Monday morning musings

Taking a break from the heavy and challenging to think about a few things making me happy this week (despite a rather daunting schedule the next 2 days…)

  1. Family. This is kind of a COVID thing, to be honest. Before all of this started, I would have said that I was very close to my family, that they are some of the most important people in my life, etc. But now, after going through not only the pandemic but the other things my family has dealt with in the last 2 years (and it’s kind of a lot when you list it out), I realize just how important they are to me. I know that some people do not have this kind of relationship with their family of origin, but I have to say that I am glad I do.
  2. On a related note, and also a COVID thing, the weekly Family Zoom. And yes we capitalize it. As much as I knew I loved my family and enjoyed connecting with them, I was never very good about keeping in touch other than the usual weekly phone call to my parents. I talked to my brother occasionally but no often. I would still say we were close, but not nearly as close as we were earlier in our lives. The Family Zoom – weekly, for the most part (we have only missed a few weeks since March 2020) has been such an unexpected blessing. I get to SEE my family, to make sure that they not only sound okay, but that they look okay, too. My brother and I always join, sometimes joined by others in the family depending on availability. It’s just so much fun to catch up (my mother does most of the talking) and to know more of what’s going on in each other’s lives.
  3. Fall weather. Finally. We had our third summer, I swear, in the last few weeks. Bring on the cooler temps. And while you’re at it, could you bring on the sunshine, please? We’ve had clouds for the last week+ and it’s getting old.
  4. Realizing that yes, my schedule is daunting today and tomorrow. But for the most part? These are meetings I set up that I want to have (not meetings that were, well, foisted on me). There’s a difference, there really is.
  5. It seems odd to end on 4 so number 5? Vegan “cold cuts”. I know, I know, they’ve been around forever. But they have recently been just what I want for dinner at the end of the day. With vegan cheese. In a warm tortilla. I know, it’s like the simplest dinner ever but for some reason it’s working for me. While I am not vegan, I am edging in that direction. The one thing holding me back is the lack of a great substitute for cottage cheese. I know that people have Strong Feelings about cottage cheese, but I love it. And while there are “easy” recipes out there, they’re not THAT easy. Holding out hope that someone will be able to replicate it soon…

Off to start the day with something else that makes me happy… coffee. Why on earth did I ever give it up? What was I thinking? 🙂

“One of the best secrets of a happy life is the art of extracting comfort and sweetness from every circumstance…
People are always looking for happiness at some future time and in some new thing, or some new set of circumstances, in possession of which they some day expect to find themselves. But the fact is, if happiness is not found now, where we are, and as we are, there is little chance of it ever being found. There is a great deal more happiness around us day by day than we have the sense or power to seek and find.
If we are to cultivate the art of living, we should cultivate the art of extracting sweetness and comfort out of everything, as the bee goes from flower to flower in search of honey.”

Thomas Mitchell

12 thoughts on “Monday morning musings

  1. I love that you have that relationship with your family and do the weekly Zoom. And that your mom does all the talking.

    OMG bring on the cold please! I am cool with the gloomy skies though 😉

    Simple dinner FTW! Which is your fave brand? I love the Tofurky ham one! And I have not found a good cottage cheese sub (or any, tbh). I used to love it, the bigger the curd, the better! Do what works for you! <3

    1. We did one yesterday, which followed the usual pattern. Although I did get an update on both of my brother’s kids, and some other family-related things. It’s just so good to SEE them, even though I hate seeing myself at the same time. Ha.
      I hope you’re enjoying the last few days of more fall-like weather. I certainly am!
      Ooh, the Tofurky roast beef is my favorite. I found this awesome smoked cheddar vegan cheese at my co-op… from Violife. I eat it every chance I get.
      Bummer on the cottage cheese. Sigh. You were my Last Best Hope on that one. 😉 For now, I’m keeping the dairy but also hoping that one of the companies steps up. There’s lots of demand for it!

  2. Giving up coffee??!! 😵
    Coffee certainly is a lovely thing. And it’s essential to me right now when I do my night-time course.
    Your weekly Family Zoom meetings also sound lovely! I tried eating vegan most days (I ate meat 1-2 days a week) this summer but something (that I still don’t understand) with it made me sick. Maybe too much fat, too large portions (because vegan food contains less energy and I want to build muscle too) that my body couldn’t handle, or something. I guess I’m happy enough with less red meat and mainly chicken and fish as the protein sources.

    1. I remember you saying something about trying the mostly-vegan approach and how it did not work for you. I wonder if the specific products you tried were not the best options for your body? Everyone’s physiology is so different though – so you have to find what works for you! (Side note: One of my Least Favorite Things about the internet is when people make dogmatic statements about how “everyone” should switch to a particular type of exercise, or how “everyone” should eat a certain way… um. It does not work that way. Find what works for you and do it – it doesn’t get much simpler than that!)
      And you will be happy to know that my return to coffee has made me ridiculously happy. I still drink tea to start – but then, mmm, the coffee follows that and I look forward to it every day. I miss European coffee, though. So. Much. Better. Than. American. Coffee. 🙂

      1. You are so right about that “everyone should eat like this” thing – it drives me nuts! And don’t get me started on what some people call “clean food” (so everything else is dirty?)! Anyway. I think my problem was a mix of eating too much fibre heavy food, I’d need to plan my meals more to make a better mix of fibre and starchy foods. Anyway, that’s something for the future, and to me the main thing is to eat less meat, it doesn’t mean I have to be a full-on vegan.
        And totally YES to European coffee – to me specifically Italian-style coffee. If I hadn’t gone to Italy as an au-pair and tried espresso and cappuccino, I wouldn’t be a coffee drinker today. I think filter coffee is disgusting! I have an espresso machine but Moka machines and the likes make some decent coffee too.

        1. Completely agree, as you know. I do think the idea/concept/approach to life of telling people what to do, what to eat, how to exercise, how to live their lives is just, well, misguided. How on earth would I know what is best for you? Notable exceptions include health- and public good-related things: COVID vaccines (sigh), following laws and norms, etc. But in terms of what you eat, how you exercise, with whom you fall in love? That personal stuff is none of my business unless and until it affects my life!
          Don’t make me miss European coffee even MORE?!?!? It has seriously been way too long. I’m trying to think when my last transatlantic flight was and coming up blank. I’ll have to look at my CV – it was probably a work conference. (Had a cancelled trip to France the year that he who shall not be named was elected… did not want to face potential backlash…still regret not taking that trip. Sigh.)

  3. Jealous of your fall weather! It’s getting to the point where I feel like it’s “comfortable” and “fall-like” when it’s 90 degrees outside. Florida has broken me. 🙂

    Family Zoom calls sound like so much fun! My mom and I started Facetiming each other daily during the early days of the pandemic when I didn’t have a single person in my bubble. And we still Facetime each other daily even now! <3

    1. I’m laughing so hard at the thought of 90 being “Fall like”! Ha! This morning it was 46 here and I was here for it. I actually have my slider open (it’s probably about 50 now, maybe?) and although I’m cold I am also loving it! That said, I’ll be happy for a brief time in Florida’s heat this winter (I Have to attend a half day [NOT EVEN A WHOLE DAY] meeting in person…in January…).
      Confession time – I, um, don’t use Facetime. The thing is, my MOTHER does. She facetimes my niece. I just never picked it up? And I’m not sure why. Huh. I love that you and your mom do that every day – you seem to have such a wonderful relationship! 🙂

  4. I swear, my first cup of coffee is getting me out of bed every day… the greatest joy (and not for the caffeine but just the comfort of a hot drink in the morning!).

    I love so much how close you are with your family and how much you value Zoom Calls. As you know, I am also incredibly close to my family, but Covid definitely has brought us even closer. I used to call my parents 3-4x per week, now we facetime 3x per week and it’s almost like ” hanging out” with them in person. Sometimes my sister joins, too and it’s like a mini-family reunion. <3

    1. Oh, yes. When I don’t have it I am not a happy camper – both for the caffeine and the warmth and the smell… 🙂 I cannot understand non-coffee drinkers (several of my friends do not drink it). And that applies to me, when I stopped drinking it for a while. What was I thinking???

      San, it makes me so, so happy to know that you and your family are hanging out so much (more). COVID is awful (not was, since we’re certainly not past it yet…). But as you said, good things came out of it too. I also email my parents (both of them…) daily. That’s a routine that I’ve had with my mom for YEARS. But I added my dad a few years ago when he was having health issues and I was worried about him, so I’d send check-in emails. They are one of the best parts of my morning. <3

  5. I’m glad that you returned to coffee! Life is short. Unless something is exceptionally harmful, I am a big proponent of enjoying what we like! I’m not a coffee drinker, I know- I’m so odd!! But I have other little treats and vices. 🙂 That’s so awesome that you have those weekly connections with your family! We have never done that. I occasionally Skype with my sister in Ireland, but not as often as we should…we have taken to just texting, which I guess as two busy moms, fits in quite well. We can send a message and then even if a stretch of time goes by, we can just pick the thread back up. That’s so sweet that you email with your parents. I talk to mine regularly on the phone- daily or near daily- even if just briefly, as well.

    1. It’s so interesting to learn about how other people interact (or, um, don’t interact) with their family members and friends. It’s so variable! And the method of connection seems to differ so much, too – you do texts and phone calls, I do daily emails and the weekly Zoom, others do more Facetime (something I’ve just never gotten into…). What makes me sad is when there are families that don’t connect for whatever reason… I just hope they have chosen family / friends that they do connect with -everyone should have that, in some way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *