Saturday, December 24, 2022

2022 Review

2022 was hard.
There I said it.

2022 was a year I'd prefer to not review, in fact.  I've been staring at this screen for hours and not putting words on the screen because I'd prefer to not feel those feelings again.  I'd prefer to put all the things in their tiny boxes and only pull down the good tiny boxes. But that is not the purpose of a year end review.  I'd say it's for showing you all the things we did this year, but this year consisted of 3 main themes: dogs, working out (running/crossfit), and struggles.  Sometimes those 3 things even overlapped, an actual trifecta, if you will.

2021 was full of new adventures in MD.  There were struggles and achievements, but the rollercoaster didn't feel 2022 drastic.  2022 feels like I should have taken some motion sickness medication before the ride started.  2022 is full of dirty laundry that doesn't need to be aired on a public platform and so I try to focus on all the other things, the literal running away from my problems, instead of focusing on the negative things.

January started off just fine.  It snowed, there were dog snugs, 2022 began without a hitch.

February is birthday month and Teh German came through with a spa day for us and I may have one upped him with a trip to Vegas (for a race), where I bought him a Porsche driving experience and took him to both the Western and Southern rim of the Grand Canyon.  Also, I had my hairs did and then I had a stupid bang (yes singular because it wasn't like a full fray it was only a tiny section of like 20 hairs) from breakage and I really hated it.

March is when the tribulations really began.  Our basement flooded (again) and no one could figure out why it was flooding.  There was also running and that bang.  We got some estimates for having a deck built, butttt then the whole sewer thing deterred that good idea.

April is when we learned that the sewer line that runs from our house to the public line had been BORED through and it wasn't actually connected to the public system, so really we'd been fertilizing the yard since whenever that had happened.  We had to pay for the repairs and we were told we'd get all the money back.... eventually.  Our fence was also damaged by the neighbor's landscapers AND one of the gates broke because of a windstorm.  All things that had to be repaired.  Which means people had to be contacted and harassed.  Dislike.  Also, that bang was now in my eyes.

May included a trip to "DC Disneyland" aka the Mormon temple which is opened every 50 years to the public, so that was kinda cool and a few races and lots of dog snugs.  Also, our garage started leaking in earnest.  Leaking to the point of needing repairs.. but oh yeah, we'd spent all our funds on fixing the sewer line that wasn't our fault.  Jokes about the bang started.  I threatened to just cut it off.

June was when the rollercoaster started picking up speed.  There was running and a visit from Teh BFF and my first ever Pride parade and a Starset concert.. but the worst part was having to let Sandra Dee go.  It was her time and we got 2 very unexpected years with her, but it hurt the MOST.  Like, I knew it was the right thing and I'm still not over it.  To the point that I put in a rescue application with the local Wolfhound group last week.

July was fireworks, dog sitting (and subsequent dog drama that has caused continuous relationship strife), Teh Bestie's bday celebration, rage job applications, and a trip to NC where I was able to spend a good day with my Granny (which I didn't know at the time was "a good day" and now I treasure it even more), a hike with Teh BFF while I was at home, home, and my first Drum Corps International show.  Like the predictable woman I am, when major life changes started happening, I cut my hair.  This mostly solved the bang problem.

August included a trip to Wisconsin to deliver Spinny Penny and buy all the cheese, a trip to WV to do some running in the woods, a trip to Oregon for more running, my first mammogram because I found a lump, a day-drinking bday celebration, lots of dog sitting, and finding out my Granny is actually very sick.

September, I started a new job, I got covid (literally couldn't go to my new job on the first day because I had covid and I also missed a race), did the DC Bike Ride, did some dog sitting, went to our first Orioles game, and ran 2 Ragnars. Also, solved a financial mystery that had been plaguing me for months (nope, not the sewer line repayment, but was still in contact with those people too) that gave me a lot of feelings. 

October was running and dogs and going into the office and getting injured while running.  It was fucking terrible being injured.  More dealing with sewer things.  Lots of unresolved feelings and rage about the financial mystery.

November was injury recovery, leaves, visiting the Hirshhorn museum, our 5 year anniversary, the birth of my new favorite person: my niece, getting to see Pucifer at the Warner Theater, Thanksgiving, and finally we wrapped up the month by cashing the reimbursement check for the sewer line repair.  After months and months and months (since May) of me having to send regular emails "regarding the status of this issue", I finally got some traction in Sept/Oct when I spoke with their insurance broker.  It was a sweet relief.

December held my 30th and 31st/final races of the year, Christmas adventures in Baltimore (the market and holiday lights), dog sitting, and throwing out my back.  And soon will be Crimmus (as Teh German has taken to saying) and then New Years Eve/Day.

I'd share photos, but it's a lot.  I'm tired and I looked through the monthly photo albums to jog my memory to actually write all this.. and also I don't want to have feelings.  Ironically, I was referred to and made a psychologist appointment for later this week.  Now that we've been repaid for the sewer repairs, we get to turn our attention on fixing the garage, which is proving difficult because no one seems to want to do the work and if they are willing, they want to charge us $40,000. Kthxnope.

When I write it all out, it doesn't seem like 2022 was such a bad year.  I did many fun things: ALL THE RUNNING!  All the workouts!  So much travels!  

But 2022 feels HEAVY in a way that 2021 felt shiny and new.  Maybe it's the lack of processing all the things, maybe it's grief, maybe it's the relationships that have irrevocably altered, maybe it's the decision to stay, even if walking away was the easier option (that is not a suicide reference, but it is purposely vague sorry not sorry), maybe it's because I've felt responsible for so many things that I'm finally willing to walk away from because I'm tired.  I'm not really sure.  But I know a shift is coming (has been coming?) and I'm ready to close the book on the 2022 chronicles. 

Dear Muppet,
I'd give anything for another one of your kisses or for you to drag me down the driveway again at a full sprint or to come into the living room and see you huffing and stomping because Pax was in your spot or for you to just be sitting on the couch.  You changed my life in ways I didn't see until it was over and now I can't unsee how you broke me open.  I miss you my bestest Wuffie-Wuffs and I hope there's not a single shuffle happening anymore.  -Yer Mahm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Chili Mac and Cheese

I've been attempting to mix up the menu on occasion and I was looking for crockpot recipes (because I'm still as lazy as always) and found a recipe for chili mac and cheese that I decided to cook on the stove.  Would recommend.

Megan's version:

-1.5# ground bison
-red/yellow/orange peppers
-1/2 box of pasta (I used cavatappi instead of macaroni)
-16oz fire-roasted tomatoes,drained or 1 16oz can rotel tomatoes, drained (next time I'll use the fire-roasted tomatoes I bought specifically for this purpose that I forgot about until after I'd opened the rotel, sigh)
-2 (8oz) bags "macaroni and cheese" blend cheese (1 bag was insufficient, if mac and cheese blend isn't available, cheddar is recommended)
-1 cup broth
-1-2 cans of beans, drained (I forgot this, but will add it next time)
-1-3 tablespoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon-ish oregano
-1 teaspoon cumin
-Cayenne pepper (if you want heat spice, I omitted this)

-Start water to cook pasta, cook pasta while cooking meat.
-Dice vegetables
-Start cooking meat, add chili powder, when meat is almost cooked, add onion, peppers, and garlic. 
-Add seasoning.
-Add broth.  Simmer until pasta is cooked.
-Drain pasta, then mix with meat/veggies.
-Add 1 bag of cheese.  Slowly add the 2nd bag until your heart feels full (I'd probably use half the 2nd bag, we added mexican cheese because 1 bag wasn't enough for my cheese loving heart).

Megan Notes:
-I don't like ground beef so we use ground bison as a substitute, you can use whatever ground meat you prefer.  I think this recipe is versatile enough for most proteins or even as a vegetarian meal.
-I made sure to add enough chili powder and cumin that the food was well seasoned, especially since I wasn't using the cayenne pepper and I'm slightly scared of chili powder.  Teh German approved of the spices.  I explicitly asked him.  
-We didn't actually miss the beans, but the beans make it more like chili than hamburger helper, so I will fix that error next time.
-I will always pick the most fun pasta. 

Not Lasagna

So recently I accidentally merged 2 different recipes and the concoction turned out delicious, so I'm gonna share it here so I can reference it later.

These recipes are very similar, so it wasn't a far reach to mix them up.

It might not look like much, but it tastes delicious!

Ingredients (I used):
-1 roll sage sausage
-enough mushrooms, thin sliced
-half an onion, diced
-enough garlic
-1 (yellow) squash
-1 zucchini (/green squash)
-1 package baby gnocchi
-fennel seeds (enough)
-16ish oz spaghetti sauce
-enough ricotta cheese
-enough mozzarella cheese

-Preheat oven to 400°F.
-In a dutch oven (or some oven safe-stove cooking container), begin cooking sausage. 
-When sausage is almost done, throw in mushrooms, onion, and garlic.
-Mix in squash, gnocchi, and spaghetti sauce.
-Cover and put in oven until squash and gnocchi are tender (i.e. you can stab them with a fork without too much resistance).
-Remove from oven.  Top/fold in the mozz cheese (you're welcome for that reference).  
-Drop dollops of ricotta cheese on top, as desired.