Jul 16, 2014


Only one pint worth. But this is what I feel like.
Photo courtesy of  TalkTrueBlood
I haven't given blood since I worked as an admin for the UCSD Medical Center. Between some health issues, piercings, a tat, and the erroneous assumption that I shouldn't give blood, I just kept putting it off. That, and the fully rational fear of ending up like a pin-cushion after the various times that I have had to get blood-work done.

The American Red Cross FAQ says that the appointment should only take about an hour, but yours truly was a slow drainer who at one point had 3 technicians hovering over her, trying to figure out why my bag was taking close to 30 minutes to fill. My appointment took a total of 1.5 hours. I have never been asked if I felt OK so many times in my life. It was appreciated.
The problem
  1. My veins roll, a lot. I let them know this before I got to the table and when the technician got it in the first time, we both breathed a sigh of relief. I did NOT want to go through having both arms punched up 3-4 times before they got a fit. 
  2. The pressure cuff lost pressure. 
The fix: Shove the needle in deeper and readjust the cuff...

Luckily, it only pinched a little. So either my pain tolerance has gone up, or the technician really knew what she was doing. I'm going to go with positive intent and say it was the latter. After that, my bag filled in about 2 minutes. Makes me wonder how deep the needle went.

They were all super courteous and when the bruising started (a little early this time actually), they were worried. I assured them that it happens every time ... and I'm not anemic (they give you a test for it in the pre-screening anyway). One laughed a worried laugh when I said I bruise every time... am I missing something?

I think I will do it again.

Cheesy self-promotion

Jul 15, 2014

Watch Out World, I'm trying an MMO Again

I'm an English Lit major (yes, Humanities majors can be geeks too, it's not just the engineers) and into story telling (as in I wanted to be a story-teller when I grew up, but I'm a better editor), but not really a gamer (for reasons, as glossed-over below).

My storytelling skills have atrophied with real life interference (if any of you have read my blog for more than a year or two, you know exactly what I mean). I've tried +edX and self-paced, non-graded +Coursera courses, but this is the first one I'm kind of excited about. (Read that as "OMG! Something to stimulate and challenge me! Hell yeah!")

I need to start using the creative side of my brain again, and despite not having played a MMO since college (something about failing out of my classes and wanting to keep my scholarship... and this was back when they were purely text-based), I already have some ideas for the Distinction Track. And I have 7 days to decide if I want a verified certificate...

I blame +Naomi Ishikawa ​ and +Buster D ​ for encouraging me to finally install Steam, you may have created a monster. Thank you.

Oh! The reason for this post is because the Coursera​ app allows me to download the lectures to my tablet. I love this feature! I'm not tied to sitting at my laptop at the end of the day, exhausted and brain dead. I can do the lectures and reading on the train, during my commute and therefore less likely to quit due to real life responsibilities. This is/was the hardest thing about continuing my education. Having a day job and family responsibilities kills all the energy that I would put towards my assignments and I just don't have the sheer willpower I did 20 years ago.

Finding the time to game, however, will still be a challenge. I have until Sunday.

Works best under pressure.
And ... I signed up for another course that starts in two weeks. Wish me luck!

Jun 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday: International Birthday

Soon after this I got to stop wearing pink ...
6th birthday in Tampico, Mexico.
L-R: me, my paternal grandmother, my brother

Jun 22, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Why Cook When You Can Toss?

Well, this past week was nice, weather-wise, and I forgot to menu plan, so there was a lot of cleaning out the fridge and using a few recipes from the previous week. The lentil stew and red beans and rice made meals for multiple days. In fact, I'm still eating lentil stew. I think I will freeze the rest for a rainy day.

 And then I took a look at the upcoming weather

and decided that it will just be too damn hot in my apartment when I get home to cook. It's a pleasant 70-something outside now, but between 4-7PM my apartment heats up into the high 80s. The downside of living on the top floor.

I seem to have misplaced the lid to my slow cooker. So ....

Monday: Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing - with chicken for protein

Tuesday: Thai Chicken, Mango, and Pineapple Salad

Wednesday: Steak and Arugula Salad - minus the ciabatta and capers

Thursday: Salmon Cucumber Salad with whatever greens are left over from the previous recipes.

Friday: Mexican Chicken Salad

The lovely thing about this menu is that I can cook all of the meat except the salmon ahead of time and re-heat as necessary.

What are some of your favorite hot weather recipes?

Jun 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday: I Rocked a 'Fro

There aren't many baby pictures of me left in existence due to various family tragedies, but I found this one while cleaning this past weekend. That's me on (probably) my uncle's car in front of my grandmother's house in West L.A. 

October 1977

Jun 18, 2014

Book Review: Derelict

DerelictDerelict by L.J. Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall I enjoyed most of the characters, the science and tech of the story. There was one plot point/character interaction that just struck cognitive dissonance for me, made my internal creeper alarm go off, and caused me to stop reading for a few days, but, I had to find out if the main characters made it back home safe and sound, or were left adrift in space, ready for a sequel.

Hopefully without giving too much away, you have a crew of misfit teenagers with more angst and abuse (physical, emotional, and mental) in their lives than should be crammed into one story, but it makes sense the more you read, the requisite missing parent for two of the main characters, and under-developed peripheral characters. I'm not sure if this is an accepted trend in YA literature or if it's because the writers have been raised on too many Disney movies. Yes, I am currently dis-enchanted with Disney, but that has nothing to do with _Derelict_, which is about as far from a typical Disney story as you can get.

Part of the dissonance for me was that the main characters were fairly well fleshed out, but the supporting cast were caricatures with barely enough substance to be the catalyst for everything that was wrong with the main characters when it came to their interpersonal relationships. It just didn't gel well and would take me out of the story. Luckily, being shot into space unexpectedly got the "crew" to get mostly over themselves and work cooperatively. Function out of dysfunction. It can happen.

The scenes concerned with only the main characters and the ship flowed extremely well and hit that page-turner pace that I enjoy and kept me engaged. I look forward to seeing Lisa really hit her stride and have everything, especially character development, come together into amazing stories.

View all my reviews

Jun 15, 2014

Welcome to the Menagerie

So this happened today ...

Your legs make great scratching posts...
...and pillows

So I'm walking to the store (mostly in my own world) and this homeless lady asks me if I want a kitten. "Excuse me? Can you say that again?" "Do you want a curtain?" "A curtain? You need a curtain?" (I'm so confused)  ... "No, I said, do you want a *kitten*?" pointing into her cart ...

At first I misunderstood her and thought she was a bit off and asking about curtains (probably because I had blackout curtains on the brain). She proceeded to tell me about her situation and how she couldn't care for the kitten, that she found on Friday 13th, thought she wanted a companion, but a 6-7 week kitten definitely wasn't it.

After much hemming, hawing, and purring... Geez I'm a soft touch. Especially after she said she tried a shelter but was turned away because they were full. And the poor thing was almost dehydrated....
I think I will nap nao...
So, we're going to the vet tomorrow and I'll decide from there. Zoe is a bit perturbed that she doesn't have free reign of the bedroom right now, and Josh is trying to pick a better name than "Luna" (given to her by the lady). So far he has suggested "Bagheera" and "Kiki". So far Luna has eaten twice, had a little water, and proven that she can use the litterbox and jump or climb  at least three feet ...
I know you made me a nice bed in a box,
but your hamper full of clothes is more comfortable.
Maybe I should name her "Sasha Fierce".

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Jun 9, 2014

Recipe: B.L.A.S.T.

This was so tasty!
BLAST - Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Salmon, Tomato

Recipe by Annette Holland

Kicking up the standard BLT with salmon and avocado.
5 stars stars
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 pita sandwiches
  • 1 lb skinless salmon fillets
  • 4 slices (turkey) bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
  • to taste Cajun seasoning for dry rub
  • pita wraps
  • mayonnaise or mustard
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat grill to medium high.
  2. Sprinkle the salmon with the Cajun seasoning on both sides and place on grill.
  3. Cook about 10 minutes or until the salmon releases on its own. Flip to cook the other side.
  4. Add bacon around salmon and cook to desired crispness.
  5. While the salmon is cooking, slice your tomatoes and avocado.
  6. Let salmon cool and assemble the rest of the ingredients in the pita.
  7. Shred salmon into pita on top of other ingredients.
  8. Enjoy!

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Jun 8, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Balance

I'm feeling a little bit under the weather as I plan this week's menu and I'm trying to balance the need for comfort food with sticking to my diet -- pardon me, lifestyle. Paleo is a lifestyle and the only way I have been able to lose and at this point, maintain and not go back up to 180 or higher. Especially since for the longest time my back didn't allow me anything more than walking.

I got on my scale this morning for the first time in about 6 months and was so pleased to see that I have only gained .5lbs, which I know is from emo-eating (work has been extremely stressful and, well, Mrs. Fields is right downstairs at work). For those of you who are following my weight-loss journey, it appears I've been holding steady between 168/169 since November of 2013. In the last few weeks I've started adding in a little yoga and core work.

And now for what  you came here for:

Monday: Grilled Pineapple Chicken Burgers
Tuesday: Bacon Apple Cheddar Fritatta (with avocado) - recipe forthcoming

Wednesday: Caribbean Chicken with Black Bean Sauce - Experimental recipe for the week
Thursday: Lentil Stew
Friday: Shortcut Red Beans and Rice - this time with Trader Joe's Chicken Andouille sausage
Saturday: Leftovers, if there are any

Oh, and The Teen is home from college, hungry, and quite possibly on another growth spurt. I thought I was done with those from him ... so I will be making a few batches of banana bread and possibly homemade granola bars as well.

Jun 5, 2014

Throwback Thursday: High School Reunion

There's a reason why I pay other people to do my hair. When you forget what day your senior photo is on and then have to do it yourself...

This is the result.

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