The Return Of Spring

I have to admit that I am a lover of all things Fall and Winter.

I was born in winter; Christmas happens in winter. Many of my several people were born in winter.

And also, I live in the southern United States, so it is unbearably and miserably hot for most of Spring, all of Summer, most of Fall, and sometimes even in Winter.

I’m not a fan of the warm months that fashion magazines advertise as “so amazing” and “can’t wait for” them to come. I call horseshit.

But, there are about four days that are absolutely gorgeous in Spring, here in the South, before it is hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk.

And I am so lucky to have had time to go walk around in this beautiful weather this morning.

It’s about 64F , bright sun, and a little breeze. People are out cutting grass, and the scent of the chopped blades fragrance the breeze.

It’s the Spring (or is it still technically Winter?) day of my dreams.

These little purple wildflowers were not here a few weeks ago, but now, here they are, reminding passers by of the colors just waiting to burst from the ground, when Mother Nature gives the OK.

The sky is so beautiful! I could just look at it all day.

Do cherry blossoms grow in Texas? I have no idea what kind of tree this is; whatever it is, it’s gorgeous.

What is going on in your part of the world?

What beauty have you seen today?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Trying Something New

Do you cook meat a lot?

I don’t.

This evening, I decided to try to make a Cuban something or other pork shoulder.

I was pleasantly surprised by how great it turned out, especially since I did not at all follow the recipe and my meat thermometer didn’t work so I had to guess as to when the meat was done.

I got this piece of pork shoulder from Whole Foods. It wasn’t the cost of a pound of scallops aka super expensive, but it was definitely more costly than bone in chicken thighs.

I had this with a bit of rice and some corn succatash. I basically used all of my patience to make the pork, so I threw canned corn in a skillet and seasoned it and melted some butter and pow, good enough.

A slab of meat is nice to cook because there’s enough to eat tomorrow, too. I’m pleasantly surprised. I really feel like an oven master.

What’s the last new recipe you’ve tried?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Having a Bad Day?

I lost about six hours of work this morning.

Tech support could not help me retrieve the file.

I took a wrong turn trying to get to WhataBurger (for stress relief chicken strips).

The drive thru attendant only gave me three ice cubes.

My tea was too sweet.

I’m on the way to a long meeting with a client and now have substantially less work to show (see reason #1 above).

It’s kind of a poo day. But, my car and body are still running and I didn’t break down in the drive thru lane.

Things can be worse and some days it’ll be your turn to be stuck in the broken down car.

Get your ass out and push!

And be thankful when it’s your turn to be in the car that is running.

How’s your day going?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Caring for Others, Part 2

I have a few more thoughts on what I wrote about yesterday.

When my grandmother taught me how to not be a little ungrateful jerk when I was offered those horrid bananas, she also taught me another lesson: care for yourself.

I have to admit that I am just becoming more practiced at self care, but I suppose a few decades late is better than never.

My grandmother didn’t force me to eat the banana. In fact, I don’t remember being forced to do much of anything as a child. I was encouraged to have an open mind, but never forced into anything.

I think that was an important part of my development into a somewhat carefree kind of person. I understand the importance of not forcing anyone into any thing, which makes me pretty hands off with people. I’m not the friend who is going to ask you to have just one more drink. I’m the friend who doesn’t give a shit when you willingly decide to do so, for yourself.

That little lesson from grandma also means that it’s important to not put the expectations of others before your own wants and desires, if you’re not hurting anyone. My grandmother cared more about me being a nice person than being an obedient one.

Thanks grandma.

I also have to truly thank my mother, too. She reinforced those same values in me. Sometimes she had to counter balance my natural propensity to constantly “Do my own thing” by teaching me the importance of making friends and all that hootienannie. But, I’m very thankful for those lessons, too, mom.

Until tomorrow my friends…

Caring for Others

The most rewarding things that I’ve done in my life involved doing something nice for someone else.

Many times, the recipient has been not so thankful. But, I still felt good anyway. I think it’s important to not let other people’s reactions rob us of the joy of kindness and good deeds. This is VERY hard for me to do, but I’m working on it.

I thought about writing this today because I made some meals for my elderly uncle. I cannot cook like his late wife (my aunt) but I know that he will appreciate my effort.

Do you appreciate other people’s efforts without being critical or an asshole otherwise?

I think that’s easier to do than we think it is.

When I was a kid, I hated bananas. I’ve grown tolerant of them as an adult because I put them in smoothies and the potassium makes my old body feel a little less old.

But honestly, I could never see another banana again and be fine, even happy.

But, when I was a kid, one of my grandma’s friends used to love giving me bananas. It was her favorite fruit and perhaps she thought that she was really being kind to me by offering me one.

I still hated them.

But my grandmother, in all her wisdom, instructed me to not eat the banana but to always, always take it and be completely gracious and thankful.

Eventually, I went from kind of pretending to be thankful to having a better understanding of what grace is. Eventually, my thanks was heartfelt and not at all pretentious, even though I never ate the damned bananas.

I learned to be gracious when someone thought enough of me to do something. I learned to not take the joy from them for being kind. I learned not to essentially punish people for being nice. I learned a little bit of what it’s like to not be an asshole.

And now, when I do nice things for people, I get to learn how to be on the other side of the equation. Sometimes something that I do that I think is kind is met with welcome and enthusiasm. Sometimes, it’s not. But regardless, I’m working on not attaching my feelings to the behavior of other people. I take the pleasure and reward of kindness from what I can control: only myself.

What do you think of this topic?

Until tomorrow my friends…

It Doesn’t Matter

Do you ever feel like no one understands you?

How you feel? Your humor? Your off putting affinity for skulls? Your not so secret desire to live on an island?

Do you ever feel so alone?

Maybe you share some of those feelings and maybe you have some quirks of your own that make you feel ostracized sometimes.

I can relate. Some days, it feels like “Ostracized” is my middle name.

I don’t regularly do the two seemingly most common American activities: drink alcohol and watch tv.

If I had to guess, I would say that on average, I have about one martini every 8 weeks and watch about 1-3 hours of internet videos a week. I watch no regular tv shows, even though I do plan to catch up on “The X-Files” soon.

Do you know what these facts make me? Well, they make me almost a social pariah.

People are so strangely uncomfortable when I tell them I don’t drink much and I watch almost no television. They think that I’m odd, and technically, they’re right.

I feel odd and I feel misunderstood.

I use the examples of television and alcohol as somewhat light hearted examples, but I’ve also often felt deeply misunderstood, sometimes even telling myself that I will NEVER find someone who understands me.

Well, here’s the thing: IT DOES NOT MATTER. So the f*ck what?

Recently, I was listening to an Eckhart Tolle talk and he addressed the ongoing need that we can sometimes have to feel understood. And of course, when our version of understanding does not come, we make ourselves feel miserable. We tell ourselves horrible things, like no one will ever understand, or we are terrible for being so odd, so on and so forth.

But all of those things are unknown. Maybe you’ll find the jelly to your peanut butter. Maybe you’re just a singular, delicious nut spread.

Regardless, the better focus is on understanding yourself. There’s so much focus that we can develop on what other people are giving us that we neglect to give ourselves anything.

So, maybe your family thinks you’re nuts? You might actually be a little weird. Maybe no one does understand you.

SO WHAT?

Do you, who has the most access to you,understand you?

No?

Then you’ve already got enough things to do.

So many, in fact, that you might not have much time to watch the tele.

Until tomorrow my friends…

Geezer

I’m feeling kind of old today.

Long hours behind the computer made me into a modern version of the tin man. Almost immobile, definitely inflexible.

What makes you feel old?

Kudos to you if you’re still young enough to not feel old yet.

And kudos to my massage therapist who helped take at least 45 days off my knees. They still feel like stiff, yet wobbly knobs, but hopefully that feeling will go away.

And hello to my fellow old people!

Until tomorrow my friends…

Free Advice for Sale

I was just scrolling through Facebook, and I saw an ad for a weight loss and exercise program. Yes, ANOTHER ONE.

I get why there are so many programs. Each one has an approach that will help their target group of consumers.

And people respond well to certain personalities and styles. I, for instance, enjoy the female badass vibe of Jillian Michaels and the humorous antics of Tony Horton. I also love the no talking style of Tracy Anderson.

I’m not paid to endorse any of those people and if I were, it would be a shame because I’m still fat. But you get the idea.

But the Facebook ad made me think about all the advice we can buy online, in the form of training programs, books, etc.

While exercise and nutrition training programs are great and useful, there are some simple things that you can do to get you started on the right track. I’m going to share some of those things with you here, now, totally FOR FREE.

1) Try to move around during the day.

Do you know that it’s kind of difficult to get in 10,000 steps a day, if you work a desk job at least. Start with trying to get 3,000 and then challenge yourself to take just one more step each day thereafter. Just noticing how sedentary you are is a way to change your behavior.

2) Eat something that is a green vegetable at every meal.

Today, I ate Thai takeout leftovers (don’t judge) but I steamed a small head of broccoli florets to go with it. Getting in your veggies can be hard, but if you develop some awareness of your lack of vegetable intake, you’ll likely improve.

A friend of mine once showed me a tray of vegetables he kept in his fridge, with the goal of eating them all in a week. I looked at the tray in horror! But I’m pretty sure he’s healthier than I am. He would just open the fridge, see the tray of vegetables, and sometimes just eat some raw, right then and there. Can’t get much easier than that, right?

3) Cook at least 75% of your own meals.

I can personally say that doing this has a good chance of helping you get healthier and lose weight. Not only will you consume less weird shit (you probably don’t have Blue#3 sitting in your cupboard waiting to be poured into your food, right?), but you will likely eat things that are simple to make and have fewer courses.

When I go out to eat, I usually have some bread (it’s free and delicious, so of course I eat that shit, nom nom nom); then I have a main course and wash it down with soda, and of course I don’t want to be rude to the waiter and not order dessert! What am I? Some kind of rude skinny person? No, of course not!

But, when I’m at home, even though I’m an accomplished baker (humble brag), I do NOT bake bread and brownies to have with my dinner. I eat the dinner and go do something else. Calories saved.

4) Keep going even if you screw up one day.

This is the one I struggle with a lot. I am still working on telling myself to just keep going and trying, but I often fall off the wagon.

5) Stress less.

Stress is an agent of the devil! The devil in hell and the devil of your mind, whatever you believe in. Stress is a bad thing!

My body has reacted to stress in the craziest of ways, including insomnia, hair loss, etc. Stress screws up your hormones and screwed up hormones mean FAT FOREVER. Don’t do it, boys and girls…dont even get me started talking about how delicious a brownie is after dealing with Tom in Accounting all day. Uh, go away TOM! Avoid Tom and stress as much as you can.

6) BONUS: Go to sleep

Guess what you’re probably not doing when you’re asleep? That’s right, eating.

There you go. Some free advice that you could have paid someone to give to you and I just delivered it, like an angel of sarcasm.

What’s your best healthy living advice? Leave a free comment below and tell me.

Until tomorrow my friends…

People are the Worst

Yesterday, I was driving down one of the busiest streets in Houston, and I saw a chubby, hairy arm sticking out of a beige SUV.

The chubby arm was attached to a chubby hand and the chubby hand was texting.

That’s right, a left side, chubby hand attached to a chubby arm was hanging out of the driver side window of a beige SUV, precariously texting, while driving down Westheimer.

People. Are. The. Worst.

Texting while driving is bad enough, but to do it with your left hand hanging out of the car is even more distracting. How am I supposed to stay focused when I think your cheap, non-iPhone device might fall out of your hand at any moment?

Calm down internets. It was just a joke. I respect all phones, but their owners are sometimes kind of dumb.

Have you seen anyone doing anything particularly stupid or hazardous lately?

Until tomorrow my friends…