Goals for 2018?

Early evening outdoors with a lit latern, a drink, an open book and a pair of eyeglasses.

So I’ve already been reflecting for a while on what I would like to do for next year. The answer that keeps coming back is more self-care and more downtime.

I get up really early for work. Then I do my work which is really attention detailed. So when I get home I’m exhausted. Lately I have needed to make myself just rest in bed after I get home. Sometimes I take a nap. Sometimes I just relax lying there and listen to some soothing music. I’ve noticed when I don’t take this time, I just end up feeling worse and worse.

So I’ve been looking into apps like meditation, logging moods, and logging anything I’m grateful for. I’m also looking into some soothing music that I can listen to.

And yeah I have to admit to myself I may have to force myself to take care of myself. It’s not something that’s really innate for me. Growing up I got the wrong message that taking care of myself was being selfish and lazy. I had to spend my time working, helping out around the house, and having to take care of requests from others. Thus I lack the skills to self-sooth and self-tend. Even when I’m sick I feel bad that I’m resting and not being productive, even though I know my body needs rest so I can have the energy to be productive again. That attitude is not surprising to me. My mother’s philosophy when I was sick was that if I wasn’t vomiting or running a fever then I had to go to school or work no matter how miserable I felt. Taking time off is bad. Resting is bad. You’re not that ill. And so on.

I think I run on the hamster wheel of life a bit too much with being always on, always doing something. I need to help reteach myself that taking time to meditate, more downtime to read or listen to music, is also productive. It’s just productive in a different way. It’s okay and even good to take care of myself and it isn’t being selfish nor lazy.

So that’s my big goal to work on for the year. Relax, unwind, take care of me in healthy ways. It won’t be easy but it’s something I need and want to incorporate into my life. I need to be able to slow myself down and enjoy quiet moments. Also, I need to make sure I do take the time to do things like daily dental care, skin care, and so on. (Yes my current lack of self-care is both spiritual and physical.)

And sure there are other things I would like to do. I started crocheting a while back and stopped. I would like to try that again. I also want to get more into programming. And we’ll see if I can focus on those things, but it has to work itself into the overarching theme of not overdoing and overworking myself anymore. It’s time to focus on me, fulfilling my needs, and bringing more care and joy into my life.

Bullet Journal Maybe?

An opened lined journal

So I decided to try to give Bullet Journaling a try. I ordered the official Bullet Journal off their website since it talks about how to use the system in the beginning of the journal. This was after hours of researching what kind of journal I should use. I was basically seeing what brand of journal would be the best. In the end, I was deciding between Rhodia (thicker paper, fewer pages) and Leuchtturm1917 (fan favorite). I figured go with the official to start, and I can always upgrade to Rhodia down the line. (Leuchtturm apparently has an issue with ghosting, I’ll see how it goes.)

I had heard about Bullet Journal before, but the video talking about the system didn’t really grab my attention. Instead what finally got my attention was seeing pictures and videos of how other people used this system to create their own journal. Even now I’m still trying to look at different ideas people have used and different layout designs.

For the past couple of years, I have used or tried to use, the Passion Planner. While I love it, and would still recommend it to some people, it isn’t quite the perfect fit for me. For one, an hourly breakdown of my weekday is pointless for me. Pretty much half of every weekday is taken up by work. (Getting up, getting ready, driving, working, driving back, decompressing.) If I had more events I had to attend or things to do based on hours of the day every week, it may have been more useful. I needed something a bit more general to write down appointments, meetings, etc. I also needed something to write down my accomplishments so I can reflect back on a week and feel like I did something and be proud of it.

A bullet journal is a way to get everything I want to remember, write it down, and track it all in one place. I am already starting a list of things that I can use the new journal for. My journal is shipping via media mail, so it’ll be a while before I can get started officially. (Update: It’ll arrive on Saturday, April 22nd. Today! Wednesday, April 19th!) I know I have the problem of being a perfectionist, and I worry about messing up a new journal. Apparently, that’s a problem some others have felt in the Bullet Journal community. 😛 So this will be a practice of embracing imperfections a bit more. I’m going to try to start slow, neat, and practical. Then as time progresses I’ll probably figure out more and more how I want to set up my journal. Hopefully, this will be the answer to getting everything I need and want to be jotted down in one place.

So it’ll be something new and interesting to try. Fingers crossed this will both work and be fun to do. Until then, I’ll be looking up various layouts and ideas other people have done.





Teas I Love

Tea pots, cups, and other ceramics

I figured I’d make a post about (hot) teas that I love. Some people I talk to call me a tea connoisseur. I tend to brush these comments off as I’m still learning.

If you drink loose tea: For hardware, I recommend an infuser with a very fine mesh. It should also have plenty of room for the tea leaves to spread out as they brew. My favorite is the Hook Handle Tea Infuser & Dish Set from Forlife. The dish works as a resting spot for the infuser so you don’t have to worry about spills from the infuser.

Also, keep in mind that different teas need different temperatures to brew. If you use too high of a temperature for brewing, you will burn the leaves and make the tea bitter. Black and Herbal can take boiling water temps (208-212 degrees Fahrenheit). Oolong is a medium boil (180-190 degrees Fahrenheit). White and green teas have to be hot but not boiling (170-185 degrees Fahrenheit).

I’m caffeine sensitive, so, for the most part, I only go as far as green teas. I used to drink a bit of black tea, but sometimes it’s just too much for me.

Read moreTeas I Love

From Heck Straight to Jigoku

My life has gone from going to heck to going straight to Jigoku*.

My Father when he was young.My father passed away today around 5:45 am. He was suffering from renal failure. I’m just mostly going to post my status from Facebook, with some additions and modifications, since it says all I want to say.

When I was 2 months old my father had a stroke. My father told me of how the nurses snuck me in so he could see me while he was hospitalized. The stroke would leave him with a useless left arm, and a brace for one of his legs, along with walking with a cane. He later lost the brace but always had to use a cane to get around.

I remember stories of when he was in the service. Like when it was so cold that the water in his canteen froze.

Or how when we went anywhere he told me to hold his hand so he wouldn’t get lost.

When my father took me to my brother’s hockey games he always got me a hot pretzel. Or he bought a bag of Santitas on his way home from work. He said they were both like gold to me. And I’m still addicted to those snacks.

My father would wake up very early for work and turn on the radio in the house. It would wake me up and I would go to him, hug him, and wish him a good day at work. He returned the hug and shooed me back to bed before he got in trouble for waking me up.

We would have just us time when he went to a donut shop to get a coffee. He would read a newspaper while sitting across from me. I had a Boston Cream and a Hot Chocolate (often with cream to cool it off a bit.) Over time I learned to read upside down. My father also loved chatting with the people at these places, introduce himself, and get to know them.

He was laid off from his job in my junior year of high school. I didn’t understand why he was home early that day and that’s when I learned about pick slips.

My father went on to tutor math at a technical college. He helped a lot of people, especially those who had disabilities. My father wished that he could get a teaching degree, but he felt that he was too old to go to college again.

Even though he was handicapped from the stroke, he still drove a large truck. I always thought that was awesome. He rarely seemed to let his disability get in his way. Though there were times he told me he wished he could have held me or tossed me like he had my older brothers. But that never bothered me.

I am both heartbroken, and extremely grateful for all the times we had together.

Early family photo.Back left to right: Mom and Dad.
Front left to right: Kevin, me, Kenneth (Ken), and John.

Funeral arrangements are being set for Monday. I’ll be traveling up to Kentucky over the weekend.

*Jigoku is the Japanese word for Hell. I like it better than saying Hell because it just feels more intense.