52 To Do – Top 10

January 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

When I tell people about my blog they always ask what my favorite week has been. It’s always hard to pick a favorite but I can name my top 10. If you’re looking for some fun, interesting things to try out for 2012, here were my favorites from this past year in no particular order:

1. Learning to roast coffee – If you claim to love or live on coffee, this is something you have to try. Unfortunately for those who live in apartments where it’s hard to get outside this may not be ideal for you (there’s smoke). Sweet Maria’s has a great starter kit for $45.

It will seriously become your favorite cup of coffee. Ever.

2. Ice fishing (or something that seems completely out of your range of possibility) – We spent the day with friends trying something none of us had ever tried before. While we didn’t catch any fish, we did arguably have the best laugh of 2011.

Getting out and doing things I’d never done before to embrace winter made a huge difference living here in Boulder.

3. Researching my ancestry – I definitely looked at my life differently after understanding more about where I came from. Plus it is a great thing to do with your family. I spent the week with my family going through old pictures and hearing old stories, many I had not heard before. It was a nice way to spend time together.

It was good to get my parents to talk about what they remember. I only wish my grandparents were still around. I have so many questions for them.

4. Churn homemade ice cream with friends – I bought a hand churn ice cream maker (White Mountain 4 qt. hand crank) and this proved to be a fun summer activity with friends. If you do get the hand churn one, you pretty much need the extra help since it isn’t easy!

My friend Jess (who also accompanied me on lots of blog adventures) gave me a great ice cream recipe book that did us right. It was a toss up between the goat cheese ice cream and the roasted coffee ice cream (we of course used fresh home roasted coffee for that) as to which was the best.

5. Learning about wine – I owe a huge thanks to my friends at Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder. James Beard award winner, Bobby Stuckey, welcomed my project early on letting me shadow his amazing crew of sommeliers on what it’s like to live for wine. I’ve made lots of new wine buddies through Frasca and the Boulder Wine Merchant. With more Master Sommeliers per capita than any city in the U.S. Boulder is a good place to be to learn about wine.

6. Hike a 14er – In 2011 I officially became a Coloradan by climbing my first 14,000 foot mountain with my friend Alicia (another partner in crime with many blog projects).

You likely won’t have mountains like that around but maybe there’s another physical feat to try that makes you equally feel a part of where you’re living. Boston marathon? Rowing the Thames? Surfing in Santa Monica?

7. Learning how to knit – This was a favorite for multiple reasons. I gained a new skill that is incredibly relaxing. I made some beautiful cowls that served as well-received holiday presents and to top it off I made a new friend in the process.

I also found a gem of a local store (Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins) where I will continue going for yarn and pearls of wisdom from the fantastic crew of ladies that work there.

8. Shooting a gun – I will likely never own a gun but I am glad I learned how to shoot one this year (target range only). It is an experience you could never understand without actually doing it. I now know just how powerful and dangerous they are.

It was something totally foreign to me and outside of my comfort zone, but I felt like it was something I should try once in my lifetime. Plus it was a great way to spend the afternoon with my husband and his twin brothers in Portland.

9. Pasta making – Pasta is one of those staples around the house and making it yourself is not only easy but worth the little bit of effort. The difference in taste is amazing.

I’ve continued along with it and for New Year’s Day dinner tonight I’ll be making some homemade orchiette I learned to make from Brian, another Frasca friend.

10. Reading about philosophy and religion – One of the best outcomes of the year was learning to think for myself again. It was a great exercise to dust off some books on philosophy and religion and to challenge my thinking in that regard a bit again.

It’s easy to get caught up in day to day issues and worries and can be enlightening to realize we’re just a blip on the radar when it comes to humanity. We are trying to answer many of the same questions people have been trying to answer for centuries.

i am now an ice fisherwoman

January 23, 2011 § 3 Comments

If someone had told me 2 years ago that I would be living in Colorado and ice fishing, I would’ve told them they must be smoking something.  Today I boldly went ice fishing for the first time at Georgetown Lake with some good friends we’ve made living in Boulder.  It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever done and also some of the most fun I’ve had in ages.

First we had to auger a fishing hole:

We’re now the proud owners an ice auger!  It took us about a half an hour to make the hole, taking turns and scooping out the ice as we got deeper.  The ice was about foot and a half deep which made us feel better about the cracking we would hear from time to time on the lake.  As we were close to the end some real fishermen came out with a gas powered ice auger and made a hole in about 2 minutes.  We were still pretty proud of our efforts!

With a hole to fish in we were ready to fish. We had about 20 minutes of somewhat peaceful fishing and then the wind kicked up.  I forgot to mention it was really, really windy on the lake.  Here is the tent progression:

Our tent went from a somewhat sturdy shelter to a moving shelter being blown across the lake with Jessica in it, to a parasail almost picking my husband and our friend Steve off the ice onto the I-70 highway. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in awhile at all of us being blown about as we were trying to appear to be serious fishermen.

We were undaunted, however.  We got back out on the ice, sans tent, and gave ice fishing another try.

We could see the fish down there, but alas we did not catch a one.  We did get a few nibbles.  All in all, it was quite an adventure stepping out onto a frozen lake for the first time.  It was a fun bonding experience with new friends as we were being blown about the lake.  Other than the wind, it was a gorgeous day and a great way to spend a Sunday.

One of my favorite aspects was how beautiful the ice was with all of the bubbles frozen in place:
I will give this ice fishing thing another try…maybe in a lake that is not quite so windy next time!

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