this is the archive for the ‘just life’ category:


weeknotes, 10/21

– bread! at last, proper sourdough bread with only wild yeast. i’ve done a couple half rye, half wheat loaves that turned out beautiful! <3

– cutting my index finger and nail while chopping a slice of said bread. :( when your job is 90% conveying words and instructions via a keyboard, this is most inconvenient. my other fingers have tried to make do, rearranging themselves haphazardly around the keys, stretching into unmapped paths. it’s slow going, but getting better.

– landed a 2-months free trial of skillshare, and i’ve been checking out random stuff. mike lowery’s sketchbook class was quite fun, and prompted me to draw silly stuff this week.

– still thinking about how these forced periods of staying put have given us the chance to recalibrate some things, not just opportunities to explore and improve stuff within our own homes, but also within ourselves. i’m looking forward to traveling again like everyone else, but i’m also starting to see travel in a different light lately. i read this bit on craig mod’s newsletter and it made sense:

Travel is an astounding gift. When “done well,” (slowly, thoughtfully, with respect for the local culture, in ways that minimally disrupt, that add to the richness of the place you’re visiting, that are cognizant of your own impact as a “foreign body” on the landscape) it becomes a cornerstone of building empathy and personal growth. My hope is we keep this a little more front-of-mind going forward. That getting on a plane, “teleporting” across the world is remembered for what it is: A freggin’ miraculous dance between politics, science, infrastructure, and human ingenuity.

And, similarly, that we remember to give time and attention to the “boring” commutes and “dumb” adventures to be had in our backyards. Of which, of course, exist enough to fill a curious lifetime.

– this blog turned 17, whoa!

weeknotes, 9/21

fuchsia dunlop gave a talk about gong bao chicken, telling the story of the dish and its permutations in different provinces, and i’ve been thinking about it for a few days. the next time we visit asia, i want to do a better job of learning about dishes and trying new things — there’s so much to discover!

– the daffodils are popping off the ground and blooming! been spending a bit more time in the garden lately, just 15mins or so per day, weeding and pruning, getting some vitamin D and getting stuff ready for planting. it’s unlikely we’ll go anywhere before the end of the year, so maybe it’s time to grow stuff again.

– the boy turned 40, and we spent the day stuffing ourselves with nice food, birdwatching and solving a murder mystery.

– looking back at miguel araújo’s 2020 new year’s concert in porto, and being almost hypnotized by the crowds and by the energy of it all, wondering when scenes like this will be possible again.

– we finished watching good omens, and i enjoyed it a lot. the story is nice, but the 2 main characters make the show.

february 2021 — one second everyday

february was rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. many missed days, but also some good stuff.

chatting with friends far away, system updates gone wrong (but saved by backups!), new birds, zoom overload, chinese new year, perseverance on mars, chinese classes, food experiments… and mr. rogers, making us see the good in the world once more. :)

weeknotes, 8/21

– my mom got the first dose of the vaccine, and this was the best news of the week year so far! knowing that people we love are safe is just the best. <3 it might take a while yet, but i can’t wait to hug her again.

– wore my it’s never aliens tshirt for the first time, and it was brilliant.

– in an effort to make the drudgery of replying to emails more palatable, i’ve made my peanut butter consumption dependent on number of emails replied, at the rate of 1 peanut butter teaspoon per 10 emails. it’s been a good strategy, not just to curb my consumption of the stuff (which is like crack to me), but also to make me amazingly productive all week (email-wise at least), even stocking up on extra spoons for the weekend! productivity gurus should just hire me as a consultant. :D

– was getting kind of tired of seeing my own white hairs in video calls, so decided to paint my hair at home with a kit from the supermarket. cheaper, and not a total disaster as I had feared!

– had to study this video for chinese class this week, about what used to be called “leftover women”. pressure by parents to marry off their children in china is still as high as i remember it 10 years ago, though the kids seem to be alright.

– new yarn for my first ever sweater arrived!

– and on a sad note, my godmother passed away this week. she was in her early 60s, recently retired after being a nurse and caring for others all her life. she was single, well-traveled and awe-inspiring to me as a kid — i admired her talents in different crafts, but also her fierce independance. early last year, she started complaining of headaches, but postponed getting checked due to the lockdown until they became unbearable… and a tumour in her brain was discovered. months of painful treatements ensued but to no avail, as is often the case — just a slow, excrutiating decline into death. a stark and painful reminder of the overall unfairness of life, and of how much we keep living on borrowed time, postponing things to a “later” that might never come.

as someone once said, “there’s only one age: alive.”

weeknotes, 7/21

not much going on this week, but:

– we’ve been giving baking bread a try, mostly to supplement the boy’s diet while i keep my carbs low. sourdough is still a challenge, the starters never seem to bubble and grow in our kitchen… but normal yeasted bread is an achievement unlocked!

– after one too many liquid mishaps near the computer, the boy offered a travel mug for christmas and i’m a little bit in love with it — it’s perfect for my many daily servings of hot beverages. speaking of which, we’ve switched to decaf maybe a year ago and haven’t looked back. it might not be as tasty as really nice coffee, but i can definitely feel the difference in my well-being.

– watching perseverance land on mars!

– the black-headed gulls‘ heads are turning black, switching to their summer plummage. feels like a sign that spring is around the corner!

– in the spirit of using what we have these winter months, i’ve picked up my watercolor supplies and started painting alongside random youtube videos, to tune out at the end of the day. i feel like a child again, it feels great to just put brush to paper with no expectations of anything good actually coming out of it.

– and a quote to hang on to until the days warm up again:

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” – albert camus