Kickstart

After more than a year of not writing anything worth posting, I am at loss. Not exactly at loss for words, but more at loss on how to organize my thoughts, which topic to write first, and how in particular to begin. I think I am over thinking this. I rarely jump the gun especially with words. Maybe I can make an exception this one time? I ramble often, mumble even, non-coherent thoughts that would even confuse me as a reader.

Buuut, what the fork. I hear Sara Bareilles in the background telling me to ” let the words come out”. Seriously! This doesn’t really warrant bravery, writing. Well, this one in particular does not, me thinketh. This is more of a “don’t think, just do” kind of exercise. Probably just like riding a bike after not doing so for so long? I would be the last person to confirm this. I don’t really bike but that’s what they say.

Ah well, a couple of words already on paper. I shake my hand and give myself pat on the back.

“In order to live a long and happy life…, you need to write. No matter how stupid it may sound, you need to write.” – Dr. Gelia Castillo, national scientist

Match Up: Good versus…Great?

Good and great.

These are two words that can be used interchangeably in describing people, events and things. I have often thought that “great” is in many ways better than just being “good”. For example, when  asked about a particularly pleasing experience, one could say that it wasn’t just good. Instead one can describe it as something that was rather great.

Same words, right? Only, the latter seems to carry much more weight — in a higher degree of “goodness” if you may.

But my simple understanding of both of these terms was somewhat changed when I read how Mr. Ollivander described Lord Voldemort in the wand choosing scene in Harry Potter.

Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember…. I think we must expect great things from you, Mr Potter…. After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great.

Suddenly, these two words no longer felt like proper synonyms of one another. I mean, can something really be great and not be good at the same time?

Apparently, the answer is yes.

Growing up, I thought that in order for one to be successful (whatever that means for each person), one must also be “great”. Excellence has always been the aim, hence being merely “good” would not really suffice. As I meet people with varying levels of successes and accomplishments, the difference between all things good and great seems to widen all the more. This is not to say that most great people are far from being good, or the other way around. I was just struck by how different these words mean when describing an individual.

Greatness, despite its obvious relativity,  is often easier to gauge while goodness, in its truest form, is far more difficult to define. In an effort to make personal changes in attaining both of these description, one cannot help but compare the roads that lead to each of such attribute.

Winston Churchill once said that “great and good are seldom the same man”.

I wonder if this is really true.

My Yearlong Christmas

I’ve been staring at my Christmas presents since Monday. I really want to rip the wrapping papers apart but I made a promise to my sister to open them on the 30th with the kids.  I got most of my gifts last week so this past days have been a very long marshmallow test for me.

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Looking at my unopened presents, I was reminded of the number of “gifts” that I already received this year. The only difference between those gifts and the ones before me is that they are mainly things that can’t be wrapped by paper or string. These gifts are the type that reveal themselves before you slowly, and in manners which you least expect them to. Gifts that cheer you up on a random day and those that make you happy for an extended period of time.

Aside from the material things I received this year, I get a feeling of being truly blessed when I stop to consider my everyday presents; good health, great friends, fun moments, more wisdom, good vibes and generally, more love <3.

Last year wasn’t exactly a bust, but this year has been a big leap compared to last. I don’t really know how I got to be so lucky. The year has not been perfect as I also lost some very important things. But generally, it’s just been so amazing, this 2013.

While I somehow believe that some sort of karmic energy had its hand on this good fortune, I can’t just pin all this on my own awesomeness (insert: evil narcissistic laugh^^). A great part of my gifts are made up of (or made possible by) the equally amazing people who’s had burden of putting up with my daily craziness. So,

Let it be known: I have good people on my side!

BUT wait, what good did I do to have these guys on my team?

With all seriousness, what baffles me is that despite being unworthy of these gifts, I am still being wonderfully blessed. Some call it luck,  chance; I prefer to see it as providence since I have been showered by His grace time and time again. It’s really all on Him. All these gifts makes me feel joyful and humbled. The love is just so overwhelming. I am so thankful.

Mon Dieu, je vous remercie et je t’aime…bon anniversaire aussi ^^

InstaGood Mornings :)

There is no formula for a Good Morning but…

Sometimes I like my morning to be a bit sugary,

French Toast For Breakfast

Sometimes I like it with lots of chocolate,

Champorado!

But basically, I like my mornings sweet :)

Me & Jetty back in 2011 :)
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Visit this Week’s Photo Challenge for more morning goodness.

Reading among Other Things

Read 12 books or more…and write about it.

This is number 3 on my 2013 goals. The first part is not too difficult to do but  writing about the things that I’ve read can be a bit tricky. I could have easily written “make a book review” but I opted to be more vague about it.  I have made some feeble attempts to write one in the past (if one can even call it a review) but I think it’s not really something that I enjoy doing —  book reviews.

I’ve never really been a fan of reviews, on books in particular. Reading has always been a very personal experience for me. It is like having a conversation with somebody but you’ll have to trust that somebody (most probably the author) to fill you in with some out of this world story. It may be about a boy wizard, socialist ideals among farm animals, dating in the eighteen century…the list goes on. The conversation may sound one-sided but it really is not.  Once the words are read, your imagination allows you to take the rein from that somebody and to live out the fantasy in your own mind. This, in essence,provides the reader the unique opportunity to travel.

It might sound like a phony cliché but that has just always been the case for me. In some ways, reading is also like eating. We might be devouring the same book cooked by the same author but we won’t necessarily have the same opinion about it. I guess you can say the same for music, movies and other art form.

But somehow reading is a cut above the rest because we are made to decipher and interpret words that are written. We were given particular clues as to how the places and characters look but I think not everything will be identical in the way our minds project them.

The most recent book I read, The Shadow of the Wind, summarizes my lengthy rambling by this quote,

A book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind” ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Happy Reading   <3

 

Sleep My Little Lion

Just a word of caution: this post is again about my cat. My very dead cat.

It has been a month already since he died. I still catch myself calling him for whatever. When people ask me about him, I don’t feel so emotional anymore. Or so I thought.

I was watching TV the other day when I heard this song played.  They already showed that bit last year as a -plug for the TV show, The River.I thought the song had that tribal vibe, creepy but in a good way. Anyways, I heard the same plug the night that Daks died. The song which initially sounded so upbeat now had a lamentful tone.The words of the song now have a  different meaning for me.

Our little lion is definitely sleeping tonight.  I know I won’t be able to visit his new jungle anytime soon.

It has been a really difficult ordeal.  This feeling of loss has in a way emphasized all the tiny things that I am and should be grateful for. I just feel fortunate enough that I’ve spent some wonderful years with our Daks. I thank my mother for taking the time and energy to care for Daks when I was away for work. For my father who laboriously constructed Daks’ resting place when we couldn’t find a plot to bury him.

I am not religious but somehow I felt that a stronger power was at work all this time. Without Him, I would not have had the opportunity of having such an amazing animal.

Lastly, I thank Sadako for all these years of putting up with my tantrums. I know we weren’t perfect nor did we always treat him awesomely. He was and is simply the most amazing non-human friend that anybody can ever have.

Sleep tight Daks.

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Happy with Harry :)

Masterpiece is this week’s Photo Challenge. And not surprisingly for those who know me personally, I chose JK Rowling’s Harry Potte seriesr. I already wrote a post on this topic the same day last year and it has been a subject on some of my other blog entries. On my post, Harry Potter: A Love Story, I wanted to be able to summarize the reason why I love this book. But just like many fans of the series, I think words have failed me.

Since it is Harry and JK Rowling’s birthday. I breezed through some other post in WP on this topic. It was funny that aside from the ever interesting posts about all things HP, I was again reminded of how much of an impact this book has been to a lot of people.

I don’t know how to explain it to people who has not read the book or those who didn’t really care about the series but Ner’s post on her blog, A Cup of Coffee and A Book was pretty straightforward and at the same time poignant.

Short and sweet. Just like the only book dedication that page that made cry so hard :)

Dedication

For all those happy reading moments, Thank you and Happy Birthday Harry and Jo! :) :)

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Speaking of Harry Potter Related post on WP, here are some interesting ones that I saw:

Top Ten Objects from the Harry Potter Series I Wish Were Real – I would love to make an HP list too :)

Harry Potter Minimalist Tattoo– not in WP but it’s really cool.

Happy Birthday Neville Longbottom– It’s Neville’s Birthday too!

33 Harry Potter Quotes– Yes, it’s really just a children’s book. *sarcasm*

Scholastic Unveils New Harry Potter Book Covers– All the more reason for me to take care of my original paperback copies with illustrations from Mary Grandpre :)

Baking for Harry Potter’s Birthday: Butterbeer Cupcakes– BOSS!

Harry Potter by the Numbers 

I have a feeling that Potterheads all over the world will still keep on writing these kind of thing for decades to come,

 Harry Potter Testimonial

 

Harry Potter, you’ll always be a part of me.

 

One Year Flying

I know it was around July, but I didn’t exactly mark the date on my calendar. I was actually hoping WordPress would send me a notification, a little confetti shower of sorts. It took a comment from Ishaiya on one of my older post for me to be reminded of the actual date of the anniversary of my first post.

(Pause for some cheers and confetti^^)

This isn’t my first attempt at blogging. The first blog that I had was a french-inspired blog where I mostly put things related to…surprise, surprise (!)…the french language. With some previous posts under my belt, this technically does not mark my one year in WordPress; however,  I felt the things between last year and today is enough reason to celebrate.

I find it a bit surreal that a year had already gone by and that now, sitting in my bed, I am now writing an anniversary blog post. (Another pause for some cheers and confetti:) ). A couple of months ago, I envisioned that I would be writing a very impassioned piece on the joy of writing, the wonders of the blogosphere, and other sweet stuff to mark this occasion. But to tell you honestly, after a long day at work, I am not feeling very impassioned at the moment. But do not despair, I am not about to write a sappy, whiny post on my blog anniversary. This momentous (O_0) event just made me a little pensive, that’s all.

To feel a bit tired of writing is not exactly an unusual feeling (especially when the real world is getting in the way). Looking back at my experience with my first blog, I now see, that the fact that I am still writing this despite not feeling very motivated is what kept me from maintaining my little space in the internet.

With my old blog, I thought that the main problem that I would be having is the lack of topic to write about. In retrospect, I find this a bit silly considering the number of topic one can relate to french, the study of language, France, culture and other similar themes. That can also be an occasional problem from me, Daily Prompts, weekly challenges and other people’s input do help in this department.

So what was the difference with this page?

Two things: GOAL and a COMMITMENT to that goal. Since this is my anniversary blog post, (more cheers and confetti!) I hope you would indulge me to expound on those two things.

First is my goal.

For flyforicarus, I only have one: To have at least 5 posts per month.

You might ask, “Why 5?”. Well, why not. I am not really sure of the answer myself . But I guess since my first month only had 5 posts, I made it a goal to at least maintain that figure. What I am sure of is that it was never really about the actual value of the number. It could have been a 4 or a 10 (good thing it was not 10 ^^). The important thing here is to have a clear target that is realistic.

“Achievable goals are the first step to self improvement” – JK Rowling

I would admit that having a stat info to look at every now and then can be a good motivator. However, of all of the numbers in my stat, the one thing that I truly care about is the number of post I make in a month. Racking up on the number of likes, comments and follows gave me a happy feeling especially in the beginning. But these numbers are not numbers that I should obsess about. For one, these numbers are also dependent on the quantity and quality of my post. Instead of focusing on the result of my work, I decided to concentrate on the things that I can actually control.

More post = more materials for people to read = higher possibility of more likes/ comment = more happiness :) :)

Next on my list is my commitment to the goal.

I had a particular month when I was so busy  that I didn’t even bother to check my page until the last few weeks. I think I needed two more post to meet the goal. I was not in the mood to write anything and was making lots of excuse like, “maybe I can just stick with 3 post, then I will write 7 the next month” or, ” I wrote more than 5 last months, so by the  law of averages, I’ve already met my quota.“, etc… They were not works of art but I still managed to meet my quota despite all that bargaining. That made me feel quite pleased.

All in all, this whole blogging thing had been a great way for me to unload some ideas that I would just normally keep to myself. The experience had reiterated some of the values that I already know but do not consciously practice in real life. It has also made me appreciate writing, although it didn’t care much for it before. I feel really proud and happy that I was able to write some of the stuff I wrote here and was glad of the decision to start this whole thing. I don’t know if it’s just narcissism or if other bloggers feel the same as well.

Aside from the sense of accomplishment that I get every time I click the “Publish”  button, I get this inexplicable excitement whenever I see that that notification box light up. The conversations that I’ve had with some of the people here at the WP community has been the best part of the experience for me. Conversations that I would not have thought possible, from sharing our views regarding a mythical character to cats, books, social issues, more stories about cats– I just feel so blessed to have chanced upon some of these amazing people.

For the next year my goal is to read and interact with other people more. Considering that some of the most stimulating conversations I had came from people across the country and the globe, this new goal would be a great way for me to expand my horizon and to broaden my perspective on  a lot of issues. I think 5 comments or likes per week would be a manageable goal for me. Now all I have to do is to strengthen my commitment to this goal.

Finally, I would like to thank all those who liked, commented, followed and read what I wrote here most especially to those who keep on coming back. I hope I can talk to you again soon.  <3

Hugs and cheers,

Arianne