Links from a Collector

As much as I am loath to admit it: I am a collector.  I keep magazines well past the month or year they arrived and often save pages with the intent of using them for inspiration “some day.”

While I’m nowhere as bad as my parents, I won’t subject you to those pictures, I do need a better way of organizing interesting things for my reference, and hopefully share some of the fun things I’ve found.

Introducing “My Links”

Different from the blogroll of fun sites I visit, the links category will bring up interesting, innovative or just awesome things I come across. Make no mistake, I have not been scouring websites and catalogs to locate such finds. These will mostly come secondhand from magazines or friends, the occasional perusal of a store or website.

So, for the inaugural edition, a website for people like me, unbreakable glasses for the frequently tipsy and fresh fruit from the farm.

I can’t spell worth a dam.  And quite often the word I’m thinking of using is nowhere near the one that I want to be using.  Enter www.onelook.com, a great site that gives access to dozens of dictionaries from Websters to specialized medical tomes.  You can pick your definition from your favorite site or get one look at every definition.

Next, when you and the friends get together to celebrate that perfectly worded research paper and break out the wine,  Govino Wine has a solution for a common problem.  Whether clumsy, drunk or just bent on destruction, expensive stemware can take a beating.  Govino glasses are stemless, shatterproof, reusable, recyclable and only $3 apiece.

And lastly for today, in the chill of November weather and facing a long winter ahead, some spring and summer planning.  Pick Your Own is a site that aggregates orchards and farms that encourage hands on picking in one convenient location.  The site operate year-round and a quick search brings up every state and a few international locations with current produce like apples, pumpkins, winter squash and late season raspberries. Christmas Tree farms are also listed, organic farming is noted with a green link.  The site also gives easy to follow canning and freezing instructions, hints on finding low-cost supplies and provides contact information for the farms.

*yes I know the difference between “dam” and “damn” but feel free to correct me in the comments section anyway 😉

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Just 20 minutes

A thread on a message board this week got me thinking about productivity.  I’m a relatively productive individual if the people around me are to be trusted.  In fact, most of my friends are constantly harassing me to slow down, smell a rose, sleep. I do smell roses. See?

Anywho, on this message board we were discussing passive and active barriers to action, how to get and stay motivated and the like. I spoke briefly about a technique I used to practice a lot more often where you put 15 minutes on a timer and just work. I do this instead of making a list that would have 50 items like “recycle aluminum can on desk” or “put away file boxes.” In other words, things that take longer to write down then actually do.

Then I decided to restart this habit and put 20 minutes on a timer (because it was really getting messy) and got to work.

Before:

It’s not a complete disaster (yet) but there’s a lot of clutter, trash is starting to get icky and I can’t focus very well when I have a dozen projects open and in the way. Not to mention I can’t get to the chair without pole vaulting in.

After:

I did move the cases of free paper under my desk and they make a handy foot rest!  The books I need for reference are lined up next to my CPU and the floor is relatively clear of clutter.  Don’t be fooled into thinking everything is done. Oh, no. The stack of papers have receipts I need to log, the closet has banker’s boxes so I can archive files and bins full of photos I still need to scan and file.  But I know exactly where they are and don’t need to excavate in order to get to my scanner.

I showed the final result to my roommates and, I don’t know about you, but I think they’re excited:

 

 

Me + Smee = Love

Smee is my new camera, the one I’ve waxed poetically about for weeks now. (Aside: has it only been weeks? Time does tend to slow when we’re together…)

Smee is of course short for Sméagol because it is my precious.

Much of the time I keep Smee close by in case I just happen to see something funny, like very curious dogs

and puppy hugs

I also use the camera to take pictures of my grocery shopping trips, just for shits and giggles:

But the best quality time is spent finding “the shot”.  My favorite components include sunsets, trees, mountains, birds and clouds. The birds have eluded me so far but I’ll get ’em eventually! Trees, thankfully, move much slower:

And, don’t tell the owners but, I also stalk awesome houses that I find when I’m out driving.  Just to get ideas for my someday country house.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Honestly, I will very rarely post recipes here, especially recipes I’ve “created.”  I’m not a fanciful cook and I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen (if I can help it). But this is one of my favorite soups, pretty healthy and frugal too.

Chicken Tortilla Soup al la Kelly

1 can – yellow or white corn, drained

2 cups – carrots, sliced or diced or cubed

2 small green peppers, diced

1 small white or yellow onion, diced

4-5 cups chicken stock

shredded chicken (as much or as little as you like, I add about 2 cups)

10 corn tortillas, cut into slices

Helpful hint: Last week I got a whole organic chicken for around $4.  I threw it in the crock pot with 3 cups of water and some spices. Four hours later the meat was falling off the bone. Literally. I cut the breastbone with a plastic spoon! I let it cool and picked out the bones and skin, threw the meat in the fridge and put the juice in a jar.  When I started the soup I first skimmed off all that fat and put the stock in the crock pot to heat up. There wasn’t quite enough so I added an 8 oz. can of stock.

First I throw the chicken stock into the crockpot, turn it to low.

Second, drain the corn, cut up the peppers, carrots and onions (that is if you manage to remember the onion, I did not)

Third, Slice the corn tortillas into long strips

Fourth, chop up the chicken

Fifth, cover and cook on low for at least 3 hours, more if you’re at work or sleeping or lazy.

When it’s done (yummmmmm) you can serve with cheese or sour cream, whatever you like.  If you have a million little chips at the bottom of the bag, throw those on the bottom of the bowl for a crunch.

The soup can be bottled and refridgerated or frozen but I usually eat it all too quickly.

November, a third gone

Work: 22 days on, 8 off

So far in 11 days I’ve worked 8, had 3 off. Very odd having free weekends…

Freelance: complete Gift article and submit by the 17th

Waaaay behind on this one. I need to crank it out this weekend

Blog: at least 6 posts

This one makes 3!

NaNoWriMo: Kick-off party, at least one write in, complete 50,000 words by December 1st 12:00 AM

Kick off party was awesome-o, I will probably go to a write in this weekend and I’m on my way to 50,000!

Grocery Budget: under $200

I’m up to $131.46 but I also have a whole chicken, leftover pot roast, a ton of frozen foods and Thanksgiving leftovers to anticipate.

Christmas shopping: purchase rest of gifts and pull out cards

Getting there slowly. I’m wishing planet earth turned sloooooowly. Still need to find something small for my Dad, pictures printed for Mom, a few more goodies for the Grandparents and something fun for my Secret Santa and a few friend gifts.

Boot camp: complete tasks as assigned, track savings

I fail at accomplishing the tasks. Sad, really.

No Spend Days: 15 complete NSD, 5 CSD under $10

so far 4 NSD, 6 CSD (one under $10)

Thanksgiving: no nervous breakdown

Yet to be seen.

Sleep: get some

A hahahaha. Aahahahah. I am so deluded sometimes. Between a new volunteer opportunity, training for TPR (job #3), movies from job #2, taking on more responsibilities at job #1 and NaNoWriMo I should be collecting rent from Mr. Insomnia.

Coffee: try not to get blood in my caffeine system

Finally! One goal at whick I am absolutely succeeding! It’s a little hard without allocating so much money to my Dutch Brothers habit but I’ve found some yummy coffee and creamers at work and bought some Apple Cider in bulk last night to make it through the caffeine-less nights.

Just for Fun

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Another Vegas post and hopefully the last!  Friday night in Vegas we managed to get off strip and enjoy the Fremont Street Experience.  For those of you unfamiliar, it’s a strip of hotels and casinos that doesn’t allow vehicles and is covered by a weird dome-like light display.

Here’s what it looks like:

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American Pie

The show was set to American Pie by Don McLean and featured some great audiovisual interest.  But the show didn’t start until it got dark. What’s a bunch of gals to do?

We eyed the slot machines. We eyed the tourist crap, er, souvenirs. We even eyed the football filled margaritas lustily:

DSC_0233Finally we found Frank. Frank and the Steins, that is:

DSC_0238Great band covering Halloween music and best of all (did you see it on the poster?) it was FREE!

The most interesting aspect, to me at least, was that – ATTENTION Twilight fans – WE FOUND EDWARD!

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Just look at this picture and tell me he’s not gay:

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the dogs

For those of you who love dogs, hold on to your hats:

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little Chase
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new grass
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oh HI!
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my jackson
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resting
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contemplating the meaning of life

Meeting new friends

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Wilson and Elliana

and celebrating Halloween

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with Grandpa