I don’t really bake cookies with Neil in this post. I’d like to. But I didn’t – I just liked the title. (Neil, if you’d like to bake cookies with me, or would like me to send you some cookies, just tell me your favorite kind and you’ve got it.)

I spent most of this weekend in my pajamas. Yesterday, I finally got up, got dressed, and ran errands with Ash in town, but as soon as we were home, I was back in my PJs. (Honestly, I think if more people spent weekends in their PJs, we’d be a happier humanity.) Despite the happy PJ time, my spirits were low.

In fact, I’ve been moping for the past few hours about Things That Suck when, out of nowhere, while reading Mr. Neil Gaiman’s Magical Tumblr, I felt this brilliant moment of clarity, as if a breeze had blown the clouds across the sky and a bright star (or possibly Venus) had suddenly winked into existence and brought with it a shining, glorious epiphany. An epiphany that lit up my mind and the night like a million fireflies and then. And then. Well. Then it blinked out. Just as quickly. Unfortunately I wasn’t really able to decipher what the epiphany as a whole was about, but I could see, just around the edges, words. And THAT meant something to me.

You see, ever since I was laid off in April, I have been slowly (and quickly), embracing many of my old hobbies. Things that at one point in my life, made me ME. Painting is one of them. I’ve been painting and drawing and sketching again and it’s ALL I ever want to do anymore. Oh I’ve missed it. I’ve also been baking. Cookies, brownies, yummy little chocolate chip bars oozing with caramel, goodies that will clog your pores and leave you guzzling milk from the carton. And I’ve been gardening. We have fourteen happy little okra plants in the front yard and a brand new garden bed in the back ready for planting. I’ve been playing video games, catching up on cooking shows, hanging out with Ash. So many wonderful things to bring me back to ME, but I have yet to do what I spent five years of college doing in order to get my Creative Writing degree.

Write.

I’m constantly jealous of my friend Meg of Bow Ties are Cool because all she does is write. She writes and writes and writes about writing and she’s wonderful at it and I wish I had her dedication and enthusiasm. But why don’t I? Why is that I sit here and wish it but don’t do it? What’s stopping me?

NOTHING.

And it’s that NOTHING that came to me while reading Neil’s many insightful responses to people asking him writing advice all the time. (Was that the epiphany? Maybe…) Neither him nor Meg ask for permission from anyone to write. They just do it. I’ve been sitting here waiting for someone to tell me that it’s okay to just sit and write. My fear is in the sitting part I think. I hate just sitting because I’m scared that it will look like I’m not doing anything. Like I’m just sitting. Staring at paper. Or a blank computer screen. And don’t ask me why I feel that doing design and development work is different – it just is. It’s for other people, at least that work. Even painting is for others – it’s for my shop. But writing? It’s not for anyone but myself. Even blogging is for the most part. It’s writing for myself, my thoughts, my beliefs, my stories. So it gets pushed away. Even as I write this, it has taken two days to write because I feel guilty writing it and keep stopping to do something else.

So how do writers stop feeling guilty for doing something that’s mostly for themselves? How do you get over your fear that people will think you aren’t a proper, productive member of society if you just write?

In school, I had classes that I was SUPPOSED to write in. And it made me happy. I was supposed to do it. Nobody could stop me, so I let myself just sit and write and the world was good and I was happy because I was MAKING THINGS UP and that was my JOB. Now? Not so much. So despite all the activities I’m doing to be ME, I’m still not entirely ME. Does this make sense? See, now I’m just writing to write. Because I like it. Blah blah blah I’m writing and nobody is in the room to stop me. Blah. WRITING.

Alright. So there’s my question. And there are my thoughts. All written down nicely for you. Now, I’m feeling guilty and unproductive so I’m going to go bake. Cookies. For Neil. Or Meg. Or for my girlfriend because she would probably be the one most likely to eat them considering she’s the only one in Texas. Go me.

THE END.

My Birthday Wishes and A Giveaway!

Yes, I said it. It’s my birthday on the 19th and to celebrate, I am joining up with PrintRunner to do an awesome business card giveaway! Because I’m super nice and believe in the Hobbit tradition of giving away presents on my birthday. To one lucky winner anyway.

But first, I have a request for you. I would LOVE it if you could donate to an organization that is near and dear to my heart. No, it’s not required to enter the giveaway – it’s just something nice you could do for me on my 26th year of life (and for them).

My Birthday Nonprofit: Amazon CARES

This is a personal plea from me. Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education & Safety (CARES) is a nonprofit organization that was founded by my good friend Molly Mednikow. This is a one-of-a-kind organization that operates in Iquitos, Peru, that offers animal rescue, spay and neuter services and education to the Amazon community, runs a no-kill shelter, and is the only charity dedicated to animals in the entire Peruvian Amazon region. The amount of good this small organization does for a very large area is astronomical.

Unfortunately, earlier this year, the Amazon was hit with a tremendous amount of flooding that devastated the organization – the shelter they had spent years building was destroyed. Molly and her trusted troupe of staff and volunteers carry on the work they have dedicated their lives to, but they struggle as not enough funding goes to rebuilding and less goes to the animals. They need your help.

For my birthday, I want everyone who reads this to donate $5 or more to the Amazon CARES ChipIn and help them raise the money to rebuild their organization and help give relief to the animals of the region. You can donate and see updates at this page, or you can donate via the ChipIn widget below.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. It would be the best present ever to see Molly and Amazon CARES continue the good work they do.

Edit: Molly just put this post up and it breaks my heart. If you were thinking about donating, now is the time! They could use all the help they can get right now! Let’s do this!

And Now… The PrintRunner Giveaway!

I haven’t done a giveaway in awhile, so I was totally excited when PrintRunner asked if I wanted to take part in theirs (and get my own cards too). I was also super stoked when I discovered the green aspect of the company – they’ve adopted some pretty stellar eco-friendly printing practices, which y’all should know is important to me. You can try PrintRunner’s online business cards printing through their online printing services.

Giveaway Details

Business Card Size and Style Business Cards: 2×3.5 (Standard)
Quantity: 250 cards
Colors: 4/4 Color Both Sides
Paper: 14 pt. UV Coating on Front, 14 pt. UV Coating on both sides,
Proof: NONE
Rounded Corners: NO
Ready To Ship In: 3 Business Days
Awards: May 31st, 2012
*Giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 years old and above.

Deadline

This giveaway is open NOW and will close on my birthday, May 19th (at 11:59PM CST). What do you need to do to win? Comment on this post and, just for fun, tell me what your favorite charity or cause is. I would love to see what you guys care about. Don’t forget to follow PrintRunner on Twitter and Facebook – they’re pretty great. I’ll pick a winner on Sunday via the Random.org generator.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful May and happy Giveaway!

Positivity Challenge! Day 04: Movies and Turtles!

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


OH MY GOSH ME AND KEVIN EASTMAN!

Day 04 Question

What Is Your Favorite Movie? And Why?

SO MANY ANSWERS! Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin, so here’s a list. In no particular order.

The Last Unicorn because it’s beautiful and epic and an amazing adaptation of the book.
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy because of the same reasons as above.
The Dark Crystal because Brian Froud and Jim Henson are gods and the most amazing storytellers.
Anything by Miyazaki. ANYTHING. Look him up if you don’t know who he is. The man is a genius.
The Little Prince because again, amazing adaptation of the book and Gene Wilder is the perfect fox.
All Don Bluth movies. Nothing says “childhood” like Don Bluth.

And oh so many more than I’m going to kick myself for later for not remembering.

One Positive Thing from Today

A few weeks ago, I won weekend passes to STAPLE!, a indie comic convention here in Austin. I’ve been before so I was excited to go again. This time, for one main reason: KEVIN EASTMAN. That’s right. You heard me. Kevin Eastman, creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, was going to be there. And he was! And he did not disappoint! I dragged Ash to his Q&A which was awesome, and then made her stand in line with me afterward so I could get my TMNT issue signed. Not only did he sign it, but he also sketched a turtle on it, AND was gracious enough to take a picture with me. After I announced to him that when I was eight years old I dressed as Mikey for Halloween.

I didn’t tell him that I had turtle sheets when I was younger. That might have been embarrassing. In any case, I got to meet and hug Kevin Eastman today. I’m going to be hard-pressed to find anything more positive and awesome the rest of this month.

Be well!

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


My new Vibram FiveFingers!

Day 03 Question

What is One Thing That Has Been Frustrating You Lately? How Can You Overcome It?

I’m going to make this short. I’m currently frustrated by several things. One being the state of our house. We moved into this current house last May (almost a year ago), and we’re still not completely unpacked. This is partly my fault since I hate unpacking and I generally don’t get home until it’s time for dinner and freelance work anyway so I procrastinate on it. But it needs to get done and it’s one of my resolutions. Which leads into another resolution. ORGANIZATION! I mentioned a few entries back that my co-worker is helping me get organized. I’m hoping to take what I learn from her and turn it around on my house and try to get it organized as well. It’ll get there. Slowly but surely. One step at a time.

Another thing I’m frustrated with is my inability to pick up a pencil and draw. I get all excited to and then as soon as I open a blank page in my sketchbook, WHAM. Nothing. It’s frustrating. Anyone have any tips on how to get past artist’s block? So far, I’m failing miserably. I’d love some input.

One Positive Thing from Today

The whole day today was kind of wasted because I had a run-in with some shrimp in the early afternoon as we wandered around Sam’s Club trying samples. This wouldn’t be a problem if I was allergic. Which I am. While this absolutely sucks and made me want to shoot myself in the head because of the pain and the whole I-Can’t-Breath issues I was having, it did lead to several positive things.

1) We remembered to pick up Benadryl at the store. We’ve been out for awhile.
2) Because I’m sensitive to Benadryl and its sleepy side effects, I took a 17 hour nap. I think I’m FINALLY caught up on my sleep.
…and…
3) It reminded me how absolutely wonderful my girlfriend is. As soon as she realized what was happening, she grabbed my hand, got a big bottle of Benadryl, had it open and made me take some before we even got out of the store. As soon as we got home, I was already mostly out of it, so she put me to bed and took care of all the chores for the day and fed all the animals by herself (which is a huge feat by itself considering all the mouths we feed every night). She is just amazing, that girl.

So while I was pretty much out of it, good things came out of the whole ordeal. That’s positivity.

Oh, and before all that happened, I got to go to REI and pick up my brand new Vibram FiveFingers. Hell yes. So happy to start running again.

Be well!

Positivity Challenge! Day 02: Friends & Paper Birds

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


Someone just got married.

Day 02 Question

Who is One Friend You Appreciate Having? And Why?

So I have two answers for this question and I don’t think either of them will be considered cheating. My girlfriend is not only the love of my life, but she’s my best friend. And Ash isn’t just my best friend, she’s my motivation, my inspiration, and the one who, no matter what, stands besides me. She is a mentor to me, a resource of knowledge, and more often than not, makes sure my sanity stays in tact as I attempt to push myself to my limits. I appreciate her more than she knows – I have a horrible habit of not talking about how I’m feeling and so I think she sometimes feels a little invisible and under appreciated. I don’t know what I would do without her though. She makes life whole. She keeps the house in check, the furry kids in check, and me and my work in check. She watches out for me and saves me from myself more often than I can count. She is my other half.

My second answer is Emily, my middle sister. She’s 18 now (we’re 7 years apart), and we are now in that incredible timeframe of being not just sisters, but good friends. I talk to her as much as I can and her opinions and thoughts mean more to me than anyone else’s. She’s got my back and I have hers. And she makes me laugh more than anyone else. When I’m feeling down, I know I can call her up or video chat with her and my whole world is brighter because of it. She’s an incredible person too and has this wonderful talent of lighting up a room when she enters and make everyone feel happier just for talking with her. She has a gift for making others smile.

My task for today is to let both of these amazing people in my life know what they mean to me. So Ash and Emi, this post is for you. I love you both so much. <3

One Positive Thing from Today

My boss’ birthday is tomorrow. Our team went out to lunch today to celebrate him and had pizza at this really awesome little pizza and deli I had never been to. It was great and I love out-of-office bonding moments like that. When we got back, I made him a little origami crane because it’s my traditional gift to give friends for their birthdays. His sincere delight in the little paper bird made me, in turn, delighted.

I also spent part of my afternoon “decorating” my friend (and Ash’s cousin) David’s cube (we work together). He got married last Friday and spent the week on his honeymoon. As a coming-home-yay-you’re-married type of surprise, I made a “Just Married” sign and tied some cans to his chair (see image above). I’m excited to see his response come Monday.

Be well!