Friday, 30 September 2011

Not against: with


Thought of the day 

"Always fall in with what you're asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever is going. Not against: with."  

Robert Frost

Go with the flow man! I have been feeling disappointed as I haven't been sticking to my study plan as much as I hoped I would, but hey, the best thing for me to do is except that I will have to play studying by ear, and as long as I am getting the study time in then I will be going with the flow and not feeling although I am letting myself down.

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Yesterday was a great day!!  I managed to write loads of passionate paragraphs for my personal statement, which now need to be toned down and then added to other paragraphs...I also decided that I am going to swap to Anthropology from English Lit, and I may even sit in on Philosophy classes so that I can get a better understanding in the subject.

All the camping bits are ready and waiting in the hall, later today Esther and Aaron will go and get the car we are hiring and then come back, pack up and then collect me from college. Whilst looking for the sleeping bag and gas stove in the cellar, I found loads of my possessions that I packed up and forgot about; including some new high lighters, which I know seems so sad, but for the purpose of frugality I am glad I found them before I went and bought some new ones, which I desperately needed! Oh yes, and loads of other exciting things that I am now planning to sell at a car boot sale later this year - there are SOOO many pairs of shoes.

Finding those things brought back some memories, some bad, some good, and also reminded me of times when I really thought that I needed certain possessions to be happy so much so that I would plan and obsess until I bought them (and I still cared about the environment!?!) - but really, they didn't make me any happier.  I am amazed at how my attitude changed for the better, and I actually am glad and maybe a little proud. 

In class yesterday we read an interesting article on materialism and consumerism by Jeremy Seafoot in New Internationalist.  The article seems to be pointing out that the western worlds negative view of materialism is actually consumerism, and materialism is actually what we need more of; taking good care of items and respecting the earth where they came from, which I completely agree with - I have only read extracts of the article, and will read the rest this morning.

OK, so some things I need to do today:


  • Do my Psychology homework before class...
  • Read some info on globalization and see what I think; maybe get a book out (it may be a good subject to study at Uni).
  • Renew library books online (although this hasn't been working as the server is down).
  • Send some emails.
  • Photocopy all past Anthropology lessons and read through so I can catch up. 
 
That's all I can think of for now, although my brain is niggling, so I think there is some more....hopefully it will come to me on the train on the way to school. 
     








    Thursday, 29 September 2011

    Recipe for success


    Thought for today

    Recipe for success: Be polite, prepare yourself for whatever you are asked to do, keep yourself tidy, be cheerful, don’t be envious, be honest with yourself so you will be honest with others, be helpful, interest yourself in your job, don’t pity yourself, be quick to praise, be loyal to your friends, avoid prejudices, be independent, interest yourself in politics, and read the newspapers.

    -- Bernard M. Baruch

    from Forbes 

    I agree with most of the above - although I am not so hot on reading the newspapers, as I think a lot of the articles can be negative and geared towards getting a reaction out of the public instead of simply informing.  

    Being polite is important!  I really don't like it when I am out and someone tried to push past without saying they are trying to get past (of course I move if I notice them..) and I wonder if they are shy or scared or simply can't be arsed to be polite?  I will probably wonder for a long time.

    -----------------

    Wow, well yesterday I actually settled down to start writing the draft for my Psychology essay, it required a bit more complex planning than what I put in, so I did a bit more research and then did an essay plan, so now I have that to work from this evening. 

    I spent three hours doing the Psychology work and another hour and a half writing some paragraphs and reading top ten personal statements for inspiration and there is also some on the Student Room here which I found really helpful as they gave me a another view of making my personal statement a bit more personal - lol, I suppose I mean not written only in a formal way.

    There was no time to start the draft for Sociology, but I did do an essay plan, so I will try and write some paragraphs for that this evening.   

    Last night we had fresh kamut pasta, which we bought at the farmers market with spicy vegetable sauce for dinner and a salad with carrot, red pepper and avocado, it was very nice pasta with a good texture, so I am now thinking of making my own as it can be frozen and this one was rather expensive.

    I have put some bread on and started charging my camera battery this morning and there are other tasks that need doing today:

    • Put bed sheets in wash.
    • Get out hanky to blow my nose on (for the purpose of no waste and reuse!).
    • Get to college a bit early and look at my paragraphs for my personal statement again. 
    • Remind my godfather to drop of the camping things I am borrowing. 
    • Renew library books online (otherwise I will have to return them when I am away).
    • Print out changed timetable for college.
    • Print out labels. 

    A song that I came across yesterday:

    Wednesday, 28 September 2011

    let the thankful heart sweep through the day

    Thought of the day

    The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!  ~ Henry Ward Beecher


    A good quote to remember to be grateful as opposed to always finding something to moan about!

    ------------

    I am already feeling much better today, and I swear it was the chicken soup I made for my late lunch yesterday (as does my godfather who was also feeling poorly)!

    Chicken, Vegetable and Pasta Soup.

    Ingredients.

    Oil
    1/2 large white onion, diced.
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
    2 large carrots, diced.
    3 sticks of celery, diced.
    Tin of sweetcorn, drained.
    Dried or fresh thyme.
    3/4 pints of stock (you can use whichever you like, I used 2 yeast free chicken and 1 ham).
    250g pasta shells (or any other kind of pasta, or noodles).
    300g chicken, sliced.
    Salt and white pepper to taste.

    Method.

    Put the pasta on to boil, add some salt if you want to the water.

    Fry the onions, celery and carrots in a little oil for about 2 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further minute.  Add about 3 teaspoons of dried/fresh thyme and then the pieces of chicken and stir-fry until all white on the outside, then add the sweet corn and the stock, bring to a simmer (so it is just under a boil).

    Once the pasta is done, drain it and add a serving to the bottom of a bowl, and then ladle over the chicken soup. Easy!

    This recipe feeds 2 extra hungry people or about 4 medium portions.

    I used all organic ingredients where possible, but again, this is up to you.  The soup can be frozen, without the pasta.

    For dinner yesterday we ate rather late, we had home made pizza, which was very good, although I think next time we will have to pre-cook the pizza bases a bit.  I will put photos up once I have uploaded them from my camera.

    All my little jobs got done yesterday, apart from posting the items - my printer ran out of ink, and by the time I had got home with the cartridges and made lunch it was too late to take them to the post office, so I am hoping to get them ready tonight and post them tomorrow.

    We are going camping over the weekend in Wales, so at the moment I have my fingers crossed that the weather stays warm/not rainy and I am also looking forward to the nature, there is even a lake to do fishing in (and you don't need a permit!), hopefully I will take some beautiful photos.

    Today I really must get on with my college work! I will do the work that I least want to do first, and that way it is done....

    A good website about being eco/green...here.

    Here's to having a productive school work day and being grateful for my brain and the fact that I am able to access education.

    Tuesday, 27 September 2011

    Choose day

    Thought of the day

    We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing.  Action always generates inspiration.  Inspiration seldom generates action.  ~ Frank Tibolt


    I feel although the past two weeks or so I have been talking and thinking about doing things so much that sometimes I feel wornout, from thinking that I have done so much, when actually I've just been thinking about it - does that make sense? 

    Today, I would like to get on with all the small tasks that need to be done, as another saying goes something along the lines of get the small things done and the big ones will look after themselves (I know, it's not right, but the exact quote doesn't come to mind).

    --------------

    Small things that need doing:

    • Washing.
    • Tidy room.
    • Collect broken hard drive.
    • Post hats/all saints gear; print labels, do up boxes and take to post office.
    • Get personal trainer to sign my gym thing (so I can get £50!).
    • Buy cartridges for printer (remember to get student discount).
    • Wash kitchen floor. 
    • Use disk utility to try and fix mac-book problems.

    I had a fantastic time at the photography course yesterday, I really like the teacher and I feel like I learned a lot in the first lesson, which is hopefully a sign of the classes to come.  My homework is to do some long exposure shots, and these are really inspiring! Also I saw an add for Taekwon-Do on Thursday evenings at college, which I might go along to.

    Unfortunately it seems although I am coming down with another cold, so I will not be working out at the gym today, taking loads of vitamin C, echinacea, resting (which means some reading and writing in bed!) and I am going to make myself a tasty chicken and pasta soup for lunch whilst the pizza dough for tonight's home made pizzas is proving. We're having the pizza's with the cheese and vegetables we got from the farmers market, which I am very much looking forward too.

    Today I am also going to start my small book of to-do list items, which will have various titles and things, and hopefully I will stick to it, not necessarily because I want to be in control and regimented all the time, but because when I think of something to do or a great idea I often forget it....so a to do list to carry around would be helpful.

    Monday, 26 September 2011

    Thought for the day:

    If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.  ~ Buddhist Saying

    --------------

    Basically about perseverance, and I think simple enough to remember.
    --------------

    We had a great time at the farmers market yesterday, and stopped for a snack (boiled egg for me and french toast for Aaron) in a lovely little cafe called Megan's which has a wonderful back garden, really smiley staff and is reasonably priced,  I think two boiled eggs and toast was £3.20, oh and the coffee is tasty too.

    At the farmers market we got lamb chops, ham, kamut pasta, potatoes, two different types of apples, and lots of vegetables, oh and some lovely cheese made from buffalo milk...we are hoping to make home made pizza dough and pizza's on Tuesday for dinner and use the cheeses we bought.  And surprisingly, we managed to spend £45 at the market, and I think the food will last us until Thursday night....not bad.

    All in all a relaxing weekend, that still seems productive as we went to the farmers market and I finished the book I am reading at the moment: How to be Free - if you read the manifesto on the link, it falls pretty much within my values.
    So three things I absolutely must do today:

    1. Put money on my credit card (I have paid nearly half my balance since June).
    2. Go in to school early and do an essay plan and start writing my essay.
    3. After school and before my photography lesson write some paragraphs for my personal statement.  
    Stuff that has to be done this week:

    1. Post ebay/all saints items (if I get these ready tonight?!?)
    2. Clean macbook hard drive.
    3. Speak to Luke at school.
    4. Reading, reading, reading.
    5. Studying, reading, writing essays.

    Sunday, 25 September 2011

    Sunny

    Thought for the day:

    The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
    Albert Einstein

    ---------------

    A good quote about concentrating on the day and task in hand instead of worrying or over planning the future, I have been worrying about applying for Uni and if I have to move out of London, but I suppose as it is a year away when I will have to move, and that's even if I do get into Uni's outside of London.

    ---------------

    Previously I posted that I was following No Impact Week, so now I have a reusable steel water bottle and a glass bottle that I carry around with me, a flask to take hot drinks to college (less waste in terms of buying plastic water bottles and using throw-away cups and all the extras that go with them like sugar packaging and plastic spoons etc), along with a lunch box with a knife and fork to take my lunches around with me. More info here.

    And as part of the project is also about trying to buy local food and cook your own, as I already love cooking and would love to buy locally I have found some local farmers markets and vegetable markets I can attend (more than one a week, so I can be flexible), which means today I will be visiting the farmers market in Parsons Green, you can search local London farmers markets to you here.

    If I compare my progress to his then I suppose I have a long way to go and to be honest I haven't read all the articles that are extremely helpful with motivation and ideas, so I will do that today and see what other changes I can make.

    Another blog I came across which I think is cool.

    The song below, is one I really love and it makes me laugh too

    Saturday, 24 September 2011

    Weekend

    Thought for the day:

    “Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware, and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor's fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can't socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last. (October 27, 1964)

      Ronald Reagan quotes

     

    -----------------

     

    Interesting quote, even more so interesting for me now I have been studying sociology.  It's good to note that this quote was written in the 60's and still applies for today.  I think the same idea can apply to one friend in a group of friends, if no one is able to tell them what they really think, they are just feeding the monster, maybe the monsters youuuuuu (or me)!!

     

    ---------------- 

     

    College is going well, I am trying to be a good student and plan out my study well so I can do my essays in draft, and do all my reading etc on time so I am not panicking at the last minute when three different subjects have essays due at the same time. 

     

    We have started doing our personal statements, although I am still trying to choose a course or exact subject I enjoy, I think I like sociology and the development of society so I am going to go for subjects like human sciences, international development and history.  The other side of the spectrum is that I would like to do a arts degree in design and making or something like that, it's hard for me to narrow down a subject as there are so many things I like doing, baking, cooking, making, thrifting, trying to help others...I suppose I don't want to do a cooking qualification, and I am pretty sure there isn't a degree in being thrifty, unless it's called making and economics or something and I suppose helping others will come under being able to understand society and people, so psychology, sociology and general interaction with the environment around them and how to live sustainably, so I am going to try to apply for courses along these lines. Oh yes and of course I enjoy reading and writing so I could do English.


    I have two different to do lists now; study and home, no doubt I will come up with another one for crafts or something.

     

    Today I am going to re-do my timetable so it is better planned, including places and what type of study I will be doing (reading or writing or researching online etc) and try and leave it with spaces in so that every Sunday and morning before I start studying I can fill it in around my certain study needs for that day.   


    I will also write an essay plan for sociology and read a the chapter on crime and deviance. 


    I'm not going to put my to-do list on here today, but tomorrow night when I have planned out this week etc.

     

    This Monday I start my short digital photography course, which is at the same college, but I have 3 hours in between my sociology and photography course so I can get some good study time in! I am really looking forward to learning how to use my camera effectively.  


    A song I like (it sounds much better off the album):




    An interesting documentary on consumerism and dictatorships:


    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/surplus-terrorized-into-being-consumers/


    Wednesday, 21 September 2011

    Getting on with things

    Thought of the day:


    Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking.  There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.  ~ J.C. Watts

    -------------
    Whilst I was falling asleep last night I was thinking about integrity, and how this can change over a lifetime, my moral integrity when I was younger in terms of being loyal to family and friends was very high, when I was abusing alcohol and drugs it became cloudy and I think it is now again coming back - but I would like to find a balance, as it is easy to uphold high moral integrity for yourself, and then when others don't conform with your ideas to feel angry or let down, although can this be expected of people who aren't you or don't agree with your values?

    Integrity was on my mind as I have been trying to study over the last three days and have found ways around it, even after I produced a timetable that looked good!  It had 18 hours of self study, which I suppose I don't need in the first couple of weeks, but I thought it would be good to get as much reading as possible in, so I am going to do a bit more research about effective reading today.

    -------------

    I haven't done much from Mondays to do list, I did email some friends back, did the weeks shopping/meal plan and bought some flour to make bread with so I will go and do that before I start reading/researching for  sociology.  This afternoon I will do some research for psychology, cook dinner and go to the gym.  I might try and fit in getting to Kings Road so I can go to the community vegetable market; info here.

    Something that is really important for today is to email Aaron's accountant and get the packages ready to send...I need to find some boxes!
    We finally moved the Mac G4 to my office and I have been cleaning it up to make it faster etc, and it seems to be working much better, so I am pleased about that, because it means I can start downloading my music and films I lost when my last hard drive broke. By the way I am already doing a back-up now.

    I came across some interesting documentaries when I was away traveling, one of them : The World According to Monsato that you can watch here.  I have come across several documentaries like this over the last 5 years or so and wish I could remember the names of them!  Hopefully they will come back to me.    

    Oh! I almost forgot to say that I have joined the No Impact Project (go on, join too!) which helps to teach us about our carbon footprint through rubbish, car use, etc etc, it's very inspiring and has some good points and  ideas. 

    Monday, 19 September 2011

    Mon mon monday

    Good morning!  I know it's been a while since I last posted, but, I have been busy at college, making new friends and learning etc so I neglected (sounds negative, maybe could say, let the blog have a rest) the blog for a little while.

    Thought of the day 

    When you blame others, you give up your power to change.  ~ Author Unknown


    -----------------

    In the past I consistently blamed others or other factors for my unhappiness, like; it's because they drink too much, or I don't get appreciated at work, I don't get paid enough, I don't have enough, the list could go on and on, luckily eventually it clicked that happiness is a state of mind and no one can make me feel a certain way. 

    Of course someone can be horrible to me and I could take offense, but would good would that do?  Might as well brush it off and if they are a stranger forget about it, if they are a good friend and it keeps on happening then maybe have a chat with them and explain how you feel or just decide that if they really where that good a friend they wouldn't speak to you like that. 

    ----------------

    Right then, onwards and upwards. I am already getting the feeling creeping in that I am avoiding doing my studying, although I am not sure what small priority tasks I am replacing with the really important task of studying, gym you say? baking bread you say?  I can't decide, OK, I know they are low priority compared to study, but they make me happy, then this brings me to the conclusion of should I make a timetable? I think I'll just get on with the study, as I don't want to disappoint myself if I don't stick to it.  Live a day at a time you know!

    Maybe it's easier if I set a reading minimum I should do everyday, so for example read 60 pages a day (doesn't matter what book, unless I have one I have to finish) and write 5 A4 pages per day?  I think I need to do a bit of research on this first, ahhhh, is that just procrastination? 

    OK, OK I think the best thing for me is to set the above (maybe up the writing a bit?) and then read in bits and pieces and never force myself to read, otherwise it will just go in one eye and out the other.

    Today I am going to read how to succeed at university and continue reading Psychology the science of mind and behaviour.

    Other things that I really should get done today:

    • Gym.
    • Download more frog photos for the video.
    • Read Psychology essay titles.
    • Do my Sociology homework (due in 4 hours, its a paragraph, OK!).
    • Post eBay/All Saints items (get them ready tonight and take to post office tomorrow as I am off).
    • Make weekly food plan.
    • Read some of my google reader.
    • Make bread.
    • Reply to some emails (maybe tomorrow, as I will have more time).
    • Pay credit card online.

    Other things I would like to do this week:

    • Research Uni courses I want to do as I have to apply by December this year and maybe need to go and see shortlisted ones.
    • Sort out my stuff in the cellar and start making boxes to clean and then sell at car boot sales etc.
    • Arrange a winter holiday.
    • Start getting my school bag and clothes ready the night before.
    • Do this site's advice so I can stay motivated for study.

    OK, I need to do some reading.

    I think this video is very funny:







    Wednesday, 14 September 2011

    Blog.

    Thought for today:

    Almost everyone wants something for nothing.
    --Marsha Sinetar

    Bargains attract. Finding a good value excites us, and we share the news quickly. Wanting anything for free is human nature perhaps. However, we have had to learn again and again that you get what you pay for. This is true of human interactions too.

    Why do we think that others will be there for us if we aren't available for them? Having friends means being a friend, even if it's time-consuming. Although friendship's rewards are indisputable, we still tend to wait, letting the other person make the first move. Getting the other person to commit first reduces our effort, perhaps, but we will still receive according to what we give.

    Knowing and utilizing this principle simplifies our lives. Once we master it, we never forget it. And what we bring to our relationships will be given back to us.

    I am willing to give to others what I want in return today. Their efforts will match my own.

    from Hazeldon

    ----------------

    Pretty straight forward - you reap what you sow! Another hard thing about friendships is that you can go on and on thinking, I did this for them, and I did that for them, but the true value is that you will be loyal and there for one another and not expect anything in return!

    ----------------

    Yesterday I renewed my books, but did not pay my fee, got my bike repaired, downloaded more photos, made bread, blah blah blah, loads of stuff!

    Today I am feeling tired, I went to Brixton market this morning and got some supplies and then came home and made lunch, now I think I will go to the gym after downloading some more photos for the frog video.

    A cool tune:


    Tuesday, 13 September 2011

    A week seems to pass so quickly

    Thought for today:

    Why not make your mind healthier and go on a thought diet!

    Cut down on all those unhealthy negative and wasteful thoughts that offer no nutritional value. 
    Start feeding your mind with positive healthy thoughts.

    Here's our suggestion for a balanced diet for the mind:
    For vitamins, have creative ideas. 
    For proteins, think powerful thoughts about yourself. 
    For carbohydrates, have good feelings for others.

    from Innerspace

    -------------

    Great suggestion, although it can be hard to keep a positive mind when coming up against a lot of hurdles that seem to be holding you back.

    When I was younger my mum used to make me do a mantra "I am happy happy happy all day long" and I had to repeat it twenty times on the way to school in the morning.  I caught myself saying "I am happy and positive all day long" this morning whilst I was making my tea, so maybe it does work!

    --------------

    Today is my first official day off college.  There is a number of things I need to do including downloading some more photos for the frog video I am doing, as it was taking ages last night I am hoping that whilst America is sleeping this morning it will be easier for me to download.

    I am also going to drop off my bike to see if it can be fixed and on the way there I will pop into the library, I will have monies to pay, arrgghh.

    Last night I ended up making a lovely massive salad and then I toasted some of the bread I made, rubbed it with garlic, tomatoes, salt and hemp seed oil and put parma ham on it.  It was lovely and a great treat, as well as easy...we weren't extremely hungry so we are going to have the vegetable lasagna tonight.

    A cool picture I made on a website I found


    Monday, 12 September 2011

    When you have staying power, you have the stick-at-it-iveness.  Like a postage stamp, you're able to stick at one thing until you get there.

    So, even when there are lots of mini-failures, don't stop!  Use your strength, energy and focus to steer your way through the obstacles, and stay with it.  Use perseverance and somewhere along the road 'success' will show up.

    from Innerspace

    ------------------

    I had my first day at college today, my initial thought on waking was to not go in, basically a fuck it (please do excuse me language). But I got up and I went in, and I had a good day, I chatted to some people in my sociology class and I am now also glad that I am doing sociology, it seems very interesting.

    Over the weekend I did a Carl Jung personality test (free one here) mainly out of interest, but also because I learned a little bit about Jung when I went to see a counselor and his training was based on Jung theories, any way.  All in all, interestingly I come out as a INFJ personality type.  There are loads of bits and bobs about what personality types mean what and helpful links to them at the end of the 70 questions.  The type seems to be a pretty good representation of me, so I am going to pay attention to the part about downfalls and try to work on myself.

    I did the test so that I could try and see what job would better suit me, but surprise surprise it didn't really help; it tells me what I already know and am interested in. 

    To do list:

    • Find out times/places of AA meetings I can make this week (based around college).
    • Buy books I need for college (online).
    • Sociology homework (some research tonight)!
    • Pick up hard drive (tomorrow).
    • Get bike fixed (tomorrow). 
    • Go to the library (tomorrow morning).
    • Get All Saints package ready and send.
    • Get ready and send ebay items. 
    • Join college library.
    • Get Aaron's mac put in my home office (currently not being used in storage).
    • Look up arts magazine subscription of magazine I saw in college today.
    • Read.
    • Frog video.
    • Go to library's close to college to see what they are like. 
    • Try to make a rough weekly plan for gym/college/etc (not sure if this is a good idea, might not actually do it).

    So tonight I am going to start on the frog video, I will do it in final cut pro and try to get it to run for about 4 minutes (it will be made completely of photos).  I suppose I should start by downloading photos I like for the video.

    This morning I made bread with the special Kamut flour, it is a moist light looking loaf, and very tasty, I think that next time I will add some linseed along with hemp oil and then it can be my usual loaf.

    I love this song!!


    Sunday, 11 September 2011

    (Not) Gloomy Sunday

    Thought for today:

    I don't always get to know why things happen.

    I may spend hours, even days, trying to figure out why bad things have happened to me. I may get caught up in trying to understand other people, situations, and even my own thoughts.

    Today I will accept that I don't have to know why things are the way they are. Instead I can pay attention to healing, growing, and learning.

    from Hazeldon

    -------------

    I think "why did they do that" a lot when I am cycling, when I get cut up or whatever....for me personally I think it is a response in anger to be able to start a argument with them or probably myself  with them in my head!!

    Now I will try to remember to not get caught up in wondering why, just accepting what happened and moving on.

    -------------

    I am yet to enroll in college, I have to do it on Monday before I start; however I have finally figured out my timetable, YAY!  Monday's I have sociology and photography (an additional evening course), Thursdays; study skills and prep for higher education and then english lit and psychology on Fridays.  This plan works out well for me and means I have Tuesday's and Wednesday's to study and have free time.

    This morning I have been putting together the food plan for the coming week, and I came across this website (the story behind it is really nice, so if you have a chance, have a read); I am not a rigid vegetarian, but I am trying to keep meat consumption down as it is better for the environment (link to Wikipedia here).  I have so far come up with the below, mostly having leftovers for lunch the next day and lunch for Aaron which includes sandwiches, crisps, muesli bars, yoghurt and fruit. 

    Monday
    Veggie Lasagne.

    Tuesday
    Chickpea and butternut squash curry with brown rice.

    Wednesday
    Veggie shepherds pie and salad.

    Thursday
    Homemade pizzas (with meat as option).

    Friday
    Garlic vegetable wholewheat pasta.

    Saturday
    Vegetarian pad thai? - Not sure about this one.

    Sunday
    Free-range organic roast chicken and all the bits.

    I buy Aaron's crisps and muesli bars from the pound shop, but now I am starting to wonder if it is actually ethical to buy from there or not?  They seem to be growing in popularity.  But I have a niggling feeling that they are probably not ethically based at all.  I have looked on their website and I am still not sure. They have a link to Junkk.com.  But does this show that the pound shop actually cares about the environmental and ethical impact it has?  Well is seems to have an OK social accountability policy, no slave or child labour etc, here is an interesting, if dated article about how the poundshop works, which brings me to the conclusion that it is mostly about mass consumption and can therefore not be good, and my decision can only be based on the individual brands in there....which I suppose means I shouldn't buy stuff from there. 

    This website seems to be good, definetly interesting, so I suppose I can start here on particular brands.

    Maybe I will have to look into making our own muesli bars and an alternative to crisps?

    The washing has been done did, although there is always more, and I cooked a tasty jerk chicken dinner on Friday, today I am going to do some small chores around the house, bake bread and relax.
    Maybe I will make some oatbars too.

    A song I like which influenced the title of today's post:



    Friday, 9 September 2011

    blah blah blah blah BLAH.

    I woke up in a bad mood, now I am in a slightly better mood.

    I argued as soon as I woke up and a text I got in response was "Be Fucking Happy." and then I got the thought of the day email:

    Reflection for the Day

    "It is the privilege of wisdom to listen," Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote. If I try as hard as I can to cultivate the art of listening - uncritically and without making premature judgments - chances are great that I'll progress more rapidly in my recovery. If I try as hard as I can to listen to the feelings and thoughts expressed - rather than to the "speaker" - I may be blessed with an unexpectedly helpful idea. The essential quality of good listening is humility. Does a holier-than-thou attitude sometimes close my mind to the shared suggestions of others?

    Today I Will Remember

    Hear the speech, not the speaker.

    Sent to me by Hazeldon

    ------------------

    My gut reaction was to call and carry on arguing, essentially about nothing.  Luckily they didn't answer the phone and I had a little bit of time to calm myself down and not react with my gut reaction but "watch" my thoughts.

    I think the thought for today is pretty self explanatory, I have no reason to be unhappy, but just because I got the text message from someone I was arguing with I saw it as another reason to argue, instead of just listening to the meaning of the text (again without swearing..) just be happy.

    So today I am going to be happy.

    ------------------

    One of my favourite Beatles songs (because it is simple and has a simple meaning, but it also reminds me of my Dad).




    I actually haven't found this song since my dad died, I have been searching, and now I found it! 




    I love it! I'm sure my dad thought this song personified him (when he was going through bad stretches), but he could still see the funny side!

    Enrolling yesterday was a complete flop, after waiting in a line to pay for nearly 2 hours, I had to leave, I will try again today. I am excited to start on Monday, and need to take some time today to decide which classes I will be going to.

    We were out last night (and Aaron was working late) so I am going to eat the shepherds pie for lunch today with a great big tasty organic salad, yum.  Today I am going to make jerk chicken with organic chicken and brown rice and peas.

    I have thought of a new name for the blog I want to set up on sustainable/slow/ethical living, which is Simply Living Slowly, as I listened to women's hour on radio four yesterday (link to yesterdays show here) which gave some interesting advice about choosing the right name for your business, which I applied to the blog; I want it to be understandable from the start and I think Simply Living Slowly with an under heading of something like; "trying to live a ethical, sustainable lifestyle in a fast world, step by step" should be suitable (obviously subject to better brainwaves and therefore change).

    The class ceiling is also an interesting listen.

    Ok so to do today (and yesterdays list crossed off):

    • Enrol in college.
    • Workout timetable I want to take. 
    • Think of project ideas to do with Hope and Lauren.
    • Make the frog video (or get a start on it).
    • Finish luggage project!
    • Continue pattern making with Esther.
    • Find out timetable for college (TODAY!).
    • Call mum to update on emails and calls. 
    • Get paperwork ready to take to college.
    • Change bed sheets.
    • Hang washing up.
    • Tidy kitchen.
    • Put washing upstairs from bedroom and do a quick tidy.
    • Floss teeth! 
    • Hang washing.
    • Put washing away.
    • Call library/log in online too!!
    • Go and buy chicken for dinner.
    • Get bike from Balham.
    • Go to the gym.
    • Maybe go to hot bikram yoga (my back is feeling weak).
    • Try and do next weeks food list?
    • Get items ebay items ready to send off.
    • Call All Saints to send back clothes.

    OK, so right now I am going to tidy up the kitchen again and do the washing (hang it, put it away and put more in) whilst the shepherds pie heats up and I listen to the radio. Over and out. x 

    Thursday, 8 September 2011

    Thought for today:

    All too easily, we remember things we'd rather forget, and forget things we really should remember.

    Consciously, work out what matters and what doesn't. 
    Know 'what to remember' and 'what to forget'. 

    Then pay attention to what you choose to replay and revisit in your mind.

    So, what will you remember (your aim, focus, goals...)? 
    And what will you forget (past hurts, worries, irritations...)?

    from Innerspace

    -----------------

    Good advice....to try and start doing this I used to have a book that I wrote down nice things people said about me and good memories, that way when I was (maybe I should get it out again for when I am feeling down) feeling down I could look in there, as the main reason I would feel down was because of past events, which really I needed to let go of.

    You could start your own happiness book.

    ---------------

    Yesterdays dinner was a success, if was very very tasty good.

    Recipe for veggie shepherds pie:

    Ingredients

    1 large carrot, cubed.
    1 red onion, cubed.
    2 garlic cloves chopped finely.
    2 medium leeks roughly chopped.
    2 sticks celery chopped.
    2 tomatoes.
    1 large tin of green lentils or soaked and cooked lentils that makes one large mug.
    1 large tin tinned tomatoes.
    1 yeast free chicken stock cube (if you are vegetarian then add vegetable one!)
    2 large sweet potatoes chopped for boiling into mash.
    Salt, pepper and thyme.
    Cheese (optional).

    Method

    Put the sweet potato's on to boil. Fry onions in a little olive oil until see through, add garlic and fry for a further 1 minute.  Add celery, carrot and leek and fry for about 2 -3 minutes.  Add the lentils with juices, fresh tomatoes and tinned tomatoes.  Add the chicken stock cube and add a little water, cook until it is all hot. Add seasonings.

    Once the sweet potatoes are soft, mash, add seasoning. Place the vegetables in a oven dish and cover with the sweet potato mash.  If you want cheese add on top and then bake for about 10 - 15 minutes on gas mark 6.

    --------------------

    I made the pie in the morning, put it in the fridge (in two smaller oven dishes) and then added the cheese before I baked.

    Feeds 4 - 6 people (so we have a whole pie left over for tonight!)

    To do list continued (and added to)

    • Enrol in college (this will have to be on TODAY!).
    • Think of project ideas to do with Hope and Lauren.
    • Make the frog video (or get a start on it).
    • Finish luggage project!
    • Continue pattern making with Esther.
    • Go to the bank.
    • Find out timetable for college (TODAY!).
    • Put a wash in.
    • Tidy bedroom (give to charity/up-cycle some stuff?).
    • Get a little book to take to the gym to record my running and weight training.
    • Fill book with weight training ideas so I don't get bored (have put one sheet in)!
    • Find a first aid course to do by the end of this year.

    I think I am getting stressed out by my to do list!! Ohhh no, it's not meant to happen this way! Still there are more things I need to add:

    • Call mum to update on emails and calls. 
    • Get paperwork ready to take to college.
    • Change bed sheets.
    • Hang washing up.
    • Tidy kitchen.
    • Put washing upstairs from bedroom and do a quick tidy.
    • Floss teeth!

    A friend of mine introduced me to the band below (I like):


    Wednesday, 7 September 2011

    Thought for today:

    As we think, so we become.

    We can enrich our interior monologue. We can seek the company of people who inspire us with a loving approach to life. We can absorb the written thoughts of writers who encourage our positive emotions. We can decide to be cheerful and optimistic, just for today.

    Whom would you rather be around - someone who chronically complains and talks about what a mess everything is, or someone who finds joy and delight in watching the antics of two squirrels in a tree? You are your constant companion. Your own company can be a pleasure or a drag, depending on the thoughts and feelings you permit to linger in your consciousness.

    We take Steps Four and Five in order to sort out our thoughts, getting rid of those that depress our spirit. In Step Ten, we continue a daily mental housecleaning so that residues of resentment and discouragement are not allowed to accumulate. Then we go on to Step Eleven for an infusion of the kind of thinking that nurtures the person we want to become.

    Today, I will exercise my freedom of thought.

    Inner Harvest by Elisabeth L.

    --------------------

    This makes me feel like I want to start doing my steps again, but I am not sure if I will commit myself properly, so I think I will wait for my timetable next week and then have a better think about it.

    Also, I love watching squirrels! Seriously though happiness is a state of mind, I know I used to find great joy on searching out the problem in any given situation instead of going with the flow and taking difficulties as they come, without having to moan about them before, during or after. 

    --------------------

    Not much has changed for my to do list today (put a wash in and tidied most of the bedroom), so I will get on with the other tasks.  Yesterday we went to do the food shopping (had a very fun time..!) we managed to spend £55 for a weeks shop including breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2 people buying organic produce where available..we just need to get some organic chicken for jerk chicken on Friday.

    We had a lovely sausage sandwich when we got in, as it was late and it was a last minute idea, but, it was well worth it and tasty - I had one sausage in mine to try and keep the fat content down.

    Today I am going to make vegetarian shepherds pie, with green lentils in place of mince and mashed sweet potato on top (with a bit of cheese), it should be good.

    I've been baking bread for about 2 weeks now, so we managed to buy just one loaf from the supermarket, YAY!  Admittedly some days I have been using bread mixes as we have some in the cupboard and they need using.  It is very satisfying to make and eat your own bread. The next loaf I make is going to be out of Kamut flour which I came across in a general supermarket (begins with W),  I am hoping it tastes nice as then I can keep on using it and reaping the benefits of low fat, amino acids and higher protein than standard bread.

    I am going to my friends house this afternoon to learn crochet and I am very excited!  I tried to teach myself, but I couldn't....so a new craft skill will be learned today, in return I am going to show my friend how to cook, for today a simple soup.

    The last week I have been thinking of signing up to an organic veg box scheme or getting food delivered weekly so that we don't have to pay for a taxi or lug it back on our bikes, but that means having the food plan ready a week in advance...and relying on unknown vegetables to cook with, I will think for a little longer.

    A cool video


    Another article about bankers in America.

    Also, sign a petition to make our government have "better" regulations over our media.

    Tuesday, 6 September 2011

    Twos Day

    Thought for today:

    All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
    Henry Ellis

    ------------------

    Letting go is a hard process, it can be of negative thoughts, old rituals (abusing yourself through criticism after one bad event or drink or drug abuse) of friendships or relationships, and then there is holding onto the useful parts of those processes like realising you have potential to evaluate well without beating yourself or anyone else up.....

    I do a mediation to let go of difficult situations and/or feelings that I have n a regular basis and it really helps me to stay calm and not get stuck with anger or worry. 

    -----------------

    Yesterday I managed to create office space, go to the gym (I ran 3.5 km again!), make the weeks food plan and design the text part of the logo for my new blog...YAY!  I also managed to make sure the recycling was ready to take out for tonight...like a real grown up!

    New things to do:


    • Set up office space (I managed to buy the stationary I needed for this).
    • Enrol in college (this will have to be on Thursday).
    • Design a logo for new blog (half done).
    • Think of project ideas to do with Hope and Lauren.
    • Make the frog video (or get a start on it).
    • Finish luggage project!
    • Continue pattern making with Esther.
    • Go to the gym!
    • Make this weeks food plan
    • Go to the bank.
    • Find out timetable for college.
    • Put a wash in.
    • Tidy bedroom (give to charity/up-cycle some stuff?).
    • Get a little book to take to the gym to record my running and weight training.
    • Fill book with weight training ideas so I don't get bored!
    • Find a first aid course to do by the end of this year.

    I've had more time to think about what I want to do with my life recently and I am thinking of doing a foundation art course in multimedia next year so I can learn the computer skills I want to have to edit photos and videos....but I suppose I can also try to learn these skills by myself.

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    Monday

    Thought for today:

    Change of scene has no effect upon unconscious conflicts.
    --Edmund Bergler, M.D.

    There's no running away from the internal strife. Whatever haunts us must finally be confronted and resolved if we're ever to grow and thus contribute to our world its due. When we keep secrets locked away, the secrets begin to keep us locked away as well.

    It is folly, and yet entirely human, to think a new location, a new job, a new lover will cure whatever troubles us. The truth is, however, that whatever trips us up is at the same time trying to edge us forward to new awareness, and thus the next level of growth. Our troubles are tools for a strengthened foundation. Without them, we'd soon crumble.

    When we consider the conflicts we encounter as opportunities for further development, they excite us rather than provoke anxiety. Changing our perspective can make the same scene appear quite new.

    from Hazeldon

    -----------------

    I often wonder what brings others to conclusions that they make, which I think are negative, but I suppose it depends what they have been through in life and recently that can affect their thoughts.   I suppose I will try harder to not judge and get to know my friends better (change my perspective).

    Basically what they are saying is don't run away from your problems, they will only catch up with you, and if you can talk to someone. 

    -----------------

    I had two days off blogging! Part of me feels fine about it and the other part of me feels a bit guilty, but that's only because I didn't get any of my tasks done....but really I have nothing to feel bad about, we had a lovely weekend in Oxford, cycling, eating, cooking, watching films, chatting and relaxing!

    So basically my to do list will be the same as Friday's:

    • Set up office space (I managed to buy the stationary I needed for this).
    • Enrol in college (this will have to be on Thursday).
    • Design a logo for new blog.
    • Think of project ideas to do with Hope and Lauren.
    • Make the frog video (or get a start on it).
    • Finish luggage project!
    • Continue pattern making with Esther.
    • Go to the gym!
    • Make this weeks food plan.

    Other things that need to go on my to do list for general future (in italic is added):


    • Acetate flowers using the felt flower tutorials.
    • Use fabric printer. 
    • Update my google reading; whittle down the information I am subscribed to and try to read on a regular basis. 
    • Type up charitable/not for profit project ideas. 
    • Look at free photoshop and adobe CS3 tutorials.
    • Dig SLR camera out and learn about it.
    • Apply for DSLR photography course that runs one evening a week. (I have found a course I like the look of on Monday nights).
    • Make a list of great books I have read.

    This is a video we made in Oxford for our friends birthday:


    I don't have much else to up date on at the moment, the weather is nice today so I am going to get to the gym first and then get home and do things that need doing in the house and maybe even sit in the garden! 

    College starts next week, I am feeling excited and nervous....


    Friday, 2 September 2011

    Recent Achievements

    Things I have achieved recently that I have been trying to achieve for a while:

    • Keeping my room tidy (those who know me, know this is not an easy feat for me!).
    • Updating my blog daily.
    • Checking my finaces at least once a week.
    • Going to the gym on a regular basis.
    • Being creative.
    • Doing mediation regularly and feeling the benefits.
    • Smiling and being happy!
    • This morning I ran 3.5 km! My ultimate goal being 5 km..YAY! 

    I want to write a longer update, so hopefully will be able to do so over the weekend!!

    xxx

    Something.

    Thought of the day:

    Most of us make a 'To Do List' but it's equally important to make a 'To Be List'.

    The 'To Be List' details the characteristics you intend to express during your 'doing' activities.  Today, I will be . . .

    from Innerspace

    -------------------

    OK I am going to make a to be list as well.

    -------------------

    I had a wonderful day yesterday, I helped my friend put together her new classroom (she is about to become a primary school teacher for 6 - 7 year olds...) which was fun, and weird to go back in to a school where everything is so small and cute.  We put up colourful letters and fabric and their name tags for their bags and coats (ahhh, so cute!).

    As for the name for the blog, I think I thought of one Keep it Simple: Information on how to lead a simpler life with more joy and no stress. Now I have decided on that and sub topics to put on the blog, I need to sign up with a free server etc, so I hope to do this tomorrow.

    To do (this is for today and until Sunday)


    • Email new charity about volunteering with them.
    • Reply to emails to friends on face book.
    • Email mum's friend with vitamin info.
    • Set up office space (I managed to buy the stationary I needed for this).
    • Enrol in college (this will have to be on Monday).
    • Design a logo for new blog.
    • Think of project ideas to do with Hope and Lauren.
    • Make the frog video (or get a start on it).
    • Finish luggage project!
    • Continue pattern making with Esther.
    • Today: make bread for dinner tonight (I finally made a list yesterday!).
    • Go to the gym!  

    Other things that need to go on my to do list for general future (in italic is added):


    • Research/idea map changing my blog to another server with a new design.
    • Read.
    • Make a dry mix for bread to use as a bread mix. (can't do - am removing!)
    • Acetate flowers using the felt flower tutorials.
    • Use fabric printer. 
    • Update my google reading; whittle down the information I am subscribed to and try to read on a regular basis. 
    • Type up charitable/not for profit project ideas. 
    • Look at free photoshop and adobe CS3 tutorials.
    • Come up with short film ideas to do with Lauren.
    • Dig SLR camera out and learn about it.
    • Apply for photography course that runs one evening a week.
    • Make a list of great books I have read.

    I think that's enough to be getting on with!

    I ate a hell of a lot yesterday, so for the next 5 days I am going to stick to weightwatchers well and write down my points (must remember to bring a small pad out with me!) of 18 every day as I think I over ate so much that I might put weight on next week, which is something I don't really want!  I don't mind staying the same, but putting weight on is not fun.

    Today I am going to make home made bread and vegetable soup for lunch/dinner and have a protein drink too. I also have a dentist appointment this morning to get my teeth cleaned and polished, hopefully getting rid of my tobacco stains (who knew it was so easy!)

    Tomorrow I am going to make home made pasta, I am trying to come up with a recipe for gnocchi that is made with sweet potato.  All weekend I am imagining a really relaxing weekend, cooking and making things.

    So, my to be list...today I will be taking care of my body my going to the gym and cooking home made healthy food, keeping my soul smiling.