Friday, December 30, 2011

Those Resolution Things

I'm one of those "New Year Resolution" kind of people. Forgive me. A review of 2011's list :
  • Clean More : no change. Adam says I've accumulated more stuff, which makes it harder.
  • Try To Be Prettier : no noticeable progress. I did work on posture a bit over the summer, there was some exercise last winter and summer, and I have taken a couple stabs at shopping (REI for the win!).
  • Sketch Once A Week : negative progress. I draw less now then ever before. Have missed several Dr. Sketchy's. When I do draw, it's totally a mess- have lost my "style" it feels like and am randomly mimicking things I see (and like : Makani, Emily Carroll, Jen Wang, and Ray Frenden for example... I want clean lines and details apparently. And good costumes always)
  • Sew / Embroider More : success. 2011 is the year of the Settlers of Catan Quilt (even if I have to finish it in 2012). There was also Portal Turret embroidery and some cute little monsters made. I've got a pair of ideas to start 2012 with as well!
  • Socialize Less, But Make The Remaining Encounters More Meaningful : neutral. I've made more friends, I've lost touch with some friends that I'd like to keep. I like the people I know, but I need to be better at saying "not now" to some of the hanging outs (more as internal dialog for me) and be better about committing to the fun events (why am I so bad at replying to emails?). Major gains : continuing Mid Winter, the infrequent but fun girls craft get togethers, the D&D&D events, terrible movie nights with Andy and Ashley, and the art bitching hang outs with Mel
  • Read A Book Once a Month : Success! My favorite goal! See below for details
  • Show More Initiative At Work- Have a Project Worth Talking About Once I Leave : success. I took on a couple server side projects I feel I can talk about (nothing epic, but at least something) and we've recently been working on a HTML5 app that has really helped me grow
  • Wake Up Earlier, Sleep Less : neutral. Adam and I were definitely waking up earlier this fall- which was totally awesome. Tea and hanging out in the morning = fun times. Not so great on the sleeping less...
  • Save More Money : neutral, bordering on failure. However, I feel like I've got a healthy relationship with spending now- an improvement on years earlier. I've never had an issue with excess, but I'm not happy being a frugal person. At this point in my life I should be spending money to make myself happy. Time > Money. Given that Adam and I are currently lounging in Paris, I'll say no more.
  • No More Reddit : success. Easy enough to give up and I've no regrets. Google Reader was beginning to become a problem, but now that they gutted its functionality I barely check it once a day. I browse Hacker News frequently, but don't find it to be a problem. I'm sneering at the posts half the time, a fraction of the time they're actually quite useful, it keeps me abreast of new trends in my field, and it gives Adam and I something to talk about in the evenings.
Sketching full of fail... This was the last thing I drew and that was... two weeks and two days ago...? Sad times
I believe it was a bit overly ambitious... This year's will be smaller, more focused goals so that I can present a more positive report next December. As mentioned above (and earlier) I love the reading goal. Definitely had to work at it a couple times. The end results :
  • Jan : The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One (First Law 1)
  • Feb : The Name of the Wind
  • Mar : The Hunger Games
  • Apr : Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games Trilogy)
  • May : Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games Trilogy)
  • Jun : My Blood Approves
  • Jul : Hollowland
  • Aug : The Forever War
  • Sep : Lucifer's Hammer
  • Oct : Jenny Pox
  • Nov : Darkly Dreaming Dexter
  • Dec : The Demon's Lexicon
There are a number of other books read through the year in addition to these. These are just the ones that counted towards the resolution. Perhaps I should be embarrassed at the number of them that are Young Adult books, but I can't be bothered. I read for fun and escapism. The best book of the year was without question The Postman. Highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And everything had been going so well…

...sick again. Not fun. Have stayed away from work for two days so far, here's hoping I make it in tomorrow...

Prior to all this current terribleness, everything had been going so well. The tree was further decorated, much to my and Adam's satisfaction. We tried really, really hard to be good Americans and spend money on ornaments, but we could not find (after serious mult-store searches) anyone selling basic white and red ball ornaments. Luckily a joke lead to an answer- we used selected yarn balls from my copious stash to decorate our tree. And Christmas was saved. Yay!

Also- popcorn chains are ridiculously easy to make and very pleasing. Highly recommend it. Don't make them the first couple days though- the spell of popcorn will dominate the delightful oder of tree. The 'ornaments' themselves are really simple and fun. All you do is take a ball of yarn, wind it up, use a yarn needle to pull the tail through the body at some point leaving about 3-6 inches dangling, and then wrap the tail around a branch. No hooks, no mess, no waste.

Click the image and then zoom on Picasa for all the fantastic details!

Continuing with the holiday theme, the most excellent Katie organized and provided for year two of the now annual epic gingerbread house making. She made and cut pieces for, like, twenty thousand houses. Most couples shared one of the larger houses, cooperating to make something beautiful.

It would be too much to ask Adam and I to do the same. We both made a mini house and, following Adam's most insightful lead, made them 'weird'. His gingerbread man SMASH! idea was divine and my squid-emerging-from-house followup was not really on par. I also took on the task of decorating one of the spare houses, with which I took a more traditional approach.

There were many interesting houses and different takes on the classic. We had the decrepit house, the butter mint igloo, there was a beach with tent scene, and several classic houses. Last year I experimented with different shapes- tried to make some dice, not sure what I'll try for next year... maybe a gingerbread boat, modeled after Andy's? Hmmm...

Sadly, our houses looked better then they tasted. It turns out fruit loops, crispix, and gram cracker just really don't age well out in the open air. The twizzlers used for the squid however has proven to remain remarkably tasty as the days go by.

The awesome didn't stop with that however! Work had a sort of offsite day last week where we all took a segway tour through Golden Gate park. Woah. Just... woah. Way more cool then expected. And I've been to Golden Gate several times. Highly recommend it. We did a tour with a guy who was super chill. $45 is the minium for 1.5 hours and if it wont break the bank, go for it. A group tour is probably best. Segways look ridiculously stupid but are in fact ridiculously awesome. When queried about the experience after being on one for under a minute my response was (and remains) : It's like riding science

... there was even MORE awesome to be had before I fell ill, but this post is getting too long, so I'll save it for part 2...