I feel like I should write something here…I haven’t written in a week, and that’s largely because I’ve not had the energy or time to do so.  However, I’m cutting back on hours at my job, meaning I’ll now have five complete days to work on homework (and lectures, and other things) instead of four.

What happened is that I became so exhausted from the increase in work after Labor Day (Sept. 4th) that Thursday (the 7th?) and Sunday (the 10th?) were spent largely asleep — and that left me with two days (or 48 hours) to do a week’s worth of work for three classes.

Last night, I was up very late to get a number of assignments done by their deadlines.  I do have accommodations, but I prefer not to use them if I don’t have to.

So today, you know, I was catching up on work and found myself falling asleep towards the end of a lecture.  Actually, as I’m writing this, I’ve woken up from the second time I’ve fallen asleep, today (I had to take medication and brush my teeth, at least) — if you don’t count falling asleep around 3 AM last night to be “today.”  I then fell asleep once before dinner, and once after dinner.

On the bright side, I’m nearly caught up with everything.  I did realize, however, that I had been neglecting my Archives class…there weren’t a lot of deliverables there, so I worked on what I needed to turn in.  Accordingly, I think I missed an Archives lecture (I’m missing notes on it) — but I can deal with that.

I think the biggest takeaway from this is that I do need quiet study time, without the distraction of the TV or family.  I have been largely able to avoid playing around on the computer — this is because I know I only have so long I can sit here and not get spine issues.

Also…I seem to be settling around what I’ll do with my spare time…though it hasn’t panned out yet, because I haven’t had much spare time (other than time used for sleeping).

I’ve realized that I can create my own clothes, for one thing.  I feel relatively motivated on that level, because I’ve realized that I can do the same thing for my wardrobe as I’ve done with my jewelry:  make a bunch of customized stuff that I wouldn’t feel bad wearing.

As I wrote elsewhere…creativity may be my way out of the gender dilemma I’m facing.  I don’t, that is, have to rely on store-bought clothing and jewelry which doesn’t get across who I am.  And sewing — hand sewing, at least — does seem to calm me.

Then there is the fact that I still want to learn Japanese language.  I found a number of books on this which look fairly awesome — and I’ve realized that reading things in romaji (Roman letters), although it doesn’t help with character memorization, allows me to recognize words faster.  If I see something written in romaji, that is, I can easily tell if I comprehend the sentence or not (and most basic-level sentences, I do comprehend).  This recognition isn’t there when reading kana and kanji, though it is nice that the kanji give the meaning of the word — though they don’t tell you how the word is spoken.

And then there is graphic design research…making things, you know?  At this point I’m unsure if I want to go into Web Design (though that honestly looks awesome — except for the pay scale) or become an Adult Services Librarian with a tech component — say, in Virtual Services.  I have both paths open to me, now.  If I take the set of classes I’m thinking of, I could only have three more semesters of substantive work ahead of me, including Summer.  The semester after that would be devoted to Culminating Experience, and then I would be done.  There is a complicating factor here, of finances:  I will need to talk to people about that.  Actually, I should approach counseling on three fronts:  Academic, Voc Rehab, and Financial Aid.

As for the Art practice:  that’s pretty much just not happening, though I have an idea as to why, now.

I think my cognizance is burning out.  I should go back to bed.


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…

Sleep hygiene chaos, plus essential knowledge gained

I finished What’s the Alternative?:  Career Options for Library and Info Pros by Rachel S. Gordon, last night…at about 3 AM.  I may want to go back and reread sections of it, and I know that I will want to look back into the books referenced, in Appendix D.

Did I mention this took place at 3 AM?

My sleep schedule is all messed up:  I lay down at 8:30 PM, fell asleep after 9 PM, then woke (2:15 AM), took medication; lay back down, got up (3 AM), ate a little, fell back to sleep (4:30 AM), woke for breakfast (11:30 AM), went back to sleep (12:30 PM), woke about 4 PM.  This is why I don’t like trying to change my sleeping schedule!

I know I need to be going to bed earlier, but I have constant experience with lethargy, unless I have slept for 14-16 hours.  In today’s case it could have been because I didn’t take my (sedating) medication until 2:15 in the morning, though.  And yesterday it could have been because I didn’t take medication until 1 AM.

Hmm.  Now that I’m looking at my records, my medication time has been shifting later and later (I’m supposed to take it at 9 PM, which is why I know I fell asleep after 9, last night:  the medication alarm went off; and I turned it off and fell asleep without taking it).  I can try and do something about that, and hope (?) that it makes it easier to get up in the morning…and that it won’t just contribute to oversleeping.

I mean, obviously I was tired, if I lay down at 8:30 PM, right?

Anyhow…I learned in What’s the Alternative? that, at least as of the time the book was published (2008), it would not be expected that one could learn essential tech skills in order to open up technology-based career paths, just from classes in LIS.  Because of that…if I want to work in Web Design after getting out, I’ll have to teach myself programming.  Either this, or I could re-enter Computer Information Systems training after graduation; I’m just not entirely certain how I’ll fit that in, timewise.  And that’s largely because I don’t know what kind of job I will have at that time.

I’ve compared the Graphic Arts and CIS curricula; CIS is actually closer to what I need.  And I’ve actually compared the two systems teaching this which are nearest me…I can do this.  I might be able to do this by cutting some courses out of my future Master’s program and taking Community College courses in CIS, in person, but that doesn’t seem like the best option.

Alright:  I’ve just sent off an email about this.  I should probably try and get ready for bed, as I did just take medication, and I don’t have anything to do except homework.  (I suppose that’s a good thing, as I have three assignments due in a week.)  The hard part will be actually contacting and setting up meeting times for the assignment I was given last week…though I guess that in a pinch, I can have family test what I need tested…

Trying not to spaz about assignments

OOOokay, people, I drank 1.5 pots of houjicha earlier tonight, and so I am not certain when I will sleep. 😛 By “pot,” I mean that I brewed the first set of tea leaves twice, and the second set once, when it became apparent that I had leached all the goodness out of the first batch. (I’m kind of amazed at the fact that the tea will still steep, even without boiling water…I just sprinkled the new tea into a pot of hot water, stirred it, and it worked.)

Right now I’m feeling okay and a little drowsy (I have been known to fall asleep right after drinking Jasmine green tea…and houjicha will probably have less caffeine in a standard dose, as about half of it is stems), and just took medication, so…if everything goes as normal, I should be conking out around midnight. Meaning, I should brush my teeth in an hour or so (11:15 PM), before I get too wiped out to even do that.

I did just get out of the shower — not sure how long my hair will take to dry, but I usually go to bed with it damp, in these circumstances. One wash with a conditioning shampoo, mostly at the roots, and a comb-through with a detangling comb and no conditioner, this time. I think it will be alright — it doesn’t feel dehydrated (yet).

I only got up around 1:30 PM today; I just checked my records. This is why I was after the tea; I was having a hard time (again) staying out of bed. It doesn’t help that when I’m sitting at my desk, which is a quiet (silent) and isolated place to work, my bed is right behind me. As for what I got done today…I finished the reading in my textbook which I mentioned last time, although it took me a number of hours to get through it. It’s amazing, because the reading was only about 15 pages long…I think this is the book that I had been complaining about, before. It’s just very dense and kind of difficult.

In any case, I can now view the lectures for Metadata, and complete the last Discussion Topic…which I think I may need to do before viewing the lectures. I’ve made a skeletal PowerPoint layout for my presentation on Sunday for Research Methodologies. I should probably reserve a time to do that, so I’m not forced to do it early. I can’t do it right now, though, unfortunately. I don’t know why, except they assumed we knew how to edit HTML.

Last night, I started in on my Quiz for Cataloging…that one is going to be more of a pain to get through (lots of essay questions, which are easier on me than technical questions — but still), but it’s the last thing I’ll have to do for that class. If I get 0 points on everything I’m not sure about, I’ll get a C in the course (apparently, 80% is a C in grad school). And like I said, come Monday, all I’ll have to do is the Annotated Bibliography, and I’ll have a full week to do that (though I want to get it done by Friday).

I am just hoping to do as best I can on the Cataloging Quiz, but I don’t think I can hope for better than a B (or an A-, if I stretch my imagination). The Discussion Topic is last priority, though it’s easy. The presentation won’t break me if I don’t do well; but I need to do it. The major nervousness about it is that it has to do with altering infrastructure as a means of actually being inclusive (as versus pushing “diversity” initiatives), which I wouldn’t think the people in the organization I’m abstractly referencing would welcome.

I think I am running in a cycle of overwork + burnout; like I do a lot of work one day and then don’t want to see it again for three days. I know I don’t have much farther to go, and that these due dates are hard due dates (or so I’m assuming). It’s just that I’m really tired of this semester and am wearing out, about now, and want to get on to the break like NOW. Or yesterday, preferably. I’ll try and keep going through Monday, and maybe that’s all I should focus on, right now.

That sounds good. And I’ll look at work tomorrow as a designated and sanctioned time to get my mind off of this. Another time would happen as I’m editing my family member’s funeral pamphlet. Couldn’t forget about that…

And yes, I am trying to single-space my sentences. How observant of you to notice! 😉 (I don’t know if it shows up at all, really; I’m just trying to break outdated habits which only made sense on typewriters…)

This is definitely a depressive episode.

I’m trying to decide whether to write, or read, right now.  It’s pretty clear to me that I am in a depression, at this point:  sleeping for 14 hours and then having to decide to get up (or bribe myself into getting up by telling myself I’ll play with my beads) isn’t normal.

I’m thinking that maybe I need to change my vocabulary around when I say I feel “tired.”  There is actually being tired, when I really need sleep; and then there is being low-energy and lethargic and not seeing anything more interesting to do than stay in bed — but not necessarily needing sleep.  (Which reminds me that exercise, though painful, should help me get through this state.)  Though…I do wonder if I actually need the sleep, or not.

I know I need about 8-10 hours of sleep to be OK, but 14 is a bit much (it’s like I’m making up for that 4-6 hours of sleep I got a night in high school).  Right now, I’ve only been out of bed for about eight hours.  It seems that it would be OK to stay up because of that, but throwing off my sleep schedule will only make the depression worse.  It’s really better to go to bed early and wake up at 5:30 in the morning, like I did today…just not to go back to sleep for another eight hours.

Also, where it comes to judgment — sometimes I think I don’t need B vitamins and then I slip into a place like this and use up a megadose.  (I can tell if I use them all up because excess B-complex…well, it’s obvious…I won’t say what I’m thinking because I don’t want this post indexed with those words, but if you take B-complex megadoses both when you do and don’t need them, it’s obvious when the excess passes through.)

Which makes me think:  hmm.  B vitamins.  Maybe I need some of those…

I just found a bottle of B-12 sublingual (megadose), which should help for tonight.  Maybe I can get up around 10 AM tomorrow and get some B-complex and check out the art store.  I’ve been studying in my office, and as such, have been looking at the drawings I made in marker on the giant pad of sketch paper on my altar table.  Well, actually, I threw them aside to get a fresh (non-dusty) surface, and then started looking at them (when they were on the floor).

(Yeah, I kind of have papers thrown all over the place, right now…)

I can actually see some things going on there that I hadn’t noticed, before.  For one thing, there is the inference of a dragon or gryphon in the focal point of one of my images, which was entirely unconscious.  For another thing, I’m appreciating the bold colors and large strokes on the other image.  These were the two images I was talking about a while ago, which I decided not to put online because they were just for me, and I didn’t want to deal with the psychic interference of potential (positive or negative) judgment, in my process.

I recall…in the book, The artist’s way, which I started using some years ago and then left off of (it’s kind of like a creativity-nurturing program), there was an exercise called “The Morning Pages,” where someone writes for maybe half an hour to 45 minutes every day right after they wake up, and then move on with their day.  You’re not supposed to look back over these writings for a while, just do them and move on.  I’m wondering if that would work with visual art.  My folks say it should.

I mean, that could be something to get up for, right?  It also sounds like a good way to generate a lot of ideas for artworks — or even just “flex those creative muscles.”  (Yeah, I don’t like that phraseology…my brain is not a muscle…)

Right now, I’ve just finished listening to a fairly long lecture.  I’ll listen to the next one tomorrow, then try and crank out the graded homework I missed…I don’t think my brain can take another hour of needing to pay rapt attention.  But I’m getting to the point where I’ve realized just how much work I’ve got ahead of me.

I’ll need to submit a Discussion Board post by Thursday in Research Methodologies, meaning that I’ll want to have gotten the assigned readings and lectures out of the way before then.  In addition, I’ll need to have done enough initial research to have dug into a bit of a Literature Review.  I have a lot of sources already (I was searching “minority librarians” under a large database — after I found that this was the preferred term under the controlled vocabulary), but I’ll need to sort through them and read the most promising ones.

And the Cataloging homework is relatively steady.  I haven’t read Lecture 4 yet, so I don’t know if this will have me working online again — but the Cataloging Professor gives out written lectures, not audio ones, and I can easily map out what needs to be done soonest.  (I think there may be practice sheets for Week 4, too…gah.)

So I basically got two weeks behind on everything while I was trying to figure out Dewey and freaking out and getting anxious and depressed and trying to put together a fall-back position.  Was it worth it?  I’m not sure — I haven’t checked my grades, yet, but I don’t think this Professor is one to give a student an F because they were off (even slightly off) on two out of six questions.  Although a 60% is an F, in my system.

And yes, the B12 tablet is still under my tongue…how long is this thing supposed to take to dissolve???

Better yet, no one knew this was a sublingual tablet but me?  Did they just swallow the things without reading the bottle???

Okay, it’s gone.  I feel better now.  🙂

Making today sound like a disaster…

Most of my waking hours today were taken up doing one of the optional readings I skipped over, last semester (recommended if we had interests in Cataloging or Metadata).  I…am continually amazed at the state of information transfer I’ve experienced in, particularly, the last five years.  The text I was reading was actually fully online (yes, the entire book) and accessible through my library.  The text which linked to it is in itself electronic.

But why did I do this?  Well, I was sitting here staring at a blank page and trying to decide what and whether to write, when I realized that I had options.  I’ve recently been trying to read more so that I have something of substance to write about, when I do write.  I…am also finding something interesting happening with the way it feels when I’m reading something with which I have to pay full attention to keep up.  (and yes, I did take notes.)

I think it is something I’ve been missing, since classes let out.  Maybe it’s one of those things where my mind has to have something to work on or else it starts to implode…

Right now I’m trying to figure out how much more work towards my career I want to do over vacation, and how much I want to invest in that work as well, given that my sickness over the holidays — well, my sickness plus the holidays — means that I am not going to get paid very much, this time around.  (I ran out of sickleave and do not get paid vacation.)  Not that this should severely impact me…but I just worry about money as it is.

I should still make a date to go back to the career development pages I know about…

Next date for the Vocational program meeting is this coming Wednesday.  I tried to reschedule, but it was a Friday afternoon when I called in, and I haven’t been recontacted yet.  Apparently it’s convenient to the person I’m seeing if I come in on Wednesday mornings, but Mondays and Wednesdays are the most problematic days for me to meet — especially in the early morning.  Not only this, but the past three meetings have been aborted because one or both of us have been sick.  So I will have to either call in late on Wednesday morning to work, or reschedule:  problem is that if I go in late on Wednesday, this is becoming a pattern.

Also a problem:  my completion of my “homework” for this program is also relatively spotty; I didn’t go out with one of my friends as I was told to; I’m on Chapter 7 of the book I was assigned to read (although that’s better than not reading it at all); I was told by my mental health team that I didn’t need a psychologist as my counselor wanted; I tried to make contact with an Art Librarian and was not contacted back.  I then realized that I probably should be aiming more for Cataloging as a more hands-on activity and less a service one, and so didn’t follow up with either of the people who didn’t write back to me (I read only to try to elicit a response twice, and didn’t want to use up my second prompt).  I have records of what I think my counselor wants, but I am relatively uncertain as to what she meant by “class registration” (this terminology is not used currently at my University, unless I overlooked something).

Yeah, I guess this is frustrating, which explains why I haven’t been paying attention to it.  Problem also?  If I get kicked out of this program, I get kicked out for life.  This is not a low-stress thing for me.  And it’s been going on since last semester, when I realized too late that I only had 90 days to make an intake appointment.  The Wednesday thing had caused my counselor not to make an appointment for me, but I didn’t realize until two weeks before the end of my 90 days that I only had 90 days.

So what else is going on?  I managed to almost entirely forget about painting, today.  I got up for breakfast, ate, took meds, went back to bed, woke up at 4:30 PM and thought it was 4:30 AM until I realized that the sun doesn’t come up that early.

Okay, yes, writing this is irritating me.  I should go and read some more…


…and I’ve been asleep, nearly all day.  I woke up early today for a meeting, then found that my eyes and nose were burning and I was starting to sneeze.  The staff probably didn’t like this, but I stayed home from work, sick:  I’d rather nip it in the bud when I first start to get sick, and be better in a few days, then run myself into the ground and have a few miserable days when I am severely ill, unable to function, and subject to secondary infection.

Between school, work, and driving lessons, I’m pretty sure that something had to give (a couple of days ago, I had my first driving lesson with a new instructor.  I’m not sure if the stress of that, lowered my immunity).

Mysteriously, I’m still tired…the only two options as to why, are that I actually am fighting something off (that’s bigger than I suspect), or that I’m dealing with something psychological, in addition.

There’s not much of an option, though:  I have some work due soon that I haven’t started on because it’s annoying.  It also has an ungodly amount of points attached to it.  I will have to work on this, tomorrow, so unless I call in sick with my Prof, I won’t be able to sleep all day, again.

I’m writing here because I need to write something so that I’m not going into my paper feeling like I haven’t written in so long that I can’t think in words.

I also only have three weeks of school left — one of my group members reminded us all of this, today.  At least things are in line.  And if I get a C- in the Intellectual Freedom Seminar (I doubt I will, but the Prof is tough and I’m not into this class and we have two make-or-break papers due in the next three weeks, one of which I have 24 hours to write), it will tie with a certain math class for being the lowest grade I’ve ever gotten.

But life goes on after C-, and I’ll never have to take this class again.

Gah.  I can’t help but feel that I’m being told it’s OK to disagree, but then there is also an expected “correct” answer which may cause me to be thought of as inferior if I deviate from it (to clarify the reason I’m not liking this class)…

I think that by tonight, however, I have clarified the position I’ll take in my paper.  I don’t like the position I’ll have to take in my paper — it goes against my ethics — but it’s the one that makes most practical sense.

I can start work on it, now.