I've been cooking for a long time. Well, I learned to cook when I was very young. My grandmother was an excellent teacher of cooking and everything life. Once I got to college I noticed that my cooking slowed until it eventually stopped, with the exception of a meal here or there. I've been fortunate that I have had jobs that have not only provided me with a place to live, but also with meals. Admittedly this is great, especially after long work days when I don't feel like going home to cook a solo meal.
Let me take a break for a moment to rant about how frustrating cooking for one person is. It's not any more difficult than cooking for 2, 3, or 4 people, but it seems like that even after cutting a recipe in half or a quarter it seems like there are leftovers for days. Not to mention that it feels like a lot of time to devote for feeding one person versus several. Maybe it just boils down to me preferring to cook for others versus cooking for myself?
Regardless, when I was visiting Meghan and Zach this past weekend Meghan was telling me about how she has spent all this time making these different recipes for them with the vow of never making anything twice in one year. I LOVED THIS IDEA! Think of it like Julia & Julie, except we're not just using recipes by Julia Child. Anyway, I decided I must try this, at least for a few months. I'm doing this for several reasons, the first is because I need to fine-tune my cooking skills. I won't always have a job with meal benefits. Secondly, there is no meal service during school breaks or summer vacation, and I better get used to it now. Lastly, I'm doing this because cooking and baking were always my destressing activities, and things I liked to do. I kind of miss it. Now is the time for me.
So, when I got back this week I took to Pinterest to check out the recipes board I have with all these recipes I've been telling myself I will try .... someday. Someday is nowday. I created a menu that is set to start at dinner on Saturday (weather dependent that I can get my car out to do some shopping) and will go through dinner next Saturday. I am only planning for brunch and dinner on the weekends, and dinners during the week. I figure that I can either have lunch in the commons with my peers and students, or I will have leftovers. Though I am hoping that I will cut these recipes down enough that I won't have much for leftovers. Moreover, I am hoping I do not destroy my kitchen or my apartment over the next week as I dive into this. My kitchen is TINY, so we will see how this goes.
Cooking Disaster Menu for January 24-31, 2015
I'll try to remember to take pictures of everything and post it, along with the recipe and review of the the dishes as I journey through this kitchen nightmare.
Last week on Thursday (January 15) I set out on a small little Alaska Air flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks. I was really excited because for the first time in 5 years I was going to be in the same room with my vest friend, my sister, Meggers. And, I was going to meet her husband for the first time. I was beyond ecstatic. As always, Meghan was delightful to be around, and her husband Zach is just as amazing. I am so happy they found each other and are together, because they are perfect!
So honestly, we didn't do much of anything exciting over the weekend. We spent most of the time hanging out and catching up from the past 5 years. We went to the Governor's Cup Hockey match between The University of Alaska Fairbanks and The University of Alaska Anchorage (GO SEAWOLFS!). Anchorage won both games, and after the Saturday game we stopped by a local bar/bowling alley for more fun. We also went to the North Pole, though it was closed that day, and for a hike at a local park. Nothing exciting, but it was very relaxing. I Meghan and Zach's friends Mike and Angie; they were great to hang out with too.
As Meghan would say, this was a boring weekend, and from an outside perspective, and as I type this, it sounds like it was boring. However, I would say this was probably my favorite weekend since I've moved to Alaska because I got to spend time with my sister, and it doesn't matter what we are doing, it's always going to be great. I had some great news over the weekend that I hope I will be able to share soon!
Taken from GoodReads:
"The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some four hundred light-years in diameter, contains more than six hundred worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over one thousand light-years away, a star... vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears. Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him."
Before I get too far into my review, let me state that I did not finish this book. Usually no matter how much I dislike books I will finish them (I read all the complete Twilight Saga in all of it's painful agony), but Pandora's Star was just unbearable! This book is over 1,000 pages long and is only part one of the full story. If you want to read the complete story you must read Judas Unchained, at another 1,000 pages. Hamilton is the master of pointless details that just drag on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and ..... You get the point. This guy I was interested in dating at the time recommended I chose this one, especially since I LOVED The Martian. Well, he was wrong, and now we know why I chose not to date him. I got about 400 pages into this before I called it quits. The only thing this book was good for was putting me to sleep. There were so many subplots and independent characters that it was difficult to keep track of what was going on. And don't get me started on Hamilton's overtly sexist take on every woman in the book. This was just atrocious! DO NOT READ THIS!
I give this a 0.5 out of 5. The only thing I recommend this for is kindling on a cold, lonely night.
What would you do if every night you went to bed you forgot everything about your life for the past 25 years? For Christine that is what happens every day. Each morning she wakes up not knowing where she is or who the man is sleeping next to her. Each morning her husband Ben has to tell her about her life, their life together, and the tragic accident that took away all of Christine's memories. Christine starts to see Dr. Nash who believes that he may be able to help Christine start to piece her life back together and hopefully teach her brain to make memories again. Through a series of journal entries that Christine writes every day she starts to remember her life and her memories start to come back to her, and we start to learn what really has been going on in Christine and Ben's lives.
Have you ever seen 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore? Yeah, this book is pretty much that movie, but with less humor and from the amnesiacs perspective. I have to admit that this book was not the greatest, but overall I liked it. However, the ending (primarily the last 15 pages) really pissed me off. It was like the author had just given up and was ready to be done with this. As I read this, I kept thinking of how frustrating it must be to in Christine's shoes; to forget who I am and not remember the last 30 years of my life. Not cool. I'm not sure I would ever read this again, but I wouldn't shy people away from it either. I have heard the movie is awful, but I still want to see it and check out how it compares to the books. Plus, it has Colin Firth in it. So yeah, that's a thing.
Overall I would give this a 3.5 out of 5.
Have you ever read Jane Austen's Persuasion? If you have, take Austen's story and add some steampunk to it, and you have For Darkness Shows The Stars [FDSTS]. If you have not read this, let me set the stage for you.
You have a young, privileged Luddite woman named Elliot who as a young child befriends a "reduced" (servant) boy named Kai. Elliot and Kai share a birthday, which is how their friendship first begins. The book switches between telling the story of Elliot and Kai at 18 years old (current day for them) and an exchanging of letters between the two as they have grown up. The friendship between Elliot and Kai is at put at odds because Elliot is bound to the duties required of her by her family and their farm, and by their Luddite faith, while Kai believes that things should change and they should embrace technology, which pushes Kai to run away. Obviously a lot of conflict arises because of Elliot and Kai different social standings. Now add a lot of steampunk pieces to this, and you have For Darkness Shows The Stars.
Before I get too far into my review let me just say that I typically do not read romance stories. This was something I pushed myself to read for the reading challenge. I was pleasantly surprised by how unsappy this book was, for a romance novel. However, that did not fix the fact that this book was incredibly boring. The ending was predictable, as was the entire story, and it was just so lack luster. This book left me disenchanted, and I wish Peterfreund would have delved more into the history of the reduced people. I feel like it would have given more sustenance to the story. It wasn't bad, just so incredibly boring.
I would give this book a 2.5 out of 5. It was adequate. Read it if you have nothing better to read.
I've always been a bit of a book nerd. I love reading, and used to joke that books were my air. The hardest part of college for me was trying to find time to read non-academic books along with all the text books and other responsibilities I had during those years. Well, this year as part of my read/writing goals I have subscribed to two reading challenges. In each challenge I had a list of topics that I had to choose a book for. My goal is to read all the books in order, though I may not finish them in order, just because of page counts.
The first challenge is meant to be a book a week to complete throughout the 2015 year. There is a large group of people doing this challenge with me (found here: 2015 Reading Challenge). The one a week is a guideline and each of us involved can work at our own pace. The second challenge is one I put together and contains over twice as many as the group challenge. Ideally I would finish this challenge in 2015 as well, but I am unsure that I can manage to read 164 books in 52 weeks. So, I want to finish the second list by June of 2016. Without further rambling, I present to you my 2015 reading challenges.
The 2015 Reading Challenge (to be completed by December 31, 2015)
My personal reading challenge (to be completed by June 30, 2015)
When I first started this I told myself I would write on a weekly basis. Well, one week turned into one month, and then one month turned into five .... YIKES! Well, now I'm back to rectify this. I want to be better about documenting my time in Alaska and the things that are going on in my life. SPOILER ALERT: I'm boring. But, I'm okay with that. In 2015 the one resolution that has resonated the loudest with me is my desire and yearning to read and write more. If you know me, you know that I've always been an avid reader, and an occasional writer, but this year I want to push myself further in these two areas. This is my way of documenting my progress. My writing will consist of everything from book reviews, my reading challenges (goals, not struggles), work updates, life updates, my cooking challenge (another goal, not struggle, though it may turn into a disaster), and basically anything else that tickles my fancy.
Before I jump straight into my third post discussing the reading challenges I have embarked on, I want to give you a quick life and Alaska update.
So, long story short, I have been in Anchorage for 5 months now, an I'm still loving it. Work has provided me with several positive challenges and new ways to grew in Student Affairs, and I am very thankful for these opportunities, as well as having a boss and peers who are always there to challenge and support me. I could never have anticipated such a great work environment and could not ask for anything better than this. I have also had the opportunity to experience things that I wouldn't have if I had stayed in Alabama. I've seen a moose up close (the only thing that separated us was a glass door), petted reindeer, stood on a glacier, and enjoyed local events. Without a doubt I miss home and all the many friends I have left behind. However, I do not find sadness in this because I know I am enriching my life and making a difference by begin here.
In late November I was lucky to have my sister Meghan move to Fairbanks, about 300 miles north of me (8 hour drive or 1 hour flight) with her husband and their 6 dogs. Meghan is not my sister by traditional standards; there is no blood that connects us. We met our freshman year at Graceland, and even though we were sisters in our dorm house either, our friendship, along with Bri's, became so strong that friendship was no longer appropriate for the three us, and thus we decided that we were, and forever would be sisters. We adopted each other, and it is the best family that I could choose. You're probably wondering why I am telling you this long story. Well, I am really excited because this week (in 2 days) I will be flying to Fairbanks to see Meggers for the first time in 5 years, and to finally meet my new brother-in-law. I am beyond excited to see them and to catch up. We have spent far too much time apart and I am overjoyed for our little family reunion. I'll let you know about my fantastic weekend in Fairbanks with my family when I get back. One day (and hopefully soon) there will be a reunion with Bri and her husband Alex.
We got our first snow in early October, but it was not much and quickly melted away. We got another dusting (a bit more than that) in December, as evidence by the picture below. In mid December I was fortunate enough to be able to go home for a week and spend the time with my parents and brother. I spent Christmas and New Years alone (I was on-call for New Years), seeing movies at the theater. I have grown to love and appreciate solitary holidays as it gives me a lot of time to think and reflect on life and what matters. It has become a peaceful day that I look forward to.
Now I have welcomed in 2015, and will try my best to be back here at least once a week to bombard you with my thoughts and opinions of my life. Get ready and be excited!
(This is the view from outside my office in the Campus Life hallway in the Atwood Center at Alaska Pacific University)