~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve you come and you go

As the year draws to a close, I’m feeling a little melancholy; in part, I think, to the fact that I have a cold (everyone feels a little meh with a cold) and also in part to the fact that we had a nifty plan for tonight, but it fell through.

There’s a 5K run into the New Year starting at 11:55 pm tonight. Unfortunately, while we both said “That sounds like a good idea,” neither of us added “So let’s actually sign up.” Then I caught this cold…. We decided a couple of days ago to do it, probably just walking the whole thing, while discussing our goals and plans for the New Year. Walking with intention is how I thought of it. Intention feels like it’s going to be one of my mantra words in 2012 (and in life in general). But the run is on a military base, and although I knew we had to sign up ahead of time, I didn’t realize how far ahead, and we missed the deadline.

So. We may take a walk at midnight, or we may just sit and talk. Ken’s not much into ceremony or ritual, so it’s really just another night to him, but he respects where I’m coming from. He’s also taking a nap right now so he’ll be awake at midnight.  ;-)

It’s been a tough year. It’s been a tough couple of years, really, but 2011…oof. Yet, as I think about it, a lot of good came out of all the stress and sickness and problems and tears and fears. Flying to GA every other month was exhausting, but my sister has gotten better and better—better than anyone expected. Ken was in a horrific accident, but he’s going to be 100%—and it’s spurred him to focus on his own health. I’ve battled a variety of health issues, but I also ran/walked my first 5K, and intend to fully run one early next year, and then who knows? I’m not sure what my overall goals are there—I’ve never felt the urge to run a marathon—but we’ll take it one step (or 5K, or whatever) at a time.

So many good things did happen in 2011: Styx shows, more friends than I can mention, fun travel (Boise, Sedona, Monterey, Albuquerque, Vegas, LA, Tahoe), writing workshops, a new tattoo, TV show tapings, story acceptances. Seeing Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer on Halloween. Meeting the women who saved Ken’s life. Ken being alive and well.

Good things are planned for 2012 already: Styx and Gowan shows, NAMM, writing workshops, Phoenix Comicon, friends and family. Writing. Publishing.

What about resolutions? I don’t make them, per se. I dream dreams, and then set goals that will help me achieve, or get closer, to those dreams.

What’s the difference? Goals, you have control over. Dreams, not so much. A dream is to lose 20 lbs. A goal is to work out 5x/week, or cut out dairy, or whatever.

I haven’t figured out all my goals yet. Right now, they’re more about me than about things out there. Like, continuing to take better care of myself (Health is a big focus for both of us right now). Pondering intention. The concept that The Obstacle Is the Path. The truth that success is often buried in what looks like failure. (If you don’t set a goal or dream, you don’t have something to work towards. And even if you don’t achieve what you hoped, you achieved a hell of a lot more than you would have achieved if you didn’t have something to shoot for.) Meditation. Silence. The Good Catches Up.

I’ll probably ramble about some or all of this in the coming days. Because one of my goals is to blog more. (Whether that ends up being for myself or things I actually post, I don’t know. I just missed a lot of this year, and I like to be able to look back.)

At any rate, as always, here’s the Neil Gaiman quote that always resonates with me:
Strangely, I’m not feeling too melancholy anymore….

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hamming it up

When I post something on FB/Twitter/G+, I never know how it’s going to be received. Almost always, the things I expect to garner the most comments get few, and the things that are just off-the-cuff observations get the most reaction. I’ve learned to just sit back and be amused.

The response that’s made me laugh and laugh recently, though, was to my two innocent—and, it turned out, unclear—questions about leftover ham.

I thought all the lovely people who responded would like to know the outcome.

Split pea soup FTW! It kicked some major ass, especially paired with some shaved parmesan and Trader Joe’s whole wheat nommy bread (that should really be its official name).

I used this recipe, modifying only by adding the ham in last, after I’d puréed everything else with the immersion blender, omitting the bay leaf because we were out (WTF?), and using dried parsley because I’m lazy and the rest of an enormous bunch of fresh parsley would’ve died in the fridge waiting to be used.

And there’s still ham leftover for sammiches, fried rice, or omelettes!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Favorite Holiday Songs

A re-post for a few years ago, while I take the time to craft a proper entry!

1. "All I Want," Styx

2. "All I Want For Christmas," uh, the kid from Love Actually (I really need that soundtrack!)

3. "The Chipmunks' Christmas Song," The Chipmunks (stuck in your head yet? hate me yet?)

4. "December Will Be Magic Again," Kate Bush

5. "Dickens’ Dublin," Loreena McKennitt

6. "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" Band Aid

7. "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," Loreena McKennitt

8. "I Believe in Father Christmas," Greg Lake

9. "Mid Winter’s Night," Blackmore’s Night

10. "Ring Out, Solstice Bells," Jethro Tull

11. "Ring the Bells," Styx

12. "The Twelve Days of Christmas," Bob & Doug McKenzie (and a beer…in a tree!)

13. "Wizards in Winter," Trans-Siberian Orchestra (it inspired my story “The Queen of Christmas!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kitchenaid mixer questions for our foodie friends

Long story short: When we divorced, my ex got the Kitchenaid mixer, which was fine because he was the cook.

But I miss it. I’ve coveted them for years, whimpering every time we pass by the display in Costco or Bed Bath & Beyond. Now that we’re cooking more (in order to eat more healthily and naturally), maybe it’s worth it. In fact, we’ve found the base model on sale for a really reasonable price.

Yet when we started to put it in our basket, we hesitated. Would we really use it? What would we use it for?

That’s where you come in, smart foodie friends. I need you to tell me what I can do with that mixer—convince me (by tomorrow, the last day of the sale) that it’s worth it.

A few caveats/comments, as usual:
  • We rarely, if ever, bake, and don’t foresee ourselves starting.
  • However, we very well might use the mixer to make bread, which has the benefit of us not needing to buy a bread maker. Does the Kitchenaid do all the work; i.e., will our job be only to (a) dump the stuff in and then (b) pour the dough into a bread pan?
  • One thing we will do is buy blocks of cheese and shred it ourselves. Ideally, it would be nice to get rid of the food processor and just use the mixer attachments, so whatever we get would have to handle shredding carrots, etc. Can we do that? Would the Food Grinder suffice or would the Roto Slicer w/shredder be better? Or would we have to get both (which is less ideal)?

So, to recap: What-all can we do with the mixer that’s not mixing cookie dough or cake batter?

(Please respond here, on the Blogger post, so that I have all the answers in the same place....)

Thanks! xo

Monday, November 21, 2011

These three ladies changed our lives

Reader-peeps, I’d like to introduce you to three young women who changed our lives.

Literally. Because they saved Ken’s life.

This is Lexie, Cass, and Jessica. (And Ken, but you know him already.)

When Ken had his accident, they were the first people on the scene, on a remote, not-well-traveled road. Although they didn’t see the accident happen, they saw a cloud of dust they thought was a dust-devil…then saw the bike skidding down the road towards them, and Ken lying in the road.

They called 911. When emergency services asked what mile marker they were at, Jessica headed out to find the nearest one. (Do you pay attention to the last mile marker you passed? Neither do I!) Meanwhile, Lexie headed back to direct any traffic around Ken. And Cass sat with Ken and held his hand and talked to him until emergency services arrived.

We got Jessica’s contact info from the police report a few months ago and sent her a card with a picture of us and a letter thanking her. Soon after that Ken received an email from her and another from Cass. So when we knew we were going to be in Tahoe a few days, we contacted them to see if we could take them out to dinner. Happily, they were free, and we met them at a Thai restaurant near the hospital, and I ate when I was there in July (when I took more wonderful friends out to dinner to thank them for helping out). (The restaurant has the best crab rangoon appetizers I’ve ever had, and I love me some crab rangoon, so that’s saying something.)

Anyway. The ladies were as happy to meet Ken as we were to meet them, and to see that he was healing well. They filled in some of the details of the accident site for us, and we got to know them a bit, which was a true pleasure.

To say they’re awesome would be an understatement. I like to believe the best in people, that anyone would have stopped. (And indeed, we learned, more people did, including an EMT and a firefighter, both off-duty.) But these three not only stopped, but figured out what to do, worked well together, and stayed until Ken was in the ambulance. They believe things happen for a reason, and so do we.

Also, the experience inspired Cass to go back to school to become a paramedic herself. (I can’t think about that without tearing up. Excuse me while I flap my hands helplessly for a moment…. Okay. Deep breath. I’m back.)

Jessica, Cass, Lexie, dinner isn’t enough to truly show you how grateful we are to you. Nor is a simple thanks even close to enough. But, thank you, from our hearts.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lukewarm cups of tea

Ken left at something like 4 am today to meet his mom to go look at some historic train that’s in the area for only today. Clearly I didn’t go with him, mainly because he and his mom enjoy having time together like this (he’s an awesome son!). I was originally planning to go to Isles Anniversary, but a forecast of morning rain and a high of 58° made me re-think that plan, plus, you know, work. Workity workity work. I haven’t been very productive—I’ve been feeling like warmed-over crap, really, with the mental/emotional/creative energy of something that has pretty much no mental/emotional/creative energy (I was going to say “a fruit fly” or “a wombat” but who am I to judge how much mental/emotional/creative energy those things have? If wombats had opposable thumbs, they might paint wombatly masterpieces, for all I know. Hm. Okay, how about the mental/emotional/creative energy of a lukewarm cup of tea? That’s pretty accurate, actually.)

Where was I? Right, I haven’t been very productive, although I’ve been chipping away at things, slowly. I have a couple of bad days and then I have an okay day, and I’m trying to learn not to turn the okay day into a day where I frantically try to catch up, exhaust myself, and have more bad days. So yesterday I focused on copyediting and personal/home/SCA email, and I did a mound of dishes and assisted Ken with dinner (shrimp scampi over wholegrain thin spaghetti along with roasted brussels sprouts NOM).

I slept in today, by which I mean, I had a headache for part of the night so I stayed in bed longer than I might normally have. It’s mostly gone now, anyway. Thus far I’ve eaten shrimp scampi for breakfast (do not judge me) and done an hour’s worth of copyediting. Next on deck:
  • drink protein shake while sitting outside with kitlings and reading the second Castle book, Naked Heat
  • eat a banana
  • go for a run/walk
  • shower, probably have a snack
  • finish a short story
  • do another hour or so of copyediting (I need to have this one done before Thanksgiving, and we’ve got a busy few days leading up to Thanksgiving, so I want to get ahead)
  • get another short story uploaded
  • promo recently uploaded stories
  • watch videos on how to design books in In Design, because all I’ve ever designed in In Design are booklets, and they’re different. Argh.
  • eat dinner (possibly more shrimp scampi, or maybe a caprese sandwich)

Damn, that looks like a lot. We’ll see. Don’t want to overdo it and feel like a lukewarm cup of tea. (That sounds like bad poetry.)

And I need to get back into the habit of writing down (and maybe posting) my Done Lists….