I don’t know if it’s the looming end of summer, the national news, or just general synchronized stress, but there is an anxious feeling in the air. I’m checking in more regularly with some folks, to make sure they are doing okay, and checking in with myself as well. The other day I was doing a little weeding in the flower bed (let’s be honest, I neglected it this summer so it’s mostly mint and hostas and black-eyed Susans) and thought how nice it was to bury my head in plant and dirt smells, and just hear the buzzing of the bees (and mosquitoes, let’s not paint too rosy of a picture)… Was I hiding in there? Probably.
For some shameless self-promotion, this illustration is also available on a mug that I put up for sale on Wednesday… You can find it here if you’d like one: https://www.zazzle.com/z/l9ld2?rf=238904129308403026
It would be so simple to just stay on my porch some days. While sipping coffee I watch my neighbors leave for the day, or maybe they are just meeting friends for breakfast. I watch cars speed down the street, it bypasses the main road, and the drivers probably feel like it’s worth those extra 10 seconds that they gain in their commute. I check my Instagram feed and Facebook and marvel at everything my friends have accomplished since I last looked.
It feels cozy and safe sitting on the porch by myself. Partially hidden by flowers. The hummingbirds usually visit the feeder a few times, and the bumblebees bump around in the Hosta. This morning especially seemed like a Hiccup, a moment where I felt unsure of where I fit in Out There. I knew on the porch I could stay unnoticed, no one would ask anything of me, I wouldn’t have to worry about what was happening in other people’s brains… I wondered how long I could fly under the radar before someone wondered where I was.
Instead, I headed inside and started work. A few hours later I rallied to put on my public face and headed out to the post office and for more coffee at a new cafe in town. As usual, I survived, but it still felt good to get back home. I’m just rambling right now… time to get back to work :-)
Summer heat arrived over the last week or two… along with multitudes of mosquitoes and deer flies… I’ve been helping the Porcupine with some work on his property, and was swarmed with deer flies. We’ve all been there. The Porcupine said “just hold still, I can get this one” — I should have known better. They probably heard me yell next door.
At least he got it. Or so he told me.
This week I am hopefully (finally!) getting a roof rack for my new-to-me car, which means I will be able to get the kayak loaded and hit some water! I’ve only been out once this year, and I am so ready for some paddling time. I hope you are all having a great summer so far!
I’m sure there is something that triggers it, but sometimes I just feel …. sad. It creeps up on me and then I scramble, looking around, wondering what is wrong… and usually there is nothing. It’s difficult, and I end up replaying weeks worth of conversations, thinking about all the tasks I haven’t started, and in general sinking into a minor depression. I am fully aware it’s happening, and can go through all the public motions of “coping” — going for walks, seeing friends, getting a massage, completing work projects — but inside I know I just need to wait it out. The sun is out for a few days, which is unexpected, and I am least appreciating the irony of feeling miserable in the warmth and light. Just keeping it honest around here :-)
June feels like it has been really full! These are a few of the things going on… including a new-to-me car! It was a struggle wandering around at dealerships, but I think I made a good choice… and it will be my first AWD vehicle! The Porcupine has some construction happening, so I try to be helpful. I am great at handing him stuff! Although to be fair, I am also good at measuring and cutting things on the chop saw, and relatively precise at hammering…
There has also been plenty of rain… and work… and some time chatting with friends… all in all, I’m heading into mid-summer feeling pretty content… I hope you all are as well!
I’ve been working on art to go into a newsletter for some folks running a CSA in Colorado … it’s been fun visiting some old muses…
I’ve had a storage unit for many years, sometimes shared, sometimes not… This summer I promised myself I would empty the current unit and let go of many of the things I’ve accumulated. Some of these items are easy: candles I don’t like the smell of, linens that are mildewy, books that I never actually read or wanted…
But at this point most of the items are sentimental. Items I’ve inherited. Stuffed animals. Journals that remind me that the bad times really happened, and letters that remind me that there were also plenty of good times. The books that I DO love. And various rocks and trinkets that are heavy both in weight and emotions.
The last week has been spent lugging boxes and bins and a large table from one town to another, and unpacking here at the apartment. I also went through all my clothes, and passed along a contractors bag full to my best friend :-) . My current living situation screams HOARDER, but I know it’s temporary. Books are heading to a library sale tomorrow. Picture frames are being emptied and cleaned and assessed for keeping or not. DVD movies have been sold.
The part that really has tripped me up are my journals (which I honestly thought I had burned years ago) and reminiscing over photo albums and letters. There is something both validating and disturbing when reading your own writing about troublesome days in your past. It’s satisfying to know that your memories are correct, but it’s sad to reflect on the choices you made (well, some, at least in my case). I’ve packed them away for now, but am trying to convince myself to be rid of them by the end of summer.
I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself over the last year, this is all part of it. At some point I hope to be looking ahead without feeling bogged down with all the hopes I had years and years ago, and just celebrate where I am and where I am headed. Sounds good, right?
I swear, every day, near the top of my to-do list, is “Add work portfolio to website”… obviously it hasn’t happened yet. But here’s something fun I wrapped up this morning, a podcast logo for Jon Katz and Maria Wulf:
And I’ll throw another logo into this post, one that I did for Elder Nourish, an amazing start-up in the DC area:
The point being, I do logo and design work, as well as creating angsty bunny and porcupine drawings! I also design and flow books, yup, real books by real authors… so feel free to contact me if you’d like to chat about art or design!
Spring has sprung!
Granted… it has rained more often than not… which means I am not feeling entirely springy… but man oh man, when the sun does come out it’s AMAZING! Soon flowers will be getting planted and the kayak will get dragged onto some water (it already went out once!)…
In the meantime, the porcupine and I have been doing some outside work at his place, my regular job work has been beyond steady, and we managed to get away one night to catch Jonatha Brooke playing at Tupelo Music Hall — it was fantastic.
Here’s something I sketched up today… my latest struggle…
December through May are my busiest months for work… I can see a slow down coming in the next few weeks and am so looking forward to focusing on some personal projects and spending more time here (including FINALLY putting up a page about my graphic design and book layout work!) You might want to look for me on Instagram, I've been posting some time-lapse videos and more on there 🙂
Wednesday was sunny and warm …. and with rain forecast for the next 5 days… I took advantage of it and spent as much time as I could outside… Today I settled for work and spending some serious time at the laundromat. What better to do on a grey day while listening to washing machines bang around than painting some pink flowers using my new little travel watercolor set :-)
Jelly Bean season! Brought to you by the Easter Ant, of course…
There are donuts at the end of this, and all is well. Tuesday was Therapy Day and I had wound myself up by listening to a new-to-me audio about Non-Violent Communication (which sounds way scarier than it really is)… It was pretty interesting, and I was following along while working, and then they started discussing how people can feel that their needs are a burden on others. And in my usual way I started crying for no apparent reason. Well, I mean, the reason WAS apparent, something they said had set off my Neural Pathway Rollercoaster.
Isn’t that interesting? Say it out loud “My needs are a burden to others.” Can you relate to that? Do you express a need to someone and then immediately say “Nah, it’s okay, never mind.” or “… don’t worry about it if it’s a hassle…”? I do. I mean, within reason. If I need a hand getting up because I sat cross-legged too long I will ALWAYS take the offered hand. But if I am needing emotional support, it’s much harder. I feel like I am being silly, and often times, if I do ask, it’s worse when the person says “Yes” to fulfilling my need, because I think they are doing it from a place of looking down on me, or they think I am whiney, and basically they are helping begrudgingly.
The audio I was listening to continued — about how when our needs are unmet, usually because we aren’t asking for them to be filled, we can start feeling hostile and depressed… why? Because our needs aren’t being met. Because we haven’t asked anyone to meet them. This is a tidy little cycle.
Basically all this led up to a very interesting discussion with my therapist, and then another interesting discussion with a good friend, and then the Porcupine came over while I was in the middle of a well-deserved bubble bath (learning is important but exhausting). Oh, and yes, he brought donuts. And left the box half full with me in the morning. And all my will power went out the window. I’ll save that for my next therapy session. Donuts. This was all really about the donuts.
I discovered a new art challenge this month… only it’s poems! On Instagram I discovered #escapril — which has a prompt each day for writing a poem. Perfect for when my brain is exhausted but I still want to sketch something, and BONUS I am writing little haiku as well. I believe you can see some of my Instagram posts in the right side column of this blog (again, device dependent on where those darn things show up), I’ll put a post together later this week and catch you all up on here.
Overall the season is progressing nicely. The snow is finally melting (I can see bare ground HOORAY!), the temperatures have been in the 40s and 50s, and the sun has been shining. Feels like spring! My mind is racing with thoughts of kayaking, road trips, swimming, and in general not having to wear so many layers when heading outside.
I think I will be having a Spring Cleaning card sale soon — including holiday cards! I have plans for Bunny and Porcupine projects and need to make some space… stay tuned…
Below is today’s Escapril prompt.. hope you all have a cozy morning as well…
Okay, I wasn’t actually excited about the storm. We ended up with about a foot of heavy snow and it’s falling off my roof and basically it will be July before I see anything green in the flower bed. Sigh.
I sold this original piece today to a lovely woman who asked about it after I posted on Facebook… I probably should mention that if you ever see art on here that you are interested in — as a card, a print, or original — please send me a note!
Tonight I am working on putting together some art and information to go on mugs that I can drop off at the Village Restaurant here in town — it’s a diner and they like to use mugs with local businesses advertised on them! I’ll definitely be dropping off the Blah Blah Blah mug, a perennial favorite and appropriate for diner chit-chat ;-)