No one can wound like a teenage girl.” Having been a teenage girl, I am beginning to remember this the hard and cruel way from the parenting end of things.

I did not need to be reminded of this in the middle of a zillion different moments where I basically hate everyone around me. And I mean everybody.

Didn’t realize that it has been weeks since I’ve posted anything of substance here.

Been up late a lot with work and stuff. Have posted periodically on Twitter, less often on Insta/Facebook. The rest of the time, I’m either baking with F, watching “Ted Lasso” with C, or reading.

Haven’t missed the posting here, sad to say.

I stumbled onto “Ted Lasso” when the first 2 episodes were featured on the flight from my mom’s funeral in June. This show has been such a godsend these past few months, almost as if it was Mom’s parting gift to me or something.

The only reason I’m following the Emmys is “Ted Lasso.” I am reminded with each bad “comedy” bit and every tedious speech tonight why I avoid awards shows.

Always interesting to glance at a friend’s social media feed and remember why I don’t follow them anymore.

Today, I learned that our local high school has a bass fishing team. At last, something for F to aspire to next year.

Big mistake: Watching “Ted Lasso” at bedtime soon after it premieres. Now I’m wide awake and watching the Reddit back-and-forth about it.

Thoughts keeping me up at 1 a.m.:

  1. Doctor Sharon is the therapist I’ve always wanted.
  2. If I wasn’t married, I would want my very own Roy Kent.
  3. Nate is severely testing my belief that nobody is irredeemable.

My Twitter feed is speaking to me this morning.

This.

This applies to anyone pursuing a creative venture. It really hit me hard when I saw it.

A friend I actually know live and in person started following me yesterday on the gratuitous.art Insta. An actual artist. Someone who’s good at art and someone I personally like.

But honestly, I’m deeply uncomfortable with this, simply because I’d rather not be judged by someone I know, especially someone who knows what they’re doing.

Maybe it’s weird, but I don’t necessarily want my friends’ or colleagues’ approval about my artistic ventures. (Or even my websites, for that matter.) I don’t even want them to be aware of them. I simply would rather have this all be a thing that I do without being judged or critiqued by people I know.

(And yes, I realize that this space – and the Insta account – are public. If friends stumble upon them, fine, I guess. I just prefer not to make a big deal about it with them.)

Haven’t had time for any art over the past week; been up late with work most nights. Finally got to log off early this afternoon, and I fooled around with some Crayola Slick Stix that have fascinated and befuddled me for weeks. Been having a hard time figuring out what to do with them.

Still not sure what I’ll do with these black artist tiles with Slick Stix scribbles layered on them; gonna see if I can doodle or maybe collage over them.

Went to bed after the Dodgers broke the tie at the top of the 15th. Turns out the Padres tied it at the bottom of the 15th, only to have L.A. take back the game for good in the next inning.

“In the end,” writes A.J. Cassavell at MLB.com, “the Padres were left to rue another crushing defeat, a flurry of missed opportunities, and a small handful of decisions that got them there.”

Between the failure to shore up pitching and poor managing, the Padres are in free-fall mode.

When baseball is a key mode of self-care, and your team (or, in my case, one of your teams) takes a terrible turn, it drags down the rest of your life with it. And when your life is also on a downhill slide, it makes for a particularly horrific time.

I didn’t need to end one day and start the next this way.

Is it wrong that I’m starting to think about my friends and loved ones and sorting out which ones are more likely to die first so I reach out to them sooner?

A public service announcement (and personally, a lesson overdue), courtesy of XKCD.

Was up late last night after learning of Young’s passing. A lot has been weighing on me in the past week, and his death became a tipping point, of sorts. I ended up doodling on a blue index card, thinking about a zillion things hovering over my psyche.

Suffice it to say that I’m feeling beaten down and sick of life right now.

I had spouted off more in this space, but deleted the post. Some things are best left unblogged.

My friend Young died today. I’m crushed.

In your charity, please pray for his soul. Please pray for Jane, his dear wife, and their families. And please help Jane however you can through this GoFundMe campaign.

Young was 52 years old.

Art when you can

This piece took a bit more than 5 minutes.

Work and other concerns have kept me from the daily art habit I’ve been trying to cultivate. I’m stepping away from any art challenges for a while because I find myself feeling like a failure for not keeping up with it. (I never felt that way with ICAD, because its creator always made it a point to kept things low-pressure throughout, and I was grateful for that.) So, I’m simply trying to #makearteveryday — any kind of art, whatever I can do, as best I can. That’s as much as I can handle for a while.

As much as art has become a self-care instrument for me, the pressure I’ve put on myself to create despite the demands of daily life is sucking all the fun out of it. I’m just going to have to do what I can and not obsess about whether I’m diligent about making this a daily thing.

Anyway, when I find time, I’m trying to get back to the online doodling class I started a while back. Made this cityscape thing. I enjoyed it fine, but I think I have a lot more fun with flowing lines and spirals.

An introduction and a request

This is my friend Young. We were lunch buddies and fellow contractors at a Fortune 500 company years ago. If not for Young, who put in a good word for me with his wife – who was looking for freelance editors at her research nonprofit during my contractor days – I probably wouldn’t have the full-time job I have.

But that’s not why he’s dear to me. He is dear to me in the way that the coolest, kindest souls – especially those who can expound on the merits of Studio Ghibli anime and the spiciest Korean ramen with equal facility, code and design like a dream, and effortlessly bake pizzelles for a roomful of colleagues during the holidays – generally are.

This GoFundMe link – plus an earlier post here – explains his situation in greater detail, but he is in what appears to be the final stages of just-diagnosed pancreatic cancer. His situation is also yet another indictment of the terrible state of our healthcare industry, but you can discern that further without my assistance.

As requested previously here, in your charity, please pray for Young and Jane. And if you are able to aid financially, even a small bit would help.

Also, hug your loved ones – dearest friends as well as family. And don’t ever lose sight of them.

It’s nice to come home reeking of incense from Mass again. Our parish only trots out the thurible for major feast days like today.

So now we’re heading out again smelling like roses (per the Feast of the Assumption). Cool.

The losing battle, Week 30-ish: Gratuitous weight-loss post

It’s been a while (which is why this jumps from Week 26 to Week 30-ish). Just need to state for the record that I’m down 53 pounds since January; I logged in at 230 pounds this past week after a bit of a plateau. At least I wasn’t gaining weight, but I wasn’t losing, either. This was the first week I was able to post a loss of a pound or more.

During this losing lull and quiet period, I’ve gotten to the point where I need to seriously look for clothes that don’t fall away from my waist or hang off me like a tent. Even without the scale numbers budging much, clearly things are shifting around on my body.

It’s not that I’m not working on my weight loss; this low-carb “lifestyle” has become second nature, though I fall behind at times on my water intake, lag in my activity, and sometimes forget my meds. But logging my losses here feels like less of a priority lately. Work is picking up a bit again, and weeks after the end of the ICAD challenge, I’m still trying to maintain a daily art practice. Weight loss is very much a self-care thing, but carving out time for art is doing more for my stress levels, sanity, and sadness than almost anything else these days.

A colleague from Texas introduced me to Nanci Griffith’s work decades ago, and I was hooked. She wove great stories with her songs, and she caught me just as I started getting into what would eventually become known as “alt-country” – or, as she called, it, “folkabilly” music.

She provided the soundtrack of my first couple of years out of college – along with performers like k.d. lang, Lyle Lovett, and Van Morrison and the Chieftains. Her whole Texan thing made me want to end up in Austin.

Alas, a job opportunity I had hoped for in Austin fell through, only to surface days after I accepted another job. But Nanci Griffith’s music stuck with me.

(She got more overtly political, and honestly a little more sappy, for my taste after a while. But she still represented an important and less complicated time that I wish I had appreciated more.)

Nanci Griffith died Friday; she was 68 years old. Feels like that part of my life – when “folkabilly” was a big part of my soundtrack during that early 20s period of growing up – died a little, too.

I’m so tired of death’s shadow right now.

Another day, another bit of 5-minute art. Rediscovering a bunch of half-done tags and my stash of scraps and stickers for the #tuac5minutechallenge.

Today’s #tuac5minutechallenge piece. I’m enjoying this Posca white pen way too much. Doodling on another ATC-size piece of painted background that my sister created.