To Blog or Not to Blog: The (Late) Trick or Treat Post

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog. School started, publication deadlines stepped up, and taking a couple days off from blogging seemed like a reasonable thing to do. Days, turned into weeks, and it’s now been 6 1/2 weeks (45 days) since a post.

I did think about posting on Friday, October 31. Actually, I almost posted this picture on Friday. It’s from last year, but I like it. But thinking about posting it wasn’t the same as posting it. So Halloween came and went without a post from me.

When I first stopped posting, I still read and commented on a few blogs, but it got to be less and less until the last few weeks, when I’ve only read a small handful here and there. I followed two a little more reliably–one because I’m hooked on the story that is evolving on her blog, and the other because I dream of someday doing some quilting again.

But today, I got daring and opened a couple other posts, and what should hit me but this from Not a Punk Rocker. Her post: Ten Reasons I’m Taking On Two Challenges [(1) a blog post each day this month and (2) exploring photography through a photo a day]. Well, the photo thing is pretty much beyond me, but it was interesting that I would run across a daily blogging challenge at a time when I’ve been struggling about taking the plunge.

So I started my own list of ten reasons, with a twist. Five reasons why I should join the challenge to post every day in November and five reasons why I shouldn’t. Before I started writing this post, I asked my husband if he thought it was a bad idea to get back into it. Although he knows I get a lot out of blogging, he thought with everything else going on, such a commitment might lead me to be a bit suicidal. While suicide is nothing to joke about, I did appreciate that he made me laugh.

And now, on to my lists!


Reasons for blogging every day in November:

1. It keeps me connected with some interesting people and their writing.

2. It gives me an outlet for some of my thoughts.

3. It builds up a body of writing that doesn’t happen when I’m not blogging.

4. I like it.

5. It helps keep me balanced, i.e., when I’m blogging, I can’t work as much.¬† ūüôā


Reasons for not blogging every day in November.

1. I am so far behind, it seems like an indulgence that I can’t afford.

2. It adds another layer of pressure to a life already kind of full of deadlines and stress.

3. There are other things that might have a higher priority in the overall scheme of things.

4. I don’t really need it.

5. I already missed November 1 by the time I found out about the challenge.


The Middleground

And then I realized I need to take my own advice. I often tell people that things don’t have to be just black and white–lots of shades in between. So having gone through this process of weighing pros and cons, I realized that I didn’t need to make the list at all. What I really need is to just jump back in with this crazy post–nothing snappy or exciting, just something that gets me back in the water.

If I only write once a week, it’s 4 times a month more than I’m writing now.

So my challenge is to write once or twice a week for November and see how that goes.

I look forward to reconnecting with my blogging friends.


197 days to 60!

Halloween: Riding in a Police Car

English: Cartoon version of a Police Car

Cartoon version of a Police Car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wrote earlier about my trip to Curves last night. On my taxi ride home, I was content, but a little tired, not really focusing on the details of the trip. I helped direct the driver the last few blocks to our apartment, because it’s not on a main street. He dropped me off at the front gate of our complex, and I came inside to tell Dave about my evening.

This morning, I went to school, dressed as a witch, with a bag of treats for my Thursday morning writing class. I was so excited about showing Audrey (my taxi driver) my witch’s hat, that I forgot to get the money out to pay her. As I was scrambling to grab my wallet from my purse, she said I could pay her when she picked us up. Great! I got out of the car and Dave and I were ready to head into the building, when he turned to me and asked, “Where’s the hat?” Damn! I left it in the taxi. It took a few attempts to reach Audrey by phone, but I did. She and Dave were then scheduled to meet out in front the next time she came with a car load of students and she would give him the hat. So I was going to give him the money to pay her, and I couldn’t find my wallet!

Almost immediately, I had a recollection of having my wallet on my lap when I was in the taxi last night. I had been watching the fare and anticipating how much money to have out, and I hadn’t put my wallet back in my purse. So last night AND this morning, I left things in taxis. That’s NOT the way one normally does things. Still, after Dave got my hat and paid Audrey,¬†he decided to go back home while I taught my class to see¬†the wallet was actually at home. I appreciated the gesture, but I was fairly certain that he wouldn’t find it. Unfortunately, I was right.

When I finished teaching, we went out to catch the taxi. But Audrey wasn’t there to pick us up. Her brother, Mac was.¬†I¬†could write a blog post (or three) about the amazing things these people have done for me during my time in Taiwan. Today was just one more example of their kindness. When we got in the taxi, I told Mac that I left my wallet in a taxi last night. I was hoping that through his taxi contacts, it might be “almost” simple to put out some feelers. I wasn’t so lucky. He said, “I think I just need to take you to the police station. If you know what time it was, they can look at videos of a street corner along the way and maybe track down the taxi you were in.”

As you might imagine, this was not the way I wanted to spend my Thursday. I had several things that I wanted to do today–the most personally pressing one was finishing this blog challenge. (After this post, I have one more to do before midnight to complete 31 posts in 31 days–YAY me!) Anyway, we had to wait for a police car to take me to the station where the video equipment was. So there I was, getting into the back seat of a police car. There’s a first for a Taiwan experience!¬† ūüôā

So I spent the next couple of hours sitting in the police station. Mac stayed and explained everything at our first stop. Then he went along in the police car to the other station and helped with interpreting. After spending over an hour with me (and away from his taxi route), he finally excused himself at 11:45 and went back to work. It would be almost two more hours before we would be done with the police report and watching surveillance videos.

A Happy Ending

We were walking back home from the police station, when Mac called and said that he found that the taxi driver had turned in the wallet at the gatehouse at MCU, the university where I work. Then it went from department to department until it got to my department. So Dave went up to school the middle of the afternoon and picked it up. The money was gone, but I have all of my documents. I’m so relieved because those documents (my ID card and my insurance card) would have taken time, money, and a lot of annoyance to replace. So I’m grateful, and I’ve decided to pay more attention to taxi numbers when I ride, so that I can catch these things quicker. Besides, if I pay attention to the numbers, it will also focus me on keeping track of my stuff, so I don’t NEED to know those numbers.

With all the observations about thinking differently and noticing things about how I’m changing in that regard, this was a good reminder about how System 1 (the unconscious part of our brain) has to filter through all the incoming data. Of all the pieces of information that would have helped track things down today, I had very little I could actually give to the police. Luckily, I remembered where our last major turn was so that they could locate the videos for that location, but the make of the taxi, a number, even the time I was traveling through there–all of these things were lost in the haze of my just zoning out on my way home last night. It wasn’t that I didn’t remember. I just never noticed,

So I lost a big part of my day, but in the end, I have my wallet back, and I learned something more about my brain and about the details I should focus on while traveling in a taxi. And I got to ride in a police car on Halloween. Kudos to Mac and to the great officers at the police station!

Grandma/Grandson Halloween Photos

Halloween in Taiwan!


(Photo credit: cafeconlecheporfavor)

Halloween arrives 12 hours earlier on my side of the world. So as my grandson was going to bed on the eve of Halloween, I was headed to my 8:10 class, treats in hand. My costume was simple. The big flowing gown I usually wear for this costume is back in the U.S. But I made do as a rather well-dressed witch headed out for a social obligation, with just a touch of black lace to go with the ensemble.

I had told my students that I’d be dressing up, and one of my students also came in costume, and I think she outdid me,as you can see in the photo. I heard from another student that Dante got up at 5 this morning to start doing the make-up for this amazing costume. And Dante told me that she used pieces of artificial nails to look like teeth. It was almost too realistic, if you know what I mean.

But as you can see in the photo below, we had lots of fun. And we still got lots of work done in class, talking about essay structure and how to make our introductory paragraphs more effective and interesting.¬†It wasn’t ALL fun and games!

captain hook's grandma

Halloween in Michigan!

This is Logan’s (my grandson’s) third Halloween. He went from a cow on his first Halloween to a cowboy for¬†his second. Now that he’s 2 1/2, he was able (thankfully) to choose his own costume, and he chose¬†Captain Hook!¬†I don’t know if it’s because his father is a volunteer fire fighter, but my sister, Laurie, got Logan¬†a fire department toy set as a gift. Logan likes playing with the¬†dispatch gizmo that came with it. Apparently, Logan¬†and “Captain Hook” have been having fairly regular exchanges over this dispatch toy. Here is a little snipped from a Facebook chat between me and my daughter, in which it is clear that Logan has Captain Hook on the brain.

Kate:¬† “Three minutes! Okay, goodbye” and after he hangs it up it starts again.

Me:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† LOL¬† three minutes to what?¬† ūüėČ

Kate:¬† “Hi Captain Hook, How are you? Oh. Three minutes. Okay, goodbye”

Kate:¬†¬†¬† I have no idea, but that’s the general conversation.

Me:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†That’s hysterical!

Kate:¬†¬†¬† They always end with “Okay, goodbye”

We will never know what was going through Logan’s mind, but here he is, as his current alter ego, Captain Hook!

captain hook

And for those of you who missed it, this post of Halloween music assembled by Kate and me is offered for your viewing and listening pleasure!.

Happy Halloween, everyone!¬† ūüôā

Music for All Hallow’s Eve (A Mother/Daughter Collaboration)

Three jack-o'-lanterns illuminated from within...

I was considering sitting this one out. I was kind of stymied since I don’t really do much with Halloween music and movies. I did think about working with the idea of masks, and found a number of songs about Masquerades. One of those, the one from Phantom of the Opera, is in this list, but it’s the only masquerade song that made the cut.

Luckily, I ended up chatting with my daughter last night. Compared to me (and many others), she is the expert regarding all things Halloween. So for the heck of it,¬†I asked her what songs came to mind for Halloween. She came up with a couple of ideas right away. Then I told her the one I had and an idea I had for another, but that I couldn’t remember where it was from. When I described it to her, she remembered right away. So that one got included. Before long, she not only talked me through some selections, but she helped me find the videos. Not bad for two people chatting from halfway around the world.¬†Suddenly, this project was getting to be fun. The creative juices were flowing.

By the way, if¬†you’d like to see what she’s up to in her pen pal-related blog, you can find her at Sincerely Kate.

The Corpse Bride – Remains of the Day

Who knew that such things existed? This whole Halloween movie/music thing is quite enlightening. I’m not sold yet on watching this one, but maybe at some point.

Nightmare Before Christmas – This is Halloween

This was Kate’s first suggestion. No hesitation. Apparently, this was a common video at our place when she was growing up, but¬†I honestly don’t remember it. Must not have grabbed me. It obviously appealed to her.

Sweeney Todd – Poor Thing

It’s probably fair to tell you she’s crazy about musicals. So the combination of Halloween and musicals, how could I miss?

Hocus Pocus: I Put a Spell on You

This was Kate’s second offering, immediately following on the heels of This is Halloween (see above).¬†I told you she is an expert in all things Halloween.

Phantom of the Opera – Masquerade

I love everything about this musical, and I knew from the beginning that I would include this song. And it’s one I already knew, and I had seen the production–both live (in Toronto) and in the movie!¬† ūüôā

Labyrinth – As the World Falls Down

This is the one that I could remember the images, but couldn’t recall the movie. Kate to the rescue!

This project turned out to be a lot of fun. Working with Kate made it especially enjoyable. It also reminded me of  listening to Phantom of the Opera music with her. We also watched the Labyrinth movie together many times. Good times! Like the ones I hope you have with this collection of Halloween-themed music.