Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review


I thought about writing a detailed wrap up of what happened this year, but frankly not a whole lot happened.  Besides a rather entertaining and debt increasing, cruise I am leaving 2014 pretty much the way I entered it.  I am not really down on 2014. It was just a year that happened.

At the beginning of 2014 I asked myself three questions and recorded what I hoped would be the answers:


How do I feel about 2014?

  • Content with what happened
  • Glad to have lived it
  • Willing to move onto 2015
  • satisfied with the decisions I made

How am I a different person after 2014?

  • I am fitter and healthier
  • I think more about how my actions affect me and others
  • I follow through on what I plan to do 

What did I accomplish in 2014?

  • I got out of credit card debt
  • I wrote a bunch
  • I will have learned some of a new language

How do I feel about 2014?  Like I said, it was a year that happened. Not much changed.

How am I a different person after 2014? I am actually healthier. I ate a little better this year.  I also started jogging again a couple of months ago. My resting heart rate has dropped from around 100 to about 80.

What did I accomplish in 2014? I massively increased my credit card debt. Though in the second half of the year I began taking real steps toward lowering it.  I wrote more than in the past. And yes did learn a bit more French.

Reading this post I realize it is kinda lame. I feel I should try and write something profound and moving. I just don't have it in me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

This song give me a happy





Inspired by this post over at A blondering life, I give five of my favorite Christmas movies.  They are in no particular order.





Friday, December 12, 2014

Food Friday: Pumpkin Soup


It's that time of year when EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored. With cans of pureed pumpkin going for 10 cents, slight exaggeration, I had stocked up on pumpkin. I wanted to do something a little different, so I decided on putting together a pumpkin soup. I apologize for the terrible pictures. They were taken with my horrible horrible phone.


Ingredients (I adjusted the amounts from a recipe for the amount of chicken stock I had on hand):
  • 26 oz chicken stock
  • 1 3/4 cans pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • one medium yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic (can use less but I like garlic. 
  • pepper to taste




Put the chicken stock, pumpkin, diced garlic, and chopped onion in a pan and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 40 minutes.  Your soup probably will NOT look like mine above.  I had misread the recipe and initially only used 1 can of pumpkin. About half way through the simmer time I realized that there was no way the soup was right and reread the recipe.  That's when I added the extra 3/4 can of pumpkin. Luckily I have other uses for left over pumpkin.  Next time I think I will just use both cans and add a little water.

Anyway, once the soup has simmered you need to blend it to a nice paste. You can use a good stick blender for this. My stick blender isn't good, so I use my stand up blender which has a  nice thick glass blendy thingy(probably a name for this).  I poured in small amounts of the soup blending as I went. Once all blended put it back in the pan and add the heavy cream. 


You can garnish. I didn't bother and just chowed down.  This stuff is actually really good even if it does look like baby food.


Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Tale of Three Jogs - Illinois Weather


Near the end of October I started jogging again. Every few years or so I get the bug to seriously take up running again.  Serious means being able to run a 5k. I could go all sorts of directions when blogging about running. I could talk about he life lesson learned from the rapid improvement or how it improves my mood. What I am going to talk about is the weather. Stupidly, I've taken up running outdoors as we transition into winter. Even with my cold weather gear we've already had a week were it was too windy and cold to run outside. I might have to jog some on a treadmill... ew.  Most places joke about their weather: "if you don't like the weather just wait an hour".  No place is that more true than in the midwest.

Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I went for a jog.  The temperature almost hit 30F and  brisk wind blew from the south producing a wind chill of 19F. I wore four layers on top and two below the waist.  My fingers and toes got cold and the cold air burned my lungs.. It was not a pleasant experience. I would much rather run when it is 90 than when it is 20. I think sweating is better than freezing.

On Sunday I went for another jog.  Again a gale wind blew from the south. The slight difference was the 60 F temperature. I only wore a windbreaker and sweatpants over my usual summer running gear.  By the  end of my run sweat soaked my clothes.

After work, four days later, I went for another jog.   This time it was 40 degrees with a breeze and a slight rain falling. I had a good run. The best since I restarted running.

So that is Illinois weather for you.  In less than two weeks we had: 19 degree windchills, 64 degree weather with gusting winds, 40 degrees and raining, and also there was a bonus ice storm mixed in. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

NaNoWriMo: Finding Success in Failure



It will come as no surprise but I didn't finish writing the 50 k words for NaNoWriMo. I stalled somewhere around 11k. I wrote nothing for the novel during  the second half of the month. I am trying to see the positive in this failure.  I more than doubled my word output from any previous NaNoWriMos. I also worked through some sticky plot points. At this rate I might finish a single draft of a single novel by the time I'm sixty... maybe.

I have a the quote above printed out and taped to my desks: "If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." If I apply this quote to my near lifelong desire to be a writer, I have to admit I must not really want it. With saying that, I am unwilling to give the dream up. The desire has been to much a part of my life since my teens.

I understand the only way for me to be a writer is to regularly and consistently write.  It is a complete no duh statement, but it's true. Writing has to become a common and reoccurring part of what I do and who I am. It really is as simple as just do it.  I need to find an hour, heck even a half hour, worth of time a day and write. Before work, after work, it doesn't matter when.