Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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Move forward with 2012 (read all 6 entries…)

I think I did ok with this, in the end. Finishing 2012 felt good and the year went out on a surprisingly high note. The last several weeks have been pretty good, but I know that the crazy isn’t going to stop just because December 31 has passed.

The last few days have been a struggle. I’ve been feeling pretty damn comfortable socially lately, but just today everything feels weird. I’m feeling a bit jerked around by a couple of people and it sucks. I deserve better than that but I’m not someone who can just cut people out because they’ve upset me.

Ugh. Instead, I stay in my house for almost 3 days straight, playing music too loud and exploring various states of non-sobriety. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go for a walk or something.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Stewed apple tart

I really needed to bake the other day. Maybe it really is time to look into getting paid to do that… I realized that if I made a simple pie, I wouldn’t need to go out and get any additional groceries and I’d be clearing out the freezer a little bit. My parents sent me home with a bunch of food a few months ago, and one of the items was a ziplock bag full of stewed apples, the product of their back yard.

I’m not sure what exactly went into the apple mixture, but I found bits of whole cloves. I’m sure there was cinnamon too, but not too much. It also wasn’t terribly sweet, which was nice. I made up a quick pie crust (flour, butter, hefty pinch of salt), hurled it into my lovely new cast iron skillet and shoved it in the oven for about an hour.

It was a good pie. So good that I ate half of it by myself and then fobbed it off on someone else.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Microwave brownie

When you’re in a nearly-empty apartment and have a craving for chocolate, this recipe from Chow is a pretty good stand-in for actual dessert. Goes well in a mason jar.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Strawberry shotcake

No, that’s not a typo in the title. At a gathering with a few friends, we tasted some cake-flavoured vodka. One among us poured her shot into a strawberry, which set us off on how those things could be combined in other ways. As it was a new friend’s birthday the following week, I committed to developing and implementing the strawberry shotcake for the party.

I eventually decided to appropriate Martha Stewart’s strawberry shortcake recipe for this. Instead of several small cakes, I made one largeish biscuit (for ease of transportation to the party venue). I made the vanilla whipped cream as instructed, but added ordinary vodka, salt and an additional vanilla bean as well as the required lemon juice to the strawberry filling. It was a slightly unexpected flavour, but I was happy with it and the cake went over well. My friend told me that the leftovers made an excellent breakfast the next morning.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Peanut butter cookies

Wow, these are simple. A friend showed me the recipe over a year ago and I never got around to making them until last week. I took them to a party (yeah that’s me: I’ll bring cookies to a house full of drunks) and they went over pretty well. Mixing them is weird; the peanut butter sort of seizes up and doesn’t really want to attach itself to the chocolate. But you bake them and can’t tell that there isn’t an ounce of flour in them.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Lemon sandwich cookies

Made this from this recipe. They were pretty good, although I had to thicken the icing with more sugar, and I used a real vanilla bean in the cookies.

Move forward with 2012 (read all 6 entries…)

This time last year I had a husband, a really nice house, and a job. None of those things ended up really working for me, but today I wish I could turn the clock back, even to October last year when things were shitty.

I am so lonely right now.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Onion pizza

Homemade crust, bechamel sauce, caramelized onions with a touch of thyme, Gala apples, and mozzarella cheese. So delicious.

Move forward with 2012 (read all 6 entries…)

I have the weirdest dreams when I wake up in the morning and then go back to sleep. Today sometime between 8 and 9 am, I watched myself forget that I got fired, went into the office and attended a meeting with my former boss. Everyone was too polite to say anything until the meeting was over, when he asked me “Why are you here?” and I subsequently collected the rest of my things and fled with a deep sense of shame.

I don’t have any fight today.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Baked potato

Ever have weird cravings for random stuff? Last night for me it was a baked potato with lots of toppings, which is odd because I’m not really a potato person. I love starch but I generally prefer pasta of some sort above anything else. But last night not so. Loaded up a tasty potato with super fatty yoghurt, cheese, bacon and green onions and dug in. It was awesome.

Have a frugal, healthy September (read all 3 entries…)

I cut down my spending my about half this month. Part diligent budgeting, part just sitting back and spending less because I was around people less. I didn’t eat out much or spend a lot on entertainment in general. I drank way less alcohol; I’d intended to drink none at all, but cooking a meal with friends and having wine as an ingredient meant I did have a glass. It was fine. I also spent less on groceries and did better at eating what I already had on hand.

I lost weight, but not in the best way. 4 pounds came off in the 3 days after I got fired. I’ll do better with that in October.

All things considered, I’m pretty happy with how this goal turned out.

Move forward with 2012 (read all 6 entries…)

J came over for dinner tonight and we talked through a bunch of things. The company is still very much in my thoughts because it’s still affecting me and a lot of the people I care about. I’m moving forward, but everything there was so personal that it’s going to be a while before I get over everything. This is totally fine and I need to just be patient with myself, let my brain work through it without dwelling, and move on.

I had a thought during our conversation and asked out loud, “Is C just intimidated by strong women?” I was hardly finished when J responded that yes, absolutely that is the case and that she was just talking about that with someone else last week. I thought about it for a second and then the realization that someone viewed me as strong, vocal, and possibly even intimidating washed over me like a massive happy wave. Me! Sure, the outcome is that I lost a job, but realizing how far I must have come to be viewed that way is actually kind of incredible and in a very strange way I feel fantastic about it.

The next step is to harness that strength so that in my next job I can continue to be strong and vocal but without taking everything so personally and just being seen as a problem employee.

Still happily reeling from this.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Eggs benedict

You know why this dish is awesome, other than everything is right in the world when you’re eating hollandaise sauce? Because it’s not really much more effort to make it for 2 people than it is to make it for 6. Make sauce, toast muffins, poach eggs in a larger pot than normal. Done!

Recipe for the best hollandaise from here.

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)

I watched the croissant dough episode of Bake with Anna Olson on the Food Network website about 4 times before I attempted this.

The result: yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah bitchez!

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Easy meatballs and cauliflower with gnocchi and tomato butter sauce

I wish I had taken a picture of this. It looked so comfortingly delicious.

Went over to a friend’s for dinner the other night. It was definitely his turn to host but he had no idea what to serve, so that morning I had a quick think, sent him a grocery list and made some delicious tomato butter sauce to bring over.

We sautéed some delicious Italian sausage (squeezed out of its casing and into little balls) along with chopped cauliflower (his reaction to me throwing that in the pan with the browned sausage was hilarious; an incredulous “Whaaaaaaaaat?!”) and had it with the pasta and sauce on top. Based on his reaction, this may have been his favourite meal of mine. Also: quickest meal ever, having done the sauce earlier in the day. Great success!

Document the next 100 things I cook, new or old (read all 46 entries…)
Pork & leek casserole

This was the second in the Guillemets Teaches Her Ex-Coworker How to Cook Things For Her Family series, and apparently it was a full-on hit. She picked it out of my recipe book during the first week, but was a little weirded out by the lavender in the recipe.

I showed her and her sister the best way to wash leeks (thanks Dr. Teeth!), how to take the silverskin off a pork tenderloin, and how freaking awesome lavender can be in savoury recipes. She had seconds, took home some of the lavender, and made it the next night for her partner and step-kids. Apparently they all loved it, so I feel like this was a big win for everyone.

Move forward with 2012 (read all 6 entries…)

This just made my day. It’s all going to be fine.

Move forward with 2012 (read all 6 entries…)

I’m starting to just accept that 2012 will just be known as The Year My Life Went Crazy, and that’s perfectly fine. Getting on with things is all I can do, and I’m going to be ok. I know that.

So since the madness that was the beginning of last week, I’ve accomplished a few things:

  • Met with an acquaintance from Edmonton who I didn’t know had moved here two months ago. She and her husband are very cool and gave me both job and apartment search tips. I’m going to her place this weekend to make a cookie pie.
  • I channeled my anger at being let go into negotiating my severance. I got double what they initially offered me.
  • With K’s awesome help, I’ve updated my résumé so that it looks like a grownup wrote it.
  • I went to Rifflandia and saw a bunch of great acts. Also hung out with the CEO. I assume (but don’t know) that his involvement in the decision to let me go was minimal, but it still had the potential to be awkward. It wasn’t, really, which was good.
  • Went out for after “work” drinks with the usual Friday crew. They miss me and it feels good. As a result of that evening I’m now doing weekly cooking lessons with the office manager, as per her request.
  • Applied to precisely one job so far and got an interview for it. It went ok; I don’t think I want the job (if they even offer) but the interview was fantastic practice and they did seem to like me.
  • Went to my individual counseling session and my therapist told me how impressed she was at how I’m handling things (even though we both acknowledged that she caught me on a good day). Hell, the fact that I’m even having good days is an accomplishment in and of itself.

There are even more things, but that’s enough for now. I’m trying to focus on the fact that I really have been set free from a place that did have a lot of perks and was filled with wonderful people, but was also rife with drama and less-than-stellar (or “seemingly random,” as A put it) decision-making. I still have my friends, I still learned things there, and I’m still employable. Just need to keep breathing.

Have a frugal, healthy September (read all 3 entries…)
On the plus side...

...I’m being frugal as all get out now! It’s hard because my friends and I like to socialize over delicious food, but even before I got let go the amount I was spending eating out wasn’t really ok. It’s amazing how quickly it adds up. Now, even though it’s not really true, my brain is screaming “YOU HAVE NO MONEY!” at me, so I need to be judicious in what I do with what I have at the moment.

It’s tough.

Get through my month off (read all 9 entries…)
Not quite what I expected

Maybe that tailspin last week was some kind of premonition.

I got let go this morning. Without being given the chance to live up to the (admittedly vague) expectations of me upon my return, I was told by my boss this morning that he’s thought about it and it would be better if I did not return to work. I’m calmly at my wit’s end about this. I’ll definitely need to move AGAIN, because I can’t afford my apartment anymore. I have no idea where I could possibly find work that might make me happy, let alone be able to pay the bills and support myself, etc. What the hell is the universe trying to tell me?

2012: Worst. Year. Ever.

(And for what it’s worth, I know there are so many people less fortunate than me. I’m trying hard to practice the kind of appreciation that’s the most difficult: appreciating the fantastically bad things that come along in life.)

Edit: I also need to remind myself that there have been some dizzying highs this year. Socially I’ve made more progress than ever, and there’s a person or two who have become very dear to me that I didn’t even really know this time in 2011. So yeah. Positivity and perspective are important here.

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