Saturday, April 30, 2016

Not worth celebrating.


This day always brings me down.

Another year older and still not where I want to be in life.

Growing up, I'd dream of drawing and painting and writing for a living. Being successful at it and traveling the world because of it.

I'm not even close to having that. At all.

I have to work all the time, I'm worn out every day, and more often than not, I'm unhappy.

So turning 37 today doesn't seem all that exciting to me.


I decided to go home to my family because I didn't want to be alone today.

My mom had gotten me a cake and even though I don't celebrate my birthdays, I see the importance of it to my family, so I fake a smile here and there and go with the flow. It'll be over soon enough.

One day I hope to have a life worth celebrating. 

Happy Birthday anyway, dear Dean.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nominated!


I kept smiling the rest of the day when I found out the news. 

Last week, one of my student workers at the university I work for nominated me for supervisor of the year!! 


Here's an excerpt from her submission: 

"I began working with Dean in early September 2015 and felt a bit overwhelmed by all I needed to learn. I remember my first day in this position quite vividly for the fact that Dean went out of his way to make me feel comfortable and welcome.

He goes above and beyond in everything he does and I can honestly say Dean is dedicated to this institution. 

Even though he holds a higher position than his student workers, he never makes us feel as such. Throughout my time working with Dean, I have come to realize what a caring person he is. He takes leadership in planning events such as our annual potluck and ensures that everyone is included in these celebrations. 

It's due to these meaningful actions that Dean is the ideal candidate for the Supervisor of the Year award." 

Out of all the departments within the university, only 27 supervisors were chosen (me being one of them). 

Although I didn't win, it felt great to be nominated and represent my department. 

After (almost) five years of working there, I admit to feeling a bit disconnected and unappreciated at times. 

This welcome news has helped recharge my spirits and show me that I do have an impact at work, even if I don't always think so. 

So thank you for nominating me, Araceli! You ROCK!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Opening Night!


It all goes downhill from here. 

Drunkenness, debauchery, defeat--spreading across the North Side like a red and blue plague. 

Today is doomsday a.k.a. the home opener for the Chicago Cubs! 

I live about five blocks away from enemy territory (Wrigley Field). Originally from the South Side, I moved to Lakeview last fall. By that point though, the Cubs were losing the tail-end of the baseball season (naturally). 

Now I'll be experiencing all of it right from the start of the this year's season...and I'm not happy about it. 

I'll have to plan my errands and grocery trips and commutes around game days to avoid the DCF's (Drunk Cubs Fans) as best as possible. 


I walked over to Wrigley Field last night, taking pictures of its imposing stadium all aglow. 

Even though there were a couple of drunks being belligerent outside a bar right across the street (again, naturally), there was no denying the energy there. 

There's something exciting being so close to the action. It's going to be a very long and painful six months for me but I look forward to watching the Cubs lose practically from my doorstep. 

:)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A year on the phones.


It doesn't feel like twelve months have gone by. Time really flew!

Today marks my one-year anniversary working at the university call center!

Perhaps it's because I had such a long training period that it doesn't seem like a full year. And maybe it's just the repetitive nature of the job itself.

I've never talked about this particular part-time position all that much. Answering phone calls everyday about the same things and working with the same group of people. There's really not much to tell.

But the job itself is relatively relaxed, not too difficult, and my coworkers and I get along well.

The most notable part of working in the call center is that I have my first ever cubicle!

I remember when I first started, the lead agent told me I could decorate my space any way I wanted.

So on this milestone, I thought it'd be cute to show you my little home away from home.

As you can see, my cubicle is filled with color and plants and things that make me smile...









It may not be art-related but I'm still grateful to have this job and to be working for this department.

Happy Anniversary, University Call Center job!!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Keeping up!


It started out innocently enough.

An episode here. An episode there.

It annoyed me at first. What a staged show with stupid, vapid girls, I thought.

But after one evening of binge-watching almost an entire season, I was hooked. I was changed forever…in ways I can’t describe and probably don’t even understand.

And it’s all because of one famous family.

The Kardashians!


My family never had cable in the later years of me living at home. I missed out on many shows (like this one) that weren’t on regular TV. But now that I moved into my own place last fall, cable was included in the internet package.


I recently discovered Keeping up with the Kardashians and began watching the latest season first (since that’s what was being shown) but now they’ve been rerunning the first season as well so I’ve been watching it all from the beginning.

I’ve become obsessed. Addicted.

It’s a drug that won’t let me be, like cocaine…or rather, Kim-caine.

When Kim hurts, I hurt.

The more episodes I watch, the more I get sucked in, and the more questions I have.

Why did Kourtney have three children with Scott when he’s caused so much chaos in their lives?

Will Khloé ever get back with Lamar?

How does DASH stay in business when it never has a customer in its store? Ever.

Why are the girls always so mean to Kris?

This is what consumes my long workdays and my dateless nights.

I’ve even watched few of Kylie’s make-up tutorials on YouTube when I need a quick "K-fix".

And now there’s this little voice in my head that says, “You look gorge” when seeing someone fashionable and “Bible” when I’m telling the truth.

I don’t know what to do. I think I need rehab… I mean, K-hab!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

One day.


People need other people.

It's human nature to pair up and want to be with someone.

To ignore that truth is to deny a part of your heart.

The longing is there because something is missing.

So for all of those who have someone they love and are in love with, I envy you. You are truly blessed and I hope to have it for myself one day.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Asha's art.


I almost stepped on it while walking back to my place the other day.

Warped, wrinkled, and torn. It looked like a piece of trash.

Then I saw the color--and found this...

Notice the handprint at the top-right corner.

A toddler's artwork, brought to life with blue and purple fingerpaints. There's even a hint of glitter on it!

The other side (12" x 17").

It had been trampled on and God knows what else but I felt compelled to take it with me. To save it from the elements. To give it a home.

There's a child named Asha and their art now hangs on my wall.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Celebrate!!


This date always creeps up on me but I never forget it.

Today my Exploding Doughnut blog turns seven!

Visions on how to celebrate danced in my head.

Buy a designer doughnut or get a cake. A layered cake! (Chocolate of course).

But in the end I went and bought myself a ticket to see Beautiful, The Carole King Musical. So good!!!


What better way to celebrate this blog, all of your support, and the future than with a story about love, creativity, and finding your way in the world.

**Happy Birthday/Anniversary, Exploding Doughnut!!**

Friday, January 15, 2016

The end of an era.


Oh how I look forward to this. This time of year means breaking/keeping New Year's resolutions, embracing winter, and cats with mustaches.

Yes. Cats. With. Mustaches.

It's now become a tradition at the crafts store I work at to "decorate" the yearly cat calendar that hangs in my workspace.

Here's the best sharpie embellishments of 2015...

Growing it all out.

Work it, girl.

Beard.

Breezy.

Romance.

Lovely.

Pouty.

If only I could find a job that pays me to do this. So fun!!

Sadly though, by the time I went to "store-use" a cat calendar for the coming year, all the feline-themed ones were already sold.

I'm now using a Zen-inspired calendar with inspirational quotes on it. Can't draw mustaches on a quote. Sigh.

It's the end of an era. Perhaps a bit symbolic too as I planned on finally leaving the arts-and-crafts store once-and-for-all at the start of the new year.

So for 2016, the cats are spared!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

(You're) so far away.


This song and its lyrics accurately convey where my head...and heart are at right now.

*sigh*


"So far away
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know you're just time away.

Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
How I wish I could
But you're so far away.

One more song about movin' along the highway
Can't say much of anything that's new
If I could only work this life out my way
I'd rather spend it being close to you.

But you're so far away
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know you're so far away.

Yeah, you're so far away.

Traveling around sure gets me down and lonely
Nothing else to do but close my mind
I sure hope the road don't come to own me
There's so many dreams I've yet to find.

But you're so far away
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
And it doesn't help to know you're so far away.

Yeah, you're so far away.

Hey, you're so far away."

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking back.


It's the last day of the year.

You know what that means?

The annual year-in-review is here!

Every single post from 2015 has been carefully listed right for your viewing pleasure.

A perfect way to "catch-up" and for newbies to see what I was up to this year.

Let's go!

January:

(1-5-15) Tagging cats!
(1-10-15) Married Engagement.
(1-17-15) Shake-up at the university.
(1-22-15) Six!
(1-24-15) Mr. Gordon.

February:

(2-3-15) Shared Journal--the beginning.
(2-4-15) Wordless Wednesday - This week's blizzard!
(2-7-15) "Justin's heart" (Shared Journal - Page 6)
(2-14-15) Vacuuming on Valentine's Day.
(2-28-15) Love is out there.

March:

(3-22-15) Two becomes three...again.

April:

(4-19-15) Update!
(4-30-15) Surprise!!

May:

(5-3-15) Without me there.
(5-10-15) Mom.
(5-17-15) Dancing at the grocery store!
(5-24-15) Buying flowers for work.

June:

(6-6-15) Wearing Jesus.
(6-28-15) Yellow Quarter!

July:

(7-12-15) Getting it all out.
(7-19-15) The games men play.
(7-25-15) Something nice.

August:

(8-12-15) Changing the trajectory of my life.
(8-16-15) That yellow chair.
(8-24-15) Blue Dime!
(8-29-15) August 29th...

September:

(9-7-15) Someplace of my own.
(9-20-15) Four years already.
(9-21-15) Feather heart!

October:

(10-5-15) One month down!
(10-12-15) One man's trash...
(10-19-15) Flower wreath!

November:

(11-5-15) "Blood Butterflies" - W.I.P. Step 3 - Completion!
(11-10-15) Both sides now.
(11-18-15) For my place.
(11-26-15) In my bed.

December:

(12-14-15) The day after.
(12-24-15) Kiss the moonlight.
(12-28-15) Orange Quarter!
(12-31-15) Looking back.

The big things that stood out for me this year were landing my second part-time university job, which in turn afforded me to rent my first-ever apartment.

I hope 2016 will bring as significant changes…for the better.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Thank YOU for joining me on this journey.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Orange Quarter!


Another one!

While doing the deposit at the crafts store, I came across yet another painted quarter. This time a deep pumpkin orange.


You'll recall I found a yellow quarter and then a blue dime afterwards.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It is a crafts store after all, so that's bound to attract artsy/crafty customers...who obviously have a thing for decorating money.

What color will I find next? Time will tell!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Kiss the moonlight.


The moon locked eyes with mine. Its light called to me the way lovers do. The blackness of the water glittered like a jewel.

How gorgeous.

After running errands this evening, I walked over to the lakefront to escape the commotion of the city (now that I live across the street from the lake).

The (almost) full moon hovered over the water...


These pictures do NOT do it justice!

In my entire neighborhood, I was the only there.

It reminds me that people's priorities are skewed. How sad that no one else cared about something so beautiful.

It also reminded me I had no one to share it with.

As the waves hit the shore in silky laps, I knew I could slip into the water and let the current take me under and no one would know. There's something so lovely about that.

I stayed there a good forty minutes but when the oncoming clouds devoured the moon, I headed back to my apartment.

Even though the moment was tinged with sadness, the beauty of the scene surpassed it. I thanked God as I left for I was truly blessed to kiss the moonlight.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The day after.


I called out his name this morning. There was no reply.

He flew back home last night and my apartment feels terribly empty.

Over three years in the making, it finally culminated into something tangible--something amazing--last week.

I miss him already. A lot.

But better to have had a taste of what could be than nothing at all. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

There must be a way to make it work (there must!) but neither of us knows how just yet. I do fear it may all dissolve into the ether but we'll see what happens.

In the meantime, I hope he remains in my life, and me in his heart.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

In my bed.


The last time I had a bed to sleep in was during my sophomore year of high school.

Ever since then I've slept on a couch, a sofa bed, and yes, on the floor at home. I'd never sleep well under those conditions, often waking up every few hours to change sides--at times getting bruised on my hips.

It's hard to imagine over half of my life sleeping that way but that's the way it was…until now.

I bought myself a queen size bed!

It was delivered to my new apartment over the weekend.

It's one of the things I always longed for when I was finally on my own.

I slept in my bed for the first time the night it was delivered. It felt luxurious and comfortable and dare I say, sensual.


I bought plush pillows and expensive bedsheets. It almost felt too extravagant and I had the notion of sleeping on the floor again.

But as I sunk into the softness, I told myself I was worth it and deserved this bed!

So on this day of giving thanks, I'm grateful to finally have a bed to sleep in. For that I'm truly blessed. May all of you be as blessed as well.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

For my place.


It's been over two months and my new(ish) apartment still feels very bare and plain.

I bought flowers to add some color and life to the space.

A colorful bouquet of mini carnations!

White, yellow, and pink blooms to greet me and bring a smile to my face after long days at work.

What a lovely thing to come home to...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Both sides now.


"Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
Feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way.

Now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way.

(I've looked at clouds from both sides now)
I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all."

Maybe it was the updated, pop version that caught my attention. Or the gentle lyrics tugging at my heartstrings.

While doing time edits (payroll) at the crafts store I work at, this song came on the overhead speakers and made me tear up a bit...


"Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy, dancing way you feel
When every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way.

Now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughin' when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all."

Do you ever feel there are times when life falls into place only for everything to not make sense? Logically you think you know, when in reality you haven't got a clue.

That's what this song reminds me of. The past. The future. And hoping to God I'm doing things right in the present.

"Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way.

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost and something's gained
In living every day.

(I've looked at life from both sides now)
I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life...

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all.

I really don't know life at all."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

"Blood Butterflies" - W.I.P. Step 3 - Completion!


It's been SO long I actually forgot this piece still existed.

I was determined to get it done. Here's the finished painting…four years in the making!

Watercolors on watercolor paper - 5" x 7" (NFS)

In this last step, the darks were strengthened to make the muscles "pop" and I added the red on the butterflies and the splattering on the torso.

:::Close-up detail:::

It was meant to be a companion piece to "Blood Butterfly" but in all honesty, so much time has passed I no longer remember what the original inspiration was for the artwork. 

Perhaps that's why it kept getting further and further put off. There was a disconnect with the piece and it started to lose meaning--its life-source--for me.

I'm just glad it's done. Four years!! Can I get a fuckity-fuck and super-shit for old time's sake? Yes, please!

I've decided to give this painting to a blogging friend who's bought a number of my nudes in the past.

It's my way of saying thank you for all the support and advice he's given me these past several years.

And now I can finally say…

Done.
Finito!
Finished!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Flower wreath!


It's my mother's birthday today!

She's always on the lookout for floral wreaths to hang on her door--so I made her one as a gift!

Here it is…


I hot-glued artificial flower tops onto a store-bought grapevine wreath (18"). Pretty self-explanatory.

It had the same look of the floral heart I mailed out last year.


floral close-ups!

The goal was for the wreath to be loaded with color and so full you couldn't see the grapevine from underneath.

I hope she likes it.

And to keep it real, my brothers and I got her two dozen roses as well. After all she's done for us, it the very least we can do.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

One man's trash...


It was propped up against a garbage can. Discarded, waiting for the landfill.

This is what I came upon while walking through the neighborhood next to mine…

Found artwork - 18" x 24" (origin unknown)

An Asian seascape of some kind. It looked a bit amateurish (probably mass-produced) yet exotic.

The fact that no one else wanted the painting made me want it that much more. It was too colorful to ignore!

I'm going to hang it up in my new place. It'll be my first work of art to go up there!

As the saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

Monday, October 5, 2015

One month down!


There have been challenges and moments of frustration. Times when I didn't know what I was doing or what to do next. Having to figure it out and go through it all by myself.

But the freedom and independence make it worth it.

It's been exactly a month since I moved out on my own.

The newness of it all is slowly wearing off yet it still feels so new to me.

The commute to and from work has been a breeze, I'm enjoying having my own space, and I've been going to the lake as often as possible (now that I live across the street from it).

I still get overwhelmed and nervous and lonely and still don't have a couch or a bed to sleep on but I will manage.

Little by little it's coming together. I don't know what the end result will be but I look forward to experiencing it firsthand.

And I may or may not have been dancing to this song at my new place…