New Tips Group - Be a Kid

The difference between being childish and being childlike is not at all subtle.

CHILDISH - throw a tantrum, blame others for your faults, play stupid and harmful tricks on people, turn people into playthings (in so many different ways, both decent and indecent)

CHILDLIKE - want to learn new things (not new things about people to the point that you end up gossiping), be happy with the smallest things, TRUST

The last is not something that you can learn from this blog, and neither is it something that you can learn in a day or two. It's something that you will have to learn on your own, and it can take years to work out.

As for this blog, it's just meant to help you find ways to feel like a kid again.

And with that, I welcome you to a new category! The Feel Like a Kid Again tips are meant to re-introduce you to your childhood favorites, from Play-Doh to Lego. Ever wonder why kids can spend an entire afternoon just sitting down and playing with clay, while you're seething at your computer and hoping to escape?

Let's not go psychological over this. You probably get the picture by now.

So hey, don't be afraid to be a kid! Watch this blog for more posts on how you can have fun for a few hours as you relive your childhood days with your old friends, furry or mechanical.

Peanut Butter Tastes Better When Microwaved

Now you know what I do in my spare time. *evil cackle*

No, I don't stuff my microwave with anything in sight and hit the START button. But I do speculate on what happens to edible stuff in the microwave - edible microwaveable stuff, mind you. Not dried out stuff that would most likely turn my dorm into a lightning show gone wrong.

Hence, the peanut butter.

Now don't go nuts (no pun intended) and start navigating your pointer toward that X in the corner. Hear me out: try warm peanut butter and see how it tastes. All you need are bread, a microwave oven, a microwave oven-safe dish, and as much peanut butter as you want (or as is humanly possible to eat in one sitting without getting a heart attack).

Step 1: Place peanut butter in microwave oven-safe dish.

Step 2: If you want your bread to go all moist and smooshy, put it on the side of the peanut butter.

Step 3: Place microwave oven-safe dish with bread and peanut butter into microwave oven. Shut the door.

Step 4: Microwave for a minute.

Step 4.5: Step away from the microwave as microwave process occurs.

Step 5: Carefully take the dish out. Note the consistency of the peanut butter. Smooth, innit? Now, dip the bread in the melted peanut butter, and eat slowly (not to mention carefully, as bread and peanut butter will be hot).

This recipe works for smooth and creamy peanut butter, so I don't know how the chunky ones will fare. I've tried this with two slices of bread separating my dollop of peanut butter from my spoonful of grape jam. The grape jam melted into juice, but, mixed in with the melted peanut butter, it was pretty darn good.

CAUTION: If you do not know how to use a microwave oven, please ask a grown-up to help you out.

Journal Keeping, TIP #1

I know, I know, this sounds like one of those Oprah things where you have to stare off into space and ruminate on the world while chewing on the cud of your troubles.

It's slightly like that, except that you don't have to stare off into space, and you can actually chew on something edible and nice while journalling.

I am now filing a whole host of journal keeping tips and ideas, so stay tuned!

Your first tip, grad student, chained office worker, person generally alienated from the world, is to discard all your negative notions about journal keeping. If you can, read this list aloud to yourself.

First, journal keeping is not about being weepy and telling your notebook how unlucky you are, and what a martyred mortal you are for being in such a quagmire/rut/mess.

Second, you don't have to write every single day. You don't even have to KNOW how to write well. Who's checking, anyhow?

Third, you set your time for writing in your journal. You don't have to do it when you get up in the morning, or while your experiment is running, or before you go to bed. Write when you want to.

Fourth, you don't need to just write; you can put in memorabilia from your walks or your travels, like those dried autumn leaves, that nice piece of squirrel tail, or that ballpen you stole from your crush in class. Ok, maybe not the squirrel tail.

Fifth, if you run out of ideas, you can always check back here. No kidding. I have verbal diarrhea when it comes to giving writing advice.

So - watch out for more journaling tips!

Hot Chocolate can be HOT!

If you like minty hot chocolate, then start stocking up on dark hot chocolate and those candy canes that you never got to dig into last Christmas.

Here's a tip for a little breather on those early mornings if you're studying; or on those cold mornings when you get up and feel like you have to drag yourself out the door.

Step 1. Take a sachet of your favorite hot chocolate. I personally recommend Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate, or Swiss Miss Rich Chocolate.

Step 2. Follow steps on packet. So, either empty your hot chocolate into a mug and pour hot water in; or boil some water in the microwave for two minutes and stir the hot chocolate in.

Step 3: Break away a bit of peppermint candy cane and drop it into the hot chocolate. Crumble it if you want to have bits and pieces still floating about; or just drop the entire thing and stir the hot chocolate until the candy cane is gone.

Step 4: Drink. Slowly.

The tendency of most people is to drink hot chocolate down and slurp it in like there's no tomorrow, and simply because they "have more important things to do." Hey, look, there are very few things that you can truly enjoy in life, so set this up properly. Take that hot chocolate with you and do one (or more) with the following, depending on how big your mug is.

Scene 1: Sit by your window and watch the world go by, sipping hot chocolate every few minutes and feeling the mint mixing in with the dark chocolate.

Scene 2: On that note, pretend you're a hot chocolate connoisseur and comment ALOUD on how the mint contrasts with the bitterness of chocolate. Taste the drink on all parts of your tongue and talk about it like Robin Leach would if he were introducing minty hot chocolate to his Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous audience. Feel free to try out his accent.

*CAUTION: Do not attempt this if you are in the company of other people, unless you all agree to be connoisseurs for the day (or hour, depending on how big your mugs are)

Scene 3: Just sit back, stay away from your work, and drink hot chocolate slowly while imagining yourself elsewhere.

Let your imagination take you places! Your hot chocolate can be HOT!

Here's to Insanity - the Only Way Back to Not Being Crazy

Dear World,

I am a graduate student. I have the workload of a workhorse. And I have the sanity of -

I do not have any sanity.

However, I have not lost hope. There are a few things in life that come free for those looking for a quick fix-my-head-up fix. There are ways to stay sane, and sometimes, all you need is a little know-how.

So this blog goes out to all of you, who are chained to your office desks, to your study desks, to your houses, to your jobs and your work and your books and your studies. This blog goes out to everyone who wants to be sane by being insane once in a while.

Let's get our sanity back!

NOTE: Do link back to me, and do post comments! If you have questions and suggestions on little ways that people can keep their sanity and stay happy, do post your comments! Welcome to the blog!


New Tips Group - Share it With Friends

Share anything with your friends whenever you can: recipes, love stories, heartbreak stories, this blog...

I have a new tips group, this time devoted to stuff that you and your friends can do when you are hanging out. And no, this will not involve body shots, binge drinking, drag racing, or taking drugs. My techniques are wholesome, thank you very much; they're ridiculous, too, so you're welcome.

My first tip: don't be afraid to be ridiculous.

I don't mean wrapping your heads in stockings and hanging out at the local cafe while constantly checking your briefcases, or suddenly jumping onto your table at the restaurant and reciting to all and sundry the Declaration of Independence - backwards.

I mean conversations, topics, subjects of discussion, and new schools of thought (or castles in the sky) that you can build while you sip your coffee or chew on your burgers.

Don't be afraid to laugh. In a world like ours, we need smiles and happiness. Badly.