10 Things that Scare Me

Inspired by the 10 Things That Scare Me podcast, which I love.

  1. Discovering that I have a terminal health issue, inherited from my biological parents. I hate always having to explain to doctors that I don’t have medical history (even though they really don’t react negatively to it). I have some ongoing health issues and am just waiting to find out there’s more.
  2. Snakes. F’ing snakes.
  3. Cooking something for someone that makes them sick (or worse). Also, me getting sick from someone else’s food. I really like to cook, and think I’m pretty good at it but, I’m always afraid to serve my food to others for fear of them trying it and getting sick. I have no idea where this fear stems from; it’s never happened (yet).
  4. Getting bit by a tick or mosquito (or any other insect, really) and contracting an incurable disease, like Lyme disease or being allergic to meat, as a result.
  5. How self-destructive humans are. More specifically, how self-destructive I can be.
  6. Large crowds and/or long lines.
  7. Being somewhere for a long time (3-5 hours at least) without knowing where, and having access to, a bathroom.
  8. Any hearing loss in my left ear (I’m already 80% deaf in my right ear).
  9. Reaching my fullest potential.
  10. Slipping and severely hurting myself in the shower.

Five things for the week

Abu Dhabi views
  1. I like this tweet.
  2. I do take work travel for granted, sometimes. I don’t always appreciate the opportunities that I have to do what I do, and the places that brings me to. I need to practice more gratitude and appreciation for that.
  3. There were a few places, in Abu Dhabi, that I found myself wishing that I had brought my camera. I didn’t bring one on this trip, even though I had my backpack with me everywhere I went. I really need to get back into the habit of carrying one wherever I go.
  4. I forgot how much fun it is to drive around with the windows down, and blast the Beastie Boys. I feel like I’m in my twenties again.
  5. I’ll need to dig down and grind, this week. There’s a lot to get through.

Recently read, watched, and listened

Read

I have three books checked out from the library, all sitting in Libby (on my iPad). My intent was to get through them while traveling but, I didn’t even open the app once. I think I just needed to zone out during my downtime, this week. Because they’re on deadline (need to be returned) I plan to get through them this week.


Watched

Watership Down – I caved and watched the rest of the BBC/Netflix version. Meh. If you haven’t already, please read the book (I plan to reread it soon). This was far too washed out in both the storytelling and the imagery. Maybe it’s just me but, this needs to be DARK. Like, seriously not for children dark. And any remake (from the 1978 version) should be far darker than this was.

//I had a lot of time on a plane this week and was able to get in a lot of movies.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Say what you will about this franchise, I liked this. Yeah, there were a ton of things that we could point out as wrong, lame, etc. but, it’s a freakin’ movie about dinosaurs being created to serve mankind. My lord.

Equalizer 2 – Ugh, sequels. It was okay but, they should have left the first one as a standalone. I do like seeing Denzel in this Man On Fire/Equalizer type role. I also need a movie where Denzel and Liam Neeson fight it out, either against or with each other.

Searching – It took me a little while to get into the storytelling method. There were times when I even found it annoying but, I get it. Digital communication runs our lives. I just don’t see anyone using FaceTime as often as they do, here. It was a good watch, though. Also, yay! John Cho!

Tag – It was trying too hard to be funny and touching at the same time. Admittedly, there were a few scenes that hit those marks. Isla Fischer is hilarious. Every time I saw Jeremy Renner I would think to myself, “Why is Hawkeye doing this instead of helping out the rest of the Avengers?!?”

Ready Player One – The book, for what it was, was better. This was just a bunch of eye candy and nostalgia. It did make me want to watch The Iron Giant again.

Deadpool 2 – This is about the only comic book movie that I enjoy watching, mainly because they don’t take themselves so seriously. I laughed during the whole movie.

Fyre Fraud – I spent this entire documentary angry at everyone involved in this sh*tshow. I don’t care about the one’s who were “innocent” in it. Y’all need to disappear.

Sex Education – I binged and enjoyed the whole series. It was a fun watch; screw the “controversy” about not being a true “UK school “experience”. I need a backstory/origin episode on how Eric and Otis became friends. Maeve reminds me of a girl I crushed on in middle school. She also reminds me of Britta in Community.


Listened

//I had plenty of time for podcasts as well. Those long flights are, well… long.

NPR Life Kit – I downloaded and listened to all of the episodes in the four series. Not bad advice. It was enough to get me rethinking about each of the aspects (diet, exercise, saving, and investing).

The Big One – Being back in California (yay!) has rekindled my fascination with earthquakes. This is a very good podcast, and features Dr. Lucy Jones!

Five things for the week

the Benedict Arnold (eggs benedict on a waffle)
  1. I’m making a point to load up at least one day of the weekend to get out and do errands. Part of this means saving some things until the end of the week (which is okay, because it will help me plan better). It also means ordering less online and going to more stores/places. It’s all part of an effort to be more mindful about what I am doing day to day.
  2. New rule: eat outdoors whenever possible (when weather permits). Breakfast on Saturday morning (picture above) was perfect on the patio compared to inside. Inside was crowded and noisy. Outside was quiet, with fresh air and sunshine.
  3. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I wear clothes that actually fit me.
  4. DirectTV is pissing me off. Too much to go into here but, I’m 90% sure I’ll be cutting the service soon. Which means we’ll be a streaming household only (because there’s no way I’m going to Comcast).
  5. My February project will be getting some plants and trees setup inside and outside of this home. Our home needs some plant life!

Recently read, watched, and listened

Read

 Unfortunately, another week with not much new for this section. I barely read internet articles too! I found myself swamped in technical docs and a textbook (for school) on database design. So, yeah.


Watched

Watership Down (2018) – This is watered down (pun?). It’s as if they tried their best to make this as kid-friendly as they could. There is no darkness in this. The CGI is distracting but, (for me) not as distracting as how much they’re glossing over everything. Makes me just want to read the book again.

This Is It! – I loved this for the ability to glimpse some of the process behind him making his concerts. And this guy had so many hits! He really was a musical genius.

Voltron: Legendary Defender – I finally got around to watching the final season, and was disappointed. They wrapped up the whole series in a neat little (too easy) bow. I hate when movies and shows do this.


Listened

Unfortunately, nothing new to note here. I usually have “shuffle” on my music library when working, providing a nice background soundtrack that blocks out other noise and distractions (as many distractions as I let it). 

Five things for the week

  1. I bought a 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT, yesterday. It’s silver, used, and had 9k miles on it, and ended up getting a good deal. I have been looking into getting a compact hatchback to just use around the city. We didn’t need a second car but, I wanted one especially for those days where I would go stir crazy at home while M was at work (and I had no car to escape with).
  2. This coming week will be busy but, I’m ready. I feel like I will be productive.
  3. I read this blog post about using a jump rope and I’m intrigued. I think this could be a nice, quick way to get the blood flowing throughout the day. I envision a few minutes out on my patio just to break up the monotony. This, paired with some mid-afternoon walks, just might be what’s needed.
  4. I’m changing my approach and, rather than journaling, I have started keeping a log book. Austin Kleon has a good post on the difference. I see this as hitting both needs (logging events and thoughts as well as providing a place to journal longer entries when I want). Hat tip to Christine Lee; she recently posted a Instagram story describing her notebook use that got me thinking about my own.
  5. I’m disappointed that I haven’t yet started a new (fiction) book yet, in 2019.

Recently read, watched, and listened

Read


Watched

Three episodes of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo – I find this fascinating. I don’t get the controversy around it (it’s really not that important, people. Chill). I understand her approach though, admittedly, its not for me. Plus, I kind of like just seeing other people’s messes. This is why I love the show Hoarders so much.

Rewatched 6 episodes of The IT Crowd – this show is one of the few that is guaranteed to make me laugh, every single time.


Listened

In my effort to be productive upon my return to work, I have had my headphones in and relying on iTunes shuffle to do its magic. This week I “rediscovered” some Buddy Holly tracks, the Köln Concert, and Mala Rodriguez.

The Köln Concert

Last night I meditated. Well, quasi-meditated. I laid in bed, headphones on, closed my eyes, and listened to Keith Jarrett’s “Köln, January 24, 1975, Pt. I (Live)” track of the Köln Concert.

It’s 25 minutes long so, allow yourself enough time to sit and listen. My favorite part is when he kicks into a beautiful progression around the 7:20 mark.

There’s a whole story behind this concert. Mr. Jarrett was provided the wrong piano and had originally refused to play. He ultimately did, and because of this, we received this amazing piece of classical music.

I learned about this backstory, a while back, from a Hidden Brain podcast talking about “embracing chaos”.

I first listened to the Köln Concert in 1997, when I took a music appreciation course in college. The professor, Prof Song (yes, his real last name) gave me a list of pieces to listen to after he and I had a lengthy discussion about classical pieces.

Hearing it, without knowing the backstory, I always appreciated the creativity behind it. It feels like a great pianist in their own home, feeling out and practicing a piece that they want to refine and play.

It wasn’t until August of 2017 when, upon hearing the backstory on Hidden Brain, I purchased the album and listened to it again.

It’s a wonderful concert. It is genius artistry. And it’s so very apt to use as an example of “embracing chaos” and “releasing creativity” through frustration (as the below TED talk describes).

For 25 minutes, last night, it calmed me. Sure, it could have been actually stopping down, not looking at a screen, and listening to music. This piece is important and has helped me begin to form my approach to 2019.

If you’re interested in hearing more, here’s a TED Talk on the concert as well.

A Wednesday ramble – notes on getting back to work

First day back at work after (just) a week off. It feels like a Monday. Like a really rough Monday. I feel so far behind, as if I took longer than a week off. I think this is partly the “effect” of ignoring work emails for the entire vacation.

Which is a good thing. And, it’s really just a feeling of being behind (right?). I’m fortunate with the team I am part of; if one is out, the others step up. It’s a good team involved in a very complex, big project.

It boils down to getting back into the swing of things (whatever that means). It’s re-establishing a routine, or even establishing one to begin with. I need to make some adjustments in the interest of time-management. I also need to get back to keeping a notepad and pen next to me while I work.

I also want to try to build a habit of taking a mid-afternoon walk, if not just to get some fresh air and a change of scenery.

I found that, even though I am alone in my home while working, I do work better if I put on headphones (rather than play music through speakers). I feel more focused on the task at hand this way. I’m sure there is some sort of blog post or study that would explain why.

The addition of the mechanical keyboard (to my workspace) has helped. I type faster, have fewer mistakes, and can very easily get back to being a proficient touch-typist.

Note to self: don’t type on the mechanical keyboard while unmuted on a conference call.

//This cracked me up and put me in a good, humorous mindset when I first sat down at my desk. It nails the non-profit employee mentality.

NYs for NYE

For the past several years (I lost track of when we began this tradition), I have made this dinner to celebrate New Years Eve. New York steaks on New Years Eve… just made sense (could be the “NY” parallel).

NY Dinner tradition
Finished dish

It’s rosemary New York steaks with roasted potatoes. The rosemary and cooking method give it a very nice rustic flavor that goes well with wine and champagne (mostly wine). I usually serve a green vegetable (usually roasted) with the main dish but, this year opted for a crudités plate, with goat cheese and crackers, for an appetizer. That got our veggies out of the way and make for some good snacking.

NY Dinner tradition

It starts off with going to the butcher counter and selecting the best NY steaks you can find. I like thicker cuts because, well… more steak is better steak. Pickup a 1-2 lb bag of red potatoes and some sprigs of rosemary, and you are good to go.

NY Dinner tradition

Get a cast iron pan screaming hot (preheat your oven to 425 degrees, with the pan in the oven. Once the oven comes to temp, place the pan on your hottest stovetop burner to bring it up to ~500 deg). Add 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil to the pan. When the bubbling subsides, sear one side fo the steaks for 3 minutes. Flip and sear the other for 2 minutes.

NY Dinner tradition

Cast iron is the way to go but, if you don’t have one, your regular fry pan will do. I like the crust/sear that cast iron gives you. The point is to keep it in one dish. I did this once on an outdoor grill, which was nice, but cleanup took longer.

Place the steaks on a plate, to the side. Add a little more olive oil, then put your red potatoes (halved) into the pan, cut side down. Scatter some small rosemary sprigs around it. Place in your 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.

NY Dinner tradition

Your bed of potatoes is now ready to welcome your steaks back into the pan. Place the steaks on top of the potatoes, then back into the oven for another ~10 minutes. Depending how don you want your steak, and how thick they are, it may take longer. I like mine medium-rare to medium. Use your thermometer!

NY Dinner tradition

And, scene! Let your steaks rest while you prep your plates and pour more wine. Slice the steaks thin and serve. Enjoy!