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YEAR IN REVIEW: 2018, the year i did stuff.

YEAR IN REVIEW: 2018, the year i did stuff.

the year i did stuff, indeed. somehow i actually completed quite a few of my 2018 resolutions. let’s review the resolution list, shall we?

1. oh what the heck, we’re throwing take more pics on the list again. i know i’ll be taking SOME photos, so we’ll see if i can up my game a little bit.

check and check. i DID ONE BETTER on this resolution. i not only took a lot of great pics this year, but i bought a NEW CAMERA. a camera that does great in low light and has a lot more bells and whistles than i know what to do with – a canon mark III. but i am really happy with it and it was a fantastic purchase. and i didn’t die at the hands of the craigslist killer when i picked it up.

as for the pics i took, i did more astrophotography, took vacation pics, and had some fun taking pics of the cats.

2. my officemate convinced me to bring over the “do something interesting with nate” item from last year since it really wasn’t accomplished. in 2018? i KNOW i’m going to do something interesting with nate. we’re going to arizona in february for my cousin’s wedding, then we’re taking a trip up to the grand canyon and over to mesa verde. 

CHECK AGAIN. something interesting with nate! i absolutely did a few interesting things with nate! not only did we go to AZ, but we went the black hills in october and we went to a few other places as well. overall, i think nate and i did a lot of interesting things this year together.

3. this could also be a good way to check off a trip item on the list. in fact, there will be a few items on this list in 2018. i feel like this isn’t much of a list if i can’t work on them because they’re already planned. so i’m going to add something that is REALLY difficult…

GIANT CHECK. not only did i go on one trip, but i went on a LOT this year. this year was the year of travel for me. AZ, UT, CO, NM, then vegas for work, then the black hills and into wyoming this fall. and that’s just out of state. cuz i spent the majority of my traveling this year on minnesota…

4. …and possibly unattainable in 2018: visit all the MN state parks. in fact, i’m going to say right now that i’m probably going to need to push this out to 2019. but at least i’m thinking about it!

CHECK.

CHECK.

CHECK.

i visited 72 minnesota state parks and recreation areas. SEVENTY TWO. i camped at five parks, visited 18 parks over 3 days with lori, found some awesome parks to visit again, and already have a 5-day trip to itasca planned for 2019. this may have seemed unattainable when i first thought about it, but when i sat down and sketched out how it would work, visiting that many parks was definitely doable if you put your mind to it.

the best part? i saw so many parts of minnesota that even few minnesotans visit. this is a great state. get out and see it!

5. start thinking about either a BWCA trip or superior trail hike with liz. i think this will depend on her schedule. at this point i’ve got a pretty flexible schedule compared to her.

i guess i thought about this? a lot of this depends on liz at this point.

6. consider bees and chickens again. do i want that responsibility? i mean, i can’t even correctly grow brussels sprouts, and the only reason the cats get fed is because they meow in my ear.

i considered. i’m not sure if this is something that i want to do quite yet, although the bees make sense. i’ve got that field behind my house that they would quite like.

7. TURN 39 OMG WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE

well, that happened.

8. running? hmmm. ragnar is another possibility in 2018. possibly the granddad half relay with liz. one thing i wouldn’t mind doing that i’ve never done is volunteering at a race – being the water person or cheerer or something.

so! running! i did another half marathon this year and indeed ran the granddad half relay with liz (it sucked on my end). i have yet to volunteer at a race. i asked to volunteer at the lake wobegon marathon, but i guess they couldn’t use me. i did a lot of trail running out at st. john’s, starting as soon as i could in may. ragnar happened again, and while it wasn’t 90º with sweat pouring down my face, it was still miserable with trying to warm up in 40º. good grief! maybe next time it won’t be a weather extreme.

9. strive toward a more healthy lifestyle. ugh. this is so cliche with a new year. but i want to do more yoga, and i want to maybe up my speed with running. i’m not going to say “i’m going to lose 30 lbs and increase my run time by 1 minute/mile” but if i can accomplish something, that will work.

i don’t know if i did more yoga, but i do know that i ran my fastest-ever 5k this year. i think my speed sort of increased on the running front. i ended up doing two dietbets and lost 10 lbs or so total. right now i’m not feeling so healthy because i’ve been eating like a crazy person over the holidays, but i’m hoping to get back into some more reasonable eating patterns soon. AND, half marathon training starts at the end of january!

10. in conjunction with the healthy lifestyle thing is mindfulness. my anxiety levels have actually been pretty ok (i think due to work being less stressful). yoga is super good for mindfulness, and i got a great workbook from my mom that incorporates writing with mindfulness. i might also start using the headspace app again, which is a meditation app. there’s something about clearing your mind and focusing on the present. 

i did not do so well at this. while yoga is always good for mindfulness, i didn’t do so well when i wasn’t doing yoga. i’m not sure if this is something where i need to deliberately set down devices and do something else. i feel like my screen time is overwhelming.

11.continue being happy. even if the rest of this list isn’t touched, if my life is relatively happy, then i’ve accomplished all i need to accomplish for 2018. i’ll continue SUPping on lake sag, working on my garden, reading, writing occasionally, petting cats, and hanging out with nate and my fam. there’s not too much else a person can ask for out of life other than being happy. 

aw, nice job 2017 kate. i guess i can mark this as a check on my list!

visions

visions

“while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.”

what on earth is a sugarplum. maybe a sugared plum? not so!

last night, as is tradition, the wallaces read out loud “the night before christmas” with exaggerated sound effects. that evening, my dad said he was going to dream of sugarplums. my mom and i were wondering exactly what was a sugarplum. well, let me tell you!

a sugarplum is a comfit – a candy with a center that’s covered in hard outer sugar, not unlike an m&m, jawbreaker, or even a cadbury miniegg. in the 1600s, popular comfits were everyday seeds and nuts, like fennel, caraway, cardamom, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, anise, and even celery seeds.

they were particularly difficult to make because the sugar coating had to be gradually built up with sugar syrup with a special funnel. it went on for hours and hours, even days on end, until 30 layers of sugar were on the innards. as you can imagine, these were snakes for richie riches. now, not so difficult as they are mostly automated. and most likely do not include a plum.

AND, the word sugarplum meant more than just the candy. in the 1600s, it meant you spoke sweetly but might have a hidden agenda (passive aggressiveness?). to sugar plum in the 1700s meant to pet, fawn over. and in the 1800s, anything wonderful and desirable was “plum.” (think sugarplum fairy in the nutcracker.)

these days, the only time we hear sugarplum is in moore’s poem, and now you know what a sugar plum actually is.

in fact, you can MAKE a sugarplum if you wish. courtesy of alton brown:

6 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
4 ounces dried plums
4 ounces dried apricots
4 ounces dried figs
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
1 cup coarse sugar

  1. Put the almonds, plums, apricots, and figs into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 20 to 25 times or until the fruit and nuts are chopped into small pieces, but before the mixture becomes a ball.
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, anise seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, cardamom, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the nut and fruit mixture and the honey and mix using gloved hands until well combined.
  3. Scoop the mixture into 1/4-ounce portions and roll into balls. If serving immediately, roll in the coarse sugar and serve. If not serving immediately, put the balls on a cooling rack and leave uncovered until ready to serve. Roll in the coarse sugar prior to serving.
  4. The Sugarplums may be stored on the cooling rack for up to a week. After a week, store in an airtight container for up to a month.

(i don’t know if i would eat this.)

december! time to blog.

december! time to blog.

see, after i finish up kablpomo, i tend to not blog for a while. 12 blogless days. it’s like the 12 days of no blogging. 

on the first day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix.

on the second day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the third day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the fourth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the fifth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the sixth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the seventh day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the eighth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the ninth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: drinking nine glasses of water after that 5 miles on the treadmill, eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the tenth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: ten trips to the bathroom after drinking nine glasses of water after that 5 miles on the treadmill, eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the eleventh day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: eleven hours to decorate and bake and listen to christmas music, ten trips to the bathroom after drinking nine glasses of water after that 5 miles on the treadmill, eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the twelfth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: 12 days of no blogging so i guess it’s time to blog!, eleven hours to decorate and bake and listen to christmas music, ten trips to the bathroom after drinking nine glasses of water after that 5 miles on the treadmill, eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

the end.

finished friday

finished friday

well, kablpomo comes to an end on foodie friday, and i have no food pics for you. i did finally clean out all the thanksgiving food from the fridge and went grocery shopping tonight for real food. i found out that greek gods yogurt made a maple flavor, and it was on clearance at fresh thyme, so i bought two giant containers of it. it’s delicious!

i also got some pretzels and i’m going to attempt to make almond bark pretzels, which i will most likely inhale in two days.

other than that, all quiet on the food front. december starts tomorrow, which means my lindt advent calendar starts tomorrow!! that’s a little exciting. a piece of chocolate for every day in december leading up to christmas! i saw a cheese advent calendar at some grocery store i was at and i should’ve bought it.

oh, one other piece of food news i guess. tomorrow nate and i are going to anton’s to celebrate our 13th anniversary. popovers here we come!

calling squire

calling squire

my uncle squire, my dad’s brother, was a mainstay in the wallace household while i was growing up. he was also one of three people whose phone numbers i had memorized (besides my own).

somewhere nestled in my childhood, there was a day (or more likely a few) when squire made it known that the winter months were pretty awful with no sun and how summertime daylight is just great. of course, being a nerdy family, we wallaces were well-versed on axial tilt and the solstices. so i took it upon myself to make sure squire was well aware of the daylight or lack thereof.

common scenario:

*ring* *ring*

“hello”

“hi squire, it’s kate! guess what! in 6 months, the days start getting shorter again!”

“grumble grumble grumble”

“hahahahahaha!”

or

*ring* *ring*

“hello”

“hi squire, it’s kate! guess what!  the days are getting shorter!”

“grumble grumble grumble”

“hahahahahaha!”

looking back, i am aghast at this horrible behavior. these days, i know how precious that daylight is and how it can affect a person’s mood. i was evil, evil, evil and can’t believe my parents let me get away with that! although, i did talk to my dad yesterday, lamenting that that was a nasty thing to do, and he did say that squire enjoyed it. i’m sure he enjoyed talking to his nieces and nephews on the phone, but the subject matter sure could have been a little better.

on a related note, while the darkness keeps me in a mood where i want to sleep all the time, my seasonal affective disorder has been pretty manageable the past few years. i rack it up to keeping on keeping on on the treadmill regularly over the winter. the treadmill sure is boring, but the chemicals the run releases sure do help.

on a related note to the related note, half marathon training starts in 2 months. this news is twofold: 1) waaah half marathon training on the treadmill is the boringest of boring but 2) THAT means that april is a mere 5 months away. once the training starts, i at least know the end of winter is in sight.

word wednesday: jolly log

word wednesday: jolly log

well, since december is nearly upon us, i thought it might be an ok time to do a word wednesday on a holiday word: yule.

the olde norske word jol was just a word to describe a heathen feast, aka a party. then in swept the anglo-saxons who took the word jul and made giuli, a two-month mid-winter season for december and january.

there was a lot of feasting during these two months (what else ya gonna do in the dead of winter when it’s dark out) but not necessarily a festival. after the christians rolled in, they narrowed down yule to the 12-day nativity season (which happens AFTER dec. 25), but by the 11th century, it was replaced by christmas except in northeast england, where danes had settled.

in the 19th century, there was a revival of merrie olde england, and yule was resurrected.

now here’s where it gets kind fun. jul, the norse word, was actually borrowed from old french – jolif. jolif in modern french is joli – originally festive, or…

jolly!

that yule log is a pretty jolly log!

whoa there

whoa there

i was going to write a post about how christmas is so rushed after thanksgiving and how it doesn’t feel like christmas and we should relish the holiday vs. explode it all over everything.

but.

i didn’t want argue with 75% of the population *EYEROLL*

*eyeroll again for good measure*

not to mention, it sure doesn’t feel like christmas to me yet. this year has just been zipping right along – like i want to know where JUNE went, not to mention that thanksgiving is now just over. so there’s that.

there’s your meme for meme monday.

******

i’m trying to convince nate to do something for his birthday/our anniversary. one option is to check out the twin cities model train museum. i guess they have a night train thing going on for a couple months, which might be cool to check out. nate is obsessed with model trains, though he doesn’t want to get any. (this opens up an argument on his part about how we have no room to put trains anywhere because he only has a corner of the house. i just smh because he knows i’d move stuff around to make room for trains. or lego. or his bottles of whiskey. or whatever it is he wants to do. hmph.)

the other option is to head up to duluth to check out the bentleyville light show, which i’ve been wanting to do for a few years now. we’d probably have to head up during the week to avoid the crowds, but i think it’d be fun.

stan stress

stan stress

i’m about ready to take stan to the vet! poor little guy is licking himself bald. i have a cat pheremone air thingy going, but it seems to be getting worse and worse. the internet tells me it could be allergies or he could be stressed out, but the only thing that could really stress him out is me wanting to pet him all the time XD

i need to knit him some legwarmers 🙁

foodie friday thanksgiving edition

foodie friday thanksgiving edition

i am failing on the blogging this year, but i am winning at backdating.

i also failed to take many pics this year of thanksgiving food, but so it goes when the only real things we made were pies and stuffing.

thanksgiving was pretty laid back! jane and i walked a 5k in the morning, saw a movie, then came home and made the squash galette, which turned out better than last year!

this year, i used the paul hollywood rough puff folding technique when i folded the butter into the dough, and goodness gracious if that didn’t make a difference. the dough was super flaky and crisp, and it definitely didn’t have a soggy bottom. it also got done a lot quicker. (i’m not sure if this makes a difference at all, but i did let it sit in the fridge for three days before rolling it out.) so, hollywood handshake on that galette for sure. it also had some bacon in it, which of course makes a delightful taste addition to an advertised vegetarian option.

the actual dinner was pretty simple. we reheated five things and called it a day. the galette was the most labor intensive thing of the day, and after that it was rolling out bread dough for rolls (i didn’t even make the dough. just thawed it out in the freezer). turkey was purchased premade, potatoes premade, gravy premade. perfect. the dishes sat overnight and we did them 24 hours later.

well, the one fail this year was my first pumpkin pie. i had no white sugar, so i decided to use coconut sugar which said could be used 1:1 for replacement. MISTAKE. that pie tasted awful. so i made another pumpkin pie last night because i wasn’t going to go through thanksgiving with no pumpkin pie (even though we have a maple and sweet potatoes pies).

this one is much better. already had a giant piece for breakfast!

in other news, i’ve got to run like 6 miles tonight. blarf.