Sunday, January 31, 2010

$12 later, I can sleep better..

A while back I was talking to one of my neighbors and she mentioned that she had her water heater replaced. She said she'd been smelling "a damp, musty smell" in her hallway for a couple of days and then she noticed her carpet was wet. After a bit of investigating she discovered that her water heater had been leaking for some time until it finally soaked through to her carpet. This prompted me to go check on mine.
My water heater is pretty ghetto and I intend on replacing it with a tankless system once it finally goes out, or I save up enough money to do it voluntarily, whichever comes first. In the meantime I've gone to Home Depot and purchased a water alarm for around $12. It's a little box than runs on a 9 volt battery and has a wire with two sensors on it. If water completes the circuit the alarm will sound. You can actually test the circuit by touching it your skin (it doesn't shock.)
Now I can sleep just a little bit better at night.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Perfect Mexican Martini

I love watching Rick Bayless on PBS (Mexico, One Plate at a Time). His show always gets me in the mood for Mexican food, and of course, we can't have Mexican food without margaritas... So here is my recipe for the perfect Mexican Martini:

Pictured above (from left to right)
3/4 shot of good Tequila
1/4 shot of Grand Marnier
Juice of one small lime (fresh, approx 1/4 shot)
Splash of Margarita mix (approx 1/4 shot)
Teaspoon of Olive Juice

Combine ingredients in shaker with ice (and shake). Strain into a chilled martini glass with salted rim and add a couple of Jalapeno stuffed olives for garnish.
The perfect complement for shrimp tacos (tacos de camarones)*

*Shrimp tacos:

Flour tortillas
White Onion
Avocado (pureed)
Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Lightly coat shrimp with olive oil and seasoning (I personally prefer Tony Chachere's creole seasoning.) and place on grill along with slices of white onion.
Once cooked, coarsely chop shrimp, grilled onion and fresh cilantro while adding a squeeze of lime juice to mixture.
Spread a thin coating of the pureed avocado on a tortilla, add the shrimp mixture and roll up.
Cut tacos in half and stand up on plate to make it all "foo-foo" like. (I like to spread some tomatillo sauce around the plate for dipping and for color.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Will the New Year be "New"?

As I was typing up some comments on The Bike Noob's blog (I seem to be a better commenter than blogger) it got me to thinking about the New Year and what I want to see happen in the future. I won't make a whole lot of resolutions, but instead I'll make some "likes", as in things I'd like to do.

#1 Cross Training - I need to vary my exercise routine by more than simply cycling. Last year I went as far as filling out an application for gym membership, but never got around to actually turning it in. So even if I don't join a gym (I can only afford so many yearly/monthly subscriptions at one time) I will make an effort to pick up the hand weights currently nestled next to the fireplace more often. I might even start jogging again. One of my co-workers swims year round, he's found several local pools that are either free, or nearly free, and that are heated. I might try that as well.

#2 Entertainment - I will go to a movie, concert, opening and/or other event at least once a month. I've lived in Austin for twenty years and have never been to the art museum, though I've been to the natural history museum like ten times (love me some dinosaur bones..)

#3 Finances - I will (and recently have been) spending only cash - no debit/check card, no American Express card. This year I paid for Christmas in cash. No surprises later.

#4 Laundry - I will put clothes away and hang up shirts (in the closet!) each time. No more piles of clean clothes on the laundry room floor because I had to make room in the dryer for the next load.

#5 Beach - I will make it to the beach *before* late July or early August, even if I have to go by myself - and preferably somewhere in the Caribbean. I will take advantage of every 3 day weekend (Memorial Day, etc.) to go out of town. I will actually use the tent I bought several years ago (and set up once) and go camping.

I think the biggest reason so many of us "fail" at keeping our resolutions is a perception of failure: Resolve to lose weight? Lose some, but the end up gaining a couple of pounds? Then you must have failed and therefore no use even trying any further. The problem is that we try to apply linear logic (on/off, pass/fail, black/white, day/night) to a circular or cyclical world. The world is round, not flat and everything in our lives is a cycle (messy kitchen/clean kitchen). The tide may be high or low, but it's not "either/or" - it's a cycle in that it comes in and goes out and never actually stops.