catnap fever

scribble-blink

Wow, I’m tired! It’s my own damn fault for staying up too late, working on drawings and fighting with the cat. I’ve slacked off a bit on Inktober this week, recharging my brain I guess. Tonight I’m going to try some ink washes instead of just the ink pen…I’m hoping I’m just a bit tired of the pen.

Thinking about moving out of the tiny townhouse, for real this time, I mean it! There’s so much to get done before I can move, though. I have accumulated a lot of crap stuff over the last 12 years. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what I should let go and what I should keep. I do love dropping boxes and bags off at Goodwill. Decluttering will be good, healthy even! Speaking of which, I’m on an antibiotic this week (don’t ask) and I’m worried the meds are stifling my creativity. Is that a thing? Can that be a thing now? Maybe it’s just affecting my mood/attitude.

Do you ever feel like not getting excited about things because you could “jinx” it? Like, don’t get your hopes up because you don’t want to be super disappointed when it doesn’t “happen” or that you stop wanting things for that same reason? Feels that way right now and I’d like to think I don’t have a habit of feeling that way, I’m not a superstitious person…so maybe it’s just this round of meds messing with me and next week I’ll be my old positive-thinking self. Maybe?

In a couple weeks things will get sorted. I’m afraid to say it, but I am looking forward to a fresh start…Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t jinx it! ♡

sketch therapy

white-light

In August I bought myself a small chunky sketch book with light brown kraft paper pages. Since then I’ve been choosing random pages in it to sketch people and animals. The first thing I drew was a horse, then some faces, then a frog and some more faces.

I do use references sometimes, especially for the animals. Even then the references are used quite loosely as recreating something exactly is paralyzing for me. When I sketch faces/people I’m not using references except when I’m having trouble with the expression/emotion. Most of the time the expressions are sadness, or grief.  No, I don’t know these people. That question comes up sometimes: Who’s that? I just shrug and keep drawing or I’ll smile and say: a ghost…as if they live in my brain and I’m just remembering them. Which is creepy, I suppose. If I’m happy with the sketch I’ll add flowers, filling up the page with tangled leafy vines and vaguely familiar blooms, it’s a meditative process for me. I prefer low color work, maybe because color tends to overwhelm me or because…you know, ghosts. ♡

white-light1

 

images © Aimee McEwen, if shared please link back to this post.

battered not broken

batterednotbroken

It’s not unusual for me to take a break from this space in August but this break has been longer and more difficult than usual. Most of the difficulties have to do with Hurricane Irma – which we evacuated from. It’s heartbreaking to see all the damage the storm has done to Florida and the islands south of us. My neighbors were flooded, there are trees down and damage everywhere you look but Jacksonville is slowly putting itself back together.

We fled north west to stay in a hotel, out of harms way – we thought – but the storm tracked more west which meant so did we…frightened for our loved ones that decided to stay – wondering how far we’d have to go to get away from this giant hurricane (how many days could we afford to stay at the hotel?), hoping we’d not run out of gas or break down or get in an accident and essentially stranded in the storm’s immediate path. I’m still not sleeping very much, even though I’m back safe and dry in my own place, in my own bed. I’m thankful for the support system I have here in Florida and for my Mom and Sister who talked to me about evacuation, even offered to come and get me themselves…and for the kindness of a friend’s uncle willing to shelter us – including my furry children; we were actually told “no” by another family member…if you can believe it. I would NEVER refuse shelter to someone fleeing from a natural disaster.

“You can evacuate from the single largest hurricane in the history of ever to our house but you can’t bring your children.” See how stupid that sounds?

Since returning from evacuation I’ve been dealing with my usual stress-related inflammation and fatigue – emotional and physical. Yesterday I learned a former co-worker/friend committed suicide. A wonderful, caring, loving person is gone and I’m gutted, I cry then I go numb then I cry again; wondering how this year has gone so, so wrong. Yet, still, I refuse to lose hope – I’m going to eat, sleep, work and get up and do it all over again until the darkness lifts or the light finds me. It’s all we can do when life stop making sense.

Be extra kind to people in your life – even strangers. I’ve made that my new daily goals. We could all use more love right now, so be THAT person. Okay? ♡

 

September is National Suicide Prevention month.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Crisis Text Line Text 741-741
If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

 

image ©Aimee McEwen

 

 

work weekend

mishaw

August is my busiest month of the year for contract work. Nothing very creative, just nuts and bolts of book layout and such. The day job has been pretty hectic this month as well with projects I didn’t expect and pressure I really don’t need. I’m worn out, burnt out, and a feeling resentful. Working this hard and still wondering if you’ll be able to pay all your expenses is demoralizing. That and I’ve not done laundry in WEEKS.

It’s not all bad, of course. To cope with things I’ve been painting, sketching and making stuff. Small stolen moments of distraction. I post some things to instagram. I posted something to Facebook a couple weeks ago and the next day a co-worker wondered “Why (if you can draw like that) are you working at THIS place?”

I’m not sure what that means, but it did bother me a little. I mostly like my day job, I’m good at it and I have health insurance. It’s a comfort zone thing. Creating for myself is a stress reliever so I’ll continue. The cat is a thief though so today I’ve got to make a trip to the art store to replace the things he’s made off with (then I’ll probably locate his stash and have two of everything.)

There is a virus going around at work and I’ve made it my mission not to catch it! Which might be futile considering I worked 60 hours this week and sleep has been scarce. I’ve just now sent off the final proof of the book and I plan on getting my laundry (okay, fine – half the laundry) done today, then it’s art store (cue the harp dream sound effect) and straight back home to tidy up and probably eat or something.

I know, I’m so glam.

 

quiet not blind

Had a long talk with my Mom a couple days ago. It was nice. I vented a lot, maybe cried a little. She gave me a good pep talk; put me in the right direction, told me I’m the only one that can do it, nobody else can do it for me. Something someone else told me once, somebody I miss very, very much.

It’s a rare thing for me to “miss” someone but here I am. Kinda hate it.

Mom also told me I need to rest and to feed myself properly. Those two things are really obvious but I’m bad at both. I definitely am not sleeping and I can’t remember the last time I went and bought proper groceries. Gotten a bit off track this year.

Been painting more lately and I feel like it’s helping me “calm down.”  This weekend I decided to not work on anything and just rest. Not sure what I’ll do with my Sunday but couldn’t hurt to make a trip to the grocery store and grab some healthy stuff. Two years ago I did really strict meal planning and it was the best thing I’d ever done for myself. Mom also prescribed meditation. That’s a new one. She says medication or meditation…you choose.

Maybe that’s what I’ll do after I get groceries…research meditation or download and app, or just take a nap….;)

 

slow weekend

I’m not even exaggerating…it took me two years to break out my “new” watercolors and paint something with them. Study above is from last weekend. I’ve not touched the watercolors since. I worked almost 60 hours this week at the day job. Yesterday (Saturday) I slept almost the entire day and today my inflammation is up – my motivation low.

Back on the computer now though…because I have a 500 page project to finish and it’ll probably kick my ass but I worked hard all week just so I’d have space to work on this monster. Aside from the tiredness, I’m not feeling terrible. About this time each year I work on a book project and it takes about 35 hours (aside from the 500 page monster, I mean).  That’s time on top of my full-time job and it’s rough on me, but the pay is decent so I can’t turn it down. Not with ER bills piling up due to the rabies vaccination episode in April-May.(oh-my-life)

The usual deadline for my 35-hour project got pushed up a week, so I’m psyching myself up for a lot of late nights. My office is a mess right now. There’s art supplies and paperwork and half-finished projects…I started reorganizing a couple months ago. I don’t usually leave things in such disarray. I’m slipping a bit this year, I suppose.

I’ll work on the 500-pager for a while then paint something(s) maybe read a little. I downloaded a few e-books from Project Gutenburg. I can’t remember how I found the website, but I’m sure I was wandering around the internet and just ended up there…I’m reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion, you know, in my “free” time. (half-hearted LOL) ♡

 

 

an impeccable sadness

image---via-unplash---daria-shevtsova-57355

Struggling a bit lately. I need to be honest because not admitting I’m feeling wobbly means staying stuck. I’m angry with myself, overthinking, overly critical, unsure about how best to push through so I’m taking things a day at a time, sometimes half a day. I’m frustrated and tired.

“Depression is an impeccable sadness.” I thought to myself last night as I trudged upstairs with the bowl of leftover Pad Thai I intended to eat in bed while watching ALL THE STAR TREK.

To cope with ‘myself’ I’ve been drawing, painting, listening to extremely sad music and tossing a lot of junk that’s been cluttering up the tiny townhouse. The herbs I planted a month ago are needing to be put to good use so I’ve decided to take the Pineapple Sage and make jelly, a simple syrup, then infuse it with vanilla in some sugar…maybe also a marinade (for chicken). There’s a ton of mint and basil too, so I’ll add the mint with cucumber to water (in a large pitcher) and let it sit in the fridge overnight – I honestly have no idea what to do with the basil. I’ve given some away already. I could make pesto, caprese salad or bruschetta with gluten-free bread. We’ll see. Great, now I’m hungry.

Let’s see, what else have I been up to…did this portrait of my friend’s dog, Levon, as a house warming gift. Took me a few hours and was a decent distraction; just emptied my brain and focused on the drawing. Inhaled a ton of charcoal dust – (cough, cough) really makes you feel ALIVE (cough). Got a few more projects planned that I’m hoping will help me deal with the depression in a more constructive way than just sleeping (or crying – which is kinda my favorite).

That’s all I’ve got for now, I’ll be fine, so you guys have a lovely weekend and stay hydrated! ♡

41

Over the last two weeks my inflammation flared and I’m exhausted. Dealing with pain doesn’t make for the best birthday but I’m not letting it consume me. I was able to get a few projects done this month, in spite of myself. Planted, painted, reorganized, started reading a new book.

Sometimes during a flare up I get really negative about the future. Chronic pain will do that to you, it messes with your head…makes you think you’re defective, that you’ll never be whole…it leaves scars.

“Nobody wants to be with a sick person, Aimee.” my ex-husband’s voice will echo against my skull during the weaker, more desperate moments.

Scars fade you know. I’m learning how to stop hiding behind mine. I feel grateful for 41 years in which to learn how to take better care of myself. Still learning, always.♡

Cheers to 41!

 

 

 

let the rain fall

100LIFETIMES

It’s been a very stormy day, I woke up to thunder and heavy rain and was glad. I like it when the weather matches my mood.

Sometimes it seems like we’re rushed through our sadness or, worse, encouraged to ignore it altogether.

Isn’t it better, though, to recognize our sadness for what it is?

Sadness is a natural response to loss, regret or hardship. Only when we make space for our sadness can we move past it, adjust, and affect positive change in our lives – not doing so can lead to anger, bitterness, avoidance and depression. All of which effect our overall wellness (emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual) and stifle our personal growth. Give yourself permission to feel sad and find ways to express that sadness. Journaling, creating art…or just letting yourself cry can be extremely helpful.

You are wild, wondrous, and worthy – feel your feelings. ♡

credits:
Artwork ©Aimee McEwen.
Personal use only. Not for commercial use. If shared, please link back to this post.

rose buds + vanilla

VERA_WANG_ROSE_VANILLA-©AimeeMcEwen

Hello, Weekend! Hello, Summer! Hello, Beautiful!

Right to it then…I stumbled on this Vera Wang Embrace Rose Buds and Vanilla Eau De Toilette pretty randomly and it was such a surprise I’d thought I’d share a my little, uh, review-aye-poo. Rose and vanilla happen to be two of my favorite scents. I’m a snob about perfumes and usually stick to the same one…for years. When I go looking to change it up I find that most perfumes are too strong for me to deal with. I don’t want someone across the room to be able to smell my perfume. Frankly when I can smell someone after they’ve left a room I tend to feel offended so I definitely want to avoid being That Guy.

This one’s pretty tame. It smells like roses but not in an old-fashioned way (remember those pink rose-shaped soaps your aunt had in a dish on the bathroom counter that you weren’t allowed to touch but you touched them anyways even though they were just for looks…they might’ve even been a little dusty). No, this has a subtle real rose scent, and the vanilla (base note) is warmer than it is sweet.

Here’s the official description (if it helps at all):

Floral Oriental (ohhhkaaay  o_O). The top opens with a rich floralcy (this is a real word…I checked – just means it smells like flowers) of rose buds and a shimmering accent of mandarin oil. A heart of sweet magnolia and cyclamen give an elegant radiance that is effervescent on skin (what??). Intertwining in the background is the finishing touch of vanilla and creamy sandalwood.

Pew! I mean…PHEW!! That’s a lot of flowery language, aye? Well, it doesn’t seem that complicated a scent to me. I’ve looked so long for a decent rose/geranium scent that I had all but given up. AND HEY…it’s $30…they have it at Target and Walgreens and it comes in an even cheaper body mist for $10 if you’re feelin’ thrifty. This isn’t even an ad. I’m just so surprised I liked it and that it was so, ahem, cheap.

There’s three other scents in the collection worth checking out; Marigold and Gardenia, Green Tea and Pear Blossom, Periwinkle and Iris. If I were to choose another one, it’d be the Marigold and Gardenia scent (not on website) because it reminded me of Savannah.

Alrighty, well I’m all set for the three day weekend…yesterday I made a trip to the craft store and bought new pencils…they’re almost too nice to use…almost. I’ve got NO PLANS, except some naps…because I’m a bit hermity, and also because those ER bills started rolling in and I’m on a budget for a while…except when I need pencils and rosey perfume, obvs. ♡

Do you have big plans for the weekend or are you like me and just going to wing it?
Did I mention the pencils were 50% off? I mean, how could I NOT buy them?

credits:
Imagery design & composition © Aimee McEwen.
Personal use only. Not for commercial use. If shared, please link back to this post.

Not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.