Nonsensical stream of information

When you get “Writer’s block” the first reaction is simply that you don’t know what to write. I would counter that the reason can be you simply don’t know if you’re ready to let everyone know what’s going on in your brain pan. Which means it has less to do with not knowing what to put on the page, and more to do with the reception of your audience. 

That all boils down to a major problem I face in my day to day life and may ring true for you, as well. We go through our lives taking our cues from “societal norms” (or societal Cliffs, if you watch Cheers.) Unfortunately it tends to leave me with a glass half empty feeling, and that is just not my style. 

SIDE NOTE: you will notice I bounce between “we” and “I.” This is intentional. It is an internal battle of shying away from the real intent by making it about the royal we rather than my thoughts and feelings. Lumping us all in together rather than giving folk the chance to relate to the subject matter for themselves.

Over the past few months I’ve started to realize that I own a lot of things I’m no longer interested in. Whether they be items, hobbies, or opinions. They no longer fit into my life’s puzzle the way they once did. Initially I was freaked out. Because I’ve come to think of them as a part of me. Various components that make me who I am, when in actual fact they are a part of what made me who I am today but don’t necessarily need to stay.

I once held the door for an instructor, and now friend. He stopped in the doorway, looked me straight in the eyes and said “when will you realize that you can cut your hair, and you’ll still be you? It’s your safety net.” I never thought of it that way, and can’t guarantee that I would have had he not brought it to my attention. Needless to say I kept growing my hair out of spite for the remainder of my time at school, but I eventually walked into a hairdresser’s and got it all chopped. It was a huge physical weight that was lifted, it was also an emotional weight. I was simultaneously the person I had always been, and had the opportunity to rewrite my character. 

I now have that trigger of when I start to grow my hair out, I take a hard look inside and usually find it is because I am unsure of my footing and am shrinking back to what was once safe. I could be the guy who didn’t cares again, who rebelled. The issue being that I was rebelling against my own personal change as much as anything else.

This mentality is now part of a process I use when trying to face new challenges head on. Am I resistant because it is different, or because it isn’t me? Trick question. I won’t know if it is me or not until I give it an honest try. Every single thing I have done in my life has been a discovery. It has either illuminated something I am truly interested in and meant to pursue, or something that I have discovered is not a part of my life going forward. This could be as simple as a recipe for casserole, or as complicated as a friendship both parties have outgrown. In both situations I learned what appealed to me and what was fulfilling. It is a lot easier to walk away from a recipe than it is to step back from a friendship that was years in the making. As the adage goes, don’t keep something around just because you spent a long time making it. Definitely one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn but I have been better for the lesson.

I now choose to surround myself with people, things, and ideals that help me lift myself higher. Not to put myself on a pedestal, but so I can see over the mound of my own bullshit about “how I should be.” Truth is I don’t know how I should be, how I should act, WHO I should be. I don’t know these things because I haven’t discovered them yet. That’s part of the fun and the frustration of the whole business. Understanding that you aren’t supposed to have it all figured out until the moment you do because that process is part of your personal progress.

At one point, I think we knew it all. Before popular culture and everything else stepped in. Maybe when we were young and we were fighting dragons and building castles in the backyard, or front yard, I won’t judge. At that time I think we had a clear idea of who we wanted to be because it didn’t matter. We only had to answer to ourselves. Most reasoning from someone under five is “because I want to,” or simply “because.” The reason isn’t important, the action is. Somewhere along the way we lose sight of who we are and we all rediscover at various points. Those who get it sorted early help to blaze the trail for the rest of us on this rock as it hurdles through space.

Taking all of this into consideration I’m going to make a bold move and revamp some Robert Frost. It seems the road less traveled is more so the familiar road once forgotten, and at the end of the day, it still makes all the difference.

Advertisements

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Everyone always talks about purpose. Searching, finding, discovering, pursuing, doing everything they can to track down this elusive beast. As if, in finding it, everything else will drift gently into place. I think that our purpose is ever changing. When I was younger my sole purpose was not taking a nose dive off the patio, or to play outside until the street lights came on. But with every passing year, there seems to be more and more stress placed on zoning in on one’s purpose and maximizing all that potential we hear about, and all that character we have built over years of mowing the lawn and shoveling the drive.

There have been several times that I thought I had come face to face with my purpose, but it never quite worked out for whatever reason. Be it in my personal, or professional life, the supposed purpose always led to a drastic change. It started to become clear to me that I wasn’t finding my purpose, but the purpose of the given situation. I wasn’t supposed to have a certain job, I was meant to learn a set of skills. I wasn’t supposed to be in that relationship, the relationship was meant to teach me certain things about myself. I have learned many valuable lessons, one of the most important being the fact that you don’t have to try and find your purpose. If you spend your days on a quest to better yourself, and to only measure yourself up to the person you were yesterday, you are doing your part. I have grown from every experience I’ve had. Not looking at anything as a negative, only an opportunity to grow. Taking every positive as a stepping stone to the next big thing. Each situation that presents itself builds on the last. Always moving forward, never slowing down.

I no longer search for my purpose, I search for a better understanding of me. I’m sure it’s waiting three corners down, on the left. My purpose is lurking in the shadows, waiting to change my life forever. In the moment I least expect it, my purpose will find me.

Inside every sane person there’s a madman struggling to get out – Terry Pratchett

Day six without coffee. I have made the switch to tea and I feel much less reliant on it to get me through the day. By the end, I was drinking a coffee first thing in the morning and then switching to tea, but not really enjoying that first coffee. I was mostly just using it to get to my first tea of the day, but knew I needed it if I didn’t want to suffer a headache. Kind of like back when I was smoking and the first thing I would do was grab a coffee from the kitchen and head right out and light my cigarette. I enjoyed the sunrise, and the quiet, but I never enjoyed that first smoke of the day. It always tasted terrible, but I needed to get the terrible one out of the way to get to the good ones later. If I didn’t have a smoke first thing, and had one after I had gotten ready to face the day, then THAT one would have been gross. Who wants a gross cigarette after you’ve already resolved to take the world by storm? Not this fella!

Eventually I learned that if you don’t smoke any of them at all, none of them taste terrible , and once you hack, cough, and dislodge everything you’ve firmly smoked into your lungs, you feel a lot better during the run of a day. Kicking coffee lovingly, and gently, to the curb has brought me back to a very simple concept that I continually forget. Which is, if it’s not working for you, doesn’t serve a legitimate purpose, and/or has more cons than pros….step away. Granted it’s not always that easy, but sometimes it is. On occasion it’s as easy as simply saying “well, that’s over and done with,” and continuing on the trail you’re currently blazing. Doing so doesn’t mean that what you are walking away from is wrong, or bad, or any other negative word you can throw at it. Walking away just means that you have grown from, and past, the experience and are ready for whatever comes next. That you have gleaned some valuable insight into what you want or don’t want moving forward, and are able to adapt your plan of attack accordingly.

I used to always say that cigarettes were a great conversation starter, because it afforded me the opportunity to meet people without walking up to them awkwardly (at that point in my life, I did most things awkwardly…still do) and sparking a conversation was as easy as “have you got a light?” It always seemed that I met really interesting people in the smoking section at VFS. Sure, it may have taken me longer to find them if we didn’t all smoke, but I would have crossed paths with the ones I was meant to. It was the same with coffee. We would all crowd around a table, the aroma of freshly ground beans swirling all around, and the day was that much better for it. You can sit in the same circle and steep tea while steeping your soul in a pool of conversation and camaraderie, with the same end result.

It doesn’t matter so much what you do, but who you do it with. No matter what you choose to drive down life’s highway, there are countless twists and turns, and a myriad of back roads you can take. The journey is, truly, what you make it. That being said, there are a finite number of seats, make sure you’ve got the best people to fill them.

 

Let’s Go Exploring!

The moment you get all hyped up to update your blog, get your tea, your music, sit down, and little puffs of dust fly out your ears and fingertips. The brain is a fickle beast. When I’m in bed trying to sleep, it wants to know the answers to all of life’s big questions, to which the answer is (of course) 42. But when I actually feel like writing something of note, it simply goes “splut.” Although, I suppose that is the time when it’s best to just listen to your own body and brain. Which is something I’ve been working on. I’ve started doing daily meditation, and with that came the realization that I can’t do everything. That if I need to take a break, I should, rather than getting annoyed at not being able to do something I want to. All I end up accomplishing is providing the new day with an overworked and under nurtured version of myself. A brand new day can’t do very much with a body and mind unwilling to meet or exceed its potential. Take some time to check in with yourself and see what’s going on,  just to see how you’re doing. Better yet, ask yourself how you’re doing and REALLY mean it, because in this day and age “How are you?” can have as much meaning as a tip of the cap in passing. We’re all too busy to stop and have a connection, we’ve lost that sense of community. I say it is time we take it back.

I wouldn’t ask you to commit to something if I wasn’t willing to do the same, so for that reason, I have a question for everyone who is taking the time to read this, how are you? I mean that sincerely, you are taking time out of your day to see what’s going on with me, so I want to know what’s going on with you. Let’s use the technology we have at our fingertips to our advantage!  Shoot me off an e-mail, it can be a sentence or a novel, whatever tickles your fancy. If you want to be heard, I want to hear from you.

 

Have a great day!

 

UPDATE!

One of the little girls from the Childcare program where I work came up to me with her hand outstretched and said “This is for you.” She had nothing to gain, no ulterior motive (that I know of,) she just saw this and wanted me to have it. She had just come in, so she seemingly brought it from home. Sure, it’s a pom pom, but it is certainly the thought that counts. It’s the little things in life that can make the biggest impact.

IMG_8436

I am a cautionary tale.

At the request of a lovely young lady, I’m tossing the recipe for Baked Chicken and Vegetable wraps that I made last weekend on here so she can wow her man. The best part about these bad boys is you can freeze them and take them out the night before serving, as well. Which makes them great for work lunches.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of cooked chicken, diced or shredded

1 cup of your favourite salsa

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup Daiya Cheese Shreds (I use a mix of mozza and cheddar)

any veg that you would like included (I tend to go for onion, mushroom, & green pepper)

Tortillas

olive oil

 

First off season the chicken, I use some extra cumin and oregano, and bake it at 400 for 25-30 minutes and while that’s cooking, fry up all of your veggies and when they are done set them aside. In a big bowl mix your spices together and when the chicken comes out, let it rest for a bit then dice it and add it to the bowl along with the mixed veggies, cheese, and salsa. At that point, mix it well, and portion it out onto your tortillas, roll them tight, and put them in a baking dish. Take some olive oil and lightly brush the wraps, then put them in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

Remove, decorate with all the guac and salsa you would like, and enjoy!

 photo photo5_zps980ca4ca.jpg

 

 

 

 

I’m Guided By a Force Much Greater Than Luck. – Lucas

While I’ve been away I’ve been cooking much less and working with a much more sporadic schedule. Ever changing shifts both at work and in life. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to take over the bulk of the opening shifts at work, downside is I’m up at 4:30am four days a week, upside is that I’m done by noon and have all that pesky “morning routine” out of the way. You know exactly what I mean, when the “I don’t want to get up” is coupled with the “my bed is cozy” and just a titch of “it’s not even light out” all culminate in an overwhelming urge to not leave your bedroom. I don’t have that option anymore. I have a responsibility to open the YMCA when the clock strikes 6:00am, it provides just enough urgency to propel me out from under the sheets, through the door, and up the hill……once I’m showered and dressed.

 

I’ve been working these shifts for about 2 weeks now and I can feel my routine starting to change. Ever since I got sick in Vancouver my sleep schedule has been wonky. Can’t get to bed at a decent hour, cant fall asleep once I get in bed, never feel properly rested. I started to get back on track when I was running last summer but then when my back decided I couldn’t do that for a while, my schedule flew right out the window. Moping around and feeling sorry for myself would certainly have been a viable option at that point, but I chose a different path. I chose to take one early morning shift and see how I fared. I got into a routine and had no problem getting up that early on Monday mornings. Then Denise left and the rest of her morning shifts opened up and, after a lot of thought, I opted to take them.

 

It increases my productivity throughout the day because my brain is awake and aware by the time I get to work and get everything up and operational. I’ve been getting back into reading, both novels and marketing books. I made the decision to hold off on schooling and instead make use of the multitude of books that are out there on the subject of marketing and how it should be done (relationship marketing, IMO.) It has also provided me the time to, slowly, get back into the kitchen. Making meals ahead to take to work, taking the time when I get home to make both lunch and dinner, rather than having to rush to job #2. That’s right, I work two evenings a week from 6:00-10:00pm at the youth centre and, although it stretches my day out considerably, I wouldn’t trade it for a second.

Long story short, I took yesterday to try out two new dishes and once I decide if they were successful or not, I will be posting them here….hopefully tomorrow.

“That’s a valiant flea that dares eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.” – William Shakespeare

I’ve been busy, boy have I ever been busy, as such I haven’t been cooking as much as I’ve wanted to. That also means I haven’t been blogging at all, really. My back took me out of commission for several months and I lost motivation to do a lot of things. However, after several months of chiropractor trips twice a week, I am slowly getting back into the swing of things.

Cooking has always been a passion and a bit of a mental vacation for me and in that sense I haven’t been taking enough trips lately. I have taken a few and I’ll be sharing them over the next few days, hopefully, and then will be trying out some new ones to impart.

This was a recipe that I made for Johnathan & Holly Gregorash’s wedding shower and was a big enough hit that I was immediately, and politely, hounded for the recipe. I kept saying I would post it on here and send the link and time kept slipping away, with work and self-pity about my back I didn’t have the Get Up And Go to pull it together. Now I do!

 

Breakfast Casserole

 

Das Zutaten (ingredients)

  • 8-12 eggs (depending on number partaking)
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 6-8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 coloured pepper (I use red purely for esthetics)
  • enough strips of chicken bacon to layer across the bottom
  • whichever herbs and spices you like to season your eggs with (I use sea salt & garlic with a bit of dill and cracked black pepper
  • 2 generous handfuls of Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
  • 2-3 slices of sourdough bread cubed.
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • coconut oil

Bring a pan up to medium heat, toss in a bit of coconut oil and allow it to melt and add in your onions to get some colour. Once the onions have cooked a bit, the mushrooms go in until everything is a nice golden. Meanwhile bring the oven to 375 degrees and, on a baking sheet, lay out the cubed sourdough with a drizzle of olive oil and bake until crisp (roughly 5-7 minutes.) While the bread is in the oven you may want to put the chicken bacon on a pan and bake it as well. It will take longer than your newly formed croutons but that gives you a reason to keep the oven on until your casserole goes in. Your veggies should be done by now so you can set them aside and either leave them in the pan off the heat or place them in a bowl.

The egg bit is rather straight forward, crack the lot of them into a large bowl, add just a titch of water and your seasoning and whisk it away to the ideal mixture, then add the pan-fried veggies and cheese and mix further. Flash back to the chicken bacon that is now just about perfect, take it out and layer the bottom of your dish of choice. Pour your egg mixture over the bacon and sprinkle on the sourdough croutons, add any last-minute garnish you deem worthy of breakfast (occasionally, green onions make the grade.) Then it is into the oven for roughly 30 minutes or until the egg is cooked through.

This is a great dish to make at the beginning of the week so you can fry (or microwave) a few pieces for breakfast without all that early morning prep time. It’s also a good option for pot lucks.