Archives for posts with tag: don’t forget to bring a map

Generally speaking, it makes a lot of sense to cook from the recipe, particularly considering I am neither a trained cook or chef, nor am I an amazing natural talent in the kitchen. I’m just a person cooking food. πŸ™‚ The traditions of my family’s kitchens are not astonishing. They are a fairly commonplace hodge-podge of German, English, French, Slavic, and Mediterranean cuisines, with hints of flavors borrowed elsewhere. Ordinary “American food”. I was fortunate to be exposed to more foreign flavors and food experiences through my military service, and family members who traveled the world in their own endeavors. I enjoy food. I’m less of a fan of kitchen work (chopping, preparing, measuring, cleaning up, doing dishes), but… if I don’t cook, I have far fewer choices of what foods go into my mouth!

…If I want to reproduce a food, meal, or flavor I fancy, I pretty much have to follow the recipe with care, though, is my point…

“Follow the recipe” sounds rather a lot like “follow instructions”. There is, for sure, a time and place where/when not following instructions may be the wiser course, but let’s be real; those times/places are by far the exception. In general, it makes sense to follow directions, instructions, recipes, how-to guides, care manuals, safety warnings… all of that.

I had a powerful lesson in following the recipe over the holiday weekend – and it was tasty and delightful. I (re)learned how to make scrambled eggs (that are actually worth eating)! Doesn’t sound that exciting, I’m sure. It was delicious (but now I can’t say I don’t like eggs). I also (re)learned to make really good waffles. So much yum. πŸ˜€ Super delicious, and I got there by reading with care (in this instance equivalent to listening deeply), following the recipe, and practice. Totally worth it!

…Then, I ruined the wire whisk for my Kitchen Aid mixer by throwing it into the dishwasher carelessly (acting on the recollection that it is dishwasher safe – it isn’t – from a much older model that had an all-stainless whisk attachment – that still had care instructions, by the way, that said “hand wash only”). Well, shit. Harsh reminder that “rules is rules”, and in some cases (often with safety instructions or care instructions), those rules are there for a legitimately good reason. In this case, the dishwasher efficiently removed the coating from the zinc-containing base metal of the attachment’s hub (the wires themselves are still stainless), creating a safety/health concern, and also just generally an icky inky mess any time I touch that whisk.

I woke to a polite note from my Traveling Partner, who had emptied the dishwasher this morning. It included a frowny face, and a reminder that he’d specifically reminded me not to put these accessories in the dishwasher, and asking me to toss the ruined accessory and order a new one. Fuuuuuuuuuck. Damn it. Shit. I’m annoyed with myself. Learning new shit sometimes means unlearning old shit – and guess which one of those things does not come naturally to me?? (If you guessed that I may have some challenges unlearning habitual behaviors, you are correct!)

Follow the recipe. Yes, maybe you have a tweak in mind that could be really good… I’m not saying don’t explore or adventure, just noticing how much more successful I tend to be, in a great many circumstances, when I follow recipes – whether those are recipes for waffles or recipes for success is not relevant here. Recipes. Instructions. Warnings. Care guides. RTFM. Even I know that. Here’s the thing; I’m learning that there are elements of recipes one can adjust more or less to preference or with wild abandon… and others that can’t be adjusted without wrecking the result. Some substitutions work. Some don’t. Some changes affect flavor. Some changes don’t. Some changes result in the chemistry of the recipe breaking down completely (go ahead, leave out all the eggs, cheese, proteins and starches from your “casserole” – let me know how that one goes). So. There’s that. One more challenging bit of skillful adulthood to tackle. LOL

…Note: there’s really no version of “changing the recipe” that applies comfortably to actual safety instructions. Just saying, be safe.

So, this morning I’m sipping my coffee and shopping for a replacement wire whisk, and feeling grateful to have a partner who is fairly patient with me day-to-day, and feeling grateful to have reached this place where I am also patient with myself. There’s a ton of practice involved in changing old habits or frankly-less-than-ideal behavior. My results vary. I definitely have to begin again, like, a bunch. It is a process.

Heading into the new year, I’m not even upset over it, just mildly frustrated, a bit disappointed with myself, and eager to begin again. πŸ™‚

The New Year is almost here. Time to turn the page on this plague-ridden year and begin anew*. I used to make a point of creating an event on my social media pages & apps, and inviting my contacts to join me in taking one hour out of the 24 available hours on 1/1 of the new year – for themselves. Time to be spent reflecting on the year past, considering the goals of the year ahead, and plotting what that path might look like – in a sense, crafting a map of sorts, of the way ahead. Some time spent on purposeful reflection. Some time spent on self, and self-care. I’ve found it a worthy moment to spend with myself, each year.

…I’m not on Facebook these days. I have, but don’t use, a Twitter account (the grotesque spectacle of how Twitter can be mis-used, provided to us over the past 4 years, has been a lesson – for me – in “fuck that dumb shit, who needs it?”). My Instagram account lingers on, primarily as a last “easy” means of staying in touch with some far away friends. I spend less than 15 minutes per day on it, and often go days without looking at it at all. (Lovely landscape pictures… chipmunks… kittens… the ads suck, and I don’t like the association with Facebook at all.) I’m not on Twitch, or Discord, or Parler, or Reddit, or… yeah, I learned an important lesson some time ago about the value of my time, and also? The likely real-world harms that result from “doom-scrolling” and obsessing over the funhouse picture of other lives that social media presents as “reality”. It wasn’t at all healthy for me, personally, so – like a lot of people – I cut way back. Waaaaaay back. I’m down to just the one (Instagram), and I’m constantly asking myself whether I get real value out of that one that justifies having any involvement whatsoever with social media, generally. lol

…Leaving social media complicates some things in the 21st Century, while it simplifies others. That’s just real. Still worth it.

You’re invited, too!

So… I invite you to take One Hour, this New Year’s holiday, and start the year off with a moment of your own time, wherever you are, wholly spent on giving thought to who you are today, who you most want to be, and how you can make that journey from here, now, to arrive at living life as the person you most want to be day-to-day. I’m not saying one hour gives you an easy path to that potentially quite distant goal – but surely most journeys are simplified by checking a map once in a while? One Hour is a bit like “taking down the directions” to a destination – potentially more like jotting those down on a cocktail napkin than like drafting a proper map, but you get my meaning, I’m sure. πŸ™‚

Take One Hour. Go for a walk. Write in a journal (preferably your own… πŸ˜‰ ). Are you a fan of “weighing the pros and cons”? Make a couple lists. Give real thought to real challenges. Ask yourself the hard questions that are on your mind – even if you don’t find immediate answers. If nothing else, take that One Hour, and be your own best friend for a little while.

…One Hour isn’t much, really, out of an entire day or week, month, or year, surely we each deserve that much and more from ourselves? It’s a start. Another beginning. A stepping stone to a future. A personal practice that has remained a favorite of mine for the many years I’ve done it. Here’s hoping you make time for you on New Year’s Day, and that the year ahead finds you on the path to that best version of yourself that you see ahead. πŸ™‚ Realistically? It’ll probably be a journey that takes far more than one hour. There will be challenges. Changes. Choices. You’ll have to practice some things. Maybe do some things very differently than you had.

Your results will surely vary. Fortunately – however many times you feel you have failed, you can begin again.

New path, new perspective.

*I have to admit that although in a great many respects 2020 was quite terrible as years go, in other respects – many, actually – it was also (for me) quite a good year, too. I have mixed feelings about that, but it would be at odds with the woman I most want to be to fail to acknowledge that some events of 2020 have left a lasting positive mark on me. My relationship with my Traveling Partner has deepened considerably. We bought a home together. Improved our quality of life in a number of ways. I’ve got a good job. We live in a pleasant community. It’s hard to fuss about how shitty pandemic life is when we are so fortunate… just saying; linguistic shortcuts are sometimes at the expense of nuance and details that matter. πŸ™‚

Sipping coffee, planning for camping, and feeling contented; it’s a pleasant start to the morning. πŸ™‚ I’m excited about my camping trip – and it’s almost here! Next week. Whether I write or not, I’ve no idea, I do know there’s no cell signal available through much of that large beautiful hike-able acreage. Just… none. If my recollection is correct, there’s a hint of a bit of a signal now and then, but only at this one particular spot, and it’s a trek of a couple miles (uphill) to reach it, and it’s not reliable…so… I most likely won’t be posting during that time, regardless whether or not I do write. πŸ™‚

Honestly… lots of past posts to explore, and it’s not as if I’m truly writing wholly original content, is it, since I generally write the same things, most days… drinking coffee… breathing… good self-care… choices, verbs, practicing practices, and beginning again… right? πŸ˜‰ Don’t let yourself down on my account; I’ll be right back. πŸ˜€

There are paths yet to be explored – where will yours take you?

I’m eager for the break in routine, and for the days and nights among the trees. I’m eager to hear bird song, and not traffic, and the loud peeps and chirps and calls of chipmunks and squirrels, instead of the conversation of commuters and random human beings out in the world. I’m eager to read the weather, the actual weather, instead of the news. πŸ™‚

I remind myself not to forget coffee!

I have a list of gear I need to either double-check that I do still have it, or pick it up before I go. I keep adding things to it, and crossing things off. I enjoy camping much more when I am prepared…and I also enjoy traveling light, and without excessive weight or baggage dragging me down. I’ve got a list that makes sense. It’s an observation that doesn’t last long when the next question hits me…

…What if it rains?

I laugh so hard I snort coffee, which is less than pleasant, but now I’m giggling; I literally haven’t made any specific effort to plan for any sort of significant rain. It’s August. Why would it rain? Only… it may, and it could, and it’s been known to happen, and… it’s in the forecast. lol So…?

Like a lot of life’s circumstances, preparedness makes an easier journey, for sure. Also like life, and circumstances, it’s not particularly easy to be prepared for all of everything that could be part of my experience than I might want to… while also traveling light, and keeping baggage to a minimum. The more I am inclined to carry, the more verbs (and effort) will be involved in the journey, itself, and the more there will be to manage, deal with, juggle, find space for, when I arrive at my destination. There are choices to be made. Some circumstances are best accepted, than prepared for in advance in any notable way. (I’m not actually saying rainfall is one of those, I mean… it’s possible to shove rain gear into my backpack without adding a ton of weight to my gear!)

Don’t let a little rain stop you. πŸ™‚

Anyway. Rain is a thing that happens, even in August. I’m giggling because I enjoy the rain… but… I also dislike being soaked to the skin, catching a chill, and miserable because all my gear is soaked. lol There are definitely choices to make, and planning is a useful tool for making them. I give some thought to the rain, and my list, and make some adjustments to also account for chilly nights, and dewy cold mornings. Will I be warm enough? Cool enough? Dry enough? Will I have coffee for the mornings? Will I want paper books, or digital books? Don’t forget to bring a towel! What about tea? Broth? It’s nice to have something hot to sip on that isn’t loaded with caffeine – or sugar. What about sleep…? Do I want my cot, or an inflatable something or other? (I already know I don’t much feel like sleeping directly on the ground, on a thin sleeping mat; I’ll be out there for 4 nights.)

Everything I take on this journey, I’ll have to carry, myself.Β That’s a hell of a metaphor, right there.

I look at the time. Yeah. Already. I smile, and finish my coffee, and put aside my list. Same path, different day. I smile, and grab my keys, and my backpack, and get ready to begin again. πŸ˜€