Sunday, October 20, 2013

Conquering Lateness

In true Kelster-fashion, I was almost late posting a blog post about conquering lateness. I originally started this on September 30 but then I don't know what happened. I know it was a crazy week due to the events of September 30th but still...

Yesterday I looked at my to-do list and sighed. There were five major items on the list and all five needed to be completed by 11:59 pm today. Also, each item would take a significant amount of time. I often tell myself that I work best under pressure. Do I really? Or is it that I always wait until the last minute to do things so I only ever experience working under pressure? I think it is the latter. In fact, I am sure. Leaving things to the last minute means that I run the risk of being late and additionally, other items get pushed to the back burner while I hurriedly try to put out the current fire(s).

This is where I paused this post and ran out to donate blood. I planned to give blood then head home to work on my list. What instead happened was a lesson in not procrastinating and trying to actively stop being late to start on projects. I should note that I am never late to an event or meeting. I am the girl who shows up 10 - 15 minutes before. But when it comes to other things? Sigh. But let's continue with the story of this Monday that changed my blog post a bit. 

 I actively try to be extra hydrated on days that I know that I will donate blood. I've been dehydrated before and that just makes the process longer and the phlebotomist must spend a great deal of time trying to coax my blood out. When I got to the blood mobile, there were three persons ahead of me. It occurred to me that I should probably use the bathroom before I donated but I figured that I could wait since there were only three persons ahead of me. One girl's iron was too low so we were down to two persons. I could wait.


For some reason, everything seemed to be moving much slower. The screenings were taking longer. And while I thought there was only one person actively donating, that process seemed to be taking much longer than normal. It occurred to me again that I should probably go to the bathroom. Nah, I can wait.

Finally, after 40 minutes, it was my turn to be screened. That went quickly and I was ushered to a bed. But again, I had to wait. Finally, an hour after arriving at the mobile, I was finally hooked up and my donation had started.  Luckily, that extra hydration had paid off so the donation was going quickly. But unluckily, now I really needed to use the bathroom. This would not be good. After my donation was complete, it seemed that the phlebotomist took a very long time to attend to me. Granted, I am supposed to lie there for a few minutes anyway but I really needed to go. I felt fine, no dizziness, so I left the bloodmobile as quickly as I could and found the nearest bathroom. I still felt OK.

A few minutes after leaving the bathroom, I felt slightly dizzy. Hmm. I ate one of the cookies I had grabbed on my way out of the bloodmobile and sat down. I didn't feel that slight dizziness anymore so I headed on my way. All was well as I walked towards the crosswalk for a busy road and pushed the button. And then things started to go black.


 I stepped away from the crosswalk and started to head back. I made it a few feet to a palm tree and realised that I could not go any further. I leaned against the palm tree and implored my body not to faint. It didn't listen and I slid to the ground as everything went black around me. I don't think I was out for very long.  And I apparently didn't look distressed since people walked by me and no one seemed concerned. (Remind me one day to talk about the psychological effect called the bystander effect. Classic bystander effect here.)
The sky as I walked home last Sunday evening. Beautiful.

As I sat there, I thought about the to-do list. I cursed myself for procrastinating. I wondered if I would be able to get things done. By now, I estimated that it was around 5:30 leaving me with 6 hours and 29 minutes to do five major things while feeling like crap.

I sat there in the grass by that palm tree for an hour and a half unable to move. I thought of calling someone to come get me but there were two things working against me: 1) I honestly could not move. If I lifted my head up, things would immediately start going black again so there was no way I would risk standing up even if someone was going to support me. And 2) my cell phone was now dead. Because, of course.

I finally made it home around 6:30, crawled into bed with my laptop and tried to get as much done without lifting my head too high. It was a rough night. I was too weak to go downstairs to make dinner or even get anything so I relied on the snacks that I had gotten from the bloodmobile. And this is why at 6 am on the first day of October Unprocessed, I ate packaged cookies. I was starving and afraid to get out of bed so cookies had to suffice until I felt OK to get out of bed.

I got all the items on my to-do list done but that incident really set the tone for my week as I had to take it easy until I felt like myself again. I vowed to make some changes to help me stay on track, avoid procrastinating and hence avoid being late. That way, in case of another emergency like this, I wouldn't be completely thrown off.

I LOVE the remind function on Google Now. For this task, I simply told it to remind me to get yogurt when I got to Publix using the voice function. It automatically pulled up the address of the Publix closest to me. When I eventually went to Publix days later, I was pleasantly surprised with a reminder. 

One major change is to use apps more. It's so easy to use Google Now to set reminders. Additionally, I use to schedule daily tasks. Sometimes I add the simplest tasks - Wash Dishes - just to try to keep myself on track. Additionally, will automatically ask after a missed call if you want to set a reminder to call that person back. LOVE it. That has been truly invaluable.

This is a screenshot of my current list on As I complete tasks, I can cross them off. I can also set the individual time-specific reminders for each task and snooze etc, if necessary. There are also tasks that recur everyday. I need to go do dishes. Ha.

I've still been late with things (see: this blog post, almost) but I'm getting there. Slowly. How do you conquer lateness? How do do you stay on track?

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post in exchange for an entry into the Conquering Lateness Sweepstakes. BlogHer through Citibank is sponsoring this. Citi has a great card called Citi Simplicty that has no late fees, no annual fees and no penalty fees.   I would have told that fainting story and mentioned my love for Google Now and regardless of this Sweepstakes. Eventually. 

Sourdough Surprises October: Coconut Rum & Raisin Loaf

For the first three years of high school in Jamaica  (equivalent to grades 6 - 8), we are required to take a Food & Nutrition class. You can imagine the mishaps and hilarity that ensued with approximately several 10 to 13 year-olds in a kitchen. Honestly, I don't remember any major mistakes on my part (memory loss?), I left that to the kitchen at home (burnt candy and melted spoons anyone?) One memory that stands out is my friend using salt instead of sugar to make a drink. Yeah, that was as delicious as you might expect.

 I also remember making a quiche - that was interesting since at the time, I didn't like eggs. But I think I ate my quiche with the knowledge that quiche would never pass my lips ever again. I've gone back on that a few times now. Ha. There was the time our teacher instructed us to create a menu that was high in iron. I made liver and onions. I do not like liver. Do you see a pattern here? Always making something that I don't like?

Coconut Rock Buns. Source

There was one item that I did like though. No. LOVE. Rock buns. Rock buns are a small cake so named because the scraggly top looks similar to a rock. They are filled with raisins and often coconut. My mind has been on home a lot lately so when I saw that the challenge for this month's Sourdough Surprises was quick bread/muffins, I knew that I would make something that reminded me of home. Rock buns in loaf form was an easy decision. Soaking my raisins in rum was just the next logical step.

I think that perhaps I was channeling a bit too much of F&N classes as for some reason, I just kept accidentally adding too much butter to a ginger coconut streusel that I had intended to top my loaf with. So essentially, it became a (delicious) paste rather than a streusel. After batch after batch of failed streusel, I decided that I would make the loaf without it and then add a ginger glaze. Then I'd take a breath, get the streusel right and then make a second loaf with a streusel.

Right as I was about to put the loaf in the oven, I thought I'd top the loaf with a batch of non-streusel streusel anyway. Couldn't hurt and I didn't want to waste ingredients. Let me just say - BEST DECISION EVER! Brown Sugar + Coconut + Ginger + Heat = Caramelized Happiness. (Pretty much any equation that includes food equals happiness.) It tasted like I had topped my loaf with little bits of one of my most favourite Jamaican treats -  drops (I'll share that some day).

I wanted to make a second loaf IMMEDIATELY. But alas, I was out of eggs and soaked raisins.  If I didn't know the calorie count of this loaf, I honestly would make it every week. The morning that I made it, I blew through my daily calorie goal long before lunchtime. I loved it that much. I hope you do! Note, I'm not including the non-streusel streusel ingredients, but if you want that additional bliss or the perfected streusel, just leave a comment.

Coconut Rum & Raisin Loaf


1 cup raisins
1/2 cup rum
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeng
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (coconut milk would be extra delicious; I even made a batch with eggnog!)
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup 166% sourdough starter, unfed
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut


Soak the raisins in the rum overnight. Shake the container from time to time to ensure that all the raisins get their share of rum.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease and flour the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9"
In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk eggs, milk, oil, starter, brown sugar and vanilla.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and then gently stir in the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Count to ten then stop. It will be lumpy and there may be streaks of flour.

Gently fold in coconut and raisins. Count to 3 and then stop. Note, you can drain the raisins before folding them in or add them along with that very delicious rum.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick is clean.

Allow to cool completely before slicing.