yunikoneko: (Default)
It's only the second, so I haven't really given myself the opportunity to lose steam. Supposedly the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year... something about post holiday/financial depression combining with broken New Year's resolutions and dreary weather. I can't say that I will be as chipper then, but whatever. Any time is a good time to set goals, not just New Year's. I did, however, set a reminder on my calendar for the third Monday of this month to ask myself how I am doing. ;P

I guess the thing is that I feel better when I am documenting, because said documentation makes me feel like I've accomplished something.

That said, I started using the FatSecret/Calorie Counter app on my phone again. They've updated the interface so it's extra slick now! Unfortunately, they still haven't fixed the bug where I can't just dial in the number of minutes exercised... I still have to push the dumb "up" button. :P I'm also tracking my blood sugars multiple times a day instead of only when I feel "off," since clearly there's something wrong if I have early stages of diabetic retinopathy.

Getting out to hoop is easy.. especially if I start my morning watching YouTube videos of other hoopers. It's both inspiring and makes me aware of how little I am actually able to do, even though what little I do manages to impress the neighbors. I also started doing light weight training... better to do bicep curls than snack while watching Income Property on HGTV (yes, Ben succumbed to Cox Cable).

I have not yet picked up the guitar to learn scales since I decided I wanted to, though I have futzed around with the ukulele. I've already determined which course I'm going to take, but I also kind of want to get a classical guitar to do it with. I might just end up borrowing one for a couple of weeks until I'm more confident that I'm more invested in this endeavor.

I've set my google calendar to nag remind me to make something every week and post about it. I don't want to end up procrastinating every time...

My office is mostly arranged... but while I feel project-ready, I also feel the tug of other rooms asking to be finished. Also, we have the conundrum of owning a bunch of art that is disparate aesthetically and in scale. Though we certainly have enough walls, I don't feel like they all belong. The house will probably always be an ongoing project, though... at least we have our tree.



The wall tree, I mean. Christmas tree was gone before New Year's!

Of course, now with Christmas Tree Corner empty, I really want a sofa table and a coat tree.
yunikoneko: (Default)
I could not for the life of me remember what my new year's resolution was at the beginning of this year, but why I forgot made total sense when I looked up the entry and contemplated how the year went.

The resolution was "Gain Momentum." I stacked it on top of the previous year's goals, which are still pretty much in line with how I want to live my life. That said, not much momentum was gained. I think, considering the circumstances, I'm not terribly disappointed with the status quo I managed. I am, however, a little disappointed in the downward slide I've been experiencing since around Thanksgiving, but I feel like that slide is probably the norm for many. It's no excuse, just an affirmation that I'm human and stuff happens. :P

For instance, although I didn't reach my goal weight, I managed to maintain most of the loss I'd achieved before moving into my in-laws'. I don't blame them- after all, it is their home we were living in and they were very welcoming, but it was my own volition that prevented me from going the extra mile to overcome the awkwardness of using the kitchen. (Although I do enjoy cooking, I'm very self-conscious about it.)

This year, my so-called resolution is to form better habits. I guess it's not too much different from the 2010 resolution of "Make Better Plans and Follow Through." But I do have some specific goals.

On the health-related side...

Hoop Daily/As Often As Possible
I did hoop often over the last year, but nearing the end of the year and inclement weather, I haven't been hooping as often as I like. I don't expect that I will actually be able to hoop every single day, but I do think I can easily exchange 30 minutes of checking my Facebook for 30 minutes of hooping. Ideally, I'd do it early in the morning, but now that we have a couch, that forces me to be outdoors, and I'm a bit self-conscious to be doing it while there's school traffic. I love hooping for fun, but it is also a practice. There are times when it feels ritual/spiritual. I know that when I let off hooping, too, I don't feel as good over-all as when I've been hooping.

Eat out only on weekends
I wanted to say "on special occasions," but realistically, this goal is more attainable. While we were living with my in-laws, we were eating out every night, so I'm not sure how to go from that to making all of our meals. My cooking repertoire was sparse even when I was cooking at home- I was just starting to develop it, then we moved in with Ben's parents. Now I'll have to do extra planning on weekends because I should be picking up two extra classes this spring and my commute's even further. I used to get home at 5, now I'll probably be getting home closer to 6 or maybe even 7 depending on the new school. Maybe we should invest in a slow cooker.

Expand the cooking repertoire
I'm not interested in anything elaborate- mostly meals that involve less than 30 minutes of prep time and that aren't over-processed. This is sort of difficult... only in that Ben is a total meat/cheese/potatoes sort of guy and I have a more adventurous palate. I know he could fend for himself if I ever made anything too adventurous, but I'd really rather we both be eating somewhat healthily. It helps that I've already developed the habit of cleaning up the kitchen ASAP... I'm way more likelier to cook when I have a clean slate.

As a result, I'm hoping to be able to control my blood glucose primarily through diet and exercise. I know it's do-able, because I've been on the path before. But it's a permanent lifestyle change that requires frequent affirmation. It's especially important because my Optho told me I have nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. This really hurt, because I know I've had two years of stable blood sugars, one without a crutch, so this was undeniable proof that I've been sliding. On the bright side, he had to look really hard to be sure and said that since I'm young and have generally been good about maintaining my blood sugars, the damage is reversible.

On the creative side...

Read at least a book a month
Still doing this. According to GoodReads, I read 25 books this year. Of course, 4 of those were graphic novels... but hey! Tezuka's Ayako was epic!

Make something every week
A drawing, a painting, a sculpture. Develop some content for the website. Something. Make creativity a habit.

Learn/practice guitar scales
I want the calluses back on my fingers. Also, I just wish I could play half as well as Annie Clark. I don't think I'll be writing music any time soon, but I miss playing... and I kind of hate how quickly I run through the repertoire of songs I know and they all sound the same. :P

...

Of course, the new house also comes with its own list of goals. We just painted the master bath (still needs touch ups) and we're supposed to be planning a housewarming soon...
yunikoneko: (Default)
I made this Short List of Big Things I Want on September 18, 2008. More than two years later, here is how the list looks now:

    (in no particular order)
    -a three bedroom home (with room enough for Ben's media/my studio/to grow a family) ~ eventually
    -for Ben and me to grow a family ~ eventually
    -a weighted keyboard acquired!
    -to sell one piece of art for a ridiculous sum of money (yea, sellout!) resigned
    -to sell art regularly for a reasonable sum of money ~ want to start within this coming year
    -maybe for something in-between those last two things achieved!
    -for Ben and me to go to Japan ~ within the next year or two
    -to write lyrics with the humor, poignance, and acuity of David Byrne reconciled
    -for Ben to get his long-dreamed of television set acquired!
    -a new laptop acquired!
    -for my friends and family to be happy ~ always!
    -for people in general to be happy... or at least better to themselves and each other ~ always!

    (newly added)
    -to reach and maintain my goal weight ~ this coming year
    -to get out of credit card debt ~ this coming year
    -Iplehouse Cherie (Normal Skin, Make-up B, Mobility Thigh Joint, small breast, this wig in sienna, and the white slip set) ~ after getting out of cc debt.. probably after Japan


And then some.. )
yunikoneko: (Default)
I've been feeling a little bit overwhelmed, lately. There are a few factors.

I've been dawdling for weeks about getting a new doctor, and haven't really spoken to my Diabetes Management Team about my imminent move from Mid City to Kaiser, but yesterday I finally did. And my last appointments with Mid City are scheduled. And. GAH. I just love them. They helped me with some tough times, and I really hate to leave.. but it's better and more consistent coverage at Kaiser. Them's the breaks. I always feel better after talking to Diane, though, and yesterday was no exception. So hopefully I can move forward without a hitch.

I've also been overwhelmed by my projects. Ordinarily, I can keep whatever I'm working on confined to my studio/playroom, but because I am doing both my sculptures and our costumes, my workspace has leaked into the music/breakfast nook. This wouldn't have been such a terrible problem, except that the multimedia area was kind of a disaster because Ben hadn't yet recycled the box from our shiny new Simple Human trash receptacle ("can" is just inappropriate terminology for this beaut), nor had he finished work on the cork board he plans to put up on the empty wall in the music/breakfast nook. I really don't mind that most of our rooms do double duty, but usually there is at least some place to decompress, a little bit. If I find myself needing a break from a project in the studio, I just unplug my laptop and move into the multimedia room. Or noodle around in the music room. Because those rooms don't often exceed their dual purposes, they "breathe" a little.

But with the music/breakfast nook repurposed to also accomodate my sculptures, and the multimedia room cluttered with boxes and Ben's cork board project, I started to freak out a little. I couldn't sleep last night, so I cleaned up in the kitchen, because it was the easiest place to start. Ben picked up on my discomfort and cleared up the multimedia room a little bit... enough for me to be relaxed in it, now.

You may wonder how, if having reacted so poorly to the clutter of projects in our two bedroom apartment, I could possibly envy my sister's new studio apartment, or admire the ideals of Tiny Living.

The truth is, it's not exactly Tiny Living that I do want. It's the perfect fit that I'm after. My sister is single and barely has any possessions, but I'm pretty sure most of what she does have is exactly what she wants... at least in terms of possessions and location.

I just want the right amount of stuff and space. And, most of the time, I have that. But with all my projects going and the idea of being pregnant (I'm NOT!! thankfully), I started feeling a little claustrophobic.

Last night I just wanted to throw everything out and start all over.

With this little space cleared away, I feel better... at least focused enough to write this entry... focused enough to refocus. I think I will feel clearheaded enough to get back to finishing the costumes if I just clean, today. I don't have much left- I'm sure I can finish by Friday.

I'm just glad that, instead dropping into a paralyzing depression, I'm doing something.
yunikoneko: (Default)
I've been feeling a little bit overwhelmed, lately. There are a few factors.

I've been dawdling for weeks about getting a new doctor, and haven't really spoken to my Diabetes Management Team about my imminent move from Mid City to Kaiser, but yesterday I finally did. And my last appointments with Mid City are scheduled. And. GAH. I just love them. They helped me with some tough times, and I really hate to leave.. but it's better and more consistent coverage at Kaiser. Them's the breaks. I always feel better after talking to Diane, though, and yesterday was no exception. So hopefully I can move forward without a hitch.

I've also been overwhelmed by my projects. Ordinarily, I can keep whatever I'm working on confined to my studio/playroom, but because I am doing both my sculptures and our costumes, my workspace has leaked into the music/breakfast nook. This wouldn't have been such a terrible problem, except that the multimedia area was kind of a disaster because Ben hadn't yet recycled the box from our shiny new Simple Human trash receptacle ("can" is just inappropriate terminology for this beaut), nor had he finished work on the cork board he plans to put up on the empty wall in the music/breakfast nook. I really don't mind that most of our rooms do double duty, but usually there is at least some place to decompress, a little bit. If I find myself needing a break from a project in the studio, I just unplug my laptop and move into the multimedia room. Or noodle around in the music room. Because those rooms don't often exceed their dual purposes, they "breathe" a little.

But with the music/breakfast nook repurposed to also accomodate my sculptures, and the multimedia room cluttered with boxes and Ben's cork board project, I started to freak out a little. I couldn't sleep last night, so I cleaned up in the kitchen, because it was the easiest place to start. Ben picked up on my discomfort and cleared up the multimedia room a little bit... enough for me to be relaxed in it, now.

You may wonder how, if having reacted so poorly to the clutter of projects in our two bedroom apartment, I could possibly envy my sister's new studio apartment, or admire the ideals of Tiny Living.

The truth is, it's not exactly Tiny Living that I do want. It's the perfect fit that I'm after. My sister is single and barely has any possessions, but I'm pretty sure most of what she does have is exactly what she wants... at least in terms of possessions and location.

I just want the right amount of stuff and space. And, most of the time, I have that. But with all my projects going and the idea of being pregnant (I'm NOT!! thankfully), I started feeling a little claustrophobic.

Last night I just wanted to throw everything out and start all over.

With this little space cleared away, I feel better... at least focused enough to write this entry... focused enough to refocus. I think I will feel clearheaded enough to get back to finishing the costumes if I just clean, today. I don't have much left- I'm sure I can finish by Friday.

I'm just glad that instead of dropping into a paralyzing depression, I'm doing something.
yunikoneko: (Default)
On the 9th, I'd mentioned I'd wanted to post about homebuying and minimalist lifestyle. Home ownership has been my new preoccupation what with my rediscovery of HGTV and all the buzz coming from my former roomies and their exploits.

Lately, I've been vacillating a lot on whether or not I think we're ready to plunge into purchasing our first property.. namely because our current apartment is excellent in location and amenities, very good in management and maintenance, satisfactory in size, and tolerable with regards to neighbor and airport noise. I do wish I had a bigger kitchen and the option of customizing the place to personal specifications (that is: have no fear of drilling holes in walls), but that aside I'm pretty happy where we are.

Yesterday, after a brief telephone conversation with a loan officer, it was estimated that we could possibly be approved for $200-250k... which, hypothetically, at worst, puts us in a 2br/1.5ba condo or townhouse for a monthly payment of $200 more than what we're paying now for rent, including HOA and utilities. Hypothetically, we'd put 5 or so years into this place to build equity then move into a nicer place. That would be the plan.

My parents had a similar plan: to buy a townhouse then upgrade after a few years. They wound up staying in their 2br/2.5ba townhouse. I was still sharing quarters with my sister when I graduated college. Now that us kids have moved out, they don't really need to move into a bigger place, so it all worked out.

In the back of my mind, though, I keep thinking that there was a point in time when 8 people were living in that 2 bedroom house.

It's highly improbable that either of us would stand for both sets of in-laws living with us under the same roof indefinitely... especially if we had twins (due to my genetic predisposition and metformin consumption) and were living in a 2 bedroom home. We love our parents, but unless the circumstances were dire, the situation is doubtful. My parents' home is fully paid for and I believe my in-laws are mostly enjoying their newly empty nest. I should really set the thought aside.

Ideally, I'd just like to find our 3 bedroom dream home and stay in it. Methinks three is the right number for both of us. A master for us, a bedroom for the twins, and a studio/office/guest room that could be converted into a bedroom if and when the twins decide to assert their distinct personalities. Then when they leave, we'll have a separate guest room and office again.

Living with Ben really influences the way I think of utilizing space, and even what and how many personal effects I choose to keep. For as long as I remember, I've been obsessed with spatial economy. I'm sure my mom will laugh if and when she reads this then snark about what a packrat I was/am, but my packratism was precisely why I was hoping that one day I would be living in a studio or tumbleweed home with little more than my laptop, guitar, and a few choice books for entertainment. I planned on having room for one or two beloved ball joint dolls, maybe.

Ben likes most of the little knickknacks I've accumulated. They are a little reflection of the facet of my personality that is full of childlike wonder and youthful zest. That's a positive thing. But, while they brought me joy at the point of acquisition, I could live without most of them... if it weren't for stopping to reminisce every time I picked something up. Plus, I doubt that clearing them away would diminish my childlike wonder. All he'd have to do is sit me in front of Cute Overload for a minute or two.

Anyway, the increase in my desire to scale back my possessions is a direct result of a number of blogs I read. I started out with a number of architectural blogs, which got pared down to blogs focusing specifically on tiny/tumbleweed houses. With this came links to blogs on frugal and tiny living. My favorites are Married with Luggage and The Tiny Life. I also enjoy The Small Living Journal, which recently ran this article on principles for living tiny. Even though I'm sure tiny living would never appeal to Ben, I do feel the principles are applicable. Plus Andrea Zittel is kind of my hero.

Anyway... I've way exceeded my designated hour. I still have a load of stuff I want to post about.. I guess the time-limited journaling thing isn't working for me. I'm going to have to figure out how to function more productively.
yunikoneko: (virgo)
I woke up at 3am this morning and after 15 minutes of not being able to fall asleep, I finally relented and got out of bed. It doesn't really feel like getting a jump start on my day since I went directly to the internet, but I usually start my day by going directly to the internet, anyway. It's so easy to waste time looking at it.

Since it's so early, I haven't popped my pills, so I will have to remember to do it at 6a. Not a problem... I don't think.

Yesterday was fairly busy. I had to get up for my 9am appointment with Diane. I always look forward to my visits with her, though I'm also always touched with a bit of anxiety when it comes to confessing how unreliable I've been about checking my blood sugar or eating well or exercising regularly. Especially if it's something that shows up in my A1C.

I was less anxious yesterday, probably because I was too busy being keyed up over this term's projects for Robotics II and the new month in general. But it was a happy, excited keyed up and not the usual foreboding anxiety.

At any rate, the visit went well in that she commented on the steady improvement of my demeanor, not to mention my jubilance and renewed verve. Apparently I have had a very visible attitude adjustment. Unfortunately, my A1C has spiked a point. We waffled a bit over whether I should take additional medication but came to the conclusion that I will attempt to bring my numbers down through diet and activity. I think she might not have been so keen on letting me go without more meds had I not already come up with my Great Plan for February on my own and outlined it to her in detail. I included other facets of my lifestyle makeover, like finding more work and living more creatively. Then we talked about the potential pitfalls to my plan and what I could do to avoid them or at least climb out of them.

I really like having Diane as my CDE.

Robotics II went well. It helped that it was only review, and that I already knew half my students. I love small classes! I don't love that my boss has not yet e-mailed me the course materials she promised... in addition to having postponed the start of class. Class was supposed to start last week. I'm a little miffed that I was not contacted then, even moreso that she didn't happen to mention that I'd already missed a class when I asked if class couldn't be postponed until I had proper training. But I won't dwell... the new schedule has been put out and I was only missing one kid last week. And class went pretty well.

As mentioned on Monday's post, I don't have any firm plans for today.

I guess after I see Ben off, I will take a little walk and maybe head over to the Fresh-N-Easy.

Monday, not long after I finished posting, I walked over to the Fresh-N-Easy (2000 steps!) to procure stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions for the cabbage soup I planned to have for lunch. I'd bought a head of cabbage last week for fish tacos, but only had used a quarter of it and hadn't really thought of what I'd do with the rest of it. I still have some left over so I might make coleslaw. Anyway, it was the first time I'd been in there in over a year. I really don't understand Ben's aversion to it.. their prices are basically the same if not better than other stores' club pricing, and I don't have to have a club card. Okay.. I get why he might not want to buy their prepackaged produce... but OMG their mushrooms are clean!! I buy boxed salad anyway at Vons, and most of their produce looked good as far as I could tell. My soup turned out great, anyway.

I decided that instead of doing our usual weekly shopping trip to Vons, I'd walk to Fresh-N-Easy and shop every day or every other day. I'm really enamored with this idea because it means that not only will I walk another 2000 steps, but I won't have so much food going bad on me when we neglect to eat it. I hate throwing away half a box of salad every week because I can't keep up with it.

After reading some reviews, I will have to be wary of purchasing their instant or almost instant meals. They are apparently not so healthy. But, since I'm really focusing more on cooking on my own and eating less processed food anyway, I don't think this will be a problem.

So, today, after I see Ben off, I will probably walk on over to Fresh-N-Easy to get lunch fixings for today and dinner fixings for tomorrow (tonight, I plan on making salmon with veggies). Then I'll drop off my prescription at CVS before hitting the library. I'll probably work on some chartsngrafs I've been putting off doing, or do some pantry cleaning. Later I'll give myself a couple of hours to focus on my RPMC2010 entry. And maybe take another walk or wii Active up some tennis. Maybe not all in that order.
yunikoneko: (virgo)
Last month, my focus was on starting to develop a routine. Despite the fact that I would grade myself a C+ or B- at best, I think I am getting the hang of accomplishing minor daily tasks without the cheat sheet I initially thought I needed to get up and go. My mornings are still quite messy, no doubt... but now I at least have the anchor of taking my medication and multivitamin then checking my blood sugar. I have been fairly good at making Ben lunch, and I cook dinner from scratch 4 nights out of 5. Ben says that the fact that we no longer buy soda and that I am cooking most nights has cut $100 from our grocery bill, but I am left to wonder what happens to the $100. I won't press the issue with him for a little while, because I am acutely aware that he got me a keyboard and has recently pre-ordered two video games. It's just that I put a third of my last paycheck into our Japan fund, and used the rest to try to make a dent in my credit card debt. I'm probably going at it the wrong way, though... and I know that if I'm really having such an issue with the relative emptiness of our Japan savings account, I should just suck it up and get a second job.

And I've been looking... it's just that my lack of cred glares straight back at me. And then I get angry at myself all over for not seeking guidance about returning to school sooner, so I wouldn't still be stuck in this semester-long limbo. On the other hand, I could possibly temporarily return to the torture that is retail.

Anyway... this month is a month for progress and fine-tuning. Last month, I accomplished a little. Last year, I would perceive the little I'd accomplished as accomplishing little as in little to nothing. This thought would have sent me spiraling further into the pit of despair. I believe part of the reason I would have thought so is because I am a terrible procrastinator. Being such, my "accomplishments" happen in very brief, intense bursts of time. I'm not sure I allow myself to feel a task is worthwhile unless I'm in a bit of a panic over it- unless it is something massive and looming.

I've finally begun to break away from this line of thinking... and it started with the dishes.

I HATE DOING DISHES. Yes, I have a dishwasher, but it still doesn't cover the time I take to scrub off food particles stuck to the plates that don't immediately get rinsed and stowed in the machine, nor our non-dishwasher-safe pots and pans. The problem with our dishes piling quickly has definitely increased since we moved into a place with a smaller kitchen and shallower sink. Despite the fact that Ben is usually very conscientious about helping with household chores that I detest, I mysteriously continued to be the one who got stuck doing the monumental pile of dishes.

Ben said he let them pile in the sink because he would rather take care of them all at once. I completely understand this line of thinking. When there was a single spoon and bowl in the sink, there was no work there. He hardly saw it. It's like when I'm given a month to do a ten page research paper. I don't go to the library to check out the books on the first day, because it's such a simple step. Hardly any work at all.

Of course, I would get stuck doing the dishes... because Ben's "due date" is not the same as mine, so to speak, and I don't want to nag him.

But I hate doing dishes, especially piles of them... so I changed my tack and started clearing them as soon as possible. The task is so much more bearable, and my profound hatred does not flare at the thought of doing them, as it once did. And Ben's more thoughtful about clearing them on my schedule as well.

It's such a little thing and such a big thing all at once.

So, I'm building on that. Last month, my more notable improvements were: doing the dishes before they get completely out of hand, routinely taking my medication at specific times, preparing to go to bed at a reasonable hour, following through on my weekly reading (I'm even a book ahead!), and taking a more optimistic approach towards social events and meeting other people. The last thing feels like a big one, to me. I've always had a thing about going to parties, even if they are parties thrown by people I like. I won't really go into it further except that I am proud of myself for not having to be goaded into having a good time, for once.

Also, I've only napped in the afternoon twice the entire month! Huge improvement from the almost daily 3 o'clock pass-out.

This month, in terms of long-term resolutions, I plan to:

-continue maintaining my good morning/bedtime medication preparations
-continue reading program (sort of... will explain later)
-stay up after getting up (instead of getting up at 6:30 or 7 and then falling asleep 'til 8... a resolution I failed to meet last month)
-regularly make the bed (doesn't have to be terribly neat, for now, just neater than the heap of sheets it usually is... an unofficial resolution, but something that kind of makes me happy)
-eat in 5 out of 7 nights a week, improving my meal-planning in general and increasing my cooking repertoire
-use my pedometer more and work towards 10,000 steps a day
-check my blood sugar more regularly than just in the mornings

My goals this month are to:

-participate in the RPM 2010 challenge and actually complete it!
-clear out my studio
-finish Lilu's cardboard furniture (and possibly make templates/tutorials available for the DIY/CG comms)
-decorate the music room/dining area wall ("If music be the food of love, play on...")

Unofficially, I want to give myself one uninterrupted diarist hour a day, every day, and no more. Today is excepted because this is post is particularly planning focused and I haven't gotten distracted away from it. Last month, I would start by firing up OmmWriter. It would take hours to write a post because I let myself get distracted, and at the end of it, it sometimes didn't feel like a productive post... so I'm hoping to get rid of that unproductive feeling by shortening my time and increasing my focus.

Regarding RPM 2010 (the musical equivalent of NaNoWriMo), I'm pretty excited. I am taking a different approach towards writing music than I usually do. Instead of going at it one song at a time and magically hoping it fits, I'm doing a concept album. I'm aiming for 9 or 10 tracks, and doing it in the style of Tuesday's Folly meets Your Favorite Stranger, a la Each Caress Is An Assault (even though it's listed as TF, I kind of put it in the middle of the two), or the last couple songs I posted (my cover of Heartbeats and the original Surviving A Natural Disaster). The working album title is Cheap Science Fiction.. I'm on the fence about dropping the modifier. I guess time will tell. I'm also on the fence about including an electronic redux of Analogue, since... well, I wrote it YEARS ago. I just feel like it would go so well.

At any rate, I'm going to go through the music theory workbook Mike gave me for Christmas so many years ago and count it towards my book-a-week. (I'd briefly skimmed it once, but now I'll read it with more purpose.) I'm not going to exactly follow the single book a week timeline I started with and instead will use the workbook throughout the whole month while also reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Stranger In A Strange Land.

My fourth book this month is a reference book on the glycemic index... which is why I'm kind of forgoing the whole book-a-week thing. I imagine my music theory and GI books are things I will be returning to even after the month is over, but I will try to increase my focus on them this month.

Speaking of my weekly readings... I read Catcher in the Rye last week. I picked it up from the library the day Salinger died and read it in two days. I noticed a lot of people who blogged about Salinger's passing either loved the book or hated it. And some commented they loved it when they were a teenager but not so much when they read it again as an adult.

Personally, I hated it. The two things I read in High School that really stuck with me were The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Equus. I still enjoy both of them when I read them today. And these books share themes with Catcher in the Rye. There's what it's like to be a teenager, though sweet, naive Charlie certainly was very different than spoiled, jaded cynic Holden Caulfield, and Holden was not nearly as disturbed as Alan Strang. There's also identity and authenticity: the dynamics and dual personas of Charlie, Mary Elizabeth, and Sam in Perks, Holden's unreliability and redundantly obsessive hatred towards "the phonies" in Catcher, and Dr. Martin Dysart's internal conflict about "the monster Normal" and "fixing" the boy who blinded six horses.

But I absolutely hated Catcher. Charlie and Dysart... they were thoughtful. I liked their contemplative musings; I could relate. Charlie was painfully introverted but vibrantly hopeful. Dysart.. well, he seemed to be in a place in life where the sharp edge of his cynicism was acceptable and it somehow lent him a poignant vulnerability. Holden was a brat. Even if you could get into context past the lingo and relate to being young, uncertain, and surrounded by phonies, he lead you nowhere. He didn't even try. That was the most depressing book ever.

I think I've rambled on long enough. I guess another thing I should work on is ending my posts on a more positive note. ;P At this point, I should've been 3/4 of the way through my conference call training for work, but my call got pushed back until after 2.

Tonight, I've got to fashion our meal plans.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward (and dreading just the tiniest bit) my appointment with my diabetes counselor/nurse, then my first Robotics II class, then a fancy dinner at Fleming's courtesy of Ben's work (unless I misunderstood and was only told so I wouldn't wait up). Wednesday I've got nothing official... Thursday I have a tentative plan to meet up with Tiana C. I've rarely looked forward to an empty Wednesday with such eagerness that I have now.
yunikoneko: (Default)
The last chapter of The Happiness Project that I finished reading touched a lot on the subject of legitimacy. I related to it a lot, particularly in the realm of academics and career decisions. Sometimes it seems that majoring in Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts only sounded more legitimate than underwater basket weaving. I mean, I at least knew enough about myself to avoid attempting a career in politics, journalism, science, marketing, or theater... but did I really have enough gall to call myself an artist? Did I even have enough ideas? At least the "interdisciplinary computing" part was a suggestion towards technical ability.

In retrospect, if computer art itself was truly what I was passionate about, I would have either continued my studies in graduate school or branched off into the more lucrative field of design.

Yes, ICAM has actually been applicable to my current job. Truth be told, I still kind of legitimize my title. "Robotics Instructor/Assistant to the Program Director" sounds a lot cooler than it actually is when there's low enrollment.

Anyway, I got yet another continuing education class schedule thing in the mail. Classes start January 27, so I guess I'm going to visit the career counseling center on Monday to see what I can do about certification.

As for The Experiment in Routine... well, so far I'm grading myself at a C-. It is hard for me to get up in the morning and do things in a timely manner when I don't have too many other things that are pressing. However, I eventually complete most of the tasks within the day, and I feel like I've been putting a dent in the clutter and daily tasks. Also, thanks to remembering to take my vitamin B, I have successfully warded off the 3 o'clock nap. And I've curbed my snacking.

It's all a bit too soon to tell, but I want to have an accurate recollection of now so I feel like I might actually be maintaining or improving, later.

Routine

Jan. 5th, 2010 12:20 pm
yunikoneko: (Default)
This might strike some as odd and others lucky, but I do not have a routine. No daily routine, not even a morning routine. My only partial is taking my diabetes medication, and sometimes I forget in the morning if I wind up getting back into bed after going to the bathroom, or take it too late at night to satisfy my diabetes counselor's wishes.

This stems, I suppose, from a combination of not having full-time employment and having a loving yet slightly misguided husband who likens me to a kitten when I am sleeping... in that he thinks a) sleeping me is adorable, and b) I will scratch his eyes out if he tries to wake me. Admittedly, if my blood sugars are wonky and he tries to rouse me from a nap, I will get very cranky and refuse by any means possible until he either gives up or rolls me off the bed.

Also contributing is a lack of self-discipline... something I failed to cultivate as a young adult. I am a little disappointed to think that all the efforts of my parents and structure of school failed to spark the fire of purpose in myself... not disappointed in them but disappointed in myself for not taking the hint, at all.

I know I liked college a lot more than high school. I knew myself better but was still learning new things about myself, having made new friends who were trying to learn me as well. Also, there was barely structure, but it was enough to build a satisfying day upon. Little or no wasting time on classes I didn't care about, and then I was left to my own devices (which I mostly felt I used in a satisfactory manner).

I even enjoyed working retail at Toys R Us during the holidays. My schedule was flexible. Although I usually worked the day shift, I'd sometimes trade for an evening, and get a lot of things done in the morning. I loved helping people find just the right gift, and I loved how grateful and happy they were once their purchases had been rung up. Of course, I don't want to return to retail if I could help it because it only takes one ungrateful customer with an overblown sense of entitlement to ruin a day.

During the rest of the year, I hated it because no one was ever as grateful as during the holidays... then they started me up at service desk where customers either hated me for following the company's return policy, or I would get in trouble from management for bending the rules for a customer. There were a couple of weekends that were fun because they would put me in charge of coordinating the birthday events and promotions, but the rest of the weeks were dead and my hours cut.

You would think I'd get more accomplished the more time I had, right? That I'd delve into my art, craft, writing, and music? Not so.

Although I enjoy doing those things in my spare time, they were usually heavily influenced by whatever else I was doing at the time, including going to school and hanging out with other artistic and musical types. Instead, I spent a lot of time alone. As my influences dwindled, so did my creative endeavors.

For a while, this seemed to be okay because I became more focused on both domestic endeavors and finding gainful employment. I made bentos for Ben's and my lunch every morning. I tried my hand at baking from scratch and fondant. I started making dinner more often. I started cooking more and watching what I eat in general because of my diabetes. I got a job teaching after school robotics. Ben proposed, then we moved into a bigger apartment (although we traded off for a smaller kitchen).

The robotics job worked out really great, until the recession hit. I was and am still employed, but I went from having several full classes to one or two a week. I think enrollment will pick up this year, but at the same time I find myself asking what I want and how to achieve it. I like teaching, but I'd prefer a more stable job. It would be easy to get certified to teach one subject, but I would prefer to teach the spectrum to younger kids. In the current socioeconomic climate, is it sound for me to go back to school for Early Childhood Education? Given Ben's bankruptcy and my credit card debt, could we even afford it? What sacrifices am I willing to make to make it happen... go back to retail?

Anyway, this entry took a turn towards a bigger, different subject than what I originally wanted to elaborate on. The point I started making was that I plan to outline a personal routine. It seems like something so primary... like something that should be ingrained in every adult already. But I think I need the lists broken down with all the checkboxes, otherwise I'm prone not to do anything.

It's like checking my blood sugar. When I was just beginning to learn how to control my diabetes, I checked my blood sugar religiously. Unfortunately, as soon as the nurse gave me a pat on the back and told me I could ease up on checking, I was overconfident and let it all go. At our next appointment, we determined that, for me, anyway, checking my blood sugar on a regular basis was one of the keys for maintaining it. Being acutely aware of the exact number made me focus on what I could do to keep it within range. Made me question and adjust my eating habits when the numbers went out of range. Without the context of the numbers, I didn't pay enough attention to what I ate or how much.

So, others probably think it's silly that I need to track super mundane tasks, but if I don't, they won't get completed in a timely manner... then, feeling my failure, I'll probably slip back into the depression I had last January. Sure, it's kind of sad that I have to train myself in adulthood, but I guess at least this time the force is internal instead of external, and because of that things will probably stick better.

Besides, even Ben Franklin had a checklist of 12 virtues which he practiced and scored himself on daily. That's something, right?
yunikoneko: (Default)
I don't typically make resolutions because I think deep inside I fear I will not keep them. Last year, I didn't make a resolution so much as an agreement to maintain a playdate with the Larsons at least once a month. That, I kept.

This year, I do have a resolution: make better plans and follow through. I guess that's a blanket resolution because there has always been a big old pile of things I would like to accomplish... and I can list them out as much as I want, but mostly they wind up staying just that: lists. This time I'm actually making the list and breaking them down into discrete, attainable goals.

In the past, I frequently used my lj to keep to-do lists. It helped, for a spell, until the lists became overwhelming. Actually, I think I made a resolution the one year- start a new lj and not make lists in it. And I think I followed through on that one. This time, I won't exclude lists altogether, but will aim for a more effective lj.

One of my subresolutions is to restart my LiveJournal habit. I've observed (as well as others) that a lot of formerly very active lj users have started using Twitter and Facebook instead. As for my own internetting, I do tweet and interact on fb a lot more than on lj... but those interactions feel intrinsically different. At any rate, I want to write more closely to the moment, but not in a tweet sense because I'd like to write reflectively. So many things happened in the past couple years since I've been with Ben, but when I look back I kind of wonder where I was. It's not to say that I'm unhappy, because I'm not. But sometimes I don't feel like I've been existing.

Journaling isn't important to everyone... there are people who just go out and live. But for me, it's almost like a tether to existence. It helps me enumerate and quantify.... qualify. Lately, the tether has been insubstantial. And, at least for this year, I do think it would help me to have it back.

I guess in general, I have the sort of unquantifiable goal of being more happy. Again, I think I'm pretty happy, but I feel like I could stand to be more happy. It sounds a bit weird, but I'm not the only one. Currently, I'm reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, and in the first chapter where she laid out her circumstances and why she decided to tackle her happiness project, I found myself empathizing, a lot.

Make Better Plans (And Follow Through).
Be More Happy.

How can I be more happy?
-Live Creatively by
--reading more
--attempt to schedule said creativity
--creating the proper environment (clutter-free household)
-Be Healthier by
--losing weight and taking control of my diabetes

The above list captures the gist of what I want to do, but boy howdy can I extrapolate from that.

Concretely, I plan to read a book a week, starting with The Happiness Project. I know I could probably squeeze more than that in there, but a book a week is reasonable... plus I'd like to give it time to percolate. I already have half the year's books planned, and I think I will figure out the other half as my reading progresses and I figure out what else I actually enjoy reading.

Scheduling creativity is a bit sketchier, what with my varied interests. I feel like I want to start out doing projects related to my reading, but I don't want to be inhibited by that, as well. I guess my first bit of "scheduled creativity" will be coming up with the first draft of my Plan, since it seems to go along with The Happiness Project. (This isn't it, btw, this is just musing.) I'd also like to finish Lilu's dollhouse, and my refinish my guitar. I'd like to learn how to sew clothes with a machine. I'd like to get a keyboard and write some music.

I think I'm going to stop here, though, since there isn't much for me to say on decluttering... besides the fact that it will be a challenge for my sentimental heart and possibly regretful wallet... and the Be Healthier post is another one altogether. Heck, this one probably could've been split as well.

That's all, for now. Time to finish taking down the Xmas decor.
yunikoneko: (objects in space)
(in no particular order)
-a three bedroom home (with room enough for Ben's media/my studio/to grow a family)
-for Ben and me to grow a family
-a weighted keyboard
-to sell one piece of art for a ridiculous sum of money (yea, sellout!)
-to sell art regularly for a reasonable sum of money
-maybe for something in-between those last two things
-for Ben and me to go to Japan
-to write lyrics with the humor, poignance, and acuity of David Byrne
-for Ben to get his long-dreamed of television set
-a new laptop
-for my friends to be happy
-for people in general to be happy... or at least better to themselves and each other
yunikoneko: (boldly going nowhere)
I told myself that I would quit Toys R Us by the end of the summer, but I also have a long and solid history of promising myself things and not following through because life manages to go on no matter what I do. It isn't the greatest attitude. I know I could be doing more to contribute to my over-all happiness. Sometimes I just don't know what it is, or else, I do know what it is, and despite my external "whatever" attitude, I'm still overcome by fear that I would fail, so I wind up not trying at all. Which is stupid, because, well, life goes on. It will go on whether I feel dissatisfied for sitting back and doing nothing, or whether I feel dissatisfied for trying to accomplish something and failing miserably. And we all know the latter dissatisfaction should feel more satisfying, or at least more honorable.

I wish I could take the attitude that there is nothing relying on the new job I'm interviewing for, on Saturday. If I don't get the job, things will continue as always. I'll stay at TRU and pick up full time hours from October to Christmas, which will probably only slightly help finance our hypothetical wedding. It's not likely we'll go to Japan, next year... or at least, not in time for the Sakura festival. If we don't make it, I'll probably just want to wait another year. Or, I'll quit TRU anyway and pick up any part-time I can get in the more nearby vicinity, in the meantime continuing mainly to work on my portfolio while allowing myself to be picky about other potential employment opportunities. I'm sure that will drive my mom crazy.

Instead, I am haunted by the thought that I need this job, not only to put my parents' minds at ease, but because I will be doing something I find truly worthwhile and rewarding, instead of feeling emotionally beaten for caring irrationally about consumers. Ben is right, I need a job where my clientele is worthy of my devotion to their well-being.

In addition, I will be raking in at least twice as much money, and at best almost three times as much money as I am making now, per hour. And I will have a solid schedule, so I can do as I please in the mornings, and am guaranteed Sundays off.

Argh. I don't want to think about it. The prospect is too exciting.

And now I have to go to work. At least I get off at three.
yunikoneko: (it sucks to be me)
But I still like it.

I'm kind of bummed that I picked up a shift tomorrow... I picked it up because we do need to be saving, but it was supposed to be my first day of production* brainstorming. I want to at least have a project going, even if it's not immediately profitable. In the long run, the experience will be. I wish I'd treated my education as such. I don't regret it, too much, though, because I wouldn't be where I am if I hadn't taken the route I took... and I am mostly happy.

The state of the place is a bit overwhelming. I need to unpack these boxes of books so that I can re-use them to take my last loads over, but I don't have a home for their contents, yet. We can't get new shelves at least until Friday, when I get paid, but I suspect shelves will have to wait anyway because we'll be living on my paltry paycheck until August 15.

I can't wait to get the new routine, down. In the meantime, all the planning is exciting.

*I either want to illustrate a poem or short story (write/illustrate a children's book, essentially), or work on developing the LoveBots line of paintings/figures/etc. I also wanted to work on documenting my art. It's such a mess... I don't know where to start.
yunikoneko: (Goodie!)
The printer in the office worked so I didn't have to stop at Kinko's to print my resume, I got the last spinach and bacon baked egg souffle at Panera, and tonight I have an interview to be an admin assistant at a nice little beach-front Chiropractic office. I am nervous as heck, but I always get nervous, and at least I'm a far more happy, confident person than I used to be. Plus I talked to Ben last night, and we concluded that although it would be really awesome if I did get this job, it's not the end of the world if I don't, and when we're eventually living together, I can take any old job and be able to start paying my parents back.

I also talked to Katie, last night, and she informed me that A---- got engaged to her part-time lover. She showed me a picture of the ring, which was MAJOR BLING. I bet it's blinding in real life. It's got lots of ice. Six diamonds in two columns, with a bunch of tiny diamonds embedded in the band. There's barely any band at all-- it's almost all diamond. It must be huge. I really don't understand.

I think I'd either want a band with a pretty, vine-like filigree and no stones, or a plain tension-set or embedded stone, in titanium. Or hell, just a plain, narrow, tungsten-carbide band. Maybe the latter is a bit mannish, but I'm fond of the symbolism of having an aircraft-grade titanium or tungsten-carbide band. Hell, maybe we could get a binary inscription.

I dunno, my mom's band is plain. I think she has another with some inset diamonds, and one my dad bought later with a very high set diamond, but she only wears the plain one. It seems the most pleasing and user-friendly to me, like, it won't get caught in anything and it's... well, not gaudy.

Also, when I was a little girl, I had a gold ring shaped like a vine with two leaves on it. I loved that ring; my dad gave me that ring. He'd gotten it in Saudi Arabia. One night, we went to Chuck E. Cheese. I'd played a game of whack-a-mole, and was quite distressed to find that the ring had bent on my hand. I cried because I'd been so proud to have a real gold ring and here I thought he'd tricked me and given me a fake one. It had to be explained to me that gold rings are made of alloys, and that the more gold there is in a ring, the softer it is.

So anyway, that's kind of what turned me off to gold. I suppose there's silver or platinum, but I rather like the idea of a titanium or tungsten-carbide ring.
yunikoneko: (thinking..)
I think I'd want to do this. Someday, maybe.

I'm getting tired of having the Toys R Us music rotation stuck in my head all the time. Frickin' High School Musical and 80s pop. There are two songs on that mix that don't drive me crazy: "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" by Brendan Benson, and the Billy Joel song from the Oliver and Company soundtrack.

EGGciting

Jan. 2nd, 2008 07:42 pm
yunikoneko: (woot cookies)
I'm bursting with happiness and excitement! I go back to work tomorrow after having a week off. I'd helped Brenda close on Christmas Eve, and then I was listed as "available" for the rest of the week. The new schedule wasn't posted when I went to pick up my paycheck, so I just let it slide until this morning. Lindsay informed me that I'd be working tomorrow from 10 to 5:30, and also on Friday and Saturday. I don't remember what time, but I figured I'd check the help desk or the break room wall, anyway. I think I'm working earlier on Friday and Saturday.

I had a really great break. After spending Christmas with my family, Ben and I celebrated our two month anniversary by hanging out in his new apartment. We exchanged Christmas presents and watched Kemonozume. Ben got me a really cool guidebook on touring Japan the toy lover's way and...



Eggs! He so gets me. :) (Side note: my puki puki will ship on January 10!!! SQUEE!)

The day after, we took an impromptu mini vacation up to Palm Springs. We road the Aerial Tramway up to the top of Mount San Jacinto to see the snow. Afterwards, we went to the Thursday night street fair before heading home.

For New Year's Eve, Katie, Katie's Aussie friend Cory, Vilmarie, Ben and I went to Josh and Russell's Rocking Rock Band Rock Star party. I imagine we would have stayed longer, but Katie and Cory had to go home, so we only hung around until 1:30 or so. New Year's Day was spent mostly lounging. We finished watching Kemonozume and I made heart-shaped California rolls for lunch.



For dinner, we went to the "fancy" Jack in the Box because I like that you can order on a touch screen. Afterwards, we went to Target, spent a lot of money, then went home and watched Stardust and had ice cream.



Hopefully, we won't be eating out as much, though, since Ben and I jointly resolved to learn how to cook. It was originally my moving out resolution, but we thought it would be fun if we tried, together, to cook something besides Ramen or Pop Tarts at least once a week. So, every Thursday night is going to be cooking night!

Finally, I am really super excited because I booked my flight to New Orleans to visit Stephie! I will be leaving on 2/1 and returning on 2/6. Yay!
yunikoneko: (kalanchoe tomentosa)
(oddly relevant meme, so I'm not really wasting time, ganked from [livejournal.com profile] twotone)

1. Go here: http://www.careercruising.com/default.asp
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.
4. Post the top twenty results.
5. Bold preferences.

1. Adoption Counselor
2. Actor
3. Desktop Publisher
4. Animator
5. Editor
6. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
7. Postal Clerk
8. Casting Director
9. Comedian
10. Critic
11. Market Research Analyst
12. Print Journalist
13. Artist
14. Computer Animator
15. Graphic Designer
16. Library Technician
17. Psychologist
18. Musician
19. Health Records Professional
20. Dispatcher

I didn't really bold anything particularly creative. While theoretically it would be supremely awesome to be paid to be creative, I have a fragile ego and that kind of pressure would be crushing.

I think I would actually love to work in a post office. I read about it once in a book about careers for introverts. I don't really remember the pluses, but it was probably particularly appealing because I loved my little p.o. in Bonita. They were so pleasant and efficient and it seemed like a very nice environment. I haven't yet been to the Rancho Bernardo p.o. Hrmm.

Adoption Counselor is intriguing. I've never considered it before. I wonder how competitive that is, or how to even break into that.

San Diego County is actually hiring dispatchers. Yeah, that'd never work out.

Haha.

Aug. 16th, 2007 08:04 pm
yunikoneko: (boldly going nowhere)
Last night, while I was in the car with Mike and Josh on the way to see Hooper at the Carlsbad Denny's, my dad called and asked a bunch of questions regarding my whereabouts. I thought this was really weird, because my dad almost never calls me unless it's about the car. It was doubly weird that he was asking questions about where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with. He asked the last question twice.

It turns out that my phone auto-dialed him. Since he didn't answer the phone, the voice mail picked up a clip of a long conversation between Mike and Josh. Apparently, my dad listened to this vmail three times before contacting me to interrogate. I want to know what's on the vmail, 'cause yesterday's conversation covered cringe comedy, Josh's ex, and an inanely long ramble about the inanity of the long ramblings of the Gilmore Girls. I wonder what he must be thinking. :P

Oh yes, I have a new-old phone. My sister unexpectedly came into a large sum of cash (no, nobody died, she just, for some odd reason, got paid for her "volunteer" hours), so she bought herself the iPhone. Thus, I inherited her not-as-cool-as-an-iPhone-but-still-cooler-than-my-old-phone SLVR. I've finally gotten the hang of it, so I know now how to properly switch over to a call from using iTunes.

I also have a new place to live in the 4S Ranch community, and as a result, a large debt. I have to say, I'm a little bugged that the name of the area has a number in it that isn't spelled out. For example, I wouldn't have batted an eyelash if it had been Four Seasons Ranch. 4S makes me think of when you're signing up for a screen name and can't get the one you want so you have to append a number to it. And knowing that the S stands for "Snooks" doesn't help the case. But the fact that the house is on whimsically-named Cherry Blossom Lane makes up for it.

I still haven't told my parents, but we all know I kind of let things go until it's too late to do anything but go with it, anyway. Apparently, I've been doing this since I was in kindergarten. The first case of this was when I was signed up for some kind of holiday pageant and failed to mention it to my mother until about half an hour before I was supposed to be dressed and ready at the school. I will have The Talk before the end of this weekend, but I want to be able to have said I've put in applications for work in the vicinity. (After scoping the house, I walked around the nearby shopping area to gather apps/info. I wouldn't mind getting to walk to work, either.)

What I'm really hoping for is the library assisting job at UCSD. I've actually applied for several positions there: a couple of general office/reception, admin assisting, systems administrator, bookstore clerk. But the library job would be a dream, because then I'd get to work in the place that's felt most like a home to me at UCSD, and not have to have a Masters in Informatics. And there's insta-benefits. And decent pay. And carpooling with Robyn. :)

I was a bit freaked out about everything logistically and emotionally this morning, but now that I've been taking more and more steps in a practical direction, I've mellowed a bit.

Also, I can't believe Mike missed the fact that this house's layout was pretty much the Nuthouse's layout, with two modifications. Which totally explains the stage in my bedroom. I will have to post a picture later.

And a picture of the couches my parents have been trying to get rid of for... oh, the past six months.

Now, sleep.
yunikoneko: (crafting)
First, Robyn and I went to look at two potential houses. The first one, I think, I hope, is the one. It has a downstairs bedroom/guest room that is presently being used as an office but will make a nice studio. The master bathroom is, in Robyn's words, its own village. The smallest upstairs bedroom, I think, is bigger than my room now. We didn't get to poke around much because, weirdly enough, the people renting the place were home. All twenty of them. (Okay, that's an exaggeration. It was more like ten or fifteen.)

At any rate, it was Perfect In Every Way, including location (near Loads of Stuff), rent (cheaper than the not-so-fantastic second house), and move-in date (mid-September). I only fear my present state of unemployment (as recorded on the application) may kill our chances of getting the place. ::knocks on wood:: I failed to mention I have an interview on Monday. Mmmm temp-ing. Can you feel my excitement?

We're supposed to hear back about the house on Monday. I am terrified.

The other house is hardly worth mentioning except that it's an OK back-up house (not really saying much), despite being in an eerily quiet gated community neighborhood group of closely spaced homes houses. Oh, and that this was on the front porch:



Priceless.

The second thing: On my way home, I dropped by JoAnn Fabrics, where I got a fantastic deal on clearance-priced wax chips ($2! instead of $12!) and soap additives (super cheap colorants and moisturizers). With respect to the wax chips, I'd been looking for some to tartify my Hymn to Pan. For whatever reason, I feel like it does amp up my creative space. Maybe it's completely psychological, but it works for me. I'll take what I can get.

Anyway, I am almost out of Murder Ballad Blues, so I made a nice brick of Desire and another of Hell's Belle. I think I went a bit overboard on the powder colorants... they're glittery and swirly and frou-frou and not the colors I expected at all. I really like how Hell's Belle turned out, in terms of headiness... the dusty lilac powder was more of a crazy bright fuschia. It's a scent I really enjoy, but it tends to vanish on me, so I guess it's best served this way.



Yes, that is soap in a corset. I had a ribbon and a hole punch and a scrap of scrapbooking pleather. It begged to be done.

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