Posted in Culture, Events, flashback, Music, Quotes

The Importance of Play: A Mysterious Lion Captivates

As we grow older, our playgrounds change โ€“ where do you go to play?

Shelley @ Quaint Revival
Created a word cloud with Background Image from Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Hello there! Hope you are all well and safe!

Shelley’s quote peaked my interest today. How often do we neglect this area of our lives dismissing play as being infantile and frivolous? Throughout history, many influential people asserted the importance of play.

  • Albert Einstein: “Play is the highest form of research.”
  • Mr. Rogers: Play gives children a chance to practice what they’re learning.”
  • Johan Huizinga: “Culture arises and unfolds in and as play.”
  • Abraham Maslow: “Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”
  • Roger von Oech: Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.

Play relieves stress by releasing feel-good endorphins. It improves connections with your relationships which can help ward off depression. Play helps increase vitality and helps replace negative beliefs and behaviors. For adults it can be something small like flirting with your partner, joking with your coworkers, or enjoying spontaneity with your relatives.

A Young Adult’s Playground

There are patterns which emerge in oneโ€™s life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme.

Jacqueline Carey, Kushielโ€™s Chosen

A few days ago, I received a gift in the mail. As I unwrapped the box, I was stunned by the beauty of “Mysterious Lion”, a wooden Unidragon puzzle. I found out my thoughtful siblings mailed it to me as a surprise for my birthday. Mom called the night before and laughed when I told her I received a “toy”.

My eyes got watery. Unintentionally, the gift was rather meaningful and symbolic for me. VJ invited her readers to think about circling this week. For me, the invitation to play again was coming back full circle. I remembered the joy I felt to complete a puzzle as a child. Even though it’s been a while since I physically completed one, I was always attracted to things resembling a puzzle. Circling around the idea of solving a mystery.

My heart swelled a bit when my Facebook wall was flooded with lovely messages from local friends. It’s a strange sight to behold since I’m typically not active there. Since the quarantine however, all sorts of groups popped up to hang out. I had trouble choosing a non-profit to invite donations this year. So, I created a short video featuring non-profits that help the local community to drum up support.

Google Arts and Culture partnered with more than 2000 museums all around the world. I virtually explored some of these spaces and their exhibits. In the evening, I watched Verdi’s opera, Un Ballo de Maschera, a free nightly streaming at the Metropolitan Opera.

I had a very small gathering to celebrate in my cozy home. My roommates created a tasty meal of BBQ ribs, asparagus, mashed potatoes, ambrosia salad, chocolate cake with coconut-pecan icing. My boyfriend helped me build a desk as we enjoyed chatting with one another. My friend gave me hilarious t-shirts, Hawaiian floral hair clips, makeup which I’ll probably feature soon on Instagram.

Creating this banner made me feel pretty happy and features my bright personality. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sometimes it’s the little things that can bring a smile to your face. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Posted in Awards, Events, flashback, Nature, Quotes

Personal Life & Award Update

I hope everyone is well and healthy! Hence, the reason for my orange filled banner to encourage people to take care of their immune systems. ๐Ÿ™‚

I want to apologize for my late blog posts for the A2Z challenge. I’m currently coping with the death of a friend who I had a real deep, caring connection with. For those of you who understands how that feels, it can be quite an emotional roller coaster. I’ve been sleeping and resting after being thrashed around by my feelings, memories, and thoughts.

Yet, I can just imagine him telling me, “Sa, hike with me. The beauty will surely make you feel better.” I will miss him dearly.

Imagine my smile when I woke up from my melancholic slumber to find a nomination in my inbox for The Real Neat Blog Award. This is actually the first time I’ve been nominated for this particular award. Thank you kindly James!

James has published a few books and possesses an otherworldly sort of imagination. One of the titles to his book, “The Haunting of a Marcasite“, surely has me intrigued. Stop by his blog for an interesting read and step into another world of memorable characters!

Rules For The Real Neat Blog Award :

  1. Display the Blog Logo in your blog.
    (I re-made my own banner, but you can find logos online. ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  2. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
  3. Do not forget to link to their blog for nominating you.
  4. Answer all the questions they have given you.
  5. Nominate 7 to 10 other Bloggers of your choice.
  6. Ask your Nominees 7 questions.

James’ questions:

What is your favorite place to get away to?
There are so many beautiful places in the world that I would like to visit, but I can only speak to places I’ve been to. There’s physical places where I’ve only visited once in my life.

Like… Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Visited this wondrous place 11 years ago and its natural beauty astounded me as the captain navigated our boat between the rocks. I was in awe and wanted everyone I knew to experience this with me.

Image Credit: Forbes

Right now, in the midst of this “self-quarantine”, my favorite place to get away to is here on my blog as I drink a good cup of tea. I’ll be working on my challenges today and check out the worlds of other A2Z participants!

If, you choose to become a famous actor or screen writer? What would you choose?
I’ve really enjoy memorizing lines and acting in theater plays. I relish the idea of performing on stage playing a role and entering the mind of another character. Even though I enjoy creative writing on a small scale, I never really thought of screen writing before. Acting feels instinctual to me whereas writing requires a lot more work to imagine an extensive and cohesive plot line. I’ve known a lot of people who were highly skilled in it though. We tend to work together quite often!

What is your favorite holiday ? Why ?
It’s difficult for me to choose as it’s split between traditional and non-traditional holidays. There seems to be a holiday for anything and everything. There are some “holidays” that I celebrate everyday.

That being said, I’ve celebrated many holidays with friends and family. I enjoy the big, traditional holidays as they allow me to reconnect with loved ones such Christmas, Thanksgiving, Lunar New Year. However, I’ve had some very meaningful, quieter moments celebrating Passover, Veterans Day, Palm Sunday and Lent.

I also like World Water Day, Earth Day, Random Acts of Kindness, National Comic Book Day, and May the 4th be with You.

Ice skates or Rollerblade?
Ah! I love both equally. I have great memories for ice skating and rollerblading!

Style is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.

Robert Frost

What are your favorite toppings to put a pizza ?
Pineapple, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives

A strawberry milkshake or a vanilla milkshake ?
Strawberry milkshake! I love strawberries! I found out that my birthday lands on National Pick Strawberries Day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What is the funniest show you have ever seen ?
Movie wise I kept laughing throughout “O Brother, Where Art Thou” & “Miss Congeniality”!

As for TV shows, it’s difficult for me to choose! There’s funny shows that I think I can only watch once like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Big Bang Theory, & Malcolm in the Middle. There’s other shows that I can watch more than once like How I Met Your Mother, Simpsons, or Gilmore Girls.

Bloggers Nominated:

  • America on Coffee: Coffee shops have been near and dear to my heart. I love the random assortment of music and shows that are shared.
  • Kate @ Holistic Life by Kate: Beautifully designed site, chock-full of mindful resources to help others live a better life.
  • Dr.Tanya @ Salted Caramel: The positive & sound advice she gives is a beacon of light. I appreciate her wisdom. She hosts “Blogging Insights Series” and shares great pointers.
  • Mr. A @ A Barbarian in Gentleman’s Clothing: Shares excellent book reviews and tips spoken from the wisdom of life experiences.
  • Sadje @ Keep it Alive: Her short stories and poetry tie in with wonderful lessons. She hosts “What do you see?” creative writing challenge.
  • Jay @ Fragrance Writer: He writes some beautiful poetry about fragrances, life experiences, and is willing to collaborate with other poets to create great works.
  • Tatiana @ Travelways: Her blog is incredibly rich with unique experiences and beautiful photos. It’s a visual delight!
  • Ann-Christine @ Leya She features some beautiful photos on her photo blog that bring a lot of peace to my life. Motto: “To see a world in a grain of sand…”
  • Zy Marquiez @ Breakaway Individual.com: He has written on an assorted array of topics from creative writing, culture, health and biotech with an interesting take on issues.
  • Dracul Van Helsing: Published Sherlock Holmes fanfiction & vampire novels; He also regularly writes intriguing fiction tales related to current events
  • Sandomina @ Insightful Geopolitics: Informative posts about the mysteries of space and global threats
  • The Alchemist Studio: Enjoy checking this studio’s pottery collection and listening to random thoughts and musings
  • Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau: I enjoy checking out her savory recipes and mouthwatering photos to match.
  • Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower: She covers tasty dessert recipes, travel trips, and blogging tips on writing quality content.

My blog compliments your blog! You’re not obligated to respond, but I just wanted to take time to appreciate the hard work you put into your blogs.

Questions to Nominees:

  1. What kind of music are you listening currently to calm or motivate yourself from the “outside noise & news”?
  2. What has been your greatest achievement this past year?
  3. What kind of skills do you want to develop in the months ahead?
  4. What on-screen villain is most intriguing to you?
  5. Do you have an outfit that makes you feel great about yourself, seems to boost your confidence, or makes you feel invincible? ๐Ÿ˜‰
  6. Was there ever a movie or documentary that inspired you to take action or made you want to learn more about the background story?
  7. What kind of activities do you and your best friend do together? Do you have a favorite funny memory that you share?
Posted in Events, Nature, Photography, poetry, Quotes

#SoCs – What’s Beside Me Right Now? – A Lesson from a Cloud

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

Rabindranath Tagore
#SoCs – Beside you

Hello there!
Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness from Linda G. Hill is: โ€œโ€ฆwrite about whatever is beside you when you read this prompt. Not when you sit down to write, but whatever is beside you right now. Take note of it if you think you might forget. Enjoy!โ€

So, I read this prompt while jogging in a deserted field area this afternoon. Em from Earthly Brain shared a prompt as well: “ย If I could learn a lesson from the clouds, it would be …“. An impromptu poem materialized in my head. Enjoy!

Nubivagant

Puffy cotton balls reflecting brilliant light
Today I greet the day as it comes
Drifting along with the wind

It’s somewhat difficult for me
to play hide-and-go seek
as I often gleam behind nature

No matter though, Sunny and I
Our friendship is billions of years old
Together on the best and worst of days

A generous spirit today
Frolicking among you
Revealing a wondrous site

Posted in Events, Photography

The Found Poem: Perpetual Planet

Hey everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

So the poem above is the result of an experiment. I did my first prompt from the poetry workshop, “”Sharpened Visions”, that I’m currently taking on Coursera.

The Found Poem: A Brand New poem in Three Easy Steps
Grab a paragraph of text from a book or on the web and make a found poem by breaking a passage into lines. A poem is more than line broken prose, but this exercise can help you experiment with rhythm and sound quickly.

Here is the piece of prose I found in Elle magazine while browsing:

I had a lot of fun deconstructing this excerpt and breaking it into lines of poetry. Reading it aloud is also a fresh experience! Until today, I didn’t know anything about Rolexes, other than as a luxury accessory!

Image by Maurรญcio Souza Mau from Pixabay
Posted in Crafts, Dance, Dreams, Events, exercise, Nature, Photography, Quotes

Gratitude During a Chaotic Time – Daily Quarantine Questions๐Ÿ“Œ

He transformed into a tough security guard, and wherever I went, he was there….

Image by fsHH from Pixabay

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.

Friend checks up on me and sends me a thoughtful post-it๐Ÿ—ฟ ๐Ÿ’Œ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ’ก

1. What are you GRATEFUL for today?

Good morning from my end! ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒ…

  • 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? ๐Ÿ˜† YOU’RE da bomb! ๐Ÿ’ฃ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Today, I celebrate having 600 followers on my blog! ๐Ÿน๐Ÿ’ THANK YOU! You guys are all rock stars in my eyes! ๐Ÿ™Œ 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

Rihanna

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.

Image Credit: Radhanath Swami Quotes

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 Gangesโ€”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.

Image by avalok sastri from Pixabay

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.

Image by VIT DUCKEN from Pixabay

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.

โ€“ Radhanath Swami (Excerpt from The Journey Home Book)
Dwarf Gourami Fish

4. How am I GETTING OUTSIDE today?

There’s a grassy field behind my place that’s absolutely deserted now. I’ll just sneak out there for a few minutes and enjoy the sunshine!

5. How am I MOVING MY BODY today?

Today I’m finding inspiration in these absolutely adorable dancers! I will attempt to dance many styles along with them! They make it look like so much fun! ๐Ÿ˜€

Also, I need a rhythmic cardio-in-place workout like jump roping. Inspired by this talented Hungarian jumper, Adrienn Banhegyi.

6. What BEAUTY am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?

CREATING a beautiful desk work space!

CULTIVATING zucchini indoors!

INVITING a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers!

Posted in Events, exercise, flashback

#SoCS- Figure Skating

Linda’s #SoCS prompt – Figure
Badge Photo Credit – Shelley

Figure skating has been a joy for me to watch over the years. Seeing these athletes gracefully landing loops and pirouettes to the rhythm of their chosen music is lovely.

Image Credit: Pixabay

I love their elegance, choice in outfits, reflecting what they want to express to their audience. Balancing on ice while keeping the rest in mind!

I figure that’s what inspired me to skate. Mom bought me my first set of rollerblades from the Toys R’ Us for my birthday. Cute set too – Magenta buckles/wheels and white boots! My neighborhood friends and I would create little routines.

The fun one to practice was what we called the Figure 8. We used the indented cracks in the driveway to guide our paths. Dramatically, we held each other as we intersected paths on the infinity.

There were friendships in that neighborhood that I wanted to last for infinity. People grow and change, go off in their own directions though.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Little ducklings growing into beautiful swans. I’m reminded of a glass figurine of a swan my aunt gave me. I turn the dial and it plays a tune. Spinning around. Not knowing what direction it will face once the melody fades away.

Will the swans be united again after swimming in such different directions for so long? โ›ธ

Image Credit: Pixabay

Whoosh! Feeling a blast of cold air as I’m ice skating wakes me up and makes me feel alive while skating with friends. Then comes the inevitable….

*CRASH* Ahh!

My skate gets caught in someone else’s deep indentation in the ice, and I flip over and slide, stomach-flat, across the arena at an incredible speed. I’m disoriented, and everything looks like a blinding set of stars.

Yes, sometimes the cracks in life can make you more than stumble. All I can do is get up, and try again once I get my bearings straight! ๐Ÿ˜€

Word of the Day Challenge: everything

Posted in Events, flashback, poetry

Wearing Bright Clothes on Tough Days

Hi – I had a series of tough days recently. 2 weeks of persistent flu symptoms. I’ve been reading blog posts related to flu, getting better, & news. Thanks, as it’s been enlightening and helpful. ๐Ÿค“

Details.. another time. Nitemares.. another time.. As that might weaken me. Just want to focus on getting better. Docs helping me.

A while back I took these snapshots. Bohemian flare. Texan cowboy style. A yellow dress that reminds me of one I wore in a high school dance.

#Haiku- Adventure Awaits

Cool journey ahead|Pet llama is just chilling |Chic wardrobe, new groove

#Haiku- Dancing Dame

Lemon-colored dress | Swirling at the rodeo | Blooming under stars

Good night everyone! Rest well and Ill see you again when I feel healthy. ๐Ÿค ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒƒ