Oct 102011
 

Remember that time I turned 28 and made a list?
A list of 28 goals of 28 things to get done during this golden 28th year?

I’ve been work on it.  Want proof? Check out the 28 in 28 pages, which is sort-of-kind-of-updated on a “regular” basis.  If by regular, you mean “whenever I remember to update them,” then yes.

One goal that I’ve barely touched the base of? Make 28 recipes from cookbooks I own.
I own A LOT of cookbooks. This is great, right?  Well, there is a little problem here.
I rarely make anything from the cookbooks. Usually I am either throwing things together on the fly, testing a recipe I or a friend wrote, or following the steps in an “OMG-I-MUST-MAKE-THIS-STAT!” blog recipe.

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I finally decided it was time to put this cookbook procrastination to an end.  I got out a semi-new cookbook and did some flipping. I received the Better Homes and Gardens Eat Healthy Lose Weight cookbook as a Christmas gift last year and have yet to make any of the recipes.  The Easy Oatmeal Bread caught my eye pretty quickly.

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It may have been the key word “easy” right there in the title.  Plus, I’ve used yeast in pizza dough and soft pretzels, but I’d yet to face the bread loaf making.  May as well jump into that pool now, right? Get all the procrastination out of the way at once – that seems like a pretty great plan.

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Can someone please explain to me why I have been cooking cookbook-free? This bread was AMAZING! Super easy to make, and pretty darn healthy, to boot.  [Plus, when friends came over that night, they seemed uber impressed and loved eating it up with some delicious jam I got from Kelly in August!] This bread was a total win.

Now excuse me while I go sit cross-legged on the kitchen floor flipping through each and every one of my cookbooks adding post-it notes to recipes to make STAT.  

My Game

 Posted by at 4:00 am  101 in 1001
Oct 062011
 

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We play an awful lot of Scrabble around these parts.
It’s probably due to the fact that one Mr. Jason Watt [of J. Watt’s Barista House fame] has a deep love and affection for the letter wars.  There always seems to be a game going on within the walls of the coffee shop, and I’m not one to complain.

I love Scrabble and I have for a long time.  I can remember specific seasons from my life in which my friends and I would play back-to-back games for hours and hours.  And nothing is better than getting a triple word score with the word ‘quiz.’  Of course, using all 7 letters to play the word ‘joggles’ isn’t half bad either.

Though I’d never turn down a game of Scrabble, I would have to say that it’s never been “my” game.  You know what I mean by “my” game, right?

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Remember that time you said you liked hippos and then for the rest of your life you’ve been receiving hippo themed gifts for every holiday and event? 

How about when you studied Cleopatra for a project in school?  Are your college friends and siblings still forwarding you emails and blog posts they stumble upon discussing all things Egyptian Queen?

These things belong to you.  Whether you like it or not, really.

I am guilty of placing ownership of themes to my friends and family, just as much as I am  guilty of taking ownership of themes, too.

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My mother collects  teapots.  Growing up, she received teapots for every holiday and birthday.  When vacationing, we would track down a location-themed teapot for her souvenir.  She has a kitchen Christmas tree covered in teapot themed ornaments.  Naturally, when I see a teapot, I think of my mother.

My boss, Jenn, has a thing for elephants.  I don’t know where it came from or how long ago it started, but if you walk into her office, you know that this is a trait which people know about her.  An elephant paper clip holder, pen cup, basket, wall art, and photo frame.  Elephant statues made of stone and wood and steel and glass. Naturally, when I see an elephant, I think of Jenn.

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I have an owl thing. It started long ago, before it was hip to love an owl.  I’ve wanted an owl as a pet way before Harry Potter had his own. I don’t know where it started, or why it’s continued. Five minutes in my apartment, though, and you’d know it was true.  I’ve received owls for all sorts of gifts, in all sorts of details. Owls are one of my things.

So are Presidents.  And all things Badger.

I am very thankful that I have family and friends who give such thoughtful gifts.  It means so much to receive something that I know my loved one saw and thought instantly of me.

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Like Jason, Scrabble belongs to my sister, Melissa.  It’s her thing.  When I am surfing Pinterest like a mad woman for a 20 minute brain break, and stumble on Scrabble cookies or wall art – I think of Jason and Melissa.  When Halley shares this adorable engagement gift idea, I think of Jason and Melissa. [Just not together. That would be weird.]

My game was always trivia: most often Trivial Pursuit. 
I think it began in high school, when a group of friends would come to my parents’ house and we would sit around reading cards to one another. We RARELY played with the board itself those days, but when we did, I rarely, if ever, won.  [This may be because every one of my friends from Lodi are ridiculously brilliant.]

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Then in college we started playing with the board more often than not. And living in Texas it was the same, with various versions and editions of the game. [It probably won’t surprise you that I am a big fan of the Pop Culture version, as a self-proclaimed pop-culture princess, and all.]

Now, in New York, we have Trivia Friday in office each week, in which we play quiz game style [though sometimes the idea of “buzzing” or “dinging” in to answer is lost on everyone….but me….ahem.] We use cards from the 1989 Children’s Edition of Trivial Pursuit.  This can either be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage depending on how you look at it. [and how old you are.] [and if you are good at remembering to answer Soviet Union rather than Russia.]

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Another game I’d gladly claim as “mine” – Euchre.
What’s Euchre, you ask? Well, you must not be a Midwesterner ;)
[The majority of people I know who are familiar with Euchre are from Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. Uff dah!]

Euchre is [typically] a four person, partnered, trick-taking card game played with a 24 card deck. If that doesn’t confuse you, wait until I take the time to explain Bowers, trump, going alone, taking the bottoms, sticking the dealer, skunking and, of course, Euchre-ing.

Typically, I have a rule when it comes to teaching people Euchre.  I won’t teach more than two people at a time.  There are so many small details and “things to get the hang of” in this game, that it is always best, at least in my eyes, to have at least one person in each partnership that knows what the hell is going on.

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I’ve been on the hunt for locals to play with since I moved to New York, and finally decided to abandon all good sense and teach the game on my own, to three unknowing pals, during a three hour road trip to NYC a couple of weeks ago.

Euchre is a game that reminds me of home.  The very thought of the game brings me on a nostalgic memory vacation to Wisconsin:
Playing several games in bleachers during all-day-long wrestling tournaments each wintery Saturday during high school.  Teaching newbies how to play on my dorm room floor the night before Euchre tournaments [with cash prizes!] put on by Student Orgs in college.  Drinking beer on the terrace as the sun sets over the lake, sipping on summer as it rolls into town.  Ahhhhhhhhh – Euchre! I’d say that’s “my” game, too.

What games from your past would you declare ownership over?