Obligatory Look Back at 2008

I was gonna go right to the resolutions things to think about doing differently for 2009, but thought it might be helpful and useful to see how far I’ve come in 2008 first.

The short answer is that my life, right now, is the best it has ever been. I am the happiest I have ever been.


Here’s what I’ve accomplished this year. In no particular order:

  • I paid off two of my three credit cards. I have struggled with my debt in a variety of ways for a long time. To make such progress, feel such success, and experience such freedom has been astounding.
  • I earned a promotion and a hefty raise at work. This is mostly a reward from the previous two years’ hard work. It also reflects my boss’s confidence in me, which is much appreciated because I really respect and genuinely like him.
  • I lived in this house, with Missy. It’s different to me to feel such stability and comfort in my living situation.
  • I joined the Board of Directors of the Twin Cities Women’s Choir. I was completely flattered to have been asked and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to an organization that has provided me with so much happiness and joy.
  • I auditioned — solo! by myself! — for ENCORE! and got in. I don’t do auditions. The whole point of singing in a choir is so that no one can hear just me. But I really enjoy the experience of singing with the smaller group and I had to do it if I wanted to continue. So I did.
  • I met and made new friends through the beauty of the internet and a trip to SXSWi. It’s so wonderful to put face, voice, and presence to a screen name. It blows me away how Twitter more than any other medium has significantly contributed to my online relationship-building, and how it translates to offline/meatspace relationship experiences.
  • I have consumed the healthiest diet of my entire life. This may have dubious status as an “accomplishment” because this is almost entirely due to my just eating what Missy puts in front of me. And Coke Zero. The availability of nutrition facts online has led me to selecting healthier options at some of my favorite places to eat.
  • I enjoyed several vacations with Missy, including a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. I have always been one to just go places by myself if that’s what I want to do, whether I was meeting people there or not. Missy and I travel really well together. Road trips, plane trips, fun trips, friend trips, family trips, whatever. Going places — and enjoying them with her to boot — has been phenomenal.
  • I launched two websites — cinna.mn and fresh.mn — and acquired The Dish. That move to fresh.mn, on a very low level, had been a long time in the making. I’m glad I took the leap. cinna.mn was almost an afterthought; what I’ve learned is that there’s clearly a niche in this community to be filled. The Dish… that all happened so fast. I didn’t really see that coming, but it’s a perfect fit, a wonderful opportunity, and I’m so grateful to Ann Freeman for that.
  • I enjoyed Christmas with my family. I won’t dive into the history of this. Suffice it to say that I truly looked forward to going to Detroit for Christmas. That hasn’t happened in a looooooong time. Probably since college. It had everything to do with my personal growth and present state of happiness. My family welcomed me back, welcomed Missy in, and we both enjoyed the visit.
  • My relationship with Missy is stronger than ever. I am so in love with this woman. We’re still shmoopy. To still be this shmoopy after 21 months is… well, I didn’t think we’d still be this shmoopy after 21 months. And I know 21 months is peanuts in the grand scheme. This relationship, for me, right now, still holds a lot of shiny newness. I’m still in awe of me/her/us. And yet I can feel it evolving and maturing. This is what the books, poems, songs, and movies get written about. Wow. Just, wow.

The Haps: My New Projects

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been a lot more activity here on swirlspice since it relaunched a month ago. Partly because it’s nice to have the back end working so I can actually post stuff when I want to, partly because my spiffy new front end just makes it enjoyable to be here.

As much as I love swirlspice, it’s kind of set in its ways and the vague sense I’ve got of who reads me is that not everything I want to write about fits here. Or, conversely, if I published everything I had in my brain here, the range of topics would be too broad for a lot of folks. I’m trying to maintain some separation of “church” and “state” here. This is the chief reason why I started writing for Metblog.

That in mind, I’m announcing the launch of two new projects: cinna.mn and fresh.mn.

#1: cinna.mn
You may have already heard a little about cinna.mn from me. I soft launched it a few weeks ago (where by “soft launch” I mean I Twittered about it and mentioned it on Facebook).

I created cinna.mn primarily to be a place where I (and others) can talk about the sometimes strange experience of being a person of color in Minnesota. While the Twin Cities area is known for its schizophrenic progressiveness, the fact of the matter is it’s still pretty damn white here.

And while that’s a rather specific topic, it speaks to the broader subject of identity. I identify as a few different things that fall into the minority. As such it’s entirely likely that I will wander off into issues of LGBT experience; issues relevant to gays, people of color, and gay people of color beyond the confines of Minnesota; and other elements of who I am and where I’m from.

The funny thing is cinna.mn was kind of an afterthought. I was brainstorming domain names that end with .mn and Missy mentioned it and I just had to buy it because I liked it so much. I thought it could probably be about brown folks in Minnesota, and then when I sat down to actually write out the “About” the above is what came out. So it’s got a queer/people of color/Minnesota sensibility. I think you’ll find value in it if you identify with and/or are supportive of any one of those three groups. I’ve already had some conversations with other folks in said community and I think there will be a lot of exciting things coming up for cinna.mn soon.

[cinna.mn on the web] [@cinnamn on Twitter] [cinna.mn facebook group]

#2: fresh.mn
After 3.5 years or so of blogging and 2.5 years or so of captaining, I have decided to hang up my Metblog hat. My cityblogging efforts will continue at fresh.mn. I couldn’t give the cityblogging urge up, but I needed a place to call my own.

Metblog is in great hands with Greg, David, and Art. It’s not a big group, but they’ve been steady and reliable since March when David and Art came on board (or whenever that was). I have no doubt they’ll carry on just fine. They’ve been a great team and I’m pleased to have been a part of it.

I don’t have any specific plans for fresh.mn in the immediate future other than what you see there now and to continue doing what I’ve been doing at Metblog all along. It’s a strange paradox in that I have both more and less responsibility now. But I can do what I want with it. Or I can do nothing else at all. We’ll see what happens.

[fresh.mn on the web] [@freshmn on Twitter]

Pumpkin Smash Smoothie, For Posterity

I got it in my head that I wanted to make a Pumpkin Smash smoothie. They used to make them at Jamba Juice in the fall. I had a lot of them. A lot a lot. I even attempted to make them at home, though they were never as good. Jamba Juice stopped making them a few years ago. I believe it may have coincided with Jamba being bought out by Starbucks.

I searched this blog, assuming I had linked to or perhaps even posted the recipe, but no go. I mentioned it a bunch of times back in the fall of 2003, but never included any useful information. No problem. I Googled.

1 cup soymilk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin pie mix with spices
2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt
1 cup ice

Pour soymilk in blender.
Add pumpkin pie mix, frozen yogurt and ice cubes.
Blend until smooth with a thick consistency

Makes 3 cups


My Favorite Vegan Recipe

Missy’s been on a vegan kick lately. Our diet is nowhere near strictly vegan. But she’s been trying to cut out dairy. Since vegan food is by definition dairy-free and there are lots of vegan resources out there, vegan it is.

So that means I get a lot of cupcakes out of the deal. And a little feel-good for my superior healthy food choices. Even though I’ve not made one choice in the matter; I just eat what she gives me. It’s the same kind of feel-good I get out of riding my bike to work, like, once a week.

Anyway, in trying to do my part, I found a vegan recipe on the internet that I really really like. It’s my favorite so far and I’m fairly confident I won’t find another one that I like better. Seriously, it’s been so awesome. Here’s my favorite vegan recipe, modified to our tastes.

1 kitchen
1 Missy

– Bring Missy to kitchen.
– Leave kitchen.
– Wait 20-45 minutes.
– Enjoy with a favorite beverage.

Okay, I confess, I didn’t even find that recipe. Missy did that, too.