Friend or Foe: Reacquainting with the Beast

socs-badgeThis week is the one-year anniversary of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. I’ve loved this weekly prompt, even though I haven’t participated every week. Sometimes, when nothing else can motivate me, I look forward to this prompt to break the logjam of ideas.

This week Linda writes:

As a special feature for February’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, The Bee and I have decided to collaborate! As you may know, on her site – Just Fooling Around with Bee – a month-long blog-hop is going on in recognition of Love, called “Love Is In Da Blog.” The week 4 prompt is Love in friendship.

Then she adds: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: acquaint and/or friend.

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And now, I write:

I apologize to my male readers in advance, but when I personify something that gives me a lot of grief, I automatically make it male. So the character that I introduce in this post has had a male identity in my mind for the last 20 years. It might be time to revisit that decision, but not today.

Thirty years ago, after the birth of my third child, I realized something was wrong. I don’t know exactly when it happened that I had stopped caring about things, when I started simply going through the motions of getting through the day. But on that particular day, I looked out the window of the living room, and knew that things didn’t add up. If everyone had as lethargic as I did,  no one would be out moving around outside. Yet, when I looked out the window, people WERE moving around.

And at the age of 30, I was diagnosed with  depression. It’s possible that it was part of me before that, but we had not been formally introduced. Since that time, the depression has been a rather consistent companion. I used to believe that if I worked hard enough, I could get him to leave. I saw him as an intruder, a thief who robbed me of happiness and motivation. On quite a few occasions, I’ve convinced myself that I had successfully overcome it, and would congratulate myself on being back to “normal,” but after several times of crashing into the depths again, I knew I needed a different approach.

So after 12 years of battling him as an enemy to be defeated, I named him and accepted his commitment to our relationship. I decided to try to “make friends” with him, or at least negotiate some kind of truce so that we could co-exist. Since The Beast (as I not-so-affectionately name him) is convinced he wants to stay around, I/we established  a few ground rules for our relationship. I agreed to stop trying to evict him, and his bids for attention have become less intense–most of the time.

Interestingly, I can usually put on a good face no matter how I feel, especially if I have an obligation to meet. More often than not, people who see me (especially at work), have no idea that I’m battling The Beast. As a result, people (who do find out) are often surprised to learn I’m dealing with The Beast. For example, during my second year in Taiwan, I had a total knee replacement. When I was meeting with my orthopedic surgeon beforehand, we went over my medications, and he expressed something close to shock: “YOU are being treated for depression?” 

In my role as teacher and mentor, there are times when students are also surprised to find out that I understand depression so intimately. When students come to me with motivation problems or depressive symptoms, I am able to help them, often by simply sharing part of my own story.  They are so surprised to learn that it is something I deal with. In fact, sometimes I recognize symptoms in students before they realize that something isn’t quite right. When I’m able to ask them a few questions, and I see the recognition in their eyes, I don’t mind so much that I’ve spent the time with the Beast. Who would have thought that The Beast was serving me well in this unexpected way?

I don’t think I will ever refer to The Beast as a friend, but I no longer treat him as the enemy. I look for ways to keep most of his drama at bay, so I can still get the things done that need to be done. However, sometimes his cries for attention come at the most inopportune times. When that happens, I try to think of him as a part of me that is missing something that he needs, something that I’m forgetting to give myself. I don’t let him control my life, but I don’t try to pretend he doesn’t exist or ignore his pleas for help. I like to think that this attitude is what has made it easier to get along with The Beast. We’re both a little more understanding.

80 days until 60!

If you’d like to participate in this week’s challenge, here are the links.

http://lindaghill.com/2015/02/27/special-edition-friday-prompt-for-socs-february-2815/

https://justfoolingaroundwithbee.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/love-is-in-da-blog-february-ping-back-post-rulessuggestions-week-4/

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Coffee, Quilts, and other things that go “K” in the night

year-of-the-goat-with-icons_23-2147502885Tomorrow is Chinese New Year’s Eve. For the first time in my six years here, we will spend most of the evening in Taipei. We are meeting our friend Joe in Taipei at 3:30 for coffee, discussion of a paper I’m helping him with, and dinner. I should say I’ll be doing the coffee and paper discussion part. Dave will wander around that part of Taipei and join us for the dinner portion of the afternoon/evening. To start the festivities, Dave and I will catch a bus from our neighborhood about 2:30 to go to the nearest MRT station that will take us to the Taipei station where we’ll meet Joe.

As most of you know, I have just over a week of semester break left. Once the Chinese New Year holiday is past, we will gear up for back to school. You may also know that during the break from classes, I’ve been putting in most of my “working hours” at a coffee shop about a half mile from our apartment. I do it because it takes care of a variety of goals and objectives in one fell swoop. Or at least on a regular basis without having to put a lot of time and thought into it. For example, my nearly daily trip to the coffee shop does at least four things for me.

  1. 100_0697It keeps me focused on my work without overtaking my home life.
  2. I get exercise walking here and walking home.
  3. I get great coffee!  ❤
  4. I have an interesting social group here, even though we don’t speak the same language.

OK, now you may wonder what the connection is among all of these seemingly isolated pieces of information. Particularly, how does quilting fit into it? (Coffee fits in with everything. Am I right?)

Any other day, if I were leaving for Taipei at 2:30 in the afternoon, I’d come to the coffee shop when they open and work for a few hours and drink coffee. But . . . . .

THEY ARE CLOSED TOMORROW!

Whatever will I do? Luckily, they will be open the following day, New Year’s Day proper. So I can’t fault them too much. They are, after all, only taking one day, when many places can take up to a week or more. For example, the neighborhood near campus will be quite quiet tomorrow.

mystery quilt fabricSo I decided that since they’re having their day off tomorrow, I’ll stay home and do something else that doesn’t contaminate my home space with work. I’m going to work on some quilting projects. Sure I could work on other stuff, but guess what? I’m not going to. I’m giving myself this gift of time.

The reality is I’m coming to terms with the fact that I can never really catch up. That I’m going to have to rethink my commitments and obligations, so that I can rearrange my life accordingly. In the meantime, I can have a nice chunk of sewing time tomorrow. I’ll be sharing some of the results of tomorrow’s escapades here. I actually feel more excitement than I have in a while. I think it’s a good sign.

 

91 days until 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.

 

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.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

The Climbing Snails: What Happens Next?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday, when I posted about the adventuresome snails on Wildlife Wednesday, I had no idea my little mystery would attract such strong “requests” for knowing what happened to the little guys. So, never one to ignore the questions of the masses, I did some investigating this morning.

The Internet can be an amazing place, with access to all kinds of information. Of course, we never know for sure the accuracy of some of that information, but I thought I’d share some of my “findings” with you. While these snippets won’t necessarily solve the mystery of the two snails in yesterday’s post, we can at least hypothesize about what happened after that morning on the wall.

I found this at Yahoo! Answers

Someone asks:

I see the shells of dead snails stuck all over the outside of buildings. Don’t understand why they just stay there and dry up. Maybe they can’t climb in a downwards direction?

One answer, and not a very encouraging one:

It happens when they’re affected by a dangerous chemical or infection in the area. As their tissues go into necrosis, they give off a distinctive (to other snails, at least) scent, which warns others of danger in the area. A snail that is about to die will climb as high as he can, so that the scent spreads farther.

At Intelligent Answers, I found this “conversation”:

P-Kasso2 asks:

Why are snails climbing my wall?
These snails seem to know where they are going and have now reached
6 or 7 feet off the ground. Only another 3 feet to go.

They have only just started doing this.

They have all been quite happy toddling around at ground level during
the summer but now they have taken to abseiling en masse.

Now it is up up and away.

Has this something to with hibernation? Is it a mass break-out attempt?

But why 7 feet up a wall? What is going on?

Wumpus responds, but only to add to the mystery:

I don’t know what the reason is, but I noticed a snail well up the wall at a mate’s house the other night. A good 8 feet off the floor.

The surprising thing is that the snail trail indicated that it was actually on its way back down, having been for a little saunter across his roof.

AtMyWitzEnd offers an explanation:

Snails do actually migrate before and after “hibernation” … actually aestivation, because they become inactive in dry conditions and not cold conditions. They just seal up their shell and wait out dry periods, which include the winter in the UK. According to the book “Behavioural Rhythms of Land Snails in the Field” (every home should have a copy), they migrate between three and a half and six miles (is it worth the effort??). It says the difference depends on how wet it is as they can travel 24 hours in wet conditions but have to hide up during the day when it is dry … and it depends on how many houses are in their way I guess!

I suspect your wall is just in their planned path, PK. Like the Wumpus house, they will be over the top and down the other side and on their way.

ME: Of course, then he has to pull out the bad news:

 
ME:  Thanks, AtMyWitzEnd, for ruining my hopes. I couldn’t look, but I included the link for those of you with stronger constitution.)

Wumpus again:

Because it’s there….

As a follow-on from this question, I noticed another snail quite a long way up the wall of one of the buildings at work.

Thing is, said building is 3 storeys high.

Is this the Chris Bonnington of the snail world, or suicidally optimistic, or just plain stupid?

From experience, snails have no problems finding my cabbages, so why does a large building confuse them so?

Back from PKasso2

To answer Wumpus first…my snails were definitely heading upwards but have now stopped and gone into Park mode.

To touch on Witz’s point about migrating snails…I recall reading yonks ago that if you lob snails over the wall into the neighbour’s garden, the snails just find their way back. Doncha just love our gastropod pals!

It takes them a while but they do seem to have a scientifically proven homing instinct.

None of which explains Witz’s point about snail’s migrating.

Where do they migrate to? And why should they want to migrate from a spot where they have been happily munching my lettuces all bliddy summer?

Or is the some legendary Snail Burial Ground they are all heading for?

 

MY CLOSING COMMENTS:

I fear we may have raised more questions than we answered. Of course, Evil Squirrel’s response to yesterday’s post has merit.

Someone must have mentioned escargot, so they bolted up the wall to flee!

 For some interesting photos of snails climbing trees and additional theories, you can check out this post. It’s pretty cool!

If you still have more questions, post them below. Or if you have additional theories or want to vote for one of the theories proposed, go for it.  🙂

 

Wildlife Wednesday (a few hours late)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI noticed Wildlife Wednesday a while back, but then I didn’t see it for a while. Today, I found out why. It only happens on the FIRST Wednesday of the month. Not to be one to have to wait another month to join in, I’m going to post this even though it is technically Thursday. I don’t think anyone will mind.  Thanks to Tina of My Gardener Says for hosting this event.

When I was thinking about which kind of creature to include, I had this idea about doing little creatures fast and slow. My husband has been taking photos around the neighborhood, and that seemed like a fun way to go. Unfortunately, the fast critter is so speedy that my husband doesn’t have quite so many photos of it. So I’ll just go with a story about a couple of slow critters for this month. I hope you enjoy.

If you took a hint from this photo, you may have guessed that our slow creatures are snails. And you would be correct. This shell–now vacant–was on the ground near the “climbing snails” I am posting below. This one was much easier to photograph than the two living specimens that you will see next.

Let me show you a block of photos and then I’ll explain what you’re seeing.

mosaicIn the top row, the first picture shows one of two snails as it’s climbing a wall. I don’t normally consider my husband wildlife, but he took a photo of his hand to demonstrate the size of these bricks. This is significant because, as you can see from the bottom row, these little guys are up quite a few of those bricks–several hand lengths from the ground.

At the time(s) that these photos were taken (plural because they really are slow creatures, although their progress up this wall was amazing), I was in a classroom teaching a writing class. Once my husband pointed out his current photographic interest, I went over to the window to see them. They weren’t quite at eye level, but they were close. BUT I wasn’t on the first floor! I was in a second floor classroom. These two crazies were a story and a half up from the ground.

WHY?  I have no idea!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaybe one said to the other, “Race you to the top.” But wow, what a long way to go. And how do they get down? And . . . .

And we eventually had to leave, so the photographic story is incomplete, but they were an interesting pair to keep an eye on for those couple of hours.

Finally, one closer look at one of the pair. I hope he made it home ok.

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Feeling Trapped HERE: Stream of Consciousness Saturday (Part 1)

Linda’s Friday prompt for Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness post is “hear/here.” I think I’m going to do this in two parts, starting with “here.”

10530768_10202456215468170_2235054169176470936_nI’ve been struggling for several weeks to feel like myself. The one good thing I know is that I have not been dwelling in the past. And I’m only mildly dabbling in the future — though that is part of my “long-range” planning for heading back to the US next summer. My point is that, for now, I try to be in the present. I try to be here.

The unfortunate thing is that at the moment, here is not an especially nice place to be. I can’t seem to get excited about what to do here. I know this is the best chunk of time I’m going to have for the next twelve months. Yet, I can’t seem to enjoy and explore the here and now.

Luckily, there are moments, when I get little glimpses of motivation and wonder here. And I daresay that those moments might be coming a little more often than they did during the last few weeks. This gives me hope because there are things I want to do in my present here, so that I can make a relatively smooth transition to the future.

I’m not looking for sympathy, or even suggestions. I feel like I’m finding my way out of this. It’s just been a frustration to feel like the moments float by me without my participation. I am not usually this passive — therefore, the discomfort is — haha — uncomfortable. I guess the main reason for following this train of thought in this post is that I’ve learned that these little Saturday exercises often move me to the next level if I let this unconscious part come to the surface. So here I am.

Another reason I can recognize that things are improving is that my productivity is slowly returning to a more normal level. Not quite as good as I’d like, but still — it’s significant. The goal setting I’ve been doing over the past few weeks was supplemented this week by a few “concentrated lists” for a particular day and time. That seemed to make a difference. In other words, I like contests, games, challenges. I need to remember and use that to my advantage, even when I think I don’t have the desire to play.

Because that is the other key: making sure that fun and play are part of my here. It’s important to give myself down time and to really give myself over to the playful side, like when I take time out for Zentangle with coffee, of course (as in the picture above) and a couple finished Zentangles in the photo below.

As August gets into full swing, I’m feeling a lot more optimistic about here, and I look forward to having some fun things to show you in the near future.

You might want to check out a whole other angle of this week’s SofCS with my post about HEAR.  🙂

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If you’d like to join in, please do. It’s a great way to meet new people and see new blogs!

Here are the rules from Linda’s page:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people will come and read your post! The way to ping back, is to just copy and paste the URL of my post somewhere on your post. Then your URL will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. For example, in your post you can copy and paste the following: This post is part of SoCS: http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-214/  The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!

SCARY CAT: Cartoon Craziness Challenge

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In the course of teaching writing classes, I sometimes draw things on the board to illustrate principles. For example, I draw an iceberg so that students can see how much more of it is submerged below the water line than what is seen from a ship’s deck, for example. When I try to draw a ship on the water line, it’s not always pretty. But the students get the point that I’m trying to make–at least I hope they do–between the unconscious (System 1)  and  the conscious (System 2) processes of the brain. In the course of drawing this iceberg scenario for them, my explanations are often accompanied by lots of smiles and a few laughs from the students. Especially when I deliver my last line of that particular lecture:

“And this is why I teach writing and not drawing!”

You may wonder why I told you that story. It’s because even though I don’t think I’m very good at drawing, I still put it out there when I have a reason. I am intrigued by this challenge, but if I get one piece of it that is reasonable, I feel like I need to stop and not risk ruining things. So even though I know the challenge this week is for KIDS (and their pets), I got the pet, so we’re going to call it good.

CAT

NOTE:  My stats took a hit last week when I posted my attempt at creating a superhero. Coincidence? 🙂 I think not. So, just for fun, I’m doing a test. If the number of visits goes down when I post this latest masterpiece, I will probably keep my drawings to myself.  Luckily (or not), you probably have guessed I’m bluffing. But why take a chance?

Go check out the other entries to this week’s challenge.

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