Category Archives: poetry

A Countdown of Me

As we head into the end of the year, here’s a countdown, feel free to use the same topics and add your own list of things.

AND   This is apparently my 200th post!   Wow  🙂  cool

Day 8, done,   I have no idea what happened to the formatting, but I have other things to do today, so there it is.

Ten Things I Wish I Could Say to Ten Different People Right Now:

1~ Listen to yourself, seriously.
2~ Bastard, you f$%&ing bastard, WTF?
3~ I wish we could be friends, I miss your friendship.
4~ It would be nice if you could act like the adult you’re supposed to be.
5~ I didn’t really mean it when I said I don’t believe in it any more.
6~ Family doesn’t mean carpet.
7~ Thank you.
8~ I’m sorry if I haven’t made you feel like I’m there for you.  I really am.
9~ Believe in yourself.  You are a fantastic person.
10~ Wear your smile more often, your soul shines through your eyes when your lips smile.

Nine Things about Myself

1~ I’m scared more than I should be, I worry about more than I should
2~ I’m really smart. I didn’t even realize how smart until I began school and started listening to people who are more “educated” than me, then wonder how it was they got so far ahead of me and still be stupid.
3~ I’m not very good at sticking to a schedule for several weeks, then I can get it, but it takes a while…
4~ I am finding it very difficult to do school/ homework at home
5~ I didn’t ask enough questions at the beginning, what was I thinking???
6~ I love to paint,  I just need to learn how now.
7~ I really am addicted to Grey’s Anatomy
8~ I like life clean and uncomplicated, but my life does not work out that way.  It would seem the more I try to un-complicate my life  the bigger the next complication is
9~ I procrastinate by doing internet stuff

Eight Ways to Win My {Friendship} Heart

1~ Realize that I will give you anything I can, use that whenever you need it, but never take advantage of it. Whether we just met or we’ve known each other for years, when I call you friend you have found a little pocket in my heart where I will keep you safe.  Don’t abuse my friendship, I won’t abuse yours.

2~ Be understanding, I am pulled in so many directions all the time

3~ Be honest, I will be honest with you
4~ Come cook with me, it’s one of my favorite things to do
5~ I will always do my best to keep my word,  do the same for me, let me know I can count on you
6~ Keep in contact, (I’m really bad at this, I need your help)

7~Let me share in the things you like to do, I love getting to learn new things and spending time with friends whenever I can

8~ Talk to me, I spend a lot of time alone, even when I’m with people, I get caught up in my head, talk to me so that we can share

Seven Things that Cross My Mind a Lot:

1~ What do I have to do next

2~ Crap I forgot to do that too

3~ I have so much f*%$@ing work to do

4~ Have I eaten yet?

5~ I wish I could sleep

6~ Is there time to take a nap?

7~ What do I have to do tomorrow?

Six Things I do Before I Fall Asleep:

1~ Shower, Brush teeth

2~ Take sleeping pills if around

3~ turn on alarm clock even though I know I’ll be awake before it goes off

4~ Climb in bed, realize I forgot to pee, climb out of bed, pee, climb back in bed (why does this happen every night?)

5~ put in earplugs and put eye mask on head, something about hearing my own breathing over the sounds of the street outside is helpful

6~ play solitaire on my phone until my eyes can’t focus, position eye mask

Five People Who Mean a Lot:

1~ My kids, all of them equally

2~ My mamma

3~ My co-workers

4~ All my friends and my housemates from Taiwan

5~ My dad

Four Things I would ask for if I could ask for anything and get it:

1~ my school loans paid off

2~ have a guarantee that I could see all my children twice a year, once where they are, once where I am

3~ to have a year to not have any work/ school obligations and get my self caught up, work on art, writing…….  Time to just heal myself

4~ clean drinking water for everyone everywhere

Three Songs I Listen to Often or 3 bands/artists:

1~ Caravanserai, Loreena McKinnet

2~ Waka Waka, Shakira

3~ Man in the Mirror, Michael Jackson

Two Things I Want to Do Before I Die:

1~ Use my passport as often as possible

2~ Find the love of my life

One Confession:

I used to think about giving up more than I ever let on.


To my future friends

SO I’ve been finding myself blocked again as to what to write about. I want to keep doing the Taiwan posts  -but because I think I’m supposed to, and that very fact is stopping me.

I’m finding myself yet again, caught up in the idea that have to write this thing or that thing in order for it to be ok to put up.

Here I am in the fear zone again….. dah dah dahhhhh

Then this morning, as I was laying out in the sun, enjoying the beautiful weather, and reading yet another wonderful book my mama recommended, I happened to notice a thought.

This blog is called “My life in words“. It’s the story of my life. It’s not just the story of my travels, or the story of my family, or the story of the wonderful food I find as I roam around. It’s the whole of my life put into words on a page online. And my life has SOOOOO many different aspects to it.

It doesn’t have to conform to any one thing, just as I don’t.

As I pondered this and let it roll around a while, I let myself listen to music, continue to read, feel the little ants crawling on my feet, notice the breeze sending my hair all over, and talked to a fly or two.

I came up with the idea of what I want to write today: a letter to my future friends.


Dear Future Friends,

I am so excited with anticipation to meet you! Whoever you are, I willingly offer anything I have to help you find your joy. I don’t hold back, I will be your friend completely and without reservation from the first smile. I will instantly love you and trust you. The longer we are friends the more deeply I will feel that way.

Please tell me your stories. I want to hear about who you are. I have many stories, good and bad. I am the compilation of my success through those stories. I know our stories are not what define us; rather the way we choose to respond and grow is what shapes who we are. You are who you are today, not who you were yesterday, as am I. I will only see who you are at the time I meet you. I will have no preconceived ideas about you. Feel free to present yourself as you are, I surely will.

Please tell me your hopes. I want to hear about the things that make you happy and keep you striving. I know that the more we talk about the things we want to do, see, and try, the easier it is to obtain them. I already want you to make your hopes into realities. Trust that I will do anything I can to help you achieve them.

Please share experiences with me. I want to make memories with you. Reminiscing experiences is one of my favorite things to do; second only to experiencing. Silly, serious, ridiculous, poignant, small, large, usual, new, or trippy, it doesn’t matter. Let’s experience life together.

Please teach me. Teach me language. Teach me craft. Teach me a game. Teach me a new way to see things. I don’t care, but teach me, I love to learn.

Please help me grow. We all need help. I will help you too.

I am quirky, silly, grounded, caring, daring, a combination of quiet and energetic, goal-oriented, and sometimes funny, sometimes serious. I like to laugh. Let’s laugh together.


Yours truly,




I don’t break

I don’t break

The first night


The second night, adding shading where I want the pheonix to be


part 3 starting the pheonix




5 adding in gold


6 a little more


8 orange?? maybe not


7 a little fuller


9 toning down the orange


10 body detail


11 add in the face


12 hmmmmm the face of the pheonix needs more…..


13 there we go


14 the face


Posted by on 05/05/2014 in art, Expat, poetry, relationships, Taiwan, travel


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41 things to do before you’re 41

First a little rant

There’s been a lot of craze about the 23 things to do except get married blog.  I have mixed feelings.

I started college after my children were older.  I have seen the countless girls that go to college to find a husband, with their degree being a secondary consideration, (though they will say and possibly believe otherwise).  There are astounding social boundaries put around these young high school and college girls to marry right away.

I think the blog was written with a need to break free, by someone trying to let loose of boundaries that are far more commonplace than we’d like to acknowledge.

That’s fair.

I also think it was written with a little too much severity towards those that choose to get married earlier in life rather than later.  It’s true you shouldn’t do it just because it’s the norm, just because there’s pressure in the ideal that you’re only whole when you’re with someone. 

That does NOT mean that there is an age boundary in which to or not to get married exists.  Marriage should be about love, commitment, and hope.  

I know lots of women that have married at a young age and have been happily married for decades.  I know young women now that truly have found someone special and perfect for them and they are happy.  They didn’t choose to get married because of societal pressures.  And that’s also fair.

My list will not include marriage at all, because hopefully along the way, each of us will find that someone, and whether or not it’s our choice to create a (joyous) legally binding contract with them, is a matter of personal taste.

And Now for My List

And so, at 41, this list includes things I wish I had done, things I have done and hope that everyone does, and things that just belong on the list.

1)   Stop worrying about what others say or do.  

If you can end each day able to say you did your best with what you knew and what you had, then nothing anybody says or does changes that.  It’s none of your business, even if they are trying to make your business their business, it’s their enterprise in futility unless you engage.  So don’t.

2)   Find a hobby.

Or three.  Do something on a regular basis that just makes your soul sing.  I love to make art.  I don’t do it nearly enough.  But when I do, it’s like something else takes over me and I sit back and enjoy watching my soul dance to the song that plays in the background.  Find that something and do it, often.

3)    Grow a plant.

There is one kind of plant that will grow for you.  As a general brown thumb I know there are also lots of plants that won’t grow, but keep looking until you find that one that has the same rhythm as you, then talk to it every day.  Yep, it’s ok if you look stupid talking to your plant.  It will do you both good, so do it any way.

4)    Travel.

A)   It doesn’t have to be around the world.  I never realized until I started travelling out of the US, how few Americans travel within our country!  Or how many people I’ve met who have done little to no travelling inside their own countries!  Yes, it’s completely, totally, amazingly awesome to see other countries, but don’t let it stop you from seeing your own.   America is really a whole lot of little countries.  I’ve been to all 49 Continental states, and I can tell you from experience that no region is like another other than national pride stuff.

B)   Go to as many countries as you can.  When they say life changing, they are not kidding.  Do it.  Go somewhere at least once.  It’s worth the sacrifices to get there.

5)    Do something so outside of your comfort zone that the people you know and love would never believe it was you except you brought photographic evidence.

Take one giant leap out of your imposed boundaries.  And take pictures of all of it.  Then, try something else too.  Why stop at once?

6)    Believe in yourself.  Love yourself.

  • If even for just one day, every single time you hear those self-doubts creeping in – push them back and stand tall.  Believe in you.  It’s always amazing to me to find out how many people believe in me, but yet I still find it hard to believe in myself.  But I’m starting to.  And so should you.
  • Love yourself.  I feel as though this should have happened long before 41, so put this high on your list.  Look at and learn from, then let go of the negatives in your past.  Be who you are today with the understanding that it is what it is at this point.  Let yourself relish in all you’ve overcome and accomplished to be who you are today and then love yourself.

7)    Be a self promoter.

Maybe not the pushy lobbyist type, but when you talk to yourself or to others, talk about your good points.  Leave your bad points out of general conversation.  Accept compliments graciously and give them freely.  Don’t talk bad about others because it makes you look bad.  Self-promote your positivity and positive will float back to you.

8)    Don’t hunt for your special someone.

It really is true that love comes along when you least expect it.  So stop looking, wishing, waiting etc.  Just live your great life and one day BAM.  My BAM hasn’t happened yet, and I’m 41.  But I’m not out there with my love harpoon; I’m just living my life. I have shared and learned about love along the way.  And I am learning to love me.

(*if you already have a special someone, you can hunt for them.  Hunt for their dinner, hunt for their socks, or make them dress up and then hunt them down, that’s ok)

9)    Complete a 30 day challenge.

It doesn’t matter what your choice of challenge is, but complete a full 30 day, every day, challenge that pushes you out of your comfortable zone.  It doesn’t have to push you out of your comfort zone, but at least your comfortable zone.  Ie, reading a poem everyday isn’t out of my comfort zone, but it’s not something I’m used to so it would be out of my comfortable zone, whereas making my bed every morning is well within my comfort and comfortable zone, I just don’t always do it.  Be courageous, pull up your gumption, exercise your will power for 30 days.  Then see how much easier it can be to take on the little tasks of life!

10)    Go to college.

You don’t have to take on a full degree program if you can’t afford it, but take a class every year.  Even if it’s a how to fix stuff around your house class.  Keep learning and interacting with other learners.  It’s important. Just do it.

11)    Read Les Miserables.

Don’t just watch the movies or see the musical; read the book.  It will change your life, you will be amazed.  Yes, the first 200 pages are kind of long and slow, and will make you want to abandon the mission.  But I promise it’s a worthwhile understanding of the characters as they transition into the rest of the story.  Even if it takes you a year to read it.  Read it.

12)   Learn how to ride a scooter, motorbike, motorcycle, etc.

It’s so cool.  It’s fun.  It’s energy efficient.  It’s fun.  And it will help you empathize and be more aware of cyclists on the road.  Did I mention a cool and fun it is??

13)   Be involved in a child’s life for at least one school year.

School is tough.  Give your time to help a child or children get through a school year the most successful they can be.  The reward is priceless.

14)   Get to know a teacher.

If you are not a teacher, get to know one.   Be their friend, listen to their stories.  I would personally suggest not having this be your child’s teacher if you are a parent.  But get to know a teacher and see all that is involved.  Appreciate everything that teachers put into teaching.

15)   Dance.

Just do it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re good or have rhythm, just get out on a dance floor and dance.  If you’re a guy, I sincerely promise that a girl will not care about the moves as much as she will appreciate that you got out there and danced with her.  If you’re a girl, think less, feel more and just dance.

16)   Know how money works. 

Understand what it is and how credit works for and against you.  Figure out how to live within your means.  Appreciate the work involved in making money, and how it depreciates as soon as something is purchased.  Be wise in your purchases.  Understand money.

17)    Wear color.

Put a splash of color in your outfits.  Be bold, love it.  Wear a crazy color and don’t give a rat’s ass what anybody thinks.  You’ll be surprised at how many compliments you get.

18)   Walk around naked. 

I was in my thirties before I felt comfortable walking around naked outside of my bathroom.  I’m not necessarily saying become a nudist, do that if you want to, but be comfortable in your skin.  If you have to make sure all your curtains are closed first, do that, but take command of your home commando style.  It is liberating. 

19)   Make a collaborative art piece.  

Find some people willing to sit down for an hour and take turns putting something new into the piece.  Let each of your own creative inspirations fall onto the same place and see what comes out.  It’s a magical experience.

20) Learn how to do basic car maintenance.

It’s not just a car guy thing, it’s a driver thing.  Know your vehicle, what it sounds like, what it feels like when it’s running well so that you  know when it’s not.  Know how to check your oil and what different colors mean.  Learn where all the basic engine parts are, what they are, and what they do.  Learn how to change a tire, a spark plug and when it needs to go to a mechanic.

21)   Play lots of board and card games.

They’re FUN.  Have fun, play for fun, enjoy the time with the people you play with.  Bring one with you when you travel.  They are great time consumers that keep you interacting with people.  Heck, invite random airport strangers to a game of go fish.

22)   Get to know your neighbors.

Have block parties and bbq’s.  Invite them for dinner or drinks.  My neighbors throughout my life have been such a blessing.  We look out for each other, burglars beware.  Take them a little plate of something and introduce yourself.  We’ve lost a lot of community by not asking for that proverbial cup of sugar.  So go ask for it.

23)   Love the holiday, not the commercialism.

No matter what the holiday is, be about the holiday.  I have spent too much time forgetting about many holidays as I let my bitter emotions get in the way.  Get the stuff you want, when you want, not when the stores dictate.  Give homemade stuff, be with the people, live in the moment of it all.

24)   Be in a theater production.  

Be a tree if that’s all your comfort level can handle, but go be part of a production.  It’s an amazing feeling.  Theater people are amazing people.  Don’t blame me if you start making a habit of it!

25)   Move house at least once.  

It really helps you see how much unnecessary stuff we can accumulate just by being stationary.  At the very, very least, pack up like you were moving and change something in your house.  Make it necessary to box up your life, then make sure you keep what’s necessary, and start sorting through what’s not.

26)  Have an emergency plan and bag.

It may sound crazy but, emergencies by definition rarely have a time frame to prepare for it in.  So be prepared before hand.  How prepared is up to you, a full year of survival food, water, clothing, first aid, etc.;  or a few days worth of basic minimum’s.  Make sure the people you will want to know where they are, know where to look for or find you too.  Nothing makes an emergency more difficult than the fear of not knowing the whereabouts of the people you love.

27)   Climb a tree.

You can hug it once you’re there if you want to, but just find the joy that we used to know and climb a tree.  If you can’t right now, do what it takes to get able to, because it’s just a fun thing to do and you will be so happy.

28)   Make a bucket list.  

Watch the movie, check out The Buried Life guys, and make your own list.  Then look at it every day.  Remind yourself that you have goals so that you can live today in preparation for them.

29)   Kill a mosquito.

Ok this may not sound like the best idea, but it will make me personally really REALLY happy.  Just squash one for me.

30)   Get your face painted.

Just do it, it’s fun, and as an adult you can appreciate how nice a brush feels against your skin in a way you never could as a kid.

31)   Try really hard to learn a new language.

As a still monolingual language learner myself, I am not going to say you have to learn it in order to gain the experience, but try as hard as you can.  It’s so cool to communicate with a stranger in a different language.

32)   Make a silly, just for tonight, bucket list.

I think you can also call it a scavenger hunt or any number of things, but get some friends to help you make a list of some silly things you have to do, get a picture of you doing it, or a signature, or something to show you accomplished it.  IT IS SO MUCH FUN.

33)   Write a blog.

It’s kind of cool to see that people you couldn’t possibly know are reading your thoughts.  Mine started out as a way to keep family and friends, that refused to use facebook, up to date with the happenings of my life.  But it’s become a thing I just do now, just because it feels good to do.  And who knows?  Maybe, you’ll be the next super blogger!

34)   Make your bed first thing every morning.

If the bed is made, even the messiest rooms look better.  And clean rooms look messy if the bed isn’t made.  It gives a sense of accomplishment to the start of the day.  I mean, you’ve barely gotten out of bed and VOILA, instant success.  Who doesn’t want to start their day that way?

35)   Literally laugh out loud.

Don’t hold back, don’t just giggle, laugh.  For that matter, cry out loud, feel peace out loud, be anxious out loud, express yourself.

36)   Have a heart to heart with people at least a decade younger and older than you for the purpose of hearing their story.

Listen, ask questions, be a receiver, a learner.  None of us know any more truth than what we’ve learned, and there is SO MUCH MORE out there to learn!  Take relationship advice from the younger generations as well as the older generations.  Find out about political views and dance moves.  Vast stores of wonderful thought is out there, be open to it.

37)   Participate in an activity that makes you the master of your body.

Join a sports team, start cycling, train for a marathon, learn how to swim, sign up for an amateur body building competition, start a fitness video challenge, but get out there and discover your weaknesses and strengths.  You’ll find you can do so much more than you thought!

38)   Volunteer.

Help those less fortunate, even if you are in unfortunate circumstances yourself.  There is always a way you can help someone, even if you need help.   Trade services with someone, join a soup kitchen for a month, mow your neighbors lawn for no reason, check with a religious institution if there is any need you can fulfill, read aloud at a local childrens’ library or retirement home.  Be a positive force and positivity will find you.

39)   Have someone else wash your hair.

OH MY GOD does it feel good to have your hair washed for you.  It’s most awesome if you’re both in the shower, just saying, but if right now, the best you got is the local hair dresser, well, honey, pay the $10 bucks and ask for a 15 minute shampooing.

40)   Learn about the sky.

The clouds, the moon, the stars, they are our history, our present, and our future all wrapped in one beautiful eyeful.  You can be just as good a predictor of the weather as any TV weather man with very simple knowledge.  It’s amazing to just watch the clouds, but to have enough knowledge about them to truly be wowed by how remarkable they are is a feeling that is indescribable.

41)   Run/ Walk a marathon.

I haven’t done this yet, but I want to.  So, I can’t give a lot of insight, except it seems to be one of the most commonly suggested things by people I’ve asked what they would put on a list like this.

Bonus)   Hug and Kiss the people you love more.

Be affectionate and caring and say you love them.  It’s funny how living abroad everybody does the cheek kissing.  And it’s wonderful how much of a bond you make with people because they are open, hug and kissy friends.  If you’re one of my friends back home, be prepared, I hug and kiss a lot more now and I LOVE it.

There it is, my list of 41 things to do before 41.  I hope you do them all.  Peace and Love to each of you!







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A blast from the past

A writing assignment I was given at La Cosecha Dual Language Convention.

The first part is in bold and we were to complete the sentence.

I hear –
I feel
I pretend
I rejoice –
I suffer –
I wish –
I imagine –
I dream –
I say –
I believe –
I am –

Write this down and complete it before you read my entry 🙂   Then post yours.


This was my entry.

I hear – the soft sound of my children catching their breath as I pause before turning the page.
I feel safe and warm with my brood snuggled all around me.
I pretend I may not turn the page; maybe it’s time for goodnight.
I rejoice – as I see their interest and hear them ask for more.
I suffer – when I think how much I wished I had time like this with my mother.
I wish – that each of my children can feel this way one day.
I imagine – being part of the pile as a grandmother; and smile
I dream – great big colorful happy dreams
I say – let’s stay up and read another chapter.
I believe – hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies will make the next chapter even better.
I am – surrounded by love. I am content.

Now its YOUR turn!

Rewrite the bolded phrases and post yours 🙂


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The first 6 of 12 things about 2012

1.  This was my inaugurate year for travel.  

Though I have traveled many a state in the US and been able to see some of Mexico and Canada before this year, this is my first time off of the North American continent.  I am only just beginning!!  I’m still giddy over the fact that I can stay here in Taiwan for as long as I want…. or I can move to Australia, or Austria, or Chile, or anywhere I want.  Why didn’t I do this before???? 

2.  My fellow graduates and I played the game of LIFE this year. 

After graduating we either got engaged or married, had a baby or got pregnant, lost or gained a family member, bought or sold a home, gained a new career, we were given life cards that no one wants to ever see, and some of us were given something unexpected and wonderful.

We went up and down life’s hills and mountains.  It feels like we spun a wheel to see what was going to happen on any given day in classes before graduation.  It is surreal to think about actually.   I am grateful to have been part of this group of people for the last 4 years. 

3.  I realized that I have been lonely for a very, very long time. 

My children are such an important part of my life in part because I am so connected to them.  They are the reason I breathe.  They the reason I was able to survive such a difficult marriage, a difficult school career, and the variety of weird relationships since my divorce, without becoming one of the man-hating, angry, self-defeating, crazy women.  They have always been and will always be the best part of my life.  But they are also 3 in a pool of about 10 people that I am truly connected to.

In order to feel lonely, one must have little to no connection to people.  I am coming to the realization that I have rarely been alone in my now 40 years of life, but I have been lonely for almost all of them.  It is only now that I am actually alone that I am realizing how much less lonely I am than I was before.  I am taking the time to stay in contact better than I have before.  NOT as good as I should be yet, but better than I have been.  I miss being around people I know well, but I do not feel lonely like I have for the last 2.5 decades of my life.

I’m also starting to make friends from all around the world.  It’s making the lonely thing look like something that might be moving into my past.

4.  People are basically awesome.

It’s a lot more rare I think to find the people that aren’t.  People are basically self-centered and stupid, but put that aside and you can see the awesomeness pretty easily.  Every person has a story and I’m so honored some share with me.

Kindness is more likely to happen than not, no matter what the media wants to tell us.  In fact, I think it’s listening and watching the media that is taking away our inherent kindnesses.  I used to think the other way around.  Glad that’s changing.

5.  Holidays really are for celebrating, not just money making ploys by the Hallmark, Walmart, and Kay’s of America.

Don’t get me wrong, they have capitalized in a market for which we are suckers extraordinaire, but they are only what the holiday is about if we forget what the holiday is about.   I am talking about ALL holidays.

Many of you have heard my acidic rant on how every holiday was strategically placed at monthly intervals for the specific purpose of making sure people had a paycheck before the next holiday hit. See below if you haven’t.

The 12 months of spending:

January – New Years, every one throws or attends a party and we may possibly spend as much for this holiday, if not more, than we do for Christmas/Hanukkah. Outfits, dinners, lots of drinks before the champagne, hotels, taxi’s, gifts, and breath mints, it adds up.

February– Valentines Day, at the least chocolates, flowers, candies, and boxes of cards.  At the other end there are fancy dinners, Nice wines, diamonds, weddings,  etc.

March – St. Patricks Day, beer at extreme levels, at jacked up prices because they put green food color in it.  Not the spendiest holiday, but then again it is borrowed -so they’re still testing the market on how to get us to spend more money.

April – Easter, another big spender, especially if you have girls.  Dresses, suits, eggs, baskets, charity giving, candy, church donations, and wine.

May – Mothers Day, flowers, and again the possibility for diamonds, wine, expensive dinners and nice wines.

June – Fathers Day, big tag power tools wrapped in a tie.  gourmet beer

July – 4th of July, Fireworks are now sold by the item and every thing in every store is some combination of red white and blue that is “so cool” we must also own that too.  Beer.

August – Back to School, everything your child could possibly need for the next 10 months of their life multiplied by how-ever-many children you have.  Recovery beer.

September – general reprieve, start saving up because the big ones are coming.  There’s a little extra for a good night at the local pub.

October, Halloween, candy, costumes, costume parties, more beer

November, Thanksgiving, the hum-dinger of food orgies, beer, wine.

December, Christmas/ Hanukkah presents for everyone,the office, school, kids school, church, friends, theater people, the mailman, and all of their relatives along with your own, wine, champagne, hard liquors in chocolate disguises.

And then we start all over again……  And of course don’t forget we need to throw in birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations throughout the year.  I think if corporations could figure out how to get all the birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations into one place they would put it into September.

But back to where I was before I got sidetracked…. 

These holidays don’t have to be big spenders.  They only are because we have let them be.  Each of them can be truly, happily, and more lovingly celebrated if we stopped letting the commercialism into the holiday.  I am really learning that this year.  I may be most surprised and pleased by this discovery of the year.

6.  No matter where I go I love the skies.

I don’t look up and wish I was in them, but I do look up and am thoroughly amazed every time.  Even the plain thick blanket of rain clouds that you can’t see anything through amazes me because, up in the sky, the water molecules and the dirt molecules are all mixed up together and fall down as rain.  But down on the ground the water molecules and the dirt molecules just turn into mud when mixed together.

The world is telling what happened, what is happening, and what will happen in the sky – it’s all there.  It is amazing and it makes me wonder every time I look, which I try to do all the time.



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Going forward requires a look back

I am now part of the Blog Expat community.  I decided to go back and look at some of my past blogs to see what the whole world may read rather than just my family and friends.  I found some funny stuff, some favorite posts, and did some reminiscing.

The first sentence in my first blog post clearly demonstrates how little I knew about what I was beginning.

Jan ’09  This is the beginning, as of today I am fully monolingual, by the end of the year I will be bilingual.

I’ve learned so much and so little since then!   I am NOT bilingual in anything.  I haven’t even gotten to a point of knowing enough of the Spanish, Czech, or Mandarin that I have needed to use, to actually communicate a thought with anyone.   I can repeat phrases, but I am afraid that if I say “Ni how ma?” to someone here, they will expect me to know more and start trying to have a conversation in which I will be able to answer with only the other phrases I know, “I’m full”, or “I’m hungry”.

I have a long way to go.

Or there’s this little tidbit

24Jan’09   It’s getting easier.  So there I am, listening to “Exercises on minimal stress contrast” or something, when I pick up my son from school.  -Now, here I should mention that my CD player is permanently stuck in random mode.  For the life of me I cannot listen to any CD from track 1 to track 2 to track 3 and so on.  I get track 7, then track 43, then track 2, then track 14.  This is *slightly* frustrating.   Enter my son, the CD is saying pronunciation drills in complete sentences.  (these are the drills I especially get stuck on because I haven’t learned all the tracks up to this point, at this point we’re on like track 42 and I just finished my third round of track 6 because random sometimes mean repeat)

Remember that I do not have any written words, I’m in my car, I don’t know  these words yet, and I hear,(I don’t know how to put the accents in, sorry) “Donde esta la Embajada Americana, ahi a la izquierda, perdon come dice usted, deme la pluma”  Right now I can write what I was hearing then because I have the book in front of me and I can look it up, but I didn’t then and each sentence rolled together like one long word.

I need to give tremendous kudos to the instruction I received at TEFL Worldwide Prague.  With the actual grammar I learned during this class, (not what I thought was grammar before this class), I have had a much easier time understanding how to begin learning Mandarin while I am here in Taiwan.  I am not sure if I’ll take actual classes, but I have been able to learn more Mandarin in my almost 2 weeks here, than I learned of Czech in my month in Prague.  I honestly wish I could go take the class again.  I would be able to concentrate more completely on the how.  And, I miss the beauty of that city.  Taiwan has it’s own beauty, but Prague’s beauty is unmatchable.

I will always like my Are Mommies Super Heroes? post.  Try to hear the words in your mind as you read it….

27May’11  No Spanish for 2 weeks now, but it has been nice to have sporadic Spanish conversations with David and Thane at home.  Granted they are the kind of conversations that the average 2-year-old Puerto Rican would feel was childish, but still… we are trying to use it and that counts.   The other day my phone battery died and I said, “ahhh mi celular es muerto” ( which I’m not sure is exactly correct), and David says, “like battery dead or like no es bueno?”  to which I replied, “umm, either way, no es bueno….  but, just the battery”.

Of course some of my very favorite favorite posts are those dedicated to teaching Les Miserables to my 8th grade ESL class during my last semester of student teaching.

14Apr’12      22Apr’12       01May’12        24May’12         10Jun’12

And then a few others:

24Aug’12  Is an incomplete list of the many things I’ve been taught by friends.

19Sept’12  My life as an expat is beginning

01Nov’12  Day two of being in Taiwan.

Let me know what your favorites are 🙂


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Green Chile Pasta

The amount of crazy that happens at this house is decidedly in proportion to how long it takes to make dinner.  The longer it takes, the more time we are all together.  The more time we are together the crazier the conversations and the more likely we are to spit liquids that were supposed to be drunk, while trying to remember how to breathe.

We end up laughing the kind of laugh where you are holding your abs and your face at the same time and while trying to control the laughing you intermittently say, “oh” …. “stop” ….. “stop looking at me” ….. “oh no” …. “aaah” …… “seriously, look the other way” … “ok, ok, I’m fine” ….  while trying to catch your breath and then start laughing uncontrollably again and head for the bathroom.

It helps when the teenagers in the house are hilarious.  I miss having all three of them but I looooove the fact that I can still have random silly conversations via facebook, Skype, and the phone with the other two.


I sent out a few requests for letters of recommendation from my professors a month or so ago.  I am in awe with the responses I have received.  My times at UNM were chock full of trials.  I thought I was being a PitA to my professors as I called, emailed, and otherwise harassed them for help as I tried to work through parenting teenagers, a couple moves, an incredible schedule, and a ridiculous sense of perfectionism that I wouldn’t wish on any one.  Apparently I wasn’t too much of a pain because I think they may be in a competition to write the best letters.  I am not at all sure how I deserve such incredible praise but I am truly thankful.  I hope to live up to the expectations.


I sold the motorcycle, I’m having another garage sale tomorrow.  I’ve got a few more pictures out there on the market.  Now that I know I can eat while I’m in Prague, it’s time to start savings funds for moving to wherever I get to move!

Some countries on the list of where I will happily teach (in alphabetical order):

Czech Republic
South Africa
South Korea


This is not an exhaustive list by any means.


Though I missed David’s open house at PAPA, it was only because a wonderful couple, D and J, had me and Jamie over for a farewell dinner for me.  It was so lovely.  Thankfully I know the PAPA campus, trust his teachers, and love his principal and her administration.  I know he is in good hands.


When we first walked in we saw a wooden drying rack on the counter where J had put freshly made pasta to dry.

They put out all the best silver and china and treated me to a spectacular homemade dinner.

First, we had hors d’oeuvres; enormous sweet green grapes, salted roasted nuts, nutty spicy crackers (cheese on the side) and margaritas in beautiful crystal goblets.


After visiting for a while, we were served an incredible dinner of green chile fettuccine with shrimp.  The pasta was made that morning using green chile puree.  Though there were a couple bites that bit back, it was a delightful dish.  The shrimp was done to perfection and there was a black eyed pea salad served alongside.  It was scrumptious with red bell peppers, green bell peppers, scallions, and a hint of something smoky.


And then, even after I was so full I thought I was going to pop, we had an apple dessert that should be sold in some fine restaurant somewhere.  I love to cook and think of myself as a pretty good cook, and I am jealous of J’s cooking skills.  GREAT, perfect, fantastic dinner.  Thank you both!


Today I am at school again.  I love being around learning environments.  I’ve got yet another school’s population calling me Ms. McKahsum!   It’s so awesome!  I really may legally change my name to McKahsum someday, it’s seriously too much fun.


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Anyone can do any amount of work – provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.

Anyone can do any amount of work – provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.

I found a few quotes I had saved from years past.  They seem to be as relevant now as they were then.


We are born charming, fresh, and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.    Judith Martin

If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re headed.

The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.  Colette from Paris from my window 1944

You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.  Irish Proverb

I don’t confuse greatness with perfection.  To be great anyhow is the higher achievement.  Louis McMaster Bujold

If you would thoroughly know something, teach it to others.  Tryon Edwards

To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as you can.   Sydney Smith

Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way.  This happens to us all the time with computers and nobody thinks of complaining.  Jef Raskin

I’m an idealist.  I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.  Carl Sandberg

The problem with any unwritten law is that you don’t know where to go to erase it.  Glaserand Way

It is impossible to imagine Goeth or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.  H.L. Mencken

Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from good judgement.   Barry LePatner

I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, “Ain’t that the truth!”?  Quincy Jones

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.  Albert Einstein

Treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster.  Quentin Crisp

Two paradoxes are better than one; they may even suggest a solution.  Edward Teller

Anyone can do any amount of work – provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.  Robert Benchley

If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me.  Jimmy Buffett

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Posted by on 29/08/2012 in art, poetry, quotes, teaching, travel


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