Throwback Thursday: First year at Disney

December 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Sailing into the sunset

December 11, 2013

Jack is such a flirt

December 8, 2013
Jack is such a flirt by Nannerlady
Jack is such a flirt, a photo by Nannerlady on Flickr.

Not that I can blame him. More later after I'm back in the right time zone.

Book Review: Flesh and Bone

November 27, 2013
Flesh and Bone (Body Farm, #2)Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After finishing Ghost Story (review forth-coming, maybe) I was in need of a Dresden break before I jumped into Cold Days. None of the fantasy or sci-fi on my list really grabbed my attention, so back to murder mysteries I went.

I am liking the writing style(s) of Jefferson Bass much better than Kathy Reichs (but I still binge on Bones marathons). Spoiler I can't believe they killed off a main character so soon!! I had to make sure I wasn't reading A Game of Thrones.

I was happy to see that Bass and Miranda had made up and that Miranda wasn't all psycho-girlfriend about Bass' blooming love life. The twist ... I saw coming and yet I didn't. Let's just say that the circumstantial evidence was quite convincing, except that you know that he didn't do it, so as a reader you already have doubt and start looking for alternative explanations.

Like most of my favorite books of all genres, this is character driven as much as by the science behind the series. I'm thoroughly looking forward to getting through the series to see what leads up to the ending of Madonna and Corpse.

View all my reviews

Pin It

Homewalk 2013: Why I Walk

November 22, 2013
Tomorrow I will be walking in my first 5K with +United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

I'm walking because being homeless sucks, whether you are living on the streets, crashing with friends, or living in your car, a motel, or hostel because you have no where else to go.

I know, you're probably thinking "No shit, Captain Obvious." Being homeless with kids is even worse. It's a reality I have lived through and a fear I constantly have with being a contractor. There is nothing scarier than living paycheck-to-paycheck and having your contract and your lease end at the same time. Or having an uncaring landlord who doesn't care that your next gig will start in three weeks and you'll be able to get caught up then when rent is due last week.

I'm walking to help end that fear and uncertainty for at least one family.

By the way, you can still donate. Just click right here.  

Double Your Money!
Fundraise or donate $100 or more and it will be matched, dollar for dollar, through a challenge grant by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation!

What is HomeWalk? HomeWalk is United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ annual 5K Run/Walk to End Homelessness. Each year, thousands of Angelenos come together to do their part by fundraising and spreading the word that homelessness is a solvable problem.

Why HomeWalk?
Los Angeles is the homeless capital of the nation. Over the past 6 years, HomeWalk has mobilized 38,000 walkers, raised $3 million and moved 13,000 people into housing. 100% of proceeds from the event go back into the community, supporting effective strategies to end this crisis.

How Can We End Homelessness? The number one reason for homelessness is loss of a job. With our region’s unemployment rate at an all-time high, it’s not surprising that we’ve become the homeless capital of the nation.

The policies and solutions United Way advocates, such as permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing, have a 43% cost savings for taxpayers with an 85% success rate when it comes to keeping people off the streets. That’s why our five-year action plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness is called Home For Good.

HomeWalk is an opportunity for all Angelenos to come together to raise funds and awareness while building a brighter future for our community. Join us today by registering, donating or volunteering! Together, we can end homelessness once and for all. 

Pin It

Throwback Thursday: San Diego

November 21, 2013
Some of my friends may remember this night.
 photo ANNETTE1.jpg
circa 1998

Pin It

Menu Plan Monday: Paleo Pasta Week

November 18, 2013
What? Paleo and pasta in the same sentence? What trickery is this??? 

It's fall and I instinctively just want to carb up. Luckily for me, PaleoOMG seems to be the same way. And Civilized Caveman (and now these two are collaborating on a cookbook!!! Sign me up, I will stand in line for this.)

OK, not really. 

Sunday: Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - very quick, easy and tasty
Monday: Grilled chicken with mixed veggies from Fresh & Easy (garlic ranch butter ... nom!)
Tuesday: Cajun Salmon with Asparagus with Citrus Dressing Recipe
Wednesday: Chicken Bacon Alfredo and broccoli
Thursday: Tilapia with Green Beans
Friday: Paleo Spaghetti but using spaghetti squash instead of zucchini
Saturday: leftovers or crock-pot beef stew if I can find the lid to my crock-pot (sloppy packing this past summer). I'm walking the United Way Homewalk 5K that morning and will want something tasty to warm me up.

Menu Plan Monday hosted by:

Pin It

Throwback Thursday: November 2007

November 14, 2013
Apparently I always look tense these days, even when I am enjoying myself.

Pin It

Coloring My Sisterlocks

Call me vain, but I hate the gray. I am by no means ready to "grow old gracefully". I'm not even middle-aged yet!

When I got my locs installed they told me I should either color right before installation or I would have to wait a year. A year! I thought I could stick it out, I didn't want any chemicals on my hair before installation (at this point henna hadn't even crossed my radar). Back in July I had colored dark brown and within a month my roots were bad.
Tri-colored hair and I had colored
right after I took my braids out!
I've been artfully doing a side-part to hide the worst of it. But at my two-month tightening my loctitian made a random comment about the colors in my hair.

The colors in my hair aren't nearly
as pretty as the background.

Last week I contacted my loctitian and didn't exactly beg, but was possibly persuasive enough that she gave me the go-ahead to use henna a week before my re-ti (CAUTION!!!! This is not recommended!!!! My locs are only three months old and all responsibility for anything negative that happens is my own damn impatient fault).

 I ordered this kit and set aside half a day (after reading the reviews) to do my hair. It was a good reason to get caught up on Scandal ... 


I know it's time to color
when I no longer get carded.
Step 1: Left on for about 30 minutes. My hair is coarse and has always taken longer to process everything, so I left it on double the time of the instructions even after letting it cure for an hour. And I did a bad thing. I forgot to bundle my ends! Oh shit! It took forever to rinse out and then I just prayed that I hadn't screwed up my locs.

And still it's barely red. Oops, I hope Step 2 takes away the rest of it.
After Step 1 there's a red tinge to my gray.
I guess I could have left it on a little longer but I didn't want brassy.
Step 2: Section and bundle! (Better late than never?) Slather something akin to mud made up of henna, indigo, herbs, and day-old coffee (more brown, less red), all over my head, cover with a plastic cap and apply heat .... unless you tend towards red, then don't use heat.

I tend towards red, so I used the included plastic cap, then covered with my shower cap and then a scarf. Marinate... and forget to set the timer. I figured I was done when it started dripping down my neck. I think it was on for about 2.5 hours.


It took almost an hour (really 20 minutes, but it felt like an hour. I mean have you ever washed your hair for 20 minutes straight?!?!?!?) to rinse until the water ran clear. The things we do for beauty....
I got carded at the grocery store :)
I mixed it with coffee instead of water and
that made a huge difference. More brown/black and less red.
My re-tightening is this Friday. I know I have slippage on one or two locs in the kitchen, but they were that way before I henna'd. Hopefully that's the only thing. My hair feels a little thicker and a little off texture-wise. Five days later there's still indigo coming off on my fingers, but it hasn't transferred to my skin, clothes or pillowcase, so that's a good thing.

Pin It

Wordless Wednesday: Dessert

November 13, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Vacation

November 7, 2013
I am so ready to relax

Pin It

Dear Readers

November 4, 2013

Thank you so much for sticking around. The last two months of real life have been somewhat of a emotional roller-coaster and I am just now getting my creative mojo back. My motivation for writing is struggling to keep up, but I figure if I keep creating drafts and taking pictures, it will all come together soon.

So guess what that means for you all? It means your RSS feeds are going to go bonkers. I have been menu-planning, taking photos, pouring out my heart and soul, and well, I'll be polishing and publishing as much as possible over the next few weeks. That is, if I don't get cold feet about baring my soul. There are so many more of you now and jot the 8-10 friends and family that I started this blog for ... wow, over a decade ago. 

And again, thank you for not abandoning me and coming back each week. I know you just come for the food, but I hope you'll stick around for the conversation. Hint: leave a comment

Photo Friday: Swift

November 1, 2013

Boston Museum of Science

Pin It

Photo Friday: Autumn 2013

October 25, 2013
Autumn in Vermont
Pinnacle Peak, Stowe, VT
Read the short recap of the hike to get this shot here.
More Photo Friday posts here

Pin It

Photo Friday: Lonesome

Photo Friday: Heavenly

October 18, 2013

This week's Challenge: 'Heavenly'.

Pin It

Throwback Thursday: First Hike

October 17, 2013
Ok, jumping on the bandwagon ...

I can't believe it's been 5 years since I first took my daughter hiking. No wonder she's always nagging me to take her back out.

Pin It

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Colors

October 16, 2013

Standing with DNLee

October 13, 2013
I originally saw this on BuzzFeed and followed the link to Isis the Scientist and am adding my amplification. DNLee is amazingly articulate and SciAm should have backed her up or let her post stand rather than pull it.

Here’s DNLee’s voice…
wachemshe hao hao kwangu mtapoa
I got this wrap cloth from Tanzania. It’s a khanga. It was the first khanga I purchased while I was in Africa for my nearly 3 month stay for field research last year. Everyone giggled when they saw me wear it and then gave a nod to suggest, “Well, okay”. I later learned that it translates to “Give trouble to others, but not me”. I laughed, thinking how appropriate it was. I was never a trouble-starter as a kid and I’m no fan of drama, but I always took this 21st century ghetto proverb most seriously:
Don’t start none. Won’t be none.For those not familiar with inner city anthropology – it is simply a variation of the Golden Rule. Be nice and respectful to me and I will do the same. Everyone doesn’t live by the Golden Rule it seems. (Click to embiggen.)The Blog editor of Biology-Online dot org asked me if I would like to blog for them. I asked the conditions. He explained. I said no. He then called me out of my name.
My initial reaction was not civil, I can assure you. I’m far from rah-rah, but the inner South Memphis in me was spoiling for a fight after this unprovoked insult. I felt like Hollywood Cole, pulling my A-line T-shirt off over my head, walking wide leg from corner to corner yelling, “Aww hell nawl!” In my gut I felt so passionately:”Ofek, don’t let me catch you on these streets, homie!”This is my official response:It wasn’t just that he called me a whore – he juxtaposed it against myprofessional being: Are you urban scientist or an urban whore?Completely dismissing me as a scientist, a science communicator (whom he sought for my particular expertise), and someone who could offer something meaningful to his brand.What? Now, I’m so immoral and wrong to inquire about compensation? Plus, it was obvious me that I was supposed to be honored by the request..After all, Dr. Important Person does it for free so what’s my problem? Listen, I ain’t him and he ain’t me. Folks have reasons – finances, time, energy, aligned missions, whatever – for doing or not doing things. Seriously, all anger aside…this rationalization of working for free and you’ll get exposure is wrong-headed.This is work. I am a professional. Professionals get paid. End of story. Even if I decide to do it pro bono (because I support your mission or I know you, whatevs) – it is still worth something. I’m simply choosing to waive that fee. But the fact is told ol’ boy No; and he got all up in his feelings. So, go sit on a soft internet cushion, Ofek, ’cause you are obviously all butt-hurt over my rejection. And take heed of the advice on my khanga.
You don’t want none of this
Thanks to everyone who helped me focus my righteous anger on these less-celebrated equines. I appreciate your support, words of encouragement, and offers to ride down on his *$$.

Pin It

30 Minute Banana Bread Muffins

No really. It truly only takes about 30 minutes to throw these together with a potato masher and hand-mixing. That might be why I used to make them every Sunday when my son was much younger. I would make a double batch and we would have breakfast and snack for the week. Very handy for an overworked student/single-mom. Some things never change.

Banana Bread Muffins

Recipe by Annette Holland

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 16 muffins or 1 loaf
  • 4-6 medium-large overripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups unbleached wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease muffin pan with olive oil or butter.
  3. Mix the bananas and the liquid ingredients together until the consistency of batter.
  4. Add honey and mix well.
  5. Sift together dry ingredients and add to banana mixture.
  6. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!
For a dessert/snack variation you can add chocolate chips

Diabetic Variation: replace honey with 1 cup Splenda
Comfort food version: replace the 1 cup oil (olive or coconut) with butter.
Low-fat version: Replace the oil with applesauce. That version comes out super moist. 
Tip: The riper the bananas the less sugar you need to use. i've gotten away with using as little as 1/4-1/2 cup.

One of the best versions for my family was combining a few variations. I used Splenda and applesauce for my brother who was living with me at the time, I didn't have chocolate chips so I marbled it with dutch chocolate. That one as a loaf was simply beautiful and was devoured the same day.

Yes, the bananas are frozen, but they come to room temp and mash up very quickly.

Pin It

Happy Windsday

September 25, 2013
It's a windy day here in SoCal, with a touch of (un)seasonal crispness. Whenever the weather gets like this I want to get into my kitchen and bake away. My daughter has been asking for banana bread. There are five just waiting to be baked in the freezer. I think I will try traditional and the Paleo Chocolate Banana Bread as soon as I figure out where to buy coconut flour.

Pin It

Menu Plan Monday: Frugal Freezer Week

September 9, 2013
I'm up before the sun to post this. Literally. Sunrise isn't until 6:33 AM. But by then I should be dressed and making breakfast for my daughter, who wants to leave for school at 6:50. Whoever thought up the schedule for middle-schoolers obviously didn't take into account that they (and their parents) need more than five hours of sleep.

Lately it's been working out that the weeks that I don't have access to a car are the weeks I have to be frugal. No access to a car means I have to carry the groceries home. I call it strength-training.

This week's menu is based on the meats I still have in the freezer. It helps that I already have the most expensive items on hand. I was able to buy everything on the menu, plus lunch items for myself and my daughter for $85. My grocery bill hasn't been that low in a while!

Sunday: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Spinach Cranberry Salad
Picky-eater approved

Monday: Apple Chicken Sausage, kale (spinach) and (cauliflower) rice soup
Tuesday: Curried Turkey Cutlets with Dried Apricots with mixed veggies
Wednesday: Grilled Salmon Avocado Pitas
Thursday: BLTs
Friday: Pizza - I've discovered that after a long week, I just don't feel like cooking on a Friday night.
Saturday: Teryaki Steak and Salad

Menu Plan Monday hosted by:

Pin It

Wordless Wednesday: Season 4 - Moves Like Jagger

August 28, 2013

Opening day of Joy's 4th season of soccer was this past Saturday

Pin It

Wordless Wednesday: 4 Hours is not enough

August 21, 2013
Thank goodness for bright lipstick

Pin It

Wordless Wednesday: Loc'd

August 14, 2013

First Day of MIDDLE School

It's another one of those days when I swear I just gave birth, but here she is, 11 years later and entering 6th grade. Wasn't she just in kindergarten? And why is 6th the beginning of middle school now? It should be the last year of elementary.
Mom, you got me to school on time. I got this.
You can go to work now.

End of day results
  • She claims she has three of the best teachers in the school (she likes her teachers and classmates, this is a bonus). 
  • She got violin instead of Cadet Corps (thank goodness!)
  • Math is soooooo basic, but I still had to double-check that she didn't miss any prime numbers and tomorrow's homework is composite numbers. 
  • She made friends (she's an introvert at first, so this is important).
  • I am grateful that there wasn't any sort of meltdown over not being able to go to school with her BFF's from elementary.
And now that we have the rest of the school supply/clothing shopping out of the way I am going to pass out so we can start all over again.

Who's bright idea was it to start school at 7:45 am????

Pin It
Back to Top