Houseplanting

Growing season is afoot! Nothing gets me out of my winter ennui like seeing new sprouts popping up. Last week, I went to IKEA and got some houseplants I don’t currently have, totally ignoring the fact that I have no space to put them. I made a conscious decision to Scarlett O’Hara that issue. And the solution that I came up with the following day was to leave them all with green-thumbed Dad. I will propagate from them when they’re bigger.
IKEA houseplants

Meanwhile, back at the shoebox, I stood in my living room and stared at my houseplants for a good 20 to 30 minutes just thinking about what I was going to propagate and which pot was going to hold what plant and where I was going to put everybody! I’m planning to propagate all my succulents that have grown leggy from lack of sunlight (even though they’re parked right in front of the window). One plant per container this time. I might rig up a hanging set up for the succulents so my window ledge can be filled with other plants. Everybody needs a piece of that light. You know it’s unbearably dark when even the all-tolerant spider plant starts to die unless it’s parked right in front of the window.

Besides the window being small, the duration of sunlight coming through that window is paltry. Yet the plants hang on. Or mostly. I’ve done in a few and some have come close to dying. One of the plants I got (parlor palm) at IKEA was one that I had previously killed. That’s another reason why Dad’s raising the four new pups. The other three are low-light tolerant – a couple of sansevierias and a bromeliad.

I’m now checking the daily weather for days some of them can go outside. As the days start to get warmer, I like to take some outside, at least for the day and then bring them back in at night. I do that when it starts to get colder in the fall too. Just trying to get them more light than the dim shoebox lets in. Even the low-light tolerant plants grow bigger and faster with more light. Tolerant is just that. They will survive but they won’t thrive.

Last week, I visited the Botanic Gardens.
US Botanic Gardens
My finger is there for scale to show the smallness of those orchid flowers.

The BG is currently featuring orchids because it’s orchid blooming season right now. I just stood in the greenhouse and pretended that’s my living room and that’s how I wake up daily, in leaf-filtered sunlight.
U.S. Botanic Gardens
A girl can dream.

Falafel Inc

Falafel Inc

In short, Max’s in Wheaton is still my favorite falafel place. But this place – Falafel Inc. is delicious.
It’s very simple and tasty and while the place is very small and the lines long, they are efficient.  Their falafels are flavorful and fresh and I’d easily go back.
Falafel sandwich
Their sandwiches are $4 each and salads are $5. Since they’re small, I’d recommend getting at least two of whatever you choose. I might even get three next time I go.

Woof

I think according to the Chinese calendar, the first day of Spring is the lunar new year.  That was a month ago.  It’s been feeling very cold lately though.  Windy.  Definitely not warm enough for the houseplants to go outside.  I’m glad the Daylight Savings Time is back though.  It’s so nice to see the sun still out at 7 pm.

I was/am giving up alcohol for Lent mostly because I haven’t been wanting it lately anyway.  Something easy. I had some whiskey with a friend two weekends after Lent started though.  I wanted to share the new bottle of Bowman Brothers whiskey I just got.  It’s Virginian-made, by a guy who made Buffalo Trace in the past. It has a vanilla fragrance. I like both, Bowman and Buffalo.

Modern Love

I have two friends at work who are currently active in the dating scene. We like to swap stories about dates and guys and the frustration, romance, and mysteriousness of it all. They recently shared with me a book they read by Aziz Ansari, Modern Love.

It’s funny, easy to read, and has some interesting social-behavioral information about how we mate. And he gives some tips. For example, use the online medium strictly as just the introduction. Get straight to the meeting ASAP. Too much writing back and forth is a waste of time and effort.

If you’re feeling burned out from all the dating, take a break. Cut back on the number of different dates.

Give people a second or maybe even third date even if there isn’t instant sparks/attraction. Attraction is actually built up over time. (But I’d add, if you have a gut instinct that this isn’t gonna work, trust that.)

From listening to my friends sussing out online communications here are some things they find to be off-putting (granted this is just two people – and I don’t necessarily agree with all of it)

  • When messaging someone, sure talk about yourself, but remember to ask a question or two as well to get a conversation going.  If all you do is introduce yourself and don’t ask questions, it’s hard to respond.
  • On a date, again, be sure to ask questions.  Sure, share about yourself, but let them share too.

Actually, reading this, it sounds rather common-sense.  I’d say this applies to general friend-making.  Anyway, throw all of the above out the window.  Just be yourself.

Regardless of how you feel about Ansari and his dating prowess, or lack of, Aziz is a funny writer.  Modern Love is easy to read and he cites some behavioral statistics and information that can be insightful about human nature.

For example, the reason why people delay texting back is to create a sense of scarcity.  People are more attracted to scarce things. So not texting back right away creates an illusion of scarcity.  Also random text delays work better.  We respond more positively to random rewards.  So this may all be well and dandy but then when he did a poll most folks prefer genuineness.  That kind of manipulation in timing texts can come across as insincere/insecure.

Ramen Side-by-Side

Last year, I went with my friend to Hanabi and I can only describe her reaction as thoroughly disappointed.  She said I had to try the vegetable ramen at Daikaya. She said it would knock my socks off.

We finally went to Daikaya a few weeks ago and I don’t know if it’s because of the monster appetite I’d worked up earlier from the gym (See?  I DO use my leggings!!  What’s another piddley lil pair of Girlfriend Collective leggings?), but that bowl of ramen knocked my socks clear off.
Here is a picture of it for your viewing pleasure. Well, really for mine because I relive the moment of slurping the rich hot soup.
Untitled

I think I know why she likes it better. Daikaya stir fries their vegetables in a searing hot wok to give it a greasy smokey flavor. The soup is really rich too.

The following week, I went back to Hanabi to give it another go. It’s still as oishi as I remembered. Their soup isn’t as greasy and the vegetables are cooked in hot water so they’re blander.
Vegetable Ramen from Hanabi
Of the two, I think I slightly prefer Hanabi.

One of my biggest gripes about ramen (eating out in general) is everything is too dang salty. What is wrong with the chefs in this town? They burn their tastebuds off or something? They add more and more salt!! Hanabi’s ramen is still salty but the salt and grease is much less overpowering. Yes, salt and grease = big flavor but I’d still like to taste the vegetables and ingredients.

Overall I’d eat at either place anytime.

So about that last pair of leggings

My supposedly last-pair-of-leggings arrived last week.  I tried them on and saw right through to my underpants.  Folded them back in the bag, sealed them up and sent them back.

Unfortunately, regardless of the price, reputation of the brand, or country of origin, translucency is a common issue with leggings. I think I’m done with leggings for a while now.

Haircut

I donated my hair last year. Here’s what I thought about it before and after.

Short hair

Before:

    • Donating hair is great and for a good cause. I should do it while I can (as in before my hair turns gray.)
    • It’s easy. I only need to find a participating hair salon that will cut it and send it en masse with other peoples’ donated tresses.
    • Not sure how I feel about short hair. I always have it long enough to tie back at least.
    • I will do this again and again!

After:

  • Donating hair is meh, whatevers. They’ll probably just chuck it anyway (I’ve read that it happens a lot.)
  • It’s a pain in the ass I have to mail in my hair. No salons participate because bullet above.
  • Not being able to tie it up is a minor inconvenience and it’s more effort to tame the bedhead. Other than that I LOVE SHORT HAIR! I feel more stylish.
  • I am undecided about doing this again.  Leaning probably not.

Stretch Goals

I didn’t really set out to have a 2018 resolution, I sort of settled into it.
I got bronchitis two times within the course of three weeks in late December-early January. Just as I was getting over the first run and slowly easing back to the gym, I got knocked down by the second round. That time, I decided to give myself more time to recover and spent a lot of time on the couch watching YouTube and TV shows. I am good at convalescing. Anyway, as I started feeling better, I also got more restless and started just doing easy stretches while watching TV. It felt really good so I’m going to keep doing it. So that’s the “resolution” if it is one at all. Stretch and foam roll more regularly because it feels good. Oh and no more leggings!