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30 X 30 Challenge

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It’s been no end of aggravation to me that I only get about one adventure marked off my adventure list a year. Not to be pessimistic, but I don’t think that I have 98 more years to live, so I really do need to get cracking on this adventuring!

A few months ago, I thought up a way to help motivate me to actually schedule these suckers in–a challenge. Please welcome the 30 by 30 challenge. In little over two years, I hope to have crossed 30 items off the adventure list. There are plenty of things I can do by then, I only have to make an effort! I’m already counting the adventures I’ve had toward the challenge, so it is just (just!) 28 more and I have 29 months. One a month!

One a month! You might ask: how much planning did it take to ride the Natchez Trace for a few days, only to cross one thing off your list? Hmm?? Hmm!!! Yes, it took probably a half a year to bring that little one into fruition. But (!!) not all of them require six months’ worth of planning and preparation, and I hope to go on a nice big trip in the next two years that will combine several of these things together. I think that I will get about seven in by the end of the year. Bwhaha.

Ahhh.

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Well, I’ve survived the bar and have lots of good experience if I have to take it again (sooner OR later). Maybe I will be able to cross # 95 off my list in a couple of months. I can’t say how I did–mostly I felt that I knew nothing about the law and that while my reviewing taught me a lot, it was not enough in the right ways. Oh well. I feel pretty much the same way I felt about the MPRE–that I could either be doing quite well or that I could be failing miserably, but of the two I could not say. And that turned out well, so maybe this will, too!

Anywho, enough about that nasty business. For the next week or so, I will get to have a bit of a break! The first real break with nothing hanging over my head! Nothing! I could do anything with the rest of my life–there are no more deadlines or tests or quizzes! No one else is in charge but me! Me! Me! My own schedule with my own projects for my own things! Me! Me! Me! I’m in charge!

Hah. So, for the next week, I will be getting our house back in order and all sparkling cleanish for our guests this weekend. Then, next weekend Reed and I have a trip planned for our anniversary! Five years meant that we had to do something other than dinner and a movie, which is our usual anniversary/birthday date. I hope that I have lots of fun adventures to tell you all about from that.

Also, I have hiked another 1.5 miles since I last posted. We toured the sculpture garden at the NC Museum of Art the other evening, and it was lovely. (It counts because it is outside, and not a sidewalk.) Next time, I will have to take pictures and put them up.

But, first and foremost, I will be reading the last two [Enable javascript to see this email address.] Pott3r books. I know, I am behind! I can’t bear to keep flinching from the news and any spoilers about what happens, so I am just going to read them really quick!

Lots of fun things planned for the next few days. We’re keeping our eyes on Le Tour and its implosions–sigh. My favorite, Kloden, is out because he was on Team Astana–and Reed’s favorite was Rasmussen, who was kicked out today for lying to his team and evading drug tests! Lucky for us, we can still cheer for other people, like Levi the Turtle Leipheimer, who is an American. And Sastre, who is my new favorite. (I don’t have reasons for my favorites, except that it is fun to chirp chant his name over and over again.) Well, I can cheer for multiple people on various teams because I am special like that, but I think Reed is rather downhearted that his favorite turned out to be a dirty cheat.

Something else, what was it? Oh, we saw Ratatouille and it was great, despite the fact that I wasn’t planning on liking it. But it was very funny. The short film that preceded it contained a perfect example of how I felt about taking all those stupid practice tests for the bar.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Well, sort of. I finished reading The Places in Between by Rory Stewart last week. Stewart walked across Afghanistan (from Herat to Kabul) shortly after the Taliban fell. Why? Well, he seems to be in the habit of walking across places, and he had the opportunity at that time to walk that section of Afghanistan.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it ended up to be different than I expected (who knows why). After reading it, I have a much better feel for the geography and history of the region and the different people who are in Afghanistan. For the first time in a long time, I read an article about Afghanistan in the news today and really thought about it.

Plus, the way he experienced hospitality in the villages–staying with the headman of the village in the guest room or in the mosque–made me sit up and think when the Gospel reading this past Sunday was from Luke 10. How are/were these cultures influenced by each other? Our understanding of hospitality is very, very different in the US than what is meant in other countries. If some person came to our little neighborhood and said he was a stranger/visitor to Raleigh, I doubt that one person would open their home to them and give them something to eat. We’re just not set up to do that here, even if you did have a letter from someone we knew! Our hospitality is to our friends and family, not to strangers. What is interesting in all of this is that hospitality is extended to guests, and the etymology of the word guest leads you to a word that also means stranger or enemy. I know of very few hospitable people under that meaning.

Besides those thoughts, it made me more interested in ancient history. Most of my history classes focused on American and European history, and I would usually choose to learn more about U.S. history if left to my own devices, so my knowledge about other world history actually comes from Sunday school where ancient history is not exactly the point. But you get some basic ancient history placeholders–there are Egyptians, Persians, Assyrians, Hittites, Romans and Caesar Augustus, Nebuchadnezzar, Xerxes, etc. You could use those to branch off into learning more about them, and at least you wouldn’t just give a blank stare if someone said Chaldeans.

(Randomly, one of the radio shows on public radio was playing gospel-ish songs by country stars the other day, and there was one referencing ‘the writing on the wall.’ Thanks to Sunday School, I drove home haunted by trying to remember what the writing on the wall actually was. Still haven’t looked it up, but the most annoying thing was the part I could remember was the saying before it was translated. Because that was just incredibly helpful–even if I remember that, I still wouldn’t have remembered WHAT it meant. Except that it was Not Good News. Here is the Wiki if you have no idea what I’m talking about–and for what it’s worth, I actually remembered all of the untranslated part. Go me!)

Unfortunately, Sunday School does not generally teach a whole lot of Inca, Chinese, Mongolian, etc. history. So Babur, the ancient emperor, was in blank stare category. Thank goodness Genghis Khan was not. This is one of those areas where I realize that there are whole worlds of knowledge that exist out there…and I know absolutely nothing about them. That is incredibly frustrating.

Anywho, here is a review of the book. As usual, I haven’t really said anything about the book itself, only used it for stream of consciousness rambling.

NY Times

Yates Mill

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This afternoon, Reed and I went exploring at a county park near our house. Yates Mill is actually as close as Lake Johnson is, but it isn’t as busy (at least on Sunday afternoon/evening). There is an old mill there, and a few trail around the millpond. It would be a great place for birds, since it is a little bit farther out and a little less urban than some of the other parks. We just walked the 1 mile loop around the lake, but we had a nice time. This counts as my first hiking mile of the year! Last year, I don’t think I got my first hiking mile in until September! I have some pictures, but they are on Reed’s camera so I will have to put them up later.

1/365

Catch Up.

Ok. Well, obviously my goals list did not inspire me to do any work on my goals last month. I think I will just let that be for now. However, I do have a yearly deadline that just passed–the July 4th Resolution!

For several years now, I have had a July 4th hiking resolution. Each year, the number of miles for my goal decreases AND so does the actual number of miles I hike. This past year, my goal was to hike 75 miles by July 4, 2007. I had over 51 miles left by that date, so I only hiked 24 (out of 75 goal miles) miles for the entire past year. I hiked around 30 (out of 100) miles for the hiking year ending July 4, 2006, and for the year ending July 4, 2005 I hiked over 60 (out of 365) miles.

The real reason that my hiking miles have decreased is that I have had more to do the past two years than I did the first year, but that is depressing. Instead, I will only accept the explanation that the reason I didn’t hike more in the past couple of years is that my goals were not high enough to inspire me! Bwhaha. Therefore, I shall set an astronomical goal to inspire me this year and work toward that. That sounds about right. On that note, my new (belated) hiking goal for July 4, 2008 will once again be 365 miles.

There are a few reasons why I think it might be easier to rack up more miles this year, besides the fact that I won’t be working/going to school/commuting to NC/etc. One big one is that there are many hiking opportunities in the Triangle area and slightly beyond. While they might not all be as fantastic as my favorite state park, Black Rock Mountain, they are definitely not over 2 hours away from my house! Within a two and a half hour drive (roughly the time it would take me to get from Athens to Clayton), there is a national forest in one direction and the edge of the mountains in the other. So I have plenty of options. Plus, there are many excellent opportunities for weekend trips!

Do I think that I will actually get to 365? Probably not. But, what if I did! Wouldn’t that be amazing? Why, yes, it would be amazing and I would have pictures and stories and birds to talk about.

And, by the way, I got my bar admission ticket in the mail today! My good character has been approved, and now all I have to worry about is passing the stupid thing.

Yum!

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Last week, I culled my Bon @ppetits and [Enable javascript to see this email address.] magazines by cutting out all the things I wanted to keep and recycling what was left. Now I have about 5 Bkpkrs left (ones that I would have cut every page out, so why not just keep them together) and 0 B@. Instead, I have several page protectors in a binder with recipes and pictures and trip plans. Not a bad trade-off.

Anyway, it took about an hour, mostly because I knew what I wanted recipe-wise. Most of what I kept are dessert recipes. I love making desserts and thinking about them, but I hardly ever actually create them. You need a reason to make a fancy dessert–like a holiday or guests or something, and I haven’t really had time recently to do something very involved when those opportunities rolled around. Reed acted like I had never made dessert at all for us in the past five years, so I told him to pick one out and I would make it this week.

He did. It took three days! Ok, one of those days was just going to the grocery store for our regular shopping. (haha.) Anyway, today we had the delicious Raspberry-Chocolate Tart.

This was very easy to make–well, it was my Fourth of July holiday project so I didn’t have to do it by a certain time. If I were trying to do this efficiently, it might be more stressful. Fortunately, I just did it in steps and didn’t worry too much about efficiency. Baked the crust. Made the filling. Didn’t have a little mesh strainer or any cheesecloth, so I didn’t strain the raspberry mixture that was folded into the filling–but since there were whole raspberries on top, it didn’t seem to make much difference. Fridge overnight. Today, did the raspberries on top and the glaze. Discovered it is more difficult to make concentric circles with berries than previously believed. And Ta-da! (Picture here in a bit, but I can’t get the size right.) Actually, the glaze didn’t turn out quite right–I don’t think that I heated it long enough. Also, I don’t have a pastry brush so it was glopped on rather than brushed, which might have made a difference. It is very sweet, and yummmmmy. Reed wants to make a Georgia “G” tart next time with blackberries and raspberries–we talked about the half dozen variations we could make of this tart while we ate it tonight.

In other news, I almost broke my arm trying to get our [Enable javascript to see this email address.] off the top of the cabinets. Literally. As in, I am not strong or tall enough to pick it up where it is (or at least at the angle I put the stepladder), it is top heavy, and it fell over and pinned my left arm against the cabinet and Reed had to rescue me. I am really glad he was home! We realized that he must have put it up there when we moved in, so now he is in charge of its transportation.

We have been informed that the farmer’s market has blackberries now, so in a week or so, I will try Reed’s second choice recipe: Lemon Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sauce

In loco parentis

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Today, Reed and I had a quick lunchtime adventure. The whole purpose was to go to Locopops in Durham, which I read about in last month’s Bon @ppetit, but since we were driving over there we decided to get lunch there, too. We ate at Elmo’s Diner, which was right down the road from Locopops, and was very good. On the way back to the car, we went into a little home goods/yarn store on the corner called Cozy–where Reed was the only boy! Poor Reed. After that, we drove over to get our popsicles–they are based on Mexican-styled paletas–Reed got a berry one and mine was mango chile. Very good and creamy, but spicy, too, because of what I guess was cayenne! Yum! Reed’s was very good also, and I think he could be persuaded to have other Durham adventures that included a stop by there. Here is a review by the local paper of how it got started.

BTW, Reed keeps calling it in loco parentis, so that’s where the title comes from.

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