Monday, May 8, 2017

[Product Review] Kobo Aura Edition 2





Kobo Aura Edition 2 eReader

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Part 1: Description and Technical Specs

Discover a simple and natural eReader experience with Kobo Aura. Get lost in your story on the 6" Carta E Ink touchscreen that's lightweight and comfortable to hold for hours reading. With a print-on-paper look, you can read in direct sunlight without glare; and with the built-in, adjustable ComfortLight, you can read late into the night with minimal eyestrain. The Kobo eBookstore gives you access to over 5 million eBooks and your Kobo Aura lets you store up to 3,000 eBooks so you'll never be without a great read. Discovery is easy with personalized recommendations based on your reading habits, plus you can read ratings and reviews from Booklovers like you.

Screen: 6" Carta E Ink touchscreen, 1024 x 768 resolution 212 ppi
Weight: 180g
Size: 159 x 113 x 8.5mm
Storage: 4GB  on-board memory, holds up to 3,000 ebooks
Front-Light: Built-in, fully adjustable ComfortLight with micro-thin coating for durability and even light distribution
Customizability: TypeGenius: 11 different fonts and over 40 sizes to choose from; Exclusive font weight and sharpness setting
Supported Formats: 14 file formats supported natively (EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, & CBR); Read ebooks from borrowed from Public Library
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Micro USB
Battery Life: Up to 2 months depending on usage
Languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, Japanese, Turkish
Other: No advertising, no interruptions


Part 2: Recommendation

It was actually anti-climactic when I finally received my Kobo Aura Edition 2 in the mail because it got delayed in Hodgkins, IL and the UPS facility in Colorado Springs, CO sorted my package incorrectly and so it went all the way to Englewood, CO instead so that added 1 more business day for a total of 2 business days that it was delayed in getting to me. So in short, it took a total of 7 business days to arrive, though still reasonable and within the timeframe Kobo specified in the confirmation email, my excitement in receiving the Kobo Aura Edition 2 has significantly waned. 

When I opened the packaging, the actual box was no longer sealed (and I'm assuming this was due to customs?), and there's a very noticeable damage to the side of the box. Inside the box was the device itself with a clear plastic film on the screen, some documentation and a micro USB cable to charge and transfer data to and from the device.

When I powered on the Edition 2, it has a battery life of 97%. I wanted to try setting it up over WiFi without having to connect it to my Mac but since my home network is setup differently for security purposes, I connected the Edition 2 to my Mac, launched the Kobo Desktop App and from there, followed on-screen prompts to setting up my Edition 2. Setting it up was really easy and didn't take long. I did have to leave it to charge for 4 hours as prescribed. 

Once it was fully charged, I side-loaded the eBooks that were on my Sony Reader PRS-T1 onto my Kobo Aura Edition 2. Then played around with the user interface (UI). At first, it felt strange not having that physical home button and navigating through my device's library did take some getting used to. It frustrated me a bit because I would swipe at the screen to move on to the next page of my list of books but instead of moving to the next page, it would open up the book. And it did that several times. If I swipe towards the top where the header/sorting options are at, it would sometimes select the sorting option. Other than that, the Kobo Aura Edition 2 was okay. I think I still prefer the UI on my Sony Reader though and having the option to use the physical page turn buttons are very helpful. I didn't realize how helpful they were until I started using the Edition 2.

Reading under direct sunlight during my lunch break walks with my dog, Mowgli, is better because of the higher screen resolution and with the front light compared to the Sony Reader because whenever I step under the shade of a tree or my Sony Reader falls under the shade of my own shadow, there's a bit of a strain to see the words on the screen. Very minimal and almost negligible but with the Edition 2, because of the front light, it gives you enough light to be able to read in any lighting condition and because it's E Ink, you can obviously read clearly under direct sunlight. So that was a real pleasure in having upgraded to the Edition 2. Reading on the couch in the front room of the house in front of a large window when the afternoon sun is setting and the light is changing, it handled the changing light conditions very well. I didn't have to manually turn it on (because I never bothered to turn down or turn off the front light) and I really loved that experience. Definitely front lit E Ink readers is the way to go. 

When it comes to the browser and downloading ebooks from public libraries, the browser is pretty fast for a beta feature and you can save favorite sites like your favorite Indie Book Store's Kobo link, Goodreads, your public library's overdrive link and Dropbox. Other reviewers on YouTube have suggested to use Dropbox to side load ebooks if you don't want to use the USB cable. I have not tried that yet but I did try downloading ebooks from the public library (which uses Overdrive) but somehow, that did not work. I was able to download the same ebook file to my Mac and open it on Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) and I was able to download and open the file using the Overdrive app on my iPhone. The Edition 2's browser showed that it did download the book but when I looked in my device's library listing, the borrowed library ebook was nowhere to be found. I tried transferring the file via USB cable and it took several tries to get the Edition 2 to list the book but when I tapped on it to open it, it kept showing me an error message about the ID issue not matching which is not true because everything uses the same Adobe ID that is authorized on the Edition 2. So I'm not sure what's going on there. It worked all the time on my Sony Reader's browser and it would show up on the Recently Added books on the home screen of my Sony Reader but somehow, it did not work on my Edition 2. I'll probably try that again later. Or try the Dropbox workaround. Or wait until ADE sends out an update.


Despite the initial frustrations surrounding Overdrive and ADE (to the point where I wanted to send the device back for a refund), I think I will keep it because it is faster, it has a higher memory, higher screen resolution and way better front light than my Sony Reader with the reading light cover combined. Besides, I can't download ebooks from the public library anymore on my Sony Reader because of the ADE ID issue and because the browser keeps disconnecting from the WiFi every time the Sony Reader attempts to download the ePub file. And with the ADE ID issue going on, there's no borrowing public library ebooks on both devices except thru the Overdrive app on my iPhone. I would have rated it 5 stars if I could download Overdrive public library ebooks directly via the browser and until now, my Kobo Aura Edition 2 still has yet to be updated to the new UI that Kobo released last February 2017.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017 Update:

My Kobo Aura Edition 2 UI has not updated to the new one yet but last week, a public library book that I recommended became available for me to borrow and guess what? Not only did I manage to download the file to my Mac but I also managed to successfully transfer the ePub file to my Edition 2 and read it. No ADE ID error messages this time around. Woo hoo! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Sad April

I miss my mother-in-law. She died of a stroke that took out 35% of her brain on April 4, 2017 at 9:20am, a week after being rushed to Memorial Hospital at 9:00am and we buried her on April 12, 2017. Easter Sunday will never be the same or any other holiday for that matter. I have been one of the few lucky ones who actually have a great relationship with their in-laws. In every way, she has become my mother in the past 7 years that I've known her. She may not have been rich, famous or influential but she has taught me how to truly forgive someone, shown me what true strength means and that family — not work — is more important next to God. In my heart, I know she's moved on to a whole different journey where I can't follow (at this time at least), but it appears, my brain still needs to catch up with this new reality. I often find myself grabbing my phone to either call or text her only to realize that she's not physically here anymore and my heart breaks anew. I need to be strong for my husband and my father-in-law and there are days when I don't know where to get the strength from. I'm guessing, take it one day at a time and from the knowledge that she is no longer in pain. 





On the yarn-y side of things, I completely forgot to mention last March that I finally got a shelving unit to hold my small stash of yarn instead of them being stored in a 56 gallon purplish-pink Sterilite plastic box at the bottom of my closet, which is also quite cumbersome to get to as there are things piled up on top of it. I originally thought to get this shelving unit from Target:

 My Dream Yarn Storage

But it's way too expensive and not very portable in the event that we move to a different house. So, for the meantime, I got this hanging sweater organizer instead from Bed, Bath & Beyond and it just fits the amount of yarn that I have and is ultra-portable at a quarter of the price of my original plan. I'm really happy with it because now, when I open my craft room/office closet to get some yarn or a hook, it is right there in front of me and I don't have to dig out the Sterilite bin in order to get to my yarn stash. Yes, I still keep all of my yarn in ziplock bags to keep away dust and moths. And because the shelves are so open, I can clearly see what kinds of yarn I have in my small stash and it also motivates me to keep my stash small since I obviously have no more room (err shelf) to spare. The top shelf contains my test & review kit, a small bottle of wool wash, some felted sheets and the big ball of Bernat Baby Sport in Baby Taupe yarn that couldn't fit in the second shelf reserved for Acrylic and Acrylic blend yarns with side pockets for hooks and needles and notions. The third shelf is reserved for plant-based yarns and the fourth shelf is for animal-based yarns. The fifth shelf is reserved for project bags and the sixth shelf is for the poly-fill that I use for crocheted/knitted toys.

My Actual Yarn Storage

This year's Yarn Along The Rockies yarn crawl goal is to find and purchase a yarn swift and the budget is about $50.00 and maybe a project bag as I already got a yarn bowl last year when one of my favorite LYS closed down. 




Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post




Currently Writing

  • Chapter 4 of Helena and the Dragon


Currently Knitting/Crocheting

  • Ambi Crochet Blanket


Product Reviews





Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!



Monday, April 17, 2017

[Book Review] The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse





My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
ARC Edition
Genre: Women's Fiction

Disclaimer: As a member of NetGalley, I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.


Part 1: From The Book Cover

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn't be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah's teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn't have. Jonah's love and support  are unquestioning, but Lucy's struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille's presence straining the bonds of Lucy's marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today's hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?


Part 2: Recommendation

The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse is a well-written, heart-wrenching, piece of fiction that is somewhat close to hitting home on a personal level for me in the sense that being a married woman, I'm expected to pop out children. In the seven years that I've been married to my amazing husband, it hasn't happened and the pressure is still there to the point where I've started avoiding physically attending baby showers (that and because I'm a shy, introvert). I'm on the fence about having children of my own because I honestly feel that I'm selfish and self-centered (to a degree) where I'll be classified as a horrible mother if I ever have children (I already have such a high standard of expectation for my future child's behavior, character, creativity and intellect that it would be impossible and super stressful for said future child to meet). I'm awkward around humans especially kids and I prefer the company of dogs, books and older people. I'd rather not have kids and just be the greatest aunt in the world to my nephews but my husband still hopes for at least one child (or triplets). 

With that said, every month that goes by, I can relate to what Lucy goes through: the disappointment, heart-break, pain and depression that follows every one of her miscarriage. Because of this book, I now know what it feels like to have that home test kit show that you're pregnant only to find out that the baby you've been hoping for does not have a heartbeat and you end up with another miscarriage. I haven't been there and I hope to never know such pain especially the pain that would cause my husband. I would not wish such pain on anyone.

Lucy's tumultuous journey to motherhood and accepting her reality is not exactly a happy one but inspiring nonetheless in the sense that women who can't have children can still have that sense of fulfillment in other ways: by loving the children around you as if they were your own (or you can always adopt a baby). It is definitely a hard lesson to learn and even harder to apply in real life especially when I see how much my husband enjoys being around our little nephew. 


In conclusion, The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse did have a big twist, which I did enjoy but this book is not for everyone especially for those who like highly satisfyingly good endings. This has a sad but good ending. All the supporting characters are well developed, the plot is a bit slow and sometimes I feel like the tension in the story was added on just for the sake of having a bit of drama. The way the end of the chapters was laid out with a sort of journal entry-ish style was a bit confusing but it does clear up in the end, so that part was okay. Overall, it was a good book and definitely geared towards women (and their loving partners) who are struggling with the pain of miscarriage(s) or their inability to have children of their own.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Finally, A Blanket For Me

After making a dozen extra large sized baby blankets, I've finally decided to make a blanket for myself using my own pattern, which I hope will be released no later than October 2017. You see, every time I finish a baby blanket, I wanted to keep it for myself to curl up with when I'm reading a book. Since I have a lot of left over Bernat Baby Sport yarn that I've used for the five Christmas shawls that I made last year, I've decided to use them towards my reading blanket. The colors reminded my husband of the Neapolitan Ice Cream (taupe for the chocolate, white for the vanilla and pink for the strawberry). 

It took me a couple of weeks to come up with a name for this blanket pattern because I wanted to call it "Into the Stacks" where the double crochet stitches would represent the library shelves full of books and the double crochet + chain 1 stitches would represent the aisles of tables but it didn't really look like it. It looks more like platforms and train tracks but I didn't want to call it anything that has train tracks on the pattern name. Finally, the name came to me one night. I was thinking of how to categorize this pattern on Ravelry since there's already a million blanket patterns on there and I was asking myself, what is it about this pattern that will benefit other crocheters? And the answer is technique. You see, the technique I used, while not very new or original is something that most crocheters will not use on every single flat crocheted item/project. So I called it my Ambi Crochet Blanket…Ambi for Ambidextrous. That's right, this pattern will require crocheters to use their non-dominant hand to go back to complete the next row then switch to the dominant hand to complete the next row and so on and so forth instead of turning the whole heavy piece. 

I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned it here in my blog about my being Ambidextrous. I write with both my left and right hand and ever since the Christmas Shawls project, I've started crocheting flat items starting with my right hand then instead of turning, I would use my left hand and switch hands at the end of every row instead of turning. By doing so, I've created a very beautiful back side on my Ambi Crochet Blanket. When I was working on the Christmas Shawls project, I think it took me two weeks to get used to crocheting with my left hand. A month later, my left hand is faster now than when I first started crocheting with my left hand but it's still not as fast compared to my right hand. Luckily, the tension of both hands are the same. I'm sure that by the end of this Ambi Crochet Blanket, both hands will be at the same speed when crocheting. If I get back my knitting mojo, I will definitely learn to knit with my left hand as well so I won't have to turn my projects ever again. We shall see if the knitting mojo comes back. 




Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post



Currently Reading 
  • The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse


Currently Writing

  • Chapter 4 of Helena and the Dragon


Currently Crocheting

  • Ambi Crochet Blanket - a pattern I'm currently working on and will be out for testing hopefully in August or September. 


Product Reviews





Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

[Book Review] Gone by Min Kym






My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
ARC Edition
Genre: Nonfiction, Biographies & Memoirs

Disclaimer: As a member of Penguin's First To Read Program & NetGalley, I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.


Part 1: From The Book Cover

The spellbinding memoir of a violin virtuoso who loses the instrument that had defined her both on stage and off — and who discovers, beyond the violin, the music of her own voice. Her first violin was tiny, harsh, factory-made; her first piece was “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” But from the very beginning, Min Kym knew that music was the element in which she could swim and dive and soar. At seven years old, she was a prodigy, the youngest ever student at the famed Purcell School. At eleven, she won her first international prize; at eighteen, the great violinist Ruggiero Ricci called her “the most talented violinist I’ve ever taught.” And at twenty-one, she found “the one,” the violin she would play as a soloist: a rare 1696 Stradivarius. Her career took off. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned. Then, in a London cafe, her violin was stolen. She felt as though she had lost her soulmate, and with it her sense of who she was. Overnight, she became unable to play or function, stunned into silence. In this lucid and transfixing memoir, Kym reckons with the space left by her violin’s absence. She sees with new eyes her past as a child prodigy, with its isolation and crushing expectations; her combustible relationships with teachers and with a domineering boyfriend; and her navigation of two very different worlds, her traditional Korean family and her music. And in the stark yet clarifying light of her loss, she rediscovers her voice and herself. 


Part 2: Recommendation

I don't usually read biographies and memoirs but when I saw this book and read the book description, I felt compelled to read it. Why? I don't even know who Min Kym is and I haven't heard of her, but I had to read her memoir. I'm not sure exactly what prompted me to request the galley but I did. It could probably have something to do with the fact that I tried and had to give up playing the violin because of the extremely soft, almost missing flexor tendon on my pinky finger, that I can't properly hold down the strings to produce the right sound. So yes, this book intrigued me.

The book opens with a scene where Ms. Kym is checking in her bags at the airline ticketing counter and was told she had to check in her violin and something terrible happens then the next chapter opens at the very beginning, the one event that would catapult her into the world of music and competitions and the different teachers and mentors that she's had over the years and what each of her violins meant to her.

I play the piano and I did attempt to learn the violin but I am by no means a professional musician but I do understand this phrase when I came across it in the book when Ms. Kym said, “…I knew right away that holding a violin, playing a violin, was not simply for me, but it was me.” There are some instruments that is very easy and comes naturally to a person and in my case, despite the initial resistance, it was the piano. Back when I was first learning the piano, I preferred the voice and romance of the violin but all we had was an ancient, Weinstein & Sons upright piano with a cracked sound board. But I figured, learning how to read music on a piano will translate into all other instruments anyway so I learned and played the piano. Years later, when I was working, I bought myself a beginner violin, a Hoffner, because I still wanted to learn how to play another, more portable instrument. It was either a violin or a flute but the violin won. It was slightly awkward for me to hold, and the sound was just as Ms. Kym described her first violin as "harsh" sounding and the harshness of it was probably largely due to my inexperience as a violinist. I think I tried and practiced on that violin for a year to two and gave up. The instrument was just not for me. Five years later, I sold it to the mother of another beginner violinist. Hopefully, that child will fare better than I. So for everyone who can play a violin, I'm highly in awe of you guys.  

Moving halfway across the world and having to leave my piano or my Yamaha Electone Organ behind, I started to miss playing the piano at around the 7-year mark so when I finally purchased a Yamaha Portable Grand DGX-660 Digital Piano and played music again for the first time in 7 years, I completely understood how Ms. Kym felt when she said, “…I felt like a creature released, alive in herself for the first time" because that was exactly how I felt when I played the piano on my DGX-660. Sure, there is nothing like the sound of a good acoustic instrument but I was looking for a more portable, and practical instrument since I can't fit a baby grand piano anywhere in my house and I honestly don't want the cost of maintaining one and I want to have the rhythms and different voices that my Yamaha Electone Organ has just in the form of an 88-key piano. 

Reading this book, I'm not sure if Ms. Kym was romanticizing her "relationship" with each of her violins but her attachment to each of her instruments, especially to the 1696 Stradivarius was really something that made me think, perhaps that feeling of attachment only applies to violinists? Why? Because she described her rare, 1696 Stradivarius violin as "…It felt as if three hundred years ago, Stradivarius had held his hands over a length of wood and fashioned this violin just for me, that all her [the violin's] life, my Strad had been waiting for me as I had been waiting for her… It was love at first sight, love and everything else: honor, obedience, trust, everything… This was marriage till death do us part, made in heaven right here on earth… I'd met my soul mate." See what I mean about romanticizing violins? Ms. Kym did mention that pianists aren't like that at all about their pianos, which I feel to be true because pianos are not as portable (unless you get a digital one that you lug around everywhere) and pianists usually just play on whatever piano is available at the venue unless you're some hotshot piano player who has the means and money to transport their grand pianos everywhere. Although, I have to say that pianist are very loyal to their brands. There's always a debate going on as to which piano brand sounds better: Steinway & Sons, Yamaha, Kawai, or Baldwin to name a few and we pianists, would defend our brands to the death especially when it comes to our personal instruments. I mean, you can't really demand a venue to provide you with the brand and model you prefer to play on unless you ship your own. So yes, I do agree with Ms. Kym that pianists, don't have this level of attachment to their instruments like violinists do. 

This book climaxes to a point in time where her Strad was stolen and the depression that came after it, which was understandable and very dark. The confusion that surrounded the whole thing and the painful reality of finding and buying another violin. She finally ends up with an Amati violin and the book closes with this heart-wrenching realization, "…My Strad is Gone but I can still hear the call of it. My Strad is Gone but I can play again. I have memories of the Strad and the Strad will have memories of me. When it is played again, out in the open, on stage, in front of an audience, it will remember me. It will open its heart and remember me" to which these words resonated so much with me when I went back home last December 2016 and saw how dirty it's keys were, how neglected and forlorn my Weinstein & Sons upright acoustic Piano was and my Yamaha Electone Organ was. Both are in sad need of repair (all the black keys of the foot pedals of the Yamaha Electone Organ are not producing sound anymore) and both need cleaning and the Weinstein badly needs to be tuned and I was a bit outraged and terribly saddened that no one cared for them both. They're both gone from me but both instruments and I will have memories of each other, of the love and care we shared for 12 good years.


In conclusion, this book has changed how I look and feel about the instruments that I have throughout the years (though not as many as Ms. Kym has gone through with her violins) and I learned a lot on how a violin is made and how structured a life of a child prodigy was. I've always thought about what if I started early with the piano and went on to Conservatory music instead of getting a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and what if I had a job as a musician instead of an accounting job? This book has given me insights to what a musician's life is like so at least the wondering on my part has lessened and to be honest, I wouldn't trade a thing but I would've liked to have at least tried it first (like going to Conservatory Music in College instead of Accounting) to see how far I could go with my music. Gone by Min Kym is a well-written, emotionally charged, thought-provoking and sometimes dark memoir but in the end, you can clearly see the subtle changes and the triumphant come back of a wiser, stronger Min Kym.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Epic Fail: Overcoming My Fear Of The Deep End

Photo Credit: Cheyenne Mountain D-12 Aquatics Center



For my husband, whenever he is away from Colorado Springs for more than 3 days, he'd feel the Mountains calling him back. For me, it is the water that calls me. Growing up in Manila, my family would take a day trip to either a water park or a hot spring pool in the summer once or twice that season and of course throughout the years, we get to use the pool at any 4-star hotel we booked when attending formal events (reunions, etc.). Then, when I started working, the company I worked for would have summer team building activities at beach resorts. When I married my husband and moved to Colorado Springs, I have to agree, the mountains are breath-taking and the apartment we lived in does have a pool but I only used it once the whole year we lived there (yes, it can get really crowded in the summer and not fun to swim in when there are a gazillion kids splashing about - unfortunately the pool wasn't open in the winter). Then we moved into our house and five years go by and I haven't had a swim since that one time in the apartment pool. On the sixth year, summer of 2016, we went on a road trip to Grand Junction, Colorado and the hotel we stayed at has a small indoor pool with a depth of about 4 feet deep. On the way there, I remember seeing lakes and every time, the call of the water got stronger and stronger. We finally got there, met up with my friends for dinner and after dinner, we went back to the hotel and went for a swim. The pool was crowded but we went in anyway. I had to. I was also worried I'd forgotten how to swim. Luckily I did not but my husband did forget how to swim. It was probably a little over 20 years since he last swam. 

When we visited my family in Manila last December 2016, we were able to swim every morning at 6am at the hotel and when we got back to Colorado Springs, I started missing the water again in January. By February, my thoughts are so consumed by swimming that I started looking at pools in the area that also offers swim lessons at a reasonable rate. We finally decided to try the Cheyenne Mountain D-12 Aquatics Center and stopped by last Saturday to purchase a 10-punch card for adults at $40.00 each and the next day, I went for a swim. I was hoping to work on overcoming my fear of the deep end (the 25-yard pool starts at a depth of 4 feet and ends at a depth of 12 feet) but failed. I was only able to swim up to the 5 feet mark and back. It was sad because all the other swimmers on the rest of the lanes were doing the whole 25-yard laps and I could only do less than 25% because of my fear of the deep end (I know I should not compare myself to the other more experienced swimmers). Trust me, I've spent 3 months now mentally preparing myself that I can do it, that I can go beyond 5 feet and not panic. Well, I did not panic when I got to the 5 feet mark but I still had that paralyzing fear because I was barely standing on my toes to keep my head above water and knowing that water safety is first, I turned back and swam towards the shallow end. I'm hoping to hear from the swim instructor soon so we can get our lessons scheduled and I hope the instructor can help me overcome this stupid fear of the deep end as I want to go snorkeling without wearing a life vest that is. 


Photo Credit: emaze.com

Photo Credit: matadornetwork.com


Maybe I'll try using a kick board next Saturday to get me through the deep end to ease my way from anxiety to comfortable and practice doing vertical flutter kicks to keep me afloat. Wish me luck.


Photo Credit: WikiHow.com




Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post



Currently Reading 
  • The Clue in the Old Album (Nancy Drew, #24) by Carolyn Keene


Currently Writing

  • Chapter 4 of Helena and the Dragon


Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Art of Being Organized

 
  


I have always been the neat, tidy and organized sibling in the family with a minimalist approach to everything I owned. I'm not one to hold on to things purely for sentimental reasons especially if it's broken or has outlived its usefulness in my life. I find great relief and a sense of peace in discarding and reorganizing my stuff in the house, my closet, my home office and my car. Why? Because I believe that if I haven't used it or wore it for a year, it means, I don't need it and someone else could better benefit from it. My family thinks I'm weird (for not being sentimental at all) and smiles at my OCD tendencies.

It has been 2 years since the last purging and I was feeling a bit off. Last Sunday, while waiting for the last of the laundry to finish drying, for some odd reason, I ended up watching a YouTube video of the KonMari method of folding up clothes and of course, I looked up who KonMari is and when I saw her list of books, I remembered we were given the book titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I jumped up from the couch, went to the bookshelf and retrieved the book. I have to say, this is the first book that I've read bits and pieces of and not in chronological order either. More of like I scanned the table of contents and decided to start reading on the section about tackling the bookshelf then I moved on to reading the section on folding clothes then tackling the closet then discarding papers. I don't think I've completely read the book at this point but it was so inspiring and I felt like someone finally understood why I feel the way I feel when I purge and organize my things. A couple of months ago, I was also looking at downsizing to a capsule wardrobe, inspired by a FaceBook ad from Cladwell. That Sunday late afternoon, I looked in my closet and muttered to myself, "It's now or never… time to try that capsule wardrobe." Then I started pulling clothes that I haven't worn in 2 years or more off their hangers because (1) it doesn't fit me anymore, (2) I don't like how it looks on me, (3) I don't need it anymore and finally, (4) it does not spark joy when I see it. I threw in a couple of purses, gloves, hats, shawls and scarves in it too. Then, before I bagged them, I brought out my laptop and created a text document to list how many pieces of clothing there are in a certain category for tax donation purposes, folded the clothes and put them in the bag marked "Donation." Now all I have to do is to haul all 3 bags to Goodwill and be done with it. 

Tuesday night, I was pulling some pajamas out of my dresser drawer and realized, I must be running out of space since my pajamas were a jumbled mess. Remembering what Marie Kondo said about properly folding clothes, I decided to give her method of folding clothes a try and yes, discarding my entire lounge wear items and a few lace-y nightclothes (because obviously, I didn't wear them for the last 6 years and because my skin is hypersensitive to lace - my skin easily gets irritated, red, itchy and splotchy when it gets in contact with the smallest amount of lace). A few minutes into it, my husband comes into the bedroom and eagerly joins me and organizes his dresser drawers too after I showed him how to fold items the KonMari way and guess what? Everything fits with room to spare! And looks pretty too! Hooray!

Despite the major purging that happened in my closet and dresser, I still felt off so last Thursday, I finally tackled my desk. All that is left to organize is the bookshelf and my office closet as I need to get some sort of shelving unit to put my yarn and books in. I just need to find the right shelving unit that is portable and lightweight in case we have to move or I want to relocate the shelves. Now that majority of my stuff has been re-organized, I feel so much better. Peace and serenity has been restored.


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  • Chapter 3 of Helena and the Dragon


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Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!