Romantic Interlude

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“What’s wrong with dad? He looks like he lost his best friend.” Josie says.

I look at my husband sitting at the end of the pool. He does look forlorn.

 

“Are you OK? You look sad.”

“Yeah. I’m just considering the preseason injuries the 49ers sustained. It doesn’t look good.”

“Oh well, I’m sure sitting here worrying will help,” I chuckle.

“And we have the pool cover on wrong.”

“I’ll help you turn it over.”

“And I’m still fat*. I look in the mirror and I just don’t want to be this fat.”

“Why don’t you exercise? Make it fun?”

“No, it’s too hot for fun.”

“OK, Eeyore. Have it your way.”

 

We both laugh.

 

*see post about his weight loss. He’s lost over 15 lbs in the past two months!

Sunday Suggestion

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My high school daughters pack lunches instead of buying school lunch. They have no access to lockers, so they have to carry everything all day. Tupperware takes up a lot of space in their backpacks and this year, they told me they don’t want to use bulky plastic containers anymore. They requested disposable sandwich bags.

This, when I told myself I wouldn’t buy those disposable baggies anymore. They’re bad for the environment! They’re wasteful!

So, I just purchased two sets of these:

Wegreeco Reusable Sandwich & Snack Bags – Set of 3 – (Odyssey)

It’s $11 for a set of three. It saves you money. It’s better for the environment. It’s stinkin’ cute. Do you need any other reasons to ditch the plastic ziploc bags and use these instead?

 

 

 

 

This Just in!

Academy

For the fifth consecutive year, Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies is pleased to announce it is ranked the #1 Middle School in the State of Arizona!  This ranking is based upon 2017-18 AZMerit test scores of 700 Arizona middle schools. According to the test results, Mesa Academy ranked higher than 99.5% of middle schools in Arizona, and is ranked first among 11 middle schools in the Mesa Unified District.

Additionally, Mesa Academy’s elementary school, comprised of grades 4 and 5, holds its 2016-17 score at 98.9%, and is ranked #2 out of 1104 Arizona elementary schools.

The Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies is an MYP (Middle Years Programme) International Baccalaureate school that provides its 433 students, grades 4 – 8, with rigorous, high-school preparation courses.   The school is located on the corner of Power and Brown Roads in East Mesa.

 

School Digger analyzes statistics from National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Arizona Department of Education.

 

Appetite

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My husband of twenty-one years decided to lose weight. At 6′, he was at his all-time high of 220 lbs. The impetus for change? He saw a picture of himself that a friend took and didn’t like what he saw.

There are several ways to slim down: cut calories, increase physical activity (exercise!) or both. Hubby is choosing to cut calories.  Through research, he’s discovered that in order to reach his target weight of 180 lbs, he cannot go over 2,000 calories.

2,000 calories to a man who has eaten anything he wanted whenever he wanted is a drastic change.

In the past two months, he has stuck to this limit most of the time. He’s now down to 204 lbs. and finds the sacrifice worth it.

As with most things in life, what you do consistently will yield results: both good and not so good. When he chooses to eat a big slice of cake or ice cream, he foregoes dinner.

Doing the right thing is most painful when we think of our appetites in terms of what we are sacrificing, but we usually succeed when we focus on what we “gain.”

Saturday Suggestion (A Cure at Last!)

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My daughter has had chronic stomach problems for as long as we can remember. Often, she has to lie down for an hour or two after eating and it doesn’t matter what it is she ate. Sometimes gluten is bad, sometimes it’s OK. Sometimes fruit is good, sometimes it causes her immense pain.

It got to the point that she’d have stomach pain before she ate in anticipation of the digestive problems.

Of course, stress and anxiety did not help matters.

She took TUMS and every other medicine she could possibly take after eating.

We took her to Children’s Phoenix Hospital and ran tests. No ulcers and no cause could be identified except “sensitivity” to certain foods. It was frustrating.

And then her friend’s father told her he has IBS too, and that these enzyme pills helped him a lot.

And they do! She’s still trying to figure out the timing: take pills half an hour before eating? An hour? And it’s challenging to remember to take them before eating…but they are definitely better than not taking them.

They are also pricey. This bottle of 90 pills cost $68.45 on Amazon. But the smile on her face and the newfound energy makes it worth it!

 

 

Decency

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Volkman

Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.

Eckhart Tolle

We might experience far fewer relationship conflicts if we look at those who lash out as those who are in pain…because they are. This is how we practice equanimity.

 

 

 

 

Quality Time

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She’s so busy with work and friends

We might butt heads but always make amends

I rise with the sun, while she’s deep in hibernate

How to connect? A quick brunch date!

 

 

 

This Made My Day

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We were walking behind our lovely Airbnb off Route 66 in Parks, AZ (to get away from three-digit temperatures)…

Beautiful 1935 house that sits on historic route 66. Enjoy the sunny rooms, quiet setting, and comfortable rooms.
Our Airbnb off Route 66

in a National forest…when Ava I noticed something hopping about. 

This lovely creature is the Arizona Treefrog!  

According to reptilesofaz.org, this is their call (audio file). We think it sounds like a bunch of muppets.

The Arizona Treefrog grows to 1.5 inches. They breed in mostly temporary waters, which I find strange because they look like they need a lot of water.

“In Arizona, Arizona Treefrogs have been found to feed on beetles, spiders, earthworms, flies, and bark beetles. They likely feed on a variety of other small invertebrates, as well.”  

reptilesofaz.org

This finding was a lucky one as they are nocturnal animals. However, it appears that their skin is toxic and holding them is not the best idea. Oops. Well, I didn’t feel any after effects. My family is doing a collective eye roll as I tell them this because I once caught this in a jar:

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nerdist.com

 

According to Sciencefriday.com, being stung by one of these is painful. Quite painful:

“The pain is so debilitating and excruciating that the victim is at risk of further injury by tripping in a hole or over an object in the path and then falling onto a cactus or into a barbed-wire fence.”

Aren’t you glad I passed this on to you? Now you’ll be extra careful when you try to catch one.

 

 

Gimme

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There are a number of ways to draw new customers to your business:

  • Advertising
  • Coupons
  • Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth is powerful because it means others can vouch for the quality, service, and value of what you’re selling.

Advertising might be necessary just to get your store/gig/restaurant some attention. But if you are stellar, Word of Mouth will take care of it.

However, coupons often draw the worst customers. They come in expecting something for (close to) nothing. These “clients” will use a $30 coupon towards a $33 meal and leave a 75 cent tip.*

Is this the kind of clientele you are seeking?

*This just happened to my daughter, a server, and I’m pretty sure they were supposed to spend more than $33 to get the discount…but she’s 16 and new…but the point is, the coupon drove people like that to the business.

Utopia

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Watercolor, The Giver pages, ink
“You are way off of baseline.”
from Blade Runner

About this piece:

I watched the scene regarding baselines from “Blade Runner” the other day. I started thinking about society and laws and citizenship and what true self-determination might be.  What is patriotism? Citizenship? What are our obligations and how does the individual contribute to the mass?

Want Fries with That?

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Unlike Opal, it appears that Olive was not abused in her former home. It’s a mystery. She’s not afraid of sticks or the hose…she can sit and shake on command. Aside from near-starvation and ticks, she is a pretty happy dog.

And curious.

Maybe her last home did not have a lot of technology. Olive is still surprised when she hears the ice maker and irrigation system. Yesterday, my daughter wanted me to bring Olive to her work so that her co-workers could meet her. First, though, she wanted me to pick up a Crunch Wrap from Taco Bell.

I went to the drive-through window and rolled my window down.  I spoke to the black box. It spoke back to me. Olive jumped in my lap and looked for the man. She whined when she couldn’t find him.

“Sit, Olive!” She sits back in the passenger seat, still whining.

Next window, there he is (!) to take the money and give me the bag.

Ah, life makes sense again.

The Body

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Sitting around or lying around all day makes you weak. (Livestrong.com)

With the pervasive use of screen time, people are being increasingly physically passive. I heard this quote the other day that rang so true to me:

The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. You don’t move? The body will make you better at NOT moving. If you move, your body will allow more movement.

— Ido Portal

Exercise, we all know, is good for the heart and the bones. It keeps your blood pressure in check.

 

As we train our newly adopted pitbull mix, I wanted to ensure we handled aggression in her properly.

“Dog exercise burns the dog’s excess energy and helps maintain the dog’s healthy state of mind. This is important because, in order to talk to the mind, you need to remove the energy from the body.”

Cesar Milan

I can totally relate to this! I need to exercise and (re)move energy in my body so that my mind can work better as well. Perhaps more humans (especially in cars and on the Internet) would be less aggressive if they exercised daily.

In the end, you only have one body and it’s your sole vehicle for moving about in this world. Help your body take you where you want to go.

Projects

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Just a quick doodle and post today. I’m interviewing two people tonight for my research project on “First to Graduate from High School and/or College.” It’s my hope to compile a series of inspiring stories for graduate hopefuls and get those rates of retention up!

On the dog front, Olive is on Day Four at our house and is doing well, although she and Opal can argue when they don’t see eye to eye. Mostly though, they are pretty chill:

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Devotion

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Olive smiles when she sleeps!

Our daughter came home last night, crying. She accidentally slammed her hand in her car door. On the couch, she recounted the event to her father.

Olive, our pitbull rescue who has been in the house for three days, walked up to her, put her head and one paw on Josie’s lap and looked directly in her eyes.

Who knows what this dog has experienced, and the suffering she has endured. Still, she was able to show affection in this new and strange home.

Often, animals display more kindness and “humanity” than humans!

 

Call for (Graduation) Interviewees

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Hello everyone, I am conducting research on high school and college retention. If you know anyone who is the first to graduate from high school or college in their family, I’d like to interview them.

Please complete the form below and I will contact them

Thank you very much!

Sincerely,

Caroline Chung-Wipff

Flocks

 

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Watercolor – Woodpecker feathers

 

This proverb has been in use since at least the mid 16th century. In 1545 William Turner used a version of it in his papist satire The Rescuing of Romish Fox:

“Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.”

Source: Phrases.org

 

Quentin Tarantino realized he needed to leave his flock as a young adult. He was working in a video store (remember those?) and enjoying the benefits of watching movies, which were his passion. His co-workers were also making minimum wage, but he knew he was the smartest one among them. This made him feel comfortable  – for three years – where he admits he “lost all ambition.” And then he woke up. He didn’t want to be an elderly man working in a video store, talking about movies. He wanted to MAKE them. So he had to leave his flock.

And he did.

 

 

Afflicted

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Thought of this image as I drove home yesterday.

 

 

your restless thoughts

are trembling dis-eases

a burden you strapped to your back

examine the contents

and

let

them

go

 

 

 

 

 

Broken

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Focus: colors, contrast, shapes
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My inspiration

“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”

Hannah Gadsby

Gadsby’s stand up is pure genius. Check it out on Netflix. Here’s the trailer.

Warning: Her one hour stand up is not for the timid.

Rescue

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My daughter and I went to the animal shelter today to inquire about volunteer opportunities. The minimum age is 16, so Ava will have to wait another year…but she fell in love in the meantime. The dog’s name is Maya.

While we were there, a young lady was returning a dog she adopted a few days ago. The dog was too “feisty” and energetic. It’s too bad she was not willing to put in the time and energy necessary to train the dog.

Our Opal was a bit hyper when we first got her. We had to get a crate for her when we realized that she has separation anxiety. She nearly clawed her way through a wall to find us our first time we went out to dinner and left her home. She still prefers to be in her crate when we’re away.

Love means giving your time and attention.

 

Freeform

I’m playing with form, color and inspiration. No great art here, just having a lot of fun. For the last one, I didn’t know I was going to write my name in Korean until I did it. It might have something to do with recently reading about Bruce Lee and how proud of he was of his Chinese ethnicity and because I’m so happy that Sandra Oh is the first Asian-American actress nominated for a best lead actress Emmy award. Who knows?

I started with acrylics, but it’s so hard to clean up (requires rubbing alcohol) and gouache is more forgiving. I’m sticking with gouache and watercolor for the near term.

This is a continuation of exercises from Flora Bowley’s online class. Check her out, she’s a great teacher.

 

 

True Productivity

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Stay curious. Ask yourself, “What would happen if I dipped the whole side of the brush, for example…”

Flora Bowley, artist

While experimenting with my own brushes and hearing her words, I thought of how critical it is to stay curious in life. It’s so easy (and debilitating) to allow things and people to get “old” on you.

We complain that we’re bored, but maybe WE have become boring.

Stay curious.

Ask yourself, “What if…” (and act on that question!) at least once a day.

 

 

 

 

 

Wanting

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“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”  Dalai Lama

Sometimes, we want something very badly: a new job, a promotion, a raise, or an award of some kind. It’s usually because obtaining it would give us meaning, value or respect in the eyes of others.

It’s good to strive for better. It’s good to push yourself. But it’s in the effort that the reward sits, not in the fruit.

Eckhart Tolle says, “How do you let go of attachments of things? Don’t even try. Effort creates attachment. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.”

Byron Katie reminds us that (for example) when it comes to working hard to get a new job (crafting your resume and cover letter, preparing for the interview), that is YOUR business. But when it comes to deciding whether you get that job, that is THEIR business and all the rest is up to “god” (her definition of god is reality).

So stay in your business. Live each moment fully. And let everything else go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peddling

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The History of Snake Oil

When Chinese railroad workers came to California, they brought with them a magical elixir made from water snake fat. The fat from these snakes was high in Omega-3 fatty acids which we know today really does work for reducing inflammation, blood pressure and more. Non-Chinese went crazy for the stuff.

Non-Chinese started to make their own snake oil, but either watered it down, or used fat from other animals that were not nearly as high in Omega-3. Peddlers sold this inferior “snake oil” and then it got a bad reputation. (Very Well Health)

And here is one example of modern day “snake oil”:

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Wait, you can INFUSE YOUR SKIN with youth? Why, then, is it on clearance?

 

 

2,555 Days

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I call this: “Opal About to Sneeze”

You are your own suffering. You are your own happiness.

Byron Katie

Wandered into colored pencil pet portrait class on Creativebug.com. Hm. The instructors had cute little terriers with different colors. They could use big, broad strokes with reds, browns and yellows. My dog Opal is pretty much a short-haired black pit bull mix. Short strokes for short hair. My hand got tired.

“Don’t worry if yours doesn’t come out the way you want. It took me seven years to get good at it,” said the teacher.

Seven years?

Ai yi yi.

Well, seven years is going to happen either way. If I’m still around, and I keep practicing, I could get good at this.

Arizona Summer

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Bark Scorpion

Illuminate the room and observe the scene

shake your shoes out before you put them on

for his creepy form signals a torturous mien

he’s a venomous stinger, the scorpion

Divided We Fall…

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Responsive Drawing Doodle

Labels separate us.

I’m typically identified in my country and community as “Asian-American” because I’m 100% ethnically Korean (but I was born in Iowa). We have Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, and Native-Americans but rarely do we ever call white people European-Americans. What is the ramification of this?

Why not do away with these labels?

Who cares if someone is gay or straight? Religious or not? Conservative or Liberal? Poor or rich? Why not label everyone simply “human” and treat each other humanely?

A religious woman I know told me, “I love my gay son, but too bad he’s going to go to hell.” Labeling her son and categorizing him as a sinner effectively created an unnecessary distance and one I believe she could regret.

Labels are used to create differences. It’s time we emphasize how we are the same.

Here is an in-depth, research-based study on the effects of labeling people:

Why It’s Dangerous to Label People (Psychology Today).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading

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I finished reading Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians. It was hard for me to get into because materialism does not interest me in the least and the story line itself was pretty “soap operatic.” But when I abandoned judgment, I found it to be pretty entertaining albeit predictable. It’s Kwan’s first novel which became an international bestseller. I am planning on seeing the film when it opens in August: an all-Asian cast!

Next on my reading list is the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. It’s really the antithesis of Crazy Rich Asians: a book that extols virtuous characteristics and behavior and rejects external rewards such as fame and wealth.

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