Zeitgeist of my life position

So I was reading this great post by Britany Robinson over at her Stars on the Ceiling blog and found it really timely because I was planning on doing sort of a zeitgeist thing for where I’m at to close out the A-to-Z challenge this year. I feel like her idea of a “big trip to find a place to settle” is sort of how my past year went. We ended up in a somewhat unexpected, but entirely plausible place at the end of our first year of marriage, and our focus on life shifted from adventure, travel, and gaining worldly experience to planning for the future, creating a solid financial foundation, and creating a strong enough career that later on in life we can shift focus again and maintain the lifestyle that we want.

I think it’s always kind of a sentimental time when you shift gears. I mean, do I wish I could backpack through Thailand, Japan, China, and Europe again? Uh, yeah. Would I trade where I’m living now for our drafty old moldy apartment in Korea? Not on your life, buddy. Is my current line of work much more difficult and tedious than what I’ve done over the past six or seven years? Yes. Is the payoff better? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

If I hadn’t taken a few years away from the rat race to get out, see the world, and learn that no matter what you do it’s going to turn into a j-o-b, then I don’t think I’d appreciate where I’m at now nearly as much. I’d really regret it if I stayed at my old job and never hit the road, struggled through layoffs trying to make a “passion” job work for me, and moved overseas for a few years. I think I needed that kind of formative experience.

So basically, whereas a year ago focus was on travel, adventure, and seeing new places; life has shifted to a bit more concentration on stability and working towards the future, but that’s good because the future seems less ambiguous now.

X is for extreme morning madness

This morning I thought I’d get back on the fitness wagon and go for a run. I haven’t run in weeks. It went kinda meh, as expected. Then something scary happened. I got home from my run and saw this on my front porch.

OMG A SNAKE ON MY PORCH!

OMG A SNAKE ON MY PORCH!

After much debate about whether it was dead or alive, my mother suggested the following solution. Squirt it with water. If it moves, it’s alive, if it doesn’t, it’s dead. So I did. It didn’t move, except for where the water moved it. I cut its head off with a shovel, bagged it up, and threw it in the garbage. I’m not sure what kind of snake it was, but holy hell it didn’t need to be on my porch. I’m pretty sure it picked a fight with a bird it couldn’t win, too, as there was a bird carcass sticking out of its stomach.  So that’s  my extreme morning. Hopefully tomorrow “X” can just be for exercise, as planned.

Uh-oh. I thought today was Friday.

Not that it really makes a huge difference, I work on Saturdays, but seriously, I thought today was Friday. That means that instead of working two days and then having a day off I’m working three. Oops. This hasn’t happened to me in a while, and I’m happy that I figured it out before going in to the office today and making it through half of a day, but today is, in fact, only Thursday. Yes, Rebecca Black, yesterday was Wednesday, today it is Thursday. We we we disappointed, we disappointed. Crap.

I guess though, that if I’ve lost track of time on just one day off, I made a good day of it, right? Yesterday was pretty great. I had a breakfast date with my mom, then picked up an anniversary gift for my wife (I can’t believe I’m at a stage in life where I’m buying anniversary gifts, I feel so grown up) (wait a minute, I can’t believe we’ve been married long enough to be having an anniversary so far! WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE?), stopped by Lowe’s to pick up some cow manure and compost (because my days off are FUN), ended up getting a lemon tree, did the yard work, then made a couple of pizzas from scratch while watching She’s Out of My League. That’s what I call recreation, people. Now I’m blogging and getting ready for the second “half” of my week. Turns out there’s more than half to go.

U is for “Ugh.”

I don’t know what to do with myself.

I’ve been waking up to go to work between the hours of 4:45 and 6:00am for the past six months, and my schedule changed. Now I don’t have to be to work until 11:30am. I’m happy about that. It means I can get a little more done in the morning and I don’t have to put my second cup of coffee in a to-go cup. This is the first morning of this schedule, though, and it feels weird having the countdown timer go so long. My normal pattern is to get up, let the dogs out, start the coffee maker, brush my teeth, eat breakfast, take a shower, and head to work. When I finished those items this morning I still had three hours to go. I guess I know when I can do some blogging now. Also running, I think I’ll start doing that again. It’s only been 3 weeks since my running habit ground to a halt, I’ve got plenty of time to get that going again. But ugh, it feels like I’m going to my first day of work again. The only thing that’s different is the time. I like this new morning time I have available, but what’s the evening going to feel like now? Whine whine whine gripe moan. I think I’ll have another cup of coffee.

Heights. A vertical perspective on cathedrals and basilicas

Macau

I’ve spent a good bit of time touring various cathedrals and basilicas in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, and even Macau. Often when I drive to and from places here in Texas, I wonder why the faithful here don’t build as beautiful places of worship as those in other places do. While I was driving to work yesterday I realized that it’s not just the corrugated aluminum/tin roof style construction I find visually unappealing about the churches I see in my locale, but the complete and utter lack of verticality. It’s not like building churches talleris a new thing, or even a trend that requires a new technology. People have been doing it since Constantine had the first Hagia Sophia built in Byzantium/Istanbul/Constantinople as civilization was ripping apart at the seams. In fact, one of the coolest cathedral experiences I have was when we took the “vertical tour” at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. The tour guide pointed out that the part of the cathedral we were visiting wasn’t built for us, and that the beauty was there for god and the angels. I mean, I’m not exactly a religious person, but that’s a freaking great and admirable sentiment.If you’re worshipping an omnipotent, almighty being, I’d imagine that the almighty would appreciate you putting a little more work into your surroundings than slapping together something uglier than a big-box store’s regional distribution center. Okay enough of my opinion on modern religious architecture. Here are some stunning views of verticality at work in various cathedrals and basilicas…and mosques.Florence, Italy Florence, Italy Barcelona, Spain Rome, Italy Istanbul, Turkey

It’s all about the food in 2014

The transition from the adventurous lifestyle of an expat English teacher with the freedom, time, and proximity to travel frequently to exotic destinations back to the career ladder took a bit longer and was a bit more disruptive to regular blogging than I expected it would be at the outset, but now, at the very beginning of 2014 I find myself in a position to be able to sit down and tap out a few thoughts about where the blog is going to go in the future, what kind of adventures I can even conceive of in the near future, and perhaps fall into the beginning of the year “these are my goals for this year” trope that is required of anyone who maintains a blog.

It’s all about the food this year

After months and months of seeking jobs and a place of our own, we’ve finally settled down in San Antonio, Texas. It’s not exactly the apartment we wanted in New York, but we’ll trade that for the usable kitchen space and write our own story, ya know? The good news is that San Antonio is still big enough for us to find just about anything we might want, but we’ll certainly have to work a bit harder at it. As for the aforementioned kitchen space, the most affordable and therefore possible way for us to get a taste of the world for the next year or so is going to be by cooking up whatever cuisine we might desire in our own kitchen. I think I’ll blog about that. See what just happened? The blog evolved before your very eyes. If I were a creationist I’d have to take the whole thing down and start over, I guess. Good thing I’m not. Other topics I might touch on in the future (regularly) might include fitness, current events, and adult beverages.

I’m planning to get the first look at this crap I made in my very own kitchen themed post up in the next couple of days. The name of the segment is still under construction in my head, so don’t be surprised if something other than look at this crap I made in my very own kitchen isn’t what shows up in your inbox, mkay?

Sign up for email notifications because the facebook page is doomed!

Speaking of inboxes, sign up to receive the blog by email if you’re planning to continue reading. I’m downsizing my social media presence a bit, and the blog’s facebook page is going away soon. I’m not setting a firm date, but before the end of January for sure. Time management dictates that I barely have the time to maintain the blog and a free channel to write my thoughts down, and no time for the facebook/googleplus/etc. There will probably be a change of URL for the blog this summer as well, as iPower seems to find their services to be worth quite a bit more than I find them to be and I might just migrate the whole shebang over to wordpress.com.

Images images images

I might like to post some images here and there in a really short-form way of adding content to the blog. You see, wordpress makes a fireworks show out of your posts at the close of each year, so the more posts I make the more fireworks I get at the end of the year, and that provides me with a tiny bit of gratification. It’s all about me.

Goals for the year

  1. Fitness: keep it up and turn up the intensity.
  2. Career growth: keep it up and turn up the intensity.
  3. Eat fish more often.
  4. Get all necessary dental work done.
  5. Establish a relationship with a family practitioner and feel comfortable enough to just call for refills.
  6. Create a financial position that will allow us to buy a small Greek island in 2015 (yeah, right!)
  7. Have an adventure each and every day…or at least a caper.

Okay, that felt really obligatory. Remember, subscribe to the email updates because the facebook page is going away. I’m looking forward to a new year and lots of adventures in the kitchen, and I hope you’ll stick with me while I change this from a blog about interesting places I’ve been more into a blog about interesting stuff to make and eat at home.

Good talk. See you out there.

I’m going to the dentist today :(

Well, at least it’s timed well with the whole A to Z challenge thing, I guess. Last night as I was peacefully playing Assassin’s Creed: Revelations the wisdom tooth the dentist in Korea said “maybe should come out one day” cracked and I ended up spitting bits of enamel out of my mouth. Now, I should have known better as the word maybe in Korea means most definitely. Now, for the first time I’m wishing I was back in Korea because this problem would have been much, much cheaper to fix there.

Luckily, the dentist across the street has cash discounts. $29 for an exam and $161-$564 for the extraction. I hope it’s closer to that $161 amount :(.

I wonder what surprises and adventures tomorrow will bring.