Friday, February 5 2021

tiny joe stowell books, hawks swag, and boeuf bourguignon

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Friday. It's been a long week, and I think we deserve a pat on the back for making it to the end. This week we overcame hectic work schedules, shifting priorities, and exuberant snowfall. By the looks of it, we're going to descend even further into this late winter chill into next week, but I think that's Monday's problem. Today is Friday, and on Friday's we celebrate.

This morning I'd like to give a shout-out to KRANG, the mighty sourdough starter. I don't mention him as frequently, but he's somehow absolutely thriving in this dry winter air. His color is brighter. He doesn't stick his jar so much. Opening the lid each morning, the smell is so humid and heavenly, it's like passing through a miniature rain forest. Sometimes I wish I could shrink myself down to the size of a microbe and hang out with the colony. Of course if I actually did do that, the good bacteria that run KRANG's security detail would destroy me and I'd be efficiently converted into yeast poop.

Sip. How are you feeling today? Reading any good books lately? For a few months now, Marissa and I have formed our own little asynchronous book club. Much like we do with movies, we take turns picking something off the shelf and we chip away at it each day until we're done. Marissa takes the book upstairs and reads a section in the evenings, leaving a little dog ear where she stopped. In the mornings, I take the book back downstairs and read up to the dog ear, then leave the book next to the reading chair.

We just finished reading Dr. Joe Stowell's Simply Jesus. It was a short book that only took us about three weeks to get through. Having just finished it yesterday, Marissa and I traded thoughts as we packed up the house for the night. We both mutually enjoyed the conversational style and frank, down-to-earth wisdom. The book hit the sweet spot between being spiritually challenging while still being intellectually digestible.

"I just love these his little books," I said as we were heading upstairs. "These tiny Joe Stowell books are like crack. I think I'm addicted to them." Marissa laughed, and we both took a minute to ponder whether or not anyone on the planet has ever uttered the phrase Joe Stowell books are like crack. I'm sure Dr. Stowell wouldn't approve of the analogy, but would still appreciate the compliment.

Yesterday, Marissa's and Rodney's long awaited box of Blackhawks swag arrived. Just in time for our second game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Marissa had a new hoodie to wear and Rodney donned his excellent new Kaner jersey. They posed in the kitchen for a quick photo shoot, game faces and all.

2021 02 05 game 1
2021 02 05 game 2

What did I get in the mail? Exactly bubkiss. My new shirt was delayed another week. I couldn't wait, so I ordered mine the night before Marissa and Rodney did. The shipping delay was a fitting karmic punishment for my impatience. Feeling left out, I was forced to retrieve Marissa's spare Blackhawks jersey out of her closet - my Blackhawks jersey I used to wear in sixth grade.

For dinner, I tackled Boeuf Bourguignon following a recipe video I lifted from the YouTube channel EtenMetNick. Nick is a towering, tattoo-covered, boisterous, fast-talking Dutchman. He licks his fingers while he cooks. He flips things in hot oil with his bare hands. He slices aardappelen right over the stove with his giant chef's knife. He burns himself, cuts himself, and drops things for his dog. While stamping and slamming things around his tiny apartment kitchen, he takes frequent pauses to cuss, snack, and yell from enthusiasm. I couldn't recommend his channel enough.

Following his recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon posed an interesting challenge. I follow Dutch well enough to understand what ingredients he's putting together, but of course I missed most of the details. I was forced to cook the dish like Nick would - quickly and confidently, following taste, smell, and a few flexible guidelines.

2021 02 05 boeuf bourguignon

Let's wind things down with a retro, shall we?

Keep reading. Maybe add some different genres of literature. This reading thing is kind of new to me, I've never considered myself a book guy. I'm starting to get it, this whole "reading books" thing can be pretty relaxing.

Keep cooking new things, even if they don't work out.

Less social media. I was unhappy with how much time I was spending on reddit and twitter, so I uninstalled them from my phone. Cutting the "doom-scrolling" habit out of my day, I feel like I'm more focused and present. I feel like I have more time in the day. I think I'm going to keep experimenting with cutting back on things like that.

More heads-down time. Less (fewer meetings). The work days fill up so easily as it is. I could have I think I need to be more discerning about how I offer my time.

More time to write. I continue to battle chores and morning tiredness to carve out writing time. It's a worthy struggle. I enjoy writing these so much more when I'm not pressed for time and I don't feel like I'm just slapping words on the screen.

More breaks. More time getting up to stretch, playing with the dogs, and staring out the window. In the same vain, I think I'm going to take a week off the programming stream.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a great day today.