LIFE | Let’s catch up: the sickness, marriage, death edition

Hi everyone! Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone?

It’s been half a year since I last posted and a lot has happened in my life during that time. So today, just to ease back into things, I’ve decided it’d be nice if we had a little catch up as friends often do. Grab a drink, take a seat, and let me know how you’re doing and what’s been going on in your life. I’ve missed you all.

I’ve redesigned the blog.

Things are looking a little different around here these days. While I loved my original blog design, I felt it only really worked for the limited color palette I was using while creating art with my pens. Now that I’ve expanded my art collection to include lots of color (thanks to my promarker collection), I wanted something simple that wouldn’t clash with the art I share – so walah! Here it is.

Let’s catch up: How do you like the new design? Have you been changing things up in your creative space lately?

I had to say goodbye to both of my dogs.

Before the hiatus I mentioned that I had to say goodbye to Tasha, my fifteen-year-old beautiful bitch. As if that wasn’t hard enough, one month later I then had to say goodbye to Mad, my thirteen-year-old handsome boy.

While both of these were incredibly hard losses, Mad’s passing really broke my heart because we had no clue his time was up. Whereas Tasha had been slowly crumbling before our eyes, Mad seemed perfectly fine and was running around the yard the day before he passed.

I guess that’s good for him, I’m glad his last days were normal, happy ones. But oh, I wasn’t ready, especially so soon after losing Tasha. Losing loved ones is so heartbreaking.

I will be creating a post highlighting Mad and the type of dog he was soon, but until then know he was just as much of a mess as I was and that’s one of the reasons I loved him.

Let’s catch up: How have the last few months been treating you and your loved ones? What things do you turn to when dealing with loss?

I’ve been taking care of our new puppy.

After Tasha passed, our family adopted a puppy named Dio. Boy, what a fun little monster he is. No one is quite sure what breed he is (I don’t have $100 lying around for a DNA test), but the rescue we worked with suggested a Shepherd/Lab/Akita mix.

Dio is massive. He’s currently eight months old and weighs over 65 pounds. He also has the legs of a giraffe. (Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but he’s tall.)

He’s definitely not like Tasha or Mad (I think Mad was a bit annoyed with him at first, tbh), but I think he’s still loveable in his own way. He’s playful, curious, and is always on the hunt for critters in the yard to pounce on. And while he doesn’t cuddle or seek affection as much as my mom would like, I do think he loves us in return. Honestly, I think I’d be a lot worse off now if he weren’t in my life.

Let’s catch up: How are the furry ones in your life doing? Do you use them for a lot of emotional support, like I do?

I got married.

Oh hey, I got married! It still doesn’t feel quite real (especially since my husband lives an ocean away) but yes, I’m now a Mrs. Be amazed!

I have posts planned to discuss my marriage but let me just assure you that my wedding was amazing. For the longest time I wanted to just sneak off somewhere with Dave and get eloped without all the fuss, but I’m glad we went the slightly more traditional route by having a wedding where we invited close friends and family. It was great celebrating our union with people from both sides of the ocean, and I think our marriage wil be stronger knowing they all have our backs.

Let’s catch up: Any big life changes happen for you recently? If you’ve been one to imagine your wedding, what kind have you always hoped for?

I took my first domestic flight.

For our “honeymoon” Dave and I decided to visit Washington DC. Not the most romantic place, I know, but we wanted to do something after getting married that wasn’t too costly and I had a $300 flight voucher getting ready to expire so that’s where we ended up.

Now for me, I have to say one of my favorite parts of the trip was that I finally flew my first domestic flight. I mean, really, I’ve been flying for almost six years now and have only ever traveled the route between Chicago O’hare and London Heathrow. So to actually get on a plane and go somewhere new (and to not have to sit there struggling to sleep for eight hours?), I enjoyed it!

Washington DC itself was nice, but for someone who doesn’t really care for history or politics, it didn’t hold a lot of appeal. I’m sorry, but I’m just horrible when it comes to museums. I like to look at the stuff, but actually read what everything’s about and think about the significance of it all? I just don’t. I go “Oh pretty” and then move on. So I didn’t value the exhibits as much as I probably should have but hey, I did appreciate that they were all free. (Poor Dave, he married such an uncultured soul.)

Let’s catch up: Have you gone on any exciting trips recently? How do you feel about museums?

I’ve added color to my art.

Included in this post are a couple of images I created over the summer and look – they have color! I started adding promarkers to my collection after my birthday and, honestly, I just can’t stop. I feel freed now that I’m not just stuck to using those five neon colored pens that I was using before. Of course, I still have a long way to go when it comes to choosing colors that work together and shading and all that fun stuff, but I’m enjoying experimenting with them.

Speaking of my art, I can’t help but laugh at the thought that I thought I found my style. My art feels like it constantly changes each time I do it. But hey, that’s okay, I’m not too bothered. As long as I’m seeing progress and growth with each piece I do, I’m fine with that.

And I think I am. I have good days and bad days, but I think the more I do this stuff the better I’m getting. Maybe. Hopefully.

Let’s catch up: Have you been working on anything creative lately? Are you hard on yourself when you create, or are you good at learning to accept where you are?

I spent two months acting as caretaker.

Oh boy, oh boy. To any and all caretakers out there in the world, I salute you. I spent over two months acting as the primary caretaker for a relative with Alzheimer’s and it. was. so. hard.

I felt like I lost my ability to do anything for myself while looking over my relative and while I tried my best to make it a fun experience, it ultimately just wore on me and my sanity. I felt horrible for my relative that I couldn’t do more, but ugh, I barely know how to take care of myself some days.

It almost makes me worried how I’ll handle motherhood when that comes around.

Let’s catch up: Have you ever acted as primary caregiver for someone? How did you find the balance between caring for them and caring for yourself?

I’m struggling to get back into my self-care routines.

Between losing the dogs, training the puppy, the wedding, the caretaker thing, etc… all my normal routines have gone out the window and for some reason I’m struggling to get back into the swing of things. Once I finally got my time back to myself I just wanted to do nothing, you know? Just exist without obligation. But that isn’t really good for me. When I let my days result in nothingness, I feel like a waste. So I really need to get back into being productive and taking care of myself – hopefully this blog will help a little with that?

Let’s catch up: How have you been doing in regards to self-care? Do you ever find it hard to do the things for yourself you know you should even when you know it’ll make you feel better?

I’ve been sickly. So sickly.

Maybe part of the reason I’ve lacked motivation to take care of myself is because I’m dying. Well, not literally. But I’ve had some form of cough for over a month now. First it was just this dry cough that felt like I was choking on air. This past week it has transformed into a phlegm-y productive cough. Oh, and I think I strained something from all this coughing because also now when I cough or sneeze I get this sharp stab of pain in my lower back. I don’t know, I’m just a mess.

I should probably schedule a doctor appointment, but I feel fine? Like, the cough is annoying, don’t get me wrong. Even more so now that I get these sharp pains. But if we remove it from the equation I feel fine so I don’t mind it too much. Is that a bad thing? Should I really force myself to get checked out?

Let’s catch up: Have you been successful avoiding the sickness? How do you decide something is serious enough to see a doctor?

I’m enjoying spending the holidays with my family.

While the holidays are stressful in some ways, I do like that they’re an excuse for families to spend time together, especially since this will likely be one of my last holidays at home. And I’m not even talking about extended family (though they’re okay). I just like that it means my parents and I actually do stuff together – put up decorations, hand out candy, cook food, etc. (But don’t tell my mom that. She’s been getting too carried away. We’re decorating our third Christmas three tomorrow.) It helps break up the monotony of day-to-day life and is useful for creating some pretty fun memories.

Let’s catch up: How have the holidays been for you so far this year? Do you enjoy them or hate them? Have you done anything exciting holiday-wise lately?

Let me know how you’ve been in the comments below! I’ve missed you guys.

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13 thoughts on “LIFE | Let’s catch up: the sickness, marriage, death edition

  1. My beautiful friend,
    It is so nice to have you back. First, your drawings are INCREDIBLE. I’m proud of you for taking the plunge to try more color. To me, that is a sign of creative genius. The drawings just look even more lively now, and I love seeing this. Like you, I have a demon cold that just won’t go away. It’s really hard to be productive when your body is like, “Nah. I’m out.” But, you just do the best you can and call it a day. I recently found out that one of my mental health meds is giving me thyroid problems. That’s basically my latest health scare. Hopefully, it’ll be okay.

    Your wedding was SO PRETTY. You and Dave are cute together. I hope you get to live together in the same country soon, because you are precious. By the way, if you ever feel up it, we should do a self-care activity or something every once in a while. I try to do something every day. Something small. I can remind you to do it, and you remind me. I get ideas on how to take care of myself mostly from Pinterest. I know. I have to research ways to care for myself. Meh. It keeps things fresh.

    I missed you. Glad to have you back.
    May 2018 be a better year. *Hugs*

    Like

    1. Thanks Dina! It feels good to be back. I’m glad you’re still around 🙂

      I’m definitely enjoying the addition of color to my work. I have a long way to go with it, but I’m enjoying the process. (I’m also SLIGHTLY addicted to collecting all of the colors now. I think there’s 148 total and I have 88 of them, so 60 more to go! haha.

      Aw, sorry to hear you’ve had the demon cold as well. It’s miserable, isn’t it? I definitely get that there’s only so much we can do but geesh, after being miserable for a month I’m just ready for it to be over with! Do you ever have any certain remedies you try when sick that seem to help? I’m weird in that I am rarely like to take medicine for anything so only take it when I feel I absolutely need to, so apart from some night-time coughing meds to let me sleep, I’ve mostly just been toughing it out. Maybe I need to try some home remedies.

      Not thyroid problems, boo. It’s awlays something, isn’t it? Hopefully that gets sorted and you get a break from the nonsense. You deserve it. ❤

      Thanks! It was really nice to see all my wedding stuff come together after working on it for so many months! It was a lot of work but worth it in the end (I think). And I'll be applying for my visa in February so we're slowly making our way towards being in the same country. Fortunately we're pros at this long-distance thing so we're making it work until then!

      And you know what, I think that's a great idea about the self-care buddy thing. What kind of activity are you thinking of? I'm open to anything really. And there's definitely no shame for researching self-care ideas on Pinterest! I think my mental health is one of the things I've spent the most time and energy reseraching this past year. At the beginning of the year I even took online classes through my health providers that guided me through reflecting on my depression and giving me steps to manage it (which was great at the time but unfortunately I haven't quite stuck with them!). Sometimes it's nice to see what ideas are out there because not only may they be super helpful, but it also is a nice reminder that we're not alone. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by Dina! I value you as a friends. *Hugs*

      Like

  2. So glad to get an update on you! So sorry you lost both of your dogs, but I am glad that you have a new pup to help you through. And I still hope you share a little more about your wedding!

    Junk is going around for sure. My husband has gotten sick twice already this season (and he doesn’t get sick all too often), and on the tail end of his second cold, I got one too! I never know the right thing to do either… I hate going to the doctor and paying them $$$ just for them to say, “There’s nothing I can do, take over the counter drugs.” Geeze, thanks. But sometimes you need to go to the doctor to get the good stuff, it all just depends on if you have a virus or something else. It’s so hard to know. I hope you feel better soon!

    Like

    1. That’s one of the worst things about being sick – bringing it home and wondering if you’re going to make everyone else sick as well! Even though it’s been over a month of me not feeling great though, my parents have mostly avoided my sickness. On the one hand I’m happy for them because you don’t wish such things on your loved ones, but on the other hand I’m sort of upset that I have to suffer on my own, haha. But I definitely think I’m starting to recover. The worst thing now is that I seemed to have strained a muscle in my side/back from coughing and so am in some physical pain, but luckily since I’m not coughing as much it’s mostly manageable. I hope you and your husband feel better and avoid the sickness for the rest of this season too!

      (And yes, more definitely coming on the wedding. I’ve already drawn the images for it, just need to get myself motivated to add the text!)

      Like

  3. I like the new minimalist design! And I love your drawings with ALL the colors! It is so much fun watching you develop your creative style. It sucks that you’re sick, though. Chris and I are both sick right now too, which is no fun. I can’t wait to see what else you’ve got planned, now that you’re back to blogging. ❤

    Like

    1. Thanks Kelley! I’m definitely enjoying the creating process. I feel like I’m still a bit all over the place but I’m not as bothered by it as I was before. As long as I can see some improvements and am still getting joy out of it, I’m happy! (And I’m so happy you’re indulging in your own creative side too!)

      Oh no, I don’t think I realized you’re feeling sick. I hope you feel better soon! (And shit, I just realized in responding to this that you DMed me like a day or two ago and I hadn’t wrote back lol. I’ll put that on my list for tomorrow since I’m currently in bed. (And yes, I lay down at 8:30pm. I’m an old lady.))

      Like

  4. I replied to most of this in your Christmas card, but I wanted to at least let you know how much I love your new design! And your art. 😍 I feel lucky that I get to watch as your art grows and changes!

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    1. I’m very much looking forward to your Christmas card! It’s been a while since we’ve snail mailed. And thanks Maraia! The support when it comes to my art really does help! I don’t know if it’ll ever go anywhere, but it’s something that brings me joy so I’m definitely indulging in it a lot! Hope you’re keeping yourself uplifted with activities that bring you happiness too! ❤

      Like

      1. It has! It was so nice getting your card. 🙂 I think that’s the most important part, and I’m glad you’ve found something like that. Writing Christmas cards as been both an absolute pain and really rewarding when people get them! Even just people’s reactions when I ask for their address makes me happy. I like knowing that I’m cheered someone up.

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  5. Hei dear!

    I have to be honest, this was such a hard post to read. I’m so sorry for your losses, and as someone with Alzheimer in the family but never the primary caretaker (I was too young back then), I can only imagine how hard it had to be on you.

    I think self-care can also be just that: Do nothing. Give your mind and body time to recover. It might be better to get in some sort of exercise or something, but at the end of the day, it’s about giving yourself a time-out from daily life and, in your case, not so daily-life events and tragedies. I find reading perfect for moments like that because it takes my mind off of what turned me into a tired mess in the first place.
    But yes, blogging and just writing about self-care and good habits sure helps! Just take it slow ❤

    Also: Congratulations on getting married! And good call on inviting friends and family – we nearly avoided that, too, because international marriages can be such a hassle to organize, but the memories are worth it. Do you feel different now that you're married? 🙂

    Love the direction your art style has taken and hope you're getting better soon!
    evelyne

    Like

    1. Hi evelyne!

      Yes, I think doing mostly nothing the last few weeks has been helpful in catching up on some much-needed calm, but now I’m at that point where doing nothing makes me feel like a slacker so it’s time to put my time to good use again! That is the nice thing about the New Year’s being around the corner too. Though one shouldn’t need a specific day to start taking actions towards goals, there’s just something so appealing about a fresh start and the fact that there’s many others taking charge at the same time to get me excited again. So here’s hoping 2018 will help me get back on track!

      No, I wouldn’t say I feel different now that I’m married, but we’re still living in different countries so not a whole lot has changed! I’d say the biggest difference would just be the comfort in knowing that the commitment has been made – so like feeling that ring on my hand and knowing I have someone in my corner even if he’s not physically here – but I was pretty confident in our relationship prior to the marriage so it’s not a huge change. We’ll see how it goes next year though once we’re finally together. At least now that we’re married his parents won’t make him sleep downstairs on the couch when I’m over, haha!

      Like

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