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November 2020 Updates

Hey, there, all you majestic beasties! โค Can you believe November is nearly over? I hope you’re all well and finding ways to keep entertained and happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m back at home, my work being one of the places that has closed during our state’s three week partial closure. I’ve tried starting multiple posts while I’ve been off and nothing sticks. I’m in this foggy headspace where focusing on one thing is even harder than normal, which brings us to my first November update…

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UPDATE #1: CREATIVE STUFF

With the exception of drawing, I haven’t been able to concentrate on a whole lot. So, that’s pretty much what I’ve been focusing on. Drawing. Especially mythical creatures/beings. It’s actually been a lot of fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ (The weird tree lady pictured above is a Dryad I drew, from Greek mythology.) NaNoWriMo, on the other hand, obviously got shot in the foot on take off. I don’t know what I was thinking with that one. Haha Between the pandemic and a very tense election I was pretty much glued to the news during the beginning of the month, so not much writing going on, I’m afraid.

UPDATE #2: HOLIDAYS

I think we all know by now that the holidays are going to be very different this year. Under normal circumstances I’m usually a bit on the Grinchy side, not really one for Christmas music and all the fluff that goes with it. (I’m not as bad as I used to be, but it’s never the part of year I’m really looking forward to.) Well, it’s 2020 and everything is all messed up and crazy, so of course this would be the year that I am PUMPED for Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜› Bring on the holiday baking, Christmas movies and music, cozy winter bullshit, and decorations. I would already have the tree up and decorated if it wasn’t for Mr. Moth demanding Thanksgiving be allowed to have its moment. Haha I didn’t make the comic featured below, but when I found it, it immediately reminded me of Mr. Moth and his bizarre love for Thanksgiving. ๐Ÿ˜€

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UPDATE #3: BAKING

I don’t know what it is about being stuck at home, but it really makes me want to bake ALL the things. Recent baking adventures include Snickerdoodle Cupcakes for Mr. Moth’s birthday, peanut butter cookies, pumpkin cookies, and rainbow chip cookies. I also busted out our new waffle maker and made homemade Belgian Waffles. One batch was regular and the other I jazzed up and made Pumpkin-Chai Belgian Waffles. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s actually been really nice finding a joy in baking again. I used to bake all the time and then eventually I got sick of it. My favorite things to make this year definitely seem to be cookies. I’m really picky about cookies, so making them at home has been nice because they are super soft and chewy, just like I like ’em! โค

UPDATE #4: READING

Like I said previously, my level of focus has been practically ZERO lately, so needless to say, not a lot of reading was getting done. Well, thankfully I’m starting to come back around and get some light reading in again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Giant Days, Volume 14 and The Quotable Giant Days:

I’m not going to lie, I was sooo sad when it hit me that I was reading the FINAL volume of Giant Days. This comic about three college friends and their lives has been such a treat to read. I can’t say I’ve read many other things that made me feel like I, too, along with the characters was saying farewell to my friends at the end. Mr. Moth and I both read this series, and we agree that John Allison does a fantastic job writing female characters. (Really, just characters in general, but if you’ve ever read anything from a male author where the male gaze gets a bit heavy, you know what we’re talking about.)

The Forbidden:

Written by Clive Barker, The Forbidden tells the story of what would eventually become the 1992 horror film, Candyman. I really enjoyed this short story, though if you’ve seen the film before you’ve read the story, this one feels like the blueprint to the movie which expands upon it in a really great way.

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It’s always a treat reading more of Joe Hill’s work. With the recent news of the premature cancellation of AMC’s television adaptation of this title, I decided to go ahead and dive on in. Initially I was going to wait closer to Christmas due to some of the holiday horror vibes of this story, but as I mentioned already, I am feeling festive as fuck and could no longer wait. It’s off to a great start and I’m looking forward to reading more of it and seeing what the characters I came to love in the show get up to in the pages of this novel.

Hack/Slash Omnibus Volume 1:

This title and I go way back. I’d gotten to read a smidge of Hack/Slash long ago, enough to have given me a taste of what it was bringing to the table but not enough to sink my teeth into. Well, at 300 pages, this omnibus lays out the whole feast and dessert too. Hack/Slash follows our resident goth drifter Cassie Hack and her pal Vlad, a big, deformed man of few words who has the soul of a kitten (as long as you’re not on his to-kill list) as they hunt Slashers across the country and put them down for good. I like the way they handle their slasher mythology in this series, describing Slashers (your standard Michael, Jason, Freddy sort of fare) as “a type of undead, sort of like a vampire or zombie. They’re so full of anger that they don’t wanna die. They hate love, youth, sex . . . things they miss from life.” I mean, how often do we see the big murderous slashers who go after teenagers spring back up for more mayhem and murder after they’ve been killed? All the time, right? Makes sense to me to throw the supernatural spin on that. The series definitely isn’t for everyone, and I, myself, sometimes roll my eyes due to that “male gaze” thing I mentioned previously, but it has a lot of appeal for horror fans, and thus I do enjoy it. Genre favorites from the big screen and behind-the-scenes even make appearances such as Robert Kirkman and Mr. Good Guy Doll himself, Chucky.

Anywhooo, that’s it for my November updates. Now it’s time to play catch-up and see what you fine and fancy folk have been up to. Happy (early) Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it. And Happy Monday (ugh) to the rest of you! ๐Ÿ˜›

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Art Update: August 2020

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Happy Friday!! โค I hope you guys are all doing well and staying safe. I know 2020 has been a total hot mess, but I hope you’re finding ways to keep yourself sane during all of this. I’ve been finding a lot of solace in drawing and it’s been really nice. Like spending time with an old friend from before the stressful days of adulthood. (Maybe it just feels like that because I haven’t actually been able to see any of my friends in-person since February due to the pandemic!)

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For most of my life, drawing was such a huge part of my daily existence. The past 10 years, though, I found myself doing it less and less. Sure, sometimes I’d make time for it, but it just wasn’t how it used to be. Well, the past year I have definitely been at it more again and now I’m pushing myself to not just settle into my drawing comfort zone, but to work on new poses and techniques, and really work at strengthening my skill again. I’ve got a long way to go, and a lot of learning to do, but I’m enjoying being back on the journey. ๐Ÿ™‚

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One of the ways I need to push myself further with my art is getting back into digital art again. It’s been a long ass time. I’m strangely intimidated, to be honest. I got this great new art tablet but to quote the Joker from The Dark Knight:

“Iโ€™m like a dog chasing cars, I wouldnโ€™t know what to do if I caught one”

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Well, one thing that will eventually force my hand to branch back out into digital art is the fact that most of my markers/brush pens are on their last leg. Filling up that sketchbook I got a while back has been slowly murdering all of them. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

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Plus, I don’t think I’ll forgive myself if by the time I eventually return to work, I STILL have not gotten the hang of the new art tablet. I mean, it’s literally been 5 months since my work had to temporarily close its doors due to the coronavirus. Usually I have the excuse of not having enough free time, but that excuse has kind of gone right out the window this year, hasn’t it?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I hope you enjoy the new art. I’ll be posting some shark illustrations soon that I’ve been working on during Shark Week for an Instagram art challenge I’m participating in. It’s been a lot of fun so I figured I’d feature them in their own little post at the end of Shark Week. ๐Ÿ˜›

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What skills have you guys been building on during this year? What hobbies have you found comfort in?? What have you been doing to keep from going completely stir-crazy???

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Thanks, as always, for checking out my humble little drawings and reading my ramblings! โค Have a great weekend!

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June Wrap-Up: A Month in Photos

Can you guys believe it’s already almost July?? It feels like June came and went in the blink of an eye somehow. I decided to do something a little different with this month’s wrap-up post, and showcase what I’ve been up to through mostly photos. ๐Ÿ™‚

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LAZY DAYS: As has been the case for much of the past few months, there’s been a lot of time at home. Here’s a pic of Bailey curled up for a little catnap in a pile of blankets. โค Rest assured, if there is a comfy spot she WILL find it and she WILL nap on it.

GARDENING: Hostas, Rhododendron, Columbine, Peonies, Poppies, Oh My! It was a good month for gardening and learning. We planted more lilies, new bushes, moved some stuff around, and did a lot of other outdoor projects.

BAKING: I finally slowed down my baking spree I had been on. ๐Ÿ˜› I did, however, make a really yummy peanut butter ice cream pie (graham cracker crust, thin layer of hot fudge, Reese’s peanut butter ice cream with thin sheets of chocolate, whipped cream, Reese’s peanut butter sauce drizzle, and chopped up Reese’s cups as pictured above). I also baked another loaf of Garlic Cheddar Beer Bread (soooo good!) โค

DRAWING: I’ve been on a drawing binge lately that you can check out on my Instagram if you’re interested, but here’s a little sample of what I’ve been up to this month. ๐Ÿ™‚

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WORK: I got to go to work a couple times (staff only) to start setting up for all of the social distancing/PPE changes we will have to put into effect upon our return. Also got to redecorate a little. Pictured above is the head start I got on one of my room’s bulletin boards. We’re supposed to return to work July 6th, but with COVID cases back on the rise, we’ll see what happens. We can’t open back up until our state enters Phase 5 of our reopening plan, and thankfully our Governor has been taking this very seriously since day 1 so I don’t think she’ll rush us into that until it is actually safe to do so.

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LOSS OF A LOVED ONE: The pic above isn’t from this June, it’s actually from last year when we celebrated my parents’ pug BeeBee’s birthday party for her Sweet 16. โค She was such a sweet and adorable little dog and was so loved by our entire family, but unfortunately we were forced to say goodbye to her this June. It is sad not having her around anymore, but she lived such a good life while she was with us. She was adopted by my family a decade ago, and by that point she had already lived through a lot. BeeBee was a puppy mill survivor who didn’t even get to feel the grass beneath her paws for the first 3 years of her life. She was rescued from that awful situation and found a home for some time with a woman who loved her, but eventually her owner became too sick to be able to take care of her any longer. My mom was in contact with a woman from a pug rescue league and she told my mom about BeeBee and that was that. She came to us blind, but this was nothing daunting for our family. We’ve taken in several animals with special needs over the years and her inability to see was no big deal. She was sassy and fun, and my dad especially spoiled her with so much love and affection. She had a new brother and constant companion in my parent’s other pug, Brutis. They were attached at the hip and formed an instant bond with one another. โค

She had the cutest little “bubble bark” that sounded more like “Borp Borp Borp” than the normal kind of bark you hear, loved being held, liked to adventure forward without a care in the world like she could see where she was going even if she was always bumping into things or barking in the wrong direction while trying to be “tough” like her brother. She preferred to be inside the house and wasn’t shy about making sure you knew it by finding her way back to the door and doing her little bubble bark to announce when she was “over this outdoors bullshit”. Haha

Her vet sent a very sweet card and a package of Forget-Me-Not seeds for my parents to plant and grow in BeeBee’s memory. โค I thought that was such a touching and thoughtful thing for the vet’s office to do.

That’s it for my own personal June Wrap-Up. How was your June?? Can you believe the year is already halfway over? With how 2020 has been going I’m sure we’re all hoping for a better second half of the year. As always, take care and be safe, guys! โค

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May/June Book Haul

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I can’t even keep track of what day it is anymore, so some of the books in this haul may have been bought in May, and some in June, maybe all were in June, I don’t even know. lol Seriously, today was like the second time I’ve filled my gas tank since wayyyy back in mid-March if that puts it into perspective how little I’ve left the house via car to go anywhere the past few months. Needless to say, these books were purchased via my kindle. Can you tell we take social distancing serious af in this house? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland

I’m about a quarter of the way through this book and I’m really enjoying it. I love the narration of the main character, plus any book that can combine historical fiction and zombies as well as this one does is a win for me. I’m already planning to buy the sequel to this book and I haven’t even finished this one, if that tells you anything. ๐Ÿ™‚

. . . . .

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Clean Sweep, by Ilona Andrews

As is often the case with good books, this one came per suggestion from none other thanย  Cupcakes & Machetes. Check out her review for more info on this lovely little mashup of fantasy and science fiction. I read and really enjoyed this first installment of The Innkeeper Chronicles and have since moved on to the second book. Space werewolves and vampires, living inns for the supernatural that have a symbiotic relationships with their innkeepers, and other fun little surprises kept me entertained from the start. Luckily, also thanks to C&M, I got the first 3 books in a nice little kindle bundle sale. ๐Ÿ™‚

. . . . .

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Sweep In Peace, by Ilona Andrews

This series is a charming read and I was glad to have it on hand for a much-needed distraction after the sudden loss of a beloved family pet. ๐Ÿ˜ฅย  I’m almost halfway through this second installment. The books definitely make for a quick and fun read.

. . . . .

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One Fell Sweep, by Ilona Andrews

Still reading the second book in this series, but I’m sure I’ll be diving into this third installment soon enough.

. . . . .

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Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi

“They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise.” I’ve read really good reviews for this book, and it was a GR Readers Choice Awards winner for 2018, so I’m really looking forward to checking it out.

. . . . .

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The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

A post-apocalyptic fantasy that boasts some pretty solid reviews. I’m excited to read this one, especially with all the talk of how good the worldbuilding is supposed to be in it. ๐Ÿ˜€

. . . . .

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne

Putting this out there right now, I’m fairly certain this one is gonna make me cry. I saw the ending (yes, just the ending) of the film and I was bawling my eyes out, so I can only imagine what the book is going to do to me.

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Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor

A fantasy book set in Nigeria that is supposed to be a breath of fresh air with very unique worldbuilding. Sounds good to me! ๐Ÿ™‚

. . . . .

So, how about you guys? Find any good books lately? What are you reading that really strikes your fancy? Who else misses how easy it used to be to go to your local bookstore and just shop around and browse all those glorious books in person??

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Binge-Watching, Baking and Back to Blogging

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Anyone else feel like they’ve lost their grasp of time lately? It’s been just over two months since my other half and I last had regular Monday through Friday schedules, and almost just as long since my last blog post as well. Quarantine has my brain all over the place, even more than usual these days. I can’t tell you how many times this month I’ve still thought we were in April. lol

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I’d like to say I’ve been using my time wisely and kicking the shit out of my new year’s resolutions, but this is NOT the 2020 I signed up for, so that’s a big NOPE for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ What I have mostly been doing is just been binge-watching shows and movies with my fiance and kitty, and doing things that make me happy and keep me focused on one thing at a time instead of a thousand things and worries all at once. Gotta keep that mental health in check! โค

I used to bake all the time and eventually got kind of sick of it a while back. (I was always the person who was in charge of baking for every single event, be it in my personal, work, or school life and baking big batches of stuff time and time again just kind of got old after a while.) Well, with all this free time on my hands, I’ve been on quite the Quarantine Baking Spree. Some recipes made include:

  • Pumpkin Toffee Bread
  • Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Rainbow Chip Cake Cookies with Whipped Frosting
  • Strawberry Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Banana Bread
  • Butterscotch Mousse
  • Dark Chocolate Oreo Mousse
  • Banana Cream Mousse

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As for creative things, it’s been touch and go. I have been drawing a fair amount, which has been nice. I’ve been posting the art over on my Instagram account which I use far more regularly. I really like Instagram for more frequent use, but I do miss the wonderful community and friends I’ve found here on WP. Like Imperial Rebel Ork has pointed out before, I think the blogosphere allows us to get more connected and have more of an actual dialogue with one another. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also been trying to learn new tricks and techniques to get back into digital art. I got a fancy new art tablet for my birthday back in January and there is sooo much to learn but I am really loving all the options and artistic freedom it allows. Hopefully in the near future I can start actually making pieces with it once I feel I’ve learned how to best utilize it.

Writing has been a real “when it rains it pours” kind of situation. Some days I’m really productive, and others I’m like “What the hell am I even doing??” My attention span has been all over the place during this so my reading has been a lot less frequent as well. I’ve started reading multiple books (interesting ones, too) and then my brain goes “Nah, bitch, not today!” and they return to the TBR pile from whence they came.

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On days that the weather has been kind, we’ve gone walking, but it’s mostly been snowing and raining or just too cold, so there hasn’t been as much of that as we would have liked. I think one of the major things I miss doing is going to the gym. Hitting the treadmill with my earbuds in and listening to music or an audiobook was something I really enjoyed doing before or after work. I’m not cool enough to pretend I haven’t put my gym shoes on and done laps in my dining room/kitchen while listening to an audiobook. ๐Ÿ˜›

Mr. Moth returns to work tomorrow, so I’m guessing that will bring some normalcy back into our routine, but I’m also anxious about him going back too. Michigan is one of the states that has been hit really hard with COVID-19, and one of the parts of Michigan that has been a hot spot for the virus is the place we call home. I know good people who have lost their life to the virus, and it breaks my heart thinking about them and their families. Luckily most of the people I know who have gotten it have since fully recovered. โค A lot of the major people in my life that I care about are essential workers and have been working through the whole thing and I’m so glad that they’re okay. I hope you guys and your loved ones are doing well, too. โค I’m looking forward to catching up on some of the blog posts I’ve been missing. Please feel free to link me some exciting posts of yours I may have missed in the comments! I can’t say for sure how frequently I’ll be posting, but I’ll try not to make it another 2 months of radio silence between posts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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Just Checking In

Hey, guys! โค I just wanted to pop in to check and see how my blogging buddies are doing during these strange and scary times. It’s been a while. February I was sick with the flu, then with a wicked sinus infection, and then had a work injury to my hand, so I failed at doing my once-a-month-minimum blog post, but I wasn’t beating myself up about it. I figured March HAD to be a better month, right? Right?? Oh, boy, what a sweet, sweet summer child I was . . . ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Part of the Quarantine Art Challenge I’ve been participating in

I hope you guys are all doing well, staying healthy, and staying sane while in Quarantine. For those of you who are still working during all of this, I genuinely hope your patients, customers, etc. are treating you kindly and that your place of employment is doing their best to keep you safe and well. โค

My last day of work was March 13th. I work at a day program for adults with special needs so we tend to follow the guidelines of the schools. Our return-to-work date has been pushed back three times and I would honestly be surprised if it doesn’t get pushed back again. My work is doing the best they can to take care of us though which I am beyond thankful for. โค I’ve only left the house once in the past 2 weeks. My fiance Mr. Moth is here with me, and we’ve got our kitty Bailey here with us. They’re both amazing Quarantine Buddies. ๐Ÿ™‚

TV SHOWS:ย  Shamelessย  /ย  The Masked Singerย  /ย  Lego Mastersย  /ย  The Daily Show

MOVIES: The Pit /ย  Spencer Confidential / Us / Get Out / A Quiet Placeย  /ย  Spider-Man: Far From Home

BOOKS: The Exorcist /ย  The Lost City of Z / Tank Girl Armadillo!: A Novel / Nevernight / The Indifferent Stars Above (I’m hopping a lot between books right now.) ๐Ÿ˜›

ART: I’ve worked a bit on a Quarantine Art Challenge, done some really interesting research for my writing, and some mapping (also for my writing project)

GAMES: Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice / Unruly Heroes

BAKING: Banana Bread / Rainbow Chip Cake Cookies

We’re doing okay in the Moth Household, and I hope you guys are all doing okay, too. How are things in your neck of the woods? Who are your Quarantine Buddies? What have you been up to during all of this? What’s keeping you sane?