Simplifying Multiple Items

"Sunset" Leander, 2018
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 16mm, f/18, 1/60 sec, ISO100
“Sunset” Leander, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today’s photo was taken by my son. As you can see, we were driving along during a beautiful Texas sunset and I had him use the camera I keep in the glove compartment to capture the image.

We’ve long since moved on from using the Sony NEX-6 camera for everyday use (I use my Fujifilm X100T and Mariko uses her Olympus E-PL9), but it is such a nice camera that I didn’t sell it. So, I put it in the car where it serves as a backup camera. It’s actually a perfect car camera because it can be operated quickly with just one hand. Flip the power button on and it’s ready to shoot at its widest angle. Plus the grip is beefy and easy to hold. And it has come in handy many times!

It got me thinking about how I am trying to simplify and get rid of items that we have multiples of, but it doesn’t mean being totally minimalistic or getting rid of all but one item. There’s a balance for everything. For instance, we have accumulated laptops over the years, many of them are still perfectly functional. But I really only need one, so I donated/recycled the rest of them.

On the other hand, I have multiple Kindle devices and although I only need one, the others are very convenient to have. For instance, I keep one by the bedside, one in my messenger bag, one in the car, etc. I use all of them.

So, the usefulness of the item, and more specifically if it is being used or not, is the determining factor of what to keep and what to get rid of. And it’s not difficult to figure out what is being used and what is not.

One example is my fountain pen collection. I did a quick inventory (looking at my and purchase histories), and it turns out I have 12 fountain pens! But I use seven of them (two at work, and five at home). I guess I’ll remove the ink from the five I forgot about and put them in the Goodwill box. Those five unused pens were out of sight, but I honestly believe they weren’t completely out of mind. After they go to Goodwill, they truly will be! The knowledge that my collection has been narrowed down to what is essential is what will be freeing to my mind.

I hope you had a nice day!


A Soft Murmur

Do you listen to ambient sounds when you work? My favorite is A Soft Murmur. The website audio is nice, and I also bought the app, so sometimes waves and wind emanate from my phone. 😄 It’s great for reading too!

Mix ambient sounds together to wash away distraction and help you focus or relax

Source: A Soft Murmur

One or the Other

"Stuff" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Stuff” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Minimalists say to only keep things that are useful or bring joy. I guess the small shelf I have on my home office desk is 90% there. You can’t see them in the photo, but the only things I have which don’t fit those criteria are some old audio CDs that I don’t listen to. They were gifts which I could probably toss now that the music has been ripped and added to my digital collection. The other thing that is useful, but doesn’t get used, is a Sansa MP3 player. I should probably donate that one, right?

But other than those two things, I think I am doing good with the decluttering in that small section of the house. 😄

I hope you had a nice Tuesday!


Cleaning and Decluttering

"Tidy" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Tidy” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。Today I woke up pretty early (for a Sunday) and watched a few TED videos about decluttering. As usual, I got inspired to throw out a lot of things that I don’t use or need. Consequently, my desk at home is getting really tidy! It’s a much nicer environment to work, blog, play games, or just hang out. 😀 And while cleaning up, I found a string of lights so I decided to string them up to celebrate. I think it makes the room even more fun.

"Mood Lighting" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 10mm, f/4, 1/20 sec, ISO320
“Mood Lighting” Cedar Park, 2018

Besides the office, I went to my closet to see what clothes I can get rid of, but when I looked at my stuff, I realized I got rid of most everything already. Or so I thought… I have a hanging drawer set where I keep my shorts, pajamas, and workout clothes, and I haven’t gone through those yet. That drawer set had 10 sections, which were all occupied, but after declutering, there are only 5 slots with items in it. I basically got rid of old swimming trunks, workout shirts, and pajamas whose elastic bands had worn out. It’s amazing that I found so many running shirts! Even after throwing out so many, I still kept 4. Anyways, now my closet seems more airy and clean. I love it!

Simplifying my life is such a worthwhile thing to do. Now I am ready to tackle my books again. 😀


Sketch Style

"Night Sketch" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO3200
“Night Sketch” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I spent some time this evening drawing simple faces while looking at other artists’ work that I admire. I’m trying to find a style that I like – something that I can draw quickly to create stories. It’s fun to break down the different elements of a face and try to figure out the minimum number of strokes to create an eye that can convey some emotion or individuality. I’m sure this is the realm of the comic artist and animator, and it’s kind of cool to peek into that world. I feel like I am exploring the unknown! 😀 I guess this is part of the joy of learning new things, isn’t it?

To see all the sketches I've been working on, you can check out the Flickr album "My Sketching Journey", or my Instagram account barron.sketches which I created just for posting sketches, watercolors, and stationery items.    

I hope you had a nice day!


Don’t Be Mr. Grumpy

I have a Google Keep note in which I save quotes and other snippets. It’s called “Thoughts to Live By” and I often look back at the things I’ve collected there. One of the items, which isn’t a quote, but something I try to keep in mind is “Don’t be Mr. Grumpy”.

I don’t like when people are in bad moods and they lash out (even gently) with their anger and the whole atmosphere gets a bit toxic. It’s not a good thing. But I try to keep in mind that the person must be having a bad day, or something recently happened to put them in this state of mind.

And when I think of myself getting grumpy, just remembering that note helps me step outside of myself and reassess what’s going on. It might not be the cure for my being upset, but I think it definitely makes things better. And over the years, I think I am a much less grumpy person than before! 😄


This post was prompted by The Daily Post from WordPress.

Carol Dweck: Should We Stop Telling Kids They’re Smart?

I thought this was a fascinating segment. I like the “Not Yet” concept as well as the “Growth Mindset”. And the phrase “Everything sends a message” is so true. Give it a listen and see if you agree!