To Coffee, my dearly beloved

I don’t remember a time when drinking coffee was not part of my daily life. My grandmother got me into the habit when I was three. Lots of creamer. Picture warm milk with a few drops of coffee for color. I was persistent and my grandparents were indulgent to their—at the time – only grandchild.

My father introduced me to Starbucks when I was 12. He only let me order coffee-free Frappuccinos, but that was all I needed to make Starbucks my place. I even worked there for a year and a half. I absorbed all kinds of obscure facts Starbucks coffee and coffee in general. For example, coffee beans are the pit of a specific cherry. I loved working there. I might still work there if they paid a living wage, but that’s a different post for a different day.

As time in my home alone draws on, I started searching for physical things to do to ground myself in the present. Enter my beloved coffee to provide support, per usual. I turned making coffee every day into a routine.

First, I pick out a coffee mug. I have an extensive collection now. The result of years of both a lifelong love of coffee and a hellish commute where my only solace was coffee in a beautiful mug. I have small and large ones. Cute and snarky ones. I vary them depending on my attitude. The one that gets the most use is a huge mug that says, “I’m silently judging you.” It was a gift from my baby sister.

Next, I pick out a coffee blend. This is where I take a detour into sustainability for a moment. I have a Keurig. Those Keurig K-Cups make more plastic waste than I am comfortable with. I have two ways to address it.

My new favorite coffee company Cameron’s makes plastic-free K-Cups. They’re called eco-pods. I am looking their Winter Blend right now, but I have tried all the flavors. They are all good.

I also purchased a reusable K-Cup to use, so I can brew Starbucks coffee at home. Just a note, if you buy this type of K-Cup, you must buy your beans whole and have them ground because standard ground coffee in a bag is too coarse. Learned that lesson the hard way. Starbucks will do this for you at any location if it’s their coffee. They’re Holiday Blend is delicious. Drink it black delicious.

The last part is the hardest, but it’s the best. Be still. Just enjoy the moment. The smell of fresh brewing coffee is top five smells in life.

Breathe deep. Stretch. Sip. Enjoy.

Thoughts on the Global Pandemic: Routines

I have been working from home for eight months now. I’ve developed some routines to help me as I adjust to my new normal. Ugh, I can’t believe I just typed that phrase. Oh well, here we go:

My apartment is so dark! Since daylight savings time has ended and the sun goes down at 5:00 p.m. I have noticed that I need a lot more light in my office. I ordered some new lamps.

This is something I probably should have been doing anyway, but now I’m at home and have no reason to feel self-conscious. I try to take a stretch break every two hours. This is also a good time to take a bathroom break or refill my water bottle. Take a moment to check in with my body.

This may need to be its own post. Yes, it does. But for now, I will say that I consider making – not just drinking – coffee part of my self-care routine. Cameron’s Winter Blend is my current favorite. The only possible way to have a good day is to start with coffee.

I have so much energy because I don’t spend almost three hours a day commuting. (See previous post.) I plan meals and I cook meals. I can experiment with recipes and flavors. My body loves the act. It helps me decompress and serves as a transition from work to not work. It’s like I get to make little gifts for myself.

Now, I have time to squeeze fresh grapefruit juice in the morning. #NoMoreCommutingEver

I contemplated leaving this one out, but it’s my website. I am a cerebral person. Sometimes, I get lost in my head and hyper focus on work tasks. Taking a break from staring a two big screens and working to stare at a small screen and not work isn’t helpful to me. So, I pick a small chore each day and take a break to do it. Today, I cleaned the tub.

I expect to continue to learn more about myself and make more adjustments as time goes on because all signs point to an eminent second shelter in place order.

Yours in hope and solitude, D. A.

Thought on the Global Pandemic: Working from Home

I was recently given permission to work from home permanently. SO HAPPY. SO GRATEFUL.

My commute was hellish. It was such a struggle just to get to work; once I arrived, I was already tired and grouchy. Now, I have a whole new morning routine formed by what makes me feel good and prepared. I’m going to do a later post about that. I thought I would love everything about working from home. To my own shock and surprise, there are a few things about working from the office that I miss.

  1. My work chair: I never thought once about how different my work chair is from any of the chairs in my home. It was designed specifically to help me sit in it and work all day. The first couple of months I was home I did not have one and my body noticed the difference. I took a trip to my favorite store, Office Depot, and bought a new. My lower back is grateful.
  2. My desk: I had so much space to stack things. My cubicle walls were made of something that allowed me to hang things. I had risers and several drawers. I miss them so.
  3. My work family: there were a couple people in my office that I enjoyed chatting with and although we still chat via Teams and phone calls, it’s not really the same as coffee in the break room. My introvert nature is so grateful for the silence, but I have made it a point to reach to my work friends. I miss them.
A collage of Facebook posts describing several terrible commuting experiences.
For your viewing pleasure, a collection of my Facebook posts bemoaning my hellish commute.

I am hyperaware that working from home is a privilege. It’s one I am grateful to have. I will continue to adjust and keep posting as I learn. Maybe one day, I’ll be back out in an office and back to complaining about the state of the office fridge.

Yours in hope and solitude, D. A. Aset.

Thoughts on the Global Pandemic: Election Day

This election coverage is no good for my mental health. I voted weeks ago by mail as I always do. Since I will not spend the day voting (because it takes hours in some parts of the country); I am making a plan for how I will be spending my day.

It’s confirmed. My ballot was accepted and submitted. Civic duty done.

I’ve decided to stay off the internet. I have the privilege of taking the day off and not working, so I won’t be required to be a functional human being that day. My plan is to spend the day drinking mimosas and watching One on One on Netflix. It was my favorite show when it was airing. I’ve been saving re-watching it for this specific purpose. I’m hoping the nostalgia will be all-consuming enough that I don’t even notice the world outside my bubble.

I am making my favorite dish, lo mein, for myself and my mother.

I pray for all of our safety, no matter the election’s outcome.

Yours in hope and solitude.

November is Native American Heritage Month

I am doing my best to be a better ally. I have to remind myself that my own marginalizations do not exempt me from perpetuating harm.

I wrote this on Indigenous Peoples Day in October and I want to keep that same energy throughout Native American Heritage Month.

My goal is to find at least two Indigenous people or organizations to support. I’ll update with my choices at the end of the month.

Until then, here’s a Vice article a friend of mine posted to Twitter about how to be an ally to Native and Indigenous people.

Introducing Aset Editorial Services Part II

Presentation Review

I worked in non-profit communications and management for three years while employed by the Howard University NASA Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation. The work was incredibly fulfilling. Our grant program recruited and funded students from underserved communities who were pursuing degrees in fields related to NASA. I learned to translate their exclusive science jargon into plain language for a broader audience. This is especially important in the context where the audience’s ability to understand a person’s research and it’s importance affects support and funding.

My favorite of my responsibilities was assisting the students and researchers with preparing their research presentations. A few times each year, our oversight committee would visit our site or our team members would travel to conferences to present research updates.

Five problems consistently emerged:

  • Crowding: too many words and/or images on a slide
  • Timing: focusing on some slides, rushing through others
  • Contrasting: slides do not appear well on screen
  • Imaging: photos or chart poorly placed
  • Glaring: poor quality images

I can help you make the best presentations possible. I will review your content and rework it, if necessary, to improve visibility, as well as format the presentation so that the information is as easy to visually digest as possible.

Thoughts on the Global Pandemic: Comfort

Six months under the ever-present gloom of a pandemic and I am finally learning some new ways to enjoy life safely. 

I am self-isolating alone. That’s not always ideal. Even I, a devoted introvert who committed to this at home lifestyle long before COVID-19, get lonely and miss other people. I made a list of all the things that bring me comfort and joy during these trying times. I wanted to use this moment to get creative with my work environment since it’s my home and I am in control. 

Wearing slippers not shoes: I despise shoes, but I also despise cold feet. I have an extensive selection of cute slippers and fuzzy socks that I get to wear and show off (on FaceTime and Zoom) all the time. No shoes ever anymore.

Warm beverages: *Sheldon Cooper voice* My Keurig is my favorite appliance hands down. I love using it to make coffee, lattes, apple cider, ginger tea, green tea, etc. I have ton of just add water mixes. I also make some from scratch. Now, the weather is cooling. It’s the best.

Mood music: I love to play music while I work. It has to be music without words. My go to options are smooth jazz and classical. I have Apple Music stations that ever just perfect ambient noise. Another option are the scores to my favorite movies. I am currently obsessed with the soundtrack of The Photograph. And I highly recommend the film, if you haven’t seen it. Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield are just *chef’s kiss*.

Writing: Doing this. I haven’t had the energy or mental bandwidth to write in years. The archives of this blog are a testament to that. But now that I don’t spend three hours each day lugging myself to and from my job, I have more time and energy. I get to spent it doing a thing a used to love.

Yours in hope and solitude*, D A Aset

*I got this phrase from The Island of Dr. Moreau. Fantastic Book. Highly recommend. Also, highly recommend Orphan Black (TV show). That’s where I got the idea to read The Island of Dr. Moreau.

I’m Not Buying Anything Pink

October is breast cancer awareness month.

I read this Vox article two years ago about pinkwashing and it stuck with me since. I noticed that there was suddenly pink and pink ribbon merchandise EVERYWHERE.

I noticed the same thing during Pride. Rainbows as far as the eye can see.

This October I want to take more conscious action. I have two goals: (1) to make a donation to a local group working to help BIPOC access breast cancer treatment and (2) to educate myself better on what breast cancer actually is, how it works, and the challenges patients face.

I just purchased a copy of Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Diaries. A new Penguin Classics edition was just released. I read Lorde’s Sister Outsider earlier this year and it changed my life. I expect nothing less from The Cancer Diaries. I hope reading this book will keep me focused on the actual people. People with breast cancer who are jumping through the three ring circus that is American healthcare to get treatment and live. I do not want to focus my attention or money on corporations who think “breast cancer pink” is the new way to sell everything.

Introducing Aset Editorial Services Part I

I thought I should do a series explaining myself and my business. I wanted to set expectations and provide some background, starting with the service that I am most excited to offer: resume editing and sculpting.

I have two degrees in journalism and media, but I had not been successful in finding a job in that field. Recession, down sizing, blah, blah. We’ve all heard the stories. In fact, I went to graduate school because I couldn’t find a job. #ImAMillennial

But I still needed to work, duh! So I reworked my resume to reflect a new, equally interesting field. I re-worded job experience to focus on universal skills and secured a position in sales operations. Operations was much more accessible to me and I’ve worked in this field for five years.

Dilane Mitchell standing at a podium and speaking into a microphone. Behind her is a screen that says, "Editing is a lifestyle."
During the ACES 2019 National Conference I presented a panel about how I made the transition from editing to sales operations. Photo Credit: Brenda Dunn, attendee.

I presented a panel about my transition at the 2019 ACES National Conference and wrote a follow-up article on the ACES website outlining a few tips to other editors who may also want to change careers. I had discussions with several of my peers who were looking to make a change.

I realize that there are many people who would like to change careers, but need assistance and guidance as to how to go about that process. I’m here to help. I am so excited to help guide others closer to a career of their dreams.

White Walkers Win- Fifth Digest

*This post was written before Game of Thrones Season Six Episode Four premiered. It is in response to Episode Three: Oathbreaker.

Don’t mind me. I’m just over here crying for fictional characters. It’s a thing I’m used to, being a book nerd. I am in full mourning for Shaggy Dog. I have been enamored with the Stark direwolves since they very first episode. I mourned the loss of Lady and Grey Wind as well. I knew Jon Snow was gonna be fine because Ghost was fine and now I know poor, innocent baby Rickon is doomed because… well… Ramsey, but beyond that, Shaggy Dog is gone. I just can’t.

It is clear that none of these characters understand:

  1. The long game
  2. The White Walkers are coming! No of this is going to matter if you’re all dead.


I have consumed nothing but Game of Thrones related stories. Here are some of my favorites:

Elite Daily- Bran Theory

Arts.Mic- Hodor Theory

Also Nerdette does a fantastic recap podcast with Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me’s Peter Sagal.  I have just been listening to the episodes on repeat. They post generally at about 3:00 p.m. on Mondays. I believe they are going to have a live event at the close of the season. I’m looking forward to attending.

That’s all for me this week!