Sometimes I make cute things

I saw a TED talk yesterday about jumping on impulses within 5 seconds of the thought popping into your head, because we won’t particularly be motivated to do hard things magically. Like, no one says, “I’m psyched to go for this run/do my taxes/fix the floorboards,” and it’s easy to think it’ll be easier tomorrow, when actually it will never be easy. Anyway, it just popped into my head that I really need to update this blog. So here you go.

Last night I hosted my girlfriends for dinner. I generally kind of make the same few dishes, and wanted to push myself to try something new, so I followed Uncle Ricks curried squash recipe from Thanksgiving last year, but instead of acorn squash, I stuffed the curry into mini pumpkins. Because that’s super cute, right? I failed to take a picture at the time, but one of my girlfriends took one and posted it on Instagram.photo

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I’m in Japan!

I decided on a whim to go to Japan. I actually got the ticket just a few days before departing. I use google flights, it compares the best rates online and you can mess with a bunch of variables in order to get the fewest connections and best rate. Too many people in my life spend too much time in airports. Don’t do it.

yuck

That’s an example for a trip to Rome, for example. I highlighted the flight that I think would be the best. It’s not the cheapest one, but you save 5 hours of flight time, and have one fewer stop! More stops equals more odds that you’ll be spending the night on the floor of an airport when you miss a connection. If I had an extra 5 hours in airports, I would just end up spending the $50 on overpriced beer anyway. 

Anyway, I’m in Japan! I’m working remotely this week. My friend Amy still lives here in Kobe, so I’m working from her apartment during the day, then going out at night! Last night I met up with my local hash, it was nice to see everyone.

I woke up at about 5am today, the sun comes up way too early here. I’m drinking instant coffee with reduced fat milk in it, which represents everything that makes me sad about the world. I’m going to buy Amy some real coffee and fat milk today. I think she lives on gummy vitamins.

It’s fun to be back and speaking Japanese. I need to do it more often. I also need to work remotely more often, this is way easier than I thought it would be! I work really early in the morning, then really late. That gives me the mid-day (when people back in Oregon are asleep) to go out and adventure. I think this might be the perfect work schedule…

I have 3.5 days left of my trip. I think I’ll wander more in Kobe today, then go out with friends tonight. I’m thinking of trying to understand Japanese whiskey. It’s supposed to be good, and I think I would look cool drinking it, like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.

I’ll definitely wander into Osaka on Saturday, and probably eat lots of fried food and buy some absurd heels. Let me know if you want something from Japan, pasticularly if it is small enough to fit in say a pocket. Or an evelope.

I’m so tired.

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Hey, I went to Mexico!

See, I do things!

I’ll just add a bunch of photos here, because I know y’all are too lazy to read this (okay, I’m actually too lazy to write anything).

Tulum

Tulum

I spent 10 days in Mexico, flying in and out of Cancun. I went alone, but met up with my folks for a couple days in Merida, the capital of Yucatan. My mom is great at picking out hotels and tours, and I had the good sense to just get a room in their same hotel.

Parents posing at the hotel.

Parents posing at the hotel.

Look at these people. Adorable. After a few days in Merida, I went to Playa del Carmen. It’s a fun, party town on the beach. It’s just as cheesy and commercial as Cancun though, which is a bit sad. But the beaches were lovely.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen

This trip helped me to slow down a bit. I have been trying to work at single-tasking recently. I’ve been failing miserably. I’m chatting on gmail with one friend right now, and arranging air travel via facebook with another. I’m also listening to and downloading music from a music blog. Better luck tomorrow.

 

 

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Ingrid is trying to win the internet.

Ingrid keeps making me look bad. Now I have to write in my blog, because she has three times as many children as me, and I have no excuse to not be writing more.

I’m going to start small, and maybe it’ll inspire me to get on here more often. Speaking of small, check out my babies! I’m starting lettuces, beets, and some herbs for my community garden. The flowers are for my patio garden, which I’ll need to feature in a future post.IMG_2016

I covered my garden plot with some cardboard a few months ago in hopes of keeping the grass down. It was actually really effective. I’m rarely met with such successful outcomes in life. I would love to win at the community garden, but a more realistic goal is to have fewer people look at my ploy and say, “Is anyone gardening in this space?”

Sheet Mulching for people who are too lazy to brush their teeth. Let alone sheet mulch properly.

Sheet Mulching for people who are too lazy to brush their teeth. Let alone sheet mulch properly.

I’m also volunteering with an organization called Growing Gardens. Because I’m amazing at gardening. This organization gathers volunteers to install vegetable gardens in low income homes. It’s incredibly popular, I want to get more active with them. I don’t have a picture of this, just imagine me and a bunch of awesome young people covered in dirt.

I still want to guerrilla garden. On that note, check out this TED talk. You’ll laugh, if you have any sense.

 

 

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Handbook for Life 2013

Someone posted this on facebook, and I thought it was great.

HEALTH:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to meditate.
6. Breathe
7. Read more books than you did in 2012.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

PERSONALITY:
11. Comparing our lives to others is fruitless. We have no idea what their journey is about.
12. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones especially about things out of our control. Invest energy in the positive present moment.
13. Try not to over do. Understand limits.
14. Why take ourselves so seriously. No one else does.
15. Gossip drains precious energy.
16. Dream more while we are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. We already have all we need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Let go of our partners mistakes of the past. Focus on our present/future happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. Make peace with our past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of our happiness except us.
22. Realize that life is a school and we are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons we learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. We don’t have to win arguments. It’s ok to agree to disagree.

SOCIETY:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is insignificant compared to what you think of yourself.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends & family will. Stay in touch.

LIFE:
32. Do the right thing!
33. Keep only things that are useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. Higher powers heal everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how we feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When we awake alive in the morning, be thankful.
39. Our Inner most is always happy. Release your “Inner Happy” on the world every day!

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Best Day Ever

I did a really brilliant day of bike wine touring on the first weekend of October. I’m seeing a guy and wanted to take him wine tasting. He’d never been wine tasting in Oregon because he’s literally from the North Pole. But don’t ask about him at Thanksgiving, because I’ll probably find out that he’s some sort of criminal before then. Since neither of us own cars (and I can barely drive safely when I’m sober) we went on bikes, which was unbelievebly fun!

We put bikes on the MAX and got off in Hillsboro. From there, we went south doing a 23 mile loop that hit three wineries. It was so fantastic. Remember the first weekend of October that was amazingly warm and beautiful? It was that day.

Our first stop was Oak Knoll. The tasting room is really ugly, but we grabbed glasses of wine and went wandering through hazelnut orchards. We later realized that we were trespassing into the neighbor’s land.

Our second stop was Ardiri. It’s pretty fancy-pants. I’ve never been to Sonoma, but I imagine that it’s fancy. We brought a picnic and ate it there. It was pretty fantastic. We tried 6 different pinots and they all tasted exactly the same. I still don’t think anyone can actually tell the difference. No one goes wine tasting for the wine anyway.

 

Our final winery was called A Blooming Hill vineyard. It’s kinda low-brow, like this really nice couple just wanted to make their own wine because their 3-year old did a great drawing and they decided to put that on their wine bottles. The “wine bar” is in their downstairs living room. It’s pretty random, but it was Hillsboro, and we were doing a wine tasting for like $5, and they had this cool patio (picture below) we could sit on and play with their kids and dogs. I think we were their only guests that day. It was actually really charming, and they were excited that we had biked all the way out to their house.

Probably dangerous.

 

 

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Board Member Training

I mentioned to my manager a while back that I would like to serve on a non-profit board. Apparently, my company is a sponsor for a Board Member Training program, which means I can take the program for free. Who even knew there was such a thing? It’s a six-session program held at different arts venues around Portland, and different arts boards are basically courting us. On our first day, we got an envelope of free tickets to shows around Portland. Like dance stuff and symphony. Neat, right?

I learned that the arts in Portland are a massive source of tourism revenue for the city. And the whole concept that “Portland is where the young people go to retire,” is actually no more reflective of Portland than any other city. Portland is actually absorbing thousands of educated young people every year, and those people are actively participating in the arts.

So I need to decide on an arts board to support. IRCO didn’t want me, apparently they want someone with board experience. That’s fair. Weigh in with your favorite non-profit.

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Work

Are you guys still reading this thing? This is the worst blog ever. You really need to stop reading it.

Sigh. Anyway, since you are here, I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to. Kicking ass at work, that’s what. It’s nice to have hit my stride. I may have said this about 5 months ago, but this time I really mean it. Since I write professional development, I’m constantly reading about professional development. I end up applying much of it to my own life. It’s neat to be in a job where I’m constantly learning! Here are some things I’ve learned. You may have learned them already, but this blog is about me, not you.

How to kick ass at the job

  • Write a list of what you will do that day. Mine is on a little whiteboard at my desk, so I just wipe things off as they are accomplished.
  • Remove distractions. Put the phone away somewhere and put on huge over-ear headphones. You don’t even need to be listening to anything, it sends a message that you don’t want to chat.
  • As you become distracted with things throughout the day, like remembering a bill you have to pay, write it on the to-do list. Accomplish those items at a natural break between activities. The re-starting time once you become distracted can keep you from getting into a real groove for a while.
  • I like to set up meetings in the afternoon, since they help the time pass and renew some inspiration for me. I like meetings, so they help me get through the afternoon, which can drag on when you work until 6pm.
  • Do one thing at a time. Why multitask poorly when you can uni-task more effectively?
  • When you are hitting a problem-solving wall, ask your team if anyone will help you talk through a problem. Often verbalizing it will help you discover the problem.
  • If you are having a tough time getting started on a project, talk it through on the voice memo function on your phone. This is best done on work-from-home days.

The end.

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I’ve been doing too much.

 

This picture is unrelated to this post.

This picture is unrelated to this post.

So I’ve decided that I want to do everything, and do it all at the same time. I’m totally overwhelmed. Once I finally got acclimated with the whole “job” thing, I looked around and realized that everyone around me is doing amazing stuff, and I’m kinda just working. My friend Kevin, for example, is flying around the world for a photo project, taking pictures of people like Ann Curry and Sam Adams. Other friends are writing books or performing music.

A couple months ago, I started writing with my neighbors periodically. They were working on a sitcom about our apartment building, and I managed to get into their writing circle. We came up with some other ideas for short video clips that we wanted to put on youtube, mostly about our own neighbors. This project has been on hold because they actually got funding from Levi’s to do a real-ish movie.

I decided that it was time to do something. Something for me. So I became involved in absolutely every board and committee in my company. And there are lots of boards and committees. We recently had an Employee Engagement survey, and I think I might win the survey. Maybe I’ll get a plaque or something. Or maybe they’ll give me a demotion because they know I won’t leave.

I’ve been enjoying my work, but wanted a portfolio builder, so I decided that I need to write an app. Because, you know, apps. I barely understand what they do, and what better way to learn than to do. So I’m working with a colleague in our free time (before work, lunch time, and weekends) on a kanji learning app. Organizing the content in a logical way has been the main hurdle so far, since there are about a billion kanji. (I don’t actually know how many there are. See how this is problematic?)

I also joined a kickball league, have a community garden, and applied to serve on a board of directors for a nonprofit. And I’m the unofficial videographer for a running club.

Here’s my problem. I want to do all the things, but there aren’t actually hours in the day for this. I counted. This was a great exercise for me, because I learned that I could probably get more organized and fit everything in if I tried. Like I could work in time with family if I removed work, for example. Or I could totally get that Hash video edited if I quit sleeping.

Commitments in each 24 hour period
Work 9
Sleep 9
Commute 1
Exercise 1
Showering, looking awesome 0.5
Grocery shopping, meal preparation 1
Eating 1
App development 1
Socializing 1
House projects, cleaning 0.5
Professional development reading 1
Total: 26 hours
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And this is where I write about kale

Kale is a wonderful food. You can dress your salads with it, and it won’t get soggy and limp like lettuce. AND it gives you super powers. I’m up to my neck in kale these days. My community garden plot is going nuts! Check this out!

Also, I’m part of a CSA, or community supported agriculture. A woman from Savuie Island delivers a few bags of produce from her farm to my house each Thursday. I have no idea how this is financially feasible for her, it only costs me about $15 for this much produce each week. I’m not sure this photo even does it justice, you can’t see the herbs and such.

Oh, kale, right. I’ll just post photos. I eat greens in about every meal. I really have to in order to use all of this stuff. For breakfast, I either have eggs and vegetables, or a kale smoothie. I just toss kale, a banana, milk, and ice into the blender. You can add whatever else in there that you like. Say, for example, you are feeling like a dirty hippy, you can use almond milk and some flax seeds. It’s up to you.

I pack my lunch for work each day. It tends to be a salad with tons of neat stuff on it. I might get tired of this someday, but it hasn’t happened yet. My favorite dressing is a basic aioli, of mayoniasse (I use vegannaise) lemon juice, garlic, and salt/pepper.

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