Home Cooking

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO800
“Making Pasta” Cedar Park, 2020

During the “Shelter In Place” life we are living because of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everyone is cooking at home more. Today, Koa helped Mariko make pasta using the KitchenAid mixer pasta attachment. The noodles came out great, and were a nice change from dry pasta. I guess because we have gained back all the hours we normally spend on out-of-house activities that there is more focus and intentional effort given to the everyday tasks. Maybe it’s just because there are less tasks that we are available to us… I’m not sure, but I’ve seen it in other things too, like planting our seedlings, veggies, and herbs, house-cleaning, and getting outside for walking, running, or bicycling.

This may seem like a positive, and I think there are good habits being formed or reinforced, but also it’s been pretty hard on a lot of people whose livelihoods depend on people going out of the house. For instance, the restaurant businesses have been suffering and I feel so sorry for them. I guess we all just want life to return to normal so we can do things like socialize, go to movies, resume school classes, concerts, dine out, and go hiking/camping.

In the meantime, we’ll just cope at home – and homemade pasta can help with that. 😀

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO500
“Pasta” Cedar Park, 2020

By the way, Lani also like when we make pasta because she’ll occasionally get lucky with a stray noodle.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/4, 1/35 sec, ISO800
“Hoping” Cedar Park, 2020

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

Running Farther

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1250
“Bluebonnet” Cedar Park, 2020

The past few weekends I’ve been upping my long run mileage bit-by-bit, and seeing how my body reacts. One thing that I find interesting and fun, is when I separate my mind from my body, which sounds a little strange, but what I mean is that I am able to think rationally and evaluate my physical condition without that condition affecting my thinking. Does that make sense?

In the past I’ve imagined my brain to be like the pilot of a giant robot, who evaluates the gauges and dashboards, then adjusts things like the level of effort, body position, smoothness of running motion, where I hold my arms and hands, etc. If I feel a leg muscle getting tight, it’s like a warning light starts flashing in the cockpit, so I adjust a lever and ease up a little. This is kind of a fun way to keep my mind active and also to make sure I don’t push too hard. I generally have four sets of gauges: muscle fatigue, heart-rate/cardio, temperature level, and joint condition.

These days, the cardio warning light rarely comes on, and temperature level is similar. These two are not difficult to regulate, so if the light does come on, I can simply slow down. Muscle fatigue is pretty consistent in its depletion level (think of a bar gauge with percentage slowly getting smaller), and the joint condition is probably the one gauge I watch most closely. My foot has felt a little sore the past couple of runs, but felt good on the most recent outing. Still, it’s something that can really derail my efforts if I am not careful. At 51 years old, I need to definitely not push myself too hard.

However, I’m still enjoying getting out there and practicing mindfulness while running. It’s one of life’s little joys.

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Today’s photo is of the State Flower of Texas, the Bluebonnet. They are starting to bloom! I enjoy seeing them when running, although this photo was taken while I was out birding. Tweet tweet! 🐦

Anticipation and Restraint

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/60 sec, ISO320
“B&W Desk” Cedar Park, 2020

Today’s photo is of my desk at home, and on the screen is a YouTube video impression by Big Head Taco of the Fujifilm X100V. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will be getting one of these cameras, and it fills me with excitement. But the anticipation is not something that makes me feel that I need the camera right away. My current Fujifilm X100T is still a great camera that works flawlessly. I’ve had it for years now, and I am expecting to use the X100V for years as well. That knowledge makes it easy to hold off on impulsively pre-ordering the new camera. In fact, I get a bit of pleasure from not ordering it… I’m not sure why exactly. But one day, maybe when we have a bit of extra money in the budget, I’ll just order it. That day might come next month, or next year. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy that dynamic of feeling anticipation and restraint simultaneously. 😀

Some Good News

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/40 sec, ISO800
“Beer Beer Beer” Round Rock, 2020

A couple of weeks ago I visited my eye doctor for my yearly check-up and prescription update, and I took a new test which was meant to identify the signs of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Well, I failed the test, and coupled with some of the imaging of my eyes, raised some concerns that I was developing AMD. It’s not an uncommon condition, but it is not seen in someone my age very often.

So, today we took some more tests and… my eyes passed the test with flying colors! Whew! There’s no sign of AMD at this point. I’m so relieved… the uncertainty was weighing on me a bit for these two weeks, and now that weight is lifted.

And how fortunate that tonight we planned to meet our good friends for beer and pizza! They didn’t know about my AMD concern, but inside I was celebrating. 😊

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO3200
“Pizza and Nachos” Round Rock, 2020

Digital Declutter

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/8, 1.2 sec, ISO200
“Flip Phones” Cedar Park, 2020

I’ve been reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport which has accelerated my digital declutter. Removing apps from my phone/tablet is just one step in a broader process and mindset, but an important one. Like Marie Kondo, he advocates an extreme approach initially, which can be difficult, but is ultimately the most rewarding and sets you up for greatest success. But the book is much more than just deleting apps, and I recommend reading it – there are some amazing insights into solitude, research about anxiety, and more.

For myself, I removed Facebook from my devices last year, and I feel that my life is so much better. I occasionally need to login to list something for sale or to check ads for my job, but I don’t check my feed. In fact, I find an aversion to it now.

More recently, I removed Twitter from my devices. I was spending too much time scrolling and refreshing my timeline, and now the mere thought of checking it is unpleasant. And the funny thing is, most of the people I followed were creatives and humorists who share positive and funny tweets. But wow, I spent too much of my attention there, giving up my “mental solitude” that Newport emphasizes in his book. I have to say, being Twitter-free is great! I’ve found myself more interested in journaling, watching movies, and even signed up for the 2021 marathon, and bought tickets to a couple concerts. I believe this newfound motivation to do these more rewarding activities is to fill the void that social media was taking up.

One other thing that Digital Minimalism talks about is going for walks, which allows you the time to think and reflect. I guess that’s also why I am attracted to solo activities, like running, solo motorcycle rides, and also solo camping, which I am planning to do in a couple months.

I’m still early into my digital declutter, but I am already seeing the positive changes in my life, just like I did with my declutter of my possessions. Yay! 😊

Today’s photo is of a couple of old flip-phones I dug out. My aunt requested a simpler phone, so I was looking at the options. I thought the timing of the request fit in nicely with today’s post.