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End of the Year Survey 2010

My annual end of the year survey.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
I purged stuff in the kitchen.  It was probably the only room I the house that i had never gone through before, and it is so much nicer after four rounds of decluttering.  Not only are the tops of the cabinets empty, but so is the top of the fridge... AND I even have a whole shelf in one of the cabinets that is completely empty.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I said I was going to eat less sweets, and I totally forgot all about that.  But I've actually been giving it some thought this time so this year I have more things to work on:
-empty out our storage unit.
-finish reading the music dictionary
-be able to touch my toes (when stretching)


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, a couple of my friends from mom's group.


4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.  I just wish I could say the same for some of my friends.


5.…

My Winter Top 10

I recently made a short winter playlist that I thought I'd share in case anyone out there is dying to know what music I'm listening to these days (doubt it).  I don't make playlists often because i usually like to listen to one group/musician at a time.  But this list includes some of my current favorite songs... whenever they happen to come on I find myself hitting the repeat button-- a few times.  At least I know where Dylan gets that from; we had to listen to Christmas Eve in Sarajevo nonstop on the way home from my parent's house today.

I've had this blog for quite a long time now, so I may be repeating myself, so I apologize in advance if that is the case.  I tend to listen to certain types of music in different seasons.  In winter I prefer mellower, more subdued music, so if this list seems to be lacking in energy, that's why.

1.  Remember the Mountain Bed, lyrics by Woodie Guthry music by Wilco and Billy Bragg
2.  Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead
3.  Sunken T…

To Santa or Not to Santa...

Consider this fair warning for anyone with little kids who come into contact with Dylan in the future...  We are not planning on leading Dylan to believe that Santa is real.  I realize this is not the norm, but this was something that we agreed on long before we had a kid.  We decided that we want to be completely honest with Dylan when it comes to Santa, I also don't want to get caught up in the trap of "you need to be good or Santa won't come." I've felt pretty strongly for a while that being good and doing good are things that should happen simply because they are good... not in order to get something out of it for yourself (though the episode of Friends where Joey tells Phoebe that no good deed goes without self satisfaction comes to mind every time think that.)

So how are we handling Christmas now that Dylan is old enough to kind of know what's going on?  Well, at this point it's not so much about us sitting down with him and explaining the myth of Sa…

My First Recipe!

Okay, so I don't typically follow recipes to a T when I make savory meals, but I do usually use them as guidelines.  They help give me an idea of flavors that work together, as well as ratios of ingredients so that one ingredient doesn't overwhelm the whole meal.  But this is one of the first recipes I kinda made up all on my own.  Not entirely though, I watched an episode of Jamie Oliver the other day and he made a soup similar to this that used coconut milk, so i got the idea there, but I didn't look anything up when I started this I just threw it all together myself.  And it was delicious!  So here is what I would consider to be my first recipe. 
There maybe something else like this out there somewhere... But I want to write down my version here in case I ever decide to make it again.  Measurements aren't exact because I don't measure, I just go by look and taste.

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut milk

1 container of pre-cut butternut squash, further cut down to 1…

Jeff Tweedy Concert

On Wednesday, Matt and I made a relatively quick trip down to Charlottesville for a very special concert... We saw Jeff Tweedy! I have wanted to see him on a solo tour for a few years now (really ever since we started listening to Wilco and I happened to come across an amazing review of one of his solo concerts.) Matt also got a DVD of one of his tours from a few years ago and this quickly became one of my favorites. In one of the backstage clips Tweedy says that this is the type of concert you drink a warm glass of milk and put on slippers to get ready for, and that sums it up fairly well. I remember watching it many many times at 2:00 am when I was pregnant with Dylan and having a hard time sleeping. I'd pour myself a small glass of milk (for the heart burn) and sit on the couch and watch it until I felt better and could sleep again. I think it has the same kind of calming effect on me that Agnes Martin paintings do.

So while we have seen Wilco several times, I was still hop…

Thanksgiving menu

Thanksgiving Dinner

I'm documenting our Thanksgiving dinner that we had at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm.  They actually sent us home with personalized menus, rolled up and tied with a bow, and a small part of me was super excited to add that to my paper mementos collection...  But then i remembered that I'm no longer keeping a paper mementos collection, so instead I'm going to copy the menu onto my blog, and recycle the paper.  This is more for my sake than anything else, but i have had some people ask about the menu, so here it is.

Amuse Bouche:  consisted of a trio of pickled vegetables...  Dill green beans, beets, and turnips with tomatoes and olives.  Dylan ate Matt's olives.

Peppercorn pear soup with celery cream, button mushrooms and frisee

Acquerello organic rice with turkey gumbo, kusshi oysters, and leek fries.  This turkey in this was super delicious, the oysters were weird.  Good on their own, but they definitely stood out as a random ocean taste in this par…

Hoarding and Collections

Despite all my claims of being a Purger and striving for a more minimalist lifestyle, I recently learned that I am guilty of both of the above. Hoarding and a collection. How did that happen, and why wasn't I aware of it until recently? Well, here's the story...

When I was in high school and middle school I started saving all kinds of paper mementos, cards from friends, notes passed around in class, ticket stubs from movies, paper place mats from restaurants, etc. if it was paper and smallish, it was fair game for being saved. This habit continued on into college and beyond. I managed to keep all these trinkets in a series of shoe boxes stored at the top of our closet, so they really didn't look like clutter at all. And for the most part I had completely forgotten all about them until I cleaned out my closet a few weeks ago. When I came across all these boxes I initially thought "oh, here are my memories, I can't let go of this stuff." but then I reali…

Great Food

So in honor of our Thanksgiving Day dinner at Pawtomack Farm this year, i was intending to write a blog post about some of the best meals Matt and I have had at various restaurants over the years.  While we were at dinner I asked Matt for his input on the list and it didn't take very long to realize that this post wasn't going to go the way I wanted it to.. Why not?  Well, i think the first 5 or 6 things we mentioned were all dishes we got from the same restaurant.  The restaurant--  Morimoto in Philadelphia.  For Food Network junkies, yes, that is Morimoto of Iron Chef fame.  I don't know what they do to their food, but it is exceptional.  Matt and i have been 3 times, and each time we've made the trip up to Phillie specifically for this restaurant.  That's how good it is.  I know I've blogged about some of the food before (here), so I won't rehash it again, but I will list our favorites real quick:  definitely the best thing I've ever eaten in my life…

Thanksgiving 2010

This year we are breaking from tradition.  Instead of spending the holiday with our extended family, we decided to do something, just the three of us.  Don't get me wrong, i love our big family thanksgivings.  I love cooking with my mom and sisters and chatting at the table with everyone.  But Matt, Dylan, and I haven't had a holiday dedicated to just the three of us yet, so we are carving out a little time to do just that this year.  I think it's going to be a great day.  Dylan and i just made chocolate chip pancakes with cranberry syrup for breakfast, which is as much cooking as i plan on doing today.  We're now just chilling out waiting for the parade to start.  In a little while we're all going to decorate some ceramic ornaments i picked up at Michaels for gifts this year.  Then Dylan will go down for a nap while Matt watches the football game and i do some reading.  And when Dylan wakes up we're heading to the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettseville …

Rice Leftovers

Ingredients:

Leftover white rice
A small pat of butter
a teaspoon or two of curry powder
half a teaspoon (or so) of low sodium soy sauce

Directions:

Add the pat of butter to a saute pan. Turn on to medium heat. As butter melts, add leftover rice. Break up rice with a wooden spoon. As rice warms sprinkle on curry powder. Cook for a few minutes, stirring rice occasionally, but not too often so you get some crispy rice spots. Just before turning off the heat, add a bit of soy sauce and stir. Pour into bowl, eat as lunch.


This is my favorite leftovers recipe. I eat it all the time. I came up with the concoction while in high school. We grew up sprinkling curry powder or soy sauce on our white rice at dinner, so it seemed a natural combination to me, even though it probably isn't. I made it for Matt for the first time the other night and he said it was good, so I feel brave enough to share it with the rest of the world (or at least the 3 people who read my blog). I'm not going…

My Inspiration

Speed Culling

On Saturday I had a bridal shower in the early afternoon. My morning was wide open though, so I decided to make the most of it and get started on cleaning out the hall closet and turning it into more of a hobby closet for us (arts and crafts, as well as games and wii stuff). I figured I'd start off by getting everything out of the closet in the morning, and then when I got home from the shower, I would have to put it all away... And then a mere 1 hour later, it was all done. All of it. I emptied out the closet, moved stuff that we wanted to keep to other parts of the house, emptied a bookshelf from the basement to move into the hall closet, reorganized all that was left and put it all back. For some reason, i had it in my head that this process could take a few days, and it only took an hour! So with that great success behind me, I decided to spend a little extra time getting ready for my shower by curling the ends of my hair to look a little extra special. :). Oh and Dylan…

Knowing When to Stop

I just cleaned out the kitchen for the fourth time this year (third in less than a month.). I'm down to a few pots, a few pans, and only the mixing and tupperware type items that are used on a regular basis. It's nice to have so much space in my drawers and cabinets, especially since i have no plan on filling them up with anything else. The only thing I feel a need to aquire in the future is a cake pedestal. I actually have needed to use one quite a few times in the past year, but I just dont know if I want to buy more kitchen stuff right now. Perhaps I'll try to make space for it before I get one. But I had to stop myself today when I got a strong urge to ditch the microwave. Even as I type this I keep telling myself that I could get by without it. That may be true, but I think Dylan and Matt would have a different opinion. I don't want to take this too far, the idea behind this decluttering craze is to make our lives simpler by only having that which we need,…

Continual State of Becoming

Several years ago, 2005 to be exact, I started this blog.  I had recently graduated from college, was starting my teaching career, had gotten married, moved out of my parent's home (for good).  It was at a time when I felt like my adult life was really beginning.  I was figuring out the working world, running a business, being a wife, taking care of a household, and attempting to stay in touch with the academic world that I loved so much.  So I started blogging about it.  When I first opened my blogger account I had to come up with a title for my blog...  I haven't ever changed it, it has always been "Continual State of Becoming." I took the name from a passage in the Aaron Copland book I was reading at the time "Music and Imagination." This is a very loose adaptation of what he was saying, but basically he talked about how music is a very transient thing...  You listen to it in a moment of time and you can't take in the whole work at once (like you can…

Praise for the iPad

Early Morning Thought

I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve our quality of life.  It's easy to just get stuck and continue to do things just because you've always done them.  But by going through this whole minimalize process I'm really learning about the things that improve my life and my happiness, and the things that stand in the way of it.  It's amazing how much better i feel when i learn to let go.

Embracing my Inner Minimalist

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I have been a purger for as long as I can remember, at least in my adult life. I'm not really sure what started it, maybe moving so often growing up, but I have realized that I prefer having less things around me. When I live in clutter, I almost feel claustrophobic. I've been pretty good about getting rid of things over the yar, especially clothes (since I use the seasonal closet method). In all honesty though, I've always held back a little because I felt this unexplained obligation to have certain things. But this year for whatever reason (I have my theories), I've started taking things to a whole new level... and I'm loving it. Once I started purging this spring, I just couldn't stop. And now that I'm in Fall Cleaning mode I find myself wanting to get rid of even more... a lot more. So much so, that I've decided to finally embrace my minimalist nature. I was a little hesitant at first, but I've found all these encouraging b…

Why I feel old

My 10 year high school reunion was this past weekend. I didn't go, but just knowing it happened makes me realize how long age high school was.

I wont have any more birthdays in my 20s

I remember my parents when they were this age, which makes me realize that i am as old as they were, and everyone thinks their parents are old (even though mine are quite young). It's a perception thing.

I don't listen to the radio anymore for several reasons: i can't keep up with all the new music, i think all the bands sounds alike, and i think they're all crap nowadays. What happened to good music?

One of my aunts told me (when i was in high school) that when you get older you start listing to country music or more mellow music. And while i definitely have started listening to music with some "alt country" influences (Wilco, Avett Brothers, Monsters of Folk) i still dislike country music... And i still listen to some of my old punk rock music. Am I trying to resist gett…

New Word

So earlier this night I was driving in the car by myself, which i thoroughly enjoy since i don't get to do very often anymore with Dylan usually in the back seat. But i was on my own, and i was driving the Jetta, which is even better because it has the iPod connector, which means that i was able to listen to whatever music I wanted, at whatever volume I felt necessary. It was great. I fully savor those moments when i get them. I don't know why it's so different than when I'm driving with Dylan because he thankfully hasn't started demanding kids music in the car yet... we conveniently don't own much kids music... I figure he can just learn to appreciate real music from the get go-I'm sure one day he'll pick up on kids music from someone else, but I'm In no hurry to get there any time soon if I don't have to. Besides, he likes plenty of the music we like. in fact there are a few songs he will even request, and as much as I love Wilco, after h…

Thoughts on a finance article

http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/110876/why-the-rich-dont-feel-rich

I found this article very interesting for a few reasons. Not so much because they pick this guy apart for not recognizing how rich he is, but for some of the other points made.

1. The brouhaha is ripe with psychological lessons. First, Henderson is a classic example of the hedonic treadmill at work. First articulated by psychologists in the late 1960s, the hedonic treadmill speaks to the phenomenon of human adaptation. We buy something new, we're thrilled with it, then we get used to it, then we want something bigger and better and we're unhappy when we don't get it (or, in Henderson's case, we end up feeling "poor.")
I certainly see this with Dylan. It's the main reason I don't buy him a lot of toys. He's far more interests in the novelty than actually having more stuff. It just makes more sense to bring him to a friend's house and let him play with "new&q…

I'm 29...

and planning to enjoy every day of the last year I get to spend in my 20s.

Productivity

We've had a super productive week: cleaned out the garage, the piano was tuned, Eve was groomed, air ducts were cleaned, and went through all the stuff in Dylan's room (took down the changing table pad and diaper station since those are no longer necessary). Wahoo! I feel so productive and accomplished. There's still plenty to do around the house, but isn't that always true?

I also finished the C's! I never thought I would get through them. It was a very large chunk of the dictionary, and I'm pretty much convinced that everything you ever wanted to learn about classical music can be found in this "chapter." In my last post I mentioned a bunch of the major concepts covered and here are a few more, just to prove my point: chromaticism, church music, clavichord, classical, clef, composition, concert, concerto, consonance and dissonance, counterpoint, country and western, and criticism. Counterpoint wins for 2nd longest article so far (6 pages) w…

Rainy Day Thoughts

It's been in the high 90s and low 100s nearly everyday this summer. Which has made me slightly miserable. I'm not a huge fan of summer to begin with, so going through an even hotter summer is not fun at all. We finally have a break in the hot humid weather, which I'm happy about. Yesterday was a beautiful day, in the 70s for the most part. Today it's even cooler out. Dylan and I are both wearing pants with no sweating in sight. I should be really really excited. Except this is one of the rare days that I had outdoor plans, so I'm kinda bummed. But on this rainy, dreary day I figured I'd take a moment to jot down some of my random thoughts...

First of all I think I need to admit that I have absolutely no ability to be spontaneous. In fact, the idea of not having every detail planned out way in advanced causes me to panic quite a bit. Today, for instance, I was ready to start calling my friends at like 7am to come up with a Plan B since it looked like o…