19/365: The Sketchbook Project

I am grateful to have a hubby who pushes me and supports my craft. I am also pretty excited to participate in The Sketchbook Project, where my sketchbook will become a permanent part of the Brooklyn Art Library’s (BAL) collection beginning June 2018!

I will be working on my sketchbook from now until April, when I am required to submit it to the BAL. Then, my book will be professionally scanned, given a barcode, and uploaded for online viewing. Before becoming a permanent piece in BAL’s exhibition, it will travel as part of the traveling exhibition around the world, and the barcode allows me to track how many times my book is viewed and where it has travelled to.

I will be sure to post regular updates as I work through creating my book, as well as information on when it can be viewed online later this year!

Here’s some more info from BAL’s site:

THE SKETCHBOOK

Each artist is sent the same 5”x7” blank custom SBP sketchbook. We’ve only got a few rules: first, the book must be used in some way – no sending us back an empty book or a completely different book! Second, the sketchbook must stay within its original dimensions.

Each book will be given a barcode so we can easily catalog it into Brooklyn Art Library’s system. Once we catalog it, artists will be able to track where their book travels, how often it is viewed and how many times someone pulled it from the shelf – we want to make sure you can stay connected with your sketchbook!

Mini update

Well, I suppose I am long overdue for a medical/life update. Normally around this time I would be taking a nap, but there’s currently a technician in my house doing technical things, so I can’t go have a nap until after he’s done. Honestly, I should probably try and stay awake until this evening anyway since I managed to sleep about 14.5 hours after radiation yesterday.

Speaking of radiation, I am on week three of this round, and so far I seem to be handling it well. I have radiation M-F each week around 11:30am, and usually it makes me slightly nauseous and sleepy, so when I get home I tend to sleep a few hours. It’s amazing to me that my body gets to worn out from something that in reality doesn’t take very long. I only spend about 15 minutes bolted to the table under my fitted mesh-mask per day, but it’s a higher concentration of radiation being aimed at Lyle, so I suppose it makes sense that my head gets all hazy, and I get fatigued. My last day of radiation will be on 01/30, then I’ll have a bunch of tests and we will see what the future treatment is at that time.

At the moment I am up to three injections of Hydromorphone a day, along with Vicodin 3x a day and Methocarbamol as needed for breakthrough pains. Besides that, I’m on various other meds to treat my wide array of symptoms — vertigo, nausea, headaches, etc. I’m looking forward to the day that I don’t need all these pills and shots. That’ll be a sweet, sweet day. 🌈

Fun stuff!

Tagged by: @calindor

AHMAGOD I GOT TAGGED IN SOMETHING AND I AM SO EXCITED!

Rules: Answer 20 questions, then tag 20 followers that you want to get to know better.

1) Name: Holly Marie

2) Nicknames: Holly, Vyne (pronounced Vine, not Vin), Vee, The Baby (by family), Hollz, Holly Berry, Hozza/Hoz, Goose

3) Height: 5ft 3-4inches

4) Orientation: Former lesbian, current hetero

5) Nationality: Spanish, Afro-Portuguese, Mexican

6) Favorite fruits: Watermelon, cherries, kiwis, blueberries, peaches

7) Favorite Season: Winter because snow, Christmas, and hot chocolate.

8) Favorite Flowers: Roses, Jasmine

9) Favorite Scents: Eucalyptus spearmint, Adidas Moves for Him, Clean Linen, gasoline, paint, ashtrays, nail salons

10) Favorite Colors: Purple, Red, Teal

11) Favorite Animals: All of the animals!!!!!

12) Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate: If I could only have one, then hot chocolate, but I drink all three.

13) Average Sleep Hours: Uhhh this is tough because I alternate from too much sleep to not enough sleep.

14) Dog or Cat Person: Both! But probs dogs > cats.

15) Favorite Fictional Characters: Jay Gatsby, Edward Cullen, Gideon Cross, Mickey Mouse, Animal from the Muppets, Louise and Linda from Bob’s Burgers, Archer and Lana, Death (George Pendle’s version)

16) Number of Blankets You Sleep With: One

17) Dream Trip: Australia to see Rara.

18) Blog Created: Tumblr in April 2014, WP in June 2015.

19) Number of Followers: 49 on Tumblr, 56 on WP.

20) Random Fact: One time I had a bug in my head. It crawled in through my ear when I was asleep.

Tagging: @leeleesupreme @rinavenue and also Rara on my WP blog, because this will be posted there as well.

Bucket List Item #1

When you are faced with terminal cancer, one of the things that you inevitably end up doing is evaluating the things you want to do before you die. I was fortunate enough that my family accommodated one of my last wishes by planning a family trip to Disney this last May, where I was able to meet some of my friends from all over the world whom I met playing FFXIV. Since that trip, I managed to find my small notebook filled with various other bucket list items, and there is one item that wish to start/complete, but it requires help from those I care about.

People know that I am a giant book nerd, and I feel that books are telling of the people who read them. I’m always open to reading new genres and recommended books, and a while back I decided that I want to start a collection of books that is reflective of the people in my life. Here is where you come in.

I would like to have a copy of your favorite book, with a handwritten message inside from you. Your message can be why you enjoy the book or your favorite quote, or whatever you feel you’d like to say. I have no expectations when it comes to genre or quality. It can be whatever you choose, a children’s book, the Bible, a used copy, etc. I would just like to get started collecting these books that are pieces of the people who I’ve met along this journey of life. And yes, I will read them. After all, between treatments and my inability to work at the moment, I have oodles of time.

So, if you feel so inclined to add to my collection, feel free to give/mail me your book. Don’t forget to inscribe the book with something from you! ❤

Thank you in advance,

Holly Marie

Mailing Address:

Holly Marie Anderson

4240 N. 100th Avenue

Phoenix, AZ 85037

Breathless

I stood in the store aisle

Pondering which holiday tablecloth piqued my interest the most–

Red with white snowflakes,

White with silver trees,

Or the rustic reindeer.

My hands fumbled,

Attempting to match fabric napkins

With each design.

People came and went,

Bumping into my cart,

As I still contemplated.

On one such occasion,

I managed to drop some of the tablecloths,

And bending down–

a little too quickly perhaps

My body protested the sudden movement

And pain seared throughout

Leaving me teary-eyed,

Winded,

Dizzy,

Breathless.

Happiness

  • Morning kisses from Mosha
  • When mom sings “You are my sunshine” to me
  • Chocolate smoothies
  • Random check-in calls from Pops
  • Good books
  • Dailies with the Nerd Herd
  • Taking pictures
  • Sunday night Walking Dead with Mosha
  • Christmas time (the trees, lights, baking, decorations, music and time with family)
  • Milo’s floppy ears and Leesi’s nap time snuggles
  • Late night shenanigans with the Rara
  • Mosha’s smile
  • Boba tea
  • Trips to the bookstore and Michaels
  • Watercolor painting
  • Writing
  • Giving others gifts
  • Snuggling under a blanket, watching movies on a rainy day
  • Learning new things
  • Road trips with Mosha
  • Disneyland
  • Seeing the ocean
  • Planting flowers
  • Dancing to my favorite songs

A/N: These are not in order of importance.

Today

When your reality turns out to be fantasy, mind tricks if you will, it can be an earth-shattering, scary thing.

I suspected that the fleeting shadows were figments of my imagination. Sometimes you look from the left to the right too quickly and you think you see something that in reality isn’t there at all. So I ignored them. But today, there was no ignoring you.

I heard the dishes first, early this morning. I knew Mosha wasn’t home, and it piqued my interest enough that I roused from bed and headed to the kitchen–the very empty kitchen. It’s damning because I know what I heard, but I also know what I saw, and they were two very contradicting things. I blamed lack of sleep and new medications as I meandered back to my bed.

I spent time messaging B, and in the midst of that, you appeared, walking alongside my bed, bringing me soup, chastising me for not taking care of myself. Who are you? I had never seen you before today. I didn’t have any sense of familiarity. Just as I began to sit up, you were gone, as quickly as you appeared. Yet you were so very real.

The next logical step would have been to get ahold of my oncologist, to raise the alarm to my medical team, but instead I retreated because of fear and unfamiliarity. I forced myself to sleep, a sleep from which I didn’t wake up from until late evening. Since I woke up, I’ve had a tingling sensation across my head (this is not new, but it has been a while since I’ve experienced it). I ate, plopped on the couch until now, desperately trying to distract myself from today’s happenings. Were they imagined? All evidence points to yes.

After a little prying, Mosha got it out of me, and we decided that first thing, I need to call my medical team. I’m not fearful in the sense that I feel there is a demonic presence in our home, and I don’t believe in ghosts, so that’s not it either. No, I am fairly certain that this is directly related to Lyle or the medications somehow. Best to deal with it sooner rather than later because I can’t imagine living life the way I had to live it today. It isn’t living at all.

Doors.

Doors. I never knew how scary they could be.

I’m currently sitting in a small medical office, waiting for my doctor to knock on the door before he enters to go over my lab results — results that I already know aren’t positive. I’m not being pessimistic. If you pay attention to your body, you’ll know when things aren’t right. My body has been screaming at me for a long time now, but the cancer had always overridden the diabetes and fibromyalgia. But, as Dr. S. said last week, “it’s time.” Time to get it all under control. Time to stop neglecting the rest of my problems in lieu of the greater ones.

I can hear voices outside the door: other patients and medical staff. Focusing on them does little to calm my anxiety. I don’t want to be here. I want to walk out of the door and not come back. But that would be the irresponsible thing to do. The adult and rational part of me knows that I have to stay. I have to wait for that inevitable knock and the news that is to follow.

Note to Self

You need to toss the ashes of your burned memories away. You’ve kept them for far too long. It’s time to utter out loud the things that you’ve locked away, hoarding them deep within yourself. It’s time to share the things you’ve only shared with those whose hearts are safe and true, those who you have trusted not to twist your pain to serve themselves. Be cautious, still. Proceed carefully. Keep believing in your own healing, and in the work you have been called to do.

Anhedonia

Arguably some of the most touchy subjects to tackle from a Christian perspective are depression and anxiety. It’s bad enough that depression and anxiety are in and of themselves complex illnesses, but there are varying perspectives within the church about them. Sometimes some of these views are from people who try to genuinely understand depression from a biblical perspective, while other people just have incorrect information regarding mental illnesses. However, in my experience, there are things that even the most well-meaning Christians get wrong.

Basically, depression is not what the church can sometimes make it out to be.

Recently, I’ve learned that depression and anxiety are not character defects, spiritual disorders or emotional dysfunctions, and even more importantly, they are not a choice. Mental illness is just as important as physical illness, and asking someone to try not being depressed is like asking a wounded person not to bleed. But yet so many Christians are so quick to express their opinions and judgments, and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard the phrase, “if only you had enough faith.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I of course believe that God is all-powerful, and yes, it is important to pray, have faith and believe that we can be healed because His Word says that we can be. Faith in His ability to heal is tremendously important, and it does help to ease the burden of depression and anxiety. But again, to deny someone medical care for mental illness is not any different from denying medical care to a physically ill person. The only difference between mental illness and physical illness is that we cannot visibly see mental illness in most cases.

I do also believe that there is a spiritual element to depression, but medical science has also proven that major depressive disorder is real and has many causes.

I have only recently come to accept my own depression and anxiety, and I’ve begun to seek treatment for both, both medically and spiritually. I have only opened up to a few people at this point, mainly because of the responses that I’m sure will inevitable occur, such as:

  • “But you look so good!”
  • “You always seem so happy!”
  • “You have so much faith!”

I have learned that many depressed people like myself are extremely good at hiding their symptoms because of the stigma that is associated with mental illness. Many churches don’t even address mental illness, which only gives us as believers who are going through depression/anxiety even more incentive to hide it. Also, as a good friend of mine said to me the other day, depression isn’t always about “feeling sad.” It can manifest in many ways such as apathy, lethargy, low self-esteem, guilt, fatigue, crying spells, or even difficulty making decisions.

So, I think it is important for us as believers (and non-believers alike) and as people to begin to show more compassion to those around us who might be suffering. Screw the stigma. Let us be people who are willing to offer support and encouragement rather than condemning them or passing judgment on their level of faith. Remember that our God is mighty, and His ability to heal is NOT determined by us, our actions, or lack of faith.

I am: Terminally Fierce.

I suppose the next logical step in my journey was to start a video diary of my cancer experience, especially now that I am unable to write as often as I use to. I’m sure all my non-reading friends/family/strangers prefer videos as well. So here is my first video. [I promise, the other videos shouldn’t be as long as this one.]

Be Kind to One Another

Sometimes, more than others, I am weary of life. There are different reasons why I feel this way, various contributing factors, but a lot of the time people have a lot to do with it. Often, we have encounters with others that are unpleasant, and I have come to realize that even as someone who is battling terminal cancer, I am not suddenly immune from being the victim of other people’s attitude’s or problems. No matter what role you play in life, even if you are the sweetest, most giving person in the world — at some point people are going to crap on you, even when you’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

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Chapter III

Skull Valley, La Noscea, 1568

Vyne glanced up and down several times, looking between the strange terrain around her–vibrant formations of crystal and rock with senseless, clashing textures and colors assaulting her eyesight and making her cringe–back down to the map clutched in her gloved hands. She had studied and read plenty of maps, but actually following one was something entirely new. She had rarely been far from home, and even then she usually had her parents or an escort of some variety to accompany her.

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Regaining independence, one step at a time

Well after having numerous emotional breakdowns over the past few weeks, we (My medical team, Mosha and my parents) have decided that its best for me to try to regain some independence. Relying on other people for every little thing has taken a toll on me in many ways, and while I cannot control other things, such as how I may feel physically, I can control how much help I receive from others. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on an ego trip nor do I plan on being unwise when it comes to asking for help; I know my limits and when I need to reach out. However, constantly having someone who needs to sacrifice aspects of their life to be my caretaker has never sat well with me. In the end, it ultimately adds more stress to my life, which makes me sicker than I already am.

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Horticulture therapy

After yesterday’s emotional ups and downs, my mom and dad suggested that each day I do something positive each day, like crafting, drawing, writing, reading, etc. Today, I did just that, and decided to start getting my garden ready for planting season. I also decided that I wanted to move my hanging planters from the backyard to the front yard, where they would get more sun and add to the overall look of the house that I’m trying to achieve with all the vines and plants. Continue reading