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My Christmas present was, I think you'll agree, AWESOME:

More text and photos, mostly photos )

Pretty damn good day. (Well, the coloring was a few days ago, but still. Christmas present is Christmas present.)


Apr. 9th, 2011 02:09 pm
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1) Probably sick. Fortunately, also off work for a few days.

2) [personal profile] maevele speaks for me.

3) Listening to an album start to finish. I don't do that much. Really enjoying it.

4) The boyfiend and the kid cleaned the house yesterday, so when I got home from a late and frustrating day at work, there was clean and peace to come home to. I love them a very huge lot.

5) I keep looking at my financial aid offer letter and shaking my head with disbelief. It's a lot of money, and a lot of help in making my long-awaited dream come true. I am in awe.

6) That said, I really really really am feeling impatient for April 29th to come, so that I can know where I'll be going to school!
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Good morning, interwebs. A whole week of low pain has made me nauseatingly chipper for nine o'clock on a Saturday morning. And no plans for the weekend except to watch the Oscars on Sunday night. Bliss!

(About the picture. This one's the raw deal: Messy house, messy hair... I'm dressed, though it doesn't look like it. :-) Usually, you only get me at work, when I've bothered washing my face and stuff.)



Feb. 18th, 2011 04:35 pm
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4-day weekend!

Things I plan/hope/want to do, now that I'm on the getting-well track and have 4 days off:

1) Make sure I've got all my college-admissions stuff in order (note to self; really need to see what the SIR deadline is for Hayward CSUEB)
2) See if I have the oomph to make a chapbook to sell (or give away) at [ profile] wtfpotatoes's FOGcon booth
3) Play lots and lots of Rise of Atlantis on the iPad
4) See [personal profile] wild_irises and [personal profile] stonebender, not necessarily in that order
5) Read poetry; write poetry.
6) Bake a key lime pie with the kid
7) Help the kid make buttons to sell at her booth
8) If I have the energy, do some tidying up here; if not, fuck it. :-)
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Technically, I'm off work now, but I have a meeting in a few hours, so it makes sense to just keep working until the meeting and go home after that.

I have a moderately bad cold; not bad enough to keep me home, but bad enough to make me careful about not touching anyone, and not letting them get close to me.

Things that are making me happy today:

* Congee with shrimp, generously provided by my friend and co-worker
* Bubble tea, ditto
* My kid, who was in no way provided by my friend and co-worker
* My boss, who is enthusiastic, gleeful even, about writing me a reference letter for a scholarship
* The fact that I remembered my breakfast and lunch meds today (I've been having some compliance problems with my medication, and I don't know what that's about, because usually I'm anal about it)

What's making you happy today?
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I was feeling veggie-poor, as a result of days of being in too much pain to deal with much food-wise (shopping, cooking, etc.). Had a decent afternoon yesterday, though, so I went and bought $20 worth of produce. At our store, that's a LOT of produce. I got:

Two big heads of cauliflower (2.7 lbs)
A head of romaine
A big bell pepper (2/3 lb)
A stalk of celery
2 lbs onions
A big bunch of scallions
Half a pound of shiitakes
Two big knobs (almost a pound) of lotus root
1.29 lbs roma tomatoes
4 big navel oranges for 70 cents!
Two heads of garlic
A small (.75 lb) head of cabbage
2 lbs carrots
2 medium oro blancos (kind of like a sweet grapefruit)
2 lbs comice pears
2+ lbs fuji apples
3+ lbs yukon gold potatoes

I came home from the store sore but happy. Made a big stir-fry of a little pork and a ton of veggies. Had an apple and an orange with breakfast. Ate the leftover lotus root just now (I'm the only one who likes it). And I'm about to take a massive tray of roasted cauliflower out of the oven.

I'm RICH, I tell ya!
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Pretty nearly perfect day today.

* Pain levels are low

* My mom's going to be getting a knee or two replaced, which may end her horrible pain, which keeps her up nights

* Two-year cancer checkup, at which the doc says there's not only no sign of cancer, but 99% of thyroid cancer recurrences happen in the first two years, so there's a 1% chance I'll have to deal with this cancer again some time in my life, beyond monitoring, and basically, I have, in his words, "licked the cancer".

* Lovely walk in the rain with someone who just got paid. Ambled through the neighborhood to several great places, spending a little bit at a time of his money as we went:

- our newly opened neighborhood cheese shop, where we got grilled cheese and tomato soup and sweet iced tea
- Peet's, to get coffee (they don't sell coffee (yet?) at the Sacred Wheel)
- Creative Reuse, where we got a couple books, some mint tins to use as dice boxes, and some art supplies for the kid
- Clausen House, where we didn't buy anything, but we did drool over some number of things
- Tara's, where I had a lovely little scoop of raspberry sorbet, even though [personal profile] james_huber thinks it's too cold for ice cream
- Casper's, where we had a second-lunch snackish thing while exclaiming over what a perfect day we were having

Forget the fact that the IRS has written to tell me I have two weeks to give them $929. Forget that completely, because today is a GOOD day, and I'll deal with that tomorrow.


Dec. 29th, 2010 01:01 pm
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My kid is home.

My landlady is going to replace the pump.

There's a corned beef in my oven.

I'm going to take a nap.

The thread through all these things is, of course, joy.
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Thank you, everyone. The day got much better as soon as my local family woke up. Several things made the day better as it went along:

The kid made me tea with milk and sugar and was sweet to me.

Both boyfriends were, as always, sweet to me. Sense a theme?

[personal profile] loracs was sweet to me.

Then [personal profile] james_huber and I took the kid to Best Buy, then the grocery store for Mom Food stuff, then home, in the Zipcar. Have I mentioned I love Zipcar?

Oh, and on the way to get the Zipcar? Dance flashmob!

Walked the 2 miles home from the Zipcar lot, bought a jacket and some burgers on the way, and just talked about how I wished I'd awakened everyone sooner to make me feel better.

And somewhere along the line, got a hint that I'm probably really hormonal today, which would help explain at least some of the crying.

And [personal profile] james_huber and [ profile] wtfpotatoes cleaned the kitchen! You have no idea how depressing it is to me when the house is a pit. It's still a pit, but at least the kitchen is lovely, so I can cook tomorrow!

Talked with the kid for a long time about how complicated her emotions about her mother are, but I interrupted too much, so I hope I get a chance to do it again soon, with more listening.

Now I'll sit and veg for a while and write a blog post or six.

How was YOUR day? Anything joyful happen to you, with you, because of you?


Jul. 17th, 2010 09:49 pm
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1) Last night, my ankle popped. For less than a second, it hurt so badly I wanted to throw up, and then it was fine. And it's been fine since. I can walk! Hallelujah. I'm still taking it easy, but the difference is huge, and I'm so relieved.

2) Still having fun building the blog. LOTS of fun. (mom doesn't read DW/LJ, and it's almost ready to launch anyway). The kid is working on a logo/banner theme.

3) And even having a little fun on Twitter (@momfood). I never wanted one for personal stuff (still don't), but it's fun connecting with other food bloggers and with famous chefs and geeks.

4) Got a letter from the IRS today. The short take is they said no to seven of the documents I sent. There's a chance I could get new documents together in the ten days they've given me to appeal this, but I'm not sure I can, and I'm not going to decide about it tonight; it's not worth crying over right now.

5) The kid has been making real money doing commissions for people on DeviantArt. She is a professional artist! She's amused and a bit turned off by the themes of some of the drawings, but she takes the work seriously and spends a lot of time and effort on them. You can see some of them at

6) Things have been REALLY rough in [personal profile] stonebender's side of the family. Seems like there's never a time when all three of them are well at the same time. I wish I had a magic health wand, you know?


Jul. 11th, 2010 05:59 am
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1) Can't decide if the injured ankle is a blessing or a curse. Well, it's both, I guess. I'm getting LOTS of rest, but I'm also getting cabin fever. First world problems.

2) Having a ton of fun building a new project. It will get its own post today, under access lock, because even though mom rarely reads my journals, I don't want her to see what her birthday present is.

3) Anything I planned to do today (really, just housework) is officially cancelled in favor of the MythBusters marathon! Well, maybe I'll do a little housework on the commercials. Or not.

4) I used to like to sleep. I used to do it a lot. Nowadays, though, I sleep maybe 5 hours, wake up at ungodly hours of the morning (today, it was 3am) and just stay up. I get so much done while everyone else is sleeping that I actually don't mind this, but it does mean I'm wasted by 9pm.

5) Made my first rib roast last night. Called mom for instructions. Came out GREAT.

6) Little things that brought me joy yesterday, even though I wasn't feeling all that hot:
  • the new water bottle [ profile] someotherguy bought me
  • playing games with the kid, who is always really pleasant for a few days after we have an argument and the world doesn't collapse (she's afraid of parental anger, and who can blame her, but we actually argue well, without being very mean to each other)
  • dinner: the aforementioned roast, mashed potatoes/carrots/cauliflower, gravy, and steamed green beans. Yum.
  • a phone call from [personal profile] stonebender while he was out and about, just because
  • honeydew from the farm box: sweet and ripe and delicious
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Not ready to talk too much about my new blog project yet, but it's combining some of my lifelong passions: Food, hospitality, writing, family, and embarrassingly amateurish photography. (No, wait, that last one is a lifelong apathy; I may have to work on that.)

(In order to work on this, I have to push through some shame about not working on reviving the magazine, but I'll just have to sit with that for a while. I'm not ready to pick that back up, but I want to do SOMETHING creative, so this is what I've settled on for now.)
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Hi Ms. Vannoy,

Below is [sic] your WHOLE BODY SCAN results. This, along with your negative thyroglobulin levels with stimulation, is great news. I have also asked the lab to send a sample to USC to double check. I would recommend you repeat your thyroid labs in 3 months and return in 6 months. We can skip to the good part )
Whole-body diagnostic iodine scan is negative for metastatic disease.

Pretty spiffy, huh?


Apr. 28th, 2010 07:44 pm
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[posted here and at [ profile] serenecooking]

There were broccoli and zucchini in the farm box this week, so I was gonna just make spaghetti (with a jar of store-bought sauce) and steam the veggies and be done with it, but then I got to feeling like something a little nicer, and I was at Whole Foods picking up spaghetti sauce anyway, so this is what we had for dinner:

Salad of watercress, shaved pear, a tiny bit of fancy goat cheese, and avocado, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Whole-wheat spaghetti with the aforementioned sauce (Whole Foods' roasted-veggie sauce was on sale, and it's pretty good)
Garlic ciabatta
Pan-fried zucchini coins and broccoli florets
Stuffed mushrooms

I'm so stuffed. It was SO good.

Happy day

Apr. 3rd, 2010 03:01 pm
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Laundry is clean (but not put away yet). [ profile] someotherguy bought us bagels for breakfast and coffee and chili verde for laundry-trip snackage. And I had lavender and cardamom ice creams! In a sesame cone!

Bun dough is in the kneader.

And now I have the rest of the day to clean house, spend some quiet time, maybe work on revamping my cooking blog, maybe work on poetry month, maybe scan photos for my mom, and maybe scan in some stuff for [ profile] retro_cookbooks. And I'm making sweet-and-sour seitan for dinner, which is what I've been craving since I woke up this morning.

Ahhhhhhhh. I love my job (I mean LOVE it), but I'm learning to love weekends, too.


Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:29 pm
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Take one week. Add driving rain and hail. Stir in the first week of college, a mom in the hospital, chest pains, lack of sleep, a death in my community at work, tragedies in Haiti, and a street closed off because of a shootout, and you get a really stressed Serene.


Mix in the love and support of a big family, the Best Job Ever, and the potential for a substantial tax refund, and things don't look quite as gloomy.

That's the short-and-sweet version; this is the detailed version, which you're forgiven if you don't feel like reading. The important parts first: Mom is fine. I am fine. The kid likes school. )
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[ profile] sogwife and [ profile] loracs outdid themselves yesterday, I'll tell you. It wasn't a happy birthday -- it was a HIPPY birthday! I had a lovely, mellow time with my family, ate TONS of food, and got many lovely gifts, including a new logo for the magazine that I adore.

Are there pictures? Well, [ profile] loracs was there, wasn't she? :-) (Not pictured: [ profile] stonebender, [ profile] sogwife, [ profile] loracs, [ profile] wild_irises, and [ profile] dbubley, all of whom are perfect and gorgeous, as well you already know.)


Sep. 8th, 2009 05:53 pm
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1) My adorable and crazy neighbor, [ profile] worthyadvisor, is swimming the Tiburon Mile THIS SUNDAY (!) for Hospice. Even if you can't donate -- or can only donate a tiny bit -- you have to see her donation page. The adorableness is massive. She's also auctioning off some awesome stuff to raise more donations.

2) I keep trying to say stuff about my increasing withdrawal into myself, and this hermitage of mine, but all that keeps coming out is "Yes, I still love you all. I wish I had it in me to see you. I just don't. Sorry."

3) The Best Job Ever continues to be fabulous. My mom continues to be sick. [personal profile] stonebender's dad continues to be very sick with leukemia. [ profile] dbubley continues to have cancer. Basically, what was good before is still good, and what sucked still sucks. I wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all better, I truly do.

4) This weekend was a tonic for me. Except to go for walks and shop for food, I didn't leave the house. I made vegan carrot cake and cooked dinners and cleaned and paid magazine bills and clipped coupons and zoned out in front of the computer and read The Graveyard Book and got some peace. It was really wonderful, and it reinforced for me that this whole hermitage thing is, for now, really working for me. I have a book club commitment this week, but no commitments otherwise, and that's a good thing.

5) On Monday, the kid starts her figure drawing class at Cal. I'm very excited about it. I think she is, too, when she's not mad at me.

6) A few weeks ago, I started eating a different way in order to be proactive about the side effects of my medication, and WOW! Hermitage or no hermitage, I have So. Much. Energy. I'm cooking and cleaning and going for walks. I'm getting maybe 5-6 hours of sleep, on average, and feeling great. And I almost never have joint pain or heart palpitations now. This may all be a coincidence, but I'll take it.


Aug. 18th, 2009 09:46 pm
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A difficult day, in which our narrator faces her parenting fail, a teenager has a lot of hard decisions to make, a friend deals with the death of his husband, another friend deals with her mother's increasing illness, and Microsoft Word just will not cooperate. Still, there's a lot to be grateful for, and the fact that I've been on the verge of tears all day doesn't diminish that:

1) Lunch with folks from work and the surrounding disability-advocacy community, all of whom give a damn about doing good in the world, and all of whom are fun to talk to.

2) The Best Job Ever, where I get to read and write and help people, all for money.

3) Nasoya Silken Creations Vanilla, the best soy pudding I've ever had, ever.

4) The lovely way my tummy feels when I eat soy pudding instead of milk pudding. ;-)

I'm sure there's more, but eesh, I really need to get to bed. 6am comes early. G'night, my lovelies.
serene: happy owl (happy owl)

My boyfriend bought me a piano!

I have always and ever wanted a piano of my very own. We lost the piano when my parents divorced (I was 13) and ever since, I have really wanted one. I used to spend hours and hours practicing on the practice-room pianos in music school. I SUCK at playing the piano, and probably always will, but it was still such a joy.

Thank you so much, [personal profile] stonebender! This was so unexpected and so incredible!

(It's not delivered yet. We're hoping it'll fit in my door. It was the smallest working piano he could find. Isn't he a treasure?)



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