domenica 17 dicembre 2017

{Last year} A Walk in The Woods

December 17, 2016. 
Sunday walk on my hills, the one I've know for all my life, with my new found friend C. 
We met through her dating of my very good high school friend and just like that we discovered so many things in common
Isn't it weird how friendship works? It can come from long times spent together or more surprisingly from coordination of thoughts and balance of attitude. Hard to find. Gift to treasure. 

I'm pretty sure that wasn't her really first impression of me, as I'm told, I defended him against her on the very first day we met . I have no recollection of this whatsoever.
But I must have recovered somehow because I really consider her a true friend.



giovedì 14 dicembre 2017

Meal in the Mail

Scrolling Facebook I often see sponsored posts that in fact interest me. Power of algorithms, I guess!
One of those was the meal in the mail service that many companies provide.  
I've never went forward though and actually ordered those until I receive a 40% discount in the mail.
I mean 40%! I had to try it.

My first one was Hello Fresh.

The process is pretty straight forward, you go on the website, you pick your recipes, you get your box at home/office/wherever.

It seems like a perfect plan! 
You get the exact ingredients for the recipe you picked, you get the step by step guide to the recipe, they all take 30 to 40 minutes to prepare and cook, you save time not going to the groceries store, you save ingredients having the exact quantities you need.

Here's the think though. You don't save the environment. Not at all.

First of all, for them to be able to send you meat and other goods they need to pack it nicely. 
A lot of ice (in plastic) and a lot of wool and a lot of cartons, that you just have to throw away.


Second of all, because the ingredients are in the exact amount, they pack every single ingredient for that exact recipe: this means, for example, a plastic bag for 80 gr of rice, another one for another 70 gr, 2 basil leaves in another bag, 15 gr of cumin in another bag and so on.
It's like a huge plane meal tray with single serving of everything in it.


It's also supposed to not make you waste food because the ingredients are in the exact amount, but the very high possibility is that you won't like some of the ingredients of the recipe and you just won't use it. You could have saved it all together.

The trash can was full by the end of the night and we only had one meal. 
I really don't think it's worth it. 

I take a lot of planes and I ride my car to work, so who I am to blame others. 
But some things are avoidable. (check this out)
One of them being a plastic wrap to cover single clove of garlic.

lunedì 4 dicembre 2017

What I've Learned This Week | Ten | December

one. It's Christmas tiiimeeeeeeeee!
I'm fairly excited.I really want to try and don't let stupid things bring me down like reading comments on social media, ah!
Main reason to be excited: going home in a couple of weeks to family, friends and days off.

two. I really don't see how you can NOT be excited about this time of year, and I'm really suprised when I find my self trying to explain it because it's so obvious to me....but I have had to , in many conversations.Supposedly, the main reason why people don't like it, it's because it's "'forced". Beu Honestly, I don't feel forced to be happy, I feel like I'm very glad to have yet another  reason to be happy. I understand it could be a fine line, but I choose to pick the better interpretation, ah.

three.This next week it's starting to look a lot like holiday season, which means trying to eat very little food whenever possible to prepare your body to great dinners. This week only I have three!
And one pretty awesome concert!

four.I can't wait to have a wall where I can hang things. Just sayin'.

five.This past Sunday was the first Advent Sunday. 

The Gospel Read:

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’"

from the comment of Padre Lorenzo, Italian Catholic Mission in England:

What does it mean to watch? Vigilating means being constantly alert, awake. On hold. 
It means living in a service attitude. It implies struggle, effort, renunciation.
It is certainly not disengagement or indifference. In other words, it means directing our attention to what is really important. 
Have ears to listen and eyes to see
Faith is attention, and surprise, it was tension. 
It is above all joyful certainty of being followed with love by a God who moves first and never abandon us.

Faith to what God exactly, you can pick freely. But this is the time to try to learn to be awake.

mercoledì 29 novembre 2017

Manchester Lately

It's been a while since I've written, those are long days, and weeks!
So many things going on, I have to wrap my head around it.
I also wanted to tell things chronologically here but I haven't had the time or better the inclination to work on the pictures from our latest trip .
I'm having many difficulties with the Apple method of storing pictures and even the easiest task takes me a long time and many nervous breakdowns.

It's been cold! It never gets many degrees below zero, but some mornings i find ice on the windows of the car. It's winter and sunny and cool and brisk. Finally!

Sunday I finally went to Mass . Once a month there is a Mass in Italian in this little Church downtown called the Hidden Gem , for good reason!
After Mass I stopped for coffee with a young couple I already know and a family of four. It was good. It just felt good, and connecting and normal and peaceful after a rough and emotional couple of days.

There is one music shop very close to where we live ; they sell vinyls and used CD and coffee and tea and guitars, very peculiar, especially in our block.

I saw a CD from the Ocean Colour Scene and I had to buy it.
It's been so nice to listen to the group lately: it brought back memories from the old days but warmth with words and pronunciation that are now familiar.
My favourite: The Day We Caught The Train.

Talking about music and old days, I really felt like I missed something not going to see one of my favourite bands when I was a baby that came here in Manchester, so when Hanson published their tour I really couldn't resist and bought 2 tickets for the Sunday night concert. MMMMpop!

Brexit talks are going on and on and things are still very unknown.Manchester is still, however, very on the labour side. So it's easy to spot graffiti like this.

Whenever I randomly find something from home I have to buy it! It was nice seeing it there and they definatly tasted better :)

Yesterday it was my last Chinese lesson, for this year. 
The teacher was one of my best teacher I've ever had. She always  knew the how to respond to our ( my) questions and never reply with a non conclusive answer.
She is Chinese, engaged to a Polish boy, going back to China for a bit now and than moving to Norway. How crazy I got to meet her? 
How crazy is it that for 4 months you spend 3 hours a week one to one with a person almost one to one, and then all of a sudden you know you most probably  never going to meet again? 
Or maybe some day I'll move to Norway and take her class again :)

giovedì 16 novembre 2017

What I've Learned This Week |Nine|

one.Day light saving is a blast. Right? Right? I have to convince myself. Because seriously, nightlike sky at 4,30 pm,  not sure I’ll get used to it.

two.Sometimes I read or hear about cultures special days or celebrations, and I really want to make them mine. Thanksgiving? Giving thanks is the first solution to happiness proposed in every book. Yom Kippor? The day of atonement. Never heard of it before a podcast I listen too and It sounds like such a good idea. I want to dig more and see what interests me.

three.I don’t like to shop. I really really dislike the whole trying clothes on in a fitting room. This could be one of the reasons why I only own one block dress that I wear for all formal occasion…and that I left in Italy. So yet again, this Saturday my quest is : find a dress. Black. Long. Elegant. And possibly cheap. Ah!

four. I’m pretty sure my English is improving , but I don’t always realise it because most of the time I understand all the words I hear/read. But this one was the surprise of the week
Thwarted : disappointingly unsuccessful; "My plans were thwarted (mandati all’aria)"

five. I read and Listen to Gretchen Rubin every week, and this past Monday she read a passage form one of my favourite books: “Charlotte’s web”. I really want to gift it to all of my niece and nephews to read it , but I also really don’t want to gift them a book where a “Charlotte” dies. Anyways, I digress! She read a passage of the book that made her think about the fact that  - sometimes in the midst of a very ordinary day, we’re reminded of our most transcendent values, and we’re given the opportunity to live up to those values, if we choose.

What would I do if I choose to live up to my values at every given opportunity?

domenica 12 novembre 2017

I Can Learn To Be Human Too

Random night out in the Northern Quarter.
Matt and Phred's, beer and swing.
Sounds good to me.


giovedì 9 novembre 2017

The 1% Rule

Many years ago at my first job, I heard one of the bosses say “We do 80% of the work in 20% of the time and it takes us 80% of the time to finish the 20% of the work”.

I have thought about that phrase ever since. 

It pops up in my mind so easily when I casually tell my boss that “the file it’s done, it only needs retouching.” and then it seems like it’s never finished. When I meal prep for an army and I can never finish cleaning up afterwards. That should be the 20% of the work! but it definitely needs more effort on my part.

The Italian economist and philosopher ( how cool of a guy must he have been) Vilfredo Pareto was the first one noticing this pattern that has been the basic for every statistic class ever since .

This rule is THE rule. The rule for life.

It applies to everything in the world : from world economics to soccer to nature.

8.4 percent of the world population controls 83.3 percent of the world's wealth. and out of 77 competing , just 3 countries- Italy, Brasil and Germany- have won 13 out of 20 soccer World Cup.

(Italy has many other examples of excellences that perfectly describe this principle but let’s keep it on the good. )

In the Amazon forest there are 16,000 species of trees, 200 of which cover half of the forest. 

How this 1.25 % of species achieve to cover 50% of the forest ?

One plant was slightly taller than the other and for the day it got more light and more water. The day after it has grown at a faster pace and will get even more light and more water and so on until that slightly edge at the beginning gave the plant to possibility now to shadow over his economics this is called the accumulative advantage.

Very small difference in performance will make a big difference in results if repeated over time: the 1% rule, i.e the heart of the Pareto Principle.

I know for a fact that if I try to change my behaviour completely I won’t be able to stick the change because humanly we’re against change and our body/mind will always tend to oppose it.

But what would happen if you change just 1% and keep changing it for a reasonable length of time?

If you aggregate marginal gains constantly for the next year where would that get you?

I work 8 hours a day. 1% of which is 5 minutes. If I improve just a little tiny 1% a week, that gets me to 25 minutes of productivity that I’ve gain. It’s a whole file. A long email. Even a meeting!

I’ve been listening to the same groups and singer since I was 14 years old. I can count them on my fingers. Of one hand. 

1% of all the music ever written it’s a lot of music. It would mean to tenfold a hundred times what I listen to.

On the rowing machine I did the 500 meter sprint in 1 minute 47 seconds. Then I started not doing them “this time” at the gym because I wasn’t rowing on the water for the winter. It’s 1 time , right? Out of all the times I did them! Then “ this other time” I didn’t do the sprint because I was tired from doing other things. Then “this time” and didn’t even sat on the rower. It now takes almost 2 minute to row 500 m.

Because , what you going to do?, the rule works both ways!

If I took just 1% more of the domestic tasks I share with the h , we would be even in 72 days. 

It want have an impact on the daily life, it’s just a tiny little difference.

But what would happen overall?

What if I improved 1% everyday on everything I do?

(random bits of Manchester lately)