Tiny World, Big Feelings

I’m still feeling really raw after loosing Mango yesterday. Since my plans for today fell through (my local vet changed a bit and no longer will see rabbits, so I need to find a different one), I decided to take a personal day and work through my feelings.

I watched some sad anime. These are sort of complicated, so I won’t give a summary. You should Google them if you’re interested. I finally watched the last episode of “Fruit Basket, Final Season”. Sad, but happy, but also bitter sweet. Had a few episodes to catch up on the end of “To Your Eternity”. SUPER sad. I love this anime, but I’m pretty sure every episode likes to destroy your feelings. Finished up my anime binging with “Those Snow White Noises”, which is about music and the Japanese shamisen. Which I would love to learn to play someday.

This was somewhat a distraction tactic as well as emotion regulation. I wanted some sad things, which helped me cry. I had cried when Mango first died then I felt like I went numb. So crying some over the anime was really helpful. There was some frustration as well. Radically accepting that sometimes you just can’t be in control of the situation.

I don’t want to linger to long on this, but the subject of death is always complicated for me. I never expected myself to grow up, grow old, or become an adult. As a teenager I always assumed I’d end up dying young. I had a lot of thoughts about killing myself when I was younger, so long term plans were not an issue. Now that I’m older, it’s very odd. Somewhat eerie when you realize that so many people you know have died. Time passes slowly, but at the same time, is deceptively quick to slip through your fingers.

SO~! Moving on from the morbidly, morbid thoughts. An important part of DBT, is being aware and turning a thought. So when I realized that I might be dwelling too hard on too many different thoughts, I picked out an activity that’s perfect for mindfulness! Model building!

I’m currently slowly working my way through a Chocolatier Shoppe kit from Hobby Lobby. It’s my first miniature model kit I’ve ever done. It’s been a long project. I work on what I can until my patience and attention span are gone. A little snip snip here, and little glue glue there. It’s very relaxing despite how tedious the tasks can be. It’s a real mindfulness project because I’m forced to focus solely on what I’m doing. The task at hand instead of the other million things my mind wants to dwell on.

I envy my SO because he has the ability to go mindless. For myself, a good analogy of what my brain is like… I’ve got 500 tabs open in my internet browser. At least 3 of them are songs. I cannot remember why most of them are open, but I assume they’re important and I don’t want to let them go. My attention is split so badly I can’t really accomplish anything.

My long term goal is to finish the model, which is painfully close. I don’t know where I’ll put the model after I’m done, but the fact that I have something accomplished really helps myself feel better. I’ll try to take some more pictures once the Shoppe is completed. Until then, please enjoy the pictures I’ve taken so far.

And thank you again, everyone, for taking the time to read my blog!

Mango, the Bird, not the Fruit

I can’t even remember the topic I had been considering to use today. Grief always has a way of washing away any coherent thought. When pets pass away, it’s always the worst. I feel like our sweet companions touch our hearts so strongly despite their short time on this Earth.

Mango was 11 years old when she came into my life. A friend of my ex-husband needed to rehome her and I had been wanting a bird badly. I grew up with a Quaker parrot and dealt with birds often through the Chehaw Park, where I volunteered during the summers of my middle school and high school days.

Funnily enough, her previous owner said that she was a male. I remember a few months into owning Mango, she was laying on the bottom of her cage and wasn’t moving around much. I thought she was sick or dying so I took her to the vet. There couldn’t find anything wrong with her. The next next day, she laid an egg. And then we knew that Mango was a girl. She’d never laid an egg before for her previous owner, so I took that as a sign of approval.

She lived to be 21 years old. She travelled across the country with me many times, visiting my family and friends. She loved popcorn, but was not above sharing other crispy treats. She just liked to be in your presence, whether it be at the computer or while watching or reading something interesting. She loved a hot steamy shower almost as much as she loved a warm fire during Winter.

This afternoon when she cried out and started to stumble on the bottom of her cage, I knew. It makes my heart sick, but I can at least say that she passed away in my hands. My SO helped me mourn her and she had a burial on the hill under a cairn. Near where we buried my other rabbit, Jethro.

She was loved. She will be missed. I know there were many of my little friends waiting for her on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you for reading. Apologies if my posts within the next few days are a bit sad.

Happy Independence Day

This is one of the most American desserts I’ve ever seen…

To everyone in the United States of America,

Happy 4th of July! Hope you are all celebrating in a safe way. Enjoy that food and don’t blow yourself up with fireworks.

I spent the first part of the day uploading some photos of paintings. These paintings were done quite a long time ago, but I tried to crop some of them and fix them to display better online. I also added watermarks to the images. Haha, I feel like I’m growing as an artist. Little baby steps. I’m hoping in the near future to do some more painting, but I’m trying not to make too many large goals all at once. The website is already such a big endeavor.

I’m trying to post each day. Hopefully one of these days when my motivation is stronger, I’ll be able to prepare posts ahead of time. As a back up plan or cope ahead for the days when I have less energy or limited time to put towards creating something.

I did a bit of a video. It isn’t the best quality and gosh, it took so many takes just to get myself to talk normally. I stumbled over my words, stuttered, and had tongue twisters like ten times before I felt like the video was okay enough to upload. Please feel free to take a look. Be kind in reviewing. I’m an amateur and definitely NOT a licensed therapist. (I knocked one of my models over at one point during the video. Oof!)

Thanks again for taking the time out of your day to check out my blog! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear or see.

The Journey … a DBT Podcast

In case you missed the Podcast when it streamed live on Twitch, Elektra has posted the entire thing on her Youtube! This past week’s Podcast was about “Checking the Facts”. The other past episodes are also posted there. If anyone is interested in learning more about Dialectical Behavior Therapy, please feel free to join us on my Discord. WARNING: none of us are licensed mental health professionals. Just fellow travelers trying to find our way in the world.

I’m hoping to do some individual videos about DBT as well. Not sure if anyone would be interested in viewing those. I’ll be posting links here once I get one of those recorded. Until then, please feel free to check out “The Journey” DBT Podcast.

Today was a ton more food prep because our household is definitely food centric… Which might explain why I have so much trouble dieting and dealing with weight loss. “We’ll go on a diet soon, but first we need to eat what we’ve got in the house.” Oops, we have a 9-year-old, of course we’ve bought more junk food. *sigh* I have started making some protein shakes, but those still have fresh fruit in them so there is some sugar. I’m Diabetic Type 2 so I try to balance my diet. Try.

Quick lazy run down of today’s food porn: Pineapple Peach Salsa (pineapple, peach, tomato, green peppers, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice) which got served along with some amazing Grilled Chicken. The obligational hot dogs and hamburgers. Ranch Beans. And some Chuy’s Ranch Dressing, which is spicy as heck!

I feel like there’s so much more I needed to talk about today, but sleep has been hard lately. My brain is a bit fuzzy. I do have to say, sometimes you have to “Check the Facts”. (Haha, I am trying to tie in the last Podcast, but it wasn’t on purpose.) Usually we go to karate on Saturday mornings.

I woke up this morning and realized that I was having an awful time getting up. It took me a few minutes to do a body scan and figure out if this was a mental health issue or was I actually feeling bad? All of my errands yesterday had taken quite a toll on my body. (My car has no A/C and I have hypohydrosis.) Coupled with some acid reflux keeping me up and down throughout the night, I realized that my body was not in great condition. One hour commute to the Dojo, two hour class, then another hour commute.

Checking the facts really helped me mentally handle this. I didn’t feel the normal guilt that usually follows changing plans. In the past I always would suck things up and soldier through, which would usually end with me being in a sour mood for the rest of the day. If this had been a situation where I was just feeling blah and didn’t want to go, I would have practiced “Opposite Action” to motivate myself to get up. Trust me, I’ve had lots of days like this.

In this case, I like to think that checking the facts helped me narrow down logical reasons why I was having trouble. I did monitor the emotional reasons as well. Sometimes you just need to be gentle with yourself. What would you recommend to someone else in this same situation? If any of my friends were to ask about this, I would absolutely suggest taking care of themselves and knowing their limits. Don’t overextend yourself.

So that’s what I did.

And I’m feeling pretty good about it. Though I will definitely be doing some extra practice tomorrow once the house quiets down a bit. Can’t improve without practice, practice, practice! I’m hoping to also type up a bunch of the notes I’ve taken during some of our training sessions. Look forward to that in the near future.

Thanks again, everyone who may be reading this. Your time and consideration is very much appreciated!

Quick Kimchi

In true Southern Style, we keep our Kimchi in a large mason jar with one of those “burp” lids.

Kimchi is something that my family loves to eat. I’m a huge fan of it myself, but I also have to moderate how much I consume due to the heat. (Acid reflux sucks, guys.) I can’t say that my version is a hundred percent “authentic” since I’m not Korean and the recipe I pulled from online is more of a guideline than an actual … measurement.

Yes, I’m one of those kind of cooks. I’ll abide by the recipe for the first attempt then go from there. I’ve been doing kimchi this way for a few years now and gifted a few jars to friends. Most of them who have had “authentic” kimchi said that it tasted on par. And some of my friends who are not typically fans of it actually enjoyed it.

We’ve tried growing Daikon Radishes in the garden, but they don’t get that large. I managed a quick trip over to the Sunrise Asian Market today. Got one of the HUGE Daikon, a head of Napa Cabbage, some carrots, and some green onions. I peel the daikon, cut it in half, then cut it into thin slices. Then I shred the cabbage. I’m super lazy with carrots and buy the matchstick ones, since we also use them as a salad garnish. The top half of the green onions are chopped into one inch pieces. The whites are minced finely for the kimchi sauce.

I don’t measure how much salt I use, but I sprinkle it heavily over the vegetables and add lukewarm water so that it can dissolve the salt. I let it brine like that for at least 2 hours, tossing it occasionally through the time period. Rinse well, then drain. Make sure you squeeze out all the water or it’ll effect the concentration of your kimchi!

I’m really not a fan of using too many extra bowls so I’m the horrible cook that just tosses everything into the same bowl. I add the minced green onions, purée garlic from a tube, then about two more spoonful of mince garlic (because extra garlic is always good), purée ginger from a tube, a splash of fish sauce (I don’t use a ton, because the pungent smell is usually offsetting for my family), coconut vinegar, Gochugaru flakes (Korean red pepper), Gochujang (red pepper paste), and honey I know it sounds redundant to use red pepper flakes and paste, but I like the way the combo works.

Toss and mix well. You want to make sure that there’s enough liquid (add more vinegar as necessary) to cover the vegetables. Keep it in the fridge for up to a month, the flavor grows the longer it sits. My SO has eaten this kimchi straight from the bowl right after it’s been prepared. More commonly, my SO will add a bunch of this to ramen for spice. I personally love to add kimchi to cold white rice and stir fry it with some eggs.

I actually got into making my own kimchi after I got a hankering to eat some Budae Jjigae. I’d had it a few times back when I lived in Atlanta, GA. In case you’ve never had it, it’s a Korean Army Stew. You can make it as cheap or fancy as you want. Typical ingredients include: spam, hotdogs or sausage, mushrooms, onions, rice cakes. You could do it upscale with some chicken or ground meat. The ramen noodles make a different too! I love these, they don’t get soggy like your typical maruchan ramen.

Any who, that’s it for me today! I wanted to make sure to do a post, but my day was primarily shopping and preparing for Independence Day cooking. (Kimchi was a last minute evening thing.) I’ll also add the link here, for the kimchi recipe that I used as my base since I know I didn’t give ANY amounts for the ingredients. Tell me if you make some, I’d love to hear how it turns out.

Social Media Banner

As I was uploading the new banner to Atelier Whootique’s different social media platforms, I noticed my last post in Patreon. It’s been over a year.

JUN 29, 2020 AT 5:25 AM
After a lot of thought and some careful soul searching, I’ve decided to release Fish Bowl. The story behind the brand and website name is connected to a part of my life that I’ve grown apart from over the years. I’d like to be more serious with my artwork and hope to create work in the future that will bring joy to others. Thank you so much for reading this and I hope you’ll stick around to see what I have to offer!

I felt a lot of guilt when I gave up on the project. The funds to keep the domain name and pay for web hosting just weren’t in the budget for something I just didn’t have the motivation to do anymore. I had a few very dedicated Patrons at that time, so loosing them was an even heavier blow.

Launching Atelier Whootique has been more difficult than I planned. Aside from the issues that I covered in my last blog post, I lost my father at the end of 2020. This was a huge emotional wound that sucked all motivation to create. My dad was an important part of my life. He supported me during my mental health struggles and always encouraged my artwork.

This repeating wallpaper is the first piece I’ve created since I lost my dad. Hopefully there will be more to come in the near future! I still need to work on a logo and other basic artwork for the website/blog. Until everything is complete, please pardon the mess.

One Step Forward, Too Many Backward

Hello there, world!

It feels strange to write a fresh new post on a brand new blog site.  I’ve been twisting in the wind for ages trying to get things started without realizing the most important thing. You just have to do it.  No amount of planning, list-making, or researching will ever prepare you as much as just jumping into the task at hand.

At one point in time, I had a website slash blog published on the internet.  It ran from somewhere in the late 2000s until 2020. Lovingly named Fish in Bowl (dot com), it was based on a hilarious skit that occurred during one of my very nerdy hobbies (tabletop).  It obviously involved a fish and a bowl, but I won’t go on a tangent about that. That’s a whale of a tale for another time.

Trust me, I’m an easy one to distract.  Reading my posts might remind you of Mad Hatter’s tea party.  If you can relate, you probably have ADHD/ADD. Fun times!

Fish in Bowl served many purposes over the decade-plus time it was on the internet.  As an art student in college, I was regularly uploading sketches, doodles, and illustrations.  There was also a not-so-organized jaunt through food blogging.  I love cooking. I love taking pictures of food.  Am I good at combining the two things into a blog? No. Or at least, I thought I wasn’t. I didn’t put enough time, effort, or research into it.

Somewhere along the way, my ex-husband encouraged me to attempt a slice of life webcomic, which sadly went as poorly as my life during that time period.  Somewhere along the way, it was very obvious I was having mental health issues.  I had lost focus in life, dropped out of college, and was constantly struggling with my self-image and purpose.

It took an ER visit, some extreme trauma, and a stent at the in-patient psychiatric hospital to finally get me the diagnosis I’d so desperately needed most of my life.  Bipolar Disorder.  With a splash of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. And oh, right, PTSD from events that I won’t go in-depth about in this post.  Medication, years of therapy, and time have been miraculous.

So, I suppose the long-drawn-out point I’ve been trying to make is that my life thus far seems like a series of unfortunate attempts to do something.  One step forward, too many back.  When the 2020 pandemic broke out, it gave me a lot of time to mull over the state of my website.  I decided to take a hiatus, rebrand, and reorganize.

No more backing up.  Time to pull myself up by my bootstraps and move on! A phrase I used to hate hearing, but now realize is so true.  I hope whoever is still reading this will join me on this little journey.  Thanks for your time!