Shiny Crabs

Lately, we’ve been having a lot fun making shiny purple crabs out of play-doh. We also make frogs, snails, and the occasional poop because all kids love making play-doh poop and so do I. My daughter also invented what she calls a “Cinnamon Twist Hair” – which is when you put a cinnamon bun on an animals head as a haircut.

Pure genius.

Something I realized is that I’m constantly afraid of the play-doh sitting out too long and getting ruined, even though it’s only a $1 can (bottle? cylinder?). I have some sort of play-doh anxiety. While we’re playing I’m constantly checking for how it feels, alerting of hardening conditions, and recovering lost crumbs from the ground quickly.

As a kid, play-doh was this sort of “holy grail” of American Toys™. It wasn’t something you could find in a store, so we only got it when we travelled to the U.S. or if someone brought us some back as a gift. It was pretty rare stuff. We’d have 1 or 2 cans of play-doh that we’d have to make us last for 5+ years. I was so afraid of loosing a crumb or making it go stale that I just ended up never opening it.

One of my favourite gifts I received as a kid was from my mom just after I had gone through Tonsil surgery.

Post-It Notes.

When you’re a kid and you’ve never seen anything like a Post-It Note, it’s really magical. Colourful, square, sticky, paper?? I kept the Post-It’s for 14 years in a box of special things (until my dad tossed them, probably thinking they were garbage).

Sometimes I do have these strange bonds with mundane things like Post-Its and Play-Doh, and it can be hard to explain and it’s even hard to understand why those things still affect me much later in life. As odd as it seems, I like to think that it’s a reminder for me to keep learning to appreciate things that might seem minuscule to me but that in fact can be full of wonder and excitement.

Thanks for the Post-Its, Mom!

Finding Jim

One of the highlights of Summer 2020 so far has been finding Jim.

We were walking around the yard and Amalia spotted this thing that looked like an egg! After a quick Google reverse-image search, we figured out it was a moth pupae.

We named it Jim, and put it somewhere safe to check on every day.

We checked. every. day.

There were times we thought Jim was dead, other times we could see him wiggle, but surely it can’t take this long to pupate?

What is really interesting is that the caterpillar does not actually grow into a moth per say; it goes through a process called histolysis. There is a special group of transformative cells which remain, dormant, inactive, and unseen during the pupal stage of a caterpillar’s life. These cells break the caterpillar down until it is nothing more than a pile of cells, more or less an accumulation of goop. Now it is ready to reform itself into a moth.

From pestwiki.com (#)

So amazing!

After what seemed like an eternity (almost a month), Jim hatched and was free. We were very happy for him and hope he comes back to visit one day.

How to get files off of your father-in-laws Blackberry Z10

Step 1:  Read 100 forum posts about how hard it is

Step 1.5: Replace the entire screen front plate so you can turn on USB transfer mode

Step 2: Install Blackberry Link on your Mac

Step 3: Realize that Blackberry Link doesn’t work on the last 5 years of mac OS

Step 4: Install Windows on your Mac

Step 5: Install Blackberry Link on your new Windows virtual machine

Step 6: Question your life choices

Step 7: Find a USB-A to USB-C dongle because dongles

Step 8: Plug and Unplug your Blackberry 127 times until Windows finally recognizes it

Step 9: Realize Blackberry Link is garbage and it won’t do anything right

Step 11: See your Blackberry somehow mounted as a drive in Windows

Step 12: Drag and drop 1484 files to your Windows computer

Step 13: Realize you need to install VirtualBox Guest Additions to even get these files back to your mac

Step 14: Finally get all the files into Dropbox and breathe deeply

Leap Day

I am always finding excuses to start silly family traditions.  I think this year for Leap Day™ I am going to butter my toast on the bottom toast side, drink coffee from a vase, and maybe wear a hat.

New hobby: Woodworking

I think I have an addiction to hobbies.

Musical instruments, new skills, new sports, I can’t get enough.

One of my latest hobbies is amateur woodworking.  I say amateur because my brother in-law knows what he’s doing, and I just pretend.  I’ve been collecting tools and slowly learning how to make things.  It’s actually a lot easier than you would think.

Continue reading “New hobby: Woodworking”

Whitespace

I often think about the difference between something that’s good and something that’s excellent.

Whitespace is one of those things that can take something from being just ok to being amazing.

What do I mean by Whitespace?

I mean silence, emptiness, void, quiet… you get the picture.

For example, sometimes you listen to a song, and it blows you away. Not by the amazing notes or riffs or carefully crafted harmonies, but by the pauses and the carefully missed notes. Those missed notes are just as important as the ones played, sometimes even more.

Think about a song you love, and now listen to it again – this time listen for things like dynamics (songs getting louder, quieter), silence, and restraint. You’ll probably notice that the silence or quietness makes the song that much better. If your music doesn’t have silence, try listening to some Blues.

 

Whitespace is everywhere.

 

Designers often talk about a design having great whitespace. Purposefully designed emptiness to make something look excellent. Cluttered design looks… bad.

Life need whitespace.

Research has shown over and over again we have our best ideas in the shower, when we’re walking, driving, when we are in silence. I think the reason for this is that void creates space for new things. If our minds are constantly filled, there’s no room for anything else.

If you pack your backpack so tight with things, there’s no room for what you might find on the way.

Some of the best memories I have with friends and loved ones happen when nothing was planned, and we were doing nothing – silence makes space for great shared memories.

I got my first cellphone when I was 24 and I remember leaving it at home and treating it like a home phone. Why? Because I didn’t want to be bothered while I was out with friends or doing other things. Now I carry my smartphone everywhere I go, and I sometimes wonder if for all the great things it can do, it actually might do more harm in the long run.

I live in a world that’s begging for my attention – watch this, read that, do this, eat here, play, stream, run, track your steps, get more points, but rarely does it ask me to just sit, enjoy, relax, or unwind.

I think there’s great strength and beauty in learning to cultivate whitespace in our lives.