American Thanksgiving was a couple of days ago, and it occurred pretty quietly here in our household. We feasted upon turkey and mashed potatoes, as I’d say a large majority of Americans do on the day, and just generally had a nice time without any of us having to be anywhere else. The most important thing was that Dad came home from the rehab facility on Monday and was able to spend the holiday with us here at home as well. That’s probably what I was most thankful for this year. He’s doing well and is able to walk again and fully function more or less like he had prior to his hospitalization. The only difference now is that he’s to be permanently using his BiPAP machine and taking his medication regularly.

Photo of Sheila’s father before and after restoration!

The photography class that I was enjoying came to an end and my raster graphics class is underway. This is my last class of the semester and likely the final class that I’ll be taking at Ivy Tech. Since it looks like we’ll be moving out to Kansas at the end of January, I’ve put school on hold yet again and plan to enroll at a community college or university out there once we get settled. Raster graphics have been pretty cool though. Photoshop has some incredibly powerful tools that I didn’t even know about. Our project for the third week of the class included restoring and colorizing old and damaged photos. I was impressed with how well my restoration project was turning out that I even told my friendly co-workers about it. One of them, Sheila, asked if I would try my hand at restoring a photo of her father. I was more than happy to do so, especially once I blew my own mind with how well the restoration turned out! Granted, most of the work here was done by Photoshop’s neural filters, but I still couldn’t believe what happened! The new version is so much clearer and cleaner and almost looks like a photo that could have been taken recently. Just like the photography class that I took at the beginning of this semester, I’m thankful to be learning this new skill set that’s truly opening my mind.

Though my ability to live stream lately has been hindered by a multitude of other things going on in the world around me — work, school, holidays, packing for the move, etc. — I have to mention that it has been a fun hobby lately. Though my viewership is nowhere near where I’d like for it to be, I know that I need to provide more consistency and dedication to the craft in order to truly grow. Once the move is finished and I’m able to get set up in my new office/studio space in the new house, I hope to start really putting my best foot forward with my digital presence and get where I want to be. So hey, if you aren’t yet following me on Twitch, make sure you do that so you don’t miss a thing!

Lastly, I just want to say that I’m thankful for the most essential parts of my life, too. I’m thankful to have somewhere warm and dry to live and sleep. I’m thankful to have food in my belly. I’m thankful for the clothes on my back. And I’m perhaps most thankful for my family, my friends, and my kitties, all of whom I would be lost and lonely without.

Until next time…

Solo Shuffle

RTX has been ongoing this entire weekend, and last month, my sister was lucky enough to get to visit some friends at Dreamhack Dallas. I, on the other hand, have yet to make it to my very first convention. And that honestly makes me a little sad.

Back in early 2020, before the pandemic really hit hard, I was planning to make Indiana Comic-Con my first convention. Both because it was local and I figured it wouldn’t have been so huge that it would be overwhelming for an introverted first-timer like myself. As the pandemic started getting really ugly though, that convention was obviously canceled and I got my money back instead of waiting to use my tickets for whenever it was able to come back. Things with this pandemic have been so uncertain that I didn’t really know if conventions would ever come back, so I was playing it safe. Indy Comic-Con did eventually make its return, but I still haven’t been able to bring myself to attend. Not from fear of COVID, but because my anxiety and depression have probably been at all-time highs over the past year. But the last few weeks, especially seeing all the photos from RTX, getting to talk to friends and family from Dreamhack, and doing some little things like going to the theater to see movies by myself, have convinced me that it’s time to start getting back out there and doing things that I want to do again.

It’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll find the money or be able to take the time off from work to go to TwitchCon this year. That event is my ultimate goal, not just as a Twitch streamer myself, but also because so many other streamers that I love and admire would be there to meet as well. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make that happen in 2023. For the remainder of this year though, I’m turning my attention toward another local event: GenCon! I don’t know what the event will be like, and since I don’t have many friends or family who would go with me, I may be attending it by myself. But truth be told, as nervous as it makes me, that’s also part of the excitement. Having recently flown solo to see a couple movies, I’ve learned that it may be possible that I enjoy the experience better alone. There’s nobody chatting in your ear during crucial moments, it’s fantastic! Maybe going to a convention alone will be an excellent experience as well? I’ll be able to avoid being dragged to anything that disinterests me, after all, and when my own internal battery starts reaching critical levels, I can simply pick up and leave without disappointing the people I’m with. So whether I wind up attending the event alone or with someone else, it seems like a win-win and I’m excited to see what things will be like once the event takes place next month!

Over the last couple of months, my doctor and I have been adjusting my medication. While I feel like FOMO is definitely tugging at me pretty hard, I’m hoping that the new levels of my meds are helping me feel like it’s time to start getting out and socializing again. Either way, it feels like the world maybe hasn’t ended just yet so maybe I should keep living in it while I can. Maybe I’ll see some of you while I’m doing just that.

Until next time…