Friday, September 15, 2023


 My usual goto language program, DuoLingo, disappointed me a little in upgrading my account to this 'hearts' system - which punishes you for making mistakes.. which is definitely NOT the best way to learn a language.  All of the programs that I have really learned from take the 'make lots of mistakes, we'll tell you they're wrong - but then give you opportunity to fix it and/or learn the right answer'.  The guy from Say Something in Welsh has that as his mantra ' make lots of mistakes, it means you're learning!'...

Anyway, I was using DuoLingo less, because of this.  But, because it is so easy to use and switch langauges, I was still using it daily.  But now I had all this extra TIME on my hands... so I started branching out into learning Kanji on WaniKani and Kanshudo and several other places, and picked back up my LingQ (free version) and Transparent Languages (free from my library card).  Our internet access has improved, so I also began watching a lot more Youtube videos, which feels VERY odd.. even to the point that when I am reading recipes now I am not certain if I saw a series of related process pictures or saw a video on the technique.  In the past - I would have known I didn't  click on a video, because they would load so VERY slow, but now, my brain is tricking me!

I did a little more art recently:

'Ananas' (rabbit with pineapple)
little 9 inch by 12 inch painting the other night

a slightly off attempt to sketch a photograph I saw - but it was fun and I didn't have to get up from my desk for any colors

I was going to lay down to sleep last night and I felt the twinge : If I sketched on a piece of paper right now, and I mean RIGHT NOW, there might be something good there.  Do I want to see whatever it might reveal to me?  Yes, I guess I do.  We can try.  (That is the kind of discussion I have with this pre-lingual half of my brain that this type of art comes from).... so I dashed a few ink lines down on paper and began grabbing pencil after pencil to make the right colors.  I am not entirely certain what it says -something about planting seeds (bird beak and cat's paws) and sharing hearts and vision to rise and rebirth / creation (the symbol on the cat's back)

With the languages, I have improved in Japanese so very much the past two weeks - dreaming in it, reading things on random Pinterest and other images that come up with hiragana and kanji in them - I recognize things now!   I opened up my StarDew Valley game in Japanese - and a lot of it is still 'noise' looking, not reading really just pressing enter and going on, if I stop and really look hard at it I can pick out hiragana and start to recognize a word or two when I think about the sounds.. but some of it is actually leaping out at me now like -oh, that is the sign for bamboo - look that sewer sign, it actually says 'below, water, entrance' etc etc..   With that kind of progress I am - and it is a big deal - thinking of paying the small monthly fee to go further in WaniKani this month.  The Spanish site I was using for grammar wants twice that and I don't use it that much.. but it has improved my Spanish grammar quite a bit in the time it was free to me.  I will have to think further on that one.

I have done a little more French comprehension listening and tipped back into doing French today on DuoLingo even though my spelling is so bad that I trip the hearts system before I even finish 50 XP.  I can't tell my cherchant from my certant sometimes, dyslexia type things I know what I want to type but another word comes out or I miss an 'a' as an 'e' etc etc.  I did my Japanese on WaniKani and expect to do some more later - but I have a feed store run to push myself into going and getting done.

I have had less postal work this week and it looks like the same type of schedule next week - I hope it is just the season.  But I am winding into two days of being on after five off, so I want to keep my head in a good place and not worry too much about it.

Thursday, August 03, 2023

trio of paintings


a trio of paintings from this year, none of them planned out, painting for the sake of painting something and following the 'journey' until the painting seems done

Interesting note : There is a reference between the top painting and the bottom left one with the hillside shape and the red square.  There is some sort of reference going on with the window shapes on the right bottom painting and the half-round doorway top to the painting on the left....


Top painting : The Bright Path, January 2023

Left painting : Awake from Hibernation, June 2023

Right painting : Bright Windows, July 2023 (finished in the wee hours of August 1st, but really.. that doesn't cover the weeks of work before that very well)



Friday, July 28, 2023

Bright Windows, in progress


This is the second stage of this painting, more to do.. especially the trio of blues in the top left corner - I think that has to change.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

keeping at it

 I felt like I got a lot of things done today.  Nothing big to brag about, just a lot of little things that came on a day after three or four days 'on' duty, and then a day off - and I know tomorrow is a day 'on' again... so today would have been so easy not to do the things.

But we got out and did them.

Went to the flea market in the morning, bought vegetables, and then picked up the few groceries on the way home.  Chopped up and put all the peppers I bought in the freezer, reorganized what is in there and planned tonight's dinner from the leftovers that needed to be used.  Fed chickens, and cats, and goats and dogs and us, of course.  Did laundry.  Watered the garden and checked a few of the peppers of our own and the tomatoes.  Read a little of my novel from the library (it's so 'standard' and 'silly' at the same time, but hey, it's a book), and did a little work on my next crochet market bag that is in the works.  And Esme and I worked on some of the adulting skills she needs to practice.

And I bopped around on languages, playing 'language roulette' spin the wheel and do one or two lessons of whatever came up out of the 24 languages.  So I've done Finnish, Catalan, Haitian Creole, Norwegian, Chinese, Japanese, Ukrainian, Romanian and German that I can remember at the is a great 'game' to make sure your brain is remembering everything, and to feel the 'slots click into place' each time you switch over. 


 I liked that the other day when doing the package route as well - it's one of the things I really like about postal delivery, feeling my brain work the invisible maps 'in real time' without GPS, finding my way between two points, I guess: taxi-cab brain?  The package route does not follow in order like the regular mail route does, it hops around in the computer's 'most efficient route' but has no directions between them (that's another set of paper sheets and hey, it's a lot of paper and trying to read small type that I *mostly* do not need, so I don't even have them print that one out for me).  I have noted to myself again that I really like that 'I am here, it wants me WHERE?... ok, wait, routing (in my brain only), routing... oh yes, I see it now, (image appears in brain like a little jagged line running across the world, orienting me in a direction and I 'feel' like swaying motion, the way I am going to need to go and what I will need to do to get there - see snippets of what I am knowing is on the way.. it's so hard to describe and very delicious to experience...

and that is enough waxing about that, but really, I enjoy that more than I should maybe.  If I drove an actual taxi-cab in rush hour traffic, it would probably lose it's shine.

speaking of shine

Wrote this little poem (or adapted it, at least) about Lyffan

(insert picture here when internet is cooperating)

Tiger in the Hallway


Tygre, Tygre, burning bright

in the hallway, in the night

stalking stealthy, claws so dear

around my ankle, to appear

She was mugging Esme so much tonight after we fed her some tuna.  She got up on her chest while she was reading and would not move - sat there saying 'yes, I approve human, stay right here, forever'... I went in to give Esme some laundry and she said 'rescue me, please!' and she really didn't want to leave - she had decided to park herself there and although she's not a large cat, she is one that you never know when she'll 'go explody' as Mark says...

Thursday, July 20, 2023



catch up on progress for year, by Duolingo Crowns 

# July 20 vs / #winter solstice 2022

French            464  / 417

Welsh            370  / 360

Spanish         294  / 243

Czech             169  / 160

Romanian     149  / 144

Portuguese     111  / 89

Italian             91  / 83

Japanese         77  / 65

Greek             72  / 61

German         79  / 60

Finnish         70  / 62

Norwegian     67  / 47

Swedish         43  / 43

Irish             51  /  51

Turkish         39  / 38

Catalan         34  / 23 * (learning via Spanish language)

Polish             30  / 30

Hungarian     26  / 21

Ukrainian     19   / 0 (began April)

Guarani         6  / 0 (began April) * (learning via Spanish language)

Chinese         4  / 0 (began July)


external : Latvian, working on just a little of it here and there

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

garlic thai eggplant stir fry


A little sketch I made while waiting for a vegetable vendor I had contacted to arrive at a place - I'm not sure is it a bear or a badger or?  Anyway, it is definitely enjoying some fruit.


The farm had advertised Thai eggplants, and I used to grow them as 'ichiban' variety, once upon a time - which I guess is more Japanese eggplant, but definitely not your regular grocery store type.  I got two of those more common round heavy eggplants as well, for use in another kind of recipe.


Garlic Thai Eggplant Stirfry :


1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into moderate chunks (smaller is better)

4 cloves of garlic, minced, or more to taste

1 large or 2 small green sweet banana peppers, cut into small shreds

1 medium sized ripe red tomato, chopped

2 long slender Thai eggplants, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced

You will need:

1 small lime

soy sauce - splash

Thai fish sauce - 2 tbsp.

brown sugar - 1 tbsp or a bit more

1/2 inch square piece of curry sauce block

ginger (fresh, or powdered)

black pepper

cayenne pepper or one small hot chile, diced fine

beef broth - maybe 3/4 cup - enough to cover bottom of pan well?

peanut oil - splash

2 large eggs

To cook : 

add the beef broth and peanut oil to a large skillet that you have a cover for

bring to a rolling boil, add garlic and both pepper types, chile and the fresh ginger if you are using it (powdered ginger, wait until you add fish sauce), fry, ensuring that the mixture does not go dry - add more broth if needed

add the brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and juice of the lime in that order, add the curry block bit, powdered ginger and powdered cayenne now if you are using that, add a generous grind of black pepper, mix everything together to make sure sugar is entirely constituted into the sauce

When garlic and peppers have softened some, add the eggplant and the chopped tomato, coat the vegetables in the sauce, turn down the heat and put the cover on the pan to steam the eggplant, stirring every once in a while

when the eggplant has softened, crack two large eggs into one side of the mixture, wait for the whites to cook a little, and then mix the egg mixture throughout.  Make sure the eggs get well cooked, turn off the heat, and serve the eggplant stirfry up onto plates, perhaps alongside rice or pita type bread to soak up the sauce