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Blaugust 30: Nope


Today I’ve been stuck in one of those black holes of work in which a fairly simple task is taking much longer than I thought it would. This is certainly due in part to the fact that I haven’t been able to focus. In that situation, 15 minutes of work ends up taking at least an hour.

Unfortunately, this means two things: 1. I will be working until very late to finish this, and 2. I don’t have time to think about blogging today. Not that I have anything to say either.

So another stupid post to add to the list. What else can I do?

Blaugust 23: Then, A Nap


Although I woke up later than I wanted today, I started off with what should have been plenty of time. Then, I proceeded to waste the rest of the morning and left to do errands around noon. I was gone for several hours and should have started working when I got home.

But I was tired.

So I took a nap.

The nap was only about an hour. But then I checked my email and poked around the evil black hole of Facebook for a while. Before I knew it, it was nearly seven in the evening and I had to make something for dinner.

By the time I finished eating, it was almost seven thirty. I set my plate aside and finally started working. By then, though, I was stuck in an internet loop of Netflix, Facebook notifications, and checking my email every ten minutes. So I’ve only gotten through a little bit of my work today. It’s mainly due to stress, which builds up so much sometimes that actually working becomes nearly impossible. Unfortunately, the deadlines and the bill pay dates don’t change in accordance, so it just causes MORE stress.

And that is how you waste a day being barely productive. I hope this was an informative, instructional post for you.

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.

 

Monday Madness, Madness of Monday


I swear I had something to say. I was thinking about it just last night. Maybe even early this morning. Now I can’t remember.

This is why ideas should be written down. There will be a lot of them that come to nothing. They’ll seem brilliant, important, or at least mildly interesting at first and you will be sure that you can make something of them. Then you come back a week or a month later–sometimes only an hour–and it sounds pointless, boring, ridiculous. On occasion, it makes no sense whatsoever. And that’s fine. All of our ideas can’t be good. That’s just unrealistic. But by not writing ideas down, I am sure I’ve forgotten more good ideas than I remember.

To be fair, habits take a long time to develop, and I used to have a much better memory. I never had trouble remembering the important things. But I guess that was when I had a lot less to remember. As an adult, with adult responsibilities, and the knowledge of how much you’ve already forgotten in your life, you know that you’d damn well better write down anything that’s important.

And yet you still forget.

100 Happy Days: Day 101


I’ve just completed the 100 happy days challenge, which I posted on my Instagram account (https://instagram.com/norecipelife). In case you haven’t heard of it, the basic idea is that you post at least one picture a day capturing something that made you happy. It was kind of fun, and definitely interesting, but more often than not I found it kind of annoying. Just another frustrating thing I have to do that I don’t want to.

In theory, participating in the 100 happy days makes  you think about good things in your life, with the intention that it will take focus off the negative things and make you grateful for what you do have. I love that idea. It’s great. But the reality didn’t really work out so well.

A large part of this not working out as planned was the time in my life I chose to do it. Because I work from home there are a lot of days I see absolutely nothing interesting whatsoever. Due to a lack of means to go out and do exciting things, bad time management, and a pretty uneventful social life, there really didn’t seem to be anything worth sharing on a lot of days. I’d search around for something and usually it would just be a picture of food, or I’d google image search for something cool and be happy about that instead of anything in my real life. A lot of my pictures wound up being of food, or coffee, and while I don’t have a problem with that really, it is kind of boring and seemingly pointless if you look at them all together. It got to a point where I was like, is food really the main thing that makes me feel happy at this point in my life? Because that’s kind of sad. On my penultimate day, the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality in all 50 states, and it was awesome to be able to include that in my set of pictures. I was very glad that happened on the 99th day. However, the next day I posted several pictures and ALL of them were food-related.

Lesson number 1: If you’re going to start this challenge, you should try to pick a time when something interesting or exciting is already built into your plans, so that you have other things to share than just food. Vacation, graduation, party, I don’t know. Something like that. Or you could actually have a social life, unlike me.

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Sometimes I don’t believe the date.


I too often write blog posts about my lack of blog posts.

Life has been busy, crazy, and a blur lately. Between work, holidays, a death in the family, and general life stuff, I’ve barely thought about blogging lately. I think that for just about everyone, there are bound to be times when you can’t keep up with regular blogging. The indication of whether you’re “meant to” blog (whatever that means) is that you keep coming back to it, no matter how many times you slip behind.

I would certainly rather be a regular poster. Maybe I’ll bring back Monday Madness, or come up with a new weekly post like Thursday Thoughts, or Wacky Wednesday, or Sunday Silliness. I don’t know. However, we can’t always do the things we want. I think the fact that I persist even after long hiatuses (hiati? No, that just looks like I spelled Haiti wrong) is something to be proud of. It’s a small thing, sure, but the truth is, my chicken tikka masala post continues to account for most of the views on the site, so new posts don’t make that much of a difference.

Even thought I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, I used the turn of the year as a starting point to make real changes in my life. (Some of them haven’t quite taken yet, like being more active and eating healthier,  but they will.) More writing, learning music, getting my finances figured out, cleaning out all the stuff I don’t want anymore, and yet other unmentioned goals. It’s the year of starting to turn my life into the life I actually want.

I won’t call anything a New Year’s resolution because:

1. I think most people give up on it completely if they don’t start it in the first two or three weeks of January.

2. My goals are not meant to be contained to a particular time, but to transform my habits for a longer period.

This is going to be very hard work and sometimes very stressful, so I can’t say for sure I’ll be blogging much more often, but I certainly would like to. I’ve had so many good ideas over the past few months, but not enough time or inclination to write them. In the near future, I will probably be posting on my writing blog devajashewaywriting.com more frequently than here, so check that out if you’ve missed me. Unless everything falls apart again, I should be able to do some real posts here too, instead of just more updates… I know, so many update posts. BORING.

Right now I’m very full of cheese fries and calzone, after going out to eat with a friend. I’m trying to digest, but it’s proving somewhat difficult right now.

Why do I listen to myself…


It seems I have made a very obvious mistake. …I started to think of the No-Recipe Life as having a recipe.

Ridiculous, right?

I haven’t written much because I haven’t felt inspired in the food area. And obviously this is a food blog, right? WROOOOONG. Not entirely wrong, as that was the original intent, but as time went on I added other types of topics to it, and intended to expand it even more before I went on an unintentional vacation.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I decided to use the No-Recipe approach to life in general, not just food. Sure, some guidelines are often useful, but who wants to stick to a certain set of rules all the time? Boring people, that’s who. (No offense if that’s you…)

Who knows why I forgot. Maybe I just got confused since most of my views lately have come from a single food post. Maybe I worry that no one cares what I have to say about other subjects. Maybe I shouldn’t care if they care, and write what I want.

 

Perhaps I’ll pick it up again immediately and be posting all the time! Perhaps it will take a while to get back into blogging with regularity. Perhaps I will start doing chains of sentences that begin with the same word often enough that people will start to seriously question my writing ability… let’s hope not.

It’s hard to give yourself a proper wrist-slap for going about something the wrong way. Probably because your heart’s just not in it (the wrist-slapping). I suppose it would make more sense just to learn and move on. Anyway, I do hope to be posting more soon, and as I’ve said I would do many times before, I might totally revamp my blog. Because it’s not vampy enough.

What Could Be Better?


Having acquired quite a large amount (probably too much) of things that I don’t necessarily need, I’m starting to become more discerning in my acquisitions and thinking about the things I really feel like I need. What would actually improve my quality of life in general? Bit by bit I’m starting to collect those things, but there are some that in my experience are just really difficult.

1. The first is winter-specific, and that is thin, warm sweaters and tops. I am not really a fan of bulky or chunky sweaters that tend to abound in colder-climated places. They do absolutely nothing for my figure, and this is (sometimes disproportionately, I’m sure) important to me. The one really cozy sweater I have is not very bulky and hangs nicely. I have one or two more fitted, long-sleeved tops that are not bad for providing warmth, but I still have to layer them with another sweater on very cold days.

While I’m on the subject, I also am in desperate need of winter boots that look good with skirts or dresses. I mean actually weatherproof, will keep out snow and rain, but also moderately dressy and don’t make my pencil skirts look ridiculous. A few weeks ago I realized that the cold itself was not my only reason for wearing jeans every single day–it was because I don’t like how my boots look with skirts.

I need items that help me stick to my style in the winter instead of just defaulting to jeans and the same few nice tops or layers of cardigans, scarves, and tees all winter long. I’m too fancy for my winter clothes. I will have to start trying to fix this problem next winter.

2. This morning I found myself really wishing for a travel mug that does not change the flavor of my coffee, but also keeps it warm. Any time I take coffee in my metal ones, it tastes odd, very different from how it tastes in a normal mug. When I use my ceramic travel mug, which I bought because it had a picture of a peacock on it, the coffee is cold within 15 minutes. And, occasionally, the rubber top tastes weird to me. I shouldn’t have to taste the lid of my travel mug.

I don’t think this is such a problem for everyone else. It’s not something I’ve ever heard others complain about, from what I can recall. I also want one without a Starbucks logo, and made from eco-friendly materials. Any suggestions?

3. For at least ten years I have been searching for a great skincare routine. In the past few years my acne has subsided a bit as my skin naturally became a little less oily, but I still have that pesky “combination” skin–some oily areas, some a little dry at times, others normal. I need a collection of products that are effective but gentle–because I hated using cleansers and such that would completely dry out some areas of my face. I need a routine that does not need twelve different products every day (my maximum that I’m willing to deal with is 7 or so), but really improves my skin in all ways–smaller pores, no blackheads, fewer blemishes, that “glow” everyone’s always talking about. And then it also has to make pimples go away more quickly; I’m sick of getting these spots that hang around for several weeks before they finally start to diminish, sometimes even with regular use of a spot treatment.

My current skincare routine is okay, having abandoned the harsher acne cleansers I used to use for some gentle, more natural products. In many ways they work much better for me, but I feel like my pores are getting larger by the day. Supposedly this is common as you age, but I don’t want them to be so huge no matter how old I am, so I’ve got a few brands in mind to try. I worry, though, that by the time I find the products that really work, my skin will be changing again and I’ll have to restart the search.

4. This is something that I assume I won’t have to buy, but is very hard for me to find: A time management guide. I have some issues with time management, one of them being that I hate routines that have me doing the same exact thing every day. Minor changes don’t count (like “today I have yogurt for breakfast and tomorrow I’ll have eggs”). I start to get very restless and going back and forth to and from the same places and activities every day becomes monotonous before too long. So the most typical advice of mapping out your day and setting aside particular times to do things makes me resistant because I don’t like being so closely scheduled. I prefer freedom, flexibility, options. I need the room for spontaneity even if it’s only used once in a while, or I start to feel suffocated. So I need some sort of time management buddy that allows me to organize things without planning out each day precisely. I have yet to find one that works for me.

These are the most prominent in my mind right now. There are other things as well, but those are more of long-term goals. Like owning nice furniture that I actually want to look at. I like dark wood, probably because it always seems to look nicer. Even cheap dark wood looks like better quality than light wood. Of course, I’m hesitant to buy any furniture right now. Not only do I not have the money, but I don’t want to acquire so many large pieces in my current apartment. I’m still hoping I won’t be stuck there for that much longer.

So what about you? What things do you feel like you need to make your life better/easier/more enjoyable? I want to know!

We All Need a Break Sometimes


For a while, I wasn’t really cooking anything that seemed interesting enough to post about, so I didn’t post any recipes. More recently I’ve been making some good stuff–made guacamole with my mom, made salsa (as far as I’m concerned, the secret is just jalapenos and cilantro), and some other things I now can’t really remember. But I haven’t felt too motivated to post about these things, even though I do sort of want to.

And all those things I said I was going to do to update my blog? Still intend to, but I’m already late. Like almost everyone else I’ve ever met, I’m kind of a procrastinator, especially when I don’t have a set deadline. (And deadlines I set myself that no one else cares about don’t count.)

It can  be argued that keeping at something even when you don’t feel like doing it can be good for you. If you push through the difficult times, you will come through to the other side with more energy and motivation. However, you can also burn out that way. I think that taking a break is a good idea for me right now, so I’m just taking it easy. I haven’t posted on Between Worlds either. I have been watching a lot of Netflix, though.

In the meantime, you can watch my eggnog cupcake video if you missed it (doesn’t show actual cooking, sorry) or my most recent one on my non-resolutions:

 

I haven’t done nearly as much with my channel as I originally wanted by this point. One of my unstated goals is to play around with editing a bit more, even in the crappy program I have, and see if I can understand more of the features. All I have to do is just take some sort of stock video-like footage I can play around with, because then I won’t feel like I’m in a rush to post it (I talk about time-sensitive things when I’m vlogging), and I can take my time. I’d also love to figure out how to make it post in HD… my camera should be able to do 1080p videos, but so far when I upload them it only goes up to 260 or whatever the number is. It’s really low, I know that much.

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So, based on what I’ve stated above, you might not see a lot of posts from me for a little while. I’ll be back though. I’m stubborn, so I have to pretend that this blog might one day be successful.

Monday Madness: F*ck! I’m in My Twenties.


This is the title of a book I got for Christmas. Yes, it was on my wishlist. Because I am in my twenties. And it’s kind of weird.

The book actually has that asterisk. I guess you’re not allowed to actually write “fuck” on a book cover, because Go the F*ck to Sleep had the same thing. CENSORSHIP. PROTECT US FROM THE DIRTY WORDS PLEASE, BECAUSE THEY’RE THE REAL PROBLEM AROUND HERE!!!

You might not be surprised to hear that things have been a little bit crazy lately. Between the holidays and visiting family, the emotional mess I became in the few weeks before the holidays (for no reason, really), the unusual work schedule, and the weather (it turns out I actually hate winter, so, yeah), I feel like I haven’t had a chance to really relax pretty much since Thanksgiving.

That’s all about how I spend my time, though. I need to figure out how to manage time and money effectively. Less procrastination. In my last year of college I resolved to do my homework as soon as possible and never put it off. That didn’t happen, of course, but I think I finished everything at least the day before it was due. Unfortunately, I have no actual deadlines to work with now…

I would really like to spend January on vacation. I don’t mean out of town, away on some tropical island somewhere–although I guess that would be nice too. I was actually thinking staycation. Because all I want to do right now is nurse my creativity. I want to read all these books I’ve had around, many for over a year now, and absorb the literature and the art. I also want to re-read Memoirs of Hadrian and The Waves, both fantastic books I’ve only read once. I need to finish Pride and Prejudice, finally, and read at least some of the entries from History of the World in 100 Objects. I got it as a present a long time ago, because I claimed to want it very very much, and I haven’t actually read a single word of it.

And then I want to delve into the stories in my head. There are so many, and they’re tired of being unseen. It’s like my productivity as a writer is a frozen river; it’s flowing, but I just can’t get to it through this layer of ice.

That ice is day-to-day life. It’s an 8-hour work day plus an hour of commute at each end. It’s forcing myself out of bed in the morning when I’m still so tired, and trying to get through the morning quickly enough that I’ll get to work on time (sometimes…). It’s those evenings when you get home and make dinner, and do the dishes, and then take a shower, and then you pretty much only have time to go to bed.

Because I spend way more time complaining about all this stuff than actually taking steps to improve my life, I feel the need to make a certain point here: this stuff is a lot easier for some people. Plenty of people wake up on time (even if they don’t enjoy it) and they go through their work day and they get home and are productive in their free time. I suspect that these people are well-adjusted ones who had mostly happy adolescences and were never lonely or excluded, because they were “normal.”

I am not one of those people. For me, the idea of coming home after work and cleaning and writing and doing the things I want to do that would make life nicer in general is at times quite impossible. Making some kind of sandwich melt in the toaster oven and then watching shows on hulu for three hours always seems so much simpler and more attainable of a goal.

But I’ve got Resolutions this year! (One of them is making the updates to this blog I talked about in an earlier post.) I’m thinking of them as Non-New Year’s Resolutions, because I don’t think New Year’s Resolutions actually work. I’m planning to make a youtube video about it and posting it early in January… I’ll link it, so keep an eye out if you’re interested. In a nutshell, my resolutions are about getting off my ass and actually trying to do the things I want to do. But it’s more particular than that.

With a reluctant sigh, I guess I should get back to that “life” now and get something done…

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