December 15, 2011

irresolute

I really dislike New Year's resolutions. Maybe since I associate them with falling off after 6 weeks, I don't think they're useful or effective. I always think, "Oh, well that's something the person won't really keep up through March," or that they only half-heartedly want to accomplish it. On the other hand, I don't necessarily think that about goals. I feel a person can set a goal and they have a fairly good chance of achieving it. It's the same thing, just a different word, so I don't know why I have those connotations. Increasingly, I feel the need to reassess and set new goals at year end, which is deliberately something I really didn't do before. Blame it on some type A personality shit.

Last year, I wanted to cook two new recipes a month and learn how to cartwheel. Trying two new recipes a month was pretty successful - here's a catalogue of some recipes I've tried this year and enjoyed. I have some new ones in my recipe folder too. I'm not making an intentional goal to try new recipes this year since I feel it's stuck with me pretty well and I have lots of inspiration to try new recipes. Don't they say it takes 6 weeks for something to become a habit? Well, I think I've got this down. In fact, tonight I'm making roasted butternut squash and bacon pasta.

Cartwheeling? Nope. Still don't know how.

I've got a few I've been kicking around for this next year:
  • 100 books in 2012. I kicked 75 books in 2011's ass (currently on number 102 for 2011) and I think I can do it again next year.
  • 3 half marathons - Green Bay in May, Red, White and Boom in July, and one more in the fall. I wanted to do two last year and only did one, mostly for financial reasons.
  • Cut out meat one day a week, for health and environmental reasons. Probably Mondays.
  • Progress on our net worth, specifically through building savings and paying down our smaller debts. I know goals are more likely to be accomplished if there's a specific, measurable goal, but we haven't sat down and figured that out yet. But those are the things I think we can hit, based on some initial calculations.
Good? All right. Bacher out.

December 11, 2011

a letter i wrote

Dear [Reverend 1] and [Reverend 2];

Please remove my name from the membership roll.

I feel the need to explain my decision as [church] had been a formative place in my youth. The Methodist Church's stance on gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people is completely at odds with my understanding of the world and God's involvement and love of humanity.

The God I know does not want people to completely shut off an important aspect of one's self simply because of whom they love. If we are to be full people, engaged in the community around us, we must be true to ourselves and embrace and love ourselves. By proxy, the institution of the church should accept and welcome the community as full people, some of whom may love people of the same gender.

If we are created in God's image and loved as such, then GLBTQ individuals are created in God's image and loved by God as well. While the Methodist Church finds homosexuality to be incompatible with Christ's teachings, I find the alienation, exclusion and disdain of GLBTQ individuals to be incompatible with Christ's teachings.

The Methodist Church is sorrowfully behind on accepting GLBTQ populations and it's embarrassing to hear that the WI Conference took 4 days to discussion to agree to begin a dialogue on the topic.

Thank you for your stewardship of a church I once called home; however, I cannot be a member of an organization that blatantly discriminates against a class of people and is blind to Jesus' call to welcome and love all people.

Thank you.

P.S. Jesus practiced radical inclusion. I hope you can do the same as a reconciling church.

December 10, 2011

more sam




What a silly dog.

Then we decided to watch a video:



I am easily amused.

December 9, 2011

this is my dog

Dinnertime.

Setting up the Christmas tree.

Sam hides out behind the tv.



Sam is a careful listener.

The end.

December 8, 2011

the monies

So... I turned into a budgeting/financial crazy person today.

I finished breaking down our spending for November compared to our budget, budgeted our Christmas presents, switched the autopay of the remaining bills over to our new credit union, cleaned up my Bank folder on my computer, and made a net worth spreadsheet (including columns to update next year). My spreadsheets are all quite pretty, if I do say so myself. The contents are a little rougher (hello, giant negative net worth), but I suppose in order to get ahead, you have to figure out where you are first.

Don't worry. I resisted color-coding the spreadsheets. Still, I am all over this shit.

Also, Sam is sleeping on the couch next to me and his face and legs are twitching and spasming like he's a robot.

December 1, 2011

babies and stuff

A note to the world:

Many people I know are pregnant or have birthed. That's awesome. Babies are cool. I'm especially looking forward to my new nephew, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All Mason Badass Bacher and have grown fond of watching videos of Hattie (one of the Lincoln Roberts-Days) do things like roll over and be bounced around to silly noises.

However, I am totally content with a gentleman and a dog. We do pretty well, the three of us.

Not that anyone asked... just that babies seem to be all around and in people these days, and they seem super excited about it, whereas I am super excited about the homemade sesame chicken I made for dinner tonight.

That is all.

Book update:
I did get a Kindle. It is awesome. In fact, it increases marital hand-holding a significant percent as now I can lie in bed, hold the Kindle with one hand and hold Andrew's hand with the other. No more rationed hand-holding! I am also at book #95 for the year and 100 looks to be very good. I may even shoot for 104 - an average of 2 books per week.

Purging update:
I'm 95% done with the original purging plan. I used the last bottle this week - buffalo sauce that I poured over chicken wings in the crockpot. I have one bar of soap left, which will probably be opened this weekend. Still working on the tea lights though... there were a lot of those.

All right. Sesame chicken time. Bacher out.

November 18, 2011

November 14, 2011

first world problems

I think Sam is in another shedding phase. He's dropping hair left and right, usually in clumps on the floor. Yay black dog hair and light brown hardwood floors!

My goal for reading this year was 75 books. I finished my 75th book on October 8, which was Donald Rumsfeld's memoir, Known and Unknown. Blech. Andrew always asks me why I read memoirs from politicians in the Bush administration (Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney) if I disagree with their politics so much. It's because they've taken the time to explain their reasoning and the rational behind their decisions and actions and I want to understand why they made those choices. Plus, I've read memoirs from Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright, but there just happens to be a slew of Republican memoirs being published now.

So since I've met my 75 goal, I've upped it t0 100 books in a year. I'm currently at 89 right now so it's very doable. Here's what I've read since September 15:
68. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
69. Not Becoming My Mother, Ruth Reichel
70. Run Like A Girl, Mina Samuels
71. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, Lois Frankel
72. Freakonomics, Steven Levitt/Stephen Dubner
73. The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta
74. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
75. Known and Unknown, Donald Rumsfeld
76. To Be a Runner, Martin Dugard
77. Superfreakonomics, Steven Levitt/Stephen Dubner
78. The Greatest Music Stories Never Told, Rick Beyer
79. Devil’s Knot, Mara Leveritt
80. The President and the Assassin, Scott Miller
81. In My Time, Dick Cheney
82. The Violets of March, Sarah Jio
83. Why We Buy, Paco Underhill
84. How I Killed Pluto, Mike Brown
85. Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, Lauren Redniss
86. Secret Daughter, Shilpi Somaya Gowda
87. Killing Kate, Julie Kraemer
88. Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamiliton
89. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

My favorites are Unbroken, The Leftovers, Freakonomics/Superfreaknomics, How I Killed Pluto, Killing Kate, Blood, Bones & Butter and The Night Circus.

Since I read so many books, I usually get a ton out from the library at a time.

I'd like to get a Kindle so I don't have to go to the library every week and also so I don't have to carry multiple books around with me at once, say if I'm almost to the end of a book and think I'll finish it before I get home. It would be a good Christmas present, yes?

But here's the thing: The library doesn't have nearly as many ebooks as it does actual books. I looked at books I've currently requested and it's about 40-50% available in ebooks. Otherwise, Amazon does have a lending library system, but you have to be a special member ($80/year) and you can only borrow one book a month. ONE. That's not reasonable for me. I also don't want to buy ebooks all the time, since those are $12-16 per book. So if I get a Kindle, it might be a half and half thing, where I borrow on Kindle if possible and otherwise get a hard copy. Man, my life is so hard.

Here's pictures of Sam to cheer you up from thinking about all the problems I face in life:

Sam and a lobster treat that Mom and Harry brought back from Maine.

Sam clearly also has a very difficult life as well.

Here's what I'm making for dinner tonight: Crock pot mac and cheese.

And HOLY CRAP. This is double stuffed acorn squash like a fall explosion in your mouth. I highly recommend it:


Ok. Time to go de-dog hair my apartment. I will save all the hair for a homemade pillow for Sam to lay his little doggy head on, since it was his hair in the first place.

Bacher out.

P.S. Oh yeah, Kari is in the country.

November 3, 2011

pushover

What's going on with you today?

Not much here... Sam and I are just hanging out.



You can guess who the pushover in this relationship is.

October 21, 2011

trees, gourds and sprouts. and a car.

Things going on:

We bought a new car! Huzzah!

Andrew's starting making terrible engine noises on the way back from WI a few weeks back. After checking it out, it was either 1: new engine or 2: new car. Considering the body of his car was in pretty bad shape and we were thinking about getting a new car sometime in the next year anyway... new car it is!

Car shopping is a huge pain in the ass. You spend a lot of time looking on websites to find vehicles in your price and mileage range, then go to the car lot to see that the car is in worse condition than it looked online or that it's been sold already. We were very close to buying a different car and while we were giving the dealer 36 hours to think about putting new tires on it, someone else bought the car. That was disappointing, but I really like the car we bought and it's in great condition and has less miles than the other car. So go us!

Since our evenings were consumed with car researching/test driving/buying for the past two weeks, the house pretty much went to shit. I only finished the last of the Massive Pile of dishes yesterday (it was so massive that it deserves uppercase). It didn't help that we needed to continue to eat, thus adding to the Massive Pile. We also had a Big-Ass Pile of laundry, but we did that on Sunday.

I opened up a retirement account - woo! Considering the economy is shit, I'm in a pretty aggressive fund, hoping that by the time I retire at 88, I'll have enough to pay for a mediocre old folk's farm. I'm not betting that Sam will take care of me in my old age... he seems pretty thankless.

Sam spends a lot of time sitting or trying to sit on our laps.

Ok, that's Dia. I took that to make Sam jealous.

Andrew cut down this big ass tree and we want to make a cutting board from the wood cookie:

For scale.

Although that little shit has been taking bites out of the bark. I found him chewing on a hunk of bark just this morning.

I just made a batch of acorn squash seeds using my patented "forget about them and remember in a panic" method. They are pretty damn tasty. I'm going to try gnocchi this afternoon.

I bought a pumpkin at the store and made pumpkin puree. I haven't used it for anything yet, so I'm open to suggestions of pumpkin-flavored deliciousness.

I also bought two stalks(? sprouts?) of Brussels sprouts at the farmers market while I was on the way home from a happy hour last week. Impluse purchase? No, never. Not when it comes to Brussels sprouts. We're down to one last serving of sprouts from the two stalks, so that'll be my lunch today.

Ok, there's a finale episode of Project Runway that's calling my name, so time to go cook sprouts and make gnocchi. Bacher out.

October 13, 2011

camping

A story in pictures.



(ok, this one is in here because Sam had a leaf hanging from his mouth.)




The end.

October 10, 2011

how to make perfect roasted squash seeds

My secret tip to cooking perfect squash/pumpkin seeds?

Rinse/salt the seeds. Put the oven at 200 degrees. Leave the seeds in the oven and literally forget about them. While getting a drink of water before going to bed, realize you forgot the seeds were in the oven and take them out in a panic. Enjoy!

Perfect, seriously.

September 28, 2011

the chicken and i

Step one: Get a chicken.



Step two: Cut the chicken apart.


Step three: Make stuff from the chicken for later.


Step four: Eat stuff from the chicken now.


Step five: Repeat.

September 23, 2011

sam gets excited about popcorn

One of Sam's favorite foods is popcorn.



You'll notice he body-checks me at 21 seconds and Andrew at 27 seconds.

September 22, 2011

the fall closet purge

Purge of 2011 update:

Still have half a bottle of buffalo sauce in my fridge. I gotta use that up, asap. I did, however, use up all the little mini shampoo bottles that I've had for years. Success! I'm slogging through using up the bars of soap, which doesn't go quite so fast.

Another fun purge was getting rid of all my pants.

Seriously, I got rid of every pair of jeans I own. They either 1: didn't fit me or 2: had holes in them or 3: didn't fit me AND had holes in them. After some bargain shopping, sister's closet shopping and regular shopping, I now have 3 pairs of non-holey jeans that all fit. A miracle! (Don't worry, Kari, I only borrowed one pair of jeans because yours are usually too short for me. I think they're too big for you now anyway.)

I also purged some dress pants I really liked. They're black with blue pinstripes that I found on sale at Old Navy. I love the blue pinstripes, but they were just way too baggy and my legs were drowning in all the fabric. My momma did buy me some new pinstripe pants when I was home this weekend, so huzzah for that!

So we'll be making a Goodwill trip in the near future and hopefully getting rid of some junk that's been riding around in Andrew's trunk for months. Let's see if I can convince him to part with the 1950's gas camping grill that he got while cleaning out his grandparent's old house. We've had it for 18 months, never used it (just like his grandparents never used it) and it has just sat around in our apartment and then in his trunk. I say the statute of limitations is up and if we haven't used it yet, we're not going to use it in the future.

We did go to Green Bay this past weekend, which was fun and relaxing. The dogs played around a ton and I think Sam is still recovering from the weekend. I forgot to bring my camera so there are no pictures, unfortunately. Up for this weekend: Andrew's probably going to the Ren Fest with his brother and I'm hitting up a beer fest with Amy.

I did take some pictures of Sam being goofy, but what's different about that?






One of these days, I'm going to stop thinking everything he does is picture-worthy, but unfortunately for you, that day hasn't happened yet.

Bacher out.

September 10, 2011

i was running.

I went out for a long run this morning, aiming for 11 miles. It went well; I felt pretty consistent through most of it. I went down to the Midtown Greenway, connected to the Cedar Lake Trail, (which is quickly become one of my favorite running paths), ran along the river, went past Gold Medal park and the Guthrie, then headed back south to my apartment. The scenery is great - you run through woods, through prairies, through urban areas, along a river and over a bridge. Nearly everything you can think of for scenery.

After crossing the river to Northeast, I was chugging along on the path next to the river and there were a lot more people than usual in the area. It seems they were having a 5k race that morning. Which is all fine and dandy, until I realize that the starting line of the race was in my path and the race route went over the river on the Stone Arch Bridge, which was where I wanted to cross back. As I get close to the bridge and the crowd of people, I hear "We're about to begin! One minute until the start of the race!" So I join this race for the first quarter mile across the bridge, then peeled off in the opposite direction to run up a really, big-ass hill.

Other things I've seen while running: A bike accident with an ambulance team, wedding photography, a marching band playing Lady Gaga before the Pride parade, countless crowds for Twins games, some middle aged dude who yelled "Yeah! Yale!" as I wore my Forestry sweatshirt.

Tuesday I took Sam out for his very first run with me. He did very well and wasn't too distracted by squirrels and birds. I took a water bottle to give him water while we ran, which helped him cool down. We did 2.6 miles (including some water breaks) and he was definitely into it. He was speeding up during the last quarter mile to the point where I was sprinting to keep up. I could feel it the next day; it was definitely a good speedy run. I think Sam liked it; after we were done he had lots of energy - almost like his own runner's high - and then he crashed and was tired, tired, tired. We're going to go again on Monday.

The only new picture I have is of a scratch under his eye. He got it from the dog park yesterday; a couple of dogs were rough-housing around with him and one must have got him with their teeth. Sam seems to be fine, so I'm not worried.


It's that spot underneath his right eye. He wouldn't sit still for a picture.

Bacher out.

September 5, 2011

state parking it

We went up north yesterday for a day trip to hike around in some woods and visit all the finery Duluth has to offer. It was pretty fun hiking around in the woods; the paths along the river are very hilly and actually look more like hiking than walking along a 10 foot wide grass path in the woods (like some of the other trails at the state park... but they're used for cross country skiing in the winter so they have different needs than the hilly trails).



The first orange leaves I've seen this fall! I was excited.

I was trying to figure out why there was blood by my temple; apparently I squashed and killed a mosquito and Andrew helped me get it out of my hair. Family grooming time!

Sam in the car on the way to the state park.

My tired puppy (from a different day).

Sam sitting on Andrew's lap. We think he had a stomachache from licking out the peanut butter jar this morning.

Fajitas from Friday night. We had a lot of peppers from the farmers market that were threatening to go bad, so fajitas seemed like a good idea.

Frittata for breakfast this morning - pretty good, but I threw in a bunch of veggies to use them up and it made it a super veggie frittata. I think next time I'll focus on less veggies but a stronger flavor combination (as opposed to everything but the kitchen sink).

The end. Bacher out.