Habit Tracker

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO250
“Everyday” Cedar Park, 2019

I’ve been using a habit-tracker for the past month or so to log some daily activities. It’s kind of a combination reminder app and tracking app, but the intention is for you to create new habits. For instance, I added my daily sketching, simple stretching and exercises, and Japanese studying. I’d say it’s effective in that now I automatically do my hand exercises, neck stretches, and squats without having to give it much thought, and opening Anki to study Japanese is automatic too. Overall I’m happy with it.

There are a number of different habit trackers and the one I chose is called “Everyday”. I like the fact that I can use the same app on my iPad, my Motorola phone, and in Chrome. It’s super convenient! Not only can you access it via app or webpage, but you can add a Chrome extension so that when you open a new tab, it defaults to the Everyday screen. How easy is that for a reminder!

またね~

Decluttering the Email

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Relaxing Cat” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

So I was going through a couple of labels in my Gmail to declutter them, specifically the school-related labels. The Kids/School/Bay and Kids/School/Koa labels have emails going back several years even though I try to keep those nice and tidy. A lot of those were grade alerts that I no longer need. In fact, most of the emails were things I don’t need to look at such as band rehearsal reminders, school events, field trip info, etc. Time to spend some time decluttering the email!

However, I did keep a couple of messages, like the Welcome to High School, and other similar milestones, but the rest went into the trash. It was fun to quickly scan through the email subject lines and it brought back many good memories, but they have served their purpose. Nice to relive those one last time, but it’s now time to let those go and move on! Marie Kondo would be proud of me. 😀

Today’s photo is another one of Anko. She really knows how to get comfy wherever she’s at. For good measure, here’s a second photo:

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO6400
“Yes?” Cedar Park, 2019

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

Seiko SKX007 + Black Zulu Strap – Sparking Joy ✨

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/55 sec, ISO6400
“Seiko SKX007” Cedar Park, 2019

I’ve been wearing a green Zulu strap with my beloved Seiko SKX007 watch but decided to put the black Zulu strap back on. However, that strap has a kind of yucky smell although I’ve washed and scrubbed it before. Last night I put it in a jar filled with water and dishwashing soap, and let it soak overnight, and this morning it’s nice and clean-smelling. We’ll see if it stays that way. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try an Oxy-clean soak. Of course, I could just buy the same watch band again for $10, but where’s the fun in that?

I’m currently reading Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up which is a nice follow up to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It’s got more practical information on how to put her methods into practice, including small illustrations on how to fold different types of clothes. But as the title suggests, it talks about how possessions can spark joy, and my Seiko SKX007 definitely does that for me. But pairing it with the black Zulu strap again takes it to another level – the combination just feels so good! I really love it. I plan on keeping it for the rest of my life. 😄

またね~

Second Visit to the Blanton Museum of Art

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO6400
“Art Tour” Austin, 2019

Today I dropped Koa off at UT Austin for his third and final band camp of the summer. The dorm he is staying at is right next to the Blanton Museum of Art, so after Koa was squared away, I decided to check out the artwork. As a bonus, I bundled my ticket with parking so I saved a few bucks. 😁

As luck would have it, I bought my admission at about 3 pm, right when a free guided tour was starting. It was “Best of the Museum” and we stopped at nine pieces of art and had discussions about each one. It was very interesting and illuminating! I’ve been interested in art all my life, but I find it hard to understand the purpose of it. Some of the art we saw today from the early 20th century was clearly made to make a social statement, but other Italian art from the 1600s was more of a depiction of a typical everyday scene. They were very different, but both are “art”. I suppose the hangup I’ve always had in understanding art is that for some reason I thought art should have a singular purpose, but that is clearly not the case. Some art is meant as a protest against the status quo, some art is religious and devotional, portraits can simply be a likeness of the subject, etc. I guess the art is more about the artist’s vision, rather than the objects in the art themselves?

Listening to the museum docent describe what the artists may (or may not) have been trying to say opened my eyes as to what art might mean to me. I’m excited to think about it more, and maybe I can use my creativity to make some more meaningful art. The first step is figuring out what I want to say, which honestly could be a challenge.

It’s funny to think that although I’ve been interested in art since elementary school, took classes throughout high school, majored in Art Studio and minored in Art History, then interned at a museum, that finally at 50 years-old I am giving serious thought as to what art means to me. All this time I’ve just been making things just because I liked the aesthetic. But there can be so much more, right?

I hope you had a nice Sunday!

またね~

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO6400
“Replicas” Austin, 2019

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Replicas” Austin, 2019

Daily Journaling with the iPad

"Daily Journals" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/110 sec, ISO200
“Daily Journals” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。

One of my daily habits is to jot down a few things about my day into a daily logbook, and I have now switched over to a digital system using my iPad and Microsoft OneNote. Going digital with the logbook parallels my going digital with my sketching which makes sense since the Apple Pencil is such a wonderful device for both drawing and note-taking.

One reason for going digital is because of convenience. I usually have the iPad with me so I can take a note in the logbook within a few seconds. I can write with different digital pens/highlighters, erase effortlessly, doodle, and create unlimited pages. And if I want, I can switch from writing by hand to typing using the virtual keyboard.

Another reason why I am going digital for my logbook is that it meshes well with my process of decluttering. Regarding note-taking, I can now streamline my fountain pen collection and notebooks as well as my art supplies. It’s kind of a quick switch because just last year I started buying more fountain pens and decided on a good notebook system, but decluttering is so liberating that I want to extend that to my stationery as well. It’s a win-win for my present lifestyle. Convenience and less clutter! It’s funny, but I sometimes like to have cool things, like my fountain pens, but I am increasingly getting more joy out of not having those things.

So why did I decide on OneNote as the app for my logbook? Sure, there are several highly-regarded note-taking apps for the iPad such as GoodNotes and Notability, but I wanted something that wasn’t tied to the Apple eco-system. That left Microsoft OneNote as the top contender, and it ticks off a lot of the checkboxes for me. It has an organization system that makes sense, a good handwriting experience with a decent selection of virtual pens, excellent price (free!), and it’s cross-platform which means I can access my logbook on my Android phone and Windows computers as well. I wish it had a dot-grid option for the background, but that’s not a deal-breaker (and it’s possible to make my own).

I’m only a week into using it, but it looks like it will work out nicely. I have one “notebook” called Daily Journal, and within that are pages. I use one page for a whole month, which may seem like an odd way to do it, but OneNote’s pages can be huge, so I think a whole month’s worth of log entries will fit no problem. And having one tab/page for a single day would create too many tabs. Plus I like to see several days at a time with my paper logbook, so it makes sense to carry that over to the digital logbook.

It’s kind of cool that I have my sketchbook and logbook on the same device. Plus of course my calendar and all my books (Kindle app). For me, the Apple Pencil was the catalyst that brought it all together. I’m not an Apple fan, but the iPad/Apple Pencil is a really awesome combination. I love it!