ACW Episode 288 – The Power of Yoga!


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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


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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 🙂

ACW Episode 286 – An Important Fact About Cats


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Sing it with me folks. “My cat has fleas!” Or rather, my CATS have fleas. All three of them. Do you know how hard it is to wash three cats? There’s a lot of bleeding involved. A LOT of bleeding.

At least the kitties smell nice when the baths are done. Not that they’ll let me get close enough to snuggle after I’ve dunked them in water, scrubbed them with soap, and dunked them again. But that’s okay. I need the time to clean myself up anyway. Don’t want to bleed all over my freshly cleaned kitties.

ACW Episode 285 – A Belated Christmas


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It took me soooooooooooo long to finish this, and for no other reason that I simply could not get my act together for the last month. And I’m still not able to get my act together, but I’ll keep plugging along anyway.

I should have another Creature Comforts post up tonight. It’s in the works right now!

ACW Episode 281 – Tomatoes!


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It took me about as long to draw this webcomic as it did to find a recipe for my tomatoes. Thankfully, webcomics do not go all green and fuzzy unless you draw them that way.

I spent yesterday working on Pixie’s Mother Teresa costume and planning how I’m going to survive the next month. I love October, but this one is going to be very busy. I have a troop meeting to hold, a trip to the archery range, and a mystery party to plan and host, all for Girl Scouts. Not to mention I promised a certain couple of someones that I would let them have a Halloween slumber party. Aaaaaand I still have more tomatoes to cook.

Anyway, I’m going to crochet for a bit now, and hopefully post the results later tonight. Have fun!

ACW Episode 280 – Mamas, don’t let your kitties grow up to be rockets

Stinky webcomic!

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This happens. A lot. It’s mainly just the Jelly Bean and Marmalade, the Stinko-Twins. One of them jumps up on the couch while I’m working and a huge, smelly cloud follows them. Thankfully our other cat, Hiccup, is too… “laid back” to launch himself via any means. Okay, he really just doesn’t like to move.

The kids are finally back in school. Princess has started Cross Country which means I’m going to be busy four afternoons a week, and when Pixie’s Girl Scout troop starts up, that means I’ll be busy five afternoons a week. I’m going to have to find some portable work to bring with me. Unless, of course, I’m drafted to volunteer with either group.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a wonderful, stink-free holiday weekend! Now back to your regularly scheduled life.

ACW Episode 279 – Don’t drink and paint


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I had the opportunity last month to go out for a little “me” time. A local tea shop hosted a “Pinot & Painting” night, and it was fantastic! They served grown-up treats – cheese fondue, a chocolate fountain with strawberries, etc. And best of all, they had WINE!

I only had one glass, but let me tell you, when you are painting at a table with a dozen other women, and you’re all drinking wine and you all have cups of paint water sitting right next to you, it’s very easy to confuse the wine and the paint water. Until you drink it, that is. Then you realize you have made a horrible, horrible mistake.

Anyhoo, I had a lovely evening painting, although I must confess, the subject matter the instructor choose for painting was not exactly to my taste. She brought a reference photo of some local waterfowl. While her demo painting looked very nice, mine ended up looking more like the promotional poster for a movie entitled, “Psycho Ducks of DOOOOOOOOOOOM!”

Psycho Ducks of DOOOOOOM!

“Psycho Ducks of DOOOOOOM!” coming to a theater near you!

Again, this is not a subject matter I would normally paint. My paintings usually look more like this…

The Twisted Lip

“The Twisted Lip” by Helen E. H. Madden

Or they look something like this…

Fight Like a Girl!

Work in progress – “Fight Like A Girl (Black Widow) by Helen E. H. Madden

This last painting is one of a series that I’m doing for Pixie’s room. I found some images on the web of Black Widow, Katniss Everdeen, etc. I ran the images through Photoshop to break them down into basic colors and add the caption and background color. Then I traced that image onto the canvas. Now I’m doing a little DIY paint-by-numbers, matching the colors from my Photoshopped image as I paint. Not my most artistic work, but these paintings will look nice in Pixie’s room when they’re all done.

So yeah, crazy waterfowl are not my usual subject matter for painting. Although I could see doing a painting of Howard the Duck for our living room. Hmmmmmm… Maybe “Psychotic Ducks of DOOOOOOM!” belongs on my walls after all.

ACW Episode 278 – I have 1980s hair!


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YES! I had all my hair cut off! I just couldn’t stand it anymore. It was too hot for the summer and the neighborhood life guards keep over-chlorinating the pool, so my hair was a bit frazzled. But now it’s shorter than it’s been in a long while. In fact, last time it was this short was the late 1980s/early 1990s. I used to spray this bright metallic red hair spray on my hair, so everyone said I looked like Annie Lennox back then. So I was cool with going back to that style. But then I slept on my new hair cut for a night and woke up looking like a Flock of Seagulls had nested on my head. I thankfully managed to fix that.

I know I should post a pic of what my hair looks like now, but I haven’t had time to take one yet. I’ll get to that at some point. Right now, I’m busy keeping up with the kids for summer break. Hopefully, you all are having a nice, relaxing summer.

ACW Episode 275 – Like Mother, Like Daughter


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Apparently my daughters share my tastes in movies… books… comics… feminism…

UPDATE: The response to this particular episode was so strong, I went ahead and set it up as a print on Society 6. You can buy a copy here.

I also set it up as a coffee mug, so enjoy!