Howdy Traipser!

Ever realized you're doing serious adulting? I experienced one of those weeks here, with employee salary discussions, rental property headaches, office lease negotiations, and lots more.
Oddly enough, I haven't felt stressed.
I credit it to a mindset I aim for in annoying situations:
The hard stuff is why I get paid!

Self-managing a rental property takes more work, but earns a higher return. The same applies to business: when things are on auto-pilot, it's because I did hard work up front, then got to coast awhile.
Sometimes, you just gotta do hard things to get to the easy. I find it's a useful reminder when I'm balking at an adversarial phone call or tough decision.


Trudging About, Edition 94 features:

-Portrait challenge lessons learned
-Highs and lows
-Digital minimalism


In case you missed it, last week I wrote a how-to about how I majorly boosted my language learning.

We've been doing some travel dreaming lately. Would love to get back to Dr. Seusland in Joshua Tree! (Photo from a 2014 van trip.)

Takeaways from a month of portraits

My January portrait challenge taught me a number of things. The most important?

I don’t ever want a job drawing just composers. Especially those with wigs. Take a hike, Mozart.

More insightful revelations also surfaced. Read my takeaways and see the full set of drawings on the blog.

TL;DR takeaways

To improve my portraits moving forward, I’m planning do do the following:

1. Study drawing techniques and do exercises.
2. Do multiple quick sketches to improve placement of facial features versus spending 30-45 min on each one.
3. Overlay drawings on the original image to compare them.
But for now, I need a break. Back to T. Rexes! WAY easier.

Why so serious, Mr. Beethoven?

Highs and lows

Chelsea and I recently brought back an old tradition of ours called Highs and Lows that we paused when we started van traveling.

Here's our approach: every night before bed, we each share the following from our day:

1.     The high (something we enjoyed or felt good about)

2.     The low

3.     A compliment to the other person

4.     A compliment to ourselves

It may seem frivolous ”we talk at dinner, why bother?” but it’s a way to quickly transcend life logistics and connect in a deeper way. A perfect ritual to end the day.

As an example of why drawing is hard, our left brain LIES to us all.the.time. Can you believe each of these men is the same height? I had to measure.

Digital Minimalism tweak


Lately, I’ve felt like half the time Chelsea is trying to talk to me in our main living space, I’m texting someone. I'm a social guy and truly value those connections with my friends, but need some guardrails.
I’ve tried
all kinds of digital minimalism tactics to minimize distractions. Some I’ve kept (zero app notifications other than a silent popup for text messages) and others I've dropped (a phone without any notifications loses some utility).

To reduce this, I’m trying a month-long challenge for February. It’s SO much easier than drawing composers: when I'm home, I’ll leave my phone in my office and only use it in there.
This accomplishes two things: my attention won’t be distracted when I’m around Chelsea
and I’ll handle communication in batches.

Short arms, long snout. Pizza tossing ain't easy for a T. Rex.

And that concludes the 94nd edition of Traipsing About. Thanks for putting up with a month of composer portraits!

This week's unsolicited advice: deliberate practice with feedback loops yields more results than just doing stuff.

P.S. I loved this woman's commentary on a ridiculous castle she found on Zillow. The bigger chairs image was my favorite.

Hey, self-portraits gotta start SOMEwhere. It'll be fun to look back in the future at this first attempt.

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