Mexico City: Museum of Anthropology

Our first full day in Mexico City started late, after a good night’s sleep and a wonderful breakfast. Then we walked a few blocks to the Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec Park. It was highly recommended and far exceeded expectations.

Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City

The exhibit followed a timeline, beginning in 30,000BC and ending in the current times, although we only were able to see half of the exhibits. It was spectacular. The use of technology, lighting and outdoor exhibit space was fabulous. It’s amazing how far back people created art. It was an integral part of the culture.

Museum of Anthropology Art

This is just a small assortment of the masks, sculptures and paintings that were on display. Works of art ranged from enormous stone carvings to intricate pieces of jewelry. The history was told in dioramas, videos and reconstructions of burial grounds.

Security Museum of Anthropology

There were a number of police officers on the grounds and I spotted this officer keeping a close eye on visitors from a high perch. Thanks for taking good care of us!

Museum of Anthropology

As we entered the main complex, we were greeted with an incredible totem pole style structure with sheets of water pouring down. The school children who were visiting stood in the face of the breeze that blew water in their faces. It was magnificent. Later in the day, the water was turned off, so if you plan on visiting, I’d suggest going earlier in the day.

And, as always, I love people watching.

Museum of Anthropology

 

Museum of Anthropology

 

On this one, I confirmed with mom that she approved of me taking their picture.

Museum of Anthropology Visitors

It was a wonderful day with beautiful weather and an opportunity to learn more about the rich Mexican culture at the Museum of Anthropology. It would take days to fully appreciate all the exhibits at the museum. Delia and I had to breeze through some sections we would have loved to spend more time in. We also only saw the exhibits on the first floor. There is a full second floor of mysteries that will require us to return.

It’s well worth a visit next time you are in Mexico City.

After a very full day, we headed back to the hotel to relax and, you guessed it, drink our margaritas.

Out of the Zone: Screenprinting

comfort zone and growth

Out of the zone…the comfort zone that is.

One of my retirement goals is to challenge myself and to step out of my well worn rut. Growth…I want to learn more and to expand my possibilities.

There are many places to learn new things. I began at the Art Student’s League of Denver. The catalog of classes makes me drool. So many options. My first choice would have been drawing or painting classes, but the ones that fit my schedule were full. So, what the heck. I took a class I had never considered before, Screenprinting taught by Mark Friday.

Here’s my inspiration photo from my 2013 trip to Churchill, Manitoba:

Polar Bear

 

Supplies purchased- Check
Deciding on layers- Check
Drawing each layer seperately- Check
Burning the image onto the screen- Check

A little yellow added to the white created a creamy polar bear color and blue added to black was perfect for the nose and eyes. I selected a variety of papers. If you know me, you know how much I love paper and always have plenty available for special projects. Time to take a deep breath and leap forward.

Screenprinting

When several of my fellow artists pointed out the ink on my shirt and in my hair, I knew I had found an art form perfect for me. When I’m in, I’m all in.

screenprinting

screenprinting

It doesn’t really look like a polar bear and the different papers, especially those with texture, created a bit of a challenge. Still, it was really fun. Well, washing the screen between colors wasn’t the most fun and I was drenched every time, but I couldn’t wait to move on to the next layer.

screenprinting layer 2

Okay, maybe it’s starting to look a little like a bear. (This one had a light blue background. I wanted to experiment.)

screenprintin polar bear layer 4

There he is!!

screenprinting polar bear

I was so relieved and really excited to see how well he turned out.

Okay, that was fun. I enjoyed the class and seeing all the different choices made by my fellow artists. Is this something I could do at home? There is that spare bedroom. A collection of wildlife prints representing each of the trips I’ve taken would look great on my wall.

Now the difficult part is to decide what’s next…so many possibilities.

Have you leapt out of your comfort zone lately?

Our Firsts Are Never Done

happy beautiful baby stands in a diaper isolated
Yesterday I posted a link to a video about An and Ria’s First Flight. An and Ria are in their 70’s and had never flown on a plane before. Their reactions are priceless.

There are so many firsts in life:

First steps
First words
First day at school
First dance
First kiss
First job
First love

The list goes on and on and then…sometimes the firsts stop. When was the last time I did something I’ve never done before? Did something new? Took a risk? Was brave?

There are studies that show that people who keep learning, stay engaged and exercise may not experience so much confusion as they get older. My plan is stay healthy as I age and, just as importantly, keep regular doses of excitement in my life.

My next first is traveling to a foreign country without anyone I know. It’s a small group trip with others. My ultimate goal is to enjoy travel whenever I’d like, even when my favorite travel buddies are unavailable. This ultimately means trips by myself.

Then, who knows? Maybe I’ll learn a new language or try scuba diving. There are so many things I’ve never experienced before just waiting for my attention. Life is going to continue to be interesting and entertaining.

What firsts do you have planned?

A World Full of Teachers

Asian woman with chalk globe drawn on blackboard.
Here’s where I show my age…again.
I graduated from high school in 1977. I know many of you weren’t even born yet. I loved my high school years. No, I wasn’t the most popular kid, but I had wonderful friends and teachers who inspired me.

I went to college, on and off, over the next twenty-five years and finally got my B.A. in Organizational Management. Most of the teachers were wonderful, but there were a few that pushed their own political agendas or berated students. There are a number of advantages to attending college as a working adult, my favorite was calling BS when needed. After all those years, I happily received my degree and moved on.

While I’m done with formal school, the best part of my education happens everyday. Aren’t we lucky to learn from a world of teachers?

  • This week I met with an estate attorney to get my will in order. He took the time to thoroughly educate me about my options and to help me select the best plan for me and my family.
  • I spoke with my investment advisor just this morning who answered all my questions and helped me confirm my investments are in order.
  • I’ve finished two writing classes since the beginning of the year and start my next one, Travel Writing, in two weeks. The instructors have been amazing.
  • I learn from several of my coworkers, but one, in particular, has such a wonderful attention to detail that results in large complex plans working in difficult situations. She cares about all the moving parts and each person who plays a role. It’s an inspiration.
  • Over the years, I’ve taken classes in stained glass, drawing, history, photography, software, exercise, diet and may even take some video classes soon.
  • I’ve traveled to wonderful places and learned about other areas of the country and the world.
  • Even things as simple as the man showing incredible patience as we wait in line to get served and the next door neighbor watering my flowers during the summer when I’m out of town, teach me something.
  • I’m also learning a lot from my fellow bloggers who help me improve my writing and my blog. They encourage, inspire and push me to play harder.

There are so many people, adults and children alike, who teach me something new nearly every day. And, I hope that in turn, people learn something positive from me, too. So while the formal education is over, at least for now, my life education will never be complete while I live and breathe.

Let’s face it…I LOVE LEARNING!

What have you learned in the last few days?

Tough Love Writing

Writing Block

“You’re scary!”

The instructor was a little taken aback at the comment from one of the young women in the writing class. I knew just what she meant. The discussion came after we spent some time selecting one character from our story and then identifying his or her desires, wants, needs and weaknesses.

I had just finished sharing what I’d written down and I was so far off base. The instructor kept pushing, “More detail, more specific! Why is that important? Why? Why? Why?” It was a very uncomfortable place to be. I didn’t have the answers and wasn’t even clear about the difference between desires, wants and needs.

I debated not attending the second session, because I’d left the first one feeling like I’d jumped into a class too far above my skill level. But, in the end, I decided it was already paid for and I was bound to learn something new.

This week’s class exercise was to write down the point of the story. What is it that you want your main character and your audience to discover at the end? And, what is the climactic event that leads to that discovery?

Several people volunteered to share. Most students were too generic with their responses and so the instructor kept pushing and putting them on the spot. They were uncomfortable, but the results were incredible.

As the instructor got ready to move on, I lifted my hand. He asked me if I wanted to share. Somehow I knew that I would lose something if I didn’t grab the moment.

My responses, as expected, were too broad and muddy.  As the instructor pushed and prodded, I struggled for the answers. My fellow students added their thoughts and my brain hurt as I tried to find the right words. And…as the hot seat sizzled…ZING! There it was…the point of my story in three words.

The tough love has led to places I never would have imagined. This instructor is so powerfully passionate about story telling and his commitment to each one of us, that he pushes us far beyond our own comfort zone. While I’ve always thought I could write a book, after this week’s class, I believe it.

I can’t wait until next week. Hmmm…I wonder what else he teaches? Thank you, Michael!!

Prompting a Story

Young Woman Writing in Her Journal

Last night was the second session of my writing class, Writing 101. Considering how afraid I was to begin, I’m amazed at what a difference it has made already in the way I think and feel about writing. The group is filled with nine women from diverse backgrounds. The stories we share are so wonderfully different.

The exercises the instructor uses to trigger our writing are sometimes difficult and sometimes fun.

How does it work?

Last night, we were each given a small piece of paper to write down three things:

A color
An object
The name of a person

Then, we passed our paper to the person on our right. We had five minutes to write a story that included the three words we’d just received…blue, book, John.

Ready, set, go…

He sat on the floor and pretended to play with his cars while his mother rested in a nearby chair. She was doing it again, writing in the blue book. The sound of her pen on paper was almost silent and she’d pause, looking up. Then she began writing furiously, forcing her pen against the paper, scratching so loudly it could have been the sound of the engine in one of his cars. 

John looked up as the writing stopped and saw his mother weeping. What was in the book that would make her cry? As he jumped up to hug her tears away, he tried to see what was written on the pages, but she quickly closed the book, sealing the mystery inside.

One day he was going to find the book and open it to reveal the pain. He would rip out the pages that caused his mother to cry and bury each one in a separate place in the yard, never to be found again. Then, he would buy another book, not blue, but a bright yellow like the sun and write his own story that would make his mother laugh and dance with joy, just like before.

After sleeping last night, I revisited the story and made minor modifications. I loved this writing prompt and the story that came out of it. Are there things you use to trigger your writing?

50,000 Words or More

writing book

Once upon a time…

I searched through the course catalog. A Certificate in Creative Writing? I felt my heart blossom just thinking about it. I’d just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and was considering continuing my education in a completely different direction…until I noticed that the classes weren’t always held every semester so I’d need to either fill in with other non-relevant courses or begin paying my student loan while still adding more debt. So, I walked away.

It’s always been a dream of mine to write a book. But I’ve never quite known where to begin. So I haven’t. The thought of writing more than 50,000 words has frozen me in my tracks. I write a blog post several times a week and probably average about 400 words, but more than 100 blog posts put together with a logical and enticing flow?

Despite my fear and doubt, I’m stepping forward. My writing class, Writing 101: Gotta Start Somewhere starts tonight. The course description sealed the deal for me when I signed up last month.

“You want to write, but you have no idea how to begin. Or, you’re not sure what form you’d like to try-fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir. Perhaps you’ve even got a sizzling writing idea, but can’t quite muster up the courage to take a craft workshop. You might even be a highly experienced writer who’s stuck. That’s quite all right: This experiential,
non-critiquing writing workshop is for you.”

It sounds perfect. So why is my heart in my throat? Why am I a bit sick to my stomach? The questions keep flooding my mind. What if I’m not any good? What if I have to share my writing and it sucks compared to other students? What if? What if? What if?

I bought a beautiful journal and some colorful pens just to begin the class on a good note. While I am still afraid to attend, I’m more afraid not to reach out toward a lifelong dream. So, I’m stepping past my fear into a new adventure.

Is there a time in your life where you’ve overcome your fears to realize a dream?

Just Keep Writing

Laptopoutside

In the early 1990’s, my two sisters and I created an encouragement newsletter called Crosswinds. The publication ran its course and we moved on with life. Blogging entered my life when I got my real estate license as a second job and was looking for additional marketing opportunities. That site was called Central Denver Blog and it lived for about five years.

One constant in these adventures has been my love of writing and creating. In early 2010, A Brief Pause was born. The vision was, and still is, to encourage, inspire and entertain those who visit. The blog began as a joint adventure, but never really blossomed. It has come alive again over the last few months, starting as a place to journal about my trip to see the polar bears. It continues as I work toward getting my head, heart and finances in place for a happy and healthy retirement in January 2019 and other topics that catch my fancy.

Many of my blogging friends have incredible goals for their blogs, mine are fairly basic.

  • Improve my writings skills: I have signed up for a local writing class. The class is not specific to bloggers, but will speak to all areas of writing. I’m also traveling to my first blogging conference. I want to learn from the masters.
  • Just keep writing: As Dory, my favorite character in Finding Nemo says, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” I need to just keep writing. It’s been somewhat easy while I’ve been on vacation, but it will get much harder once time is at a premium and the weeks and months wear on. My plan is to still be writing in December of 2014, including journaling my travel to Namibia in May.
  • Incorporate my love of photography: Part of my 2014 journey is to focus on doing things that I love. So you’ll be seeing more of my photos as time goes on.

I hope you’ll visit me from time to time and find something that will make you laugh, encourage you in your journey or inspire you to try something new.