Share Your World 2015 – Week 8

As I was having my coffee this morning, I was surprised to find myself listening to birds chirping. They weren’t singing the most beautiful song, but it was a sound I realized I had been missing. It’s hard to believe we are 8 weeks into the New Year already and spring is just around the corner. Anyway, here is week 8 of Share Your World. Thanks to Cee for doing this every week.

Your favorite blog post that you have written? (add link)

I’m going to have to go back and look at some old posts. I’ve been blogging for almost a year which isn’t that long compared to most, but long enough for me to forget what I’ve written. I’m going to go with this one from last year’s A to Z Challenge: L is for Love. It’s about how Hubby and I cope with with my mental health issues as a couple. The accomanying doodle is kind of blah though. My favourite doodle is probably this one. Hands are difficult for me and these actually came out looking like hands (probably because the dirt is covering them) but hey, I think it counts!

give seedling

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500? Why?

If I were given some extra cash like that, I would spend it on experiences. I think I would divide it into two. The first part of it would go to a geek day with Hubby. We could go to one of his comic book or toy conventions. The money would cover admission, whatever autographs or toys he wanted and maybe a piece of steampunk jewelry for me (hehe). The second part would go to an art workshop with my aunt. There is an art store near by that does classes. We could take a mixed media class. I could learn something new for my art journal and she could learn something new for the cards she makes. We could spend any leftover cash on art supplies. That would be a valuable way to spend $500 for me.

If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?

What should I do with my life in order to be happy? I don’t mean crazy happy, I mean content or at least apathetic. I’m tired of feeling unappreciated, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted and inadequate (among other things). There are so many things I could do. It would take a lifetime to figure it out. I wanted to be an artist or a writer, but I figured I wasn’t good enough to earn a steady paycheck or a secure job. I went into sciences and tried a few different things, but never felt like I was contributing enough. For example, one job was identifying enzymes in fungal genomes. In the big picture, this would contribute to making the use of biofuels from organic waste more feasible but, it’s hard to see the big picture when you spend all your time on the computer staring at genome sequences. From there, I went into vision science because it meant something to me. I had my Strabismus experience and there was Gran with her Macular Degeneration. I thought working directly with people, I would be able to help more. I am helping more but I am burning out. Managing the lab, the research, the teaching, the patients, it’s a lot. My brain is on 24/7 and I don’t think I can go at this rate for the rest of my life. Maybe I should have just done the art thing in the first place. Argh!!

Where do you eat breakfast?

Most of the time breakfast is consumed standing in the kitchen. I know, that’s bad. Work mornings are usually kind of hurried though. On weekends, I usually sit at the coffee table to have breakfast with Hubby and Ewok. Ewok hangs around until I finish my yogurt. She likes to lick the left overs out of the container.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last Week: I am thankful my presentation went well and that I got that travel award!

This Week: I was looking forward to some paper ephemera arriving in the mail, but it came while I was writing this post. Now I need another idea…..I am looking forward to using the goodies that came in the mail in my art journal!

Several Sides of Smooshy

cartoon-craziness-challenge-banner

This is Cartoon Craziness Week 4! Again, thanks to the hosts for coming up with such a fun challenge! 🙂 The theme this week is Kids and Pets.

I loved the theme this week. It gave me an excuse to draw cartoons of my cat and babble on about her! Haha. My kid/pet is a Silver Persian named Ewok. She is more affectionately known as “Smooshy” because of her flat little face. She’s four years old is a complete quirky joy. So here are several sides of smooshy….

many sides of Ewok

Sitting Staring Smooshy. I always wonder what is going through her little kitty head when she sits there staring at me. She always does this at bedtime. She sits and stares at me lying in bed for a while before she jumps up and lies on my face.

Stumped Smooshy. She loves to scamper after her ball, but when it stops she stops, stands beside it and looks at me like “mommy, why’d it stop?!” My mom’s cat, Ruby, plays fetch…she thinks she’s a dog. It’s a lot of fun though. Alas, Ewok is not getting the fetch concept.

Shoulder Smooshy. When Hubby picks her up for a cuddle, she peers over his shoulder all sleepy-eyed while he strokes/scratches her.

Semi-psycho Smooshy. This is what she does when she’s a little riled up and trying to attack something. She gets down low in front with her butt up in the air and wiggles it. Eventually she decides to pounce, often missing her target. She’s a clumsy little kitty.

Psycho-Smoosh. This is Ewok full of energy darting around the apart like a bat out of hell. She’s leaping over chairs, skidding across the floor and making funny chirping sounds. It usually ends with her overshooting her jump onto the CD stand or crashing into something. Good thing her face can’t get any flatter!

Sustenance Smooshy. When we are eating at the table, Ewok sits beside one of us on the floor and gently reaches up to tap her slipper paw on someone’s thigh. I imagine she’s saying “Hello. I’m here. I’m cute. Feed me.” She usually gets a treat as long as she doesn’t use claws when she taps.

Spiral Smooshy. When relaxing, she contorts herself into all sorts of crazy positions. I can’t imagine how they could be comfortable, but she seems to be perfectly happy. My favourite one is when she twists to expose her little pink belly…lol. I wonder if she knows she’s pink underneath all that fluff.

Scurrying Smooshy. This is what she looks like on the balcony. Ewok hates having the wind blow her fur! Whenever a gust of wind blows, she runs for shelter with her belly almost rubbing the ground, lol. It’s funny to see.

And here is the real Smooshy, just for fun!

38361-2013-11-1312-59-04

 

 

Self-esteem Challenge: Day 3

This blog challenge was developed by betterthandarkchocolate.tumblr.com. If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

Day 3:
A part of your personality that you like.
What is one fear or goal that you would like to conquer?

I like that I am kind. I think it’s important to be kind. I don’t like the word “nice” but, I’m trying to get over it. I always used to think of “nice” as something you say about someone you don’t really know or has no personality to define themselves with. People always described me as “nice”. I was starting to look at it as a negative. Kind of like when you get called “cute” instead of “beautiful”. Puppies and kitties are “cute”, flowers are “nice”. I want to be beautiful and generous. Anyway, now I’m trying to look at “nice” as a broad term that could mean kind and generous too.

Fear or goal huh? A goal would be too obvious…the Ph.D. I think overcoming my fear of making mistakes would help me a lot. I have tried in terms of drawing. I started with zentangles, you can read about it here. It helped a lot. Now I am able to draw again where as before I was too stressed about the outcome to actually start. I’d like to work on this fear in regards to work. In research there will always be a lot that I don’t know how to do. Being afraid of doing it wrong is really holding me back. It causes me to procrastinate and think that I don’t deserve to be where I am. Making mistakes is part of learning. Making a mistake doesn’t mean you are doomed. It means you are making progress and that’s better than not doing anything. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

creativity and mistakes

F.E.A.R. Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. Your choice.

F.E.A.R. Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. Your choice.

Sunny Sunday Blahs

I still feeling rather crap-tastic today. The weather yesterday was nice and I managed to make myself go for a run. I felt more in control after that. So I guess I’m not feeling as bad as I was. I know it will pass eventually, it just sucks having to wait it out. I wish I had a trigger, something that I knew set me off so I’d have something to work against. I’m been trying to figure it out since I was diagnosed in 2006, but I got nothing. I think it’s just bad genes and chemical imbalances for me though.

So it’s Sunday. I’m going to ignore reality (work) and just focus on existing today. I’ve been told many time that I need to stop and smell the roses more often. So this morning, I sat on the balcony with a coffee in the morning sun. It was rather nice. Ewok came out too. It was entertaining to watch her play with the bugs on the balcony. The rest of today will be spent out at the in-law’s (for the third weekend in a row). It’s not so bad I guess. They have a big property away from the city with a pool. It’ll be nice for a day like today. My mother in-law is the epitome of bubbly though. I admire bubbly people, but sometimes it’s too much, especially with the high pitched voice and my current mood. On top of that, she doesn’t like people with mental health problems. I have to put on a bit of a show and pretend I’m a happy ordinary person.

My parents will be joining us all later for dinner. It’s completely different with my folks. I can be myself, which is a big relief. I try not to be a total downer because that’s no fun for them, but if all I can manage on a given day is breathing, that’s ok with them. I’m hoping them being there for dinner tonight will take some of the pressure off. I can take a break from acting and just listen to them have conversation. I’ll be eternally grateful for their understanding and patience.

I didn’t get very much sleep last night, so I ended up doodling in my Art Doodle Love book again. The page I worked on asked me to doodle/collage any emotions I feel about myself today. I opted to skip the collage part. It was the middle of the night and all my scrapbook junk was in the bedroom where hubby was sleeping. So I just doodled.

artdoodlelove feeling low

It turned out rather colourful considering how dull and empty I’m feeling. I think maybe I want to be vibrant and colourful. That’s why I always use colour as opposed to darker monotones. Also, my lack of expertise in shading makes it really hard to do anything without the colour variation. I must take a drawing class some day.

Z for Zentangles

zenrose-colour

I love zentangles!

What are zentangles?

Zentangles are a method of drawing structured, repetitive patterns. Repetitive = relaxation and focus. I find it’s a good way to clear my head. When you look at a zentangle for the first time, it looks complicated. The whole idea behind zentangles is that you can do anything, but one step at a time. You focus on the patterns, not your preconceived idea of what the final result should be. Without an expectation in mind, it is easier to make mistakes.

I HATE making mistakes! It stops me from trying a lot of new things because I want to do everything perfectly the first time.

When I was younger, I fancied myself an artist. I never went a day without doodling something. As I got older, that all changed. I stopped drawing and it wasn’t until recently I realized why I stopped. It was my fear of mistakes.

Well who likes making mistakes right? No one. I let my fear of making mistakes stop me from doing something I enjoyed. Drawing suddenly became something stressful so I started avoiding it. This became a trend. I let the fear of making mistakes stop me from doing a lot of things….my fears started to affect my work, my relationships and my well-being. Something had to change.

Mistakes are part of life, they are unavoidable and the sooner you accept that, the better. The key to living through mistakes is to not let the situation get out of control. You can make A LOT of mistakes before you lose control. I found this kind of comforting. So, I decided to start small. Applying this thinking to drawing makes it seem silly to have stopped. Being creative is allowing yourself to make mistakes. It is the mistakes that make your work unique.

I’ve been doing zentangles for a while now. It has made it easier to start doodling again. I’m hoping to apply this to the rest of life. I think breaking things into smaller steps will make tasks seem less overwhelming and not being so rigid about the outcome will keep me from being disappointed and hating myself when I do make mistakes.

Here’s how to do a zentangle:

  1. Start with a blank piece of paper. Traditional zentangles are 3.5″ by 3.5″. You can do whole pages if you want, but the small size is much less intimidating.
  2. Make four dots, one in each corner of the paper.
  3. Connect the dots using straight lines, wavy lines or create a shape.
  4. Draw lines through your outline. This creates sections.
  5. Choose a tangle to fill in a section. There are so many to choose from. I use this site as my tangle pattern library: http://tanglepatterns.com/tag/zentangle They show you a pattern and the step-by-step instructions to draw it for yourself.
  6. Use a different tangle in each section.

 

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