Good morning! It’s the first of May! I’m slightly partial to this month as it’s my birthday month. Today, I’ve learned that lily of the valley and hawthorn flower are May’s birthday flowers. Aren’t they lovely?
I pinned this beautiful hand painted scarf that was inspired by these two flowers.
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
On the one hand, I like deadlines. Its existence spurs me to action. On the other, I don’t like them. It forces me to make sacrifices and prioritize decisions.
What did I end up sacrificing this past month?
Time with my blog
Heart was willing. To-Do's ever so increasing. Energy was waning.
Out of all things, why does it have to be something that brings me joy?
Life doesn't make sense at times.
This year’s A-to-Z blogging challenge was a bust! I truly wanted to explore these topics more in depth! In the past, I was very spontaneous with my prompts and wrote whatever I was in the mood for which was surprisingly quite successful.
A2Z Survivor? Hardly (at least not for April)! Below features all the topics I wanted to write about this past month. I’ll certainly save them for later! I’ll probably change this blogging challenge month-long sprint into a year-long marathon.
a - Axolotl
b - Burj al Arab
c - Ciselure
d - Dogme 95
e - Entremets
f - Fallingwater
g - Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
h - Hanno the White Elephant
i - Isicathamiya
j - Juggernaut
k - Krampusnacht
l - La Tomatina
m - Michael Jackson's Manifesto
n - Neottious
o - Orlov Diamond
p - Paisley Underground
q - Qasida
r - Rose Trellis Egg
s - Songkran / Shibuya-kei / Sagrada Familia
t - Trumpets of the Martians
u - Umbilicanimism (American Beauty)
v - Viking Metal / Venetian Mask
w - Wonky Pop
x - Xuan Calligraphy Paper
y - Yag (Carmen San Diego Fanfiction)
z - Zen Manifesto
On top of that, I started a separate blog about project management for school thinking I could juggle another challenge…simultaneously! That was a certainly a no-go. I did manage to write about how AI is helping Save the Ghost of the Mountain. A pat on the back for something launched!
These overall reflections of my recent A2Z experience leads me to think about a question that Dr. Tanya asked sometime back in February.
Do you have a niche for your blog? If so tell us more about it. I think it would be visual storytelling – I called my blog Culture Shocks to focus on sharing my reactions to new cultural experiences. I wanted to undergo great periods of growth, and jarring experiences would help me stretch outside my own boundaries and meet new people.
At the very least, it would attract those who relish in new adventures and seek novel experiences because variety is the spice in life. I figured I would have plenty of fresh content so long as I didn’t pigeon-hole myself as to how I conveyed these experiences to my audience.
Have you ever thought of niche-ing down and why? Yes, plenty of times! I think it gives me great purpose to be intentional about the audience I would be writing for who is serious about reading your content. It would motivate me to write even when I may not always feel like it because I wouldn’t want to let them down. I actually found old blogs I wrote years ago before Culture Shocks: 2009 – Trash to Treasure Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects 2012 – Exploration into World Literature 2012 – Confessions of a Parapsychologist Assistant At the time, I thought it was just easier having separate audiences for vastly different topics. I felt like if I could focus on a particular niche, then I might be more prolific. It’s difficult to write regularly for separate blogs and maintain different brand personas. Even while doing this challenge, I thought to myself, “Gee, wouldn’t it be easier to explore deeply about one topic rather than write from five categories?”
If you chose just one as your niche, how much would you miss writing about the others? Too much! There’s times where I feel like a skimmer rather than a diver. Though I do wonder: If I chose a niche, perhaps I can tie those topics with something unrelated and find some point of commonality which can provide a new angle on an established topic.
After Dr. Tanya’s question, Fandango shared a provocative question that also made me reflect:
What DID make me write today in the midst of my busy life? My last post was 2 weeks ago. I just finished working on a rigorous 3-month long project for work this morning. Safeguarding my sanity meant encasing myself in a bubble. My supervisor and CEO said to me, “It’s time to take a well-deserved break!”
I take such a deep breath, I didn’t realize how much oxygen I missed. I realize I blog when I want to chat about something, but I don’t really share in public. I can share random trivia tidbits without worrying about wasting other people’s time.
I look over to my left and my eyes fixate on my cute, whimsical owls, and my thoughts drifted into how I missed my whimsical blog. I once read a journal article titled:
The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus
I’m exhausted. I almost don’t want to stare at a screen. Yet, I miss the people in this community and want to stay close the proverbial campfire. While eating some ambrosia salad, I wrote this poem below with intertwined quotes:
Take a Deep Breath.
Do you know the feeling that DEADLINES induce?
Future date unmistakably marked
Yet, why does it feel imaginary?
Why doesn't iit feel as real as The Present?
Deadlines just aren’t real to me until I’m staring one in the face.
― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief
Deadline looms around the corner Like a shadow in a dark alley Skin tingles. Hair prickles. Its impending presence
…grind us to the lowest depth of subjugation…
– William Williston Heartsill, Diary of William Williston Heartsill (entry Mar. 1863)
Everlasting companions: Anxiety, Stress, Exhaustion Gradually creep into one's well being Despite Deep Breaths' attempts to squash its vitality, Lassoing the infamous Trio proves quite difficult
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
– Ecclesiastes 4:12
Calling in for reinforcements Spiro-meters are important To measure the shortness of breath, but to tackle it? A Blessing Counter. A Kindness Barometer. A Playfulness Gauge. Maybe, a flexible Salvidor Dali's clock Or... a Clock that breaks quite often So that you can take a break along with it.
Focusing on the act of breathing clears the mind of all daily distractions and clears our energy enabling us to better connect with the Spirit within.
– Author Unknown
Not ready to receive my comeuppance Deadline taps me on the shoulder Delivers the final pummeling blow Just as quickly as It arrived It was gone in a flash and left without a trace.
Breathe deeply, until sweet air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs and every breath is a beautiful refusal to become anything less than infinite.
“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”
Happy Easter everybody! For me, it’s a lovely season commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his greatest sacrifice, his crucifixion. I loved seeing all the communities’ photos of cute bunnies, delicious meals, blooming gardens, adorable children, smiling selfies, decorative eggs, dancing, singing, beautiful spring fashions, hugs, and absolute pure joy flooding my morning!
This past Holy Week has been unlike any other. It’s been a period of reflection, finding the light within as darkness looms. Pope Francis shares, “Creativity of love can overcome isolation”. An outpouring of love from people of all backgrounds has been shared around the world despite social distancing.
Cybersecurity doesn’t take a break. Thankful for my new raise during my 6-month evaluation at work, I decided to give back by donating Doctors Without Borders as my time to volunteer has been limited. Health systems all around the world are taking a battering, and healthcare workers are working tirelessly around the clock. Thank you health heroes. Thank you supermarket employees, food service & utility workers, first responders, delivery drivers, who are also on front lines.
“May we be a people who learn to grieve deeply from within our souls and find comfort in knowing that of one thing I am perfectly sure, God’s story never ends with ashes.” – Elisabeth Elliot
Have a wonderful Easter! Enjoy the precious moments!
Good morning! Fandango has invited us to share a post we wrote last year on today’s date, October 4th! I enjoy exploring my thoughts from times in my life. For all those who are new to my blog, I wrote three blog posts. When I started blogging last year, I wrote about the dreams I had after I woke up from sleeping. I wanted to analyze them. I also enjoyed participating in questionnaires and taking flower pictures.
10.3.18 Dream: I realized I was late to a party. I drove down a street near the Cockrell Engineering building in University of Texas at Austin campus. I took a left turn, and I was surprised that it was a one way street. All the incoming traffic was headed towards me at a fast speed due to the hill being very steep. I swerved to the far right shoulder as quickly as I could, but a car slammed against the left side of my car. My car flipped over and hit a chain link fence. There were lots of sparks, but I was unharmed. I call my boyfriend, “Just got in a serious accident, and I probably won’t make it.”
I wake up feeling a little confused. I’m a careful driver, so how does this happen? The first thing that comes to mind the phrase “to go against the grain” probably because of driving into incoming traffic. The engineering building in my dream represents a lot of things for me. I formally applied to UT Austin for their engineering department, but got declined and got accepted into their Liberal Arts department instead with scholarships.
I was initially disappointed, then I fell completely in love with the experiences that I had studying in the liberal arts department. I vacillated between two decisions for some time. I went against the grain of what was expected of me especially from the guys I worked with in the electronics lab, and it was frightening. I faced a lot of friction from my former instructors.
However, I kept kindling the fire of my new passion. Databases abundant with interesting articles filled the curious regions of my mind and tugged at my heart. It was a fascinating experience that changed my life. Funny how going down one fork in the road can lead to such a different path!
Coincidentally, I was reading Laura Bailey’s post with her poetry. She concludes:
I‘m a rebel. Refuse to be governed by the those who through some measure of success now dictate the trend. Art and poetry should be free to express itself in many forms and appreciated in them all. I love free verse or free form poetry but I also love the patterned and rhyme. I find beauty in them all and refuse to allow my scope to be narrowed, so for me, I’ll explore the old roads and cut the new ones of tomorrow.
Q1] How do you define ‘feeling good?’ Being able to create and express yourself in response to whatever circumstances you’re in. It ignites the flames of my passions. Feeling happy and inspired. Something that I feel after accomplishing a difficult task or goal. Addressing a problem in a community and tackling the challenges head on to create a positive result.
Q2] Do you have someone human or animal that is always there for you, and how do you feel about them? I’m grateful for my family and my roommates. They always have a kind word and a delicious meal waiting for me after a difficult day.
Q3] What is something you have done recently that is thoughtful for someone else? I just became a reading buddy volunteer for two second graders with a local youth literacy group. When I first moved to town, some kids told me they really didn’t like reading, and that they only read in class to become teacher’s pet. I wanted to help them enjoy reading more.
Q4] What’s the best thing that has happened to you today? I’m really enjoying a bowl of Raisin Bran with almond milk right now.
PQ5] If you want to feel good, what type of music do you listen to? [Please provide link] I listen to a lot of instrumental music in which the melodies inspire me to go places. I once listened to Alexis Ffrench’s song “Hope” on loop for three hours to soothe me. Alexis Ffrench | Reborn & Ludovico Eunaudi | Nuvole Bianche
PQ7] Have you seen a feel good film recently, and if not recently please provide a link to a film that has inspired you? The Greatest Showman. Here is a trailer! This musical made me laugh and cry. Stellar soundtrack. Dream inspiring.
Q8] When you are feeling down and you wish to treat yourself to motivate and encourage you, what do you do? I work on some sort of creative activity and listen to inspirational music. I paint, garden, bake, journal, read, or watch a movie.
Q9] List five feel good things in your life right now? friends & family, flowers, dancing, music, comic books
Q10] Has anyone done anything for you really special in the last month or so, that they did just for you and no expectation of anything back? I received a graduation card from my coworkers which brought tears of joy to my eyes. I felt so loved and supported.
Q11] What made you laugh or smile today? Ellen DeGeneres “Clumsy 🙂 Thumbsy” Youtube videos. Hilarious auto-correct scenarios!
PQ12] If you wanted to read something to make you feel good, where would you go to find it, and what would it be? I go to The Good News Network where there are so many inspiring news articles of all the good in the world. Media generally likes to report negative events to help us stay informed, and I like to balance what I read to give me hope.
Q13] What’s your weather like today, and what is one good thing about it? It’s sunny and bright. The skies are clear. I love how the rays of the sun warm my skin after being inside with air conditioning.
Q14] Of all the seasons which one makes you feel totally great and why? Summer, without a doubt. I may go through several bottles of sunscreen, but I love swimming, going hiking in the parks, checking out the ice cream store, checking out fruit in season and making desserts, checking out summer reading clubs and new fashion trends.
PQ15] What choices in the last twelve months have you made to improve your life and how’s that going for you? I’ve been making an effort to stay fit by staying really active. A variety of jogging, yoga, strengths training, jump roping, ballet exercises. It’s been well! I feel more energetic.
Q16] Who in your life has survived something difficult, and how do you feel when you think about the fact that they’re still here? My family lives are a testimony to survival. My uncle was stabbed by a guy who stalked and mugged him with a broken wine bottle in the garage of his own home. He survived the ordeal and was able to move on with his life. I feel a sense of awe that he is still the life of the party at family events he hosts and can still dance the night away. My father and mother were Vietnamese refugee boat people who survived grueling circumstances. I’m just amazed at what they were able to accomplish in their adopted homeland. You can overcome a lot of things with the right people at your side no matter what kind of chaos is out there.
Q17] Have you recently imagined a worst-case scenario that didn’t actually happen? Last night I saw one of my coworkers juggling a pair of scissors. I stopped breathing afraid that he was going to hurt himself, but he didn’t! He smiled at me and told me he was formally in the color guard tossing flags. STILL, it’s DANGEROUS!!!
Q18] What is your sweetest memory? I was an unpaid volunteer for teaching children language studies one year. At the end of the year, my students gave me so many flowers and cards. They gave me loads of hugs, and told me I was a second parent to them. The other teachers and parents hosted a seafood party where I got to eat as many craw fish as I wanted. I felt so appreciated and loved.
Q19] If you could only keep five of your possessions which ones would you keep to ensure that you always felt good? Piano, Laptop, Camera, Golden Pathos plant, Panda figurine from the Nature’s Endangered Fraser collection
PQ20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones? none
Q21] What do you wish for the epitaph on your gravestone to read? It’s not really something I think about a lot, but it would probably be something along the lines of “Enjoyed the Beauty of Life and Cared for Many.”
Good evening everyone! Feeling honored because I’ve been nominated for a 2nd Liebster Award by Rory @ A Guy called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip! and a 3rd award from Dr. Tanya @ Salted Caramel It feels wonderful to enjoy recent accomplishments with my blog. Sometimes, it takes other creative individuals to bring out the best in you.
Rory has given me a lot of food for thought with thought-provoking questions I never thought of asking myself these past few months. I’ve been befuddled with some of his fun questions, but nevertheless I enjoy them. He shares some interesting quotes and musical selections. He has an interesting take on a variety of topics and he has a wonderful habit of promoting new bloggers in the morning and end of his day! His questions explores my happiness at different stages of my life, colors, inspirational things, curiosity, vices, and a banjo player. Yes… a banjo player! 🙂
I’ve enjoyed Dr. Tanya’s posts on food, lifestyle, and health. They make me reflect on my current choices in life and help me live mindfully. She delivers interesting reviews on books and movies. She also has a creative spark writing short stories to a variety of prompts nearly every day. She also promotes other bloggers via her Blogger’s Coffee Morning. Her questions explore the origins of this blog & its future, favorite book, coffee, movie genre, and my dream vacation! Ooo la la! 🙂
Rory’s 8 Questions
Are you happy with the person:
1] You are: Even though I contemplate what it would be like to be somebody else (My Unlived Life), I’m currently happy! I’m so grateful for the conglomeration of unique experiences that make up who I am. Even though there are times when I experience cognitive dissonance, I love those moments which make me feel so alive. I like that I’m still open to learning and growing. 🙂
2] You were: Hm! Well, when I was a young girl, people often compared me to the young girl, Soo-Yung Han, who was kidnapped in the movie Rush Hour. I too had a thing for Mariah Carey songs 🙂 I’d say I was a pretty happy child, but it’s easy to say that in hindsight. Looking through my old diaries, I had my own anxieties. Though I laugh about it now, it was really upsetting at the time. I also laugh at how easy it was to make me happy.
3] You think you will become? This question causes me some anxiety because the future is something I cannot see. I don’t know how future experiences will shape me or try to break me. How will I grow from new experiences? I currently have this vision that motivates me. It also excites me because I feel like I can create it to be whatever I want to be.
How many colours can you see in the image below, list them in detail.
Oh, how I love color! I won’t go as far as saying that I can hear color though. I saw this on Weird Wonders of the World the other night!
Anyway, I digress! My world is quite vibrant and filled with many shades. As someone who’s messed with the hex values from color charts to change the pixels in her various visual art projects and someone who’s spent some time at the paint counter staring at paint chips for interior work, this will be interesting. Let’s see what catches my eye first… 🙂
Is there anything within five feet of where you are currently typing that is a permanent feature and motivates you to explore your mind deeply? This poster hangs over my bed. I bought it from the “Artist Alley” of the San Japan convention this past year. I fell in love with the magical piece when I first saw it amidst the thousands of AMAZING creative works featured by several talented artists. There was a lot of cool stuff there, yet this was the only one I bought.
The animals there are Pokemon from a childhood TV show I once watched which serves as a point of nostalgia…a sort of affection for my past. The surrounding forest is a very peaceful setting which points to my love of nature. The water in the pond represents many things: reflection, subconscious, baptism, renewal, purification, transformation. The overall tranquility of it all was what attracted me the most. I guess my life can get quite chaotic, but occasionally staring at this poster helps keeps me grounded.
How many vices do you have and of them which are your worst?
As a member of the human race, I know that I have them. Maybe more than I list here. 🙂 So, I’m looking through a list of vices and realize a few things. Sometimes I pay so much attention to the trees (details), I miss the sight of the forest (the big picture) which leaves me fussy and indecisive at times. Even while writing this post, I feel distracted by many details.
My planner helps resolves this issue. I organize what I need to do for the day and it helps me prioritize. I also probably need to speak up more often. I tend to hide what I’m feeling very well and get kinda secretive. I experience fear and doubt quite often!
I am voracious with many things in life. I see something, and maybe I want it all, but realize I can’t. My boyfriend saw this facet of me when he took me to this local ice cream store. Everything looked good and appealing! The worker told me, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach right now.” This is probably my worst vice. I’m still learning that it’s okay to say no!
How curious are you to new discoveries, and first time experiences even if they are possibly dangerous or risky for you to try? As in will you try them, or make an excuse not to?
Well! As I’m typing this, WordPress asks me if I would like to try the new Gutenberg editor or stick with the classic WordPress editor. I think I’m pretty curious to this new discovery despite the risk that my blog could crash from pressing the wrong button. (After all, I did back up my work elsewhere!) I’m currently trying it out right now! 🙂
As for everything else, it does depend on the discovery, I do weigh pros and cons before diving in. That being said I’ve tried out a variety of things (trying out oysters, BLECH!), and I’ve also said no to a lot of things (skydiving).
If you answered No Way to question 5, what prevents you from doing so? For the things I say “no” to, it’s due to fear. I’ve mentioned fear in my Stream of Consciousness posts, my comments, some of my poems. Fear of expression is a common theme. I started this blog partially to get over the fear. Maybe, I care what people think. Maybe, I’m afraid of getting hurt. Maybe, I want to use my money to help someone else rather than spend it on a one-time crazy life experience. Maybe, I don’t want to plummet to my death if the parachute doesn’t work… you get the idea. 🙂
If you answered YES Please to question 6, what motivates you to take those risks? For the things I say yes to, it’s because I feel like life is short. I know that I would regret it if I asked myself, “What if?” It’s the satisfaction knowing that I’ve tried my best. Maybe I should try indoor skydiving to gradually warm up to the idea. 😉
What type of song do you think our banjo player here is playing? Provide a link to what you think it might be as your answer to this question.
I’m laughing aloud as I’m reading this question. I found some interesting stuff. The strangest I’ve seen was a banjo cover of Slipknot which I think our banjo player is least likely to play. 😉 I threw the video in there anyway. As I’m exploring banjo players, I didn’t realize I was into this sort of music. So, out of sheer excitement, I’ve included 4 videos. I was thinking he could perform a duet with Mean Mary. 😀
Dr. Tanya’s 8 Questions
1. When did you start blogging? I started to blog May 9, 2018. Time sure flies! This blog has grown so much in the past few months!
2. Do you think you will still be blogging in five years time? Yes, I’m enjoying all of the writing prompts and learning more about myself in the process which helps me make decisions in life. I really love the supportive community here. I feel encouraged to explore various topics I wouldn’t have otherwise looked at.
3. Where do you like to write your posts? In your bedroom, office, home office, garden, coffee shop? My bedroom is like my creative incubator safe place. I write nearly all my posts in my bedroom. There’s always something in here to inspire me to write.
4. what is your favourite place where you read? (reading for pleasure). I enjoy reading in a variety of places, but my favorite is my bedroom where I can snuggle up with an afghan drinking tea next to my bedside. That’s only for pleasure though. For studies, I need to sit down in a chair and table! 🙂
5. Which book that you read as a child that you would like to read again? Water Buffalo Days by Huynh Quang Nhuong. I bought this book from a scholastic book fair at my school. At the time I never visited Vietnam, but I wanted to know more about the country of my ancestors. It was an exciting tale of a boy and a water buffalo who was his best friend.
6. What is your favourite coffee? Don’t drink coffee at all! I love the smell of it though. I’m more of a tea drinker. Best tea I had was from the Sapa Mountains in Vietnam!
7. What is your favourite movie genre? Difficult to choose! I’ve enjoyed fantasy/action/romance combination in the past!
8. What would your dream vacation be ? Also, difficult to choose! I kinda want to experience a food tour Chateaux et Bateaux: Paris, Corsica, and Sardinia or enjoy the beautiful waters in Island Idyll in the Seychelles Islands.
Theres a kid inside my mind.He wants me to make sense of all the horror and wonder contained in the world, and lace it into a compelling narrative—a narrative that lifts his heart, opens his thoughts, and inspires him to write a story of his own.
I think when we craft a story for that hidden version of ourselves, it seems to connect with everyone else’s.And for an undeniable moment in that spot-on story, it seems we can be that kid again; the one who turns the pages with wide-eyed wonder, and has to restrain themselves from jumping up from their seat and whooping in delight.
This post is just a little anticlimactic after yesterdays, but I will not let that deter me. This bounty I encountered today would be an amazing fit for a regal feast. I have photographed this area a number of times, but never from this side of the orchards. From this perspective it is enthralling to see how the vast amount of different fruits and veggies have surmounted the hillside. A drive through the orchards, via the aptly named Orchard Rd, would inspire anyone to eat local and to eat fresh. The sheer number of the variety being grown here, is incredible. This photo alone I can…
The houses have a backdrop of a serene river. The perfectly paved, wide roads are adorned by lush green trees on their sides. The area is so peaceful that one can hear the sweet chirping of birds. The people are kind, law-abiding citizens. It is a spotlessly clean and well-lit neighborhood. In short, the neighborhood is perfect. Perfect for me.