GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life

Spring ahead

Monday after I got back from South Carolina, I finally caught the respiratory infection / bronchitis that has been going around the office,  I spent 2 days mostly sleeping, then another 4 days sleeping as often as I could.    I’m starting to feel more like myself and now I get to play catch up with office work and house work.

It also means everything is back to a normal routine, I haven’t sketched much so I’ve been listening to creative podcasts for inspiration and maybe some challenges to participate in.  The weather is getting warmer, albeit rainy, so I’d like to get out to geocache. I’ve been reading a lot, one for a book club that meets in a few weeks and the other because it was mentioned in a podcast and once I started it, I was hooked.  I may do reviews on them.  I don’t feel educated enough to do book reviews, so maybe not.

I want to dig my bike out of the garage.  I want to start taking the dogs on walks in the evenings.  I want to start doing yoga again (I don’t know what happened after January). I want to clean up the flowerbeds.

But right at this very moment, I need to get ready for work.


Travel Memory – Visiting my dad

When I was around 12, I would visit my dad and stepmom in Washington state.  I travelled alone, flying to Denver and switching planes, continuing on to Sea-Tac.  

I don’t remember having anxiety about travelling alone to my dad’s.  Being a minor, airport staff would help me making flight transitions and I never worried what would happen if I missed a flight.   This was well before 9-11 and the TSA checks so flying back then was a lot simpler.

I would stay with my dad during the summer, and fly back home to get ready to back to school. I had my 13th birthday there, with a huge Filipino feast.  No matter how much I try, I can’t make pancit like my stepmom.

I enjoyed these trips and visiting my family in the Pacific Northwest.  Nothing bad or stressful happened, other than the fact as I was heading home meant the summer was over.


Ukuleles and Languages

Coming up on 4 years ago, I bought a ukulele.  A little blue Kohala that was on sale. I bought a beginners book with it, and didn’t really do anything more.  I looked up some videos online, downloaded and learned the chords for In My Mind by Amanda Palmer. I never learned consistent strumming patterns, and the uke spent most of its time on my bookcase collecting dust.

Then I bought another ukulele.  A Mitchell ukulele, regular brown wooden looking.  Something that didn’t look so ‘childish’ as my blue Kohala.  It did sound a little better, it had different strings, and I switched between the two as I dorked around with a few chords.

About a year ago, I saw a local ukulele group does workshops and jam session.  I took Little Blue and fought my social anxiety to join in.  I was told my ukulele was okay, for a cheap one but it would sound better if I put new strings on it.  Also the little phone app I used to tune my ukulele was crap and I needed to buy a tuner that clipped to the head.    I bought the tuner, and a couple of uke books the group used and never went back to another session.  I have them on calendar and maybe one day I will.

A few months ago, I decided it was silly to have these instruments if I wasn’t going to use them, so I looked up some more videos on YouTube and started with some basic lessons.  I followed along with Cynthia Linn first lesson learning Three Little Birds.  I’m still working on strumming patterns, but now I’m more comfortable playing than I have been in the 4 years I’ve had my ukuleles.  I can sing while I strum the songs.  I’m not comfortable singing in front of people, but I have no problems with it while I’m home with the puppies.

I was thinking how learning ukulele, and music is like a language.  Then my brain fell down the language rabbit hole and why had I given up on learning Dutch and Spanish with duolingo.   Part of it was I just stopped practicing, losing interest perhaps?     But I couldn’t deny the progress I had seen practicing ukulele consistently for a month or so, maybe it’s time to get back into practicing languages as well.

I’ve restarted my Dutch and Spanish tress on Duolingo, and it has changed since I last used the app.  It seems like the intro circle on each has been crazy long!  I don’t remember there being levels to each circle and I was getting annoyed, but I supposed repetition is key for learning anything.

I thought I’d incorporate the languages in my sketchbook. I’ll write my Postcrossing cards in Dutch and Spanish, if I get an address of someone who speaks those languages.  I’ll learn kids songs in those languages to play on my ukulele.

It all comes full circle.