2017, August 11

Do we have enough fun?

A while back, I read Giulietta Nardone’s blog post, Fun. Do You Really Have Enough Of It In Your Life?and copied her suggestions into a blog post of my own as a reminder, and to share with you guys as well. Obviously, I forgot all about it.

Until today. I was doing some light cleaning among my draft blog posts and after re-reading Giulietta’s words, decided to type away.

“If you would like more fun in your life, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Take charge of your own life.
  2. Make a list of what you like to do.
  3. Do things on that list.
  4. Make a list of things you don’t like to do.
  5. Don’t do things on that list unless you absolutely have to.
  6. Confront the mantra that you have to be serious most of the time. Or always at the beck and call of others.
  7. Figure out if your current activities are real fun or fake fun. It’s possible to be conditioned to believe that you are having fun, when deep down you know you are not, but don’t want to “rock the boat.”
  8. Rock the boat. It might seem scary at first. In time, it will be a blast.
  9. Decide to say no to things that are not fun.
  10. Decide to say yes to things that are fun or new things that could be fun.
  11. Ask everyone in your family what they find fun and try to find ways for cross fun activities to happen. Children and adults are equally important for the health and well being of a family.
  12. Put money away in your “have fun cookie jar.”
  13. Make time for fun things first.
  14. Forget what others think. They are not living your life.”

A blog post I wrote six years ago also came to mind, where I noted what I found fun in the past, at 10 years old, and how they turned into present-day’s having fun and achievements (I updated the list with a couple of items this year).

It took a few years, but I am doing my best to do mostly enjoyable things. I run and sign up for running events, I cycle, ice skate, watch movies or read, write… if friends seem draining, I make other plans, and if someone can’t join me for drinks or any activity I want to do, I do it alone.

There are two big lessons I learned in 30 years:
Stop waiting for other people when I want to do something, and just because no one else joins in doesn’t mean I won’t have fun alone.

What do you find fun? What do you still find fun from the things you used to do as a child? What do you find fun now as an adult?

2017, August 4

Quote on the purpose of being a writer

Not much inspiration lately, to be honest, which is why you’ve been seeing back-dated blog posts and missed blogging schedules. I don’t feel like talking about the reasons, aside from being busy, so I’ll leave you with this today:

last week, I read this quote by Sarah Manguso, on the NYT website, and love it.

“The purpose of being a serious writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are beside the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish to make something beautiful or smart looks slight and vain in comparison. If people read your work and, as a result, choose life, then you are doing your job.” ~ Sarah Manguso

2017, July 28

A scenic running event

I re-discovered the Romulus Vuia Etnographic Park during the Hoia Cross this year, which was the perfect reason for me to visit the outdoor museum for the first time in about twenty years!

Come on over to Milliver’s Travels and read my travel article about it, “Running through the Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park, Cluj Napoca, Romania”.

2017, July 21

Recipe of the Month: Red Pepper and Baked Egg Galettes

My mind hasn’t been too preoccupied with cooking and baking lately, and when it was, I stuck to my go-to easy recipes. A couple of weeks ago however, I tried a new recipe.
It is this one, Red Pepper and Baked Egg Galettes, slightly adapted from over at TheViewFromGreatIsland.com, and it came out absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to try out Sue’s other recipe, Mushroom and Egg Breakfast Pastries, too. After tasting this first one, I’m positive it’ll be just as amazing.
My only regret is that I forgot to take pictures with my camera instead of my phone… but you can still see they look yummy.

Red Pepper and Baked Egg Galettes

2 large or 4 small red bell peppers
2 small onions (red or white)
fresh sprigs of thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
6 Tbsp olive oil
handful fresh parsley
handful cilantro
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten, for brushing the pastry
cream cheese (or thin slices of Feta)
4 large fresh eggs
salt and fresh cracked pepper

Leave puff pastry to thaw. Set oven to 400F.
Cut the bell peppers into 1/2 inch strips, cut the onions in half, and then into 1/2 inch wedges, remove the leaves of the thyme. Chop the parsley and the cilantro.
Mix together the pepper, onions, thyme and spices in a bowl. Add the olive oil and toss well so that everything is coated with the oil and spices.
I skipped this step, but optionally, spread these on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring and rearranging the veggies a few times so they don’t burn.
Sprinkle the veggies with half the fresh herbs and set aside.

Turn the oven up to 425. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it reaches a 12×12 inch square. Cut into four 6 inch squares. Transfer to parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.
Take a dull knife and score a little 1/4 inch frame around each square of pastry. Don’t cut all the way through. Prick the inside of the squares all over with the tines of a fork. Place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and brush all over with a beaten egg. Spread the inside of each square with cream cheese, or a thin slice of Feta (the latter is my favorite option).
Top each with some of the veggie mixture, spread it out evenly, leaving the borders free, and leaving a shallow depression in the center for the egg, which will go in later.

Bake for about 10 minutes until rising and starting to brown.
Remove and carefully crack an egg into the center of each galette.
Place the sheet back into the oven for about 10 minutes, until the egg is set.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the remaining herbs, and eat right away.

Bon appétit! ;)

2017, July 14

What I didn’t like about a charity event

Recently I attended a bake sale-type charity event which left me feeling a teensy bit resentful.

First off, I arrived late. Most of the people had already left, but the sale was still going on which made me happy.
There were all sorts of goodies which looked delicious. Each of the items was assigned a price. I helped myself to a few sweets like cookies, homemade chocolate, and a glass of lemonade.

My total was about 15 lei, and I went over to one of the girls organizing the event to pay. I wanted to tell her to give me change from 30 lei. I handed over my 50 lei bill.
The girl said “Thank you so much! Help yourself to more goodies if you want!” and immediately turned her back to me, walking away to put the money with the rest of the donations. I stood there for a few seconds waiting, thinking how I didn’t even get a word out, but that maybe she was going to come back with change. Well, she didn’t. She put the money away, and went on talking to someone else.

Now, I know people don’t go to bake sales thinking the prices will be the same as in a coffee shop (where they’re way high already, honestly, but that’s a different conversation.) But, I didn’t know it was also a “no change” kind of deal.
If I handed over a 100 lei or 200 lei bill she still wouldn’t have brought me back change? Especially since she saw what I was buying per se and knew it wasn’t adding up to the amount I handed her.
There were donation jars on the table, making sure customers had every possible opportunity to hand over some extra money. So, at least have the decency to ask “How much change would you like?” or something along those lines if you want to encourage people to donate more than the exact price of the items they buy.

Second, the lemonade was crap. I had to add 5 packets of sugar, pour it into a glass twice taller than my original one to fill with water, and it was still barely drinkable. And I wasted about ten minutes trying to get the lemon seeds out.
The person who made that lemonade really mocked the whole charity idea in my opinion.

Resentful or being mocked is not how a charity event should leave one feeling. Here’s hoping you have the guts to say something if you notice similar things at a charity event you might attend.
I didn’t. So it’s my own fault, I know. In the end, it really was for a good cause and the money was put to good use.

Next time, however, I need to remember to call people out when they are being ignorant.

2017, July 7

Dear Friday, 7.July.2017

seriously? 26 Celsius when I went for my run at 10PM? You need to work on that…

2017, June 30

Goodbye and good luck!

The card below I received from the wonderful people I worked for/with, from the UK.

I visited their offices for handover of my work, and aside from the fact that out of a five people team I was the only one invited to do my handover sessions on site, I was floored that everyone there was genuinely interested how I was doing and if I have found another project starting July. I did, just for the record, a pretty interesting one, yet the gestures still made me all teary.

Thank you for the best two and a half work years of my life (so far)! I will truly miss working for you!

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