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Introducing my common garden snail pets aka Helix Aspersa.

Snails at home on spinach

I'm thrilled to death to have these snails and have set up a temporary home for them. Their new home should be here next week.

These adult snails are larger than a quarter and can live up to 5 years, however, one snail seems weak and isn't expected to make it. This will leave me with just one, but I'm okay with that. These snails can impregnate themselves which means I won't have one snail for long.

In the photograph the snails are eating baby spinach and salad greens. There's a tiny bit of apple as well as high calcium food for their shells. Unfortunately, the person who bred these snails didn't do a great job of it because the shells of these snails are in terrible shape. Despite the condition of the shell, one of them seems strong and active. As a matter of fact, I caught 'her' attached to the glass with her foot in the shape of a heart.

I heart you snail

Then she did it again.

I heart you snail 1

This led me to wonder what name I could give her that meant love? I came up with Amoretta which is Latin for "little love." There's one more much smaller land snail in there of unknown specification who goes by the name Michelle. I don't remember how she got that name but she got it before she became our Michelle's pet.

Michelle land snail Sundrip

If you know what type of snail Michelle and her two babies are, please feel free to leave a comment.

Whites Tree Frog baby, 8 or 9 months old

Though frogs and snails share an environment, I won't put these snails in my frog terrarium.  I believe a separate, closed ecosystem is best for them both.

The snails came through the mail from Greece, which I recently learned may have needed to be held by Customs. I didn't realize this. I now know better for the next time I purchase snails.

Even though the Helix Aspersa can be found in the United States, these specific ones are not from here so I will take care not to introduce them into the environment.

So they're here now and we intend to thoroughly enjoy them. I can tell you that my 12 year old is absolutely thrilled.

I wondered how long its been that I've had an interest in snails. It would appear it all started with a Japanese Trapdoor snail I got for free to put in my goldfish tank. This was 15 years ago and several aquatic snails later I'm still in love with them. Michelle the snail is one of my first land snails, so this is newer snail territory for me, but I will enjoy further learning about this wonderful creation.

Lastly, here's an update shot of Isaiah the Dragonscale Betta with the marbling gene that is causing him to change colors. The photos are from November 8th to December 8th, 2018.

You know, one of the good things about photographs is you can see things you missed with the naked eye. I didn't know Isaiah had a problem with his fins. Poor guy had fin rot which is being addressed. I don't know if this was in progress when I got him or what, however, it's being taken care of now and looks so much better.

Isaiah the dragon Betta fish sundrip-down3

Faith

3

Not Strong Enough fma

Today is one of those days where I feel the weight of what happened in the hospital. I feel shocked, stunned, grieved. I can only describe it as a train wreck where I can still hear the sound of metal crumbling around me. What I feel today must be what I was feeling when I drew and painted in this image with the caption: There's more to do. I'm not strong enough.

We went over the image in therapy and talked about the butterflies included and how they symbolize transformation. Also significant is the green under the eyes which I used to stand for goals of growth and keeping focused on them. Despite that focus there's dissociation (figures in the tree) to fight as well as feelings of trauma and grief symbolized by the hanging figure between the eyes. Hanging on is my main focus. It's what's between my eyes. No matter what, just hang on. That's what I think the girl in the middle is doing. 

I look at the color of the dress of the girl hanging on and realize it 'should be' a shade of red, however, it is orange paint that drips into red. In my art therapy pieces, orange symbolizes ambiguity, mixed emotions, indecision. Then of course there's the spiral in the throat. I started that about a year ago when it became very difficult for me to verbalize my feelings. As if through a hole in my neck, the words escaped me.

Recently I've felt like an idiot trying to talk, so I just didn't. I didn't email or write on this blog for a number of days (never a good thing for me). I just got quiet. Today I feel better equipped to put two words together but I also feel worn thin by it all. 

Tomorrow is another much needed therapy session. Like every Monday, it's over the phone. However, I'll be going in to his office every other Friday to see him. In the Friday sessions, Michelle will get dedicated time where she'll talk about her own art and issues. The goal is for her to do some healing, too.

Faith

In the hospital I felt guilty for putting my friends through worry for me. I felt bad that they worried for five long months, especially around surgeries. When things would get harry I felt horrible for putting people through tears and worry.

In this art piece that expresses the guilt, I put hanging people on the shoulders of a figure standing behind a smaller faceless figure. Both figures have an amputated foot with darkened skin around the amputation site. The figure with the sunflower crown is holding a star in her left hand. 

Guilt fma

In the hospital I worried that the doctors would realize that they were putting forth a lot of effort for a nobody, and when they found out they'd stop caring for me. This piece expresses the issue of low self worth. 

The painting shows a split face which is typical in my art anymore. It shows two faceless figures and a large sunflower at the bottom. Also of note is the yellow hair and orange face of the faceless figure with spike hair. Again, yellow symbolizes disgusting things and there were plenty of gross things in the hospital. For her hair to be yellow is very significant for me. 

Nobody fma

Both works were created after the amputation and are in watercolor and ink. 

The painting above, where I express myself as No One is interesting to me since I had an alter named No One who always painted herself as faceless. That alter changed her name to Jordan and is interestingly enough, the main personality in the group. She is in affect, my face. 

The No One painting is also the inspiration for art where there are two faces as opposed to just a split face. I've been doing that in art therapy a lot lately. Dr. D and I talked about that last Friday. 

Faith

1

Finding artwork created by alter personalities used to happen quite a bit. I thought it was strictly a thing of the past but I guess I was wrong. It would seem that I still find art I don't know a thing about. I was quite shocked to see the piece called My Sister in the middle of the entry Half of Us and All.  That piece is by Michelle and I have no recollection of it. I was relieved to see it though because I thought the only thing I am no capable of is abstract images in black and white. I thought I was all arted out or something. So when I saw her drawing and several of Robert's drawings, I was quite pleased that we've still got some art images in us to put on paper. I'm not going to press it though. If all I can do is put ink on paper from corner to corner like in this entry then so be it. If other times I paint or draw something more 'substantial' then that's fine, too.

black white african fma Sundrip

Dr. D and I talked about my creative goals for next year. My goal is simple which means its going to be difficult. My goal is to have some fun, just let it be. That's what I intend to do. I'm not going to force myself to create anything. I'm not going to nag myself or get down on myself. I create what I create. I paint what I paint. 

I am also in a newer financial situation. For the first time in about ten years its not imperative that I sell art each month. My rent is affordable now.

Though I no longer get government assistance with food, I am at least able to budget the same amount I used to get so that my food purchases don't need to change just because the money source did. Well, I shouldn't say I don't get foodstamps any longer. I get $15.00 each month for food from the government. I look at that number and just laugh. How did they come to that amount? I knew with rent so low I'd lose quite a few foodstamps but $15 is insulting. Even so, things are much easier now, financially speaking. Things got bad for a minute there. 

Dr. D wanted to know if the subject matter of my art will change with stresses lower and with my goal of fun in mind. No. I doubt it. My art changes when something emotional happens in my life. The subject of my art changes when an alter paints instead of me or that alter is in therapy. Michelle (age 12) is taking some of the time for her stuff our in office sessions. Robert used to do that but hasn't since we got sick last time. He's sort of in a managerial position inside and is doing his very best to keep us all on the same page with things running smoothly. He's busy keeping us sane, taking meds and dealing with CNA stuff. I'm happy to see he's sketching and painting in the book. I'll scan that next week. For now I just have black and white ink work which is art worked on by several of us. I have no intention of adding color. 

This goal of creative fun is of interest to me because it comes at the tail end the honeymoon of my post hospitalization. I can tell I'm still very shocked and traumatized by what happened so it interests me that I would say I just want to have some fun. I don't want to worry about producing something worthy of showing on the blog. I want the weight of my own criticism and expectations to no longer crush my creative process and enjoyment. I want to go with the flow more. I don't want to see this as my job. Yeah, it is my job. I paint and sell my artwork and dolls. This is my employment, but never should I burden myself or load myself with unreachable expectations. So, lets see what stress I can throw off in 2019. Lets see if I can allow myself to have some creative fun. 

Because my plate is full and I'm a bit overwhelmed with life, I've only set the one creative goal for 2019. I usually do three but not for the coming year. 

Jordan

5

Half of Us

In therapy we talked about the unfinished image "Both of Us", drawn by Robert over a two day period. We spent a lot of time on it because it drew us into a discussion about being co-conscious and more integrated.  My emotions are more integrated and more identifiable.

I showed him 4 drawings total. Three of the drawings were done by Robert. When Robert draws himself in work, it is important to him for Dr. D to see the image of Robert. He doesn't want to be overlooked or looked through. To be ignored and overlooked is painful for anyone. 

We talked about the colors and why I use certain colors. We talked about how different it is that Robert used yellow on the face in his drawing. We don't do yellow at all. Hate yellow. Of course he asked why and I just told him. My mother's mattress had yellow flowers on it. There were too many times I had my face buried in that yellow and that's all I could see. I hate that color to touch me now. I use it in art to mean negative things. For it to touch his face tells me there's some sort of guilt or maybe flashbacks that he is dealing with. Yellow in art is explained on my art therapy page. It's also interesting that the pants worn by the girl in the upper left corner is wearing yellow pants. This just doesn't happen, not even in art. 

My Sister by Michelle

The image to the side was drawn by Michelle in pencil. Dr. D noted that the people are in typical fashion from what I used to draw.  He says the people have a look of despair and trauma on their faces. It's funny, I don't set out to make my images look this way. I just start drawing what I feel. I think its the same for others inside. Everyone just draws what they feel. The painting or coloring in is according to our color chart that we've had for who knows how long. 

We discussed how it feels to have a 12 year old alter around who doesn't want to be called anything but her own name and doesn't want to be mistaken for Faith.

Dr. D called Michelle the last hold out, then laughed. Yeah. Everyone else is on board with knowing and understanding what it means to have DID. We know how we got here and why we have DID but this one kid ain't havin' it. She can't accept that she is not separate. She hasn't yet learned that what she does affects the rest of us and what we do affects her. We're a system..... We take care of each other.

She wants her own sketchbook but we won't let her do it. She draws and paints in the community book just like everyone else. 

There's guilt associated with 'causing' us to feel anxious whenever she's around. Her anxiety is always very, very high.  

Speaking of high, Dr. D and I discussed differences in artwork when I'm high. He asked if there's a difference in noise level in my head when I'm high. Yes. I can hear the alter personalities clearer so it feels louder at times with pot, but there's also a calm that covers us all. It works out well if I eat it. I had it in hot chocolate the other day. Turns out that homemade honey cake with weed is pretty good. That one was new for me.

Last but not least, Michelle got her snails in the mail today. How totally cool is that! All the way from Greece! She keeps saying, I would have been happy even if they'd been from across the street but no one had snails that they were selling locally.  I think it's totally cool that they're from Greece. It just sort of happened that way and I'm glad it did.

Jordan 

2

Most of the time people assume the change of color in a Betta is negative, but in this case it's a marbling gene that causes the fish to change colors. November 8th when I purchased Isaiah, he was primarily white. I posted a photo of him back then showing at much.

Nov 8th
Isaiah the dragon Betta fish

Here is Isaiah November 23rd with his changing genes. I think it's cool.
Isaiah Betta Fish Changing Colors

While a change in color of your Betta may be an indication of ill health, older age or water difficulties, sometimes it's simply genetics.
Isaiah Betta Fish Changing Colors 1

It's also noteworthy that when the fish is in the store it's a lot more stressed and not fed well and in a tiny bit of water. Once you bring home your Betta and give it proper care, the true colors will begin to shine.

Faith

3

Lentil is just a few months old but he's pretty aggressive when it comes to hunting. Today's photos were taken just as crickets were added to the terrarium home.

lentil on a rock

I'm able to tell the difference between the frogs by their markings. Lentil is the only frog so far with a spot on both arms in about the same spot.

lentil on moss

Other Lentil moments.

Faith

I've been finishing work in my books. I set a goal this year to finish work I started but there was an interruption that put me behind. I decided after I got out of the hospital to pick up where I left off with finishing work. Here is one of the key pieces I wanted to work on. It's a story line about my aunt's life and the affect she had on mine.

She Sings, from the journal entry called Wide.

Mouth Wide Open - She Sings

She Sings

fma

Girl Inside

Art by: Faith Magdalene Austin
Art Title: Girl Inside
Media: Watercolor and Acrylic on 98 lb paper
Style: Raw, African Americana, Folk Art, Black Art
Finish: Sealed, signed,

Here's a close up look at this very emotional piece of a girl with someone else inside.

SUNDRIP - Art for Life
www.sundrip.etsy.com

For a long time I thought to myself, I'm all out of art. I've got nothing creative left. I just scribble and block in the shapes with color. But after looking at these blocks of color I have to say, this is art, and I like it.

I started off drawing with a black gel pen then used watercolor. This particular piece was created to work with a new watercolor set of mine. I really liked how it turned out and love the watercolor set.

palette Paper fma d2

Below is a combination of Windsor Newton watercolors and a generic brand that I purchased. The generic brand has some colors that I really love that WN left out, so, I used both sets quite often.

palette Paper 3 fma

I still use my bed at times as an art studio but somehow I've managed not to get any paint on my bed. Lets hope I can keep up the cleanliness.

This is watercolor art in progress.

Faith

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