hobbies

House Insanity – I Got This

Moving is always an adventure, and when coupled with buying your first house, you realize what stuff you’re made of. While I’ve had plenty of essential help and advice from Miss J and a few other friends, it became clear to me that my parents taught me two incredibly important lessons that are making this entire endeavor possible. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you may have an idea that most of the lessons I learned from my parents were typically why or how NOT to do something, but these two lessons about independence I actually learned vividly by example.

 

My mom and dad are two very different people, but what they do have in common is determination. Big surprise that their offspring are doubly stubborn and determined then, but even more important were their lessons in getting things done.

 

My dad likes to learn new things, and if there’s a hobby he wants to pick up or trade he wants to try, he’ll find a way to learn. I remember him going to the library for books and videos about plumbing, how to build a deck, trapping, how to build a compost pile, all before the internet. Even though I learn by doing more so than by reading a book, my dad set the example that there’s nothing you can’t do if you’re willing to learn. He remodeled the house we moved into in the early ’90s and built the deck out front. 20 years later it’s all still there and in much better condition than the neighboring houses.

Thanks to my dad’s example I’ve learned a variety of skills and hobbies – from teaching myself new instruments, to working on cars, to the fabulous world of personal finance. The only obstacle to whatever it is you want to do is not being willing to find a teaching resource and try your hand. Even if you can’t do something professionally (like rebuild your engine), learning about the task at hand makes it easier to find someone who IS capable of doing it for you.

 

My mother taught me a similar lesson, but more importantly I learned that there’s nothing I can’t do by myself. Ignore the fact that I’m a woman for a second. If there’s something that needs to be done, if I can find a way to learn how to do it, I can do it and I can do it by myself. As a single parent I watched her repair furniture, get her truck out of the ditch, basically accomplish anything that needed to be done simply because there was no one else around to help her. What was a necessity for her has now become a luxury for me.

Yes, Miss J kindly helped me pack up the car and the moving truck and I called the Little Mermaid to help me move the table, but when Miss J hurt her ankle I was able to pick up and carry on by myself. Little Mermaid was very kind and helped me move everything  out of the moving truck and into the house, but I put everything except the table in there on my own. I’ve put all the furniture together, repaired the table, and figured out everything else in the house. I don’t need to rely on having to call someone, do without, or otherwise feel insecure because I’m on my own.

 

I got this.

 

Having a house is a nice feeling – I finally feel like I’m home. It’s even better knowing that, no matter what kind of trouble comes, I’ll be able to handle it. Whether it’s installing a ceiling fan or hiring a qualified electrician I know I’m capable of getting it done right. All thanks to my crazy stubborn parents.

Categories: family, getting old, hobbies, house insanity, reflection | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wake and Bake

The need, it’s back – it’s taken over. Cakes, cookies, frosting…

Fucking baking.

 

Many, many moons ago my secret recipe cookies were mildly famous from Wisconsin to France. I started experimenting with cakes in college and, in certain circles, a party was only an excuse to make another cake. Fillings, chunks, frosting, fruit – you name it, I experimented with it. No half-assed sheet cakes for this domestic derelict, either. Imagine layer cakes, ganache topping – spending more money on your bakery budget than the rest of your food combined.

I invented CAKE PIE for God’s sake!

These were the parties.

 

After the accident it was necessary to stop many of my hobbies, of which baking was a particular challenge. I melted my hand trying to make nachos one evening because I twitched and ran my palm along the heating coil in the oven. This mishap was pre-injury so I knew better than to mess with an oven with two busted arms. Now that the recovery period is coming to a close, I decided to test the waters.

 

This batch of my secret cookies might be one of the best batches I’ve ever made. Period.

 

Oh goodness...

Oh goodness…

 

Next came a Final Four cake, in honor of the Wisconsin Badgers. Dark chocolate double layer cake with sour cream and raspberry filling, mixed with a little of the cream cheese frosting to help keep it together.

ON WISCONSIN

ON WISCONSIN

 

Miss J mentioned she had muffin pans that had never been used so I decided to try my hand at cupcakes. Meet my new love.

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This is my third batch of cupcakes, the second batch just in the last week. I’m teaching myself how to decorate despite really, truly only liking the simple frosting spread you do with a butter knife. Next up? Low-sugar or sugar-free frosting. Once I’ve got the handle on that it’s time to learn to make the batter from scratch.

It's a start, for a cripple...

It’s a start, for a cripple…

 

Holy hell, I’ve found my favorite new hobby. Forget minion-mastering, forget demon-slaying, forget crocheting. The three year hiatus took its toll and now I’m making up for lost time.

 

Let’s see if my high-powered metabolism holds up, or if it finally crashes with all of this indulgence.

At the very least, it’s a good way to justify joining the gym this weekend.

Categories: crippled, hobbies | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Too Much Time on My Hands

If you’re not singing and dancing along you’re not allowed to come to Karaoke Team try-outs.

Yes, Karaoke Team is a real thing.

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It must be quite obvious that I’ve got far too much time on my hands these days. As much frustration as the bank and house can take, it’s more of a waiting game than anything. Did my paperwork go in? Has the mail come yet? Blah blah blah. Work takes up many of my waking hours, sure, but there are still enough left over where I find myself spending FAR too much time on the internets. Back before the days of smartphones my internet mischief involved mostly RPGs and webcomics. Now that I’m toting around a computer in my pocket it’s gotten far worse. Whether it’s SnapChat, Twitter, or StumbleUpon I spend the day obsessing over a tiny screen THAT IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE.

This has to stop.

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I happened to catch up with my friend Dr J yesterday, and he mentioned that there’s a contingent of us old middle school friends in the area. Suddenly, I’ve been drafted into Tango Lessons and salsa/tango nights, board games, and running (teaching) D&D sessions up in Madison. I’d already been pondering the Rotary Club here in Rock County, along with a gardening club and joining the local LCMS church, so now I have a long list of activities to consider.

Could it be that the Pirate is no longer haunting the interwebs and has an honest-to-goodness real life? One that doesn’t involve airports and spreadsheets?!

 

Is this the end?

Is this the end?

 

Hopefully soon I will be able to report on the success of our new Karaoke Team, or maybe have some fun stories about a ragtag bunch of level 4 mercenaries stumbling onto the Three Billy Goats Gruff. I’ll try to stay away from the theology, but yesterday we already started diving into Abelard’s Ethic of Pure Intent, mysticism, and why forbidding activities like board games and certain books is ridiculous. You’ve been warned.

 

If you’re in the Madison/Janesville area and fancy yourself any of the following, the recruitment campaign starts soon:

  • singer of moderate or questionable talent
  • dancer of no slight enthusiasm
  • Minion Master, Mook, Eclipse Caste, Brawler, or really any class other than Psion. Seriously, we’ll even take Abyssals.
  • possessor of one or more thumbs that may or may not be green
  • interested in Belgian food and/or beer

Ahem.

Categories: hobbies | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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