ACW Episode 302 – So this happened

So, this happened. A month ago, on January 13th – FRIDAY the 13th – I was feeling really good. I’d had a productive start to the new year. I was getting my house cleaned up, getting to the Y on a daily basis, doing lots of crafting a drawing, and I was looking forward to more of the same. Lots more of the same.

Then I got a call from my sister. Dad had a heart attack.

Just so you know, my parents are fine now. But back on January 13th, we had no idea if Dad was going to be okay or not. And we had no idea if Mom was going to be okay. You see, my parents live out in the middle of nowhere in rural Arkansas, and my mom’s health hasn’t been the best of late. She’s okay when Dad is there, but we had no idea how she’d be on her own.

What followed that phone call from my sister was a desperate race to get to Arkansas to make sure both parents were okay. I drove. My sister flew. Both trips ended up being disastrous. Carolyn had a couple of cancelled connecting flights, and I ended up spending a day at a car repair shop in Nashville when my engine started stalling out on the highway.

We both eventually made it to Arkansas, and as I said, my parents are fine now. Because my dad couldn’t drive for four weeks after his heart attack, I stayed with my parents for four weeks to help out, and it was quite the experience. But not one that I’m prepared to share here.

You see, the weeks that followed Dad’s heart attack ended up being frustrating, infuriating, exhausting, and lonely for me. I would love to say we all had a fun family adventure while I stayed with my folks, but that didn’t happen. Not at all. And I’m still frustrated, infuriated, and exhausted from the whole thing, though no longer lonely since I am now back home.

I am sure my parents feel much the same way. This was not an easy time for any of us. And maybe one day we’ll all look back on this experience and smile. But right now? No. I’m just too raw from the experience.

ACW Episode 301 – What the heck happened?!

Webcomi!

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Just in case you were wondering why I haven’t been posting here very much, this is why.

Every time I think I’ve got my schedule under control, something else rears its ugly head to completely mess up my day… week… month… year…

I am working to take some of that time back, but the recent snow storm in the area has delayed the start of our Girl Scout cookie sales, so now we have to spend more time going door to door. And that’s okay. We’ll work through this. Just keep in mind, if you see some Girl Scouts selling cookies, considering buying some. Or even consider just making a little donation. Every penny a troop makes during cookie sales counts!

Now, I’m going to write some scripts for upcoming episodes and just keep plugging along!

Girl Scout Cookies VS. SNOW!!

Buy Girl Scout Cookies!

Buy Girl Scout Cookies!

Hey everyone! In case you didn’t know it, today is the first day of the Girl Scout 2017 cookie sale! This year, we’re celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouts selling your favorite winter treat! We’ve got Thin Mints, Samoas/Caramel Delights, Trefoils/Shortbread, and so much more!!! And we even have a new cookie – the Girl Scout S’mores cookie! And let me tell you, that’s a tasty cookie! (Yes, as cookie mom, I do get to try the product :D)

 

Buy Girl Scout Cookies!

Haven’t you bought your Girl Scout cookies yet?!

Princess and Pixie are both selling cookies this year! If you would like to buy cookies from them and support their troops, go to their cookie sales websites.

To order cookies from Princess, visit here: Buy cookies from Princess!

To order cookies from Pixie, visit here: Buy cookies from Pixie!

Be sure to check out their art and videos that they’ve posted on their cookie sales pages. You can see on Pixie’s page just how much snow we’re getting right now!

Thank you! I’m going to get back to work on the webcomic. I know I’m way behind on publishing a new one, but the next comic should be up soon!

ACW Episode 299 – The Apples and the Tree

Cynical Woman webcomic!

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Sooooooooo… I’m a little behind schedule.

My apologies for the delay in getting this episode posted to the web. The first month of the school year has been hectic to say the least. So far, we’ve had 6 weeks of cross country practice, two 5K races, an all-day service project at a local convent (yes, I spent a day at a convent; the sisters were very nice), a Girl Scout recruitment meeting, a Girl Scout troop meeting, and Girl Scout service unit meeting, two sick kids, one sick mom, and one Hubster out of town on a business trip. Plus the usual homework, housework, and other daily chores.

Did I mention I crocheted seven Pokemon this month for my Girl Scout troop to hunt for in my yard?

So, we’ve been busy. I am trying to get back to a schedule where I work for at least an hour every day on the webcomic, but it’s a bit tough to do during cross country season. Practice is four days a week, for two and a half hours, after school. That doesn’t leave us much time in the evenings to get stuff done. And with the start of the school year, my mornings are taken up with Girl Scout work (which has to be done) and exercise (which desperately needs to be done). If I’m lucky, I find a bit of time to wash and fold the laundry and clean the dishes.

And I tell you all of this as a way of explaining that yes, I am going through a sort of mid-life crisis in real life right now. Well, I wouldn’t really call it a crisis. But I have been looking back a lot to the days when I was younger and my time was my own to do with as I pleased. And yes, it’s still my time to do with as I please, but how I choose to spend it now is vastly different from how I used to spend it. I no longer spend my time on me. I spend it on my kids, on my friends, on volunteer work. And I don’t think that’s a bad choice. Just a very, very busy one.

Anyway, enough chit-chat. I’m posting this now and getting back to work on the next episode. Hopefully episode 300 will be up within a week! If not, you know what’s going on. Life, that’s what’s going on 🙂

ACW 296 – What was the future supposed to be?

Cynical Woman!

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Did you ever have a clear idea of what the future was supposed to be like? I never did, to be honest. I can’t think about the future and say where I’ll be in five years, or even in one year. I’ve never been able to do that. I can make plans, sure. I make plans all the time. But I have learned from hard experience that nothing ever goes the way I plan it.

So over the years, I’ve tried to learn to just roll with whatever happens. As a teen, I never could have imagined myself serving in the military, but I did – 11 years in the Army Reserves. As a college student, I couldn’t see myself married with kids, and yet Hubster and I celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary last June, with our kids in attendance. And had anyone ever suggested that I would become a Girl Scout troop leader and cookie mom, I would have laughed in their face. Yet now I am gearing up for my fifth year as troop leader and my seventh year as cookie mom.

I never had any idea what I was going to do with my life. I had no plans for what kind of career I’d have, where I’d live, what I’d do. And yet somehow, it all turned out pretty well. I still have no clear idea of where I’m going with my life, beyond the fact that I want to do a lot of drawing and crafting and take care of Hubster and the kids. And I think that’s okay. I think if I’d ever had a plan, it would have all somehow gone horribly wrong, or I would have died of stress from trying to make it work. I am not a planner. I am a “seat-of-the-pants” kind of person. Good thing I have tough pants!

ACW Episode 295 – Enjoy the ride?

Webcomic!

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Seriously, I can’t even ride on the swings anymore without getting queasy. It’s so sad the things I can’t manage to do anymore. Although being married to the Hubster is still a lot of fun and adventure! Twenty-three years, folks! Twenty-three amazing years 🙂

ACW Episode 288 – The Power of Yoga!

Webcomic!

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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 287 – It’s all a bit fuzzy to me

Webcomic!

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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 🙂