Monday, December 30, 2013
I read an article over the weekend regarding New Year's Resolutions and how often people fail to keep them. It discussed the idea of having a New Year's theme of things you would like to work on in your life, and I loved the idea. I did meet many of my specific goals for last year, but still it felt lacking and disappointing so I am going to embrace this change. My theme for 2014 will be POSITIVITY. I would like to speak more positively instead of complaining and denouncing. This will need to be a change in mindset, not just behavior. I have let myself become a bitter and cranky 30 year old without realizing it and it needs to stop now. I would like to think more optimistically and worry less. Worry is just using your imagine for ill instead of good. I would like to find a way to approach each day and each task I take on with more enthusiasm, looking for the bright side of each situation. I would like to treat my body positively. Not just love the way it looks, but love the way it feels inside and out, by exercising, eating right and limiting indulgent behaviors. And I will achieve it! 2014, here I come!
Saturday, December 28, 2013
I have been silent for a month because it has been a busier month than I could have imagined. But, as I was cleaning up after a dinner I had prepared, I stopped and paused. And it felt like poetry was bursting out of me that needed to be shared... Salt whooshses along the grill lines Creating a rhythm which lulls me My hand braces the iron handle pound for pound Scrub and scrub Until white becomes brown becomes white Scoured clean My hands feel like my ancestors' do This thing we do, a simple moment to connect with the past One hundred years ago, on prairies, on barren fields of potatoes On high moors and lush valleys And I am with them, each Cast with their strength These women, these adventurers
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Sorry for the lateness of this post. My friend was going to post it on his site, but I have not seen it so I thought I would share it with you here in the meantime for those curious about reading about my time at Fan camp. A late October day I filled out a form online regarding something called “Catching Fire Fan Camp”. It was one of various forms I had filled out in order to win a chance to see Catching Fire early. Immediately I forgot about it until I received an e-mail on November 1st (I was at dinner) that informed me I was selected to attend and was assigned to District 5. (Out of 5, not 12 as you would assume.) Sadly, I had not signed up my fiancé, so I realized would be going alone if I decided to attend/if I got time off. With no more information forthcoming, and only armed with the hashtag #cffancamp I was left to ponder what this entailed, exchanging countless texts with other winners, until we received a second e-mail on November 8th which gave more information on the events for the weekend, bringing some answers to the big questions we all had. A third on November 11th gave instructions on the appropriate tents but no more. Feeling overwhelmed and slightly confused, I begged my boss for the day off, and after explaining what it was for, she agreed. Out of the chaos of twitter I was directed to join a facebook group for the event, which luckily for my sake was filled with fan camp pros, many of whom had participated in similar events for the previous Hunger Games movie, as well as the Twilight films, of which I am less familiar. Armed with the knowledge the group dispensed, I began to anticipate what the three days would hold for us. Finding parking was a daunting experience because we were given a map with vague instructions to find a lot with overnight parking. All the lots said no overnight parking but upon asking a security guard we found out that technically the garages by the Nokia Theater & Staples Center don’t ever close so technically you can. So I parked and dutifully unloaded my ridiculously large and comical amount of items. (I have camped exactly 0 times before.) I tottered the way the security guards pointed until I was admitted to a cordoned off area, situated in the closed off street between The Nokia Theater and The Staples Center. I got checked in and told where to set up. Having practiced setting up my tent earlier that week (huzzah for Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping!) I was able to help others around me with their tents. As far as the eye could see there were tents.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I am very pleased (ecstatic really) to announce that I was chosen to attend the Catching Fire Fan Camp weekend November 16-18th. I was assigned District 5 (which is not that far off from what I do for actual work.) I will be planning on writing a special guest post for CC2K, an site devoted to all things Geek, but I will also be sharing with you some of the highlights that might not make it into that article.
Monday, November 4, 2013
If there's one thing Josh loves, it's Sloppy Joes. So in my quest for low carb options I have come up with the following recipe, which is a great substitute if someone you love is having trouble parting from their Manwich. Ingredients 1 Spaghetti squash 1 lb. ground beef- grass fed if possible 1 can (6-8 oz.) tomato paste 1 tablespoon Olive Oil 1 onion 3-6 cloves garlic (or more if you are a geeky garlic girl like me!) 2-3 tablespoons vinegar (red or apple cider, or both) 2 tablespoons worcheshire sauce 4 tablespoons of coconut sugar (words in place of the brown sugar!) 1/2 c. beef broth Preheat the oven to 375. While it is preheating cut the spaghetti squash in two, lengthwise and place open side down on a cookie sheet. Get the oil into a skillet or non stick pan and heat it up medium high. When those are ready, place the spaghetti squash into the oven, set the timer for 30 minutes. Add the ground beef, onion, garlic to the skillet and brown the beef, softening the onions. Take the rest of your ingredients and whisk them together. After about 5-7 minutes add your liquid mixture to the ground beef mixture and turn down to a simmer, let simmer for the last 20 minutes your spaghetti squash is in the oven. When the timer goes off on your spaghetti squash take a peek in the oven, you'll know if it's done if you start to see browning at the cut edges. Leave it in for a few more minutes if you don't see it, or if your fork doesn't penetrate it easily. Take a spaghetti squash half and put it in on a plate, no need for a bowl since the squash creates one. Add a heaping helping of your sloppy joe mixture and you are done! Little effort for maximum flavor. See how exciting it is?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
My last post was when I was partially done with the blanket and I haven't done anything else. I haven't had time to come up with any new recipes. I have mostly been cooking from Peace, Love & Low Carb as she has some fantastic, cozy winter low carb recipes. But last night I finished the blanket, at last! Took longer than I expected towards the end. (Man those big rows!) But I am glad it's done and I can go back to my needle felting for the wedding. Getting those done are my next priority, craft-wise. What do you guys think, compared to the show? All we need is some haz suits and we are set.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
It's been a couple weeks since I posted about the afghan. I am chugging along on it. A little over halfway done. I just realized yesterday that I hadn't done an extra chain between my squares, (oopsy). But I don't mind. I like my granny square afghans a little bit tighter. So we will see how much extra/how much I come up short, at the end of the project and access how to do the next one, since I promised a few of them! Can you tell how it's coming? I am hoping to finish the project this week so I can bring it along for the viewing of American Werewolf in London this Saturday at Cinespia. I am very excited because Werewolf Ale will be there, along with Mr Frodo Baggins. It's my quest to track him down and sneak into the DJ booth so I can ask him to sign my LOTR tattoo and have it inked on there permanently! What a dream that would be! There are still tickets left if you guys are interested!
Thursday, October 3, 2013
I haven't had time to reflect on having this blog running for a year, (yay 1 year anniversary!) because of personal family emergencies over the last few weeks. September was not been an easy month for me, or many of my family members. But it was full of more personal growth and insight than possibly the entire year so far. I had some great fantasies when I started this blog about doing it every day of the week, and taking the weekends off, but after a few weeks it became clear my life was far too busy and hectic to continue at that pace, but at the same time I learned that people cared about it, and read it, and missed the posts when they weren't there, so I vowed to myself to keep it up, but only at my own pace, waiting for inspiration instead of forcing ideas, to ensure I am only posting valuable things for you. In the coming month I hope to share with you some posts on my favorite season (autumn) and my favorite holiday (Halloween!) I have some ideas brewing for short stories, costumes and movie suggestions for the month. (My favorite candy is Mounds, my favorite scary movie is Cabin in the Wood, and the key to a good Halloween party is fabulously spooky food.) I just want to remind folks in the Los Angeles area that the El Capitan does 3-D showings of Nightmare Before Christmas all month, and if you haven't seen it in 3-D yet do yourself a favor, don your Sally patchwork dress, or Jack Skellington whites and head out there for it.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Warning: Contains ME! Confessing in all my glory and humility. I don't recall having explained to you, readers, why I have such an affinity for YA literature. And I think it is time, if I am going to continue to recommend and discuss books with you. My childhood ended when I was 11 years old and my mother died. I am not stating this for sympathy, merely to set our story. I took on the task of preparing my little sister and I for school in the mornings, allowing my dad, who went to work at ungodly hours (i.e. any time before the sun comes up) to have some peace of mind about leaving us alone. (This was in age long ago -20 years- when people understood that giving children responsibilities isn't some horrific form of torture, or ruining the end of childhood, (I am looking at you parents who won't let your precious Duddykins have jobs as a teenager, thus ensuring whiny college student syndrome) but a natural progression into adulthood. Being entrusted with this kind of responsibility as a teenager turned into a sacred bond between my sister, dad and I. He TRUSTED us. And in turn we tried to be worthy of that trust. Both of us, me especially, kept to ourselves and did not engage in the reckless, explorative activities of our peers. My weekdays and weekends were filled with drama club, poetry club, 3 part time jobs, and my nights were filled with hours of television and writing. (I confess, I wrote more often than that, filling notebooks with fan fiction as teachers attempted to pass knowledge onto myself and my classmates. One teacher even got furious enough to take away my notebook for the remainder of the class. -I had more paper) I still got decent grades, A's & B's, only C's with Mr Burke, my horrible but good natured math teacher of years 9, 10, 11. (They failed to realize I didn't work well with that teacher, rather they just assumed I wasn't very good at math. Ahh, public schools.) Hours of Buffy, Roswell, X-Files. I was an insomniac sci-fi junkie. My close friends lived in other parts of the world. I was a part of the burgeoning internet generation, a giant in the world of Buffy Fan fiction. People KNEW me. (I even met a fan who ended up at the same college as me! Imagine that!) And as such, my dad didn't know enough to question me, or (thought I was smart enough to let me) went to visit an internet friend in DC while we were on a family vacation. (A few metro train rides away from where we were staying.) I did not get kidnapped or raped. I met a very nice girl with dreadlocks who went to a hippie art school. This was the epitome of my sixteen year old adventuring. (Here is a photo of me at 16, visiting my aunt in Minnesota. On the Right is a friend I met through a Hanson chat room.) But before I lose you down memory lane I will attempt to get back to the story. Emotionally, during those years, I shut down. I ran on autopilot. I lived in my stories so I could be a rock in the real world. I could be relied upon to take care of things. I could not connect to my peers who lived in a world where they dated, partied in the quarry, even drank and smoked pot! I felt so other from them and the characters on my shows and in the books I read. Even the Baby Sitter's Club girls got around more than me! (This all changed in college. I ran the gambit of trying things, although mostly reasonable things. (Tattoos! Kissing boys! Falling in love for the first time.) Nothing so wild as my television shows depicted. I am sorry to tell you I have no stories of cocaine filled nights in NYC. But something was still missing. No matter how much I had come out of my shell I was still locked away, partially. It has taken close to a decade, the love of a good man, friends who do not judge, and a little YA heroine you might have heard of, by the name of Katniss Everdeen, to understand and break down the barriers I had put up over 20 years ago. YA fiction lets me live my high school years in ways I was afraid to, in ways I coveted. I vicariously make stupid mistakes with these peers. From Harry Potter, to Tris, to Lyra, to Katniss, I get to try again, find new paths, to find comfort. Many of these characters feel alone and have lost a parent, sometimes two, and as a result I feel closer to them, than my peers, who used to stare, owllike at me, as if they could glean why I was chosen by the universe to lose a parent, and if it was contagious. And that, my readers, is why I choose to live, half grown, in a world of possibilities, with the pain of first love and loss close to my heart. I don't know any other way.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
So it's been awhile since I have posted anything crafting related, mostly because I want to keep the wedding craft gifts a surprise for those who win them. But I am starting a new project that I would like to share with you readers and it is going to be a Breaking Bad Granny Square Afghan. It will be based on the one constantly featured on the back of the White's couch on the show (which Josh is insisting I watch, currently.) Much of my excitement about the show is being able to reproduce crafts from it, a la Firefly. (Long live the Jayne Hat!) So to begin, I found this nice website:Breaking Bad Inspired Afghan. Then, I purchased the amount of yarn required in the right colors, something I hardly ever do. Look at me growing up and planning a project in advance! Check out all this yarn! Tonight I am going to begin working the first color (pumpkin) and I will be updating you with pictures and I can answer any questions for any one else who want sot participate.
Friday, August 30, 2013
This post is a meditation on turning 30 in less than a week. The big 3-0. An arbitrary number that has come to mean so much as a marker of how people view their lives, and achievements. I have vacillated between being joyous and upset at the rapid feeling passage of time. 10 Things I have Learned in 30 years 1. Most places I go out to (the movies, bars, theaters, restaurants) it's too dark to see grey hairs so why care as much? And makeup: the more you wear, the more you will have to wear. Good moisturizer and less sun is key in my beauty regime. I want my lovers to be hot for me without makeup so when I wear it it is an added bonus. I don't want to be someone who scares people who are used to seeing them with makeup, when I take it off. 2. Floss for goodness's sake. Cavities are expensive to take care of, floss is cheap. 3. You know more about your body than most doctors. Trust that. Fight for it. Don't say no when you feel you are right. You have one life, and one body. 4. Being able to do your own taxes makes you a superhero. It's also rather sensible Almost everyone I know who goes to a CPA ends up having to do amendments. No one REALLY understands the tax system so they really do cut you breaks if you goof, so give it a shot. 5. Learning how to cook great food is also a superhero skill. Double points for not spending more than an hour every night in the kitchen. Know the shortcuts to good food and use them. Soups and slow cookers are a busy person's best weapons to battle hunger and also create great leftovers. Even in summer I turn to soup often because it doesn't require an oven. Have a signature dish or two that you know you can make quickly and easily. The older you get the more pot lucks you will attend and be expected to bring a dish. 6. Eventually, it might take longer or shorter depending, you will get along with your siblings. Crazy, I know, but it does happen. And it's a great thing. 7. Don't rush. Don't rush in your car, don't rush your meals, don't rush down the aisle, don't rush into parenthood. Letting things unfold the way they were meant to is easier and less painful. Being quick and rushing are not the same things, remember, lest you confuse my meaning. 8. Enjoy hobbies that are easy to do alone, and hobbies that require you to meet new people. There's not many feelings better than learning something new and sharing it with the world. For my indoor hobbies I craft and play board games, and for outside hobbies I take offbeat fitness or dance classes. Some of the most frustrating and joyous moments of the past few years has been my experiences in taking tap dancing as an adult. 9. Read. Whenever you get the chance. Learn about what is going on in our world. Become an expert at something, anything. It will give you confidence. I feel armed in any situation thanks to my lifelong love of learning and reading. 10. After growing up as an introverted teenager, a loner, I had to opportunity to really learn who I was, unhurried by pressure from my peers. I was a celebrity in the online circles that I ran in, and that was enough. So when I got to college I was more prepared than many. There were no puppy eyed loverboys following me, no fragile friendships easily torn asunder that so many others had. I arrived as the person I was at that time, no apologies. And for the first time in my life, I found people coming to me in waves. At first it was just new friends, and as I got to connect with potential love interests, they too appeared and appeared, never one further than an IM or phone call away. I know that I am an average looking, overweight woman, like many others, but I also know that I am funny, kind, fierce, smart, confident, sensual, crafty, goofy, motherly and many other words. And those are the words that matter to me, not the ones that describe the shell that woman lives in. Be yourself. Be utterly and apologetically you. Someone WILL love that person. It's cliche, and repeated constantly for a reason. There is nothing better than the feeling of being loved for who you are.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I would like to branch out for a spell, for a few paragraphs, for a page and give my thoughts as a geeky, literary white woman, on the new Netflix Original Series, “Orange is the New Black.” There has been much trash heaped upon it, as there has been much praise. Some of the negative comments were regarding the depiction of prison to be too cliché, or too racially segregated. But former inmates (http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/08/former-prisoners-watch-orange-is-the-new-black.html) pointed out that much of what is shown is true/accurate to what kind of experience they had. Does this surprise anyone? Props to the creators and writers from not shying away from depicting the prevalence of self inflicted segregation in (federal) prison. (I know many people were mad that it wasn’t the harshness of state prison being depicted, but the show is based on a true story and they were trying to stick to Piper Kerman’s account of her time in federal, not state.) The other end of the negativity spectrum has to do with the Christian right backlash against it. On one hand, this is silly. If you don’t like the depictions, don’t watch it. But on the other I think that many Christians who have cried out against the depiction of Pensatucky as a meth & abortion addicted ignorant southern Christian , have decidedly ignored the quiet presence of Sister Ingalls, the nun who landed in jail for peaceful anti-nuclear protesting. (http://www.webpronews.com/what-people-who-dont-like-orange-is-the-new-black-say-about-it-2013-08) I tend to think that those who voraciously point out what they don’t like about other people/shows/lifestyles is what they fear the most about their own selves. Myself included. To me this is a small scale version of the current battle between the moderate right and the extreme tea party right. But: SPOILER ALERT [None of the reviews mentioned that Pensatucky was never religious until she got to jail. It was something she was roped into playing at by those who paid for her lawyer after she killed a nurse at an abortion clinic. I would imagine that Christians would have more of a problem with the way the religious people who manipulated her acted than her own actions at that point. It is unclear in the first season whether she does it to continue getting legal help from the right, (because that would be smart) or whether she starts to believe. Based on her conversation with her lawyer, I think she is a believer. Hard to say, they did make it look as if Piper killed her, which is one of the reasons I kept from reading the book. I already know what happens to Piper and Larry.] END SPOILER ALERT And lastly, one of the things from my perspective that was so striking is the frightening understanding that THIS COULD BE ME. Not that I have ever run drugs intercontinental with my lesbian lover per see, but I am a young white woman who makes artisanal bath products and has a fiancé. I tend to say the wrong thing often. I have done a few stupid things in my life, and it comes down to luck. Piper had the bad luck to be named by Alex, Pensatucky had the good luck to be supported by the anti-abortion coalition that saw her commit her crime. That is the core of Jenji’s message. We try to distance ourselves as people on the outside, from those on the inside. They are different, they are other. But they aren’t. I imagine making the same mistakes, preaching the same secular humanism and Robert Frost poetry. Not only did I feel a great deal of empathy for Piper, I was also terrified during the finale because of it. SPOILER ALERT [Piper’s breakdown and subsequent ruthless beating of Pensatucky is something I admit to having fantasized about doing to certain people who push me too hard. It made me terrified that I could actually commit this kind of crime, because the scene exposed the ruthlessness of humans as caged animals, and that should make anyone uncomfortable and sick to their stomach, as it did to me. She was backed in to a corner, betrayed or abandoned by every one she loved. That place is not far away for any of us.] END SPOILER Every minute of this show I was on the edge of my seat, willing Piper to make a smart decision and then holding my breath to see what the outcome of her choices would be. Good art should give you a physical reaction. It should punch you in the gut, rip your heart out, uplift your soul and send it spiraling down.
Monday, August 12, 2013
We just came back from the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention. It was a fun weekend crammed with partying and nerdery. We made some new friends and got to be part of a costume contest and a world record! Not too shabby. Also took a party bus for the first time ever. We also got to meet our cat 7's namesake 7 of 9 aka Jeri Ryan, as well as Avery Brooks and the seemingly overwhelmed good sport Karl Urban. Below are pictures of us in costume as Kira and Odo from Deep Space 9, from the episode with their first date. The first date: Our version of the costumes. The world record card and a picture of Terry Farrell (Jadzia) helping us break it. Since we were finalists we had a great spot to enjoy it. What a powerful feeling of coming together to be part of it. People from all walks of life brought together over love for one thing. We definitely didn't take into account the fact the costume contest and record contest would keep us busy from 3 pm to 9 pm and my costumes shoes were not broken in. Had to keep it together on stage while my feet were screaming. We really weren't prepared to get into the finalists because our costumes were not as detailed nor hard to do as many of the others, but I think the judges understood we were trying to capture the spirit of the Deep Space Nine theme. After having been in hundreds of photos I have a new respect for the actors and writers who get up there and manage to function and be funny while their eyes are being light bombed. If we did the costume contest again it would have to be something with comfortable shoes. But as runners up we got some cool mugs, which was nice. This last one is me and a new friend, Tara, enjoying a beverage with Gary Graham, known to Enterprise watchers as the Vulvan Soval. He was a nice guy, and fun to boot. To round out our kick ass experience we hung out with Ira Stephen Behr one of my favorite nerdy writers while Josh, Crystal and him enjoyed some cigarettes. Looking forward to next year!
Thursday, August 1, 2013
So last night I got a new tattoo. It's one I have been thinking about for awhile. A Harry Potter/ Hunger Games mashup, inspired by ones I found online and brought to life by the awesome Christina Harris at Donovan's Autumn Moon Tattoo in Anaheim. I have been a Harry Potter fan since the get go, enjoying the midnight book releases as well as the midnight movie screenings (though I am getting old for those!) And since it is now our wedding theme it seemed doubly important to add it to my Buffy, Lord of the Rings, Celtic and spiritual tattoos I already have. Hermione was always an inspiration to me. A brainy girl with buck teeth who gets to be a heroine? Awesome. The Hunger Games part is more specific in that I picked up Hunger Games after my fiance lost his job and I was feeling helpless and sad. Katniss reminded me of myself as a teenager I immediately felt for her. Buffy has been my love for the past 15 years, and this will never change, but Katniss brought out empathy and acknowledgement of my life in a way I didn't know possible. Katniss and I both lost a parent at a young age and took it upon ourselves to keep our families together, even at the cost to our own life, and connection to others. We both shut down our emotions and found it hard to admit love. We both had sweet, blond, kind, and loving younger sisters, little ducks, to take care of. There are even male cats named Buttercup in both our lives. (Ours is from Princess Bride, another matter.) We were both alienated from our peers as a result of this disconnect because of the burden we both felt we needed to bear. (Oh, those boys who love you from afar that you can't see!) But, as I have been learning since reading these books there are ways to find a path to reconnect and feel love and share it loudly with your family. It's okay to say it, even when you are afraid of losing them, that is when it matters the most. People die, but withholding your words of love isn't going to change that. And that is my story of my most recent tattoo. You never know the story behind a tattoo until you ask.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
In my quest to figure out low carb versions of things I am pleased when I stumble upon something great. And it's even better when I can share that accomplishment with a friend. Last night Rebecca and I topped ourselves with our low carb chicken piccata. And we want you to have the opportunity to enjoy it as well so continue reading. (Pretend it's a Monday since we are so off schedule.) Ingredients (serves approximately 3 adults) 1 lb chicken breasts, butterflied and flattened 1/2 c almond meal 3-4 cups uncooked spinach 1 head cauliflower (smallish) 1/4 c goat cheese (we used peppered) 1 c chicken broth 1 c mushrooms (we used baby bella) 1/2 c white wine 1/8 c lemon juice 2-3 tbsp capers, drained 1/2-1 stick butter (We used a whole stick because...butter) salt and pepper to taste Rice the cauliflower in a food processor so it is small but not mashed. Heat a saucepan low-medium with 2 tbsp butter, and heat medium-high a large frying pan with 2 more tbsp butter. Add the cauliflower to the saucepan and let the butter melt, stirring occasionally. While the pan is heating dredge the chicken in the almond meal. Add to the butter in the frying pan when hot, browning the chicken on both sides. Take the chicken out when done, add your mushrooms and another tbsp butter. Cook 5 minutes. In a measuring cup stir together your white wine, lemon juice and chicken stock. Add 1/2 c to the cauliflower and the rest to the mushrooms. Add the chicken back into the pan and let simmer 7-8 minutes to finish cooking the chicken. Once the liquid has been added to the cauliflower add the goat cheese, lowering the heat if you start to get air bubbles. The cauliflower should be ready once it starts to get creamy. For the spinach we used a ready to microwave bag, but if you are doing it on the stove toss it with some olive oil and wilt in another frying pan 2-3 minutes. For serving we laid a bed of cauliflower, then spinach, then chicken and covered with the mushrooms, capers and sauce. The goat cheese was offset nicely by the lemon in the sauce.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Hello All, I know my last post made it sound like I was coming back and then I went dark again. Mostly because I have been sick and busy. But now that the next few weeks are slowing down and I am beginning to feel better I have a new post for you, wedding related. My friend Rebecca has been tremendously helpful with ideas for wedding decorations and the like. We have spent many afternoons and evenings making interesting and sometimes laughable crafts. Lately we have been honing in on the exact ideas for the wedding. Since I don't care for real flowers and I know I am going fake (ribbon, paper, etc.s th) we have tried some of those. This weekend we went brooch shopping since I confirmed that I do want a brooch bouquet. We found a bunch of cool brooches and some that even fit right into our theme. Since finding perfect ones for Slytherin and Ravenclaw I actually thought it might be neat to try a fake flower one, using that as the centerpiece. I picked up some fake flowers, stems, ribbon and floral tape at the local craft store today and began playing around. What do you guys think a a subtle nod to our cunning cousins? They are a darker green in person, but my camera was washing out the color. But the overall effect is neat, no?
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
With all the craziness going on in America right now I feel like I need to add put my opinion out there. So read if you want, or don't. I am disgusted with the supreme court repealing laws that protect vulnerable voters. Let's be real. Justice is biased. There's not much that can stop it from being that way and they stole away one of the few ways that our democracy is kept closer to just. (Not that it's close by any means. I am happy that DOMA was repealed. I am sickened by the ongoing lunacy of those who are opposed to gay marriage. Get over it. Marriage historically has never had anything to do with being a man and woman, it was always about money, land, power and safety and there are many documented cases of men marrying men, or women marrying women for these other reasons. Gay marriage is much older than deluded opponents will ever admit to. I am outraged over Texas and how it has culminated in some of the worst persecution of women since they were burned at the stake. Poor Wendy, I fear it will come to naught when the next special session vote happens on 7/1. I have never had to have an abortion but I would in a heartbeat if I got pregnant when I couldn't afford to care for the baby; emotionally, financially, or physically. And I wouldn't have a second thought. There are millions of actual children on this planet dying and uncared for that live and feel pain. Pro-lifers never give a second thought to the current needs and pains of these children. Why bring more children into this world who will end up the same? If I believed in God I would think he would want to see these children cared for. As it is, I believe we only live one life and I am horrified at the way we treat our fellow man. I am fervently in the adoption camp and plan to adopt at least one child in the future. In the mean time I will fight to help those who are hurting and in pain, WHO ARE CURRENTLY ALIVE ON THIS PLANET. Live long and prosper. May we see a world in our life times without poverty, cancer, and starvation.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I have been absent from posting due to a lack of time and things to write about but since someone pointed out today (Which made me feel special) I hadn't updated and they had noticed. I hadn't realized people checked this blog enough to notice so I will try to squeeze in more posts. :) To preface this post I was grumpy today, not much was working out the way I wanted,and being out of 'The Flow' can be infuriating at the best, and depressing at the least. And I was far from the flow today. Anyway, most of my projects were on hold as we waited to decide on the wedding venue, but now it is official and the official theme is Classy Harry Potter. I could not be more excited. I did manage to work on my wool Lorax. He just needs eyes and eyebrows. I have to get some sew on googly eyes. I wasn't cooking much recently but I did attempt my first lamb chops and I have to admit they came out tastier than I could have hoped. They were pretty simple. I marinated them in garlic olive oil, dried rosemary, salt and pepper for an hour at room temp, then threw them in my cast iron grill skillet for 2 1/2 minutes a side. Then I let them cool under foil while I finished the rest. As I was sitting here enjoying the food I realized that I had finally relaxed. I couldn't control the customers who refuse to pay, the awful drivers and and freeway traffic, nor the neighbor in the trailer park with the shrilly barking dog while I tried to read outside, but I can control my dinner. For the most part it is all up to me and my skills to create something delicious. Occasionally we have an oven mishap or I lose track, or the ingredients just aren't up to par, but for the most part it's all my doing, and the Virgo in me finds that one of the most relaxing things on earth. I am a controlling person, I know that, it's one of my faults, along with severity and impatience, things I am working on as a friend, sister, daughter and partner, and luckily for me I have been able to at least partially harness this fault and put them to good for me, like cooking.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Today I dreamed up such a delicious recipe it almost ruined my dinner because I was picking at it while cooking. (A danger of recipe making.) But at least it means I get to share something new with you! Ingredients 1 lb. cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced (Boil or buy precooked for the quickest and easiest shortcut) 1/4 c diced carrots 1/4 c diced celery 1/4 c diced onion 2-3 tbsp Frank Red Hot Sauce 1/2 c mayo 2-3 tbsp ranch dressing 3-4 pcs crumbled bacon 1/4 c crumbled blue cheese (I use applewood smoked, delicious) Mix your ingredients together, chill and enjoy!
Monday, June 3, 2013
Happy Monday. (As happy as a non holiday Monday be.) And tonight I made my new recipe Low Carb Beef Stroganoff which I would like to share. It's quick and easy and even Josh really loves it. (He can be picky about low carb dishes so I know this one is good.) Ingredients (Makes 2-3 serving) 1 lb ground beef (I get grass fed). 1 medium onion 2-3 cloves garlic depending on your taste! 1/2 c beef broth 1/2 c sour cream 1/4 c mayonnaise 2-3 large portabella mushroom caps 1 tbsp good yellow mustard olive oil spray and 1 tbsp salt and pepper to taste Heat the oven to 400 degrees. While it is warming clean the portabellas and take out the gills. When the oven is heated spray a pan that fits all your mushrooms with cooking spray, then put your mushrooms in the oven for 15 minutes. While the mushrooms cooked I browned the beef, onions and garlic in a pan with some olive oil. When beef is close to done add the beef broth and simmer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes drain the excess broth and add in your other ingredients. Stir to combine. The mushrooms should be close to ready at this point (Partially cooked, not quite soft yet.)Take them out and spoon your mixture onto each of them. Put tinfoil over your pan and turn the temperature down to 350. Cook another 10 minutes. At this point take out of the oven, plate and serve. Voila. A total of 1/2 hour and you have a hardy dinner. Sometimes I pair it with my cabbage salad to add some brightness and green to the plate.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Over the long weekend we started a new craft. It is called needle felting. Long weekends usually end up with me learning new crafts. Anyway, it involves using wool roving (unspun wool) that you tangle with a needle and shape into small creatures, or you can do it wet and make other types of items. The idea is that each of our projects will be used as part of the table decorations for the wedding, each creature themed to our books. They are unfinished so far, and these are not all of them, only the ones I worked on. But here is the beginning of Ioric from His Dark Materials. Rhaegal from Game of Thrones and one of the mice from Hitchhiker's. (Teri helped make the base and ears. It is hard to see due to it all being white so far.)
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
It is appropriate my shipment of books from Amazon is due in today on book Tuesday. A box full of cheap paperbacks, some trashy some wonderful. Some from my childhood. (Finally got a new set of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I was horrified to find out they did not have a kindle version of them yet.) During my busy Monday wherein I did not get to write for you, dear readers, I was quivering with excitement because I knew I would get to write for you today. And share my new book love. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is one of the best books I have had the chance to read in quite some time. Which isn't to say I haven't been reading, I have, but nothing has taken my mind and my heart and wrenched it, torn it and tried to mend it back together in this way in longer than I can remember. John Green's writing is so raw and poetic. He doesn't hold back anything or pretty up the realness of feelings. And that's what makes it so special. It feels real. I am usually a lover of Sci fi and fantasies, I like books as an escape, but I was due a dose of sobering reality. But before you think it's all doom and gloom, he also reminds you that reality has its' beautiful moments. Like this line from the book. One of my favorites. This book has given me a new appreciation for the people in my life, and how to love them and enjoy them as best I can. We are short lived creatures, but we can use the time to our advantage, not just for big things, but for the small things, like noticing someone. But you don't have to take my word for it.
Monday, May 13, 2013
The weather might be bouncing around in the 90's here in California but we visited the north of Westeros this weekend, catching up on last week's Game of Thrones episode "The Climb" and last night's episode of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". Without giving away spoilers I can at least say I was a little disappointed in their use of the bear. Not enough mauling or terror. It's a goddamn giant bear, it's terrifying, use that! Anyway since our friends had dinner with family before our gathering we decided just to do dessert. Went to the book and decided upon poached pears. Mmm pers soaked in wine and honey and spices? Yes, please. It was pretty simple and easy to make, though I wouldn't recommend watching the show while making it, since it easily boils over if it gets too high, luckily Courtney seemed to have boil radar and totally caught it. The pics don't really do justice to the taste. I really need a class in plating or something. But it tasted like winter, and Christmas and took us away from the heavy May heat. We are narrowing down our wedding venue search. Pretty much just waiting to hear about about our favorite venue. It's a little unique so we have to be patient. But lots of ideas are brewing. Can't wait to share more.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Today's post is a little late. I got behind yesterday. But I did start experimenting with the paper roses we want to use as decorations at our potential library wedding. So I wanted to share it with you. I decided to destroy the copy of IT I had just finished a few months ago. You can get the tutorial here.Paper Flowers I have seen more complicated ones, but it is simpler than you would think. Just add hot glue when you finish.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
So I have been engaged since January of 2011. We have never been in a hurry to get married, partially because we didn't have the money and for the last year, since he didn't have a job. But someone pointed out that life doesn't wait for perfect moments, and perfect months, so why wait? The benefits outweigh the rest. Like marrying the guy I love, cheaper taxes, car insurance, more security should anything happen to either of us, marrying my best friend ;). Yadda Yadda. So now that we do have a little bit of money, even if he is still unemployed, we have decided to start planning out wedding. For years I have mulled over the idea of weather to have a wedding back in Massachusetts where my family is, or out here where we live and most of his family is. And the truth is that as my grandparents get older and less likely to be able to attend the decision becomes easier to have it here, where I can control it. I never really dreamed about my dream wedding the way some girls did. I am practical. As a teenager I was such an ugly duckling I was certain I was never going to get kissed, never mind married, so it didn't really factor in. So I have been overwhelmed by the massiveness of the wedding industrial complex. And my ideas for ceremonies and receptions have covered so many themes (Indian- with an elephant, Harry Potter themed, book themed). It reminds me of the dozen careers I pictured for myself as a kid. (Paleontologist, zoologist, entomologist, writer, television writer, museum curator, librarian, you get the idea.) But I am pleased that we might be closing in on a location and a theme. (Library & books!) Soon you will be bombarded with my ideas and things as I take you along my quest to create a unique and fun wedding, from the DIY decorations onward. Hence the posting of this on Crafting Wednesday. I plan on borrowing from Elsa Wolf and doing a spin on the following bouquet.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Today I got my first International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club package. It included the journal I bought us for the first round and a book and bookmark, very appropriate for book club Tuesdays on the blog! I look forward to reading it and letting my pen pal know what I think since she went to the trouble of getting it signed for me, too! I think I will, considering how similar our tastes in books are.
Monday, April 29, 2013
After a week hiatus we were able to resume our weekly Game of Thrones party last night with our friends. And like the last time we decided to cook from the Game of Thrones cookbook. This week I tackled Medieval Pork Pie and Meringue Swans. I already had some wild ground boar in the freezer so it was an easy choice to make the pie. I skipped the make your own dough part and opted for store bought. (Anachronistic, so sue me.) The pie came out great and even my Stark wolf looked decent (although slightly more doglike, than wolf.) The slightly more advanced meringue swan choice was made when the pork pie recipe mentioned it, to use up the leftover egg whites. I had never made meringue before so I had to consult a few internet sites to reassure myself after 20 minutes of the handmixer going that it would eventually get to the right consistency. (My handmixer almost started to smoke, poor old thing.) It wasn't as light and crispy as perfect meringue but it came out close. I am glad I followed the advice of making extra swan parts because plenty of the necks and wings broke in the process. All the work was definitely worth it for the results. (Yes, that's me in my Hermione shirt. Geek mashup day!) P.S. We also enjoyed some kangaroo and pork hot sausages I got. Kangaroo is gamey, and slightly greasy, but delicious.
Monday, April 22, 2013
This weekend we got a chance to meet Dwight Schultz (Barclay on TNG and Voyager) and Amy Acker (of Angel, Dollhouse, Cabin in the Woods, and the upcoming Much Ado About Nothing.) Both were absolute pleasures to meet and we got a kick out of the fact that Dwight's dog is named Buffy. (Nerdiness comes full circle, mwahahaha!) In other news I have found ginger ale goes great with lavender vodka.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
I have not blogged all week because I have been absorbing the information coming out about the Boston bombings. I spend the first 24 years of my life living within 10 minutes of Boston city limits. Parts of my hometown touched parts of Boston. I was there all the time. My dad was in the press stands for the marathon each year during much of my childhood, teenage, and early adult years. My first reaction was to call him to find out if he was okay. Luckily he is semi retired and they had given the assignment to some other reporters. So he was fine. Then I got a call from my uncle, talking about my cousin working the finish line, but that she was okay and he didn't have any other news. I found out later that she had been working across the street from where the bombs went off and got away quickly. I admit it gave me 9/11 flashbacks, as I remember how the terrorists flew out of Boston. The vulnerability and embarrassment I felt in conjunction with all the other emotions. I felt guilty that our city let those people in, let the nation down, and the people of New York. What I have seen since has shown me that the rest of our country, especially NY does not harbor the same feelings, at least not any more. The amazing outpouring of love from our rival city shocked me. I was humbled. I was also bereft over the emptiness of it. It's hard to understand such wanton violence when the perpetrator thinks they have a reason, it's impossible when there is no reason, when it's chaos and destruction for its' own sake a la The Joker in The Dark Knight. How much more frightening it becomes when there is no one to fight. And now with reports of an innocent women, (a doctor no less, devoted to saving lives)! being attacked and blamed by someone for the attacks it is even more upsetting. It was so disappointing to hear after feeling such pride for those who were there and pitched in to help, the volunteers, cops, firefighters, bystanders and locals. It makes me think of Mayor Green's speech on Jericho. Johnston Green: Hey, Shep? You said earlier that you had heard that speech before. Ever ask yourself why I say it? 'Cause I happen to trust you people. 'Cause I love my town. Now, something happened in Denver, in Atlanta, and it could be that we wake up and find out that's where it stopped. But, until we know, are we going to use our imaginations to solve problems or to cause them? Now, we can get the power back on. We can find out how big this thing is. If we have to we can fight. We can fight anybody, we can fight all enemies. The only way that's going to happen is if we work together. Now, go on home. We'll meet tomorrow at the town hall. And folks, don't you break my heart again. Nothing could be more apt. Use your imaginations to solve problems, don't create them. Don't look for terrorists in a crowd of people , don't create phantom suspects out of your fear, instead look to the ones who created the people finders, and housing finders because that is where we can do the most good. (This is a picture of me at the Boston Commons last summer.)
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Los Angeles is a haven for new Hollywood and old and we love our obscure stars, and embrace our has been with a fervor of nostalgia akin to children at Christmas. Over the weekend of April 19th-21st we will be able to relive all the fun of our favorite movies and television shows at The Hollywood Show. It is a bizarre mixture of pop culture from the 50s through today. Josh and I will be in attendance to Dance the Time Warp again with Columbia, Magenta and Brad, and make if we are lucky get Fred (Amy Acker) And Barclay (Dwight Schultz- not to be confused with Dwight Schrute. Maybe if we are lucky we will find a magic remote and land in Pleasantville, during a kinder, gentler time. If you are interested in attending Goldstar has tickets at $10/Saturday and $5/Sunday. And if anyone is going to the SoCal Renaissance Pleasure Faire this weekend give us a shout out! We will be attending on Saturday for a bit.
Fox has proven themselves to be, once again, astronomically stupid by banning the selling of Jayne Cobb hats on etsy. Do they really think that will do anything more than further alienate a very powerful section of their media consumer base? Is a show 10 years old still such a big threat that people are buying enough hats that they take notice? Really? And in banning the Jayne hats are they going to ban every other cosplay item that gets made and sold or shared that is fashioned after something in a property owned by them. I really want to see them try. You can copyright a pattern, as in the words on the page, but not the way something looks. That's called designs, and sometimes they are similar to things that have come before. (Below is a picture of my fiance in his Jayne hat I made him.) So in the spirit of Firefly and defiance, do not let them take your sky from you, or you head sunset. Barter your hats, and wear them proudly and don't let your fellow fans touch those filthy Alliance scum knockoffs that Fox is trying to sell you. Jayne's mom made him that hat. In that spirit, you should know who makes yours. Teach them a lesson. And e-mail me if you need a pattern and some tips. I would be happy to trade for it. Buzzfeed also has a great article on it if you want to continue reading about our struggle. The Struggle of Canton
Monday, April 8, 2013
I just enjoyed a fabulous weekend. It was filled with my favorite things. Great food, great company and great entertainment. I successfully made some lavender infused vodka as well as some tasty bacon wrapped dates. We also attended a stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere' which was done extremely well. Hats off to the crew who created the interesting sets. The play goes for another month so if you are in the Los Angeles area and like Neil Gaiman I recommend checking it out. Information can be found at this link Sacred Fools Theater. So as I said I was having some fun experimenting with recipes. My first experiment was based upon seeing a bag of lavender in the spices section of World Market and having a yearning to make something with it since I love lavender as a flavor and a scent. Like Lady Early Grey tea. So I bought it, then decided it would go well as vodka, paired with St. Germaine's. (Which I have not gotten yet.) So I added the lavender to a bottle of vodka (about 1/2 c lavender buds to a 750 ml bottle of vodka) and let it steep. Knowing how quickly garlic vodka becomes potent I decided to start testing after a day and found that two days gave it a great lavender taste and aroma without being too cloying. I used a fine mesh strainer to drain out the lavender and put it back into a glass flask I keep around for these kinds of things. It tasted great with a few cubes of ice, club soda and a dash of honey. That was how I was enjoying drinking it at any rate. I will have more to share once I get the liquor for my new cocktail invention. Since I was hungry after making my concoction I decided to throw together some bacon wrapped dates because the dates had been calling to me in the store earlier. I cut slices of bacon in half an wrapped each around a date, then I put it on a broiling pan and drizzled some fig balsamic on them. Broiled for 10 minutes. they came out pretty tasty but the ends of the dates burned a bit so next time I think I want to marinate the dates in the vinegar, then slice them and add some goat cheese, then wrap in bacon and broil. I think that will be better. So there you go, two recipes to make up for the lack of posts lately! Buongiorno!