2012 Goals, A Start

I’ve culled away the vast majority of this Day Zero Project and created this small list of things I would like to do this year.
As noble as it was to try and do 101 things across 3.5 years, there was just no way I would be able to come up with 101 things, much less be able to do them all across 1001 days. I think this smaller list is much more manageable.
Over time, I might add a few more items to this list, but I certainly don’t think it’s going to be an expansive tome of idealistic goals that I will feel bad for not completing later. But these are things that I really want to get done, and there is no time like the present to do them.
  1. Take a ballroom dance class.
  2. Donate blood.
  3. Organize an Operation Happy Sock initiative.
  4. Finish my 4th of July quilt by the 4th of July.
  5. Save $5,000.
  6. Learn to drive stick shift.
  7. Get my concealed carry license.
  8. Get my passport.
  9. Go to Niagara Falls.
  10. Go whitewater rafting.
  11. Take more photographs.
  12. Read 25 books (fiction, non-fiction, memoir, whatever).
  13. Have 170 blog entries for 2012.

So, this Kindle thing…

On New Year’s Eve, my mother let me borrow her Kindle, as she had purchased The Cleveland Creep. Since it was the latest in the Milan Jacovich (pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich) mystery series set in Cleveland, and I made point in my last Day Zero Project to read the whole series (which I did), I figured I’d keep up reading the latest installments. So, I picked it up between loads of laundry.

I had reservations about getting my own Kindle, but a lot of them came before I actually read two books on them (in two days). The reality is that my reservations still stand. Books aren’t cheap on them, there’s a limited selection from the Ohio Consortium of Libraries, and a lot of the books I’d like to read aren’t out on Kindle yet, or will be, ever.

But oh my Lord, it is so shiny! And I like things that are shiny! And I read more books in the last two days than it felt like I read all year. And now, they are so much cheaper than they were even a year ago, and have tons of models.

I still have better access to paper books, so I’ll be still working my way through the literary world that way. But, I think I’ll definitely be starting a rainy-day fund for my own Kindle.

NaBloPoMo’11: Dunzo

I did it! I completed my 5th NaBloPoMo!

I had fun this time: I didn’t feel like I needed to write a soliloquy every single day. I even included a haiku.

A lot of entries were started, thinking that I would go in one direction, and ended up finishing in a completely different place. One entry found me completely without inspiration for words, so I offered up a moment of Zen.

I got lucky, and had a few Friday5’s up my sleeve. I even started a new, and continuing project of Grace in Small Things. I also had the odd inspiration to include additional tidbits with entries, which I think I’m going to continue in the future.

I celebrated my quit-smoking anniversary, got back into Zentangling after a 4-month hiatus; and hey, I had some time to work on a Day Zero Project goal, too!

I’m still not sure if I’m ready for the Christmas season, but I feel better about it coming than I did then.

And, like every year, I close this year’s NaBloPoMo on the eve of Charlie’s and my anniversary. Tomorrow, we will be celebrating 9 years of brightening and ruining each other’s days.

I hope you enjoyed this year’s NaBloPoMo as much as I did!

The Argument for Dog Ownership

I consider cooking to be a hobby, even though I do it sporadically (well, serious cooking, I make noodles and quinoa a lot, but I’m terrified of cooking meat – hey, hey salmonella!).
I know a few of you have been privy to my burgeoning Pinterest recipe board. I’m working my way through trying the equivalent of one new recipe a week, picking largely from the vast expanse of the internet.

But lo! Let me warn you on the dangers of using the internet to search recipes. This may also speak to my inability as a cook and validate my skills as a baker (of which I truly believe are two separate skillsets).

I’ve been looking for a good recipe for black bean burgers, and ended up settling on one that also included quinoa. I’m not even going to bother linking to it because it’s such a clusterfumble, I don’t even want to give the page hits. Mid-way through making it, though, I realized the recipe skipped a step, had a bizarre flavor profile and didn’t include salt.

They are awful. Like mealy, bland-black-bean-dip-formed-into-hockey-pucks awful. They are covered in panko, but since they went in the oven, they look like coconut flakes.

I thought about actually eating them as burgers, but that though is so unpalatable, that I’m just going to crumble them up on the top of my lunch salads. Which is really going to bring down the whole level of my salads, but it’s better than waste, I suppose.

If only I had a dog…but I’m guessing the black bean gas mixed with dog flatulence would be incendiary.

So, those black bean burgers were a bust, but I’m digging through the following two cookbooks, so I’m bound to find something that works:

Have any no-fail black bean burger recipes I can try?

Lookie What I Built

The nice thing about living in this house is the huge closet in my bedroom, where I can store most of my clothes in any given season. And good lord, did I have a ton of stuff, including shoes and handbags.

Also, occasional random-ass stuff, too.  Here, have a look at the closet from about two years ago.

Organization strategy, as of this photo: a hamper on the bottom left; plastic storage tubs (inefficiently storing things that should get pitched) bottom, right; folding racks (that migrated from college); thick plastic hangers on the bar crossing the length of the closet; dividing shelf space on the top.
In the past few years, I’ve been culling a lot of items from my closet, using these awesome felt hangers that take up so much less room, and doing a lot better at rotating seasonal clothes. My closet was definitely not as sardine-jammed as the before picture.
Though looking at some of the pieces I no longer have, I am feeling a little  frenzied-Hoarder-induced-wardrobe-reduction regret…
Despite the cleanup, I was still hating the way my shoes and purses were jammed on the top shelves with the rack, but had largely been reluctant to pull the trigger on shoe organizers until last week, when I finally bought two of these.
I’ve used some complex tools to build things when I was in art school (arc welder, baby!), and let me tell you – this was nothing like any of those projects. All it took was a phillips screwdriver and a small hammer for wood screws and finishing nails.

I only smashed my finger once.

They fit nicely in my closet. The cubbies are a little tight for my very high heels, but I’m pleased nonetheless.

I’ve scooted all of my shoes down to the cubbies, my bags and sweatshirts have been moved to the racks, and I have some room to grow. I think I’m going to get more racks for stacking; or I could get these wire shelf dividers as a way to divide up purses.
I’m also thinking of ways to store my linens.  I’m not sure if I will use one of these hanging organizers in my closet (and eat up potential closet real estate), or just use the now-emptied drawer in my TV hutch that used to hold my sweatshirts.
And given that Labor Day Weekend up here in Cleveland was a cold, rainy bust, I’m  guessing the next major closet project is going to be switching out some of the summer/winter wardrobe.