contentment

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

This Lao Tzu quote is hitting home for me.

A Tuesday ramble

The unwarranted criticism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is cowardice. That she cannot, at 29 years old, afford an apartment in Washington, DC is not grounds for criticism. I’m 41 years old and cannot afford an apartment in DC. Age and income are not a measure of anything. They’re not a measure of character, of achievement, of ability. They’re just fucking numbers

We’re programmed to attack what we fear. We go on the offensive because we’re defensive. And we, as humans, are really bad at this. We don’t scale. Our switch from defense to offense is binary. 

Isn’t she what we want? Don’t we all, regardless of political beliefs, want our youth to step forward and make a difference? Don’t we want our youth to bring their voices to the conversation? We’re living this right now. We are witnessing this right now, especially with this new class of leaders just recently elected.  

We’re starting to see elected officials who truly represent us.

They represent our races, our background, our religions, and even those of us who cannot afford apartments in larger cities. There are people afraid of this? They’re so afraid, they went defensive, then switched to offense without stopping down to realize, well… anything. Cowards. 

Also, hat tip to Greg Fallis for this post, “It’s not about her clothes“. We are paying attention to the wrong things. 

A Monday ramble

This evening, I used the Instant pot to make beef stew again. It tasted better this time, not that last time tasted bad. This time just had more, flavor. This time I used more beef, and slightly more beef stock, so I’m sure that had something to do with it. Mmm, meat. 

No picture. I’m trying to ween myself away from taking pictures of food. The hope is to force myself to take pictures of other things. I think a big key to that is actually going outside, which I only did once today. And that was just to roll the trash cans from the driveway into the side yard. 

So, yeah. Get outside more. Yeah. 

Work work work, and then that transitioned into school work, school work, school work. By the time that was finished, I had to make dinner. Yeah yeah, I need to work on my routine and time management and taking breaks. Yeah yeah, I just wrote about this very thing last week. 

I do feel fairly accomplished and actually proud of the things I did, today. So there’s that. 

There’s quite a few things I could write about but, I’m weary of looking at a bright screen and my fingers are done with keyboards. Pen and paper is an option but then that would just magnify how tired my brain is. 

That beef stew was good. Nice and comforting. 

Five things for the week

  1. The lingering smoke, from the Camp Fire, caught up to me, putting me out of commission on Thursday and Friday.  Scratchy throat and itchy eyes, to say the least. The perspective? This is minor compared to what the fire victims are going through. 
  2. I’ve touched on this before but, my work is trending away from “mobile” and more towards desktop. I just like sitting down at a dedicated space, on a dedicated machine, to work. Ergonomics are better, too. (duh)
  3.  Though this week will be a short (work) week, it will be busy. As always, much to do. I’m gearing up for it. 
  4. We have been fine since reducing from two cars to one. Though, I find myself wanting a second one from time to time. Part of this is because it’s comfort. Part because I have always had my own car up until this past Summer. Sometimes I do get a little stir crazy. This is the ultimate test in understanding a need versus a want
  5. I think about becoming more… public. You know, promoting the blog more often, changing social media settings from private to public, and engaging in more (online) conversations regularly. I can’t quite put my finger on why but, there’s something keeping me from doing so.And I’m fine with that, for now. 

//So sad that I don’t really have a good photo to add to this post. I don’t think I picked up my camera once, this past week. That’s just not good. 

Recently read, watched, and listened

Read

This pissed me off. It’s outlandish that he got away for so long, and with so many not suspecting anything. Though, those who covered for him need to rot in prison as well. 

This creeped me out. Stories like these just make me sit and wonder how people can do things like this to one another. 


Watched

The first act was good, entertaining, and I liked the energy. The other acts dropped increasingly towards the end. The actors all did very well; I liked their performances. I love the western genre and think the Coen Brothers do it well. I read that this was intended to be a series, not a feature film. I think it would have been much better as a series.


Meh. I felt like I was watching Big Hero 6, Chappie, Short Circuit, I Robot, Bicentennial Man, or Iron Giant. The premise in movies like this has a lot of potential but these movies always end up so formulaic.  


Listened

Proof is my new favorite podcast (lately). 

This week, if I wasn’t using Noisli while working, I had Superorganism playing in the background. 

Why I’m always feeling behind

I hate this feeling that I need to punish myself by refraining from recreational or fun or relaxing things when there are things (work and school) that I need to do. I think it goes back to my childhood, where I can still hear my parents’ voices “You can watch TV after you finish your homework”. Of course, that makes perfect sense; homework is a priority over whatever garbage is on the TV.

As an adult, with much more on my plate than homework, I think it’s different. My brain works differently. Certainly, my physical body works differently. I need those mental and physical breaks. I am very much starting to realize that I get increasingly ineffective the longer I go without a break.

I don’t think my mentality (my psyche?) has caught up to accepting that yet. I still feel like I shouldn’t read my book until I have crossed all of the items off of my list, for both work and school. Even the “honey do” list for around the house haunts me.

I also realize that my to-do lists are week-long (sometimes multiple weeks long). So even when I feel I’m at a stopping point for the day, I still feel “behind” in my to-do list. This isn’t good. It certainly isn’t healthy. I’m clearly out of sync.

I’m not distracted rather, I think I seek distraction because I am overwhelmed. Minimizing distractions has the opposite effect because of this. When I seek distraction, I will actively find and procrastinate (I’m super effective at this).

So, this is where I am and, these are things I know will help me:

  • Work in 90 minute increments. The Pomodoro method… almost. If I break out my tasks and schedule them for 90 minute spurts, I am suprisingly effective and productive.
  • Stop punishing myself for taking breaks and vegging out.
  • Write. Write. Write. Journaling (pen in notebook) and blogging (pounding the keybaord) are both therapeutic and help me get my thoughts in order. Write. Write. And then, write some more.

Not a comprehensive nor complete list of things but, they are what I have learned so far. It’s a process.

 

Sunday’s stuffed pasta shells

cheesy stuff shells

I made cheesy stuffed pasta shells for Sunday dinner. I first saw the recipe (link has paywall) in Cook’s Country magazine, a gifted subscription by my parents. Stuffed pasta shells has always been one of my favorites; I have a classic recipe that is always my go to. The appealing thing about this recipe was that I didn’t have to precook the pasta shells before filling them. I could simply stuff and bake them straightaway. Convenience usually wins out with my cooking.

cheesy stuff shells

I served it with some nice, thick, roasted asparagus spears. They were a good compliment; a savory vegetable with some bite in contrast to the smooth, creaminess of the pasta and cheese.

(I took a picture of the plated dish but it’s embarrassingly out of focus. I was so in a rush to sit down and eat that I totally rushed through taking the picture. Ha!)

Overall, I’m happy with the way they turned out, I might add this into a regular (monthly) rotation. It’s actually more like a lasagne than traditional stuffed shells. One huge difference in recipes like this is when you make the sauce from scratch (versus using a premade jarred/canned).

Five things for the week

Not fog

  1. It has been a tough week for family and friends in Ventura County. I spent some time checking in with everyone to be sure they were okay. It was a strong reminder that 1) I need to check in more often, and 2) I need to make some effort to get some face tie with them all.
  2. The Camp Fire, here in Northern California, is really deadly. It has covered our who city in smoke (pic above) for the past few days. It ruined some weekend plans as well, as we couldn’t be outside for too long without starting to cough, feel weak, and just overall couldn’t handle the smell.
  3. Slowly but surely (don’t call me Shirley) we’re getting more settled into this house. I think the next step is to hang more things on the walls. That seems to go far in making us feel home.
  4. I have a full plate so, paying for (and using) grocery delivery service is worth it for me. Paying a small delivery fee over spending time do go to and shop for groceries, something I don’t like doing, takes a chore off of my list.
  5. I still need to work on reducing distractions, especially during the week. My mind still feels cluttered, and I still feel like I’m trying to do too much without taking breaks.