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.

Bros & guns

October 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

We spent the weekend in Portland, OR where my husband is from and for my first shooting experience, I thought it would be fun to go with his twin brothers to the range. His brother, Gabe, is a member of the Tri-County Gun Club about a half hour outside of Portland. When I was setting out to shoot a gun for the first time this week I didn’t realize what was in store for me with John’s brothers. They have some serious guns. I shot a .40 caliber handgun, an AK-47, and AR-15 and a .308 rifle.

It’s a little unsettling to be around real guns & real bullets for the first time. BBs are so tiny in comparison! I was definitely nervous about making sure the guns weren’t pointed at anything. When you see how strong the bullets are and feel how heavy the guns are you know you’re not playing around anymore. It’s good to go to a range because they’re sticklers about safety. No chance of going Dick Cheney on anyone.

The first gun I shot was a Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun. This was probably my least favorite gun to shoot because it felt like I had the least amount of control with it. It had a pretty strong kick & I felt like it could go flying out of my hand. This was also the gun that felt most “real” to me. It didn’t require all the preparation of the other guns.

The AR-15 was a pretty fun rifle to shoot. It had the least amount of recoil and was easy in terms of accuracy at 50 yards. Overall I didn’t do too badly for my first time. Even some of the old timers came over to see what a “little lady” like me could do.

My favorite experience was the .308 rifle. We shot at 100 yards but can accurately hit a target at up to 800 yards. It took awhile to get used to how loud all of the rifles were & to not get distracted by others shooting when you were trying to focus. Gabe was a good teacher & helped me focus on my breathing to steady the gun. I ended up with 3 bulls-eyes, not bad for my first time!

It was a little unsettling being around the guns, seeing how powerful they are and imagining shooting something or someone for that matter. I can see how people get into shooting and improving their accuracy. Despite the noise there is something relaxing about shooting. There are few things nowadays that can completely command your attention and focus the way shooting does.

I don’t know that I’ll be running out to get a gun anytime soon but I’m glad I gave it a shot.


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