The Return of the Prodigal Son

I dropped off the face of the Earth. I lost all will to write. I gave in to my depression.

I honestly thought everything would get better after Summer ended. Technically, it’s still not Autumn yet, but before June was my only bad month. But I’ve been having a hard time lately. I had about a month without a therapist and meeting my new one was both upsetting and stressful. The organization I go through also dropped the ball on my medications so I was having to deal with all of this without any of my psych meds, not the best thing.

I’ve decided I won’t be doing Inktober 52 or Inktober proper, i.e. drawing every day through October. I’m back to going with the flow of things. Not forcing myself to do anything. Just doing what I can, while I can, and hopefully, that will produce more results.

I’ve got some karate posts rattling around in my head, but for now, I’m just sharing my new mug!

So I was gifted a few things before I left my Janitor position at a college. One of those is a coffee mug with a lovely Jefferson quote on it: “Though an old man, I am but a young gardener.” Recently, my SO was moving things around in our cabinets and accidentally took a huge chip out of the said mug. Heartbreaking. I don’t want to risk the mug breaking more so I’ve put it out of commission. Mainly because my stepdaughter was using it all the time and with the chip, it’s even more fragile now.

I was going to have my SO replace the mug, but they don’t sell it as a single item. Urgh. Apparently, it’s a Monticello Mug.

The set is really amazing looking. I love the book quote one especially. But it’s $60 for all 4 mugs. That’s only like $15 for each mug, but it’s a bit much to throw down all at once. Instead, I ended up going to Wal-Mart and picking up a replacement. I have to say that shopping online compared to shopping in person sometimes is not as good. I had written down some of the in-store choices to compare and actually holding them in my hand helped me pick my final choice.

This one. I had been torn between this one and this one as another option. Price-wise, all of them were much more affordable, and if one of these breaks, I suppose I won’t be as sad about replacing it. I’m hoping it doesn’t break. Everyone in the house has their own set mug beside my stepdaughter and me. She has always used the stock of plain white coffee mugs that we have. They’re average size and we have like 10. At any given time she has 3 or more filled with milk, tea, or some other beverage.

I bought some sleepy-time tea and made some Earl Grey this morning to break in the new mug! I even made my FIL some Avocado Toast using a Croissant. Haha, he liked it so it’s not just Millenials that like avocado toast.

My MIL, FIL, and SO all have their own unique mugs designated as theirs that they use primarily. So now mine will be for my use! And hopefully won’t get knocked around. (Yes, we probably should get my stepdaughter her own mug, but she changes her preferences rather quickly like most 10-year-olds. ) Do you have a specific mug that you like to use for your hot beverages at home?

Thanks for stopping in to read my post, apologies for the long hiatus.

Cleaning House

Time flies! The puppies are nearly 5 months old and it’s time for some late Summer cleaning. I talked about what I was doing last week, but this week has been the actual heavy brunt of everything. A ton of stuff was moved out, and even more, was purged. I think I sent about 5 trash bags of items out to be tossed.

I might actually be a Crow or Raven in disguise. I couldn’t understand why I had half the shiny items in my possession, but they called to me and I had a hard time parting with them. Maybe that’s also part of being an artist. You see something cool and think: “I could use that to make X, Y, or Z someday, I should put that aside for later.” Then the ADHD brain takes over and you never do the thing.

Some of my books went downstairs. I have a small library and I’m not sorry. Some of the books I love and own are no longer in print and hard to get digital copies of so why not keep physical copies? I kept the books I want to read upstairs, which is still more than I really need right now, but it’s just so hard to send them all away. I found some of the comic books I bought back when we first moved into the house! (I have others, but these are the ones not in storage.)

I also found some of my stamps! I don’t really collect, but these were some that were being tossed out and I rescued. I don’t honestly think they’re worth much, but they’re something nice to collect. Maybe one day they’ll actually be worth something? Classic stamps are just so interesting to me. I know that the sticker ones these days are useful, but I miss the originals.

My cat has been supervising the cleaning. Any box or basket I empty must be scoped out as a new hang-out spot.

It’s been chaos. I thought I’d have been done by now, but it’s been one of those projects that definitely took me a lot more effort than I’d been planning. So I’m hoping and praying that next week will be more productive. Not that the room cleaning isn’t productive, but I’m wanting to write about something else besides cleaning. I have ASDF things and seminar videos/photographs that I want to upload soon.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Disaster Area

I wanted to do a post about martial arts and music, but this week has been too hectic. I’m currently not only cleaning our bedroom but doing a total transformation. Moving three desks, a big screen television, and our personal computers to the opposite side of the room. This essentially means that the bed is also switching sides of the room since there’s not much room in an average bedroom.

We’ve dragged our Queen-sized bed, box spring, and frame out of the room while I’m doing the rearranging. I’m also letting go of a lot of clutter and items that I should have gone through in the past. Before I moved to where I’m located, I was living in a two-bedroom apartment. And before that, I had been living in a three-bedroom house. So I’ve downsized a few times. We’re still working on clearing out the storage unit as well.

So some of the items I’ve got are being moved downstairs into the basement for storage along with items from our storage unit. Other items will be stowed under the bed. Hopefully, mostly items that I deem essential and want access to regularly. I’ve upgraded the bed risers from the normal ones we had before to some taller ones which should give us a few more inches of storage underneath the bed. The Amazon sales helped me get these for a good price.

No pictures of the disaster area right now. Hopefully, once I have everything set up and cleared out, I’ll snap some photographs of the new bedroom layout. It’s insane how much your space can clutter up when you let depression take over. Thanks for stopping in today! See you guys next week. I’m aiming to do more artwork once the room is back to ship shape.

I’m NOT dead, I was just “Farming”

I thought everything would be better when the month of June ended, but I’ve just been more depressed than ever. I have to force myself to keep going, but it’s been rough. The puppies are hitting that point where they’re destructive, not completely house trained, and cannot be left unattended for even a moment. We took them to the Tractor Supply store for their first outside interaction in forever besides going to the vet. They murdered the stuffed squirrel we bought them in less than 24 hours. Head taken off, stuffing mauled EVERYWHERE.

So most days this month have been a haze of depression and watching the baby puppies. We binge Netflix, run around outside, then regret the triple-digit temperatures, and retreat inside. I gave up on Pokemon Go. It is not a game that you can play at home very well. Sadly. My SO got a game called “Farm Together” and it’s got the feel of “Animal Crossing” and “Minecraft”. Budget resources, arrange resources, etcetera. It’s very addictive yet easy to put down every 30 minutes when the puppy bladder requires a prance outdoors.

You level up your farm(s) and yourself. You can customize yourself, your tractor, your farmhands, and your pet! I actually made a black puppy that looks like Jet! My tractor is a pink monster that has a strawberry on it. I was excited to be able to take so many screenshots on the X-Box, although getting them online to post here for an ordeal. Please fix that, Microsoft.

The farms can get to be really massive. My main one is HUGE. I picked a little bit of everything map for my first go. I also have a Hard Mode map that’s flat, but I just haven’t been as interested in it as much as my first farm. If you go out to the edges, you’ll find some flatter ground that makes organization a lot easier than the hills and rivers area.

There are coins, gems, ribbons, and tickets. To earn tickets, you can do cooking. There’s painting and music that helps you earn tickets and sometimes even ribbons. Ribbons are earned by completing tasks. Such as growing and harvesting 60 carrots. It’s not a complicated game. It’s just a resource management game. Which really has been doing something good for my brain.

The Havana Rabbits reminded me of Velveteen. I made a huge field of them and took a selfie with them with a rainbow in the background! So that’s been my life for the most part. I’ve had a huge art block. I got access to an iPad recently and was trying out Procreate, which I’ll probably do a small review of next week. I really need to catch up on the MILLIONS of Inktober52 prompts that I’ve fallen behind on. Sadly the Apple Pencil that I got does not work with the version of iPad I was given so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to draw with anything beyond my finger. *sigh*

Hopefully, I’ll have some art for you soon. I’ve really just had horrible art block lately. Again. It’s frustrating when you can’t create anything. Everything looks bad. And nothing looks good enough. I need to just do it. But it’s just not that easy, is it? Just make the art. Just stop being depressed. Just do the thing.

Anywho, thanks for stopping in!

Swimming for Sunlight

Swimming for Sunlight

A Novel By Allie Larkin

When recently divorced Katie Ellis and her rescue dog Bark move back in with Katie’s grandmother in Florida, she becomes swept up in a reunion of her grandmother’s troupe of underwater performers—finding hope and renewal in unexpected places, in this sweet novel perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Claire Cook.

Aspiring costume designer Katie gave up everything in her divorce to gain custody of her fearful, faithful rescue dog, Barkimedes. While she figures out what to do next, she heads back to Florida to live with her grandmother, Nan.

But Katie quickly learns there’s a lot she doesn’t know about Nan—like the fact that in her youth Nan was a mermaid performer in a roadside attraction show, swimming and dancing underwater with a close-knit cast of talented women. Although most of the mermaids have since lost touch, Katie helps Nan search for her old friends on Facebook, sparking hopes for a reunion show. Katie is up for making some fabulous costumes, but first, she has to contend with her crippling fear of water.

As Katie’s college love Luca, a documentary filmmaker enters the fray, Katie struggles to balance her hopes with her anxiety and begins to realize just how much Bark’s fears are connected to her own, in this thoughtful, charming novel about hope after loss and friendships that span generations.

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Swimming-for-Sunlight/Allie-Larkin/9781501198489

I grabbed this one at the library and it’s been a painful start. I had picked some books up from the library about mermaids. It’s summer and mermaids just seem like something fun to read about. I got one non-fiction novel and this was the other one that popped up concerning mermaids.

There are mental health issues, divorce, grief, trauma, miscarriage, and just a long slew of topics that all hit home like a ton of bricks. I found myself really relating to the main character well. And despite not connecting to others, finding something likable about them. This was one of those books that I wanted to marathon through yet I forced myself into a steady pace so that I could savor it.

I honestly may have to buy a copy of this book because it’s one of those types that I feel like I could read more than once. I’m still basking in the afterglow of finishing the book, but I really think the character development went really well through the novel. Let’s be honest, one of the main characters was a dog. That’s always a big seller for novels. The product details were:

I’ve never really read a book that fits into the genre of “Women’s Friendship” before, but it was pleasantly refreshing. I might need to branch out from my normal reading genres and pick a few more like this one. Do you ever like to venture outside your normal reading preferences?

E-Books

Okay, so I’ve mentioned using the digital library for e-books and audiobooks. But I completely let it slip my memory that I actually have another way of accessing e-books. And these are actually ones that you can have. For free. Or very cheap. My brother actually passed me one of his older e-readers in the past and that’s when I started hunting for cheap e-books to read. Now most tablets are great for reading on the go as well.

I’m currently subscribed to Book Bub! I get an e-mail each day that gives me a list of free or low cost e-books that are on sale. There’s actually so many free ones that I can’t even keep up with which ones I have and which ones I don’t have. They aren’t all the most amazing books, but you can definitely stock up on some decent ones. Also, there might just be something satisfying about browsing through the e-book lists and purchasing them.

Shopping gratification without the cost.

BookBub

It’s really easy to navigate and find the kinds of books you want.

If it’s available, you’ll be able to find it with links to Amazon, Barnes &Noble, Apple Books, Google, and Kobo! I just started picking up kindle books on Amazon. Normally most of my kindle books are for Barnes & Noble. Maybe I’m just paranoid and like to stock up on all the different ways of having it. You never know when one or the other might be unavailable.

I’m still not great at managing my books on Amazon yet, so I wasn’t able to take a screenshot of that. But it’s very satisfying to have all these books at my fingertips. I’m still old fashioned and prefer the actual books in my hands though. The way they smell. The feel of having a book in your hands. Actually being able to look between a few books at one time. It’s not practical. I’ll admit. But it really just makes me happy.

There’s great arguments for both sides.

But if you really want/need some e-books I highly recommend Book Bub! Thanks for stopping in today, guys.

July

I know I said I’m reducing the number of posts, but some part of my brain just started to panic as I realized that it was the start of a new month. I’m still used to doing a post to start each month so I figured I may as well keep with that habit. July is one of the hotter months here in the South. July and August. There’s threats of triple digit temperatures where I am. I’m aware that Georgia and Florida have already had some weather like that. My poor MIL was told the green beans in both states have scorched and there’s none available for canning.

July 4th rings in Independence Day for the United States. Fireworks, cookouts, and patriotism! Well, maybe the first two, but the last one is less likely these days. I was also surprised that there was a Filipino-American Friendship Day on the same day. Not something I was aware of and I’m Filipino. (I know very little about my own heritage, sadly.) Thank you, National Today, for being a fountain of holiday knowledge!

A Giant List of July Daily Holidays and Observances

July 1: International Joke Day, American Zoo Day, Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day, National Postal Worker Day, Canada Day
July 2: National I Forgot Day, World UFO Day
July 3: Disobedience Day, International Plastic Bag Free Day, National Stay Out of the Sun Day, National Eat Beans Day
July 4: Independence Day
July 5: National Bikini Day, National Graham Cracker Day
July 6: International Kissing Day, National Fried Chicken Day
July 7: Tell the Truth Day, National Strawberry Sundae Day, World Chocolate Day
July 8: National Video Game Day, Math 2.0 Day, Liberty Bell Day (rang to signal reading of Declaration of Independence), National SCUD Day (also known as National Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama Day)
July 9: National Sugar Cookie Day
July 10: Teddy Bear Picnic Day, National Kitten Day, National Piña Colada Day, Don’t Step On a Bee Day
July 11: Cheer Up the Lonely Day, Marine Corps Creation Day, National Clerihew Day, World Population Day
July 12: Simplicity Day, Etch a Sketch Day, National Eat Your Jello Day
July 13: Embrace Your Geekness Day, National French Fry Day
July 14: Bastille Day, Shark Awareness Day, Cow Appreciation Day, National Mac and Cheese Day, Pandemonium Day
July 15: Be a Dork Day, Gummi Worm Day, National Give Something Away Day, National Pet Fire Safety Day
July 16: World Snake Day, National Corn Fritter Day
July 17: Wrong Way Day, World Emoji Day, National Lottery Day
July 18: World Listening Day, Nelson Mandela International Day, National Caviar Day
July 19: National Daiquiri Day, National Ice Cream Day* (third Sunday)
July 20: National Moon Day, Space Exploration Day, International Chess Day, National Lollipop Day
July 21: National Junk Food Day
July 22: Spoonerism Day, National Hammock Day
July 23: Gorgeous Grandma Day, National Hot Dog Day
July 24: Tell An Old Joke Day, National Cousins Day, National Drive-Thru Day, National Tequila Day
July 25: National Thread the Needle Day, National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, National Wine and Cheese Day
July 26: National All Or Nothing Day, National Aunt and Uncle Day, National Parents Day* (fourth Sunday)
July 27: National Creme Brûlée Day, National Scotch Day, Bagpipe Appreciation Day
July 28: National Milk Chocolate Day, National Hamburger Day (one of three celebratory days in the year)
July 29: Rain Day, National Chicken Wing Day, National Lasagna Day, National Lipstick Day
July 30: National Support Public Education Day, National Cheesecake Day, International Day of Friendship, National Chili Dog Day, National Father-in-Law Day
July 31: Talk In An Elevator Day, Harry Potter’s Birthday Day, National Avocado Day, National Mutt Day

Weekly and Monthly Holidays Include

Clean Beaches Week (July 1-7)
National Parenting Gifted Children Week (third week)
National Moth Week (last week)

American Artist Appreciation Month
American History Essay Contest
Bereaved Parents Awareness Month
Cord Blood Awareness Month
Family Fun Month
Family Meal Month
Family Reunion Month
National Anti-Boredom Month
National Baked Bean Month
National Black Family Month
National Blueberry Month
National Cell Phone Courtesy Month
National Culinary Arts Month
National Fireworks Safety Month
National Foreign Language Month
National Grilling Month
National Hemp Month
National Horseradish Month
National Hot Dog Month
National Ice Cream Month
National Make a Difference for Children Month
National Peach Month
National Picnic Month
National World Watercolor Month
Purposeful Parenting Month
Read an Almanac Month

Holy moo, my brain melted just reading over these lists. A lot of them make sense. Obviously… let’s keep our beaches clean while not blowing ourselves up with fireworks. Let’s keep the kids from being bored as Summer vacation gets fully into swing. Watching social media, I’m surprised how many people are actually JUST starting their summer breaks. My step daughter has been out of school sense May and they’ll be returning in August.

We’ve also made it through HALF the year! July 1st is exactly the midpoint of the year. We’ve got it half done. Now let’s just finish the rest of this year… and then the next. And so on. I guess. Inktober hit week 26 (I’m behind and still need to do week 25 too). Which means it’s halfway through those as well! Satisfied that things still to be going smoothly. Hopefully this doesn’t jinx things for me.

Thanks for stopping in today, guys! Have a great month. Stay cool.

369 Posts Later…

We’re saying goodbye to the month of June and marking the one-year anniversary of the first post for Atelier Whootique. I’ve been doing this for an entire year now! That’s 369 posts for the blog including today’s. It’s not always the same subject. There’s a vast range of categories: Anime & Film, Arts & Crafts, Books, Food, Health & Fitness, Martial Arts, Mental Health Awareness, Music, Nerd/Geek, Pets/Animals, Shopping, Technology/IT, Video Games, and Ramble.

I want to take a moment to remember my two fur/feather babies that left me this past year. Rest in Peace, Velveteen Rabbit and Mango Bird.

And this year welcomed two new fur babies into the household, Millie and Jet!

I can’t explain exactly how satisfying it’s been to realize I’ve kept at this for an entire year. Some days I was able to write more than one post. On other days, I just did NOT have it in me. My mental health was low. The DBT Podcast started and took a long hiatus. Everyone’s lives have changed drastically. The Pandemic has been insane. I lost two pets who had been through thick and thin with me. It’s certainly been a roller coaster of emotions and experiences.

I’ve debated reducing the number of posts that I do each week. And I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll do at least two posts a week. One for writing and one for drawing, since I still have Inktober52 happening for 2022. That way I can focus on what I want to write and not feel like I have to write something every day. It wasn’t a bad goal to do, writing every day. I really did enjoy doing it.

It’s technically not “New Year” or anything and I’m not going to be doing any weird resolutions, but from now on, I’d like to focus on improving my writing. I’ve got the American Self-Defense Federation to focus on right now. I’m trying to get healthier and do more martial arts. And I’m always working to improve my mental health. I know I make a ton of plans and never seem to follow through with them.

At least I can tell myself that I made it through an entire year of blogging. I made content for over 365+ days and I kept up with it. I didn’t beat myself up (too much) about creating something. I can do it! I don’t regret shutting down Fish in Bowl. Sometimes a fresh start is what you need. Tomorrow is July! The start of a new month. Thanks for reading my posts, checking out my art, and just, in general, frequenting my blog! Here’s to another year of making … something.

ADULTING!

My meds were not available because all my paperwork had expired. YAY… I called the company and was told I could do it online. It was SUPER complicated so yeah no. No number for the patient assistance department was listed online so I went in to the office today…

The girl who normally handles my paperwork was not there. Someone else helped me, but she had to have someone else email her the paperwork for my meds. Like 30 pages and the organization has my doctor sign everything so they save me so much work.

But I had to go talk to the doctor. Because they want to lay eyes on me regularly. Nevermind that these are the same meds I have been taking forever. At least they gave me a gas card for going.

It was a lot of adulting I really didnt want to do since I’ve been depressed lately, but i still needed to do it. OPPOSITE ACTION AT ITS FINEST. Ah boy. At least it was a pretty day.

Everyone else is sick now. Urgh.

Also was crafty today.. I made a harness thing to hook the puppies together. Cost, $3ish. 2 spring links. 1 piece of parachord. Very practical!

I used this YouTube video to do it.

I also got Jet a lil light because black dogs and darkness do not mix. It really helped me keep track of her tonight. She isn’t allowed off leash, but tripping over her can be an issue.

So tomorrow is the last day of June, we made it. Thank God. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. It’s also the one year anniversary of starting the Atelier Whootique website! Huzzah!

Audiobooks

I know that I’ve mentioned Overdrive and Libby before, but today is one of those days that I’m really glad that I have my library card. I’m so tired from the COVID and I don’t have much happening mentally. So I was “shopping” in the online library for books to e-read or listen to while I’m still recovering. Audiobooks are also amazing for those with attention issues. One of the things that I like to do is listen to my book while I “read” it. That way I can actually focus better.

Because of the health stuff and the crazy amount of things happening around the house, I’ve completely missed doing the summer reading program at the library. Which is a bit disappointing, but it is what it is. I can’t beat myself up too hard for not being able to spend so much fuel on going to the library. Thank goodness for online resources!

I’m currently sorting through my books, but look at all the audiobooks that I’ve got! I can’t keep the e-books the same way so I only check out one or two of those. It’s much easier to download the audiobooks and save them for later to listen to even when I don’t have access to the internet. A lot of times I put them on my MP3 player or cellphone for when I’m driving.

When you check out books at the library, they tell you how much you’ve saved by “checking out” the books instead of buying them. Part of me wants to try and compare how much money I’ve saved by downloading books on Overdrive/Libby. You can get audiobooks from Audible and Amazon and such, but why not capitalize on the money that’s already being spent on libraries?

Thanks for stopping in today! Only a few more days left in June! It’s the final stretch.