A discussion about listening to the radio over on FB set me to musing.
I don't listen to radio; for me, it falls into the same category as TV - I find it hard to get into/follow, anything I really want to watch or listen to I can probably find on iPlayer or the equivalent, if it's news then I find it out faster for myself from news websites/Twitter and so it just falls into being an irritating background noise that I can't quite tune out. I tend to try and avoid going places where I know there'll be a TV or radio constantly on in the background as a result of this.
I think part of this is due to aural sensory & processing issues I seem to have in general. As a child, I used to be able to listen to audiobooks all the time - in fact I grew up listening to Shakespeare & Magnus Magnusson reading aloud the Icelandic Norse sagas quite happily, and I grew up in a house where the first thing my mother did on getting up was to turn on Radio 4. At some point though, somewhere around my teens, I found it harder and harder to "tune in" to the noise; I would prefer to immerse myself in the actual book than have it read at me, and the radio became just an irksome distraction.
It's gotten worse as I've gotten older. Now I just can't listen to audiobooks or podcasts at all. If a TV or radio is on, I can't concentrate on conversations properly - part of my brain is trying to tune in to whatever is being said in the background, but can't quite follow it properly, even though I don't want to anyway - it still keeps trying, and I can't just blank it out! I get overwhelmed by excessive noise in social situations anyway these days - busy noisy pubs are a nightmare in which I inevitably find it all turning into a wall of noise and I just have to excuse myself and go somewhere quiet. My ability to tolerate it has gone way down from what it was in my teens and twenties.
So I don't watch TV, listen to the radio or audiobooks, or follow podcasts. I avoid large gatherings, preferring smaller groups, preferably in someone's house or outdoors rather than a noisy pub.
Music I'm fine with though.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1298877.html"; you may comment either there or here.
K for Kilimanjaro
My 18-year-old daughter Kathy is climbing Kilimanjaro in October to raise money for Childreach International; Childreach International is an international development charity that believe all children should have the opportunity to unlock their full potential in life.
They work in partnership with local communities in the developing world, addressing children’s most immediate needs, improving access to education, improved health, and greater child rights and protection. They work with project partners in the Kilimanjaro and Mogadishu regions in Tanzania; this year they are working with FEDA, Ace Africa, KWIECO and White Orange Youth.
She has already paid the £245 registration fee but now must raise a further £2450, which is where you can come in. You can donate at her MyDonate page or (in the UK only) texting UNLOCK113933 to 70007.
You can also follow her fundraising efforts on Twitter: @KforKilimanjaro
Follow on FaceBook: KForKilimanjaro
Every little helps!
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1297796.html"; you may comment either there or here.
I lost the baby.
( Miscarriage number 4. )
David & I both posted to FB that I was home, and I was stunned again by the huge number of well-wishes pouring in. I have some amazing friends, and you're all wonderful. David and I have been very touched & comforted by all the comments & condolences.
We will be trying again, but we're going to let my body rest and recover first. I want to leave a couple of menstrual cycles whilst my body & hormones get back to normal; and to be honest the emotional side of things hasn't hit me yet; I'm still a little shell-shocked over how we went from 11w6d perfectly fine to all over in somewhat traumatic circumstances at 12 weeks, just like that. It will likely catch up with me in a day or two. David is taking time off work to be with me, and today I am staying in bed with co-codamol, a hot water bottle and my laptop whilst trying to catch up on things and rest. Physically, I'm mostly OK - crampy, period-pain-like discomfort that the hot water bottle & codeine are helping with, and I'm still getting morning sickness as the hormones haven't settled yet. I shall be taking it easy for a little while.
So, it's all over. Life goes on; we're getting through it, and David and I are, if anything, even closer than ever. This little one sadly wasn't meant to be, but we're both sure there's a little brother or sister for Freda in the future. It's just going to take a little longer before we get there.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1297408.html"; you may comment either there or here.
That was unexpected.
This evening, dinner was delayed a bit when the oven caught fire.
I'd put one lot of chicken breasts in to roast without incident. Then I opened the oven door to put the next lot in and flames flared out the moment I opened it. Which was... unexpected.
Anyway, I dealt with it with a minimum of fuss; fire brigade wasn't needed. I ended up pan-frying the chicken breasts instead (they were wrapped in foil so unharmed by their brief flame treatment).
So, yeah. I guess the oven is overdue a cleaning?
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1297116.html"; you may comment either there or here.
10 weeks today
Having safely got to this point, we feel comfortable enough to let people know publically that I am pregnant again.
Those who are on a certain filter on LJ will have been aware of this already, but we've been keeping it quiet until I was far enough along to be past the worst danger of a miscarriage. Technically I'm not completely out of the woods yet, but the risks do drop at the end of the first trimester.
We broke the news to Freda yesterday that she's going to be a big sister in July - the due date is 24th July next year. The past few weeks have been a bit unnerving as I seem to have conceived at exactly the same time of year as I did with my first miscarriage 14 years ago - the one I lost on Christmas Eve at 10 weeks. I was rather tense all through Monday, as you may imagine.
Anyway, future posts on the pregnancy will probably be over on my arkadianchild LJ and/or my "Baby" filter so those who don't want to read all the ins and outs can avoid it.
And yes, it'll be another homebirth. :-)
David's been busy tweeting it & posting on FB. He's been bursting to tell for weeks.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1296883.html"; you may comment either there or here.
I'm not actually taking part in NaNoWriMo as such - instead I'm making use of the "write something daily" aspect to finally wrap up "Cut The Rose", the final part of my Dragon Age 2 fanfic series "The Apostate Chronicles".
I seem to be putting in about 1.5K-2K words a day at the moment. Not quite the same amounts as I tally when on one of my manic upswings - quite often I've been known to clock 3-5K words a day when the mood is on me. But still quite respectable, I think.
Thursday 1st: Chapter 23, 1428 words
Friday 2nd: Ch. 24, 1490 words
Saturday 3rd: Ch. 25, 2311 words
Sunday 4th: Ch 26, 1838 words
Monday 5th: Ch. 27, 1932 words
At this rate I'll probably have it all wrapped up and finally finished by next weekend if I keep it up at this rate. And then that will be me pretty much finished with the DA fanfic, barring maybe the occasional vignette here or there. Maybe I'll be able to actually get properly stuck into my own original fic - though I must admit the feedback I get every time I post up a new installment does help to keep me motivated to carry on writing, and that's not something you get when you're writing your own stuff. (Unless it's a webcomic. And no, I am so not doing that.)
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1296324.html"; you may comment either there or here.
Shooting stars and astronauts
This evening I looked out my back door just in time to see the International Space Station pass overhead - at the same time as a perseid meteor passed over in the opposite direction. I waved.
It was pretty cool.
(Yes I made a wish. On the shooting star, not the ISS - we all know it's wrong to wish on space hardware....)
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1294389.html"; you may comment either there or here.
<lj-user="naamah_darling"> has a gorgeous little customised My Little Pony up for auction <a href="http://naamah-darling.livejournal.com/585615.html">here</a>. He's a handsome little thing with a marvellous paint job and fully rerooted. She's very talented - go look, admire - and hopefully bid!
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1293655.html"; you may comment either there or here.
Doing a face-up: Volks Syo girl
( Click for more images )
I tried the blonde wig on the Syo girl about a week ago and suddenly realised that with the blue glass eyes, she was in fact the reinresination (reincarnation in resin) of Ayame, my first ever BJD, who started out as a vinyl open-eye 60cm Obitsu back in March 2005. I was never entirely happy with the Evenstar face-up she came with anyway, so I took advantage of the warm dry weather to wipe her and redo her properly as Ayame. She fits in with the crew much better now, and it's good to have her character back in a form I'd always wanted her to have anyway.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1293090.html"; you may comment either there or here.
[dolls] Perseus Renewed
I've owned Perseus for 6 years now - it was his anniversary last month - and had never updated his face-up since I first did it back in April 2006. As I had to redo Marius' face-up anyway (I had him in my arms when I had a seizure in the street a couple of months ago and his nose got chipped, neccessitating some careful sanding and reshaping), I figured I might as well redo Perseus.
I'd been putting it off as, whilst my face-up skills are far superior these days, I was still nervous of wiping his old, familiar and very much loved face and not being able to make him Perseus. But whilst the new look isn't quite the same, it's undoubtedly him, thankfully!
( A few more pics. )
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1292555.html"; you may comment either there or here.
Percheron Dreams by *ArkadyRose on deviantART
Percheron mare in full gallop; 2 hours speed-painting.
This morning I learned that a friend from the local BJD community had lost her long fight with cancer last Tuedsay. Anja - known as d.ark on Den of Angels & other fora and @ddotark on Twitter - was only in her 20s, and very few of us knew she was ill until the news broke today. She will be very sadly missed by friends, family and the BJD community, and our thoughts are very much with her husband Robert at this difficult time.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1292184.html"; you may comment either there or here.
Tigress by *ArkadyRose on deviantART
Female bengal tiger. Painting 28 out of 30 - nearly at the finish! Saturday will be the last painting.
This one was just a quick 1-hour speed-painting job because I'm feeling decidedly mediocre today.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1291903.html"; you may comment either there or here.
White Wolf by *ArkadyRose on deviantART
Today's effort is just a quick 1-hour speed-painting piece. It probably looks more impressive than it actually is. Speed-painting animals mostly comes down to knowing how to use layers and brushes. I sketch in the basic features & shape on one layer, then put in a base layer where I block in the colour and blend it, then another layer over that where I add the fur texture with a hair brush in several different shades. Then another layer just under the sketch layer for the eyes, and a final layer right at the top for the white highlights in the eyes and on the nose, and adding whiskers. The shadows behind the wolf are just a simple cloud brush on a base layer under everything else.
Pretty much any painting program will have a selection of suitable brushes; I'm using MyPaint, but there's a huge range to choose from in PhotoShop, Corel, GIMP etc. It basically comes down to exploring your brushes, get used to how they react as you move the stylus, and then practice.
Once this "30 in 30" project is over I might put a basic tutorial together.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1291393.html"; you may comment either there or here.
Today's (unfinished) painting
WIP - fae creature by *ArkadyRose on deviantART
Just an hour with the tablet. This morning's restoration efforts don't count as today's 30-in-30 painting; this is unfinished but at least it's something new for today. I could probably finish it with another hour but David & I are both heavy with colds so we've opted for an early night.
Inspired by a rather pretty Cerberus Project EL I saw a little while ago on DA.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1291174.html"; you may comment either there or here.
The Magic of Dance by *ArkadyRose on deviantART
This painting caused me so much stress last night. I got it completely finished and was doing the final save and conversion from a raster file to PNG for resizing in GIMP when MyPaint crashed - taking both ORA and PNG files with it and corrupting them as it did so. (The fact the final file is 12MB was, I think, the main cause for this in retrospect - Dell 10" netbooks have many advantages, but with a max RAM of 2GB they're really not a high-power graphics machine.) All I managed to salvage was an early save file with the first 15 minutes of sketching.
Losing over an hour's worth of work and being unable to post the day's painting due to a software glitch was incredibly infuriating and I swore quite a lot. It was pushing midnight so far too late to start faffing around and attempting to recover something workable - or to come up with something in time. I'd completed the day's painting; I just had no evidence or picture to show for it.
Today I was able to find a temp save file elsewhere in the Linux file structure whilst looking for something else - and with a bit of work I was able to recover almost the whole painting barring a couple of background layers and the top layer of highlights. So I was able to restore and finish the painting again and this time save it safely and upload it. The final painting is, I think, well worth the effort to recover it but it's been very much an excercise in frustration.
The answer is going to be a decent desktop with plenty of RAM, but right now that's not something I can afford (unless I start getting far more commissions or actually start selling prints). So I'm just going to have to be more cautious when saving and take back-ups far more frequently.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1291006.html"; you may comment either there or here.
Red Kite by *ArkadyRose on deviantART
I did get this fijished and uploaded yesterday; I just didn't get around to posting it. Anyway, the painting for day 23 of my "30-in-30" challenge was this red eagle. I don't hve the same affinity for painting birds as I do for painting mammals; the beak in particular gave me a lot of rouble. It's highlighted another area I need to work more on.
4 hours' speed-painting on Wacom Graphire graphic tablet.
On a related note, I'm amused by how many people refer to their "faithful old Intuous tablet" - the Intuous line superceded the Graphire line, but my tablet is still going strong. :-)
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1290751.html"; you may comment either there or here.
Ocelot by *ArkadyRose on deviantART
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1290263.html"; you may comment either there or here.
Caracal Cub by *ArkadyRose on deviantART
Opted for "quick 'n' cute" today - a 2-hour speed-painting of a caracal cub.
Originally posted at "http://arkady.dreamwidth.org/1290107.html"; you may comment either there or here.