If We Were Having Coffee: Semester Break Ahead

If we were having coffee, . .

enggment_photoI’d tell you that I got a lovely gift from my son, Doug, and my future daughter-in-law, Jessica. A photo album with a collection of their engagement photos. The photos are lovely, and I just keep smiling as I look at them. Their wedding will be in Florida in October of this year. And I’m so happy that I will be in the US not only to attend their wedding, but to be more connected with their lives (as with the lives of my other three children, their spouses, and my grandson, Mr. Logan). Thanks, Doug and Jessica, for the lovely gift, and for sharing your joy with us. Best wishes for continued love and joy throughout your marriage.

I’m also eager to spend time with my parents. While our Skype time is great, it will be wonderful to be in the same room again with all of them. I haven’t even been in the same country now in over 17 months.

7Speaking of Mr. Logan, I’d tell you that he will turn 4 years old on Friday. At the right, you can see him (with his father, Gabe) on the day he was born. The cliche is true: I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, but I think that it feels even faster because of  the limited time I’ve spent with him over the years. Taiwan is a long way away, and I’m happy that I will have the opportunity to live closer to him and to be more involved in his life once summer comes.

 I’d tell you that I’m in the process of grading mid-term exams as my last formal responsibility for the semester. The other project I need to complete this week is for the beginning of next semester. I need to finish reviewing and revising the teaching materials that I will use for the Japanese students who will visit from Tottori University in March.

japanese students 1Even though this is the third year that I’ve taught all of the writing classes for this program, I adjust my teaching materials each year depending on student response.I’d tell you that I had a new idea about how to present the writing process in a more visual way. So even though this is my third year of teaching the writing component of this intensive English program, I’m redesigning some of my teaching materials for the 28 hours of classes for this year’s visit from the Japanese students from Tottori University. Teaching 28 additional hours over a three week period is a bit overwhelming, but it goes so fast that I don’t have much time to think about it. I’m sure I’ll be giving you updates in future coffee gatherings.

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I’d tell you that Dave and I had such an amazing breakfast date on Friday. When we got to our usual (not very often, but consistently chosen), the only available tables were on the “patio” in front. Normally, at this time of year, this would not be a prime spot. However, it was unseasonably warm that day. We initially took the outdoor table, hoping that maybe an indoor one would clear by the time our food was ready. But amazingly, besides being sunny, it was also warm enough to be very comfortable. Here is my yummy coffee.

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A lot of these family-owned eateries are like this: closed in on three sides, with the fourth side open to the outside. Getting take-out food is common (as evidenced by the number of my students who arrive at early morning classes with their breakfasts). From where I’m sitting in front of my coffee, I can turn 90 degrees and get a picture of the kitchen area.

frijankitchAnd half-way between that angle and sitting directly in front of my cup, is this lovely scene. I should mention this is just around the other side of the block from our apartment.

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 AND I would tell you that an article that I co-authored was published this week in the Journal of Studies in International Education. It came out at a perfect time, since it will look great on my CV while I apply for jobs in the US.

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Finally, I’d tell you that it’s 120 days until 60 AND ~159 days until I land in the US!

THANKS to Diana for gathering everyone together this week.  🙂

https://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/weekend-coffee-share-2/

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If We Were Having Coffee: Happy 2015!

If we were having coffee,

coffeemeI’d tell you that it’s been four years since I had surgery to get my replacement knee. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I remember that even on the day of surgery, I could feel the difference when I moved my leg. The only downside is that the surgery was done during my second year in Taiwan, before my husband had joined me, but there were so many wonderful friends and colleagues who helped get me through the hospitalization and recovery. So happy anniversary to my wonderful knee! Wishing you many more, dear knee! 🙂

I’d tell you I have set several intentions for the new year based on my vision for the new year.

I’d tell you that this is my first post of the new year. In fact, it’s the first post since November 21. But I’m making a comeback in a limited way. And one of those intentions is to reconnect with the blog world. But I’m going for regularity, not numbers. That means the plan is to write one blog post a week. If I do more than that, great, but I will do at least one post every week.  I’ll figure it out as I go, but no time like the present to start.

I’d also explain that here in Taiwan, our college semesters are significantly different than they are in the US. For starters, our weeks are 18 weeks long, instead of 15. And we start a bit later in September than most US colleges and universities. As a result, we’ve been teaching since September with only two holidays. Our semester break comes in time for the celebration of Chinese New Year. (There is talk that Christmas will be included in the holiday calendar next year.)

Now that you know that information, I’d tell you that final exams are this coming week. And then the grading, and then our semester break. Yeah, it sounds great to have a month off, but don’t forget I taught on Christmas Eve day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. (We did get New Year’s Day.)  I have to admit though, that although I dislike an 18 week semester — everyone gets so worn out, I do like the break at this “unorthodox” time. I feel like it’s more of a break than just being off to engage in lots of holiday hoopla. The Chinese New Year still has a lot of newness to it for us.

I’d tell you that, barring anything unforeseen, the textbook project is over! The relief is amazing. It will be even more amazing when all the ink is dry, and the books are in the students’ hands. My stress level has gone done dramatically.

I’d tell you that I have a big list of loose ends I want to tie up over break, especially things that had to be put on the back burner as I finished the textbook. But it feels good to feel like I will have some time and space to make some real progress.

I’d tell you that I’ve started peeking at a few blogs, starting to read. Not a lot of comments yet, but I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the great people I’ve met here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’d tell you that it’s official. David and I (and our wonderful Puppy) will be heading back to the US in July of this year. This is my sixth year of teaching in Taiwan, and while I have loved almost everything about it, it’s time to go home.

I’d tell you that the next six months are going to be a bit of a whirlwind, as I complete things here in Taiwan and anticipate the move back. But it’s exciting, another phase in our lives. I will especially love being to grandparent at a closer range. Hey, Logan! Grandma’s coming!

I’d tell you that it feels good to write this post. I look forward to next week. 🙂

I’d tell you the days are moving by, and there are only 127 days to 60.

Thanks to Diana for gathering everyone together this week.  🙂  https://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/if-we-were-having-coffee-the-inaugural-weekend-coffee-share/

 

A Tuesday in Taipei: Part 2

In my previous post, I took you from the front door of our apartment building (our apartment is on the 4th floor) to the bus stop, to downtown Taoyuan, and left off the post just as I was across the street from the train station. I thought I got a shot of the front of the station, but I guess I had another case of “extra light finger.”

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

I headed to the train station at about 9:00 am, though I wasn’t really good about noting the time for use in the blog. Just know I left the house around 8:30. And got to the MRT station in Taipei at 10:30.

When I got to the train station, the first thing I noticed was how open and spacious it was. Certainly not like the last several times I’ve been there. On the weekend and during rush hours (the times I usually end up traveling), it is a very busy place. But look at it on Tuesday morning when rush hour is over.

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Here is the platform as I wait for the train to arrive. Just beyond the platform on the other side, you can see some construction going on. This will be a new train station for Taoyuan. It may not be open before I leave, but it will be great. The current station doesn’t have an elevator.

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I was taking the train from Taoyuan to the Banqiao station–a trip of about 20-25 minutes, where I would transfer to the MRT (subway) system.

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I’ll have to get some more pictures the next time I’m at the Banqiao station, but this is the best of the bunch. I also hadn’t yet figured out the settings on my camera. And then later the pictures get a bit blurry, and these are the best of what I took.  I think a practice session is in order. You may be seeing more of my Taipei travels.

Anyway, at the Banqiao station, you can catch the TRA (train), the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit system, or subway), and the HSR (High Speed Rail). I believe that it is the only MRT station other than Taipei’s Main station where you can get any one of these three major transportation systems. I’ve only been on the HSR a couple of times, but it is amazingly fast.

I headed to the MRT platform.

100_0672The MRT system is very convenient. It has expanded significantly in the six years that I’ve been here, and more construction is under way. If you look at the map below, Banqiao is on the Blue Line (#5), five stops from the bottom on the map.

mrtMy destination was the Shandao Temple Station. If you follow the Blue Line to where it turns, the stop is halfway between the Red and Orange Lines. I went to Exit 6 and this was the view.

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And this:

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The day wasn’t very clear, but if you follow the street to that open sky, you’ll see the Taipei 101 Building. Not only is it one of the tallest buildings, it has a great bookstore that has a large selection of books in English. It also has a branch of Jason’s Supermarket, a place that caters to foreigners who are looking for specialty food items from home. I found Bisquick there a couple years ago.  haha

I had 90 minutes to myself before my scheduled meeting, so a work session in a coffee shop was in order. Right across the street from Exit 6 was a Starbucks, but I was after a local establishment. Lo and behold, there was a great one located right next door to Starbucks. I was on my way.

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It had a recessed entry with a few tables outside. The whole thing was very inviting.

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I opted to have coffee inside where it was quieter. They had a lovely menu in addition to their coffee offerings, but I ordered a hot latte (taking a break from my iced latte of summer).100_0697

As I was trying to find pictures for this part of the journey, it was good to realize that I need to go back here to get more pictures. After all, I need the practice.  🙂

Hopefully, you won’t have to wait as long for the next post, but it will have some pictures that will make the wait worthwhile.

 

178 days to 60!

 

A Tuesday in Taipei: Part 1

Getting There is Half the Fun!

My outing on Tuesday of this week combined business and pleasure. I was meeting someone I had done editing for, but we were including a bit of sightseeing. Going to Taipei can be an adventure in itself, so I decided to document my travel from my apartment to the MRT stop in Taipei. Since people are interested about my life in Taiwan, I thought I’d share this prologue to my time in Taipei. Getting there would involve a bus, a train station, and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, where I planned to meet my party at  Exit 6 of the Shandao Temple Station.

When I walk out of my apartment building, I turn left through a bit of a courtyard. This is what I see.

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Then I turn to the left and approach the gate into our apartment community. On the right you can see where the guard is. In front of the gate is a space for occasional gatherings, and beyond that you can see the Guishan Township offices.

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After coming out the gate I turn to the right and go to the first corner.

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On this day, when I turned that corner there was a truck blocking the view, but this is the same street where the “piano moment” occurred.

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Last week, when I made the turn, I saw this, just slightly ahead of where the truck above is:

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Here are the parking spots that had the “motorcycle, motorcycle, piano” configuration last week. On Tuesday morning, no piano. No motorcycles either. But that will change when these shops open in another couple hours.

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As I continue toward Guishan Houjie (Back Street), I can see my bus stop across the street.

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Here is what Back Street looks like during the day from the bus stop.

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I thought I took a bus picture, but apparently I didn’t actually push the picture button hard enough. I told you I’m an awesome photographer.   haha   Anyway, it  takes about 20-25 minutes to get from the bus stop to downtown Toayuan. This is the view when I got off the bus.

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From this position, I turn right to head to the train station. This picture shows the covered tiled walk. My apologies for the lighting, but I was facing the sun at this point. Speaking of point, I should “point” out that within a couple of hours, this walkway will be jammed with people and vender carts. I always like when I get there “before the rush.”

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After coming out of that walkway, I walk past a department store (that I didn’t photograph), and then go right a few meters to cross the street to the train station. Here’s the view down the street while I’m waiting for traffic to clear.

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In the next episode, I will show you the train and the subway system (MRT).  🙂

181 days to 60.

If We Were Having Coffee: Mid-Semester Edition

Taiwan 047If we were having coffee, I’d tell you:

It’s mid-term exam week. It’s a very formalized affair here, and I’ll be grading all kinds of inane papers very soon. The only good part is that I don’t have classes this week, just tons more grading. As if a writing teacher doesn’t already have enough of that.

In addition to grading the mid-terms, I’ve created a to-do list that I want to get through this week. It’s probably a tad too ambitious, but I’ve already make some progress over the weekend, including some data entry for a research project–A LOT of data entry. Almost caught up. And it wasn’t even on the list.

I have an outing tomorrow. I’ll be going to Taipei to meet someone who wants to consult with me regarding academic writing, and it involves “seeing some sights” afterwards. I feel a blog post coming on.

I’ve had a few fairly large issues weighing on me lately, and one of them got resolved last night, so I’m feeling much more hopeful about getting back to the other things that need my attention.

I restarted the writing group this semester, and it really took. Most weeks, we now have 12-16 people. And they are starting to help choose the topics we cover. Further, they asked for some conversational “practice” time. PLUS, it’s at the coffee shop, where I’m having a coffee as I type this. The group isn’t meeting this week (mid-terms), but as you can see, it’s not keeping me away.  🙂

But I also ended something. I have cancelled my membership to Curves–for now.  The two evenings that I would normally go are now taken up with an evening class and a work session with a student helper (only night she can make it), and they aren’t open until 11:30 am, so I can’t go before work.  However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not exercising. I’ve increased my walking to every day, and I will increase it further over the next few weeks. Which leads to the next thing I would tell you.

November 4 marked the one year anniversary since I joined Curves, started walking, and totally changed my way of eating (as well as my thinking about it). I had a strong intention of becoming healthier as I approach my 60th. In the year’s time, I am excited to report that I lost 35 pounds! Now my intention is to do it again. I have to thank Joycelyn and Farther to Go! for the tools and motivation to accomplish this goal, after MANY failed attempts in the past. I’d also like to thank my husband, who has been totally supportive.

I am happy to be blogging again, even if on a limited basis. I’ve started visiting blogs again too–not as much as I’d like, but I hope to increase it a bit as I get a few things crossed off that darn to-do list. Thanks to everyone who has welcomed me back! It is just what I needed.  🙂

It’s 189 days to 60.

 

The One That Got Away

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome days, you would never imagine the things that actually happen. Like Tuesday. It started out like a “normal” day. I wanted to go to one of our neighborhood restaurants for a coffee while I worked on the textbook project. This particular restaurant is half way around the corner of the block from our apartment, so Dave and I headed over there to get me set up for a couple hours.

Along the shops on that side of the block is a lot of parking, mostly for motorcycles. (Motorcycles in Taiwan is a blog post or three all its own, but not now.) As we turned the corner, and walked toward the shop, we noticed something unusual in one of the “parking spots.”

  • instead of motorcycle, motorcycle, motorcycle,
  • we saw motorcycle motorcycle, PIANO

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYeah, I wouldn’t believe it without a picture either. And I know you can only see one motorcycle in this picture, but there was another one parked right next to that one. You can see a traffic cone in the street in front of the next shop, as well as other things you often see on streets outside of shops.

Now, back to the story. As a former piano teacher who has been in Taiwan for five years with no piano, I was slightly intrigued. Dave was less so, but it was fun to dream for a few seconds.

Dave went home, and I got settled into my work, but thoughts of that piano out there kept popping up. So I thought, “Why not just ask the restaurant owners if they knew anything about it.” (As an aside, these are the people who rescued the dog that we adopted from them.)*

Well, they didn’t. They were as surprised as I was to find a piano out there. The wife started talking to people and quickly located the owner in the midst of supervising the loading a truck. Apparently, they were moving. After a couple minutes of Chinese conversation, my friend turned to me and asked me if I wanted the piano. I was dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t seriously thought about this possibility; suddenly, there were many issues to consider.

  1. Our apartment is on the 4th floor.
  2. We would have to make room for it in the apartment.
  3. The piano wasn’t in really good shape (due to large fluctuations in humidity and temperature), although the key action was decent. And it was not terribly out of tune. (Yeah, I checked.)
  4. We’d need to have someone come to service it at some point.
  5. I hadn’t had time to quilt or do much of anything “fun,” so how would this be any different?
  6. Dave would think I was nuts. Oh wait, it’s probably too late for that.

The two of them talked some more, and I think I was asked four or five times if I wanted it, not impatiently, but with excitement, and I kept saying, “I don’t know.” The owner was willing to GIVE it to me. So I finally said, “OK, I’ll call Dave and see if we can figure out how to do this.”

They put a note on the piano that it was taken, and I called Dave. He’s so awesome. He  just gets his tape measure, measures the elevator roughly, and then heads back over to take a closer look at the piano. In the meantime, the husband of the restaurant team, Karch, started doing some measurements as well, and writing dimensions on a chalkboard that was on the wall of the porch to their shop (the same porch our dog had spent her days on).

When Dave arrived, he took more measurements and said it would be tight if it was possible at all. He looked at ways that some parts could be removed to gain an inch here or there. He went back home with the measurements to check the elevator one more time. While he did, I had visions of ten minutes here and there, moments when I could sit down and lose myself in music like I used to do. In spite of the fact, more can be done in longer periods, having the opportunity to sit down at a moment’s notice was quite appealing.

He returned with the verdict. In his words, it was “frustratingly close,” but no way without putting the piano on its end, which wasn’t a particularly good idea. Besides, that was if we figured out a way to get it that far.

In the end, we had to say no to the piano. But the good news is that I realized if I even dreamed about it for a few minutes, it opened up other possibilities. For example, I’ve been putting off quilting because I don’t have a “block” of time for it, but maybe I can set things up that even ten or fifteen minutes can provide a restorative interlude in the busy days.

It was also a reminder of all the people who have been so thoughtful to me and my husband. This is just one example of the many kindnesses the people of Taiwan have given us. Even though I’m returning home next summer, Taiwan will always hold special memories of generous and kind people.

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*And here she is.  🙂

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 191 days to 60!

If We Were Having Coffee: First Day of School Edition

admin-ajax.phpIf we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you that the first day of classes at our university is actually tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure there won’t be time to chat with you tomorrow. So I’m happy to have this time with you now.

I’d also warn you that I have a lot to say about my teaching schedule and how things work at our university, since I’ve never really told you much about it before.

If we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you that my schedule of courses went through quite a shift on Friday.  I have to scramble a bit, but overall I’m pleased with the new schedule. It’s much more interesting (and challenging) than the one I had before Friday, even though I’ve spent part of the weekend prepping for the first meeting of a class I haven’t taught before.

If we were having coffee . . .

I’m actually happy about going back to classes, when it was only a couple weeks ago when I wasn’t so sure about whether I’d have enough energy, and ideas, and motivation, and patience. I am so grateful that things came together for me in time.

If we were having coffee . . .

I’d respond to your question about what I am teaching this year. I’d tell you that my 13 credit hours of classes are spread out over three days–Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and I’m teaching my first night class. I’d tell you that 13 hours works out to six classes, which will probably surprise you. Several of the courses at our university are two credit hours each, and many of them actually run for two semesters. Only two of my classes are the same, so I’ll be prepping for five different classes each week. Luckily, there is some crossover in terms of activities that I can use with the students.

If we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you that I teach for two departments–the English Language Center (ELC) and the Department of Applied English (DAE). What’s the difference, you ask? Well, DAE is the department for students who are majoring in English. All other students in the university, regardless of major, still have to take some required English courses. And that’s where the ELC comes in. They provide basic EFL (English as a Foreign Language) courses for non-English majors. The writing classes are two hours each–so that makes 6 hours.

If we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you that I teach three classes for the DAE, all writing courses. One of them is first year writing for the freshmen, and the other two are second year writing for sophomores.  In the ELC, I teach two classes of seniors, but one of those classes is a specialized one that I developed (and have adjusted over the last couple of years) for students in the Architecture Department. Architecture is one of the few departments that has students for five years (instead of four), and they’re usually so busy that they aren’t too interested in English class. So let’s just say that they can be a challenge; but so far, I have been up for it.  [These English classes for seniors (or other 4th year students) are 2 hours each–for 4 hours.]

If we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you that my last three hours are my first evening class, which is an advanced English course (for non-English majors) who want more than just the basic requirement. It is a three-credit course called Oral Reports, and I am frantically putting things together for tomorrow night. (Of course, it’s on the first day.) But the good news is that I’ve been working on some ideas, and I’m feeling fairly confident about it. I will be able to access the past year’s syllabus in the morning, and then I can finalize things. [Luckily, I did get a copy of the TOC (Table of Contents) and the first chapter of the book.]

If we were having coffee . . .

I’d ask if you have any other questions about what I’m teaching, just ask me. I’d be happy to share.

If we were having coffee . . .

I’d tell you that it’s 246 days til 60!

 

If We Were Having Coffee (August 24)

Thanks to Gene’O for inviting us all over for this lovely gathering. I will be visiting some of my fellow coffee and tea drinkers later on.  🙂

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If we were having coffee,

  • I’d tell you that I’m excited about the creative discoveries I’m making. I not only finished piecing my current quilting project — a mystery quilt, I also figured out the correct layout for the pieces ahead of the clue that will be released on September 1. It looks great, and since I got word that my solution is correct, I’m going to begin sewing the quilt top. I’ve also been enjoying my drawing practice and Zentangle.
  • I’d tell you that I’m maintaining my exercise schedule–going to the gym and walking, more than ever. The walking is in spite of the fact that the temperature is regularly around 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) with high humidity.  And my efforts are paying off. I’m steadily losing a little weight. I’d be a little happier if those promised endorphins would kick in, but I’ll keep going regardless. I can tell that I’m feeling stronger.
  • I’d tell you that I had an awesome time on Monday, visiting a city in northern Taiwan. The day included an awesome seafood lunch, coffee overlooking water and mountains, a trip to the seafood market, and a walk through the night market. The day promises a couple of blog posts–one with pictures of the things I’ve mentioned, and a second one that covers the other activity we did that day–kite flying!
  • I’d tell you that I’m struggling with what is going to happen with my blog next month. That is when I add full-time teaching back to all the other projects I’ve been working on this summer. I really have enjoyed exploring my voice these last several weeks, but it’s been hard to always fit it in. But realistically, I can’t keep up at that pace unless I get more organized and write several posts in ahead and schedule some of them. So for now, I’m thinking that I will try to post at least 2-3 times a week, and spend some time visiting my fellow bloggers. This environment has been great for me as I’ve tried to find my way through a rough spot this summer, so thanks to everyone who has been part of that great connection.
  • I’d tell you that I’m looking forward to a visit to another part of Taiwan this week, and that you should be looking for more posts and photos.

Have a lovely week!

297 days to 60!

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.  🙂

If We Were Having Coffee (August 10)

100_0635If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that:

  • I want to introduce you to one of my friends: Dante! You might remember from Halloween last year. She’s also going to help show you some of the interesting fun I’ve had in the last couple of days. (HINT: look at what is on her shoulders.)
  • I still have lots of work to do, but I just had the urge to play a little bit (starting yesterday evening). Since it had been a long time since I felt that kind of urge, I figured the work could wait.
  • As part of my summer mystery quilt project, I assembled some fabric strip sets. Yesterday, cutting them into segments was on the agenda, but I needed to replace the blade on my rotary cutter. The last time I cut fabric, it was kind of a slog.
  • Having a new blade in my rotary cutter is like discovering a new land. I don’t know why on earth, I waited so long to change it. When I cut fabric yesterday, it was — dare I say it? — F U N ! I now have a slight insight into why I might have not been looking forward to that part of the quilting process. Now, it’s like: Bring me more fabric! I want to cut it!
  • Because cutting fabric was fun, I actually thought about doing some sewing, but I didn’t do the sewing for the mystery quilt, I started sewing together scrap pieces leftover from when I pieced the top for my daughter’s quilt.

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  • So by the time I turned off the sewing machine last night, I had quite a string of these pieces paired up.
  • When Dante got here today, she was amazed at how many of them were sewed together. Since I did chain piecing, they were all in one long strand. So she had the idea of stringing them up across the room.
  • We decided (at first) that we should drape them around the closet doors. You can see the results of our efforts here.

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  • We thought it would make sense to press them open so you could see the bright colors, but the string was way too long. So we cut them into four sections. I pressed and then cut, and Dante would lay them on the table. After we finished all four, we needed a way to display them. Refer back to the picture at the top of this post.   haha
  • Here’s another photo of my newest quilting process model.

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  • By this time, we were really having fun! We talked of the possibility of setting a fashion trend. What do you think? Would it catch on?
  • But seriously, here is a picture of them actually arranged on the ironing board.

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  • The next step will be to sew these sections together and continue playing with the colors and block sizes. With no definite plan in mind, anything is possible. These lovely fabric scraps in various configurations may be appearing in another post in the near future.
  • What have you been doing since we last had coffee?

 

An added bonus: I took a picture of Dante that I was kind of surprised at because the lighting was really strange, but she really liked it, so we thought we’d share it with you.

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  • I hope you enjoyed our time together as much as I have.
  • I can’t wait until our next time.