ofearthandstars: (Avocado)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.

VeganMoFo

Sep. 2nd, 2014 09:45 pm
ofearthandstars: (Avocado)
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)
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)
+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 )

Update...

Jul. 30th, 2014 10:26 am
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
...on the squirrel situation.

It worked! It really worked! This morning the little squirrel came down into the living area, darted under the couch on seeing Littlest, then scrambled for the open door!

I can't believe it actually worked!

I am hopeful that this is the last of the squirrel visitor, as all the outside holes should be closed up. If we hear more scratching, we'll know that he or she already found their way back in, or we've a second one. :P
ofearthandstars: A bunny facing away towards paisley wallpaper. (bunny butt!)
It has been a long day of copyediting and I am so done with it. :P

Today I also tried, once again, to coax the squirrel out of our attic. I don't think I've shared the squirrel saga here, but if I have, apologies for repeating myself. Basically, we've had a squirrel in and out of our attic all summer. At first this wasn't a huge problem, but then the landlord started covering over all the eaves/trim with vinyl, which effectively removed the hole(s) that that squirrel was using and an entrance exit. So we started looking for ways to remove the squirrel humanely.

First we tried getting a hold of a humane trap - our local hardware store doesn't carry them, and the local animal shelter/animal control does not lend out traps for wildlife and does not come out for removal. Neither does the SPCA. They gave us the number to a private business, who upon questioning would charge us $185 to simply come out and tell us we have a squirrel in our attic (i.e., not to actually retrieve the squirrel). We decided that was a bit much, which left us feeling like we were on our own.

And then the squirrel left. Or at least, we did not see or hear the squirrel, who would previously at times cheekily poke his head out from his hole-perch and ppphfffft at us. We thought he was gone, which was a good thing, especially with the work being done on the house.

Of course, come Sunday, after the landlord covered the last of the eaves/trim and the last escape route for the squirrel, we heard it - a furious scratching and gnawing at the new vinyl over the old escape routes.

Shit. Damnit. Screwitall. We didn't want the poor thing trapped up there.

And so today, I did what any reasonable squirrel-loving idiot would do. I opened the attic door partially, laid out some goodies to entice our squirrel friend (nuts of course), closed off the doors to all the other rooms in the house, and opened the outer doors. My (vain) hope was that the squirrel would come down, have a treat, and see an exit. The reality was that the house got a bit warm, the squirrel came down and cheekily sat on the attic ladder (several times), glancing about, but then, upon seeing us (or maybe hearing the two loudest male children on the planet), skirted away.

This may be worse than if he'd completely ignored the attic exit, because now I have hope that he might actually come out via this route. Of course I highly doubt we will know what the hell to do if he does come down into the living area. Anyway, since I have concerns that this little one is now trapped in the attic, I'm going to check out some other hardware stores a bit further away tomorrow to see if I can find a humane trap. And maybe set out a bit of water/food for him just to make sure he doesn't die up there. Tomorrow L. will sit at home with the attic door open once again, and maybe have a fantastic tale to tell me.

I know, we haven't thought this through very well, have we?

"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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