Erica's Blog

The Try Something New Everyday experiment

Today I went to the Farmer’s Market

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I apologize for the bad photo!  It was freezing outside!!

Someone woke old man winter from a nap and (just like any of us awoken from a great sleep) he came up swinging with a cold blast!  In our area, we went from 70s to 40s in the matter of hours and it’s going to take days to get back to reasonable weather.   So probably this wasn’t the best day to hit the Farmer’s Market…

I started in the organic grocery store.  I’m determined to really comprehend the organic grocery store!  And I don’t know why I just can’t “get it”!  So far, I totally get local honey…check, got that!  Oh, but wait…this store has orange blossom, wild rose, thistle and other honeys!!  My.mind.is.blown!!

My problem is: I recognize ingredients that I have seen listed in recipes, things I know you can only get there, but when I’m face to face with it on the shelf (and the price), I suddenly draw a blank as to what to use it for.  And since I’m unsure, I move on.

I headed on over to the frozen food case to check out the meat.  I’ve read a bunch about grass fed, organic meats and really want to make the change.  I peered in through the cold glass door.  They had various beef cuts…unfortunately the only one I recognized was beef stew…at $11/lb!  Hmmm…well, let’s check out chicken…chicken isn’t complicated…oh.my.golly!!  Chicken breast at $9/lb!

Well, maybe I’ll just go vegetarian…

As such, on to the veggie stands!

I had envisioned many stands overflowing with colorful fruit and vegetables.  Unfortunately, (probably because of the weather) many stands were closed and empty.   I did find one open but the poor lady was in her car, staying warm until I showed up.  I found some sweet green onions and stumbled upon some ginger at a great price!  At least I made braving the cold worth her while!

There were various gift shops but I opted not to go in to them.  I’m trying to keep my trinket buying to a minimum.

I popped into a bakery and ice cream shop…but smelled lethally good and I vacated before I gained a pound or worse…bought something.

Overall, I enjoyed just strolling through the Farmer’s Market…I cannot wait to return when the stands are in full swing :)

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Today I speed cut a watermelon

Watermelons have debuted at Walmart!
I know…I know…one should be skeptical of watermelons so early but when you I have lived without one for 196 days how bad could a watermelon be?

I’m willing to chance it!

I saw an absolutley cool and fast way to cut a watermelon late last year…like 198 days ago…but unfortunately I had already cut my last watermelon of the season and couldn’t try the technique out.

And let me tell you, I need a better technique!  It takes me about 30 mins with my present retard method: cut melon in half, scramble to not lose one of the halves over the counter, cut a slice, cut in half, cut off rind, cube the watermelon innards, rinse and repeat until the melon is just cube goodness!  So yes…new method totally needed!

Speed watermelon cutting: cut alittle off both ends, place melon on end, cut rind from top to bottom, then trim up to remove any white rind missed, then slice rounds and cube the yumminess!
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Oooo…doesn’t it look kinda wierd? Like naked or something?!

Anyhoo, new method totally rocks!  Super fast, super easy, super awesome!

(And yes, the farmer totally cheated this watermelon from its maturity.  It has a grainy,  mushy texture and only a little good red pieces…but nonetheless…I’m in watermelon heaven!!)
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Today I watched The Guild

I was cooking supper and heard from the living room “It’s gone!  He deleted my character…2 years of my life, my gold, my reputation points…I don’t exist anymore!!”

Gosh…I feel like I’ve said that before…flashes of my Pirates of the Burning Seas days (the only MMORPG I have ever played) and our Gosport Naval guild played in my head…Port battles at 2 am, leveling up to buy an ubber ship, sailing for 4 hours from Bartica to Tampa for limestone just to avoid red zones…good times… But what’s that gotta do with the TV show?!

I had to ask..
Me: “Hubbie, watchya watching?!”

Hubbie: “The Guild”

Me: “Oh…I’ve never heard of it…what’s it about?”

Hubbie: “A guild.”

….no, really?!

I pondered throwing the kitchen towel at him but honestly, if I were in his Crocs, I probably would have egged him too.

Hubbie was already into Season 2 and I’m a stickler for watching things in order.  I tried to convince him to start at the beginning…and by convincing, I mean sayin pretty please and batting my eyelashes…

Nope, didn’t work.

I was about to bring out the big guns… but the next thing I know Wil Wheaton is on the screen!

Wil Wheaton!!

oh…well…what’s the biggie about what happened in Season 1 and half of Season 2?!

So, I settled in to watch The Guild, an internet show spoofing the life and game play of a guild.  I loved it!!  If you’ve ever played an online multiplayer game, are an awesome nerd, or Wil Wheaton groupie you have to watch it!
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Today I decided to do a Pay It Forward project

While scrolling through Facebook, a dear friend had the following post on her page:

To start this year off in a loving way I’m participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative: The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in” will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year- anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer in their FB status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile, (don’t share) so we can form a web of connection and kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love filled year….”

I read it and thought that is absolutely, totally, completely, really cool!  I responded to her post declaring “I’m in!” and added my smiley face…certainly because this is a smiley face worthy statement!

Then, I beebopped over to my page and pasted the message as well.

I don’t know if y’all have noticed but my posts haven’t been as on time nor spunky as they usually are. Unfortunately, several challenges cropped up in my life which distracted me.  I realized my problems were consuming me, stealing my joy, and overall keeping me in the dumps.  But, do you know the best way to beat those pesky problem monsters?!

Focus on others!!  That’s right…there is no better way to get over yourself than to focus on someone else.  So, this project came at the perfect time for me : )

I cannot wait to see how many respond to my post…I may just surprise them all!! : )

You are welcome to like my Try Something New Everyday Facebook page and participate in this project too!

I’ll keep you posted!

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Today I celebrated Tabletop Game day!

Last year Geek and Sundry (youtube stars) asked their fans to gather in public on March 30 to play tabletop games.  Wiki summed it best so I will just use their words: “Aiming to remind its fans and community to spend more time and strengthen their bonds, by playing games together. Tabletop gaming promotes many positive social and cognitive benefits like increased communication, team work, planning, and is an excellent stress relieving activity for all ages.”

So April 5th was declared as the 2nd Annual International Tabletop Game Day.  However, this would be my 1st Annual International Tabletop Game Day celebration.  A group of friends and I decided to gather in a public place to play some games.

Now, where to play?  The local game shop was always an option however could you imagine the game shop on such a holiday?!  It would be like the card shop on Valentine’s Day, Walmart on Black Friday and free puppy sale at the pet shop…all at once.  But of course nicer cause all gamers are nice…until you beat them and then, well, you’re taking your life into your own hands…and understandably so.

We flirted with a few options.  We needed a place that had chairs and a good size table.  We thought of a park, library, food court at the mall…my favorite idea was to set up in the patio section of Home Depot.  Just imagine!   Cushy, comfy chairs…nice size tables…plenty of passersbys…I’d be like, I’ll fight your level 18 monster…after a 5 minute siesta!

But as golden as that idea was, we all thought Barnes and Noble was the most ideal.  Who can beat being surrounded by books and within an arms reach of a Starbuck Coffee Frappuccino?!

We decided to play Pandemic.   I love this game!!!  Instead of player vs player, in this game we all work together to fight the diseases spreading across the globe.  I drew the quarantine specialist which meant the diseases could not spread in the city I was in nor the connecting cities.  You will be releived to find out, I held many diseases at bay in Asia and we cured all 5 diseases and only incurred 2 outbreaks. 

You can rest easier tonight, we got this.
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That’s my almost completely depleted Coffee Frappuccino with sugar free caramel syrup that you may think is at the point of being thrown away but be rest assured I’m gonna loudly slurp and wiggle the straw to get every last delicious drop!

That game played for a about an hour or two…when you are fighting epidemic level infections, time seems irrelevant.

Next up, Munchkin!  I’d never played Munchkin before (hey! 2 something news!!!) but love the humerous cards!  Even though I had great instructions and plenty of assistance,  I still felt a little lost…like I was banging my head against a door only to find horribly cute monsters who wanted to steal my levels.  But I enjoyed it and am ready to go monster and treasure hunting again!! :)

2nd International Tabletop Game Day was fun!!  I really anticipated either receiving more strange looks or passersbys stopping to ask questions or join in.  I would have loved to suck non gamers in and show them how much fun they are missing out on!

At any rate, the planning for next year’s celebration is already in the works : )

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Today I took a selfie

They are everywhere…

Everyone is talking about it…

There is even now a song about it…

On the way to work this morning I pondered what today’s something new was going to be.  The DJ announced on the radio “Up next, the song of the hour!  Selfie!!”

Hmmm….Let me take a selfie….

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Happy April Fools Day!!

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Today I tried Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar

A few months back, when I went to the acupuncturist, he recommended I try a honey and apple cider vinegar mixture…he called it a tonic…when I hear tonic, I think tonic water and immediately cringe.

Of course, I said I would try it…but didn’t.

Then the other day a friend told me how she uses it everyday and suggested I give it a try.

Of course, I said I would…but hadn’t.

But today I needed an afternoon pick me up and figured some honey might get my wings a buzzing :) Then the two recommendations replayed in my head…hmmm…

Have you ever chugged natural apple cider vinegar? Woo-wee…it’s strong…it will make your toes curl, lips pucker, and eyeballs water…in that order. Before I obliterate my really good local honey I needed to know this “tonic’s” benefit.

Let’s Yahoo!

One website said it helps to prevent indigestion. I hadn’t planned a pepperoni pizza in my near future so no need for that.

Another site provided a whole list of ailments it releives…arthritis, bad breath, brittle nails, ingrown toe nails, bad judgement in men and aversions to broccoli. Ok, some of them weren’t actually listed but I’m sure it was just an oversight.

The last website I’ll mention said the elixir would ease colitis, tickly coughs, and boils (yuck!). Oh thank goodness! My life is complete…I’ve learned something new…I am now armed with how to cure boils!

Well, obviously this little mixture packs some healing power so I’ll try it…

No, for real…I really will try it this time.

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I put one tablespoon of each in a glass and mixed with a spoon. Ok, I confess…this picture was my second attempt at mixing it. The first time I put the honey in first and had a hard time coaxing the honey from the side of the glass…learn from my ignorance: start with the vinegar first.

Alright…once I mixed it up it was time to drink it…

Ok…I’m gonna drink it now…

I put the glass up to take a sip and the vinegar smell punched my nose!  Ack!!…give me a minute..

Ok…nose is now prepared…1…2…3…CHUG!

The honey did take some of the bite from the vinegar but my cheeks still puckered and eyes watered. You taste the vinegar first but the honey follows and soothes the sourness.

Overall, not bad…I would do it again…it may be too early to note any health benefits but I do feel world peace coming.

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Today I started the Dr. Who scarf

When my hubbie asked me to knit a scarf like every good wife I said sure…I have some really nice gray yarn in my stash that would be perfect for a man’s scarf!  When he showed me the picture of the Dr. Who scarf, I choked!

Now, probably when you speak to anyone about the Dr. Who scarf, they could conjure up a mental image and know exactly what you are referring to.  Unfortunately, I’ve only seen a handful of the super early Dr. Who episodes…and they were before Dr. Who wore a scarf.  I did not realize the requested scarf could wrap the earth 12 times.

For those who are like I was, let me explain the scarf…it’s almost a foot wide.  The actor that played Dr. Who stood well over 6 ft.  The scarf began around his feet, went up his body to his neck, wrapped his neck and looped down to his knees then went back up to his neck to follow the length of his body again.

Still can’t get the picture…well, here’s a picture

Long Scarf

I have procrastinated on this project for at least a year… knitting 844 rows of anything seems daunting!  I did the math a while back and if I knitted a row a day, it would take me 3 years!  I’ve had projects to last 3 years but that’s because I left them undone…

Today I’ve been under the weather so I felt guilt when by the afternoon I hadn’t much to show for the day.  I figured I could just start the scarf and feel accomplished.
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So it’s started…check back with me in 3 years…

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Today I’m giving up TV!

I so wanted to title this “Today I’m giving up the Boob Tube!” but I try to refrain from being risqué.  I did a search and found the term originated in the 1960s where a boob was considered an idiot…put together, watching too much of the tube (TV) made you an idiot…hmm…I think there’s research out there that agrees…wpid-20140317_114248.jpg

Anyway…I’m giving TV up for a day!  I find myself hanging out at the house more and realized last week that I turn the TV on in the morning when I’m planning my day and the TV runs all day until I go to bed.  I mostly use it for background noise…and drown out the concert of snoring from the pups… I do other stuff but at the same time, more than I would like to admit, I get sucked into different shows and then wham-o my day disappears!   I catch up on what’s going on in the world with Matt on the Today show…then Kelly and Michael has Matthew McConaughey (hubba hubba)…then Rachel Ray makes something delicious…then the ladies on the View bicker about something…or anything in their case…then what has happened locally on the noon news…then switch over to Sex in the City…then learn something about quilting on Create channel…then back to the local news…and it goes from there…

Even when I write this, I’m incredibly embarrassed I know this much about daytime TV!  HELP!!!  I don’t want to know more about Savannah Guthrie than I know about myself!!…Did you know she got married over the weekend and announced she’s 4 months preggers…at the young, awesome age of 42?!….Oh the wedding couldn’t have been more beautiful and from the pics everyone seemed to have a ball!!  I’m so excited for her!!

ACK!!  I’ve done it again!!  She’s not my bestie!!  (Even though, if we met, I bet we would be!!)

So I’m kicking that habit…going cold turkey…turning my back to the boob tube!!

I’ve already fought the natural tendency to reach for the remote 6 times today…but I’m remaining strong!  And I’m fighting the constant curiosity about what is happening in Crimea and the Malaysian missing plane.  At least I’m not cutting myself from the internet…that may be another something new at some later time…way later…closer to never…

Will update later about my progress at the end of the day…

Update
Rather than have the TV on today, I had the radio. I picked a local Christian channel and heard talk shows all day. Some reaffirmed my beliefs, some confused me, some made me realize I have a long way to go. Nevertheless, a much more positive experience than who is the father on Maury or which dress the bride will pick (and which bridesmaid she will kill).

I got so much done around the house! Much more than with the distraction. I swore to myself if I completed my chores I could craft the rest of the day. Unfortunately, my daily lists are more like list impossibles…I over estimate what I can fit into a day and by the time dinner was done, I just didn’t have the energy nor time. I need what the energizer bunny has.

By 6 pm though, the TV withdraws set in. I kept wanting to reach for the remote to get the local weather. I’m totally a weather nerd and tonight we could potentially get some sleet. I desperately needed information…but I resisted. And read the weather blog instead.

Next hurdle, what would hubbie say about no TV night. He read my blog earlier and told me he had plans to play XBox…you know, cause it’s not TV. I had plans to hide the power cable that connects the XBox…luckily the debate didn’t go that far. Surprisingly, he jumped on board…not too eagerly but all the same, on board. After dinner, we played several rounds of Sorry! He would tell me to tell you he won…we played 3 games…all very close…I won the first, he the second and third. I say we didn’t even finish a match so obviously a winner cannot be called.
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I have to admit I loved the peace of a quiet house. Reminded me of being at my grandparents house…or of days before all these eletronic devices. It was nice to hear the evening noises right outside the window…and to be completely relaxed to go to bed.

I also have to admit I had thoughts of relief that I could resume watching TV over breakfast tomorrow morning. Only 8 more hours until I can catch up on what I missed!

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Today I cut a cantalope

I think cantalope should be renamed cantaloope…just sounds more funner!

I had a mission yesterday…to find a key lime pie…not because 3/14 is pie day…it was for a birthday partay.  I ended up hitting 5 grocery stores before I found the elusive pie.

In most of the store’s, they offer free samples.   I was there around lunch time so I didn’t mind if I helped myself to some.  They had deli meat, cheese, cookies, bread with various spreads, and most awesomely cantalope and pineapple. I couldn’t help myself…I picked the biggest piece of cantalope and popped it in my mouth.

Have you ever overestimated the size of your mouth?  Really, the piece was larger than it should have been but once I put it in my mouth, there was no turning back…juice involuntarily escaped my mouth and I needed a napkin asap!  I frantically looked around for one but not a one in sight!  Luckily, I remembered I had one in my purse!  It pays to be prepared!  I began rumaging around in my purse but couldn’t find it…I started to pull items out to better see…my wallet, my keys, my tatting bag…then I went for the blind feel…wouldn’t you know, as with all things you really need, it worked it’s way to the bottom.  I finally felt the paper napkin and pulled it out victoriously!   But by now the juice had dried on my face so I hightailed it to the restroom for a whole face wash and makeup reapply…

I’m sure the security cam has been posted to youtube by now.

On a positive note, with a piece that big, I no longer needed lunch.

The cantalope they offered was sweet, firm and juicy.  Practically perfect!  Even considering the catalope catastrophe,  I still returned to the scene of my embarrassment to acquire a melon.

Now, I have no idea how to pick a cantalope.  I just grabbed the nearest one.  I figured if the sample tasted that good, surely all of them will as well!

So today I decided to crack open the melon.  I got the largest knife I own out and prepped to cut it in half…you know, like a watermelon…then thought better…maybe I need to watch a tutorial.  I took a break and got schooled…I was getting ready to do it all wrong!

First the produce guy explained how to pick a cantalope…I know this may surprise you but my method was wrong.  The melon should be nice and round with no flat or dented spots and have a nice creamy orange look to it.  The melon also should feel heavy for it’s size and the area around the stem shoukd give alittle when pressing.
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As you can see, mine had all kinds of character flaws and looked more creamy green.

Oh well…I’m still chopping into this bad boy!

To begin, you cut off both ends.  Then you slice off the rind…but not too deep…you want to preserve as much of the orange melon as possible.
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Hey!  I see orange…can’t be all bad!

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Then you slice in half, scoop out the seeds and slice.
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Viola!  Cut up cantalope!

Not the best cantalope I’ve had…the poor little melon could have ripened a bit more…but even a bad cantaloope is better than no cantaloope at all!!

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