Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Aw, man!

I wish I had caught wind of this one earlier. Amy Sedaris' Halloween Party tips. I like her ideas, and her cupcakes look great! Maybe I can find a reason to serve them (wait, a reason to serve cupcakes? That's redonkulous!).

I'm not really into Halloween this year, but more so than last year. I've got some silly press on nails and a funky outfit to put on, maybe. Bf and I are fixing my tire (or rather, putting the fixed tired back on my car) after I ran over a nail 10 days ago. Maybe I should do it wearing my Halloween costume?

Right now I gotta get. Another showing of the house for someone who won't like it. Just like Mom always said "If they don't like you for who you are, you don't want them for a friend anyway." My poor house.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Drinking chocolate

If you are into imprecise measurements and chocolate, try this:

1/4-1/2 C Half and Half
1/4-1/3 C Semi-Sweet (or dark) chocolate chips

Put these in a microwave safe measuring cup or mug, heat at 50% for two minutes, stir, heat again at 50% for another minute, stir again. It was tough for me to get the chocolate to completely incorporate last night, but if you mix with a whisk it might work better. I used a spoon.

When it's as melty and incorporated as you can get it, drink!

Liquid chocolate!

Note: I tried this with my favourite semi-cheap brand of chocolate chips and it was a bit harsh going down, but last night I used some belgian dark chocolate chips and it was only wonderful. So good chocolate chips (or shaved/grated/chopped from a bar) are important here.

I needed something indulgent last night, and this hit the spot. I'm going to work on adding flavours (cinnamon and chili, vanilla, kaluha) as the winter comes.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy Joy

Just wanted to post something cheerful.
Some new pictures to post sometime soon, including some of the Double Bass Workshop, which boys and I are visiting in just a bit!

Monday, October 23, 2006

I really hate that

I've been posting comments on blogs recently, and having those comments either ignored by the blogger or removed by them*. WTF? It's been women bloggers doing this, and mostly women of colour. Did I offend most of the brown women in the world? Did my Brown Card expire? I'm not sure what I did. To be fair, one of the bloggers is even more self-centered than I**, I get that she didn't want to hear my story of commiseration, she wanted to be the only victim.

Fortunately the world is full of cool women and otherwise sexed people of all sorts of hues. Hats off to y'all.

* If I hadn't had seen my comment there one day gone the next, I'd think it were an accident.

** Yes, it is possible.

Several hours later. Sigh. I almost want to delete this post. I had very hurt feelings when I wrote it. Curious, because the person who "hurt" them isn't someone I am close to in any way. While I wanted to like her, I never got there and this made it clear I won't, so I'll let go of that desire.

Also, I don't always reply to comments, so perhaps I'm taking it too personally (no, never!).

It's been a long time since I rocked and rolled

At least, it feels as though it has.

The quiet, thoughtful week was needed. I'm exhausted from just *thinking* about what I want my life to look like. That, and being anemic.

Right now I feel... still quiet. Not very amusing in the least. I have been doing things which need to get done today - I had a flat caused by a nail so I got the tire fixed and bf is helping me put the thing back on later. Tomorrow it's getting my car heater fixed, and spending my last precious moments of alone time until Saturday Evening. The boys have off of school W-TH-F this week so I will be reveling (or something) in their company all week.

I think we will make some Halloween decorations/food, and perhaps work on my costume, as they have theirs all figured out. Who knows? It's a wild, wonderful mystery.

Brrrr. I think I will go put some water on for tea and start looking around for a good recipe. Rummaging in the cupboard last night I found 5 packets of bread yeast all of which expire in December. Time to get baking! I think I'll make rolls tonight...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Two weeks

I have a two week mood cycle, it seems. One thing I know for certain, I have insomnia every other Thursday morning; either I can't get to sleep Wednesday night or I wake up far too early Thursday morn. This morning it was the latter. I think I got up around 2:30. At least I went to bed at a decent hour last night (pretty much right after LOST at 9pm).

I feel fine, but anticipate a bit of a late night. Two weeks ago it was Writer's Group, as it is again tonight. Am I waking up early in anticipation of our meetings? Man, that would take my childhood anxiety and show it who's boss. I used to take swimming lessons when I was a kid (maybe 7? I'm really not sure, it could have been 8) and I HATED going. I was terrified of the water. I didn't mind the shallow end, actually, but we never stayed there.

Anyway, I was so incredibly anxious, I would vomit before nearly every class. Some days it would be in the changing room, once it was in the water fountain right next to the pool. Then as the weeks went on I started throwing up on the way from the bus stop to the YWCA building on the square. There were these big planters with trees in them (evergreens, I think), and I remember throwing up in one of those. I stopped eating breakfast in the morning. No help there. So after a couple weeks of that, I also stopped eating dinner the night before, so I wouldn't have anything in my stomach. That may have worked okay, or it might have been the fact that no one was going to get me in that deep end. I had "panicky drowning" written all over me.

So I still don't know how to swim.

Jeez, today has been long enough! Oh yeah, I got up at 2:30 am. I've already been up for 13 hours!!! No wonder. I've baked muffins (pumpkin chocolate chip at 8:15 am and Chocolate Donut muffins [an experiment, needed more sugar in the batter] just now.

House is quite clean (except for my latest muffin mess) and I have lots of muffins.
And a 4 o'clock appointment, for which I am not prepared.

No quick fix

From Free Will Astrology:

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): When East Timor gained its independence from

Indonesia after a long, bloody struggle, the United Nations temporarily
took control of the new nation, inundating it with aid and support. But the
international agency's work was short-lived, lasting just three years, and
ultimately became known as Quickfixville. The errors resulting from its
hurried efforts have been hard to undo. Don't make a similar gaffe in the
coming weeks, Gemini. It's not enough merely to have good intentions. Be
deliberate and thorough as you undertake your corrective actions.

Doing things well is difficult sometimes. I want the uncertainty to end, or I don't really care about the final outcome of a project, or whatever. Or I think that no matter what I do, it won't turn out right.

But there are times when the only option is doing the right thing. What if you don't know what the right thing is? Time, if you've got it, is your friend in these situations. Take your time and do it right. So... That's what I'm going to do.

Creative non-writing

I woke up just now because I was too hot - the weather has been overcast and rainy, and although not all that cold in temperature, I've had a chill in my bones each evening which drives me to bundle up as I go to sleep. Nearly every morning, however, the accumulated body heat under the blankets has me burning up. Oh for a happy medium.

Now awake, I padded downstairs to take care of some business. While downstairs I decide to pick up a bit (as I have a showing today, yay). And I notice our cat Maddie crouched down by her food dish. While I'm working on picking up and putting dishes away and the like, a very nebulous idea for a ghost story comes to mind. Maddie has always been funny about eating; she likes to have someone in the kitchen with her whe she eats. And she is a bit thin as well. So I'm thinking of a kitchen ghost haunting only the cat. Very nebulous at this point.

Knowing I haven't (or assuming so), I won't ask here "Did I ever tell you about how my ex husband found one of my blogs?", but he did. It had an effect on how I felt about writing things that were close to my heart. Oddly, I knew he had but he never said, and I got third party confirmation months later. I understand that when I write stuff and publish it like this, it's out there, but it's awkward just the same.

So...less writing for me these days, both because of a desire for more privacy and an inability to express what's on my mind.

At the very least, I should write that if I were capable of doing cartwheels, I would have been springing up and doing them spontaneously all this week. I would like to tell someone of this happy feeling, but I imagine it would only be a few unintelligible words and much wild gesticulating, and then those cartwheels.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What has Lavalady been up to? The food post

This past week I made some very tasty victuals.

A delicious chili con carne with beer (Tyranena's Porter) and chocolate on Tuesday.

Chili, Ted style (no sour cream!)

An amazing beef stew (also with beer, it contained a can of Guinness Stout) on Friday.

Beef Stew!
The stew was accompanied by an apple pie-thingy. My ten-year-old called it an apple calzone.

Yesterday there was a fantastic lamb casserole dish, which was recreated from a delicious meal I had in Armenia many many years ago.
Armenian style lamb dish
If only I had some Lavash!!! Bf is on alert to find me some the next time he goes to Chicago.

Oot and Aboot

Boys IMG_7175 and I ventured out with my friend TedIMG_7174 to see what they had in store at the Eplegaarden.
It was cold and I was underdressed, so I remember being very crabby.

The boys took a horse-drawn carriage ride around the orchards and pumpkin patch, while Ted and I shot the breeze and I took pictures of all of the marvelously dilapidated farm stuff there
was around. IMG_7181

Ted treated me to a bag of golden russet apples IMG_7225(they are a hard eating apple with a difficult to describe almost orange blossom flavour and a rough skin like a russet potato) and a chunk of his honeycrisps. Yum!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Test

A Quick and Easy Test to Determine Where You Stand on the Iraq War:
Let's say we line up, oh, hell, a couple hundred thousand American soldiers, fine men and women in combat uniform, officers, non-coms, grunts, and we put them on TV. Then George W. Bush walks in with a loaded glock. Now let's say that the President puts the gun to the temple of the first soldier and says, "If I shoot this Army private dead, there's a chance America will be victorious and democracy will bring peace to Iraq. Do you want me to do it?" There's no guarantees, though - just the chance. What would you say?

Read the rest here.


This may be my favourite Cat and Girl EVER!

I am in the midst of some potentially life changing stuff. A vacation from context is in order. Back soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Who's high-maintenance?

Feeling a touch high-maintenance right now? That's fine, just as long as you don't expect your friends and family to read your mind. Tell people that you need a little more of their tender loving care and you'll get it.

This is from my yahoo astrology daily horoscope today. It made me laugh. I nearly always feel high maintenance, but I don't usually act it. Last week was a highly emotional one. I spent a lot of time with people (and enjoyed it), but this week desperately need to pull back and spend time with myself. Might sound silly, but it's true.

Today I'm going to volunteer at the Fair Wisconsin office. Fair Wisconsin is working to provide outreach, education and support for a NO vote on the rediculous Marriage Ban amendment on the ballot in Wisconsin this November. Since time is money, I'm taking my time and giving some to the cause.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

You'll never guess my secret identity...

At least, I hope not.

I've been watching "The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive", and it's amazing.

Actor Stephen Fry made this (BBC) documentary about his and others experience with bi polar disorder. My bf got me a copy and it's almost TOO much to watch. I have been pausing it again and again, so I can absorb what came before. There are a variety of experiences described in the film, but in particular, Stephen Fry's description of his particular brand of depression has been a bit like hearing myself talk.

I was diagnosed bi polar II (a less mania oriented version) late last year, and as much as I am ambivalent about that diagnosis, it fits me to a tee. It explains why I have been able to experience crippling depression right before or after being on top of the world. It explains why I get amazing flashes of inspiration that seem to grip me from head to toe and will not let go. It explains why these things hit me one after another in a seemingly endless and self-perpetuating cycle, time and time again.

When I worry that I will never be normal, I remember that I never have been normal, and that I quite like it that way, thank you very much. But having a brain disease (as a true depressive or mood disorder is) is not cool. I mean that in the literal and figurative senses. While I was nearly always glad to share my depressive history with people, I have been far more reticent to share my newest diagnosis. I don't feel very good about it (although I am trying valiantly to not feel shame), and I've had some poor reactions when people have been told. Granted, all of the poor reactions were from people for whom I have little respect, but still. Doesn't make me feel very confident about sharing.

In the first hour Stephen Fry asks a man who was driven to throw himself in front of a truck during his most intense manic (to the point of psychosis) episode if he regrets being this way, if he'd change the fact. The man says no - he has "walked with angels", and that has made it all worth it.

Well, I haven't walked with angels, or indeed seen anything really amazing *but not there* in my time, but I think I wouldn't change this if I could. Okay, maybe if I could go back in time and grow up as an average (read: non-depressive) person, I'd do it. But right now it's difficult to imagine my life moving forward without the bursts of energy and the creative periods. I do wonder though, what my life would be like if those periods of creativity and motivation were not interspersed with periods of intense depression and the recovery time that follows. I also get angry. Angry that I wasn't diagnosed sooner, that I was left to twist in the wind for so long. Angry that I am "sick". Angry that I wasted so much time in the past year being sad and confused.

Alas, that doesn't get me anywhere. So pick myself up, dust myself off, and move on.

Stephen Fry introduces his documentary by saying he hadn't spoken out about his bi polar disorder for more than 10 years, but felt it was time to do so. I'm taking his words to heart - I won't wait 10 years to talk about it. A few weeks ago I found out that an acquaintance of mine is a mental health worker, and we struck up a conversation about outreach. I know at some point I will do some kind of community outreach, but I don't know what form it will take.

What is really nice about this documentary is that it is a personal journey, and a quest. Not a dry recitation of "this is the diagnosis, these are the symptoms, this is the medicine one takes", but rather a really interested look at what it means to be bi polar. One of the things that makes me so angry about our health care system is how it medicalizes mental health care. I'm beginning to believe that us bi polar folks end up thinking a bit differently than most people (not better nor worse, just differently), and while meds can help mitigate extreme highs and lows, they aren't going to 'fix' other problems. Having medications can be essential, but talk therapy (GOOD talk therapy) is what kept me alive this year when little mattered to me.

Torrent-y types will have little problem finding this on the intraweb. Highly recommended.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Okay, I won't complain

It was awful walking in to school today from the parking lot. I am dreading the walk when it is icy and cold and awful. But I won't complain.

We could be having weather as bad as this:

BUFFALO, New York (AP) -- A rare early October snowstorm that buried parts of the Great Lakes region under as much as 2 feet of snow was blamed Friday for at least three deaths in New York state, widespread blackouts and stranded travelers.

The wet, heavy snow downed tree limbs and toppled power lines, leaving 350,000 homes and businesses without electricity in western New York and closing schools, officials said.

Workers on snowmobiles delivered food and water to motorists stuck along the New York Thruway, which was shut down for more than 100 miles by the storm.

Two people died in traffic accidents blamed on the storm -- one in Niagara County and the other in Lancaster -- and another person died after being hit by a falling tree limb while shoveling snow in Amherst, the Erie County Health Department said.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sigh of relief

I never did find my high school transcripts the other day. I looked all over and got very very upset with myself for being so disorganized (a loser's game, because I am an extremely disorganized person when it comes to my own life).

Then yesterday I noticed one very obvious right in front of my nose place, but didn't investigate.

So just now I turned over that last stone and found my transcript.


The day just keeps getting better.

I went shopping for food at Willy St Coop and splurged on both a container of baba ganoush and one of hummus. Slathered two slices of Nature's Bakery Anadama bread with each, topped with Harmony Valley salad mix, and I am having a happy-making, garlicky, vegetarian sandwich. Lovely.

Earlier I had coffee with my friend G at Electric Earth cafe. I was going to bring my camera and take some pictures (vibrant colours, lots of interesting light), but I was procrastinating as usual. I need to take more pictures! What, besides saying that, will get me to do so?

Now it's finishing all the cleaning I started earlier (chiefly dust bunny banishment and laundry) and getting a handle on the homework I haven't yet done. Tomorrow is school, dealing with admissions, and then HOMEWORK all day. Lots of reading in store.

Tonight it's school open house (with a dinner hosted by the PTO), and The Science of Sleep with bf. Yay!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Maybe you know her

If you are 18 (or 21 where applicable), and are interested in hearing a story:
Click on the "Tales from the Kink" link on the left.
Choose show #1 = "Unstayed".

Then come back and tell me what you think of the reader.

It's National Coming Out Day!

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Freaking out!!!

School never received my high school transcripts! Luckily I got a copy, so if I can FIND it, I will be able to turn it in tomorrow. If NOT, I will have to get a new copy...

I'm trying not to panic. I know I'll find it. Eventually.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I'd mentioned feeling the need to plan recently, and things are looking good on that front. I have regular writing group meetings, and bf and I had a talk last night about what we could plan together, so we've got movies and other fun stuff that we are going to do on a more regular basis. We also talked about making more plans with my kids to do things that we'd all enjoy. I'm glad they like stuff like museums and art and naturey stuff.

This week I'm busy doing non-glamourous family and school things, but it's nice to have a week full of fairly pleasant stuff to tackle. Plus I've got good bf time and a coffee date and maybe the Eplegaarden with my friend T.

One thing I really want to do is go down to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
The following are the free days for the rest of the year:
  • October 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31
  • November 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 and 23
  • December 24
Christmas Eve at the museum, awesome!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Too much all at once

Honestly beginning to wonder if I need to learn how to be organized. For some reason getting school stuff and life stuff and kid stuff and fun stuff done in an orderly fashion seems darn near impossible. It's not the time as much as being able to take one step at a time. Like this rock pool, there are so many options to choose from. I never know where to start.

Bf gave me senible advice this week: "Just focus on one thing at a time. When you've finished one hoolie, move on to the next. Then everything will fall like dominoes."

Now I gotta figure out exactly what hoolies I have to take care of today, and get them finished. One by one.

Friday, October 06, 2006

On "the great American melting pot"

A great post from Harlow's Monkey on the idea of the melting pot as drawn by School House Rock, and how it was remembered differently from how it looks to her today. The segment was one of my favourite when I was a kid (she and I are just about the same age), and I had the same reaction as an adult upon being reintroduced to the song.

Here's an excerpt from the post (go read the entire thing):

In 1976, the Schoolhouse Rock creators began working on a series to celebrate and highlight the bicentennial which they titled “America Rock.” My favorite of the America Rock series was “The Great American Melting Pot” with the image of all these little kids jumping into a swimming pool “pot” shaped like the United States. Of course, as an internationally adopted kid, “The Great American Melting Pot” was a comforting notion. Heck, the United States is a country MADE of immigrants like myself! Right?

Uh, wrong. Looking back at TGAMP with fresh and adult eyes, here is what I noticed: American was founded by the English, German, French and Dutch. And the “immigrants” who came “in search of honest pay” were Russian and Italian.

Hm. Nary a Korean, Nigerian, Iranian, Japanese, Indian, Kenyan or Samoan.

According to the 1970s version of the United States, this country was only made up of European and Eastern Europeans.

Nothing about the people who were already on the land. Nothing about the slaves and indentured servants kidnapped and stolen and forced to “immigrate.”

In short, nothing but a happy, pastel rainbow version of how great all the “immigrants” have “melted” into a giant pot.

Really great post, thought provoking and something I needed to read today.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Beware the Orgasm Killers!

Apparently, seritonin is spiked by certain foods/substances, which can lead to difficulty with orgasm - I know the Selective Seritonin Reuptake Inhibitors (Prozac, Zoloft, et al), cause problems with orgasm, among other uro-gential side effects, so why not food? How come it's got to be the things I like (coffee and sweets)?

  • Caffeine -- this one is probably no surprise, since we drink coffee and other caffeinated drinks for the buzz
  • Gingko and Ginseng -- while they are touted as aphrodisiacs, they do spike serotonin, which is a problem, especially for women
  • Smoking -- nicotine may give you an initial burst of dopamine, but it wears off quickly, leaving you with a spike in serotonin that negatively impacts both your libido and your genital circulation
  • Starch and Sugar -- studies have shown that when you eat starchy carbs and sugars, you raise your serotonin levels.So when eating these foods, pair them with foods containing protein, fiber, and/or healthy fats, which will off set the effect of the starch and sugar.


I always want to dye my hair some bright, vibrant colour.

And then I do, and I'm not sure if I actually like it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happiness is...

Take away from the Indian joint!

I've been sick since the weekend, just feeling punk, and crabby too.
Last night bf came over with some very tasty victuals from Maharajah restaurant.
Garlic Nan, fish pakora (which was perfect), Beef Shahikorma (xtra spicy), and Chicken Curry (mild). I wasn't feeling very hungry, but believe you me, when I smelled and tasted the food, my appetite perked right up. Something about really good, spicy food was very appetite inducing.

After we ate we lay in my bed and watched Frontline. It was all about the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and it was very very interesting. Many interviews with Pakistani reporters, military members, and even the president, Pervez Musharraf (please to click on that one, he's got his own cool website). It was really well done and thought provoking. I actualy fell asleep at the end, as the soporific effects of good dinner, warm bed, and boyfriend were too much to resist. Bf tucked me in and said goodnight, and I slept the sleep of the just. Until 4 am when I storm came through.

Today was school and house cleaning (had a very very successful showing today, I'm feeling good about the possibilities), then coffee with a new friend, then lots of errands with my oldest son (including a trip round the halloween store, my favourite!), then home to blog.

Tonight it's frozen pizza for dinner, homework, and then the season premiere of LOST!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

A bit sappy, perhaps

But I thought I'd share some of the pretty pictures I took last week at Olbrich Gardens. It was a very relaxing time. The grasses are so tall in places it makes for a very quiet and private visit.