20 July 2017 @ 02:23 pm
This is a refreshing, nutritious, non-alcoholic drink that's a favorite of my daughter and me. I have a pitcher in my refrigerator right now!

Barley Twilsley

2 1/4 -2 1/2 quarts water (you want 2 quarts left after cooking)
1 cup pearl barley
3 lemons
1/3 cup honey

Put the water and barley in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 min.

While the barley is cooking, peel the lemons, being careful not to cut into the white part (the pith). You just want the yellow outer part. Juice the peeled lemons. Put the peels, juice, and honey into a 2 quart pitcher.

When the barley is done cooking, carefully pour the water through a sieve or strainer into the pitcher. Save the barley for other uses! Stir, and chill overnight. Lemony, lightly sweet, and entirely delicious!

Other uses for the barley: use in yogurt in place of granola, make barley and mushrooms (I cut that one down a bit, use 1 onion, 8oz mushrooms, and 2 cups cooked barley), or beef-with-barley soup. It's a great, nutty substitute for rice.

Makes about 2 quarts

1/2 kids approve!

 
 
Current Location: Waiting for the AC Repair Guys to Be Done
Current Music: AC blowing hot air
Current Mood: refreshed
 
 
19 July 2017 @ 08:28 pm
Well, I got home yesterday but I was so tired after the drive that I just didn't get around to posting. Also didn't get around to getting this week's story ready for publication so there'll be another gap of a week. Next week though!

Work was insane once I got back. I thought I left good instructions but nope, not good enough. I need to do some cross training so the next time I go away (my birthday in September or October for a week-long seminar) I won't come back to a desk piled high with orders.

My own fault for not checking with my backup to make sure she knew what to do.

The trip itself was lovely. The drive down to Lincoln City, Or was nasty. Heavy traffic for a good 2/3 the way. But it was quiet and calm and relaxing once we got there. We visited Tillamook, saw the Air Museum there (super cool place, look it up--well worth visiting especially for history buffs), the Tillamook factory for lunch, ice cream and goodies (including far too much fudge), and then went back to Lincoln City. Second day we went on a hike to a really beautiful waterfall with a bouncy bridge, then drove down to Agate Beach which had no agates at all. Lots of sand and 25 mph winds but no agates. That was okay because we went back to Lincoln City and I found a slew of agates on the beach there.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with them. No clue yet. I'll figure it out eventually. Suggestions welcome as always from those who know how to handle agates.

Then we drove home yesterday and collapsed.

I got writing every day, not much but a little, keeping my streak alive. I just finished Chapter 3 of the new lesbian romance. Jaden's ex-date the Jerk Ravinder just got tased for being a jerk. I get to open the next chapter with Jaden whining because she messed everything up. Should be fun to write, provided I get the time to write much tomorrow.

Goals for tomorrow include exercises (because I've put on 3 pounds in the last month, damn it), writing (lots, please), too much work and not enough time, and making BBQ chicken with... something. Not sure what else yet.

Off to bath and bed for me--goodnight everyone!
 
 
Current Mood: tired
 
 
 
18 July 2017 @ 10:01 am
If Snow White's stepmother had offered me this, I'd be a goner. This makes a lovely, sweet-tart, rose colored martini. A personal favorite.

[hopefully a pic will go here]

Cranapple Martini

Makes two, because sharing is caring!

2oz vodka (I use Costco Kirkland brand American vodka)
2oz apple vodka (I use Skyy Honeycrisp Apple)
2oz Sour Apple Pucker
2oz cranberry juice cocktail

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and serve.
Can also be served on the rocks, but why?

I really need martini glasses, if only for the pics. :)
 
 
Current Location: the Mid-Latitudes
Current Music: big trucks on the freeway
Current Mood: content
 
 
18 July 2017 @ 07:51 am
Thing I do not understand about what people take away from Wonder Woman: "Zeus and Ares considering Diana to be Zeus's daughter"="Diana was not sculpted from clay by Hippolyta."  It's like, they assume that the whole "sculpting from clay" thing was just a lie to get away with "where the heck did you get sperm on an island with no men."

I mean, the Greek gods were "born" and came to life in all kinds of weird and wacky ways.  Athena, for example!  Athena was Zeus' daughter with Metis (and very similar to Diana of Themyscira, in a lot of ways).  How was Athena born?  She sprang fully formed from Zeus's head!  He was still her father and Metis her mother.  A bunch of Zeus's other children were at least sometimes considered to have been born through means other than sexual reproduction.  (Ares' mom may have gotten pregnant with him by eating the wrong lettuce leaf at the wrong time.  Ares was still considered a child of Zeus.)  The Greek gods just kind of went with the flow.  The people involved in your creation (whether through sex or not) were your parents.

What I'm trying to say is, everything we are told in the movie could easily be true all at the same time: Hippolyta wants a daughter so she sculpted one out of clay and prayed to Zeus.  Zeus wants a god-killer to take out Ares, and so he obliged her by flinging a lightning bolt her way or whatever, and bringing the baby to life.  The Amazons know this, but what is most important to them?  This is their Queen's daughter, their princess, the only child on the island, their Diana who was sculpted out of clay by her mother.  What is most important to Ares?  That Diana was brought to life by Zeus and is thus his daughter, and therefore Ares' sister, whether or not her birth fits into the standard "mommy and daddy have sex and nine months later a child is born" model that is the only way humans reproduce.  Ares and Diana are not humans.  They are Greek god and demigod.  Ares, in particular, scorns humans, so why would he care about human definitions of parenthood and sibilinghood?  Especially when he's trying to get Diana onside.  "Come join the family" is a lot more compelling than "come join the dude you've been taught to hate all your life for all the horrible things he's done."

As for Diana?  How does she consider herself?  What is most important to her?  That she is Hippolyta's daughter, sculpted from clay.  Yes, she was brought to life by Zeus.  Yes, that means that in the way the Greek gods thought, Zeus was her father.  She acknowledges this tie.  That means Ares is her brother.  But I bet you that when you ask her how she was born, five minutes heart-to-heart with Ares on a battlefield doesn't overturn the fact that she is an Amazon and thinks like one.  And therefore, unless you are specifically considering her role as god-killer, the fact that Hippolyta sculpted her from clay is far more important than Zeus's contribution.

Look at the battle between her and Ares.  She doesn't really ... react much when Ares starts calling her his sister.  She doesn't look, talk, or act like a person having a major identity crisis.  She's just like, "okay, you want to call me sister, sure, fine, whatever, guess that fits too, let's get on with this."  She doesn't react like "OMG, my mom LIED to me, everything I know about myself is a lie!"  It's more in line with "oh, right, yeah, from your POV Zeus's contribution is the most important, whatever."
 
 
link to original recipe at Food52

This is a blatant tweak of a recipe at Food52 -- see link. So, I wandered into this blind. I've only had Ethiopian cuisine once, and had thought the spiciness was a quirk of the restaurant rather than something endemic to the dishes themselves. I had no idea what berbere spice was, and had to order it online (Amazon has a jar for about US$3). But the recipe looked simple enough, and even if I didn't like it, it wasn't a huge investment.

Warning: this is hella fucking spicy, like weaponized spice. BUT! It makes the house smell amazing. It's also super delicious and satisfying, and the heat calms down somewhat the next day (the flavors develop more, too! Yum!), but right out of the pan it was right up to the edge of what I could handle. Please note that I live in a highly Latinx area, and routinely eat spicy traditional Mexican dishes and salsas.

Next time I'll probably toss in some carrots and potato chunks.

USE AN OVENPROOF PAN WITH A LID!

Zighini Beef Stew - this is a one-pan dish, but it will take some time: ~2 to 2.5 hours depending on how fast you are at prep

1 lb beef stew meat in 1" cubes (recipe calls for boneless short ribs, but they're expensive, and the regular stew meat was fine)
salt & pepper
olive oil or other neutral cooking oil
1 onion, about the size of a baseball, chopped
3 Tbsp berbere spice (half this if you don't like the super-spicy)
16oz canned tomato sauce

Preheat your oven to 350*. Coat the bottom of a heavy pot with oil and heat over med-high heat on the stovetop.

Season the beef with a little salt and pepper, and brown the beef in small batches in the oil. The browning gives a nice flavor to the stew. Move the browned beef to a bowl, but do not clean out the pan. Reduce the heat to medium.

Add a little more oil if you need to, and put the onion in the pan, scraping up all the tasty stuck bits in the bottom. Saute the onion until it's translucent, about 10 min. Take your time with this, really.

Add the berbere spice and stir. Cook about 1 min. Stir in the beef and it's juices, the tomato sauce, another pinch of salt, and 2 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, cover, and place the covered pot in the oven to keep cooking. Cook until the meat is tender and the stew is thick, about 1.5 hours.

NOTE: I needed to cook mine for closer to 2 hours, and it still wasn't what I'd call "thick." This is where personal taste comes in. Check it often, and listen to your gut.

Serves: recipe claims 4, but probably closer to 2 or 3
Sides: I served it with rice. (Bread, mild veggies, plain yogurt, cucumber -- these would also be good)
Drinks: Something cold and fruity! Peach tea or raspberry lemonade

1/1 kid approved, but begged for milk! (1 kid was out of town)

 
 
Current Mood: productive
Current Music: snoring cats (yes, they snore)
Current Location: basking in the smell of berbere
 
 
 
 
 
 
14 July 2017 @ 08:35 pm
Blah  
I got feedback on my first novel and it's derailed me nicely. I mean, he didn't say anything mean at all and made it very clear that it wasn't his cup of tea but apparently the opening was weak and he skimmed more than read.

*groan*

And I thought I had a good strong opening. I'm going to have to go back and work on that. You know, after I finish my third novel. The one I'm on is bugging me. It feels very flat and bland. Which, you know, derailed so I'm not surprised. So instead of working on that I started a completely different novel, intending on writing lesbians falling in love but it went sideways on me so yeah. Stopped that one after about 800 words.

At least I got the collection uploaded everywhere. That's one good thing.

I'm not going to let it stop me. I'm just going to sleep on it and then fix the problems.

Though...

Anyone want to read a first draft SF adventure with lesbians, flying oriental dragon-aliens, brain worms and saving the universe? I'd love a second (third, fourth) opinion on this thing.

Either way, tomorrow the hubby and I are going off on a trip together. Not far, driving distance, just away for a couple of days for his birthday.

So goals for tomorrow include getting up earlier than I'd like, driving a good chunk of the day, eating really good food and getting at least 500 words written on either the Save the World Quest or Lesbians in Love novels.

Off to pouting in the bath and bed for me--goodnight everyone!
 
 
Current Mood: disappointed
 
 
 
14 July 2017 @ 11:43 am
One of the things we fans love is our Woobbie Heroes, the guys (like Daniel Jackson or Bucky Barnes) who suffer so beautifully.  Hurt-comfort, we loves it, precious.  (And oh, I am dating myself with those terms.)

Anyway, there are a lot of fics about, say, Bucky recovering from torture, or where his psychological recovery is a large part of the story.  And one thing I've noticed is that the treatments for PTSD that people normally use are behind the times.  Like, they'll have talk therapy, and maybe a therapy animal or journaling--and these are good and helpful--but there's been a LOT of research into trauma disorders and recovery in the last two decades, and a lot of developments of new treatments.  Talk therapy is not the gold standard of what a cutting-edge therapist recommended by Tony Stark would use.  It might well be part of the therapy, but not the whole of it.  And Sam Wilson, working at the VA, would certainly know this as well.  I am not a professional, but I have read enough of the top books on trauma to have some feel for the subject.

If you would like to incorporate some more current research, understandings, and techniques, the best place to start is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.  He's got decades of experience and research dealing with combat vets, survivors of childhood abuse of every kind, and every sort of trauma you can imagine.  The book is well-written and interesting and suitable for a non-specialist to read, and it covers the history of trauma in psychology and how we learned what we know today, along with some very interesting case studies.  Best of all, the last few chapters are overviews of what he's found to be the most effective forms of treatment, including a brief overview of what the treatment is and their best guesses as to why it works, and then some examples of what's happened when he has used it or seen it used.  (Also, it's fun how he burns the DSM-V and some of his colleagues.  Like, there is SO MUCH SHADE, OH MY GOD.)

If you want some medical jargon to use in your fic, the place to start would be The Body Bears the Burden by Robert Scaer.  Scaer is a neurobiologist, not a psychologist, and boy howdy can you tell in his writing.  This one is a little more challenging, but it has a lot of medical stuff if you want to use that in your fic and wikipedia isn't doing it for you.
Tags:
 
 
13 July 2017 @ 12:03 pm
Please insert your Dragon Age reference here.

I may have an excess of fondness for a certain ex-Templar in Dragon Age: Inquisition (Bioware knows I have a type). So I was mucking about with drinks and came up with this:

It looks not unlike this (this is not mine, but it looks the same, glassware notwithstanding):

blue martini

Raw Lyrium

2 oz vodka
1 oz triple sec
1 oz blue curacao
splash of sweetened lime juice

Can be served on the rocks or shaken and served as a martini.
Does not confer templar abilities. Users may experience a temporary mana surge. Use with care.
Warning: unless you are a mage, excess consumption can be addictive and impair your memory. *g*
 
 
Current Music: AC and Freeway and Trains, Oh, My!
Current Location: The Great Wet-Bar of Life
Current Mood: peaceful
 
 
11 July 2017 @ 08:33 pm
Man, I'm pooped. Busy day at work, thus not much writing done. I got 1000 words on the novel, delving into Prince Jaswinder's mind this time. I wanted to get more but it just wasn't possible. Eyes are burning and I'm too tired.

I did manage to get most of the preliminary file for this week's collection put together. I still have an author's note, a foreword and an afterword to write but hey, the stories are in there. That's what counts. I'll try to finish that and get the cover done tomorrow, maybe get the ebook version too.

Goals for tomorrow (since I'm pooped and don't want to write any more) are to write, work on the collection, exercises and make breakfast for dinner.

Off to bath and bed for me--goodnight everyone!
 
 
Current Mood: tired
 
 
I never did get my sleep schedule fully fixed so I'm tired today.

Despite that, I got a full day's work which included an audit and lots of running around. Probably another part of why I'm so tired.

I got 2200 words written on the third of my 3 novels. I've gotten the first complication in and will be complicating it further in the next chapter. I don't know yet how much work I'll be putting into developing relationships versus action but it's me. I suspect there'll be more relationship and personal development than headlong action on this one. But it might be by a hair. I'm also not sure how long this one will be. I'm just finished with Chapter 4 and it feels like I'm barely begun. More like chapter 2. So yeah, length and focus to be determined as I write.

Not much else happened today. Just work and life and all.

Goals for tomorrow include writing more, actually getting started on the collection for this week, exercises and making pasta for dinner.

Off to bath and early bed for me--goodnight everyone!
 
 
Current Mood: sleepy
 
 
 
09 July 2017 @ 09:02 pm
We didn't get out of the house as quickly as we intended but that was all right. We still made it to Seattle early enough to have breakfast at the German deli. Always love their food. Then we wandered around Pike Place Market. I got more essential oils (fig, tangerine and peach, all of which smell lovely). We wandered down to the seafront and checked out how things have changed there. Then we got fresh corn (really tasty!), bought polish sausage and breakfast sausage and pretzels at the deli, and I had an ice cream cone.

Homeward after that with a quick stop at the mall for spices as we'd run out of the one mix I wanted to use for dinner tonight. Beef country style ribs which turned out very well, really. I have some left for lunch tomorrow so that's good.

Then I tried to help a friend of mine figure out a better hosting site than Photobucket but we didn't have a lot of success. She's been hosting her pictures over there but they won't allow 3rd party display of the pictures anymore so that's shot. Any suggestions are very welcome on that front but it has to be free. Neither of us is made of money.

Dreamwidth, by the way, is a partial success. Icons work. Pictures do not. *sigh*

Then I wrote another chapter on my third 3 novels in 3 months story. Classic quest structure is fun. I'm going to have to start throwing conflicts and obstacles in their way.

Goals for tomorrow is work (ugh), writing (as much as I can), get the collection ready for publishing (since I didn't get it last week), exercises and steak for dinner.

Off to bath and bed for me--I still don't have my sleep schedule back in order but that can't be helped. Tomorrow will see me back on track, guaranteed. Stupid alarm clock...

Goodnight everyone!
 
 
Current Mood: tired
 
 
09 July 2017 @ 12:37 pm
Summary: Off-world universities, solar power, and a riddle of the ages… SG-1 have a mystery to solve.

Notes: Written for the [community profile] stargate_summer Reverse Big Bang, and inspired by [personal profile] roeskva's stunning original artwork. Thank you, Roeskva, for such a gorgeous piece!

Takes place at the end of S2, after 1969. Lots of references to The Fifth Race and a certain episode of S1. I used Stargate-level science (that is, I mostly found information on Wiki or made it up entirely), and it is a grand old tradition to write Sherlock Holmes Stargate style "homages" pastiches.

Many thanks to Aelfgyfu for her careful beta skills, helpful suggestions, and title assistance.

This story can also be read at AO3.

artwork )

All Those Who Desire It )