“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”
**Drum roll, please** My theme for 2021’s A to Z Challenge will be about…. BIRDS!
My inspiration is primarily from Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s book “BIRDS a spiritual field guide”. I enjoy her illustrations, her research on mythology & folklore, and her insight into divinatory meanings. I was curious after my former supervisor shared a story with me about her winged messenger.
Here’s the author’s bio:
Arin Murphy-Hiscock has always felt a spiritual connection to birds, especially owls. She is a third-degree Wiccan High Priestess in the Black Forest Clan and the author of Power Spellcraft for Life, Solitary Wicca for Life, The Way of the Green Witch, and The Way of the Hedge Witch. She lives and bird-watches with her husband and two children.
Here’s the back-flap:
Birds are all around us building nests for their eggs, perching on a nearby tree branch, floating freely on a breath of wind. But do you ever feel like a bird might be trying to connect with you or even tell you something? This book can help you figure out the special message your visitor is trying to share. Inside this lovely illustrated field guide you’ll find everything you need to decipher the unique meaning behind each individual bird sighting. From physical description to folklore, each of the common bird species detailed within has a story and a unique symbolism which will help reveal the changes these mystical creatures want you to make in your life. With this enlightening volume as your inspiration, get ready to take a look at your life from a bird’s eye view one robin, crow, and hummingbird at a time!
Hello! For those who are new to Culture Shocks…WELCOME! Let me take a moment and introduce myself and some of the projects I’m working on.
Here you will find my personal journal entries, stories, poetry, quotes, and photos of things I find fascinating. Occasionally, I share snippets from my myriad of hobbies that I rotate on a seasonal basis. Stick with me long enough, you’ll realize that even though I’ve chosen birds as my focus, I tend to get off on a tangent due to disparate connections I make. I blog sporadically and randomly. I may do 5 entries for A2Z in one day, go AWOL, and return with full vigor. My attempt to blog on a schedule has been futile so far!
I wear many hats literally and figuratively. I’m an audacious sister, friend, daughter, grad student, Rotarian, technical writer, businesswoman, Toastmaster, volunteer for multiple causes, and more. My blog is my comforting oasis, though I may occasionally vent here when I have nowhere else to go.
For those of you who have been here a while, I finished my 1st crochet-a-long with the alumni for the month of March! I’m happy they evaluated my crochet partner and me very highly. They remarked that it was fun and engaging! I was happy to see the flowers again after such a devastating freeze over our state in February. Easter is just around the corner. Spring is here!
I’m getting my COVID vaccine tomorrow morning at the stadium. The current climate surrounding Asian Americans that has swept the nation has had me reminiscing about the past. I purposely remain vague though I relate to various stories that have been shared across various social media platforms. My main question is what will I do moving forward.
The alumni book club has gotten into some interesting reads. Though, I’m having some difficulty finishing the book, “The Biggest Bluff” by Maria Konikova. I’m wrapping up on “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear. We’re about to start “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. I’m still working through some bloggers’ books and poignant poetry as well.
I’m resuming collaboration with a blogger on some poetry regarding some fragrances. I work as a beauty consultant and I thought it would be a fun way to learn about all the fragrances that I’m unfamiliar with. I was so inspired by his work that I thought I could explore the sensation of smell!
I’m currently hooked on the Home Edits Show. I recently de-cluttered my space of many books, clothes, and papers. I found that I didn’t miss them as much as I thought I would, even books that were formally my favorites. I think it’s because there’s only so much that I can focus on in the present that I don’t have time to linger on any items that are associated with my past. Even though it was a massive undertaking, I still feel like I could use some help. There’s some things I still feel like I can let go. Reorganize my crafts supplies. Change particular containers. I have a vision. I determined to make it happen. Previously, I was intrigued by Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It has helped me immensely, though I think I didn’t follow it completely. It’s still a work in progress!
I’m also enjoying a remix of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2
Alrighty, that wraps up my intro for now! I hope to reconnect with new and veteran participants of the A to Z challenge! I look forward to reading your blog posts!
“A CAL is basically a group of people all working on a large project at the same time and pace. Some are targeted to more advanced crocheters and involve a variety of difficult stitches. Others are designed so that everyone can participate, no matter their skill level. Often the pattern chosen will be an afghan, and while everyone does the same pattern, each individual chooses their own colors.“
Hello! Hope you’ve been well! I’ve been working extra hours co-hosting a CAL (Crochet-A-Long) Series for alumni at my alma mater this month with my friend. Colloquially, she has dubbed us the “Hookers with a Yarn Addiction”. Catchy, isn’t it? In fact, she wants t-shirts! She’s a funny, smexy grandma! 😉
However, to be accepted by our school, we’re formally known as the Alumni Crochet Group. School administrator must keep her job after all, and it must be safe for work! She’s also helping us to possibly get sponsored by Yarnivore, a local yarn company and reaching out to other businesses. So, I must meet her halfway and work with her as best as I can. 🙂
In the end, 55 students signed up! Meanwhile, when I saw some friends while hanging out in town, they decided to also invite themselves, their siblings, and friends, so the numbers bumped up. It was great to catch up with everyone again and also meet some new faces along the way. What a journey it has been! We shared so much together.
I spent quite a bit of time managing social media public relations and creating a beautiful 17-page guidebook while my friend created an original pattern for a scarf. Today, I just filmed my friend as she frogged her swatch that we used to teach virtually via Zoom. As an intermediate crocheter, it’s rather heart wrenching for me to watch someone unravel their work.
“Frog is a word that can be used as a verb. In this sense, “to frog” means “to rip out stitches.” When used this way, the word is slang and it is also a play on words. It pays tribute to our amphibious friends, the frogs, and their choruses of “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit”. When you discover a mistake in your crochet work, you rip it, rip it, rip it. So, you frog it.“
When I was in high school, one of my English teachers recommended a book for me to read by Debbie Macomber called “The Shop on Blossom Street“. Intrigued, I read the rest of the books in her series. I enjoyed seeing these female characters bond and wanted an experience of my own. I later became president of the knitting club at my school. Continuing onward and co-hosting a crochet group at my college has been a dream come true for me.
I came across some inspiring stories like this woman who crocheted her wedding dress for five months on her bus commute.
…and this story about a Olek, a Polish-born yarn artist and crochet extraordinaire, whose team yarn bombed this train in four days!
See you next time! Hope to hop on more often as soon as I can!
Tense hands, Rookie’s mistake, Stitches need relaxed grip Yarn makes for gorgeous scarf Cashmere perfect Pleasure
I think I missed Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt deadline for the synonyms for loose and tight. I used relaxed and tense to describe various tension levels of how I hold the hook. I learned about a new type of poem called the Badger’s Hexastitch! What a interesting name! It is a fun variation of the Crapsey Cinquain invented by out own Badger. It simply expands the cinquain to another line and 2 more syllables. Badger’s Hexastitch is:
Oh boy! 44 total students have now RSVP’d for this crochet class! Need to cap it NOW and split up the group and split into multiple days to effectively manage a virtual crowd.
Last year, a friend reached out to me to share Plexus products and share some testimonials. Impressed with her demo I decided to check it out and do more research. Interested in improving my health during the pandemic, I started to use the Triplex combo which has helped me curb a lot of sicknesses that I get from allergies, colds, and the flu.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
– John Keats, Endymion
Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea
This past week I’m attempting to meditate and center myself as I’m adjusting to the chaos. One of the university administrators asked me if I would be interested in teaching a virtual workshop as a way of engaging alumni during the pandemic. Students are feeling the cabin fever and are itching to learn new hobbies.
I decided to team up with one of my friends and co-teach a crochet class during Friday evenings in the month of March. My experience being president of a knitting club back in high school is coming in handy! In the first couple of hours within posting the event, 18 people signed up!
The deadline to register is the end of next week, but I may already have my hands full with 18 students! I’m planning out the logistics as my friend is figuring out the scarf pattern we’re working on. We picked school colors for the yarn to feature school spirit.
Valentine card fun Glittery shapes and ribbons Charming passerby
Good evening from my part of the world! I’m working to get caught up on reading so many of your wonderful blog posts. My schedule is such a work in progress! It’s still fun to write a haiku. Right now, I’m juggling a project and I was excited when I saw this YouTube video below. I absolutely loved how Madhu designed her cards!
One of the guys in the Rotary Club shared with us a project he needed help with. His group decided to make some Valentine cards for some folks in the nursing home. I thought it would be fun to participate! I eyeballed my supply of red construction paper and set a goal to make SIXTY of them by the 12th. Yes, I think the fast-forward feature on her video temporarily deceived me. 😉
I often tell people one of my favorite gifts a friend gave me was an Xacto paper cutter. It helped speed up the process of cutting paper! I even had to set some proportional relationship equations to figure out the right dimensions since Madhu gave some different ones for me to work with.
Yipee! I’m so happy I get to use some of my origami paper and supplies! It’s been a while since I last touched them. Today’s featured merchandise is my kimono patterned origami paper that a friend got me as a birthday gift!
I have been interested in origami ever since my mom made me my first paper boat as a kid to play with in the rain puddles. I remembered that being one of the reasons why I really enjoyed a rainy day. Because afterward, I get to be a pirate sailing all of the puddles in the neighborhood and adventuring with the bugs that came out.
Later when I was in the sixth grade, my history teacher shared with us a historical children’s book to read together called, “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes”.
Diagnosed from leukemia from the radiation bombing from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Sadako decided to fold 1000 peace cranes in the hopes of being granted a wish: she just wanted to be able to be on the running team despite her illness. It’s debated whether or not she reached her goal, but her actions inspired all of her friends and family to continue on.
Afterward, Sue DiDicco founded The Peace Crane Project to honor Sadako. Students would fold the cranes, write a message of peace on its wings, and exchange it with another classmate.
After the boat, I enjoyed teaching the class how to make a paper crane. It’s still one of my favorites. I make them whenever I can, and make cranes out of candy wrappers and the paper that come with my Subway sandwiches.
Anyway, I’ll call it a night and share a quote by the grand master of origami: Akira Youshizawa!
My origami creations, in accordance with the laws of nature, require the use of geometry, science, and physics. They also encompass religion, philosophy, and biochemistry. Overall, I want you to discover the joy of creation by your own hand the possibility of creation from paper is infinite.
Featured Photo: Greta Penny, owner of The Design Craft Etsy store, has such a lovely green malachite wrapping paper for sale. It looks like a emerald geode!
I love gift wrapping! I just finished wrapping my gifts for my friends. Looking at my gifts now, you would have never guessed that I came from humble beginnings in the gift wrapping world.
I used to wrap my gifts in newspaper and cut letters and images from magazines to make cards back in the days when I thought buying a Hallmark greeting card was expensive. It eventually dawned on me that I needed to stop making cards that looked like it belongs to a criminal! 😀
Unlikely Gift Wrap Solutions
Homemade cards run in the family. 😉 My brother once took a Cheese It box and refashioned it into a birthday card. He wrote with a permanent black marker, “Have a cheesy birthday!” Upon receiving it, his best friend roared with laughter! He absolutely LOVED it!
My dad used to wrap clothing gifts for his nieces in former Budweiser boxes. I remember us all laughing together at what seems to be a gag gift. My cousin smiled when she opened the box to find a pair of cute overalls and a striped yellow shirt from Old Navy. No alcohol for minors! We have an odd sense of humor and love to recycle and reuse our resources as much as possible.
I’ll never forget the day when mom asked for my help to wrap a gift up for a birthday. It was my first project. I reused some pretty yellow paper from an old gift and made some beautiful curly bows. The family looked at it with a bit of admiration, and from that day forward, my parents left me in charge of the gift wrapping.
Discovering the Art of Japanese Gift Wrapping
Over the years I’ve been inspired by various artists and cultural wrapping techniques. Jane wrote a wonderful post about International Gift Wrapping to Suit All Cultures. I really enjoy the elegant folds in Japanese gift wrapping. They’re beautiful!
Shiho Masuda has a lovely YouTube channel for all sorts of gift wrapping ideas! ❤ Time to up my game!
It’s been such a busy season for me. I have an ever growing list of all sorts of to-do lists. School, career, relationships, books, movies, recipes, some crafty creations. When I face some stress during the school season, Aristotle’s quotes remind me of a reason why I put myself through it all:
Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
A friend shared with me that last one a long while ago. It stood with me ever since!
One day, you think I would have more sense, and cut back. Give myself more breathing room. Maybe I can burn some of those lists and send those ashes flying away on a windy day. 🙂 Experts say that people can optimally focus on 4 or 5 things at a time.
The present is such a gift. Right now, heart-warming stories of ornaments are on my mind.
When we were kids, my parents decorated our Christmas tree with greeting cards friends gave us, bookmarks, ornaments we made as kids. Glittery paper rings, popsicle stick frames, ornaments made out of yarn or dried noodles. I was always touched by my parents’ sentimentality and wondered why they never bought any ornaments or threw any of our creations away.
For them, the ornaments are more than just a pretty fashion accessory for the tree. There’s a story behind each of the ornaments. How happy we were to make these ornaments for our parents. How happy my parents were to receive a card from our neighbors and friends. How it brought us all together. A tree brimming with true joy and happiness.
When I was a student officer for the Guild of Geeks, I loved painting ornaments on the windows of the school with my fellow club members for a holiday contest for Christmas. We also painted Beamo, Dr. Who’s time machine, among other well known pop culture references. We won 2nd place which scored our club to have lunch with the university president on her balcony! We actually had some folks trained in light saber fights. What an amazing, albeit nerdy memory!
I remembered when one of my friends who was running for office extended an olive branch to his opposition by creating a Christmas ornaments with his opposition’s son. Despite things getting ugly during election time, I wonder what memories his son will choose to take with him. Hopefully, remember the spirit of the season in spite of politics.
I want to create a new memory. My mom and dad collected some pine cones on their nature walks. I took some back with me during Thanksgiving. I’ve been wanting to create a pine cone wreath. Give some out as Christmas gifts. I found so many inspirational ideas!
Fated to be a darling delight Sweet owl shares a wisdom so bright that she is blissfully unaware of her insight Colorful fiesta greeting throughout the night Not at all bothered by her short height!
Thanks, Mr.A for this Halloween Blogtober tag! Halloween is over, but this serves as a pleasant distraction from the election.
(,,◕ ⋏ ◕,,) RULES (˼●̙̂ ̟ ̟̎ ̟ ̘●̂˻)
Thank the blogger who tagged you and link their post
Put the rules after an introduction, then answer the 13 questions
Tag 13 more bloggers to participate in the game
Use these same Halloween questions, or create new ones of your own
What’s your favorite thing about October or Halloween? I love October Poetry Writing Month! I always learn new poetry styles and love experimenting with techniques. Didn’t get a chance to fit that in this year, but maybe some other time. I love pumpkin spiced lattes, decorations, costumes, and beautiful fall weather!
How much do you spend on Halloween? Typically $20 USD for a pumpkin, treats, and materials to make a costume.
What do you think the average person spends on Halloween goodies & does it match what you spend? In my neighborhood, they go all out spending anywhere from $500-$1000 for decorations, candy, party supplies, and costumes. So no, it doesn’t match what I spend at all! 😉 My neighbors love to organize as a group and create a spooky vibe for the trick-or-treaters. There’s always something new every year. Covid really changed things, but there were drive-thru options.
Does social media influence how much you decorate for Halloween, causing you to spend more? Interesting question! There’s so much power in suggestion! I personally don’t spend more, but it does give me ideas to improvise.
Do you buy or create your Halloween costumes and what was your favorite costume so far? Both, depending on the season! I loved dressing up as a ghostly Little Bo Peep and a Renaissance lady!
Share a trick you have played on someone at Halloween. I’ve never played a trick on someone, but I had plenty play a trick on me. There was a time a boy gripped my ankle from a hole he dug in his parents front yard as I was passing by! Another time, a neighbor told me that I should head over to a particular house because the owners give big candy bars. I arrived at the residence only to be scared by a guy dressed up as Jason handling a chainsaw!
Do you have a favorite Halloween treat? Butterfinger chocolate bar!
What is something you can do with a pumpkin once Halloween is over? Stick it in the compost bin! Roast the seeds and season it with soy sauce! Grow another pumpkin from the seeds.
Do you consider pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable? Fruit because a pumpkin has seeds! Vegetable because it grows on a vine! Vruit-Fegetable! 😉
What is the scariest food you’ve ever eaten? Balut, a fertilized duck egg delicacy. You can learn more about it here. When I was a kid, I didn’t give it too much thought, and it always tasted delicious! Nowadays, I just can’t do it anymore. I just can’t. It feels wrong.
Do you have a favorite Halloween drink? So, there’s this drink that I have dubbed the “Eyeball drink” based on how it looks! In reality, those “eyes” are actually basil seeds. It’s an incredibly, yummy sweet drink with gelatin pieces.
People usually spend money on Halloween, but have you ever made money related to this holiday? Well, there was a time when one of my neighbors ran out of candy, so he pulled out his wallet and gave us cash instead! And…another time where my cousin really enjoyed the party I hosted, and she slipped a $50 bill in my purse.
Have you ever read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley or another frightening book? I read Frankenstein as freshman student in college as part of the summer reading club. I also read a couple of vampire books to get me in the frightening mood. 🙂
He transformed into a tough security guard, and wherever I went, he was there….
Last night, I had an disturbing dream where a coworker’s omnipresence at a building’s every entrance unsettled me. With his steely gaze, he said firmly, “Sa, you can’t leave. You have been QUARANTINED.” I look behind me to find a packed auditorium surrendering to the shadows.
This morning, the city mayor and important officials imposed a shelter-in-place order on the residents for at least three weeks to help “flatten the curve“. Those who choose not to follow the rules can face a fine of $2000.
In the midst of the fearful masses, courageous people throughout the community have displayed admirable, selfless acts of service. A small alteration business has been donating their fabric to help make more masks for the medical professionals in the hospital. There has been an increase in volunteers at the homeless shelters and food banks helping those that are most vulnerable.
Fear and faith can’t occupy the same space.
A friend shared a post-it note and the above declaration with me. I thought to share this post-it with you and invite you to reflect on these questions in your own lives.
1. What are you GRATEFUL for today?
Good morning from my end! 🌻🌅
Emojis! Regardless of how Rory Gilmore feels about them!
Stress-relief balls of all shapes and sizes!
Yarn for crocheting Harry Potter House scarves for everyone!
Adult coloring books, comic books, and magazines to create collages!
Business and work that allows me to work from home!
But seriously…. Most of all… Dare I say it? 😆 YOU’RE da bomb! 💣💥
Today, I celebrate having 600 followers on my blog! 🍹💝 THANK YOU! You guys are all rock stars in my eyes! 🙌 Shining bright like diamonds in the sky creating beautiful constellations.
Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy You and I, you and I, we’re like diamonds in the sky You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy …. At first sight I felt the energy of sun rays I saw the life inside your eyes
Each of you has impacted my world one way or another. Words cannot express how deeply appreciative I am for your presence. You have brought a full spectrum of emotions from jubilation, sadness, humor, and companionship into my life by sharing pockets of your life through a variety of mediums: film, poetry, story, & photos.
Truly, you’ve made my life richer. You’ve even inspired me to take my first virtual poetry workshop (Sharpened Visions) hosted by California Institute of the Arts on Coursera which I never thought I would do.
2. Who am I CHECKING IN or CONNECTING WITH today?
Unable to visit anyone due to new laws enacted in my city, I’ve checked in family, friends, coworkers, former coworkers, and other acquaintance-friends in my phone book. A friend who worked on the front lines as a medical worker passed away recently.
Today I’m checking in with you! How are you? Are you relishing the homebody lifestyle? Or…are you itching go somewhere?
3. What expectations of “NORMAL” am I LETTING GO OF today?
Such a timely question considering how the purpose of my blog explores just that! Lately, I’ve noticed that there is a deeper spiritual hunger which wants to be quenched perhaps not just in myself but around the world. I came across this story below.
Finally, after over an hour, a beautiful sight rose before my eyes. The Yamuna River, descended from the Himalayas, having flowed through the plains of North India, was embracing Mother Ganges—Yamuna with her complexion of deep blue, Ganges with hers of white, and the transparent Saraswati joined them from below.Sitting on the sandy bank, I gazed into the cloudless blue sky.
There, a hawk, wings extended, soared the airways. His reddish-brown feathers shone in the sun as he hovered lower and lower, till he was just a few yards above my head, his glistening yellow eyes intently scanning the river. Suddenly he plunged headlong into the Ganges.
There, a frantic underwater skirmish ensued until he emerged with a flapping fish, about a foot long, pierced in the grip of his talons. Squirming desperately, the fish was carried overhead and into a nearby forest. Looking on I reflected:
The unsuspecting fish, who knew nothing but a life in the river, went about its routine like any other day, but in an instant was ripped out of its reality to meet with death.
Like that fish, we routinely live our lives hardly aware that, at the least expected moment, the yellow-eyed hawk of fate in the form of crises, tragedy, or even death, may wrench us out of our comfortable environment.
We regularly hear of it in the news or see it around us but rarely take seriously that it could happen to us. Perhaps the lesson here is to guard against complacency and give higher priority to our spiritual needs.
If the fish swam deeper, the hawk would not be able reach it. Similarly, if we go deeper into our connection to God, we will find an inner reality so deep and so satisfying that it lifts the consciousness to a place where we could deal with the effects of unforeseeable fate with a stable, detached mind.