ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
2017-09-05 10:33 am

[sticky entry] Sticky: About this Space

Hi, I'm Grey! I'm a 37 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, but I also identify as badass vegan intersectional feminist. 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 13, 15, and 18), 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: The letters W and T followed by a fork. (WTFork)
2015-12-04 12:12 pm

Maybe I'm not a disgusting housekeeper after all....

Did you know that if you have an electrical outlet overheat in your home, it can smell fishy and/or like a dead animal? This is because the plastic components in the wall socket are often made of a urea-formaldehyde composite, that smells like death when it breaks down.

FYI, the smell will come and go from one day to the next - it may last a few minutes or a few hours, and sometimes it will disappear for a week only to return full vengeance -- all while you freak out about your cleaning skills, tear apart your cupboards, and entertain fears about the poor animal that may have climbed in your wall and died. It will intensify when there's a heavier load on the same circuit. Check the outlet. If it's hot, it's likely your culprit. Also, get it changed out ASAP, it is a huge fire hazard.
ofearthandstars: (tofu love)
2015-11-07 04:13 pm

Kale yeah*.

Today I made a (vegan) "smoky" cheeseball. It is glorious.


*Despite the title, this cheeseball contains no kale. I wouldn't do that to anyone!
ofearthandstars: Paper cranes hanging from a blue ceiling (cranes)
2015-10-09 09:12 pm
Entry tags:

Sad day.

This morning it sort of felt like I'd jumped off the great big cliff of anxiety and into the canyons of depression. In hindsight, I am probably grieving.

A few days ago we noticed that one of our hamster babies, Mini, was feeling a bit heavier. By Wednesday night I noticed that she had a severely swollen belly. I took her to a Banfield vet in Wake Forest yesterday and they were able to establish that her heart and lungs were healthy, but they recommended us to a different vet b/c they did not have the tools to make a true diagnosis. So this morning I drove Mini up to Avian & Exotic Animal Care in Raleigh, where they were able to get an x-ray and see what was going on in her tiny abdomen. (She was sedated for this because her although her first favorite past time is sleeping, her second is running.)

The news was not good. Based on the films and a more thorough abdominal exam (easier when a hammie is asleep), we're pretty certain that Mini has a tumor/mass on her liver. It's probably been there for some time, but it's likely only recently began growing more rapidly and encroaching on her other organs.

At this point, there is not a lot that can be done for her that is curative. That said, we have some medications and supplements that we will be giving her to help her quality of life (she is currently, for the most part, still eating/drinking and coming out to engage with us/obtain treats, although she is much slower and has a harder time carrying herself around). Although the medications we have will help manage her pain/swelling, it is anticipated that the tumor will progress.

I know it may seem a bit crazy to be so enamored with such a tiny creature, but we don't have dogs or cats or other pets. Our hamsters are our furbabies. We spoil them and they in turn spoil us with their affection and adorableness. Mini has only been around for a couple of years, but she is a most precious part of my life. Holding a sweet hammie after a long day at work or having one snuggle up against you to fall asleep (as seen here) is pretty good therapy, and she never seems to mind it, either.

I cannot begin to tell you how sad I am.

ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
2015-08-31 10:19 pm
Entry tags:

There are always handholds.

"The thing I think we have to remember is that there is no finish line with depression, anxiety, or any other sort of mental illness. We’re on this path, and the path is constantly changing. Sometimes it’s flat and well-marked, and we can see all the way to the horizon....Other times, it’s so heavily shrouded in fog and mist, we can’t even see past our fingertips and we need someone to show us where the path is. And sometimes, we come to a wall that we don’t think we’ll ever get over. I’ve been staring at the base of that wall for weeks, and just now you helped me remember that there are always handholds to get up and over it."


-Tears in Rain, from wilwheaton.net
ofearthandstars: (Avocado)
2015-08-09 02:39 pm

Food!

So my partner, L., has really fantastically taken over the cooking since it's been difficult for me to stand around the kitchen with all my weight on one leg and trying to carry plates/etc. with crutches in hand. He decided to not only cook, but to pull together what he called a "Vegan Around the World" menu that we've been enjoying. He's done the shopping, the prep work, and even come to the table armed with a few facts about each country/region the dish represents.

Here's the stuff we had last week:

Tonight I think we're going with General Tso's Tofu since we just finished watching The Search for General Tso.

I decided to help do some of the searching for the coming week and this is what we have for the que (am updating w/ reviews as we work through!):


Sure, many of these (especially having been veganized) may be more of an Americanized version, but I also tried to find traditional dishes that were "accidentally" vegan.

Now I am very hungry. And excited about dinner.
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
2015-08-08 04:15 pm
Entry tags:

Signal-boosting

[personal profile] rainbow could use a little help with funds to help cover vet bills for kitty Jack. GoFundMe w/ rewards linked here.
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
2015-07-19 10:18 pm

On deck: Eats for the Week

Don't mind me, just meal planning for the week...
I think that is a good mix of good-for-your-body and good-for-your-soul. (Who am I kidding? The Pizza Buns are far from healthy but soooo good!)
ofearthandstars: A cup of tea. (tea)
2015-07-10 01:14 pm

Wishful tweaking.

Occasionally I wish there were a way to "favorite" DW posts to come back to them to read later. I realize there's both a) tabs in my browser window and b) the "memories" feature, but I occasionally wish I could do something similar to what I do with Twitter, which is to pin stuff I might not have time to read on the run and then come back to it later, where I can see all the pinned posts on a single page.

Tabs don't work well for that because I'd have 40,000 tabs open. Also, I read across multiple devices, and the tabs don't always sync up between devices based on the browswer. OneTab, which at least condenses everything to a single tab, doesn't really sync across browsers, either.

"Memories" is okay, except I like to keep "memories" more tailored towards, well, just that - stuff that you like so much that you want to keep it around forever and ever, and not just stuff that I want to set aside for a little bit.

I realize it's probably completely unworkable, but I can dream.
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
2015-06-27 11:02 pm
Entry tags:

Good things.

Bree Newsome is a total badass. I just watch this video and I cry and I laugh and I think this is the most beautiful piece of civil disobedience I've seen in a long time.



And also her statement:

ofearthandstars: A cartoon drawing of Fiona and Cake (Adventure Time) (fiona & cake)
2015-06-26 12:09 pm
Entry tags:

ALL THE HAPPY TEARS

*jumps up and down and cries and laughs and skips around the yard*

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

--Justice Anthony Kennedy, June 26, 2015
ofearthandstars: (Avocado)
2015-06-10 08:56 pm

A list of foods I want to make.

A little planning/jotting down - I bought a bunch of ingredients to make things, but I'm starting to forget what I wanted to make! Terrible, terrible planning this week.

-Peach Salad w/ Chipotle-Maple Dressing
-Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus
-Baba Ganoush with Roasted Veggies
-Thai Chickpea Almond Curry
-Chocolate Cherry Black Forest Smoothie and Pineapple, Mango, Banana, and Kale Smoothie
-Broccoli Fritters
-Pizza Potato Skins
-This is probably too much work and I'll never actually do it, but these ice cream snickers cakes

Also, I think I may have shared this in the past, but if not, don't be afraid to try these Chipotle Not-Chicken Salad Wraps. The salad comes together very quickly and is good by itself (though I love in the collard leaves, too.) Let me rephrase - it is fucking magical. I am a little addicted to it.

With all that in mind, it seems appropriate to share this awesome post from Shakesville: A Letter about Food and Judgement.
ofearthandstars: Me facing sunset at the ocean in Maui (sunset at Makena)
2015-05-29 10:39 pm

I don't own my reflection.

It feels like it's been several months (or maybe longer) since I've felt like, well, me. Despite the fact that I am actually a pretty positive/optimistic person and despite the fact that I'm mostly happy with my life (still want a house of my own, and maybe a change in job scenery, but not nearly motivated enough to do either of those things) - I often feel like I'm drowning under the anxiety and the negative voices. It's not so much that I feel depressed (although during particularly stressful times, or my favorite hormonal times, I sometimes do), but it's just that I don't always know who I am (or who I'm trying to be) anymore.

There are little things that add to it - the weight I seemed to have not-so-mysteriously put on, the terrible haircut that, even having grown out a bit, just does not feel like me, continuously losing the crap fight against my skin - I don't feel very attractive. And at other times, it's that I don't feel interesting - I've always suffered from the idea that I'm just not a creative, naturally talented and/or artistic person. I haven't picked up my guitar in ages. I worry that sometimes my ideas are just a mimicry of other opinions. Then there's the health crap - my stupid hip, which has been bothering me for almost two months and which I am sick of complaining about but which has pretty much taken one of my few releases from me; my inability to sleep through a night without interruption. Everything feels very mediocre, very not-good-enough.

I imagine that many people feel this way, and have to deal with a sort of clawing self-doubt that eats away at their happiness. I think what bothers me is that these feelings have been lingering a while. They often let up for a bit, as I find new things to amuse me and focus on those and the priorities. But I also worry that I've sort of accepted these self-criticisms and seem to be procrastinating on doing things that might make me feel better about myself. It's not that I don't practice self-care - I do, but it's mostly of the "have to have to get by" variety. I don't spoil myself in ways that count, but rather I make excuses of why a certain item/action will help lift my mood in a rather chaotic way. I keep thinking that there are things I could do to address my feeling unattractive; there are things I can do to exercise to gain some sanity (like cycling, if I can overcome the bike seat issues); there are things I can practice to try to challenge myself creatively.

But I'm just... exhausted. Not in a physical way. I have plenty of energy and am grateful for my health. It's more that ... I'm stuck in a sort of mental limbo of being where I don't know what comes next. So I'm just swimming. Just keep swimming swimming swimming. Which is okay, because sometimes when life is unpredictable or tumultuous, you need a good period of downtime and stability. But everything feels stale and kind of crummy, and I don't know what to do with that. I want to feel alive and passionate and interesting and sexy and fun and loveable and exciting. (And I know that I have people in my life that will tell me I am all of those things, which I am grateful for, but there's also the need to feel it on my own.) I don't know how to get myself to the point where I feel those things, where I have that confidence in myself again.

Maybe I need to set some goals, to find time to play, or just to sit and think about what it is I want to be doing with my time. I know I'm okay where I am, I just can't help but think that somewhere a better world is lurking.
ofearthandstars: (salud)
2015-03-29 09:28 pm

I Eat Grass.

I have a had a very boring diet the past few months.... I'm not sure why, other than I fell into the trap of making myself things that were comfortable/easy, so I was often eating the same breakfast (avocado on toast) and lunch (tofu wrap with veggies and tamari/lemon sauce) everyday. This is, I feel, not very good for me from a nutritional perspective, so in the last few days I've been trying to scope out new recipes and add a little diversity to my palate. Just to make sure I stay on top of this, I'm posting a few of the recipes that I've been making/eyeing. A lot of what I'm focusing on is pretty veggie intense, because my body is craving veggies and legumes.

Baba Ganoush with Roasted Veggies - I don't know why I didn't think of it, but it's so much better with lightly roasted veggies! Also, this is the first eggplant recipe I've made in a while that I haven't managed to completely f*ck up!

Rice Paper Rolls w/ Hoisin-Peanut Sauce - Made this for lunch today. Sooooo yummy, although my rice roll looked like crap. I was actually lucky enough to find rice paper locally, so I can make more!

Hot Layered Hummus - I haven't made it yet, but it I am intrigued. Also a little scared, because I do have a hard time envisioning a good hot hummus dish.

Bibimbap from The Lusty Vegan - Made this tonight. It is not so healthy (so much oil!), but it is oh-so-good. Just amazing, and a very nice first attempt at bibimbap for me.

Vegan Asian Tacos - These look amazing, although I don't use daikon radish very much (will have to find it), and I don't know where to begin to look for vegetarian mushroom-flavored oyster sauce.

Sauted Veggie & Bean Wrap with Spicy Tomato Mayo - This looks yum, but I would probably cheat and start with Just Mayo + the kicks, because if I don't have to dirty up the food chopper, I don't wanna.

Either this Southwestern BBQ Pizza or this BBQ Chickpea Pizza w/Ranch - I don't really want the fuss of making a GF pizza crust, but I think I'd prefer the chickpeas to the tempeh.

Okay, that is it. If you know of good, trusty (vegan, please) recipes that you are willing to share, I am open to seeing them!

ofearthandstars: (Unstoppable)
2015-03-24 10:12 pm

Dances in the Stars, Runs from the Dogs

Today I had a short hour to go for a run, in between the time L. came home from work and the time in which he needed to run back out again for gate-duty at a basketball game. I took off on my usual 5.0-mile route. My left knee felt a little stiff at first, but being a dumbasseager to get out, I decided instead of stopping and trying to work out the kinks, I'd just jog slowly (albeit a little stiffly and painfully) until it warmed up. It did warm up within the first half mile so that it wasn't painful.

On the first half of my route, a dog bounded across four lanes of traffic to chase me. It was not a particularly large or vicious dog, and I stopped as I heard it give chase, which made the dog stop, in the middle of the road, on the eastbound side of traffic (right next to me). This being a rather major highway, I started to panic a little, and so I tried to coax him to my side of the road, since he was closest to me. I thought, somewhat naively, that if I spoke to him in a calm/sweet voice he might listen and quit barking. He looked at me confused, but continued to bark. His owner, who lived in a house across the street, began yelling at him to come back, but he appeared to ignore her. I changed tactics and began using a rough voice to try to shoo him out of the road (traffic is still hurtling towards us), and this worked...except he bounded back across the median and into the lanes of oncoming traffic, onto the westbound side. I screamed at him to stop, of course he didn't - and thankfully, thankfully the traffic on that side was paying attention and slowed down/missed hitting him. Although neither of us was hurt, the whole thing shook me up a little. I ran the rest of that mile much faster.

On the way back, I passed by his home again, and made a point to cross to the median, at least, to avoid catching his eye. However, I know that if he'd ignored traffic the first time, he might do the same the next time. :/ Thankfully his owner appeared to have taken him inside. It's the first I've seen of him.

Another house I passed, which has the world's tiniest fence (it is, no shit, probably 2.5 feet high), now has two rather large, slightly intimidating dobermans who like to run to the fence and bark at me. I'm fine with them as long as they stay behind the fence, but I cannot get over how short that fence is.

Right before mile 4.0, another dog, that I'm aware of and sometimes anticipate, came bounding down his lane to chase me. This dog is much smaller, and although he has previously nipped at my ankles (never broken skin), he tends to turn tail and run if I gruffly shoo him off. So we did that whole routine, and somehow I didn't trip over him before he turned and rolled and scampered off, barking at me as I retreated.

I never quite know what to do with dogs when I'm running. I was raised with small dogs, and I love them...but I'm also really allergic to them so have elected not to keep one as an adult. There's also the point that when I was about 11 years old, I was riding a bike down a drive when I was attacked by two boxer bulldogs, one that took a good meaty hunk out of my arm, the other a small hunk out of my left leg, both of which required a hospital trip. (Thankfully the owner was outdoors to call them off.) So, I have a love and respect for dogs, but also a pretty reasonable fear of what they can do to me. My main concerns with the dogs are 1) they don't get hit by a car chasing me, as I'm alongside a very busy highway; and 2) they don't bite me, preferably. I imagine that the approaches needed depend on the dog, but is it best to try to sweet talk a barking dog (appear non-threatening), or try to shoo them on? Do I just run like hell and hope that they never catch up (doubtful, I'm kinda slow from a dog perspective)? I do my best to not step onto their property (but god knows the dogs think the property extends into the road!), or to provoke them by any means.

Because I was in a hurry to get back home before L. left again, I ran a little farther than I usually would (I usually stop and do a cool down/walk about a third of a mile before the house, but this time I just kept going since it was so close to his departure). Turns out I was able to catch him right as he was about to back out the driveway and grab a sweaty kiss. ;) So, all told I ended up running 5.44 miles (with the aforementioned interruptions). It was the warmest and sweatiest run I've had in a good six months, and I was dripping wet and tired and made for a cold shower the minute I got in the door.

Surprisingly, my left foot (which has been hideously painful after the past couple of runs) has not bothered me since, but I did notice a little swelling/creaky-grinding/pain in the left knee. *sigh* I should have been a good girl and stopped to stretch that out a little more at the start. Meanwhile, I've iced it and took an NSAID. Hopefully it'll be feeling better by Thursday.

Oh, and my pace was 10:58/mile. :) Not too bad, for that distance, for me, with two dog chases.
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
2014-12-31 11:39 am

My Obligatory New Year's Post

Hello, 2015.

This will be the 7th year I've adopted the concept of "The Word", which has worked to some level of success in years past. A list of my previous words and how they tied to my life is detailed in my 2014 post.

Last year, I chose the phrase loving-kindness, as applied to all creatures. Although I feel like I could have gone much farther in this respect (though I am hardly done practicing loving-kindness in my life), I do think that bits of my year reflected my desire to try to keep the peace in the home (not as easily done as said in a house of 3 boys), to raise awareness of suffering in both human and non-human populations, and to express love to those around me, both friend and stranger. I have tried, if nothing else, to take the time to tell people that I love and appreciate them.

For 2015, the word I've decided to focus on is nourish.
nourish [nur-ish, nuhr-]
  1. to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth.
  2. to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc.: He had long nourished the dream ...
  3. to strengthen, build up, or promote: ... to nourish the arts in one's community.

-(as abbreviated from dictionary.com)

For me, nourish might look like this:

  • Surround myself with friends and people I love; folks that encourage my growth and sustain me in tough time. Conversely, I wish to be more kind and giving to others with time, love, and gifts. I want to socialize more, to nourish my heart, and to provide joy and strength to others.
  • Exercise patience with my children (more of it than I usually do). Talk to them and spend more quality time with them. Surround them with love and keep the home a safe space for them.
  • Nourish my relationship with L. Be there to listen, and to cuddle, and to laugh with.
  • Read lots of amazing books, of all sorts of genres. As many as I can stuff in. I want to lose myself and grow my mind and stretch my brain. (And maybe write some thoughtful reviews and engage more in the Goodreads community with fellow booklovers.)
  • Pick up my guitar even if it's scary, and start all over again with learning, if I must. Music and rhythm and getting the fingering right isn't easy for me, but there's something to be said for the practice and the joy of trying - I think to learn, to get better, is a good gift to self.
  • Do not be afraid to make art. I've done it before, and I don't have to be "good". I just have to let my brain relax.
  • Make sure I have time to take care of myself. Try not to let work or other distractions rule my life. Spend some time each day unwinding, or creating, doing just what I like.
  • Keep my living environment cleaner and less cluttered, on perhaps a semi-regular schedule? Focus on keeping the things that provide me joy and strengthen my soul, but letting go of those that don't.
  • Eat simply and joyfully, with the thought of taking care of my body: more fruits and veggies, especially greens, and less sugary foods and sweet drinks (which I usually use as a means of comfort/dealing with stress/anxiety). At the same time, I want to eat lots of fabulous foods that bring me joy. (I want to remember to slow down and bake bread, too.)
  • Run consistently (even in the cold and damp!), to keep my body healthy. I have watched a large number of people I love this year begin dealing with heart disease, and there is always the ever-looming threat of diabetes. Plan a 10K this year (my timing pending), and start thinking about what comes next.
  • Direct my time and efforts towards causes that I find fulfilling. Let my money, buying choices, and volunteer opportunities support the charities/social justice issues I care about.

That isn't the full list of ways that I may use nourish, and there may be things on the list that I don't do perfectly or live up to. But then again, nourishing self and others doesn't require perfection. It only requires a little extra thought and focus on the idea of strengthening, cherishing, and sustaining the things that make life fuller and brighter - the friendships, activities, and ideas that sustain me (and my friends and family). So with nourish I will charge into the new year, in the hopes that it brings growth, and joy, and love.

ofearthandstars: (Avocado)
2014-09-02 09:45 pm
Entry tags:

VeganMoFo

Just a quick note that much of my blogging this month is taking place over at Peas and Compassion for the 2014 Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo). You're welcome to read along there, or if not, that's totally cool, too. :P

(There's an outlet for my vegan blabbering now... you should be thankful!)

ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
2014-08-11 10:46 am
Entry tags:

Worth sharing.

Bullying Disabled People Is Never Ok

This is beautifully written and so true. I hope that Takei (and others who find such memes funny) take it to heart.
ofearthandstars: Me facing sunset at the ocean in Maui (sunset at Makena)
2014-07-30 10:17 pm

Things make a post.

+Today I got an appointment with an orthopedist. I also ran 1.5 miles this evening (it felt so good to run, I could have cried), iced afterwards, and have very little pain. Which makes me feel like a smuck after going through the trouble of making the appointment. That said, I'm still having grinding issues, and I guess I'd rather see someone about it than put it off and find out that it's going to get worse. I also had more pain after my 1.25 mile run the other day. So I don't think it's the end of my knee issues, and there's also related foot pain, so, meh. Hopefully they won't laugh at me. My GP was like "I run a lot and have little aches and pains all the time!" which felt sort of dismissive, but this is a relatively new problem that's come about since my injury, which makes me worry it's not just the usual aches and pains.

+Tonight I came home and found this beauty on our carport.



+[livejournal.com profile] team_jessie linked me to this video, which made me smile. Even though some of the lyrics are still tinged with the usual heterocentric female-as-object-for-male-attention stuff of pop music, I still find them mostly empowering. (Can we not dismiss fat-shaming and unrealistic representations of bodies in the media without making it about the need to be accepted by a partner? Can't we just be all about the bass for ourselves?) Sorry, I guess that's petty griping. Still, the song is cute and catchy.

+An oldie but goodie: Sociological Images discusses the issues inherent in feminizing veganism.

+Brentin Mock has written some wonderful pieces for Grist challenging environmental justice and the lack of minority representation in environmental groups; this piece is no exception.

+[profile] kaberrett shared in [community profile] vaginapagina an article on the difficulties of dating while mentally ill. I happen to think that these sort of issues can linger long into a committed relationship; living one's darkest moments around anyone else leaves one vulnerable. There's always the question of how much of my mental state do I share, because I don't want it to be a burden to my partner.

+Rolling Stone has an awesome article on CeCe McDonald, a transgender woman who went to jail after acting in self-defense.

+Tonight I made an Ethiopian stew with tempeh, red lentils, tomatoes, and Berberé in the crockpot (recipe is from a cookbook and I can't find it online, sorry!) Perhaps more exciting is that I made injera for the first time. +2 )