Getting My hands Dirty With Prosthetics

So you decide to write a blog and update it every 2 weeks, its going well at the beginning, even when things start to pile up and you get stressed, you stay committed and determined to get your blog out every 2 weeks because its fun and in a way even though it seems like a huge task its also very enjoyable…*deep breath*…and then some how life builds up on you so much that you are now 2 months behind schedule and the simple task has become this daunting thing that sits in the back of your mind at every turn reminding you you have not only ALL your other work to do but you have your blog! and photo shoots! and exams! and and and…some times you just have to tell your self “I’m doing this today, right now, even though I cant possibly finish it” then to your supersize your actually accomplishing the task and you think back and cant really recall why you didn’t do it sooner…

So its the beginning of September and we started our second last course at CMU, Prosthetics. This course is all about fabricating things that help visually create your character or help tell the story. So maybe your character gets beat up and you need some cuts, or you need some bullet hole wounds, maybe your character is an ogre and you need to totally redesign their face, well this is the place to be!

The very first thing we got to work on was a plate mould. You make the first half, which is essentially a chunk of cement with a flat surface, then you sculpt your design in clay on top. Then you pour more cement over top the whole thing, so the second half has a negative impression of your sculpt. After cleaning both sides you can pour gelatin in, lock the two sides together and voila you have a beautiful and inexpensive mould.

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For the remainder of the first week we were life casting our entire class. You start by putting alginate over the entire area, in this case we only life cast the face. Next you use plaster bandages over top, once those are dry you immediately take it off the person and start filling it with cement. The end result is an exact copy of the persons face.

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We also got to make some texture stamps from silicone.

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Over the long weekend I took some time to relax and explore the city.

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After getting my life cast it was time to start sculpting. I chose to do a demon type creature, inspiration from Diablo my favorite video game of all time….

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As you can see this was a lengthy process, once we finished sculpting it was time to make a cement mould of the sculpture so back to the lab we went!

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There was a lot of cleaning involved and it would be awhile before we saw the finished results…

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Here are some class mates and my instructor hard at work!

During the last weekend of September a friend and I went to see my first drag queen!! Of course we started with only the best, Bianca Del RIo!!

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She was in Toronto on tour with her ‘Roladex of Hate’ comedy routine, it was amazing! Then it was IMATS weekend!! IMATS is the International Makeup Artist Tradeshow, there are makeup demonstrations all day that range between beauty and creature makeups, there are hundreds of vendors and tons of discounts…so you can imagine I did a lot of shopping!

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This brings us to crunch time, we had about two weeks left to run foam latex in our moulds, prepare for the photo shoot, and plan our bonus photo shoots. This was the exact moment when I put every thing else in my life on hold…I decided for my bonus photo shoot I wanted to make a fallen angel…which would require me to sculpt some wounds and mould them and cast them but I had a lot of down time while the foam latex set up.

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My first foam latex run! And it didn’t turn out too bad!

Back then I didn’t realize how much extra work I was taking on. It seemed each time I had almost finished, one of my instructors would give some advice to make it better…but would set me back a little, then it set me back a lot…with a lot of hard work and extra hours I did manage to finish (the day before the photo shoot, lol). I am more than happy how it turned out and in some strange little way makes all that effort, sweat, stress, tears, and sleep deprivation all worth it.

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This was what I was trying to go for…

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And this was my journey until completion!

Nothing about the final two weeks was easy, but I managed to get it all done, and this was the results!

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My test paint ^

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Finished product ^

I almost forgot, some where in between every thing we also had to do a flat mould, similar to the plate mould, we had to sculpt different wounds and things, then make a mould. The idea is to make bondo transfers with this mould, you can find these at Halloween stores for sale, kind of like a temporary tattoo you peel the backing off and stick it down where ever you want. Stay tuned for the finished result of those…my class was a little behind schedule, we managed to get them moulded but not cast. Ive been meaning to find time to finish those…

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After all that I was rewarded with a trip home for the Thanksgiving weekend!! If i wasn’t so busy I would have noticed how desperately home sick I was. My mom took me to Cavalia, I had a huge turkey dinner, and finally got some down time to relax and enjoy my family!

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We have now started our finally course, Creature Design. I think I will leave that story,

Until next time,


All About Film & Television

The purpose of our film class is to cover techniques for HD camera makeups and to go over out of kit effects, when you need a quick scrape, cut or bruise, or when there is a limited budget for prosthetics. Let me take you on a tour of my last few weeks!

First we covered some basics;  bruises, cuts, and scratches. Here is some of my first attempts..

 
Next we worked with burns!

That weekend I worked almost every waking hour…seriously. Making mad cash yo.
On Monday we drafted tattoo designs and applied them, the fun thing about this was that I can actually see my self getting this tattoo…but you know, by a professional haha.


I tried to make the second image look like a fresh tattoo with skin irritation and the shine that fresh tattoos tend to have. The third one is supposed to look like a tattoo that has healed already.

Afterwards it got chilly in class, and we all got serious frostbite.

Then things got a little…hairy…


I just want to remind viewers the above picture is of a female model…who does not normally have facial hair : P

The very next morning this giant bug almost gave me a heart attack when I walked into my bathroom to find this guy waiting for me…uninvited. It has been ranked second on my “Most terrifying experiences in Toronto” list. That day in class we applied glatzan baldcaps.


Friday rolled around and we had zombie day! Mine needs a little work before I get hired onto The Walking Dead, but dont worry I’ll get it down.


After class my friend and I went to Greek town and did a Paint Night. Basically you go, they give you a canvas, paint, paintbrushes, and an apron. You order drinks and have a good time with your friends while the instructor leads you step by step to a complete painting! I highly recommend this to any level of painter, you have a great time with friends, your guaranteed a finished painting, and you get to take it home! I suggest looking for groupons or other discounts because full price is a little expensive – and don’t wear clothing you care about getting dirty because the paint probably wont wash out of your clothes.

The fun sorta ended when I had to work the rest of the weekend…uhg adult responsibilities…why?

Remember last time I told you about a fun project? For class we had to design and present the progression of a made up disease! A lot of people did insect bites etc, I created a parasite that lives in raw fish, once infected the host slowly starts turning into a half fish half human creature…nothing like a mermaid, I swear lol.

The next couple of days were pretty uneventful, we had one day of presenting projects, then a couple days practicing and preparing for our trade exam. The trade exam is basically all of our previous practical exams mashed into one intense day of testing. Our poor models had to undergo 6 different makeups in one day, ouch!

So friday rolled around again and it was trade exam day, for the most part it went well, I stayed within my time limits etc, except for the theatre portion I feel I could have been a little more prepared.

Over the weekend I studied for our written exam, and worked on my face charts for the photo shoot. I also found some fun Halloween decorations (buy one get one free) at Michael’s.


Monday we had all day to practice our photo shoot looks, I am really liking the progress I have made making injuries.


Tuesday we had the longest written exam I’ve had at CMU….then more practice for the photo shoot. Wednesday was more of the same thing, practice, practice, practice.

Bringing us to today, the photo shoot. Wow, what an intense day of make up. I was a bit nervous because I wanted every thing to look great, I think every thing turned out well so I guess I had nothing to worry about!  

After all that I am exhausted, I’ve had three coffees in 5 hours and I could still fall asleep at a moments notice lol. Tomorrow is the last day of film class, I’m going to miss all the fun but our next class, Prosthetics should be spectacular and I can’t wait to start!

Our instructor for film and prosthetics is none other than Ian Morse, he has worked with Steven Spielberg 4 times and worked on some of my favorite movies including (my all time fav) 28 Days Later AND 28 Weeks Later, Fury, and War Horse. I am so star struck! Here is a little some thing he has been working on for an upcoming trade show. Shhh don’t tell them it was me >.>


From Theatre to Film and Everything in Between

I promised an update after exams, I’m a little late but here it is! from theatre to film and every thing inbetween

We had had two weeks left of theatre, the first one we learnt old age, Chinese opera style looks, and distortion make up. At work I was asked to design a sandwich board with our latest promotion! 

The last week of theatre was a whirlwind of activity, but I made it out! We had to present a character we designed for our assigned plays and execute the make up in class. I had a drag queen from Priscilla Queen of the Desert.


We also had our photo shoots, this time around I wasn’t as stressed as the first time but it was still an intense day. Here is a lil peek at my look. 

We also had to do an animal make up in class, then we had our final exam, a written portion, and three timed theatre makeups…So glad its over! 

Over the weekend Natasha and I went to the Royal Ontario Museum to see the new Pompeii exhibit, it was a really good exhibit and totally worth checking out!


July 20th we started our film course, yay! I have been looking forward to this class since the beginning!! We spent the first week working on theory, continuity & script breakdown, airbrush, and the makeup techniques necessary for HD filming. We also got to do some male grooming and laying facial stubble. The second week was all about the decade looks, we already did the 1920’s – 1980’s in fashion but we learnt the different looks for film. I have to admit it was a little dry, especially since I want to get into the gory side of things.

Unfortunately on the 29th Natasha flew home, which left me a little lonely, “thankfully” I had an exam to study for to keep my mind occupied…Friday we had part 1 of 2 written exams…AND I had a flight home after class!! Cedric was so happy to see me! 

I got to spend time with quite a bit of my family and hang with my friends! Though 3 days really isn’t enough and before I knew it I was flying back to Toronto. Bobbi and I grabbed dinner and hung out once I arrived because the next day he flew to the East coast for the premiere of his show “Once You’ve Found It”!!

Our first  ‘special effects’ make up for film was sickness/drug abuser, today we did oldage stipple, and tomorrow we work on casualty makeup, so excited!


My focus this week is to work on my assignments, one of them is really cool, we get to create a disease where we design a 5 stage progression make up for it! Stay tuned for details!

Until next time,


Off to the Theatre!

Somewhere along the way I lost track of time, let’s go back three weeks!

The week of June 15th we started the wig knotting portion of our theatre course, it is also refered to as ventalating. The idea is that using a tool with a small hook on the end you tie individual strands of hair to ‘lace’ which is esentially a piece of mesh.  

This was my practice piece. Its a bit tricky at first but once you get the hang of it you can start to move pretty quickly, most of my classmates hated this week but I actually started to enjoy it.INSERT SET UP PIC

   

 
 In one day I almost got half of my first mustache completed.   

 Finally finished knotting my first mustache, next I wanted to do a soulpatch/goatee hair piece. My inspiration here is Jack Sparrow from Pirates Of The Caribean.  

After five 7 hour days of wig knotting I had finished my look! 

 
During the week the school also held an after hours workshop on drag makeup, so of course I signed up!

  
 Unfortunatly no fun was to be had over the weekend : ( I worked my butt off and made a few extra dollars. In class the next Monday we started getting our hands and faces dirty with makeup! Our first assignment was to study the bone structure of the face.

  
We moved on to a regular makeup for stage, when you just want to make the performers features visable from afar, next came egyptian makeup, 18th century makeup, and a stylized version of Geisha makeup for the stage.

This weekend was a special occasion! My best friend from Winnipeg arrived on Saturday! So of course we (Bobbi and I) picked her up from the airport and had a small celebration back at the apartment. She will be staying with me all of July and it’s going to be fantastic to have someone from home here with me! There was also a surprize in her suitcase for me, my awesome mom sent a care package with all sorts of goodies!

 

Finally this past monday we learned how to make bald caps from liquid latex, which I found more tedious than wig knotting. You have to stipple many layers of latex on by hand and let each one dry in betweeen…  

After every one finished their bald caps we got to play in clay and sculpt what ever we wanted, many choose to make horns and they prompted us to be different so despite my extream love of horns and antlers I decided to fuse a flower vase to the human head form.   

 In the middle of the week we celebrated Canada’s Birthday! The students made a deal with the school to have Friday off in liue of Wednesday so that we would get a long weekend, and they set up a BBQ lunch for everyone, I was not going to turn down free food lol.

On Thursday we got to apply the first bald caps we made to each other.  

Everyone was suprized at how good I look with out hair…Im hoping thats a compliment?

Since we had the entire day off, on Friday I took Natasha to the Toronto Zoo! It took 20 mins on subway and then 45 min on a bus to get there…but we had a great time, it was sunny and warm but not too hot and alot of the animals were moving around. We tryed to see each area but we missed one, still we were there until they closed for the night. My favorite animals to see were the tiger, the otter, the red panda, the giraffes, and the snow leopard.                                                                

We only have two weeks of theatre class left, and the last week is basically just exams, assignements and photo shoots. This time around I’m getting worried about the photo shoots because I have yet to come up with any concepts and I’m running out of time, I also don’t have my models yet : S so much to do, plus we have two assignments that I have to design looks for…wish me luck folks.

Today is a special day, I’m sending a shout out to my mom: Happy Birthday! Earlier she recieved her gift which was my secret leather working project back in April, I made her an iPad case in her favorite colour with her name stamped into it!

I’ll let you know when I make it out alive, until next time,
 


Exams And Photo Shoots


I guess its been some time since my last update.

In class we covered more decade looks, one day we had a high school class come to the campus for a tour, part of the tour included getting their makeup done by us…it was kind of fun working on people outside our classroom. Later that week we had a random call to our classroom, our instructor told us there was an ice cream truck outside and we should all go get some…best day I’ve had at any school, and that ice cream man probably made a fortune off of us!

The next day was a monuments day! The outermost layer of my injured finger fell off, revealing that the severed piece of my finger has in fact reattached itself despite 2 doctors telling me it wouldn’t, there is a fresh and healthy layer of skin over the entire area!! I’m so relieved its finally healed and I can stop worrying about it, move on and start using it normally! 

The first week of June we started preparing for our final exams, we are required to do a written test, two photos shoots and a practical exam. For the most part we spent our time practicing the looks we wanted to do for the photoshoots, so it was a pretty relaxed week. On friday I went to another of Bobbi’s productions, I had a really good time. There were 4 different shows, each in a different area of the theatre, I’ve never been to a show like that before.   

Then Tuesday happened…Call time was 8:30 and my model was late, she also had dirty hair and had been up all night and was falling asleep in my chair. We had two hours to do hair and makeup, that 2 hours felt like 5 mins, then we take the model to the photo room where they get 60 frames infront of the camera. That flew by in the blink of an eye. After, we had time to clean our stations, find our second model and start all over again. We were on our feet all day, and by the end of it all I was exhausted, completely drained. But it didn’t end there! We had a research paper due Thursday that I had to finish : (

Friday rolled around and it was time for the practical exam, there were two parts, first we had an hour to apply one of the decade makeups, and the second part we had 45 min to apply a day look. Each look was randomly assigned to us and we had to provide our own models. A coworker of mine offered to come in for me which was awesome since I don’t really know any one else in the city that would do that. I wasn’t nervous for this exam at all, I think the massive amounts of stress from the photo shoots drained me to the point where nothing really bothered me…I was just ready for the exams to be over. In the end I think all three exams went really well. We got the results of our written test back but we wont get the photos back for about 4 weeks, we might find out how we did on the practical in a week or so.

I was assigned 40’s for my decade look…

And this was my day look.
Next week we begin our class on wig knotting, I think its also called ventilating, where you hand craft hair pieces. In class we will be making a moustache or beard, but this is also how you make wigs etc. Apparently its very repetitive, time consuming and tedious…Sounds like my kind of hobby (seriously).

In my hair class I included a picture of my kit, in Fashion we had like three dozen things at our stations but here’s a look at it.


On my station I have my face prep stuff; make up remover, face cleanser, toner, moisturizer, sanitiztion; brush cleaner, hand sanitizer, 99% alcohol, disposables; mascara wands, sponges, q-tips, tissues, paper towel, my brushs and make up. We recieved foundations, concealers, setting powders, an eyeshadow palette, a blush palette, lip palette, contours and highlights, individual and strip lashes, mascara, clear brow gel, clear lip gloss, brow/lip/eye pencils and some little things including pencil sharpener, cuticle scissors, tweezers, eyelash glue, spatula and mixing palette, powder puffs, and a CMU embroidered cape. In my drawer is mostly my hair kit and my textbook/notebook. Underneith is where I keep my airbrush and compressor.

Its up to the individual howQ

you want to organize your station so every one has it a little different, some are more organized than otheres…qThere is a table in the centre of the class with extra makeup including cream foundations, powder pigments, a variety of pressed eyeshadows, lipsticks, lipglosses, and pencils. So if you need a color that is not at your station you can always use the class supply. We are also permitted to bring in any thing we feel appropriate, some girls have make up palettes from MAC etc, I found it useful to have makeup removing face wipes, breath mints, hand lotion, lip balm, and little cleaning dishes for my brushes.


This is something I found floating around facebook, I’ll try to find the link, I thought it was an incredible example of what makeup can do, it’s not about covering up the real you, I’m usually not wearing any makeup at all. I just want to show it can do so much and create great effects, if this is what you can do with beauty makeup I cannot wait to learn special effects!!


Home And Back Again

I guess it’s been a crazy two weeks, let me take you back to the week of May 11…

For the first time since I had my accident I was back at work with training shifts. My boss is really understanding and only gives me two shifts a week, any more than that and I’d loose my mind trying to keep up with school. The perks are good though, a discount on all food/drinks/products and a weekly mark-out which is essentially free coffee!

This week we started working with our airbrush! It’s a lot of fun but a lot of work to clean…  

Thursday I woke up with a cold but nothing was going to stop me because for the long weekend I was flying home! For the last two weeks I had been counting down the days, Im surprised I even slept Thursday night what with the excitement and the cold…

I had permission to leave class early for my flight, I tried so hard to not look at the clock every 5 minutes and then before I knew it I was off to the airport. My friends picked me up and took me to the Olive Garden where my family had a table waiting for us. I should have been tired but it felt so great to be home! After dinner I cuddled my fur-ball animals until they no longer wanted my attention, and then I cuddled them more hahaha.

 
Saturday was a harder day, we drove out to Breton Lake where there was a memorial service for my step-mother. It was not the family reunion any of us wanted but I was happy to be there to support my father. It was a beautiful day, most of us even got sunburnt. 

 

That night I took some medicine for my cold, little did I know it was making me drowsy and I went to bed super early, I was pretty much asleep before I was even in my bed…

When I awoke…there was snow every where!   

I honestly don’t know why we live here…snow? in May?

I was content to hang out at home with my friends, away from the snow, we watched movies, played cards, there was even a big home cooked meal, which I desperately needed. All was good except for the shadow looming over every moment, my flight back to Toronto was quickly approaching and I was not ready to go.

I enjoyed every minute as much as I could and we even took my dad out to lunch before my flight. We went to the restaurant I used to work at so I got to see some of the great people I worked with…and some not great ones as well…The flight back to Toronto was smooth, as we came down for landing the flight attendant pointed out that there were fireworks going off all around the city that could be seen out our windows. What an interesting way to be welcomed back to the city! By the time I got home from the airport it was time for bed, the moment I walked in the door of my apartment I was homesick, as much as I enjoyed my trip home I knew it was going to make this next week difficult.   

 

In class on Tuesday we had a mature woman visit and be our model so we learnt a few different ways to apply makeup to an older crowd of people as well. Immediatley after school I was needed for Bobbi’s fundraiser. He created his own theatre company and is raising money to take his show to 3 east coast fringe festivals this summer. If your interested in donating this is his fundraising page, check it out if you have time! It was a 1920’s themed swing dance with a live band and a dance lesson if you’re swing dancing was a bit rusty, plus a sneak peak at his upcoming show!

https://fwyc.ca/campaigns/once-youve-found-it

  

It was another late night after the fundraiser but it was nice to be involved. The next day as fate would have it we learnt 1920’s style makeup lol, after class I had work, thankfully I was only on until 9:30 because I was in despereate need of groceries. Bobbi walked me and my groceries home that night, isnt he sweet?

Thursday in class we learnt 1930’s makeup and again after class I worked, luckily it was online training so basically I watch training videos all night. I had never been so thankful for Friday when it finally rolled around. The week was a whirlwind of activities and I really needed a break. In class we learned 1940’s and 1950’s make up, I think I had three makeup applications on my face that day…my skin really needed a break. After class I was able to relax a little and catch up on my assignements. 

Saturday I got alot of my house stuff done, I also went to the bank and had a little imprompto shopping, don’t worry I only bought one thing. It was a nice day so we meandered through the village before returning home. Now that I had less distractions I was feeling homesick again… I want to be here for classes but I really miss my family (choosen and biological). And that brings us to Sunday, Im done all my work so today I can do what ever it is I want…which might end up being some computer games and movies, what ever it takes to reset for next week which will hopfully be alot less busy than last week hahaha, seriosuly its nice to have down time.

Tips for Living With 6 People and 1 Water Heater!

1. Know everyone’s schedule. If you can shower before the others get up (which living in a basement apartment…you know when they are up) you get first dibs on the hot water.

2. Know your nearest exit. When the water suddenly changes from warm and relaxing to ice cold daggers of doom you need to know whcih corner of your tiny stall shower is safe from the flow of water.

3. Fight for what you want. Sometimes I find my self in a battle for the hot water, it seems that when there are multiple faucets going the last one to turn on gets the hot water….so if you keep turning your water hotter and hotter you get the hot water…just make sure #2 has been identified because when the other person gives up, you get all the hot water….

4. Lastly be adaptable, maybe today you wont get that steamy hot shower you want and thats ok!

Until next time,


A New Month A New Class

As I promised last week I went to Bobbi’s dance performance on Saturday, Till We Have Faces. After the show we brought a pizza back to my place and hung out, a great way to celebrate the end of exams! I ended up going to Bobbi’s show again on Sunday because I enjoyed it that much! I love watching my friend move, it was beautiful. That day I also got my weekly chores done, there is so much work to do around here for one person, especially an injured person…

 

The studio even had a resident cat! He was so friendly and soft, reminded me of my Cedric.

Monday we had our first day of Fashion Makeup, there was so much information to take in and we were assigned a ton of reading that night for homework : ( Tuesday we got to start applying makeup, starting with proper foundation and concealer, contouring, blush and some basic eye shadow styles.

On the way to class one day I noticed that the park I walk through which normally is teaming with pigeons andsquirrels  was a ghost town, there were no critters to be seen, I thought it quite odd. Until I saw this guy sitting perched in the tree…

 

A pretty hawk! That certainly explained the lack of critters lol. Right by the exit of the park I spotted another unfamiliar sight…

 
A raccoon! In the middle of the day! This week has been getting sunnier and warmer each day, this is my path home every day, just stunning! 

Friday things got more interesting, after class I had to go get my stitches removed, the clinic the school recommended closes 30 mins before we get let out of class so I had to find a different clinic. Thankfully the grocery store near my work actually has a walk in clinic inside of it, who would have thought…I didn’t wait too long, there was only 2 other people ahead of me. The stitches hurt coming out, thankfully my best friend Bobbi was there to be my emotional support! After, we treated ourselves to frappicinos and headed back to the apartment where we binged on pizza and chips!

On Saturday we decided to visit High Park to see the cherry blossom trees. We had to take the subway since its quite far, there were tons of people with the same idea as us and the park was packed.

  

If you aren’t interested in cherry blossom trees, there were other things to do at the park…

Like feeding swans, Canadian geese, and other ducks.

 
A giant castle shaped play structure for the kids, and there was even a free zoo (it was rather small but still neat to see. They even had a baby reindeer that was just born and was trying to stand for the first time!). All the sun yesterday was not our friend and we got a little burnt : (

After the park a friend from class and I went to the movies and saw Age of Adeline, it was really good, so far this weekend has been great! Today I’m getting my chores done, which is harder than usual with a shared laundry room. I swear my landlords are always doing laundry making it hard to find time for me to do mine. House work is made difficult by my injury, now that the stitches are out and its mostly healed its getting better but it does take twice as long to do every thing. Even school work is difficult with out the index finger on my dominant hand, I am only now being able to write with it, it makes all school assignments take twice as long as well. I must work on an assignment thats due tomorrow so thats all for now.

Until next time,