Aug 7, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Aunty

Aug 2, 2014

Blogging Experiment with Mike Elgan

For the next month I will be participating in +Mike Elgan's #BlogsofAugust on G+. You can follow my main profile (blogs plus a lot of everything else) or if you just want the posts, I'll re-share them on my G+ blog page  or you can subscribe to the RSS feed.

I wonder what my #menuplanmonday posts are going to look like now....

Jul 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Brought to You By the Letter 'T'

I must be doing something right. Last week my massage therapist (who sees me every week) said that I was looking slimmer (woot!) and my daughter said I felt skinnier when she hugged me (let's ignore the fact that she's on a growth spurt and that her arms are probably longer).

In reality, I think my rather slow detox from my road trip was finally taking effect. At least the bloat is gone and I am back to my pre-trip weight (only 15lbs to go!). However, getting rid of the carb cravings re-created on that trip are something that I struggle with every day (as I put down the Mrs. Fields triple-chocolate cookie and practice something resembling self-control instead of emo-eating)...

I also have been convenience eating or not eating properly at all since it's just myself and really, why should I just cook for myself? Almost 30 years of cooking for other people, I have a hard time cooking for one. Even if I know I will be eating the leftovers for lunch the next day. This week's goal is all meals prepared in 30 minutes or less. It's kind of my thing.

Monday: Blackened Chicken and Avocado sauce over zoodles (I don't make zoodles, too time consuming, I slice the zucchini, saute, slice up an avocado, and make the blackened chicken. 30 minutes or less!)
Tuesday: B.L.A.S.T.

What are some of your favorite summer time dinner recipes?

Jul 27, 2014

LOTRO Frustration

Holy mother of Baby Cheesus! 

Three hours or so getting through just my intro quests but that was partly due to my lousy sense of direction (the map wasn't that much of a help to someone severely directionally  challenged in an imaginary world) and I wasted about 30 minutes on training because the attack I needed did not pre-populaute and I am so very very very very thankful for the wikis, forums, and walk-throughs that players have been kind enough to post online for total newbs. I think I might have rage quit without them. There is absolutely nothing intuitive about this game. Text-based MUDs were easier. On the other hand, I might have stayed up all night trying to figure it out. Either way, I'm already a Level 4 before I've made it out of my intro quests and I like to shoot things. I'm good at shooting things.
So very very very lost....How do I get back to Edhelion?
Later that night....

Leave it to me to pick the hardest character intro. 5 quests!!!! What the Fruit LOTRO!  I like to do my research a bit beforehand so I can plan. Someone said it would only take 20 minutes to get through all of the quests. I suppose that means if you have been playing the game for years and are aware of all of the changes that don't necessarily match the wikis and walk-throughs and know what to expect. 4 hours in ... I am stopping at the beginning of the 5th part because my back and eyes can't take anymore. This is ridiculous. Sheer stubbornness is keeping me going. I totally missed submitting my Week 2 Distinction Track assignment because I can't even get out of the damn intro to join a kinship (but I did pass my quiz, at least I got the lectures and readings done). I did manage to make Level 5.

Where are the effing bats?!?!!!!
I finally found the bats after I took a break and found where I was supposed to start climbing. All the same ... I'll try again another day (tomorrow). I am not going to let this game beat me.

So, do any of you, my faithful readers play MMORPGs, and if so, which ones? (not WoW, my son tried to drag me into that one, after one night of play I gave up).

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