Thursday, May 5, 2016

Personal Update: TONS of stuff - Circle, Home and More.

Where do I even begin?  April was incredibly hectic and so much has happened.  At least I have pictures to go along with almost everything, I think.  I'm going to section this update.  Yes, that much has happened.  Phew!

Circle of Fountains

Obviously, Circle of Fountains had our Beltane ritual a couple weekends ago, led by Phaedra, but we've also been incredibly busy planning our ritual for Kansas City's Pagan Pride Day coming in September.

Last month, we compiled ideas in a brainstorming activity that gave us a basic outline for our PPD ritual using post-its and categories.  This month, I had everyone come to the meeting with a fully-written ritual in hand following a specific format.

We then chopped them apart...

... And puzzle-pieced them back together as one ritual written by the entire circle!  Look at that!

I personally didn't participate because I will be taking this and editing it into a functioning outline.  In a couple weekends, we'll be going out to the marketplace that PPD is held at to take a look around and do a rough walk-through.  That'll tell us if we need to change anything based on the location.  Next month, we'll be purchasing the materials and then, in the next two months, we'll have time for practice!  We're definitely on the ball with this.  I'm so excited for our circle to present this ritual!


April is wedding and afterprom season, which means I've been up late drawing fresh-faced newly weds and tired teenagers for over a month now.  I love it though.  April's one of the busiest months, but it's also when I feel the most alive because work picks up.  I live for my job.

I've also been getting back to more realistic digital caricatures.  When commissioned, my digital caricatures generally look like colored line work.  There's nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I like to do away with the lines.  Celebrities give me a chance to do that.  Sadly, it took a death to inspire to the piece to the left.  Seems the grim reaper has it out for a number of legendary celebrities this year.

The Familiars

The pets have been doing well.  As usual, no news is good news on this front.  Zeus has some miliary dermatitis (read: Kitty hives) that I'm going to vet him for this weekend.  We've been unable to identify the source, and it's been going on for a little longer than I'm okay with now - upwards of a couple months.  It kind of came and went there for a few weeks, but now he's starting to over groom so I think it's time.  More than likely, allergies are just really bad and he needs a cortisone shot to kind of kick the hives in the bud.  I don't imagine anything serious will come of it, which is why we're doing a walk-in vetting this Saturday.

Otherwise, things have been rather... sleepy for them.  April was full of cloudy days and it was about all they could push through to get through it.

We had a rather interesting intruder the other day in the ritual area.  I discovered the issue when I came down to let my dog out and found candles and pine cones scattered everywhere.  I rounded the corner to this sight above.

Honestly, I expected to see a cricket or a giant spider or something under there.  But nothing could brace me for the cute I was about to find.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is not a mouse.  It's a vole.  We've known about voles in our yard for some time, but this little guy must've slipped in the night before when I sleepily let Artie out and back in for the last time that night, likely running from our local owl population.  I swear, our backyard is an episode of the National Geographic.

Never to fear: I put the cats in the litter box room, closed the door, opened the sliding glass door and coerced the little guy out with a folded umbrella.  He made it out fairly unscathed (though probably thinking that he chose the worst hiding place ever).

I guess that brings me to the last point, and a rather sore one at that right now.

The House

So you know how we're under a five-plant retrograde right now?  This is pretty much what happens during those times.  Yes, that's water.  And it was everywhere.

Sometime overnight, the downstairs toilet randomly overflowed with clear water - don't ask me how because I still don't know.  It must have overflowed for hours.  I actually woke up randomly at 2 am thinking something was wrong, but I tried to force myself to go back to sleep because I had a long day of work ahead.  By 4:30 am, I realized I just wasn't going to sleep for whatever reason and wondered into the kitchen for breakfast.  That's when I heard what I thought was our wash machine running.  Confused, I started to go downstairs when I saw the water.

We shut off the water to the lower basement and moved all the furniture out of the way with the help of circlemates.  It took all morning.  Then, I had to go to work.  I mean, this is a picture of me from that day working at a local university.

What makes this even more of a nightmare story is that our rental company has totally neglected fixing the damage.  It took them six days to come out and pull up the carpet, and they never actually removed the water.

Because they took so long to remove the carpet and it took 48 hours for the water to dry, we now have warped walls - which also presents a risk for mold.

After they removed the carpet, we have heard nothing from them since.  We've called and we've tried to get in contact.  Short of making the forty minute drive to show up in their office and demand they give us a time table, nothing has happened.  This is what our basement currently looks like:

Guys, I'm done.  I'm done fighting rental companies.  So this time, I hired an attorney.  Stuff like this just cannot keep happening.  I'm so exhausted from it that I refuse to do this anymore.

I don't really want to discuss what's going on from there.  Our lawyer has a timeline of how he plans to tackle this and we agree that it's the best course of action.  I will likely have updates next month on this front - possibly sooner depending.  Honestly, hiring a lawyer is pretty much the best thing we've ever done.  I feel like we have this under control for the first time in our lives.

I know April has been a rather quiet month for me on the blog front.  Between work and the house, I'm pretty much tired and listless all the time.  It got to the point that I finally went in to see my doctor about it and was diagnosed with severe major depression onset by our housing situation over the past six months.  At first, I was hesitant to share it - because I don't necessarily feel classically depressed.  I love my friends and family and I know they care about me.  I don't feel like I'm alone.  And I'm certainly not suicidal.  I just can't find the energy to do anything.  I stopped taking commissions for a while, which is really for the better with April gigs anyway, but I've also found it hard to clean, make food or even go to bed and get up at a regular time.  I've been neglecting a lot of my life, like my goals and my planner.  I've been compulsively eating terrible foods and have gained a substantial amount of weight.  I cancel plans often.  I mean, these behaviors simply aren't the normal perfectionist ISTJ Virgo II that I'm known as.  This is not who I am.  But I am seeking help and I am on the starting steps of feeling better.  I just hope it explains my absence for a little while.

And I think that sums up just about everything!  I'll update as I have updates that I can publicly give.  Until next time!


  1. I really hope that you start to feel better soon, it's so shitty that all these things are happening to you. The attorney should help and hopefully they can get the rental company to help you instead of forcing you to move again. I'm struggling with the same lack of total life motivation and will be seeing my doctor soon about it. I know we can both pull through it, it's just going to take some work and self care. I really admire you. Have a good rest of your day!

    1. The best thing we did when this occurred was getting in touch with an attorney. It's brought peace of mind to an otherwise incredibly frustrating and hectic situation. Please let me know if you decide to pursue talking to your GP about your potential depression. I wish I'd done it sooner. I feel so much better on the medication. Plus, for some reason, getting an official diagnosis allowed me to go easier on myself. I used to force myself into trying to act neurotypical. Now I give myself permission to have off days, to slow down and to give myself space. It's pretty amazing. Good luck to you, Paige!

  2. Depression is creepy like that. It sneaks up on us, and we don't believe it is what it is, because that's not how the media portrays it. I've struggled with it all my life, and though it varies from "episode" to "episode", it is often how you describe your symptoms. I know from personal experience that no words can suddenly snap you out of it, but I do wish to tell you you're not alone in your suffering. We don't have to not love our friends/family, or be suicidal to just be depressed. I've been following you for a while now, lurking and learning (we're about to move out to Missouri in the next year actually- which is how I found you originally! :) ), but haven't really commented until now. You've taught me so much, and given me such confidence in my craft (and even though you don't know ME- I feel accepted for who I am reading your blog), that I hope now, when things seem dark for you- I can send some light from far away. I will continue to hope that things work out for you, and that the peace of having a lawyer (someone that has authority) will help resolve things on the home front. Until then, I'll light a candle for you and send as much positive energy as I can muster.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Nicole. Getting an attorney and seeing my GP were probably the best two things I could have done in this situation. I wish I had done both sooner. I typically deal with a bit of Seasonal Affective between December and February but I never sought medication for it because it was during my dry season for caricatures; I didn't have to be social and it went away the minute I really had to step up. When this extended outside of my usual SAD months, I knew something was up. Having been on the medication for some months now, though, I wish I'd have talked to my GP about my Seasonal Affective much sooner. I don't think I've been dealing with just SAD this entire time. I feel much more myself.

      Thank you again for all of your kind words and advice, Nicole. I truly appreciate it. Good luck on your move to Missouri! Let me know how it goes!

  3. Sending very many good wishes and I hope things pick up soon.
    I too am a 'lurker' - I love your blog!

    1. Thank you so much, Alex! I truly appreciate it!

  4. I can identify with what you are doing through in some ways. Getting the help you need is important and I wish you all the best in navigating your journey. We had issues with our past landlords as well, so at least you are taking a proactive approach!
    I know you have a great physical support network, and obviously a strong virtual one as well! Sending you light and hugs :)

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Vanessa! Light and hugs your way as well!

  5. As someone who suffers from chronic depression, diagnosed at 19, after a few years of indicative behavior, I'm turning 30 this month. I can tell you that depression comes in many forms and is very equal opportunity. It truly doesn't care if you are normally a happy person. Few people could go through what you've been going through that last couple of years, with the illness and the housing crap, and come out without at least one episode of significant depression. The fact that you are able to admit it and seek help is the only part that actually matters. Depression is an illness and that isn't something that you can control.
    I'm so glad that you're taking control of the house thing and hiring a lawyer. You've all been through enough and I'm glad that someone else can step up and help take care of you.
    Best wishes in your recovery.

    1. I've had clinically diagnosed anxiety and Seasonal Affective, but this still managed to sneak up on me. Even with my extensive studying of psychology, I still didn't recognize that this was Major Depression. It totally took me by surprise! But I'm certainly glad I got help. Thank you so much Stephanie, and best wishes to you as well.

  6. I am so sorry to hear about your problems. Depression is a horrible thing to experience; I know, I've been there myself. Please, look after yourself (very hard to do when you are feeling low), be kind to yourself, get lots of rest and do some healing magic for yourself. Healing energy being sent your way to try and help you feel better soon.

  7. I am glad you guys hired a lawyer. One of the best things you could have done regarding your home situation. Keep your head up. Depression is a nasty, nasty beast. I have been struggling with it for years. You are much stronger than I am for seeking help. You are not alone in this.

    1. Thank you so much, Willow. The attorney has been a godsend. Any time I'm not sure if something sounds right, I shoot him a quick e-mail and can get it answered professionally. I've been extremely happy with hiring him; well, as happy as I can be given the circumstances! Best wishes to you, and once again, please let me know if you do pursue treatment. It's done me a world of good!

  8. Yay for Circle, familiar, and caricaturing news! (Tiny vole is so full of cute!) :D

    Boo, hiss for the house. :( After everything you've all been through as well... *Many hugs* for you, Aaron, and the furbabies, and if you want me to come over and set fire to the rental company's offices then just let me know. ;)

    I'm glad to hear things are slowly getting under control again and that you're starting to feel better - prayers and lit candles will be happening for you at this end. xx

    1. I constantly go back to the picture of that vole just for the squee. He's so adorable! I don't think the fire will be necessary, but I appreciate the offer, lol! Thank you so much for everything, Vixxia!