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Forgot to make my writing update yesterday, but that's okay, because I barely wrote at all last week. It was the first week of school, and these first two weeks are always some of the hardest. Add to that the shakeup at work that I may or may not talk about later, and it's set to be a really intense week. Again. I like my job, but it's really stressful. Might need to do something about that.

Gonna be testing out some DIY ramen cup thingies I made last night for work lunches. This batch has chickpea miso, chickpea tamari, oyster mushrooms, cilantro, spinach, rice ramen, and a half a hard-boiled egg. Oh, and sriracha. The kid is enchanted with the idea of making our own cup noodles, so I'll share with her tomorrow (she has school on Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Speaking of the kid, she made the Vice President's List (3.5 GPA or better last semester). So proud!

Okay, off to work. Much love!
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Had a terrible day yesterday, and was considering dropping the most awful of my two awful Wednesday classes and graduating a quarter late, but I think I'm just going to tough it out. Only ten weeks; I can do this bullshit class with all its bullshit group work for ten weeks. Bleah.

In other, more important news, heading over to [ profile] wtfpotatoes's place today to finish filling out out the papers to adopt her. It's pretty easy to adopt an adult in this state, and I would have done it sooner (like, say, when the kids were babies) if my sister had let me, so it feels good to be able to do it now.

Perspective. That's what I needed. Much better.

My kid

Jul. 24th, 2012 11:41 am
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Four years ago last month (June 13th), [ profile] wtfpotatoes arrived on our doorstep, delivered by the stork of oh-my-god-my-sister-is-useless. She (my kid, not my sister) was sixteen at the time, scared and tired and rejected.

We offered her a loving home with disorganized weirdos, and promised not to reject her. We gave her not enough space to stretch out in, and way too much seitan. But we never hit her, and we never rejected her, and we never threatened to stop loving her or told her she was the reason for all our problems, unlike other people in her life. When we decided she needed to move out at age twenty, we gave her time to get herself situated, bought her some furniture, helped her put it together, and remained faithful to our family bond.

Whenever I feel inadequate (and I'm not imagining this -- I am an inadequate parent in a lot of ways), I look at this marvelous young adult who has managed such a tumultous and difficult existence and come out of it as a kind, intelligent, generous person who loves her family deeply and lives her life responsibly. I am not the one to credit for that -- the kid is -- but I am so glad that my inadequacies were not enough to beat that goodness down.
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Me, to James: I'm having that cliche feeling of "oh, no, my baby's gone," even though I have been excited about this day for so long.

Him: Well, you can do both. Maybe you could call her when you get home and make sure she's okay, kinda "tuck her in."

Me: Maybe I'll text her.

Him: Ooh, look out. We got a badass here.

Me: *laughing* You do know I'm blogging this entire conversation, right?

Him: I rest my case.

Anyway, we took the kid to Ikea. Dropped a bundle on bed/mattress/boxspring, desk, desk chair, lamp, pillow, and sheet set. Then we spent something like four hours assembling the furniture. James did most of the work, and almost all the thinking. He really understands how things are put together, and I struggle to do so, but the cool thing is that we don't let it get to us when we hit a snag. At one point, we realized we had done a step wrong, about five big steps back in the process, and had to disassemble to that point and do it over again. We were slightly bummed, but we just said "oh, well" and went about fixing it. With other partners, that's been relationship-level drama. With James, it's just a minor glitch. I am very lucky.

But back to the kid: For those of you who asked what she needs, she has a queen-sized bed -- if you have extra sheets, duvets/covers, etc., that would be keen. She also needs one of those plastic mats you put under your desk chair so it doesn't mess up the wood floor, so if you have an extra, please let me know. I'm not sure she's going to have a housewarming party, but I bet she'd be up for having visitors. Let me know if you need her address, or if you want to make arrangements to go over there with me and see the cute new place.

Edited to add: Oh, and the kid took us out to dinner to thank us. She's like a grown-up or something.
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Thought the day might suck because I had to turn around at the bus stop, go home, and grab my homework, which I'd forgotten, and that was gonna make me late for school.


The kid told me SHE GOT THE CUTE PLACE SHE WANTED! Sorry for yelling but ohmigosh I won't have to kick her out and cute place yay!


I walked into my class late, and the tough teacher who has really improved my essay skills was using my essay as a good example AND I got an A on it!

Add in a nice long walk, an hour between classes (a rare luxury), two people competing to pack my lunch for today, and celebratory sushi, and you have a recipe for awesome.

She got the place!!!!!!!!!!!

Here we go

Dec. 18th, 2011 08:48 pm
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Good, if unproductive weekend. Came home from work on Friday in a foul temper (I assume from relief at the end of both my own school quarter and our students' semester, which was especially hard for me this time around because I was finding people scribes for their finals. I think I just had a mini-meltdown from its being finally over), and it took me until yesterday morning to feel vaguely like myself again.

This week, I have to work Monday/Wednesday/Friday, but my boss is not here and my file clerk is, so I think I'll be able to get lots of work done. I hope so! It would be awesome to be able to greet my boss next month with the files in order; they've gotten so bad with all the work turmoil.

Got to go to Costco with [personal profile] wild_irises yesterday, which was fun, and have spent some time cooking and cleaning and exercising, but lots more time staring into space and playing computer games than usual. Which, of course, is okay. If my dad gets here on Saturday morning and my house is a wreck, hell, he lived with me for 14 years; it will not be news to him.

We are liking the Bowflex. It's easy to use and was fairly easy to put together. It takes up a HUGE amount of space, so it's good that we have a big living room and no sofa.

[profile] sogwife has to have surgery this week (I don't feel okay talking about the details; that's her story, but my story is...) and I'm worried for her, but also glad she's able to have it done. I wish I had the wherewithal to go up and hold her hand and stuff, but honestly, I'm standing


and the end of my rope is


My dad and stepmom will only be here for one day, the 24th -- they leave the morning of the 25th -- and then when they're gone, I have one week off from EVERYTHING: school, work, and obligations. I will be broke, but that's okay. I will be in my house, with my family, recovering. I can hold out for one week until that happens. Pretty sure. Probably.

The kid's grades come out on January 3rd, according to her school's website. I'm actually kind of glad I don't have to deal with that conversation until after Christmas and her birthday. I'm not feeling anxious about it, but I still don't think it'll be easy. Unless somehow I'm completely wrong and she didn't actually drop out of school without telling me. Again. I mean, there are people who manage to get good grades without going to class, right?
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Home from San Diego. Best and most peaceful visit ever, but that doesn't mean I'm not utterly thrilled to be home, especially after driving all day to get here. I drove probably 1200 miles this week. I'm so over it.

Mom is well. Dad is well. Out-laws and outlaw niblings are well. San Diego is a great place to be from. Ate all the shellfish. Shopped all the discount stores. Brought home all the things.

When I got home, the kid had cleaned the whole house (I mean really clean, including my terrible desk area), and bought food and birthday ice cream for me. I ordered dim sum for the family and we hung out companionably.

Today, I turn 45. Tomorrow, I go back to work. The next day, I start school (squee!). Things I want to do in this coming year include:

1) Kick butt at school
2) Increase my fitness and flexibility
3) Start a container garden
4) Get out of debt

I feel really optimistic about my ability to do these things, but I'm also feeling pretty philosophical about it all. I'll do what I can, and the rest will be as it is.


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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Notes of little interest, but hey, [personal profile] badgerbag & [personal profile] vito_excalibur say they like the minutiae, so here they are:

1) Slept until something like 4pm yesterday; the only time I can sleep that long is when I'm sick, so I'm glad I pretty much slept through it. Today was spent sitting in one place almost the whole day (with brief forays into the kitchen to put away dishes; [personal profile] james_huber won't let me wash them because it eats up my hands), writing FIVE blog posts and fixing some of the static pages on the blog. Maybe now I'll work on some of the design stuff; I suck at design stuff, but I can't afford a designer, so I'll see what I can do.

2) I can hear the kid in her room, singing in Japanese to her WoW friends. Singing really prettily. I haven't heard her sing since she was a small child, and this is kind of choking me up.

3) Famous people (at least people famous in the circles I run in) talk to me on Twitter, and it's kinda fun to be part of their day. I wasn't expecting that to be anything I gave a rat's ass about.

4) Keep feeling like I don't know how to maneuver socially at work. Have decided to just let it be. They like my work and my work ethic; they'll have to just put up with my weirdness.

5) I don't buy new books very often, but I bought Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table for French Fridays with Dorie, and it's really beautiful, and so far, very good. I'm only a chapter in yet, though. (The gougeres turned out really well.)


Sep. 10th, 2010 01:23 pm
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The kid is safely with my mom. She says "USA! USA!" (She's been stuck at her parents' place in Mexico for a couple days.)
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I'm kind of excited. I spent several hours yesterday working on a process to make guest posts to The Mom Food Project sort-of automated. Since a few of you have asked me about sharing your Mom Food (or Dad Food or Aunt Food or Mum Food or whatever), I thought I'd post the link here to my new announcement, which also contains a preview of the super-awesome avatar the kid made for my blog. There will also be one of my mom, and we'll be bookending the banner when the site gets redesigned in the next few weeks.
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Work was good, but not so good that I wanted to stay late, so I bailed a little early. Yay, flexible working hours!

The kid and I had a stupid fight last night (I was stupid; she was mostly just forgetful), but we made up briefly last night, and then went to lunch today and really talked out how much we both appreciate that we can argue without being assholes to each other. (We get snotty and draw back from each other, but we always cool down and apologize. As she said, "Sometimes, I even know I'm wrong, but I'm pissed, and there's no way I'm admitting it until I'm not so pissed any more." Yeah, me, too.)

Tomorrow is the first meeting for the new project I'm working on at work. (The one that means more hours for me, helping to write a curriculum to teach employees at the University about working with students with disabilities.) I'm very excited. Plus, I get to have lunch and stuff with [personal profile] stonebender, which is an extra, added bonus.

Pic of the day:

August 16, 2010


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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I know I showed you the kid's art, but she's also looking for more traditional work. She types 80 words a minute and has a little experience doing teenagery things like pet-sitting and light housework. She isn't comfortable babysitting or being too near coffee (the smell makes her sick), so no barista jobs, but she's willing to consider anything else within reason. Extra bonus points if it's reachable from our place in North Oakland without a car or a super-long commute.

She's also a whiz on the computer and would love to telecommute, but she knows that's unlikely in an entry-level position.

She's legal to work in the US, and is working on her GED. If anyone has any leads for her, please let me know. Thanks!
serene: mailbox (Default) her quest to be better at marketing herself as an artist, [ profile] wtfpotatoes has asked me to point y'all to her new DeviantArt account, to which she will be adding even more new stuff (there are 15 things there right now). She does commissions for her fellow WOW people, so some of these are to other people's specs, but they give a decent cross-section of her general styles. If you know of anyone who might want to buy art from her, or if you know of any art-related internships or training programs, or anyone she should hook up with to find out about something related to a career in which she can exercise her love of drawing, please let me know, or email her: joan at the same domain my email address is at.

Good day

Jun. 29th, 2010 09:12 pm
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What a nice day we had. The kid and I had planned to go to the Youth Jobs Program thingy (she could go alone, but she has understandable anxiety about going new places on the bus), and when we got downtown, it was lunchtime, so we ate lunch, went and got her an intake appointment, then sat in Peet's for an hour or so having a nice companionable conversation about everything and nothing, while she drew sketches.

Next, we stopped at the Korean grocery store, where she was *fascinated* with the live Dungeness crabs, which were very inexpensive as such things go, so I agreed to buy some for dinner. Since [personal profile] wild_irises was coming over to drop off Costco butter anyway, I decided dinner time would be the perfect time, and she and [ profile] abostick59 came over and shared our crabs and butter and oven-fried spring rolls and cherries and pistachios and sorbet with us. Lovely dinner, lovely to see our friends again. Very funny and macabre to watch the kid do the actual work of killing crabs for our dinner.

Tonight, we'll work on the kid's application for the jobs program (her appointment is tomorrow), and I'll start playing with my own projects over the next few days:

1) Getting my new blog up and running (more about this later)
2) Getting my poetry chapbook together with the help of some wonderful friends who have offered to read some of my stuff
3) Knitting the rest of [ profile] someotherguy's Doctor Who scarf

Well, maybe first I'll take a firehose to my house to clean up the utter crab mess. :-)
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Back to work with me now, but my kid stopped by at lunch and brought me this. Her art class went on a field trip to the Botanical Gardens. She said the fog was so thick and they were up so high that she had trouble drawing and breathing, but she did bring me this flower, which she said she picked because it was so delicate:

Photo 15
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That's the first time Dreamwidth's eaten one of my posts. Ah, well.

The gist:

Good stuff:

  • Mango juice
  • Aspirin
  • Potato soup cooking on the stove
  • An adorable partner experimenting with roasting his own coffee. The first batch was good. The second smells burnt (well, like wood-burning-stove smell), but tastes good.
  • Sick pay
  • Appointment with the Rheumatologist is this Friday
  • My mom's coming tomorrow! Only for the night, but still; the kid and I will visit her in Burlingame this weekend if I'm well
  • The kid likes college! ("College isn't so bad, Aunt San. It's way better than I thought it would be.") She goes when she's sick. She goes when she is tired. She is being so responsible and collegiate. I'm very proud.
  • This weekend, the kid's going on her first college field trip, to the De Young, and it's free!
  • Got away with buying most of her school clothes/shoes for around $100. She only lacks a jacket now, and maybe a few more pairs of socks.

Bad stuff:

  • I'm guessing I have a sinus infection. Waiting to hear back from the doc. Missing Surviving The Apocalypse 101* with [personal profile] aquenigmatic, who will now have to be in charge when the shit comes down. My hero!
  • Missing work. I loathe it, even though there's now sick pay for it. I think my revulsion toward taking days off is part neurosis, part American Work Ethic**, part good old-fashioned conscientiousness, and part self-involvement. I know intellectually that taking time off when I'm sick is best for everyone, but I fight with shame over it nonetheless. Likewise missing the appointment with [personal profile] aquenigmatic. Hate it!

I dropped the car off this morning at 7 and went to work, but I didn't last long. The boss says to stay home until I'm well. I do believe I'm going to take her up on it. Sigh.

*That's not really what it's called, but probably should be. Punchier, ya know?

**I was gonna say Protestant Work Ethic, but I was raised Catholic, and I really do think it's an American phenomenon more than it's religiously based at this point


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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