Fidget & Dot: The Beginning

Eliana and I were out to dinner after her evening eye check up and she started looking at me funny. Turns out I was staring at my food with a stupid grin on my face and a glazed look in my eyes. Oh. And I was nodding occasionally, like I was listening to an invisible conversation in my head.

"Mom?" Eliana had her head cocked to one side, examining me. I'm figuring she was trying to determine if it was polite to ask me if I'd taken my meds this afternoon.

"What?" I looked up her, my eyes clearing a bit. She was annoying me. She had just interrupted the book writing itself in my head.

"So... have you taken your adderall?" She was still eyeing me. Amused, but probably glad she's chosen the back booth while I'd ordered our food. No one else could see me.

"Yes. I mean, no." I dismissed her with an impatient hand of my hand. "I'm writing a book. Well, actually, it's writing itself in my head. I've been working on it for a while now, but I only had the main character and her best friend in my head. I don't know why, but I can literally see the book in my head now."

She smiled, relieved. Mama hasn't lost it, after all. Then she asked me to tell her what I was seeing in my head. This is how you know she's being raised by a writer.

"The main character is named Kateri Ramirez. She's 10 and her nickname is Fidget. She had high functioning autism/asperspers. And her..."

"Oh my god, mom! Eliana interrupted me. Her eyes were dancing with excitement. "Are you serious?"

"Yep! And her best friend is Dorothy and her nickname is Dot. I don't know her last name yet. I think Dot might have ADHD."

"OMGMOM! LIKEYOUANDME."

I grinned. This felt good.

"Yep!" I nodded. "We don't get that a lot, do we? Anyway, you know those Dork Diaries books you love? How they are written like it's a diary? Well, Figdet and Dot start a blog, with their moms' help, and alternate writing blog posts. So, instead of chapters, the book is a series of blog posts." 

Eliana had a stupid grin on her face. I beamed.

"Is Fidget homeschooled? And Dot could go to public school?" Eliana asked me. She looked hopeful.

I shrugged. "Not sure yet. That could be a good thing in the story. Anyway, now you know why Iooked like I was having a conversation in my head. Because I was."

"Can I be your beta reader?" Eliana asked me.

Yep. She's a writer's kid, alright.

"No. I'm kidding. Like I wouldn't ask you? Now finish up. We gotta get home. I've got a book to make happen." 

I blinked.

"Well, after I do the laundry. The dishes. Pack up Etsy orders for shipping tomorrow. Finish that essay I started today. Pitch the essay. Walk the dogs. Pay bills online. Not get lost on Facebook with stupid quizzes. And make daddy's lunch for tomorrow."

Eliana burst out laughing. "Yeah. Okay. You got this, mom." 

Introducing Art by Eliana M.K. on the Esty Shop!

I might not do some of the things other moms do with their kids to spend quality time with my kid, but I'm learning to embrace and celebrate the things that we do together that make our relationship unique. Mama's ADHD and kiddo's high functioning autism means we do things our own way. 

We read together, either to each other or in bed together with pillows all around us while we read our own books silently. We write together and she travels with me when I attend events for public speaking. And art. We do so much art. Sometimes, I have to remind myself not to be stingy with the "good" materials, like when Pentel sent me a giant box of amazing supplies, because I think she values what she creates more when she knows I value the fact she is creating enough to let her use the materials I use in creating my own art. 

And now, we Etsy together. 

I just created an Art by Eliana M.K. section on my shop. The idea is to list notecards, postcards, and prints of a few special pieces and more to come as we clear up moving boxes in the apartment to get creating even more! Right now, she is saving up to pay us back for her new Nintendo 3Ds, mainly because she's 9 and an only child and that means we have to start focusing on teaching the value of a dollar and all that happy stuff. For every sale, I've told Eliana she will receive 50 percent of the profit. Since she currently owes us for the 3Ds and her new Pokemon game, her profits are mine until The Husband and I are paid back, and then she can use her Etsy money to save for her next big want (Wireless Cat Headphones from Brookstone!). Money doesn't grow on trees and I'm sure Santa's time is limited in our home, so I think this is a good way to go. 

Besides, the look on her face when I showed her the first listing last night? Worth. Every. Minute. Creating. Her. Art. Section.

She's a real artist now. 

She always has been.

Click here to check out Eliana's current listings featuring her Beautiful Skies art prints on my etsy shop. We have notecards and postcards! Thanks for reading! 

 

New Normals, Worst Words, & Airport Dates with Friends

Where I used to live, a quick visit with one my many friends scattered all over the map was a dream. Or a Facebook messenger call. snd most of those were accidental becatse my boob likes to make sure I stay connected with the outside world.  

Just ask my friend, Jill.  

Where I live now, a quick visit with one of my many friends scattered all over the map is a reality.  I truly had no idea how starved for this kind of opportunity. Not until I found myself at the airport, just 10 minutes from my apartment, with Eliana and The Husband. My friend, Paul, had a 90 minute layover between London and his home back in Utah, and he was bringing an old iPhone he doesn't need anymore for Eliana because Paul is beyond amazing. 

So, we made it to our meeting place by the designated baggage claim area, and then we sat and waited. The fact that we didn't have to drive two hours to the airport, like we did in northern Maine, was not lost on any of us.

I got a message from Paul that he was through Customs, and started scanning the crowd. Pretty soon, a man I thought might be him came into view.  

"Is that him?" asked The Husband.  

"I'm not sure," I said, squinting. "He's not close enough for me to see if he's Paul's Facebook avavar yet." 

That's when the Man That Might Be Paul broke into a smile of recognition, because this Mexi-fro of mine doesn't know how to blend in a crowd, and I jumped up and ran into a hug.  

After proper introductions had been made, Paul told us all about done of the sights he'd seen in London and then, without any fanfare, brought the iPhone out of his pocket. 

"This is for you." And he handed it to Eliana.  

We hadn't told her what was going to happen. Autism, even the high functioning kind, means that plans must be set in stone with zero chances for hiccups becatse hiccups mean heartbreak and heartbreak means soothing a child that can't really be soothed when her world turns upside down. When Paul handed her the phone and Eliana that it as hers now, confusion and then surprise and then happiness all flashed within moments in her eyes. 

Abd then I thanked Paul for his gift.  

For Eliana, an iPhone is a social ice-breaker. She plays Pokémon Go and uses that to relate to kids and people we meet when we go out to explore. For me and my husband, this gift from Paul meant we could have our own phones back to play Pokémon Go instead of giving one of them up for her. So, yaknow, this is kind of a big deal. 

We got Starbucks with Paul, talked a bit, and he asked for a signed copy of Babyfat and Be Your Own Fucking Sunshine, then told us about the books he plans to write Someday.

"One will be called 'Fuck is the Third Worst Word in this Book," he said proudly.

"I'd buy that in a hot minute," I told him.

"Mom really likes that word," Eliana chimed in. 

When Paul checked his wristwatch again, we wished him safe travels when it was time for him to head off to the gage for his next flight. And we went on with our day. Like it all was a normal thing to see a friend on his way home to Utah after a trip to London at the airport just ten minutes from our home.  

Because now, this is our new normal.  

Thank you, Paul. You're a gem. 

 

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Send Senator Warren a Postcard (Because She Persisted)

"She was warned, she was given an explanation, nevertheless, she persisted."

I dunno about you, but I want this on my headstone. Because, yes.

A good friend of mine suggested sending Senator Elizabeth Warren postcard for Valentine's Day, Then she messaged me to make sure I actually did it. So I did.

This is what's on the shop now, thanks to Janel.

She Persisted, Postcard # 1

She Persisted, Postcard # 1

Show her you support her and appreciate every time she has refused to back down. 

Each card is $8.00, and will be stamped and mailed with your personal message handwritten by yours truly. No novels, please. Yours isn't the only Valentine I'm writing for the Senator. 

Option # 2, Because, obviously. 

Option # 2, Because, obviously. 

 

For every postcard sold, I will donate $1 to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change; a nod to Warren's silencing by Republicans  while reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King, criticizing Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for attorney general. Donations will be made at the end of the calendar month. 
 

I should point out that I almost went with notecards, but Janel is predicting I'll be making a rather nice donation to The King Center, which means postcards are faster to open and no paper is wasted on the envelopes that get thrown away.

Clicl on the images to order. I'll get to writing and stamping and mailing as soon as the order I just placed is my mailbox.

Thank you, and thank you, Senator Warren. 

 


Never Stop Creating

My friend, August McLaughlin, asked a question on Facebook the other day. She wanted to to know what people were proud of. A thing we had accomplished that made us feel a real sense of accomplishment.  

I didn't have A Thing. Just a feeling...  

The same thing happens every time I'm on other side of making something happen. And it's the same thing that plays out in my head every single time... since I was a kid. 

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 My answer is abstract. But it's truth. And I don't think this truth is mine alone. 

Mom sureounded by creatives. Writers. Artists. As unique as we may be as individuals, there's something solid in the generalities attrituted to my crowd. We are confident in what we do. We are so full of doubt that we always end up questioning if we are good enough.  

It's the duality that fuels us. 

Right now, I'm trying to get my head back in the writing game. Until I do, I'm doodling. My art allows me to create when the words are stuck. My words do the same when the artistic steak has run dry.  

More duality. Which is probably a good thing.  

I created the image in this post on a blank journal for one of my writing coach clients. Just as I was finishing the digital edits on the imge for the Soneday when I manage to add it as a print on the Etsy shop, August's reply came through on my iPhone as a notification. That's when I realized the doodle I'd created - which I started right after replying to August's Facebook status - had been an extension of my reply to her question. 

This is what I wrote... 

I believed in myself. Once. And then twice. Every time I do something right, and take pride in what I accomplished, I slowly end up wondering how the hell I ever had the guts to do it to begin with. And I think I can never do it again.

And then one day, I do. 

Don't Say Anything

I pitched a story today about in defense of a child in the public eye due to circumstances beyond their control. This child has been ridiculed and made a public target. Misperceptions about a group of people choosing to educate their own children and the results of that choice have been amplified.

 

This child and a guesstimated diagnosis have been used as a political pawn by celebrities questioning why this child's father hasn't gone public about the diagnosis no one can confirm has been made. No one seems to notice that these same celebs seek privacy for their own families because their public image is separate from their private life. No one seems to realize that no matter how public a child's parents may be, even if there is a diagnosis associated with stigma, that it is the parent's choice whether or not to use their platform to raise awareness...or protect the privacy of their child and remain silent.

wr are not owed confirmation.  

Every editor turned down my pitch. I was honestly confused. It's time sensitive. It's in the news. It's all over social media. And then one editor told me that their publication is staying away from any stories related to the child in question. I replied that I only wanted to add my voice to the chorus stating that the father, a public figure, is a fair target for criticism and debate, but that the child is off-limits.

"Exactly," the editor replied. "The child is off-limits."

And then I understood.

Every time someone says this child's name in defense of their privacy, we bring them back into the spotlight. We are doing the opposite of what we think we are in the name of protecting them.

This is the only thing I will write on this issue. I won't say the child's name. I won't.

If you're reading this, don't share it. Do the right thing.

Don't say anything at all.

Resilience

She's strong for the world to see because that's what she thinks she is supposed to be. She pushes forward every day for those that need her to, even when she is too tired to take another step.

She smiles for others when she would rather hide and cry. 

The world sees strength where she sees fault. One day, she will realize that she is more than she sees in herself. She will learn that tears don't mean weakness. 

Resilience. 

Now available on the etsy shop as an 8x10 giclee fine art print and a 3x5 postcard. 

Resilience 

Resilience 

On Art, Moving, & Outsmarting Myself (Maybe)

Funny how moving can force you to get on track. I've got an crazy amount of finished art pieces I've been meaning to list on the Etsy shop...  but good intentions don't exactly always mean stellar results. 

 

 

But now that I can tell you that we will be moving to the Twin Cities area in Minnesota, I also can tell you that I'll be damned if I wrap these pieces up to forget for another few years. If I pack one piece, moving tape and all, that's exactly what will happen. But because I decided to try to outsmart myself by listing as much as I can before I put it away for the move. Nothing like Actually Making Something Available to the Public for the odds of Actually Selling it to increase exponentially. 

 

Paper Petals

Paper Petals

We plan to leave Maine the week of January 13, and with your help, I'm hoping to sell enough art to cover fuels costs for the moving truck and my SUV. My Pie in the Sky goal is to raise enough funds to cover hotel costs along the way, as well. Moving is expensive, y'all. If you like something in my shop and decide to buy before we hit the road, it's kinda like loving me so much that you bought me a gas card. Which is totally flattering, by the way, and you are my favorite.

If you are looking for something and don't see it listed, tell me. I love commissions. Keep checking back for new finished art pieces and prints, because I'm listing at least two new items daily for the next week or so. 

Happy New Year! 

 

 

Half-Off Joyful Snowman Holiday Cards!

I guess it't not all bad if I'm only posting sales codes these days, right? 

Fans of my Joyful Snowman holiday card sets have the chance to pick up a set (or five) of cards for half off with the code JOYFULSNOWMAN. That means an set of 30 cards is $25 instead of $50 and a set of 10 cards is now $9 instead of $18. You still pay shipping AND play nice, because the code is only good for the Joyful Snowman card sets. 

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I love this snowman. Last year, this guy was my Christmas card, and I'm so thrilled each time I find out my card was saved and displayed with this year's holiday decorations.

I've got a new design I'm sending out to family and friends this year and next year, the new design gets added to my etsy stock. I just got my order from MOO and I cannot wait to show you tomorrow. For now, don't forget that you can get 25% off all noncommissioned art in stock on the shop (HAPPYHOLIDAYS is the code). 

Note: Joyful Snowman cards are on sale for 50 percent off through 12/20 and then 25 percent off sale runs through 12/31. I'm out for tonight...I've got files to ready for a lined journal I'm self-publishing. 

*Winks*

 

Check out Little Frida Muerte on My Redbubble Shop!

I've got a sale update for you on my Redbubble shop. One of my favorite pieces, Little Frida Muerte, is now available on a few items, And if you order like RIGHT NOW, you can get 20 percent off your order with code MANICMON. The code expires at midnight, 12/4, eastern time. 

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Check out the notebook!

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And don't tell Eliana, but I already have this cute tote bag hidden in the secret Christmas stash to wrap for her for Santa's stop at our house. Because yes, if she asks, Santa Claus himself has some of Mama's art on display at the North Pole, natch.

If Dia de Los Muertos isn't your thing, you might like something like this!

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My newest addition to the Redbubble shop, Sleepy Luna, is available on a few items, including a throw pillow...

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and this sweet iPhone 6 plus case I have on the way for my own iPhone! I can't wait. 

Stay tuned...I'll be adding more to the shop as I get prints and images uploaded and sorted. For now, click and buy now while the coupon code is still good! Oh, and if you're interested in a physical print, click the link to the name of each piece. That one takes you straight to the etsy shop. 

Happy shopping! 

Cyber Monday on the Etsy Shop

I had major plans for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on the Etsy shop, but life got in the way, so it's on to Plan B: and that's 25 percent off all prints, notecards, and original art listed (Sorry, commissions are not discounted.) Bonus? I'm running this sale through December 31! 

No, I'm not crazy. I am, however, planning a big move with my family and need to lighten the load. That means one goal is to sell completed art before it's time to load the moving truck! 

Before I share the coupon code with you, I want to show you something I just worked on for my writer friends, Alica. She wanted a few original art pieces with inspirational writer quotes on them to use for postcards she plans to give away at events. After a little bit of back and forth to get the ideas flowing, Alica settled on two quotes (one by me and one she came up with herself). I came up with a few original backgrounds for Alica to choose from, and once she chose her faves, It was time to combine art with inspirational words. That part I did digitally.

What do you think?

This one is mine. The cool part is that with a new background, I can offer a print on my shop and Alica's image is still unique to her! 

This one is mine. The cool part is that with a new background, I can offer a print on my shop and Alica's image is still unique to her! 

Alica came up with the inspirational quote and asked me to create a background to show it off. I am so proud of the final product. 

Alica came up with the inspirational quote and asked me to create a background to show it off. I am so proud of the final product. 

Now that Alica has her digital files (and is already ordering her first set of postcards!) I am working on the next projects. My friend, Heiddi, commissioned a monogram, which I am very excited about. And then there's the two journals I'm hustling to self-publish on Amazon in time for Christmas gift giving. I'll tell you about those soon. For now, though, stop by the Etsy shop for 25 percent off all non-commissioned art with coupon code HAPPYHOLIDAYS. That means that if you haven't had a chance to order Christmas cards yet, you can score Joyful Snowman cards at a sweet discount and get them in time to send out to your friends and family!! 

Happy Cyber Monday!