Brewing Something #PepperDay

Saw this Pepper Day linkup and thought Perfect! This blog needs waking up! I usually accompany that (this blog has had a few wake up calls lol) with trying out something new. Launching a few projects within the week and needless to say, I’m excited how it’ll turn out. Figured I needed to do something to divert my attention from the news and current events that pull me down from prolonged exposure and re-channel my energy to more productive pursuits. I also don’t want to feel helpless with all that’s going on and so the projects are my way of helping out while learning something new, in the process. Wish me luck!

Photo by Black ice on Pexels.com
Photo by SevenStorm JUHASZIMRUS on Pexels.com

Join the Inlinkz link party here before it ends (in 15 hours!).

First Hopeful Post in 2021 #weeklysmile

It’s been almost a week since I got back from an extended stay in a small town surrounded by great, seemingly untouched mountains just a few hours away from the city. It was a much needed ‘retreat’, digital detox and all, and a spontaneous decision after an out-of-town trip during Christmas. Within this ‘time-out’, husband and I found a secret beach, ate good, wholesome food (I caught on late, air fryers are such game-changers!) and visited a few historical sites from our weekly exploration of this small town and surrounding areas. It was easier to safely distance physically in a small town surprisingly outside the radar of holidaying tourists. With refreshed minds and worries left behind, we also managed to start a few passion projects and even get short-listed for a startup grant by a venture capitalist. Nothing is set in stone but just having a few things to look forward to and learn in the process are welcome opportunities, especially after a wearying 2020. Entering a new year with some good news helped achieve a new year ‘high’, however fleeting, and flex some of those ‘hope’ muscles. I’ve decided to not make any big 2021 plans and just take it one day at a time. I only plan to not take any blessing or opportunity for granted, make the most of my time and take care of myself and my people, and hopefully have more than enough to help others around me.

How about you? I hope you’ve had some good news or encouragement this new year💜

These trees hid the secret beach we found a few weeks ago.
I had a view of this mountain from the balcony of our temporary home over the holidays.
A quaint cafe in the courtyard of a museum we visited one weekend.
A garden cafe in the middle of nowhere.
One of the oldest cathedrals in a UNESCO Heritage Village the country.
Inside the cathedral.

Optimism, Options and Optics

I’ve always considered myself an optimistic person. That is, until the last few years. This year? It’s more of a struggle just to cheer up. Trying out meditation and having a sort-of morning routine helps to at least get up and get started on things to do, with acute consciousness of an invisible weight in every step. Is this what it feels like to be in the brink of a revolution? Who knows, and lives to this day? Some days, I just long for a reset.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Yet there are days few and far between with spurts of inspiration, when ideas pour like heavy rain my hands can barely keep up writing or typing them down. These days seem full of options. These are blessed, sweet days to remember this otherwise weary year by. I try to get as much done on these days, not knowing when the next ‘train’ arrives.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Pexels.com

Never one to bother with optics or appearances, it still feels exhausting sometimes to hear rumors or lies being spread around about me or other people I know. Pandemic or not, it still surprises me how people can have the energy or mental space for nonsense like these. On a bigger scale, the media makes this worse. Some say we live in a post-truth era; it gets harder and harder to get the facts straight with the proliferation of fake news, deepfakes and propaganda-driven traditional media outfits or social media. How does one cope with this crisis without succumbing to the deep dark, if hardening oneself or not caring is not an option? I’m still learning, but I have a few ideas: bury my head in a book, dive into painstaking research, connect with kind people/kindred spirits, or find solace in nature. Oh, and there’s gaming, too, if you can guard against addiction.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

This post is part of #SoCS

SoCS – Up In The Air

Up until last year for at least five years or so, I’d get myself a planner each year and once or twice, I managed to snag the Belle de Jour power planner before they’d sell out in bookstores. It’s a unique planner with more than the spaces for daily/weekly/monthly schedule slots, a calendar and a few pages for notes/reminders. It had a health/period tracker, motivational/inspirational quotes, goal tracker, challenges, a membership card and discount coupons/vouchers for use in partner establishments like gyms, cafe, spa, etc. It was very useful especially for serious planners like me back then 😉. In 2019, I got more zen and put less pressure on myself, took it easy on the To DO lists and re-evaluated my life goals. This soul-searching started in 2018, the year I got married and considered starting a family. I realized how I’ve changed and wanted different things for myself and soon-to-be family, and started on a different path in terms of career and where I want to start a family.

Up-close look: The new 2016 Belle de Jour Power Planners are here
Photo credit: Rappler

And so I was on this path when 2020 hit and needless to say, most of my and my partner’s personal plans were hit, either delayed/postponed and/or drastically changed. Our move to NZ was halted when I couldn’t go back to start a new job there due to travel restrictions. A baby will have to wait, largely due to the pandemic. After the few weeks/months of adjusting to the crazy times, we started an I.T. business, a natural progression i guess since my partner and I are both in the industry albeit in different fields. Not quite part of the plan but something that felt right. If anything, this year has given us more than enough time in our hands to reflect more about our lives and be more intentional with our time.

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

This post is part of #SoCS: Jour

Seat At The Table

I found this very informative talk/video encouraging, stimulating and hopeful in almost equal parts. While the responsibility lies largely on this generation, it helps paint a brighter future if we start getting our act together as a global community and start working together instead of in silos, enormous challenges in themselves but not impossible. Which other generation has had the privilege to solve the world’s problems with all the information we need at our fingertips?

Another video I found highly informative and inspiring is this ted talk by Simon Anholt. It’s encouraging to know that about 10% of the world’s population share the same values/perspective as global citizens/globalists. That can make up a country with the 3rd highest population in the world. If you think in these terms, know that you are not alone in worrying about our future and where the world is headed.

More Qs – Mind Over Heart, Dead Plants and Superstitions

I came across another Q&A post and found it to be one by crunchityfrog which pcguyiv rolled into one post (thumbs up, pcguyiv!). Here goes:

In your opinion, is it harder to exercise more or to eat healthier?

Yes, it’s harder to exercise, at least for me. Exercising takes more time/effort although eating healthier can be more costly in most places.

What funny or embarrassing story does your family often tell about you?

I don’t consider them funny or embarrassing, ok maybe kinda funny. They say I used to sleepwalk as a kid but they didn’t realize it until after several instances because they could still have a conversation with me when I was in that state (while rummaging through the pantry or fridge a few flights of stairs from my bedroom lol). They had to add/change locks every now and then because I can still work them in my sleepwalking state.

What holiday did you enjoy as a child but do not celebrate today?

Surprised to realize it’s Lent c/o my aunt who was actively involved in raising me and my siblings. She would always bring us somewhere nice during Holy Week. Now I’m no longer Catholic and even if I still were, it would be an odd, unlikely choice.

Does your heart rule your mind or vice versa?

Vice versa. I always thought my guardian raised me in the military style. I had to work on acknowledging and working on my emotions almost as an adult.

What superstitions do you have regarding the kitchen?

None. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard of any particularly regarding the kitchen.

Does a black cat loitering in the kitchen count? Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

Does a person have to be either a night owl or a morning person?

No. I think it boils down to what works for the person. I used to be a night owl, then I became a morning person with traces of night owl tendencies lol.

Have you ever carried a one-sided friendship along? When did you stop watering that dead plant?

Yes, for too long. I had an unhealthy messianic complex up until my late 20s. I stopped when I realized it wasn’t worth it. Life’s too short to waste on unhealthy relationships.

October Qs – Lockdown Ready and Other Ideas

Rory of A Guy Called Bloke has come up with some interesting questions for October. Ok, here goes: 

1. If another national lockdown was to occur, would you be better prepared for it today as in, have you been in a position to stockpile much-needed stocks? Or would you be no different to the last time?

Better prepared now knowing where to go for some supplies although we didn’t do so bad the first time. We can hole up for a month but choose to go out every 2 weeks.

2. What do you think makes for a really scary fiction story that would prevent you from turning off the lights before you went to sleep?

I’ve been too exposed to horror movies/stories since I was young, they don’t have that effect on me anymore. Doesn’t stop the stories from continuing/evolving in my dreams, though.

3. Which do you prefer to wear and why out of the following options?

Cotton, Denim, Cashmere, Chiffon, Lace, Leather, Linen, Wool, Organic Fabrics, Silk, Muslin, Polyester, Satin, Suede, Twill, Velvet, Moleskin, Mohair, Viscose.

Cotton most of the time, denim, linen and organic fabrics for casual going-out clothes. Leather when I feel like it 😉. Cashmere, wool, suede in cooler climates.

4. When getting dressed and you are putting on a dress, trousers, shorts, or skirts, and so on, which foot do you lead with, left or right … and why that way?

My right foot. Maybe because I’m right-handed and left brain dominant? Haha who knows.

5. What is your blog’s primary genre and what are the secondary genres?

I just got back to blogging a few months ago so it’s still a work in progress. I write mostly about what tickles my fancy, respond to prompts/challenges and share some of my photos.

6. Has blogging and belonging to a community of fellow bloggers and writers alike, changed you as a person or inspired you in any way? Explain.

Yes, definitely. It’s helped me focus my thoughts and connect in a more meaningful way than in other social media platforms like facebook or Instagram. I rarely check my other social media profiles and if I do, it’s mostly for just updates or business.

7. Name 3 television programs that you watched and enjoyed as a child and then explain what made them good for you back then?

Wow, I can’t remember any favorites. I didn’t watch a lot of TV when I was young, mostly movies, game or educational shows, some cartoons/anime. I was only allowed 1-2 hours screen time per day or week, I think (?)

8. How do you celebrate you when you have time to pamper yourself?

Pre-covid, I’d go for a mani/pedi, a massage or a nice meal to unwind. Travel if possible. These days, I have cake or ice cream lol.

9. Do you listen to any Podcasts or Vlog Diaries on a regular basis, and if so, what are they and why are they so good?

Not regularly. I’m still trying out different podcasts. I do like TedTalks, some travel or business/finance-related vlogs.

10. Have you ever walked in on a couple having sex? If so, did you 1] Scream in horror make apologies and run out, 2] Make your way out but acting cool about it all, or 3] Laugh out loud and say “Alrighty then, game on!!” and join in?

Thankfully, no.

11. What do you think lives in the 80% of the ocean that is unexplored and unmapped?

Would be really nice to have Atlantis a la Aqua Man’s kingdom deep down there.

aquaman atlantis is visually stunning
Image from mamasgeeky.com

12. Do you read book reviews before purchasing a book new to you or do you simply buy a book based upon what you have read on the sale description or back page. If you do, how influenced are you by those reviews? 

For a set of books like a collection or for something pricey, I check out the reviews first. I may buy if there are mixed to glowing reviews. But there are instances especially during trips when I buy a book that I find interesting from checking the blurb or first chapter.

How Do You Recover?

I may have made a few mistakes over the weekend. After treating ourselves to a rare sushi and beer (delivery, of course) and feeling good about the week (last week) in general, hubby and I decided to check out the Trump-Biden debate over youtube. We survived but not unscathed. It was…headache-inducing. i feel for my American friends who can’t help but rant about politics every now and then. I’m not an American, but the debate was just a bit much and I caught myself trying to recover with a bunch of SNL/The Late Show clips, standups and armchair travel. Then the news came that Trump and FLOTUS caught the Covid-19 virus. Frankly, I did not have a case of schadenfreude. It put a lot of people at risk of exposure, maybe even Biden and all those who went to the debate.

Let’s go back to the question/title. I find myself having several recovery approaches to stresses, trauma or tragedy that come my way. Especially these days, I find them essential to mental/emotional health. It’s easier to know when recovery is needed physically when you can’t feel your legs after a few laps or a marathon, not so much for other aspects of our health. I intend to explore this in several posts. And I’m curious, how are you dealing with life’s stresses, then and now? What have you learned about yourself in the process? So far, what I’ve learned is that when I don’t prioritize my well-being and let stress go on for too long and unnecessarily so, my physical manifestations can either be hair loss or that one case, bell’s palsy. Although the cause for the latter is largely unknown still, it showed itself up for me while I was going through an extremely stressful time in my life spanning a year. This was back in University almost two decades ago and since then, I’ve made it a point to take care of myself more actively, call it self-care if you will.

Forest bathing is good for your health. Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

FPQ #88 – Who’s In Control?

Fandango asks a very thought-provoking question: To what degree have you been able to control the course that your life has taken? Or is being in control of your life just an illusion?

I tend to go with the latter, for the most part. There are a lot of areas in our sphere of influence (thankfully) that can greatly affect the course of our life such as our choice of a career, a partner (or whether or not we marry/have kids), our associations, how we take care of ourselves, but there’s a lot more beyond our control to begin with such as the family/country we’re born into, our predespositions, that direct our lives or set us on certain paths with or without our knowledge or acknowledgement. So yeah, we have about as much control as an ant has in the universe.

I want to believe though that how we live matters, and that gives me a sense of control/agency and peace. The ant may not have much to prevent a great flood or apocalypse, but it can work and save for the rainy day, migrate to find food or avoid the great flood, work with ant colonies for a bigger purpose. We are part of a larger system operating on some grand design whether we like it or not and have to work around/with it in order to live, survive or maybe even thrive.

Photo by u015eahin Sezer Dinu00e7er on Pexels.com

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