Happiness is…

…growing plants from Seeds in my own TINY APARTMENT KITCHENMicro greens in my tiny apartment kitchen "garden"
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Happiness is…

Digital De-cluttering: Newsletters

Have you noticed that every store asks you for your email address as a routine part of their in-store payment process?

They claim they’re doing it because they’re going green – saving paper, trees, the environment and the Earth.

I call BS on that. You know why? Because, a week later, you will find that you have a copy of their monthly printed catalogue sitting in your mailbox. And suddenly, their email newsletter starts showing up like clockwork every week too.

I used to spend a few minutes each morning to delete all newsletters from my email inbox. I thought nothing more of it. It was part of my routine for a couple years now.

Then, as I started to look at everything in our apartment with a critical eye, asking myself the questions – What purpose does this serve? And, do I really use it? – I instinctively turned the same critical eye on my email inbox. Continue reading “Digital De-cluttering: Newsletters”

Digital De-cluttering: Newsletters

Happiness is Home-baked Bread

I’ve been on a bread-baking kick lately, tossing out a loaf every day for the past week.

Flour, yeast, salt, water is all one needs to make a slim-n-trim baguette or a rustic boule loaf that can be hollowed out to make a bowl for French onion soup. So simple, so tasty and so much better than anything – even the premium bread – available at supermarkets, and for just a fraction of the price.

Flour, yeast, salt, water. What could be simpler? I suppose it is simpler to drive to the supermarket and buy a loaf of bread. But supermarket bread, even the more expensive, fancy loaves, don’t taste as good as a mediocre loaf of home-baked bread. Besides, Keith dotes on my home baked bread. He doesn’t mind one bit whether it was made the hard way with a starter and two rounds of kneading and two rounds of rising, or by one of the newer, no-knead breads that Jim Lahey of Sullivan St Bakery made so famous.  Continue reading “Happiness is Home-baked Bread”

Happiness is Home-baked Bread

Decisions, Decisions…Path after PhD

What do I do with my life after my PhD?

This is the question that keeps me up at night. I don’t know what the right path is.

Of course, it also means that I have options. I should be grateful. Keith didn’t have options when he joined his law firm at the peak of the recession in 2008 as a paralegal in a boutique law firm that specialised in intellectual property.

I could go the traditional route: become a post-doc for 2-3 years and keep my nose to the grindstone doing research, publishing papers and competing against tremendous odds for that tenure-track assistant professorship that will guarantee 7 more years (at the very least) of 17 hour days with few holidays in an attempt to get tenure.

I could join a big law firm as a technical specialist in their intellectual property department and eventually pass the patent bar to do the same job Keith does (and the same horrible hours) at a higher starting salary than what Keith makes 3.5 years in. Continue reading “Decisions, Decisions…Path after PhD”

Decisions, Decisions…Path after PhD

Happiness: Lessons from my Cats

I woke up before sunrise this morning. It was cool and there was a nice breeze so I opened all our windows wide to allow air to circulate through the apartment.

There we sat, I, sipping my tea and K, his coffee. The cats joined us, settling down on the window sill behind. Kaiserin’s eyes darted this way and that in excitement as she lusted after the birds on the other side of the screen beyond her reach. Fluff-ball Baxter sat with his front paws extended, face facing the cool air. He blinked slowly as the breeze blew into his face. I put my ear against his belly and heard the steady, low rumble of him purring.

How content the cats looked. How little it took to make them happy: a breeze, some birds, a place to sit, their people nearby. Sometimes I feel everything I need to know about leading a happy, contented life I can learn from my cats. Continue reading “Happiness: Lessons from my Cats”

Happiness: Lessons from my Cats