2012 Week 1 Wrap Up: Reading, Cooking, Running & More

by jennifer

Yesterday was my daughters’ first day of a new ballet/jazz class. I took photos and read a little bit of “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett while they danced around with about 25 other kids. It’s a big class and the teachers did a great job of keeping all the little girls engaged. I was very impressed.

If I didn’t have other work to do, I’d plop down and read the rest of Stockett’s book straight through to the end. The book is really good, so it’s complete torture to read it in small chunks like I’ve been doing. But I have to be careful. I almost missed a sentencing hearing many years ago when I was a court reporter because I was too engrossed in the third book of the Harry Potter series. I just about died when two hours of hearings ended and I never heard the name of the guy I was assigned to write about called. I thought Harry Potter was about to get me fired, but it turned out that the sentencing had been postponed and I had not missed it. From that day on I never brought another book into the courtroom. When you like books as much as I do, it’s just too risky.

On the cooking front, I’m studying up. Amelia and I made a trip to the Grand Rapids Public Library last week while Abby was in school and I loaded up and checked out as many books as I could carry out in one trip. I’m not kidding when I say I’m a book lover. I seriously would camp out at that library for hours on end if I could clear my schedule and snag some free parking nearby.

When I was pregnant with Amelia, who is now six, I spent many hours in the local history department of the Grand Rapids Public Library working on my graduate thesis after work and between frequent bathroom breaks. I had a blast looking at old newspapers and historic artifacts. There are so many untold stories in that library and I’m kind of itching for a new research project.

But my last visit was all about finding some interesting cookbooks and of course a couple art books came home with me, too. I made onion soup for the first time last week and have yet to decide what this week’s new recipe will be. My sister, Julie wants to make a pie, so I might make one, too, because I live too far away from her to taste the one she bakes.

I’ve been cooking a lot lately and really enjoying it. I will enjoy it even more once I rid my kitchen of all non-cooking related items. (I have a big problem when it comes to keeping flat surfaces clear.) I think my plan to try out at least one new recipe a week is realistic because I like to cook and my family needs to eat. And, I think having a goal in front of me will force me to plan ahead.

I think Jeff and I finally nailed down a chili recipe we’ve been tweaking for years. I’ll share that recipe here soon. I keep forgetting to take a photo of the chili before we eat it all.

One of the funny things I’ve noticed now that I’m cooking more is how low quality many of my kitchen tools are. Now that I’m getting serious about what goes on in my kitchen, I’m slowing upgrading my equipment. I got the OXO Good Grips Peeler above for Christmas and, wow, did it speed things up when I made soup last night. If I was timing it, I’m sure I would have achieved a new personal record for peeling potatoes and carrots. It’s amazing how one little tool can make a world of difference.

Loom and magazine sales were steady last week which was great. Thank you to all the new subscribers and loom buyers. I really appreciate your business!

On the fitness front, my week 1 milage total was 21.48 miles. I also swam about 1,200 yards during a super quick dip at the Y. I’m building a base. I’m not signed up for any specific races at this point, but I’m getting ready. Saturday’s challenge was to run to the post office before it closed. I had a magazine to mail and didn’t want to delay my workout any longer, so I ran 1.39 miles carrying a large envelope. Because I haven’t been competing in any local road races, this is how I get my kicks. I was quite pleased when I made it to the post office a couple minutes before it closed and was happy to find my P.O. box empty (usually, this depresses me) so I could continue my run empty handed.

Wearing my new FitBit pedometer around has inspired me to capitalize on opportunities to be more active. I’m also studying my sleep patterns which the device tracks and has been really interesting.

Aside from the fact that my Christmas tree is still up, it was a pretty good week. How about you? How was your first week of the new year?


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