Waiting for the fall

So often my life has been full of great chances or experiences followed by huge falls. I often tell people that I don’t have a fear of heights, just a fear of falling, because I know how much it hurts when you land.

I find that this has slowly been changing for me. As I work on bettering myself for me, I have found that I take great pride in my ups and lessons in my downs. No longer do I fear the fall because it will hurt. I understand that falls happen and that if I breath and use my tools I can learn from them and grow in a new or better way next time. So, Let’s talk about what I am pumped about doing.

So far I have lost over 10lbs. Which is amazing for me. Not just a loose it and gain it back like normal but a good month or two of being down in my weight. Or as my handsome husband likes to say, “Making new lows and lowering our highs.” He is right. When I stopped looking at it as a loose or you lose, I started noticing that yes sometimes I go up, but I have been rocketing down so even as I gain a little here or there, they are my new high which is still much lower then my old high. With that I have been pushing on. Focusing on my body and what I eat. Pushing myself to do more and move as much as I can without hurting myself.

Another thing I have going is my business. I started a new company called Mochi Photography. I had an idea a year and a half ago to have a booth where cosplayers or families could come and take pictures during their convention. I am also selling plushies and other crafty things I make in my spare time. I am now working on my sales pitch to get into daycare centers and other children rich areas where I can take pictures for them.

My other ongoing project is school! I am now in my second year of school to get my business degree. I am proud to say that my grades are awesome, my work is…. in by the due date, and I have really enjoyed the classes so far. I am so proud of myself for having stuck to my schooling and keeping up with it regardless of how I am feeling that week. I keep reminding myself that I started this school at the same time as Nik to keep me accountable. If he can do it so can I!

And one of my greatest ongoing joys is that Nik is doing so great in school. He is even leading the pack in the emergency drills and keeping focused on his work without a teacher or helper around to help. This is a big change from last year at the end of the year and a huge relief to my anxiety!

With all that said, I still have one more thing I am picking up in the next two months or so. I will be doing NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. I am going to focus down and split up my current novel work into a few novellas. So my project in November will be writing every day, and a deadline to finish the first draft of my Novella by the end of November.

So much to do, I am feeling a little tired just talking about it. Guess I should take a nap really quick before getting back to my homework, Mochi plushie making for this weekend, and taking care of Nik…… Nahhhhh I got this!

Kris is terrible at drawing

Kris here,

I thought I’d made this week a bit picture heavy and start my “stop sucking” drawing thing that I mentioned 2 weeks ago. I used to be a… proficient, artist. I haven’t done any of it for about 10 years, because it was worse than doing the dishes. But lately, I’ve been losing that mindset  – thanks to my adorable wife – and figured I’d put my skills to the test. I’ve always been a big advocate of “everyone can draw, you just need to practice.”

I decided to start three different images – one from my imagination, one from a reference, and one from an actual object. The first is “Bob Moss”, a big tree guy that I just thought would be amusing to draw. The second is a tripod that definitely wasn’t just sitting a foot away from me after I finished Bob Moss and THAT’S why I chose it – that was my real object. And Tina suggested I draw a Squid she painted a while back for my image from reference- it’s a cute squid, sure I’ll draw it.

One thing I learned from this experience is that…I should probably scan the pictures next time, instead of taking pictures. Another thing to do is probably to draw my sketches lightly on the back of the 5 minute drawings, because this paper was VERY thin, or it’s just easy to smudge graphically. I drew most of this with a mechanical pencil, except the squid, which was a normal wooden pencil. Which was way better, I have to say.

I spent 5 minutes on each drawing for 1 image, then I spent 30 seconds of warm-up, a sketch of the object for 30, 60 and 90 seconds, and then a second 5 minute draw. The warm-up thing is just to loosen your hand up a bit – just draw some shapes or whatever makes your drawing hand comfy. I’m not sure the best format to actually show the images – I was thinking of just pasting them right here, but that would be pretty confusing I think and might look weird. I’ve posted them to imgur for now, and I’ll see how that works for the time being.  Let me know if it’s better to just post the pics on the post – it’ll be more to look at all at once, but will also save a couple of clicks!

Click the links to view the pics, feel free to follow along at home on your journey to become an amazing artist! Feel free to giggle, I definitely did.

Bob Moss the tree guy –
Sketches: https://imgur.com/t0OktYz 
1st 5 minute: https://imgur.com/Cupzgrt
2nd 5 minute: https://imgur.com/hN4nm2l

The Tripod of Convenience –
Sketches: https://imgur.com/Gf4Cetv
1st 5 minute: https://imgur.com/3WycvTp
2nd 5 minute: https://imgur.com/2Rw1gxB

And Finally, Squidly the painting (I need to actually photograph the painting still…foreplanning!) –

Sketches:  https://imgur.com/xkzvriR
1st 5 minute: https://imgur.com/dGrAH9i
2nd 5 minute: https://imgur.com/qZTJRba

As you can see, my artistic skills are incredible. I’ve decided to stick with pencil for now. Once we’re happy with our progress, we’ll spread out into other mediums, don’t even worry about it. If you get inspired to draw along, choose an object in real life, an object from a picture or drawing, or just something you concoct in your own head, and have fun with it!

Kris’s game design ramblification

Kris here

Last week was a bit hilarious and a lot tardy, sorry about that! By the time Saturday rolled around, we were off gallivanting across the state to visit dear friends and eat all the food they had.

I tracked it!

Some of it.

So here I am today just chatting about more game design stuff. I’ve been doing a lot of digital legwork and game designing can be an interesting experience, so I figured I’d lay down a few “why the hell didn’t they tell me this earlier”‘isms. Not everyone is interested in game design and that’s fine because the first rule of game design is that you don’t talk about game design it’s super hard.

Thinking about designing an entire game is a daunting aspect and it requires a few key points that aren’t necessarily obvious, but they’ll hold you back until you figure them out. Since I’ve spent a few months spinning my wheels and having a ball thinking about ‘bell curves’ and ‘probabilities,’ I think it’s safe to say I’m now an expert in the field. Don’t worry, you’ll all get the life-altering chance to play my amazing game once I find a better expert to tell me what in the hell I’m doing. It’s right around the corner.

At the beginning of my journey, I looked at the tabletop games I was playing and thought to myself “yeah this is good, but it’s not great.” You ever get the feeling? Yeah this salad is pretty good, but that pizza is great. Sure my car is okay, but that monster truck is AMAZING. I don’t want to drive a good RPG, I want to drive a monster truck RPG!

Okay, but that’s wrong – you don’t make a game because you want a better one. Trust me. You won’t play that sucker for a year. Or years! There are thousands of every kind of game you can think of – pick one at random for a weekend get together every week for 10 years and you won’t run out of material, I promise. This was a tough lesson to swallow because I just want to play my game why can’t it just be done. Nope. You have to work first. I know!

The second thing I did was to create some mechanics to judge how to, you know hit stuff and scale walls. Not the actual actions or why’s, just the mechanics.

“But Kris who are you hitting? Why? What’s the deal with climbing walls, what kind of mechanics are needed there?”

I donno :<

That’s right, my second step and I was already into my second mistake. You probably think I’m really bad at this by now. Ha! And you’d be right! Then I stumbled around the Googles for a few days hours and I discovered that this wasn’t exactly undiscovered territory. There have been people who made games before. This bro even put together a list of questions out of a different set of questions which is an amazing tool to outline if you can think  of the answers.

http://socratesrpg.blogspot.com/2006/01/what-are-power-19-pt-1.html

And that’s from 12 years ago! So my third step was when I reached out to a few game design communities across the tubes – Reddit, StackExchange, Giant in the Playground forums. Yeah that’s right, mistake! No just kidding, this was actually fabulous. You never realize how stupid some of your ideas are until you find a group of peers and explain to them why having people do long division is an enjoyable experience. Every time I’ve hit a slump where I kind of stopped and whined and fidgeted about something not being right, I’d hop on one of those boards and tell everyone what a great idea I’d had. They were brilliant – less than 2 hours each time to convince me what a mistake my mother made when she released me into the world with such naivete and misunderstandings. I can’t say it’s always easy taking criticism, nor should it be. Heck, I had to dig into more than one persons’ questions just to actually figure out what they didn’t understand, why they couldn’t understand it, and why past me wrote his descriptions in such a dumb way.

Designing games is a lot of work, but it’s a good time you can share with a partner or even just do in your spare time to mess around. If the SocratesRPG guy was a bit too much of a read, just make sure you think through a few ideas before you get too far into the process:

1. What experience does your game provide. People scared of the dark for a week, looking over their shoulders and nervously laughing the whole time? Riddle solving, pitting spouses against each other in mortal combat!?

2. What do the characters, or the part of the game the people playing the game interact with, do. Why, how, and when do that do that. Is it a fantasy game and you can pretend to be a buff macho dude, or is it farm simulator 0018?

3. What do the people playing the game actually do to interact with the characters mentioned in question 2. Pushing buttons, rolling dice, drawing cards. Strip D&D?!

4. Play your game every time you make any change and play it again because you didn’t do it enough the first time.

Okay number 4 isn’t really a question, but you have to play the game you’re building. Really, play it all the time, you have to know how everything is working. And when you think you have it down solid, give it to someone else and have THEM explain it to yet another person and you’ll be well on your way to starting the design process. And if you’re married, your spouse might even buy you a brand new blanket to sleep on the couch!

Dang it Kris!

Tina here.

Whatever Kris let in to this house got me bit bad. Metaphorically speaking of course. He has chatted my ear off about his rpg and his back and forth on setup and how it works. Last night he gave me a break and picked up a YouTube video by a guy documenting his progress in making his own rpg. Well damn if I didn’t make him pause and start over after fetching my notebook cause I had an idea.

That’s right. I am also making an rpg. However mine is aimed at nerdy families with younger kids. So if your friends are to busy trying out that new beer place in downtown Austin, you can just rope your family into game night in the guise of family time.

Really I know so many parents who are gamers and would love to play something like the established rpgs with their kiddos but the setup and explanations seem a bit daunting to explain to someone who you just finished explaining why you HAVE to wash your hands after you poop.

Now not to get you all hyped but I am excited and after I make a working model I will need a cast of various kinds of kids to be sacrificed to my little game. I promise to return them eventually. So yeah be on the look out for that and if Kris hunts you down to talk about magic vs physical fights, take a deep breath and enjoy the math and science he is about to throw at your face.

A Dream is a wish your heart makes…

Tina here. It has been a while since I was last able to make a post! Kris made sure to bust my chops about getting a post done for this week.

Today I would like to talk about dreams. Not like the kind you have when you are sleeping but just things you want to do with your life. Big topic I know. I think we can work on this.

First thing, I wanted to make sure to touch on this subject far from any dates that might draw you to make yourself promises out of obligation. I want a more organic feel to the ideas you have. So, to get this whole ball rolling, let me share some of my dreams with you. NOTE: Many of them are contradictory to each other. That’s okay I think. It gives me lots of paths to look at.

Small time dreams:

So this is anything from getting Nik to pick up his own toys without being asked, to finishing my new Jenna Moreci book.

Small time dreams are there to help remind you that little steps can have a large change in your life. I like to have lots of little dreams that I can work toward. Currently, I want to help Kris get our kitchen in order, renovate the yard, which can be broken down as: plant in front garden, clear out spaces, plant garden in back, fertilizing the yard, and setting up a single place for Izzy to go to the bathroom and training her to use it. All for the dream of having a lovely yard for my friends, and family to enjoy this summer. I want to be able to host people during events like RTX where I work as a Guardian. I live close enough to Austin that doing a cook out or something with local Guardians would be fun. My son is also starting to get to the age where he wants to have people over to play with him. I want them to be able to have nerf battles out in the yard without having to worry about landmines of dog poo or fire ant hills. Our kitchen has slowly started to build up the things we want to use to make our own food, however, we are quickly running out of space for it all. We needed to work on storage solutions. We made a great stride on this front this week in buying a large shelf from Costco to keep our small appliances and Nik’s lunch stuff on. So he can help in making his own lunch each day.

 

Big/Distant Dreams:

These are not impossible, they are going to just take some work to get to the end of, and I have to keep reminding myself what I am working toward. College. I have been attempting to go to college and further my education since I found out I was pregnant my Senior year of high school. I always found reasons to fall out or fail, or reasons found me. However, now I am enrolled in a free online school working toward my degree in Business. Which will push me toward my other dreams. Such as running my own cafe. I had a dream my first year of high school, that one day I wanted to open my own cafe. A place that I would have wanted, and that I heard my friends longing for. Just a place that was easy to love. I have named, dreamed, and built this place in my head for years and years. Getting my degree is the first step to moving me to understanding everything it will take to not only make it happen, but make it work for a long time. This dream however does directly conflict with my life long dream of living in Japan. Japan has been a dream of mine since I was 11. I was largely influenced by a man named Ken Yamamoto. He was a family friend and gave me my first taste and understanding of his home country. Since 11 years old. I wanted to go to Japan. I went for my 17th birthday, thanks to hard work and an amazing Aunt and Uncle, I was granted the chance to visit for 3 months of my summer. I loved every second of it. Even when I cried, even when I was unsure. I loved it all. I want to move there. However, now I have a family. Not having a degree limits my options, and each time I take a step closer, I get pulled a little tighter to stay stateside.

 

These are all things that I am always dreaming of and working for. It keeps me active every day, working toward each one. What kind of dreams are you working for?

Building my support

Tina here! I want to look back on the last year of mental health improvement that I have been working on and mostly remind myself of how far I have come and how far I can still go.

When I started out on my journey to help my depression, I didn’t have much hope that anything would change. I spent everyday in bed. Food and drinks were brought to me. I entertained my son with videos and video games and limited my interactions with people to the point that I truly believed I had no one besides my husband. Even then he was just putting up with his lot in life because he would never give up. I had convinced myself with what I felt was firm evidence that no one wanted to be around me, that they put up with me for one reason or another.

One day, Kris said that there was help being offered at work. He encouraged me to take the information and just talk to someone. I didn’t do it because I had some epiphany that I could get better. No, I truly thought my family would be better off if I was gone. I did it because the one person I saw as having a choice to stand by me was asking me to try. Not some like lovey dovey reason. Just that it might make his chore of caring for me a little bit easier.

So I called the number and talked with a coordinator who took action to get me a list of people in my area I could go talk to. Which is great but it took many reminders from Kris and several follow up calls for me to even start calling anyone on that list. I didn’t know what to say or if I would say something wrong. I tried several of the numbers only to leave messages that were never returned or to be told they had no openings. I was defeated. I gave up. Kris had a few more weeks of sad mopey me who had “tried”.

I get a call from the wellness coordinator with my husband’s work who was check in to see if there was anything she could do to help because of recent ER visits for migraines. I don’t know what sparked it in me but when she said, “But seriously if there is ANYTHING I can help you with please let me know.” I cracked. I started bawling and telling her of my struggle to find someone to talk to and how I had gone over the list and still couldn’t find someone.

This amazing nurse jumped and started calling for opening herself. Then gave me a list of those. She then helped me set up a Primary Care Doctor so that we could get me started on long term treatment plans. I called and left messages on 3 phone number and felt defeated again. I was sitting there crying about how even if I wanted to change that the universe was against it, when she called. My saving light. She called me back and set up to have me come in the next morning.

Jane was my push. She saw me not as someone broken and needing to be fixed, but as a strong intelligent woman who had faught for so long and was so tired now. She helped me rebuild that confidence and self reliance that I had once been so proud of, and she pushed me to seek help for the things I often dismiss as unimportant.

She helped me realize that it is okay to be tired. It is okay to feel useless. But you have to remember who you are in your core, and set up people around you who know you and can remind you at times as well. Build your ladder as my favorite YouTuber Martina says. How to build your own ladder.

What kind of ladder can you start building today?

Enlightened and Rambling

Howdy ya’ll, Tina here.

I am now in my 6th week of classes at the University of the People, UoPeople for short. It is a tuition free, online based, accredited university that is open to people around the world. When I say tuition free, I mean, you don’t pay for books, you don’t pay for classes, you only pay for your application and final tests.

“Tina, that’s great and all but I don’t really care…”

Yeah I know and you are so sweet to be so supportive of me in my three sentence intro. I only said something because I am so excited about the application I have already given to some of my current classes.

I am seeking a Business Management degree and in my business class I had to create my own mission, vision, goals, and strategy using the various methods we are being taught. They were to pertain to my own personal life and what I want out of it. Well, see, trouble is, I have never really known what I wanted out of life. I have always held on dearly to the dream of living in Japan, but other than that I never set my mind that I would become something more than just me. Mostly because I don’t tend to think very highly of myself. Now before you get all, “Oh poor Tina” , I have to say that a great deal of who I am today as a person was shaped by my past. Even more of who I am has been shaped over the last few years as I learned to move past that and push on with becoming my own person. So I would say the whole self discovery thing was just, uh, delayed. I talked about my assignments with family members who all without knowing what the others said gave me the same advice.

“Tina, you love Japan and writing. Always have.”

See, writing as a kid was therapeutic for me. It provided a way for me to press my own feelings, goals, hopes, dreams and demons onto someone else. Pretending for a while that it wasn’t me going through it. I wrote everything, love stories, poems, dark and depressing or light and hopeful, I wrote adventure, and I wrote horror. Lots of horror. I don’t really know why writing didn’t pop up to me right away as a possible goal for myself. I guess really because I think of it more of a thing someone does as they work a real job. However, as my mentor and cyborg queen overlord has said over and over again, Writing is hard, and anyone who says differently isn’t a writer. Writing is a real job, with insane hours, a cranky and sometimes rude boss, unrealistic goals and dreams, and a killer time sink if you just quit. So if you dive into it, you gotta be ready to live it. Family and friends don’t support you, or worse do but don’t understand the kind of commitment you need to give to writing and call you selfish, it is gonna happen.

I have been given the most amazing ideas and creativity that can spin up yards of ideas in an instant. My husband is logical, intelligent and always willing to help me out. He is my chosen editor and key reader for my works.

 

So, if you have never done it before, find out what you want from life. It might surprise you and lead you to joy you didn’t know you had access to.