365: Day 20 – My love of food

365: Day 20 – My love of food

A quick look at me and you’ll realize that my relationship has perhaps not been the healthiest, but I am proud to say that it has been improving quite a bit. Needless to say, I have always loved food and have been primarily focuses on how it tastes and how it smells.

I went through a period of my life few years ago where I was exploring the best restaurants like there was no tomorrow. I am honestly afraid to accurately tally up just how much money I spent (read charged to credit cards) to indulge in this fine-dining decadence. The experience was second to none. Everything–from the the decor of these restaurants, to the customer service, to the presentation of the food–was heaven. The tastes, textures, and smells of food were exquisite. The greatest irony in all of this is that I when a waiter would provide the obligatory description of the dish I was unable to comprehend half the things they said. I was just as clueless when it came to tasting the food. I could appreciate a good flavor, but I couldn’t provide a description of what I was tasting.

Then I started going out to all these restaurants a lot less: partly it was time to be more financially responsible, and partly I wasn’t a fan of this “foodie” culture that was just chasing the next instagram post. So in this time of less dining out, I have been cooking far more which has forced me to learn and practice new technique go to the grocery store and learn how to pick the best produce, meats, spices, etc; and it gave me new appreciation for the work that goes into these dishes.

The above was a little dessert I had earlier this evening. It was something simple at home, but I wanted to take a picture with my camera like old times.

365: Day 18 – My favorite sonnet

365: Day 18 – My favorite sonnet

Not much time again today, so I’ll leave you with this literary gem!

Sonnet 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; 
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; 
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; 
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. 
I have seen roses damasked, red and white, 
But no such roses see I in her cheeks; 
And in some perfumes is there more delight 
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. 
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know 
That music hath a far more pleasing sound; 
I grant I never saw a goddess go; 
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground. 
   And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare 
   As any she belied with false compare.

-Willam Shakespeare

Isn’t it beautiful?

365: Day 17 – …and an even busier Thursday

365: Day 17 – …and an even busier Thursday

Very tempting to just copy and paste yesterday’s post. I’m once again grateful for being blessed with work that I enjoy. Today, was an especially good day because I had a very good interaction regarding work projects that I normally am in conflict with most of the time. I pride myself in being able to get a long with the vast majority of people, but this person can make it especially challenging at times. I love managing projects and teams and delivering on the challenge to create something better at the end of it. Smooth sailing is something I think we all wish for, but smooth sailing does not make the best captains. You need the challenge of rough seas and tempests to turn you into a seasoned captain. So I need to look at every challenge as an opportunity to learn something and grow more experienced. Let’s see what Friday brings…

365: Day 16 – Busy Wednesdays

365: Day 16 – Busy Wednesdays

To sit in front of a screen and type up something was among the last things I wanted to do tonight. Wednesdays are my busiest days and I am mentally drained by the time late evening arrives. I was tempted to write self-pitying myself, but I erased those words because I don’t want something negative on this public journal of mine. Let’s focus on the positive.

While nothing can immediately cure my exhaustion, this writing exercise has given me an opportunity to reflect on another feeling: pride. Not pride in the negative sense, but the kind of pride that comes with a sense of accomplishment. My exhaustion is a product of my commitment to my work and my determination to deliver an excellent product. Right now I am tired because I am trusted with many responsibilities and I delivered on the trust placed in me by focusing my concentration on performing well. Don’t worry, I’m not deluding myself into believing I’m creating the next iPhone or launching a SpaceX rocket. I am simply reaffirming to myself that I have a role to play in this life and that this life has a purpose; and I must honor this with my work and take pride in it.

So I’m glad I wrote a little something today. It has realigned my perspective! On that note, I read somewhere that when you’re in a bad situation you should write all the bad things down so that when you leave that situation and look back on it, you don’t fool yourself into thinking that everything was all rosy. On some level I understand that article’s point, but fore the most part I disagree. If you’re not careful and only focus on the negative you’re going to always find a reason to leave and never give yourself the opportunity to triumph over difficult situation: you’ll merely be quitting every time.

I have been very blessed in my life, but like everyone else I may face challenges from time to time. I want to be the type of person that looks at those challenges as opportunities to rise to the occasion.

365: Day 13 – Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins and Piano

365: Day 13 – Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins and Piano

In character or in interviews, there is a certain elegance to his words that can only come from a man who has an appreciation for literature, art, and music. One of my favorite scenes of his is when Pope Benedict XVI in The Two Popes plays the piano in his papal suite. A film review described his portrayal of Pope Benedict XVI as “lonely and bookish, with a teasing wit and a taste for elegance.” You may think me strange, but I would be flattered if these same words were used to describe me. Looking through Anthony Hopkins instagram only reinforced this for me. The videos of him playing the piano are beautiful and his outlook on life is lovely. They inspired me to dim the lights, play some Chopin Nocturnes, and write a little about it.

Moments of solitude save for books and a piano for me to play on, have been childhood dreams I have never grown out of. I find solace in the solemnity of solitude.

365: Day 12 – Spreading my wings in Encino

365: Day 12 – Spreading my wings in Encino

It had been a while since I allowed myself a directionless walk–no planned route, distance, or time: a most pleasurable experience in any city. I’ve been holed up all these weeks just worried sick about the pandemic. Today I ventured out and walked about the neighborhood (I currently live in Encino, a neighborhood of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley).

It was a glorious afternoon! Under the canopy of oaks I removed my mask and inhaled the fragrant Jasmine all around me. I was in heaven and loving every second. I took in experiences like these practically daily when I was constantly running. Oh, how I miss those times! Whenever I think of California, I see oaks filtering the beautiful sunlight with the blue sky teasing behind the foliage. There is far more to California and Los Angeles than the palm tree lined sprawl of broken dreams of stardom. Of the many topics I desire to write about, showcasing my perspective of my beautiful city and state are among my favorite. I remember a couple of years ago a friend from Michigan was visiting and I dragged my poor friend on a five-hour drive to squeeze all of my favorite scenes of the city.

The scene above is of the street behind my home and the two below are when I was at the top of the hill overlooking the San Fernando Valley and the mountains on the other side (the appear far away in the pictures because I used a wide angle). Behind me are the more famous parts of Los Angeles, Bel-Air and Beverly Hills. The Valley looks so peaceful from here, but out towards the buildings is the infamous 405 and 101 freeway interchange that has the honor of having the worst traffic congestion in the nation.

But let’s forget about traffic for minute and think of the oaks, the sunny skies, and the sweet-smelling Jasmine.

365: Day 11 – Wonton Soup

365: Day 11 – Wonton Soup

“Did you take any photography courses? This blogger is saying she wants to start taking food pictures, but that her pictures aren’t that good.”

I’ve never take a photography course, but I did read a lot about, looked at works of other photography enthusiasts, and had lots of practice. I seldom pick-up my camera now, but this question made me go straight to my camera and put on the 50mm lens. I knew exactly what I wanted to take a picture of.

I took a picture of my dinner, enjoyed my delicious dinner, and then opened up my laptop to download the pictures off my camera. I had forgotten what a joy this all was for me. I’ve taken tons of pictures throughout the years of delicious foods and lovely places.

This is the start of the long Memorial Day weekend for us and I left my camera ready on my desk. Let’s see what else I can capture this weekend!