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.
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?
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…
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.
As I’m house sitting, I’ve been waking up much earlier than I usually would because the dog comes and whines for me to get up a little before 7 most days. I generally don’t have to wake up that early, so I almost never do. But once she’s woken me up, I find it much harder to go back to sleep (especially since I tend to have to pee also).
I have also noticed that waking up that early means that I start working much, much sooner. I often need a few hours to get to a point where I can function, so when I wake up late, my work day starts late. Late enough that I have to stay up very late working to make up for it. And my sleep schedule suffers even more.
This is the kind of thing one should hesitate to put on the internet. Admitting that you manage your time badly? A potential employer might read that! So I also feel the need to add: I can get things done quickly when I really have to. I can laser-focus and just Get. Things. Done. However, most of the things I have to do (i.e. adult tasks), I find frustrating or honestly unnecessary, except for the unfortunate desire to function in society. So it’s hard to feel motivated most of the time.
It’s something I need to work on more, I know. It’s a little better these days, but I will wait before I claim to actually be generally organized and efficient.
And I’ll end with this quote that amused me:
“We’re having banana pancakes for breakfast today.”
“I like pancakes.”
…”We’re all gonna die.”
I’m only writing this right now to avoid the utter failure of missing the first day of a self-imposed blogging challenge.
The last writing challenge I did was the 365k365day challenge (which I detailed to some degree on my writing blog). I think it was in 2014. I was very excited about it to begin with, but lost steam all too quickly and beyond April of that year, barely wrote 1,000 words. My failure in that challenge coincided with my overall writing hiatus. Perhaps it even caused it. I don’t know–I don’t think I’ll ever know.
I was going to do editing work when I got home from the retail work, but after my short dinner break and a bit of poking things on the internet, I took a little time to watch an episode or two on Netflix. Now it’s 10:30 and I still intend to do the work… Read the rest of this entry
Happy birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. I don’t get the day off to celebrate but I hope you have a fun ghost party.
I’ve discovered an interesting pattern: I’m able to focus on work (of whatever kind) for a solid several hours after watching at least one episode of Gilmore Girls.
Pop culture (movies and tv in particular) is not generally something I find helps me work. Typically it helps me avoid work. This is a very odd phenomenon, completely out of tune with my life in general.
I have a guess for why this happens, but I couldn’t say for sure.
The women in the show (the main ones) are very driven, with specific goals and very obvious determination. Others do not have the same goal-orientation, but they are very talented or have strong personalities. I think that watching them instills, to a certain degree, the urge to get something done. Watch an episode, edit thirty pages. Or something like that. I wanted to work on my own writing again, but sadly I did not have time.
You know what’s not motivating, though? Hint: I talk about it a lot–my commute. I find it draining and I need time to recharge after I get to work. This can be a problem because I can’t leave early enough to have proper time for recharging. I like sleep too much for that. Why couldn’t I have found a job I could get to without wanting to die? WHY?
And why do buses have to change their schedules on certain days? All you really achieve is making the people who still need to use the bus that day wait for absurd amounts of time.
I need to stay off facebook on days like this. People are posting their day-off activities all over the place and not only do these activities not have anything whatsoever to do with me, but they make me jealous that I have to be at work. So. Keep it to yourself, why don’t you?
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.
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.
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…
I haven’t even been awake (fully) for three hours and I want to go back to sleep. Such is my life.
And because I woke up so late, I had tea and cookies that I keep in my desk for breakfast. No omelet (see yesterday’s post about what the hell I should do with all the basil), no yogurt, NO COFFEE. I think that bears repeating: I had no coffee this morning. The truth is, I don’t need it for the caffeine. I can wake up ok without any coffee. (And, you know, this might be a thing that addicts say, but) It’s the feeling of sitting down with a cup of coffee, the flavor, the knowledge that I actually have time to sit and drink coffee, more than the effects of the caffeine, that make me so unhappy when I miss it.
And now that I’m sitting at my desk, I don’t want to go out in this below-freezing weather to get coffee.
On some occasions, I sort of wish I were a trophy wife. If that were the case, I would have time for coffee every morning, because I wouldn’t have to worry about being at work. And I’d have time to organize my home, which I have not managed to do. I think that no matter how long I live somewhere, I have to really feel that I want to be in that apartment (or house, but that would be a long way off) before I can make efforts to make it feel like home. Like, I would really like to get some drawer organizers, and then I thought I could probably make some myself. And then I thought further, when the hell am I going to have time for that?
But I don’t really want to be a trophy wife. I want the perks without having to be showered in extreme sexism/chauvinism every day. I want time and space to do the things in life that really matter to me. When you feel like you have to squeeze in the things you really care about wherever you can find time, and otherwise devote your life to pursuits you’re not enjoying just so you can afford to live, the passions and hobbies can become strains–especially when you start to feel guilty whenever you don’t have time to do them.
I feel like I, and pretty much everyone else on the internet, complain about the same things all the time. We could all just shut up and go DO things instead. But it’s so hard.
Well. Last night I decided I should make a pizza bagel for dinner, after buying bagels from Cafenation. It was very tasty but, of course, being pizza, it burned the roof of my mouth. So breakfast this morning was a little painful.
Worse, though, was the sad state of my coffee. I don’t know what happened exactly, but it wasn’t good today. It wasn’t terrible, so I drank it anyway. But I was kind of sad about it. Between that and how bad my hair looks today, I am not loving this Wednesday. I’m also very very tired, I think I need several days to just sleep.
Woe. Woe is me.
So the debate going on in my head is should I just have unsatisfying coffee today, or should I go out and get some? It should be an easy answer. It would help me be a little bit warmer in this freezing cold office (I’m exaggerating, but I am definitely cold), and I tend to go out for some food or drink every day, sometimes even just to get out of the office for a few minutes. But I’ve done very badly with my money this month so I would like, ideally, to spend as little as possible until whenever it is next week that I get my paycheck.
And so the debate goes. And screw it, I’m probably going to go get a coffee. I should be able to spend $2-4 today without a problem…
I think this problem could have been very easily avoided if I could have worked from home today. In fact, it would eliminate many problems if I could work from home. Logistically, I could do it. My tasks are generally things I do at a computer by myself, so…
Life is NOT fair. It’s not even close.