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  • Lisa Millraney

whee, spring!

This spring feels more springy, somehow, for a number of reasons, to me anyway. Hope everybody is pulling the threads of their lives together. And I hope everybody is getting their covid shots, YAY. The quicker we get those, the less of us are walking petri dishes for that blasted virus to mutate in and stick us all back in cosmic time-out again.


I managed to score a slot in a drive-through event at our local football stadium. It was easy, and fun, and I got Johnson and Johnson which meant one and DONE, woot!



Sports team mascots riding around the parking lots in a golf cart entertaining us troops, and a stage with rotating bands playing, because Nashville. hehe




While I was on that side of town (well, okay, I admit, I got over there early, for fear I wouldn’t be able to find my way into the line and might lose my slot. Did not happen thankfully; the route was clearly marked, with pleasant volunteers waving and pointing the way) I thought I’d pop into the big art supply store nearby. I’d watched a documentary about a big art forgery ring, and…didn’t come away with quite the conclusion the producers probably intended. LOL. The thieves’ targets were some famous abstract artists, and I found myself quite interested in how those folks expressed themselves with the paints. I’ve always wanted to art, but never, ever, been able to turn out anything more recognizable than a stick figure. Abstract, though, I figured I might be able to make a go at. Better yet, it just so happened the art supply store was having a sale that weekend, so I came home with my vaccination, plus a basic set of acrylic paints!


After all that, the playing I’ve done so far has actually been, once again, trying to turn out something recognizable! I figure I’m really practicing other elements of the craft, though, like how to hold and clean the brushes, how to use a palette, and mixing colors, which I have found I really love!



Every time I went to the Smokies with my parents, I loved the colors of the sunlight through the spring trees. My fancy was to maybe figure out how to dye some yarn in those brilliant shades of yellow-gold-green, but that never panned out. Somehow though, when I set out to mix paints in those colors, it turned out pretty well! This is my memory of driving on the Spur, the road through the national park, between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.



And this one was inspired by a sweet comment a reader put on one of my stories. They described it as ‘hopepunk telling grimdark, in the nicest possible way, to sit down and SHUT UP’. LOLOL, isn’t that great? Oddly, it ended up looking sort of like a mountain scene too; I envision the final results as a gloomy little town, deep in a holler, and the bird is rising toward the blue sky.


It's helpful for me to keep this kind of attitude, since as the world starts to reopen, restarting life yet again is a challenge all its own. From conversations I’ve had, other folks are experiencing the same thing, so I remind myself to be there for my friends and acquaintances.


Work is picking back up. Not one but two concerns I used to do contract writing for approached me just last week asking me to come back on staff. Needless to say, I said yes. My first assignment back was a piece I whacked out in about two hours. I was nervous enough I didn’t check on it for quite a while after I turned it in, but when I finally made myself check, turned out the editor had approved it ten minutes after I submitted it. LOL


Back to arting for a minute: drawing is another thing I’ve always wanted to do but never been able to. I’d try, it’d look horrible, I’d give up. Lather, rinse, repeat. A couple of weeks ago, though, an online friend was sick and asked the group in that server to draw her pictures to cheer her up. Now she knows I can’t draw for squat, but I thought ‘eh, I’ll make an effort, it’ll make her laugh and maybe cheer her up, so it will serve a purpose’. She likes the Hulk, so I looked up how to draw him, and found a tutorial for a chibi version. Chibis are cute cartoon drawings with big heads—really, the little guys I crochet, like my tiny Tony, are chibi-adjacent.



I followed the directions, and glory be, it actually looked like the Hulk! That inspired me. Could I, maybe, possibly…do it again?



Hey, looky here. This one wasn’t even copied. I just found another website with general instructions for how to draw a basic chibi, and then I customized him. Tiny Tony on paper! So now I’m a little bit obsessed. I scored a couple of nice sketchbooks on sale and I’m drawing a lot. They aren’t gallery-quality, or even as good as my artsy friends’ work, but they kinda look like what I intended them to, and somehow that seems to have created a feedback loop, where I’m not wanting to give up now. Funny how those things work!


Oh, I also finished crocheting the Grogus/baby Yodas, and am crossing my fingers we might just have a real live in-person Dragon Con this August! I’ll dump them all on the couch and take a pic for the next blog, and I PROMISE it won’t be 3 months wait this time. (yeah, right, Lisa.) I also finally settled on a pattern for a shawl to knit out of the phoenix-themed yarn I bought last year from the online yarn show. First I’m doing a practice run with a big ball of no-name yarn I found when shopping my stash. It’s turning out nicely considering I’ve messed up my count a couple of places, though not badly enough to frog and start over. Hopefully it will be done to post by my next installment.


Speaking of shopping my stash, or whatever I have around the house: I read the other day that skinny jeans are fading from style. Not that that makes a bit of difference to me, the one pair I have that I like and wear regularly aren’t going anywhere. However, the other jeans I have are what folks often like to call ‘mom jeans’ with wider legs and a more relaxed fit. So last weekend I shopped my closet, dug out those (four pairs) and tried them on, and hurrah, they still fit!


I went to my doctor for yearly checkup last week, and have managed to only gain four pounds during the recent unpleasantness. I’m rather proud of myself. The jump roping idea didn’t quite pan out, as I’m still not really coordinated enough, and my right knee took grave offense. See, y’all, this does happen when you get older, even when you try to take care of yourself. Oh well. Back to exercise bike, maybe. Though I did try an online Indian dance class a couple of times, and it was a solid blast. Great fun! And exhausting. Darn.


Have to touch base with my publisher in the next week or two, to see if they are up and running again. Cross your fingers for my book!


Most everybody in the Northern Hemisphere should be warm enough to be starting to plant now. Several of the pepper seedlings I started indoors in March got eaten when I put them out. Curse the varmints, I hope they got bellyaches. I replaced them (well not exactly; those were unusual kinds, fatalii and peteroni, and I couldn’t get them in large plant form here. I settled for Anaheims, jalapenos and habaneros) and those are doing well. The one group I started from seed that is coming along okay and didn’t get et are the sweet red lipstick peppers I got at the grocery last fall and fell in love with! Go figure. hehe


The squash and beans I started indoors are going great guns now that they are out in the ground, and the rosemary and mint I planted 3 or 4 years ago came back again! And I’m trying once again to get tomatoes. Usually, you may (or may not) remember, I spend a lot of time and watering on plants and get a tomato or two. I’m trying a couple of different kinds this year, a tiny one called Siam, and a larger one called Sicily. Stay tuned.


Enjoy the rest of your spring (fall if you are down under), and I pinky swear I will be back before, like, Halloween. lol

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