Dinner Party and Drawing

I made progress towards three of my new years resolutions
this weekend, and it really paid off.

Last night, I had a birthday dinner party for some of my friends with whom I'd like to become closer. I would consider it a great success. A few people didn't show who said they would, but I was very happy with the turnout. I cooked all day to put together the following menu:


Chocolate-dipped Bananas

Chocolate-dipped Strawberries

Pineapple and Cream Cheese Dip

Fresh Strawberries


Slow-Roasted Marinated Beef Ribs

Parmesan-Crusted Baked Chicken


Mozzarella-Baked Broccoli with Lemon Zest

Spinach Sautée


Caramelized Sautéed Bananas

Being able to cook this much food (which all turned out delicious) was very refreshing. I also really enjoyed the company of the guests. I am typically not a very social person. I get overwhelmed easily and would usually rather be by myself. This was a VERY small get together, as I live in a VERY small dorm/apartment, but the size was perfect for me. There were from 4-5 guests at any given time. They all enjoyed the food and we had some very nice conversations. I am very happy I decided to put this together, despite my initial fears, and the time it took up. I still need work on reaching out and not putting up walls, but I am really pleased with this start.

The other bit of progress I made was in the drawing department. I have been wanting to keep up a sketch book, but never got around to doing regular sketches last year. The other night I got inspired, picked up a pencil and drew. It isn't anything fancy, and my technique needs a lot of work, but thats the whole point. Drawn with mechanical pencil (I couldn't find my drawing pencils) by the light of my LCD alarm clock:

I didn't fully finish it before I fell asleep, but I'm pleased with how such a quick drawing turned out. I am really terrible at drawing faces/heads unless they are the focus of the piece, but I plan to improve that through drawings like these. This is by no means on of my better sketches, and I hope to be able to create more of the caliber of my best piece so far:



A year ago, I skied for the first time in Colorado after years of skiing the small little hills in Western NY. I was terrified. The green circles were about the same difficulty as the black diamonds of my native ski hill.

I would classify myself as an intermediate skier, and I knew my skill level well enough to know that I could handle the terrain, but it made no difference. I couldn't get over the fear of standing at the top of a hill and looking down. I was so afraid I would crash or lose control that those paranoias filled my mind and made it very hard to enjoy myself.

This year I was afraid the same thing would happen. I like skiing! Why couldn't I just relax and have a good time?

After getting over some pretty bad altitude sickness I went out on the slopes.

I guess a year of working on this fear issue paid off. I started out easy, and as soon as I felt at all nervous I made sure I recognized how in control I felt, how easy the slope actually was, and how much fun it was. To my surprise, the fear dissolved. I was able to ski the beginner hills with out much effort at all, until altitude sickness kicked in again.

Today I went out for the second time, and it was awesome! I was out for about five hours, and never found myself too scared to ski a hill. Occasionally I would feel a little jolt of fear as I reached a steep incline, but I would remind myself that I had successfully skied equally difficult hills before without a problem. The fear dissolved and I continued down the hill, able to enjoy the incredible view, the excellent conditions, and how fun skiing is when you aren't afraid.

I skied mostly blue squares, and would have even tried a black diamond except they were all covered in moguls, which I really have no interest in skiing through.

I'm so glad that the stress is gone and I can enjoy myself fully. Also, I have a valuable tool to put to use when I next attempt to drive stick.



I've really been meaning to update this blog a little more often than I have, so I think a great way to start off the new year is with a post. Hopefully more will follow.

This New Year's Eve was spend with Shea in Niagara Falls. We sat down and wrote out our resolutions in the hotel room a couple hours before midnight. Mine are as follows:

1. Consistently do the reading for class. I seriously neglected this last semester. I ended up very behind in my classes because I wouldn't do the reading until after the lecture (if at all), so class didn't make as much sense as it could have. I also ended up cramming a lot of reading in during finals week, and my grades suffered as a result.

2. Cook more, make full meals, and eat healthier. Something that really improved my quality of life last semester was the ability to cook my own food in my own kitchen, and not eat so much unhealthy campus food. I want to try new recipes and try to cook regular dinners, and hopefully lose the little weight I've gained from unhealthy eating habits.

3. Don't put off studying so long. I procrastinated a lot. I need to give myself more studying time in the future.

4. Write in Journal Regularly. I wrote several journal entries when I was struggling with emotional conflicts, and it really helped me sort them out. I want to make this a regular habit in the future. I'm also going to add more regular blog posts to this one, for the same reasons.

5. Get organized. I need to have a reliable system for storing papers and books so that when I need to study, I don't have to tear apart the apartment to find the materials.

6. Manage money better. I want to save more and spend less. I have a job, and this semester is paid for, so there really is no excuse for my money not to build.

7. Try to keep clean clothes more abundant. Doing laundry is a pain, but an even bigger pain is doing a lot of laundry at once.

8. Try to draw/paint/create art for fun and improvement regularly. Art is something I truly enjoy, and haven't made enough time for. I need that to change.

9. Practice Singing Regularly. I take voice lessons through the Eastman School of Music, and for me, getting an A is easy even without practice. However, it's an awesome opportunity, and I could learn SO much more if I practiced regularly.

10. Be better about cleaning up messes. I tend to pile my books/coats/bookbag on one chair when I get home, and leave coffee mugs on my desk, making a much bigger mess to clean up all at once.

11. Read non-required readings. I have a lot of books that I'm either half-way through or haven't even started that I want to read.

12. Reach out to more potential friends. There are many people at the U of R, and although many I've found are not people I'd choose to associate with, I shouldn't give up on the rest of them.

13. Get better about talking on the phone. I absolutely HATE calling doctors/customer service people/friends. I'd prefer to email or text.

14. Focus more on what I know, and less on the grades I receive. I am getting much better at this, but there is still much room for improvement. I am in college to gain knowledge about subjects that interest me and will help me pursue a career. A poor GPA might hinder my grad school search, but not caring about the material I've learned will harm my whole career.

15. Make a better effort to learn to drive stick. Shea and I have a Jeep Wrangler. I cannot drive it and I am completely terrified every time I attempt, but I know I will get comfortable with it if I stop avoiding practicing.

Well, that's it for this year's list. I hope you are having a great start to 2010!