Where there is negative energy, you must include positive.

Since I promised that I’d be more upbeat the next time I blogged, I figured I’d show you what I was up to during my little hiatus from this place.

I have a very large family, and Christmas can be a disaster, both logistically and financially. We are inundated with the most ridiculous amounts of commercialism and insistent prodding from before Halloween to charge ourselves into tremendous debt or put a second mortgage on our homes to afford the gifts of iPhones, iPads, gaming systems, and cars (who the fuck can actually afford to buy a new car for their loved one for fucking Christmas?!? The alleged-Lord traveled by donkey, muh’effers.)

I wasn’t having it.

Well, I couldn’t do it, so that’s why I wasn’t having it. I have been experiencing a sort of renaissance of artistic endeavors for the last year, and so I decided to put that creativity to work. I’m still from that school of thought who truly believes a handmade gift is much more dear than any store-bought item. Yes, I buy gifts, but I would rather receive heartfelt, from one’s own hands gifts than some impersonal gift we’ve become conditioned to buy – because stores package them in festive but cheap holiday wrapping – and we have so little time and money with which to work with.

I had none of the money, but loads of the time. I warned everyone ahead of time, too. “Homespun Christmas, y’all,” I said, and hoped they would understand.

We had recently cut down some small trees on our property line. I could see the raw material for my art taking shape, and so the husband got out the table saw and cut me hundreds upon hundreds of soft maple, wooden discs. I had so many ideas!

And I got to work. Here are some of my creations: handpainted ornaments, crocheted gift sets, and cookies. Also, my new interest, amigurimi, will prove to be a great idea for next year. I hope you enjoy.

Snowflakes and trees!
Family sets of ornaments
More family ornaments
Both wooden and clay-sculpted ornaments
My Ghost-inspired Year Zero snowmen wooden paintings, as well as on small canvas
Crocheted gift sets, homemade Baby Yoda cutouts, Slovakian Maknovík, and kolachy
Wooden disc wreath

As you can see, I was busy. Now, check out these Amigurumi I have been making! I’m not a crochet expert, but I have discovered that I can learn much easier with a calmer life and heart. Every, single one is without a pattern; I thank Satan for Pinterest, which gives me visual ideas. I then modify what catches my interest and make it uniquely my own creation. I am eternally grateful for my artist’s “eye”, because if my brain can conjure it, and I can see it, I can do it. With each one I make, I get better, and with each creation, I fall more in love with the art.

Clockwise: donkey, Rodrigo and Rosita llamas, Baby Yoda, and Dash the cat

I also made a Baby Yoda set for my new grandson, who’s basically due any day now. His mama wants to do a photo shoot:

Finally, there’s Goose, my soul kitty. I have many kitties, each deserving of their own blog, but Goose is special. We’ve been in love with each other since he was about 3 weeks old and we locked eyes when I picked him up out of the nursery where his mama, Quinnie, was caring for him and his sister one day. We’ve been inseparable since. I think we function as service creatures to each other; I am his human, and he is my furbaby. He’s very small for his age, and has always been petite. His mother was the same, not reaching her full, average size until she was 2, and never coming into heat until she was 5 (hence Goose and Azriel).

He used to follow me around constantly, bawling his head off. I would hold him and he’d be fine, and sometimes, his anxiety would be so extreme that I would swaddle him just like a human baby. It calmed him, but I simply couldn’t walk around, holding him all day. One afternoon, the husband was observing me try to placate Goose, crooning and cuddling him, and suggested, “Maybe we need to buy him a sweater.” Hmmmm? I thought about how thundershirts calm skittish dogs when there are storms or fireworks. It was still very warm – balmy, actually – and the A/C was still on! Still, a lightbulb went off over my head. “Maybe,” I allowed, “he’s cold.”

The next time we went to Walmart, I looked at the dog sweaters. The smallest size – XXS – seemed about right. There were only 2 in this size. I picked out a maroon, argyle print, choosing it over one with a teddy bear on it – because Goosie might have been tiny, but he was all man – and we put it on him when we got home. He looked so funny, walking around in a sweater when it was still 85° outside, but it worked. He didn’t fight or try to take them off; he would very dociley lift his paws for me to guide into the leg holes. He’s turned into a more independent young man, and he knows they go on at dinnertime and come off at breakfast when it’s very cold. Winter has been uncharacteristically mild this year, so often, he sleeps in front of the wall heater, but on those single-digit nights, a sweater goes on. He’s still my constant companion, but a much happier one. He’s become very popular on social media, and has his own Instagram. You can find him at @goosejoseph!

Anyway, buying sweaters was fun, but costly. I began making him some. He now has 10 sweaters and even “modeled” the parts of Baby Yoda because friends begged me to do it. Here’s my guy, being fabulous:

Rrrrriiiccccoooo. Suave.

I adore his face. He has more followers than me!

I promise that I am working on this terribly bad attitude I’ve had lately. Until then, I’ll crochet, and hold my Goose, and let my mind wander into avenues of artistic ideas. It’s my therapy, and it works. We all have it within us to fight the demons. And if you’re feeling weak, reach out. I’m here.

Live and let die

I fucked off for a little while. If you noticed, and missed me, then I am heartily sorry for that. If you didn’t, well….join a very large club. Membership is free, but the disadvantage to that is that you receive neither a membership card nor a badge. There is no membership fee for my fan club, but you do need to have a strong stomach for vulgarity, love cats to the point of distraction, and the ability to eat a dozen cookies in one sitting and admit to it. See? Small, fucking fan club.

Nothing happened while I was absent. Nothing caused my silence. Nothing major. No, I wasn’t gone because of seasonal depression; my depression is all-inclusive of all seasons and pretty much just lays about, muttering curse words and wishing for cookies.

I wasn’t absent due to writer’s block. There have been so many things to write about; this life, and, in particular, the state of the world we are living in offers up so many subjects. Nope, no writer’s block here. I used restraint, really. I simply asked myself, whenever something really raised my hackles or insinuated itself most irritatingly into that lump of wrinkly, gelatinous flesh inside my head: does this spark joy?

Oh, fuck that! No, I did not ask myself that because I did not watch that irritating shit on Netflix. When I want to purge, I watch an episode of Hoarders. That show simultaneously makes me feel really good and really bad about myself and it reminds me that those 27 strings of Christmas lights I threw into a corner in the spare room because they didn’t work – and I just knew I could save money by going through each one and replacing the blown-out bulb – need to be chucked into the fuckit bucket because no fucking way am I ever going to really do that when a new string is only $3. Don’t be a hoarder like Millie in Missouri, Lori. Throw the lights away. Fuck sparking joy – joy is not losing my shit because I can’t untangle the motherfuckers to go through them.

I could have written about the numerous ways in which I learned to modulate my voice when uttering, “What in the actual fuck?” every time I got online, turned on the news, or read an article about the clustered, caked-in-shit state of affairs in this country since the bloated, fake-baked assface with vagina neck took office. Oh, I have had words for days about that. Why bother, though? Did you want to read them? Would they have sparked joy?

Okay, lemme quit. I’ve been having too much fun with that and it could be misconstrued as condescension. Go watch that woman and take advice about your stuff if it makes you feel better. I’m just saying, it’s been done before.

I could have written about my aforementioned frenemy, depression, and how I’m just not feeling it anymore and wish we could quit each other. The thing is, I don’t think that’s possible. I think depression is as much a part of me as my pinky fingers are, and to break up with depression would mean to slit my wrists the right way and watch the red water get redder. Ya know what I’m saying here?

So, depression gets to stay. I take my pills, which allow a measure of calm, lucidity within, and that gives me the ability to distract myself from the fat blob, muttering “fuck this life” on the couch while she shoves another cookie into her piehole (or cookiehole, as it were). It gives me the ability to distance myself from troubling thoughts, like

– What if my eyes really never do get any better and this darkness and achiness, the dryness and the blurry vision are going to be with me until I die?

– What does my husband see in me, really? I’m not the same, vibrant, long-haired redhead he had the hots for back in the day. I say things, I act in ways that make him irritated. He probably just tolerates me. Wishes for freedom or some younger chick. I should just die.

– Now that I have fully accepted and embraced my atheism, what’s the point to all of this? Why be good, or try anything, when there is nothing when you die?

– If my spine is just going to get progressively worse and render me a burden to my loved ones, why wouldn’t I rather die?

See? Dark thoughts that need to be avoided at all costs, especially in the middle of the night, when sleep doesn’t want to come because most of the time it is just The Male Sibling Unit and me here, and I am still not used to the husband working overnights, and I feel like a pussy for saying that? Why can’t big girl panties be pretty?

During my absence from this sacred space, I tried new things, if you will. I reconnected with my hands-on, artistic self and revised our living space to include more color and practiced serenity even when I didn’t feel it.

I welcomed a new grandson.

I got a haircut.

I also got the flu, had two 3-day migraines, and had bronchitis, so that took up a little time. The point is, I looked for distractions from listening to my depression lie to me, and my panic and anxiety throw me into a state of chaos and uncertainty.

Holy shitballs, y’all….I just realized something.

I coped. I am coping. I’m not running away from my problems, sedating, numbing, elevating them, or creating more out of such actions. You have less problems if you face the ones you have head-on, and sooner or later, a mostly problem-free and drama-free life feels like the norm, not an anomaly.

And you aspire to that. You want your life to be like that always. A life without all that noise is still not a boring life. A quiet life is still filled with the crescendo of laughter, of music, of raucousness. When you find ways to cope with depression, you live the best, most authentic life you can in spite of the ways in which depression can sink your ship. It may not be what you envisioned for yourself when you were just starting out, but it is you, doing you, in the best way that you can. Maybe there is no point to it all, but who gives a fuck? It matters now, and that is the point.

That’s my idea of joy, not throwing away a t-shirt because it doesn’t make my skin tingle and my heart leap. I save that feeling for when I look into the husband’s eyes and see that he still thinks I’m worth throwing into bed.

You won’t find that on Netflix. Nor do you want to.