Monday, November 20, 2017

11 Favorite Things

Hi all :-D

In tune with Thanksgiving, I thought Id go with one of my routine posts on 11 things I am loving at the moment, which hopefully will give you some fun ideas of your own!

1. Matcha!  Those who know me are familiar with my love of green tea.  In fact, its really the only type of tea I drink.  Matcha, a quite strong/highly concentrated, pure form of green tea, is said to be awesome for your health.  Its basically the highest quality of green tea available.
To name a few of the lamented benefits: supposedly, it helps calm you.  It is said to boost metabolism.  Matcha can increase energy levels and endurance.  It helps detoxify the body and raise metabolism. 
To read a few more of the benefits in detail, click this link.

In the meantime, for a delicious dessert that's loaded with Matcha, and is oh-so-good, check out this Matcha Tiramisu.  Easy to make and totally tasty.

2.  Poetry.  I am shocked to say this one, as I have never had even a remote interest in poetry.  Neither toward reading, nor writing it.  But over the past one or two weeks, I have found myself beginning to pen a few poems here and there.  And even further surprised to find myself drawn towards it more and more.

The only poetry book I've ever read (picked this one up about 4 months ago and finished it in two days.  Really moving, well written and gripping) is the one pictured below, Milk and Honey.  I highly recommend it, both for a unique reading experience and some inspiration.

And, below, two great quotes for a person doing any kind of writing...

3. Saturday Night Live.  While I find their skits to typically be hit or miss so rarely have I watched it over the years, I have been joining my mom on the couch (a roaring fire in the hearth by our sides, a particularly enticing addition to the scene) to watch a few episodes here and there over the past couple weeks.  Each time, resulting in the two of us howling with laughter.

One of the clips in particular that got us clutching ourselves giggling:

Larry David, pretending to be the recipient of a prominent award.  During which they revisit some of his "early work" prior to his becoming such a notable dude.

And for good measure, my all time favorite SNL skit ever.  Hillary Clinton (Amy Poehler) and Sarah Palin (Tina Fey), squaring off in a mock debate.  This. Is. Awesome.  All of it.  The dialogue, the body language, the outfits, oh man.  I'm dying, re-watching it now ;-)

4. The Wire, season four.  In the process of re-watching this at the moment and my god, do I now recall what an emotional whammy it packs.  Yes, its hard to watch.  But its a very worthwhile watching.  The story of season four of this poignant, gripping, phenomenal show taking place within inner city schools, honing in on four young boys and the trajectory of their lives over the course of one school year. 

The show doesn't spare the watchers feelings or heart, tending towards realistic as opposed to feel good.  The Wire boosts some of the most complex, intricate, well done acting and character development I have ever seen.  Some of the most impressive layering of multiple plotlines, somehow seamlessly blended together.  Offering up everything one could possibly want in a worthwhile story and show. 

Suspense, inspiration, finding yourself emotionally moved and stirred with every season.  Growing invested and involved in the characters and their journeys.  Even sometimes rooting for the "bad" guys while feeling disgusted with the supposed "good" guys.  Much of this show doesn't showcase the black and white, so easily labeled right/wrong aspects of humanity (which isn't much of what it truly means to be human anyway, if we are being real), but instead occupies that wide space laden with significant varying shades of gray.

5.  Tim Riggins.  Long live Riggins (for those not in the know, from Friday Night Lights).  To my close friends, enough said ;-).

Riggins aside though, if you're in search of a fantastic TV show, this one fits the bill along with The Wire.  I think Friday Night Lights (FNL) has won something like 11 Emmy awards.  While totally different in tone, theme, everything really, from The Wire, its another top notch series well worth the watch.  Here's a short and sweet article (no spoilers) on why FNL is one of the top shows.

Additionally, my other favorite TV show would be Six Feet Under.  A series I watched once probably a decade ago all the way through and haven't seen since.  Though I remember it being gripping and packing an emotional wallop.  Another one I highly recommend.

PS. Unfinished business remains on the FNL front with Melissa and Davor in Germany, which we will finish at some point.  Save the date...for an unknown but promised future day!  In the meantime though, continue to think of me and hand over the details whenever you see him in a movie or other TV show ;-p

6. A few especially awesome quotes.  Ever a lover of quotes (another thing those close to me will not be surprised in), these few have been my favorites as of late.  Some written thought provokers and inspiration for ya.

One of my very favorites.

7.  TED talks.  Don't know what TED is?  Its worth your time to find out.  So many potentially life changing, very worthwhile, fascinating, awe inspiring talks on this website.

This remains one of the most inspiring and awesome that I have ever watched.

8. Anticipation-worthy lunches.  Ok, this is a silly, little Brookeism that, ready for it people?  Has the power to change your daily life.  Here it is: take 10-15 minutes each night (or at least, a few nights each week.  However many you like) to make yourself a truly delicious, varied, awesome lunch for the following day.  This is just the bomb diggity. 

Not only do you get to look forward to it through that evening, in anticipation of the next day.  But when you wake up and grab the lunch from your fridge, you feel excited as your morning passes, looking forward to eating it.  Then, pulling out the totally tasty fixings you put together, mouth watering in wait, the best.  And finally, eating it :-D.  Plus, afterward, feeling satisfied and great through the remainder of your afternoon.

(For instance, tomorrow is a salad loaded with spinach, chopped peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, half an avocado, and topped with a scoop of tuna fish with a bit of mayo.  A side of pomegranate seeds with a sprinkling of dairy-free chocolate chips mixed in.  And a gluten/dairy free snack bar made with chocolate and sea salt).

I'm telling you, taking the little bit of time to make a stellar lunch for the following day?  One of the frequently underrated but most awesome aspects of life.  Try it and see.  It will add of layer of joy and greatness to your standard day.  Choose whatever fixins excite you the most!

9. Christmas.  I know, I know, its not even Thanksgiving yet.  And don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to rush through that one.  I love Thanksgiving.  The coziness of it, all the delicious food, the (ideally) gathering with close friends and/or family.  Here is the recounting of my very first dinner party hosted entirely solo, back in Germany over Thanksgiving.  Was that both terrifying and totally awesome.  However, Christmas, alongside of birthdays, is my favorite holiday.

I love the special desserts, holiday specific sweets and treats.  The way everything feels kind of romantic and magical.  A sense of excitement and anticipation in the air.  Christmas markets- if you live in Europe :-D.  Snow, glittering, peaceful, mysterious and beautiful.  The parties and festive fun times with friends.  The decorations.  Christmas trees- and only the real deal will suffice ;-).  The smell of pine filling your living room.  The glow of rainbow colored lights adding an inviting warmth and holiday splendor to the room.  The fun of searching out the truly personal gifts, the ones that will delight and move your loved recipients. 

I see so many people snatching up generic scented candles or bath soaps for women, ties or cologne for men.  Generally kind of lame.  You can most certainly do better.  But to do better, you have to truly know someone.  What do they love?  What excites them?  Who are they?  That's how to find the gifts that will really thrill those to whom you are giving.  I love and delight in this.  Its such fun.  And it comes hand in hand with birthdays, as well as Christmas.

A few photos I snapped below from the Christmas markets in Europe...

Annnnnd, this would be baby Brooke, super excited and hamming it up while opening some Christmas gifts (maybe 2 or 3 years old?).

10.  Faith.  This is something I have both had to come to rely on, as well as have grown to feel quite good (centered, calmer, happier) whenever occupying this mental space.  Faith, being very closely aligned with the concept of Grace, which I wrote about in depth here on this entry.

Most of my return to the US from Europe (going on 4 months now.  Kind of crazy, as it feels much longer than this that I have been back already) has been phenomenal.  Reconnecting with friends whom I haven't been able to spend much time with for years, the relationship-changing experience of living with my mom for the time being.  So many fun, meaningful moments already with my friends, making new memories and reconnecting.  As well as a plethora of awesome experiences and times with my mom.  And, a budding, exciting romance with promising potential, one of the sweetest surprises of my return as well thus far.

I am thrilled being here.  Coming back was the right move.  I am not changing my stance on that for a second.  However, the job hunting has proven to be tough.  Far more so than I anticipated.  I have applied to easily 60 jobs, likely more.  While I have received a solid handful of calls back, as well as 4-5 invitations for interviews, and even three job offers, nothing has been the right fit yet.

At times, I have grown discouraged, sad and even a bit down on myself.  Feeling like a bit of a loser, anxious for when I will find something (stressed in the not knowing), as well as almost like I am sort of just hanging out in limbo.  Here, back in the US, but not quite having gotten started on building my actual life here yet.  (Which of course, isn't actually true.  There are many things I've begun building and creating).  I am lucky to have a loving, solid support system.  A handful of generous, wonderful people who have helped me feel nothing other than cared for, safe and that they are there for me.  This is beyond helpful, emotionally comforting, and meaningful.  However, I am still itching to land a job that's the right fit for me.  (Meaning, salary is higher than poverty level, work that is full time, close to Boston or Portsmouth, NH, and something I would actually somewhat enjoy doing and derive some satisfaction from).

After having received several loving, supportive, insightful pep talks from my mom, I am reminded time and time again that this is ok.  A transition period.  Its important to wait for the right thing to come along, which it will.  "You are doing all the right things," she reassures me.  "Putting in so much effort to your search.  Just be patient.  It will play out.  This is only temporary.  And you have had job offers.  More will come.  In the meantime, you have a home.  You have loving circle of people who are helping you feel emotionally supported.  Its alright, Brooke.  Do not take the wrong job.  Wait for the right one.  It will come."

This has been immensely helpful to me emotionally.  So, really the only not awesome aspect of returning to the US as of now: waiting with bated breath for the right job.  I have to continue reminding myself, the universe doesn't make mistakes.  Things play out exactly as they are meant to.  The reasons of which we cannot often see until much later on, when reflecting back upon much time having passed.  This experience wont be any different.

Here is my blog entry with full details on both the best aspects and the toughest ones of my experience in being back in the states thus far.

11. Robert Alberta Tyrone.  My little buddy <3.  Our kitty.  Both a menace, with his love of any and all writing utensils (making it close to impossible for my writing ANYTHING when he is around.  Use your imagination here), as well as a sweet cuddle bug.  He loves nestling up on my lap when I'm drinking tea and doing stuff on the computer.  Craning his neck and looking up at me often, a contented, lazy, happy look in his eyes.

Yes, that would be Robert licking my bag of tea.  He LOVES him some plastic bags.  Licks them any chance he can get, much to both my moms and my amusement and confusion.

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