Being a Pro(fessional) Crastinator

>> Monday, November 30, 2009

Dilatory. Idle. Lackadaisical. Dawdling. Some folks may think this sounds pleasant, as though I'm lounging by a pool holding a sparkly glass with an umbrella in it. I do live in a coastal resort town, and spend a lot of time in the sun on my porch.

Where did I find these lovely words? In the Thesaurus, under "Lazy".

Also listed are the following: Apathetic. Careless. Sluggish. Remiss. Negligent.

This morning I found a blog by a friend from elementary school. She's single, has a puppy, and runs her own business. One of her blog posts was titled "101 in 1001", meaning that she made a list of 101 goals to try to accomplish in 1001 days. That's approximately 6-7 months, I haven't figured it out; she set the list in February and aimed to check in around August. She met more than half of her goals.

Reading her list made me very tired. This is not a good sign. And I realized that, after a while, lackadaisical lemonade lounging in the sun goes from refreshing to negligent pretty darn quickly. So this is something that I probably need to do.

However, I also want to work with my tendencies and not against them. Successful goal-setting always comes hand in hand with the word "appropriate" or it'll never happen. So I'm starting small: Instead of 101 things in 1001 days, I'm going to scoop out a zero and try for 11 things in 101 days. Starting today will give me until March 10th to accomplish my 11 things. Considering that time span includes a MN trip, Christmas (and potential FL trip), my birthday, and Kaylee's birthday, as well as schoolwork, I may be hard pressed to finish 11. But I'm going to try.

My 11 things for 101 days
(in no particular order)

1. finish the Christmas quilt on the wall
2. shred the box of old documents in the attic
3. buy paint and supplies for the livingroom
4. have someone over for dinner
5. plant all the bulbs in the bag by the door (should be sooner than later)
6. get an eye exam and new glasses (before the new year)
7. get an evaluation on my back (orthopedic?)
8. make good homemade soup
9. add at least two more color bands to my knitting project
10. make some money
11. brush the cats twice a week
*Extra goal that's important: Play the piano at least twice a week

Other things that could stand to be done that I'm going to list here before I forget them but that I won't count in the list unless I run out of stuff, which is unlikely...

  • clean the back porch
  • clean the house at least once a month as though my mother was visiting tomorrow
  • home cook extra food for the freezer
  • sort large box of old photos into books

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Apple Cream Cheese Pie

>> Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The first weekend that my father stayed with us for the tennis championship, he apparently brought a bag of apples that went straight into the fruit basket without passing my eyes. And once it's there, it's out of sight for me. So color me surprised when I finally clean the kitchen and find apples! Good, sweet red ones, I think they were Romas.

We ate some, and had a few left. I noticed today that one was bad, so out it went and all but one of the rest I've turned into pie. Initially I wanted to recreate Baker's Square's French Apple Cream Cheese pie, but couldn't find a copy of the recipe. So I stumbled upon Ms. Sue's Creamy Apple Pie and have used that recipe as a base.

So first, I found a pie plate. It's not deep dish, and it should have been, but oh well.

Then I made a graham cracker crust according to the instructions on the box of cracker crumbs. Originally I was going to make Rachel's Butterfinger Pie, which is entirely chilled and not baked, so I put the crust in the fridge for a while. Then I changed my mind and took it out again.

Next I sliced an apple. Way too early, but I wanted to make sure they were still good and worth the effort. They were, and promptly began turning brown. Oh, well.

Then I turned to the cream cheesy bit. Into a bowl went 8 oz Philly original cream cheese, some sugar, and an egg. Beat them up until it looked smooth like I wanted my "cheesecake" to look.

Back to the apples. I chopped up an apple and threw it in my Cuisinart along with two small handfuls of walnuts, sugar, (and here's where I got more creative: added some cinnamon and nutmeg! ooh!). Then I totally ignored Sue's directions. She says to have the apple sliced and I guess mix up the other stuff and then "layer in circular pattern". But for some reason I got confused and just ground it all up in the processor! And I gotta say, it tastes fabulous!

Okay, so, we have a crust in a pie plate. I put a few very thin slices of apples around the bottom, layered it with the cream cheesy goodness, topped that with the ground up apple stuff. Then I sprinkled some walnuts over and pressed them in to make sure they wouldn't burn, and put some thin apple slices over the top. Followed Sue's instruction to cover with dabs of butter and baked the sucker per Ms. Sue's directions.

I've just pulled it out of the oven and it smells amazing. The apples on top dried out and curled a little, so that's not that good. Also, it's a "cheesecake". It only needed to bake in the first place because there's an egg in it, so the cheesy part is a bit gooshy because it's melted.
*note: Apparently I forgot the vanilla. But it still tasted good before I cooked it!

The biggest problem will be the waiting. I gotta let this cool down and then fridge it overnight for me to be happy with it, as I definitely prefer cheesecake cold. Bah! Bah, I say!


My Official Recipe: What went into this specific pie

Crust:
Graham Cracker Crust as it says to do it on the box

Creamy Filling:
1 8oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
Beat cheese 1/4 cup sugar, egg till smooth and spread over bottom of crust. Set aside.

Apple Filling:
2 medium Roma apples *note: I left the skins on, and probably should not have
2 small handfuls chopped Pecans or Walnuts
1/2 Tea. Cinnamon
2/3 Cup Sugar
Throw apple filling ingredients into a food processor and grind the heck out of it. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times. Spread it out over the top of the cheese filling, sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top, pressing them into the filling slightly so they don't burn, top with a few thin and pretty apple slices with skins on. Dot with 1 tab. butter. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 and continue to bake till apples are tender. The slices on top started getting a bit dry, so at about 20 minutes in I used tongs and flipped them over to get both sides moist.

Let cool, then fridge it if you like cheesecake cold like I do.

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B.C. Technology

>> Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm playing with this idea which, at the moment, I rather like. It's a comparison. Almost a metaphor, but not quite. Kinda. But it just might work.

I've been part of the generation that I consider the 'between tech' generation; I've known a life where none of my friends had heard of computers, and I've personally participated in the relationship changes from telephone and letter to email and chat. I've traveled from dos-based word-processor-written mailbox mail to two-day-delivery email to bulletin board text-only forums to stand-alone instant messengers to Facebook. I've read a fair number of research articles over the last decade and more about the detriments of online communication, some more extreme than others. I'm attending an entirely online college, and can definitely acknowledge that there's a down-side to the lack of face-to-face interaction.

Here's a common perspective: assuming that you don't use a webcam or computer phone software, which I personally don't (yet), internet communication does not involve body language or tone of voice. Therefore, there's a great deal of potential for misunderstanding someone's intentions. In the case that context isn't clear, the interpretation of an email or a blog post, or even a Facebook status comment, is left up to the reader's mood and knowledge of the person making the comment. This is especially true if the writer is intending to joke around, or if there's a complicated simile or metaphor going on.

I'll simplify and summarize this idea as a statement of fact, just for kicks.

Text relationships, currently online communication, (I'm not counting the eras of letter-writing, in which most cases folks would know one another before writing, and perhaps occasionally phone) does not involve verbal communication or body language, and therefore is interpreted by the reader based on written context, reader's mood (whether or not they're inclined to take offense), and how well the reader personally knows the writer.

So here's where the comparison comes in. The idea of a completely textual relationship, sound-free and lacking non-verbal communication, is not new with technology. In fact, it is incredibly old... about 2000 years, older if you count the period of silence prior to Christ. If that text communication is comparable to a modern text communication, then it would follow that the same conditions exist: context, my mood, and how well I know God are all I have to go on when I read the Bible and try to understand what God meant when He wrote it.

I know that I've heard God speak to me, in words, in my head, so there's the verbal. Christ gave us the Holy Spirit to help us in many ways, discernment and interpretation being part of that. Perhaps the Holy Spirit brings us a subconscious understanding of the non-verbal?

But even with the verbal and the non-verbal parts I'm missing, I still need context. That's easy enough to gather by educating myself in studies and research. Then there's mood. My mood definitely affects how I hear and respond to anything with anyone, no reason that'd change reading what He wrote to me. In fact, my mood actually tends to influence that relationship on my end more than my human ones.

So the last thing, and it's the clincher, is how well I know Him. I instant messaged to one of my best friends the other day, and her response was so intensely her that I saw her posture and heard her tone of voice in my mind. Do I know God well enough that I can just see Him saying that?

I said that was the last thing, but perhaps it ought to have been the first. Because the better I know you personally, regardless of your writing or the context or my mood, the better I will know what you mean. And I'd think that understanding what God means when He's talking to me is really my bottom line. So I have to ask myself, how well do I know Him? And what can I do to know more?

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About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.
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