The Seven Deadly Sins: A Musical Theme for February

Image courtesy of fotographic1980 /

Image courtesy of fotographic1980 /

If you’ve been following the Container Chronicles, you know that I have been participating in Music Themes for a while. Since October, my daughter at Sincerely Kate has been my Collaborator. After we announced the Hobbies and Pastimes theme, the other participants have had things come up, and the group seemed to be on hold for a bit. On one hand, my friend, the Plate Spinner is thrilled because that’s one less thing taking so much time and energy, but at the same time I enjoy this creative exercise and would like to do it, just maybe not so often.

With that said, Kate and I decided we would get the Music Themes back up and running, though we will only be doing this monthly compared to every 4-5 days. Everyone is welcome to join us, posting videos, poetry, and/or artwork as it’s convenient for them. Should the others like to post a theme over the next few months, we’ll gladly put together some sort of schedule so everyone gets a fair shake at this.

February’s Theme: The Seven Deadly Sins

Kate has posted about each of these sins in the past, and she thought it would be fun to look at them again in a different way. Personally I am more likely to explore a couple of them in more depth. But regardless, should be a lot of fun.

What ideas do you have about how music might tell a story or two about one or more of the seven deadly sins? Feel free to comment below OR maybe you’d like to join us in our Music Themes project for February. When Kate and I finish our posts, we’ll link them here. You can do the same and see what we all come up with.

Flashback to our Hobbies and Pastimes Theme



1:23 pm on 1/23/2014: Logan’s Birthday

Traveling in Taiwan


This post gives just a small glimpse at an overnight trip that Dave and I took this week. A glimpse because I am focusing on a particular moment in time that was targeted during this trip, my grandson’s third birthday. My daughter selected the time of 1:23 on 1/23 as the moment to focus on. You can see the details here.

To get a sense of the trip Dave and I took, you can start by locating Taoyuan, the area where we live. It is located on the northwest side of the island.  Before the trip this week, I had never been further south than Taichung (almost half way down the western coast). Now, if you look toward the southwestern part of the island, you will see the city of Kaohsiung (the name is actually off to the left in the water). To the east of Kaohsiung, you will see Pingtung City. These are the two cities that we visited on Wednesday and Thursday this past week. I will give a more detailed account of the trip in another post, but I want to talk about 1:23 on 1/23, Logan’s third birthday.

While Logan was asleep in Michigan, we were already fully immersed in the day on this side of the globe. What I liked about this day was that in spite of the fact, we couldn’t be with Logan, we were in the midst of an overnight getaway, which was a celebration of its own. In fact, it’s only the second time we’ve been away overnight in the 2 1/2 years that Dave has been here in Taiwan with me. Knowing it was Logan’s birthday added an extra spark of interest to an already exciting outing.

If someone had been watching me at 1:23 on 1/23/2014, they might have thought it was a boring moment, nothing too significant. After all, I was sitting in the back seat of a car that was headed north: destination a train station about an hour away, to catch a train that would take Dave and me on a 5-hour trip back to Taoyuan.

A Whole Lot of Coconuts

But if they had seen what we saw out of the car window, they might change their mind. To the left, there was ocean, to the right there were mountains in the near distance. There were rows and rows and rows of coconut trees. I had never seen coconut trees up close and personal. It was amazing. Prior to the car trip, we had been on the beach and got some pictures of the coconut trees.


Now maybe you think I’m nuts, but I was so impressed with them, especially their trunks. Check out the patterns and textures!


Maybe not a traditional way to commemorate a grandson’s birthday. But as I will reveal in posts to come, we had quite an adventure leading up to this car trip, and I think Logan would have enjoyed the things we did. Regardless, I knew that he would have a great birthday when he woke up a few hours later and celebrated his special day.

Pictures of coconut trees may not seem to be terribly related to Logan’s birthday, but they represent a time of stepping away from the everyday demands of life into a place where we could just celebrate being. That feels a lot like a birthday to me. And I know I will have pictures of the festivities in Michigan so that I will have the visual images of Logan’s special day.

Next time, I will share some of the activities and events that led up to this particular moment.


Logan’s Log

A few days ago, I posted my daughter’s letter to my grandson, Logan for his 3rd birthday. For a trip down memory lane, here is what she posted for his second birthday. OK, I’m a crazy grandma who can’t get enough of her awesome grandson. 🙂

Sincerely Kate

My son, Logan, turned two two days ago. Part of me is a sad panda that my baby is not a baby anymore, but the other part of me is amazed at how much he has grown, inside and out. When he was born he was 20 inches long and weighed 8.13 pounds and now, according to the Tuscola Health Department, Logan is about 35 inches tall and is a “solid” 36 pounds.

On the way home from Logan’s WIC appointment back on the 9th, my father-in-law told Logan he had to get his mail since they haven’t been to the Akron Post Office to check it in weeks. Yeah, turns out my toddler has his own P.O. Box there courtesy of the postmaster, and whenever Logan checks it there is candy inside. He may not get letters, but Logan is just as happy as his mom whenever he sees…

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A Moment in Time: Logan’s Birthday

I’d like to start with a shout-out to Randee at A String of Pearls. She is the one who got me thinking about these specific moments in time. She would randomly select a moment in time and post it on her blog for others to notice. If you chose to participate, you would be aware of the moment when it arrived and then share your written reflection on what happened. I’ve participated a few times, and my daughter gave it a mention in one of her posts–a moment that she otherwise would not have noticed in the same way. As she prepares for a blog pertaining to time, she thought about focusing on a specific moment in time.

So I plan to join my daughter at Sincerely Kate Mr. Loganat 1:23 pm on 1/23/14, as we notice what happens at that particular moment on Logan’s 3rd birthday. The moment will arrive for me in Taiwan a full 13 hours before it arrives for Kate and Logan in Michigan (the Eastern Time Zone in the US).

The other thing that will make this special for me is I will be on an overnight trip when the moment arrives. Because other people are planning our activities, I have absolutely no idea what we’ll be doing at that moment in time, adding to the adventure of the reflection. This is only the second time that Dave and I have been away overnight since being in Taiwan. The last time was last year at this time when we attended a wedding in northern Taiwan. This time we are headed to southern Taiwan–a must-see destination for visitors to Taiwan, but somewhere we have not yet been. We will board a train tomorrow morning at 8:11 to make the 4-hour trip. We will be greeted at the train station by one of my former students and her father. We will later meet up with another student from our university and will spend most of our time with them. It will be interesting because the parents of the second student don’t speak English. But they have graciously invited us to stay at their home. It will be a great adventure.

So, there you have it. Although Randee has decided to part with this concept, Kate and I are going to do it one last time in honor of Logan’s birthday. If you’d like to participate, feel free to join in and link back so we can see what you were doing at this moment in time: 1:23 pm on 1/23/2014. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go. You may be surprised.

An Award to End All Awards :-)

In my last post, I accepted my last award, the Sunshine Award. To make my transition to a blog that no longer does awards, I’d like to thank Matthew at for The “No More Awards” award. It’s just what I need to cement my commitment to stop spending time on awards. I see the value of them, and I appreciate everyone who has given them to me in the past, but I have to focus on other things. Besides, it will make the Plate Spinner happy to know I’ve put down at least one plate.

This “No More Awards: award is specifically for blogs that don’t want awards. Plus it’s a fun way to leave awards behind. I’ll still be blogging and trying to find time to visit AND COMMENT on the blogs I follow.

If you are interested in having this award for yourself, the rules are listed below.  😉


Rules for accepting this award:

1. Write the numbers 12-17 in list form, but put nothing after them. Don’t say anything. At all.

12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 2. Nominate exactly 0 (zero) people for this award. Nominating even one blogger for this award automatically disqualifies you.

3. Feel free to tell others about my post. Don’t feel obligated, though.

The Sunshine Award and Some Honorable Mentions

It is with mixed feelings that I accept my final blogging award. I’ve come to realize that in spite of the great connections that come about through these awards, I can’t do justice to everything. I appreciate all of my friends in the land of blogs, and look forward to spending my time doing more reading and writing. So you will still see me, just not on award pages. That being said, I’d like to thank for nominating me for the Sunshine Award.

Sunshine AwardThe rules of the game are:

1. Nominate 10 other blogs 2. Write 11 facts about yourself.


I. I finally have some quilting back in my life. I just finished a quilt top for my daughter, and I’m starting a wall hanging for a coffee-shop/restaurant around the corner from our apartment.

2. I have made the decision to return to the US in the summer of 2015.

3. Even though it’s lots of work, I love teaching writing to students who are learning English as a second language.

4. I am going to de-clutter my apartment in the next 3 months. There I said it in public.  🙂

5. I am reimaging my life so that I spend less time doing things that keep me busy and more time doing things that make a difference.

6. I’m constructing a short bucket list for 2014 of some fun and inspiring things I want to do. Among them: flying a kite, riding a gondola, and singing karaoke.

7. My grandson, Mr. Logan, turns 3 this week!  WOW! Where does the time go?

8. My husband and I are going on an overnight trip to southern Taiwan later this week. It’s the first time I’ve been to southern Taiwan, even though I’ve been here four years already. This is a mistake that needs to be corrected.  🙂

9. I have a countdown (or rather a count-up) to the day I turn 60. I started when it was 600 days. It’s now at 485.

10. I thought I wanted to explore photography, since I find it intriguing when others do it, but I finally realized that I have so many interests, that I need to leave photography to others. Luckily, my husband doesn’t mind doing photos for me.  🙂

11. This is probably the last award I’m going to accept. They are too time-consuming, and they take away from doing the writing I really should be doing. I like letting people know I appreciate them, but I think I’m going to just make a point to try to get around to people’s blogs and do commenting instead.  🙂


Here are the ten blogs I want to nominate for the Sunshine Award. Some of them are newly discovered, while others have been recently (re)discovered.

I was also nominated for three awards by Versatile Blogger, Dragon’s Loyalty Award, and the Imagine Award. I received an additional nomination for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award from I deeply appreciate their friendship and support, and I hope they both understand when I say that I have formally accepted my last award. I’ve included them in my nominations above because they are both very special to me, and I love reading their blogs.

Congratulations to the nominees. I hope you can accept this award, but if not, know that I sincerely appreciate getting to know you through your blogs. Thanks again to for this nomination.

A Few of My Favorite Things: Music Theme for January

Interestingly, this post helped me discover that even when it comes to fun things, I may have a few too many plates in the air. It became obvious when I realized that there were so many “favorite things” that writing a few lines about each of them seemed like an obstacle. Along with the decluttering I’m doing in the rest of my life, I need to sort through these activities and see which ones really sustain me and which are just “one more thing to do.” This is somewhat ironic, because I had no trouble in coming up with lots and lots of ideas and songs for this post. Thankfully, Collaborator was able to fill in the musical gaps.

Favorite Thing #1: Entertaining

Even though my husband has taken over most of the food preparation part of things, I do like entertaining (when I have the time). However, I notice that lately, I schedule a lot less of it than I did in the past couple of years.

Be Our Guest (Beauty & the Beast)

Favorite Thing #2: Swimming

I’m not a great swimmer, but I enjoy the water. I find it relaxing as well as a good way to exercise. Not too easy to do in the part of Taiwan that I live, but maybe something to consider in the future.

Just Keep Swimming (Finding Nemo)

Favorite Thing #3: Spending time on the Water 

Speaking of water, a favorite activity in Seattle was to either take the four-hour cruise to Victoria, BC or the ferry ride across Puget Sound to Bremerton. I don’t know if it’s still this way, but once you paid to get on the ferry, you could ride back and forth on one fare. Being on one of those trips was one of the most relaxing things I’ve experienced. I someday want to take a longer cruise, maybe to Alaska.

Sailing (Christopher Cross)

Favorite Thing #4: Riding Bicycles 

Growing up on the west side of Bay City, Michigan, I rode my bike a lot. My sister and I could ride to the library, to Grandma’s house. If we wanted to go visit a friend, we could hop on our bike and just go. People are always amazed when I tell them that I used to ride my bicycle to college and back several times (10 miles each way). After my children were born, I don’t know if we just didn’t have bikes around anymore, or if I just got too busy, but I haven’t ridden a bike in many years. But I (think I) remember how much I enjoyed riding, and I think I’d like to get back to it. Not something I would pursue in Taiwan, but maybe when I return to the U.S.

Bicycle Race  (Queen)

Favorite Thing #5: Flying Kites

I have a thing about kites. Like the Plate Spinner of late, I once had an inner dialogue with a kite. A few weeks ago, we went on a trip to Hsinchu, and near the coast, dozens of people were flying kites. I knew right then and there that I was going to be flying a kite sometime in the not too distant future.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite (Mary Poppins)

Favorite Thing #6: Indoor activities (baking, knitting, puzzles, drawing, reading, etc.)

The saddest thing is that nearly all of these have fallen by the wayside with the business of all the work I’m doing. The knitting is ok, because I have quilting. And when students are here doing puzzles, I enjoy it vicariously even though I’m often working in the other room. Dave has taken over most of the cooking activity. So that leaves reading and drawing, or in my case, Zentangling. Those might be worth finding a little time for. Oh, I do like Sudoku, and usually manage to do one of those before going to bed. I do enjoy that.

When Will My Life Begin (Tangled)

Favorite Thing #7: Singing

I love music. I have played the piano for years, and I love singing. Even though I can’t play the piano much in Taiwan (well, I could, but it would take too much time and effort under the circumstances), I am planning to do karaoke sometime this year, including one song in Chinese.

Sing (Glee)

Favorite Thing #8: Quilting/Sewing 

If someone had told me last year at this time, that I would be in the middle of two quilting projects, I wouldn’t have believed it. But progress is being made, and I’m really enjoying it. I will post a quilting update soon.

Tapestry (Carole King)

Favorite Thing #9: Dancing 

I have enjoyed dancing at different times in my life. I studied ballet as a young girl, and then during my freshman year of college. I later attended an adult ballet class before moving away from Seattle. Although it is physically challenging to think about dancing, I want to give it a try again.

We’re Dancing (Center Stage)

I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about a few of my favorite things. I will be considering where to focus my time and energy, and give myself some breathing space for the ones that bring me real joy!