Archives for the month of: January, 2013

The past few mornings, I have delighted in the birdsong that I hear stream in through the slim opening of the bedroom window. It is music to my ears and spurs my body to smile all over.

Yesterday, I allowed myself one small indulgence. I was in the stationary store to see if they had any interesting postcards. As I have been in search of postcards lately, I am reminded of how scarce they actually are to come by, and when they are there to be found, they are often of the touristy type. I was pleasantly surprised to see several lovely and some wonderfully strange postcards.

But the postcards were not my one small indulgence, though I did end up buying three and they added to my purchase.

While I was browsing, my eyes were caught by a brown bag splashed with three dollops of color: pink and red. I circled around the small table and saw that what I was looking at were “grab bags” and the red and pink dollops were hearts. I was immediately transported to a time in my childhood when my mother would buy me grab bags from the Hello Kitty store. She had a friend that worked in one of the stores and she would ask her to make mine extra special. I looked forward to receiving the lovely bags filled with a variety of Hello Kitty trinkets, pens, lip gloss, and other goodies.

So when I saw this simple grab bag knowing it would contain a pad of paper, a pen, and stickers, I couldn’t help myself. I’ve always enjoyed the surprise of opening up the bag; and even though I knew generally what would be inside, that didn’t stop me and it didn’t take away the feeling of allowing myself or rather still having that childlike wonder deep inside of me. I had to chuckle to myself as I read the sign near the bags that said, “good for ages 5 – 8.” I suppose they could add: “and the young at heart.”

A few days ago, after reaching the end of a sample Kindle copy of One Zentangle a Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun by Beckah Krahula, I came across another Kindle book: 101+ Creative Journaling Prompts: Inspiration for Journaling and an Introduction to Art Journaling by Kristal Norton. The cost was .99 cents, so after previewing the sample and reading the reviews, I thought, Why not?

There are countless writing prompt websites and books, yes, and I own another writing prompt e-book that it too cumbersome–to many prompts–and I have several writing prompt Apps, but there was something manageable, clean, and simple about this one. I like that it has an art journaling section to incorporate that doodling side of a journaler, and the way that Kristal Norton has organized the prompts speaks to me and heightens my curiosity:

Hopes, Dreams, & Goals
Life’s Moments
Being You
Personal Growth
Story Telling
Finish the Sentence

Art Prompts

Bonus Material

It’s unusual for me not to skip ahead and jump around any book. With this one, I’ve decided to use each prompt in order, each day, and incorporate the prompts into my daily morning pages. So far I have viewed and typed the question of the day before I start morning pages, and then when I’ve gotten out all that needs to be vented or shared into my personal pages, I get down to the question.

It ends up being a continuation of morning pages that leads me where, I never know until I’ve worked it out, typed it out, gone back and forth about the question. So far the questions aren’t especially unique and I’ve only just begun, but the questions are thoughtful. I feel that much care has gone into this Kindle e-book.

That I’m engaged, and have made a commitment to myself to keep at a question a day for the next 105+ days, feels great because not only will I explore an interesting prompt, I will also be sure to show up for morning pages each day because the prompt will be the hinge that keeps me showing up on the page.

Today’s prompt: What is your wildest dream?

Happy Day, Happy Writing…

Here’s the Amazon link to the e-book:

So nice to look back at the remnants of words that I have left behind, to see that certain day’s words spilled over, a cup that could not contain itself, unhindered and unafraid to pour forth emotions and thoughts.

It helps to see this, as I experience more frequent moments of drizzling rather than a good hard pour of rain. It pokes me in the side as if to say, it’s time to go back. It’s time to see what’s there that you left in a dark drawer, hidden away; it’s time to go back and polish those stones, to see if they will glisten back to you , and then place them lovingly so that they can be seen and found, so that you can look at them without rummaging through that which is mere fodder for the stones.

Do it for yourself because you need to see your words, from out of the dark, and sometimes you can’t keep up, and then when time passes, you move on, you forget, but you must find the stones that are deserving of your gentle, understanding, patient touch–you must polish them, hold them, and release them into the open like the butterfly that lives inside of you.

Yoga has been calling my name. This morning I listened. I was wiped out last night–for what reason, I cannot say. I never understand when my body becomes heavy with exhaustion and the only thing I can attribute the feeling to is mental exhaustion, but even then, there isn’t much.

I’ve noticed that my right shoulder and the area right where it connects, has lost some range of motion. I’m sure it has to do with that being my dominant mousing arm at work and the position that my desk and chair force me into. For years my work chair has been horribly uncomfortable and I have wanted a new chair, but how do you really properly find a new, ergonomic chair, that fits your body, without sitting in all of them?

Office stores don’t usually have dozens of chairs to sit in and I once did find a chair that looked good in the picture, and the description said all the right things, but when I got the chair it was more uncomfortable than the one that I started with, the one I still sit in.

Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to sit, so I stand awkwardly above my desk. I’ve thought about how I can make my work area a standing station. It’s hard to imagine it with the space I have. My right wrist has also been showing signs–repetitive motion, etc. It motivates me to want to do more Yoga, to use the 2 pound weights I recently bought with good intentions. I’ve only picked them up a few times. I did use them today after Yoga, which was a positive sign.

I had a dream last night. I was at the Relax the Back store searching for work chairs. I went to that store years ago and was pleased at the offerings. They even had petite sized chairs. The cost, though, was at least twice or three times as much as a regular chair.

This is the year for a new chair or a makeshift stand up station. This is one change I need to make.

A few weeks back, I had been in search of a one pot meal that was somewhat healthy, simple, tasty, and did not take all day long to cook. I came across this chicken and rice recipe and it has become one of our favorites. From reading the comments, this is not a true Puerto Rican dish as it claims to be, but delicious it is and full of flavor.

The first time I made this dish and the other two times so far, I omitted the pimentos and increased the number of pimiento-stuffed green olives. I used regular paprika because I did not see sweet paprika in the store. I used Anaheim chiles instead of poblano. The recipe makes a lot, so unless I want a heaping of leftovers, I make half the recipe.

When I prepared this recipe, I was transported to my grandmother’s kitchen because of the oregano. I hadn’t realized how distinct this humble herb is. She didn’t use many spices in her dishes, mostly salt and pepper, and oregano.

My memory of oregano lies is in my grandmother’s sopa de albondigas (meatball soup). This was one of my favorite comfort foods. I hope to find a familiar recipe and prepare it soon.

the day is concealed
in a shroud of hope
and peace.

pine trees stand strong.

in the distance,
falling pine needle.

Today feels like a good day.

I had strange dreams last night and the only remnant of one that stands out is of a giant squid body of some sort. I remember squatting in the dirt separating white and black noodles for dinner. They were very thin and the black noodles were actually worms and I didn’t like touching them. I needed to separate them, so that I could prepare the white noodles for dinner. We were somewhere far away and had nearly escaped. I was about to dispose of the huge bulbous body when someone said, “stop! that’s the best part. Look inside, you’ll see thousands and thousands of rice kernels.” I lifted the skirt of this squid-like mass and saw that indeed there were kernels that looked like miniature puffed wheat that could feed the masses. They looked lovely hidden beneath the purplish body of this interesting creature that seemed illuminated inside. It felt warm and protected.

Each year I go to Barnes & Noble and select a few daily calendars at 50% off. I like having at least three because I have trouble settling on just one. Two are the same from last year: The Book Lover’s Calendar and The Argyle Sweater, which has proved to be quite funny. The third is a word calendar of archaic words. The print is so tiny I struggle to read the entries. I had spotted a Dot-to-Dot calendar that day, but decided against it. After stumbling upon some directly unrelated websites on learning and creativity, I decided to go back and get the Dot-to-Dot for home. I vaguely remember doing these as a child. I would like to improve my drawing and way of interpreting shapes and that’s how I decided to get this calendar. I’ve found it to be quite relaxing. It has become my evening ritual. I try to guess what the image might be and then I begin connecting the dots. And Voila, a surprising image will appear. Yesterday was a pair of sunglasses and at the suggestion of my significant other, I drew in bloodshot eyeballs, a nose, and a mouth with teeth and tongue hanging out. It looks funny. I like it.

I’ve resisted for months on purchasing a wireless Apple keyboard. The time came about a week ago, and it’s great. The iPad is fast becoming my main computer. It’s more convenient and I don’t have to strain my wrist with a mouse or a laptop touchpad for every move I make, and I much prefer the way the keys feel under my fingers with the wireless keyboard. My laptop was becoming sluggish, and because I don’t use a desk or table these days to write, it became awkward to hold it in my lap when I type.

I’m having trouble deciding which fiction book to read next. I have so many unread books on my shelves and Kindle and I couldn’t find one that truly grabbed me. I did begin one story that was a freebie on Amazon for Kindle: Awake in the Mad World by Damon Farrell Marbut. I haven’t formed an opinion on it yet. It has some good moments in dialogue and seems to flow alright. I want to keep at it, give it a chance, though I did almost give up.

The last book of December that I finished that I thoroughly enjoyed was The Dog that Talked to God by Jim Kraus. This is such a sweet story. I happened to get it for free thanks to the Kindle blog that I follow. The Kindle price is currently $8.54. Anyway, this was a sweet, heartfelt story about a widowed woman and a dog that comes into her life and how the two forge together to find a new life. I love coming across books that I might normally not find. This one left me feeling uplifted and satisfied.

I think it’s time for me to browse the library’s bookshelves–to find my next reading adventure.

In preparation for my upcoming class and because I’ve become more and more curious about the topic, I found a book on Amazon that I’ve begun: Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget, and Vygotsky.

There are also a handful of books that I’ve downloaded samples for and a book or two on hold from the library related to this area.

This morning I felt the need to pull The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron. It’s a book that I’ve read slowly over the years and that I look to for inspiration. I actually followed through on today’s exercise–or rather, the exercise I landed on for the day. It was to write down 25 wishes, big or small. I did so in my personal journal. This was the perfect exercise for today–just what I needed! Cameron suggests that we do this exercise once a month or when we are feeling scattered. I have definitely been feeling scattered and this exercise gave me a gentle nudge. I even began a short story that’s been tugging at me for weeks and maybe even months.

Tuesday’s seem to be good days.

Happy writing and creating!

Right this moment, if I could change something about myself, it would be to do more and worry, doubt, and over think less. It seems that with certain choices, I don’t allow myself to go freely, instead I begin putting up mental road blocks, questioning my decision that in the moment I decided, felt right–or maybe I don’t reach the finality of decision because I don’t allow myself to get there mentally.

I told myself after I finished my short story writing class this fall: no more community college courses for fun or interest. Five months is too long, I said. Plus, I understand that community colleges are going to be stricter about people like me without a clear direction. I also noticed that since I’ve taken courses at the B.A. level, sometimes certain community college courses don’t feel meaty enough. I tell myself: just read about it. You don’t need to take the class, do you? Why do you keep enrolling and not only that–why do you keep questioning your decision.

I enrolled in a course. I was enrolled for several weeks, but hadn’t paid, just in case I changed my mind. The class begins in mid-January. I’ve thought about it for days, asking: are you sure this is what you want? I think so. If I take money out of the equation. The answer is yes, absolutely. I feel guilty because the credit card that I’m trying to pay off, keeps jumping up. I rationalize, saying, well, if you get a small tax refund, put that towards the balance of your credit card.

Right now I have mixed feeling of nervousness and excitement.

Recently I finished a book called Kindergarten: A Teacher, Her Students, and a Year of Learning by Julie Diamond. I loved the book. This was the closest that I’ve come to revisiting Kindergarten and the book really made me want to be a part of this setting in some way.

And a month ago when I stepped onto the elementary school steps, walking past a classroom, I peeked in, and as I passed, I saw small children, crayons at their desk, pictures they had drawn on the windows, and I realized by the size of the children that this must have been a kindergarten class. As I walked on toward the classroom where I would meet Mrs. L to learn more about tutoring, the recess bell rang, and all the children poured out to the black top to play and let out their bundled up energy. I loved the feeling of being there. I felt transported to a time of play and learning and I felt as though I was meant to be there.

When I used to ride my bike to work, I would pass an elementary school and I always thought to myself, I would really like to work there. I would like to work at a local elementary school. But this wasn’t possible. For one, schools have severe budget cuts. And two, I don’t have the proper credentials, nor the means to complete certain steps I never finished.

As nice as it would be to get paid to be a teacher’s assistant in a Kindergarten or first grade class, I don’t know that this is possible. Let me take that back. Of course it’s possible. I just don’t know if a) it’s something I truly want to do because I’ve never done it before and b) I don’t know if it will open up.

With that being said, I am going to reframe the negative and concentrate on the positive–concentrate on the possible.

The other motivating factor is that I enjoy playing with my significant other’s God son who is three. When we go over to visit, he says to me, “let’s go play” and we go play and I enjoy entering his world. Even though we don’t see him too often, I enjoy hearing about his new discoveries from his mother, and also of watching him and engaging in his play and pretend world.

And so if ever I’m in a position where an assistant teaching position may manifest in the future, from doing a little research, I know I will at least need to have a certain amount of Early Childhood Education (ECE) units. The funny thing is I’ve always had a fascination with education and as a child I adored the educational programs: Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, The Polkadot Door, Reading Rainbow. I wasn’t that interested in Sesame Street for some reason. But I’ve never pursued this avenue.

Soon I will be taking a baby step and I will take my first ECE course: Principles and Practices of Early Childhood Education. This will at least give me an opportunity to be in a structured classroom setting to explore whether this is a path that I would like to pursue and hopefully answer any questions and doubts that I may have. At the very least, I will have an opportunity to enter this period of life and possibly remember more of my own early experiences. It seems such a wonderful period filled with growth, learning, and wonder, yet so much of it goes forgotten. Maybe I’ll also learn to accept this truth: that sometimes all of that magic comes and goes, but is always there if we remember.