Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thankful Thursday 3/31/16: The day Herm's work key forced me outside

Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that I began 1/10/13—read why here
I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!

I couldn't have predicted this yesterday, but I am so thankful Herm needed to return his office key to work today! (They're switching offices.) Hermann is currently in Argentina, but his key was in the flat, so that meant I got to take it into the city and drop it off with one of his coworkers.

Until Thursday morning, I hadn't left the house since Saturday night. Actually, now that I think about it, I did take the trash out to the sidewalk on Monday night, and then bring the barrels two yards back into the front "yard" on Tuesday morning, but that had been the extent of my "outside time" so far this week. I know, I know. (It was raining?)

So this little errand forced me out of the house, and it turned out to be a pleasant sunny day (no rain, woo!), which was excellent for wandering walking. I left the flat at 9 a.m. and was on my feet all day (decided to take the day off work to take advantage of being downtown), returning home around 6 p.m. with nice sore legs. It felt so good to be exhausted from all the walking. I'll be posting a full write-up with photos soon, but I'll leave you with a little glimpse of my day.

• • •

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The last Saturday in Rodez: Musée Soulages

On my final Saturday in Rodez a few weeks ago (which at the time, I didn't know it would be my last), Damien and I went to the market in the morning, followed by the Musée Soulages.

At the market you can find fruit, veggies, cheese, sausage, fish, meat, bread, flowers, plants, and probably other things I'm forgetting. It really is awesome and incredible that in a town of this size (~25,000), they have this market each week.

In fact, it's not even the only weekly market in Rodez—there are two others in different locations on two different days of the week. But I think this is definitely normal for France.

• • •

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Painting memories of Alicante at Place Aux Arts in Rodez

In 2012 while living in Madrid, my good friend Chad came for a 2-week visit. We went to Alicante one weekend (on the coast), which is where I ended up taking one of my favorite photos to date:

I like it because of the color of the water, and the memories of Spanish sun, beach and fresh coastal air.

So this past February after signing up to take a 2-day beginner's oil painting "course" in Rodez and finding out that we'd be painting from a picture, this was the first image that came to mind.

• • •

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thankful Thursday 3/24/16

Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that I began 1/10/13—read why here
I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!

Today (and for the past week and a half) I am so thankful to be sheltered and feeling comfortable in Hannah and Herm's Brixton flat!

I broke up with Damien a little over two weeks ago, not really planned out (I mean, I had just bought two house plants at the end of February, for goodness sake! This was not on my radar), so I quickly had to figure out somewhere to go (well, didn't have to, he would have let me stay in Rodez as long as I needed—which goes to show how hard it was to leave such a kind fellow—but you know).

Hannah and Herm had graciously offered to let me crash with them, as did Gregorio in Madrid. So after spending the night at Damien's parents' house that Friday (Hello, gratitude! They were amazing), I ended up taking the train to London on the 12th, spent four days with the HKs (they each have the same initials), and then last Thursday they were off for two weeks in Argentina to visit Herm's family.

So I've got the place to myself for two weeks, and I'm thankful for the time and space away to re-energize, get some work done, self-indulge a bit (saw "Book of Mormon" yesterday and bought stationery...), and to begin re-identifying as just me.

Just me, learning about the world and life through experience, one day at a time.

Coming next month in this journey: Montpellier Part II

• • •

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Facebook-free: Damon

Our next interviewee for my Facebook-free Project is Damon, who I "met"on Twitter a few weeks ago. Let's get right to the introductions:

The basics:

Age: 40-something
Location: Texas
Passion: The truth
Length of time with FB account: About 2 years
Amount of time since leaving FB: Closed account in September 2010

Walk us through your decision to leave. Was it planned? Spur of the moment?

I somewhat planned to leave. The spur of the moment part was after witnessing censorship first hand. I posted something RE: 9/11 and poof, it disappeared. I re-posted it three more times with the same end result. I said, “I don't think so.” My final post was: FYFB! - then I closed my account.

• • •

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sage advice from "The Phantom Tollbooth"

Today I finished rereading the excellent "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster, which I first read only in 2013 at the age of 24.

Here was my quick Goodreads review after that first read:
"I can't believe I never read/heard about this book when I was younger. So much delightful word play and sage advice laced throughout."

And here's what my younger brother wrote after he read the book that same year:
"Loved the endless wordplay and the playful use of language. It was a great reminder that there are countless exciting, rewarding, enlightening adventures out there, if we just keep our minds open to that possibility."

It's a children's novel—think Roahl Dahl books—which is why I was so surprised to never have encountered it growing up.

And as noted above, there's tons of great life advice throughout the book, which can be appreciated and used at any age. So I'd like to share with you the passages that stuck out for me during this most recent read:

"My goodness," thought Milo, "everybody is so terribly sensitive about the things they know best."

"Think of all the trouble it saves," the man explained, and his face looked as if he'd be grinning an evil grin – if he could grin at all. "If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you'll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won't have the time. For there's always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing, and if it weren't for that dreadful magic staff, you'd never know how much time you were wasting."

“It has been a long trip," said Milo, climbing onto the couch where the princesses sat; "but we would have been here much sooner if I hadn't made so many mistakes. I'm afraid it's all my fault." 
"You must never feel badly about making mistakes," explained Reason quietly, "as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.” 
“But there's so much to learn," he said, with a thoughtful frown. 
"Yes, that's true," admitted Rhyme; "but it's not just learning things that's important. It's learning what to do with what you learn and learning why you learn things at all that matters." 
"That's just what I mean," explained Milo as Tock and the exhausted bug drifted quietly off to sleep. "Many of the things I'm supposed to know seem so useless that I can't see the purpose in learning them at all." 
"You may not see it now," said the Princess of Pure Reason, looking knowingly at Milo's puzzled face, "but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way.”

 “..., so many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.”
• • •

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thankful Thursday 3/10/16: You've got a friend in me

Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that I began 1/10/13—read why here
I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!

Today I am thankful for my friends.

Friends who are willing to house me at a moment's notice (big shout out to Hannah and Herm in London and Gregorio in Madrid);

friends I can turn to for support, advice, and encouragement during the more difficult moments;

coworker friends who are amazingly understanding when personal things arise;

new Rodez friends who have sent kind words as the news traveled, even though we've only known each other for two months;

and family who I know are there always.

I've had a lot on my mind this week and a flood of different emotions lying heavy on my heart—details later—but no matter how hollow I may temporarily feel, I know I have a strong support system made up of friends around the world. And for that, I'm so thankful.
• • •

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Resolutions Checkpoint 2016: February

While January brought the flu, February ended with a more unpleasant health problem—well, more painful—which kept me up an entire night last week Tuesday (not a wink of sleep!) crying in uncomfortable pain, wanting nothing more than to be able to sleep. I ended up sleeping the entire next day (which is luckily doable with my job), was up for a few hours in the evening, and then slept all Wednesday night—until like 9 or 10 the following morning!

No night or day since has been as bad as that Tuesday, though there have been traces (like last night, for example). Sitting is not a good position for this particular ailment, so I've spent the week working in bed, lying on my side, playing around with various positions using pillows.

Anyway, so I haven't worked on calligraphy in the past week (would need to sit), and I totally stopped tracking (or trying to complete) my monthly chart during this time. 

In fact, I'm just now setting up March's chart, as today has been very good/tolerable compared to yesterday. I'm crossing my fingers that the end is near!

So with that lovely intro, here's what progress I made in February.

February Progress

• • •

Thankful Thursday 3/3/16: The joy of a sound night's sleep

Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that I began 1/10/13—read why here
I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!

Today I'm thankful that I'll be able to more or less comfortably sleep tonight. While I'm not yet 100%, this is a huge improvement from the discomforts and pain of nights and days this past week, with vicious internal hemorrhoids. I do not wish them upon anyone.
• • •