Trinidadian Food Adventures

Seriously, it has been a long time since I’ve had a cuisine that is brand new to me.  Today it was Trinidadian food!  I had roti and some yum oxtail stew.  It was all delicious, if not a little bit strong.  After that meal, I had major food coma, wasn’t even hungry for dinner!

Anyway, someday, I want to learn how to make roti, because it is yum.  After I learn a million of other things I have put in the “someday I want to learn” category.  You know.  How to skate, how to cook like Gordon Ramsey or maybe my mom, how to play piano like Tiffany Poon or maybe just improve, how to exercise like a personal trainer or maybe just exercise, how to clean like Marie Kondo or maybe just clean regularly, how to design and DIY like Grace Bonney and Joy Cho.. or maybe.. just..  the list goes on.  I don’t know what it is, this quest to be amazing, or even, just, good, at so many things.  I feel like when I was younger, it seemed there was more time to really dig into things, to actually be good at something.  And now, I feel pulled in so many directions, with information flying at me.  There is no shortage in the information, no shortage in pins to be pinned.  I see amazing things all the time, and I can pin them so fast.  But what I don’t see is the actual work that it takes to get there, where they started.

Yesterday, we had a new couple over, and we shared some of our experiences and they shared theirs.  Anyway, we didn’t know each other that well, and the wife commented to me that she heard I was a super foodie!  Oh my goodness.  I was a little shocked, because usually it’s people who actually can cook well who get that kind of name.  I guess my Yelp Elite badge has been spoken about.  I was actually kind of embarrassed.  Also, it has been awhile since I’ve tried anything really really new.  So when our new friend who has Trinidadian roots commented on how she missed the food from home, I was eager to find out what kind of food that might be, and whether we could find it.  Those are the perks of living in a place that is relatively ethnically diverse.

I also made this the other day, and it was pretty yum.  I’m digging these one-pan meals, oh yeah.

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The Kondo Method

I finally finished the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Marie Kondo is crazy!  I respect her, and she knows her tidying stuff, but I find myself unable to achieve her kind of perfection in tidying.  There is somewhat of a cult-like following of her method, and I can totally see why.  Maybe if I lived in a different universe, I would be in on it too.  But here are my reasons why I cannot employ the KonMari method of tidying.

  1. Anxiety.  What is this “spark of joy” she talks about?  To start tidying, I picked up a fairly easy shirt that I loved.  I did feel some joy.  But after that, with each additional piece of clothing, I started just feeling anxiety.  What if the next shirt I pick up doesn’t spark joy, and I have to get rid of it?  What if I really like that shirt?  For those of us with mood problems that are heavy overriders of other emotions, something as ethereal as a spark of joy may be hard to come by.
  2. Money.  I feel like you have to be decently well off to have the luxury to simply abandon clothing based on the amount of joy it gives you without a shred of worry.  Or maybe this brings me back to #1.  Anyway.  I have a set of clothes that I use for interviews.  Frankly, I don’t think any of those clothes will spark joy.  They are boring and blah, but they are professional.  Currently, I am not working in a professional field, but I can’t afford to get rid of them to buy new ones that do spark joy when interview time comes around.  The same goes for fine merino wool sweaters that are in bright colors which I bought using points.  I probably will never wear them without a jacket over them, but I can’t imagine tossing it away and having to buy a new wool sweater when I go to a colder climate.  Mom always said I had expensive tastes.  The items I wanted always ended up being the more expensive ones, even when I did not know the price ahead of time.  If I judged everything by whether it sparked joy or not, seriously, I would be spending too much.  Happiness here cannot be the measurement for everything.  Throughout the book, Marie makes the argument that if you end up needing something later, you can always buy it.  I suppose if you’re free from care about the past or future, then you wouldn’t worry about whether or not you’d even be able to later.  I get it, but I can’t totally embrace it.
  3. Sensitivity to soft materials.  Marie Kondo’s method is all about handling the clothes.  I am, however, predisposed to soft fabrics.  I love the feel of anything soft, and my roommates will tell you about how I used to carry my pajamas up to my face as I went to shower for the night.  My pajamas include an oversized Google shirt and gym shorts. Marie Kondo suggests “If you are a woman, wear something feminine and elegant as nightwear. The worst thing you can do is to wear a sloppy sweat suit. If sweat pants are your every day attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact on your self image.”  But I love soft fabrics, and sweat suits are generally softer than feminine and elegant things.  And cheaper (See #2.)  OK, this is definitely taking her out of context, as her point is really that we shouldn’t downgrade clothes that do not spark joy into loungewear.   I’ll give her that.

So there you have it.  I feel like this method is kind of an all or nothing method, so it’s stressing me out a bit.  I’m going through my clothes, and we’ll see how I do.  Maybe instead of looking for the spark of joy, I’ll just have to use other tidying methods.  I was looking forward to the book, based on the reviews, but seriously?  Tidying is not the purpose of my life.  Marie Kondo, and I say this with as much respect and admiration as I can possibly convey, is, crazy.  You’re pretty awesome.  I think I will leave the awesomeness to you.

//edit//

OK, closet partially tackled.  I have to admit, I’m surprised by the sheer volume of clothing I stuffed into drawers, never to be seen again.  Maybe there’s something to this, after all.  But STILL.  I will provide myself with exceptions.

 

Emojis! =)

When I was not yet going out with now Hubby, we did not talk much.  However, there were some incidents here and there leading up to our courtship that we do remember fondly.  Now that we are married, I ask him to tell me those stories over and over again.

One of them involves an emoji.  We were going over to a family’s house for lunch, and I happened to be grabbing potato salad for the event.  I was running late.  A certain boy was busy barbecuing in the backyard and texted me to say something like “Take your time.  We’ll save food for you =)”.  I remember getting that text while I was on the way to the store with someone I can’t remember who, and smiling to myself.  “How nice!” I thought.  But I also had another thought cross my mind, “He used a smiley face.  That’s interesting… he’s never done that before.  I wonder if he likes me?  But he could be just a nice person.  Hm.  Whatever!”  When I got to the house, I went to say hi to the boys barbecuing.  Hubby remembers that hello very clearly.  I guess it was the first time I actually came to say hi to him?  So there you have it.  The moral of the story is, be careful about sending emojis, guys.  Unless of course if that’s what you’re going for, then send away!

Summer is almost here, and the teachers and students are all counting the days.  I myself have some projects I want to work on, including finishing Marie Kondo’s book about tidying up and cleaning out the mess that is my closet.  I’ve been looking into different options for my old clothes, from donating to selling both locally and online.  Sometimes I get lost in the research and information out there.  It is the same for cooking.  There are just so many recipes to try, and not enough time in life to get through all of them!  I don’t know if it’s because I’m 27 now, but time seems awfully short.  The amount of things I could possibly learn is endless, never mind the things I could do.  I also have a little bit of an itch to bake.  My KitchenAid mixer is sitting somewhere in our kitchen all by itself.  It might just be time to bring it out, now that we’ve finally adjusted the height!  But really, where are my priorities?  Often I feel I am spread thin in my head.  So I curl up into a ball and watch the latest YouTube videos or check on my Neko Atsume cats.  Let me just close my eyes, and sleep.

Ten million and one things to do.

Does anyone else feel like this on a daily basis, but then sits around and watches YouTube?  UGH.  Just me?  Because YouTube is EASY.  It’s one click, maybe two, maybe three.  Instant entertainment.  UGH, again.

OK, so this is going to be a more unconventional post, meaning I’m not going to pay attention to my grammar and caps and stuff and spelling ya.

I think that when things get overwhelming, I like to make lists.  So, here we go.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do now that we’re back from our honeymoon.  Honeymoon was awesome!  Everyone, when you get married, go on a honeymoon.  Do it.  Because I said so.  And because another family told us we had to.  I think we already were going to, but they insisted that we go.  OK, ok, we’ll go!  So we went to New  Zealand.  And it was lovely!  The air was pure and clean.  No really.  I actually hiked while we were there.  Is this annoying yet?  Yes?  Can I blame jet lag still?  No?

Ok so where was I.  List.  Yes.  Sometimes, the fact that I have ADD tendencies becomes really apparent.  Like days like today.  Especially when I have a million projects I want to do.  But let’s start with the necessary ones.

COSTCO. – I mean grocery shopping, of some sort.  My hubby is a trooper and eats sandwiches for lunch every day.  He also eats oatmeal with berries in the morning.  This means that if there is no bread, berries, or sandwich meat, he can’t really make his lunch or breakfast, and it also means he ends up eating out, at somewhere like MCDONALDS cause of his coworkers.  Dude, I didn’t even know people actually liked eating at McDonalds for real when they’re beyond Happy Meal age and McDonalds isn’t giving out Neopets anymore.  Is it a guy thing?  Anyway, so at some point today, I need to go to Costco.  Also, the Costco ad came today.  The first thing they are selling on sale is Whey Protein.  Now I’ve been wondering about whey protein, because when I was little, my mom used to make me protein shakes.  I really liked these protein shakes actually, and as someone with fast metabolism (see previous post), protein is an essential part of my daily meals.  It’s also why I feel like a vegetarian diet or even pescatarian diet is difficult.  I tried it for maybe a couple weeks in the first semester, and then I just didn’t do it anymore.  I don’t like feeling hungry all the time and worrying about whether I’m getting a complete protein by combining bean one with bean two.  Yes I made that up.  No I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Anyway.  So I’m not sure if I should buy protein or not, but it’s on sale!  So it warrants some consideration.

SLPA. – I need to do some work and finish something for this.  I can’t say what, because I’m ashamed that I’m still working on it. 😦  It’s going to take a chunk of time to do, and I’ve been putting it off because it reminds me of my failures.  So step one, is admitting, right?

COOKING WITH A PLAN. – AKA, not dumplings every night.  Tonight I’m going to try recreating my mom’s salmon head dish.  Because salmon heads are considerably cheaper by pound at the Asian market than a fillet is, and equally as delicious.  I’m armed with my mother’s recipe which involves no measurable ingredients nor quantifiable times.  I’m sure it will be no problem.  Oh wait, I need sides.  OK, what else, I’ll stir-fry some baby bok choy and make fresh rice, since yesterday I found out that dear hubby does not like old rice.  WHAT?

Let me tell you guys the proper way to reheat rice:

  • Cover rice bowl with a damp paper towel.  Reheat in microwave.  Stir.  Reheat some more.  This prevents your rice from being dried out and not tasty.  You’re welcome, now you won’t fear old rice.

Also, I’ve been wanting to create a recipe binder.  I even got a cute binder at Staples for it! Of course, one needs recipes before one can fill a binder…

STEP TWO OF COOKING WITH A PLAN. – Or is it step one?  Collect recipes!

CLEANING WITH A PLAN. – You’d think I never cleaned before in my life.  Oh I’ve cleaned before, but I’ve always lived with a vast amount of housemates.  That means that I had ONE job, every week, and everyone else got other jobs.  And I took about two hours to do that one job, very, thoroughly.  Let’s just say my roomies were very glad I was the person cleaning the bathroom.  Now we have an entire place, and at first, I was too scared of the bugs to venture into cleaning.  Now that the bugs are gone, I am still scared of remnant bugs.  Our place has been cleanest when we have had guests over.  So I guess that’s the secret, folks.  I need people over.

WAKE UP AT PROPER HOURS. – I wish I could blame jet lag.  Without an alarm clock, I sleep about 12 hours every night.  I think.  I need to measure it.  And I’ve been this way for. ever.  On Saturdays, my brother would bound out of bed in the early morning and come to my room and pull my blankets off of me in an attempt to wake me up to play.  Did I want to play?  NO.  I remember in college, my senior year, I took Spanish class.  10am, every day, or was it 11am?  It didn’t matter.  And in Bible school I was a walking zombie.  That was the first time the word “zombie” became real to me.  I just looked it up on Google and apparently there’s a SUCH THING as people that simply sleep.. a lot.  And that just kind of is how it goes.  But this is in the absence of other disorders.  So I probably should check if I have sleep apnea, etc, first.  Put that on the list of things I need to bring to my doctor so I don’t completely blank out when I go see her.  Oh but this guy says he went from 11 hours to 6 hours!  Hm….  Sleep, an eternal mystery.

CLEAN MY CAR. – Jaws, as I affectionately call him, is dirty.  He has empty water bottles all over the floor.  Why?  I don’t know.  He just does.

GET RID OF THINGS. – I’ve only made it halfway through Marie Kondo’s book, and…

GET A NEW MAILBOX APP. – Mailbox by Dropbox is shutting down.  I’m disappointed.  The other apps I’ve found so far are either for phones only or require a $, and I don’t think I should pay for an email app when I used to have one for free!  Apparently Polymail is coming out soon, let’s hope it’s real soon!

Maybe I should have just called this post, an enumeration of Esther’s current problems and what to do about them.  Haha.  What should I work on first?  Seriously though, we’re doing well.  I’m really glad that hubby and I got to take a trip together.  My heart is so full, in the cheesiest of ways.

 

Visitors

Y, E, and G came to visit today.  I love getting visitors, because it gets me out of bed.  So imagine my frustration waking up and falling back asleep too early in the morning, and then after a few more rounds of that, a text from E saying “We are 7 mins away!”  “7 minutes?!”  I bound out of my bed.  I took them to Gregoire, which is my absolute favorite place in Berkeley.  Love.  It was a crowd pleaser.  Gregoire never disappoints and it has been awhile since I’ve been there.

We talk about our happiness on a scale of 1-10.

Then, gelato, then, back to the apartment.  We sat around talking about Quora, since G is like, basically their PR rep.  Kind of.  And argued about our height.  I found another person who doesn’t like being tall.  And another person who has difficulty telling how many minutes have passed and how many people were at an event.  Yes!  It’s so funny when you find someone who has the same weird weaknesses and likes and dislikes as you, as quirky as they seem.  It makes me wonder what is going on in our brains that make us react that way.  So we envision how many people are in one row, and then envision tables, and then multiply to get the answer.

After they left I was inspired to clean.  So I washed my car, I cleaned my room, and I’m doing two loads of laundry.  Hoorah, I love productive Saturdays.  It has been awhile since I’ve had one, what with being sick and all.  And now, it’s time for a nap.

Goodbye, world.