Messy Monday – Painted Skulls and a Broken Nose

I had an epic fail on Friday.

Pixie and I were jogging on a local trail, anways behind Princess’ cross country team. The trail in question is steep, with lots of big tree roots crossing it, along with the occasional heavy wooden beam to shore up the steeper parts. Pixie was jogging with the coach’s dog, while I jogged along behind her with Gibbie. I was doing pretty good, jogging faster than I have in a while. I was feeling pretty good.

Then I caught my foot on a tree root and slammed face first into the ground.

The good news is that I did not plant my face into a wooden beam. I hit that with my ribs, instead. The bad news is that I hit the ground HARD, and I knew that as soon as I hit, I had broken my nose.

Apparently, my crash landing was so tremendous it scared the young lady running ahead of me. After checking to see if I was okay (I was laughing as I sat up, despite my smashed nose), she ran off to get Pixie and the team coach. I told the coach I was fine and sent her off to keep track of the girls still running. Pixie stayed with me. According to her, I walked over to a nearby bench, sat down, then tumbled over ass-over-tea-kettle as Inpassed out. I don’t remember doing that, but I do remember having a very brief, pleasant dream that ended with me waking up staring at the grass and Pixie asking me if I was okay.

“Uh, yeah. I’m fine. But why is the world sideways?”

I was able to pull myself together after a few more minutes, and Pixie and I walked a mile back to our car. My nose bled the entire way. As soon as the cross country team came in, I grabbed Princess and we drove home. It took me an hour to clean up. I was covered from head to toe in dirt and dead leaves, along with blood, bruises and scrapes. But I was still laughing, so I was okay.

Later that day, Princess and Pixie asked why I had laughed through all this. I was a real mess. In addition to breaking my nose, I also tore up both knees and one elbow and I broke the big toe on my right foot. Why would I laugh when I did all that? Good question. I’m not really sure of the answer, but I hope it’s because I chose to laugh instead of cry. Yes, it all hurt like hell, but I think crying or even just complaining would have made it much worse. Laughing as soon as I got up seemed to make it feel better. And I think I chose to laugh because I knew that, but I knocked myself so silly, I can’t be sure I actually made that choice.

In any event, I have a couple of photos of the skulls I’ve been painting. I’ve gotten farther along, adding dots of white paint to make patterns. Over the white, I’m adding a bit of metallic paint, and then I plan to add some jewel-tone paints on top of that. What do you think?

Blue skull

I tried making the dots with a paint brush, but found a stylus works better.

Pink skull

This one is my favorite so far!

Yellow skull

This one’s a bit messy, but I’ve gotten farther along with it.


And there you have it! This week’s mess. Yay!

ACW Episode 288 – The Power of Yoga!


Click on the image above to see it bigger!

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.

ACW Episode 282 – Run, Princess, Run!!


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Yes, it took me forever to get this one done. I apologize. I started this at the beginning of October, which turned out to be one of the busiest months I’ve had to deal with in a loooooooong time. It was so busy and so hectic, in fact, that I look forward to the peace and quiet of Girl Scout cookie season.

Yes, I actually said that. And now I’ve put it in writing.

What kept me so busy? Well, Girl Scouts was one part of it. In addition to our troop meetings, we also had an archery trip and a murder mystery party. Then there was Halloween and All Saints Day. The girls attend Catholic school, and this year Pixie’s class held a “Courtyard of Saints,” where all the students dressed up as different saints and gave a sort of living history presentation. Pixie was Mother Teresa, so I spent a week sewing that costume for her. And then, since we can’t visit one end of the spectrum without seeing the other, I also had to sew her a Kylo Ren costume for Halloween. Princess wanted to be a Jedi, so there was that to sew. And of course, I was busy working on the October Crochet challenge. But what kept me busiest of all in October was…

Cross Country.

Princess was encouraged by her friends to join, and I’m very glad she did, because it was a great experience for her. She went from barely being able to run a mile to running 3 miles, and over the course of the month shaved 4 minutes off her mile run time. Thankfully, though, the Cross Country season ended before Halloween, because practice was 3 days a week with a race on top of that, so just about every day after school, we were running somewhere for 2 hours at a time. Well, Princess was running. I opted to do lawn work at the school (we do school service hours every year), or drive kids to races and chaperon at events. It was time-consuming, to say the least.

But now Cross Country is over, and November’s challenge is drawing, so I’m going to get back to regular work on the webcomic. I can’t promise weekly updates, but I certainly think I can do better than once a month!

Enjoy the webcomic! Later today, I’ll post another update for the November drawing challenge.

ACW Episode 277 – School’s out!


Click on the image to view it full-sized.

So, I’m a little late getting this one up. I mean, it’s the middle of July and I’m talking about the end of school, so yeah, a little late. But this one was actually too good (in my opinion) to not draw and post. And yes, this actually happened. The kids finished up with school in time for us to drive 2 1/2 days to Milwaukee so we could spend 4 days doing nothing but karate. And then we spent a day visiting with family in Chicago, and then we spent another 2 days driving home. And I was soooooooooo exhausted when we got home. But we did survive and make it home, so there’s that.

Move It Mama Monday – More Love for the MisFit Shine

Well, I’ve had my MisFit Shine for over a month now, and I’m still very happy with it. While I do miss some of the features of the Up Band, the fact that I now have an activity monitor that tells me both how much I’m moving and what time it is more than makes up for that. Seriously, I hated trying to wear a watch and the Up Band on the same wrist. The Up Band needs to be worn on the side of your non-dominant hand, which is the same side I wear a watch on. I cannot stand to wear a watch on my right wrist because I feel like it interferes with my ability to draw and type, two things I try to do lots of throughout the day.

In fact, the problem with needing a watch and an activity monitor had led me to depending a lot on my Wii Fit U monitor (yes, I am one of those weirdos who wears multiple fitness monitors; sue me). The Wii Fit U monitor shows both step count, calories burned, and the time of day! Pretty handy, but it doesn’t come with a wrist band. Instead, it comes with a clip. I prefer to wear the Wii Fit U monitor clipped to my shoe laces, because I think it takes more accurate readings of my step count that way. But wearing it on my shoe meant that every time I wanted to see what time it was, I had to bend over to check my shoe. And that looked a little too much like an invitation to be kicked in the rear-end for my tastes.

So, I finally have my combined wrist watch and activity monitor and I’m happy. Plus, as I mentioned last time, the MisFit Shine just looks gorgeous! Very sleek, very polished. It has also proved to be water-proof, at least during my water aerobics class, though it doesn’t track an hour of water aerobics the same way it tracks walking or dancing. And I’m finding that no fitness band can really seem to track the amount of effort I put into karate classes. I accrue more steps in a 20-minute walk than I will in 2 hours of karate. Granted, I cover more distance in the walk, but 2 hours of karate class leaves, with all the kicking and punching and push-ups and deep squats, leaves me exhausted. But it’s done in a very limited space, so I guess that’s what’s throwing off all the fitness monitors I’ve ever used.

The solution to that may be to set the MisFit Shine to specifically track that activity while I do it. There’s an option to track particular activities by triple-tapping on the Shine before starting that activity. It can be set up in the app for the Shine. But the app doesn’t list karate. It does list yoga, though, which is the activity I think is closest to karate, so I may try setting it up for that. Or maybe I’ll set it up for basketball. Basket ball is somewhat similar to karate, although I don’t think kicking and punching an opponent is allowed in either yoga or basketball.

But overall, I’m still loving the MisFit Shine!

Move It Mama Monday! I got a MisFit Shine for Christmas!

Lest you all think I was nothing but lazy over the holidays, I am happy to report that I did a lot of walking to Mordor. I got out every day over the holidays and walked at least 15 minutes each day. I also did a bit of yoga and some Just Dance. We got Just Dance 2015 for Christmas and now Pixie and I are shaking our booties like maniacs after school each day while Princess watches us in ever-growing horror.

Speaking of Pixie, she got a new Jawbone Up band for Christmas. She had been asking for the activity band by Leap Pad, but Hubster and I thought she was a bit older than the target audience for that, thus she got the Up band. She loves it. She’s been asking me to go out for walks and to play Just Dance so she can see how much moving around she can cram into each day. She got in at least ten thousand steps a day over the holidays.

As for me, I got a new MisFit Shine. I had been eyeing that device for weeks. I loved my Up band, but there were some limitations with it. First, it wasn’t waterproof, meaning I couldn’t take it into the pool with me. That made it a no-go for deep water aerobics. The MisFit Shine is supposed to be good in water up to 50M, so I will be putting that to the test soon.

My second issue with the Up band was the amount of pressure it put on my wrist. I was wearing the recommended size for my wrist (a medium), but while the band had plenty of room around the sides of my wrist, it tended to press into the front and back. Some days, this would cause my wrist to go numb, and I’d have to leave the band off for a couple days.

The MisFit Shine, however, comes with a flexible watch-style band that you can slip the device into. Or I can wear it with a small band that I can attach to my shoe or sports bra. Best yet, I can buy a sterling silver pendant and chain so I can wear the MisFit Shine like a necklace. The MisFit Shine looks really nice – it’s a small, polished disk that comes in a variety of colors – and when I showed it to some friends, a lot of them were impressed with how sleek and stylish it looked. They were also impressed that I finally decided to wear something sleek and stylish, instead of something more along the line of my usually bizarre fashion tastes.

Finally, the best thing about the MisFit Shine is the display. To get an accurate count of steps (or hours of sleep, since it tracks that too), you need to sync it (wirelessly) with the free app. But, during the day, when I’m out and about, I can simply double-tap the Shine and it will light up to show me how close I am to meeting my daily step goal. The Shine has a series of lights around its edge, positioned just like the numbers on a clock face. As you progress toward your step goal, the light display increases to 12 o’clock. And because the lights are set up like a watch face, you can also set up the Shine to show the time of day as well as your daily step progress. You won’t see any numbers or watch hands, but one steady light will indicate what the hour is, and a second blinking light will show you the minutes. It takes a bit of getting used to, but now I no longer have to wear a watch AND a fitness device. I’ve got both all in one.

I’ll continue to post updates on how things go with the MisFit Shine. Right now, I’m extremely happy with it. And Pixie is so happy with her Up band that she and I are planning to do a 5K walk in March. So yay for walking and yay for fitness devices that motivate us both to get up and move!

Move It Mama Monday! Yes, Girl Scouting Counts Toward Mordor

This is just a quick update for today. We had another Girl Scout troop meeting yesterday, and once again, I was on my feet from the moment I got up until a couple of hours after the last girl headed home. It was an exhausting day, and in spite of my intentions and my efforts to get out the door for just five minutes to walk, IT NEVER HAPPENED.

But I was on my feet all day and constantly moving, and I have been walking every day for the last two weeks (I even took a nice long walk with the Hubster on Thanksgiving — in a GRAVEYARD!). So I decided that working hard all day on Girl Scouts, whether I’m inside or outside, counts as a successful day in the Walk to Mordor.

So there.

I’m hard at work on the next episode of the webcomic, so it should be out in a couple days. It’s another long one, but I’m working on it as fast as I can. You should see it soon.

Move It Mama Monday! Why I LURVE the Yoga Studio App

Welcome to that special hell known as “Don’t gain 50 bazillion pounds over the holidays!” I both love and hate this time of year. I love it because everything is so festive and the smell of cookies and fancy flavored over-priced coffee is everywhere! I hate it because everything is so frikkin’ festive and the smell of cookies and fancy flavored over-priced coffee is everywhere along with magazines and commercials and ads to remind me not to stuff my face and gain any weight whatsoever over the holidays.

Seriously, have you looked at the cover of women’s magazines during the holiday season? The articles featured on the cover are always about the latest most fantastic holiday recipes that use twenty tons of cream, butter and sugar. And right beneath those are the articles that exclaim “You can lose 500 pounds in just 5 DAYS!” (The rest of the year, these magazines only feature non-holiday recipes that use twenty tons of cream, butter and sugar, and they tell you that you can only lose 495 pounds in just 5 days.)

Anyway, that’s the atmosphere that permeates the holidays every year. And because everything is so busy this time of year, it can be hard to make it to the gym or even step outside for a simple walk, which makes the whole “EAT EAT EAT LOSE WEIGHT LOST WEIGHT LOSE WEIGHT” message even worse to deal with. To combat the artifical sense of guilt that I know this message is trying to instill, I make sure my favorite yoga app is cued up on my iPad so that can stretch wherever I am and do it in short bursts during commercial breaks no matter where I’m watching holiday specials on TV.

And what is my favorite yoga app, you ask? It’s Yoga Studio. Yoga Studio comes with pre-made yoga routines (lasting anywhere from 10-60 minutes) and lets me make my own routines using either individual poses from their pose library or short routines that I can string together in the order I prefer.

But the thing I love the most about Yoga Studio is that I can choose what music I listen to while I do my yoga routines! And I don’t mean choose from the very limited and ear-bleeding options of wailing desert flute or wind-chimey, brain-dead mood music. I can actually make a playlist from the music I have on my iPad and listen to that while I do yoga! You have no idea how much that matters to me. Really, I can’t stand the typical music most yoga apps and videos and classes play. It makes me want to slip into the corpse pose and kill myself.

So what music do I have on my Yoga Studio playlist? My current playlist starts with Imelda May’s “Oh My God, It’s Good to Be Alive!” and then goes straight into “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse. Next up is Gin Wigmore’s “Man Like That,” followed by the Kongos’ “Come With Me Now.” Yes, I prefer pulse-throbbing, heart-pounding, rockin’ and rollickin’ music when I practice my stretching and deep breathing. Because that’s the kind of gal I am.

This is the app I used over Thanksgiving break while we visited the Hubster’s family. I was able to set up in the guest bedroom and stretch my groove thang for half an hour, then go stuff myself with delicious food, then take a long nap and then repeat the whole cycle all over again. I did go for a daily walk, although I didn’t get in the usual 30-60 minutes like I do at home. But still, walking! I will eventually complete that “Walk to Mordor” quest.

I don’t know if using the Yoga Studio app helped me keep off the extra pounds over Thanksgiving break, but honestly, I don’t care. Like I said, the best thing about the app is that I can load the music I want to hear on it. And I made sure to turn up the volume nice and loud so I never had to hear about how I had to stay rediculously slim and trim while stuffing my face this year. And that made me very thankful indeed 🙂

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I’m gonna stretch out and take a nap now.

Move It Mama Monday! I ain’t been moving all that much…

So, the week after I started up the “Move It Mama Monday” posts again, I didn’t get much moving done.

What happened is this. Two weeks ago, I spent every waking moment and then some working on a special event for Girl Scouts (you’ll hear more about that in a later post). Pulling off this event meant a lot of late nights, one all-nighter, and not a lot of sleep in between. And that meant I had to spend all of last week recovering.

I had expected that after a week of very little sleep, I would have slept like the dead all the next week. Instead, I had a couple of nasty bouts of insomnia. The first bout happened right after I finished up the event for Girl Scouts. I was exhausted. And I mean ready to fall over dead tired. However, when I went to bad that night, I couldn’t sleep.

I tried everything – Zzzquil, a big fat book (I’ve been reading “The History of Middle Earth” for the last two years), moving from the bed to the couch, yoga, meditation, warm milk… Nothing worked. When the Hubster got up at 6:30AM, I made the bed and just stayed up, hoping I could keep going until bedtime and THEN finally fall asleep.

The plan worked. I could only manage to do light work, but I did get some stuff done, and at 9PM I was out like a light. I slept through until noon the next day.

And then I had another bout of insomnia, just like the last one.

Combined with a cold.

So I went through another 36 hours of sleeplessness, trying to battle a sore throat with lots of chicken soup and green tea with honey. I did get to sleep the next night, and have slept every night since, but I gotta say, being sick plus having two bouts of insomnia has completely screwed up my schedule. I managed to go for a walk every day but one (which means I’m starting over on the Walk to Mordor yet again), and I did some light yoga most days. But that was about it.

I’m hoping to turn things around this week. I feel a bit better, and I’ve been able to get some sleep. One of the problems that exacerbated my insomnia involved Hubster stealing the covers every time he rolled over in bed. So I went out and bought us a pair of sleeping bags and zipped them together. With both of us zipped in at night, the covers don’t go anywhere when he rolls over. I think I’m a genius for figuring this one out in my sleep deprived state.

The goal for this week is to keep up with the daily walk and the daily yoga. I’m going to see if I can get to the pool once this week, and to karate class. Beyond that, it’s Thanksgiving week. I’m not sure how much more I can do. I do wear a pedometer and the Jawbone UP band, so I can use that to prompt me to keep moving. We’ll see how that works!

Speaking of devices, I’m curious what devices folks wear. I’m considering upgrading the UP band, but don’t know if I want to go with the next version of the UP or get something different. The UP is nice, but I’d love to have something that includes a watch function with it. I can’t really wear a watch and the UP band at the same time. It’s just too bulky to wear both on my left wrist, and I can’t stand to wear a watch on my right. Any suggestions?

Let me know and have a great Monday!

Move It Mama Monday! Walking To Mordor

One does not simply walk into Mordor…

Except that one does. Well, Frodo and Sam certainly did. I think Gollum sort of slunk or slithered his way in.

But to get to the point…

Last month I signed up with Nerd Fitness Academy. NFA is a website that offers advice, informatin, and motivation for people looking to get into better shape. It’s set up like a traditional RPG for the most part, allowing users to choose a character class – warrior, assassin, ranger, and ninja – to help people set fitness and health goals and achieve them. The more goals or “quests” you achieve, the more points you accrue on NFA, and as you accrue points, you level up. The program makes good use of the nerd/geek theme to motivate users, I think, and so far, I’ve had fun following the various parts of the program and working on quests.

One of the quests I’ve been working on is the “Walk to Mordor.” The goal of the Walk to Mordor is to get into the habit of walking daily. To complete the quest, you have to walk for at least 5 minutes a day for 2 weeks straight. I’ve been working hard at this one for over a month now. Sadly, I have not yet achieved that goal.

Why? Why can I not manage to get in at least a 5-minute walk every day?

Well, it all comes down to priorites. Most weeks, I have been able to walk at least 30 minutes every day for 6 days straight. Then the 7th day comes along. The 7th day is usually the day I have a Girl Scout event to run – a troop meeting, an outing, a certain murder mystery party, etc. Girl Scouts usually takes up one full day of my week, every week, in addition to the 1-2 hours I put into volunteering for Girl Scouts everyday.

I have come to realize that 6 out of every 7 days, I can and will make walking a top priority. As soon as I get up on those 6 days, I will put on my exercise clothes, lace up my sneakers, and head out the door. I will walk 3-4 miles a day during those 6 days. But come that 7th day, my priorities are very different.

On the days that I work Girl Scout events, my only priority is Girl Scouts. I am up by 6:30AM, sometimes even earlier. Chances are very good that I was up until after midnight the night before, preparing for the event in question. So I’ll be a little low on sleep. But I will be up early because I need that time to clean my house (if the event is at my home), prepare a meal and/or snacks for the girls, double-check paperwork for the event, set out supplies for activities, check email for any last-minute communications from other volunteers or parents, drive to the event if it’s not at my home, probably pick up some Girl Scouts along the way who need a ride, gather and store receipts for anything we purchase that day (because I have to account for how the troop spends its money), check in girls at the event, run and/or get through the event, surpervise the girls in their activities, lead the activities, supervise clean-up after the activities, check the girls back out when their parents come to pick them up, drive home any girls that came with me, file the receipts and paperwork, etc., etc., etc.

On days when I do Girl Scout events, I am on my feet all day long. I do not go out for a walk, but I do not stop moving until the event is done and the paperwork is taken care of. And on some days, I don’t even manage to finish that final paperwork before I collapse into bed and pass out. Those days are busy and exhausting. Going for a walk, even a 5-minute walk, doesn’t even enter my mind.

So how can I complete this quest for NFA? Tomorrow, I know I will get up and get out the door and take at least a 3-mile walk. I’ll easily walk more than 10,000 steps (the recommended daily step count) before dinner. And I’ll do the same the next day and the day after that for 6 days straight. But on the 7th day…

I have a Girl Scout troop meeting scheduled. It will run from noon to 5PM. And I guarantee you I will be up by 6:30 that morning to cook, clean, prepare for and run that meeting. I will be busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest until that meeting is over, and then I’ll be deader than a zombie who hasn’t eaten her daily alotment of brains. And I probably will not have taken even a 5-minute walk that day. I will have been moving all day long, but that isn’t part of the qualifications for the “Walk to Mordor” quest.

What to do? Should I get up just a bit earlier so I can take that 5-minute walk? I’ll probably be low on sleep that morning, but I could try it. Or maybe I should adjust the goals of the quest a bit? Instead of walking 14 days in a row, set the goal of walking 6 days a week for 4 weeks straight?

I don’t know. I’m considering posting the question on the NFA forums to see what people think. In fact, that’s probably exactly what I should do. And maybe I will if. Unless, of course, I choose to use that time to go for a 5-minute walk instead.

Like I said, it’s about priorities. And choosing how to spend 5 minutes can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to achieve a goal.