This could be another post about eating healthily; it could also be a post about how to use the semicolon properly or, gods forbid, how to use the em dash—at this point, anything goes.

So, let me talk about chess. Why chess? Well, this is partly because I asked my partner for a random topic and this is what came out—okay, it’s not partly why but rather the entire reason why chess has been chosen to be the topic of this post.

I don’t know how to play chess. I mean, I know the rules and how each piece moves, but I never really got around to learning chess moves, and I never really ended a game with a check-mate against my opponent. I had a friend from school who liked to waste time playing chess in the library during recess. She was a great chess player…or I was, and still am, a terrible one.

This could have been a post about punctuation: how to use semicolons, em dashes (yes, without spaces. AP style, I’m looking at you), emphasis, ellipsis, and Oxford commas. But it’s about chess. It’s about chess. It’s about chess.

Ah…insomnia. It’s like that old friend who calls at 2 a.m. to ask if you’re still awake, waking you in the process. It really sucks. Especially after a nice bike ride, an outing with friends, and a takeaway dinner. It’s as if my body ran out of happiness credits and it can’t pull off a good night’s sleep on top of such a lovely day.

Good thing tomorrow (which became today) isn’t a workday…oh, it’s only the day that I wanted to DO MY TAXES BEFORE THE DEADLINE!*

And to clarify, this deadline is tomorrow, but not the tomorrow that which became today, but the tomorrow-tomorrow, a.k.a. Monday.

*the Canadian taxes. UK mates, you can chill for a little longer.

Yeah-yeah…bla-bla-bla it’s been a while since my last post…now let’s get to the point because time is precious.

Do you know that feeling when you don’t know what to do? You come up with an interesting enough task to get you up and going, but it’s apparently not good enough? In fact, anything you think is a good enough activity just convinces you more that you should be spending time on another thing. Sadly, the other thing is work.

If that made no sense, here’s an example:

After a busy week, you finally have a day off. Suddenly, it dawns on you:
“What do I do today?”
“The house needs cleaning—I can do that when it’s reasonable to turn on the vacuum.”
“What about right now? I could go on a walk, but I’d rather rest my feet today.”
“What do people do on their days off?”
“Do I invite people over? Nah, I’m emotionally tired, I can’t pull off a dinner. In fact, any sort of social gathering is a no-go for me today. Wait, do I even know anyone from outside work?”

By this point, it’s inevitable that you start thinking about work. It’s inevitable to realise that you could be doing something with your time—the right now type of time—that is both worth your time and energy. When the only thing that apparently matters is your weekly productivity; nothing (really, nothing) is worth doing more than more work.

Seems highly unreasonable.

I won’t offer advice, but this is what I told myself:
“I need rest, even if I’m not feeling tired right now. Rest is not work.”
“Anything I do right now—the day that I happen to be off from work—is worth my time.”
“I need this day to rest from work if I want to do more work next week. If I don’t rest, I won’t be able to work to the best of my ability.”

“If rest means staying in bed and writing my thoughts out to the world, then that’s good enough. I’m not wasting my time.”

This one is about what I believe to be a common misconception in the Portuguese culture: correntes de ar constipam-te (“drafts give you the cold”).1 I was vacuuming just now and opened both the windows of the bedroom and living room to air out the quarantine from the flat. Then…I felt it. The amazing Scottish breeze as I was finishing my weekly vacuuming.2 As soon as the breeze touched my neck and gave me a chill,3 I heard my mom screaming in my head “CAREFUL WITH THE DRAFTS, THEY’LL GIVE YOU A COLD!”

Hmm…I don’t think so. Do they? Nah…

If that’s the case, then any draft is a potential culprit. The draft you feel when you enter a stairwell (especially nice in the summer in stone-cold Portuguese stairwells) or the draft you might feel when turning into a narrow street on a windy day (in reality, any day in Scotland).

Come on, it can’t be true, can it?

1 Now, you perhaps have the same thing in your culture, and if so, it makes me feel warm inside. I just don’t want to generalise that which I don’t know.
2 Totally not weekly.
3 Where is this going?—I don’t know.

Let me tell you: there is no better way to nap than to fall asleep with the sound of birds chirping in today’s Spring. There is also no better way than to wake up before your alarm goes off with the gentle vibration noise from a call offering you a free pizza.*

*I know, random.

See when you are planning to go shopping for groceries? All those minutes spent searching for recipes that are easy, fast, exciting, vegan, glutenfree, lowcarb,* or [input your favourite diet here]… All that is wasted as soon as:
(1) one exits the house without the shopping list (argh)
(2) the shopping list was in fact lost in your pocket and you only find it a week later or
(3) the shopping list gets eaten by a blasted seagull.

Okay, the latter never happened to me, but you never know

It can happen that you are holding the shopping list all the way through and…you still forget that one ingredient that is crucial for all the five dishes you planned.

The worst yet is going to the supermarket, having the list at hand, buying everything you need, and then arriving home and never doing the recipes you planned for out of laziness…this is when you wish the seagull had eaten the shopping list.

*not to be confused with low-crab. Not sure what low-crab is (perhaps the crabs from deeper ocean neighbourhoods) but the spell-check was suggesting that.

It’s so hard. So. hard. Only today have I come to terms with using the dinner table as my hopefully permanent desk, and let me tell you: I really hope that now I can focus and actually do some work!*

So allow me to share my thoughts on working from home—today’s topic. Working from home is poop. Working from home from a perspective of a sugar addict is very poop since ice cream is always at hand. Working from home from the perspective of a classical singer is all the poops—all those heart-warming videos of opera singers singing on balconies is simply not how I work.

I still record some vocal tracks for some odd jobs that come, but recording inside a wardrobe is becoming too warm to stay for more than a couple of minutes. There is no other way, since my neighbour is now practising the accordion at random times, and these random times usually fall when I decide to record my singing.

So now what do I do? poop.

*I speak 4 days before my early-music notation deadline, 6 days before my dissertation deadline, 10-11 days before my recital presentation deadline (instead of a recital, I am giving a tutorial-like presentation on a Händel cantata I was meant to perform live).

Unlike the posts during isolation about (you guessed it) isolation, this post concerns pickles. You see, pickles (well, at least the ones I usually see in the shops) are in a vacuum-sealed jar that, once opened, are best eaten within [insert_a_period_of_time_that_no-one_pays_attention_to]. If not eaten within this period, the pickles turn rancid, really asking to be thrown out—but then again, you don’t want to do that because “What a waste of pickles this is…

Are you with me? Okay…let me start again. Pickles. They are closed in a jar…and should only be opened if absolutely necessary. If the jar is opened too soon and without reason, all the pickles will turn rancid.

So, don’t be like Frank, or Bob, or whoever decided that opening the jar without a reason won’t make a difference: stay indoors.*


Remember Mitra?* It’s gone. Allow me to honour Mitra by showing him to you. Have a nice day.

*you should really start to read this blog from bottom-up if you don’t know what I am talking about.
**just in case you missed it: the words “showing him to you” is a link. <– but this case here, isn’t.
***check out the bird poop near the front tire. Yeah, fraking seagulls.