Switch off

Commentary

Today I’m not going to drink more than three cups of tea, no matter how much I convince myself that my throat hurts or I have that craving. I will drink more water and I will make a mental tally of the liters I down by night time. It will be close to the big two and I will feel a sense of achievement for doing something that should be part of my mundane routine anyway.

I will not spend hours getting tangled up in website links and referrals and e-mails and replies. I don’t have to update my facebook status or tweet that I’m drinking water for the day because it is not important. I will not open photoshop to edit any one of my candidate photos for flickr. I won’t even browse other photographs for inspiration and I most definitely will not log in on tumblr. All that inspiration and clicks can be downright distracting, especially if it leads me to etsy. I cannot allow myself to go on etsy, or any other online shop for that matter, because today of all days, there will be no window shopping. Even my metaphorical wallet is empty.

I will make the bed in the morning, and I will actually eat breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day I persistently choose to forget. I will call my mom to see how she is because I will remember to reach out across the telephone line that separates the measly distance between us. If I’m ambitious, I will also make the 10-minute drive to see my grandmother, who speaks in television language because that is all the company she has. I will make her day by sitting down next to her and listening to all the episodes I missed during the week. I will call my friends for a casual coffee drink of water and I will make the effort to be more than a Facebook friend.

Today, I will set aside time to read my book, even if I’ve forgotten its title from the time it’s been to hold it. I will not do this before I sleep because I want to read more than just a couple of sentences. I will write in my real journal, not my blog, about the thoughts in my mind, the things I most wish for, the quotidien that saturates my minutes. I will think of friends abroad and actually call them. Or better yet, I will sit down and write them a letter, not an e-mail. I will play songs I’ve forgotten about and I will sing along fearlessly. I will take a walk on the beach and I will write a poem. I will jot down my ideas on actual paper that is inside a thought notebook, not a post-it note.

Today, I’m changing everything. It all starts today.

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Back and ready to crumble

Musings

It’s been what, a month? Surely it’s felt like longer for you, no? It has for me. Actually in the past month, time took on that surreal sense of going really quickly, but in slow motion too. It gave me enough time to pause and marvel at things I was doing, places I went to, wonderful people I’ve shared precious moments with. And all of this without Internet. Thank you divine idle time — your overabundance kept me quite busy indeed.

To avoid getting myself (and implicating you too, of course) into alarming high word counts, I have decided to break it down into different entries. That should keep all of our sanity intact. So I’ll let you know about the best buyer a world could ask for, show you a splash of Berlin, give you a little bit of that Parisian glamor and then relocate to Crete and its wonderful beaches.

This past month had quite a lot of moving; in fact we packed up our stuff and shipped it over to Cyprus and also emptied our entire apartment into boxes and moved to a temporary little furnished place until my boyfriend completes his thesis. My other half is working very hard as we speak, furrowed brow and all, in an effort to finish his thesis soon. Of that I’m sure.

As for me, I headed to Cyprus to find a nest and get back into the teaching wheel. Incidentally, hello from a new location.

But more of those adventures, as they unravel. For now, click and read. It’s good to have you back.

Nowhere near you

Musings

So my blog has been dominated by this vast sense of empty space. Every day I write out all these colorful entries in my head and I’m very dutiful with Math Mondays and Friendly Fridays. But they never reach you.

I’m sure you’re wondering why.

Remember that move I mentioned? Well, it finally happened and we got out of it in one piece. The apartment is small and cute, and will serve its short purpose well. Come December, it’s au revoir Chania and back to Cyprus for my boyfriend too hopefully. I’m making the big plunge over on August 15th. Until then, I’m afraid my life will not regain any sense of internet normalcy because there is simply NO internet.

Transferring a phone line is much too complicated for our phone company, so they issue us with a new number, a procedure that takes about a month. By then, I’ll be long settled to Cypriot rhythms and happy to be with you again. Right now, all I have is this permanent state of no connectivity that I can’t say is all that bad.

After the tiring move, all I want to do is kick up my feet, grab a good book and read away. Or watch old seasons of Project Runway over wine. Or wander around Chania, the town I’m about to bid goodbye and cram these last two weeks with as many fresh, wonderful memories as I can.

There are a lot of things I want to share with you, but at the moment I figuratively have my hands tied. No beads, no internet and no typed blog entries. We’ll catch up again in two weeks.

Until then, know that I write entries for you in my head on a daily basis, while I have my nose buried behind a book. It usually means I have to re-read a page or two, but that’s a small price to pay for sending thoughts your way, don’t you think?

Plain Bananas Has Friends

Plain Bananas Has Friends

Plain Bananas Has Friends

I thought things were bad but bearable without a phone line (yes, it has been a week but still no tone), but they got exponentially worse when we realized yesterday the internet was also cut. The shred of contact we had with anyone who wasn’t a local, has been severed for an indefinite amount of time. What am I feeling right now? Very definite hate for phone / internet companies and it’s a good thing it’s a Friday and I have friends.

Let me introduce you to Urbandesign, who stumbled on a new hobby and business after joining Etsy! If you haven’t noticed the paradox, let me tell you, things don’t run like that in the Etsy community; you open a shop after you’ve discovered your obsessive hobby. Unless you misread the signs and you’re lucky to unravel a side of you that you never knew existed.

This is urbandesign’s story.

She opened a jewelry shop last year on Etsy, and set to promote it, she started looking for good ways to photograph her creations. And that’s how her new love and absolute obsession was born: Photography. She purchased her real camera last spring and has let her artistic eye take her on a new journey. It wasn’t until February 2009 that she felt comfortable enough to sell her photos online on Etsy, where her shop suddenly became the centre of the focus.

Love Blooms II - 8x8 Fine Art Print

Love Blooms II - 8x8 Fine Art Print

In her brief and creative career as a photographer, she managed to get five photos selected for the set of the upcoming thriller The Roommate (released in 2010), much to her surprise and utter exultation. In her words, “I about had a stroke the day they sent me a [message] through Etsy asking for permission to use them!”

She tries to make time for her photography and often takes her three children along to her photographic adventures.

Thankfully, she had a little time left to tell me a little something about herself. Let me share it with you.

Pool of Bliss - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Pool of Bliss - 8x12 Fine Art Print

My name is…Maleah Matthews.

I make…fine art photography prints.

I’m inspired by…everything in nature. Nothing like being outdoors to get my creative juices flowing!

I cannot live without…my family — I adore my children and I can’t imagine my life without them or my husband.

All Things Beautiful - 8x12 Fine Art Print

All Things Beautiful - 8x12 Fine Art Print

An item I’ve made that was hard to let go…The only thing I’ve ever been sad to sell wasn’t something I made. It was my oldest child’s first Easter dress. I didn’t think it mattered that much to me, but when I packaged it up to mail I started bawling like a baby. Seems kinda silly now!

I create because…it is very relaxing to me. It is one of the only times I feel like I can escape from my crazy busy life.

I wish I…had more hours in the day so that I could  do all the things that I’m always creating in my head!

If I could learn another art it would be…someday I would like to try painting or quilting.

My website is…www.urbandesign.etsy.com

The Sparrow - 8x8 Fine Art Print

The Sparrow - 8x8 Fine Art Print

I blog because…it’s a fun way to connect with other people, artists and bloggers. I’ve met some of the nicest people this way!

One day…I hope to travel more; there are so many beautiful places to photograph!

I started…a Facebook fanpage last month and that has been a really fun way to interact and get feedback on my photos.

I always…enjoy a hike with my kids.

If I were a color I would be…blue — it’s my fave!

Stars In The Sky - 8x12 Fine Art Photograph

Stars In The Sky - 8x12 Fine Art Photograph

My full-time job…I own a salon with a staff of 25 people, and I’m a hairstylist

In a nutshell…I love that I get to create and do what I enjoy!

In a bigger nutshell: I would love for photography business to grow to the point that I could spend more my time doing this and getting paid for it! I’m working towards a photography vacation with my family!

Here’s where you can find urbandesign:

shop: http://www.urbandesign.etsy.com

blog: http://urbandj.blogspot.com/

Or you can become a fan: http://facebook.com/pages/Urban-Design-Photography/86438245904

I leave you with some more of her romantic photos and a note: You have Internet, and I don’t, so enjoy it!

The Old Grove - 8x8 Fine Art Print

The Old Grove - 8x8 Fine Art Print

Town Meeting - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Town Meeting - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Dream Scape - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Dream Scape - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Poppy Enchanted - 8x8 Fine Art Print

Poppy Enchanted - 8x8 Fine Art Print

Swimming to meet you

Musings

It’s hot, there’s no Internet and in my book, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be at the beach, right?

I leave you with some photos, few words and the hope that Internet will be restored soon!

(Oh yeah, this is brought to you from the cutest coffeeshop in Chania!)

Book? Check!

Book? Check!

the beach

the beach

Mojito? Check!

Mojito? Check!

The banana on the beach

The banana on the beach

Spot the banana having fun!

Spot the banana having fun!

There will be a new artist tomorrow, even though there’s no Internet. Ah, yes. Magic, gotta love it.

To-do or not to-do.

Jewelry

To-do. To-do. To-do. Almost sounds like a beat, doesn’t it? Day in, day out I’m drumming to my own beat as defined by my ever-expanding to-do list. Yes, post-its used to cut it, but no, now I need to jot things down in a special to-do notebook. The pleasure of crossing things off is hardly a secret; all you have to do is flip through pages and pages of messy, lines almost carved into the page. Such satisfaction, such sense of achievement.

Of course, I have recurrent items in this list. One of these that keeps creeping up on me is a classic: Spend less time online, more time in real life. This one is hardly ever crossed off, but it serves as a kind reminder. Until yesterday, that is.

The night before I diligently added this on my to-do list, and woke up into the set of any basic Christmas movie — my wish had been granted: I had neither a phone line nor internet. Sure I was exasperated, but first things first: I got a pen, and crossed this haunting bullet point off without any restraint.

So a day without internet (yes, it only lasted one day), suddenly gave me a lot of free time. In fact, it was enough free time to do another little something I’ve had on my list for days — change the plain banana look. It’s only appropriate to show you a “before” picture:

Old bananas

Old bananas

More old bananas

More old bananas

So yesterday, stuck without internet, I finally started on the project to revamp my shop with some more cohesive photos. I loved using different backgrounds and textures for my photos, but after some reflection, I decided that the general look was all over the place and there were too many things to focus on at once. So, with this in mind, I wanted to take some fresh photos that tied the bananas jewelry together as a good cluster of fresh items.

What do you think?

Some fresh bananas

Some fresh bananas

Some more fresh bananas

Some more fresh bananas

Your feedback will be appreciated! Please tell me what you think of the new plain bananas. Personally, I’m liking the fresh look of cohesion. Thank you failing internet!

Of course, Internet was reinstated today and so I was able to slave away all day in front of my monitor to renovate the shop’s look. It was a perfect dose of withdrawal and I got to scratch out two things from my to-do list.

Next up, get the phone working. Tech support claims to be working on it, but who believes them? There wasn’t meant to be a phone / internet cut to begin with, but here we are now. A new look and no phone.

You can’t always win.