Fall Food

The weather has taken a distinct turn for the cooler here and it has very much put me in mind of Fall food (at least as much as my current dietary restrictions will allow). My Prince has been wonderful, helping me find things we can make on weekends that feel indulgent while abiding by the limitations. Two recent successes included Eggy Oatmeal Mush from the Firefly cookbook and Cornmeal Biscuits from the Warcraft cookbook.

The other thing that has made my month has been finding two teas I can enjoy freely (now that black tea and hot chocolate are off the table and I can have exactly two cups of coffee a day). Both Roobios and Tulsi teas are safe, and I have so enjoyed having them on hand. They are calming and indulgent, even when nothing else seems to be.

I feel like with as stressful as this year has been for the world at large, Fall/wintery comfort foods are exactly what everyone needs right now. I look forward to stacking the menu with them (when I get around to sitting down and writing it… : p )

Halloween Reminder

I saw this making the rounds on Tumblr and thought it was worth reposting here. Please don’t hesitate to ask what’s in things before you consume them and be aware that AC is a thing you may need to watch for to have a safe Halloween!!

Moldy

I’m buried under work and responsibilities today, but I wanted to share a link really quick. Moldy is a documentary produced by Dave Asprey (author and the creator of Bulletproof coffee, among other things).

It’s about the epidemic of mold in American buildings and mold illness, which is devastating and tragically falls in the category of things most doctors don’t even have on their radar and therefore rarely diagnose correctly.

The topic has been on my mind as of late as I’ve both written about it for work and listened to a friend who lives along the Gulf Coast worry about the massive storms pounding her area (again). Mold toxicity isn’t something a lot of people are aware of, but it’s a huge problem.

The documentary is only an hour long and it’s entirely free. If you get a chance, maybe consider watching it and/or passing it along? If nothing else, it will raise awareness of the issue which can be a god-send for people struggling with mold-related problems without understanding what they are.

(Also, I 300% respect the fact that Dave Asprey made his fortune and then turned around and funneled it into doing the kinds of research on health-related issues that mainstream science should be doing and isn’t. I feel like this worth watching if only to kind of give a thumbs-up to that choice and the example it sets for others.)

That’s all. Have a happy Thursday!

Quick Links

Happy October! As we begin the unstoppable downward slide into the holidays and cooler weather and all the madness that goes with them, I thought I would share a few links that have made me endlessly happy this week.

Terrible Real Estate Photos – this was linked to in an article I ran across while doing research for work. It is hilarious and just what it sounds like. Photos realtors have posted of homes/properties for sale that are horrendous for a variety of reasons. It’s like People of WalMart, but for houses.

Irish Court Determines That Subway “Bread” Is Not Actually Bread – this just makes me delightfully happy. The short version is that Subway sued Ireland trying to get out of paying taxes because bread is a staple food and they don’t tax staple foods. Irish authorities reviewed what’s in Subway’s bread and found that it doesn’t meet the legal requirements to actually be bread – it contains so much sugar that it’s functionally cake. (Even their “whole grain” type versions.) Now, thanks to the chain’s hubris, this news is global. *cackles gleefully*

Pumpkin Pottery – I definitely don’t need any of this, but the pumpkin pottery this shop is putting out is amazing. So are the colors/glazes on their other stuff. I very much enjoyed just looking at them and being reminded of the beautifully functional things humans are capable of making.

May Every Woman Find Her Marty Ginsburg – I’m sharing this article because I thought it was really refreshing to see a happy marriage highlighted in mainstream media. Kudos to RBG and her husband for loving, respecting, and supporting each other and not apologizing for it. There isn’t nearly enough of that these days, and it was nice to see it here.

Rituals are Life Hacks for Stress Reduction – I’ve also been thinking a bunch about this idea. Life continues to be weird, compliments of the pandemic, and the upswing in politics is not going to help. Our personal schedule has changed some, too, in the last few weeks. I’m very aware of both the opportunity and the need to create new (small) rituals that suit these changes and the season.

That’s it for now. Have a great Friday!

Aerialympics

This year, thanks to COVID, the Aerialympics went virtual. Individual competitors set up their laptops and live-streamed their performances to the judges. I am entirely sure that by the time it was over, the tech crew needed a barrel worth of drinks but they did a great job! Everything went smoothly, and they opened the studio for My Prince and the one other person competing in his time section.

My Prince worked exceptionally hard on his routine and we knew he was going to rock it. Everyone who saw him practice had their jaws just about drop through the floor. He competed in Intermediate Lyra, and his performance was stunning! (Click the link to see the video I took!)

We eagerly awaited the awards ceremony and HE TOOK SECOND PLACE!!!

The competition was stiff and I’m enormously proud of him for this accomplishment! He’s gotten so good that next round they’re not going to let him compete in the Intermediate division – he’ll have to move up to Advanced! (As well he should.)

Here’s hoping that next year this pandemic nonsense has passed enough that his fan club can actually be live in the audience to appreciate his awesomeness again!

Bathroom Tile

We knew when we bought our house that the backsplash in the bathroom was not actually appropriate material for a backsplash. It was a wood veneer material that was clearly left over from when the previous owner put a (lovely) accent wall in the living room. It wasn’t a big deal, however, and remained fairly low on the list of projects.

Two Fridays ago, My Prince decided that since we had a tiny bit of extra time, we should take the backsplash off and replace it with that peel-and-stick tile you can get. Quick, simple, and inexpensive. If you’re already laughing, then you know exactly what happened.

We took off this piece of backsplash:

Then we took off the wall-mounted mirror. Behind them we found these:

According to My Prince, there used to be a medicine cabinet and apparently something else (we have no idea what) installed along the right wall. The drywall was a completely horrendous train wreck. Needless to say, we weren’t going to be able to do what we’d planned.

We ended up going back to the store, returning the tile we’d bought, picking up drywall, selecting new tile, and getting an impromptu lesson in glass tile cutting from an amazing older gentleman who worked there.

Then we came home, My Prince fixed the drywall, then installed the new tile. It had to sit and cure for several days, then get grouted.

Isn’t it beautiful?!?! The mirror and socket plates are back up now, and everything is grouted and gorgeous. At some point, we will paint. I’m currently searching for a “seaglass” blue/green to go on the walls. In the meantime, this is a strong step in the right direction… even if it didn’t quite go as planned!

My Glassware Addiction

Last week, it occurred to me that we were expecting company and I had almost no glasses. That’s particularly odd, since I tend to collect pretty glasses the way that other people collect dishes. But my collection had to go when we moved out here and I just never got around to replacing them. I’d seen some lovely ones at DI (the local Salvation Army alternative) at the very beginning of the year but hadn’t bought them because I’d been in a hurry and didn’t really have time to browse.

Then, of course, everything shut down Because Pandemic. Mid week, I was out erranding in that direction anyway and made time to stop. Much to my delight, there were beautiful chalice/goblet style glasses for $0.75 each! There were two matching sets of three – one set in a slightly larger size than the other.

Ugly wine glasses go for $40 for a set of 4 at places like Target and only go up from there. I got 6 of these lovely glasses (which the photo does not do justice) for less than $5. It was a small purchase, but it’s making me immensely happy.

I’m doubly happy because that is my favorite way to buy things like glassware. I’m never hesitant to use them because they cost so little, and if someone breaks them I can genuinely tell them it’s completely fine and they feel better knowing they haven’t just broken some ridiculously expensive, impossible-to-replace treasure. Beauty without stress!

With all the other craziness happening in the world right now, sometimes it’s nice to celebrate small wins.

Friendly Reminder

This is a friendly reminder to tell the people you love that you love them. Three of my dear friends have lost fathers or fathers-in-law in the last three weeks (none of them to COVID). Life is busy and the pandemic is making everything worse, but take two seconds and send a text, email, or card. It’s worth it.

Also, please, as much as you can, take care of yourself. A little self-care can go a long way and we’re going to need all the help we can get as Fall heads into Winter. Whatever self-care looks like to you, now is always a good time for it!!

It’s Not Unsustainable, You’re Just an Idiot

Recently, I ran across an article in the WSJ in which CEOs of major companies whined about remote work being “unsustainable”. Their biggest complaints were that production times have slowed down, training/onboarding new people is harder, and many teams aren’t as coordinated. The article also includes quotes from some employees who don’t like working remotely.

As someone who has worked remotely for several years now and who happens to have earned a business degree and worked as a manager, I had zero trouble reading between the lines and very much wished I could Gibbs-slap the lot of them.

Remote work isn’t unsustainable. It just hasn’t been invested in.

The article freely admits – albeit somewhat breezily in passing – that all the companies whining about remote work “problems” essentially sent their traditionally-trained, formerly office-bound staff home with their laptops in the middle of a pandemic somewhere around March. They made up new policies and practices on the fly and adopted apps based on convenience at the time and how quickly they could get them up and running. They then just kept rolling forward that way and now are scratching their heads as adrenaline-fueled panic wears off and fatigue is setting in. “Why isn’t this working any more?”

The ability to work well remotely is a skill. It is a collected set of behaviors, both personal and corporate, just as working in a centralized location is. Just like working productively in an office environment, it is something that can be taught, learned, and refined. There is a certain amount of training and infrastructure involved in doing it well, and every company will find that they need a different combination of tools and procedures to really thrive with some or all of their employees working remotely.

Most companies have taken none of that into consideration, much less properly invested in it. Is that understandable? To a degree, sure. No one planned for a pandemic, after all. And many companies have been lying to themselves and their employees for years that remote work “isn’t appropriate” for their field in order to avoid the slowly rising trend, so their stuck-in-the-sand heads had zero information on how to get started with remote work to begin with.

But it’s far past time that modern companies sucked up the fact that they’ve been lumbering, limping behemoths mentally stuck in the 1950s who only adopt new things when they think they can use it to screw over their employees and make more money. It doesn’t befit a CEO to whine over “problems” they have misidentified out of convenience.

Is remote work right for every company and every worker? Of course not. But done properly, it can revolutionize a lot of aspects of American life for the better. This change shouldn’t have to be driven by a pandemic or by workers on the bottom. Companies and their “leaders” need to get off their butts and actually lead. They need to check their assumptions and their laziness at the door and invest in the future.

The rest of us need to help them out with a well-placed boot, where necessary. So the next time you see someone spout nonsense like this, please feel free to politely tell them to lay off the jargon and simpering, roll up their sleeves, and get their butts in gear actually solving problems like the managers and leaders and innovators they’re called to be.