I’m Thankful for Grandmas

Happy Thanksgiving everyone ūüôā

While I was at the Toledo Main Library for my art show, I had a chance to stop in the children’s department.¬† If you haven’t been there, GO!¬† You’re in for a treat.¬† I especially like the fish tank celebrating The Rainbow Fish.¬† But¬†I also saw something new.

The installation in the above photo depicts a scene from the book¬†Abuela by¬†Arthur Dorros.¬† I’d never actually read this book, but I was so moved by the piece that I went home and requested the book from my library.¬† It’s about a girl who is¬†always going places with her Abuela.¬† (Abuela means grandmother in Spanish.)¬†¬†One day¬†the girl wonders what it would be like to fly.¬† Readers¬†are then taken on a flight of the imagination, following this girl and her grandmother on their adventures together soaring above the city.

After seeing this art installation and then reading this book, I could not help but think of my relationship with my own grandmother who passed away last fall.¬† She was one of my first teachers and taught me how to play the piano when I was young.¬† I would not trade anything for our time together sitting at the piano bench.¬† I learned many lessons beyond how to read and play the notes.¬† She taught me the importance of finishing what you started and never giving up, even if that means playing the same refrain over and over because you’ve forgotten the rest.¬† The show must go on!

I know the show must go on even now that she is gone, but I feel like a piece of her is still with me,¬†cheering me on, as I continue¬†on my life’s journey toward publication.¬† I still remember those Sunday dinners together.¬†¬†I will be thinking of her as I sit down with my family for Thanksgiving.¬† I hope you have a chance to be with those people who are near and dear to your heart.¬† Don’t forget to tell them you love them and give them a hug to show you mean it.

We’re heading into the season of wishes and miracles.¬† If I had one wish, it would be to go flying with my grandma, even if it’s only in my dreams…

Practicing Confidence: My Summer Trip to Japan

Greetings everyone and sorry for the mostly quiet summer on this blog!  Obviously, I was out and about.  I hope you were, too!  One big summer stop for me was in Japan.  What can I say?  It was hot!  Think Florida times 10.  But I had a lot of fun sightseeing and visiting my in-laws.  I also had many opportunities to practice my word for the year: confidence.  Let me give you a list:

1.¬† I took my first solo flight, about 12 hours, to Japan.¬† I was quite nervous, as I’m prone to getting motion sickness.¬† But I’m happy to report that all went quite well.¬† I watched a lot of movies and even had a chance to lie down.¬† My advice¬†to anyone who suffers from anxiety or motion sickness on airplanes, bring a calming tea and play soothing songs on your ipod or smart phone.

2.¬† I took many hot spring baths while I was there.¬† Surprisingly, they cool you off in the summer the same way they warm you in the winter.¬†¬†This was not my first time to take the¬†hot spring bath, but it was my first time to take a public bath!¬† At one of the hotels we stayed in, that was the only option for taking a bath or shower.¬† As you¬†know,¬†this is not a common practice in the U.S.¬†¬†Swimming pools and hot tubs¬†are about as far as we go here.¬† I’m not going to lie, it was a little awkward!¬† Me¬†trying to cover myself with a small towel and avert my eyes wherever possible.¬† But I did it!¬† And luckily the Japanese are known for their modesty and politeness.¬† Would I do it again?¬† I¬†honestly don’t know…

3.¬† I’m getting more and more adventurous with the food there.¬† It was like one taste of sushi and off I went!¬† I think I’m at the point where I can eat anything from the sea.¬† I’ve also tried raw egg over a cooked dish.¬† My newest test was eating really fresh squid that was dead but still moving and changing color!¬† We were told to chew it very carefully because it might stick to our mouths ūüėȬ† But I can tell you this:¬† It tasted wonderful and I loved it.¬† Word to the wise:¬† don’t think about it, just try it.¬† Then decide.¬† So it turns out I’ll try anything… that is until my mother-in-law suggested raw horse meat…

4.¬† Two words:¬† Japanese baseball.¬† It looks like baseball.¬† But it sure doesn’t sound like it.¬† Ironically, Americans like their baseball quiet and the Japanese¬†like their baseball rowdy!¬† We were given plastic sticks to hit together and¬†long balloons to blow up, wave, and set free.¬† Talk about culture shock!¬† But by the end, I started to get the¬†phrases and motions down.¬† And to tell you the truth, it was quite fun!¬† Definitely more action packed from where we were sitting ūüėȬ† And the best part?¬† The Fukuoka Hawks¬†hit a home run¬†AND won the game.¬† It turns out baseball is baseball when it comes to winning.

Practicing confidence isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it if it means you get to try new things and have new experiences.¬† It helps when you have supportive friends and family cheering you on.¬† In my case, there also happened to be a couple bright spots waiting at the end of the journey.¬† My sweet husband was nice enough to give me his business class seat on the way home.¬† I also got to make an official artist seal (stamp)¬†for my sumi-e paintings.¬† See the photo below.¬† It reads from right to left using old Japanese/Chinese characters.¬†¬†It means “Quiet Storm.”

How will you practice confidence in your daily life?  Will you be quiet like American baseball?  Instead, try making a little noise!


Daily Sketch: Flying Lessons

watercolor and pencil