First Morning and a Good Life

Life is good this morning, I woke at my normal 4:30 body clock time refreshed and ready for a good day.  Something was different though. Something good!

She heard me stir and came out front under the bed!  Still shy and timid but there she was with her amazing blue eyes and velvet ears waiting to go out.  I found a pooch after so much time.  I know it’s going to take a few days for her to adjust and understand that she now owns the place she’s no longer in a kennel where she’s spent most of her life.  She’s home, she’s where daily walks and hikes and cookies and cuddles are normal routine not just some thing a kid with a job needs to do.

My neighbors love her already, I can’t blame them she’s so sweet natured.  Aside from a propensity to explore my kitchen trash can she’s shown no signs of the destructiveness in her notes.  I purposely picked a pooch that needed work because it means I need to focus on something on someone.

She seems content so far to sleep under my bed, I suppose having been surrounded by crates all her life it gives a security.  Last night I too slept under my bed lol felt great on the back and my pillow didn’t move much she did lick now and then.

I have a very late shift today and thus more time with pooch, yesterday we did a short walk along the trails today maybe a longer run I want to again off leash her but I might have to wait.

For now as I cook my breakfast with Elise at my leg I have no complaints!!  In fact I’ve only felt this comfortable with my Akita my darling soja a man needs a pup.

A man needs a pup…..

~J

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Of Pooches and Human Treats

Happy Wednesday everyone, today and tomorrow can’t seem to pass fast enough for me.  Friday evening I go meet “Abe” a beautiful lab mix that with any luck will be coming home with me!  A man needs a pooch plain and simple!

So this morning I was rummaging around the kitchen trying to figure out what to pack as a good energy snack for breaks at work.  The kitchen is slightly bare til payday Friday in the realm of quick items so I’ve got to get creative.  I noticed I had a bag of cashew pieces and a bag of almond slices in the freezer that I use for brownies and such so here’s what I came up with:

Sweet and Salty Nut Mix

I melted about a tablespoon and a half of unsalted butter, mixed this well with a cup and a half of cashew pieces and a cup of almond slices.  

Added 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar mixing well as I added these.  

Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet evenly and baked @ 350 for approximately 15 minutes (sorry I just eyed this step).  Removed from oven and set aside to cool.

After it was cool I poured the whole thing loose sugar/salt and all into a ziplock bag and shook vigorously I ended up adding a little more cinnamon at this stage as I was tasting as I went.

And now I have a tasty snack that should give me a good protein/carb/fat profile and a quick energy boost throughout the day!

Now usually I thin slice a can of spam (fyi the bacon flavor or jalapeño flavor spam is awesome) spread the slices on a baking sheet, dust with whatever curry or rub I’m in the mood for and bake at 425 for around 10-12 minutes.  This gives me Spam chips that I can bag up and snack on during my breaks.  Unfortunately I’ve burned through my Spam stockpile over the last few weeks with my long shifts.  Don’t judge till you’ve tried it!! (Most people that claim Spam is disgusting have never actually tried it).  I can’t fight the Hawaiian in me I love the stuff.

Spam on!!!

~J

Cleaning the Fridge

So this evening I decided to whip up a nice red sauce and do some spaghetti with some sausage and veggies and what not.  Lo and behold I had a few small baggies of veggies that just weren’t fit for consumption.  Not a lot mind you as I love my veggies but I did have to toss a bell pepper a few small celery hearts and about a quarter head of lettuce.

What I didn’t throw out was the few bad garlic cloves (I had a whole garlic that was good for my sauce so it wasn’t a big deal).  I had a couple of cloves that had actually sprouted in my crisper drawer so while waiting for my sauce to cook down a touch I got a whim to try and plant the cloves in a small pot that I had empty out front.  I used some good soil I had from another planter that is now empty (lettuce from earlier in the season) and kicked it up with a bit of bone meal, a very small amount of miracle grow, and this fertilizer I have called “eco scraps”.

This Eco Scraps stuff is interesting, I have been using it on our pepper and tomato plants in front of the apartment all season with pretty great success.  The fertilizer comes in pellets and is fairly easy to use but get this… it’s made up entirely of food waste!  Effectively a couple of guys got this brilliant idea to collect food waste from retailers across the US and process it into compost then pelletizing it kind of a slick idea I think.  Anywhoo it’s available at Lowes and Home Depot if your in the US (not sure about worldwide) its worth a look see!

So here’s to hoping for some fresh garlic, I’ve never grown it before but hey why not the pot was empty and the cloves were sprouting meh worth a shot.

~J

The Colorado Classic

Today the west side was buzzing as was downtown but many people simply could not get anywhere.  The Colorado classic is a crazy bike race with 93.5 miles done in Colorado Springs.  Roads on the west side were closed and luckily I was able to get out of my neighborhood without too much trouble.  Apparently the day was filled with live music, food, games, the whole bit and of course a peloton!

I wish I didn’t have to work actually as Death Cab for Cutie was here but such is life.  There was much to do earlier in the week as they had to axe Lance Armstrong as a face for the event as it would violate his restrictions.  Not that I care I suppose in fact I find it incredibly hilarious that his former coach Chris Carmichael has his business based out of Colorado Springs, it’s just up the road and I’ve actually done work for them in the past.

I’m not big on cycling so I suppose it really doesn’t make much difference to me but I’m always glad to see city wide events happen here.  Call it pride for my city?  I mean where else can one have such an amazing view, fairly mild weather most the time, and 360 days of sunshine?  I love my home.

~J

Wok on Water

I’m thinking today I’ll put in for something very different…

Several years ago I had this idea, my mom lives on the channels in Oxnard, California where many of the homes have private docks at the rear of the homes.  I love to cook (I absolutely LOVE to cook) and many of my dishes are Pan-Asian inspired.  Out there the popular thing is to have an electric boat they typically call  “cocktail boats” and just putter around the channels watching the seals and generally hanging out.

So I thought to myself why not modify a little boat Bladerunner style (favorite movie ever btw) and cruise around cooking and slinging stir fry?  I named this dream boat of mine “Wok on Water” and, while somewhat of a pipe dream it’s always good to dream.  I’ve been battling a touch of anxiety lately and I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe I don’t dream enough.  Stewing in all that can go wrong or all that is wrong often yields piss poor results for someone like me as I do just that, I stew.

I dream now and then of a food truck or a career where I can just cook so I think perhaps maybe it’s time for me to rethink and just go find me an entry level kitchen job and follow a passion.  What’s the worst that can happen?  People might say no, I might end up in a dish pit for a while, maybe I’ll get lucky and find a prep job.

It’s on

~J

A Day With A Pooch

This morning I took a few hours and went to the local pet shelter to talk about volunteering.  Lo and behold I almost ended up with a pooch!!  I waited for hours to get a chance to meet a wonderful Pit / Australian shepherd mix.  She was 8 years old unfortunately and I’m not quite sure I’m ready for a poochie yet but it was well worth the time hanging out to put in some pats and loves.  Echo was brought into the meeting room and immediately plopped her nose in my lap and of course I melted.

I’ve pretty much figured out that idle hands are a danger for me and I’m trying to keep as busy as possible and the proximity of the humane society to my apartment not to mention working with pooches just appeals to me!  So it’s free TB shots in my arm and walking doggies when I’m not working!!  I can’t wait until Sunday for training I suppose the hardest part is going to be not wanting to adopt every pup!

So I sit here typing paragraphs only to delete them, type another one, delete ,delete, delete… hah I suppose I should spend my time more wisely?  Maybe learn a new language like Spanish or Portuguese or some random language I’ll likely never use.  I won’t lie it does get somewhat lonely here just me in the apartment and the prospect of a pooch to snuggle with is incredibly appealing but the timing just isn’t right.  So a volunteering I will go I think, and when the time is right then perhaps I will find the right pooch.

I sit here typing this looking at a puppy picture of my beloved Akita may she rest in peace and it dawns on me that we as humans crave closeness to something, whether it be another human or a pup or cat even turtles!  Coincidentally there were multiple turtles at the shelter which I found slightly odd.  Granted I don’t foresee myself walking a turtle anytime soon, if they had ferrets maybe.  Somehow I think I may have opened Pandora’s box with this volunteering but who knows it’ll be nice to interact with doggies.

Exploring Hidden Effort

A lot of mystery happens behind the scenes and it’s great!

I’m not so much of a TV watcher I don’t own a television nor do I have any service, I couldn’t tell you the big movies released in the last few years. What I do love is older movies and TV shows, a weekend of greatness for me is zoning out over as many episodes of MASH as I can cram in while I putter around the house. I love old westerns and film noir, old war movies and a lot of other classics. I do watch some semi recent things such as Hellboy and the Riddick series, etc. but most of it is more for background noise and not so much for actual engagement.

Recently for background noise I have been pulling out a lot of DVD’s that I haven’t viewed in a while and going through the special features specifically looking for commentary from the directors and actors / what not. Because I have seen these films often multiple times just hearing the commentary gives me some entertaining background noise while I pop around not able to see the actual screen. At first it was just a need for noise and the commentary for one of my favorite films “Hellboy” which soon spurred a whole new interest for me.

When I was in information technology I used to get frustrated at the fact that often I never really achieved job satisfaction. Often the sign of success or acumen in technology is that you never hear from anybody, people don’t call when things are working and rarely do you actually get to see a “finished product”. In construction you can stand back and see completion, sales you obviously see the sale, culinary arts produces food, information technology produces an unseen electronic ether that nobody ever really digs into. How many people did it truly take to allow you sitting at home perhaps halfway across the world to read my ramblings? When I hear this commentary I get this window on the back wall where I can see huge amounts of effort from people in the background.

This morning while preparing breakfast and puttering I had commentary for Who Framed Roger Rabbit on which is what inspired this post. At the time the movie was a pairing with Touchstone and Disney and it was one of the most expensive movies made. The big comment that grabbed me was interesting; effectively they eluded to the fact that they really had 3 movies going on at once all mushed together. The thought that there was live acting on sets, about a 45 minute animation feature, and then a whole separate overlay of just special effects and composition shots. The credits alone, for just the painters doing animation cells was some 3 columns scrolling by just… WOW!

What makes this fun is the idea that there is so much imagination and talent behind a lot of what we think of as the day to day. This is not specific to entertainment or information technology, think about your favorite restaurant and whoever came up with the recipes and menu or who planted the flowers and landscaped the median you drive by every day on your way to work. There is a certain wonder for me tied to what I look at now wondering “just what went into that?” it’s an incredible thought. Now it seems people expect the biggest best whatever and have no real idea of what exactly happens behind the curtain.

Having recently started a creative project of a kind I have never done before I’m beginning to understand and appreciate more the extra efforts that are often simply unknown. As I wander around today I find myself looking at things with a different wonder and curiosity, how did this get shaped, who came up with this idea, why this shape? I have always been a quick learner primarily through curiosity and drive, to lose that curiosity is a tragedy and for today I am excited to have a strong sense of curiosity back.

Pay attention to the man behind the curtain,

~J

Forward Momentum

I still have plenty of fight left maybe it’s time to dream again.

Life continues…… Despite me taking my day of self reflection and avoidance of people the world does not stop just because I did for a day. In all honestly things are not that bad this morning! I could go on about all the things I don’t have or the faults that I do have but that really gets me nowhere at all. Today I think I will work to spend every minute of my time just a little more wisely.

I’m slightly annoyed and incredibly tired of trying to pick up a shift or two here or there and payday doesn’t come soon enough. Reality is, I’ve got it pretty good my kitchen is stocked and I live in a decent neighborhood. Things could be much worse so there is no sense in dwelling on any of that. After all we create our own situations is this not true? So it’s time to spend today shifting focus from past and present to the near future. We don’t naturally walk backwards it’s just not in our biology so why is it that I spent so much time trying to make that work?

Odd when I think about it, with all this self reflection I suppose I do risk dropping back into a depression again. Of course if I choose to bottle it up and ignore it how can I ever progress past this dangerous ledge that I seem to keep skirting? Nope, I don’t think I want to do that anymore so off we go! In the absence of a shift this morning I have a little bit of time to sit with a cup of good coffee and my thoughts over breakfast. The one meal I rarely miss is breakfast, it’s become the cornerstone of my mornings whether I can sleep or not.

So today (after breakfast of course) I will hit it hard looking for a more stable career track. I will make some calls, send some emails, fire off some resumes, and somewhere in that mess I will sit down and put together a nice list of goals and values for the next 3 months or so. Thinking too far ahead is dangerous for me, thinking too far behind buys me nothing. I’ve got to stay within a nice small window for now until I can achieve some stability. Best to keep thinking but not think too much!

I much too often wonder what life would be like today had I chosen a different track long ago? Would I be successful? What is the definition of success for me? Yes I think too much. Continuing this thought (and there I go thinking again), perhaps something I lost along the way was the ability to dream. I lost the ability to look forward and feel the wonders of excitement about the future again and have real actual goals. This is today’s task for me and I hope it keeps my direction properly aimed.

Momentum is an interesting word, a near nebulous term I think much like the word “mechanism”. Words have interested me lately as I read other bloggers and tap into some of my older books as I have unpacked them. I am currently focused on a passage from Dante’s Divine Comedy, Purgatorio (Purgatory) 25th canto line 4 “Therefore, like one who will not stop but moves along his path, no matter what he sees, if he is goaded by necessity….”.

I’m a huge fan of Dante’s works, in particular Vita Nuova (The New Life). It’s quite interesting that the opening of the 25th canto of purgatory is the start of the ascent from the 6th terrace to the 7th (Gluttony to Lust) I suppose in a way our dreams and hopes for the future could be easily connected to them both. I will re-read this canto today I think, if not for anything than to have consumed something resembling art today. I have 3 translations of this wonderful book and much like I do with the Hawaiian creation chant the Kumulipo, I will enjoy comparing the translations today.

And so this post is getting a little bit too long now, I have in fact defined two very short term goals while typing this though. I will finish breakfast, pull a few books from the shelf, and enjoy something I haven’t done in a long while. I will spend a short time comparing old writings and let myself get lost for a half hour or so in deep thought. I will then be off to action today, no more walking backwards.

Time to dream again,

~J

A Day Can Change In A Minute!

Do not discriminate against the downtrodden for often they most understand ill fate…..

I haven’t cracked my laptop in weeks, I’ve enjoyed it and I had no plans to blog at all today or for a few days even.  Then today changed, all within well… a minute or so!  I was returning home via the interstate here and on the off ramp to the road that would take me on my way home turning right when I noticed in the first left turn lane (for some reason lefty’s get two righty’s get one… hrmm) there was some young kid stalled out at the end.  Now this may seem to be just a simple bummer but we’re at the peak of rush hour and man it can get brutal.

Then something wonderful happened that changed my view of life and humanity as I have known it the last few days on it’s ass.  There are a few “regular” vagrants living under this bridge, this underpass if you will.  Well, 7 by my count over the last few weeks all the same all the time panhandling and what not.  ALL 7 of them came rushing out and set up, one flagging and the other 6 preparing to push as the light turned green.  The car in the far left lane knowingly hit his hazards so that they could cut in front of him to get to the gas station just a block away.

Not thinking, I cut over and wedged myself in front of the BMW that was trying to cut around, and shielding the car pushers as they managed to get the poor young kid up the street and to the gas station.  The only person not cheering during rush hour when everyone is trying to get home on a Tuesday evening…. the BMW driver who was instead cursing me.  I shrugged, continued to follow the car pushers and turned around to go back home.

often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered

I sacrificed a block, those on the off ramp sacrificed 15 minutes.  The so called “downtrodden vagrants” sacrificed sweat, energy, and a compassion that made my day.  Everyone hooting and hollering and giving thumbs up, it reminded me that yes there is humanity out there.  It reminded me that often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered.  I know several people who have rebuilt and done great things, truth be told that’s where I am at this point in my life.  To see the “lowlife” come quickly to aid while one that is more apt to help attempt to skirt the entire issue putting others lives at risk was polarizing in my mind.

I promised myself if I ever happen into a bit of good luck and enough spare change and the same “Compassionate Seven” are still there, I will march my lucky ass right on up the street and buy each one of them dinner!  What is interesting to think of and what is on my thoughts right now is that events like this happen every day, probably every minute across the globe.  I cant help but realize how blessed I am at this point in my life.

This gives me a great appreciation for experience, a great hope for humanity and assistance, and a great reason to be a better person tomorrow.

So Mr. BMW, you will be forgotten probably by the time I publish this.  To the “Compassionate Seven” I can only hope that my memory of your selflessness lives on throughout my life and actions and may you have touched the lives of all those others cheering out their windows at you as you assisted someone more fortunate.  I spent almost an hour coming up with the top quote for this article but I cannot take credit for it inexplicably belongs to you.

Be a better person regardless of where you are in life, people are changed by the strangest of things!

~J

Of not sleeping and avoiding going absolutely nuts!

So, it’s been a while since my last entry as I’ve been running at 100 miles per hour for a while now. Moving is hard enough but being a pack rat definitely exasperates the str- er frustation.

I hesitate to say struggle even though it seems that way. I have received unparalelled support from family as well as the upstairs neighbors.  I always knew I was a packrat but I was not expecting to have packed so many emotions away as well.

In particular the last two days have been filled with emotions good, bad, sublime, regretful, fearful, strong, even guilty. I have found myself so high strung and stressed that sleep has evaded me now 3 nights in a row.  It comes in little 15-45 minute spurts and I wake up with night terrors or a severe panic attack.

So I change my sweaty pajamas and try again as I know it will get better soon.  I find myself stress cooking which I don’t think of as bad.  In fact not only is it a more positive way of dealing with stress than many other methods I’ve engaged in but, I’m eating healthy food which I suppose is keeping me going.  Maybe I’ll write a cookbook on that someday “Cooking yourself sane”??

All in all I’ve made great strides, I am still throwing/giving away a lot and have listed a lot to sell.  I’m also remembering a lot of past experiences and people in my life and realizing that I’ve been amazingly blessed and lucky.  

It’s almost as if I’m reading my past as someone else’s story sometimes and thinking “this guys a few fries short of a happy meal”.  It’s not that I’ve come to realize most of my struggles and problems are self inflicted, it’s more that I’m beginning to accept it. I have always known I self destruct but change is tough.

I’m still working on changing and I suppose it’s going to be a long task.  For tonight though I’m feeling pretty okay about tomorrow, I even managed an entire 2 hour nap without waking up badly!! 

I have to confess though being on my inversion table and absolutely exhausted from putting it back together might have contributed.  In any case I figured while I wait for my “ham and bean with stress reducing veggie” soup to cool enough to freeze / refrigerate I would stop digging in boxes long enough to post.

A good friend once told me “Don’t be afraid of life”

~Joe 

(Note the image is yesterday’s stress cook not my soup lol)