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Stealing Time

I've been playing with my schedule lately. I know I've been all over the map with getting stuff up on the website. Adventures of Cynical Woman is behind and Bitchcraft is WAY behind. It all comes down to having to juggle my work with my responsibilities as a parent and a Girl Scout volunteer. I think if I only had the one volunteer job – troop leader OR cookie mom – I'd be okay. But instead I've spent a good part of this year putting together events for all the troops at the kids' school, and that's turned out to be a lot of work. Handling the email alone on that takes almost 2 hours every evening, and that's just handling the email! That doesn't include filling out paperwork, budgeting for events, meeting with troop leaders to plan events, preparing for meetings with troop leaders to plan events, etc.

I've also been sick most of this school year, which hasn't helped at all.

I've been working on ways to steal back time for myself. Again, 2 hours of Girl Scouts email every evening (unless I ignore it completely, which some days I HAVE to do, if I'm going to get anything done). And those 2 hours really cut into my free time. I consider free time to be any time I'm not spending on taking care of the house or the family. One hour of my free time goes into exercise because if I don't exercise my blood pressure goes up and my head explode (and that's not good). Another hour goes into getting cleaned up after exercise and doing some meditation (again, head will explode with out that). And that leaves me with about 15 minutes of free time, which I usually end up spending going to the bathroom (another thing I have to do to keep my head, or any other body parts, from exploding).

So how to find free time when my free time has all been used up by doing activities to keep my head from exploding? I think the first key may be prioritizing.

By prioritizing I don't mean deciding what's most important for me to do with my free time. I mean deciding whether Girl Scouts, house cleaning, taking care of Hubster and the kids, or doing my own work has the top priority.

I have a huge pile of “everything must be done NOW” tasks, but they can't all be done, so I have to sort through them everyday to decide which ones are going to the top of the heap and which ones are going to sit at the bottom and sort of ferment or compost until I really do have to deal with them. For example, my parents are coming to visit tomorrow. My to-do heap (not even a list anymore, it's a HEAP) includes exercise, plan the upcoming Girl Scout bridging ceremony, wash and fold laundry, clean Pixie's room (where my parents will be sleeping), draw webcomics, draw artwork for new cards and stuff on Zazzle, touch up the hair dye (it needs it, really), plan the next Girl Scout troop meeting, make some new jewelry because I have a really cool idea for a new ring, work on new clothes because my old ones are wearing out, buy new clothes for Hubster and the kids because their stuff is wearing out, go to karate class…

See, it just doesn't end. And I can't do all of this in one day, so I have to pick and choose. When I can, I pick a mix of things – something for Girl Scouts, something for the house, something for the kids and Hubster, something just for me.

Today, I started with me as the first priority. I have a robot drawing I'm working on, so I woke up at 6:30, grabbed a cup of coffee, and promptly went back to bed and read “Adventure Time” comic books. Because I should also mention that I deserve a little down time each day, and the best way for me to wake up is comics and coffee. I read one comic book, and then I pulled out my iPad and worked on the robot drawing for an hour. I didn't get as far as I wanted, but an hour is all I can spend on it, so I've gotten that priority out of the way.

The next priority was the kids and Hubster. Everybody needs clean laundry. So I got up, got dressed, and sorted through all the laundry and put a load into the washer. I'll probably wash and dry 3 loads today. Will I fold those loads? I'm betting not, because what everyone needs is clean laundry, so folding is optional as long as the laundry is clean and dry. If it doesn't make it into a drawer or closet, my peeps know they can dig it out of the hampers in my room.

Next priority is breakfast, which is happening right now as I blog. I gots to eat. And when I eat, I usually think, and it occurs to me that those thoughts could just as easily go on the blog so I have at least SOMETHING new up. I'll finish this up in a few minutes and post it, then finish my coffee and run out the door for the next priority, which is exercise.

I'll spend an hour today at the gym, and another hour getting cleaned up. It'll be noon by then. I'll grab a quick lunch and move on to cleaning Pixie's bedroom, because my folks are sleeping in it. The room doesn't have to be springtime fresh, but I should remove all the tripping hazards from the floor and put clean sheets on the bed. Also, I should probably check for any cat puke that may be hiding up there.

After that, I need to get a new shower curtain rod for the guest bathroom, since the old one broke. Guests need a nice guest bathroom. I'll wait to clean the guest bathroom until tomorrow though, because I've got to switch gears again and move back into “me” stuff. I've got an almost finished webcomic that seriously needs to be a finished webcomic posted on the website. Once that's done, it'll be time to fix dinner so the kids don't start chewing off my legs. And when dinner is done, then it's time to put together the plan for the bridging ceremony. I started on that last week, so there's only an hour or so of work left. Once that's done, I'm going the fuck to bed because it'll have been a damned busy day!

Yep, busy. And you'll notice that I only just barely made a dent in the ever-growing to-do heap. BUT I got the important stuff done. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.

I'm stopping here now and getting a move on my day. Enjoy yours, and while you're at it, enjoy this work-in-progress that I managed to spend an hour on this morning, because I made it a priority.



ACW Episode 136! Finally!


Click on the pic to see it full-sized!

Finally! I have finished this webcomic! This is what I get for drawing a whole slew of new characters in the webcomic. Thankfully, this is the last of this series, so for now I can go back to drawing the more familiar for a while.

And now I’m going to be lazy for the rest of the day. So enjoy! I should have a new Bitchcraft cartoon up on Friday 🙂

ACW Guest Artist – Pixie!!

I know I'm way behind at this point on both webcomics. I apologize. I am working on them. However, I've been having health problems since September. I've been to see my general practitioner, a rheumatologist, etc., and still have no idea what's going on. And new symptoms keep popping up the longer this goes on.

I am half-way through the pencils for the current episode of “Adventures of Cynical Woman,” and almost have the new character made for “Bitchcraft.” As soon as I get either webcomic done, I will post it. In the meantime, I have hired a couple of guest artists to help me fill in the blanks.

So, this week's episode of “Adventures of Cynical Woman” is drawn by…


This is Pixie's rendition of an episode of “Doctor Who” that we recently watched. You can see the Dalek, both in and out of it's armored pepper-pot; Davros, the creator of the Daleks; and someone who has just be exterminated by the Daleks (lower right corner)

Pixie loves “Doctor Who,” so I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of her artwork here. Thank you, Pixie, for helping out your mother in her time of need.

I'm going to bed now, folks. I am having an allergic reaction to something and I just took a dose of Benedryl, so I expect I will be out until well into tomorrow morning.


ACW Episode 234 – Whatsa Matta With You?!


Click on the pic to see it in all its full-sized glory!

I’m late with this one. This is what happens when the kids are home 3 days straight due to snow, and then the next week one kid is home 3 days straight due to strep throat, and then I have a weekend of all Girl Scouts work right after that. I’m lucky I got anything done in the last 2 weeks.

And yes, Bitchcraft is late too. I’ll have a strip for that ready by Friday.

Girl Scout cookie booth sales start in a couple weeks for us, and I may switch to single panel comics for a few weeks while we get through that. This is usually the busiest time of year for me, so to make sure I meet the my deadlines for both comics, it may behoove me to simplify things a bit by going single panel until we get through March. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyhoo, about the comic above… Pat and Chris are new dads, and they’re both enjoying their status as suck. Their sons are wonderful. I love them both. But I also love finally seeing someone else in our family learning how to deal with having kids, because for a looooooooooong time, the Hubster and I were the only ones who had small children. Jaleo, my nephew getting ready to graduate from college, was the only kid in the family for 10 years, until we had Princess and Pixie, and I’m sure his parents, Elena and Paco, had their hands full as well, and Hubster and I didn’t fully appreciate all they had to deal with.

So it’s sort of like the circle of life. One couple suffers with small gets, then gets to sit back and laugh and point while someone else goes through the same agony. That’s how the world works 🙂

But I love my family, all of them. And they are wonderful, WONDERFUL people.

ACW Episode 240 – But is it edible?

Cynical Woman!

Click on the thumbnail above to see the bigger webcomic!

I swear to high heavens, this is exactly what Princess said. I do NOT make this stuff up.

The next episode of Bitchcraft is in the works. I had 3 Girl Scout events this weekend, including the start of cookie season. Yes, it’s that time again. Here’s hoping I survive another year.

ACW 238 – Sometimes the tooth hurts.

Cynical Woman!

Click on the thumbnail above to see the full-sized image and ignore the fact this is late!

Yeah, I know I’m late, and Bitchcraft hasn’t gone up yet this week, but I did warn you guys.

So far this month I have broken a tooth (on an M&M), tested for 4th degree black belt (4 hours after I broke the tooth), had the tooth repaired, took care of Hubster when he got sick, took care of Hubster when his back went out, took care of Pixie when she got sick, got sick myself and then MY back went out, attended two school holiday concerts, pulled an all-nighter on Christmas Eve to finish presents for the girls, and then sort of collapsed and kept myself good and drugged through the rest of the holidays so far.

Today is the first day that my back doesn’t bother me at all. I’m slowly catching up on stuff that I was going to do while I was sick, and I’m trying to make plans for the next couple of months. Resolutions? I’m pondering them. What I’m pondering more though is where my motivation has gone. I want to do NOTHING. I hate when I feel like that. It just sort of seems like everything I do is pointless. Logically, I know my work is not pointless, but I’ve been able to accomplish so little the last year due to the torn ACL and now the issues I seem to be having with arthritis.

What to do, what to do. I have contemplated dedicating this year to finishing up all my unfinished projects. I have enough to fill a year and then some, so I may go with that. We’ll see. Maybe if I can get some of these unfinished projects off my plate/conscience, then I’ll feel less pointless.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll say to hell with all of it and go curl up in bed with my heating pad, a hot buttered rum, and a good book. At least for the rest of tonight 🙂

Happy New Year, folks! I promise I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow.

And Bitchcraft will return on Friday. Promise.

ACW Episode 225 – Juggling and Struggling

Honestly, I have a 4-panel strip scripted, lettered, and laid out. But it's not been sketched an drawn yet, due to the sheer amount of other work that I had to do last week. No joke, I spent four days straight doing nothing but Girl Scouts stuff – trying to place girls in troops, getting ready for and running my own troop meeting on Sunday, handling paperwork, etc. And this week I have a volunteer meeting every night except Friday. It's kind of brutal and so my schedule is rather screwed up right now.

But I'm just going to keep chugging along. I promise, there will be a webcomic on Mondays, though it may be a bit late, and there will be an episode of Bitchcraft on Friday, though sometimes that may be a bit late as well. Meanwhile, I will also be working hard to keep up with my other work as best as I can. And when necessary, I will take entire days off from Girl Scouts, because hey, I'm a VOLUNTEER and I have A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GIRL SCOUTS.

Meanwhile, do you like the colors on the comic above? I'm playing around with new colors schemes in my non-comics art, and since I had this color palette already set up in SketchClub, I decided to use it in today's comic. It sort of matches my wardrobe now, since I accidentally dyed everything I own slightly yellow. Oops.


ACW Episode 216 – What’s behind door number one?

Click on the image above to see the full-sized comic.

I am exhausted. We got back from visiting my family in Arkansas yesterday. It's a 2-day drive down there and a 2-day drive back. Four days in between were spent fishing, horseback riding, playing in the creek, and being car-sick (the roads are VERY winding back there).

It's going to take me a week to get back on my feet, but have no fear. Bitchcraft will be back this Friday. I'm going to take a nap now.


ACW Episode 210 – A failure to communicate

Click on the thumbnail above to view the full-sized webcomic!

So, this actually happened. I volunteered to plan a party for our Service Unit's leader appreciation meeting, and I decided the theme would be “Volunteers Are Heroes.” I spent weeks figuring out what to do for decorations, activities, party favors, food, etc. Then two weeks before, I went shopping for action figures to use as cake toppers and found out there is apparently no such thing as a female action figure. Major FAIL.

I've been in fandom a looooooooong time (about 30 years, in fact) and I'm familiar with how things work in the world of comicbook heroes. But honestly, the girls and I couldn't even find a Black Widow action figure, and last I saw, she was pretty popular these days thanks to the Avengers movie. So what gives?

On the upside, planning this party did rekindle my interest in comic books, a long neglected part of my geekdom, and I had the chance to spend plenty of time explaining to the girls about the different characters in comic books, especially the women characters. And this in turn led to me going into a local comic book store and starting up collecting again. Nothing major like I used to do. Pre-kids, I used to drop around $150 a month on comics. I can't afford that now. But I can afford a couple comics a month, and that includes some comics for the girls, who have become very interested in Cat Woman, Bat Girl, She-Hulk, and Wonder Woman. Too bad most of those titles aren't suitable for kids 12 and under (though we did find a Black Widow comic that was labelled as kid friendly, and Pixie snatched that right up!).

By the way, here's a quick look at some of the party decorations in progress. We ended up Photoshopping a picture of She-Hulk and putting her on the cake. It worked very well.

By the way, if you didn't see it already, Mich and I have started a new webcomic called Bitchcraft! The first episode is here. I'll be working to see if I can get this set up and running on every Friday, so keep coming back for more!