Wonky's Land of Nonsensical Musings

Month: December 2014

2014 Year in Review

I thought about writing a detailed wrap up of what happened this year, but frankly not a whole lot happened.  Besides a rather entertaining and debt increasing, cruise I am leaving 2014 pretty much the way I entered it.  I am not really down on 2014. It was just a year that happened.

At the beginning of 2014 I asked myself three questions and recorded what I hoped would be the answers:

How do I feel about 2014?

  • Content with what happened
  • Glad to have lived it
  • Willing to move onto 2015
  • satisfied with the decisions I made

How am I a different person after 2014?

  • I am fitter and healthier
  • I think more about how my actions affect me and others
  • I follow through on what I plan to do 

What did I accomplish in 2014?

  • I got out of credit card debt
  • I wrote a bunch
  • I will have learned some of a new language

How do I feel about 2014?  Like I said, it was a year that happened. Not much changed.

How am I a different person after 2014? I am actually healthier. I ate a little better this year.  I also started jogging again a couple of months ago. My resting heart rate has dropped from around 100 to about 80.

What did I accomplish in 2014? I massively increased my credit card debt. Though in the second half of the year I began taking real steps toward lowering it.  I wrote more than in the past. And yes did learn a bit more French.

Reading this post I realize it is kinda lame. I feel I should try and write something profound and moving. I just don’t have it in me.

Food Friday: Pumpkin Soup

It’s that time of year when EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored. With cans of pureed pumpkin going for 10 cents, slight exaggeration, I had stocked up on pumpkin. I wanted to do something a little different, so I decided on putting together a pumpkin soup. I apologize for the terrible pictures. They were taken with my horrible horrible phone.
Ingredients (I adjusted the amounts from a recipe for the amount of chicken stock I had on hand):
  • 26 oz chicken stock
  • 1 3/4 cans pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • one medium yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic (can use less but I like garlic. 
  • pepper to taste

Put the chicken stock, pumpkin, diced garlic, and chopped onion in a pan and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 40 minutes.  Your soup probably will NOT look like mine above.  I had misread the recipe and initially only used 1 can of pumpkin. About half way through the simmer time I realized that there was no way the soup was right and reread the recipe.  That’s when I added the extra 3/4 can of pumpkin. Luckily I have other uses for left over pumpkin.  Next time I think I will just use both cans and add a little water.
Anyway, once the soup has simmered you need to blend it to a nice paste. You can use a good stick blender for this. My stick blender isn’t good, so I use my stand up blender which has a  nice thick glass blendy thingy(probably a name for this).  I poured in small amounts of the soup blending as I went. Once all blended put it back in the pan and add the heavy cream. 

You can garnish. I didn’t bother and just chowed down.  This stuff is actually really good even if it does look like baby food.

The Tale of Three Jogs – Illinois Weather

Near the end of October I started jogging again. Every few years or so I get the bug to seriously take up running again.  Serious means being able to run a 5k. I could go all sorts of directions when blogging about running. I could talk about he life lesson learned from the rapid improvement or how it improves my mood. What I am going to talk about is the weather. Stupidly, I’ve taken up running outdoors as we transition into winter. Even with my cold weather gear we’ve already had a week were it was too windy and cold to run outside. I might have to jog some on a treadmill… ew.  Most places joke about their weather: “if you don’t like the weather just wait an hour”.  No place is that more true than in the midwest.

Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I went for a jog.  The temperature almost hit 30F and  brisk wind blew from the south producing a wind chill of 19F. I wore four layers on top and two below the waist.  My fingers and toes got cold and the cold air burned my lungs.. It was not a pleasant experience. I would much rather run when it is 90 than when it is 20. I think sweating is better than freezing.

On Sunday I went for another jog.  Again a gale wind blew from the south. The slight difference was the 60 F temperature. I only wore a windbreaker and sweatpants over my usual summer running gear.  By the  end of my run sweat soaked my clothes.

After work, four days later, I went for another jog.   This time it was 40 degrees with a breeze and a slight rain falling. I had a good run. The best since I restarted running.

So that is Illinois weather for you.  In less than two weeks we had: 19 degree windchills, 64 degree weather with gusting winds, 40 degrees and raining, and also there was a bonus ice storm mixed in. 

NaNoWriMo: Finding Success in Failure

It will come as no surprise but I didn’t finish writing the 50 k words for NaNoWriMo. I stalled somewhere around 11k. I wrote nothing for the novel during  the second half of the month. I am trying to see the positive in this failure.  I more than doubled my word output from any previous NaNoWriMos. I also worked through some sticky plot points. At this rate I might finish a single draft of a single novel by the time I’m sixty… maybe.

I have a the quote above printed out and taped to my desks: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” If I apply this quote to my near lifelong desire to be a writer, I have to admit I must not really want it. With saying that, I am unwilling to give the dream up. The desire has been to much a part of my life since my teens.

I understand the only way for me to be a writer is to regularly and consistently write.  It is a complete no duh statement, but it’s true. Writing has to become a common and reoccurring part of what I do and who I am. It really is as simple as just do it.  I need to find an hour, heck even a half hour, worth of time a day and write. Before work, after work, it doesn’t matter when.

My Favorite P. D. James novels

Like many I was saddened by the news of the passing of P. D. James. I  have long been a fan of her writing. I wasn’t so much drawn to the mysteries, though they were conceived well enough. Her prose kept bringing me back. She elevated mystery writing from being about the who done it, to a more conscientious type of literature.  She could be both poetic and lively descriptive. I remember rereading one long paragraph three times.  In it she described a tree in a courtyard. That was it. I have rarely been so into a scene.  I could smell the fall leaves and feel the coarseness of the bark. She also wrote very believable characters and they came from all types and class. James motivates me to try and be a writer.

In honor I give you my top three favorite P.D. James novels in no particular order:

  • Death of an Expert Witness
  • The Murder Room
  • An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

You really can’t go wrong with any James novel but I would start with one of those three.

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