5 Things To Help in a Depressive Crisis

1/27/2017 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

It's taken me almost a month to be ready to share this with you. Since then, I've been doing a lot better. So, please understand that I'm not in crisis now and have appreciated the love and support I've received during this time—even from those who just thought I was having a bad day, you've been amazing! Writing this has been a big part of my healing process. Here's what I wrote the beginning of this month:

Please know that I'm not writing this as a cry for help or to get attention. It actually hurts to admit that this happened (it's really embarrassing to admit how weak I've felt), but because I know there are others out there who need to hear it and know they're not alone. I need to share what happened a last night. I'm also dreading the inevitable phone call I will get from my mom, who will be very worried when she reads this (I love her and know how she worries about me. I love you, Mom! Know that I'm going to be alright, I promise I'm getting help.) If you don't want to read this and just want the info on 5 Things To Help in a Depressive Crisis, just skip to that section below. If not, keep reading.
The kids and I boarding the train, moving from Provo, Utah to Fairfield, California
I haven't been well since we moved in August. There have been times that things have been better than others, but, overall, my health and mental health have been terrible. Between anemia, low thyroid, and stress, I've barely been able to take care of myself, let alone my family.
Thankfully, the Lord has blessed us. We've had so many people offer help and support, especially this Christmas, we were overwhelmed by their generosity! Erik also has been able to pick up the slack, when it comes to the kids, house, meals, etc. Otherwise, I don't know what we would have done (other than not eaten, our house would be even more trashed, and the kids wouldn't have done so well adjusting as they have).
Erik's dad, Den, overcoming lymphoma and snuggling with our kitty (Emo Kylo Ren)
But, of course, not being very functional and leaving everything to my husband has left me with a huge load of guilt and stress. I see how hard it is for him. How he struggles with his own need to go back to work and school but also the need to care for his family (which has been multiplied since moving to California to care for his father, who has lymphoma. Read more about our quest to save our Dad here.)

I'm not sure what all the factors were that combined last night to cause my breakdown, other than the health issues, stress, and sleep deprivation, but I was in a bad place.

It started as a feeling of uselessness. I didn't even get a shower that day (and I don't want admit how long it had been since I had), even though I'd spend most of the day at appointments for the kids, I still felt like I hadn't accomplished enough. The house is a mess. We haven't really moved in all the way. There are literally still boxes stacked in every room.
I felt tired but didn't know if I'd be able to sleep (yet again), and that stressed me out. I felt just blah. Numb. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt good. I wasn't interested in any of my usual interests, nothing could excite me or make me feel happy. So I read my scriptures, like I try to do every night. But even though the subject matter was very sacred and special to me (I was reading Matthew Chapter 27, where Jesus is crucified). It usually evokes lots of feelings (sadness, gratitude, humility...knowing that He died for me and loves me), but I didn't feel anything. That brought even more guilt.
Somethings was very wrong with me. I was broken. I started to get ready for bed, but even the smallest task seemed impossible. The thought came to tell my husband that I needed help. At first, it was just help with something small. I knew I couldn't do this on my own, so I literally called my husband on my phone (from the bedroom to the living room) to ask him to help me. Which he did. He was exhausted from a long day of running errands, etc. (which was painfully obvious) but he quickly helped with the task I asked for help with.

Seeing him try to do something even though he obviously wanted to be doing other things (don't get me wrong, he really wasn't being selfish. From what he could see, I was just tired like I have been every single day of the last few months. He's been trying to get me to push myself, to help me pull myself out of this pit of depression, and he didn't want to enable me if I could do this myself. Physical activity is a huge factor in helping me get better.) And the guilt flowed. Everything was wrong. Everything I couldn't do, everything that had been left unfinished or neglected, nothing in the world was good anymore. It just wasn't.

Now, if you've never experienced this level of depression, you're probably thinking that I'm crazy, and you wouldn't necessarily be wrong. At that point, I could not be rational. My mind wouldn't work right. I was depressed about being depressed.

As a friend said, being a depressive crisis is like being trapped in a burning building. The smoke and heat (depression, guilt, anxiety) makes it so you can't breathe and is taking all your energy so it's hard to move or function at all. One beam after another (inadequacies, things that made me feel more depressed) are falling, which compromises the building supports (rational thinking, logic, self-worth, etc.) Then, hopelessness blocks the exit and panic raises to a whole new level. Visibility is completely gone, the heat is rising. You are completely trapped and can't see how you could possibly escape with your life. 
Image Source
Or, for our Lord of the Rings fans, you are Frodo on the slopes of Mount Doom. All of your efforts, everything you've tried doesn't matter any more because your body has given out. The ring is too heavy to carry and there's no way you can go any further.

My mind briefly started to wonder what was the least painful way someone could die. That should have shocked me more than it did. That was a huge beam in our burning building falling down. Yes, it was a wake up call. They always tell you that any suicidal type thoughts, even wishing that you could just give up or any thought related to the subject of your own death, is a crisis point where you need to seek immediate help.

I started crying (sobbing really), but was out of tissues. Even getting up to go get more tissues was beyond my ability. I just couldn't do anything. I was useless. Completely useless.

And that was my breaking point. Not even able to bring myself to call Erik again, I sent a one-word text, which I've circled below:
My one worded text, during my crisis (circled)
I thought about how he's done so much lately and I've been very demanding. And I cried harder. I didn't want to scare him (in fact, until he reads this, I won't have admitted in so many words to another person exactly how bad things were).
Image Source
Seeing me sitting on the side of the bed, shaking and tears running like a faucet, he hurried to my side and started asking me what was wrong.

I don't remember most of what was said other than I needed help and my depression was really bad. He asked me what he could do to help (probably expecting to be given some big heroic quest that would yank me out of it). I said something like, "I'm out of tissues. Could you bring some? I can't even do that." And, for some reason, we laughed. It was just so ridiculous, sobbing over a lack of tissues. I don't remember what else I told him, but, at some point, I also asked him for the most important thing: a priesthood blessing.
What a priesthood blessing can look like. (Image source)
For those unfamiliar with my faith, I'm a Mormon, and a priesthood blessing is one of the most amazing and small, but miraculous things I've witnessed. I don't know when I've ever felt so much love, support, and comfort, as when I've heard someone else praying to my Heavenly Father, using His own power and authority to pronounce a blessing that I might have the comfort and strength that I so desperately needed. (You can learn more about priesthood blessings here. You don't have to be a member of my church to receive one. Learn more about Mormons here.)

The guilt and stress didn't go away after the blessing. It was all still there, but afterwards, I felt comforted. Erik sat with me and held me.
Image Source
We talked a bit more and life didn't seem so bad. That's the best way I can thing to describe it. The fog thinned a bit and I felt well enough to try to sleep. Erik didn't take my depression away, but he helped carry me through the worst of it.
My view/outlook this morning. There are still ugly things like dead weeds, vines, plants that need pruning, and power lines blocking the blue sky, but there are still some green trees and lots of blue sky!
This morning, I am a million times better. A good night's rest helped so much! I'm still stressed, still feel the guilt, but it's manageable. There weren't any clean towels this morning and I was out of clean clothes, but instead of feeling like there's just another thing to stop me and I can't do anything about it, I was able to start a load of laundry.

I'm going to be alright, and I am so thankful that my Heavenly Father had helped me and given me so much!
Now, here's what I've learned from all this:

5 Things To Help in a Depressive Crisis

1. Seek help immediately! From family, friends, your church, neighbors, a crisis hotline, ANYONE who you can talk to!! Do NOT be alone!

Depression and stress do weird things to the mind. They warp our sense of reality and show us the world through a skewed perspective. Being alone makes this worse. Find someone, anyone, to be near. Even if you just go to the grocery store or Walmart and say hi to the door greeter/security person. Human contact is VITAL! Go be with other people.

2. Talk to someone

It seems stupidly simple, but talking, getting those feelings and thought out into the open, just expressing how you feel helps! Keeping it bottled up inside, not wanting to burden or bother anyone else... I've been there and believe me: anyone who cares even the smallest bit for you, even a stranger, would rather listen to you talk for a few minutes than risk your life. Call this number (1-800-273-8255) or go to this website for free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources.

3. Ask God for help with depression

Whatever your religion or beliefs, ask God to help you in whatever way you can. He loves you and wants the best for you. He will help you find comfort and carry you through the darkest of times.

Have faith that your Father in Heaven will help you but recognize that His help may come in the form of therapy, medication, friends, or family.

4. Don't be too afraid or ashamed to get help!

Thankfully, society is finally leaving behind the old stigma of mental illness being taboo. People are finally starting to talk about it and admit they need help. Nearly 1 of every 5 Americans suffer from some type of mental illness each year (source). You are not alone! Asking for help is not weakness, it takes strength and courage. Be strong, you can do it!!

5. Get medical/mental health help for depression

Despite advances in science and medicine, we don't always know what causes depression. According to the NIMH, "depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors." But try to find out where it's coming from and get help. Mine is clinical/chronic depression but made worse by health issues like thyroid disease, anemia, etc. (Read more about My Battle for Better Health here.) Try to see if there's a physical cause to your depression. If there's the possibility of getting better, isn't it worth looking into?

Talk to a counselor or mental health specialist. You may or may not need medication. It's perfectly fine if you do. I strongly believe that God has helped scientists develop medicines specifically to help with mental illness because he loves us. Medication is not the treatment for everyone, and I also firmly believe that everyone, whether being treated with medicine or not, should get help from a licensed therapist to learn coping skills, etc.

This talk by Jeffrey R. Holland, called Like a Broken Vessel, gives me a lot of comfort. Go read, watch, or listen to it. You are not alone!

If you or someone you love suffers from depression, please let them know that you love them and want them to be alright. Here are 5 very simple Things You Can Do To Help Someone With Depression. Again, if you're in crisis, call this number (1-800-273-8255) or go to this website for free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources.

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    Persephone Chapter 4

    1/23/2017 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

    I'm excited to share with you my own retelling of Persephone (whose name I mispronounced for years!) This myth has many versions but always left so much to the imagination (and believe me, my imagination went wild). I'll be sharing parts of the books as I write them (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are first drafts! Start reading the first chapter here.

    About the book

    Chapter 4

    The last incident had been terrible.  Ares, the god of war, had thundered into the field where she and her mother were harvesting wheat, in his battle chariot.  Fully armored, the god had not even removed his helmet, and practically ordered Demeter to surrender her daughter in marriage to him.
    Demeter did not seem to be the most powerful of goddesses, but she was formidable in her anger.  Even the god of war fled from her wrath.

    Persephone’s favorites had been Hermes and Apollo.  Hermes, the fleet messenger god, had been the first to seek her hand, and consequently, the first her mother had deemed “unfit” and chased away.  He had swooped down and begun teasing her as she gathered flowers, snatching the flower she had just picked, and flying a little ways off, his winged shoes fluttering, waiting with a mischievous grin to steal the next flower.  All too soon, her laughter alerted her mother. . .

    Apollo had met with little more success.  He had come to her just after sunset, while she and her mother slept.  She had awakened to a beautiful melody as he sang and strummed his lyre.
    Apollo was by far the most handsome god to seek her hand.  Persephone nearly swooned remembering his golden hair and brilliant eyes.

    In a self-emanated, soft light, he had serenaded her with ballads as she blushed.  He whispered several verses of poetry addressing her beauty and how glorious life would be as his wife.  He said that he would carry her away in his chariot of golden light, and the sun itself would not shine as brilliantly as he and his bride.

    He had taken her by the hand, and began to lead her away.  She had been all too willing to follow.  Just before they reached his chariot, one of Apollo’s impatient, fire-breathing horses stomped, and snorted, a blinding stream of fire shooting from its nose.  Of course, Demeter had awakened, and chased the radiant god away.

    The fair-haired, violet garlanded daughter of Demeter stared in wonder at her latest gift.  Hephaestus had presented her with a mechanical bronze horse that fit in the palm of her hand.  The horse strutted around atop her hand, and blew gentle kisses of steam as it whinnied at her.

    Only moments ago, the crippled blacksmith god had appeared, bowed, clumsily taken her hand, and stuttered his offer.  His meaty hand was hot and grimy.

    Persephone had met him only very few times before, yet her initial impressions of him seemed correct.  While he was down-right ugly; a fact that none could dispute, he had a quiet and gentle manner that pleased her.  He had been thoughtful enough to discover her little-known love for horses (her uncle, Poseidon’s creations).

    Hephaestus had wisely chosen to present his marriage proposal when her mother was away, but did not linger long enough to risk her return.  She was grateful for this, as incidents with prior suitors and her mother were far from pleasant.

    The shy fire god had tunelessly muttered a few virtues of becoming his bride, and how he admired her.  Feeling pity for the awkward god, she smiled sweetly, graciously thanked him for his gift and compliments, and said that she would consider his offer.
    He had retreated quickly thereafter, offering neither kiss nor bow nor handshake in his haste.
    Lost in thought, Persephone startlingly realized that the bronze horse had begun to nibble on one of the violets of her garland.

    How charming!  She thought, and pulled another off to feed it.

    She soon heard her mother approaching, and sought a suitable hiding place for the horse.  She was not sure what her answer to Hephaestus might be, she too did not wish to anger her mother, nor lose this gift.

    Persephone hid her gift, the only she had so far managed to retain after her suitor had left her side, just as her mother arrived.

    “Hello, my dearest,” her mother smiled warmly.

    “Mother!”  They embraced.

    “Oh how I’ve missed my dearest, my sweet daughter!  How did you fare whilst I was away?”

    “Splendidly, Mother.  I had the most interesting conversation with a dryad. . .” she started.

    Demeter’s eyes blinked in confusion, and Persephone followed their gaze.  Behind her, the bush that she had hidden the horse beneath had caught fire.

    “What is this?” he mother exclaimed as she picked up the small horse.  Her eyes suddenly flashed in anger.  “Where is he?”

    She stomped about searching.

    That stupid god!  Persephone thought.  Perhaps I should have guessed, since he is the god of fire, but he could have at least told me that the horse breathed fire!

    “Hephaestus has already left, Mother.”  I said sullenly.

    She rushed back and gripped my shoulders tightly.  “Have you made him any promises?  Given him any vow?” she nearly screamed.

    “No, Mother. . .”

    More coming soon! Read more about my projects here.

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      Arabesque Chapter 11.1

      1/18/2017 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

      I will be sharing parts of my writing every week (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) as I write them (with the exception of some parts of Arabesque, which were written previously), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are a first drafts.

      About the book

      Tatania is tired of living in her sister's shadow but doesn't know about Princess Anna's dark secret. Bound by a sacred oath, Anna's struggles to live a double life that can never be her own. 
      Described as "Sense and Sensibility meets Ever After with ninjas," Arabesque is full of action, romance, intrigue, and betrayal.

      Since I've always been super paranoid, Arabesque was officially copyrighted in 2009. Duplication or use of this work in any other form is prohibited by law.

      Chapter 11.1


      The king had required Tatania and I to attend nearly all of the Council meetings upon our return to Acacia City, after which we were usually summoned to the king's study to discuss the various intricacies of the Council of Magistrates. Tatania, as usual, did not seem to enjoy instruction in the field of politics; in fact, she nearly began to doze off.

      "Tatania!" the king scolded.

      She blinked her eyes sheepishly. "Yes, Father?"

      He shook his head and threw his hands into the air. "I see you are as enthralled by this topic as ever you were. Go on, get to bed."

      She danced over to him, smiled impishly, and kissed his forehead. He hugged her, then waved her off. "Bah! Away with you!... But do not forget that you will be expected to fulfill your duties tomorrow. Our guests expect a gracious hostess."

      Her prancing stopped and she winced.

      "I also expect you to be a gracious hostess," he added almost sternly. "Remember what you have been taught by Lady Elena."

      The king moved adjacent to the door Tatania had exited so despondently. General Ashenhurst and his son, Henry, came inside the room.

      The general and son had matching sandy blonde, curly hair and dark brown eyes. How long had it been since father towered over son? I had not noticed that Henry was, by several inches, the taller of the two.

      They bowed first to the king, then to myself, then were seated.

      It may have been weariness, the travels of the prior days had been exhausting, or the tedious strain of politics, but Henry gazed at me, in my formal finery, quite curiously. I say curiously but it was not a look of curiosity, rather his extended attention in such a setting as this was strange to me. His eyes studied me quite intently until the others' voices drew him away.

      The king and the general both expressed their relief and happiness that we had returned safely to the capital. Then they proceeded to relate events that had occurred in our absence.

      Most of these events appeared to be of small consequence, such knowledge was necessary to understand complexities of politics in Acacia City.

      The Lady Thayne had apparently had dealings with Lord Willard. Sir Doyle and Lord Standish were as thick as ever they were. Lady Nedra's allegiances were currently unknown, but she may have been in agreement with Lord Chester's extremely vocal opinions. I had gleaned much from the long council meeting.

      "The political climate feels normal, but an unconfirmed report from one of our agents was particularly concerning," General Ashenhurst frowned. "One of his informants admitted to hearing rumor of a plot to incite unrest and chaos in the kingdom. If this report is to be believed, it may be that we have a faction inside Acacia City itself bent on overthrowing the government."

      The king turned to me, uncharacteristically wringing his hands. "That is why I was so relieved when you and Tatania arrived. The safest place for the heir to the throne is here, in the castle."

      He turned to the general and his son, and in a tone I'd rarely heard, nearly shouted, "She must be protected!"

      He paused for a moment, calming himself. "Your communiques from Lichthaven were indeed a relief when we first heard of this faction. Were there any events or intelligence of an unusual nature that you were unable to relay when we met less privately last night?"

      "No, you majesty; all was truly as quiet as I have reported." Henry replied looking mildly shocked. "Is there any immediate danger to the princess?"

      "We do not believe so, but caution is always prudent, " said his father. "This may all be revealed as folly, however His Majesty feels that...." He looked at the king, who looked again at Henry.

      "How is her training progressing?" he asked abruptly.

      "Very well, your majesty; Princess Anna is naturally talented and very skilled...." Henry broke off and glanced at me almost guiltily.
      "What is it, boy? Out with it! The safety of the kingdom is at stake! This is no time to spare feelings! Are her skills adequate?" The king demanded.

      My face felt hot and I held back the tears that threatened to come. Of course my training was not complete, it could never be enough...because I was not enough.

      Henry's fists clenched, but he said calmly, "No, your majesty. She is very proficient in skill and technique, able to best me with almost any weapon, in any situation, but she lacks practical experience. I have not any solution for it that would maintain the secrecy that you require. She would either need to face scored of sparring partners or the heat of battle to gain what she needs."

      We all remained silent as the problem plagued our minds.

      I did, however, feel some relief. Henry had not judged me to be as incompetent as I felt. Was I truly as proficient as he claimed or was it a merciful attempt to spare me? I knew that he was compassionate enough to risk it, but as far as I knew, he was always honest.

      After several minutes of heavy silence, Henry spoke. "There is one possibility, though I hesitate to mention it."

      "Out with it, boy!" The king said irritably, then sighed. "Forgive my rudeness. My family and kingdom's safety weighs heavily on my mind, but that is no excuse for being impolite. Henry, you and your family have served the crown faithfully and most competently. I would greatly value ideas you may have."

      "Your majesty, do you plan for me to continue as I did at Lichthaven Park?"

      The king nodded.

      "Does his majesty also mean for me to continue gathering intelligence in Acacia City and the palace as well?" Henry asked.

      General Ashenhurst burst in, "What do you?... No! I'll not have it! We'll not risk her safety in this manner!"

      The king paled slightly, then folded his arms, sitting a bit straighter. "Yes, I do. Our operatives are stretched to their limit. We need more reliable eyes and ears. Hmm... I understand your meaning, but is she truly ready for such an undertaking? Very well, however, Anna's safety must be your priority."

      Belatedly, the king turned to me. "Anna, do you understand what is being asked of you?"

      My palms sweated and I tried not to shake. "Yes, your majesty."

      He took my hand. "Are you sure, my dear? I'll not ask this of you if you have any doubts."

      "Yes, your highness, I am sure." Each word sounded as a hammer to my temple. What had I agreed to?

      My feet shifted, my eyes flit about. I pulled my hooded cloak closer. The rough, thread-bare cloth was foreign to my pampered skin.

      I was to rendezvous with Henry just outside the palace wall, just after dusk, at the beginning of true night. I willed myself to stillness. Henry would come, and I was hardly in any danger so near the castle.

      A muted footstep stirred the pebbles behind me. I swung my stave into a defensive stance and faced the shadowed figure.

      "Easy, your highness, it's just me." Henry held up his hands, palms out.

      I breathed deeply and tried to relax. "Henry," I nodded.

      "Forgive me, Princess, I did not mean to startle you." His shadowed face became clearer as he moved closer, it was lined with concern.

      "I was simply being cautious," I said stiffly.

      "Your highness, if you feel uncomfortable with this assignment...if you have any hesitations at all..."

      I squared my shoulders. "Not at all, let us proceed."

      In the waning light, it was not difficult to travel unnoticed to our destination. We entered the Raleran district, the former center of Acacia City. This area had once been known for beautiful gardens and lavish estates. Drought and famine several years before my birth had dried the wells, and the Raleran was abandoned to rot.

      We entered what must once have been a cathedral, but through age and neglect, it was hardly recognizable as such. Henry informed me that if ever we were separated, that I was to return here and he would find me.

      He led me through the dusty chapel to a small room. Neatly stacked crates lined the wall beside a large barrel. "Supplies," he explained. "Water, bandages, salves, clothing, food...There has been more than one time that a place like this has saved my life. I hope we're being a bit over prepared, but I'll take no chances with your life."

      We entered a courtyard surrounded on all sides by the church, a perfect and private place to spar. I caught a grin creep onto my face. I might enjoy this freedom. The church was larger and much nicer than any location we'd trained in before, and while it was in the heart of the city, its size made it vastly more secluded. Perhaps this would be one place where I could try to be myself and begin to create my own happiness.

      I turned to speak to Henry, not realizing he was close behind me. I crashed into him with a thud and would have fallen if He hadn't grasped my shoulders, steadying me.

      "Have a care, princess. Would you have me fail before the task is even started?"

      "Oh! Please forgive my clumsiness. I am not at all myself at the moment."

      "Not at all," he said, his strong hands still held me firmly. "Of late, I've been out of sorts as well, but only when I am with you, it seems. Indeed, I hardly know what to do. Most of the time, I'm afraid I'll trip over my own bootlaces or tangle my sword in my cloak..." He trailed off with a laugh, his eyes searched mine.

      What could I tell him? My heart pounded wildly, yet I felt at home in his arms. Besides Tatania, Henry was my dearest friend. In many ways, he knew me better than she did. I felt my heart long for him, but I knew it was not to be freely given. The crown princess was not free to do as she wished. Her heart was subject to the whims of the state. Duty demanded that I remained aloof and separate until my future was decided for me.

      His warm hand brushed my cheek. My eyes closed. It was a quiet, yet feverish warmth that threatened to consume me. The deep breath that I took was not calming in the way I had hoped. I had inhaled his scent, the aroma of horses, well-oiled leather, and liniment. It was intoxicating. I fought for coherence.

      "Henry," I begged, moving back slightly. "My obligations...I cannot..." I muttered helplessly.

      In truth, a single word, one more soft touch, and I would be lost beyond redemption. I yearned for it and pleaded for release from it concurrently.

      His hands dropped to his side and he stepped back as if he'd been struck. "I understand, your highness," he said standing stiffly. "I apologize for my misconduct. It was terribly inappropriate, and not my place to behave in such a manner... I don't know how such a ridiculous notion entered my head. A soldier and a princess... You're right, you deserve better."

      "Henry," I started, shocked at his misinterpretation. "My I have no choice...It's not...I am bound..." I stuttered, fumbling as I sought to explain.

      "I understand, you highness. I will respect your station and your wishes. You will never hear another word of this." He said with a shocking tone of finality.

      I sat on a splintering bench, attempting to settle myself. I tried to lock my heart as tightly as he had just closed the subject. Henry was right. It was time for duty, not self-indulgence.

      More coming soon! Read Chapter 11.2 here or more about my projects here.
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        Family Movie Night: Captain America

        1/17/2017 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

        We're trying to do more family activities lately and we were really excited for this one. 

        Grandpa Den smiling at a funny part of Captain America
        Grandpa Den grew up with Captain America but hadn't seen the Captain America: The First Avenger movie. We've been wanting to watch it with him since we moved here in August (to "Save Our Dad", read more about that here) but some of our favorite movies haven't turned up yet since the move. Thankfully, Solano County Library had it available for us to check out, so our movie night finally happened!

        Par of our Captain America movie snack spread
        We had one rule for the movie snacks we could pick: it had to be either red, white, or blue (in honor of Captain America). So, being the random people we are, we ended up with Poptarts, Powerade, Gatorade, Airheads, blue Twizzlers, Redvines (wouldn't be a movie night without Redvines), and cake cookies. Since life is so crazy, we tried to have fun but keep it doable, which meant store-bought frosting, and the fastest, easiest cookies that we could do (which meant so easy the kids made them themselves).
        My pathetic attempt at Captain America cookies
        We were going for red, white, and blue, cookies, and for some reason this family has a massive cake mix collection in the pantry (seriously, takes up a whole cupboard!), so we did cake cookies: white cake cookies, red velvet cake cookies (which got burned), and blue velvet cake cookies.
        The kids' decorated cookies: Thor's hammer, hydra symbol, Captain America's shields, and a 
        We decorated with blue and red frosting. 
        More of my attempts at cookie decorating: An Avengers logo, hydra symbol, Captain America shield, and random design because I couldn't think of anything else
        I told my oldest to sit back so we could get his brother in the picture, so this is him trying to act natural for the picture... The oldest two kids spent most of the time we watched Captain America decorating cookies (they've seen most of the Avengers movies several times), but our youngest couldn't get his nose out of his book (it's my book, actually, but he's read it more than I have).
        Grandpa, sucked into the world of the Avengers like the rest of us :)
        And the verdict? Grandpa Den really enjoyed Captain America! He's already seen Iron Man, so Thor (my personal favorite) is next on our list of Avengers movies to show him.

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          inexpensive geek gifts,

          Art and Tips from a Perler Mini Bead Master

          1/02/2017 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

          Finished perler mini bead art: Seaside cafe
          It all started a year ago, when Patricia Padilla del Rio's daughter started a little business, selling a local brand of mini perler beads out of her their garage in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico.
          Patricia creating her first perler mini bead art piece
          Soon, mini perler bead art became an escape for fifty-five year old Patricia, who was dealing with the death of her mother.
          Finished perler mini bead art: Woman with fan and parasol
          "I take this hobby as occupational therapy," Patricia says. "It started with a small design and it became a passion of creating masterpieces."
          Finished perler mini bead art: Girl with dog eating ice cream
          Her passion has become a very intricate form of art. Patricia prefers to work with mini perler beads, which are half the size of the popular perler midi beads, because they allow her to create more complex patterns on a smaller scale.
          Finished perler mini bead art: Peacock
          She chooses designs according to her mood and gets most of her designs from cross stitch patterns that she finds on Pinterest and Google, then converting them to bead art.
          Finished perler mini bead art: Country cottage scene with geese, blossoms, and water wheel
          Patricia Padilla del Rio with customers in her shop 
          "The largest pieces are done in 1 week. Dedicating approximately 3 hours a day," says Patricia.  Patricia and her daughter, also named Patricia, now sell a local brand of perler mini beads and mini perler bead artwork at their shop in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico and online via their Facebook page: Perler Beads Culiacan.
          Perler Mini Beads in Patricia's shop, which includes 70 different colors!

          Perler Mini Bead Tips from a Mini Bead Master

          Perler Mini Bead Tip 1

          • Use a towel or paper towel under the loose perler mini beads to keep them from rolling away.
          Perler Mini Bead Tip 2
          • Try using a large sewing needle instead of tweezers for perler mini beads. "The secret is to use a sewing needle," says Patricia. "Insert several beads in it and fill out the pegboards."
          • Put several perler mini beads on the needle at once and add them to the pegboard directly from the needle. This saves a lot of time and energy as opposed to picking up and placing each perler mini bead individually.
          Patricia Padilla del Rio gives us a look at her perler mini bead art creation process with these intricate pieces:
          Creation process for perler mini bead art: Flower basket with fruit 
          Finished and framed perler mini bead art: Flower basket with fruit
          Creation process for perler mini bead art: Tabby cat
          Creation process for perler mini bead art: Santa Claus
          Patricia with her framed perler mini bead art pieces: Tabby cat and Santa Claus

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