It has been a while since my last post I must admit.  For some reasangelandbirdnewon, this blog hasn’t been as important to me these past few months.  Late in 2016, I renewed my love for photography.  I have been taking pictures for as long I can remember.  When I was about 11 or so I had entered my photographs in the State Fair of Indiana.  I came in reserve best in show because the judges said a person of my age couldn’t have taken pictures that good.  But, after getting married, having kids, it seems as though life just kind of got in the way.  I would take pictures here and there, but they were mostly for my art dolls, purses, and other things I was working on, so taking the pictures was just something that needed to be done, not something I truly enjoyed.

Then I started researching digital cameras, how to sell stock photos, and started looking for my niche, what I find interesting and really wanted to spend time photographing.  After much thought, I realized I am fascinated with gravestones/statues/lost and forgotten things.  I then started my quest to find graveyard angels, the cute but sometimes sad little people who spend their days and nights watching over the dead.  They can be little cherubs sitting on the headstone to life-size angles that are standing over or slumped over the grave.  When you start reading the headstones it can be so interesting.  You begin to wonder what their life was like, why they have the gravestones they have, and who they were, what they liked, and what got them to where they are now.  The most touching are the graves of the young.  The babies who only lived a few hours or the children who spent such a short time on this earth.  You can normally recognize a child’s grave as loved ones will leave toys and other trinkets to keep them company.

Another thing I love to take pictures of would be old and abandoned buildings.  I wish I was younger, as at this age being able to climb in through windows and running away from the scene is just really out of my physical ability.  Urban exploring as a photographer lends itself to such interesting photos.  I do though find older buildings, abandoned cars, and other forgotten things to photograph.  There is really such beauty in the ways old things start to decay.  The plants that overtake the structure, the rotting of the wood and how nature takes back the abandoned.  These forgotten places make a person wonder why are they in this shape, what were the people who lived there like, why did they leave, and will the place ever be a usable building again?

If you are curious about what I’ve been taking pictures of check me out at michellelord.com.   You can even buy a print…  Is there something you used to like to do but haven’t in a while?  Something you have always wanted to try?  Well, you aren’t getting any younger so you might as well take the time and get to it.  Until next time…

 

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It really seems like I get longer and longer between my posts to this blog. Not sure why, maybe it is just life getting in the way, but it is probably time to start getting more consistent with this blog thing, as I have a lot to say, just need to put into words.

So, what is my rant today? Not sure. I have thought about a lot of things. How our President is doing in his first 100 days.

I have to admit he isntarget-1551490_640‘t my favorite person, but he has done lot of what he promised, so you have to give him some points on that. I could talk about some congress person  who is trying to pass a bill that certain types of sex is illegal, but my question is how do you know what I am doing in the privacy of my own bedroom? Are you really bugging and filming all Americans and we don’t know it? Kind of makes you think. I could talk about my attempts at growing veggies, and how after two years I think maybe I have figured out how not to do it, so now I just need to stop and try the exact opposite. I mean that would make sense, don’t you think. How about the state that is trying to pass a law where if someone breaks into your house and tries to kill you, but you kill them first, that if he lives he can sue you or if he dies the family can sue you? That has to be one of the stupidest things I have heard in a long time. I have a right to defend myself on my property. The minute you come into my house uninvited or with intent to do me or my family harm, you deserve whatever happens to you and your family doesn’t deserve a dime. What are some of these politicians thinking, or maybe that is the problem, they aren’t.

Maybe I ought to write about how with it now in the month of April, that I am finally making my goals for the year. A little behind you might say. Which, wouldn’t be a lie. I have for the past who knows how many years have said I am going to start writing this year. I am finally going to write short stories, novellas, where ever the characters take me and guess what? I still have nothing to publish. You know why? Because I was doing my goal setting completely wrong. If you make a list of what you are going to do, i.e. lose weight, write a book, get my degree, you are making such vague goals you are never going to accomplish them. I was reading an e-book the other day on how writers need to set goals. One of the main points is you can only make goals that can be done by you and need no outside force to complete. You can’t say, I’m going to 100 books this year, as you are depending on 100 people you don’t know to find your book and buy it, so you just set yourself up to fail. Now you can say I’m going to write 1000 words or 10 pages a day, then you are getting closer. You have given yourself steps to succeed, but you haven’t put anything in place to help you when you mess up and aren’t able to write for a couple of days.

What you really need to do is identify what is taking your time away from your writing or goal. Is it too much social media, too many TV shows, or whatever it is that you find yourself doing instead of writing? I know mine is too much TV. I like my TV. I grew up with the TV. It was my friend, my babysitter, and now if I start a show, I have to know how it ends. If I don’t know how it ends I spend the next four hours figuring out all sorts of alternative endings, where if I had just sat down and finished the show, I wouldn’t be wasting more time doing “what if.” Of course, if I never started the show and went in and started writing, I probably could have gotten at least 1000 words written in an hour or so instead. I also find myself needing to do research on one thing and an hour later I not only didn’t find the answer I needed, I ended up catching up on Facebook, looking up obscure websites on certain maladies, or any other host of different things that have nothing to do what I originally decided to do. Sound familiar to you?

I will admit, I’m far from an expert on how to truly set and finish goals, but I have a lot of experience in what not to do, as I am one heck of a procrastinating, scattered, easily distracted, and completely confused writer, so don’t do as I say, take my example and do the exact opposite… Till next time…

Image result for happy new year 2017Well, Happy New Years…  Here comes 2017, a new year, new possibilities, and will we make the best of it?  It is so hard to believe 2016 is gone.  I’m still sitting here wondering what happened to it.  The holidays were kind of surreal to a point.  I don’t know if it is because both Christmas and New Years were on a Sunday and then the holiday was celebrated on the following Monday just really has me off kilter.  My question is why do we need to take off the Monday when the holiday was already over?  Do people really need to take that day off?  What about us who work a weird schedule and Monday is already our day off?  I do know I was sitting at Christmas lunch with the family and it just didn’t feel like Christmas.  I know I live in Texas and it was in the 70s, and we were sitting outside, but the whole year of 2016 was a bit weird.

What I do know is I need to get my goals in writing for the new year.  I have never believed in resolutions.  Honestly, what is a resolution other than a hope or wish that has no plan?  Most people barely get two weeks into January before they have given up or forgot what their resolution even was.  What we need to do is make goals.  Goals are something you put in writing and then make a plan on how you are going to make them work.  Let’s say you want to lose 40 pounds.  Okay, good goal, but how are you going to do that?  You then make your short, medium and long-term plans on how you will make that happen.  Short term, lose five pounds in one month, medium 20 pounds within six months, and long term is by this time next year you will have lost the weight.  Now, just putting that down on paper is a start, but it still isn’t a goal.  To be a true goal you now need to put down the steps to get there.  Choose your diet, plan your meals, set a certain amount of time each week to exercise, and then you put these steps to the medium and long term goals also.  You should sit and do this type of planning to every goal you have for the new year, whether it be personal, financial, or business.  One thing I did was Google goal planning templates and the search came up with many free or very inexpensive forms to help you figure out how and what you really want to do, and then a plan to make it happen.  A lot of people try to set goals that are too hard to obtain and then when they fail they just give up.  Remember they should not be so simple that you barely have to work obtain the goal, but it shouldn’t be so hard that there is no way to obtain it.  Don’t set yourself up to fail by making goals that are unrealistic.

I know last January I said that 2016 was the year I was going to start writing fiction.  Guess what, I have like five or six different half started books that now I have no idea where I was even going with the story.  I just said it was the year for fiction writing, I didn’t make exact goals to get there.  Exact goals would have been a short story each week, or so many words written per week, or something that I can accomplish that is not dependent on someone else doing something…  The goal needs to be something tangible and related to you and your wants and skill set.

I am currently still working on my goals for the year.  I’m trying to make sure I am setting up goals that I can work towards, a plan for 2017, so on New Year’s day 2018, I’m not sitting in the same place I am today wondering what happened to the past year and why I didn’t get anything accomplished that I had planned to do.  Until next time…

I find myself in a strange situation, or I guess state of mind would be a better term for it.  I’m frustrated with life.  There isn’t just one thing I’m frustrated with, it is several small things that have become one big problem.  I can’t seem to put my finger onImage result for frustrated with life what is wrong, or when it started, but I know it has been coming on for a while.  I’m on my “happy” pills, and they are working, but for some reason not well enough.  Have you ever felt like if one more thing happens you are going to completely lose it?  Not sure what you’re going to lose, but you know it won’t be good.  I’m not one to throw or break things, as that just means I would have to find the money to replace the item, and I just am not wasteful that way.  I’m not a screamer, as throat surgery a few years back makes that painful.  I used to be a crier, but the pills have for the most part stopped that.  There are times when the waterworks would just flow, but now I sit there thinking this situation should really see me being more emotional, but I just don’t feel it.

I did read here a while back that if you take too much Tylenol (I think), that it makes you to where you just don’t care.  You’re not as empathetic as you used to be.  This is probably not a good thing as I take a combination of Tylenol and Aleve several times a day, as I am in chronic pain, and have been for years.  I have fibromyalgia, even though I don’t have a doctor who will give me that diagnosis.  Was told by one doctor that if your record shows fibro the rheumatologist will not see you, which I didn’t think was a good thing.  I mean I’ve never been to a rheumatologist, but if I ever need one, I want to make sure he will see me.  Over the years, I have had 3 car accidents where the other driver rear-ended me with 3 subsequent whiplash injuries, so my neck always hurts plus migraine headaches.  Not to mention, I have arthritis in just about every joint you can have it, so I am in pain, all the time.  Like they say, you have good days and bad days, but I don’t think that is the reason for my frustration…

Have you ever had to do something because you have to, but it takes every bit of your being to make yourself do it?  In my case it is a job, but I guess it could be anything in your life.  Seeing relatives you know don’t like you, but you know you have to make an appearance and be nice to them anyway?  I’m sure everyone has that one branch of the family you wish would fall off the tree and get thrown in the chipper machine.  Well, that might be a little extreme, maybe just picked up off the curb by the trash/brush truck.  A social or work shindig that you are “expected” to be at, even though they act like it’s not a big deal.  But, if you don’t show up you will hear about it on Monday.  Those things we do because we are adults and know that there are things we have to do that we may not like, but it is our responsibility to do it.  Not only do you have to do it, but you have to act like you are enjoying yourself, putting on that fake smile, making small talk, and thinking the whole time that you wished the smoke alarms would go off so you would have an excuse to leave.

The problem with having clinical depression is that you spend your life performing this balancing act of trying to show the world your “good self.”  The self that stays upbeat or smiles, puts on that show that everything is wonderful in the world, even though inside you just want to jump out of your own skin.  You feel like one more day of this job, or one more event or family get together, or whatever your trigger is, you are going to hit your last straw, last nerve, last whatever and then it will all come apart and it won’t be pretty.  The thing is once it gets to that point, not only do you scare yourself, you scare those around you, as they are wondering what is wrong with you.  What the heck happened for you to be acting like this, and usually they have no clue at all.  There are some whose family will call them drama queens, overly excitable, Debbie Downers, or whatever label they can come up with to explain your behavior.  Mine family just knows this is me, every once in a while I lose it, but give me time and I will be back to my old, happy self… Most people with deep depression are good actors. They put on a good front, but inside they are being held together with fraying ropes that are going to come apart any minute, that one last pull and the house of cards will collapse and they worry whether they will be able to come back from this time or is the house beyond repair.

I normally try to make my posts funny or lighthearted, but for some reason this one went to the dark side.  I know I’ve been hanging onto a job because most people would feel I would be dumb to resign, but if I don’t I’m not sure how much longer I can go before things get ugly… and that isn’t a place I really want to be.

If you are frustrated, depressed, feeling hopeless, not knowing where to turn, there are resources out there.  Find them, talk to someone, do something before you hit the abyss and can’t find your way out.  I promise my next post will be on something happier, like “the girls,” of which mine are probably to the age and size they should be called “the women,” but that just sound as good.  Till next time…

I see it has been a while since my last post.  I do mean well though.  I think about posting, as there isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t something to write about.  I mean the presidential election this year is going to be very interesting. Currently, I know who I’m not voting for, but have no idea who I am going to vote for.  I am looking strongly at the Libertarian candidate, as I consider myself an independent.  I vote for the person and the type of job I feel they will do, not what party they are.  The problem is that there really isn’t much difference between the Republicans and the Democrats to a point.  They say different things, but when it comes time to take action, you normally end up with the same thing.   Lies, broken promises, and wondering what has happened to our great country, the USA.  No matter how bad things look over here though, you would be hard pressed to find a country that is better to live in.  We still have freedom of speech, freedom to worship or not worship as we please, decide who to marry and how many children we want, and a whole host of other freedoms.  There are certain countries where if you said one bad word against the president or leader you would be killed or thrown in a locked cell never to be seen again.  If you were in their country illegally you sure wouldn’t be able to protest on the streets talking about what rights you should have.  First off, you probably wouldn’t want anyone to know you are there illegally and the minute they find out you of course will be either deported, jailed, or killed in the streets.   But, that wasn’t where I was going with this post…

You could also talk about the police shootings, racial tensions, all the acts of violence that are happening not only here but around the world, but that isn’t what I want to talk about.  I guess what is really bugging me right now is Facebook and social media.  I guess social media in general just has me baffled.  The other day I was told I was too dumb for words by a person I barely knew.  Don’t even think she was one of my friends, but I blocked her anyway.  All I had done was post a meme about gun control, which she took completely out of context and there you go.

I then had a Pastor who I have known for years up and block me because I didn’t agree with his politics.  First of all, why is a pastor telling me how to vote?  Not suggesting or saying the pros and cons of the situation, but that we have to have Hillary as president, Obama was the best president we have every had and Michelle Obama was a better first lady than even Jackie Kennedy… That last part really upset me.  But, what we got the most crossways over was how he felt like he could post all types of memes about how all white people are racist, we hate Obama because he is black, and other let’s hate all whites sort of items.  If you haven’t guessed it yet, he is a black pastor, of whom I was part of his church for a long time.  I told him first off I don’t hate Obama, I just don’t like his politics and what he has done for America.  I also try very hard to not see color, but after having all this race rhetoric thrown at me, it makes it very hard not to.  I guess when he posted for all to see that my husband had become loony and needed to get back on his meds just because he didn’t agree with the pastor, I finally had to tell him like it was.  Of course, we are both now blocked from his page, which is probably best.

The problem with social media is that for some reason people will say anything they want to you and about you because you are not face to face.  They can hide behind their computer screen, say anything they want, and then when things get too heated they can either block you, erase the posts, or just sign off.  I couldn’t imagine being a young person now, as I remember getting bullied and made fun of in school, but once you got home you could forget about it.  They didn’t have an easy way to communicate with you, and that was that.  Today, you can’t get away from them.  The bullies find you on social media and then harass you.  If you block them they will make a different screen name, get you to become friends, and then turn on you that way.  Someone can take a picture of you in a compromising situation and then blast it to everyone through texts or messenger.  It is just mind blowing.  I have told several people that if it wasn’t for wanting to keep up with my kids and friends, I would just close my Facebook account, but then I would lose out on my ability to communicate with them, and that would mean the bullies would win, and that is not an option.  I have come to the point where I try to post only cute and funny things so I don’t have to worry about the backlash… You know, pick your battles sort of thing.

But all that aside, my main focus right now is to finally start focusing on writing fiction.  I know I have been talking about this for a while, at least 3 years, but this year I turn a speed limit on August 1, you know the speed no one can drive?  55….  So, it is time to either start writing or move on to something else… Is there something in your life you have wanted to do, but just haven’t started or gave up on it?  Maybe it is time you take inventory of what you really want to do in this life before it is too late… As life does seem to go faster the older you get and before you know it you’re at the end…. Till next time….

a-ha-ha-wr-be-a-writer-funny1We are now on week 2 of my month of writing in May and my first week went to heck in a hand basket…  I didn’t get but 2 short stories wrote, 1 blog post, and nothing else… Today I have to step back, shake myself off, and try again.  There is no way to make up for last week, but I can still complete my writing goals from today on.  That is the thing about dreams… You have to put in the work to take them from the dream stage to reality.  I could get all upset, and beat myself up over not making my goals, but instead of worrying about it, I have to stop and regroup.  See if I am really chasing the correct dream or did I just let life get in the way.  Sometimes you start down a road of what you believe your calling is, or your dream, and get halfway down the road and realize you have no desire to follow this path at all.  I don’t mean you are just tired, but you decide you have no desire at all to even do it.  Sometimes what we think are roadblocks and obstacles are really landmines we have laid ourselves to keep from doing what we really aren’t wanting to do to begin with.

This isn’t always the problem.  A lot of the time you really want to follow a certain dream, but life really does get in the way.  When that happens you can’t just stop, but rearrange things, make a daily schedule, do whatever you need to do to make sure you have some time every day to work on your dream.  If you only have 15 minutes then use that time to write a chapter, a drabble, or whatever you need to do.  If you are an artist in 15 minutes you could sketch a character, cut out a pattern, sew something, or at least get your ideas on paper so when you have more time you don’t have to think about what to do, as you have already made the blueprint to follow.  Sometimes I find it helpful to write down before I go to bed what I want to accomplish the next day, a question about how to proceed in a story I’m writing, or just for clarity in how to get through the next day.  When you write this down your subconscious will be working on the problem while you sleep and normally when you wake up you will have your answer, or an idea, or you even had a dream that showed you what to do.  This doesn’t always work, but you would be surprised how much clarity you can get when you do this.

The thing is, most of us do waste time every day on things that do not bring us closer to our goals, but just wastes time.  I admit my biggest bad habit is watching TV.  Once I start a show I have to see what happens.  I am going to sit there until the end, as I don’t want to spend the rest of the day or evening trying to figure out what happened.  I watched the finale of The Good Wife Sunday night.  I have been watching this show since episode one and was totally vested in how they were going to end the show.  They said fans would be happy with the ending.  They said things would be tied up and nothing left to the imagination.  Well they LIED to me… I still don’t understand the ending.  The only ending that really upset me more was the series finale of The Sopranos.  That ending still pisses me off.  I also hate it when they leave a series in a cliffhanger and then decide not to renew it, so here we are years later still wondering what happened… i.e. did they stay together, did she lose the baby, who did she pick, did they both die?  I mean I could go on for pages about the shows I watched to the last episode, got into the cliffhanger, and to this day never found out what happened.  This is a big problem when you have a writer’s or creative mind is you will mull over all types of endings and what could have happened and you are just never completely satisfied.

But getting back on track here… I am going to have to get myself back on track if I have any intention on becoming a writer who makes money from my words.  For those of you who are reading this, it is time you regroup and figure out what you are supposed to be doing in your life.  What makes you happy.  What makes you want to get out of bed every morning and get to work… Also, are you hanging onto a dream that if you really are honest with yourself was never your dream to begin with, it was just a way to make money, or your family said you should be this or that, or you just thought it sounded cool and decided that was your goal in life.  Take inventory on your desires.  If need be do a pros and cons list where you take a piece of paper and draw a line own the center.  One side you write pros and other side you write cons.  Once you did that honestly write down why you should follow this dream and why you should not.  Why you think it is right and why you think you made a mistake.  Once done take a minute and really look at what you wrote, as normally you will see the answer…. Till next time…

mothers-day-card-pride-mom-funny-ecard-XYLIn the early 1900s a lady called Anna Jarvis was the reason we have Mother’s Day today.  In wanting to honor her mother who worked to clean up and sanitize the make shift hospitals and such during the Civil War.  Most women stayed home and took care of kids, not volunteering to improve the health of the soldiers.  Through Anna’s efforts to honor her mom, she ended up getting the US Government to authorize the holiday so all mothers could be honored by their children for their hard work and love for their kids.  The problem was Mother’s Day ended up this very commercialized holiday that made it more about what the kids spent on the present then really honoring their mom through spending time with them.  If your kids didn’t go out and spend a bunch of money on you then you must be a bad mother, which is part of where I believe the depression comes from related to Mother’s Day.  The thing is Anna got so upset that she started petitioning, picketing, and protesting the government to stop the holiday, as it didn’t mean what it did originally, it became more of a guilt trip on kids who either were unable to or did not buy a big gift or fancy dinner for their mom.  The sad thing is Anna spent all her money on trying to stop Mother’s Day as we know it.  Her true feelings were expressed in her quote:

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

— Anna Jarvis.

While others profited from the day, Jarvis did not, and she spent the later years of her life with her sister Lillie whom she had taken care of for years. In 1943, she began organizing a petition to rescind Mother’s Day.  However, these efforts were halted when she was placed in the Marshall Square Sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania, broke and with dementia.  People connected with the floral and greeting card industries paid the bills to keep her in the sanitarium. She ultimately died in 1948.  The committee she formed tried to stay together after her death, but finally disbanded.  Anna Jarvis never married nor did she have any children, which is a bit of irony as she was the reason for Mother’s Day and she never was a mother.

I do believe the problem with Mother’s Day is the same problem with most of the other holidays, there is this expectation of what everyone should do or expect, and when reality hits the depression sets in.  Let’s say you are a mom, but your kids are older and basically just call or such, you then wonder what you did to be such a bad mom that they didn’t feel compelled to do more for you.  You then have Christmas with the gift giving and the crap that goes with that.  Of course you have Valentine’s Day and the expectations that come from that, no big gift so the person must not really love me.  I read somewhere that the day after Valentine’s you will find the most traffic from women looking for a new guy on one of the many dating websites, including the married looking for married type.

With all this said, people need to stop having such big expectations for these commercialized holidays.  Most holidays were not started as a reason to give a bunch gifts or such, they were started to honor an event, a person, or a group of people.  Whether it be veterans, mothers, dads, and Jesus, the reason for the season needs to come first, not the expectations given to a person through the constant bombarding of commercials on TV, radio ads, or even surfing the web.  We all need to remember it isn’t the gift that is given, but the thought behind it…  Till next time….

 

The month of May has become my month to get my writing on track.  Not only is the first week Book-in-a-Week.com, but the entire month of May is storyaday.org.  This is where you can setup your own rules, but you have to follow them, whether you write 31 stories for 31 days or a story a day for 5 days a week, or whatever, you need to follow your rules so you get into the habit of write daily, on a regular schedule.  This is the hard point for me.  I work a weird shift, try to work in enough sleep, and then I get scattered with everything else I need to do, so figuring out a writing schedule and sticking to it is a must for me.  Both events give you the ability to get a lot written, but the key is you aren’t writing a finished product.  You are getting the words on paper and then you will come back later and do clean up.  Some of the stories you write you will probably never look at again, but then others may clean up to become some your best work. 2016stadabadgesq500x500

What I find interesting is a short story can be as short as 25 words or less.  There is Twitter fiction where you have to fit the story in 144 characters.  You have drabbles that are about 100 words.  You could also do flash fiction which is normally between 500 to 1000 words.  The one thing you must follow is the story, no matter how short, must have a beginning, middle, and end.  The reader is not going to like you if you take them right to the cliff and then end the story.  They are going to wonder whether the main character jumped, turned back, sat down, or just disappeared, but for some people they may not read your stuff again because you just pissed them off.  I am one of those who hates open ended movies, as my mind goes in all sorts of directions trying to figure out how it should end, a week later I may still be trying to figure it out and just wish I had never seen the movie.

But getting on point, if you have a desire to become a writer or artist or whatever, you need to make a time every day to practice, even if it is 5 minutes here or there.  I carry both a sketchbook and writing notebook in my purse everywhere I go so if I find myself having to wait somewhere or such I can pull out what I need and get some work done.  It also helps if you can find something like the book in a week group or something related to what you are trying to do, so you can have accountability, focus, and encouragement to make the time and start turning your dream into actuality.  Till next time…

This past month I have been really starting to focus on my art skills, specifically drawing.  I know, I am supposed to be focusing on writing, but I had a bit of a sidetrack.  I am still working on my writing, but that is for another post.  I found a wonderful book on creating “Imaginary Characters: Mixed-Media Painting Techniques for Figures and Faces” by Karen O’Brien.  In it she says to draw 100 faces so you can develop your own style, so I decided to draw 100 faces.  I thought there was no way I was ever going to get them done, but not only did I finish them today, I can actually see where I have started figuring out my style.  I mean I have been painting doll faces on cloth for art dolls for years now, but there is a big difference between painting faces on sculptured cloth and a face you draw with pencil or paint on paper.  My goal is to make the transition from 3D dolls to 2D flat surfaces, and this exercise has helped me see where I need to improve, plus where my style is going.  I must say I am so surprised at the difference between the first 20 compared to the last 20.  I posted some of my first drawings and final ones below.  I am now going to venture on and draw 50 hands and 50 feet, as they are both my nemesis…  My hands look like claws and my feet look like clubs, so if I am ever going to be able to go into fashion illustration it would be very helpful to be able to draw an entire person, not just a floating head or a lady with a head and torso, but no arms or legs.  I think that would be rather creepy.  

I would like to encourage anyone who is wanting to learn a new skill to sit down and make a plan, go to the library and find books on the subject, talk to others who are already doing what you want to do, and then practice, practice, practice.  I must say you will have such a feeling of accomplishment when you start comparing where you started to each step of your journey and the clear improvements and skills you have developed.

I will be posting pictures of my practice drawings of hands and feet as I complete them.  I have also not given up on writing.  Starting Monday is Book in a Week again, so I have a goal of writing 50 pages this next week, so we will see how far I get.  Till next time…

First few faces:

Final faces:

Quite the difference if I do say so myself….

Upfront I’m going to say I am not a medical professional, doctor, counselor, etc. so any advice I give pertaining to depression is only from personal experience.  I am 54 and have been fighting depression for at least 35 years.  I also have loved ones, friends, etc. who deal with different types of depression, and I know what works for me and them, but if you know someone, or even yourself, that is talking about wanting to die, dig a hole and lie in it, find a bridge and jump, or other things that make you wonder, you need to get them/you help.  It isn’t like the old days when everyone knew Aunt Sally had mental issues, but no one talked about it, while she fell deeper and deeper into her depression.  There is still a lot of misinformation about depression, and someone who has never experienced it really has no idea of what you are going through.  They can be empathetic, but until someone goes through the debilitating condition of depression, no one can truly understand.  With that said, it is that time of the year when depression really seems to hit people.  I have gotten emails from people trying to figure out if a loved one is really depressed or how can they tell.  I have friends and acquaintances who are feeling down and are on the edge of just being blue and having depression.  I do believe it is something about this time of year.  Not only is it the holidays, but it is also a new year.

Part of the problem is everything you see or hear seems to talk about how the holidays are not complete unless you are with family and having the perfect holiday get together.  The kids come in from college and aunts and uncles come in and everyone meets at grandmother’s house and it is a big happy event.  Well, very few families can live up to that picture.  Some people have lost all their loved ones, either to death, distance, or being estranged either due to the other person or themselves, so when you see those commercials or hear your coworker talk about their big family events, it really could get a person down.  Even when you have all your family able to come together that doesn’t mean everything is going to be good.  For years we were happy when we were able to get through a family event with no fights, screaming, or other assorted issues.  Someone asked me how my Christmas was and I told them everyone got along, the food was good, and I got to see the grandkids, so it was a great day.  Sometimes that is all you can ask for.

The next problem is we are entering a new year.  This makes a lot of us think about all we didn’t accomplish in 2015.  How we are getting older and time is passing faster and faster, so if we don’t get our crap together we are going to find ourselves 10 years from now in the same situation, just 10 years older with less options.  That can really get a person to fall into a funk.  Then people do that whole stupid resolution thing.  You are just setting yourself up to fail on that one.  So, you are going to get in better shape, how are you going to do it?  Writing a vague list of things you want to change or do different in the next year is basically just writing a shopping list and then not going shopping.  Until you break those resolutions down into workable goals with time deadlines and a plan to make it happen, you are just asking for failure.  You have to be careful though when you set goals, as you don’t want to set goals so easy you can get them done 15 minutes from now, but then you sure don’t want a goal so difficult you couldn’t accomplish it in a year, let alone in a month or week.  One of my goals is to lose 50 pounds before the end of the year.  Good idea, but how am I going to accomplish that?  Am I going to keep doing the same thing I’m doing now up until December 20 and think I can starve for the next couple of weeks and make my goal?  Of course not.  I need to make a lifestyle change.  Do things differently daily, weekly, and monthly.  Have a plan written down of how much I’m going to work out each week, what will I eat daily, keep a food diary, etc., so I have the ability to fulfill my goal instead of at the end of 2016 wondering where the year went and still needing to lose at least 50 pounds.

But, I will get back on track here, when it comes to depression there are so many types that it really is hard to tell if your friend or loved one is depressed, unless they are so far in that they are not even functioning anymore. One of the emails I got this past week asked about hermit mode.  The person goes into hermit mode with some people but not others.  I gave them this quick overview on depression and thought it would be good information for others.  Just about everyone at some time in their life gets the “blues.”  That is when you just don’t feel like yourself.  Some people say they are in a funk.  They just aren’t happy.  They are focused on the negative and feel bad.  This can be brought on by anything from hormonal changes, the weather, etc.  There are some parts of the country where they have such long winters, short days, and gloomy days that people go into depression.  For this type of situation, they get special lights that mimic the sunlight.  They sit under it for so long per day and they get to feeling better.  Most people who are just blue don’t need medication.  They can still function, but are just not themselves.  They probably need to talk to their doctor, but most people should not be given drugs for the blues.

We then get into clinical depression, bipolar, etc., the conditions where the person is so deep into their depression they have lost all joy in their life.  They can’t get out of bed.  They quit taking care of themselves and normally when they get to this point they need medication.  With a bipolar they are either very high or very low and not much in between.  With your clinically depressed they will go into hermit mode not wanting to talk to anyone.  If they are not deep into their depression they may be able to function enough to go to work or do activities of daily living, talking only with those they have to, trying to make people think they are okay, but once they get home they shut the door and try to hide from the world.  But, this is just a short overview of different types of depression, as there are so many types of mental illness that if you or a loved one are acting different, withdrawn, strange, etc., then it may be time to find professional help.  Don’t forget there are a lot of online sites that have questionnaires that can help you figure out if you or a loved one do have a problem.  There are also hotlines to call if you feel like you can’t take it anymore, as nothing is so bad that it warrants taking your own life.  With that said, I promise my next blog post will be more uplifting and fun…  I may even talk about “the girls.”  Until next time….

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