The Task Tamer

It's Your Attitude

Teri 09/05/2016 Comments

Are you a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person? I can say with total certainty that I am a firm believer in half-full. I have written before about being thankful and positive, but what happens when you are faced with someone who challenges your ability to stay optimistic? 


I was shopping in a store last week and as I walked by the checkout line I overheard a heated exchange between the clerk and a customer. I don't know what started it but I distinctly heard accusations being thrown back and forth about bad attitudes. As with most people, I dislike confrontation so I walked away to shop somewhere far away from the counter. Having worked in customer service for years, I can remember many times being on the receiving end of an upset customer. It takes a lot of effort and control to stay calm and to change the interaction into something positive. It all boils down to attitude. 


Think about your day. Every time you come into contact with someone you probably have a presumption of how that person will interact with you. Whether it is a stranger, a friend or a family member, you might already have decided how any given situation will play out. When that expectation isn't met it could rattle you. I am willing to bet we all know people who don't deal well this and others who just roll with whatever is thrown at them. Which are you? 


Here’s my point this week: no matter how others are acting, the only thing you can control is yourself. You might wish other people would change, but that is out of your control. You might even wish you could somehow change others, but that is out of your control as well. If you find yourself getting annoyed, upset or angry because of someone else’s actions or words, the only way to feel better is to alter your attitude. It is human to be annoyed at situations that are not going the way we envisioned. Recently I witnessed a young golfer watching his dad play in a tournament and be amazed at how much his dad laughed whenever the dad had a bad shot. The son wondered why his dad didn't get upset. That was a great lesson about attitude for the son. Sometimes other people’s habits may be irksome. Ever try talking to someone who always asks you to repeat yourself? Trust me, wishing they would get a hearing aid will not change the situation. Rather than getting upset, try telling yourself to expect the constant “what?” and be prepared to repeat yourself. My bad attitude often shows up when I am driving. Today I was following a truck that was going 5-15 miles per hour BELOW the speed limit. I could see the driver talking on his phone completely oblivious to the line of cars behind him. There was nothing I could do to change the situation, but I could change my attitude about it. I could enjoy the scenery that was going by at only 20 mph or sing along to a favorite song. I’ll try that next time. 


In other words, refocus your energy from being upset at the unchangeable to accepting the situation and making the best of it!


One way for me to feel better about anything is to eat Mexican food! This dinner is one I make often because I can make burritos, nachos or quesadillas if I prefer with the same basic ingredients. You may have leftovers. Wrap in a tortilla for lunch the next day. If you like tostadas, here is a recipe I posted for Sweet potato and black bean tostadas.


Tostadas with Cilantro Lime Rice

Serves 4




1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small onion or shallot, minced

1 cup brown rice, rinsed and drained

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon chipotle lime seasoning, or your favorite Tex-Mex seasoning

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro


4 corn tortillas

Cooking spray

Couple dashes salt

1 recipe Smoky Black Eyed Peas, substituting black beans for the peas

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 red, yellow or orange pepper, sliced

2 cups sliced white mushrooms

1 teaspoon chipotle lime seasoning, or your favorite Tex-Mex seasoning

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Favorite toppings (tomatoes, cilantro, guacamole, salsa, etc.)



  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add onions and garlic, cook until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add rice and toast for 1 or 2 minutes. Add water, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork and then stir in seasoning, lime juice and cilantro. Taste and add salt and pepper or more seasoning. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees. Place tortillas on a cooking tray and spray lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle salt over and bake 14-18 minutes, turning half-way, respraying and salting. It’s important to watch because they will burn quickly. You want them to be dark golden in color and crisp. Remove from oven but leave oven on.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a sauté pan. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until juices release and they start to brown, 5-8 minutes. Add peppers and cook until they soften. Add seasoning and cook one more minute.
  4. Prepare tostadas: Spread black bean mixture on tostada. Top with peppers and mushrooms. Top with sprinkle of cheddar and place in oven. Bake until cheese melts, about 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on them! 
  5. Top with your favorite toppings and serve alongside rice. 
  6. Enjoy!

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