Changing Our Name, Sort of….

I woke up this morning in a blah mood and no inspiration what so ever. After speaking with my husband, I was so inspired, I decided to do something with my blog. Perfect timing I’d say since the assignment from The Daily Post, Michelle W., says, “Say Your Name.”

My blog has been in a rut lately. There has been so much, and I do mean SO MUCH, going on in our lives that I’ve neglected my blog. I personally love to blog; although, you wouldn’t think so from the lack of activity.

My first post in the boosting direction is to change the title and tag line. I’ve decided to go with Still Times – Capturing Glimpses of Times With Words & Photographs and a tag line reading, “Because everyday should be filled with laughter, joy, tears, and a sense of fulfillment.”

Why the name? Well, that’s me, I try to be positive and look at the positive or beauty of all things and people. I’ve always tried to post with a good attitude. I’ve failed at times; however, for the most part, I feel I do a good job of posting with a joyful heart. I love laughter, I feel as if when I laugh, I am in a way cleansing myself of bad thoughts or impurities of the heart. The joy and tears go hand in hand for me, I can laugh and cry at the same time for both good and bad reasons. I’m a sympathetic crier and will cry when I see someone crying (not kids though). At the end of the day, I like to feel a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment. My to-do-list grows faster than what I cross of as completed, but every check-mark I make is an accomplishment.

Why the change? We’ve moved from China to the great USA! We are living in Indiana for now. I’ll write more on this soon. Although, I’ll still post about China as I have an archive full of wonderful photos to share. My Indiana canvas is empty; but, I’ll soon change that as well. Untitled

The year has started out rough and so very busy. I’ll be sharing soon all the changes we’ve made in our family. It’s a journey for sure…. Cheers to you!

Making Due With Three Wheels

We’ve seen some pretty amazing things with some of the locals and what they can do with 2 and 3 wheels. Whether out of necessity or determination, the locals haul anything or anyone. Look at these amazing and wonderful people, they make do with what they have to move mountains (not literally).

I’ve seen a young man texting while on a scooter in local traffic, a family of 4 on one scooter, up to 8 people on a 3 wheel cart, and a man riding his scooter while he walked 5 dogs. I can only tell you about these times as I was too dumb founded to hurry up and snap a shot.

Life here is so interesting and wonderful! Please enjoy the photo’s.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement – The Not So Easy 24 Form Tai Chi

The first time I saw the elderly people exercising in the park I wondered what form of exercise they were doing. It looked interesting and easy to do. Hmm I thought, I could do that too. At the time I didn’t realize that Tai Chi is a form of martial arts exercise combined with breathing techniques, meditation, and controlled slow movements. Tai Chi looks easy but it’s not. Every step is intentional with a count of 4-7 seconds each.

When I first expressed interest to Kevin (Tai Chi Master) he was only too eager and willing to teach me all about Tai Chi. He indicated it would take approximately 3 months of concentrated time to learn 24 steps. Because exercise is no fun all alone, I invited and had my friends Brandy and Linda learn right along with me. Boy, we were in for quite a surprise as Tai Chi is not easy at all.

After weeks of practice and exercise, Kevin informed us that we would perform what we had learned in front of a graduating class. Oh dear, I thought, I’m going to fall on my face and how will I keep from smiling (I’m always smiling, can’t help it). The other ladies were catching on pretty quick, I felt I was still going left when they were going right. During the training my name got worn out quite a bit with no Maria, other side Maria, slow down Maria, too fast Maria, Kevin didn’t realize he was very close to getting smacked! Ha!

The following chart shows what our forms should have looked like. My steps were nothing like the picture shows. In the end, we got through it with a little soreness, lots of laughter, and great fun!

I didn’t run a marathon like Michelle witnessed in New York City; but, for me this was a great achievement which falls into this weeks category. This week the Weekly Photo Challenge is Achievement. I hope you enjoy our video!

Chart credit to: bluesparrowtcc.wordpress.com

Chart credit to: bluesparrowtcc.wordpress.com

I would love to hear about something you have done that makes you feel accomplished. Enjoy!

 

 

Chinese Opera Singers

The following photo’s were taken at two different water towns near our home of Luxu. After doing a little research on Opera Singers, I found this article written by  to be the best and most informative on the subject. You can read the article, here.

An excerpt from her great article,”Chinese opera makeup is particularly fascinating and rich in meaning. A character with mostly red makeup or a red mask is brave and loyal. Black symbolizes boldness and impartiality. Yellow denotes ambition, while pink stands for sophistication and cool-headedness. Characters with primarily blue faces are fierce and far-seeing, while green faces show wild and impulsive behaviors. Those with white faces are treacherous and cunning – the villains of the show. Finally, an actor with only a small section of makeup in the center of the face, connecting the eyes and nose, is a clown. This is called xiaohualian, or the “little painted face.”

Enjoy!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

The following photo’s were taken in Suzhou, China en route to Tiger Hill which is nestled in an out-of-the-way area of Suzhou. These photo’s also support the Weekly Photo Challenge of Street Life. What is street life and what does it mean to me? I reviewed my archives as I really wanted to share something from the states. Instead, I opted to share photo’s from this country as street life here is so different.

In this news stand the vendor sits in doors while we browse his selections. There was no rush on his part to assist. I’m sure he knew we couldn’t read any of it anyway. I often wonder if this is their life, sitting in the stand day in and day out waiting for a sale to make a living.

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I took this photo en route to Tiger Hill to see the leaning tower. The vendors were all lined up with polished and neatly displayed fruits.

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Last but not least is this older woman set up and ready to shine up any shoes. Of course, from this picture you have to wonder what kind of shine can you give tennis shoes or gym like shoes. Hmm… Perhaps the gentleman was looking for a good dusting and brushing of his shoes.

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Living in China has and continues to be an amazing journey. We have deeper appreciation for life. Enjoy!

A Unique Baby Carrier

Quite a unique way of toting a child around. The child back-basket carriers appear to be pretty sturdy and environmentally friendly, a big plus!

This is a very busy part of town with none stop traffic. The carriers are a great alternative to having the children running around and trying to catch up to them. Enjoy!

While my friend was talking to this lady, or attempting to, I was trying to catch a clear picture of this little boy.

While my friend was talking to this lady, or attempting to, I was trying to catch a clear picture of this little boy.

This lady was only to happy to turn around and show me the little boy. Quiet little guy.

This lady was only to happy to turn around and show me the little boy. Quiet little guy.

I know, I know, he's wondering who the heck are those females. ha ha

I know, I know, he’s wondering who the heck are those females. ha ha

Public Telephone – Old Luxu, China

The evolution of our telephone system has evolved into some high-tech gadgets from the original rotary dial wall mounted phone. I believe land lines will soon become just as rare as the public telephone booths. Is the rarity only in the Western world? Hmm….

From time to time we see a telephone booth or a public telephone system of some sort in this area of China. While walking through my favorite part of town, “Old Luxu”, I saw the following public telephone system. The cost is 2 RMB, the equivalent of about .30 cents USD.

Telephone

When I talk about Old Luxu, I mean the oldest part of town. This town is divided into three areas. The newest area, which I live in, the old part of town across the bridge, then the old old part of town which we refer to as Old Luxu. Buildings in these areas have not changed and not much modernization has been done to the buildings. Many of the buildings here have a dual purpose. The upstairs is the residential area and the downstairs is a small business of sorts. I love to patronize these local businesses as I know this is many of the local’s source of income. This is a great little area and one of my favorites to walk through. Enjoy!

DSC_0216These photo’s were taken with an iPhone 4s.