise she made a lovely dinner and bone broth for the next day.

Speaking of the next day, I was making a chicken, potato and black bean soup with spinach. I soaked the beans all night with a little vinegar in hope that not only would it soak them properly but get rid of the unsightly purple broth thing. I put the beans in with the chicken breasts and some of the broth. This is what happened.

Yes...they are purple.
Very purple.

I ended up having to discard some of the broth because it was Just. So. Purple. Luckily Imogene produced enough yummy bone broth that it all turned out okay. But for the record, double soak and rinse your black beans before adding them to a crock pot soup. Purple is not an attractive look for chicken unless its a raspberry vinaigrette.

Anyone else have some crazy things that have happened to your cooking adventures? I'd love see them!

As for the Pumpkins part of the title, that is the next challenge theme brought to you by the lovely Karmada of Crash Bang Laboratory! Come join in the fun! http://blog.crashbanglabs.com/2012/09/theme-for-week-of-932012.html This is the initial post about her idea. Keep going through her posts to find the edits to the process.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Milk Tea, Music and My Life in General

Hello wonderful people! I've been up to very little lately as the LunaMusings household approaches our normal again. My mom is back to work now, but very tired when she comes home so I've been trying to do more of her dishes during the day in addition to all the stuff I try(and often fail) to do in a given day. Thanks for the all prayers/thoughts/good vibes! She's even making lunch today!

And as a small note on other things consumable, the combination of green tea brewed with lemon verbena leaves and added to milk is a lovely thing after you've woken up from a weird night of sleep. And by weird I mean having this stuck in your head so badly it plays in your dreams:

Yeah...it really messes with normal sleep patterns...

At the moment I'm currently downloading all our our music collection from my hubby's compy to mine. 837 out of 13409...it's going to be awhile...

As for the rest of my life, I'm having a crisis of projects. I'm trying to figure out how to balance working on my artwork, soaking and sprouting grains, cooking everyday, making sure the kitchen doesn't explode, working out every weekday, trying to research better eating habits (throw out the fat free, racid oil and processed crap, bring on the full-fat dairy, bone broths and quality produce!), and figuring out how to do all that on a budget. I think I need 72-hour days. I think I'll get this eventually, but in the meantime, I could use some of those prayers/thoughts/goodvibes...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Walking on the Wildside with Rafflecopter

So I think I may be more insane than normal.

You see, there's this fabulous book/DVD set that I have been drooling over for a loooooooooong time, as in as soon as I heard of it.

Behold! Making Babies by Shoshanna Easling. I have watched some of Shoshanna's Youtube videos and read a few other things she has done and wow, does she ever speak to my sensibilities when it comes to health and nutrition (of course, I'm saying this as I finish the last Mt. Dew in the house. At least I hope it will be that last!).

So why have I lost my mind? I actually entered an online raffle for it, through the blog Keeper of the Home. http://www.keeperofthehome.org  I would REALLY love this. And to buy it outright is $110 of money I don't have. Honestly if it weren't an issue, I would send Shoshanna all the money right this second. But I am no where near made of money and since my mom in recovering from her surgery (quite nicely too), money is fantastically tight. Tight as in cutting off circulation. Ick.

So I guess ...Wish me luck?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Prayer from a Scared Daughter

Dear Jesus,

I'm really terrified right now. I didn't realize how bad it is until now. I'm avoiding silly things because it feels like those things will make this all the more real. I'm scared of what will happen tomorrow. I'm scared for my mother. Her surgery tomorrow is fairly routine, laproscopic and shouldn't take very long. But I'm scared. I'm very scared.

I'm trying find reasons to ignore what's going on. I'm putting off even calling the local zoo to make sure Missy will have a wheelchair when we go on Saturday. As if that would make it any easier to deal with this. It won't and I know it. So I guess I'll pause here and call the zoo.

And they were absolutely no help whatsoever. Fully-automated information systems don't answer that sort of question very well. Oh well. I'll try again later.

I'm also trying not to get angry when my mom tells me all these things that need to be done and adds a bunch of stuff that isn't that important. I know how to clean a bathroom. Really. I know she just nervous though and doesn't want to come back to a mess. Not that the common areas of the house are ever really that bad. But that's beside the point. I need to do this for Mom, whether I'm having a conniption silently in the corner or not.

I'm scared also that I'm going to lose it in the two weeks or so after the surgery. I'm going to be doing everything for real this time and I'm scared of it. I'm terrified of my mother relying on me.

Please help me. Give me the strength to get through all of this. I know that with You, I can get through this intact.

Thank You so much.

In Jesus's Name,

Monday, September 3, 2012

To Etsy or Not To Etsy?

To continue my little reference there, that is the question.

I have wanted to sell some of my work for ages. I have a few problems with it but the main problem is, where do I sell? I don't want this to be a full-fledged business, just a side thing. It really comes down to having some skills that often require financial investment and I simply don't have that. I'm a homemaker and my hubby and I are having to learn budgeting the hard way as we were never taught as kiddos. Add that my mother, our roommate, is having surgery this Friday, so she will be off work for a bit.

So yeah, not a whole lot of money running around in this household. And yet here I sit, wondering how I'm going to afford a new graphics tablet. Oh Wacom Bamboo Create, why are you so out of my reach?

But it doesn't have to be so out of my reach. And that's where Esty may come in. I would really like to sell some of my work to fund this. I was originally going to go through Kickstarter but I'd rather not ask people to fund that part of my materials. Plus...I could use it sooner rather than later. I've been so very behind on my art, it's driving me bonkers.

Esty seems like a possible solution for this predicament but I'm not so sure about it at the same time. One, I don't know what of my many things I do I should try to sell. Two, would Etsy be the right place for me considering I have to pay to post my work. Yet it isn't that much and in the end I would make more. Then again, I'd have to sell my work first.

I know I should definitely look around Etsy to see if anything I do make shows up among the many things offered there. I have art I can sell as prints, stuffed animals, and knitted items I could do. I'm also working on my sewing so something could be made of perfected projects. But I just don't know.

Maybe this is more a confidence issue than anything else but how has it worked for people out there in the wild yonder of the internet?

Picture of the Day:

How I hope my Etsy Adventures go...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

D and D, My Flab, and All I Wish to Grow

Hello again Internet People. I seem to have very little to post about lately that isn't complaining and what have you. So I'm going to try and limit that in this post. I'll do my very best but I'm not so good at it. So please bear with me while I work on this.

One of my more recent undertaking has been a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that my hubby has been DMing until level ten. We are currently around level four so we have a way to go. But that's not the point of this. I'm planning on turning our campaign into a comic soon. I know I know, it's not like I don't have a million other projects in this brain of mine. But I really can't help it because what's happened thus far is pure gold. Seriously. I have two words, which I will explain at a later time. Undulating Skin. Yes. Let that settle in your mind for a moment. Gross, isn't it?

Now here's my one complaint. Thus far, I've been working very hard to lose weight so I can be far healthier than I ever have been. Yet I seem to be getting no where fast. Of course, my husband buying a bunch of soda didn't help much because I have a HUGE weakness to it. Even as I type this, the Mt Dew is flowing...~sigh~ I'm really bad at this. It's why I hate buying these things. I can't resist and there goes any of my progress. I need to be better at this. I can do all things because Jesus gives me the strength, I just need to ask! Please pray that I finally have some success at this. I means a lot but I've never lost weight before so this is very new to me.

I've mentioned before that I'm an ambitious person. I have a great deal I would like to do for my family. My husband and mother are diabetic and I may not be far behind on that one so healthy food is a huge thing for me. As such, I have a passion for starting a garden, culturing things like yogurt and sourdough, and cleaning with less harmful solutions. This has grown into a desire to homestead. I want our household to be able to take care of itself and not rely on conventional produce and mass-produced crap.

I've discovered this sort of desire often breeds new interests. Now I've found myself wanting chickens. Chickens led to goats, ducks, pigs and cows. Honestly I'd love to have a small farm, just a little one that could provide my family with food and a tiny part of the income. I'm not sure if its feasible though. It drives me crazy though, because it seems the best way to take care of those I love.

I have thought of alternative ways that make it a little better without becoming a full-fledged farmer. There are plenty of places I can find better quality meat around here. Fish is a bit of challenge (may have to raise my own). Vegetables and fruit are available through CSAs and farmer's markets until I can start growing things myself. I'm not sure about grains. I may need to do some research for quality grains in bulk.

It always seems like I'm fighting for this and yet I can't do a tenth of what I want to do. Blargh. There I went again, complaining...

Today's Picture:

I don't own this. It's just sheer hilarity.
Thank you to the guy who made basketball better and to the person who snapped this picture.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Holy Noseplosion Chiroptera Male!

Chiroptera = bat. So yes, the title is a reference to Batman. But I don't like Batman all that much, so Chiroptera Male!

Any way, I've been sick with an allergy-induced cold for the past few days (stupid vacuum cleaner being all full of dust and crap...), so I have had a lot of time to think about every story I have except the one I'm supposed to be working on. I seem to be really good at that.

But there is good news! I've finally broken my "drawing guys" block. One again, my character Bram from Lark Song, has helped me with that one. I've been putting off drawing him in his half- transformed werewolf form because it involves mostly naked man chest. I'm pretty terrible at that but it turned out really well. I'm still trying to figure out how to make the proper balance between a werewolf head with all that neck ruff and their legs which tend to seem soooo much smaller in light of the neck rough and manly muscular shoulders. Fem werewolves are so much easier in that respect since women have that lower center of gravity, thanks to wider hips.

Now I'm concerned that I won't be able to reproduce such good results, especially considering the next male character on the list is a Japanese dragon man who is based off a friend of mine (and my hubby's) who is decidedly not Japanese (whom we call King of the Wild Frontier. You can find his blogs here: http://caseybutlerkingofthewildfrontier.blogspot.com and here: http://parachutepete.blogspot.com  Visit him. Love him!). I'm also not well versed in dragon drawing in general, let alone the Eastern varieties. Lungs are decidedly different than the European wyrm-style ones. And that's just the beginning. I also have to design a rock golem man, a volcano golem man and three werewolf children, another weakness of mine.

And those are just the main characters. There's all kinds of other lychanthropes in this story of mine, from something as simple at a were-elephant, to horrible composite creatures that eat people. What have I gotten myself into?

Well I can at least show y'all the good things that I have done so far, excluding anything of Lark because those would spoil the whole plot. Pardon the crappy cell phone images. At least that means people are less likely to filch my work. So yeah, no stealing my brain children.

This is Drew in her normal form. I gained a lot of confidence having drawn her.

Here is Alfa. Isn't she cute?

And here is the wolf-man who gave me so much trouble. He's not done yet.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

If I could kick my own butt, I would be

Hello Internet Peoples!

Since I'm a homemaker without kids yet, I get to spend a lot of time in my head. I sometimes wonder if it's too much but that's not the point of this post. I have two main goals right now, and recently added a third one. I'm great at setting goals. I'm also terrible at making them happen. And it's driving me nuts!

So for once in my life, I'm going to actually get things done. The first goal is actually the one that seems to be going well. My goal is lose weight in preparation for having future children, which I have mentioned before. This is a huge stretch for me. I've been on the larger side of life for as long as I can remember. If I wasn't heavier than average, I was taller than all the kids my age (from age 4 to 10, when I was genuinely big and tall. After that, the guys were slowly catching up to my height). But no more! I actually managed to work out almost every weekday in July and August is going to be much the same. So how have I earned a butt-kicking?

Weekends. Weekends have been murder for me. Some of it is my own fault because I don't like exercising around other people, least of all my mother. On the weekends, she's already taken over the Wii, which is what works best for my antisocial self. But that's not the worst part. The weekends are when my mom cooks, or at least is supposed to be. Usually she cooks one of the six weekend meals and either I do the rest   (good) or my hubby and I have to grab something as we run various errands, go to church on Saturday night (yay Veritas!) and set up the chairs for the Sunday morning service. This is a recipe for disaster because it's usually copious amounts of nutritionally bankrupt crap, even if its tasty.

At least the solution is obvious, not eating the crap and eating less of it if that's what's available. I've also gone from doing a thirty minute workout to two hours. This isn't workable for most people, but at the moment I have time to spare for that kind of thing. I did the fully two hours for the first time today, and honestly I feel better than I've ever had.

Now for the newest goal, since the last one has more to do with what this blog is about. I really want to stop complaining about everything all the time. I'm really bad about this, especially when it comes to my mother. I let my self get all worked up about things and then I become the most negative person I can possibly be. So no more of that. As cliche' as it is, the whole "if you can't say something nice" saying is very applicable.

Finally, I'm currently working on one and only one of my stories in earnest right now, in hopes of publishing the darn thing soon. I'm trying to get more groundwork done so that I have a more complete work when I start it as a Kickstarter project ( www.kickstarter.com ). But I'm letting my short comings and insecurities get in the way of my work. I'm nervous about my male characters because I've never been very good at drawing them. I'm also fantastically bad at architecture as I can't draw a straight line with a ruler and a T-square, yet I'm working on a story set on a college campus so BUILDINGS GALORE! I hate when I get scared into inaction simply because I struggle with the more subtle curves of the male figure and Euclidean forms.

I have to be bold. Why is that so difficult?

For today's picture, I give you this:

Baby Sugar Glider, you are the cutest!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

100 Views and Reflections on Drawing Men

Well thank you all who have read my blog, or even just glanced. I take what I can get! 100 views isn't bad for a newbie blogger. I'm happy.

Lately I've been a bad practicing artist. While I'm drawing again after having epic artist's block for way too long, I'm avoiding drawing men. It's silly I know but men have always given me trouble, as long as I'm not looking at a guy. And since I can't hire a nude model any time I want to draw a guy (and its kinda weird) and  my one anatomical model isn't correct, I have a bit a of a problem.

Really I just need to keep working. Sometimes I hate when the solution is that simple.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Five Twelve Minute Miles and Funding

I hate when I've done an awesome work out, need to eat afterward yet my legs feel like jello. But at least I was finally able to make through the entire Leslie Sansone 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk DVD, hence the five twelve minute miles. Not to mention it makes me sit down and type this post. I feel accomplished.

Right now though, I'm more concerned with developing my project for Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com), a lovely site where a person can post their projects and gain funding from the community in exchange for thank you gifts. They have a good list of sections to post the projects in and a good turnover. The best thing for the backers of the projects is that if a person doesn't make their goal in pledges, they aren't charges, which makes it a better deal for them. Not so much for the unfortunate poster but still.

There's a lot of work that goes into presenting one's project, which is what has me occupied right now. I'm looking into what kind of thank you gifts I should offer and how much I should set as my goal. I know my goal needs to cover supplies I am still in need of and the thank you gift production/postage. I just don't want to overestimate and make it impossible to fund. This is the first time I've really sat down and considered these things so my brain is trying to flee from all the math.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What's the Calorie Count on Words?

I find it rather humorous that I had a huge rant about weight loss yesterday and today I find out that JAFAX preparations and the weekend itself meant gaining more weight than I'd lost previously. I feel like eating my own words on this subject.

Hopefully they aren't as fully of empty calories as what I've been eating lately...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A freaking minefield...

So normally I post about my art and other such creative things. Right now I just really really want to rant about all the weird things out there for a woman who is trying to lose weight to stumble upon on the internets.

I was reading a blog I follow but apparently not as closely as I thought when I stumbled upon the Paleolithic diet, to which the blogger follows. I had never heard of this one, and I've heard of some doozies out there. This diet apparently presents the idea that we should eat as hunter-gathers do because that's what we did before. It requires cutting out things you couldn't hunt or gather, like all grains, dairy, legumes (I'm pretty sure these were gather-able at some point in history), refined sugars and processed oils.

The last two things I totally understand. Refined sugars are pretty well terrible for you, and processed oils ( anything that isn't just pressed from a plant) have proven to be some of the nastiest fats ever conceived. Yes, I mean you Hydrogenated Oils. You are the Ugly Fat and should have no place in anyone's gut ever. But Grains? Grains were perfectly gather-able back in the day, though not in huge quantities. They were most likely roasted and eaten with everything else they hunted/gathered rather than ground. There are also Native American tribes of the hunter/gatherer variety who GATHERED a wild rice variety of grain. They also included other things similar, like root vegetables, which were frequently gathered by the Native Americans for years as a staple food.

Dairy was definitely something that the nomadic tribes and those in the agricultural age were known for, but dairy is extremely good for people, as long as its treated correctly and said people aren't lactose intolerant. Modern cheese is a sad thing because its pretty well dead, nothing like the cheese of the past, because everything has to be pasturized (most likely because of agribusiness being lazy with sanitary conditions back in the day which caused a scare...oy...). But homemade cheese, and other cultured dairy like yogurt is fantastic for digestion and is a cheaper form of protein that could be used to ease the world hunger problem. And on a personal level, I will never stop drinking milk because I love it and it's one of the few things that eases my heartburn.

Legumes have their place. Beans and peas were probably gather-able at some point in history as well, and are great sources of protein and fiber. Those are good things since we are made of protein and fiber keeps things moving while ushering out the bad fats one may have consumed because they can't be completely avoided without going vegetarian or vegan (I have a whole other rant on those which I will save for later!).

All in all, there are good things about this diet but seriously?

Meanwhile, in the land of how and with what to exercise, no one can agree. The same blog that had some information on Paleo also contained some information that astounded me. I have grown up hearing that if you want to lose weight, you must consume less calories than you burn during the day and cardio combined with strength training was the way to go. Simple too, as you could walk and use a resistance band so you required minimal equipment. According to the blog, the cardio was bad but lifting serious weights was the way to go, but don't worry about obtaining a six pack because that doesn't come naturally to the feminine figure for most women.

I agree with the last part but last time I knew, cardio is necessary if you have a lot of weight to lose. You can burn calories during strength training but it isn't constant like during cardio. You have to have a calorie deficit of 500 per day to lose a pound in a week. From what I've seen with most strength training exercises, you have to do a whole lot more. I'd rather take a walk, thank you.

Also, I like my resistance band. It's has three bands of differing tension and I can adjust the tension myself during the workout without having to buy new dumb bells or kettle bells every time I need the next heavier weight. I use the darn thing, not because I think I'm structurally wrong for weights, but because it works for me. They aren't sissy pants things. They can work if you use them correctly and that's not all the difficult. Plus, who wants to trip all over the now useless weights scattered about the house?

My final beef with the weight loss world is how they measure how overweight/underweight a person happens to be. At one point it had to do with a person's measurements. I don't know how much science went into the old school measurement ideals. Maybe I'll look into that some time. Then it was these supposedly science-based charts that stated what an acceptable weight or weight range was for a person's height. I say supposedly because the weight ranges have gone down as progressively thinner women have become the expectation. It could be scientific updating, or body size trends. It's hard to say for sure.

Then we added the Body Mass Index, which is flawed because it assumes that two people of the same weight and height should are the same level of healthy. Yet say you have two 5'3" women who both weigh around 170 pounds. This would be overweight if I recall correctly. But if one woman is mega buff and the other 170 pound of fat, one is healthier than the other but according to those stupid charts, they both need to lose weight.

Just to make things even more confusing, we are handed the waist-to-hip ratio, based on the idea that a person with more fat around their midsection has more visceral fat which is not so good to have on you . And they would annoyingly call you an "apple". Some researchers have called this into question, saying that fat is fat for the most part and lugging around extra weight will put strain on your system, no matter where it is stored on your person. Of course they can't agree on it so we, the hopeful "losers" are left with going "hn?" and remaining the size we are because we can't possibly do it right.

As a side note, if you are trying to lose weight, avoid Pinterest at all costs because you will be bombarded by super skinny hard bodies with guilt-producing "inspirational" statements photoshopped on to them next to the best creamy pasta dishes and succulent desserts known to humanity. It's not fair. So far I've made two desserts and threw out most of the workout ideas. Save yourself the hassle.