Family Update and More Blender Progress

Little Bear had a med clinic appointment yesterday. No med changes were made other than being told that I can go back to using Benadryl as a sleep aid for him. Which is what I did since without it he’s up until 2am or so.

I had recently gotten a call from the school reporting behavior best described as brittle affect. Little Bear’s frustration tolerance threshold had dropped to near nothing since last Thursday and they wanted to know if I had any idea as to why. I did. A head and chest cold is floating around the house (I’m stuck with it at the moment) and his sleep has gone out of whack.

The principal told me that the first day she let him take a nap in her office, not realizing this nap would be 3 hours long. Since then she hasn’t let him sleep at school because she knew it would mess his sleep up at night. So hurray for this new principal! And as of today, Little Bear is back on his normal sleep schedule. Last year I would still be struggling to get him back – sometimes a month or more. I’m thrilled that we have a teacher and principal that are on the same page as the care plan team.

They even send home with him a daily behavior report. He earns a sticker from them for every smiley face he earns. We haven’t seen a day with all smileys yet, but I have a feeling that those days will come. He’s not coming home off the bus angry like he did the previous years and we haven’t had anywhere near as many days where he fights me about getting ready to go to school. I seldom hear, “I hate school,” which used to be a near constant mantra of his.

Tuxedo Cat is still going to piano practice. Yesterday my dad took him over and he got to watch the teacher show off Tuxedo Cat’s perfect pitch. He had him cover his eyes as he played on the xylophone and then had him play it back to him. Dad says he got it right every time up until the note sequence got longer than he could recall in a single shot. So Dad said we needed to set up a place for him to practice where Little Bear won’t be able to stir up trouble – which is a bone of contention between these two boys.

I can’t help but wonder if it would be a good idea – and safe – to let Little Bear learn the drums. Pretty sure the kiddo has mentioned it more than once. Maybe then he wouldn’t feel the need to be disruptive for attention/jealousy/whatever reason he has for doing what he does to his brother. My concern is will he wreck the drum set if I buy him one and will he use any of it as a weapon if he gets angry?

I’d like to buy Scholar Owl a better guitar for him to learn with, but he hasn’t even touched the one I bought him a year or so ago. He doesn’t seem inclined to learn it independently, so it’s probably something that requires a tutor. I’ll need to talk to him about it since I know the guy teaching Tuxedo Cat also plays the guitar. If I am paying him for lessons once a week with one kiddo, I don’t see any reason why I can’t for two as long as I can afford it.

I guess what I worry about here is Scholar Owl feeling put out by me paying for lessons for his brother and not him. When Scholar Owl expressed interest, I had no idea who or where to go for that at the time. Now I know at least one person to ask. And if for some reason this guy can’t do it, I’m pretty confident he’ll know of other people to ask. This is of course assuming Scholar Owl is still interested in learning to play the guitar. I’m all to familiar with the Bipolar tendency to flop around with current obsessions – or at least that’s how it works for me. Maybe it’s not a Bipolar thing and just a me thing?

The first quarter ends next week and for homeschooling, we started out slow. Partly because the books came in late and partly because we are using a different system with the lesson plan. The idea is each week I give him a folder with the week’s lessons and assignments listed and it’s all due at the end of the week. He gets to decide each day what he works on when and for how long. I’m hoping that this system will be a good balance between structure and independent learning for him.

So far I haven’t caught him sleeping in his books and he’s been doing well in deciding for himself when he needs a break to move around. During these breaks he’ll do things like take out the trash or check the mail since it gets him outside in the fresh air and sunshine. The only thing he’s having trouble with is getting used to the idea that he has fixed due dates for everything, but I want him to understand that in the adult world deadlines are important. Whether it’s bills or a job, those deadlines are everything and have to be met on time.

And yes, I acknowledge that I’m not a stellar example of this at all. So I’m hoping that this coming quarter that the two of us will find a rhythm and both of us will start meeting those deadlines on time. Me at the beginning of the week with his folders and him at the end of the week with completed assignments.

Tuxedo Cat and Little Bear are doing well in public school. Tuxedo Cat is thriving like he always does in a highly structured environment and Little Bear is starting to show small gains with reading while excelling in math. As much as Little Bear rails against it, I think the highly structured environment is good for him.

As you can see, there is very little for me to worry or fuss over this year compared to previous years. I suppose this is somewhat how “empty nest syndrome” must feel like. I assume that the actual empty nest effect is on bigger scale than this, but I have been feeling at a loss as to what to do with myself. This is why I’ve sunk myself into learning Blender and 3D animation with the MMD and MMM programs.

I still see myself as a writer and in the grand scheme of things what I’d like to do is start writing stuff to make videos with. I’m debating on whether or not to participate in NaNoWriMo this year where I’m in the middle of the learning process with Blender. It may be a good thing to have a bunch of stuff written ahead of time to use for practice videos. Then again, it may be too much stuff all at once. I guess it’s going to have to be a “play it by ear” sort of thing this year.

I still haven’t gotten the blood work done so I still don’t have a refill on my meds. And judging how last year’s NaNoWriMo pushed me pretty high on the hypomanic scale while on meds, I’m feeling very cautious about it this year. A part of me says I shouldn’t risk it, but another part of me says it would be good practice in managing symptoms. Medication isn’t a magic bullet after all and the real bulk of self care is in the behavioral management. It’s not like I live alone or don’t have medically trained family members.

But is it wise to experiment and push my limits in this way? Is this something I’m trying to hold myself back on, or do I have a legitimate concern here? A part of me says I should just do it so I can find out where my limits are. How hard can I push myself and under what conditions? I mean, I’ve risen to the occasion when it comes to my boys, so why can’t I do the same for myself? There is even less going on this time around than last year. I’m not in the middle of moving for example and the boys are doing well. No one is in an active crisis. Logically, I’m in a better position to participate than I was last year.

Maybe it’s because I feel like I don’t have much of anything to write about at the moment rather than worry that it won’t go well? Well, I still have time to mull over it. Not much time left, but some time still. If I do participate, then I’ll likely be “pantsing” it the entire way. Which reminds me that I haven’t been posting the weekly Chaos Pen Challenge over on my sister’s blog, the Writing Hallow, like I used to.

Seriously, I’m starting to regret spreading my posts out across multiple blogs. I knew Experiment #5 was for NaNoWriMo only when I created it, but then to add my Chaos Pen blog and the Writing Hallow feels like a lot to keep track of. The amount of writing involved hasn’t changed – if anything, I admit it’s declined over the last few months. It’s just now I have multiple locations to track responses, etc. A part of me feels like it would have been better to keep everything here.

Well this turned out to be quite longer than I expected. I really did feel like there wasn’t much to say in the way of family stuff when I sat down to write. Especially given how I wanted to include an update on the progress I’ve made with Blender as well.

Seeming how the skirt at the moment has limited poses available to it, I decide to create a pair of capris for the base model.

Capris

I don’t think they turned out bad, but I do agree with Scholar Owl that the zoomed in image of denim as a texture for it is the wrong choice. The grain of the fabric is too big for the model.

Shoes

So I pushed forward and made a pair of shoes, which took me a few attempts, and watching a YouTube video, to realize that I was starting off with the wrong approach. My brain wanted to start with a circle plane, but the tutorial showed how much easier it is to start with a square plane. Once I switched gears, the shoes were easier to shape around the foot.

Capris-in-need-of-coat

After the shoes were made, I went to Pixabay once more to find a more suitable image to texture map the capris onto. I think this is a better and more understated choice, but looking at this now makes me feel like a long coat is missing. I have no idea where to begin with that, so I’ve decided to try my hand at making custom hair.

HairWIP

It’s still in the works, so this is all I have for now. I’m expecting that my hair will jump the polygon count in the model. Hopefully the model will still work in MMM when I’m finished with it.

Apparently the pmx file format doesn’t have a limit on the total vertex amount. Or at least, this professional modeler stated in his panel video that he has never hit it so if there is one, he doesn’t know what it is. His models are really nice and the ones that are available for public download can be found on DeviantArt.

None of his models are available for commercial use without a contract. I think with one exception all of his downloadable models have been commissioned by companies who have been gracious enough to permit public use. Please keep this in mind if you decide to use any of these models. Honestly I haven’t downloaded any of Digitrevx’s models. They are incredibly nice, but I fear that I wouldn’t do them justice. They all feel like they have been made with a specific purpose in mind when I look at them.

I think this might be the reason I started assembling models for my own use from the beginning. Yes… they are “digital dolls” but each one has a personality and I’m reluctant to get it wrong. I’d rather create one of my own with a personality I am familiar with to use in my videos or select models that I feel I have a good understanding of who they are supposed to be.

For instance, I do have a model of JackSepticEye and his mascot, Septic Sam, in my files. Why? Aside from the fact that I have a Halloween themed video for these two floating around in my head, I follow this young gamer on YouTube. I call him young only because he’s younger than me, not because I perceive him as a child. He has a high energy personality and some of the games he’s played I wouldn’t mind having in my library. I think I’ve watched him enough that I can attempt to convey at least some of his personality in a video. The song I want to do is “Purple People Eater” and I can’t imagine any other pair of models fitting the song.

Maybe today I should focus on finishing at least one of the videos I’ve started making.

 

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