Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I should have a webcomic up soon!
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 🙂
Yes, I do think I am. Haven’t succeeded yet, but I’m trying.
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!
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 🙂
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.
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 🙂
I mentioned this was going to be a crazy month, due to Girl Scout cookies coming in, and I did not lie. Since my last post, we have celebrated Princess’ birthday, my birthday, and picked up 1200 boxes of cookies which then had to be sorted out into each individual girl’s order. The girls then have to take those cookies and sort them into individual customer orders. And then we have to start making deliveries. And did I mention that booth sales have started? Crazy, crazy month.
We also had two cases of a stomach bug in the household (me and Princess, the perfect gift for the birthday girls this month). And thanks to the cold damp weather, my arthritis is acting up. I don’t like the arthritis at all. It makes me feel old. But not nearly as old as getting birthday greetings from my pharmacist and my financial advisor. Nothing says, “You’re almost a senior citizen!!” like birthday wishes from responsible institutions.
But back to cats and crafting, because that’s what this post is really supposed to be about. Yes, during the past week I did manage to get some crafting done. I just didn’t get the chance to write about it. I made another cat bolster for Princess for her birthday. Hers is green with big black eyes. She’s calling him Clover. I also did more work on the Catbug pillow, though I don’t think I’m going to finish him this month. I will keep working on him though. Then I stole some time to work on these beauties…
Now, you might look at these and think, “Helen, this has nothing to do with cats!” And in a way, you’d be right. These pieces are not cat-themed at all. But I had to work to keep my cats out of them!
You see, a long time ago, in a glaxay far, far away, I used to have a craft room/office. It was a room all to myself where I could write, sew, paint, make jewelry, and otherwise create a mess, and best of all, I COULD SHUT THE DOOR AND KEEP THE CATS OUT. That craft room/office is now Princess’ bedroom. So these days, I do all my crafting and artwork either on the couch in our living room (and you guys have seen plenty of pictures of that), or in the front half of our kitchen where we have this lovely beat-up old cargo box table that is perfect for working on. Unfortunately, the cats have decided that said table is also perfect for napping on, and anything they find there gets knocked to the floor when they want to snooze.
The pieces above were made with a two-part acrylic resin, which takes at least 24 hours to dry and cure. There was no way I could leave these pieces out on the kitchen table and expect the cats to stay out of them. So while I did all the mixing and pouring in the kitchen, I had to let these pieces dry in the only room I could keep the cats out of – our tiny downstairs bathroom. And I had to put up a sign saying “Do NOT use this bathroom” to keep the rest of the family out as well, because these people do not know how to shut a door to save their lives. And since the door WAS closed, and it had something in it that was NOT for the cats, the cats immediately crowded around the door begging to be let in. Thankfully, the family paid attention to my sign and kept the cats out.
Of course, the cats were not happy about that, so they took revenge by sleeping on the fabric for my next cat-themed project and left that covered in cat fur. Because it’s all about them anyway, right? Riiiiiiiight.
I hope to spend some time today sewing on the afore-mentioned cat-themed project, and then post pictures of the results tomorrow. We’ll see how much cat fur that project collects between now and then.
Well, when last we chatted, I was recovering from the flu, and I had done NOTHING on any cat-themed projects because I was too busy either watching my feet come out my mouth or sleeping like a dead woman. I started to feel better on Valentine’s Day, and Hubster and the kids and I met with some friends at the local hibachi place for a lovely dinner. Shortly after we got home, Princess complained of heartburn, only her symptoms didn’t sound like heartburn. Hubster laughed, but I made Princess put a bucket beside her bed that evening. Sure enough, by 1AM she was puking her guts up. I ended up sleeping on the floor in her room the rest of the night. She spent the next day on the couch, slowly recovering, and I. Spent that time trying to clean and recover my house as well as my brain.
So today is the first day since the stomach flu hit this household that I’ve been able to do any work on the Catbug pillow. While I’m still not completely satisfied with the last big spot I made, I decided to move on to another spot and try a slightly different method of making it. This time, I feel like I’m getting the results I want. Here’s a peek at the spot in progress.
As you can see, I drew a lopsided oval on some graph paper and used that to plan my stitches. Each square on the graph paper represents one single crochet stitch. I have to get a little fiddly at the bottom because this oval starts narrow but expands very quickly, but I think this looks okay.
I have no idea how many more posts I’m going to be able to make this week. Troops pick up their order of Girl Scout cookies this weekend, and then we start delivering to customers. Booth sales start then, too. So I’m going to be very busy with Girl Scouts for the next few weeks. I will keep working on this project though. I have a feeling that aside from Catbug, the only other project I’m going to get done this month is another cat bolster pillow for Princess’ birthday this month. It’s one thing I know she really wants. Other than that, things are pretty much up in the air. Maybe I’ll do another cat month in the spring. Pixie really wants a Franken-kitty, and her birthday is coming early June.
I’m going to bed now. Hopefully, I’ll see you tomorrow!
I have a cold. Pixie has a cold. Hubster suspects he has a cold. Princess needs an outfit for her NJHS induction tomorrow. So none of us is exactly happy right now.
I’ve been doing more work on the main spot on Catbug’s back. I think I may have figured a couple things out, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I’ll try to post again tomorrow, but it’s going to be a loooong weekend. Oy.