I’ve been working on my tablet drawing skills in Procreate! I started at the beginning of quarantine, and I feel like I’ve come a long way in being comfortable in the medium. My flower garden is inspring me to draw and I made this pretty pattern today. :)
I’m thinking maybe I’ll order some things from Spoonflower with some of my work and decorate my home that way! I love personal things. We’ll see!
This year we built two garden beds and I filled them with Cosmos, Zinnia, and Sunflowers. The Cosmos and Zinnia flowers are from my childhood – a memory of a garden between my parents’ and my aunt’s home in 90’s Roswell, GA.
The gardens have done really well – and I am blessed with abundant blooms from the cosmos! Going a little slower but looking super-promising, the Zinnia have popped a few pretty colors.
Something I really like about this garden is that it attracts tons of insects — bees, grasshoppers, beetles, and ants. They all find something beneficial in this miniature ecosystem – and take it to enrich the greater natural world in a little way.
Also it super helps that the cosmos is an endless supply of cut flowers to bring inside the home.
I feel the cosmos is going to be a yearly staple in this backyard. :)
Jeremy’s straight up gotten into Pie’s and he kinda skipped the beginner phase? Two dog themed pies for some good friends went out yesterday!
Anyway – I love his baked goods but I think I’ve put on a couple lbs out of the ordinary since this has become a habit. It’s been a joy to photograph them too – I love putting my little sprinkle of love for him into the photographs of his passions. We are pulling all the good we can out of the days this year. Counting our blessings, and baking a few too.
A few things have happened lately that has me smiling.
First, my husband has turned into an amazing baker. Jeremy’s always had a great cooking skill and passion within him but the recent extension into baking has been pretty great. Two things he’s made lately that are delicious and also a hit with friends are the Cinnamon Star and a Chocolate Babka. In fact, we’ve opened up a little ordering business – @thebakingstone – and I am hoping we can fill orders for our friends and loved ones.
Second, I am no longer furloughed. Although it’s meant that I’ve found a job somewhere else, I am ready to feel a sense of productivity and structure again. I’ll post more about this great new position soon, once I’ve started. :)
Travel was a big part of our lives. We were just getting ramped up to attempt to hit a major destination every 3 months. We’d both worked our careers to get to the right amounts of time off and worked on our finances so it was going to be a consistent pattern through the remainder of our 30’s. Then came the unexpected pandemic, my furlough, travel bans and quarantines. But.. I am thankful we got to go to Hawaii the couple of weeks before the pandemic really shut down travel. It was a lucky break… but now, after two additional trips we had planned have been cancelled, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss.
I can’t wait until I can hop into a seat on an airplane, again.
I’ve been having a lot of fun playing Animal Crossing. It’s an unassuming game with no real time constraints and loads of community interaction. You design and setup your own island, complete with neighbors and plenty to build. Visiting other friends’ and strangers islands also provides enriching gameplay with builders recipes to collect and island after island of customized layouts to explore. I’ve really enjoyed it. At first I tried playing it like an economy game – planting money making trees everywhere and fishing, catching bugs, and digging up everything that could net me a few “bells” – the in game currency. I have taken it down a notch and now play it a little more like it’s intended – slowly and intentionally. Here’s a few scenes from my gameplay!
I built my own dim sum restaurant in my basement in game. I miss going to real dim sum.
They have indian kurtas as available fashion wear in game! Of course I found a field of flowers to show it off in – Bollywood style!
I was excited to see the in game computer allowed you to customize it so it had an IDE on it.
I went to my friend Brotherton’s island and bought myself some night vision goggles and took a romp in his golden rose field.
I don’t get to see my mentee and friend Akira in real life due to COVID so I see her in her Animal Crossing house. :)
Lockdown is hard – but small things like this make it a little easier. :) Comment if you’re playing and want another friend!
I am going to be 100% honest on here. I am of two minds during this Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent effects on the economy.
I am grateful.
My family has been sound of health so far, and we don’t have any infections and therefore no deaths. I can’t emphasize how thankful I am for this.
My home is safe, my finances are safe, my husband is still working, and my brother is also working – even though I am not working.
I have every service I could want delivered to my home. Food, books, medication, distractions… all to my front door.
I have the ability to connect to others in a multitude of ways. I am talking to them on the phone, texting them on so many different messaging platforms, video calling, playing multiplayer games, having virtual happy hours, and teaching web dev classes to help others.
I have pets that show up and bring moments of calm and joy because unlike me they live in today, in this moment. Their life is being engaged wholly with the now and to interact with them – you have to be that way too. It’s unbelievably helpful.
My home has provided me space to both be by myself, or enjoy things like cooking, gardening, or just hanging out with my husband and brother. I’m grateful for space that I can use in those ways.
The weather has been beautiful. Sunshine, breezes, and an open, lush, private backyard are a sanctuary.
I am stressed.
I worry about the future state of my family’s health.
I wonder where the economy is going – and if I need to consider a different way of life.
I am furloughed from my job so I am doing my best to work at sharpening skills in the time that was usually devoted to work.
My schedule is all messed up, and my sleep is impacted.
I have nightmares every night and I can’t seem to pinpoint why.
I am talking to recruiters, applying for jobs, wondering if I am going to wind up going back to work for a dying company.
I miss in-person interactions. Not seeing anyone for weeks really produces an emptiness inside me in a place that’s never been empty before. It’s weird.
And it’s okay to have that dichotomy. I also have a lot of faith both in my God and in myself. I have the shoulders of many people in my history to lean on. The blood of survivors, opportunists, of hopeful and strong people — it runs in my veins – and I believe I belong in that line. I have decided to allow myself to steep in the gratitude I have but also allow myself to feel the strain. Supressing those feelings because I “should be grateful instead” is just going to give me further issues later down the line. Wholly allowing myself to feel them lets me face them.. and helps me be free of them in time. I have learned that you have to ride life like the ocean that it is… and that it’s okay if your boat is on the swell or the dip, only that you don’t stop steering.
One of the coping mechanisms I have developed is expressing myself creatively. I have picked up ProCreate again – and last night I drew a little mandala over about 30 minutes. It helped me release a lot of tension from yesterday, where I went from walking coworker through a mock interview, to myself getting on a phone interview, to studying, to finding out a coworker I care for a lot has found a new job elsewhere, to discovering that my local government has decided to reopen high-risk jobs prematurely. I ate a lot of carbs yesterday… but I also did this:
And afterwards, I felt much much better.
It’s a ride. I am on it. It’s my hope that everyone else is doing as well as possible. You are in my thoughts – and I am here to talk if you need an ear.
Last year, on this day, I was meandering the streets of a wet Osaka, Japan. We had just walked though a rainstorm from the train station and I spied Japanese fashion footwear from below my umbrella as we crossed street after street. Concrete behemoths displaying high end wares flanked our journey to Dotonbori. Once we arrived at the busy district, the crowds, lighting, and late city atmosphere stuck to my skin. The murmur of Japanese being spoken by thousands of voices at once mixed with the slushy sounds of the river ferries surrounding me.. it was an experience I can’t forget.
Jeremy and I are talking about how we can make it back to those streets in the future. Two weeks felt like it would be a long time, but honestly, in a place like Japan it feels like an offense to have such little time to absorb all the things the country offers to a traveller. I think of it over and over. Time is passing and Japan is calling me, from inside my own head.