2016 Resolutions

 It’s been difficult to sort through my feelings about the new year ahead. What do I really want from life? I’m almost afraid to declare it because it means I can measure my progress in December, and that could lead to disappointment. It could end up being a source of pride too, but my imagination always errs towards worse case scenarios!

  1. Keep making home a nicer, cozier place. Whether that means buying new furniture or simply cleaning every nook on a consistent basis, I think this one is a big one. And figure out how to decorate. 
  2. Drawing once a day. I’ve so far been doing this since the new year! Most of the time it’s rather crap doodles so they remain private, in my sketchbook. 
  3. Read a new book every month. I read a lot of comics but that doesn’t count. One year, I did read 25 books, but I’d be happy with a minimum of 12 for 2016. I no longer have an aversion to non fiction, too. It’s just nice to read something that isn’t inane social media. I was hoping Winds of Winter, the next A Song Of Ice And Fire book would be out in January but it’s not. I can wait. There’s literally millions of other books to read while I wait :) 
  4. Be healthy. This is huge and like, FOUR years in the making. I have yet to get the true “all clear” from my doctors but things are looking up. No suspicious moles in December 2015. Things looked good at the Gyno in Nov. Sadly, my insurance changed because I can no longer afford the higher premium cost of my old one, so I can’t see the gyno-oncologist that has been treating me :/ I would vastly prefer her since she knows my history and body. But I can’t afford it. Anyway, I don’t wanna get into how much premiums and deductibles have become monsters since the ACA passed. I just want to say I want to be in good health. 
  5. Time manage my cooking. Smart people cook on weekends and eat for days. I always cook after work, and end up with no time for anything before sleeping. I haven’t figured out how I’ll make this work, but it’s important to me. If I can do this, I can both have hobbies AND have a good night’s sleep!

2015 Recap!

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The holidays really snuck up on me! December went by within a week and suddenly here we are in January, 2016. I kept forgetting my birthday, and was surprised 3 times on Dec. 31 that it was New Year’s Eve!

Young people (comparatively I’m 28) in their teens use Instagram a certain way — they are heavily curated and they rarely have more than 20 photos up. Things they “outgrow” get deleted quick. They also barely use tags. So I’m super lame and NEVER delete photos (and use a ton of tags), but I’m really glad I don’t delete. I could not remember  what the hell I did this year, and looking back, there’s been quite a few things.

1. Home Improvements

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This blurb got so extensive, I decided to put it in a future post. That way I can gush all about the big cost stuff I bought and feel good about it!! Haha! To summarize, this apartment is a rental but my boyfriend and I plan to be here for a few years. We worked on furnishing the bedroom and office and I think it worked out well…no more step stool nightstand! :D I’ve seen others rush to set up a homey home in 3 weeks time, and sometimes I feel impatient, but the place is looking nicer. 2016 should see even more improvements. Wish it wasn’t such a mental struggle to figure out how to deal with the weird layout of a railroad apartment. I’d like to finally frame and hang some art, and mayyybe get a new couch or something. The seating is not great, especially when guests come by.

2. Plant Rearing

I do NOT have a green thumb. The Amarylis my friend gifted to me did well for several months, and then withered and died.

My basil seedlings grew up decently, but then got flies (EWWWW) in the summer. Thankfully they seem all dead since the Fall. But it made me afraid to water it, and now 3/4 of its stems are perpetually brown. On the bright side…the basil smells and tastes amazing! I need to prune it and encourage bushiness. It’s not looking attractive but I think it’s salvageable. I forget to water it often.

My two lucky bamboo shoots are doing great! Nice green color. Nice orange roots. No growth in length but I just bought some 50 cent plant food. Let’s see if it helps in 2016! This may be the only plant I should ever own.  That and fake plants.

The Peace Lily isn’t doing great. It was awesome for so many months, but then I went on a two week vacation and my roommate overwatered it…SEVERELY. I haven’t checked but it probably has root rot or something.  The leaves keep dying slowly, and thus has become sparse. It’s not attractive. But enough of it is still alive that I have some hope.

3. Gainfully [Freelance] employed!

I’m usually so worried about whether I’ll have work (and thus money, my true pursuit in life), but this year was a pretty good one. There’s just two months that I didn’t work, and I think I’ve made up for at least one of those in overtime billing. I hope this continues, I love moneyyyyy. My big fear is ending up homeless and poor. BUT.  It would be way more ideal to just have steady income and not have to work so hard that I feel the instinctual urge to escape the continent.

4. Trip to Japan

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It was the first time traveling somewhere fun with my boyfriend and HIS first time outside of North America! We primarily ate our way through Osaka, with a little bit of Kyoto sightseeing and a few days of some illness in Tokyo. First time using AirBnB too. As it happened out, our Japanese host in Osaka ran a beautifully clean apartment while our American hosted Tokyo apartment kinda grossed me out. Hopefully the latter isn’t the norm. I already want to go back and I miss the food…and how the Dollar was so strong while we were there. It was so fun seeing Japan through my boyfriend’s fresh eyes, and I reconnected with a few friends…even if we didn’t get to meet again in person. Last night I dreamed in Japanese. I don’t think that’s happened for 9 years.

5. I have photos with my boyfriend!!

This was actually a goal of mine for 2015+! All I had before was shots of food we ate and our dog. Now I have damning proof that we enjoy each other’s company!

6. First time in a Halloween costume since early college

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Every year I’d say I’ll start my costume in the summer, and every year I’d do nothing. Except for 2015!! I dressed up as Boltie (Ellen Page) from James Gun’s movie, Super. Great great movie. More people have to see it, it’s on Netflix. I consider the outfit a work in progress, as I lacked her belt, her bolt appliqués, and hated my skirt. But overall it is Boltie and it was fun :) My boyfriend dressed up as the main hero, The Crimson Bolt.

7. I went to Shop class and made a cutting board!

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I’ve only ever seen woodworking shops on TV…NYC high schools don’t exactly have the resources for shop class. My sister couldn’t make it to this cutting board making class, so I took her spot. It was REALLU fun and I can see why people get so in to woodworking. The power you feel as you mold wood, like soft putty, with your hands is addicting. I love how my board came out and how pro it looks! I gifted it to my mom for Christmas. We used it to cut dinner right away. If it wasn’t so expensive to get my hands on the tools to make stuff, I would definitely do it more.

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That’s about it for 2015!

 Not sure what 2016 Resolutions I would have for myself, that’s something that will have to simmer in the back of my brain for a bit.

My Experience With HSIL And The LEEP Procedure

A needle, over a foot long, to administer anaesthetics. Took a pic while waiting for the doctor to come in to the exam room.


Note: I wrote this on my phone about 3 weeks ago, on my commute home from my LEEP procedure.  It took me some time to revisit this entry, since a big part of me wanted to forget about it.

As I ride the subway home from the hospital, feet apart to manage the sway, I wonder to myself. Do I feel weak from being nervous, or from having an electrical current shooting through me?

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Proceeding With Caution With A New Roommate

It hasn’t even been a year and I’m on the 4th roommate!!

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  As soon as I moved in with my boyfriend, his 2 roommates moved out to be with their boyfriends.  Roommate #1 was a disgusting pack rat, while Roommate #2 was quiet and kept to herself.  The only story I have about her is of that time when my boyfriend walked in on her giving a blowjob to her boyfriend :O  It’s a railroad apartment and, with the way things were arranged at the time, you have to walk through her room to access the rest of the apartment.  Since that incident, we’d just exit the apartment in to the “lobby” and bypass her room, and go through the other entrance to get to the bathroom, kitchen, and living room.  Yeah…not a great layout!

Roommate #3 was the best roommate we could’ve gotten!  I pushed to get her during the Craigslist interviews, and it turned out great.  We have nothing, and she had everything.  Great pots, pans, dishware, just…everything!  She was clean and picked up better than I did.  Even her boyfriend was really friendly and fun to hang out with.  But alas…..she moved out to a 1-bedroom with him a few blocks away, and took all her lovely house stuff with her!  No more blender to make smoothies, no more GLASSES to drink water out of, no more bathroom accessories, pots, pans, can openers, etc.  Yeah, I wasn’t exagerrating when I said we didn’t have much to our name!  I have a bed, clothes, computer, and gaming systems.  Oh, and the dog!

I’m undecided about Roommate #4, another Craigslist find, like all the previous ones.  She was really friendly when we interviewed her, albeit very desperate to get the place.  As if it were a job interview, she sent us her LinkedIn page and kept following up through text and email.  But hey, she was friendly…maybe it’s fine.  #4 and #3 were both from Long Island, and #3 mentioned how it was really hard to get an apartment when people found out she was from Long Island.  Brokers especially wouldn’t take her.

I’m still a little skeptical about the new girl.  She’s still very nice but some things are odd.  She paid her security deposit with a check that had her office’s name on it, not her own.  She has literally two bins of clothing and a mattress on the floor, which she just bought.  There’s still plastic wrapped around the box spring.  I know she owns toothpaste, an electric toothbrush, a towel, and a single mason jar for drinking.  That’s it!  Maybe she’s just minimalistic?  Or maybe I’m making excuses?  She doesn’t cook, which I knew from her interview. It’s just odd to me.  Oh, and I think she has 2 boyfriends, though she doesn’t label them in that way, they’re just her “friends”.  One of them is super friendly and I like him, the other one is a CREEP.  He does 3D like me, except…kind of a hack.  My boyfriend showed me the guy’s site and it’s all awful, unironically awful!  He said hi while I was prepping bits of raw chicken a couple nights ago, and that one encounter has me disturbed.  I don’t even know what he was saying fully, but he made some comment about “Two little Asian girls living together”.  Roommate gave him a look, while I cut him off and changed the subject.  Sure, he had a jack & coke in his hand, but he wasn’t drunk.  Just.  Creepy.  Both guys sleep in her room with her, and it’s all very quiet.  Yes, I’m kinda being a weirdo by being so interested, haha.  Boyfriend thinks the Creepy Dude is probably great in bed, while the Nice Guy is, you know, the one who’s fun to hang out with…like they independently fulfill 2 aspects a person may desire.

Life Update: I’m Back!

One of my latest drawings on tumblr (http://jelliefishielicious.tumblr.com/).

And it feels great!  A lot has happened since the last time I posted.  I tried writing a few posts on my phone, but the WordPress App is pretty screwed.  It LOVES to crash and delete posts, or never upload them, so I guess I’ll have to backtrack with another “Life Update”.

May Was A Monumental Month.

Remember how I could go on and on about the sucky roommate my boyfriend had?  Well DING DONG, THE WITCH IS DEAD!!!!  Okay, not dead – but GONE, along with her filthy, neglected cats and the clutter she’d been hoarding!!  Elle moved out with her boyfriend.  The other roommate also moved out with her boyfriend.  And…then I moved in with my boyfriend!  That’s right…I left my childhood home.  It feels weird, man.  I still refer to his place as..well…HIS place, not as my/our home.  I’ve slowly been shuttling things over.  Other than my computer, there’s really just my clothes to contend with, and it’s been a good opportunity to toss some stuff that I’ve had since middle school…and didn’t even wear back then because it was too ugly!

We live in a railroad apartment, so The Office is connected to Small Bedroom #1 (technically mine), which is connected to Small Bedroom #2.  It’s nice that we have this whole section of the house to us now, and that means I don’t have to walk OUT in to the lobby to go to the bathroom anymore.  YES.  Small Bedroom #1 got a fresh coat of paint, and went from icky pale yellow (reminiscent of cigarette smoke) to a grey-blue known to Benjamin Moore as “November Sky”.  What’s neat is, if you stand outside and look in to the room, it looks grey.  When you step inside and you’re surrounded by it, it looks blue :O  Lighting is mystical like that.  So I got some stuff from the IKEA STOLMEN system and now my stuff is in a walk in closet!!!  It’s so cool that I can say that!!!  A walk in closet…in New York City!  I share it with my boyfriend, of course.  I’ll have a picture once we really finish; some of the top shelving is not yet assembled.

There’s a lot more left to do.  Paint the bedroom, paint the living room (having trouble picking colors…).  My damn coffee table came in this morning, after 2 weeks of waiting, and it was damaged in delivery (-___- ).  Gotta wait another 2 weeks for a replacement.  Gotta organize all the cabinets and under the sink areas.  Gotta get crafty :P   Crafty Project #1, by the way, was a complete failure!  I tried cutting drawer dividers out of the ample cardboard we have here….it looked terrible and doesn’t stay up.  I ended up just buying some….for like $30…..but it looks great, and it’s DONE.

Oh yeah, and there’s a new roommate!  Annie’s pretty cool.  She’s really in to board games, Blizzard’s Hearthstone game, and hanging out with her boyfriend.  They’re chill, and they’re neat, so I like’m so far.

Went Rafting & Camping For A Week In The Grand Canyon.
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The bucket list trip I never knew I had on my bucket list!!  I’ve mentioned this before – my boyfriend’s parents like to treat their kids/kids-in-law to a vacation on their 30th birthday.  They took their older son and his wife to St. John’s in the Caribbean, and stayed for a week in a villa by the water.  It sounded really fancy, with outdoor bathtubs, great views, a staircase down to the turquoise water, and their own chef…!  They offered the same trip to my boyfriend, but neither of us wanted to lay around and drink all day, with butlers waiting on us.  So his parents took us to the Grand Canyon!!!  I have TONS of pictures and will fill out another post solely about this trip, because it was truly amazing and deserves at least that!  It was life changing, it was beautiful, it was relaxing yet active, I gained a tan and 10lb because of all the good food…and I think it really is something everyone should do before they die.

…And I’m Getting Back In To Drawing.

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I finally took the plunge and bought a Cintiq 22HD!  It’s amazing and, aside from my Kindle, one of my most favorite purchases ever.  Although it’s hard to draw after work when you put in overtime, it’s let me draw and paint a lot more than I have in a long, long time.  I’ve put a lot more stuff in my tumblr page, which I’ve been using more and more lately too.  And pretty soon I’ll have some comic strips to put up :)  It’s always been a thing I wanted to do, just to get more drawing practice on stuff I don’t normally like to draw.  If you look at my tumblr, it’s all characters…no backgrounds! I hate backgrounds!!  But you do need that for a comic, to ground stuff and set the mood.  I’ve wanted to do this for years, but never just went for it.  The other week, I was chatting with Elle’s boyfriend and he had the same dream. That made me wonder, what was I waiting for? This guy has “paralyzed” himself from starting because he wants to have perfect drawing skills before beginning.  I say, the comic will make you perfect, in time.   So I started my first one tonight!  Hopefully I’ll finish it soon and you’ll see it here tomorrow.  There’s no overarching story, but it’s all kind of “diary-esque”; little snippets of my life that I thought were worth drawing for hours and hours.

This probably sounds really ridiculous – it sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud – but one of the big things that held me back from starting a life-inspired comic (like everyone else on the internet) is self consciousness.  It would require that I draw myself….and that sent my brain for a spin.  Do I draw myself as an animal?  Do I bother drawing my face?  Do I draw what I think I look like, even if it’s guaranteed to be a 300% beautified and idealized version?  Wouldn’t that show how vain I really am, deep down, despite not wanting to admit it?  But now my mindset is, drawing practice is first and foremost.  And drawing in a timely manner. So I’m just gonna do what I do, vainness be damned.

How I Beat Molluscum Contagiosum

Most people have never heard of this virus, unless you’ve been infected.  And once you are, it can be nerve-wrackingly awful, as it deprives you of precious self-esteem and even your sex life.  There’s a lot of articles on blogs out there about how people dealt with this, and a lot of forum posts (on spammy, ad-riddled sites).  I’d like to tell my story of how I got it and dealt with it.

There WILL be pictures, way at the bottom of this article, way after the jump.  It’s technically SFW (safe for work) but there will be close ups of molluscum.  I took some pictures myself to keep track of how they looked and where they were, for my own knowledge.  Which was great because I did forget where one of them was at a certain point, because it had healed and disappeared.

Now let’s start this off with…. Continue reading

WPC: “Window”

Window atop the arches in the Old City Hall station, NYC.  Canon Rebel T2i, 24mm lens.

Window atop the arches in the Old City Hall station, NYC. Canon Rebel T2i, 24mm lens. Click for Hi-Res.

Built at the turn of the 20th Century, the Old City Hall Station was designed by the same architects who assembled the beautiful Grand Central Station…and it shows.  I’ve been waiting my whole life to tour this station, and have peeked at it through the dark windows of the 6 train during its turn-around.  Finally got my chance at the end of 2013 to visit the station in person, with my sister.  Even more exciting, Guillermo del Toro’s book, The Strain, has a scene here.  They’re going to film the movie soon, and I have no idea whether they will actually come to that station or not.  But the mood and its vintage dereliction would be perfect for a vampire story.

Part of that black stuff you see on the window is from WWII, when all windows had to be blacked out.

More of my photos at the Old City Hall Station can be found in my Flickr Set.

To see more entries for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows, click here.

A Look Back on 2013

Click for Hi-Res on Flickr.

I don’t doubt I’m alone in thinking this…2013 was a LONG year!  It feels like a decade since I wrote my half-year retrospective on how 2013 was going so far – and unfortunately, a lot of what I had to write was negative.  I was physically sick, and that was emotionally wearing on me in an extreme way.  But the year came to a close, and I’m glad to say it was a happy end to what was going to be a sucky year.

On the bright side to being sick in 2013, I changed my diet and got healthy. Diets are hard to change, and they’re ongoing projects.  I’ll never be done with my diet, but now that I’m a year in and healthy again, I don’t have to be as strict.  Physical pain is a good motivator to making better food choices!  I learned to love homemade yogurt, I learned to live without or replace pasta with vegetables….I learned to eat well and boost my immune system.  I learned a LOT about how the human body works from reading tons of books and articles about nutrition and physiology.

I’m going to sum up some other great things about 2013:
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Jetlagged!

Hello, hello!  This will be a quick update on my life, but I will have some lengthy stuff in a new post…with gratuitous, self-serving details of my vacation for anyone who wants to live vicariously through it.  I’m back from my 2 week trip to the Philippines, and learned a LOT about traveling (especially minimalist traveling).  There is so much I would do differently, but all in all it was a great trip…one of the most memorable I have been on.  But really, what international trip is less than memorable, hmm?  :)   I returned to New York only 4 days ago, returned to work 3 days ago, and am still recovering from the jet lag.  There’s a 13 hour time difference between here and the Philippines.  So far, I’ve been waking up at 5am, drinking 3 cups of coffee at work, and fall asleep as soon as I get home at 8pm.  It doesn’t feel great.

I’m also leaving next week again, to visit my boyfriend’s family in their Wisconsin hometown.  I’ve never been to the true Midwest….we have family in Chicago, but I wouldn’t say Chicago is a great example of Midwestern life!  It’s going to be interesting to see what that side of America is like. Living in New York, living in a big city, coming from an immigrant family and having mostly friends who are also from immigrant families, I barely even know what the typical American daily meals are like.  A good friend of mine once stayed with an American family for over a year and told me they tend to eat meat and pasta every night (I had a culture clash moment with that).  My boyfriend has been kind of secretive about what we’re going to do in Wisconsin, but it seems like his family will be driving out to their hometown to meet me too.  I think they’re doing Christmas dinner early for us!

Sadly, I have no idea what to get anyone for a present.  I guess we’re bringing wine once we land?  I don’t really know these people so it’s quite hard to personalize the gift.

Now for an unrelated conversation with my uncle today:

UNCLE: “You know, your cousin is in a cult now.”

ME: “What’s the name of the cult?”

UNCLE: “I forgot the name.”

ME: “…What do they believe in?”

UNCLE: “I think they believe in only one god.”

That….sure helps narrow it down o_O

Practicing Noses, Sorta.

Last night, I was talking to a 3D animator who’s been taking some time off to work on his drawing skills…specifically, he’s doing online anatomy lessons.  Well, that sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?!  I never had a firm grasp of anatomy, and I think it probably shows in my drawings. My stuff is very flat, kind of comic booky, not as much volume in the figures as there should be.  If I draw a person from reference except for one body part, everyone can tell which body part was from “imagination”.  Inspired by his enthusiasm, I started looking at the numerous figure drawing tutorials on Youtube.  I still lament that we had so much mandatory crap to do in college that I never got to take a proper Anatomy class.

I have two Youtube Channel favorites so far:

  • Proko – Formatted very well, he describes how to draw figures better than most teachers explain anything.  His foundational stuff is truly essential to anyone who wants to draw figures, and it’s what really helped me get started on noses and faces (above).  Everything is easy to understand.  I can’t stress enough how invaluable his videos have been, I keep rewatching them.
  • Sycra – More of the type of digital artist you tend to see on youtube, with lots of speedpainting recordings….but he also has some great tutorials on how to draw, particularly his video about foreshortening.  He clearly has a great grasp of traditional figure drawing as well.

Today’s noses and faces were drawn while looking at screenshots of movies at Cinema Squid (awesome resource if you love staring at stillframes of movies…which I do!).