Monday, March 24, 2014

This is how I decorate

I made an Etsy treasury with items I'd decorate with if I could afford them all. Each listing was taken from a member of Metro Detroit Etsy. They're fun items and (of course) reflect how much I love Michigan and cats.

Clicking on an individual image will take you directly to that item's page, so have fun!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where are all the funny blogs about depression?

In keeping with my attempts to stick with blogging, I just looked through categories on Bloglovin to find other bloggers I could connect with and follow, and maybe they'll even follow me back. The idea is I'll be more inclined to write if I have an audience. The categories were too broad and resulted in blogs with thousands of followers and that's more impersonal than what I'm looking for.

So in the searchbar, I typed "depression." And the results were all... depressing.

I mean, sure, mental illness is a serious deal and it comes with many hardships. But to only focus on the downsides is just giving into it, isn't it? The idea that someone like me, with major depression, does not have anything positive or humorous going on in their life is as big of a downer as the disease itself.

In high school, I took a Holocaust literature class. And I came into class one day on the verge of tears because it was so much to deal with. My teacher was wonderful, though. And she dug out some short stories for me to read and lead me to an empty classroom across the hall so I could have time to myself. The stories were written by Holocaust survivors and while I can't remember who wrote them or what they were specifically about, I do remember they made me laugh out loud. These were words from brutally oppressed people, trapped in a living hell with no end in sight. Yet they were able to find humor in the smallest things and that gave them hope and optimism.

Clearly, the Holocaust and mental illness are on two separate planes but having depression can erase all notions of hope and sometimes even kill the desire to survive. A common mechanism for coping with any variety of traumatic circumstances, though many won't admit it, is humor. Dark, black, morbid gallows humor. Self-depreciating humor. The kind of humor that makes people feel bad for laughing but still doesn't stop them from doing it. Because if you can't laugh at yourself and what you're going through, how can you laugh at all?

I spent a week in a psychiatric ward in 2009 and it was terrifying, restless and honestly, pretty boring. There weren't straight jackets and padded cells and no one was locked in their rooms or restrained to their beds. But no one was allowed to have shoes with laces or belts (suicide risk). We weren't allowed to have crayons or markers, either. They were legitimately concerned about Crayola graffiti on the walls. I was allowed to have one dully sharpened golf pencil so I could write in my notebook or do Sudoku puzzles. One of the guards let my mom sneak in a giant bag of Skittles for me. I guess they liked me well enough to trust I wouldn't leave sugary rainbow globs on the furniture.

I wasn't allowed to have my cell phone. There was no radio or cd player and definitely no computer. There were televisions in the dining area and hangout rooms and they always seemed to be tuned to Harry Potter marathons. I spent a lot of time reading and rereading a Michael Jackson memorial magazine and pleading with the staff to order me a pizza.

I made friends with another girl there named Emily. We did a lot of pacing up and down the long hallway and talking about our experiences that had lead us to this crazytopia. Often, a guy named Craig would be sitting out in the hallway. He had anger management issues and was a giant pain in the ass. So Emily and I would be walking up and down the hallway and start talking about going to our rooms to get cigarettes whenever we passed Craig. When we reached the end of the hall and turned back, we'd pass him again and he'd offer us a quarter for a cigarette.

"What are you talking about, Craig? We don't smoke. And you can't smoke in here anyway, it's a hospital."

With that, we'd be on our way, leaving him with a dumbfounded look on his face. And whatever medication he was on must have been strong because he'd forget about it and we'd do the same thing a half hour later.

Maybe a little mean, but the guy also called me a cunt. So I don't feel bad. And it's still not as bad as when Emily told an old paranoid guy that the hospital staff was listening in on his phone calls (which was totally untrue and would be completely illegal for them to do anyway). I can only imagine the hilarity that ensued from that.

The point is, it was a crappy week that was the result of a crappy situation but I found ways to make the best of it and I can laugh and joke about it. The woman who got a hold of lipstick and used it as blush and eye shadow. The woman who offered to take me to Applebee's when we got out if I'd drive her to a drug house in return. The guy who collected styrofoam cups because he refused to pee in the toilet. These are really fucked up and also really funny if you look for the humor in them. And regardless of who you are or what you've experienced, I'm sure there are situations in your life where this can be applied.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Ian Maclaren

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Organization is not my forte

Shelves help preserve my sanity.
Even a quick glance at this blog would alert a person to my horrible lack of organization. It’s always been this way. Messy room, papers thrown together, clothes piled in the laundry basket, my car looking like I live out of it. It’s not that I’m inherently a dirty person or that I don’t try, but I become overwhelmed so easily that I can’t maintain the things I have.

Digital files help me get through my day. See this picture of all my makeshift shelves I made by piling bookcases on top of each other? All those three ring binders and shoeboxes are filled with photographs and negatives. Thousands of them. And I haven’t really shot film since 2007. I got my first digital camera in 2003 and have faithfully kept all of my pictures. Gigabytes and gigabytes of images. I used a 4MP camera for three years and still managed to horde the equivalent of many illegally downloaded high quality movies. Not that I’d know.

My digital photos are meticulously organized only because it would become a shitstorm if they weren’t. I have a root folder, “Photographs.” Inside that are more folders, each with a year. Inside the “2005” folder are twelve folders, from “2005 – January” to “2005 – December.” And in each of those twelve folders are days during which I took pictures. So, Photographs > 2012 > 2012 – July > July 12, 2012. This is the only way I can keep track of 40,000+ digital photographs I’ve taken in the last decade.

Yeah, I just checked. That is a stupid amount of pictures. But it’s kind of my thing.
Even my socks don't match.

I’m the same way with my professional photographs that I sell. Those are separated into folders for each image, and then each image folder has subfolders for templates, watermarks, examples and anything else I could possibly need. And therein lies my problem: I’m a bit of a packrat, even in the digital world. I don’t want to let go of something in case I may need it later on.

I take on so many projects with high hopes and dream up wonderful, intricate components. And it’s not uncommon for me to not finish what I’ve started, or at least not finish it gracefully. I do a lot of things half-assed and it’s not because I’m lazy or that I don’t want to put in the effort. I want to make things the way I want them, which gets me overwhelmed, which makes me anxious, which makes me depressed. By the end, I’m happy if I’ve just completed what I set out to do.

So while I tread the blogging waters that I’ve tiptoed back into, I see all the changes I want to make. The header I want to update, the tags I want to organize and the overall direction I want to take my writing. And I feel confident that I’ll get there eventually but I won’t stress over it. Because organization isn’t everything. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

I burned my mouth drinking tea, but it was good tea

I’m not much of a coffee drinker. I’ve learned to appreciate coffee but tea is my go-to beverage. I can’t handle the caffeine coffee contains. I will literally be awake for 24 hours if I have more than one cup (and sometimes just one cup will suffice). I grew up with my parents telling me, “You’re not old enough for coffee until you can drink it black.” So I go for the gusto when I drink coffee. Unless someone else prepares it and is trying to be all fancy, I just fill up a cup and become wired for the rest of the day.
Tea is easier on me and I feel like there are far more varieties. Just like coffee, I don’t add sugar or cream to my tea. I generally just pick up individually wrapped flavors, whatever I’m in the mood for. Black teas in the daytime, herbal teas at night. I don’t know if they really do anything for me in terms of keeping me awake or helping me sleep but it’s a routine I manage to stick to. I have a small collection of loose teas and even a pretty awesome Teavana tea maker that my BFF Stevie got for me a few years back. But for quick cups of loose leaf tea that just needs to steep a few minutes and be consumed, I came up with a quick fix that only requires a coffee filter and a toothpick.
Sprinkling the appropriate amount of loose tea leaves you’d like into the coffee filter, fold it and cinch the top with the toothpick until it’s closed so as to prevent anything from falling into the water. BOOM! TEA!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Taking this seriously, I guess

I just spent the better part of today redesigning the blog. I am by no means finished, but 7.5 hours of sifting through code and creating images has worn me out. I earned a break.

Screenshot of the progress so far, because yo dawg, I heard you liked blogs so I put a blog on your blog so you can blog about blogging.

Blog screencap

I have a lot of kinks to work out but at least I have more impetus to stick with blogging.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Smitten in the Mitten

I’m extremely excited to show off my most recent cardmaking efforts. I created two designs for a Michigan themed Valentine’s Day card. They have different looks and feels but both say “Smitten in the Mitten,” a nickname for the Great Lakes State.


The first card has a red background with a very subtle heart pattern. I had a lot of fun arranging the words in different fonts and colors. I went through so many drafts before reaching a point where I was okay with not tinkering with it. The second card is far simpler with a plain cyan background. The state is solid red and has “Smitten” written across the Upper Peninsula and “in the Mitten” in the Lower Peninsula. I started out by testing different fonts but finally decided to make use of my unique handwriting. (Side story: I’ve gone years without using a mouse, despite doing so much artistic stuff on my laptop. I finally got a mouse six or so months back and I love that I can write out words and it looks so much truer to my handwriting.) Once I completed each card, I couldn’t decide which one I liked better. So I put them both up on my Etsy shop!

Click on the images above to view the respective cards on my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Remember me?

I don't know what it is that keeps me from writing. I enjoy writing. I regularly think about writing. And I'm good at writing.

So what is it? Laziness? A lack of energy? It's definitely not a matter of having little time. I'm sure if I had a decent computer and a regular Internet connection, things would be much easier. But alas, here I am making excuses.

But the fact remains I want to write. So now I'm writing.

 Though I'm really writing for myself, I bet having an audience would help. I don't think I'd be on Twitter as much as I am if I were sending 140 characters out into nothingness. I have enough close friends who also tweet regularly that it isn't an issue. Regularly blogging friends, though? Not many. And the ones I have are also active on Twitter, so...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

This Day In History: July 20, 2007

Six years ago today, my friend Mitch and I dressed up as Hogwarts students and stood in line at Borders for a midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 


Monday, January 28, 2013

Blogging v. tweeting

Blogging feels like tweeting, except I feel obligated to write something profound and with substance. Have I passed 140 characters yet? Nope.



Okay, cool.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New year

I'm convinced (or determined) that 2013 will be a good year.

That's the most of a "resolution" you'll get out of me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Service Request #259376: Cat puked on laptop

I keep saying to myself, "Becky. You need to update your blog. And stop talking to yourself."

But then a kitten barfed on my computer, because that kind of thing happens to me.

Artist's rendering