There is nothing better than sitting quietly with a good journal and fancy pen trying out a new type of tea. This was a tea service that I gave to myself one day, and it was everything. The tea was unique; the food was exquisite, and the journaling was productive.
Have yourself a unique, exquisite, productive day.
This advice from VeryBritishProblems may sound a bit peevish at first, but for tea, the microwave is very uneven. You’re likely to find the first sip warm, and then drink it faster only to discover the middle scalding. Best to boil new water and brew another tea bag for evenness. One thing I learned from Douglas Adams’s advice on the perfect cup of tea is to boil the water, fill your mug, and pour it out. Then refill the mug with the boiled water and a tea bag. Let it steep. This will warm the cup and keep your tea warmer longer. I’ve tried this method and it really is perfect.
We also invested in an electric kettle. It is very fast and does a great job, and by invest, we paid about $25, so it easily pays for itself if you start brewing your tea at home.
I spent today with my family, and when I got home realized that this post wasn’t ready. I was going to put it off until mid-week when things would be seemingly calmer, but I thought about that for a minute, and realized that our mental health can’t be put off.
We need to take the time needed and focus on our mental health when we need to. It will never fit into a schedule. Things come up with mental health that we need to cope with just like things come up everyday in our lives like an overflowing sink or a backed-up toilet. Some things just need to be taken care of right away.
One thing that I have been struggling with is my prayer life. My faith is strong, but I’m having difficulty praying, so I’m looking at new techniques. If it doesn’t improve, I may resort to a finite-timed checklist. And for me, not being prayerful affects my mental health. I am hoping to attend mass tomorrow before I begin the rest of my day.
Before I give you my quick list, please…. if you are in distress or having an emergency, contact a mental health professional or call 9-1-1. The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is 988 and they are there to help.
Here are five simple suggestions for coping with mental health and the anxieties that accompany it:
Focus on something neutral, something ordinary. The breeze blowing the leaves outside. The clouds drifting by.
Take some quiet time and listen to music. Instrumental music is often good for this because there are no words to distract you, but if you like loud, blaring music, play that and sing along.
Read a book.
Write in a journal. You can write what you’re feeling, what you’re grateful for, what your plans are when you’re feeling better.
Watch a movie you’ve seen before. That way you don’t have to give it your full attention, but you’ll feel as though you’re doing something if that’s what you need.
I’m looking for a new title for this monthly series. They will continue to include quotations, photos/art, and reflections. Let me know any of your title ideas in the comments. I’m looking forward to your thoughts.
A few quotations that struck me for the new year (in no particular order):
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.
Ranier Maria Rilke
The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
You are your choices.
Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.
You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.
House Clerk, Cheryl Johnson and CSPAN earned their accolades this week. They are both in thankless jobs until something like this happens and they become household names.
Finally, on the fifteenth round of voting, six thousand, five hundred ten names called over three days, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker of the House by Republicans. All Democrats (212), in every round, voted for NY’s Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. In my opinion, he would have made an excellent Speaker, and one day, he will.
I’d like you to watch a portion of his first speech as Minority Leader. He thanked Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi for her service and her job as the first woman Speaker of the House. She really is remarkable. She has stepped down from leadership for the next generation, but she remains in the House of Representatives as the Congresswoman from her California district.
This video of Rep. Jeffries is just superb, and I look forward to hearing from him more and more. This is only a small part (A-Z), but it’s also worth finding the full 15 minutes of his speech.
This has to be the worst week for deciding what to eat. Nothing goes as planned, not to mention that the age old question, “What’s for dinner?” is almost impossible to answer in a week of unpredictables. We know what’s for dinner for Christmas Eve; we know what for dinner Christmas Day, and we even know what’s for dinner the day after Christmas, but the rest of the week? *throws hands up* Who knows?!
The other day we put off ground beef to have fast food after shopping and work.
Yesterday we finally had the ground beef as tacos.
Tonight? Pasta and meatballs. Unless we opt for cold cuts which are already in the fridge, but after the hassle of finding the almost non-existent ricotta cheese (which I love on my pasta and sauce), I’m leaning towards the pasta, although to be honest, we’re all a little tired of pasta – it’s our go-to when there’s nothing else and it’s snowing out or the paycheck is next week.
I’m pretty sure it’s pasta tonight though.
Like 95% sure.
Our holiday food follows my husband’s family traditions, but this year I did manage to make latkes on Chanukah, which is a feat since it’s a drain to stand over the stove. And there are never any leftovers. These were probably the best ones I’ve ever made. They were crispy on the outside, hot and soft on the inside, and they were perfect with the applesauce and sour cream. Yes, both.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend and week that follows.
Leftover Rotelli, also known by my son as that thing you do with pasta. This “thing I do with pasta” changes depending on the food that goes with it. This was just thrown together and it was good enough to take a picture and try to recreate the recipe.
I apologize for the lack of real measurements. You kind of have to feel this one, but you’ll be able to adjust as you go along. I have confidence in you.
In a wok, heat 1-2 TB sesame oil. Add nutmeg, orange peel, garlic powder and teriyaki sauce.
Add the noodles.
Then more teriyaki sauce, more garlic powder.
Add 1/2 to a whole bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Let them unfreeze in the noodles and warm up a bit, then add about 1/3 cup of hoisin sauce (our new favorite condiment) and 1/4 stick of unsalted butter.
Mix over a medium heat.
Cover until hot, mixing occasionally and checking the temperature for how you prefer it.
Everything is already cooked so it’s up to you to decide when it’s done. You’ll know when it is.
Today is Election Day. Get out the vote, get out your vote, do your civic duty, and take the responsibility for what direction you want this country to go in. Please remember January 6th, and the heroes of that day who are still traumatized – that kind of thing doesn’t go away overnight and it certainly doesn’t go away when the circumstances that led to it in the first place are still prevalent. We need to stop the impending fascism and save our democracy. It’s not perfect. Of course, it’s not perfect, but one party wants to help you, and one wants to destroy our American experiment. Vote blue for Democracy.
These are some of the important races around the country that I am keeping my eye on and praying for. I’ve already voted today. We got up extra early to get my middle son to the polls. He’s a first time voter. In the car on the way home, my husband asked him if he voted on the bond issue, he wouldn’t tell him. I think that was just to be an amused teenager, but it drives home the point that your vote is YOUR VOTE. Use it wisely.
These are in no special order. You can look them up with Google, and to watch the returns, I’d recommend MSNBC who will have Rachel Maddow leading the coverage beginning at 6pm EST, although starting at 4pm is Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace. She’s great to watch – good insights, good guests.
I have three inspirationals to share with you this month:
The first is, of course, VOTE. Election Day is tomorrow in the US and it is the most consequential of our lifetimes, especially if those lives are female. VOTE BLUE for DEMOCRACY. I will have a post tomorrow of some races to watch, and will try to update at the end of the night or early the next morning. Despite not being able to drive yet [see my personal update on the home page], I will be going to the polls with my son, who is a first time voter. He understands the responsibility of voting, but I still think we’re more excited than he is. My offer to drive locals to the polls still stands; I will just need to find a substitute driver if the need arises.
The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.
The second is Nanowrimo! Even if you’re not officially participating, take some moments today and write something. Write for ten minutes without stopping and then write for ten minutes more. I have been meeting my writing goals of Nano [1667/day to meet the thirty day deadline] so far. Some days are better than others, but I’m surprising myself with how much useful writing is coming out for my book. In fact, I was just inspired by a book I’m reading [rec below] to look again at one of the places I will be writing about, and describe it in more detail. I may share that excerpt later in the week.
Third, I’m only halfway through this book, but I highly recommend it. I feel that he’s in my head with his side comments and irreverance, and then doubling back and doubling down on the incredible faithful journey he’s experiencing in the Holy Land. As I said before, reading his very detailed description of his visit one Sunday afternoon has made me want to revisit one of my wanderings and see what I can come up with this eveniing for today’s Nano writing session.