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.
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
So. Today was Groundhog Day, and we've been here at my parents' house for something like six weeks.

Physically settling into the house was simple. Finding a rhythm to bring order to my days has been harder. Back at the moonbase, I had developed a routine based around the three-days-a-week playgroup schedule, sending Smash Boy to day care for half days about four days a week. I decided to move in with my parents, believing that my mother could provide at least as much childcare as I was getting from the day care facility at the moonbase, but it's not clear whether that's true. Rather than mind the kiddo for hours at a stretch, mostly my mother fills in for brief periods so I can, for instance, eat meals uninterrupted or take a shower. My parents' house is not childproofed as well as where we were living last, so the boy can get into more trouble. My father has very limited patience for his antics. My mother is more indulgent but still gets worn out keeping after him, and she's been having spells of not feeling well: she seems to nap almost as much as her grandson, and her diabetes is getting harder to control for some reason. (She says my brother and I were easier to manage at the same age, but perhaps 30 years puts a rosy glow on the memories.)

It has been hard for me to accept that my parents are old. I was disturbed when, years ago, they both started using pillboxes to keep track of their daily medications and vitamins. I'm coming to realize that living here is less about the free childcare and more about us all enjoying each other's company, since normally we don't see much of each other. I'm revising my expectations for this period of our lives. In truth, even going to the "Mommy and me" playgroup and perhaps meeting friends for lunch now and then, I would have been lonely out there, especially in the evenings with just my child and myself and the dog.

My week so far:

Monday I didn't do much; I was frustrated and sulky.

Tuesday I took Smash Boy to a little municipal airport that had a playground. The playground was small, but it offered a nice view of commuter planes taking off and landing. It was a worthwhile venture.

Wednesday's accomplishments were scheduling a veterinarian appointment for Mungo and raking some leaves in the back yard, so it will be easier to look out for the things Mungo drops.

Today is Thursday. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Smash Boy woke up very late, around noon, but after he ate, we went to a park about 20 minutes' drive away — it'd be more like 10 minutes without traffic. The park is newly built last year; the playground is modestly sized but has some very nice play structures. There were lots of young children there, and Smash Boy had fun. He took his nap at 5 PM. I hope his schedule isn't screwed up too badly.
serenissima: (absurdity)
Meme caught from [ profile] stryck. This is one that took a moment's thought for me. Dreamwidth users can use their Dreamwidth usernames, of course!
I'm running a test to see who's reading my posts. So, if you read this, leave me a one-word comment about your day that starts with the last letter of your LJ USERNAME. Only one word please. Then repost so I can leave a word for you. Don't just post a word and not copy - that's not as much fun!
serenissima: Eastern screech owl (observer)
Note to self:
Lady Speed Stick "Silky Chiffon" scent smells like honeydew melon.


Jan. 18th, 2012 08:23 pm
serenissima: sunlight streams through a chink in a stone wall (opportunity)
Life here is not humming along the way I would have liked.

I think I will aim to accomplish one thing every day besides simply seeing to the physical needs of my child and myself and washing dishes and laundry.

Today I baked a reduced-calorie pumpkin pie. Tomorrow I plan to take my son to a puppet show. After that, we'll see... I do have a fair amount on my to-do list, including writing a "proper" post.
serenissima: close-up of dog's face (Mungo closeup)
I don't want to pack. I am bad at packing. I am doing a terrible job. I don't have enough time left to pack everything. We won't be able to fit everything. We'll have to throw out hundreds of dollars worth of belongings.
For good or ill, it will all be over in a few days.
Not looking forward to explaining his daddy's departure to our son.
The doggy in the icon has already been sent on ahead of us, traveling with my awesome brother and his girlfriend. Thanks to you both, if you're reading this, you were both super helpful!
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Last Monday I made pork adobo in the slow cooker, and again the garlic reacted colorfully with the vinegar, turning a lovely shade of aqua. I thought you might like to see.

big photo )

Here's the informative link.  This doesn't happen when I cook on the stove, probably because high heat destroys the blue compound or prevents it from forming.  By the time this dish was cooked, the color had faded to a dull green-beige.
serenissima: (Default)
Because Ursula Vernon fiction (and Ursula Vernon artwork) is generally pretty cool, IMO, and this piece is no exception.



Oct. 19th, 2011 07:44 am
serenissima: (absurdity)
I got the horse right here
The name is Paul Revere
And here's a guy that says that the weather's clear
Can do, can do, this guy says the horse can do
If he says the horse can do, can do, can do.
Oh, these are the people in your neighborhood
In your neighborhood
In your neighborhood
Oh, these are the people in your neighborhood
They're the people that you meet each day.
I'm pickin' Valentine, 'cause on the morning line
A guy has got him figured at five to nine
Has chance, has chance, this guy says the horse has chance
if he says the horse has chance, has chance, has chance.
Oh, these are the people in your neighborhood
In your neighborhood
In your neighborhood
Oh, these are the people in your neighborhood
They're the people that you meet
When you're walking down the street
They're the people that you meet each day.
serenissima: sunlight streams through a chink in a stone wall (opportunity)
I have a backpack that dates from eighth grade. The padded straps are worn out, and the zippers are no longer entirely reliable; they used to be self-healing, but now they sometimes need a lot of finagling to stay closed. There is a small hole worn in a bottom corner of the backpack, and another worn in a bottom corner of the small outer compartment.
However, the nylon material is still fairly sturdy, I think. The backpack can still function. I don't like the idea of throwing it in the trash. What should I do with it? Is this the kind of thing a thrift shop would be happy to take? Are the straps replaceable?

Honey cake

Oct. 5th, 2011 09:02 am
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
I baked a cake last night. I'd actually put "bake yogurt cake" on my to-do list since a couple weeks ago, because we had a big tub of vanilla yogurt sitting in the fridge from some other yogurt-using recipe a few weeks ago. Yogurt keeps well, and I finally got around to using the rest of it. I followed this recipe, with one difference: instead of 1 cup sugar, I substituted 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of honey, as per advice here, because we had more honey around than sugar and I wanted to use it up.

The result was just fine. I would not describe the cake as "fluffy and cloud-like," but it is moist, maybe a little spongy; I like how it holds together and doesn't crumble much. The honey makes for a nice subtle flavor. [ profile] aristeros prefers it sweeter and said I should use a full cup next time. At any rate, the cake went very well with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
serenissima: (Default)
"I entered American Apparel’s “plus-size model” contest as a joke—and won. But I want nothing to do with a company that’s wanted nothing to do with large women until now."
My Big, Fat Photo Spoof


Things like this generally don't appear on my radar, but I happened across it.... I don't entirely understand what the author was trying to accomplish with her joke contest entry. Do you? What do you make of it?

"The puns, the insulting, giggly tones, and the over-used euphemisms for fat that were scattered throughout the campaign’s solicitation began to crystalize an opinion in my mind. How offensive the campaign was. How it spoke to plus-sized women like they were starry-eyed 16 year olds from Kansas whose dream, obviously, was to hop a bus to L.A. to make it big in fashion. How apparently there were no words in existence to accurately describe the way American Apparel felt about a sexy, large woman, and so phrases like “booty-ful” and “XLent” would need to be invented for us—not only to fill this void in American vocabulary, but also make the company seem like a relatable, sassy friend to fat chicks.

A relatable, sassy friend who was looking to broaden its customer base after warning it might need to declare bankruptcy earlier this year. And a relatable, sassy friend who wanted as much free press as possible. That’s when I finally put my finger on why I couldn’t get this “contest” out of my head: American Apparel was going to try to use one fat girl as a symbol of apology and acceptance to a demographic it had long insisted on ignoring, while simultaneously having that girl (and a thousand other girls) shill their products."


Sep. 12th, 2011 11:20 am
serenissima: "You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life." (fortune)
My son and I escaped the heat by fleeing to the East Coast for most of August, while my husband sweated in the desert. We had a nice time visiting relatives, and I was vastly relieved to find that temperatures are comfortable again now that we're back. I may even get into a routine of daily dog walks. That should help Mungo and me shed some pounds we gained over the summer. I took him for an evening walk a couple nights ago and saw a bat fluttering around the open area right next to our subdivision, presumably catching moths and other bugs. That was neat.

On Saturday, the three of us went to Costco to pick up a few things — they had a sale on mini-SD memory cards, and we wanted a case of water bottles for [ profile] aristeros' work — and we left with a shopping cart full of items, as usually happens when we visit that store. Which is why I don't like to go there often. [ profile] aristeros got a new pair of jeans, since he'd ripped a pair, our doodlebug got a big toy truck and a new book, and I got a new backpack with flower-printed fabric. My old backpack dates from 1992, and the zippers don't stay closed anymore. As I told my husband, my spiffy new backpack almost makes me want to go back to school. Almost.

Autumn usually makes me feel a bit more energetic and ready to start new things. Maybe it's from years of optimistic first months of school; maybe it's from growing up in a relatively warm climate, where cooler weather is welcome. In any case, I have loads of housework to do this week, yet at the moment I am still feeling positive.
serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
You know you've left the baby carrots in the fridge for too long when upon taking out the bag, you find they have sprouted secondary roots. 
serenissima: (Default)
There are now eleven varieties of Cheerios on the market, including a multicolored kind that looks like Froot Loops.  General Mills, why do you feel that this one cereal has to be everything?  Why aren't plain and Honey Nut enough?
serenissima: Eastern screech owl (observer)
This caught my eye the other day.

For-profit colleges sue Dept of Education over new rule
(Reuters) - An association of for-profit colleges in the United States has sued the Department of Education to block the implementation of a controversial rule, saying the rulemaking process was flawed and the agency was overreaching in its capacity to frame such rules.

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), representing more than 1,650 colleges, filed a lawsuit in the federal District Court in Washington DC seeking to block the department's final 'gainful employment' regulations.

In June, the department finalized the rule which threatens to cut off federal aid -- a key source of revenue -- to colleges if they do not meet certain student debt criteria.
The final version of the rule is a much softer one than the draft published earlier as the industry fought back the strict rules through lobbying.

The rule is part of a larger package of regulations framed by the Obama administration to reduce student debt at for-profit colleges and make them more accountable for the taxpayers money they get to fund student loans.
Frontline television program about how some for-profit colleges use federally funded loans to pay for students' sub-standard curricula
serenissima: sunlight streams through a chink in a stone wall (opportunity)
My brother was telling me about  I see there's also and  Does anyone have experience with these book swapping sites, or with another comparable one?  Which is the best?
serenissima: banded sphinx moth (beauty/nature)
I miss fireflies, and I kind of miss cicadas, too. 
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
I don't think it was so hot for quite so long in the previous summers I've been here.  I kind of want a solar oven to take advantage of the heat, but apparently decent ones cost a significant investment.

forecast for 12 June 2011

Fortunately, we'll be taking a little trip to a cooler clime, starting Thursday.  Off to visit the little one's great-grandmother.

serenissima: (Cooking Master Boy)
Hey, science fans, here's a question for you:
When I cook something in my slow cooker with chopped garlic on top, the garlic turns green. Not a healthy leaf green either, but a bluish green, bread mold-looking color. I know it isn't mold, but it is rather unappetizing. Does anyone know what is going on here?
I can't remember what I was cooking the last time I noticed this phenomenon, but today I am cooking chicken adobo. The ingredients are: chicken thighs, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, garlic powder, freshly chopped ginger root, and freshly chopped garlic. So the garlic did come in contact with acetic acid and salt, if that makes a difference.


serenissima: (Default)

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