JoD4HAP: Issue Three is LIVE

I’m so excited about this issue, folks. I know I say that every time, but I mean it every time, and I especially mean it this time.

We have interviews, beautiful art, editorials, and supportive thoughts on the Paizo unionization.

Not only that, but this issue is my best design work yet. I am happy to share it with all of you. Let us know what you think! And be on the lookout for the next open submission call!

Announcing JoD4HAP: Issue THREE

We are still here, and we’re still attractive and professional.

Mark your calendars: Issue 3 of the critically acclaimed Journal of Dungeoneering for Hip and Attractive Professionals will be dropping into your inbox on May 16, 2022.

That’s a little over two weeks until you get all the good, groovy content you’ve come to expect from our little magazine.

This issue is a little different from our first two volumes. This time, there’s no homebrew elements. Not a lot of reviews. We focused on the unionization efforts that spread across our industry over the past six months or more — the unionization of Paizo, Inc., specifically. Our interview with Jason Tondro (who was involved heavily in the unionization efforts and who at the time we spoke to him was a senior developer at Paizo — he has since taken a position at Wizards of the Coast) spans most of the issue and is pretty comprehensive. We have editorial work from co-editor Brent Bowser and our friend Robert Wilhelm. And, of course, we have our Felix the Flumph column (it’s a banger this time, don’t worry).

So! Be on the lookout for the issue this coming Monday. Be there, AND be square, because all the cool and attractive kids are squares anyway.

Quick update: Streaming!

Hey everyone! Thanks for sticking with me as I work through all of my spring jitters. I am returning to streaming on Twitch this week: Catch me Tuesday (that’s tomorrow!) at 7 p.m. over at twitch.tv/katryam.

twitch.tv/katryam

Tuesday at 7 pm EST

We’re going to be working through Skyward Sword (still!). Since life is busy and a lot of my energy has been devoted to returning to the office over the past several weeks, I am going to take it slow and start streaming again once per week, for now.

Join me, why don’t you?

Liz Cultivates: Spring 2022

So, what am I growing this year?

This year, I am going to focus on some veggies I enjoyed last year (green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers) and some new ones (zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, different hot peppers).

The vegetable garden has been a huge boost to my mental health over the past two years. In 2020, it started as just two plastic planters with three total plants: two banana peppers and one jalapeño. In 2021, I grew green beans, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and lettuce. The broccoli didn’t turn out so great — I think the soil got too hot. This year, I’m going to branch out and create another plot for pumpkins, and I’m going to be better at the whole picking weeds thing. I’m excited about the possibility of zucchini and cucumbers. For one, zucchini is my favorite vegetable to cook on a weeknight. For the other, I might try my hand at making pickles!

I am also planning to do a better job with the flower bed this year. The perennials I put in two years ago are coming back up already, and I want to plant some lilies and maybe a couple bushes. I definitely want to continue along the side of the house (the first photo) and put mums alongside all of that. As you can see, I have some work to do as far as weeding and putting new good soil down.

These small plots have helped me focus during times of stress. The property is coming along, and my partner has been working hard on the shop and the inside of the house. The landscaping and the back patio are my priorities for this summer. I am excited to make this place a home over the next several years. Today, I bought a bleeding heart flower that I will be putting in a barrel planter and carefully nurturing. The bleeding heart has always been beloved to me. My mom had a bleeding heart when I was younger, one that she planted on the side of the house where she grew up; and when I bought the house I lived in with my ex, I came out one spring day to find that there was a bleeding heart struggling to come up in the soil next to the house.

I’m going to tend this bleeding heart. I already love it and I haven’t even planted it yet.

This house is something my partner has been working on for nearly a decade. It’s his passion project — a place he is building basically from the ground up all by himself, with his own two hands. We live in a condo on the other side of the city — so he spends his evenings over at the house building, tinkering, sculpting the life he wants.

And now, it is becoming the life I want, as well.

When I started working on the flowerbeds, my partner and I were just friends. I was dealing with some relationship issues. COVID was a twinkle in anyone’s eye. Now, as the perennials come back up and the vegetable garden produces more food for me and my partner to consume this year, I am reflecting on how our relationship has blossomed along with these plants. We are still best friends, and now we are entwining our lives in myriad ways. This relationship is much different than anything I am used to. It’s a partnership. Equal in all of the important ways. We share finances; we share goals; we are now sharing homeownership.

My garden is growing just like my relationship. More than that, my knowledge of plants and how to care for them will be something I can take forward in my life no matter what the future holds. I’m excited to learn, to cultivate myself and grow with my plants. Learning and growing and stretching tendrils toward the sun.

Temperature Afghan: Finished at Last

Well folks, it’s finally done.

I had the actual crochet part of this finished three months ago. But, as you can see, there were a lot of ends to weave in. Like, too many ends. And everyone knows that weaving ends is the absolute worst part of crochet.

I am proud of this thing. It’s definitely not as wide as I wanted it to be, but I don’t think I’ll be using it as an actual blanket anyway. I’m going to place it as a decorative piece on the back of the couch in my living room – an artifact of 2021, the hardest year of my life. 

I love that I can look at this piece and remember what I was doing on several particular days – for instance, there is a green stripe in the middle of a bunch of orange and yellow for April 1, and I’ll remember forever that it got suddenly cold for April Fool’s that year. In the photos above, too, you can tell that I took it with me wherever I went. Lots of pictures of me working on it as I traveled last year. It truly is an artifact of the entire year.

Last year was a lot of things. It was the end of some things and the beginning of many more. It was eventful, and emotional, and a lot. And now I have this afghan to remind me of those times, and to get me through the next year. 

And then the next. And then the next.

Brought to you by the Letter “V” — Cool Gamer Retirement Home (repost)

At a glance, playing video games for a living sounds like a dream to some, and a lot of us treat streaming as a side-hustle and a grind for growth to crawl closer and closer towards making that dream a reality. There are a lot of really great aspects of streaming on the internet – […]

Brought to you by the Letter “V” — Cool Gamer Retirement Home

Ritual.

In returning to the office these past couple of weeks, I have had an opportunity to reflect on why working from home is so different from commuting, for me. The past two years have done more than disrupt the world economy and way of life for millions of people (myself included). It has brought some things to light about routine and “normalcy” that I hadn’t given too much thought to before.

Disruptions in routine weren’t something I usually thought of as “crippling” or even truly disruptive, before the madness of 2020. Breaking of routine was simply something I had faced before – and would again, no doubt. I didn’t think that my own internal routine could be that thrown off. Before COVID, I was in the best shape of my life, was happy in ways I hadn’t been for years, and I had new projects and goals and people in my life that were helping me move forward with those goals.

And then COVID, and working from my couch, and divorce, and not feeling safe at the gym, and depression.

It took a while. I worked from home for several months – nearly a year – before I started to notice the toll all of the above was taking on my mental and physical health. I was doing my job, but wasn’t doing much else. I stopped exercising, stopped taking care of my body. I went through the motions of doing what I thought I needed to do, but things just didn’t feel right. Things, in fact, felt very off.

These are not new statements; plenty of folks have said it before, and in better words than I. But this is my blog, so you get my words – inadequate though they feel.

In walking through these realizations, however, I have noticed that I’m becoming more intentional with the way I do and think about various things. I have started exercising and working on my fiber art (knitting or crochet) at least a little every day. I am working on my blog regularly. I’ve been doing that silly Wordle puzzle every day, and putting my meds on a cute ceramic tea bag rest before taking them each morning. I drink a cup of chamomile before bed every night.

With all of these daily rituals, I’m noticing a marked improvement in my mental wellness, the number of spoons I have to offer on any given day. Depression, and divorce, and COVID, and insecurities … they are still present – just more muted now.

It has me thinking about how rituals are important. Getting up every morning and doing yoga in my living room – with the added bonus of accountability a la Soph – has done wonders for my work ethic, my motivation, my body. I feel like I can face the day, instead of rolling out of bed right before my first meeting, dreading the experience of waking up. These rituals are new, but they are helping. I need time before I can settle into a rhythm, but I can already feel the improvements beginning to take root.

Rituals are important in other parts of my life, too. For instance, I like to say that I only watch any of Bo Burnham’s specials when I’m drunk or when I’m happy – never both, and never in any other states. And I have to make coffee the long way (via Chemex!) every morning – something about the process.

And a huge thank-you to my new best friend and kitty companion, Cora, is in the works as well. She needs her own shoutout.

What rituals do you have? How do they improve your mental or physical well being?

I’m old!, or, Liz talks at length about Fleetwood Mac

Yesterday was my birthday. I am older™ now.

It honestly feels pretty good. This marks the start of the new adventure that is every year, and I’m excited to set out on this road. This song has been in my head all morning, appropriately:

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too

Fleetwood Mac, “Landslide”

I honestly hadn’t looked at the lyrics of that song until I went to find that quote. I only remembered the part about “Even children get older, and I’m getting older too.” But hey, what do you know, these couple of stanzas are a pretty good representation of how I feel about life in general right now. I’ve been afraid of changing. There has been so much change in my life in the last several years. But it’s necessary for growth, as long as the person I am beneath all this turmoil stays true. Which I believe it has. I think I am, however, definitely becoming bolder. More comfortable in who I am and what I’m doing out here.

A poem has been jangling around my head for almost six months now, and I think it’s about time to start writing it down. Especially now, on the cusp of my new year.

TL;DR: I’m thirty (two), and flirty (too), and getting healthier and stronger every day. Thanks for being with me on this journey!

Some February thoughts

Looking at my stats over the years for February, it seems that blogging during this month almost always gets away from me.

It makes sense, really. This month is my birthday month, and the second of the year. Each January, I have historically posted exciting details about my life and hopeful thoughts for the coming year — and then in February, I suppose, those hopeful thoughts turn into lived realities, and I stop posting as much. The past two years, especially, have been pretty weird as far as Februaries go.

I’m going to try not to let that happen this year. I have a lot of creative projects going on right now, and I’m excited to see them flourish. Namely:

  • The third volume of The Journal of Dungeoneering for Hip and Attractive Professionals is coming along, and hopefully I’ll be able to announce a release date for that soon.
  • I have learned how to use double-pointed needles! I made a pair of mittens!
  • My temperature blanket is so close to being done! The crochet part is finished, I just need to weave in the ends. There are so many ends.
  • I got a new phone, so I am planning to do a photo shoot with the fancy new camera. Pictures of me, of Cora, and of books/journals/crafts incoming!

I made a TikTok for creative stuff, so if you like all of the above and also want to see short videos about it, feel free to give me a follow over there. Mostly it’s all about Cora right now.

Anyway, once again, thanks for coming with me on this journey. More to come!

Liz Makes: Jewelry!

You may recall that I took a lampwork (i.e., glass bead making) class this past fall. It helped me solidify some things that I had been knocking around in my head regarding my own creativity and how I want to actively manifest it in my day-to-day existence. You can read those thoughts in a previous post.

I thought I would show you some of the pieces that came out of that class!

You saw my little sushi and dumpling… I decided to make the dumpling into a necklace for my best friend for Christmas (ssshhhh….. I haven’t seen her this year yet, so it’s going to be a late gift).

And of course the pencil!

And then an assortment of round (and less-than-round) beads that I will eventually make into more jewelry:

I’m really pleased with how all these turned out. I’m vibing with my own creativity lately — and I actually signed up to take another lampwork class today! You haven’t seen the last of this content!

What do you think I should make next? Necklaces, earrings? Which bead is your favorite? Let me know!