Evening Routine

"Three Amigos" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Three Amigos” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I’ve settled into a nice evening routine, which I am enjoying quite a bit. It’s funny, but the things I used to think of as “chores” are now part of a routine that I don’t give too much thought to, and they don’t really cause any stress.

Each night I will clean the cat litter box, which only takes a minute, but I would visualize how awful a job it is and fill my mind with negative thoughts like, “why am I the one who has to do this?”. 🐱 But these days, I just do it and my mind is thinking about things other than the cat poop. Does that make sense? It’s like I am on auto-pilot and since I don’t think about the chore that I am doing, it doesn’t affect my frame of mind negatively. My body might be scooping poop, but my mind is enjoying talking with my family, thinking about drawing, or listening to the baseball game that’s on the tv in the living room.

Another task that I do almost every night is washing the dishes. This is less of an “auto-pilot activity”, but I look at it as an opportunity to chat with the family in a relaxed environment (just after dinner, everyone is usually in a good mood). Or, if everyone has left the kitchen area, I can catch up on some podcasts. So, it’s a productive time of my day.

The same goes for brushing my teeth in the evening. I admit I used to often skip the nighttime brushing 😇. But for the past couple years this important task also has become an “auto-pilot activity” and I will listen to a podcast while I do it.

So those are my “tasks” that I do every evening. I also have a few other routines that are on the fun side, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

Tonight’s photo at the top of this post is of my three watches that I like to wear. My Seiko SKX007 (on the right) is what I wear every day, my Timex weekender is a watch I sometimes wear to bed. It’s so light and the band is so soft that I don’t even realize I am wearing it. But I find the audible ticking noise to be relaxing and helps me sleep. The watch in the center is my Seiko 5 SNK809, which I don’t wear as often, but once in a while, I will throw it on. What’s nice about the automatic watches like the Seikos I own is that they don’t use batteries. Just a few shakes to get them going and then they will power up by just regular body movement. I love that!

Lastly, the photo below is my latest practice sketch. I tried drawing it without referencing the proportions video that I needed to watch for the previous sketch. I guess it turned out OK, but I’m still not very happy with it. It’s a little “off”. Still, it’s good to practice.

"Practice Sketch" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Practice Sketch” Cedar Park, 2017

I hope you had a nice Tuesday!

おやすみ

Have Fun Along the Way

"Traveler's Notebook and Fountain Pens" Austin, 2017
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/40 sec, ISO64
“Traveler’s Notebook and Fountain Pens” Austin, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

At my work, we have 6 core values, and my favorite one is “Have Fun Along the Way”. It’s actually a great value to live by, isn’t it? Anyway, whenever I pick up a new hobby, I tend to get obsessed with it and do so much research, watch videos about it, spend lots of money, etc. I’m sure I’m not alone in this! But what I am trying to do with my current watercolor/stationery hobby is to slow down, take it easy, and not go overboard. I want to make sure I don’t burn-out over it. And by going slowly, I make sure that I maximize the time that I am having fun along the way!

As I grow older (I am 48 as I type this), I start to think about making things last for the rest of my life. For instance, the things I buy like bags, penswatches, or sandals… will these last me (and will I want to keep them) for the rest of my life? That now goes into my purchasing decision.

And then I think about the things I do… will the new things I learn add anything to my life? I know that interests change, and that’s fine, but as the years go by it seems to be more important to focus on things that have real importance. When I was debating on whether or not to get the regular tickets or VIP tickets to see the band Scandal, my friend asked me, “When you are on your deathbed, are you going to be happier that you met the band or happier that you saved $50?” Of course, I bought the VIP tickets.

I think about that a lot when I have to choose things in daily life… “On my deathbed, will I be happier that I binge-watched another episode of Parks and Rec, or that I worked on a painting?”

When I was in high school and college, I loved creating things. And in my career, I’ve always had a job that involved creativity. I haven’t really given it too much thought to be honest. But it’s something that I can be proud of, and happy that I lived my life this way. So, my “new” hobby of watercolor painting is something I can fully enjoy, without any guilt. And it certainly fits the “Have Fun Along the Way” value!

"Color the Trees" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“Color the Trees” Cedar Park, 2017

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

Simple Camera

"Camera Love" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/15 sec, ISO3200
“Camera Love” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは!How’s it going? Are you staying warm this winter? The temperatures will drop below freezing here tonight, but we’ll be warm and cozy in our beds!

Today’s photo is of my camera, the Fujifilm X100T which I have blogged about before. I’m still loving it – definitely my favorite camera I’ve ever owned. It’s not the fastest, doesn’t have the highest resolution or specs, but it has a certain charm in its body design and the image quality that the jpeg processing produces. That combination is why so many people love their X100 cameras, and Fujifilm cameras in general.

This camera has changed the way I think about making photos. Having multiple lenses that cover the ultra-wide to the super-telephoto range isn’t that important to me anymore. Simplicity has become much more valued to me now. The single focal length simplifies so much. Decision-making is easier. In fact, a lot of decisions have been eliminated… and I love it! It’s truly liberating.

Of course, I value the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from owning and using many different cameras and lenses, and it still comes into play with the photographic duties I sometimes take on at work, but for my personal photography, the X100T is all I need.

I guess this simplification is part of a trend in my life… getting rid of things I don’t need or use. Do I need all the apps on my phone? No, I only need a few. Having less keeps my phone light and fast.

Do I need to keep all the books I have already read? No. I donate or sell them, and free up physical space and clear the clutter. Seeing books that I’ll probably never read again just gives me a feeling of incompleteness. Get rid of them and close that chapter for good. (I made a pun!) Closure feels nice.

There are so many opportunities to simplify!

Focusing on just a few quality items seems to be a path that makes sense to me now. It gets me excited to think about jettisoning the things I don’t need anymore.

I hope you had a great day!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

End of the Trip

"End of the Trip" Long Beach, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/8000 sec, ISO6400
“End of the Trip” Long Beach, 2016

こんばんは!How’s it going?

We have returned to Texas from our week and a half trip to Southern California. It was a wonderful trip to see my parents, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. I actually most enjoyed just relaxing at the house watching tv, eating good food, drinking whiskey, wine, and cocktails, and our nightly mahjong games. It went by so fast!

But I am glad to come back to our Texas home. I never really realized it, but the life in California is a lot different from life here in Texas. I don’t mean geographically or culturally, but more personally the way I live my life and spend time in each location is very different. I’m still trying to process those differences, and maybe I will write about what I figure out, but I think it’s all good. The things I can learn about myself from these experiences can help me grow in a positive way!

I hope you had a great day!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

Plot Twist

"Evening Treat" Cedar Park, 2016
"Evening Treat" Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/8, 1/170 sec, ISO640
“Evening Treat” Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは!How’s it going?

I read something the other day that I thought was cool. It went something like, “It’s not a setback, it’s a plot twist.” I haven’t had many setbacks in my life, but it’s fun to think of your life as a story, isn’t it?

I know that the quote is meant to help  someone who is hurt or grieving, but even when a good thing happens to you, it is a major event in your own plot and it may be worthwhile to spend some time thinking about it.

Or find things to be thankful for.

Or building upon what happened and learning from it.

The protagonists in stories are affected by these major plot events and it shapes what they do and how they think. As protagonists in our own stories, it might be healthy to take a look at our own script as it is being written and evaluate it from time to time.

Maybe this is a naive way of thinking, but it’s fun to ponder these things sometimes.

Today’s photo is of the sunset  as seen from our house. I really love the clouds around Austin these past several days. ☁

I hope you had a refreshing weekend, and let’s have a great week, wherever the plot takes you. ✍

Take care,

– B Barron Fujimoto

Salad Days

"Salad for Lunch" Austin, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/640 sec, ISO400
“Salad for Lunch” Austin, 2016

こんばんは!Howzit?

Today’s photo is of the delicious salads my friend Mikey and I enjoyed for lunch at Salata. When we get together, Salata is one of the top choices! I think it’s still a little odd that a salad can be so delicious.

Like many people, I grew up eating a lot of meat, and salad was just something that you ate before the main course. But now I believe that we are conditioned by Big Food into eating that way… I guess for my entire life we’ve had ads and food industry-influenced government telling us what foods are “good” for us, how much of it we need to eat, and when we need to eat.

It’s difficult to see things any other way if that’s all you’ve been exposed to. Other lifestyles can seem weird, unhealthy, or just plain wrong. That’s why I think you need to shake things up… for instance traveling to different countries or living abroad can really open your mind. Learning about other cultures and actually being immersed in them makes you question a lot of things.

I tend to look at people who have traveled extensively, or lived abroad, differently than those who have lived in the same place their whole lives. I really feel like they have a broader way of looking at the world. Of course this is not always the case, but there’s something to be said of first-hand experience and forming opinions based on direct experience, rather than forming a worldview based on mainstream news.

So, back to the salad… I am grateful that my friend Mikey suggested this lunch. It was a new experience for me, something I would never have considered, but one that I found I enjoy quite a bit! What else should I try?

I mentioned in a previous post that I had fasted (drinking only water, black coffee, and tea) for multiple days, 72-hours being the longest stretch without calories. That experience opened my eyes up to how we’ve been taught to depend on our 3 meals a day, and how it is not necessary to follow this lifestyle. It’s actually quite easy to skip a meal or two, and there are health benefits to extended water-fasts. But we’ve been taught that we need to eat. Constantly. That hunger is bad… we’ve also been taught that hunger=starvation. But hunger is not starvation at all.

Most of us have plenty of fat to keep us out of starvation for weeks. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But when you have done an extended fast, you realize that we don’t actually need to eat as much as we are told we need to. During a long fast, you actually lose the craving for junk/unhealthy foods and you can look at that craving from a detached point of view. Big Food has designed our diets to keep us craving high-fat, high-salt, and sugary foods. A water-fast will give you greater clarity about this. And you will recognize that there is a lifestyle where in which you are not dependent on Big Food’s guidelines.

Talk about a different point of view!!! I know most people will think it is crazy to go without food for 3 days, but have they tried it? I think if you do, you will have a broader view of eating, and how strong we can be mentally.

Wow, that was a bit of a ramble, wasn’t it? Anyways, I encourage anyone to look into water-fasting, and try to broaden your minds too! It’s seriously one of the best things I have ever done for myself in my life.

If you’ve read this far… thank you thank you thank you! 😄

Take care, and have a great weekend!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

Breaking the Fast

"Waiting" Cedar Park, 2016
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/500 sec, ISO400
“Waiting” Cedar Park, 2016

こんばんは!Hi, how’s it going?

Today’s photo is of a man waiting outside the martial arts studio. I assume he is waiting for his child to finish his class. I was in the area after finishing dinner, and was strolling around to get to the Pokestops that were nearby. Are you all playing Pokemon GO as well? I am playing it once in a while, but it is hard because the game runs so poorly on my phone. It’s frustrating and I give up many times because it just lags and then freezes. 😩

For the past few days, I’ve been fasting… meaning I have only had water, tea, and black coffee. It’s called a water fast and there are a lot of benefits to doing it. I wanted to go a bit longer than 3 days, but I think it’s good to just do a short fast before taking on longer ones. I’ve done 24-hour, and 36-hour fasts before, but the 72-hour was my longest to date! I felt fantastic after the first day and the fasts always reset my outlook on life (and food) for the better. It also gives the body a chance to heal itself, and the results for me are nicer skin, and my sore neck feels a lot better. I recommend you all do some research into water fasting… it’s a life-changer!

My first meal back from the fast was a nice bowl of Vietnamese Pho. The broth was so delicious and the veggies and noodles were excellent as well. After fasting, your sense of taste and smell are heightened so the meal was amazing. In all honesty, it probably wasn’t the best pho in the area, but today it sure tasted like it!

I hope you had a nice Wednesday.

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto