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Category Archives: Progress Reports

Got Cookin’… Or At Least Tried To

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I’ve been working on goal # 14 of my Bucket List, which is basically aimed at my feeling more comfortable with my cooking skills.  I have conquered a handful of dishes, although I surely tried many more.  Just in case my friends (who know I am not a kitchen queen) don’t believe me, here’s proof.  Below are some of my tryouts accompanied by a very brief outcome report. You will notice that some of the dishes are very simple; my aim is not to become a gourmet cook, but to be able to create family meals by mastering certain dishes and being able to recreate them time and again with the same quality and flavoring.   Since I am being very picky as to accept any dish into my mastered list,  I am also  giving myself credit for every single dish I conquer, no matter how simple 🙂

    

 

HOW ABOUT YOU; WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN COOKING? 

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It’s Impossible to Get a Magic Wand These Days

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It’s Impossible to Get a Magic Wand These Days

Progress Report:

 On # 23 Leading and Organized Life
It is no secret that I am organizationally challenged (That is the politically correct way of saying I am messy, unorganized, and pretty much a space cadet.)  As I have posted before, I know this is the number one obstacle that keeps me from obtaining many other goals, thus I put it on my list and I have been giving it special attention for the past few months.

The absence of organization effects and extends to many areas of my life:

  • Lack of an established household routine – We have been working on, and improving, this one
  • No financial spending plan or budget – Have given a couple of baby steps towards this
  • Punctuality is definitely not one of my strengths – Making progress in this are as well
  • Clutter, clutter, and more clutter – This one particularly overwhelms me and robs me of a much desired peaceful and balanced home environment

We are usually a messy bunch, and the past few weeks we had been extra messy since all of us were sick and in low spirits.  Let me tell you, our apartment was not a happy sight. Since there was no magic wand in sight to make it all go away, this past weekend I dedicated the better part of Saturday and Sunday to decluttering our home.

     Pretty much all over the apartment was a disaster zone.  The worst of it all was the Play Room / TV Room; it was overflowing with toys, tapes, DVDs, and things that did not belong in that room such as kitchen utensils.  Also, the closet inside that room serves as depository for our family’s dirty laundry; opening that closet was literally like a scene taken out of a sitcom, where piles of clothes and stuff just come tumbling down…

Giveaways

Happily, I had a few wonderful friends and family members come to the rescue during both days.  Saturday my stepmom and stepbrother helped me clean – a lot!  Since my daughter is highly allergic to dust and cannot be present during the cleaning; my mom took the kids to her place for the day.  On Sunday my adult nephews and nieces took the kids for a hay ride, and pumpkin picking. My good friend Vanessa came over and helped me wipe clean every single toy in order to put it back in its place.  She also helped me sort out things that we don’t need any longer, in order to give them out; there were also several bags of trash to take out.    After two days of hard work; everyone was pleased with the results. 

Play Room/TV Room

Play Room / TV Room

Closet
 
It was a long cleaning session, but it was also therapeutic, and so worth it.  Sunday night, my kids’ paternal grandma stayed overnight and I  step foot outside,  for the first time in two days, to go have some fun.  Thank God for friends and family.
 
 

The Results are In…

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Disclaimer: I am not an alcoholic; not a regular drinker either.  I hardly ever drink alcohol, and when I do, it is usually 1 or 2 drinks the whole night.  Glad we got that out-of-the-way 🙂

Now to My Progress Report

On Cocktails:
Last week I posted a poll asking readers what their favorite cocktail was, and the results are in:
* Piña Colada snatched the first place
* Closely followed by the Martini (in different variations)
* Honorable mention goes to a glass of water (love it!)

For all of you Piña Colada lovers, here’s Paula Dean’s recipe:

Ingredients  

  • Ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
  • Sliced pineapple, for garnish, optional
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional

Directions
Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add rum, coconut cream, coconut milk and pineapple chunks. Puree.

Serve, garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry, if desired.

On # 14 Mastering a Few Signature Dishes:
No new dishes have been mastered as of yet, but have been cooking more often and am close to mastering Steak with Onions, Fried Okra, Yellow Rice with Corn, and Sautéed Pork Chops (Dominican Style)

On # 24 Exploring RI from A to Z:
 I crossed off visiting the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium at Roger Williams Park.  The visit lasted about 2 hours; of which the Planetarium show took about one hour.  The price was right at $3 per person, including the show. 

They have nice Native American Exhibits, a Victorian Era furnishings and artifacts  display, and my favorite, preserved animals that look so much alive. 

I will recommend this for a family outing with kids 4 and up; younger children aren’t allowed in the Planetarium show. 

Progresando

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Progress Report:

 On # 11 Completing my Bachelor’s Degree
Happy to report that I have completed my Summer course on Studies in Narrative with a final grade of B+, which puts my overall GPA at a 3.33.  I am very excited about the fact that completing this course contributed towards 3 of the items on my list: #11, #20, and #35.

On The List 

Ready, Set, Go

 I have recently added 3 new items to my list #33, #34, & #35, and I am up to a good start on each of those goals.  In addition, some of the other objectives on my list have been further defined, which has helped me in advancing on those areas as well, for example: #4, #14,  #20, and #24.

 

Facing Challenges:

On #5 Growing in Faith
From the 5 steps I had commited to in order to move towards this goal, I have found one of them especially challenging: Praying everyday.  Although I do it most days,am  finding myself still unable to reach a deeper level of connection with God.  My friend Michael recommended a book, which probably will be the next book that makes it to my Read 2011 list.   On the other 4 basic steps towards this goal, I am doing mostly good, but not 100%.

34: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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For those of you who have been asking (and for the ones that haven’t 🙂 ) here’s the report on the first item I have accomplished from The List celebrating my 34th Birthday.  As you can deduct from the title of  this post, although it was mostly good, it wasn’t perfect. 

    

The Good
I had done enough preparation so that on the day of the party I wasn’t rushed.  My hair, makeup and dress worked out good and I felt comfortable enough with my appearance.  The place was beautifully set and the food was great; many of my guests positively commented on how much they liked it.  My cake was wonderfully created by Pezuzu; the bottom layer was Pina Colada (yummy) and the top layers were Red Velvet (scrumptious). 

Also good was the last-minute (two weeks or so) decision to surprise my dad by celebrating his birthday along with mine.  His actual birthday was one week after my party so his girlfriend and I decided to join forces and surprise him.  Not only was he surprised, but he was very pleased, as was I, to have his brothers and sister from NJ join us in celebrating.  His bday cake was also made by Pezuzu and it was designed as a game of Dominoes, since he loves to play it. 

I really enjoyed the friends and family that came.  We did a little Karaoke, I mainly accompanied my aunt Rosa who was singing while dancing up a storm. I even danced a bit!  It was fun (and painful) after a 9 year Sabbatical; I need to get in dancing shape again but definitely fun. 

    

 

The Bad
I have never considered myself a perfectionist, and seriously I can’t be one, if you are close to me you know how disorganized and unpunctual I am; somehow I just don’t see those traits fitting in with being a perfectionist.  Nonetheless, I do stress myself out unnecessarily about minute details; this, in my opinion, is mainly the reason why I couldn’t immerse myself in the celebration.  I was preoccupied with details; couldn’t let go of the planning stage, therefore I felt a bit removed from the scene so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have.  Also, some of my confirmed guests did not show up and others cancelled very last-minute.  When you are paying per person this can be frustrating.  In addition the music playlist could have been better planned and there were some glitches on that aspect.

The Ugly
Fortunately the ugly didn’t get too ugly.  One guest, who arrived very late, felt he was not paid proper attention to and decided to leave.  According to him, nobody told him where he could sit (mind you it was open sitting) and he felt uneasy…. The ugliest was a minor scene caused by a married couple (the wife is a friend of mine).  They were sitting at a table along with other guests, one of whom very gracefully offered to buy a drink for everyone at the table.  The husband took offense to this gesture and very bitterly told the gentleman who had offered to buy the drinks that no one buys his wife alcoholic drinks except for him.  The husband (read insecure little boy)  was not content with the gentleman’s apology and kept pressing the issue.  Luckily my father intervened and appeased him saving the night. 

Overall it was a good night.  It did not turn out exactly as I planned it, but really what does?  As I told my dear friend Marlin, this is just an excuse to throw myself another party!  Seriously, I think next time I would rather invest the money on a cruise.  I want to express a big thank you to all of those who were part of “The Good”, to all my friends and family who came out to be part of this night, especially my NJ family; to my friend Leona who helped me plan this and kept me sane; to my friend Pezuzu who put so much time and effort into making the most beautiful birthday cake ever, and to my friend Paula who so gracefully took great pictures of  everyone and everything! 

Above all, I’ve made my first stride towards conquering my list.  Do you have a Life List/Bucket List?  Do you remember the first item from your list you were able to achieve and how this felt?

Quick Update

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Pezuzu's sketch for my bday cake!

Well, I am a little over one day away from crossing off the first item I set out to conquer from The List.  Like my friend Leona would say: Mood = excited – Anxious – excited.  Send positive energy my way, better yet, say a prayer so that everything goes smoothly 🙂

I am including a link to my Birthday Bash Page so you can see were things stand.  Thanks for peeking in:  Birthday Bash!

So Far So Good

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Progress Report:

It’s been about 2 months since I typed my Bucket List, committed to it, and started blogging about it.  Although, I have not made astonishing accomplishments, I feel that I have come a long way from my pre-bucket-list days.  First of all, I am committed to pursuing these goals, just  having the list in writing and published makes me feel very accountable, not only to others but to myself.  Second, being able to see the list has allowed me to make more sense out of it, and at the same time believe that I can achieve these objectives; seeing it in writing makes it seem less unreachable somehow.  Third, visiting other bloggers that have their own lists of goals has been very encouraging to say the least; and I have gotten many good ideas from my readers – Thank You!  Above all, I would say the best thing about this process has been a definite shift in my attitude,  and a frequent feeling of happiness.  Below I will list a few tangible outcomes as a progress report:

On #5 Growing in Faith
This was the first of my ongoing goals that I dissected in order to better define a course of action that is tangible and achievable.  I identified 5 basic steps I can commit to in order to move towards this goal.  So far I have been praying everyday; however, I need a lot more work in that area.  My prayers have been short and superficial so far. Went to church last night, as planned, and was more attentive to the sermon; I even got there on time to give my offering.  This morning I read the Bible and shared a bit of it with my kids. 

On #8 Throwing Myself a Super Fun Birthday Party

Pezuzu's sketch for my bday cake!

The date is approaching fast (about 2 weeks ahead).  Luckily there are only a few items left to take care of, and I need to stop procrastinating on those! I am very thankful for my friend Leona who has helped me plan (and re-plan) this party.  

I still need to call the owner of the location to finalize a few details, figure out the whole music and sound system situation, plus a couple other things. 
 
 

On # 11 Completing my Bachelor’s Degree
 I have chosen to start working towards this goal next.  So far, I have gotten reinstated as a current student; I registered for one Summer class, which will also be beneficial in achieving goal #20 of my list because it is a Literature class; got permission from the boss to tweak my office schedule in order to accommodate this class into my lunch hour.   Also, I created a sub page, called #11 Bachelor’s Degree, to track this goal.  On that page I give further details of why this is important to me;  and I am keeping track of credits completed.