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

July 28, 2014
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?

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).


July 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

Watch Out World, I'm trying an MMO Again

July 15, 2014
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!

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