Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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All the Books I Read in 2015!

I started tracking the books I’m reading on GoodReads this year and it made a nice summary of the 18 books I read (i.e. surpassing my goal of 15 books), so I just stole screenshots from that report. #Efficiency

GoodReads 2015 - part 1
GoodReads 2015 - part 2

The above list includes:

  • 4 books that I read for one of the courses that I taught
  • 5 books that I read for my book club
  • 1 book that I read for work
  • 8 non-fiction books that I read out of interest

Wow, I just realized there isn’t a single fiction book on that list that I just chose to read myself. Good thing for my book club or I wouldn’t have read any fiction at all!

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All the Things I Completed From My 101 List in 2015

Here’s a summary, by month, of the items that I completed from my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, during 2015:

Month Items Completed
Jan 58. Ski at Whistler
66. Take the Peak to Peak gondola in Whistler
Feb 27. Update my address on every account I have by the time my mail forwarding ends
Mar 28. Update my budget to reflect my new financial situation
Apr 64. Go on a Paddle Wheeler cruise down the Fraser River
May 89. Increase the amount of money I loan out via Kiva by 100%
93. Get a book chapter published
46. Go to Nova Scotia
Jun 56. Go to Bowen Island
69. Create a balcony herb garden
86 Decorate a cake in a creative and awesome way
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct 91. Paint something worth hanging on my wall
Nov
Dec 4. Create a computer simulation model.
92. Get a journal article published
38. Write a will

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All the New Foods & Drinks I Made This Year!

One of my goals for 2015 was to “make 15 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before”. And I managed to blow this one out of the water, with 19 new food items!

Chocolate buttercream frosting 1-Jan-2015
sweet and spicy pecans and cashews 12-Jan-2015
caramelized onion, mushroom, apple and Gruyère puff pastry bites 12-Jan-2015
cucumbers with salmon whip and dill whip 12-Jan-2015
slow cooker gingered chickpea and tomato stew 12-Jan-2015
cheese puffs 12-Jan-2015
homemade sour mix 12-Jan-2015
Swiss cheese beer bread 4-Feb-2015
potato, cheddar & beer soup 4-Feb-2015
beer marinated pork chops 4-Feb-2015
brown ale potato galette 12-Mar-2015
black bean & mushroom tortilla casserole 12-Mar-2015
spent grain dog biscuits 28-Mar-2015
rice pilaf 29-Mar-2015
BBQ short ribs 14-Jun-2015
grilled potato skins 4-Jul-2015
blondies 14-Sep-2015
ameretti 23-Dec-2015
roasted beets 24-Dec-2015

As you can see from the above list, I started the year off strong by making a new item on New Year’s Day, and then 6 new items on Jan 12 (for my birthday party). I also owe several of these items to the fact that my friend Amy and I started home brewing beer and our first batch was rather undercarbonated so I found some recipes that used beer as an ingredient to use up the under carbonated beer. And just as I typed  that I realized that I forgot to include all the beer I made on this list, as they are totally drink items that I’ve never made before!! They are:

  • winter ale
  • blonde ale
  • stout
  • hefeweizen

So that’s 23 new items I made this year! Go me!

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834.7 km

And speaking of my 2015 goals, another one was to run 800 km. Mission accomplished!

834.7 kmI actually hit the 800 km mark back in Oct shortly before running the Rock’n’Roll 10 km race. And then after it got cold and rainy and dark and I had no other races to train for, and it became very easy to not go out running. In fact, after the 10 km race, I only went on three more short runs for the entire rest of the year1! I decided that rather than make myself go running in the cold and the dark and the wet while I had no race for motivation and take the fun out of running, I’d take a bit of a break from running until the new year. And now that the days are getting longer and I’m starting to think about the races to do in the new year, I think I’ll really be ready to get back into running when I return from my holiday.

  1. When I packed for my trip to Toronto, I didn’t pack any running gear, which was kind of strange, as I haven’t travelled anywhere in a long time where I didn’t bring my running gear. []

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My 2015 race medals

One of my 2015 goals was to add 5 new race medals to my collection. Mission accomplished!

My 2015 race medals

My first medal of the year didn’t come until May, when I ran the BMO Vancouver half marathon:

BMO Vancouver half marathon 2015 medal

Then came the Florida virtual half marathon:

Florida virtual half marathon 2015 medal

The PNE Donut Dash 5 km wins the prize for the cutest medal in my collection:

PNE Donut Dash 2015 medal

Then there was my first ever demi-marathon at the Montreal Rock’n’Roll marathon:

Montreal demi-marathon medal 2015

And finally, there was the Rock’n’Roll 10 km race:

Vancouver Rock'n'Roll 10 km medal 2015I originally thought I’d get a bonus medal called the “Double Beat” medal for having done two Rock’n’Roll events, but I learned too late that you had to do at least a half marathon distance at each event to qualify for that, so no bonus medal for me! Good thing I’d done the Donut Dash so I already had five1!

  1. Of course, there were several small races even after the Rock’n’Roll Vancouver 10 km that I could have run to get a medal if I’d needed to. []

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93 down, 22 to go!

With just 4.5 days left to go in 2015, I have 22 blog postings left to go1 to reach my goal of 115 postings, so I’m going to see how many blog postings I can power through this afternoon. Apologies in advance for flooding your Twitter stream/Facebook feed/RSS feed!

  1. Once I post this one. []

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68 down, 47 to go!

BlogAs I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve ramped up my blog writing as of late, but I haven’t quite been hitting my target of 7.25 blog postings per week in order to make my goal of 115 blog postings for this year. By my latest calculation, once I include today’s posting and one for tomorrow, I will have to publish 47 blog postings during the 31 days in December – or 1.516 blog postings per day. I do have a list of stuff that I want to blog about (plus a few other items I’ve added to my mental list since I published that list), but I certainly don’t have 47 blog posting ideas. And I find that when I challenge myself to a blogging goal like this, it tends to lead to the dreaded blogger’s block.

So I’ve decided that for the month of December, I’m going to use the “daily blogging prompts” from the BlogHer website. These prompts take the form of a list of questions, one for each weekday1, and then you just write a blog posting to answer that question. So that gives me content for 23 blog postings, which means I only need to think of content for 24 blog postings. I have 12 items on my list that I haven’t yet posted about, so that just leaves 12 things that I’ll need to come up with. And given that there are lots of things going on in December – and there’s my usual end of year postings2 – I feel like this goal is do-able! Now I just have to hope that the daily prompts are actually interesting so that I don’t bore you all to death!

Image Credit: Posted by Got Credit on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. So technically they aren’t “daily”, as there are no prompts on the weekends. []
  2. Nerd Stats for the year, Review of 2015 goals, Setting of 2016 goals, just to name a few. []

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Goals 2015 – 317/365ths of the year check-in

So apparently I’ve rediscovered that I have a blog. Sadly, I totally forgot that November is NaBloPoMo1 – the month where you are supposed to publish a blog posting every day –  until about 2 days ago, which was 11 days to late to realize such a thing. I have, however, rebounded from one of my worst ever months for blog posting – I only posted 2 postings last month. Two! – having already posted 4 blog postings this month2 and the month isn’t even half over.

Rediscovering that I have a blog has reminded me that I have a list of goals that I aimed to accomplish this year, something I haven’t really thought about since, well, basically since I started working on the course that I’m currently teaching, which has pretty much taken over my life (outside of my day job) for the past three months3.

The last time I checked in on the list was in July, at which time I had completed 4 of my 15 +1 goals4

Well, I’m happy to report that I’m knocked 3 more items off the list:

  • run two half marathons (Vancouver and Montreal)
  • run 800 km (this one warrants its own blog posting!)
  • add 5 new medals to my collection (as does this one)

I’m also on track to achieve:

  • read 15 books in 2015 (I’ve read 14 so far5.)
  • complete 15 items from my 101 list (I’ve completed 11 so far)
  • bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work (I currently sit at 49.7%, so I need to bump it up to at least 50.1% and I have 22 work days left in the year, so as long as I bring my lunch 12 out of those 22 days, I’ll achieve this one.)

I’m not on track, but could get back on track with a Herculean effort, for this one:

  • Write 115 blog postings (I’ve published (including this one) 57 blog postings this year, which means I need to publish another 58 postings in the next 48 days (or 7.25 blog postings per week) to achieve this goal.)

I failed to achieve this one and am not going to have the opportunity again before year’s end (so I guess it goes on next year’s goals list!):

  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon.

I’ve continued to neglect:

  • Complete the 100 push up challenge.
  • Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. I
  • Write a will.
  • Apply for at least one research grant.

and the second and fourth ones of that aren’t going to happen without a miracle. But the first and fourth are things that I can still tackle – and now that I remember them, perhaps I will start on them!

  1. National Blog Posting Month. []
  2. 5 is if you count this one that I’m writing now, which will be published by the time you read this. []
  3. Incidentally, I teach on Wednesday nights and since yesterday was a holiday, there was no class. Which gave me a bit of a breather and reminded me about the gloriousness of having free time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving teaching my class, but it is so much freaking work to put together three hours of lecture ever week, plus marking, plus communicating with students and guest speakers, etc. I’m really going to enjoy the break I’ll get when this is done. []
  4. +1 because I added in a bonus goal in that blog posting. []
  5. A few too many of these are textbooks for my liking, but I needed to read them to prep my course and they still count! []

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Making Dinner With A Little Vitamin Beer

A friend of mine and I have taken up home brewing, because science. It’s a long story that I’ll blog about later, but suffice it to say that we recently finished our first batch and it was, shall we say, suboptimally carbonated. Tasted quite good for a first batch, if I do say so myself, but one can only drink so much undercarbonated beer, so I came up with the idea that I should look up some recipes for things you can make with beer, because beer. And I came up with the following, all of which tasted pretty darned good, if I do say so myself!

Swiss Cheese Beer Bread:

Swiss Cheese Beer Bread

This was really quick to make and really tasty, if you are in the mood for a dense bread. I had read the comments on the recipe before I made this and noted that someone had commented that it didn’t take nearly as long as to bake as the 50-60 minutes stated in the recipe, so I made sure to check on it early and it ended up only taking about 35 minutes to bake!

Savory Beer Pork Chops:

Savory Beer Pork Chops

These pork chops were also pretty delicious. As well, when I put the brown sugar into the beer to make the marinade, the beer foamed up and looked like real beer!

Homebrewed Beer

Potato Beer Cheese Soup:

Potato Beer Cheese Soup

This was a pretty good soup – and I generally don’t even like soup!

And so I was 3 for 3 on delicious tasting recipes. Can’t say that this was the healthiest meal I’ve ever eaten – pro tip: when you meal is all beige, something is drastically wrong in the nutrition department.

In addition to finding a way to not waste beer1 and making a delcious dinner, I also managed to bring the number of new food items I’ve made this year to 10 and so I’ve officially completed 67% of my goal to make 15 new food items in 2015 and it’s only February!

  1. Which I’m relatively certain is at least a misdemeanour, if not a full out crime. []

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Goals for 2015

Is it wrong that I’ve been excited about making my 2015 goals list since about mid-November? I’m not sure why I’m such a goal fanatic but the idea of setting goals and working towards them makes me unnaturally happy. Anyway, I now present to you my 2015 goals, some of which are old familiars by this point (either from my previous years’ goals lists and/or taken from my 101 list), but also a few new ideas to keep things interesting.

Health

  1. Run two half marathons. I’ve already registered for the BMO Vancouver half and then I’ll pick one in the fall – Montreal Rock’n’Roll in September is a possibility, depending on my work schedule.
  2. Run a sub-2 hour half marathon. I’ve had this as a goal since I started running half marathons, but if I’m honest with myself, I’ve never really dedicated myself to the amount and type of training needed to achieve it. So this year, I’m really going to dedicate myself to the training for the BMO – and no amount of cold, rain, or hills will be allowed to be an excuse this time. I’ve even signed up for a Sunday morning running clinic so I’ll always have someone to do the long runs with. 2015 will be the year that I will get this one done.
  3. Run 800 km. I’m betting I can do better than the 82% of this goal that I managed in 2014, especially given that I’m planning to be more dedicated to my half marathon training.
  4. Add 5 new medals to my collection. The two half marathons will give me two medals, so I’ll just need to find 3 other races with medals. There’s the Hot Chocolate 5 km in March where you get a medal AND a hot chocolate, which is pretty much a no brainer. So I guess I just need to find 2 more.
  5. Complete the 100 pushup challenge. I haven’t tried this one in a while, but I figure it’s good for me to do something related to upper body strength, given that I have none.
  6. Bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work. I have been absolutely abysmal at bringing my lunch to work, pretty much since I started my MBA, when I got too busy to do such things as buy groceries. I used to be really good about it before that, bringing my lunch almost every single day, but somehow I have not been able to get back into that routine, despite being done school for a year. I really just need to be a tiny bit more organized at getting groceries and doing some meal planning (because I love having leftovers for lunch!)
  7. Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. If I do the above 4 things, I think I’ll have a good shot at this one.

Wealth

  1. Set up a new investment plan. As I mentioned, I did this last year, but now I need to do it again!
  2. Write a will. This is on my 101 list, but I’m putting it here as a prompt to do it sooner rather than later. Have to make sure that my kitties inherit my vast estate! 😉
  3. Pay off 7.5% of my mortgage principal. According to my trusty spreadsheet, just making my regular accelerated biweekly payments, I will pay off 3.4% of my remaining principal. But since I have the option to put lump sums on my mortgage, I figure I find some extra coin to pay off a bit extra.

Misc

  1. Complete 15 items from my 101 list. This is a bit more than 1 per month – that should be do-able.
  2. Apply for at least one research grant. I don’t have any specific ones that I’m planning on, but I really should get on doing this!
  3. Make 15 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before. I have a few ideas for this, including trying my hand at making puff pastry from scratch.
  4. Organize all my closets. They are a disaster, but I have a good idea of how they should be organized.
  5. Write 115 blog postings. That’s only 2.2 blog posting per week.

So there are my 15 goals for 2015!