Aside

Haven’t started exercising yet

We’ve been having a heatwave these last few days so it feels awful to be outside. Hopefully I can jump on the stationary bike Wednesday evening and go for a quick walk early Thursday morning. Productivity-wise I’ve been improving a little bit, but not to the level I know I can be.

Starting a journal to keep me focused.

Starting a journal to keep me focused.

I was driving in to work this morning and there was quite a spectacle in the skies. A rare summer storm complete with lightning and thunder. I’m used to seeing lightning and then waiting for the thunder to reach me a few seconds later. Today, however I taken aback when I saw this bright lightning flash followed almost immediately by a power thunderclap. It even shook my rearview mirror.

The traffic was slowing down more than usual, so I figured most people were getting distracted with the incoming thunderstorm. I decided to take the express lanes, but then regretted it because in a way I wanted to spend more time out on the road to enjoy the drama unfolding in the sky.


In other news, I strongly suspect that I’m immune to COVID-19. I’ve been able to dodge the virus so far, and in the past two weeks I’ve spent time in the car with no masks with a coworker who later tested positive that same day and I spent two full days working in the same room unmasked with another worker that also tested positive. I’ve had zero symptoms and continue to test negative. I’m not going to take any chances, but I really think I’m one of the lucky ones.

Speaking of work, I’ve been a bit distracted lately and haven’t been as productive. Many years ago, I reached out to a therapist to see if they could help with my lack of focus. I thought I had ADD. Sometimes I still think I do. They

want to prescribe any medication and instead recommended some strategies for coping with distraction. One was journaling and I remember following that advice and writing on here occassinally. So let me give it another try and write without any purpose other than to get me focused again.

In one of my many moments of distraction earlier today, I finally ordered my Hollywood Bowl tickets for the summer. I don’t know why I waited this long–I guess procrastination is a symptom of distraction/lack of attention. Tomorrow I plan on taking some time to put all of the concert dates into my calendar. Should I but a new planner that starts in July? This way I won’t split the LA Phil and LA Opera between two calendar years.

Other things I did at work that were distracting were watching a few YouTube videos and chitchatting with coworkers. The latter can actually be productive in moderation.


Enough about work. Did you know I’ve also been distracted at home? Yup. My office at home is and epic mess and I could quite frankly being doing more chores at home. I used to keep a routine schedule of chores to do at home before. How did I drop the ball? I feel a little more compelled to organize my office after watching a documentary on YouTube about a loneliness crisis in Japan. One part of the documentary talkeld about an elderly man who died alone in his very disorganized apartment. There were some major health issues that prevented him from cleaning and organizing, so I’m reserving any judgment there. What did get me thinking, however, was when one of the men cleaning the apartment afterward said how you can see the entire room was crying out for help, but no one every came.

I think my office is calling for help, and I need to address it so that the energy of the room becomes more positive and inviting.


The evening turned gorgeous as the sun was setting behind the mountains. It seemed a little strange to see the sun setting behind the mountains and not the ocean, but we just barely passed the summer solstice and these mountains here oriented east to west.

Once the sun set, the clouds in the east started doing their thing again with frequest lightning and thunder. It seemed as if something evil was brewing in the east.

The rest of the evening was spent watching the latest episode (series finale) of Obi-Wan and then some YouTube videos on the Polestar 2. I ordered one a couple of weeks ago, but I’m having second thoughts about spending so much on a car seeing that a recession is most likely on the horizon. It wasn’t until later that I thought about writing as a sort of therapy to get me focused again.

New writing toy

New writing toy

A few weeks ago I bought myself an HP Chromebook X2. It was a total impulse buy, but it was love at first sight. I went into BestBuy to shop for an ergonomic mouse and I ended up walking out with this little computer instead.

I walked along the aisles with the computers on display as I usually do, and I saw among the Chromebook this beautiful device that looked very much like a Microsoft Surface. I thought $300 dollars was a fair price for this tablet and I asked the sales associate how much the cover and keyboard were. When he told me it was included along with a stylus, I was completely sold.

I usually spend a really long time making a purchasing decision, but after a few weeks with it, I don’t regret it one bit. The screen is 11 inches, great resolution, love the keyboard, and fits in my manbag. Becuase it’s so portable, I’ve been carrying it around with me everywhere and it has been great for watching videos or playing games when I’m charging my car.

A Friday with me.

A Friday with me.

Third runner up: the lady sitting in her car in the parking lot of the opthalmologist where my dad had another appointment. I was helping my dad in and the lady was sitting inside her ugly old SUV. I bumped my elbow on one of her windows and she got upset and saidy “you hit my car.” I rolled my eyes and told her it was only my elbow on her window. She then started getting out of her car again saying “you hit my car.” I couldn’t help myself. I held my hand out showing her my palm and told her, “I don’t have time for you right now” and got in my car and left. I’ll admit it was probably a dick move, but I had a very tight schedule and just did not have the patience for someone being overly dramatic.

I find I get more easily irritated by people lately. There were a few fine examples of this today.

First runner up: the lab technician that that asked me to wait outside while we waited for my dad to be called in. I stood outside the door thinking of sarcastic responses I could use in case they gave me any attitude. They ended up being really nice and learned that they were extra busy today because their other location was closed. Thank goodness I didn’t make any sarcastic remarks.

Second runner up: the man staring at me in the waiting room. I usually try to look elsewhere and not pay an attention, but finally I had had enough and stared into his eyes and did not break my gaze. He then gave a slight nod and I moved on. Maybe he didn’t mean anything anything by it, but don’t some people realize how awkward it is to stare at someone withough smiling or acknowleding the other person.


We were to meetup for dinner halfway between work and home and wait out traffic. Always one to take advantage of free charging, I looked for nearby places where I could plug in my car. I was shocked when I hit the jackpot and found some free chargers at a train station. They had 64 chargers and they were ALL free to use! We plugged both cars in (alternating), and had hotpot at HaiDiLao.

All in all, it was a good ending to what had started out as a busy Friday with me leaving home around 6:30am. Sometimes I feel like I’m more busy than I’d like to be, and at other times I feel like I could be doing more with my spare time. There are two personal projects I’m looking to take on, so I’ll need to better manage my time if I’m to succeed.

Reflections

Reflections

I have a few false starts saved as drafts on here. I had been thinking about writing about my reflection during Lent. Even though I did not continue writing during Lent I did finish the season with a daily Rosary and doing the daily readings. In all honesty, I am still a little surprised I stuck with my intentions for Lent. Even though I went to Catholic school all the way until college, I didn’t really take any interest in Catholicism beyond that. Perhaps it is as a friend told me a few years ago that spirituality will come once we are ready for it.

I feel similarly about Classical music. My appreciation for music has deepened as I’ve gotten older and I attribute this to the accumulation of life experiences. How could I appreciate music for anything more than pretty notes decades ago when I didn’t know anything about love, heartbreak, betrayal, and supporting myself?

So it may be the same with religion for me now, where the accumulation of life experiences help me appreciate it more. You won’t see me being all preachy and wearing my spirituality and religion on my sleeve, but I’ve been keeping it more front of mind. I sometimes look up at the stars and I am fascinated by the immensity of it all. It’s hubris to think that we somehow understand how it all works just by what we can observe from our microscopic planet.

To continue with my musical analogy: I have some understanding of the physics of sound and the chemistry of emotions, but neither `fully explain how and why I have such an intense emotional connection with music. So with spirituality, I feel that there is a connection to the larger universe that I don’t fully understand and that don’t need to.

Anyway, I just wanted to get that thought out of the way and resume my random writings from time to time.

Lent: Prayer, more than just meditation

Lent: Prayer, more than just meditation

I prayed with the sincerest intention I could remember. It was the extended version of the Rosary and I prayed it while my dad was having surgery to have a pacemaker installed. I read a bunch of literature on the subject leading up to the surgery and from statistical standpoint it was a fairly easy procedure and I had nothing to worry about. But I was nervous and scared about the faintest possibility of any complication.

Praying the Rosary helped put my mind at ease and in that sense I was comforted. I never thought I’d publicly be writing about the positivity and power of prayer, but I can tell you that it helped. Religion done the right he way is a guidance on how to live at peace and in service to others. It makes me wonder what went wrong and where. Why has it sometimes been used to do more harm than good, and when did it become something potentially archaic and shameful.

My dad’s surgery went well and he is coming home today. I could say we were lucky. I could say I’m grateful to the universe. I could say I’m grateful to God. It felt like more than just look and we understand about the universe about as much as we understand about God (if we’re being honest). So why not just say it was God and have faith in the teachings that are part of my heritage.

Lent: The Rosary as meditation

Lent: The Rosary as meditation

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

A gift and personal reasons led me to do some research on the Rosary. I haven’t prayed it in years even though I grew up praying it with family and during 13 years of Catholic school. Until a few days ago, the idea of it seemed out of place and antiquated. As I read articles on its history and purpose, I became intrigued by Popes and Saints throughout history referring to it as a form of meditation. It got me thinking about how is it that meditation and mindfulness in today’s society can borrow so freely from some religions and shun others. Why is it that Buddhist and Hindi practices are trendy and praised, but Christian meditation practices have come to be shunned?

I decided to pray the Rosary every day during lent as an offering during this time of year in addition to a few other things I’ve decided to give up. It’s a little sad that I feel the need to be courageous to even post on this topic. So I’m hoping this time will help me as a self-reflection.

If there is one good thing about this pandemic it is that it has brought me closer to family and the traditions I grew up with. Before the pandemic I had started to view special days of the year as nothing special. I remember a few Decembers ago that I was driving with Christmas music playing in my car when I was overcome by a feeling of sadness that I had drifted away from my traditions.

I don’t want to make my little corner of the internet sound preachy, but I’m thinking of focusing on this aspect of me throughout Lent.

Celebrating with Pouilly-Fuissé

Celebrating with Pouilly-Fuissé

In my previous post I mentioned being invited to interview for a job I’m interested in. That first interview went well and I was invited for a second round. That second round was today with a couple of interviewers and I came away feeling even more excited. I feel like I made a great impression and I came away with a good impression of the company and the position as well! I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it may be too late for that. My mind is already imagining myself in the new role and how to go about telling my current coworkers if I end up taking the job. Oh how I wish this job to come true.

Regardless of me getting the job or not, I feel quite proud of myself for feeling so confident and comfortable during my interview. So to celebrate, I opened up a bottle of wine and watched a short opera. The wine was a 2016 Domaine Luquet Pouilly-Fuissé Bois Seguin. The opera was Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. I spent some time reading up on the wine trying to understand more about the grapes used and the region it comes from. The French label their wines by region and not grape variety like we do here in California. So I wasn’t quite sure what kind of wine I was about to drink. It was a Chardonnay from Bourgogne (Burgundy) and an exquisite one at that. In that past I would have probably said that I liked Pouilly-Fussé over Chardonnay, but knowing better now I would say I prefer this particular French Chardonnay over a typical California Chardonnay. The French oak barrels that they’re aged in produce a more delicate and pleasing taste for me. I read further about the typical flavors of the region and I could definitely detect a few notes of apple and a hint of citrus. The color was a deeper amber color that tells me it was a slightly older wine. Researching and learning all of this is why I love wine. 🙂

As to the opera…Pagliacci is a masterpiece and one that I feel deeply. It tears me up and gives me goosebumps. I’ve noticed that I appreciate opera more and more as I get older and at first I thought it was because it is an acquired taste that I’ve learned to appreciate and I know much more about it now. While that may be partially true, I believe the biggest reason for my interest crescendo is that I’ve had more life experiences now. It’s hard to identify with the characters and feel their pain if you haven’t gone through the life experiences depicted in these works of art. When I see a performance of Pagliacci, it stirs up old wounds of heartbreak and betrayal. It sounds masochistic, but I instead find it cathartic. When you hear the deep emotions portrayed by the music you feel comforted that others have felt the same thing to and that it’s all part of the human experience.

Who celebrates like this over a job interview that you don’t know the outcome of? Well, I do and I love it!