News 2/12/2017

It’s been a long time since I’ve made any updates, so I figured I’d hop on and catch anyone reading up on my going-ons.

Had a bit of trouble last week as me and the wife started to get antsy about whether or not her green card application was making any progress. Since submitting the first step of her application back at the end of July we haven’t had one word from them. After a few calls, it was eventually my dad who was able to get someone to give him some useful information. I had gotten confirmation by email that our package was received back in August, and in that same message it said we should expect extra confirmation in paper form within 2 weeks. And here we are in February still waiting. The take away from all of the phone conversations is that they’re just now getting to applications submitted in July and they really need to change their estimations on when that paper confirmation should arrive. That being said, I’ve begun to worry that she won’t have her green card by the time my work here finishes and my visa expires, so we may need to consider a plan B that involves me getting a marriage visa or something like that. And even then, we’ll have to consider what state America is in at the time and if it’s really worth moving back. I’m trying to stay optimistic but looking at the news every morning is like getting punched right in the gut.

Yikes, and that reminds me: I’m going to have to start researching jobs this month…

My penmanship has been progressing and I’ve almost made my way through re-learning the shapes of the Spencerian alphabet using an oblique dip-pen. Emotionally things have been a little difficult as I used to pride myself on my penmanship and am now having to relearn how to grip almost all of the different types of pens and brushes I use (the one exception being the standard shodo brush which I had been holding properly all along), but I am slowly learning to keep my posture correct and use the right muscles and my lines have been making a gradual improvement. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I at least feel I can get there eventually.

I have been working on The Ballad of Cawnye almost daily and it has been a very rewarding experience. Working with one of my best friends has been a great way to keep in touch with him. We’re also currently planning launching a website so I hope I can see some of you there once things finally take shape.

One thing I’ve been doing a lot more of this year is meditating. I picked up a book called Full Catastrophe Living and, at the book’s recommendation, have been trying to meditate from 30 to 45 minutes 6 times a week. Forcing myself to sit still and do nothing for such a long period of time each day hasn’t been easy, especially in light of all of the stuff I tell myself I have to do, but it has offered me quite a bit of insight into the relative unimportance of everything. I’m not quite sure what it is I’m getting out of it yet, but I find myself compelled to do it nonetheless.

Finally, I bought a new drawing pad! I’ve been using a Wacom Bamboo from 7 or 8 years ago and the nib has been wearing down a lot this past year. I’ve been having a lot of issues with it lately but couldn’t find where I placed the replacements. Yesterday I started looking on Amazon for some but the US store wouldn’t ship them to Japan, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for on the Japanese store. I went down to the local electronics shop because I know I’d seen Bamboos there before, but when I got there I was told they didn’t sell nibs separately. At that point I decided to just take a look at what kinds of art pads they had and found they were selling the Wacom Intuos for about 80 bucks. Impulse buy. What was really nice about this was I happened to have 50 dollars credit on my member’s card, which meant I got a (badly needed) new art pad for really cheap! I wish I could afford one of those types that has a screen on them because there’s a big disconnect when the surface you’re drawing on isn’t the one you’re looking at, but I guess I have to live within my means for now.

Well, that’s basically what I’ve been up to for the last month. Hope you’ve been enjoying – and continue to enjoy – some of the content on my site!

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