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That’s It. No More No-Recipe Life Guy!


I’m not sure what exactly the deciding factor was–the numerous false “return-to-blogging” starts, the fact that I’m simply not spending much time in the kitchen these days, or just the difficulty in returning to a neglected hobby–but the decision has been made. I’ll be ending the No-Recipe Life blog.

It’s been several years since I last did any sort of regular blogging, so perhaps I’ll catch up a bit on what’s been happening. I don’t want to go on and on about why I’ve decided not to continue this particular blog or the things that have happened in my life, so I’ve tried to keep it more general, but include enough detail to relate to. You can let me know if I achieved that or not…

As I said, I haven’t really been cooking that much, which was the main reason I started this blog: to share my personal method of cooking enjoyable meals without having to follow strict rules, through a combination of simple cooking techniques and a dose of experimentation with spice and ingredient combinations. Over the past few years my food habits have grown pretty bad. Way too much takeout (but very little eating out at restaurants, which I miss quite a bit), definitely more frozen food, chips,  and purchased pastries than are good for me, and almost no actual cooking to speak of. I still tend to drink a lot of coffee, and not as much water as I should. A lot of the fruits and vegetables I buy go bad. I’ve gained back way too much of the weight I once lost, and now that I’m 31 as opposed to 24, it’s going to be way harder to drop pounds, especially if I can’t find a good enough motivation. Vanity doesn’t seem to be quite the push I need, but I really want to fit back into a few of the dresses it’s hard to part with.

I have become a little overwhelmed with the stuff I have and stopped shopping too much, but have developed a greater desire to go out and do things, especially to travel (to foreign countries if possible, although at the moment I don’t have a valid passport). I’ve watched about a million videos on minimalism and decluttering. I think they’re fairly satisfying to watch, but I have not made any progress lately in my own decluttering process. I can’t seem to work out which things I should let go and which I need to keep … before you ask, I did read Marie Kondo’s book and I am planning to reread it soon to try to get some momentum on this project, which feels rather like a life makeover.

I stopped copyediting, and it was partially due to the particular arrangement I had ending, but in large part it was my (subconscious) desire to stop doing it. I’m happy to edit to a certain extent, in particular to avoid embarrassing mistakes and the odd glaring typo in works I want to put out into the world, but spending most of my time nitpicking over small grammar details that don’t actually matter became less and less valuable to me at the same time as it slowly killed my creative impulses. I just felt drained most of the time and never had enough left to work on my own projects. My waning interest in that type of work caused me to start procrastinating more and more, and the quality of my editing slipped. I didn’t WANT to keep up with it anymore, and yet when it ended so abruptly I was quite unhappy about it. Since I was not (and still am not, sadly) writing my own work, this seemed to me to be the only thing of value I had to offer, and then I found out that the value I offered was not good enough. *Cue personal struggles and unfortunate events that made everything worse …*

Since then I’ve mainly been working retail, and while it’s not my ultimate career goal at least it has been more steady than editing. It also lucked me into semi-regular dog-sitting for a sweet little beagle who is super into cuddling on the couch. I’ve thought about trying to start editing again, but I know that I don’t really want to, and my history in the last year or so of doing that kind of work might make it hard to find gigs anyway…

Besides, my interest in writing, if not my practice, has really rekindled lately, and I believe that would be a much better use of my time. It’s possible that it will be harder to find work as a writer, but I think it will be more worthwhile for me. Grammar rules, which vary based on dialect, level of formality, and the evolution of language, are not something I can actually get excited about (although I’ll never be able to get past the incorrect use of “its” and “it’s”–it’s not that hard, people! And commas are almost always a mess). As far as I’m concerned, if you can form a complete sentence, that’s the main thing. Using clauses properly is a good skill, effective language is even better, and an ear for great phrasing is a wonderful bonus, but people who insist that you never split infinitives are clinging to a “rule” that I just don’t think was EVER necessary.

Yes, this essentially sums up the last few years for me. It’s not too exciting, and I left out the most significant specific events because I could write entire posts about those things, if I decide to share them here at all. In the end, if you didn’t get this sense from what is above, things have just changed for me. Some of my interests have shifted, things in my life are different, and the blogging world has changed–these days, you can’t get anywhere writing about food if you can’t take great food pictures, and although my new phone’s camera is pretty good, the lighting in this apartment is as crappy as ever.

Unfortunately the domain had that whole auto-renew thing and I’ve already paid for another year, so in the meantime, as I plan a new blog that better fits with my life and writing interests now as opposed to seven or more (or slightly less, I don’t really remember) years ago, I might post here from time to time. Get my money’s worth. Clear out some lingering thoughts. Get back into the habit of writing. Basically, let it have its rattling, dying breaths before it transmutates into something new, shiny, and useful.

If you read this whole thing, thanks for that! It’s nice to think that there are a few people out there who care to read my raw and possibly too honest rantings about life. If you didn’t, then you are just here for the food so I should just end here by telling you that the cupboards here are empty. I’m going to be eating leftover rice for dinner. Thank you, and good night.

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The Day the Blog Came Back


It’s Wednesday, August 9. (Hey, it’s my half-birthday! Hap irthd to me!) I’ve been awake for a bit less than an hour. I’m sitting here poking at my computer, drinking a canned cold brew coffee I got on sale yesterday. The flavor “Mexican vanilla” sounds exotic, but it just tastes like most sweetened coffees. I’m not complaining.

Blogging is something that fell to the wayside for me some time ago, and although I’ve thought about picking it up again many times, I couldn’t find the motivation. At some point perhaps I’ll get into why, but it doesn’t seem like a topic that would be of much interest… Really, writing of any kind has not just taken a backseat, it’s been stowed in a corner of the trunk for much too long. I had a bunch of other things in the backseat that took up too much space, so I put writing away to make room for it, and then… out of sight out of mind, I guess. Life kept moving on and I forgot writing in that spot in the trunk. I’m not convinced I’m actually good at it anymore, as I’m so very out of practice.

Despite all that, I’ve decided to do it anyway. I don’t know what I’m going to write about here. Maybe I’ll just write semi-regular journal-style posts and let you read the random rumblings of my brain. Maybe I’ll do cooking posts, but since I do not cook that often these days, it’s not too likely. I might have to revamp this entire blog so that it is better suited to the strange and disjointed web that my mind is at this point.

In a few minutes I’m going to take a big bag of random crap to Goodwill, then see if I can pick up a $2 loaf of bread from When Pigs Fly. I’ll get home before noon, and then the real “fun” begins… I have a lot that I need to get done, and rather nebulous social plans. I have no idea which things I have to/can get done today, or how much time I have to do them.

Thus my triumphant* return to blogging was established. Hello.

 

 

*…um…sure.

Blaugust 31: Anywhere But Here


Time moves on and I, again, am stuck in place. Small things change, but never things that matter.

They say–“they” meaning everyone–that you have to make changes happen, instead of just waiting around. And maybe if I could figure out what I actually wanted, it would make sense to try to get it. I have no clue.

One of the things I miss most about college was the constant cycle of change. New classes, new temporary jobs and internships, everything happening in chunks of 3-4 months and then, before you know it, there’s a new thing starting. It was set up that way. The rest of your life could very well be the same exact day, year after year, until you die. If that happens to me, I can say right now that I will not be content. No, I’ll be sitting there, wondering why I couldn’t figure out how to make myself happy.

I need a change. I mean a REAL change, a big change. Move to a new country, start a brand new career, go back to school for something I’ve never studied before change.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m tired of the way things are now.

Blaugust 27: Try. Fail.


Today was not a good day. I feel like it SHOULD have been a good day because the whole point was to relax and not get stressed out about anything. For ONE DAMN DAY. But I’m not sure how it COULD have been a good day, simply because there are circumstances in my life that just make things really difficult in general.

 

What I thought I would do today:

Take a long walk

Yoga

Read

Pick up my room a little

Call some people

 

What I actually did:

Glance at my work email (bad idea)

Netflix

Emails

Notice joint pain

More Netflix

Check bank accounts (VERY bad idea)

Think about how life could be better

Try not to cry (failed)

Shower

Sulk

 

Now there’s just enough time that I could probably manage to get some reading done, or do very light yoga… but you know how you get to a certain point in a bad day and you can’t imagine trying? It’ll be an achievement if I do the least bit of prep for lunch tomorrow, which I HAVE to bring to work with me because I’m not going to be able to afford to buy lunch out.

Blaugust 22: NEVER STOP


There is danger in taking a break, especially if you’re feeling overtired.

If you are like me, you’ll prefer, as opposed to going straight from one job into the next, to take a little time to relax. Maybe you read some leisure articles on the internet. Maybe you scroll through facebook a few times. Or watch an episode of a thing.

Maybe then you feel really sleepy, so you lay down to take a nap for a little while. At that point it’s already been nearly two hours, and the nap adds another hour onto that.

Then it’s starting to get kind of late, and you haven’t decided what to eat for dinner. You don’t really have time to make anything because you took such a long break that you need to spend pretty much every remaining moment of the day working.

So, while you intended to take a short break and be back to working within an hour, instead you took over three hours and now, you’re stressed out over how much you can actually get done. How late will you have to stay up to get the work done that you need to? Or, how much will you be able to do before you get too tired to concentrate?

This is me at the moment. Having gotten stuck in a long cycle of procrastination and then bursts of nonstop work to make up for it, and trying finally to resist this cycle by NOT procrastinating again, I’ve been in a sort of nonstop work phase. I took a break from work for half the weekend, but the break was full of obnoxious train travel and social plans, and so I still find myself very, very tired.

The plan was (and still is) to keep doing the work I need to do, working straight through until I finish (which will likely be sometime between Wednesday midday and Thursday morning), and then finally take a real break from editing type work until next week. In the meantime, I also have the regular shifts at my retail job, and I’ll be there all day on Sunday.

Working harder in the short term is all in the service of getting my adult life on track (I would have said “back” on track but, really, was it ever?)–dealing with debt, finally having a savings account again, and actually getting ahead of my bills for the first time in a loooong time. And this plan always seems like something that should be simple enough to do. Just keep working. Not complicated, right?

Well. Sometimes, it turns out to be extremely draining. So you try to take a short break, but you end up losing precious time to the vast vacuum of the Internet. You look back and know that you didn’t do anything with that time that you’ll ever even remember. And maybe you regret it. And then you lose more time thinking about all the time you lost…

Bad plan.

At that point, you just get back to what you were doing and you get as focused as you can. Which is my plan for right now.

 

Blaugust 21: More Random Thoughts


So, today was long and busy…

Tomorrow will be long and busy…

I ate lots of food and probably didn’t sleep enough.

I got rid of even more books, some of which I really liked. But I’m in the very long process of decluttering. It happens in stages, sometimes getting rid of large amounts of things and sometimes just a small handful. Either way, it feels good to get rid of things I really just don’t need to keep.

And the best part of the day has to be seeing the dog. She’s such a funny old lady.

It’s late and I can’t think of a topic to write about. I just barely remembered that I still had to post. So today you get basic. Super basic.

I’m really looking forward to fall.

Blah.

The end.

Blaugust 18: Do or Do Not. There Is No Try


Yoda was a wise old Jedi.

 

I’ve been thinking about my (lack of) workout routine today. Very few people reading this (just one or two, probably) will know that there was a time I used to work out nearly every day. I didn’t do super intensive workouts, just enough to get my heart rate up and work up a bit of a sweat. Generally, this consisted of yoga and bodyweight/dumbbell exercises, no gym required, just the decision to do it.

(Related: I once trekked home from City Sport carrying twenty pounds of weights that almost ripped through a reusable grocery bag. My shoulders were just a little sore when I got home…)

I honestly can’t say why I stopped, but at some point I just started NOT working out more often than I did. From time to time I would try to get back into the habit in small steps. “Just start by doing ten push-ups every day this week. That’s not too hard.”

Or, it shouldn’t have been. But I’d do it for the first two days. Then the third day I just didn’t feel like it. The next day, I completely forgot about it. Two days later I did the push-ups again, but gave up shortly. This sort of story (with different activities–a little bit of planking, a few sets of squats) happened a few times. Each time it just didn’t work.

I tried using this “start with a little bit” method of getting into the habit of working out because I read the advice in several articles. I can only say that for me, this does not work. It’s too small of a commitment. The time and exertion that actually goes into it is negligible. It feel pointless to do it, and utterly unimportant if you miss a day. I’ll just do them tomorrow! Except no, I won’t, because tomorrow five to ten minutes of working out will still seem too dumb to bother with.

The workout will not actually affect how I feel unless it’s at least thirty minutes (twenty can work, but only if I really do it every single day). Gotta get the heart rate up. Get the endorphins going. I need to work in a “real” workout or I just won’t feel any point to it.

I type all this out in the hope that verbalizing this issue I’ve been having (and the solution I’ve come up with) will push me a little more toward actually doing something, rather than just thinking about it.

What do you think?

 

Blaugust 16: The Random Thoughts


Half the month of August just cannot be over. I mean, it’s not fair! I have SO much to get done! (I know, that’s my fault. If I were better at being an adult and actually getting things done, I would not end up with such immense to-do lists. I continually have too much faith in my ability to actually do the thing the second time it comes up–as opposed to the tenth time. Once in a while I make a conscious decision to work on this habit, but then I put it off until the next day… what I’m saying is, I am the champion of procrastination.)

Today turned out to be terribly inconvenient. I started work early, but unfortunately had more left to do than I thought. So, after a few hours when there was an issue with the power and internet, I had to trek out somewhere to finish up the work and send it to the appropriate recipient. I’ve been sitting in a coffee shop for over two hours now. That’s a long time for me these days… in the end it worked out ok, but it would have been so much easier if everything just worked in the place where I started. The interruption just makes things more difficult.

I wish I had news to share. The only thing I can think of is that yesterday, when I posted all about what I ate that day, I had many more likes on the post than the previous few days, where I had NO post likes on my random musings. Sometimes, when I want to write a post but have no good topic ideas, I write about some random thought I have. And no one, it seems, gives a shit about those…

Of course, to me a blog is for just that. It’s for posting whatever random crap you want. If you start posting only on certain topics or spending hours crafting a post, it’s not a blog anymore. It’s an internet publication. It’s a fancy, official thing that then needs to be monitored and edited frequently.

Call me crazy, but I have always liked blogging the random thoughts in my head. And I’m probably going to keep doing it. But if I never get any likes on those posts, I don’t want to post them. Blogging has become a strange thing–even if you aren’t doing it professionally, you find yourself feeling somewhat competitive about them. “I write better than what they post on THAT blog, why do they get to make money from it?” And other thoughts like that.

This has gotten very rambly and I’m not sure where it’s going, but I need to pack up and get back home now.

Blaugust 13: The Weirdest Dreams


I often get snippets of last night’s dreams at random times during the day. By snippets, I mean anything from a weird impression of a thing that my brain told me really happened while I was in dreamland, to the entire contents of the dream packed into a sudden memory that my mind processes in less than a second. And since dream time is very different, and one dream can sometimes occur as if over many years, that can be quite a strange experience.

Sometimes I’ll only remember the people who were in it and what type of interaction we had, as opposed to what actually happened.

I’ll say from time to time, “I have the weirdest dreams.” When I have this thought, I don’t usually mean the ones where I was talking with a headless demon or giant bugs invaded my bedroom (both of those were real dreams I had). I mean the ones that would be essentially indistinguishable from real life but for the distinct separation, when awake, between the experiences that are “real” and those that are fabricated in the mind.

You might think–well, I dreamed last night that I was a mer-octopus with the head of a lion, so that was weirder.

Is it, though? Because that is most obviously a dream. No matter what you know it is a dream, because that type of dream is so different from the real world.

In a way the dreams that are most like real life, with strange differences (like your best friend looks completely different, or your relationship with someone in your life is completely different, or a friend makes a cameo but they act like they never would in real life…) are weirder. They’re jarring, sometimes disorienting. Sometimes you’ll think “I’m so glad that was a dream,” and other times “I wish that wasn’t a dream.”

 

I wonder what I will be dreaming about tonight.

Blaugust 4: I almost forgot about this today


I want something interesting to write about. Nothing really happens in my life. I’m sure that’s mostly my fault. Interesting people live more interesting lives. If my life is boring, then I must be boring. Right?

Basically today went like this: I overslept, then poked at the computer for a little while until I had to go to work. After I got home, it was all about food because I didn’t eat much during the day. So I overate for dinner. And then I poked at the internet again.

I wish my days were filled with creativity and ideas and laughter. That’s what motivates and inspires me. That is what would make me excited to go write a blog post.

No luck today, I guess. Try again tomorrow.

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