Showing posts with label bucket list. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bucket list. Show all posts

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In other life list news

   10. Successfully make a boule of bread (mine are always flat)

I think I'm going to cross "successfully baking a boule of bread" off the list. My new job allows me to work from home so I can do things like baking bread. Bread baking takes almost no effort but you have to periodically punch down dough in between rises. I throw the ingredients in the Kitchenaid mixer before I fire up my computer, then I punch down the dough while I'm making lunch. By the time I'm done with work the bread is ready to be thrown in the oven. I've been trying to make a loaf a week and I've been getting better and better at executing free-form loaves.


This was a loaf of deli rye. This recipe is AWESOME.

And pumpernickel:

I've also attempted Jim Lahey's no-knead dough, which was incredible. Except for that time that I inexplicably effed it the hell up and the whole loaf was stuck in my pan. But that wasn't a boule!

Then I got on a roll and made pretzels and bread in loaf pans (I had no idea how these were rolled before this), and I've been making pasta from scratch, too. Basically, my house is a celiac's worst nightmare.

I guess I'm also trying to explain why I've gone up a pant size. It has nothing to do with Halloween candy or Thanksgiving or Christmas goodies. It is because of the 5 pound bags of flour that I go through so regularly. If you are bread challenged, as I was, I can't recommend Deb's recipes enough. She also has a write up of bread baking tips on Smitten Kitchen that are really helpful.

In my case what I needed to change was letting the dough proof longer, learning to properly slash the top and keeping a spray bottle of water to mist over the loaf during the first fifteen minutes of baking. Steam = a great crust and more expansion of your loaf. But I think really great recipes were really the key here. Learning to walk naturally in heels is going to be a LOT harder.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mighty life list: there will be nacho cheese

Consider this Mighty Life List item done: unlimited fried shrimp at The Sizzler.

I didn't actually get the unlimited option because that comes with steak but no salad bar. And the salad bar at The Sizzler includes nacho cheese, so not getting it wasn't an option. Also in the salad bar: onion rings and chicken wings. It turns out I had more than enough fried shrimp.

Jess and I were joined by the post-church supper set, for the most part. For a while there we were the only guests in the restaurant under the age of 70. They ate baked potatoes and ranted audibly about Obama while I whispered, "I'm worried this will give me E. coli." But really The Sizzler was clean and cozy and I would totally be down with spending my twilight years that way. And guys, the service there is GREAT. If you've eaten out much in Portland then you know that our collective waitstaff are surly and slow and they often act as if they are doing you a great favor just by showing up. As someone who used to wait tables, this makes me crazy. So mega-points to The Sizzler for that. Your lettuce is iceberg and your fried shrimp are just okay but your staff get gold stars.

There's a taco bar! And a sundae bar! But no sprinkles, FOR SHAME, SIZZLER. I made Jess this silly pillow as a thank you for fulfilling my childhood dream.

Jess is the only person I know who likes this silly video as much as I do. This came out before the honeybadger video and I find it way funnier. What a great way to let everyone know how much you like tigers!

So thank you, Jess, for helping me fulfill a childhood dream. I had a blast. Next up: tap dancing lessons!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If you're wondering what a cenote is . . .

They are huge sinkholes that form when the ceiling of limestone caves collapse, exposing underground water. They are like the inverse of Karst topography, which is also on the list. This is one we visited near Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula:

They can be hundreds of feet deep and they tell you to wear a life vest because they will make no attempt to rescue you. Don't you want to swim in one, too?

Monday, September 26, 2011

This has almost nothing to do with the house

Feel free to skip reading this one.

Much of my life has been spent being cautious. I'm a worrier, I'm clumsy, I'm broke, I'm afraid to fly, I always have a lot of reasons for not doing stuff. I've had people tell me I'm boring (which is so rude! and not true!). At some point about five years ago I decided to stop being afraid of stupid stuff. It's okay to be afraid of flying because that shit can actually kill you. But being afraid of karaoke? Unless there's a freak gasoline fight accident at the karaoke bar, you're not going to die. So I finally sang at karaoke and, indeed, I didn't die. Not even of embarrassment! I did other stuff like eating dinner at a restaurant by myself and buying a house. I may be boring but it takes guts to buy a fixer. I've established that here, right?

Then last fall the boy took me to Hawaii with his parents and I flew over the ocean, something I was really nervous about. At the time I joked that if he took me to the all-you-can-eat fried shrimp buffet at The Sizzler, he would have officially fulfilled all of my childhood dreams. But I lied. I'd also need tap dancing lessons. Hawaii, fried shrimp, and tap dancing. This little girl dreamed big.

Maggie over at Mighty Girl created a Mighty List of 100 things to do before she dies, which is a familiar riff on the bucket list. Lots of people make lists (you should in particular check out Jess' 30-while-she's-30 and Amy's life list) but Maggie's is fun to follow because she has corporate sponsorship so she goes amazing places and tells you what she wore.

I started thinking about what would be on my list and looking at other people's lists. It's fun because I've already done some of the stuff that other people want to do. I've done a night swim with manta rays (terrifying and awesome). I've run a 5K and learned sign language. I've grown my own vegetables and made my own limoncello and held adult dinner parties. I've rewired a lamp, seen the Northern Lights, bought a house, and taken hip hop classes. Reading these lists makes me feel way better about my life, which has made me pretty happy so far but still seems boring to other people. I'm not a thrill seeker, so sky diving or bungee jumping won't make my list, though I highly recommend going ziplining to anyone who hasn't tried it. I had to consciously avoid putting things on the list that I thought I *should* do, like hang gliding. That doesn't mean I won't do it at some point, but I don't need to do it before I die to feel content. Also, I love having toenails so running a marathon will never make this list. And why would I run when I can take Zumba classes?

A lot of this is aspirational stuff I've always dreamed about (Italy, manatees) and other stuff is more banal but somehow it hasn't happened yet.

So here's my Mighty List, in no particular order and still in progress:
  1. Go to Hawaii (done 10/10!)
  2. Unlimited fried shrimp at The Sizzler
  3. Take tap dancing lessons
  4. Spend an entire day making bolognese and homemade pasta, drinking wine, and watching The Godfather 1&2 with friends (I did something similar once and it was awesome).
  5. Go to Italy (just done 09/11! ohmygod!)
  6. Visit New York City
  7. Refinish the floors in the house
  8. Road trip of the States
  9. Learn how to can food
  10. Successfully make a boule of bread (mine are always flat)
  11. Bike to a picnic in the park
  12. Vacation on Isla Mujeres
  13. Learn to walk naturally in heels
  14. See Glacier National Park before all the glaciers melt
  15. Learn to salsa dance confidently
  16. Make a pie for someone else, which means not eating a single bite myself
  17. Vacation with my mom
  18. Pay off my credit card debt
  19. Roast my own coffee beans
  20. Learn to crochet
  21. See the manatees in Florida (sea cows, how I love you!)
  22. Learn to type without looking
  23. Take piano lessons
  24. See Machu Picchu
  25. Set foot in seven continents
  26. Croissants in Paris. Remember it fondly afterward with some International Coffee.

  27. Kayak a major body of water
  28. Complete the 3 day Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure
  29. See the Grand Canyon
  30. Get a role in a musical
  31. Attend a seder
  32. Catch a fish
  33. Attend a Dia de los Muertos celebration in Mexico
  34. See the Karst topography in China

  35. Photo yanked from here
  36. Swim in a cenote
  37. Go backpacking again
  38. Take one of my nieces or nephews on an awesome trip
  39. Make my own mozzarella cheese
  40. Have a dinner party and not feel disappointed about how some of the food came out.
  41. Happy hour oysters at Cafe Nell
  42. Camp on the southern Oregon coast
  43. Take a painting class
  44. Learn how to swim, for reals (I *love* being in the water but I do this sad mashup between the breast stroke and doggie paddle and I'd be screwed if I ever needed to get somewhere quickly.)
  45. Get my yard prettified enough to be featured on a garden tour . . .
  46. . . . and then invite LeAnn over for cocktails
  47. Float in the Dead Sea
  48. Sew a sundress
  49. Visit my family in Scotland
  50. Go to Japan
  51. Helicopter ride in Hawaii
  52. Have a ladies-only tea party in the garden where we all wear dresses and eat little sandwiches.
  53. Curry at HA & VL
  54. Take a vacation with Bill
  55. Make pizza on the barbecue
  56. Host a board game night
  57. Find the perfect jeans
  58. Learn how to hit a baseball/softball
  59. Play craps (it's look like so much fun in the movies . . . until something TERRIBLE happens)
  60. Tea in the Chinese garden
  61. Indian food at Vij's in Vancouver
Just a heads up: If you have "take a road trip to all the Sizzlers in the US" on your life list, there's a trip planner on their site. Nothing is stopping you now!

Anybody else have a mighty/bucket list?