February 2019 IWSG


December Goals
Finish any last minute planning I have for Paris/Egypt/Berlin.
  - You can always do more planning.
Finish Christmas shopping and wrapping.
– Pack and prep for travel. (Including cleaning before we leave and blog prep.)
  - Missed the January IWSG post. :(
  - Also missed my New Years resolution post. (It was half written but not scheduled until we got back.)
  + wrote reviews for finances, books read, and year.
  - Didn't finish making store returns before leaving.
Review my year.

Additional Successes
• BEING SOCIAL.
  + Work party for Justin. (And somehow managed to pull together an outfit last minute!)
  + Getting together with friends before traveling. (But hey! There was pizza, gelato, and wine. Being social is pretty good when you include those things!)
  + Spending all day with my sister-in-law on Christmas eve despite needing to clean, plan, and pack.
  + Hosting the family Christmas eve dinner. While packing and planning.
  + Then being existent right before our flight for a family Christmas breakfast.
  + A loud wedding in Egypt with people I don't know very well.
  + Then three days of tours, two with people I was suppose to "know" and get along with, one with a group of people I will never see again.
  + A tour of Berlin with friends after a week of traveling … when I was tired, stressed, and feeling like I was not able to keep up with the group mentally or physically.
• But then there were those moments when I was able to add incite to a political or philosophical conversation. (Does photoshop really alter the reality of a photograph? Is the use of the word "girl" when speaking of a woman condescending across different cultures? Or, alternatively, does "m├ądschen" auf Deutsch have the same meaning as the word "girl" in English? … Does racism exist outside of the United States? Is it an issue we need to conquer globally rather than just locally?)
• Getting French Christmas lights to put on our Christmas tree for Christmas 2019! (It's been a goal for a couple of years.)
• Trying Mexican food in Germany… ­čś│
• Getting a flight to Sharm-el-Sheikh after weeks and weeks of trying and failing. AND getting to pay in Egyptian pounds so we saved $$.
• Paying off the car. YAY!
• Finding a hat that is cute and will keep my head warm. (Harder than it sounds in a typically warm climate.)
• Hiding my chest/neck in Egypt while not being too hot. And coming across as Egyptian in some circumstances! (I'm pretty conservative for American standards, but I never really worry about whether my neck or the insinuation of cleavage is covered, like when wearing a V-neck top.)
• Getting most of my image files transferred to my new DROBO.
• Learning how to haggle in Egyptian markets. We were still taken advantage of, but it gives you a totally new perspective on the "worth" of an item and how not to get emotionally involved.
• Translating a LONG Christmas card with help from google translate and writing a response auf Deutsch.

February Goals
– Plan and prep for April A-Z.
– Write a financial monthly review post.
– Finish with the DROBO back up. And talk to Justin about how to access files from outside the home.
– List one more item on Poshmark.

IWSG Question –– Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

PHOTOGRAPHY! I love challenging myself to get better. I feel like a good image can enhance the words I share on my blog.

I've experimented with drawing, sculpting, singing (2 years), and playing an instrument (the cello, 3 years). 

I keep going back to the written word because there are so many nuances to it. I can say the same word and add an exclamation point to give it a different meaning. Or I can italicize it. Bold it. Use different words around that one word. If I sing a cuss word, maybe it will sound less harsh? And then there is the complication of translating the word so that it is easier for speakers of other languages to understand. If I say "Achoo!" in text, you might think I have sneezed, but perhaps I am just describing something that sounds like a sneeze? Or maybe, to someone who speaks another first language, the sound is similar to something they are familiar with that I may not be as familiar with?

And the challenge with photographer is getting the image right. How do you capture the scene exactly as you remember it? How do you get the colors just so? And what about all of those power lines? Light coming from underneath might look scary while outdoor lighting is very different from indoor lighting. And then trying to tell a story without words? How do you compel a viewer to look at your image for longer than a few seconds?

While having many creative outlets gives me new and interesting challenges, I do wonder if it prevents me from perfecting myself in any one area? Perhaps if I focused all of my time and energy on writing, specifically, I could be a better writer? Or maybe photography is where my focus needs to be? … And how do creatives feel about life influencing your creative outlets? Maybe if you weren't exposed to a foreign language, you wouldn't be as thoughtful about the words you were using in your stories?

Anyway, creativity is complicated.

Your Turn

What creative outlets do you have? Do you think giving yourself the flexibility to focus creative energy in many areas helps you? Or does it keep you from perfecting your ability in one specific area? Are non-creative aspects of life helpful in expanding your creativity?

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