Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas ain't over yet!

My long holiday weekend was excellent. I strayed down a sugary, delicious path and ate copious amounts of homemade cookies. They were all wonderful. I got some cool loot, but I truly do enjoy giving gifts even more. I didn't get to finish making my boyfriend's gift(s), but he wasn't ready with mine either, so our holiday season is extended for some undetermined amount of time. Exciting! I gave some of my Utility Sauce to my family members and a slightly customized Sgt. Pepper jacket (it's neon yellow/green) to my brother. He looks awesome in it.

I felt like this was a really grown-up Christmas for me. I know, we were living in the apartment last year too, but this year, I spent more time at home with my boyfriend (and our fat cat). It felt really fulfilling to feel like I had somewhere to go back to. I guess I felt a bit in limbo before, not completely feeling like the apartment was a home yet. Recently, I looked around and thought, "Damn, where am I going to put [some thing]?" Realizing that I had to find space for something really solidified the concept of the apartment as my home. It's something about it being my mess that I'm responsible for, both in the creation and cleaning of. If someone were to come in and tell me to clean it up, they'd be wrong, because it's not their space. I don't know why it took me so long to feel this way, but it's wonderful!

I was convinced I would come back here after Christmas with photos to share, but I didn't pick up the camera at all. All I've got are some risque gingerbread cookies (NSFW).

And now, a link for your enjoyment.
  • The friendship contract - I've shared articles from this blogger before, but this one came up the other day and is very relevant to some of my current thinking. I am not always the most reliable friend, and I often feel like I am investing a lot of time and energy into relationships that are one-way. Whether or not that is actually true, I don't know. I don't think it matters. It would be interesting and potentially really nice, if it worked out, to make a contract like this with a friend. Sometimes, even just scheduling regular chats (online) or times to hang-out that must be kept (monthly meetings, or the same date every year, no matter what!), can be really effective to keep people in contact.

Hot damn, I am really looking forward to New Year's Even. Medieval Manor, here we come (again)!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Utility Sauce

Welp, my godfather gave me 1/2 a bushel of apples. That’s a lot, in case you were wondering.
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They were utility apples, which means they weren’t perfect or pretty enough to sell. Some had odd lumps on them, some had gouges, some were bruised, some were ENOURMOUS. They were all delicious, however, and perfect for applesauce.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012–year in review

Goals
  • Save money – I didn’t really, and it drove me kinda nuts at one point, but then I gave up and now I feel better. I have a good sense of how much I can spend in a month without actively keeping track before I get in trouble. The main thing is, I seem to have cured myself of involuntary spending. I splurge a little on groceries here and there (I don’t need coconut milk, but it’s lovely to have), a book now and then, but that’s about it. Good progress, in my book! All in all, we've gotten by just fine.
  • Fashion – I never revamped my wardrobe, but even though I’m wearing practically the same things over and over, I’m happy about it. I get a new piece of clothing from time to time, and I love them to death. That’s fine with me.
  • Fitness – It’s had its ups and downs, but overall, I feel this has seen some positive progress in 2012. I stuck to some fitness routines at various points throughout the year, saw some physical progress, but physical limitations/ailments set me back. I feel confident that I can get back on track once my health is not an issue.
  • (Mental) Health – This year was really challenging, but I feel like I’ve come out ahead. I feel really proud of myself for sticking with therapy to see what I can accomplish. Overall, I feel like I’ve done really well for myself.
In pictures… Facebook just implemented this “year in review” thing and it looks pretty stupid. I’d rather do my own summary with commentary! Here are some highlights from my life in 2012.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree - 2012

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It’s smaller than last year’s, but I think it’s an appropriately apartment-sized tree. Plus, I don’t have any beads or a ton of ornaments, so it’s fitting. It also fits quite nicely in that corner, given the lessened space by the addition of the book case. My parents insisted on getting us a tree and I’m grateful. Unfortunately, despite seeming very lively in the lot, it hasn’t been soaking up any water. DOA!

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Like our make-shift tree topper? I don’t remember where that hat came from. It’s very lightweight and semi-transparent if you look too closely. Works well as an ornament.

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My little Christmas display could use some fake snow or a garland, I think. I love my mini-tree, though (thanks, sis!). My grandmother has had one for a long time so it has sentimental value.

This is the 13th Christmas without my Didushka (passed away on Christmas Day in 1999). My spiritual practices may be questionable, but I like to think I feel his presence this time of year. Somehow, despite having only a mustache and being quite bald, he embodies the Spirit of Christmas for me. His picture is on that desk all year round, but it feels especially appropriate right now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Creepy tree fingers in the fog

I keep telling you, I'm surrounded by empty cubicles!

But the views are worth it.

The fog was intense this morning (I loved it). I think it's likely that we'll continue to have fog in the mornings for the rest of the week, since it's going to be fairly cold at night and reasonably warm (for nearly-Winter in this area) during the day. I think that's how fog works. It's like condensation, right? I missed the weather segment of my college science course and regret that. I'm working on a new playlist for the car and may share it here on the blog when I'm finished. Tonight, I go to my godfather's house to help with his "new" (to him) iMac, which he's having trouble getting online, so I may not have time to work more on the playlist.

I have nothing of real interest to share today. I'm sure I say that a lot. I'll be working on a ginormous applesauce production post soon. I canned my first batch last night from utility apples that my godfather gave me. Utility apples are perfectly delicious and well-meaning apples that are bruised, too big, too small, misshapen or otherwise not normal enough to sell. I ended up not even getting 48 oz from the amount that I peeled and chopped up. It felt like a lot, but the apples cook down quite a bit. I only added cinnamon so there's no added sweetener. I love the flavor and hope that the people it is eventually gifted to will enjoy it too! I am looking forward to the days when I can have yogurt again so I can eat fresh yogurt with warm applesauce on top. It's a surprisingly amazing combination.

Anyway, I took a few pictures while making applesauce last night, but not enough of the step-by-step process. When I read about canning your own applesauce, I was seriously intimidated by all the boiling and steps that have to occur in a relatively short time span. The longest part is probably bringing the water in the canning pot to boil, since there's a lot of it. I think I figured out the timing well enough, though it was kind of awkwardly broken up by me leaving the house a few times (shutting off the burners to be safe) to move laundry two streets over. Oh well, next time, I'll do it on a totally free night. I already know how I messed up in a few ways, so I think the next batch will go more smoothly.