Monday, December 31, 2018

December Wrap-Up and Plans for January


Highlights were Nine Perfect Strangers and Jane, Unlimited. It was a month of distractions so I kept bouncing around and picking up random things which is how I also ended up reading some random self-help books.


The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory was a fantastic audiobook, and exactly what I needed during a month with so much going on that I was feeling really distracted and unfocused.

Otherwise I just listened to my regular podcasts like By the Book, Code Switch, and Unlikeable Female Characters. I got a bit away from listening to Slow Russian, though I did manage to catch a couple of episodes.


I'm sure you'll agree it's the Blue
Velvet poster in the background
that really makes it festive.
I watched some of my favorite Christmas movies: White Christmas, Elf, and Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. I was hoping to also watch It's a Wonderful Life at some point (you know, the most depressing Christmas movie ever made) but didn't get to it.

On the day I considered watching It's a Wonderful Life, and I ended up instead watching Dumplin' on Netflix, which was fantastic and way more uplifting. (I listened to the audiobook a couple of years ago and posted about it here.)

I also started watching Salt Fat Acid Heat, which is a four episode series based on this book. I've heard some people say that this show really improved their cooking. I'm not getting that sort of applicable information out of it, but I am enjoying it.

I was going to continue watching Parts Unknown, which I've neglected for a while, but now the first several seasons are gone from Netflix. This was especially upsetting as I was making a point to watch them in order rather than skipping ahead to the ones I was most interested in, which was obviously a huge mistake because there was an episode about Russia that I now can't watch. So I'm going to watch the seasons that are there, but start with the places that most intrigue me. I've watched Antarctica, which was great though there wasn't much food in the episode.


I made a couple of new-to-me dishes, including the Caramelized Broccoli Soup from Dinner by Melissa Clark. The only reason I picked this recipe is because I had some extra broccoli and potatoes hanging around, but I'm so glad I did! It took me longer than it should have (what doesn't?) but it was delicious! I'll definitely be making this soup again.

Maple-roasted tofu
I also made a cake I've been wanting to try since I got my bundt pan, the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread Cake from Smitten Kitchen. I couldn't find dark molasses, so used a mixture of regular and blackstrap. But the cake wasn't cooking on the inside so I had to leave it in the oven longer and it got kind of burnt on the outside. I don't know what the problem was, but it was very disappointing.

Otherwise, I mostly made old favorites, like the Spicy Corn Quesadillas from Moosewood Cooks At Home and the Mashed Potatoes with Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from Vegan With a Vengeance.

Oh, I also made a sheet-pan dish called Maple-Roasted Tofu from Dinner, and basically ruined the pan. That's the problem with these sheet-pan dinners that are all the rage. How the hell do you get your pans clean with all that burnt-on sauce? I asked Facebook and ended up buying a Silpat baking mat, which I haven't yet used but which kind of begs the question of how to get burnt-on sauce off of that. At any rate, it was tasty and the only thing I cooked this month that I remember to photograph.


Modeling the new blood crown
Work has been a bit trying, as they say. Starting in mid-December, the elevator has been out of service for a major overhaul and will continue to be down until mid-January. Have I mentioned that my office is on the fourth floor? So that has been fun and of course makes it difficult/impossible to do anything that involves moving large quantities of books from one floor to another. Also, everyone has been out either for holiday vacations or other reasons. So there's not enough coverage for the reference desk and I'm completely unmotivated the rest of the time.

However, I bought my department a crown so we can take turns wearing it when we feel like we need a boost. We're calling it the Crown of Blood and Misery, which would also be a great title for a young adult fantasy novel.

I've gotten together with friends on various occasions though, including an afternoon outing with a group of friends to see Mary Poppins Returns, which was a lot of fun!

Also this month I saw my first Boston sportsball game, which was totally unplanned, but I went to a Bruins game. It was fun! There was more punching than I expected, but you know, get more than 3 men in one place and they can't help but erupt into violence...ok, maybe that's an exaggeration but sometimes it feels true.

The Museum of Fine Arts had some great exhibits nearing their end and I hadn't been there in a while so one day I headed over and caught the Winnie-the-Pooh exhibit, which I felt like I should see since everyone was raving about it. It was ok, but definitely geared towards all the screaming, shrieking children that were there. I was super excited for the French pastels exhibit though, and I only wish I had gone earlier so I could have visited it for a second time. I also really enjoyed the propaganda exhibit.

Christmas was our regular dinner out at Eastern Standard in Boston, but this year we also had Christmas Eve at Eric's dad's house. It was a very late evening but we had a ton of delicious traditional Venezuelan food which I forgot to photograph. Sorry! Too busy eating!

The month is ending with hosting a New Year's Eve party tonight which I'm really looking forward to!

Plans for January

I'm going to start seeing a physical therapist to take care of shoulder pain that has been plaguing me since around July, maybe earlier.

I've also been working on my new planner which I'll start using in January. I'm going back to a DIY-style planner, though it's not exactly a Bullet Journal as I'm not strictly following that format. My only concern is that it's a larger size than I've used before. It will be great space-wise for writing everything I need, but will it fit comfortably in my bag for carrying around? We'll see.

In late January I'll be going to see a production of Othello. I'm looking forward to it and sorta feel like I want to read it first but I have not yet made any move to do so.

How was your December?

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