Categories
Misc Moving to Scotland

Noticing birds

I spent a fair bit of time outside today with the kids, and while they were occupied on the newly-discovered trampoline of our neighbors, I wandered into the nearbye field for a look around.

The scenery was seemingly very tranquil and quiet at first, but as I walked a little bit I started to notice a chorus of bird calls all around, one in particular with a really unique ring to it.

What kind of bird was it? Had I hear it before around the farm? It seemed new, like the bird had just arrived.

Categories
Art Misc Parenting Work

Big rocks first

I’m not sure how this became a longer thing than it is. Maybe that’s because prioritization, the subject of this piece, is a longer, harder thing to do than it seems at a distance. Anyway, this illustration started as a little morning drawing of an idea that I revisited from a book excerpt and grew into the series of illustrations below. It’s been a fun exercise in playing with a brush pen, seeing how I could talk about an idea thorough pictures, and put together disparate pieces of each into some sort of whole (using GIMP for image editing). Here are the different illustration “parts” explained with the compined composite I created at the end.

Categories
Misc Parenting

50 things to do

A list not about working from home but what I’m doing or am aiming to be doing. A list in no particular order to go with all the other lists out there. Hoping you find some inspiration within and are not one of the unlucky ones with serious things to do like look for work or care for a sick family member.

This is the list of what I’m telling myself to be doing (subject to change at any point in time for any reason whatsoever):

  1. Look at images from the great museums and art collections of the world. Here is a list of open-access galleries: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/open-access-image-libraries-a-handy-list/.
  2. Read a book, or two, or three. Here is my list from last year: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/12/16/books-i-read-in-2019/.
  3. Tidy up.
  4. Listen to Philip Glass: https://open.spotify.com/artist/69lxxQvsfAIoQbB20bEPFC?si=2Z1Kfi6ASj2dQjQKxsXYlg
  5. Be affectionate.
  6. Listen to an album you never have listened to before. Here is a helpful list to get started: https://www.kexp.org/kexp-top-903-albums-2019/
  7. Start a blog. Here is a great place to do it (and it’s free): https://wordpress.com/
  8. Get a helmut: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/02/20/get-a-helmet/
  9. Make a mini-zine: https://austinkleon.com/2020/03/04/how-to-make-a-zine-from-a-single-sheet-of-paper/. Here is mine: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/03/07/four-little-fires/
  10. Doodle with Mo Willems: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%23MoLunchDoodles
  11. Do some watercoloring.
  12. Build a fire.
  13. Take a walk.
  14. Go running. Better yet go running in the rain: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/11/07/running-in-the-rain/
  15. Write some thank you cards.
  16. Get 8 hours of sleep.
  17. Write a letter to someone.
  18. Read some poetry. Start with how to be a perfect: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57243/how-to-be-perfect
  19. Listen to This is Water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI
  20. Play hide-and-seek.
  21. Cook something you love, and cook something you’ve never cooked before.
  22. Learn to cook.
  23. Meditate. Here is the app I like currently: https://wakingup.com/
  24. Build something with legos.
  25. Have a wrestling match.
  26. Bake some bread.
  27. Have a camp out in your living room.
  28. Watch a documentary.
  29. Take care of your plants.
  30. Eat healthy.
  31. Read the Burrito Rant: https://medium.com/@jackdire/dear-guy-who-just-made-my-burrito-fd08c0babb57
  32. Try to learn something new. And then write about it: https://getonwithit.blog/category/willw/
  33. Bake some cookies.
  34. Make a collage from a magazine, old wrapping paper, or a book.
  35. Host an online meetup using Zoom: http://zoom.us
  36. Draw something. Try a drawing a day: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/01/04/a-drawing-a-day/
  37. Use this list of ice breakers to generate a fun conversation: https://zoom.us/
  38. Write in a physical notebook.
  39. Practice gratitude. See the 5MJ questions for a good start: https://www.intelligentchange.com/blogs/news/the-five-minute-journal-questions
  40. Search Twitter like Google instead of looking at your feed.
  41. Look at pictures from previous trips. Here is my most recent: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/03/01/notes-from-islay-and-jura/
  42. Update your resume.
  43. Think of something you can do to help someone else.
  44. Reach out to a person who you haven’t talked to in a while.
  45. Give yourself a foot massage.
  46. Look at the stars.
  47. Read The Tail End: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html
  48. Be gentle with yourself.
  49. Relax.
  50. Stop looking at your phone. Call someone.
Categories
Misc Work

How to stop taking things personally

I’ve had this little list next to my desk and stuck in my notebook for the last week and it has really come in handy. I’m susceptible to getting upset at things people say (or in my work, type), eagerly taking someone’s innocuous ping and blowing it up to a personal affront to myself and my family’s security or wellbeing. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens more often than it should.

Of course this is ridiculous and I’m not nearly as important as I think I am. Someone else’s irritation, rudeness or strange behavior is not likely to be about me. To use a shiny new word I recently learned, I am not the omphalos of the world, or even my own house.

Anyway, this is a handy tool for putting things in perspective in any work or personal dealings that start to get under your skin. Credit to Recomendo where I first found it.

How to stop taking things personally

  1. Realise that other people’s rudeness is not about you. It’s a reflection of their own issues.
  2. Ask yourself what else the comment might mean. For example, if someone doesn’t smile or say hello, they might just be shy.
  3. Take comments or criticism in a constructive way. Ask yourself if there’s any truth to it? What could you learn?
  4. Take a different perspective. Ask yourself how an unbiased outsider would see the situation.
  5. Realise that you cannot please everyone.
  6. Know that you are not defined by your mistakes or criticism.
  7. Realise that your self-worth depends on you, not what others say about you.
Categories
Art Misc

Surrounded by smiles and good humor

Raw Spirit by Iain Banks is a book about Scotch, but there are so many anecdotes and side-stories sprinkled throughout, it’s better described as a book about driving, cars, friendships, getting older, music, war, politics, Scotland AND whisky.

This bit from the book came to mind today and stuck with me:

…when you drive an old car (and in some ways here, the older the better) you drive surrounded by smiles and good humour. In an old car, unless you drive like an utter imbecile, you can generally forget about road rage. People will grin when they see you, they smile, they stop and look and sometimes they wave, and if not they make a digital gesture, it’s a thumbs-up, not a finger.

Part of this may be that an old car is seen as less of a threat, less of a declared, fully-paid up competitor in the day-to-day competition for road space and the battle to reduce one’s own journey time. But part of it, I suppose, is a kind of veneration we feel for the old in general, a feeling that they deserve credit for the fact that they’ve made it to here through all the trials, challenges and vicissitudes that might have ended their existence earlier and so should be indulged and given peace in gentle retirement. (Arguably, nowadays, people feel this more towards old cars that’s they do to old people, which is sad, even shaming.)

Indeed, the fact that any of us have made it this far, let alone well into old age, is worth a hat tip. We’re here, on the third rock from the sun! It’s crazy if you think about it.

Everyone has suffered and everyone has their struggles, let’s try to at least surround ourselves with smiles and good humour when we see each other shall we?