April recap

I know you’re all anxiously awaiting an update on my progress toward becoming a morning person. Rest assured you’ll hear all about it next week. For now, let’s talk about last month.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t get nearly as much accomplished last month as I’d hoped. Full time work plus my attempts to inch myself into freelancing haven’t left too much time for other exciting pursuits. But here’s a few things I did last month:

Craft night

My roommates and I decided to host a craft party early last month. We needed a really good excuse to have people over and drink and paint things. This was the perfect opportunity! We bought some little flower pots and paints and I even busted out my centuries-old friendship bracelet making string (which ended up being a major hit – friendship bracelets are coming back y’all!). We had snacks and drinks — I made this Strawberry Basil Margarita which was crazy easy to make and widely agreed to be super tasty. We weren’t sure how the crafting would go over with everyone, especially since at least half of the attendees were guys — but everyone ended up crafting something and apparently had a great time if the above photo I took the following morning of the craftermath is any indication.

Lightning Bolt show

I used to listen to this band a whole bunch back when I was an angsty teenager in high school. I never really kept up with their newer releases and hadn’t ever seen them live until last month. It was a pretty good show — they sound just like I remember them — loud and aggressive. And when I say loud I mean, REALLY loud. Like my hearing was legitimately muffled for the whole day after. The best part is that the drummer/singer wears this crazy looking mask the whole time they play (you can see him putting it on in the photo above) which makes his yelling/singing totally incomprehensible and muffled. Never seen or heard anything else like it.

Protein pancakes

I’ve been fascinated by the concept of protein pancakes for a while, but this was my very first foray into making them. I love pancakes but can’t usually rationalize basically eating dessert for breakfast most days. So when I stumbled across this recipe I was thrilled — pancakes with only 5 healthy ingredients that I pretty much always have stocked in my kitchen? Perfect!

Well these weren’t exactly perfect, but they turned out pretty good. I definitely want to try them again with a couple adjustments. For starters, as you can see they don’t exactly look like pancakes (and they definitely don’t look anything like the photo on the linked recipe, so don’t get your hopes up). They were more the consistency of no-bake cookies. The recipes calls for whole rolled oats, but next time I’m going to try blending the ingredients to get a smoother texture. They also weren’t super sweet (well at least before I doused mine in maple syrup). My bananas were only just ripe, so next time I’m going to try using a super ripe banana to add a little extra sweetness. Pretty good for starters but definitely worth a re-do.

And lastly, here’s a new band I discovered last month (letter M – check!). Check ’em out.

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#36 – January edition: Lia Ices + Seoul

lia-ices

Last week kind of flew by. I was in DC for three days of staff meetings. My birthday happened to fall on one of those days, and I got to spend it in a day-long meeting. Wee! Luckily I have wonderful co-workers who took me out for whiskey, bocce ball, and Ethiopian food after 8 hours of meeting. So, not a total loss.

Suddenly I’m 27. When did that happen?

J. picked me up from the airport when I returned on Friday night and greeted me with a kiss and a Jimmy Johns sandwich. Swoon. We stopped home for a minute where he presented me with my birthday gift — a gift card to Planet Rock, a local rock climbing gym. Goal #44 here I come! Then we went off to the Lia Ices show.

Like I do, I almost backed out of going to the show. Busy week away from home and all I really wanted was put some jammies on and camp out on the couch all night. Welcome to my life. But this was not just a matter of having a fun Friday night, this was a night to check a Goal off my all important To-Do List. I gave myself a kick in the pants and told myself to get off the damn couch. And I’m very pleased that I did. You saw that coming though, right?

We headed into the venue which is a conglomeration of music venue, bowling alley, and pizza place — a true gem in Detroit. We procured some whiskey from the bar and soon enough the first band was playing. They’re called Seoul. I don’t know about you, but whenever I go to a show with an unknown opening band, I always brace myself for, best case scenario, some pretty solid mediocrity. Maybe that’s just my experience talking or because I tend to form pretty strong snap judgement about bands within the first minute of hearing them. But this band was great. Like I’m-totally-going-to-buy-their album-when-it-comes-out great. Here’s a taste for you:

Then Lia Ices went on. She was really wonderful live – great sound and energy. I think she played the entirety of her new album, Ices. There isn’t a bad song on it. Here’s one of my favorites from her:

We capped off the night with some pizza from Sgt. Pepperoni’s, the pizza place inside the venue. Some people claim this pizza only tastes amazing because you normally eat it at the end of a drunken night. But I strongly believe this pizza holds up brilliantly to sobriety. We each had a slice and then went back for seconds. The end to a beautiful night.

1 year left

Birds

Today is a big day you guys. I officially have 1 year left to complete my list. Lots of my goals are one time projects or events, but I have a few year-long projects that I’ll need to start tackling posthaste. They are:

9. Take a photo of the same place every month for a year and then turn it into a calendar for the next year

I’m planning to photograph the downtown of the little city I live in. Though I dread Michigan’s fierce winters, I love living in this little city. There’s always a lot going on here — festivals, community events, not to mention all the great local shops and restaurants and the wonderful residents that call this place home. I’m also excited for a good excuse to use my film camera (a Canon AE-1 Program) which I don’t take out to play nearly as often as I should.

28. Try a new recipe every month for a year

I have SO many wonderful cookbooks that I severely underutilize. I like cooking and I think I’m pretty good at it if I do say so myself, but I rarely follow recipes. Instead, driven by the need to use that last bit of broccoli before it goes bad, I stare into the depths of my fridge until inspiration hits me and dinner comes out, made out of whatever I have on hand. Grocery store trips for the sake of one meal are completely out of the question. I’m hoping using recipes more often will spur some ideas about flavor combinations and different ingredients to sample during my regular cooking trials. January’s recipe is going to come from a new cookbook I just got for Christmas — The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier. I’ll be making roasted beet soup with baby spinach and squash seed pesto. Yes please!

29. Eat vegan once a week for a year

This one shouldn’t be too hard as long as I remember to do it. I’ve been happily vegetarian for about 14 years (more than half my life) and I regularly eat vegan purely by accident. Just gotta remember not to grate cheese onto everything for one day a week (okay this might be harder than I thought).

36. See live music at least once a month for a year

I think this one is going to fit nicely with goal #34 Listen to 26 bands I’ve never heard of, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet. I don’t really know any bands playing shows this month, so I’ll have to discover a new one. To this end I checked out Zola Jesus (letter Z: check!) but I’m not super into them — sounds like boring moody electronic music to me. Then I tried Pity Sex (letter P: check!), they’re local hailing from Ann Arbor and sound like grungey 90s inspired rock. Pretty good, could be a fun show, but I think I’d get bored of the music pretty quickly. Next try is Lia Ices (letter L: check!). This is the winner. She’s sort of folksy almost new agey, kind of electronic Tori Amos with a tambourine. The show is January 16th. Looking forward!

59. Keep a diary for a year

My obsession with paper products — stationary, journals, sketchbooks, oh my! — began at an early age and I’ve been a sporadic diary-er ever since. Right now I’m working in a classic black, hardcover Moleskine, but my entries often fall months, if not years apart. My plan is to write at least once a week for the next year.

67. Volunteer regularly for a year

If I can handle myself and not take every single cat I see home with me, I want to start volunteering at an animal shelter. I used to volunteer a whole bunch with Planned Parenthood so might try getting back into that as well — it was nice hanging out with like-minded, feministy ladies on the regular. To be determined.

Let me introduce myself

Me in an apple tree

Me in an apple tree

My name is Kate and I’ve lived in beautiful, frigid Michigan my whole life. I’m a full-on crazy cat lady and coffee enthusiast. I can’t resist donuts or cheap used books. Yoga keeps me sane. My one desire in life is to see the world. Like, the whole world. All of it. I hate routine, I never want to have kids, and I’m ready to move away from Michigan as soon as possible.

I’ve worked doing communications for a nonprofit organization for the past 2 years, and I’m in the process of figuring out my next career move. The nonprofit I work for just closed its Michigan office — I’m still doing my same job, but today marks my first day of working from home full time. I love it.

I like making goals and lists and I’ve got lots of different interests but I never seem to devote the time I’d like to them. Which is why I started this 101 things project. I’m making plans, holding myself accountable to them (by opening myself up to public internet shame if I don’t complete them — yikes!), and hoping to gain some insight into myself and what I should be doing with my life along the way.

Pleased to meet ya!

Day 1

Well shit, it’s been more than a year since I made this plan, and I’ve only managed to check 6 things off my list. I’m a great procrastinator and a bad follow-througher like most humans these days. I started this list on the Day Zero Project website, then I decided to take it to Tumblr for some extra accountability, and now I’m here on WordPress since I think I like this platform better.

To get things rolling, here’s a post about one of the first items I crossed off my list, copied from my now defunct Tumblr:

———-

Last Friday I went to D’Mongo’s for the first time with my roommate A. and my boyfriend J. We had gone to this Redbull sponsored art exhibit in Eastern Market, but after taking the last two beers from the open bar, and checking out the five or six different exhibits, we decided to take off for D’Mongo’s.

We got there around 11pm and the place was full.  Completely full to the point that I’m sure several fire codes were being broken. A polite blonde woman checked our IDs at the door, advised us that we’d (obviously) have to stand since there was no seating open at that time, and let us try to cram our bodies into the crowd.

A. was at the bar before I could properly orient myself or figure out where the delicious barbeque smell was coming from. She’d been there before, but I think she would have tunneled her way through the mass of people just as well if she hadn’t. When we had first arrived at the Redbull Gallery earlier in the night she was clipping through the crowd ahead of me with such agility that even though I was focusing hard on her tan coat, I lost her after just a couple of seconds.

A. had her beers in hand (two because there was no way we were getting back up to that bar for a second round) and was halfway through the first one before J. and I even figured out the best way to squeeze up to the bar. Eventually, clasping five High Lifes between the three of us, we snuck into an unclaimed alcove flanked on one side by an “employee’s only” door and on another by a fortunate group that had gotten there early enough to secure a table.

As we relaxed into our spot for the night, I was finally able to look around me. The place looked like a much better version of TGI Fridays, with all sorts of stuff covering the walls. Except instead of lame sports memorabilia and tacky street signs, there were posters of Billie Holiday and framed quotes from Beethoven along the forest green walls. A band was playing up front, but they were a little too slow and mellow for the bustling bar to notice.

By the time our beers were empty, sweat was dripping down my back and I was ready to savor the chilly night air. We didn’t stay much longer than the time it takes me to drink one beer (which is about the same amount of time it takes most other people to drink two beers), but I’m looking forward to going back a little earlier in the night so we can get a seat and enjoy the scenery a little more before the bodies and their radiating heat become too much to handle.