Menopause, mean teachers and cats who won’t shut up

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I didn’t really have anything to write about today so I thought I’d just put up some sketchbook drawings. (#noncommittaldailysajdrawings for those of you following along on instagram).

This year has been a really big year for me. So many changes!

The biggest change I’m experiencing is menopause. I now have my own personal cloud of humidity that I carry around with me on a daily basis. Have you ever experienced this? It sucks donkey balls. (Sorry dad. I know I should use another word but this is the most accurate.) I’ll be outside in the nice cool air, I might even have a sweater on, and then KABAMO! I’m sweating like I have a fever. It lasts a few minutes and then it floats off as if it never happened and I’m back to wearing a sweater and appreciating the nice cool air. So confusing! It was bothering me so much I actually went out and bought a small thermometer/barometer to keep at my desk so I could compare my whacky internal thermostat with reality. It’s bonkers.

I want to say I hate hot flashes but part of me is wondering if they are helping me burn calories. I’ve been losing weight lately and I’m not sure if these flashes are it or one of the other twelve things I’ve been doing differently lately.  I’m sure if hot flashes do burn calories it’s only 2 calories a hit but hey! it sure helps to imagine that is what is going on when you in the thick of a sweaty cloud and hating life.  I bet people would actually sign up for these stupid mini-fevers if they knew they were burning calories.

So back to weight loss: I seem to be losing weight after years and years of struggling and not losing any weight at all. Is it my diet that is much more plant-based than it ever used to be? Ask my kids.  I am a nut these days. I’ll rattle on about greens and fiber and water for days. Everyone is sick of me.

It could also be that I work out with weights regularly now (only two days a week so my ripped up muscles can repair themselves) and I walk the dogs all over the planet.  Cody has even lost 7 pounds which is good because he was putting on weight like only a golden retriever with a love language for food can.

Is it the particular blend of medication and vitamins I am on? I can’t really go into detail on this because it’s still private (I know, it seems like I share everything but I actually don’t) but it is a variable that could figure into the equation.

Anyway, it all adds up to a lot of healthy changes and outside of the hot flashes I am really happy about them. I finally feel like all those balls I’m always juggling are staying up in the air for a change and not dropping around me like rotten apples.

What else? Payam got a new job. The kids started school… All good!

We are so happy with Payam’s job. It’s super awesome and he’s happy. A happy employed boyfriend = happy life! Just kidding. Payam always has a positive attitude no matter what challenge he’s facing but I don’t. Having him in a secure job has significantly helped me with my anxiety. He always tells me that everything will work out but I have to admit I’m not always so sure. I tend to worry, doubt and fret. That’s my M.O.

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So yeah! Things are good! Kids are back in school. Bug has a scary teacher. I talked about that already.

We went to the nail salon as a family the other day. It was fun. Joon is into wearing black, what else is new?

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Ah yes, Kady. That blasted meow-ing cat. She meows all day long until I go and pet her and then lay down with her and pet her some more. Let’s just say I’ve finally become a napping person. I have never liked naps before. I hate naps! Until now. Maybe it’s a side effect of an anxiety disorder and menopause and not sleeping all that well on a regular basis. But thankfully I have Kady, my therapy cat. She is taking care of me in the most annoying way. I love her.

Time Blocking, Systems Not Goals and Rumors of a Kitchen Remodel

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This is sort of a placeholder post while I get over a nasty sinus infection. This one has really taken me down. You never really realize how easy your life is until it’s not. But I don’t need anyone to worry about me being sick. I’m sure I’m on the mend. Antibiotics have been prescribed and I’m getting plenty of sleep and taking care of myself. And of course all my loved ones are taking care of me too so I am very spoiled in that aspect. They say relationships can help you live longer and I am very happy that I’ve got some really important ones that keep me going healthily.

I thought I’d take this moment to talk about a few things on my mind.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and I somehow fell upon the skinny confidential which is probably not a good fit for me since I am a decade-and-a-half older than them and I will never hope to be a famous instagram model or influencer… but it’s been really interesting to listen to thirty-somethings give me advice on business and life. There is a lot to be learned in between bare naked cucumber jokes and skin care commercials.  I really am impressed with their work ethic and not that I hope to become as crazy busy successful as they are but I’m subscribing to a few things here and there.

  1. time blocking
  2. systems not goals

 

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I tried out the time-blocking trick right away and the type A part of my personality loved it.  I created a google calendar so full of blocks I can’t even find my regular appointments and special dates. But it has helped me stay on track and more importantly realize where I’m losing time. Payam commented the other day that I punctuate my day with house-cleaning when I need to think. I do! This is a handy habit for a clean house but when I’m supposed to be focusing on work, I am not. It’s a real challenge to force myself to leave a sink full of dishes and go sit at my desk and think or blog or come up with new craft post ideas, self promote or, gasp, learn a new skill! Ugh. I hate teaching myself new skills. I have Learning Curvitus.

The systems not goals idea was a new one for me and of course I’m applying it to my ongoing war on weight gain aka genetics. I always go on diets and calorie track and then sabotage myself immediately, as if I get some kind of pleasure out of doing the exact opposite of my original goals. It’s like there is a rebel inside me who’s says, “Oh Yeah? You think you want to lose 20 pounds? Hah!  Let’s go eat something in secret. It tastes better when nobody is looking. Bwahahahahaa!”

So maybe if I stop making diet such a big thing and just make it a daily system, I’ll stop letting out this inner rebel. I don’t know. I’m skeptical. But it seems like a good plan. Sometimes you just have to look at things from a different angle. You know?

I’m sure I’ll find more meaningful tips as I go on with these podcasts. I’m on podcast number 20-something of hundreds. (!) And that’s only one feed. There are billions more!!  Podcastsing is an interesting medium. Too bad it’s already saturated. I can see Bug and I coming up with a really fun broadcast. Maybe someday we will. If she doesn’t invent her own medium first. She’s been using google docs to tell animated fan fiction stories set to music. It seems like such a backwards way to do something but it works and it’s creative so I’m standing back and letting her do her thing.

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Basically I’ve been listening to all these podcasts and thinking a lot about my future as a business and an artist. I’ve been looking at the numbers too and realizing that I am more successful at illustrating than I’ll ever be at blogging, content creating or even graphic design. It’s funny, I didn’t expect it to be this way. I’ll never give up blogging or content creating but it’s putting a weird spin on my brand. I’ve always felt so strongly about photography. Does this mean I need to replace all my pretty pictures with illustrated cartoons? Half the time I don’t even like my silly vector creations. So I’m chewing on that. Maybe I need a life coach to help me navigate. Maybe I need to poll my hundred readers (who are also customers and I love you so much for sticking with me all these years!!!)…

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But speaking of pretty pictures…. Don’t you love these dying peonies? In life they are amazeballs but even in death they take my breath away.

We have this old ratty dining room table that is stained a dark espresso brown. It was a nice table when I moved in but I’ve done about a thousand crafts on it and now it is covered with nicks and scratches. Payam wants to refinish it but I don’t want him to. I need a ratty table. I can’t have nice things because I use them to their full potential until they are gasping their last gasps. (You should see my camera. It’s totally covered in paint and flour and barely works.) I need a beat-up table so I can be free to spill paint on it and cut on it and not worry about the fancy finish. So far I’m winning on this table issue but someday I’ll probably have to move my crafting to another room.

I bring it up because this ratty old table is the perfect backdrop to these fading petals. I love the contrast. I don’t even see the scratches and if I did I’d probably like them. There is so much charm and patina to this old table that has seen a thousand crafts and a thousand more family dinners. I love this table. It’s almost like the more worn it is the more loved it is.

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I was so in love with these peony photos that I took on our old ratty table that I day-dreamed for a week or two about getting one of them turned into a canvas. The problem is turning a print into a 42×70-something inch canvas is a whole lotta EXPENSIVE! Like super expensive. I even mocked it up I was so in love with the idea:

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(Ignore all the clutter on the buffet table. I would of course clear all that off if I had a big print there and replace it with more subtle clutter.) I hemmed and hawed and Payam even thought about buying it for me for a birthday present BUT then Payam mentioned that we might be ready for a KITCHEN REMODEL! Wha-wha-what?!! Did you hear that right?

Yes, you did. So maybe there won’t be a wall where I want that print to be. In that case I’ll just shelf the whole silly giant print idea because a kitchen remodel trumps everything. Of course this won’t happen for a really long time and I’ll be cooking on a hot plate in the garage and up to my ears in dust but I am really excited to be part of it. Pinterest boards have commenced.

Before I go I thought I’d share my latest desktop. Download HERE.

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And HERE it is without words! :)

xoxo!