Monthly Archives: November 2013

My Favorite Time of the Year

Thanksgiving is fast approaching…like tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Are you ready?  I think I’m ready(ish).  Half the fun is the cooking, and half of mine got finished last night. (Whew!)  The rest of the fun is my family.  I have to say, I think we’re all pretty cool people, and I really enjoy spending time with them.  I kind of miss the years that Thanksgiving was a three or four-day affair. In recent years, I’ve had to narrow it down to Thanksgiving Day. My Dad sill drives up on Wednesday and stays through Friday though.  This just means that I try to pack more into the day.  It is me, and it is my favorite holiday, after all.

English: Miranda Cogrove on the Macy's Thanksg...

English: Miranda Cogrove on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float for Build-a-Bear. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year it is filled with family and, well, food…lots of food.  We’ll throw in a little football too…just because we can.  We all come together in November to celebrate and give thanks for…everything.  We gather at my Aunt’s house in rural Oklahoma, near the Kansas border.  Some people come in the night before to help with the cooking, or just to visit.  The rest of us start showing up around 10am.  Enough time to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, but not so early that you can’t sleep in, just a bit.

We all have our “jobs” for the big day, dishes we bring and such.  I always bring Greek cookies (Kourabiethes, the almond butter cookies smothered in powdered sugar) and usually I end up mashing the potatoes once I get there.  Those are my favorites!  I guess they figure if I’m going to eat more than the average helping of mashed potatoes, I should at least help make them.  Over the last few years, I help my mom with some of her items too.  The cherry cheesecake pies and the Snicker Salad to be precise. (Yes, they are as good as they sound!)  Mom brings the relish (vegetable) tray and the cranberry salad (her mom’s recipe).  My sister brings the broccoli cheese casserole….you get the idea.

As kids, my sister, cousin, and I would camp out on my Aunt’s living room floor on Wednesday and Thursday night.  It all had a slumber party type attitude.  My cousin and I had a tradition for Friday morning.  We would leave my sister sleeping, and wake up really early with all the guys heading out to go quail hunting. This was less of a send off and more of an excuse to eat chocolate cake for breakfast.  Then my cousin would go hunting with the rest of the guys and I would go back to sleep or to read a book until the rest of the house woke.  Our Dads never protested our choice of breakfast. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain that we were not the only ones sneaking more than our fair share of that amazing cake the morning after Thanksgiving.  Those mornings are some of my favorite memories.

It's Mashed Potato Time

This year, Thanksgiving will be pretty much the same…and completely different all at once.  The same dishes will be served, the same table laden with food, and we will still raise the population of this tiny town by like 10%.  Laughter will still reverberate through the rooms of my Aunt’s house, children (big and small) will run amok, and we’ll still have to step over my Uncle(s) who can sleep through just about anything.  Football will be on the television, and old favorite stories will be told alongside the new ones.  My cousin’s wife, my sister, and I will still try to get out of doing the dishes before everyone pitches in together to get it done.  (There are some benefits to being an adult(ish).)

There are more people missing from the “grown-up” table (even now that I’m in my 30’s, the grown up table is different from where I sit with my cousins and my TV tray to watch football) than have been added.  We’ll all get a little teary during the prayer as we remember those who have gone before us, thankful for the time we had with them and missing them more than we can say.  Then someone will make a joke to lighten the mood, usually, about sending my Mom and I to the back of the food line to make sure there are enough potatoes for everyone else.  After that, as we consume massive amounts of food…and visit. Usually this means telling stories. My family does love a good story…we don’t even have to make up many of them. There are “characters” a plenty.

This time of year I see a bunch of people posting on social media each day of November with one thing they are thankful for, and I think it is always a good idea to stop and reflect on all the wonderful things in your life.  For me, 30 days in November is not nearly enough time to list all the things I’m thankful for!  See, I do this thing that Jim Stovall calls “The Golden List”.  Every morning I wake up and make a mental list of 10 things I’m grateful for.  Usually, I do this while I’m still in bed.  It really helps start the day off on a positive note. Big things, little things it doesn’t matter what goes on the list.  Here’s today’s Golden List, just to give you an idea.

  1. I finished the Kourabiethes (Greek cookies) in time to get to bed just before midnight
  2. My bed is really comfortable and warm and I can lay in it and enjoy for five more minutes
  3. My alarm clock got me up on time
  4. My dog, Dexter, did not wake me up with a cold nose before my alarm went off. (yesterday, 5am, cold nose to the inside of my arm)
  5. English Breakfast Tea (5:45 comes really early when you go to bed at midnight!)IMG_1364
  6. I get to see my family tomorrow!
  7. The rest of my cooking will only take about an hour or so, and then I can kick back and relax tonight!
  8. My new Christmas tree for my bedroom is really pretty.  Good decision, if a bit excessive.
  9. Really awesome friends who make my favorite cake for my birthday. (Yellow cake with chocolate frosting!  Yum!)
  10. The ability to eat said cake for breakfast, if I wanted to. (I was good and had oatmeal, but the thought was nice.)

Like I said, these aren’t huge things, just remembering that there is always something to be grateful for.  Even if it is just thinking that there’s cake, and I could have it for breakfast…if I wanted. What are you thankful for today?

So, these are a few of my favorite things (yes, I sang it in my head.) about Thanksgiving.  What is your favorite holiday tradition?  For that matter, what is your favorite holiday?  I did a thing. There’s a poll.  It’s just below.  You should totally check it out…don’t just read it!  You have to answer too!

‘Til next time,

Jessica


TARDIS, Dalek, Stars, and…Presents: Happy 50th Anniversary and Birthday Party!

IMG_0628 (1)Hello Sweeties!  Well, I’ve done it!  I’ve thrown my first Doctor Who party.  When I was planning, I worried about it feeling like a 10 year old’s party…with adult beverages.  One of these days, I’ll learn not to worry so much.  It didn’t feel childish at all…I left off the coloring pages and props…maybe that made a difference?  All in all, if there weren’t an abundance of Doctor Who references from everything the food to “props”, it would have just been a lovely…blue and silver party…with stars.  

For this party, just blue and silver wouldn’t cut it.  This is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who for crying out loud!  It was also my birthday party, so there was no halfway.  The TARDIS made an appearance…or three, and a Dalek tried to “Exterminate!” the bread. My friends and family definitely Exterminated all the food.  (One day I will remember that there are never leftovers, but there is always enough.)  I should just stop stressing out about it.  

If you’re thinking of your own Doctor Who themed party, I’ve included recipes or links for the food, directions or links on how to make the decorations, and…anything else I can think of.  For those few people attending who were not Whovians, I made sure that everything had a little sign to indicate how it related to the show.  I mean otherwise, it is just a lasagna with a face!  I used Pinterest a lot to get ideas several months ago, but, when it came down to it, I didn’t do anything the exact way the directions suggested.  If you want to see some other ideas, check out my Theme Parties board.

20131123_172836Lost Moon of Poosh (a moon made of cheese!) I just bought a tasty cheese ball and some crackers.

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Bow Ties are Cool Pasta

Chop at least 4 garlic cloves and brown in a little olive oil, 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes into the pan with the garlic and cooked until the tomatoes release their juices (I usually cut 1/3 or so of the tomatoes in half to help this), top with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella pearls.  Pour this light tomato sauce over al dente pasta. (Bow Ties in this case)

 

Moisturize Me Lasagna

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Brown 1lb lean ground beef & mix with favorite marinara (I have a good recipe, but I used store-bought because of time issues.)  Spread a bit of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish to prevent sticking and layer lasagna noodles on top. (I use oven ready noodles because of time, and they are so much easier than traditional noodles!)  Top noodles with meat sauce and layer a few good spoonfuls of good ricotta cheese on top of that.  Repeat noodles, sauce, ricotta until you reach the top of the dish.  Then top with sauce and shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  To make Cassandra’s face, slice a radish, top the radish with sliced black olives, and cut lips out of a red bell pepper. (Please put Cassandra’s face on after cooking…otherwise it isn’t pretty.)

Celery is for Wearing, Not Eating Salad

20131123_172857This is just a bagged salad with sliced celery (tops with leaves just…somewhere), red pepper, radishes, tomatoes, and black olives (left over from Cassandra’s face)

Dalek Garlic Bread

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 Just garlic bread with a Dalek wind-up toy next to it…to “Exterminate!” the bread.  I’m sure I could have made it look like a Dalek, but…time.  

 

 

Sonic Screwdrivers 9th, 10th & 11th Doctors

IMG_2042The blue sonic screwdrivers were by and large the most popular of the evening.  Very tasty, and the citrus soda made them “sparkle”.

9th and 10th Doctors’ Sonic Screwdriver

1 shot vanilla vodka (I actually used Pearl’s Wedding Cake Vodka…because it is so very very tasty!)

1 shot blue curacao

citrus soda (something clear like 7-up, Sprite, or Sierra Mist is better)

(9th & 10th Doctors) were a huge hit.  

11th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver

2 shots blue raspberry vodka

Orange Juice

A slice of lime

The 11th Doctor’s green sonic screwdriver was very tasty also, but it didn’t have as many takers.  I think that a splash of citrus soda would be great here too.  You know…sparkly.  

Still Not Ginger, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship Cookies (with edible ball bearings)

 

IMG_5225 (1)Otherwise known as how many Doctor Who things can I fit into one dish!  I love this sugar cookie and icing recipe!  It is pretty much the best one I’ve come across.  Perfect for using cookie cutters too, and the icing makes the cookies stackable without getting too hard. (Why did no one take a picture of my lovely cookies?  Oh right, they were too busy eating them!)  A triceratops cookie cutter and gray sugar pearls made this…perfect.

TARDIS Cake!

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Huge thank you to my friend for the birthday cake.  It is wonderful!  My favorite is yellow cake with Chocolate Frosting, and that is just what I received!  She drew a much better icing TARDIS than I would have been able to.

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Adipose Marshmallows  (used as drink stirrers)

These are super easy.  Jumbo marshmallow, and you can attach the regular size ‘mallows either with icing as glue or with toothpicks (1.  Cut the toothpicks in half, it works better. 2. Warn people there are toothpicks….I know, but the last thing you want is for someone to swallow half a toothpick.)  The faces were drawn on with black gel icing.  I used a toothpick to get a fine enough line.

TARDISmug

There were bunches of other items pertaining to the life of  The Doctor strewn about.   I got a TARDIS mug for my birthday that made an appearance along with an astronaut stress toy and a high-heeled shoe.  Can you tell I like River Song?

What did we do?

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Doctor Who…stuff was playing in the background for…everything.  The week leading up to the party BBC America had a schedule full of Doctor Who specials, and I made sure they were all DVR’d and queued up for the party.  Since there was a marathon on, we just ended up watching that.  So, The End of Time Part 2 led us into the broadcast at 7:00pm CST.  Yes, we had emotional trauma for fans just before the big event.

 

 

IMG_6331 There was the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who edition of Monopoly available for playing, but, as usual, we were too busy talking and laughing to pull out the games! We saved that for the guests who stayed the night.  Coffee and being thrashed at Doctor Who Monopoly…always a great way to begin the day!  I have to give serious kudos to the winner.  There were no hotels left to purchase…he bought them all.  An unlucky trip around the board was going to cost you at least $4,000 Monopoly money.  I would earn just enough income to pay rent after I mortgaged…everything.  Then I’d pay off the mortgage and earn enough income to pay rent the next time I landed on….anything!

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Decorations turned out great!  There was banner hanging from the mantle that said “Hello Sweetie”.  I just used TARDIS blue card stock to give the printed letters some substance.  IMG_5373A star mobile that hung from the light fixture above the dining table.  3 Chic Geeks gave me the idea, but I had to go and add glitter and stars of different sizes.  It was lots of fun, but I will never get all the glitter out of my…entire house.  The “Bad Wolf” graffiti was a big hit too.  My wonderfully evil self really wanted to print a poster sized weeping angel to hang behind the door in the bathroom…because it is scary!  However, I refrained…or I ran out of time…whichever…maybe next time.  All the tableware was blue and silver and the table and book case were scattered with silver star confetti.  I also couldn’t resist some star garland on a wire to weave about…anyplace flat.

A couple of people asked me what I was going to do with all the decorations I made.  Well, I’m keeping them, of course!  I received a Whovian Cookbook for my birthday….oh, I think I see more Doctor Who parties in my future.

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I watched The Day of the Doctor during the simulcast that afternoon.  

1) I know me.  There was no way that I would be able to sit still and not be checking on my guests constantly while the show was one.  However, I wasn’t missing a second of it either!  

2) I couldn’t wait that long!  

Since I cannot travel in time, my DVR worked just fine for this lovely occasion.  It also helped that BBC America rebroadcast it in the evening.  My guests ended up not needing much attention during the show, they were a bit occupied with what happened on-screen.  This did give me a chance to watch for all the little tidbits the creators like to throw in there for our viewing pleasure.  The hardest part was keeping my mouth shut. (Always a challenge!)  No spoilers!

All in all it was a pretty laid back kind of evening (with decorations).  Once again, I have to give huge kudos to my friends who are “Fantastic” all on their own.  There was virtually no clean up for me,  they jumped in with a “Geronimo” and had most of the work done for me.  All I had left to do was slip into my TARDIS pajamas and head off to dream of the next theme party I can concoct….Sherlock anyone?

Allons-y!

Jessica


Doctor Who Takes Over BBC America’s Schedule This Week…5 Days!

5days

Doctor Who takes over BBC America this week as we lead up to the 50th Anniversary episode, The Day of the Doctor.  Between specials on previous incarnations of the Doctor, specials on the Doctor’s companions, a made for TV movie and marathons of previous episodes, you can watch to your Whovian heart’s content.  When does all this happen, you ask?

Fortunately, they posted all the fun stuff online, so you don’t have to miss out.  Of course, I’m going to be gone almost every evening this week.  I can’t miss out on all the preshow stuff!  Thank goodness for DVR…otherwise I’d always miss out on the good stuff on television because of…life.

Don’t forget to check out the prequel mini-episode for The Day of the Doctor, here!  Oh my, they are such teases.  On the plus side it is only 5 days until the 50th!

Does it seem like I Love Geekology 101 has been taken over by the Doctor?  Well, yeah probably.  However, with the themed birthday party/ 50th Anniversary party happening at my house on Saturday, it sometimes feels like all my free time is taken with looking at, making, or thinking about something Doctor Who related.  I promise it will not last forever!

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Random Acts of Kindness 2013 Comes to a Close

photo (9)Random Acts of Kindness 2013 is coming to an end.  I’m equally disappointed it is over and relieved to be finished.  For anyone who missed out on what I’ve been up to, check out this post.  For my birthday, I did 37 Random Acts of Kindness. (Let’s not discuss how random they actually were considering I thought them up and started planning in September.  The randomness was more for the people receiving…right?  Right!)  The whole experience was more satisfying and more work that I imagined it would be, and I wouldn’t change a thing. (Although, when you start worrying about how “random” your Random Acts of Kindness are, a) may not have had enough sleep b) gotten a bit too detail-oriented or c) a & b are equally correct)  Despite the lack of sleep and peering at all of the minutiae a little closer than necessary, I can’t wait to do this again.  I will definitely do this again.  In fact, I want to do this (on a smaller scale, thank you very much) all year…forever and ever.  At the end of this post, you can find my original list with items marked off, changed and commented upon. (Did you think I could resist a good aside?)

I learned a lot through the last few months.  Well, I already knew I had an amazing family and fantastic friends, but this just reinforced all that.  There is no way that I would have actually completed all my projects if it hadn’t been for all of the wonderful support I generously received.  They listened to the logistics…a lot, and they rolled with all the changes.  They told me I inspired them, and when I got tired and just wanted to curl up on the couch and watch Doctor Who, that kept me working.  (I still watched Doctor Who, I just worked while I did it!) For every call to check in, card colored, stitch sewn, reassurance given (and received), cookie baked, dollar hidden, card given, flower gifted, and mile spent next to me in the car, I am immeasurably grateful.  Hopefully, this was as much fun for you as it was for me.  If it wasn’t, please, please, please tell me how to make it more fun next time…because, fair warning, there will be a next time.

photo (4)I learned I make a difference.  The things that I thought were little (read: took the least work) are the ones that I saw change people’s day.  Two of the biggest were “Awesome Cards” and compact mirrors.  The cards were free from VistaPrint.com and said, “You are amazing! Have a wonderful day!”  They are a huge hit!  I had 250 of them printed, and I’m still handing them out everywhere I go.  I’ve lost count of the number of people who told me that I absolutely made their day, just by handing them a card.  Some of them even had tears in their eyes as they said it.  Some of them hugged me and told me they wanted to pass it on to other people. (I gave them a handful of cards to pass on.)  Other’s told me they wanted to keep it as a reminder.  People were showing them off to their co-workers and friends, and still others were confused.  Everyone was smiling.  I really liked being sneaky, so I would hand it to them face down and just walk away.  Then I’d stand out of sight to watch their faces as they read the cards.  It was…awesome.

photo (5)I learned it only takes one person to begin.  My list of things mostly went out to help members of my community, but my story went a lot farther.  All of you amazing readers of I Love Geekology 101, my family, friends, co-workers, former co-workers, and lots of others heard or read about what I was doing.  My friend, Jim Stovall wrote a “Winner’s Wisdom” column about my Random Acts of Kindness project that went out to all his subscribers.  That is millions of people who in turn email that column to friends each week, post it in their community and organization’s newsletters and share his inspirational words.  Some of those people found their way back to me to let me know that I inspired them to go out and do their own Random Acts of Kindness, so it grows.  There were people at every turn these last few days that told me they were going to pass this on to someone else, and were telling me their own stories about Acts of Kindness they do for people too.  I’m going to pass on something from Doctor Who here. (Are you really surprised?  I didn’t think so.) The Doctor said that in all of his years of traveling that he never met an unimportant person.  I may have said I believed it before, but I think I really do now.

I learned that you can order stuff by the case at Dollar Tree online.  I had mirrors that I passed out with a note inside that said, “You’re beautiful just the way you are.”  At the mall, I passed them out to women I came across.  People were really confused until I told them that I was giving away presents for my birthday.  They were still confused, but at least they would take the mirrors after that.  Lots of people told me, that was a new twist on things and “God bless you”.   A couple of women told me they really needed a new mirror, and this was perfect.  I got a lot of smiles and “Happy Birthday” wishes and thank you’s too.  Someone even told me that I made their week by giving them the mirror.  My friend told me that it took all of about three minutes to give away 36 mirrors. (there were only 36 in a case!)  I was kind of sad when I ran out, because I was having too much fun!

I learned that some men are a little weirded out when a woman they don’t know hands them a flower, but they’ll still take it.  I had 40 carnations that I gave away at a local park on Veteran’s Day.  Lots of families, joggers, and people just enjoying the weather were out in the park that day.  At first, I was a little worried about giving stuff to kids.  I didn’t want to freak out any parents. (Strangers giving kids stuff at a park?  Hmmm…)  Then I was tempted to find some more men I could weird out by handing them a flower. (It was funny, come on!) After a little debate between the angel and the devil on my shoulders, I just gave flowers to everyone.  If they were kids, I made sure that parents were always right there, and I handed them to the parents first and then the kids.  Everyone smiled, and I loved it.

I learned that fire fighters love homemade cookies. (This wasn’t surprising.  Who doesn’t love homemade cookies?) The boxes decorated with “Thank You” messages were filled with an entire batch each of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter cookies.  One gentleman rubbed his hands together in glee when I told them that there were peanut butter cookies included in the package, and it got us an invitation to breakfast at the fire house.  Unfortunately, I had to decline.  There was a lot of stuff on this list!  I may have to come back by and take them up on the offer another time though.  Breakfast looked and smelled really good!  That thing you hear about fire fighters being able to cook?  After seeing (and smelling) that breakfast, I believe it.  They seemed genuinely grateful and touched that I wanted to do something to thank them for their service.

I learned that Barnes & Noble is pretty crowded on a Saturday afternoon, so it makes it harder to hide money in the books.  It doesn’t make it less fun though.  All good stories need a good soundtrack, parts of this one include the Mission Impossible theme.  (It is required when sneakiness is involved.)  Two of my friends and I stuck $1 and a note inside 30 books in the store.  I gave each of them $10 and 10 notes and told them to find their favorite books.  It didn’t matter what they were.  I was only a little worried about overlap, and we managed to make sure that didn’t happen.  Other than the parts that required the Mission Impossible theme, my favorite part was comparing the lists of books we choose.  It was hard for me to only pick 10 books that deserved the honor of giving their eventual recipient a little gift.  I had to look at a lot of books to choose…that means that I forgot one of the books I put money in.  Oh well, all of the ones that made it to the “consideration” list were well deserving.  I also learned I should write stuff like that down at the time…next time!

photo (6)I learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Handmade quilt=imperfections (that’s where the love hides, I think).  Attempt to deliver get well cards to kids, and get denied access to the floors because you’re not there to see a specific person?  That’s cool, and I’m thankful for all the effort to keep the children safe! Contact Child Life and give them the cards to deliver.  Three days not quite enough time to complete all 37 acts?  Well it is an ambitious project.  Just keep going!  A case of mirrors at Dollar Tree is 36 not 37?  Good grief, girl, just roll with it!  Police station closed? Am I supposed to be disappointed about going to meet more firemen?  Nope!  Bring the police cookies later. (Heck, there’s one officer I’ve been supplying with cookies for years!) The point is, the specifics don’t matter as much as the deed.  I need to take a step back, and look at the big picture sometimes.  This big picture is really beautiful!

Random Acts of Kindness 2013 List

1.  Leave zip bag full of change taped to a vending machine in a hospital with a note.  Since I couldn’t get into the Children’s Hospital on my trip, this didn’t happen.  I went by the Cancer Ward instead on my way home from work one day.
photo (2)2.  Bake cookies for my neighbors who are always cool and do sweet things (like “practice” edging on my driveway and sidewalk) I made them a set of coasters instead of cookies. (Last time they did something I made them a pie.  I had to change things up a bit!)
photo (8)3.  Send care packages for 37 soldiers, include thank you notes!Draw and color Thank You notes, Write a Thank you letter.  Keep it to one page!
Choose units from www.anysoldier.com (has all military branches)(This has to get doled out a little at a time.  I can only get 2 addresses a day, and I need 4 to get to 37, so…still working on it!)
4.  Visit the nursing home to talk to residents, especially ones who don’t get visitors.  My sister actually works at a local nursing home, so she’s going to help me set something up. (read: help me remember to come visit, since I ran out of time!)
5.      Make a quilt for family and children’s services
6.  Pick up the bill for someone else’s lunch/breakfast/coffee 
7.  Give a gift card to the mail delivery person
8.      Donate a bag of dog food to a local animal shelter. G.I. Wishes got the dog food instead of the shelter…it fits!
photo9.      Make 37 get well cards for children in the hospital and deliver them.  Well, I’m still working on delivery.  For security purposes, you can’t get on a floor in Children’s Hospital without having a specific person to visit, and I am completely on board with that!  They have an organization, Child Life, that does things like this for the kids who are staying at the hospital that I have contacted about delivering my cards for me.
10.  Give a gift card to a local restaurant to a homeless person for a meal
11.  Create and give out cards to strangers with happy, uplifting things on them
12.  Buy flowers or balloons and hand them out one at a time to people who could use a smile
13.  Put money in a parking meter for someone else
14.  Leave a treat on the desk for each of my co-workers.  This is something that I’m still working on as well.  My team is out of the office this week, so I get a bit of a cushion!
15.  Deliver goodies to the local fire station
16.  Deliver goodies to the police station in the neighborhood.  My police station is closed on weekends and all holidays, so their cookies this time went to another fire station.  However, I haven’t forgotten about them!  They will get a treat.  It will just have to come later.
photo (7)17.  Leave laundry soap and quarters at the laundromat
18.  Let someone cut in line at the store
19.  Hold the door open for people
20.  Smile at everyone!
21.  Give compliments
22.  Cook a meal for someone else.  Taking my friends out for a meal counts, right?
23.  Mail notes to friends and family just to tell them how much you love them.  Shhh!  Don’t tell them!  The mail hasn’t arrived yet.
24.  Clean out closets and make a donation
photo (3)25.  Donate to the local food bank
26.  Give compact mirrors with a note that says “you are beautiful, just the way you are” inside
27.  Leave $ or a note inside a book/s at a book store
28.  Do something kind for a friend or family member (cook a meal, mow the lawn, rake the leaves…) I helped my niece study so she could pass the written exam for her learner’s permit.
29.  Go to the local college and leave coupons/money/gift cards in dorm mailboxes for students
30.  Send a note/email/FB message to a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time.
31.  Collect and return carts at the grocery store.  I replaced this with baking for a charity fundraiser.  Lemon Rosemary Scones.  Yum!
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32.  Give/send someone flowers This got replaced with more baking!  Chocolate Cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream frosting.  They went to the United Way fundraising bake sale.  So good that I made them again as a congratulations celebration when my niece passed her test to receive her learner’s permit.

33.  Carry someone’s groceries…this didn’t work.  I was turned down.  Any ideas on something else I can do this month?

34.  Help someone with their yard-work/housework.  I helped with a friend’s daughter’s homework for her college Psychology class instead.

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35.  Hide dollars at the dollar store

36. 
Give away three copies of Discovering Joye by Jim Stovall.  This replaces coloring pages and crayons in the doctor’s office.
37.   Give a very generous tip

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Be Still My Geeky Heart, Have You Seen What’s Coming?

There are too many great, geeky things happening between now and the end of the year.  Too many?  What am I talking about?  There can never be too many!  There is an inundation of geekiness coming to a theater, television, monitor or mobile device near you.  I don’t even know where to begin.  Part of me realizes that I should probably spread this out over several posts, so no one else gets geek overload, but…geek overload is kind of awesome! I may be missing some.  Please let me know if I did!

Thor: The Dark World comes out November 8…that’s tomorrow.  Tom Hiddleston was on the Nerdist podcast yesterday.  I wrote about how awesome I think the Nerdist is here.  (Just in case you didn’t catch it on the first go round.)  This week is Marvel week on the podcast, so definitely go check it out.  Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Kevin Feige (big-time Marvel guy) are all on their podcast this week.  Fun times!

Catching Fire is November 22

Then there is The Day of the Doctor, November 23…I…it…I can’t wait.  Seriously.  Also, this will my birthday party.  Of course, it will be Doctor Who themed.  Do you think I would be able to resist?  Nope.  Oh, the things I have planned!  I’m working to keep it a secret though, because…my friends read.  Some of that is why they’re my friends.  There will be surprises for Whovians at the party.  I promise I will let you in on the party details after the fact though.  Oh, this was my invitation!(Well, part of my invitation.  I also sent the rest of the details too.)  I’m so proud of myself, it is ridiculous.  I may have (actually did) exclaim, “Look, I did a thing!”

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is December 13.  This clip…I don’t want to wait!  I also want to immediately rush out and purchase the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and watch it instead of working…no, of course I want to work.  Who wouldn’t want to work?  Then I want to watch all of the Lord of the Rings, and then read the books again….and again…and again.

OH!  Sherlock! Wait, that’s next year.  I’m good.  (“Good” may be a relative term.) Well, maybe BBC America will show it sooner?  We don’t know yet.  They should tell us soon….like…now.


T-Six Days and Counting…Random Acts of Kindness 2013 Countdown

T-six days and counting….

 

Well, folks, I’m on my last few days of Random Acts of Kindness 2013.  That means that you only have a few days left for you to submit your own kind acts in the Be Kind…Win Stuff contest.  Don’t forget to enter to win an autographed copy of Jim Stovall’s Discovering Joye!  Thank you to everyone who has already submitted.  I love reading about the amazing things that you’ve done for other people.

 

 

 

 

 

A row of shopping carts.

A row of shopping carts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This is not as detailed as the last update, but y’all deserve a little something here, all the cards are drawn and colored (I’m kind of sad.  I like coloring!),quilts are finished, donations gathered and pickup schedule, notes have been written (mostly), and a case of mirrors is on its way to me (Dollar Tree lets you order online! I had no idea.  You learn something new everyday.)…lots of stuff has been done for the big day (which is planned for November 9th, by the way)  Friends and family have volunteered (or been volunteered) for…stuff.  Obviously, not everything can get done in one fell swoop, but lots of it will.  That means lots of things are wrapping up and coming together.  There’s still work to be done, but time is on my side (kind of, sort of…maybe?)  Cookies will be baked and a copy shop will be visited…as well as the bank…and…okay, there’s still a lot of work to be done!  Some things got changed a little bit, others got switched out…ideas get better as they percolate.

Plus, what if it rains.  Do you want to gather shopping carts in the rain?  Me either.  Also, I’ve been checking out parking lots, and employees do a great job of gathering up those carts.  That made me worry that I wouldn’t find enough carts to gather up, and then I wouldn’t have 37 things on my list anymore.  Gathering a singular shopping cart would feel too much like cheating…or just like shopping and returning your own cart.  Sometimes, I’m a little…detail oriented.  So, yeah, I’ve got a couple of things sandbagged.  What can I say? (Yep, just realized I sandbagged Random Acts of Kindness…not that making a list months in advance and planning it all out doesn’t take some of the “randomness” out of the whole project…right!  Random is not the point.  Kindness is the point.)

Don’t worry, one of the volunteers is going to take a picture(s) of the heap of stuff in my house waiting to go out.  People have volunteered (or been volunteered) to go with me to help with things and take pictures as things are underway. (Yes, I understand that I’ve promised you that you will not show up in any pictures.  Personally, I’m telling you these individuals are gorgeous both inside and out, and I don’t understand why there is this fear of photographs.  However, I respect the decision.)  This way you can see what’s going on.  My family and friends have been amazingly wonderful.  There’s no way that I would have made it through this and had as much fun (or with as much sanity as I started with) if it weren’t for all of you!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

If you want to do your own Random Acts of Kindness project but you aren’t sure how to get started, people will help!  Comment or send me an email at ilovegeekology101@gmail.com.  I’m happy to give you ideas or feedback or whatever.  If you want to just check out other ideas, Random Acts is a non-profit that has lots of great ideas online that you can check out.  Maybe you already have a great idea, but you can’t afford it, Random Acts might be able to help there too.

Lots of other things have happened that I’ll be posting about soon!  I promise.  Lately I’ve been a bit busy with coloring, sewing and kind act making.  Regularly scheduled posts will be back soon.  Hopefully you’re enjoying my fun videos and such in the meantime!

‘Til next time,
Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Professor I Wish I Could Have – Neil Gaiman Joins Bard College

Bard College has a new professor starting in Spring 2014.  This professor has never attended a university, but is teaching an advanced writing workshop that will be exploring the history of the fantastic, approaches to fantasy fiction, and the meaning of fantasy today.  Students will be lining up to take this class…or they will if they’re smart.  He’s Neil Gaiman.  That’s why.

The post that led me to this information poses two important questions. “1) Who’s babysitting your dogs, Neil Gaiman? 2) Can we babysit your dogs?”  These are very important questions, and I would be more interested in the answers if my brain would get off repeat.  Neil Gaiman’s teaching. How awesome will that class be?  Neil Gaiman’s teaching.  How awesome will that class be?  Neil Gaiman’s teaching.   Admittedly, I’m kind of giggly and possibly bouncing in my chair (Well, in my head anyway) at the thought of the students who will get to take this course.  I definitely wish I was going to be one of them.

Here’s the Bard College announcement:

Bard College announces the appointment of Neil Gaiman as Professor in the Arts. Gaiman, who joins the College in the spring semester of 2014 as a member of the Theater and Performance faculty, will teach courses across the Division of the Arts and the Division of Languages and Literature. His first course will be an advanced writing workshop exploring the history of the fantastic, approaches to fantasy fiction, and the meaning of fantasy today, taught through the Written Arts Program and the Experimental Humanities concentration.

My first real exposure to Neil Gaiman was actually through his Twitter (@neilhimself) and his commencement address below.  The video is a little lengthy, but totally worth it.  If you want to read it instead of watching, you can do that here.

For someone who has always tried to play by the rules, this is a really great reminder.  That you don’t have to play by all the rules to be a success.  Taking a few chances, and making a few mistakes (even big ones) is okay…maybe a lot better than okay.  Because no matter what happens, make good art.

Some days you need a bit more inspiration than others to get you going than others, and when I need that little extra push to sit down and actually do the creative work I think about this speech (among a few other things).  When your boss shoots down your latest idea or your characters have morphed into people that don’t quite fit your story plan anymore and you’re stuck; when the blank page/canvas/computer screen just won’t be filled, and the mild panic like feeling sets in telling you that you are not cut out for this I come back here.   Because we all feel like a fraud sometimes.  No matter what….make good art.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 


Have You Ever Wondered, Do Those Life Hacks Actually Work?

Do you ever wonder about stuff?  I wonder about stuff.  Like those life hacks that I have been inundated with online.  They sound really helpful!  I pin them on Pinterest, share them on Facebook, but I never actually try them.  Really what I wanted was to ask around until I found someone that had tested all this stuff to see if any of it actually worked.  Thank goodness for John Green.  I like John Green.  He’s a funny guy.  He also writes some amazing books!

He tested 30 life hacks found online.  Some of the ones that I was sure would work, nope.  Fail.  Others I was sure were pure fiction, actually work pretty well.  Plus, I don’t think I can ever look at Doritos the same way again…although, I may take them camping with me.  Just in case of an emergency.

Do you have any life hacks that you’ve tried?  Did they work?  Did they fail?  Is there video!?!?!  These are things that I need to know!

‘Til next time,

Jessica