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.

Heading into the weekend like

Heading into the weekend like

Thousand Oaks. The shooting and then the fire. And then another fire. And then another.

And a fire in Northern California as well.

I spent the past few days reaching out to family and friends, checking in.

My heart is with Ventura County, forever and always. It will always be home.

Recently read, watched, and listened


My mom has a knack for finding good book/author series. These are usually mysteries (her favorite genre) which aren’t necessarily my favorite. But on occasion, she finds and recommends something that I like. The Walt Longmire* series is one of those, mostly because it’s also quasi-western, and I love the western genre, especially reading it as I was growing up.


Craig Johnson’s Depth of Winter┬áis a turn from mystery to thriller. I suppose one could read this book without reading the series but, I wouldn’t recommend it. This one gets very personal, for the main character, and has been built towards for a little while now. My plan was to read a quarter of the book each night, as it is a very easy read. The first night I knocked out 25%. The second, I knocked out 75%. The momentum and build up was too strong for me to put it down.

*Don’t get me started on the TV Series “Longmire”. The only good thing that did for me was nailed the casting for the characters (except for Vic), which I envision while reading the books. I absolutely did not like the storyline and character arcs that the TV series took.




On Monday night I made Instant Pot beef stew and my wife and I watched Incredibles 2. It was a little longer than it needed to be but overall a good and fun watch. The Holly Hunter and Catherine Keener interactions were more… “adult” than I would think for a kids movie but, could just be my take.




Dave Chang’s interview of Evan Kleiman, on The Dave Chang Show podcast. They’re two of my favorite “food personalities”, and both are doing great things that need people to pay more attention to them.

It’s time to step into it, with action. And love.

My sister was there. She is home, safe. Again. She was also at Las Vegas when that happened.

There are very real things happening in our world. If you think they don’t affect you, or those close to you, you are wrong.

My phone is lighting up with texts and phone calls between family and friends. It’s good; we’re all communicating. We care. Screw these work conference calls.

I hate this helpless feeling. Even more so as I further accept that part of the helplessness is due to my own standing on the sidelines.

It’s time to step into it, with action. And love.

Get outside!

If there’s one thing that daylight savings time should remind us of, it’s that we need to take our breaks. The time outside, in daylight becomes even more valuable. Get out of your office (during the week) to take that quick walk. Or, just sit outside for 10 minutes to “recharge”.

It’s something I constantly need to remind myself. Get outside! Especially on weekends.

a 35 minute beef stew

Last night I made beef stew in the Instant Pot, using the pressure cooker mode. For only needing 35 minutes to cook (~15 minutes of prep), I was surprised at how good it turned out.

I loved the convenience of having a dinner like stew in under an hour versus having to start it 4 hours before. I think next time, I will add some more vegetables. Thinking celery, green beans, and mushrooms (this version just had the standard carrots, potatoes, and onions).

I’m intrigued with the Instant Pot. I haven’t used it as much as I thought I would but, the convenience is quite nice during the week.

//No pictures because stew isn’t the most photogenic dish and I felt like eating the stew was a better use of my time than dressing it up for a picture to post on the internet. I know, what’s wrong with me?


I have been starting to change up my morning routine. Since I no longer have to commute, I find myself with more time before settling into work and, I want to use this time wisely.

The alarm is set for 6:30 AM, except for times when I have earlier conference calls. This seems to be working as it’s a natural time for me to wake up.

I started showering in the evenings. This gives me a little more morning time which I have turned into time spent on making a healthy breakfast. But, I miss the “wake up” that a morning shower gives me. Still adjusting.

Getting dressed is increasingly important. I’m fortunate in that I can still dress comfortably. It’s extremely important that I continue to dress versus work in loungewear.

I’m slowly working on changing my morning phone habit, setting aside social media and games for just checking my calendar and skimming for urgent email. I also need to start avoiding morning news, first thing, since that seems to dictate my mood for the day. Not healthy. The social media and gaming just waste time, and they’re something I’m working to reduce overall.

There are some more tweaks here and there. And there will continue to be some tweaking until I find the right routine for me.