[sticky entry] Sticky: About this Space

Sep. 5th, 2017 10:33 am
ofearthandstars: A picture of a lotus and lilypads. (lotus)
Hi, I'm Grey! I'm a 34 year old environmental scientist who's passionate about science, astronomy, math, and all manner of nerdery. I'm also into voluntary simplicity and green living. I'm vegan, although the rest of my family is not. I'm currently trying to reintegrate yoga into my life, enjoying road/trail cycling, and am training to run a 10K.

I'm also a voracious reader and an occasional writer. I have a fondness for poetry. I'm not hugely fannish but my guilty pleasures are Defiance, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Adventure Time, and Person of Interest. I have great geek love for Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Cinematic Titanic, Rifftrax, and terrible Syfy Original Movies. I'm a fan of Welcome to Night Vale because we all know that mountains are not real. I am, on top of all that, a mother of three boys (ages 11, 12, and 15), and a partner to an excellent nerdy and handsome gentlemen who happens to be my best friend of 15+ years.

This is a Day-in-the-Life journal; more measured posts may happen but my brain is usually not that organized. I write here a lot about my family, particularly parenting my three boys, including one child who has been diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar NOS. (I keep most of the specifics of this on a filter for our privacy.) I also write about my own depression from time to time, but I'm honestly trying to focus on all of the above, and living a joyful life.

With these considerations, this journal is largely access-only. All protected content is confidential and may not be shared or reposted without permission. (I don't mind sharing of public posts, but a heads-up would be nice).

That said, I don't have a strict access/subscribing policy and I love interaction. If you'd like access, please leave a comment below. If you're here from Livejournal or another blogging site and would like access or to leave comments, here are instructions for creating an Open ID.
ofearthandstars: (Unstoppable)
After a monstrously slow day at work, I came home and went for a tiny 1.25 mile run, followed by 15 minutes of walking. During that I finished listening to The Book Thief, which was just wonderful - it's my first ever audiobook (well, since childhood), and the story-telling style of the novel just suits it so well in audio. Allan Corduner’s voice is just amazing here. I cannot recommend it enough. It is lovely and sad and yet very full.

Last night I'd prepared a meal for the crockpot (an African-style peanut stew) and refrigerated it overnight, so today I just called L. at noon and kindly asked him to plop the ceramic bowl into the crockpot, such that I only had to add a little spinach and cook a little couscous when I got home. It was a pretty good meal, and not having to cut up vegetables = priceless. Win!

I've been working on collecting a number of canning/old sauce jars of various sizes to store my bulk-bought items in the pantry. I've been having some trouble with a pantry moth infestation (double ick), and so tonight I set out to clean up the top two shelves of the pantry (which hold all the flours, sugars, grains, and legumes). I moved almost everything that I could into a tightly sealed glass jar, with the exception of a few things that are in sealable bags, and I threw a lot of crap away. I also found a few things, like that giant bag of hemp seed that I did not know existed.

I am too ashamed to show you the bottom shelf, which is full of spices and is a gorram mess. I hope to tackle that one tomorrow night.

I really need some gallon-jars to house the larger bags of flours (those are on the top right at the back, behind the oils), but the last time I went in to buy some I dropped one and it shattered everywhere, which left me too mortified to buy one.

I also cleaned out another half-cabinet that houses the dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in smaller jars - most of my nuts/seeds are in the fridge because of spoilage concerns, and that's a huge mess because they are mostly kept in the paper bags they are bought in.

Also, I hate pasta boxes with the fury of a thousand burning suns. They just *barely* fit into my cabinet standing upright, and they never, ever stay closed, even if I tape or band them. I swear half of tonight's cleaning was brushing away broken pasta shells. *grump*
ofearthandstars: A picture of a lotus and lilypads. (Default)
If anyone wants to chat over this week's Defiance, please do!

My viewing of last night's episode was partially interrupted by the line of storms that came through, but what was up withspoilers )


Jul. 24th, 2014 10:20 pm
ofearthandstars: A bouquet of yellow/orange spring flowers. (floral)
Today was a work-at-home day, which meant I got to sleep in a wee bit before starting in on the daily grind. Sleep is my precioussssssssss. \o/ With the boys at home during the summer, I've been spending more time in the office because here = loud/distracting. I think L. probably cries when I leave for work, but he's usually in one piece by the time I get home, and so are the boys, at least, they are for now.

It was a very stormy day (they started as early as 10:00 a.m.), but I did manage a small 1.5 mile run this evening in between downpours. It may have been a little further than I should have gone, since upon removing my brace I felt the grind kicking in, but in good news, I'm not in any pain. I think I'm going to stick with piddly runs for next week, too. So. Damn. Frustrating. But necessary, because I do not want to ruin my knee.

Anyway, tonight I made pineapple salsa! It is the pretty.+1 )
Undressed pineapple was on sale this week, so I bought some and decided to make this Grilled Tofu with Pineapple Salsa and Coconut Rice. I made a few changes to the recipe:
  • I used Freekeh (tamari-flavored) instead of brown rice, because I did not want to wait 45 minutes (Freekeh cooks in 20-25), and I used a can of full-fat coconut milk + 1 1/4 cups water for cooking it in. It had a little extra liquid in it at the end of the cooking time, but I took the lid off per the recipe and let it "steam" a bit, and it came out perfectly creamy. I did not add any oil.
  • I only had one jalopeno for the salsa :(. However, I made the most of it by leaving in many of the seeds. I also took the salsa and put in the food processor very briefly to get it the above consistency, trying to leave some texture. It was pretty as it was simply diced, but my younger boys do not like big chunky salsa where the veggies are obvious.
  • I cut the tofu into 12 triangles and marinated it in advance (about an hour?) in a tamari/lemon juice mixture (3 tbsp each). This is one of my favorite marinades for tofu. I cooked the tofu on my ancient George Foreman grill, and other than a couple of pieces that crumbled a bit (I cut them too thin), it came out beautifully, with nice grill lines and everything. I meant to take a picture, but I was too busy shoving the food down my face.

Overall, it was very nom, and I have just enough leftovers to pack into a tortilla for a nice lunch tomorrow. \o/

And now, Defiance!

ofearthandstars: (tofu love)
A friend recently asked me if, being vegan, it was hard to know/like people who believe in eating meat and dairy. My first response was "oh, I can definitely like those people, I happen to *love* certain people who do so". But then I also wrote a TLDR response in which I was honest with zir about how it feels, and I thought I'd put it here (with a few clarifications in []), because I think it expresses my thoughts/truth fairly well. (And since one person asked the question, I thought others might have the same question.)
Read more... )
ofearthandstars: (Recipes)
Yesterday I ran 0.8 miles and then walked the remaining 1.2. My knee seems to tolerate these "baby runs" but I have to admit that running for less than 10 minutes feels a bit silly. Today I simply rode my bike, about 6.5 miles, and I used the lower gear more than I would have liked. It was drizzly and rainy for that.

Last night I made these black bean and sweet potato enchiladas with tomatillo sauce. They were really quite good; I liked the tomatillo sauce and hope to use it on other things. We're having the leftovers tonight, along with some sliced grilled tomatoes from my grandfather's garden. (Yes! My parents visited my grandparents last weekend, and they sent back 4 watermelons and 10 tomatoes for us!)

Today I lazed around in the kitchen and tried out a few recipes from my latest cookbook find (which I really like thus far). I tried making some zucchini chips, but I guess I didn't check them well enough because I burned 90% of them. The remaining 10% were pretty good. I also made some cherry-pepita granola bars that came out pretty damn good, although if I make them again, I will do so in a larger pan so that they're aren't 3/4" inch thick. Also, they called for more sweetener than I would have liked (I finished up the remainder of my agave and my brown rice syrup).
+1 )

I'm also thinking of making this, because it appears to be NOM.

Other than that I have listened to an episode of Oh No! Ross and Carrie and watched The Lego Movie with the family (it was cute). It has been a fairly quiet day.

So here... have a Mini, doing what Mini does best:
+1 )
ofearthandstars: Colorfully drawn hearts in sidewalk chalk. (chalk hearts)
+ Today was my first run in many weeks! I wrote words about it in [community profile] c25k. I am encouraged, but still feeling cautious, because this is one of the slowest-healing injuries I've had.

+ Mini's toe continues to look better and is MUCH closer to approaching hammie-size. I am overjoyed. She is over-joyed when I share my kale with her after she takes her medicine. I'm pretty sure that's *bonding*.

+ Which reminds me, L. awesomely shared this video with me, which has me convinced we *must* make tiny cakes for the hammies on their birthday.

+ I made this dish for supper tonight using some of the basil I'm growing. Honestly, the boys were not all that enthusiastic about it, but being a basil-and-pesto lover, I ate 2 big plates and saved all the leftovers. I thought it was nom(!), I just worry about whether the avocado in the dressing will brown in the fridge before lunch tomorrow (avocados, I love you, but you do not last long in your glory).

+ I am trying to post less on Facebook and more on DW/LJ. You may have noticed. Facebook is useful for keeping up with a certain subset of friends, but I really like it here better. I'm sorry. No, wait, I'm not.

+ Which reminds me, tonight Oldest said to me, "Do you know what I'm tired of? HASHTAGS! They are everywhere!" I kinda-sorta agree with him. In other Oldest news, he is applying for a job and today learned that he is definitely enrolled in college courses at the community college this fall. The school asked a select group of students if they would participate in a program in which the college is partnering with the high school and offering select courses to be taught at the school (and some on the community college campus). At the time it wasn't clear that there would be enough interest for the program to pan out, but apparently, there was. So, huzzah! He can earn college credits starting in his junior year. The only downside is that the first classes are English/Writing classes, which is his weak spot (he is much more a math/science/engineering kid). But hey, maybe it'll be good for him. Also, OMG WHY IS HE GROWING UP ALL IN ONE WEEK?!?!

+ I became a lemming and bought a copy of Choosing Raw, which has been reviewed everywhere I turn. (Uhm, yeah, I read a lot of vegan blogs - the food is good, okay?) I am not a raw foodist by any means, although my breakfast (smoothie) and lunch (big salad + fruit) tend to be raw, and I have been ALL ABOUT collard wraps lately, so I was intrigued and oohhed and ahhed by the recipes and photographs. I also found Gena's approach, which is very moderate and not a YOU-MUST-EAT-COLD-RAW-THINGS-ALL-DAY-LONG approach, to be likeable. She did not expect me to run out and buy a dehydrator or spiralizer (although I am eyeing the spiralizer, oh yes I am).

+ Work is okay. People have been very supportive. Today I got out a big deliverable. I'm gonna make it, yes I am.
ofearthandstars: A couple dancing beneath a tree under the stars, a meteorite in the background. (couple stars)
Every once in a great while, we'll have a magical day where the boys are off with their bio-dad and we can pretend that we're young and adventurous and dating again. Today was one such day. We didn't have a lot of advanced notice, and we had a limited time frame to work within, but we were able to plan a lunch up in Raleigh and then some time out at Lake Johnson.

We first had lunch at The Remedy Diner, which is a cute little place off of Hargett Street, with a menu that caters to omnis, vegetarians, and vegans. We had planned to go to The Fiction Kitchen, but they were apparently closed for holiday. Thankfully, the Remedy came to the rescue (they serve Brunch until 3:00 pm on Sunday). We had fried broccoli with vegan ranch dressing, and I had a vegan BLT with avocado. L. also ordered vegan with the "Hot and Gooey", which was "fried fake 'chicken' and veggie bacon smothered in Daiya cheddar cheese and homemade gravy served on a biscuit". All of it was very tasty, though very "greasy-spoon" diner fare. It's near NCSU so the atmosphere was definitely college hipster, but even though we stood out like sore thumbs, we would definitely go again.

We then hit the lake to walk off all the food. The lake has about a 3.0 mile round paved trailed on the east side, which we took, and an unpaved trail on the west side. It was pretty warm out, but the majority of the trails are shaded, and in certain places you can poke your toes in the water to cool them off a bit. Lots of people were out dog-walking and letting their dogs splash around in the lake, which was fun to watch. The entire area is very peaceful and pretty.
+4 )
It was a lovely trip, just very hot and humid. The trails are described as "easy to moderate" and I would agree with that; we found some portions pretty hilly (which I found a little challenging to navigate with my knee) and we were glad to have taken along our water bottles. Afterward we came home and showered and became people again, and then took a nap in the air conditioning - which pretty much made the end of the day perfect. All in all, I'd recommended going to either of these two places if you're in the Raleigh area and want good eats or good relaxation.

ofearthandstars: (Love is a verb)
My husband, L., is a high school science teacher. Before we married, he was used to working with older kids, but he's been a really brave person to come into our lives and parent three boys. Sometimes he has a hard time dealing with all of their energy (as do I). Sometimes we both grumble about how nice it would be to ship them to Africa for a little bit so we could sleep in.

But my favorite moments are when he starts discussing science with the boys. Even Littlest and Middl'un will sit raptly and listen, and he will patiently answer their questions. Tonight we meandered outside to see the "Supermoon", and now, even though it's past bedtime, they've been discussing plate tectonics and the interior of planets, the composition of atoms and nuclear fusion.

And it's just a beautiful thing, to watch them eager to learn and to watch him eager to teach. It makes my heart swell up, because I like to think these are good memories that they will carry into adulthood.

ofearthandstars: A picture of a lotus and lilypads. (Default)
[personal profile] calissa and [profile] kaberrett were posting 10 good things, and so I thought I'd be a sheeple and scrape up some positivity, too. Because I'm aware I've been a bit down lately.

  1. Good Food: L. has been learning to make sushi, and last night he made me vegan sushi and miso soup for dinner. Well, he made it for everyone, actually, but I always adore when he makes a vegan meal with me in mind. Which reminds me, you should read this article on veganism and eating disorders.

  2. Cycling: I am still waiting to run (the grinding in my knee seems to be slowly getting better), and my bike is keeping me sane. I ride along the Greenway nature trail, and I usually run into a doe or a bunny or at least several super-friendly squirrels. But moreso, it's the feeling of the wind in my hair and the mist of puddles from recent rains and the overwhelming greenery that brings me back to life.

  3. Support at work: Despite a really big disappointment/loss this week, my managers have been super-supportive. One came by yesterday to make sure I was holding up okay and reminded me that I'm good at what I do. I needed that.

  4. Work-free weekends: Two in a row. Somebody knock on wood!

  5. Family: I had a good long conversation with my sister the other day. She's been making lots of big life-changing decisions (change of job, moving) and has been too busy to really chat. It was good to reconnect with her. We are vastly different people, but she's always my sister and I love her and I've missed her terribly.

  6. Besties: Similarly, I got the chance last weekend to hang out with two of my oldest friends, where we had dinner and went blackberry/blueberry picking with the kids. Taking my children along while visiting them did not result in a nuclear meltdown. I need to see them more often.

  7. This Buddha Doodle. I'm thinking of ordering a copy because I love it so much.

  8. My hamster babies. I may be the Crazy Hamster Lady, but my girls are so sweet and docile, they will snuggle up in your arm to go to sleep. Unless it's nighttime, when they want to crawl and explore All the Things.

  9. I spent time revising my Dreamwidth layout and I like where it is at.

  10. Defiance is back on. Because, Stahma.
ofearthandstars: (Avocado)
Tonight I started out with thoughts of using a book recipe but then wildly diverged, and it came out very well and got good reviews by everyone, so I thought I'd put down what I did here so I can re-do it (L. requested that we have it again).


-splash of veg broth for sautèing
-about 3/4-1 cup diced onion
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 cups long grain brown rice
-4 to 5 tsps vindaloo curry seasoning
-2 13.5 ounce cans coconut milk (I used one full-fat and one light b/c that was what I had on hand)
-1 cup veg broth
-Salt to taste (about a 1/2 tsp)
-1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
-1 fresh mango, diced
-about 1/4-1/2 cup sweet mango chutney (I used storebought, although homemade would be good, too)
-pepper and ground cardamom to taste

1. Saute the onion and garlic in a splash of veg broth in a large pot until onion is translucent. Add the rice and curry seasoning and stir for a moment or two to mix.

2. Add the coconut milk and 1 cup veg broth, stirring well. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat, then turn to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the salt prior to turning down the heat.

3. After rice has cooked/thickened, add peas, fresh mango, and mango chutney. Allow the mixture to continue to cook without the lid, if necessary, to further reduce the sauce. Add pepper and cardamom to taste (I was generous with the cardamom).
ofearthandstars: A bunny facing away towards paisley wallpaper. (bunny butt!)
...it is difficult to make out what people are saying, especially on the phone. And I have to ask them to repeat themselves. Sometimes I have to ask people across from me, at the same table, to repeat themselves. Sometimes twice or more. It's even worse when there's a conversation or background noise going on nearby. Sometimes those people seem to get frustrated.

I don't really want take on their frustration as my burden to bear. I understand that it can be annoying to have to repeat yourself, but it also comes across as really hurtful when people get snippy. I understand that I could probably go out and spend $7,000 on a hearing aid, but I'm not exactly inclined to spend that amount right now.

It's not that I'm not listening, it's just that I can't make out what you're saying. Sometimes your voice sounds like it's wrapped in warm cotton or that you're trying to speak through a tiny megaphone. When other conversations are going on in the background, all the words just blend together and my brain fuzzles on the translation of this new Martian-speak.

Believe me, I want to hear you. I'm not trying to be disrespectful. I'm not daft. Just a little deaf.

The Word

Jan. 1st, 2014 12:05 pm
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (stars in the forest)
To recap - back in 2008, I began the tradition of "The Word". It's easier than attempting to define a rambling list of resolutions, and it gives me something to hold on to throughout the year and a simple way to focus on developing personal qualities that I value. Seven years later, I still find it valuable.

In 2008, I was still healing from my divorce, and the word I chose was "clarity", hoping to find a new path in my life.

In 2009, I found myself feeling more whole, but less focused than I wanted to be. I settled on "deliberate" to guide my thinking and actions.

In 2010, I was feeling more loved than at any other point in my life (because Lucas was so good to me!), and I wanted to share that. So I went with "generous".

In 2011, I was learning to deal with my anxiety, as I was preparing for our wedding and struggling with my son's diagnosis. I chose the word "yielding" to remind me that I don't need to obsess over having constant control of my life.

In 2012, I settled on "strength" to remind myself to hold fast even when everything was falling apart around me - it seemed to a lot, that year. I still don't know if I have that one conquered, but then again... I am blessed by having a partner who gives me strength, and a supporting and loving family that buoys me when times are tough.

In 2013, I wanted to recognize that I am blessed in a multitude of ways, even when I don't feel it. I chose the phrase "desperately seeking joy", and tried to hang onto it during the most difficult parts of the year (and believe me, this year has been one of my most difficult). Having my depression come back to the degree that it did made this one seem unreachable. But, I'm still here, I'm still hanging on, still clawing around for joy in the corners where no one else has looked.

This fall, I have been moving towards a focus on the interconnectedness of our lives on this Earth, and reflecting on the suffering of life and the beauty of compassion and kindness. And I would like to live in a way that recognizes these connections between us. I want to connect deeply with others, to reflect more on my interactions with the world, and to live in a way that creates peace and diminishes violence. I've been thinking a bit on the practice of metta, or loving-kindness meditation. I think the words of the Metta Sutta capture the feeling:

So with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings,
Radiating kindness over the entire world,
Spreading upwards to the skies, and downwards to the depths,
Outwards and unbounded, freed from hatred and ill-will.

I like to think of it as radical compassion and love, in which you work not only to extend compassion and kindness and love towards yourself, but to those closest to you, to those not so close to you, to those that you wish weren't so close to you, and to those who you do not personally know, but with which this universe has you inexplicably twined. I believe that peace comes through love - selfless love - and through practice of this selfless love towards others. I know that it is needed in my heart, and it is needed in my household, and it is needed in this world. And so I think for 2014, I will focus on cultivating and bringing loving-kindness to my life.
ofearthandstars: A flame-haired woman knees in the forest that speaks to her. (flame in the forest)
 "Liberating and honoring the feminine principle is perhaps the most pressing task in our culture’s evolution toward peace, sustainability, and spiritual maturity. The feminine principle, cross-culturally, is concerned fundamentally with nurturing, receptivity, making connections, intuition, and bringing forth new life. In our herding culture, these qualities are not respected because the work of herding animals requires men to become hard and cruel, and to emphasize their separateness from and superiority to animals, nature, and the life-giving processes of the feminine. This has led to a patriarchal mentality concerned fundamentally with domination, control, separation, rational analysis, commodification, war, and killing. Its basic dictum in human affairs follows from its fundamental herding orientation toward animals, which is that might makes right. And yet the feminine principle is still alive, longed for, and beloved, because we know at the deepest levels that this is a vital aspect of our essential nature."-Will Tuttle, Ph.D., World Peace Diet

"Never get tired of doing little things for others. For sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their heart." -Ida Azhuri

"Despite our technological prowess, our individual and cultural intelligence is so severely hampered that we create massive systems of violence and abuse that damage the earth and cause enormous suffering to both humans and animals, and simply ignore the damage and suffering we impose. When any living system ignores feedback and refuses to make the connections for which its unique type of intelligence is suited, that living system is less alive, less aware, less free, less able to respond or adapt, and is, from its own survival perspective, in a dangerous situation. The larger wholes, which the system is harming through its loss of intelligence and sensitivity, will naturally, as part of their intelligence, restrict and remove it." -Will Tuttle, Ph.D., World Peace Diet
"This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."-Walt Whitman

"God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world." - Pope Francis

"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion." - Rumi

Between rewatching Baraka tonight and the above, I am having a hard time denying what I would call a longing of the soul.
ofearthandstars: A picture of a lotus and lilypads. (Default)
I am so happy, and so ready, for the return of the light.


Dec. 20th, 2013 09:27 pm
ofearthandstars: (Unstoppable)
I have finally finished my Coursera class (David Archer's "Global Warming: The Science of Climate Change" offered thru University of Chicago), and although I'm awaiting my final grade, I was really pleased to see that I got a perfect 10 on my term project. Yay.

I am mostly excited because I will now have some more time to do other things, like read, and play guitar, and get back to German (which I have been ignoring for a few weeks).

Of course then I found several other MOOCs I'm interested in - like this one, and this one, and this one. Ergh. They start in January; that seems way too soon.

And then I found MOOC list.


I think I shall take a break for a little bit. Make it through winter. Delve into some creative projects. Write a little. Paint a little. Indulge my quiet side.

Still, so glad I've stumbled across these free courses, they're fun and engaging and I feel like I'm not too old to learn. ;) Somedays I'm still so amazed at what the internet brings to my fingertips.
ofearthandstars: A picture of a lotus and lilypads. (Default)
I promise that as soon as I finish my term project for my MOOC climate change class, I will get back to posting more. That class has been sucking away my free time. My poor guitar feels neglected. :(

I have nothing exciting to post, other than after dealing with some really worn out furniture for many, many years (we picked it up off the curb when we first found it, and it was held together with safety pins and stitches and prayers), we found a furniture store going out of business (as they do) and bought some new living room furniture.

+3 )

Okay, sorry. Furniture, I know. It's the first time in my entire life, though, that I've bought honest-to-god new furniture that I picked out. Everything else has been curbs, Craigslist, and hand-me-downs until now. It's like...making it more our home, finally.
ofearthandstars: A picture of a lotus and lilypads. (Default)
Yesterday on a whim I decided to paint my fingernails. Now every time I look down at my hands, I jump back a little, not quite sure what dark vague thing is eating my fingertips. I haven't painted my nails since elementary school, when my mom bought me some awful-tasting nail polish that was intended to discourage me from biting my nails.

My nails are quite short - super short, on some fingers. This is because the nasty-tasting nail polish never worked, and I have a nasty habit of ripping at my fingernails any time I am stressed (which is all the time). My toenails are much harder to reach, so they are usually safe. ;)

I also have had this hang-up about the fact that I have "old hands". It sounds silly, but even since high school I've been self-conscious of the thin skin/lines on my hands and my funny-looking joints. Luckily, since I decided not to become a dish detergent model, I haven't had to face the fear of people staring at my hands very many times in my life.

But then when I put on this nail polish yesterday, I saw that my short, scrawny nails are actually kinda cute. And really, who's going to be examining my hands as closely as I do? I had this warm and fuzzy little thought at the time: that I love myself enough to put on polish if it makes me feel good, even if my hands are not particularly dainty or pretty.

This post, it is so silly, I know. Just bear with me. I feel like if I'm going to write about nail polish, I should be reminding myself that I don't owe anybody nail polish or make-up or pretty; or I should deconstruct the idea of nail polish as a greater symbol of patriarchal oppression. But I'm not - it's just me, and, uhm, thoughts on the fact that rosy sparkly pink nail polish made me feel good about myself in some larger way.

See.... because I tear at my nails when I'm stressed, there is usually a fingernail that is sore, or raw, and I get grumpy about it, because I know I shouldn't tear at my nails, but then there are days where I am just all "rawr, fuck it!" and tear them because there is no other way to make the trembling monster of fear/anxiety inside of me shut the hell up, and then I hurt, and then I hurt more, but in that different non-physical way, and then I just flail around with sore fingers.

Today, when I was looking at my rosy, sparkly nails, I realized that I would have to work this weekend (stress!), and the landlord's repairman hadn't come to fix my leaky sink (stress!), and the house has to be super-cleaned by next Friday because some guy is coming to measure all my windows to replace them (stress!). So I started to pick at my nails. But then there was rosy sparkly nail polish, like the kind one should wear if one is looking to walk through a dense forest and wander across a unicorn. So while pondering this, I realized, you don't need to hurt yourself to get through this.

And that -- that, you see, is part of a much bigger picture for me.

ofearthandstars: (chocolate cake)
My last five runs:

11/7: 4.00 miles, 46'25", avg pace 11'45"
11/4: 2.89 miles, 31"33", avg pace 11'06"
11/2: 3.65 miles, 41'56", avg. pace 11'32"
10/30: 3.30 miles, 39'50", avg. pace 12'14"
10/25: 4.09 miles, 47'33", avg. pace 12'00"
10/20: 2.92 miles, 31'23", avg. pace 10'54"

It somewhat feels like I am getting slower, although I do seem to be increasing my pace a bit on the longer runs...so maybe not. One thing I've noticed is that ever since I've started upping my distance, my left foot/knee/hip have been aggravating me. I've also had to switch to running in the evenings, at the end of my work day, which is inevitably when I feel more tired/run down, and when my legs/hips/foot tend to bother me more. Since it's only getting colder out, though, I'm not sure there's a way around that. I've been taking time between runs to rest so that when I head out, my hips aren't aggravated, but that sort of lingering pain seems to come and go for me now. Of course, my hips can also bother me after sleeping on the same side all night, so...*throws hands up* I've been doing lots of IT stretches lately to try to fend off the pain. Honestly, being more mobile seems to help.

I don't want to ruin my hip joints, but I also want to run more often, or run further...and maybe in the long run I can run further more often! I should probably work out a better training schedule. I am frustrated by it all. Although...given that it took me 9 weeks to get to 3 miles (mid-September), I should probably just pause and give thanks for the fact that I can make it to 4 miles.

And yesterday's run? It was just... the cold air, the setting sun, and running down an unpopulated two lane road with the trees around me and pounding my feet to the music -- at times I wanted to stop, yes, but then there was a point where I wanted to just float there forever. I'd love to be about to run for an hour, for five 5.0 miles, without joint pain.

I'd like to think I'll get there some day.
ofearthandstars: text: I love pretty things and clever words. (clever & pretty)
I am now an official fangirl for Coursera. I think I mentioned that I signed up for a free course on climate change science, mostly as a refresher for myself, but also because I want to play with climate models, which is where I'm supposed to be at the end of 8 weeks.

Oh, my, I had forgotten how much fun it is to be a part of a class, especially with other people interested in the same topic that want to learn and are actively engaged. I've already breezed through six of the eight lectures for this week and done 2 of the homework assignments. (It's all stupidly simple stuff at the start, like factor-label method and converting units of energy, heat, and light and blackbody objects, etc., which I suppose is needed for such a course.)

But there are online study groups! And discussion forums! And quizzes! And projects! And people who think! People who love climate science. And a college professor with crazy hair/beard! *cries with joy*

I am obviously very excited. *rubs hands gleefully* If all goes well, I've noticed there's another climate change course in the works, I could have fun with that one, too. :D

(Ommpf, Duolingo is pinging me to practice German. Somehow I have gotten myself very busy, but at least it is busy learning things that I enjoy!)

"The Knowledge That...

...the atoms that comprise life on earth - the atoms that make up the human body, are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars- the high mass ones among them- went unstable in their later years- they collapsed and then exploded- scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy- guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems- stars with orbiting planets. And those planets now have the ingredients for life itself. So that when I look up at the night sky, and I know that yes we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us.”

― Neil deGrasse Tyson


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