Friday, April 12, 2019

Staycation is officially over and it’s sad that J has to go back to work but we still haven’t won the lottery.

With most of our Spring cleaning and re-organizing finished it’s easier to slip into a totally creative day. I had wanted to work on my next macrame project today, a runner for the TV console, but I had to wait for Amazon to deliver my cotton rope. So I did the little bit of housework I needed to do then grabbed the sketchbook. It’s time to get back into the routine of working in the sketchbook each day.

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This is still a work in progress with just a few areas that need to be finished. It’s very relaxing to work on these. I spent several hours just inking and stippling this little print. Not sure what I’ll doodle tomorrow.

I whipped up a few rocks on Thursday evening. The images aren’t the best because I took them quickly with my phone. I’ll have to take new photos with my Nikon and add them to the gallery.

Don’t really have a lot to type today but I wanted to settle into a routine of adding posts several times a week. Will definitely be adding more here on a regular basis.

Another Goodbye

My youngest son had to deal with one of the hardest things in life. His cat's health deteriorated drastically over the last two months and we all knew her time was coming. She was a family member but she gravitated to him and became his cat. She stayed in his room seldom coming out to socialize with anyone else. She's been by his side since he was 8 years old.

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On Tuesday he asked J to drive him to the animal hospital so that he could do the best thing for her. She hadn't purred in months but as he held her for the last time she was pouring loudly. We believe she was telling him it was okay. 

Now he's dealing with the grieving and we're doing what we can to help him through it all. It was just 8 months ago when we made the same trip for our Boxer boy Toa.  

She gave us all 17 years of unconditional love and friendship. We all miss her very much. 

Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3

Let me start off by saying that I LOVE BORDERLANDS 2!! Seriously love the game. After attempting to play the game on console, J had given up on me and any kind of shooter.

Nim + controller = disaster

But last year I downloaded and started to play Destiny 2 when it showed up on my Battlenet launcher. At one point I could feel J’s presence behind me as he watched me play. “You’re playing Destiny 2? Wait, you’re actually playing Destiny 2 and holy crap you’re good.” He immediately installed the game and we started rocking through content. The game made me nauseous but that was alleviated by cranking the field of view setting to max. Motion sickness plagues my life. Flying, boating, amusement park rides and first person shoot ‘em ups require medication and tweaked settings. J realized that my complete ineptitude playing Borderlands on the console came down to the controller. Give me a keyboard and mouse and I’ll decimate mobs with a quickness.

We put a lot of time into Destiny 2 but hit a wall and frustration when it came to running forge quests. Everything required a party of 3. For awhile all three of the boys (my sons are grown ass men but I will forever call them my boys) were playing the game so we could group occasionally Unfortunately having grown adult children means that they have work and life schedules that don’t line up with our own. Being unable to play through content as a duo made us a tad salty. I took a break to spend more time in the studio painting and drawing. J dove back into Magic the Gathering Online, Slay the Spire and Skrim.

Then just after we started our spring staycation, Gearbox announced Borderlands 3. We watched their presentation at PAX East and lost our freaking minds after watching the official trailer

.Even with the technical difficulties Gearbox experienced at PAX we stuck it out and thought it was the best thing we’d seen from PAX. But that’s just us of course. We’re crazy excited for Borderlands 3. We jumped into Borderlands 2 and all the DLC. Currently we’re on our second play-through and loving the remastered versions.

Tiny Tina has never looked better.

She’s my absolute favorite character.

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I play Maya in Borderlands 2 but I’m looking forward to playing Moze, a gunner with a mech in Borderlands 3. Not sure how I’m going to act without the phaselock ability!

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That bottom screenshot has J’s character in it. It makes me sad that I can’t take screenshots of my own character. The top with the inventory screen is the best I can do. Screenshots make me happy. I spent a lot of hours taking really great screens in FFXIV and every other game I’ve played.

We’re hoping to finish our second play-through before he heads back to work. More levels means more difficult content and that means really kick-ass weapons. Because that’s what it’s all about.

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Borderlands 2 is still on sale through Steam. You can get the game for FIVE BUCKS!! It’s currently 75% off and the ultra HD remaster is free, free, free. Check it out in the Steam store.

Love of Reading

In the past 14 weeks I’ve read 15 books.

My husband, an avid reader himself, is pretty impressed. He reads the same collection of books that he’s owned for 20 years. I’m currently rediscovering my love of reading and finding out what genres I really enjoy. When I was a teenager and into my early 20s I read romance novels. That’s because I could borrow books from my sister-in-law who was also a voracious reader. During the Dark Ages aka my previous marriage, I read very little. Thankfully that marriage ended and a few years later I met J who introduced me to fantasy novels beyond Tolkien.

In 2018 I dusted off my Goodreads acct and my Kindle in an effort to spend less time online and more time reading. Kindle books are often really inexpensive which makes it easy to pick up a few titles to read. Since I’m a huge fan of Investigation Discovery so I decided to buy a few crime novels. I found the “Detective Erika Foster” series by Robert Bryndza and fell in love with all the characters in the first book, “The Girl in the Ice”. Bryndza decided to take a break from writing for this series to explore an idea for a new character. His new book “Nine Elms-Kate Marshall Book1” is available for pre-order. Of course I’ve pre-ordered and can’t wait to read it in November when it’s published.

Once you find an author Goodreads and Kindle are wonderful about making suggestions for more authors and books. That’s how I found the DI Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons.

Several weeks ago I veered off the crime novel path and took a leap of faith with a few new books I found through Kindle Unlimited.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky - Mark T. Sullivan

The Ragged Edge of Night

The Victory Garden - Rhys Bowen

In Farleigh Field - Rhys Bowen

The Tuscan Child - Rhys Bowen

And “Where the Forest Meets the Stars” by Glendy Vanderah. This is Ms. Venderah’s first novel and I SO hope she continues to write more. I’ve never written a book review but I should probably learn how to write one properly. In the meantime all I can say is that this is a beautifully and thoughtfully written story about the lives of three survivors who come together and teach each other about love, forgiveness, healing and family. I don’t normally read contemporary fiction but the ratings for the book were amazing and it was available to read for free through Kindle Unlimited. i’ll be purchasing it to add to my personal library because it’s just outstanding.

Last night I started yet another book and after only a couple chapters in, I’m in love with it. I feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful stories available to me. Reading brings comfort and joy into my life and transports me to different places, times and even worlds. With that said I’m off to continue reading my latest find…








Preserving Memories

Photographs are important to me and it’s been that way since I was a kid. There was nothing I loved more than making my way through photo albums. Each photo had a story. Sometimes I knew the story. If I didn’t know, then I’d allow my imagination to guide me as I wondered about the lives of the people in the picture. What were they thinking? Did they feel loved? Were they happy? I feel the same way when I drive through my small town gazing at Christmas lights each year. Who lives there? Are they happy? What are their dreams? Do they feel loved and wanted? I feel for people and experience their feelings.

This is why I’m no longer allowed to watch “Titanic”, or watch ASPCA commercials. Tissues boxes are on every corner if there’s a television nearby. I sob in theaters and through movies I’ve seen a hundred times.

Photographs capture moments, big and small, in our lives. Caring for those photographs helps me to preserve the memories for years to come.

Capturing the moments has been the prime focus of my photography since 2006. It’s the non-posed images that I love the most.

©2007 Bet R. All rights reserved.

©2007 Bet R. All rights reserved.

©2007 Bet R. All rights reserved.

©2007 Bet R. All rights reserved.

Scanning and cataloging family photos has kept me away from writing here on the blog. But it’s something I have to get done. Once it’s done the photos will then be stored in proper acid and pvc free photo albums. Scanning photos is almost done and then I’ll start on the boxes of 35mm slides that were my Dad’s.

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There are a lot of them. My younger sister and I don’t have a ton of childhood photos. There are baby pictures and a couple family portraits, but most of our photos are within these slides. They’re blurry and more times than not they’re more focused on the scenery than us. But that’s what we have and I want to hold onto them tightly. Of course there are a few gems, like the photo below. That’s me and my younger sister when we were 5 and 7. I have no idea where the photo was taken but I love it so much. We were close when we were little, then we disliked each other when we were teens and now I love her to bits. Thankfully video chatting keeps us close because we live 1200 miles apart.

©1969 Seeley Family Photos. All rights reserved.

©1969 Seeley Family Photos. All rights reserved.

Preserving the memories and all my crafty endeavors have kept me busy this past month. With each post here on the site I’m one step closer to finding a creative schedule. Not that I’m a slave to schedules but there are some things in life that are easier to accomplish with one. That made sense in my head. I swear it did.

In this day and age it’s easy to hold onto and save all your photos. Digital cameras, cameras on phones make it easy to capture moments. Sites like Shutterfly and if you’re a Prime member, Amazon Photos, allow you to store an unlimited amount of images. I currently back-up my photos using the two I mentioned plus Google Photos. as well as on an external hard drive dedicated to just photos and videos.

Never store your images in just one location. You just never know what will happen.

I have to get back to the family memories now.

Peace, love and cheesecake,

Bet

What Should Have Been...

What should have been a great time out with family devolved when we sat in the restaurant waiting for our meal. Let’s back track a bit okay?

Our Sunday plans included visiting an escape room in Delaware with family. It’s something my nephew’s wife suggested and both of us thought it was a great idea. She booked the In a Galaxy Far Away” room at Great Escape Delaware for our group of seven. Star Wars theme? Yeah J and I were excited. We found the place easily enough even after my poor husband took the wrong exit. Luckily I lived in Delaware for 10 years and that makes me proficient in getting from A to B without waiting for navigation to figure what’s going on.

We got the rundown on the room, got locked inside and watched the timer start ticking away. Sixty minutes goes by crazy fast when you’re trying to solve puzzles and find clues. I don’t want to give too much information about the room because spoilers aren’t fun. With our seven brains working frantically we managed to escape with 8 minutes 43 seconds left on the clock!

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Team Skittlez killed it even if the room tried to kill us with heat.

Seriously though, it was way too warm in that room with seven people scrambling around to figure things out. But both J & I enjoyed the escape room adventure quite a bit and we’re thinking of returning in the next month or so.

We all agreed to head to The Outback for dinner and that’s when things took a turn. Mind you, J and I stuck it out, ate our meal and put on the social face. What we didn’t know was that we were both feeling knocked back by a few things our family members said at the table.

We had driven over by ourselves and apparently after crossing the bridge our family said, “Quick, let’s leave the fatties behind.” and “Oh they’ve probably already stopped at a donut shop.” Neither J or I claim to be anything but what we are. We are overweight and for the past few months have been slowly working to change our food life. Anyone that has dealt with obesity understands the struggle. It’s rare to find someone who just woke up one morning as was completely dedicated to their weight loss without facing struggles.

But our weight goals and struggles to make them happen aren’t the point here. What is the point is the idea that suddenly family and friends can start taking pot shots at us, making fun of us and saying hurtful things to us in order to amuse themselves. What makes it worse is that they said these things in their car where we couldn’t hear but made a point of telling us they did it once we were at dinner. Kinda’ makes you wonder about the way they talk about us when we’re not around.

Being hurtful is unacceptable and if we weren’t both so taken aback by what they said we’d have stood up and left the restaurant. But we didn’t. Instead we stuck it out, made small talk and even invited them over next weekend for a family game night.

That was my doing.

I’m non-confrontational and don’t like to cause rifts. My five decades of experience have taught me to just go on and ignore the behavior to keep the peace. But I’m tired of keeping the peace. When is it time for people to learn to shut theirs mouths if they don’t have anything nice to say? I’d have never said anything like that to any of my relatives. I would never have subjected them to something like that in front of people in a public venue. But somewhere along the way we became targets and the skinny people feel as if it’s fine to take aim.

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They’ll have to continue to make jokes and say unkind things behind our backs because we’re done. Just because they’re family doesn’t mean we have to allow them into our lives.

I’ve got five decades of

  • not being pretty enough

  • not being considered a “real” sibling because I was adopted

  • not smart enough

  • not tall enough

  • not cool enough

Neither J nor I are going to let this one slip by. We’re not laughing it off and continuing to invite people into our home for game nights, holiday meals, BBQs and swim parties. You don’t get to say hurtful things to us or make jokes about us to make yourself feel good. You’re not funny. It’s not cute and Vogue isn’t standing in the wings to ask you to grace their magazine cover.

Bitter? A bit, but I expect to be treated better by people I love.

I’ve paid my dues and earned the respect.

But sadly, I don’t think they’ll get it. Because we’ll be viewed as “overly sensitive” or “whiny snowflakes”. I’ll miss them in my life and maybe one day they will “get it’. But I’m not holding my breath and we’ll continue to live our lives happily.

Learning to Macrame

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve made the time to sit down and write for the blog. My plate is full when it comes to projects and I keep coming up with more ideas. Add to that the arrival of Spring and blogging seems to drop very low on the priority list.

Spring means yard work and the continuation of outdoor projects as well as the start of new ones. In nine weeks we open the pool and we’re hoping to have the patio completed by Memorial Day. Our minds are on our pool paradise and getting everything ready. It’s where we spend the majority of our time from May until the end of September. We’re happy homebodies.

On the creative home front I’ve taken up macrame and I absolutely adore it! Using yarn I practiced basic knots that I learned watching YouTube videos. It’s relaxing and that’s something I didn’t count on when I started. After falling in love with it I ordered a spool of 3mm cotton macrame rope from Amazon. Even though I’m a beginner I want to make things that we’ll use instead of making things that will pile up in the crafts closet. So I made a simple runner.

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It’s wonky in areas but both J and I love it. Still had rope left so I made a little mat for our end table.

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I’m absolutely hooked on macrame. Decided to order some more cording so that I can make an additional runner in the same pattern as the end table mat. The first runner has been shifted to the sofa table and it looks great there with photos and a Woodwick candle displayed on top. Josh and Brit got me two Woodwick candles for Christmas and I love them so much!

There are a couple books on Amazon that have lovely patterns and I’m considering ordering them. It’s hard to pull the trigger on “How To” books when there are so many wonderful video tutorials on YouTube! The books would be nice when I don’t want to sit in front of the computer or iPad while trying to learn. My screen time has gone down immensely because I just have so many artistic/crafty things on my list.

Peace,

Bet