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Amusing/embarrassing [Feb. 10th, 2015|02:25 pm]
I keep forgetting that I can use LJ for anecdotes too private for Facebook.

For instance: after school, my stepdaughter usually wants to hang out with me, while my stepson is typically too cool to express that desire, but will definitely come around to see if we are doing anything interesting and then join in without comment if we are. Usually it's just me reading a book, but he'll stick around for a while if the book is good.

So, I've been reading Anne Frank's diary to my stepdaughter, and we got to the first official mention of Anne's puberty, at which point I determined, as I had already suspected, that my stepdaughter had never gotten the goods on the subject of menstruation. So we stopped reading the book and I Googled "female reproductive system" for visual aids and explained all that plumbing and the likely timeframe in which she could expect these changes.

In the midst of this conversation, I heard stepson come down the hall, pause outside the room and, as soon as he got the gist of the conversation, hightail it out of there. I'm still cracking up thinking about this 12-year-old boy wondering what we're up to, realizing that it's his stepmom explaining periods to his sister, and running away quickly.

In other news, my stepdaughter, who will turn 10 in less than 1 month, and who went up 3 shoe sizes since school started, was unaware that women get monthly periods. Bonus: when the conversation turned inevitably to baby-making, I determined that she a) had no idea HOW the daddy gamete got to the mommy gamete and b) was under the impression that babies came out of women's butts. Upon examining the diagram (thanks again, Google), she seemed relieved to note that the vaginal opening was substantially larger than the anus.
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Two Posts in 1 Month [Nov. 10th, 2014|05:50 pm]
I just thought I'd come to Livejournal to complain about the fact that my stepdaughter has taken up the trumpet, an instrument for which she demonstrates no natural affinity. She refuses to practice without someone listening to her, and constantly asks for reassurance that she sounds better (she does not). I'm sure she will get better, with practice, as people do, although she has already given up on 2 other instruments (guitar and flute) because they are "too hard." The band teacher has informed us that she will be kicked out of the band unless she documents 30 minutes of practice a day. My brain is on fire.

Also, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to whatever it is that she puts on the trumpet, something that smells evil and oily and alcoholy, a smell that lingers after she puts the instrument away.

OK. That's that.

Here are some All Souls pictures.


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People. Or just 1 person. [Nov. 8th, 2014|02:29 pm]
[mood |lolololol]

I don't know why Tabor's ex-wife even bothers telling us when she's coming. In the 6 years that I've known her, I think she's been on time twice. About 98% of the time she's at least 30 minutes late. On one memorable occasion she was 6 HOURS late picking the kids up. When they were little 4 hours late was no big deal to her, although, of course, it's a huge deal to a little kid. The other 1.9% of the time she's so early that we're not the least bit ready for her. Currently she is 50 minutes late, because obviously no one else in the world has anything more important to do than wait around for her idiotic ass.

What else?

Last month we took a super-epic road trip to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We saw California condors. We saw bison. We saw pueblo ruins. It was great.

Tomorrow is my favorite local event, the All Souls Procession.

I should post pictures.

Requisite Grand Canyon photo.

The best part of the trip was probably a hike we took in the red rock region outside of the city of Sedona in a supposedly magical place called Boynton Canyon. This is the place where you can find heart-shaped rocks, which you then hang in trees. There are also a lot of rock balances, arranged around the so-called vortex in an interesting pattern. We also climbed a very high and steep rock. Even I did it. We were pretty pumped.

We are very high up, and we had to climb to get there.

Ex is now a nice even hour late. I will eat my quiche and fold laundry and write comics and try to ignore her utter lack of integrity and interest in anyone else's convenience besides her own. 
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Still Here, Still Beautiful [Aug. 29th, 2014|01:22 pm]
[mood |creativecreative]

It's been about 3 months since I launched my T-shirt shop and art blog. The blog is getting some degree of love; I usually get WP upvotes and a number of Facebook likes. I have sold 2 T-shirts. Naturally, these designs were fast adaptations of images that I didn't spend much time on. The designs that took me weeks to draw, which get the most attention and the most views, have not actually sold yet.

I've been experimenting with digital painting. The results are interesting but not quite ready for prime time, if you know what I mean. I thought this one was OK but it's the least successful post I've made all month. It could really use a lot more work, but part of the blog project is that I need to plan ahead, and I had planned to upload this image at that time.


The most successful thing I've done so far is a series of incredibly poorly drawn comics. The main character is cut and paste into every panel, with her expression and arms changed slightly. It still takes me about 3 hours to draw one. They are kind of funny, if you have a sense of humor sort of like mine.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 1.16.13 PM

This is one of the most popular panel I've drawn.

Well, at least someone likes my drawings. Apparently my 7-year-old nephew was so inspired that he's been drawing his own serial comic, which he then shares with his entire mailing list via Google docs. My nephew is pretty sophisticated. Or maybe that's normal behavior for 7-year-olds now? My stepkids don't do anything like that. While the digital artwork can be sort of hard to decipher, the text is pure gold. It starts out as a man vs. elements story, with an autonomous fellow who lives on a boat. Eventually he finds some treasure (the treasure is gold, apples, and steak) and then gets into a fight with a pirate over it. The conflict is resolved unconventionally (spoiler alert: the protagonist murders and cannibalizes the pirate). The last couple of panels involved a "fishy person" (she appears to be a mermaid). I guess all I ever wanted to do is share my art and inspiration. So I'm a success.

Still, I wish people would click on my 
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Why don't you say what you really feel? [Jul. 9th, 2014|04:07 pm]
[mood |angryangry]

T believes that all my bad dreams are precipitated by fear of abandonment, but what really frightens me is that, when I have nightmares, they usually involve me losing my filter, raising my voice, and telling people exactly how I feel. You can't go through adulthood without your white lies and your pleasant, smiling faces (to mask your anger/rage and disdain/contempt), especially in delicate situations. You can't tell people how you really feel if you need to continue working with them.

At the same time, you can't let people walk all over you, trample on your rights, or use you. It's a fine line.

I just spent 2 hours of my life trying to balance on that line as 5 months of plastering a reasonable, approachable mask over my actual feelings is about to come crumbling down. It's not that I had any real expectation of honesty, and yet it's still a massive punch in the face to realize that someone has been blatantly lying to you, and that they will cheerfully go out of their way to hurt the people you love. I didn't have any real expectation that they would be reasonable, based on past behavior, and yet I thought, maybe this time will be different.

It's weird that I am the tactful, reasonable, responsible one. Spending some time with my family last week really hammered home the way my family's narrative (I was labeled, from the age of 2 or 3, as the "bad" child) affected me. In fact, they still believe that I was a bad child, despite the fact that I didn't drink, smoke, do drugs, flunk classes, steal, get in actual fights, or pretty much do anything except beg to be left alone to read and write. This kind of screwed me up: years of being told how selfish I was caused me to become altruistic in a way that doesn't always serve me. I wish I was actually selfish. My crimes as a child: not wanting to do chores, not always getting along with my siblings, and bristling under my father's tyranny. My knowledge was never honored, but my infractions were always punished. Because I was bad. Only by making myself subservient to others could I be seen as good.

I love my family, but their perception and treatment of me was based on bad heuristics. Now I have to overcome the ideas that I learned as a kid, that certain behaviors were unacceptable from me, even if those around me were allowed those outlets, and even that certain thoughts were unacceptable, and that I naturally deserved all the pain that came to me.

Anyway, those 2 hours have gotten my heart rate up. My mind is racing. I'm not an anxious person, but I am filled with anxiety (although it's mitigated a little by finishing the task...at least I don't have the anxiety over accomplishing it, just over what comes next). This afternoon seems lost. Now I'm just figuring out how to calm down.
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Things I Have Done [Jun. 23rd, 2014|06:50 pm]
[mood |bitter]

When you're feeling crappy, that's the perfect time to update LJ!

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 6.46.59 PM
Ever considered acquiring a little wisdom for your phone?

But seriously. I have been busy with PROJECTS. What projects, you might wonder. Well, funny you should ask. I started a blog (which was one of the projects) to talk about the other projects. It's called QWERTY vs. Dvorak and you might as well click on it. People seem to enjoy it; I've done zero advertising/hyping/sharing, and have hardly even shown it to any close friends, and it's already getting likes and follows from random Internet people. So I must maintain that momentum.

Basically, as an escape from whatever it is that once compelled me to spend every waking moment writing, I've turned to visual art and graphic design. I'm sort of at the end of my rope, at least for the time being. I'm almost 40. I have an MFA. I've written 10 novels. And everybody and her mom has a book coming out besides me. I literally got a form rejection letter from an agent WHO ASKED FOR A PARTIAL. People I know who have no interest in writing, or only started writing seriously a couple years ago, have agents and books coming out. And I am good writer. People have been telling me for 30 years that I am a good writer. So, I'm pretty sure there's some kind of global conspiracy. A black list, if you will, for people who must never be given the chance. I accept that. I have to keep submitting, but I do it now with zero expectations. How liberating.

I'm only kind of half-decent artist. But, you know. That last 800-page novel almost killed me, coming on the heels of 6 years of copywriting. But anyway, I made some designs, and you can buy them on T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, onesies, tote bags, throw pillows, phone cases, notecards, and so on.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 6.44.43 PM
This could be your well-dressed torso.

The way I see it, no one will be interested in my T-shirts. But at least I'll know it's because I'm not that great at drawing, and not because the universe is trying to squash me like a bug.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 6.40.07 PM

Show someone how much you love them with this squid versus whale design I drew. Or don't. It literally makes no difference to me. Misunderstood, starving artist suits me like no other identity ever has. 
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Randall Munroe Nails It Again [Apr. 30th, 2014|12:13 pm]
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I still exist [Mar. 27th, 2014|05:44 pm]
It's just that LJ isn't as much fun considering that I have literally one RL friend who still posts here on a regular basis. I'm following a few interesting people, but my life has been too good for the whiny rants that this forum is now best suited to :P

I quit my job recently. Actually, I quit it in November, but I was apparently so incredibly important that they needed 13 weeks' notice. So actually, I was there until Feb 28. And this morning I got an urgent message from the CEO begging me to do a little work for him. Couldn't even wait one month, although I had specifically asked him not to contact me until August at least. But, as it turns out, not having any income makes me far more nervous than I had anticipated, so I'll probably give him a couple days a month. At least I don't have to do any of the horrible administrative tasks that made me want to jump off the roof. (My home, like most in the region, is a single story, so it wouldn't have ended the pain anyway.) I guess I should be happy that I'm perceived as being that good at my work, but the truth is, writing for a corporation has made me kind of hate writing :(

I've been working on visual art, mostly. I went through Nick Bantock's Trickster's Hat, most of which I enjoyed immensely. It's 49 exercises for creativity. Some of them were wonderful. Some were kind of stupid. Most were enjoyable. Highly recommended. I actually created quite a few pieces I'm really happy with.


The resolution is compromised, but I had wanted to illustrate this poem in almost exactly this way for years, and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I've also been trying to learn a little Photoshop and trying to work with a digital drawing tablet, which is not all that intuitive. I'm going to have a T shirt design ready pretty soon.

It's been a year of marriage, and I'm still in love with my husband. We had a busy weekend for our anniversary. First, our best friends got married, and I officiated the ceremony, so that was a big to-do. Then we went back to the B&B where we got married and had a nice desert celebration, filled with mostly birds and hiking.

There's been a bit of unpleasantness here and there, but not enough to bother ranting. There's always going to be people who are so into their own trip that they fail to see how other people are actually real human beings. Some of you may be familiar with my 1% theory of what's wrong with the world: 1% of everyone is a psychopath, and about 24% of everyone is people who are idiots, weak-willed, or simply willing to back the powerful regardless of the implications. Too bad the 75% of us who aren't selfish assholes or religious nuts can't form our own collective and leave the folks who like to watch the world burn to their own devices. But actually, my problems are really just clueless people who are so clueless they don't know they're clueless. cf the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
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Year's Beginning [Jan. 3rd, 2014|02:34 pm]
[mood |sicksick]

Never got around to doing the LJ Year in Review for 2013 because I was posting less than once a month. Some months would have been blank. Plus I guess I'm far less interested in personal social media than I was in 2005. Hardly even posting anything but pictures on Facebook. Still love LJ as a platform, but it's not fun unless all your friends are using it too.

2013 was a weird year for me. Getting married was a big aspect of that. Did a lot of traveling: 3 trips to CA (LA, SF, and Death Valley), 2 to Sedona, 1 to NYC, a 3-day road trip from KS, and an overnight visit to Santa Fe. Became overwhelmed with my job, which I promised myself I would not be doing in 2014. Gave notice in November and am just starting to train my replacement. I sent queries to dozens of agents, 2 of whom agreed to look at my book, both of whom rejected me.

This year, I will work for myself. Making money will not be the objective. Just making art. Sadly, the year is off to a lame start. Didn't sleep at all NYE because we partied late and I was too keyed up, and didn't sleep the next night, because I caught a rotten cold, and even though I slept last night with the help of Nyquil, it was a fitful sleep, and I'm strangely weak and disoriented today.

This is me on New Year's Eve. I'm 39, or about halfway to senility. So I only have so many more decades to accomplish my life goals.
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Breathless [Nov. 27th, 2013|01:18 am]
[mood |excitedexcited]

Today, after about 6 months of planning, I gave notice at work, in order to focus full time on my art. It was just time to throw away the safety net preventing me from pursuing my dreams and achieving my full potential. I have a number of visual art and text projects, some of which should eventually be revenue-generating, and enough money to cover my expenses for a year or so. Tabor believes in me, and all that's left is to throw myself into it (after I find my replacement at work and train her). It's a lucky opportunity to have someone to support and encourage me to take this leap. All I've ever wanted to be was an artist, and that's the intention.
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