Feb. 8, 2020 What’s New?

Sometimes people ask me what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been, which is a pretty normal question.  What I’ve been up to I feel can’t be easily summarized in a sentence.  It’s part of juggling “everyday” normal life with chronic illness, even if I’m technically no longer a strictly COPD patient.  Not that I spend every waking second worrying about insurance, but I’m my own secretary essentially.  I often have things scheduled on my calendar like “call back Christine from Horizon” about some question, or figure out why my claim got rejected, which can alone take up to 2 hours on the phone because insurance is often disorganized and non-transparent.  -_-  I have to figure out why this lab accepts this insurance but not this other one, and which one would save me more money.  I have to keep tabs on all my medications to make sure I don’t run out of refills, and I often message my transplant team for random test results and updates.

I also, still cook, clean, and bake a lot.  I’ve taken this habit of tidying up the house late at night after my workout, which is strangely calming.   I like to straighten the magazines, put things away in the sink, puff up the pillows and fold the blankets in the family room.  I also cleaned out the medicine cabinet with all the random expired meds, and re-arranged all the magnets and important pamphlets on our fridge.

I also enjoy browsing the internet to save future recipes, and this past week, I’ve spent a good amount of time reading up on health insurance policies and how they function, as well as architecture.  I also finally finished Andrew Yang’s first book from I believe 2006, “Smart People Should Do Things”.  Politics is not fun, but a necessary evil.  He’s growing on me, I have to say.  He has some interesting concepts and ideas, so I can say I have one foot hovering over the “Yang Gang” zone.

I also still keep up with my mukbang Youtube videos, and looking into online courses that could be helpful.  Also, drinking enough water, which is weirdly a huge task.  I noticed I am about 15-20 oz under my goal unless I am aggressively conscious about it.

I’ve been playing with my dog a lot more too, and making sure that I get out of the house every few days, whether to see a friend, or get an errand done.

So yep, that about sums up my February so far.

Chasing Inspiration

The word inspiration is so easily thrown out sometimes I feel like it can lose its meaning.  I think maybe these days I’ve in a rut or just stumped, and I wonder if I should take it more easy and not stress and overanalyze on things, or if I should push myself more to chase inspiration and find it.  It can often feel like most of the people around me have their life figured out, even though I know it may not be the case.

Things I’ve been doing to try to get inspired:

-Listening to music on Spotify A LOT and listening to modern classical pieces, as well as asking friends to send their favorite music to me

-Reading a bunch of books and working my way through this UN article on accessibility

-Worked out late last night with yoga, squats, and curls, and realized how quickly I became out of shape 😦 Felt rewarded though for setting aside 1.5 hours to focus solely on my body.

-Constantly tracking my diet and my liquid intake (HYDRATION!!!)  Reading up on nutrition and browsing tons of vegan and other recipes online (I bake a different recipe each night).

-Stalking musical and other types of people I admire on Twitter

Current book- “The 48 Laws of Power”: 

“Never waste valuable time, or mental peace of mind, on the affairs of others- that is too high a price to pay.”  

“People are of infinite complexity and you can spend a lifetime watching them without ever fully understanding them.” 

I’ve only read the preface so far, and I can see this will be a hefty book to get through, but I’m intrigued.

Conclusion after preface:  Power is always present and in effect whether or not you’re consciously participating in it.  Learning how it works and at least being aware of it is good, so that you’re not taken advantage of by other’s manipulation (whether they’re conscious of it or not)

Keeping my eyes on the prize:

My lung function had decreased by almost half, and it was pretty disheartening to see.  I felt a bit more hopeful since after exercise it went up by a few percentages.  What will get me through this winter is all mental.  You need mental to do the physical.  Mental is everything.  I need to keep trying my best so that I am ready for the day I am “free”.  I may have written my to-do list already, but these are some of them that I look forward to:

  1.  Traveling with a friend somewhere, and then all places on my immediate list (Vancouver, Yosemite Park, Portugal, Seville, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore.)
  2.  Interning in a different city/country for 3 months
  3. Ziplining with a beautiful view
  4. Doing a 5k
  5. Wicked at Broadway, and walking all over NYC

Winter To-Do List:

-Coding bootcamp prep

-Lose 4 pounds and get fit

-Read up on accessibility

-Record some new compositions

-Korean 15 min a day

-Attempt networking

-Make a personal website (?)

-Stay alive

 

FOOOOD. May 4th, 2019: almost officially listed: Regularly updated

I’ve been trying my best to keep busy, with emphasis on activities that really require my focus and wholeheartedly occupy my time.  The main activities have been alternating between cooking, baking or making ice cream, and playing Mario Kart.  I’ve also been somewhat obsessed with tiny house videos on Youtube.   However, my parents are now marathoning Game of Thrones, partly due to peer pressure and curiosity from hearing about it, and partly because my brother managed to get my mom hooked last weekend when she visited him.  Even though she doesn’t approve of the gore and the nudity, the story is just too good to ignore.  So now we are binge-watching when we can, and it’s nice to be invested in something together.  My parents are also amping up on gardening, and full out mulching, buying plants, a gate for the deck, and decorating the backyard.  I guess it’s our way of dealing with all that’s happening and trying to continue living life as well as we can.  I’ve always had to see the doctor about once a week for vaccine updates (hepatitis b, ugh, 6 doses total), and for my weird hives allergy.

Otherwise, I’ve also been reading up on books I’ve saved on my list for awhile now, especially regarding Pulitzer Prize, or New York Times bestsellers.  I don’t know why, but my curiosity with learning more about the Holocaust has now expanded to other war-related topics, such as Iris Chang’s book regarding the Nanjing Massacre and Chinese history in America, and currently I’m reading “Gulag: A History“, which I had no idea was about Russian concentration camps, but it’s weirdly interesting, although appalling to realize this is real history that happened to people.  How can so much suffering exist?  It’s almost like what’s the point of living a life of constant starvation, imprisonment, and fear?

Back to baking and ice cream making, which are the newest and least experienced activity I’ve taken up.  On the plus side, we have fresh desserts all the time now since I make it a point to attempt one recipe per day, or every other day (cooking counts too though).

I’ve made korean cold somen noodles with the sauce and cucumber and eggs, SO GOOD, my fav new dish to eat for the summer.

Baking:

  1.  Matcha Mochiko Cake:  3.8/5, 3.2/5
  2. Matcha mochi with red bean:  3.5/5
  3. Pound cake muffins:  3/5
  4. Sugar cookies:  4.5/5
  5. Golden raisin oatmeal cookies:  4/5
    • criticism:  not bad, not particularly exciting either
  6. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting:  4.5/5  (2x)  
  7. Japanese cheesecake:  3.7/5
  8. Dark chocolate brownies:  3.5/5
  9. Castella cake (Japanese honey cake):  4.3/5  (2x)
    • https://www.justonecookbook.com/castella/
    • criticism:  slightly dry.  brown sugar visuals isn’t as clean as white sugar
    • made twice, second time used white sugar, and also it took 50 minutes, not 35 minutes for my oven.  Leave oven ajar for about 5 minutes.
  10. Jenn’s chocolate chip cookies:  4.6/5
    • criticism:  inconsistency in choco chips, and too few. a couple slightly overbaked
  11. Chocolate Crinkles II:   2.8/5
  12. Japanese cheesecake again:  3.9/5
    • used springform pan this time, better.
    • criticism:  didn’t rise as much as expected, fluffier than first time, but still not fluffy enough- oven temps are possibly too low, and/or took too much time to set up parchment and pan after whipped egg whites.  sides were overgreased, a bit oily/soggy, and flipping it, it fell apart, but overall success.  Would not do 300-250 degrees again.  Try 320-285 degrees instead.
  13. Sopapilla (Mexican cheesecake pie): 3.5/5
  14. Jjinppang (Korean red bean steamed buns): 4/5
    • https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/jjinppang
    • criticism:  didn’t wait 30 min for buns to rise and become fluffier before steaming, did not close buns successfully, flour slightly got dry
    • very ugly but delicious
  15. Scones + Lemon Curd:  4/5, 4.5/5 
  16. Japanese purin custard:  3/5
    • House brand – Instant mix, uses gelatin, which I don’t eat anymore (animal parts)
    • Just doesn’t look that appetizing, yields 3 mini portions; parents liked it though
  17. Chocolate chip cookies: 2/5 
  18. Pumpkin Bread:  4/5
  19. Quiche with Sweet Onion + Sharp Cheddar Cheese:  4/5
  20.   Tres Leche:  4/5
  21.   Cheesecake (Cheesecake Factory recipe):  3.9/5
  22. Pumpkin Pie Squares: 3.9/5
  23. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies IX:  4.5/5
  24. Sour Cream Muffins: 5/5
  25. Crazy Cake:  3/5
    • Brownie-like
    • Added way too much Bru instant coffee
  26. One Bowl Chocolate Cake III: 4/5 
  27. Martina cookies dipped in orange dark chocolate (sprinkled with pareils): 4.5/5
  28. Grand Marnier Souffle: 3.9/5
  29. Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread cookies:  3.9/5
  30. Pinwheel cake:
  31. Almond Jelly:
    • using agar agar

Ice Cream:

  •  Vanilla ice cream with dark choco chips :  A-
  • Matcha ice cream :  C+ 
    • 3 eggs recipe
    • fatty, with 1 cup milk, 2 cup heavy cream
    • criticism:  failed to temper eggs properly, ruined texture.  overhardened from churning inconsistency, and too much matcha (3 tbs).  Also should not use egg whites
  • Mocha ice cream with dark choco chips:   A-
    • 3 egg YOLKS
    • fatty, very rich, custard-like, creamy with 1 cup milk, 2 cups heavy cream
    • criticism:  not enough chocolate flavor, personally too creamy for me, also didn’t like dark chocolate I used
  •  Strawberry ice cream:  A-/A
    • eggless recipe
    • lowfat, with 2 cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream
    • delicious fresh strawberry flavor!  half pureed, half diced
    • criticism:  not creamy consistency enough, slightly icy
  •  Godiva dark chocolate ice cream:  A                                    
    • 6 egg yolks
    • very rich and creamy
    • added cheesecake and toasted almonds
    • criticism:  slightly too heavy for me
  • Badam ice cream:  A
    • eggless
    • 2:1 heavy cream ratio, less icy!
    • added brownies
  • Coffee milk tea ice cream:  B-
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream:  B
    • eggless
    • mint extract + vanilla extract
    • criticism:  a bit too sweet (1 cup sugar, less than 4 cups ratio… error)
  •   Red bean ice cream:  A+ 
  • Watermelon Sherbet:  B+ 
  • Vanilla Ice cream II :  B-
  • Cookie dough Ice cream Sandwiches:  C+
  • Mango Sorbet:  A-
  • Ube Ice cream:  A-
    • used 1 cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 tbsp ube extract, about 5 oz. sweet condensed milk ( I eyeballed it)
    • first batch was burned with coconut milk, dumped 😦
    • deliciousss, even though the ube is imitation and a really small bottle. tasted a bit artificial though
  • Straciatella:  A+

    • eggless
    • used Nielsen-Massey vanilla madagascar bean paste
    • low-fat ratio
    • straciatella technique used with melted drizzled belgian dark chocolate
  • Upcoming ice creams:

Other:

  1.  Shakshuka:
  2. Spiced Naan
  3. Onigiri (spicy tuna)
    • made with onigiri molds
    • spicy tuna = canned tuna mixed with japanese mayo and sriracha
    • sushi vinegar + sushi rice
  4. Gingerbread cookies:  3.9/5
  5.  Pumpkin soup:  5/5
  6.   Fresh Garden Tomato soup:  4.5/5 
  7. Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes:  2/5         
  8. Dakjim (korean braised chicken w/ glass noodles):  4/5
  9. Korean fried chicken: 3.9/5
  10. Soy sauce Noodles:  4/5

P.S.  I hate how insurance companies and random coordinators from hospitals call me up whenever, so it’s like I have to work extra hard to stay distracted and occupied with other things.  They could call me at 8am, 10am, 2:30pm, 5:00pm, really now.  And not that I’m exactly “busy busy” but I’m sometimes in the middle of sleeping, or washing dishes, making dinner, or in the bathroom, and I just have to drop everything and set aside 15 minutes or however long to discuss things.  I should be officially listed Monday.  A part of me thinks I’m insane for willingly sending myself in for this kind of surgery, the other part of me can’t wait.

Leading With A Limp Notes -Dan B. Allender

On Leadership:

“Many a king misunderstands or abuses his calling and ends up devouring the flock – and then he blames the sheep for the dwindling numbers.  Such a leader solidifies his power by the use of fear and shame.  The troops cower and obey, but they do not love the leader and they are not loyal to him.  It is far more difficult to be a shepherd-king, one who must possess power and give it away until he serves as the balancing point of an inverted pyramid” (pg. 61)

“The leader will fail, so he needs to confess his anger, self-absorption, and cowardice and serve his people by being the first one who needs to be forgiven”  (pg. 62)

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?  How can you think of saying, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (pg. 71)

           –>  “A broken leader is a sweet paradox of confidence and openness.  If those I lead have already found out the worst there is to know about me- then the log in my eye is continually being removed in the midst of every crisis. The result is better vision and greater wisdom due to the freedom I feel to both live and die” (pg. 75)

On Courage:

  “  He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape.  He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape.  He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water, and yet drink death like wine” … this is the foundation for true confidence.  – G.K. Chesterton (pg. 74)

“Courage never takes away fear; courage simply redistributes fear to get the job done” (pg. 77)

“Do I know what to do but simply not want to do it?”  (pg. 81)


Other Thoughts:

“If the church is really about spiritual relationships, then why are they so hard to keep together?” 

          —>”‘ What lens am I using to read reality?”  (pg. 83)

Entire pg. 98 (not included here unfortunately)

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^(Entire pg. 113)

“Groucho Marx wouldn’t want to be part of a club that would have him as a member” (pg. 116)

“Organizations are full of binds because there is not sufficient honesty between human beings to build caring, committed relationships.  Instead, everyone figures out how to put on the right face.” (pg. 117)

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^(pg 156)

“Most people want to grow, but the price of growth is pain… it is the way of growth and excellence:  submission to pain through discipline is the only route to maturity” (pg. 194-195)

On Betrayal:

“Betrayal is a deep psychic wound that hardens the heart against grief and deadens is hunger for intimacy” (unknown)

Notes on “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” – Marie Kondo

  • Tidy/organize all at once, INTENSELY and COMPLETELY, not bit by bit
  • Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination (21)
  • Two-Part Question for Criteria:
    • Are you keeping the item?
    • If yes, where are you placing it?
  • Sort by category, not by location
    • Avoid duplicates, narrow down volume
      • “Can’t put it back” types + “Can’t discard” types
  • Make tidying into “special event” day

Obtaining HAPPINESS

  1.  Picture the lifestyle you want.  Ex:  “yoga?  why? for more relaxation? to lose weight? are you sure?”  <– repeat 3 x for each item
  2. Examining what you own
    • Selection Criterion:
      • Cease being functional
      • Out of date – fashion, past event
    • Choose what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of.  Look more closely at what is there (41)
      • “Does this spark joy?”
      • Touch each item to see how your mind and body reacts
  3. One category at a time
    • Make subcategories of tops, bottoms, socks, etc.
    • Things can be stored out of sight
  4. Do not start with Mementos or anything of memory first
    • Clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany), mementos <– ORDER
      1. Functional value
      2. Informational value
      3. Emotional value
  5. Don’t let family see
    1. The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space
  6. What you don’t need, your family doesn’t need either
  7. Tidying is a dialogue with one’s self
    • Form of meditation
    • Quiet space to clean, background noise should be ambient or environmental music with no lyrics or well-defined melodies
    • Early morning is the best time- fresh air, sharp power of discernment
  8. What to do when you can’t throw something away
    1. Human judgment:
      1. Intuitive
      2. Rational “I might need it later” / “It’s a waste to get rid of it”
    2. To truly cherish things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose
      1. “Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you” / “Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me” much like the people we meet in life, each has a different role to play.  Free them from the prison, let them go with gratitude

Tidying by Category Works Like Magic

  • Clothes
    • Tops, Bottoms, Clothes, Socks, Underwear, Bags, Accessories, Clothes for specific events, Shoes.
  • Downgrading to “Loungewear” is taboo
    • Usually it’s not appropriate loungewear
    • Positive self-image at home is important too
  • Arranging Clothes
    • Rise to the right (heavy items on left, dark in color:  coats–>dresses–>jackets–>pants–>skirts–>blouses
    • Never ball up socks /store in shoebox
    • Seasonal clothes:  Divide into “Cotton-like” and “Wool-like” materials
  • Papers
  • Credit card statements / Warranties / Greeting Cards / Used checkbooks (get rid of) / Pay Slips
  •  Komono (Miscellaneous)
  • Bath/Sink
    • Keep soap and shampoo products out of shower to avoid slime
    • Keep sponge completely dry and underneath sink or hang outside on veranda
  • “When we delve into the reasons why we can’t let something go, there are only two:  an attachment to the past or a fear for the future” (181).
    • 3 approaches:  face now, face sometime, avoid until we die.  Choice is ours.
      • FACE NOW!!
    • Not needing to search is a stress reliever
  • DETOX!!  Living space affects your body 😀
    • Feng Shui:
      • Yin + Yang
      • Five Elements:  metal, wood, water, fire, earth energy.