Time pressures: Discerning what I love

It is…actually, amazing, how good it feels to get concrete helpful activities, done. I didn’t post Monday, largely because I was pushing myself to actually do something rather than write, again. After all, if you’re a Writer, it helps to have to have some experience to write about.

Unfortunately, I then spent most of Tuesday trying to put into words, what happened on Monday. It’s now Wednesday evening, in my part of the world.

Bead stringing

Monday night (two days ago, now), I finished M’s bracelet for Mother’s Day: which falls next Sunday, for us. I haven’t taken any pictures at this point, because I’m not sure I want the fame (or recognizability). But it was basically a simple strung piece in glass, gold-plate, and solid bronze. I got the bronze mostly because it is pretty, but I really don’t know how it is going to hold up without lacquer.

I used a very small bronze swivel lobster-claw clasp for the closure. It wasn’t until Monday night that I realized the clasp is amazingly difficult to handle, as it tends to flip away from its opposing ring instead of catch on it. I also had to cut my thumbnail to keep it from being bent back by the lever (my nails have been soft recently, much to my annoyance). Good to know: don’t do tiny swivel clasps, again!

I may end up restringing the bracelet just to replace the clasp, which in turn would make it more wearable; but it isn’t as though that’s difficult. I could otherwise add a drop of cement to the swivel portion, to see if it will stop the random rotation.

I also went through most of my bead storage and dusted things off, on Monday. I found a number of projects which are ready for me to jump back into them. Actually, an amazingly large number of beadwork projects, are ready for me to jump back into them. They’ve just been stashed and/or ignored, for weeks or months. Maybe years, on some of them.

They’re also all made with “patterns” I devised and am open to changing. Am I getting tired of developing them? I’m not entirely sure. What I do know is that if I’m not planning on selling any patterns or jewelry, my preoccupation over distinguishing the uniqueness of my work ceases to be important.

And maybe that’s the way it actually should be, at least in handcrafts.

日本語 (nihongo; Japanese Language)

I was able to get through more than an hour of Japanese lessons, on Monday. I didn’t do it Tuesday, instead opting to begin writing, here…although the language practice tends to be interesting and fun (which is the accepted definition of 面白い, a.k.a. omoshiroi). I’m wanting to put more time into the Japanese language study — particularly, in reading — but I’ll have to see what I have in books, that are at my level.

I have a lot of print materials intended to train a person in beginning Japanese. The issue until recently has been that I know Japanese is a tonal language, and so two words which are spelled the same in kana (syllabary) and romaji (Roman letters) but pronounced with different pitch inflections could mean totally different things. An example is 雨 (rain: ame) versus 飴 (candy: ame), the first of which starts with a higher pitch and then lowers, the second of which starts with a lower pitch and then rises.

Then there’s 水飴…mizuame, which sounds like it should relate to rain (水, pronounced mizu in this word, means “water”), but is actually a Japanese name for a sugar substitute made from starch (as it is clear like water, liquid [albeit viscous] and sweet). If Google is right, I’ve been pronouncing it correctly (though with an accent)…but the tonal inflection differs because it’s a compound word. The tone drops on -め, or, -me, even though that makes it sound like you’re saying, “water rain,” when you’re closer to saying, “millet jelly.”

I guess this is the kind of thing one just accepts.

For those who don’t know, kanji are symbols originating in China, which in written Japanese text stand either for a concept or for a sound. Kana represent sounds. There are two kinds of kana: hiragana and katakana. Hiragana are more rounded, much simpler than kanji, and represent native Japanese language. Katakana are more angular, also simpler than most kanji, and used somewhat like I’m using italics, here. Katakana most often are used to spell foreign words or emphasized words.

I’m still not totally comfortable with my Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, which requires one to look things up by number of strokes and radicals (the little modular parts which make up most kanji). That means, if I want to look it up, I need to know how to write it first: but I also have Kanji Learner’s Course here, along with other material on learning kanji.

I also have a relatively frequently used Furigana Japanese-English Dictionary, which allows me to look things up by sound. (Furigana are small kana next to a word containing kanji, denoting the kanji’s pronunciation, as the same character can be — and often is — read differently in different contexts.) In that dictionary, I have to go through the order of the Japanese syllabary to locate the entries. Not so difficult, when you remember the order of the syllabary; it still just takes a little effort for me, at this point.

Of course, that’s barely comparable to being able to highlight something and search for it on the Web…the only problem being that most pages returned when a kanji is searched, are likely to be written in kanji. Google’s Japanese-to-English translator is decent, though — as distinct from the Google Translate app.

Monday, I realized that I had entirely forgotten how to write せ by hand (stroke order matters a ton with this character, and I’d lost it). That’s now corrected and in my notes. It’s notable that せ and セ (both of which transliterate to the sound, “se”, in hiragana and katakana, respectively), are kana that I consistently forget. I’m not as forgetful with せ as with ケ (“ke” in katakana), but…well, there is a whole family of katakana which look like the latter. I could go on, but maybe I shouldn’t get into it, right now.

Python 3

I haven’t made tons of progress on Python, largely because I found that my primary learning platform was much deeper than I had known. On top of it, I’ve lost a lot of the practical skills I gained before I started working on these courses regularly. I may have begun this course, last year.

And, well: beyond that, I’m running across instances of words I have to look up, to understand what a question is asking me to accomplish. Function, parameter, pass, and variable are instances of these (I’m not sure if they hold the same definitions as in Math, for example), and they’ve just reached a critical mass where I’m not understanding questions. I did eventually find the documentation of what these words mean through Google on the same site as I was using, but it was in an entirely different class than expected. I don’t know why, unless the teaching platform is expecting people to work several courses on the same language, at once.

Not to mention that the Web interface for that site doesn’t operate well on my favorite device, which is frustrating.

The device I’m talking about is excellent for writing in different languages, and it’s excellent for Art. But the Developers of my Programming environment didn’t optimize that environment for functionality on my device. For that matter, Web browsing in general doesn’t function optimally on this device; and there are some sites which just won’t load on it because of safety issues. Which, now that I think of it, could be why the learning environment only sporadically works.

So I’m going to have to switch back to a PC in order to work on my Programming class without frustration…which, I really don’t like. It wouldn’t be an issue if the PC didn’t have to be constantly updated against zero-day threats and broken programs, and if I didn’t have to keep ignoring harassment from Microsoft to opt-in to whatever new thing they’ve made…but, it happens.


Last night, I wrote out a good amount that began to prepare me for the reality of having far less free time. Granted that I have not yet landed a job, but it’s only a matter of time until I do, and then until I actually need to be employed (and cooking, and driving). The past three years have generated an open schedule…but this isn’t an eternal vacation, or an eternal childhood.

Particularly, in looking forward to having my time cut down by at least a part-time job and my study — though that may be really, really great, depending on the job — I’m looking at what it is that I have tried and invested in, which I no longer want to continue to invest in.

For instance, I probably don’t want to get more quilting cotton, anytime soon.

This is now pressing, as one of the jobs I’ve applied to, I interviewed well for (if maybe a bit too openly, for)…and that is a 40-hour job; albeit a 40-hour job only for several months. I may not get it, but interviewing for it, and being actually hopeful about it, has made me consider what I do with my time.

40 hours a week isn’t a bad thing, if I actually like my work. But it’s a definite lifestyle change, and so I’ve been looking at what I would cut out, if I had far less free time. Particularly, if I had far less free time, and I wanted to continue my own development and education.

But maybe it’s better to consider what I do want to do, and look at it in that positive sense, rather than trying to discern what I should stop buying.

Writing is one of those things that I don’t think I can completely stop doing. At the most, this requires a device and an app; at the least, notebooks and a writing implement. Reading supports Writing, hugely; meaning, to set aside money for books. I haven’t been doing enough of it, in English — which (in addition to everything else) may relate to why I haven’t been writing Fiction in the last few weeks. (Reading Fiction helps model writing it.)

Learning Japanese language is also great, as is working to comprehend simple written Spanish language: Entiendo español suficiente que podría leer muchas cosas en línea. In other words, I have enough understanding of Spanish language, that I could read many things online.

I mean, all of that is actually fun, for me. I really enjoy being able to understand what I’m reading, beyond what I’ve been told is the translated meaning in English. For some reason, I find it fun to compose sentences (even if I’m not always clear if it should naturally be, “suficiente español,” si no “español suficiente” [“si no”: “if not”]). Then there are the artistic aspects of phrasing and word usage. I think written Translation would really be 面白い (omoshiroi: interesting and fun)!

Anyhow. There’s a lot I have going through my mind, that maybe is extraneous to the core of this post. I find that when I work on the same post over days, it becomes much easier to catch tangents and digressions.

The thing is, I have some pretty deep tangents and digressions where it comes to my life and the Arts and Crafts, that aren’t necessarily all that easy to edit out of my life. I could; but I question if that’s really something I want or need to do.

One of the biggest conflicts I have had recently is the amount I’ve spent on paintbrushes…which I’ve realized, after listing out the arts and crafts in which I’ve participated, in which I want to participate, and the number of different fluid media I’ve used, is probably OK. Especially when I consider the limitations of dry media, in comparison; which initially pushed me to brush markers, and then to brushes.

That actually does make me want to work with the inks and paints again.

And there is no way to make Art, other than making Art…or using AI (though it’s questionable if that could be called Art, as versus image remixing), now that I think of it. But using AI to generate an image instead of making the image oneself, entirely misses the point.

Yesterday, I received notice that I was not a finalist for working with the Japanese-American nonprofit to which I applied. That’s not unexpected; the same thing happened last year! They tend to have a lot of very qualified people (this time, it was over 200) competing for an extremely small number of slots. This probably results from the work being remote.

I still plan to read those four books I mentioned a little while back. And I have yet to hear from the people I last interviewed with. I should get back on the job search, in case I don’t get that full-time Term position (which is a very real possibility, even though I exceed the minimum qualifications).

If that happens, I have one or two classes in Writing that I’m looking at, and a number of job search boards I gleaned from LinkedIn which cater to creative professionals looking for gig work. I should also look at the sites and magazines I have which cater to Writers…there is no shortage of jobs for Writers, but the question is whether I’m a good fit for those jobs.

I doubt I’m going to be able to find that out, without experience.

I also need to actually put together a Portfolio section on this site…

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