Ten Things of Thankful: Tuesday Thoughts

TenThingsBannerI didn’t post a Ten Things of Thankful last week, but I did have a draft nearly completed. It was called the Ironic Edition, because there were many parts of my life that weren’t going that great, and yet I was still able to find things to be thankful for. Unfortunately, I forgot to save that draft, and when I went back to finish it, it was gone. And I moved on. In other words, I didn’t rewrite it at that time. I just posted something else that day. So here we go, with regular saving of drafts.  🙂

1. I am thankful for all my wonderful friends around the world, but today I’m especially thankful for the two young women in the photo below. Between the two of them, they have helped me in countless ways. They are both excellent translators, so when Dave and I get mail in Chinese or we see a posting in the apartment elevator, one of them always helps us out. They also translate take-out menus and the Chinese words in the photos Dave takes at the stores when he wants to know the details about something before he buys.

100_0642Dante (on the left) was part of the fabric play craziness last week. And yesterday, she showed us around some of her hometown (pictures and details in future post). Today, she sent me directions for my appointment (see #2) when I left my map at home. During the school year, she comes over one evening a week to help me with paperwork and odd jobs.

Rena (on the right) was my student the very first year I was in Taiwan, and she and I have been friends ever since. She has spent many working sessions with me at coffee shops. She visited the ceramics museum with me a few weeks back, and she’s my regular partner for The Shen Yun dance performance that I now attend each year (2015 will be our third time).

2. I am thankful for the wonderful health care in Taiwan, that the majority of the doctors here can speak English (as my Chinese is amazingly bad), and that the doctor I saw today made me feel like we were a team in managing my care. And I am thankful to my friend Jean for recommending him.  ❤

routemap2013123. I am thankful for the amazing transportation system here in Taiwan. I knew that it would be a challenge to get to this doctor, and it was: a bus to the train station, a train to Taipei, the MRT (subway) to the part of the city I needed, and then a 20 minute walk. But hey, with the walk each way, I got my exercise in. I am also thankful for how reasonable the transportation is. If I hadn’t taken the scenic route home–don’t ask–I would have paid less than $8.00 US for the round trip. (The map on the left is the for the MRT. They are still expanding this system, but it’s pretty impressive.)

4. I am thankful for my detour today. Even though it cost me a couple extra dollars (and a lot of time), I saw more of Taipei, learned more about how to get from one part of the city to another, and actually enjoyed the process of figuring out my alternate route home, piece by piece. As a bonus, I got extra exercise AND lunch at a restaurant I hadn’t tried before.

5. I am thankful that early on in my adventure (in #4 above), I decided that I didn’t need to worry about being productive today. I decided to view this day as a gift of time. I could take this day and just enjoy the adventure that was unfolding. I decided I only needed to get two things done today: this post and a little research. Which leads to #6.

6. I am thankful for the Internet and the amazing source of information that is available. After today’s appointment, I had a lot to think about, and being able to get reliable information was reassuring and informative.

kite7. I am thankful for the people who sponsor the challenges I’ve been participating in: Green Embers and the Building Room Challenge; Cee at Cee’s Photography for Share Your World; Indecisive Eejit and Mental Mama for the Cartoon Craziness Challenge; and all the people who pass around the If We Were Having Coffee meme.

8. I am grateful to the people who follow my blog, who read my blog, who comment on my blog, and who like my posts. This blogging experience continues to be a great help to me, and I appreciate everyone who interacts with me in some way.

9. I am grateful for the discoveries I’m making in the Cartoon Craziness Challenge about drawing and the need to practice. That it can be developed, and that it can be fun, and that it’s something I’ve kept on the back burner far too long. OK, I actually kept it totally away from the stove. But I’m glad I brought it back into the kitchen.

10. I am grateful the scraps of fun and hope that I am finding in my life, and for the people who join me and support me in the search.

And I am thankful for Lizzi at Considerings and the others who host Ten Things of Thankful.

 

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Give Me S’More Time!

I have to tell you that I’m surprised I’m participating in this challenge at all, but I’m glad it happened. I’m learning a lot about myself and my misconceptions about drawing (which I will elaborate on another time). Let’s just say that this is turning out to be a good experience even though I’m kind of slow at it. That’s because I have to practice and think and practice some more before I start to get the hang of what I’m trying to make. It’s a process that fascinates me, and I’m learning a lot about myself in the process.

If it wasn’t my theme that had been selected for the Cartoon Craziness Challenge this week, I’d sit this one out. It hasn’t been a good week, but I’m feeling slightly pressured to play along. Unfortunately, since I’m new at trying my wings at this drawing stuff, it takes me a lot longer to get something I’m willing to share. And with little time, I only began to complete my “vision” for this week’s challenge.

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So I’m going to share the draft of the main image for my childhood vacation. I won’t tell you how many attempts it took me to get this far. I don’t mind the process, but I ran out of time to finish what I started. If you’re interested, you can check out my piece about Time that I posted yesterday. Anyway, I’m still satisfied with the progress, and I figured since all my fans are clamoring for my artwork (haha), that I would at least put a placeholder here and give you a rain check for the completed post another time. It’s that or not post. For the sake of my feelings, I won’t take a poll.  😉

I am the oldest of five children, and so vacations needed to be economical. I’m not sure where my parents got the idea– might be something to ask them the next time we talk, but we started doing summer camping trips around Michigan and sometimes into Ontario, Canada. There are lots of things I want to draw for this post, but here is my draft attempt at our lodging.

drft tentOK, now you have an idea. So hold on and the details will get fleshed out over time. Maybe a lot of time.  🙂

But as a bonus for playing along, I’m going to share some of my daughter’s artistic endeavors. I didn’t draw the campfire yet, but we used to do some of our cooking that way. And one of the things we made was s’mores. Well, my daughter with her pen pal hobby and her creativity, came up with a little rubber stamp guy she created called Marsh MAILOW. (I used all caps on the last name to show the connection between MALLOW and MAILOW for the pen pal connection. Cool, huh?  Check it out. She blogs about her hobby, her son, books, and lots of other things at SincerelyKate.

Marsh MailowI asked Kate about using this guy, because I wanted to include some of the food type things that we did on our camp-outs, and I thought of the campfire and roasting marshmallows. Well, that thought led directly to her rubber stamp guy!. 🙂 This is how he looks outside of his normal activities announcing mail.

Marsh Mailow

So there you have it. If I don’t get thrown out of the challenge for breaking all the rules, I’ll see you next week with something that might be more in keeping with what you expect to see in this space. 🙂

Here’s hoping for a better week!

 

 

 

 

 

Rome is Looking a Little Rosier

REPORT FOR LAST WEEK

1. Complete 12 one-hour blocks. The tasks for those blocks include:

  • editing project (2 sections) DONE
  • writing project (draft first unit; make plan for other units) (no real progress on this)
  • start a worksheet for new possibilities DONE
  • schedule the tasks from last weeks list to make a rough schedule for the coming year DONE

2. Go to Curves three times during the week. DONE

3. Maintain walking three times a week. DONE

4. Start piecing possible designs for quilted postcards. Done and did additional sewing as seen here.

5. Continue visiting my fellow builders. I wasn’t as good about this as I had intended.

6. Work on idea for decluttering challenge; continue posting daily; write a post about blogging Turns out that was a type. It was supposed to be a post about the decluttering idea. Regardless, it didn’t happen.

7. Catch up on my unanswered comments. I kept current with new things that came in, but didn’t make much dent on the backlog.

OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

  • Actually worked on the blog plan. Ready to put it on a calendar.
  • Made mini-lists of tasks for several of my major projects.

 

THIS WEEK’S COMMENTARY

Bradley has another great theme for this week: Finding Neverland!

This week take a break from your hard work and find your inner child. Find your way to Neverland! 😀

Wow, I feel like I’m finally ahead on something. Inspired by the Cartoon Craziness Challenge, I spent some time with my inner child over the weekend. I was so happy with my artwork, which followed closely on the amazing fabric play that is linked to on #4 in my weekly report above.

And I have an outing planned for next Monday, the 18th that involves flying a kite! OK, challenge accepted!

These two posts I refer to show something else. Building Rome is becoming less arduous on the day-to-day level. I don’t mind showing up. I don’t mind actually doing those blocks of time and staying focused for the duration. While the blocks have been helpful, they weren’t working as well as I had hoped for the last few weeks, but in the last few days, there is definitely a shift. My lethargy and lack of interest seem to be passing. I won’t start throwing confetti around yet, but as the title says, things are looking a little rosier for me around Rome.

GOALS FOR WEEK OF AUGUST 11

1. Complete 12 one-hour blocks. The tasks for those blocks include:

  • editing project 1 (2 sections)
  • evaluate new editing project and complete 2 sections (if taken)
  • writing project (map out all sections and start to write SOMETHING)
  • Work on a basic plan for upcoming webpage.

2. Go to Curves three times during the week; walk three times.

3. Sew blocks for Clue 3 of Summer Mystery Quilt

4. Start piecing possible designs for quilted postcards.

5. Continue visiting my fellow builders.

6. Write a post about decluttering; schedule launch.

7. Map out blog plan.

8. Catch up on my 20 unanswered comments. (Maybe if I choose a number instead of looking at it as catching up on all my comments, it will actually seem more doable.)

Good luck to everyone on meeting your goals this week!

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This post is part of the Building Rome Project. http://greenembe.rs/2014/08/11/building-rome-week-33-finding-neverland/

What Does Happiness Look Like? (Post #250)

coffeemeWell, for those of you who have not witnessed the way I overthink things sometimes, you are in for a scare treat. For this week’s Cartoon Craziness Challenge, the theme is Happiness!

It didn’t take me long to think:  WOW! I can draw a cup of coffee.  Not to difficult. Coffee makes me happy. It’s awesome. I can do this. Well, you get the idea. Then the next thing that came to mind is “Happiness is a Warm Puppy” — thanks Snoopy. And I love my little chihuahua, and since I’m no longer afraid of drawing things that aren’t perfect, I could work on drawing my puppy. Again — awesome!

That led me to doing a series with a mug of coffee and a sweet chihuahua and . . .  I was thinking of how to include quilting in some way. To give myself a little confidence when working on these challenges, I look online for how to draw tutorials for various things. As a result, I have a prototype for my mug of coffee that you see here.

And then over the weekend, someone mentioned that there was a place where we could fly kites. YAY! We made plans to fly kites on August 18! That’s something that’s been on my list for a while, and I specifically wanted to do it during my 600 days to 60 project. (I have a long “thing” about kites, but I’ll save that for another post.)

Now I had three things to draw: coffee, puppy, kite. I mini-series. The coffee was in the bag, so to speak. I found a great tutorial for a chihuahua, and started a little practice one. I figured I could save the tutorial and do it in time for the challenge. I had a decent idea of how to do a kite — smart me: have something that makes me happy that’s super easy to draw. But I looked up a few tutorials anyway.

By a lucky slip of the fingers, I opened Microsoft Paint while I was browsing kite tutorials. Serendipity! So I thought, what they heck! I’ll play around with the Paint program and see what kind of kite I can come up with. Here’s the answer.

kiteMy kite was just about finished when it was time to eat breakfast. And I went back to thinking about the quilting/fabric connection, and then it hit me. I could draw something as basic as that kite and then ZENTANGLE it! How awesome! I finished my breakfast. Then I was off and running sitting at my sewing table, with the machine pushed back, outlining a kite outline on some drawing paper and zentangling my way to a place of serenity and enjoyment! (A place I haven’t seen a lot of lately.)

And here is my Zentangle kite!

kiteOf course, this was already taking a lot more time than I really had, so I decided to save the puppy tutorial for another time. I’m sure there will be an opportunity at some point in the challenge, and if not, I’ll MAKE it fit.  haha

One of the most amazing things about the challenge this week is I realized doing these pictures is making me happy. This is an unanticipated outcome of joining this challenge. I expected it to challenge my attitudes and abilities in drawing. I didn’t expect it to become a source of excitement and happiness.

Thanks to Mental Mama and Indecisive Eejit for hosting this challenge. And thanks to the people in addition to them who also kept egging me on. I’m so glad you did!

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: I JUST REALIZED THIS IS MY 250th POST!  YAY!

 

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This post is part of Cartoon Craziness Challenge: http://theindecisiveeejit.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/cartoon-craziness-challenge-happiness/  Maybe you can join in!  You never know what you might discover about yourself.  🙂

WARNING!: I joined the Cartoon Craziness Challenge! Enter at Your Own Risk!

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OK, it’s week 3 of the Cartoon Craziness Challenge. I’ve watched from a far, intrigued but terrified of exposing my nearly non-existent drawing abilities. I tried to put something together for weeks 1 and 2, but my attempts ended up in the recycle bin. But with this weeks theme of superheroes–and a few pushes and prods from a few people (You know who you are!), I am jumping in this week. Against my better judgment.  😉

Wonder_Woman_outline_by_j_mack

drawing by j. mack

I suspect that I’m trying too hard. At the same time, I suspect I need to spend some regular time practicing specific features so that I don’t feel like I have to try to hard. If I could learn to draw a few basic eyes and mouths, maybe I would not shudder when I look at my efforts.

The superhero I drew is based very loosely on Wonder Woman, not because I’m particularly fond of Wonder Woman exactly, but because that was just the pattern I decided to try to model from. Although you will see limited resemblance to the model, here is what I started with.

When I drew my superhero, her mouth is way too large for her face, but it was already my fourth attempt, so I decided to hide it on the scanner. But then, my husband found it and saved the file, and here we are. So, without further ado, I introduce to you LATTE WOMAN!

Latte_Woman

 

She needs only coffee to help her accomplish amazing things! (Notice her logo on her forehead–or don’t!  haha!) Maybe I’ll try extra coffee if when I join in next time. The good news is I didn’t get as frustrated this week, so maybe this will actually get to be fun.   🙂

Thanks to Mental Mama and Indecisive Eejit for hosting this challenge.

 

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This post is part of Cartoon Craziness Challenge: http://theindecisiveeejit.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/cartoon-craziness-challenge-week-3/