Just trying to work out whatever’s in my mind, here:

I’m going to try to write, even though right now I’m feeling that I don’t have much to write about.  This, in turn, probably has happened because I haven’t been writing, daily.

Watercolor practice

I used some of the pre-mixed greens I had left on my palette, along with Sap Green, to “color in” (or add color to, or apply wash to) a couple of sketches I did of a Bok Choy Mue in one of my Maruman sketchpads…which I was amazed would take watercolor without warping too badly.  (It just says “Sketch Book” on the front, with no mention of branding other than the graphic design of the cover.)  You will want to tape the papers down, though, for best effect.

Although I did these last night, I didn’t take photos of them then, thinking that I would do it today.  However, I had to get up early for an appointment (woke, 7 AM) and ran out of steam at about 3:30 PM, sleeping through until dinnertime at about 7:30 PM.  So I still haven’t taken the photos…I’ll try and get one up of the Maruman sketch pad tomorrow.

I’m still kind of tired, but then:  I did take medications at about 9 PM (on time) because I have plans for tomorrow.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I neglected self-care tonight and got too sedated to be functional in 15 minutes…just a warning.

Ah! But!

I also found that my Strathmore ArtAgain paper (a deep black paper which I used in one of my older posts) is heavy enough to withstand wet media!  I haven’t yet tried to use washes on it, but it’s very apparent that I can draw and write on it with gouache and a paintbrush, and it doesn’t warp with light use of water.  This is an idea I got from Sarah Sullivan, though my approach differs from hers.

Basically, for me, using light media on dark paper allows me to paint in the light, as versus darkening something and progressively preserving the lights.  And using gouache (opaque watercolor) allows me to use Titanium White (also known as Permanent White; contrasted, I am thinking, with Lithopone) without concern of breathing in Titanium Dioxide dust.

Breathing nanoparticles of Titanium Dioxide dust has raised concerns about carcinogenicity, but I wouldn’t have known that without inquiring why so many pastels now had CA Prop 65 warnings, and CL (Caution Label) signifiers on them, even without heavy metal components.  It could be overkill by Prop 65 — but it has made me more aware of how I use pastels in my own work.

In a home environment, I don’t want to get the dust in the carpet and then vacuum up the dust, because all that may do is redistribute the dust, not contain it (I’m not sure if a HEPA filter is sufficient to contain nanoparticles, which are so small that they are transparent).

This means that if I use pastels — which I kind of don’t like to do anymore, given that it isn’t even good to get the pigments on one’s skin (and certain pigments do stain the skin and likely are absorbed transdermally [if one can’t get them off or out]), and I hate having to seal my drawings (which under normal circumstances can be very toxic — even using Aqua Net as a “non-toxic” cheap alternative in volume enough to seal a pastel painting smells noxious) — I would want to do it somewhere away from air intake vents and over a hard surface, so that I can mop up the loose dust.

To be clear:  the danger of cancer from Titanium Dioxide is not a toxic one, it is a mechanical one.  Loose airborne particles of Titanium Dioxide can get into your lungs and just never leave, and over time that can cause irritation (at least) and leave you at risk of lung problems…but just read your MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheets) to be sure.

It is nice to be able to manipulate pastels with one’s fingers, but it…just seems hazardous, right now.  Especially as it is very…apparent when in a classroom with a lot of kids using pastels, and wearing a dust mask, how full the air is of pastel particles when one removes that dust mask (I can literally smell the pastel dust, though a particle mask will block the smell).  I started wearing a dust mask, in turn, because I kept sneezing and smelling pastel for hours after a painting session.

If I were going to work with the broad sides of sticks of color, I might want to try the Prismacolor Art Stix — they’re colored sticks made of the pigmented cores of Prismacolor colored pencils.  I haven’t used the Art Stix yet, but I would expect them to have a different working method than pastels (even Prismacolor NuPastels — a hard pastel which is relatively nontoxic).  And, no, Prismacolor isn’t paying me, here.

For the record, I am not sure if coming into contact with colored pencil colors is hazardous or not (though I think the pigments are bound in oil or wax, and thus not hazardous…but I don’t know what happens when that stuff is hit with Gamsol [“odorless mineral spirits”], just to let you know that this is an option and that I haven’t tried it, and don’t know its hazards.  Gamsol, used primarily in oil painting, is used to liquefy — at least oil-based — colored pencils in order to get them to look like aquarelles, or watercolor pencils.  Prismacolors are wax-based, though; whether this works with oil-based pencils only, or both, I don’t know.  Also, I’m fairly certain Gamsol is toxic, but it’s supposed to be better than regular “mineral spirits”).

I do know that there is nowhere near as much dust with colored pencil as with pastel or pastel pencil.  There is some dust associated with colored pencil use (especially when applying heavy strokes), but I haven’t found it to be more than a small nuisance.

But anyway — I tested out two white inks on ArtAgain paper the other night, and found that both J.Herbin (?  I don’t know this brand; I just had a bottle of their white ink) and Daler-Rowney Process (“Pro”) White absorbed into the paper and faded.  Holbein Permanent White gouache, on the other hand, stayed on the surface of the paper and actually brightened as it dried.  Other colors can work as tints with white, but may not show up on their own against black (for instance, Alizarin Crimson).  There’s an argument for getting the 40 ml tube of Permanent White…(no, I’m not doing it yet)…

I would post my test paper, but I got into practicing brush lettering in Japanese, and it probably looks horrible compared to native calligraphy and says things I didn’t intend it to, so I…think I’ll save that.  ^_^;;

That aside, I now know why one of my books tells me to write “mu” in a way different from that in which I learned it:  it’s just too complicated to work with a brush, otherwise.

I’m getting a bit frustrated with not moving forward more quickly with the Japanese; then again, it isn’t my top priority.  Work, school, and keeping myself balanced, are.

Speaking of which, I’ve got to decide whether to do homework tomorrow, or not…

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Difficulty switching modes…

After a day or so of fully working for as long as I have been awake, it’s kind of difficult to shift back into a mental space where I have options, and time.

Today was mostly spent asleep; yesterday…I can’t remember much because I was that exhausted, and M wouldn’t let me fall asleep during the day.  Accordingly, I lay down at 7:30 last night and slept nearly all the way through to 11:30 this morning.  I guess I was TIRED.  Then I got up, ate, fell asleep at about 1:30 PM, and slept again until 5 PM.

To my credit, I did get work done on the Japanese language acquisition — although it’s frustrating to have to re-learn kana (Japanese syllabary) again.  I have most of the hiragana memorized to the point where it’s easily recognizable and retrieved, although I still may mis-write if I move too fast; katakana is another story.

When I was first taking Japanese-language classes, katakana were mostly ignored; we were told to learn this set of kana on our own.  Due to both this and the relative rarity of their use (when compared with hiragana and kanji), there are a number of katakana that I don’t easily remember.  Today, after having finished the hiragana handbook, I started in on katakana and realized that this was going to be much harder for me, than the former.

I’m thinking I’m experiencing a bit of caffeine withdrawal as well, because I’m really irritated at this, right now.  I’m also tired, again.

Also, though, I was able to sit through what I had to for this week in UX (User Experience) and finish reading the incredibly light reading assigned for this week (four pages).  Which is kind of irrational, when compared with all the work I had to do over the weekend, and the fact that I just had to read two books over two weeks.

But anyway.  I did have the option of working with watercolors, today, but I just really didn’t feel up to it.  One of the new colors (Cobalt Turquoise Light) I have, is one I intended to get about two weeks ago, but someone had put a regular Cobalt Turquoise in its slot (they aren’t the same color!), and I neglected to check the label before purchasing it.

Now I have the Light shade, but my toxin anxiety is acting up, and I’m hesitant to use it.  (It was likely stimulated by finding a beautiful yellow paint which was made with an antimony-containing component, on my last trip to the art store — this is W&N Naples Yellow Deep, PBr24.  On looking up antimony toxicity, I can see that I had a bigger shock than maybe this warranted, but still…)

The other new color is Phthalo Green:  Yellow Shade, which I have wanted to compare to Phthalo Green:  Blue Shade (I’m hoping to get warmer greens), but for some reason, I think I did not want to waste (or “waste”) watercolor paper on this.  Which isn’t a really good excuse, because I have enough watercolor paper, and have discovered that the paper I’m using isn’t really all that great, anyway.  And I can’t learn if I don’t practice.

So I have been practicing kanji and kana, and I think the reason for this is that it’s easier for me to switch back into a studying mode than an art mode, when I’ve been locked in “studying mode” for a while.  Art…is much less structured.

And speaking of structure, I have to work tomorrow, so I should see if I can fall asleep, again…

Pale imagery

O hi.  So…even though I did not succeed in using the Stonehenge paper last night, I did pull around 10 suminagashi prints which were decent.  Unfortunately, they are so subtle that I question whether it’s worth it to show them.  The one print which breaks this pattern is shown below:  first having adjusted the Levels (color balance) on Photoshop, and then with no color adjustments.

3395wl
suminagashi print utilizing Boku-Undo inks and Sumifactant.  This was the brightest of the set, though I have enhanced the color using Photoshop’s Levels option.

I’m including this one first because — at least you can see the patterning, here.  The rest of my prints are fairly pale.  And even this one is not quite as deep as the Levels adjustment makes it seem.  Here is the same image without the Levels adjustment, everything else the same:

3395w
Without the Levels adjustment.

I think it’s more subtle and tends to hold together better.  The actual color balance is somewhere in between these two images.  Seriously, though…?  This is the deepest colored swatch I got out of the batch.  The rest of them are very subtle, for example:

3402w
Beautiful in its pattern, but very very pale.

This one actually looks like I was making stationery for a really nice hand-inked letter or drawing!  Something where what was on top was supposed to take center stage.

I feel like trying this again — I don’t see how I can do much worse than last time — it’s just that I have something of a hesitance to work with the materials (as regards exposure to chemicals).  I did look up my initial query and the main ingredient in the Sumifactant which I was unfamiliar with:  I don’t think I have much of anything to worry about.  On the other hand, this is messy!

Or not messy, so much, but wet.

I’m thinking of trying the yellow and orange also this time, too.  It might contrast well with a violet print.

Of course, though, then I also have to cut papers down…again…*sigh*…but then I get to use a sharp thing!  😉  (I dunno why I like this, except that it demands high concentration of the type I’m used to from martial arts.  The same applies to using torches for hot metalwork.  But it does not apply to using toxic paints.  I don’t know why…)

So I find myself with a free half-hour.

Although it is very apparent to me that my Cataloging class is discouraging me from the career path I laid out for myself (though this is largely not my fault), it still looks like more of a match than Digital Services.  It may be as well that Information Organization is a better name for it, than calling it “Cataloging;” the latter puts too much emphasis on whether I do well in this class.  And hey:  if I get a “D” on the first test, I have four others to get “A”s on.

At this point I do realize that maybe Library work (as versus Information Science)…isn’t so bad.  My interests and values do run along this line, and now that I am getting a deeper taste of what Information Services actually entails, it doesn’t put me off as much.  I consider myself very much a Humanities person, which would seem to be something without much value, outside of this enclave.

What I can see is that there is a fairly large problem historically in the American Library field around validation and inclusion of different races and cultures (very apparent when looking at the development of the field)…but I’m a person who can help tackle that.  In addition, in my area the librarians and library staff are, as I’ve said before, pretty chill.  And everybody dislikes dealing with difficult people (even Librarians have to turn to each other for support), not just me.

I did find a quotation a while back…which I’ve forgotten, but the gist of it was that the vast majority of jobs in the U.S. are presently service jobs.  Given that, what percentage of the population actually wants to work a service job?  And what is the alternative?  Manufacturing?  Agriculture?  (Okay, well, agriculture could be interesting, too…)  I think those were the two categories other than service.  Important, yes, but Information Services are also important…in a country run by the people wherein the people are kept ignorant, it becomes far too easy for the people to make decisions that impact themselves and others negatively.

Alright, I have to get back to work, but I wanted to note this.  Maybe when I get home I can work on my Dewey reading and homework…

“Mad Skillz”?

Well, hopefully soon I’ll be able to get out and replace the two paints which I need to (Raw Umber and Cadmium Red Medium Hue, now — the neck screwed off of the tube in the latter today, too), and maybe pick up an Ivory Black.  Due to multiple prior commitments (and the fact that the cheaper art stores are farther away), I wasn’t able to do it, today.

I am considering dropping one of the Library School courses in Fall to give myself more time to go through the work for my Vocational program, and to do art — and to restart my Communication group.  Taking only six units in Fall would also mean my tuition would be entirely covered by my grant, meaning the only expenses I would have would be for computer hardware and my books.  This would mean that I wouldn’t be out of much if I decided it wasn’t for me.

My technical course is really the make-or-break of all this.  If I do well and I like it, I should be able to move forward with the Technical Services track.  If I don’t do well and/or don’t like it…I’ve really got to question whether Library School is my best option.  Social skills have been my weakest area…and without that, my main focus would be Cataloging (which is outsourced in my system) or Management (which doesn’t seem compatible with a lack of good social skills).

I could try for the Special Librarianship track, but if I’m serious about it, that might take more than three years (and this is one of the tracks of which my technical course might predict the outcome).  Or:  I’d need to take 12 units for a couple of semesters.  Doable, if I don’t have to worry about work…but it’s relatively vital to remain employed in LIS while doing a degree in LIS.

Of course, the Vocational program should be able to help me out with making decisions around this.  Right now, Editing, Graphic Design, and Web Design are all looking alluring — due to the paperwork I’ve been filling out which has started me thinking about what I’ve liked to do best in my (meager) past employment.  One of those things was reworking the layout and editing of a course reader:  I felt confident at my verbal editing skills, and happy when the layout turned out the way I wanted it to.

(Of course, though, I was using MS Word, which was fairly buggy when it came to formatting images, text boxes, columns, etc.  The experience did help, though, when putting together a List of Works for my final Artist Talk in Creative Process.  It’s likely that if I had used a page-layout program like Quark or InDesign for the reader, the desired results would have been easier to achieve.)

It was work, as regarded what I was doing and the fact that readability was a major goal; I left the Graphic Design track because I was told that I “could do more” than be a Graphic Designer.  I didn’t know what that meant, and I kind of still don’t; but the person who told me this doesn’t seem to be teaching at that location, anymore.  That advice (and a rather stupid run-in with a collectively paranoid Graphic Arts e-group) was the reason I got the Art AA first, though, instead of diving fully into Multimedia Arts or completing the Graphic Design series.

The major drawback to working in Graphic Design is that I would need an apprenticeship, plus more schooling (though relatively cheap schooling — unless I went for an MFA).  The minor drawback is occupational exposure to toxins (not so minor if you ask the teachers I’ve had who are cancer survivors), and the fact that I may need to pay for health insurance on my own.  Graphic Design is also not a particularly lucrative field, so far as I know.

There is something of an art community in Oakland…I remember going on field trips to a few design studios, but that must have been almost a decade ago.  There are also a number of galleries (enough to have regular Art Walks and Open Studios)…and, of course, the Museum.

Of course, Oakland isn’t the safest place to live, but I’ll save discussion on that for another day.  Granted that if it’s my life mission to be creative, losing my life in pursuit of that mission is just one of those things that could happen.  If my drive is strong enough to risk cancer, it’s probably strong enough to brave Downtown to see the galleries, or to live in an urban area (though I seriously don’t want to do the latter).

It’s also notable that there is a ceramics supply outlet and a jewelry supply outlet on this side of the water, though neither are close to me.  It’s possible that the East Bay has more of a thriving Arts community than I’m used to thinking about us having.

I should also note that I’ve identified my writing skills and art skills as something which counterbalances my lack of social skills.  It was nice to hear people say I had “mad skillz” tonight.  🙂

I’m getting tired at this point; I need to sign off…

I started writing about mandalas and ended up writing about inks.

I feel like maybe I should be looking at alternatives to Library School, while I have the free time.  I have just been thinking about how most Library Assistants who float between branches can end up with six hours or so at Circulation (or so it seems) when substituting for a Clerk.  Circulation can be easy — and it usually is — except when I get cases which I have to refer to higher ranking staff.  Which I’d be, mind you, if I took that job.

I’ll try not to go any further into that.

Earlier, I did continue on the little art-making spree I’ve been on since late last night (I think I’m going in little “spurts” of energy with everything:  I haven’t, for example, touched the career reading for days).  What I can say is that it’s been so long since I’ve seen multiple mandalas (though I just spotted both of my mandala coloring books), that I had to go and look through the “mandala” tag on the Reader just to get a sense of what basic shapes other people have filled the spaces with.  I didn’t want to stick with the cliché lotus petals.  I mean, they’re nice, but I need some variety, you know?  😉

It could be interesting, to make a research project out of this…unfortunately, as for now, the post I have in mind to create isn’t fully formed, yet.  I want to make examples of how space can be divided up (360/?), the differences that the orientation of these spaces can make, and what simple shapes can take up those spaces — which will require either photography or my Wacom.  I have a strong feeling that reference to the Seven Basic Motifs of Best Maugard will come in handy here…though again, to explain this is much eased by using visual aids.

Right now, though…I feel like it’s writing time, not art time.  It could be the sunset, or it could be the fact that I’m not wearing my glasses — or maybe that’s just enough “art” for the day.  I got to the point with my second mandala of the day (not counting the one at midnight last night) where I really had to take a photograph, because I could see this mandala diverging in a way that I hadn’t expected.

Right now I have a kind of Art Deco-type pattern going on in the background which is reminding me of shark teeth.  I had expected “arrowhead,” not so much “shark.”

But with my mental state as it is, things like that are going to come out.

I’m also experimenting with an asymmetrical fill pattern, for the first time — it looks fairly nice, except for the fact that it’s swirling counterclockwise and I noticed, but made no change to it (because, I expect stuff like that to come out at this time).  For those who don’t know:  counterclockwise spiralling can indicate decay or death (IIRC), though this is more of a fire-type motif (probably a “Wheel of Fire” reference).

Right now, I have maybe three out of ten spaces filled with the shark pattern.  I’ve also realized why others have used edges to their work with mandalas — there’s a lot of underlying work which happens before any of the final elements are laid in, which has to be decluttered before painting.  I’m just not sure whether I want a deep black in there, or not (I have a tendency to paint pastel-toned paintings; going all the way in tonality to black could be shocking as regards the rest of the work…or it could force me to use a decent amount of paint, which may not be a bad thing).

Right now I have four options, as regards inking:  Black, Sanguine, Warm Grey, or Cool Grey waterproof fineliner.  Both of the Grey tone pens will be barely noticeable.  I’m using a 2B pencil (Faber-Castell; I love these, even though I have expressed frustration with 2B before) to do all of the basic pencil work, intending to erase it out, later — so it’s nice to have some inks that can withstand eraser scrubbing — and water.

Why only these four colors?  The other fineliners I have are all water-soluble (Stabilo and Staedtler); and I’m not intending to underpaint with them.  🙂  Both Micron and Copic have relatively decent waterproof qualities, though I’m much more familiar with Microns.  Pitt pens by Faber-Castell…they say that they are waterproof, but my own tests have shown a bit of pigment movement under water; a second student in my program confirmed this when I mentioned it.

I do also have bottled ink, which I didn’t remember until just now.  I was in class with someone who would use ink wash as an underdrawing and then layer color on top of it.  I’m not sure what type of ink that was, but it didn’t budge under the later painting.

I suspect it might have been waterproof Sumi ink, but there is no way that I’m using the bottle I have of that, with all the caution signs that are on it (it contains shellac, meaning it probably also contains camphor as a solvent…and I don’t remember either of those as being safe.  The bottle says to wash your hands for 15 minutes if you get it on your skin, IIRC).

I have Yasutomo bottled ink, already (needed it for a Drawing class); and I don’t remember it moving under subsequent layers of water when I used it on Illustration board (the latter of which, I still don’t know how to use — it’s kind of weird how the board warps [and unwarps] with water), even though that ink is not said to be waterproof.  I think it just soaked into the board and got stuck.  It would be interesting to see how this ink behaves on a different material.

I’m thinking that traditionally, the setup for Sumi-E is very different from what we would use with Western watercolors; it would be on top of an absorbent surface, and the paper would not be thick cotton-rag watercolor paper, but probably more like washi paper (which is very thin).  I’ve never done this myself, mind you; so I’m not an expert…but watercolor paper is likely not a traditional surface on which to use Sumi ink!

Stick-based Sumi ink (with a brush, for toned areas) would likely be physically safer than the waterproof liquid stuff, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve ground my own ink…and I would need to learn how to recognize the type of stick I would want (Sumi ink is generally either pine soot or vegetable oil soot; the two of these formulations have different properties).  I’m lucky that I can already (somewhat?  I see another spelling) recognize the kanji for “pine” (the one I’m thinking of is very basic, and another reason I’d like to just simply insert images here [not that I would have known beforehand that I’d want to show a kanji for “pine”])…but going further than that, I’d be best off asking a specialty provider of Asian art materials:  one of which, I know; shipping just may cost as much as my order.  Then there is Japantown, but I’d be relying on the salespeople there to read things for me.

My biggest concern with using bottled ink is what type of nib to use.  I need fine lines, meaning I’d probably need a steel nib (not quill [which it seems one needs to be able to make on one’s own], bamboo, or reed), meaning I’d have to prep the steel nib (there is an anti-rust coating on them that repels ink and has to be burned off; meaning I’d need some way to hold that nib while it’s smoking hot, and I may have softened one pair of plier jaws already by doing this; I count myself lucky that I can even still use those pliers)…it may be too much trouble, for now.

Anyway…these are side streets that I don’t have to take, for now, but which may be interesting in the future.  In particular, I’m looking at this train of thought I started with the Sumi ink, brushes, and nibs.  I kind of wonder what I can do, with that…I had been thinking about using inks more, at the beginning of Summer Break.  Then I got more into the work with the Watercolors — particularly after acquiring a more-full palette.

I still really do want to see what possibilities of colors I can get with the newer pigments I obtained.  The major ones are a deep Hansa Yellow, close to Gamboge or Indian Yellow; a light Hansa Yellow (they’re very different); Deep Vermilion; Magenta Permanent; Dioxazine Violet; Sap Green; and Payne’s Grey.  I also want to see what I can get by mixing my Earth Tones with more concentrated color!  (I started at this today with Burnt Sienna + Deep Vermilion, which…oddly enough, gave a flesh tone?)

What I need to start doing is working at some mixing charts…it would have been easier today if, for example, I knew what my colors were going to do when I mixed them!  I guess there is a place for preliminary play…

Recovery from my last episode

So I was up at 7 AM today to get to a counselor’s appointment.  I still need to send off a bit of mail both to her and to my old supervisor…gah.  I forgot to mention that filling in extra hours at work, and staff changes, made me more stressed; prior to the breakdown about Library school and the home conflict.

I didn’t have to get to work until 11 AM today, but apparently seven hours of sleep is not enough for me, and trying to nap for 45 minutes after the appointment didn’t stop me from being worn-out after five hours of work.  Granted, I only had one break.  But still:  I was getting a migraine by the time I could finally leave.  Oddly enough, having an eight-hour day with breaks every two hours and a lunch might actually be easier.

As for notes from the session…which I need to write somewhere where I can see them…apparently I’m still in a fairly fragile state, and so I’ve been advised not to even think about the career issue (Library Science?  Writing?  Art?) for the next two weeks.  This is because it’s too easy to exacerbate my state when I start trying to plan the rest of my life and I’m still dealing with doom-and-gloom mental tendencies.  What I’ve been tasked with is simply getting through each day and taking care of myself.

There are a few things that help with this.  Reading actually helps to calm my brain down and stop inner conflict, by superimposing narration on top of it.  The narration, then, becomes my main focus; for me it actually is like meditation.  Tonight I’ve been reading largely (all?) online, leading me to realize that I feel a bit lonely and may be seeking the wrong source to fill that need.  I’m told that reading career materials is OK in moderation, as long as it isn’t anxiety-producing.

Writing is one of those things that helps, unless I’m writing fiction.  If I’m writing fiction and I’m feeling depressed, my thoughts can cascade into dark places (X leads to Y leads to Z…), and then that can just exacerbate whatever I’m going through.  I’ve learned that my brain can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and so whatever I imagine to be happening, it might as well be reality — as that’s the way my brain treats it.  This is not a good thing when my brain tends to catastrophic scenarios.

Psychologically, I know that — most — things I experience in the outer world are in the outer world, but there is a blur between that and my subjective experience.  There are things that can happen outside of me which I interpret erroneously, but I have no idea I interpreted erroneously, because it feels true.  There are also things that happen outside of me which I’m told I interpret erroneously (like my hair attracting attention), which still seem to be right on, given later experience (like the cashier complimenting my hair).

Art is one of these things that’s a relatively safe space for me.  I haven’t had the energy today to work at my watercolors…but color work is one of these things that I really enjoy, for some unknown reason (though I’m told I don’t have to know the reason).  My counselor mentioned trying to introduce structure into my unstructured time, so I don’t, for example, sleep too long and then — having slept so long — end up feeling groggy and lethargic when I am awake.

I’m supposed to try and get out of the house, every day:  even if it’s just for a walk, to help my recovery.  I’m thinking about going out and trying to draw or paint, on days when I have no other reason to go outside.  I don’t particularly like being outside around here, because there’s lots of pollen; it gets caught on my skin and in my hair, and then I have to shower — or itch, sneeze, get rashes, etc.  It’s possible that I may be able to wrap my hair up so that I won’t have to wash it…it’s really thick, and hard to take care of (this is just in general a deterrent from spending time in the sunlight and fresh air).  Plus, the dogs.  Always, the dogs.

At least some of them are friendly; and I’ve got to take a shower, after, anyway.

I still remember the time I was on a walk with a friend and these two dogs were walking toward us with their people.  I was itching because I was sweating and the pollen was sticking to my skin.  This big Husky puppy came up to me and licked the place I was scratching, and then it stopped itching.

🙂

Sweet dog…

I’m going to try and take care of myself, now, and not neglect my self-care like I seem to have been doing for the last month-and-a-half.  I should wash my face, brush my teeth, and get some rest…