What Does Happiness Look Like? (Post #250)

coffeemeWell, for those of you who have not witnessed the way I overthink things sometimes, you are in for a scare treat. For this week’s Cartoon Craziness Challenge, the theme is Happiness!

It didn’t take me long to think:  WOW! I can draw a cup of coffee.  Not to difficult. Coffee makes me happy. It’s awesome. I can do this. Well, you get the idea. Then the next thing that came to mind is “Happiness is a Warm Puppy” — thanks Snoopy. And I love my little chihuahua, and since I’m no longer afraid of drawing things that aren’t perfect, I could work on drawing my puppy. Again — awesome!

That led me to doing a series with a mug of coffee and a sweet chihuahua and . . .  I was thinking of how to include quilting in some way. To give myself a little confidence when working on these challenges, I look online for how to draw tutorials for various things. As a result, I have a prototype for my mug of coffee that you see here.

And then over the weekend, someone mentioned that there was a place where we could fly kites. YAY! We made plans to fly kites on August 18! That’s something that’s been on my list for a while, and I specifically wanted to do it during my 600 days to 60 project. (I have a long “thing” about kites, but I’ll save that for another post.)

Now I had three things to draw: coffee, puppy, kite. I mini-series. The coffee was in the bag, so to speak. I found a great tutorial for a chihuahua, and started a little practice one. I figured I could save the tutorial and do it in time for the challenge. I had a decent idea of how to do a kite — smart me: have something that makes me happy that’s super easy to draw. But I looked up a few tutorials anyway.

By a lucky slip of the fingers, I opened Microsoft Paint while I was browsing kite tutorials. Serendipity! So I thought, what they heck! I’ll play around with the Paint program and see what kind of kite I can come up with. Here’s the answer.

kiteMy kite was just about finished when it was time to eat breakfast. And I went back to thinking about the quilting/fabric connection, and then it hit me. I could draw something as basic as that kite and then ZENTANGLE it! How awesome! I finished my breakfast. Then I was off and running sitting at my sewing table, with the machine pushed back, outlining a kite outline on some drawing paper and zentangling my way to a place of serenity and enjoyment! (A place I haven’t seen a lot of lately.)

And here is my Zentangle kite!

kiteOf course, this was already taking a lot more time than I really had, so I decided to save the puppy tutorial for another time. I’m sure there will be an opportunity at some point in the challenge, and if not, I’ll MAKE it fit.  haha

One of the most amazing things about the challenge this week is I realized doing these pictures is making me happy. This is an unanticipated outcome of joining this challenge. I expected it to challenge my attitudes and abilities in drawing. I didn’t expect it to become a source of excitement and happiness.

Thanks to Mental Mama and Indecisive Eejit for hosting this challenge. And thanks to the people in addition to them who also kept egging me on. I’m so glad you did!

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: I JUST REALIZED THIS IS MY 250th POST!  YAY!

 

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This post is part of Cartoon Craziness Challenge: http://theindecisiveeejit.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/cartoon-craziness-challenge-happiness/  Maybe you can join in!  You never know what you might discover about yourself.  🙂

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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!

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.

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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.

CELEBRATION: Involving coffee, Zentangle, and pork dumplings

Away with the deadlines! It’s time for a break!

I know you thought you were going to find out about my quilting agenda today. And I really do have that post started, but something really different and fun happened today, and I just had to take a break from our regularly scheduled program and share some of it with you.

Wednesday afternoons are usually a time when Dante comes over about 3:30 in the afternoon. She helps me with whatever stuff I need help with, normally related to preparing teaching materials, sorting papers, or occasionally something more fun. Then she has dinner with us before she returns back to her dorm.

Before she arrived today, I had made some good progress on the deadline I’m working on. I wanted to get some feedback from her about it. And afterwards, we headed to a local coffee shop. Normally, we take work to do, but today, it was like–WHO NEEDS WORK?  We need a break! I knew I could finish the last little bit of the project in the morning before the office opened, and the other projects would be better served by having a chance to recharge my batteries. It didn’t hurt that I got an email and had a bit of good news. I was ready for something new and different. Luckily, so was Dante. We took some art supplies, and headed out.

10530768_10202456215468170_2235054169176470936_nWhen we got to the shop, the owner was leaving to deliver a few drinks, so we went and got a table first. I was in a festive mood–very unusual for the last few weeks, but I attributed it to the company and the nice email. We decided to order something real special. “How special?” you ask. Well, I ordered a coffee, caramel smoothie, and Dante ordered an Oreo smoothie. Now, THAT’s special!

The picture at the left shows our drinks and our Zentangle supplies and the beginnings of our two Zentangles. I learned about Zentangle last summer when I was in New Mexico, and I’ve done some of it since I’ve been back in Taiwan. This relaxing art form has no mistakes and requires no real art background. Dante had never done it, but I showed her the basics, and she was off and running drawing. You can find out about it here.

I really enjoy Zentangling because it involves small repetitive movements and little thinking. You don’t over plan it. You make small decisions about which design element to use in each section and then you just fill the space with that element over and over. So relaxing, a great way to de-stress (or to celebrate)! Interestingly, this was the first time I ever used colored pens in this process. While I liked the way it turned out, I wasn’t sure about it while I was actually doing it. I also found that the colors led me to do more thinking than I would normally do while I’m making a card.

We had planned to stop at the dumpling shop next door to get dumplings and and some hot and sour soup to take home for dinner, but the shop owners had taken the day off. We walked an extra block and ended up in the market area where we found another source for our dumplings. We brought our food home and enjoyed some traditional Taiwanese dinner.

Afterwards, Dante helped us locate some dog beds online, as Dave hasn’t found what he’s looking for in the local stores. Eureka! He found one that would work, and at a good price to boot. Dante did the ordering in Chinese, and we will be able to pick it up at the 7-11 near us in a few days.

We also did a little fabric sorting, partly because of something that is related to my quilting agenda. So, we’ve come full circle, and maybe tomorrow we’ll get to that quilting agenda. In the meantime, take a look at the Zentangles we did today.

What a great way to spend a few hours. I feel much better. And tomorrow will be a more productive day because of it.

What kinds of breaks recharge your batteries? Feel free to share below or write your own post and link here to tell me about it.  I’m already looking forward to my next break.  🙂