Weekend Coffee Share: Weather Wonder Week

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee, I’m sure we’d have to give some mention to the awesome weather of the week. After missing autumn for the past six years while I was in Taiwan, I couldn’t have asked for a  better fall in general, but this last week in particular was beyond amazing. Here’s Logan from slightly before this week, but it’s just a glorious time of year.

19921_10156230937600037_4224726436927740609_nI’d tell you that I did make it to Lowe’s to pick up the paint chips I needed to get to work on my fabric selection for the mystery quilt that begins at the end of the month. I also picked up some quilt basting spray so that I can get Jack’s quilt layered and ready for quilting. I’ve never used quilting spray before, but I thought this would be a good time to try it. With my new “quilting project” schedule, it makes sense to streamline some aspects of it. Just because I learned how to do this before some of these aids came along doesn’t mean I have to keep doing it that way. In the meantime, here is a pic from my last mystery quilt challenge. It’s a little blurry, but it gives you an idea of how it’s working out. This is #3 in the quilting finish schedule I posted on Tuesday. This mystery quilt challenge was hosted by Aby, and you can check out her blog here.

quiltlyout (2)I’d tell you that my move to the house has been delayed, and I am staying at my parents’ house for another week or two. At the same time, I’m really here almost less than at any other time because of all the hours I’m out tutoring. Still, I’m chomping at the bit because I’d like to have some sense of being settled. Things at my parents’ house are becoming less organized, largely because I know the move is coming, and I work toward the move rather than toward creating more stability.

I’d tell you that my mother and I had an outing today after my Saturday morning tutoring session. We went to a church craft bazaar where she bought a few gifts for her great-grandchildren and a couple of lovely things for herself. Then we went off to Macy’s. I called Dad to see if he wanted to join us for dinner, and he preferred to take care of himself (and watch football). So my mother and I went to TGI Friday’s because she had always been curious about it, and it isn’t the kind of place my father would particularly be interested in. He takes my mother out quite often, but just not to some place like Fridays. I report the news, I don’t make sense of it.  🙂


Image courtesy of 89studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of 89studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’d tell you that I found two new job openings in Iowa, so I’ll be sending out applications this week. Although things are picking up for me here in Michigan, it still ultimately looks like it would be good for Dave and me to reunite in Iowa rather than in Michigan, at least for a while. So we’ll see what happens.

I’d tell you that there are lots of odds and ends for me to deal with, and that I’ve made a list of them, so I can begin to schedule them in some kind of systematic way.

I’d tell you that with all these things going on, I’m going to have another cup. Then I need to get to it.  🙂

library coffee shop 004Why don’t you join us in a cup of coffee or other favorite beverage. You can find the link up at Diana’s blog, http://parttimemonster.com/2015/11/07/weekendcoffeeshare-in-which-allison-wins/

Have a good week!

If We Were Having Coffee: Wedding Anniversary Edition

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that today Dave and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. And you’d get stuck looking at some of the photos from our last four years in Taiwan. Because . . . .  well, that’s just what I’d be doing.

11781604_10152974692328199_3536905508622619567_nIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’d love to be having coffee with my husband today (even though he’d be drinking tea or hot cocoa or some other hot beverage), but we are about ten hours apart by car. The good news is that it is now only sixty days until we can spend three weeks together.

10344783_10204041981792703_4415912532330656022_nIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’re well past the half-way point of our separation now. I left Taiwan on July 27, so it’s been about 83 days since we’ve seen each other — not that I’m counting. 😉

10454327_10152988090771483_5489195152920142603_nIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the nightly calls are what keep us going. Dave doesn’t have Internet at the house, so we haven’t actually “seen” each other during the last 83 days. So we’re really really really really looking forward to December 16.


I’d tell you that this isn’t bad compared to the first two years that I was in Taiwan. During that time, Dave stayed in the US, since we thought Taiwan was going to be a relatively short-term (as in one to two years) stint for me. So the first year I went to teach, we went from late August to late June the following year. Then we had two months together, before doing another ten months apart. For sanity’s sake, we had decided that if it went more than two years, he would join me. So he was there for the last four of my six years there.

10403367_4214970670146_467659163702280358_nI’d tell you that Dave is one of the sweetest guys around. I am so lucky to have him. While I was planning this post for our anniversary, he had ideas of his own about a surprise for me. But he couldn’t totally surprise me because he needed “help” from one of my parents. So he ended up telling me what his plan was so that it could be executed. Even so, finding out on the phone was such a lovely surprise.11745541_1139276412754388_8470773472276917277_n

I’d tell you that Dave used to walk me to a coffee shop in Taiwan (seen below) almost every day for the last year of our time there. I would kill three birds with one stone. It gave me a walk (actually one there, and then another on the way home), I got great coffee, and I got quite a bit of work done there.

11261103_892022420836239_1626546465_nSo when Dave asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had found any good coffee shops to hang out in, I told him that I was mostly having coffee at home. That I occasionally had coffee out, but I was trying to save money. And then last week, he brought up our anniversary. (I hadn’t because I wanted this post to be a surprise, so I was acting nonchalant.) Then he started talking about me not having a local bank account and his starter checks, and I wasn’t really connecting. But he was asking me if it would be a good idea to just write a check to one of my parents, because . . . .

11707551_974605962560652_494162610926881268_n. . . . he’s sending me a check to be used for “coffee money.” How sweet is that?  ❤

11698532_10152951464903199_5626672040888147900_nIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that next week will be amazing. The eldest son marries a wonderful woman, and there will be lots to share.

Have a great week! (and lots of coffee!)


If We Were Having Coffee: Embracing October

weekendcoffeeshareSuch a fun way to recap the week with friends. Sometimes, when things get busy and I can’t find time to post, this medium is absolutely perfect for getting reconnected. Thanks to Diana at Part-Time Monster for hosting.

If we were having coffee,

GeniusI’d tell you that Jack (my new grandson) is now a month old! It seems like only yesterday that I was holding the day-old angel. It’s so cliche to talk about how time flies, but I swear this little guy will be in school before I know it.

Which is why I’d also tell you that last night I did some work on the quilt I’m making for Jack, and I plan to do more on it tonight. I’d love to show you pictures of what’s going on with it, but I gave Jack’s mother the option, and she prefers to be surprised, so I’ll post pictures AFTER it’s completed. Have no fear: I’m taking photos along the way.

I’d also tell you (or remind you) that Jack’s mother, Megan has an awesome blog featuring recipes, restaurant reviews, and lots of other amazing things at MegGoesNomNom. 

And finally (when it comes to Jack), I’d tell you that I need to get back to see that guy again!

If we were having coffee,

loganhatdayI’d tell you that I did see my other grandson, Logan, on Friday. He is four and a half and  is enjoying preschool, especially the bus ride on the way there. He even learned his bus driver’s name before his teacher’s name. He goes four days a week, so Friday was a good day to go visiting.

Logan likes wearing the days of the week socks that his paternal grandfather got for him. Not that Kate needs help keeping up to date on laundry, but Logan now has a vested interest since he wants to make sure that the socks are reading for the rotation when Monday morning rolls around.

I’d tell you how much fun Logan had with spirit week at school. On Monday, it was Sports Day, and Tuesday was Beach Day. The picture here is from Wednesday or Hat Day. On Thursday, it was Mismatch Day. Kate, who blogs at Sincerely Kate, took pictures each day before he caught the bus.

If we were having coffee,

enggment_photoI’d tell you that three weeks from today, I’ll be returning from Orlando and my eldest son’s wedding. He and Jessica are so happy. Doug waited a long time for this moment, and I’m glad he found someone who brings joy to his life. I think she’s pretty happy with him, too.  🙂

I’d also mention that it will be the first time in ten years that all four of my children will be in the same place at the same time. The last time was when we celebrated my 50th birthday (and my college graduation and acceptance to grad school). For the wedding in October, Jack and his mother won’t make the trip, but Jack’s father (son #3) will come down for a couple days, as he and his brother are both standing in the wedding. So family pictures are definitely in the plans during all these festivities.

I’d tell you that Jessica, my daughter-in-law to be, has worked at Disney for several years, and that after the ceremony at church, we will celebrate the reception at Disney. It will be my first visit to Disney.

Although my parents would like to go to the wedding, the trip from Michigan to Florida is just too much right now, so they will cheer from the sidelines, and we will make sure to bring lots of pictures back for them.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I spent some time yesterday with my mother going through the loose recipes she has. We started organizing them into categories and selected a few that looked especially inviting for the near future. I also did a lot of cooking yesterday: a pasta salad that will last a few days, a spaghetti squash, a tomato spaghetti sauce to go along with said squash, and some apple crisp. It’s actually kind of fun. It’s been so long since I’ve done much cooking that I enjoy it. I don’t think my parents mind either. I do take requests.  🙂 And I’m already thinking about what I’ll make next time.

If we were having coffee,

I’d wish you a great week and tell you how much I look forward to catching up again next week.

Join in the fun at: http://parttimemonster.com/2015/10/03/weekendcoffeeshare-first-week-of-october-edition/

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.

Japanese students 2

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.


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.


 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.


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.  🙂


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.


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.  🙂


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!

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.



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


If We Were Having Coffee: The Clutter Challenge Edition

admin-ajax.phpIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that:

  1. It’s kind of late for coffee, but it doesn’t seem to affect my sleep, and I have a small scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. Maybe that negates the caffeine. 🙂
  2. I didn’t have a very productive day, but I did have a minor breakthrough in a project that’s been giving me trouble. Maybe tomorrow I can move forward on it.
  3. I went back to Curves yesterday, and was very close to resuming the same workout that I did when I left three months ago, so the walking I’ve been doing has really kept me in pretty good shape. My upper body is a little sore, but not as bad as I expected. YAY!
  4. I need to find things that I can look forward to again. I realize that part of the reason it’s hard to get going is that almost everything has the same level of appeal at this time. And that level is real close to zero. So, I need to turn up the excitement.
  5. I made another realization. The level of (non)excitement is probably highly related to the amount of clutter that I keep around me. I almost feel buried alive sometimes. It’s hard to get excited about doing something when there is no place to work comfortably and when the things I might need for something that IS exciting might be difficult to find.
  6. I am thinking about starting a de-cluttering challenge, because I know I’m not alone in this feeling of having too much stuff.
  7. I know that if I keep this de-cluttering project to myself, it will be too easy to let it slide. I also know if I find others to get involved with me, we will all be more successful. Win-win!
  8. Later this week, my daughter and I have plans to Skype. THAT and talking with Mr. Logan is something to look forward to.  🙂
  9. I now have Clue 3 for the Summer Mystery Quilt. That means there will be an update before the end of the month.
  10. I feel much better after having coffee with you, and I always love this time we have together. Even if I’m not feeling so sociable at the beginning, you always have a way of helping me see the possibilities.

If We Were Having Coffee: The One That Almost Wasn’t

admin-ajax.phpI haven’t done one of these since the end of June. I almost called this: The July Edition, but I think I do want to get back to doing this on some kind of schedule. So with any luck, there will be one more before the month ends, but no promises. So grab your cup of coffee, tea, or whatever strikes your fancy, and let’s get started.


If we were having coffee,I’d tell you that . . .

. . . today, we finally have our new bedroom air conditioner! It was installed early this afternoon, and it’s already heavenly. I may have to move my computer and sewing machine in there for the duration of the summer. We’ll see.

If we were having coffee,I’d tell you that . . .

. . . I’m frustrated that I haven’t been having coffee with you lately. I would tell you that I have kept hoping I would find some motivation to care about things. I want to feel excited about something. I want to have something to look forward to.  I want to CARE about something, almost anything.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

. . . my blog is about the only activity keeping me connected to people at the moment. It is the only drive I feel, writing something every day, so that I feel that I am accomplishing something in spite of myself. I still get a few other things done, but it is not the whirlwind of productivity I thought I’d be involved in at this point.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

. . . I’ve just been invited to go the Yingge Ceramic Museum tomorrow. You can read the blog post from my first trip there in early 2013. I’d rather keep to myself tomorrow, but I think getting out in the world to do something that others consider fun might be good for me. Afterwards, we’re going to a coffee shop to do some zentangling and hanging out. With any luck, there will be photos.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

. . . things will eventually work themselves out, and I’ll be back to feeling like my normal optimistic self, but for now, I’m going to ride this out and look forward to our next coffee.

Finally, if we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

. . . I really appreciate your willingness to have coffee with me even when I’m not all cheery and full of good news. Your friendship means the world to me.

If We Were Having Coffee: End of June Edition


Last week, I did my first “If We Were Having Coffee” post. You can see it here.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

  • I’m feeling a little more motivated than I did last week. I’ve relaxed the expectations I’ve placed on myself for how much should be accomplished in a week, and it’s made a big difference.
  • I’d tell you that new possibilities seem to be heading my way. Things to think about to ease the future transitions.
  • I’d tell you that I’m working on easing my insecurities about my ability to rise up to meet the challenges that these new possibilities bring my way. I’d talk about how I understand that it’s crazy to doubt myself, but that there’s an irrational part of me that hasn’t quite let go of that fear yet.
  • I’d tell you that my major focus is to bolster my self confidence so that I can grab these new opportunities by the horns.
  • I’d tell you that I’m a little disheartened by the fact that if this were any other summer since I’ve been in Taiwan, I would be beginning a few weeks in the US–still working on various projects for the university, but able to reconnect with friends and family–particularly, my parents, my daughter, and my grandson.
  • I’d tell you that I can’t believe June is on its last legs? I’d ask you where has the first half of the year gone?
  • I’d tell you I want to make the second half of the year count, but with much less stress than the first half of the year brought.
  • Finally, I’d tell you that I have plans to do some quilting this week, and that you should watch this space.

See you next week!  🙂


What about you? If we were having coffee, what you be talking about this week? Post in the comments below or do your own post and link back here.  🙂