Share Your World 2015 (Week 7)

year-of-the-goat-cartoon_23-2147503522I’ve not been doing too much sharing of my world in the blog lately. But it’s the first day of  the Chinese New Year, and I’m sitting in my office the coffee shop making progress on several projects from my to-do list. As a treat, I thought I’d jump back into this challenge. Hopefully, I’ll stick around for a while, but I can feel things shifting for me. Who’d have thought that Chinese New Year would be such a time of introspection for me. I thought I just did that introspection thing last month.  🙂

Here are Cee’s questions for the week.

041514-sywbannerIs the paper money in your possession right now organized sequentially according to denomination and with the bills right side up and facing the same way?

hahahahahahahahaha! We’re having a good day when all the paper money in my possession is put away into its zippered pouch. But that aside, the paper money in my possession is Taiwanese, and there are only three denominations in regular use. Rumor has it that there is a 2000 NTD note, but I’ve yet to see one in actual circulation.

A 100 NTD note is worth about $3 US (depending on the exchange rate)

A 500 NTD note is worth about $15 US.

A 1000 NTD note is worth about $30 US.

I usually don’t have more than 1000 NTD with me. Most of the time I have a small wad of 100 NTDs. But their arrangement is not that orderly. If they’re folded together in one bunch, that’s about as organized as we get.

What is your favorite type of dog?  (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)

My favorite type of dog is my unique little chihuahua. Even though there was a chihuahua in the house when I was younger, that thing would bark up a storm any chance she got, including if a tissue dropped on the floor. Well, maybe not THAT bad, but no one could come near the door. And then it took forever to calm her down again. I didn’t dislike her, but she could get on your nerves sometimes.

I’m usually more of a cat person, and so when we adopted this rescue dog, it was kind of surprising for me to discover how quickly I became attached to her. Anyway, I tease people that she acts more like a cat than a dog. But she NEVER barks; occasionally, she lets out a single growly yelp, but it happens so rarely, it always gets out attention. Maybe that’s her point.  I don’t care too much, because she’s a nice little bundle when she’s curled up in my lap.

If money was not an issue, would you go on a cruise?  If so where would you go?

If money were not an issue, I would definitely go on several cruises. Some for location, some for a theme. The places I most want to cruise would be to Alaska and around New Zealand. Of course, I wouldn’t turn down the Caribbean. In fact, I can’t think of a place I would flat out refuse.

I’d also like to go on a cruise for quilters, where I could hang out for 5-7 days, sewing, learning, sharing, and having fun with other quilters. For that one, we could go anywhere. I would still like to see things, but I would like a few days where any available time could just be used for sewing.

Would you dare to sleep in haunted house overnight?

That depends.  🙂   On two things:

1) What kind of haunted? How serious are we talking here?

2) Whether or not I would have to be alone when I did it.

If it was a place that was reported to have doors opening and closing in the night, sounds, voices, etc., I’d probably do it if there were a good reason. OK, maybe three things:

3) Why? What’s the point? Is there some kind of award or prize?   LOL

 

If you want to join in the fun, head over to http://ceenphotography.com/2015/02/16/share-your-world-2015-week-7/

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Sharing Music, Computer Games, and Dwarfs from My World

If it seems like you just read a Share Your World post from me, that’s because you did. I revisited a previous question before completing last week’s questions, so here I am: trying to get current. Better to do two than skip one and have you miss out on all this random information about me.  🙂 Thanks Cee for your continued hosting of this cool challenge.

 

What is your favorite smell? What memory does it remind you of?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was difficult to come up with one smell, so here’s my list.

Freshly mowed lawn. Reminds me of summers growing up in Michigan, playing out in the yard, sitting under the plum tree, and generally being kids.

Bread baking. I’m not sure I have a lot of memories of bread baking, but I sure love the smell. On the other hand, it might be something that I wasn’t conscious of. (OK, so my color coding doesn’t work so well for bread. The tan is just too light, so you have to put up with this.)

Roasting green chilies (which I only smell in New Mexico, but it’s awesome).

The perfume my grandmother used to wear. One of the most amazing experiences I had after my grandmother died is having memories of her initiated in the most random places. Walking home from the bus, and I would pass someone wearing that perfume. And I could close my eyes and be with Grandma again.

Coffee, especially freshly roasted beans — no explanation needed.  But I do have a little story, because you know I often do.  When I was younger, I loved the smell of my father making coffee. But I never liked the taste. When I got married, my husband drank coffee. I loved the smell, but didn’t like the taste. Eventually, I found that if I started drinking coffee (with cream and sugar), that was pretty good. Then one of my bosses good-naturedly started hassling me about what’s the point of drinking coffee if I’m going to put all that stuff in it. So I gradually got to the point where I could drink black coffee, but I eventually returned to adding a little cream or milk to it. And I don’t do flavored coffees anymore. Just give me the basic stuff with some milk. Yum!

Name a song or two which are included on the soundtrack to your life?

Probably Tapestry by Carole King to represent all the rich and varied experiences (and my love of textiles), and Firework! by Katy Perry because I’m finally really coming into my own. And while I’ve done some awesome things in my life, I still have a few more sparks that need igniting.

Do you play video/computer game?  Which one(s) or most recent? 

I’ve played a few games in the past, though the names elude me. My current games if I need a little break include Spider Solitaire and Free Cell. I know, I lead an exciting life. Actually, I can’t get involved in games that suck me in, or I’d spend too much time on them.  😉

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best?  Plus what would the 8th dwarf’s name be? (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey)

I guess I’d say Doc. I’m the problem solver, the teacher, the listener. It seems to be the best fit, unless I was Happy on a day he forgot his meds. As for an 8th dwarf, I’ll go with Crazy.

Sharing My World from Last Week!

Thanks to Cee for keeping Share Your World challenge going. I always discover something unexpected when answering these random questions. That’s why I’m answering this quickly before this week’s questions are delivered to my mailbox. On to the questions.

taiwan-mapDo you believe in ghosts? 

I live in a country where Ghost Month just ended. I have to admit though, I didn’t personally see any ghosts at any time during the month.

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility:  If you could play any sport professionally what would it be?  Or if you can’t picture yourself playing sports, what is your favorite sport?

Figure skating or gymnastics. Or swimming. Or diving.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?

I prefer Goldilocks hair. Not too short, not too long, just right.  🙂

If you were on an small island, who would you want to be with? And where is it?  How big is it?

Although it’s not very small, I actually already live in an island. And even though there are lots of people here, including my awesome husband, Dave, and many friends I’ve made over the past 5 years, there are many people that aren’t here. They live half a world away. So if I could add a few more people to this island (or get an island closer to them), I’d like my parents, my children, and my grandson Logan to be on the island.  But for me, it’s all in the timing.

I will return to the US next year, and then it will be the people on this island that I’m leaving behind. My husband will still be with me, but all of the people I’ve met here, the people who have become my family on the other side of the world, will be on the island, and I’ll be back home. It’s odd having a home on both sides of the world, but I feel pretty darn lucky to have this kind of oddity in my life.

 

266 Days til 60

 

I Dreamed Too Small

IMG_0345Sometimes, small is good. Like our great little dog, who is a delight to have around. I never expected to have a dog EVER, but here I am with a dog that was rescued from the street. She may be small, but she’s still awesome in my book. But not all things should be small.

In last week’s Share Your World, there was a question a gift I’d like. As I will explain in this post, I decided I needed to revisit that question before going on to this week’s questions. I was surprised to realize that even when I know better, I still have a tendency to think small.

When Cee asked to consider what gift we would like to receive (anything). Upon thinking about it for a couple of days, I thought it would be great to have a place to pursue my quilting art and creativity for a period of time in a retreat or studio experience. Here is the question and my actual response from that post.

If you could be given any gift what would it be?

A year-long stay at a quilting/art colony with a fully stocked studio and access to fabric, as well as a couple other artists to brainstorm and collaborate with. But I could still be ecstatic with a month or two.  🙂

But then a couple days later, I was out walking, and that’s when it occurred to me that if I could choose any gift, I really should be thinking much larger. And I got caught on that post. Don’t get me wrong. I love quilting and art-making in general. I love making music. The idea of having a place where I could really pursue those activities is awesome. It’s the second part of the “gift” that I really missed. I mentioned that I would like a few other artists there with whom I could interact. Duh!

Many people have memories of doing creative things as a child. But we often put those things aside as we “grow up.” No time. Or we got the idea that we weren’t necessarily good at it. Or as we got older, we might have been told that there was no way to make a living with that kind of thing. Whatever the reason, we may have pushed artistic expression underground.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have been fortunate to rediscover some of my childhood passions as well as discover several new ones. I sometimes don’t give enough time and attention to these artistic pursuits, but I recognize their importance. As a result, I want to make adjustments in my life that open up my participation in creative expression.

My dream is to help people uncover or rediscover their artistic and creative dreams. I want to help people to want to dream big, whether it be starting a graphic design business, painting, designing clothing, woodworking, writing, illustrating, creating a unique restaurant, or something totally off the beaten track. Even if it can’t be done all at once, we can take baby steps toward getting creative expression in our lives, baby steps that put us in motion toward the big pictures.

When I first answered the gift question last week, I got so caught in the everyday aspects of life that I forgot to look at my big picture. By not having that in my line of vision, I asked for a gift that was nice, but was still limited–both in scope and in its influence.

My new answer to the question?

If you could be given any gift what would it be?

A residential retreat center with room for classes, studio space, and equipment to help myself and others find space to create and experience art in all its forms. And an assistant to help with all the administrative details, so that I can do creative coaching, teach classes, and explore artistic possibilities.

How often I limit myself from accomplishing what I could be doing by thinking small. The Farther to Go! exercises and materials has given me the tools to change that. I just have to keep focused on the ideas I’ve gotten along the way. If I do, I will remember that the path to a life rich in creative expression is to think big and keep moving on those baby steps.

269 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.

 

Another Part of My World

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A photo from my last trip to the Yingge Ceramic Museum, just because.

Since many of you seem to enjoy finding out “more about me,” I am joining in Cee’s weekly SHARE YOUR WORLD challenge. 

Here are this week’s questions along with my answers.

Do you prefer ketchup or mustard?

I don’t use much of either. I use ketchup on the rare occasions that I have a hot dog. Ketchup and dill pickles. On occasion, I might have ketchup on a hamburger, but I’m more likely to use mayonnaise with lettuce and tomato.

I like a little mustard on a ham sandwich and as a condiment in potato salad.

If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?

Most likely a romantic-comedy, but it would be more likely a musical with several dance numbers.  🙂

If you could be given any gift what would it be?

A year-long stay at a quilting/art colony with a fully stocked studio and access to fabric, as well as a couple other artists to brainstorm and collaborate with. But I could still be ecstatic with a month or two.  🙂

For potlucks or parties do you cook it yourself, buy from a grocery store, or pay for catering?

At this point in time, my husband is the one who makes things when we go somewhere. But my favorite potluck story is from the mid-80s, when I rode a bus to my job at the University of Washington in Seattle. Potlucks were a bit of a challenge because I didn’t want to haul a lot of stuff with me, and keeping things hot or cold, depending on what they were could be an issue. So I came up with my bus-friendly go to dish that I took to every potluck we had while I worked there. It was easy, and it was a hit. It involved the grocery store and assembling it after I was at work.

Peas and peanut salad.

1. From home I brought an unbreakable serving bowl, some plastic wrap,  and a serving/mixing spoon.

2. I left about 15 minutes early for my walk to the bus stop, so I could stop at the grocery store (1 block from grocery store).

3. Pick up three ingredients at the grocery store: a bag of spanish peanuts, a bag of frozen peas, a container of sour cream.

4. Catch the bus to work as usual.

5. The peas thaw while keeping the sour cream cool.

6. About 10:30, combine all three ingredients in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.

7. When it’s time to set food up, remove plastic wrap, stir to mix one more time, and serve.

Bonus: since this salad was a big hit, it would all get eaten. I would just rinse out the bowl and spoon, and bring them home. Easy!  🙂

 

Thanks to Cee for another interesting set of questions. If you want to join in, here is the link: http://ceenphotography.com/2014/08/11/share-your-world-2014-week-32/

 

More Sharing of My World

Thanks to Cee for Hosting Share Your World

Here are the four questions for this week. It’s fun because the questions are always unusual. Consider joining in the fun.

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If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? (guest can be dead, alive, famous or someone you just know)

  • My maternal grandmother.
  • Carly Simon
  • Tom Hanks

What can you always be found with?

Coffee. Right now, I have a thermos of iced coffee next to me as I’m sitting at the computer desk.  I mean there are times when I don’t actually have coffee within ten feet of me, but aside from sleeping, it doesn’t happen very often.  🙂

What is the most fun thing you did in school?

I guess I’ll go with college and say the most fun I had was being a Roberts Fellow. I had a year of extra courses and special activities culminating with a 2-week trip to Asia. That trip was pivotal in ending up with my current position in Taiwan. I learned so many things, met great people, and had lots of fun. To this day, I am still part of the group, an in my position in Taiwan, I meet each year’s new Fellows when they make their trip to Taiwan (and other parts of Asia).

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

I probably grade my writing students differently than most people. I don’t take off points for grammar (because of an cultural overemphasis on being “correct.”  Since students try to hard to write without any mistakes, they have no idea how to just create and write something for the sake of expressing themselves. So I give homework points simply for doing homework, without taking off points for grammar mistakes. Students immediately relax, and we can start doing some real writing.

 

 

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Another Episode of “Share Your World”

Share Your World – 2014 Week 30

Thanks to Cee for hosting this challenge.

I think it’s kind of cool that this week’s questions are all focused on the number two, because it’s Week #2 for me for participating. But I need to hurry as it’s already Monday of Week 31 in most of the world. But I’m going to type really fast.

List 2 things you have to be happy about.

 1. Even though there are a lot of details to be worked out, I have a better sense of where I’m headed for the next phase of my working life. It’s not what I expected, but I’ve learned that most of my best experiences have come from being open to the unexpected.

2. I am happy to have so many wonderful people in my life–family and friends, on BOTH sides of the water. While I long to be back with my children in the US, I have some “adopted” daughters in Taiwan. And I have friends here who have made my time here a true delight.

List at least 2 things in nature do you find most beautiful.

1. Baby anythings. I love kittens, puppies, bears, birds — well, you get the idea. I love new life.

2. Geological formations of any kind — Grand Canyon, Mt. Rainer, mountains in general, waterfalls.

3. Sunrise, Sunset (with or without the fiddler)

4. Gardens and fields. Color in all its grandeur.

Show us 2 of your favorites photographs. Explain why they are your favorite.   If you are not a photographer (serious or otherwise), think of a two favorite scenes in your life and tell us about them.

newyear's 2010 0021. This first photo is one of my favorites because I generally do not consider myself much of a photographer. This photo shows that sometimes I can just get lucky. It also reminds me of a very special day. It was New Year’s Day 2010. I was spending my first holiday season in Taiwan with a colleague from the university. She and her husband and their four daughters welcomed me into their home, and we had just a delightful time. This photo was taken when we went to the Hsinchu Zoo. I love the colors, the composition, the memories. OK, I love everything about it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2. This second photo is from February of 2014, toward the end of our semester break. I have a post to do about this trip in general, but I love this photo of my husband and me. My husband is the photographer in our family, and so I don’t always have lots of pictures of him or of the two of us together. And he is sometimes a little stiff in photos. What I like about this photo is that we both look so relaxed. The other reason it’s a favorite of mine is because he does so much to help me through the rough spots. He is always there for me, even when I’m not sure about me.

List 2 of your best personality traits.

1. I am a creative problem solver. Whenever there is a glitch in a project or in life itself, I am good at looking for alternatives. Sometimes, my perspectives might be a bit odd, but at least, we shake ourselves out of just seeing the problem so we can discover solutions.

2. I am compassionate. People feel comfortable coming to see me when they are struggling with problems–not just because I might go into problem solving mode, but because I always listen first. Many people, including students, are often surprised when they realize they’ve been understood and not just processed through. It’s important that people feel they matter and what they think and feel is worth consideration.

 

Check out what other participants are sharing.

http://ceenphotography.com/2014/07/28/share-your-world-2014-week-30/

Now, I need to post this before the new questions hit the wire!  🙂

 

Share Your World: My first session (Week 29 of 2014 for the rest of the world)

Random photo: compliments of my daughter

Random photo: compliments of my daughter

While I’m still trying to figure out what I really want this blog to be, I keep experimenting with different things. Today, I thought I’d try the Share Your World, hosted by Cee’s Photography. Each week, 4 questions are posted, and you just answer them. And since the questions are totally random, it fits right in with my current blog “untheme.”  And by the way, for those of you who like photography, Cee’s Photography also has several photography challenges you might want to check out.

When I started blogging, I didn’t do a lot of challenges, but I’ve picked up a few along the way. I’ve noticed that Sheena Not a Punk Rocker might be responsible for roping me into many of them. She writes such cool posts, and then I think — hey I should do that. Go check out her blog, she’s got lots of cool RANDOM stuff. I really like random! And if you like the random photo on the left, you might want to check out my daughter’s blog, Sincerely Kate and see what else she’s up to.

So, I’m going to jump in right here with this week’s questions and see where they take me.

Share Your World – 2014 Week 29

Have you ever been in a submarine?  If you haven’t, would you want to?

BecunaIn the early 90s, I was in Philadelphia with my two oldest sons. We were visiting our friend, Sue. One of the things we did while in Philadelphia was to go to the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing. While there, we had the chance to tour the Becuna (SS-319), a submarine built in New London, CT. It was launched in 1944 and was involved in WWII missions. It was involved in surveillance after the war. It was decommissioned in 1969, and is now in the museum in Philadelphia. My oldest son love American history, and at that time, he was fascinated by WWII, so this was a natural stop.

So yes, I was in a submarine, but not in one that was submerged. I’m sure modern submarines have a little more space inside than the Becuna did. I admire anyone who actually works in space like that, even if it’s just standing still and you can come up for air. I can’t imagine being in that confined space for days or weeks on end.

On the other hand, I would say that if I were just going as a “passenger” and could read or write or knit on my own schedule, I might be interested in going to sea for a few days. There I said it.  But I don’t think I’d want to do longer than 3-4 days.

Are you a listener or talker?

This definitely depends on the situation. As a teacher, I have to do a lot of both. I am accustomed to people coming to see me when they need to talk, so I guess I’m perceived by some as a listener. I do find there are times when I’m overwhelmed with stuff, and I just talk and talk and talk. I try to watch how much I do that or who the audience is, because I tend to be a little too self-revealing at times. I’ve made a point of getting better about that. Now when I’m thinking about revealing something, I’ll check in with someone I trust before spouting off. But in terms of the general give and take of conversation, I know some people who also do both listening and talking, so I think it works out most of the time.

I have to say though, that my preference is to do less talking. I like that I can communicate with people through online messaging of various kinds. I’d much rather email or message someone rather than call them. It’s funny because it wasn’t always like that. I used to talk a fair amount on the phone, but no more.

Do you prefer crunchy peanut butter or smooth peanut butter?   Anything with your peanut butter?

Crunchy. Extra crunchy even! At least two companies make it. It’s awesome! I like mine on home-made wheat toast for breakfast.  Thanks, Dave!  ❤

Oh, but you can build fudge around my peanut butter anytime, with or without chocolate involved.

Have you ever been drunk?

No. I was willing to try it once. In my early 20s, I was staying somewhere for New Year’s Eve, and thought, let’s see what all the hoopla is about. But halfway through my second drink, I just felt fuzzy and uncomfortable. It didn’t seem like anything I want to go any further with. So I stopped, and that was that.

Fast-forward 20 years, and a friend (hi, Sue!) went barhopping on foot in the small town I lived in at the time. I had two drinks, and supplemented with Sprite. I had a good time, but again, it just felt like something I didn’t want to go further with. It’s not that I never drink, but I do it rather infrequently.

One more thing. Friends who know me well know that I can be just as much fun as the next person at a gathering even if I don’t drink alcohol. A few of my friends know to just give me a Coke, and I’m in having a good time right along with the rest of them. haha

 

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SO, what you think? Is this the kind of post you’d like to see from me? Should I put it into the rotation? Tell me what you think in the comments.  🙂

 

 

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