Posted in Musings

Go to the Dentist!

 

How long has it been seen you have gone to the dentist? I know of people who are afraid to go but I believe putting it off just makes things worse, potentially compounding whatever issues they might have. 

I went a few weeks ago, I usually go a little more than the recommended six months, I go every four months to get a cleaning. I’ve found it helpful because I’m diligent about flossing when I go and then it gradually tapers off, so by the time four months roll around I’m not really flossing anymore. 

I imagine what keeps people from going is they’re afraid of hearing bad news and needing lots of work on their teeth. But I think putting it off makes it worse, whereas if you go regularly, it won’t be so bad. Maybe you’ll have one cavity, but if you don’t go for two years you could have six. Taking care of our teeth is not actually that hard most of the time. So, how long has it been since you’ve gone to the dentist?

Posted in Musings

Recipe: Instant Pot Vortex Plus Broiled Chicken Thighs

Instant Pot Vortex Plus Broiled Chicken Thighs

Note: I purchased a Vortex and was not able to find information on how long to broil chicken thighs, so I created this recipe as a guide to help others. I explained how I seasoned the chicken, but feel free to season the chicken another way.

Ingredients

3 Defrosted Skinless Chicken Thighs

2 Garlic Cloves Chopped

¼ Onion Chopped

Italian Seasoning

Butter (3-6 1/8th inch slices of butter)

Directions

  1. Season three chicken thighs with onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning and let it marinate for an hour.
  2. Before placing chicken in the Vortex add butter on top of the thighs.
  3. On the Vortex, press ‘Broil’, the temperature will set to 400 degrees
  4. Adjust the cook time to 10 minutes.
  5. Allow the Vortex to preheat (approximately 5 min).
  6. When the screen says ‘Add Food’ place the trays (chicken tray and the drip tray) in the Vortex. (I used to top row, but next time I would try the middle).
  7. After 10 minutes turn the chicken thighs over and put back in the oven. (It will have to preheat again, if you prefer you can put the chicken in or wait. If you do put the chicken in now, you will have open close the door when it tells you to Add Food.
  8. Let the chicken cook for 10 minutes. Once it’s done remove once the Vortex says it’s done. Note: Be sure to check the chicken to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly.
  9. Enjoy juicy chicken thighs with sides of your choice!
Posted in Musings

The Magic of Books

I really like book apps like Kindle that allow you to read on your device. It’s amazing to be able to carry an entire library on your phone. I could read a few pages while standing in a store line or waiting for an appointment to start (I say could cause I don’t actually do this much.). Reading on a device also allows me to be leisurely and drink a cup of tea while reading, I have a free hand to hold my tablet or phone to do so. And of course, how amazing is it that books can be beamed to us now and can be purchased at any time? 

Even if I wanted to read a real book, I could get it at the library for free. But, I recently allowed myself to purchase a book at Barnes and Noble. I like to buy something at the bookstore because I feel like I am helping save an endangered species. What book did I get so enchanted with that I purchased it despite major concerns of what I would do with it after I read it? Danielle Steel’s Magic. 

I really enjoyed reading it. And gasp! I bought a second book at the airport last week. I’m not sure if this is an anomaly or a growing trend. I got rid of two bookcases of books around five years ago. I am always decluttering, so we’ll see how this goes. But there is something nice about flipping through the pages and reading words on actual paper. Although having a library deadline is sometimes motivating to complete a book in a timely fashion. it just feels nice to see my copy of Magic on the table, perhaps because I journeyed with those characters and watched them grow and they are still close by for me to visit. 

Posted in Musings

When Doves Cry

img_6108-e1560116530755.jpgLast month I discovered an injured ringneck dove in my yard. It was Thursday night. I’ve been feeding the wild birds for six years and have doves, sparrows, blue jays, and cardinals as regulars so it was normal to see a dove. I had let my dog out and normally they flight into the tree but this one was not able to take flight.

His left wing hung awkwardly. We caught him (my mother and I. Not my dog and I) and placed him in a shoe box. At my mother’s suggestion, treated the bare spot underneath about the size of a chicken McNugget with iodine soaked cotton ball because she believes in using iodine for all wounds. I googled bird wounds and found something at the pet store, but my mother believes so firmly in iodine she convinced me that was enough.

The first night I kept him in a covered milk crate. He was a little spooked and cowered down whenever I went near him, but as time went on he perked up confidently. The crate didn’t have much room for him to move but at least he could see through the grates. The next day put him outside in the crate so he could be near the wild birds.

Feeling bad that he didn’t have much room, on Saturday morning, I let him roam around on the porch. At first, he remained on the broomstick perch but then when we left him alone he roamed about the room.

We decided to let it out in the yard to experience a taste of freedom and socialize with his dove friends, he explored the yard a bit, perching on a palm branch and then made a break for the fence and tried to escape through the chain-linked fence. He was still fairly subdued and was easy to catch but he had to return to the crate after that.

Fortunately for him, I had a bright idea and he was blessed with a room upgrade. I set him up in a personal shopping cart.  I laid newspaper on the bottom and placed a file box lid on top and voila it was a birdcage on wheels! I could even stick a branch through it and he had a perch.

img_6117

By Saturday night we decided his wing was still hanging awkwardly and time alone wouldn’t heal it. When I first encountered him I was concerned with the wound, I thought if that healed he would be able to hold his wing normal but now I became concerned that the wing needed to be set a particular way to heal. I googled what to do for an injured bird wing and saw a clever post using a sock. It said to cut out the toe and cut a place for the bird’s legs in the sock and slide it over the bird to hold the wing in place. I can see how this probably would have been more comforting (though constricting) for the bird. I’m still didn’t think I was qualified to be providing medical treatment. So I decided I would take him to the South Florida Wildlife Center the next day.

I knew about the center because I found an injured a black bird in my yard a few years ago. That time I didn’t have notions of rehabilitating it myself. I immediately searched online for where to take an injured bird and found the South Florida Wildlife Center and took him there. I didn’t even know what the other bird was until I received a letter from the rescue calling it a grackle.

Coming back to the current patient, when it came time to take him to the wildlife center, I placed him in the carrier (the milk crate). I said my goodbyes, genuinely feeling a little sad not to have him around anymore, but knowing he was going to be in better hands. I put him into the crate and secured him in the car.

img_6122

I arrived at the South Florida Wildlife Center and there was a tall blonde man carrying a creature in a giant Rubbermaid bin (big enough to fit a 50-pound dog). The wildlife attendant manning the desk had just identified the creature as a European something (bird) and the guy was amused cause he was going to Europe tomorrow. I peeked into the bin and it was a tiny bird, he was much smaller than my poor dove in his red milk crate.

When it was my turn, I filled out a short form providing my personal information and explaining what care or medication I provided to the dove. I glanced at the whiteboard as I waited for my turn and saw that the wildlife center received 55 animals yesterday! The place survives purely on donations and I couldn’t imagine how they sustain it. I had only heard about it because I searched for a place to take an injured bird in the past. My mom made a small donation into their box and I promised to give more next month.

img_6123-1

The attendant came to me and placed the dove in a clear Rubbermaid shoebox container with breathing holes and transported him to the care area. In a moment my little friend was gone.

There are shelters for domestic animals, but it’s nice to know there is a place looking out for the wild animals as well. I found the dove in my yard, but the man with the little European bird found him on a public median and took the time to bring him in. I thought that was admirable.

I offered to pick the dove up when he got better. The attendant said he would make a note in the file but they usually just let the birds go if they get better. I haven’t heard from them, but I’m hoping the dove found his way back and he’s still coming by for meals.

 

Posted in Musings

Keeping the Beaches Beautiful

Beach LitterLitter always saddens me. When there is a trash can nearby, I sometimes pick things up. Most of the time I don’t do anything besides wonder why people can’t throw things away properly.

But with the straw controversy and constantly hearing animals being impacted and harmed by human trash, it tipped me in favor of trying to make a small, personal step.

Inspired by an image I saw on Facebook recently; I took a plastic bag with me to the beach to pick up 3 pieces of trash.

Bear on the BeachI visited the beach on a weekday. It wasn’t crowded, so I had access to more surface area. In about five minutes I picked up at least a dozen bottle caps, a wine cork, a child’s plastic toy, plastic wrappers, and other things in a 25 square foot area.

Shortly after this, I saw a commercial on TV for an organization called 4Ocean working toward cleaning up the oceans. They sell bracelets to support their efforts. I think this is great but even if you don’t want to make a donation or buy a bracelet, we can all do something in the space around us.

Remembering to take the plastic bag and pick up trash myself made me feel like I made a difference. I felt happy to know that stuff wouldn’t get carried into the ocean to endanger an animal and was able to relax and enjoy the beach with my dog.

 

Posted in Musings

Preparing to vote in the 2018 Local Elections

I want to put it out there I am no expert in local politics. This is my first time paying attention to local events. I know I should have taken an interest in the past, the giant pile of postcards I have received from local candidates in the past few weeks seems to have done the trick.

The info I am providing is based on a very minimal bit of research but it’s my hopes that it will point you in the right direction to collect similar information for your location.

Search Term: (Enter your city) Election Candidates.

I checked out various sites until I found one from the local newspaper that provided a list of the candidates and a brief description of most of them (the ones who would participate). It included a statement from each of them describing what they feel is a pressing issue and how much funds the raised and who donated. It also includes info as to if they have a shady past and who is endorsing them.

The two issues that came up repeatedly for my city was improving the city water issues and cleaning up the corruption in our city’s governing board.

Search Term: 2018 Florida Election Amendments

https://communitynewspapers.com/sunny-isles/the-12-constitutional-amendments-on-florida-2018-ballot/

This is just one article that I found that provides a list of the amendments being proposed and a brief description with links providing more description. I want to make an effort to learn a little bit more about each ballot since there is much more going on that what we read from the way the amendment is worded. And what about when there are two unrelated things put together like this?

Amendment 7 – First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities

Providing tuition and other benefits for the surviving family members of first responders and military personnel killed in action is the goal of amendment 7. This one also requires university trustees to agree by a two-thirds super-majority vote before raising college fees.

I’m skeptical of putting two things together. In this case, the first part about providing tuition and benefits sound good, and I’m all for that, but where are those funds coming from and who will be managing this program? Suppose there’s not a good plan for that yet? Or maybe I do want to vote for that but there is a good reason not to vote yes on the second part about trustees agreeing by two-thirds to raise college fees?

I plan to look into each amendment further in coming days. I share this info with you to think about what is happening at a local level since that affects our daily lives. I hope it will inspire you to be prepared to cast your votes.

Posted in Happiness, Musings

Hitler Wanted to be an Artist

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/HitlerMaryWithJesus.jpg
Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ 1913

Here is something crazy I learned recently. Hitler wanted to be a painter and was rejected from art school. He painted a lot of paintings too. You can find out more at https://allthatsinteresting.com/hitlers-paintingsn and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paintings_by_Adolf_Hitler.

I actually like the details and the subjects of his paintings. It’s unfortunate that his creativity was muted and his life took the direction it took. The article ponders the obvious, how different the world would have been if he had gotten into art school. One can only imagine the heartbreak in Hitler’s backstory that occurred starting with this event to his rise as a dictator.

 

It makes me think about what is the need to critique people’s art – and even their actions. Yes surely, without some direction we can’t improve, but someone took the time to create a piece of work, why is it necessary for someone to judge what is good or not good about it? Some works might speak to one person more than another, but it holds meaning for the creator.

I remember writing a short poem in college and receiving feedback from the professor (who was a great teacher by the way) something along the lines of the poem being vague and not making sense. However, I remember reading that same poem years later and it made sense to me and I remembered what I was talking about. Perhaps I’m wrong and if that were a poem for the public it would have to be more understandable, but to me, that poem expressed what I wanted it to and I was always content with that. It’s the same with a short story, there aren’t very many I completed, but once I was satisfied with a story, I didn’t really care what feedback I received. (Since I’m usually very critical of my dedication to my writing, I’m taking a moment here to be pleased with myself.)

Our present time is full of criticism. Even the news can’t just report the facts without offering an opinion, and opinion is just that one person’s thought or a particular group’s thought. It would be nice if instead of being so ready to criticize, people could relax and focus on something better.

Hitler is an extreme case, but perhaps violence we currently experience starts out as a seed of criticism and grows like a weed, and eventually takes over. Our own criticism of ourselves, that no one may ever even hear, can keep us from doing things that make our souls happy. Our criticism of others could cause them to misdirect their own frustration at innocent people who couldn’t even begin to know what is bubbling below the surface.

I don’t exactly know how to do this, I could very easily have a critical thought or make a remark moments after completing this post, but the fact that Hitler wanted to be an artist and devastated by criticism is hard to forget.

The Courtyard of the Old Residency in Munich
The Courtyard of the Old Residency in Munich

Posted in Musings

The Ups and Downs of Change

A lot of the time things change when we’re not ready. We’re just getting settled in something new and some outside force completely discombobulates the situation. Or we are quite comfortable and happy and something unexpected turns everything upside down. For example, I’ll have a few weeks where I go to the gym consistently and then I get sick or I have to work overtime and it throws me off and it takes me a few more weeks to get back into the habit. Perhaps a friend moves away or a new person comes into the mix which can throw things off. Our expectations are shattered like a broken mirror or puzzle that has been disassembled. It’s easy to get frustrated and wish things hadn’t changed.

Change can come when you really want it and that is beautiful. We have a new pastor at my church. The previous pastor had been there eighteen years, was in his early seventies and had health problems so he needed a break from being the main person responsible for the parish. He said the new pastor was younger and more energetic and would come with new ideas to handle the challenges of the parish. Our old pastor was quite wise and seemed to know everything about everything from science to history to fixing things and it seems a little strange seeing a new pastor at the altar, but I do find this change refreshing. It’s nice to hear a new perspective in the homily and see that he’s already made a number of small improvements in the two weeks he’s been here.

We may think we want a change but it doesn’t quite go as we expected. Last month I switched from an iPhone 7 to a Samsung Galaxy Eclipse because I haven’t been a fan of some of the changes Apple has made to the iPhone recently. My reason for switching and that experience could be its own blog post so to stay focused on my original topic I will say that I returned to Apple and now have an iPhone 8. I switched back because although I liked many of the things about the Samsung phone and thought I didn’t like many of the things about iPhones now, it because obvious there are other things I do like about the iPhone and those matter more that what I don’t like.

We can’t predict if the changes we experience will go the way we expect (both good predictions and bad predictions) but there’s something about the way life works that things fall into place again sooner or later. We can take a moment and see that somehow the fragmented pieces have come together again.

Posted in Musings

World Cup For Dummies

Image by Clipart Panda

The whole word is obsessed with the World Cup. The whole world is actually obsessed with the World Cup but I mean my world is obsessed with the World Cup which consists of many of my co-workers and my family.

I don’t really like watching sports on television. I could go to a game or match and have a decent time. I think it would be even more interesting to actually be playing. But I understand people like watching it for various reasons. The one that I can most understand is they play or used to play and for them it brings back the excitement of playing. I used to play volleyball and though I don’t follow professional volleyball, if I happen to see it on tv I will watch it for a bit. I have also heard that people remember watching a particular sport or event with their family growing up. It seems like it can also be a pleasant distraction from every day life and provide relaxation.  The sport is enjoyed on both an individual level and a national level.

I can see how tournaments played by teams from different countries can be beneficial for a number of reasons. The world unites in friendly competition, a nice distraction from the usual conflict we hear about constantly on the news. It also creates a sense of pride among people from that country and unites people who are not in their home country. It seems as teams are eliminated, people will start rooting for different teams and it creates a sense of cross camaraderie.

So after a whole hour’s worth of research, I will share my vast knowledge of the World Cup.

  • The field is ridiculously huge! I couldn’t believe it. That’s a lot of running around.
  • The very early beginnings of the World Cup  arose from football (not American football obviously) separating from the Olympics (according to Wikipedia) because the Olympics were for amateurs and there was a debate about the status of football teams. Then in the 1930’s, the Olympics was held in the US which does not have the same enthusiasm for the sport as the rest of the world.
  • World events (like WWII) and conflicts (between countries) have had an impact on what teams participate.
  • The FIFA website has tons of info about the current games.

I have crawled out of my rock and learned something about the World Cup! 🙂

What do you love about the World Cup?

Posted in Musings

Enjoying the Process

Enjoying the process can be fun when you’re doing something you enjoy. I enjoy lots of things: reading, dancing, painting to name a few. These are things that once I get caught up in them I’m very happy. For example I”ll stay up way too late reading a book even though I need to be up early.

There are some things that I may or may not enjoy and that can change in an instant. For example, I may be working on project at work that seems tedious because it’s new and I’m not quite sure what I’m doing yet, but once I have a grasp of it I do start to enjoy it. A few of my co-workers pointed out that I like to do the tedious things other people don’t like to do. I hadn’t realized that about myself before but could see it after they said it.

Writing is bittersweet for me as well because I can sit down with a pen and paper or a keyboard and words pour out of me. This is a gift I take for granted. I know not everyone is a writer, but it surprises me when I hear it’s not like that for other writers. It’s bittersweet though because I am blessed to be able to write but I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to do with this talent and I often complain about “the process”. People ask me what my blog is about and I’m not even sure because it’s really just a fondue where things I hear about, read about, or just think about melt together in my brain and pour out of my fingertips.

I know we can all name things we wish were different. I could name a handful of things at this moment that I’m trying to remain positive about and enjoy the process but sometimes the process is not enjoyable.

My friend’s father has been in the hospital for months. It’s frustrating to not be well enough to go about your normal activities and even worse to be stuck in bed for months! I get grumpy when it’s raining and I can’t even go outside for my lunch break.

I am a fan of St. Ignatius and his Spiritual Exercises and one of his beliefs is “We should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. . . . Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.”

I came across these two ideas today and realized they go together. They translate into enjoying the process. I think about those ideas: illness and health, riches and poverty, etc. and it makes me think learning to enjoy the process is also a process and it might take a lifetime to learn. I suppose that’s ok.

***

I would like to thank Mikey Lijoi, and Caleb Brereton for inspiring me to keep on going with my blog. Their timing was uncanny!

Please check out their blogs!

https://michaellijoi.weebly.com

My Brain Lives Here