Sep. 28th, 2016 07:56 pm
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
DeCa had artichokes, and I was curious, so tonight I cooked one for the first time. It tasted okay. It probably would have been better if I hadn't steamed the heck out of it — Joy of Cooking told me to steam for 45 minutes, and probably 20 would have done the job.
What a bizarre food. We go through a lot of work to eat only about 20% of the food item and throw away the rest.

Ten values

Aug. 29th, 2016 08:25 am
serenissima: (Default)
From M.C.A. Hogarth:
Let's play a game! You have ten words to encapsulate the values that are of primary and personal importance to you. They should be things that you wake up every day thinking 'these are the things I'm going to try to manifest through my words, acts, and thoughts.'

I chose:

  1. kindness — start from a position of love, make allowances for the people one interacts with

  2. humility

  3. curiousity, desire to examine and explore the world around oneself

  4. honesty, both in relationships with others and with one's own self, i.e. intellectual honesty

  5. generosity

  6. joy — at first I put "positive attitude" and next I thought "optimism" fit better, but here I mean a deep underlying positive outlook on life, even if one has down days sometimes. I recognize that mental illness can wipe this out.

  7. industry

  8. perseverance

  9. creativity, making things, whether that be expressed in fine arts, performance arts, crafts, cooking, tinkering, or whatever

  10. nurture — taking care of things to help them thrive. In my life, this would be my children; but it could mean something like service work or running a business.

The first four or five came easily, but after that I had to do a lot of thinking. It helped to frame this in the form of "qualities I want to exemplify." For example, I just noticed that "justice" isn't on my list; I do value it, but I don't see myself as its agent, or not so much as some other qualities.

One concept I thought of quickly when considering this challenge was the "fruits of the Spirit," as described in St. Paul's letter to the Galatians. I deliberately finished my list before looking it up, but as I expected, several of the values are in common.
serenissima: Eastern screech owl (observer)
My dedicated diaper bag that I've used for the past 2+ years is dirty and worn, with the faux leather losing its shiny coating. I don't need to haul around so many diapers anymore, so I'm switching back to a real leather tote. It's an unusual opportunity for me to review exactly what I'm carrying.

My bag contained:
  • four diapers, small pack of wipes, small tube of Desitin
  • rubberized sheet — the changing pad that came with the bag was much too small for any child bigger than a newborn
  • plastic grocery sack for containing dirty diaper
  • spare shirt & pants for little bro
  • spare pair of underwear for big bro
  • cloth prefold diaper that was originally used as a burp cloth, now for wiping messy faces
  • handful of individually packaged Purell wipes that big bro keeps collecting from Chick-fil-A
  • blank notepad
  • assorted gift cards to restaurants
  • sustainable seafood quick reference guide
  • rosary and pocket prayer book
  • thumb drive on a key chain
  • two generic BandAids and one alcohol antiseptic wipe
  • miniature bottle of hand sanitizer
  • folding miniature hair brush
  • maxi pad and tampon
  • three pairs of ear plugs
  • two lip balm sticks: a minty one for me and a plain one for the boys
  • pocket pack of tissues
  • baby nail clippers, regular size nail clippers, tweezers
  • wallet
  • my eyeglasses and contact lenses prescriptions from 2012
  • big bro's handwritten/stamped vaccination record, not updated since 2012
  • nine postage stamps
  • three pens
  • package of large crayons
  • coupon for ice cream from today's supermarket trip (free samples!)
  • key chain with keys, pocket knife, frequently used store tabs
  • extra key ring filled with lesser-used store key chain tabs
  • string bag in case I need to carry even more stuff
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
  • 1 pound ground meat, in this case, extra-lean turkey
  • 1 pound Italian sausage without casing, in this case, mild
  • 1 can pasta sauce, 24 oz. garlic & herb
  • 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste (next time go with 1 12 oz. can)
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Bay leaves
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cumin, just a pinch

I browned the ground turkey in a pot, seasoning it right when it went in, breaking up the clumps every minute. After the first turning over, I added the sausage. Next time could include minced garlic & onion while browning.

I transferred the meat to the slow cooker on top of the bay leaves and added one can of tomato paste, followed by the pasta sauce. On checking a couple hours later, found the texture to be more watery than I wanted, so added the second can. Mixture seems to fill 6 qt. cooker to less than half full; consider the 4 qt. cooker next time.
serenissima: Eastern screech owl (observer)
Browsing Apartment Therapy in between clearing away dirty dinner dishes.
Article by-line is "4 People, 500 Square Feet: How We Make It Work." Item #1 is "Start by getting rid of almost everything you own."
Promoted story under the article is "Every Woman Should Have These 10 Pieces of Jewelry" from


Jun. 2nd, 2015 03:53 pm
serenissima: (absurdity)
serenissima: close-up of dog's face (Mungo closeup)
The only real times I have free to compose blog posts, I'm not in the right headspace for it. I think I might be able to write right now, but considering that it's 12:30 AM and I have to take the kiddo to school tomorrow, staying up any later isn't wise. Suffice to say I'm feeling down.
serenissima: (Default)
 Had baby #2 last April and basically stopped with the LJ since then.  Kept up with Facebook, largely because Facebook has an Android app.  Will try to get back to journaling this year.  It's good for me, after all.
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
Since last November, I have:
  • December — Moved, with child and dog, across the country to return to our old location of 2011
  • March — Moved back across the country to the same state where we lived in 2012,  two hours' drive away from my parents' house
  • April — Had a baby (another boy)
  • July — Traveled some thousand miles to visit my grandmother, together with my parents, husband, and both sons
Life was a bit hectic for me, December through May.  Now that we're unpacked again and I'm starting to adjust to life with two children, maybe I'll find a bit of time here and there to write journal entries; but the greater portion of any writing time must go to my mommy blog.  Babies grow and change so quickly.
serenissima: little red dragon (imagination)
Dramatic chase dreams last night. The first was creepy, but in the second one, my cab driver was a protoceratops from one of the outer boroughs. He was also the form of transportation. It was a sort of school/mobster/dimension jumping mash-up: organized crime had taken over school administration and joined forces with the dinosaur mafia, so they were after my taxicab buddy too.

I wouldn't mind seeing the rest of that movie.
serenissima: banded sphinx moth (beauty/nature)
I've been doing the no-shampoo thing for about a month.  I cut my hair boyishly short over the summer, and I thought it was a good opportunity to try this method of cleaning my hair with baking soda solution and apple cider vinegar solution.  I was a little apprehensive about the baking soda and used only two teaspoons instead of three teaspoons (one tablespoon) dissolved in eight ounces of water.  What I found is that this proportion is very mild for me, and after a couple weeks I stopped using the apple cider vinegar.  I've been washing my hair once or twice a week, applying the baking soda solution to my crown and then rinsing out, and the only difference I can tell from when I used shampoo and conditioner is that it takes longer for my hair to get greasy, hence the infrequent washing.  (The bigger difference was from cutting my hair short: it reduced my time in the shower by around 66%.)  So, I'm sold.

The puzzling thing, though, is that the baking soda solution actually lathers up a little bit as I scrub it into my hair.  I see suds.  What causes that?  There are no suds in the bottle.  Is the baking soda reacting with my hair oil?

Two links

Aug. 15th, 2012 09:10 am
serenissima: Eastern screech owl (observer)
First, an example of how our democracy isn't working properly. Reuters: New homes burn faster, but states resist sprinklers
NEW YORK (Reuters) - In Scottsdale, Arizona, any new home must come equipped with fire sprinklers, a decades-old rule lauded by fire safety advocates nationwide. But 12 miles away in Phoenix, city officials are not even allowed to discuss adopting a requirement like Scottsdale's, because of a state law passed last year.

The same is true in Texas, Alabama, Kansas and Hawaii, where in the past four years state governments have enacted bills forbidding cities and towns from requiring sprinklers in new homes. A dozen have forbidden statewide building code councils from including the requirement in their guidelines.

[article continues]

Second, an Ursula Vernon short story: Bluebeard's Wife
She really hadn’t known.

No one believed her, of course. The more sympathetic among her friends said “Oh, poor Althea, you must have been terrified, of course you couldn’t tell anyone.” Her detractors—her sisters foremost among them—all said “Of course she knew. She just didn’t care. Those poor women.”

No one had actually suggested that she might be involved in the murders, of course. Once the bodies had been identified, it was obvious that she had still been in the nursery for most of them. The youngest of the lot had been dead for several years before Lord Bluebeard moved into the neighborhood, so no one could imply that she was a murderess herself.

Still, she’d kept silent, went the whispers, and that made her an accomplice, didn’t it?

She caught herself wishing that her husband were still alive, so that she could talk to him about it.

[story continues]
serenissima: banded sphinx moth (beauty/nature)
Daily Mail: Orphaned kangaroo and wombat are inseparable friends
Opposites can attract and Anzac a doe-eyed baby kangaroo has become best friends with Peggy, a tiny squint-eyed wombat.

Their unlikely union developed after the pair - both orphans - shared a pouch at the Wildlife Kilmore Rescue Centre in Victoria, Australia.

At just over five months old, Anzac was brought to the centre after being rescued in the Macedon Ranges.

The joey is in the mother kangaroo's pouch for about eight months, depending on the species, but Anzac was abandoned a few months before he was ready to be free.

Luckily he was placed with Peggy, who was also feeling lonely and the two now sleep together, reducing the amount Anzac misses his mum.

Worker Lisa Milligan explained the unlikely friends are comforted by each others movement and heartbeat.
[article continues]

Lots of... cute?... photos in this article. The nearly hairless wombat joey is not my idea of cuddly. She needs a few months and a lot of fur.
serenissima: (Default)
Slumdog Millionaire
anything from Pixar
The King's Speech
The Pursuit of Happyness (about Chris Gardner, not about Frank and John Navin with an act called "The Aluminum Group")
Milo & Otis
Intolerable Cruelty
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Bend It Like Beckham
The Great Raid

Some of these I'm sure I saw on Netflix streaming before, and now they're no longer available.

interesting movies:
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Moonrise Kingdom
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Intouchables
The Queen of Versailles
The Women on the 6th Floor
To Rome With Love

serenissima: hummingbird resting in my hand (trust)
Should I create a new G00gle account for the sole purpose of putting kiddie photos on Picasa anonymously? Is it worth all the additional G00gle baggage?
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
 Sometimes I have insomnia, and instead of trying to sleep, I decide to get up and work out all the thoughts in my head... but somehow I don't really feel like writing in the middle of the night.  Even though it seems to be the only time I have available to blog.

For a while I've been feeling better about living here, but I still get very frustrated now and then.  At the same time, I realize that this is a better living situation for the tyke and me than staying where we were without his daddy.  Mostly, my down days come from not feeling like an adult and not having anyone to socialize with.

I'd expand on this, but I've been aimlessly websurfing for an hour (yes, at 3 AM) and should go back to bed now.
serenissima: little red dragon (imagination)
I was going to write a post about how The Hunger Games (book, film) is a ripoff of Battle Royale (book, film). But plenty of people have gotten there before me, and as one critic points out, the quality of the later work is a different topic than whether or not it was influenced by the earlier work.
serenissima: (Default)
A few years ago, someone I know (I think it was [ profile] daisho ) pointed out a link to a really good YouTube music video mashup called "Sweet Dream Are Made Of Seven Nation Army."  The video as well as the audio was interwoven very well.

I can't find that video clip anymore.  A search pulls up lots of more recent mashups of "Seven Nation Army" and "Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These," but not that terrific, original mashup.  What happened?  Has it been deleted?
serenissima: hummingbird resting in my hand (trust)
I'm thinking it's time for me to record my passwords in some safe place, so I don't have to keep resetting the ones I don't use very often.  Does anyone out there use password management software?  KeePass, anyone?  Or maybe some paid software?  What are the advantages over an encrypted spreadsheet file?
serenissima: "You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life." (fortune)
Towards the end of last December, [ profile] haikujaguar posted a sort of read-your-own-fortune exercise using her Balance Cards system. I gave it a try and came up with a result that was surprisingly on target. Surprising, because the answers are considerably more specific than in the magazine quizzes I used to play with in junior high school, and I arrived at a very appropriate chronological order almost by random chance.

My reading was as follows.

Lesson to learn/Message/Issue from the Distant Past: The Engine. Directed purpose. Moving toward a specific destination. Choosing your destiny.

Lesson to learn/Message/Issue of 2011: The Rogue. Preservation of self. Taking steps to keep oneself safe. Putting oneself first, for good or ill.

Message to contemplate about the Present, Right Now: The Guardian. Protection of others. Looking outside the self. Being strong for others/the outside world.

Theme/Message to Ponder for 2012: Family. Ties we don't choose. People we deal with that we were born to, or cannot choose.

Something You Should Consider Working On: The Fallow Field. An open heart. Being willing to let things in. Being open to possibilities and people.