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Home Cooked

Cooking. This is something that I never knew that a) I could do b) would be something I would do c) it would improve my quality of life. I was never big on hobbies. I wouldn't say that I would call it that either since it seems like 99% of the population does it. Daily I might add. But I realized that it makes a big difference in day to day quality of life.

The benefits: Cooking is so much fun and if you do it right you get to eat something really great!

Most people just see it for what it is healthier, or if nothing more as a means to saves money. But it is also rewarding and with a linear learning curve you even get benefits from modest effort. Though they continue to be present even when you get more skilled at it. In other words there is a continued benefit, the more you invest time learning the better you will get. I don't think that there is a limit.

To summarize by cooking you will save you money, improve your health and make you more popular and attractive to anyone. Alright, the last bit was maybe a bit of a stretch. But it is fun! I am surprised that more of my friends don't cook for themselves.

Sure it can become expensive. Cooking utensils cost money. But you don't need them all. And not in the beginning. I’ve bought a lot of things now that I have gotten used to it.

Though it has been an on going process. When you strt you don’t need much, just a cook top and a few pots and pans. You can even find these in usable condition from the thrift store. Throw in a cutting board, a spatula, and a knife. That is about it.

Everyone in the world cooks, not just rich people in America.

Clearly nice gadgets, while nice, are not required.

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The Value of Time Well Spent

When I was a kid my mom, our dog, and I would take a road trip one weekend every month. It was just the two of us. We would leave Friday afternoon when I got home and then come back on Sunday afternoon. We did this for years, I think that it ended when I was getting ready to graduate from high school. I've been to every corner of IL.

The trips are still vivid in my memory when I think of them.

They are a priceless gift that she gave me. Dad would skip them, not because he didn't want to take part, but because he worked hard, he wasn't well paid for it though. Would it have been cheaper to skip them? Did I always want to go? Yes and no. But the truth is that no matter how much money you have or make, you can't buy back time you've already spent.

These trips, while not epic in size were so fun, and we would plan them all month.

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Life Goals

I was beginning to write down mostly my short-term goals and I realized I have no clue what to write down when it comes to long-term goals. I have a couple written down, but they are sparse. Maybe it is just because long-term plans should be taken more seriously. The point being to work toward them. There are also plenty of ideas, ideas are cheap and easy, which is why they have not been set as an actual goals yet. I haven’t decided if I want to really devote the time to them yet. As it stands now my short-term goals include: dropping bad habits one by one, connect more and maintain my workout routine. For me it used to be so much to do and so little time. But if I had to say it differently, it would be so little to do and so much time. Sort of makes sense, but probably sounds like I don’t want to do anything, which is not what I meant. I want to get more done and in less time. That is my long-term goal.
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Life Is Beautiful

Divine guidance

Does every flower flourish? No. A substantial number of them will also die during any of the steps. For other cycles it may even be the majority even in some cases.

Spring showers can destroy and drown the flower, winds will break it off. But it is perhaps the goal of the metaphor as well. Because what we might perceive as adversity at a given time is the very thing that will in fact make us stronger.

"Sometimes when you're in a dark place you think you have been buried when you have actually been planted."

Life cycles in such a way that there is a logical progression from one stage to the next. The picture above symbolizes that. It is a visual representation to the teachings of Divine Guidance that can give you the courage to overcome adversity.

"There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived millennia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprouts starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves.

The same is the path for Man. It is arduous. Much courage will be needed."

It is from the Osho Zen Tarot which has been a key aspect in my study and I feel that I know something about the subject. The book gives wonderful depth to the method.

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I Guess You Plan Big

My dad is a big MLB fan. He can tell you statistics until you go insane, but that is beside the point, not until he runs out. He never runs out. The other day he shared Shohei Otani’s career plan with me. It is more like a life’s worth of aspiration. He found it on facebook or one of his usual hangouts. It was a snapshot of a TV screen with some notes. They read:
  • Age 18: Join a MLB team
  • Age 19: Master English and reach AAA
  • Age 20: Called up to the majors, make 1.5 billion JPY (~13 million USD)
  • Age 21: Starting rotation, 16 wins
  • Age 22: Win the Cy Young award
  • Age 23: Member of Japan WBC team
  • Age 24: Throw a no-hitter and 25 wins
  • Age 25: Throw fastest pitch in the world 175 kph (~108mph)
  • Age 26: Win the World Series and get married
  • Age 27: Member of Japan WBC team & MVP
  • Age 28: 1st son is born
  • Age 29: Throw 2nd no-hitter
  • Age 30: Get most wins by a Japanese pitcher (in 1 MLB season?)
  • Age 31: 1st daughter is born
  • Age 32: Win 2nd World Series
  • Age 33: 2nd son is born
  • Age 34: Win 3rd World Series
  • Age 35: Member of Japan WBC team
  • Age 36: Break the strike out record?
  • Age 37: 1st son starts baseball
  • Age 38: Stats drop, start to think about retirement
  • Age 39: Decide to retire at end of next season
  • Age 40: Throw no-hitter in my very last game
  • Age 41: Return to Japan
  • Age 42: Introduce the American system to Japan?
I guess when you dream big you might as well dream really BIG. But he even had it planned when he was going to be having his sons. Seriously, I guess you could say 2nd child, but when you even plan the gender there is way too much though and effort going into this whole setting goals business. My dad will just have to take things as they come. But my life goal is to be happy, I am pretty flexible how that actually materializes.
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Up Early

… out with the sun! You could say that your bed is comfortable, it is safe. Nothing can hurt, you, but you also can’t do anything from your bed. It is a cage that you have to be willing to leave. Are you willing? I am. Picture this a young woman at home sitting on comfy chair in front of window relaxing in her living room reading book. There’s something magical about the smell of fresh air in the morning. The stillness, the tranquility. You miss out on that if you are still under the comforter. So it is in bed early, up early for me. It really is that simple. There are so many great reasons that sleeping early is difficult to achieve on a regular basis. To do so consistently you must manage your time effectively. But it is as simple as that. Therefore getting up in the morning itself isn’t the only thing that will add to your productiveness. I believe that choosing the hard option is always best. Getting up early, at least at first is hard. Still if you are willing to get out of bed at 5 or 6am is going to provide you with so much more time than the rest of the world. It comes down to a sort of self-mastery. But only in the beginning. In a world where competition is the fruit of success, you must understand that getting up at these hours puts you ahead of pretty much everyone. If done successfully this will give you the slight edge in pursuing whatever you choose. You can argue that this is all subjective to the individual and maybe some people can get work done at night time. On the other hand I would argue that it’s actually a more intelligent act to wake up as early as possible. Why? Because you can take advantage of the quite hours of the morning. This time can be utilized to get more done and start your day off better. Staying in bed is self defeating. Defeating this obstacle reinforces a healthy mindset. If within the first minute of the day you successfully overcome this hurdle, you are more likely to do the same with your day. It is a pattern that will repeat itself in other aspects of your life as well. How common is it for you to be in a breakneck rush in the early hours, before work, university, whatever do for a living? For me it as like that all of the time, up, teeth, hair, makeup, food (no just coffee). This left me in a really stressful state with no ideal way to start the day. I made a change though so instead of the hectic rush to get out – picture instead – I have exercised, eaten some healthy food, read a book that I enjoy, had a refreshing shower. Research has always shown that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And exercise has benefits on our focus and concentration, even in our short term memory. It is also easy to use to use to our benefit. As humans are very habit oriented. That is to say that we fall into routines very easily. And while structure can provide great benefits, it can also go the other direction and that is the one most people choose. It is easy, fun, and comfortable. The longer that I do it has made one thing clear for me it really does make me more successful. No wonder some of the most successful people emphasize the importance of starting your day off early. Just remember eight hour of sleep. No more, no less!
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Wedding Update


It Was Rather Rustic

Last night was the big day. Not for me. I don’t see marriage on my schedule for a while. For me it is about self exploration and development. It is the only way you can know how you are, and what you want to focus on in your life. If you recall I was invited to an old friend’s wedding. We have been friends since junior high but sort of lost contact during our time in university. One of the main reasons we have stayed in contact is because our mother’s have remained connected. Mainly through Facebook. So even though we were not as close as we had been and only talked on occasion we still knew what the other was up to so it didn’t feel like we were really out of touch. But then she came up with the rustic wedding theme and I was sort of thrown off. This was not the same girl I was friends with during high school. You had the usual, and with usual I mean the Pinterest/Istagram/Facebook photo set:
  • Burlap runners? Check
  • Mason jar vases? Check
  • Wood signs? Check
    • Those sign makers must be really doing a lot of business now
  • Barn esthetic? Check
    • And this was no easy task in the city, which is why it ended up being held in Harvard, IL. You can’t beat having the rolling hills of Wisconsin as a backdrop.
Well, for the last point, this is coming from a point of view that is a couple years out of date. I really haven’t been keeping up with the trends of the Windy City. And so I guess that is why it felt like a little bit of a surprise. We didn’t have a lot of time to talk, the wedding had about 200 guests. Through that you really don’t have a lot of time to talk. But we did “catch up” even if for only a few minutes. From what she told me, it wasn’t that much of a stretch to plan the rustic wedding. She bought most of the supplies locally, but the ones that she couldn’t get, or could get cheaper online she did. For one she didn’t like the offers of invitations that she found. They were either very basic, which apparently isn’t very rustic, or they were outside of her budget. She found options to create her own by combining things that she liked. Apparently it was a lot more satisfying and gave her the opportunity to focus on the aspects that were really important to her and her groom-to-be. I had mentioned before in a previous post that I suspected that the groom might be more of a country boy. I didn’t know him, for all I knew he could have grown up in South Bend (rural, primitive, at least to a Chicagoan). But as it turned out, he was himself a native. They had both just embraced the country trend that has been growing in popularity. As she put it, she had always sold the genre of music short. That is a little bit of an understatement, but the recent change in her opinion has done a lot to make amends. From what I could tell the entire wedding, from venue (Royal Oak Farm in Harvard, which if you don’t know the state is in Northern Illinois) to decor (see above) had been selected against this trait. If anything was out of place, if it would have stood out in an Indiana barn wedding, you could have fooled me.

My Lasting Impression

When I got back I realized something very important about the whole thing. A rustic wedding is something that gives you a sense of satisfaction, I couldn’t have seen this going it, but after the fact it was the impression that will stay in my memory. Weddings are a lot of different aspects combined together to form an event that acts as a whole. An impression of those people saying I do. They are tying the knot, and if the cord was made up of anything less that the fibers of their being the marriage will have a rough start. Like this though? I think that they are off to a very promising start.
Here is wishing you: Baily & Sean, all of the best for the start of your new life together!
That was the toast that I never had a chance to give. Thanks for giving me the chance to share your special day with with. You were an amazing friend in school, and you have worked hard to get to where you are today. I wish the two of you all of the happiness in the world!
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Clack Clack Clack Ting

My creativity seems to be most potent when I have something else to do. To phrase it better, I would say that I am more motivated to write when I am actually not able to write. My brain uses its potential for creative thought, especially when I am not able to sit down any and actually write. I use my phone for shorthand notes. I think we call it procrastination. It’s a productivity technique. One where you get stuff done by procrastinating on something else. I had been holding back on cleaning out the garage it kept going until it was time to do my taxes. What would you know, our garage is now spotless. That sudden cleaning, our spotless garage only really sounded like a good idea when I had more pressing things to take care of. I’ve always felt that it was simply a desire to not be in this situation right now. I think we call it procrastination. I do a lot of writing at work. Writing and my creativity as a whole is more personal for me. I know you may have heard me say it before but it is sort of fantasy, used for escapism. Every book that I write gets my full attention. They could be published today if I were to pursue it. I don’t. Still I enjoy having the idea of publishable work. Something that I could show to people even if I never actually do that. At least not outside of a small group of friends.