Week 40 – Bre in PDX

#276 Rad Mother Clucker

02 October 2016 // Austin, Texas

Doughnut lovers, I’m having cravings. What are your picks for best doughnut shops in the country? I’ll give you my top three.

Pip’s Original Doughnuts (Portland) – Going the route of keeping it simple but executing well. I’m a fan.

Gourdough’s (Austin) – Going the opposite direction with Big. Fat. Donuts. piled high with everything from fried chicken cuts to jalapeño jelly. I’m a fan as well and make it a point to come by whenever I’m in Austin.

Blue Star Doughnuts (Portland) – French brioche dough makes all of their doughnuts good to the breadcrumb. They won me over by tossing a vile of rum on to a caramel brulêe doughnut.

Yup, Portland takes two of three. Although I say this not having tried Daily Dozen in Seattle, which I’ve heard such good things about.

#277 Your Money Or Your Life

03 October 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

“Who you are is far greater than what you do for money, and your true work is far greater than your paid employment. Our focus on money and materialism may have robbed us of the pride we can and should feel in who we are as people and the many ways we contribute to the well being of others.”

-Vicki Robin

A bit of a break from what I usually read, a book about money use turns out to be far more practical, far less romantic, and just as purposeful as anything else I’ve read this year.

I didn’t follow all nine steps for financial independence to the tee. At least I haven’t yet, and while that must make Vicki Robin shake her head, I did start to do a few things. Measuring my income and expenditures in life energy, not just dollars. Figuring out what a “just right” level of income looks like for my family so I know when doing more work stops being worth it. Keeping track of all spending.

Perhaps I’ll take on the rest of the exercises when I have time. Or whenever I have graph paper handy, which is like never.

#278 Grad School: Nine Weeks

04 October 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Today I submitted my forms to graduate and be done with everything in nine weeks.

While my motivation going into this quarter is mostly propelled by the finish line I’m looking at, I’ve found a helpful way to think about work that provides an extra boost.

Imagine, for a second, what the best possible outcome could be of you showing up and doing your job well? A lot of people can easily drum up the worst case scenario, but what’s the best case scenario. My wife’s a therapist, so in her field it looks like saving a life, preventing suicide, and breaking up abusive cycles in a family. That’s a pretty serious contribution to the world. Do you accept a so-so job because of the healthy pay? Maybe the money you donate to charities, treat friends with, or support your family with are also in the life-saving business. Are you a barista? Maybe your pleasantness and warmth have actually made somebody’s day or turned it around… I can credit a phone rep for Virgin Airlines doing that for me once.

As a teacher of African studies, hmm… who knows? Maybe I strike the curiosity of a kid who one day discovers an efficient way to get antiretrovirals or malaria meds to the people who need them most.

Are these pretty out there possibilities? Yup. Unlikely? Probably. But here’s the crazy thing… if these things end up happening, a lot of times we’ll have had no idea. So we might as well act as if they just might, and by doing so, we’ll really increase our odds of doing meaningful work.

#279 Sunlit Halls

05 October 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Here’s a fun fact- some studies show that businesses that use totally made up words or names are often more successful than those that use descriptive, already existing words. Airbnb? Much better than ShareYourHouse. Instagram? Beats out Mobile PicShare. Ghostbusters? Better than its Chinese translation, Super Power Dare Die Team.

Here’s the part of that I find interesting… there’s a good part of us that can so easily be convinced we’re looking at something new just by the way it’s presented. Both traditional media and social media have gotten really, really skilled at that. The way to keep you glued is to run up storylines that seem like they’ve never happened before.

Corrupt politicians? That’s actually about as old of a news story as we have. Leaders with dictatorial tendencies? They go pretty far back throughout history. People unable to live peacefully with each other because of race, gender, or a bunch of other qualities? Yeah, unfortunately, that dynamic is much older than we are.

What to make of this? I’m all for staying informed, but also remember, there’s nothing really new under the sun and there’s a good and bad side to that. Unfortunately, progress happens very, very slowly, and many of the world’s big issues will probably outlive us. But the good news is that the world is crazy resilient. There’s still a lot of good that persists along with the bad.

At the end of the day, don’t just respond to the big bold headlines. Listen to what your life has taught you, to the lessons learned from the dirt underneath your fingernails. Don’t let panic take control of your creativity, it was meant to add good into the world, starting with what’s in front of you.

#280 13th to Campus

06 October 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

There are so many things in life that don’t work out, even though they made total sense on paper. I’ve seen couples break up that seemed like a great fit to me. I’ve had friends not get jobs that they seemed made for. I’ve known people who have started projects that for some reason never got the attention they were worthy of.

What’s the deal? I wish I knew. Unfortunately life is full of these little injustices that don’t seem to have a good explanation.

It’s good to know that this happens, and it happens quite a bit. It’s good to be prepared for this. Hard work is indispensable, but sometimes, it’s not enough. You can make all necessary efforts, all the right choices, and it still doesn’t work out.

It’s probably a healthy thing for everyone to experience this at least once in their lifetime. So many people in rough situations are there through no fault of their own. It’s important to have empathy for that. Not blame, and not a rescuer mentality. Just a deep sense of understanding and compassion.

#281 Chicken Katsu

07 October 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Katsuuuuuuu!

Chicken katsu is pretty much my go to dish at any Hawaiian restaurant. I’ll venture into other dishes but I always come back home. My lightly fried, breaded, crispy home.

I made some the other night and that was surprisingly simple and easy- with a big lightly fried, breaded, crispy payoff.

#282 Our Guests

08 October 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Hosting visitors is one of mine and Deanna’s favorite things to do.

Over the weekend we got to have Bre and Raquel and Jesse over for soul food, Ticket to Ride, and more food. Loved it.

We’ve now passed the amount of out-of-town friends we hoped to be able to host in Eugene for our marriage goals, but we have no plans of stopping! We love having people over.