No More Complaining

Often I think we do not even realize we do it. We complain about how little sleep we got the night before, the guy that is driving too slow on the road, how a co-worker treated us. We might complain about the wilting lettuce that came on our salad, or how cranky we feel. It is almost second nature for us to complain. I am just as bad as the next person. I think about it though. I try to watch myself and see when I am complaining. I wonder what life would look like, feel like, or sound like if we did not complain. Would we all sound like Pollyanna?

This Fast Company article, “What It’s Like to Go Without Complaining For a Month” is an interesting idea. I know it would not be easy to do, and yet why not? Does the Pollyanna vibe feel odd to us because someone who does not complain feels fake? Does that mean that our society is so immersed in the idea of agonizing over the hand that we were dealt, that it is almost very strange to imagine not sharing our qualms, experience, and drama with our co-workers, family, and friends? Is it the drama that encourages to complain? Or is it the storytelling and community that comes along with going into all the gory details of all you went through getting your take out last night at your neighborhood Chinese restaurant?

Often I think individuals do not realize they might be complaining. We are all storytellers at heart. I am an addict of a good story. I love to laugh and while I am not one to make fun of someone’s misfortune I do love when a story weaves and explores what someone might have had to go through – even if it all happens in the process of complaining.

While I do not think I have it in me (yet) to go an entire month without complaining. I am going to *try* to be conscious about my complaints. For someone who is very free with my thoughts and what is on my mind, I could do a better job filtering the complaints. I should probably spend some time thinking about the list of ideas in the Fast Company article that are tips for complaining less.

Are you with me?

Random recipe: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

One of our favorite restaurants in Portland, Ox, has the most amazing Spaghetti Squash. I had never had spaghetti squash until a few years ago at my first visit to Ox. Their version is: Coal-Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Toasted Garlic, Lemon, Aged Goat Cheese. You had me at goat cheese. I am a fan of almost anything with goat cheese. Last week, Chris, tried a new recipe we found for spaghetti squash. It was good, very good. Do not be deterred by how much description is below. It is actually much easier than it looks.

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Cheesy Spaghetti Squash
Creamy spaghetti squash with cheese and herbs, topped with crunchy panko. Serves 4.
Found: Megan (I Eat Therefore I Cook)

Ingredients
  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 1/2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese,
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 TSP Fresh Thyme, Chopped
  • 1 TSP Fresh Oregano, Chopped
  • 1/2 TSP Pepper
  • 1 TSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TSP Onion Powder
  • 1 TSP Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Panko
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pierce squash with knife a couple of times. Place on baking sheet and place in oven for about 1 hour, or until the squash is easily pierced with a knife.
  2. Turn up oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Let cool and slice in half. Remove seeds from squash with spoon. Scoop out squash insides into a large bowl. Add olive oil, mozzarella cheese, thyme, oregano, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Mix together until evenly distributed.
  4. In a 8 by 8 glass baking dish, place squash mixture in pan. Spread evenly. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top evenly. Sprinkle panko on top evenly. Place in oven and cook until panko becomes golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy.
  5. Note: We skipped step 1, and cut the squash in half, placed face side up with wax paper on top, and put in the microwave for 20 minutes, then went right to step 3.

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Let me know if you try to make it, and if you do what you think!

Say what you want to say

“Say what you want to say.” I love this line from a Saturday Night Live skit. How many times in life do we say what people want to hear? Do you want to go out with me? Inside you are saying: “I am too tired, you bore me, I just need some time to myself.” Instead of being honest with others, we say yes, we go, and sometimes we wish we had just stood up for ourselves and said no. This skit shows how exhilarating it would be if we just said what we were really thinking.

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Do you feel invigorated after watching? While I am someone who is more often than not going to tell you no and be completely blunt and direct about it. However, even for me there are times when it feels awkward, or when it feels like it is the right thing to do to say yes and go along with things. Usually when we are in those situations we feel how wrong our decision was and that we should have listened to our gut the first time. It is better for us all to: “Say what you want to say” rather than say what we think others want to hear.

What do you think?

4-7-8

I have nights when I sleep beautifully, and other nights when I toss and I turn. Either I cannot sleep on one side, I get hot, or I have to pee multiple times. Some nights I toss and turn because Chris is snoring. I have to either deal, or pat him and ask him to roll over so I can actually go to sleep. Other times I ponder life, and eventually fall back asleep, or I get up and read and when my eyes can no longer handle it, I snuggle up next to my warm husband and fall back to sleep.

When I found a new way of approaching falling asleep, I thought why not try it? It actually works (from what I have found so far). It is the 4-7-8 principle outlined here:

“She happens to be a licensed wellness practitioner who studies meditation, stress, and breathing techniques, and told me it would change my life. You simply breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. She explained that the studied combination of numbers has a chemical-like effect on our brains, and would slow my heart rate and soothe me right to sleep that night. “It works,” she told me. “It’s crazy.”

I have tried it a few times and since I do not remember what happened next, I think that means that I have fallen asleep. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale through mouth for eight seconds. When I do it I can physically feel a difference in my body. When you hold your breathe for seven seconds, and then exhale, your body has to go through a moment of relaxation. You would exhale out in a different way if you had not held your breath. While it feels a bit strange, I feel my body relax and release in ways it probably would not if I did not do: 4-7-8.

They are right that is slows your heart rate. It somehow slows my mind, which is just what I need to let go and let my mind and body relax and allow a few hours of sleep to get me to the next morning where it all starts over again. Take a moment to read the above link to see more detail on mindless breathing, and how it can help you sleep better. ZZZZZzzzzz…