Not alone

I have been having a tough time, friends. The Tubbs fire that ate up half my hometown is now listed as the most destructive wildfire in California history. It’s jarring and heartbreaking to see my hometown as a statistic in the news. I’m not used to looking at The New York Times, for example, and finding a map of my hometown, complete with the names of everyone who died.

I feel so lucky that my parents and our house are okay. But I also feel horror for the people who lost everything. And for the people who went to bed on Sunday night and then died less than 12 hours later. My town will never be the same. I have no idea what to do with all of that. As I go through my daily activities, I get stopped by random memories popping up in my head. And then I have to stop and think: is that structure still there? And then I have to shake it all away and try to remember what I was doing.

On top of that, I have some other stuff going on (such as: “OK Potassium, you really need to figure out what you want to be when you grow up…”) that’s been gnawing at me and keeping me up at night.

But this weekend, two things happened that gave me a break from all of the insanity. First of all, Cobalt and I went to Portland.

Cobalt helped our friend F move to Portland on Thursday. I followed them after work on Friday. I drove by myself through the Columbia Gorge. It was super windy at first, then kind of rainy, and then the clouds cleared and I was driving into a gorgeous orange sunset, complete with tufts of fluffy clouds rising off the top of the gorge. Plus the fall colors scattered around all the evergreens made a stark contrast to all the gray. I almost had to pull the car over because I was that stunned by the beauty.

Somehow I made it to Portland and Cobalt and I spent the evening with our friends M and P. We had Korean BBQ for dinner. Then we drank a glass of wine and watched The Shining in the dark while M’s and P’s cat purred loudly on the back of the couch. I found myself breathing deeper and snuggling into my blanket. For the first time in weeks, I felt at peace.

The other thing that happened is that I got a group text message from two of my childhood friends. We’ve been group texting since the day of the fire. But I realized on Sunday how amazing it is that I’ve had these friends my whole life and that we can be honest about what’s going on for each of us. It reminded me that despite feeling anxious about everything going on in my life, I am not alone.

About the picture: I have been doing Inktober on Twitter. That means I have to draw a picture in ink every day of the month of October. This picture was from Mental Health Awareness Day and it’s called “You are not alone.” I like it because the shark on the side is kind of nebulous. Maybe it’s not even a shark? I think that’s often how I feel when I feel depressed and anxious: all my anxiety is so clear to me that it’s hard for me to see past it to bring anything else into focus.

One last thing. This blog is 7 years old this week. WAAAAAAT. Oh and also I defended my PhD thesis 3 years ago today. Geez…

Boy Scouts and Tire swings: Part 2

Today’s post is about my soon to be niece A. She’s a crazy one so my pictures hopefully can capture that.

Cobalt and I got in Thursday night so we could get up early on Friday and see A sing in her school’s choir concert at… 8:45 am! Anyway, it was very enjoyable and we got to see A dance!
After school, she and I went to the park. Shown here is A on the tire swing. Somehow the tire swing turned into a spa (don’t ask, I am not sure how we got there now…) so here in this picture she is sporting my sunglasses and showing off her “new” fingernail polish… Hahaha…

What else happened?! Cobalt had to dig her bike out of the ice so she and C could go bike around the neighborhood (it was awesomely warm this weekend… though not warm enough to melt the ice around A’s bike without some coaxing from Cobalt). We also got to do some drawing. A and I switched off – we each drew a picture and then the other one colored it. I don’t have pictures of our finished drawings for you so I will just post a picture of the new animal I invented: the horse shark – which is a combination of our favorite animals. :)

So now a note for A – A you are super smart and really sweet. I love running around and being silly with you. I am so excited to be part of your family. :)

Boy Scouts and Tire swings: Part 1

This weekend, Cobalt and I got to spend a lot time with his/my soon to be niece and nephew so in honor of that, today and tomorrow will be dedicated to them! We’ll start with C because he is the oldest (had to pick some order so sorry A, you have to wait to tomorrow…)

Anyway, this weekend C and I got to spend some time tossing around a football and playing Skylanders (it looks pretty cool! I kind of want it…). Then we got to see him cross over from cub scouts to boy scouts! Yay C! So proud of you! :) This top picture is a pic of him still as a cub scout.
Then we came home and drew pictures. Here is a picture of the pac shark he drew for me (sorry… it’s a funky cell phone pic):

Finally, a little note for C – C, you are an awesome kid. You are super creative and an amazing artist. I love playing video games and drawing with you. I am so excited to be part of your family. :)

I eat this sushi now

Sometimes I like playing with my Bamboo Pen tablet… It is amazing. For this picture, I was trying out a free application that comes with the tablet called “Sumo Paint.” It’s roughly a free equivalent to Photoshop and is made specifically for the tablet. It has some strange quirks to it but I guess that is understandable in a free image editing program. Fun times… I hope that shark gets to eat his sushi…

Wranglin’ up some Tumbleweeds

I thought we would have a silly “free Tuesday” today so I posted an ad that I made up for delicious Tumbleweed Tuna!
Let’s start with a story. When Cobalt and I were headed back to Colorado from visiting his family a few weeks ago, we were “lucky” to witness an entire tumbleweed migration across the interstate. I narrated it very loudly as I drove, screeching to Cobalt: “OMG THERE’S ANOTHER ONE! WHOA LOOK HOW BIG THAT ONE IS! GEEZ… IT’S LIKE A FREAKIN’ TUMBLEWEED MIGRATION… WHERE ARE THEY ALL COMING FROM?!?!! ALL LURKING ACROSS THE FREEWAY!!!! AHHHHHH IT’S COMING RIGHT FOR THE CAR NOOOOOO… WOOT! TAKE THAT, TUMBLEWEED!” etc etc etc. It was pretty hilarious. So as Cobalt and I were headed back down to visit his family this weekend, we discussed said Tumbleweed adventure and Cobalt suggested that it would be funny if there were a brand of tuna called Tumbleweed Tuna. And then Sal the Tumbleweed Tuna mascot was born…
So this actually is a photograph sort of. It was a long process that started with me drawing Sal on a pad of paper. Then I took a picture of him with my baby camera and opened that in Photoshop. The rest was Photoshop magic: cleaning up lines, playing with paint ideas, etc. Now, I had other plans for Sal that didn’t work out… so don’t be surprised if you see Sal reappear sometime in the near future… especially with Winter break coming up and giving me a lot of free time for playing on the computer…