23 August, 2018

Sunday Photo Fiction on Thursday

I tried this once, but I keep forgetting to check back. It's time for another  Sunday Photo Fiction! Yes, I'm aware it's Thursday, but I've been unpacking since Saturday.

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a story of less than 200 words, based on a photo prompt. To join the fun...
Click on this link 

This week's photo inspiration comes from Anurag Bakhshi.

“Am I pretty? I think I need to be pretty? What’s pretty?”

“Hello! We say, ‘hello’.” Lily was going to have to teach the friend she made.

“Hello? Hello!”

“I made you and just gave you life. Do you want a name?”

“Yes, please. A pretty one, please. Am I pretty?”

“Pretty enough for me. I will call you ‘Meili’. That means ‘beautiful’.”

“Oh, thank you! Can we play together?”

“Well, sort of, but you can’t go anywhere. You have to stay here and keep birds out of the flowers.”

The fabric head tilted forward ever-so-slightly. “Oh. Flowers are pretty. I like pretty.” Meili’s head returned upright. “I wish I could see them better.”

“Maybe my daddy can fix your neck, so you can bend more.”

Just then, Lily’s mama called from inside. “Lily! Come inside! It’s time for lunch and you have to do your daily reading!”

“Oops! Bye!” as she started to run to the door, her new friend shouted, “Wait! My neck!”

“Yes, yes. Later. Bye!”

Meili was still calling after her, “My neck! Flowers! Pretty! Pretty flowers! Help!” Lily didn’t see the tear that escaped her painted eye, until it had already left a stain. 

Words: 199

20 August, 2018

Being at Peace with Ants

I'm not.
I hate ants.
In the US, I would fight ants for all I was worth.
Give me spiders or roaches, but not ants. (Well, not these tropical, flying roaches. They freak me out. THANKS, KAFKA!)

But living in a tropical society with a doors-and-windows-open policy means being at peace with the fact that even if I get rid of one batch of ants, more will come. If we see a group of ants congregating at one spot, that means something needs to be cleaned, but they freely roam anywhere. >sigh<

I am taking it to be a trade-off. Open doors and windows might mean we get ants, but it also means we get geckos! I've only seen one gecko inside the house. Up in the 2nd-floor hall by the balcony. Maybe our fans on the first floor keep them outside. From my perch at the kitchen bar-top, I get to watch our three resident first-floor geckos play on the wicker (rattan?) blind that hangs outside our kitchen window. I haven't named them, because I can't tell them apart. 

The blind hangs outside, and they live outside, but they play on the window side of the blind as if hiding from the sun. I love geckos. I'm so happy to have them near!

There are many things I could be writing about today. It's our third day in this house, and each day I've performed a different cleaning task, and each day we have purchased something different for the house. Mostly, it's more space than either of us are used to, and I am relieved that I don't have a 9-to-5 job right now, because it took me all of the first day to do all the floors, and that didn't include bathrooms!

I'm learning the importance of taking breaks, because it's freaking hot, even though I try to deny it. (sweat doesn't lie.) In my daily meditation, I'm trying to train my body to think I'm cold. It's not working. 

Ants and sweat. Are there any daily annoyances that you have had to come to peace with? How's it working for you? I'll try to get some pictures of the geckos one of these days.

17 August, 2018

Checking In


We moved half our stuff on Wednesday, which turned out to be more than half, since I'm almost done re-packing the suitcases we emptied, and we didn't re-fill all the bags, so YAY! 

I actually have a post half-written about something else, but moving took over my time. Here's why...

I like that the art connects the kitchen and living room colors.

Guest room.

Left is the hall, right is Brett's office. They share a LARGE balcony.

View from that balcony.

That last picture? I had to take a close-up of the stairs because they appear to be flecked with mica? Or something. They sparkle. But the sparkles didn't translate to the photo.

10 August, 2018

My Own Personal Solstice

NOTE: I wrote this on August 8th, but apparently I got distracted and didn't click "publish". 

I wasn't going to leave the house today. I walked for 7 hours yesterday. Literally, except for stopping for coffee. We left the apartment at 8:30 and got home at 3:30.

So I wasn't going to leave the building today. There's no need to actually go anywhere.

Then I saw the date: August 8.

In June, as the Summer Solstice neared - which is the point when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer, I did a little math (followed by research, tbh) to determine when the sun would be directly above Da Nang, 7.5 degrees south of the Line of Tropic. The answer was something like May 4th... and August 8. Since I'd missed the May date, August was locked in my brain.

August 8. So I had to leave the house. My inner geography nerd needed to get a picture of my noon shadow!

It's overcast today, so there is no shadow, but because it's overcast I could get a shot of the sun!
You have to trust me. I'm looking directly overhead. See the sun? By the powerline?

We had decided to walk to a very popular Italian restaurant. Now, I'm not a huge fan of Italian, but this is one place that has acceptable pizza, and knows how to package it properly in a flat cardboard box.

In China, several Italian places would smash leftover pizza into a plastic container. Talk about turning me into HULK!

Now, I've recently decided not to bother with pizza here, because it is so often disappointing. Then again, I don't like pasta, and these guys do acceptable pizza, so against my better judgment, I ordered a pizza. I ate half, to take half home for supper.

The leftovers were placed in a clamshell container -
Which They Secured with Rubberbands!

Holy Hell. 
This is what you get when you leave your home country, people! Poorly packaged leftovers! Stay home!

That said, it is my own private solstice - a day when the sun is directly over my head - so I will be happy! I'm determined. How do you bring yourself out of a solid pout? I'm not depressed, just extremely annoyed. Any advice?

06 August, 2018

Relocation: AGAIN

I apologize. I mentioned that we signed a lease, and haven't yet followed that with details.

Honestly, I'm tempted to do a series of posts, because I have a lot to say about all the ideas we have for what to do with different areas, but that is probably tempting fate: We signed, but our contact is really the current tenant. When we met the landlord, he came over from his house next door with a notebook, hand wrote the basic facts of names and dates, and he and Brett signed. Then he tore the page out of the notebook and handed it to Brett. I'm not really sure what kind of rights that gives us, and my prayers daily include this entire situation because it seems kind of iffy, don't you think? 

Keeping positive, though, we are moving forward optimistically. Here is a bit of a tour of what we signed for:

From the front gate.

One thing that makes this house superior to the one we thought we had last month: I will not be responsible for the plants. The landlord takes care of them. And there's a papaya tree back there alongside the house!
That stairway looks so long to me! But it's not. It's normal.

I want to move the TV to the wall with the art on it. It gets glare now.

The fridge will be moved, to free up that bar-top.
That's the first floor, in a nutshell. Missing pictures are the guest room and the powder room, also on this floor. The guest room will also be my workspace.
Master bedroom, with a balcony.

Brett's classroom/office, with a balcony that connects to the balcony over the front door!
All three bedrooms have their own bathroom, too!
We overlook a peanut farm!
There is a third floor, too. A large storage space, and a large balcony. I didn't get any pictures of the balconies on the 2nd floor. Balcony-space! Another thing that makes this house better than the last one, IMHO.

Just because we've made a big deal about bathrooms, LOOK! There's a glass divider between the shower and the toilet! The bathrooms are all like this, except I think one has a washing machine in it, too.
We'll no longer be 8 minutes from a beach, but we are 5 minutes from a river. It's a very lush area.

01 August, 2018

Taking Stock of July

I got this list from a Linkup with Denyse Whelan here, but I'm using it just for a periodic prompt to take stock. There is no link up right now (that I know of) but it's a new month, and July was active, so what better time to Take Stock!

Making: A book. I'm nearly done and ready to look into finding an agent and seeing about getting it published! Very exciting.

Cooking: Still nothing. I boiled eggs the other day, though.

Drinking: Cheap Vietnamese beer in celebration of SIGNING A LEASE ON A NEW HOUSE!
Our new place, in a couple weeks.

Reading: Midnight, by Dean Koontz - my first Koontz, and it will probably be my last. He's mighty wordy. Miss Spelled by Morgana Best - light and fun. I'm enjoying it. Still making my way through Atlas Shrugged, too.

Next read: I don't know. I recently asked for "Chick Lit" suggestions. Probably one of those. Any suggestions? (By Chick Lit, I am referring to a female protagonist who goes through some stuff, not romantic)

Wanting: A rest from the house-hunt. It ended today, so tonight begins a short rest before packing.

Enjoying: Thinking of new possible stories/books to write.

Liking: The fact that the mat that I bought to go on the floor in front of the kitchen sink is a GREAT match for the kitchen in this new house!
My floor mat has flowers in that same deep orange.

Pondering: How often I move. How often my husband has moved. Will we be able to stay settled for longer than 2 years?

Considering: Characters for a new book, as I let this first one sit and percolate.

Buying: Housewares. Soon. The current tenant is taking a lot with him when he moves, so our first run down to the new house with suitcases will be illuminating as to what is or is not there.

Watching: I'm slowly making my way through The Office. I married a man who's a big enough fan to call me "the Pam to his Jim", and I've seen occasional episodes, but I'm going through it methodically. I could never abide Michael Scott for very long, but seeing it from the beginning, I'm a little more tolerant of him.

Next watch: Desperately waiting for seasonal shows to start back up again. For some reason "People of Earth" has been on my mind lately.

Hoping: To go at least 3 years before the next move. 

Marveling: About the mail in our new little community. Our new house has no specific address, but if we are having a delivery, they will send it "to the area" and everyone knows each other, so someone will direct them to us!

Wearing: The comfiest shorts I've ever known. Found them in the market in Hoi An, the town we'll be moving to this month!

Getting: Used to the climate. I often prefer to go up to the terrace rather than sit in the air conditioning. This is a win, to me.

Feeling: Excited to move!

Hearing: "Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance. I love this.