ACW 289 – We know what we love.

[caption id="attachment_3931" align="alignnone" width="800"]Webcomic! Click on the image to make it bigger![/caption] I love my local library. Apparently so do a lot of other people. I usually get there just a few minutes before they open, and when I do, there's usually a line of people waiting to get in. We don't quite stampede through the front doors when they open, but we do get in pretty fast. The librarian is pretty nimble though, so she usually gets out of the way.

ACW Episode 288 – The Power of Yoga!

[caption id="attachment_3927" align="alignnone" width="800"]Webcomic! Click on the image above to see it bigger![/caption] So I had a slight miscommunication with the cat last week.... She was messing around with my iPad and some electronics cables while I was trying to do yoga. I told her to "shoo!" but apparently she didn't hear me, because when I reached down to give her a nudge, she reacted as though I had just shot 20,000 volts through her. I believe she did three and a half somersault in five different directions before landing - claws first - on my left hand. Two claws slashed open my pinky and middle fingers. But one claw managed to puncture not just the skin of my ring finger, but also the blood vessel beneath it as well. And that claw sunk into me so deep that I couldn't simply shake the cat free of my hand (though Glob knows I TRIED!!!). Instead, I had to roll around on the floor in agony while the cat swore at me and continued to shred my digits. Eventually, she took off, leaving me with a bloody stump where my hand used to be. It was three days before all my fingers grew back and I was able to wear my wedding rings again. So just remember folks. Never set the cat on fire, and don't mess with it when you're doing yoga either.

Bring Out Your Dead – 10 April, The Black Thumb Rides Again

I have no pictures for today's blog post, because the topic of today's blog post is too horrifying for pictures. I've started gardening again. Feel that chill that just ran up and down your spine? That's the Black Thumb saying, "Hey there!" Anyway, gardening is one of those thing that I'm doing to take back my life. It lets me spend time outside, gives me plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and it's good exercise. So about a month ago, I bought some seeds and a couple of those instant green house kits and told myself, "Yeah! I can do this!" Of course, I completely ignored my long history of gardening disasters when I did this. I took my purchase home, set up my little green house, pulled out a notebook and planned my future garden with a little song in my heart. And after 4 weeks, all I had was four tiny little sprouts. But I was proud of my sprouts, and I tended to them so carefully! When I realized last night it was going to be too cold to keep them on the window sill, I moved them to a SAFE PLACE!! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SAFE!!!! And when i got up the next morning, I discovered one of the cats had ripped out all four of my babbies by the roots and left them to die in the dirt. So next week, when it's warm enough to keep plants outside, I'm going back to the garden store and I'm buying all new seedlings. And then we'll see how many I can kill off. The End

Bring Out Your Dead – 6 April, Greeting Cards for Goths

A miracle has occurred. I've managed to squeeze in about 6 hours of work in the last 3 days! That's the "might possibly earn me some money" kind of work, not the "I sold my soul to Girl Scouts" kind of work. I've also managed to do some yard work, clean the house a bit, cook a few meals and exercise 3 days in a row! So many miracles! And I am soooooooooooooooooooo tired right now. But it's a good kind of tired, because I made a choice about how I wanted to spend my time and I didn't let myself get derailed by what other folks wanted. Did I mention that I even played video games with the kids this week? Far out, dude! But back to resurrecting my dead career. My current goals are: A) Get back on a regular schedule with the webcomic, so that I'm back to putting out a new strip every week. 2) Draw and publish one or two new greeting cards (or mug designs, t-shirts, etc.) each month. Which brings us to the topic in the headline - Greeting Cards for Goths. I do not consider myself to be a Goth, though I love to wear black and I celebrate Halloween all year long. I'm more of a general geek, with a sort of minor in punk, zombie, kawaii and Goth interests. In other words, I enjoy lots of different things. One thing I especially enjoy is drawing beautiful but creepy ladies. I get a lot of inspiration for Edward Gorey (who doesn't?) and Aubrey Beardsley. Combine that with my fondess for twisted humor and you get some very interesting ideas for greeting cards. Like greeting cards you can send to people you don't like. Greeting cards made for people who despise the mundane world. Greeting cars for people who live in Night Vale. Greeting cards for people who like their humor the way they like their coffee - sweetened with the blood of innocents and the tears of the wretched. In other words, greeting cards for people just like you and me! So I've been working on drawings for these cards. I do this at the local library, where I have the perfect excuse to turn off my phone (if I don't, the librarians will sacrifice me to their dark gods). I find a nice comfy chair, spend an hour working on the webcomic, and then spend another hour working on the greeting cards. Here's a peek at what I've managed to produce so far this week:   [caption width="360" align="alignnone"]Cool sketch! "I'm so gloomily beautiful, I may faint!"[/caption] Isn't she lovely?! I'm doing the sketch in SketchClub on my iPad. Once I've got both the inside and outside artwork sketched out, I'll import the images into Concepts to ink and color them. Final clean-up and formatting will be done in Corel Draw on my desktop. I'm very happy with this piece so far. Like I said, I feel like miracles are happening this week. Just making the decision to reduce my volunteer hours has given me a real boost. Hopefully, I'll get my boundaries between volunteering and work firmly established by the time cookie season comes around again. Because I do not want to get sucked into a black hole of unending burn-out ever again! I'll post another update later this week. Until then, have fun!

April’s Theme! Bring Out Your DEAD!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to post a quick note about April's theme. I mentioned in my last post that I want to revive my art career. After thinking about it, I decided that I'd label this month's theme "Bring Out Your DEAD!" Because if this were a Monty Python movie, you just might here my career say, "I'm not dead yet!" So I will be posting images of artwork in progress for the Zazzle store (I'm working on greeting cards for people you hate!), and just for laughs, I'll post pictures of my garden in progress. Yes! The Black Thumb rides again! I've already successfully grown several seed pots of.... mold. So much for heirloom tomatoes! I may also pick up a few craft projects that I left languishing in Limbo. Remember the spider web poncho I was working on in October? Yeah, I found that last weekend while I was cleaning up my room. I think I should probably finish that, and maybe a couple other projects that didn't quite get done. So that's what's going on. And if you have any half-dead projects lying around that you want to revive, let me know! I'd be happy to cheer you on as you finish them, and even post a link to pics or blog posts about your work! So let's get cracking! We've got dead things to reanimate!

ACW Episode 287 – It’s all a bit fuzzy to me

[caption id="attachment_3916" align="alignnone" width="800"]Webcomic! Click on the image above to see it larger![/caption] Wow, I finally got a webcomic drawn and posted! It's been like, forever! Seriously though, it has been a month since I last posted a webcomic. The reason, of course, is because it was Girl Scout cookie season, again, and I let my life get taken over by Girl Scout cookie season, again. The problem is partly the organization I volunteer for. Girl Scouts demands a lot from its volunteers, and I understand this. We work with girls who need us to be responsible, keep them safe, and offer them opportunities to do things that are fun and exciting. That requires training, certifications, background checks, the ability to handle finances, the ability to plan and conduct training, and so on, and so on, and so on. Basically, all the things I used to do in the Army Reserves. Only without the paycheck to go with it. So I understand that, and I agree with that. But... I'm not sure Girl Scouts understands what it's asking of its volunteers. I mean, in a way, they do. They know what's at stake when it comes to working with girls. But I don't think they understand the demand these requirements puts on its volunteers. I volunteer at least 10 hours a week. And some weeks I volunteer more. A lot, lot more. During cookie season, I could end up volunteering 60 hours a week. Keep in mind that some weeks during cookie season I am also hosting the troop meeting (we have one 5-hour meeting a month), running cookie booths, handling accounting for cookie sales, making deposits of cookie money at the bank, preparing for Scout Sunday, preparing for Thinking Day, attending those events, and more. And doing all that is exhausting. I read an article recently that talked about the ideal amount of hours to volunteer. And the number they gave was 100-800 hours. Less than that didn't give the volunteers the same boost of happiness. More than that left volunteers burned out. Now 100-800 hours seems like one hell of a range, but the article also mentioned that there were no benefits to volunteering more than 100 hours. And I'd say they're right about that. I'd be happy if I could cut my volunteering back to just 5-10 hours a week. That would put me at around 250-500 hours a year, as opposed to what I volunteer now. But how to get those hours down? That's where I have to admit that I'm part of the problem. Yes, Girl Scouts asks a lot. But that doesn't mean I always have to say 'yes' when they ask something of me. I need to start learning how to say 'no.' And there may be some folks I work with in Girl Scouts who will be disappointed to hear me say no. But I'm thinking that the organization as a whole will understand. Girl Scouts needs dedicated volunteers; it doesn't need burned-out volunteers. And so I'm making the choice to step back from some of my volunteering so that I can do a better job at what I still intend to volunteer for, and so I don't feel resentful about volunteering. And then maybe  I won't be so tired that I try to type my emails on my cat :)